Six in One

I’m solidly in the camp that you do not need to run every day to be a successful runner. I’ve adhered strictly to my run only three to four days/week rule for years now. That is, until last week, when I was reminded why I don’t run so much.

Monday morning I was excited to try a strength training class that I hadn’t done in years. I’ll admit, I went in a little cocky thinking that it wouldn’t be a big deal since I’ve been doing Orangetheory for more than a year now. I.was.wrong. Holy cow, an hour of strength training did me in. I was sore before the class was even over. Come 7 p.m. I get a text from my friend Ashley asking to go for a short, easy run with her. Couldn’t pass that up. We did about three miles.

Tuesday I had my usual run. I did a six mile tempo and my butt and legs felt it the entire time. I knew I was in for it on Wednesday night at OTF.

Wednesday, Orangetheory. Usually I run between 1.5-3 miles total. Yeah, not this week. This time I ran 4.16 miles of pushes and all-outs. Now I was up to three days in a row of running. That’s ok, I do that fairly frequently.

Thursday I did my first 400m intervals in a long time. With warm up and cool down, that was a total of 5.75 miles. That was my third day in a row of intense running, fourth day in a row of running. My body was feeling it.

I took Friday completely off. In fact I think I only took 6000 steps the entire day. I had the Rice Lake Classic to run Saturday morning and I didn’t want to totally blow it after four days and 19+ miles.

Saturday morning, I really did not want to go to the race. It was hot, humid and I was tired. Tired from my intense workouts, tired from having company all week, tired from not getting enough sleep. As soon as the race started, my legs made it known they were done. I felt my sore glutes with every step. I tried to move my legs faster, but they didn’t listen. Instead my bone fragment pulled in my leg causing burning and by the second mile had a minor locking incident. I just wanted it to be over. Turns out, I ran the exact.same.time as I did two years ago and came in third in my age group. I should be happy right? I placed in my age group. I was so disappointed. All I could think about is that I am stronger and faster than I was two years ago, so I should easily be able to run a faster time.

After talking to my mom last night I realized, I am stronger and faster. Two years ago if I had worked out that hard leading up to the race, I would have run way slower. I would have walked more and been in pain. I guess I needed someone else to help me look at it from another angle.

I was supposed to run 10 miles total Saturday, but after the Rice Lake Classic, running the kids run with Ella, and spending two hours at Maple Grove Days in 90 degree weather, I was exhausted. Sunday afternoon when we got back from camping, I went to the gym and slowly, ran my 10 miles. I wasn’t going to do all 10, but slowing my pace down made it doable.

Monday morning, I was so tired and sore. My body was not happy. I went for a walk and called that good.  It’s amazing how a few unplanned runs and an additional session of intense strength training affected me. Lesson learned, six days a week of running doesn’t really work for me. At least not when I have four intense runs. Not when I want to excel. I am considering adding a fifth day, just a short recovery run maybe on Sundays. We will see how it goes.

A New ‘Theory

I want to share my latest fitness activity – Orangetheory Fitness.

I first heard about Orangetheory when I was pregnant with Anderson. One had just opened up near my parents’ house and I was offered a free class. I planned on taking them up on the offer after Anderson was born, but you know, I had a new baby. Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2014, where we visited an Orangetheory booth at the Bolt for the Heart 5k we were running. I was interested and my mom was sold immediately. Again, I kept putting it off.

Every few months I got a flyer in the mail offering three free classes. I filed it away as something I’ll do eventually but wasn’t convinced to do it considering we already belong to Lifetime Fitness. I finally decided to give it a go when we were in Indy for Thanksgiving.

My mom and I did a 3G class (three groups) at her location. It was unlike anything I’ve done. It took me a while to not mess with the heart rate monitor that was kind of annoying me. We started on rowing machines, moved to the floor, then treadmills. We completed this twice before the end of class. Throughout the class I was able to see what zone I was in. The goal is to be in the orange zone for 10-20 minutes/class. I was sweaty but felt good, until the next day when I was incredibly sore. A good kind, but really damn sore.

Once home, I started going to my local franchise once a week. Every class is different and I have no idea what to expect. Here’s the basics of how it works:

  1. Either call, use their app or website to reserve your spot in the class. There are classes offered almost hourly. You can also reserves classes months at a time. Not a bad idea if you have a limited schedule. Just be sure to cancel your booking 12 hours before the class if you’re unable to attend (there is a late cancellation fee).
  2. When you arrive you can either borrow one of their straps with the heart rate monitor or wear you’re OT Beats monitor. Your name and heart rate will show up on the monitors in the studio. A few minutes before class, you’ll be greeted by your trainer who give a brief overview of what you’ll be focusing on in class.
  3. Typically you start at one of three locations: treadmill, rowers or floor. I typically go straight to the treadmill as it’s my strength and my legs can be rather tried after floor work.
  1. From here the trainer guides you every step of the way. They give instruction as to incline and pace on the treadmills. The three paces are: base (you can maintain this for 20-30 minutes), push (at least 0.5-1 mph faster than base where you start to become uncomfortable, sprint (all-out, go as fast as you can for no more than one minute typically. This should be at least 1-2 mph faster than your base pace.). There is also an option for power walkers with higher inclines, an elliptical and stationary bike for anyone that may have limitations. Rowing is either done by distance or effort. The floor consists of free weights, kettle bells, TRX bands, Bosu, step and body weight exercises.
  2. Your heart rate is continuously monitored. On the screen you’ll see a percentage of total heart rate, your current heart rate, calories burned and splat points (minutes in the orange and red zones). It is also color coded so you know which zone you’re in. The orange zone starts when you hit 84% of your max heart rate.
  3. At the conclusion of the workout, you will see a chart of your zones throughout the workout. You also will get a post-workout email with your stats.

