Thursday, December 22, 2011

Turbulence Training

Inspired by this awesome infographic all about HIIT from Conditioning Research, and looking to mix things up, today I tried a Turbulence Training-style workout. TT is something created by the awesome trainer, athlete and blogger Craig Ballantyne (youtube him for lots of videos). Essentially, it involves mixing heavy lifting and high-intensity cardio into one big HIIT workout. Here's what I did:

Warmup: 1 mile jog

Turbulence training:
1 minute HIT jump rope followed by 8 reps of lifting; alternate between 8rep sets and 1 minute jump rope

I put together a little circuit of deadlifts, weighted squats, weighted lunges, plank leg raises, and a weighted squat/side lunge w/leg lift. I did this circuit twice, with 1 minute of high intensity jump rope in between each individual move.

All told, it took me 25 minutes and was pretty damn difficult. Guess what: jumping rope for a minute straight is tough! Usually I do 30 seconds.

After I finished the TT workout, I did a quick but very intense ab routine of leg lifts, bicycles, and weighted situps. I did 10 of each move and repeated the circuit 3 times with no breaks. My abs, they burned.

Then I hopped on the stair climber. Five minutes later I nearly fell off. Um, so, yyyeeeaahhh, I need to work stair climbing into every workout until I can do it longer than five minutes, because that shit is EXACTLY what the mud is going to feel like.

I've had barely anything to eat today. Bad, I know. I had three eggs in the morning... and then water all day. I'm about to go make myself a huge amount of food. PEACE

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bodyrock and home hot yoga

Bodyrock has been doing this thing lately where they'll put up two or three 4-minute routines and you can mix and match. So, mix and match I did!

Yesterday was a rest day (because I did my strength day on Sunday instead of Tuesday), so today I did a Bodyrock and some yoga. For Bodyrock, I mixed together 12 minutes of workout. Here's what I did:

Sean's Ultimate Burpee Bodyweight Workout Scores:
Regular Burpee: 8
Star Burpee: 6
Side Burpee: 6
1 Leg Burpee: 6

One leg squat jump
One arm pushup
One leg pushup
High Knees

Laying leg lifts 18
Hanging knee raises front and sides 6
Knees together squeezes
Knees apart squeezes

The burpees were killer, especially the star burpees. One-armed pushups? UH NO. I couldn't even do one, on my knees. So I def need to work on those, like a lot. I just pumped out lots and lots of regular ones.

I think I enjoyed the abs portion the best. I like the laying leg lifts (I don't have an exercise ball like Lisa-Marie does in the video, so I just lay down on the floor and held the bedpost as I lifted). Holding on to something above my head kept my back more stable and allowed me do to the lifts with WAY better form than usual. I don't have a dip station, so I do the knee raises hanging from my pullup bar, which has the added benefit of strengthening my hang ability, which needs to go up by a LOT if I'm gonna do monkey bars in May.

I followed up this 12-minute workout with a 20-minute vigorous yoga session in my bathroom, which I've figured out how to turn into a reasonable semblance of a hot studio by running the shower for a bit to build up some steam, then sticking my space heater in there to heat everything up. I think I need to put the space heater on the floor instead of the counter next time, because heat rises and the floor ended up staying pretty cool. But otherwise it was awesome! Gonna do yoga every day in there and save myself a bundle paying for hot studio membership.

Tonight I roasted a chicken using the greatest chicken recipe ever, which I've used before and I can honestly say makes the juiciest, best chicken of all time. Next time you have a whole chicken, do it. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of ingredients and preparation. It's unbelievably good.

Tomorrow is Leg Strength back at the fire station gym. *puts on sunglasses* YYEEEEAAAAHHHHH

Monday, December 19, 2011


I FINALLY managed to drag my increasingly dimpled ass out of bed in the cold and dark to go to the gym before work. HUZZAH, PLAYERS.

It wasn't even that hard, because I stuck to the flow I'd come up with the previous night, wherein I got up at 6, immediately put on a pot of coffee, then took River for a 45-minute walk. By the time I got back I was awake and my body was warmed up. I drank my bulletproof coffee (which sounds gross but is AMAZING and to which I am completely addicted), got changed, and got to the gym by 7:30. Yes, yes, I'm aware that this doesn't seem all that early to those of you who have to be on the metro or road by 6 to get to work on time, but whatever, I don't have to be at work till 10 so a 6:00 wakeup is early as shit for me.

Here's what I did:

Warmup - 1 mile on treadmill

Metcon - 5x5 Burpees, Dips, Tuck jumps, Mason twists/medicine ball, and Split lunges, for time. My time: 9:11.

HIIT - Sprint/walk intervals, 1:1 min, 20 minutes

It was a good workout. The metcon portion was harder than I was expecting. I was seriously winded and had to take a couple breaks in there.

Today I packed my lunch tin with mango chicken sausages and steamed broccoli with a bit of TJ's vodka sauce for flavor, plus a tiny cut up green apple, some almond butter, and a couple slices of cheese. Tonight is usually my "cheat night" because I'm at the station, but Saturday was definitely a cheat night due to the Xmas party I went to (I actually did excellently food-wise, just ate a lot of meat and salad, but I did indeed try some of the many desserts). So tonight I'm going to try to walk the straight and narrow. Let's hope we don't go to the burger place. I am a whore for sweet potato fries.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1000 rep challenge, modified

I decided to change the 1000 Rep Challenge a bit because some of the exercise just don't do it for me, and also I'm not a huge fan of the order of things. So I changed it to be more suited to my needs and have a better flow.

10 Burpees
10 Chair Dips
10 Tuck Jumps
10 Eagle Abs
10 Mountain Climbers
10 Side Plank Switches
10 Split Lunges
10 Pushups
10 Turkish Getups
10 Mason Twists

Tonight I did 5 rounds of this, so 500 reps, followed up by a kettlebell tabata. It was about 20 minutes of working out. Tomorrow I go back to lifting and run intervals in the gym, yay!

Heavy lifting

Yesterday I was supposed to go to the Getting Started class at Crossfit Fairfax, but as I prepared the night before and looked into how long the class is, I realized that with travel time, there was no way I would have time to go and still do all the things I had to do yesterday (lots of errands and then baking for the Fire Rescue Christmas party last night). So instead I decided I'll go to the GS class on the 28th, in about a week. That one I'll have more time for, as it's post-Xmas.

