After work on Wednesday, I went flat-water kayaking at Harris Lake.  It was pretty fun and not extremely strenuous.  I wasn't as nervous as I was last year out on the lake and I think I even paddled better and figured out how to use the rudder to turn left or right easily.  Jim took pictures!!! Next time we try kayaking, we'll start early in the morning and see how long it takes to cover the entire lake.

Harris Lake, so beautiful with your nuclear reactor cooling towers! At least I didn't see any 3-eyed fish out there.
Thursday after work, I led an all-women's bike ride on the Harris Lake mountain bike trails.  It was me and 4 other women.  Two I already knew from my Tuesday night rides (Chris and Laura) and I met two new people (Wendy and Molly).  Molly was a beginner and the rest were intermediate riders.  So we did the beginner and intermediate loops and everyone was together for the advanced loop. That is when Molly decided to turn back (a little too hilly for her).   Laura was super-nice and took her back for a couple more rounds on the intermediate and advanced loops.  So then we were down to 3 and I did the advanced loop with Chris and Wendy.  Both were good riders but when we went down one of the smaller drops, Chris hit her front brake too hard and I saw her rear wheel lift up and she flipped over the handlebars.  She was okay but earned a fat lip for her efforts.  I was really glad that she still got back on the bike and for the next 10 minutes we exchanged stories about our respective crashes.  All the talking made me remember every single crash I ever had at Harris Lake (many!).  I told her how I tried the little dirt jumps and caught air for the first time but then when I tried it again, I ended up coming down first on my front tire and getting catapulted off the bike.  I still have a scar on my right shoulder from that fall!!!  And then there was the first time I went on a TORC ride (at Harris Lake in April 2010) and managed to endo and the handlebars ended up bruising my torso.  And then there was the time when I was following John and he was going a little slowly and when he turned I didn't see the tree and ended up catching the tree with right arm/shoulder.  Yes, that hurt. Even more aggravatingly, I had been making efforts to get better at biking and that particular crash made me feel like I hadn't improved at all.  Suffice it say, crashing is no fun but it has never made me want to quit mountain biking!  I still love to bike and the accumulation of crashing, riding, and more riding and learning skills has made me a pretty good biker, maybe not great but pretty good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday WOD: Burpee Bonanza

Well, I wasn't looking forward to this WOD but it turned out to be pretty invigorating!
Do as many burpees as possible in 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds repeat for 20 minutes total (so 20 rounds of  30 second burpees):
I did 157 burpees, I might have done more but I stopped being able to count correctly after 12 rounds. For the first 11 rounds, I was doing 9 burpees and then slowly went down to 8 and 7 burpees.  My arms are a little sore now!

On Tuesday, I went to Forged Fitness in the AM and we did:
Deadlifts!
75 lbs 3x5 sets
95 lbs 2x5 sets
then a mini-WOD:
20 box jumps (I just did step ups on a 20" box)
10 toes to bars
3 rounds
Time: 5:43

My back was sore and stiff after the WOD but luckily I had a physical therapy appointment at 8 am and so she made me feel much better.  I am not nearly as conscientious as I need to be to make sure my back stays okay but it's tough since it varies so much from day to day. 

After work, I did the Girls ride at Lake Crabtree. I thought it was only going to be small group since only 4 of us RSVP'd but we ended up having 10 people! It was nice, fast bike ride.  I attempted the rock garden on Loop 5 and still couldn't make it up but I will be trying it every time! 

Things have been so busy, I haven't had time to update my exercise blog!  But I have been working out.  On Monday, I went mountain biking after work with John and instead of our usual Umstead loop we did some singletrack on 286.  It was great despite having a headache from lack of sleep.  I'm really trying to take the turns without braking much and using vision to see further down the trail.  I think it's helping but I still have a long ways to go. 

Weekend stats: 5 miles of running and 18 miles of mountain biking.

I had a great weekend with some outstanding biking time and finally a good trail run.  On Saturday, we did Rocky Road -6 miles of ass-kicking that always makes me feel like I'm going to die but when it's over, I feel like I accomplished something great.  I did a log there that I normally just get off my bike and walk over.  I think I hit my bottom bracket on the log so I definitely need to learn how to do the wheelie over it to prevent this in the future.

