Running is Funning!

Ya, I never thought I’d say it but running IS fun.  I’m training for a half marathon and I’ve been trying to be more consistent with my training than I’ve been in the past.  When I did half marathons in the past, I basically ran one run per week – the long run.  This time around, I’ve been trying to do a run or two during the week in addition to the long run.  In an ideal week, I’d do one run at a decent pace, one speedwork session (where I push myself to go faster than my normal pace but for shorter distances), and one easy going, slow paced long run.  Each week I add more time to the runs, particularly the weekend long run.  It’s nowhere near as hard as it used to be.  It ain’t easy but it’s not destroying me either.

I’m slow.  I know I’m slow.  But that’s ok – I’m doing it, right?  And I’m enjoying it along the way.  In particular, I’m really liking the long runs.  Although now that I’m moving into the long distances, it is definitely getting harder.  In the last few weeks I’ve fallen behind.  We had rain two weekends in a row and then I did a long 7 miler (with an additional mile walking) and then didn’t do my run this weekend.  Yikes.  I need to somehow fit in two 8 mile runs between now and Sunday.  Argh.  Gotta do this.

I do like the long runs because it brings on the runner’s high.  I’m out there feeling the wind on my face, smelling the smells of being outside, and your senses become heightened.  The music in my ears seems better – it gets me pumped, makes me happy, and makes me think of happy times.  I’m reminded that it’s nice to get a smile of encouragement from other runners and the look of “you can do it, girl!” from other women on the trail and that it’s nice to smile and wave at strangers.  I usually run on a trail that has a lot of traffic – you see kids on bikes, people walking and talking, runners running fast, bikers biking, and once I even saw someone riding a big ol’ unicycle.  It’s pretty cool actually.

What’s hard to describe is the feeling of well being that you get when you run and feel good.  I’m going to try anyway.  When you’re having a good run, you feel strong, you feel proud because you’re able to do something that’s not easy, you feel like you want to keep doing this.  As gross as this sounds, I LOVE seeing the sweat caked to the inside of my hats and visors.  I LOVE it when sweat drips into my eye.  I LOVE it when I go to scratch my ear and I’m grossed out because it’s salty.  Why?  Because it’s proof that I worked hard.  Gross, I know.  I really love it when my heart rate monitor/gps says that I burned over 700 calories.  So fantastic.

And yet, I’ve been really bad about getting my runs done.  For a while, I was doing good – running a couple times a week at the gym and again on the weekend.  Ugh.  Why is it so damn hard to just get out there and go?  I don’t think there’s an excuse for the shorter weekly runs.  I can do those with baby in her jogging stroller or I can go to the gym after she goes to sleep.  Luckily she enjoys being in her stroller so she’s good for about an hour.  The longer runs are a little trickier.  If I don’t get out the door early enough, I won’t have enough time.  Miss K. has class on Sunday mornings.  Then there are other factors like weather (it’s raining or it’s too hot or whatever).  And this weekend I had a bridal shower I had to prep for.  I don’t know.  It feels like excuses – I just need to do it.  A couple times the odds were against me.  A few weeks ago I needed to do six miles (plus one walking) but I didn’t do it Saturday morning.  And I didn’t do it Sunday morning.  And it was starting to really cool down but I dragged myself out on Sunday afternoon and actually had a fantastic run.  Last weekend I needed to do seven (plus one walking).  Same thing…it was getting late.  It looked like rain.  It sprinkled on the drive to the trail.  There was a cop car where I normally park.  But I dragged myself out there and the cool weather worked to my benefit.  Again, great (but tough) run but I was so happy I did it.  Not like this week where I’m pissed I didn’t run.  Ugh.  The feeling of well being that comes with these runs is indescribable – I just need to get it done.

What do you do to motivate yourself to work out?

I can’t believe I actually enjoy running.


I (blank) excercise

I’ve been working on #13 on the LIST – Exercise.  The goal is four workouts a week, each lasting more than 30 minutes a piece.  I’ve been doing pretty good with it the last few weeks and there are two reasons for that – first, I really want to lose some weight.  We’re going on vacation in April and I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding in May and it would nice to not be tubby.  Secondly, I’m signed up for a half marathon in May and I hadn’t really run in two years when I signed up for it.  I want to not die!  I haven’t run a half marathon since 2008 or 2009…not good.  So I’ve been working on it.  I’m also logging it so I can see my progress.  I’ve only lost 3.5 pounds so far but hey, that’s better than nothing, right?  By the way, I picked this image because my mom used to do the Jane Fonda workout when we were kids.  I should rephrase…me, my brother, and my two cousins used to do the Jane Fonda workout with my mom when we were kids.  Seriously.  Just the memory of this makes me giddy with glee.  How did she not crack up at us?  Why on earth did we work out with her?  Awesome.  Just awesome.

I’ve been doing a few different things – my goal is to run three times a week – one speedwork session, one normal run, and one long, easy run.  But I’ve only run twice a week so far.  Maybe this week will be the week!  I’m also doing Zumba – it’s fun and I work up a sweat.  I also feel like an idiot when I can’t pick up the steps.  But I do my best.  Where I can, I fit in yoga.  Wow, is my body is tight.  So many of my poses look crazy.  But I’m gonna keep trying.  Finally, I try to do various p90x workouts…keyword is try.  I can do the cardio workout, not 100% intensity like they do in the video, but I’m able to complete it!  I tried the ab ripper x video yesterday.  Holy shmoly, it was over the top hard and I DEFINITELY didn’t make my way through the whole thing.  But again, I did what I could and I think I’ll get further next time.  I started the insane pliometrics workout too but it was too intense; I didn’t get but maybe five minutes past the warm up.  Granted, I tried after doing a speedwork session the night before and didn’t want to injure myself but it was tough.  I’ll try again later.  At the gym I’ve been doing biceps, shoulders, back, chest, abs, and triceps too.

