Week of 9/22/14 – 9/28/14: Vacation Makes Me Speedy

week of 9/22/14 to 9/28/14

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: 4 mile run (11:10 avg pace)
Wednesday: 3 mile run (10:25 avg pace)
Thursday: rest day
Friday: 3.7 mile run (10:39 avg pace)
Saturday: rest day
Sunday: 5.5 mile run (10:56 avg pace)

While I loved running barefoot on the beach while I was in Florida, the shoreline was very slanted and my left hip hurt for days after last Sunday’s run, despite trying to yoga the pain away. Thus the remainder of my Florida runs were done on the greenway that ran in front of the condo where we were staying. (Um, can I get a greenway that runs right past my front door?)

bad ass coffee destin

Post-run iced coffee! Sweaty!

I pretty much stayed dehydrated while we were there (sun + no set water-drinking schedule + alcohol) so I suffered from side stitches once I got past two miles or so on most of my runs. On Friday’s run, I decided to do some mild speed work. I did 3:1 intervals, but on the running intervals, I alternated between running them fast and running them easy. Thus, my paces for the 3 minute running intervals were as follows: 11:25, 9:18, 10:20, 8:31, 10:09, 8:42, 9:59, 9:14, 9:54, 8:57. Crazy how my “easy” ones kept getting faster.

Overall, it was a pretty speedy week. Thanks, vacation!

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Week of 9/15/14 – 9/21/14

week of 9/15/14 to 9/21/14

Monday: Pilates Fix and Total Body Cardio
Tuesday: 4 mile run (11:54 avg pace) and Upper Fix
Wednesday: Lower Fix and 10 Min Fix for Abs
Thursday: 3 mile run (10:31 avg pace) and Pilates Fix
Friday: Cardio Fix and Upper Fix
Saturday: rest day, precious rest day
Sunday: 3 mile run (11:52 avg pace)

The last week of 21 Day Fix you are supposed to double up your workouts (they tell you which ones to do together). I didn’t add a second DVD workout on days I ran (making me do three workouts those days), so it wasn’t too terrible. Just extra workouts on three days.

And then finally a rest day! Yay! Of course, half of it was spent in the car because we were driving to FLORIDA! My three miler on Sunday was done barefoot on the beach, which was super awesome.

barefoot beach running

21 Day Fix: Before and After and REVIEW!

Ah, the dreaded before and after shots. As someone who still hasn’t gotten up the nerve to run in only a sports bra, even when it’s over 100 degrees, this is not something I would normally post to be saved on the internet forever. But here goes.

So, do I look more toned?

21 day fix results

21 day fix results

21 day fix results

Man, those shorts aren’t very flattering from the front.

And, for comparison, my measurements, which actually changed more than I expected (actually I’m surprised my chest didn’t shrink more…that’s always the first thing that goes). I should have taken measurements when I started playing around with recipes and whatnot because I think I lost more weight/inches just eating better off and on for a few weeks before actually starting (I’m pretty sure I was around 116 at the doctor in July), but I rarely weigh myself, so who knows. I don’t even own a scale; my initial weight measurement was taken with my Wii Fit and then double checked on Jonathan’s scale the next day (there was a 0.7 difference within the 12 hour period, so I just went with the higher number–the Wii Fit).

Before After Difference
Weight: 111.6 lb 108.2 lb -3.4 lb
Waist: 26 in 24.5 in -1.5 in
Hips: 36 in 35 in -1 in
Chest: 34 in 33 in -1 in
Arms: 9.5 in each 9.25 in each -0.5 in total
Thighs: 20 in each 19 in each -2 in total

Review and Tips

This is going to be long, so bear with me. For full disclosure, here are the things I did differently than the program says:

  • First of all, I was glad that I tried out all the workouts a few times before officially starting my 21 day timer. The first time I did the Cardio Fix, I could barely move for five days afterwards! I can’t imagine being that sore when I was supposed to be doing the exercises every single day. Getting my muscles prepared was key to making sure I didn’t miss a workout (except for that first yoga fix, oops).
  • I didn’t buy/use a set of heavier (8 lb) weights until week two, so all of week one was done with just my lighter (5 lb) weights. I think this was good enough for me, as that was still a rough workout!
  • I didn’t use containers on the weekends. My activities are too unpredictable, and I’m usually not even home. I still tried to eat well, but I just didn’t concern myself with getting every. single. container. in or even the correct number of containers. I did monitor my calories though to make sure I stayed in the right range. I ate mac and cheese once.
  • I ran 3-4 times a week. The program doesn’t give any indication about how to fit in any exercise other than the ones provided, so I just tried to keep my runs easy and sometimes allowed myself an extra carb or two (usually in the form of milk). I did double up all my workouts on the third week like the program recommends, but on days that I ran, I only did one other 21 Day Fix workout.
  • As far as the meal plan goes, I made a few modifications. I didn’t always eat fresh foods. Sure, I could have peeled and cut carrots myself, but the canned ones are so much easier, even though they add a little bit of sugar. And I used the Chobani yogurt with the fruit already in it instead of adding fruit myself. It was probably definitely less fruit than would fit in a purple container, but oh well. Also Chobani is 2% milkfat and the program says to use 1%. I sometimes salted things (the nurse raved about my blood pressure last time it was checked, so I wasn’t terribly concerned with that, though I did cut back).
  • I didn’t do the final three day thing where you eat fish and coconut oil and don’t drink Shakeology. No thanks.

I do appreciate that I was still able to go out to restaurants from time to time and didn’t have to become completely anti-social to do the program. Some places we went where I was able to stay on the plan include Olive Garden (garlic rosemary chicken with asparagus), Chili’s (lighter choice sirloin with broccoli), and The Smiling Elephant (I’m guessing curry is allowed…there were veggies!). We also went out to Mellow Mushroom and Peg Leg Porker, which weren’t really on the plan, but I just considered them my only two cheat meals.

The toughest part was dealing with freebies like doughnuts and cupcakes being handed out, soft pretzel day (!!) at work, and the fact that Grilled Cheeserie, my most favorite food truck ever, finally came within reasonable distance to my office, and I couldn’t eat it because CARBS. Surprisingly, not drinking while socializing with friends who were drinking was not difficult, but I’ve never really been a drinker anyway. (That said, I am ready for some wine!)

So how do I feel after three weeks? Honestly, not much different. For some reason, I expected to have all this energy and my skin would be better and all this stuff that people say comes from eating clean, but…I feel the same as I did when I was eating pizza three times a week. Actually, I felt really bloated all through week two. No idea why, since I was mostly consuming foods that are recommended to STOP bloating and it wasn’t PMS.

That said, I do feel somewhat stronger. At least, when I touch my stomach, my abs feel harder. I like that. I’m not as squishy. And there are the aforementioned biceps that I wasn’t expecting. I feel stronger when I run too, as I can actually feel my glutes and core activating and doing something.

Before I got the program, I was mostly curious about the workouts. How hard would they be? Would I even be able to do them? Thankfully, every workout has one person (Kat) who shows modified versions of pretty much every move. Typically, I would try the non-modified version first and only switch to the modified version when I had to, but there were a few starting out that I had to modify from the beginning.

As for a breakdown of each workout, here you go:

  • Total Body Cardio Fix – This has four rounds of two exercises. Each exercise is done for one minute and you get 20 seconds of rest in between. Each round is repeated before moving on to the next one. It starts with surrenders, which Autumn says is the hardest exercise of the day. I have no problems with surrenders. The hardest one to me is the frog crunches, which is right at the end. Those things kill. Actually, I have a hard time with any of the things that require me straightening my legs in the air.
  • Upper Fix – Arm day has two rounds of five exercises each. They are all one minute long with 15 seconds of rest between, and you repeat each round. I don’t think this one is too bad. The toughest part to me is the push-ups because I can’t do them unmodified (although I did manage to do TWO unmodified in week three…progress!). The scissor twists are also kind of brutal right at the end (again, straight legs in the air).
  • Lower Fix – Leg day has four rounds of two exercises, a minute in length with 15 seconds of rest. Each round is repeated. None of the exercises in this are bad, but about halfway through she starts making you hold positions for the last ten seconds. This KILLS. Screaming helps, trust me.
  • Pilates Fix – This is probably my favorite of all the workouts. Nothing is really hard (toughest is the leg raises in the ab series, but that’s just another legs-in-the-air exercise) but it just burns so good. This one isn’t broken into rounds; it has different “series”, like the plank series and the C series. Nothing is repeated though. It just moves straight through.
  • Cardio Fix – Easily my least favorite. It is made up of four rounds with two exercises each, which are repeated. I’m not fond of cross jacks. Mountain climbers suck. Burpees are awful. The down and ups in the bonus round (do we really need a bonus round in this one??) wouldn’t be so terrible if it weren’t for everything else in this workout. This, of course, is the very first one I tried, so the others didn’t seem so bad in comparison.
  • Dirty 30 – Another one with four repeated rounds of two exercises. The very last exercise, the Side Plank Raise, is the worst. (Do side planks kill anyone else’s ankles? Maybe I need to wear shoes?) I don’t really mind any of the others.
  • Yoga Fix – I like the yoga fix when I’m in the right mindset. Unfortunately, I’m usually in the ugh-I-don’t-wanna-do-a-workout-right-now mindset and it takes me a while to get all zen and into it. It begins with a sequence of sun salutations, then moves into chair pose, warrior one, warrior two, and angle pose. After ten minutes of that, you start the balance series. I like balance pose and tree pose (they remind me of taking ballet), but I have a hard time with the ones where you bend all the way forward to stand on your palms. I’m not that flexible. After that, you do some cat & cow, supermans, and several stretches before finally hitting my favorite exercise out of every exercise in the program: corpse pose. Ahhhhh. Nothing feels better than corpse pose.
  • 10 Minute Fix for Abs – I only did this one twice. It’s only ten minutes, but it’s killer because you don’t get any breaks! It’s basically a bunch of crunch variations. I like the Pilates Fix better for abs, personally.
  • Plyo Fix – I haven’t even opened it. I kept meaning to try it, but since it wasn’t listed in the schedule, I wasn’t entirely sure where to stick it. So I will eventually try it out now that the 21 days are up. I think it’s probably something that could help with my running.

As for tips, I do recommend trying out everything (workouts, recipes, drinking water) before officially starting. I think this helps with the shock of everything and will help you stick with it. I started drinking about 70-80 ounces of water per day a few months ago, so it was easy to keep doing it once I started 21 Day Fix because I was already in the habit (drink 32 oz before lunch, 32 oz between lunch and 5pm, and the remaining in the evening). I still had some kinks once I started (like how to spread out the containers over the course of the day), but it was nice to not have to worry about EVERYTHING all at once.

My only other tip is to plan, plan, plan. Plan your meals and cook everything ahead of time. Look ahead at your schedule and plan your workouts. If there is even the smallest possibility your friends could invite you out right after work, which is when you usually do your workout, do it in the morning instead so you aren’t stuck doing it at midnight.

My Take Aways and After Thoughts

  • My jeans are falling-off-of-me loose. I need new jeans.
  • I want to try to stay eating three veggie servings a day. I think that seems doable.
  • I probably won’t continue eating four protein servings a day, at least not meat-based. I just don’t normally eat a lot of meat, and this was hard for me. I may continue drinking a protein drink for breakfast, eating meat once a day, and the occasional yogurt. And let’s not forget my precious black-eyed peas that I love but got relegated to a yellow container!
  • I’m excited to getting back to not working out every single day for a few weeks. Recovery days are important! My running has suffered a little, so I’m glad that I will be able to get it back to normal. That said, I will probably continue doing at least the arm and leg workouts once a week and probably the pilates from time to time.
  • Speaking of working out every day, I have a running streak coming up, and sticking with this for 21 days showed me that I could find the time to work out every day for a few weeks. Even though I had to get up early a lot of days.
  • I forgot how much I love grapes until I started this. I will continue eating grapes. They did help curb my cravings for things like Teddy Grahams and cheesecake.
  • I like meal planning. It makes my life easier.
  • Healthy food is freaking expensive. My grocery bill practically doubled during these three weeks, even when I was buying a lot on sale.
  • As a runner, I really probably needed more carbs than this program allows. I actually think they make me feel better, but that’s probably all in my head. I’m going to try to cut back on the refined carbs, but I’m not cutting them out completely (I had significantly LESS GI issues while running before I tried to cut them out).
  • Excited I’ll be able to start drinking chocolate milk after my runs again! I’ve missed it!
  • Finally, the fact that I potentially lost five pounds while only halfway doing the meal plan in the month before I started tells me that it’s ok to still eat a pizza from time to time or to have a cupcake or doughnut when they are being handed out at work. I was happier then too. Yummy foods aren’t inherently evil, and denying yourself of them will drive you crazy. If it weren’t for my “it’s only 21 days” mantra, I think I would have broken down a few times!

