Tag Archives: walking

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!

Great Days And Not-So-Great Days (or Overcoming Workout Struggles)

This past week of workouts was a series of ups and downs. I’ve been working on doing more 4 workout weeks lately because I know I will be taking a break when I have surgery (and I don’t want that to affect how many workouts I do this year), but I’ll admit that this week I was really debating cancelling my 4th workout in the week. I’m glad I stuck with it, but it was really testing myself if I could do it.

Monday was probably the best and easiest workout I had. It was a power day and we were switching between each block which always makes things a bit easier for me. There were 2 main blocks on the treadmill, 2 main blocks on the floor, and then a partner challenge to end out the class. On the treadmill, the first block started with 30 second intervals and I ran everything even the base paces! I’ve never done that before and I felt on top of the world! The second half of the first block was 45 second intervals but I wasn’t able to run everything so I did my usual plan of walking all the base paces. The second treadmill block was 6 minutes long with 1 minute intervals and I walked the base paces again.

On the floor, the first block was sprint rows with squats and arm work. And the second block was timed work like burpees, medicine ball jacks, and ab work. But then we got to spend the last 12 minutes of class partnered up and that was awesome! We were rowing for distance as a team and we rotated between the floor and rower. The person on the floor had arm work and plank jacks and controlled the pace of the switching. It was a long 12 minutes but I knew my partner was counting on me so I worked really hard. And after 12 minutes, we got pretty far on the rower!

I’m not sure I did my fair share on the rowing distance, but my partner didn’t seem to mind and we were both very proud of what we were able to accomplish together.

Wednesday’s workout was just bad for me. It started out fine but then at the beginning of the class my hip popped out (like it does all the time) but I couldn’t get it to go back. It was causing me some very intense pain and I didn’t want to step out of class to take a painkiller since it usually takes time for them to kick in. So I just did what I could and sucked it up. On the treadmill, I walked everything. It was a strength day so I was able to work on walking hills, but I really was upset that I couldn’t do any running. I’m so stubborn so it’s tough to let myself take it easy when I know I could do better. But my body just wasn’t having it so I had to go with the flow.

The floor work that day was one long block where we did a lot of arm work. I was pretty grateful for that since I could do my usual stuff even with my hip hurting. The arm work was one sided work so that added some extra difficulty in things. But I think that I was still able to keep good form with the heavier weights I was using that day. We also had some spring rows that were 200 meters each. I really wanted to get it under 40 seconds but I did them in 41 and 40 seconds. That’s still pretty fast for me, but again it’s tough when I have a goal and I just fall short of it.

Friday’s workout was much better than Wednesday’s. I wasn’t really hurting that much that day so I was able to do running. I did take it easy because I didn’t want to overdo it, so all my push paces were at 4.5 mph and all my all out paces were at 5 mph. We were switching between blocks but all the treadmill blocks were all the same with intervals starting at 1 minute, then going to 45 seconds, and ending at 30 seconds. It was good to be able to run again and even though it wasn’t my hardest running it was still better than not running at all.

The floor that day had blocks that were all pretty similar. Each block at 3 moves in it and they were all mixed up between arms, lower body, and core work. The only bad thing was that because I was still feeling a bit low from my workout on Wednesday, I might have overdone it a bit with the weights because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

And since I overdid it a bit on Friday, when I went on Saturday I was a bit sore. It was mainly in my hamstrings, so that was a nice change from being sore in my hips. And it was a 3G class so I knew I wasn’t going to spend that much time in any part of the room. But I didn’t get to Orangetheory as early as I normally do so I had to start on the rower instead of the treadmill. The rowing started with rowing plus medicine ball jacks. And the second half was rowing sprints with recovery in between.

Next I went to the floor where the beginning of the floor work was all straps. We did triceps, shoulders, and squats on the straps and that wasn’t too bad. But the second half of the floor was timed work and that was crazy. Everything was in 45 second intervals and we rotated between chest presses, shoulder presses, and crunches. We did that rotation 3 times without any breaks and it was so much tougher than I expected. I was pretty tired after that but I still had the treadmill to do.

