A Week in Review

Over the past month, I’ve written several posts but have just gotten around to adding the finishing touches and posting them. If you know me in real life and are confused that some of this stuff is old news, it’s because this post is really from April 10th.  Sorry for the delay!


Back in the day when I used to blog and run regularly, I did a Monday post recapping the prior week and posting the current week’s goals. I can’t promise that I’ll start this up again every week, but I’m bringing it back for today at least.  Combined with a recap of some non-running activities to add a little content.

Week in Review –

Monday – No running. Went for a walk with Jeff and Mr. Baby after work. Had my weekly Skype call with one of my best friends and then baked angel food cupcakes.  Hit my step goal for the day. (Currently 6k steps.)

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Getting ready to inhale the cupcakes!

Tuesday – Could not convince myself to run, but I walked on the treadmill. Hit my step goal again.

Wednesday – Work was super busy and meetings got pushed back AND ran long. I ended up staying late, and got home about an hour later than normal. Was exhausted by the time Mr. Baby was asleep, and again didn’t run. Didn’t hit my step goal, either.  I ate cupcakes…yum.

Thursday – Again, no running.  I kind of suck at getting runs in during the week.  I didn’t hit my step goal, either. We were having work done on our house (moving our laundry room), and it finished today, so we ordered celebratory pizza.  It was delicious!

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This is going to be amazing.

Friday – Finally it has stopped raining (kind of). We met up with my sister in law at the nearby state park to go for a walk. I brought along Jeff and Mr. Baby, and she brought along her dog. It was a tad chilly and a bit rainy, but a good time. And, I hit my step goal again finally!

Saturday – Did a 6k run on the treadmill while Mr. Baby napped. I’m slowly eeking my way up to 10k in order to earn my virtual 10k medal.  I’m hoping to go up to 8k this weekend and then do the full 10k the next week. I switched my treadmill over to metric so I could see my progress toward 10k in kilometers rather than miles.  I have no concept of how fast I’m going at any given time, and the k’s add up much quicker than miles do.  It’s been kind of great.

Sunday – On Sunday I took Mr. Baby for our first ever stroller run. It was SO AWESOME!  I ended up not getting out until the afternoon because it was too chilly for my passenger in the morning and then I had to work around naps and meals. Pushing the stroller isn’t really too difficult, but I am definitely sore now from all the hills!  Originally, I had hoped to go to a (flat) rail trail, but because I went so late I decided to go to the state park instead. The roads inside the park are closed to cars this time of year, and I figured that there would be tons of people out and I’d want a wider path to run than at the rail trail.  In that respect it worked out great, but the hills! Yikes!

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There were so many people out. I don’t know how I managed this picture.

This week, I’m keeping my step goal of 6,000; once I get a week’s worth of hitting my goal I’ll up it to 7,000. I also plan on running 8k at some point (probably Saturday) on my mission to hit 10k. And, it would be nice if I could get a run in during the week.  I have a hard time motivating myself to do that, but I really would like to get back on the horse, so to speak.

Hope you had a great week!  Do you have a step goal? Ever run with a stroller? Am I the only one who falls apart when I have to stay late at work?

 

What Now?

Over the past couple of weeks, the following three things happened-

  1. I ran the virtual 10k I’ve been “training” for.
  2. I took my 5th Actuarial Exam
  3. I finished the Netflix show I was watching (Switched at Birth)

And now, I’m sitting here like, “What now???”

Soooo…last things first I guess. I decided NOT to find another Netflix show. Jeff and I still have a show we watch together, but I’m not going to start another show just for me. I’m hoping this will prompt me to do more things at night after Mr. Baby goes to bed.  So far, I can’t say this has changed anything except to make treadmill running less appealing, but I’m still hopeful.  I’m thinking I should find movies to watch while running. At least with movies there’s no “just one more episode.”

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I totally know the signs for “okay”, “thank you” and “dating”.  The essentials.

Moving backwards up the list, I’ve had some difficulty deciding what to study next on the actuarial front. There are some changes in the works in regards to the credentialing path, which has resulted in several deadlines I must meet in order to avoid new requirements. The timing of this stinks and is the main reason why choosing what’s next has become such a dilemma.  I think I’ve settled on focusing the next few months on an online course about corporate finance. I haven’t pulled the trigger on buying the course yet because I still feel unsure about what order to do things. Ultimately though, I need to stop waffling about this and just DO SOMETHING.  Something is better than nothing.

