Friday, October 31, 2008

Training Log; 7-min ISOs

Since I've had this schedule for a few weeks, I've known this "7 minutes of work *all isos if time permits" was coming for at least 4 weeks. That doesn't mean I was excited about it. I knew it would be hard, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm so glad Will was there, because even though I work hard when I'm by myself, I definitely make myself work harder when someone else is there pushing me. Plus I knew I'd need his encouragement (and pressure).
  • Lunge right--7 minutes. Ouch. I really didn't think I could do it. Will had the watch, but I know I lasted at least 2 minutes before I had to drop my knee at all. Even still, I was trying so hard the entire time to get my knee back off the ground. I think I got about a minute in between this one and the next one.
  • Lunge left--7 minutes. Ouch. I knew I could do it this time, because I just done the other one. My first step out was awful; repeat. But then I just focused. I think I might have lasted close to 2 minutes again, but I felt way more fatigued since I'd just done the other leg. But I was still trying to get my knee off the ground the whole time. I wanted to quit. I wanted to cry because I was so frustrated that I couldn't get my knee off the ground. But I did neither; I just kept going. Then finally the end! Yesterday, he told me I was walking like an old lady after I finished, so today I was trying to "walk like an athlete" instead of an old lady! That itself took major focus. I was leaning some on these, but not nearly as much as yesterday. I never felt like I was going to fall over. When I finished (finally!), Will said, "I don't think I've ever seen anyone do that." I know he's done it, but it still was encouraging. That was so hard.
  • Standing extreme hamstring--7 minutes. I did not pace myself at all. I just pulled hard the whole time, trying to lengthen with my hamstrings while pulling them and pulling with my glutes. I leaned on this one, too, mostly to the left again, but when I focused on pulling the same with both hamstrings, then I did a lot better. I'm pretty sure my left hammy is stronger than my right one.
  • Wall squat--7 minutes. In the past, my legs have been really fatigued from the lunges that I haven't done well on these at all. Will had the watch again, so I didn't know how I was doing, but I definitely was up and down fewer times over these 7 minutes than I have been over 5 minutes in the past. And I pushed the whole time. When I was done, he said I lasted 4 minutes before I hit the ground the first time. Four minutes! Hooray! That pretty much made my day. I mean, if I can do a wall squat for 4 minutes, why can't I win my races (or at least run as fast as I can and do my best and push myself harder than I thought I could)?
  • Push up--7 minutes, with my hands on benches and me on my knees. One thing I haven't been doing while on my knees is curling my legs all the way up (i.e. using my glutes and hamstrings to stabilize myself)--I have to remember that. I lost feeling in my arms around 1 minutes in and seriously felt like I was going to fall on my face (I never did, but I did have to quit a few times, sit up, and then drop back down). Will kept moving my elbows out; that made it harder, which means I hadn't been doing it right until he moved me to the right position.
  • Curl--7 minutes, 5-lb weights. The last time I did this, I used 8-lb weights but had to drop the weights about 2 minutes in. This time, 5-lb, and he told me I could do it the whole time, so I had to prove that I could. And I did. However, I guess I have to work on pulling with my lats to get my chest out and sternum elevated, because I wasn't doing that right. Even though I was sitting the whole time, I was still trying to engage my legs and definitely felt like I was working them, too.
  • The end! (Well, the end for the morning.)
  • Dip--7 minutes. Definitely the hardest of all of them so far, especially because I felt like I'd used those same muscles in the morning while doing the push up. I lasted 2 minutes before I had to put my foot down. Then, when I fell too far and had to start over again, I absolutely could not pull myself down; my muscles just would not cooperate. I tried, I really did.
  • Crate crunch--7 minutes. No pacing, only squeezing hard and shortening the abdomen. Ouch. But I did the whole thing.
  • Scap pull up and one-leg squat--I didn't have time to do these, so I didn't and don't feel bad about it at all.
As much as I wanted to quit all these I wanted to continue; my desire to continue trumped my desire to quit. I guess I was thinking about winning. If I give up while it's hard now, who's to say that I won't give up when the going gets tough during a race. And I absolutely DO NOT want to quit during a race. I want to win! So I'm going to make myself work hard now so that I'll be mentally (and physically) prepared when those tough situations arise.

Summary: Wow. That was incredibly hard, but it was even more rewarding than it was taxing. Now I can't wait to see what next month holds!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Training Log; 10x30 sec

I'm writing this a day late, so I can't remember everything!
  • Lunge right--this one was OK. I know I made it through at least 3 without having to take a little weight off by lowering my back knee.
  • Lunge left--this one was hard! I think I made it through at least 2 before having to lower my back knee. Unfortunately, I was leaning something crazy to the right. I felt like Will was pushing me right and so I had to over-correct by leaning left (I really thought I was leaning to the left), but when he took his hands off my shoulders, I fell to the right. So that tells me that I push with one leg harder than the other (although I'm not sure which one that would be--I'll have to think about that next time). Also, when I got tired, he kept telling me to keep my torso erect (don't lean forward).
  • Glute ham raise--instead of the manual hold, it's just 1 second off between 30-sec reps. I really was trying to pull with my glutes and not my lower back, and it evidently looked like I was working correctly.
  • Altitude drop push up--I had to pull down hard (that's the alt drop) and then stay there for 30 seconds. At the end of the 30, I'd push up as high as I could correctly but then sit up completely between reps. Reps 6 and 7 were really good--I was focused on doing it correctly. The other reps, at least 3 of the first 5, I would pause and then shrug my shoulders to help myself push up. Wrong! Push up right away, don't shrug, and push up as high as I can.
  • Altitude drop curl--yikes. This one was rough. Holding the bar up in the start of the curl position, I should pull my hands away fast and then bring them back fast to catch the bar (when Will did it, the bar barely fell at all before he got his hands back to it; when I did it, it had already fallen nearly to my hips before I caught it). So obviously I was not moving my hands fast enough. Then there was the manual hold at the bottom.
  • Crunch--this one was like the glute ham raises, where I just took a second off between reps. It made me focus on squeezing hard and shortening my abdomen even more.
Then I went and ran. I knew I had to do 6 miles, so I did the MFY loop clockwise. However, I couldn't remember what the speeds were supposed to be, so I just went out and ran. 7:35, 7:11, 7:31, 7:30, and 8:01 were my mile times for the first 5. Yeah, that was a 22:20 5K and a 37:48 8K. I stopped for 2 full minutes to try to recover (HR at the end of 5 miles: 210; after those 2 min: 120) and then run/walked the final mile. I still finished the 10K in 49-something. Then I came home, read my paper, and realized I was supposed to run 2 miles easy, 2 miles at 7:35, and 2 miles easy. I did 1/3 of that, I guess. The 5 miles felt really good, but I was pretty much at my max (hence the slightly slower mile time). I really had to push myself to finish--I know I wasn't breathing correctly or running with good posture more most of the last half mile at least (of course it was all uphill).

So while I was running, I was thinking about what we'd done that morning. Interestingly enough, I lean when I run, too, but definitely to the left. So that makes me think I push harder with my left leg than my right. When I realized that, I really tried to focus on standing straight up. I also tried to focus on keeping my torso erect (not leaning forward).

Although not sore, my calves were the only thing I felt like I hadn't worked at all since the last time I'd run (Tuesday on the track, but then again, I hadn't done anything since Tuesday). I thought it was the hills, but I'm not sure. Will said I should be using my calves for most of the leg exercises, so maybe it just was the hills or just that they were tight. I could definitely feels my quads by the end of the 5 miles--I could feel that I had worked them hard in the morning!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Training Log; mile repeats

I knew I wasn't going to make today's goals, but it didn't mean I wasn't going to try. I was supposed to do 3 times 1 mile in 7:03 for each mile. I know I can only run about 2, maybe 2.5 miles at a 7-min pace, and for whatever reason I ran my warmup miles at that pace. So that left pretty much nothing, but I managed to make the first mile (on a track) in 7:05. The other two were closer to 7:20, and I actually did one running 0.25, resting a little, and then running a quarter again until I finished the one. So I wasn't where I wanted to be, but I know I can do at least one on a track (it was hard!). I think I'm going to keep doing this week-16 workout until I hit everything; then I'll move to the next week or figure something else out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Training Log; 3x30sec heavy ISOs