As for my workout, it had been about a week since my last heavy lifting session, so I was feeling the call of metal. I went to the fire station gym and did the following:

1-mile jog warmup

5x5s (Weights below are on each arm with dumbbells, cumulative with the barbell for deadlift; so for example, I shoulder pressed with a 25-pounder on each arm, but deadlifted 74 pounds total between the 44lb bar and 30lb of weights. I could have used the bar for bench presses but I'm too much of a pussy to do that without a spotter, TBH.)
Shoulder presses @ 25, 25, 25, 30, 30
Bench presses @ 30, 30, 30, 30, 35
Standing pulls @ 25, 25, 25, 25, 25
Bicep curls @ 20, 20, 20, 20, 20
Deadlifts @ 74, 74, 74, 86, 86

HIIT running: 20 minutes, 1:1 min sprint/walk intervals

It was a good, long, hard workout. I love lifting. Today I have... dun dun dun... the infamous 1000 rep challenge. Yaaaaaay! Last time I managed to shave 9 minutes off my time, so we'll see if I can get any faster this time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Quick tabatas

Okay so yesterday didn't go exactly as planned re: hill sprints and kettle bell and what have you. I, as usual, ran out of time. So I did a quick 15-ish minutes that was really intense.

It was essentially intervals of jump rope tabatas and a three-move circuit. I did a tabata of high knees on the jump rope, then popped down and did 10 pushups, 10 Turkish getups with my 20lb kettlebell, and 10 abmat situps. Then I jumped straight back into another tabata. I managed to get in three tabatas and three circuits in about 15 minutes... I can't remember my exact time.

Then I hightailed it to state EMT testing, which was nerve-wracking. I'm pretty sure I failed the Trauma station. Crap. But at least I'm DONE!

I'm also proud of myself that I didn't go crazy with stress eating at the bar last night. My whole class came out to celebrate and I a) stuck to wine even though I REALLY WANTED a beer, and b) didn't stuff my face with the many plates of cheese fries that were going around. I had a bite of a chicken tender and that was it. Go me.

Today I need to do my Tough Mudder workout, but I have to work all day and I'm pretty hungover and I didn't get much sleep. So, we'll see. It might behoove me to just take a rest day, since I haven't had a rest day all week and I'm doing the three-hour Getting Started class at Crossfit Fairfax tomorrow morning.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tough Mudder Training

Since Arwen is kicking my butt dedication-wise, I need to start updating this blog regularly with my Tough Mudder training. I have indeed been working out, but I just haven't had the time to really be diligent in updating this blog. No more! This is now serious.

Last week I did lots of lifting and sprinting workouts at the station gym. It was nice getting back to lifting. I love bodyweight workouts and all, but sometimes you just want to lift big heavy pieces of metal over your head, you know? However, I sort of went too gung-ho and exhausted myself. This week I'm taking it a bit easier, doing shorter, more intense workouts and keeping the treadmill intervals to just a couple days.

Another thing about the past couple weeks is that I'm in the throes of EMT testing for the county and state and am still stuck out of the house almost every night until 10-11 doing that. I will be SOOOOOO HAPPY when this class is over and I have my nights back--which is actually basically now, because Tuesday was our last real class and tonight is final state testing. Good gravy it will be good to have my bedtime back to normal. Doing this class basically completely robbed me of the ability to get up early in the mornings, which meant that my workout always got pushed, which meant that sometimes it didn't happen. Now I can start going to bed early, getting up early, and getting serious about TM training.

Over at Bodyrock, things are certainly different, but still good. They have a bunch of new trainers in the videos, and they're all really good. I miss Z a ton, but it's not lime the workouts aren't still great. Yesterday I didn't have much time to work out so I did "The Workout That Got Away", which Kyla and Sean created when they were hung over. It was really short, just a single tabata of split lunges and mountain climbers, but it was intense (obviously, it was a tabata), and I was definitely sweating at the end. Then I tacked on Lisa-Marie's 3-minute Abs workout, which was basically 10:50 sec intervals of bicycles, balancing v-ups (HARD), and weighted situps. I chose to do Abmat situps (I don't have an Abmat at home; I just use a pillow) for the last interval, and really pushed it, so my abs were burning bad by the end.

Day before yesterday I did the step-up sumo squat challenge from a while back on Bodyrock. You set a chair next to you, then do a squat, step in and up onto the chair, lift the opposite knee to your chest, then step back down and do another squat. You do this 100 times on each leg. I only did 50 on each because by 40 I could tell that if I did 100 I'd be hobbled the next day with soreness. 50 each took me about 8 minutes (just for reference, Jess from Bodyrock did 100 each in 11:27, which is just absurd and I don't know how she did it). Then I did a circuit of pushups, situps, and dips for another 10 minutes. It was a good workout.

Today I plan to mix some jump rope, hill sprints, kettlebell, and box jumps, and also take a 2-mile run. I have to get back into the running groove so I think I'll do a short run as a warmup from here on out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bodyrock - Sexy Time Abs workout

Didn't get to work out yesterday because I was at EMT class all day, then there was Family Day at the training center, then I had a study group for next weekend's tests, then I went to dinner with my mom, who was on vacation all week. But I did walk River in the morning, so at least there was a little exercise in my day.

This morning I took River to the park, had my coffee, and did my Bodyrock. It was one of those workouts where some of the moves were so hard as to be impossible to do with good form, and others were easy enough that I was modifying them to make them harder.

Here's the workout: Sexy Time Abs workout

12 minutes of 10:50 second intervals, 4-exercise circuit.

Here are my reps:

Split squats - 8-7-8
Kettlebell plank hip thrust - 9-13-14
3way plank jumps - 14-16-held
Kettlebell situps - 19-21-22

The split squats were ridic, probably because instead of an 8lb Ugi I was holding my 20lb kettlebell. I could barely do more than a few in each set. Then the plank hip thrusts were kinda boring and not really working for me, so I changed them to a kettlebell swing and incorporated a side swing on each pass to really work the core. The 3 way plank jumps were... again, not easy, per se, just kind of not working for me. I mean, if it's a Sexy Time Abs workout, I want my core to be burning, not my quads. I did two sets and then just held the plank for the third set because I really wanted to feel my abs. The kettlebell situps were great, very hard but also doable.

