Thursday, January 26, 2012

House Hunters

Our trip to California last week was a success:  we found a place to rent and signed a lease so we're all set for our move in a couple weeks (except the packing thing).

Last Friday we spent most of the day with a realtor and saw several properties, one of which we really liked.  Until we saw one with this view from the backyard...

...and it was no contest.  I think having a view of the San Gabriel mountains from the back of our place will help to distract me from the major adjustment of moving to the West Coast.

While out there, I got in a quick 2 mile hotel treadmill run, we did a 6 mile hike on Saturday, and a 2.5 mile round trip walk to dinner one night.  A week off from harder/longer running made my return to running tougher this week, despite my successful speed work out last Monday

I'm trying to get back on track for the next 2 weeks until my running gets derailed again while we sit in the car for 5 days driving across the country.  This Tuesday I did 1 hour and 15 minutes of yoga, followed by a 2.8 mile easy run (I probably should have done those in the reverse order).  Wednesday night I did a 5 mile run with 3 tempo miles.  I hit my goal pace of 9:05 for the tempo miles but it felt like it required a little more effort than it should have.  I'm hoping to get in another easy run tomorrow and looking forward to a long run this weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Alec Baldwin rule

Good morning from L.A.!

I'm on the other coast for a few days to figure out where we will live when we move here next month. I would include a picture, but we landed after 9:30pm and my phone was dead dice.

We had a very entertaining flight attendant who, when it was time to turn off electronic devices, told us, "The Alec Baldwin rule is now in effect." Also, upon landing, we were informed, "The eagle has landed." Our flight was otherwise uneventful. Though I did have the pleasure of having my carry-on looked through by TSA and my packed clothing was wiped to test for...explosive chemicals?

As much as I would like to run while here, we have stuff planned for Thursday and Friday. Maybe I will get in a quick fitness center run. We are hoping to go for a hike on Saturday though! I tried to break my Garmin addiction by leaving it at home in NJ. Our hike will go uncharted...and my life will go on! Hopefully we'll take some pretty pictures at the top though.

Any fun airplane/security stories?
If you have a fancy running watch, do you travel with it?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Magical Speed Work

I had been putting off this specific speed workout for over a week.  Mainly because it sounds hard.

spoiler alert: I completed this workout.

Not just the running fast part, but the math involved.  Math isn't generally hard for me (let's not talk about anything past calculus though, please), but it is when you have to do most of your runs outside in the dark, you don't have a track to use, and you can't set up a complex interval run on your watch. 

I think Kristy suggested this idea... I made up a little card to bring with me on my run.

It's coated in packing tape because I initially planned to do this run last week in the rain, but I later decided rain + dark + running fast + trying to stare at Garmin for distances = I'd inevitably trip and fall.  I was able to postpone this workout until today, thanks to MLK, Jr, and I was able to do it in daylight.

If I used this little card system again, I would make a little column that told me WHEN to hit the lap button.  For example: if I planned to do a 1 mile warm up, I'd hit the lap button at 1.75 after finishing the first interval, then 1.87 after the first rest interval, then 2.5 after the second speed interval, 2.62 after the second rest interval, etc. 

Instead, I used my 200m rest intervals to whip out my card and calculate when to hit the lap button next, and to try to remember the time goal for the upcoming interval.

I can't fill in a goal time for 200m because RLRF does not provide one (however there is a new revised edition coming out in April that maybe does?).  So I just tried to run the 200 faster than the 400.

Here's how it went:

I was shocked that I consistently ran all of my intervals faster than goal pace.  I didn't feel like dying on the mile cool-down after I finished this.  However, I did walk for the rest intervals.  Because of the weird decreasing-distance-intervals, each successive interval felt easier despite generally upping the pace.

Speed work is magical:
1. It changes your mood! You might be grumpy about having to do it, but after finishing it you will be happy and feel accomplished!
2. It plays mind games with you! At the beginning, it feels like it's going to take forever, and like the paces will feel too hard, but in the final intervals, I sometimes think to myself, "That wasn't so bad, where did the time go? I could probably do one more if I had to."
3. It makes you faster! I think weekly speed work deserves a fair amount of credit for improving my pace this last year.

Do you regularly do speed work?  
At the track, on the treadmill, or on your own?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Review: Aspaeris Pivot Shorts

Back in early December, Kari from Aspaeris gave me a pair of Pivot shorts to try.

According to the Aspaeris website, the Pivot short is actually two pairs of shorts bonded together: an outer compression short and an inner short with compression bands designed to "guide your muscles into the proper position, thereby improving your pivot performance which helps prevent ACL and hip injuries."


Kari sent me the size chart and I agonized over what size to order for far too long.  Seriously, for a couple days.

My hips fall in the Small range.  I was unclear on where to measure my waist. Many size charts mean your natural waist, however these shorts clearly hit below your natural waist.  My waist at the belly button level is right between a Small and a Medium. 

In the other Pivot short reviews I found out there in internet land, I wasn't able to find much on sizing other than that they look really really small (fact).