For the second week in a row, I was in the gym on Monday, my day off (but besides my spin this morning, I didn't do anything aerobic). I knew I was going to be working out today, but I didn't plan as well as I should have. So this week I won't have a day off, but starting next week I'll take Tuesdays off (and do my sprints on Mondays) for as long as Will is home and I'm working out with him. I did a 20-min warmup on my bike then 3 sets of 30 seconds each:
  • Lunge R, L, R, L--45lb bar with 10lb on each side; remember not to lean forward to stand up but to stand straight up by pushing.
  • Glute hamstring--no weight; Will said I did this one much better than I did last week--I was trying to focus on squeezing my glutes.
  • 1-leg squat--25-lb plate (I could probably do more); major flaw: I tend to point my knee (especially the back on) in. Ideally my leg should be straight so that when I run, my legs are straight and I'm not pulling on my knee one way or the other. Interestingly, my right knee came in more than my left knee, but the left is what has been hurting after I run.
  • Hamstring--45-lb plate; he didn't think I had my legs straight, but I definitely did and was still trying to straighten them the whole time. I did NOT have my entire foot on the ground--for some reason, I was standing more on the outside of both feet than also standing on the ball of my foot. Think about that every time I'm standing and walking.
  • Curl--45-lb bar; this was almost too much for me to handle, but my biceps didn't really feel like it at the end. I extended my arms too much to start, and then maybe I was holding back the rest of the time? I didn't have to lift the bar up, which was good because I don't think I could have.
  • Push up--33-lb plate with my hands on benches; it seemed really hard, but I think I must have done this on my knees last time. There was none of that today!
  • Scapular pull up--45-lb; the last one I had to put my foot down for the last 10 seconds. There's no way I could actually do a pull up like that with that much weight, but I can hang there and pull like I should be (at least I think I'm doing what I should be doing).
  • Dip--no weight, but I could definitely try at least 25 lb next time;
  • Crate crunch--35-lb plate; if I could hold more weight, I could do more, but I can't, so I'll have to stick with 35 lb unless someone is there and can take it from me.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Always Learning

Someday I would love to have kids of my own, if the Lord sees fit to give me a husband and kids (I undoubtedly have a lot to learn before then, so I'm content to wait; plus I don't want to get too impatient and marry the wrong person just because I want to get married!). But in the meantime, I try to take the opportunity to babysit and hang out with the family here when I can (October 2008: the kids are currently 18, 14, and 9).

This week I'd been remembering how many theology, belief, and just basic discussions I'd had with my high school friends (and thinking how I miss those discussions and with I could engage in a few with people here at least now and then). I am so grateful to be in a family with believing parents who taught me the Word and helped shape my Christian world view, who trained me up in the way that I should go, and I pray that when I am old I will not depart from it.

Luke brought up some interesting questions as we drove to the Art Display Open House in Nashville. He wondered what we thought about the "days" in Genesis (6 literal days, 6 longer time periods, or other). He also had a couple other questions, all of which I remember wrestling with. Bennett and I answered the "days" one, and Bennett answered another one. ARenee just sat quietly. I'm not sure whether she didn't want to answer, she wanted to hear what we had to say, or she wanted the boys to be able to hash it out themselves. (I took her road after the "days" question and just listened after that.)

Then on the way home, Luke mentioned something about how they had been discussing suicide in church, and we got to talking about the sanctity and value of life. It was really interesting to hear everyone's view on that and made me wonder what people without a Christian world view think about life. I do know some of that view based on the fact that abortion is legal and wide spread.

I also learned something about boys. I don't have brothers, and although my sisters and I didn't always get along all the time, we never did wrestle or physically fight. I'm sure we exchanged words about who was in the bathroom when, who was playing with whose toys, who got to drive or ride in the front seat, whose turn it was to wash the dishes, and more. But boys just like to fight (at least the boys I was around this weekend):
  • Luke and Bennett--Bennett (18) is at school, but he was home for the afternoon and I got to witness a wrestling match between him and Luke (almost 15). It was fascinating. They were going at each other for no reason, just having fun (Bennett has 3.5 years and quite a few inches on Luke, but Luke was still enjoying it and trying to beat Bennett). Then they quit and we went on to eat dinner.
  • Dawson and Doug--Both are 4 and were playing in a soccer game against each other. Dawson I know and babysit for. He is full of energy and has an 18-year-old brother, Leland, with whom I'm sure he's had a few wrestling matches; he's not ultra-aggressive but he also won't walk away when someone provokes him. Doug, on Dawson's opposing team, was pushing all the boys and grabbing jerseys. The coach kept telling him to quit, but there were no subs for Doug's team so he let him continue to play with no consequences. Dawson got the ball and headed for the goal; Doug grabbed his jersey and wouldn't let go. Dawson was focused on making the goal, ran a circle around Doug because he couldn't get free, and then scored the goal. Dawson had enough, and we watched the boys exchange words. (Dawson's dad, Rob, asked what he had said, but he said he didn't say anything.) From that point on, Rob gave Dawson the green light to push Doug and to be aggressive. One of the coaches suggested that if they had been 9 or so, there would have been an all-out fight. Even though Doug was bigger, Dawson definitely would have held his own and probably taking him out.
  • Dawson, Collin, and Blake--Collin and Blake are 9; Dawson is still 4 (although almost 5). The neighbor boys were antagonizing Dawson by saying, "UT stinks!" (Leland goes to UT.) Dawson, not being one to step away from a fight, let them have it every time. He wasn't hurting them (probably couldn't have at their respective sizes), but he would tackle them and bring them to the ground. As far as skill, they were pretty evenly matched, which right there tells me they've all had some experience wrestling, if even among themselves or with their dads. I let them continue, because they were antagonizing Dawson; Tanya, Collin's mom, let them continue because she knew Dawson couldn't hurt them (and they wouldn't hurt him) but would still let them have it (which she thought would be good for them). (Aside: there were a couple girls out there, and Dawson was trying to wrestle with them, too. One girl told him that "hitting a girl is against the law.")
Boys are just aggressive, I've decided. It's amazing how differently God has made all of us!

I'm filing these lessons away for when I have boys who decide they want to fight. I'll let them have at it!

Training Log; 2 hours

2-h bike; this will likely be a ride I do weekly. There were 7 of us, one strong guy, 2 less-strong, and 4 women. Lisa, Jack, David (the strongest rider), and I were pretty much in front the whole time. David stayed back to ride with the others, and Lisa, Jack, and I stayed out ahead and rode the whole time together.

We rode on Long Lane, which has 7 rolling hills. It's a really good road to train on rollers. Our average was slowish (17-18 mph) and my HR was never over 80. I tried to keep a relatively high cadence until Long Lane, when I was just thinking about powering through some of the hills. Bad idea. I think that because I can't ever get my HR up, I have fewer lactic acid "matches" to burn; my matchbook goes empty before others' do. In that case, I really have to be careful not to power through too many hills; high cadence will be my friend, even if I might fall slightly behind. I was really trying to use my muscles like I've been practicing and definitely wasn't just hanging out for an easy ride.

Someday I'd really like to see how I do riding with a group with my HR higher (i.e. actually in my aerobic zone!). I'm going to have to figure something out. Hopefully running sprints will help me do at least one workout in my aerobic zone. Maybe when I go to spin class I'll watch my HR and see how it does then (if I can see the watch). If it stays in the actual aerobic zone, I might have to consider going to spin more often (I know it doesn't go up when I ride my trainer, even when I keep my cadence at 100+).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Training Log; 5-mi run; Zoot Ultra TT shoe review

5-mile loop from home (Moores to Franklin to Mallory Station to General George Patton to Moores)

I just wanted to try out my new shoes, so I wasn't out for a fast run, but I still ended with an 8-min/mile average (no HR monitor, no GPS for pace, so I was just running and then looked at my watch at the end).

The run itself was good, and the shoes are very nice. There's definitely a different in $40 shoes and $100 shoes. Unfortunately I can't buy $100 shoes every time, so I think I'll keep these nice for a while (like try to race in them next season).

The shoes have some good support and are made for multisport athletes. The tongue doesn't move, and the elastic Yanks laces are built in to the shoe. If you're partial to your own laces, or if you enjoy putting new laces into shoes, these might not be for you. But if you can get used to the yanks, knowing that you can tighten or loosen them as needed, and if you don't want to have to worry about the tongue getting folded over while you're putting on your shoes, these might be for you. The back is slightly higher than I'm used to, and although I could feel that as soon as I put them on, it didn't bother me at all while I was running. The higher back allows for a grippie on the back--your hand won't slip off it while you're putting the shoes on in haste. They are very comfortable, and I will definitely race in them. But by far the coolest feature is that the top half of "Zoot" is on the outside of the left shoe and the bottom half is on the outside of the right shoe; it's like a puzzle!

Well my run was good. For not trying to go fast, I was happy with 8-min miles. What I was not happy with was how my knee hurt after I was done. My left knee definitely hurt, on the outside, toward the bottom of my knee. I iced for a little but didn't have much time. The only thing I can think of is that this is caused by some of the hamstring exercises I've been doing. My hamstrings are getting stronger, and I know how to run correctly, but sometimes I go back to my old running style (more shuffling than actually lifting my legs with my hamstrings/glutes/hip flexors). So when I don't do it all right, maybe it causes pain? I don't know, just thoughts.... I'll have to see how it feels this coming week.

Training Log; 10 10 10 EDI

Normally I would work out alone or sometimes with Lisa, but she would usually do the same exercise as me at the same time. This last week I've been able to work out with Will and his brother; it has been nice to have someone else working hard at the same time and to have someone pushing me to work harder. Even though Will's mostly there for his brother, just my knowing someone might be watching what I'm doing makes me work as hard as I can and do it right every time.

