Slogging Through the Sunbeams

I woke up this morning with a bad case of the “I don’t give a (damns, craps, whatever, use your imagination, the more colorful the better!)”
I know it’s hard to believe judging by my super consistent blogging tendencies, my sporadic tweets about eating body wash, and the fact that my personal Facebook typically consists of recipes my mother thinks I should try (cake batter fudge, anyone?) – but some days I have to do a little digging to get my ass moving.
If it wasn’t for the gorgeous weather today, though – I can’t optimistically say I would have been as motivated, but biscuit brain wanted to go lay outside:

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So I thought I might as well join her.

I started off in the basement gym with some deload week deadlifts and overhead presses, plus a little accessory work, of course I got all pumped up and energized because lifting is just plain fun, and moved outside for a little circuit training.

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cannot wait for the trees to fill in so I can be even more reclusive and pretend my neighbors don’t exist.

Bethany inspired today’s circuit with her Mudder training recap on Facebook the other day. I did something similar this morning. The basic template is – run a short distance (quickly), do some strength building moves, then run a short distance quickly. This is excellent conditioning for our upcoming race, but also a good way to work your body at a wide variety of heart rates and from all different angles. Here’s the actual workout I did:

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I went through the strength training portion twice, and capped it with a half mile at the end (so technically I only ran 1.5 miles total if that makes it less confusing.) I didn’t time the workout as a whole, but my 1/2 mile splits were 4’10, 4’45, 4’21 (ish).

I would love to say that post workout today I felt happier, better, and more motivated, but that would be a lie. But I do feel better in knowing I accomplished something at least. And when you force yourself to train when you don’t feel like it (obviously this doesn’t apply if you’re actually injured, in dire need of a rest day, or sick), it tends to trickle down to other areas of your health. For example, since I trained today, I am more apt to be mindful of my nutrition instead of just saying, “fuck it, I didn’t work out, so I might as well just keep the downhill vibe rolling.” Not every day is going to be full of your finest moments, and not every work out is going to inspire you. That’s why having a meticulous training plan attached to tangible goals is so crucial in my opinion to moving forward every day, even when one feels a little bit off.

I like the quote “I really regret doing that workout… Said nobody ever,” but this was one of those crabby days where although I don’t “regret” working out, I also just feel apathetic about the whole ordeal.

I remind myself that tomorrow will be better, get pumped up for the training I “get” to do, and stay thankful for the fact that I actually am capable of doing anything. Then I move on with my life.

Ever find yourself having a funky day? How do you pull through?

Out of Hibernation

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last checked in. As much as I love the blogging community, the wonderful friendships I’ve formed, and the outlet for my fitness related musings, I am eternally heinous at committing to any semblance of a writing calendar. The fact of the matter is – these past few weeks have been a blast on the training front, chaotic on the work front, and any fun “me time” I’ve had leftover I have been trying to spring clean my house, study for my ISSA, and spend some qt with my fiancĂ© outside of a work setting. All in all, I get my summer help back at the bar starting next Sunday, which means until then it’s work, train, eat, sleep (in any order that I can fathom.)

In the upcoming months, I’m going to use my blog mainly as a sounding board for my daily workouts and training schedules. It’s easier for me to pop in and write posts like this than it is to try and find fresh features every day. Plus, I do this whole blogging thing for selfish reasons – I like to be able to look back and see how far I’ve come, and hopefully summer 2013 is going to be so epic that I will cherish these little updates looking back.

This week is my deload week on 5/3/1, meaning lighter lifts. I remain completely infatuated with 5/3/1 no matter what my training focus is, and I love the flexibility it allows. Yesterday I did my deload squats and bench presses, along with some accessory work, and then set off to do some hill sprints:

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This obviously is not the hill I sprinted. This flat part however is the top of the hill that I actually sprinted. That beast is on the agenda in the future though.
I ran about 1/2 mile to said hill, sprinted up and jogged down 5 times (with a minute or two break at the bottom) and then jogged the 1/2 mile back as a cool down. Definitely kicked my ass, and I definitely need to start doing this more regularly.