If you want to use the same format I did for meal planning, here is a blank version of my Google doc. I just cut and pasted the colored squares from the “Leftover” column as I filled out the week. Of course, if you are in a higher calorie bracket, make sure to add the additional containers before you begin! I used the space underneath each week to jot down my shopping list, so I would know what to pick up at the store on Sunday before I started prepping.

I’m going to post some of my favorite recipes coming up soon!

Race Report: Franklin Classic 10k – September 1, 2014

When I started planning out my 5k and 10k training for the summer, I knew the first thing I had to do was figure out the 10k. Nashville just doesn’t offer very many of them; there’s maybe about one a month, if that. The It’s Just a 10k was a little too early (August 23rd), as it would only give me about a week of a break after the Country Music Half. I could have used the new Go Commando 10k as my target (October 19th), but I didn’t know they would be introducing it at the time. So the Franklin Classic 10k was chosen. Held on Labor Day every year, this is the 36th annual race. Yes, you read that correctly. Thirty-sixth. I figured if they’d been doing it for that long, they had to be doing something right.

I planned out my time goals a couple months ahead of the race. To remind you, they were as follows:

A Goal: 1:04:47 or better (the average 10k pace).
B Goal: 1:07:56 or better (better than my best 10 km time).
C Goal: 1:14:36 or better (a PR).

However, then I decided to stop my training and do low heart rate training instead, which was probably a bad idea. After I stopped LHR training, I noticed my speed and endurance had gone way down. In addition, I had only done one real six mile run in over four months. I thought my previously set goals were probably unattainable, but I was still willing to try for them, figuring at the very least, I’d get my C goal (none of my races–even the longer ones–have been at that pace in over a year, besides Disney).

Race Day

I woke up, got ready, and drove down to Franklin without any problems. I broke Rule #1 of racing in that I wore something new on race day, but my new clothes that I had just bought on sale from Lululemon were too cute to pass up.

franklin classic 10k pre-race

Obligatory still half-asleep pre-race selfie.

The forecast was for partly cloudy and in the 70s. Didn’t sound too bad to me, but when I got outside, the humidity hit me like a rock.

I hit the port-a-potties as soon as I arrived (they provided hand sanitizer too!), then picked up my shirt and bib number.

The start line had markers to section people off by pace, which was nice. It helped people to line up properly. I got in the 10:00-12:00 section. My plan was to start around a 10:30 pace and see how I felt from there.

Mile 1: 10:58
I started off a little fast (this is a 10k, not a 5k, Jess!), but soon found a good pace around 10:30. Looking up at the sky, I noticed that all the clouds were gone. It was going to be full-on sun with little shade for six miles.

There was no water station at the one mile mark, but I took a quick break anyway. I hadn’t realized how hilly the course was, and it was starting to take its toll on me.

Mile 2: 11:36
My hair, which was up in a ponytail and the way I’ve been wearing it while running for the past month or two, kept falling down. So another quick walk break to pin it back into place.

I enjoyed a nice downhill and then walked an uphill and through the first water station. I knew I was falling off goal pace, but I was still confident I could achieve my C goal and get a PR.

Mile 3: 12:33
This is the mile where it all started to fall apart. I started walking all uphills, which was most of this mile. The sun and humidity were killing me, and I couldn’t believe I wasn’t even halfway yet. I wanted nothing more than to be done. I started to doubt my PR abilities.