Friday it was just Will and me, so we did manual holds, which I hadn't done before (they require someone to hold you down while you work). I knew it would be hard, but I hadn't expected it to be so hard!

I didn't really warm up like I had the other two days. No time to ride my bike, and we drove down there b/c of the rain. I definitely like a little warmup! Here was the workout:
  • Wall sit--drop fast into the deepest position possible for 10 seconds. Will was pushing on my shoulders while I was pushing up; he counted, I focused on working. As soon as he let go, I popped up to the (almost) top, and then up and down 10 times, fast up and fast down every time. At the 10th one, he would push me down again, and we'd repeat 10 10 10. It was hard, but probably the best one to start on, especially being cold. Two sets.
  • Glute ham raise--reps to arms length but no manual hold. This one frustrates me, because I'm not doing it right as hard as I try. Ideally, I should be squeezing my glutes hard while pulling through my hamstrings, not using my lower back at all. When it's done right, you should see the person's hips shudder when he starts working; Will couldn't tell for me, which tells me that I either wasn't squeezing hard enough or wasn't using my glutes (the latter means that I was using my lower back, which is highly likely). The first couple caused pain in my left leg behind my knee, but I must have readjusted or something because the rest didn't hurt. Two sets.
  • Lunge R, L, R, L--I lunged, Will held me down while I worked. This time was slightly better regarding my knee coming in when I lunged and on the reps, but when I got tired I would tend to turn it in (and lean forward). I honestly didn't think I would make it through the last set on my left leg. After the first 10, I could hardly push up against him; after the second 10, I could hardly stand up, much less push up and pop up fast 10 times. I did the last 10, but the last 1 was awful and he made me do it over again. Since I had stood up, I found it easier to go down and do the last one ("easier" being relative; my muscles were tired!). Two sets.
  • Curl--although I could use 30 lb, we only had a heavy bar or an unweighted bar, so we used the super light one. Start up, curl down, then he'd hold the bar at the bottom while I tried to pull up. I tried to pull as hard as I could, but he didn't even have to use both hands to keep it down! Goal for next time: make Will use both hands!
  • Push up--after I pulled down, he pushed and I tried to push up into him. Then I had to push up 10 times 3 as high as I could. When I started getting tired, I'd shrug my shoulders to try to help myself up; BAD!!! I pulled down for the first 10 seconds of the second set and didn't think I'd make it--my muscles were already tired, and I had 30 seconds of pushing and 30 reps to go! Those 30 reps were very small; I just had to make an effort to push up. I didn't think I'd be able to push up at all, but when I made an effort, I at least moved a little. Two sets, super hard.
  • Russian twist--seated with knees bent and feet flat on the ground (for balance), arms out in front with hands in fist and palms facing in; pull to the right, then snap back to the middle (fast); pull to the left, then snap back to the middle (fast); 3 times to each side. Six sets.
Then after work I hit the trainer because it had rained all day. 1 h at 100 cadence (85-99 HR); I wasn't necessarily sweating, but I was still working hard the whole time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Training Log; 5 on thru 60 isos

Some afternoons I don't feel like doing much. Today was one of them. The morning started off great, with 5 on, 5 off, through 60 seconds, which adds up to 6:30 with 55 seconds (5-sec increments) of rest, after a 30-min bike warm up.
  • Lunge right--I think I stayed off my back knee through at least 45 seconds. One thing Will was telling Zach the other day was to really push into the back foot, which will take weight off the knee that might be on the ground. So that's what I was focusing on even though my knee was down. Another thing he told me was to really make sure I pull through the hamstrings but keep my pelvis forward. Evidently, if I'm pulling correctly, my hips should come forward. So I'd better focus on pulling harder so that my hips go where they're supposed to. Also, I tend to lean forward slightly when I get tired, so I have to focus on keeping my torso erect.
  • Lunge left--I dropped my knee on the 45-sec interval, and the last 3 were just as hard.
  • Glute ham raise--I just had to pull hard the whole time. I have to remember to make sure my toes are straight down--not angled in like they were to start--and to pull hard the whole time.
  • Wall squats--For some reason, my back started hurting every time I stood up after about 30 seconds (I'm not sure on the time because Will was keeping track for me). That's likely because I was tensing as I was sitting; after Will suggested that, I tried to relax more and found that it didn't hurt as much when I stood up. The last 4 intervals were hard, and I probably hit the ground an average of one time per interval. This one was interesting. When Will said "up," I could actually push myself up, just so my shins stayed perpendicular to the ground. But even when I didn't think I could push up, I did. So I know I can. I have to remember that I can do it, not only on this one but on other ones. I wish I could have remembered when I was doing the curls later in the day.
  • Push up--Using the perfect pushup handles, I managed to do every interval but the last two without have to start back up at the top and pull down again. I definitely was feeling it afterward!
  • Curl--30-lb bar; I wasn't paying complete attention because I was talking with Lisa, so I'm not sure I did every interval. I do know that for the last 3 that I did, I absolutely could not lift the bar up and instead had to set it down for 5 seconds, pick it back up, and then start the next interval. Goal for next time: pay attention to the clock and be able to lift the bar the whole time.
A 30-min run on the elliptical at the Y and a 1-h walk at home finished out the day. It was gorgeous today!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Training Log; 5.5 miles; 2-mi HR

2-mile run to test HR

Time: 13:54.65
Mile 1: 7:11.40 (this was also my warmup; perhaps I should warm up before I start timing next time)
Mile 2: 6:43.25
Route: MFY loop clockwise (Maryland Way to Franklin Road)
Max HR: 200
HR at 2 min: 124 (I was not trying to cool down too much; I was still walking fast/trying to lift my legs correctly and drive them into the ground)
Active Resting HR: 57
Recovery Rate (resting HR/HR at 2 min): 46%
Summary: That's bad. The higher the recovery rate, the better.

There's a 1-mile stretch from Bliss and McGavock (which is off Murray Lane) to the last driveway on the left on McGavock (just before Granny White).

Total run: 5.5 miles

I hadn't thought I was using my hamstrings for the glute ham raises yesterday, but I definitely did; I'm feeling them today!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Training Log; 10 6 3 EDI

Monday's are supposed to be my days off, nonnegotiable, but I didn't even put up a fight about working today. Will is home, and I had to take the opportunity to work out with him and his brother Zach.

Rode on the trainer for a half-hour warmup, then 10-6-3 EDIs. I have no idea what EDI stands for, but it means that I go for 10 seconds, do 10 reps (for lunge, for instance, it's just hard and fast up and down 10 times), go for 10 seconds, do 6 reps, go for 10 seconds, do 3 reps, and then am done.
  • Lunge right--3 sets; Will kept saying to move my pelvis forward, so I have to remember to work on that. Also, on this on and my left leg, I have a habit of A) not stepping straight out and B) turning my knee in, especially during the intervals. Basically I should not be turning my knee in at all. And I need to keep pulling down farther.
  • Lunge left--3 sets; same as above.
  • Glute ham raise--2 sets with reps to arm's length. Ideally, I should be able to pull myself up with my hamstrings and just boost myself slightly with my arms. I was not using my legs at all (at least I didn't feel like I was on the intervals, but I could feel it when I walked to the bubbler!), but I was also doing it wrong. My body should have been in a straight line the whole time: head up, core tight/belly button in, butt down, pulling with the hamstrings and glutes. I know that when I get tired on this one I tend to use my back (or start to until I realize it) and not my glutes so much. Doing it right will help me stay tight and in a line.
  • Wall squats--2 or 3 sets (I can't remember); each set, Will had to tell me to pull my legs in an inch or so. Make sure they're perpendicular to the ground!
  • Push up--2 sets, on my knees; I managed to push up the whole way the first set and failed during the second set, but I pushed up as far as I could. Remember: when up, arms should be perpendicular to the ground (i.e. move body closer to arms). Then, even though the majority of the work will be pushing up, I still have to pull down hard--I can't just let gravity pull/push me down. Keep working the whole time!
  • Curl--3 sets, 15-lb dumbbells; I prefer this one with a bar, but the only bar was a heavy one, and 30 lb is about my limit. Although I did this one on my own and had no mirror, I was focused on lengthening through the biceps, keeping my shoulders down but sternum elevated, and using my muscles to lower the weights. 15-lb dumbbells was definitely the max; the last few reps were really hard. I do wish I had had my HR monitor, though, because I know my heart rate was up; I was sweating after this one exercise that took about 5 minutes total!
  • Crate crunch--2 sets; this was harder than I thought it was going to be! I thought I was already crunched up as high as I could have been, but then for the reps I tried to crunch up even more every time and still squeeze the box as hard as I could.
I did the curls and crunches in the afternoon and everything else in the morning, but still feel like I worked hard...I can still feel that I worked my biceps hard!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Training Log; 2 hours

Today was an easy 25+ mile bike ride. At least once every season, I take a leisurely ride where I have no plan, I ride through random neighborhoods, and I ride slow. This was fall's ride, and it was wonderful.