The beginning of the treadmill was pretty easy for me with 45 second intervals all on 1% incline. I did my usual with walking the base paces but running everything else. Then for the second half of the treadmill time (which was the last 7 minutes of class) we did incline work. We did push to all out paces at 5% and 4% and I did manage to run those. Running at 5% feels so tough, but it’s not feeling impossible like it did before so I know there is improvement. We ended with 2 all out paces, one at 3% and one at 2% which pretty much felt like a flat incline to me after the higher inclines. I really hate doing my treadmill work last because I feel like I’m so tired, but it’s also good to mix things up from time to time.

There were some totally amazing moments in my workouts this past week and some seriously depressing ones. It’s so easy for me to work out when everything is going great, but it’s good to have a challenge to get through to know that I can push through it and still get it done. I’m continuing to do a mental countdown of how many workouts I can do before surgery. The number is getting smaller and smaller so I’m starting to feel like surgery will be here before I know it. But I’m also now trying to think of surgery as just another challenge for me to get through.

Walking And Running (Mixing Up My Workouts)

I was on such a high from my previous week of workouts that I didn’t know if I could do anything close to it last week. I tried to keep my expectations low going in to this past week because I didn’t want to burn out. But I also was feeling so great from all that I did that I didn’t want to lose the momentum. So I decided to try to alternate going crazy and having recovery days and see what happened.

Monday was technically an endurance, strength, and power day but to me it really felt like an endurance day. We had a crazy plan for the treadmill and I really pushed myself on it. The pattern started with a 3 minute push pace, 2 minute push pace, 1 minute push pace, and 1 minute all out pace. There was base pace in between each but it was still a lot. And the second half of the pattern was a 1 minute push pace, 2 minute push pace, 3 minute push pace, and 1 minute all out with the base pace in between. I managed to run all of the push and all out paces and in 23 minutes I did 1.55 miles which is half of a 5K.

On the floor that day, we had a 400 rep challenge. For some locations, this was a timed challenge, but it wasn’t for us. That was for the better since if it was timed I know my form would have suffered because I would have sped through things. We had 2 rounds of 25 squats, 25 hip bridges, 25 push ups, 25 rows on the straps, 50 hop overs, and 50 mountain climbers. It was very intense and tiring but I made it through. After completing my 400 reps, I had dumbbell swings and tricep work plus a 200 meter row. It was a lot, but I felt so accomplished after finishing the workout.

Wednesday was a strength day and we didn’t switch between blocks. I decided to do only walking on the treadmill that day and I’m glad that I did that. It was a nice change of pace from all the running I had done. We had ascending and descending hills with the inclines at 7, 9, and 11%. I also had 1 minute intervals at 8% with my speed at 3.8 mph which is pretty fast for my walking. And I was able to do my all out paces at 12% which is pretty steep for me.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks which each started with 400 meter rows. I was able to get those done in 1:31 and 1:28 which even surprised my coach! We also had regular and lateral lunges and lateral arm work. And I used the ab roller for knee tucks and push ups. But what went best for me was the ab work that day. We had abs with scissor kicks and crossovers. Normally those are really difficult for me because of my hips. But I was able to do them without modifications and I could really feel my abs working!

Friday was another epic day for me and I surprised myself again. We had a 23 minute challenge and I didn’t focus on distance but endurance. The idea of the challenge was to run for .25 miles and then recover with walking for a minute. And we repeated that as many times as we could. Obviously, the faster you run the more times you could repeat it. But for me, I wanted to prove to myself that I could run .25 miles over and over again. This was a test for me to see what I could really do with intervals because I am planning for my next 5K. So I ran every time I did the .25 miles at 4.5 mph which is becoming a very comfortable pace for me. I did increase my speed a bit for the end to see how far I could go, but I like that I found a good speed for me. And I’m so happy that I was able to keep up my running every time and I didn’t feel too tired during it. This wasn’t my best distance, but like I said that isn’t what I’m focusing on right now. I’m really proud of myself and I feel more confident than ever that I can have an awesome 5K in April.

