Manic Monday – 05/23/16

Photo May 23, 8 40 17 AM

Vermont City Marathon Training Week 18
What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 05/16/16: Rest | Rest
As I shared in last week’s Manic Monday post, I was feeling stressed and anxious, so I made it a point to just relax. My friend Emily had shoulder surgery a few weeks ago, so I went to visit her and played with her daughter while her husband made dinner.

Tuesday 05/17/16: 40 Minute Easy Run41 Minutes @ 10:16 Pace
I had a delightful runch with zero foot pain. Yay!

Wednesday 05/18/16: Hot Yoga | Hot Yoga
Still loving it. Before each class, the instructor asks if we have areas we’d like to work on, and I said hips, so we did lots of hip openers and I felt great!

Thursday 05/19/16: 50 Minute Progression RunSh’Bam
You may remember me talking about Sh’Bam before. It’s a cardio dance class sort of like Zumba, and my friend Brad is an instructor. This was a special class to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I was originally going to run at lunch as well, but I had to use my break time to go to the dentist instead.

Friday 05/20/16: Rest/StrengthRest
Ben and I had a nice, relaxing evening at home, and I went to bed early because I knew I had to get up to meet my running group at Athleta in the morning.

Saturday 05/21/16: 40 Minute Easy Run4.75 Miles @ 10:20 Pace
I’m pretty sure the mileage and pace is a bit off, because my Garmin didn’t have a satellite before we started, but I think that’s approximately right. It was a much more easy run than these Athleta runs have been previously, which was nice.

Sunday 05/22/16: 10 Miles10 Miles at 11:01 Pace
Coach Suz instructed me to use 4:1 intervals for this final long run, just to make sure my foot was ok. AND IT WAS! I think the intervals were a little too short for me, because I had a hard time settling into a pace, but it was worth it to have my first pain-free long run in… 3 weeks? 4 weeks? It was just the confidence boost I needed. Especially when I saw this:

Weekly Mileage: 18.75
Total 2016 Mileage: 359.8

And just like that, it’s race week. Holy crap.

Back to the Grind: My Training Schedule Post-Chess

Now that Chess is over and done, and I don’t see myself auditioning for another show until January, it’s time to get serious about my training schedule once again. I haven’t done much other than running in MONTHS, so I’m excited to hopefully add in some Body Pump and yoga or cycling/spin for cross-training. I have the Wine and Dine half marathon on November 7, but I’m still also considering running a PR attempt half marathon on November 1. If I’m going to do that, I need to a) stick to my training plan as far as running goes, and b) get serious about cross-training and recovery stuff for injury prevention.

Unfortunately, things are a bit complicated by the fact that Ben is now back at work (I’m not complaining), which means that we are sharing a single car. Unfortunately, the gym is not as close or convenient as it was when we were living with his parents in Underhill. This means that I have to make a conscious decision to go to the gym on certain days and times, and coordinate schedules with Ben so that we both have the car when we need it.

With that in mind, here is my tentative schedule for the coming months:

  • Monday: Body Pump or other cross training (elliptical, spin etc)
  • Tuesday: Short, easy run
  • Wednesday: Medium distance morning run or runch; evening Tap Class
  • Thursday: Alternate run club speed workouts with Sh’Bam (dance-y cardio class–read my review here)
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Run club/long run
  • Sunday: Rest/Yoga

Obviously, things will change depending on the week and what’s going on, but this is the loose version of what I hope to accomplish. Saturdays I will alternate between running a shorter run with run club and tacking on extra mileage to accomplish my long run mileage, and running my long run solo. I love meeting up with run club, but splitting up my long runs too often would make me nervous about running the actual distances under race conditions.

You’ll notice I’m doing two dance type classes this fall–tap, and Sh’Bam. I’m gearing up to audition for the title role in Mary Poppins this spring (!!!), so I’m trying to brush up on all of my skills. I’ll be getting my dance on at least once a week, and I’ll also be doing bi-weekly voice lessons. I was hoping to fit in an acting class too, but my budget just wouldn’t allow for it. Maybe in the spring.