On Sunday, we did a loop of Company Mill (~5 miles) and this was the first time my hip didn't hurt from running.  My pace was slow 12-13 min/mile but I felt great.  After the run was over, we took a break and ate an early lunch then went for a casual bike ride at Lake Crabtree where I tried the logstack again.  It was fun but still looks intimidating before you actually ride it.  I still need to try this in the reverse direction!

I also did another logstack in the skills area in Loop 5.  I thought for sure I was going to endo on the logstack in the skill area but I guess I kept my body position correctly and prevented flipping over the bike.  Both Jim and John were waiting on the sidelines ready to spot me in case I crashed sideways!  All in all it was a good weekend with good friends. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday WOD

I worked 10 hours yesterday and didn't get home till 7 pm, this didn't leave much time for a workout but I did change and go to the gym. I stretched a lot because my lower back was aching, it even hurt a little to walk so I didn't try running. I did all my back stretches, 200 bicycle legs (core was sore) and warmed up on the bench press with 30 lbs. My final bench press was:
3x11 reps 50 lbs
It was not very hard so I'd like to up the weight next time.
Friday WOD:
10 power cleans 63 lbs
15 wall balls 12 lbs
Run 200M
5 rounds
Time 15:32
Great morning workout!
Then I did deadlifts:
3x11 reps 73 lbs and I went back later for back squats:
3x12 70lbs
And pullups (band assisted):
3x5, 3x8
Pullups are a challenge!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday WOD: mountain climbers!

This was a straightforward met con workout:
15 min AMRAP
Run 100M
20 mountain climbers
12 kettlebell swings 25 lbs
I finished 9 rounds + 5 kb swings
I was supposed to bike or run in the evening but lost my motivation and just ended up being lazy!

We worked on getting our 1 rep max for the clean and jerk:
For me, I only managed 80 lbs, at 85 lbs I couldn't even clean it.
So for the WOD:
Run 400M
7 clean and jerks (55lbs, 70% max)
3 rounds
15:54 time

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday: Run and weight lifting

My left side has still been hurting so I decided to visit the chiropractor to get an adjustment and hopefully address the pain from my sacroiliac joint.  I actually felt much better after he did the adjustment and it made me want to try running again, so.. I ran 2 miles after work!
I felt pretty good and hopefully can keep building back up to where I was.
After the run I did my weightlifting program (Starting Strength):
Back Squat:
30 lbs 2x5 reps
45 lbs 1x5 reps
55 lbs 1x3 reps
70 lbs 3x11 reps (this was actually pretty tough for me)

Military Press:
10 lbs 2x5 reps
20 lbs 2x5 reps
30 lbs 1x5 reps
40 lbs 3x10 reps

This was only my second program using the "1st Year Starting Strength" app but I like it so far!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A weekend of mountain biking!

Although I've been feeling a little tired in my legs, I still ended up riding my mountain bike this weekend.  On Saturday, it was a ride with about 30 people as a send off for one of our friends who is moving to California.  We met up at Rally Point Grill in Cary and from there took off and did some sweet singletrack at Sludge, then through Umstead and then more singletrack for a total of 17 miles.  It was great, I got to ride some new trails that I have never been on and learned to get comfortable riding with a bunch of people. It was hard to start at first because I was feeling self-conscious about my skills and have not been riding that much either due to work and other lame excuses. After the ride was over, we went back to Rally Point for lunch where I promptly ruined my ride by eating a mushroom swiss burger and chips.  Later that night at a friend's birthday party, I went Paleo with a hot dog and a burger (no bun/no roll!) but then I was non-Paleo when I had a couple of bites of birthday cake.

