Monday, January 31, 2011

Jetlagged Sports Conditioning and a Cat Alarm Clock: 1/27

Some people don't feel the effects of jet lag all that much.  I am not one of those lucky few.  Being as large as I am, a 10 hour flight across country is like a prison term.  After arriving in Raleigh early Tuesday, I felt like total hell.  On top of which, I had re-injured my ankle on Sunday following the race while walking down the street later in the afternoon.  Hiroko and I were walking along doing some shopping and I was looking back over my should to cross the street and didn't notice that the sidewalk was broken.  I stepped in whole and rolled my ankle again and was on the ground bleeding from both knees before realizing what had happened.  My knees were just scraped, but the ankle started to hurt immediately.  I walked on it for the remainder of the day, and it just felt craptastic for the remainder of my trip, but I was determined not to let it slow me down. 

Basil: 6lbs. fuzzy faced alarm clock . . .taken when he still had kitten teeth.

Upon retuning to Raleigh, I didn't even try to workout on Tuesday or Wednesday.  It was everything I could do to manage getting to work on Wednesday.  However, I was determined to get at least one workout in before Saturday because I had foolishly signed up to run in the NHL All Star 5k.  So I knew that I needed to either get in a run or a workout on Thursday.  The ankle was beginning to feel better and the abs were hitting a point where a comparison to bubble gum would be kind, so I decided that I needed to hit the morning class.  However, getting up at 4:15 in the morning is no easy task at anytime, let alone when you're jetlagged!  Luckily for me, I have a 6lb fuzzy faced alarm clock named Basil, who decided that he would lend me a paw or two in my attempt to get up.  Shortly after my alarm went off I got up and went to the bathroom before deciding that the gym, just wasn't going to happen.  I let basil into our bedroom on my way back to bed.  As I was about to fall back asleep Basil grabbed my arm with his claws, which weren't sharp because Hiroko and I had just cut them that night.  However, Basil decided to bite my arm as well, which would normally been alright because his kitten teeth had fallen out right before we left for Hawaii.  But during our week in Hawaii, Basil cute little teeth that were just barely coming in had become full on cat teeth and now hurt like a MOFO!~  Let's just say that I was now wide awake a totally motivated to go to the gym! 

Once i arrived at the gym everything was fine.  We did some sprints, push ups, a few abs, and other stuff.  the instructor did have us use the Bosu, which I refused to use and swapped out a step instead.  I hate the Bosu in general, but with a sprained ankle there was no way that was happening.  The class was 45mins. and right at the level that I needed for the state that I was in. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Harold Chapson 8K: Honolulu, HI 1/23/2011

getting ready to start the Harold Chapson 8k
I got the idea of running in a race while I was in Hawaii as soon as Hiroko brought up the subject of going to her friends wedding.  Since the wedding would be on Saturday, I didn't think that I would be able to make it work.  I am crazy about running, but I wouldn't dream of running in a race the day of the wedding.  Luckily enough, I was able to find on race on Oahu during our stay, and it just so happened to be on Sunday the 23rd, which would be the day after the wedding.  I signed up for the race right after we finalized our travel plans.  At first, Hiroko was not very keen on the idea, but as time went on ,she warmed to the idea and even decided that she would run the race with me, which was shocking because she has never run in any races longer than a 5k.  But, she said that it would be boring just to stand around and wait for me, so she may as well run too.  I was excited when she told me that she wanted to run too and signed her up that day before she could change her mind.
Not what we wear to races in Jan. in NC

The Harold Chapson 8k is the middle race in the Aloha Readiness Series.  It was proceeded by Bob & Ron's 5k that was held on January 7th and is followed by the Johnny Faerber 10k on February 6th.  The Series is put on by the Mid-Pacific Road Runner Club to help runners prepare for the Great Aloha Run on February 21st, which is a 8.5 miler.  Which kind of explains why there wasn't a great deal of information about the THC 8K on the web and the website itself was rather sparse.  I don't think that the organizers gave much thought to people for outside of Oahu taking part in the race, and I can't say that I fault them.  Also, everything about where the race was help and the packet pickup was really easy to find.  I do wish that there had been a course map on the website rather than just a description, but part of me is a little glad that I didn't realize that I would be running up Diamond Head until the day before the race.  The pre-race packet pickup was held at The Running Room: a nice little running store just a few blocks away from Waikiki Beach.  If you are in Hawaii and in need of running supplies or need information about running in the area I would start with them. 
Hiroko and I as the race starts

