Friday, September 27, 2013

Lunch goodness

I didn't workout today, trying to make sure I'm well rested for my Fight Gone Bad workout tomorrow but I had to write about my lunch today.  I had cooked eggplant Nubia sautéed with onions, jalapeños and tomatoes with my favorite spice mix-chaat masala! I dumped in 85/15 grass-fed cooked ground beef towards the end and let it simmer and WOW, this was really, really good!  I'm not sure if it was the type of eggplant I used or what but I loved eating this and am glad I have more at home.  I love it when I can cook something healthy that doesn't make me crave a brownie afterward and it's filling. Plus a side of cucumber is always refreshing.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Destroying my legs on a regular basis now

It's Thursday and I finally have gotten time to write up what I've been up to this week and it's been alot of leg work:
Monday- I did hill repeats, this time mostly by myself at Umstead although there were two guys there doing short hill sprints at the same time.  My times haven't changed and I did 7 hill repeats of 0.20 miles.  It was hard but my legs felt okay even though I ran and biked the day before.

Tuesday- Forged Fitness time and I was all by myself! It was surprising since that hasn't happened in awhile:
15 Min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
5 power cleans 80 lbs (woohoo! finally something above 75 lbs)
6 ring dips (band assisted)
7 burpees
I got 9 rounds which was what I was targeting after the first 2 rounds seeing I could do about 3 rounds per 5 minutes.  And I managed to squeeze in 5 more power cleans for a total of 50 power cleans at 80 lbs! I am one step closer to Rx'ing these WODs.  And my legs felt all 80 of those power cleans several hours later on my mountain bike ride.

The Tuesday night girls ride at Lake Crabtree was the last of our season due to the earlier sunsets.  It was great, I led the beginner's group and they did awesome, I love it when someone actually listens to my advice on the trail, succeeds and then tells me it was so much better after following through with my advice!  It was extremely gratifying to see them progress.  I felt much better about it this year than I did last year when I felt like most beginners just disappeared after one or two rides.  I ended up riding my singlespeed and had forgotten to raise the seat up (I had let someone borrow it) and so instead of raising the seat, I just stoop up and pedaled almost 90% of the trail (~6 miles).  My legs hurt from the morning but since it was a beginner ride, I was able to keep up!

Wednesday- Forged Fitness alone again!  This was rough for me because I don't much like bent over rows (probably because I'm still weak in the upper back and arms):
Run 400M
10 bent over rows 57 lbs
10 split squats (each leg) 57 lbs
5 rounds
Time: 18:36!
It really wasn't that bad considering everything but it would have been more fun if someone else was working out withI me.
And despite feeling tired in the legs, I made it to the Beaverdam night ride on Wednesday.  My legs were not feeling energetic but it was still a really, really great ride!  I feel so much more confident riding at night now and to do it at Beaverdam was an accomplishment for me.  I was toast by the end of the ride and got maybe about 10 miles total (didn't Strava it).

Thursday- Forged Fitness again because I knew Jason was coaching and Karen was going to be around.  I only did split jerks with Karen and didn't do the mini-WOD.  I really worked hard on my split jerks though:
75-75-80-95-95-100 lbs, I attempted 105 lbs but dropped it.  I think I had it in me to do 105 lbs but I have a huge mental block and even the recording below of me at 100 lbs shows that I'm still pressing out the weight instead of committing to the jerk!  I have to learn to get down further and not press the weight out as I come up out of the split position.  I also dip way to much in the beginning of the jerk! Something to practice once I'm done with my 6th cycle of the Wendler strength program (4 more weeks!).

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The week in review

Well, I completely blew off posting my workouts this week but I did do a good amount of work.

Monday became a hill repeat day because I was going to be biking on Wednesday.  So Lisa and I did hill repeats at Umstead, getting in 5 repeats.  It felt painful as always and my Garmin was AWOL so I just tried to keep up with her.  Our times were not signficantly different than what I've posted before.

Tuesday I did my girl's mtb ride at Lake Crabtree and went to Forged Fitness in the morning.  At Forged, I did my strength training:
Military presses
60 lbs 5 reps
65 lbs 5 reps
70 lbs 1 rep
75 lbs 2 reps (hard)
Back Squats
85 lbs 5 reps
95 lbs 5 reps
105 lbs 6 reps (!!!) Felt good and I had some left in the tank.

