Friday, April 30, 2010

Boot Camp: Day 3

It wasn’t just Friday at Boot Camp…. It was Fun Friday! Ben set up a circuit course around the park with different exercises at each stop. The key was that you needed to throw a Frisbee to get to each stop. The more times you had to throw the Frisbee to get to the stop, the more reps you had to do of each exercise. And, of course, you had to run to follow your Frisbee.

Part of the challenge was not hitting the other ladies…. (all four of whom were also there today). Oh, and did I mention that there’s a “lake” and a “moat” around the park? Let’s just say I hit a water hazard and had to rescue my Frisbee by using my stretch band to pull it closer to the edge of the grass. Most of us hit other people – or were hit ourselves – at least once. That said, none of us were exactly whipping the Frisbees… except for the punky lady, who apparently played Frisbee golf in college and has a pretty good arm.

I did three circuits, which meant I did more running than on Wednesday, but I used the very gentle “green band” – so I don’t feel as if I got very much upper body exercise. Still, the crunches were really tough to do today, for some reason. Oh, and there were push-ups, but luckily I only took three well-aimed throws to get from the crunch station to the push-up station each time.

It’s funny that the other ladies – only one of whom had completed a half marathon before – were so impressed that we were racing this weekend. It just shows how far we’ve come since the beginning, when the 1-minute run, 1-minute walk, 10 times was Really Hard.

So, I’m still loving Boot Camp – it’s fun, it makes me do things besides running, and it fits into my schedule. Of course, the summer travel season starts pretty soon, so we’ll see if I keep at it.

After work we will be driving up to Vancouver for the half -- very excited about hitting the road!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Boot Camp: Day 2

Another glorious morning for Boot Camp! This time there were 4 other participants, including another newbie. We did less running today, which is a pity – we only did 1 loop around the 1/2-mile track. Once the half marathon is done, I will have to keep running on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I do feel like we did more arm work today; I was downgraded to the “red band” today so I don’t pull something before the race. Friday I’m going to use the “green band” – and Ben already told me that I shouldn’t do the step-ups and lunges on Friday so I can rest my legs a bit. In return, he promised to be extra hard on my race-tired legs on Monday. Awesome!

The ladies are pretty chatty, which I have mixed feelings about. I mean, it’s nice to have the distraction to keep the time passing quickly, but I don’t know that I focused enough on my form today.

The abs work was tough – I already felt a little sore – but I got through it. And then, happily, stretching.

Another quick drive to the gym at work, a quick shower, and I was at my desk before 7:45 again. Still very happy about Boot Camp!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Top Pot Doughnut Dash 5K

Had a nice little run on Sunday at the inaugural Top Pot Doughnut Dash 5K. Wil and I hoofed it over the hill and halfway around the lake to get to the start -- which meant that we didn't see any crowds until we were nearly on top of them! We had great low numbers and were unsure whether there would be many other runners at all. :)

Got to the starting area and wandered around a bit. I rather foolishly ate most of a sour cream old fashioned doughnut. (What was I thinking?!?) We saw some FANTASTIC doughnut costumes -- and, perhaps even better, two full-suited stormtroopers. Awesome!!!

After a few minutes we headed into the starting corrals, smirking at people who obviously weren't 7-minute milers in the 7-minute corral. We put ourselves in the 11-minute group, and spotted Melinda, who looked very, very sporty. The start was a hairpin curve away -- and it looked as if there were hundreds and hundreds of people in front of us. No matter, of course, since we had timing chips. When the race finally started, we went around the hairpin curve towards the starting line and I was amazed to see just how many people we behind us! Apparently some 2200 people ran the race... a lot of people to run on a narrow path around a little lake!

We set off at a good pace though; quickly passing a lot of people (really, walkers, you don't walk a 10-minute mile -- there's no shame in it, but you really don't need to line up there...). After a hundred yards or so I got clipped by a lady pushing a jogging stroller -- but I managed to keep my feet and not curse her when she said, "Sorry! That was my fault!". In the crowds we lost Melinda -- she told me later that she found a groove in the grass on the left side of the path and just ran outside the whole way.

Wil and I kept moving pretty quickly, though around 2.5 miles I really REALLY regretted eating the doughnut.

We finished pretty strong in 30:44 -- not a PR, but a decent time for us.

Boot Camp: Day 1

Managed to find the park – it is, after all, directly across the street from Bellevue Square. But then I wasn’t sure where in the park to go. Luckily, I remembered Beth saying to meet near the “play structure” (which we would have called a jungle gym when I was a kid… ). So I drove until I saw the bright red, yellow, and blue thing and parked.

Ben, my new coach, was there getting warmed up. I headed over and introduced myself and, in my nervous way, blithered at him for a while. Monday has the fewest attendees – usually just 2 or 3 folks – while Wednesday and Friday are more popular (especially with the 2x/week folks). But today – happily for me – I was the only participant, so I had a personal trainer for an hour.

