Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New "Rest" Day Activity

Every athlete knows there is really nothing as a "rest" day. One must keep moving somehow, some way. I used to use yoga as my rest day activity, but I find myself inching closer and closer to the more intense "power" yoga workouts rather than the actual relaxing yoga workouts. I need something to relax my body along with my mind.

Interest in Tai Chi started for me when I got my son involved in karate, but like his mother, he preferred more intense workouts. Therefore, my search for a Tai Chi routine waned and was politely shuffled to the back of the mind's shelf. This morning, in another early morning wake up call from the little one, I began scoping out my On Demand features. I found a Tai Chi routine...from at least the 80's. After I stopped myself from giggling at the Miami Vice hairstyles, I realized that over half the video was just talking and no instruction or routine. And my hunt begins again.

Do you know of any Tai Chi DVDs, websites, anything I can look into?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Revisiting 2010 Goals

Sometimes I dread the end of the year because I have to look back and see what I may or may not have accomplished, according to what I planned at the beginning of the year. This year, I met two of my seven goals. Looking back, they were pretty ambitious, but I was excited. I did run the Warrior Dash, which I am totally doing again at least once in 2011. I did also learn many ways to adjust my nutrition for workouts/games/races and recovery.

Surprisingly, I was not bothered at the fact that I did not meet most of my goals. The overachiever in me kept her mouth shut. Ha. The only one I was bummed about was my "10 races in 2010" goal. I ran two, but I told myself since I took a good six weeks off during my actual racing "season" to work on family issues, I still did pretty good. Two is better than none, right?

I realized, though, the reason I'm not bothered by meeting all my goals. I kicked ass this year. I ran every chance I got and could make myself get out there to hit the pavement. I ran my heart out during a very dark and hard year for me. I tried new things, such as new races and running with new people. I ran, and that is all that matters.

I'm proud of myself for this past year, even though I know I'm not the best runner out there. The better runners make me want to be a better runner and inspire me to keep getting out there. The better runners help me not to give up and rely on that inner strength that is getting stronger each and every day.

In my book...I totally rocked 2010.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Running the Hard One

Today I ran the hardest run I've ever probably run thus far. Harder than fighting varying temps in Texas, harder than running injured, harder than that first run when I started running. Today was my tribute run for my step brother, J.J. Savage. It's been two years since he was killed in Iraq, and I felt that a longer run in the midst of my own personal roller coaster would be the only appropriate way to honor him today. I had planned out a 5 mile run for today on a new extended route bringing me into unfamiliar territory of both environment and endurance.

I started out just fine; glad of my decision to run today. My mind cleared as always and about mile 2, the emotions took over. I fought tears for a tenth of a mile and then crumbled, literally, on the side of the road. The feelings of loss and sadness for our family overtook me to a point to where I could not take yet another step. After wiping tears away and sitting in the sun, the wind whispered to me..."Get up. Get up and run."

And I did. I got up, took one step and another. I realized that with every step I ran, I embodied our family surviving, moving on despite the loss, despite the sadness. In a sense, this run was not just a tribute to him, his service, his courage. It was also a run to our family and every single person who knew and loved him that keep living life, just as he would want.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remembering Why

Over the last few months, I have neglected running (and writing) on a regular basis, making excuses and throwing self pity parties. This last week or two, I have eased back into running again. Fighting excuses daily; getting angry when I do not push myself beyond the mental wall. Yet, today, through a friendly "checking on you" text, I was abruptly reminded why I started running in the first place.

On December 4, 2008, my stepbrother, John Jared Savage was killed in Mosul, Iraq, just a mere four days before coming home for good. When we should have been celebrating, we were shedding tears of loss and grief. When we should have been hugging him and thanking God for his safe return, we were mourning over a closed casket and wondering why God let this happen.

His death happened to make us stronger people. His death made me a stronger person. His death has pushed me every step I have run since then. His death has made me prove to myself that I can do things I thought not possible. In a sense, his death gave me a way to find myself, find my life.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Running Buddies

For the most part, running is a solitary activity, and I like it. I am the type of person who enjoys alone time and plenty of it. Yet, it does help to share running adventures with someone once in a while. Online, I am part of two running groups and another group that should be a running group because basically all of us run. Three groups where I have met wonderful people where we support each other to keep running.

