Tag Archives: 5K

Hollywood Half 5K (or It’s Hill Time)

I feel like I had done so much preparation for this 5K. After doing a run/walk 5K for the first time last year, I knew what I was capable of and I wanted to push myself to see what I could do 6 months later. I knew that I could do more than what I had done the last time and I wanted to makes sure I prepared myself the best I could. I worked on my endurance a lot during my workouts at Orangetheory so I could run longer during my intervals. I started to run on inclines to prepare myself for the crazy hill. But even with all that preparation, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted to do at this race.

I tried to keep my nerves down while I drove to the race bib pickup. It was in a different place than before so it was a bit of a longer drive for me. But there was a  meter with time left on it right by where we had to go, so I took that as a good sign. I got my race number and got back into my car so I could get home, have some dinner, and get to bed nice and early.

I usually don’t have too much trouble sleeping before a race, but this time I really struggled to fall asleep. I went to bed around 9:30 and read for a little bit. By 10:30, I turned off my light and tried to fall asleep. For some reason, I just couldn’t get my brain to shut off. I was tossing and turning and just couldn’t fall asleep. Around 2am, I finally fell asleep but since I had to get up at 4am I didn’t get as much sleep as I had hoped.

I wasn’t feeling too tired when I got up, so I tried to stay positive and hope for the best. I got my stuff together, drank a little chocolate milk (I don’t do well eating that early but I don’t do races on an empty stomach), and got into my car to drive to Hollywood. And as soon as I opened the front door of my house, I noticed that the ground was wet and it was still drizzling. I knew that there was light rain in the forecast, but it hadn’t started when I went to bed so I was hoping it was wrong.

It was raining or misting the entire drive there and I thought that maybe it would be like last year where it was raining until the race started but during the race it wasn’t. And that’s exactly what happened! It was misting until it was time to get into the corrals to line up but I didn’t have to deal with the rain during the race at all!

It seemed like the race was a bit smaller than it’s been in the past, but that was fine with me. There was still a great energy in the starting area and I was getting really excited as we started to get ready to go.

I tried to stay as excited as possible but the idea of trying to run on the hills was still making me nervous. But I put a smile on my face and got myself as mentally prepared as I could be to start.

The race started super prompt this time and they were letting the corrals go much quicker than they have in the past. I was in the 5th or 6th corral and I crossed the starting line at 6:15am (the start was at 6am). And as soon as we started we made a turn to go down the first hill.

I had set my watch intervals to be 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. I had every intention of sticking with that as much as I could and it went really easily at the beginning. Of course, running downhill isn’t too bad. But even my run back up the hill toward the starting line wasn’t that bad at all. I was sticking with my intervals and feeling pretty great. I was a bit tired, but not nearly as bad as expected. And before I knew it, I got past the 1 mile marker.

And then the big hill was in front of me. It happened to be part of my walking minute when I started the big hill, but as I did it I realized that I just wasn’t going to be able to run up it. Thinking back now (and knowing that it is supposedly a 3.5% incline), I probably could have done it. But at the time it seemed impossible. So I decided that I would ignore my intervals during the hill and I would walk up but run down. That did work ok with me although I know that my walk uphill probably should have been faster.

As soon as I was at the bottom of the hill I got back on track with my intervals and a few minutes later I was at the turnaround (which is close to the 2.5 mile mark). After the turnaround I was feeling really great and got to the last little hill of the race. It starts as a downhill so I decided to run that entire thing and walk up just like I did with the big hill. I really wanted to stick with my intervals, but I knew that I needed to do what felt right for me in the moment.

After getting up that last hill, it was pretty flat from there to the finish line and about only .2 miles left. So I started running and decided that I wasn’t going to stop until I crossed the finish line. I glanced at my watch and knew my time was going to be close to my PR so when I turned the last corner and saw the finish line I took everything I had and sprinted to finish as fast as possible.

I stopped my timing watch as soon as I crossed the finish line but it took me a minute or two to calm down and catch my breath before I could really look at what it said. I went into this race knowing that it is a tough course to PR on because of all the hills. I knew that even though I was running more than I did the last time, I also walked on hills which is slower than my normal walking intervals. So I was pretty shocked when I looked down to see that I PRed by 14 seconds!

14 seconds isn’t a lot, but it’s something. And on this course I know I’ve been slower because of the hills. When comparing this race to doing the race last year, I improved by about 11 minutes. When comparing this race to the best time I had on this course, I improved by about 9 minutes. That’s insane!

After I got my medal and had my timing chip cut off my shoes, I ran into Ken who is also known as the Free Hugs Guy! Ken is the director of this race and I was so excited to see him! And of course, I had to get my hug from him.

I wanted to see what my official time was, but they were having some issues getting the official time sheets printed. So I decided to wait in line to take a photo with my medal in front of the step and repeat. It took a bit of time, but I had time to kill so it was perfect.

I think my expression says it all. While I hoped to get a PR with this race, I knew that reality might be different and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. And then I surprised myself by not only kicking butt with the longer intervals and dealing with the hills, I did get the PR I was dreaming of!

My official time was exactly what my watch said (which made me happy to know I’m getting better at timing with my watch) and I started to walk back to the start line where I parked my car. I could have taking the subway one stop like I have in the past, but I decided that my legs needed the stretch and the walk would be good for me.