On Sunday we were supposed to go for a run then a bike ride but the run never happened because I slept through my alarm and didn't get up until 9 am!  I suppose I caught up on my sleep and rest/recovery.  We met up for a ride at Lake Crabtree because I wanted to try the new, big logstack.  I watched two friends clean it and then I went for it and I rolled over that logstack like it was nothing! It was great, now I'd like to see if I can do it in the other direction.  Best part of recording the accomplishment was Jim telling me to go faster and Mike being the best cheerleader ever! It was a fast-paced ride and we ended up doing 9 miles total.  That was the extent of my exercise this weekend.  I hope to have time to do my weight training tomorrow and some more biking. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

3 WODs this week!

The soreness in my legs was going away so I did my third WOD this week at Forged Fitness.
The WOD:
3 wall walks
200M run
15 deadlifts 73 lbs
As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes
I did 4 rounds, those wall walks were tough!
In the evening I started my weight lifting program:
Warmup weights done for each exercise then the actual sets were:
3x10 back squats 70 lbs
3x10 military press 2x20 lb dumbbells
2x10 assisted pullups

I'm probably in store for more soreness tomorrow but I'm determined to get stronger and you can't do that unless you start lifting! I downloaded a free app to help me, it's called 1st year and is a nifty program for beginner strength training.

1st Year App
The Menu was easy to navigate
I love this, it gives you the form, more settings, and your progress on your lifts.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wednesday WOD

Yesterday's WOD was a metabolic conditioning workout. It reminded me how slow I am on the rower!

1000 M row
50 kettle bell swings 20 lbs
50 V-ups (lie flat on your back withe arms straight extended past your head and lift legs straight up and have your fingers touch your toes when your body gets in the V position)
1000 M row
Time: 15:55

The V-ups were hard, mine were like a sad U.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday WOD is Front Squats

I took yesterday off mainly because I had a physical therapy appt at 5 pm and then had to go back to work and didn't make it home till 8 pm plus it was raining heavily which meant no biking for me.  My stomach was very sore yesterday but is much better today, I still move gingerly getting down and up though.  My legs feel pretty good though and the tightness and soreness are gone. 

Today's WOD:
Fronts Squats
2x6 @ 70% your 1 rep max; I started with 33 lbs
2x6 @ 80% your 1 rep max; then 55 lbs
2x6 @ 85% your 1 rep max: 63 lbs
The 63 lbs took some effort but was not near my 85% max, I'm still taking it easy and ramping up on the lifting.  I'm hoping I don't get as sore this week since my body should remember all the squats from last week. 
After the lifting we did a mini-WOD:
12 ring dips (I used a band to assist)
400M run
3 rounds
Time: 7:58
Running was okay, I'm still slow and feel like my left side is still unbalanced. I'm going to do a running assessment with the physical therapist next week to see how it is.  She did look at my leg strength (doing single leg lifts) and there wasn't too much difference but my balance is definitely worse on my left leg.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend activities

This was probably the lowest key weekend I've had in a while.  On Saturday we went mountain biking at Beaverdam with the Logstacks group (casual mountain bikers who meet up at Lake Crabtree usually for a spin).  The reason- we haven't been to Beaverdam in a while and I tried out my new flat pedals with my Five Ten shoes on a low-key (translation: not going really fast and taking lots of breaks) ride.  The ride was great, I have to say the only thing I wasn't prepared for was how much I had to put my weight down on the pedals.  I felt the difference on the downhills when my feet came up a bit but my feet never flew off and my shins are free from pedal scrapes.  We took many breaks on the ride because several people just didn't have the aerobic conditioning to keep going and the 9 mile ride turned out to take 3 hours!  It was still fun and I'd like to go back to Beaverdam for a faster-paced ride soon.  I'm going to stick with the flat pedals for a while and see how it goes.

On Sunday, we went for a run at Umstead State park- Company Mill.  The pain in my left hip flared up and I could barely run a mile before I had to start walking.  Everyone else did 5.5-6 miles, I ended up only doing 3 miles.  The pain was on and off the rest of the day and I'm trying to do the stretches to alleviate it now.  I go back to the physical therapist this week and I'm thinking of seeing the chiropractor too because if this continues, I don't think I can run anymore and that would suck.  I then enjoyed a 2 hour nap and made lots of healthy veggies for the week (broccoli and Korean squash, beets and sweet potatoes).

Soreness: my legs are still a little sore (it was worse yesterday) and my abs are really sore.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday WOD

Although I still feel sore and was trying to convince myself at 5:40 AM that I shouldn't go to the gym, I ended up going anyway and it turned out to be better than I expected.  The soreness didn't prevent me from doing the WOD and I feel less sore now!

