Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Box jumps can hurt when you are tired

Today's WOD was okay, I am not a fan of walking kettlebell swings, I feel like I lost some of my momentum in the swing when I took a step forward with the weight above my head but anyway, here is what we did today:
Run 200M (sprint)
15 walking kettlebell swings (35 lb kettlebell)
20 box jumps (20" box)
Rest 90 seconds between rounds
5 rounds
Time: 20:35 total, actual work time: 16:05
The box jumps got me today.  Ever since I sprained my ankle last summer, I've been kind of lame on the box jumps. I used to be able to hop up and down on the box but I get winded now and I can feel myself lose my balance so I end up doing step-ups instead of jumping on the box.  Today, on the very first round, I started jumping on the box and on my 4th jump, my left leg slipped and scraped against the side of the box.  I have a nice scrape on my shin now where I banged it.  It looks exactly like a mountain biking injury and will go well with all my other scars from biking.  After that, the box became 10 feet tall and my legs refused to jump on it simultaneously (right leg is always more confident than left leg).  For the subsequent rounds, I managed to do 8-10 jumps interspersed with step-ups, it took much exaggerated knee bends and using my arms to get my body to agree to do a jump.  Overall, not my best WOD and definitely not a favorite WOD!  I'd grade it a B workout.  After the WOD was over, I did 10 pullups with a band but this time held the position at the top for 3 seconds, trying to grease the groove and get stronger for some real deadhang pullups.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Snatches and front squats

I felt weak today because I couldn't snatch 66 lbs. I ended up dropping to 56 lbs and still had a hard time but made it through. It was also another big class today (12 people)!  I didn't really look forward to bigger classes (I even had a nightmare one time where the gym was packed with about 100 people for the 6 am class and they were doing wall balls outside near a lake that replaced the real parking lot), but, it has not been a negative at all.  I would even say that it's made me slightly more competitive and fueled the fire to get a "good" time.  Today's WOD:
3 snatches (I did 56 lbs, prescribed for women was 95 lbs)
6 front squats (67 lbs)
20 weighted step-ups (2x15 lb dumbbells, 20" box)
5 rounds
Time: 17:35
This was a tough WOD for me, I still move my head to the side when I do a snatch and struggled a bit on the last two rounds. Jason was there today and gave me a hard time about not squatting deep enough on the front squats (and I know I need to get down further!) so I worked on that during the WOD. 
Afterwards, Jason suggested I do some triceps kickbacks with a 25-20 lb dumbbell to strengthen my triceps and improve my pushups.  So I did 1 set of 10 with a 25 lb dumbbell and then 1 set of 10 with a 20 lb dumbbell (and I have to do this again on Thursday and Saturday).

I had another session with Dr. Staker (chiropractor) and my lower back still has some pain when he treated it which means it's not 100% okay yet. I also asked him about my runner's knee (right knee has been throbbing the last 3 days) and he asked if the pain was on the outside of my knee (it was) and said it was probably my illiotibial (IT) band.  He stretched out my leg and pressed on my IT band several times, it hurt but I'm hoping it helps. I'm going to have the IT band treated again on Thursday along with my back.  I think one of my bigger problems is I don't stretch enough and I know I don't do anything for my IT band. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Cardio WOD

