Getting Strong Now: May 2020

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Mother Nature sure seemed confused in May

May blew in with very unwanted snow, but it went out with some lovely Summer weather.

Practicing Yoga on the Yoga platform in a skirt & with dogs

From strong to stronger and the iconic Rocky song “Gonna Fly Now”:

Getting strong now
Won’t be long now
Getting strong now

Gonna fly now
Flying high now
Gonna fly, fly, fly

Running takes a back burner for now, and hopefully I can focus on getting stronger. Now is the time to do those things you always say you’d do if only you had more time.

Getting in scheduled runs
I’m settling into 3 x week for the forseeable future. Unless maybe I decide to try a Peloton Bootcmp. 3 x week gives me lots of flexibility to move runs around!

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
Still not journaling. Maybe I don’t want to remember this year next year! Seriously, though, the tough times are what help us to grow.

Grade Earned: F

Dynamic Warmup
I signed up for the Peloton App back when it was free for 90 days. I’ve been checking out their dynamic warmups. At some point I’ll write a review of the app, although seriously, I feel like I’m the last person to try it. 🙂

Grade Earned: A+

Foam Rolling
I slacked off a bit in the foam rolling department. I’m still rolling, but not quite as often. Probably because I’ve had to start filming stuff for my YouTube channel again!

Grade Earned: A-

Nutrition
Nutrition has been ok. I’m maintaining; no really, I’m plateauing, bouncing back and forth between small gains and losses. Which is fine. Except I would like to lose just a few pounds. I guess I don’t want to badly enough yet.

Grade Earned: B

Support

  • Massage? Nope. We all know why.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? See massage.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Again, see above. I suppose I should take this section out, it ain’t happening in the near future (although the chiropractor is open). And the salon should open soon. I don’t think I can go a whole year without a haircut!

Grade Earned: F

Yoga everywhere

Cross Training
I’ve continued to mix things up with plenty of Yoga, short Peloton rides (except not on a Peloton bike of course — I wish!!!), and strength training.

Grade Earned: A

I was able to cherry pick a day with great weather for my virtual race

May 2020  gets  . . . 
. . . an A. Despite 2 Fs, and not meeting a couple of goals, all in all May was a pretty good month, including one virtual race (my first).

May Goals:

  • Add in Lean & Lovely once a week. Y. It’s a Kettlebell program I’ve used before with good results.
  • Continue running 3 x week, adding in more mileage. Y/N. I ran 3 x week (except one week when I didn’t feel good), but haven’t really upped the mileage. By the time I wanted to, Summer had arrived!
  • Strength train 2-3 x week. Y. A no brainer since I started a Kettlebell program.
  • Continue almost daily foam rolling. Y/N. Not as much as in April, although more than just running days.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Weight is basically in maintenance mode, and that’s okay.
  • Explore a Backbend Course N. Backbends are actually really good for my Dosha (Kapha), but I didn’t get around to it in May. I worked on some other courses, one of which actually had to do with less intense backbends. So kind of a Y, except I didn’t do that with this goal in mind. Glad I made the goal. I’ll get to it!
  • Take the tests for the online Reiki course I’m taking. N. I began to study more, but never quite got around to the tests. Yet.

Which leads me to June Goals:

  • Continue exploring Peloton App. I have a feeling I’ll keep the Peloton App. There’s a lot I like about it (but some things not so much). While it’s free, though, I’m definitely going to take advantage of it.
  • Continue running 3 x week. Still just maintaining a running base.
  • Set an intention for each run. Everything in life should be done with intention (it’s called mindfulness!).
  • Explore a backbend course in one of the Yoga memberships I have. I looked last weekend and couldn’t find a specific course, but I did download a lot of classes on backbends from a couple of Yoga apps I use. Backbends are definitely good for me, so I’m going to work a bit more on them! I also need to focus on arms and core, because one of my goals is to do Wheel — I think it’s a combination of not enough strength (there’s that strong thing again) and fear — of failure? Of hitting my head? — that has been holding me back from doing wheel.
  • Continue almost daily foam rolling. It’s amazing how much of a difference this makes for me.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. It’s hard to believe, but it’s actually been a year since I stopped tracking what I eat. I never thought I’d get to that point in my life!
  • Take the tests for the online Reiki course I’m doing. Okay, I admit Reiki is a bit woo-woo even for me. I do believe that there’s a lot more to life than just our physical bodies, though, and I have actually found the course really fascinating. I’m not so sure I’ll get to it in June, either, but it’s a good goal and we’ll see.

