Race Day

I ran my first 5K race today (I don’t count my inflatable obstacle courses as we don’t run them) since my accident. I probably could have last summer, but I was timid and waiting for the “right” race.

One of my husband’s cousins put today’s race on Facebook a while back, and I clicked interested. Then my co-worker mentioned it, we realized that we were talking about the same race and our team was born. Fortunately, she was the captain 🙂 It is a great cause, the Sexual Assault and Crisis Center. We didn’t raise as much as we hoped, but a little more than we thought we would.

The biggest issue  was my week leading up to it: do I run? A lot? Fast and short or long lazy distances?  It had been so long since I had a pre-race week, and it’s not like I ran that many to begin with. Plus, my heavy run days tend to be Fri-Sat-Sun because of work, and I didn’t want to load up right before the race and have tired legs.

In then end I walked a lot. I did run a fast 2 miles on Friday–before I walked an hour and a quarter with a friend. Daisy got her time out with me too, and she walks quickly. Our walked mile would have been 15 minutes, except someone had to go to the bathroom, and it was really 15:30.

I am not sure if I will repeat that for my next 5K (and there will be another, soon) or not. I certainly didn’t have any problems running, and my legs felt good. But maybe some speed work outs and drills earlier in the week would have increased my time? Or maybe in the weeks leading up to it? I guess I will be playing around before each 5K to see what works. Good thing I had already planned to do three this summer!

I think I could have gone a bit faster, but I had no idea what the course was like and I didn’t want to get slammed with a hill at the end (which happened in my last race. See, I DO learn things!) They started us up a hill, and then we went down one we had to return, and this is where I love my hilly home area: I use the term “hill” loosely. Really, they were just gentle grades and I passed several people going up them (who frequently passed me going back down the hill).

Next year I will know where to kick it into gear (the team agreed that next year is a must). As it was, I didn’t start sprinting until I realized I could suddenly see the finish line. And who knew, I had enough left at the end to sprint for the finish.

I finished in 29:26, which is less than one minute slower than my last race. I was pretty pumped when I realized that my previous race was at the end of  the season, whereas this is just my beginning. I was even more excited about being 68th out of over 400 participants.

Now, not all of them ran. In fact, most of my team did not. So after finishing, I walked back to find them and walked the rest of their way with them. Nice cool down!

 

 

 

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Weekly Rundown

I decided not to do a rundown two weeks ago because  I had a cold and, well, my exercise was not terribly exciting. I did exercise, but it was a lot of walking and yoga. Then last week, I’m not sure what happened except life was busy and I was onto this week before I even knew it. Now it’s Saturday and I better get posting or I will be in next week!

I am working with a mix of outdoor and treadmill runs now and I am loving it. I get out for my long runs and then do some quick speed sessions on the treadmill. Hoping that will translate to faster miles on my long runs too. Those hills are slowing me down  🙂

And, as usual, it is hard to get a balance in my workouts. I wanna run. Hard to make time to do yoga (which is important to stretch out my muscles so I can keep running), and the weights have pretty much gone by the wayside. Now that it is–finally–warmer, I have to fit in Daisy walks and horse activities. I know, it is a terrible life I lead.

Monday:  was once again my day off.

Tuesday: Following a ten-hour day, it is hard to get home and do anything besides feed the horses and eat dinner. Now that the days are longer I would like to do more but our dinner time is fairly strict, and, sadly, I have the mindset that once I eat, I am done for the day. I guess I need to get over that! Meanwhile, I did do a 1 mile walk in 20 minutes on the treadmill between horses and dinner.

Wednesday: I snuck in a quick easy mile (10 minutes) on the treadmill when I got home. I followed that with 15 minutes  of stretchy yoga. I have been doing a short routine  that fits in easily and on the weeks that I do it four or so times, I am actually quite flexible. I came up with it for a friend who had never ever done yoga before,  so I am rather proud of how well the flow works and accomplishes its goal, which is to calm and increase flexibility.

Thursday:  I did manage to do weights, but only 2 sets of 10 reps with 5 burpees in between sets. I only do weights to help with my running, so they are never a priority for me to do a lot or even more than I have to.  I followed the weights with my 15 minutes of stretchy yoga.