After that long run, I was tired but I was ready to get to the floor block. It was a long floor block so we didn’t get much of a break in things. We had rowing between 100-200 meters, squats, lunges, burpees, froggers, palms to elbows (but I did plank shoulder taps instead), and pull ups. My form wasn’t great on the floor, but it wasn’t too bad compared to other days when I was tired.

Saturday’s workout was another recovery workout for me. It was a strength day and I made the decision to walk the entire time on the treadmill again. I needed the break and it was nice again to mix things up. The inclines were pretty intense and a lot of times I was at 12 or 15% incline which I don’t do that often. I can’t remember the last time I did 15% incline. Fortunately, since that workout was a 3G day I only had to do 2 rounds on the treadmill.

For the rower segment, the first time we had to see how fast we could do 300 meters and then recover for 20 seconds before doing it again. I think I got 3 or 4 attempts at the row before we switched and I was pretty consistent with the time. The second time on the rower, we had a challenge I hadn’t done before. We were supposed to count how many times we pulled the rower handle and to try to get 300 meters in 30 pulls or less. My first attempt wasn’t that close but I was determined to make it happen. I took super long pulls and leaned really far back to make it as long as possible. It was weird to have my form like that, but it paid off because both of my next attempts made it to 300 meters in under 30 pulls.

And for my 2 floor segments, there was quite a bit of arms work. We had rows in plank and standing up plus shoulder presses. We also had ab work with plank jack push ups and crunches. I like 3G workouts since we change between sections a lot, but it also means that I feel really tired and sometimes the workout feels a bit long. But this time the fun in changing it up was more than the tiredness I felt.

Even though I did 2 days of walking out of my 4 workouts, this is another success week of workouts in my mind!

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

Major Progress (or I Can Run!)

This past week might not have been my best week of workouts, but it was the best one in my mind. I had so much progress that week that I can’t believe it, and I’m terrified that somehow this week won’t be as good. But I’m going to try my absolute best to make sure that I keep making these giant steps forward!

Monday was a pretty typically workout. We had a mile by mile challenge which meant we did a mile on the treadmill and a mile on the rower (split into 4 parts). Since I’m a power walker, my treadmill segments were all .125 miles (instead of .25 miles) so I knew they would all be pretty fast. I was able to do all my treadmill segments at 3.7 miles an hour and at 6% incline, which is usually the speed I use for my all-outs. All of my rows were pretty fast too and I was able to keep them at about a minute or under. The floor work was a lot of lower body work, but I was able to use some good-sized weights like 20 pounds for squats and my upper body work with the pullovers was using the 25 pound weight (only one weight in my hands for that one). I was pretty happy with that workout especially with my treadmill times, but I had no idea how amazing the rest of the week was going to be.

Wednesday was a power day where we didn’t switch between blocks. During the 3 treadmill blocks, 2 of them were the same format. We had 5 minutes of work where it was 30 seconds of all-out and then 30 seconds of walking recovery repeated 5 times. The first time we had that 5 minute block, I worked on increasing my speed each time. I started at 3.6 miles an hour and worked my way up to 3.9 miles an hour by the 4th all-out. But on the 5th all-out of the block, I decided to run.

I’ve done basically no running in the last decade or more. I’ve been warned by hip surgeons that high impact stuff isn’t the best for me, but I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care anymore. I know that I will need double hip replacements in my life. My original surgeon was so sure that by this point in my life I would have needed at least one of them done. But I haven’t and from my last set of x-rays, I’m actually looking better than I did a year ago. If I’m going to have to have the replacements done no matter what, I might as well use my hips now before they get replaced. They are going to be replaced if I push myself or if I just sit on my butt. So I’ve decided to push myself.

