Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A bit of Inspiration...

It's been a difficult day in my personal life, today... and I came across this on a blog that I've begun stalking: My Green Fat Pants. Sometimes, I think the Universe just provides you with what you need to hear, when you need to hear it.

“The few who do are the envy of the many who only watch.” ~ Jim Rohn

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 42:

Run Day! Nothing too exciting to report for today, other than it was another completed, successful, strong 30 minute run. Yay!
It was apparently the first day of school today, and living across from a high school meant I had to wade through a sea of 14 year old's looking terrified, for the first part of my run, but other than that, it was good times. It was cold when I started out this morning (55!), but a great temperature to run, I've decided.

I think I may rearrange my schedule a bit so that tomorrow is a Rest Day. I was pretty stiff when I got up this morning... I seem to have run it out of me, but I'm afraid how much of a granny-hobble I'll be sporting this afternoon.... LOL.  Sometimes, you just need a rest.

On which note, I'm off to hop in the shower and get on with the day. Seriously, showering after hot, sweaty workouts may, in fact, be my favorite part. So freakin' refreshing!

Before I go, though, I'd like to give myself a big virtual pat on the back, for getting up at 7am, solely to RUN. Why? I had stuff to do today, didn't know when else I'd be able to fit it in, so since it *had* to be done (there's no option any more), I got up early. Unprecedented. Go me!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.” ~ Roger Bannister

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 41:

It's Lifting Day, peeps. Still feeling awesome from yesterday's success in my run, which definitely helped me push on, today. I'm still sore in my gluteus medius (I think, perhaps?); although this doesn't seem to effect the running, it does effect lifting days. Particularly during exercises like Thrusters, where I'm squatting weight. Yeeeouch. It just feels tight, and stiff, and a little sore... but not like pain. Does that make sense? Anyway, that said, here's what I was up to, today:

5 rounds, with two 21 lb. dumb bells of:

  • Bent Rows x6
  • Upright Rows x6
  • Military Presses x6
  • Good Mornings x6
  • Split Squats x6
  • Thrusters x6
  • Deadlifts x6
I must admit, after 4 rounds, I was like... hmm... can I be done? My muscle was sore, and I was feeling it. Then, I thought to myself... well, it was sore when I got up this morning, it was sore yesterday... it's probably just going to take time to heal, and what I'm doing isn't making it worse. SO... STFU, and push through it. Thus, I managed 5 rounds today. I am looking forward to a little more Aleve and some more Tiger Balm, in hopes of cooling it down a bit. I also posted to my ladies on the Spartan Chicked message board, in hopes that they might have some suggestions for my tight hamstrings/soreness. 

Alright. Feeling good today! Energized from my successes! OH. Today was weigh-in day... *drumroll*... I'm down 2.2, to bring me to (yes. I'm going to say it out loud, for accountability) 222.7. My next tiny goal is to chase down something under 220. Yeehaw. On my way. 

Watch Me!

Found this on my (reconnected!) internet, and I just had to share. I've been getting a lot of dubious looks surrounding this process of mine, and this really just described what I've been feeling. So, I'm off to set up my workout for today (Lifting Day!), and for all those people who think I can't run a Spartan Race, or I can't learn to Run 5 miles, or I can't lose the weight and get into better shape...


Monday, August 29, 2011

One down...

Spartan Shape-up, Day 40:

I DID IT. 30 minute run. That is my first attained benchmark on this new journey. Feeling pretty awesome about that. It went like this...
5 minute warmup walk, as usual, the it's week 7, #1, of my Podrunner intervals podcast... which calls for a 25 min. run. It was a lovely post-dinner run, it was cool out, and I was actually enjoying myself. I actually stopped looking at the time every two seconds, and just went. Which I think, incidentally, made time go by faster. Lol.
Then, I ran strong up an incline (happy to say that I even accelerated!) and hit 25 minutes.... then I suddenly realized that 25 was so close to 30... and I had the usual down-the-hill and across the parking lot to go..... so why not push for it?? (The Spartan Chicks message board has been super inspirational!) So on I ran... and ran.... and got a cramp, hardcore, in my side. 'Shiiiiit!' I said to myself, but glanced at my clock and realized I was only a minute and thirty seconds away from hitting the 30 minute mark. Cramp be damned! I probably looked ridiculous, swearing under my breath and running with one arm over my head.... But! I DID IT. 30 minutes. I'm so excited. It's the first real benchmark in progress, thus far.

