Fitness Friday

Saturday: Went on a rather crazy little hike with my friend and three dogs. Most of our time was spent untangling leashes because my two hooligans are almost never walked on a leash and therefore do not know leash etiquette. The dogs had a blast swimming in the bay and getting sand EVERYWHERE. Later that afternoon, T and I went for a run that turned into 2.5 miles…!! I haven’t run that distance since my 5K in November. I know for many people that distance is practically nothing, but for me it was such an accomplishment. Granted I didn’t run the whole thing, but I completed it!

IMG_6405Sunday: T and I (and the dogs) ran about 1.5 miles in the cold gray drizzle. My legs hurt from the day before so this run was very hard.

Monday: Did a 20ish minute yoga routine that focused on my arms and shoulders. This gave my legs a nice and needed break.

Tuesday: Ran 1.5 miles – included some speed work. I didn’t write anything down, but basically I ran 0.10 mi fast (for me) and then walked or jogged for about a minute or so. I “bookended” the run with a warm up jog of 3 minutes and a cool down jog of 2 minutes. 18:22 time.

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Wednesday: 1 mile – 10:33 – followed by 15-minute core conditioning class.

Thursday: 2 miles in 24:24. The arch in my left foot started to bother me…

Friday: My arch is still bothering me today. It’s not painful, just feels pulled/feels like there’s pressure there. So instead of running, I biked 6 miles.

Next week

Saturday and Sunday: It’s supposed to rain all weekend so T and I probably are going to try out part of Insanity. He’s been doing it but I haven’t, so we’ll probably start with the fit test. Depending on how my foot is and how the weather cooperates, maybe we will squeeze in a short run.

Monday: 1.75 miles

Tuesday: 2.25 miles

Wednesday: 1.25 miles and 15-minute core conditioning class

Thursday: 2 miles

Friday: No time for the gym! Hope to squeeze in some yoga in the evening.

 

Fitness Friday

This is going to be a long update because I missed last weeks post – I was on vacation in the Caribbean for a blissful internet-free week. To be honest, I didn’t miss the internet one bit. Of course I love reading everyone’s blogs, updating my own, and staying connected in general, but I really needed a break from all the residual stress caused by my attachment to my phone, iPad, laptop, etc.

Saturday (3/8): Went for a fabulous trail ride with T – the weather was gorgeous!

Sunday (3/9): A new friend came over and went on a nice relaxing trail ride with me. Surprisingly the two hooligans were very well behaved… phew!

Monday (3/10): My stomach wasn’t feeling too hot so I biked 6 miles (and read a great book!) instead of running.

Tuesday (3/11): My birthday! I managed to fit in a 2 mile run during a very busy day. I was so rushed I forgot to write down my time! Need to get better about doing that. Due to daylight savings, T and I squeezed in a wonderful sunset trail ride before dinner with my family.

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Wednesday (3/12): Spent the day traveling…

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Thursday (3/13): Hiked, snorkeled, hiked, snorkeled, hiked. We hiked over a giant hill/mountain on a trail that is not very maintained. Then after our first round of snorkeling, we hiked along a “beach” (more rocks than sand) and around a couple points (this involved lots of wading through sea urchins) to a deserted beach from which we went on another snorkeling adventure. It was a great first day (other than slicing open my toe… I think I will be losing that nail. Not to gross anyone out or anything…).

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Friday (3/14): Went for a quick, but hilly bike ride to another beach with great snorkeling. We snorkeled for an hour, relaxed, did some exploring, and then biked back.

Saturday (3/15): Dragged T out of bed at 7:30 am (early for us, especially on vacation) for a mile or so run down to the old ferry dock. Then my cousin took us on a boat to a uninhabited island where we hiked to these awesome “baths” in which we snorkeled and explored for hours.

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Sunday (3/16): Relaxed all morning and then took T on his first dive. An overwhelming experience for him, but he said he’ll try it again sometime. If only it wasn’t so expensive. T returned full of endorphins and dragged me back out for more exercise. He ran to the beach we went to on Friday while I biked there. We arrived almost at the same time because I kept stopping to take photos. After being drenched by a tropical rain storm, we rode back to town and then kept going down to the old ferry dock. We paused for a bit to enjoy the view and then rode home to some much needed showers.