Today's 6AM class was packed with 12 people!  We did some dynamic stretches and the warm-up consisted of  2 rounds of 5 slamballs (20 lb ball) and 10 walking lunges. The WOD:
400M run
12 pullups (band-assisted)
20 pushups (on my knees)
30 situps (using an Abmat)
4 rounds
Finished in 17:10.
It was a cardio-intensive workout and I didn't stop for any water or take any breaks during the workout.  I sprinted the first 400M run but after that I had to slow down because I just couldn't catch my breath otherwise.  Given that this was a body-weight exercise day, I'm expecting tomorrow to be all about going heavy so I'm mentally preparing myself.  My back feels pretty good and my stretching was better today.
Crossfit Games 2012 has started with the Open, and people in my gym are participating.  Adam (both a member and now a trainer at the gym), asked me why I wasn't participating in the games, I told him that I couldn't even do a pullup yet and didn't think I was ready to compete.  He said there were other people in our gym who (no offense) were doing it and not "contenders" but still putting themselves out there. At that moment, I realized that I had put the Crossfit competitions in a different category where I felt that I was not good enough to even compete because I already knew that I wasn't competitive, which is the exact opposite about how I feel about running and biking races. I know I'm not going to win in those either but I still am doing a bunch because I think it's fun and I feel like I'll get better at running and biking if I compete.  I won't be doing any Crossfit competitions this year but I think it will be a goal for next year to at least give it a shot. 

The first WOD was to do as many burpees as possible in 7 minutes - Adam did 110, before he told me that, I thought I could do at least 100 in 7 minutes (haven't tried).  I think I might try this week just to see what I can do, but I'm pretty sure now that it's not 100!  The other rule for this WOD was that you have to jump at least 6" above your vertical height. All the rules and a video demo can be found here. Do some burpees today just for fun!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Company Mill Umstead Run

Since we are doing the Mountains to Sea Trail race in about a month, it was high time to go back and do some trail running.  We hit Umstead park at 9:30 am today and did the Company Mill loop (~5.8 miles) in about 67 minutes.  It was a pretty good run, I dressed too warm as usual and had to take off my jacket, hat and gloves after 2.5 miles.  Jim ended up running ahead of us (he is achieving his goal of beating me on a regular basis now!) and I ran with Lisa, Barbara and Elinor.  It was Elinor's first time out on Company Mill and she did great! Much better than I would have done considering she hadn't been doing any trail running for months.  I think the hills were tough for all of us but overall, it didn't feel too bad. It did remind me that I would have to do twice the length for the trail race and I needed to get out more often to practice.
Jim did well for the first 5 miles but then he stopped, waited for us to catch up, took pictures of us running past him and when he got going again, his foot hit a big root really hard and he ended up having to walk the last 0.8 miles out.  He can walk on it now but it's going to take a good 2 weeks at least to get back into running :(.  I told him he isn't getting out of the Mountains to Sea race though.  
I'm going to make a strong effort to get out of work on time and do Company Mill on the weekdays also to get used to trail running again.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

7:30 AM run with the Complete Runner Program

Yesterday was a much needed rest day as everything was still sore but I have mostly recovered now and felt pretty good going for the 7:30 am run with the Complete Runner program.  Lisa was there also and with the group, we set off for a 6 mile run through downtown Raleigh.  We basically ran through some of the historic neighborhoods and it was nice, not much traffic and fairly easy to navigate.  The loop we took was from Cameron Village (Clark St) to Oberlin rd. to Lake Boone Trail to Glenwood avenue and then to Brooks avenue and back on to Clark.  Brooks Avenue was the hardest because it was a long uphill climb, I wasn't sure if it was going to end.  I spent some time during the run talking to Elinor about minimal shoes. Both she and our coach, Tim, had asked me if I always run in minimal shoes and the answer is yes.  It took a good 6 months to acclimate to the minimal shoes but since I've been wearing them, I don't get any blisters, no foot pain/heel pain and my knee has only hurt twice in the last 9 months.  I suspect the knee pain is from me still running with poor form but I keep trying to be mindful of it.  I used to wear orthotics and thickly soled shoes because my right knee would throb the day after a run (all the icing in the world didn't stop the aftermath of pain) and this was the advice I got from a podiatrist and a doctor back in grad school.  And for awhile, the orthotics helped but the pain came back and I quit running for 3 years.  I started up again because I made some new friends in Raleigh that were starting to run.  I ran very very slowly and didn't have much knee pain if I kept the overall mileage low (< 15 miles/week) and didn't go very fast (~12 min/mile).  Once I started going to Forged Fitness and strengthening my legs, I was able to run for longer without any pain but noticed that my shoes would bother me (the thick soles), I took out the insoles in the shoes and felt better but never felt comfortable.  I ended up trying Vibram Five Fingers but did not like them, my toes just are not the right size for the shoes and I never could get used to them.  I decided I needed something that looked more like a regular shoe so I gave the Merrell Pace gloves a try and loved them!