Tuesday post-work, I led the beginner group which consisted of me and one woman!  Susan was pretty entertaining though and we had some excitment on our ride when she ran over a copperhead! And then I kind of stupidly curved my bike around the copperhead.  Other than that it was pretty uneventful.  It was a mellow ride.

Wednesday was even more biking at Lake Crabtree. I actually decided to go with the coed Intermediate group which manages to go at quite a fast pace, much faster than I am accustomed to but I kept up and got to see 3 guys crash fantastically because they didn't know how to go that fast and stay in control.  It hurt my eyes to watch them swing their legs out from the bike as they went around a turn.   None got really hurt in their crashes but I just didn't get the kind of ego it takes to keep trying to keep up at a crazy pace you aren't ready for.  The second part of the ride, I just took it easy with one girl and we finished a lap before it was time for night riding.  I got out my helmet lamp and my handlebar lamp and sweeped for the "slower" group.  It was pretty fun and I felt more confident mountain biking at night than I did last year.  Another night ride this coming Wednesday!

Thursday morning, I was at Forged Fitness and worked on my cleans instead of the prescribed Thursters.  I felt pretty good on the cleans:
75 lbs 5 reps
85 lbs 3 reps
95 lbs 2 reps
I tried 95 lbs 2 more times but didn't make it so I put it away. This is a hard lift for me and I have to be happy with the progress I'm making since 95 lbs used to terrify me- I felt like I wouldn't be able to catch the weight! But I can now and it's awesome.
I did do the second half of the workout which was with a partner (Karen):
Run 400M (1)/Hold a plank (2)
Run 400M (2)/Wall Sit (1)
Run 400M (1)/Hold a plank (2)
Run 400M (2)/Wall Sit (1)
2 rounds
This means one person runs 400M while the other has to hold a plank until they come back and then the second person runs.  It was tough doing the wall sits while Karen ran. The planks were all right. The funny thing is that I was way more motivated to finish my 400M runs faster because I knew Karen was suffering the plank or wall sit!

My legs were pretty toast after this and I bailed on a bike ride, thinking I'd get one in on Friday.  Unfortunately it poured on Friday so no bike ride. I did get in a WOD at Forged Fitness which was another leg burner:
1000M Row
30 slamballs
30 situps
800M Row
30 slamballs
30 situps
600M Row
30 slamballs
30 situps
400M Row
30 slamballs
30 situps
Time: 24:11
I tried really hard to row better and use my legs but it was tough. I don't think I caught my breath during this WOD and my legs felt it for two days after.

Saturday was an easy bike ride at San Lee Park. It was a very small girls ride - just me and Angie.  Angie discovered that just riding Crabtree doesn't do much for climbing and technical skills but she loved it out there. We did all the rock gardens and I manged to get up the Lizard Lick rock "wall" climb. I had to make 3 attempts but I was determined.  Overall, we did 11 miles and that was my Saturday!

Sunday was supposed to be a long run but all I had in me was 11 miles.  I picked up the pace in the second half and finished strong. Now I just need to run just a little bit more in the next couple of weeks. I wasn't planning on doing anything else but I got an offer for a bike ride so I ended up biking 18 miles in Umstead in the afternoon.  I think the combination plus getting up early for the morning (started at 7 AM!) made me tired and I fell asleep around 7:00 pm and woke up at 8:30 pm just so I could eat some food.  It was a good week, I'm hoping next week is the same or better!

