Reasons to get out of bed…

Posts tagged ‘Treadmill’

Round Lady Running

I ran!

I ran, I ran, I ran! I am so stupidly excited about this!!!

If you’re not a regular reader, or you’ve forgotten the details, let me catch you up: I was a bit of a runner (not serious by ANY standards!) and then I got pregnant. I was sidelined for months thanks to morning sickness, major food aversions, and general exhaustion (I had no idea building such a tiny human was so tiring!). I saw my doctor last month and she gave me permission to run, but only for 5-10 minutes at a time, which I assumed would be my body’s max anyway. Afterall, I haven’t run since September.

Once getting cleared, I was really nervous about the belly jiggling and feeling awkward in the tiny gym at my office. But I worked up my confidence with yoga and the arc trainer at the gym (sort of a cross between a stair master and an elliptical). I went down for a late lunch-break on Friday and found the gym was empty! I was so pumped!

decision to try

My goal for the walk/run was a total of 2 – 2.5 miles, and I was hoping to run 1/4 mile, walk, run 1/2 mile, walk, run 1/4 mile. But I figured I would go with however I was feeling – good or bad.

I warmed up for 1/4 mile and then increased the speed to an easy, slow run. My legs were wanting to increase the speed, but the ligaments in my belly (which vaguely hurt all the time from the expanding tummy thing) were not loving it. They quieted down pretty quickly though and I continued on.

By the time I looked down to see how I was doing, I had almost run an entire mile! So I finished the mile and slowed back to a walk (my slow mile was a little over 10 minutes and I didn’t want to push my luck).

Honestly, the belly wiggled a little, but not nearly as much as I expected (I may have been worried that it would bounce frantically like my ponytail) . I feel like I want to look into some sort of weight belt or something though, just to hold it up a little (suggestions will be taken happily!).

My end distance totals were as follows:

  • .25 mile walking
  • 1 mile running
  • .5 walking
  • .5 running
  • .85 walking
  • Total: 3.1 miles (1.5 running!)

I basically did a 5k at lunch (which is what I liked to run on my lunch breaks before becoming preggers). I’m so excited because I didn’t think I could do it. I would love to run a real 5k super round (like 8 months pregnant, not just the 5 months that I am now) and this feels like the first step towards that. Honestly, my legs felt like I could have kept running, but I didn’t want to over do anything.

challenge yourself

And one of the benefits of the yoga was that I knew some stretches for my tummy after running (which I have NEVER focused on before).

I know this seems like a really small accomplishment, especially to runners (heck, even to the old me who happily ran a 10k), but it feels amazing to me in my new body that I’m still trying to figure out.

Yay! I can still call myself a runner!

You are a runner

Finally Back! (To Excercise, Blogging, and Feeling Human)

If you read my last post with puzzles, you’ll already know my news! Let me start off by giving you the answers to the puzzles and then I’ll talk about why the news basically put me on the injured list that I’ve been whining about for a while.

  1. Expecting (X-Peck-Ting, although I think I totally messed this one up, I forgot to add the T and the “peck” was way too small and hard to see – my fault if you couldn’t get it, sorry! Clearly, I will never be a professional puzzler)
  2. Knocked up
  3. Riding the baby train
  4. For the fans of Grease: it’s a “(A defective keyboard:) missing a period” (based on a line from Rizzo)
  5. A bun in the oven

So if you haven’t gotten it yet: I’m pregnant! Woo! I’m very excited about this because I was told years ago (by a pretty lousy doctor, obviously) that I’m infertile… but I’ll talk about all of that in another post. We were “trying” though, so this isn’t a super scary surprise. Right now, I’m going to talk about why that led to no running (and almost no posting).

If you’re a runner, you’ve probably seen all sorts of pregnant ladies running. Here’s a picture from one of my favorite blogs:  Steve in a Speedo?! Gross!

Check out more pictures like this and Steve's awesome blog by clicking on the picture.

Check out more pictures like this and Steve’s awesome blog by clicking on the picture. (This is a picture of his wife and her running buddy)

However, running is actually what made me decide to take a pregnancy test. (I’ve always been crazy irregular so “being late” is a common occurrence for me… to the point that I don’t know what “on time” really means!) Why would running convince me to take a test? Well, I’ll tell you.

