Monday, January 25, 2010

The blog where I reflect on my first week of training

I'm alive. And, I feel pretty good. Contrary to all thoughts I had while my feet trudged on the treadmill, I am here to tell my story and I am better off because of it!

Thanks to the suggestion of  a reader of the blog, I discovered the Couch to 5K training program! It is a very good thing too. I hear that my original plan (to run for an hour and see how I fared) is a serious training faux-pas. 

First Workout: I grabbed my five year old Nike Shox with my name embroidered on them and realized two things.
1. I need new running shoes
2. I used to have really bad taste

Jumped in the car with the incentive of sushi dinner awaiting the completion of my workout and headed to the track at CHS, my alma mater. I arrived and the lights were off! I guess they don't keep the track lit when it isn't football season? No big deal, I was relegated to my treadmill in my unfinished cold basement. Sort of like running outside, right? I didn't have a plan for the rotations of walking\running as dictated by my Couch to 5k plan, so I used my digital Baby G (way more than 5 years old) and got to work. I was amazed at how fast the time passed with my short precise goals. Before I knew it I was doing my 5 minute cool-down walk.

Second Workout: Thursday was actually a really nice day and I probably should have taken the opportunity to run outside, but since I don't have any reflective gear and it is dark by the time I'm out of work I decided to stick to the treadmill until I can find a better option.

(Actually, does anyone have suggestions of where to run for free in Catonsville? I'm hoping for a track because I like being able to measure my distance).

A fellow AmeriCorps member suggested that there are podcasts that correspond with the Couch to 5k training program and I downloaded these. When I queuemy iPod to the Chubby Jones podcast in my basement they hadn't synced! So I listened to my favorite album to exercise to: Owl City, Ocean Eyes. There is something about that electronic beat! Gets my heart pumping...

For some reason my minute jogs seemed longer than they had on Tuesday. I pushed through, doing about 1:03 each jog, just as a challenge to myself. I was glad to be done.

Finaly workout of week 1: As a personal addition to the Couch to 5k plan on my "days off" I have been taking yoga classes at Charm City Yoga. So, I train Tuesday, Thurday, Saturday. And take a hot Vinyasa class Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

This past Friday Chris Blades, owner of Charm City held a really special event. He hosted a 2 hour class to benefit Haiti.

Join Charm City Yoga for a special Midnight Yoga Seva to help raise funds for victims in Haiti. Ask friends, colleagues and relatives who can’t join us to give generously by sponsoring your involvement with a donation of their own. Sarah Cook and Erin Bowers will be leading this 2 hour class. Open for all-levels of experience.
Date:  Friday, January 22
Time:  10 pm- midnight
Studio:  Midtown Yoga Center

This class is donation only.  100% of proceeds will go directly to the relief efforts being conducted by the International Medical Corps. This Charity is one of the highest rated organizations (grade of A+ given by the American Institute of Philanthropy) working in Haiti. The IMC were very quickly on the ground to provide medical help and training to the injured.
 It was a really special class that raised $1569 and had over 70 participants! We were mat to mat and connected with our fellow yoginis in a whole new way because of the proximity of our bodies. The community in the room was so strong, it was very special.

Needless to say, I was a bit sore on Saturday morning, but was excited to finish my final workout for week 1. I had been itching to increase my jogging time, but also very cautious not to hurt myself. My left knee was feeling a bit sore on Thursday and I wanted to be mindful of that.

Saturday's workout was completed without a hitch. During my first workout I didn't feel tired after my minute jogs, but could sense that a minute had passed. On Saturday I finally had my Chubby Jones podcast going and found myself ready to jog straight through her recommendation to switch to a brisk walk.

Tonight I start week 2 of training:
Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
I'm both excited to see my progress and nervous to take on the 30 second additional challenge. A part of me wonders if I shouldn't be accelerating my distance faster, but I want to trust Ms. Jones and also recognize that I am NOT an endurance athlete and need to build up my tolerance.

I'll report back next Monday about how this week went! I'm open to suggestions and motivational quotes ;)

Sarah Wainio
Volunteer Coordinator

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The blog in which I commit to do something I'm scared of

OK. Breathe in. Breath out. Each time I even consider this my heart races. But, if I say it publicly, it is official and I can't try to weasel my way out of it.

I'm running the National 1/2 marathon relay. This really really scares me. You might not think that a relay is so bad. Sure, it is no Iron Girl, no triathlon, and no marathon. However, coming from a girl, who hasn't run more than one mile consecutively since her 9th grade fitness test, any leg of this relay will be a challenge to me.