I’ve also got yoga actually on the schedule. I’m excited because I’ve found a new studio near me that is 100% non-profit and donation based. That means you pay what you feel you can afford for each class (suggested donation is $10). Or, you can pay $45 per month for unlimited classes, which is RIDICULOUSLY cheap. I’m gonna try to check them out some time in the next few weeks, and if I like what I see, I’ll definitely be buying the unlimited pass. ALLTHEYOGA!

When is the last time you took a yoga class?

Are you training for a big race right now?

Manic Monday – 05/04/15

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

Monday 04/27/15:  Body Pump. I was really pleased to make it to Monday night Body Pump two weeks in a row, and it didn’t feel as challenging as it did last week. I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to see progress as I attend class more regularly.

Tuesday 04/28/15:  3 mile runch. It was quite chilly and windy, but once I got going the temperature was a non-issue. It was just a tough run because I was going into the wind for a good portion of it.

Wednesday 04/29/15:  3 mile runch; 1 hour Pilates mat class after work. I’ll talk a bit more about this later this week, but I’m excited!

Thursday 04/30/15:  Rest Day. I intended to run or walk, but was feeling sore and tired after three straight days of workouts, so I just took care of some personal errands and phone calls during lunch instead.

Friday 05/01/15:  Rest Day. I didn’t want to push too soon before the race on Saturday, especially because I haven’t run anywhere close to 5 miles in quite some time, so I just hung out at home and went to bed early.

Saturday 05/02/15:  GMAA Pump it Up 5 Miler. You’ll have to wait for my full recap on Tuesday, but it was a beautiful day and a great race.

Sunday 05/03/15:  “Rest Day.” I put that in quotation marks because even though I didn’t run or go to the gym, I spent about 4 hours doing yard work, which was definitely a workout. I was exhausted and Ben and I were in bed watching Netflix by 8, and asleep by 10.

Unfortunately, I’m already off to a poor start this week–I forgot my gym bag this morning, which means no running and no Body Pump today. Booo! This is a day when living 45 minutes away from town is a total drag, because I can’t just zip home and grab my stuff. Oh well.  Here’s the tentative plan for the rest of the week.

  • Monday: Rest day
  • Tuesday: 3 mile runch
  • Wednesday: 1 hour Pilates mat class (may not happen due to a work function)
  • Thursday: 3 mile runch; CWORX (if I don’t make Pilates on Wednesday)
  • Friday: 2 mile runch
  • Saturday: Vermont Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k
  • Sunday: Rest day

I’m getting very close to my fundraising goal for the Jiggety Jog–only $145 to go! If you’d like to help me out, click here to make a fast, secure online donation.

When’s the last time you forgot your gym bag?

Are you racing this weekend?

Manic Monday – 04/27/15

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

Monday 04/20/15:  3 mile runch. The rain cleared up long enough for me to squeak in 3 miles–rain drops started falling right as I ran up to my building!  I also did Body Pump after work. It was my first class in a while, and it felt AWESOME. My work/gym buddy Freda was there, as well as another of our theatre friends, Kim, and a girl we’ve become friendly with through classes at the gym, so it was a fun atmosphere.

Tuesday 04/21/15:  Rest Day. It was rainy and windy, and I was tired and sore from the double workout on Monday, so I just did some light stretching and rolling after dinner.

Wednesday 04/22/15: REVtheme ride: Bollywood. This was my second spin class at REV, and I loved it just as much as the first time. My friend Chris taught the class, and a bunch of our other theatre friends were there. It was awesome! The Bollywood music was super fun, and I worked HARD the whole hour. This was an amazing way to start my Wednesday. I also did more rolling in the evening because my legs were still really sore from Pump plus spin.

Thursday 04/23/15:  Rest Day. Another chilly, cloudy day (I woke up to snow. On April 23. WTF), so I just didn’t feel like running or walking. 

Friday 04/24/15:  Rest Day. I had intended to runch, but my Friday lunch buddy Emily called me up at the last minute to meet. We haven’t had lunch in weeks, so it was nice to see her. (Also, woke up to more snow–almost 3 inches. Seriously?!?)

