Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September Goals and Zuzana

Wow, it feels like forever since I posted. After finally finding our back to school groove with homework, chores and practices, we ended the week with some strep throat and a crunched car. Hopefully everything's back to normal and we can get back into a regular routine this week.

Last week went well as far as workouts go. Running is on track, my days are a little mixed up. My goal was to run 1 mile by the end of August. I ran eight minutes this morning and that got me well over half a mile. Breathing was good and my legs weren't super tired at the end of that first eight, so I think I could have pushed closer to that mile. I'll either try again tomorrow or Wednesday. I did HCC three days. It was harder the second two days than the first day, but I made it. I screwed up my strength training a bit, but in the process stumbled upon a new plan that I'll put in place for September and see how it goes. I've been doing upper body twice, lower body once then doing the opposite the next week. I missed an upper body workout last week, so I decided to do a combined workout to try to make up for it. Two things happened: I worked harder than I think I've ever worked and my legs were toast for the next days run. But I loved it!

The workout was Zuzana's Hotel Room Workout and there are lots of squats! I have followed Zuzana since she began her fitness journey. She has come a long way and she has changed the way her body looks a few times by trying different approaches to find what works for her and I love that its all documented. I used to do a lot of her workouts when she used weights, but then I kind of quit doing anything all winter and got soft. When I decided it was time to get off my ass, she had switched to these twelve to seventeen minute workouts
that involved mostly body weight. I poo pooed them, thinking those workouts wouldn't be enough to get me back in shape. My thinking was that Zuzana is already fit and just does those short workouts to maintain her fitness level. So for several months, I just watched her work out. Um, I like to watch her work out...and hear her talk.

After stumbling across some Crossfit stuff online then meeting and talking to a  woman at the grocery store  who does Crossfit locally, I changed my mind about Zuzana's workouts. While Crossfit  is different than Zuzana's workouts, they are still short, intense and they change daily. Hmmmm, this Czech chick might be on to something. So I tried one of Zuzana's workouts. The key word is try. Whichever workout I tried that day involved an exercise she calls Ninja Jump Tucks (scroll down) where you kneel down then jump up onto your feet. I couldn't do it. It really pissed me off. Not in a good way though. Instead of trying until I got it, I tucked it away and pretended it never happened and went back to my safe but boring workouts. Until last week.

Zuzana uses a lot of body weight exercises. She also uses a fancy 35lb sandbag, but you don't need one. I'm using an Ikea bag full of laundry. She now has added modifications for beginners and detailed explanations of all the exercises, which is super helpful. I have to modify some of the push ups, and today I had to eliminate the push up entirely from the side burpee that was part of today's workout, not because I wasn't strong enough, but because I'm not coordinated enough! So, while I don't look (or move for than matter) like Zuzana, I like the intensity, and I work hard and well under the pressure of the timer. Knowing that beep is coming keeps me dead focused and pushes me to do my best. And knowing its only going to be a few rounds doesn't hurt. You can do anything for 30 seconds, right?  Its tough and sweaty, and that feels so good. And cranking out strength training in about twelve minutes as opposed to the thirty to forty-five it usually takes? Win, win!

So one of my goals for September is to do these workouts in place of my regular strength training. Another goal is to get my diet locked down. The same ten pounds have been hanging around for months and its time for them to go. Stat. As far as runnning goes, I've signed up for a 5K in the middle of October. I'll get there, one minute at a time.

What are your fitness goals for September?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doin' the Humpday Hump

 I ran 30 minutes this morning and made it through every 5 min. run without walking!!! I am so proud! I even made it up the (tiny) hill and kept my same, albeit slow, pace. There is a lot more going on in the world at 5:30am now that school's started. Before, I rarely passed one person but this morning there were eleven people out either running or walking their pooches. I think having other runners around helps me run better/longer. I refuse to let myself walk when everyone else is running.

My workout plan for this week is working much better too. I did legs and butt on Monday after my run and today I had no soreness and my legs weren't exhausted. I was supposed to do upper body today but only made it through one set, I kept getting distracted by the phone ringing and the dog barking. I'll either try again later or do it tomorrow.

Yesterday's workout went really well. I walked Tucker for about 20 min. then did Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown. My plan at the beginning of the month was to add three days of ab work into my weekly routine, but after the first week I ditched. I had a really good excuse though. I started doing Ab Ripper X from P90X which is all fine and dandy...if you have cow hide for skin. We now call it Ass Ripper X because it rubbed every bit of skin off of my tailbone. It was gross, and very painful. The manchild to which I am married, made fun of me and spent several nights doctoring and I even made him put band aids on it because it hurt to lie down, or sit, or even move. After two or three days of him calling me a freak, I looked it up and found I wasn't the only one who had that happen. It even has a name now: blistered badonkadonk.

So, no more crunchy frog or in and outs for me. Scouting around to see what some of you runner types do for your midsection, I found The Hardcore Club that Jamoosh has going on. It's fantastic! I tried it yesterday and did better than I expected. The only move I had trouble with was the leg raise; I couldn't hold it for the whole 30 seconds. My lower abs are pretty weak, so I'm adding some reverse crunches and alternating leg raises to the mix.