Now, on to the running.

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10k and S.P.E.W medal!

I’ve signed up for another virtual race through the Hogwarts Running Club. Technically, the suggested run date was yesterday, but that’s the beauty of a virtual race…you can do it whenever you please. This one is the Unmasked 10 Miler. Which means I need to progress from 10k to 10 miles. While I’m fairly certain I could build up to 10 miles in the same pathetic manner I built up to 10k, I’d really like to finally get my act together and run more than once or twice a week. I’ve settled on using the 80/20 running plan, but need to pick a distance – the plans in the book are for 10k or ½ marathon. Technically, I could craft my own plan, but I’m not up for that right now. Whichever I pick, I’ll tweak the long run distances, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go with that.

I know it sounds like I’m pretty settled on my running plans, so let’s throw a tweak in there. I got an email this week about a 5k near my house that would be work sponsored. I have a hankering to do this race, so then what plan do I use? Would I use the 5k plan and do the 10 miler later? Do I just run the 5k with no distance specific training (in other words, the same way I’ve run every 5k I’ve ever done)?  It’s a tough choice! I’m not sure there’s even enough time to complete the 5k training plan before the race…maybe that’ll be the deciding factor. 🙂

So, tell me…did you finish anything recently? How do you decide what’s next?

 

The Race That Wasn’t

As you may not know, since I apparently haven’t blogged much about running on my running blog, I had a race on the schedule for this weekend1.  A five miler that I originally hoped could be a PR race. I say “originally hoped” because I have not done one iota of training that would make me any faster.  I even hesitate to use the term “training” at all. I’ve been running, but it’s been sporadic and disordered. No purpose or structure to any of my runs. I HAVE run the distance, so I have that going for me, but that’s about it.

I haven’t been running outside. While I’m a firm believer that you can train for even a hilly race on a treadmill, I’ve been leaving the incline at zero, which leaves me with no question that hills would be an issue. (Not that I even bothered to figure out if this is a hilly course). I also question whether I am physically prepared for running in current temperatures. When I signed up, I envisioned March 18th being a nice spring day. I’ve lived in the same climate my whole life, so who knows where that silly idea came from.

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Training run

So, this week I’ve been going into the race with thoughts like, “Hmm..March 18th, already, huh?” and “Gee..looks like it’ll be a cold one?”, and as of Thursday afternoon I hadn’t even figured out the time or start location yet. Then I got a text that the race was cancelled. And then the official email. I’m left feeling pretty ambivalent about the whole thing. A little bummed because races are always fun, but I don’t really feel like I have any skin in the game.  (My entry fee was paid through work, even). I DO feel quite bad for all the runners who have made this their goal race (there is also a half), particularly because it’s not the time of year where it’ll be easy to find a “replacement” race.

The interesting part about the whole thing, to me at least, is that in lieu of a refund or even an entry for next year, they are deferring everyone’s entries to a race in October. A race that is a half marathon, without a 5 mile option. I emailed the race director to ask if that deferral included the 5 mile racers, and was confirmed that it does.  SO, GUESS I’M SIGNED UP FOR A HALF!

I’ve got quite a while before that race rolls around, so it’s not really on my radar right now, but in terms of what’s next, I’m thinking I’ll find a training plan (not sure what distance) and start following it. I think I could use a little structure, even if there’s not a race at the end.  Also, I’m signed up for a virtual 10K through the Hogwarts Running Club that I’ll be doing in the next week or two. My training for that has been, “Well, If I can run 5 miles, I’m sure I can run 6.2”. I should probably be a coach.

80-20 Schedule

I used to make crazy schedules like this.

I think I can safely say that I’ve gotten back into running. Now, it’s time to step up my game a little.

1 Technically I’m scheduled to run a race this morning since this post will go up Saturday even though I’m writing it on Friday — Does this bother anyone else? I hate the thought that my posts are inexact when I write “today”, “tomorrow”, or “yesterday”. How do you handle it when writing in advance? Do you just ignore it or do you correct it so it sounds like it was written the day it was posted?

Michael’s Run 5k: Hopkinton, MA Precap!

