Saturday, March 31, 2012

"How was your weekend?"

Returning to work on Mondays usually means that everyone will be asking, per the obligatory Monday convo, "So, how was your weekend?"  And its a question I actually really liked being asked, because I love my life outside of work.  But its a question I never have an exciting answer to.  I usually just say, "Oh, you know, good.  We didn't do much of anything, which was nice and relaxing."  Because no one wants to hear what we really did this weekend, which was try on running shoes!

The Hubs was known as DJ Research in college because of his knack for not knowing anything about a topic one day, and suddenly knowing everything about that same topic the next day.  So when we got into running, the Hubs jumped into true DJ Research mode and learned a lot about the sport (not everything, obviously, because there is so much to learn).  Through his research we learned about barefoot running, and minimalist shoes.  The Hubs got a pair of the Asics Piranha sp2 for Christmas one year, and was hooked.  I finally got a minimalist pair 2 months ago, the Saucony Shay XC2, and let me tell you, I am hooked.  In fact, its because of that shoe that I've decided I want to become a better runner.

Its one of the most comfortable shoes I have EVER worn.  I never want to take them off.  And they are super light and great to run in.  After running in them for a week, I went for a run in my old Mizunos because I forgot my Shays at home.  Ugh.  Never again.

That said, I'm not sure if the Shays are really the best for my feet.  It really pronounces my tendency to over-pronate.  I know that means I need to work on my foot strike, but that might not be possible in the Shays.  Still, I am so enthusiastic to run that I've signed up for 3 races in the next two months!  And I don't want to change shoes while I train for those races.  I'll give the Shays until June and then decide if I should try another pair.

Despite the fact that we are not ready to buy new running shoes, this morning our little family unit found ourselves at the local athletic store trying on two new minimalist shoes: the New Balance Minimus and the Merrell Trail and Pace Glove.  I really liked the Minimus, and felt they would probably be easy to run in.  The shoe was just a tad too short (I have really long feet), and to go a size up would make the shoe too wide (I also have really narrow feet.  Horrid combination).  They didn't have the Merrell in my size, but the Hubs really didn't like them.  He said it felt like there was a bar going across the ball of his foot.  Not sure what that meant, but I'll probably check them out myself when I am seriously shoe shopping.

And of course, we can't go anywhere without Little Nugget in tow.  He was more enraptured by the bins of basketballs and soccer balls nearby than he was with any of the shoes for sale.  Though he was quite taken with a pair of hiking shoes another customer had left out, and was trying his darnedest to put his little feet in the oversized shoe until my husband said, "Hey, aren't those someone's actual shoes?"  Well, yes, now that you mention it, they do look rather tatty.  So we redirected him to the basketballs and tried to teach him to dunk.

When we left, I noticed that the owner of those shoes still hadn't returned.  Hmmmm....

So this Monday, when co-workers ask, "How was your weekend?" I'll refrain from telling them the boring and slightly weird truth of, "Great! We tried on minimalist running shoes and Nugget tried on some invisible customer's tatty hiking shoes!" and just say my usual, "Nice and relaxing.  How was yours?"

Saturday 5K PR

Last night my overambitious self told my husband that I was going to run 10 miles the next morning.  Then I had a beer.

And while I was enjoying this beer, it occurred to me that in order to get a long run in (10 miles is long for me), I would need to run early in the morning, and therefore I would need to prepare everything the night before.  And the thought of preparing everything the night before on a FRIDAY, when I've spent all week preparing for the next day, just totally zonked me.  I needed a break from preparing for tomorrow.

So I poured myself another beer, and said, "Self, we're just going for a 5K run tomorrow.  But we'll do it hard."  And Self said, "ok."  Because that's all Self says.

My goal was to run this 5K (turned out to be 3.14 miles) under a 9:00 minute/mile pace.  I am proud to say that I ran it at a 7:59 minute/mile pace.  I was kinda shocked that I manged to come in a whole minute faster than intended.  The route does incorporate one moderately hilly portion and one gradually hilly portion, and I do return down the gradual hill so that helped.

Tomorrow I am definitely going for the early morning 10 mile run.  And the goal: just finish.  Even if its on my hands and knees.

Friday Cardio Kickboxing

On Fridays I've started going to a cardio kickboxing class.  This is my absolute favorite class.  I've done a cardio kickboxing class before, and this current class is less cardio then my previous experiences, but it does incorporate an actual punching bag.  And it is so awesome to try to punch the *bleep* out of that thing.

This past Friday was only my second time attending, but I'm pretty much hooked.  Its a great core and agility workout.  Plus the people are awesome.  I'm laughing the whole time (which kinda makes it hard to punch, but all the more fun).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday Fun Run

This past Thursday, I set out to do a fun run.  I wasn't going to make the same mistake I made on Monday, so I decided I was just going to run for 45 minutes and shoot for covering 5 miles.  At the suggestion of a co-worker, I decided to run in a residential neighborhood near-by, looping around until my 45 minutes were up.  

My co-worker had raved about how nice and quiet this neighborhood was, but he neglected to mention how hilly it was.  Oh my gosh.  For experienced hill runners, I'm sure these inclines were nothing, but to an unassuming novice runner, they were...*gulp*...daunting.

I quickly decided, "Well, guess this is my run today!" and just tackled each hill as they came.  To my surprise, it got easier as I ran, especially when I just put my head down and ran.  Looking up the incline just made it all the more exhausting, so I just looked straight ahead and focused putting one foot in front of the other.  I think I was running an 11:00ish pace uphill.  By the time I was running on flat surface again, I was holding a 8:30ish pace, which for me was flying!  

It was a great work out, and I can't wait to do it again.  I just wish the Hubs were running these hills with me.

Wednesday Spin Class

Oh, how I hate spin class.  I hate that burning feeling in my quads, and all the sweat that drips into my eyes.  But it is such a great *bleeping* work-out, that I have to go back.

Its like my relationship with bananas.  I have always hated bananas.  ALWAYS.  I refused to eat them growing up, and even refused to eat them in high school, no matter how much my friends bribed me.  But one day I realized they were just too cheap NOT to eat.  Now I eat them everyday.

Thats how I feel about cycling class: its too good a work-out NOT to go back.  Plus, the teacher is awesome.  Super motivational.  And shows no mercy.

Wednesdays are Spin Class days.  Maybe I need to eat two bananas.

Maybe spin class would be easier if I had a cheering banana by my side.
image via Giga Granada Hills

Tuesday Boot Camp

I am very lucky that in the basement of my work building there is a small gym with an incredible staff who are very passionate and enthusiastic about fitness.  I am also very lucky that they offer some awesome classes.

On Tuesdays, Trainer H holds a class called "Boot Camp," in which he directs us through a series of exercises designed to work everything: upper body, lower body and core.  This is only my second class with him, but by the end, my body was weeping silently as I limped to the locker room.  It was a great class.  What I really love is that he incorporates weights, the stability ball, the medicine ball and mat work into this 45-minute class.

However, even after such a great work-out, I find myself still craving cardio.  This has happened my entire life; I finish a more body-work oriented class and I still want to run.  I'm thinking I may have to throw in a quick early-morning run before work, but we'll see what my time-management skills have to say about that.

I can do this in my sleep.  Because I'm dreaming.
via The Performance Edge

Monday Run in the Sun

The weather was gorgeous this past Monday--lots of sun but also lots of cool wind--so I decided to go for a run during lunch.  My goal was to make it out to a nearby lake for one quick lap around before heading back to work before the end of my hour lunch break.

Turns out that plan was waaaaay too ambitious.  That route is approximately 7 miles, and I am not yet speedy enough to run 7 miles under 60 minutes.  My looming tardiness was good incentive to keep running though, so I did make it back in 67 minutes.

Lesson learned.  Lunch time runs are not about distance.

Still, a fun run and a great way to start the week.

Lake A. via City of CP