Wednesday, January 11, 2012
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Fitness Goals for 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012
I'm not big on doing New Year's resolutions anymore, but I do like to make goals for myself. Goals in my mind are more defined than a resolution. Some people are better at making their resolutions more detailed than most, so I suppose these could be called one or the other. It's just a personal preference of mine to refer to them as goals.

1. Complete at least two half marathons. I'm already signed up for one (Orange Blossom Half), and I already am eyeing the Asheville Half Marathon. I may end up doing three or four, but will at least complete two halfs. 

2. Run at least 3 times a week. Presently, my schedule is to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The last being the day that I do my long runs. 

3. Bike at least once a week. I'm shooting for twice a week, but my goal is to cycle at least one day each week. I've got Sundays and Wednesdays open for cross-training/strength training, so biking will be one of those days.

4. Strength training once a week. I have been too lax on this as of late. This has been part of the reason that my legs aren't as strong as they should be. Cardio alone isn't going to make my legs strong. I just bought some ankle weights, so those along with dumbbells once a week, probably doing a workout DVD a la Jillian Michaels.

5. Bike to do errands twice a month. I bought a nice bike last year and while I've used it for cross-training workouts, I have not utilized it for running to the store or other nearby errands. This will be a lot easier once I move near downtown in the early months of the year. I want to do this more than twice a month, but don't want to give myself a goal that I can't meet. 

6. Cook more often. I consider this a fitness type goal because it goes hand in hand with working out and being healthy. It's time that I eat less processed food and more meals that I've made in advance. This is the only goal I'm leaving a bit more open-ended. In my current living situation, this has been difficult, but once I move out, I will be doing this each week. 

7. Run a 5k in 38 minutes. I just ran my first race, the Jingle Bell 5k last month in 42 minutes. I want to better that time this year a good deal. I'm already hoping to do my first race of the year, Lady Track Shack 5k in 40 minutes or less. 

8. Run a mile in 12 minutes. Since I just got back into running, I'm between 13:30-14:40 per mile on average. My first magic mile was 12:58, so I see this as an achievable goal this year. 

I've only signed up for one race thus far, but here are some of the races I hope to do/are considering for the year:
2/4 - Lady Track Shack 5k
2/18 - Run Around the Pines 5k
2/25 - Eye of the Dragon 10k
3/4 - Orange Blossom Half Marathon (signed up)
3/24 - Winter Park Road Race 10k
4/7 - Run for God 5k
4/22 - Iron Girl Half Marathon
4/28 - Run for the Trees 5k
8/27 - Get Up & Go 10k
9/15 - Asheville Half Marathon

Jingle Bell 5k Run Race Report

Sunday, December 18, 2011
This was my first race back as a runner! I was so excited to implement the Galloway run-walk-run method in my first 5k. I knew I wanted to finish as fast as I could, but I also didn't want to over-do it. So, I was hoping to do the 3.1 miles in around 42 minutes. 

Woke up at 6am to get ready for the race. Mom would be walking this one as well, so she was up (not necessarily happy about the hour though, she's not a morning person). I ate my bowl of oatmeal, got dressed and we were out the door just before 7am. The event was taking place at Baldwin Park in Orlando which meant it was about 40 minutes away. Leaving by 7am would assure we would get there with enough time to park, collect our registration packets and put everything but the bib in the car. 

We arrived at about 7:40ish, and easily found a parking spot. We then walked the half block or so to the packet pick up area. We got our packets and timing chips and headed back to the car. Made a stop at the local CVS to use the ladies room and walked back down to the race area. We still had a good amount of time before the 8:30am start, so I went looking for pre-race water which I thankfully found. 

We then gathered near the starting line for the National Anthem. Looking to my left, I realized that Mattia, a friend from dailymile was just a couple of feet from me. I was hoping to see him, so we said our hellos and gave one another a hug. Before we knew it, the race was beginning. The start was full of runners and walkers alike, so I was glad that I was going to be walking for a couple of minutes before I hit my Gymboss timer. I would have been weaving around people like crazy if I was running right from the start.