Saturday 04/25/15:  Rest Day. We had some friends over on Friday night and I had one drink too many, so Saturday morning I just wasn’t up to a run. But at the Legally Blonde cast party in the evening, I did lots of dancing, so it wasn’t a completely sedentary day.

Sunday 04/26/15:  Rest Day. I really did intend to run, but it was significantly colder than it’s been lately, and I didn’t pack any cold weather running clothes. I know it’s a lame excuse, but whatever. 

We’re still house-sitting until tomorrow, but after that, things should be “normal” again. Honestly I don’t even know what that means anymore after the craziness of the last few months. But I’m hoping this means I’ll be able to get back to the workout schedule I laid out in my Back on Track post. Here’s what I want to do this week:

  • Monday:  Body Pump
  • Tuesday: 3 mile runch
  • Wednesday:  Walk or short runch and Body Pump
  • Thursday: 3 mile runch and CXWORX
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: GMAA Pump it Up 5 Miler
  • Sunday: Rest

Did you get any snow this week?

Body Pump Will Pump You Up

On Monday, I attended my first-ever Body Pump class.  This seems to be one of Les Mills’ most popular class offerings, and I know a lot of my run-blogging friends are fans.  I decided to give it a try because I really need more overall strength training, but I find the weight room intimidating.  Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m an empowered woman, blah blah, but still.  I don’t like it.  And I also don’t really know what I’m doing.  So to have an instructor telling me exactly what to do and when sounded really appealing.

Since I didn’t have rehearsal until 8 pm, I was able to make a 5:30 class (class is one hour), and my coworker/gym buddy Freda came along for the ride.  We got there early and approached a woman who we assumed was the instructor.  She had just finished up teaching the previous class, but was kind enough to get us sorted out before she left.  She actually said, “OK, we gotta get you set up, these people are like pirhannas, like sharks after chum.  You gotta get your equipment fast or it’s all gone!”  She wasn’t kidding.  This class was jam-packed and there were people swarming all over the place grabbing bars and plates and steps.

She gave us a quick run-down of what the class would be like–warm up, squats/legs, upper body, abs, cool down and stretch, and showed us how the bars and clips worked, and explained that we could use as much or as little weight as we wanted for each section.  After that, we just sort of waited anxiously for the class to start.

Guys, the instructor for this class was pregnant.  And she’s not even the regular instructor. The regular instructor (who happens to be her sister), is even MORE pregnant.  If you ever wanted to feel completely inadequate, take a Body Pump class taught by a visibly pregnant woman who doesn’t even break a sweat.  I can only hope I’m half as active and strong as those two when I start procreating. My personal feelings of inadequacy aside, we lucked out once again with a new release, so we weren’t walking into a class where everyone knew the routine except us.

I will say, because the class was so full, and with so many people who obviously do Body Pump regularly, I feel like there is a very real possibility for failure/error/doing exercises incorrectly as a new person.  I had never done a clean and press before this class, and could have used some more help getting that motion down.  Proper form is really important to get the most out of an exercise and to avoid injury, and I feel like while Melissa did the best she could to describe the movements well, she was more focused on moving through the routine than giving individual feedback.  Keep this in mind if you decide to try Body Pump.  Maybe seek the instructor out before your first class and try to get a bit of coaching first.

Photo Jan 26, 7 29 09 PMAside from that, this class is VERY good, and I can see why it’s so popular.  It really is a full-body strength workout, that in my (non-professional) opinion, was pretty well-balanced.  The warm up was just long enough to get my heart rate up a bit, and then we went straight into a squat track, which kind of made me want to die.  Honestly, I thought I was a relatively strong person going into this class, but now I realize that that was a fantasy.  I’m wimpy and out of shape.  After doing 3 minutes of squats and lunges, I thought my legs were going to fall off.  I kind of wanted them to.  And then we did upper body.  And then abs.

The day or two after, I had quite a bit of DOMS (particularly in my quads and the weird underarm/boob-fat area, which I think is a good thing), but nothing unmanageable, which means that I didn’t push it too hard.  I want to take this class once a week, but I’m having a tough time fitting it into my schedule right now because of rehearsals.  I’m probably going to end up having to go to a 6 am class, which is SO not my usual scene, but I think it will be worth it, particularly since I have the Spartan Race in September and have no idea how to train for it.  Full-body strength training seems like a pretty good start for lack of another plan.

