Heart Stuff

Its Tuesday evening and I'm winding down from a long day that started at 6 am with two back-to-back 2.5 hour meetings. By the time 11:30 am rolled around, I was mentally done. Somehow I mustered up the energy to make it to the gym after work for a Spin class. That makes 3 epic workouts this week that my heart is thanking me for!

#1 - Monday AM Other than running (which I do solo 95% of the time), I love to workout in group exercise classes. For one thing, I love someone else doing the thinking and just telling me what to do; and I also draw from the energy of other people in class.

For the past 4 years, Monday mornings have been Kickboxing + Core, but 2 weeks ago, it got changed to Shadow Boxing + Core. I couldn't be happier. I have dabbled in boxing a few times and always love the power of actually throwing punches; helps to get my aggression out. Like Kickboxing, Shadow Boxing is a combat workout, but you're not really punching at anyone in particular, although I personally think it covers more boxing fundamentals than Kickboxing.

The one thing I was so excited about was being able to finally use my boxing wraps! I won it in a Body Combat class over a year ago, and never used it because I didn't know how! My boxing instructor showed me how and I was able to wrap myself! I honestly think that having the wraps on makes me feel more authentic and helps me keep form.

How-to Hand-Wraps
How-to Hand-Wraps

During the class, we do intervals of 3 minutes of boxing (jabs, cross-punches, hooks, upper cuts, etc.) and 3 minutes of high-intensity cardio (squat/shuffles, high knees, mountain climbers, burpees, jump rope, etc). Oh and we also carry 1 lb weights the entire time. They make look harmless, but trust me, by the end of class, they feel like a ton of bricks.

Thankfully, the class is only 30 minutes; by the end of class, we all have 1 eye on the clock, counting down the minutes to 6:30 am!

#2 - Monday PM My coach is stepping up my workouts and assigned me to run 4 miles; 1 @ 10 min, 2 @ 9:25, 1 @ 10 min. I stressed about this all day and even asked him if he accidentally got me mixed up with someone else. Two miles at 9:25 min/mile intimidated me. He was nice enough to change it to 9:30, which may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is. Only recently had I started hitting the 10 min/mile pace again (something I hadn't done in over a year), so I was very skeptical about holding 9:30 for 2 miles.

I started out way too fast (as always), and tried to slow down, but was afraid that if I did, I'd slow down too much and wouldn't be able to pick up the pace again. I went from 0 to puke level in a matter of minutes and stayed there the entire time.

I ran the first 2 miles at 9:29 and then had to pause for a bit. My heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to burst. I ran Mile 3 @ 9:36, missing the goal by 6 seconds (I did walk for about 15-20 seconds), then finished the last mile last 9:39. Overall, 4 miles in 38:13, or an average of 9:33 min/mile.


It took a good mile walk home to get my heart rate to calm down. But afterwards, I did feel good about it. It really was fun! Not the "I think I'm going to puke then die" feeling, but the realization that "Hey, I really can do this!" I never really pushed myself like this before. Even though I'm still running alone, like my group exercise classes, someone else does the thinking for me, and I have someone else to answer to.

#3 - Tuesday PM Since I had to be at work early this morning, I had to reschedule my morning workout to the evening. I prefer to workout in the mornings while I'm still fresh, and not drained from the day. Admittedly, I was falling asleep on my drive to the gym, and had no idea how I was going to muster up the energy for a Spin class. If you've ever been to a Spin class, you know how intense they can get. But when I got there, and saw that my favorite Spin instructor was teaching, I knew she'd have good music and would energize the class.

Unfortunately, the monitor on the Spin bike (that calculates your RPM speed, time and distance) was broken so I had go by feel. We did a few rolling hills, one big hill and lots of speed and endurance work. Since I didn't have the monitor, I tried to push as hard as I could, trying not to cheat myself. I don't have exact numbers, but I do know that by the end of class my heart was pumping and I was a sweaty mess.

I felt so empowered after each of these workouts! They have a way of making you feel invincible, like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to! And with that, I'm signing off to watch the Biggest Loser finale! I hope Daris wins!