In other news, Anne Marie over at Goals for the Week is having an awesome Athleta giveaway. I mean a super spectacular giveaway! She has a fab blog and is very inspiring, so rush on over there and check it out! I was just looking at the online catalog this morning...wishing. I plan on buying myself a top or something as a reward when I can finally run a mile.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Manic Monday

Saturday's run went well. I ran six cycles of run 4 min. walk 1 min. The first two cycles went great, then after that I had to walk a few times before my whole four minutes were up, but overall it felt good. I'm happy that I'm at a point now that even though I'm out of breath and my legs are exhausted, I want to run again. That's promising.

This morning's run was late. I must have turned my alarm off instead of hitting snooze. I was dreaming about sitting on bleachers playing some little sing song game with four little girls I've never seen before when one of them shouted, "You're going to be late!" I bolted out of bed and realized it was 6:30 already. Wow! I've been getting up like clockwork at 5am (sometimes before the alarm goes off) and now with school back in session and a million things to do, I oversleep. Everyone made it on time properly fed and with all their accoutrements so its all good.

I ran five cycles of 5min. run and 1 min. walk. The first two cycles were great. After that I started walking a bit before the five minutes were up. Each time this happened, I checked my watch and I would only have a minute or less to run. I kept telling myself that I could do anything for a minute. It really helped.

I'm still trying to work out my strength training days. I do two days of upper body and one day of lower one week then switch the next. Upper body is no problem, but I need to know when is the best time to do lower body in conjunction with running? I've tried doing it on the days I don't run, but then the next day when I run, my legs are wiped out; I can barely make them move. Today I did lower after my run. I had to rest a little longer between sets, but hopefully I won't be so sore and tired on Wednesday.

WOD Lower Body  2 sets

Lunges          15
Squats          15
Plie Squat     20
Donkey Kick 15
SL Dead Lift  20
Kickbacks     20
Wt. Bridge     20
SL Bridge      20

In other news, I have three followers! I'm so flippin' excited! You crazy runner girls* are some of the nicest people. Thanks for your support!

*eta - and guys...thanks Jamoosh!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Good Friday

Yesterday's run was a fail. So much so that I didn't even want to write about it, but I promised I would post the bad with the good. The run was supposed to be six cycles of 4 min. run/ 1min. walk. We started out great, walking to the bottom of the hill and then beginning the first cycle. I found my pace and even made it up the first little hill with no difficulty. Then toward the end of my second four minutes, I felt my chest tighten up. I slowed to a walk and tried to calm down and get my breathing under control. As much as I tried to tell myself I would be okay and that I was just a little out of breath and there is a gas station up ahead and I can call home, my mind started going to much darker places.

Last December I had a major attack while driving and ended up in the back of an ambulance in a grocery store parking lot. It was not good. Not being able to breathe sucks. Thinking you are going to die alone in a parking lot waiting for an ambulance sucks really, really bad. I was so lucky.

You would think that I would have learned my lesson. Yet here I was at 5:30 in the morning over a mile away from home with no inhaler, no cell phone and taking swift, shallow, ragged breaths.  I haven't really had any problems lately but since I don't like to carry anything with me I usually use my inhaler before I take off just as a precaution. Not only had I forgotten to do so, but the night before I woke up gasping for air and found two cats sitting on my chest (we found out after the Dec. incident and extensive testing that cats are my biggest trigger so our bedroom is off limits to any furry creatures). All of this went through my mind at the exact moment that I realized the gas station was closed.

I don't know if Tucker could sense my fear or if he just was looking at me because our pace had slowed to crawl, but I stopped and petted him and told him we were going to be alright. We turned around and I just kept walking and talking to Tucker. After a few minutes my breathing evened out a little bit and the vice on my chest began to loosen. That's when I knew I was okay and that I let my mind get the best of me. We walked slowly for about five or ten minutes and I felt good. Good enough to run? Yeah right. Can't blame a girl for trying, right? I don't even think I made it 30 seconds before I felt the ol' chest seize up again. We walked home at a snail's pace.

Stupidity caused me to miss my run and scare the crap out of myself. I felt defeated and totally bummed out. I took the kiddos to school and then later had a lunch date with my husband (yay!). Things were going much better. The kids had a great day at school, we took them for "first day of school blizzards" at DQ and then went home. The rest of the evening went downhill in a big way. After wiping tears and about a half hour of tending to broken hearts, I was wiped. I consoled myself with a half bag of Dove chocolates. That didn't quite do the trick so I moved on and ate my way through a third bag of my husbands M&Ms.

What a loss. At least the self-pity was fading; it was being overtaken by guilt and a tummy ache from all that chocolate. I figured I just needed to go to bed and start over tomorrow. Right before I drifted off to sleep, I remembered a quote I had read on someone's blog a couple days before: "I take nothing for granted. I now have only good days, or great days." - Lance Armstrong

I have so much to be thankful for. It was a good day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Walk 30 min.