I feel great though. Nothing like tangible proof that I'm actually progressing! Yes!

And, since (thanks, hurricane.) I'm still mobile blogging, I'm gonna cut this one short! Just goes to show though... if you want it bad enough...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricanapocalyspe Workout...

Spartan Shape-up, Day 39 (part 2!):

Alright, so this 'Hurricane Day' is a bit ridiculous. Just rain. Not all that windy yet... but it has still managed to be annoying enough to knock out my satellite TV, and now my internet. Thankfully, through the wonders of technology, we have mobile blogging. Onto the workout!

Today was a de facto Lifting day. I've been using heavier weights (21 pound each, dumbbells), which consequently, seems to mean that I am done in 4 circuits, instead of 5. I think that's alright though. The heavy weight, but the no-break circuits seem to be providing the same workout. I was actually reading about these DB complexes online, and it seems to be that more weight and less rounds is prime for building muscle. Excellent!

So, what'd I do today?
- 5 min jump rope w/u. Still can't get double unders, but I can at least now jump the full 5 minutes.

4 rounds of:
- upright rows x6
- high pull snatch x6
- squat push press x6
- bent row x6
- high pull snatch x6

I'm feeling pretty good about that today, particularly since I am a bit sore. I seem to have somehow strained my gluteus medius? Gluteus minimus? My low, lower back or upper butt (tmi,  right? Lol). It's hurting. I Was cringing a bit during the squat section, so I took it as a sign to listen to my body and not try to grit my teeth through a 5th round. Besides, I'm saving up some gusto for another 25 minute run tomorrow....

That said, I think I'm off to rub on some Tiger Balm (my best friend through this journey!), and relax for the rest of the day, knowing happily that even a hurricane couldn't disrupt my commitment to these training goals! Wahaha!

No one ever excused his way to success. ~Dave Del Dotto

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 39:

Well, today is 'touch-down' day for impending Hurricane Irene, here in lovely VT. I'm not really sure it's going to be all that destructive, by the time it gets here, but it will probably get a bit crazy outside. Knowing that, I set my alarm for 8am this morning (Yeah. It could've been early, but it's SUNDAY, people.), thinking I'd beat the weather and get a run in this morning. I was even prepared to run in a bit of a sprinkle. HOWever, I got up at 8am, and we were in full-swing downpours. I pondered running anyway (I get pretty soaked with sweat anyway, what's the difference?), but it just seemed like a stupid plan.
BUT, not to be thwarted, I'm readjusting the training schedule, and I guess today will become a day to lift and do weights. I'm even planning ahead (should the power go out), and I've written down my workout, so I have no excuse not to do it later.

I'm pretty excited about the progress I've made, as far as not making excuses. Like, this is just what I do now, and I just find a way to make it happen.

With that, stay tuned... Power-outtages willing, I'll post my completed workout later. Don't let the Hurricane Stop you!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some days, it's just a workout.

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 38:

Okay, so some days life gets in the way (like today, I spent most of the day at the Quechee Scottish Fest, watching burly men in kilts throw around heavy things. lol), and it is a challenge to fit in the workout. However, you MAKE time for things that are important.
I'm headed out tonight for a UFC viewing party, but I had a couple hours in between to get some stuff done, so I decided I would squeeze in a workout. Maybe it wouldn't be as long/complete as other, but some is better than none at all. I'm proud of myself, I reaaaallly just wanted to nap (a day in the sun will do that to you).

However, I rallied, and here's what I ended up with:

  • Squats (50)
  • Push ups (50)
  • Split Squats (50 total)
  • Dips (50)
  • Calf Raises (with 40lbs) (50)
  • Lunges (30)  - Time was up, and my knee felt tweaky
  • Russian Twists (with 20lbs) (60)
  • Ball Crunches (60)
Okay. So. I got it done today. Woot. Nothing exciting, nothing fabulous, but sometimes you just gotta get sweaty. My pre-workout 5 minute jump rope time is getting better, I have to say, though. I can almost jump a solid 5 minutes without falling on my face! hehe

Friday, August 26, 2011

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 37:

