Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday: A Typical Workout

I've gotten back to the gym this week and I am really enjoying my workouts.  My "training schedule", ideally, is to get a workout in 4 weekdays each week, plus one on either Saturday or Sunday.  For me, "workout" means either a run, walk/run interval training, or doing an iPersonalTrainer program at the gym.  It isn't always how it works out with the schedule, but that's the goal.

I'm doing pretty well this week - I got my Monday night run in with the HEAT WAVE group - about 45 minute walk/run and got in about 3 miles.  Tuesday AND Wednesday I got to the gym - basically a miracle the way things have been working the past few weeks!!  Tomorrow (Thursday) I take Coty to the last meeting of the TNAM group.  I'll get my finisher's certificate and shirt, and do one more run.  Though with temperatures predicted to top 103 degrees, I expect it will be a short walk and not a 4.37-mile run.

I thought this might be an opportune time to give a rundown on what a "typical" workout looks like for me when I hit the gym.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I use an app on my iPhone called iPersonalTrainer.  There are several options for setting up your workouts, but I like to use the Circuit Training program.  With this option, the app selects a set of 5 muscle groups and designs 2 exercises for each muscle group.  You do 1 exercise for each group, repeat that set twice, then do the other 5 exercises and repeat that set twice.  In the end, you do a total of 10 exercises, three times each.

[Side note:  I recently discovered I could rearrange the order of the exercises to make it so the order makes more sense logistically - in other words, if there are three exercises using the cables, do those together rather than cables, mats, bench, cables bench, etc.  (This way I'm not running all over the gym wasting time getting from one exercise to the next all over the place - big improvement!)]

I've been wanting to do some speed work when I'm at the gym, where I can workout on the treadmill and really lock in my speed, see what it feels like to "comfortably" run at one speed or another.  So to warm up yesterday, I started out with a 5-minute walk and then did some interval training:  2 minutes running followed by 1 minute of walking (strictly enforced!) and to make it a speed workout I amped up the speed for each running interval.  I started a 5.0 mph, then 5.2, 5.4 etc... and ended with two intervals at 6.0.  I'd like to make this a weekly part of my routine - it was fun and I really felt like I was pushing.

Wednesday's workout focused on Triceps, Quads, Calves and Core. (three sets each)
  • Leg Press: 45 lbs, 10 reps 
  • Calf Raise on Leg Press:  45 lbs, 15 reps
  • Cable Lawnmowers:  10 lbs, 10 reps
  • Cable Triceps Extension:  20 lbs, 20 reps
  • Bowing Crunch:  10 reps
  • Step Up:  10 reps each side (stepping up on the weight bench.  I'm too short (or the bench is too tall) and have to bring a 3-inch aerobic-step over to give me a boost.  Otherwise, it hurts my hip something fierce, and my form and control goes all to shit.)
  • Rope Cable Row:  30 lbs, 10 reps
  • Wall Jumps (exactly what it sounds like):  30 seconds
  • Single Dumbbell Kickback (bent over the weight bench, working your triceps by extending backward with gravity and the dumbbell as resistance):  5 lbs, 10 reps
  • Reverse Crunch:  10 reps - this was something I've never tried before and the first set was hard. I suspect I was using poor form.  Once I figured out how to do it, I really liked it. Here's a video demonstration (obviously not me).

And the best part of every workout:  my gym's tanning booth!  Every workout earns me a tanning session.  You know I'm really rules-oriented, and the rule is, I don't get to tan unless I've done a workout.  I imagine I could allow tanning after a road run, but I'm afraid that would lead to tanning "when I'm planning" a run, so that's a non-starter.  We'll  have none of that.

So that's what a "typical" gym workout looks like for me. Thank goodness you don't have to see what I look like all sweaty and puffy and red in the face when I'm done!  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh, Poor Puppy!

This is a bit off-topic for the blog, but had to share.

Coty went into the front yard this afternoon, sat down in the grass... then yelped! Turned around and started biting and licking her hindquarters.  Then I saw a big, fat, yellow bumblebee fly out from under her butt!  She sat on a bumblebee!  It was clear she'd been stung by the little bugger.  She snapped at it a few times in protest but then was so distracted by the sting, she let it go and went back to licking her leg.

I called the vet to ask if there was anything to worry about.  He said if she appeared to be having an allergic reaction, we could give her a dose of Benadryl.  She calmed down and let up on the licking after a few moments, so I made a judgement call.  We went on our planned run and I kept a close eye on her, willing to turn around any time she made a protest.

She did well with our run, a little over 3 miles, not much limping and didn't stop to try & lick her leg or anything.  But now, poor thing, she's limping around like a three-legged dog.  Really favoring her leg.  Once we get her up and walking around a bit, it seems like it loosens up, but she's definitely got some swelling and soreness.

Oh, poor puppy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sometimes, it's the Little Things

Sometimes it really is all about little things.

