Thursday, January 31, 2013

In sickness and in health, Run!

I'm going to start off with a disclaimer that only you know how sick you are. You should listen to your body first. If you're not well enough to run, don't. You could risk getting more sick and have to take more time off so it's just not worth it. As for me, I have the congestion my son brought home from daycare. I wasn't feeling well at all this morning and struggled to drop him off so I could work from home. I was disappointed about not running. I took Dayquil. I googled running when sick and found this article. Yes, I actually did that. I read the article and found some hope. I got up and did some stretching. No problems there. I did some butt kicks. My husband can kick his butt with both feet. I tried that and ended up getting hurt. I'm clumsy so I do butt kicks one leg at a time. It works for me. I still felt fine. So, I decided to go on an easy run. I would stop the second I felt tired.

I didn't get very far. I ran about a mile and a half at my usual pace, maybe a little better than my usual pace. I stopped the second I felt tired and walked the rest of the way home. 

I'm home now and I feel great. I'm still congested (thank God for Ricola and Dayquil and thank my husband for leaving them out for me this morning!) but at least I'm happy. I'm happy and sick, does that even make sense?

I realized today I'm a runner. Remember that movie with Whoopie Goldberg - Sister Act II? I just remembered something she told Lauryn Hill (I'll leave my opinion about her for another post). Let me google it. Here it is - 

Whoopi: I know you want to sing. See, I love to sing. Nothing makes me happier. I either wanted to be a singer or the head of the Ice Capades. Hey. Do you know who the Ice Capades are? Don't roll your eyes. They were very cool. I went to my mother who gave me this book, called Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. He's a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say, "I want to be a writer. Please read my stuff." And Rilke says to this guy, "don't ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing, then you're a writer." I'm gonna say the same thing to you. If you wake up in the morning and you can't think of anything but singing first, then you're supposed to be a singer.

As you can tell I am very philosophical. So much so that I quote from movies! Point being, I woke up this morning thinking about running. I think about running a lot. I am a runner.  

Still sick but happy,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Real Challenge

I thought I had enough on my plate in terms of challenges. I have my first 5K in March and the 30 day Bikram challenge in February but yesterday, I learned the true meaning of the word challenge. You see, my son hasn't been sleeping very well lately. He was very congested Sunday night and was up most of the night. On Monday night, he was wide awake from 2-5 am. Tuesday mornings, I get up at 5:30 for a run and there was no way that was happening with 2 hours of sleep!

Apparently when we were up at 3 am, I asked my husband how I was supposed to go running at 5:30. I slept in (if you can really call it that considering I went to bed at 5 am) and woke up at 6:30 for work. I felt guilty all day about not going out on my run so I decided to go on one last night. The real challenge would be learning to run exhausted. I admire mothers with children younger than mine that still maintain their running. It is extremely difficult to get out there and run when you're not getting enough sleep.

Alas, I did get my run in last night and it was my farthest to date. 2.38 miles in 22 minutes. I switched the running app I was using from AllSport to Nike running and it made a difference. Nike counts down seconds to your run so you have time to put your phone in your arm band or pocket. I heard my pace and mileage at every mile which is extremely encouraging! I am definitely going to continue using the app. It also connects directly with Daily Mile so that helps keep track of all your runs.

I came home red-faced, sweaty and smiling! As soon as I came home, my little man crawled toward me with his mem-mem-memma and gave me kisses. There is NOTHING more encouraging than that!

There's a big part I'm leaving out however. On Monday, I was going through running blogs and I found one about a weekend of yoga and running - The SeaWheeze Half Marathon. I clicked the link and to my amazement, the course was absolutely beautiful! Vancouver is known for it's beauty and I have never been there. I went through all the pictures and couldn't help getting excited. I decided right then and there that this race would have to be on my bucket list. Combine that with my son not sleeping Monday night and in my waking moments, all I was thinking about was the Half Marathon. I mentioned this to my husband yesterday and he told me he's completely supportive and that he and my son would be waiting for me at the finish line. So yesterday, I registered. I will be running a Half Marathon a couple days after my 32nd birthday! I am very excited.

This is definitely the year of firsts - my first 5K and my first half marathon. Just signing up gave me motivation. Right now my focus is the 5K and with my run last night, I have no doubt I will make it. Then I'll need to work my butt off to train for the half marathon. I will continue to document my journey - from beginner runner to 5K to half marathon all in a year. It can be done and I will do it!

Totally off the subject, how many of you get red faced after a workout? Whenever I come home from running, my face is bright red. The same thing happens after a yoga class. Am I the only red faced runner out there?