I don't even remember where all I rode, but I headed down Mack Hatcher, went off toward Battle Ground Academy and rode through some of those neighborhoods there, went through part of Fieldstone Farms, some places off Del Rio, stopped at a friend's house, and headed home. It was the easiest 2-h ride ever.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Training Log; 5-min ISOs

Breakfast (5:30): 2 scrambled eggs
Run (7am, 50*): 12 miles, 1:37:44
Average mile time: 7:58 (7 of the 12 miles were within 10 seconds either way of this time, and all 12 were within 20 seconds either way)
Fastest mile time (4): 7:42 (this was down Franklin Road towards town, mostly downhill)
Slowest mile time (11): 8:17 (this was a run/walk mile down GGPatton Rd)
Water break: mile 8.5 at a bubbler (appx. 4-6 oz)
Average HR: appx. 155 (that's really good)
Max HR: appx 180 (the first few miles were definitely higher HR than the last few; every time I slowed down at all my HR dropped, and every time my HR dropped I slowed down some)
Recovery (8:50, after stretching): protein shake (banana, milk, scoop of protein, homemade almond butter, flax seed, ice cubes), 13 oz total
Weather: 50* and slightly sunny

I'm not sure what to think about this run. I was supposed to run 10-15 miles at an 8:48/mile pace. I did the 10-15, but I wasn't really on the pace at all. However, I was faster than prescribed. I don't know, though, if I could have kept that up for another 14 miles (at a 7:58 pace, I would finish a marathon in 3:27, well under my 3:40 goal to qualify for Boston. Also, does this mean I should be running 5Ks and 10Ks at a faster pace? This will be an interesting off season.

ISOs (the 5-minute workouts are my favorite. Hah):
  • Pull up--1:30, again, same as last time; the next 3:30 was crazy hard, even with my foot on a stool in front of me. My arms nearly refused to hold me up.
  • Dip--:45-:60 (not too sure); this one was WAY better than last time, although my arms still refused to hold me up the whole time, and I had to put a foot down. A couple times, I actually had to let go because I absolutely could not stay up.
  • Curl--8-lb weights, 2:56, which was :56 longer than last time. Even after I dropped the weights, I kept working.
  • Crate crunch--5 minutes
  • Lunge right--1:40 (1:30 last time), then worked with my back knee down the rest of the time. The good thing about this one was that my HR was up around 130 the majority of the time.
  • Lunge left--1:30 (1:30 last time); pretty much mirrored the previous leg.
  • Hamstring--5 minutes
  • Wall squat--2 minutes (2:10 last time); the last :30, I really really really pushed to stay up because my legs were so shaky. But I did it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Control and Disappointment; Proverbs 16

God is in complete control. He knew me before I was born, and He continues to know me, to know the thoughts and intentions of my heart, to know when I sit down and when I rise up, to know my desires, to know what I need. And He provides for those needs in ways I can't even imagine. And He can do the same for you, if you will admit that you are a sinner and accept that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. You can become God's child and feel His love, no matter what you are going through. God doesn't promise that living for Him will be easy; in fact, He says that we will face trials and tribulations. But He will be with us through it all and comfort us. He is the God of all comfort.

My racing season wasn't what I wanted it to be this year, and I didn't perform as well as I'd intended to or trained for. But my disappointment pales in comparison to what I imagine one of my friends is going through, who, having trained over the last couple years to play on a pro or semipro team in a team sport, has yet to make it on teams that have seemed like open doors. In a way I understand the disappointment; I train for an entire year for one race, and if I don't do well, I have an entire year (or possibly 6 months depending on how much my body can handle) to improve for the next time, whereas pro or aspiring pro athletes train the entire off season and longer for a training camp. If they don't make it on the team for that training camp, they're on their own for another year.

Some sports are really hard to continue playing after college, too. Take softball, for example. Except for the select few who go directly to the, what is it, 6? pro teams in the US, after you finish your college career it's pretty much slow pitch or nothing. Even if you wanted to continue with fast pitch, you likely wouldn't be able to find a team to play with, or perhaps you might not even find anyone to throw around with who might be at your level. So pretty much, your dreams are crushed before you can even attempt to make it to a team, because you can't be practicing.

Not that I could have ever made a pro softball team, but I definitely quit softball and focused more on triathlons because it's an individual sport. I don't have to rely on finding people wherever I might live who would be able to pitch to me, throw with me, or hit to me so I could field. I did have to find someone who could help coach me and make me faster, but that's a lot less to ask of people than playing softball would require.

What I really wanted to share was how God has spoken to me through His word today, and I can't help but share some verses from Proverbs 16.
  • 1. The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
  • 2. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.
  • 3. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.
  • 7. When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
  • 8. Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice.
  • 9. A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
  • 16. How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
  • 17. The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; he who keeps his way preserves his soul.
  • 20. He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
  • 23. The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.
  • 24. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
  • 25.There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
  • 32. He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
  • 33. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
God does require us to plan, and He will prosper our plan if it is His will. But even if our plans don't come to fruition, He still has everything under control. We may see the reason immediately, we may see it years down the road, or we may never see it. But we must trust Him regardless of what transpires. He is wholly trustworthy; when we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

These verses, and the majority of the Bible, are all about giving up control, surrendering to God, submitting to His will, doing His work, obeying Him, loving Him, trusting Him completely. I have not yet obtained that, but I press on toward the goal for the prize up the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I run in such a way that I may receive the imperishable crown of life.

Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

I love you, Lord. You have given me all I have and ever hope to be. Thank You for Your provision, for Your love, and for Your mercy. I do not even deserve to live, for I am a wretched sinner. But You so loved me that You sent Your Son to die on my deserved cross for my sins so that I could live with You forever. Thank You. Thank you for forgiving my sins, those that I knowingly commit and those that I unknowingly commit. I want to live my life for you. I want to devote myself wholly to your will. Let my plans be Your will. Help me to love You and Your people more and more each day.

Training Log; rball

I hope no one reads this and everyone reads the "Control" post. God is amazing and unfathomable. I am so grateful that He loves me unconditionally.

I did not run, ride, swim, or lift today. I played 1.5 hours of racquetball, lost every game, and had a lot of fun. It was great.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Training Log; 10x30-sec manual holds; 2-mi run

Warmup was a 2-ish-mile run (I was going to do a 3-mile tempo run but I forgot my GPS). Then it was right into what was basically 5-minute isos. These are called manual holds because ideally, you'd be doing this with someone who holds you down, and then at the end of the interval, they let go and you pop up and then right back down. But since I don't really ever do these with anyone, I just look at it as holding for 30, popping up, and holding again.
  • Lunge right--I held for 1:30 before I had to drop my back knee; I still popped back up and stayed up as long as I could for each interval. The good thing about this one was that my HR hovered around 120-130! So there's no doubt I was working hard.
  • Lunge left--I held for 1:30 before I had to drop my back knee; I still popped back up and stayed up as long as I could for each interval. The good thing about this one was that my HR hovered around 120-130! So there's no doubt I was working hard.
  • Hamstring--I chose this over the glute ham raise because I still don't really get it. I forced myself to continue straightening my legs and pushing to the rear as much as possible.
  • Wall squats--Lisa joined me on this one, so I had some distraction! I lasted 2 minutes before I even started to drop (although my legs were definitely shaking), but I kept getting back up and still doing all the 30-second intervals. I'll be honest, this one felt the best (i.e. I felt like I was working the hardest).
  • Push up--I did these all on my knees (no way could I do 5 min on my feet) and pushed up all the way the first 4 intervals; the next 4 I pushed up as much as I could; the 9th I couldn't push up at all; the 10th I managed to push up slightly.
  • Curl--I used a 30-lb bar and no clock; I hope I did all 10, because Lisa was definitely talking the whole time and not working hard enough (she did have the 20-lb bar, but was way too easy for her!). I could not even lift the bar up to put it back on the rack. Fortunately, someone was wanting to use it and took it from me! That was the best feeling ever.
  • Crate crunch--I still know I can do this whole 5-min exercise, so I was working hard the whole time, really focusing on squeezing the ball and shortening my abdomen the whole time.

Will's notes on my sheet say, "Ignore discomfort," and, "Focus on the task you are trying to accomplish." Except for the curls, I was completely focused on the task I was trying to accomplish. Although I wasn't necessarily focused on counting through that exercise, I was still focused on lengthening through the biceps and keeping my shoulders down and chest up. As far as the "Ignore discomfort" command: I really tried. It's nearly impossible to ignore the fact that your legs are shaking (and mine were for both lunges and wall squats) and that you can't really work your extremities like normal (my hands were hard to open and close after both lunges). We'll see how my arms feel tomorrow!

Training Log; 3x30 sec heavy isos; 6 800m sprints

Well, I finally figured out how to get my heart rate up and run at max HR: Do sprints! I want to qualify for the Boston marathon at Music City this year (not necessarily to actually do Boston, just to know that I can run in 3:40), and this book that I'm reading ("Run Less, Run Faster" by Pierce, Murr, and Moss) says that if I can do sprints, a tempo run, and a 15-20 miler in a certain amount of time within a week, then I can probably run the marathon in 3:40. So today was sprints.

