Treadmill Two Mile Tuesday

Sometimes I have to ask myself, “How bad do I want it?” More, importantly “What would I do to get it?” The answer, in reality, is that it really all depends. In this case, the “it” is that I want to go to Disney World, my happy place. I also want to complete the rapidly approaching half-marathon in better shape than I did last year. If you were with me last February, you may remember the excruciating pain from the leg cramps (I went into great detail while the pain was still fresh); the days of not being able to walk or even bend my legs.  Last year, I was in my happy place and too sore to enjoy it.  So here I am less than 30 days out from the race I swore up and down I would never enter again and asking myself, “how bad do I want it?”

This, in fact, was the question I was asking myself all day, I don’t want to go for a run. I want to go home and take a nap. I want to eat a big dinner and do absolutely nothing all evening. Then I got to thinking, just how bad I would feel if I were picked up by the balloon ladies this year. Thinking about all of the money we put into this special week and it hit me. Even I, tired as I am, can go to the gym for at least 15 minutes. The thing is, once you get started, the feeling gets so good that you stick it out. While I was tempted to jump off at a mile, the next thing I knew I had logged another quarter mile, then another and another. Before I knew it, I finished two miles. May not seem like much, but compared to how the evening could have turned out…  Quite proud of myself, I took it a step further and worked out on some of the equipment. Suddenly the “I’ll do it tomorrow Tuesday”, became a Treadmill Tuesday and I must say, it feels good.

Where is a Grandma’s Running Motivation?

I’ve been home sick over the past week which gave me plenty of opportunity to look through my unread Runner’s World magazines and scroll through the hundreds of running emails I’ve received from Active.com and even more from Runner’s World. Flipping through the pages, both online and in print, I see tons of stories, pictures and advertisements for the young and fit. Don’t get me wrong, they do include stories about older runners, but even those runners are the slimmest and most toned people I’ve ever seen.  They usually have been running for years!

I’m not a hater (at least I like to think not); I think it’s fantastic to see so many people of my generation, and older, running and maintaining such a healthy lifestyle. What I find though, is that most of the content has ceased to motivate me. This is not to knock the younger generation (or those awesome mature runners), but what motivation am I going to get reading about the 20 and 30 something’s or a 70 year old that can lap me around a track, in a magazine that is designed to really push the products? Truth be told, that’s not my goal.

I often find that blogs are different, however. I love to read about the journey of many of the runners I follow; it doesn’t matter if they run a five minute mile or are just starting out; if they are 20 or 70. Their stories are so much more genuine to me. Their aches, pains and struggles are real.

I get it though, what magazine is going to sell with a bunch of stories about the average folks? Or ads showing someone with a little “age” around the middle?  You know them, those that are just starting out running or aren’t running the ten minute pace. Magazines have shoes and clothing to sell. I get it. I realize that part of this “sudden” reflection is because I just received my yearly postcard from Runner’s World that if I don’t contact them by a certain day, they will automatically bill my credit card.  I usually find an interesting tidbit or two, but is it time to cancel my subscription?

I guess I have to find my motivation inward and from the many blogs I subscribe to.  I know the magazines will never be about me or “my peeps”.  Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to applaud all runners because I know they work hard at their personal records and they are well deserving of everything they’ve worked for. I just know somewhere there is a “rag-tag fugitive fleet” of, not only grandma’s, but others who have decided to take a turn to the healthy side and are out there running, jogging, walking. Here’s to us!

Grandma’s Weight Training

Weights

The experts say it’s a good idea to cross-train so I thought I would give weights a whirl. It’s not that I’ve never used weights before (or is the proper term “lifted weights”), but I decided to officially add it to my “prepping for half-marathon” exercise plan.  I know when you hear me talking about weight lifting, you’re probably picturing the buff men and women at the gym, but I assure you the picture of me lifting weights is entirely different.

So to set the stage for you… in the comfort of my own home, with my favorite I Love Lucy DVD playing (California, Here We Come), I broke out the weights. No, no, no, not the mega-weights, but a rather respectable pair of 5 lbs. and 8 lbs. weights.