I ran 25 minutes today. Solid. No breaks. Holy shit. Let's just take a moment on that one. WOW. I remember when I started this, I struggled to run a 3 minute segment. Today I did 25, and felt GOOD doing it. At the tail end of it, I was tired, for sure, but if I had to, I could've pushed through a couple more minutes. That's how it's supposed to be - you're not supposed to be completely beaten to an inch of your life at the end of a run... and I wasn't today. Even though I went so long.
I just kept thinking about what I had accomplished, and I kept my head up and kept looking for the next little goal along the path (just to that tree, now to that rock, etc.) and before I knew it, 25 minutes. :-) I am feeling very proud of myself, at the moment.
My big benchmark is being able to do a 30 minute run... I'm ALMOST there, probably another 2 weeks before I can do that solidly and consistently... but it actually feels attainable, right now.

Off to stretch a little bit - I've been having some stiffness/tightness in my calves on and off... which, for me means I need to eat more bananas (I have a bit of a potassium deficiency, which is a mineral that works within your muscles, telling them to release... if they don't release, then you get tightness, and potentially huge knots...), and do some more gentle stretching.

However, today, I'm doing that all with a big, accomplished smile on my face. 25 MINUTES!.... I'm going to throw myself a tiny party when I get to a 30min benchmark run, I tell ya....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 36:
Weeellll.... Today was supposed to be a 25 minute Run Day. Unfortunately, it didn't happen... Life got a little bit in the way today. Life, and pre-hurricane Irene weather. haha... It seemed that ever time I would be like okay, I can run now! It would rain. And by "rain," I mean severe downpour. Then I'd be like OKay, I'm going to go and do this, and I'll run in an hour... it's get sunny, then I'd head to put my sneakers on and it would downpour. WTF. Definitely not making excuses for not running today... I would like to report that since this was an inadvertent "rest" day, I rearranged my schedule of workouts for this week, so I still get everything in. Go Me.
No excuses, no "skipping" days... just little hurdles that are to be dealt with and readjusted. Tomorrow, it seems, will be Run Day (25 Min! AH!).

However, something productive may have come out of today. While visiting a friend today, I may have recruited her husband to race with me next year (*he* doesn't know that yet, but WAhaha...).   Sounds like he's trying to get back into running, and adventure racing seems like it'd be right up his alley. What better goal than a friendly-competitive Spartan Race to work toward, to keep you moving all winter?

On that note... I'm off to drink some more water (I'm almost in the groove with this "hydration" thing...), and listen to the rain. TOMORROW, we Run! (I know I can, I know I can...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

“You are really never playing an opponent. You are playing yourself.” ~ Arthur Ashe

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 35:
Lifting Day, today! I found some new dumbbell complexes to do, for this second set of four weeks (I'm taking my training in 4 week increments. It's manageable, that way.). The internet is a wonderful thing, in that light; you can literally find ANYthing. When I am not sure how to do an exercise, you can YouTube 450 million different how-to videos. Love it.

Anyway, on that note, Today's Dumbbell Complex:

  • Arnold Press x6
  • Straight-legged Deadlift x6
  • Bent Row x6
  • Weighted Squat x6
  • Upright Row x6
  • Hang Snatch x6
  • Thrusters x6
  • Bent Row x6
  • Hang Snatch x6
All done with 20 pound dumbbells, 4 complete rounds.
This new one is a bit evil, I have to say. Squats and Thrusters in the same rotation really get you breathing and your heart pumping! Yeehaw! I was definitely pushing on the last set of thrusters (dude. Getting 40 pounds of weight over your head, after squating, on your last round is a decided test of will.), but I feel good. Got through it, good form, good times. 

Blisters, 08/24/11
I would also like to report I have my first official set of weight-lifting related blisters. LOL.  Guess my palms are going to need to toughen up a bit. 

Anyway, feeling good today. Happy, Healthy, Positive. Tomorrow's run is a bit daunting, but nothing I can't tackle. I've done harder things! (Like losing 65 pounds to date, committing to this training plan, etc.) As today's quote says - "You are really never playing an opponent. You are playing yourself."