Next time, I'll get a picture with the Merrells in the spotlight.
I first just wore them to Forged Fitness so it was a very easy adaptation to my crossfit workouts and short runs (400 M).  I built up my mileage running in them and sometimes still wore my trail shoes for running on the rocky trails.  I also discovered Pose running through the Crossfit Journal website, and by watching the videos, I learned how to run on the balls of my feet, lean slightly forward and not heel strike.  I could definitely stand to practice the technique but just the little I learned from Brian MacKenzie's videos in the Crossfit journal was tremendous to my running.  I felt much more graceful and was no longer struggling to run fast (relatively fast, okay?!).  By Novemer 2011, I tried the Merrell Pace Gloves in the Raleigh Half-Marathon and felt great (this was going to be my longest run ever in the minimal shoes).   The only stumbling block I had was that I was ONLY running on the balls of my feet, more so on my right foot and never letting my heel touch the ground, this caused me to cramp up in my calf and has made my achilles tendon strain.  I've tried to be more conscious of letting the heel kiss the ground before lifting my foot back up again and it's been the only thing that has required regular running to get right.  Despite how easy running may seem, there is good technique and bad technique and it behooves every runner to learn good technique! I've been much happier and have enjoyed my runs even more now that I can run with better technique, it's also opend up the possibility of getting faster and building my aerobic endurance. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hang squat clean WOD

Today's WOD was a killer, I felt like my heart rate was 190 bpm the entire time, on the surface it looked simple and it was simple but it was also a serious met con workout:
15 hang squat clean (55 lbs)
20 wall balls (14 lb ball)
5 rounds
Time: 17:35
I wish I could have done a heavier weight but I felt my back aching when I tried 63 lbs so I decided to play it safe and did 55 lbs which was still hard! By the third round I was doing the hang cleans in sets of five. Combine that with the wall balls to make me gasp for air! I was in an anaerobic zone for this WOD. Afterward I had another visit with the chiropractor and it looks like next week I'll go again twice to see him. Things are improving but I don't have full mobility yet.
Here is a video of the hang squat clean move, the second and third time I do it, I am much better about squatting but I could go deeper and the faster I get into the squat position, the easier it is to load heavier weights and improve:

Around 6 pm, I did a 4 mile run at a 10:35 pace, and everything felt sore! My hamstrings, quads, butt, shoulders, and chest are all sore! I think that is the effect of taking 1.5 weeks off from any lifting, getting back into it is a jolt to your muscles. Tomorrow will be a rest day in preparation for the mountain bike race on Saturday, hopefully my soreness will be gone by then.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lateral hops WOD

Today's WOD was a tough one:
10 bent over rows (44 lbs)
Lateral hops (16 12" high bars)
15 toes to bars
20 pushups
5 rounds
Time: 17:35
I was wiped out after this workout. I will be doing a speed workout this evening with the Complete Runner program and hope to maintain a faster 400M time to get my overall speed faster.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Olympic lifts make you sweat

It's probably psychological but I already feel like 2 days at Forged Fitness has made me more energetic. Today's WOD:
3 straight leg deadlifts 75 lbs
3 snatch pulls 45 lbs
3 power snatches 45 lbs
6 overhead squats 45 lbs
7 rounds
I did try 55 lbs at first and it felt okay but I started to struggle on the second round so I switched to 45 lbs on round 3. After the workout was over, I stuck around and did:
10 pullups (green band, hold the position at the top for at least 5 seconds)
10 lunges holding a 45 lb bar in the front squat position
5 military presses 45 lbs
2 rounds
I stayed longer since I was going to the chiropractor at 7:15. My back feels okay but I did feel it doing the deadlifts and my left side still feels a little weird. I haven't been good about stretching so I need to work on that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Back at Forged Fitness!

