Before I start, I want to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! I cooked a big meal for the Gypsy Runner and I, consisting of a few auspicious dishes: sticky rice cakes and steamed fish. I also made mushrooms and bok choy, just to even things out on the veggie side of things. We ate a lot of food, then watched the 2 hour episode of Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, we had a LOT of cleaning up to do too. Thankfully, since I did most of the cooking, the Gypsy Runner stepped up to the plate and did all of the dishes. Yay teamwork!
Oh, and another random thing — just wanted to show off what the Gypsy Runner got me for Christmas (and what we finally got around to finishing last week):
OK, onto the running stuff…
Tues: Went for an “easy” effort, but ended up feeling more like “easy+.” Felt kinda blah and my GI tract wasn’t too happy either. What is it with Tuesday runs? I made up for the so-so run by doing the P90X Ab Ripper workout in addition to all of my PT exercises. Oh! And I also began “Project Pull-Up.” (NOT related to these kind of Pull-ups.) Pull-ups are something that I’ve wanted to be able to do for a long time, and now that we have a pull-up bar in our apartment, I no longer have an excuse not to be able to do one. The Gypsy Runner gave me some tips, then assisted me on a few pseudo pull-ups. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a start!
Stats: 5.2 miles @ 10:27/mile + 75 min abs/pull-ups/PT/stretching/rolling
Wed: It’s been a long time since I’ve made it to a class at the YMCA, so I thought I should go. I’ve been inspired by all the yoga that’s been going on among my fellow bloggers, so I decided to go to a yoga class. I was a little bit scared that it was listed as an intermediate class, but it turned out to be pretty basic. No inversions, and I didn’t even need blocks to assist me with any poses. I realized that somewhere along the way, I’ve become a yoga snob. Well, maybe “snob” isn’t the right word, but I’ve come to demand more out of a yoga class if I’m going to devote time and energy into going to an actual class as opposed to doing it at home. For one thing, I want to feel challenged, either by the poses themselves or by how long we have to keep them or by modifications. I also like my yoga classes to be at least a full 60 minutes. The ones at the YMCA are scheduled in 50 minute blocks and we always start late and finish early. And when the first 5 minutes are spent sitting and focusing on breathing, and the last 5 minutes are in savasana (corpse pose), well, then it ends up being (barely) a 35 minute workout. Also, I didn’t think this instructor was particularly good at explaining things. So, that class kinda sealed my decision to quit the YMCA. It’s a really great facility, but it’s become much less convenient, even though I’ve only moved ~a mile farther away. It’s not really worth it anymore, at least not for the $$ that I’m paying.
Stats: 60 min yoga + rolling.
Thurs: Return of the speed work! I was going to go to the track, but it was raining on and off the whole day, so I wimped out and opted for the treadmill instead (which I consider easier). So, to make up for that, I decided to do mile repeats. Here’s the workout:
0.75 mile warm-up
3 x 1 mile @ 9:13 + 0.25 mile @ easy
0.75 mile cool-down
After the first mile, I didn’t think I’d make it through the whole workout, but as it turns out, I was wrong! I felt pretty good, though my hip flexors are screaming at me — they were already sore from yoga the day before. Technically, I probably should be doing mile repeats in the 8:30-8:50 range, but it’s a good start, especially considering that I haven’t run any miles below 9:30 in a LONG time. The hard workout allowed me enjoy my dinner date with the Gypsy Runner even more (as if that’s possible).
Stats: 5.25 miles @ 9:47/mile + 30 min stretching/rolling
Fri: 30 min stretching/rolling
Sat: Run #2 with Running for a Better Oakland (RBO)! Our assignment: 8 miles. Both my mentee Alejandro and I were feeling less than stellar compared to the week before, but 2 bathroom stops and a walk break later (the kid thought he was going to hurl), we made it! My legs felt like lead, but I didn’t want to complain too much since I’m supposed to be a role model and all. Haha. We talked about running-related things (foam rolling) and non-running-related topics (friendships, leaving high school). I was especially touched when he invited me to his graduation in a few months. Aww.
Stats: 9 miles @ 11:33/mile + 30 min stretching/rolling
Sun: The Gypsy Runner and I were originally going to check out some new trails, but my legs were pretty sore. Not to mention that we didn’t really have time for it, given various errands we had to do. So, we ended up going rock climbing! Now, rock climbing is one of those things that I’m not a complete novice at, but I haven’t done nearly enough times to actually be OK at it. I’ll take a stab at it every few months, and it always leaves me so frustrated that I don’t want to keep at it. Plus, it’s kinda expensive, so that’s another barrier.