So for that last 30 second all-out, I ran at 4.5 miles an hour. It felt so good to do that and my hips didn’t really hurt at all (the bottom of my feet did a bit, but that’s totally different). I was feeling so amazing after those 30 seconds that I decided to push myself even more on the next 5 minute block like that. For all 5 all-outs, I ran at 4.5 miles an hour! I had a tough time with my walking recovery and I sometimes had to jump the rails of the treadmill to catch my breath, but I did it! I was on such a high from actually running that the rest of the workout kind of was a blur for me. We had some sprint rows for 150 and 200 meters and some squats and lunges. The lunges were a bit tough for me because my legs were feeling a bit wobbly, but I was still not in any extra pain in my hips because of the running! This was seriously such a huge step for me because I had believed for so long that I would feel the pain I had felt before surgery when I tried to run. I never thought that it wouldn’t hurt me any more than walking does!

Friday I was still on a high from running, and I had another great opportunity to test it out! We did a 12 minute challenge on the treadmill for distance. Our coach, Bruce, was going to call out when to be at a push pace versus at a base pace during those 12 minutes, but we could also follow our own plan. Most of the time, I follow the coach. But I was on a mission and I knew I had to do my own thing. For the first 11 minutes of the challenge, I followed the same pattern: I ran at 4.5 miles an hour for 30 seconds and then I walked at 3.5 miles an hour for a minute to recover. I was feeling pretty awesome through most of those first 11 minutes. I occasionally had to jump on the rails to catch my breath, but it wasn’t because of any pain issues. I just have to work up my cardiovascular strength. After those first 11 minutes, I had a minute of walking to do if I followed my original plan. But instead, I walked for 30 seconds and then finished up with 30 seconds of running! This was the most running I’ve done in over a decade and it felt so freeing! I was exhausted after those 12 minutes, but I had gone farther in those 12 minutes than I had in a 13 minute challenge earlier this year!

12 Minutes Treadmill

For the rest of the treadmill time on Friday, I just did walking. Running is so new to me so I have to take it easy and I didn’t want to overdo things. On the floor, we had a bit of rowing (between 200-400 meters) and a lot of arms and chest work. For my arms I was using 20 pounds and for my chest I was using 25 pounds. My heart rate was staying pretty high during the weights, but I know that it was because of the running. I’m hoping my body can adjust soon enough to get back to a lower heart rate, but this is so new and my body needs time to get used to it.

On Saturday I tried to take things a bit easier. We had 2 blocks on cardio and then switched to the floor, and for my cardio I was on the bike. That’s my standard 4th workout of the week plan and I know my legs and hips needed a bit of a break from the running and walking. My heart rate stayed a little lower than I would have liked, but it was also a recovery day for me so that is to be expected.

Once we switched to the floor, the first block was a lot of upper body work. We did chest flies, squats with bicep curls, and triceps presses. I was working mainly with 20 or 15 pound weights (I tried to do as many bicep curls as I could at 20 pounds, but I had to finish my reps with 15 pounds each time). The second block was a lot of core work including work on the straps. We had single arm rows and rollouts on the straps and then finished our block with some crunches.

After we all completed those 4 blocks, we got back together for a partner challenge. Because of the number of people in class, I ended up being without a partner, but for this challenge it actually worked out ok. Basically, we were split between the treadmill and the rower and we went for 90 seconds. Then the teams with partners switched spots and the goal was to see how many meters between the 2 partners you could get on the rower. I wasn’t able to see how many meters I got because the rower reset for me while I wasn’t on it, but that’s ok. For the first treadmill round, I went back to the bike until I realized how short the treadmill blocks would be. So for the second and third round I was on the treadmill. For the second round, it was a 60 second push and a 30 second all-out. I did my push at 3.5 miles an hour and 6% incline and for the all-out I ran at 4.5 miles an hour. And the final round was 30 seconds of a push and 30 seconds of an all-out and I decided to see if I could run for an entire minute. So I was at 4.5 miles an hour (2% incline since runners didn’t have to have incline) for an entire minute! I can’t remember the last time I ran for an entire minute (easily over a decade ago) and it was amazing!

