Thursday, January 31, 2013

No WOD, just Front Squats and Deadlifts

I decided that I would use Tuesdays and Thursdays for strength work and low-intensity cardio (1 hour on the bike trainer @120 bpm heart rate). So today I did:
Front squats
45 lbsx6
Maybe I do better in the morning but 80 lbs was okay until the last two reps when I had to really work to get up.

75lbs x 5
I'm still being conservative on my deadlifts, my back was feeling a little tweaked even before I started the front squats.  After the deadlifts, my lower back feels a little sore, but not in pain.  Progress! 

After work, I will do my low-intensity cardio on the bike trainer and pullups with a 1" band (5 sets of 10 reps).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday WOD and monitoring my heart rate

My legs still felt pretty good this morning despite the front squats yesterday but this WOD was an ass-kicker:
Run 800M
Power clean 75 lbs
lateral jumps over a parallete bar (12")
Wall balls 14 lbs
Run 800M
This took me 26 minutes and some change

I wore my heart rate monitor today but set it incorrectly at first, so it was still alarming to remind me I was above my Zone 2 heart rate, I turned it off and missed the first 6 minutes of the WOD.  From the graph below, it was obvious that I was working hard during the power cleans and jumps and then came down a bit for the wall balls.  As the reps got lower during each round, the spikes up shortened as expected!  Overall, I averaged 158 bpm and had a max heart rate of 189 bpm during this WOD.

Heart rate during the WOD

Spinach/berry/banana smoothie and a new book to read while I am on the bike trainer.
I don't know if it's a good thing that I'm getting into using the bike trainer.  I have had this trainer for 5 years and I think this last week has seen the most action ever because I am really enjoying reading a book while pedaling and maintaining a heart rate of 120 bpm.  Currently, this means a pace of about 8 mph in the big chainring and fairly heavy resistance with a cadence of 60-70 rpm (to mimic what it's like mountain biking) with music blasting in the background.  I finished one book so far and I'm on my second one.  Today I did 50 minutes on the bike, had another green smoothie (this time spinach, mixed berries, and half a banana with 1 cup 1% organic milk) and then did some weight training at the gym.

I had some mental arguments with myself about whether I should weight train today since my legs felt heavy during work but after the 50 minutes on the bike, I was feeling pretty good and decided to see how my legs would hold out for squats.

Front squats ass to grass for each rep:
45 lbs for 8 reps, easy warmup set
65 lbs for 5 reps, easy
75 lbs for 5 reps, easy, also stayed in the bottom for 3 seconds so my brain and body agree on full depth
80 lbs for 5 reps, a little tough, Meme commented that it looked like I wasn't breathing out- I was holding my breath and only exhaled when I got all the way to the top (and apparently I was red in the face as I was trying to do this)
80 lbs for 5 reps, this time much easier when I started exhaling as I got up but still a little tough on the last two reps
85 lbs for 4 reps, I failed on the fifth rep and had to drop the bar, still it felt great to get this far!

Strict presses
45 lbs for 5 reps, easy
50 lbs for 5 reps, fairly easy
55 lbs for 5 reps, moderate
60 lbs for 5 reps, started feeling it on the 5th rep
65 lbs for 5 reps, started feeling it on the 4th rep
70 lbs for 5 reps (had to break into 2 reps and then 3 reps)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday WOD and mtb training

This morning's WOD was simple and a test of endurance:
As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes
5 pullups (purple band)
10 pushups
15 air squats

I did 14 rounds.  Pretty good for me. I wish I had monitored my heart rate, it would be interesting to see how high it gets during a WOD.

Afterward, I worked on my mountain bike training:
Planks 30 sec. x 5 rounds
Kettlebell swings 35 lb
And intervals on the bike for lactate capacity:
I worked at 160-165 bpm for 1:45 and then rested for 1:00 for 3 intervals.
Afterward I did 40 minutes at 120 bpm.

I also made a new type of smoothie for myself today: the spinach smoothie (2 cups fresh spinach, 1 cup frozen mangoes, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1 cup 1% organic milk). It turned out to be very tasty and did not taste "green".  I think next time I'll try it with a berry mix.  The banana flavor was good but I like the tartness raspberries provide.

There is going to be a lot of spinach in my diet this week.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday: running and indoor biking

I did something different this Sunday. I walked from my house to Umstead State park (1.2 miles) instead of driving.  I realized how silly and wasteful it was to drive my car (a Prius!) for five minutes in order to run a couple of miles.  Turns out that walking/jogging from my house to the park took about 15 minutes and very little effort.  Then I ran 4 miles on the Loblloly trail to Old Reedy Creek and back up to the Reedy Creek Lake Trail.  The trail was somewhat icy and muddy in spots so it was a slow jog.  Afterward I got a ride home from my friends with the promise of kale chips and tea!

