Monday, March 28, 2016

A Week of Workouts - March 28, 2016

Greetings and salutations!  (Who says that, really?  The drive through guy at Dunkin Donuts shouted that at me today and I jumped.)

The Track Club group ready for Saturday's long run.  We were all freezing in the wind, and shouting, "JUST TAKE THE PICTURE ALREADY!!!"  I'm front row/all black/long legs ;)

If I were honest/reductive about my week of workouts, it would look like this.

Monday - normal
Tuesday - pick up keys and start moving into our new place
Wednesday - oh hey, really a lot of moving including very heavy stuff and pain
Thursday - you guessed it, still moving
Friday - moving moving moving!
Saturday - hours and hours in isolation at the empty and abandoned old place, trying to clean
Sunday - Easter, a HUGE day for my husband's work, and more moving!

You get the idea.  We are completely done as of this morning.  Just a load of stuff (mainly kids' toys) to donate, and one road bike to pick up and ride across town.  MOVING SUCKS.  So, the workouts this past week were a little hit-and-miss.

Out with the old.

And in with the new.

I did run about 20 miles, did a few quality weights workouts, and accidentally (ha) took a Thai kickboxing class.  I had three rest days, which is huge.  I didn't make it to yoga, and I am really feeling its absence in my body.  Soon!  And I'm already planning a formal update to this post on my body composition and active metabolic testing from last year, but I did have some of this stuff updated.  Since the last test, I have gained five pounds and taken my body fat percentage from 18.4% down to 17.0%.  I am unbelievably pleased with this progress, because I know how tough it is for women to put on muscle weight.  Especially women of...a certain age *ahem*.

But my arms look SO weird to me!  I can't stop flexing, even if I'm in pajamas.  That's actually, actual, solid bicep.

Okay, time for the workouts!

Monday - 3.6 @ 8:13 on the treadmill.  This was a half hour, all I had time for.  I also did 40 minutes of weight lifting.  I'm starting the Strong Lifts 5x5 program, and the day's workout included squats (65#), bench press (55#), and barbell rows (45#).

Tuesday - Rest (well, moving)

I did get this part taken care of, which was major.  I cook our dinner every night, and try to make something balanced, interesting, creative, and beautiful each time.  I'm particular about my fridge.

And check out this view from our new balcony!  The dog and I have been enjoying it during the wee morning hours while I drink my coffee. 

Wednesday - 2.3 @ 9:13 on the treadmill.  I was waiting for my lifting partner Katherine to get to the gym, and I was actually drinking a hot cup of coffee on the treadmill.  I like to live dangerously.  When she showed up, we did 90 minutes of upper body weight training that included these exercises:

Barbell Row
Unilateral Dumbbell Row
Cable Cross
Cable Crunches
Back Extensions
Assisted Pull Ups
Lat Pull Downs
Bench Press
Leg Ups
TRX Mountain Climbers
Abs circuit with a medicine ball

All this took place before sunrise, because I needed the day free guessed it...MOVING.

I did take a picture of my gym in the early morning light, because it just looked so illuminated and inviting and, okay I'm a dork.

Thursday - 70 minutes of Thai kickboxing!  With the bulk of the hard work for our move done, my husband and I decided to go to the gym mainly to relax and get cleaned up.  He wanted to do a shakeout run on the treadmill, and I sort of aimlessly wandered around people watching.  I walked into a studio where a class was just starting, and decided to check it out.  I like to keep my body confused, haha.  The workout was intense...great cardio and some really precise resistance work.  I felt it the next day.

Friday - Rest

Saturday - Track Club Long Run Social!  I signed up for the 14-mile route, but missed a turn and finished with 13 instead.  I ran a 9:46 pace, and the route was incredibly hilly, with great views and some really long, tough climbs.  I am continuing to do long runs based on heart rate, and it is working very well.  I don't feel exhausted or sore after and I can actually be a functioning adult.

See?  Average heart rate 140!  As the pros say, EZ-PZ.

Sunday - Rest

So, that's it!  Everyone have a great week, and I hope you are getting some of the same lovely spring weather we are having here. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Week of Workouts - March 21, 2016

This will be a very perfunctory post.  We are in the process of moving, and I have been very busy. I do have a few pictures to share, but my file transfer software is being ridiculous...maybe I'll just dump them on you during the week.
Weekly running mileage since mid-January.

As you can see, I am gradually building my mileage back up since my injury in the first week of February.  This week was about 30 miles of running, and I never felt any pain or exhaustion.  I'm still hitting heavy weights, and I made a plan to start a structured lifting program on March 21.  My body weight is holding at this new, higher weight and I don't feel like it has slowed me down any.