The next race I’m planing on doing will be the Hard Rock Cafe 5K which is probably about 6 months away (they haven’t announced the next race date just yet). But now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do 2 5Ks with mile times under 16 minutes, a few of my friends want me to go for a Disney race. Doing a Disney race has been a dream of mine, but I know they have 16 minute mile restrictions and I couldn’t get under that. But now I can and it’s time to think more seriously about doing a Disney race. I’m also debating if I want to do the 10K as another challenge for myself, but that’s still something I need to think about and see how I feel over this year.

I don’t think I could have asked for a better 5K race. I never knew that adding running to my races would make them so much better. I’m not struggling as much as I have before and it is making me think a bit more about adding some other races back in. As of right now, I don’t know if I’ll add any more races this year. But I’m thinking about it and seeing how my body feels as I push myself more in my workouts. But even if I just keep doing 2 races a year, that’s enough for me to prove to myself that I am getting stronger and faster!

A Shorter Workout Week (or Doing Some 5K Prep)

This past week of workouts was a 3 workout week, but that was for a good reason. I had the Hollywood Half 5K on Saturday so I couldn’t do a Friday or Saturday workout this week. I don’t do workouts the day before a race so I did a Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday workout and it seemed like each of these workouts were designed to help me get ready for the race.

Monday’s workout was an endurance day with a 5K challenge. The idea was to be on the treadmill for 23 minutes and get as close to a 5K as possible. I know there is no way I could do a 5K that fast, but I knew I would be able to get at least 1/2 of a 5K. There were intervals that were given to us, but I didn’t follow that guide. Instead, I stuck with 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking intervals since that was what I wanted to do at the race. I’m getting more comfortable with that interval set and it made me feel more confident about the upcoming race after knowing I could do that for 23 minutes. I did 1.616 miles, which isn’t the best I’ve done, but it felt good and that’s what was most important to me.

For the second half of class, each block started with a 1 minute row sprint. In the past, I know I’ve been able to row 300 meters in a minute but I just can’t seem to get back to that. This time, I did 233, 260, and 280 meters. Those aren’t bad at all, but I’m still working on breaking that 300 meter mark again. After those sprint rows, each block was 2 moves that were timed by the coach. Each thing was 45 seconds and we switched back and forth between each move. It was interesting to not have count my reps for any moves in the entire class and I could just work on my form and making sure I was doing everything right.

Wednesday’s class was a strength day and I figured that would be perfect since I wanted to get ready for the hills at the 5K. I tried to run at 3% for the first push pace, but I could only do that for a minute. It was really frustrating that I couldn’t do more and I was starting to feel nervous about the race, but I didn’t let it get to me. I ended up running all the all out paces which were on a flat incline but walked all my push paces at 8-10% incline. I told myself that I was still training for the hills even if I wasn’t running them.

The floor work was mainly arm work that day. We did rows with the weights, biceps on the straps, and triceps with weights. But the last block had an interesting row challenge. We were trying to do 100 meters with as few pulls of the rower as we could. That meant leaning back as far as we could on the rower and pausing while at the back. It seemed easy when it was explained to us, but it was actually very tough. The first attempt I did was 12 pulls of the rower, but I eventually made my way down to 7 pulls of the rower. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get under 7 pulls, but that was one of the lower numbers of the day so I was very happy with myself.

Thursday was my last pre-5K workout and it was a power and strength day which was kind of the perfect combination for me. We had push to all out paces on inclines plus stand alone all outs on inclines. I ended up walking the longer push paces but I did run all the all outs. And I even was able to run for 30 seconds at 9% incline! I have looked up the incline of the big since this workout and it claims to be about 3.5% incline, but it really feels more like that 9% run that I did! Either way, doing some running on inclines really made me feel prepared for whatever Saturday’s race was going to bring.

For the floor work, it was a lot more upper body and core work than anything else. I was grateful for that because I was starting to feel a bit nervous that my legs would be overworked in the workout and I would struggle at the race. So not focusing on lower body work helped me mentally feel ok. We did also have some rowing in the first block with a 500 and 400 meter row. I have been wanting to get my 500 meter row under 2 minutes, and I did it in 2:00.2. I’m so close, but just not there yet. But I think I’ll be there soon enough!

For a pre-5K workout week, I think this was pretty ideal. It challenged me but it also helped me build confidence going into the race. My last 5K was so spectacular that I was worried that this one might be a bit of a let down. I wasn’t trying to get my hopes up with getting a PR since there are the hills, but I also know that I’m running more than before. But this workout helped me focus back on the work and not as much on the results and that’s exactly what I needed.

And coming up tomorrow, my race recap of the Hollywood Half 5K!

My First Run/Walk 5K (or I’m Still In Shock)

This past Saturday I had the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. I’ve done this race several times in the past and I had been really looking forward to it. It’s a really nice out and back flat course and since I have done the race before I’m very familiar with the course and know when I’m getting close to the turn around. For a while, I had been training hard to make this a run/walk race (for the first time ever!). But after getting sick I wasn’t able to train like I was before and I felt like I lost a lot of progress and endurance. I figured that I would do my best, but I wasn’t expecting too much for this race.

I was able to pick up my race stuff on Friday after work, so I prepped all my stuff Friday night before going to bed. I usually wear a hip pack to carry my phone, keys, and anything else I need before/during/after a race. But I knew that wearing that would make running very difficult, so I had to plan differently. Since my workout pants have a little pocket, I could put my phone in there and I strung my keys through my headphone cord and put those in the pocket too. So I was feeling very free for whatever running I was going to be able to do.