Deadlifts (I had to be careful here because this is the first time I'm doing it after rupturing my disc):
55 lbs 6 reps x 2 rounds
63 lbs 6 reps x 2 rounds
83 lbs 6 reps x 2 rounds
It was supposed to be 70%, 75%, and 80% of your max, my max was 180-190 lbs but I'm no where near that right now.  It didn't hurt and I might have been able to do more but I'm glad I was cautious.

Then we had a mini-WOD:
Row 600M
50 Abmat situps
3 rounds for time
My time: 15:15

I know my stomach is going to be wicked sore tomorrow! After the workout was over, I did my cobra stretches.
This was a great way to start my Friday!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Walking the soreness off

I'm feeling very sore from my first Crossfit workout at Forged Fitness.  I'm trying to drink lots of water and stretch but it is hurting right now!  I'm looking forward to getting back into the routine and not being this sore in the near future.  I tried to run tonight and could only get a mile in at a 12 min/mile pace before I had to start walking (it's hard to run with sore legs).  I ended up doing 4 miles and used Runkeeper on my iphone to keep track of my mileage, speed, and calories burned.  It's a pretty nifty app and I only used the free version!

I have had my gym membership at Forged Fitness on hold for the last two months due to my herniated disc and inability to lift heavy weights or do any plyometrics.  With an okay from my physical therapist, I finally took the hold off, they took a chunk of cash away from me to pay the monthly fee and I'm feeling ready to get back in there.  Yesterday (Tuesday) was my first workout (WOD) back and it was great although the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) has set in and my legs are wicked sore now. 
The warmup:
In 4 minutes time, run 200M and do as many kettlebell swings (20 lb) as you can and then repeat for a second round after 1 minute of rest. I did 20 swings the first round and 24 the second round.

The WOD:
3 Hang Snatches (33 lb bar)
3 Overhead Squats (33 lb bar)
3 Pullups (band-assisted)
AMRAP in 5 minutes (as many rounds as possible)
Rest 1 minute and then repeat for 2 more rounds

I did 6 repeats for all 3 rounds.  It was really easy to do the hang snatch and the overhead squat with a 33 lb bar, I probably could have gone a little heavier but I'm going to take it easy and build up my strength again before I try going heavy in a workout.  It was great to be back though!  I really need the morning workout and I think I need it at the gym. Looking forward to more WODs and getting my strength back. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday night is "ride like a girl"

I helped lead the regular Tuesday night ride for women only on the Lake Crabtree trails.  It was a good night and a good turnout- we had about 11 people total.  Three women were true beginners, never been out on singletrack and came with skinny tires!  I helped lead the beginner/intermediate group which ended up being me, another woman and an eleven year old girl who was really great at mountain biking.  We did the outer loop of trails and got about 6 miles in plus my 1.5 each way made for a 9 mile bike ride today.  The pace was casual but I practiced my coaster wheelie and pedal wheelie on the trail.  I felt myself get the hang of it and then the next time, I would do it incorrectly but it was really cool when I did it right! I'm kind of high on mountain biking now, I want to do the epic rides on the weekend (40+ miles of singletrack) and look for new places to ride and take weekend bike/camp trips for more mountain biking!  It's been fun.

The third and last day of the BetterRide camp ended today and I am exhausted.  I feel like I practiced more than I ever have and learned so much about how to be a better mountain biker and it has made it even more fun!  All the drills though and the practice on the trails has left me feeling like I did 50 miles today.  In the morning, we reviewed the drills we've done so far, tried some coaster wheelies up and off the curb in the school parking lot and practiced the rear wheel lift.  I still have a tendency of moving my body up and down doing the wheelie and the rear wheel lift when I should be moving it forwards or backwards with my head at the same height at all times.  Once I realized I did that, it was easier to practice the move correctly.  I'm not saying I'm completely there yet, but I know what I need to do to get better.

