Move Nourish Believe Challenge (Week One Wrap-Up)


The first week of the Move Nourish Believe Challenge is over. I have really enjoyed the structure of the various challenges, and the new people I have been able to interact with.

Monday’s challenge was “sweat it out — show us your favorite way to sweat”!

Monday was a “stretching” day for me but I shared an older “sweaty” picture of a running day; running is always my favorite way to sweat.

Challenge Day One

Tuesday’s challenge was “Change it up! – Sweat a new way”!

Tuesday was a “regular run” day for me but I shared a picture from my “Kangoo” workout last year. It was definitely a new way to work out and a fun challenge!

Challenge Day Two

Wednesday’s challenge was “Let’s get planking — plank at least five minutes today”!

I did this in five one-minute segments: an elbow plank, a regular plank, a left side plank, a right side plank, and an elbow plank.

Challenge Day Three

Thursday’s challenge was “Buddy Up – work out with a friend today”!

Since I had no buddies for my 6 am run, I shared a picture from last summer, when I got together with my friends Diane and Amelia for a Saturday morning workout (I ran with Diane then kept running while she did an open water swim with Amelia) on Clearwater Beach.

Challenge Day Four

Friday’s challenge was “Show us your five fitness faves”!

Five Fitness Faves

My faves are (clockwise from top left):

1) My coach, Jeff Kline;

2) Yoga;

3) The child I run for through I Run for Michael, Gareth;

4) The camaraderie of runners (this picture is from our day running “Megs Miles” from Badass Fitness);

5) “The sheer joy of running.”

(And although I was only supposed to demonstrate five things, it’s important to note that Charity Miles is almost always part of my running!)

There you have it! There are two more weeks left in the challenge, so please feel free to join us! For more details, visit this link.

Thank you to Lorna Jane for sponsoring this challenge. Check out their cool fitness apparel via this link.

And although today wasn’t an official challenge day, I’ll close with the highlight of the day. My son (who has been sucked into a few years of gaming after many years of being an active youngster) joined me for the “Run for the Cookies” (he ran the mile, I ran the 5K). It was a happy happy moment.

Cookie Run Mother Sun

Teammates Make the “Have Fun” Part Happen!

prs logo two

I have been coached by Jeff Kline of PRS Fit since April 2012. The team motto is “Be Healthy. Train Smart. Have Fun.” Teammates are spread all over the world (our training plans are on a web-based system and we email, call, Skype, etc. to interact with our coaches). We have a team Facebook page that is its own community — a place where we have shared small questions (best anti chafing product? How to keep your heart rate strap from irritating your skin? Gear questions of every kind) and big ones (how do you move on past the big losses in life?). Several of the 200+ teammates are on Twitter too, but the Facebook community is the heart of the team’s communications (to me).

As incredible as social media is, though, there are times when you need to deepen the bonds by meeting in real life. For example, I already felt a bond with Ann Brennan through many emails and various messages, but having an opportunity to walk a few miles with her in the summer of 2012 confirmed all the great vibes I had already felt and allowed us to establish even more common ground.

I was happy to meet two more teammates this weekend, Diane and Amelia. We shared two meals (oh, and a five a.m. wakeup call) together. Yesterday morning at Clearwater Beach, Diane and I ran 40 minutes then she and Amelia did an hour-long Open Water Swim while I ran another hour.

I had been pretty nervous about running with Diane (a/k/a The Iron Maven). I knew she was faster than me. The original plan was a 2 hour run and although I knew I could do it, I haven’t run anything longer than 1:30 in a few months. I wasn’t sure if we were going to be tethered to one another (Diane is a paratriathlete). Turns out we did 40 minutes (untethered) and it was awesome!

While Diane and Amelia swam, I finished off my hour. When Diane told me to anticipate a bridge, I started getting excited because I’m a fan of running bridges. She wasn’t kidding! It was the Sand Key Bridge and it was a BEAR to run. I also realized that the sips I had taken out of my PowerAde had depleted it, then I was drinking faster than I had anticipated because it was hot (duh, Florida, Clearwater Beach!). Thank you to the proprietor of the Subway/Internet Café who let me fill up my water bottle. Water has never tasted so good.

Preparing to Approach

Preparing to Approach

View From the Top!

View From the Top!

While we’re on the subject of Diane, she will be competing in the World Paratriathlete Championships in London next month (maybe another reason I was a little intimidated!!!). She is 85% toward her fundraising goal to make this trip a reality. You can donate or use the “share” buttons to spread the word here.

I liked Diane and Amelia already “from a distance.” Having met them up close and personal I am even more proud to call them “teammates.” We were already “training smart” and trying our best to “be healthy” but they really helped with the “have fun” part of PRS Fit!

Paula, Amelia, Diane

Paula, Amelia, Diane

Chest Compressions (A Mama Kat Writing Post)

For my Mama Kat prompt this week, I chose “An invention you’d like to see created.” Although I usually let choose for me, number 3 was practically waving its hands and begging to be chosen. 

