spiritual self-exploration through health, fitness, and nutrition

Archive for the ‘running’ Category

Adventure Runs and P90X

Adventure Mud Run

Adventure Runs are Gaining a Lot of Popularity in 2011!

Seems like a big fad for 2011 are these “adventure runs” which is basically like a running race with a twist. I completed the Warrior Dash a couple months ago; a 5k run including about a dozen obstacles, half of which involves gooey, sticky, smelly MUD. It was some of the most fun I’ve had in my life! Despite a sprained foot.

Last weekend, I tried Metro Dash which I honestly have to say was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life (apart from running 2 full marathons). It came down to me just not being prepared enough…but I’m also convinced that I wouldn’t have been able to finish it without my lovely team “Dash Divas” – 3 of my best, most athletic girlfriends! Although we started at a later wave time (5:30-6pm), the heat + 30 intense obstacles + hot parkign lot pavement really took a toll on my body and I experienced my first exercised-induced asthma episode. Literally could not breathe after I finished and had to take a seat and regain my composure. Nevertheless, I was happy to finish it and swore to myself I wouldn’t try anything like THAT again! (Note: mud runs are an exception. 😉 )

My jiu jitsu expert / hairdresser / great friend Chanel proposed that we try P90x together a couple weeks ago, and I hesitantly agreed. So she’s been coming over to my house every day at 7am so we can do the videos. The first few days were hard since I wasn’t in tip top shape… but I’m starting to really see results! Already shaved off an easy 4 lbs. She took some before pictures, which I’ll post along with my 30-day pictures in a few weeks. I already have a love/hate relationship with Tony 🙂 My goal is to look toned and feel amazing by the time I go to Dominican Republic for my 30th birthday in September.

In addition to all of this, finally found my motivation to get back to Bikram Yoga after a couple month hiatus. So, replacing the P90x yoga video with 90 minutes in the hot room, plus a few more times in the evenings the rest of the week.

Will give an update very, very soon!

Hiatus Complete

After the 30-day challenge, my lazy side kicked in and I dwindled in the amount of times per week I practiced. I think my body just needed a chance to recover from the intense 1-month fitness regimen, along with some other personal issues that came up immediately after. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been back to the studio in about 12 days and can really feel the effects. I have, however, been working out but can tell how much tighter my body feels since I haven’t been doing the yoga to stretch & balance me out.

I decided to keep my gym membership at Lifetime Fitness in order to train for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day 8K in March. While I love to run and do yoga, I have been really, really itching to try out boxing. A friend of mine recommended LA Boxing so I think I’ll be trying out the free day trial in the next week or so. I just get so bored with the same old gym routine (which I haven’t been following this week, did an intense kickboxing workout at my gym yesterday and I can barely move today!). I feel like if I really got into boxing, my fitness level would be good enough so I could run an 8K without extensive running training.

My only reservation is my ulnar nerve entrapment from an injury 5 years ago. With too much strenuous activity, my left arm has a tendency to get really tight and the hand becomes numb.  I have done tons of research online about how to prevent this from happening but can’t find anything. All I can think of is wearing an elbow cover to protect my elbow if I choose to box (if any pressure is placed on my funny bone, the pain is excruciating and my hand goes almost completely numb). Anybody have any experience with this or know someone who has? I definitely plan on talking about this with a personal trainer and getting some recommendations.

Spring… it’s in the air!

Today on my commute home from work, while enjoying the 60-degree sunny and pleasant weather… I noticed the first signs of SPRING! Yes, spring solstice may have been on Saturday, but today I saw several bright pink cherry blossom trees while driving down Seven Locks Rd near McArthur Boulevard. I would’ve taken a picture but decided to stay a responsible driver 🙂

Looking forward to the cherry blossom 10 miler in 2 weeks, even though I’m far from ready! I’ll hit the pavement by the weekend… ❤

Snow Runners

The D.C. area’s winter season has been brutal so far. We’re expecting 18-24 inches today and tomorrow alone!

Apart from mother nature’s relentlessness, I find it fascinating that our health-conscious area stays exercising year-round, even during the inclement weather. It’s not an uncommon site for me to be driving while it’s snowing, and passing at least 2 or 3 hardcore, dedicated runners alongside the street. While their drive and motivation may seem crazy or stupid to some, I find it absolutely inspiring!! I’ve tried running in the cold weather before, and it just did not agree with my lungs.

Here are some cold weather running tips if you’re thinking of trying out this this risky yet exhilarating adventure.

Bravo, Ms. Snow Runner–I applaud you.

My Baltimore Marathon Report

baltimore-marathon-logo

I’ve never actually written a race report before, but felt that my experience at Baltimore this past weekend is worthy of one.

A girlfriend of mine who lives near downtown was kind enough to let me stay with her the night before. I was up at 5:30am after about only 3 hours of sleep (pre-race jitters REALLY got to me the few days before!). I had my throw-away sweater on thinking it was going to be cold.. and walked outside into 74 degree weather. This is when panic set in. Last time I ran in warm weather (Parks Half 2008), I got my worst time. But.. I tried not to let it bother me and left my sweater behind.

