Level 6 and PiYo

Had a good work week, it was very busy the first half, but thankfully it tapered down the last couple days that I even went home early a couple of times.  I took full advantage and enjoyed some naps, foot massage and chair massage, got my hair done.  As much as I love running and get my “me time” while I’m running, I always try to squeeze in some pampering time and time to relax.  Quite honestly, I sometimes feel like running on a plan can also feel like “work”.

Remember when I told you about my fun dance workout called Turbo Jam, well the creator of that, Chalene Johnson has created another fun workout called PiYo.  The name comes from Pilates and Yoga, so a lot of the moves are derived from those types of workouts.

“PiYo gives you hardcore definition, intense calorie burn, and all over strength—without weights, without jumps, and without destroying your body.”

-Chalene Johnson

Here’s a promo for the series:

I’m totally NOT a BeachBody coach or work for that company in any way.  I saw the videos and promos and thought it looked like a fantastic way to workout without high impact.  I get enough of that while running and doing the Turbo Jam videos.  I really wanted to try something that would help me strengthen and tone.  Especially with my busy lifestyle, it seemed like a good idea to fit in the workouts when I had the time.


I ordered it the beginning of last week and received the kit in the mail a couple of days ago.  It comes with 3 DVDs that have several workouts, a meal plan, a measuring tape, and a bonus workout DVD.  I’ve watched the intro video and did the first leg workout yesterday, and I’m liking it so far.  I’ll have to talk more about it when I get through all the DVDs.

Here’s how Level 6 went for me this week:

  • Sunday – Key Run 65 minutes.  Ate too much the previous days before including some parties where I stuffed my face with desserts and caffeinated drinks.  Had a horrible time getting out of bed and only had 5 hours of sleep.  Felt incredibly tired the whole time, but didn’t feel weak or out of breath.  Lesson learned: avoiding caffeine again and made sure to get to bed on time the rest of the week.
  • Monday – Cross Train Turbo Jam, 40 minutes.  Did it after work.  Felt very high energy and never out of breath, glad I’m getting better at it.
  • Tuesday – Key Run Fartlek 2 min brisk, 3 easy.  Did it after work.  77° and 83% humid and sunny.  Felt my brisk pace of was manageable, but did feel a bit nauseous the last 2 intervals.
  • Wednesday – REST
  • Thursday –  35 easy. got up at 4am to run in the darkness.  Very comfortable pace.  Later in the day I attended CrossFit.  Warmup was a 500 m row, 400 m run.  Workout was Curtis P’s EMOM (every minute on the minute) with 3 ring dips, I used a 55 lbs barbell.  Here’s a good example of the set.  (Hang Squat Clean + Lunge + Lunge + Push Press).
  • Friday – PiYo Intro Alignment video, and PiYo Define Legs video
  • Saturday – A.T Run – 10 min easy, 25 brisk, 10 easy.

Happy that I had a full week.  34 points this week and looking forward to Level 7, now off to work!

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Level 5 and Sleep Cycle

I kept things simple this week.  Since it’s the 5th week/level, I should have taken a recovery week, but the remaining number of weeks doesn’t allow for that, so I made sure I got in the most important workouts.  It was a 48 hour work week and this weekend I had 2 parties to go to, one of them I made cakepops, so that kept my evenings busy the last few nights.

In the first few pages of the Level Up Training journal, you spend some time writing out your fitness goals and brainstorm some steps to take to help you get there.  I like to take the time to read this section before I begin each level.  It’s interesting to read, because it’s basic stuff, but it’s helpful to help you commit to what you’re doing.  This is just a few things I wrote:

  • Go to bed before 10pm every night
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, minimum
  • Plan training days at least 2 weeks in advance
  • Follow the training plan as closely as possible
  • Make the time to run, no matter what

Seriously, so basic.  But it keeps me in check.