Race morning I woke up at 5am and quickly got ready. I ate a little bit of a banana so I’d have something in my stomach, but my nerves were getting the best of me so I couldn’t eat or drink too much. By 5:30am I was in my car and headed to Hollywood and Highland where the race was. Once I parked, I got ready in my car and in the parking lot since it was nicely lit down there and it was a bit warmer than it was outside. And about an hour before the race was supposed to start, I headed up to street level to stretch and do my best to prep before the start.

pre-race

I tried to keep moving around so I didn’t get too stiff and was stretching my legs and hips. I really didn’t want pain to be a reason why my race wouldn’t be good, so I was working hard to make sure my body was ready to go. I did find some friends before we started, and seeing them made me feel a bit more relaxed and ready to see what I could do. And before I knew it, we were ready to go (we started right on time at 7am which was nice).

I had my running watch ready to go with 1 minute intervals set. So I was planning on running for 1 minute and then walking for 1 minute for as long as I could. In my training runs on my own, I usually could do that 5 or 6 times and then I would have to start cutting back on the running time. I would do 45 or 30 seconds of the 1 minute run and then walk the rest. I knew this was likely to happen, so I wasn’t thinking ever that I could do the full running minutes for the entire race. I just wanted to try my best and see what I could do. For this race, I really just wanted to finish in under 50 minutes (which would easily be a PR). My long-term goal was to finish in under 45 minutes, but that wasn’t even a though for this race.

Once I started, I started my watch and my music and started to run. The first minute of running went by quickly and very easily. I tried to stay toward the side of the course so that I wouldn’t bother people by walking. Sometimes I had to go around walkers when I was running, but that wasn’t that big of a deal and just tried to not obstruct any other races.

When my running watch is doing intervals, the default screen is showing how much longer is in that interval and how many intervals I’ve done. I keep it on that screen and while I can get an idea of what time it is, I didn’t want to focus on my time while racing. The first mile marker came up and I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval and I was very happy with that. I passed the water station while walking and took a few sips of water before focusing on the second mile.

The second mile is always the tough one for this race for me. The turnaround is in this mile and I know the course probably too much so I’m pretty focused on how many blocks were left before turning back. I just tried to focus on my music and trying to do the best running I could do. I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval, which is significantly better than I’ve ever done during a training run. When I saw the turnaround sign, I was very happy. Normally, I try to tap the sign and I see it as good luck. But there was a slowish walker in my way and I couldn’t touch the sign this time. I tried not to let that get to me and just thought about how I was halfway done!

The second half was a bit tough. There were times where the running minute was feeling like it was taking forever. I would glance at my watch and see that there were less than 15 seconds to go before I could walk and I kept deciding to finish the running minute. I know that I told myself that I didn’t have to run/walk the entire race, but I am so competitive with myself and wanted to test my limits. Once I saw the 2 mile sign, I finally started to realize that I might actually be able to maintain my intervals for the entire race. There is a bit of a downhill going toward the finish line and that is always really nice to get to. I saw the markers for the 10K race and knew I had .2 miles left to go. I just kept saying to myself that I can totally finish at this pace because it was almost done.

My last walking interval was very close to the finish line. I knew I didn’t want to finish knowing I could have done more running. So I cut my walking minute short and decided I would run for the rest of the race. It ended up being about 90 seconds of running and I finished the race sprinting across the finish line.

I stopped my watch as soon as I crossed the finish line. I had seen the official race clock say that it was almost 46 minutes and I knew that I started after the official start since I was toward the middle of the pack. But when I looked at my watch to see what it said, I was so sure that I had screwed something up because I really could not believe it.

garmin-watch

My watch was saying that my time was 44:47.8. I really thought that I either started it too late or stopped it too soon and figured I would wait to see what the official time sheets said before I got too excited. I knew I finished in under 46 minutes because of the official clock and that was also unbelievable but I knew it was right.

While I was waiting for the official times to be posted, I found some of my friends. My friend Brenda is a part of the Oscars/Halloween party group. She also had some issues with being able to train recently and was not expecting anything too crazy. But she was able to PR for the race and did amazing!

with-friends

I also ran into Heather, who is the executive director of My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is the official charity for the race and they always have a team running it. It was great to get to see her again and I’m hoping I can do some more work with My Friend’s Place in the near future.

with-heather

Finally, the official time sheets were updated so I could check what my time was. And after looking at it, I finally had to believe that I did was well as my watch claimed.

official-time

My official time was 44:48 (which is basically the same thing as 44:47.8) Not only did I PR (by over 9 minutes) I actually beat the long-term goal I had of doing a race in under 45 minutes! I really did not expect to do anything close to this and even a few days later I’m still in a bit of shock. After having several disappointing races when I felt like I did really great, I was expecting this to be similar. But I actually did better than I ever could have imagined!

post-race

I wasn’t able to drive home right away because I was in such disbelief. I made a couple of phone calls to people who I knew wanted to know how my race went. Each time I said my time, I could barely believe what I was saying. But soon enough hopefully I’ll start to believe that I did it. I’ve got to focus now on some new race goals because I did all of them in a race that I was so stressed out about.