Every once in a while, I do wish for someone to occasionally run beside me, chat with, share minute-by-minute support, kind of a social fun run. I thought of joining an actual running group on their monthly social runs, but I'm hesitant, even though I have no idea why.

I think my wish is coming true. In the last week, a couple of people have come to me asking about getting together for runs. Of course, I am excited, but the kicker for me...these people want me, little ol' me, involved in their fitness progression. That in itself makes the helper in me happy, but kicks up my motivation for my own personal workouts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Advantages of 5 a.m. Runs

I've always been a morning runner, plain and simple. After about 10 months of evening running, I've switched back to the pre-dawn runs to avoid the Texas heat. Some Many people think I'm crazy for getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning. Most runners I know completely understand. To dispel the potentially insane 'tag' on my reputation, let me spill the advantages of running before the rooster wakes.

1. It's dark. No sun = decent temperatures. In the Texas summers, everyone yearns for decent temps.

2. Traffic is at a bare minimum. I can run in the middle of the road if I like. On some streets I actually have to in order to save my ankles. At 5 a.m., I don't have to zig-zag back and forth to the sidewalk and the road for vehicles.

3. Mark one off the list. It's one less thing on my 'To-Do' list. Done, checked off, all before 6 o'clock in the morning and a cup of coffee.

4. Moonlight. I don't know what it is, there's just something awesome about running with the moon still up.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why I Love Running

In the midst of taking a break from running in order to focus on some personal issues, all I can think about is running and when I can get back to it. As I gear back up to get some running time in my schedule, I appreciate why I fell in love with running.

1. Free Therapy. Most runners I know will agree, especially the mothers. Running gives me the chance to work through things, especially things I may not be ready to talk about with anyone.

2. Natural anti-depressant. This is true with most forms of exercise, but I have found running produces the best results for me. Running balances me, lifts my mood, calms my temper...oye, I could go on for hours.

3. My "Alone" time. As an instinctive hermit, I probably need more alone time than most people. Although with my family and schedule, it is usually more of a dream and not quiet a reality. Even a quick run can clear my mind and provide me with "quiet" and solitude my spirit needs. I get to a point in my runs where my mind just opens and all I zone in on are my feet connecting with the pavement or trail or even the treadmill, one by one, step after step, while notes and tunes fill my ears and push me to step a little bit faster.

4. Constant Improvement. Running is something someone can always improve at. Lest it be time, form, weight loss, you name it...improvement is made. When a person takes the chance and utilizes something to improve his or her personal being, great things will happen.

5. True Self. When I run, I am Carin, just me. I am not Mommy, partner, employee, student, writer, crafter, friend, daughter, giver, cleaner, Ms. Fix-it, etc., etc. I am just a woman running, striding along a path where the world seems to stand still.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Warrior Dash

May 2, 2010

The Warrior Dash was an experience of a lifetime. 3.5 miles of running, obstacles, and fun. It definitely taxed different muscle groups compared to a normal run. Between large fans, mud pits, climbs, swims, and fire jumping, this race thoroughly kicked racing into a new level for me.

I did get tired, constantly switching between my running groove to an obstacle. The log roll was difficult because the water got deeper and I had to tread water often to try and lift myself over the log with no lake bottom to push off of. The mud pits were hard, not to get through, just the running in mud after. I am totally not complaining, but it was just something different for me.

My time officially posted as 46:47.50, but this was a fun run and a "can I do it?" run for me. I did stop to help a couple of women and to take a family's picture. I'm sure I lost a few minutes there. I still had a blast, and I'll definitely do the Warrior Dash and other mud runs again.

Check out a few pics I posted.

Pre-race getup in decals and viking hat.

Me jumping fire...the next to last obstacle

Totally loving the mud pit

Finished; Complete with medal and mud bath!

Post rinse, not that it helped much.

