Thursday, October 31, 2013

The importance of core training

I’ve uncovered many a revelation when it comes to gaining endurance and speed.  I reflected back to when I first started running.  I spent hour after hour on the elliptical, and would maybe use a weight machine every now and again.  Throw in a sit up here or there.  I had NO CLUE what a plank/hover was.  Or a bridge.  I attribute my strength and speed gains to a heck of a lot more miles, weights, a dose of craziness, and last but certainly not least, CORE TRAINING.

I’ve spent all of 2013 doing core work of some sort at least 3 times a week.  My preferred method is Les Mills CXWORX™.  If you are familiar with the Les Mills program, it’s set up in the form of tracks.  This class is a perfect amount of time (30 minutes) and there are 6 total tracks (songs) targeting each area of the core.

Les Mills CXWORX™ - Revolutionary Core Training
 From Les


  • A quick, efficient workout in 30 minutes
  • A tough workout that challenges you mentally and physically
  • Tightens and tones core muscles
  • Improves functional strength for balance, mobility and injury prevention
  • Better understanding of how the core works and its importance to your physical health
  • Motivates you to venture outside your comfort zone

Pretty sweet.  Kidding, it’s killer.  But in a good way.  Our YMCA offers this class a few different times every day.  I am fortunate enough to be able to hit the lunch hour class.

CXWORX™ really hones in on the torso and sling muscles that connect your upper body to your lower body. It’s ideal for tightening your tummy and butt, while also improving functional strength and assisting in injury prevention.
It’ll help you run faster … play harder … stand stronger!
No ordinary workout, CXWORX™ hits many of the top fitness trends:
Core training 
Strength training 
Functional fitness 
Educated and experienced fitness professionals 
Group personal training 

(From Les

Having a strong core will make you better at everything.  Running, lifting, sports, you name it.  It will help with injury prevention too.  I’ve scaled back from 3 classes per week (90 minutes total) to 2 classes per week.  (Sometimes one if I’m really slacking).  I don’t find that I lose any strength by going less, I actually find that I’m stronger and really feel the benefit of the class again (aka soreness!)  A few of my friends are awesome enough to be certified instructors, and they always make class fun.  

Happy Halloween!! Great day for this orange and black themed post right.  I will be needing a few extra classes after the candy :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Every mile a memory...

This week I hit 1,000 miles for 2013.  I started running here and there in the summer of 2011 and  2012 was my first year of actually deciding I liked it.  My 2012 mile total was 546.

So, with a new year, I’ve almost doubled last year’s total, and ran a few more races.  Within those additional few hundred miles, I’ve learned many a lesson, had many a memory, good and bad…

Mile 1 – this was in January, obviously.  I started a new trend of Sunday morning treadmill running.  I remember turning on “Buckwild” on MTV (RIP Shain) and plugging away at some preset workouts.  These were tough!  I went slow.  Really slow.  I had completely lost running fitness last winter and I had gained a few pounds.  Treadmill running is always more difficult for me anyway, but I remember those first few workouts being killer.  

Somewhere around mile 62 - my life changed.  My Nike GPS Sport Watch arrived.  This was a huge milestone, and a major turning point in my running career.  Last year, I ran with my iPod and Nike +.  I calibrated it for accuracy, but it would never be quite right.  I finally had a REAL tool to know how far and how fast I was going.  I remember my first run with it, it was in February.  I through on a sweatshirt and some capris and headed out after work.  It was a really nice day for February, and the fresh, cold air was the first runner’s high of the year!

Approximately mile 147 - March, my first race of the year!  It was so miserably cold and windy.  But I was determined to plow through those 5 miles and
score a medal.  I placed 2nd in my age group, which at the time was a real bummer.  I knew I could do better, I just had to work for it.

Longest mile – Well, it was still the exact length of ONE mile, but the longest mile of the year award goes to the HILL mile of the Yankton RiverRat half marathon.  Mile 10.  I focused my entire race strategy and pace around having enough gas in the tank to get up that stupid hill.  It was long and tough, but reaching the top was the greatest feeling, and I cranked out the rest of the race much faster than I thought it would.