What’s a Precap you say? Well, I finally have some free time and I’m in the mood to blog, so here’s my chance to say “Hey, ya’ll, I’m runnin’ one of them 5k thing-a-ma-jigs this weekend!”

My work has this program that allows employees to create teams to participate in local races, and if enough people sign up, they will pay the registration fees. After nearly a year of working here, this is the first one I’ve signed up to be a part of. They didn’t really sponsor any races in the winter, and then most of the others have either been too far or didn’t fit with my schedule, so when this one came up that is located just 10 minutes from my house on an open weekend I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.

Plus…I get a t-shirt from work in addition to the race shirt. Score!

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I was feeling fat the day I signed up, so opted for medium instead of my usual small…not my best decision.

So, this Saturday after I take my work photo at 9:45 AM, I’ll be lining up near the start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, MA for Michael’s Run 5k. I have been slacking pretty hard in my running lately, but I’m not too worried for this race. It’s the half marathon I’m doing next weekend that has me a little concerned. 😉

How not to worry about being undertrained for a 5k? Easy! Be even more undertrained for a half the following weekend!! Haha. Running tips by Amy.

Now, off to bed…I’m going to attempt to get up early for a run tomorrow.

Inconsistent Blogger Award!

Okay, yeah, that’s not a real award. But, if it were….I’d get one. 😉

I was doing better in June, but then I went off the rails again. I blame it on my 10 miler. See, it takes a long time for me to write a race recap, and writing quick posts was the thing that was getting me back on track.

So, after nearly a month, this is going to be big race recap, right? Haha..no. I still haven’t really written it. Maybe I’ll get a quick version up sometime this week. (Just try not to plan your week around it, okay?)


This morning, I went for my first run in over a week. July has been super busy. First, work was crazy with the end of the quarter, and I’ve also been in super study mode. My third actuarial exam was this past Monday. I passed! WOO! Seriously, it was such a relief. I failed this test in March, and even though I studied very hard and knew the material as well as I could, I was still very nervous. When work is super busy, I actually feel more motivated to go running. But when I’m studying, I like to get started early in the morning, and then I get caught up in it, so it’s more difficult to get a run in. It’s strange that the two situations would have opposite effects on my running, but there you have it.

This morning’s run was very humid.  And when I was in the sun, it was surprisingly hot for pre-8AM. I know it’s the middle of July, but it seems like the summer weather hasn’t really been consistent until recently.

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Selfies are hard. At least I remembered to smile.

I ran 2.5 miles this morning. The past two summers I’ve been marathon training, and would have been doing a MUCH longer run at this point, but I didn’t even feel bad about it. The weather was fine for 2.5 miles, but would have been awful to run in for hours. Plus, I had things to do today, so finishing up before 8AM was great.

My plan for this week is to run the same 2.5 mile route that I ran today every morning before work (or most mornings). I don’t have to start studying for my next exam for at least a month or two, so I may even get some posts up.

Thanks for putting up with all my nonsense. 😛

This week, I went running.

I’m back! Monday was my first run after my 3 week break, and it was just delightful!

2015-01-26 16.56.00I ran in legwarmers. I had worn them to work, and they were soo comfy!

I was let out of work early because of the impending storm, so I was able to head outside for (probably) one last outdoor run of the season. I planned to take it easy for 20 minutes and just see how everything felt. My goal was to have fun, and not push it. It would be totally insane to get hurt by coming back too fast from an “injury prevention” break.

2015-01-26 17.08.24You can’t even tell it’s about to blizzard, right?

 

I headed to the ocean, my favorite view. But the view wasn’t the only reason I wanted to run out that way. On the previous Saturday, Jeff and I had gone out to the park to play in the snow, and I wanted to see how our snowman was holding up. (Hint: not good!)

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Snowbert on Saturday.

2015-01-26 17.07.34And, Monday night.

By the time I had reached the beach, the wind was kicking it up a notch, but it didn’t really start snowing until after I had made it back from my run. I ended up with about a mile and a half for my 20 minutes. I took it slow, and there was a fair amount of slowing down for ice, pictures, and snowman investigation. I saw 3 other runners (one who waved and said “what blizzard”…haha…it was on it’s way dude), all trying to get in one last run before the storm.

It wasn’t much of a run, but it was certainly fun, and that’s exactly want I was looking for.

