Tag Archive: challenge


Beaking it in

Micro G Defy

Last weekend I went to an Under Armour Outlet store. It took all of my willpower to not buy out the store and just stick with some new trainers; A pair of Micro G Defy. (Although… I do regret not picking up that cute 1/4 zip water repellant running jacket after Sunday’s running challenges.) I took them out for their first run yesterday and it was not good. I could feel the cushion a lot better in these shoes which was awesome but shortly into my run I started getting a sharp pain in my bum. I wasn’t sure if this was due to adjusting to my new shoes or if I had neglected my piriformis muscle. *Bad runner! For shame!* So grudgingly I cut my run short. I even found myself limping a little when I got home. So today I have decided to take some extra time to stretch it out and do a little yoga prior to running today. I’m really hoping that will help. I never thought my training would become a pain in the @$$ this soon! So punny.

I feel like my scoliosis is partially to blame. My spine has a moderate to severe curve and it puts my body’s balance all out of whack. If my back puts uneven pressure on one side of my body that means it affects everything below from my hips to my knees to my feet. Should I have found a deep, unrelenting love with a different sport… a more impact forgiving sport like swimming or cycling? Probably. But you love what you love. I can’t give up on running just as much as I can’t give up on cheese. So I press on. If it still gives me trouble I may have a professional review my form to make sure I’m not making my body work harder than it has to. Work smarter not harder right?!

Any challenges giving you a headache lately? An old injury flaring up or maybe you’re struggling to PR on a certain course? Push through, gain perspective from someone else’s point of view, and make your necessary changes. It’s not over until you’re six feet under.

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LSSD

To non-runners, we sound like we’re on drugs when we talk about LSDs. Although they may have a point since a lot of people can’t imagine wanting to run for the pure enjoyment of it pushing through pain and fatigue mile after mile. Everyone wants mileage euphoria AKA runner’s high.

But LSD is a Long Slow Distance. I guess last week’s LSD should have been coined an LSSD: A long slow SOGGY distance. I had decided to do my 5 mile minimum run in the pouring rain. Luckily, there was no thunder or lightning and the temperature was still in the low 60’s. I’m convinced that my rain soaked clothes and shoes added at least 10 pounds of weight.

I had a hard time convincing myself to go for my run. I had avoided it all day because of the rain, but with daylight on its last legs I “just wanted to get it over with.” I through on my running tights and a short sleeve and long sleeve tee thinking that ought to cover it. I took one step out the door and decided a light jacket would help maintain some amount of warmth and dryness. Please keep in mind that this was just an ordinary fleece jacket with absolutely zero water resistance at all. In fact I checked the label and almost expected the material to say “Sponge”.

Almost immediately my shins began to hurt. It definitely wasn’t as bad as shin splints but I became concerned that this is where I was headed in my training. The rain wasn’t heavy but I was becoming adequately wet. Cue puddle number 1 out of a zillion. I ran a few hundred meters on a busy road with a minimal shoulder. If a car was in the lane closest to me I chose to run in the uneven ground being careful to avoid rolling ankles. Drivers have a hard time noticing runners enough as it is. Throw in some rain and darkness and I was living on the edge. Between miles 2 and 3 it began to downpour! Lucky me! On the bright side I worked through the pain in my shins and I was good to go. Around mile 2.5 an old pair of earphones bit the dust thanks to the water shorting out the right speaker. It probably wasn’t smart of me to run in the rain attempting to listen to music anyway. So I shoved the now useless earbuds in my pocket and began singing Marine Corps cadence to myself. I have to admit that I began to appreciate the rhythmic splashing my feet were making on the ground while keeping in time with the cadence.

My eyes were stinging as rain mixed with my sweat and poured down my face. Which of course made my eyes water. Because that’s all I needed to make this run perfect. I braved the same 300 meters of the car gauntlet back towards my neighborhood. A HUGE thank you to the car who sent the waterfall of water on me as you passed. How did you know that I needed a rinse?

The rain let up a bit for the final 2 miles. I ran down cul-de-sacs and looped around the same roads just to meet my goal of 5 miles. I hope the neighbors appreciated my impromptu rendition of “Singing in the Rain” at the end. You’re welcome. I wound up running 5.43 miles at a 12.23 pace. In the end, I was so soaked that I had to strip down on my front stoop behind the cover of a towel and wring out my gear (thankfully my ipod made it through unscathed). My neighbors may have gotten a short lived show as my husband handed me the smallest of our bath towels. I think he did it on purpose. ūüėČ Thank goodness for a drying rack that came with our dryer. I’m convinced its purpose is solely for drying running shoes.

Drying rack for the win!

All in all, I’m so grateful I sucked it up and ran. It really did feel refreshing to run through the puddles and actually enjoy the cruddy weather we’ve been having here lately. Although, I wouldn’t be disappointed if my next LSSD stood for Long Slow Sunny Distance.

Small Victories

I made it! Push-Up Challenge Completed!

Here’s a quick recap of how it went down:

One evening while flexing in the mirror…..

KIDDING!!!!

 

Honestly, I decided to challenge myself not because there was a growing trend on a social network or I was jealous of Michelle Obama’s massive guns. I wanted to be able to hold my son in my arms for an extended amount of time without feeling like they were on fire. I wanted to wave my arms without feeling that extra jiggle. Sometimes you just have to say enough!

TAKE ONE….