I had a busy day on Saturday, I first ran Company mill at 7:30AM!  I had oatmeal with blueberries before the run to make sure I had enough energy and it worked.  It was tough getting out there by myself (no Lisa) but I did it and for the most part it felt like a pretty good run even though my Merrell Pace Glove shoes were kinda killing me.  I even managed to fall once and hit my left palm pretty hard on the ground but as there was no scrape or swelling, I guess I landed softly.  My pace left much to be desired (12 min/mile) and I did the cheater route (cutting across Old Reedy Creek Rd, instead of doing the whole loop) but the run made me happy.  And the weather was amazing, it was a cool 65ish and no humidity. Perfect running conditions.
Afterwards, I rested a bit, had my scrambled eggs and chai and then half a tortilla with almond butter around 12 pm before my bike ride at Briar Chapel.  Another happy occasion since 6 people showed up for my ride, one guy (John) was someone who I rode with and hiked with several times the first year I moved here. I hadn't seen him on any rides since then until this ride.  He was a nice guy then and is still a nice guy!  I was also trying to sell my club's jerseys and was wearing one for the ride.  He ended up buying one from me and said I looked better in the jersey than he ever will :). I thanked him and said that was a nice thing to say and he said it was true thing.  Some guys just know the right things to say.  And Angie from my Tuesday night girls ride was also there so I was excited about that because she's got skills and loves trying new things.  The other members of our motely crew were new to me (except for the other John) and it was just nice to meet people that I knew only through the meetup page in person. We headed out and I tried to keep up a good pace for the group.  At one point, we reached the big boulder that I've seen people go over in the "easy" direction but only have seen one guy go over in the hard direction.  So the group was patient and allowed me to try to get up on top of this boulder going the hard way. Unfortunately, I managed to get on top, lose my balance and fall really hard on the left side of the boulder.  It didn't hurt too bad, managed to scrape up my elbow and my ankle a bit and woke up the next day unable to get out of bed on the left, but other than that, it was OKAY!  I was a little disappointed that I didn't clear it and I didn't feel like trying it again in front of a crowd but Angie gave it a shot (this is why I like her so much) and she didn't make it but saved herself much better than me.  Then Jeff tried it and although he dabbed on the top, he made it up and down the boulder. And lastly, John was supposed to be recording my boulder climb but managed to hit the wrong button so I've got nothing to show for my pain and efforts.  There is always next time though! And this boulder has not seen the last of me.  We did the entire loop and went up Bennett "mtn" to do the downhill rock garden- this time I did much, much better than previously and cleaned most of it!  Rocks stop being scary once you realize your wheel will roll up and down them and even if your wheel slides out a bit, you just adjust and keep pedaling!  It was all good but I only had one lap in me since I forgt my Camelbak and was only carrying 16 oz of water in my back pocket.  And I drink a lot of water and that was not enough. I could tell I was dehydrated by the end of the lap so I left it at that.  I really like this trail now that I understand it a bit better.  I wish it was longer (I wish all the trails were longer) but it makes for a good lap and two laps would probably satisfy my singletrack urges.

And then Sunday came and another early morning run, this time meeting at 7 AM!  It was an out and back starting on Old Reedy Creek Rd where it crosses the Black Creek greenway and I ran on ORC till I got to the gate on the other side of the park (heading towards NC Museum of Art). The "out" part was pretty good, still wicked slow with a ~12 min/mile pace, the "back" part sucked big time.  Even after I passed the airport lookout point when I only had maybe 1.5 miles left, time sort of slowed down and the road did not seem to end.  I kept thinking I was almost done but really I wasn't.  I ended up with an average ~13 min/mile pace for a total of 11 miles.  A marathon is going to be horrific if I can't get my pace up.  I'm trying to figure out how I can get more runs in to get in the groove. Less than two months from the marathon now!

The last part of my weekend was teaching Monica some bike skills. We went out to Harris Lake and practiced shifting, braking, standing pedaling, cornering and turning.  She did really well and I did pretty well teaching her (based on the results!).  And we did two laps of the 1 mile beginner trail and she continued to do well out on the singletrack.  It was a good effort for both of us, I learned a bit more about how to show a beginner how to ride and she found out that she could learn how to ride off-road.  It was a pretty cool way to end my weekend. Especially since I had no energy left for a bike ride of my own after the morning run!