Finishing the RiverRat half
Fastest mile – 6:55 first mile of the Governor’s Cup in Lincoln.  Nothing like starting too fast.

“I love life mile” – somewhere in the Omaha Half Marathon.  This was just perfect all around.

Slowest mile – 10:09 in the middle of a rough morning run.  I had some sort of issue with my quad and IT band.  It was a bad knot, not sure where it came from, but it was quick to go away.  I was 3 miles from home and needed to get back there quickly to have time to shower and make it to work on time.  It was completely devastating for me to see the 10 on my watch.  

Hands down most miserable mile ever, like please shoot me and put me out of my misery – ok, there have been more than one of these.  They are always the last 1-2 miles from home, and the reason I’m asking to be shot is because that would be less painful than my stomach at that time.  So these are the “runner’s trot” miles.  You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

Most painful mile – Mile 11 of what was supposed to be an 18 mile training run for my marathon. This was when I finally stopped and walked limped home because of my hip.  Bawling most of the way.

I still refer to this as Mary Decker day

Whether it was fast or slow, rainy or dry, dreadmill or road, windy or calm, race or a 5AM weekday, every mile has a story and a memory.  If my brain could spit out a transcript of every thought that’s gone through it in those miles, lord knows it would be long, and no one would probably want to read it… Here’s to those wonderful, painful, miserable, glorious miles, and thousands more to come. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Workout Recap 10/20 - 10/27

Monday – REST.  Ended up home with a weird stomach bug.  So rest was literally couch, all day.

Tuesday – 7.5 miles (8:41 avg)  I was still not feeling the best, this run was proof of that.
PM – CXWORX (30 minutes)

Wednesday – 7 miles (8:22)  Easy and basic.
Noon – 30 minutes weights.

Thursday – Cross training.  60 minutes arc trainer and some abs.

Friday – 7 miles (8:14)  Felt AWESOME!  It was a struggle to get out of bed, but I’m very glad I pushed through.  Noon - CXWORX (30 minutes)

Saturday – Harvest Hustle 10K 6.2 miles (7:35 avg) and 4 mile cool down (8:01 avg)  10.2 miles for the day.

Sunday – Easy bike ride to the Y, weights and abs (60 minutes)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Harvest Hustle 10K - Oct 2013 - 47:14 - 1st Female

I ran this 5K race last year, and it was wicked cold.  Today was gorgeous!  It was about 40 degrees and sunny, but the wind was starting to pick up.  This course is just stupid hilly.  Hill, after hill, after windy hill.  But I knew the course, knew what I was in for, and laced up anyway.  I finished first place female in the 5K last year, and had every intention of doing so this year in the 10K.

To save the suspense, I did.  I finished first female, second overall.  This was a SMALL race.  My time wasn't stellar, but given the hills and the wind, I was ok with it.  I need to find a flat 10K sometime to maybe bust out a killer PR :)

The race was at 9AM so my morning started with some toast, PB2, and half a banana.  My usual Advocare routine, which makes me feel AMAZING.  2 O2 Gold about 8:15, and my Spark/Arginine Extreme combo in the car on the way (about 20 minutes til race time)

Gotta love the awkward mirror selfie.  (I almost ALWAYS take these pre-race selfies before I put my hair up, it makes me feel better)  Gear was an Under Armour long sleeved shirt, Lincoln Mile t-shirt (I didn't run this race, but have a shirt.  Go figure) My lucky 10K Nike Tempo shorts, and black Pro Compression.  They were having some random contests at the race, like best outfit, best socks, etc like in a Halloween sense.  The girl at registration told me I could sign in for the sock part.  Uh no, my Pro Compression is not for decoration, it's medically necessary.  Thanks for asking. ;)

Splits : 7:05, 7:35, 7:52, 7:41, 7:19, 7:57, and some change for the last .2
YEAH positive splits... I don't think I've ever ran a race with negative splits.  Dang adrenaline from the get go shoots me in the foot every time.