Monday - 30 minutes on the gym treadmill, which translated to 3.6 @ 8:10.  After, I did this quick weights workout:

Leg Press 130# 3x8
Pull Ups 2 (yes, two total pull ups...that's all I can do now)
Pull Up Negatives 1x5
Hip Adductor 100# 3x8
Hib Abductor 100# 3x8
Hanging Ab Set - calisthenic leg-ups, pikes, and knee-ups

Tuesday - 4.2 @ 8:12 on the treadmill (one mile to warmup, then three miles @ an 8:00 pace, then a little cool down).  In retrospect I have no idea why, but I did more lower body weights.  These workouts only take between 20-30 minutes.  I generally don't take much rest between sets, and keep my heart rate up.

Incline Bench Press 50# 3x8
Pull Up Negatives 1x5
Deadlift 105# 3x8

The good news is, I am comfortably deadlifting 105# now and I think it's time for a formal lifting program.  The bad news is, I ripped my hand open on the barbell.

Wednesday - I did a very thorough upper body weights workout that took about 75 minutes.  My good friend Katherine has recently joined the same gym as me, and we are going to meet once a week for a weights workout or some swimming.  I told her I wanted to work mostly back and abs, and we ended up doing a lot more...she taught me new exercises and I did the same for her. 

Upright Row 50# 4x12
(super set with Barbell Row 40# 4x12)
Unilateral Dumbbell Row 17.5# 4x12 on each side
Hanging Leg-Ups 4x12 (HOLY CRAP THESE ARE HARD)
Assisted Pull Ups 70# 4x5
Lat Pull Downs 70# 4x5
Bench Press 55# 4x8
Kneeling Squat 65# 4x12

Then, I took advantage of having Katherine there as a spotter and did a few back squats with 65#.  I've been a little afraid to get in the rack by myself, since I haven't squatted heavy weights in several years.  There is always the danger of failing a set, dropping the weight (on the floor or on yourself), or just falling down and looking like an asshole.  At the end, we did a ridiculous ab set that Katherine concocted, and it made my abs sore for three days.  Yikes.

Thursday - 5.2 @ 8:39 around my favorite downtown running loop.  It's going to be sad to move away from this running route.

Friday - 4 @ 8:52 on trails at Spain Park.  I felt so heavy legged and slow.  I am sure the weights have something to do with it, and I looked at the calendar and saw that I haven't had a rest day since March 4.  I made a mental note to get through a long run, then take complete rest on Sunday.

Saturday - 12.6 @ 9:18 with the Birmingham Track Club Saturday Long Run crew.  I was watching my heart rate like a hawk!  Fully 85% of this run was in heart rate zones 1 and 2, which I am rather proud of.  Hills make this type of training difficult :)

Sunday - Complete rest.

Totals - About 30 miles of running, with a good mix of indoor/outdoor, various terrains, and different speeds.  Three solid weight training sessions.  I skipped out on yoga, and probably should have gone Sunday, but I needed a day of complete rest.

Everyone have a great week! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Week of Workouts - March 14, 2016

Hey everyone!

Monday - 5.5 @ 8:41, up to the Vulcan monument on top of Red Mountain, across Red Mountain on a trail, then back through the university neighborhood.  I wanted to run a big-ass hill, and I got my wish!

Tuesday - just weights and HIIT.  I did a bench press workout, then did a full body weights circuit with HIIT cardio between each exercise.

Wednesday - 2 @ 7:43 around a local park in the evening.  I hit a milestone, too, in that my body weight is now officially up 10 pounds since the beginning of the year.  I excited for all of the strength gains I am seeing, and I really hope I have built at least some muscle.  I couldn't have done it without reducing my running mileage, so I think my little injury was a blessing in disguise. 

Outside my building.  We are going to be moving in a few weeks, and I will really miss some things about living downtown.  It's a great place to run, that's for sure. 

Thursday - 6.1 @ 9:06 on trails south of town.  It was HOT HOT HOT and humid, too.  I wore some 1" shorts and a singlet and I was still miserable!  What happened to a gentle transition to spring weather???!  I had some extra time to kill after, so I did sets of push ups and pull ups on the playground until it was time to dress for work.

Everything was still muddy, too.  P.S. I used to avoid wearing garish color combos for running, but now I barely notice when I'm dressed like an Easter egg.

The weather was so bizarre...foggy, windy, hot, and humid all at the same time.  At least we haven't gotten any of the terrible flooding they are having south of here. 

Friday - 90 minute Ashtanga yoga class. 

4:00 am wakeup call on Saturday...something I haven't done since before Christmas!

Saturday - 12 @ 9:43 for a long run with the track club.  Again, the weather was miserable.  It was 78 degrees and 98% humidity, and I am not acclimated to that at all!  Just last week, it was barely above freezing and I took hand warmers with me!  I finished this run without any ankle or foot pain, which is so encouraging.  I was careful to fuel and hydrate properly, and keep an eye on my heart rate.  Humidity does some truly evil things to my heart rate, so I took portions of this run verrrrrrry slowly. 

Thanks, Strava, for reminding me exactly HOW hideous this run felt. 