Post race FREE beer

Kilometers for Kodi 5K

April 24, 2010 Kilometers for Kodi

It's amazing what one small race community can do when one of there own is in need. Kodi Tutt is an 5-year-old girl who was recently diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive type of cancer. The small town of Sanger, Texas, the town I work in, had pulled together all sorts of fundraisers for her family and her treatment. Kilometers for Kodi was the 5K fundraiser for her.

For me, this was the first race of the year. After so-so training, but regular running, I was excited, but nervous. I had recently PR'd on a 5K at 36 minutes, so I was confident. Yet, I was not used to morning heat, and battling soreness from the previous weekend's soccer game. With also battling not-so-great streets, I did end up walking some and having to readjust my shoe twice. I still timed out at 45 minutes with my hubs and kiddos watching me...which was a first.

I felt okay about the time, but it wasn't about the time for this race. The support and money donation were more important.

Months of Running

I haven't posted in about 2 months. I have been busy...running, playing soccer, trying to balance the working mother, do-it-all, would rather be running syndrome, you know, normal daily activities. Hahaha. I have been running though. That's the important thing. I've maintained my lowest weight for 7 weeks, ran at least 3 days a week (4 if you include my soccer games), and have averaged a good 10-15 miles a week. I have been horrible about logging my mileage, but I'm getting back into the groove again. I also like seeing my numbers add up over the course of the week. Oh, and I have been racing. Pics and separate posts on both of those coming later this evening, but I ran the Kilometers for Kodi, a fundraising 5K, on April 24th, and the Warrior Dash yesterday, May 2nd. Stay posted!!!! More stories to come!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Personal Best

Just a quick post to notate that I reached a personal best this evening. After 3 weeks of hardly any training, I increased my times and mileage last week. This week, I not only increased my mileage, but I hit a personal best time for my 5K. 39:30. It's still slow, but considering I was running an average of a 42:00 5K, I'm stoked.

I logged 10 miles last week, and hoping to log at least 12.5 this week. Let's hope!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stress Run

Now that I'm back on track with 10 miles logged and the weekend isn't even here, I'm feeling great. After 3 weeks of sickness, exhaustion, and life just taking over, I put my foot back into the gym. Switching between the treadmill and the elliptical, I'm getting my mileage clocked and my speed is picking up. My runs have been helping me relieve my stress of a not-so-great start to this year and my little one's upcoming surgery.

Today, I had a pure stress run though. Dealing with allergies, work and mental things I could not get out of my head, I hit that gym with a vengeance. I had to be pushed because I really wasn't feeling it at first, but the moment I walked in, I realized I was right where I needed to be. I only had time to do a thirty minute run, but I pushed myself harder than I've pushed in quite awhile.

I didn't think at all. I turned up my music as loud as my ears would let me, and I ran. I ran through the stress; I ran the pain of my muscles burning, even ran through the cloud of doubt to make an improvement today. I was there to just clear out my mind, sweat it out and make myself tired.

I succeeded too. I left the gym more ragged than a Raggedy Ann doll. Afterward, I came home, drank my favorite recovery drink (chocolate milk), sat down and logged my miles. Within 10 minutes of getting home, I felt clear. I pushed out the stress.

I love stress runs.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Run, Lift, Stretch, Repeat.

Even though I am on a high from my workouts this week, I feel the repetition sneaking up to me...already. Run on Monday, Run on Tuesday, Stretch and Strength on Wednesday, Run on Thursday...you get the picture. I love to run, but I hate repeating...especially on the treadmill.

My favorite new friend? The pre-programmed runs. It makes me work or I fall off. It adds the little bit of variety I need to keep running. The incline, the resistance, the speed changes. I like them. I like them enough to consider running indoors a bit more. Considering I hate the treadmill and would rather run outside, but the weather is just a bit iffy in March, I'm up at the rec center, running like a hamster in her cage. I'm okay with that though.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Year Later

Lately, I've been beating myself up for gaining pounds instead of losing. It was my own fault. Skipping workouts to relax from a busy schedule. It's no excuse. I need the exercise, and this month I vowed to attack my workouts like I attack on the soccer field.

