Week 5 Wins

After what felt like a long week of rest and recovery, I restarted my half marathon training plan where I left off.

The schedule said 5 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, and 7 on Saturday.  My reaction to that kind of mileage was “Goodness!”

It seemed like a daunting task but I just took it a day at a time ( and totally enjoyed my rest days).  

Amidst a very stressful week, there were some wins that made the week a much better one.  ๐Ÿ˜€

Win # 1

Tuesday’s run went surprisingly well.

I finished 5 miles in about an hour!

  
Mile 5 was my fastest!

Win #2

It was my first attempt at a 7 mile run. I decided to go slow and maintain a comfortable heart rate.  The results were even better than I expected.

  
Admittedly, I liked the negative split i.e.  the second half of the run was faster than the first half.  Mile 7 was my fastest!  I actually felt energetic enough to go for another mile…but I convinced myself otherwise.  ๐Ÿ˜€ This run definitely showed me the importance of a warm up!

Win #3

7 down, 6 more to go.  The journey continues!

๐Ÿ˜€

A.K.

Mr Ego and Mr Insecure walk into a bar…

They scope out the scene and then finally find a comfortable spot to sit.

Mr Ego:  I am here to meet a lady

Mr Insecure:  Me too, I guess

Mr Ego:  You guess?

Mr Insecure:  Yeah…I am not sure if she will like me.

Mr Ego:  So what if she doesn’t?

Mr Insecure:  Oh…I guess I never thought about that.

Mr Ego:  You have to act like you are the one with the upper hand.  That way, even if she rejects you, atleast she wouldn’t know how affected you are by her rejection.

Mr Insecure:  Woah, that’s pretty deep!     How did you figure out this strategy?

Mr Ego:  Experience my friend, experience!

Mr Insecure:  So you’ve had to face rejection?

Mr Ego: Yep.  Now I do the rejecting before they can!

Mr Insecure:  Interesting.

Pretty lady approaches…

Pretty lady:  Hello

Mr Ego and Mr Insecure:  Hello!

Lady:  How are you?

Mr Insecure:  uh…

Mr Ego:  Great!  How about you?

Lady: Doing just fine.  So what brings you here?

Mr Insecure:  umm…

Mr Ego:  Oh just needed to chill. It’s usually interesting to watch the bar scene. People make such fools of themselves!

Mr Insecure:  (Thinking to himself) Woah, this guy is so confident.

Lady:  Oh…okay (looking a little weary)

Lady:  Oh my…look at the time….

Mr Insecure:  (Thinking to himself)  Oh no, is she leaving already?

Mr Ego:  Yes…you may want to get going before my date shows up. 

Lady:  (Glares at Mr Ego and walks off)

Mr Insecure:  (Feeling a little uncomfortable from the exchange)

Mr Ego:  (Feeling a little uncomfortable from the exchange)

They decide to leave the bar.

Mr Ego tries to settle the tab with his credit card.  The name on the credit card is “Insecure Ego”!

(Suspenseful music plays)

BIG reveal…

Mr Ego and Mr Insecure are the same exact person!  Mr Insecure was hiding behind his made up overconfident personality of Mr Ego.  Why?

  • To protect himself from rejection
  • To hide his low self esteem 
  • To act as though he was totally content in life 

So, the next time you spot a Mr Ego…look closely at him and you might catch a glimpse of the more genuine Mr Insecure.

๐Ÿ˜€

A.K. 

Too much to do…too little time

Isn’t that the truth?   (Sigh!)

This is the story of many peoples’ lives.  I will share examples in mine and conclude with a potential solution.