Here’s how my this week went:

Sunday: Key Run 60 easy, 5.92 miles.  Very easy, conversational pace.  When I got home, I finished up with some IT Band strengthening exercises, 40 lunges, 40 air squats, and a 20 minute AB Jam workout video.
Monday: Rest.
Tuesday:  Key Run Goal Pace Run: 800m at GP (or goal pace), jog 3; 1 mile at GP, jog 3 (2x).  It was done in the evening at 78 with 91% humidity.  I did the run at 8pm just an hour and a half after I ate supper.  I topped it off with 25 continuous burpees.
Wednesday:  Rest.  Was planning for CrossFit.  Even brought change of clothes to work, but I was the closer, and I had to keep a patient until 6pm, and the class started at 5:45pm.
Thursday:  Run 40 Brisk.  I dreaded this run all week, because I couldn’t imagine going faster for that long.  I woke up at 4am to go since I didn’t know if a storm would hit in the evening, and I knew I needed to run this.  74° and 99% humidity, it was pretty brutal.  I felt pretty good and strong maintaining my pace.  I was so glad when it was over.
Friday: Rest.  Started making cakepops in the evening.  They are time consuming, I don’t think I went to bed until midnight.
Saturday: Rest.  Needed the extra sleep and had 2 parties to go to starting in the morning.  Made these lovely little things for the afternoon party which was for a friend’s little girl.

unnamedSince one of my goals is to sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night, I remembered I have an app on my iPhone called Sleep Cycle.  It’s an awesome app and it’s free!  Did you know you go through about 5 cycles of sleep at night?  Basically this app uses this concept and tries to wake you when you are in a lighter sleep cycle.  If a regular alarm clock wakes you when you’re in deep sleep or REM sleep, you will most likely wake up feeling unrested.  You turn the app on, pick the latest time you want to be awake by and hit start.   You put the phone in bed with you under the top corner of the sheets, and it has to remain plugged in.  The app senses your movement throughout the night.  It senses your sleep cycles as you move throughout the night.  The phone will start to wake you when you are in your lightest sleep cycle, and when you awake you feel rested and refreshed.  I started using it a few years ago, then forgot about it, but I re-started this past Thursday.  Even though I woke up at 4 am, it felt really easy to get up!  It keeps trends of your sleep and even checks your heart rate with the camera and flash.  I don’t entirely feel that the heart rate is an accurate resting rate, because I always feel like it’s a bit of a fuss to get the phone out from under the sheets, so your heart rate goes up a bit.

Level 6 started today, 26 weeks to the Disney Marathon!

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Once Upon a Time, I was a sprinter… (Level 4: with Track Workout)

Hope everyone had a great July 4th! I enjoyed it with some good friends and went to an awesome fireworks show in their community park. We literally sat right under the fireworks, we could feel the particles falling on us. It was a great day.


I got out of bed at 6:30 this morning for my last Key Workout: 800m (Run hard at 98%) x 4, 3 min recovery in between each.  Even though the workouts didn’t call for a warm-up, I felt that this early in the morning, I needed one.  I ran for about 10 minutes around the track and started into the first interval.  I tried to go as fast as I could and be breathless, but it was still warm, and 94% humidity, so I was a bit conservative.  I was still quite comfortable, and maybe could have gone faster, but I tend to doubt myself too much. Maybe when fall comes I’ll feel better about taking chances.track

I really enjoyed my track workout.  It actually gave me some flashbacks to elementary school when I used to compete in track. See, once upon a time, I was a sprinter.  And actually, for a few grades I was the second fastest girl in my grade.  I think they started try-outs in the 3rd grade. We would compete with other schools in our district.  And if you placed in the top 4 in an event, you would go to semi-finals with other school districts.  I was always on the 4-runner relay team. Being the second fastest I was the starter runner a few times.  A few times they had me compete in the 100m dash. I never really took it seriously.  Never trained hard.  But I loved to run fast and pass other kids.  My older sister happened to be the all-star athlete.  She competed in all the events: 100m, high jump, long jump, shot put.  She may have done the 800m also.  I’m thinking coach thought I had similar athletic abilities as my sister, so when I was in seventh grade, he put in me in the 800m event.  Again, never really trained.  Only did a few training runs after school not putting much effort.  I’m pretty sure I came in second to last at the actual track meet.  Haha.

I read an interesting article the other day on Runner’s World, “Sprinters are born, not made”.  Obviously, I’m not at all Olympic track material, but it got me thinking, that somewhere in me, that “second fastest girl in her grade” still exists.  And although I will never again compete in a 400 meter relay, or 100 meter dash, I have the races I run now.  But the competition is not against other runners.  It’s with myself.

