Thursday, January 07, 2010

Adventures at the gym, hills, & Rocky sighting!

First things first: a new banner for a new year/decade!  The picture is from this race, my first foray into the 3000m/"long distance" track events.  In case you were wondering, the girl in yellow tripped me ~600 m into the race and I went down hard, but don't worry, I later lapped her. :)  Anyway...I don't really know, I was just kind of bored of my old header and there's a fun photo editing program on facebook so I was like...woo hoo I'll make a new one!  So there it is..enjoy!

So a few weeks ago, I joined a gym in the hopes of being able to rehab my stubborn IT band issue and have a place to be able to cross train throughout this marathon training cycle, especially if my knee problems start to flare up.  To be honest, gyms [and the people who frequent them] generally freak me out...I feel like I'm of such a different mindset than people at gyms who work out just for the sake of working out [as opposed to training] that when I see someone like...doing like 15 seconds of abs and being done, or talking on their phone while meandering on the elliptical it kind of bothers me....yes...elitist running attitude talking, sorry :)  But lo and behold, while some of the people are irritating and the whole "gym" concept is still bizzare to me, I can't lie - I really like it.  Some things that I have been enjoying/adventures that I've been having:

-personal training: so I get 2 free sessions with my new membership, and I was initially SUPER skeptical - I've heard stories about people going to trainers who are like "don't run so much, running actually isn't that good for you, blah de blah".  But it actually was kind of cool!  I get the impression that most people who sign up for personal training are really out of shape, because the girl seemed perplexed as to why I wanted to try personal training [because it's free, DUH!].  In my first session I learned a couple things to strengthen my glutes [which apparently are the weakest part of my legs, fail!] and some pretty killer ab exercises.

-yoga class: ummm I'm really nerdily excited about this one.  Yesterday I swam 2000 yards [which was pretty ballin' and I was proud of myself, hehe].  There was a random yoga class starting 15 minutes after I got out of the pool and I figured why not?  I do enjoy working out for multiple hours a day....well WOW I am totally on the bandwagon.  It was so fantastic....I feel like I actually know a little bit more about yoga than I thought I did, because I actually knew quite a few of the poses.  It was relaxing at points, but also felt like a bit of a strength workout too - and it was pretty hilarious to see the strength imbalance between my right and left legs...something that I didn't know existed, ummm yeah, it's there.  We were doing all these lunges/balance poses and on my right leg it was like..yup, no problem! On the left leg? I was falling over and failing and it was just ridiculous. wonder I got ITBS in my left leg only?  Anyway - I really enjoyed the class, and I think I'm going to add it to my weekly routine.  Yay for non-dorky group fitness! [sorry Zumba fans, that is sooo not my style...]

-swimming: pretty self explanatory, but the fact that the place had a pool was a big factor in me going there instead of a cheaper place. Swimming is my second favorite cardio activity after running, and I figure I might as well start off my base for my triathlon future now, right?  The best thing is when I was younger, I SUCKED at swimming.  I didn't get to move up to the next level of swim lessons when I was like 8 because I wasn't good enough [the instructor, Tammy, was also a beeyotch!]  But I guess I figured it out somewhere along the line!

-fun toys:  there are lots of fun toys to 'play' with at the gym - medicine balls, exercise balls, bosu balls, etc.  But my personal fave is [surprise surprise] the magical, all-powerful FOAM ROLLER.  Seriously, sometimes I feel like it's worth my $79/month membership just to be able to go there everyday and foam roll the crap out of myself [yes, I realize I could also buy one for like $20...whatevs].  It has worked wonders on my IT band, and I've also been enjoying experimenting with it on the rest of my muscles after a just hurts so gooood.

As far as running is concerned - 4 days in to Boston training and I am so freaking happy - I actually am starting to feel like myself again, as opposed to like my body has been hijacked by a slower, injured, fail-person. On Tuesday I had my first "workout" of the cycle - 2 mile warmup, 6 x 1 minute hill repetitions @ 3K effort, and 2 mile cooldown.  So which hill do I pick? Obiviously the MASSIVE one near my house with what I found out is a 10.6% grade...why do I do these things to myself.   The workout sounded pretty easy on paper, but a minute lasts a REALLY long time when it's being taken up by running at 3K effort uphill, gah!  I used my power hour playlist to keep track of time so that was kind of fun and prevented me from looking at my watch every 4.6 seconds.  I also think I may have been scolded by an old man for doing a farmer's blow into a snowbank?  Haha I have no idea actually what he said [loud music], but he looked disapproving lol. I actually hit the same pace [6:40] for all the hills and I am amazed by the fact that a) I didn't slow down over the workout and b) that's actuallly vaguely close to my 3K pace! Rockin'.

Wednesday was an XT day, then today I had 8 miles on the schedule.  Once again after a 7.5 hour workday, I was sooo not in the mood to run.  But since I'm now officially a slave to the training calendar, I had to get out there [color coded calender = best idea ever...I swear it looks at me like that money with eyes in those Geico commercials...all I need is that song haha] And it was such a great run! So....I managed to sort of jack up my OTHER knee over the weekend [I may or may not have jammed it when I slipped in the snow while chasing a dog down a hill at work...true story, ugh] and I was a little worried about how it was going to respond to 8 miles, but it didn't bother me while running...and honestly, if it doesn't hurt when I'm running, it's all good!  At one stoplight, I looked across the street and there was this guy in grey sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt bouncing around and doing like...boxing punches while waiting for the light.  I almost burst out laughing...he just looked awkward, but then all of a sudden I thought ROCKY! and it made me giggle even harder haha.   All we needed was someone to drive by playing "Eye of the Tiger" and we would have been set.  My attempt at running slow failed...7:51 pace overall...which is even more of an indication that I'm finally getting back to my true running self. :)

Well I was going to do one of those "decade in review" deals that everyone seems to be doing lately [I totally forgot it was a new decade, then again I DID write my year in review post in a state of extreme sleep deprivation/caffienation so who even knows what I spewed out haha] but this is already pretty I think I'll save that for tomorrow. Happy Friday & Happy Running!

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