On a Thursday back in September, I was on the treadmill in my office building for a nice lunch-break run (which at the time was really common for me). I was doing a decent pace (not easy, not hard) and by the one mile mark I was in some serious pain. Despite only having an energy packed snack (it was probably a banana), I thought I was going to ralph all over the treadmill (I’ve never before felt as though my small intestine was agreeing with my stomach that upchucking would be a wise idea). By 1.8 miles, I had to slow to a walk because I was in enough pain/worried about being sick on a treadmill. 1.8 miles was a little disheartening when I would normally run a 5k on my lunch break. I walked for another mile and went back to work, and felt fine the rest of the day.

That Saturday was the Diva Dash! I felt mostly great for the obstacle-packed run (which was a ton of fun) but during the longest stretch of uninterrupted running, I had that awkward sick feeling again. I went home and took a pregnancy test but totally did it wrong so it didn’t give a response per se, and I just assumed it was negative because I thought I was infertile.

A week later, I decided to take another test, this time with my wonderful boyfriend there. We held hands and read the results together: two lines (positive)! It was odd when I mentioned to my doctor that she was the first person I told. I think everyone thought my wonderful boyfriend (of over 10 years, in case you’re new to the blog) should have been the first person… but I didn’t have to tell him.

Right, so why haven’t I run (or really blogged) since then? Because my first trimester was brutal! I was really sick (there was a period when I threw up about 4 times a week) and was constantly nauseated. I also had a ton of food aversions (no real cravings yet): simply the thought of bread or dairy made me want to yak. One day, I had to drive home on the highway next to a Hood Milk truck (with pictures on the side). I literally used my hand to block the truck from my vision and audibly repeated anything I could think of that felt like the opposite of milk to keep me from throwing up on the highway. Most of the chant was “pickles, vinegar, pickles, pickles, pickles, vinegar (::gag::).” Fun fun! I’m already a vegetarian… so my diet was crazy limited. If I could have lived off of salad with Italian dressing, pickles, oranges, and tomatoes, I would have! Thank goodness for my wonderful boyfriend adding in some real nutrition. I lost a total of 8 pounds during the first trimester (approx 6% of my total weight – don’t worry, I promise I have gained all of it back, plus some).

I was also inconceivably tired. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I had a full-time job, got my Master’s degree, and was a regular runner at the same time! I managed all of that without being a total zombie. But this challenge? Nope! There was a solid two weeks (and picture a bell curve, that was the apex, but the surrounding time wasn’t awesome) where I would come home from work and be too tired to get off the couch. Literally, getting an apple from the kitchen took too much effort. I don’t know how military wives with deployed husbands/single women/mistresses do it! If it weren’t for my super wonderful boyfriend, I wouldn’t have eaten at all during that time!

So clearly, running was out of the picture!

But I’m back! I went to the gym at lunch on Friday and hit up the Arc Trainer! It was only 20 minutes and only on level 2… but I’ll take it! At least I made it there! My doctor told me that because I took the break from running, I shouldn’t run for more than 5-10 minutes without a walking break… and I’m pretty sure my body would whole-heartedly agree with her. I’m going to try the treadmill this week. I hope it goes well.  (And I hope the baby bump doesn’t jiggle too much… that will be weird!)

Oh, and happy new year!

Running Disaster, Crosstraining Convert!

I am a running disaster… seriously, I have hurt myself TWICE with my ipod! Lame! The first time was a few months ago, before the Run to Home Base, where I scraped my hip like crazy just on my ipod case! So my mother bought me a new case that was more running friendly. What did I do? I managed to get an inch long scratch on the soft patch on my upper arm from the velcro! That’s right, I didn’t line the velcro pieces up well so it scratched my arm for about 6 miles. The end result – an inch long (but luckily very shallow) slice on the tender part of my arm.

If that’s not pathetic, I don’t know what is!

