Weekly Training Recap: La Jolla Half Marathon Week 2

I’m happy to say that my second week of training has gone well. I did all my workouts, and even though my total mileage was about the same (23.5 miles), I increased my long run as scheduled. I did switch it to Saturday again, mostly because we got such a late start that I knew I wouldn’t make my yoga class. So, I figured that by adding two more miles, I could run shorter on Sunday, get an earlier start, and make it to yoga.

Strength Training

My strength workouts were again classes that I taught, but they were challenging enough to count. I will get back in the gym at some point, but in the meantime, I’m happy with my two Fast & Furious classes, and my two Superball classes. Check out a couple of the workouts and you’ll see why:

Training recap

Superball Workout

Yoga

Yoga is an important part of my training, even though I only schedule two classes a week. Not only does it make me stronger, more flexible, and balanced, it calms my mind. Because of my time schedule, I’m happy if I do one workout at home, and one at my yoga studio. This week I did a 30 power yoga audio on Wednesday. I love the audios from YogaDownload.com. . The instruction is excellent, there are so many choices, from beginner to advanced, from 10 minutes to 90 minutes. They have videos to download too, if that is your preference. (note: I am an affiliate, and would make a few cents if you ordered through the above link. But, I really do think it is a great way to practice yoga at home.)

Today after my run I went to a Vinyasa Flow class at Yoga Central, the studio owned by my friend April. Though April doesn’t teach on Sunday, Marysia is an excellent teacher and today led us through an Ashtanga-like practice. It was different and fun (and challenging). A 90 minute yoga class that starts an hour after finishing a six mile run is tough, and sometimes I wondered if I’d make it. But, I did and feel stronger for the challenge.

training recap

Me, after a six mile run and 90 minute yoga class = pooped

Running

I was really pleased with my running this week. My total mileage only increased by a half mile, but I felt stronger and faster already. My tempo run was great. I ran 6 miles total. After warming up for a mile, I did six half mile intervals at about 85-90% of my heart rate max. That turned out to be between 8:50 and 9 minute miles (with the exception of one downhill interval at 8:16). Next week I’ll change it up a little (be sure to read next week to see how).

I ran eight miles for my long run this week.  As I mentioned above, we got started late on Saturday, so there was no chance of making it to yoga. I figured if I completed the long run, I would do a shorter run on Sunday, and make it to yoga. I’ll admit, eight miles was a little tough. It’s been a while since I’ve run that far. Plus, it was pretty warm, in the 70s, after weeks of running in the 40s and 50s (and one memorable run in the 20s!). In fact, I ended up taking off my long sleeved running top and just running in my sports bra, something I haven’t felt comfortable with for a few years. Silly, I know, who really cares, and I was a lot more physically comfortable without the extra clothing.

training recap

I ran 6.3 miles on Sunday, which was tough on tired legs, but I got it done. I ran with Alan and we stayed on the roads, so the time was respectable too, under a 10 minute pace. We got home about 8:00, so I had a half hour to change, eat, and recover a little before heading off to yoga. I think the hardest part is changing into yoga clothing while still damp from sweat.

One of my concerns about half marathon training and increasing my mileage has been my chronic plantar fasciitis. Well, so far, so good. It is there, that is true, but seems stable. I’m pretty sure my 3D Soles are responsible for that. I always wear them when I run, and they keep my feet supported and cushioned. By the way, the good folks at 3D Soles are offering a 15% discount for my readers. Just use the discount code “laquinta” at checkout. (note: While I received a free pair of 3D soles before I reviewed them last year, I receive no other compensation.)

The complete training recap with notes:

Weekly Recap

So, it is halftime at the Superbowl, the 49ers are currently getting their butts kicked, and it time for me to prepare some vegan Super Bowl food. Pizza, spicy & sweet “chicken” wings, potato skins. Maybe they’re not exactly healthy, but hey, the Super Bowl just comes once a year, right?

training recap

My fridge, stocked for the Superbowl.

So, next week is the Palm Springs Half Marathon, which I’m not running but Alan is announcing. My decision for the week is whether to do my long run (eight miles again) on Saturday, and run the 5k on Sunday, or stay with the schedule and do my long run out on the race course while Alan is working. What would you do?

Training recap

Thank you, power failure. We’re looking much better. So Alan and I were able to enjoy our “Superbowl” food. #vegan “wings,” potato skins, and veggies of course.

