Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I find it amazing that the day after we commemorated Martin Luther King, Jr., we are swearing into office the first black president.
I'm a big believer that things happen for a reason, and that seems AWFULLY coincidental to me.
And while I don't believe that a new president will automatically result in the resolution of all the problems of our complicated world, I do believe that the nation is filled up with a sense of pride and hope that we haven't seen in a long time -- most importantly, there seems to be a universal belief that we are ALL in this together, and we are ALL responsible for change. The nation seems to be empowered in a way I haven't seen... well, in my lifetime.
I hesitate to draw such a silly comparison, but it's about how I felt on the first day of 2009. 2008 was a banner year for me -- and NOT in a good way -- and on the first day of the year, I woke up feeling optimistic, empowered, and filled with hope. Hope that the year would have wonderful things in store for me, and power to affect those changes myself.
I haven't run outdoors since November 11th, just 17 days after I took a fateful step that landed me in the ER with a broken elbow. On that beautiful day, I couldn't RESIST an outdoor run -- I was antsy and filled with energy.
That's how I feel today -- it's only 9 degrees outside in Minneapolis, but the sun is out, and after a week of -25 degree weather (-40 with the windchill, and no, I am not making that up, or exaggerating in the slightest), it feels like a heat wave. As a rule, I don't run outdoors in the winter (see "broken elbow" for details), but today I woke up feeling like an outdoor run was in order.
I'm caffeinated, clothed, and courageous -- and in desperate need of some fresh air.
I'm watching the Obama inaguration on TV -- in mere moments, the limos will reach the white house, and a new day will begin.
Shortly after, I'll hit the pavement -- for my inagural run of the season -- and a new year will begin for me as well.
Off and running,
Monday, January 12, 2009
One of the most important things to know about yourself in terms of exercising is the time of day that works best for you -- I've always been good with morning exercise, mostly because then I'm done with it before I can talk myself out of it, but also because I'm well rested, free from distractions, and don't have to deal with the crowds and jammed parking lots that easily discourage me from hitting the gym during peak hours.
(I'm also great with 2-3 PM workouts -- miss the lunch rush, beat the after work crowd).
Fortunately, I have a job that allows for a very flexible schedule, so I can take advantage of non-crowded hours at my gym. I usually aim for 10 AM or 2 PM.
Today, it's blizzarding with upwards ot 30 MPH winds in Minneapolis, so I decided to hit the gym a little earlier than usual 9 AM... and I may have found my new "magic hour."
- Working out at 9 AM meant that breakfast stuck with me a little longer than usual -- no need for a pre-gym palmful of almonds or string cheese.
- 9 AM made no difference in terms of how more or less crowded it was compared to 10 AM.
- 9 AM meant I could feel less guilty about not being at my desk (I work on California time, so 9 AM here = 7 AM there)
- 9 AM meant I was home, out of the snow, and in full-on "Hibernation mode" before the lunch rush hit both the gym and the roads... driving is TERRIBLE out there today.
SO! All of those things considered, I may have found a new routine to shoot for.
Today was one of the best workouts I've had in months --
- 30 minutes on the treadmill (raising the incline 0.5% every :30 until it maxed out at 15%, then walking as long as I could at 15% before slowing backing it down)
- 30 minutes of lifting
- 30 minutes on the recumbant bike -- helped to loosen out the muscles + allowed me to burn about 140 more calories while reading and checking work emails on my crackberry (yes, I know that's annoying, deal with it, it allows me to work + workout at the same time. I do not TALK on the cell phone while at the gym, that's appalingly bad etiquette).
Approximately 520 calories burned, 90 minutes of movcement, and a max heart rate of about 145 (min of about 102 while on the bike, and then in the 90s while stretching / doing abs).
All in a day's work!
Off and running,
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The holidays took their toll on me in a pretty significant way -- not only did I face all the normal food and drink demons and devils, but I came down with a pretty harsh cold, plus started back on a medication that gave me some pretty icky side effects. Now that I'm getting back to real life -- and I can breathe through my nose again -- I'm getting back in the swing of things.
Namely, this morning I woke up and put workout clothes on right away. After my usual morning puttering (Tend to dog, breakfast, coffee, work, tidy), I'm about to head out the door and hit the gym.
Last week, I went back to yoga for the first time in ages, and it felt amazing -- powerful and strong. It was a great post-holiday detox, and I found a class on Mondays that I absolutely adore.
THIS week, the goal has been to get back into the gym in a significant way. I've been craving a good run lately, but again, hate the treadmill and don't trust myself on the snow and ice (see: broken elbow for reference).
However, that segues beautifully into this week's Take It And Run Thursday post, courtesy of the Runner's Lounge --
Training Plans Do's and Don'ts. Happy New Year! I know many of you are already working on your training plans for 2009. What tips and tricks have you learned about crafting good training plans? Share the specific things you have learned about building a training plan for a specific race or distance, or be more broad and share ideas of how you build/manage your training plan(s) throughout the year.
I'm terrible about taking winters off from running. Intellectually, I know this isn't a good idea, because it makes the spring start all the more difficult, but physically, I just can't see to get it together / keep it together to run through the winter. I've got a new boyfriend of sorts who has expressed interest in running a 5K with me, so I'm assuming that this spring will kick off with a 5K or two. Maybe a 10K. And then maybe -- maybe -- a half marathon. I've tossed around the idea of running the Twin Cities Marathon again in 2009, and if I do that, training will start in April / May, as soon as the snow is gone.
Since I haven't fully committed to anything yet, I don't have a concrete plan -- but I WILL say this. When I ran the marathon in 2007, my training was the thing that saved me in the face of horrific weather. I was incredibly devoted and disciplined about my training. I never missed a long run, and I rarely missed a short one. My food, drink, sleep, and cross-training schedule from May - October all revolved around one little day, and one big goal: 26.2. If I run the marathon again, I know it will be an all-encompasing goal, and this is perhaps what is holding me back. I won't do it half assed. I don't have the natural skill or athleticism to allow me to slack off during training and just make the best of it. If I'm going to run it, I have to devote myself to it, or it's not possible.
All of that said, I'm not sure where I'll be in October... but I know exactly where I'll be on the first spring-like day. Clad in my favorite running gear, pounding the paths and pavements and trails and parkways I love so much. Sun on my cheeks, music in my ears, and a smile on my face.
Off and running,