Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Rule Is ...

Even though today was colder than yesterday (low 20s) I was so worried about being overdressed, I made a concerted effort not to be. So with one long-sleeved technical shirt under my windproof jacket and a single weight pair of yoga pants, I head outside into the crisp, sunny morning.

The rule is -- you should feel a little bit cold when you start out or you are overdressed. (I have tried this rule on a number of occasions, and I am frequently wrong.) I was a little bit cold when I left the house today. I made it to the end of the block and realized I was not going to warm up enough, so I went back home, added a short-sleeved shirt over my technical shirt, and went back out. Perfect! Though my face was cold, I was determined not to use a gaiter today.

The streets were pretty clear and dry, so I did not have to worry much about ice and snow. Still, it was a little bit difficult moving my legs as fast as I wanted to. They just would not go faster. In addition, my heart rate would not go above 144 -- probably because I could not move my legs faster.

I adjusted my route so that three loops around the big block was a little bit farther than yesterday's workout and I ended up being out for 51 min.

Here are things I learned today: I did not need the gaiter, though I would have liked it for the first 30 mins. Two shirts under the jacket was enough when one shirt was heavier than a standard technical shirt. I needed  to wear either my thermal pants instead or a pair of leggings under the yoga pants. I am pretty sure one of the reasons I could not move my legs faster is because my legs were just a little bit too cold. The shoes I wore today were a little bit stiffer than the Chinese racewalking shoes and I think that might be the other reason I couldn't move faster -- I was not very efficient rolling my feet.

It's not a good idea to work on speed every single day anyway, so the fact I couldn't go faster is not really a concern. I probably should have stayed out a little bit longer so I could say my long day was actually somewhat long. (51 min is not very long.)

Despite the few minor negatives, overall it was just a really good morning to be out in the sunshine walking!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Walking Outside in the Winter

Today I decided to walk outside. I haven't done that much since Christmas and I really missed it. Because I have not been outside much, I wasn't as experienced planning what to wear as I used to be.

I went down the street and around the big block. My main focus was to have good form and practice pushing off with my toes since I haven't figured out how to do that on a treadmill. I don't know why, but I have difficulty maintaining that smooth (not bouncing) feeling outside. As long as I was focusing on it, I was fine. As soon as I started thinking about something else I noticed bouncing and not feeling smooth.

After one loop around the big block, I was way too hot and starting to sweat. I opened the vents of my jacket and ended up unzipping the neck beneath my gaiter. Hmmm. Maybe I didn't need the gaiter. (I hate having a cold neck!)

After my planned three loops I went home to find my husband had taken the truck to buy a newspaper (my fault it wasn't delivered -- long story) and my stainless steel water bottle that had been sitting on the back bumper was somewhere in the street between our house and the gas station. Thank goodness I found it in the street about half a block away. It has a new dent and lots more scratches, but is otherwise unharmed.

So, I'm not sure how cold it was, but I definitely was overdressed today. I probably just need to walk outside a little more often to get re-acclimated.

I walked for 37 min. My max heart rate was 173 and I averaged about 155. I'm beginning to think that my race heart rate should be higher than 140 -- the milestone I used last year to PR during the Air Force half marathon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thoughts on Gyms

Though I am enjoying the one-month gym membership my sister gave me as a gift, I'm not sure it is really me.

First, being outside year-round helps my mental attitude. Sun in the winter, or a walk in fluffy or crunchy snow are fun! Walking outside helps to keep me from getting depressed.

The nice thing about the gym is it doesn't matter how cold it is, I can still get in some major miles. Plus, I love the fact I can work on form next to a mirror. It is so much easier to feel walking smooth and not bouncing while on a treadmill, though I am having a hard time pushing off with my toes.

It is really difficult to do major miles on a treadmill. Even though I did only 35 min today, and I even did intervals to break up the monotony, it was still hard to finish. I just get bored too easily.

I really like the weight-lifting equipment. At the same time, we have a bunch of free weights at home and I can probably work up a good routine there.

So, I can see the benefit of gym membership, and I am enjoying it. I just don't think it is something I would be able to keep up because of boredom.

Today I walked for about 40 min total -- 5  min as warmup before weightlifting, then 35 min after. I used the first 5 min as warmup, then alternated a 1-min sprint at a 12-min-mile pace with 3 min at a 15-min-mile. I ended up walking 2.33 miles. My peak heart rate was 173, average heart rate was 133. The treadmill said I burned about 200 calories.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Did I Keep my 2010 Resolutions?

Though my resolutions did not make it to this blog, I'm going to use this venue to let you know how successful I was:

Lose that pesky 10 lbs I’ve been fighting for a while.
  Yes I did! I actually lost 12 lbs, though I'm working on losing the 2 I gained back over the holidays. I was told by losing that small amount of weight, I had a good chance at being faster. I am getting faster, so maybe there is something to it.

Purge clothes I don’t wear and get rid of stuff I don’t need. Buy clothes that fit.  Did this one, too, though there are a few more things in my drawers I could probably still throw away. The biggest thing was getting rid of the stuff that was too big so I won't be tempted to gain the weight back again. It was also key to buy clothes that fit. I had been walking around too long with safety pins holding my pants up. Had a good shopping spree at the end of the year!

Have my hair professionally colored all year long to avoid the orange brassy color I am known for. Do it more often to avoid the skunk look.  Yes! I had only one month where I went too long.

