Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Basics

I'm convinced that there are few evils that a rest day and a swim in the pool can't cure.

The one good thing about my Insanity® rest days falling on Tuesdays is that Tuesdays are the easiest days for me to get to the pool. Swimming and I have had a love-hate relationship that I've mentioned time and time again. I've made a serious effort go go regularly though, and I've been making it work. Swimming is like "going home" for me - it was the first sport I ever really 'played' and being in the water always felt second-nature. As a runner, I've been trying to get the best out of both.

If you've never swam, you should give it a shot. It can be a challenging way to get cardio and build strength (especially in key areas we don't work while running). Aside from that, there's a zen to it that is really relaxing and it has a way of stretching, realigning and releasing muscle tension that I've only otherwise found in light yoga.

Easy Dozen
200 Easy warm-up Freestyle
150 Reverse IM (no fly)
150 Kick Build
4x50 Build on 1:00 (finished ea. under 45)
150 Pull Freestyle
150 Kick – fly work, abs
200 IM Drill
Total – 1,200 Yards

I made sure to stretch out really well afterward, focusing on my hip flexors and quads. Mobility in my knee is getting better, but it still feels really unstable. Not a good sign. Brought the tennis ball with me to school today so, despite looking like a total weirdo, I've been "rolling" it out all morning. Fingers crossed!

Dietary outlook is looking pretty good today. I'm here at school until about 9 tonight, which always leaves room for 'snacks'. It's so hard to plan for being gone that long and the vending machines are just so temping. They are, however, the silent killers of my weight goals AND my wallet. So today my lunchbox is stuffed with: lowfat mixed berry yogurt and granola, Baby Carrots, 1/2 Honeycrisp apple (be still my heart), Mint Chocolate Chip Luna Protein bar, and a baby almond joy (b/c hey, a girl has to have something naughty). If I can stick to it, I'm headed for dietary victory!

Hope you all are no longer working insane hours and/or plagued with injury!

Do you have a favorite type of cross-training? Got any tips for how to stay healthy while working long hours?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

You can't spell S%*$ without 'IT'

Today's workout: Cardio Recovery and Volleyball (later)

Lets just get this out there:
  • Thursday's run felt amazing. It was absolutely energizing and renewing
  • Friday morning my knee was the size of a big fat apple - couldn't bend it past 90 degrees, can't squat, nothing
  • After a week of smart food choices, good workouts, and NO peeking on the scale, I finally got on the scale on Saturday ready to see some preliminary results. I was not ready to see the that I'd actually gained weight
Friday and Saturday were long, stressful days that reminded me very glad I'd gotten a run in. After about 5 hours of sleep I was up Saturday morning for a Law School competition. To say I was underprepared would be an understatement. In running terms, I'd prepared for a marathon with a long run of 13 miles. Needless to say, it was stressful and I was exhausted but I advanced to the semi-finals! So...I get to do it again next week. 
And the Cards won too!
Is it too much to ask that we both win next week too?
After 5 hours of constant mental stimulation I was shot, my knee was still swelling, and I just couldn't endure a workout. So I put a big circle on my workout chart (signifying 'missed') and spent the evening walking with J, eating froyo and drinking microbrews. GREAT decision. 

I'm at the end of my rope in terms of my IT band. It only bothers me when I run. I've been doing Insanity® for 3 weeks and it has yet to rub, swell, or irritate me. In fact it's gotten more flexible and comfortable. Then I run for 40 minutes and I can't bend it for 3 days. Infuriating. A friend of mine who coaches Cross Country at my Alma Mater reminded me I needed to be more diligent with the foam roller. "Four or five times a day, at least" he tells me. Okay Coach, I'll do my best. 

Still feeling pretty tight and tender, I changed today's workout and did the recovery video instead of the scheduled workout. Boy am I glad I did. It's a working recovery video with lots of squats, yoga and pilates moves. It definitely helped to shake out the stiffness that comes with not working out for a few days.  Afterwards I immediately jumped into a warm bath with epsom salts & hit the foam roller. It's up to you now, IT band. Don't disappoint!

As far as the weight goes - I'm doing my best not to feel defeated. Sometimes your body is resistant to change, right? Well listen here, body - change is coming!

How do you deal with nagging injuries? How do you rebound from bad weeks on the scale?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Running Away From It All

Today's Workout: Insanity® Cardio Power & Resistance (morning),  3.5 mile run (evening)

Last night, as I was packing up my lunch, I decided I was going to do something I hadn't yet been able to do this semester: get up early and workout. My schedule is such that I really don't have to be anywhere until 10:25 so you can see where it's difficult to really get up and moving at all early. So I steeled myself, set the alarm a little bit earlier than usual to give myself that precious snooze-button time, and set out all my clothes.