Upper Body    2 sets  (8's)

curls                     15/15
hammer               15/15
kickbacks            15/15
overhead press    15/15
dips                    10/11
flys                      15/15
pushups               15/14
rows (10)            15/15
pullups (assisted)   8/7
upright rows         15/15
shrugs                  15/15      

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

fast like molassas

I'm running more, walking less and going the same distance, yet my time is increasing. Hmmm.

Is it possible that I walk faster than I run?

Today's run:  4min. run/1min. walk.  Made it through three good cycles, then the last few cycles I started walking before my 4min was up. Felt pretty good overall. I slowed my running pace which helped my breathing and my legs (which are a little sore from yesterday's workout). I ran faster at the end, mostly because I looked at my watch a partly because it felt good. Ran halfway up the big hill.

2.93 miles
38.02 min
peak hr 183
avg hr  163
in zone 18.30 min

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17 Workout

Walk 20 minutes.

Lower body:               2 sets
Squats   20lb              20
Lunges  20lb              15
Plie Squats    15lb      20
SL Dead Lifts 20lb     20
Donkey kick              20
Bridge    20lb             20
SL bridge                   20
Kickbacks                 20

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hello! my name is

Heather. I started running two weeks and three days ago. This is significant because I never imagined in all my life that I would have any desire to run. I was never athletic. Oh I played kickball once in a while in grade school and got hit in the face once trying to catch a softball in the eighth grade, but mostly I steered clear of anything that involved running. My one memory of running really hard as a kid involves sailing through the air and falling flat on my big (yes, I was a fat kid) round belly, knocking every bit of air from my body. I try not to ever think about it because I can still feel that pain in my stomach and throat.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no longer that chubby little girl and I'm no stranger to cardio. I was doing cardio dvd's about three times a week before all of this running craziness started. I don't like it, but I do it. I do it because I know I need to. My heart and lungs and body will thank me. I have asthma and I find the more exercise I do, the stronger I become  and the less time I spend puffing on an inhaler. But like I said, I'm not a big fan of cardio and I suck at it. I spend cardio mornings huffing, puffing and swearing at Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper or Tony Horton for about thirty minutes then I walk the dog.

The key word here being walk. I am (or was) a walker. I walked Tucker about a mile each day, up three hills and down one big hill. Sometimes we would do it again in the evening.

Then, for whatever reason, one morning I just took off running. Looking back I have no idea if I just felt extra spunky that day or if my mind was clogged up with stuff or what was going on. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I think I made it about a block before I was huffing and puffing so hard I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest. Oh, and the dog bit me. He's an Australian Shepherd and has a tendency to nip* at anything that attempts to run.

We continued this cycle of huffing, puffing and biting for several days before I got online and found a beginners running plan. The plan had me start by running 1 min. and walking 2 min. I was all cocky at first thinking "One minute, I can run longer than that, I've been running every day". Yeah, right. After that first minute I was sure I was going to die. And that running is definitely not for me. But for some reason, I couldn't stop. Every time my timer beeped after my two minute walk break, my mind told me to run and my body just followed. It was weird.

The next two weeks went okay, the dog has stopped biting me (unless I break into a sprint, then he tries to take a chunk out of my thigh) and I have learned to slow my pace and not worry about speed. I had to add an extra week in between the second and third week of the plan because transitioning from 2 minutes of running to 3 minutes was rough.

I'll get there. As hard and sometimes painful (my calves were really sore the first week) as it is, I love it. I know this because I find myself thinking about running when I'm not running! My goal is to run a mile by the end of August and to be able to finish a 5K by October. I've found an awesome community of strong women who run marathons and work and blog and raise families and they give me hope and are so very intimidating inspiring.

My other fitness goals are to get into a regular strength training program again and to eat better. Until about a month ago I was eating a mostly raw diet (this just works for me during the summers because it's so hot and I only feel like eating fruit and salad) and I quit eating dairy to see if that would have any effect on my physical or mental state. I was feeling really good and my body looked a lot leaner. Then we went to the beach and I started eating ice cream every night. This snowballed into me and the kiddos making ice cream about every other day and try as I might, I couldn't stay out of it. I would eat spoonfuls when we where making it, when it was done and any other time I passed by the freezer. I did notice the scale go up a few pounds but didn't notice any real change on my body until my husband took pictures of me for a fitness challenge. Oh, the horror!!!

So, this is where I'm at. I want to become a runner, get into the habit of regular strength training, and eat clean. That's why I've started this blog. I'm going to get strong and lean and all of my victories (and failures) will be posted right here, not only to help me tweak the plan and see what's working or not working, but hopefully I will meet and learn from other fitness bloggers and maybe even inspire someone to embark on their own fitness journey!

nip*  This word comes from a dog breed description, not me. If teeth have enough force behind them to leave a mark or tear a chunk out your son's Crocs, its a bite.