Today I've eaten very little, which is kinda bad, but then again I had a couple cheese fries and a beer yesterday at the study session (hanging out with fire rescue people virtually guarantees bad food choices). I've had three HB eggs, some roast turkey, some grape tomatoes and the last bit of my container of cacao nibs from Trader Joes. Hopefully we'll do something not terrible, like Boston Market or Chipotle, for shift dinner tonight so I can continue my good eating choices.

Tomorrow I'm going to try something new that is aimed more at training for Tough Mudder. I'll leave you hanging on that incredibly exciting cliffhanger.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bodyrock - Let It Go

Here's the thing about Bodyrock: getting back into it requires serious recovery time. After two days of workouts, yesterday I was in a world of pain. I hobbled around all day and went to bed early. I think I'll have to keep Bodyrock to a 2 day on, 1 day off schedule until my body catches back up to the general brutality of the workouts.

Today I woke up feeling refreshed and still sore but able to work out. So, I had my coffee, then tackled Let It Go. It's a reposted workout from August, so it was all Zuzana. I have a serious straight girl crush on her.

Here's the workout: Let It Go

24 rounds of 10:20 intervals, 4-exercise circuit. Here were my reps:

SIDE JUMP LUNGE -19-20-23-26-22-25
PENDULUM -19-13-26-29-30-34
SANDBAG CLEAN (vertical leaps)-5-3-8-9-9-11
UGI SQUEEZE -31-32-24-30-33-35

I did everything the modified way that she shows in the video because I don't have the equipment. The first couple of sets of vertical leaps were actually pullup and chinup negatives, because I want to keep working those into my days until I can actually do pullups and chinups.

Hard workout, but this was the first time it felt hard in a good way, not hard in a I'm-gonna-barf way. I'm taking that as a good sign.

Today I have clinicals at Lansdowne till 5, so I'm about to scarf some HB eggs and roasted turkey, maybe some cottage cheese, before I jet out.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bodyrock - Hot Beastie

This morning featured Trader Joe's Winter Blend, which has finally returned to the coffee aisle and is my favorite part of the winter season; an extended playtime session with River since I didn't feel like going to the dog park; and my workout, courtesy of Bodyrock.

Zuzana was back for the before-and-after, with Sean (Freddy's brother) doing the actual workout. This one was hard and required a lot of modification since I don't have half the equipment they were using. That's one of the things I like about the site, though; their workouts are easily modified and they even offer suggestions for around-the-house items to use as equipment.

Here is the workout: Hot Beastie

15 minutes of 10:50 intervals; a five-exercise circuit done three times. Here were my reps:

FRONT SQUAT - 32-34-27
DIPS - 14-16-16
SANDBAG SIT UP - 12-13-13

I used two 5-lb weights in lieu of the sandbag for the three moves requiring a sandbag, and did pullup negatives on my pullup bar instead of the reverse pushups, since I don't have a dip station. Otherwise I did things pretty much as prescribed. I think I need to either bite the bullet and get a sandbag (I've tried using a duffel filled with weighs and towels, but it's really the handles and sturdiness of the sandbag that's the most important part, so it just doesn't work well), or get seem heavier dumbbells to use instead because the 5lb ones are too easy by far.

I followed up my workout with more coffee and a quick smoothie made with blueberries, spinach, whey protein, an egg, and peanut butter. For lunch I plan to pack some HB eggs, chicken breast, and some grape tomatoes. I have EMT class tonight and Thursday has been designated goin' out night, so I'll surely be having something bad for me later, whether it be beer or something else like fries, so I'm saving some caloric space (I know, it's not about the calories but about WHAT you eat, but I like to be cautious anyway when I know there will be temptation later).


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bodyrock - Good Feeling

One of the things I said consistently while training for the marathon was how much I missed doing Bodyrock all the time. I had to take a long hiatus from Zuzana, Freddy, and all the bodyrockers on the site, because all the mileage I was doing was exhausting me, and Bodyrock on top of it would have really veered me into overtraining territory. So, I was off the site for a good six weeks, and this past week post-marathon, when I didn't allow myself to do any working out at all besides yoga and walking River.

Imagine my shock when I finally logged back yesterday, all ready to jump right back into the workouts and the awesome community, only to see a ton of changes, like a new workout video host named Jess. A little poking around through past posts to the site, and I discovered what the rest of the Bodyrock community found out just last week: Freddy and Zu have decided to split up, Freddy has moved out and back to Canada, and Zu has decided to take a break from hosting the workouts, hence the hiring of the new workout chick.

Why did this bother me so much? I've really been trying to examine my immediate reaction of shock and devastation, and my prolonged reaction of dread that the site is basically over. I mean, I don't actually KNOW these people. It's not like they're actually my friends. They certainly don't know me from Adam. But for some reason, the idea that the seemingly rock-solid partnership that made Bodyrock so special, was ultimately as shaky and ephemeral as anything else, really cut me to the core. It's not at all on the same level, obviously, but it reminded me of my feelings immediately after my parents divorced, that somehow the fact that they were splitting up de-legitimized my entire childhood. Those feelings were reactionary and I don't feel that way anymore, but at the time I remember feeling that something fundamental about my identity had been ripped away. The way I feel about Bodyrock is kind of like that--something fundamental about the site has been changed irreparably.

I know, I know, it's just a website run by strangers who make fun, mildly porntastic workout videos. I shouldn't take it so seriously. But thinking about it, I've basically been working out with Freddy and Zuzana four or five days a week, for a year and a half. I start my day with coffee and Bodyrock. It's definitely more a part of my life than just some blog I happen to read.

(Part of me is also irrationally angry at myself, like a sorts fan who didn't wear a lucky jersey on game day and then their team lost--like, I turn away for ONE SECOND, or okay six weeks, and Freddy and Zu's whole world falls apart?! Dangit!)

No real conclusions to be drawn from this long spew of word vomit--I just wanted to introduce some of the changes to Bodyrock. Jess seems really cool, and she's really fit and great at the workouts. I enjoyed the first one she did, the Good Feeling workout, which I did tonight!