How is your training going? Did your team win the Superbowl?

Weekly Training Recap: La Jolla Half Marathon, Week 1

After a rough start to 2013, it felt so good to actually get started on my training plan. I’m happy to report that I accomplished all my planned workouts, though I did end up switching out my Saturday and Sunday runs. The long run, which was scheduled for seven miles this first week, ended up on Saturday and I followed that up with a six mile run on Sunday.

training

Not my favorite picture of myself, but it really shows the cool (both literal and figurative), damp weather we had this weekend.

My strength workouts were all classes that I taught, but they did challenge me. I recently started teaching a circuit class that I call “Fast & Furious.” It is a 30 minute class designed to kick some butt. I teach it twice a week, Monday and Friday, and it includes a variety of exercises including burpees, pushups, jump squats, and others that really challenge the class (and me!).  I also taught a strength class on Tuesday. I don’t always count it as my own workout (it depends on how hard I myself work), but this week I did work hard.

training

Monday’s Fast & Furious workout

I was really pleased with my running this week. On Wednesday, I did five fartlek intervals within my six mile run. I wasn’t wearing my Garmin, just using my Runmeter app, so I couldn’t see my pace. I was wearing my Polar heartrate monitor, so I know my heart rate got up to 164 bpm during my intervals, which is probably about 90% of max. Runmeter says my top pace was around 7:57 during my intervals (which kind of makes me laugh remembering I once ran a whole marathon at a 7:30 pace).

I did end up running my long run of seven miles on Saturday. It was kind of an accident. Alan ran with me, and neither of us felt great when we headed out. The weather was really damp and humid, and both of us have asthma and find the humidity challenging. Not to mention my knees seemed especially creaky with the damp conditions. We stuck it out though, and felt better as the run went on. We were with Penny (our Dalmatian), on the trails, and we ended up running 7.25 miles. Kind of nice to have it done. It was too late for yoga, so I put that off until Sunday.

training recap

Foggy weather like this is so rare in La Quinta.

That left Sunday for a shorter, moderate run. Alan ran with me again, and we stayed on a flatter, firmer (road, sidewalk, and some hard packed trails) route, and finished with 6.5 miles, which brought me to 23 for the week. I’m really pleased with that.  In addition to my weekly stretching class, I took the time to stretch after each run (I know I need it, but don’t always do it). I’ll pull out the foam roller next week too.

When we finished our run on Sunday, it was again too late for my regular flow class, so I decided to try a new yoga studio and take a gentle yoga class. Evolve Yoga is just two miles from my house, and just opened a few weeks ago. The teacher was great, and I enjoyed the class, but I love my yoga to push me. Next week I will get back to my regular Saturday flow class (with April, my kick-ass favorite instructor), plus add my at-home YogaDownload.com classes back in. Once I do that, I might add in the gentle yoga class as a reward.

Anyway, I felt like it was a successful first week. Here is a copy of Training Recap Log:

Weekly Recap 1

 As I wrote in my log, I might start up with my track/interval workouts next week. Alan says he’s ready to go, and I never turn down a running partner. I also need to add a day or two of regular strength training, just to balance out my workouts (and to make that same running partner happy..he likes to workout in the gym, with me).

training

Random picture of my dog. It has nothing to do with this post (although Buddy does run up to 3 miles with us), but he is just so darn cute I have to share.

Are you training for an event? How did your training week look?

Yoga Welcomed Me Back with Open Arms

I made it to yoga class today. I’d been away from the studio for a couple weeks, traveling, nursing first a migraine, then a pinched nerve in my shoulder. I managed to get in a couple at home workouts, using my YogaDownload.com audios, which I love, but it is still not the same as a live instructor teaching, kicking your butt encouraging, and peeling you off the floor nurturing you. Especially when that instructor is April Jones, owner of Yoga Central.

April Jones

April is a former dancer who brings that mindset to her vinyasa practice. If you enjoy a smoothly choreographed class, flowing, yet challenging for all levels, with a lot of variety, you would love her classes. I walk out of class tired but invigorated and lighthearted, actually feeling the hot desert air cool me off, my hair curly from the body heat and sweat.