Well, I managed to lay in bed about 10 minutes longer than I'd planned to (oops!) but I got up and got my workout in! The Cardio Power and Resistance video is a bit ridiculous. It's a mixture of squats, jumps, and speedwork that really keeps you guessing. It also keeps your muscles from really getting any 'real' rest. Despite the fact that my HR never really got up into my 'max' zones, it felt great! I sweat my butt of AND got a chance to try out one of my new Active Bands. Win-Win.

Gave in to the polka dots - I'm 
Thursdays aren't my longest day, but there's something about Thursdays that just seem to last forever. I have class in the morning, then straight to work. The transition between school and work usually serves to remind me about just how much I have to do (and how little time I have to do it). This is the first semester I've worked and I'm quickly realizing that the 'free-time' (read: catch-up time) I used to have had a valuable purpose. By the end of the day I was feeling really deflated under the "To-Do" list.

So I hit the blogs. I read about your travels and your runs and I was inspired. Not only was I inspired, but i was jealous. I got home and added some new tracks to the Ipod (thank you Beyonce´) and hit one of my local parks. I figured I'd only run as long as the playlist last, or until it stopped feeling good.

It never stopped feeling good, so I just kept hitting play.

How was your run today? What inspires you to put on your shoes?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

Today was just plain good.

I've been trying to "plan ahead" as far as my workouts and eating goes, in an attempt to feel more secure about both. Sometimes the 'plan' part means simply knowing that I can't plan for it and that there's are both 'best' and 'worse' case scenarios. Last night I made the coffee, set out my morning work, and put the workout stuff in it's spot. I'd planned my morning around getting a gentle wake-up, getting good fuel and proper digestion time, and getting my workout in comfortably before leaving for class at 1.

I'm happy to report, it was a great success!

Today's workout was Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs. If this sounds like Dejavu, well, it's because you're paying attention. I slipped Pure Cardio in on Sunday (I think?) because I had skipped it. I'm glad I got a double dose. I love this work out. It makes me feel light and agile.  It makes me feel fast. These are both attributes nature simply forgot to give me. As both a swimmer and a volleyball player I never had either and coach after coach struggled to teach it. For today, at least, I had a little bit of 'fast' in me.

I love how Insanity® has made cross-training a realistic part of my workouts. I've cross-trained in the past, but it always seemed kind of mindless. I would go to spin class, or Body Pump, or just go through my weights circuit. There was no regularity to what I was doing. While my training had a point, my cross-training really didn't. I think my goal of working these exhausting workouts into my future training program is more than realistic - I also think it will help make me a better runner!

Wednesday Wish-List

This week is a two-parter, and the first one is totally a vanity thing. My "Wish" this week is for pushups. Real, manly, serious-style push-ups. I've gotten better, but this week I'm going for it.
Wish: Complete Level 1 Drills (i.e. at least 3 sets of 8 real pushups)

Second wish is one I need your help with! I'm in the market for a nice, light-weight, wind-rain jacket to train in. I'm in love with the Colombia Women's Peak Power jacket but I need YOUR suggestions for some other great wind/cold jackets!
This awesome jacket might even
put a dent in Santa's wallet
Also my Active Bands came today. I'm so excited to try them out but I can't decide which one to wear first!
I'm kind of partial to the pink giraffe one
What do you do for cross-training? How do you keep it interesting? Got any winter gear "must haves"?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Now is the October of my discontent

It's turning into a particularly dreary night out there. Not that I can see anything outside - I live on a blissful little unoccupied corner of a very busy section of town. But I can hear the steady streaming of rain hitting the windows and the roof, and that sound in and of itself is rather dreary. But I'm warm and dry in here, and up to my eyeballs in the US Code and First Amendment and Legal Ethics. Ok so maybe it's a little dreary inside too.

I'm particularly dreary at the moment because I realized some grand, exciting plans I'd laid won't come to fruition. After making his first pit-crew/coach performance for my half marathon in Chicago J expressed some interest in running the Louisville Triple Crown in the spring. I've done the series three times now (right?) and only bowed out last year due to a defective gallbladder and the surgical correction thereof. Needless to say when J decided he wanted to join the Triple Crown club I couldn't think of a better pre-wedding activity.

Since the last vestiges of this cold had me feeling kinda 'meh' I'd decided that I might as well register for the series and have a date (well, 3) to put on the calendar for the spring. Motivational tactic at its finest. Turns out, the third and longest race - the Papa John's 10 miler - is the same day as an event that I'm in charge of. Therefore, no 10 miler for me.