I have missed 8 workouts at Forged Fitness (10 if you count the new Saturday workouts).  I am not sure if there is a correlation but last week I noticed that I was extremely tired and sleepy by 3 pm, seriously, I felt like I could have put my head down and fallen asleep within seconds.  I didn't like it and I tried diet Coke to stave off the sleepiness but even that didn't help.  I think the short/high-intensity workouts at Forged Fitness give me the extra energy I need during a busy day so I'm hoping the sleepy feeling will be gone now.

Today's WOD:
Row 250M
9 dumbbell thrusters (I used 2x15 lb dumbbells, I'm easing into the lifting this week)
Row 500M
15 dumbbell thrusters
Row 1000M
21 dumbbell thrusters
Time: 11:55
A good and fairly easy workout to start off with.  My back didn't hurt but I did notice that it was still hard to stretch as far on my left side.  I'm going back to the chiropractor again on Tuesday and Thursday morning for more rehabilitation.  I'm really happy I'm back in the gym again, I missed it and it was not even hard to get up at 5:20 am this morning!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I can touch my toes again!

Best part of a run- good eats!

A plethora of breakfast
I feel back to normal again and it is wonderful.  I can touch my toes, I know longer feel any pain in my back or left side, yay!!!! And I'll be going back to the gym on Monday. In the meantime, I'm continuing to follow the Complete Runner program and today was our long run - 90 minutes or 9 miles starting out at 7:30 am.  I helped set the pace for Lisa and another girl in the group (Eleanor) and we finished 9 miles in 89 minutes!  It was about a 10:00 min/mile pace which was pretty good for all of us.  Lisa did start to lag when there was 1.5 miles left but I helped push her along and she really didn't want to be left behind so she kept it up until the end.  I've been running with Lisa as my running partner for over a year and half now and I think she stuck with me because I keep a consistent (albeit slow) pace and she felt like we matched each other in speed and determination (she and Jim never protest early morning runs like the rest of my friends here in Raleigh).  After the run was over, our coach Tim had us over for breakfast at his house and it was great.  I figured since I burned 1000 calories, I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted within the 1 hour window post-run.  So I chowed down on spinach quiche (from Costco, now I have to reconsider getting a membership, it was delicious), fruit compote bread pudding, a mini-cinnamon bun and half a bagel with butter plus orange juice.  It was great and very generous of Tim to have 20 people over for breakfast.
The run was at a good, hard pace that felt okay until we stopped for a few minutes to cross a road, my hips ached trying to get back into the run and it took a few more minutes before the pain went away. I suspect that I'm still using too much hip and not enough hamstrings in running.  The other funny thing was that during breakfast, Lisa told the others there that we (Lisa and I) used to run at a nice, comfortable pace and it was fun but now it felt like work!  I didn't realize she was thinking that this was work today because I didn't feel that way.  It was hard, but I liked pushing myself and was happy! I felt bad that she was thinking it was work so I might have to talk to her to let her know that she doesn't have to go at whatever pace I set and the most important thing is to have fun.  Once running becomes "work" and chasing some time or pace you think you need to have, you stop enjoying the scenery, the people you are with, and just the freedom of being outside and that is no good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Running barefoot again!