With that, I'm off to find something healthy for lunch (which gets a little tricky when you've haven't gone grocery shopping...), and get on with the day! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match." - Mia Hamm

Spartan Shape-up, Day 34:

SO! Today was Run Day. It was officially Week 6, Mix 2 of the Podrunner Intervals series. Man I love those podcasts. I am still at the stage where I need to completely shut down my frontal lobes (so as not to focus on the difficulty of the job at hand), and go into caveman run (left, right, left, right... or sometimes, I count steps.)... and the podcasts are amazing - all I have to do is wait for the ding! run. Different Ding, Walk. No thinking.

Without further ado, today's run looked like this:

  • 5 min warm-up walk
  • 10 minute run
  • 3 min recovery walk
  • 10 minute run
  • 1 minute recovery walk
  • 3 minute run
The official podcast is done after 20 minutes of running, but I've been trying to push the envelope a bit, so I've been tacking on time at the end of each run.. somewhere between 1-4 minutes, to make sure that I'm never running (total) less time than the last. 
Today's total time: 23 Minutes. YEAH. And I have to say, it didn't feel *that* bad. The first 10 minute run was totally fine. Steady breathing, steady stride, good times. The second 10 minutes was a bit more of a fight... particularly the last 2-3 minutes... but then, I just remind myself that I have a job to do, there is a reason I'm doing this, and I can go slower - but there is NO stopping. And then I concentrate on my caveman tactics - left, right, left, right.... haha

I am a bit apprehensive about the upcoming run schedule though... from here on out, there are no segments shorter than 25 minutes (Thursday's run... da da DA.). Then 25, 28, and slowly working up to a solid 30 minute run. I am pushing forward with gusto for that benchmark... but yikes.

Incidentally, I am LOVING these Inov-8 shoes I've got (f-lite 230s).  They are totally different than any sneaker I've ever had on, and I love it. SO much lighter to run in, and cooler. My feet, for once, didn't feel like they were sweaty and suffocating. It is a much different run, in a way, because you don't have that heel cushion, but not uncomfortable. And thus far, I don't find myself sore in the joints or anything. Just for my own edification, I think I'm going to have to look into some reading materials on "pose" or this new minimalist running style. 

Keeping up the hydration, has been an awesome thing, too. I had no idea how dehydrated I must've been. I feel WAY better now that I'm (consciously) drinking the appropriate amount of water in a day. 

Oh, and incidentally, the Spartan Race ladies - The Spartan Chicks - have created a FB group for all the ladies of the Spartan Race. I joined today and am inspired on even more levels. Contrary to my fears, these ladies are NOT just super athletes. They are people - just like me - who have put in the work, sweated, cried, doubted, but WORKED and finished races. I'm excited. I can't wait until next year. August 11, 2012 is tentatively looking like my race day.

With that... I'm off to throw a little Tiger Balm on my slightly cramping calves (better to nip it in the bud, before it gets real ouchy!), and relax a bit. Ahhh... Tomorrow, we lift. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

"There's something that separates the people that wake up and look forward to putting as much weight on their shoulders as they can physically handle, from everyone else."

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 33:

Well, this morning I woke up to some nice fresh weather out (like 60 degrees! Yeah!), and actually anticipating my run. Who knows, maybe I'll actually enjoy this running thing one day. Then, I look at the training schedule (Yes. I have a white board with a 4 week schedule, that I check off...), and it's Lifting Day! Woo!

There is something that makes you feel really accomplished after a day of pushing around some heavy things. It's a very tangible accomplishment. You either can or you can't. Very black and white.  I like that.

As far as my lifting goes, 2x/week I'm doing dumbbell complexes. That basically means stringing together a sequence of lifting exercises back to back and progressing straight through them, with no breaks in between. The "break" comes between rounds. Depending on what you're doing, etc. it can get to be surprisingly cardio-heavy. Supposedly, you're also supposed to get better results, in less time this way, by taxing the muscles continuously, in a variety of different ways, etc.
Anyway, today's run down was a bit rough for me. It was a new complex that I came across, and had never lifted before. I've also recently upgraded my weights (just a few pounds, but...), which made this a bit more challenging. SO, you'll see that I only do 4 rounds (as opposed to the usual 5ish)... BUT, 4 rounds at this higher weight gassed me just as much as 5 at the lighter weight.


  • Bicep Curls x6
  • Upright Rows x6
  • Bent Over Rows x6
  • Hang Snatch x6
  • Shoulder Press x6
  • Thruster x6
  • Upright Row x6
  • Bicep Curls x6
.... Now do that whole set 4 times. Yee haw. My shoulders are definitely feeling the fatigue today. It's a good tired, though. I struggled to finish the last round, for sure... but "finish" I suppose is the key word. 

