Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday's bike ride

Monday has become my Umstead ride with John.  He's a good person to have along because I can never catch up to him on the climbs but I'm always trying my best to keep up.  We did:
22 miles, 10.3 mph pace, ~2 hrs and 7 minutes
I ended up eating a pack of Sport Jelly Beans after 14 miles because I got hungry, I thought I was going to be okay without eating anything but I started feeling bad after the fourth long climb.  
I came home and stretched and am doing my best to keep my back strong.  Post-bike ride, I ate a cheese stick and had flounder and lots of sauteed brocolli for dinner.  My dessert was mango chunks and raspberries. Good way to end the day. I love that we have summer weather in April!

I was not good today- had some Dove chocolate but lunch was amazing and healthy: steak with tatsoi/asparagus/sweet potatoes and cucumbers with lots of water.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Race day 4/28/12

On Saturday, Jim and I did the trail duathlon at Harris Lake County Park.  It was a 4.5 mile trail run and then a 6.5 mile mountain bike.  It started at 8:30 and I ended up being dead last of the runners!  I think only 30 people signed up for the event but of those 30, I was definitely the least fit to run.  It's amazing what 8 weeks of no running will do to your stamina and speed.  By the time I finished the run, my lonely bike was the only one waiting on the field.  I stopped by the car to drink some water and eat a Gu (Lime-flavored, 100 calories, not what I will choose in the future).  I changed out of my Merrell running shoes and into my bike shoes and sped away on the bike.  The mountain bike portion went much better but I never caught up to anyone- I finished the 6.5 mile mtn bike at a 9.1 mph pace.  It took me 1 hour and 57 minutes and 30 seconds to finish the duathlon.  I spent 68 minutes on the run/changeover of shoes/eating and 49 minutes biking.   Overall it was fun, Bushwhack Adventures puts on a good race.  I knew I wasn't going to do well at all due to my back issues but it was great to even be able to run (jog) and now I feel more confident that I can start running again. My back only ached a little after about 3.5 miles and it subsided within a few minutes of walking.  Wearing the Merrell Pace gloves didn't negatively affect my feet either, I had no problems running in the minimal shoes and no blisters.

We also registered as a team to do the 6-hr Sprint Adventure race which consisted of trekking, biking and paddling and collecting checkpoints.  We only managed to do it for 2 hours and only the trekking portion, I was a lot more wiped out from the morning race than I expected and after walking all over the park looking for checkpoints (I feel like we walked at least 4 miles), I was spent and wanted to quit. Jim was in agreement so we handed in our map with the checkpoints we got and called it quits.  The race directors told us we could come back after an hour if we wanted to continue but neither of us felt like it. It was interesting to try this race but I found it tricky to figure out our location using a compass and looking for checkpoints that were in random areas. Next time I sign up for something like this, I'm definitely going to take a class on orienteering and really understand how to use a compass.  I am not sure if I like this format for a race but it is different and could be fun under the right circumstances (like not being tired from a race earlier in the day!).

People getting their bikes in place for the second leg of the race

Jim listening to the race director. See the kid in the white t-shirt, he cheated! See the woman in black? She came in 2nd to last, I was 30 seconds behind her :(

Finished the duo! 

Okay, one of the checkpoints was in the middle of this tunnel

Jim volunteered to go in for the checkpoint

This time I used the flash and zoom to get a better picture of Jim stamping the checkpoint on our map

Nice view of the nuclear reactor cooling tower from Harris Lake County Park

We got a long-sleeve tee and this nice pint glass for our efforts today

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Snack time

I got strawberries and cucumbers in my weekly shipment from Papa Spuds, it made for a really good afternoon snack.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A short Friday workout

It's been a busy week and I haven't felt like I've done that much but I tried dips again today and I managed to do 3 good ones in a row and did 5 sets of 3, so I'm progressing!  I also did my bent over rows and wrist curls with 20 lb dumbbells.  And I finally tried to run again. Just one mile on the treadmill, it was hard, I had to walk for a minute in the middle but there was no sensation in my back!  It felt like a normal run and that means I'm ready to start running regularly.
Unfortunately, we have a race tomorrow- the Bushwhack Duo and the Bushwhack 6 hr Sprint Adventure Race, both at Harris Lake State Park.  I don't know why I signed up for both, but at the time, I was feeling ambitious.  The duo race is a run/bike event, run 4.5 miles of trail, bike 6 miles of singletrack.  The Adventure race is a mix of paddling, trekking and mountain biking while collecting checkpoints. I have never done this before so it should be interesting.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rainy days mean more Umstead biking