Monday (3/17): Swam with sea turtles. Need I say more? It was awesome.

Tuesday (3/18): Woke up early and went to swim with the sea turtles again. Spent the afternoon relaxing on what is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Wednesday (3/19): After an early morning ferry ride, we spent the rest of the morning walking around Old San Juan before catching our afternoon flight home. We came back to a very rainy, cold Maryland – quite a shock to the system.

Thursday (3/20): Work was totally insane. At lunch time, I had such a bad headache for all the stress so I rushed to the gym for a quick mile (for me, quick = 11 minute mile… I am so slow) before a 1 pm meeting.

Friday (3/21): After an 11 hour work day yesterday, the last thing I wanted to do was be inside all day. So at lunch, I went for a 1.5 mile loop around where I work. My dad ran it with me, which was great since I hadn’t seen him much since getting home. We probably did the loop in about 18 minutes. I tried timing it but then my phone decided to die part way through so I had to depend on my non-digital watch.

Next week

Saturday: My friend and I are taking our pups for a hike at Terrapin Park on Kent Island.

Sunday: Maybe a 2 mile run/walk with T – weather permitting.

Monday: Yoga day.

Tuesday: 1.5 miles (with some speed work possibly)

Wednesday: Core conditioning class and 1 mile.

Thursday: 2 miles!

Friday: 1.75 miles

Almost 2 months until race day! My goal is to run this 5k just a bit faster than my last one (even a few seconds will be fine with me). But I don’t feel like I am getting any faster or stronger in general so perhaps I should just stick with the goal of running the full thing.

Fitness Friday

Saturday: Quick 20-minute yoga session and a 30-minute trail ride! A nice change of pace after running most of the week.

Sunday: Jogged around the farm with T (maybe put a 3/4 – 1 mile in?). Lots of hill work though! Another quick ride – this time in the light rain. It feels so good to start riding again.

Monday: Due to the snow storm, I could not get into work so I did a 20-minute yoga session focusing on hamstrings (killer). I also went sledding out in the horse pasture with  my dad and uncle, something I haven’t done since I was a little kid. Hiking up those hills is hard work, especially when you are laughing so hard you can’t breathe properly.

Tuesday: 1.75 in 22:17. I was hurting today so my time ended up being super slow. Oh well. I don’t want to push too hard or else I know I will get injured.

Wednesday: 1.25 miles and 15-minute core conditioning class. Don’t remember my time for the run (I was in a rush) but the class was tough!

Thursday: Did the run I was supposed to do on Monday. 1.5 in 17:01. Feeling a bit sore (especially in my knee) and tired…

Friday: 2 miles in 23:28. I’m afraid to jinx myself, but this run felt easier/went by quicker.

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Pretty sunset on my Saturday ride

Goals for Next Week

Saturday: Perhaps a quick ride if it’s not too muddy. Otherwise it will be a rest day.

Sunday: Long walk with the dogs.

Monday: 1.75 miles.

Tuesday: 2 miles (I going to exercise on my birthday? That’s a first).

Next Wednesday T and I are leaving for a week-long vacation to a small island near Puerto Rico! The past few days have been going so slowly because I am so excited. I don’t have any specific exercise plans while there, but we will definitely be very active. I am a NAUI certified scuba diver so I will doing some diving, and of course lots of snorkeling 🙂 I am packing my running shoes (for the first time ever!) so T and I canrun/explore some in the mornings before it gets too hot. Next week’s Fitness Friday will be on hiatus because I will be totally unplugged (no Internet access where we are). I am very excited to get away from social media, work, and other distractions.

404052_10150605961076345_601344171_nI hope everyone has a good weekend! I don’t know about anyone else, but I am so ready for spring. I can’t wait for the “spring forward” time change this weekend. More daylight in the evenings = more outside time, more trail running, more riding.

 

Fitness Friday

Well this week was certainly more successful than last week! For once, I actually stuck to my schedule.