I saw the chiropractor this morning and told him that although my back was feeling better, my left side (in particular around butt and hips) was in constant numbing pain, not enough to make me cry but enough that it felt like half of my body was not really mine.  He said that it was probably a pinched nerve (or nerves?) at the end of my spine that go down into the leg.  He did some assisted stretching (not sure what else to call it) and then the same manipulation he had previously done on my back and sent me off. And for most of today, I didn't have that numbing pain anymore although it came back towards the end of the work day, still not as strong as yesterday but there.  I've been trying to stretch it out and will go back on Friday for another treatment.  This injury has not been fun but I have changed my mind about chiropractors - they can be effective! I wasn't so sure before I saw Dr.Staker but this experience has been good and resulted in me healing faster.  I feel like if I had gone to a doctor, I would have gotten drugs and if I had seen a physical therapist, I would just get a lot of stretching, maybe I'm wrong but that is my impression of past visits with both. 

The pain in my left side has not affected my running though so I am still keeping at it.  Tonight, as part of the Complete Runner program (now in our 4th week out of 12), we did strides on the grass at Meredith College.  I went barefoot again and this time did 8 strides around the perimeter he marked for us.  Our warmup consisted of running 1.5 miles to the college from the running store where we meet.  I took off my shoes and socks once we got to the field and ran hard for 0.1 miles and then walked about 0.05 miles before repeating.  I finished with 8 total, I might have been able to do more but I remembered that the last time I did it, my feet were sore for 3 days!  Our recovery was running back to the store- 1 mile back via another route.  Heartrate was pretty consistent with the last run- up to 180-185 bpm and when I'm only running 0.1 miles, I can get down to a sub-5 minute pace :) Of course, I can't keep that pace up for longer than 0.1 miles but the whole point is to sprint and build speed. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

At Home WOD

Despite my left side feeling out of balance and achy, I decided I needed to work out.  I ended up doing:
1 mile run (10:20 pace)
20 pushups (on the knees)
20 squats (just bodyweight)
3 dips
3 rounds
I didn't record the time!  I was nice and sweaty by the time I was through and feeling pretty good, although, I was surprised how hard the running was on the treadmill (2% incline), not sure if it was just being tired or the room being too warm but it was harder to run today than the 5K on the Sunday.  I'm going to try to keep up with the bodyweight exercises this week since I can't lift anything or do any plyometrics.

I'm kind of bummed that I can't go to the gym this week, after wrenching my back again on Friday night, I've decided that I will not attempt anything strenuous for another week.  I don't think I could anyway since my flexibility is down to zero now, I tried reaching down to touch my toes and got as far as my knees!  I'm seeing the chiropractor three times this week (M,W, F) but I don't feel any different from yesterday so I hope Wednesday and Friday comes up with something otherwise I'm going to go into despair mode.  I miss being flexible, I miss the privilege of moving anyway I want!   I missing jumping up and down and doing burpees.  Since I can't go to the gym, I'm going to try some bodyweight exercises tonight: pushups, planks, dips, and assisted pullups and more stretching.  In the meantime, check out Jim doing 180 lbs bench press at the Pump'n'Run contest from the 5K we did on Sunday (next year, look out, I'm going for a max rep on this race!):

Our results for the 5K Run for Roses race:
JIM            26:39   8:35 min/mile pace
SARWAT  28:56   9:33 min/mile pace

I was #12 out of 30 in my age group (35-39), Jim was #6 out of 16 in his age group!
In other news, last night I saw the writer of "Born to Run" at Duke University, Christopher McDougall.  He was entertaining and sincere.  His main message run for the fun of it, don't worry about your pace, your nutrition (the nutrition will come eventually on its own once you start running), or races.  Leave the competitiveness out of your running and just let it be.  Part of me agrees with this but another part of me just loves the races I have done!  And it wasn't because I was ever going to place or win anything. There is a communal aspect to these races and it's thrilling to have a crowd of runners carry you through at a pace you never would have tried if you were just running alone. And if you can't keep up the pace, there are some more runners behind you to run with!  So far, doing a race has been fun for me and I will continue with it, when it stops being fun, I won't race anymore but I just don't see that happening since the running community in Raleigh is really great and we put on some great races.  The flip side of this is that I know I don't want to do some big gigantic popular race like the NYC marathon or the Boston marathon because I see nothing fun in getting to the starting line 4 hours before the start because there are 50,000 other people there!  The Raleigh half-marathon was fun because I got there 10 minutes before the start, went to the porta-potty for my last bathroom break and hopped into the starting line right after the gun went off!  And that was with 4000 people there!  No stress, no fuss. It was perfect.  So if you haven't tried running, give it a go, it will suck for the first 3-6 months but then the happiness key will be turned on and you will feel awesome, I promise.  Here is a link to Christoper McDougall's exercise that will improve your running, try it, I know I'm going to: The Once and Future Way to Run.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Run for the Roses 5K road race