Also, for today's warm-up, I did 5 minutes of Jump rope. Yikes.  THAT is an evil thing. I would rather fight to run for 20 minutes straight, than jump rope for 5. For whatever reason, I find it so much harder. However, that's why I need to do it (in addition to the fitness benefits!). I did pretty good, in the scheme of things, though. 50 turns in a row! Yeah! When I first started this process, I couldn't even get through 10-15 turns without stopping or tripping, or something. These are the days that you have to remind yourself of the little, less significant milestones. Those are just as important, as the big milestones, and add up faster than you think. This says to me that my cardio fitness is improving, and my muscles are building. Oh yeah!

One day at a time, one step closer to the goal....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rest Day! YAY!

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 32:

Well, peeps, today is REST DAY. This makes me super excited. Not because I'm not enjoying training - oddly, I find that I am - but because my body needs a day. I'm walking a little bit stiff, my hamstrings are a bit tight... And basically, I got in bed last night (early!), and slept the living bejeezus out of my bed. This morning provided a leisurely roll out of bed, and I made some zucchini muffins. They're almost healthy! Good times.

However, I had a little pang of fear this morning. Spartan Race is adding all their new dates for next year. You know what that means? It's real. I will be picking a date to run my Goal Race in the next day or two. Holy Shit. Pardon my language, but I think this merited a Holy Shit. I am excited, and eagerly anticipating it... but at the same time, a little bit scared. There will be no going back, after that. Not that I will, or would want to... it's just that. Wow. I'm really going to do it. :-)

OKay, that said, I'm off to eat a Zucchini Muffin, chill on my rest day, and *gulp* pick out a Spartan Sprint!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hydration sucks.

So, I've been actively trying to hydrate today. Bleh. The last few weeks I have been excessively thirsty, and suspect I haven't been drinking enough - particularly with all the extra sweatiness.
Guidelines say that a normal person, excercising daily, should drink 10, 8oz. glasses of water; 80 oz. of water. That, friends, is just under two and a half of my Nalgene bottle. It feels like half the ocean.
So far, I'm through one whole bottle, plus a 20oz bottle I got with lunch. That means I just need to finish the bottomless nalgene that I am currently working on. *sip*

Seriously, is it weird that hydrating is more difficult than this morning's run??

“Picture yourself vividly as winning and that alone will contribute immeasurably to success. Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination, of what you would like to do or be.” ~ Harry Emerson Fosdick

Getting in Spartan Shape, Day 31:

G'morning, World!
Today was a Run Day... and I have to say, when I went to bed last night (a wee bit stiff in the quads and hamstrings), I was really thinking that staying in bed this morning would be AWESOME. However, in an effort to keep myself motivated and accountable, I polled my friends on FB, and the consensus seemed to be that I should get up early and run, as per planned (Instead of waiting and going for an evening run, or something). Then, to tip the balance this morning, as I was checking FB from bed as part of my wake up time (shut up, you know you do it too!), Spartan Race posted this video, along with this note:

"Tough morning Spartans? One of those days you just don't want to work out? Well we brought back a great video to help you. Watch it. We need a commitment from you today."

Soooo.... I took that as a sign from the Cosmos that I should get my ass in gear. I paused to watch the video ("Imma show YOU how great I am!" - Muhammad Ali), then I dragged my ass out of bed and laced up my sneakers. 

I walked out the door this morning and was met with a nice surprise - COOL air. It was only like 61 degrees. Let me tell you, that made me instantly anticipate running in the fall, because I already felt more energized at that temperature. 
Workout today was Podrunner Intervals: Week 6, Mix #1. This consisted of:

  • 5 Min Warm-Up Walk
  • 5 min Jog
  • 3 min Recovery Walk
  • 8 min Jog
  • 3 min Recovery Walk
  • 5 min Jog
  • Then I tacked on another 4 mins of Jogging to keep my total run time up. 
I am actively working towards a 30 minute solid run, so I try not to backslide at all with the total time I run. SO, if I run 22 minutes one day, even if the next workout is less than 22 minutes, I tack some time on to the end (I have a spiffy downhill, across a parking lot route. lol), in order to keep the time up. 