Returning to Bodyrock after a six-week hiatus? Um, yeah. Ow. Sweat. Felt like puking. I actually had to pause my gymboss at one point because I honestly thought I would barf. Breathed through it until it went away, and started back up.

This was the workout: Good Feeling

Twelve minutes of 10:50 second intervals. Here were my reps:

Ugi punch - 29/24
Frog burpee - 17/20
Side forward lunge R - 11/9
Side forward lunge L - 10/10
Sumo pushup - 19/18
Hanging Side knee raises - 13/16

Hard. I really flagged on the Ugi punch and the Frog burpees, which were a one-two punch of lethal quad burning. I don't have an Ugi or a sandbag, so I used my sledgehammer for the Ugi punch and the lunges.

All in all, I liked the workout, although it was bittersweet doing it without Zuzana talking me through it.

Back in time for the holidays!

SUP MOTHERS. So, yeah. I disappeared there for a while, to be sure. This was due to basically being so busy I barely had time for sleep, let alone blogging.

What did I do while AWOL? Well, I've been going to EMT class two nights a week and all day Sunday, plus another class Wednesday, plus doing my Moksha correspondence course, plus my full-time job, plus--oh yeah--training for a marathon. It definitely got ridiculous for a while there.

Did I run the marathon, you ask? Indeed I did! It was difficult, long, and painful, but ultimately really fun and rewarding, with a crowd of spectators that made it an incredible, memorable experience. Somewhere around Mile 20 I told myself I would never, ever run one again, but then when I finished I felt the sort of motivation one gets after a dress rehearsal--namely, now that I've done sort of a "practice" marathon, I know so much more about training and racing strategy that I want to do another one just because I think I can improve by about a million percent. But we'll see. It's the training, not the race itself, that makes me hesitate. I honestly do not believe that the training was healthy for my body and I'm wary of undergoing that kind of physical stress--not to mention the time commitment--again.

Right now the only thing on my radar is the April 2012 Tough Mudder in PA. My firefighter friends talked me into joining their team, and I am simultaneously enthused and terrified. I mean, there is FIRE. Walls to scale. Tunnels to crawl through. An ELECTRIFIED FENCE. It's all so extreme. The plus side is, training for it requires less in the way of boring, cortisol-jacking long miles of running, and much more in the way of... sprints, intervals and strength, i.e. Crossfit and Bodyrock, my two loves! So I'm looking forward to training far more than I was for the marathon (by the end of marathon training I was so goddamn bored of the miles, so exhausted, and had actually gained weight because of the cortisol + necessary carb increase, that in desperation I just did intervals on the treadmill for the last two weeks of training).

Food-wise, I've been slowly bringing myself back to normal after the three or so weeks of carb-loading I did pre-marathon. My version of carb-loading was pretty Primal-friendly, but I did let it all go a few days before and after, eating tons of white rice, rice noodles, sweet potatoes, bananas, chocolate, etc. I still managed to stay off the wheat pretty well, but it was definitely binge city. The day after the marathon was the worst. I woke up STARVING to the extent where my bran was actually fuzzy and disoriented. I went to Silver Diner and ordered the thing on the menu that seemed to have the most calories, scarfed it all, and felt much better. Then three hours later I was starving again. The cycle continued with giant meals periodically throughout the day, and me feeling like I just could NOT get enough food. I think I probably ate around 4,000 calories, all told. It was insane.

After a few days of wonkyness my eating has returned pretty much to normal. There has been a lot of pie around the fire station lately, though (part of a long-standing tradition when a probie becomes a full-fledged EMT) which has been bad for my willpower.

That's where things are, in a nutshell. I'm thrilled to be getting back to interval training and good eating. I'm scared as shit about Tough Mudder. I still have very little free time, but the marathon being done has freed up some blogging time.

(Also, I got an iPad, which makes blogging that much more fun. That might be factoring into my renewed efforts.)

The end.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Knee don't fail me

The Knee, as I've taken to calling it, is now exhibiting pain. So this morning I did the unthinkable and veered from my training schedule by skipping my 5-miler.

The plus side is that the weird loose, dislocated feeling is mostly gone. Now the knee is just crunchy when bent/extended, snappy when going upstairs or squatting, and I've got mild pain on the sides, like where the IT band connects and its medial counterpart. So it kind of feels like progress. But I'm just staying off it today. Tomorrow morning I will do a nice slow 5-miler and just see how things go, and then if all goes well I'll do my long run on Monday instead of Sunday.

The irony is, I already cut a 2-mile recovery run this week in order to scoot all runs up a day so I can change my long run day to Saturday, since I have EMT class all day Sundays. But whatever.

It's incredibly frustrating to be able to walk, work out, and even run on The Knee, but still feel like it's seconds from doom. It's like, am I being over-cautious? Should I just run through it? But then I think about how it'll be if I actually severely injure myself and I'm just too worried. I have no health insurance and EMT requires me to be able to, you know, walk and run, not to mention I will definitely be out of the marathon. If I hurt myself really badly I'm boned. On the other hand, this training schedule is tight and there's only so many runs I can skip to baby my knee before things get dire.

So as far as workouts go today, I might do today's Bodyrock this evening in between work and EMT class. We'll see how the knee feels. Food: I wasn't hungry at all this morning and have been fasting. I'm starting to feel hungry, so I think I'll go grab some Moby Dick's.

Please don't die, Knee. I need you so badly.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


WOW it's been a long time. Not that my last workout was way back in April, or anything. I just haven't been updating this blog for life reasons. But I figure it's time to get serous about things and get back into it.