Despite a twitchy back, I decided to still go through with the 5K today and am glad I did.  I did not do the bench press option (women bench half their weight and each rep means 30 seconds of your 5K time and they give out prizes to the top 3) because I was afraid I would screw up my back again (only 1 stupid move per week for me).  Jim did do the bench press option and ended up doing 12 reps.

They started the bench pressing at 1 pm and it took until 1:56 pm before we got out of there! I hope next year they start earlier.  I was a little irritated that they let some people do some pretty half-assed bench presses (not touching the bar to their chest, less than full extension).  We ran out of there and threw our extra clothes into the car when we heard the timer go off.  We ended up being the last people at the starting line.  We did have timing chips on so it didn't matter too much because your time registered when you hit the starting pad.  The run was a loop around the Mordecai neighborhood and was much hillier than I thought!  One house had Rocky blasting as we ran by in the last mile- just perfect for the run!  I felt pretty good, my back didn't hurt, my leg didn't hurt, and for awhile my pace was 8:40 but the hills got me and in the end I averaged a 9:15 pace.  After crossing the finish line, they gave me a rose (I suppose because it was Valentine's day weekend)! It was a nice touch to the end of the 5K.  I also liked the long-sleeved wicking shirt they provided, overall a great race!

I'm not sure what our final times were because we left before the times were announced. I'll update once the results are posted.
Afterwards, I got a free stretching session with the chiropractor on-site.  It was an awesome time!

I had another session with the chiropractor on Friday and was feeling about 85% normal.  Then I went and did something stupid when I got home, I moved some lawn chairs on the patio and threw my back out again and was in significant pain that night and the next morning.  It was painful to get up, to sleep, to walk around the apartment.  So I did very little the first half of Saturday.  I took some ibuprofen and felt somewhat better and decided to go to the gym with Jim, mainly to stretch and walk slowly on the treadmill (3 mph!).  I tried doing some dips since I thought that wouldn't hurt my back (it didn't) and I provide you today with this video for your enjoyment.  (note: I can do two real dips, check out my previous post here for proof: )

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Running and the Chiropractor

Wednesday night was hill work. We did 1/4 mile sprints up a hill in Raleigh and then recovered by walking down the same hill. In the end I did 5 rounds at an average pace of 2:10. It was a lung-buster! Best part was that my back didn't hurt although it did get twitchy if I ran hard downhill, so I didn't do that!
Thursday morning I went to see Dr. Staker and he examined me, took some x-rays and it was obvious from the exam that I had shifted my spine to one side, the left side hurt intensely. He did one adjustment and I'm going back again tomorrow for another adjustment. It doesn't feel much better yet but I hope to be on the path to recovery by the weekend.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Working out with lower back pain