I wish I was brave enough to run across the rocks!
Since the trails were so crappy, I decided that it wasn't worth trying to mountain bike in the afternoon. Instead, I spent 1 hour cycling on the indoor trainer, I managed to do this because I started reading a book! That really passes the time well when you have to maintain a relatively low heartrate (average 120 bpm, range was 116-127 bpm).

I like to think I've gotten a little scientific about this: I re-read my cardiovascular fitness report from July 2011 that explains how I personally burn carbs versus fat.  Although I've had this report for over a year and half, it never occurred to me that working at a high heart rate would mean I was just burning through my glycogen stores.  So, I decided that I am going to spend more time in the 109-124 bpm zone to preferentially burn more fat. This means more indoor cycling and slow running/walking for 4-5 hours a week during the 90-day challenge.  I still plan to do the high intensity Forged Fitness workouts for endurance and the weight training for strength but this will be the base to lose fat (as opposed to just losing muscle/fat or water weight).  Going by these calculations though, it will take 22 hours at 120 bpm of effort to lose 1 pound of fat (3500 calories)!  I think what I'm going to do is have my % body fat measured again halfway through this 90-day challenge and see how close the mathematical calculations match up to reality.

Heart rate (bpm)calories/mincalories from carbs/mincalories from fat/min

From the table above, if I reach 154 bpm while cycling, I only burn carbs and no more fat.  This would be okay if all I want to do is train to get faster but not so necessary if I want to lose some weight.  From my assessment, it says that if I was to do the same cardiovascular test running, my heart rate levels would be 8-10 beats higher per zone but I am not sure if I believe that.  In addition to re-testing my body fat, I think I will do the cardiovascular fitness test again but running this time and assess where I am.

I worked on my pullups today and did some front squats also:
Front squats 55 lbs 8 and 6 reps
Pullups 2, 3, 3, 3, 3 reps with the 1" purple band

Then 45 minutes on the bike trainer at my Zone 2 heart rate (avg 120 bpm, range 109-127 bpm), the bike work was mainly to satisfy my weekly "Moving around at a slow pace".  I still find it hard to believe that it's going to burn fat but it's worth a shot and doesn't require much effort other than showing up. Plus, I figured out how to not get extremely bored on the trainer- I read a book which is very doable when you stay in the Zone 2 heartrate. I should get a lot of reading done now!

Lunch was grass-fed organic ground beef (4 oz) with 1 cup of organic brocolli, 1 small sweet potato with 2 oz of pepper jack cheese, YUMMY!

Friday, January 25, 2013

01-25-13 Friday MTB Training

Today was an @home workout using Ultimate Mountain Biking Workout, this is the end of the 3rd week of the program, only 21 more weeks to go!


  • Stretching
  • Foam roller for the quads, IT band, upper back, glutes, and lats

  • Quarter get ups (a fraction of a turkish getup!) 25 lb dumbbell
  • Dumbbell swings 25 lbs
  • Angled bridges
  • pushups
  • Flat leg raises

And then 30 minutes on the bike trainer:
10 minutes of 10 sec Max effort/ 40 sec rest for 8 intervals
20 minutes keeping my heart rate at 120 bpm
I wish I could go longer on the trainer but it is pretty damn boring after doing the intervals.  

The place to be: Forged Fitness
It doesn't matter if you are already buff or just getting started, try Crossfit for 6 months and your perspective will change.  As more people start doing Crossfit and more Crossfit gyms open up, it starts to become a little more main stream.  But if you have never heard of Crossfit, check out this Huffington Post article. I think it sums up pretty much the way Crossfit workouts can change your perspective but one comment that was posted to the article really struck a chord with me:

On some level I don't think crossfit really changes who you are inside but acts like a catalyst for bringing out a dedication to something and change that you want in the first place. 

I didn't even know I wanted the change, but I did know I wanted to be stronger and well, more FITCrossfit did it in a way that keeps me coming back, with the motivation, the exercises, the people who show up for the 6 AM class with me- I love it all.  Crossfit workouts aren't going to magically make me the strongest person ever or the best at any one fitness endeavor (i.e. running, weight lifting, gynmastics) but it sure is fun trying.  I don't think I could go back to a regular gym with the same success I have had here.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

01-24-13 Back Squats and MTB Training

I missed out on the back squats yesterday so I made up for it today:
Back Squats
8-6-3-3-2  @ 75-85-95-105-105 lbs
Still need to work on getting my ass to the ankles (more depth!). I did try to do a third rep at 105 lbs but couldn't get up! I had to let go of the bar behind my back and that was it.  Letting the bar go didn't hurt and I was surprised how easy it was to do that so it's good to know if I try to squat to failure. 