Today is “active recovery day” – I did a restorative yoga video and some core work. I have seriously neglected my flexibility for a long time, and it’s reflecting in my squats. Yoga has actually become a regular part of my training program lately not only because on days after a hard workout it helps to get blood flowing to all your body parts, but increased flexibility within reason improves your performance in any athletic arena. Also, taking an hour to do something serene and calming before a chaotic workday helps me go in with a better overall attitude. And if you’ve had to work with me lately, I assure you that’s a good thing.

My first 5k in over 10 years is coming up in less than a month. I guess I need to come clean with everyone here real quick – I actually really love running. I like being outside, I like being alone in the woods, I like seeing improvement every day in my abilities. I generally have only been trail running, with a road run sprinkled in for timing and pacing purposes once a week or so. My base as a lifter has made me a tank – I love that I can conquer so much distance and technical terrain without much experience as of late. If you are a runner and have any doubt that lifting will hurt your performance – come chase me through the woods. Seriously.
I love how heavy lifting makes you better at everything. Not just picking up heavy stuff, but it conditions your body to do so much more. I never doubted it for a minute, but since I’ve been exploring other athletic endeavors, it has proven itself tenfold.
My motive behind this 5k is to actually get used to racing procedures before I take on some more serious and less local events. Also I like to scope out new parks and stuff that I could potentially train in. Plus as a future personal trainer, it’s good to get out in the community and show your athletic prowess. Plus Aaron bet me a pair of Tiffany’s sunglasses I can’t run it sub 30. (Don’t judge. Though I am essentially a cheapskate, if it comes in a little blue box and I don’t have to pay for it, I’m all over it.) At the moment I am having doubts of this sub 30 – but I’m just putting that thought out there so it can marinade in my brain for the next 25 days.

Ok ramble time is over! I hope everything is well in all your worlds, and I promise to make my way over to your blogs soon and catch up! Until then, have fun with your training, and treat your body kindly!

Training update 4/5-4/11

I forgot to do a training recap last week. Trust me, I start off most days with all good intentions of throwing something – anything up on the blog, but lately between work, training, and the weather being more bipolar than I am, I just haven’t had any major urge to write out something coherent. However, I do love talking about how I train, so I hate to forgo this weekly post out of laziness.

This week’s main focus was trying to wrap my brain around the best possible way to go about reaching all my summer goals without burning out… Easing my way into a more “endurance based” training methodology without hurting myself or hating my life.

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Friday April 5: Heavy Bench Presses, overhead presses, chest flys, triceps extensions. 30 minute stretching session with a focus on hips, quads, and glutes.

Saturday April 6: 30 minute circuit training cardio via Nike training ap.

Sunday April 7: After the severity of this email set in:

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I spent the day mapping out my plan of attack for the upcoming 20 weeks. Then I had leg day.
Heavy squats, heavy front squats, Bulgarian split squats, and calf raises. I had every intention of doing yoga but instead I went to sleep.

Monday April 8:
My early morning day at work, I was dragging ass. Came home and ran a hard, sluggish, hilly 2 miles. Followed it up with 40 minutes of Tough Mudder Bootcamp

Tuesday April 9: I am marking one day a week as “endurance day” – where I get out and do a variety of activities for an extended period of time to get conditioned for the length of my upcoming races. I only did about an hour and a half today just to ease my way into such extended training, because it’s totally out of my athletic realm at the moment.
I did heavy overhead presses, bicep curls, close grip bench presses, and lateral “T’s” (I don’t know the actual term, but they still put a hurt on my delts even with 10 pound dumbbells) – in between each exercise, I did 10 minutes of plyo drills including tuck jumps, burpees, power skips, and more. After that I did 30 minutes of interval running – 2 minutes running, 1 minute walking, and got about 2.8 miles in. Nothing spectacular but I was beat after plyo and lifting. Days like these make me thankful for jack3d and BCAAs. *disclaimer – I do not advocate training like this unless you plan on doing a long endurance race. If you are just trying to lose weight, or just get in better shape, there are better ways to do it. This is a special instance in my life, and crucial to my success. If your goals aren’t exactly the same as mine, doing dumb stuff like this may be injurious*

Wednesday April 10:
Hallelujah rest day! Probably the first one of my life where I had no problem staying out of the gym.