Just me and my shadow for this run, EVERYONE dropped me.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Strength training

Feeling lazy today, I forced myself to get ready and finished my strength work for the week down in my basement: today's workout was cleans and deadlifts.
The cleans:
45 lbs x 3
65 lbs x 3
70 lbs x 3
80 lbs x 3
85 lbs x 3
90 lbs x 4
The Wendler prescription was only for 70, 80 and 90 lbs for 3 reps and then max reps possible on the last weight but I find myself more confident in doing cleans if I go up in increments of 5 lbs so I did some extra work. It was worth it because 90 lbs felt good (albeit my 3rd rep was poor on the get up).  And I had enough in me to do a 4th rep.  Compared to how nervous I felt trying to do 90 lbs two weeks ago, I'm really happy with what I accomplished today.
I sort of followed the same method for deadlifts:
90 lbs x 3
135 lbs x 3
145 lbs x 3
155 lbs x 3
165 lbs x 7
I was shooting for 8 reps at 165 lbs but it was really hard today!  I only have 45 lb steel plates at home and I suspect it's just slightly hard to deadlift since there is no give with steel plates versus the bumper plates at the gym. 

And a new favorite tune to listen to while I do deadlifts:

Well, this week has been a bit slow for me as far as working out.  I have not been going to bed in time and I have bailed twice on going to Forged Fitness in order to sleep a little longer in the morning! I think also my legs still feel a little tired, not to the point where I'm dragging but I can feel them just not being energetic even in the office.  I'm waffling over whether I just am more energetic if I exercise a little bit or if I just take a complete day of rest. So Monday was a rest day, Tuesday I did my presses and back squats and had an easy, easy mtn bike ride at Lake Crabtree. Wednesday I missed Forged Fitness in the morning but did my hill repeats at Umstead after work, here are the results compared to previous times:


hill repeats4/25/20135/29/20136/5/20136/19/20137/4/20139/11/2013
Lap 101:54.102:02.801:53.001:55.702:03.401:49.9
Lap 201:52.701:55.401:57.201:59.702:05.901:58.8
Lap 301:47.401:49.101:51.302:03.902:14.202:07.0
Lap 402:03.301:45.701:50.801:56.802:18.101:52.2

I did do hill repeats once in August but my Garmin was dead so I didn't record my times.  I'm starting to think the Garmin is cheating me though because last night, it was pretty dark by the time I did my last two laps (I did 6, only showing the first 4 above), I was actually running a longer distance to get 0.20 miles!  A little bit annoying and I think next time, I'll just bring a stopwatch and just run up to a marker so I can keep the distance consistent.  Judging by my numbers, I haven't improved at all but I think it's expected since I haven't been really working to improve my running.  I feel like I'm entering a love/hate relationship with running, I want to do better but I am not seeing any progress and then I want to quit.  I think after this marathon (which I am dreading), I'm going to make quit running regularly outside of Forged Fitness workouts.  I'll still keep one day of sprint workouts but that will be it.  Of course, who knows, maybe I'll find my motivation again during the winter when I can't bike as often.

As far as biking goes, I had a good time today (Thursday) at Rocky Road.  I had my best time for the first half of the trail and made it up the "difficult" hill that is about ~1 mile into the trail. I think conditions were just perfect today since it rained a bit and the trail was tacky.  And I made it up another "impossible" hill that I've only made once before.  I'm not sure if I figured it all out but I was in the right gear, had the right amount of balance and was able to lift the bike across the tree roots.  It was pretty awesome.  Unfortunately, it started thundering about 4 miles into the ride and we decided to bail.  Still, I'm glad I got out there, I had wanted to bail on the ride even before we started because I felt like my legs weren't strong today but I proved myself wrong in the first half of Rocky Road.  Now I know what I'm capable of and willing to push myself just as hard the next time I'm out there!

Hill repeats still feel awful despite the pretty scenery!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Squats again now that legs have recovered

I rested on Monday and it was a good thing because my legs started to feel normal today and I was able to do some strength training:
Military press:
55 lbs 3 reps
60 lbs 3 reps
70 lbs 4 reps! One rep since last time on August 27th! I'll take any improvement I can on presses.  I keep hoping the more weight I can do on a press, the easier handstand pushups and pullups will be, although I haven't tested that theory out yet.  I am predicting that once I can press 100 lbs, I should be able to do a pullup (yes one single pullup) and if I still can't do a pullup by then, I need to really work on my pullups and pullup progression.