The morning of the race Hiroko and I got a little bit of a late start, and I had a bit of a minor freak out because I didn't think that we were going to make it in time for the race, but we did and everything was fine.  There were a few things about the Harold Chapson 8k that were new to me.  One was that most of the roads were going to be open while we were running.  There would be some cones, police stopping traffic at crossroads, and some guides, but the streets were very much still in use by cars.  In fact as we ran up Diamond Head we were told to stay on the sidewalk as much as possible and not run in the street.  These directions weren't strictly followed for most of the runners on the return leg of the race because you could run facing traffic, but on the outward leg of the race most everyone stayed on the side walk.  Also, Diamond Head is a very popular place for people to run in the morning because the view is just stunning, so there were a lot of people running with the racers, who were not actually in the race, which made things interesting as well.  At first, I was a little taken aback by these thing because I have recently taken part in a race that was poorly organized and went of course in mid-race, but I could see that these things didn't seem to bother anyone and thought why should I get my panties in bunch . . . it is Hawaii and I am doing what I want to do, so I should just enjoy myself. 
Sharing the road

The race was an out and back course beginning in Kapiolani Park and going up Diamond Head Rd. to Triangle Park, around the park, and back down Diamond Head Rd to the Honolulu Marathon finish line at Kapiolani Park.  They did have a timing chip for the finish, but the start was a gun start with no timing mat at the beginning of the course, which wasn't important because there were only around 240 participants.  The race began at 7am just before sunrise, which was around 7:11am and meant that if you ran a good first mile you would be ascending Diamond Head right at sunrise and getting one of the greatest views that any race has to offer. 

The first mile view of Diamond Head
The first mile was fairly flat and took us from the park on to Kalakaua Ave. and ended just before we turned onto Diamond Head Rd.  Hiro and I took turns passing our camera back and forth and taking pictures as we ran.  Our plan was for Hiroko to carry the camera, but she fell behind me at about 3/4 of a mile while I was holding the camera, so I kept it hoping that I could pass it back to her as we passed each other at the beginning of my back portion and the end of her outward, but this wouldn't happen.   I was running pretty well during the first mile and most of the fear that I felt about not being able to run the entire race was quickly fading.  I didn't know how difficult the assent of Diamond Head was going to be but I was feeling solid and enjoying my run along the beach.  Also, once we turned off of Monsarrat Ave. we weren't having to run with cars in the road, which made me relax for most of the mile.  I did the first mile in 8:59.17 which was right on my goal pace of 9:00 mins.

Stunning Yard along the second mile
The second mile began the climb up Diamond Head Rd. and had us running along the sidewalk, which was a bit cramped at time, especially for taller runners like myself when low hanging tree branches from the houses along the road force you to duck or move over to one side.  But, the sidewalk just wasn't that big of an issue when you consider the stunning views that made this the least difficult hill that I have ever climbed even though in reality it was the steepest.  The houses were amazing and Diamond Head itself was incredible.  By the time we moved past the houses and ran along Diamond Head Beach Park, we were facing one of the most jaw dropping-ly stunning sunrise on this big blue world that we all call home.  I couldn't stop taking pictures or looking at the sunrise.  I truly had no problems with this hill at all.  I ran the 9:52.11, which was much faster than I had expected.