Friday: My long run. I picked my destination, which was a 5.22 mile route filled with lots of big hills. It was one of my favorite routes earlier in my running career, but I hadn’t actually run it since the accident. I did walk it last year with Daisy, and I have run parts but not the whole route. I was actually nervous as I laced up my sneakers.  Telling myself that it would be fine, and that I could turn around sooner if I felt the need (while knowing in the back of my head that I would never do that after I had set a goal), I headed out the driveway. It was a fabulous run. It wasn’t a fast run, my splits averaged around 11 minutes and it took 58:19, but it was still a fabulous run.  The hills really didn’t bother me and once again I realized just how much more in shape I am than I was last year. I think all the flights of stairs I made sure to get in during my walks at work really helped with the hills, although my lower back ached slightly after the run, telling me I need more core work so my back is supported better going up hills. More planks and burpees are in my future.

Saturday: I did a quick treadmill run. As I mentioned above, I am trying to increase my time, and I did 2 miles in 18 minutes. Which is pretty dang good for me! Maybe on a relatively flat trail, I could come close to that outside.

Sunday: A busy day–I managed 21,000 steps and, yes, I slept very well that night! I started off with a long “relaxing” run. It was meant to be relaxing, anyway. I did 4.31 miles, and I didn’t hurry much with the first three. But I have always considered myself a distance runner, as my miles naturally tend to get faster on long runs. So I spontaneously decided to see how fast I could do the fourth mile. It was certainly my fastest, and it felt pretty good. But the hill made my heart rate spike about 10 beats higher than my friend the cardio RN had freaked out about last time. Oops. Maybe I shouldn’t work quite so hard going up hills. Happy to say it does drop immediately when I reach the top. Stupid hills. Later in the day I  got on my horse for the first time this spring. About time! Of course, I spent half an hour cleaning the mud and spring shed and trimming her mane. My ride lasted about 10 minutes since the ground is still mucky and soft everywhere. But I had a great time playing with her, and she seemed to enjoy the attention. Last thing I did was finally get Daisy out for a walk. I had promised her, and she had a blast, sniffing up and down the road for our 1.44 mile walk. I’m starting her out with short distances since we are just beginning for the season and she needs to get in shape for longer walks.

Outside….FINALLY!

I bought another pair of sneakers to run outside in. I know there will be weather throughout the spring and summer that will force me inside on the treadmill.  As I live on a dirt road, getting all the dirt out of the treads so my carpet at the end of the treadmill belt doesn’t get a little (or big) pile of dirt is near impossible. I learned this last summer.

So I finally bit the bullet (sneakers aren’t cheap) and ordered them. I figure in the long run (hee hee), they will both last longer as I switch off and I won’t need another pair as soon. They arrived Monday April 2nd.

And the weather abruptly dropped cold. Not that I couldn’t have run outside, but it simply wasn’t inviting with the cold wind whipping us every time we ventured out. And then it rained every other day 😦

Today was sunny with no wind and only puffy white clouds floating around. Ah, it was beautiful! Teeshirt and hoodie kept me warm–almost too warm by the end.  New sneakers worked as expected, and it was just the most beautiful run.

Last year the first hill gave me issues, and it was my third run before I made it up at a run.

Floated right up it this morning 🙂

I feel like I am in such better shape than last spring and oh, it makes me happy. I did 3.34 miles in 35 minutes, which is not quite as fast a pace as I have been running on the treadmill. But throw in six hills (some bigger than others, but definitely some substantial ones) in those 3.34 miles and I feel it was  definitely a decent run.

Too bad we are expecting freezing rain tomorrow!

 

Weekly Rundown

Last week in March! There is definitely a spring vibe in the air, even if it is only wishful thinking. The days get bright earlier and stay light longer.

I find that I am not quite as ready for bed as I was two weeks ago–although I still sleep as well, and almost as quickly! I also find that I am more ambitious  with my workouts, willing to work harder and longer.

Monday: in the spirit of getting ready to run outside, I decided to go at a faster pace. I had been using the presets, which are great for conditioning as they vary the pace, but I wanted to see if I could run a solid 2 miles at a continuous pace. Turns out, I can! It was only 10 minute miles, but it is a good start at this time of year. Especially since I didn’t pass out when I was done, and I did it after a 10-hour work day 🙂

Tuesday: took the day off, except for my walk at break.