I could choose from a few options; I opted for the first one because it was first. The was six 800-m (0.5-mi) sprints in 3:23 with a 400-m jog between each sprint. I warmed up with a 1.5-mi run Here are my times: 3:15.86, 3:27,08, 3:24.25, 3:25.60, 3:30.26, and 3:31.02, and I ran them on approximately 6:25, which means that I took about the same amount of time to "jog" the 400 that I took to run the 800. My average time was 3:25, but there was obviously a huge spread between the fastest and slowest. On the first, I didn't really know what a good pace, would be, and then I slowed it down because I wanted to run the correct pace. My HR was around 160 for the first 3 and between 180-200 for the last 3. Yes, I was working very hard but still wasn't quite at the pace I wanted to be at.

The ISO workout for today was 3×30 seconds with the heaviest weight possible (with a 1-2 min break between each rep). Here's what I did:
  • Lunge right—heavy bar plus 10 lb on each side
  • Lunge left—heavy bar plus 10 lb on each side; I had to drop the bar for the last 20 seconds of the last rep
  • Glute ham raise—I still don't think I get this one, because I have no idea how I was supposed to do this with weight.
  • Hamstring—45-lb dumbbell (that seemed less awkward than the huge plate)
  • Wall squat—22.5-lb dumbbells (can maybe up the weight to 25-lb dumbbells if I can hold them)
  • Dip—I didn't use any weight, but I did all 3 reps for the entire 30 seconds each time--no using the crate for my foot!
  • Push up—35-lb plate; I don't know why my arms were so tired, but I managed 10 seconds on my feet for each one before I dropped to my knees.
  • Crate crunch—35-lb plate; I tried to up the weight to 45 lb, but my arms absolutely would not hold up the plate.
I felt really good doing these, and added more weight to most from the last time. That could be because I'm getting stronger, and it could be because I was super warm from my 8-miler!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Training Log; 10x10 sec isos

I warmed up on the elliptical, partly to test my HR monitor and partly because I really didn't want to run. Although my receiver might be a little off, I think the transmitter is pretty accurate. Because I didn't feel like just warming up, I did the fitness test. I was supposed to warm up for 3 minutes and then just continue as the machine increased the resistance.

The hardest part was keeping my strides per minute under 160; usually I try to stay around 180. Sometimes I just went faster, just because I could. According to the machine, my VO2 max was 41 the first time and 45 the second time. This site says that anything about 41 for a female my age is superior, and this site has a great VO2 max calculator (on which, according to my most recent 10K time, I find that my projected VO2 max is 42 and my mile time should be 7:06). However, for comparison, Lance Armstrong's VO2 max is about 85. I think I could study up on that subject a little, since I don't really know much about it. That is also something Will's been trying to get me to work on. Better pull out that email again, too.

Today's ISO workout was 2 or 3 sets of 10x10 seconds with a pop up at the end/beginning (depending on which way you look at it) of each interval. I decided I want to be able to walk tomorrow, so I did 2 sets of everything but the pull ups (more on that below):
  • Lunge right--2 sets, no dropping my knee, pulling the whole time through hamstring and hip flexor and popping up and then right back down. Wow. Walking after this one was not fun, and I still had the next leg to do!
  • Lunge left--2 sets, dropped my knee on the last 3 intervals of the last set, but still pulled the whole time just like the previous. And I thought walking after the first set was hard.
  • Glute ham raise--2 sets; still working on getting this one right and finding something that works really well for this one. I could use a glute-ham stand, but since I don't know what that is, and Will showed me how to do it prone, I'll just stick with that. Pull through the hamstrings and glutes without using back; yep, I can definitely feel this one in my hamstrings, probably even more so than when I do the standing extreme hamstring stretch.
  • Wall squats--2 sets, pulling down hard and fast after every interval. I like this one and work really hard on it. Pulling, pulling, pulling! Again, my quads were not happy, but I hope it pays off later.
  • Push up--2 sets on my knees, using the push up handles; I managed to push up all the way on every single one. At the last, I think I was using less of my arms and more of my core, but I did it. My arms were not happy and were still sore from Thursday. Yikes.
  • Curl--2 sets, 40-lb bar; since I used 30 lb last time, I was really happy with this on. The last 2 intervals were especially hard, but I did them, lengthening through the biceps the whole time, keeping my chest up and shoulders down, wrists curled, and hands off my hips. Yes!
  • Scapular pull up--3 sets of 5 with foot on crate. My lats/arms were still feeling this from Thursday. Plus I was having trouble figuring out what I was supposed to do at the intervals: pull up or push down? I guess I'd better ask about this one.
  • Crate crunch--2 sets with ball. This is always a good one to end on because I have to work really hard to crunch up and squeeze hard, so I do!
I was supposed to run another hour today, but either I won't do it or I'll add it to another day next week. Now comes a much-needed day of rest.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Training Log; 2 hours

I am still sore today from Thursday's 5-min iso workout. I wondered if it would ever get any easier: yes, it might, because your muscles get used to being worked so hard, you become OK with how hard it is, and you realize that you CAN do it; not, it shouldn't, because then you figure out how to push even harder. Oh, this will be a fun off season.

Even though I was still sore, I decided to go out and ride with the Tristar/Juris team. I race for Harpeth, but sometimes it's fun to ride with other teams, just to see what their dynamics are. Harpeth is pretty easy-going, we never leave on time, few people show up, and the ride often turn into more interval training than endurance or smooth rides, because it seems like most people are out there to sprint rather than ride endurance. At least this morning (I've never ridden with them before, so I don't have anything to compare this to), Tristar rode a fairly even-paced ride. There were a dozen of us, and for the first hour we rode in a double and single pace line at a very steady pace (but very fast). That was a lot of fun, and I was able to hang with the guys the whole time. I did get a push up a couple hills; that was the best feeling ever! I asked the guy if he wanted to race my tris with me and push me then, too, but he just laughed at me.

I turned around an hour in because I didn't need to ride all that far. Lisa told me later that they ended up going 80+ miles and didn't finish until just before noon! Yikes--I definitely need that long of a ride. My legs didn't want to work hard, but I still managed to average 20mph for my 40-mile ride. Woohoo!

Again, I was getting frustrated with my bike's deciding to shift gears randomly, like when we were climbing and I was in the middle of a pace line, so I stopped at my uncle's house to have him check out my bike. He just made a quick adjustment to the rear derailleur and then showed me how it worked. We were just adjusting it on the bike stand, so I'll have to take it out tomorrow to make sure it's in proper working order. I also asked him a quick question about heart rate, since that's been on my mind a lot lately. For the entire 2 hours/40 miles, I managed to average 90bpm. About 2 miles in, my HR went up to around 134 for a minute, and it went up again at mile 11, but after that, it refused to go up. Even when we were climbing. And I was working hard the whole time. I mean hard. I really wanted to keep up with them. Aerobically, I could have continued at that level forever. Halfway through, I increased my cadence to try to get up to at least over 100 but to no avail. So I asked my uncle his opinion, and he said he'd be thrilled with that! That made me feel good, at least. I think I just needed a little affirmation.

He did encourage me to do the following workout to see what my max HR really is: on a stationary bike, do a 40-min warmup; over the next 5-6 minutes, keep a cadence of 90-95 rpm and gradually increase the resistance until you just can't go any more (and get the resistance up high while keeping the cadence); at the end of the 5-6 minutes, check your HR, and that should be about your max. I will definitely have to try that, because I'd be interested to see how high I can get it (I'm guessing somewhere around 200 is about my max).

Then I'll have to go out and do some interval training, where I'd get to max HR/speed for 1 minute, off for 3, on for 1, off for 3, and keep repeating, maybe 10-15 times. That would be really good, because training at high HR makes you work hard and gets your body used to it, even when you're an endurance athlete. You never know what you're going to encounter in a race (like you might have to outsprint someone at the line).

I'm guessing that's partly where Will's trying to take me. I'll focus even more on getting my HR up, maybe by doing even more of a warmup or by at least starting with a higher HR than resting. I really hope this will all translate into a successful season next year, but definitely within the next 2 years while I work up to being a real endurance athlete.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Training Log; 5 miles

5-mile run + 1 mile cool down

mile 1: 7:46.20
mile 2: 7:40.40
mile 5: 7:34.21

I didn't time miles 3 and 4 because I was trying to walk off the shin splints that were threatening to slow me down. Fortunately I know what I was doing to bring them on, so I'll be working on that from now on (it doesn't work well to run downhill the same way I run uphill!. My legs are feeling fine now.

Miles 1 and 5 are the same route, just in reverse; 1 is out of the Landings and towards GG and mile 5 starts on GG and ends in the Landings. One of my goals is to do a 10K loop from home and back and do the last mile in under 7:55. It consists of a nearly half-mile hill and then ends in my neighborhood. Now I know I can do that mile in the time I want, and I also know I can run faster than I have been (7:55 averages). I think I even managed to average between 140 and 150 for HR, even though I was really trying to get it up during the last mile.

