Recently in Strength Training Category

Wow

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I ran this morning. That's right, you read that correctly, no you don't need to get your vision checked.

I ran!

Okay, so it was more like jogging, and I walked part of it. But whatev. I went for a run.

And it felt great. The knee didn't hurt until I started thinking about the hike I'm s'posed to do with my peeps in two weeks: Mt Humphreys, the tallest summit in AZ. 12,633 ft. 8-9ish miles to the top, 3000+ feet of climbing. Then my knee slightly twinged. But really, I think that's just psychosomatic (sp?). I hope, anyways.

And then I mapped out my strength training and run schedule (complete with baby steps for speedwork!) for the summer and plugged it into my calendar and sychronized that to my smartphone. And when I got home after work, I did my knee strengthening exercises, just like my smartphone nagged me to do! I love it!

And today I moved to phase II of my diet plan, which I haven't blogged about yet. I decided a few weeks ago that I was ready to be serious about getting healthy. And instead of focusing on what I shouldn't or didn't want to eat, I decided to focus on what I wanted to eat. Positive reinforcement, right? (It goes hand-in-hand with a fascinating techinque for public participation - my field of work - that I got to learn a little about last week called Appreciative Inquiry. Basically, the idea is that when people find what works in human systems (societies, organizations, cultures, family units) and then focus on doing that, they have a much better success rate than those who focus on what doesn't work.) Which dovetails nicely with my (usual) state of Pollyanna Positivity (the last three weeks excluded).

Where was I? Oh - the diet plan. Focus on what I WANT to eat. Okay - that means veggies and fruits. That means a specific target for caloric intake at each meal (except for dinner). It takes time to build new habits, new grooves in the brain, so my first thing to remember is baby steps. And grace. No "thou shalts" here. Flexibility and positivity is the focus.

So the last few weeks I focused on eating 1 veggie per day. Do you know how hard that was?! Wow, I hadn't realized that I wasn't in the habit of eating even 1 veggie per day. I averaged 1/day for maybe 4 days a week. I want consistency - every day (the idea being that I get in the habit of reaching for fruit instead of pudding or cake for a snack). The other focus was on waiting when I got hungry. Waiting just 30 minutes from the first sort of "I'm hungry" thoughts. Because usually, I'm not actually hungry. I'm just stressed.

Last week, I realized I could get two servings of fruits/veggies in one (awesome tasting) cup of new V8 fusion pomegranite blueberry juice. So that quickly upped me to 3 servings/day, just like that! This week I decided I'm going to aim for four servings/day. I made it today already! I like this, it gives me a goal and I feel good when I reach it (because I keep reaching it) and I know I'm building new grooves and new habits and before long it'll be second nature. Yay!

I'm still working on the waiting to eat thing - it's hard - I'm very much an emotional eater. But I did decide I'm ready for the next baby step: portion control (yikes!!!). Paying attention to my portions is the first step, along with leaving one bite behind. (Just one bite. That's easy.)

I'm telling you, I'm really digging this focus on what I WANT thing. I'm using it with my son, even. Talking with him about what I want for our family, getting his ideas on what he wants, giving him expectations, discussing how we interact. (We'd been having difficulties.) This feels good. Yay for baby steps to progress! (And three cheers for endorphins!!!)

So Donald's response to my last post was, "A man who "cranks up Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears"? And you have no other comments on this? That's totally funny."

So I e-mailed him back the whole story...

He was of middle eastern descent, dark-skinned, athletic, with long black curly hair tied loosely into a ponytail at his neck. A prominent nose stood out from his face, but his eyes were most arresting, deep-set jewels glistening in the early morning gym light. I lost myself in those dark eyes as he walked into the room. I stopped midstride, and the force of the elliptical trainer thrust me forward with an awkward jerk. I hit my nose on the display, but managed to stay upright. I hurriedly moved the pedals forward, as though nothing had happened, and my heart started fluttering as he mounted the machine next to me. His muscles rippled under his shirt in a most appealing way, and I admired his strong quads as he began pumping his legs forward. My favorite kind of eye candy to keep me company on this early stormy morning.

Then he turned on his iPod.

Donald's response? "THAT'S what I'm talking about!"

Thus, you get the whole story too.
___
Ash stayed up all night last night, so I skipped my planned early morning run. I decided to hit up the gym tonight, and it's a good thing I did, after the nutritious food I ate today: a scone for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a death by chocolate cookie for a snack (note dripping sarcasm).