Wednesday: As I don’t have all that much time when I get home from work, especially since the horses seem to want to be fed and their stall cleaned like every night, I squeezed in a 20 minute walk on the treadmill. Twenty seems to be the magic number, since it was a 20 minute run on Monday after work too.

Thursday: I kinda took Thursday off too, although I did a brisk 15 minute walk at work during my break. Getting out of my office and striding about the hospital for 15 minutes (especially when it is nice enough to go outside) refreshes me and helps me get back to work in a relaxed mood. I also did 10 minutes of stretching yoga after work for further relaxation. It is a short routine, but I have been doing it more regularly and I can see that I am getting more flexible than just by doing long practices twice a week.

Friday: Still thinking I needed some solid runs behind me, I decided to run a 5K on the treadmill.  I did the first mile at 6.0, the second at 6.2 and the last at 6.4 MPH.  I felt incredibly good afterwards as I stretched it out. My first race I signed up for is at the end of the month, and I feel pretty positive about being able to finish it decently now.

Saturday: going back to the preset workouts, I did a 30 minute run (about 2.5 miles). I followed that with a 10 minute walk. I had discovered previously that I could do arm dips (reverse pushups?) on the treadmill (did I mention how short I am?) using the side handlebars. I hadn’t done any in quite a while, and for some reason I thought 4 sets of 4 dips spread throughout the 10 minute walk was a good idea. I mean, it was, but oooh, my muscles reacted the next day!

Sunday: another run on the treadmill. Funny how I no longer dislike the treadmill as much as I used to. I will be happy to get back outside, but I won’t really mind the days weather forces me inside. And I am very happy that I have the treadmill, so weather no longer controls my exercise routine. Now if Mother Nature would just let it be spring!

 

Weekly Rundown….

…..kinda

I haven’t been putting out my weekly posts, and not only because I have been busy with my husband’s health issues. I also changed my work schedule  and, of course, the first week of the new schedule was the week after my husband’s heart attack, so getting used to that during stress was, um, fun.

I am more used to it now, and have less stress. I was offered four ten-hour days with Fridays off, so of course I took it! The beauty is I get three days off in a row…..the downside is that I work 6:15 to 4:45, which means it is hard to get in a decent amount of time before or after work for exercise.

Also, I have been doing pretty much the same thing for the last few weeks, which makes it hard to think of new ways to write about it.  Basically treadmill running interspersed with yoga. I haven’t even been doing weights as I have been cleaning the horse barnyard every other night as each layer of ice lets go of muck. I  figure the heavy wet mess is a good substitute for weights, plus my shoulders and arms hurt enough. Good for my core too, as I have to stabilize before slinging the pitchfork load onto the manure pile.

I did start running the three days in a row, which was pretty exciting that I could do that weekly without my knee giving out. It has been six weeks so far, and I even added a short run before work once a week for the last two weeks. The first run on Friday always seems hard, but by Sunday I am loving it.

The weather has been slowly turning (after three snow laden Nor’Easters in three weeks), and it feels fresh and almost warm out there.  I am really excited to start running outside now. If only Mother Nature will cooperate! The good thing is that it is light until after 7pm now, so once I can get outside I can do a quick 2 mile run after work once or twice a week.

Happy Accidents

I was doing my yoga last week and I had a thrilling moment when I sat down, absently and automatically placing my legs in Lotus.

One of the things I miss most in the two years since the accident shattered my knee is sitting tailor  fashion with my legs crossed. I don’t think I have mentioned this before, but I am, as one friend likes to say, vertically challenged–5’0″ on a good day. So I frequently sat cross-legged when my feet didn’t reach the floor, or when I had to sit on the floor, or any opportunity that it would seem comfortable.

They did a fabulous job getting my knee back together, but the muscles are very tight and I still can’t bend my knee enough to sit on my heels. At least, not without some hysterical screaming from the pain. I try to avoid that.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t really been trying to increase the bend. I can ride, and run, and work around most yoga moves, so I figured it is what it is. When I stretch out, I push the leg to bend as much as possible, but I wasn’t doing any special PT to make it bend more.

I still have to wear a light brace everyday to give it support.  I use a pull-on neoprene for most daily use, and a bit heavier one for actual exercise. I have tried twice to give it up, once last March (my leg didn’t like it at all), and once last August (my leg was fine the first week but quite unhappy the second). I will probably try again this summer, but if I have to wear a brace on my leg for the rest of my life in order to be active, I can live with that.