Childs Pose

We started today’s class in child pose while we brought our focus to our breathing and upcoming practice. That was the last time we were still until Savasana, 90 minutes later.  This isn’t hot or Bikrim yoga, but she keeps the room at about 85 degrees, plenty hot enough for me (I get to class early so I can have a spot under the fans!).

Yoga Central

I felt like yoga welcomed me back with open arms. The class today was hard, and April always challenges us to try something new (today it was Firefly). She says if you don’t try, you’ll never do it (true). She also says, it’s only yoga! You try. If you fail, you go on, then you try again. And eventually, you succeed. It may be only yoga, but that sounds a lot like life to me.

It felt so good to be back in class. My shoulder was fine. I felt a bit of a twinge in side plank (on my left side, not the problem side!), but I just skipped that pose for today. Other than that, I feel great! So happy to be back and planning on heading to Lisa’s class tomorrow.

Namaste!

PS I did run (with Penny, my Dalmatian) four miles before class (weekend warrior, yo!). I wanted to share this photo because our shadow was so distinct on the run today that it fooled Penny into thinking there was another dog running parallel to us across the wash. My picture doesn’t quite do it justice (to take a running photo, you really have to be running, which makes snapping pics a challenge), but it still kind of fun. Instagram is down today, so I need to post it here.

How is your weekend going? Did you know that it is Vegan Pizza Day today? I’m heading to the kitchen to make my own right now. Stay tuned for some yummy looking photos in my next post.

Yoga Challenge: Complete!

Today was the 30th and final day of my Yoga Challenge. I managed to practice yoga for a minimum of 15 minutes every day during the challenge. Today I celebrated the last day by taking a 90 minute vinyasa class at Yoga Central, with Lisa, a new instructor who just completed her 200 hour teacher training. If today was any indication, she’s going to do just fine. Her class was tough, her instruction clear for the most part, and I loved her flow. She’s a great addition to the Yo C.

Yoga Central

Here are some random thoughts that I have about completing my yoga challenge:

Some days I didn’t want to practice, but I made myself, knowing that I only had to do 10 minutes. I always did more than that, and I was always so happy that I’d pushed myself to do it.

Sometimes yoga is hard. So is life.

Doing the best you can at something is all you can expect from yourself (or anybody else). You don’t have to be perfect to be successful, and it doesn’t matter what the person on the next mat is doing.

I got a hug from April when I told her it was day 30. It made my day.

Perhaps the biggest benefit has been learning to breathe. I use yoga breathing in stressful situations and it calms and centers me.

I love my yoga studio.

I also love the audio classes from YogaDownload.com. There are a huge variety of class styles, the instruction is clear and concise, and you also receive a pose guide. They have videos too, but I prefer listening to my class so I can focus on the movement without having to look at a screen.

Yoga at the gym varies wildly, depending on the instructor. Some stay on their mat, doing their own practice, while others actually teach.

In class today, I realized how strong I am getting. While I am limited by a bad knee, I can do most strength poses (I can even hover in chaturanga for a few breaths!)

yoga challenge

I wrote this haiku for a blogging assignment a few months back. I like it, so I’m re-posting it here:
I flow with Yoga
Muscles long, core strong, soul calm
Thanks, Chaturanga

I also realized that the flexibility poses are still challenging, although I have improved immensely. My back and hamstrings are tight, but my heels are getting closer to the ground in Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog).

Yoga Challenge

I love Bakasana (crow pose)! Today I held the pose for about 20 seconds (at least it seemed that long), my best ever. Yesterday was my first attempt at Parsva Bakasana (side crow pose). While I didn’t get my feet off the ground, I finally have an understanding of how to even get in the correct position for the pose. And that is huge!

My balance was already pretty good because I practice it frequently, but it has improved in the last month. At home I lay my yoga mat on top of the carpet, which adds an extra challenge to balance poses.

I was able to to a tripod headstand the other day without toppling over. I tried it again today in class and held it a little longer (I still need something behind me for security).

I don’t think I could ever do Bikram. I get too hot in a warm-ish room. I try to get to class early so I can grab a spot under the fans.

Savasana is the most important pose. I could qualify that, but I won’t. You can discuss below if you’d like.

I don’t use the Sanskrit names to show off, I just want to learn the correct terms. I’m a teacher and a student at heart and this is important to me.