Mile 2 I had to stop right at the mile marker and get a rock out of my shoe. I probably could have done it closer to 7:30!

I was definitely focused on making my legs go faster, because I've been feeling like my legs have been working at capacity but my HR wasn't getting to where I wanted it to be. So I just decided that I can run faster. Obviously I can. Now I have to keep working on that and still doing everything right: lifting my legs with my hip flexors/quadriceps and lowering them with my glutes/hamstrings; breathing through my nose; moving my arms like I might be putting my hands into my pockets; pushing into the ground with the balls of my feet; and is there anything else? Oh, so many things to remember! But if I do it right while working out in the gym, I should be able to transfer those same movements and feeling onto the road.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Training Log; 5-min isos

This was supposed to "be one of the hardest things [I] have ever done." There's no doubt: it was hard, and I knew it would be. I wanted to work as hard as I could for every exercise--no pacing or bracing or just holding in place. I also wanted to get my heart rate up to a working level, because I knew I'd be working my muscles at least.

My warmup was 1 hour of racquetball doubles with one of the club pros, Steve, and two other good players (because I play the least of everyone down there, I always get to be on Steve's team). I tried to work hard to get a good warmup but still was playing between 100 and 130 (about 10 minutes in, I got up to 150-something, but my HR didn't stay up there as much as I tried). I'm at the point where I just don't think I can get my heart rate up! Then it was on to the 5 minutes of work for isometric extremes:
  • Pushup--I used the "perfect pushup" handles and found that my hands kept wanting to turn as I got tired; I guess I'd better work on that. Although I've made it 5 minutes before, on dumbbells, I managed 3 minutes, but I was really, really focused on pulling down the whole time by lengthening through the pectorals. I think I only hit the ground 2 or 3 more times, but each time I got right back up and pulled down hard and fast to get back into position.
  • Curl--I used 8-lb dumbbells and sat at a bench. I dropped the weights at 2 minutes but continued through 5. I tried to focus on lengthening through the biceps but felt like I was using my elbows a lot more than my biceps, especially while holding the weights.
  • Scapular pull up--I managed 1:30 before I had to put my foot on a crate. However, I did not take a lot of weight off. The only other reason I couldn't continue to hold the entire 5 minutes is because my hands were slipping. Evidence of the fact that I did this as hard as I could: I couldn't uncurl my hands for another 5 minutes!
  • Dip--This was the first time I tried this one, and I jumped right to 5 minutes. Hah! Will had showed me this one recently, and he had written out what I was supposed to be focused on, so I really tried to do it correctly. Unfortunately, it took me almost 10 minutes to finish the 5 minutes of work. I lasted 1 minute before I had to drop a foot onto a crate. Then approximately every 30 seconds I had to let go; my arms just wouldn't hold me. By 2:30, I couldn't even hold myself on the bar without a 30-second break. Talk about frustrating. My arms wouldn't cooperate!
  • Crate crunch--I know I can do this one for 5 minutes, doing it correctly, so every time I started feeling tired, I crunched up higher and squeezed the ball/crate harder. Ouch. But my feet never dropped below 90 degrees and I was working, hard, the entire time. I could see my HR monitor the whole time, too, and managed to do this at 90 bpm; another frustrating exercise, because I was working really hard.
  • Lunge right--Everything went downhill from here. I lasted 1 minute, and it was the first leg exercise. Although I dropped my back knee, I continued pushing into the ground with the balls of my feet and trying to pull down through the front hamstring while lengthening the back hip flexor. I was really trying to focus on my hamstring, but I didn't feel like I was pulling down at all; I was really trying! To make matters worse, my face and arms began to feel numb (this was a different kind of numb than I'd felt before, which was like my legs were asleep; this was like all my everything was going to the muscles I was focusing on and there was nothing left for anything else. It was weird.). I just wanted to quit and cry because I didn't think I was doing it right and I wanted to work really hard.
  • Lunge left--This was pretty much a mirror of Lunge right; I lasted 1 minute up, but I still was working hard after my back knee hit the ground. Pushing, pulling, lengthening, feeling most in my hip flexor and little in my hamstring, getting numb, wanting to quit and cry. Ugh. But I kept going, because I had a list of things to do and I really want to get faster and stronger.
  • Hamstring--I know I can do this one for 5 minutes, so again, I was super focused on pulling down hard, straightening my legs, and pushing my hips back as far as possible. I worked my muscles hard; my heart rate wasn't over 70. I don't know what I'm doing wrong!
  • Wall squat--I really wanted to do this the entire 5 minutes. It was my last chance for success for the day and I was frustrated with the way the other exercises had gone. So I worked hard, pulled hard, kept a downward angle from my knee to hip, and kept working even when I felt like I was falling. I lasted 2:10 but worked all the way to the ground, stood back up, and sat down hard and fast. I think I hit the ground another 3 or 4 times in the remaining 2:50, but I was working hard.
After I finished the wall squats, I felt like I could have done the whole thing over again (yeah, I think I was going crazy). Then I walked downstairs to the locker room. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Then I was glad I had brought a protein shake in with me, because my muscles didn't want to cooperate with me. Then I went home and had some supper. After Bible study, I got some sleep. Lovely. Yes, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. At the time, I wouldn't have ranked it in the top 100, but within an hour, it moved up to number 2 (number 1 is my first criterium: a 20-minute sprint that I wasn't necessarily expecting). I can't wait to do it again and hopefully last longer for every exercise.

Quotes from a 9-year-old

Yesterday was my aunt's birthday, so I got to hang out with the family for dinner, cake, and games. Lauren, 9, drove with me back to their house and was telling me what she's been thinking about lately. For instance, she said she figured out what Jesus' favorite animal and numbers are.
  • Animal: Even at 9, Lauren realizes that Jesus and God (and the Holy Spirit) are one. Therefore, since Jesus is God, and "dog" is "god" spelled backward, Jesus' favorite animal must be a dog.
  • Numbers: Again, regarding the Trinity (we studied this in church last week; perhaps in Sunday School they go over the same things that we talk about in big church?), God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit our comforter are 1. So there are 3 of them, and there is 1 of us (His children as a unit). Therefore, Jesus favorite numbers must be 4 (3 + 1) and 13 (1 + 3).
She also said that she figured out Jesus' favorite color, but she couldn't remember what it was. I'm intrigued to find out what her 9-year-old mind comes up with!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Training Log; 5 on through 40

I should have done the workout over again; I didn't make it to my max heart rate. Starting with lunges, I tried to get my heart rate up to max from the 20-second interval on. I managed to get to 125 at the 20-second interval on the left leg lunge, but everything up to and beyond that point was around 110. I wanted to do the lunges over again right then, but I also wanted to finish everything on my list (5 on, 5 off, 10 on, 5 off through 40 seconds):
  • lunge right
  • lunge left
  • one-leg squat right (half a lunge--I definitely felt this more in my quad than my hamstring, so I have to work on that)
  • one-leg squat left (I was pulling on my right knee way too much, so I have to focus on my hamstrings again!)
  • standing extreme hamstring
  • glute ham raise (I added this one in, and did it in the prone position on the ground with my ankles under a bar; this one felt like I was really working my hamstrings, pulling through the glutes and hamstrings, not the lower back. By about 30 seconds, I was starting to want to use my back and so really had to focus on hamstrings)
  • push up (Lisa joined me on this one, and so although I was slightly distracted for the remaining few, it was nice to have someone to talk to!)
  • curl (30-lb bar; I can up this to 40 lb or 50 lb for the 5-min exercises and probably up it to 40 lb if I can lift it up)
  • pull up (I didn't have time for this one)
  • dip (I didn't have time for this one either)
  • crate crunch
I tried to do the lunges again later, starting after a quick walk/slightly higher HR, just to see if I could get my HR up to max, but didn't succeed. We'll see what tomorrow holds.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Training Log; 2 hours

Today's 2-hour bike ride was actually pretty decent. I aimed for another high-cadence ride and think I'll stick with those, since I actually managed at least 90% of the ride in HR Zone 2. Now to get my HR to that level when I'm running!

Now I also have more motivation to do the strength/conditioning workouts correctly. I have to do a few of the intervals at approximately maximum heart rate. Since I have an HRM, and I want to do them right, I have no excuse. Plus, Will said that if he were with me and I got all the way through without making it to my max for the last have of the intervals at max HR, he'd make me do them over again. I definitely don't want to do that. So I will do them right the first time and work hard the whole time, every time. I really do want to get faster and stronger.

Tomorrow will be the first test: intervals and, starting from 20 seconds through 40 seconds, getting to and staying at max heart rate.

My legs feel like lead and I'm exhausted, so it's off to bed and back to the gym tomorrow.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Imagen de Dios

When God created our world, He first formed the earth: Day 1 He spoke light into existence; Day 2 He commanded that there be an expanse (space) and separated the waters above from the waters below; and Day 3 He spoke dry land into existence. Then, after He had created the house, He created its inhabitants: Day 4 He told the sun, moon, and stars to appear; Day 5 He commanded that water animals, flying animals, and everything living thing that moves fill their respective habitats; and Day 6 He formed man. Finally, on Day 7, He rested as an example to us.