That happened on Wednesday night, last week. I was planning to go running again on Thursday but between my lameness and the demotivating heat, I called it a night and melted into my couch. But I wouldn’t let myself get away with completely skipping the workout. I decided that on Friday, I would use the stairmaster at work. I would have run on the treadmill at work, but during lunch breaks it always makes me feel like I’m being weak. If I run on my lunch break, I can really only get in about 35 minutes of working out between time wasted getting into my gym clothes, and then stretching, showering, changing, and getting back to work. I can really only get in about a 1/4 mile warm up, about a 2 mile run, and a 1/4 mile cool down. I feel like I’m leaving so much still in the tank. So why not cross train instead?

I went down to the gym to use the stairmaster… funny thing about that though… the gym in my office building doesn’t have a stairmaster. Wow! Clearly, I have never paid attention to what anything in there is besides the treadmills! Oops! So I used the elliptical instead. I have only been on an elliptical once before, at the gym-I-actually-pay-for-but-never-go-to. That gym is one of those giant warehouse gyms with hundreds of people at any given time (think Planet Fitness… but I think mine is just a more local version with only a few locations). So, if one doesn’t know how to use a particular machine, there are a ton of witnesses to one’s mishaps. And I know that “no one is judging your workout and even if they are, who really cares?!” But I don’t like to look awkward and confused in front of so many attractive people.

Side note, why was everyone on the elliptical at my real gym always looking flawless (full makeup, hair down and styled, matching velour sweatsuit) and never breaking a sweat!? Seriously? Annoying! Meanwhile, the people on the treadmills were always more normal: a variety of weights from thin to overweight and moving at a full range of speeds. And even the thin walkers were sweating a storm! Ok… rant over… but that’s why it was easier to feel at home with the runners.

While I tried that elliptical, I used it on “manual” and it wouldn’t register my movement on the screen unless I was sprinting, there didn’t seem to be a walking-equivalent, and I never went back to one of those machines.

Until last week… at my office gym where I was literally the only person in the entire room. No one could judge and I could figure it out without any pressure. Since I failed on that other machine with “manual,” I figured I would try the “cardio” setting at the office gym. It was great! Honestly, I wasn’t awesome at the rhythm of the machine and I was either stubbing my toe on the front of the foot holder or falling off the back, but I had a nice time and my quads were so feeling it! I’m really going to try to do that at least once a week.

And it left me feeling worn out but with enough time to also use the upper body machine. My arm muscles were on fire the next day, which is a feeling I totally love.

So maybe that stupid velcro scratch did me some good after all.

And now I’m off to run the Finish on the 50 10k! And after completing the 10k (which I will hopefully rock, aka run the entire time even if I’m lamely slow)  and running on the field at Patriot’s Stadium, they have picture opps with Jerod Mayo! Would I prefer to take a picture with the awesome linebacker while I’m done up and looking nice and he’s sweaty from running on the field, instead of the other way around, heck yes! But I’ll take what I can get and I AM super excited!

Oh! And one more thing to be excited about? They have an “Inspiration Station” to entertain the non-runners where they can make signs for their loved ones! I hope I (aka my wonderful boyfriend or mother with their cameras) can find some good ones for Jill’s Best Race Signs!

My Feelings on the “Couch to 5k”

I mentioned the Couch to 5k training program in my last post and I thought I would devote an entire post to the idea.

I’m actually a very big fan of the program and I certainly recommend it to others (including my best friend, she lives half way across the country – otherwise I would run with her on her new [future] quest to be a runner this summer).

I mentioned in my last post that I didn’t actually finish the Couch to 5k program… well I sort of did because I completed two 5k races last year. Quick recap: started the program, ran 5 weeks (out of 9), got busy with life and stopped. Started again and ran another 4 weeks (weeks 4 -7), got busy with life and stopped. THEN it got nice out! The reason I stopped the Couch to 5k program was because I stopped running on a treadmill and started running outside, but I used the same training and philosophy of the program. I built up slowly and kicked some 5k butt!

A little past the finish line (and off to the side). Trying to celebrate, but also trying to drink water.

And in the process, I learned to love running.

