That Was CrossFit

Last night I stepped WAY outside of my comfort zone and tried something that people have been raving about for years, but I’ve always been too nervous to try. CrossFit was amazing, and every screaming muscle in my body this morning makes me a believer that this truly is a different type of workout than most runners will normally put themselves through.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, CrossFit describes itself as “CrossFit describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement,” with the stated goal of improving fitness (and therefore general physical preparedness), which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.’ “ Thanks Wikipedia. With the few weeks I had in between Providence and starting my official training program for the Newport Marathon (which starts this Monday- eep), I wanted to try all the workouts that I’ve heard about but couldn’t fit in with a full marathon training program going on.  I’m all for cross training a few times a week, but after an 18-miler weights never seemed appealing to me. I’m much more of a yoga, spin, maybe a swim if it’s during the summer type of girl. In fact, until last night I don’t think I’ve ever lifted a weight in my life. This was certainly something new.

When a friend of mine told me it was “Bring a Friend” week, I really had no excuse not to go and try it out. I met him at the gym at 6:30, changed in record time and was just in time for the warm up: running a mile.  I immediately thought to myself “Ok, maybe I won’t suck at ALL of this”.

The rest of the warm up went pretty well, then we went to the weights. I can squat with the best of them (thank you Yoga) but when you had me a barbell and tell me squat while holding 25lbs I’m going to be a little apprehensive. Thankfully, Coach Chip was VERY patient with me while he had to correct my form about 15 times. Oops.

Once I finally learned how to properly squat and lift, we moved into the “workout”. Apparently, the actual “Crossfit Workout” is only about 1/5 of the class. There is a timer on the wall, and once the whistle blows you do whatever the WOD (workout of the day) is. Yesterday was something called “Elizabeth”. What this meant was 21 squat lifts, 21 ring dips, then 15 of each and finally 9 of each. It reminded me of the “Pyramid” workouts I used to have to do at kickboxing in college. Kick the bag  20 times, punch the bag 20 times, then 19, 18, so on, and once you hit 1 you work your way back up to 20. I hated those more than any physical activity I’ve ever done in my life. No wonder I only lasted 3 months.

By the end of the set of 9 I wanted to puke. But- I completed my first CrossFit workout in 11:30, which Chip kindly told me was a respectable time. I’m not sure how much I believe him, but I like to think I didn’t completely embarrass myself.

I won’t lie- I’m sore today. Really sore. And the thought that I have Spin at 6:45 tonight is a little daunting. But I’ll power through. My marathon training program actually involving scheduled runs starts on Monday, and while I’m really excited to get back into the swing of things, I’m really glad I took these couple weeks to try some new workouts. I’ve found a lot of things that I love and I think will help me get that goal time at Newport Marathon I’m hoping for.

What workouts did you never think you would try that you fell in love with? What should I try with my last few days of workout freedom?

An Early Rainy Run

They always say you should train in every condition because you can’t predict the weather on race day. I’m not quite sure who “they” are or how “they “ decided on this, but it’s sound training advice in my mind. Sometimes you don’t have the ability to train for the weather you’ll be racing in (Boston 2012 anyone?) and sometimes it’s just not smart to train in whatever is going on outside. Blizzards + run = no. Not a good idea. Plow drivers will hate you.

 

This will stop me from running outside.

But this morning I decided I was not letting the rain stop me anymore and out the door I went. That’s right. This morning. At 6am. I finally broke my sleeping in funk.

I think last nights spin class motivated me to get out the door for some more endorphins this morning. I don’t know if you’ve tried it at all, but I’m obsessed with spin lately. Every few months I would give a class a try and nearly die halfway through and think it just wasn’t for me. Then a few weeks ago the idea suddenly seemed super appealing as a good way to keep cardio up while my IT bad was taking it’s break. Since then, I’m all in. Love.

After my spin induced endorphin rush last night, getting up at 6am this morning didn’t seem so bad. I even woke up a few minutes early to just enjoy laying there for a few minutes. I looked out the window, and no rain. Yes, the universe was excited for me to hit the pavement today, there was no doubt about it. A few easy miles, then work. It was flawless.