(He created everything in its beauty knowing that we would sin. But in His desire for us to bring glory to Him and for Him to share His love with us in relationship, He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. Each of us has sinned, and because of that sin, we are completely unworthy to enter into a relationship with Him as our Father. If we believe that Jesus died to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and if we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins and we can know that we will spend eternity in heaven with Him, instead of in hell and separated from Him forever. "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, 'Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.')

The Bible is replete with examples of our worth as humans, but the Genesis account of creation is one of the strongest. During the first 5 days, God "spoke" and it was. On the 6th day, He "formed" man. Not only did He form Adam, He created him in His image.

That alone gives me:
  • Worth (defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as "1. The quality of something that renders it desirable, useful, or valuable. 5. The quality within a person that renders him deserving of respect.")
  • Distinction ("4. Excellence or eminence, as of performance, character, or reputation")
  • Dignity ("1. a. The presence of poise and self-respect in one's deportment [conduct, demeanor] to a degree that inspires respect. b.Inherent nobility and worth")
  • Value ("3. Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor; utility or merit. 4. A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable. --tr.v. 2. To regard highly; prize; esteem")
  • A stronger love for the Lord than I could ever have imagined
David said it best in Psalm 8. How can I, a human, be a daughter of God, the King of kings, and be able to confidently approach His throne of grace with confidence? Because He loves me, because He created me in His image, because I am His representation and ambassador, because I have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, because He has called me by name, and because I have put my trust in Him and called upon His name. It is not by any merit of my own, but only by His Son's ultimate sacrifice in obedience and submission to the Father.

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

"What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

"You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the sea.

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"

Here are a few other verses to note:

  • Genesis 1:27-28, "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
  • 2 Samuel 22:20, "He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me."
  • Psalm 139:1, 13-16, "Oh Lord, You have searched me and known me. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."
  • Mark 10:6, "But from the beginning of the creation,God 'made them male and female.'"

Training Log; 1 hour

Today I decided to do a high cadence bike ride. As I've been running more, I've noticed that I'm not moving my legs as fast as I think I should be, so I thought I'd work on it. I rode for 1 hour, 3 minutes, with an average cadence of 100 rpm and an average heart rate of 160. Hooray for a high heart rate ride, too! Besides that I had to shift a lot more than normal (and my bike was absolutely NOT cooperating; it kept shifting randomly or not shifting when I told it to) and couldn't use my aero bars much, it was a pretty uneventful ride. I still haven't figured out why my legs feel so fatigued, though. Oh, well, it was tough, and I get a rest day tomorrow!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Training Log; 11.5 miles

11.5 mile run

I timed 10 miles and that was just over 1:24; the last 1.5 miles were a cool down. Average mile time was about 8:20, but I had a huge spread between fastest mile (7:42; #2) and slowest miles (8:33, #7, and 9:42, #10). Obviously I was about hitting my limit toward the end.

Breakfast of 3 scrambled eggs, a banana, and 16-20 oz water was around 7, and I left to run at 9:30. I stopped at a bubbler at mile 8.5 for a 6-oz drink, but that was it. I was pretty parched when I got home, but otherwise felt great while running; I didn't really miss having aid stations. I stretched, enjoyed my favorite chocolate/banana/almond/protein smoothie and drank some more water when I got home and felt tired but good.

I had so much to focus on that the time went really quickly. Lifting and lower my legs by using my muscles, pushing into the ground with the balls of my feet, and breathing with my nose, to name a few. Some day I hope to get that all down and just worry about running fast. Average heart rate was around 135-145. It would vary between 105 and 199. I hit 199 on the last two miles and actually felt my pulse to see if the HRM was working correctly. My heart was definitely beating fast, but I think it was just adding beats seemingly randomly, because every three or so beats would be super fast. Weird.

My calves were really sore, especially on downhills. Perhaps from the lunges yesterday?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Training Log; 3x30 sec heavy

Today wasn't necessarily an easy day, but it wasn't a high-mileage or long-time workout, either. I started with a 2-mile warm up and then proceeded to the isometric stretches: 3x30 seconds with the most weight possible and 30 deep breaths between sets. I didn't do them in the prescribed order; I'm not sure whether that matters or not. I guess I'd better ask. Besides that I had to ask for clarification on nearly every exercise, I think I did OK on this one.
  • Right leg lunge: heavy bar (last time, I used the light bar and had to drop the bar before the end of the third set). I had trouble stepping out far enough to get my shin parallel to the ground and therefore had to adjust my leg when I was down, but I was focused on stepping up high and down quickly.
  • Left leg lunge: heavy bar (light bar last time, also had to drop bar). Same thing with not stepping out far enough, but I managed the weight fine. Next time I'll have to add some weight to the bar.
  • Wall squat: 35-lb plate. This one seems to be the easiest for me, so I really have to focus on pulling down the whole time and pulling down quickly at the start of each interval. If I can hold 45 lbs in my arms, my legs can definitely handle that.
  • Scapular pull up: 25-lb, 35-lb, and 45-lb plate. My focus on this one was keeping my chest up and shoulders down; the bar was in front of a mirror, so I could really focus on that. Besides that my hands were starting not to be able to hold me, the 45 lbs was a manageable weight. Next time, I'll try starting with 45 lbs and go from there.
  • Push up: 35-lb plate. I really had to think about pulling down fast but right (forearms perpendicular to the ground, midsection up), and did these reps on my feet. 35 lbs was hard, but I could try 45 lbs next time.
  • Crate crunch: 35-lb plate, with arms holding weight at arms length with arms extended. For some reason, I felt like I was working my arms more than my abs, even though I was focused on squeezing the crate hard, shortening my abdomen, and crunching up.
I didn't feel like I'd worked hard after I had stretched a little until I got into the car. I was quite tired and my muscles were needing nourishment, so I got home and had some steak, salad, and veggies. Good times!

Training Log; mile repeats

Yesterday was supposed be a tough workout, taken from Bree, my favorite pro triathlete. She’s a pro and her season is still going, so I halved her workout to make it my own.

10–20-minute warm up
Four 1-mile repeats on 10:45 (in HR zone 3)
10–20-minute cool down

The warm up and cool down were about 16–20 minutes, and each was about 2 miles (I probably ended up with about 9 miles total).

For the mile repeats, I was supposed to have taken my fastest mile time, which right now is around 7:45, add 3 minutes to that, and then start a new repeat every 10:45.

During the uphill miles (1 and 3), I averaged 8:04; during the downhill miles (2 and 4), I averaged 7:54. There was a 15-second spread between my fastest mile (2) and my slowest mile (3). My average heart rate was around 125 (I try to run around 134–145). I don’t think my monitor wasn’t working correctly, but I also wasn’t running in Zone 3 (I forgot to write down that part of the workout; according to this Web site and this one, I was barely running in Zone 1!). I guess I should really be running faster than I am.

I was really trying to focus on lifting and lowering my legs. I found, however, that the more I focused on that, the less I focused on moving my legs quickly. I noticed last week that I really don’t feel like I’m running fluidly yet; I feel kind of awkward, like someone passing my on the street might ask what I was doing. So I’ve got to work on both lifting and lowering and quickness. I’ll know that if I plateau at a certain speed for whatever reason, it will likely be because I’m not moving my legs quick enough. I can definitely think about that while I’m doing the isometric extreme workouts (especially the “5 on” ones). Note to self: Go quicker!

Heart Rate Zones

The low-down on HR zones (mainly from here, but I’ve made a few changes):

Zone 1
50%-60% of your individual Max HR

This is the safest, most comfortable zone, reached by walking briskly. Here you strengthen your heart and improve muscle mass while you reduce body fat, cholesterol, blood pressure, and your risk for degenerative disease. You get healthier in this zone, but not more fit—that is, it won’t increase your endurance or strength but it will increase your health.

If you are out of shape, have heart problems, or want to safeguard your heart without working too hard, this is your zone. This is also the zone for warming up and cooling down before and after more vigorous zones.

Zone 2
60% to 70% of your individual Max HR.

It’s easily reached by jogging slowly. While still a relatively low level of effort, this zone starts training your body to increase the rate of fat release from the cells to the muscles for fuel.

Some people call this the “fat burning zone” because up to 85 % of the total calories burned in this zone are fat calories.

Fit and unfit people burn fat differently. The more fit you are, the more effectively you use fat to maintain a healthy weight. On the other hand, if you’ve been exercising vigorously but not losing the weight you expected to, it could be that you’ve been working too hard and need to drop back to this zone and exercise longer. To burn more total calories, you’ll need to exercise for more time in this zone.

Zone 3
70%-80% of your individual Max HR

In this zone—reached by running easily as an example—you improve your functional capacity. The number and size of your blood vessels actually increase, you step up your lung capacity and respiratory rate, and your heart increases in size and strength so you can exercise longer before becoming fatigued. You’re still metabolizing fats and carbohydrates at about a 50-50 rate, which means both are burning at the same ratio.

