Tag Archives: Running

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?

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?

How Tuesday – Make a Rockin’ Interval Playlist

15 May

image from run like noone is watching on tumblr

If you’re anything like me, music is a powerful motivator to get moving. Heck, let’s be real; if you’re a human with a pulse, music is a powerful motivator to get moving. I made a goal for this week: to do something exercise-ey every day. Today I set the alarm early to get up for a 40 minute Booty Call, and I’m goin’ a-running! I’ve had the idea to make a playlist specifically for interval running sessions – because I find it so much more satisfying to run intervals based on the length of a song than on an alarm on my watch – so I thought I’d take today’s How Tuesday to share mine with you, and show you how to take all the guess work out of making a rockin’ playlist of your own, custom made for your workout needs.

Step One:

Decide what type of a workout you want to make a playlist for. I wanted about an hour of music for interval training. Interval training means changing up your pace, so I decided to shoot for a more-or-less equal number of songs falling within three ranges of BPM (beats per minute). For hard running I wanted a BPM of between 180 (optimum running tempo) and 170-ish, for jogging I wanted songs in the 160’s – 150’s BPM range, and for walking any BPM’s in the 140’s to 120’s would do me just fine.

Step Two:

Head over to jog.fm to start looking for music. What’s that? You haven’t heard of jog.fm? Honey, you need to head over there! It has never been so easy to find exactly the music you need to get you going! Jog.fm lets you search music by name, genre, hottest or most added, and – most importantly – by your target mile time or BPM! I spent hours sitting in front of my itunes with a metronome trying to figure out how many BPM my favorite songs were. This takes all the stress and guess-work out of finding exactly the music to motivate you. From jog.fm you can listen to your music for free on Spotify, which is convenient if you have a printed out workout or one from a magazine that you can do at home, near your computer. Jog.fm also links directly to iTunes or AmazonMP3 so you can purchase the music to make your playlist.

Step Three:

Narrow your choices. I searched for music in my ranges and click-clicked away to add to my playlist. Since I love a lot of music, I ended up with over three hours worth of songs. (Jog.fm also tells you how many songs you have on your playlist and how long it is. So handy!) This is good and bad, good because you can make several playlists with different lengths for different workouts, bad because you have to cut so many great songs. Be brutal though; the song you sing your heart out to on your evening commute may not be the song that makes you push through that last ten minutes. Like Indiana Jones, choose wisely.

Step four:

Song order. Arrange your songs thinking about how each one begins and ends. You want to feel like one song leads into another, or at least makes sense for your musical sensibilities right next to each other. For example, I would feel jarred and disjointed going from Bjork to Bon Jovi, but Bjork to Portishead? Now we’re talking.

Another thing to consider when deciding the order of your songs is how you want your workout to go. Do you want to let your tempo rise and fall, or do true intervals by alternating faster and slower songs? I chose to do the latter. I made sure to start with a slower song for a warm-up. In the last four songs I stacked two fast-paced songs followed by two of the slowest songs on my list. I wanted to really have to push at the end, then have plenty of time for a cool-down. I plan to listen to my playlist as-is until I get tired of it, then change things up by hitting shuffle. I think it’s fun when I don’t know what’s coming next, plus shaking up your routine is great for optimizing fitness.

Step five:

Download your playlist to your music player of choice, lace up your shoes, and get your booty moving!

As promised, here is one of the playlists I came up with. There’s a little bit of everything on there, and it really gave my morning run a boost. I went ahead and included the song titles with BPM’s listed below the image.

(click for larger)

  1. Viva la Vida by Coldplay – 138 BPM
  2. Hey Ya! by Outkast – 160 BPM
  3. Feel Good Inc. by Gorillaz – 139 BPM
  4. Paper Planes by M.I.A. – 172 BPM
  5. Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springstein – 148 BPM
  6. Ignorance by Paramore – 171 BPM
  7. Spiderwebs by No Doubt – 142 BPM
  8. Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz – 168 BPM
  9. Suffragette City by Bowie – 137 BPM
  10. Objection (Tango) by Shakira (total guilty pleasure) – 179 BPM
  11. Born to Run (natch) by Bruse Springstein – 147 BPM
  12. Misery Business by Paramore – 173 BPM
  13. Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benitar – 181 BPM
  14. The Edge of Glory by Gaga – 128 BPM
  15. Raise Your Glass by P!nk – 122 BPM

What songs do you love to sweat to?