Well, flawless until I hit mile 2 of 3 and the rain decided to come back. But you know what? I didn’t even mind. It wasn’t pouring, it was a little refreshing and it was enough of a motivator to get me to kick up the pace for the last mile. Negative split? Don’t mind if I do. It was nice to feel fully recovered from Providence and look forward to a full training schedule for Jamestown. And Newport.

Speaking of, has anyone out there ever trained for a full and a half at the same time? Looking for some pointers there.

Anyways, that’s my Wednesday. Spin/Muscle tone class tonight, which is my favorite. It’s 6 minutes on the spin bike, followed by 6 minutes of circuit training for an hour. I will want to puke by the end. It will be amazing.

How’s everyone else’s week going? Any great runs? New classes?

The Week Ahead

Happy Monday! Do those really exist? It’s going to be an exceptionally busy and stressful week for me. Work is absolutely insane this week, I’m trying to run early in the morning and spin at night, and I need to find time to pre-cook some healthy meals because ordering out every day needs to end.

This morning getting up early was an epic fail. I’d love to someone else for this, but it was a 50/50 blame situation. The snooze was just too tempting. This weekend was spent bonding with a spin bike (I think I’m in love again), hanging with my best friends at the beach and watching Jim ride his dirtbike and not get hurt. Overall- great success.

Saturday spin class was the stuff fitness dreams are made of. Awesome soundtrack, awesome instructor and I felt like a million bucks when I didn’t feel like absolute and complete death. It’s amazing to me that I can run an abnormal distance for a human on a semi regular basis, but 15 minutes on the spin bike has me drenched in sweat and gasping for air. I love it.

Today also marks 2 weeks until Memorial Day. Summertime is the best time of year, though every year I always feel like I should have spent more time focusing on diet and trying to lose a few before bikini season kicks off. I am notorious for using the “I’m in training, I can eat whatever I want” approach to diets. Not so much. I’m trying to work on this. While trying to correct some of the damage I did over the winter I read that you should drink your body weight in ounces of water every day. Has anyone else tried this? I drink a lot of water as it is (2-3 liters on an average day). Attempting that 4th liter is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried. I had to pee every 5 minutes. That is not an exaggeration. How do people work, exercise, sleep or otherwise function without the constant need to pee? Someone tell me!

So this week is going to consist of clear-er eating, morning runs and nighttime spin classes. Sandwiched in between lots of stressful work days. I’m going to be a bucket of fun by Thursday I’m sure. Good times.

What are your fitness goals for the week? Long run? New class? New recipe? Let’s hear it!

Favorite Friday: Weekend Workouts

Happy Friday! I know I haven’t written much this week, but to be fair- I haven’t had a lot going on. It’s a recovery week, so there has been some quality time with the elliptical. I planned on doing spin on Wednesday, and Zumba last night but both were cancelled at the last minute. Boo.

Anyways, if you’re new around here, today is Friday and I like to look back at my week and think about my favorite things. If you read Ali On The Run, she has a great Thankful Things Thursday, which was an inspiration for this.

Since there hasn’t been much going on this week, I don’t have many favorite things from the days behind me, so I’m looking ahead. This weekend I have some kick ass workouts planned. I like to plan. Have I mentioned that?

Double Morning Sessions: My favorite Saturday work out since Boston training ended has been a spin class from 8-9am followed by Zumba from 9:30-10:30. Spin still kills me. I’m terrible at it, and my quads aren’t fond of me at all after I get off the bike. Other parts of me aren’t fond either, but let’s not discuss that. After I get off the bike I head back to the locker room where I stretch for 20 or so minutes, then do a nice little walk on the treadmill to shake my legs out. From there, it’s back upstairs to Zumba where I dance like an idiot for an hour and try to get my sexy back. I was not born with hips or boobs. I don’t know how to move these parts of my body in any sort of attractive way. I’m working on it. But the workout is super endorphin heavy and I love it.

