Friday, June 28, 2013

Fitness Friday: Shaking Things Up!

Greetings from Memphis!

I promise I'm here, but my pictures haven't turned out so great so far.

It just so happened that B has a conference here for work, and I decided to tag along and keep him company. Even though I've lived in Tennessee for 15 years now, I've never ventured to the other end of our state. While we're here, we look forward to seeing Beale Street and other sights. While he's "conferring", I'm checking out local coffee shops, shopping, and of course, RUNNING! In fact, we even have a guided running tour scheduled tomorrow to see the sights while running! More on that later...

As for this week, it has been a short, but busy! With a race and social outing over the weekend, a particularly intense running practice Tuesday, and a busy work week to prepare for being out of town, we haven't stopped!

This week, we also enjoyed some new and renewed experiences to keep fitness exciting. We helped reintroduce my father-in-law to running, played badminton for the first time in years, and tried a completely new running style (for me) - sprinting! Here's how it all went down...

Saturday Part 1: Another 5K + Helping Reintroduce Someone to Running

Since RunKNOX wasn't meeting this week, we had the opportunity to run a 5K  outside of Knoxville, not too far from our hometown. 

As a very special treat, we were excited that B's dad was able to join us! Side note - his Dad was assistant principal when we were in high school. Unlike the stereotype about principals, he's well respected and well liked among students and community alike. 

As an avid lover of sports, veteran, and educator (who has been involved in athletic programs for years), he's no stranger to performing athletically. He's just getting back into running in his retirement, and we were excited he decided to kick off his first race with us!

The race was around a lake and through a wooded area, which provided a lot of shade. It was only about 70 degrees that morning, which felt fabulous!

My race started off promising, as my first two miles were about 10 minutes each. However, the last mile was in the sunniest, hilliest part of the course. I unfortunately lost energy (despite my magic jellybeans) and slowed down to finish at 32:58, only 10 seconds faster than my last race. After training for four weeks, I was expecting more improvement. Just means I have more work to do.

Brandon achieved another 24ish minute 5k, nothing new for him. His Dad did great! He ran/walked the race and finished in about 36 minutes! Even more importantly, he loved the experience and wants to keep going!

Saturday Part 2: My Bad-Minton Skills

badminton birdy by chipmk, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  chipmk 

After lunch and some down time, we went out that night to a cookout hosted by friends. There was a variety of yard games for our enjoyment - bean bag toss (I have a hard time using the word "corn****" outside of friends and family, even though that's what it's called), horseshoes, and badminton. I'm terrible at the first two, but badminton was right up my alley!

You don't know this, but I used to have big time volleyball skills in junior high. Actually that's not true, I was terrible. Nonetheless it was fun and I learned a lot. So much so, that volleyball memories came back as I was playing badminton. I remembered the pressure I used to feel to NEVER take my eyes off the object coming over the net, identify and communicate if I can get to it, and rush as fast as I possibly can to get to it.

I may have gotten a little too intense for the yard game crowd. It got real.

Everyone else was goofing off having fun, and I was yelling "Mine!", running all over the grass in my bare feet (after realizing my flip-flops were a safety hazard), and jumping or diving if necessary to get to the silly shuttlecock. Sadly, I still wasn't very good, but I felt like I was doing my best and having a lot of fun!

I highly recommend utilizing summer by doing fun, active things outside!

Sunday - Downtime

After all of the excitement Saturday, I needed some rest, and my house needed some work. So, I went out get a mani/pedi, ran some errands, purchased groceries, and beautified my home a little.

Monday - The Usual

Elliptical + Body Pump class at the gym. The class incorporates all different exercises for a full body workout. Each individual component uses a different weight amount (which we choose based on our fitness level). I hadn't changed the amount of weight I use in a few months, but decided to up my bicep curl weight from 5 lbs. on each arm to 8 lbs. on each arm. It felt easy before, but now it's definitely NOT easy! Hopefully I'll get used to it and look better sleeveless!

Tuesday - Sprinting? What?

Track by Nils Geylen, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License
  by  Nils Geylen 

At RunKNOX, we tried something new. Sprinting. Honestly, it's a little out of my comfort zone. Why? Because while I've ran close to the fastest of my ability, I don't know that I've ever ran to my limit. That's just scary.

