Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Running with a coach

I did a total of 2 hours of driving for a 30 minute run - worth it? Not sure! She talked a bit about technique (she's a big proponent of the run-on-your-toes style) and other odds and ends, and we did some hill work and experimented with high-cadence sprints. She gave us lots of walking time to recover from the sprints = she said keeping your heart rate down and giving your selflots of recovery time actually helps develop speed and endurance more than just chugging along and it prevents injury. It felt strange to stop BEFORE I was completely winded, but I finished the half-hour feeling strong, even though I've done no hills since early fall.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I ran for 34 minutes at a decent clip on Friday - nearly 3 miles though I lost count of the laps. Another woman, about my age/height/shape/speed came in, and was running too - she was a bit faster than me and was slowly lapping me but the funky hip-hop songs I put on my mp3 player helped motivate me to catch her after a while. (Black Eyed Peas are great to run to!) I'd been looking up people's lists of favorite running songs and illegally downloading them (playing htem for free on Rhapsody and capturing them with i-sound. The quality is poor - if I start doing anything else on the computer at the same time, the recording skips around. Someday maybe I'll get an ipod and use itunes, but free is good! (There are a lot of ther things I'd spend disposable dollars on first, like a nice new camera like tha fantastic Fuji I got to borrow for my daughter's ballet recital! Wow!) A lot of songs other people like to work out to are completely boring to me, as it turns out! Outkast is OK, Kanye West was kind of a yawn. I still need something else - suggestions anyone?

Anyway, I was feeling motivated - I'd lost a few more pounds, did a good hard session of Pilates and Elliptical training on Saturday, went skating and did weight training and stretching on Sunday (during the Oscars) and today rested. Tomorrow I'll run with Fred and his coach. But for some reason today I haven't been feeling as optimistic as I should - the scale number went up (premenstrual, or a child's magnet interfering with the scale, or whatever - I know I've been eating a bit more the last few days but not 2 pounds' worth!) and I know my happiness shouldn't depend on the number I see (which is indisputably lower than the one I've been seeing for months on end, just not as much lower as I want)... blah blah, it's not about the numbers on the scale except that it is, honestly. I'm trying to be honest about what I WANT, and I WANT to be thinner. That's a big part of my motivation for this whole project, honestly - to look better. Is that pathetic?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pushing it

I've realized that if I'm going to make progress I have to really push it - no more "oh, I'll do a 20 minute workout today and do more tomorrow." I'm not going to get better/stronger/faster without real effort! Luckily TGT (Triathlon Goddess Tina) is a great motivator - her spin class this morning was INTENSE! My legs are shaking but I feel great.

I printed out a map of the Pawling Triathlon route and hope to take a trip down to drive it, so I can start to visualize it while I train. My husband has gotten back into running and we're trying to figure out when I can run with him - maybe I'll drive to where he works and run with his group on Tuesday - they have a teacher/coach, who can maybe give me some tips. (It means a three hour bite out of my work day, though)! He's the kind of natural athlete who can sit around all winter, train for six or eight weeks, and then run a 5 mile race in under an hour. Whereas I've been exercising consistently for over a year and 2 miles is still hard for me! But I'm going to push it and try to do a 3 mile run in the next week or so. Then all I have to do is start combining!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Long swim!

I did 40 lengths today, more or less non-stop (a few pauses to cough out inhaled water) - according to my calculator that's .58 mile! I did it in about 35 minutes or a little longer - still so slow! I got a bit sloppy as I went along, and definitely a bit tired at the end, but feel fine now. The video Beth sent was good but I need to watch it again to really get the body position drills. They're similar enough to Total Immersion that I don't feel I'd be pulling in two directions at once. Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide if I should sign up for a Total Immersion workshop in March - husband and kids will be away, so I have the time, but it's $495! The alternative would be to take a few classes, which are much cheaper, but it means driving an hour there and back many times instead of just once or twice! (I guess if I figure the savings in gas and time it might be worth it to do the workshop!) I made some money selling photos, but used it all to tune and fix the piano... so I'd have to come up with another source of extra cash. Meanwhile, I have had a pretty good week - though I didn't do my "brick" on Monday I had a decent short run (17 minutes) and went to spinning yesterday. Tomorrow I plan to spin again, then either swim or run or both or skate(!) on Friday. Saturday I'll spin, Sunday... we'll see!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A brand new day