This is what the test looks like.
Last night I volunteered to do a treadmill test with Chris Eschbach, he is working with Valencell to evaluate earbuds that can monitor your heartrate and caloric intake and other cool stuff, just imagine, you could listen to your music while running and be monitoring your metabolic state! Now that I've written that, I see how nerdy it is but I do think it's a nifty idea and would mean one less thing to carry on a workout.  The treadmill test consisted of me wearing a mask to monitor how much oxygen I consumed and carbon dioxide I expelled.  I warmed up for 1 minute at 1 mph, and then progressively went up in speed in 6 minute segments: 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 mph at a 1% incline.  The whole test took about 30 minutes and for my time, I got $40 in Amazon gift cards.  I also ended up running a total of 2.6 miles (this counts in my exercise log!) and my lower back pain didn't prevent me from running and my lower back didn't hurt during the run.  So I knew from that experience I can still do some exercises despite the lower back issues. 
This morning I did modify the WOD with Jason's help:
Pushups (my substitute for the prescribed burpees)
Pullups (band-assisted)
medicine ball cleans (12 lb ball, I went lighter, usually I do 14 lb, if I had been feeling good, I would have tried the 16 lb ball)
The medicine ball clean (will have to make a video of this soon!) consists of holding a wall ball, squatting and lifting up, shrugging your shoulders and then catching the ball on the squat down (you are not supposed to throw the ball up and bend your elbows to get the ball up).  It's harder than it looks. 
On the pullups, Jason told me that when I get my chin up to the bar, I hold it there for a few seconds before coming down, I did that and it was harder but I think this will help me eventually do a real pullup with no bands! So I will continue practicing. 
I finished in 15:31. 
Next on the list of things to do: continue icing my lower back and look for a chiropractor today. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Running and the WOD

I took it fairly easy this weekend because I had a cold.  Saturday was a rest day and Sunday I got out and did a 3 mile run (10:30 pace) on the bridle trails at Umstead. 
That should have left me all refreshed and ready for the WOD today but it was pretty tough:
10 Thrusters (56 lbs)
15 Slamballs (20 lbs)
20 pushups (knee pushups)
400M run
4 rounds
I finished in 21:07
A thruster is a front squat and push-press combo, it is hard. I can do 75 lb front squats in a WOD and I can do 55, maybe 60 lb push presses, so for a thruster I stick to 55-56 lbs which can still be a struggle after a couple of rounds just because it is tiring to go directly from a front squat into a push press!  It didn't help that I overextended my lower back last week trying to get the 75 lb bar up (stupid, stupid, stupid, instead of squatting to receive the bar, I arched my back and knew the minute I did that I was hurting myself).  I thought most of the back pain was subsiding but it came back today in the thrusters so I'm going to have to take it easy the next couple of days (maybe even the whole week!).  Icing, foam roller and stretches will be daily activities until I feel better. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Clean WOD

The theme for February is "go heavy", however, I didn't know that was the theme and was sore from yesterday's front squats so I couldn't go heavier (I'm not sure if I can anyway but I didn't try today):
8 Cleans (Rx for women was 105 lbs, I did 75 lbs)
15 pullups (band assisted)
400M row
3 rounds
I finished in 16:17
I did attempt to do a clean with 95 lbs but mentally and physically, I wasn't prepared for it and couldn't even do one.  I've said this before but I have a mental block with getting the weight up while simultaneously lowering myself into the squat position.  It's easy when it's 75 lbs or less, I can power clean the weight and barely squat at all but I really want to do full cleans so that I can eventually get over my fear of heavier weights in the cleans and be able to fully squat and get back up again with the weight.
My feet are a little sore from yesterday's barefoot running, I'm trying to massage them with a tennis ball now. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Barefoot running

Tonight's workout in the Complete Runner program was running 100 meters barefoot on the grass and then walk 60 meters before doing another round.  I ended up doing 8 rounds, it felt so good to run barefoot on the soft grass! I would not run barefoot all the time, but once in a while, it's a good idea to run barefoot because you will self-correct your form and it will strengthen your feet.  I also finally figured out how to transfer my Garmin data to my computer and make a picture of my run in Google Earth:
Warm-up was around the rotunda parking lot and around the soccer field on the right. The multiple little squares on the left indicate that I did multiple laps- pretty neat!