The general itinerary:

  • Cooking (I actually enjoy this…when I don’t have 537 other things to do.  Custom orders can also diminish enthusiasm in this area.)
  • Daily cleaning (having a dishwasher is great…if only the dishes could find their way into and out of it!)
  • Spring cleaning (This takes me a duration of two weeks because I have some rats, I mean, pack rats in the house.   Where’s a cat when you need one? ๐Ÿ˜€)
  • Laundry (Goodness, I can’t keep up with this.  It was so much easier when the kids’ clothes were super tiny…and I could tell the difference between the adult and kids’ clothes.)
  • Play the role of Mom (Now this deserves a WHOLE post.  For now I’ll say – 24 x 7. Some of itis physical effort and most of it is mental effort e.g. being the primary Calendar app for their activities!)
  • Spend some quality time with the spouse (this would also deserve a WHOLE blog post)
  • Work (40 hours a week.  Some weeks are more demanding than others which translates to the energy left for home duties)
  • Exercise (the benefit of my half marathon training schedule is that I am doing this 3 to 5 times a week.  It is probably doing my health a whole lot of good so I can’t eliminate it totally)
  • Blogging (recently cut down from a daily cadence to twice a week ๐Ÿ˜”. This is my creative and social outlet.  I usually turn here for interesting reading material.)
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends.  
  • Miscellaneous

The solution:

Prioritize!!

We can’t get to everything and everyone all the time.  If we don’t, we often feel like we’ve failed.  

When we succeed, we are probably killing ourselves (or our peace of mind) to do it – but hey, atleast we’ve checked off everything on the list right?  The real question is, “At what cost?“.  What are YOU left with at the end of the day?  If it was worth the price, great…if not…hmmmm.

I leave you (and me) with that million dollar question.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

A.K.

40 is not the new 13!

You have most likely heard the expression “40 is the new 30″ or even ” 40 is the new 20″.  This generally refers to how 40 year olds’ body age (as opposed to their chronological age) is equivalent to that of a 30 year old.  This is generally as a result of eating healthier and exercising regularly.  Simply put, “Living a healthier lifestyle”.  

Of course, in most of Hollywood, their interpretation is primarily centered around the wrinkles on one’s face.  The more inanimate their faces look,(with the help of botox or facelifts) the younger they feel.  It is very sad that they feel pressured into such a situation!

In any case, I am not a Hollywood star but I am a 40 year old. ๐Ÿ˜€

I started training for a half marathon about a month ago.  Last week, I decided to do some “interval training” with my 13 year old son.  Interval training basically involves running at alternating speeds of fast and moderate paces for short distances.

My enthusiastic 13 year old runs at about a 6  to 7 minute mile so he wanted to get me to a sub 10 minute mile.  The best I had done up until that point was 10:28.  We started out quite well with my tracker showing me at a 8 to 8:30 minute mile (I was clearly giving it my all). That pace lasted for about a quarter mile.  At that point, I thought my heart would pound open my chest (maybe that’s a slight exaggeration) so I slowed down immediately!

We continued the training for another 1.5 miles but the best I could do after the first crazy run was a sub-11 mile. Not terribly shabby but there was a slight price to pay for that over-aggressiveness…as I was about to learn.

I realized the next day that I was experiencing some discomfort in my legs.  As hard as it was for me to accept, I knew that I had to rest and avoid running until my body was ready to go again.

There were two beautiful days that were so ideal for running, but I had to resist the urge to run…it was really hard but I reminded myself of the importance of healing to make it through that phase. 

I had to slow down this week so I waited until yesterday to resume running (I would call it more of a jog though). I ran for an hour and felt no pain after the run.  I also resumed lifting weights to build my quads and hamstrings. My lean pilates/yoga muscles needed some assistance to power my runs a little better.

I am happy to be back on track and on the track!

The key lessons I learned this week were:

  • I am not 13 anymore – I need to pace myself i.e. Build up to the sub 10 minute mile rather than forcing it. At 40, the body doesn’t bounce back as fast.
  • Aggression slows you down a.k.a. “Slow and Steady wins the race”. This is similar to speeding on a freeway. If you get pulled over by a cop, the time you spend squaring things away negates any time you save by speeding.
  • A short break doesn’t mean “The End”. They are as annoying as commercials but are needed to keep the show “running”.
  • Don’t give up! Patience will help you through this phase.

