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That Time I Did Two Races in One Weekend

25 Feb

Last week, I did something crazy.

Every winter, there is a local “Winter Series” of races held in Barboursville Park: a 3 mile, 4 mile and a 5 mile race. I’ve never signed up for the full series (but I’d like to next year), but one of the races always seems to catch my eye. Last week, I noticed that the weather was supposed to be perfect over the weekend, the 5 mile race was happening on Sunday and it just so happened that my long run in half-marathon training was 5 miles exactly. After hitting up my fellow trainees on Facebook, I got a partner and paid the $15 for the race registration.

5 miler

 

It may seem crazy to pay $15 to run a scheduled training run, but I find the race atmosphere to be considerably motivating. I knew if I paid money, I would run and I would try hard!

Then, something kind of crazy happened. My friend Sarah posted on Facebook about signing up for the Marshall Recreation Center’s Indoor Triathlon, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and despite the fact that I hadn’t been in a pool or on a bike in over a year, I immediately signed up. Pretty much right after doing so, I had a bit of a panic attack — a triathlon one day and a five mile race the next, on top of the fact that we had planned a surprise party (at my house!) for my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and I had a few other things on my to-do list!? I knew it was a lot, but after I paid good money I wasn’t about to back out. I pretty much put it out of my mind until later in the week. On the days leading up to the race(s), I took a couple of back-to-back rest days and just tried to relax. Then, on Friday I realized that I had no idea where my goggles were and I didn’t know if my TYR swimsuit even would still fit, considering I purchased it when I was twenty pounds lighter. I went to pick up my packet for the tri, and realized that the little equipment shop at the gym didn’t sell goggles. Uh oh.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday on a mission to get everything ready. I went to Wal Mart and found goggles, a swim cap and some fuel (energy jelly beans!), pulled out my old TYR suit (still fit, sort of) and packed my bag as best as I could.

photo 1 (6)

The triathlon, luckily, was a very short distance: 300 m swim, 8 mile bike (on the spin bike) and 2 mile run (on the treadmill) and the transitions would not be timed. I knew I would be able to finish everything, so I went into it just wanting to finish and have fun. When I signed up for the race, they asked me to estimate my swim time in order to set up heats. Since I hadn’t been in the pool for ages, I had no idea what to estimate, so I over-estimated — by a lot. That meant that everybody I knew was in a lower heat than me. I waited around for nearly two hours to get in the pool. Luckily, that meant I got to watch everybody else and got some good pointers.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

One thing I noticed was that a lot of people went out very fast and ended up having to switch to breast stroke or back stroke to catch their breath. I knew I would have to do this eventually (breathing while swimming isn’t a strength), but I knew to rein it in a little at the start to not wear myself out too quickly. When it came time for my swim, I had just downed my energy jelly beans (those things are great!) and I was ready to go! I ended up swimming a lot faster than I expected with a finish time of 6:09! I was very happy with that time.

Next up was the bike. Since transitions weren’t timed, I should have taken a bit more time between skills. I was so amped up that I rushed up to the bike and hopped on immediately. I ended up finishing the bike in a decent time — 14:26, but when I got off the bike I had a side stitch. Again, I should have taken some time to breathe, but I was in a hurry to finish so I hopped right on the treadmill.

tri finish

I ended up running the two miles slightly slower than I had hoped, and ended with a total time of 40:53. I was very proud of this because I didn’t train at all, and this is my very first time attempting a three-sport race, or even doing three different sports in one workout! I definitely want to do this again. I’m hesitant to say that I’ll try a triathlon, because the gear needed is pricey, but I will definitely sign up for the indoor event again. It was very fun!

After the triathlon, I was busy, busy. Zach and I had to run some errands, I had a workshop to attend, and I had to do some straightening up since we were hosting a party that evening. Needless to say, I didn’t make through much of the party before heading to bed — I was so tired! Not to mention, I had  a five mile race the next day….

I woke up on Sunday not feeling so hot. So, I made waffles and vegged on the couch. I could see out my big front window that the weather was getting nicer and nicer, so I texted my friend Shannon to make sure she was still in for the race. She was, and though I thought of backing out, I pulled on some running clothes and headed out the door. The weather was perfect. It was like we were meant to run that day, because about an hour after we finished the rain started and then it turned to snow.

I won’t go into much detail about the race, just that Shannon and I both just treated it as a training race. We both ran with our music on low and talked the whole time, running just under an 11 minute mile pretty much the whole time. The course was great, and it was a change of pace from our usual long run courses, so that was helpful. We ended up finishing in just over 55 minutes, which was confusing to us because our GPS was telling us we were running under an 11 minute mile the whole time. Then, when we both looked at our devices after the race, they both said that we ran about 5 and a quarter miles. So I don’t know if our GPS devices were off or if the race course was long. At any rate, we finished and felt great. Plus, pizza!