Life/workout updates:

1. I went to Canada for yoga teacher training and had an amazing, life-changing experience. Truly incredible. However, that month was so physically exhausting on the yoga/brain end of things that side workouts I had planned, like keeping up my marathon training and doing a weekly Bodyrock on my day off, did not happen. I was just a zombie, physically. It was basically 4:45am - 11pm, every day but Saturday, nonstop for a month, and each of those days had 4 hours of hot yoga asana. My body literally rebelled when I tried to toss in a run here and there so I just stuck to a weekly 3-miler to at least keep my body used to the CONCEPT of running and left it at that.
2. Upon return, I got immediately back into marathon training because I'd missed a whole month. Then I promptly broke my right pinky toe. Holy shit it took forever to heal (and actually still tweaks on longer runs). I was effectively benched running-wise for another month.
3. Cue August and me starting to panic about marathon training. I put together a revised training schedule and if I stick to it EXACTLY then I might just make it through the marathon without collapsing/dying/barfing/any of the above.
4. Last week or so: right knee has decided to put up a fight about all this running. It feels both stiff and loose at the same time and snaps ominously every time I go up stairs or do a squat. There's no pain as of yet, and I have a little knee support sleeve for running now, but I am basically walking around in terror that it's going to blow at any moment. We'll see what happens.
5. Thanks to all the running and a long car trip up to Canada and back, I've made it through books 1-3 of A Song of Ice and Fire, and am now on A Feast of Crows. It's a different guy reading it all of the sudden, but he doesn't pronounce Brienne's name correctly, either (he does say Petyr right, though, that's a plus).

So, where am I at, workout-wise? Pretty bad, actually. In an effort not to completely exhaust myself, I've been running and doing yoga and that's pretty much it. I feel like I'm gaining weight, though--which makes sense, due to the increased steady state cardio and necessary carb intake that goes with it--so I've decided to start throwing in some Bodyrocks and other stuff occasionally.

No run this morning, so I took River to the dog park and came back to do a Bodyrock. Holy shit I'm out of shape. Not a month ago, I was saying on the 14 Day Challenge blog that Bodyrocks were getting easier. No more! Shit it was hard. It was 20 minutes of 10/50 second intervals, with 10 exercises in a circuit done twice. I knew I only had time to do the circuit once, and even that one time through was really fricking hard. I just felt like I had no energy. Also, there was a lot of squatting and lunging involved in this one, and all I could think about was that it was going to make my five-mile hill workout tomorrow brutal and that was going to be awful and oh god why am I putting myself through this marathon nonsense? Couple that with the terrifying snapping of my knee on each squat and it was a pretty bad workout, all told.

I followed up my workout with a shake of whey protein, a fig, frozen blueberries and strawberries, coconut milk, and an egg. In my lunchbox I packed two burgers, some romaine leaves for buns, some cheese, 3 hardboiled eggs, some baby carrots, and some greek yogurt with more berries. In case you didn't notice, my fruit intake has increased a bit form the usual. Just me trying to pack in the carbs for running in the healthiest way I can. I've also become a Cream of Rice convert. I kind of can't wait till this marathon is over and I never have to eat a carbohydrate ever again.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crossfit: Death by Tabata

I was indeed able to fit in the Crossfit WOD before my EMS shift, and I'm really glad I did, even though it was brutally hard. The workout was four tabatas back to back: pullups, situps, pushups, squats. My heart rate was sky-high and my muscles were screaming doing this workout; especially hard were the pushups, and I wasn't even doing full pushups because I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain that over 8 sets at max effort. So even with knee pushups, my reps dipped from 22 initially to about 8 or 9 by the last sets. I could only manage two or three at a time, my arms were so fatigued. The situps, which I thought would be the easiest, were also hard to the point of failure, and I switched to bicycles halfway through. Woof. HARD workout. But I felt awesome and all those squats are just money in the ass bank, baby.

In other news, I'm inordinately excited about going to Dick's tomorrow for summer running gear.

Lotsa running

This past weekend was very busy with friends, errands, and enjoying the outdoors, so I didn't get a lot of focused working out in. I did, however, do a quick 21-15-9 workout of pullups, pushups, and air squats on Saturday before I went to dinner and a movie, then a 3-mile trail run along the Potomac yesterday just before the thunderstorm. Actually, partly during the thunderstorm. It was pretty funny; the sky goes from clear blue and shining hot sun to black in a matter of minutes, and just as I come back out at the trailhead by the river (still about a mile from my house), thunder and lightning occur maybe five miles away. I start sprinting toward home. All of a sudden, the relatively clear road becomes a traffic jam of runners converging from trailheads at all sides of the park, sprinting for the hills. I had just made it to the last block before my street when the wind suddenly went crazy and pouring rain started pelting me sideways. So, I almost made it in before the storm. It was a pretty fun run.

We had an amazing Easter dinner of buffalo burgers on lettuce "buns" with bacon, tomato, and red onions. I also added thinly-sliced jalapeno that I fried in the bacon fat, plenty of sriracha chili sauce, and sliced mango. It was DELICIOUS, although it could have been even spicier. I was going for four-alarm spice and it was only at about a medium. We had mango, banana, and strawberries in coconut milk for dessert.

This morning I was up bright and early to take River to the park. Then I got back, hydrated, caffeinated, and did another 3 miles, on the park roads instead of trails this time (my shoes got really muddy yesterday). It was HOT, but that's about a billion times better than cold, so I'm not complaining.

Today's Crossfit looks awesome and the Bodyrock still isn't up, so I'll probably do Crossfit later before my rescue shift. (If I can get all my work done--I have a ton to do.) Will update later.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Workout weirdness

So today, indeed, I did not do the Bodyrock workout because it was another butt-focused one and I didn't want to tax my already-sore sweet cheeks. Instead I decided to repeat the workout I created a few weeks back, the one I could only do 2 rounds of, except doing jump rope intervals before and after. Also I was going to take a run.

However, for some reason, the fates/Force/Lords of Kobol/Lady Gaga conspired to prevent this from happening. Cue an evening of severe frustration. Work went too late to take River to the dog park, so I figured, okay, I'll take her on my run for her evening exercise instead. River is unfortunately in a phase where she just WILL NOT RUN NICELY. She yanks the WHOLE time. She walks on the leash just fine, but running she is HOPELESS. She's just too excited to be out and about running with mommy, and she goes insane, as only a cooped-up border collie can. So about five minutes into our run, I said a great big "well fuck THAYIS" and just walked her two miles for her exercise. I was really, really annoyed that I therefore could not get my run in, because my legs felt really fresh and I was anticipating a good, fast run.

