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Moving Large Furniture Makes for a Great Workout

20 Aug

Last week I started my week eager to get back into the swing of things. And boy did I ever end up getting my sweat on:

  • MON: 30-minute Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown DVD sesh (thought I much prefer calling it a Yoga Melt) in the AM
  • TUE: 3-mile run in the evening
  • WED: 1.5-hour walk (no clue how far we went… I was Garmin free) in the AM
  • THU: 3-mile run in the evening followed by furniture strength training

Yes, that’s right. I said ‘furniture strength training.’ It’s the new thing… everyone is doing it. At least Rox, Donnie and I were!

It all started when Rox and I both got held up working late on Thursday and had to miss my favorite yoga class. Instead we decided to go for a run in the new neighborhood (which really isn’t that new to us since it’s the neighborhood we both started to run in together). While we were running I asked Rox if she would mind following Donnie and I to a co-worker’s house after our run just in case we needed any help moving the armoire I had purchased. It was an IKEA piece, so I assumed that it would be made of lightweight particle board (as most IKEA pieces are), but was asking Rox as a precautionary measure. Rox, being the wonderful friend she is, agreed. A friend later declared that this was the classic old “bait and switch” though that wasn’t my intention. I really didn’t think we’d need her!  After our run, we set off for what would become our second workout of the night.

When we got to the house and saw the armoire, Donnie walked right up to it and gave it a little shove to measure it’s weight. The armoire didn’t move… it was solid. Doubting the strength that Rox and I possess, he said, “I don’t think we’ll be able to manage this.”

Insulted by this comment (does Donnie not realize how strong chaturangas have made us??) we immediately jumped in and said we could do it. However, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Oh crap. How are we going to do this??”

We set up with Donnie on one end and Rox and I on the other and proceeded to move through a series of lifts and turns. We soon started to erase all doubt from Donnie’s mind. With only the occasional help of a 4th person (helping steady us so we didn’t scratch up the walls) we got the piece out to my car.

We encountered a major obstacle when we tipped the armoire to slide it into my car and it wouldn’t fit. Until last Thursday, my Honda Element (nicknamed “Ele”) had never met a piece of furniture that wouldn’t fit. All we needed was one more inch!

We set the armoire down and stared at each other. The reality that we would have to move this back into the house and do this whole thing again another day was starting to set in and sending me into full panic mode when Rox spoke up. She knew who we could call.

I love Rox for many reasons, one being that she’s strong (mentally and physically) and two being that she thinks quick on her feet. While Donnie sat outside guarding our armoire, Rox and I set out to borrow an Expedition from incredibly graceful folks.

We came back with the Expedition and managed to slide the armoire right in. Perfect fit!

Back at the house we slid the armoire out and decided on a game plan: We would carry the piece straight into the house and to it’s new home without resting or stopping.

Donnie: Can you handle it?

Rox: Yes.

Me: Um. Yeah… I think so. Maybe. I mean, I don’t know. How far is it again? Do you think maybe that’s too far…

Before I could finish my verbal self-doubt, Rox and Donnie started lifting. I had no choice. And in no time at all, the armoire was in it’s new place:

Our new armoire, which is not made of thin particle board.

Rox high-tailed it out of there before we could ask her to mow our yard. Ha! If you’re reading this, thanks lady! You’re the strongest woman I know. Well, behind Killer T, of course. But who can compete with her? 🙂

After Thursday night’s excursion, I decided I would take it easy the next few days. My back was in full agreement.

Have you tried furniture strength training lately?

Taking It Easy

29 May

I’ve been doing a lot of ‘taking it easy’ since the marathon. I’ve been  sleeping in, staying up late, eating cupcakes and drinking whatever I want to drink without worrying about how much it will hydrate me.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake from Sweet Traditions in Winter Park. OMG.

It’s been nice fantastical.

But nonetheless, I’m getting restless. And there’s that issue where I recently split my pants. I took this as a direct sign from God that my ‘taking it easy’ time is over, and I need to start sweating stat.