Sunday: Key Run, 55 easy, started with my husband for a mile warmup.

Monday: 40 minute Turbo Jam cross-train.

Tuesday: A.T (Aerobic Threshold) Run.  10 easy, 20 brisk, 5 easy.  At 86° only managed brisk speed to be 9:30 min/mi.

Wednesday: CrossFit.  4 min AMRAP (as many reps as possible), 2 min rest, repeat.  10 deadlifts 95 lbs, 10 boxjumps, 10 ab mat sit ups.  Felt pretty good about doing this workout at the Rx level.  Managed 5 sets and 14 reps.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Key Run, track workout 800m x4.  Avg min/mi: 7:22, 7:26, 7:29, 7:00.

Saturday: Rest

Level 4 done, 31 points.  I cut myself a bit of a break this week.  Only ran 3 times, and did 2 cross-train days.  But I still feel like I worked hard, and I did earn enough points to move on to level 5.  I actually dreaded the track workout all week because I feared the speed.  Now that it’s done, I feel like I’m ready for the next challenge.  Bring on Level 5!


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Level 3: Turbo Jam and Pushing Limits

Again, another busy week at work, but that’s nothing new.  With the Florida weather being all crazy, either too warm or raining, I’ve had to shift some workouts around.  One of the nights I wanted to go to a CrossFit class, but I ended up getting off work late, so I needed a backup plan.  I remembered I had some DVDs from Chalane Johnson‘s Turbo Jam that I had purchased about 8 years ago.


Doesn’t this DVD cover just look like it’s so fun?  Haha.  It actually really is.  It’s kind of like Tae Bo (remember that?) had a dance party.  I think my sister had a workout video for Tae Bo 15 years ago or something.  I used to use Turbo Jam my last year of Nursing School to get fit.  2 DVDs have an instructional video, a 40 minute cardio workout, a 20 minute quick intense workout, an ab workout and turbo sculpt toning video.

It’s honestly been a few years since I’ve done this workout video.  But I wanted to keep my options open and flexible for Cross-training.  It’s amazing how far I’ve come with cardio fitness.  I remember when I first started doing the video years ago, I would actually have to pause it a few times and drink a couple of bottles of water to take a break.  I think this was the first time I’ve ever done the workout from start to finish without having to take a break.  It’s actually kind of mild in comparison to some of the CrossFit classes and some of the speed work sessions.  I’m glad I found these old workouts, I remembered how fabulous the music is also.

I didn’t get as many runs in this week, but it was still a decent week.  31 points and I feel good to go on.

Sunday: Key Run 45 easy.  Pushed to run comfortably faster.  Avg 10:01 min/mi.  

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Key Run. Brisk 8, jog 3 (4x).  Was a hot and humid morning and was very sunny.  I did about a 5 minute warm-up with hubs.  He ran a mile alone after I took off for my first interval.  I felt each interval was doable, and my breathing was well controlled.  The training guide said to aim for the last interval to be as strong or stronger than the first.  And I feel really good about being able to accomplish that.key


Wednesday: Cross Train.  TURBO JAM!

Thursday: Rest.  I was supposed to do the 30 min with strides, but it was pouring out with lightning and thunder.  Also, I got home and zonked out until about 8pm, so it was too late to run, I just went back to sleep.

Friday: 30 w/strides 20 sec X4.  It was freak crazy warm, but it was also right before a downpour, the clouds were charcoal colored so it was pretty windy.  The first (left) photo is last week’s strides and the second (right) photo is today’s.  I’m feeling really good that I’m getting a bit faster at them and feeling pretty good while running them.  Especially since the weather was 10 degrees warmer!

last weekthis week


Saturday: Will be a rest day since I’m working a short shift.

Level 4 starts on Sunday!

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Running is a mental sport…


This sums us (runners) up perfectly.  Most people would look at the temperature today and say, “I’ll take it easy today and sit out by the pool.”  Not I.  I had a scheduled run, so I went out for my run.