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Running Hacks Make Running a Little Smoother

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We all have them: those little hacks that makes running just a little easier. I shared one — one that I didn’t come up with, but a former fellow blogger did — last week here in my post on the benefits of running in your own neighborhood. I’ve got a few more to share!

Warm up inside when it’s cold outside
I suppose it’s the wrong time of year to share this one in the Northern Hemisphere, but it took me years before I had the aha! moment that I could simply warm up inside when it’s cold outside (another benefit to running in your own neighborhood — obviously doesn’t work so well when you’re meeting people elsewhere).

This shoelace hack never fails me!

Keep those laces tied!
I have shared this before, but no one ever seems to pick it up. Take your tied laces and push them under one of the places your laces cross on your running shoes. No more worries about laces coming undone during a race/run. I think it’s happened to me once in eleven years of running.

Freeze your water
It is the right time of year for this one, in fact, I wish I’d done this last Saturday! The night before a run/race, fill your water bottles about half full. Place in freezer. Right before your run, fill the bottle the rest of the way. Voila! Cold water for a much longer time.

Foam roll before you run
Want to make foam rolling a habit? Do it as part of your warm up. Because that is actually one of its purposes: to get the blood flowing to your muscles and get you warmed up. Bonus: it ensures you’ll do it. Wait til post run, and you’re much more likely to skip it.

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Hack Your Smoothies

Love your post run smoothies?
You can make them up ahead of time, too. You have two choices: freeze the ingredients (except the liquid) — then just throw the ingredients and your liquid in the blender and instant smoothie.

You can also simply make up the smoothie ahead of time. Your choice whether to have it just waiting for you in the fridge, or freezing the entire smoothie. If you make up the smoothie a few days ahead of time, just realize it’s going to oxidize.

There are two downsides to freezing the entire smoothie ahead of time:

  1. It will change the texture of the smoothie (it will get a bit more watery as the ingredients defrost)
  2. It will be harder to blend

Basically anything you know you won’t want to do post run, make sure to do it pre-run!

What are some of your favorite running hacks? 

Do you enjoy a post run smoothie?  What’s your favorite mixture?

What makes running more streamlined for you? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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My #1 Reason to Race

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Last week I shared my #1 Race Pet Peeve here, but since I don’t like to be a Debbie Downer too often, this week I’m sharing what I’m most looking forward to when I can race again.

Have any guesses?

The Benefits of Racing
There are so many great things about racing:

  • Exploring a new location
  • Challenging yourself
  • That feeling of accomplishment at the end of the race

You can read more about reasons to race here.

The thing I’m most looking forward to?

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Of course racing with friends makes the atmosphere even more fun!

The Atmosphere!
The atmosphere at the start of a race — during the race, and the finish line — if you’ve never been, the energy is just amazing.

The energy of race day is why I’m not personally a fan of virtual races — there’s just no way to feel that excitement, that encouragement, that feeling that we’re all connected — in a virtual race.

The energy of race day is what got me hooked on racing in the first place. Maybe not the first time I raced, and probably not the second time either, but boy it hooked me from that first half marathon!

What are you most looking forward to about racing again? 

Do you think your first real race will be local or a destination race? 

Already have a race picked out? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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My #1 Race Pet Peeve

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I’m sure most runners right about now would be willing to overlook a lot of race faux pas if they could just race! Today’s subject was “What was the worst thing that ever happened to you at a race?”.

I’ve been lucky; nothing horrible has ever happened to me at a race. Instead I’m sharing one of my biggest race pet peeves.

