This last week I was in Denver visiting family, friends and going to my 20th high school reunion. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a planner and that I love to have a schedule and for it to be full. My grand plan for this visit turned out to be over-scheduled and even disrupted by altitude! Unfortunately, I did not get to do everything on my plan.
This included my running schedule. Since I grew up in Denver I never appreciated how thin the air is. Coming from Spokane which is at 1,843 feet above sea level (to be exact) to Denver which every one knows is the mile high city was a little bit of a shock to my system. I had headaches everyday and higher fatigue than normal.
The altitude really presented itself as I went for a hike with my friend in Evergreen, CO (elevation 7220). Halfway through her planned hike she chuckled and said, “I forgot about the elevation difference. I was wondering why you were huffing and puffing!” At this point I was getting dizzy and realizing I think it might be better to turn around than to continue. (Picture above taken on our limited hike in Evergreen.)
Needless to say I did not run in Denver. I had the best of plans. My father was set to watch Jack one morning so I could get my long run in. However, my fatigue and lack of air made his help unnecessary.
I did get my weights workout in however. In fact, I visited the place where my training career began in 1998, the Colorado Athletic Club Monaco. By a fluke I was hired here after taking my first certification. In fact it was plain luck. The new manager did not care that I did not have my college degree yet but all the other trainers did care. For the most part they were all highly qualified and with four year degrees. The first couple of months were rough and I believe this was the time I adopted the term - toughen up buttercup!
Toughen up I did. I ignored the snide comments and dug into learning what all these highly qualified trainers knew. It was through a couple of these folks that I was sent on the path of owning my own studio and working with some great people. I am forever grateful for the knowledge learned and the guidance that these trainers gave me.
Enough of memory lane - on to the workouts. I got two weight workouts in. One at my old stomping grounds and another at the closet sized workout room at the hotel. Literally max capacity of two people. Thankfully they had dumbbells and medicines balls. What else do you really need?!?! I performed a 3 circuits of 10 reps of the following:
Followed by 2 sets of side planks and 1 set of prone cobras.
A pretty good little travel workout! While I would have liked to get more cardio in I don’t think my running schedule suffered. I got back and did my planned two runs on Saturday (4 miles with Sprint work) and Sunday (9 miles steady run.)
Favorite Recovery Shake: Diane Sanfilippo Cherry shake (minus the stevia. Stevia is not my favorite!)http://balancedbites.com/content/cherry-vanilla-protein-shake/
Favorite Running Song: Since I went back to Denver for my high school reunion I thought going back to the 90s was needed. One of my favorite songs from high school was, “Little Ditty” by Paper Boy.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Last summer, when I started running and getting more serious about getting strong enough to run, I used a daily planner to help keep me on track. I think I got this idea from another fitness blogger so nothing really original there. I laid out a plan that I would follow every week and would log daily what I had accomplished. It helped me to see what was working and, sometimes more importantly, what was not.
This became incredibly useful when I got gluten/soy poisoned in late summer. Like Superman’s Kryptonite, I crumble when these two substances get to me. First, the migraines start followed by an unrelenting fatigue. It takes about six weeks for everything to clear up and feel human but then another six before my superpowers return and I feel like working out. Just getting through my day becomes the priority during these times.
After about twelve weeks I picked up my daily planner/workout log and got started again. I'm not going to lie, seeing what I had been doing and knowing I had to start back almost over again was discouraging. At the same time I was motivated to get back to the level I had previously achieved.
For these last 2 weeks I have not done a lot to be honest. The first week after the half marathon I really needed rest. My body was tired, and I was tired of thinking about training and being so careful with my food. So, I walked a lot, I did not lift, and I ate a lot. In fact I ate a lot of dairy. So much so, that I had to skip my first long run back!
In one of the many books I've been reading, "Lore of Running" by Tim Noakes, I came across a paragraph talking about how dairy can cause gastro distress during running. For me, I think this is true and after being off of it for several weeks I realize that to have a successful run I have to limit my intake. Over and over, I have read that it is not really about the run itself what makes the difference is what you are doing when you are not running. Everything you eat, whether you stretch daily, drink enough water and your sleep. All of these things I find to be so important to have a good morning run.
After this first week of active rest I got back to it! Usually my goal for each week is:
- 3 days of weight training
- 3-4 days of running
- 1-2 days of biking.
Obviously, each week varies in reps, intensity, etc. However, I do stretch daily, that never changes. Also, the MOST important thing of every training program - a day of rest.
