Thursday, August 20, 2015

ATC Half Marathon Training Tweak

Training is underway! I'm doing a few weeks more weeks of conditioning before I start logging some big miles, but I'm definitely focused on November at this point.

I have some fun news! Eric, Kristy and I are part of a fitness challenge set up by our friend Curtis. The gist is that we had a fitness profile done by a professional trainer, who then gave us specific, personalized goals. We have until November 15 to meet these goals. If we fall short, give up, or don't put in a decent effort, we will have to donate $25 to a presidential campaign we vehemently and actively disagree with. There is also a Grand Prize (one month gym membership) for the person who shows the most overall improvement, based on the assessment of the previously mentioned trainer.

So. My personal goals are to lose 24 lbs of fat and gain 5 lbs of muscle. AND ALSO TO FINISH A HALF MARATHON.

So last week, Eric, Kristy and I were sitting around discussing how we were going to avoid losing our money to a cause we opposed. We talked about doing group workouts, hiring personal trainers, keeping tabs on each others' diets, etc. I mentioned it might be a good idea to look at hiring a personal trainer to do small group sessions, and that way we could split the cost. We all agreed it was a good idea, but might be too expensive.

Cut to the very next morning, I'm doing my daily morning Facebook browsing, and I see a post from a guy in my neighborhood offering personal training sessions. Not only that, but he does group sessions AND he will come to your locations.


So I called, the price was right, and we scheduled to meet with him that very night. We now have a personal trainer that we will meet with twice a week! I'm so excited.

What does that mean for my training? Well, I was very clear that while I want to lose weight and gain muscle, my number one goal is to finish the half marathon...without injury. I need some nutritional guidance, as well as muscle strengthening in my legs. We had our first session the following afternoon, and I was really pleased with the workout AND his advice on our diet. He's very against processed foods, but also allows for moderation and cheat days, etc.

Also he's like the most non-judgmental laid back fitness professional I've ever met.

So I've had to revamp my training schedule slightly. Here's the new version:

With that said, here's my workout recap from last week!

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2.41 miles - run
  • For this workout I ran 2 miles straight! I think that's the first time I've ever done that. Ever. It was really exciting. I didn't go too fast, but reserving my energy made it possible to finish the workout. I was very proud of this run considering how much a struggled the week before.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Personal Training
  • This was a TOUGH workout. I don't remember the full details of what we did, but there were a LOT of squats, running up stairs, some ab work with crunches, bicycles, and leg lifts, push ups, and this weight lifting thing called Thor's Hammer, which was pretty fun to do. My legs felt like jelly afterward, and I was sort until Monday!
Friday: 2.31 miles - run
  • The personal training was only about 12 hours before this run, so my legs weren't sore yet. Instead they we just weak and wobbly. I started the run slow and steady and kept a 12:48 pace for 24 minutes straight. Not bad considering I couldn't feel anything below my waist. 
Saturday: 2.61 miles - walk
  • As part of the fitness challenge, we have an open invite to a Saturday morning Cardio Blast at the gym that provided us with our profiles. Cardio Blast is a 45 minute bootcamp style workout that nearly killed me the first time I did it. I'm being dramatic, but it was blazing hot that day, and we did so many leg workouts that I cried every time I had to sit down for a week. Eric, Kristy and I were all still sore from our workout with Coach Court, that we decided this "Blast" wasn't in the cards for us. Instead, we took a nice stroll around Grant Park to shake out our legs. The weather was gorgeous and we had a good time reflecting on Thursday's workouts and what we hope to gain from this challenge.
Total Running Miles: 4.71

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Half Marathon Training and Why I'm Running

Hi, friends! As I mentioned in my last post, I've decided to run the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. Because I'm a crazy person, apparently.

I've been working on a training schedule, and I think I finally have it nailed down. I've pulled from a bunch of different beginner training resources, including Hal Higdon, Girls on the Run, and the Atlanta Track Club. Here's where I'm at:

As I think I mentioned, I'd like to build up to running about 5 miles straight, but then run/walk the 10 Miler and Half Marathon. My A goals for both races is to keep under 13 min/mi average pace, but just finishing without injury or being dragged away will be a huge accomplishment.

Are you an avid runner and/or coach who has stumbled on my humble blog? Please feel free to leave feedback with your thoughts on this training plan for a beginner.

SO THEN ALSO. What else?

Oh! Why am I running?! That's a good question. I'm running for health and fitness and because I'm 31 and I want to stop letting my body waste away on the couch. But I'm also running for Girls on the Run (GotR).

"What is Girls on the Run?" you may be asking yourself. Well, GotR is a nationwide non-profit after school care program, with local chapters, that helps girls build confidence and a healthy lifestyle through a fun running curriculum. How cool is that? They target under-resourced areas, and show girls that they can accomplish big things if they work hard and believe in themselves.