Insert blind rage [ here ]

Needless to say I'm bummed. Not just for me (because it will be more expensive just to do the 5K and 10K legs without the 10 miler), but for J, whom I'd love to get the Triple Crown but likely won't do it without me. I'm sure there will be new developments, so stay tuned...

Today was a rest day and it was exactly what I'd needed. Usually I swim on Tuesdays to get the full benefit of the stretching and tension release the pool has to offer. After the Alka Seltzer cold/flu medication made it damn near impossible to focus in class, I decided to forego it. I'm confident it was the right decision.

And despite how crappy I feel, I'm itching to run.... Good sign!

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Is this a....what day is this?"

I would've bet you a million dollars around lunch-time that it was not Monday. Well, not a million, but a solid $50 (which in law/grad school world is a million). It's felt like Tuesday all day long, which is a plus if you consider I basically skilled Monday, but it will definitely be a minus when I realize that there will be 5 full days in this very full week.

Part of it may be that my routine is a little off. Wow, I started writing about how my schedule was off - got 4 or 5 solid lines down too - until I finally realized, wait, my schedule isn't off! That's exactly the kind of day it feels like I'm having. Twilight zone.

Anyway, up on Today's schedule was the Plyometric Cardio Circuit. I have mixed feelings about this particular workout. On the one hand, it feels like it works all of the muscle groups (as in I never get quite too sore in my butt/legs to NOT do the next move, i.e. Plyo Cardio Resistance). At the same time, I still feel too weak for the plank work at the end to really get much out of it. Nonetheless, I powered through and managed to eek out a workout.

I was a bit surprised at how low my hear rate was throughout the workout. Usually I'm up in the 170's for a good portion of the workout - not true today. Somehow I just couldn't get going. Add to that the fact that I started getting a little woozy and I think the 'ugh' feelings from later last week are officially 'blah - sicko' feelings. I made sure to refuel and hydrate really well in an effort to say "thank you body, you're the best!"

Speaking of fuel, I made my homemade Oatmeal this morning and I had one thought: why haven't I been doing this all along?! Sure, buying all of the ingredients in advance is a bit of a pain, but I now have 13 individual oatmeals ready to go. I'm going to play a bit with the recipe and I'll post. 

For now - rest, rest, and fluids! I had this grand ambition of going "medication-less" this week but it seems like that may not work out. I'm taking the alka-seltzer cold/flu tablets; seemed like a less invasive way to medicate.

How do you cope with being under the weather? Any secret tips for quick recovery? 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Fun-Day

Since giving up the real world (i.e. work world) and re-entering academics the biggest frustration has come in the absence of true "weekends". In law school world, weekends are meant for catching up and getting ahead. They're the few, precious, uninterrupted hours that allow you to work unfettered on the 50,000 things that filling up the To Do list. They are insufferably boring, absent of friends and family and generally only slightly better than work-weeks. They are not, in fact, weekends.

This weekend was different.

In the fall my Fiance and I give ourselves one 'out' from the law school universe: college football.  Our second date was a University of Louisville Football game and we've had season tickets since then. While it often adds extra stress and cuts up our much-needed work time, it's a great escape from Law school. For me, having gone to a very small Division 3 college, I'm making up for those four years of tailgating and prime-time TV games that I missed.
Defining moment of my life: me and the Cardinal Bird
This week was an extra treat because we made a trip up to Cincinnati to see UofL take on the Bearcats and meet up with some of the Fiance's family. My Soon-To-Be-Mother-In-Law came up Friday night from Tennessee and we ate our faces off, as per usual. Since I'd come straight from work I had no opportunity to work out. Having already felt pretty much like a giant stick of butter all day, I was not thrilled, but what can you do? I did, however, manage to get home and in bed fairly early and get a much needed great night's sleep. Put that in the Plus Column for the day.

Saturday was filled with soon-to-be-family, some decent football, some terrible football, and a long depressing ride back to louisville. We managed to have some fun though, and I was reminded how awesome my soon-to-be-family is.
Picture taken when we were winning (Read: the smiles went away)
After a day of ugly football, stadium food, no workouts, and BW3's, I was at a pretty decent 'low' as far as body-feelings go. I don't know what it is about missing one workout (er...2) that makes me feel so horrible. My body has been doing strange things lately (including gaining weight) and I don't think that helped.

This morning I jumped back on the horse. I got a great night's sleep, checked a lot of school-related things off the to do list and got my workout in with some smart meal choices. Sundays are also Sand Volleyball days which, in my book, ensures that they retain at least one redeeming quality.