The second part of the lesson was slow speed balance (doing trackstands) and switch backs.  I always thought that the way you corner was the same way you should handle getting through a switch back but that is not the case.  In cornering, your bike can be leaned to the sides while you remain upright but in a switch back, you want to keep the bike upright and actually maneuver it through the switch back at a slow speed with more balance, maybe even a track stand for a really tight switch back.  It was enlightening to feel the difference.  We did practice switch backs on a grassy hill on the back side of the elementary school.  Coach Andy set up cones and we practiced going both up and down the switch back.  I was terrible at going down the switch back and lost all thought of vision and looking ahead.  It's definitely something I need to practice but luckily I have plenty of switch backs to attempt at home.  We also practiced starting and restarting on a hill, focusing on pedal placement, and really getting in those first two pedal strokes to get going and not worrying about getting clipped in.  We spent a good amount of time on the trail - from 1:30 to 3:45 and worked on different features: rock gardens, logs, creek crossing with a large rocky section, and switch backs.  Patapsco State Park is surprisingly full of a lot of trails with interesting features. I thought a lot of what we were on was pretty wide (not exactly double track wide but wider than singletrack) but it was still very challenging with plenty of climbing and downhills with many trail features to practice skills.

I feel like this has been money well spent and I won't know for another couple of months if it paid off but I already feel like it made me a better rider.  I'm feeling more confident and know what I need to work on to be more proficient on the trails.  I wish I had more natural ability but physical activity (any sport) has never been my specialty.  I was always the last person to be picked for any team (anyone remember kickball?)  and never really became good at anything.  Biking and running seemed pretty easy in comparison because really, it didn't matter if I wasn't as fast as others because I liked doing these two activities by myself or with friends who didn't mind my slowness!  Now I find that I do want to get better and getting coached has made both sports more fun for me and made me fitter- all good things.

If I forget everything else I learned, I will know to remember this:
Look ahead, chin up, SMILE, and relax.

Keep on riding and look to victory to get through any trail.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 2 of mountain biking skills camp

We started off day 2 of our BetterRide skills camp in the parking lot of an elementary school.  We first went over what we learned the day before and did some practice drills of a coaster wheelie and a pedal wheelie. I'm still not getting it down but I did feel myself do it right a couple of times.  The best thing I'm taking away from this camp is that I actually need to do the drills over and over for the next couple of months (maybe even do the drills on a monthly basis after that) before I nail it down and it's second nature.  So this is what I know I need to practice in my drill sessions:
1. Body position, getting down into the "attack" position so my body is ready to act as suspension (elbows out, chin up, lower my body with my back straight and my weight over the bottom bracket)
2. Coaster wheelie: on a downhill, shift from the attack position by pushing my hands into the handlebars, arms fully straight and shifting my weight back behind the seat so the front wheel lifts up
3. Pedal wheelie: uphill or flat terrain, same idea as the coaster wheelie but this time use one pedal stroke to help lift the front wheel up
4. Vision, vision, vision, imagining that I'm going over the obstacles I see instead of staring right down at them, allowing my peripheral vision to take care of obstacles.  Looking 3-5 seconds ahead.  This has been tremendous, I knew I needed to look down the trail and not just at my front tire but I never realized just how much easier it is to continually do this and get over trail faster

Today, we worked on cornering and braking.  For the cornering, there was a lot to put together to get it right and I already know what trails I want to try this at home because I tend to slow down tremendously on corners.  One thing I learned that I didn't know before was that counterbalancing on the bike is dependent on your hips, your hands and your elbows (well,. yes, your whole body but if I can remember these 3 areas, I think my cornering will get better.  Counter steering also seem non-intuitive but once I tried it, I surprised myself with how strong of an effect it had on the quickness and sharpness of the turn.  For braking, the best thing I learned was that you can use your front brake tremendously and not endo just by getting down low in the attack position.  It was pretty cool to go down a steep hill slowly and not be afraid I was going to fall off.  After practicing in the parking lot, we went back to Patapsco State park to try our new skills on the trails.  Cornering went well as did going down a steep hill. I was not so successful going up the steep hill but I know what I need to practice.  We also encountered a few obstacles (log stack and logs) and worked on our wheelies to get over the obstacles.  I was able to get over the log stack but only got my front wheel over the logs, I know I'm not shifting my weight correctly but this goes back to working on my wheelies.  We continued to ride the trails and got to another steep section that I walked over because they put up a scary log bridge, but once I got to the other side, I couldn't get back on my bike properly (it was going downhill) and I ended up falling over and banging my right knee into some rocks.  Even with a freaking knee pad on, I hurt myself and the area right below my kneecap started swelling up and is currently on ice.  It doesn't look so bad but it does feel stiff.  But as they say: it could have been worse if I hadn't been wearing the knee pads!  That was it for Day 2, tomorrow will be our 3rd and last day. I'm enjoying this camp so far, and would recommend it to others who want to be better mountain bikers. 
Other drills to work on:
5. Cornering
6. going over obstacles slowly to work on technique, I tend to rely on momentum to get over things and that doesn't build any finesse, so for this I will try getting over curbs without touching them with my wheels