Annnnnd after.  I texted this to my husband with a note to collect my shirt from the bushes outside his office.  I hate that time of year when running gets you soaking wet (seven months out of the year in Alabama, I guess). 

Sunday - 90 minute Ashtanga yoga class (again). 

Totals - About 26 miles of running, including hill climbing, speed work, a 10k on trails, and a slower long run.  A weights circuit.  Two (!) yoga classes.  I didn't swim this week, because allergies have wrecked my sinuses. 

Everyone have a great week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Week of Workouts: March 7, 2016

I think I am safely past my peroneus muscle injury now.  I ran about 25 miles, including a Saturday "long run" of 11 miles.  I still have some lingering tenderness on the outside of my foot, and I am seeing a physical therapist and myofascial therapist once a week, in addition to my weekly trips to the chiropractor.  The physical therapist treating me thinks the injury started in my foot, with a separation in the joint of my fifth metatarsal.  She thinks I fell or rolled my ankle without feeling any pain.  I tend to agree, especially since the pain is fading gradually and running seems to have no effect on the healing process. 

Saturday's run may have been the last run of the year in tights.

Monday - leg day, followed by 3.5 @ 8:33 on the treadmill.  The leg workout took about 45 minutes total, and I only trained two compound movements (squat press and deadlift):
Squat press 70# 1x12
Squat press 90# 1x12
Squat press 120# 3x12
Deadlift 65# 3x10
Deadlift 95# 3x10

I'm really excited to able to squat press my body weight, and then deadlift 100#.  I'm almost there!  As an aside, I do NOT recommend doing any sort of running workout after training legs with heavy weights.  This run SUUUUUUUCKED and I was counting down the minutes the entire time.  Running on heavy legs = hideous.

Tuesday - 4.7 @ 8:28 on the treadmill while I watched Super Tuesday returns.  I was on the treadmill so I could take advantage of the gym childcare, which is a continual lifesaver!

Wednesday - hour-long vinyasa yoga class, which was all I felt up to.  I've been eating a lot more calories, and different foods, and it's making me feel sluggish if I don't time meals properly.  Also, I tried a new type of meal replacement bar, and had an allergic reaction to an ingredient (first time ever!).  Overall, I just didn't feel great, but I made it through yoga.

Thursday - 5.3 @ 8:28 on the treadmill.  This was a ladder interval workout.  After a ten-minute warmup, I did intervals of 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, and 1 minutes at a 7:30 pace.  I followed each interval with an equivalent interval of recovery (about a 9:00 pace for me).  The workout took about 40 minutes and it was tough, considering I haven't done any speed work since December. 

Friday - Rest.

I did make some olive pizza with my son, though, which was the day's major accomplishment.

Saturday - Long run!  With the Track Club!  I haven't been showing up for the early Saturday club runs for quite some time...I think the last one I went to was in late January?   This one ended up 11.2 @ 9:42.  That pace is far slower than my typical long run pace, but it was my intention to take this run as easily as possible.  The club is preparing for the extremely hilly Statue 2 Statue 15k, so the Saturday routes have a lot of elevation change.

Hills!  About three miles of this wan on trails, too, which I love.

I ran with great friends, and felt strong and happy the entire time.  The weather was perfect, we ran on some of the most scenic trails in the city limits, and the sunrise really made my day.  Maybe it was the giant cafe mocha I had afterwards, but I was so pumped after this run that I scrubbed all my floors and organized my wardrobe for spring.  Woot! 

Nice and relaxed.

Sunday - hour-long plyometrics training circuit.  That is just a fancy way of saying I jumped around and did hundreds of burpees.  Everyone always says that burpees will make you a much better runner.  I think that's true, but probably because the next time you go running your body is just like, "Oh thank God at least she isn't doing burpees again."  Perspective. 

The past four weeks on Strava.  I am pleased with my rehab, happy I took the break, and not really aware of any loss of fitness for running.

Totals - 24.7 miles of running, including a couple of quickies, speed work, and a long run; a heavy legs workout; a yoga class; and a plyometrics circuit.  I wish I'd gotten in a good upper body weights workout, so I will definitely make that happen in the next few days.  

Everyone have a great week!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Links for the Week

Here are the exercises I've been using to rehab my peroneal tendon, now that most of the pain and inflammation has calmed down.

Spring Racing, photo courtesy of Suman at

New favorite weight exercise:  the Turkish Get Up [video]

A coach's perspective on disordered eating in distance running

"Eat enough. Train. Get faster one step at a time. . . . The best thing I ever did for my running was to actively stop comparing myself to others. I compare me to me."  

Here is what fruits and vegetables used to look like before we domesticated them.  Ugly!

My good friend and track club buddy Tanya wrote this horrifying piece about a Diva cup malfunction midway through a 30-mile run, part of which included the local marathon.

I've written before about running in an unfamiliar place, since I travel so much.  But did I mention that we're moving??!  I've already been checking out the new neighborhood on the Strava Segment Explore function, and I think I have a LOT of hills in my future: