Tag Archives: Forward Motion

Misadventures in Marathon Training

30 Jul

plaza de cesar chavez. where we were SUPOSSED to end our saturday run.

Hello friends! A and I are two weeks into training for our half marathon and already we’re racking up stories. This weekend we were set to run 5 miles in downtown San Jose. I had the brilliant idea to run the first loop of the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll course, as it’s about 5 miles. And there’s no better way to prepare for a race than run the course, right? As it turns out, not always.

The first mile was a non-starter. Literally. There’s a big difference between running a race in downtown with all the streets shut down and running on a Saturday morning with all the traffic lights fully functional. Our first mile looked like this: run a block, wait for the light. Run a block, wait for the light. Run a block…you get the idea. Things picked up once we got into the more residential areas and were able to run for longer stretches. Until our IT bands got simultaneously pissed off. But we pushed through, looking forward to a long stretch once we were done.

A, being a much stronger athlete than I, went ahead and flew down the course. I got a text from him around mile 3.5 saying he was almost done, and even through his texts I could hear that he was hungry. Sadly, A didn’t bring any cash, so right before I sailed into my big 5-mile finish I popped into a Starbucks to get him a bagel. Because I am such a good wife. I missed my last turn (really miss those well-marked Team in Training routes!), but knew where my end-point was, so adjusted and got back on course. I ran into Plaza de Cesar Chavez up to the Poo Statue just as my RunKeeper app announced that I’d hit five miles. Success!

see? it’s a coiled snake, but really it looks like coiled poo.

I looked around for A…no A.

*ring ring* “Honey? I’m at the poo statue. Where are you?”

“The poo statue? What? I’m at San Pedro Square.”

“…..Why are you in San Pedro Square? Our ending point was Plaza de Cesar Chavez.”

“You were supposed to run through here. I thought I’d come and meet you since I hit my five miles early.”

“I missed my turn after 2nd street, so I didn’t go through there. Ok, never mind. I’ll come find you.”

“No, don’t come here. Just meet me back at my office at the car, since we have to go there anyway.”

“Right….I totally know how to get back to your office from here.”

I didn’t.

I ended up wandering around downtown San Jose for another half hour. Which translated into another mile and a half of walking on a bum IT band. Boy, did we stretch afterwards!

The Good:

  • A and I hit our miles under less than ideal circumstances. There were a few moments there where I thought we were going to get into it and let our frustrations out on each other, but in the end love and patience won out and we built each other up instead.
  • I unintentionally did more than a 10k, waaaaaaay more miles than I’ve done since April, and more than a smart increase for distance training. Still, my body handled it, and I’m really feeling my strength training and yoga are paying off. Win!
  • A foam roller is the best purchase we’ve ever made. We rolled and rolled and rolled on our IT bands, and the next day we felt fully recovered. No kidding. I did not expect that, especially after my unintentional 10k. Stretching works, and we are rock stars!

The Bad:

  • Waaaay too many stop lights.
  • Jerk-ey guys hollering at me from their front porches. Haven’t had to deal with that in a while. So glad I’m an iHollaback girl!
  • Missed turns and detours cost us a lot of time out of our Saturday. Oh well, live and learn.

The Takeaway:

  • Unless it’s an out-and-back, we will not try to intersect the other person on the run and meet up at the end. Because sometimes people get lost. And hungry. And hangry. But no matter what, we’re dealing with it together. And that makes all the difference.

So that was our Saturday! How was yours?

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13.1 – We’re Only HALF Crazy!

23 Jul

Happy Monday everybody!

Last week A and I started training for the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon in October, so I thought it would be a good time to do a running update. This will be A’s first half, so he picked the event, and we’re so excited to be doing this together!

I really wanted to run two half marathons this fall, but sadly I did not get into the Nike Women’s Marathon, so I’m looking for another fairly local run. If we get the money together and there are still spots open I’m thinking of signing up for the Big Sur; it’s supposed to be gorgeous.

Anyway, having run one of these already myself, I was put in charge of making a schedule for us to follow. I trawled for information on the internet, took into account our fitness levels (mostly mine; A is in much better shape than I, and is also a far stronger runner. The punk.) tried to remember everything I learned from Team in Training last year, and came up with a schedule I’m pretty darn proud of, if I do say so myself. It fits our life: moderate to good fitness levels starting twelve weeks before the event, Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday run days to avoid yoga and strength training classes and give us two days of rest and recovery a week. It’s definitely not the only way to train, but it works for us. And I stand by what I’ve said before: if my training has proved nothing else it’s that if I can do it, anyone can!

I wanted to share that we’ve started training with you because I’d love to know if you’re training for an event, and if so, what you’re doing. Also, I thought it would help keep me accountable. (Not that A isn’t doing that already. You should hear him if I even think about missing a day!) Nothing like putting a goal out there on the internet to keep you moving!

So what about you? Are you looking forward to any events this year?

“If It Wasn’t Hard, Everyone Would Do It.”

30 Jun

You all know how much I love me some good fitness inspiration. Whether it’s motivational posters and quotes, wicked workouts, or healthy foods to fuel my muscles, I love getting inspired by all the great fitness info the internet has to offer. Out of morbid curiosity, I decided to peruse some of the top women’s magazine and fitness sites to see what they had to say about working out. What I found reminded me why I tend not to read those magazines in the first place. Take a look at some of these headlines:

The Fastest Abs Workout Ever! Tighten and Tone Your Tummy in Five Minutes.

Three Rules for the Best Weight Loss Workout!

Fergie’s Flat Abs Secret!

5 Smoothies That Really Slim!

5 Minutes to Flat Abs!

Five New Ways to Lose Weight!

Three things pop out to me. First, people love quantifiable numbers. Second, of those numbers, five is the most popular. Third, they all implicitly promise quick, fast, unrealistic results.

Five minutes alone won’t give you abs like Rhianna. It’s a celebrity’s job to look great, and it’s a full-time job. Most of us don’t have that luxury, as we have full-time jobs that don’t involve a personal trainer, so knowing their ‘secrets’ won’t change our life. There are no magic foods that will whittle your waistline on their own with no extra effort on your part. There are no new ways to lose weight. It’s science. Work out and eat right, that’s it. If I’ve learned anything about fitness and working out, it’s that there are no shortcuts. There’s not one magic move, there is no magic pill, it’s just not that easy. If it was, everyone would look like Beyonce.

That’s one thing I love about my favorite fitness lifestyle blog, Tone It Up: they are realistic about telling you that if you follow their workouts, diets, etc. you’ll get out of it what you put in. Work hard and reap the rewards. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

So say it with me, ladies! We reject the headlines that breed a culture of laziness and tell us we’re five minutes away from the waist of our dreams! We won’t lose 25 pounds if we can just find that magic move or choose to take the stairs! We will work for the body we want, stop looking for the quick temporary fix, and be darn proud of ourselves on the other side!

P.S… A just read this and said it’s the same for men and their magazines. “Five Minutes To the Biceps of Your Dreams!” Whatever. Men and women of the world, reject the crappy headlines that hold promises as substantial as air. To paraphrase Missy Elliot, “Is it worth it? Let me work it. I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it.” Let’s flip the script and work it!

Learning to Be A Bad Mamma Jamma

2 May

hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

I stood there, on the rubberized floor mat, trying to ignore the sweat that threatened to drip down my brow. Dripping sweat is so not hot. My shirt proclaimed, “Pretty Fast isn’t Good Enough.” It’s part of my ‘fake it ’till you make it’ series of shirts. (Also in the series, “Born to Run.” Because I’m not, really, but I want to be and I love the song.) But it wasn’t living up to its motivational job that day.

I watched as Trainer Kenny scanned the available weights and picked out each for my new regimen of strength training. 12.5, 15, 20 pounds…he picked up each, looked at me, and picked up the next weight higher. My eyes bugged out the further right he went. Surely he doesn’t expect me to pick up that?!?

Trainer Kenny picked up the 30 pound barbel like it was nothing. “We’re going to learn a new exercise today: Deadlifts!” He said cheerfully, as he let the weight go with an audible *thunk* on the bouncy floorboards. What now? Whada huh? Are they called that because they killed the last person you tried this on? These were the thoughts racing through my head as I looked at the dead-weight laying at my feet. Lift this? I have a hard time carrying more than one gallon of milk into the house, and you want me to lift that? You’re kidding, right?

He wasn’t.

So I lifted it. And other weights as I went through the series of exercises Trainer Kenny had come up with for me to make me feel like a bad a$$. I was lifting weights, and I was a bad mamma-jamma.

Since I took up with Trainer Kenny and his wacky (read: non-lazy) philosophy of working out, I’ve done things I didn’t believe I could do. Nothing crazy, but I’ve gone from a girl who was afraid to push herself to a woman determined, motivated, empowered to explore the reaches of her strength. To not just take the 15 reps if I feel I can do 20. To ask to do a full plank until I collapse. It’s strange. It’s the opposite of comfortable. But it’s worth it.

It’s not always fun, but it’s always rewarding.I learned something this week. I’m capable of more than I think. Unlike most of my life where I’m happy to take on a challenge, push myself beyond what is comfortable, when it comes to physical fitness I’ve shied away from pushing myself. I’ve chosen ignorance over health, weakness over achievement. And I deserve better.

I am so grateful for Kenny’s expertise. He thinks I can do more than I can, and therefore I do. I am so used to being self-motivated, self-driven, self-actualized, but sometimes – when I’m out of my depth – I need someone to believe I can do more than I think I can and push me. My eyes bugged out as he pulled bigger and bigger weights for my rowers, my chalice squats, my…I don’t even know what they’re called, but they were hard! I did more than I thought I could this week, and I felt more powerful pushing through and owning the modicum of strength I’ve achieved in that last two months. Weights have so often been the exclusive domain of the big, the built, the manly; if an athletic girl (never mind an overweight, big, curvy and fabulous girl) dared to infringe on their sacred ground, they were greeted with scorn, derision, condemnation; I know, I’ve seen it. So I’ve never gone there. But with Kenny by my side, I was going to try. And I rocked it, 31 BMI and all.

The takeaway? I can do more than I thought I could. You can do more than you could. Maybe, like me, you needed someone to tell you, someone to believe in you, believe that you could do it. You can. I can. We can. We are more than our lazy-butt couch-sitting selves want to think we are. If you can’t believe in yourself, get someone wh believes in you to push you. Untill you believe it yourself. Because you can do it.

You can lift a weight the size of your head. And rock it.

Team Aylesworth Tackles a 10k

2 Apr

“Honey? Did you ever think when we got married that we’d be voluntarily getting up ridiculously early on a Sunday morning to take on an athletic challenge together?”

“Nope.”

Yesterday A and I ran in the Santa Cruz Half Marathon/10k. Even though it’s tax season. Even though A’s made it to the gym only a couple of times this month. Even though I haven’t done any significant distance running since October. And it was great. Just enough of a challenge to push us past our comfort zone, and I have to say, I’m super proud of Team Aylesworth.

before - all optimism and smiles.

after - gorgeous day to run, and still smiling!

This was A’s first race ever. The most he’s ever run at once was five miles, and that was while I was training last year. I told him I was sure he’d be able to pull it out. When he hits the gym he usually does 2-4 miles, so I figured six would be a good stretch. Since he hasn’t been working out as often as usual, and I haven’t put in the straight miles of running lately, we decided to do a run/walk split. A is a much stronger runner than I, but he did a pretty good job of not letting me fall too far behind. 🙂 I wanted to average under 15:30 per mile since it was a run/walk, not too speedy, but we wanted to keep it manageable. Not only did we average 15:15, but we stayed pretty darn consistent! Not bad for two newbies. at the last mile, the effects of my insomnia from the night before started to kick in. Even though my legs felt great and my energy was fine, I really wanted a nap. I’d planned to run the whole last mile, but told A to go on ahead without me. He did, and finished in 1:28:26, which is an automatic PR since it was his first. Then the big sweetie came back for me; I’d decided to say “screw it,” and run the last ten minutes of the race once I could see the finish line. We crossed the finish line together at my time of 1:34:30. This was better than my average at Nike last year, so PR for me too! When I got home I realized that what I’d thought was allergies was really the beginning of a pretty bad cold, so I’m even more proud of how we did, considering how crappy I feel today.

The course was gorgeous – sunny Santa Cruz at 54 degrees. It was windy, and the wind was blowing against us the whole way. Odd, I’d hoped we would have it at our backs going back, but no such luck. The waves were huge, and lots of people doing their usual Sunday morning runs with us. There was a good turnout, but it wasn’t so crowded that it took us more than a minute of two to pass the starting gate. The one thing I didn’t like was that they started letting cars back through the road really quickly I thought. We started having to dodge them at around mile four, and we were far from the end of the pack. Only the front-runners of the half had made it back by then, so I don’t even like to think how the middle of the pack/stragglers dealt with it. No bueno, Santa Cruz, no bueno.

All in all, it was awesome to do this with my husband. He never thought he could run until he saw non-athletic me training and figured that if I could do it, well….
It’s odd to have more experience doing something physical than he, quite a turn around from our usual lives, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a bit of an ego boost to help him out as he’s starting to add mileage to his running shoes. We’ll be lacing up to start training for a half soon, and will be hitting the San Jose Muddy Buddy in September, just for kicks. Want to come?

How was your weekend? Do anything fun?

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