Then I got back to my place, fed River, and started the workout I had created. Only to have my jumprope break about thirty seconds into the first interval. GAH. I spent about twenty minutes trying fruitlessly to fix it, failed, and by then it was 8:30 and we still had not had dinner. With great noises of frustration I went ahead and made dinner, promising myself that since I had to stay up late to work anyway, I might as well break up the work with an exercise break later on, after my dinner digested.

This plan was well-conceived but a little sketchy on the execution. We had a nice dinner of grassfed sirloin steaks with broccoli, and berries and coconut milk for dessert. This took longer than I had anticipated to digest. I was also nursing some slight stomach upset left over from yesterday. So I waited patiently, watching Thursday night TV and doing my work, until I felt like I could work out. At 1:30am.

Yes, indeed, I just did a workout--outside, no less!--at 1:30 in the morning. I just couldn't let the day go without working out. Just couldn't. I feel good about it. No guesses as to how my sleep will be (as of now, I'm wired).

Here's what I did:

For time:
400 meter run
21 KB swings, pushups, chair dips
400 meter run
15 KB swings, pushups, chair dips
400 meter run
9 KB swings, pushups, chair dips

My time: 16:48

I could have done this much faster, and really didn't push this workout--it was definitely taxing, and my HR was nice and high, but I made my way through it at sort of a medium pace rather than balls-out. Also I had Born This Way blasting on my ipod and I was taking lots of dance breaks. Whatever, it was 1 in the morning, no one was watching.

Tomorrow will certainly be a run in the morning, some yoga, and Bodyrock.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bodyrock: My Buns Hurt

Whoops, have forgotten to update the blog in several days. I think it's because I've been doing a lot of running, and while I like it, it's not really a scintillating workout deserving of all kind of blog space. Anyway, yeah, I ran Saturday and Monday. Monday I also did a super-fast interval workout: 5 rounds of 10 pushups, 10 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. I had to squeeze it in after my run and before showering quick and running to my EMS shift.

Yesterday I did nothing because I felt like I was coming down with a cold, and my mom is sick, so I just rested. I did take River for a long walk, though. Mostly because I didn't feel like driving to the dog park. I was bushed.

Today I did Bodyrock's My Buns Hurt workout. It was hard in a cardio sort of way, and my legs really burned during the workout, but I didn't feel wrecked after or really sore hours later. Maybe I'm actually--gasp--improving my fitness? NO WAY

Here is the link to the workout. It was in four parts:

Part 1 - Sandbag lunge back and press up & squat leg lift
Jesus that's a long title. Anyway, this involved starting in a half-squat, lunging back on one leg while lifting your sandbag above your head, returning to the start position, and then lifting the lunging leg to the side 90 degrees. That's one rep. Do 40 reps for time, alternating legs.
My time: 4:48

Part 2 - Rocket launchers
This was fun. Basically you're in a squat the whole time and you jump your feet together, then back out, then back in, and after the third jump you jump up into the air, straight body. Then on the next rep it's out, in, out. Keep alternating thusly. This was intervals, 15 seconds on/5 seconds rest. Sweat was really starting to pour by the end of this.
Reps: 6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 5, 6

Part 3 - Kick ups
I love/hate these. This particular workout had us doing the weird turny crawl thing that Zuzana's been incorporating lately, and I did it at first but then stopped because I just didn't have the room to do it properly. So I just stayed in the crab position and took couple seconds of rest between each set of 5 kick ups. I actually felt like it was harder that way. My arms were killing me, holding me up that long. This was 20 sets for time.
My time: 3:51

Part 4 - Holy eff OW (...I mean, Jump Lunges/Mountain Climbers)
As Zuzana promised, this was total burnout. If you watch the video of her doing the workout, she stops many times and whimpers, "Ow ow ow!" It's ROUGH. It's 10/10 second intervals back to back, no rest, going from jump lunges to mountain climbers. I wanted to die. Also I had no way of keeping track of my reps without a rest period but suffice it to say, I was pouring sweat and my heart rate was through the roof by the end of this. And it was only 4 minutes (12 intervals)!

Food this whole week has been great. With my mom on Whole30, I've been cooking awesome dinners for us, and haven't had any real trouble sticking to it. Tonight I didn't even have dinner, I just had an omelette early in the day and then a shake after my workout.

Tomorrow I may do Crossfit because the Bodyrock workout looks like more glutes stuff and I don't want to overtax the bum.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bodyrock: Hot in Here

It's definitely warming up in the nation's capital, thank goodness. Although we are supposed to get rain tonight and tomorrow morning... but that's okay, because I've had a couple nice days of sunshine and running.

Today I took River to the dog park for a good two hours in the morning. I just sat on the bench and read (I'm in the middle of Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, which is fascinating) while she romped around with the dogs. Then when we got back in the car, I realized that the sun is strong enough already to wreak havoc on my skin. I have really weird skin that freckles only on my face and tans like crazy on the rest of my body. After sitting in the mid-morning sun for two hours my skin was cray-cray freckled. Thankfully they fade pretty fast, but I immediately hightailed it to the Whole Foods for a) the week's meat shopping and b) a good all-natural face sunscreen, for those days when I don't wear makeup (my makeup has SPF but since I work from home a lot I rarely wear it). I grabbed a Kiss My Face sunscreen with SPF 50 and called it a day. I don't know how much I believe that SPF 50 is any better than your typical SPF 15 or 30, but whatever, it smells nice and it didn't wear off when I went running later. I'm super picky about what I put on my face, so all in all, a good buy.

My run was nice. Two miles in bright afternoon sunshine. For some reason, my calves were really tight and tired, but it was still a relatively easy run. However, my new Nike sport watch is just not working out. I initially had a different one that worked perfectly, but I exchanged it for a different color, and now this one is just a lemon. The distance is NEVER right, no matter how many times I calibrate it. And the distance being wrong throws off all the other measurements. It's essentially useless. I'm returning it and just using the Nike + on my ipod as a stopgap until the Nike GPS watch finally comes out (SERIOUSLY, when will this be available to purchase?! It's been forever since it was announced, and now it's only available in the UK--WTF?!).