Thursday: Heavy deadlifts, power cleans, hang cleans, pendlay rows, and static deadlift holds… Rep PRed my deadlifts with 3@210 which was exciting. Followed with farmers carries, sprints, and kettle bell swings. The main aim of today was to work on grip strength, and I totally did. Plus I saw a snake.

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This was one of those sessions where at the time, although the weights felt heavy and the static holds and farmers carries required a modicum of patience and mental toughness, I never felt all out physically exerted or drained.
Then, two hours later, my ass is grass. Sleepy, hungry, and a twinge bitchy is about where I’m at right now. I love when solving problems is as easy as eating a steak and taking a nap, though.

Overall, I am really proud of my accomplishments this week. I am really going out of my comfort zone with some of my training strategies, but it has been mostly enjoyable. Getting to eat more food is also something that is extremely exciting as a former fat girl. I can say with confidence that I look forward to what the upcoming weeks and months are going to bring in terms of getting stronger, faster, and more comfortable with my body and all its amazing abilities.

Anybody else have an epic week? Feel free to share below!

Summer 2013 Bucket List

I know yesterday I vaguely alluded to the fact that this summer I will be diverting from the norm a little and participating in some obstacle races and mud runs. I justify this risky behavior on the grounds that it is the closest thing to a vacation that I can get my hands on with my business taking up so much of my time. I actually turned down the offer on the “exciting news” I had last week – upon actually checking the place out and the inability to secure a liquor license in time for opening, it just really isn’t the right place for me to be professionally at this point. I’m bummed but not devastated, and I’m actually looking forward to having some “spare time” in the upcoming months to work on school, hang out with my fiancĂ©, and enjoy some time outdoors.

Here’s my athletic agenda this summer – my goal was to do one race a month with various objectives. First up –

Fox Township Memorial Park Fund 5k – May 18: I want to do this race because it’s local-ish and it’s a good first race to dip my toes into after a 10 year hiatus from 5ks. Plus I like free t-shirts.

Ellicottville Dirty Bit Trail Run – June 9: I’m forgoing the duathlon portion of this race in favor of the 4 mile trail run, because I wont have a ton of time to put the miles I want to on the bike just yet. I love Ellicottville so this gives me a good excuse to head up north and play in the mud.

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Brookville YMCA Cares for Kids Duathlon – July 20 I’m especially excited about this one because I love biking and I can’t wait to start adding that back into my training regime. Plus my hardcore friend Carlee is joining me. This race is in beautiful Cooks Forest – the scenery there is amazing.

Tough Mudder Pittsburgh – August 25 I don’t have much to say about this one, except it’s been on my bucket list for about forever, and I get to do it with two of my bloggy buddies Jennifer and Bethany. This is probably the race that provoked this crazy summer of races, and I think it’s going to be the most fun.

Pennsylvania Hardcore Mudd Run – September 29 This is another obstacle race, a little shorter than Mudder but still full of lots of fun things to climb over, swim through, and fall from. This race is tentative as of now because a lot of people like to say they’re going to do things but don’t, and it’s definitely a team race. Perks – my birthday is only 2 days later, so this will be a great way to celebrate!

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Backup plan if this falls through is a 5k in my old hometown that is also a beer and wine festival. Which sounds pretty legit to me.

Dam Darkness Trail Challenge – October 12 This 7 mile night run just plain sounds fun. It’s by Curwensville lake, and it’s completely lit by glow sticks. I want my last race of the “season” to be something enjoyable but challenging. I love running at night, I love the fall, and I love the lake, so this is right up my alley.

From all of this I hope to gain not only a sense of accomplishment from training hard to reach specific goals, but also a revitalization in my competitive spirit that stays with me through the entire year. When all is said and done, I think I will be mentally and physically stronger and ready to take powerlifting season by the balls.

If anyone is doing any overlapping races with me, let me know!

What’s on your bucket list this summer? Any really cool races that you’re especially looking forward to?