Tag Archives: training

A Blogging Hiatus

I’ve not had much to say on the fitness/nutrition/healthy living front lately. Admittedly, my mind’s been elsewhere. With a baby on the way who has some heart issues, that’s where my … well … heart is lately.

I’m still exercising — as much as I can. Doctor said he “prefers light jogging and walking to running.” Though, I don’t know if this ever-growing belly of mine would be very comfortable for a real run anyway. And weight lifting? Limited to 25 pounds or less.

I miss it. I really, really do. And every time I see someone running, I get sad — and jealous. That’s my happy place. And I miss my happy place. And when I’m in the weight room, I feel miserably weak and lazy. Even though I know, on all counts, that I’m doing this for our darling Pickle.

So, I apologize for being “that” blogger who just leaves her page quiet for weeks on end. I think that it’s a sign I need to take a bit of a hiatus from this blog. I may be back this summer — posting periodically through the pregnancy about life and living. Now that Mr. B is on first shift, I may even have a few more recipes to share.

And I can guarantee I’ll be back after our darling Pickle is born in the fall. I’ve got a lot more goals to reach (I’m contemplating another marathon, perhaps, and some heavily increased weight-lifting goals), and I certainly have a lot more living to do. But, right now, I need to focus my energies on Pickle and on our family.

If you miss me and care to follow along on this part of my journey, you can find me at “The Pickle Chronicle,” where I’ll be writing about my pregnancy, Pickle’s heart defect and our family’s story.

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True Confessions: Half Marathon Edition

Confession time: I talk a good game. I’m just maybe not so good at playing it.

Training for this half marathon has been a roller coaster of emotions and strengths and weaknesses and everything else that goes up and down over time. When I started training for it in December, I was running a sub-8:30 pace for even my longer runs — faster than that, even, for some of my shorter runs. What’s even more? I was feeling great. And confident as a runner. And as someone who was finally done looking back at who I was and being shocked because, ohmigosh, I’m actually running.

My initial goal for this half? 2:05. It would have been a PR by at least four minutes. And, if my training kept up as it was going, I maybe could have knocked even more off of it.

I was excited and really looking forward to this race.

And, then, the most amazingly wonderful thing happened.

Baby belly

That’s a baby in there! Not a Sunday dinner.

And I got tired. Really, really tired. And sometimes, Pickle’s desperate pleas for a nap won out over an evening run. Because, holy cow!, I’m actually growing a human. (Thankfully, I never did get any morning sickness — for this I am immensely grateful.) And when I did run — and I didn’t miss a single long run (WIN!) — my exhaustion became an evil monster dragging me down, slowing me down. My 8:30s quickly became 9:30s then 10s then 10:30s. Now, I’m doing a run-walk on all of my runs, no matter the distance (10 miles, 6 miles, 3 miles). Run a mile, walk a quarter-mile — lather, rinse, repeat.

And, from many of my runs, I came home even more tired. And, worse yet, defeated — even as I tell myself (and truly believe) what a gift it is to be able to run while pregnant and what a gift it is to be carrying this child. And:

“Don’t worry, Kimi Joy, running will be there after the baby’s born — and so will your PR.” 

Still. That voice? That one in the back of my head who pushes me (admittedly, sometimes too hard) and is hard on me? She’s making me feel bad about how far I feel I’ve “fallen.” As much as I believe that if you run, you’re a runner — regardless of your speed — I miss my 8:30s. Because that’s when I felt BEST as a runner, as myself. That’s when I felt most proud.

Right now? I’m not feeling proud. I’m stressed out and worried about this race — this race I was so excited to be running and so looking forward to. I find myself more nervous than I’ve been for any race. Even more nervous than I was for the marathon.

I think it’s because I don’t know what to expect.

Running while pregnant is new for me. My body feels different, it reacts differently. It’s harder to carry it over distances — even though I’ve not gained too much weight. I can’t get a handle on how to fuel this body. Because my tried-and-true fuel for my long runs? My body is processing them completely differently. And I just feel like I can’t get it right. Nothing feels right. Plus, I get tired so much sooner than I did pre-Pickle. Plus, obviously, I’m slower. And, while I’m not competitive against other people, I am immensely competitive against myself. And when I’m out there, running three minutes per mile slower than my previous races? It bothers me. More than I care to admit.

Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be sporting Mr. B’s running clothes because none of mine fit me anymore? (Picking out a fun race outfit is, like, 75 percent of the fun of racing.)