5 mile run

 

I think all races should have pizza at the finish line!

So, I finished two races in two days and I lived to tell the tale. I’m glad I did it, but by Sunday night I had trouble keeping my eyes open.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever done a triathlon? Did you love it? 

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On Track

25 Apr

In my old position at work, I was the Wellness Coordinator for our office. My job is to inform our employees of opportunities for preventative health programs with our health insurance provider, promote wellness in the workplace and set up our annual health screening.

Our health insurance provider offers a $10/month premium discount for all members who participate in the annual health screening. If you get a score of “green”, you get to keep your $10 discount automatically. However, if you get a score of “yellow” or “red”, you must first participate in an “engagement” program. This year one of the engagement programs that was offered was that an Exercise Physiologist would come to your workplace and evaluate employees to see where they could improve in their fitness. All employees were welcome to participate (regardless of their health screening score) and I was able to garner quite a bit of interest.

Charles, our EP, put us through a series of tests to evaluate our fitness. He took our blood pressure, our body fat percentage, resting heart rate and waist circumference. Then he had us use some equipment to test our grip strength, we had to step up on a step for 3 minutes to test how quickly our heart rate falls after exercise, and tested our upper body and ab strength with a push-up and sit-up test. After we finished, he would go through our results with us and tell us what we could do to meet the goals we stated to him when we first started.

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the 'well trained athlete' section :)

One goal is to get my resting heart rate down to the ‘well trained athlete’ section 🙂

As expected, I scored very well in everything but it did show that my body fat percentage, BMI and waist circumference could use some work. Basically, I’m very fit, but I could stand to lose a few pounds. But those are vanity pounds, because all in all I’m in excellent health  — which is all that matters! 

I was really excited to bring this program to my coworkers, and I hope to do it again next year to see how people improve their scores.

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In other news, I got up early this morning to hit Crossfit and the workout was a doozie:

800 m run
80 air squats
8 pull-ups

We did this twice through, but with a rest between. The goal was to do it once through, and then try to beat your time the second time through. You would think with all the running I’ve been doing lately, the run would have been the easy part, but it wasn’t! My legs felt like lead through the run and that was definitely the part that held me back. I did the first round in 9:10 and the second round in 8:50, so I was pretty pleased to beat my score, even though I struggled a bit through the workout.

This is definitely a fun workout you could do at the gym or at home! You should try it. I really liked trying to beat my time the second time through, as it forces you to really push.

After Crossfit, Frank and I went for a nice long walk! I’m glad the weather decided to shape up again today. Frank had some pent up energy that needed expended!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever met with an Exercise Physiologist? Did it help you meet your fitness goals? 

Speed

24 Apr

This post isn’t about drugs.

Good news! I’m getting faster! I really thought my pace was done forever after my injury in the half marathon in November, but my goal of reaching 600 miles in the year of 2013 has done great things for my performance. I’ve noticed that my ‘comfortable’ pace is well under 10 minutes/mile and when I push it, I can hold an 8 – 8:30 pace for a while.

I pushed my pace on yesterday’s run, and good thing I did, because when I was done, I got this little gem:

2013-04-24 13.24.25

…and then Shalane Flanagan congratulated me. No big deal. Of course I played her congratulations message about 10 times in a row.

I’m really enjoying outdoor running — the weather has been perfect. However, we’re having a chilly, breezy and rainy day today and surprisingly I’m a little excited at the prospect of getting back on the treadmill this evening. I spent the first three months of the year cursing the damn treadmill, so I was pretty surprised to be looking forward to it. I think I’ll do some inclines tonight — that’s something I’ve shied away from in the past, but I really need to start doing more hill work. It will definitely benefit me in the long run. If you want to become a stronger and faster runner, you’ve got to head for the hills.

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In other news, I completed my first week of Weight Watchers!

weight

 

I didn’t really lose 4.6 pounds. When I signed up for Weight Watchers, I was laying in bed and I estimated my starting weight, so I was about a pound and a half off, but 3 pounds is great, and to be honest I don’t think I was as careful with tracking as I should have been. Please ignore the fact that I only have 3 points left for the day. I still have a workout to go, and my boss took me out to lunch today.

I also submitted my weigh in for Sarah’s Diet Bet. I can’t believe the pot of money up for grabs is over $13,000! This is probably the largest Diet Bet I’ve seen. You still have time to jump in if you’re interested. $35 to buy into the game, and if you lose 4% of your body weight, you’ll definitely get that back!

So everything is going well! I’m glad to be participating in Weight Watchers and the Diet Bet, because when workouts don’t happen, I don’t feel as bad when my eating is under control.

Question of the Day:
What are you doing to keep your health in check this Spring? 