That’s the main reason that I recommend it to other people and think it’s a great idea! There are two other reasons that explain why I think it’s a good program, so let me expand. To do that, I’m going to quote from a book I love so much I actually handed it out as gifts this holiday season (and I would recommend it to anyone!): The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik.

1) It’s ok to start slowly:

“The reason many people (non-runners) say [running] is painful is because they go out for their first run and virtually sprint for as long as they can – which isn’t very long – with their chest heaving, their tongues lolling, their muscles straining until finally they can go no further. They stop and pant, hands on their hips, wobbly kneed. ‘I – gasp – hate – gasp – running.’ they say. So would I if I ran like that every day. (page 4)” 

Running isn’t about going as fast as you can for as long as you can! Running can be enjoyable. I like that the Couch to 5k creates small goals and gives new runners the permission to walk. (Because they may not otherwise give themselves that permission but should!)

2) The treadmill BLOWS! (I’m in New England where it’s cold and dark… the treadmill is important)

“The first 10 minutes go by pretty quickly, but each minute after that can feel like an hour if you don’t figure out some distraction…. It’s a matter of perception, according to exercise physiologist and runner Ken Sparks, who does all his speed training on the treadmill. Nothing is moving around you; your brain notices that you’re working really hard to go nowhere. (page 252)”

Ms. Kowalchik recommends mixing up your workouts: vary your speed or incline based on music or when commercials are on if you’re watching TV. Or just vary speed and incline to make your workout feel like a game. Plus then you’re only focusing on short increments of time. I’ll talk about this more in another post…

However, the C25k program follows that in the early weeks by mixing up how long you walk vs run.

So if you’re new to running, good luck! Have faith in yourself! Don’t be afraid to take it “easy” – you don’t have to sprint the whole time! And make it fun if you can!

Afraid of the Gym?

Hi! Have you found my blog because you’re one of the many people searching for motivation to go to the gym? Was it your New Years Resolution and now you’re second guessing yourself? Welcome!

Last night, I finally returned to the gym after a short hiatus and I was thinking about all of the people who are starting to go to the gym this month after their own hiatus. Let me tell you, I was NERVOUS!

If you’re not familiar with me, let me tell you about my own sordid work outs. In December 2010, I started the Couch to 5k program… by myself on the treadmill at my gym. I made it about 5 weeks before school started up and I quit going to the gym. During spring break, I went back, I started around week 4 and made it to about week 7 before giving up again because life got in the way (and let’s face it, the treadmill isn’t that fun). When nice weather came around in June, I started running outside on a trail near my house. I loved it! I ran when I felt like and I walked when I felt like it and I felt that people didn’t see me long enough to judge me. I still think the Couch to 5k program is great and I totally recommend it to people even if I wasn’t really able to finish the program per se… but I ran two 5ks last year… so I sort of finished the program, right? I never really considered myself a “runner” though. But I will own up to the fact that I wasn’t afraid of the gym anymore.

I like going to a gym in my office building now that’s cold (instead of the giant, warehouse-like gym that I pay for near my house). I also like going to the office gym because it’s usually empty. I haven’t gone running since Thanksgiving, it was time to get back into it! And last night was the night! Before the holidays, I had lost my access card to my office and had to get another one. In order to get into the gym, the access card has to be put on an approved list (we have to sign something that says we can’t sue if we hurt ourselves in the office gym). I wasn’t sure if my new card had my old card’s approval, so I popped by the gym before getting ready to make sure I could get in. Unfortunately, I saw that the gym was pretty full (with people I work with everyday!)

While I was changing into my gym clothes, I was actually freaking out a little bit. How out of shape had I gotten? Would I make a fool of myself? Etc. And I had only been away for 41 days! I can completely sympathize with the gut wrenching fear one might feel after being away for a long time!

So I want to offer you a few positive thoughts before you find yourself in a locker room, clutching your sock, wondering if you should just go home (that may be personal experience talking).

