Fumbling Towards Fitness

the trials, victories, and musings of a documented slow poke

Running, Researching, Hydrating, Blocked April 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 4:37 am
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It’s really a shame that there isn’t someway I could just shoot my thoughts straight from my head, while I’m running, to here.  Unless there’s an app for that…is there?  I have so many things I want to talk about and seemingly endless clarity while I’m out on the road or at work, but then the very instant I plop in front of my computer I am all things but articulate and concise or even a little bit entertaining.  Grrrr.  What I do to “try” to get past a block – freewrite?  outline?  Heck no.  I start researching stuff on the internet which leads me down all manner of rabbit holes from blogs, You Tube,  podcasts, Daily Mile, magazines, books…it’s endless.  And then I’ve run out of free time.  So no writing has occurred, but learning stuff?  Yep.  So probably not a great way to get to writing, but awesome for killing precious bits of free time.  I’m like a free time poacher.  I don’t see it much, but when I do, I KILLS it!

So my little running streak turned 49 days old today.  No big feat, I realize, but I am glad to say that running each day has effectively taken on teeth brushing status…it has to get done; I don’t even think about it.  SO, I’m glad of that.  I deserve to have to run everyday.  Just look on my DailyMile prior to the beginning of March (click on the DailyMile box on the right-hand side of this page)…pitiful.  I was a very badly behaved girl.  Speaking of DailyMile, you should totally come be my friend.  I’m a pretty good encourager (well, I’m alright).  It’s a pretty fun little site.  I get a kick of seeing how many doughnuts I’ve burned.  Also, I like joining the various challenges that people post on there.  Okay, I like the bubbly graphs.  They amuse me.

Remember how excited I was to be getting faster?  Yeah, I’m not getting much faster anymore.  Eh, whatever.  I’m so much more captivated by distance than speed, but STILL.  I’m pretty sure a big part of that is me being a lazy slacker bum about doing hill and speed workouts.  I don’t do them.  I feel guilty every week, but I just haven’t worked them in.  Lazy.  So my next goal is to get at least one of each in each week.  Ugh.  How much do I love just throwing my ear buds in and going my required mileage without having to think about it?  A LOT.  This is the next stage in my acquisition of all that discipline that eludes me.  Anybody out there have any ideas on how to get motivated for this?  Anyhow, I’ve managed to get ALL of my prescribed training runs in each week since I started my mileage buildup three weeks ago…victory!  (For me, anyway.)

It’s in the 80s and 90s here so I’m taking water with me on my longish runs.  I’m a weinie about getting thirsty while running, so I sometimes like lots.  I look like a big fat rookie, I know, but I just figure the added weight of the water will just enhance my endurance (right?).  My hydration journey started last year, while training for my first 20k.  I couldn’t get excited about the dinky little flask types of bottles-on-a-belt (see Lacey’s below, on the left), which I felt like I would easily drain within the first mile, so I opted for something a bit more robust (see mine on the right).  Also, I needed the larger pack to accommodate  my convenient running-as-much-as-I-do nose.  I just can’t execute a proper snot-rocket, so I have to pack tissues.  There, my secret is out.

This year, I started experimenting with a Camelbak.  I snagged one up on a whim one day, just before a 10 mile run, because I forgot my ten-weeks-in-the-wilderness-belt (above).  It was a cutie:

Called a “Skeeter”, it held 50oz. of liquid.  I knew pretty much nothing about Camelbaks, but this one seemed like it would do fine.  I went to put it on and found I had to let the straps out ALL the way.  Dang, guess I’m about as big as they expect chicks to get.  Anyway, I ran my ten miles and loved this thing…barely was aware of it.  I had swigged the entirety of it by mile six but didn’t suffer in the miles after.  I started thinking I might need a bigger one.  Researching the next day, turned out I picked up the children’s model.  HA!  Guess I’m as big as they expect kids to get.  Yay!  Anyway, I passed that one down Lacey, the kid-sized girl, and picked up “Aurora”:

Last week's long run

This one is a 70oz. which apparently NO one else in the world runs with.  I am the only person needing this much water, excepting those running the Sahara.  My good friend/running buddy Linda tries to get in on the long runs with me.  She gets by on a teaspoon:

Linda before last week's long run

 Today, I did 7 with my handheld bottle, which ended up being just right.  I thought it would be annoying to have something in my hand while I ran, but it isn’t so bad.  It’s got a strap to tighten around your hand, so you don’t even have to clutch it.  I am getting used to using it for shorter runs.  I’ll share with you a secret: I’ve got a 100oz. Camelbak, also, for the really long runs.  I haven’t seen many experienced runners using these things (they seem to LOVE handhelds) but I’m big on being able to leave and not come back to water source for a few hours.  I feel like a Spartan running around with a little extra weight with this one, but then I’m the distance over speed girl.  There’s my true hydration confessions…what about you guys?