Over the weekend, I didn’t have any extra pain in my hips from the running. My quads were a bit sore, but that could have been from other work too. I’m not sure how I’ll keep up the plan to try to do a bit of running during each workout. This past week just worked out really nicely for me to bring a bit of running back and I want to see how much I can do. I have no plans to try to run my next 5K (which is about 5 months away), but if I can run/walk it that would be incredible! I could easily get a new PR if I did that. Hopefully I can find a great way to add bits of running into my treadmill workouts from now on and this momentum will just keep moving forward!

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.

Hard Time At The Hard Rock Cafe 5K (or At Least I Looked Awesome!)

This past Saturday was the Hard Rock Cafe 5K (this year they also had a 10K, but I wasn’t going to do a 10K). It was my 3rd year doing this race and I was really excited to be doing the race again this year. And even more exciting, my friend Kate flew down to LA for the weekend to do the race with me (more about our weekend adventures tomorrow).

I wish I could tell you that I killed it at the race and everything went amazing. But sadly, that wasn’t the case.

I’m not 100% sure what happened, but things seemed weird starting the night before. As I was going to bed, I said to Kate how it didn’t feel like the night before a race. Maybe it’s because someone was sleeping in my living room. Maybe it was because I hadn’t gone to the bib pickup that day to get all my race stuff (Kate and I were going to pick our race things up on Saturday morning).

On race day, I was up at 4:30am and we were out the door by 5:15. Traffic was light so we got to the Hard Rock Cafe nice and early. We got our race stuff, went back down to my car in the parking structure, and got ready. Once it was closer to 6am, we went back up to the street to warm up and make sure we had good spots in the starting area so Kate could avoid the walkers and I could be out-of-the-way for the runners.

Hard Rock Cafe

And of course, we had to take a pre-race photo together.

Pre Race Photo

Kate went up to the front of the pack after that and I hung back and tried to relax and not stress out about the race. While I was waiting for the race to start, I managed to make a few new friends because of the awesome tank top I was wearing that day (hi Susie!!). The race was supposed to start at 7am, but we ended up starting closer to 7:15am.

Right from the beginning, things didn’t feel right to me. My legs were stiff from waiting so long for the start of the race and I was feeling pain in my shins and calf starting at the half mile mark. As much as I wanted to push myself, I was struggling. I checked out my tracking app on my phone at the 1 mile marker and saw that the first mile was about 30 seconds slower than what my mile time was at my PR.

At that point, I realized it would be pretty impossible to make up that time plus be 30 seconds faster on the next two miles, so I stopped trying to push as hard and decided to just focus on finishing without having to take a break.

Right after that realization, Kate was passing me going back toward the finish line. She was having a tough race as well (but she ended up placing 4th in our division, 7th in women, and 41st in the entire race).

The rest of the race seemed to take a while. I tried to focus on the streets going by and knowing that I will be done with the race soon enough. My race photos are all pretty serious looking since I was so focused.

Race Time

As I was almost at the finish line, I saw Kate hanging out there waiting for me to finish. She walked next to me for the last minute and we both were sharing how we had pretty bad race days. I crossed the finish line about 90 seconds slower than my PR (I split the different between my time at the Hard Rock Cafe 5K last year and the Hollywood Half 5K in April).

Even though I didn’t PR, I still got my amazing medal!

Post Race Selfie

After the race, Kate and I got breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe and I got one last photo on the stairs to the Dolby theater to celebrate completing my race.

Oscar Stairs

As soon as I got home, I added my newest medal to my wall (which is starting to look very full now).

Medal Hanger

Even though the race wasn’t great for me, I did it and I didn’t finish last (which is something that I am terrified of doing one day). I’m so proud of Kate for how well she finished in the race and I’m glad that neither of us really gave up.

While I love my race medal (it’s so sparkly!), my favorite thing from the race was the shirt that I wore! I ordered a tank top from Mighty Petunia after doing a random google search for motivational tank tops. So many motivational tank tops are silly and cheesy, but I love the messages that are on the Mighty Petunia tanks. They are fun and I am already picking out which ones I want next! And I got a ton of compliments on it at the race.

