Friday, June 29, 2012

Swimming with the fishes

On my 3rd day of a yoga/swim combo work, I asked my husband if he wanted to join me when I went to the pool.  He's not a big pool guy, he prefers the local public lake.  I figured it was better to have him come with me and go to the lake if it meant getting him out of the house for a bit.

So to the lake it was.

I don't like lakes.  If I'm going to swim in a natural body of water, I'm an east-coast ocean girl.  Yet I found myself sitting on the new docks at the lake.  Gone was the splintery wood from the past, now replaced with smooth recycled plastic timbers.  Also gone was the raft and oddly configured swim space.  Everything was now laid out geometrically.  Unfortunately what remained were the screaming, splashing kids that I avoid when I go for the "adult swim time" at the local pool.  Even though they are contained behind a floating line, their voices are not and hearing an excited child utter, "Mommy I went poo!" is not my ideal swim experience.

But sitting on the end of the dock, where the kids aren't allowed, with my husband was nice.  Our toes dragging in the chilly water as the sun warmed our backs, I was reminded of when we were first together and would often steal these kinds of moments while the kids safely played and swam in that contained area.

However, I was there to swim too.  I like swimming with my husband.  He used to be a diver and he a fluid motion when he swims, that efficient stroke and kick that divers develop to propel themselves and conserve energy at the same time.  I jumped in and swam to the far line of the delineated swimming area and called out, "What time is it?"  I wanted to time how long I was in for but my ironman watch is now taking in water, so I can only wear it as a watch or running until I have it fixed or replace it.

"I'm not going in," he called back, "I'm going to take a nap over on the grass."

Fabulous.  I gave up cycling and my comfortable swim zone for him and now he was going to sleep instead of swim.  It came out as, "What time is it?  I need to time how long I'm swimming."

"Quarter after..."

I then began the long swim, alone.  He watched for a while before he headed off to rest in the shade.

Reaching the far end of the delineated area, I felt something nip my foot.  Startled I kicked and splashed for a moment and then remembered why I dislike the lake: they stock it with fish who are sometimes aggressive with swimmers.  After 20 minutes of swimming (and fish fighting), I swam in to my chest height (still in the "adult" area) and did my resistance exercises.  While I held onto the edge of the dock for balance as I did my leg lifts and such, I noticed a fish under the dock.  It was just hanging there, suspended in the water watching me.  Soon it was joined by a couple of more fish buddies, all of them watching me watching them.  

It was a bit surreal.

I finished my exercises and did my achilles work before climbing out and heading in to rouse my husband.

Three full days of workouts and I feel stronger, but today I think I'll head to the pool on my own where I can see the floor of the pool, the clock on the wall and don't have to contend with fish or children.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Insanity Workouts

Today I had a good workout.  It was crazy but it was good and I feel strong.

It started with a 90 minute Flow Foundation yoga class.  I was sweating like a sinner in church during a heatwave.  I could see sweat dripping off my nose and feel it running down my back.  It was hard to find my center when I was mentally taking notes like: wear a tank top under my shirt in the future... noting where to place blocks and wondering if I looked as dorky and awkward as I felt compared to the experienced folks in the class.

Then I rode my bike from the yoga studio to the pool.  I locked my stuff up and went for a 30 minute run.  The first 7 or 8 minutes were fine and then my legs got my brain's attention.  I think the conversation went something like this:

Legs: "Hey, jerkweed."
Brain: "Are you talking to me?"
Legs: "Damn tootin' sweetheart.  What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Brain: "I think I'm running.  Why?"
Legs: "After 90 freakin' minutes of yoga?"
Brain: "Is that a problem?"
Legs: "It doesn't take Obviousman to know that we're feeling a bit tired here."
Brain: {thinking}
Brain: "Did you want me to slow things down?"
Legs: "Um... YEAH."
Brain: "For how long?"
Legs: {caught off guard} "Um... a couple of minutes?"
Brain: "Cool.  All you had to do was ask."

After a couple of minutes, I picked up the pace and about 7 minutes later, my legs requested another slow down.  I made it through 30 minutes and spent almost 1/2 a minute struggling with the new Nike+ interface (human design my left big toe).  Done with that, I was standing outside the pool and ready to just relax.

I like water workouts, they're essentially weightless.  Ten lazy laps, some hip strengthening exercises in the water (where the resistance is futile or felt) and a few minutes of floating, I dried myself off and pedaled home.

Who needs a bootcamp when you have insanity?

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

One Misty Moisty Morning

It took everything in me to go out this morning.  I hate this feeling of running in a cloud where everything is little droplets that cling to you like barbs leaving you damp.  Not wet but damp like a dish rag on the sink.  Add a bit of clamminess to that and it's a good morning to curl up on the couch with a cup of hot coffee, a warm kitty and trashy TV.