Here is the wrap for week 1 and 2 of my training for the Spokane Half Marathon:
- Weight training 3 times with 2 sets of each exercise. I worked mostly on stabilization exercises with slower tempo for these two weeks. Stretching was done daily.
- My runs were between 3-4 miles during the week. I added in hills and intervals on 3 out of the 6 runs. (More on this next week!) One thing I am having a hard time with is my long runs on Sunday. I have missed both! One was due to not feeling very well (I'm blaming the dairy!) and the other I chose to take Jack to his basketball camp instead. I could not get both done that morning. Since I got to go shoot around with him on the courts at Gonzaga it really was not that much of a dilemma!
- No biking. Sadly, my bike was stolen in early July and the one I replaced it with I do not love. It is my goal for August to get on the new bike and learn to love it!
Week 3 will be interesting since I'll be in Denver. A little worried about the altitude difference and having enough time to get everything in.
Favorite running song this week: We Are the People (Sam la More Remix) by Empire of the Sun
Favorite after run snack: Banana Almond Shake - 1 banana, almond milk, water, 1-2 TBSP of almond butter (depending on length of run), 1-2 TBSP of Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydolysate. YUM!
Two weeks ago I accomplished a long time goal of mine. I completed my first half marathon!! Since my early 20s I wanted to complete a half marathon but due to various illnesses and injuries it was never really achievable. Two and half years after major surgery and many lifestyle and food changes I was finally healthy enough to run 13.1 miles.
As I said I had wanted to run a half marathon for a long time, however, my journey towards running didn't really start until May 2015. While picking up my son, Jack and my husband, Jason from Bloomsday that year my son said five words to me that motivated me to start running. "Mom, why don't you run?"
Over the years as a trainer I am always amazed at what might trigger a client to start on a path to health. For me it was 5 little words motivating me to keep you with my son and husband. I noo longer wanted to be the one picking them up at races but running along side of them.
At this same time my lab, Lucy, turned 2. If you've ever known or owned a labrador there is no explaination needed here. Lucy was the perfect personal trainer. As we developed the habit of running together (we had already been walking for 2 years) it became harder and harder to leave her sad and sometimes annoying face to go to work instead of going for our morning run!
This wasn't the first time I'd endeavored to run. Over the years I have tried several times but an injury would pop up or a life event would happen and derail my plans. This time was proving to be different. Between Jack's simple question and Lucy banging around in her create every morning telling me it was time to run already!!! I simply wanted to get up and follow my training program.
Consistency and planning made this goal a reality. I had a plan that was manageable and stuck with it!
Did I do every single thing on my plan? Nope!
Did I miss workouts? Of course!
Did I have to adjust my plan throughout the months of training? Absolutely!
None of these stopped me from continuing to the next day. Every morning I checked what I had planned and started again. Choosing to not focus on what I missed or didn't do the previous day helped me to focus on the goal of the present day.
Very few folks knew of my plan. I did not share for several reasons. The biggest reason is I do have bad food allergies that can lay me up for weeks. I am very careful but sometimes a harmless snack or a protein bar that you thought was fine can sideline any workouts for me. The other is I could not imagine telling everyone of my clients and friends that I had failed to reach my goal. These two thoughts motivated me to be in control of my food and to learn as much as I could about training to have a good run.
This next time around I feel I will share more. Mostly because I did it once and have faith I can do it again! So for my next race, the Spokane half marathon, I decided to write about my journey. To all my friends and clients don't worry I won't talk your ear off about running!! Instead I'll post to our blog a weekly report for those who choose to follow along or want some motivation or advice. Make no mistake I have run only two races so these weekly reports are from a very novice runner. I only look to share my journey and hopefully inspire others to reach for their next goal!
I finally returned to active event participation and it felt great! I signed up with my buddy Jack and convinced him to go on some runs with me over the past couple of months. The first couple were 2 miles and I slowly progressed him up to almost 4. I had figured that, while he would make the full distance, he might not run much more than that and we would walk a lot towards the end. Plus, I didn't know for sure how much I could run either.
It was fun to be pleasantly surprised on both counts. He is funny to run with. I usually spend my runs zoned out or concentrating on some technical aspect of running form. It keeps me distracted from fatigue and helps get through tough sections. Jack just wants to talk the whole time, like literally, the whole time. We talked about pace, stride length, how to appropriately jockey for position, bathrooms (including all 8 year old topics related to bathrooms) and jokes. He asked about the new Star Wars movies, old Star Wars movies, "Can I have a popcicle?", "What if it was called a 'poopcicle'? "
He was concerned at first that we would get lost, but once he realized we were following a herd of 50,000 people that seemed to go away. I let him dictate the pace, when he wanted to walk we did and when he was ready to run we did that too. All told we ran a lot more than I thought, I figured about 5 miles of the 7+ including all the way up Doomsday hill!
I had no trouble either so that was great. I could have run the whole way and a lot faster for sure. No chance of a personal best but that's ok, it was still the longest run I had done since the accident so any positive outcome was a win.
Next year is the 40th Bloomsday so I think I will try to do that one solo. Hillary can take Jack and get him his poopcicle.
Me and my iPhone
iPhone is lacking in serious musical needs. Sticking with some older mixes but nothing really interesting to report.
A one day kettlebell certification similar to one I've done before is coming to Spokane in August. So, with my knee at a consistent 85-90% I'll be getting back into my routines again.
Since I hadn't been running hardly at all during 2014 I haven't used MapMyRun in a long time. Back in December I opened it up again and started to log some workouts and treadmill jogs. A years worth of updates meant that I had to re-educate myself on how to use the darn thing. Aside from a variety of new functions and social networking capabilities was the addition of group challenges.
Companies sponsor, as advertisement, an opt-in fitness challenge. Britta, for example, challenged you to log 50000 steps per week and, of course, record how often you hydrated. Each challenge has it's own exercise and nutrition goal. While the social networking aspect of MMR is nice, it sort of requires that you have lots of friends using the app. I don't have very many, so the buddy training aspect of the app is a bit lost on me. By contrast, these large community challenges I find a bit more engaging as you can get a percentile rating for your progress relative to all MMR challenge users. If you're really into competition there is a leader board you can check for each challenge. It's nice but I call a little BS on it at the same time. After one day of a challenge this guy had logged five 30 minute workouts and 8 supplementations. Come on man, you worked out for 2.5 hours, probably a run, and ate your vitamins for the day plus maybe a shake or something.
The running total for theses different target goals I like as well, keeping track of different variables each month is more fun than just checking off 'workout' in my planner. It's not like you are married to the thing either, the Britta challenge for example didn't really work for me since I couldn't find a way to log my steps all day and sync to the app. Oh well, I still checked my steps anyways and entered my hydration stats as well. I know I did better than the app was able to record and that was good enough for me.
In February I changed to the MapMyFitness App to more accurately record my workouts since Kettlebells aren't in the MMR list. MapMyFitness still records runs the same way including all my old routes, accesses the challenges, and links to your friends just like MMR.
Lots of folks use the wristband things, but I find them pretty limited in capability. The MapMy apps, I feel, are more comprehensive in what you can do with them plus there are all kinds of add ons if you pay to become an MVP member (I am not). There is a whole family of MapMy apps and I recommend that you check them out to enhance your workouts.
Almost forgot, oranges are good for you but don't really enhance your running much. MapMyRun is better than oranges.
Me and my iPhone
Working on 45 minutes continuous jogging right now. Hope to be close to an hour by April. My buddy Jack is running Bloomsday for the first time so he's been running a little bit with me. That should be fun and will also keep me from pushing too hard for a goal time this year.
The iPhone is tired of playing the same playlists. Need some new stuff badly. suggestions are welcome.
Every so often, I get asked as to what the ‘best’ exercise is to do. In many of these hypothetical (or not) situations, time for exercising is in short supply. Other times, It’s just a matter of making some addition to a workout regimen already in place. This can mean that it’s possible for there to be more than one “King” depending upon your specific needs or desires. In general each royal movement will provide benefit for a majority of its subjects.
This month, the Ruler of All Gyms will be, the Goblet Squat, using a kettlebell.
Requirements: The bodyweight of one human person (self)
Squatting is one of the fundamental patterns of movement that we need all our lives. As such, it is important to maintain the ability to squat properly and safely as we develop and age. A primary benefit of good squat form is keeping the knees and hips healthy. Even compromised joints can derive positives from a good set of squats.
The Goblet squat is a great way to add resistance AND flexibility to the body weight squat pattern. By focusing on the specific body position throughout this variation one can improve several facets of their movement competency. Much of the following comes from my Dragon Door HKC manual.
Beginning - The kettlebell is held on the sides of the handle or horns at the chest with both hands.
Move A - You shall maintain a neutral head/neck/spine as you drop the hips towards the floor.