Sunrise at Diamond Head Beach Park
The third mile took us over the crest of Diamond Head Road down the other side a little bit, into and around Triangle (or Fort Ruger) Park, and back up to the crest that we had just crossed.  I had hoped to meet up with Hiroko after coming through the park and starting back up the hillside, but she wasn't too far behind me and I could see her entering the park as I was running along the backside of the triangle, which meant that or paths wouldn't cross, and I wouldn't see her again until the finish.  Climbing back up Diamond Head was more difficult than it had been the first time even though we hardly had to climb anything compared to the way up.  But I found it difficult because I wasn't focused on the view as much as I had been the first time.  The water station had been in the park, but I hadn't drank.  Instead, I just swished it around in my mouth to avoid drying out.  Most of the runners were now running in the street along with the oncoming traffic.  And, I have to say that the drivers seemed very polite.  I have been cussed and yelled at several races in Raleigh by drivers as we ran by even when the roads were coned off and traffic was being directed by police.  There were some police at this event but they were mainly working the intersections, and along the ascent and descent of Diamond Hear the runner were on their own, but no one seemed put out in the least, and I was impressed that everyone just took this a part of the routine.  I did my third mile in 9:07.72

Front runners heading back
Mile four was a dream!  We finished of the climb for the return part of the race and headed into the downhill just in time for me.  I was starting to feel the climbs and really need the downhill to take make up some time.  I was still taking pictures and trying to enjoy the sights, but for the first time I began to think about this as a race and focused more on my running.  I ran mostly in the street, but did duck onto the sidewalk a couple of times.  My ankle sprain became a little noticeable on the downhill but wasn't a problem as a whole. I did the fourth mile in 9:10.12

One last view from Diamond Head before the downhill
Mile five was just a thrill!  I was hurting, but was determined to finish strong, and once we turned off of Diamond Head Rd and on to the straight stretch along Kalakua Ave. I picked up my pace and tried to turn in the best time that I could.  I legged out the last .2ths of a mile and managed to pass several runners who had passed my earlier on the straight stretch.  I finished the race in a full sprint and did my last mile in 8:34 flat, which made it my fastest mile of the race.  I felt really good about the race and walked back to find Hiroko and run with her to the finish line.  She wasn't to far behind and finished really strong for her first 8k.  She had gotten a stitch in her side at the turn around but had managed it well.  I finished the race in 45:41 and Hiro Finish not long after in 48:25

Hiro at the finish
After the race we hung around, took some pictures, and went over to the beach to look at the ocean.  Afterward we broused throught the Flea Market that was being held in the park.  Eventually we decided to grab some quick showers, a bite to eat and return to the Flea Market to do a little shopping.  We were both thrilled to have done the race, and really happy that we signed up for it.  If you like running and go to Hawaii adding a race into you plans is a great addition to your agenda and a whole different way to experience the islands!
Post-race walk on the beach

Friday, January 28, 2011

Second Hawaii Run: Ala Moana Beach Park Day 2 --1/21

Hiro and I returned to Ala Moana Beach Park for our run the next day.  The day before had been a long fun filled day followed by a huge meal at Longhi's, but I was determined to catch the sunrise and get in one more run before the Harold Chapson 8k on Sunday.  Both of us stuggled mightly when the alarm clock went off, but we were able to shake off the cobwebs and catch the sunrise.  Our run was a bit rough and neither of us completed the 3 miles that we set out to run.  I did 2.5.  Hiroko walked parts of 2.5 but reached the distance for the most part.  The view was stunning and we took turns passing the camera to each other as we ran to take pictures.  After the run neither one of us was feeling overly confident about the race, but we were deterimined to enjoy ourselves.  I will let the pictures do the talking for me:

Frist Hawaii Run: Ala Moana Beach Park 1/20

Hiroko and I arrived in Hawaii on the 19th at around 4pm Hawaiian time.  We did all the hotel / car rental stuff and then went to dinner and did some shopping at the Ala Moana Shopping Center right next to our Hotel.  The shopping center is right across from the the Ala Moana Beach Park, and it houses the restaurant where we had our wedding reception 5 years ago.  The Restaurant, Longhi's, overlooks the beach park.  Our reception had been at sunset and Hiroko could see people walking in the park as we dined.  She had even commented to her sister at the time about how wonderful it would be to walk in that park.  Five years ago neither of us could imagine that we would we be back their and not just walking in the park together, but running!  At the time, I had lost a good deal of weight living in Japan, but was still in bad shape overall.  I had no idea what it would take to maintain my weight loss once I returned to the US, and soon after our wedding and our relocation to NC, my weight ballooned and general fitness level went all to hell. 