Once I got home, I added my new medal to my medal hanger (I’m looking at buying an extension for it since I’m running out of room).

medal-wall

I spent the rest of my day relaxing and trying to nap since I had gotten up so early that morning. I kept looking online at my race time trying to believe it and not think that I’m dreaming or that some mistake happened. I know that I had trained hard for this race, but my training never got such incredible results. I think a lot of it had to do with race day adrenaline and that helped me to run more than I normally can do.

I never expected to have such an amazing race day. I’m glad that I still pushed myself even though I knew that things might not go the way I was hoping they would. Even though I thought I had given up on myself a little bit, I guess deep down I really hadn’t and this was my mind’s way of telling me to keep pushing it. And I’ll get the chance to test that out again in about 6 months when I have the next 5K happening (unless I find another race I want to do before then). But for now, I’m just so happy and grateful that my hard work paid off and I had the greatest race day I even could have wanted.

best-race-ever

My First “Real” Run (or Testing Out My Birthday Present)

While I’ve been doing bits of running for a few months at Orangetheory, that’s the only place I’ve been running since I started again. It feels safe to run on the treadmill. Nobody at Orangetheory is judging what I can or can’t do. Nobody cares if I’m dripping sweat. Nobody (except my coach) is even really paying attention to me. I’m able to feel safe in trying things and pushing myself to new limits.

But I’m aware that running on a treadmill is very different from running outside. And if I really do want to run/walk my 5K in November I have to start getting used to being outside and not being dependent on a treadmill to control my speed or intervals. I did a bunch of research last month about running outside and different apps for intervals to see what I could do to help me in this journey. And when I talked to my “running guru” (who is my best friend) she recommended looking into running watches.

I’ve had workout watches in the past. They always seemed to be too complicated to figure out how to do what I want to do. None of them had GPS on them so I could pretty much just time things and not know my pace or distance (unless I was doing a race and then I knew the distance). But the more I looked into running watches, the more it seemed to make sense. So when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told them I wanted a running watch. And I found last year’s model (it still seems like one of the better models) without the heart rate monitor option for a pretty decent price!

While I had gotten the watch about 3 weeks ago, yesterday was the first day I was able to test it out. I’ve been working on getting my sleep schedule back on track, so I’m finally waking up again at 7am each day. And yesterday I had a free morning before I started work at 10am, so I figured I had to stop making excuses for myself and get my butt outside to do a run/walk.

There is a path not too far from my house that has no traffic on it. You can technically run all the way to the beach, but then you will encounter some crosswalks that you have to get through. But I figured I could just go back and forth on one section between two crosswalks and then I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic, getting stopped at a red light waiting to cross, and if I got really tired I’d be close enough to my house.

Before going out, I set my watch to do intervals of 1 minute each. I actually ended up setting it up a bit incorrectly, but the error was in how many intervals I wanted total and not the timing so it worked out ok for me. And I had read the instructions for the watch and it seemed pretty easy to start and stop the timer so I wasn’t too worried about how this would all work.

As soon as I got to the path, I started the watch and started running. Because I hadn’t run outside before, I had no clue if I was going quickly or slowly. But I was going and it felt pretty good so I was happy with it. The first interval ended quickly and I was glad that running for that minute outside didn’t feel too bad or that different from being on the treadmill. I know that my walking was slower than I’m used to, but again, this run was all about trying it out and not trying to work on speed or anything.

I did 6 sets of the run/walk intervals (so 6 minutes of running and 6 minutes of walking) when I was starting to feel pretty tired. I’m used to being able to stop to drink some water or wipe away sweat and I really wasn’t doing that this time. It was starting to get a bit hot out and one of the directions I was running was into the sun. After one more interval, I was heading back toward my street and I was feeling a bit too tired to run (and I didn’t want to risk hurting myself by doing sloppy running). So I spend the rest of the way walking back and cooling down a bit.

Once I got to the end of the path by the crosswalk, I stopped the watch so I could see what I had done. I’m sure there is a way to see my pace or distance on the watch while I’m moving, but it was only showing me the intervals so I didn’t know how far I had gone and I honestly was feeling pretty clueless about it. It felt like I was not going that far, but I knew I was out there for 17 minutes so I figured I’d be close to a mile at least. I was pretty happy when I finally saw the result.

garmin

I would have loved to have gone farther, but I also have to remember that I’m trying to ease my way into running outside. The downfall in the past for me have been doing too much too fast. If I can only do a mile at a time for the next few weeks, that’s ok. Eventually my endurance is going to be better and I can go farther and run/walk longer.

Once I got back home, I was checking out more stats from my workout. A lot of things don’t make sense to me yet (I don’t really get the cadence stuff), but there was one screen that I totally got and was super happy to see.

my-mile

This is not a mile PR for me, but the fact that I was under a 15 minute mile when I didn’t have a treadmill telling me my speed or distance is awesome! My big goal for my next race is to average under 15 minute miles, so this made me so happy! Again, the endurance thing is my main concern now, but I know I can work on that.

I feel like this was a very successful first run/walk outside. I’d love to be able to do 1 outside workout a week and hopefully I can make that happen. It is a bit intimidating running outside where people can see me (and judge me), but I need to not worry or focus on that. I know that I’ve made massive improvements in my running over these past few months and that’s the most important thing.

Taking A Run Class (or Proof I’m Faster and Stronger)

Like I mentioned yesterday, I technically did 4 workouts last week. My Saturday workout wasn’t a regular class at Orangetheory, but instead one of the special classes they offer for members from time to time. This time, it was a 1 hour running class. So instead of the hour being split between cardio and weights, it was cardio only.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t feeling too sure about signing up. I actually didn’t sign up until Friday because I was going back and forth if I should do it. But there was one space left when I was there on Friday and I saw that as I sign that I was supposed to go. I had already talked to the coach, Dana, about it and she said that I could do it as a run/walk without too many issues.

While working on Saturday before the class, I was thinking that I made a huge mistake. I knew I couldn’t back out, but I was having some serious regrets. But I decided to try to have a positive mindset and hope for the best (similar to how I was feeling for the Dri-Tri). And by the time it was time for me to drive over to take the class, I was feeling a bit better about things.

I knew that there would be endurance, strength, and power work during the hour, but I wasn’t sure how it would go and was a little nervous that I wouldn’t know how to split things between running and walking. So when class started, I jumped on my favorite treadmill (number 11) and was walking to warm up.

The first thing we had during the class was endurance work which was really more like speed work. The plan was to try to bump up our base pace and push pace each time, but I knew speed work wasn’t what I needed. So for all the 90 second push paces, I ran at the speed I’m comfortable running at (pretty much between 4.5 and 5.0 mph). I walked during all of the base paces, but was able to run for all of the 90 second pushes.

Our next work was timed distances. The first thing we had to do was .25 miles, which I knew I could do. But since I knew I could do it, this time I did want to try to bump up my speed to see if I could get a bit faster. I was able to get my time down below 3 minutes (2:53 to be exact) and was feeling super exhausted and out of breath after that. We were supposed to then do .5 miles for time, but I knew I couldn’t run that and to run/walk it was going to be very tough because of how much I pushed it with the .25 mile. So I just walked it at an incline and tried to calm my heart rate down a bit.

Our next segment was strength, which is all hill work. I’m not ok with running on hills really, so I did this entire segment as a walk. I tried to keep my inclines up higher than normal, but I’m really having trouble doing anything beyond 12% incline. But this part went by pretty quickly for me so I’m glad that I didn’t have to just walk for too long.

One of the last segments was power work. This was short push to all out paces. Some of them were at inclines, but below 4% which isn’t too bad for me (4% is considered flat road for power walkers). For all the push to all outs, I ran everything. I did walk during the walking recovery, but I know that I ran a lot more than I have ever so that was pretty awesome.

To finish up the run class, we had a mile challenge. We had 8 or 9 minutes to get it done, and I knew I wasn’t feeling ok to do an entire mile (nor could I finish in that time). So I decided that I was going to push myself to do a half mile as a run/walk with 1 minute runs and 1 minute walks. This is the pace I feel like I might be able to do for my next 5K, so I really want to work on feeling more comfortable with this pattern and get my endurance up. It wasn’t easy considering how much work I had already done, but I was able to get it done and felt pretty great that I finished!

We had to keep starting and stopping our treadmills, but I knew I’d want to know my distance so every time we stopped I got a picture. And here’s what I ended up doing within the hour.

OTF Run Day

That’s 3.55 miles in 56:36! To put things in perspective, my last 5K was about 20 seconds slower than the class was and I did almost .5 miles more! That’s way more improvement than I would have expected! Since we had the treadmill segments broken up, I have no clue what time it was when I got to 3.1 miles but I still know that I am faster!

After class was done, I was so happy that I decided to go for it. It was not easy and there were times in the middle that I questioned doing it, but I know that I need to push myself like this. It’s only going to make me stronger and faster in all aspects of my life. While I’m still nervous about my next 5K, I’m feeling slightly better that it’s not going to be impossible and that I can at least run/walk part of it!

I’m hoping to start doing some non-Orangetheory run practice soon. I need to figure out a safe time for me to be running on the running path near my house (so during the daylight but not when it’s too hot). The more practice I can get in, the better! And this class was a great way to get that practice started!

A 5K Morning (or My Friends Make Things Better)

This past Saturday was the Hollywood Half 5K. It’s my 4th year doing this race, and it’s one of my favorites! Even though there are some little hills during the race, it’s relatively flat so that’s a nice thing to have. Plus, they have the best race medals!

I shared with my friends that I would be doing this race and gave people some discount codes, but I really didn’t know who else would be doing the race. So I figured that I’d be doing this one solo and I was ok with that.

On Friday before race day, it was raining. I checked the weather and it was supposed to rain for the 1 hour I knew I’d be doing the race the next day so I was in a bit of a bad mood as I drove to Hollywood to pick up my race number. Rain isn’t fun for me and I know that I hate doing 5Ks in the rain. My mood was improved a bit when I got a meter that had time still left on it right outside the pickup location, but I was still feeling a bit angry so there is no smiling photo of me with my race number.

Race Number

I was able to get to bed by 9pm since I had to wake up at 4am and was just hoping that there wouldn’t be rain in the morning. As soon as I woke up, I checked the weather. It was still saying rain between 6 and 7am (the race started at 6am) so I planned my outfit accordingly. I wore a thinner shirt so if it got wet it wouldn’t feel so heavy and made sure I had a plastic bag with me to put my phone in for protection. The drive over to the start line had moments of pouring rain, but as I got to the parking lot at the start the rain was just a mist. By the time I parked and got onto Hollywood Blvd, the rain was done!

I walked a couple of times from the start line to back where my corral was to keep my muscles warm because I knew I’d be waiting a while to start. And of course, I had to do a pre-race selfie.

Pre-Race

I was in the second to last corral, but because the race started late and they were releasing corrals 3 minutes apart, they ended up putting the last 4 or 5 corrals together in a lump (we still didn’t start until after 6:30am when we were told everyone needed to start before 6:15am). I didn’t get a countdown to the start, but since I rarely get that I didn’t miss it too much.

As it’s been the past few years, the start was a slight downhill down a side street and back up the hill to where the start was before heading down Hollywood Blvd. The rain from the night before left the streets pretty slick and I had some moments when my foot slipped, but I was going strong. I was feeling pretty good until about 10 minutes in. Then my shin splints started acting up a bit and since I forgot to do my race tracker on my phone I had no clue how fast I was going. So I started to feel a bit upset again because I had no clue if I was doing well or really horribly. I got really into my head with the negative thoughts until walking past where the finish line was on the other side (the race is an out and back race but the start and finish are about a mile apart).

Right at the finish line area, I saw someone running out toward me. I looked over and it was my friend Jonathan from Orangetheory! I had given him a hard time the other day how I supported him at the marathon and how he’s never supported me at a race. I knew it was an early race (unlike the marathon where I was able to go in the late morning) and that it was a short race so it wasn’t a big deal. But I guess he felt bad because he was out there super early in the morning to cheer me on!

This was actually the first time that anyone has come to cheer me on for a race who wasn’t doing the race themselves. This was such an awesome surprise and I couldn’t believe that he had done it!

With Jonathan

Even though Jonathan only had a short time left on his meter, he hung out and walked with me for a while. He even walked with me up the big hill that I hate on this race. It really meant a lot to me that he walked with me (he’s a pretty amazing runner and has won races in the past) and it was nice to have company on the big hill. At the top of the hill, he turned around to run back to his car. But the time that he walked with me really did reinvigorate me and I was feeling pretty awesome when I passed the mile 2 marker.

The turnaround point for the 5K is probably at 2.5 miles of the race, so I was close to it after doing the big hill. Just before I got to the turnaround, I saw someone running at me who had already turned around shouting my name. It was my friend Jordan! I had told her about the race before and she mentioned that she might do the 10K, but I had no idea that she ended up signing up! We gave each other a big hug and she ran toward the finish line as I walked to the turnaround and was on my way to the finish line myself.

The last portion of the race went ok. Again, I had no clue if I was killing it with my time or going really slow, so I just focused on having a good race day. And my day was going so much better between seeing my friends and the fact that it wasn’t raining! As soon as I turned onto Vine to cross the finish line, I decided to run the last little bit just because. I’m sure my official race photos will look cooler with me running compared to walking, but I really did it just to prove to myself that running isn’t impossible.

Post Race

As soon as I got my medal, I looked for Jordan to thank her for cheering me up and helping to make my race day better.

With Jordan

We walked together over to the timing board to see how we did, but there must have been an issue with it because nobody was bringing over updated sheets. Jordan had to leave and while I stuck it out a little longer, I had to get home to get ready. But on the way out I saw the timing company’s trailer and I nicely asked one of the guys in there if they could look up my time for me. It ended up being one of my slower times, but I discovered later that the race was really 3.19 miles and not 3.1. So I’m thinking if it was really 3.1 miles I would have been pretty close to my last 5K time.

While this was a slower race for me, it really was one of the better race days. I was able to do the race without dealing with the rain (it was pouring after I left on the way home) and I had people cheering me on that I wasn’t expecting. As much as I shouldn’t focus on race times, I know that I will. But it’s nice that my memories of this race won’t be my time but will be the smiling faces I got to see that day.

Relaxation (or Taking Some Time To Myself)

I’ve been busy with a lot of things lately. Between work, workouts, acting, and other stuff I feel like my days are getting filled up really quickly. This is awesome and I’m so happy about it, but sometimes I realize that I need to take a step back and relax for a bit. I’m finally getting better at realizing when my body feels like it’s getting to a breaking point, so when I started to feel like that at the beginning of this week I took some time to myself. I’m glad that I didn’t get to the point where I got exhausted and needed a few days to get back to my usual self. This time, I really only spent 2 afternoons being selfish and doing things for myself and I feel back to normal already.

I ended up canceling plans that I had made this Monday to do some stuff that I needed to do but had been putting off. Even though my plans were more fun, getting stuff crossed off my to-do list is really nice too! None of the things on my to-do list were urgent, so I had been putting them off for a while. I think knowing that I should be doing something but not was causing a bit of stress in my life. So getting those done relived some stress and made the rest of the things I needed to get done not feel as overwhelming.

I’ve also rediscovered my love for the library. I used to use the library all the time. My original e-reader was a Sony because at the time that was the only one that could get library e-books. But then I almost forgot about the library and I let my library card expire (did you know they could do that?). So a few weeks ago, I went down to the local library branch to get a new library card so I could start enjoying library books again. I’ve checked out a bunch of stuff lately. It’s so easy to get library books on my Kindle (much easier than my old e-reader) so I’ve gotten a ton of new books lately.

I feel so silly that I haven’t used the library lately, but now I’m back and obsessed! After running the errands I had to run on Monday, my afternoon and evening were spent reading and that was such a perfect way to spend the day. I still have books that I buy, but I’m so glad that the library is pretty well stocked with e-books so I can curb that spending habit. I know I’ve spent a lot of money on books (I love them so much!) and if I could limit my book spending just to the books I love so much and know I’ll be reading over and over again, that will help me budget better. I still can’t get over how this wasn’t something I thought of sooner, but at least know I’m on the right track to reducing my spending habits without reducing my reading material.

I also spent time getting ready for my upcoming trip for Rayshell’s wedding. I had already gotten a dress to wear and some cute and comfortable shoes. But I realized that if I was wearing open toed shoes at a nice event my feet probably should look nice. So on Tuesday after work, I went to my favorite pedicure place and splurged on a pedicure. My last pedicure was last spring, so I think that I had deserved to get another one. And I found the perfect color to put on my toes for a wedding!

Pedicure

I’ve still got a couple of other things that I need to do before this weekend, but there’s nothing that feels so big that it will be tough to complete. I want to be able to enjoy my weekend (which includes the wedding and a 5K race) and not have to stress about things at home or things that need to be done. Most of the things on my to-do list now are ideas that I’d like to work on (like reorganizing my desk and cleaning out my workout clothes drawer), but they won’t affect me if they don’t happen this week or month. I would like to work on checking things off more often so they don’t build up like they have. That’s just something else I need to work on in my self-improvement so I can maybe start treating these relaxation days and rewards for getting stuff done!

Pushing Myself Enough (or Listening To My Body)

I had some really great highs in my workout week and one kind of low. But the positives outweigh the negatives and I’m really excited about that.

The biggest thing that I accomplished this past week was continuing to increase my treadmill speed. I’m still sticking with 3.4 miles an hour for my base pace and when I’m starting out. As much as I’d love to increase that to 3.5 miles an hour (where I was before my calf tear), my body is not having it. I’m trying really hard to be ok with that, but I feel like I’ve been stuck at the same speed for a long time and I should be able to increase it. But I’m not going to push myself so hard that I hurt myself again.

But even though my base speed is the same, I’m been testing myself more and more with my push pace and all-out pace. For power walkers, you only have to increase the incline and not the speed. But I’ve been doing both for the past few weeks. I’m very comfortable with 3.5 miles an hour for both my push and all-out speeds so I’m going faster. I’m up to 3.7 miles an hour for my under a minute push and all-out paces (which is awesome!). If I’m in a push pace for over a minute, I’m at 3.6 miles an hour. For the really long pushes (like 3 minutes), I have to go back down to 3.5 miles an hour a bit. But those aren’t too common.

All 3 workouts I went to this week were 30 minutes on the treadmill straight. Those are the hardest for me and I made it through. And not only did I make it through, I pushed myself more and more on the treadmill and am getting closer to the speeds I want to be working at so I can PR on a 5K. So the progress I’m making, even if it seems minor, is really getting me close to where I’ve been wanting to be.

Besides my treadmill work, I was able to do some really great work on the floor. I was using 20 pound weights for a lot of my arm work and my chest presses. And I was using 25 pound weights for my squats (squats have always been a strong point for me). I had a bad day on Friday with my shoulder work and was only able to use 10 pound weights.

But I had a reason that Friday was bad. I had a horrible gallbladder attack on Thursday night/Friday morning. It kept me up most of the night and I was in incredible pain. I toyed with the idea of going to the hospital, but I’ve done that before and there isn’t much that they can do for me. They can give me painkillers (which I already have for my hip) and do an ultrasound to confirm that I’ve got gallstones (had that done before and I do have them). I know that the next step one day will be to have my gallbladder removed like most of the women in my family have, but I’m not close to being there yet. This was my first gallbladder attack in a long time. And when most people are close to having theirs taken out, they have attacks every month (sometimes every week). So this is just a minor inconvenience for me right now.

But this minor inconvenience did cause me to have a not-so-great workout on Friday due to being exhausted. I actually surprised myself by how well I did on the treadmill, but I had to take a bunch of breaks. But after pushing myself on the treadmill I was almost too tired to do the floor work. It really took a toll on me. And I had every intention of doing a workout on Saturday, but after feeling so tired on Friday I knew that the workout on Saturday wouldn’t be in my best interest. So I cancelled it and took that day to rest and recover from not sleeping Thursday night/Friday morning.

Like I said before, the positives really outweighed the negatives. I’m trying to keep focusing on what I did well and not what I wish I could have done better. I’m aware that it’s always baby steps to get to the goals I set for myself, but I’m so impatient! I just always reminding myself that when I started at Orangetheory I was at 3.0 miles an hour on the treadmill and was so excited to be at 3.1 miles an hour because that meant my 5K would be an hour and not over an hour. In about a year and a half I’m almost half a mile faster. So I just can imagine how much faster I’ll be in 4 months (when I have my next 5K), 10 months (when I’m thinking the 5K after my next 5K will be), or in year. It’s going to be great and I can’t try to rush my progress (no pun intended).

My 2016 Goals (or I’ve Got Some Big Ideas This Year)

Happy New Year! I hope that you all got to spend New Years Eve last night with people you love and had a great time (and hopefully not feeling it too much today)! As I’ve done the past few years, I’m sharing what my goals are for this year and what I hope to accomplish.

First is my big workout goal. I want to do 180 workouts in 2016. It’s only 5 more workouts this year than I did last year, but I wanted to make the goal not too much of a stretch. I’d love to pass this goal and do closer to 190, but I also know that life can get in the way and I don’t want to stress out about reaching my goal like I did in 2015. I think it’s very doable and I’ll be tracking my workouts using the same app I did last year (it made this very easy for me). So hopefully in a year I’ll be telling you all how I got this done!