First place female finish got me a SWEET gold medal AND a $25 gift certificate to Mocha Tan! AWESOME!

This was a small, local race, and it was great to support their cause.  I will probably always keep it on my fall schedule. I headed home to run 4 easy cool down miles (32 min) to make 10.2 miles for the day.

I LOVE the Mary Decker quote!! I saw it on Instagram right after the race, and it gave me goosebumps!  I related to Mary after my hip issue, and her dramatic fall.  But it's all about getting back up and simply loving to run!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Overnight Success

A few months ago we had a mandatory division meeting at work. Our VP read a blurb to us from Jon Gordon's blog. I listened to every word she read, and of course, my mind related every single word to running. (Yeah I focused on the work part too… ) I posted the segment on Instagram, and immediately had a flood of other runners ask if they could re-post. I’m sharing it again, and relating it back to my running… 

“You work really hard for 10 years.” Ok, more like a year…
“You show up every day. You do the work. You see yourself as an artist dedicated to your craft with a desire to get better.”  Every day… 5 AM. Cross training, weight training, core training. Every workout has a purpose, and that desire to get better is more like a FIRE. I WILL get faster and stronger!

“You try new things.” Lots of new Mizunos! Pro Compression. Foam rolling. Stretching. TEMPO runs! 

“You fail.” Many a failed workout. And that stinger…one failed marathon attempt…
“You improve.” Oh my gosh, YES! I PR’ed my last half, I ran a 1:10 15K, I’ve gotten faster, stronger, and SMARTER just within one crazy year! And I’m very proud of that.

“You grow.” I’ve learned a lot of tough lessons, accepted things for what they are, and I’ve grown up! 

“You face countless challenges and tons of rejection that make you doubt yourself and cause you to want to quit. But you don’t.” HIP INJURY. 

“You keep working hard, you stay positive and persevere through it all with resilience, determination, and a lot of hope and faith.” Some days I didn’t stay so positive. I got pretty down on myself. But ultimately I did keep working hard. Really hard actually. I was just SMARTER about it. I was determined to get back out there and run faster and better than ever. And I DID! I am proud of the PR I accomplished in Omaha. I had a friend ask how I managed a 4 minute PR. I said train for a marathon, not be able to do it, get a big chip on your shoulder, and go crazy. Very scientific. 

“Then you make it.” 

Every runner, or athlete, out there knows there is no such thing as an overnight success. And when it really comes down to it… why would you want to be? Shouldn’t the journey and the chase EXCITE you?! What motivation would you have to put in the work if you could really just go to bed one night, and wake up the next morning and run a BQ race without ever putting in a single, sucky training mile? If success really happened overnight, would we do the rest of the time? We all want to “make it” and be a “success” but I think it’s more about the road, the journey to the success than it is the actual spot at the top of the mountain.

The finale...

This Saturday morning is my last race of the year… (I MIGHT end up throwing a turkey trot in there, but nothing for positive).  I love the thrill of binning that bib on.  I hate knowing I have the dreaded winter months of bib-less running ahead of me.

So this is a 10K, which I haven’t raced since last August.  My time was not stellar by any means, but it was a small race, so I came in first place female and scored a sweet trophy!

The course this weekend is a double loop of torture.  It’s HILLY.  Last year it was also in the 20s, and I don’t think I could feel my legs during my 5K.  The forecast this year looks promising, and I’m a much different runner than I was a year ago.  Now when I see 20s or 30s in the forecast for my morning runs, I get excited!

Goals… well, PR.  I don’t think this will be a problem.  At all.  But I am basing my current 10K PR on a time from within a half.  Is that cheating?  Maybe.  So, the goal is to have a shiny new LEGIT 10K PR.  Mile pace, I don’t really know, I know the hills will play a part…

Here’s to the finale of 2013, let’s hope I end on a good note!