Saturday, October 15, 2011

Random thoughts on a busy week or How life gets in the way and rolling with it

I am still trying to get back into a groove after running the Lakefront Marathon two weeks ago. It's harder than I would have thought. The first week post-race I didn't do much in the way of exercise and running, and that is understandable. I was feeling pretty beat up after all, and a well deserved rest didn't seem amiss. This second week, though, seems to be crumbling under the pressure of scheduling conflicts - the life of a busy mom with two kids in school - and I haven't been able to set up a life-after-marathon routine yet.

With the little guy in pre-school now, my running days are going to be limited to Wednesdays and Fridays and weekends, with the possibility of running on Mondays. This Wednesday, though, I experienced running-interuptus as I was scheduled to chaperone the little folks on a field trip to a local farm. If you have never had the opportunity to chaperone two three-year-old boys with wildly disparate interests on a farm, then you don't know what you have been missing. At any given moment, they were taking off at a dead run in completely opposite directions. Getting home that afternoon, I felt as if I had run a marathon, but one that, unfortunately, didn't count for exercise.

When I finally did get back to exercise this week, both workouts proved to be a little different than the ordinary as I had to shoehorn them into an otherwise super busy schedule. I guess if nothing else they are good examples of how to roll with the punches. Thursday, my only option was to hit the treadmill for 40 minutes while the little guy played downstairs nearby. As he's pretty good at entertaining himself, this is usually not a problem. I remember when my daughter was his age, she wouldn't entertain herself to save her life. I am not proud to say that I often resorted to videos to entertain her while I snuck in a workout. (Hey, I was watching them with her!) Needless to say, she weaned me off of the treadmill pretty quickly, as I eventually got tired of blasting Dora the Explorer over the sound of the treadmill. The little guy, on the other hand, will play nicely, and sometimes he even joins me for a quick workout of his own.

For the treadmill routine, I opted to try a return to Pikes Peak training, which I apparently grew to like. (Who knew?) I did an interval workout switching between running 6.0 mph at 0% grade and walking 3.5 mph at 10% grade. I broke the whole thing up into 5-minute chunks and increased and decreased the amount of run time to walk time over the whole. I.e., first 5 minutes: 4 minutes walk to 1 minute run, second 5 minutes: 3 to 2, etc. It turned out to be a good heart-pumping, sweat-inducing workout.

Friday, life once again got in the way of my normal routine as I had a dentist appointment. I know - mundane - but that's life. So, instead of going outside to run, I ran for 30 minutes around our Y's indoor track. Normally I hate the track. The idea of running around an oval eleven times to get a mile in is mind-numbing. Yesterday, however, there was a spin class going on at the same time, so their music combined with occasional shout-outs by the instructor to the class to start sprinting, got me going as well. I took the opportunity to run some sprints along the long sides of the track. I rarely do any sort of speed work of late, so this was actually pretty challenging and fun - for the first 15 minutes or so. Then I got tired. :) Something to work on, I guess.

Both workouts worked out (pun intended) so nicely that I think I may have just added a couple of options to my running arsenal when winter comes around. I don't mind running outside in the winter. In fact, I rather enjoy it. If not the actual running outside, then at least the bragging rights afterwards, such as they are. However, there are some days when even I will not go outside. If the roads or sidewalks seem too icy, for example, the temps dip below zero, or there is a blizzard howling; I do draw the line at that. It's nice to know that the only option to miserable winter weather won't be to just sit on the couch with hot cocoa (although I am sure there will be those days, too).

Today, our running club is putting on a 5K run/walk for charity, and this is the first time I will have missed either participating or volunteering in I don't know how many years. With the kids getting older, though, it makes it a bit harder. I really don't enjoy pushing them in the stroller and they aren't quite up to a 5K yet. My husband and I could have volunteered in positions that juggled the little folk, but I knew they'd have more fun just sleeping in after a busy week. Sometimes, family does get in the way of running or run-related activities, but I wouldn't have it any other way. For the most part, I think we strike a good balance with everything, but sometimes you just have to accept that the scales are going to tip more in one direction than the other.

So, I am still struggling to find my post-marathon routine. It's not like I can completely slack off. I have a team relay next weekend and a half marathon the first weekend in November. After that, things do calm down a bit until next year. I am excited to reintroduce the treadmill hill climbs to my routine, and I hope to find a Y class to join - something completely different like bootcamp. recently had an article called "Why runners should be rowers." It waxes poetic about all the benefits of rowing to runners - how it is practically the perfect cross-training. My husband, an avid rower, agrees. So, maybe I'll give the ole rowing machine a try again. I have never been able to warm up to it for long, but maybe now is the time to try again. After all, if it is good enough for a three-year-old, it should be good enough for me.

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