My next goal is to have a new PR for my 5K. This one is going to be difficult for me because I’m still dealing with calf pain, but I think that maybe I can do it. Right now, I have 2 5Ks that I’m planning on doing (the same ones as last year) but I might add another one in there. So there aren’t a ton of opportunities to get a PR, but I will have a ton of time on the treadmill at Orangetheory to work on my speed training. I still have an ultimate PR goal for my 5K (15 minute miles) so I can feel comfortable doing a Disney race, but I know that this goal is very possibly a few years away.

Next on the list is a money goal. Or more like money goals (but I’m combining it into one goal). I want to get my debt down farther, budget better, and even maybe start having more savings than just what I’m saving for my taxes (as a 1099 employee, I will probably owe a lot in taxes). This is not an easy goal. Money is tight and while I wouldn’t say that I have a spending problem, it’s hard to not spend like some of my friends do at times. And those friends sometimes make 4 or 5 times what I make. I’ve been using You Need A Budget for a budgeting app and I think I’ve gotten budgeting close to what I want it to be. However, YNAB just launched a new version and it’s a subscription payment model. I can still use the old version and not have to spend money on the app, but I’m also looking into new apps to use because I don’t want to spend $50/year on a budgeting app when that money could go to something better. I do have an amount in mind as far as reducing my debt goes, but that’s something that I’m going to keep to myself for now.

Next is a fun one. I want to travel more and find more ways to spend time with my friends. While I’m ok with saying no to going to parties and things, I like going on adventures and fun outings. So I want to work on figuring out adventures to go on with my friends so that we can have more fun. And for traveling, I’ve got one trip planned for February with my mom and I’m hoping to do a trip with my sister-in-law in March or April. So that’s a step in the right direction.

I’d also like to do another acting class this year. I think it will probably be the next level at UCB, but I’m open to acting classes that fit into my schedule and my budget. While it’s important for me to keep working on my acting skills, I want to be in another class for other reasons. It’s great meeting new actors, it makes me happy because I get an opportunity to act, and I feel like I’m making progress in my career even if I’m not auditioning. So I feel like this is important for me to do and I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to get this done.

And finally, I want to be either in recovery from my eating disorder or on my way to recovery. I’m starting to look at my eating disorder as something to research and educate myself on instead of an emotional thing. I’ve been doing reading, listening to podcasts, and using apps for my eating disorder over the past week and I’ve already felt a difference. It’s still a battle that I lose sometimes, but I’m feeling much better about how I’m approaching things this time. And hopefully in a year I will be posting that I’m either in recovery or I’m getting very close to recovery. That would be such a wonderful thing I could accomplish in this year and if it happens I know that it will change my life.

So that’s it for my goals for this year! I think that I’ve got some good plans in mind. And while they won’t be easy to get done, they are not completely out of my reach. I’d love to hear some of the goals that you have for the coming year and hopefully we can keep each other on track!

Happy 2016!

A Friend Weekend (or Getting Up Early and Not Doing Much)

Since my friend Kate was going to do the Hard Rock Cafe 5K with me, she came down for the weekend to hang out (she lives in Northern CA now) and spent some time with me. I hadn’t seen Kate in a while, so I was excited for some weekend catching up and hopefully some fun too. But even though she was coming into town for the weekend, since she was coming in later on Friday and leaving early on Sunday we only had about a day and a half to hang out. And we had a race to do so it was going to be an interesting mix of craziness and relaxing.

Kate got to LA on Friday afternoon after I was done with work. So I got her at LAX and we went to an early dinner at Lyfe Kitchen since we knew we were getting up early the next morning. It was a fun dinner and we got to catch up on all the crazy and random stuff that has been happening lately (we’ve both had some tough times lately). After that dinner, we went to my house and went to bed pretty quickly.

On race day, we were up at 4:30am and then had the race at 7am. After the race, we had breakfast at Hard Rock Cafe and then went back to my house. We spent some time relaxing and then went out on a fun and random shopping adventure. Neither of us bought anything, but it was fun hanging out how we used to in high school.

After our shopping adventure, we headed to another early dinner. This time, we went to Bottle Rock for some wine and yummy food. I love going to Bottle Rock because there is always great wine and the food has never disappointed me. Plus, it’s not loud or too crazy on weekends so you can relax there and not worry about people being obnoxious next to you.

We both got wine flights and of course I got 3 different sparkling wines.

Bottle Rock

I drank most of my tastes (they were all so yummy!) and we got a bunch of different things to split between us to eat. We tried a bunch of food and got some dessert (we burned off some calories by doing the race that morning and we had both skipped lunch). But since we had been up for so long that day, we didn’t stay out too late that night.

The next morning, Kate had a flight back home. But before her flight we went to iHop near LAX to have breakfast. It was another good meal and again it was fun getting to just talk.

I’ve missed having Kate in LA and it was nice to have her back here for the weekend. Even though we didn’t go do a ton of stuff (and there were so many things that I thought we could go and do), it was a great visit. We both have said how it’s nice to be such good friends that it’s ok if we don’t do much or if we have a quiet hang out.

Kate will be back in LA next month and I’m hoping I’ll get to see her again then (she’s coming into town to see a different friend and I am working a lot the weekend she’ll be here). But even if I don’t get to see her on that trip, I’m glad that we had this fun and chill weekend this past weekend to hang out and do our best on our 5K.