But I am gleeful beyond description that an ability I figured lost to me forever has returned. It’s not perfect, my right leg is three or four inches in front of the left one if the left one is tucked in properly. But it IS a cross-legged position 🙂 and-

-I can sit in Lotus at the end of my practice, breathing deeply and happily.

Monthly Stats….

….for January. February was rather a lost month for posting due to our  “excitement” on the health front. Hopefully things are slowly getting back to normal.

Last month stats

So my Endomondo tracker doesn’t  track my treadmill miles. Considering that is all I have been doing since the weather makes it inconvenient to go outside, to have an accurate count, I have to add  all  my workouts together.

So I did! My January total was 38.8 miles.

This is where my record keeping addiction comes in handy. I have a Fitbit too, but a) it totals every step I take into  my daily miles and b) it doesn’t think I have gone very far on the treadmill. It tracks my steps, say 3000 for a walk on the ‘mill, but thinks I have only gone about a quarter-mile. Haven’t quite figured that out yet.

But I have my handwritten journal too, where I write down what I did and how I felt–Fitbit and Endomondo don’t know if it was hard, or if I was proud I accomplished it, or if I changed my workout based on time or feelings. That’s where I got my actual  mileage.

Thank goodness for my Dad’s genes 🙂

An Oasis of Calm

So people who don’t exercise always look at me and say “why?!”

There are a ton of reasons. I like pizza, and yet I still like to fit in my clothes the next day. Being healthy (not withstanding the pizza) is important to me. I think exercise is important in one’s life, and while I certainly won’t look down on someone who doesn’t exerise, I will always encourage someone to try a new activity and see if it speaks to them.

But the biggest reason I exercise is that it keeps me sane.

Three weeks ago my husband had a heart attack. He’s only 43, but had smoked for 24 years. This is my PSA to say, please don’t smoke. He had one artery–the one that delivers 70% of your body’s blood–blocked at 100%. And another artery blocked at 90%.  His job is quite active, and he eats fairly well, so again, a PSA for not smoking.

My second PSA is to say, if you think you might need to go to the ER, go! We spent quite a bit of Thursday night discussing what might be wrong, before we decided  he’d be fine. No one wanted to be the one to say “we ought to go!”  The next morning he went to work, then decided to come to the ER because of shoulder pain–he thought he might have torn his rotator cuff. Come to find out he was having a serious heart attack. Clearly, we weren’t smart enough to make the decision to go to the ER.

Fortunately for me, from the time they decided to move him from the hospital where I work to the hospital an hour south where  the cardiac specialists are, to when I went home, fed the horses, let the dogs out, met the person driving me south and actually arrived at the hospital, they had already put his first stent in. I didn’t know just how bad it was until they had started to fix it. Thank goodness. He spent the next four days in the hospital, having his second stent put in on Monday and coming home on Tuesday.

I traveled back and forth for the five days. I was fortunate enough to  have drivers over the weekend, and then drove myself on Monday and Tuesday. Since we have the animals, it wasn’t practical to go down and stay.

Not that our neighbors weren’t willing to help. I came home on Saturday to find out that someone had plowed our driveway, clearing the four inches of snow received overnight. Other offers were pouring to help, for which I will be forever grateful. But I don’t trust the horses around people who just aren’t used to horses. Sometimes the beasts move unexpectedly, although not maliciously, and they are a bit heavier than the dogs when they step on you. And so I traveled.

And each morning before I went down I got on the treadmill. That little bit of normalcy gave me the opportunity to run out my anxiety and worry and stress.  For those thirty minutes, my legs pumped, my breath was a struggle to get even and full and my brain was focused on running smoothly. When I got off and showered, I was calm and ready to face the day.

I have always felt better after exercising, for a lot of reasons. There is the “hey, I did it, even when I really didn’t want to.” And the “geez, my body is getting strong, I can’t believe I finished that workout” feeling.  My mood improves (those endorphins are wonderful things), and I can deal with problems better after even a 15 minute walk. I have always realized that nature and exercise make me happy, so of course it was my go-to during such a difficult time.

And I sincerely believe it made it easier to bear. So if anyone is looking for a reason to start an exercise program, I think that is a pretty good one!