My first plan of attack was a little overzealous. I got a harsh lesson in realizing that I’m no spring chicken and I can’t go zero to sixty in seconds anymore. So my first attempt of this challenge was to do 100 push-ups each day for two weeks. My joints screamed, my abdomen wept, and my chest surrendered. Day one was tolerable but difficult. Day two was almost… dare I say it?… fun. Day three I noticed a soreness in my chest and shoulders, but significant pain in my lower abdomen. Day four I admitted defeat that I had injured my abdominal muscles to the point where I had to rethink my course of action. It wasn’t pretty and although I didn’t want to quit, I did want to start over in a safer way.

GETTING SMART….

After getting over my initial feelings of failure and taking time to heal,¬† I revitalized my plan by starting at 20 push-ups. 20. Such a small number. Definitely manageable. The next day I would increase my reps by 5 and continue this pattern until I got up to 100 push-ups in one day. This gradual building of reps helped so much. Mentally, I could think I did “such and such a number” yesterday; I can definitely do that plus 5 more today. My previous plan had me thinking “Ugh can I 100 over and over again?” Sometimes you have to think small to gain something big.

So here’s my before and after:

Before Push-up Challenge After Push-up Challenge

Is there any real difference just by looking? no. I mean you can kind of see something starting to emerge if you squint and tilt your head to the left. But in reality, I wasn’t going to fool myself into thinking that I would suddenly be mistaken for Jillian Michaels. (LOVE her by the way). At the very least, this is proof that I didn’t wear the same shirt everyday. I have to say that I have noticed a difference in my strength level. When I play with my son I can throw him up in the air and hold him for longer periods of time a lot easier than before. A nice bonus is that I no longer may an awkward groan when lifting anything heavier than 20 lbs. I also give my husband more of a challenge when we arm wrestle for who has to do the dishes. I’m kidding about that BUT very glad that is not how we make decisions. So the improvement thus far is internal. This isn’t the end of my challenge. Now that I know I can do 100 push-ups in a day in under 10 minutes, I’m going to continue to do push-ups daily. I won’t have a set number in my head but just do as many as I can/want. Maybe 20 push-ups every time I think about that carton of ice cream in the freezer? Sounds legit.

We’ve all been there. That rough patch in our daily routines where you don’t do what you ought to. And the habit sticks around like a bad cold.

For the last week, I’ve been eating horribly. More sugar than normal. More processed foods than normal. The only reason I can think of is that I’ve been a bit more stressed out lately. We’ve been on the search for a new place to live (kind of important) and some other personal stuff. It seems to be piling up and I should be out using running as my therapy instead of stuffing my face and holding on to the frustration and anxiety. I’ve never been a “stress eater” before. I’ve always been more likely to do the opposite. Barely eat at all. That’s just as bad as eating a lot of cruddy foods. I haven’t gained a bunch of weight or anything but I definitely feel sluggish. At least I keep the portions low. That counts for something right? (I am completely aware that I’m kidding myself with that rationalization.) I’m such a sucker for cheese. And carbs. Last night, we ate London Broil (healthy) and broccoli (healthy) with¬† a little bit of cheese sauce (crud.) So close to having a totally healthy meal.

Let’s continue on with more evidence of my unhealthy eating. I very rarely eat breakfast. I’m just not hungry in the mornings. Generally, I eat two larger meals throughout the day. Not good.

The one bright spot of my eating is that I don’t drink a lot of calories. I usually have water throughout the day. But lately in my phase of non-healthiness I’ve been throwing back the occasional Yoohoo. Yep. It’s official. I’m a 29 year old with the eating habits of a 10 year old. It’s better that I change this now so that I can properly provide my body with the energy required for marathon training.

I continue to chug along with my revamped push-up challenge. I’m up to 55 push-ups today working towards 100 within the next 10 days. No injuries or even soreness right now and I feel like there is a difference. I feel stronger and I swear my biceps are slightly more defined. I’ll do a before and after reveal when I’m all done. It’s not as dramatic as the before and after of say a house or room, but just humor me.

With that, I ask any of my readers if they have any go-to healthy breakfast recipes. I have no allergies so pretty much anything is game. Except cauliflower, but that’s only because I can’t stand the taste. I’ve never tried beets and I hear those are really good for you. Perhaps a smoothie? I’ve never been much of a chef so be gentle. Help me be adventurous! I have a feeling I’m going to be spending much of my day on pinterest looking for recipes.

Mission: Delayed

Ugh… I feel like such a failure. I had to take the weekend off from continuing with my push-up challenge. Perhaps I had set my goals too high because on day 4 of my challenge I could only complete 30 push-ups. Why? I strained my lower abdominal muscles. Every push-up was excruciating torture. The previous day I tried to work through the pain thinking it was merely muscle soreness. But day 4 put the final nail in the coffin. I wallowed in self-pity and took the weekend to heal. But I’m not going to let it stop me from building my upper body strength up.

So what to do? Start over! Except this time I’m going to be a bit smarter about it. Start at 20 push-ups and add 5 each day until I reach 100! I’m also going to do extra core work so that I can avoid injury this time around. It may seem like I’m working backwards but I want to avoid injury at all costs. Really, I should have seen this coming. You don’t just go out and decide to run 10 miles for two weeks without having built up your endurance, right?

Know the difference between soreness and pain. Lesson learned.

I appreciate everyone’s support with my daunting task. Injury is always lurking around the corner but the sooner you recognize it and take the time to heal the sooner you can get back into routines. Denial can be dangerous when it comes to injury. Listen to your body!

Races, Reps, and Ramblings

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Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal

Mile Posts is a running blog by Dorothy Beal. From how to train for your first 5K to funny memes on how to laugh your way through marathon training. Mile Posts is your go to place for all things running!

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