Saturday: Went for a run outside (it was in the 50s!) with Molly. I didn’t track my distance but I’d say it was about a mile or so. My knee start to twinge toward the end so I walked the last stretch.

Sunday: T, Molly, and I went for a run outside again along the same route (kinda) that I did the day before. It was such a nice weekend for running!

Monday: 1.5 miles in 17:26

Tuesday: Yoga night. I did Armilicious again because I didn’t have time to go in search of new videos.

Wednesday: Ran a mile in 11:01. My gym at work offers free classes with membership, so I went to a 15-minute On the Ball core conditioning class. I used to go regularly, but then turned my attention to running and stopped going. Boy do I regret that decision! The class kicked my butt! Planks are my arch nemesis – they never seem to get easier. Guess I should do them more…

Thursday: 2 miles in 24:21. Not as fast as I’ve gone before, but finishing it is enough for me right now.

Friday: 1.5 miles in 18:17. The rest of the week caught up to me today and I am so sore. I did a long walking warm up and took walking breaks (hence my slow time).

Next Week’s Goals

Saturday/Sunday: It seems we are going through another cold spell this weekend and my body definitely needs a break so I’ll probably do some yoga and perhaps a long walk. If it does happen to warm up one day, you’ll find me on the back of my horse.

Monday: 1.5 miles

Tuesday: 1.75 miles

Wednesday: 1.25 miles and core conditioning class (hopefully I have time! I’ll be attending a training Wednesday – Friday and don’t know how long we’ll get for lunch)

Thursday: Yoga night!

Friday: 2 miles

I just can’t seem to focus enough to run through 1 mile. I always get bored, start focusing on my aches and pains, and decide to take a quick walking break. I can’t get in some sort of “zone.” I’ve tried watching Netflix shows on my phone but still find my mind wondering. Does anyone have any advice?

The Best Running Buddy (A Guide to Running with Your Dog)

My 1 year old Golden Retriever mix is my favorite running buddy. She is always ready to go and is enthusiastic about any form of exercise. As I start running with her more and more, I did some research about running with my dog. There is so much good information out there that I thought I’d share some of what I found.

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Studies show that exercising with a partner increases your motivation. In a study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, researchers found dog owners walk more than non-dog owners and are more likely to reach the recommended physical activity requirements (for more information, read the article in Runner’s World). Your dog is probably the most dependable partner you can find! S/he won’t complain, worry about time, or listen to your excuses. Plus dogs run with a smile and a wagging tail. To top it off, running with your dog is such a great bonding experience!

Different Breeds for Different Runs

Different dog breeds do better in different conditions and at different distances. Runner’s World featured a great figure, originally by Liz Devitt and professional dog trainer JT Clough, which lays out which breeds are best for the type of running you do. If you own a breed that is not on this list, I recommend you read up on the characteristics of your dog and see if you can match them with any of the characteristics below. If your dog doesn’t fall in the category that you run in, you should consider talking to your vet to see if there are any health risks you should be aware of before running in those conditions with your dog.

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Source: Runner’s World, “A Breed Apart,” Christie Aschwanden, 3 Aug 2010, http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/breed-apart

Safety and Health Considerations

My pup is always eager to get outside and run around. Since running with her is not only getting me out and moving, but also giving her the exercise she needs as a young athletic dog, it is a win-win situation. However, there are some health and safety concerns that you should take into account before, during and after running with your dog.

Talk to your vet about your intentions so they can more closely monitor your dog’s heart, lungs and joints. You should also discuss with your vet any underlying health conditions you may be unaware of or should know more about. For example, my Molly has slight hip dysplasia. She’s still young, but I need to be conscious of this and watch for any signs she may be hurting or working too hard. I will also talk to my vet as I start running longer distances to make sure I don’t endanger her health. You also want to wait for your dog to be at least a year before taking them on distance runs since they will be almost finished growing and developing by then.

