Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lifetime and 6 miles

I made LIFETIME for WW!!! I wasn't expecting it because I thought it would be on next week's weigh-in. Boy it was close too! But I did it and got my lifetime key charm. Since I want to be about five pounds less than goal, I decided to get back to working the plan again. I realized over these past six weeks, I was able to maintain without much effort but I didn't lose any weight. I got slack with tracking my food. I figured I was running and working out more so I thought that would help me lose a few pounds. Tracking food really is the key to WW and losing weight (at least for me). I don't know why but it just works.

Lifetime key charm!
On Sunday morning I met my running buddies for a group run! It's been so long since I've ran with them. I forgot how much faster the time goes by running with other people. We ran 6 miles! That was the first time I have ever ran that far. It actually wasn't that bad. I finished in 1 hour 5 minutes. For some reason I was nervous about the run. Almost like it was a race. We met at 10am and I was worried about running in the morning since I usually run in the evening. I didn't want to eat much but I knew I had to eat something. I opted for toast with peanut butter and half a banana. I think I was nervous about running 6 miles and not sure that I could do it. But everything was fine. I was really supposed to run 5.5 miles but what's another 1/2 mile?

Monday evening I did a spin class at the Y and this instructor kicked my butt! Although I liked her much better than the guy from last week. She focused more on climbs with a higher level of resistance. I have been averaging around 20 miles but this class was just a little over 16 miles because of the climbs. I definitely felt the soreness today. But not enough to keep me from running 4 miles tonight! Disclaimer: I did take an Aleve 15 minutes ago :) Michael went with me since it was so nice outside and again he helps me run faster. I finished in 40:34. Not too bad. That course included several hills too. I don't think I will ever like hills but they say hills make you stronger!

Plan for the rest of the week: pilates (thank goodness it's tomorrow I need it!), easy 3 mile run, spin class, maybe a 2 hour zumba class (it filled up fast and I'm on the waitlist). Sunday will be a long run - 6 miles again? I'm going to go for it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gift idea for runners

As you know some of my running buddies finished their first half-marathon recently. I wanted to get them a little good luck gift so I put this together.

Just a few simple items made a nice small gift: lip balm, protein bar, Gu/Hammer gels, and a 13.1 magnet decal. I placed the items in one of those goody gift bags (for kid's birthday parties) with some fun tissue paper, tied with wrapping ribbon and a note made out of colored index cards. I'm not a creative person at all, so I was very pleased with the way it turned out. And of course my buddies liked them which was the main reason anyways!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Impromptu 5K

Instead of the interval run scheduled for Saturday, I decided to run a 5K race! Well, sort of. It was a beautiful day on Saturday, sunny and high in the low 60's. We had found a race on the campus of UNCG and said we would do it if the weather was nice. It was at 12pm which was great - much better than a 9am start time. The BeerRun is in the same area so I thought it would give me a little preview of that race. It was a small 5K with only 40 people in the race. Michael (who is super fast) thought he may have a chance to finish in the top 3 or maybe even win. I didn't have a specific goal but at least I thought I would run around the same time my 3 mile runs have been. Maybe a little better since it was a race and you usually run faster.

We only have the one Garmin watch that we share and this was the first race we both were doing since we got the Garmin. I let Michael wear it since he was focused on winning the race. I definitely missed it! The course was not marked at each mile so I didn't have any clue how I was doing on my time. I just thought I should finish around 30 minutes, more or less. Around 23 or 24 minutes I saw Michael coming toward me. I told him I didn't know where Ryan was. He had falling behind me and I didn't see him. Ryan decided to run the 5K even though he hasn't ran that far since the Gobbler Race on Thanksgiving. I was a little worried about him running but he was determined to do it. Anyways Michael said the end was just around the corner which wasn't that far. WHAT?!? That can't be right. If that was the case I was going to finish under 30 minutes, well under. Once I turned the corner I saw the finish line. I looked at my watch, 25 minutes. In my mind I was thinking, I can't believe this. I am going to reach my goal of running a 5K race in 27 minutes already. My first race of 2012 and I was going to meet my goal. As I approached the finish line I could feel someone right behind me and a little competition set in. This person was not going to pass me at the finish line no way. So I picked up the pace and crossed the finish line without getting passed. ;)

The Greensboro Running Club was timing the race so some of the members that I know where there. They were congratulating me on a great finish time. Again I said, that can't be right. I've been running 3 miles around 30 minutes. One of the ladies said Michael finished in 2nd place and by only 2 seconds! Oh no. I remembered I didn't ask him when he passed me because I just assumed he won. I walked down to find him and Ryan and finally saw them. Ryan had to walk some because he got a cramp but he finished. I told Michael my finish time which was 26:34 and then he said it wasn't the full 3.12 miles. It was only 2.7 miles. Well that explains my great finish time. BUMMER! I knew it was too good to be true. That's why I "sort of" ran a 5K. I really wished it would have been the actual distance. Now I feel like this race doesn't count.