Angie, Round Two

19 Apr

Today at Crossfit we did a benchmark workout: Angie.

100 pull-ups
100 push-ups
100 KB goblet squats
100 sit-ups

Last time I did this workout, I did it in 27:45. This time, however, our coach wouldn’t let us break up the reps. My heart sank when I heard that, because pull-ups are definitely not my strong suit. I wasn’t sure if I could do 100 pull-ups all at once without taking a million breaks. But, I did it! And better yet, I beat my previous time, with a finishing time of 25:47. Almost 2 minutes shaved off since the end of January. This is great news!!

The pull-ups were rough. I used a 3″ band and I did about 50 with one knee in the band. After that, I put my foot in the band instead, which makes it a lot easier, and is probably cheating, but I really couldn’t care less. It was still hard!

2013-04-14 12.33.20

Have you jumped on the running skirt trend yet? I’ve been wanting one for quite a long time, and I recently bought one from Marshall’s. It’s very comfy and I can’t wait to buy some more!

Question of the day:
Can you do an unassisted pull-up? I definitely can not!

Turn That Frown Upside Down

1 Apr

I woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning. I slept great, however, I woke up and couldn’t get it together. I took the puppy outside, fed him and played with him and then before I knew it was time to go to work. I hadn’t made breakfast, my hair was only halfway dry and I was not in a good mood. I’m having some trouble coordinating my mornings with Mr. Franklin. I really need to make a morning schedule and stick with it. Because I was hurrying to work with a wet head and I had to buy breakfast which has been a regular occurrence lately.

I’m trying to shake my no good, terrible mood because I know my day won’t get better until I do.

Let’s talk running, shall we? It’s time for a #600in2013 update!

600 miles in 2013 March

 

I once again failed to hit that 50 mile marker for the month. Sigh! Considering the weather we’ve had this March, I’m not really surprised. I clocked a total of 2.39 outdoor miles all month! Looks like the weather is starting to finally warm up, so I’m sure I’ll be pounding the pavement in no time. This brings my 2013 total to 141.46 miles — 8.54 miles short of the 150 miles I should have for this quarter, but I’m really not worried about it. I have a few 5k and 10k races planned in the spring, summer and fall, so training alone will make up some miles. One thing that the #600in2013 challenge has taught me is to get out there get those miles in. If I ended up at the end of the year short of my 600 mile goal, I might be bummed, but the good thing is even if I lose, I win, because all this running definitely has its benefits. For example, I’ve noticed that I’m getting faster! All this treadmill time makes it easy to monitor my pace, and I’ve noticed my fitness level increasing quite a bit. I can hold faster paces for longer amounts of time and my walk breaks have become rare. I’m really seeing benefits from all this running! I like it!

One goal I have for April is to get some strength training workouts in beyond Crossfit. I’ve been counting on Crossfit for all my strength training, and that’s no good. I need to keep up with a full body strength session a couple times a week after my run, so I’ll focus on doing that this month.

Question of the Day:
What’s a good source for full-body strength workouts? 

13.2 and Puppy Training

26 Mar

I’ll admit, I’ve been intrigued by Crossfit for a while, but I wrote it off as too expensive. And, please, don’t give me the usual arguments about why it’s worth it — now that I’ve been doing some Crossfit workouts, I know why it’s worth it, but regardless of how worth it it may be, I cannot afford to shell out $150/month for anything.

At any rate, when the YMCA started offering Crossfit inspired classes, I couldn’t wait to join up.

IFT

I jumped in for the first week of classes and I was instantly hooked. Now, again, this isn’t traditional Crossfit in that we are somewhat limited to what we can do. We only have a limited amount of equipment (which is why the classes can only have 10 people/class), and one coach per class. But, we’re doing the same workouts as every other box is, and we’re learning the lifts together. My friend Sarah went a few times and decided to join the traditional Crossfit box in our area, and that’s great for her. If I could afford it, you know I’d be there too, but for now this is fine, and it’s included in my gym membership, which is a third of the cost of a monthly membership at the local Crossfit box.

So, recently, when the Crossfit Open began, I was interested in watching the WOD’s. When I watched Crossfit Games Open 13.2, I knew I had to suggest that we do it in class, because we had learned all the skills needed to do it:

10 minutes AMRAP (as many reps as possible)

5 shoulders to overhead (we did push press, since that is a skill we’ve been working on)
10 deadlifts 
15 box jumps

My coach, Noah, mentioned that we’d be doing it soon, but I wasn’t sure when. Well, this morning was my lucky day! After not getting a ton of sleep (little Frank woke me up every few hours to go outside — what a good puppy), I was not looking forward to class this morning! However, once Noah said we were doing 13.2, I got really excited. I couldn’t wait to see how I fared.