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Water. Sometimes it makes or breaks a race | Photo by Meir Roth on Pexels.com

Running out of water!
This is what drove me to always carry water when I race — no matter what the distance is. Even for a 5k. I am a thirsty runner. Not only that, but did you know that your fascia (the webbing that surrounds pretty much everything in your body) gets more tangled the more dehydrated you are? I’ll be telling you more on Friday about that!

Some of the stiffness you feel post race (or the next day) can actually be traced to dehydrated fascia. It’s enough to drive you to drink!

Bottoms up
I have run numerous races where they’ve run out of cups, run out of water, or run out of both. Some only for the BOTPers like me — some for even the speedy runners. I understand that trying to figure out how much to get is a science, and that when the weather is not as predicted that can throw a real monkey wrench in things.

Maybe I can understand running out of water when it’s unseasonably hot (and not predicted to be so). But cups? That’s just disorganization. I know that putting on a race is not easy, but it seems to me that should never happen.

There is still nothing worse than running a really hot race, coming up to an aid station, and finding it dry (as dry as you are). Or finding they actually do have water — but no cups!

I’ve had some hot races with no water where I’ve given serious consideration to stealing someone’s water bottle — before I started to always carry my own water.

What’s your biggest race pet peeve? 

Do you already have a plan for your first race post C19 (whenever that may be)? 

Have you had races run out of water or cups or both? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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So You’re Running Virtually . . .

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Why not spruce up the scenery?

Virtual races are all the rage right now! So far I have not participated in one, but I might for one or two when the charity is right. Just to run? No thanks! But that’s me, everyone is different.

Maybe the weather sucks, or maybe you have to entertain babies/toddler/young children, or maybe you’re not allowed to run outside. Maybe the treadmill is the only option for you. How will you keep yourself motivated on that treadmill?

I did a little digging to find some options that might make a virtual race feel a little bit more like a real race. I haven’t personally tried any of these, but here goes:

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Make a treadmill run easier by “running” somewhere scenic | Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Virtual Active
Virtual Active lets you pick videos from scenic places to run all over the world. They can be guided or unguided. $7.95 for SD, $10.95 HD. Buy multiples in a pack for a discount. Subscribe to their newsletter for 20% off your first purchase.

You’ll find the running videos here (there are also videos for hiking and cycling).

photo of man running in the forest
Maybe a virtual trail race is the only way you’ll ever run trails | Photo by Ogy Kovachev on Pexels.com

Virtual Runner
Virtual Runner seems to be trying to appeal to more hard core runners. In addition to the videos you purchase in an app, it displays elapsed time, distance, pace, HR, and cadence. Of course most of that information comes from a footpod, and it wasn’t obvious to me where you buy the footpod.

The cool thing about the footpod is that it will slow down or speed up the video to correspond with how fast you’re running.

You must be able to maintain a 15 mm pace to use the app.

There are links to Android, Apple, and Microsoft apps here.

Peloton App
I think most runners, unless they’ve been living under a rock, are aware of the Peloton App (which you’ll find here). Peloton includes running classes and outdoor course videos. You can try the app for 30 days free. Did you know that they’ve stopped selling Peloton Treadmills because of the installation? My 20 year old treadmill better survive this virus.
royal guard standing near lamp post
Run London on your treadmill | Photo by Samuel Wölfl on Pexels.com
Free Course Videos
Okay, I’ll bet that there are plenty more resources, but how about running the World Major courses with the elites without having to travel anywhere? I found course videos of them all on YouTube — except oddly Boston.
The only thing I could find of Boston was a live stream from Heartbreak Hill (which I walked up, long story) — but seriously, watching runners endlessly battling Heartbreak Hill probably wouldn’t really be that inspiring. Or maybe it would be to you!
  • London Marathon here
  • Tokyo Marathon here
  • NYC Marathon here
  • Berlin Marathon here
  • Chicago Maratho here
There are lots of course videos for other races, too. Google the one you want to run and see if it’s there — it may very well be!

Do you ever run on a treadmill using course videos? 

Do you think it would make it feel easier to run on the treadmill if you did? 

What can you add to my list? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Then a hero comes along: April 2020

April continued to be a challenging month. It would really help to have Spring-like weather, but it’s not unusual for us to miss out on Spring and unfortunately this was another year that that’s true.

