5 miles to Austin.

So life became incredibly hectic incredibly fast! I put the fast track on my anticipated move to Austin, Texas and within weeks I was out and in my car, driving through the horribly boring Wyoming, the beautiful rocky mountains of Colorado, took a brief dip into Oklahoma and finally landed in the big, beautiful hill country of Austin, Texas. Whew!

One really cool goal that I was able to accomplish was taking time to run one mile in each state as I passed through it. I don’t know why it felt so important to me, it suddenly occurred to me that it might be fun to do as I was packing one evening. I mean, who knows when I would ever pass through Wyoming again (hopefully, not for a very long time. Seriously. HOURS of no cell phone service and ugly scenery. The most ‘exciting’ thing I saw on that drive was the exploded carcass of a moose in the middle of the highway.” Ugh!)or any of the other states. And I like setting goals and how it feels when you complete them. So I did it. I woke up at 5 am and hit the road after saying goodbye to my current running partner and one of my best lady friends, Becca Taylor. Once inside Wyoming I stopped for gas and strapped on my five finger shoes and hit the side of the road, using the “RunKeeper” application on my cell phone. I repeated this process every state, accidentally running twice in Colorado due to a map mistake! Oops! That run was actually really fun, doing so in the middle of the night with my brother and father driving some distance back to shine their headlights on my path for safety. I saw a sign indicating I was running by the area cemetery and while I don’t believe in ghosts/afterlife/etc, I have to shamefully admit that I totally picked up my pace and tried to squash the little horrifying thoughts about ghosts running alongside me. Ha!
My feet totally got large blisters on the big toe and second digit and I anticipated something like that happening but I also knew whatever minimal discomfort I felt, it would absolutely be worth it and would be temporary. Instead, I am really pleased I followed through with the plan. And besides, it sure helped even out all of the gross “road eating” people do when they travel. 😉 Today I ran a quick 2 miles, unsure how the heat would feel and yes, that will definitely take some getting used to. I am, however, really excited about how easy it feels to run at sea level as opposed to wayyyyyyy up in the mountains. I hope I gain some benefit from training in the Wasatch front that translates to winning here in the dirt. I am happy today. 🙂

Published in: on August 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hiking home.

This week has been half running, half hiking. I started out the week with a few couple mile runs,including some “night” runs and even one trail run in a rain shower. Both felt wonderful and I appreciated how it allowed me to experience that peacefulness that comes with a good,solid run without having to put the miles on my healing knee.

However, I began to notice slight tenderness that let me know it was now time to slow my pace and impact and start climbing trails instead. I don’t mind, not really anymore. Admittedly,there are days when I become frustrated literally to the point of tears that this one part of my body cannot keep up with the rest of me and is holding me back from improving but for the most part, I’ve learned I can improve my muscles in other ways. And I’m enjoying killing myself doing that when the time calls for it.

I’ve just returned from a milder hike. It was mostly an exercise for my head,to clear out some of the clutter that has been so heavy inside of it lately. I decided and let my friends as well as family know that I am leaving Utah by months end and heading home to Texas. Austin,Texas more specifically. It’s a little saddening in some ways to leave…I have been here around 8 years and made wonderful connections with friends. But it is “time”, as they say. My family is in Austin. And, I suspect, so are the “best years of my life”. I’m really excited to see what that means for me.

Until then, I am attempting to fill my skin with all of the dust and air that the mountains here hold. I want to touch every one that touched me first. I want to sit quietly by the water and listen for hours instead of rushing to do whatever I thought was important before. And then I’m going to finally go home. And be happy.

Published in: on July 15, 2011 at 2:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Tough week, even tougher girl.

In spite of some positive changes and events this week,the past couple of days have been sort of rough. It’s all personal discomfort that will work itself out and I’m feeling positive about the eventual future ahead but when you’re in the thick of it sometimes its hard to see the end. I’m a smart girl however so I know it is there. I will “live”, as that callous saying goes.

But this week has had a welcome share of highs as well. Ive been able to run,carefully, and today I ran 3.5 miles on a trail in my Vibram 5 fingers. That marks the longest sustained distance I have run since my injury this spring. I am so pleased. I have also lost the annoying 5 pounds I gained when I quit running and left the gym. I attribute that entirely to the return to running and the hikes I added. Before my knee injury, i maintained a strict “every other day,rain/snow or shine” running policy and in addition to being enjoyable and keeping me race ready it also was the buffer that kept my weight in check. Without it, i had to be more watchful and that just sucked. I’m happy to be back in my comfort spot again.