I slept in longer than I wanted to this morning, I just kept hitting the snooze.  And I worked 8 hours in the ER yesterday, so that didn’t help.  My plan was to do the tougher Key Run which is run brisk 8, jog 3 (4x).  But by the time I woke up it was already almost 10am and 82° (and quickly turned to 85°) and gorgeously sunny.  Great day for the beach, not a brisk run.  So I listened to the logical part of my brain, that said to just do the easy long run of 45 minutes.  And actually the tougher key run will be 44 minutes, but with the heat, that would be just plain dumb to do today.

I was feeling kind of bummed recently about being slower.  I’ve been looking back at some of my training times in the fall when I was training for the Space Coast Half, and wondered where that girl went.  This is one of my favorite training runs from back in November.


I broke a 3 records that day in my training.


The 5K and the fastest mile record was broken after a few weeks when I did the Candy Cane 5K.

I know it’s in me to be faster, to be stronger.  But running is a mental sport.  I doubt myself too much and I find that I’ve been giving myself too many excuses to take it easy.  Even at my CrossFit classes, I’ve been doing the lighter weights.  I guess I’ve been too afraid of pain?  I don’t want to get injured.  Afraid of not finishing.  And I think I’ve been taking the “easy run” a little to literal.  Or maybe I’m just not as strong right now.  But I’m building up to it.  Well today I still did an easy run, I felt good, but I allowed myself to push the pace a bit harder, despite the heat.  Not to any point of pain or feeling out of breath.  The left screen shot is last week’s run and the right screen shot it today’s.

last today

It’s amazing how much affect humidity has on my runs also despite the temp.  I feel really happy with the run.  And I feel like it will only get better from here.  I just need to keep consistent with the training and keep pushing myself to make the runs quality.  I have 29 weeks left until the Disney Marathon, but it’s so important to remind myself of my goals and find motivation with each training week.  Here’s this week’s motivation.  It’s a video my sister took of me at the finish line at the Toronto Marathon last year.  The cheering from my family is where I found my strength for that tiny sprint to the end.


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Level 2

It’s been interesting and tough balancing my schedule to fit in all the runs.  Luckily, I was able to do 5 out of the 6 workouts and still feeling pretty good.  And with 34 points, can move on to level 3.  But definitely weather and work have been a challenge.  I find if it’s an after work run, and it’s right before torrential downpour, it’s overcast and cool enough to be bearable.  Speaking of “bearable”, there was one morning I went out before work for my make-up Key Run.  It was about 4:30am, I strapped on a headlight, my Amphipod flashing armband and went on my way in our complex parking lot and nearby neighborhood.  It was dark, it was quiet.  I had no music playing because I was on orange alert the whole time.  Well, later on this week we get a letter from our residential owners:



Ummmm, WHAT???!!!!  I hope that wasn’t on same morning I was out there…  Yikes!  Well I was carrying my pepper spray in hand, and there’s a gas station on the corner that’s open 24/7 if I needed help or somewhere to run to easily.  Anyway, not sure if that will stop me from running that early, but it’s definitely a scare.  Here’s how the rest of the week went:

Sunday: Key Run. Run 40 easy.  Weather app said 100% humidity, started 71° then to 75°.  Sweat was dripping off everywhere.  My legs felt like lead, probably because of my “barefoot” run the day before, which made my calves really sore.  I ran off my usual trail to a neighborhood area that had some hilly sloped roads.  That was fun.

Monday: Rest.  And a long work day.

Tuesday: Key run that turned into an “Easy 20″.  Heat was killer.  Read about it here.

Wednesday: Key Run revisited in the wee hours of the morning.  Ladder workout: Brisk 3, jog 1, brisk 5, jog 2, brisk 8, jog 3, brisk 5, jog 2, brisk 3, jog 1.  Not a bad run.  Had some side stitches at the end of the 8 minute interval, but my legs felt good and strong.  The “cooler” 75° and darkness helped but it was 89% humidity.  My garmin had a hiccup with some of the timing and paused while it was syncing with my iPhone which was annoying.  I’ll have to remember to turn the bluetooth receiver off on my phone when it’s close to the garmin. Here’s how it turned out:

key run 2

I need to be making the jogging paces more consistent.