Until my next challenge - yea right I have enough on my plate,

Red-faced after yesterday's run

Sunday, January 27, 2013

These boots are made for running?

This past weekend we didn't have plans and I didn't have to share my hubby with his other love, climbing, so I was pretty excited. We had a relatively low key Saturday and were both ready for some activity Sunday. So yesterday, we drove out to Watchung, about 20 minutes from where we live, to check if there was ice in so we could go ice climbing this morning. To our surprise, ice was in and it was beautiful! Michael ran out and took some pictures and couldn't stop planning our Sunday. We arranged for a babysitter for a couple hours and were out of the house by 8:40 this morning.

Now I'm usually not interested in making plans so early on a Sunday but with ice so close, an extremely short approach and knowing we'd be home early enough to get most of the day with Santino, I gladly agreed. After seeing the pictures Michael took on Saturday, I was even more excited.

We get there and set up and Michael takes two "burns". I'm not really into all the climber lingo so I usually call them runs but I guess burns is the appropriate word considering everything burns when you're done! Anyways, I put on his boots and crampons and attempted to climb. I didn't get anywhere. The boots were way too big for me. I thought they were a size or so big but I think it was more than that. I couldn't even kick the boots into the ice. I stopped and made the most of the day. I belayed Michael a couple times and he did really well so it wasn't a day wasted. But, I was upset at not getting to climb and more upset about losing activity for the day.

On the way to the car, I decided I would go for a run when we got home. My last run was just under 2 miles and I really need to start running 2 miles so I could get up to 3 for my 5K in March. I also didn't want to waste my day! So I came home, layered up for running, or rather delayered from ice climbing and was on my way.

Today's time was 2.08 miles. My farthest yet - Woohoo! Also, I managed to stay within my usual pace of 9:30 min/mile so I am really proud of myself. I guess the fact that Michael's boots didn't fit made me get a run in. So apparently, the boots were made for running. :)

I really feel great now. I feel like I earned a Sunday of playing with my son and watching TV. I look forward to more runs this week and starting my 30 day Bikram challenge on Thursday.

Until my next 2+ mile run,
Beautiful ice globe I found while waiting for Michael to set up

Friday, January 25, 2013

Too much?

After my disappointing run yesterday, I was determined to make the most of my Bikram class. I went prepared to fall back, reach back, go way back and push, push, push (some Bikram humor for you non yogis). Anyways, I did really well! The class didn't have too many people in it so that probably helped with the temperature.

On the way out of class, I saw that the studio had a sign up sheet for a 30 day Bikram challenge in February. I have signed up once before, the month before I got pregnant and I ended up going 4 times. Very sad! I couldn't resist and I signed up again. I know I won't be able to go 30 times in 30 days. It's not an excuse so much as it's extremely hard to find the time. The studio is 20 minutes away, each class is 90 minutes, plus 10 minutes to cool down and an extra 20 minutes since I need to get to class early enough to get a good spot! So the time away from home definitely adds up and while I wish I could do it 30 times in 30 days, it is probably not likely. I don't think I'm setting myself up to fail since I honestly believe it's about setting expectations. Signing up for a 30 day challenge will result in me making time to go more. Though I may not make 30, I'll probably get pretty close and that's perfectly fine with me. I'm just excited about the challenge.

I also have signed up for my first 5K in March. So is this doing too much? I honestly don't think so. I'm going to push myself to get up at 5:30 and continue running. Hopefully I can make it to yoga a couple times a week and maybe a class or two on the weekends. It's going to take some planning but I'm sure I can do both.

I read a quote the other day - "A [wo]man who dares waste an hour does not value time" or something to that effect - thank you Charles Dickens. Anyways, the point is really that you have to make time to do the things you love. And if that means getting up before your family does, so be it. Wasting time is not really doing anything for me or my family.

I have to say I wish I knew this earlier. Before I got married and had my son, I wasted A LOT of time. If I could go back in time knowing what I know now (I know we have all said this at least once in our lives), I would have done things differently. I would have used my time more efficiently. But I guess it took having a child to make me realize the value of time.

Though it may appear that I am setting my goals too high, I think I'm capable. The Bikram challenge starts Feb 1. I'm hoping to go 15-20 times. The 5K is in March and I really need to up my distance. So far the farthest I have run is 1.94 miles. I'm hoping to make it 2 next week and then build up from there.

What is too much in your opinion? Do you believe setting your goals too high sets yourself up for failure?

Until my next challenge,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

One step ahead and two steps back

It's a frigid 13 degrees outside today and I was pretty pysched to go for a run this morning and try out all my cold weather gear. I dropped Santino to daycare, came home, got ready and warmed up. The second I opened my door, I was greeted with a blast of cold air and knew I would have a tough time. I continued nonetheless. I started my running app, warmed up some outside and was on my way.