Stop procrastinating – like waiting until January 3 to write a list of resolutions.
  I'm still working on this, but I am getting better (though I have not written this year's resolutions yet).

Follow through with all of the physicals and medical checkups I should be doing every year.
  Partially successful. I found a new doctor and went. I have an appointment for a physical early this year. I still have two regular health tests to schedule, but I had to wait until after the first of the year.

Take out the trash. (I don’t know why, but I can let a trash can overflow for days!)  Again, I'm getting better and no longer require a reward when I do take out the trash.

Try to spend a few minutes in silence every day.
  Absolutely not! Now that I have a new iPod, not likely to happen.

Be more patient, less judgmental and say fewer negative things. Be friendlier.
  Though doing better, there is always room for improvement.

Have more fun. Play with my dogs more often.

Be more generous with my time and money.
  Yes, but I still need more work when it comes to giving time. Luckily, we have friends who need to recruit volunteers, and we always jump to help them.

Sleep more. Eat better. Exercise more.
  Did not do so well with sleep, but I am eating better (which is why I lost weight) and I have been exercising regularly.

Read for fun.
  I read several books!

Have a good beer once in a while.
  Yep! I still drink cheap beer, but I will splurge on a good one a little more often.

Plant daffodils.
  It was the last day in December when the soil was still thawed enough, but I finally did it. This spring I will be so happy I did!

Reduce stress – especially about turning 50.
  Yes, it is getting better. I can even say "I am 50" aloud without cringing!

I'm still working on this year's resolutions. I hope to post them soon!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Now What?

Now that I have both a new 1 mile and 5K PR, I'm not quite sure what to do. Do I rest a few days? Do I immediately work on speed? How slow is slow for a long slow workout?

There are a few things I know:
  • I have been training at too slow of a pace for way too long. I've been working on distance and endurance, not speed.
  • Speed is not easy.
  • I need to find a happy medium between speed and endurance.
  • I need to focus more on form, too.
Today, my legs are still a little sore. My 35-min walk was not intended to be for speed, but I did notice today's slow pace was faster than last week's slow pace.

My plan is to go through some old training schedules and make sure I add in weekly speed workouts and train for real this entire year. I'm sure it will be part of my resolution list -- once I write it.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Yesterday's Official PR!

I was finally able to access Athlinks today and it is official -- my 5K PR was yesterday at 41:16! In addition, my 1 mile PR was yesterday, too!

My previous 5K personal record was 42:50, so yesterday I cut 1 min and 34 sec from that finish time. My previous fastest mile was 13:26 (during the News and Sentinel Half Marathon). My current 1 mile PR is now 13:14.

What is more impressive to me about the 1 mile speed is that lately I've been averaging about 14 min per mile and when I sprint it has been about 13:40 to 13:50.

Yes, I'm pretty excited!

UPDATE: According to the race website, my finish time yesterday was 39:37 with an average pace of 12:49. I'm not sure how they got that since according to my watch, my fastest mile was 13:14.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

First Race of the Year -- New Year's River Run

NOTE: Photo was added 1-2-11.

Me after the New Year's River Run 5K. 
It was raining with temps in the mid-50s when I arrived at the New Year's Day River Run 5K today. There were several members of the Buckeye Striders at the race: Steve and Sharon, Jack, Catherine, Laura, Cheryl and her husband John.

The race was not chip timed, still I felt funny about moving any closer to the front of the pack. I know starting back will affect my official finish time, but I was not expecting to win any awards.

We were pretty fortunate. While we were waiting for the race to start, the rain became a light drizzle and it had stopped entirely by the time the race started. The course was an out and back on the bike trail along the Olentangy River downtown.

I have been training for speed on a treadmill over the last week and wanted to see how fast I could go. Though I started out with some of my faster friends, they left me in the dust pretty early. (Or should I say, they left me in goose droppings.) I did the first mile in 13:24. There was a runner behind me shuffling her feet in a really annoying way, so I tried to pick up the pace and move away from her. There was a tall woman running ahead of me I was also trying to catch. The second mile was 13:18! Woo hoo! I passed the runner and had my sights on catching Cheryl, who was not too far ahead of me. The last 1.1 miles was in 14:34, which is about a 13:14 mile! By my watch I finished in 41:16! Added 1-2: I believe 13:14 is my fastest mile ever and 41:16 my fastest 5K! (According to our watches, I finished just 1 sec behind Cheryl.)

In the last leg of the race, the tall runner passed me back and I could not catch her again. Though I got much closer to Cheryl, I couldn't catch her either. On the good side, I did pass a couple more runners and I was pushing pretty hard and feeling strong despite a late night last night.

There was pizza at the end of the race and plenty of water (though no water on the course). After standing around for a little bit, we hurried to our cars to avoid the heavy rain that came back.

For only a $20 race fee, I was happy with this race. The cotton T-shirts are nice and sometimes I prefer a nice cotton shirt as opposed to a cheap technical shirt. The course was out and back, which was OK with the number of people in this event, but if it gets much bigger, it would not work on this bike trail. The goose droppings everywhere were annoying, but the race directors cannot control that. Because of the rain, there were a few huge puddles on the course and some muddy spots. Still, rain on January 1 is much better than snow.

Overall, not a bad 5K.

Truth in blogging here: I did stay out way too late last night, drank too much coffee before heading home and ended up not able to sleep once I got to bed. I woke up feeling totally tired and was not expecting to do as well as I did. Imagine if I had slept well! Photos to come!