Thursday: Cross-train. 30 min Elliptical.  This is the first time I’ve used this machine.  I was a nice break.  I was able to watch a show on Hulu for the duration of it.  I liked that I had my heart rate up, my legs got a good workout, but my knees had a nice break.  I figured since there was no impact I wore my Vibrams, but that was a bad idea because forefoot was falling asleep.  I will need the cushioning next time.

Friday: Run 30 w/ strides 4x 20 sec.  I did this one after work, with 82°, but since rain was coming it was overcast and had a strong wind blowing.  I really enjoy the stride workouts because I just run a very comfortable pace and bolt when I’m ready.  Even though the bursts were only 20 seconds, I felt they were more doable this week.

Saturday: Today.  Rest.  I could have fit in a last 25 min easy, but yesterday I had a really hard time getting out of bed, and this morning I really felt like I needed the extra rest because of such a long work week.

I’m even going to work now for a short shift.  What can I say?  I’m a workaholic.  I also think I’m trying to ease my body into consistent exercise, but one of the most important aspects of exercise, is rest.  Listening to my body.  Knowing that usually when it’s time to get up for work I pop out of bed.  But the end of this week it was a bit more difficult to do that, so I know I needed the rest today.  Looking forward to Level 3′s new challenges!


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91° Misery… Oh and my Hydration Vest!

I cannot take this weather.  When will Florida winter return??  I miss running fast and free.  My Key Run today was some simple speed work.  Run brisk 3 min, jog 1, brisk 5, jog 2, brisk 8, jog 3, brisk 5, jog 2, brisk 3, jog 1.  I even programed it into my Garmin!  Loving this feature of the Forerunner 220.

key run


I actually felt pretty good for the first part of it, but then I started to feel really hot, too hot.  The route I ran was mostly sunny, and the sun beating down was unbearable.  By the third interval I felt like my body was on fire.  One voice in my head was saying, “Almost done, you can do this!  Only a few minutes left!”  And the other voice was saying, “Don’t be stupid….” And words like “heat stroke” and “rhabdomyolysis” came into my head (I work in the ER and this is not stuff to take lightly.)  So I chugged some water at the fountain, and walked back to my car to crank up the AC.  All things considered, my first two intervals were decent.



My backup plan was to drive home and run on the treadmill for the last two intervals, but when I got home the body heat followed and I didn’t have anything left in me.  I ran for 2 minutes at 7 mph and was done.  I added this run as one of the 20 min “easy” runs, at least I can get points for it.  I’m going to have to try again another day, because I have to get my key runs in.

I was feeling pretty crappy when I got home, but then I noticed a package on our doorstep!!  So exciting!  I love packages.  Our workplace has a health/fitness program called the Healthy100 to encourage staff to become healthier.  It supposed to help save the company money when staff is less sick, etc.  Anyway, you can earn points for participating in races and get health screenings.  This year they are changing their reward system, so I had to use my points by the end of the month.  Well, I earned some points and cashed them in for Amazon.com gift cards, cha-ching!  Since training for my first marathon last year, I’ve been wanting to buy a hydration vest, but they’re pretty pricey.  Originally I wanted the Nathan VaporShape, but it’s a tad more pricey than I wanted to spend.  I was hoping someone or someones would get it for me as a gift.  That didn’t happen.  So when I got the gift cards, I decided that a hydration vest is what I wanted to use them for.  After reviews and research I decided the Nathan Zeal was the one I would get.

IMG_7130 IMG_7131

It doesn’t have the side panels the VaporShape has, so it’s easier to adjust.  And it has a few more front pockets.  It holds 2L, so it will be perfect for bike rides and especially for when I’m hitting higher mileage on the trail, I don’t have to worry I’ll run out of fluid.  I’m loving all the pockets and the idea of being hands-free.  Not sure I will need to use the full 2L, but it’s nice to know it has the capacity.  It also has a front 10 oz. flask, a whistle and did I mention the front pockets?  There’s a bunch: for my phone, gels, salt tabs, pepper spray, other stuff…  I just love the color too, vibrant blue and bright pink, my photos don’t do it justice.  It will still be a month or so before I need it for long runs, but I’m excited.  I jaunted around my apartment adjusting it, so we’ll see if it passes the bounce test on a real run.

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