After a couple minutes, I realized how cold my face was. My body didn't feel nearly as cold as my face. I trudged along and my stomach started cramping. I was so focused on the cold and my stomach that I stopped. I didn't even make a mile.

I walked home discouraged. In fact I'm still disappointed. I should have fought through it. I should have kept going. Why didn't I? Was this what I had become, a quitter after half a mile?

At home, I immediately sunk into my usual negative spiral. Maybe I'm not meant to do this - maybe I'm just not one of those people that can fight through things and overcome. Is running really for me?

This is the answer I came up with and this is what I am going to continue thinking. I had a bad run, but a bad run is better than no run. And yes, I'm a runner because I enjoy running and because it took a lot for me to leave my warm house and even get outside to begin with. Just because today's run wasn't great, doesn't mean that I have to identify myself with it. I can overcome simply by getting back out there and trying again.

I will run again and I will run in the cold again. I will overcome.

Until my next GOOD run,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Time Off

Marriage before baby and marriage after baby are two very different things. Before we had our son Santino, my husband and I did everything together. We rock climbed, went to yoga, took dance classes (this was before we got married), ice climbed, went to wineries, etc. We were best friends. Post baby, things changed. I became less active in order to spend more time with our son. My husband, Michael, and I get upset because we want to spend more time together and it gets difficult. We've compromised and have days where I'm off and he's with our son, or when he's off and I'm with our son. Still there's nothing like the time we're together. Family time is best, in my opinion, but it gets tough to do things outdoors in the winter with a one year old. So this past weekend, we took time off. We spent a much needed night away in the Catskills.

Saturday morning, we dropped Santino to his grandparents, got some breakfast and were on our way. Two hours later, we checked into our hotel, changed and went on a hike. We were prepared for snow. We put on our snow boots, gaters, made sure we had layers on and took our hiking polls to hike up Overlook mountain. The 5 mile hike was absolutely beautiful. The hike wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and we were sweating half way through. Thankfully we had layered appropriately (more about that later) and were able to really enjoy our trek up the mountain. On our way down, we ran into an old man who was staying at the monastery nearby and had done the hike 22 days in a row. He had one trekking pole and a limp yet he was smiling his way up the mountain!

Saturday night we had a 4 course dinner at the hotel. Pre-dinner, I had my indulgence -  a Grey Goose dirty martini with extra olives. Perfection! Though I ended up eating more of Michael's meal than my own, the food was delicious and well earned. Bellies full and exhausted, we went to bed at about 9pm.

On Sunday, we hired a guide to go on a half day ice climbing trip. When Michael called to get the guide, he mentioned that I don't like long approaches and a full day would probably be too much for me. Years ago, our first ice climbing trip was in the Catskills and I was exhausted after walking up to just get there. On the way down, it was getting dark, it was steep and it pretty much ruined my first ice climbing experience. The climbing itself was exhausting so spending even more energy to hike down just wasn't worth it. This time Michael made sure to plan something I would enjoy and he nailed it! I kicked the crap out of the ice, was sore as hell and really had a good time.

That brings us to the weekend gear review. I realized the importance of cold weather gear this weekend. If you are outside freezing, you're most  likely not going to enjoy anything you do! Michael loves everything Patagonia and I am very lucky to have a bunch of zip ups and Patagonia hoodies that I use for layering. That said, I usually wear an Under Armour mock neck for winter activities. If I had worn my mock neck base layer on Saturday's hike, I would have been way too warm. It was in the low 40's and it got hot hiking uphill. I wore a vented long sleeve run shirt from Lulu Lemon and it was perfect. I was warm but not hot and the vents really kept me from sweating. Lulu gets a bad rep as a stay at home mom line but I found the top functional and fashionable and I am definitely going to wear it again. So to all you Lulu haters, buy something, try it on and see how great you feel in it. If you're a guy, I think you should stick to Patagonia, the Lulu guy line looks a little..well let's just say it may not be for you.

Weekend grade - A+. The weekend was amazing and much needed. We had a great time and I have spent the last two days with my son making up for my time away. I'm still sore and a little run down so I haven't run  but plan to get back on track Thursday. At least my off days were full of activity so I don't feel guilty!

