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Friday, April 26, 2013

Training Apps!

Seriously, I've been meaning to get to this post for months now! I'm just finishing up the second program, so I figured it'd be a good time to talk about it all!

APPS! Very handy little programs you can put on your phone to use anywhere you go for almost any possible thing you can think of! I love technology. The last time I owned an iphone I NEVER used it for exercise or health related issues, and I think I probably looked at the list of available apps in the health category maybe once.

This time around, I'm using this one to it's fullest potential (at least in my world). 
When I started my running routine back up, it was with the intent to run a 5K.  Now, I could go to the gym and run willy nilly on the treadmill, but what fun is that? Plus I never actually TRAINED for anything. So after hearing so much about the couch to 5K program, I decided to look for an app to help me out! Upon my search I came up with an app called "5K Runner".  Scrolling through, it looked vaugely possible.
Week one started quite easily, even for someone as out of shape as I was. Walk for 5 minutes, Run/Walk for 15, and cool down for 5. Every time the program wants you to run or walk, it makes a little chime noise and a voice tells you what to do. When you make it halfway through, it lets you know! Pretty awesome in my book. You can also run your ipod app while you run this program, so listening to your playlist is easy! This particular app is good because you can try a free version before you purchase it. That was part of my willingness to give it a shot!

5K runner takes you through 8 weeks with 3 workouts a week, and eventually you will be running about 3.1 miles like a pro!
I was nervous when all the walking went away, but honestly, it was fairly simple, and this program gets your mileage up quickly so I had run a 5K before I even finished it! It was at this point that I decided 10Ks were in my realm of physical I moved up! 

The day I finished 5K Runner, I moved on to the 10K runner app. This one is a bit different than the previous. You can't get a free trial of it, but it starts at the same level that 5k did.  If you had already done the 5K app or could already run 3.1 miles, then you just start from Week 9 and move on from there. It looks a little scary, but it's quite doable! I've had a lot more bad workouts on this one than I did doing the other, but really, it's not the app's fault. If I had trouble doing one workout and really honestly didn't think I could get through the next, I'd just repeat the previous one. Usually the second try, I'd be fine. I'm three workouts away from the end of this program. I've already run 7 miles during week 10 (intense run/walk pattern), So I know that even if I don't finish this before my first 10K, I'd be fine with a little walking...Heck, I might even run that particular workout during my first 10K, so I don't kill myself the first time out! 
There is also one that I can use to train for a half marathon (21K Runner)...but I'm unsure if I'm actually going to use that one or not in the coming months. I was thinking about finding another program, just for something different. 

I fully recommend these for beginner to intermediate runners, or anyone that wants to work toward a distance goal. These go at a really good pace. The only time I've ever had an issue with the app itself, was recently when I was about 35 minutes into a 40 minute run and I had a calendar alert go off on my phone. When I was about 45 minutes into my workout, I realized that the program had paused until I closed the event alerts. I had totally missed my 3 minute walk and it messed up the rest of the run. So THAT was fun. But everything else has been awesome!

Do you use any workout/health apps that I should know about?
If not, would you ever use one?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Martian Invasion!

This past Saturday, I took part in The Martian Invasion of the Races in Dearborn, MI. While I was incredibly temped to try the 10k (FINISHER MEDALS!), I went with the 5k. Since the last race was only 3 miles, I had yet to complete a full 5k. So I'm counting this as my first! 

Researching and reading about races online, I've always been interested in the expos that accompany them (Shopping? Free stuff? Yes please!). So I opted to pick up my bib the night before at the expo, despite the long drive during rush hour! 

When I got there, I pushed through the growing crowd to pick up my bib and my shirt. I liked that I could find my number online the morning of so that pickup went quickly. I really liked the bibs, but was slightly disappointed that the 5k runners had Orange. Not a good martian color if you ask me, and a little odd with my chosen outfit color of purple...but hey, not much I could do about it! 
I got my shirt and thankfully ordered the perfect size! They also gave us little martian races pins.  
I took some time and wandered around, making a bee line for the Bondi Bands booth. I had looked at their site before, but for some reason didn't place any orders. Among the giant pile of their "fashion" bands, I found my perfect piece of's sparkly and silver. The rest of the pile was slightly unimpressive, so I handed over my $8 and went on my merry way to the next booth.  I was interested in the fact that Mizuno was there, since I'm a big fan of their shoes now, but that's really all they brought with them. Shoes. I was looking to see if I could get some Mizuno gear...but the choices were extremely limited. It's possible it all went quickly in the first 3 hours, but I don't know. I looked at some shirts and some gloves at the other booths, but spent the most time looking at the race related gear. I almost bought a race glass, a car magnet, and various warm embroidered running fleeces, but felt that since I was only doing the 5k, I'd feel a little like a fraud wearing/using it. Maybe next year? I was slightly disappointed in the amount that was there, but honestly, it was probably decent for the size of this race.