The Gypsy Runner had a free guest pass at the climbing gym, though, so we decided to go and top-rope. (For a description of rock climbing terms, click here.) But first, I had to pass the belay test, which took me a while. Eventually, I tied in and started climbing a 5.8 (the easiest routes they had at this gym) and got no further than 1/3 of the way up. I dropped down in frustration. I belayed the Gypsy Runner for one run, then decided to attempt the 5.8 again. To my surprise, I managed to climb all the way up this time! Not only that, but I completed a V0 bouldering route on my 2nd try. (V0 = easiest.) It doesn’t seem like much, but it was kind of a big deal to me. I’m still at the point where I’m freaking out the whole time I’m climbing, but the anxiety is starting to give way. The same thing happened when I got better at skiing. It’s a reminder of how things can be so frustrating as a beginner and that it takes time and patience to have enough experience to actually get better at something. Speaking of patience, I need to give a special shout-out to the Gypsy Runner for showing me how the ropes (literally) and for putting up with my mini-tantrums. You’re the best!
Stats: rock climbing + 60 min PT exercises/stretching/rolling
WEEKLY TOTAL: 19.45 miles + 4.75+ hours cross training/stretching
How I felt about it: Some good running and quality cross-training. A-
Great minds think alike – I made the stick rice cake dish, which looked almost exactly like yours! It was in Duth’s picture that she posted on the Facebook. 🙂 Good job to Gypsy Runner for the nice gift of marathon pictures.
Ha, didn’t notice the rice cakes. I’ll have to go back and check it out.
Sounds like a great week. I’m jealous of your Chinese New Year’s cooking and the Korean feast. Both look delicious!
Yes, they were both very delicious… even though the Chinese New Year’s dishes did have some minor mishaps. Good thing it was just me and the GR.
Nice week of workouts! Are yoga studios few and far between in Oakland? In Pasadena, there are so many that the prices are actually decent, anywhere from $8-$15 a class, pretty good! I wish other workout classes were that inexpensive. Anyway, I will remind you of how much I love that running mentor program until I find out if there is something similar in LA. If not, I may have to see if the program I am working with wants to start one. I haven’t rock climbed in about 17 years, but I use to love it!
Yoga studios in Oakland are (perhaps predictably) concentrated in more middle class areas. And since I live on the edge of the hood, there aren’t a lot of choices nearby. Also, you definitely can’t find classes for $8! I’m jealous! I’ve recently found a studio near my work that should be good — they have a good Yelp rating, they’ve got class schedules to my liking, and they have convenient parking. I’ll be checking that out next month.
You haven’t rock climbed in 17 years?? Were you a child climber?
I am old. My sister introduced me to rock climbing when I was a junior in high school. The Sports Chalet had a wall on the exterior of the building, it was pretty awesome. We did some climbing in the mountains but for some reason we stopped.
Seems like people often go through a rock climbing phase. And you’re not old! By my calculations, I’m actually older than you. We’re not old, we’re just… seasoned. haha
Hehe. Oldies! Also, I bet Berkeley has some inexpensive options? My friend used to go to a studio that was donation only (about 3 years ago). But…maybe they went out of business…
Yeah, there’s a place called Yoga to the People. Unfortunately, it’s pretty inconvenient for me to get there during the week…
Your Christmas present is SO sweet, what a lovely thing to do. And your rock climbing story made me giggle as it reminded me of a rock climbing course I did with the husband. He’s 6’4, I’m 5’1, he literally weighs twice as much as me. They attached me to two massive sand-bags and I was still up in the air trying to belay him. And then I got scared of burning my hands so ‘forgot’ to catch him until he nearly hit the ground. It’s a fond memory we discuss every now and again!!!
Haha, that’s hilarious! You guys must have had a different belay system, because I can’t imagine that happening with the belay device we were using. Glad no one was hurt and that it provided a few laughs!
Happy Late New Year! We celebrated at PF Chang’s since we had gift certificates from the PF Chang’s Rock n Roll Arizona race. Your feast was probably better! I’ve never done rock climbing, but I imagine I would have a very similar reaction. Poor Alejandro! Hopefully he feels better the next time!
Thanks Amy. I think Alejandro is afraid of drinking water while running because of previous bad experiences… but I keep telling him that he’s going to have to learn how to hydrate, especially when we get over 10 miles! He was also overdressed, which lead to overheating, which led to the nausea. Fortunately, we only have to run 5 miles this week, so maybe I can talk him into better practices by our 10 mile run in 2 weeks.