Move B - Noting that the heels and big toes are firmly rooted to the ground, a grunt is expelled forcing exhalation and activating the abdominal wall as explosive force is driven through the feet.
There are many benefits to be derived from this exercise. Hip mobility and a disassociation from the lower back is a good thing. Having hips which move through its designed range of motion limits the amount of wear and tear the lumbar spine has to endure This affects everything from sitting posture to a golf swing.
Carrying the kettlebell creates strength and stability in the shoulders and thoracic cage. This improves and focuses attention on posture for better performance in a variety of activities.
Quadriceps strength and power are improved from the explosive nature of the movement. This challenges the lower extremity to generate forces it may require in a host of activities from walking to running to biking.
Consider the Goblet Squat as the sole exercise of the day. The King has Spoken!!
For info on my 4-40 challenge go here
Valentines day will soon be here so I think it’s a good month to talk about heart health. Cardiovascular fitness is key to staying fit and healthy so getting some longer, harder sessions in is important. Increasing by small increments as the month goes along is a great way to push yourself without going to far. Adding just 5 minutes, an extra block, or a lap around the track can wind up being a pretty significant gain by the end of the month.
My workouts are going pretty well so far. The knee is doing well and I didn’t have any setbacks during January even though some of my workouts were pretty rigorous. For the most part however, I kept weight work at less than 25 minutes as I did not want to push too much.
For February I’m going to up the duration for weight work but not my loads. For now, it’s important for me to focus on form and function. Flexibility work continues to be of primary importance for my left side as it’s still not quite right. There are days when my whole leg from hip to ankle feel tight and stiff. All the more reason not to load up a crooked frame with a lot of weight.
Me and my iPhone:
Kettlebells will make a comeback this month for sure. Certification is still out there but I don’t know when I will be able to do it so I’ve got to be ready. It’s not super strenuous but we all start where we need to. Nothing fancy, just the basics:
2 day workout plan:
Single hand KB swings 10x3sets
Goblet Squats 10x3 sets
TGU 3 minutes
With the lame-o winter here road work may make an earlier than usual appearance.
3 days walk/jog for 20-25 minutes. If my knee doesn’t argue I will take my own advice from above!
iPhone - Nothing new. I need some new music so suggestions are welcome. I've been doing audible books for stuff like folding laundry but I may start listening to that during workouts. FYI currently enjoying the classic sci-fi "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov.
With the beginning of the year and the over abundance of sugar over the holidays I decided to try Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox. Diane Sanfilippo | New York Times bestselling author of "Practical Paleo" and "The 21-Day Sugar Detox" | Home of the Balanced Bites Podcast I have been following Diane’s blog Balance Bites for a couple of years and have most of her cookbooks. Her books are thorough, well researched and very concise. She is also very blunt which is helpful when learning about food. Don’t sugar coat it!
I wasn’t really motivated to do it until she offered a program to become certified to coach for the 21DSD. Obviously, a requirement would be to do the full program yourself, so I signed up, received the books, and picked a day. One of the nice things about this program is all the additional support. Daily emails arrive with recipes, blogs of other folks doing it, as well as a Facebook page with other detox’ers doing the program in a given month.
Each Saturday before the coming week I spent about an hour planning each and every meal. Then another 2 hours shopping for all the food. Then the cooking began. A lot of cooking. The prep work for the first week included making kale chips, beef jerky, pizza soup (a recipe from one of 21DSD emails), breakfast sausage, and lemon melt aways. Needless to say, I cooked a lot. Thankfully, my kids and husband were happy to just ignore the massive amount of commotion happening in the kitchen. This first week went really well and often a new recipe would result in something that was strangely satisfying. Yes, on the first day I had a horrible headache, but I often have headaches and migraines. However, after that, it cleared up and I felt really well.
For me this was a 19 day sugar detox. What happened and I think what would probably happen for a lot of folks are two things. The first being I was not as well prepared for the 3rd week. I did not prep enough food and made a couple things that were just not satisfying. Variety is important to be successful.
Secondly, I could not sleep for most of the 19th days. I was exhausted from waking up 3 to 5 times night. Oftentimes, I could not get fully back to sleep. This is one instance where the support avenues came in handy. It turns out many people on the Facebook page were discussing this same issue. Reading through the posts one gal recommended listening to this podcast: #308 – The Adrenal Reset Diet | Underground Wellness. I love Shaun and his work, his website is full of great info! Sadly, it took me until the 3rd week to finally listen to this podcast. Thankfully, I did because I realized I was not eating enough carbohydrates and was most likely eating them at the wrong time of day. I tried to get more in but by the 19th day, extremely exhausted, I caved. I told my husband get a GF pizza, I think he was tired of his cranky lack of sleep wife so he happily obliged. That night I slept like a baby.