But Spring always comes, and that is a hopeful sign

The flowers are blooming, the trees are slowly beginning to leaf out, the lawns are greening up, every once in a while we come across a blue Robin’s egg. Sure signs that there is a season to everything, and that there’s always hope in the world if you look for it.

Taking a slight break from songs with strong in the title, to songs with strong in the lyrics with Mariah Carey’s “Hero”:

So when you feel like all hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

You know I’m all about looking within (yup, that’s what GoWithYin Yoga is a play on). Or as Dorothy had to learn, the power is within you all along.

Getting in scheduled runs
Although I still seemed to struggle with recovery from runs, unlike March, I didn’t miss any runs. So there’s that. Can’t really decide if I need to train for the June half or not. I caught a video from one of the coaches saying he’s still training as if it will not be cancelled.

I am having a hard time deciding if it’s really worth upping my mileage right now. Considering it’s a race where they have to bus you up a mountain . . . even if they decided to hold it, I can’t see doing it. It may be a #firstworldproblem, but yes, it makes me sad.

Grade Earned:  A

Recording my runs
Pretty much total failure. I guess because I was so busy with 21 Days of Yoga.

Grade Earned: F

Dynamic Warmup
I’ve been very good about the dynamic warmup. It’s all part of the great nasal breathing experiment.

Grade Earned: A+

It may not feel good while you’re doing it, but you’ll thank yourself the next day

Foam Rolling
I’ve been great with foam rolling too. I got back to foam rolling most days, sometimes twice a day on the days I run. I just realized how much better I feel when I do it.

Grade Earned: A+

Nutrition
I don’t really feel as though I’ve been eating that badly, although I notice feeling hungrier than usual. My weight stayed pretty steady through April, although there was an uptick last week. Maybe it’s because I’m running slower? Fewer miles? Or is it just stress?

Grade Earned: B

Support

  • Massage? Nope. We all know why.
  • Chiropractor Appointment? See massage.
  • Do I need a hair appointment? Again, see above. I suppose I should take this section out, it ain’t happening in the near future (although the chiropractor is open).

Grade Earned: F

I live for the days I can do Yoga on our deck!

Cross Training
I’ve been doing fairly well with the cross training: Yoga, strength training, stationary bike, dogwalks. I haven’t been hitting it hard, my body just hasn’t felt up to that for whatever reason.

Grade Earned: A

April 2020  gets  . . . 
. . . an A-. I guess for a lot of us in April it became apparent we’re in this for the long haul.

April Goals:

  • Strength train 2 – 3x week. Y. I’m fairly certain I got in at least 2 strength training sessions a week. I often wanted to do more, but my body just kept asking for rest.
  • Continue running 3 x week, adding in more mileage. Y. I upped my middweek runs but kept my long run the same distance — until last weekend, when I did 9 miles.
  • Plan out long runs (in case I run the June half). N. Came to the conclusion one way or another the race is not happening.
  • Foam roll when I’m able. Y. High five for doing it pre-run, post-run, and most non-running days too.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. Y. Weight is creeping up just a little. Maybe all I really need is some Vitamin D in the form of sunshine. Sunshine makes everything better, right?
  • Release my 21 Days of Yoga Challenge! Y. I had no idea how much work this would be when the idea came to me shortly after my Dad passed. Thank you to everyone who gave it a try!
  • Carve out a time to read non-fiction daily. Y. Not too surprisingly, mostly Yoga related. Still so much to learn.

Which leads me to May Goals:

  • Add in Lean & Lovely once a week. This is more of a push program with kettlebells I’ve had great results with in the past. I need to lift a little heavier — occasionally. Otherwise I still love working out with Pahla B here. I’m just in awe of how much material she continually shares.
  • Continue running 3 x week, adding in more mileage. I’m not sure how much mileage I’ll be adding in. Maybe I’ll go up to 10 miles. Maybe I won’t. Stay tuned.
  • Strength Train 2-3 x week. That’s my gold standard. Listening to my body is the most important thing.
  • Explore a backbend course in one of the Yoga memberships I have. I can’t do wheel. I can do Camel, I can do Bow, but Wheel still eludes me. It may just be a strength problem, but I know that backbends are good for me, so it seems like a good goal. It could take me a long time to good there, but you already know I’m patient. Besides it totally jives with my Strong theme for 2020. How did I know we’d all need to be so strong?
  • Continue almost daily foam rolling. It’s amazing how much of a difference this makes for me.
  • Continue to try to eat intuitively — unless the weight starts to creep up. A slight uptick on the weight the end of March. Just a couple of pounds can make a big difference in how my clothes fit (yup, that’s what happens when you’re 5’1″ — happy I haven’t started to shrink yet!).
  • Take the tests for the online Reiki course I’m doing. Okay, I admit Reiki is a bit woo-woo even for me. I try to keep an open mind about things, and for me, it’s not always about the science. I find it really fascinating, though, and I like learning. I might sign up for the animal Reiki course too. Couldn’t hurt, those furkids ain’t getting any younger.

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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Controlling the C19 Munchies

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I’m not much of a cryer. I don’t drink. I definitely wouldn’t say I’m not worried at times, but I also would say that for the most part, I remain optimistic: that we’ll pull through this, that we’ll come out stronger, that we’ll band together to help all those that have been hurt so badly and so unexpectedly.

Like many people I do find myself wanting to snack more than normal most days. I know some feel what the heck, I’ll get back to healthy eating when things are more normal. Except we now know that that is likely to be months.

If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight, you know that it takes much longer to take it off than it does to put it on. If you didn’t know that, well, I’m here to tell you for most of us that’s the hard reality. It could take a week to put on a few pounds and a month to take them back off.

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At least popcorn is a healthy snack. Are you a salty or sweets person? You know what I am! | Photo by Mo Abrahim on Pexels.com

What’s a hungry runner to do?
There’s nothing wrong with occasional emotional snacking (or drinking, if that’s your thing), but we all know when it gets out of hand. When our clothes are uncomfortable is a good sign that we’ve been eating a little bit more than our bodies really need. Here are a few strategies to overcome run-on eating:

  1. HALT. Seriously, just stop & HALT — consider: are you hungry? angry? lonely? tired? bored? missing loved ones? Sometimes just realizing you’re eating for reasons other than hunger will help you put down that bag.
  2. Are you thirsty? Most of us don’t hydrate well enough. Try drinking a glass of something (preferably not alcoholic, alcohol isn’t really very hydrating even if it is soothing). Wait awhile and see if that makes you feel fuller.
  3. If you know it’s emotional eating, try something healthier. If you want something creamy, add some chocolate protein powder and/or nut butter to yogurt. With the right protein powder it tastes like chocolate mousse! Others add pudding mixes, although I’m personally not so much a fan of those — either they have too much sugar or they have splenda, and I personally try to avoid sugar substitutes. For crunch, try baby carrots with hummus or an apple with nut butter. You get the idea.
  4. Sometimes only what you’re craving will do. Don’t fall into the trap of eating out the whole kitchen and then chowing down on what was calling to you in the first place. If you know you’re just going to eat around it, have it — but sit down at a table without distractions. Really taste it and enjoy it. No need to feel guilty!
  5. Sometimes just waiting 10 minutes can help. I’ll be uploading a meditation later this week to help you wait out those cravings. At the very least you’ll feel calmer and not at all guilty before you choose to snack — at the best, the craving will pass and you’ll realize that food wasn’t really what you were craving after all.

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Are you hungry enough to eat an apple? If you’re not, it’s probably emotional eating | Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

I hope that you found something in these tips that are helpful to you. I know how great it can feel to eat that food you’re craving . . . in the moment. What doesn’t feel great is going through your closet trying to find clothes that actually feel comfortable.

Ok, you tell yourself, I can just hang around in my pjs and my sweats all day. What does it even matter? It might matter to you in a month. Or two. What I know for sure:

Times are tough. We all have cravings right now — for food, for movement, for alcohol — whatever your personal poison might be. Don’t trade comfort in the moment for ease in your life.— Chocolaterunsjudy

Do you find yourself snacking more? 

What are you craving? 

Now what are you really craving? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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