Please don’t get me wrong — this baby is more important than any race I could ever dream of running. I love this baby, I love our growing family — more than I ever dreamed possible (I mean, I’ve never even met Pickle and already, he/she is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing on my mind before I “sleep” — and the thing that most commonly appears in my dreams at night). And I really do feel honored to get to run this race with Pickle. (YAY for Pickle’s first 13.1!!!!)

I just wish I didn’t feel so weak and tired and nervous. I wish I felt more ready going in to this race.* For me and for Pickle.

*Truth be told, pre-race nerves and jitters are nothing new. In fact, they’re part of my pre-race routine. I think they’re just more prevalent this time around because it isn’t just me out there running. It’s this tiny, darling, precious gift who is just along for the ride.

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A Pre-Race Routine

So, over the past few years of running, I’ve developed a routine in the days leading up to the big race (“big” = half marathon or more). I don’t often detour from this routine, as it’s as important to my “success” on race day as the months of training leading up to it.

My routine:

  • Monday: The day I start obsessively checking the weather for race day
  • Tuesday: The day I start fretting about whether my training has been enough, has been good enough
  • Wednesday: The day I start worrying about fueling my body properly in the days before the race — and on race day
  • Thursday: The day I go back and forth about why I’m doing this — and if I even should
  • Friday: The day all of those worries intensify and become one big ol’ ball of nerves — and excitement — that makes sleeping difficult
  • Saturday: The day I wake up early for oatmeal pancakes and use the bathroom umpteen times before the race begins. And then I “race” — and stop at every bathroom stop. (I can only imagine it’ll be worse with Pickle bopping around down there for 13.1 miles.)
  • Sunday: The day I sleep in and, when I wake up, look back and still can’t believe it was me running that race on Saturday
Basically ...

Basically …

Just a few more days until the half marathon. I’m having very mixed feelings about it. More to come on that later. For now, I must get back to fretting — it is Tuesday, after all.

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A Quickie Recap of Tonight’s Run

The good:

  • Got in my planned three miles — even though I was completely exhausted and did not want to do it
  • It was absolutely gorgeous out, and the sun felt great
  • I’m still loving my shoes, ugly as they are
  • I glanced at my watch and saw my old 8:30 pace pop up a couple of time (it did not last long)
  • I realized I have a pink running skirt and can borrow Mr. B’s blue running shirt (since none of mine fit me) for the race, and I’ll look so “awesome” with the new shoes. Not sure how the race-day Bondi Band will fit in, but I don’t care because it’s my favorite ever:
Pickle's first Bondi Band

Custom made for Pickle and me for our race next weekend.

The bad:

  • It was my slowest mid-week run since I got pregnant
  • Everything felt was heavy and tired and slow
  • I was so tired the whole time, and this run was a definite physical AND mental battle

The ugly:

  • Seriously, you guys. This baby has been making me so gassy lately. It got ugly out there today. Thank goodness for the breeze. (Payback, I think, for going for a run instead of listening for Pickle and taking a nap.)

As bad as I felt out there, if I look at this list, I guess the good outweighs the bad. The ugly? I don’t know — it was pretty ugly. Still. I’m lucky to get the opportunity to run — for me and Pickle.

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Better Than I Used to Be

As I was running (a very tough, dragging-on-too-long-for-as-short-as-it-was run) along the path that runs along the freeway the other day, I looked up to see the following on a billboard:

“You’re in front of the person behind you. Stay there.”

It’s for a nearby university. But it’s fitting for fitness, too. Particularly for those who may be just starting out on the path to reaching their fitness goals. (Whispery aside: Or those who need a reminder of how far they’ve come — no matter what their disordered thinking has them believing. I’m looking at you, Mrs. B.)

You see, contrary to what the sign is saying, it’s not always about where you are in relation to the other people around you. It’s about where you are in relation to yourself.

Then and now

Who I am is who I was, but that’s only part of the story. Cuz I’m more than that, too. And my story is far from over.

Every step you take is one in the right direction. Whether it’s a fast step or a slow step, you’re still in front of the version of yourself who would otherwise still be sitting on the couch.

“I ain’t as good as I’m gonna get, but I’m better than I used to be.” ~Tim McGraw, “Better Than I Used to Be”

I think people — myself sometimes included — believe they have to be perfect to be fit. They have to be a fast runner to be a runner. Or a long-distance cyclist to be a cyclist. Or a race winner to be a race runner. Or a … well, you get the picture.

It doesn’t help that there are judgy people out there that look at you and say (all rude-like with a case of the side-eye), “Um, there’s no way you’re a runner.” (Yes, this happened.)