Wake up time was 4:45am. I wanted to be there an hour before the race, just to make sure parking was all sorted out. I was on my own that day, so there was a little added stress. The trip took 45-50 minutes and while I got a little lost (because my WAZE app didn't recognize the exact address I entered and brought me BLOCKS in the wrong direction) I eventually got there and got parked. I was relieved I brought quarters with me because it was all metered parking, which they didn't specifically mention. But I found a space in a lot that was 3 blocks away from Ford Park. 
The weather was not as good as I had hoped for and I envisioned a repeat of the Lucky Dash from a month before, but it wasn't so bad. About 5-10 degrees warmer and no snow. Everyone was shivering at the start though.
The announcer was keeping people's spirits up and updating everyone on the start. 
The race began with an uphill climb away from the park, but we were assured that this was by far the biggest hill on the whole course. The 5k and the 10K started together and broke off about a half mile from the start. I was pretty grateful for this because it was quite crowded and it was difficult to pass people. Plus all the little kids weaving in and out of people made it difficult as well. The course went through a really nice neighborhood. It kept me distracted along with my 5k playlist. The best thing about this race was the guy dressed in a teddy bear full big mascot head teddy bear. I felt like Ted was running ahead of me. Good motivation! Wished I could take a picture, but my phone was tightly strapped to my arm. This race felt really difficult to me. My muscles were tight and I had a cramp in my stomach that didn't feel like leaving, but I won't allow myself to walk a 5k unless I'm about to collapse. So I kept pushing. Before long, I could see the park again and I pushed a bit harder. There was no clock at the finish, since it was chip timed, so I had no idea how I was doing. I crossed the finish, got my finishers pin, grabbed and bottle of water and a cookie, and attempted to look up my finish time. It was pointless, so I wandered back to my car.

Later in the day, the times were finally posted...My final time for this race was 29:17!!!! I was really hoping that I would do better than the last race. Cut a few minutes off my time from a shorter race! I'm pretty happy with it and if I can keep my 5k times under 30 minutes, I think I'll be good with that! I was also 18th in my age group and 116th for my gender. Overall I finished 291/1,118!

All in all I liked the expo, race, and course. I think it was well organized and fun. I especially enjoyed the martian mile markers around the course. Maybe next year I'll take on the half marathon course and get one of their shiny green Medals! :)

A short note about Boston... 
Terrible. Yesterday I ran 4.09 miles out of my workout with Boston in mind. I also wore my Lucky Dash shirt in support. I felt a strong sense of determination during this run, to keep going. I will not be deterred from running big races and no one else should let a few terrible horrible people keep them from reaching their goals. From my short time being in this community, I know other runners feel the same. Boston is a tough and amazing city and I know they will bounce back 200% from this. Just keep running.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Brain Sludge!

It's been a few weeks, ya'll. A few tiring, sluggish, busy weeks.
My body just didn't want to work with me, and my mind didn't want to tackle the hard workouts that were coming up in my 10k program.

My previous workout of Walk 5 mins, Run 25 minutes, Walk 3 minutes, Run 15 minutes, and Walk 5 minutes was apparently just too much. I left the gym that day feeling terrible. I don't know what it was, but it made me take 2 days off before I'd even attempt to think about going to the gym.
Then came the weekend and I procrastinated by trying to teach my dog to roll over (he didn't like the concept). 
I apparently didn't like the concept of trying to hit the gym again to do a full 10k workout, so I compromised. I would go on Saturday AND Sunday, but would do my own workout for a half hour. 
I finally got myself out of the house and my workout looked a little something like this:

Walk 3 minutes 0.0% incline
Run .25 at 5.7 speed 0.0% Incline
Run .25 at 5.7 speed 0.5% Incline
Run .10 at 5.7 speed 1.0% Incline
Run .25 at 5.7 speed 0.5% Incline                 Run .25 at 5.7 speed 0.0% Incline
                                                                      Repeat until time is up.

Then I added about 5 minutes of walking on to the end.  I did about 3 miles on Saturday and 3.3 Miles on Sunday. (Easter dinner was a good motivator to burn more cals!) I found this made the workout go a lot faster by focusing on the little blocks of distance over the bigger block of time. 
When I went back on Tuesday to attempt the big workout I had been avoiding, it didn't turn out to be so bad! I did about 5.10 miles which was mostly running. So I'm getting there...only about 6 more workouts til the 10k program is DUNZO!
Then I have to find some decent balance (strength/cardio) to bring me though 5 months and then I start training for the half marathon in February!

My major problem with running seems to be keeping the momentum going! Every time I stop for any long period of time, I'm just done. I don't start again until I make a big decision to start again (which is usually a year or so after I stop). I just need to wade through all the sludge in my head telling myself that I'm too tired or too worn out to keep going. I know better. I've climbed MOUNTAINS (Plural!) before and didn't I think I can run for an hour on a treadmill.

Focus has to be on the goal. My short term goal when I started was to lose 25 lbs. My long term goal is to run a half marathon.
I'm now down 15 lbs, and have only 10 more to go...and I'm finishing up a 10k program which means I'm about halfway to a half marathon. I just have to keep myself going and can't let myself get complacent. 

Just have to weed through all that yucky negative brain sludge and to focus on the end goal.

That seems to be the bigger problem than the actual running...My mind is a bigger obstacle than that 13.1 miles in front of me.

How do you get over all that brain sludge?
What's your biggest obstacle when trying to reach your goals?



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