However, over the last year, I have gotten into much better shape and discovered my passion for running.  I have been dealing with a series of injuries since around July, which have set me back, but have not caused me to give up hope or alter my goals.  I continued to workout and run despite the frustration of dealing with lingering injuries.  I have run in six 5k's, an 8k, and a 10k, all while fighting with plantar faciitis, which has finally just begun to subside just in time for me to sprain my ankle a week and a half before my trip and two weeks before my second 8k, which I planned to run while on this vacation.  Still, I just decided that I was going to deal with it the best I could and not let it hold me back.  As Hiro and I were driving to our hotel we passed the park and I could see tons of people out running near the beach, and I just couldn't wait to join them.

After our dinner and some shopping we headed back to our hotel and called it a night.  It was near 11pm Hawaiian time, which meant for our bodies it was 4am East coast time.  We were beat, but we still managed to get up just before sun rise and head to the Ala Moana beach park just after sunrise around 7:11am.  To say that it was stunning is a vast understatement.  I felt so at ease with the world and touched by beauty of this big blue world of ours.  After taking some time to just soak in the moment.  Hiroko and I went for a three mile run through the park which had nice paved running paths that went through the park and along the beach.  The paths also go through the mark itself, which is not that big, maybe on square mile, but what a beautiful mile it is!  It is filled with Palm trees, and other tropical plants.  There were many people out for walks, jogging, fishing, surfing, and swimming, but like most parks in America, this park is also home for many unfortunate people who are without homes or have obvious mental problems.  I can't explain the feelings that I felt seeing these people and contrasting their misfortune with my good fortune.  It was humbling because I know that there but for the grace of god go I.  It wold be easy for me to have just ignored this part of the experience or to have just overlooked it in the blog post, but I think that I would be doing the experience a disservice because it made a profound contribution to my experience and helped to make me more aware of my amazing good fortune to find myself to be there is such a wonderful doing something that I love with the person who means the most to me in this world. 

Hiro and I ran three miles in the park and than walked along the paths next the beach back to our hotel to start the first full day of our vacation, which had already gotten off to the best start imaginable.  We id the first mile in 9:24.66, the second in 9:19.44, the third in 9:20.80.  My sprained ankle held up well, but my legs felt really sluggish and heavy with poor circulation from the plane ride.  Still, I enjoyed this run deep down in my soul.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ankle Sprain Treadmill Run IV: Last Run Before Hawaii -- 1/17

This is how I felt before going to Hawaii
This run went well.  I did 30 mins. on the treadmill with minimal pain.  The taping and brace helped and my stamina was pretty good, so I decided not to push my luck and try to get in another workout before I left for my trip.  I had been pretty frazzled leading up to my vacation and the ankle injury, ice storms, and crappy workouts had only added to my frustrations, but this workout went well and helped to improve my frame of mind.  after the run.  I did a good ab workout, and some stretching, which I knew that I would need before cramming myself into my seat for the flight.  I left the gym feeling optimistic about my up coming trip.

Ankle Sprain Treadmill Run III: 1/15

I took a day off after my last treadmill run.  This time, I taped up my ankle much better and put on my ankle brace.  Both of these things helped with the ankle, but my conditioning felt really bad, and I struggled with this run just as much as the one prior to it.  However, this time I didn't let it get me down as much.  I ran 20mins. and walked 10mins.  After running I did a lot more abs and other exercises than I did after my last workout.  These runs were starting to make me think that I might not be able to run the entire 5k in Hawaii.  I just wasn't really sure if the ankle was going to let me run enough before the race to workout whatever kinks were sure to develop as a result of the long flight from Raleigh to Oahu through Atlanta.  I wanted to get in two more workouts before the trip started and luckily I didn't have to work again before the flight on Wednesday.