Have you ever tried Body Pump?

If so, are the people at your gym pirhannas? Do you have to get to class early and fight for a spot and equipment?

CXWORX – A Killer Core Workout

As part of my quest towards a more balanced fitness program, I’m in the process of checking out various group exercise classes offered by my gym.  This past Thursday, I decided to check out CXWORX.  I chose this class for three reasons:

  1. The class starts at 5:10, so I don’t have to hang around the gym waiting for it to start (I get out of work at 4:30)
  2. The class is only 30 minutes long, which means I get home that much sooner on one of my few rehearsal-free nights
  3. The class is focused on strengthening your core, which is really important for me as a runner

Here’s a description of the class I lifted from the Les Mills website:

Exercising muscles around the core, CXWORX provides the vital ingredient for a stronger body. A stronger core makes you better at all things you do, from everyday life to your favorite sports – it’s the glue that holds everything together.

All the moves in CXWORX have options, so it’s challenging but achievable for your own level of fitness. During the 30-minute workout trained instructors guide you through correct technique as you work with resistance tubes and weight plates, as well as body weight exercises like crunches, and hovers. You will also get into some hip, butt and lower back exercises.

I was nervous before this class, especially because I attended solo.  Thankfully, I lucked out once again, in that this was only the second class of a new release, so we were all learning together.  There were also a number of other newbies, so I felt fairly comfortable.  The instructor, Betsy, was REALLY good–great descriptions of the movements, variations for different levels, what we should or shouldn’t be feeling or doing, and she called the transitions between movements really well.

This class may be only 30 minutes, but we were WORKING!  The class flowed really well, in that every time I was starting to feel like I couldn’t continue a particular movement one second longer, we transitioned to something else.  We worked our entire core, as well–back, abs, obliques, glutes, hips, and even some shoulder and arm work.  The movements that we did are kind of hard to describe, because most of them are not traditional exercises like crunches or curls.  There was a lot of rolling around and going from sitting to standing and back again, so if you’re not super mobile, this is probably not a good class for you.  I’d definitely call it more of an intermediate level class than a beginner level class, so keep that in mind if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey.

All in all, this class is a lot of bang for the proverbial buck.  Having a strong core is essential for a runner, and if the way my abs felt the day after is any indication, this class is really going to up my game.  I plan to go every Thursday.

Have you ever tried CXWORX?

What are your favorite core exercises?

Manic Monday – 01/26/15

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

This was a killer week.  Between running, fitness classes, and intense jump roping/dancing rehearsals, I logged 6 workouts this week.

Monday 01/19/15:  3 easy treadmill miles; 3ish hours of jumping rope at rehearsal.  This was a TERRIBLE idea.  Cue death by exhaustion.

Tuesday 01/20/15:  Well-earned REST DAY!  Did some stretching and rolling to relax my sore muscles.

Wednesday 01/21/15:  Unscheduled rest day.  I was too tired and sore from Monday to attempt anything other than some very ginger walking around the office.  Stairs were not my friends.

Thursday 01/22/15:  10 minutes of incline walking on the treadmill to warm up; Les Mills CXWORX class (stay tuned for a post about this!).  Sneak peek:  OUCH!

Friday 01/23/15:  Still too tired and sore to run.  2ish hours of jumping rope at rehearsal. Cue death by exhaustion Part 2.

Saturday 01/24/15:  45 minute spin class (stay tuned for a post about this!).  Sneak peek:  I’ve never worked so hard in my life.

Sunday 01/25/15:  2ish hours of dancing at rehearsal.  Cue death by exhaustion Part 3.

I’m mostly joking about the death by exhaustion thing, but not totally.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a week with this many workouts.  While it was good to try new things and I feel really accomplished, I know this is not a sustainable pace.  First of all, I was too tired and sore to run at all after Monday’s back-to-back.  My body needs more recovery time.  Secondly, I mentally need more couch+Netflix time.