Be aware of the surface you are running on. If it’s a very hot sunny day in mid-summer and you are running on asphalt, your poor pup could be playing a version of hot potato with his/her feet as they hit the pavement. Of course you also need to watch for glass, rocks, or anything sharp that could wound your dog. If s/he stops to lick his feet, stop running immediately and inspect his/her paws. You should always inspect his/her paws after a run for any cuts. It may be a good idea to rinse/wipe off his/her paws depending on the conditions you were running in. For example, salt can irritate their skin. Be sure to get in between their toes! You should also check your pup for ticks and burrs if you were running in the woods or in meadows.

Photo by Seth Casteel/TandemStock.com

Photo by Seth Casteel/TandemStock.com

Hydration!! Make sure your dog gets plenty of water before and after a workout. If you are going on a long distance run, you should bring water for you and your dog. If your dog gets too thirsty, s/he may try to drink from puddles, which are often full of contaminants and yucky stuff you don’t want your dog to ingest.

Watch for signs of overexertion and/or stress: heavy panting, foaming at the mouth, glazed eyes, yawning, weakness and of course, slowing down. Any of these signs indicate that you should stop for the day. Remember your dog’s primary method of cooling isn’t sweating, it’s panting. Panting is not as efficient as sweating. If your dog starts vomiting, call your vet.

Training and Tips on Running with Your Pup

Just because your dog seems like s/he is always raring to go doesn’t mean you should immediately start running 10 miles with him/her. Just like humans, dogs need to train too. When you first start, set a baseline. How far can your dog comfortably run now? In what conditions? This will help you build a training program.

It’s important to start slow and make sure your new running buddy warms up. Since I am a new runner and so is Molly, we will be building our running stamina together. But I have to remember that while I can run on the treadmill at work during my lunch, she does not have a doggy treadmill (these exist??) at home where she can run to keep up with our training program. I can only run with her on weekends right now, so I don’t schedule any of my “harder” runs on the weekends. Once spring rolls around and I can run after work, our training program will match up again. Of course, let’s be honest – she is a much better runner than I am already. She is very active and plays with other dogs a lot. But that doesn’t mean she can immediately go out for a 3 mile run right now. Running with me differs from running around the farm playing with her canine cousin.

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Depending on your dog, it may be best to start with long walks to build some endurance. As you ease into running, make sure your dog has a 5 minute walking warm up. Start at 15-20 minutes of more walking than running 3 times a week, and then build up by running more than walking and adding on 5 minutes per week.

You want your dog to be three feet in front of you and off to one side. When someone (pedestrian, biker, car, etc.) passes you, pull off a bit and keep your dog quietly sitting next to you. This may take some training depending on the type of dog you have, so be patient with your dog. Teach them cues such as “slow,” “sit,” and “wait.” Don’t let them get away with pulling you around or stopping to sniff every blade of grass. Developing good leash manners may take some extra training outside of your running time.

When running with your dog, be aware that some people aren’t dog people. You are your dog’s biggest fan. Some people may be allergic or afraid, so when around other people while running, keep your dog close to you. If you have a breed of dog that is often stereotyped as aggressive (such as a Pitbull, Rottweiler or German Shepard), be aware that, while you know your dog is super friendly, others may not know this. If your dog is not super friendly around others, try to run in an unpopulated area so that it is less stressful for your dog.

Don’t tie the leash to your wrist. Don’t like holding the leash? Buy a hands-free one!

The pads of their feet are also quite sensitive so they need to build calluses just like you. As your pup builds toughness in his/her pads, be aware of the type of surface you are running on. It may be best to start on a trail before moving to the road (if possible).

Gearing Up

In addition to your running gear, you will also need some gear for your pup. Let’s start with the obvious. A collar with tags and a leash. You should choose a 4 – 6ft leash over a retractable one because that will give you better control, especially if you are running on the road or on a crowded trail. If your dog pulls a lot, invest in a harness. Be aware that on long runs they can chafe. I don’t know much on harnesses, so I suggest you do research to see what type would be best for you and your dog.

Bring bags to clean up after your dog – just because you went before the run doesn’t mean your dog will.

If you are going on a long run and/or it is very hot, you should bring some water for you and your companion. Teach your dog to drink from a water bottle or bring a collapsible water bowl to pour drinking water in.

This fun article from Runner’s World lists some pup running gear – check it out! I’m not sure Molly would like the pack or the boots, but she would be a big fan of the treats!