I have to say my favorite part of Orangetheory is the variety. I never quite know what to expect when I arrive. My body is pushed harder than it is if I were to try to duplicate a class. I’ve surprised myself by getting up to 10.5 mph during my sprints now. Having people seeing how hard I’m working, is also motivation not to give up even when I feel like I want to stop. I also really like the trainers at my location. It feels like they are almost there just for you. They are really good about pushing you a little further while making sure you’re maintaining proper form.

The drawbacks, it’s a bit pricey, there is no childcare and you can’t just drop in. At my location a membership for four visits per month is $59/month. The prices go up from there. I believe the unlimited visits membership is about $150/month. While it’s an awesome addition to my routine, it’s not going to be my only gym. I need the childcare at Lifetime, plus the ability to do long runs when the weather is crappy and swim.

I think all locations let you try at least one class free. It’s definitely worth it to see what you think.

Note: This post was not sponsored by Orangetheory Fitness.




New Routine with a Plan

Sadly I started this post two weeks ago. I really need to figure out how to blog in a timely manner.

I always struggle after a long training cycle with continuing a routine. Without a specific race to train for, I kind of just dilly dally my way through exercising a few times a week. Some of this is obviously training fatigue and recovery after a goal race. Some of it is just not knowing how to keep myself busy without getting bored. However, since we just joined a new gym I think it’s going to be different this time around.

We joined our local Lifetime Fitness. Beautiful gym, lots of nice amenities like a salon and spa, healthy little cafe, pool and free childcare. It also costs a small fortune. The cost plus, an nice incentive from our insurance company to go at least 12 times/month for a discount on the membership, have been enough to get me there as much as possible. I’ve tried some new classes, swam and hit the salon for a new do and massage.

Over the past two weeks my routine has looked something like this:

Monday – Cardio and some form of strength or Barre class

Tuesday – Run 3-5 miles (plus weights if I have time)

Wednesday – Swim for one hour

Thursday – Run 3-5 miles

Friday – Off

Saturday – Longish (9-10 miles) run with group

Sunday – Class or other cross-training

So far I’ve tried barre, cycle/sculpt and 50/50 cardio weights classes. There a several more classes I want to try including a variety of yoga classes. The kids really like the childcare area which is a nice bonus. One day a week Ella is also doing a Preschool Adventure Camp for 3.5 hours in the morning. This makes me feel a little less guilty about taking time for myself during the day.

We have just a few more weeks until Thanksgiving and one of several turkey trots in the Indianapolis area. I’m planning on doing a bit of speed work between now and then. We’ll see if a I sneak one more PR in this year.

Colorado Half Marathon Training – Week Six

Hi, hello. My name is Jess and I’m a horrible blogger lately. You’d think it would take me no time at all to get these posts going. I think I need 36 hour days to even get in the wheelhouse of accomplishing half of the tasks on my plate right now. I have had Anderson’s seven month update sitting in cue for nearly two weeks because I just haven’t gotten around to uploading pictures. Anyway, let’s get on with training.

Last week was a great training week. My schedule was a bit off because we went up to Winter Park for the weekend to get in one last dose of winter. Finally, my skis that collected dust for all those years, were put to good use. I actually skied four time this season. That’s nothing for many locals, but for this one, it’s an accomplishment.

I do not necessarily recommend doing a long run then skiing the next day. Though the muscles are definitely used in different manners, it’s those same legs muscles. My legs were beat after skiing on Saturday. Probably didn’t help that our condo also had four flights of stairs. Yes, four, not counting the stairs to get to the kitchen. No fatigue good food, company and beer couldn’t alleviate.

Monday – 6×400 @ 7:18 (4.75 miles)
Tuesday -30 Day Shred
Wednesday – 6 miles (ladder run – not feeling the tempo)
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 12 miles
Saturday – skiing
Sunday – Gymnastic area with kiddos, 85 million trips up and down those stairs

Colorado Half Marathon Training – Week Five

I was tired when I started the run at 2pm. I thought about putting it off until Sunday, but knew that I had to get it done. With the sun high in the sky and a gentle breeze, the JT Pandora station on and my Fuel Belt around my waist, I was off. I decided that unless I was at a stop light, I would pay no mind to my Garmin. Long runs aren’t for race pace anyway.

It could not have been a more beautiful March day. It was nearly 60 degrees and the streets were filled with cyclists, walkers and runners. I kept my music low enough that I could hear the sweet sounds of spring all around me. I lost myself in the environment and without even a blink of an eye, I was at the half way point and what a half way point it was.


On my run home I thought about how lucky I was to be healthy and live in such a beautiful place. As I ran by my friend Jill’s street, I thought about how much I missed our runs together and how exciting it will be when she can run again. I wanted to stop in to say hello, but knew that she wasn’t going to be feeling well after the round of chemo she had that Friday.

When I made it home, I was greeted with big hugs from Ella, who then told me I was stinky and needed a shower, and a big drooly smile and squeal from Anderson. Josh congratulated me on a great run before I hopped in the shower as not to offend anyone with my runner’s high induced stench. It is runs like this one that quiet the voices in my head telling me that I can’t do it or these speed workouts aren’t worth it. (Obviously they are because I had an average pace of 8:38 min/miles!) These are the runs that keep me sane and appreciative.

Monday – 6 mile tempo
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – 5 x1200 @ 7:35 min/mile
Thursday – Circuit of push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and squats
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 11 miles
Sunday – walk with the fam