I was supposed to do some singletrack tonight but the weather didn't cooperate. It rained heavily during the day and the trails were too muddy and wet so we went biking on the Umstead bridle trails.  We ended up doing 22 miles (I'm counting my green-way miles to Umstead!) , hitting one new hill (new to us) and Cedar Ridge and Reedy Creek Lake Trail.  I tried pushing it as hard as I could but John still beat me up most of the climbs.  I did do better on the downhill curves though- I laid off the brakes and was able to lean into the curve with my bike while leaning out with my body to balance.  It worked pretty well, I was also a little tentative going down Graylyn but it turns out I didn't need to brake at all! 
Stats: 9.5 mph, 132 minutes, 22.1 miles

We even got a glimpse of wildlife on our ride when a deer crossed the road in front of us.  I'm always afraid that a deer will inevitably be prancing through the woods and I'll be biking along and suddenly we will crash into each other, it hasn't happened yet but every time I ride and see deer I think it's a possibility. Tomorrow I hope to try riding on the rockiest local trail, every time I have ridden it, the trail has kicked my ass, I have a feeling tomorrow will be no different but as long the weather stays dry, I'm ok with getting my ass kicked by a tough trail.

After work I went for an easy mountain bike ride at Lake Crabtree with fellow women riders.  I ended up being late and finding the group on the trail changing a flat tire. One girl had CO2 cartridges and a spare tube for the girl with the flat tire but out of 5 people, no one had an air pump!  I supplied the air pump and helped the girl get the new tube inserted inside the tire.  She and another girl  had never changed a flat and it was an impromptu lesson for them, from understanding what a Schrader valve was and how you need to inflate the tube slightly before inserting it into the rim and then getting the tire back on the rim with the help of tire levers (mine).  After that I pumped the tire up with my hand pump which was a workout in of itself.  Then we were on our way. I ended up doing:
64 minutes, 8.7 miles, 8.0 mph average
It was a little chilly and my legs felt a little tired, I'm not sure if it was from the squats this morning or the hard ride yesterday but I didn't feel like I had much power and it was Lake Crabtree which should have been easy.  My back felt good and so did my left leg so I must be doing something right. 

I managed to get to the apartment complex gym at 6:15 am this morning and did my weightlifting routine plus a couple more exercises the physical therapist recommended:

ExerciseSetsReps/SetWeight (lbs)
Bent-over row31020
Shoulder shrugs33020
Wrist curls33015
Bicep curls31015
Lateral raises31010
Walking lunges220bodyweight
Air squats215bodyweight
Knee pushups215bodyweight
Cobra pose310bodyweight
Bent knee lifts220bodyweight
One-leg bent knee bridge210bodyweight

I did the one-leg bent knee bridges on a stability ball with one foot on the ball and then raised my butt off the floor and repeated with the other leg, 10 reps on each side.  This helps my butt muscles get stronger and works each side individually which can help point out side-specific weaknesses.  It was definitely harder on my left side.

It was a good workout, but my shoulders were spent! I think it's because of the extra effort I put into the dips and then doing the shoulder shrugs right after.

Hopefully it will warm up and I will be able to do some singletrack biking after work. It will be the Tuesday "Ride Like a Girl" meetup where we ride as a group with beginner and intermediate women mountain bikers at Lake Crabtree. It's fun, when I first started doing it in 2010, I was really out of shape and had a hard time biking for an hour at Lake Crabtree!  Lake Crabtree park has almost zero elevation but for someone unfamiliar with mountain biking, it can be a challenge to climb the very short hills and rooty terrain.  But I stuck with it and rode a couple of times a week and eventually started leading the rides and now this will be my 3rd season helping out with this meetup.  It's a lot of fun to see other women pick up the sport.