After that first run back, I ran twice more (both on the treadmill) to bring my weekly total to 3 runs (and just over 12 miles). Wednesday’s run felt pretty tough, but Saturday’s went really well. I’m obviously not at my fastest, but I’m pretty happy that running doesn’t feel awful.

When was the last time you built a snowman?

Ever run in a blizzard? (I have…but not this one)

P.S. The Pats JUST won the Superbowl!!! 🙂

Where does my heart beat now?

It’s been over a week since I last posted, and I didn’t tell you yet about my recent adventures with a heart rate monitor, so buckle your seat belts, you’re in for a wild ride….

Last Sunday I took my heart rate monitor and Garmin to the gym to use the heart rate monitor for the first time ever. It came with my first Garmin back in 2010, and I could never get it to pair with the watch. To be fair, I didn’t really try very hard because I wasn’t interested in heart rate training at the time. However, the 80/20 running plan uses heart rate training so it seemed like a good time to dust off the heart rate monitor.  (You don’t technically have to use heart rate training for 80/20 running, but it does seem to be the author’s preference, so I figured I’d give it a try since I have the heart rate monitor anyways.)

A couple weeks ago I got it paired up with my current Garmin, and last Sunday I took it for a spin. I tested it out by using it to set up heart rate training zones for two different types of cross training – the arc trainer and uphill treadmill walking. Whether or not I end up using these zones is questionable, but I mostly just wanted to do a dry run of the process. I’ll have to use the same method to set up my heart rate zones for running. And, I wanted to make sure that the heart rate monitor actually worked. It did.

2015-01-25 13.52.05New buddies!

And, here’s what I learned:

  • Wearing a heart rate monitor is annoying. It wasn’t comfortable. While it wasn’t awful, I knew it was there the whole time. I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I run in it (specifically, for a long time); I’m hoping I eventually get used to it and forget it’s there. Maybe I had it on too tight? I probably won’t be wearing it ALL the time, but at first I’ll have it on more often than not.
  • The 80/20 running book has you set heart rate zones based on lactate threshold heart rate. There are 5 zones, based on percentage of this heart rate. There are several ways to determine your lactate threshold heart rate, and I went with the perceived effort method. At first I tried to use the talk test method. I’ve been using a talk test for years in training runs, but reciting the pledge of allegiance at the gym wasn’t working out. (I was more or less trying to whisper, and I don’t think that was giving me the same results as speaking out loud.)
  • The perceived effort method basically requires you to record your heart rate at various effort levels. On a scale of 1 to 10, level 6 is your lactate threshold heart rate. Level 1 is “extremely easy” and level 10 is “extremely hard” with 6 being “slightly hard”. Technically, you could stop once you hit level 6, but I kept going all the way to 10. It was easier to figure out what “slightly hard” was when I had a better frame of reference.
  • For the arc trainer, I ended up with a lactate threshold heart rate of 167, and for uphill treadmill walking I ended up with 154. I think the uphill treadmill heart rate was a little off because I had a tough time controlling my effort on the treadmill. When it comes down to it, even though you’re the one who pushes the buttons the treadmill is in charge of your speed.

Heart Rate Graph

I made a graph because I’m a huge dork, and as you can see, the green line (treadmill) seems to dip in the middle. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a straight line, but let’s assume it is. In that case, I have proof to back up my theory about the uphill heart rate being off. (Sorry about the terrible quality of the tiny little graph.)

 

  • When I set up my heart rates for running, I’m probably going to use the treadmill. I wanted to do it outside after what I experienced with the uphill walking, but it looks like real winter finally showed up and now there’s snow everywhere.  And, I know I won’t be able to do this test in the snow. At least not without falling. We’ll see what it’s like out next weekend when I plan on doing the test, but I’m expecting to need the treadmill.
  • After figuring out the heart rate monitor, I set up an awesome spreadsheet that calculates my heart rate zones from lactate threshold heart rate. All I have to do after the running heart rate test is enter my lactate threshold heart rate, and through the magic of excel, my heart rate zones are all set for my 80/20 plan.  Looks like taking 3 weeks off running is making me super prepared for my next training cycle. (I’m going running tomorrow!!! eeeeeeeeee!!!)

Have you ever used a heart rate monitor?

Do you make graphs based on your running? 

Did I say “heart rate” a million times in this post?