The focus for this week will be dialing it back a bit and finding balance between getting adequate rest and doing ALLTHEWORKOUTS!  My shins are VERY tender after all of the high impact jumping rope last week, so I plan to take it easy and not even attempt a run until at least Wednesday.

Have you ever done back-to-back workouts?  How did that go?

Do you take it easy after a tough week of training?

My First Sh’Bam Class

I’m not really a group exercise person.  I don’t know, I just prefer to be in my own private world when I’m red-faced, sweaty, and huffing and puffing.  But back when I lived in MA, there were a few classes I would go to on a weekly basis, because a friend would go with me.  If she didn’t go, I usually didn’t.  That being said, I actually loved going to the classes because they pushed me harder than I push on my own, and they got me doing moves and exercises I wouldn’t do on my own.

In an effort to have a more comprehensive, whole-body fitness routine, I’m trying to actually go to some of the many group fitness classes that are included in my monthly gym membership fee.  An easy first choice was Les Mills Sh’Bam, because my friend and Legally Blonde cast-mate, Brad, is an instructor.  This decision was made even easier by the fact that my coworker Freda agreed to check it out with me.  So, last Thursday, we hit up a class.

I knew very little about what to expect.  In my mind, it would be sort of like Zumba, but less emphasis on Latin moves and music.  Here’s an official class description:

Featuring simple but seriously hot dance moves, SH’BAM™ is the perfect way to shape up and let out your inner star – even if you’re dance challenged.

Set to a soundtrack of chart-topping popular hits, dance music that is heard in the hottest nightclubs around the world, familiar classics remixed and modernized Latin beats, SH’BAM™ is the ultimate fun and sociable way to exercise. Each 45-minute SH’BAM™ class is vibrant, unique and varied – and like all the LES MILLS™ programs, a new SH’BAM™ release is produced every three months with new music and choreography.

At first I was really, really nervous, and Freda was too, so we stopped by Brad’s office before class.  He was very encouraging and reassuring, and we found out that the class was the first class of a “new release,” so EVERYONE would be learning together.  For those who don’t know, Les Mills classes generally have three-week intervals where the class/moves/music are the same, and then they switch it up, which is known as a new release.  This gives you a chance to really learn the routine and rock out.

Guys, all I can say is, this class was FUN!  Everybody was just moving as well as they could, learning the moves as well as they could, and doing their own thing.  I wasn’t worried about what I looked like or if I was doing the dance moves right or anything because it was such a fun atmosphere.  Brad kept yelling things like, “Come on, this is a girl power song, show me your fierce face!” or “Britney’s in there somewhere, I know she is, let her out!”  And since it was a new release, even Brad didn’t know all the moves perfectly, so I didn’t feel awkward if I couldn’t get them.  He gave plenty of modifications if you didn’t feel comfortable doing things like turning or jumping, so everyone could feel safe.

I’m planning to catch the 10:30 am Sunday class each week before rehearsal, since it fits perfectly into my schedule, and is a fun way to do some non-running cardio.  Because honestly, I can only take so much elliptical and recumbent biking.

Have you ever tried a Sh’Bam class?

What’s your favorite form of non-running cardio exercise?

Manic Monday – 01/05/15

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

Haha!  The triumphant return of Manic Monday!  Or, I don’t know, not so triumphant I guess, because I didn’t really do much in the way of running or training.  But I’m trying to get back on a normal blogging schedule, so here goes.

Monday 12/29/14:
I intended to do “runch,” but it was really cold and windy all week, so I chickened out.

Tuesday 12/30/14:
See above.

Wednesday 12/31/14:
I didn’t take a lunch break because I wanted to get out early.  Ben and I drove to New Jersey after I got out of work at 3:30–6 straight hours in the car.  Ouch.  I probably should have tried to squeeze in a run earlier in the week because sitting in a car that long was no fun.  Once we got to Mandy and Vinny’s, we had a pretty low-key celebration, but stayed up way too late.

Thursday 01/01/15:
I had intended to get up and do a New Year’s day run, but I drank a little too much the night before, and this ended up being a very lazy day.  I did, however, do a few squats, just so I wasn’t a total bum.

