Sunday, October 5, 2014

Nine months of the year done......

It seemed like yesterday that it was January 1, and I had all those bright plans for 2014 and my running.  Well, although it didn't quite work out exactly according to plan, it's going pretty ok thus far.  My main goal was to get back to running.  I did stop crossfit as I had really hurt my shoulder and needed physio as the cortisone shot did not work. But I missed it, and went back, though to a different box.  But the magic was gone - it's hard to do CF if you're not able to do overhead presses.  Since I was scared of re-injuring my shoulder, I had to do modified versions of these, and it was not much fun. Still, after this, it was hard to find something that inspired as much enthusiasm.  

I started running more regularly as I had decided.  During lunch time mainly, and I kept up with some of the challenges I found online - like the burpee challenge. It was going well, but it's really hard to keep that level of motivation going. And slowly, as work got in the way, I stopped with the burpees and other exercises, and my core started getting weaker and weaker. I have now decided to try and start again with some of those exercises as it's getting hard to run...let alone run fast!  Still, there were some highlights -:)

In April I ran the SF rock n roll half, then in. July I ran the Chicago rock n roll half.  Both were awesome - SF had some big hills, Chicago had big humidity. But it was pretty good, and I got the rock encore medal for having run two. I had signed up for the SF marathon (for which you can do the half), but I switched to the 5K at the last minute as I had not trained enough and I would have struggled. I've also been working on my 10K time.  August was 1:07, September was 1:06.  If I could strengthen my core, I know I could power my run better......

Well, I'm thinking of a few races before the year end, not decided on anything yet.  My dream is still to get into a regular running schedule and not be sidetracked by work or anything else. Well, there are 3 months left this year. If I can get on track with my running, I can kick off 2015 in top gear!  Well, technically, the first week of October starts tomorrow, so here we go.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Summary for January 2014

January has been pretty amazing!  I started running using a programme, and it's been really good for me.  It's allowed me to start running regularly again, without being susceptible to my feelings - none of that "ooh I don't feel like it...I'll go tomorrow" stuff.  It is more a case of "3 miles easy today", when do I go?!

It's been so good for me, and my body remembers. I have fallen back into running with relative ease.  Relative, because I struggled a bit to find a pace. During the first week I just ran, with the goal of establishing a routine, but it got a bit boring running slowly, and at the same pace.  I can understand if one is totally new to running, it's important to strengthen bones and joints.  However, I have been running for more than 20 years. Admittedly, not always very consistently, but it's never left me.  So, I did need to shake things up a little, and slowly started picking up the pace. It's hard work, but it's exciting and invigorating, and gives me a sense of accomplishment when I've done.  After each run, I sometimes pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming, that I actually did go out and just do that thing.

January has also been the month where the proof has been in the eating of the pudding.  Something unexpected and not very nice happened at work.  I had a choice, and I made it quickly. Suck it up and get on with my life.  It was outside of my control, so why bother getting upset.  Bit I can control my running.  So I put in my shoes and went out for a 5 mile run.  During the run I did not think about work, but about how I could run faster! The next challenge was a health one.  I was in the middle of a run when my phone rang.  it was the hospital ordering me back immediately for some additional tests. I finished the run, and then went put on both days over the weekend. Monday at 7am I had the tests, and got the results immediately, and all is well.  I went out at lunchtime for 3 miles.  I feel happy that I am NOT allowing these things to influence my life so much.  

Finally, I did a sweet 5K January 11, 2014.  i finished the Hot Chocolate Run with a time of  34:51@ an 11:14 pace.  Not great, but ok to establish a baseline. I am really going to enjoy watching those minutes fall back down.  Yes, minutes, not seconds...and when I set my mind to something, I never ever give up.  There was no medal, but everyone got a cup of hot chocolate with some marshmallows - very yummy indeed. I also received a very nice hoodie when I picked up my race packet.  Next race is on February 9, 2014 - a 5K in Chinatown to welcome in the Year of the Horse.  Since it's going to be very hilly indeed, it's not really a 'race' for me, but as always, I will give it my best shot. Happy February, and Welcome Year of the Horse! Oh, and I ran a total of 59 miles....
Arriving in Golden Gate Park at 6:30am for a 7:30 start on a freezing morning.
Yummy hot choccie reward
Finally dawn


Sunday, January 19, 2014

First week done!

I have completed week 1 of Hal Higdon's novice 2 half marathon training programme. It's a simple programme, nothing fancy - no hills, no track, no speed work. The goal is not just to complete the race, but set a PR.  the novice 1 programme is geared toward just finishing. 

However, I don't see how it is going to be possible to run a PR without any hill or speed training, because a PR implies that you run faster than in your previous half.  And we all know that you have to run track if you are hoping to pick up the pace a bit.  Still, I chose this programme rather than the intermediate one (which does include those other components), because I have no mileage basis. I have nothing to build on - nada, niente, de rien.  