Today I felt okay about the run. I was/am a bit stiff from yesterday's exertions, but I was able to complete each segment just fine, and I feel like my breathing is much better. I don't feel like I'm panting as much, at all... just towards the last segment I just feel like I'm running out of steam. But, I guess that's how it's supposed to be. Training my body to push the limit a little more each time. 
Incidentally, I happened to look at my activity today on Runkeeper (see sidebar, and you too can view my activities!) and it seems that I actually did this at a (unintentional) FASTER pace than usual. Woot! Go me. Maybe that means I'm improving in little ways that I don't even notice, yet. 

Alright. I will say that I'm eagerly anticipating tomorrow's Rest Day. Sometimes just giving myself permission to outright REST is a wonderful thing. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

Today was Day 30 of the road to getting into Spartan Shape. Whew.

I'm reflecting a bit about habits today. At first getting on this "schedule" of 6x/week training was difficult. I had to do it purely on the drive and internal motivation I had to get this going (which, depending on the day, could be a real fight). Now, thankfully, my brain has switched over into "habit" and I don't have to think about it anymore. It is just part of the day. When I don't do it, I feel like something is missing. That makes life a bit easier.... Especially on body weight workout day. For some reason, body weight day kicks my ass. Not that I'm sore the next day kind of ass kicking, but the in the moment, struggling and pushing through, sort of ass kicking. BUT, I guess the more the struggle, the more the gain?

Anyway, 1 Day a week is reserved for body weight exercises. I'm always looking for new ones to add to my routines, and usually (this is a highly scientific method) I just pick a bunch of them, and Go! for about 40-45 minutes, or until I can go no more.

  • Squats (60)
  • Pushups (50) - still on knees, wide stance arms.
  • Split Squats (80)
  • Dips (50) - Legs out straight only for the first 10, bent for the rest
  • Calf Raises (50) - Holding 2, 20ish pound DBs.
  • Lunges (50)
  • Russian Twists (80) - Holding 1, 20ish pound DB
  • Scissor Kicks (80)
  • Ball Crunches (80)
I generally do two rounds through, to get to the totals, but really, as long as I get it done (at least as much as the last time), it's all good.Yeehaw. Feeling the abs a bit. Wish I could see them. LOL. Eventually!

Today, I got trained on the front desk duties that I'll be doing at the gym (Green Mtn. Crossfit - see the link in the sidebar), in order to pay for my membership. Woot! My 2 hours a week starts on Tuesday, which means I'll be able to start Crossfitting a few days a week. That's a pretty intense 45 minutes, so I'm thinking that it will replace the body weight days, or lifting days, sometimes, and I'll keep the runs 3x week. Hmm. I will have to consult with my Trainer Guru on how best to do this. But, it just goes to show you - where there's a will, there's a way. I've been doing this consistently for 30 days, without a gym and with minimal equipment. Winter makes that trickier here, and I needed a gym, but have no money... but, with a little persistence and help of the Cosmos, I seem to have found a way to pay for my membership. Yes!

And so... Workout done for the day... off to hydrate (and Google why I'm SO Thirsty!), and chill for the evening. Tomorrow is Run Day! :-)

“It takes struggle, a goal and enthusiasm to make a champion.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

So, I liked that quote I came across on Twitter (see above). I am an admitted Quote-o-holic, so feel free to submit your favorites to add to my collection!

After having a little bit of an up and down day for some personal issues, unrelated to training, I was feeling a little bit down on myself. Things to the effect of, you "only" went 22 minutes. How is that ALL? You were gassed at the end of it, that chick PASSED you. Things like that. Not positive things, not constructive things, not even really relevant things. Just the stupid brain games that can creep into your brain sometimes. In light of that, I'd like to share the wise words of my Trainer Guru (who is invaluable, wonderful, and single-handedly putting up with my crazy bullshit about this process, while designing this workout schedule with/for me):

TG (Trainer Guru): 22 mins today?
Me: Yeah, had to throw in a few tiny walk breaks, though. 22 mins was a real fight. And the last 2 minutes were real slow. That pissed me off, but I was gassed. 
TG: But you did it. 
.....(Interlude where we discuss more specifics of the plan going forward, where I am informed that I can not just make my body adapt faster on sheer will alone)...
Me: It is just hard to say outloud that I could run "only" barely 22 min. That seems dumb. 
TG: Nope. How long could you run before?
Me: LOL, you're right (as always...). I just have an issue with being a perfectionist. And I got passed running today, and that killed me. Grr. But putting in the work is all that is to be done...
TG: You are doing great. Remember, the only one you have to beat is yourself. :-) 