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Source: Runner’s World, “Tail Wagging Goods,” Christie Aschwanden and Sarah Bowen Shea, 2 Aug 2010, http://www.runnersworld.com/running-with-dogs/tail-wagging-goods

Speaking of treats, as you work with your dog in different environments, it would be good to bring some training treats with you. Molly is naturally shy so I like to bring treats with me to both reward and distract her when she is in a stressful situation. Plus you should always praise and reward your dog when s/he is being good!

Racing with Your Dog

As you train together, you may start to wonder – can I race with my dog? Well I did an internet search and did not find too many races in which you can run with your dog. Many larger races do not allow this because of safety and liability concerns. However, I found some local races I can race with Molly in (Walk and Run for the Animals in Annapolis MD and Dog Day 5k in Doylestown PA)

You may also consider looking up a race that benefits your local animal shelters. Even if you can’t run with your dog, at least you will be helping other dogs live a better life! (Here’s an example: Rescue Run 5k in Philadelphia)

So You Don’t or Can’t Have a Dog?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Do an internet search to see if any local shelters in your area have established programs that allow you to take their dogs on runs. If not, see if this would be something they are willing to let you do. I am not familiar with shelter policies so I cannot guarantee that you will be successful, but anything is worth a try.

For those of you in Philadelphia, check out this awesome non profit called The Monster Milers that connects runners with shelter dogs as running companions.

For those of you in the Washington D.C. area, consider joining PACK (People & Animal Cardio Klub) and running with an adoptable dog from the Washington Humane Society. They currently run Saturday mornings at 8 am.

For those of you in Austin, join the Rufftail Runners take local shelter dogs out for some fresh air and exercise!

Check out other programs on Miles and Mutts site! They made a great list of programs in Seattle, Annapolis (MD), Charlotte (NC), and more!

Sources and Further Resources

“Jogging With Your Dog Improves Overall Health and Fitness,” Susan Sarubin, The Whole Dog Journal

“A Breed Apart,” Christie Aschwanden, Runner’s World

“9 Tips for Running with your Dog,” Daniel Harding, Jr., Men’s Fitness

“Dog Owners Are More Active,” Michelle Hamilton, Runner’s World

“Run, Spot, Run!,” American Veterinary Medical Association

“See Spot Run,” Christie Aschwanden, Runner’s World

“Running With Dogs,” Runner’s World

“Safety Tips  for Working Out with your Dog,” Nicole Pajer, Cesar’s Way

“How to Run with Your Dog,” Katherine Barrington, The Daily Puppy

Canine Good Citizen

Pooch to 5k

“10 Races to Run with Your Dog” Active. (This is a list from 2013. Hopefully they will post a 2014 list too!)

Disclaimer

I am not a vet, dog expert, or fitness guru. Just as you should talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, it is best to consult with your dog’s vet before bringing him or her along on runs.

*I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any tips or resources that you would like to share, please write a comment. I welcome any and all feedback. As I am not an expert, feel free to correct anything I wrote.

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Fitness Friday

I came really close to not posting my usual Fitness Friday recap this week. Life got in the way all week and I did not step foot into the gym until today.

Saturday: Went skiing as planned. I am a beginner skier so it took me a bit to get my bearings after 6-7 years of not skiing. It was definitely a workout. I used muscles that I forgot I had!

Sunday: We went snow tubing? That’s not much of a workout because snow tubing places have little conveyor belts that carry you up the hill. I like to say I worked my abs while laughing as T and I raced each other down.

Monday: We both woke up sick. T had a high fever while I just felt like I had a cold. THANK GOODNESS I got a flu shot. I could feel my body fighting against the flu T had.

Tuesday: Still sick. Totally exhausted.

Wednesday: Finally feeling better. Lots to do to catch up at work. No time to get to the gym.

Thursday: Planning on going to the gym, but then I was greeted by a puffy-eyed Molly when I woke up. She got bitten by a spider in the middle of the night and broke out in hives. Spent the morning with her at the vet. Luckily the shots they gave her worked and she’s 100% better now!