Intentionally March

9 Apr

Happy Monday everyone! Little announcement before we get to the post: I’ll be taking a break from blogging for the next two weeks. A is in his last week of tax season, which is always a stressful time for our family, and the week after I’ll be too busy enjoying my newly free husband to write. I’m not taking a break from life, so I’ll still be around online, just a brief break from the daily content. I’ll see you back here on Monday, March 23rd. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in two weeks!

image courtesy of intentional life on tumblr.

March’s update on the year of living intentionally is a bit overdue. If you want to see how 2012 is going so far, January’s wrap-up is hereFebruary’s here. So, on to March!

Pursuing the Lord’s heart like I did when I first loved Him.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get on this one, but I feel like I’ve taken a step in the right direction. I can’t say how exactly. Maybe it’s because I’ve been praying more when things are going right. Maybe it’s because I’m praying just to tell God how I love Him. Maybe it’s because I actually picked up my Bible recently because I wanted to re-read a passage I’d forgotten, and found that I really missed it. I hope to have more to report on this one next month.

Moving into a season of greater spiritual and emotional intimacy with my husband.

March was actually fairly rough for A and I. He’s been busy, and has had to spend quite a bit of time in the doctor’s office, and we’ve had more than our usual share of arguments. All this isn’t a great recipe for building intimacy. And yet….
Sometimes you find out things about yourself and your spouse that you never would have known if it weren’t for disagreements. You wouldn’t know how much the other person is in it with you, for better or worse, if it weren’t for adversity. I love A, and he loves me. And the fact that we can say that, choose it, live it, after the month we’ve had is a win. Any tough time where we come out closer together rather than further apart, I’ll take. And I’ll give thanks to God for.

Making the most of the relationships I have, and taking time to nurture them.

I got to go to my ‘nephew’s’ baseball game this month, and he pitched for the first time. And he was awesome. The kid has a natural talent, and I’m super proud of him. I got to cuddle my ‘niece’ on the stands, braid her hair, and heat Lik-a-maids. I got to chat with my bff between her boy being at bat. All in all a great day.
A and I spent time with his work bff and his wife. We ran a 10k together, which was huge for us and gave us confidence in all the other races we have planned for this month. I had more than a few swirl dates with girlfriends, so it’s been a good month for relationships.

Tackling some of the harder things on The List, especially the ones that scare me.

Well, I crossed one off. That’s 1/15 for this year. A slow start, but I’ll take it!

Finding ways beyond words to show people that I love them.

I left love notes for A. On our mirror, around our dog’s necks. They had written words, but went beyond just saying nice things. Cheesy, but effective.

Finding fun, creative ways to get together with friends that don’t revolve around food.

A slow Friends Without Food month, but I did get a day with bestie Molly. We met after I got a pedicure and walked around Santana Row. We window shopped, tried in vain to find a Nike store, and ended up at the Irish pub for happy hour. Yes, it ended up involving food, but food wasn’t the point so it counts. So there. And it was one of the funnest days I’ve had in awhile.

Reading challenging, empowering, quality books instead of solely feeding my brain a mental fast food diet of chick-lit.

This month has been really weird, reading-wise. I’ve started several books, but none have really stuck. Sometimes I get like this, when I’ve read several amazing books in a row, if the next ones I read aren’t comparable I’m just not interested. If you have any good recommendations, let me know!

Putting my health first and making the time to exercise.

Well, I spent the last week MIA from the gym due to a tenacious cold, but my average visits per week for March was still 3.1. Yes, my gym lets you track these things. Since the average person at my gym goes 1.3 days per week, and pre-Club One Christy averaged, oh, zero, I’m loving 3.1 average visits per week. Next month I’m shooting for 3.5!

If you had a resolution or a word for 2012, how’s it going? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment or link to a blog post you’ve written on this below.

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?”


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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