I had a great afternoon.  Took a half-day off from work, to head to my wonderful hairdresser's for a cut, color & style (LONG overdue, I might add - I had to cancel my appointment in early May because I was out of town on business and couldn't get back in to see him any sooner!).  Left the salon looking like a rock star.  Went home & relaxed for about a 1/2-hour, then changed clothes and headed out on a run with, you guessed it, my trusty companion.  I wanted to get in my Thursday Night 4.37-mile run, but didn't want to go to the Lake.  It's too hot, and with the new route that's been put in place due to construction on the bridge out there, there's just not enough shade for either Coty or myself.  So we just headed out from the house and hit the Trail.  Coty calmed down quickly in the heat and after about a mile she happily pulled in behind me and even without her leash she stuck pretty much by my side or about 5 feet behind.

By the second water stop, about 2.2 miles, where we would turn around, she was insisting on a break.
She took a drink from the doggie fountain and then plopped down in the shade and wasn't going anywhere.

I sat down with her and we took five.  What the hell, it's hot out here.

So we got going again and headed home.  Now, for the little thing:  about 1/2-mile from home, I'm getting tired - which is really more mental than physical.  [Side note:  There's a point during every run that I have to make sure Coty's back on her leash, because she can get away with murder... I'm too mentally distracted by running and breathing that I can't properly focus on her and make sure she doesn't chase the wrong rabbit or head into the street or roll in the nastiest thing she can get her face on... etc.  This is also the point in any run when, if I think about it, I get really nervous about the possibility of injury.  Everyone knows what a klutz I can be when I'm not paying attention.]

Really, I'm getting to the little thing, I swear.

So about a 1/2-mile from home, I felt something under my shoe - a rock, maybe a twig, I don't know, maybe it was just some uneven concrete on the sidewalk - and I could feel my right leg begin to slide forward.  I had visions of an ugly fall, bloodied knees (AGAIN!) and potential broken bones.  But I shifted my weight, adjusted my stride and the angle my torso was leaning, and recovered with nary a missed step.

I'm telling you now, this would NOT have ended so well a year ago.  In fact, I think I have photos of the last time something like this happened.


I wasn't even running that day:  just taking a nice leisurely walk with my hubby and my dog, and less than TWENTY FEET from home, I tripped on a bad bit of sidewalk and completely lost my shit.  I mean, how ridiculous is that???

Okay, I looked it up.  The pics are from July 2010.

So today, I am appreciating my ability to avoid a potential spill: STRONGER legs, FASTER recovery, BETTER core strength.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mid-Week Recap

I didn't have a terrifically "good" week last week in terms of eating well, but I did get some great runs in so I didn't know quite what to expect for Sunday's weigh-in.  It went surpassingly well - down 3.2 pounds (bit of a correction from a gain the week before), which brings me to a grand total of 20 - TWENTY - pounds lost since I started tracking my food and exercise last October!!  I have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support I received after sharing the news on Facebook.  I have enjoyed reviewing the weight-loss graph on my LoseIt! home page.  It reminds me that no matter how slowly, the extra weight has been coming off.

I set a new mini-goal on LoseIt! - goal is for BMI under 30, and only need to drop another 5 pounds to get there.  My "recommended" weight is still 39 pounds away so it's a long road ahead but I'll keep on trucking.  

This week, my new running group started up.  The LRC has a summer running program for women only.  It's designed for runners of any level, training for a 5K distance.  It is appropriately named the HEAT WAVE.  And it was very hot but we had a nice breeze and that time of day there's plenty of shade on the Trail.  I do need to be training for a longer distance, since I have a 5-miler just two weeks away, and a 10K at the end of September to keep in mind, but I like running with a group once day a week, it's a nice change, and since they meet and run on the Trail, I can bring my trusty partner Coty.  The TNAM group is still going, out at the Lake, so this week and next, I have two group runs. 

Coty's ALWAYS ready for a run.

I should probably get back to the gym sometime soon.  It's been more than a week since I got any strength training in... Will definitely report back when I fit that into my schedule!

That's about it for me... this week is flying by and I'd better hit the hay pretty quick here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Race Recap: Steamboat Classic 2012

Today's race went fairly well.  It was the Steamboat Classic 2012 in Peoria.  Here's the breakdown.

I have been running the TNAM route as often as possible - about once a week, 4.37 mile route - as my training for this 4-mile race, so I felt pretty well-prepared, but haven't been running as often as I would have liked.  It may have been a mistake to run 4.37 yesterday morning, but I just couldn't help myself:  I had the day off work and it was great to get out there on Constitution Trail in the morning with my dog!  We took it pretty easy, did plenty of walking and didn't push too hard, knowing I was racing this morning.

I laid out all my gear last night, got up at 4:45am, hit the showers, dressed & headed out the door.  I planned to get coffee at the gas station on my way out of town but had to wait several minutes as they weren't open yet when I arrived!  It was me and the 5 old men who clearly gather there each morning for their coffee klatch, waiting for them to unlock the joint.  Got the coffee but in my caffeine-deprived state, I forgot to put any sweetener in it (guess it's been quite a while since I hit up Casey's for my morning joe) - turns out it wasn't half bad.  Maybe I can start reducing the amount of artificial sweetener I use each day??