Now, if I worked out at a traditional box, I’d probably have my own box to use for box jumps and my own bar to use for the lifts, but we have to share, so that slowed me down a bit. Sometimes you have to take unplanned breaks to wait for a bar or a box to open up, but I was happy to just try it out. I did the prescribed weight (75 lbs) and tried to stick to the 20′ box for the jumps. I ended up doing 142 reps. As a comparison, Annie Thorisdottir (the current Fittest Woman on Earth as dubbed by the Reebok Crossfit Games) did 361. I’m happy with that performance. I’d like to do it again soon to see how much better I can get!

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Puppy training update!

cold puppy

Like mother like son, Frank is not a fan of this cold weather. However, he’s been pretty good about only going outside to use the potty. He doesn’t “tell us” when he wants to go, we are just watching for signs right now, but he does seem to be holding it when he’s in his kennel. When I take him outside to go, he immediately does this pitiful little whine and snuggles up to my neck. Too cute. Luckily for Frank (and me!) the weather is supposed to warm up later this week.

playtime

I love to watch him play. A little puppy bounding from one place to the next  may be one of the cutest things ever. Right now, we’re working on the following training issues:

  • Potty training, obviously
  • Crate training. He’s not a fan of the crate just yet, but we’re working on making it a place he looks forward to being in. I got him a Kong toy and each night I fill it with peanut butter and freeze it for him to work on during the day. He doesn’t get the Kong unless he is in the kennel, so it’s a special treat. However, I think the Kong may lose it’s appeal after our lunchtime potty/lunch break so this morning I picked him up a bone stuffed with chicken for an afternoon treat. Hopefully by alternating these two special treats, he won’t get so lonely in his crate during the day. Some other things we do to make it appealing is feed him his morning and evening meals in there, and give him treats in there. So far, Frank is motivated by food (again, just like his mother).
  • Bite inhibition. He’s a puppy, and he loves to chew, which sometimes includes our hands, feet, clothing and other things he shouldn’t be chewing on. So, in order to fix that behavior issue, we redirect his biting to a toy he’s allowed to chew. If he does it again, we again redirect him. After a third time, however, we pin him down on his side and hold him there until he doesn’t struggle. This doesn’t hurt him, but it’s something that is meant to mimic how dogs in packs ‘teach’ each other. We are teaching Frank that we are the pack leaders and he has to listen to us. He is really good about listening to the word “No!” so far, as well. If he hears us say it, he stops what he’s doing so I think that’s a good sign.

What we need to work on:

  • Leash training. Frank doesn’t “get” the leash. He will follow me all day long like a little shadow, but the second I put him in a harness or collar and a leash, he freezes and will. not. move. I’m picking my battles for now, and as of now he’s so little that we’re able to keep close watch on him when he’s outside anyway. 
  • Sit/Stay/Come. Right now, I’m so focused on everything else this overwhelms me. But I think we have some time.

My friend Jessica said to me, “I promise, there will be a time when you regret getting a dog.” I hate to say it, but that is totally true. I love Frank with my whole heart and he’s a sweetheart, but I’m pretty much feeling guilty 100% of the time right now. I don’t like having to leave him all day while we’re at work, I worry that he’s barking and disturbing the neighbors, I worry that he gets lonely/sad/bored. I also worry that I’m not giving my cats as much attention as I should, so sometimes I wonder if us taking Frank in was the best thing to do. But, he’s ours now so I’m just going to try to make him the best dog I can!

Question of the Day:
Tell me about your pets!

If you do Crossfit, have you tried any of the Open workouts? How did you do? 

 

 

Slow Down, Kristy

14 Mar

photo (7)

 

This is what it looked like when I sat down at my desk this morning. Hello, sunshine! Nice to see you again! Please talk to your friend 60-degree-weather and tell him it would be nice to see him as well!

One thing I do when I get sick is push myself really hard once I feel a little better. I want to make up for lost time with workouts, chores, etc., and sometimes I end up pushing a little too hard. I feel a little bad today, and I’m pretty sure it’s all my fault. As I mentioned last time we spoke, I signed up for an extra Crossfit class this week, which was this morning:

3/14/13 WOD
30 minutes (!!) EMOM (every minute on the minute)
5 burpees
10 pushups
15 situps

Ouch. It was very hard to get each set done in a minute, and we had to do it THIRTY times. Now, I’m not feeling too run down, but I’m still pretty congested so this high-intensity cardiovascular workout hit me hard. I’ve been coughing all morning. Slow it down, Kristy.

I think I’ll take it easy tonight and sleep in tomorrow before Friday evening’s Crossfit class, and hopefully I’ll feel a little better.

Short post today — things are still super crazy at work!

Question of the Day:
Do you ever have to tell yourself to slow down?