UCF had our Team Fight kick-off event this past Wednesday with over 100 people supporting the cancer community in attendance. Still being relatively new on staff I haven't yet run at an event for the fund. However, I knew attending the kick-off might motivate me. It surely did.

While sitting in our reserved section at Looney's I started to feel this overwhelming swell of energy. Brock introduced the evening with a simple statement, "this is why we fight". He went on to explain after a slide-show of some of Team Fight's most inspiring and challenging moments, that each step we take, the physical pain we endure is all in the name of raising awareness for the young adult cancer battle. Although it doesn't take much, my tears were already flowing. The sincerity and sense of team in the room was really powerful.

I was sitting next to Alyssa, a young adult survivor who will soon be volunteering for us at the University of Maryland Medical Center as a Peer Mentor. I mentioned that I might like to run, but it would be a real challenge for me. She said, "I've been through cancer, there isn't much else I can't do."

Well that really stopped me. Who am I to whine about running a few miles, sweating a little, and possibly cramping and aching? Alyssa was 20 years old when she was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. And there my decision was made. I was going to be a member of Team Fight. I knew since the National Marathon is in March, I would need to start training ASAP. I explained my apprehension to Alyssa, "how can I make myself just do it?" Again, my new friend said something that made me step back and think, "you just get to a point where you say, 'I'm done saying I will'".

I'm done saying I will. I hopped on the treadmill yesterday for 30 minutes and it was a start. I plan on running around the track at my old high school today. You heard it here and you should hold me to it. I've said it out loud and now I can't !

Alyssa is really an inspiration to me. And although I know in this case she was talking about running around a track, her words can apply to so much more than that. I am both very nervous and very excited to run my first relay for Team Fight. I think it could be something I'll do once, to say I've done it. Or, it could be the start of a beautiful love affair with running.

Either way, Alyssa will be running one of the legs of the relay with me as she prepares to run the marathon in the Baltimore Running Festival in 2010. More powerful than accomplishing my goal of surviving the relay is Alyssa's survival. As of December 2009 Alyssa has had clean scans for two and a half years.

If you are interested in joining Team Fight, please visit our website or contact Katrina at 410-964-0202 (ext 104).

Sarah Wainio
Volunteer Coordinator

Monday, January 11, 2010

The blog in which I ask you for your opinion...

The staff had an invigorating, exciting, and sometimes painful retreat this past Thursday and Friday. We were hosted by Jeremy Parks at The Westin Annapolis, a lovely hotel that makes a darn good dirty vodka martini. If you ever go, make sure Amanda is your barmaid!

After a hard day of working, brainstorming and learning a lot about our co-workers the staff headed out to enjoy a well earned dinner. We made our way just a few blocks away from the hotel, in downtown Annapolis to O'brien's Oyster Bar where I tried my first raw oyster.

I'm a fan of muscles and I'm a huge fan of pearls, so why wouldn't I enjoy an oyster?! I put all my fears aside when I saw my oyster shooter came with an abundance of red, horse-radishy cocktail sauce... however, I didn't heed the advice of my co-workers and as the little raw shellfish started to slide down my throat I took one simple bite. Raw oysters are not for chewing...

However, my second oyster was thrown back without a single chew. I enjoyed that one much better!

Once we had finished a delicious dinner and re-caps of the days work, including funny stories and further questions about what motivates each one of us to do what we do at the UCF, Lindsay and I discovered something on our Blackberry's. It seems only women were posting a color as their status and we didn't know why. Then, I got a FB message:
Type in the color of your bra in your status.. just the color and nothing else! Forward this mail to women only... NO MEN!!!It will be fun to see how fast it spreads... and all the men will be clueless as to why all the women has a color in their status. Haha!!! Hopefully it will promote breast cancer awareness. Have fun :)
Now, Lindsay and I thought, "hey, why not" without thinking much more about it. And away we went:

However, upon coming into the office today, our Twitter feed had a whole array of complaints about this experiment. Some of our Tweeps were angry and implied that this experiment or "Facebook wardrobe malfunction" didn't really create awareness at all. I have since cleared my status. As a woman who hasn't had breast cancer, but respects and appreciates the beauty, femininity and sanctity of breasts very much, I wonder if this viral experiment is contagious in a beneficial way, or if it is just sick.

Maybe all this buzz IS creating awareness in an indirect way. Or, maybe if it isn't direct, it isn't worth it to some? I'm still trying to figure out my opinion, but I welcome yours!

Sarah Wainio
Volunteer Coordinator

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