Here was my weight training plan for today (keep in mind, this is just me paraphrasing the movements):

One arm dumbbell row – One leg forward with knee bent, pull dumbbell upward and back until it touches the hip.

Kickbacks – This one is almost the same as the one above, but bending the elbow 90 degrees and straightening the elbow until the arm is fully extended.

Stiff-legged dead lift – Feet apart with weights in each hand, bend forward until you feel a hamstring stretch, straighten back up.

Dumbbell Chest Press – Lie on floor with weights in each hand and arms at 90 degrees, lift weights until arms are straight.

Goblet Squat – Feet shoulder width apart, hold dumbbells in both hands and squat (just make sure you can get back up – they failed to add that line).

Plank – On elbows, lift torso. Body (SHOULD) form one long line. The pictures make it look so easy! Hold it for 45 seconds (I only managed 3 sets of 20 seconds).

The goal is to do six to 15 repetitions for each exercise and then two to three sets of those six to 15 repetitions.

The book said it would be a 15 minute work-out. Obviously the person who put this little ditty together didn’t take into account the grandma recovery period between each set and the fact that there would be a grandson running underfoot.  All in all, I must say I’m feeling accomplished. Sore, but accomplished. Good think my family loaded up my BioFreeze supply for Christmas!

A Day of No Running

For a while I was thinking a more proper title would be called “A Day of Guilt for not Running Yesterday”. The RunDisney countdown clock shows me that there are only 43 days: 13 hours; 55 minutes: 55, no 54, no 53 (you get the point) seconds left until Disney Princess Half-Marathon weekend, one would think that I would be out there running every day to build up my endurance. In fact, if I let it, panic sets in every time I think about the weekend and remembering those ultra-cramps from last February.

The truth is this; however, everybody deserves a day of rest. In fact, us Grandma’s need to make sure we are not only getting in proper training, but we also need to realize (as difficult as it may be) that we are not in our 20’s anymore. We need to give our bodies a chance to recover. Does this mean that we should just sit with our feet up every other day? Absolutely not! Cross-training is just as important – weightlifting or a different kind of cardio works. In fact, we should probably try to sneak in a bit of exercise wherever/whenever we can. I didn’t run yesterday, but I spent a lot of time dancing to some great oldies – Michael Jackson’s Working Day and Night. Boyz II Men Motown Philly… just those two songs alone made me feel like I ran a 5K, I also did some stair climbing at home. Totally free workouts!

So bottom line, a day of no running isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on how you handle it!

My 2015 Starts January 4

I sometimes feel the need to be a little different. That’s why when many folks jump on the January 1st date for setting goals, I decided to wait a few days. Sounds good doesn’t it? It’s not really true. The truth is I wasn’t sure how I wanted to get started this year. I know I didn’t want to be considered one of the “newbie” crowd, you know the ones that hit the gym on the 1st and then burnout two weeks later. So I decided to pick an arbitrary day to get started and that day was today.

How did I get started? I started with a healthy-ish breakfast. I made a delicious omelet with spinach, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers. Yum-my! Why healthy-ish? I did end up adding a few pieces of steak I had grilled the night before and a small (very small) bit of cheese.  Needless to say after eating breakfast, I was hungry two hours later so I had a snack, a grapefruit.

After cleaning the kitchen, I was still feeling ambitious so I decided to take it outside. I figured, I haven’t run in a while so I would slow run, run/walk two miles with some hills thrown in.  I was feeling so good that I ended up covering 3.1 miles. Yes, I did my own personal 5K.

Lunch time!  How could I top my morning? How about a healthy lunch (OK…healthy-ish)? I made a salad that was 80% spinach, with some tomatoes, cucumbers, a few more pieces of grilled steak and a tablespoon of crumbled blue cheese (don’t worry, most of the blue cheese was still in the bowl when I finished.

Yes, I must say I’m feeling accomplished today. Why today? One could just say that I was motivated by that chunk of change I had to payout last night for my share of the suite (and tickets) for the week of the Disney Princess Marathon next month.  The truth is, however, I want my 2015 to exceed even my 2014 toward a brand new me. Whatever the reason for starting my 2015 today, it was a good day.