Hit the road about 5:35 headed for Peoria (about 40 miles), feeling behind-schedule but knowing the race doesn't start till 7am and my race bib / chip / packet had already been picked up by my good friend and former boss, Joe.  I made great time - ate most of my PowerBar on the way so my stomach wasn't empty, parked the car and texted Joe right about 6:10am. (It was already over 70 degrees and fairly humid.)  Joe and I failed to properly designate where we were meeting so that he could give me my bib and timing chip, so a bit of confusion followed.  I did get a good stretch and warm-up walk in while waiting for him to meet up, but ended up making a last-minute rush to find him (amid approximately 5,000 people) and get my gear on with just a couple of minutes to go before the starting gun!

Last-minute snafu aside, I found the group of 11-12 minute pacers and headed out.  I felt like I was stuck behind a whole bunch of really slow runners, might have joined the group too far behind the starting line... but then I got to the first mile-marker and my phone (MapMyRun app) announced my first mile was at a pace of 10:40!!!

I knew I was in deep trouble.  I started out WAY too fast.  Tried to get my pace under control at that point, but it was tough because the runners never really spread out the way they normally do:  usually, within the first mile, especially if you're relatively slow like me, the pack spreads out quickly and you can find a nice space where you're not jockeying for position and cutting through / around groups all the time.  This didn't really ever happen with today's race... it got better after about the 2-mile mark, but not until the last 800-1000 meters did it really clear up. 

There was also the issue of water-stops (or in this case, the lack thereof).  When I ran this race two years ago, there was a stop with water and Gatorade just before the 2-mile mark.  My habit of running with a bottle of water in hand saved my bacon today for sure.  In the heat today, even with my bottle (which was getting warm and also a bit salty from all the sweat on my lips as I took a sip every few minutes), I was looking for the water stop, hoping for a few ounces of Gatorade to keep me going.  NOPE!  The first water-stop was just before the THREE-mile marker today, and then another was set up at about 3.5-miles.  (I'm still pondering what the hell was the point of that.)  And, you guessed it, no Gatorade.  Just a couple of really nice families, filling pitchers from their front-yard garden hose!

At this point in the race, having started out way too fast, I was flagging.  My walking breaks were getting longer, and my running intervals were getting shorter.  I was really pushing, using all my willpower, to run for just 3-4 minutes at a stretch. If I remember correctly, my phone told me I was at 23 or 24 minutes at mile 2 (still not bad for me, but I was really feeling spent already), and about 37-38 at mile 3.  I was getting slower.

One really great thing about Steamboat is the route for the 4-mile run.  It's essentially an out-and-back route, on major roads near downtown Peoria, with a (mostly) gradual uphill terrain for the first two miles, and mostly flat or downhill heading back.  I pushed on and found a little energy once I saw the "800M to go" sign.  Not coincidentally, I think that was about when the leaders in the 15K race began to pass us.  Then "400M to go" and finally rounded the corner for the final straightaway to the Finish Line and I REALLY found the Afterburners!  For better or worse, I did finish strong.

Steamboat had a kind of disorganized post-race party.  I had trouble finding water, and food, but they DID have plenty.  In fact I wished they'd had little grocery bags or something to carry things in, because I grabbed a couple of granola bars, a banana (only at a little of that, was NOT what my body wanted today), and a nectarine, plus a can of Diet Pepsi and an ice-cold bottle of water.  Did you catch that word, "nectarine"??  I say this is the best damn post-race party anywhere, I've never seen nectarines after a race, and wow, do I LOVE me some nectarines!!  What a great surprise!  I went back for a couple more after I rested a bit.

I went and found Joe, with his brother, his son, and two of their friends.  We compared notes and decided to head back to the food/ water area and get our free beer.  There really is nothing quite as tasty as a Bud Light at 8:30am after a hard-run race in the heat!!

I didn't take any "Before" picture today, and normally don't take "After" pics, but when I met up with Joe, and the others they insisted on taking several.  I haven't seen them yet but I'm certain I look positively abominable!  If they are at all presentable, I will consider posting one (but don't hold your breath).

OK now for the stats:  I've run this race only once before, and two years ago at that.  Time to beat today was 52:45.  I haven't checked online yet for my official time.  I was concentrating so hard on sprinting to the Finish Line that I failed to check the Big Clock, but my phone said I ran today in just under 54 minutes.  This would be disappointing, except the phone also says (based on GPS) that I ran nearly 4.5 miles! (Not the 4.0 that I was racing...)

So, drum-roll, please...  (I'm sure you'll wait patiently while I go check the web site.)

OH SONOFABITCH!  The results haven't yet been posted, though the race has been over for 3+ hours!!  Guess you'll have to wait along with me!