Saturday, February 20, 2010

3 hours with no gels or bars

Bike 2:30
2x10 min Z5 HR (5 min rec), 2x17 min Z3 HR (3 min rec)

I woke up and was excited to go to a group ride with Austin Cycling Association. I was all prepared with my bike and gear, and stepped outside to find it was raining. Ugh. I hadn't even looked out. I debated riding outside anyway, but wasn't sure I could get all the intervals as planned if conditions were bad. Ok, so change of plans. I headed to Pure Austin for a 90 minute spin class followed by 60 minutes on the spin bike on my own. I got in the intervals as planned. The time went by pretty fast. Unfortunately I was dripping in sweat by the end and had some pretty bad chaffing on my behind from the wet shorts. Check it off.

Run 30 mins as 15 min mod, 15 min harder
[3.4 miles as 1.6/1.8]
This was a brick run on the treadmill immediately following the bike. I was getting to the limit of my endurance at this point but the run felt good.

Workout Nutrition:
Breakfast - oatmeal with protein powder and almonds
During workout - 3 bottles water, 1 nuun tablet, 1 banana, 1 packet Justin's Honey Peanut Butter, 1/4 cup raisins
Post workout - smoothie with 2 cups mixed frozen fruit, protein powder, Hammer Recoverite, water

The nutrition worked... no gels or bars! :) The peanut butter was a little heavy in my stomach because I ate the whole package at once, but it was fine after about 5 minutes. I could have split that up. The raisins worked well and tasted good.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bootcamp with Biggest Losers

This morning Mo and I drove to Kyle Texas at the crack of dawn to do a 5:30am bootcamp workout with the cast of The Biggest Loser, sponsored by Texas Fit Body Bootcamp for charity. Since that is my favorite show I was excited to get the opportunity to see the Losers in person and also get the chance to workout with them.  Ok, in the back of my competitive mind I also wanted to see how my fitness compares with theirs after they went through the rigors of Bob and Jillian.  Liz, Pete, Sione, Filipe, and Tracey were there.

Me with Biggest Losers

Mo and I worked out next to Tracey and Liz, and Mo was on a roll cracking jokes with Tracey.  Both of them are the same height (5'2") so they had a bit of comraderie about that. The bootcamp workout itself was ok, but not particularly challenging. Exercises included jogging, pushups, butt kicks, single leg lunging, reverse lunges, side lunges, side plank, tricep dips, stretching. I broke a sweat in the middle but doubt I will be sore from it. I don't think Liz or Tracey broke a sweat.

All the Losers had gained some weight back since the finale of their season, and overall just struck me as normal people doing a workout. Sione and Filipe came in late, like two high school kids late for class. It was all very low key and fun.

Mo with Losers 

..later in the day....

Swim 2300yd, drill focus
[38 min]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

good run, not-so-good crossfit

Long Run: 10.5 miles
[3 miles easy, 3 miles marathon pace (8:00), 2 miles easy, 2x1200 hard/800 jog (5:46,5:29)
1:25 total]
My legs felt good and this run was pleasant. I like how Endurance Nation puts the long run on Thursday to save the weekend for biking, and I like how the long run is not just slogging out slow miles. Each part of the run was structured with specific pacing, which made it more interesting and more productive.

Crossfit Chipper WOD
100 jumprope
45 air squats
40 push press (30lb)
35 situps
30 pushups
25 walking lunge (10lb med ball overhead)
20 pullups
15 tuck jump
10 wall ball
5 burpees
All I could do was go through the motions on this. After a long run and full day of work, I just wasn't feeling it. The soreness is building up and my strength is going down. I was feeling irritated with myself about this. The push press and pushups were the hardest. Arg. Some workouts just aren't as good as others.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

today vs. age 7

Today was a rest day. I went on a walk around my neighborhood to stretch out after work. I wanted to check out a nearby park (Brentwood) to see what kind of playground equipment they have that might be fun to play around on. It turns out they had lots, including a section for grown up kids to do workouts on: pullup bars, balance beams, parallel bars, upright ladder, monkey bars.

