Day 70: Yoga? Yoga! & The Liebster Award

First and foremost, let me thank David from Run with Faust for nominating me for The Liebster Award. It is a special chain-award meant to promote new blogs and get bloggers to know each other a bit. I think it is a wonderful initiative and requires answering all sorts of questions and nominating other blogs, which should have 200 followers or less.
You should get to see my answers soon, but for now, go check out David’s!

Yesterday I went to my first yoga class ever. I am not completely new to yoga as my dancing teacher was using it for warm ups & cool downs, and I also did some at home some years ago with Wii Fit. However, I have never been to a proper yoga class.
My workmate found a place which is literally 3 minutes walk from my flat, so I decided to give it a go. And it was pretty awesome.

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What we did was called dynamic flow which incorporated tai chi, yoga and pilates in constant movement exercises. The pilates part was especially demanding, as I have extra weak core muscles. Having issues with those since I was born, I am already way better than I used to be, but they do need to be worked on. I also look forward to the hatha yoga classes to increase my range of motion and flexibility. I figured out will be a very good addition to my running work.

Needless to say, I could feel the muscles which worked yesterday very well in today’s run. Especially my glutes. It was a 4k, and I believe it was the most steady run pace-wise I have run to date. It was also fast for my standards, just under 6 mins/km. I am getting more and more comfortable with the improved running form (the working glutes are a good sign of that) and these paces, but the R-day is only a week and a day from now! I am getting kind of stressed about it, even though I know I shouldn’t.

Distance: 4.2km
Time:      24:48

Day 68: Go easy, girl

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My glutes were certainly voicing their disapproval of yesterday’s dancing class, but I took it easy and did my 4k on an easy pace. I felt somehow tired, but with my recent sleep issues that’s no surprise, as last night also wasn’t great.

I still see some people jogging/running around the place in here. It is good to see that, even though it is much less of them than at the very beginning of the year, I am happy for all who keep up with their resolutions.

Funny thing, two weeks or even a week ago I would consider today’s run a great success. No walking breaks, nice pace. Guess the last two speedy runs really raised my expectations; but I know I don’t have to go faster and faster and beat my last achievement each run. All in due time.

Distance: 4.1 km
Time:       24:43

Day 67: It’s all in the head (rest day)

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A pretty great thing happened today: I enjoyed my dance class! I really, really did.

How did that happen?

Well, my regular teacher got ill and we got another girl filling in for her. And something clicked in my head and I finally got the knack of all kinds of things and movements with which I struggled the past two months. I think I just needed them to be explained in a different way – like today.

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Day 66: Thank God for the bike paths

Wow. Just wow.

So, I’ve been through some stress recently, partly due to an extremely disappointing delivery service by DHL. Seriously, how is that company still in the parcels business with their performance?
If you ever have to send something, I would recommend anything – everything, even pigeons – over DHL.
This and some other stuff kept me up all night between Friday and Saturday and I had a poor one last night, too. You can imagine I didn’t hold much hope for the 4k run today, even after the amazing 3k last time.

And then this happened:

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Day 64: 5:58 and two weeks to the “R-Day”

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Good news: I am feeling better, overall.

Bad news: I woke up with a sore throat. After work, I went to the pharmacy, and asked for something so I can still run and not get ill. Instead of getting medicine, I was told to buy some candy and drink a lot of tea to keep myself hydrated.

And with such advice, I went for a run today. I think it was the best run I had in some time. It felt good! It ran good! And I believe I am doing progress on my running form.
Result? Under 6 min/km pace!

Now, I don’t dream I could pull that off on the full 5k at the moment, but I am still very proud of this 3k. I shaved off a complete minute on this distance. Yay!

After submitting my run today, I noticed that my goal run is exactly two weeks from today. I knew that, but somehow I wasn’t aware of it until now. It is exciting and scary in a way, even though it is no official race. Getting so close. The mental countdown has started.