I am also making some big plans for myself that I am excited about. More on that later. In the meantime, I get tattooed Tuesday and that’s always something i look forward to. Adding more flowers to my arm and turning this half sleeve into a full one is the plan. The theme has always been Texas wildflowers…I may add some extra details,like acorns and a mockingbird. Maybe a scissors tail. It’s fun to think about.

Published in: on July 11, 2011 at 3:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Hiking/Vibram/Gym Jones

I’ve been struggling for months over a pain in my knee whenever I try to run. It surfaced while after my first month of intense full marathon training and immediately put the brakes to that goal as it became evident that running even one mile was now more painful than I felt comfortable with pushing. Well…actually, that last sentence is not entirely true. The pain started, I attributed it to normal pain and kept running, deciding that it was a good mental exercise in “pushing through discomfort”. And you want to know the darnedest thing? It didn’t work! Ha. I got a lot of emails from well intentioned friends expressing concern and offering advice. Some of the emails were a bit more pointed and one friend in particular told me to “knock it the **** off.” and take a break. A real break.

Alright, fair enough. So that injury happened around March and I really only quit trying to muscle through the pain around the middle of May. Since that time, I’ve switched my energy to other activities to take my mind off running and began joining a friend on hikes across the Wasatch. Its kind of funny. I was never all that interested in hiking because while it sounded like a relaxing and beautiful thing to experience, it did not sound particularly challenging. It seemed like the kind of thing you do on a date orr as part of a camping trip. Maybe something you do with your dog. So when our first hike together at Pipeline trail (a trail that my friends likely recognize now as one of my favorites) made me feel like I had never done a physical activity in my life for all of the panting and burning in my legs I felt, I was very pleasantly surprised. A mile and a half incline over rocks and dirt, hills and covered by the shade of dense trees overhead, every step was exaggerated and reminded me of all of the box step ups I had done in Gym Jones (www.gymjones.com). I felt a little embarrased at how loudly i percieved I was breathing and was grateful for once of my pride. It was my pride that kept me from stopping for a breath, for a second of rest. I watched Becca in front of me, her strong strides and even stronger calves in front of me and thought to myself, “Im glad she has such a good pace. She’s really making this a workout.” At the end of the endless incline up the side of the canyon, it finally flattened out and I enjoyed the scenery over the edge at the top. I looked down and saw the parking lot entrance below me, the occasional person walking to their car looked like an ant. It was exactly what I wanted to see, it was validation that I had in fact hiked as high as it felt like and that every bit of burning and lung exhaustion I felt was hard earned. “Want to try running the rest of the trail?”, she turned to me and offered. She knew my knee was questionable but I think that the temptation to run is just hard to resist when such a perfect trail is right in front of you. “We can walk if you feel like it hurts.”I have to admit here that I caved in to the offer and began running on the rocks and dirt, finding that wonderful pace of breathing and toe striking after a moment of “1-2-3-4,1-2-3-4” and had I not been right next to the side of a cliff would have closed my eyes for how great it felt.

Until it didn’t. Damn. I ran about a mile and that familiar tickling turned into a stab and I stopped, dejectedly but urged her to go on and enjoy the rest of the trail. She didn’t. We stopped and walked briskly together until the trail end and turned around again back toward the car. I ran the last bit back down, ignoring the pain in my knee stubbornly. I reasoned that going back downhill was faster and I was already walking it with a bit of a hop in my step anyway due to how steep it was. I was beaming and sweaty and happier than I had felt in a long while. We agreed to repeat this practice as many times as we could squeeze into a week and since then I have been on some really rewarding, challenging hikes with her. It has also quieted that always busy, always panicked spot in my head that told me my leg muscles were not going to stay strong and beautiful unless I kept running.

I also bought a pair of Vibram 5 finger shoes, after a lot of suggestion from other runners that had made “the switch”. I have had these shoes for almost 2 weeks and I am cautiously optimistic about its ability to get my feet back on the road to running sooner. Under advice, I am running in them very low miles (right now I stop at 2 miles, after which time I start noticing raw and blistery feeling balls of the feet. Yuck.) and I started wearing them to work a bit, to try and break them and my feet in a little more quickly. As trend suggests in this blog, I am not great with being patient. But I am trying. I really am. Anything to avoid surgery, at this point.