It was still a good time. There was plenty of food after the race. More than any race I have ever been too. I felt so bad that Michael came so close to winning a race. He still did an awesome job regardless. Since he had the Garmin, he thought there was still 1/2 mile left and then the guy that won started sprinting when he saw the finish line. I heard it was an entertaining finish although I didn't get to see it. I do know that I would like to get another Garmin watch. I'm sure we won't find a great deal like we did on that one (only 50 bucks!). But I think I will start looking for another used one. Even though it wasn't actual 5K distance, my pace ended up being 9:50. That's still an improvement!

Today the weather outside was much different than yesterday. It was cold and rainy all morning and afternoon. Then we started getting some sleet and now snow! Yes, it is actually snowing in NC! This winter has been so mild I was beginning to think we might not see any snow. So with the forecast in mind, I decided to run my long run on Monday and went to the Y today for a spin class. This spin class was interesting. It was a male instructor and so far all my instructors have been female. He didn't do climbs like in my other classes. His class was more focused on speed and it was faster than I could keep up. He was also an interesting character - he had a variety of stories (not exercise related) and cussed a lot. I didn't really care for him that much but it was still a good workout.

Even though it's snowing today, the rest of the week is supposed to be warmer so hopefully I can run outside. I'm onto week 8 of training and less than a month away from the BeerRun!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

5 miles and guest post

Another personal distance...5 miles! And it wasn't even that bad. I kept a 10:30 pace which was easy to do since I was on the dreadmill! It was cold and windy this weekend so I opted for the inside run at the Y. I wasn't sure how it would go since I don't love the dreadmill but I knew I was going to go the full 5 miles. I like running outside much better. It makes the time go by faster than running in place looking at yourself in the mirror. One thing that does help those dreadmill runs is my ipod. I have downloaded several running playlists from Rock My Run that I really like. It gives me a variety of music other than my beloved Foo Fighters!

The training plan is going well this week. I have done all my runs, expect the speed work on Saturday (cold and windy). I did miss my Spin class on Monday, boo! But that was because the instructor had to cancel. After waiting 20 minutes my motivation was gone and I didn't feel like doing something else in the gym. I did manage to do some core exercises when I got home, yay!

I wanted to share an inspiring post from one of my running buddies, Kathy. I have posted about her before. She the best running buddy! Kathy is the coordinator of all the group runs and goes above and beyond to keep us on track and motivated. She will be running her first half marathon this weekend at Myrtle Beach. I know she is going to do AWESOME! I am so glad I met Kathy at the Women's Running School.

Yes, I call myself a runner!

In a world where 24 hour news updates are at your fingertips, the influx of information, good and bad, can be overwhelming.  I’ve decided to take a break from the ups and downs of the market and the latest entertainment headlines to share with you a little bit about me.

I was blessed (or cursed, depending on your point of view) by being born into an athletic family.  My father attended college on a football scholarship and my brother played college football and baseball.  I have one cousin who played football and baseball in college (and professionally) and another who played college volleyball.  One of the first entries in my baby book even said “attending brother’s baseball games.”  So, it seems natural that I love to play sports too, but it may come as a surprise that I have always hated to run. 
I have made a point to always play sports with as little running as possible.  I would choose softball over soccer and cheerleading over basketball.  Even in gym class I would dread the day we had the one-mile run, knowing I could never finish it without walking.

Knowing this background info, it may seem strange to know that now I call myself a runner.  It all started a few months after my 30th birthday.  A friend suggested we run a 5k as a way to get into shape.  A 5k – that’s 3.1 miles.  I thought she had to be insane – I’d never run a mile at one time, let alone 3.1!  But after some convincing I decided to give it a try.  We signed up for a training course and, after 12 long weeks, we were able to slowly jog our way through the 5k course. To our surprise, we weren’t last and we didn’t die (a bonus!).  This was motivation enough to say I could check that off my bucket list and never do it again.
A few years later I married my husband, who happens to be a Marine.  We thought running would be something we could really enjoy doing together.  I tried to run to the end of our street (1/4 mile) just to give me a benchmark from which to start.  I think I made it 3 – 4 houses before I realized this was going to take a lot of work and I was going to need help.