Well rested, sore and happy,

Hike up Overlook Mountain in my new fav Lululemon base layer
Climb on Ren!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

De-stress and Compress

Since my epiphany, I have been happily making time to run and go to yoga. Last Sunday, I ran almost 2 miles in just under 19 minutes! I have officially brought down my 10 minute mile time to the 9 minute range and I am proud of myself. I have worked hard to get here. Yesterday, my 5:30 am day, I was just about to snooze my alarm when my son woke up and started crying. Since I had to get out of bed to get him anyway, I realized I had no excuse. I got out of bed, got ready, stretched and went out for my run. The feeling I had after that run was amazing. I had more energy than I usually do in the mornings, I was filled with pride and I was actually thankful to my son for getting up at 5:30!

My mother asked me over the weekend if I thought I was overdoing it. The past couple of weeks, I have been busting my ass running and going to yoga. I tried a Hot Vinyasa class, intsead of my normal Bikram routine, and boy was I sore! My answer to my mother? No, I feel just right. My head is finally clear.

I don't worry about my bills, an argument with my husband, moving out of our house, having another baby, etc, when I'm running. I focus on my stride, improving my time and gaining distance. During Bikram, the only thing I am thinking about is going deeper into the pose and for my latest Vinyasa venture, I was only thinking about when class would be over!

The older you get, the more responsibilities you have and the more you stress. I stress often about a lot of things. My main stress is being able to give my son everything I grew up with and more. But if I'm constantly stressing, I'm not enjoying life. I find that my runs and yoga help me de-stress and give me the time I need to myself. Mothers constantly feel guilty for doing things for ourselves but I have now realized that doing something for me is actually doing a lot for my husband and son. They get a better me if I'm relaxed and happy.

My recent focus, aside from shopping for new running gear, is to improve my distance. I read an article recently about tricks to improve your run time and distance. It mentioned that we are often mentally tired before we're physically tired. I know this is true. I run until I feel like I'm done and stop. The day I ran two miles, I ran until I was going to throw up. Now that's physical exhaustion. Another couple runs like that and I should be at 3 miles in no time!

As for shopping, I researched the best running tights and discovered the CW-X tights. The reviews were so good that I bought a pair  for myself and my husband. The CW-X tights are compression tights and apparently relieve soreness therefore making recovery easier. I just took them out for their first run and it was really different. In the beginning, I felt as if the tights were pushing my legs closer together. Very strange. I got used to it and left them on for a bit when I got home. I actually feel less sore than I usually do after a run so money well spent!

Until my next run,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Renita vs. Renita: FIGHT!

It's very easy to get caught up in the "I can't." Oh I would absolutely love to wake board but I would never be able to do that! Or, and I've heard this many times, I have no idea how you do Bikram yoga, I could never stand the heat! I have no idea how we all get so caught up in the fact that we can't do something before we even try. I do it myself and am tired of hearing it.

I've been contemplating running a 5K for a long time. When I first started this blog, I alluded to the fact that I would be thrilled if I could ever run one. I started thinking about this recently and realized I am my own worst enemy. Why hadn't I already signed up? Signing up is the first step in actually getting yourself to prepare for one. Somehow I had convinced myself that I wouldn't sign up until I was ready. But I wasn't making any effort in getting ready either!

New Year's Eve 2013. I'm sitting on the couch with my son watching TV and reflecting over the past year. I saw my son grow and enjoyed every single minute of his first year. But what about me? Was I where I wanted to be physically? I lost my baby weight a while ago. I never gained too much to begin with, Thank God for that and lost it fairly quickly. Unfortunately, I didn't lose my jelly belly. I said I would lose it in a year after my son was born but that didn't happen. So no, I wasn't where I wanted to be physically. My next thought was - Was I happy? I was and am extremely happy to be a mother and love my family with all my heart. But was I happy with myself? I struggled with the thought for a while and that led me to realize that I wasn't.

Along came my epiphany. I have been fighting with myself for a long time over a lot of things and most of it has to do with fear. I haven't signed up for a 5K because I'm scared I won't run it or I won't finish. That's pretty unacceptable. Fear shouldn't hold anyone back. I am a firm believer in that and can't believe I was letting my fears get the best of me.

Renita won. I guess in this case, it is physical Renita. She told mental Renita to shut the f*ck up and get over herself. I will be running my first 5K on March 17, 2013. I am very excited, nervous and focused. I've been running twice since I signed up. I even got up at 5:30 to get a run in before work! I'm working on my technique and my time and as of this morning, I am running a mile in 9:12 min! I am proud of myself.

Tonight I will be going to Bikram. I hope this combination of running and Bikram will help me stay focused on my fitness goals for 2013. I will be running my first 5K this year and who knows, I could end up running more than one!

I plan to blog about my 5K prep and thoughts along the way. Hopefully that will help other beginners realize that they can stop making excuses, get out there and run one!

Sweaty and smiling,