I finally signed up for a mountain biking skills camp.  I signed up at BetterRide.net for a 3-day core skills camp in Baltimore, MD since I missed the Raleigh camp and didn't want to wait until October for the next Raleigh camp (plus, by going to Maryland, I can stay with my parents and combine biking and visiting them in one trip).  I heard good things about BetterRide and decided that I was long overdue for an actual skills course (I've been thinking about doing this for about 5 years and wish I had done this maybe 10 years ago!).  Today was Day 1 of the course and I came away really happy with what I learned and I'm looking forward to the next two days. 
There was 5 of us in the camp plus our instructor Coach Andy.  Besides myself, there were two women and two guys.  Only one person actually lived in Maryland! The rest of us came from other states in order to do this camp. The one woman was a fitness instructor/nutrition coach from Connecticut, who had been mountain biking/racing for five years,  the other woman was from New York and had just started mountain biking a couple months ago, the one guy was from Maryland and had been mountain biking since 1991 and the other guy was from Virginia and had been mountain biking/racing since 1985.  What was funny was the guy from Maryland was the only one who didn't have a full suspension bike- he had a rigid singlespeed!  He said that in Maryland it wasn't really necessary to have full suspension (I mostly agree with him) and he didn't explain why he went with a rigid but he did pretty well even without suspension or gears.  Everyone was nice and kept an open, "beginner's" mind for the lessons since it's harder to teach someone how to ride properly when they are so ingrained in the way they do things. 
Coach Andy first went over vision and the change in your bike handling when you look further ahead versus what's right in front of your wheel.  He set up an obstacle course with small cones and we had to weave through the cones first  by looking far ahead (like at the 5 or 6th cone) and then again by looking at each individual cone.  By looking at each individual one, you really slowed down and were not as smooth in riding.  It was interesting, I realize that I need to look further down the trail but I know that I get in the habit of looking only 1 or 2 feet in front of me and I slow down because I'm shortening my line of vision.  The second thing he showed us was body position.  Keeping the arms bent and elbows out instead of squished in really allows you to breathe more and remain flexible.  After working on body position and vision, we moved onto a discussion of bike fit and he dissected the components and arrangement of each of our bikes.  His suggestion to me was that maybe a wider handlebar would be better (it allows you to corner better) and to change my grips to the Ergon freeride .  He said my current Ergon grips would just be a crutch and once I learn to loosen my grip (cue "Jazz fingers"), I wouldn't need these.  He also mentioned pedals and recommended flat pedals as they would be better for training purposes and cause less injuries (it's easy to crash when you are learning to ride with SPD pedals). 

After the discussion on the bike fit, we moved on to wheelies.  He first showed us how to do a pedal wheelie (using your body and one push on the pedal to lift the front wheel) and then the coaster wheelie (keep pedals flat at 9 and 3 o'clock and shift your body weight back to lift the front wheel up when you are coasting down a hill/slope).  Alas, for both types of wheelies, I tended to "he-man" the handlebars up and only managed to do the move correctly maybe 2 out of 10 times.  The message- do wheelies as a drill every week until I get it right!  After that, we got on the trail (Patapsco State Park) and practiced technique, both uphill and downhill, using vision, keeping loose and working on the wheelies.  My dad asked me why learn how to do a wheelie, what was the point of this trick.  I told him that once you learn to do a wheelie properly, it makes going over obstacles less jarring and faster.  The next step beyond a wheelie is the bunny hop so there is a progression to all of this.  Overall, it was a great first day and made me glad that I signed up!