I got a DVD about swimming from my friend Beth - can't wait to watch it. And Triathlon Goddess Tina invited me to come to the pool with her and get some pointers on my stroke. She started teaching spinning and she's amazing! She's hoping to place in the top three in her age group at the Pawling Tri - I think she'll do it, too. (She modestly said last year she just hoped not to drown, but she can run at a 7 and something minute a mile, training for a marathon, etc - a real athlete (and an absolutely lookalike for one of the most beautiful actresses alive, Kate Winslet.)

I did Pilates this morning ant 25 minutes on the elliptical - light intensity. I've been quite sore and achy, in part from the chiropracter, in part because of still being sick. Tomorrow I rest, then Monday it's my first Swim/run day.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tough day

I've been trying so hard to focus on running - in part because I really need to get up the mileage and the speed, and because the doctor said my back would hurt less if I run more. I read a book called Chi Running, which helped me shave a minute or so off my mile time (from 13+ to 12 or less) but it's hard to keep it up. I've been sick the last week or so, and have used that as an excuse to run less, or shorter. There's always an excuse - I only swam 10 minutes on Monday because I was a bit woozy; ran 17 minutes on Tuesday (but at a decent pace), did nothing on Wednesday because of the snow day (just my back exercises), nothing on Thursday except for shoveling (except ditto) and today ran for 19 minutes (much slower than last time) because I still didn't feel great. At this rate I will not be ready! I need to start doing longer runs, bricks, work with coaches or take classes - I have only 3 1/2 months to go!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Where I run

I am very lucky to live down the road from a VERY posh private school, which makes its facilities available to the community. I run here for $2/day... I swim here for $5/day or $200 for the whole school year, September to May. It's only available in the mornings because the students use it other times. It's bright, cleanish (they mop the stairs about a hundred times a day but the dust bunnies on the track have been there a while), the showers usually have hot water... all in all a good deal! The track is 11 laps to a mile - one woman I know said she never runs here because it's like being a gerbil in an exercise wheel. But she runs miles every day and then swims miles more. (She's 60, and she told me that once my kids grow up and leave home I'll have time for that too! Hard to imagine!)
Here's what I listen to when I run: Prince, Foo Fighters, Indigo Girls, Abbey Lincoln, Bruce Springsteen, Sarah Vaughan, Dixie Chicks... an odd collection I've downloaded through various sites including BestAudioCodes, discovered rom Ruth via Stewart. (I have a little program that can save any audio that comes through the computer, not the highest quality but it will do and it's free.) I need something new - something bright and energetic - suggestions, anyone?

Completely confused

Fred (my husband) has been telling me that one is supposed to run on ones' toes - he learned it from a jogging clinic and it works well for him. I'd read conflicting things about it, so asked my chiropractor. He emphatically disagreed - he said the natural, heel-t0-toe running motion provided much more shock-absorption and was better for the body. So last night at a party, a friend of mine who is older than me and recently took up running said SHE took a class in something called "Chi Running" which preaches, among other things, mid-foot striking. (also leaning forward, kicking up behind, hands driving backward, and core stability.) She said after one weekend learning it, she took off 2 minutes per mile. That's pretty amazing. I looked it up - the website (chirunning.com) doesn't really explain it - of course you have to buy the book! So I did - we'll see! The whole sales pitch seems to be injury prevention - all the testimonials on Amazon.com were from people who said they'd stopped running due to knee, or leg, or hip, or back pain, but chi running got them back on the road pain free, doing marathons at age 50-whatever. I hope it helps me, now that I'm supposed to be running 3 times a week! (That's three times the misery!) This week I almost kept to my pledge: Monday ran, Tuesday spun, Wednesday swam, Thursday took off, Friday ran, Saturda (today) did some schlepping of heavy items and walking up hills, but mostly took a nap, and tomorrow, well, hopefully I'll do something! Maybe an early morning yoga class. I did do my PT exercises most days, and was on a good track with eating and weight til yesterday. Sigh. I'm still getting lots of mileage out of "I"m going to do a triathlon" as in, "Wow, good for you, I'm really impressed!"