  1. Lots of people are starting out at the gym as resolutions. It’s not like you’ll be in a room filled with fit people and you’ll be suffering alone. Most of the people there will be new to the gym! You’ll all be starting out together!
  2. The treadmill blows! Even someone who is rocking it out, is mostly cursing out that they are on the treadmill at all, and they are cursing out the treadmill!
  3. You’re there for YOU! Not them, so don’t worry about them!
  4. Most people aren’t actually caring about you because they are thinking about their own workout.

In fact, here is a short list of things that I think about at the gym that actually have anything to do with the people around me:

  • Wow! She’s running really fast! Oh… oh, she’s getting off the treadmill! After only 10 minutes! Yes! She may be faster, but I can stay on here longer! (even if your longer is only 20 minutes)
  • I wonder if the person next to me is thinking I’m doing a good job. Do I look good on this treadmill? I feel like I do!
  • Yay, I’m not the slowest person in here ANY MORE!

See? They’re all really about me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if other people were like that too. Please don’t feel that all eye s are on you… because they most likely aren’t!

Don’t get discouraged! No one is judging you the way you think they are! I’ve been there: thinking everyone thinks I look like a fool. In reality, no one cares how you look!

Good luck!

I’ve posted these motivational posters before, but they are my favorite, so I wanted to share them again. They are my gym mantras and I hope they help you out!

And a new one that I love:

Good luck!

Oh, and as a really sad note, I used to be able to run 5 miles without walking. Last night I could run 1 before needing a break. If you’ve had a hiatus, you might not be as fit as you once were, but if you still with it, you’ll be back to where you want to be!

New Goals!

Goals really keep me going!

Lately, I’ve had to start running inside. I typically run after work. Now that it’s dark so early, I don’t feel safe running outside on my tree-laden paths by the river; and I don’t want to run along the main streets. So I”ve taken to a treadmill in the basement of my office building.

I’m not loving it. I even had the thought “Well, once I’ve run a 10k race, I think I’m going to stop this running thing. I don’t know why I do it anyway” Bah! I used to do it because it was fun and it felt good. The book I’m reading put it perfectly into words for me in a chapter about treadmills though. I don’t have the book in front of me unfortunately, so here is my paraphrase: After about 10 minutes of running on a treadmill, your mind figures out that it’s putting out all of this effort and you’re not going anywhere!

It’s so true! She offers a lot of fun tricks though to keep yourself engaged, like varying the speed and incline (especially in time with music or along with a TV show).

While running on a lunch break (whoa!), I came up with a few new goals for myself.

First, a recap of running during lunch: I did it because I have the 5k coming up and I wanted to make sure that I got in enough training. It was nice, but I don’t think I’ll do it again. First, it was great because I was the only person there the entire time. And when I went back to work, I felt more focused.

I don’t think I’ll be doing it again because showering in a weird place isn’t my thing. When I work out at night, I’ll actually get in my car when I’m done, drive home, and shower at home. But I couldn’t stink up the office… so I showered. Also, I was bright red in the face for what felt like a solid 2-3 hours afterwards. Finally, and the main reason, I didn’t get a long enough run. I’m used to running for 60-70 minutes (there is some walking in there too). 30 just didn’t cut it for me. I felt like I didn’t give it my all.

I decided that I needed some easy-to-achieve, winter goals. My last goals were distance based, because it was light at night and I would just run by the river until it got dark enough that I should go inside. I don’t really want to spend all night at the gym though.

So these are my new goals:

  • Run an 8 minute mile
  • Run a mile at a 4.0 incline

I working to achieve these by February 1st. I don’t expect to do these goals together, but rather it would involve running the two miles back to back. In order to feel that I’ve reached these goals I will need to do them 3 times (on separate nights).

I’m a little bummed that the treadmill at this gym will only let me go up in full numbers (or at least I haven’t figured out how to do a 1.5 incline, for example). The 2.0 was ROUGH! I’m sure it will get easier though. Plus, my muscles enjoyed the ache.

As of right now, I’ve managed to run a 2.0 incline and an 8:50 mile. (I’m still happier at a flat 10:30 though…)

I look forward to enjoying the feeling of achievement!

Since WordPress has decided I can’t imbed video anymore: here’s a link to YouTube for a fun Gooooaaaallll! clip!

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