Afterward, I worked on my mountain bike strength training program with:
Split squats 35 lb kettlebell
Tall kneeling presses 2x20 lb dumbells

and lactate capacity intervals on the Airdyne bike:
3 intervals of 1:30 work/1:00 rest, I tried to maintain my heart rate at 158-162 bpm during the work period and then it got down to 125-130 bpm during the rest periods. 

I came back for another WOD, about 12 hours later from the previous one yesterday. I felt pretty good but my back is definitely sore from all those deadlifts!  Today was a struggle with double unders.  This time, I actually attempted the double under 25 times during the higher rep rounds and then the actual # of reps for the rounds with 20 and 10 reps and although it made me slower, at least I was practicing getting my double unders accomplished!

The WOD:
Double Unders
Push Press 33 lbs
Situps (using an Abmat)
Time 23:03

I didn't work on the back squats, and will have to save that for tomorrow but I did do my mountain bike strength training:
tall kneeling slamballs 30 lb ball (2x20 reps!)
bodyweight squats

After work, I plan to do the split squats and tall kneeling presses to finish the strength portion of the mountain bike training and then do lactic capacity intervals on my bike trainer. 

I did not get to the gym this morning so I ended up going to the 6:30 pm class- it was pretty lonely, I was the only one there.  I did get some pointers from the trainer (Alan) on how to do double unders and apparently I can do at least one double under but then I quit.  This is probably something I should practice every day if I ever want to string together a couple of double unders.

And then it was onto the WOD:
AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) in 20 minutes
10 deadlifts  115 lbs
10 weighted situps with a 20 lb dumbbell
10 kettlebell swings 35 lb
6 overhead squats 33 lb
I completed 8 rounds!
Not bad for doing it almost Rx (we only had 35 lb and 44 lb kettlebells, I thought it was wiser to stick with the 35 lb kettlebell).  My back is a little sore but I feel pretty good!  The deadlifts were the hardest part of this workout, the last three rounds, I had to break it into sets of 3 deadlifts in order to finish.

I didn't stay longer to work on my pistols (1 leg squats, super hard to do) but I have been thinking more about body weight conditioning.   This is the year I will do an actual dead hang pullup, a ring dip, and pistols, all unassisted!  Come back in December to see if I accomplish this (I promise video as evidence).

Monday, January 21, 2013

01-21-13 clean and jerk practice

Today was a lot of work:
Clean and jerk 5-4-3-3-2-2 @75 lb then 80 lbs on the last two sets of 2

Then a shoulder killer WOD:
75 push-ups
50 ring dips (purple band)
30 pull-ups (purple band)
25 sumo deadlifts 80 lbs
15 handstand push-ups (modified)
Time 18:01

Afterward I only had time to do 2 sets of 1/4 get ups with a 20 lb kettle bell and 30 lb tall kneeling slamballs. I will do the rest of my MTb strength training after work.

I had a very good Sunday- I finally went for a run after about 8 weeks off. Lisa and I did the Company mill trail at Umstead State Park and did about 5 miles in a little over 1 hour.  We thought it was going to be cold at 9 am but the sun came out and we warmed up pretty quick.  It was pretty great and I haven't had any back pain since the run which is a good sign.  I'm hoping I can continue to do one weekly run just to keep myself going in case I want to do another race.

After lunch, I went for a mountain bike ride at Lake Crabtree, we did all the loops and some of the log stacks, it was fun, not too strenuous but still a workout.  Counting my greenway miles to get to the trails and back, I did about 17 miles total.  This time I actually sweated (unlike yesterday).  I wanted to do a harder trail but with all the rain and snow, I knew the other trails nearby would be a mess so we stuck to Crabtree which was pleasantly dry and not mucky (good trail building). 

As for eating on Sunday, I carb'd up because I knew I was going to do a lot of aerobic activity:
Breakfast: chai with oatmeal and blueberries
Lunch: turkey slices with a salad and fresh mozzarella and a red bell pepper
Dinner: two slices of pizza from Lilly's! I'm counting this as my cheat meal. Plus hot chocolate with whipped cream for dessert (it was delicious)
And a cup of green tea (unsweetened) after dinner to relax.

It has been either raining or snowing this week leaving the trails wet and mostly closed. So I went for a leisurely ride on the greenway on my old Gary Fisher Big Sur bike.  I biked along the Neuse River Greenway Trail for a round trip of 13.5 miles in about 1 hour and 25 minutes. I chalk this ride up to the "move frequently at a slow pace" portion of my exercise plan.

Neuse River Greenway Trail
I'm trying to eat better and seeing if reducing my carbs to 100 grams or less will put me in the weight loss sweet spot (I'm only going to try this for two weeks because this is going to be hard for me):
Is the curve for real? I'll find out in 2 weeks!

Dark chocolate! It's good for you!
I did pretty good today with my carbs at 77 grams and not feeling crazy with what I ate.  Breakfast was 1 cup of brocolli with 3 scrambled eggs and pepper jack cheese with chai. Lunch was a new twist on the tuna salad (no mayo) and dinner was baked chicken tenders with hot chili sauce topping and cauliflower rice. The cauliflower was delicious! I added a pat of butter, carrots and mushrooms to the cauliflower and it turned out to be pretty tasty. In order to not go off the deep end and binge, I've been eating a little serving of dark chocolate every day (80-100 calories, 4-10 grams of carbs), it's been working pretty well but this is only day 3 of the experiment.

Lunch: Wild Planet Albacore Tuna (5 oz) with 3 oz of fresh mozzarella, organic mixed greens and 8 artichoke halves plus 1 chopped red bell pepper (600 calories = not hungry for 6 hours!).

Dinner: Cauliflower rice with mushrooms and carrots with 6 oz baked chicken tenders.

Friday, January 18, 2013

01-18-13 Friday WOD Getting Stronger

It snowed a terrifying 1" last night and that means things just stop in North Carolina, luckily though, our gym was still open and I was able to get in my morning WOD:
Reverse Lunges in the front rack position (like a front squat, 75 lbs) 3 sets of 8 reps
Every Minute on the Minute for 15 minutes:
3 squat cleans 75 lbs
3 burpees
That was a total of 45 squat cleans at 75 lbs! I did pretty good and finished every round in 35 seconds with 25 seconds of rest.
Afterward, I worked on my mountain bike training program:
1/4 getups with a 20 lb kettlebell
tall kneeling slamballs 20 lb ball
angled bridges
pushups (the manly kind, not on my knees!)
flat leg raises
sumo deadlifts with a 70 lb kettlebell
Alternating kneeling rows

Still working on the diet, I've lost 2 lbs since my weigh in on Monday but this could just be normal fluctuations.  I'm being diligent about recording everything in MyFitnessPal and keeping things healthy.  I tried something new (for me) for breakfast: chicken sausage! It was pretty tasty, we'll see how long it takes to get hungry again (took 4 hours).  Lunch was ground beef with spinach and brocolli and 1 red bell pepper.  And dinner was mahi mahi fish with my own sweet potato fries (baked) so in all I all I had poultry, cattle and fish today = variety in my protein intake.

I Rx'd today!

Breakfast of champions: Trader Joe's chicken sausage with sundried tomatoe/herbs plus brocolli with a little pepper jack cheese.

Dinner: Mahi Mahi fish with some fresh mozzarella cheese and homemade sweet potato fries with chaat masala.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

01-17-13 Thursday WOD and Deadlifts!

I started out doing Crossfit before I even knew it was Crossfit since I was pressed into trying out Forged Fitness by a friend (she quit after 3 weeks while I got hooked and am still here after more than 2 years).  I think there were two reasons why I got hooked: 1) I'm slightly masochistic and the workouts kick my ass 2) I loved the way the owner/my first trainer (Jason) interacted with me and inspired me.  Jason is a big reason why I am loyal to my gym and he just knows how to motivate me and keep me going.  I can't say enough about a guy who helped me get through a set of pushups and pullups in one of my first WODs. I still remember that and am grateful that I met him.  So I look forward to the mornings when he is teaching the class, because I know my form will be corrected and I will be pushed to go heavier and work harder. Today was one of those days:

100M Farmer's walk with 2x35 lb kettlebells
8 sledgehammers (each arm)
10 Goblet Squats (35 lb kettlebell)
6 rounds (it was 5 rounds but he changed it to 6 because we were going to be done in under 13 minutes)
Time: 15:26

The farmer's walk works your grip and swells up your forearms, it's intense if you go heavy.

After that, I worked on my deadlifts:
5 reps @115, 125, 135, 145 and 145 lbs.
This felt really good, no pain whatsoever in my back. In two weeks time, I plan to do the same 5x5 but with each set at 145 lbs.