Between my physical therapy session at 11:30,lunch and another appointment at 4:30 pm, I went biking in Umstead on the bridle trails.   It was cold (52°F) and it rained off and on during the ride but I was determined to get some biking in so that I keep progressing and get used to biking up hills.  I did mostly an out and back - along Old Reedy Creek Road, going twice up and down Cedar Ridge (1 mile each way) and once up and down Reedy Creek Lake Trail (0.5 mile each way).
The bike ride:
18.6 miles, 116 minutes, 9.5 mph

I had more time after 6 pm but it was colder and rainier and I didn't have the motivation to do another ride. Instead I went and bought some salmon for dinner and ate 6 oz of salmon with sauteed tatsoi, asparagus and sweet potato.  The 6 oz of salmon was a lot and filled me up.  I also had some radishes and fresh spinach as a "side salad".  I'm making an even bigger effort to eat more greens and veggies since I noticed that snacking on cooked veggies around 3 pm really keeps me going and I'm not ready to pass out from hunger and eat sweet stuff if I have some veggies around then. In order to get there, I signed up to get weekly produce shipments from Papa Spuds and will be getting more local and/or organic foods.  I guess I could do this by myself at my local grocery store but even just one shipment from Papa Spuds has encouraged me to cook more veggies (otherwise they would just go bad and I'd have to throw them away) and it's a weekly reminder to keep cooking and eating fresh produce with very little effort (I click on what I want and it is delivered to my door weekly for $23, not too bad).

My physical therapy session went really well today. I feel like I made a breakthrough as this has been truly a pain free day.  I decided to put a small pillow underneath my lower back so that it would be arched while I slept and it seemed to do the trick. I woke up with minimal pain on my left side, after stretching and doing the cobra pose 10 times, I got up and went about getting ready with no issues.  This is the first day where I didn't have to go back and stretch several more times because of nerve pain!  And working with the PT, I picked up some new exercises using the stability ball and  I was able to bend forward and touch my toes by the end of the session! I was pretty excited to get back my flexibility, I was stiff but it didn't hurt to touch my toes so I feel like I made some real progress.  The PT warned me to not to overdo because I'm feeling better so I do plan to be cautious so that I don't hurt my back.  I would say now, the only pain I do feel is around my hip/left leg joint but I think with a little more physical therapy, I will get better.   I'm so much happier and appreciative of feeling normal and not having constant nerve pain or back pain.

I am posting two food pictures below, the first is dinner from tonight, the second is this past Friday's lunch at Oakwood Cafe (Raleigh), both good meals.  

Wild caught salmon topped with hoisin sauce and sauteed tatsoi/asapargus/sweet potato
My Friday lunch meal from Oakwood Cafe: Churassco with rice/spinach and fried yuca

It rained all day Sunday and I took advantage of it by not doing all that much.  I did get in my weightlifting routine in and am improving on my dips (did more reps this time) and have moved up to the 20 lb dumbbells on some of the exercises. 15 lbs is still pretty challenging for the bicep curls and 10 lbs is still a challenge for the front raises although I think I should at least do one set with the 15 lbs for the lateral raises.

ExerciseSetsReps/SetWeight (lbs)
Bent-over row31020
Shoulder shrugs33020
Wrist curls33015
Bicep curls31015
Lateral raises31010
Front raises31010
Air squats215bodyweight
Knee pushups215bodyweight
Cobra pose310bodyweight
Bent knee lifts220bodyweight

While doing the workout, I can feel my back aching a little bit so I am careful not to make any sudden movements and did the cobra pose frequently.  The last exercise (bent knee lifts) is me lying on my back with my knees bent (feet still on the floor). I press my back into the floor the whole time, raise one bent knee towards my chest and then the other knee and bring each one down. You can feel your ab muscles tighten during the entire exercise and it's supposed to help strengthen your core and protect your back.  I'm doing this exercise and the cobra pose every day in the morning and in the evening. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mountain biking at OVT and Shiner's Run