My goal in doing this challenge was to bring yoga back into my life and to make it a regular part of my fitness program. I have done that over the last 30 days and I will continue to make yoga practice a priority. I have achieved so many benefits from this challenge and I don’t want to let that go. While I probably won’t continue to practice daily, I plan to do some yoga on most days of the week, even if it is just a few rounds of Surya Namaskar (sun salutations), or a relaxing restorative class. It is all good.

Namaste.

It’s Like Riding a Bike

Actually, it is riding a bike. I’m happy to say that I took a bike ride today, for the first time in a long time. When I wrote about my recent dedication to running last week, I stated that it had been at least two months. I was shocked when I checked my garmin today after my ride:

riding a bikeI hadn’t really planned to take a ride this morning (left up to me, my non-riding streak would probably be six months), but Alan wanted to ride and at the last minute I decided to join him. It had been so long that I felt like I’d forgotten my pre-ride routine, but I managed not to take too long to get dressed, prepare my fluids, eat a little breakfast, and air up my tires (they were flat from disuse!). I also put a little bit of charge on my garmin, which was totally dead.

proof

Proof!

After so long, I was a little afraid that I would feel awkward on my bike, reverting to beginner mode all over again, but I needn’t have worried. It was like, well, it was like riding a bike. It came right back, although I felt a little sore in the saddle after a relatively short ride.

proofIt was a beautiful day for a ride and I was so happy to be back out there. We got out early, so the weather was not too hot, and the sky was blue and cloudless. Gorgeous.

My goal was to ride for an hour, or about 15 miles. I ended up with 17.7 miles and an hour 20 minutes. That works for me. Now the goal is to stick with it.

proofEdit: It is now the following day, and I am very discouraged to say that after a couple months of relief it took just one ride on the bike and my back pain has returned with a vengeance. I don’t think I’ve blogged about my back spasms before (if I wrote about all my aches and pains this would be one whiny blog!), but my back has been giving me problems for over a year. We bought a new mattress about six months ago and I had high hopes, but the problems continued. The relief I’ve had recently I have kind of attributed to the yoga, but obviously the cycling is the problem. While that doesn’t mean I’m giving it up, I do need to think about what I’m going to do, maybe get refitted on my bike and see if that helps. For right now, it’s back to running, not a punishment by any means, although my short run this morning was punishing. I muddled through a short run with bike legs and a sore back, and now I sit with an ice pack looking at doing some restorative yoga instead of heading off to class.

Yoga Challenge Update

I have completed three weeks of my 30 day Yoga Challenge. Because of our early start, I was able to make the 9:00 all level Vinyasa class at Yoga Central. Studio owner April Jones teaches the Saturday morning class and it is my favorite. Her class is challenging, interesting fun, and did I say challenging? I sweat so much in class that my hair gets curly! Day 22 is complete, with a tough 90 minute Vinyasa flow.

Lily up dogLily, on the mat, showing the correct for form upward facing dog.

We went to dinner tonight with my son Nathan and his wife Sarah, who is expecting my grandchild in November. We went to PF Chang’s, which has vegan options for Alan and me. They brought their Pomeranian, Teddy, who got to spend the evening with his new cousins, Penny, Goldie, Sydney, Lily, and Olivia. They apparently had a great time and appeared to have bonded forever by the time we got home from dinner.

sarahIt’s a great weekend so far! How is your weekend going?

Long Weekends, Running, Wind, Broken Fences,Cats & My Yoga Challenge

You may wonder what the six title items have to do with each other. Especially since the weekend is not yet half over. Read on.

I took an extra day off for Memorial weekend, Friday through Monday, four glorious days, something I don’t get to do during my busy season.  We don’t have any travel plans, and four days doesn’t really qualify as a stay-cation, so my plan was rest, relaxation, and fitness.

The rest and relaxation part is pretty obvious, so I’ll explain the fitness part. While it’s not like I don’t make time to workout during the week, it can be a challenge to go much beyond the basics. I can run two or three days a week, hit the gym for a weight workout twice, practice yoga a few times (except this month during my Yoga Challenge, when I am practicing every day). I was planning, with my extra time off, to run a little farther, take a bike ride for the first time in a long time, and go to yoga class all four days.

On Friday, I got up early because I wanted to take a run, then hit the 8:00 yoga class at Worlds. We are experiencing unseasonably cool weather here in the desert (after about two weeks of unseasonably hot weather), but still, it is nice to get the run finished in the cool of the morning. The predicted winds had not started, but the temperatures were in the 60s for my run. I kept it short, only four miles, because I wanted to get home, eat, and freshen up before heading to yoga.