I am also excited about my return to Gym Jones. I had to take a couple of months off for personal reasons and when I was ready to return, my trainer was on his way out to train Superman. You read that right. “Superman”. Or Russell Crowe. Maybe both. I don’t really keep up. But the point is, he was off for the next 4 months to get some guy ready for a movie and suggested I email Rob MacDonald or “Maximus” (www.bobbymaximus.com), one of the other trainers at the gym and check on where I could squeeze back in. I just got an email back from Rob welcoming me back to Gym Jones and told me he’s having Johnny find a morning slot for me. It totally sounds more complicated than it has to be to some reading this, perhaps, but Gym Jones is not an open gym and the trainer’s schedules become quite full. It is an invitation only, limited member place to get my butt kicked in the most painful way imaginable. And sometimes cry privately in the bathroom over. I LOVE IT. So hard. It has made me so strong and I have developed such a sense of myself while a member there and this is why I am falling all over myself excited to get started again.

Anyway, this is a long post to play catch-up but the point of all of this is to share that things are moving forward again. It may not have all happened as I had hoped it would but if there is anything I have learned it has been patience. Things are all in the right spots right now. I am ready to go.

Published in: on July 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

The difference.

A couple of months ago, I started introducing rice into my diet to try and battle some reoccurrent injuries. The idea was that I was perhaps not recovering fully in between the increased training sessions I had taken on in preparation for a full marathon. I was also experimenting with a fruit restriction.
The fruit restriction was remarkably easy and I think that long term it has proven to be a good thing for me, a good habit broken. I now eat fruit in moderation, very very moderately. The rice…it’s hard to say whether that was the right choice to correct the injuries or not. Not that it was particularly detrimental, it’s just that I’m still lame which leads me to believe it must be for some other reason.
An unfortunate thing that happened also was that I started straying from my Paleo diet. It happened for a few reasons, one of which being that I was trying to not to obsess about my weight and just “eat”, a gross misinterpretation of my trainer’s advice to stop being so body dysmorphic and ” relax a little”. So small changes like choosing to eat corn chips at dinner happened, followed by reintroducing cream to my coffee and then eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. Seriously. Peanut butter and candy is what that should be called. Anyway, during this time I still kept mostly to the right of low carb,with these variances but even still I noticed my body felt different. I drove my boyfriend crazy with, ” am I getting fat? I feel gross.” and constantly stared at my stomach and sides, looking for change. And yet, didn’t change my new bad habits…I meant, really??? “I feel gross and fat with my new diet additions…but I’m not going to eliminate them because they taste good. But hey, am i getting fat?” How’s that for ignoring your body?
As far as my training goes, I recently switched jobs and it initially put some financial strain on our house so I had to cut out the gym training for a little over a month. I talked with my trainer about it and he said he understood and that when I was ready to come back, to let him know. I told him I would keep up my fitness as best I could using the park, my notebook of recorded past workouts and my membership to Gold’s gym I have been whittling through. I’ve been doing all I can and have had some proud moments alone but yesterday it hit me hard that I just really miss my trainer and the challenges he brought to me so I sent him a text letting him know I’m ready to come back.
My left knee is really crushing my marathon dream and it kind of breaks my heart. Right now a 5k is completed with the last mile being completely in pain. I know some readers might say,”well then stop running, moron.” and they might have a good point. But I’m stubborn about it. Or maybe prideful? I do have my bodies best interest at heart and I stop when the pain becomes intense,walk a little then start my run again. I won’t push myself beyond 5k right now but I definitely won’t settle for less than that. In the meantime I’m experimenting with varying running techniques and paying attention to how it feels. Barefoot, low profile,trail, bark, cement, hill,technique, stride length…I note all of it. I love running in a way that makes my heart hurt and makes me want to cry to imagine going without. I’m terrified this is a surgical problem but I’m okay with it if it is and won’t let that stop me running. My health insurance becomes active in about a month and a half at which time I can see a specialist. Until then, I’m foam rolling and yoga’ing and doing hip openers and paying attention. And running.
I’ve also refocused my diet again back to a strict Paleo plan. I may be a “food robot” but I was happier,leaner,healthier and stronger when I maintained this lifestyle. I guess the good side to this was that I was able to see how good I felt eating ancestrally and how poor I felt when I strayed from it and ate a western diet. Sure makes it easier to stick to it this time around.
My knee is still sore from yesterday’s run so I’m going to cycle indoors. Or, since I just looked outside and saw that the miserable gloom of drizzle has turned back into a warm sun, perhaps I’ll take this outside and combine it with a hike.

Published in: on May 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tattoo/extended fruit restriction/sore muscles!