The shorts are intended to fit snugly but not restrict motion. I decided to go with the smaller size, based on my hip measurement, instead of rounding up.  I think I chose right on the size?

everyone loves a crotch shot

They are snug at the waist, but not muffin-top snug, and they hit just below my belly button (I am short - 5'2").  They are also snug throughout the bum/hip/thigh region, but not uncomfortably so.  In fact, they are snug in a strangely comfortable way.  I can feel where one of the "compression bands" cuts across the back of my legs, a couple inches from the bottom, but I would not say my range of motion is impacted.

It's hard to say if the next larger size would have fit as well.  I would expect it to be a little looser around the leg openings and throughout, but I don't know if it would provide as much compression.  Then again, I'm not sure I would know what level of compression is appropriate.

looks great with a wool sweater!
These shorts felt so good on my legs!

Just for fun, I put on my calf compression sleeves too.  Before, the calf sleeves were the only compression I knew.  After wearing the Pivot shorts though, I feel like the shorts compress more/better than the leg sleeves.

It's not that my legs are uncomfortable normally, but somehow when wearing these I feel lighter in the hip region and like it's very effortless for me to move my legs from the hip joint.

This was one of about 20 attempts

Since getting them the first weekend in December, I've worn them several times.  A couple times I have slept in them at night following a long run (9-13 miles).  I've also worn them in the afternoon/evening following a long run.

I have yet to run in them, but that's because all my running shorts have an attached inner "brief" and I don't know how that would jive with these shorts underneath OR I run in capris/tights and can't imagine layering with those either.  That leaves running in these on their own -- and for some reason I feel more self-conscious in these than full running tights.

The shorts are made in the USA (and I'm happy to support athletic gear made in the US!)  They're available in black, white, red, and navy and in sizes XS - XL. The Pivot short retails for $60, but if you check the coupon part of the Aspaeris website, you may find a special offer.  At the time of this review, the offer is $10 off!

You can find some other reviews of the Pivot short here:
Note: I was provided these shorts free of charge but not compensated in any other way for writing this review.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1000 in 2011

Since I posted some 2011 goals last January, I suppose I should revisit them now that it's January 1, 2012.

  • Run a sub-2:20 half marathon.
  • Check my work email from home LESS frequently.
    • Done.  
    • Hard at first, but became easier.  Now that I'm out of the habit, I prefer the work/home separation. Currently I only check my work email at night if I'm eagerly awaiting a response to an email I sent that day or if I need to confirm something like the time of an early morning meeting the next day.
  • Knit more than I did in 2010.
    • Eh.  Can't say that I did.  
    • I thought about it a couple times but got a little overwhelmed by my half-started projects from over a year ago. I dropped a couple lbs over the year which means the sweaters I had started in 2009 or 2010 wouldn't fit now anyway even if I was able to pick up right where I left off.
    • A friend works for Special Olympics of N.J. and knowing that I knit, she told me a couple weeks ago about their yearly scarf project for the winter games.  So I picked up yarn in the specified 2012 colors and got to work over winter break.

  • Have Less Clutter.
    • uhhh not so good at this one.  Please don't look at my kitchen table right now.
    • I did a much better job of buying less clothing, and I did several "clean outs" over the course of the year to donate stuff (or list nicer stuff on Ebay) that I hadn't worn in over a year or stuff where I said "eh, maybe I'll wear this" and didn't.
  • Slow down, be more "present."
    • Meh. I don't know if there was ever a good way to judge progress on this. 
    • Starting with my husband having a job interview in July or August, I was thinking about where we would end up, when he would actually defend his thesis, how long I'd be able to stay at my current job, whether or not I'd be here in NJ to run certain races next year, etc. (The answers are: California, early February, end of January, and no).
I will also continue to focus on getting a good night's sleep, drinking lots of water, and supplementing my running with things like riding my bike (when the weather allows), spinning class, boot camp class, core work, etc.
  •  Mostly did a good job.
    • I think I did great with drinking more water.  I bring a refillable bottle of water to work with me most days, and I kick myself when I forget it. 
    • I need to refocus on the sleeping part. Or at least going to bed earlier, so I can be a morning workout person again.  Currently sleep wins over an early morning cold, dark run.
    • I kept up with boot camp the whole year, except for in the summer when it wasn't offered, and therefore I did not belong to my gym.
    • I was going to spinning regularly early in 2011 (wasn't at the gym this summer so I rode outside), then this fall I returned to spinning but the instructors were different and not as motivating so I lost interest early on.

Also, thanks to squeezing in a New Year's Eve run, I was able to hit 1000 miles run in the year 2011!  This arbitrary nice round number was not a goal of mine from the start, but I realized sometime this summer that with some work, it was a number within reach .

While Garmin Connect is the main website I use for looking back on my runs/workouts, (and is the program I used to keep track of my yearly mileage), Daily Mile has the social aspect and makes the numbers look prettier in graphic form.  However, note that I didn't start using Daily Mile consistently until mid-late January, so it's not accurate for January.

I guess it's time to think about 2012!
What was your biggest accomplishment in 2011?
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