Running with Sheila

Today is the first opportunity I’ve had to run outside with Sheila the Garmin working properly!  (Reading the user’s manual was really helpful, not shockingly.)

I’m doing a lot of shuffling this week because I’m traveling for work and I have Monday off work.  So, everything’s going to be a little early.  I’m planning on running Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, taking Wednesday and Thursday “off” while I’m traveling, and then doing my long run on Friday and some S&S Saturday.  Today’s task?  3.5 miles.

I have to say–I’m proud of myself.  I don’t think people say that enough.  I maintained my perfect goal half marathon pace–9:55–while running on the treacherous hills in my neighborhood.  And it was just kind of innate–I feel like I have muscle memories of that pace and it just is natural.  I COULD have run a little faster on a flat treadmill, but I think keeping up this pace on hills is a good sign, since my half marathon course is flat.  Go me!

Here’s the final stats:

Then I finally installed my Garmin software on my computer to use and played around with a bit.  Here is the actual graphic proof that my neighborhood is hilly to the max:

You can see the six laps around my neighborhood!

I really like being able to see my stats–my only complaints about the Garmin are a) it takes a few minutes for the satellites to load in the beginning and b) the software is all wonky on my computer.  I keep having to re-load it and it keeps telling me that I need to connect my Garmin since it’s the first time I’m using the software.  Lame.  But, all in all, it’s a good tool.

So, crossing another run off the ol’ training schedule.   Now we’re watching Julie and Julia (despite my irrational dislike of Meryl Streep), and generally decompressing.  I might go buy some prenatal vitamins this afternoon–my hairdresser yesterday recommended them for hair and nail growth and strength!  I have a LOT of hair, but it’s very fine, and as it’s getting longer I want it to get stronger too, so hey, can’t hurt, right?

What are YOU proud of that you’ve done recently?

Injury report

Take me off the DL, folks.  Mystery Shoulder Injury 2009 appears to be 100% healed, and my feet are no longer covered in heinous large blisters.

So, recap: a few weeks ago, I “tweaked” something in my right shoulder that made it hurt when I lifted it above parallel.  It got worse for awhile, and turned into a pain that radiated down my arm.  I started icing and heating it alternately for awhile, and it felt much better, just kinda weak.  I also laid off weightlifting for awhile to let it heal properly. I’ve left it alone for the last week and haven’t noticed any pain, so I decided to test it out today at the gym.

I didn’t want to leave Milhouse in the crate for too long, so I planned a 40 minute or so workout.  I went into the gym planning to do a four mile run, but after the first mile I just wasn’t feeling it.  The weights looked awfully appetizing, and my shoulder felt fine so I did a short lifting workout just to test the waters.  Here’s what I did:

  • Dumbbell push press, 3 sets of 8 reps at 22.5 pounds (per arm, so 45 total)
  • Barbell deadlift, 3 sets of 8 reps at 80 pounds
  • Lat pulldown, 3 sets of 8 reps at 90 pounds
  • Olympic bar squat, 3 sets of 8 reps at 135 pounds

Here’s photographic proof:


I was going to run another mile after all that, but I got on the treadmill and my legs said, “Um, Brie?  You haven’t squatted that much in about a month.  We aren’t going to stand for this!”  So, I jumped off and went home.  I gave Milhouse a nice 20 minute walk this morning, and will probably give him another one later, so I’ve definitely been active.

Oh, and my blisters have turned into lizardlike calluses that shed layers of skin from time to time.  It’s gross, but useful, and I’m not in searing pain when I run anymore.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole, “fail to plan, plan to fail” thing.  I need to come up with some good strategies for working out once I start my job on Monday.  I CANNOT use my job as an excuse.  Since I’ve gotten in shape, I’ve always been a student or unemployed so I’ve had a pretty flexible schedule.  I’ve never done the healthy 9-5 thing before.  So, it will be a challenge.  Here are a few random thoughts I’m marinating in my head:

  • Goal: work out 4-5 days a week.  Rest days will be weekdays.  I will go to the gym on Saturday and Sunday for longer distance runs and weightlifting, and during the week, I will do some kind of exercise two or three times a week, either at home or make it to the gym.
  • When I’m working out at home, I can’t force myself to run hills more than once a week.  They are brutally hard and my body doesn’t like them.  They make me wheezy.  BUT, I will run outside on hills once a week.
  • Re: wheeziness.  Once good work insurance starts up, see a doctor and get an albuterol inhaler to keep my lungs happy.
  • Consider investing in Jillian Michaels’ new DVDs.  I loved the Shred, but I’ve done it so much in the last year and a half I’m bored with it even though it can still be challenging.  (Any reviews?)
  • Consider buying a yoga or pilates DVD.  The summer I lost a bunch of weight, I actually was working 9-5 and would do the Shred every night because it was so easy to just walk upstairs and do it.  I need to get that kind of thing going again.
  • If all else fails and I’m really genuinely tired, take the dog for a long walk.

Hopefully soon I’ll be in a good routine and have this all figured out!

The hills are alive…

Today I tackled my friendly neighborhood hills again.  I went into it with a strategy this time–I read on Runner’s World that instead of trying to keep your pace steady when running up hills, you should focus on keeping your level of exertion the same instead.  On the mean hills, then, I watched my heart rate and focused on keeping it as steady as possible instead of racing up it.  At times, yes, this meant I powerwalked up them a bit.  I found this to be a generally good strategy, and I will keep using it.

Overall report for the day–4.1 miles of hills in 44 minutes, burned 650 calories.  I saw nine horses (all very pretty), two items of roadkill, a crap ton of dog poop, and a nice farmer that waved at me.  Also, I tried out my new running shirt from Target!  Here is my bad ass “I’m wearing a new running shirt, beeyotch” pose in the bathroom:

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Should you be inclined to buy one for yourself, you can do so here.