Let’s be clear. Diane does have a sheet outlining how many carbs you should be getting depending on your activity level (Mine is extremely high). In the future, when I do this I will record my food in something like Myfitnesspal to make sure I am eating the appropriate amount of carbs. I’ll also pay attention to the timing of the carbs. I’ll be looking more into the info presented in the podcast....
I learned a lot from these 19 days. A lot about my body, my mind and food.
Here in a nutshell is a couple of nuggets....
Whew! A lot to share. For those wanting to adventure into trying this here is my biggest advice. Be mindful of the time involved. Having the time to prep and make food is the only way to succeed. Obviously I did not succeed in the full 21 days so I’m not going to get certified to coach it just yet. I want to be able to do the program fully and have a couple of my clients do the program successfully before taking that next step.
Next week I’ll write more about what I’m doing after my 19DSD:)
So the new program got off to a bit of a rocky start last month. A few days before Christmas I did something that my knee wasn't happy about and it blew up pretty good for about 10 days. I don't think it was anything serious just a combination of probably doing one too many things in my workout and then going home and doing things around the house when it needed a little more rest.
It seems to have calmed back down and I'm back upon the horse as it were. My lovely wife suggested I do more bike for a while than walk/jog and I think that's a good idea. In general I'll stick with the body weight/primal movement patterns for January as it also goes well with the exercise class I've started up at St. Marks. Good news there was that I ran stairs and took them two at a time with no problems. So that's encouraging!
So this month will be close to last month's in terms of workouts. Although I'll add in some other things for fun and balance.
Me and my iphone:
Kettlebell swings, Get-ups, balance work on the Bosu etc.
On the iphone this month and pretty much every month is Startalk Radio with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I love me some astrophysics! He's getting a late night tv version for National Geographic channel. Great guy, good podcast, Science + Comedy = Win!
Keep on keeping on people
If you haven't seen the new teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you should. It doesn't really tell you much but there are some pretty cool visuals in there. I mention it simply because I dig Star Wars and also it will do nicely to serve as my kick off for the next thirteen months.
It's been one year since my unfortunate knee accident and I am pretty well done with rehab. This blog post is my official, "Getting back on the Horse" announcement. The past year I've laid dormant, struggling to be patient, waiting until my body could finally get back to being capeable of what I know it can do. Now...The Force Awakens.
Currently, the release date for Episode VII is December of 2015. That gives them 13 months to fine tune the light sabers to sparky awesomeness. It also gives me 13 months to complete my 4 for 40 goal for 2015. On the 18th of this month I will turn 40 and it's somewhat of a milestone so I figure I will put myself out for an attempt at 4 different events between now and next December.
First will most likely be completing Bloomsday. I'm not certain that I will be able to challenge for a top time this year. There's no guarantee that my knee will like all that road running until I do it, and I may also take my son with me for the first time. He's 8 so it could go either way, lots of walking or running or both. Still, it should be a lot of fun.
Second, would be to get myself to a next level certification for Kettlebells. I'm not sure where or when and a lot of that depends on timing and funding, but we're gonna get in some gruesome shape for it either way. If I can't get to one this year I'll at least post about my prep work and self testing of the certification requirements.
Next would be some other fitness event. It could be another 5k road race or the Dirty Dash or something like that. I would love to do the Zombie run, but that is also dependent upon travel and such. So, I may have to pick a more local run.
The last thing would be to triumphantly(to me at least) return to Tough Mudder next fall. I had so much fun doing it that I can't stop thinking about getting back to one. Since my 2013 entry they've added new colors to the headbands based on how many you have done and there are always new obstacles being created. Gotta get back to it.
I want to encourage you to come along with me in your own way. Even if I am in better condition than the person reading this, I'm going to start in the beginner stage of things. My plan is to progress smoothly and, more importantly, smartly through the year. With few exceptions, there wouldn't be much reason anybody couldn't follow along with me this year and accomplish their own fitness goals.
As always....Me and my iPhone
Me - Cardio - about 2.5 miles walking a day and about 8-10 miles a week is about all my knee could handle so this month the goal is 1.5 miles - 3x week with half of that at a jogging pace.