I had a good time this morning at Forged Fitness:

Deadhang pullups 5 sets of 4 (used the 1" purple band and for one round I used the 0.5" wide green band which felt like it offered no support!)

then the WOD:
Row 300M
21 burpees (yay burpees!)
5 Turkish getups each side (15 lb kettlebell)
3 rounds
Time 18:33
then I worked on my MTB training program:
Kettlebell swings (35 lb)
Wall headstands
Bodyweight squats
Split squats (30 lb kettlebell)
Tall kneeling press (2x15 lb dumbbells)

If that wasn't enough, after work, I decided to do a long walk by returning my books to the library by foot! That was a 6.5 mile round trip from my house to the public library at a pace of ~3.2 mph.  My average heart rate was 109 bpm and it took about 2 hours total.  I used to walk a lot when I was in college, grad school and when I lived in Boston, not so much anymore. But I'm going to try and incorporate some walking/hiking into my routine at least once a week for a couple of reasons:

1. I read the Primal Blueprint and one tenet is Move Frequently at a Slow Pace (i.e. heart rate 50-75% of your max) and decided I agree because it will be a pure fat burner and will be my "active rest"

2. I'd rather walk 0-3 miles to my destination than drive my car, at some point I will bike distances less than 6 miles but this is the start to using my own power to get me places (the grocery store is 1.2 miles from my house, I should definitely walk there with a backpack, this might prevent me from getting a 12 pack of Diet coke also or at least I'll have to lug it all home if I do).

3.Walking is fun, you get to see things you never noticed before in your town and it's better than wasting my time on Facebook.

And the eating for today had it's ups and downs (I had a Krispy Kreme donut which I did not photo document) but here are some of the best foods for today:

Ground beef with spinach and carrots with raw green beans and 1 red bell peper. This was pretty tasty.

Snack of the day: Kale chips! 

Dinner: 1 Wild Alaskan Salmon Burger (Costco) and organic brocolli with hot chili sauce, baked in my toaster oven. Easy to prepare and super healthy.

Keeping my weight in check has been a struggle lately, although we are talking a 10 lb struggle here, not an obesity issue.  Here is a photo history of what I've looked like since 2009 (please don't ask me to go back further), unlike other women, I get my fat accumulation around my stomach before it goes to my hips and ass.  Which means I'm more aware of the extra pounds fairly quickly because it's right there in front of me!

August 2009- some would say "solid!"
August 2010 (pre-Forged Fitness)

July 2011- best shape so far!

May 2012

Jan 2013! Tight shirts are not our friend.

Trying to show off my guns, let's see if there is any difference in 90 days!
I have had my body fat measured four times now by Chris Eschbach and it's been both great and disheartening (see graph below).  I first got it measured after my first two months of Crossfit at Forged Fitness and was just getting into strength training and high intensity workouts.  From January 2011 to July 2011, I was on an exercise high, I was running, mountain biking and doing Crossfit 4-5 times a week.  And the results by July showed tons and tons of progress. I lost close to 8 lbs of body fat by July 2011 and felt great.  My weight fluctuated a couple of pounds (all up!) until I herniated my disc in March 2012.  After that, it was pretty much downhill for me, both in terms of diet and exercise. I had to back way off and continued to eat like a high endurance athlete even though my intensity, volume and weights were back to pre-2012 levels.   I thought training for the marathon would get me back on track but instead, I gained more weight! And it was not muscle, it was definitely fat because I was eating more carbs (if you run 20 miles, don't you deserve a Mellow Mushroom calzone?) and justifying chocolate milkshakes left and right!  This doesn't happen to everyone but it happened to me.  My diet is more on track now (no Mellow Mushroom in over a month!, no chocolate milk in over 2 months) but still needs work.  I think it also didn't help that while my kitchen was being renovated, I ate at Panera frequently and scones and souffles are not the best foods to eat on a daily basis.  Now that I have a kitchen again, I'm cooking more at home and controlling what goes into my mouth. 
So where do I go now?  The reason I got my body fat measured yesterday was because I'm going to pony up the $75 for the Body Fat challenge at Forged Fitnesss.  Here are the things I plan to do to succeed in losing 25% of my body fat (8.5 lbs of fat!) in 90 days:
  1. Log all my food/cardio on MyFitnessPal
  2. Do at least 3 Forged Fitness workouts/week 
  3. Weekly strength training (squats/deadlifts/presses/upright rows/cleans/snatches)
  4. Ultimate MTB Training program (more strength and agility for mountain biking) - although this is a 24-week program and mainly so I can get faster on the bike
  5. Run once a week either at Umstead or on the track
  6. Limit my carbohydrate intake to < 150 grams/day, this would have been hard for me to do without MyFitnessPal to help me.
  7. Mountain bike 2-3X/week and 3-5X/week when the days get longer and warmer.
  8. Hike or walk at least 5 miles a week.
  9. Do a weigh-in once a week at least. I'd like to also take my measurements (waist, legs, arms) but I know I'm too lazy to be consistent with that.
Tracking body weight and % body fat- it would be awesome if I could get to < 20%!