Ben asked lots of questions about my fitness, how I exercise, any injuries, etc. … while we were first walking and then jogging around the cinder path around the park. He kept us moving – running for a couple of minutes, then stopping and doing an exercise or two. We did steps, used exercise tubing to work my arms, back, and legs, and then did lots of lunges. (oof) After about 45 minutes of this we stopped and did abs work – crunches, “squiggles”, etc. And then some lovely stretching to round it all out. All in all, a great workout.

None of it was complicated, fancy, or difficult – but it was great to have someone making sure I didn’t do things wrong… and that I didn’t get lazy. I can already feel it a bit in my back, and I bet my abs will be sore tomorrow.

Drove the 10 minutes to work, had a quick shower in the gym, and was at my desk before 7:45. I feel great – absurdly pleased with myself for getting up early and exercising – and I’m excited about going back on Wednesday. Yay for Boot Camp!!!!!

5 minutes to boot camp!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

fitness news...

Okay, a few things of note...

1. After a visit to Road Runner late last week, where Wil got new shoes but I decided to wait and order mine online. Why? Well, because I wanted the BLACK ones, of course! They arrived last night and... they're pretty strange. I mean, they're basically the same shoes, but some of the details are different. The old pair had a lot of grey/silver accents... on the new shoes, most of those have been replaced with shiny black vinyl details.... which makes them somehow look more plasticky. Weird. Anyway, went for a little walk in them on Thursday night, and I plan to break them in on Sunday.

2. Stopped by Super Jock n Jill on the way home to pick up our race packets for the Top Pot Doughnut Dash 5K -- we got great numbers (I'm 80, Wil is 147, which apparently is a perfect score in snooker?) and the shirts are very nice. Sadly, they didn't print "will race for doughnuts" on the back. Missed a trick there.

3. This morning got an email from Title Nine in Bellevue highlighting upcoming events, including a boot camp in Bellevue. I have been wanting to do a boot camp for a couple of years now, but always had a reason or two that it didn't work for me. I wanted one that was early in the morning, preferably on the east side. And I always seemed to be out of town somewhere during the 4 weeks. Well, this one starts on Monday, 4/26, and runs through 5/21 -- and I have no travel scheduled for work or for real life. It's in Bellevue, only a couple of miles from work (and our showers), and is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6 - 7am. So I had no excuses! I signed up for the full deal -- 12 sessions in 4 weeks. I'm nervous and excited!

New kicks

Saucony Hurricane XI

Old kicks

Saucony Hurricane X

Thursday, April 22, 2010

finally another run

So it's been two weeks since I ran. No real excuses, though I have had a nagging pain in my right hip. (A pain that doesn't hurt when I walk or run, but aches when I sit still or sleep... weird.) So this morning I drove in early, ran on the treadmill at work (5+50+5), and then arrived at my desk. It's pretty satisfying, even if I feel overheated and a little stiff now.

I will not make my monthly goal -- well, I could, but then I would be rubbish in the half marathon on the 2nd -- so I will actually continue to follow my taper until race day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Ran this morning early... tried to follow the sketch map that the hotel put together... but what they said was 6.9 miles was just 4.2 miles... so perhaps I was crossing the wrong bridge? Anyway, I ran up to the very handsome capitol building, and then down to the river. Sunrise seems to come quickly here -- it was dark when I set out, but was light really quickly. Or maybe I was just really slow...

So down to the river, along the river for a while, across the very handsome pedestrian bridge (pictures!), and then back along the river. I ran along path and under the "bat bridge", aka the Congress Street Bridge. I was a little hesitant to run under it, but it's not like one sees bats or anything. Then across the bridge, and back to the hotel... where I ran smack dab into our stylists and photographer. Yes, I looked awesome at the time. No, really.

Then (and this isn't running-related...) we had a great day two of the shoot. Great models, and the great crew (again). Rounded out the evening with a night out with the main crew at Guerros... where we had a great time. I promised the crew that I would work on being meaner before next time, because my goal is to make them terrified of me. ;)

(What must their other clients be like if *I'm* the nice one? Ouch.)

Happy to head home tomorrow, though I'm already trying to figure out the next time I can come to Austin... this time with Wil.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

good news and bad news

Here's the good news: Wil's number came up in the NYC Marathon lottery, giving him a guaranteed bib!

... and the bad news: my number did not:

I was really nervous and excited when ... at 11:45 or so ... I remembered that the drawing had taken place. I struggled to remember my password -- I thought I tried every possible combination, but in the end I did remember. While trying to remember mine, I logged in to Wil's account.. and got his good news first. About 15 minutes later I finally logged in to mine. Boo.

So now we're at the "let's see if a friendly sponsor can secure a bib for me" stage, and potentially finding a charity to run for. So we're definitely going to do it-- it's just that we'll need a bit of time to sort out my part of the deal. But yay Wil for getting a bib!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Austin run

Lindsay and I got up BEFORE SUNRISE to head out for our morning run along Austin's Lady Bird Lake Trail. We had an early call time this morning, so we had to start early to get the miles in.