There were lots of parents and little kids there playing. The kids started copying me. When I got on the swings, a 2 year old boy came over looking at me with a big smile and wanted to get on. His mom put him on her lap on the swing next to me. When I was hanging on the bars, a different toddler came over to watch and then grabbed onto a bar and started swinging, and laughing. He had his eye on me the whole time and told his mom that I am big like her.

It's been so long since I've played like that. I wanted to test my body now compared to when I was a kid. Well, it turns out I weigh a lot more, am not as comfortable with body weight exercises, have a weaker grip, am not as flexible, and have a lot more fear. Fear... mostly fear of injury but also fear of what I think I can't do. Crossfit is helping me break that down. Parcours inspires me to get creative. Thinking about being a kid reminds me to play.

Where am I today versus when I was 7?
  • Cartwheels - scared to try, lack of hamstring flexibility might make them kinda ugly
  • Handstands - scared, not strong enough yet
  • Backbends - omg that would hurt.
  • Swing across monkey bars - Yay! I did this today. The grip was hard but I've been working on that. I went down and back with about 8 steps each way.
  • Hang upside down from monkey bars- Yay! I did this too. It was scary because I thought I might fall on my head, but it felt great.
  • Hang upside down from bar and back flip off - I used to do this all the time, but today, um no.
  • Stand on parallel bars and walk across - I got up and stood on top, but was scared to move my feet
  • Pushups on top of parallel bars - did it today. kids don't care about pushups.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

oh fran, why you gotta be so difficult?

Swim 2300yd - endurance focus
[42 min, Main set: 200/300/200, 6x150 all steady mod-hard pace]

Crossfit Fran
Thrusters (45lb bar)
Pullups (green band)

I went to Big Stacy pool after work for my swim today since Deep Eddy is closed right now and Barton Springs is too cold. I forgot how nice that pool is - it was warm and there was hardly anyone there. My swim felt really strong today. My form is good and I can tell that all this work on upper body strength is already helping me pull harder on the water. After that I was famished so I stopped at 7-Eleven for a Clif Builder bar, which I inhaled while driving to the Austin Track to meet Bonita for today's Crossfit WOD.

Fran is always a killer. I think I may have done a partial Fran in the past with dumbbells but gave up before completing it. Today not only did I not give up, I went heavy with the 45 lb bar. I started crying in the middle set because it was so hard and I was failing on the thrusters, but I got it back together and finished. I put aside all concerns about speed and aimed for steady solid effort. My shoulders and quads were screaming the whole way through, and my breathing was just barely on the edge of control.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Best Workout Song Ever: Clubbed To Death

The song Clubbed to Death by Rob Dougan (aka Matrix Theme) is the best workout song ever. At 7 minutes long, it is the perfect length to run a fast mile or to do a long hill climb (bike or run). It alternates back and forth between work/recovery beats, which is perfect for intervals. I am an unstoppable aerobic machine when listening to this song. According to my iTunes, I have listened to it 162 times.

What I Did Today...

Crossfit Baby Bear Complex
3 rounds of 7 x (power clean, squat, push press, squat, push press)
[35lb, 40lb, 42.5lb]

Ugh. This was hard. The real Bear Complex is 7 rounds and I was whipped after just 3. You are not allowed to set the bar down until the round is complete.

Strength warmup
Pushups: 9-11-8-8-9
20 box jumps on 20" box
20 box steps on 24" box
20 burpees

Bike 60 minutes with 2 x (10 minutes hard/5 min rec)
[HR for intervals: 156, 152]
It worked perfectly to do the box jumps and burpees right before I got on the bike. I was already warmed up and I had no trouble getting my heart rate into the work zone. I did this within Danielle's spin class, just doing my own thing and using the music to push me. That's much more fun than trying to hammer the intervals by myself.