PS – it was Saturday afternoon before I got around to asking if they had checked out his shoulder. There was nothing wrong with it, the pain was due his shoulder and arm being starved of blood. Also, he hasn’t had a cigarette since he walked into the emergency room 🙂

 

Weekly Rundown

Trying to get back on track here, so I’m even posting it on a Monday to start the week off right! Can’t guarantee what’s going to happen next week, I will definitely be distracted by the Olympics 🙂 They were always on during my childhood, and I haven’t broken the habit yet.

This week was a good one: I got to exercise for longer periods and I only took one day off. The cold did stress my knee out a little, but I adjusted my workouts accordingly.

Monday: I hopped on the treadmill and did a preset workout for weight loss. I picked the 30 minute run, which, with the warm up and cool down, works out to about 2.5 miles running.  I had been so tired from work that I just didn’t want to do it, but it felt awesome and then I was so happy afterwards.

Tuesday: I had planned to walk on the treadmill and then do some yoga, and that is exactly what I managed to do! I did another, walking, weight loss preset on my treadmill for 30 minutes. It is a bit slow but it varies my speed so I don’t have to worry about changing my intensity, and I get to read on my tablet while walking 🙂 I did 20 minutes of yoga afterwards. I mixed in a lot of stretching poses with a few leg strength moves.

Wednesday: off, although since I knew I wasn’t exercising when I got home, I did 9 flights of stairs during my 15 minute break at work.

Thursday: another run day. I did a 30 minute preset workout, which ranges from 5.9 to 6.2 MPH–with a low of 5.6 and a high of 6.5 thrown in . It felt really good; and my breath was quite even while running, even with the speed changes.

Friday: I planned on walking and some weights, but regular life interrupted. I did manage a 20 minute walk on the treadmill. But I had to put heavier blankets on the horses as the temp was dropping again, which always takes a bit longer during the evening chores;  and I spent some relaxing time with my husband hashing over our day.

Saturday: I hopped back on the treadmill (although not in the morning as planned), and ran another preset for 40 minutes. It topped out at 6.8 MPH, and while my knee ached  a bit towards the end, it still felt awesome. I finished off with 14 minutes of stretchy yoga.

Sunday: I had planned a run, but since my knee was cranky, I decided on a long walk instead. The longest walking preset is 30 minutes, but I got around that by doing a 30 minute walk followed by a 20 minute walk for a 50 minute workout. I like doing the presets as they vary the pace, raising the intensity at times without my having to think about how long I have been going at a certain pace. I find I enjoy the treadmill much more if I don’t think about how long I have been on there.

Weekly Rundown

Another double week post–I need to catch up! We will see what happens next week 😉

Wish I could say I’m not writing ‘cuz I’m exercising, but that’s only part of it. I am happy to say that my workouts are getting longer, which is definitely a goal.  But then the rest of life gets in the way of writing about my fun.

I did get to run a lot the first week, which made me very happy. I hit the treadmill four times, and ran several miles. On  Wednesday I accidentally hit the stop key eleven minutes into the 30 minute run and simply started over. Forty minutes  later, I decided a 15 minute cool down followed by stretching  was a good idea. I felt deliciously tired 🙂 My knee was a little cranky, but fine the next day, so I can do that again.

I didn’t get quite as much running the second week, as we had some hiccups. On Tuesday I wanted to run on the treadmill, but we lost power at the house. It was on when my husband got home, but was off by the time he had finished cleaning out the driveway–we had a bit of an ice storm, which makes sense that we lost power. The weather people said it was going to be a warm day with downpours, but what we got was a frozen day with continuous drizzle.  Ah, Mother Nature.  We did get our power back, but a bit late for the treadmill. At least we got to cook dinner.

We went snowmobiling on Saturday and I was highly amused that my Fitbit gave me a ton of steps. I had resigned myself to a low step count for the day since we would be riding–I even considered getting up early to run to get some in. Of course, we left at 5:30, so it would have been really early. But over the course of 7 hours of riding, the Fitbit tracked 26,000 steps and 400+ flights of stairs. I decided to take it, as I was doing quite a bit of work, steering and bouncing around on the snowmobile. And when I went to rake the horse paddock the next day, my triceps protested quite vehemently! So I am pretty sure I worked out the day before, so I just did some yoga to stretch out in the afternoon.

Image may contain: sky, mountain, cloud, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature    Snowmobile fun!Image may contain: one or more people, sky, tree, snow, outdoor and nature