I plotted a route down to the river, along the trail for a couple of miles, across the river, and then back -- a nice little loop. Though the sun didn't rise until we were well on our way, it was getting light... but not so light that the bats had gone back to their colony -- we saw several flitting about still. (Lindsay did not enjoy this.)

(And, no, we weren't anywhere near the river and the bat colony when we saw them. Honest.)

Plenty of bugs around, too... not so much the bitey stingey bugs, just the swarm and inhale/eat sort of bugs.

And did I mention that it was already muggy? Ew.

But there was a decent breeze, and we trotted along at a pretty good pace. It was surprisingly green -- really lush and lovely, and the combination of unmowed meadow and crushed stone path made it feel a bit like the Thames Path. (Except with more runners...)

Finished our run completely soaking wet and, of course, gorgeous. I think the highlight was when Lindsay reached over and scraped a bug off my face. Umm... I guess I was running REALLY FAST. Still, all in all, a very nice run.

My picture didn't come out very well -- but here are a couple of nice ones that really capture the feel of the trail:

Monday, April 5, 2010

The pool at the Omni Hotel in Austin. The aluminum liner makes it feel a little like swimming in a giant water trough... hooray for the Wild West!!

Not really Marathon Training, but kinda Fitness Related

First commute using my new Brompton folding bike. And it was fun...

Sunny left for Texas at around 4am, I went back to sleep and dreamt of picking broken glass from the new tires of my Brompton. I guess, sub-consciously was a little worried about how well the first Bike-Bus-Bike commute of my life would go!

I had intended to leave the house at 6:10, but it was 6:17 by the time I was on the way. Only 7 minutes late, but I started to worry that as I've not really ridden a bike in a few months (and the bus departure is an non-movable time) That this might not give me enough time to ride the 5 for 6 miles.

It turned out that I had more than enough time; arriving the stop which is closer to our house (and the one I had decided to use for the first day) 15 minutes early... Too early... This made me change my mind about which stop (and which bus) to catch in order to get across the bridge. I carried on cycling & went the extra Mile to the Freeway stop. (again reaching it in more than enough time).

I was glad I did as this bus takes me slightly closer to work, and with a new critical eye I realized that the 'Slightly Closer' is a mile or so up a long slow hill. Descion one of the day, always use the Freeway bus stop in the morning...

The other thing I had not decided on was whether I should use the bike bag/cover. I kinda thought 'no' as it's an extra step to the fold/unfold process. But then at the stop, as I was carrying my uncovered folded bike, someone very nearly walked into me in that early morning commuter tiredy-haze.

This was the point I decided that the bag was a good idea. I am essentially someone who prefers to avoid confrontation, and I figure that someone walking into my big 'bag' is less likely to provoke an angry reaction compared to someone walking into (or brushing against) what they perceive to be a dirty oily bike. (The oily bits of the Brompton are all self contained, and when folded the chain is completely inaccessible, but still it's perception, not actuality which is the key here..)

No questions from the driver as I got on the bus, the sideways seats near the back door, are good as the bike can sit on the floor while being out of the way. Bike bag is good here too, as it's more comfortable to rest my leg on, in lew of holding onto holding the bike to stop it falling/moving.

Freeway was too shaky for my poor little blackberry camera, but here we are with it's little carry-beak poking out from the cover...

No problems getting off the bus, unfolding and making the short ride to the office, where I showered and stowed.

Feel nice and enlivened and ready for a days work after getting morning exercise...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bunny hop 6 miler

Last week I was pleased to have run on Saturday because the weather was so much nicer than on the Sunday.... this weekend it's exactly the opposite. Very VERY pleased that we didn't force ourselves out into the blustery day and instead waited for the breezy Easter morning.

We ran out to the lookout, then down along the Turkey Trot route to the BGT and Golden Gardens, and then up the trail and stairs to 85th before coming home. I felt like I was really struggling up the stairs, but otherwise felt pretty good. A few twinges in my right knee on the stairs, and now I have a funny stiffness in my left ankle. Exercise is good for you!

Weird to think that we are 4 weeks away from our next half marathon, and 8 weeks away from Beck's wedding. Where has the time gone?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Running USA's Annual Marathon Report

Okay, okay, I'm a numbers geek. One of the things I love about running is all the facts and figures and statistics. So imagine my joy today when I stumbled across Running USA's Annual Marathon Report.

A few key highlights:
- 467,000 people finished marathons in 2009 -- up nearly 10% over 2008, the largest increase in 25 years.
- 31% of female finishers are 35-44; 32% of male finishers are
- the median age of male finishers is 40; for females it's 35
- 54% of finishers at the Rock and Roll Seattle were women

Oh, and the 2009 ING New York City Marathon was the biggest marathon ever, with 43,660 finishers. Wow. Makes the 14,498 finishers at the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon seem tiny.

Okay, I'll stop here. And before anyone asks, no, I'm not that into baseball. I'm not THAT much of a numbers geek.