We did a road trip today and drove to Wilkesboro, NC for some mountain biking.  Although we drove quite a bit, we only got in 15 miles of singletrack because it started to rain!  No worries, it was nice to try a new trail (OVT (Overmountain Victory Trail) and Shiner's Run).  It was very flowy, lots of berms, no rocks, very few roots. In all, it was the best mountain bike trail for someone with a bad back because I had very little impact and I felt great before, during and after the biking!  By far, today has been the most pain-free day I have had since early March and it felt wonderful.
We were supposed to bike Warrior's Creek but didn't get the chance due to the impending rain.  While on the trail, I snacked on fig newtons and lots of water. The rest of the day was a wash, driving back home, had a burger, fries and onion rings at Red Robin and then some Hageen Dazs Chocolate Chip ice cream at home.  I go back to clean eating tomorrow :)
I do feel like I'm more motivated now to bike and do my exercise routine (weight lifting and walking) more so now than a couple of weeks ago.  I realized I have to get up and do some kind of workout in the morning otherwise I just don't manage to fit in the time to lift weights or walk after work since I'd rather be mountain biking.  I'm doing the cobra pose every day, several times a day and trying to also do hamstring stretches which help my left side feel better.  Now I need to incorporate squats, pushups, and planks every day to maintain some strength and build up my core muscles.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mountain biking and more

I forgot post it but I did a mountain bike ride on Tuesday night.  The Tuesday night rides are fun because it is an all-women's group where we take both beginners and intermediates out on the trails at Lake Crabtree. I'm co-leading the rides this year and plan to be out there every Tuesday at 6 pm to help other women have fun mountain biking!  This was our first ride of the season and it was a great turnout and a great ride. 

I took a break from working out on Wednesday and Thursday because my back was acting up and hurting a lot in the morning. I wanted to see if resting for two days would make it any better, but it didn't.  I think I'm just going to have to live with a little pain while I continue to do the stretching and seeing a physical therapist twice a week. 

On Thursday night, I went for a 4 mile walk, at an 18 minute/mile pace, I really tried to do a 15 minute/mile pace but it was too hard!  I know I could jog faster than that but I didn't want to risk hurting my back.  Anyway, it was good to walk and I'm going to make an effort to walk more either in the morning or at lunchtime. 

Friday morning, I finally got up and went to the gym for an early morning workout at 6 am.  I did the requisite number of upright rows, bicep curls, shoulder shrugs, lateral raises, wrist curls and dips.  I'm still using 10 lb and 15 lb dumbbells.  I saw the physical therapist at 8 am and she did her magic.  I felt so much better and she worked on me and was pain free for the rest of the day.  After work, I went for a mountain bike ride! It was so much fun. We did 11.4 miles at a 7.5 mph pace.  All in all a good way to end the work week. Tomorrow the plan is to try some new (to me) trails in Wilkesboro, NC.  If the rain stays away, I'll be out biking for a portion of the day and will have much to recap.  Keep moving!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eating well

I made a breakthrough this week- I have finally kicked the diet coke habit! I don't even have a good explanation for how I quit but I had a diet Coke on Saturday and it didn't taste good to me anymore and I have had no desire for any diet coke since then. I was tempted to get one today because I was at a conference where they had the soda beverages out for free but I realized I just was going to get one out of habit and grabbed a water bottle instead, I'm on my fourth bottle of water now and don't want any soda.
Eating has been mixed- I'm making great meals but enjoying chocolate a little too frequently this week. The pictures below include organic ground chicken with spinach and mushrooms, cod with sautéed cauliflower and asparagus and for breakfast I had quinoa with blueberries and toasted walnuts, all yummy and healthy. Now I have to resist the sugary snacks and I'll be all set.

It was another beautiful, warm day in the Triangle area and I had the opportunity to bike again with my friend John.  We did the Umstead loop, this time adding both the Cedar Ridge hill and the spur off of Old reedy creek (reedy creek lake trail- now known as Sarwat's spur).  The bike ride stats:
21.3 miles, 10.4 mph in ~2 hrs.
I felt pretty good! I definitely need to work on the hills but I wasn't worn out and my quads are no longer sore so I need to bike more!
My back has been aching in the morning and there's been the associated sciatic pain down my left leg, neither seems to go away unless I do a lot of stretching with the cobra pose.  Once I do the cobra pose about 20 times and repeat it for 2-3 more sets, the pain subsides and I feel better for the rest of the day as long as I repeat the stretching every couple hours.  I have another session with the physical therapist tomorrow so hopefully she will show me more exercises to do and in general just help me rehabilitate.  Overall, I can cope with it but it would be nice to work up to a point where it isn't a regular occurrence.