Sprained Ankle Treadmill Time part II: 1/13

My Ankle started to felt alright after running the day before, which gave me the bright idea to run on the treadmill again.  This time, however, things did not go as well as they did before.  I struggled a lot with this run and had a lot of pain on the inside of my ankle going up my shin.  At first I wanted to run for 30 mins.  Then, I decided that it would be better to run 15, then walk 5, and run 10.  However, after walking 5 mins.  It was all I could do to run another 5 mins. before I shut it down.  I decided that this had been a bad idea in general, and regretted going at all because it just got me down a bit mentally.  I did do some stretching and abs, but overall I would have been better off skipping this workout.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sprained AnkleTreadmill Time: 1/12

I took off Sunday the 9th to rest my ankle after I sprained it.  It swelled up pretty good, and I knew that I needed to rest it.  Luckily for me, Raleigh had an ice storm on the 10th, which kept in stuck inside until the 12th.  This made me rest my ankle more than I would have otherwise because I am an idiot when it comes to injuries like this and never give myself the proper amount of rest.  When I could finally get out of the house, I did 3 miles on the treadmill.  Afterward I did some abs and stretching.  My ankle held up for the most part, which caused me to think that this might not be as bad of a sprain as it could have been.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Umstead Ankle Sprain Run: 1/8

My first run in Umstead with Old Bob (my Garmin) didn't go like I had planned, as you can tell from the title of this post.  I had been looking forward to this run for a long time, but I kept having to delay running in Umstead either because of races or bad weather.  So, when the day finally arrived that I could take Old Bob out to Umstead, I was really excited.  It was pretty cold and snow flurries were falling as I started down the trail.  I deiced to run out to the bridge and then go around the loop once, and then walk back from there.  I didn't think that I would be able to do the whole trail, so I started down the trail at a running pace after doing my stretching rather than walking to the bridge like I do most of the time.  I really wanted to be able to get accurate distances for the course for the first time, but  made a pretty good effort to ignore my Old Bob other than to look at my mile pace when I heard the beep for each mile.  I knew that I needed to concentrate on the trail or I would be eating dirt quickly.

The first mile went well.  There were a lot of people on the trail heading back to their cars because of the snow, but I wasn't worried about it because I had heard the weather report and knew that it wasn't going to last.  I ran the first mile in 11:13.31, which I thought was pretty good considering the difficulty of this part of the trail.

The second mile of the trail has a larger up hill portion than the first mile, but there is also one of the longest flat parts and the trail is much less difficult because there are far few rocks and root to negotiate in this portion.  Also there were only a few people on this part of the trail because most families out for a stroll in the woods stop at the bridge and head back to their cars.  The snow had stopped by the time I finished the second mile.  I did this mile at a slightly slower pace than the first.  11:19.06

The third mile was is a little more of the up hill then you cross the Horse road and start a bit of a down hill.  This portion of the trial is tight in places but is probably the portion of the trial with the fewest rocks and roots other than the last part of the trail.  It is good place to recover a bit from the climb in the second mile of the trial.  I was struggling before I crossed the house road, but I was able to recover some after I crossed the road and was feeling good by the end of this mile, which took 11:20.46  There are some narrow portions and moderate rises, but this is a fun portion of the trail.  There are a few spots where you and pick up speed and really open up you stride because the trail is in pretty good shape even though it is really narrow.  I enjoy this portion of the trail more than any other part of the run.

