Friday, March 23, 2018

"The habit of persistence is the habit of victory." - Herbert Kaufman

Blogland, I would like it to be known that this week was a solid week, and I'm proud of myself! (I'm working on this whole self-affirmation thing, rather than the negative inner voice.)

Here's what happened. This week was a little hectic. Where I'd usually do my run training in the evenings, we had plans a few evenings. I had choices..... a) I could move my run up and prioritize it during the day, or b) I could skip it.
I know I still have a long road to go before I'm ready for #RagnarTrailVT in August, so I knew the right answer there was to prioritize the training. I also know myself.... one skipped run, leads to two skipped runs.... which leads to blowing a whole schedule. There was no reason I couldn't make my runs happen, so I did.  AND I'M PROUD OF MYSELF. Huzzah!

Monday's run was some hill repeats. Since Winter seems to be reluctant to ever leave Vermont, I did this one on the treadmill. I have to say, while I always kind of enjoy hills (I know, right?), running them on the treadmill makes you feel like a superhero. So, I was just doing some 30 second intervals (30 sec run up hill, then some rest... then 30 sec run up hill, etc.).... which is pretty doable. Then, the treadmill tilts at this impossible angle (especially when you crank that incline to 6), and you just charge up that thing. LOVE IT. Plus, you can do anything for 30 seconds, which means you don't ever get into that stupid "I'm tired and dying" thought spiral. It's just like 30 seconds of Superhero... a little break... 30 more seconds of Superhero..... What's not to love?

Wednesday, I had to rearrange my schedule to prioritize another run earlier in the day, and it also went pretty well. Just some 1:1 interval ratios for 30 minutes, and dare I say, it felt pretty good? I am not speedy at the moment, by any means, but I feel better and more solid (?). Like I run along and do my intervals, and they're not fast, but I'm running more supported - I don't feel like my core is collapsing from being tired, I'm not running with hunched shoulders, etc. All in all, "solid" is the only word I can find here, for this? Maybe it's better form? Maybe it's muscles that have finally gotten on board? I just generally feel stronger in my runs, through the end - rather than barely eeking out those end minutes. While I can't say running on the treadmill is my favorite thing, I tried some new tunes to help me along. I discovered Spotify has running playlists that are geared toward certain beats per min (BPM), which - when correlated with your relative running speed - can help really propel you along. Oddly enough, I definitely would not have chosen the music on that particular playlist (it was a lot of electronica/house type music), but it kept me rolling! It was certainly better than no music at all. UGH... that's death on the Treadmill, if don't have a buddy to chat to!

Tuesday and Thursday, I got in my usual strength/circuit classes. Tuesday is dead lift day, and Thursdays, we squat! Tuesday went by, feeling pretty good, but Thursday was a rough one. Our fearless leader decided to push us a bit, and the workout - while strength based - ended up being heavy on the cardio.  For example, although Thrusters are a strength exercise with the squat and dumb bell components, I don't think anyone would argue that they get you huffing and puffing in no time. We coupled that with a few more evil things, like Battle Ropes (hellooooo Cardio), and some straight legged dead lifts, and off we went for a couple rounds.
I'm proud to say,  no one died (haha!), but we were a sweaty mess at the end.

Interestingly, though, Thursday's workout did expose a weakness that I was waiting to see if it ever popped up. For those of you who don't know, about a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with De Quervain's tenosynovitis, as the result of an improper work set up, ergonomically.  What this meant was that I wasn't able to grip ANYTHING in my left hand for quite some time, had to do a LOT of PT, get a cortisone shot, and generally have a really bad time for about a year, until my fearless PT got it fixed (no surgery!).  It was a momentous day when I could hold a coffee cup in my left hand, again.

I have progressed a lot since then, to the point where I'm finally using my Leftie normally. However, as we start to challenge my grip strength more and more, Leftie is showing his lingering weakness, compared to Rightie. For example, our circuit was relatively grip-heavy on Thursday (which you don't realize unless your grip is not awesome), by doing things like thick warrior ropes, lat pull downs, thrusters (yep, you have to hold DBs!), etc. By the time I got to my last exercise, which was stiff legged dead lifts, I was struggling to hold onto that bar for 40 seconds. By "struggling" I mean, Leftie was struggling with the lack of grip endurance that I haven't built back up sufficiently, I guess.