I have, for now, ditched my Pandora dubstep station (don’t judge…it gets me going) during my runs and switched to running podcasts.  They’re pretty subdued, yeah, but really interesting.  Like an extension of my little research hobby WHILE I’m running…woo!  I’m listening to Marathon Training Academy and Two Gomers Run a Half-Marathon, the first being pretty informative, while the second is more just entertainment.  I’m almost out MTA episodes and searching for other podcasts to follow.  Anybody have suggestions here?  There’s also a pretty good one called RunRunLive where this guy interviews somebody in running each episode, which I love, but I have to kind of skip through some of the small talk in the beginning.  Speaking of, I’m reading a bunch a bunch a bunch about ultrarunning these days.  I’m just blown away that these things even happen and I want to know more about the people that do them.  I mean, are they super-human?  What I’m learning is that these folks have conditioned themselves to the point that they are comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Holy schnikes, do I need to learn to do this.   So I’ll report back on what I learn.  I’ve got two books going about the Badwater Ultra out in Death Valley…it’s nuts…135 miles in temps around 130.

Well, you can see that I still haven’t made much progress on the articulate and concise front, but I’m glad I finally got a little bit unblocked and threw some stuff out there.  I actually have tons that I want to talk about and get ideas from all you guys, but that will have to wait until perhaps next week, when I haven’t squandered all of my free time and I’m magically talented at writing…haha.  Talk to you guys later!

ps…check out my little garden:

I planted late this year…around the beginning of April.  Above are my little baby plants.

So we’ve had lots of rain and the plants are growing like weeds.  I’m so excited!

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Failure is AWESOME! March 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lorna @ fumblingtowardsfitness.com @ 6:25 pm
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So I’m at the beginning of a major reset.  It all begins on the other side of failure.  Spectacular failure.  Well, I guess that’s completely relative.  Absolutely.  For me, yes, failure.  What I didn’t realize was how something so painfully, deeply disappointing could be so hugely useful – such powerful motivation.

The story, in short, is I, not much of an athlete to begin with, trained for a few months for a race (inadequately and half-heartedly I realized,  upon reflection), and surpisingly turned out a pitiful performance.  I ran this same race last year.  It was my first longer-than-5k race ever (20k).  I managed to injure myself pretty significantly less than half-way through, but still finished.  Healing from the injury took a while and I had to build my running back up in order to run again this year.  So no matter how pitiful and inadequate my training, I HAD to be better than my injured self last year, I’m thinking, right?  (Well…sure.)  But no, this year I didn’t just finish slower.  I was WAY slower.  Beyond imagination slower.  I was in-range of last place.  It was so bad it was impressive.

Anyhow, I was feeling pretty securely poised for a  deep dive into wallowing, self-pity (and I HATE whiners!).  It was happening.  But then I didn’t wallow, dive, or anything.  Strangely, I hooked a louie at perspective and found rabid motivation.  What?  Yeah, I never saw that coming.  It’s what those impossibly healthy, joyologist types do – lemons to lemonade horse pucky.

But here I am, planning like a fiend, feeling like the world is my big, fat, slimy oyster and it’s about to make me a twenty-ton pearl.  What I’ve got is a redemptive opportunity.  And I’m not about to waste it.  All I can think about is what all I’m gonna do to improve.  To fix this.  To make sure I never, ever again repeat that performance.  Funny, how obsessive and bitter that sounds, but actually I’m excited!  Extremely!  I feel fantastic about it!

If we’re honest, we can look at how we prepared for something to judge our performance.  When I honestly looked at my training, I realized I earned exactly the results I got out of that race.  I should note, here,  that I totally do just go to races for the fun of it, and the only competition I feel is with myself.  Well, my slow, injured, last-year self kicked my my slow, uninjured, this-year self’s butt!