Ive been taking it kind of easy since last Tuesday.  Thats the day I got my beloved kitty cats tattooed on my legs. One on each thigh and wow, they have been taking it kind of hard! My legs, that is. The tattoo process itself was just like any other Ive experienced but the morning after, I started feeling bruised and sore and it progressively got worse. Its nothing major, I can deal with it, its just super sore. It feels like my thigh muscle was tattooed and in all likelihood, it probably was to a degree. *shrug*


I called in to my trainer and canceled our regularly scheduled date the day after the tattoo just because it was all weepy and gross.  When I went in to work with him on Friday, my legs were feeling bruised and jiggly but i knew once I got moving, I likely wouldn’t notice it. I was sort of right.

Michael had a doozy of a workout planned for us girls that day.

"Better wear your Nike's bro..."

After a comfortable warm up riding the airdyne gently for 10 minutes, we started the workout which were the front squat push presses you see listed first above.   About 2 minutes into this workout, my legs began feeling dramatically tight and I started walking around during the “rest” periods, lifting my legs and trying to keep them warmed up.  With every dip of the squat and push upward, I felt the tightness. It wasn’t painful, it just got my attention.  I was wary of them suddenly seizing up in during the rest of the hour, something Ive never had happen before but I think about just the same.  I finished that workout, coming up short on the the last round. My arms were screaming.  I actually struggle with push press and its one of my sources of “gym frustration”. I know my arms will get stronger and they totally are but it can be disheartening sometimes to see a weakness that is so glaringly obvious.

The second part of the workout was absolutely, hands down the hardest of the entire hour.  He allowed us the choice of frog hopping or broad jumping 15 meters across the room, touching the wall and then bear crawling back. We had 30 seconds to complete all of that and whatever time was left over was our ‘rest’.  The hard part for me I found was that I didnt have the luxury of time to stop, calculate my jump and explosively execute it. My jumps and (thankfully!) that of the two girls beside me were awkward and silly and looked more like stumbling hops than anything athletic. But it was exhausting and every time I literally crawled across the floor back to the start line, it felt like it looked metaphorically. Soon the 15 seconds of rest I had to enjoy turned into 3 seconds and then the last 2 rounds gave me just enough time to get to the end and start back over again.

This is an interesting part where being honest and self regulation come into play. Sometimes I have a moment of thinking, “If I were a weaker person or didnt care enough, I could just stop and rest a while before going on. I don’t HAVE to rush.  But I do because I care. I do because I expect more out of myself and I don’t want to waste his time or disappoint both of us.”  And,admittedly, if I was a total lazy ass like that Im sure I would be invited to leave the gym. Ha.

The last 2 exercises in the workout went alright as well. The burpees are a strength of mine and I feel pretty confident about knocking them out with a lot of speed. I avoided the penalty on them by a comfortable margin. When we got to the jumping pull ups (6 count every 10 seconds for 5 minutes), I was able to use a lot of legs and pull hard upward until what i can guess is probably the last minute. It was there that Michael would gently urge me to pull higher, get my chin up higher. And I really tried to do that although if Im being honest with myself, I was more concerned about not earning a penalty for not completing the round that I was probably trying to whip through them in time and not paying more attention to a fuller pull up.  I was right. I corrected my form and was rewarded with a penalty for not completing 2 rounds fully. I was short by one in each case!  My penalty was 10 burpees for each round missed, seperated by 30 seconds. I did 20 burpees at the end of the hour. I feel good about it however, I dont think Michael knew I had missed it by 1 on both of those rounds and so I had to confess them to him on my own. I know that sounds so simple but I look at it like this: I volunteered for my penalty and totally could have gotten by without it. I think it shows growth and integrity in myself and I feel good about that.

After our workout, we congratulated each other and cooled down on the airdyne and rowing machine, respectively.  Michael asked me if I was still doing a cup of rice daily and staying off of fruit. I confirmed this and he said, ‘Okay. Lets do 2 more weeks. ” I had a feeling he still had concerns about my energy level. I used to KILL it in there and lately Ive felt like my performance has been mostly “meh…”  Acceptable and with heart but I know I can do more. And HAVE. He asked me to also keep a food diary for the next two weeks. “I don’t want calories…just tell me what youre eating.”, he added.