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Friday: Finally made it to the gym! My alarm didn’t go off this morning so I barely had time to fit a quick mile in. Not even going to post my time – it’s too embarrassingly slow.

Man it is so hard to get back into a routine once I break it. Does anyone else have that problem? Next week will be better, I promise! (I hope…)

Saturday/Sunday: It’s supposed to be rather warm this weekend so hopefully we can fit in two quick runs. T is still not feeling 100% so it probably won’t be much.

Monday: 1.5 miles

Tuesday: Yoga night

Wednesday: 1 mile and core conditioning class

Thursday: 2 miles

Friday: 1.5 miles

Long term running goal: I really really want to get to a point where I can consistently run 3 miles on the treadmill. This is nothing for many people, but I really struggle with running (especially on a treadmill) so even 1 mile feels like an accomplishment. I’m training for a 5k at the end of May and want to run faster than I did in my last (and first) 5k in November.

 

Revisiting my Goals

Well there is no point in making goals if you don’t revisit them and update their progress, right?

1) Donate my hair: It’s still growing. No surprise there. I probably should get it trimmed soon, but that is so expensive!

2) Keep on running: Yes! I’ve been doing this as much as possible. I started my Fitness Fridays posts so that I could track my progress (and have something to hold me accountable). I’m running 2 miles more consistently and hope to sign up for a 5K at the end of May. T and I were going to sign up for the 10K across the Bay Bridge next November, but then I discovered I will be out of town for a business trip. So we’ll find another fun race to do – thoughts? We’re located in the Mid-Atlantic and can’t afford to travel far.

3) Move out of my childhood home: Still working on this one! We are trying to figure out our finances first (T needs a new job and I am dealing with some new expenses with Molly – allergies…)

4) Go outside and walk: I need to get better at doing this because it is so refreshing. Unfortunately the freezing temperatures have not been very motivating. Spring is coming though!

5) Ride as much as possible: See the above about those freezing temperatures. T and I did fit in two rides the other weekend. I am going to sign up for another quarter of riding lessons in the spring. My mare has been lame since July and is finally starting to feel better. She felt a bit off when I last rode her but I think it may be more from stiffness than her lameness. We will be doing lots of walking, trotting, and hill work!

6) Start volunteering: I will start this before the end of the year! I am determined to find time somehow.

7) Write: I’ve been working on a story in a brainstorming notebook. It’s been hard to find time to sit down and write, so I really should build it in to my schedule.

8) Embrace patience: I actually feel like I am getting better with this. I will forever be a bit impatient I think, but I feel more zen about things these days. I need to continue to find moments to reflect, de-stress, and sit quietly. Those moments center me.

9) Knit a sweater: I finished the front and am a couple inches into the first sleeve. I have absolutely no idea how to put it all together. By the time I finish the sleeves, my grandmother (i.e. knitting mentor) will be home to guide me (I hope!). I can’t wait to share photos of the final product. I am restraining myself from starting any other knitting projects until this one is done.

10) Develop my photography skills: I have been switching my camera to manual mode more and more these days. It’s been a challenge, but I am enjoying the experiments. Now I just need to sit down and read some of the photography books in my library.

11) Dance again: I don’t know when this one will happen, but I haven’t forgotten about it! Still hoping to sign up for a dance class some time this year.

12) Dog training: Molly and I are currently taking a Intro to Nosework class! It’s been very fun taking the subtle steps to teach her to seek things (food) out with her nose. She loves it and it’s such a good mental and physical exercise for her.

13) Read 150 books in 2014: I am currently on book number 27. T and I have a vacation coming up so I hope to get even more books read then!

14) Blog!: I have a couple of posts lined up to publish in the coming weeks. I’ve been thinking about how to focus this blog, but I really don’t know how to because I am interested in so many different things!

*15) Paint: Creativity runs in my family – my father is a musician, my mother a fiber artist, my sister an art major, my aunt a professional artist, my uncle a musician and carpenter, my grandmother a quilter/knitter/crocheter. While I am knitting and exploring photography, I would like to start painting again. I painted a blue crab for T as a surprise present and rediscovered how much painting relaxes me.