So, tonight, I'm going to be reminding myself of those things - I Did It. Despite the fact it was hard, hot, exhausting, all those things. I DID IT, damnit. Got off the couch, put my sneakers on and got after it.
And that yes, the only one I have to beat (and my fiercest competition) is myself. After all, that's why I'm doing this - FOR myself. Must just focus on getting out of my own head, and doing the work. The rest will all just fall into place.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"I ran. I ran until my muscles burned and my veins pumped battery acid. Then I ran some more. " — Chuck Palahniuk

Wow. My lungs were really not on board with the running plan, today. Today was the first day of Week 5 in my quest to get in Spartan Shape... and it was Week 5, workout 3 of the Couch to 5K Podcast I'm following. Today's run called for a 5 minute warm-up walk, and then a straight 20 minute run. 
I set off. I walked to my running area,  hit the play button and did my best. I dug deep. Real deep... Sadly, I have to admit, this would be the first time I couldn't complete a Podcast/run exactly as directed. I finished the one before this just fine, so I moved on, but apparently, my body isn't quite up to the 20 minute straight out run, YET. 
Instead, I ended up running about 10 minutes, walking for less than 30 seconds (this was my self imposed rule. No "big" breaks), and then I had two more 20-30 second walking intervals in the last half of the run. All things considered, I think 20 minutes of running, with like 2 minutes of walking, spaced over tiny intervals, is pretty damn good. Again, I need to remind myself that when I started this 5 weeks ago, I could barely run ten minutes, out of the whole half hour workout. Today, I ran ALMOST 20 minutes straight, and then tacked on my usual extra two minutes running down the hill and through the parking lot, back to my walk home. 

It was tough though. I'm not going to lie, there was a moment somewhere around minute 15-16 that I wanted to quit. I heard myself start to say *pant, pant* "I can't do this...", at which point I had to mentally bitch slap myself and remind myself that THAT was not an option. I CAN in fact do this, I HAVE done this, and I WILL continue to do this. 
Just because I can't (YET) gracefully bound along for the entire 3 miles, doesn't mean I'm not succeeding. I have made huge progress in what I'm able to do, and I need to just keep pushing as hard as I can to move forward. What's that saying? "Rome wasn't built in a day."

I think I'm going to try and use today as an excuse to really regroup and refresh. I have to re-do my workout tracking spreadsheets (shut up. You need to track, and that seems organized and graph-able. lol) this afternoon, and look at my food intake a little bit. My weight has been plateauing some, so it's time, again, to be more mindful of what's going into my body. Bleh. 

Whew. Okay. Enough for today. 

The moral of the story: "Never, never, never quit." -Winston Churchill

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Involuntary Rest Day...

Argh. Yesterday, I was out of town, running around Provincetown, Ma. with my roommate, so there was no exercise. There were, however, LARGE blisters acquired. Argh. I figured this wouldn't be a huge issue, particularly after I plastered my heels with these *giant* squishy band aids. Yeah, well, I strapped on my new sneakers (more on that in a min), really excited (wtf ?!) to go for a run this evening.... definitely a no-go. OW. OWWWWWW. OWWWWW. I tried. I put on squishy socks. I tried my old sneakers. Definitely not. The giant nickel-sized blisters have won, today. Grr. Tomorrow, then. Damn you blisters! You've won the battle, but not the war!!

It is doubly annoying, as I have my new running/crossfit sneakers to try out. I got the Innov-8 f-lite 230's. They're of the new, minimalist running shoe variety. They are oddly comfortable, despite not having much in the way of cushioning. I am really excited to see how a run goes with them. My next run is supposed to be a 20 minute straight go... Is it weird that I'm actually really eagerly anticipating giving that a go? Woo! I'm pumped. Hopefully, tomorrow the blisters will allow it.

Anyway, stay tuned... :-)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Feeling Good!