The following day, my legs felt ripped apart. I was so sore! I stopped squatting down to get things at work and instead did a slow, long lean downward to get things. Pulling my pants down to change or use the restroom made me wince and groan. I walked slowly and laughed at myself, unable to believe how much I hurt. Yesterday I was in a lot of pain also and Damon jokingly called me an old woman as I gripped the stairs rail and slowly made my way down. I attributed all of this pain to Friday’s workout but after chatting with another girlfriend of mine that has her thighs tattooed, she said it was so sore for weeks. (weeks?!?)  So it may be a little of both. Today I feel mostly better. I can stretch out my legs and walk normally. I feel sore but its a much more manageable amount of discomfort. If I wasn’t so stubborn and refuse to ice bath myself this week, I would likely be feeling much better.

I look forward to Wednesday’s workout and I don’t even know what it is. It just feel good to move.


Published in: on March 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Diet modification

“Tomorrow I’ll talk about diet…bla bla…”  Im sorry that “tomorrow” turned into “3 days from now”. Im sure that you all understand how busy life gets. I wish I did before I made idle promises, haha.

Part of the delay is because before I wrote this blog post, I wanted to be able to cite sources and explain the changes with a bit more of an informed outlook rather than in the capacity I have now, which is  “my trainer told me to and thats what Im going to do because I trust him.” But there it is. Im changing a tiny part of my diet at his suggestion. Curious? Here it is. …wait. I can’t just come out and SAY it, yet. Everyone needs a little story first. Right? Or is that just infuriating? Haha…its my blog. Heres the story. 😉

So basically, since starting my marathon training this past month, Ive “enjoyed” some nagging injuries that come and go. First it was the familiar IT band that had me skipping a day of the gym and my scheduled run to nurse it and then that healed up with a return to foam rolling I had started neglecting.  Literally the next run I did,which was a speed run (blocks) that focused on short bursts of intensity at super high incline, I developed “runners knee”, or a patellar inflammation. I was super frustrated by this and talked to my trainer about it at length and i purchased a band to wrap my knee with when i run (not at his suggestion but at the suggestion of a salesperson at a running store i go to).  After a short period of time, i became comfortable to begin training again and enjoyed a long, gentle trail run as scheduled.  I then developed a sharp pain in the bottom of my foot. Anyone want to guess what THAT was? If you guessed “plantar fascitis”, pat yourself on the back. And stop laughing at my misfortune. 😉 He prescribed that I totally stop running until I felt better and if i wanted to stay active, switch to something else like cycling, which is exactly what I did for the week. I also purchased an insert for my shoe that better supported my arch and that helped TREMENDOUSLY.

After a workout last week, Michael hopped on the airdyne next to me and we chatted about how I was feeling and then he asked if I was open to trying something.  “If you do it though, I want you to do it all the way.”, he said first before explaining further. To be honest, I totally thought he was about to ask me to do an airdyne sprint or something and it made me groan inwardly. Haha!  Still, I said “sure’. And then he said he wanted me to go off of fruit entirely, for 2 weeks. In place of my normal fruit intake, he asked me to substitute it with rice. “I like wild rice or basmati, soak it first and then do like, 1/2 cup or 1 cup. ” His theory is that being totally paleo is great for body composition and health, etc and it served me well when I was working in the gym 3 days a week only but now that I was training almost daily (Sunday is my only totally free day), I was sort of burning out.

“When I see injuries popping up, it usually means a lack of recovery. Try adding the rice and lets see what happens. ”  I think it has something to do with energy too but again, Im rather limited on the details. I did send him an email telling him i wanted to blog about it and asking him to help me with his thought process so i could better articulate this in my blog so I’m sure i can answer more questions later this week. (He’s out of town competing in a cycling race this weekend….Tour del Sol in St. George, Utah.)

So its interesting. Ive been avoiding grains like crazy for a year due to my paleo leanings and here I am cooking up rice. Im not religious, I began paleo in search of the healthiest way to live and if it turns out that I have to reintroduce a grain in order to run/recover then I’ll do it. The point is, I wont be diving into cheeseburger and nacho land over this. I still avoid dairy, every other grain and flour, moderate my sugar intake, etc…I still believe this is the healthiest way to eat and  until a better way comes along through educated research then I’ll stick to it. Besides…I’d have to change my blog title and who can be bothered with that? 😉

I was supposed to run 3 hours yesterday and my schedule didnt allow for it. Im going to fit in that run today and then talk to Michael about moving around a run or two in order to fit my week a little easier so I dont skip anything. You know…to be honest, I kind of look forward to getting this whole marathon thing over so I can focus on more fun things, like 10k’s and halfs.

Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 11:42 pm  Comments (1)  

“Coordinate yourself!”/Whole 9/diet teaser.