I’ve been practicing yoga consistently since January. I’d had an on and off relationship with yoga before that, but I’ve come to love it. I had the good fortune, in my return, to practice at Yoga Central, with my friend April and her other instructors, all of whom are excellent teachers, and friendly and caring individuals. This, of course, is wonderful, but it has spoiled me. Taking yoga at the gym is not quite the same.

I arrived about 15 minutes early, and the instructor, Art, was already there, talking to some of his regular students. I actually guessed he was the teacher, because he didn’t greet me, but when he took his place at the front of the room, I knew I was right. I don’t know much about forms of yoga, but Art’s class consisted of a lot of work on the floor, no sun salutations, a lot of planks, and way too many hero’s poses. My knees do not like hero’s pose.

While I found Art’s class to be too easy, his instruction was pretty good. He gave breathing and alignment cues, although he remained in his position at the front of the room. His music was okay, traditional yoga music. I’ll go back, in a pinch, but it won’t be the highlight of my day.

When April told me that she would be taking Sunday’s off for now, I decided to go to her Saturday class. As I told her, I needed her to kick my butt. The plan was a morning run, then class at 9:00. Now here is where the wind comes in.

High winds had been predicted for the weekend, and other areas of California were already having problems. With gusts of up to 60 mph forecast, the wind was apparently the price we had to pay for our cool weather. But, through Friday morning, no wind! As the day went on though, they started to increase, and by bedtime, it was roaring outside. As I lay in bed, I could feel the house shake!

When Alan woke up, the first thing he did was look outside to check our fence. It had been a bit wobbly lately, and the gusts through the night were the final straw. This is what we woke up to:

With five dogs used to instant access through their doggie door, this was not good. Plans were changed. Instead of a run with Penny (my Dalmatian running partner), we took a short walk with all the dogs and assessed the situation. A trip to Lowe’s for lumber and concrete, a trip to Ace (later on) for wood screws, and I watched the time tick away as Alan and I first had to wait for the wind to calm down a bit, then set about on fence repair. By the time we set the post and added the concrete, it was too late for Yoga Central.

Instead, I hit World’s Gym again for their 10:30 class. The concrete had to set, didn’t it? Today’s instructor, Janice, arrived right at 10:30. She quickly started her music (again, okay, but traditional), set up her mat at the front of the room and began her class. Believe me when I tell you that there were virtually no breathing cues or alignment instruction or anything actually approaching teaching during this class. Janice did her workout, told us what to do, and that was about it.

Ironically, I enjoyed Janice’s class much more than Art’s. It was a more challenging, vinyasa flow style of yoga that I like. I kept reminding myself of my breathing and my alignment (even though I’m pretty new to yoga, I am an experienced group exercise instructor and personal trainer, remember), plus I had a mirror to check my positioning. I would worry, though, about anyone who was inexperienced or didn’t have the background that I do. As she led us into a plough pose near the end of class, without any cues about spinal alignment, I thought, “this is how people are injured in yoga.” Fortunately, all the students in my class survived.

(I know I’m a little harsh on the instructors, but remember, that while I don’t teach yoga, I am a group exercise instructor. I know what should be done to teach an interesting, varied level, and safe class. Janice’s class was so dangerous, simply because she was so oblivious, that I really feel I need to call her on it.)

By the time I got home, the concrete had set enough so that we could finish the fence. I say we, but my job was holding the slats in place. Alan did all the other work. Credit where it’s due. It took another hour or so, and we need to buy a few more slats, but for now, the fence is up and strong enough to withstand wind and dogs.

So, with the fence repaired, my plan for tomorrow is again, an early run with both Alan and Penny, followed by yoga at Yoga Central. April won’t be there, but I know that Kinsey, the instructor, will be fresh, original, fun, and most of all, safe.

Okay, we’re halfway through the long weekend (and most of the way through this long post). All that’s left from the title tease is Cats.

You may know that Alan, the dog and calf rescuer, is also a feral cat caretaker. He feeds, cares for, and gets medical attention for, including spaying and neutering when he can, the feral cats in our neighborhood. I took a few pictures today. Enjoy.

How’s your Memorial weekend going? Do you have any plans for Memorial Day?