I walked out of the house to drive to the gym, and it was so beautiful, I decided to stop at the River Path to go for a run! I was in my strength training gear (i.e. all cotton) and "dead" shoes, with no handheld water bottle or pack to hold anything, but I just had to run. It felt great to let loose, and watch the clouds dance over the mountains. About a third of the way in I caught sight of a woman in front of me, and decided she'd be my rabbit. I chased her down for the middle third, and when I finally caught up to her and started to pass her, I looked over to say "hey" only to realized it was Lisa! She and Kiera and I are planning a run this weekend (hopefully we won't get lost), and we were both out for spur of the moment runs.

I finished up, knowing I had pushed my speed. That felt great. Then it was off to the gym for 30 minutes on the bike, 30 minutes strength training, 30 minutes stretching, and a few minutes in the hot tub and pool. Nice relaxing evening.

Got home and plugged in my numbers - lo and behold, my pace tonight was 10:26/mile! Woo hoo!!!

Eye Candy...The Whole Story

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So Donald's response to my last post was, "A man who "cranks up Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears"? And you have no other comments on this? That's totally funny."

So I e-mailed him back the whole story...

He was of middle eastern descent, dark-skinned, athletic, with long black curly hair tied loosely into a ponytail at his neck. A prominent nose stood out from his face, but his eyes were most arresting, deep-set jewels glistening in the early morning gym light. I lost myself in those dark eyes as he walked into the room. I stopped midstride, and the force of the elliptical trainer thrust me forward with an awkward jerk. I hit my nose on the display, but managed to stay upright. I hurriedly moved the pedals forward, as though nothing had happened, and my heart started fluttering as he mounted the machine next to me. His muscles rippled under his shirt in a most appealing way, and I admired his strong quads as he began pumping his legs forward. My favorite kind of eye candy to keep me company on this early stormy morning.

Then he turned on his iPod.

Donald's response? "THAT'S what I'm talking about!"

Thus, you get the whole story too.
___
Ash stayed up all night last night, so I skipped my planned early morning run. I decided to hit up the gym tonight, and it's a good thing I did, after the nutritious food I ate today: a scone for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a death by chocolate cookie for a snack (note dripping sarcasm).

I walked out of the house to drive to the gym, and it was so beautiful, I decided to stop at the River Path to go for a run! I was in my strength training gear (i.e. all cotton) and "dead" shoes, with no handheld water bottle or pack to hold anything, but I just had to run. It felt great to let loose, and watch the clouds dance over the mountains. About a third of the way in I caught sight of a woman in front of me, and decided she'd be my rabbit. I chased her down for the middle third, and when I finally caught up to her and started to pass her, I looked over to say "hey" only to realized it was Lisa! She and Kiera and I are planning a run this weekend (hopefully we won't get lost), and we were both out for spur of the moment runs.

I finished up, knowing I had pushed my speed. That felt great. Then it was off to the gym for 30 minutes on the bike, 30 minutes strength training, 30 minutes stretching, and a few minutes in the hot tub and pool. Nice relaxing evening.

Got home and plugged in my numbers - lo and behold, my pace tonight was 10:26/mile! Woo hoo!!!

Cross Training

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After my surgery, I have ramped up my mileage somewhat quickly. I went from 0 to 11 to 18 in two weeks. No wonder my knees are a little sore. I have six months till OP50, giving me plenty of time to train. I decided that I would take this first month to build up my aerobic base. Run around 15 miles a week, and spend the rest of my time cross-training. I think this will help me get stronger while taking it easier on my joints. I also think I'll be taking a close look at my nutritional strategies.

Yesterday morning, Paki and I were scheduled to go out. This time, I called her at 5 a.m.
me: It's raining. Is it raining at your place?
paki: yes
me: it's thundering. are you getting lightning?
paki: yeah
me: what if the lightning hit one of the electrical poles at the river?
paki: yeah, I was going to wait to see if it goes away
me: I don't want to get hit by lightning
paki: yeah, we probably shouldn't go
me: no, I think I'll go to the gym instead
paki: darnit, I really wanted to go today.
me: I know!
paki: oh well.

So I stumble through the dark house, trying to find my strength training gear (separate from the running gear I set out the night before), and manage to get out of the house and on my way by 5:25. As I drive over, I notice that it hasn't thundered in at least 20 minutes, and the rain has settled to a drizzle. I second-guess my decision the entire 5-minute drive over, agonizing that I made the wrong choice. Finally, I decide to live with the choice I made, reminding myself of my new goals: not miles, but base.

The gym is surprisingly full 5:30 a.m. I want to get on one of the stationary bikes, but they look like they are off. I'm not sure how to work it (I'm still a newbie), so I get on an elliptical machine instead. Since the goal is to get my heart rate up, I actually peruse the various workouts and choose one that looks hard in a good way. As I spin my legs round and round, I pay close attention to the people getting on the bikes in front of me, the bikes I thought were off. Aha! All you have to do is pedal a little, and the displays will light up. I file that away for future reference. A man hops on the elliptical next to me, without signing in on the board, and cranks up Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears in his iPod. I bounce along, first moving my legs forward, then moving them backwards as directed by the programmed workout. I'm happy to see my HR moving up. I don't have a HR monitor at home, so to be able to get a feel for my heart rate while working out is pretty cool. I'm suprised at my body's response to a HR in the 150s - I can feel my heart pounding, my head pounding and I'm breathing surprisingly hard. I thought my HR would be higher for that sort of physiological response.

