Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tone, Trash Talk and Thanksgiving Turkey: Part I

On November 23, in the Year of our Lord 2008, all the Builders within a 300 mile radius will converge on Red’s beloved city of Philadelphia… Red, B-mama and me to run the Philadelphia Marathon’s 8K race, and MaryAlice to sport a sassy late-pregnancy workout get-up and lipstick, pose for pictures, and cheer on her half-marathoning husband.

Yes. We’re paying a $45 registration fee to run 8 kilometers at 7:15am on a cold November morning around a mediocre city:
(1) To tone our child-laden bodies.
(2) To engage in the type of competitive trash talk that we all enjoyed at one time during athletic careers but have long suppressed in order to be good models for our children. Red and B-mama both were star college athletes. I had some high school glory days and am generally competitive.
(3) To head into the Thanksgiving holiday—which often marks the beginning of the end of healthy habits for the winter—with a solid fitness regimen in place.

This is a competition. This is not a girlfriends’ trot where we jog three-abreast and dish about fertility cycles and parenting philosophies. There will be a winner.

Red currently is running 6 days per week, with three of these runs taking place in the morning before her kids wake up (has she gone mad?), to work up to 8 kilometers a few weeks out from the race. Red was one of those who “only ran to stay in shape for team sports”. See above paragraph: this ain’t no team sport.

B-mama is back up and at 'em after baby J’s birth two months ago, with an eye toward returning to her usual 5+ workouts per week. She’s the college-level distance runner among us. She’s the rabbit, we’re the greyhounds.

I am opting for the 6 times per week elliptical training program while I nurse some minor back problems, although I run 4-5 miles outside occasionally. Core strengthening and speed will be my goals. Red also tells me there's prize money for coming in first place city-wide. What's wrong with dreaming big?

We will be documenting our progress for the next seven weeks, on Thursday of each week, in a segment entitled Tone, Trash Talk and Thanksgiving Turkey.

We invite one and all to join us in Philadelphia or to show solidarity by setting some pre-winter fitness goals.
Good luck.


AWOL Mommy said...

Allow me to start things off in the correct spirit by saying..... if I were in the Philadelphia vicinty I would kick all of your heinys!!!!***

(*said with great confidence from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean)

Sophie said...

Ladies, this is too funny. Well, I'm in the Philly vicinity and I fear you all as speed walking is about as fast as I can get myself going.

If you don't mind I have a very important question for you runners who might also be breastfeeding. Um, how shall I say this...OUCH! Maybe I just don't have the right bra? Even running across the yard to chase the kids is painful. I can't fathom how breastfeeding and running mix well, so I hand it to you all.

Mary Alice said...

Well girls, I have decided that standing out in the cold waiting for you all (and looking pretty) is just a bit too sedantary for me, so I have enlisted my sister in law (whose husband is also running the half) to walk the course with me. This will not be race pace, my goal, at 38 weeks pregnant, will be to see some of the city and finish without putting myself into labor!

AWOL Mommy said...

Mary Alice, AMAZING, as always - buena suerte! and Post PICS!

Sophie, it is quantity, not quality. Actually both help - you just have to wear lots and lots of sports bras. I actually don't even take my regular nursing bra off, I use that as layer one and then put two regular (not nursing sports bras -those are a joke) sports bras atop the nursing bra. This works for running. Stairs, not so much, that might require 4 or 5.

kathleenob said...

So you know you are making a difference... I read your post, stopped reading reactions to the VP debate, put the baby down for a nap, gave the toddler stickers and killed myself on the elliptical. Here is my question... how much time and what resistance level? Is it better to go for longer at a lower resistance or do a 20 minute punishment? I prefer the latter, but not sure it does the job..

mary alice's husband (fitness guru) said...

kathleenob, to the surprise of everyone who has ever known me, I have become a little bit knowledgeable about fitness. I have thought a lot about the issue your question raises, and I think the answer generally is that for general cardiovascular fitness and weight loss goals, it is better to do longer workouts at lower intensity than it is to do shorter workouts at high intensity. The reason has to do with the intersection of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, but to cut through the details, here's what I suggest: get your heart rate to a number that is 65%*(220 - your age). Keep your heart rate there for 30 minutes, and you're done. You'll find after about 2-3 weeks that you need to step up the intensity a bit to continue to reach that heart rate, and that means that you're making real progress.

I followed this general advice on an elliptical starting about 5 months ago, and now I am running 5 miles at a time and my heart is at that same target heart rate I started at!

Down 55 lbs. and counting! Good luck!

B-Mama said...

kathleenob, I echo MA's hubby above and will add that if you want, you can vary your workouts throughout the week. Try having one long, slow workout with high resistance, another shorter one with faster (lower resistance) "fartlek" segments followed by equal slower rest segments, and still another where you crank up the resistance and go for even longer segments (maybe 5-10min. in duration). Just remember to always have a warm-up and cool down segment at the beginning and end to be kind to your body! In the end, by varying your workouts, you'll find you'll be happier and generally more distracted during the workout because it's not the "same old thing". Good luck!!

I'll try to do a post soon with some of my favorite workouts for our readers...

Phlummoxed said...


"Mediocre city"?

Please explain.


texas mommy said...

You girls are lucky that the appendectomy is keeping me sidelined from strenuous exercise (um, what shall we call motherhood, then?) for 4-6 weeks. I was just about ready to hop back on the fitness bandwagon at 4 weeks postpartum when I ended up in the ER.

But you never know...maybe I'll surprise you all up in Philly and destroy all you Eagles fans as I run away with the race in a Cowboys cheerleader costume.

And next year, can we pick a race in TEXAS?!? A november morning in Philly sounds cold!

Right Said Red said...

Just to clarify--It is a gross exaggeration to say that I am running 6 days per week. I am aiming to run 4 times per week, but this week I only ran 3 times! I almost died today running 3 miles. I have a long way to go!

MA--so proud of you for walking it. There are hospitals in the area, so if you go into labor early, it will make for a great story! There is no way I could walk that far 38 weeks pregnant. I walked about 4 miles when 40 weeks pregnant with Gianna and my water broke that night!

Sophie--I wear two sports bras when nursing. I must say, however, that I do not attempt to really run until I am at least 6 months post-partum. Runs before that are painful!

Juris Mater said...

Red--in my experience, one (excruciatingly miserable and painful) mile in the morning is worth three in the afternoon, so you probably don't realize that you ran the equivalent of 9 miles this morning. It's no wonder you almost died. You are the underdog, but I think you're going to surprise us.

AWOL, watch it.

MaryAlice, you rock. It's time to break out the belly support contraption. You could wear the Lion in the Ergo on your back to balance things out. Wouldn't that be fun?

Phlummoxed, maybe it's the sky-high crime rate, the dirty downtown riddled with porn shops, deathly-aggressive drivers, and a generally not warm or friendly population. Or maybe this is just empty trash talk--not even cities are immune.

B-mama, what is "fartlek"?