The fourth mile is both the most difficult because of roots and rock, steep up hills, and steep stairs.  It is  portion of trail is always where I fear falling the most and risk running out of gas.  I went through this portion of the trail much slower despite one good spot for speed.  This is the part of the trail that I like least.  I did it in 12:26.19

The last .85 mile is the least difficult portion of the trial.  There are only two trouble spots .  The first is where the trail narrows really tight in one spot.  It is a good place for speed as long as you don't meet up with another person on the trail, which is what happened to me.  The other portion is right at the end there are some large rocks that form an obstacle in the trail that you need to negotiate.  I made it through the first trouble spot despite meeting up with a guy who was walking in the opposite direction and not really doing much to move off of the trail when he saw me coming towards him.  He basically took one step to the side and stopped walking.  This forced me to over to the side more than the trail will really allow you to do and put me really off balance.  I made it past him and around the next little bend but was getting more and more off balance until I took a bad step and rolled my left ankle.  I could ear the tendon crunching as the ankle rolled, and though for a second that I was going to fall, but my right leg planted extremely well my next few steps on the left side became more hops than steps.  The pain was kind of bad, and I could tell that this was more than a twist, but I also knew that it was not a high ankle sprain either.  I have had many, and they have never allowed me to bear any weight.  I figured that at this point the best thing that I could do was keep going at least until the bridge where there would be more people if I needed help.  I ran the last portion of the trail at a 10:25 minute mile pace, which was faster than any other portion of the trail.  This portion is the fast part of the trail, and had I not sprained my ankle I am sure I would have been around an 9 min. mile pace on it.

Once I got to the bridge I was able to walk back to the parking lot.  Once I got home I ice the ankle, but it had swollen up a good bit, luckily not too bad and there was no bruising or discoloration.  So, I think that I got pretty lucky as far as sprains go.  Especially considering my race in Hawaii was only two weeks a way.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fleet Feet Running Group 4 miler: 1/6

I hadn't attended the social run in a while and wanted to make sure that I got in at least one appearance this month.  I knew that I would be traveling later in the month, so this might be my only chance.  Considering the weather that we have been having, I was more than likely correct.  There was a pretty good crowd for this run, somewhere between 15-20 people, which is a good turnout for the Thursday Running Group in the winter when there isn't and event.  I felt like I had been having a pretty good week exercise wise and wanted to do more the my usual 3 miles, so I decided to do 4 miles with most of the other runners that showed up.  I had run this course once before and knew that I was a nice little run that I could really push myself on.  But before I left on of the people that I was going to run with asked me what my pace was going to be.  I hadn't really given it much thought because I normally just run and see what my pace was afterward.  She had said that their group had been doing about 10 min. miles, but that she would like to pick up the pace, and asked if I would run with them to help her push the pace a little.  So, I decided that I would even though I knew their might be a little resistance. 

The first mile of the course is all one long slop down hill, so I knew that we could do much better than 10 min. miles.  I pushed it a little and we did it in 8:39.

The second mile was still down hill, but I had said that I would try to shoot for 9 1/2 min. miles, so I backed the second mile down to 9:14.70, which was a good pace for chatting.

The third mile we started hitting the up hill portion of the course.  The Third mile is rolling hills at first and then leads into the last incline that is the last .25 of mile three and all of mile 4.  We did this in 9:4, which as a little faster than I intended, but I was feeling really good and couldn't hold back.  Also, one of the other runners was pushing the pace with me, so I was mainly trying to stay with her more than anything else.

The last mile was all uphill and I just wanted it over with.  I normally would not run a hill like this in the manner I did, which was more of a charge than I wanted, but I new that the course ended right at the top of the hill, so I just went for it as hard as I could at that point.  I did the last mile in 9:56.79, which I felt pretty good about at the time. 

Overall, this was the best run that I have had in a while.  I enjoyed it a great deal, and I am looking forward to running this course more often as the weather gets better.  Overall we did the whole course at a 9:18 pace.  Faster than we had intended, but I think everyone felt good about it afterward.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wed Jan. 5th: Run, Class, Run.

I decided to run to the gym, took the morning Sports Conditioning class, then ran home, showered ate, and rode my bike to work.  I want to just do more this year.  Push myself to be more active and to not just be satisfied with doing what I am comfortable with and know that I can handle.  I'm at the point where I need to push myself if I want to see the results that I dream about.  Recently, my mood has be in a state of flux and it feels as if I have lost my way a little.  If I want to find satisfaction with my life and myself, I am certain that I must be willing to push beyond my comfort zones.  I know that as far as my workouts are concerned that this will require me to be honest with myself and not think about my former fitness level because it is too easy to think, "wow, I am doing great because I didn't used to be able to do this."  Well now I can, so I need to move on to something else that I can't do and start doing that!