My BIGGEST struggle in training is getting my stinking runs in.  I am a master at justifying to myself missing a run and making up for it later.  Especially, when I get home from work in the evenings.  I seriously want to do nothing.  Nothing!  Well, we met this lady at the race that made a side mention of something called a “running streak” where she ran everyday, at least one mile, for an entire year.  I started thinking about this  after we got home from the race.  I had been struggling sometimes to run even two days a week.  The thought of everyday, to me, was NUTS.  But then it’s just one mile.  That’s what, ten minutes of my time?  Shoot, that’s nothing.  Just would require a little discipline (NOT my best event).  The desire to not break the streak is all the motivation in the world!  Plus, just getting in the running clothes and out there is the biggest hurdle, in my estimation.  Once your’e out there, might as well hit 2…3…4….whatever!  This idea started sounding not so nuts and more like exactly what I needed.  I traipsed around the internet to see what else I could learn about streaking and found that there are people out there that have been doing this for years!  Decades!  Durn.  Also there were folks saying they gave it a shot and found themselves shaving minutes off 5k times, etc.  I am slow.  Slow and undisciplined.  Sounds like my medicine.

Three days after the race, I decided to try doing it for 30 days.

Today is day 14.  Already, I realize streaking is going to a huge part of my life for a WHILE.  It hasn’t been hard, but rather a pleasure!  My weekly mileage has more than doubled.  I have run every distance up to and including 5 miles significantly faster than ever before.  By minutes!  I’m thoroughly surprised with all this.  I figured it would take longer.  What I had hoped to get from this was the discipline to run more.  What I’ve gotten is kind of addicted.  I’m not satisfied with doing the bare minimum of 1 mile and have only, by necessity, done it 4 times so far.  I wish I knew a way to articulate all that a little less infomercially and a lot more organically.  Streaking is stupid effective!  At least for hopelessly flawed jokers like me.  We’ll see how far this goes!

I’m doing housekeeping on the cross-training and eating side, too.  I figure if I’m intent on running better, I should drop some more weight as a kindness to my body.  If I tried to run with a 15 lb. backpack on right now, I’d be way slower.  If I take off a 15 lb. backpack, I figure I should be faster, right?  It worked for my running buddy, sister, therapist, and all-around dear and close friend Lacey (who I will mention a gillion times, I’m sure).  I want to anyway.  So I’m eating cleaner and documenting my intake on the myfitnesspal app.  It’s keeping me painfully honest.

My cross-training for the last few years was CrossFit (more on this later).  It can’t be a part of my life right now (at least not in a doing-it-at-the-gym kind of way) since I’m working out of town and it’s not as fun by oneself, at home.  So, researching some cross-training ideas the other day, I discovered….PUMP!!  Ok, I’m stupid excited about this, so forgive me.  This is the at-home version of Les Mills Body Pump.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a group fitness class offered at gyms around the world, that focuses on extremely high rep, low weight lifting.  To awesome music.  It’s brutal and addictive.  And gave me the best arms I’ve ever had.  It was taken from me when my gym switched franchises and there has been a void in my life ever since.  Now there’s an at-home version!  Brilliant!  It’s sold through Beach Body, which are the folks that market Insanity and P90X, among others.  I think it’s pretty reasonably priced (but then I was an addict), although purchasing from them is a little tedious.  They like love to upsell.  Ugh.  It comes with the weights and is perfect for folks that want to tone and strengthen.  It keeps the heartrate super elevated too, so it’s a BIG calorie burner.  Anyway, I am doing that three days a week, running for cardio, AND doing some Jillian yoga.  THAT is interesting.  And good.  I’ll report on it all.

Are you short on motivation?  What you gonna do about it?  I’ve always got some to hand out, and I love to get it too.  Holler if you’re with me!

-Lorna

P.S….My dear friend from way back in college, Johanna (pronounced Yo-hahna) is a Body Pump addict too.  She’s always been a fitness as well as life inspiration to me.  She’s got PUMP coming in the mail and is just getting interested in dabbling in running.  I think I’ve got her talked into guest blogging any time she gets a chance.  Okay, I’m STUPID excited about it.  So she’ll be able to lend a little different perspective once in a while too.  Woo!