Distance: 3.2 km
Time:       18:56

Day 62: Everyone needs a break, sometimes

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Three days without running. Am I getting lazy or what?
Truth to be told, I am actually proud I did go for a run today, as I am not feeling very well, and the stress and workload at my job is not helping, either. I should have went yesterday, but I just couldn’t get myself to it. And I can say with absolute honesty that for the first time I completely did not mind going slower than expected.

Now I just need to convince my body that we should get some food.

Distance: 3.1 km
Time:       19:58

Day 58: Experimenting

Once again, I have been experimenting with my running form, trying to improve.
And today, I think I got it. I really, really got it. I flew like the wind.

For about 30 seconds.

It felt great, but it has it’s pros and cons. Most noticeably:

Pros:

  • it reduces the tension in my calves;
  • it makes me run really fast (or at least feels like it).

Cons:

  • it makes me tired really fast;
  • I can’t sustain it for longer than half a minute.

There were a couple of bouts of the “correct form running”, separated by my usual foot-dragging. I think I might want to hire a coach for a session or two after the first training plan is completed. Some examples & exercises on what and how to train to really get it right should be very helpful in the long run.

There’s just one problem, and it is connected to the fact that I am an expat. I still do not feel fully comfortable with Dutch, and that makes it hard for me to look for things like “hiring a running coach”, and then choosing a good one for myself. I do not even know where to start looking.

Distance: 4km
Time        25:12

The Very Green Salad and The Blackberry Smoothie.

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MRB got me a christmas gift: a smoothie blender. I adore it. It is so wonderful to be able to make your my own smoothies at home. Even though I am still experimenting and some of them are, well, flops, there are already some that I am happy with.

The salad is my The Very Green Salad. It is capitalised on purpose, all its ingredients are green(-ish), and I like it very much – it is coming up in my menu every week or two.
It is also extremely easy to make; no need to mix it even, simply layer the ingredients.

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Day 56: Observing, improving

For the last two weeks, when I run with no music, I have been observing my body and the way I run. Slowly, I am seeing where and how can I improve my running form.

I am suspecting the tension I feel in my Achilles tendon at slower paces comes from the fact that I am not unloading it fully, as my feet do not lift off as high as it is advised. I was trying to correct it (nothing too drastic, just a little bit) and it helped. And it did seem like I ran faster in those intervals when I remembered to correct for this; however, it was also quite tiresome and my overall pace did not change.

Speaking of pace, my training plan apparently thinks I am a way better runner than I actually am, and wants to adjust to fit my actual level. On the one hand, that feels like a good thing, but on the other, the goal pace it would require me to run in less than a month would be under 5 min/km – and I have never even went below 6.

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I still haven’t decided if I want to adjust my plan or not, but 5k under 25 minutes feels completely unrealistic to me at this moment.

Fun thing, I stepped into exactly the same puddle as last run. Silly me. And I was very lucky with the weather – it was raining all day, and I got the “dry” window for my run. It started to rain again the very moment I reached my home and finished.

There are still so many people running around here! It’s like an epidemic!
I don’t complain – I think that’s great. Even though not all of them will still be running in a couple of weeks, I am glad people at least try. And certainly at least some of them might catch the running bug, right?

Distance: 3.1km
Time:       19:45

Day 54: New phase, new speed

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I entered the race simulation phase, where I practice on 3k and 4k distances to pace faster. The first run went well, I pushed a bit, ran continuously. I ended up tired, but satisfied. Nothing special happened, too, apart from me stepping into a huge puddle and getting my feet all wet.

Oh, maybe one thing I noticed is that, all of the sudden, running became very popular around here. I meet far more people running, it was the case in the weekend and also today, even though it was dark.
I wonder if it’s the New Year’s resolutions? If so, I wish them all best of luck!

And guess what: Quickest pace ever! 6:10 min/km! I hope it will get even better in this phase, and I will be able to keep it up on the 5k distance, too.

Distance: 3.2 km
Time:       19:47