In more tech news, my ipod shuffle finally died. It just won't hold a charge anymore. Two years, people, two years. I think that's pretty damn good for a device the size of my thumb that cost me 50 bucks, and that I have put through ridiculous amounts of rain, sweat, heat, and freezing cold. Tomorrow will see me at the Apple store purchasing one of those new touchscreen nanos, which I'm ambivalent about because the tiny touchscreen is annoying to use while running, but I really want the radio, pedometer, and Nike + integration that it offers. Also, I have to admit that now that I'm more into listening to podcasts and books on tape while I run, having a way to actually access my song listings, rather than just the shuffle button, is key. It is dang hard to tell where you are in a book when the shuffle starts up.

Hanyway. When I got back from my run, I did today's awesome workout courtesy of Here's the link to the workout so you can look at it. Explaining her moves is hard sometimes.

Part 1: Sandbag Step Ups Combo
Take your sandbag, hoist it onto your right shoulder. Step onto the chair next to you and back down the other side. Complete three of these step ups. Then, when you've stepped down the third time, extend your right leg behind you into a lunge, sink down, then bring your knee to your chest. Do that three times. Switch the sandbag to your other shoulder. That's one set. The workout was 20 sets for time, switching shoulders and active legs on each set.
My time: 6:42
Z's time: 7:59
I absolutely do not count this as a win because I'm pretty sure her sandbag is 5x heavier than mine. Mine is totally makeshift right now, as I have not yet procured the rice I'll fill my bag with, and instead just wrapped my two 5lb dumbbells in a couple towels and stuffed them inside the bag. So it's only like 12 lb, tops. This round was basically not that hard, and I could definitely have done a lot more weight. I'll be visiting the international food store tomorrow for some giant bags of rice.

Part 2: Pike Jumps & Pushups Combo
Start in sort of a loose down dog with your hands on your mat and your feet together beside one edge of the mat. Jump and kick your legs to the other side of the mat, back and forth three times. Then do two traveling pushups. That's one set. This is hard to explain so just go watch her do it on Bodyrock. The round was 6 30:10 second intervals, doing as many sets as possible in the 30 seconds and resting the 10 seconds. This was fricking hard and I had to switch to knee pushups halfway through because my arms were just burning too much.
My sets per interval: 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 2
Z's sets per interval: 5, 3.5, 3, 3, 2.5, 2.5. Yeah, she's a beast. I have no earthly clue how she squeezed 5 sets into a measly 30 seconds. And I'm certain she didn't take any rests mid-interval like I did.

Part 3: Crab Toe Touches
Start in a crab-walking position. Reach one leg up to the sky while reaching the opposite arm to touch the toe. Alternate back and forth. This round was 50 reps for time. It was hard. My arms literally gave out and sent me crashing to the ground twice.
My time: 2:09
Z's time: 1:36

Another really fun, hard, great workout! Thanks, Bodyrock.

For dinner I made trouts baked with ghee, herbs, and lemon, with bacon-wrapped asparagus on the side. I also had a protein shake post-workout.

Tomorrow it's supposed to rain. I might do Bodyrock, might do Crossfit, probably won't run. We shall see.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bodyrock: Yeah!

Oh Zuzana. Ow.

Like I said last night, it was heartening to see that even Zuzana's perfect little self had to take gasping rests during this insane workout. I sure had to take rests, too. But I didn't skip a single interval, didn't shorten any reps. I did the whole workout. Whoo! This is what it was:

Part 1:
Pushup and Monkey Kick, 30 reps for time
This was a one-two set of basically a burpee followed by spinning your crouched body around and kicking the opposite leg in an arc behind you. Go here to watch the video and see what I'm talking about, because it's hard to explain. The 30 reps were actually less difficult than I was anticipating, but still really hard.
My time: 4:48
Z's time: 3:42

Part 2:
Cartwheel and Mountain Climber, 5:10 second intervals, 24 sets
You do a full cartwheel (that takes up the 5 seconds) and then do 10 seconds of Mountain Climbers. This was REALLY BRUTAL. Thankfully, due to childhood gymnastics, I've always been able to do a perfect cartwheel, but around... oh... set 15-ish of the mountain climbers, my arms were shaking so hard that when I lifted up into the cartwheel I was worried I was going to crash back down and break my neck. Thankfully this didn't happen, but on the last five or so sets, I definitely only did about 7 of the 10 seconds, gasping the last three seconds until the next cartwheel.
24 sets = 6 minutes.

Part 3:
3x Jump Lunge and Front Kick, 50 reps for time
ABUH THIS WAS SO HARD! You start in a lunge and jump, switching legs to a lunge on the other side, repeat two more times. Then with the leg that's behind you, you kick forward and up into a high kick. 50 REPS! Dear Christ. I took a ten-second breather every 10 reps, and nearly cried when I finished, I was so happy to be done.
My time: 6:14
Z's time: 7:43 YYYEAAAAHHH I BEAT ZUZANA! Nevermind that she was probably going twice as deep in her lunges and twice as high in her kick. I'm still calling that a win.

All in all, the Yeah! workout was really difficult, I sweated my ass off, and I feel awesome now. Time for the dog park with River!

In food news, my mom really wants to do Whole30. Any interest she has in eating better/exercising is something I want to cultivate, so I told her I'd do Whole30 again with her. We're starting tomorrow (I have to go grocery shopping). I had no real problem doing it the first time around and really appreciated the benefits; I definitely enjoyed this past week of cheats like chocolate and cheese, but all in all, I'm glad to get back to super-clean eating. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Damn you pistol squats

Yesterday, thankfully, was a Crossfit rest day, so I took a rest day, too. It was actually more than just a relief, it was completely necessary, as my thighs were so thrashed from the pistol squats I did that I could barely walk. Today was the same, with the hobbling and screeching in pain whenever I needed to bend for anything. I was planning on doing a Bodyrock workout, but quickly realized that my thighs need a but more downtime. So instead, I muddled through an easy 2-miler just now, and I'll do my 100 Pushups Challenge pushups tonight, walk River, and call things kosher.

Tomorrow's Bodyrock (actually it's today's, but I'll be doing it tomorrow) looks BRUTAL. At one point Zuzana collapses, just breathing, and squeaks out, "This is really hard!" I'm excited. It involves cartwheels.