The Garmin Training Center software is not that great, it doesn't let you export your routes or the data, it's just fun to look at (annoying for someone who likes to export data to excel and graph/monitor everything).  Until I figure it out, I had to just do a screen shot to show what the trends were for my heart rate and pace during the workout.  I was averaging 6-7 min/mile pace during the 100 meters and my heart rate got pretty high- 180 bpm, the odd thing was that I didn't feel uncomfortable during the sprinting or the 60M cooldown.  My heart rate did drop down farily quickly but the graph does tell the story that by the 7th and 8th round, my heart rate was not dropping as fast and I had probably pushed it to the limit and was not recovering as quickly. I think once a month this would be a good workout to do for both the barefoot work and to see what further conditioning will do to my pace and heart rate.

In the beginning of January, I made a deal with my mom and sister that we would all abstain from bread (all forms of bread- anything with flour it in) and sugar (fruit is okay) for 30 days.  Well the 30 days are over (for awhile I didn't think it would end) and the results are in and once again I came in dead last!
Mom: Lost 7 lbs!
Sister: Lost 6 lbs!
Me: Lost 3 lbs!
I was the worst offender, I caved in to my sugar cravings on Day 16 of the Challenge and never really got back in the saddle although I think it was still pretty effective.  The best part of it for me was that I learned I can eat good meals without bread (giving it up for breakfast was hard but not as hard as I thought).  I still need to learn how to curb the chocolate/sugar cravings, it seems like no matter how much food I have available, I still go into zombie mode and buy a chocolate bar to satisfy my cravings.
My sister had two cheat days and realized she was overdoing the bread (and to some extent sugar via free cupcakes (Georgetown Cupcakes!) and chocolates (there is always chocolate in her home)).  By not eating bread we all were prevented from eating sandwiches, burgers, and pizza.  Sandwiches sound innocuous but the reality is that those two delicious slices of chunky bread stay with you much longer than the lean protein and fats.  Every time you eat bread or sugar, your body is producing more insulin and making your fat cells fatter (insulin encourages fat to be stored away instead of released for energy).  It's a vicious cycle and as much as I love, love, love sourdough bread and calzones and pizza, abstaining the majority of time keeps my weight in check.  I think this worked for my family because none of us are that into pigging out on chips, pasta, rice or potatoes (all are major carb threats) but at the same since those food items were "allowed" we didn't feel like our meals had to radically change.
I'd like to start the challenge again but this time really work on getting to 30 days and seeing how I do, the first time, I learned I didn't need bread to be happy, now I need to learn to give up sugar 90% of the time (the 10% helps on 2 hr+ bike rides and runs).
A reading recommendation: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, this was a lot of information I knew but didn't put together, after reviewing all the data and histories of different people, it makes sense that we don't get fat because we are lazy or sedentary, we get fat because of how we eat and how often we eat carbohydrates.  I'm on his second book: Good Calories Bad Calories and hoping to understand things better.  The major conflict for me is that I still can't imagine life without my comfort carbs but it may be that I'm not in such dire physiological shape that I have to get rid of them completely.  Food for thought.

We started off February with an "AMRAP" workout that will be done again at the end of the month to see if we have improved at all, either by using heavier weights or doing more rounds.  AMRAP stands for "as many rounds as possible" within a fixed time.
8 Front Squats (I did 75 lbs)
10 pushups (went back to on the knee pushups)
12 box jumps (jumped on the tire, 18" high)
AMRAP in 15 minutes
I did 8 rounds.
It felt really good to get back to the gym after two days of complete rest (I did no exercise at all on Monday and Tuesday!).  I feel ready for the run workout tonight and I hope to organize my time well enough to go for a mountain bike ride after work tomorrow.  The best thing is my right knee doesn't hurt all from the biking on Sunday! It's not a perfect bike fit but it's nice to know that I can bike for 44 miles and not have any post-knee pain or butt pain (being on a saddle takes some getting used to).