Saturday was a beautiful day, perfect mountain biking weather.  We decided to not do the 6 hour endurance race (Meltdown at Harris Lake) because I was pretty sure I wasn't ready for a 6 hr race even as a duo.  Instead, I did my first session of singletrack, first at Lake Crabtree and then on a nearby trail that everybody knows about but nobody advertises.  At Lake Crabtree, I ended up doing a total of 7 miles (included the 0.5 miles on the greenway to get there from my apartment) and I felt pretty good with how I was doing and how my back was feeling on the ride.  I then met up with Jim and we did some more singletrack that was slightly more challenging (hillier, better downhill descents, a little more technical with a few logs and bridge crossings).  I was doing pretty well until I hit 14 miles and started feeling a little tired and also challenged with a new segment of trail that was much rockier than what I was prepared to do!  This slowed me down a bit but I did finish the trail (13.5 miles).  I was beat by this time and didn't have the energy to do a lap around Umsteady so my final stats for Saturday were:
21.5 miles, 7.2 mph average in 2 hrs and 58 minutes!
I did stretch afterwards and did the cobra pose (10 times) in the morning and again in the evening to keep my back happy, but Sunday morning my back was complaining.  It felt like sciatic pain on the left side of my butt and down my leg.  I would do the cobra pose 20 times and feel better but then it kept coming back.  I continued to stretch and do the recommended exercises and after about ~ 2 hours, the pain subsided and I felt better.  I'm thinking I didn't do the cobra pose enough times the day before and the 3 hours on the bike didn't begin to really show its effects until Sunday morning.

My quads are sore so no cardio was done on Sunday. Instead I did my 3rd session of weight lifting JTH style:
3x2 dips
3x10 upright rows (15 lb dumbbells)
3x30 wrist curls (15 lb dumbbells)
3x30 shoulder shrugs (15 lb dumbbells)
3x10 bicep curls (15 lb dumbbells)
3x10 lateral raises (10 lb dumbbells)
3x10 front raises (10lb dumbbells)
3x20 cobra pose
6x10 leg lifts (lie down on your back, have lower back press into the ground, raise one straight leg 8-12" off the floor, repeat with other leg).
4x 1 minute planks
3x15 knee pushups

I also cleaned my bike today so it looks shiny and new now.  Here is to tomorrow which will hopefully bring more biking!
I was going to post my food log but after looking, I realized I haven't written down what I ate this week!  The general story looks like this though:
The Good:
Breakfast: Eggs with brocolli every day and some toast and almond butter on the weekend
Lunch: Palomilla steak with veggies, chicken breast with brocolli slaw, Churrasco!
Dinner:  Chicken breast with brocolli slaw

The Bad:
3 Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars
chips and salsa as a meal

The Ugly:
Onion rings at Applebee's, I also had a cheeseburger but I don't feel guilty about that.

Friday, April 13, 2012

JTH and stretching!

I did the JTH program (the lifting portion at least, today Jim told me that there is an intense cardio portion also which I have not been doing!) and I added some additional exercises to keep strong and help my back decompress:

3x10 upright row  15 lb dumbbell
3x30 shoulder shrugs 15 lb dumbbells
3x30 wrist curls15 lb dumbbell
3x10 bicep curls 15 lb dumbbell
3x10 lateral raises 10 lb dumbbells
3x10 front raises 10 lb dumbbells (might help with lifting the handlebars on the bike when going over obstacles)
3x3 dips (it was hard today, I could do the full range of motion without failing)
6x10 air squats (my quads burned out on this! I need to keep squatting, I've been lazy this week!)
3x10 knee pushups
3x10 yoga cobra pose (helps my spine and lower back issues, after I did this with the physical therapist, I was able to bend forward much further, getting closer to my toes!)

Without Forged Fitness, it has been too easy to slide into complacency and not work out as often.  I have to turn this around and start doing more even if I can't run yet.  I'm hoping next week to start including bench presses in the workout routine and full length pushups and more squats!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday lifting

I think the steroids are finally wearing off, I finally feel like I'm awake at 6 pm (two 12 oz Mountain Dew Supernovas and 16 oz diet Coke today did not improve my situation). I'm hoping I wake up tomorrow without feeling like I'm drowsy.  I tried to eat better today which was only partially successful: oatmeal with greek yogurt and blueberries for breakfast and churassco with tostones and kidney beans for lunch and blue corn tortilla chips and salsa for dinner.  The churassco was pretty good but the tostones was more carb than I actually wanted but I couldn't stop myself from finishing it off! There was zero motivation to cook a good meal for dinner but I bought everything I need to eat healthier and better tomorrow (organic chicken, organic roast beef, brocolli, mushrooms and brocolli cole slaw).