So this week included 4 days of running.  The distances were not very long, but I guess with base miles, the key is consistency.  Some days were easier than others, but I mixed it up a bit and run up a very big hill on one of the runs.  That was quite tiring, as I just don't have the legs yet for this, but no worries, I will continue, and I know I'm a going to be running up hills quite effortlessly one of these days  - not unlike the past,when I used to sprint up hills, and get past everyone.  So even though its slow going (my pace that is), there is nothing for it, but to suck it up and continue running.  I think I should change the name of my blog to "Just Suck It Up And Run"! 

Secondly, since my last post on "sucking it up", quite a few things have happened, which I have refused to allow to side track me. I as rear-ended, then the dealership scratched my car after a routine service (ok small, first world problems thus far), and then some potentially upsetting news last week. I say potentially, because I don't know yet, but why worry about things one can't control? The only thing  I can control is my decision to go out and run.  And anyway, I'll deal with whatever bridge I have to cross when I get there.  But in the meantime, why waste a day worrying?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What I learnt doing Crossfit....

1. Suck it up.
2. Always finish a workout - no matter how long it takes.
3. Because you can't do a specific exercise today, doesn't mean you won't be able to do it in the future.
4. Be patient with yourself.
5. Even if you can't see the point of all this training, persevere, it has great value.
6. Never, ever, ever compare yourself to anyone else.
7. Don't give up.
8. Suck it up some more.

Let me illustrate with a few examples:

1.  Sometimes when I started the class, after 5 minutes, I felt like I was done and ready to leave. Sometimes my head was just not in the workout and it felt like a tough day at the office - especially since the WOD was still coming up. But I've leaned to take a deep breath and just concentrate on getting through it. Quite often I've been amazed at what I've managed to achieve in that class, by sheer dint of will.....

2.  It's not easy being unfit, neither is it easy being the last to finish the workout.  But I found I could block that out, and get the job done. And I also found that I was not always the last to finish. Like running, you are in competition with yourself, but sometimes it's tough when all the times are written down on the board, and yours is the slowest. But I learned to control those feelings and thoughts, and that is a major victory for me.

3. I started doing overhead presses with a 15 lb bar.  When I first started, it was hard to even lift that overhead.  Today I can do 10 overhead presses in rapid succession with a weight of 55 lbs.  This took time, and sometimes I had to go back to the bare 35lb bar if my shoulder was bothering me. The point is, just because you can't do something today, does not mean you won't be able to in the future.

4.  As with everything, I want to see 'progress', and often expected to see big changes from one workout to the next.  Clearly it does not function like that.  It's step after little baby step.  To do knees-to-elbows, I needed to step onto a box to reach the bars, and could only hold on for 5 seconds at a time.  When you are doing a timed workout, those are valuable seconds wasted.  I don't know how it happened, but one day I was able to jump up and grab hold of the bars - without the box.  I was also able to hang on for 10 reps.  Slowly, I got up to 4 sets of 10.....naturally there were bad days mixed in too.  Developing this skill took time, and lots of patience, a lesson that will serve me well with running.

5.  Back-to-back half marathons with no running training (see previous blog posts). The crossfit naysayers are often critical of crossfit "because you are not training for anything". This is true.  However, I have also run half marathons with all the requisite running training, and found myself limping at mile 8, with so much ITB pain.  Now, although I had not done any running training, I did not have that problem, thanks to my strong back, glutes and thigh muscles, from all that lifting and squatting.....

6.  See #2. Initially I had a lot of that going on.  I went through periods of depression (or something like that), of asking myself whether crossfit was really for me, of wanting to be 10 years younger (at least!), of feeling like Sisyphus. But crossfit focuses on developing 10 key strengths, and as the workouts progressed, I was stronger in some skills than others - just like everyone else - and suddenly, it's more of a level playing field.  But the point is, I learnt to compete with myself, and only myself.

7.  The only reason I did not leave crossfit was because I had paid one year in advance - and it was not cheap.  I had committed to trying it for a year, and I was going to see it through. I did need a 2 week break after 6 months, but I went back. Even though money may have been the driver, if I had given up (and that temptation was ever present), I would have missed out on one of the most positive fitness experiences. 

8.  Crossfit = sucking it up big time.  Ok., when you are doing a 20 mile long run, you develop a mental fortitude to run through snow, rain, howling winds.  It's a bit different when you are doing a set of exercises that you are terrible at, and don't enjoy.  It's demoralising not being able to do a proper squat press, and it's hard to find the motivation (many times) to continue doing something you don't like. This will serve me well with running, so watch this spot!

As you can see, with one of our benchmark workouts, Helen, I posted a respectable 12:51. I was not the first, but neither was I the last (last group of names near bottom of board). As I write about crossfit, I am still going back and forth on whether to continue with this in 2014, and feeling torn....