Yet, as I was updating my weight log, I took a look back to the first time I entered my weight on the log. March 23, 2009. I was at 165 and could barely run without stopping for walks. Fast forward to March 1, 2010. I'm at 148...still 17 pounds less than a year ago, even with the gain. 22 pounds less than when I started in January of last year. I'm playing soccer again. I'm running 3-5 miles easily. I'm running races. I do 30 minute weight sessions. I do an hour of yoga. My "workout" schedule is renamed my "training" schedule. No, I'm nowhere where I wanted to be by this time, which was gearing up to run a half marathon. I've postponed my half marathon a month or two, but I'm gearing up for a 5K and a Warrior Dash this Spring. A half marathon IS in my near future.

So, when I take a long look at the big picture. I have become successful. Losing weight is the easy part.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Training of Late

Training has gone to the pot, shall I say. I almost wish I had nothing to do and no life so I could focus on my training, and not when is the next time I can squeeze a run in. Almost makes me wish I fell in love with running much earlier in my life. I would be at least a bit more experienced in balancing running into my life. Weather predicted seems I may be headed to the rec center for dreadmill runs for a few days. We shall see.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Midweek of Full Week #1 in 2010

This week I've done very well. I've been struggling with a hamstring issue, hoping it may not be something worse like an aluvsion, a ligament torn from the top of the bone. I stay stretched out with at least 30 minutes of yoga every morning, which helps tremendously with it as well as my back. Rotating ice and hot soaks seem to helping as well. I've ran everyday, but Tuesday, logging 6.61 miles so far. Not bad considering I didn't run like I should have during the 5 horrible holiday weeks.

Tonight, I did a short run with weights and a core workout afterwards.

Tomorrow, I'm planning on a treadmill run at the rec center while my son is at his karate session. Saturday, I'm planning a longer morning run. I think 4.5 miles will do. Sunday, I plan for a maintenance run of 2-3 miles. I need to keep it short just in case I have a soccer practice pop up. Yes, it's pre-season right now.

Weight: I fluctuated over the holidays from 143-149. With watchful eating geared to my runs and my diligent workout schedule, I am currently sitting at 144.5. I honestly think my scale is wigging out on me because I don't "feel" 144.5, but I weighed in several different spots with the same result. I try to convince myself that it's about fitness and my running right now, but I cannot help to still eye that number everyday with scrutiny.

Update to come on Sunday after my longer runs this weekend.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Training Update #...I've lost track.

Note to self: keeping track of training is difficult, especially when you get in such a routine that logging your workouts seems useless because you're on the same training pattern to keep yourself conditioned. Get up, yoga, work, come home, run and stretch, eat, have some semblance of an evening, go to bed. Repeat 5-6 days a week, do long runs on non-work days, sigh and wonder why you have no time.

Yet, I do have a change in the training news. After 4 days of bitter cold (highly unusual for Texas) weather and suffering the migraine that came with it, I get to run tonight...outdoors! It's almost funny to get this excited over it, just like my kiddos over dessert or something. I truly cannot wait for 5 p.m., just so I can get home to run. I do not own a treadmill, mainly due to space, but I do not like the hamster-in-the-round-cage feeling. Therefore, weather dictates my running plans. Weather determines whether I run outdoors bundled up like a lunatic or I lock myself away for 30 minutes, at least, to do strength training.

Think of me during your evening commute, dinner plans, sitcom watching, or whatever you may be doing this evening. Think of me in thermal layers, running in low 50° weather, striding to the tunes of Chevelle, thankful I get the chance to run.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Begins

New month, new year...begins with me hitting the ground running, literally.

A training schedule begins tomorrow with strength training and a re-acquaintance run. Sunday follows with a long run. I must remain diligent to meet my goals for 2010.

My 2010 goals.

  1. Train everyday.
  2. Run 10 races.
  3. Run a minimum of 2010 K (thanks to an online challenge I joined)
  4. Run my first half-marathon in the Big D races in April.
  5. Participate in my first Warrior Dash on May 1.
  6. Incorporate more cross training (biking and swimming) to improve my runs.
  7. Learn more about my nutrition to become a better athlete.
Working on my goals will help me realize that my fitness is no longer about losing and maintaining weight, but more about athleticism and lifestyle.