After work, I did my JTH weight-lifting program
3x10 upright rows (15 lb dumbbells)
3x30 shoulder shrugs (front, back, up) (15 lb dumbbells)

3x10 lateral raises (10 lb dumbbells)
3x30 wrist curls (10 lb dumbbells)

3x10 bicep curls (it was tough with 15 lb dumbbells)
3x2 dips

I did the deadbug exercise afterward 3x10 sets. 

I took off from all exercise on Friday because I was too tired and a little sleepy. I'm not sure what the cause was exactly unless dexamethasone induces tiredness (I was on the fourth day of the medication).  On Saturday, I made banana nut muffins from scratch, enjoyed about 6 of them throughout the day! And I went on another Umstead bike ride despite feeling lethargic, I got out and did:
14.2 miles, 100 minutes, 9.3 mph pace (yes, I was tired but I did try two hard hills that I hadn't done before, Cedar Ridge which was 2 miles out and back and Reedy Creek Lake Trail which was 0.5 miles out and back).  The hills reminded me how much more I need to do to get ready for the Colorado trip! 

On Sunday, I did another Umstead bike ride, this time with a friend which forced me to pick up my pace (and it helped that I was jacked up on caffeine and dark chocolate covered jumbo almonds):
16 miles, 95 minutes, 10.2 mph pace

From Monday to today (Sunday), I did 61.5 miles on the bike and every week this number should go up in order to get conditioned from Colorado.

It really does help to ride with someone better than yourself, you push yourself a little harder and you end up doing more than if you went out alone.  I like biking by myself but when I'm out with 2-3 other people, the desire to do more and get better increases! 

I started tracking my meals again and it wasn't that pretty this week but I hope that being honest about it will get me into the groove of eating better more often.  This week I often used the excuse that my injured back meant I could coddle myself and give in to comfort carbs although in the end I think it made me more tired and a little lazy but hey, if I can't be lazy while healing from a herniated disc, when can I?

4/2/20122 eggs/brocolli/chai1 lb strawberries, 1 Twix, 1 cup mango and 1/2 cup raspberries, 1 coke zero, 1/2 cup lighlty salted almondsChicken breast/tomatoes/sweet potatoground chicken with black beans and spinach
4/3/20121/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup blueberries, chai1 lb strawberries, 1 orange, 20 oz diet cokeChili's mushroom swiss burger, 8 fries, 6 southwestern eggrolls2 oz Chicken breast/tomatoes/sweet potato with 1/2 cup rice and black beans with jalepenos
4/4/20122 eggs/brocolli/chaidiet coke, 11 dark chocolate covered almonds, 100 oz of waterPanera turkey sandwich and 1 french bread roll with butterApplebee's cheeseburger and 5 onion rings, diet pepsi
4/5/20121/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup blueberries + 1/2 cup greek yogurt, chai1 apple, 24 oz Diet Mtn dew supernovas , 11 dark chocolate covered almonds, 4 peanut butter chocolate eggs (small), 4 malt chocolate eggs, 100 oz water2 cups ground chicken with spinach and black beans1 cups ground chicken with spinach and black beans, 1 cup frozen mango chunks
4/6/20122 eggs/brocolli/chai12 oz Diet mtn dew supernova, 5 dark chocolate covered almonds, 100 oz waterOakwood Café- Churassco (beef) with kidney beans and plantains (delicious)Steak and cheese calzone from Mellow Mushroom (I ate the whole thing!)
4/7/20123 banana nut muffins (medium)3 banana nut muffins, 1 peanut butter Cliff bar, 80 oz water1 cup ground chicken with spinach and black beansKorean style beef with veggies and 1/2 cup rice, Thai Iced tea @Tangerine Café
4/8/20122 eggs/brocolli/chai12 oz Diet mtn dew supernova, 12 dark chocolate covered almonds, 70 oz waterGarlic bread with cheese and 10" pizza with artichoke hearts, mushrooms and ground beef @Mellow MushroomPopcorn, 20 oz diet coke, Parfait frozen custard @Goodberrys and the leftover pizza from lunch

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Adding mileage to my bike ride