Once I hit start on my interval timer, I was off running. Before the race, I decided to go with 1:1 intervals, and figured if need be, I'd slow down to 30:30.  I soon realized that I was going a bit too fast on the first mile when I saw the time I hit mile one. I was under 13 minutes. I needed to slow down, my body wasn't used to sustaining that kind of speed for that long just yet. Alas, I didn't listen to myself, because I apparently ended up going even faster mile 2 hitting that mile marker at around 12 minutes. I then took mile 3 a lot easier than my body wanted to I slowed down my running intervals and walked some of my walking intervals a bit slower than usual. Rounding the corner to the finish line, I wanted to cross the finish line running, so I ended up running 30 seconds earlier than my normal interval. I crossed the finish in with a time of 42:09! So, I definitely PRed and made my goal. I felt good! 

After I finished, I met up with another dailymile friend, Lizabeth. This would be our first time meeting up even though we have done a couple of the same races. It was great meeting her. We talked for a few minutes, took pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus and went in search of fruit (which didn't exist! A race without fruit, I couldn't believe it). Then, my mom finished and Liz and I said our goodbyes. I hope to be able to run with her once I put in some more miles of training. 

All in all, this was a fun and festive race. I thought it was pretty well organized and put on. My only complaint would be that they didn't have any fruit like bananas. The only thing they had was junk donuts and bagels. The race organizers need to think about this for next year. A lot of runners want healthier options like fruit after a race. I always look forward to a banana once I finish. Also, they were giving out water bottles at the two water stops rather than cups of water. While it's easier on the volunteers to hand a runner/walker a bottle of water, it's also more wasteful. I saw many mostly full water bottles tossed to the side. Cups would have solved the wasting I think, it would just be a bit more work since they have to be filled up and ready to go. On a positive note, I hope the Arthritis Foundation did well in fundraising with this event.

(I'll post the couple of pics I have soon)

Vegan Athletes and Protein

Thursday, December 15, 2011
It seems that not a month (or less) goes by that I don’t read or hear about a vegan runner or other type of athlete that supposedly had issues with being an athlete simply because she was vegan. For example, I just read this on Yahoo! Sports today:
While a vegan diet can be nutritionally adequate, you'll have to be extra careful to be sure your protein needs are met. An athletic friend I knew several years ago started a vegan diet and actually passed out in training after several weeks of consuming far too little protein. It's not something you want to have happen to you.
As you can see here, the author has a story that basically claims that because her friend was vegan, he or she was not getting enough protein, thereby he passed out. I’ve had co-workers also tell me similar stories about how they knew someone who had issues with their running or just getting enough protein because they weren’t eating meat. Here’s the thing, if you are eating healthy and correctly as a vegan, you will NOT have any problems. It’s as simple as that. What people fail to realize is that a lot of ominvores are severely lacking in their health. Look at all the fast food so many folks eat, that stuff is far from healthy.
The bottom line here is, vegan athletes have no problems with their health or fitness if they eat properly. Just as omnivore athletes don’t have any problems when they eat correctly. It’s the same deal, there’s nothing extremely different about it. Vegans get their protein in through foods like beans, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, and tempeh. There is no shortage of protein out there when you educate yourself. Not to mention that most athletic individuals don’t require that much more protein than the average person.
Are you a vegan athlete? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Second Half Marathon Training

Wednesday, December 14, 2011
After the great experience I had at my first half marathon last month at Space Coast, I’ve decided to take on another one! I may be crazy, but hey, we all are a bit I think. Space Coast was a bit rough at times, but I have to say, I’ve been wanting to do another one in early 2012. Within a day or two of Space Coast, I was already thinking about it. In fact, I’m already registered for the next one. I’ll be doing the Orange Blossom Half on March 4th in Tavares.

I’m already getting a training plan in place for the race. Originally, I was just going to wait until January 1st to begin my training, but I’ve now decided to start on Christmas day. Since I’m going to be running this one, I need to get the miles when I can. It will have been about a month since Space Coast, so that’s a good rest period for my body (well, I hope since I had said I wasn’t going to do any hard training the rest of 2011 J ). The first week of the training won’t be too hard anyway, so I’m not too concerned about pushing too much.

