Marathon Relay Training, 1 week to go (!!!)

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Spectators: Do not underestimate the importance of funny signs when you are cheering on a runner in a long-distance race!

Well, here we are… one week to go before the marathon relay.  (If you haven’t been following along, I’m “just” running a 5K, but it’s my first race since having a baby 3 months ago, so it’s kind of a big deal to me.)

My workouts last week were a bit spotty because I had some work commitments at lunchtime that cut into my normal workout time, but I did manage to run once, take a pilates class, and do one HIIT workout with bodyweight strength exercises (like squats, lunges, etc.)

This week I am going to focus on running, hopefully getting out for 2-3 runs early in the week, then stretch and rest towards the end of the week as we get closer to race day.  Here’s what’s rattling around in my mind about race day at this moment.

Awesome thing about this race:  The fall time change is this Saturday night, so the race starts at 7am on Sunday, but it will feel like 8am.  Woo hoo!  I’ll take all the extra time I can get in the morning.

Less awesome thing about this race:  Figuring out the logistics of a relay race, with two little kids and a husband who works on Sunday mornings, has been a bit of a challenge.  Luckily a friend of mine has volunteered to come pick up both kids and meet me at the end of my leg of the race.  My start point is less than a mile from my house, so I think I’m going to either walk or bike myself there.

My race goal:  28:00 split for my 5k leg of the race.  This is a “reach” goal, but I’m pretty sure I can run a 9:00/mile pace plus a little wiggle room in case of bad race conditions.

What do you get nervous about the week before (or night before) a big event?  

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Marathon Relay Training, 2 weeks to go

Clearly, he inherited his graceful running style from me.

Clearly, he inherited his graceful running style from me.

Even though going back to work with a 2 1/2 month old keeping me up at night has been a little challenging, it does make getting back into a workout routine a lot easier, since I exercise over my lunch break.  My goal last week was to run 2 days and do strength training 2 days… and I did it!  One of those strength days was just a short core workout, but I was extremely sore from my one day in the weight room so I’m counting it as a win.

But the real accomplishment for the week was running-related.  My running buddy is doing one of the 10K legs of our marathon relay, so she needs to do longer training runs than I do.  She informed me one day last week that we were going to run 5 miles together!  Okay, I thought… I’ll try it.  It’s not as if I’ve never run that far before, it’s just that I hadn’t done it in about a year.

I DID IT!!!  It was a perfect cool fall day for running, and I just felt great.  I’m still annoyed on a regular basis that I can’t fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes, but that run did so much to make me feel like myself again.

Running… cheaper than therapy, right? 

I think my goal for this week will be the same as last week, just a bit more specific:  One shorter, faster run, one longer, slower run, 1-2 days weights, at least 1 day core or yoga.

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Marathon Relay Training, 3 weeks to go

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The Bass Pro Fitness Festival might not be the biggest race in Springfield (I think that honor belongs to the Turkey Trot) but the organizers go all-out to make it feel like a big event.  I loved the encouraging decals they stuck on the road along the race route last year!

My first official week of training was just so-so.  Clearly I was a bit overzealous when I planned to work out 6 days — I did strength training once and ran twice. (In my defense, what was supposed to be a 3 day work week turned into 4 1/2 days, including one day teaching a 6 hr continuing ed course with only two days notice to prepare. It was a bit of a crazy week.)  

Even though I was disappointed that I didn’t fit in more days of exercise, the week wasn’t a complete bust. I had a really great run one day — my first post-baby run with no walk breaks, and my time was not too shabby either! I’m going to try to run another good 5k this week then set my goal time for the race.
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This week I’m going to dial back my expectations a bit. I will try to run twice and strength-train twice. Bonus points if I squeeze in a yoga session.

Do you still manage to make exercise a priority when work/family/life gets busy? How do you do it?

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Marathon Relay Training, 4 weeks to go

Marathon Relay Training

Me and my running buddy at the finish of last year’s Bass Pro half-marathon. I’ll get there again someday!

Starting this week, I’m going to start posting my weekly training plan, to try to keep me accountable for my marathon relay training.  The Bass Pro Marathon Relay is split up into five sections: 10K-5K-10K-5K-12K.  I’m running the second leg. My team is made up of my co-workers (team name, 3 Lawyers + 2 Engineers = 26.2) and we signed up as part of a corporate challenge, so there are several teams from my workplace participating.

I found out recently that we are considered to be “the team to beat” amongst all the teams from work. I find that fairly hilarious, and I think someone is way overestimating our speediness, but I hate to disappoint! I feel like I should try to at least run a decent race since we are competing for bragging rights!

I didn’t really have a plan for working out last week, which basically means I didn’t do much. Here’s the game plan for this week:

Mon: Fit Healthy Moms Pregnancy Weight Loss (PWL) Week 3 HIIT workout video

Tues: Run 3 miles

Wed: Lift weights or PWL Week 3 video

Thurs: PWL Core video or yoga

Fri: Run 3-4 miles

Sat: PWL Core video or yoga

Sun: Rest

I’ll report back next week how it went! I may be a little over ambitious with all of this, but I won’t know until I try.

Are you training for any races these days?  Do you make a training plan in advance, or just wing it?

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Prenatal Yoga

Photo Credit: C Simons via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: C Simons via Compfight cc

I have absolutely loved taking prenatal yoga classes during my pregnancy. It has really helped me with a variety of pregnancy-related ailments, from learning how to reduce swelling in my hands and feet, to relieving back/hip pain, to making suggestions about natural ways to reduce heartburn (apple cider vinegar all the way, baby!)

Last week, my yoga teacher gave us homework to do at least ten minutes of restorative poses before bed each night.  The ones I can remember are queen’s pose, side lying pose, and something where you sit in front of a chair with a cushion on the seat and lean your forehead against it (sounds weird but it is strangely calming.)