But, of course, I need to ease in, and not push my IT band too much, or I’ll digress in my progress. By progress, I mean that I was able to go both up and down the stairs like a normal person at work today. Except for that little hop skip at the end where I decided that bending my leg was no fun. I’m going to miss my pirate peg leg.

Yesterday around noon I jumped on my stationary cycle and rode for 40 minutes. I chose to do a ‘random’ workout, which changes the level of intensity on me every couple of minutes. I almost punched the bike in the face a couple of times, coincidently when it went up to level 9.

I was able to ignore how much time I would be on the bad intervals or see that I had a bad interval coming up because my screen was blocked:

Say “hello” to my little friend.

That little buddy is my Nook. I finally finished up Bringing Up Bebe (Good: I learned a lot, but sometimes that doesn’t equate to being a page turner), and moved on to Gregor the Overlander (now this is a page turner). Around this time the rain started to fall hard around me and I couldn’t help but think I would rather be curled up on the couch reading this book. And then a level 9 interval kicked in, and I cursed. I like the Nook because it rests easily on my reading ledge and even though it has a touch screen, I can also opt to press the page over buttons to the side of the screen. This comes in handy when you’re as sweaty as I was yesterday.

And just like that, I was done:

3 warm-up + 40 min of random intervals + 3 cool-down

I headed into the kitchen, had a light lunch, waited for it to digest, then headed back out to the Florida room for workout #2: yoga. I picked this 73-minute class because it focused on the hamstrings. I think it worked because I was sore this morning!

This morning I woke up early and did a 30-minute random interval ride. Things were a bit rougher because I was a little (ahem) saddle sore. I had to keep readjusting to redistribute the pain.

3 min warm-up + 30 min random intervals + 3 min cool-down

After I jumped off the bike I could tell that my IT band was a little agitated. So I did a quick core workout then spent about 20 minutes  stretching every part of my legs.

It felt good to sweat.

Here’s the rest of my work-out for the week (sadly there’s no running included):

  • WED: Strength (hips/glutes) followed by a good long stretch and some brutal rolling of the legs
  • THU: Ride for 30 minutes on the ol’ stationary bike followed by strength (arms)
  • FRI: Easy yoga or rest (depending on how Happy Hour goes Thursday night)
  • SAT/SUN: Get one good yoga sesh in

With my training schedule I didn’t really plan many workouts because I am always so wiped from all of the running. This will be a nice change to have to plan ahead. Let’s see how well I do at sticking to the plan!

Do you plan your workouts out in advance? How well do you stick to the plan?

Post-Run (or Just Anytime) Poses

24 May

The Lululemon blog recently posted these great five post-run poses for running recovery:

Source

Check out the post for the how-to specifics. I can’t wait to do these stretches on my quest to heal my IT band. My doc suggested I work on stretching all of my leg muscles, not just my IT band. These poses seem to cover the hole gamut!

On a related note, I did my first exercise last night since the marathon that broke me I survived two and a half weeks ago. I busted out the ol’ stationary bike and did 40 minutes of easy riding while I caught up on my latest issue of Women’s Health. Then I moved on to this short 26-minute yoga practice. It felt so good to be moving! As for balancing, I couldn’t balance for the life of me. I looked like a drunk sailor trying to do yoga. I blame it on the IT band.

I miss running. I wonder if it misses me.

Shiny New Running Outfit

2 May

There are only four days until the Flying Pig Marathon and my emotions are everywhere. One minute I’m excited, and the other I’m so nervous because of this IT band issue. Excited is currently winning out and I think it’s because of this:

My new Lululemon marathon top

Yuppers, I got myself the Lululemon no limits tank in hot, hot pink for marathon day. I ran my first marathon in a no limits tank (in a different color) and had absolutely zero issues with chafing or the shirt riding up so I think I’m safe running in the same top without having actually taken it for a long test run. I will, however, wash the shirt so I don’t bleed hot pink (though that may be cool). I think the color is perfect for Flying Pig, don’t you think?

A couple of weeks ago I got the crops in the photo. They are the run: a marathon crop, also from Lululemon. I’ve done a couple of runs in them (one long run and one short) and they were great: the bottoms of the legs didn’t ride up and the top is higher wasted and didn’t ride down. And they passed the very-important-for-all-tights-bend-over test (when I bend over the pant does NOT get transparent). Perfect!