Alright, so today was Day 26 of official Spartan Race training program. Felt pretty awesome today - threw some more weight on the dumb bells (currently about 18 -20lbs a piece.) and beasted through the series of complexes. 6 reps each exercise, 5 rounds. If you're not sweaty by the end of that, you're inhuman. lol.
Was time to put a little more challenge on. Which feels great. Maybe that makes me a bit of a masochist, but I love to find the thing that pushes me just a little bit more. Adding a bit more weight certainly does that!

Oh! Here's something cool - Looks like I'm good to go in the Working Member Program for the Crossfit gym, here. Work off my membership fees, by taking care of the front desk a couple hours a week. In exchange, I get a really awesome place to work out for the winter months (and up here in VT, having a place to work out Inside in January is key. haha). I'm excited to get started doing Crossfit. It seems like a perfect way to improve all around fitness and get into Spartan shape. I admit, here, publicly, that I'm a little bit terrified of walking into that place to work out... many of those people are in ridiculous good shape. BUT. Everyone seems really nice, and hey, we've all got to start somewhere, right?

Can't win if you don't play!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"I'm not telling you it's going to be easy, I'm telling you it's going to be worth it."

Ahh.... I've deemed this "Rest Day". I think technically by my schedule, it shouldn't be, but I switched around this week's schedule a little bit, in the interest of listening to my body. My ankles are feeling a little bit stiff, and I've been pretty non-stop. SO. Instead, I went to Zumba (some rest, right? lol). I figure that way, I still get a bit of exercise, but it's a lot less stressful than running or lifting like I have been.

BUT, that said, perhaps I have found myself a buddy for my Spartan Race next year! Yay! Looks like my Zumba instructor, Nicole (and incidentally, her husband) are interested in doing one, and she wants to be my buddy! Yay!

As I said to a dear friend yesterday, it is much easier to accomplish Herculean Tasks if you don't feel like you're alone in your pursuits (or that everyone thinks your ridiculous for pursuing your goal!).

It has been interesting, this journey of mine, as far as other people's reaction to it. Is it really that weird that I could transform my life, and want to be a better version of me? Geesh, people. I have had to disassociate my exercise/workout stuff from many of my friends, or at least not expect "support". That said, I've found the people that DO support me, and I have been ridiculously grateful for them.

And now... Back to my rest day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And in the Beginning...

Welcome, Brave Readers. :-)

So, I have had quite a life changing year. I know that sounds horribly cliche, but it's the truth. Since an eye-opening picture of myself from January 2010 flipped a switch in my brain, I've lost 60 pounds, prioritized myself, learned to think more positively, started working out on a consistent schedule, and ultimate set some clear cut goals for myself for the year ahead. I figured out who I wanted to be when I turn 30 (July 2012), and am chasing down that person. I've often found that being able to look back on my progress is helpful to inspire me to move forward... hence, here's my blog to do just that.

Perhaps now would be an excellent time to state my Ultimate Goal. My thirtieth birthday present to myself, aside from a healthier me, is going to be entering (and finishing!) a Spartan Sprint Race. For the uninformed, it's a (roughly) 5K, obstacle/adventure race, not for the faint of heart. It's going to be a long road, but I've got about a year, some knowledgeable friends who're helping me along, and a whole lot of determination.

In light of all that, on to the progress blogging!

Today, I'm in the end of my 4th week of official training. Running, 3x/week (following the Couch to 5K plan, incidentally), Lifting 2x/week (series of dumb bell exercises, strung together), and 1x/week of Body weight exercises (push ups, lunges, etc.).

Well, today (Run Day!) was a milestone. It was the first time I've ever run an extended period of time (two 8 minute segments) with only a short walk in between. It doesn't seem like a whole lot, but an 8 minute run, for someone who, 4 weeks ago, couldn't run 2 minutes, is HUGE. Plus, my total run time for today was 18 minutes. Up from 10, 4 weeks ago. My next run will be the biggest challenge, though... According to the schedule, it's just one, 20 minute run. No walking. I'm a little scared, but really energized. I am amazed at what I find myself able to do these days.

I'm feeling pretty proud of myself today. I've really stuck with this, and intend to. I want that Spartan Sword next year (and all that it will represent) real bad. What's that quote about Chasing down a dream?

Anyway, until next time... I'm off to find the ibuprofen (I think my new constant state of physical being is some gradient of stiff and/or sore), do some more hydrating and keep moving!