Since I loved my Mighty Petunia tank top so much, Cathy (who is the owner of Mighty Petunia) has given me a promo code to share with all of you! If you buy something from their site, use the promo code “Bombshell” and you’ll get 10% off of your order. And the shirts are so reasonably priced already so the 10% off is just icing on the cake! I hope that you guys will take advantage of the discount and support this great business!

While my race day wasn’t great, I managed to find ways to keep a somewhat positive mindset and was able to focus on the things that made me happy (like my tank top and the medal I got at the finish line). My next 5K is in April and while I’m hoping I’ll PR at that race, I just want to have a more positive race experience and I’ll be happy.

No More Slacking (or Paying Attention To My Fitbit)

I have a confession to make. I have not been doing my 10,000 steps a day lately. This all started when I lost my Fitbit. When I didn’t have it, it was pretty much impossible to get my steps in for the day (my phone counts my steps, but I don’t always have my phone with me). I started to not really look at my Fitbit app, even when I got my replacement. There were plenty of days where I looked at the app first thing in the morning (to turn off the sleep tracker) and didn’t look at it again until bedtime (to turn on the sleep tracker). I didn’t look at how many steps I was getting in for the day, but I know that I was not getting close to my goal.

I was in such a habit of not thinking about getting in my steps that I wasn’t doing them. The only 10,000 step day I had since getting my replacement was when I was at Disneyland. It’s pretty easy to get in my steps there. I average 3,000 steps in an Orangetheory workout, but I wasn’t doing the work to do the other 7,000 steps.

But on Monday, I had my workout early in the morning (and got about 3,000 steps in) and with all the games in my improv class and walking around doing errands I got another 2,000 steps in. So I decided that it was time to start taking charge again and making sure I do my best effort to get to my goals each day.

Fitbit

I managed to get my 10,000 steps in on Monday. And yesterday, I was back at my old routine of doing steps in place before work while catching up on my DVR. And I got my 10,000 steps in again.

I’m really hoping that this will be the start of the trend of hitting my step goals. When I first got my Fitbit, I was obsessed with not missing my goal every day. I remember the first time I missed my step goal and how upset I was. But since I’ve lost my Fitbit and have had a couple of weeks where I didn’t get my step goal, I’m much calmer about this all. Of course, I want to reach my goal every day, but if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen. It’s not the end of the world.

I’m not sure how much getting my steps in helps my weight loss efforts, but I know that it can’t hurt. And the more healthy routines that I can build into my life and don’t have to really think about, the better.

I think part of the motivation that got me back into my steps was the fact that I was invited to be a part of a bunch of step challenges this week. I don’t care if I win, but I want to at least try to be in the top half of the challengers.

So, thank you to my friends who invited me to a challenge this week. Because of you all, I’m back on track.

Excellent Customer Service (or A New Fitbit)

I’ve been enjoying the Fitbit I got earlier this year ever since I got it. There was only one day that I missed getting my 10,000 steps in for the day and even then I was pretty close. I’ve worked really hard at getting in all my steps for the day and have been very happy that while sometimes it’s isn’t easy, it’s not nearly as impossible as I thought it might be.

I had been enjoying all of the challenges and social things that Fitbit offers and most days I checked my progress throughout the day to make sure I was on pace to hit my goals.

While at ENMNCon, I was able to reach my goals the first two days of the conference. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. But on Saturday of the conference, I was too busy to think about checking the app on my phone to see my progress. When I got into my car to head home, I finally checked and realized that there were very few steps recorded for the day. I then looked at the middle of my bra where I keep my Fitbit device attached and realized that it wasn’t there!

My first thought was to look around and inside my car to see if it just fell off. But the app was also showing that it was searching for the device and wasn’t able to connect so I knew that it couldn’t be that close to me. There was no way to drive all over town to look for it, so I just drove home and hoped that somehow I had forgotten to put my Fitbit on for the day and I would find it at home.