Beach Walks and Yoga: I know this isn’t really a super heavy workout, but there’s something really peaceful about just walking as far as you can down a beach on a quiet morning. With the weather finally cooperating, I think this weekend may see a really long, quiet walk along the beach.

Not me, but you get the point.

I also love waking up at the beach (this happens at least once a week over the summer) and sneaking out at sunrise to get some yoga in. It’s hard not to find some inner peace with that view.

Gorgeous.

 

Long Runs: Let’s face it. These are my favorite. The thing I loved most about training for Boston this year was knowing every Saturday morning I had a group of people to run an obnoxious distance with. I have seriously missed waking up ready to face the 15 miles ahead of me. I can’t wait until June 4 when I start officially training for Newport. It’s going to be amazing. I hope.

Ahh, spikes. I miss you.

Post Workout Bloody Marys: They have sodium. Tomato. A full serving of vegetables. Totally healthy, right? That’s what I told myself after Providence last weekend. I passed out halfway through. It was wonderful.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend and kick your workouts butt!

What’s your favorite weekend workout? Yoga? Runs? Spin? Rock climbing? Let me know and give me some new things to try!

Race Recap: The Providence Half Marathon

This weekend I ran the United Healthcare Providence Half Marathon. Also known as that time I took a walking tour of Providence. But that’s ok. I went into this race with very few goals and expectations. Finish, don’t blow out my knee and try to have a good time despite what was sure to be a slow race. And you know what- that’s exactly what I did.

Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, and as sad as it was for us, Jim and I stayed in so I could sleep and not be margarita hungover (certainly one of the least desirable forms of hungover) for race day. We went to dinner early, were home by 10 and I was in bed by 10:05. In bed, yes, asleep, not so much. For whatever reason, I could not fall asleep to save my life. I’m guessing I finally passed out somewhere around midnight, but who really knows.

That made for a less than desirable 5am wake up call. I was a little nervous about getting to Providence and finding packet pick up in time, so I left with some buffer time. Thankfully, I didn’t need it and had my bib in hand by 6:45.

One of my favorite things about this race was how non-chaotic the start was. I really think splitting the full and half races a half hour apart made a HUGE difference. By the time the full started at 7:30 the half-ers took our spots and had plenty of space to stretch and warm up. It really was the best race start I’ve been to. Kudos, Cox Rhode Races.

I like calm start lines. They set a good vibe.

8am came pretty quickly and we were off. We were told up front the course split at mile 2, and I had heard from a few friends who ran in 2009 that the course wasn’t very clearly marked so I made sure to keep an eye out for the split. Turns out, it was as clear as day, and the whole course was marked very clearly (though not correctly- we’ll get to that) throughout the whole race.

While I was stretching and waiting I came up with a game plan. My doctor tells me when my asthma flares up to walk a quarter of a mile each time I hit a new mile mark. This was I never put myself in too much danger and always have a set break to catch my breath. I figured this was the best plan since I haven’t really run- never mind raced- in 6 weeks. The doctor also told me to walk the uphills for Boston so I wouldn’t tear my knee up anymore than it already was. I figured this was also sound advice but wasn’t aware of one key thing- Providence was MOSTLY uphill. I really don’t know how they designed a course with such little downhill compared to the amount of uphill.

So as I approached the 2 mile mark, I didn’t have to worry about blowing past the marker signs because I had been walking for the half mile of serious uphill that precedes the two mile mark. While looking for the course signs I found a much cuter one.

A penguin race sign? Amazing.

And that’s how it went for mile 6 too. 7 through 9, those were also a crazy amount of uphill. Mile 10 had a super sharp decline that was as close as you could come to just jumping down 40 yards onto the flat pavement below. I’ve honestly never seen such a steep decline on a course in my life. If one person tripped half of the field would have been taken out by the tumbling person behind them. Thankfully, this didn’t happen. Though there were certain moments I was fairly convinced it was going to.