That’s it for the week.  I wanted to share with you that there will always be bumps or potholes in a journey, but there is usually a detour available.  Sometimes that detours also ends up providing a good snack or refuel break which makes the rest of the journey more enjoyable!

๐Ÿ˜€

A.K.

Every sculpture needed moulding

Beautiful pottery starts with a blob of clay.

Intricate Ice sculptures starts with a slab of ice.

The structures of the city of Petra began as mountains of sandstone.

In all of the cases stated above, there is a beginning, a vision and a final product.  Between the vision and the final product, there are small and calculated steps that the artist takes in order to get to the end state.

They can plan their moves to the most granular level but until they start chipping away they will not know what exactly they can expect.  As they move along, they may need to veer from the course that they set in order to maintain the integrity of the final product.  The end product may differ from their original vision, but it definitely would be of a higher quality.

This is the same principle I am trying to apply during my half marathon training.

Being that I was always active and athletic, I thought it would not be a terribly difficult task.  My only goal, initially, was to finish…period.

About a month into training, I have a better understanding of the time and training needs, how the body responds to the exercise and how it adapts to the increasing mileage per week.

It is not easy!  I have seen an improvement over the month…slowy, but surely.  I hope to still improve my pace to get it closer to a 10 minute mile…but I have to remind myself that patience and persistence are key…this is probably my biggest lesson.  My goal  is still to finish…but not to crawl across the finish line in the nick of time.  So an additional goal is to improve my pace…to the extent possible. ๐Ÿ˜€

I can celebrate a small win this weekend.  I “chipped away” three minutes off my 10K run.  When I was running, I actually felt as though I was running slow…so I guess that’s a sign that I am getting stronger.  I keep getting this image of me looking like Lou Ferrigno (the original TV Hulk) with the bulging quads and the tattered pants…but of course I probably weigh more than a hundred pounds less than him! ๐Ÿ˜€. 

 

No 13 minute miles and enough energy to speed it up over the last 1.25 miles….yeah!!  Chip #1 was a success!

The sculpture, I mean, the journey continues!

A.K.

What goes down, must come up!

When you’re feeling sad

Use that strength in you

To fight those pesky blues

When you’re feeling lonely

Find YOUR activity 

Enjoy it…be carefree!

When you’re feeling MAD

Realize you need a break 

To consider that we ALL make mistakes 

When you’re disappointed 

Maybe you expected too much?

Try re-evaluate and then adjust

As life keeps moving along

You’ll perceive many ebbs and flows

But the mind alone can get you through those self-created “lows”!

A.K.

10 Grand!

I am doing and imaginary ‘dance of joy’ right now!  Why?  Because I overcame my self doubt and ran 6.25 miles today a.k.a. 10K!  which means that I am about halfway to the Half marathon goal!! ๐Ÿ˜€
I had no idea that I could last that long.

I did have to mentally prepare myself for the run from yesterday onwards. I guess it was the ‘fear of failure’ that was making me a little apprehensive about it.

I just had the remind myself of a few things:

  • Listen to my body and don’t force anything 
  • Focus on endurance rather than pace 
  • Enjoy myself

I think those reminders helped me to relax.  I set my expectations pretty low for overall pace and I ran at a very comfortable pace. It was the first time that I took the time to soak in the scenery while running.  It was somewhat meditative.  It put my mind at ease.

  • There were new colorful flowers in bloom that were pleasing to the eye.  
  • I could hear a river flowing beside the trail with wooden bridges going across.
  • There was some farm land being prepped for planting season.  A tractor had left behind the signs of  its ploughing expertise.
  • There were runners and bikers. Most of them offered a generous smile of acknowledgment.
  • All dogs were on a leash…I love it when people follow park rules!

The added bonus today was that I accessorized.  

  • An arm sleeve for my phone (the source of my music and fitness tracking).
  • Earphones that stayed in place when I was running…woohoo!
  • A water bottle holder

What a difference those accessories made.  They helped me stay focused on the run itself.

So how did I do?

Not too bad (by my standards).  I was able to run at a faster pace over the last 1.25 miles!

The journey shall continue…

A.K.