Five half-marathons, four 5k races, three sprint triathlons, two 10k races, and one full marathon. All in one year, and all in memory of someone who never knew she was strong.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If It's Called "Gentle," It Can't Be Bad. Remember That.

This has been a great week so far, and I am so pumped by all the good vibes and support I have received.  I started out this week with a Runner's World half marathon training program.  I ran intervals on Monday according to their plan, and I did it on the treadmill at the gym just to get a feel for the speed and timing.  5 X 2:00 at 9:30 miles (for me this is 10 seconds faster than race pace; I'm sure real runners might laugh at that) with 2:00 jogging/walking in between.  First of all, this was a really FUN workout that flew by.  Second, boy did I feel it in my thighs the next morning!  It was awesome to know that increasing speed like that, even for just a little bit at a time, can completely change the muscles I use and begin to adjust my "fear" of going fast.

The rest of the week thus far, I have done some cross-training at home.  I am looking forward to getting off the spin bike and back on to my road bike, but in the meantime, Mike and I try to do the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred workout as many days as we can. That's supposed to be us in the photo.  It is an intense 20 minute body circuit workout comprised of tons of squats, lunges, push-ups, and ab work, with bouts of cardio mixed in.  It is so hard, but since it is over in 20 minutes, I try not to complain.  And I am proud to say that when I started, I could only do about half of level one.  Now I can do almost all of level two except for something evil called Twisting Squat Thrusts or something like that, where you basically twist your body into a pretzel and jump up and down, all while maintaining plank position. You do this until your abdominal muscles begin to actually separate from your body and fall to the carpet one by one, and that is one rep :).  Seriously, where does she come up with this stuff?

Saturdays and Wednesdays are run club days.  I started a women's running club in my neighborhood after Mike and I bought our house, and I love what it has turned into (our site is here).  Even though I am still among the slowest of the members, the thought that there are others waiting for me every Saturday morning gets me right out of bed and out into the cold.  One Saturday morning I rolled over in bed at 7:00 am and groaned to Mike that I didn't want to go, and he said sleepily and simply, "You have to go, you're the president."  I am not really the "president" of anything, but there is a certain amount of responsibility there that caused me to get right up.  There are great ladies in this group, and I feel like it will be a big catalyst in what I am trying, nay going, to accomplish this year.  Last night I got a great run in out in the crisp air, and was able to complete three miles right at 30 minutes, an accomplishment right now while I am still trying to figure out this respiratory thing.  It also doesn't hurt to have a faster run buddy with you.  I do not like to feel like I'm holding anyone up, so it is a good push.

Tomorrow is Friday where I will weigh in and then try a new RW training element called Gentle Pickups, where 5 times at the end of my run I slow down and then gradually speed back up.  I think these might take a little more to get the hang of then all-out intervals.  I'l let you know how I do.

The ads on my blog are supposed to be up and running any time now, and once they are, all proceeds are ready to go to my charities.  Take a look!  See you tomorrow!


  1. Hi Cara! Michelle Rembolt turned me onto your blog.... nice work! I'm a beginning runner (though I still can't bring myself to actually use the word 'runner' and my name in the same sentence) training for the Lincoln 1/2 Marathon in May. A race-pace of 9:40!? That is awesome! I've been training outside and my standard miles are hovering very emphatically around 11:30. Ha! Anyway, hang in there and congrats on all you've accomplished thus far!

  2. Khara! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! And please, do not be impressed by 9:40. That is not my real race pace, that is more my goal race pace. The plan said to do intervals at 10 seconds faster than what you want to race. So I aimed high! I have not yet finished ANY race at that pace. :) 10 minute miles are my best so far. Good luck to you in starting to train and reaching your goal! Keep me posted, and we can do it together! And thanks to Michelle for suggesting me to you! I clicked on your site, and your work is AMAZING!

  3. Ah, the two Caras/Kharas in my life are in touch! Cara, I'm back to the drawing board with being a beginner runner all over again. Haven't done much running since the half I did in '08. But I'm also planning on doing the half in Lincoln, Ne in May (I'm hoping the lower altitude will make me feel like a rockstar). I can't even manage a 10-minute mile on the treadmill on my short runs. I'm hoping that it might be a *little* easier this time around, but not counting on it. Your blog is an inspiration!

  4. Michelle! You guys rock! And you are right, lower altitude helps alot! The first few miles of a race I did in San Francisco felt like I was an Olympian. Reality eventually set in, but stil, there was about an hour of pure oxygen there. :) You guys are going to rock this race. Thanks for reading and suggesting to others. :)