Tomorrow starts a new week and I'm pretty excited. I bought FOUR new ActiveBands and just got done putting together my first homemade batch of oatmeal. Can't wait to eat some!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Well, there's that

"Sometimes you eat the bear and....well....sometimes he eats you"
- The Stranger, The Big Lebowski

Tonight, the Bear got to dine buffet style. By the time I rolled into my parents door I was absolutely dead. I'm staying out here again tonight so I can be at the house while they have repairmen here.

Pro: Big screen in the big living room to run my workouts on Apple TV.
Con: I'm sharing the space with my parents and their two dogs

I was all set to scrap the workout (putting myself in the red as far as my Wish this week) in favor of the treadmill. I walked in the door and put on my running shoes when I heard the familiar sound of my mom doing the same. I immediately knew I had two options: (1) wait for her to be done and jump on the treadmill (with the risk that once my butt hit the couch I'd probably never get up), and (2) take advantage of no one being upstairs and get my Insanity® on.  I chose option number 2.

Oh Shaun T, you are an evil evil man. "I'm smiling cus I love it"? No, I'm smiling because gritting my cheeks that way lessens the intense discomfort in my side/legs/feet thankyouverymuch. During the warmup I got a disgusting cramp in my left side that just would not go away. I have a feeling it was related to the tasty morsels I'd been munching on at a catering tasting. Regardless, it was not pretty.
Most certainly NOT what I looked like
post-workout but I was too tired to take a picture
I'm going to take the Glass half full option and say "Hey, at least I did it."I started the day believing I probably wouldn't get my workout in and instead I get to put a big satisfying X through workout 16.
Maybe I'm not bear food after all?
I'm sure the Stranger was picturing a much scarier bear

How do you bounce back from "ugh" workouts? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Wish List

Wednesdays are possibly my favorite days of the week this semester. My earliest class isn't until 1:00pm so I have all morning to do whatever I want. This worked out perfectly when I was training for the Chicago Half Marathon since I was able to get my runs in before the ungodly heat set in. Now that I'm not training for a race, it's still proving helpful. So what am I doing now that I'm not training for a race? 

Funny you should ask!

After Chicago I felt great! No knee pain, felt healthy and really enthusiastic about running. Then I got some weird virus/infection/nastiness that really put my on my butt for a week or two. Once I was feeling better, I needed something new to get me back into the routine. Enter INSANITY® For those of you who haven't been introduced to this ridiculous fitness program through the early morning infomercials: it's similar to the popular P90X in that it uses Max Interval Training to optimize cardio cross-training. Most of the moves are things I remember from Volleyball Conditioning - they're just seriously amped up. While I was skeptical at first, a friend of mine highly recommended it (she got amazing results, she was already athletic but it still allowed her to drop weight and get some definition) so I thought "Why not?"

This isn't an endorsement for the program, or a "pitch" to go out and buy it. I needed something to infuse my workouts with a new sense of purpose and I'm too poor/busy to sign up for another Half-Marathon anytime soon, so this was what worked for me. And boy, is it working. The first workout is a fitness test where you are given one minute to complete various drills. You keep track of how many you complete and every 2 weeks you repeat the test. Today was the start of week 2, so today's workout was the fitness test. I was shocked with how much easier it felt - and how much better I did in some areas!

Week 1
Week 3
Switch Kicks
88 (w 1 break)
Power Jacks
Power knee
61 (rt leg)
Power Jumps
Globe Jumps
Suicide Jumps
Pushup Jacks
11 (bad ones)
Oblique Plank

I can't wait until the next one - those globe jumps are mine.

Post-Workout Exhaustion (too bad you can't see my awesome Active Band!)

I'm encouraged by how into the workouts I am. There's something really exciting about being able to check the workout off the calendar. I'm also excited to see just how big of an impact it will have on my fitness in terms of running. I'm going to start slowly adding runs in to get used to running again. My goal is that once the 60 day program is over I can work the Insanity® workouts into my cross-training routine. 45 more days to go!

After my workout I fixed one of my favorite no-cook lunches, yogurt with granola and fruit. Today's fruit: 1/2 of a Honeycrisp Apple. Happy belly.

This picture doesn't capture the magic yummyness

Wednesday Wish List

One aspect of my old blog I really liked was my "Wednesday Wish List". It gave me a place to put my goals and aspirations and people to hold me to them. This week's wish:
  • Short Term: no Skipping a workout this week
  • Long Term: Find a new race to sign up for in December/January
What are your "wishes" today?