I tried on different occasions to run with my husband and, even with his encouraging words and his enthusiastic cadence, which I could breathlessly hiss back as I gasped for air trying to keep up with him, I realized this was not the motivation I needed.  I did manage to run on my own and started to enter 5k races.  I would run and walk them, but it really wasn’t much fun as none of my friends ran so I was basically doing a lot of these alone.

That October I ran the Women’s Only Run – a 5k in Greensboro which raises money for mammograms for women of the Triad.  I was there standing amongst thousands of women dressed in pink when I noticed a group wearing matching shirts huddled together, excited about this run.  While I stood alone in the crowd watching them, I realized that I needed to find out who these women were and how I could get to be a part of their group.

That next summer, I joined a women’s only running class offered through the Greensboro Running Club.   What a program!  Almost 200 women had signed up and were all broken into teams based on their ability.  There were teams with women who had run for years, and teams with women who had never run a step in their lives.  Old, young, fit, and well, we’ll just say not so fit… all had come together with a common cause – to run!

I got paired with a great team and met some amazing women who all had signed up for their own reasons, but together we all wanted to run.  The class took me step by step in an incremental program … run 5 minutes, walk 2; repeat 3 times.  Then the next week run 6 minutes, walk 1, repeat three times.  Before you knew it I was running the Women’s Only 5k with a group of my new friends.  I caught the running bug after that… I’d enter lots and lots of 5k races.  Never fast or competing to win my age group, let alone the entire race, but trying to better myself.  I had my share of setbacks along the way, injuries here and there, but I didn’t drop out or quit, I always kept going.  I learned that slow and steady was my way.

This past fall, along with a great group of girlfriends I had met through the women’s running class, we decided as a group that we were going to run a half marathon – that’s 13.1 miles.  We found a class offered through Off ‘N Running with a really exceptional coach, Jen.  Jen is a person I used to see running through Greensboro as I drove home from work.  She made it look effortless and she was FAST.  When I learned she was our coach, I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding; there is no way I can do this,” but still I signed up along with 33 others…Welcome to the “Streakers!”   (Don’t worry, we do wear clothes!)  Again we started little by little … running a “short” 3 miles during the week then extending to a long 4 -5 miles on the weekend.  Each week we added a little distance and got a little stronger until we got to the point where our “short” weeknight runs are 7 miles and our “long” weekend runs are 12 – 14 miles.

Now, I run an average of around 20 – 25 miles per week.  I have been able to experience that “runner’s high,” and I’ve finally gotten to a point in the run where I can enjoy my surroundings, have a conversation, or even “think” and let my mind go free rather than just focusing on catching my breath.  I started to realize that running is like anything in life. If you put your mind to it and have the proper coaching, you can do anything!
All this training has brought me to this coming weekend.  Saturday, February 18th, I will run my first half marathon in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I would be lying if I said there weren’t any nerves, but I have a new level of confidence that I can really do anything!  Through it all there have been aches and pains, good and bad runs, nerves, and a few tears, but overall a huge feeling of accomplishment.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because while running may not be your thing, I encourage you to find out what is, and go after it.  Do you want to learn to play golf?  Sew a quilt?  Raise money for your favorite charity?  Retire at age 59?  Travel to Europe?  Earn a college degree?  Know that it is not too late to start to find your passion and create new challenges in your life.  Set your sights on a goal and create a plan to reach it.  You don’t have to do it on your own; find a coach who can help guide you along the way.

If your goals are financial in nature, I would encourage you to contact us at HMC Partners.  Gib and John are both exceptional at setting up plans to help you prepare for your future and can be your coaches to help you build your wealth.  Whatever your goal is, I encourage you to go out and get it.  And as for my upcoming race, bring it on, Myrtle…I’m ready!

Wasn't that a great post?! Some of it reminded me of myself when I first started running. Running is definitely not the easiest thing to do. In fact, it's down right hard! I still think in that first mile, "why am I doing this"? But it's very rewarding to set a goal and accomplish it whether it's running for 3 minutes or 3 miles. If you stick with it, you will get better. Every minute, every mile.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More time less stress

Sometimes I wish there were more hours in a day.  Wouldn't you think that if you had more time you would be less stressed? Maybe that would be true but then again, maybe we would just be more tried. Tried is how I've been feeling the past few days. Which is why I haven't had a chance to blog since I missed my usual Sunday due to the Superbowl.