No such luck for me.

The kitties are still skittish since they're new to the house (although Odin did a great job dusting the front end of the treadmill for me, no one made coffee and the closest to trash TV this time of the day is Fox News or MSNBC trashing their opponents.

After Sunday's race, I realized my Saucony Omni 9's were just flat out dying.  I love those shoes and I hated the feel of the 10's so I figured it was time to make a trip to Marathon Sports to look at the Hurricanes.  To my surprise, they had the Omni 11's and they fit like a glove.  All springy and happy and comfy, they hugged my feet the way my 9's used to.  While I'm a little sad they no longer come in alien green and now have blue shoes, I was sold and this morning they were truly my incentive for braving the cloud sitting over Boston right now.

This is perhaps the best run I've had since... well, I can't remember when.  For the most part, it was because I ran.  No run/walk (with the exception of a minute of walking about 7 minutes in), it was a 2 mile run.  Nice and steady up a hill, down a hill, back up a hill and back down until I made it home.  My legs were strong, my breathing was strong and my feet were smiling.

So the streak continues (even with a lame ass attempt on Saturday and another yesterday) and I feel just a little more badass than I have in a long time.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Smuttynose 5k

The name of this race is "Will Run For Beer," it even says so on the shirt. :)

Looking at the weather, I was a bit nervous as it looked like cold and rainy. If I hadn't arranged to go to the race with a friend, I might have blown it off. Instead, Tom pulled up and off we went to the wilds of Hampton, NH.

The race director had sent out a few emails telling people to show up early or you'd have to park a 1/2 mile from the finish line. What he didn't say was the finish line was almost a mile away from the start line. So before the race even started, you logged over a mile!

We got there at 9:30 for an 11:00 race and ended up in the far parking lot.. Fortunately, another friend got there early enough that she was parked near the finish line so we could sit in her warm car until it was time to walk to the start.

And walk we did. It was close to a 20 minute walk to the start and the crowd was huge. It took a minute and a half before I crossed the start line and fortunately people were running almost as soon as you crossed the start line. The first stretch was uphill and all I could see were a group of dotted colors of the runners. There was a see of safety yellow, bright orange, neon green and other colors all tightly packed up ahead of me.

This was a race over country road that looked like New Hampshire. There was even a covered bridge on the course. The first mile was mostly uphill. The mist that was falling would turn to rain at times and then back to mist. As I turned the corner and saw the first mile marker, I also saw a group of people holding "Go Runners!" signs and ringing cowbells. It made me smile because, while running in the rain can be pleasant, standing in it to cheer on runners is really special.

Running over the covered bridge I came up the hill and saw a couple of black llamas. That's right, a couple of llamas hanging out in a field next to a barn. My delight at the llamas quickly faded when we all caught the smell of the llamas and farm. Yep, there's a reason I live in the city and wet llama makes a wet dog smell good!

Mile 2 came up and I was still under a 13 minute pace. While the time had creeped up from just over 12 minutes/mile, it was still comfortably under 13. Here the course took a downhill turn and began to fold back on itself. It wasn't long before I passed the start gate and knew I was .8 miles from the finish. At this point I was feeling a bit winded. In the distance I saw people turning to the left and knew I was pretty much done. I crossed at the 42:10 mark on the clock but figured about 1:26 off that for the start. My final time was 40:17 for a 13:00 minute even pace.

I met up with my friends and we decided the beer line was too long, so we went out for ice cream instead. :)

Right now I feel pretty badass considering ran 2.1 in the rain and NH roadways.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Streaking 'round town

I didn't think I'd make it this far, but I've run 4 days in a row and I'm planning on a run after I get home today.

Last night it was 2.6 with the running club and I pushed myself a little more.  The push dropped me below the 13 min/mile mark.  That means over the course of May, I managed to shave over 30 seconds/mile off my time.  I'm shooting for a 12 minute mile by July 4 and this is the first time it's felt in reach in a long time.

Mostly I've been shooting to go out for a mile or two in the morning, but I want to try to mix it up a bit as I go into the end of the week here to see what kind of runs work best for me.  The general game plan is to stick to the plan: long run on Sunday, a mile or two daily until I meet up with the running club on Thursday and then a mile or two to end the week.

On Sunday I'll make the decision about a fall half.  Yep, I said it, a fall half.  I'm thinking the Smuttynose half in NH at the end of September.  My niece is doing the full, a bunch of friends are doing the half so it makes sense.  Perhaps I can get my sister to come too, that would be nice. :)

Right now, it's time to get ready for the day. :)