Half-marathon report

Ok, so it has been a little more than a month since I last updated this blog. The past month was spent fussing over my short and long runs in preparation for the half-marathon, which was this past Sunday.

The day dawned not-so-bright and too early for me, I was up at 4:00am, much before my 4:30am alarm went off. To say I had butterflies in my stomach is an understatement, I had whole colonies doing a dance there! I got dressed in my favorite tank top, ate 2 eggs with a slice of brown bread, visited the bathroom one last time and drove to the race location.

Finding parking was a pain in the a$$, with the biggest free parking lot full, I had to park in a paid lot, and run to the start line because there were just 15 minutes left to start. I found the start line and lined myself behind the 2:40 corrals, feeling a little too enthusiastic. I tried chatting up with my neighbor but she was too focused to care, and made me think if I should be less perky!

The race started at 7:00am, but by the time our pace group was flagged off it was 7:12 or so. I started running nice and steady, no sign of the knee pain that was bothering me the past week, I sprinted up to the 2 hour 30 minute pace group and stayed with them. At around mile 3 we hit the Rock Creek park trail, I was feeling great, until we came upon a HUGE hill, aptly called the silencer – because there is no way you can chat people up while walking(forget running) that monster. This was the first time I slowed down, it was about half a mile long and it broke my pace down considerable. I fell back with the 2:40 group now, and as the distance progressed I started feeling it in my feet. As I passed the 7 mile marker, I felt like there was nothing left in me to go on, and the thought of running 6 more miles made me cry. I said the same aloud, and one woman after another started pushing me on, saying nice things, motivating me to keep moving. I had now slowed down to a very slow jog, my runkeeper app on the phone was now showing I was doing 13 minute mile, jeez, from 11:30 a mile to this was pathetic. But that was the best I could do. At mile 9, I stopped at a Gatorade station to drink 2 cups of the awesome stuff, and when i tried to start running again, my legs refused to cooperate, so I started walking, slow at first and then I made it a brisk walk, still only at 14 minute mile according to my app. At that time I saw the 2:45 pacer run past me – 2 hours and 45 minutes(a 12:37 minute mile pace) was the target for this race, the organizers were not expecting too many people slower than that, and it seemed like I would definitely be slower. It broke my heart and I became even slower. As I was thinking this, a really big girl walked past me – she was more than double my size and was huffing and panting and looked like she was in pain, but she kept going. This was the motivation I needed to start back again, and off I went, 4 more  miles, that’s it! At that time there was also a group of women running together, one of them was a trainer and motivator of that group and she asked me if there was anyone waiting for me at the finish line. I said my baby and my husband – she said think about how ashamed your son would be of you if you quit – I ignored her comment and kept walking – because if I did quit and went to him early, he would be oh so happy! Just kidding! Mile 9-11 were a blur. After mile marker 11 hit, one girl running alongside me asked me if I wanted to run all the way through – I said hell yeah! So we ran, for the rest of the 1.1 miles, my runkeeper said I was doing 11 minute mile, with hopes that I would finish decently, if not within the 2 hours 45 minutes I originally hoped for. As I saw the finish line, I saw my husband and son, waving at me – I crossed that like, went over to them, hugged them and broke down crying. I remember telling my husband, between sobs, that I have never felt this weak physically and emotionally, that this almost broke my resolve.

What time did I finish in? 2 hours and 55 minutes, a 13 minute 20 second mile average pace. Not to shabby for a first timer, eh?

Now I am thinking of signing up for 5 mile, cross-country race that has hills, and grass and water along the course!

Trying new things

Remember I talked about how we are doing monkey bars in out boot camp class? Well apparently that is old now! Our instructor always mixes it up, brings in new moves and challenges the body in new way every few weeks, and today she said let’s do handstand! I was like – “hand what? hand stand, like you are standing on your hands? Ah, yeah, no!” But then everyone else seemed motivated enough to try that I was sucked into the black hole that is pumped up gymmers!

So off we went to the wall and handstand take #1 – I put my hands on the floor and tried to thrust my lower body towards the wall and imagined it would stick on the wall so I could just straighten my arms a bit and YAY HANDSTAND! Little did I know that my hands and legs had other plans. All I managed was a roll back onto the ground because my legs were strong enough to ‘stick’ to the wall.

Handstand take #2 – the instructor said haha yeah you did not really expect to do it that way your very first time, did you? (I actually did 🙂 ) Then she said she will hold my legs when I thrust them in the air so that I can stand on my hand while she ensures I don’t roll down. So this time with my palms on the ground, head down, I thrust my legs up towards the wall, she held them up there, but one look towards the room and I went no no no oh my god, and I collapsed!

Handstand take #3 – After the last debacle I really wanted to get it done this time. I thought closing my eyes would be better as I wouldn’t get overwhelmed by the upside down room. I did just that and this time I actually stayed up on my hands for a full 10 seconds. I had done it – a full handstand! I also did another hand stand after a break – this time for 20 seconds, yay me!

Feels good to push my body’s limits!

Body image

What do you see when you stand in front of the mirror? A lot of women see fat arms, love handles and fat thighs. With stick thin models staring back at us from everywhere, be it the grocery store check-out aisle or department store ads or even toothpaste advertisements on the television, it is no wonder that the average woman finds it hard to develop a positive body image.

Most ‘fitspiration’ messages are seldom about getting fit and mostly about looking thin/ripped/hot, it is like a woman is reduced to a sum of her body parts. And each body part needs to be a certain way for her to be perfect. Muscular but not too thick arms, ripped, washboard abs, thin, long neck with collar bones protruding, perfectly round and tight butt, narrow hips with not an ounce of fat on them, thin waist and even thinner thighs. As a result of this body ideal, a lot of young girls are getting the message that they are not good-looking enough and constantly strive to attain the impossible with potentially dangerous methods like over exercising,  under nourishing their bodies and developing anorexia/bulimia.

We owe it to our children to develop a healthy body image, to learn than we are much more than what our bodies look like, and a healthy body is what one should strive for, not a thin body, since they are two different things!

Running Progress

So my weekday running has been going really well. I manage 3 days of runs, 2 of them being short-mid distance(3-4 miles) at a fast pace(for me) and one being my long, leisure run of 6+ miles. The idea is to keep increasing the long runs by a mile a week, so I work up to 13 miles probably 2 weeks before my marathon, and taper the distance off after that, finishing the week before the marathon with short runs so I am not too tired! Phew!

I was reading that one should manage 4 days of running when training to run longer distances, which means I need one of the weekend days to run a short run at the very least. That leaves me with barely one day of rest! I tried last week and I woke up tired on Monday, after a Sunday rest day! Am I burning myself out?

Monkey bars

Remember these?

And remember how we used to fly through those bars when young? Well, we started doing the monkey bars in our boot camp this week. When I say doing I mean ‘trying’ because I could barely hang from the bar and traverse from one to the other before my heavy body and weak arms brought me down! We will continue to try these week after week till we are actually able to go from one end to the other without help! Amen to that!

Here are some who like to run……

The inspiration for the title of this post is from Dr. Seuss’ One Fish Two Fish(the book we end up reading 10 times a day, no wonder it is always on my mind!)

Last week I signed up for a half marathon in September. Yes, that is 13 miles of pure torture for someone who has only run a couple 10ks in the past at a glacial pace.

I started my training on Saturday with a 4.3 mile run, that took 49 minutes and left me dead! Hopefully putting my progress on paper will motivate me enough to go on.

Workout journal

Every week I will post a little recap of my workouts from the previous week.

Last week was intense, here is a rundown of the week.

Monday – I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning so I ended up going to the gym in the afternoon, after work, and did walk/run intervals – walking for 45 seconds at 4 mph and running for 1 min 15 seconds at 6 mph, for an hour, that was 5.4 miles. In the evening I did some resistance band pulls for the arms, and push-ups and leg lifts.

Tuesday – this was my boot camp day. We started with running to the high school gym, about a mile.

Once there we ran up and down in the rafters 10 times, this took about 1o minutes.

Next was horse pulls, in which one person wraps a resistance band around their waist and the other pulls the band back from behind and the first person runs ahead. They KILLED me!

20 pushups

40 Frog jumps

Lunge-kick combinations

Sprint one lap around the stadium (this was 0.25 miles)

20 burpees with pushups

20 jack pushups

Dunkin donuts – this is an exercise where you hold onto a rail or a wall and one leg on the floor the other leg is in high-knee position, you bend down from the waist, keeping the high-knee leg bent, touch the ground and come up. We did 40 of these on each leg.

20 more pushups

After this we ran back to the gym, again about a mile, for ab work, more strength training and cool-down.

Indoors – 100 leg lifts

Ab crunches with 8lb weight in each hand.

side plank for a minute

Normal forward plank for a minute – did 2 reps

Finally it was time for cool-down. The boot-camp leaves me exhausted but I love that it forces me to push myself. I have seen that in the last 6 months of being persistent with it, I have been able to do more, and have more energy throughout the day.

Wednesday – I normally do the bootcamp or run/walk combination, so this week I wanted to start something new. I hauled myself to the morning cycling class. This is a 45 minute intense spinning class on stationary bikes. The instructor tells us when to increase the resistance so we can simulate going uphill, when to crank up the pace, etc and by the end I was exhausted.

Thursday –  This was my boot camp day again. Workout was similar to the one on tuesday, except today we added more weights.

Friday – I did my hour long run/walk intervals.

Saturday – I normally don’t workout on weekends, but today I woke up early so I went out for a slow jog. 30 minutes at about 5mph pace, nothing spectacular!

Sunday –  We went on a hike with friends, and ended up carrying the son most of the way through, so it was a good workout.

All in all, it was a good week for working out, I ended up breaking a sweat on all of the days of the week!