Thursday, February 28, 2013

Birthday Plans for this Old Lady

 I was recently studying in my ACE Fitness Exercise Science textbook about how during intense exercise, some of the blood flow is diverted from the brain to the active skeletal muscles.  So, if the following plan seems to lack some of the common sense that I usually display, I am going to blame it on coming up with the idea during a 5 mile run on Tuesday. 
 My birthday is coming up next week, number 4-3 to be exact.  I always try to mark my birthday in some personal way.  Since the birth of my first child, on my 31st birthday back in 2001, my birthday tends to be pushed to the side in order to celebrate his birthday.  So, I tend to come up with something quiet, personal and only for me to mark the occasion.  Sometimes it is just a little on-line shopping spree, hair appointment, massage, or coffee with a friend that week.  This year I would like to mark my birthday with a special running goal.  About a month ago, when I started thinking about my birthday, I thought I would run 4.3 miles the day of my birthday and invite some of my running girlfriends to join me, followed by a trip to the local coffee shop for some "girl" time.  That is a very nice idea, and I still plan on doing that.
  But, on my run on Tuesday, the idea to run 43 miles during my birthday week popped into my head.  It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time.  I love those moments during a run, when various thoughts pop into your head, in between singing along with Pink and Fun. (my 2 current faves). Sometimes these light bulb moments pass, and I give them no more thought.  This one has been sticking there during the last 2 days.  I even sat down last night, looked at my training plan from Train Like a Mother 1/2 Marathon Training Plan, and contemplated if I can work the extra miles in.  It looks doable, even while taking my requisite 2 rest days.  I just need to make sure to make them easy miles and not push the pace, which could cause increased chance of injury.  I will be on week 6 of a 13 week plan.  The scheduled long run is 14 miles on Saturday.  My proposed plan looks as follows:

 Monday 10 miles
Tuesday 6.7 miles
Wednesday (birthday) 4.3 miles
Thursday 8 miles
Friday off
Saturday 14 miles
Sunday off

Total: 43 miles

It seems a bit daunting, but if I keep the miles "easy", and with alternating shorter and longer days, with the 2 rests days before and after my long run, I think I can do it.  I have been running 30 miles/week (with many of those miles as tempo and interval training) so this isn't totally out of reach.
 Important things to remember:
 - stretching and foam rolling is necessary post run, not just an optional activity.
- icing my shins with the 110 % compression ice sleeves will be done daily post run to prevent those nasty shin splints that may crop up
- I will listen to my body, and any signs of injury I will back off and rest as needed
- this is a personal goal, and even though I tend to be stubborn when it comes to meeting a goal, the world won't end if it isn't met.  Life can get in the way sometimes, with 3 kids, a husband, and all the demands on my time, running could be pushed to the side.  Things like illness and weather could also derail my efforts. I will be kind to myself, no matter what.
  Why am I setting this goal? I was just asking myself that as I decided to write down my goal in my Believe I Am Journal.  I wrote that I wanted to set and meet this goal in order to celebrate my birthday, and to feel "alive and well".  The "alive and well" thing is huge for me.  As I age, my mortality follows me like a shadow sometimes.  I know that sounds dramatic, and 43 is really not "that old".  It can feel old when you have a family history of heart disease.  My mother suffered a heart attack in her early 40s.  She passed away from heart disease at the "young" age of 62.  I do need to remember that she was overweight, did not exercise regularly, and did not eat the most optimal diet.  Her father also died in his early 60's  I need to remember that I am of a healthy weight, I exercise regularly, and eat a mostly vegetarian diet, with some healthy fish thrown in.  But, I also have had issues with my heart, including Wolffe-Parkinson-White Syndrome.  I'm not going to get into this during this posting, but I will share my story of that in a future post.  I had ablation to correct that condition, and came away from it mostly unscathed.  I see a cardiologist annually and am cleared to participate in vigorous exercise.  No complaints here.  Just stating all this to say that 43 does not feel so "young" when you are literally attempting to outrun your genetic makeup and mortality.  But I'm going to focus on setting and meeting this goal to "celebrate" my birthday.  I will run all these miles with joy in my heart, knowing that even as an "old lady" I am capable of doing it.  So, questions: Have you set a birthday running goal? What do you think of my proposed goal?
Wish me luck!

Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 Race #2: Frozen Foot 5K #2 Race Report

I love the Lux layer in Poppy! Perfect with the Oiselle singlet.
This was the 2nd race in a series of 3.  The final one will be March 17. The first one was on Jan.20, and I was recovering from having the flu and subsequent bronchitis.  The race was a tough one for me, so I was hoping that after one month of healthy running, I would fare better. I chose to wear my new Oiselle Lux layer in poppy color (LOVE !), my singlet on top and Lesley tights.  Because of the wind, I also wore a winter cap and gloves. 
  The weather was not the best, 25 degrees, with big gusts of wind and a wind chill that made the temperature feel like 15 degrees.  I headed to the race on my own, my family opting to stay home this time.  I arrived at the race 45 minutes before the start, picked up my number and timing chip and made a bathroom stop.  I relaxed for a few minutes, sipped on water and listened to music on my iPhone.  With 20 minutes before the race, I headed out for my warm up. Because the race starts at Elizabethtown College, there was a track next to where the race was starting. I decided to do 10 minutes of very easy warm up, with a couple strides thrown in at the end.  After a couple more sips of water, I headed to the start.  I felt great, and ready to go.  The wind was picking up, and I didn't want to wait around too long to start.
  And then we were off! The first mile is challenging, because there is a significant hill from .75 to 1.1 miles.  I was ready for it this time though, and my first mile split was 7:47.  At this time, snow flurries had started, and the wind was hitting us pretty hard.  I was grateful that this was only a 5K, and not a longer race.  The second mile had a couple of small hills, and I felt like we were running into the wind, so second split was 7:54.  I knew I had to pick it up in the last mile.  The last mile has a couple of good downhills, so I was able to pick up the pace, and completed mile #3 in 7:35.  I pushed it through the last .1 and my final time (according to my Garmin) was 24:23.  So close to a PR, but not quite! (my PR is 24:10, on a flat course).  This was still more than a minute faster than the 5K of last month, so I was happy with the result.  I know if I stay healthy I can beat my time next month. 
  After the race, I headed back to the track and did a nice slow cool down for one mile. Then inside the building to stretch and sip more water.  They had chicken soup for the runners, but since I don't eat meat, I did not partake in that.  Too bad, hot soup would have actually tasted pretty good.
So, headed home with a smile on my face.  Good improvement in the last month. I know a PR is in my near future.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Teaching an Old Dog

I haven't blogged recently, because life got super busy over here.  I started studying to become certified as a Personal Trainer.  I chose ACE Fitness, and so far I've been really happy with the online support and the study materials. 

 The difficult part has been finding time every day to focus on my studies.  The last time I was a student, I was single, and without children.  And it was many, many, years ago!! I am trying to clear the cobwebs, and find room in my brain for all this great information! I studied to become an RN, and graduated in 1994. I worked as a nurse until 2001. Then motherhood, moving overseas, and moving every 2 years got in the way of my working.  I have been a stay at home mom since then.  So, I did study some of this information, especially the anatomy and physiology.  But that was more than 20 years ago! Wow! How the time flies.  So, while the information is familiar to me, I feel like I'm starting over. The good news is, I have a passion for physical fitness and exercise physiology, so it is worth the effort to absorb the information once again.
  Studying while having the demands of home and family is definitely different. Luckily, I tend to be super organized and scheduled.  The days that I have actually set aside a block of time to study, I have for the most part, been successful.  It's just like running and training for races for me.  If I don't have it scheduled, it just won't happen.  Life still gets in the way, like all the school delays and cancellations we have had lately because of the crazy weather here in PA.  So, I have had to resort to popping in a movie in the DVD player when I need 90 minutes of quiet study time. You do what you can, right?
 I know once I earn my certification, it will all be worth it.  I am hoping to incorporate my nursing skills, along with the new knowledge of personal training, to inspire and teach people how to live healthy, active lives!