On a side note, it will be toasty on Sunday:

Expected weather for 2012 Flying Pig Marathon

However, I can’t run in shorts. My lovely Spanish thighs engulf shorts and I end up chafing and pulling my shorts down all run. So that’s why I’m usually in tights (unless it’s my Lululemon running skirt that I can use for anything shorter than 10 miles). It’s a good thing that my shirt opens up on the sides for some fresh air. 🙂

Yesterday I read this post by Meghann of Meals and Miles and it made me chuckle. I am in complete agreement with her when she wrote “I’m a big believer that a big race deserves a new outfit, sorta like a big date requires a new dress – am I wrong?” Nope, not wrong at all.

If you’re running your first half or full marathon, I would recommend you buy your new outfit a month before your race and wear it during a shorter long run. If it passes the test (no chafing, riding up, etc.) then wear it for your longest run. It’s amazing how a few miles can alter the wear of your running outfit. For example, I have a singlet that I wore in different colors for all three of my half marathons without any problems. However, when I wore one of them for an 18-mile run, I was surprised to see severe chafing on the inside of my arms. It was so bad I was bleeding! Needless to say, those are now restricted to runs 13 miles or shorter.

I consider this running outfit quite the splurge, but I’ve worked hard the last four months (and seven months before that training for Disney) and I like that I’m at a place where I can reward my hard work with a splurge like this. In my future I’ll have kids and a home to worry about and these days will be long gone. I’ll enjoy it while I can!

What do you do for your race-day running attire? 


Yesterday morning I went for a 3-mile walk with Emily, one of my group leaders. She’s running Flying Pig with me so it was nice to catch up and do some race day strategizing. Afterwards I rushed home to start my day with some yoga. I took it easy with this Yoga Vibes class, focusing on the outer hip and IT band.

Four days until the Flying Pig Marathon!

Running and Squats and Stretches… Oh My!

24 Apr

After some thought, and talking it out with the people around me (or them coaxing it out of me), I think there are two major things that could be contributing to my IT band problems in my left leg:

  • Need new shoes
  • Lack of strength training

Recently I did get new shoes, but since my current NB Minimus shoes were still feeling good, I decided to wait until after the marathon to switch over to the new pair. I’m not sure that I have any good reasoning beyond that… as I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I was afraid that since the new pair was a slightly different style (the new ones are the trail version while my old ones are the road version) I could injure myself switching so close to Flying Pig. And when I say the old pair were still feeling good, what I mean is that it usually takes me a while to realize that the pain I’m suffering from might just mean it’s time for new shoes. Here I was worried about hurting myself with the new shoes when I’m hurting with the current shoes!

So this morning I tossed on the new shoes:

I also wore long tights and a long sleeved shirt… and gloves. Yes, gloves. That’s right… my body no longer remembers living in New York and I’m officially a Florida girl that wears long sleeves and gloves when the weather drops to this (in April in Florida nonetheless):

The run went well. There were only three of us this morning and we ran four miles at an easy pace. While I felt the familiar twinge of my IT band in my right leg, it wasn’t so bad that I was in pain or limping for that matter.

Here are the stats for this AM’s run:

  • Distance: 4.06 miles
  • Time: 50:21.45
  • Avg Pace: 12:24/mile

Afterwards I came home and addressed problem #2: lack of strength training. I think I dropped my minimalist strength training plan that was working so well when I started up with yoga, thinking that was working the same muscles in a similar fashion and could just substitute yoga in. I think I was wrong, and need to be doing both, so back to squats, lunges, planks and push-ups I went! I tossed in some one-legged squats for good measure and finished up with some serious stretching of these hips of mine.

By the way, did you know you could download the Maxwell squeal on Geico’s website? Oh yeah. I totally just downloaded it.

Off I go to get my Tuesday on. Only 12 more days until the Flying Pig Marathon! Wee wee weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Online Yoga

16 Apr

Since I had to recently alter my Flying Pig Marathon training plan and take a week off from running in order to do some healing on my IT band, I decided to fill my run time with yoga. Particularly yoga that focuses on stretching my hips and IT band.