I biked the Umstead bridle trails again today and added one extra hill (out and back that was 1 mile total). I think each time I go out there, I'll keep adding another hill, or just doing some repeats of the toughest hills to mimic some of the climbing we'll do in Colorado (Fruita).  Today's bike ride:
16.5 miles, 9.8 mph, 1 hr and 40 minutes. 
I felt pretty good today, no back issues, still can't get much past my knees when I bend forward but I'm trying to stretch every day.  At least the trend is positive and not sliding into pain territory.  I miss going to Forged Fitness but I know my body just can't take the high intensity workouts right now, I most likely won't go back until June to give my body a chance to recover and during these two months, I'm going to focus on getting a stronger core so my back doesn't have to take all the stress.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

JTH program 3rd time

I did my weight training program again, same as Monday except no dips or crunches since I was away from my apartment gym and felt like the crunches were too much of a strain. The planks and pushups are getting easier but still challenging.

My back and the sciatica in my left leg took a slight beating this morning just by bending down slightly to put a cup in the dishwasher, on the top shelf no less! I feel like I have to carefully make every motion and be aware of ever little stress I put on my lower back. After I felt the sharp twinge, I stopped and did a minor stretch arching my back backwards as far as comfortable and the forward, holding each pose for 10 seconds and repeating 5 times. I then got out the ice pack and continued icing throughout the day and felt more normal (I know I'm not 100% yet or even 70% but I'm getting there). I also met with a primary care physician (didn't have one before today) and am planning to to do a full blood panel and check my blood glucose tolerance to see where I stand as far as my carbohydrate tolerance, in addition, I made appointments to start physical therapy next Friday with a PT who has experience with herniated discs. All in all, I'm determined to get better as fast as I can but will go as slowly as my body forces me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easy bike ride

Well, the neurosurgeon said walking and biking were okay, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean any hardcore mountain biking but I'm going to see how I feel the rest of this week and try the singletrack this weekend.  For today, I did:
15.2 miles in 1:31 hrs at a 10.0 mph pace
In Umstead State Park on the bridle trails
My back didn't hurt, my left leg didn't hurt. I was careful to stand up during some of the bumpier parts of the trail but otherwise I was happy to be out there!  I have to start ramping up the bike mileage and the hills since I'm going on a mountain biking vacation in Colorado in mid-May.  Not enough time to get really fast but I hope to not get worn out on the trip (5 days of 20+ miles/day!). 
I'm still icing my back and started stretching, today I could get my hands just slightly past my knees!  I have high hopes that I'm on my way to a full recovery.

The sciatic pain in my left leg has subsided significantly, I still feel it after sitting for too long or lying down the wrong way but overall, I feel like I'm improving.  On Monday morning, I did another earbud test with Chris Eschbach by walking 1.5 miles outside while wearing the earbud heart monitor and a regular watch heart monitor with gps.  It felt pretty good to walk but I definitely couldn't run, my left leg just wasn't having any of it. I got $20 in Amazon giftcards for my time! I'm racking up the Amazon giftcards and haven't figured out what i should buy yet.

I met with the neurosurgeon and he said that since I was feeling better, it was possible my back would heal on its own.  He prescribed steroids to reduce the inflammation on my nerves, I will take them for 5 days and then give him an update on how I feel. If I still don't feel like I'm progressing (pain still there, no change in how far I can stretch (I can only bend enough to barely touch my knees), then I get several steroid epidural shots.  And if that doesn't work, then we'll talk surgery.  I'm hoping I get better without the epidural shot and I'm going to do everything possible to recover.  I'm still icing my lower back every day, several times a day and will be very careful to not aggravate my back.

After work, I went for a 2 mile walk and I did the JTH (Jim) workout, similar to what I did this past Friday:
This time I paired two exercises together to go a little faster and alternated between the two to finish 3 sets:
3x10 upright rows
3x30 shoulder shrugs (front, back, up)

3x10 lateral raises
3x30 wrist curls

3x10 bicep curls
3x1 dip (hard, could only do one with full range of motion)

All with 10 lb dumbbells except for the dips which were just bodyweight

Then I did:
3x15 knee pushups
3x15 air squats

3x35 crunches (35 was my limit, I couldn't do any more in one set)
3x60 sec planks

The time for all of this is significantly longer than my Forged Fitness workouts but I need to do something and slow and steady is the way to go right now.