I hop off my machine as a woman is getting upset that the man next to me didn't sign in. She wants a particular machine, and according to the sign in board, two should be available. She hops on mine as I wander over to the weights. I am feeling good. I am ready to up it to three sets per exercise. I am serious, focused. So focused, I fail to realize until half-way through my exercises that I am doing the wrong day's exercises. Oops! Oh well. I keep going. I am delighted as I do reverse crunches to feel that I'm starting to be able to lift my butt off the mat. I'm also excited to feel that I can keep my balance doing squats. I finish up and head out to stretch.

My gym has a nice balcony area overlooking the basketball courts, with mats and other assorted floor equipment. I snag a mat and start my ITB stretching. Ahhh, it feels so good. I work through all my leg stretches, and then head back out. What a great workout.

I spend the rest of the (stressful) day satisfied. I can feel the burn in my muscles throughout the day. I feel strong, confident and solid. By the end of the day, my muscles are sore, but in such a pleasant way.

This morning, I decided to sleep instead of run or go back to the gym to bike. Rest is an important part of training programs; I am taking this to heart!

Warm gooey chocolate cake

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There's nothing like warm, gooey chocolate cake to make a stressed-out, PMSing woman feel wonderful. Mmmm....

Work is crazy busy. That's awesome - I hate to be bored - but stressful. Still, it's fun. But combine busy work (= shorter lunch hour) with training again, and I'm one remiss blogger. I've not been able to keep up with y'all, but I will catch up soon.

While I have a few moments, an update:
1. Joyce and I hit the gym Tuesday night, and it was fantastic. I've trained strength training before (out-of-shape ultrarunner seeks six-pack, anyone?), and it didn't work very well. I just didn't get it. Well, having Joyce there to show me the correct form, answer every single one of my many questions and laugh along with as I struggled in vain to stay on the dyna discs made everything awesome. Plus, I actually enjoyed feeling my muscles work and move and fatigue as I made my way slowly through all the repetitions. I enjoyed strength training! Wow! I'm back to the gym tomorrow. Should be fun.

2. I got to run trails for the first time after my surgery, finally! Johnny's mom watched Ash last night, so Johnny and I headed to Sabino. Most of the trails are closed, but enough remain open for me to get 3.5 miles. It was so cool to see the aftermath of the floods, the slides on the canyon walls, and all the critters! From a roadrunner out in the open and just watching us at the bathrooms (unusual), to a Gila monster waddling on the trail (highly unusual), the animals were out in force. A thunderstorm rolled in while we were out there, and although we only received a few sprinkles, the lightning show was fantastic. While Johnny ran another lap, I stretched. It felt so good. I could tell I've lost fitness - my breath was labored on even the flatter portions, and my kick at the end was the slowest end-kick ever - but I know I just need to keep going, and I'll get my fitness back. I'm well on my way.

3. Research into schools has gone on hold. It's more important for me to focus on getting our family ready for our big transition next week: Johnny starts student teaching. Also, as I mentioned above, my workload has increased. So we've got big stuff going on in our family. I've figured out that many people have degrees in the field I'm looking at (thanks to everyone who e-mailed me - GingerBreadMan, I know I haven't replied yet, but I will!), and only Gary and Nikki are pursuing a career with their degrees. I'm worried that I'll get this degree, but not be able to do anything with it. I'd really like to pursue learning about how our bodies and nutrition works in endurance sports. It interests me...but is that enough to make a career out of it??? I've got time to think about this; the earliest I would start school would be January, and even then, it'd be only part-time.

4. I'm so happy to be running again. Even though I'm PMSing, I'm feeling like my life is more under control again. I understand my world and my place in it. When I get overwhelmed, I can lace up my shoes and squish all the angst out with every step and kick. It's peaceful, relaxing, relieving and wonderful.

Remember that post awhile ago about the six-pack I wanted? Yeah - not happening. Nope. No way. Johnny says I have to find the bottle opener before I can get started on the six-pack.

The good news is I'm consistently running again, yay! While training for Pemberton, I had a tendency to do long or back-to-back runs on the weekends, and then not get out again until Wednesday or Thursday, taking three or four days off! I don't want to do that this time around; I want to stay more consistent. So after my wicked hike on Saturday, I wanted to get back out again - soon!