. . . .Which is why I decided to run to class.  It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.  The class was good, lots of Push ups, which I have lost nearly all ability to do, so I really need to work on them.  I plan to focus on the morning classes after I return form my upcoming vacation.  I've been trying to go to them before the trip, but the weather has not been kind to us and the classes have been canceled on several occasions.  I am hoping that February will be much more mild than January has been.  I don't mind running in the cold, but ice and snow are not the best things in the world.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan. 3rd Two a Day: Part 2

After work Hiro and I went to the nOg Run.  It was the first of the year, so I just couldn't miss it.  In addition, I want to try to push myself more this year.  I know that I can work harder and get more focused in regards to my workouts, so I was eager to go the run as the back end of my two a day.  It wasn't too bad of a day weather wise.  We were able to climb into the 40's, which was pretty much a requirement to get Hiroko to run outside . . . She HATES being cold, so if it gets below 40, I'll most likely be runnin' solo.  However, this day, we ran together, which I was happy about because my legs were feeling heavy after the morning class.  I ran a full minute off my pace from my last nOg run, but it felt much worse.  The mile was really rough and my hands were freezing because I had lent my gloves to Hiro.  After I sloshed through the first mile I was able to get into a bit of a groove and finish in an acceptable fashion.  I want to do more of these two a days on Monday's in order to push myself a bit more, but we will see how it works out in the future.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jan. 3rd Two A Day: Part 1

I got up at 4:30am and ran to the gym.  I have been missing my morning classes in a very bad way and was looking forward to this class all weekend.  Still, getting up was more difficult than it used to be, but I really enjoyed the run.  Running past the NCSU bell tower was the highlight of the run because of the way it light up; however, the entire run was relaxing and peaceful. 

Like I have said many a time, I love running in the morning before sunrise.  It was kind of chilly, right near freezing, but it wasn't bad once I got warmed up.  Luckily, the wind was very mild.  The class was pretty good.  This was my first time with this instructor, and I was pretty pleased overall.  She mixed in a lot of running drills and exercises to make it a pretty challenging class.  Nearly all of the activities were timed, so I didn't matter how fast or slow you went and no one was pushing the class beyond the abilities of the others.  There were a few exercises that I opted out of because on my feet and changed to something else.  We didn't run stairs that much, but I still chose to avoid the stairs altogether, which I think was wise.  The class was challenging but not extreme, so I was pleased.  After the class I ran to Hiroko's work so I could get the car from her.  This arrangement worked out well for both of us.  I think that these runs to the gym will happen more often as the winter begins to fade.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Years Day Run: 1/1/11

Well, I wasn't feeling my best after a difficult run on New Year's Eve.  I hadn't done anything exciting to ring in the New Year, but I just couldn't get motivated to workout or run until well into the afternoon.  Finally, around 3:30pm, I decided to go for a run.  I wasn't sure where I was going to go, but I knew that hills were to be avoided as much as possible.  So, a run to the state capitol sounded like a good idea.  Also, if I weren't feeling good about the run, it would be easy to just run to Hiro's work and catch a ride home with her. 

As I ran down Hillsborough street, I could just tell that I was fighting it even worse than the day before, so I decided to stop at the gym workout a little then go and catch Hiro for a ride.  I didn't think that she would leave work on time, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to do much at the gym if I wanted to catch her, so a 15 min. ab session was about all that I could do before I was back out the door and headed to her work.  However, Hiro did leave on time, and I missed her, which meant that I would have to run home.  It turned out to be a good little run and what I needed on the first day of the year in all honesty.  By the time I got home, I was glad that I had done it.