Their mission is so important to me for several reasons. I came from a really poor background - like we lived in someone else's trailer because we couldn't afford our own kind of poor. When I was in elementary school, my mom worked A LOT. So much so, that I couldn't participate in sports or other activities because she couldn't take me. And also because we had no money. By the time my mom raised us up to a decent living wage, I had no interest in joining teams. I was too slow, too out of shape, too embarrassed to even try.

Now that I'm ::cough::in my THIRTIES::cough:: I've found that running gives me confidence and makes me feel strong - and it's not just physically. Mentally I feel tougher, and so proud of what I've accomplished.

I want that for these girls. They should get to grow up knowing what's possible.

Another reason I'm running is to educate my community about this program. GotR is amazing and targets neighborhoods just like mine. I want my neighbors to become involved and start a chapter here, in SE Atlanta.

GotR offers its program for FREE, but they need help. By registering as a SoleMate, I've committed to raising $500, but my personal goal is to raise $3,000 - enough to sponsor an entire team for one season. If you would like to help, please head to my fundraising page here. Literally any little bit helps, and I have a long way to go.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

I Did a Crazy Thing

I ran the Peachtree Road Race on Saturday, July 4th this year. I had set a goal for myself to complete it in under 1:20:36. I wanted to stay under an average pace of 13 min/mi, even if only by a second. I finished in 1:20:09 (12:55 min/mi). And I finished strong. I know that if I hadn't been dodging 8 million walkers ON THE FAR LEFT while sprinting to the finish, I could have gotten my time down even lower.

Somehow I decided that finishing the Peachtree at a respectable pace meant I could do anything.

At first, I decided to make this the Fall of 5Ks. I'd decided to run a 5K in September, October, November, break for the holidays unless something piqued my interested, and then try the New Years 4 miler or Hot Chocolate 5K in January.


I planned to do speedwork and run a 30 minute 5K by January.

But then my dear friend, Jerod, started talking about his plans to run the Atlanta 10 Miler. You see, as an Atlanta Track Club member, he gets discounts on various races, and while he didn't have anything major on the horizon, he wanted to keep up his mileage.

So I thought - discounts on 5Ks AND guaranteed entry into the Peachtree next year? Sign me up! And now I'm a track club member. Me. A 30 year old adult who has never been anything resembling an athlete in her entire life - I've now paid my hard earned cashmoney to join a group of other people to run with our feet and legs and stuff. Me. Who as a teenager was on a softball team that forfeited or lost 9 out of 10 games in a season, and who was on the swim team, sure, but only ever swam in the exhibition lane during meets.

Yep. I'm now a grown adult human woman who puts sneakers on and moves her feet as quickly as possible for free t-shirts and/or medals.

So that was a big deal. But then Jerod kept talking about the 10 Miler. And then so did Eric's sister, Kate. And then this very nice gentleman at work talked to me about the Triple Peach. The Triple Peach is a race series which includes the Peachtree Road Race 10K, the Atlanta 10 Miler, and the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. You get a medal for each race, and then they all combine to make on ginormous medal when you've completed it. Sort of like the Power Rangers Megazord, but without the sword and racist stereotypes.

Pictured: Not a race medal.

This coworker basically repeated things that Jerod said - if you can run 6 miles, you can run 10. And if you can run 10 miles, surely you can run 13.1.

So I finally agreed and signed up. I've basically been training for the last 2 weeks. My goal is get up to running 5 miles straight, but for longer runs and race days I plan to run/walk.

I've had mostly good runs for the last few weeks (with one glaring exception this past Tuesday). Both my speed and endurance are slowly increasing, so I'm kind of pleased with myself. I've been slack though. I know the only reason I was able to complete my Peachtree training without injury to my right knee is yoga. So much yoga. I started going regularly in March, and then signed up for and completed a 21 day challenge back in April/May. It was exhausting to incorporate into my training, but totally worth it. Since then though, I've only gone back to the studio occasionally, and it definitely won't be enough in the coming weeks when my mileage really starts to climb. So my goal in August, besides sticking to my running plan, is to re-incorporate yoga at least once week, but preferably twice. I love the yoga studio I was going to, but traffic to and from is such a deterrent that I've lost the motivation. There's a studio within walking distance from my house that I plan to try next week. Fingers crossed I like it.

So here's my race "calendar" for the rest of the year.

Sept 26 - Red Hare Chase 5K*
October 25 - Atlanta 10 Miler
November 26 - Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon!

I'm also planning posts about my training plan, my fundraiser(!!) for SoleMates, and some lifestyle stuff - like more on meditation, decluttering and finding joy outside of material things.

*Oh, did I forget to mention? I left this 5K on the calendar to gauge my progress AND(!!!!!!) Eric is running it with me! I'm so excited!