I am generally not a fan of having sleeves and high necks when I work out.  They bother me.  This shirt gets a mixed review–I think I would like it better with a V-neck, but the shirt was very well-ventilated and the sleeves didn’t bother me at all.  Towards the end of the run I was tugging at the neck because I felt a little strangulated, but I’m weird like that (I can’t even wear a t-shirt to the gym).  I think the average bear would like it, and I am going to try to stretch out the neck a bit before I wear it again.
I also went with watered down Gatorade on this run and I have to say, it got the thumbs down this time.  I just kept craving water the whole time, so I’m gonna take that as a sign that I should be drinking water.  It also made me spit a lot, which is just gross.

Weight update:  I don’t stress about the scale, but I appear to have lost a pound or two lately, which is nice.  I don’t really go by the scale, but I feel really happy that my size 8 jeans from last year still fit me, and well.

Life update:  I got a job!  I am not sure on the details of when I’ll be starting yet, but it will be either next Tuesday or the following Monday.  I’ll be working in law school admissions, so the position will use my law degree but I won’t be a lawyer per se, which is exactly what I wanted.  I am so relieved and thrilled and excited for the new opportunity.  Obviously, I’m going to have to re-work my workout schedule and whatnot, but stick with me!

Humility; flotsam and jetsam

I’ve decided that for my half marathon training, I’m going to be doing a combination of tackling the nasty hills in my neighborhood AND running on the treadmill.  I think that doing all my training on the hills would be very discouraging, especially when it gets cold, and I generally do enjoy the treadmill so I shouldn’t give it up.  Running hills will make me a better runner, but so will doing speedwork and intervals on a flat treadmill.  My only conundrum will be when I start getting into the 8+ miles part of my training, as I don’t think doing it on hard hills or on a treadmill will be ideal.  I’m going to have to start scoping out my area for some good flatter locations.  (My half course is largely flat, which is a blessing.)

This morning I went on a 3 mile run on the hills in my neighborhood.  Since I stuck to the treadmill all last week, it was a different (and difficult) experience, but I felt noticeably stronger since I’ve been running more in general lately.  I took a slightly different route that was largely downhill on the “out” part but largely uphill on the “back” part.  I had to take three short walking breaks (once due to a phone call I thought was job related, but wasn’t) but I felt good about it in general.  It’s funny how going downhill and going flat I feel so great, and then I start the uphill climb and I’m just humbled.  At this point in my fitness journey,  I’m pretty used to being one of the most in-shape people in the gym at any given time.  I feel great about myself when I’m the only one running intervals on the treadmill while everyone else is ambling away on the elliptical.  But man, running hills is just so humbling.  Marathoners always say “respect the distance;” I think I’m going to have to learn to “respect the hills.”  I’m going to have to LEARN to suck at something when it comes to the terrain here, but at the same time it feels nice to have something I know I’m going to conquer eventually, you know?

I also had my first moment of runner camaraderie today as I ran my last loop around my subdivision.  Another man was running the opposite direction and he gave me a wave and I waved back.  It was kind of fun to be like, “hey, we’re runners and we’re cool like that.”  Yes, I’m a nerd.

Since I don’t have any pictures about my run, I thought I would post a few random ones I took this weekend that aren’t really worthy of a post in and of themselves.

I’ve never seen this flavor of Clif bar before.  It was pretty good.  Not my favorite, but I liked it better than I thought I would.  It was especially great with a smear of cinnamon peanut butter on it!

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I spray painted some baskets for assorted things at the wedding like programs and photoshare cards:

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Shout out to the first honeycrisp of the season!  These babies are perfect and I think I’ll be fighting T for the last one tonight:

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In other news, my contact lens case (with lenses in it from last night) is missing.  I suspect Buckley has run off with it and hidden it somewhere.  Crazy cats.

What’s humbled you, fitness-wise?  Have you conquered it or are you still working at it?

Training fail.

Well, I shouldn’t call it a fail.  I ran the same 5K route I ran the other day, but slightly slower than last time.  I guess I was fueled by anger and visions of looking like a stuffed sausage in my wedding dress last week.  I also tried using moleskin padding on the part of my feet that like to blister to no avail.  In happier news, I did like my new running skirt.

I blame the hills.  Seriously, I don’t mean to be a whiny baby and make excuses, but my GOD, the hills kill me.  Here are my heart rate monitor stats for the day:

  • Time: 39:19 (I actually ran it in about 34:00, then spent 5 minutes waiting for my HR to go back down to a slightly normal number)
  • Average heart rate: 179 (THIS is a problem.  WAY too high.)
  • Maximum heart rate: 192 (Wow.  New record.)
  • Calories: 500

According to MapMyRun, this run contains 195 feet of ascent and 195 feet of descent, whatever that means.  It sounds like a lot, though.  I roughly mapped the race route for Saturday, and it appears to have 3 feet of ascent and 155 feet of descent, which sounds much easier.  I am GREAT at running downhill.

I snapped a picture on my way to donate blood of these stupid hills.  They are scary looking, right?

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I also took a picture of my scenery.  Horsies!  I have seen three black ones, a white one, a brown one, and a gray one so far.  I also saw two dogs and some ducks today.

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Someone please reassure me that those are, indeed, scary-looking hills and that running a largely downhill course will be much, much easier.  Do hills change your running routine a lot?  Do you find them harder than regular running?  I’d love to find a flat area to run, but it’s pretty hilly everywhere around here, unfortunately.