I had a minor freak out the other day because the giant blog post I wrote for you was suddenly gone.  I type primarily on an iPad (though, not anymore..oh no, buddy. Im a hardened, wiser girl now.) and after a satisfying account of that morning’s gym experience and conversation with my trainer, I left the page briefly to check on a web address, in order to properly give credit to one of my sources.  When i returned to my blog ready to type in the address and publish my work, i found a blank page.

My armpits immediately started tingling, one of my indicators of a sort of epinephrine release, of panic. “No. way.”, i said quietly as my heart sort of crushed inwardly. I carefully maneuvered my way through the page, through my saved drafts and resisted pushing the “back” button out of fear I’d really dig myself a hole. And blah blah blah, yadda yadda…theres a reason there was no update titled 3/15/2011.  I facebook bitched about it, I vented to my boyfriend with my iPad outstretched, begging for help and finding his apologetic face could offer none. And it took me the rest of the day and most of this one but here I am, pity party over. Im wiping the (almond)flour from my hands and im starting anew.

Monday’s workout was a lot of jumping about. While Mondays are normally reserved for heavy lifting/weights/power work, this one focused more on dexterity and balance. He had me jump, legs together in T, V, and W shapes. The idea was a.) to keep the shapes as equal as possible on all sides and b.) not to trip or lose my balance. As i swore and as my perfectionism found me “starting over” when I messed up, he reminded me that the length of the letters didnt matter as much as completing them without stopping and making them equal. “If you cant make them match, then dont jump as far.”  I did this exercise until my breath was ragged and my calves burned. Well…i actually did them until he was satisfied, if we’re being honest. Satisfied meant I did more “good letters” than bad.

After that practice he brought out a rope ladder and stretched it out along the ground and had me practice doing burpees in and out of it, jump in a variety of patterns in and out of it, backwards, forwards, again, again, again “until you can do it without messing up”. We did this routine until the end of class and then he asked me to cool down with a series of frog jumps and bearcrawls. “Don’t focus too much on power on the frog jumps. Just squat a quarter of the way down and jump.”

At the end of class, Michael told me that today wasnt designed to be hard but instead was to work on my agility. “You have no coordination. Like, at all.”, he said with a slight laugh. “And thats not your fault, you probably didnt play sports growing up. You didnt learn that skill.”  He was right. I can sort of hear a certain collective of women gasping inwardly or bristling perhaps at the assumption that because I am a woman, I never learned how to play baseball or football or other contact/eye hand coordination developing sports. But honestly…he was totally on target. I played basketball in 7th grade for about an hour before I felt too self conscious about how awkward it felt to continue.  I never had interest in the softball leagues or the soccer leagues or any of the other sports some of my female classmates engaged in.

“Running is fine but its not going to help you with this, ” he went on “Pick up a sport. Play video games. Honestly. Or play tennis. Heck, play ping pong. Damon has an Xbox, get the Kinect and play those games. Im serious. It will help.”   Xbox? Play video games? How’s that for a fitness prescription!?  In all seriousness, Im on board. I have wanted to play tennis for a long time but I never tried it because , surprise surprise, I always thought I didnt have the eye hand coordination for it. And this ‘weakness’ translates to other things that I struggle with. KB snatches and KB cleans, for instance. Or TGU’s. These three things make me literally want to cry sometimes because I can’t seem to get them right. I know it takes time and practice but a lot of it comes from a lack of coordination and the connection between my brain and body. Im excited to get on top of this. To be honest, it makes me very excited to imagine this part of me becoming stronger. It makes me think that if I get this down, I am well on my way to becoming unstoppable! Or at least un-trippable. 😉

I have to mention for a minute that at the end of my workout, 2 people whose facebook page and website I follow walked into my gym. Melissa and Dallas from Whole9 (www.whole9life.com) were at the gym for a Kettlebell seminar I attended the Saturday previous and it was about all i could do not to gush, “Omg…i use your fish oil calculator!” or some such silly nonsense. Instead, Melissa was helpful and offered her assistance with my kb cleans. “Pretend youre zipping a jacket.”  I know they moved here to Salt Lake City last fall but I had never had the opportunity to meet them and was thrilled to see them show up yet again on the same day I was working out at Gym Jones the following Monday. I regretted that we were not working out at the same time but knew that it was for good reason and that my hour’s need to practice my coordination was not what they needed. Still, it made me sort of swell with pride. My face nearly cracked for how hard I was smiling and I wanted to say, “Hey! Hey! Welcome to my gym, guys! Oh, Im so proud of this gym, I just know you’re gonna love it!” Haha! I get a little emotionally carried away at times. Okay, a lot of times. In any case, Im happy they’re around and I hope their visit becomes a lot more frequent.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about some recent changes to my diet. Its nothing drastic, still along the same paleo lines but there has been an addition and a subtraction for at least the next 2 weeks as a sort of experiment. It was my trainer’s idea but I trust it fully.

Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  

Diet discussion or ” eat like a monster”.

I am unbelievably sore today,which isn’t surprising when I remind myself that I did 450 push ups and 450 v- sits Sunday evening and then a whole grip more arm jammers on Monday. At least I’m laughing with the discomfort. Which hurts too, by the way. Ha.

Today was bitterly cold and instead of heading out like I should have done and gotten in some form of active recovery, I sat inside, drank coffee and saw to some long overdue clerical work I had been putting off. Truth be told, it would have been entirely possible for me to do something pseudo active indoors and I can virtually hear my trainers voice reminding me of this but,hey, I got some good work done anyway. I’ll foam roll tonight before bed. Promise. (yowch!)

Yesterday I mentioned a discussion I had with my trainer,Michael, about my diet and how it affects my performance. It was spurred by a workout session in which I was to do a long series of back squats, which I normally do quite well at. But that day found me really struggling to do them well and Michael repeatedly had to remind me to go “parallel”, which is basically going the full depth of the squat and completing it honestly. I gritted my teeth and groaned and at one point almost dropped the bar when returning it to the rack. Afterward, Michael came up to me and quietly asked, out of earshot of Damon, what I had eaten that morning. “two eggs.” was my answer, same as every morning. “and yesterday?”, he pressed. I knew the answer down to the numbers because I had added up the calories to put in my workout log, along with what I had done for recovery, my supplements,etc. “Oh. I think I ended the day with like about 650…”, I sheepishly replied. I knew it was on the low end but I somehow did not anticipate his shocked response. “650?! Are you serious?” I stammered and tried to explain that it wasn’t intentional and that I don’t normally eat so little, although admittedly I have always been an obsessive calorie counter despite my best efforts to break this habit. I had gained weight ( or at least perceived that I had anyway) after the holidays indulgences and had been being very restrictive with my choices of food equaling Little natural sugars, high protein, low carbohydrates and absolutely no “cheat days”. While I wasn’t intentionally counting, I definitely ended low most days. “No wonder. Squats? You can do squats, Jen. But if you’re eating less than half of what you’re supposed to, you’re not going to be able to do anything. Stop counting, Jen. Just eat. Your system is probably so screwed up right now, you’re lucky you don’t end up looking like a pear. Just eat and I promise it will all work out.”

He then set us on the task of finishing our workout of 100 push ups. Walking out the front door of the gym, he said, ” I’ll be right back, I’m going next door.” when he returned, we were finished and he called me over to him. He was standing next to another trainer, who I’m sure had overheard the irritated words spoken earlier to me. Michael handed me a large plastic bottle of chocolate milk and said, ” I have homework for you. This is full fat chocolate milk. It has 850 calories in it. You are going to drink all of it today.” I started to ask him a question and he cut me off, knowing what I was going to say and answering it,” AND eat normally. I’m serious, Jen. Cut it out. Stop.counting.”

It was so embarrassing. I didn’t want him to think of me as a girl with an eating disorder. I felt awful about it and yet, my chest felt tight at the thought of drinking that sugary, thick mess of milk, which told me that’s exactly why I should. And I did. Long story shorter, I finished the milk and I felt all emotional about it. It literally made me teary eyed and I sent him a text thanking him for his concern and apologizing for being so obsessive. “if you told me to drink four of these a day, I would. Because I trust you.” His response made me cry. “Good work. Let loose a little. You won’t get better eating like a vegan runway model,eat like you want to be…like a fucking monster.”

Absolutely. Those words made immediate and total sense to me then and still inspire me to eat now. I don’t want to be bony and tiny. I want to be strong and hard. I want to be a T-Rex. Well…a T-Rex with substantially stronger arms. 😉 So now its a yam and egg breakfast and full, beefy meals during the day. I eat even if I’m not hungry, because I know I should and because right now I am learning to identify hunger signals instead of ignoring and suppressing them like I had taught myself to do all the years ago. I’m not alone in that practice, by the way. How many times have you read in a fitness journal or in a different magazine or on Dr. Oz or whatever show to fill your belly with water or take a walk to forget hunger “cravings”? Every girl knows about “negative calorie foods” and the calories in, calories out mantra is all too familiar.