Zone 4
80%-90% of your individual Max HR

This zone is reached by going hard—running faster. Here you get faster and fitter, increasing your heart rate as you cross from aerobic to anaerobic training. At this point, your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to supply the exercising muscles fully, so they contract anaerobically.

This is where you “feel the burn.” You can stay in this zone for a limited amount of time, usually not more than an hour. That’s because the muscle just cannot sustain working anaerobically (this means without sufficient oxygen) without fatiguing. The working muscles protect themselves from overwork by not being able to maintain the intensity level.

Zone 5
90% to 100%
of your Max HR.

This is the equivalent of running all out and is used mostly as an “interval” training regiment—exertion done only in short- to intermediate-length bursts. Even world-class athletes can stay in this zone for only a few minutes at a time. Most people will not select this zone for exercise, since working out here hurts and there is an increased potential for injury.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Focus--A Prelude to Obedience

The beauty of loving to learn is that you can always find a lesson somewhere. As I work on training harder and training correctly, I’m also learning how to focus. I would like to say that I do everything I do with a purpose, a direct focus. But as I study my life, I realize that I am not focused on what should be my number 1 priority. What is it? I’m glad you asked!

One thing I remember from high school discussions with friends is the first question in the Westminster shorter catechism: What is the chief end of man? Or, asked another way: What is your purpose here on this earth? Before I give you the answer, I’d like to you think about that. As you work, why do you do it, and to what end? When you play, why do you do it, and to what end? When you speak, when you build relationships, when you relax, when you do whatever you do, why do you do it, and to what end?

The answer in the catechism is this: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. I would love to write out the verses that support this, but instead I encourage you to look them up and study them yourselves. (1. Glorifying God: Psalm 86:9; Isaiah 60:21; Romans 11:36; I Corinthians 6:20; I Corinthians 10:31; Revelation 4:11. 2. Enjoying Him forever: Psalm 16:5-11; Psalm 144:15; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 2:10; Philippians 4:4; Revelation 21:3-4).

I’ve read through the entire Bible before, but I have not yet learned everything God has to teach me, so I’ll continue reading it. Every day I find new lessons and am far more impacted by the verses I read than I thought I could be. I recently remembered the following verses, which remind me why I’m here and what my purpose is:

Philippians 3:12–16 Not that I have already attained [the resurrections from the dead], or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

Paul continues by reminding me that my life is an example to others. Not only should I be obeying God, I should be reflecting Christ to all those I come in contact with, so that they can come to know Him and trust in Him.

Philippians 3:17–21 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Everything I do has to be with a purpose. That includes the basics such as work and play, but it also includes the other things, such as training, racing, eating, resting, recovering, and more. In essence, everything I do is part of my training, whether it be training to be the best ambassador for Christ that I can be or the best triathlete that I can be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Training Log; 5 on through 40; running advice

Yesterday, Trainer Will was around and had me do a few of the exercises I was supposed to have been doing over the last 3 weeks so that he could see if I was doing them correctly. Today, the proof is in the muscles.

When I first started working with Will at D1, he was here in town and I was with a group that worked with him for an hour twice per week. During that time, he taught us a lot that I was able to take away and try to do on my own after he moved out of state.

The first race of my season was the Music City Marathon, at which I ran a personal best (PB) of 6 minutes faster than my previous best and a course PB by 30 minutes. Since I hadn’t really done much different from last year to this year besides going to D1, I attributed most of my success during that race to those workouts. I continued racing well for the first half of the season, but I didn’t keep up with the strength workouts that I had been doing and noticed that I pretty much had plateaued. I hit a peak in late June/early July and then came down, and I wasn’t really able to get back up to the level that I wanted to for the Ironman in late August.

I took the time to think about that during the Olympics hype, and I decided that I wanted to get back into a program that would help me improve. I contacted Will, and he agreed to write a program for me. I waited until after I had recovered from the Ironman and then he sent me the first workouts; I haven’t looked back.

Over the last 3 weeks, I have noticed a marked improvement in my performance, due in large part, if not totally, to the workouts that I have been doing. Although I haven’t done any races in the last month, I know I’ve gotten faster by looking at my times. For instance, I’m running under my 5K race pace for 10K training runs. I don’t think there’s any bad news there. Granted a marathon is 42K, but that pace, if I can hold it, will put me at a 3:45:00 marathon time, which is the Boston Marathon qualifying time for my age group. Qualifying for Boston (even if I don’t race it) is one of my goals this year. That, running a sub-4 marathon at the Ironman, and running a 21-minute 5K are currently my 3 main running goals.

Back to the muscles being all the proof I needed today. So yesterday, while Will was in town, he had me (well, practically forced me) to show him how I’d been doing the last couple weeks. This included running a bit and then doing a few lunges (some day I’ll have to expand on the workouts—they’re intense and crazy).

Running: My running style had been pretty bad. So what I was supposed to be working on was pushing through each step with the balls of my feet, lifting my leg with my hip flexors/quadriceps (which he had to remind me of), and stepping down with my hamstrings/gluts. I’ve really been concentrating on that while I’ve been running, and he said there was a marked improvement over the last time he’d seen me.

I still need to work on it, though, since I know that it’s easier for me if I start on an uphill (when I’m forced to lift my legs to get up it). Not every race will have an uphill start; I have to be able to do it no matter what.

Lunges: These are not your average lunges. As I do these in the prescribed workouts, I should be focusing on lifting my leg with the same muscles I use for running and then lowering quickly, again with the same muscles I would while running. The point of this is to create the same feelings while training that you’re going to have while running. You are, after all, using the same muscles.

Unfortunately, my lunges had probably worsened since he’s last seen me, so we just worked on focusing on using the correct muscles to lift and lower the leg. Those muscles are all the proof I needed today that I hadn’t been doing them correctly. Am I ever sore! (Of course, the 2 hours of tennis yesterday might also have something to do with that soreness, but probably much less than I’d like.)

So I still have a lot to work on. I was encouraged when Will said he’s been doing this now for 22 months, and it took a while to get it all right. It’s not something that you can just mirror; I can’t just watch him do it and then do it correctly. It’s all about focusing and making sure that I’m using the correct muscles all the time. I have a long way to go, but I also have a long off season and a lot of motivation and drive. Fortunately, Will has also moved within the state, so now it will be easier to get a demonstration if necessary.

Today’s workout was not fun. I could feel how sore I was from yesterday while I was riding my bike, because I was really focused on engaging my muscles to both lift and lower my legs.

20-mile bike ride with two 1-mile sprints thrown in: on the first one, I maintained an HR around 165 (for a normal ride, I stay between 120 and 150), and on the second one, I couldn’t get a good read on my HR but my mile time was 2:50. (The mile is from the corner of Belle Reeve and Granny White to the intersection of McGavock and Bliss.)

Isometric extreme stretches: 2–3 sets (depending on how I felt) of 100 seconds (10 reps of 10 seconds; at 10 seconds, pop up quickly then immediately back down).

– Wall squats: 3 sets, downward angle from knee to hip, and pulling down the whole time except for the quick pop-up.

– Right leg lunge: 2 sets, downward angle from knee to hip, and pulling down into the deepest position possible. For the first set, I continued working the whole time but put my back knee down for the last 3 or so (regardless of whether I put my back knee down, I always popped up after 10 seconds). For the second set, I put my back knee down for the last 4 or so, but still popped back up.

– Left leg lunge: 2 sets, downward angle from knee to hip, and pulling down into the deepest position possible. For the first set, I continued working the whole time but put my back knee down for the last 4 or so (regardless of whether I put my back knee down, I always popped up after 10 seconds). For the second set, I put my back knee down for the last 5 or so, but still popped back up.

– Hamstring: 3 sets, legs are completely straight with hips pushed as far to the rear as possible; stretch down the entire time.

– Preacher curl: 4 sets of 5, standing and holding a 5-lb dumbbell in each hand, lengthening the biceps with arm straight (just inside of locked out) and wrists curled in. I think I got this one right, after the demonstration; however, I was unable to do the entire set of 10. My arms kept dropping (but I was in front of a mirror, so I quickly fixed that) and I would have dropped the weights; I absolutely could not hold them any longer.

– Pushup: 2 sets on knees, forearms parallel to the ground, pulling into the deepest position possible. The first set was very hard; my arms were starting to fall asleep and although I started by pushing up all the way, by the last 3 or 4 I was just pushing up maybe inches. The second set was worse; not only could I not push up the whole way, I kept pinching something in my back. I definitely wasn’t doing something right, but I’ll make it right next time.

– Crate crunch: 3 sets, squeezing crate between legs as hard as possible, and crunching up while shortening the abdomen. I probably could not have done 1 sit up after I finished the last set. I really focused on squeezing as hard as possible and crunching up as much as possible after each 10-second interval.

Tomorrow I think I’ll try my eight 1-mile repeat run (thanks to my favorite pro Bree for that one) or my 10K TT run (although I just did that, unplanned, yesterday). Whatever it ends up being, it will be a run, perhaps followed by racquetball depending on the time.