Run 30 minutes as brick with 15 min long run pace/15 min marathon pace
[1.7 miles (HR 142), 1.8 miles (HR 150) => 3.5 miles]
I got on the treadmill after spin class and my legs felt fine right away. No brick transition dead legs. I ran at 6.7mph for the first half and 7.2mph for the second half. It was all conversational pace. I wonder if the planned pace is supposed to be Ironman marathon pace or stand-alone marathon pace. There's quite a difference between those two. Today I chose Ironman marathon pace.

I am hardly sore at all after yesterday's half marathon. It's just a pleasant soreness in my glutes and calves but didn't interfere with my workouts today at all. I am not walking funny or anything like that. I think I am still enjoying the benefits of the extra rest and massage I got last week. I'm also wondering whether red meat could be making a difference here.

Whatever it is, I am super-motivated, happy and loving it when I am able to nail the workouts.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Austin Half Marathon Race Report

Austin Half Marathon - 13.1 miles
Finished 92nd of 5086 women overall
19th in age group F30-34
Splits and HR data:
7:41(147), 7:46(162), 7:46 (164), 7:13 (162), 7:07 (159), 7:08 (159), 7:45 (159), 7:45 (159), 8:14 (158), 8:03 (159), 7:49 (159), 7:52 (159), 8:02 (161)

The weather was perfect for running this morning: 40 and clear. I feel so lucky to be in Austin when I know that most people around the country are dealing with harsh winters. My pre-race routine went smoothly, starting at 5am with a bowl of oatmeal with protein powder. Parking at the race was no problem and I got there with the perfect amount of time to stretch and relax my mind. I could tell my quads were a little sore from all those squats yesterday but I wasn't going to dwell on that. I run sore all the time.

The first three miles were mostly up hill. I didn't push too hard yet but my quads were already burning. I knew it was just a matter of sticking with it because there would be a lot of downhill coming up. Miles 3-6 were mostly down. The spectators were lively along South Lamar and there were bands along the course. As we got back into the downtown area, the crowds were dense and several people deep for at least a half mile. Around this 10k mark is when doubts started entering my mind, thoughts about walking, thoughts about how I hadn't done my usual mileage leading up to this race and therefore wasn't ready for it, etc, etc. I wasn't going to walk in front of all the crowds so they kept me motivated to just work through it a little longer.

I gave my mind short goals like "just get to the next aid station", "just get to the next mile marker". My legs were starting to hurt a lot and I walked through the aid station at mile 7 while eating my gel. I knew this was going to take a warrior mental effort to stay strong to the end. I felt overwhelmed because I knew we hadn't gotten to the challenging hills yet. I stayed in the moment. I thought about how I enjoy running... I mostly believed that, but it wasn't all that comforting. I thought about how lucky I am to be out running a race with no injuries. I noticed how there were very few women around me, and the ones that were looked very fit and so did the guys around me. I remembered that I worked hard to be in that position in the field and I need to respect that.

The hills started around mile 9.5 and lasted through mile 12.5. Up and down, big rollers, one after another. I cranked up my music and focused. My boss and his family, and Bonita came out to cheer. Seeing them made me smile, which gave me some extra energy and helped break up those hills. The biggest hill was at mile 12, climbing 15th street just as it crosses over Lamar. I walked about 20 steps at the steepest part because I figured a fast walk would be the same pace as a slow run and it would conserve a little energy. That was a good strategy because once I got over the top I was able to turn it back on for the last half mile. I was able to pass a lot of people who were still trying to recover from running the massive hill. The finish took us around the Capitol and down Congress Ave through the finish line. I sprinted that last 0.1 miles and finished strong with a big smile on my face. Mo came to meet me at the finish line, and we had fun watching runners, enjoying the beautiful day, and eating tacos.

I didn't set a PR (it still stands at 1:37), but it was a hard course and my mental strategies were perfectly executed. I stayed with the discomfort and didn't let negative thoughts pull me down. I learned where my fitness is at today, and I couldn't have ran a stronger race.