It's difficult to find that balance between family and work and some weeks are better than others. Now don't get me wrong I love the fact that my current job is pretty much 8-5 Monday-Friday. Unlike public accounting which would mean working 45+plus including Saturdays right now because of tax season. But sometimes it seems like work takes up your ENTIRE day leaving you with only a few hours in the evening to run errands, eat dinner, clean, help with homework, spend time with your family, exercise, read, get ready for the next day, etc. etc. etc. So we spend the majority of our day at work and only a few hours at home (excluding sleep time). It doesn't seem fair! Who thought of this 40 hour work week anyways! Well unless I win the lottery (and I never play) I guess I will just keep striving for that perfect family/work life balance.

The reason for all that venting was because I started to feel like maybe my training plan was a little too much for me to manage. It's week 5 and I was so proud that on week 4 I did every single workout! It's a good feeling for me to check off each day I complete it. But I also feel guilty when I have to put on X on a workout for skipping it. I only have one rest day in this training plan. I also didn't take into consideration any unplanned events that may occur during the week. But I know these things are going to happen. I just need to not feel guilty and move on with the next day's workout!

Last night was "Ladies Night" at a local running store Off N' Running. It was fun! I got to see my running buddies and scored some free giveaways. They also had a nice discount but I actually didn't buy anything. Of course I missed my scheduled 4 mile run which is why I felt guilty. That's okay - I went for a run tonight. I only did 3 miles because Michael went with me and he always pushes me to run faster. The route we did was quite hilly but I finished it just under 31 minutes. I was planning on going to the Y since it was cold (around 45 degrees). But Michael thought I needed to run outside for the hill work and he would go with me. So I reluctantly dressed in all my warm running gear and went out there in the cold. I'm glad I did though. I wouldn't have pushed myself that hard on the treadmill.

January Goals Recap

I wanted to do a recap of my 2012 goals list to see how well (or bad) I did in January. So here I go!

  1. Keep a record of all my runs using Runkeeper or Garmin website.  At the end of 2012 I want to be able to know the total number of miles I ran. Result: I did! I ran 42.57 miles in January.
  2. Start 10k training program January 2. Result: I did except it was a week later. No biggie!
  3. Run my first 8k race in March (Beer Run!). Result: Not here yet.
  4. Post to my blog (ARG) weekly.  Result: I did! Even though this post is a few days late :)
  5. Run 500 miles in 2012. Result: On track so far!
  6. Finish a 5k race in 27 minutes (9 minute pace). Result: Not there yet but working on it.
  7. Do additional core exercises twice a week. Result: Did not do this :(
  8. Increase weights in body pump class. Result: I did for squats. Still need to for upper body.
  9. Make Lifetime member for WW. Result: I'm getting close. Only 3 more weeks of maintenance to go!
  10. Take daily multi-vitamin. Result: Didn't do good. Ran out mid January and just bought more.
  11. Eat more vegetables. Result: Don't think I ate more than usual.
  12. Read a book once a month. Result: Started a book but haven't finished it yet.
  13. **NEW** Run a half-marathon.
I don't think I did too bad. I can see where I need to improve like number 7 doing the additional core exercises twice a week. I have a couple of routines that would only take about 15 minutes but I just haven't done them. I don't have time before my spin classes and afterwards I'm just too tired! Maybe I could get up 15 minutes earlier? That doesn't sound so good either! Maybe I just need to do them on a different day other than cross training days.

I bought 2 bottles of vitamins this weekend so I'm stocked now for at least 4 months! I do need to make sure more to eat more veggies. I wish I had more time to read so I could finish this book! It's fiction and purely entertaining - vampire series. It's a series by Charlene Harris the one the True Blood series was based on. I've never seen one episode of that series but I know it was very popular. It's been interesting so far. Funny how different writers have different vampire rules! Also don't know why I'm interested in vampires - it's a chic thing I guess!

Notice I added a new goal - run a half-marathon which I talked about in a previous post. Still scheduled to be the Hershey Park Half in October. I only have 3 more weigh in's at WW for maintenance and then the next weigh in will be for lifetime membership! I have been able to maintain my weight and I'm down a little from goal weight but not the five pounds I was hoping for. Hopefully I won't have a problem making lifetime. If only I could go by my scales which of course weigh about 2.5 pounds less than WW!