May 12, 2014

Low Impact Weekend

This has been a bit of a crazy week. The Friday before last, I flew from Denver to Chicago for the weekend, then back to Dallas Sunday night to Wednesday night, and then flew back again to Chicago for a conference before returning on Denver on Friday afternoon. Did you follow all that?

Since the altitude in Colorado has really been giving me trouble on my long runs, I decided that my final long run before the Colfax Marathon would be in Chicago. Flat land, pretty views of Lake Michigan (since I planned to run on Lakeshore Drive)… what could go wrong?

Well, rain, for one. And thunderstorms. And even though Jen told me that running in the rain in Chicago is pretty, my reaction to that was a big NOOOOOOOPE. Instead, I figured I could just move my long run to Sunday morning, and do it at altitude after all.

Except that Mother Nature screwed me again, dropping the temperature in Colorado to the 30s and bringing a snowstorm to boot. Yesterday honestly wasn’t all that bad, but this morning I was a bit surprised at just how crazy it looked. Winter wonderland… in May?

Pictures of this morning’s commute from Denver to Dallas. What have I gotten myself into moving to Colorado?!

It was especially crazy to see all that snow when Saturday was a beautiful day, and I spent the morning hanging out in a park downtown playing in a cornhole tournament with some coworkers.

Dear Colorado: this is what May is supposed to look like. Please study this picture and get it right next weekend.

Saturday morning, though, I was glad to sneak in a quick 3 mile run around my neighborhood before the aforementioned cornhole tourney. And Sunday, I tried some stuff that was really new to me.

First up, a walking workout on the treadmill. Walking, you ask? Yes, I was feeling lazy and the idea of even jogging did not appeal. But never fear, I still made it fairly challenging by setting the incline to 5.0 (a pretty decent hill) and then grabbing 5 lb dumbbells in each hand after I was warmed up. I have always been intrigued by the idea of using dumbbells for a full body workout on the treadmill, and I found that walking at 4.3mph was just the right pace to help me get my heart rate up but still have full control of the dumbbells without worrying that I was going to drop one.

I didn’t really have a plans, but kept rotating between different arm exercises for 60 second intervals, and that made the time go quickly. While 5 pounders are fairly light, I still felt like I was giving my arms a little bit of a challenge because it was high reps and nonstop moving. (And any interval where I was lifting the weights overhead definitely resulted in a spiked heartrate and some heavy breathing.) I liked that routine!! I felt like it was actually a decent workout, but it was also low impact enough that I was easily able to convince my tired and lazy butt to get off the couch and actually do it.

When I headed back to my apartment for lunch and some chores, a postcard on my bulletin board caught my eye. Prana in Boulder offers daily free yoga classes, and the next one was in an hour. If I went to yoga, I could get out of the apartment and into the world instead of staying in and doing chores by myself… sold! I wolfed down a quick snack, tossed a yoga mat and towel into my car, and ventured out into the not-snowing-too-hard-yet-day.

I worried a bit about my decision on the way up there – was a 90 minute class going to be too much? I don’t do yoga all that often, and when I do, it tends to be Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown, where she basically snickers at the idea of calling yoga a “practice” and has you doing pushups in the middle of your flow. (In case you think that sounds bad, I mean it when I say that DVD is awesome!) Conversely, I normally hate spiritual yoga. I had no idea what this class would be like, but I knew I really shouldn’t leave if I got bored. Was it going to be totally woo-woo?

Fortunately, the “LOVELife Vinyasa” class turned out to be just what I needed after some late night stress on Saturday, and the time went by really quickly. I felt both calmer and much more stretched-out when I left, and enjoyed it enough that I am even (tentatively) thinking of making this class part of my weekly routine. Quelle surprise!

So – I didn’t do any runs longer than 17 miles in preparation for this marathon next Sunday. And I sucked wind and was super slow (for me) on the long runs I did do. But… I don’t regret it. I think I needed a low impact weekend, and not doing my long run meant that I had the time to go for dinner and drinks with a good group of friends Saturday night. Hooray for that!

Vodka, St. Germaine, and beet juice, plus a sprig of rosemary. Because that’s how Boulder does cocktails. (And it was freaking delicious!)

We shall see how this race on Sunday goes, but I don’t really have any hopes for a fast time. I would just like to finish in time to get to 2pm yoga in Boulder post-race – I think it’s something that both my mind and body will need.


6 thoughts on “Low Impact Weekend”

  1. I really like that walking workout idea. I am with you some days I just cannot get my mind to wrap around the thought of a run – usually those days I bring a Kindle to the gym and attempt an easy run while watching my latest obsession The Good Wife – or just zone out on the arc or elliptical to it.

    1. Funny you mention that – I was watching the Good Wife on my Kindle while I walked!! I am all caught up except for the latest one on Sunday.

  2. Saturday night was stressful? Uh oh, I take it something happened aftwerwards? Hoping we’re not a stressful crowd to hang out with 😉

  3. I’ll take one of those vodkas St. Germaine, please. Sounds right up my alley with the beet juice. The tread with dumb bells…not so much! 🙂

  4. It is nice to read that I’m not the only one who sometimes picks low-key and friends over long runs. Sometimes we just need that mental break from the sport we love. I, too, love watching the Good Wife… especially if I must endure the treadmill. I’ve been addicted for years. To the show that is, not the treadmill! Good luck at your race!

    1. Apparently we all love The Good Wife 🙂 I make a rule with myself to not watch TV unless I’m at the gym, so that helps!

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