I got home, my Fitbit wasn’t there, and I had to come to the realization that it must have fallen off at some point that day and it was lost. I emailed Fitbit support and didn’t have high hopes on a good resolution. I had recently emailed them to get a new clip because my old one broke. And they sent me one at no cost and the day I lost my Fitbit was the first day I used the replacement clip.

So my email to Fitbit was more about how the replacement clip was likely defective and I wanted to let them know about it. They emailed back pretty much right away and let me know what time my device connected with my phone last. I thought back to that time and it was while I was walking near Hollywood and Highland. There is no way that someone hadn’t picked up the Fitbit and took it or that it was run over by a car. I knew it that I had to get a new device.

But fortunately, Fitbit let me know that there were going to send me a new replacement device at no cost! It was going to take a little over a week to get it to me, but that’s better than me paying $100 for a new one! I’ve heard of other friends getting a free replacement device, but I thought that since I had just gotten a free replacement clip that there was no way they would now send me a device. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong!

It did feel weird not to have my Fitbit on me. I tried to do as many steps as I could, but I wasn’t able to get a decent count of them (my phone tracks steps, but I don’t aways have my phone on me as I’m walking around my house. Finally, on Monday my new Fitbit arrived!

New Fitbit

It’s a different color than my old device, but I was able to get it set up pretty quickly and got started back at my challenges right away! I probably won’t win challenges this week because I pretty much missed all of Monday, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t get back to my 10,000 steps a day streak! I’m excited to be back on track with my steps and to have all the steps counted (and not just counted when I have my phone).

It’s so funny how much I didn’t care for Fitbit the first time I had it, but when I was without it last week I felt lost. I’m just glad that I have it back and I’ve gotten proof that Fitbit really does care about their customers and has awesome customer service!

Giving Fitbit Another Chance (or Doing Laps Around My Living Room)

I’ve previously written about Fitbit on here. I had a pretty bad experience with them and I returned the Fitbit I bought then almost right away.

I was ok not having a Fitbit for a while. I had used a pedometer in the past and it wasn’t something that really excited me.

But lately, more and more of my friends have been talking about competing against each other on Fitbit. I learned that I could use the Fitbit app and have  my steps counted by my phone. So since that was free, I did it.

But I realized that all the steps I take at Orangetheory didn’t count since I wasn’t holding my phone while I worked out. So I started looking into getting a Fitbit device again.

I looked at the ones you wear on your wrist, but it didn’t seem right for me. First, I already wear a watch so I didn’t want something else on my wrist. And secondly, it probably wouldn’t count my steps on the treadmill at Orangetheory because I have to hold onto the treadmill (balance issues).

So I decided on the Fitbit One. It’s pretty small and I can either wear it on my pants on in the middle of my bra (I’ve been going with the middle of the bra choice since it’s totally out-of-the-way).

Fitbit One Size

During my workouts at Orangetheory, I’ve been putting it on my pants since my sports bra goes up much higher than a normal bra.

It’s nice to count all my steps during the day. And the app on my iPhone is super easy to use and read.

Fitbit Tracking

But what I’ve been loving the most about Fitbit this time (besides the fact that it’s working and syncing perfectly) is the social and competitive aspect of it.

You can be friends with different people on there and see how you rank against each other over the past 7 days. Since I just started using the Fitbit, I’m pretty low in the rankings but I’m moving up.

And through the app they also have a bunch of different challenges that you can do with your friends. Right now, I’m doing a weekday challenge with 9 other people (including my agent). But over the weekend, we did a weekend challenge.

Fitbit Competition

I didn’t win that one (and I don’t think I’ll win the weekday one either), but I had a lot of fun doing it. And it’s really motivating me to get as many steps during the day that I can. I’ve been doing laps around my house between customers at work or while I’m watching tv shows that don’t need that much attention. And since I live in such a tiny house, my laps are only like 5 steps each way.

But every step adds up and since Saturday (when I got the Fitbit), I’ve hit my target of 10,000 steps each day! And all of those steps equal more calories burned, so it will be helping me to reach more goals. This is all wins for me.

Are any of you on Fitbit? I’d love to have more friends to compete against!