I have finally entered the world of fitness technology gadgetry. I have had the same running watch so long that I really can’t remember when or where I bought it. The velcro that holds it on is about to fall apart, but otherwise it has been a trooper. Very basic – it keeps time and that’s it but that is all I felt I needed. Until now.

Now I have coaches (PRSFit) and Jeff and Diane of PRSFit use heart rate monitoring as a key component of training. (This post provides their rationale in detail.) I had to buy a heart rate monitor as part of my coaching process.

Enough about the fact that I have taken this baby step. Now it’s time to talk about the strap. The heart rate monitor consists of the watch-like part you wear on your wrist, and it gets its information from the monitor you wear around your chest. I have known all along when lots of my fitness friends and acquaintances had heart rate monitors on their wrists, that they had the other piece strapped around their chests. Now that I have been doing it myself a couple of weeks, I am here to commend them for their patience and advocate for a re-design.

The chest strap consists of the part that has the technology in it, which is enclosed in plastic, two plastic straps that extend out that are supposed to be wet in order to relay information to the monitor, and the elastic piece that stretches around your chest and hooks into the “information unit.”

What mystifies me is why something that we use while doing something that makes us feel so free, is so darned constrictive! Although I am getting used to it, it still feels tight while at the same time feeling like it may fall off at any minute.

I suppose there are a couple of options with the current design:

1) Wear it and just deal with it, or 

2) Shell out around $65 for one of these (a Polar brand “heart rate monitor bra” with little spaces/fasteners where the monitor itself attaches):

The #2 option, however, is expensive and the reviews I have read have been underwhelming.

Surely there’s something that is just as functional but a lot more comfortable. I don’t know what, but for Heaven’s Sake I live in the town that educated the inventor of Spanx. There must be some way to improve the chest strap experience.

Any ideas?

ps – this is a tangent, except for the fact that this post is kind of bra-related. Aren’t these some of the coolest looking sports bras you’ve seen? They’re from Roll Up N’ Dye, an artist I learned about from Ann of Ann’s Running Commentary.


Fewer Races, Faster Times (Hopefully)

“The Last Banana”

When I first started blogging regularly, I planned to chronicle my efforts to get out of “the last banana club.” This post is the first one I ever wrote about my goal of improving my 5K time to the point that I could finish in less than 30 minutes (and have a broader post-race snack selection than that last sad banana half).

St. George Island Sizzler
June 27, 2009

As I approach the three-year mark of that goal (without having achieved it), I find myself utterly unable to commit to any other goals for 2012 (I usually have 3 goals for each year). It is time to admit that, although I have definitely made progress, something I am doing (or not doing) has to change in order to get me there.

I finally purchased a heart rate monitor. I purchased the heart rate monitor when I entered into a coaching relationship with Coaches Jeff and Diane of PRS Fit. I have spent this first week talking back and forth with Jeff about my goals of running a 5K in less than 30:00 and completing the Boston 13.1 Marathon for Autism Speaks on September 16, 2012. One of the keys of establishing the coaching plan is an assessment. The assessment thus far has involved the heart rate monitoring and preparing to adjust my weekly workout schedule.

I did a maximum heart rate test on Tuesday (and, for the record, ran my first sub 10:00 minute mile in the process!); and lactate threshold testing on Thursday. Yesterday involved one of the first adjustments I have had to make to my workout plans. Prior to having a coach, I had planned (for yesterday) to run a 10K race here in town. Subsequent to having a coach, I ran 1.5 hours instead, keeping my heart rate in my Zone 2, with a three minute push at the end. The goal is to build an aerobic base.

Coach Jeff’s rationale for forgoing the 10K is that I was making a common mistake: racing too much, training too little. As much as I missed everything I love about racing yesterday — my friends, the excitement in the air, the challenge, the race pictures we would see afterwards (hey, maybe one of these days I will like one!), the results, and helping a good cause (in this case, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tallahassee) — the coach is right in this case. I would have completed the race, I would have LOVED it, I would have had some good stories to tell.

But I would not have known enough or learned anything else about my body, my technique, or my mental approach to make any changes that would make a lasting difference in my 5K speed.

I also know I am probably going to have to change my fitness schedule around so that my Tuesday intervals aren’t followed the next day by boot camp* with stadium stairs (because there is not enough recovery time between the two). It has taken me so long to get to a point that is a hair below dread every Tuesday night that I have asked the coach to leave intervals on the schedule in lieu of doing something different with the time I have been devoting to reaching Row 85 of Doak.

As much as I will miss my boot camp buddies, I’ll pay the price for now.

Anyone want to do stadium stairs with me some other night?

Run for the Cookies
February 12, 2012
*(Here’s a blog about boot camps – note Doak camps are usually on Wednesdays now.)