Then back squats:
80 lbs 3 reps
90 lbs 3 reps
100 lbs 9 reps, I did 10 reps but am not counting the last one since I think my form sucked. Still, it was 9 reps that felt relatively easy to do!  That's huge for me. I don't feel wobbly or unstable going to full depth in the squat and 100 lbs now feels pretty easy.  The squats felt good so I think my muscles have recovered from last week. 

After work, I went on a bike ride at Lake Crabtree. I led the beginner group and it's been more gratifying to see the progress some of the women make on these rides.  I know it can be scary for them to go over roots and down hills but I love it when they take the risk and try and find out how un-scary it is and how much fun it is.  I even lent one girl my singlespeed and now she is ready to buy her own mountain bike!  Overall, a pretty good day for lifting and riding!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Legs were beaten up this past weekend

I pushed myself pretty close to the limit this past weekend and I think doing 75 front squats on Friday morning really tested my biking abilities.  I thought doing the front squats at 55 lbs was not so bad and it was only 8 minutes or so of work but 8 minutes results in tired legs.  My legs didn't even get the delay onset muscle soreness (DOMS), they just went straight to feeling tired.  That didn't stop me from doing a whole lot of mountain biking though:
First rode out at Lake Crabtree with two co-workers, I had thought they were out of shape and I was going to be able to take it easy but no, they actually kept a good pace and I had to push it as the "ride leader".  That was about 8 miles of riding in about 1 hour.  My legs felt the pain at Crabtree and so I knew I was going to be hurting later.
Second ride was at Briar Chapel in Chapel Hill.  I hadn't been out to this trail for a while and someone local offered to ride with me so I took him up on it.  It was a lot of fun but my legs were feeling insecure, I had to take it easy on the rock gardens and I actually had to push my bike up a hill because I couldn't pedal anymore!  We got about 10 miles or so of riding in and now I feel like I have to go back to conquer the rock gardens! Unlike San Lee, these rock gardens are downhill and I just wasn't feeling confident in hitting them.  I hope with fresh legs, I'll be able to get through them.

A ride out at Harris Lake with a good group of people and this time on my Dialed steel, orange, singlespeed! It was pretty fun riding the singlespeed out there at Harris Lake.  I think we got about 11 miles total and although my legs were still hurting, the pace was good.  Both Matt and Trina were killing it on the jumps and I was wishing I could do the jump but I just didn't feel ready.  It's so close though. I'm hoping before the year is over, I get to clear some jumps, I don't care where but it will be recorded on video!  I was way too tired to do anything else though and had to bail on running since I was hoping to recover enough for a really long bike ride on Sunday.

My legs felt better, walking didn't hurt anymore and we went to Uhwarrie National Forest to try out the singletrack there.  The storms from earlier this year resulted in many down trees in the forest but most were cleared except for a short connector trail.  This required some walking through brambles and brush to get back on the trail (see picture below).  Luckily, the main trails were cleared.  This was mainly a ride on the Kewaunee trail but it is such a sweet trail now.  It feels totally different than what it was like in 2011. A lot of swooping downhills, a great rock garden, and killer climbs.  The best part was I made all the climbs (unlike in 2011).  And we did it in both directions and then came down SuperTree because the singletrack connector trail was full of downed trees.  I got in a total of 17 miles and bailed on the last out and back on WhiteTail (?) because I was really done for the weekend.  I supplemented the ride with pizza.

Tough riding through this!

Food pick for the week: stuffed bell peppers! This was delicious. We blanched the peppers (straight from my parent's garden) and then cooked the beef and rice and tomato sauce.  We mixed up the filling and put in the bell peppers, added a little cheddar cheese and baked it for 20 minutes.  Delicious! 

Friday, September 6, 2013

A short WOD and more push presses

I figured today's WOD was going to pretty hard but I eased up on the weights since I tend to tilt forwards on front squats and it wasn't so bad, but we will see what my legs tell me by evening time!
Run 200M
50 front squats 55 lbs
Run 400M
25 front squats 55 lbs
Time 8:58

I only did 55 lbs because I think my max front squat is ~110 lbs and for 75 reps, 50% of my 1 rep max would be doable and not leave me handicapped for the rest of the weekend.  I was able to do 32 reps without stopping then I put the bar down before doing another 9 reps, rest, and then the final 9 reps.  I had to convince BC to drop the weight (we all want to Rx the weights!) and he went for 115 lbs and that was still tough for him!  Still I prefer the WODs that use barbells, I feel like I'm getting a harder workout and not just light cardio. 