Getting stronger every day at Forged Fitness:
Front Squats 5x5 (75, 80, 85, 85, 85 lbs)
This was tough for me, but I made sure I squatted with full depth and worked on using my hips and keeping my elbows up to get up!

Then a mini-WOD
Row 500M
20 box jumps (I used the big tire)
15 kettlebell swings (35 lbs)
3 rounds
Time 13:16

After that, I did my mountain bike strength training program workout:
1/4 getups (on the floor with a 15 lb then 20 lb dumbbell)
kneeling slamballs (20 lb ball)
angled bridges
flat leg raises
kettlebells swings (44 lbs!)
kneeling alternating rows

Another great Monday start!

I had high ambitions for Sunday- I was going to ride by myself in the morning and do Rocky Road (rocky singletrack!) and then have lunch and ride again with some friends. Well, I got out and started off on Rocky Road only to find that the ground was so wet and slick that my tires accumulated so much dirt and clay, I had no traction. I turned back and left Rocky Road for another drier day.  After lunch though, it was in the 70s and we were ready to do 286 (more flowy singletrack).  The ride was great, I can't believe we actually got such warm weather in January but everyone was taking advantage of it at Umstead State Park. In total I did about 22 miles from house to singletrack and back home with a pit stop at BurgerFi where I laid waste to all my good nutrition this past week with a double cheeseburger, onion rings and half of a red velvet cupcake.  Was it worth it? Yes, it was delicious, I just know I can't do it every week. I did a new log at 286 and it wasn't as bad as I perceived, so now I'll have to do it every time:

Breakfast of champions: chai (no sugar) and 3 scrambled eggs with 1 cup of roasted brussel sprouts.
My eating habits are still not great but I did finally realize that if I eat 3 scrambled eggs with some vegetable for breakfast (instead of 2 eggs), I'm not hungry again for a good 3-4 hours.  So my routine this past week has been to saute 1 cup of chopped organic brocolli and then scramble 3 organic eggs for breakfast.  It was amazing how full I felt and I didn't feel the need to chomp on something until lunchtime.  This morning, I decided to mix it up and substituted roasted chopped brussel sprouts for the brocolli with my 3 eggs and found that I wasn't hungry for over 4 hours. This helped since I did a 3 hour hike (8 mile) hike with a friend at Little River Regional Park.  I have not been to this park since the 10 miler trail race back in January 2012! The same race is happening again on January 19th, but I didn't sign up and don't have any intention of running 10 miles anytime soon.  As far as hiking the same trail- this was a great day for it.  Conditions were slightly muddy but not too bad and the weather was perfect.  At some point, I should come out here again and bike the trails - if it ever stops raining on Fridays and Saturdays.

I went back home,  ate lunch and checked the trail status around the area and saw that Harris Lake was open (most trails were closed because we had a downpour yesterday). So I got ready, loaded my bike on the car and headed out for a ride at Harris Lake.   I only did 1 lap around (~7.5 miles) but it felt good to get out there.  And for the first time, I noticed the cooling tower across the lake, it helps there are still no leaves on the trees.  The weather tomorrow is again slated for 70° weather so I will be investing a lot time outside and savoring this warm spell.

Harris Lake is a gift from the nuclear power plant!

Friday, January 11, 2013

01-11-13 Suffer on Friday WOD

I took Thursday off- and am glad I did since today was so hard and long:
Row 600M
28 slamballs (20 lb ball)
28 shoulder presses (45 lb bar the first round, then a 33 lb bar for the remainder)
28 dumbell walking lunges (2x20 lb dumbbells)
4 Rounds
time: forever, as in 33:25

My shoulders and upper arms are fried, this was a tough workout for me.  I struggled with doing the presses and ended up doing 20 strict presses and then the last 8 as push presses (it still amazes me how much a little hip thrust will get a bar over my head).  And the 33 lb bar felt so light at first but after 10 reps, my shoulders were screaming.

After a 5 minute break, I worked on my mountain bike strength training program which consisted of:
angled bridges
Flat leg raises
kettlebell sumo deadlift (70 lbs)
kneeling alternating row with a band (more shoulder work)

The kneeling alternating row was interesting- I can definitely see how this would help in bike handling and using one side or the other to help you turn and balance.  