Anyway, since then, I’ve noticed dramatic change in my body. I’m developing more muscle and my waistline is trim. My butt is shapely and firm. I’m actually proud of it! Can you believe that? So, to be clear, eating MORE food has made me more attractive than when I carefully portioned out each meal. “Food” being yams, veggies, pasture raised eggs, pastured beef and chicken, avocado, tuna, light amounts of nuts and usually at least one piece of fruit, like pear or a seasonal blood orange. There’s no McCrapper with cheese in this mix. 😉

Anyway, so there’s the diet spanking I received. I thought I was such a careful eater. I was soooooo Paleo. But I was underfed and it was holding me back. Now I’m fueled up and ready to kick some major ass. Goals are going to be met. Personal records will be broken. Lemme at it. “RAWWWWR!”

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 6:09 am  Comments (3)  

Power/ little recovery or sleep.

As I suspected I would be, I was sore this morning when I got up to go into the gym. It was also unfortunate that I really struggled to sleep last night. I’m sure it was due to working out so heavily only a few hours before bed. This morning, I stood at the bathroom sink preparing to braid my hair and put in my contact lenses and stopped for a moment and considered whether I was too tired and sore to go in. “Maybe you should take a recovery day.” but in the end, I knew I would feel like I was missing out and regret my choice later.

I showed Michael my workout logs from the week he was gone and he said they were good. I let him know sheepishly that I had done Fridays workout the day before instead and he said, “Ow. that workout was designed for a weekends recovery.” I figured so, as evidenced by the soreness in my arms, but I was glad he had the heads up in case today was rough for me. Better he know that I was inadequately rested and recovered than wonder what the heck was going on and ask me about my diet again. ( I didn’t cover that last blog, I’ll get back to that.)

He made me regret it today…haha. Seriously, today’s workout was awesome. Seriously one of the best, for sure. But it was a lot of arms and push ups and that I was suffering a bit was quite obvious. I did my best to keep up the pace, however. I feel fairly good about my performance. I definitely didn’t try and go easy on myself and that makes me feel alright. Here’s the workout as best I remember without notes:

15 meter walking lunge x 4
Traverse pull up followed by 5 burpies*,5 rounds.
5 Man makers* then 15 meter weighted bear crawl*,6 rounds.
15 meter weighted walking lunge then 30 meter walking with overhead weights. 5 rounds(?)
Cool down with v-sit weighted ball toss/hold.

*burpies- drop from standing position to a plank, perform push up then quickly bring knees up to chest with one jump and then finish with a high powered jump upward with arms high, hands clapping together.
*man maker- start with 2 barbells ( in this case I used two 20#) laying parallel on floor,about shoulder length apart. With hands on barbell, jump into flat plank position,perform pushup then pull weight up once on each side. Bring knees to chest while still holding weights then jump up and press the barbells up to full arm extension.
*weighted bear crawl- 2 barbells laying parallel on floor about shoulder length apart. With body in a sharp arch and butt high, put hands on barbell and use hips and arm to propel one barbell forward while dragging or hopping back legs behind. Repeat with other arm and cross the room. ( eg: right arm forward,back legs drag,left arm forward,back legs drag…)

The man makers made my arms burn after all of the push ups I had done the night before. After a few rounds, my push ups started to suffer and my high pulls started weaving outward instead of in a straight line. But I tried to pull it together neatly and muscled through it with my pride intact. I think one of my worst fears is looking like I am cheating or taking the easy route. I didn’t want to look weak in front of my peers. I LOVED doing the traverse pull ups, however. This involved grabbing along a long length of metal bar above my head and hanging while grapevining along it to the end with my arms. It made me feel so strong and I was better at it than I expected I would be! I’m going to make a point to tell Michael how much I enjoyed this and ask him to incorporate this more where he finds it appropriate.

Right now I’m so sleepy and I’m trying to hang in until our normal bedtime. I’m not great with napping, it always makes me feel so much more groggy. Once I go down, I tend to like to stay down. I plan on doing a run tomorrow, I haven’t quite worked out how long yet. Michael asked me to think of a time that works to get together and discuss my training, specifically for this marathon. I’m going to email him or text him tonight and touch base. I’m anxious for his guidance. I’m kind of just making things up as I go right now. I hate that feeling.

I promised I would talk about the diet discussion I got into with Michael but in the interest of keeping some order to this, I’m going to wait until next time. But it is relevant and it is important so we’ll definitely revisit this topic.

Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 4:35 am  Leave a Comment