Not to mention, I learned there's more to sprinting than just running fast. We were taught to run with our knees higher and stride longer. And yes, run fast.

For an uncoordinated klutz like me, this was quite a bit of multitasking.

Perhaps I should juggle chickens or something while I'm at it? 

I tried to focus on everything at once while running in 100m intervals. This is only 1/16 of a mile, but feels surprisingly long when sprinting. 

The problem was it felt all wrong. I didn't feel like my knees were high enough, or I was very fast. The more I focused, the more out of whack I felt.

I attempted to ask my coaches, while sprinting, if I was doing it right. The unfortunate side effect was that as I asked, I could barely breathe from running and my question came out sounding like I was having a panic attack (which I wasn't).

Classic weird Amy. So embarrassing.

Fortunately, they walked me through correct form and then it started coming more naturally. 

Funny thing - once I started doing it right, it was really taxing physically! My heart was flying away! It took me awhile to catch it. I never knew such a short distance could feel so long! And just to top it off, we ran up and down every single staircase in the stadium around the track. 

Just to keep it interesting! 

I'm curious to see how this affects my running soon. :)

If you're interested in trying sprinting or varying up your running, I recommend finding a coach or trainer to help you if you've never tried it. It's not easy! However, it definitely breaks up the monotony of steady runs and will hopefully lead to faster results. I'll let you know!

Can't Walk Wednesday!

Holy moly. I woke up on Wednesday and my entire legs were sore. I didn't think a short workout could do that. I was wrong.

It hurt to walk.

It hurt even more to walk upstairs.

It hurt the most to walk downstairs.

So yeah, didn't work out on Wednesday. I did try to do a few stretches, though.

And we're out!

After a 6 hour drive yesterday, I'm ready to get out, run, and have fun! I hope to scope out a great place to run today, and can't wait for our running tour tomorrow. Check back next week for a special travel edition of Fitness Friday where I'll share how I'm staying active while in my trip!

I hope you're off to a fun and active summer! Have you tried anything new in your running, like sprinting or faster intervals to shake it up?


See what others around the web are doing with two great Fitness Friday communities:

I was not compensated by RunKNOX or the Knoxville Track Club for this post, nor is either organization affiliated with this blog. I am simply sharing my honest opinions and experiences as I began running through the program. The views expressed in this article are solely my own. Also, I'm not a health or fitness professional of any kind. See my Terms and Conditions page.

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  1. Congrats on running 10 seconds faster than your last race! It's hotter here in Texas than it was a month ago and that would definitely slow me down!

    1. Thanks, Tina! Yes, I'm definitely thinking the heat was a factor. Makes it much more difficult!

  2. Congratulations on your race! The heat and hills can slow anyone down.

    I've been doing more speedwork and hills, but not sprinting or stairs, or anything quite that scary. It sounds like you are doing great and you are going to see tons of improvement in your running!

    1. Speed work and hills are tough! That's awesome! We've integrated a lot of that in our workouts lately.

      Thanks! :)

  3. Isn't it amazing how short workouts can make you so sore?! I LOVE it! Using my time wisely! ;)

    1. Haha, didn't see the soreness coming! Yes, it was intense! Like you said though, it's a great use of time and will hopefully lead to great results!

  4. Just found your blog through @runningbloggers...very cute! I too share your love for coffee, scarves, and running! Great job on your fist half. I ran my first in May. What an accomplishment. Your torti cat is so cute, reminds me of one we had named Mango.

    1. Nice to meet you! Thanks for visiting! :)

      Congrats on your first half, too! It was tough but what a great feeling of accomplishment!

      Coco says thank you. :) I'll bet Mango was (is?) adorable!

  5. I haven't tried anything new in my running, although I probably should. Right now I'm enjoying just going on 3- to 5-mile runs and not worrying so much about pace and all that. But something I always try to do on a run is finish with a sprint at the end, maybe for the last 1/4 mile or something. Just to practice that last-minute finish. Congrats on your PR! I'm sure the sprinting will help your overall time for your next race.

    1. I'm the same way when I'm on my own. I ran 5 mi today at an easy pace actually. I'm really struggling to get my time down, so I'm hoping that the speed workouts will help. I think I'm doing the opposite - going out too fast in the beginning. Need to work on the finish. Thank you for the congrats! :)