After a quick “best online yoga videos” search, I came across this article on Livestrong.com. The ‘yoga for athletes’ series on YogaVibes.com caught my eye and I went to check it out. After seeing that they have a free 15-day trial, I realized how perfect this would be for me. With only 20 days left before my 2nd marathon, this would be perfect to tie me over.

And if I don’t cancel my membership at the end of 15 days, I will start being charged $20 per month. That’s not too shabby considering I’m currently paying $15 per class. This would allow me to do more than one yoga class each week!

This afternoon I opted for a 72-minute outer hip and IT band focused vinyasa flow class in the Yoga for Athletes series. It was just what I needed!

I took my computer out to our Florida room and set it on a small table a couple of feet ahead of my yoga mat.

Here’s a screenshot of what the video looked like full screen:

Outer Hip and IT Band class from Sage Rountree's Yoga for Athletes Series on YogaVibes.com

The teacher, Sage Rountree, was great! I liked that she was a runner that started yoga for it’s benefits to long distance runners. She did a great job of explaining and showing poses and a couple of times she corrected posture for someone in the class and I realized I needed to correct my posture too. It almost felt like I was in the room with them!

My hips and IT band feel amazing and I’m currently ridin’ that yoga high.

As the days progress, I’ll let you know how I enjoy additional classes in the Yoga for Athletes series.

Have you ever taken an online yoga class? Which one? How did you like it (or not)?

You Really Need to Work on Your Cardio

28 Mar

“Wow, Babe, you really need to work on your cardio.”

This is what Donnie said to me after our hike this past weekend when I admitted to him that I was seriously out of breath while hiking up the mountain that lies in my best friend’s back yard. The mischievous smile on his face told me he was kidding, and I couldn’t help but laugh (after I rolled my eyes, of course).

Here I am, training for my second marathon this year, and I could hardly tell my best friend a story without stopping to huff ‘n puff. Meanwhile my best friend, who just had a beautiful baby last month, didn’t seem out of breath at all. At one point she reassured me that it gets easier with practice, but I’m not sure where I’m supposed to find mountains to hike down here in Florida. Well, besides Clermont.

My best friend and her husband live in Sylva, a small town located in Western North Carolina. A small creek runs by their house and their back yard is the foot of a mountain. Their “yard” is picturesque, and made the perfect setting for our hike.

I don’t know how long or how far we hiked. Great company and the beauty of nature were quite distracting and I got lost in the moment. Growing up I spent every day with my best friend (no, I’m not exaggerating) and now I’m lucky if I get to see her once a year. Getting to spend time with her is a rare treat so I’d say this has been hands down my favorite workout all year. Even if it did take me longer to spit out a sentence.

I wish I could’ve bottled up the hike to share with you, but all I got were pictures. Enjoy!

Fellow hikers (and my favorite people in the world) Donnie, Brad and Jenny

Donnie and Brad lead the way. Brad is carrying his baby girl.

We smile because we hike. Brad, me and Jenny.

The world would be a better place if we all had waterfalls in our backyard.

The creek that runs by their house.

Freshwater puppy

Donnie rocks his burly mountain beard.

Our trip was much too short, but I look forward to the day we hike together again!

What’s been your favorite workout this year?

Double Up Tuesday

7 Mar

Yesterday I did something I don’t normally do: I worked out twice in one day. Like at separate times. On purpose. Whoa!

You see, this might be a regular occurrence for others. But I have this mop of hair on my head that takes a long time to dry, so I pretty much hate having to do it more than once a day.

Because of my busy week, I could only go to yoga last night. But I also had a marathon training run scheduled for yesterday morning. And I didn’t want to cancel either of these. So I went to both.

I met my running ladies at 5 AM for an easy 5 miles. By ‘easy’ I mean we took it an easy pace, not that it was an easy run. I think my legs were still heavy from this past weekend 14-miler. Plus, I was tired so I spent the bulk of our run thinking about coffee… about its aroma, how delicious it would taste after our run, what size coffee I would order at Starbucks, etc.