Queen’s pose is my favorite one. It uses a zillion props and is kind of hard to replicate at home, but I’m doing my best and it is a really relaxing way to end the day — even though I am terrible at not letting my mind drift off to something going on the next day, my to-do list, etc.

Namaste!

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Booyah

One of my goals this month was to continue working out regularly now that I am solidly into my third trimester. It really helps with stress relief (which apparently I need a lot of!) and I know being in good shape can only help during the physically exhausting days of caring for a new baby.

Well, I don’t mean to brag, but …. Do you see all those little blue check marks?

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Every single one is a workout! I’m pretty proud of myself for sticking with it when a nice lunch at a restaurant sounds a lot better than getting all sweaty at the semi-air-conditioned gym, then eating my brown bag lunch at my desk when I get back to work.

My routine lately has been spinning on Mondays and Fridays, weights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and prenatal yoga on Wednesdays.

Headed off to prenatal yoga!  Sorry for the cheesy self portrait!

Headed to yoga, 33 1/2 wks!

 

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Fitness at 23 weeks pregnant

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Me, the bump, and my tiny friend Amanda!

As I was tweaking my blog header and layout a bit recently, I realized that of the major topics I talk about on this blog, I haven’t posted about fitness since December! That is crazy, because I feel like it is a really big part of my life. I’ve been pretty active in one way or another throughout almost my entire life — I started running in junior high track, and during elementary school I played basketball, softball and very briefly took some judo lessons.

Of course, most people aren’t all that surprised to hear that my workouts have slowed down quite a bit during pregnancy, but  I have a few more exercise restrictions than most pregnant women because my ultrasound revealed a low-lying placenta. (If not for that, my doctor was pretty much fine with me continuing to work out as I had before, until it became uncomfortable.) The official recommendation from my doctor was “no strenuous exercise” and “no crunches”. I have interpreted no strenuous exercise to mean that I should follow the “no higher than 140 BPM” heart rate that is generally recommended for pregnant women, unless they are accustomed to higher exertion levels.

I purchased a heart rate (HR) monitor, and it’s been very interesting to see what I am able to do within a quite limited HR range. Here is my typical week of workouts. (I usually work out over my lunch breaks during the week, it’s a lot easier than finding childcare on the weekends):

  • Monday: Yogalates class at the Y. This is a pretty low key class, it never elevates my HR but I do get some good strength work in and I only have to modify a few exercises to avoid crunches)
  • Tuesday: Spin class, keeping my HR under 140 – this usually means I have to back off on really steep hills or sprints. Hovering – butt off the seat, leaning over handlebars – also seems to elevate my HR more than seated or standing positions)
  • Wednesday: Prenatal yoga.  How lucky is it that I found a prenatal yoga class, taught over my lunch hour, by a doula, less than a mile from my office? Amazing. And so relaxing. This class had also been really helpful for learning ways to modify poses/exercises that I can use in other classes.
  • Thursday: Yogalates again
  • Friday: Spin class again

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I hope to get outside more on the weekends for some long walks, too!

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The Color Run

Over the weekend my family participated in The Color Run. I did a Color Run last year in Kansas City, and it was incredibly fun. This year my husband and I both signed up, and I decided to try bringing my son along. He just turned three, and I thought he might get a kick out of it. (Of course, this is the child that sometimes refuses to continue eating dinner because his hands are dirty, so he might hate it, too.)

I figured J would want to run part of the way, but that 3 miles might be far for a little kid so I brought the stroller along too, thinking that even though he doesn’t ride in it much, if he was tired from running he might go for it.

In case you’re wondering if you should bring your 3 year old to a Color Run… the answer is NO.  Here’s the quintessential picture of how our day went:

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Meltdown city. “TOO MUCH YELLOW!”

Maybe when he’s 6 or 7 we’ll try something like this again.  Until then… we’re getting a babysitter and Mom and Dad will be able to have some fun instead of carrying a 30 lb. crying toddler for 3 miles.

(Oh yeah.  After that bad experience with the first paint zone, the stroller was a no-go.  Have you ever carried a kid for miles while 23 weeks pregnant  I. AM. SO. SORE.)

Some happier pictures (pre-color):

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Mix-it-up weights workout for Elf4Health

The daily Elf4Health challenge is to lift weights and try something you’ve never done before.  Here’s a full-body weights workout using some of my favorite *unusual* lifts!  Do 10-12 reps of each exercise, and repeat 2 or 3 times.  Have fun!

Single leg roman deadlifts (12 reps each leg)

Push-ups (try putting your hands or feet on a Bosu for a new challenge)

Split squats with back leg up on a box (12 reps each leg)

Pull-ups (these are novel for me because I can’t do them yet – I’m always searching for new ways to practice them.  I’ve been using the gravitron machine or jumping up and lowering myself down slowly.)

Monster walks (walk sideways without crossing legs in a squat position – add a resistance band around your knees for extra fun!)  Take about 30 steps in each direction.

Tricep push-ups (omg these are hard!)

Mountain climbers

Russian twists (holding medicine ball or dumbbell)

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Jingle Bell Run

Last Saturday my running buddies Kristy, Amanda and I ran in the Jingle Bell run for the second year.  We broke out our elf hats and knee-high red & white socks!  We got really lucky and had absolutely gorgeous weather for the race – shorts in December!

It was a fairly crowded race start, and we weren’t really trying to get a fast time, but it was a fun race nonetheless.  I loved seeing all the people (and animals!) who dressed up.

My husband and son met us downtown afterwards for breakfast at our favorite spot.  I have to say… it was a pretty great way to kick off December!

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