Notice the board says 26 reps, for some reason I did 28 reps which means I did 24 extra reps! I feel both cheated and exhilarated that I pushed harder!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

01-09-13 Run, Clean and MTB Training

Amazingly enough, I got up this morning without the alarm clock- a good sign that I'm getting enough sleep.  It was a tough workout today:
Run 800M (cold but not too bad)
28 kettlebell swings 30 lbs
28 pull ups (purple band)
28 clean and jerks (68 lbs)
28 pull ups (purple band)
Run 800M
Time 23:30
The pull ups got me, even with the band, it was a struggle to finish them and I ended up ripping the skin around my left thumb but that is the price you pay for high rep pull ups! 

Afterward, I worked on my mountain bike strength training with:
kettlebell swings
inverted rows
headstands (had to hold for 10 sec.)
air squats
kneeling shoulder press with 2x15 dumbbells (I was on my knees, with my butt on my legs and then forced myself up to stand on my knees while I pressed the weight up- hard!)
split squats with a 30 lb kettlebell

I decided to get some extra sleep today and made up for it by going to the afternoon class at Forged Fitness. It was a big class- 9 people!

Run 400M
15 power cleans 75 lbs
50 pushups
Run 400M
50 pushups
15 power cleans 75 lbs
Run 400M
My time 16:50

The power cleans felt easy at first but got heavier after 10 reps, I really want to go heavier but feel like I'm not strong enough to do high reps at a higher weight. It's hard, I want to try something heavier but at the same time, not be a Rip Van Wodkilla and take forever to finish. 

Post WOD, I did 2x12 sumo deadlifts with a 70 lb kettlebell. That was harder than I expected.

Monday, January 7, 2013

01-07-13 Snatches and Overhead Squats

I had to drag myself out of bed to get to Forged Fitness this morning.  The end result was that I felt better after finishing the workout:
10 hang power snatches 44 lbs
10 overhead squats 44 lbs
10 over the bar burpees (do a burpee, jump over the bar, do another burpee)
AMRAP in 20 minutes:
I did 6 rounds and 10 hang power snatches

I started off the WOD with a 55 lb bar but after 8 hang power snatches, I felt like I was struggling and pressing the weight out so I dropped the weight. I wish now that I had stuck with it and just took a break and perhaps do less rounds. Still even at 44 lbs, it was a challenge.  My forearms are still a little sore from climbing Friday night but I'm feeling pretty good. 

The weekend started out on Friday night with indoor rock climbing at TRC.  I did 4 climbs of 5.8, 5.9-, 5.8, and another 5.9.  That wore me out and now my forearms are sore two days later.  The funny thing about climbing is I don't feel like I'm exerting myself much until I'm halfway up the climb and then have to make an effort to get up higher- then I start sweating and feeling like I'm working.  I really need to get belay certified again if I want to do more of this.

Saturday- it was super cold in the morning so I waited until 2 pm to get out mountain biking.  From my house to the 286 trails and back.  They put in more trail that was still "primitive" so there was much slogging through it (the singletrack was sticky/muddy/really bumpy).  Still it brings more mileage to the overall trail although my gps still thinks I'm only getting 12 miles out there! I think it's more like 14 miles but I'll have to get the bike computer back on and confirm.  Overall from the greenway to the trails and back, I did 16 miles.  And it wiped me out!

Sunday- an easy day of walking 2 miles of the Company Mill trail at Umstead State Park!  I was not prepared for more than that.  Still I need some rest days, right? 

It's been lonely in the gym this week, I think everyone is either on vacation or just blowing off their New Year's resolutions even earlier:
Warmup: 500M row

AMRAP 5 minutes:
20 double unders (I attempted 5 then did 60 singles)
5 deadhang pullups (with a purple band)
3 rounds done

rest 3 minutes
20 V-ups (great for your core and great for realizing your core is not strong!)
5 thrusters 75 lbs
3 rounds done plus 10 V-ups

rest 3 minutes
20 air squats
5 ring dips (purple band assist)
5 rounds plus 10 air squats

I think my legs are going to be sore, 110 squats was a lot even if it was just bodyweight.

Afterward, I attempted some more double unders and jump roped for 2 minutes.

I was not feeling energetic this morning and didn't really do as much or as well as I wanted to:
Find your 1 rep max (RM) overhead squat:
I did 5 reps at 33 lbs, then 4 reps at 55 lbs then:
3 reps x 3 sets at 63 lbs just to work on my stability. I'm pretty sure I could go higher but my balance sucks and my confidence is low on the overhead squat. I still think the bar is going to fall on top of my head even though I know it's completely illogical.