I rested for 3 minutes and then did:
20 push presses 55 lbs
Rest 1 minute and repeated 2 more rounds of push presses
The push presses were harder today- I could definitely feel the hurt from the front squats!  That was all for this morning, I'm aiming to get a good bike ride in today and possibly even a run.  So glad it's Friday!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Strength work and a super awesome bike ride

I stuck to my strength workout this morning:
First worked on finding my max press:
I tried 90 lbs at first and got nowhere. Jason told me I needed to work up to my max. So I put on 75 lbs and did one, I tried to go for a second but it wasn't happening.  I waited a few minutes and then tried 80 lbs and made it! Then I tried 85 lbs and failed. So I guess my 1 rep max is 80 lbs and according to my old data- it used to be 75 lbs which I think I did in 2011 so I've only gone up 5 lbs in 2 years! Somewhat depressing until I think about the fact that I haven't actually been  training to go heavier on the press until this year.  The press is pretty hard for me and will take the longest to improve upon. 

After that, I worked on my Cleans:
67 lbs 5 reps
75 lbs 5 reps
85 lbs 5 reps
Still working on my form though, figuring how to sweep the bar against my hips/thighs and staying straight when I come back up. 
Then Deadlifts:
125 lbs 5 reps
135 lbs 5 reps
155 lbs 10 reps
Excellent workout! 
And after work, despite feeling a little tired in the legs, I did my Rocky Road ride and had the best ride ever.  As well as the most anaerobic time ever. I aimed for no breaks and cleared the trail in 1 hour and 2 minutes! So close, so close to being under 1 hour.  There are 4 hills that still give me problems but I will conquer them! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wednesday WOD: deadlifts

My legs were feeling the squats from yesterday but I was not painfully sore, I just recognized that my legs had worked out yesterday.  And the bike ride last night was extremely mellow since I led the beginner group.  And this time i had 3 beginners with me, all who did well.  The biggest issues were stamina and how to pedal over roots, both require patience, practice and using momentum.  

I want to bed by 10 pm and made it to Forged at 6 am for a fun WOD:
Row 300M (I maintained a 2:00-2:10/500M pace)
12 bodyweight deadlifts 135 lbs (3 lbs short!)
21 box jumps (I did stepups on a 20" box)
4 rounds
Time 15:01
I was hoping to finish under 15 minutes and was close enough :)
I keep worrying that deadlifting so many reps is going to hurt but it was pretty good today.  All the extra deadlifting work I've done and will continue to do is paying off.  I always think of the deadlift as a lower back exercise strengthener but really my legs get the brunt of the workout (as they should).  Tonight, we do speed intervals, still need to find a good track though since the one we tried a couple of weeks ago was just asphalt and nearly killed my right knee!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A short hiatus

Labor Day weekend started on Thursday for me but I didn't realize that it would mean no exercise for 3 days!  It felt a bit weird to not have any plans to run, bike or lift from Friday through Sunday but that's what happened when I devoted all my time to fixing up my basement.  It's still not completely done but it is in better shape now for a home gym and fun area.  I took a break from home improvement on Monday and went for a 6.5 mile run on the greenway.  It wasn't too bad but I really need to increase my mileage!  And I got back to lifting today:

50 lbs 5 reps
60 lbs 5 reps
65 lbs 7 reps (and I failed on the 8th)
Back squats
70 lbs 5 rep
80 lbs 5 reps
95 lbs 10 reps
Push presses 
3x20 reps 55 lbs completed 20 reps within 1 minute, rest 1 minute, then repeat
Good mornings
3x10 reps 55 lbs
I'm much more into the lifting now and look forward to these days.  Now I'm off for an easy mountain bike ride in Crabtree on my singlespeed! It's good to be back in active mode.