Mile 4: 12:48
It seemed like everyone around me was struggling as well. I was still running near some of the people I had started the 10:30 pace with, so it seemed like several people were being affected by the hills and the heat. My PR, while still attainable, was starting to slip away.

Mile 5: 13:00
To really put the nail in the coffin of not getting a PR, I had some mad cramp start in my lower left side. It wasn’t a normal side stitch, which is usually just below the rib cage. This was much lower. It would only happen when I was running; while walking I felt fine. So I started running in about 30 second bursts until I couldn’t take the pain anymore.

My hair was still falling down (I think it was trying to sabotage me), so I finally just used one of my walk breaks to stick it in pigtails.

Mile 6: 12:23
Despite the cramp, I tried to push it a little more on this mile, knowing I was almost done. I managed a three minute stretch of running once there was only a half mile left in the race. One more walk break, then…

Final 0.2 (0.24 to my Garmin): 2:06 (8:56 pace)
I sprinted in with everything I had, in so much pain it was ridiculous. I hit the stop button on my watch and looked at the time. 1:15…so close.

Official Time: 1:15:41

One minute off of my PR. But I don’t think I could have pushed anymore. If that cramp hadn’t shown up, sure, but there was nothing I could do once it decided to make an appearance. I still don’t know what caused it. It wasn’t GI-related that I could tell.

Race Review

No complaints about the race itself! It was well-organized and inexpensive. Crowd support was decent, especially around downtown Franklin. The route was well-marked and the police controlled traffic nicely when we crossed major roads. Just be warned that the course is pretty much entirely rolling hills (though none of them are steep).

My watch time was about 20 seconds faster than the official time. No idea why. They are usually closer, but it’s not a big enough margin to think there was something off with the timing.

My only real annoyance was that I guess there were no official race photographers, but it’s not really a complaint because it was an inexpensive race where I wouldn’t really expect them anyway. I guess my complaint is that *someone* (that I thought was an official photog) took my picture right before the finish line, and I have no idea how to find that picture! Thus the delay in getting this posted; I kept expecting it to pop up somewhere.

Edited to add: The picture finally got posted on their Facebook page. Yay!

franklin classic 10k

Photo credit: Backroads Photography

Race Analysis

As you can see from this graph, it was really the hills that killed me. This is what I get for mostly trying to avoid hills all summer, since my target 5k was flat.

pace by elevation

While I spent over 40% of my time at the correct pace or faster, I also spent about 40% of my time walking. Not good. (By contrast, a race where I only walk water stops is about 1-8% walking, depending on the number of stations.)

amount of time spent by pace

We all have off days and bad races, however. I knew I wasn’t really trained for this race. I think the next time I run a 10k, it will be in the middle of half marathon training. Anyone know of any good 10ks around Nashville in January?

Week of 9/8/14 – 9/14/14

week of 9/8/14 to 9/14/14

Monday: Total Body Cardio
Tuesday: 3 mile run (12:11 avg pace) and Upper Fix
Wednesday: Lower Fix
Thursday: 3 mile run (12:05 avg pace) and Pilates Fix
Friday: Dirty 30
Saturday: 7 mile run (11:22 avg pace) and Cardio Fix
Sunday: 4.5 mile run (11:18 avg pace)/1.5 mile walk and Yoga Fix

I started the week out keeping my runs easy. Of course, I didn’t have much of a choice. After buying heavier weights this week for my 21 Day Fix workouts, I was way more sore than last week. I don’t think I could have gone faster if I’d tried. I at least tried to stay steady during these runs and not fluctuate too much in my pacing (which means no walking, though I did a couple times on Thursday).

I sped up a little on my longer runs on the weekend. Thanks, cold front! I ran the first half of Saturday’s run straight and then took walk breaks every 8-10 minutes or so throughout the second half. Longest distance since April!

I wasn’t going to do much on Sunday, but Heather messaged me and wanted to go out, so I joined her. We did 4.5-5 miles of fartleks (running around 9:00-10:00 pace most of the time) and then did a nice, long cool down walk afterwards.

Only one more week of these daily workouts, then I get a bit of a vacation–literally!