Then we did a mini-WOD
10 handstand pushups (no kipping), I managed to get up on the wall but my body was more like a lean-to against the wall instead of straight handstand.
15 box jumps (tire)
20 wall balls (14 lbs)
3 rounds
8:09 time

It felt weird trying to do a box jump after being upside down, I had to give myself a few seconds before jumping.  I'd love to say that I'm going to practice the handstand pushup at home everyday to get better but that kind of resolution never seems to pan out!

It feels like forever since I've been at Forged Fitness and the first day back was tough:
Mini-strength workout:
3x4 reps squat cleans (33, 55, 63 lbs), I gave my best effort to work on my form and speed through the middle, this actually felt hard today after not holding a bar in my hand for over a week.

The WOD:
10 bent over rows 63 lbs
10 stiff-leg deadlifts 63 lbs
10 goblet split squats each leg (35 lb dumbbell)
10 floor presses 63 lbs
Row 300M
5 rounds
My time: 23:15

The hardest thing was the split squats! I even used a lighter weight but holding that 35 lb dumbbell and trying to do a split squat 10 times on each leg was pretty tough. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1-1-13 A New Year's WOD: Biking!

Happy New Year! It's been a little over 1 year since I started blogging about how I exercise.  Everything was great up until I herniated my L5/S1 disc in March.  I think after that, I got a little depressed and was feeling like I wasn't going to be able to be as active as I wanted to be.  I had to cut way back on everything, no Forged Fitness for almost 3 months, no running for 3 months, and no biking for over 1 month.  It felt like forever.  And running has not been the same since I hurt my back.  There's been a gradual improvement in running but it just is not as fun as it used to be. I feel like I have to make more of an effort to run even at a slow pace.  We will see if time takes care of this or if I just quit running altogether.  I'm still seeing a chiropractor once every two weeks to maintain a healthy back and hoping 2013 brings me back to normal and stronger.

The back injury was the worst of 2012, the best of 2012 was this:
Completed my first marathon at Medoc, got my 26.2 miles finally even though it kicked my ass.
Did my second Fight Gone Bad (not sure why I didn't publish the story earlier but it's posted now!) and improved my score from 2011.
Attended a BetterRide Clinic: Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 went a long way towards improving my mountain biking skills and fun on the bike this year. Definitely worth the money and time.
My mountain bike vacation in Fruita, Colorado: Day 1 and the Recap
The next evolution in my biking: Singlespeeding

I am pretty sure 2013 will be even better than 2012, I just don't see anywhere to go but up!
And I started the New Year off right with a mountain bike ride, albeit, it was a bridle trail ride at Umstead but it was still a ride (all the singletrack was too wet and muddy).  From my house to the greenway and then connecting to Umstead for a long loop, and then back home, I got about 18.3 miles at a 9.1 mph pace.  It was a gloomy, rainy day but somehow the rain stopped during my ride and I ended up having a great bike ride and saw only a few other hardy souls on the trails (runners!).  And it was the first time I forgot to bring my Camelbak! I still can't believe I didn't get thirsty over an 18 mile ride but I managed, I guess it helped that it was in the 40s and I wasn't sweating.  The best way to start a new year.  

The greenway back home, it's really FAST going down, it's a pain in the ass going up up 200 ft in elevation with 3-7% grade along the way.  The last leg of every bike ride starting from my house is me facing this hill.

On Saturday, I did Fight Gone Bad as part of a charity event for our gym.  Unlike last year where I think we had less than 50 people doing the WOD, this year it was over 100 people (they invited another Crossfit gym so hence more people!).  I Rx'd it just like last year but it felt like I was out of shape this year.
Do each exercise for 1 minute AMRAP, then rest for 1 minute and repeat for 2 rounds:
Push press 55 lbs
Row for calories
Wall balls 14 lbs, 8 ft high target
Sumo deadlift high pulls 55 lb kettlebell
Box jumps (I did step ups)
Another person counts your reps since the person doing the exercises is so out of their mind, counting would be impossible.  The  # of reps are totaled to get a final score and I got 248, last year I got 224.  So I improved, still wish I had done better but the fact that I didn't backslide is a good thing.  The hardest exercise for me was the sumo deadlift high pulls, it is really hard to do with a kettlebell (as opposed to a barbell)!  And it is not an exercise that I practice/train.  A girl from the Cary gym did my counting, Mary, and she was encouraging but I got to the point where I just couldn't comprehend what anyone was saying! I heard someone yelling at me when I quit doing the sumo deadlifts before the minute was up and I couldn't motivate myself to do more!

After I did my round, I counted for Courtney and realized that I'm not that great at motivating someone! It took me the first round to figure out the right words to use to get her to keep going!  All in all it was pretty good. We raised money for the NC Autism Society, and I raised $850.  Here's to next year when I score 300 and raise over $1000!