All the different kinds of workouts keep things interesting for me and prevents me from getting bored.  And really, right now I’m feelin’ it.  I’m not seeing crazy or obvious results but I’m enjoying the workout itself.  And I’m not dragging myself to go do my workouts these days either.  I don’t know how long it’s going to last but I’ll take it for now.

It’s not easy, though.  When I do my home workouts, I sometimes don’t start til 9pm, and that’s AFTER a day of running around after baby, putting up posts on our other blog, putting baby down for the night, cleaning up after dinner, etc. So it’s not always so easy.  AND I’ve taken baby out in the jogging stroller to get some of my runs done.  I like it because it’s awesome to be with her while doing something for myself but it’s not easy pushing an extra 40 pounds around.  I will say, though, stretching while singing and dancing for baby is a lot more fun after a run is a lot more fun than doing it alone.  She likes being in her stroller, too.  Last week I did a four mile run and she took a nice little nap while I jogged and woke up so happy.  Before she fell asleep, she was looking around and checking things out.  She really mellows out in her strollers.  It’s nice.

The point is that it’s tough but it’s worth it.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  It took me a full year after Miss K was born to get back on the workout wagon.  I think if I hadn’t lost my baby weight, I would have been motivated to work out sooner but I was lucky – I didn’t put on too much and my modified diet due to Miss K’s allergies helped me take off the weight.  It took me a while, but I’m doing it now and it feels great.  I hate it but I love it.  Once I get off my butt, get started, and shake off the rust, I feel great and happy.  I seriously start feeling like this guy:

Then I start have delusions of grandeur and begin having images of being able to do crazy things and suddenly I become this:

Well I become this in my mind, of course.  I seriously have visions of one armed push ups and pull up after pull up.  But then reality sets in and I realize I’m no G.I. Jane and I never will be.  I have half a dozen spare tires around my midsection that I need to burn off.  But it’s fun in the meanwhile.  Sweating is good.  I don’t know how long this is going to last, but I’m going ride this wave as long as I can!

#13 on The LIST – Exercise

I didn’t really exercise at all for the last two years.  I wish it was an exaggeration but unfortunately it’s not.  Literally didn’t exercise for pretty much all of 2010 and 2011.  Ridiculous.  So in 2012, I’m starting up again.  It’s hard.  I’m out of shape and weigh more than I wish I did and my body is weak (or if you prefer, I have a weak body – that one’s for you, puppy).  And it’s a little tougher to exercise with Miss K.  She’s a little amused when I’m trying to exercise but mostly, she tries to climb on me or cling to my legs.  It just doesn’t work.  The alternative is to go to the gym after she goes to sleep but an hour work out ends up being a two hour affair, between changing clothes, driving, showering, etc. and usually that’s not until at least 8:30 because after she goes to bed, usually I’m cleaning up the dinner aftermath, working on the other blog, and generally wasting time.  🙂

Despite that, I’m happy to say that I’ve been making time to exercise over the last few weeks.  Nine workouts in the last 14 days – last week I logged 245 minutes of working out.  Not bad for me.  I’ve been squeezing it in wherever possible.  I’ve done a few run/walks with Miss K in the jogging stroller.  Running is a lot harder when you’re pushing 20 pounds of baby + another 20 pounds of stroller.  It doesn’t help that I’m so out of shape or that I need to lose 10 pounds or that I’m stiff as a board (but not light as a feather).  I remember when I was running more regularly, it would take a mile or so to “shake off the rust.”  This was the period where my body was warming up, I was working through the mental battle with myself (“I hate running!  Why am I doing this!” “Don’t be a baby!  It’s good for you!”  “But I don’t wanna!”  “Shut up, do it!”).  But I’m getting out there and doing what I can.  When I don’t walk/run, I’m doing workout videos at home.  So far I’ve done several yoga videos (in different levels of difficulty), the p90x cardio workout (tough but actually kind of fun), and Zumba.  Zumba is a funny thing.  I break a sweat every time and I do think it’s challenging.  I feel like an idiot a lot of the time, but I’m catching on.  It’s kind of cheesy but it’s keeping me moving for 40-60 minutes (which HAS to be good for me).  So I guess where there’s a will there’s a way.

I do think it would benefit me to get myself to the gym once or twice a week, though.  I tend to step my intensity up when I go to the gym and it’s good just to get sometimes.  Also, I’m not really doing much resistance training.  If I don’t make it to the gym, I’ll need to work in pushups, planks, squats, etc.  Some sort of weight training.  I’m tired though.  🙁  Maybe I will do an extra 20 minutes of pushups, planks, squats, etc. if I only do a 40 minute cardio workout.  The nice part is that I can do something canned with the Wii.  It doesn’t have to be exciting; I just need to do it.  Cardio for me has to be exciting.

So my goal with exercising is doing something 4 times a week.  That something has to be more than 30 minutes at once.  Most days I need to break a sweat for it to count, the exception being yoga.  I need to do yoga to loosen up my tense muscles.

The sucky part about this whole thing is that I haven’t dropped an ounce of weight (yet).  I’m disappointed about that.  I don’t know if it’s my age or my post-baby body but in the past I would have seen some return for this level of effort.  Maybe I just need to be more patient.  I think I can!  I think I can!  I think I can!