Afterwards I went to work and… well worked.

After work, I went home and let my dogs out, ate a snack (pita chips and hummus… yum!) and threw on some spandex (really just my running clothes) and off to yoga I went. This was my second class ever and I am happy to confirm that I still liked it. I met up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog (who had just come from a run) and my BFF Rox and this time we took a yoga basics class. Our instructor, Debbie, at Full Circle Yoga was pretty awesome. You know when someone exudes peace? Yup, that was Debbie. Tranquility just flows out of her pores.

I think that the reason I like yoga so much is how I feel afterwards. After a run, I’m on that runner’s high, which is nice and I can very much use it to get through the day. But I hate having that runner’s high at night… when I’m supposed to be getting ready for bed. After yoga, on the other hand, my body is completely relaxed. From head to toe.

I slept like a baby last night. 🙂

Do you ever double up your workouts in one day? If not, what keeps you from doing it?

Hands down my hair keeps me from doing it. But I’m thinking I just need to twist my hair up in a bun in between and suck it up. I woke up feeling amazing this morning!

My First Yoga Experience

1 Mar

I’ve been saying that I was going to try yoga for quite a long time. But the thing about me is, I’m scared of new things. So I kept putting it off… And putting it off… to the point that it was starting to get ridiculous.

Earlier this year I made it a goal to get my butt in gear and make it to a class. Lucky for me, Carolina from Peas in a Blog let me tag along to a yoga class with her last night.

Two very important things:

  1. I didn’t fall flat on my face, though there was a point when the instructor thought I would break my arm if I didn’t correct my posture stat.
  2. I loved it!

The Huffington Post recently published this post about what to expect during your first yoga class. It was a perfect read before my first class.

Carolina also suggested I wear “wear clothes that won’t show anything when you’re upside down.” Easy enough, I wore a pair of Lululemon tights and one of their tops that I use for running. They were perfect for yoga too!

Lululemon... perfect for running AND yoga!

I brought a mat, a towel and water and met Carolina around 7:15 PM at Full Circle Yoga in Winter Park. They have an intro rate of 3 classes for $25 (must be used in one month) so I went with that option. Our class was a Hatha level 1 class, which was really great for a beginner like me. Our instructor Suzie, was really great at explaining the different positions and kept me from breaking my arm. Bonus points for her!

The class really was more than I expected. It was challenging, yet somehow relaxing. It required strength and balance, but stretched my entire body. And believe you me, this runner’s body was in need of some serious stretching!

The only drawback is that I somehow tweaked my back so I had to skip this AM’s run. With a really long run (16-18 miles) planned for this weekend, I decided it would be best if I let it rest. I’m sure that with time my back will get stronger and I’ll be more mindful of my poses, so I won’t let this deter me.

Final verdict: I’ll be at the Hatha 1 class next Wednesday night. 🙂

What’s your favorite type of yoga and why? I have so much to learn!

Being a Slacker… Er… Minimalist

7 Feb

Nope, I’m not talking about my way of life or even my style of running (though I do run in the fairly minimal NB Minimus Road shoes). I’m talking about my current strength training workout. “Minimalist” sounds much nicer than “slacker.”

Since it seems that I’m having trouble motivating myself to get my strength training in, I figured I would start small then build from there. For the next two weeks, my goal is to do this minimalistic workout from Coach Jenny at Runner’s World twice a week, then build from there.

This morning three of us ran four miles at seven minute intervals (run 7 minutes / walk 1 minute). I again forgot to turn my watch off until I had been stretching for a good 7 minutes or so, but here are the slightly skewed stats:

  • Distance: 4.19 miles
  • Time: 51:40.90
  • Pace: 12:19/mile

Our average pace per running interval was 11:16/mile.

Afterwards I came home and did my slacker minimalistic workout:

  • 60-second plank
  • 60-second push-ups
  • 60-second lunges
  • 60-second squats

I was doing the workout from memory and completely forgot about the leg curls. Oops! Next time.

Do you incorporate strength training? How do you keep yourself motivated?