The run was around 3.2 miles.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Last Run of the Year: 12/31

This post is a little late, but o-well.  My last run of the year was the first time that I ran outside since the post Christmas snow storm blew through town, and I was glad to get back outside.  I wasn't really happy about the patches of ice that were still on parts of the greenway where I was running, but I dealt with it alright and manged to stay on my feet.  The run was a bit of a struggle and much slower than what I had been running recently.  The Holidays had taken a bit of a toll on my conditioning because I had indulged in a bit too much holiday fare and had lain around after the snowstorm more than I had planned.  I enjoyed the run but knew that I was struggling with it, which was a Little bit of a let down.  However, it kind of mirrored the way I felt I had struggled at the end of 2010, so it wasn't altogether inappropriate.  2010 was a great year in many ways, but toward the end I felt myself struggling in many ways and just couldn't wait for it to end and give me an opportunity to start fresh.  So, I struggled through this run, giving it my best effort, and taking comfort in it's Finnish. 

I did the whole 5.33miles in 53:40.5.
Mile 1-9:46.76
Mile 2-10:01.23
Mile 3-9:59.55
Mile 4-10:44.84
Mile 5-10:10.26
Last .33-9.04

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Weds. Workout: 12/29

This was another quick workout.  It was a bit more substantial than the Monday workout, but not by much.  I did some abs and followed it up with some leg work.  This time, however, I did a full 30 mins on the Treadmill.  I didn't mess with the track at all.  Hiro and I ran beside each other, which provided me with some extra motivation.  I was able to run fairly strong and actually enjoyed the Treadmill for a change, so there is a little hope that I might not be a bored by as I though.  One thing that helped was that I was much more measured with my pace.  I gradually moved the pace up rather than one large increase right after the warm up, which gave me something to think about and didn't cause me to tired as quickly.  This was a nice little workout.  Afterward, I did a some much needed stretching.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Toning Tuesday: 12/28

Had to get out of the house.  The snow is nice to look at and even fun to be out in for a while, but it can get a bit overwhelming when your on a long holiday.  Basil, my cat, has loved having me around, and I've enjoyed kitten playtime, but with Hiroko at work all day I was getting pretty bored by the afternoon.  The only thing that i wasn't looking forward to about the class was the vivid reminder of just how soft I have been getting that it was sure to provide.  My workout the day before had left a lot to be desired, and I knew that this workout was sure to hurt.  However, I was just happy to be out of the house.  I ran  about a mile between the treadmill and the track for a warm up at something akin to a slugs pace.  My legs were just not feeling it, and I really started to dread the class, but I knew that I would hate myself if I didn't go. 

Once class began, I started to feel better.  I think that my body was just out whack from all the time I spent on the couch and lounging around the house because of the snow.  I got moving and the blood started to flow, warming everything up and making it easier to move.  I came up with a simple goal: do all of the exercises assigned to us.  Even if I had to stick with the lowest degree of difficulty, I wanted to complete everything.  I had increased the size of the weights that I was using form the last time I took the class, but I still wasn't at the level that had been a few months ago, but I knew that I needed to take some baby steps.  I was able to do do everything and only a few of the ab exercises gave my any real problems, the planks and the bicycles made me doubt that I would be able to reach my goal, but I struggled through it.  I won't deny that I was checking the clock as the class went on, but I enjoyed myself!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Monday 27th: Light workout

This workout was rather uneventful.  Hiroko and I went to the gym after her work, and I ran three miles half on the Treadmill and half on the indoor track.  I have really gotten spoiled running outside because I don't have to deal with the congestion of the track or the boredom of the treadmill.  After running, I did another small ab session, some light exercises, and stretching.  I am attempting to ease my way back in the swing of cross training.  Honestly, it is just sad how quickly our muscles turn all doughy when we don't use them. 

I have been debating going for a half Marathon in the spring, but currently I am leaning towards continuing to run 10k and under until I can get into better overall shape.  I think that it would be too easy for me to either fall into a rut or get a repetition injury from the type of training that I would need to do in order to prepare properly for a half.