You’re not going to get it perfect right out the door. You’re probably going to be slower than some people (you’ll be faster than some, too). You’re probably going to have more soreness in the beginning than you anticipated. But look at what you’re doing! You’re walking a mile when normally you would have driven; you’re running for 5 minutes straight when that used to be a thing of dreams; you’re swimming two laps when you used to just dangle your feet; you lost “only” 1 pound when before you just maintained.

And don’t get me wrong, there will be setbacks. Everything in life has setbacks. Even the biggest steps forward. And there will be days you’re slower than you “should” be or can’t run as far as you “should.”

Case in point: When I stepped back into intensive training in December, I was regularly hitting sub 8:30 miles for runs up to five miles. Today? I’m lucky if I can squeak out an 11-minute mile for a two-mile run. Thank the bronchitis and a lot of travel in the month of January and a couple of other health issues that popped up. A month of off-and-on running due to situations out of my control has taken its toll. And, quite frankly, it’s pissing me off. I want to be back where I was in December. But, I have to listen to my body and take care of it when it needs rest — because I need it to go the distance (figuratively and literally). I’m fighting my way back slowly. It’s frustrating that it can’t happen overnight. It can’t, right?

So, I’m having to take another look at my training schedule and my plan. I probably won’t be hitting that half-marathon PR I was hoping for in April. And the half marathon immediately followed by the 25k in May? We’ll have to see how training goes.

But the setbacks won’t make me quit. In fact, they’ll make me push myself harder — within reason. Because I am a stronger version of myself than I was before. In that time when a setback would send me back to the sidelines.

Because I want to stay in front of that person behind me,
that version of me in my past.

So, if you’re like me and you need to hear it (over and over and over again), I’ll share the pep talk I’ve been having to give myself lately:

Breathe. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Do the best you can in the situation you’re in now. And remember — you are far ahead of that version of yourself sitting on the sidelines. Lace up your shoes, and get out there. One step is better than no step. And if you can get two in, do it.

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A Letter

As we sit down to celebrate Christmas with our family and friends, I’d like to share a quick note to those who are already looking ahead to 2013 with hopes of taking control of their health and fitness — once and for all.

Dear New Year Newbie,

Welcome! I know this was a big, scary step for you to take after all these years of saying “tomorrow’s the day.” I know because I’ve been there. It wasn’t the new year when I took that first step in to the gym. But, for me — like for you, it was a brand-new start.

I’ve walked in your shoes, and I know that it can be hard to take that step, wondering what those other people must think of you when you walk through that door. But, don’t be too scared. Most people in the gym are there for the same reason: To take control of their health and to reap the benefits of exercise.

Now, you may hear people bemoaning the presence of the “Resolutionists.” I won’t lie to you: it’s true that some people will roll their eyes or make snide comments about your presence in the gym, knowing that many who “start fresh” on Jan. 1 don’t last through February.

But, I also promise you: it’s not everyone. Some people will welcome you to the gym and provide encouragement and advice (sometimes unsolicited). A majority, though, will go about their business, lifting weights, running on the treadmill or punching the heavy bag. They probably won’t even know you’re there. Because when they’re in the gym, they are there to do work — and, truthfully, they don’t care what anyone else is doing.

That last type? That’s me.

I go to the gym to get stuff done. Don’t be offended it I don’t make chit chat or approach you and say hello. Granted, if we make eye contact, I’ll absolutely smile and say “hi.” And, if you come up to me with a question, I’ll take out my headphones and answer. (OK, if I see someone looking really lost, I’ll ask them if they need help.)

I do know it’s scary to go to the gym alone because you’re afraid everyone’s looking at you, judging you. Rest assured, they’re not. Most people are like me: They want to get a good workout in, so they’re really not judging (or even noticing) the other people who walk through the door.

But, I do offer a few words of advice to make your first days in the gym a little smoother:

  • Learn the gym’s rules. If there’s a 30-minute limit to the cardio equipment, observe it. If you have to pre-register for a spin bike, do so. If there are certain lockers reserved for specific members, don’t use them.
  • Learn the “culture” of your gym. There’s a certain cycle/personality of every gym at different times of the day. For instance, I’ve learned that I’d rather lift in the morning because that’s when people are less chatty and more business when it comes to the gym. And I seldom have to push through a crowd of gossiping guys (and, yes, at my gym, it’s always the guys) to get to the weight bench. It may take time to really figure out the pulse of your gym, but you’ll be glad you did.
  • Use common courtesy. Don’t stand around blocking equipment while you’re chatting or resting or (for whatever reason) texting/gabbing on the phone. Be aware that there are other people in the gym, too. And be respectful. Oh, yeah, please (dear, God, please) wipe down the equipment after you use it.
  • Take advantage of the gym’s resources. Many gyms offer information, get-to-know-the-gym sessions, classes and nutrition resources that will help you reach your goals. What’s even better? Most of it is free.
  • Learn how to use the machines or weights or whatnot. If you don’t know how, ask. You’ll save yourself a lot of time — and injury. There is gym staff for a reason. And, if they’re not helpful, find another gym (if you can) where they are. Other gym-goers will most usually help when you ask them — as long as you do so courteously and appropriately.
  • Have confidence. Know that you’re there for one reason alone: you. And have faith in your own strengths and abilities. One thing about this new life you’re stepping into: You’ll quickly learn that you’re stronger than you ever imagined.
  • Forget them. Stop worrying about what other people in the gym are thinking about you and do what you know needs to be done. Once you get past that “ohmigoshwhataretheythinkingaboutme” hurdle, you’ll have a much more pleasant gym experience. Trust me. As soon as I realized no one really cared what I was doing in the gym (unless I was in their way), I stopped dreading the trip and started looking forward to it.
  • Don’t quit. You’re not going to be perfect at everything you attempt in the gym. I’ve failed at a lot — T2.5 often has to teach and reteach (and reteach) me how to do a lot of things. As someone who strives (STRIVES!) to be perfect in everything, this is hard for me. But, I grow so very much in the learning that it’s worth every failure when I finally succeed. So, please, please don’t give up. Love yourself to know — truly, deeply — that this is the best gift you could give yourself. And you are worth the work and the time and the money.

So, please, try not to be too nervous about the gym. I know that it can seem to be an intimidating place. But, once you get to know your gym, you’ll grow to love it and the feelings of empowerment and strength it can help you realize. And, if you ever doubt your strength — or your place in the gym — tell yourself, “I am worth this. I deserve this. I belong here.” Because you are, and you do.

I’m not an expert by any means, but I do know about my experiences (and my successes and my failures). And if you’d like to reach out and ask questions at any point along your journey, I’d love to answer them.

Love,

Kimi

P.S. I’m really proud of you for setting these goals and making this commitment to yourself. You deserve only the best, and I’m excited to see how far you can go!

NApolean New YEar

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Running With Purpose

Ever since I started running, it’s been about something. Whether it was losing weight or training for a race or getting over a breakup or simply clearing my head, there was a reason for why I was out there. And while I maintain there’s nothing better for my mental health than a good, solid run, I’ve been feeling like something’s been missing.

It was hard to explain. I still ran. I still looked forward to it. I still enjoyed it. But there was just … something.

And then I decided to run the River Bank Run 25k. And raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association as part of their ALZ Stars team. And suddenly, I was more than looking forward to training for this run. I was excited about it. Really, really excited about it.

“Every day is a good day when you run.” ~Kevin Nelson

This weekend I attended the first free training run for the River Bank Run — an easy three miles with a group of others running the race in May as well. (This was after staying up late Friday night to register for the first-ever Gazelle Girl Half Marathon — which I’m equally excited about, but for different reasons.) And then I came home and mapped out my training program for the run, using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Half Marathon Training Program as a guide. And it was fun! Figuring out where all the pieces fit each week — four runs, three strength training days and a cross-training day. I had my calendar page spread out in front of me and a pencil in my hand. I got it sketched all out, starting with Sunday: Stretch & Strength.

And then there was today: 3.5 miles, followed by a session with T2.5. The plan? Run immediately after work, come  home for a quick dinner and then head to the gym. T2.5 ended up rescheduling this week’s session (that’s why I use pencil), so I was able to take my time after work before I went out for my run.

Let me set the scene: 60 degrees, rainy-ish, slight breeze

I geared up …

Suit Up

No, but really:

All the safety gear for the dark-time run.

All the safety gear for the dark-time run.

… and headed out for my run, aware the whole time that I was running for something more than myself.

Dad and me

The reason behind the run.

And, let me tell you: This run was different. This run was everything a run should be. I felt healthy. And strong. And happy. And fast. Faster than I have in a long time, at least. I mean, look at these splits:

Running splits

And every step, I thought of wonderful memories and happy thoughts. Memories and happy thoughts — this is what this run is about. So, when I got home, I called Dad. And I told him how happy I was. And how proud I was of this run. And how blessed I felt to be able to do something good through running. And then I cried a little. Running for a purpose has … well … given my running a purpose. And it is such a gift.

Running saved my life. And now, maybe some of the money I raise can be used to help improve — or, one day, save — someone else’s life.

In closing, I’d love to invite anyone out there to join the ALZ Stars by running or walking the River Bank Run (5k, 10k and 25k options available). The more, the merrier! I’ll even make you dinner the night before!

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