The full and half courses converged for what I assumed was the last 1.1 miles of the course. Right after I passed the 12 mile sign, the super speedy marathoners came around the corner. As those crazy runners blew straight past me, I was in awe of how comfortable they all looked despite the 25 miles of pavement they just covered. Every runner I saw was cruising along like they had just ran a 5K. While I was staring in awe, I also noticed that we were passing the Mile 25 sign about a half mile after the Mile 12 sign. Ok- maybe we have different finish lines? That’s strange, I thought it was the same one?

It was the same one. This became more confusing when a mile later we passed the Mile 26 sign, but had yet to pass the Mile 13 marker. Really, did they not think anyone would notice that mile 12 was way further than a mile? We’re runners. We’re known to carry GPS enabled devices any time our feet are in something that may resemble a running shoe. I know it was more than a mile. My Nike+ told me so. A lot of the half-ers were more than slightly irritated by this because they had paced for the last mile thinking it would actually be a mile. Silly runners, why would you think a course would be accurately marked?

Once the race was finally over, I was greeted with one of the best finish lines I’ve ever had the pleasure of crossing. I expect to be greeted with a medal. The water is never expected, but also never surprising and certainly always appreciated. One thing I have never been greeted with was pizza.

A medal and pizza? You rock my world Providence.

That was not expected and appreciated doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. I can’t think of many things that would have made me happier in that moment. Temporary forgiveness for the Mile 12 issue, for sure.

Friday I set some goals for this race. To recap…

–       Finish. Check. It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but it got done.

–       Enjoy Racing. Check. I didn’t get the rush I normally do from attempting a PR, but I did genuine enjoy being out on the course. Even when my hands got that swelly thing they sometimes get.

I swear, I normally do not have sausage fingers. I promise.

–       Meet the other Rhode Scholars. Sadly, no check here. Attention Rhode Scholars- For Jamestown let’s plan a meeting spot at the finish in advance. Or the start. You guys pick. But let’s find each other!

So that was Providence. I came. I saw. I ran. I walked. I didn’t quite conquer but I finished. And right now that’s good enough for me.

It’s Race Weekend! Let’ s Set Some Goals

Happy Friday everyone! This weekend is the first event in the UHC Triple Crown- The Providence Half Marathon. Last night while I was falling asleep on the couch watching Green Lantern (I know, falling asleep while Ryan Reynolds is on TV is just not ok, but it happens) I got to thinking about what I wanted out of this Sunday. I’m excited to toe a start line. After the crushing non start of Boston, this simple fact is something for me to look forward to. But race wise, what am I really looking for?

Finish: That’s right, just finish. With my knee problems, I think just finishing will be fine by me. Which is something I never thought I’d say.

Enjoy racing: With all the training but no racing that’s been going on since last August, I think I’ve forgotten that I actually do enjoy running races. There’s just been so much build up and let down, I want to enjoy every minute of this race.

Meet the other Rhode Scholars: I’m excited that there is a group of amazing runners/bloggers who are going to be there, and I’m excited to hopefully get the chance to meet all of them. Considering we’re going to be running the same races all summer, it will be nice to have a group of people who understand the training, traveling and intensity of a whole series instead of a one-off race.

It’s not much, but those are my goals for this weekend. And since it’s Friday, here are my favorite things about this week…

Champagne in bed: Yes, this is one of my favorite things to do. And I did it twice this week.

The Cemetery Route: This is my favorite route in my town. It’s a beautiful cemetery, and while I won’t run it anywhere close to dark, it’s a little piece of heaven that is perfect for training. Hills, mix of pavement, gravel and dirt and completely secluded from traffic.

It’s like my own mini Central Park. Minus the tourists.

Movie nights: It’s been a cold, dreary, rainy week. There was lots of movie watching on the couch. It was wonderful.

Chipwiches: And what better junk food to enjoy while watching your movie than a chipwich? They’re amazing, and you can’t tell me any different.

I’m so attractive sometimes.

Happy Friday, and good luck to all the runners this weekend! Racing this weekend? When and where?