Friday 01/02/15:
We actually got our butts out of the house for a while and went on a nice walk/run in the dog park with Lily the beagle.  I climbed some trees too, and it felt great to get out and be active, even though it was very cold.  That night, we met some friends of our friends, and played Cards Against Humanity and drank sangria until 2:30 am!

Photo Jan 02, 2 48 16 PM

Saturday 01/03/15:
We slept in late late late, and I was feeling very off due to all the late nights, drinking, and junk food.  We attempted a shopping trip, but nobody was really into it, and we ended up coming home, ordering Indian takeout, and watching The Newsroom until midnight.  Such a good show!!!

Sunday 01/04/15:
We got up at 6 and were on the road by 7 to beat the holiday traffic home.  Even so, it took significantly longer than the trip down.  Ben and I took turns driving and napping, so we were able to catch up a bit on sleep.  When we got home, I did a bunch of meal prep stuff for the week, and then we went to bed early.

I am definitely feeling the effects of a few weeks of excess.  I’m exhausted and cranky, and my digestive system is all ahoo.  This week is all about getting back into a routine.  Rehearsals for Legally Blonde start tonight, so I need to be really focused about meal prep, workouts, and getting to bed on time.  Rehearsals are Monday, Wednesday, Friday nights, and Sunday afternoons.  On M-W-F, I won’t have time to go home between work and rehearsal.  From here on out, I’ll be leaving the house at 7 am on M-W-F, and sometimes not getting home until past 10 pm, so time-management and planning ahead will be key.

Plan for the Week:

  • Monday:  2 easy treadmill miles, 15 min. on the recumbent bike, stretch; likely a physical warm-up at rehearsal
  • Tuesday:  Rest
  • Wednesday:  3 easy treadmill miles, leg strength, stretch; likely a physical warm-up at rehearsal
  • Thursday:  Les Mills Sh’Bam? (My friend from high school who is also in Legally Blonde is an instructor and has been pestering me to go)
  • Friday:  3 easy treadmill miles, abs, stretch; likely a physical warm-up at rehearsal
  • Saturday:  Rest
  • Sunday:  Possibly yoga before rehearsal

Are you feeling off track after the holidays too?  

How are you planning to start the year strong?

Cross-training? What’s that?

It’s not a secret that cross-training (biking, yoga, strength training etc) can help your running performance.  At the outset of my half marathon training, I was really good about getting to the gym once or twice a week to “pump iron” or hit the elliptical.  But as the weather got nicer, those gym trips became more sporadic, and then stopped altogether.  I realized recently that the only “cross-training” I’ve been doing for the last two months is riding my bike to and from work.  While that’s great, and certainly better than nothing, I could probably benefit from doing some strength training too.

I have had a membership at the local Planet Fitness for a while, but it’s just far enough away that Ben and I find it a pain in the butt to get over there.  And as I’m sure you know, PF isn’t exactly the cutting edge as far as gyms go–weights, a circuit training area, and cardio–not terribly stimulating.  So basically, I’ve been paying $10 a month to NOT work out.

The good news is, through my job I can get a discounted corporate membership with a local fitness company that has FIVE different locations in the area.  For $40 a month, I have access to all 5 facilities, which include:

  • Lap Pools
  • Aqua Classes
  • Spinning
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Indoor track (!!!)
  • Les Mills
  • Zumba
  • Hot tub

And more!  So, I finally bit the bullet and signed up.  One of the locations is about a 5 minute walk from my office, and one is halfway between Ben’s parents’ place and my office.  I’m really excited about the opportunity to try Zumba and Body Pump, and have access to an indoor track for speed work and rainy day runs.  I’m also hoping the fact that I’m paying significantly more per month will force me to actually go a couple of times a week.  I guess we’ll see about that!

I’m really excited to see what kind of impact additional cross-training will have on my running.  Before we left Massachusetts, I was attending several strength and conditioning classes a week in addition to running, and I was really strong.  I’ve already talked a bit about how I’ve gained some weigh since moving back to Vermont (and no, it’s not muscle, trust me), so I’m hopeful that mixing up my routine will also help me get back to where I started weight-wise.

Do you have a gym membership?

What’s your favorite form of cross-training?