For a person who used to power lift regularly, and pull 360# Dead lifts, it is a humbling experience to put that 115# bar down after 30 seconds, because your stupid Leftie is tired. (At least Leftie is no longer in pain!)

THAT said... there's always something to work on. Granted, I have a few things on my list, but that's fine. Who doesn't like a project? I have dragged out my grip putty, squeezy grip trainers, and heavy KB (for farmers walks). Dear Leftie, it's on. Prepare for strengthening!

Finally, according to my weekly weigh-in, no loss this week. However, I'm okay with that. We had a few special deviations from meal prep this week (for good reason) and such, so no major derailments. Also, I have come to terms with the fact that not every week am I going to lose weight. I didn't gain weight (that's a plus) and that's just fine.

MORE importantly - I stuck to my training plan, despite the Universe's attempts to tempt me into skipping a day, I stuck to my eating plan 90% of the week, and I kept putting one foot in front of the other.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

"It's not the speed that you go, rather the fact that you went."

Pardon the recent absence BlogLand, it's been quite a crazy few weeks.

First, I ran off to Vegas and eloped with Hans - and it was everything we wanted it to be: Fast, fun, easy and cheap. We spent all our money on Vegas shows, and crazy dinners. Wonderful. I admit, there was zero training for several days, during that trip. :-)

However, it seems that the extended time in the sardine-can plane exposed me to the Travel Crud, and I was down for the count for 3-4 days, after returning home. You know that kind of crud, where you're curled up on the couch under 40 blankets, still cold, don't want to eat, can't move and you're pretty sure you're dying? Yeah. That.

The good news is, I was back at it this week! I got in two solid strength classes at the gym and almost a full week of programmed runs (Monday was still a sick day.).

Tuesday and Thursday brought deadlifts and squats respectively, still much lighter than I know I can handle, but a good exercise in practicing form and muscle memory. We also did our usual strength circuits, and I feel that Hendrik, our fearless leader has begun an unconscious assault on my arms/shoulders/back. (Either that, or my weak link is showing... lol).  We can do squats and lunges and leg stuff all day, but the only time I've been sore is from doing pull downs and strict presses, etc. My t-rex arms are still only decorative!

However, my biggest victory this week was jumping back on the running bandwagon, after several weeks of rowing/elliptical to take care of the ankle (which is all good now, btw). On Wednesday, my assignment was a 2 mile tempo run. Effectively, I was assigned to take this one SLOW, so I could run 2 miles, straight through, no breaks. It feels sort of dumb to say that was an accomplishment, like ooo... 2 miles.... but it was! Straight through, 2 miles, no breaks and I didn't die. I ran really slowly, but I felt pretty good doing it, and it wasn't horrible. I've definitely made some progress since my initial return to running, because I know that 3-4 months ago, I couldn't run 2 miles straight through.

Today was 40 minutes of intervals to start our Saturday morning. Today, although I felt a bit tired going into it, went by smoothly and without struggle - when was the last time I said that about a run on the treadmill?! Granted, I elected to keep the pace pretty slow (like Wednesday's run), but this lead to me being able to easily get through my intervals without jacking up my heart rate through the roof. I felt much more "able" on this run, if that makes sense? Like I was able to run "strong", keeping good form, without hanging onto the treadmill for dear life (we've all been there, c'mon), and just run along. Part of me was dying inside looking at the pace I had to go at to be in that state.... but, I was still running - which is more than I can say about a lot of people, and more than I can say about myself, even 6 months ago. SO.... we'll call this a progress win!

In other news, Hans and I have finally got the diet stuff on track. Hans has been spearheading (taking complete ownership!) of our meal-prep initiative, prepping meals for the week every Sunday. As such, we've been able to take a TON of stress out of the evening quandry ("What do we have for dinner?!"), which always resulted in some sort of debate, and (usually Hans) feeling obligated to pull something together for us, which takes time and effort that sometimes - after work, after gym, you just don't have. SO... Meal prep has been a great solution. It's also keeping tabs on our portion control, which is a huge one for me. I just eat what we've portioned out.....and the last 2 weeks, I've been down 2+ pounds each week at weigh in time, so I guess it's working.

All in all, back on track, eating well, and getting sweaty.

I did have a minor freak out this week, as we officially paid for our Ragnar Trail team entry.... so, the Big Goal is FOR REAL now. No backing out. *gulp*  I'm trying to just wooo-saaah and believe in the process. Put the work in, follow the directions of my experienced coaches, and just keep moving forward. One step at a time....