Here’s the plan I’m going to go with after some advice from friends who are more experienced runners.
Week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 CT
3 miles CT 3 miles off 4 miles
2 CT off 3 miles
CT 3 miles
off 6 miles
3 CT
3 miles
3 miles
off 7 miles
4 CT
off 3 miles
3 miles
off 8 miles
5 CT
off 4 miles
3 miles off 6 miles
6 CT
4 miles CT
4 miles
off 4 miles with MM
7 CT
off 4 miles
CT 4 miles off 8 miles
8 CT
3 miles
CT 3 miles off 10 miles
9 CT
off 4 miles
CT 4 miles off 6 miles
10 CT
off 3 miles CT
2 miles easy walk off

I’m still up for any further advice to make my training as good as possible. My longest run will be 10 miles which is okay. Not too concerned about the last 5k, I figure worst case scenario is that I can simply walk most of it. But, I doubt that will happen less for potentially more rest breaks. The ten miler on week 8 will be a good test on where I am at that time with the run-walk-run. I’m excited about the race already and it’s more than two months away!

First Magic Mile

Sunday, December 11, 2011
Went out this morning and ran my first magic mile. For those unfamiliar with the Galloway method, it's a run-walk-method and the magic mile is an indicator used to determine your current pacing capabilities. I knew that since I hadn't run in over a year (less for a few sprints at races), this first one would be slower than I would like. That's okay though, because I know I'll only improve as I go along.

I headed down to the local track to do the magic mile. I debated doing it in the neighborhood, but I'm already pretty bored with it, so I knew a change of venue would be welcoming. After warming up with some walking and some run-walk-run intervals at 1:1, I did the magic mile. The track itself was actually a half mile long which isn't traditional, as most running tracks are 400 meters. I was a bit disappointed in that because I thought doing four laps would be easier, but in the end that's not really the case, it's the same distance, so it doesn't really matter (well, less for preference I suppose). I did the first 1/2 mile in 6:30 which was pretty good and ended up finishing with a time of 12:58. Basically, I did the mile in 13 minutes. I really pushed myself and only took about 4 short walk breaks, so I'm pretty proud of myself for that.

Once you get your magic mile time, you are able to calculate where your pacing is going to be. I went to Jeff Galloway's website and put in my time of 12:58. Here's what I got:
5k Pace - 13:31 (41:54)
10k Pace - 14:55 (1:32:27)
Half Marathon Pace - 15:34 (3:23:50)
Marathon Pace - 16:51 (7:21:39)

Since I was walking between 14:30 and 15:30ish per mile, I know that half marathon time is pretty high most likely for me. I did Space Coast in 3:28:50 so even if I do my next half marathon using a 1:2 ratio (run one minute, walk two), I should finish better than that 3:23:50 Jeff's calculations are stating that I will. Speaking of my next half marathon, I signed up yesterday for it! I'll be doing the Orange Blossom Half on March 4th!

Anyway, I'm glad I got this first magic mile out of the way, as it was pretty tough and I know my next one will be better once I'm running for some time. I'll be doing a holiday 5k this coming Saturday, so I look forward to seeing what I can do using the run-walk-run intervals. I'm going to try to do it in 40 minutes or less. I should easily PR though, as all my previous 5ks are walking.

Day One...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today was my first day running again. I decided to just go out and do an easy two miles. Out a mile, then back. Seemed easy enough. I could even picture the route in my head. No problem, I'd done that out and back mile numerous times walking.

Well, what I thought would be easy ended up being a bit rougher than I anticipated. I walked for a minute or so, then started to jog. My back decided it was going to go numb and not want to go out and play. Great, I thought, what a nice way to start. I kept going though, telling myself that I had been numb a few times before when I had just been walking, so maybe it would calm down. It didn't calm down, but I was able to kind of grin and bear it. I ended up doing the run-walk-run throughout that first mile and it went okay despite my complaining back. I did have a bit of a struggle with breathing, but I figured that was to be expected since I was picking up the pace and hey, I was running not walking.

I got to the end of the first mile and was around a 13 min/mile with the run-walk-run method. Okay, not great, but not horrible for my first mile back I told myself and turned around to head back home. The second mile was fairly similar to how I felt during mile one. I didn't plan well enough on my intervals, so I ended up just sort of picking points to run to basically. Was happy to finish at just over 26 minutes for both miles combined.

So, this was a good learning experience for me. It told me where I am in that I need to do some conditioning most likely before shooting for longer running intervals. And, I need to find a way to let myself know when I need to run until I get my Garmin for Christmas. Might see if there's a podcast I can use for the next couple of weeks or so for that. I'm not disappointed with myself because hey, I got some running in! I know with training that I'll be faster before I know it. Just need to listen to my body and do the work.
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