After meeting up with my friends Hai (a former 11:20-er) and Amanda from the 10-minute group, I was relieved to learn that 74 degrees was the warmest it was going to be all day! We chatted at the start which helped calm my nerves. At the start of the race at 8am, I told them to go ahead and not wait up for me, for I knew that they would be keeping a much faster pace than what I’m used to (they finished at a 9-minute overall pace…outstanding!).

The first few miles were rougher than expected. I didn’t time my bathroom breaks correctly and ended up having to run in pain until mile 4 when I finally found a port a john. This resulted in terrible cramps up through mile 6 or so. These eventually went away, and I breezed through miles 6-13. At some point around mile 7, it started to drizzle and the temperature dropped considerably, which helped out a lot!

At mile 9 near the Dominos factory, Under Armor (the primary sponsors of the race) had a huge water station set up with loud speakers blasting some black eyed peas song – this was a huge boost 🙂 Around the halfway point, I saw my Dad who walked with me for a bit and offered some words of encouragement. It was around this time that my quads and hips began to hurt, so I stretched them out.

By mile 16, I thought I would be prepared for the 5 or so miles of hills that were to come. Well, I wasn’t. I have never had to run up so many consecutive hills in my life! I was mentally kicking myself for not incorporating more hills into my training.

Miles 20-21 was a flat loop around Lake Montebello, what a lovely view! It definitely helped keep my mind off the pain, which at this point had traveled down to the arches of my feet. From this point on, I began stopping at every water break to stretch as much as possible.

By mile 22, I wanted to cry and just walk the rest of the way… until I heard some music coming up ahead. It was “Eye of the Tiger” blasting out a parked car’s speakers… with the owner standing on top of of the car. Not just any ordinary guy, though. He was fully dressed in a tiger costume with a huge smile on his face, pointing to each and every runner and nodding his head in the cheesiest way possible. Let me tell you.. he couldn’t have popped up at a better time. With a smile on my face, I pushed through to the end (with a welcoming downhill from mile 25 through the end) and finished the race.

Hallucinations kicked in around mile 25, when I thought paparazzi was snapping endless photos of me… only to realize that it was the flashing lights atop a cop car 🙂 And speaking of the police… although we ran through some really sketchy parts of the city, I never once felt unsafe, with officers patrolling each and every corner!

While I didn’t beat my goal of 5 hours, I’m just happy I finished (5:24:32). Unfortunately, I missed my time from Marine Corps 2008 by 2.5 minutes. This had me really upset at first, but after a day, I promised to redeem myself in a couple years 🙂

Doing my first Sprint Triathlon this weekend!

After a couple months of hard training, I’m finally getting my chance to race in the Luray Sprint Triathlon 2009 in the scenic Luray, VA this Sunday. I’ll document my experience after it’s over 🙂

Here’s a map of a training bike ride I went on this week… it included MANY hills and helped me break in my new Fuji Absolute 3.0 🙂 (my frame’s maroon, not white).

Bethesda Bike Loop with Rock Creek
Find more Bike Rides in Bethesda, Maryland

My Favorite Running Sites

After a 10K in DC with my boyfriend (left) and brother (right)

After a 10K in DC with my boyfriend (left) and brother (right)

When I first started running competitively almost 5 years ago, I had close to zero knowledge on the subject. I just wanted to get out there and feel my feet hit the pavement and the wind on my face. Looking back, I sort of regret not reading enough on the subject and mentally preparing myself for what was ahead.

I consider myself an average runner. I don’t aim to be the best out of everyone out there, but I do try to beat my own times. I keep track of my workouts using a personal excel sheet. I’d rather not pay for an online “trainer” to help me with those. Joining an actual running group (i.e., RoadRunners) is a much better alternative in my opinion.

LoveToKnow.com posted a list of Top 10 Running Web Sites. The top two are definitely in my top four (RunnersWorld.com and Active.com). Runner’s World has a great set of blogs, and Active.com is a wonderful sign-up service. However, they failed to mention my other two favorite sites:

  • MapMyRun.com: An excellent resource for those of you who can’t afford a pedometer. You can map out your running route via the embedded Google Maps application, keep a training log, share stories/photos, and participate in forums (there is a large community here, some focusing on beginning runners). The only downside is that their events page is very limited because users post events.
  • RunWashington.com: This is my primary means of searching for local and distant races. They also offer race registration (directed to Active.com) and provide official race results after the race.

After training 6 months for the Marine Corps Marathon last year (with the Montgomery Count Road Runners), I encountered IT band problems in my right knee (but went on to complete the race anyway!). The pain was excruciating. As a result, I searched for blogs that focused on health and injury. My favorite is Ask the Running Doc written by Dr. Lewis G. Maharam. Although not every topic applies to me, I certainly learn a lot about preventative measures.

I hope you find this information useful and, better yet, hope you get out there and try running if you haven’t before! My advice: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. And pace yourself!

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