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-