I was scheduled to run early this morning with Paki, but Ash awoke at 4 and threw fits until 5, at which point we put on Blue's Clues and Johnny went back to bed while I snuggled with Ash on the couch. By 5:25, I knew I wouldn't go running - I was feeling angry at the lack of sleep, and I just wanted to collapse on my bed. So I called Paki and cancelled (she thought I said I was throwing the fits, which worried her, so I got a very concerned, "are you okay???" the minute I walked into work :)). Then I did collapse on my bed, and I slept soundly till 7.

Then I felt super guilty all day at work that I didn't get out and be consistent. I let down my running partner, I let down myself. So, I e-mailed Johnny:
"When are you home from school tonight? I’m trying to figure out if I want to make up for my missed workout this morning by going to the gym tonight.
The pros:
Make up workout
Feel like it’s time to move my sore muscles
Good recovery
Not waiting too long between workouts (a major bad issue for me)
STRETCH after
Jacuzzi after
Not miss out on Ash time

The cons:
Workout at night
Could mess up my sleep
Could make me even MORE tired and cranky this week (yikes!)
Could miss Amazing Race

Geez, I must be really scared of my sleep cycle to even be considering NOT working out tonight!"

I'm proud to say that as soon as I put Ash to bed tonight, I put on my workout clothes and waited for Johnny to get home from school. He walked in the door, I kissed him, and then I walked out the door and drove to the gym. Woo hoo! They have a 30-minute rule for cardio machines, so I did a 5-minute warm-up, 20 minutes of intervals (another big goal I have had that I have never actually done), then 5 minutes of cool-down. I was cheesily, deliriously happy when, at five minutes to go in my intervals, Aerosmith's Crazy came on the classic rock station. Totally transported me back to high school. I'm glad the gym was mostly deserted, because at the end, when Steven Tyler sings "oooooooooo" I got so into it, I just about fell off the treadmill. Yeah, I'm lame. And I loved it :) So I ended up with about 2.3 miles as a recovery run. Then I stretched and took a quick dip in the super-hot jacuzzi (just what my aching muscles needed), before coming home....to no Amazing Race! WTF? I still have to figure out if they changed the times on me, or if it just wasn't on tonight. Darn it!

**I interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to report that Mammoth Mtn has a record seasonal snowfall of 619", which Johnny has taken to mean that we are driving up the weekend of the Bishop High Sierra Ultras (mid- to end of May), for me to race and all of us to ski**

A bobcat attacked two golfers in the Foothills today - story here. A woman on the news tonight complained that wildlife is getting "just too close." The woman lives in the foothills. I'm sorry, but it's not the animals who are getting too close. It's the people verging on the animals. Sigh.

Johnny spent last night sitting on the couch laughing as I attempted to strength train while watching American Idol.

Yeah, it didn't work.

"No wonder you got injured doing an ultra," he snickers. Mandisa warbles in the background.

I roll over to do leg lifts on the other side. I slowly count to 10, breathing hard while I work my hip abductors (I think) and trying to hear Simon verbally smack another contestant upside the head.

"Huh. I guess you must have had some good cardio fitness. Just not muscular," the peanut gallery pipes up.

I try to work on my hip adductors (I think). I lie on my left side and prop my right foot on the edge of Ash's toy box. I groove with Taylor singing something about the city as I try to raise my left leg up to my right. ...8...9...10.

I groan as I roll on to my back. This time, I tackle my abs. Bring my legs up, thighs perpendicular to the ground, and slowly lower one leg at a time. My entire body shakes with the intensity of performing this, and each exhale is a loud grunt.

After three reps of each exercise, I slowly come to standing, and reach for my yoga mat. Must. Stretch. Body.

More groans. I'm off-balance. I slip on the copy of Runner's World magazine that had the exercises in it. I see a commercial with women standing on one leg and pulling the other one up behind their head, and decide I can do that. I enlist the peanut gallery's help, and hurt my knee as I topple to the ground, almost waking Ash.

I collapse into Ash's toddler-size couch in time to watch Chris Daughtry (my hero) put everyone else to shame with his cover of the Chili Pepper's cover of a Stevie Wonder song. (Why didn't anyone else get strobe lights and fog?)

Angie's plan for this year: STRENGTH TRAIN

Goal for 2006, pre-Pemberton:
strength train

Goal for 2006, post-Pemberton:
log big mileage, do more ultras soon

Goal for 2006, post-Pemberton, post-oh-my-god-that-nagging-pain-is-an-injury, post-turning-point-conversation-with-Kiera, post-strength-training-session-that-was-not:
create six-pack

(Um, no. Not even gonna try to uncover it. Just create it. I don't care if there's too much fat covering it. Right now, the only thing that matters is creating it.)

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