Eating the past couple days has been weird. Technically it hasn't been too terrible, it just feels terrible because I've been so diligently Whole30-ing it for the past month. I had some dark chocolate and some cheese last night, and today I've had almost nothing, just nibbled on some more dark chocolate and cheese (this stuff was in the house because my mom wanted a pig-out night). I'm not really hungry and don't think I'll have dinner. So far the readdition of cheese into my diet has caused no problems. I still don't think I'll make it a habit, and I definitely don't see milk, cream and yogurt as things I'll be eating on the regular ever again.

In other news, did I mention my legs hurt? OW

Monday, April 11, 2011

Strength, strength, strength

I keep coming across new reasons why I need to build strength. Like my ever-bigger lab puppy trying to yank away from me on her leash. Or tonight, hauling a stretcher up a flight of stairs, and back down with a patient, at two different calls. That shit is heavy. Like, my arms shake and I'm near failure kind of heavy. This just motivates me to work harder on my strength. It's not just about looking good. It's about being able to DO shit.

Today after work I chose my puppy over myself and forewent my run in order to walk her a mile before my shift. However, I did indeed have time to fit in a 21-15-9 rep workout of pullups, pistol squats, and handstands (again, just holding it against the wall while counting). Good, short workout, and I could definitely feel the effects in my back, arms and legs while climbing and jumping in and out of the ambulance tonight.

Tomorrow is going to be a really busy work day, but my plan is to get in a run and some yoga nonetheless.

I think it's time to call this horse dead

Yeah, I'm not even going to pretend anymore, I'm done with P90X.

I just find it immensely boring and sort of a time-waster. True, I'm seeing results. But I also see results from doing shorter HIIT workouts and Crossfit WODs, and those are more fun, and I feel like they build more functional ability rather than just tone muscles and burn fat.

Also, I'm getting more into marathon training and having a lot of fun with it (still not doing really long distances, just working on setting up a weekly habit of mileage runs, hill repeats, and speedwork). And I just don't have the time in my day to squeeze in the hour-plus that P90X requires, when I'm already doing a half hour-ish of marathon training and an hour of yoga.

And I can't keep saying this enough: it's not FUN. Crossfit is fun. Bodyrock is fun. Running is fun. Yoga is both fun and makes my ADD brain quiet down for sixty precious minutes. P90X? Not fun. Boring. Irritating. Effective, but that's not enough of a dealbreaker for me.

SO I'm back to my shorter, more intense workout style, using mostly bodyweight, and sometimes my kettlebell, jumprope, or "medicine box" (jumbo kitty litter jug filled with rice, which I use for medicine ball moves).

Let's talk about the weekend. Saturday I went to class and then did the Crossfit WOD, which thankfully was suited to a speed workout in the marathon-training category:

Run 1600m
Rest 3m
Run 1200m
Rest 2m
Run 800m
Rest 1m
Run 400m

4K total, and my time was 21:12. Really fun. My last 400m was like running on cement legs, but I still pushed it.

Sunday I went over to Arwen's place for some workout/food fun. We went to a local park and did a Crossfit-style workout I pretty much made up. It was:

3 rounds, 40:20 second intervals
Kettlebell swings (20lb)
Jump rope (my jump rope fucking sucks and we basically struggled to make it work the whole time)
Chair dips (on a park bench)
Box jumps (again, park bench)

About a minute rest between sets

It was hard, not so hard we were dying or anything, and I feel we could have easily done another round at the end. But it was quite effective. I can feel it in my back and arms today. Including our warmup (a light jog around the park), it took us about 24 minutes. I was pretty happy with my pushups: my sets were 20, 20, 16, and I maxed out each time at around 12. 12 pushups in a row two months ago would have been madness. So, thank you, P90X.

Then we went to Trader Joe's and stocked up on taco ingredients, and came back to the house to make steak and chicken tacos (lettuce wraps, really) with slaw and cheese sauce. I also indulged with a beer and some gluten-free brownies Ar made. As much as I enjoyed Whole30, and feel it did me some real good, it's nice to have the freedom to indulge the 20 to my 80 now. When I know I can let go a little bit on the weekends, my weeks are so strict and good eating-wise and it's not hard to stay on the straight and narrow.

Today will see an easy mileage run, some bodyweight work (I'm thinking I'll work on my prime weaknesses, i.e. pistol squats, clapping pushups, handstands, and pullups), and my overnight shift at the rescue squad. It's supposed to rain tonight, so everyone in Loudoun County, could you please drive carefully so I can get a full night's sleep? That would be amazing. Two weeks in a row would be a phenomenon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tacos, Crossfit and marathon training

Hooray! After a solid three days of feeling like shit (and a very uncharacteristic chocolate binge last night that extended into this morning), today saw me perking up and back to my old self by the end of my workout. If you're a man reading this blog, I apologize in advance for the next paragraph, and maybe skip over it while thanking the Force you don't have lady parts.

JESUS CHRIST, the older I get (and it's not like I'm even close to what could be termed "not young", so I've got a long road of this ahead of me), the worse my special lady friend, as I like to call it, gets. It's getting to the point where I am straight knocked on my ass for like two days before and the first three days of it. I have a couple days of feeling bloated and like a truck hit me, a day of feeling like I'm going to vomit if I even smell food (and I lay around all day trying not to vomit), and then a couple days of cramps and more nausea, all the while SO TIRED and lacking energy that it's a struggle to even get out of bed, let alone work out. Also I cry at the drop of a hat. Like if anyone even mentions children or small animals. IT'S TERRIBLE. I HATE IT. Okay, rant over, because it's really pretty redundant to rant about how much the special lady friend sucks, but CHRIST.

However, my month of Whole30 has cut my junk cravings so completely that with this month's SLF visit, I didn't totally break the bank with eating shit. Yesterday I had three dates with salt sprinkled on top pre-workout, which sounds innocuous, but dates are 15 grams of sugar each, and usually I only have a single salty date pre-workout if I'm taking a long run or feeling especially tired. Then in the evening I binged on dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds from Trader Joe's. I know, not so bad, but a pretty carby day, and having gone from eating zero sugar besides thrice-weekly sweet potatoes (I didn't even eat a single piece of fruit last month), I'm sure my insulin was like WTF YOU BITCH. Then this morning, I finished off the chocolate pom seeds for breakfast. SO BAD. So unlike me. But that's the nature of the special lady friend. At least I didn't have a donut, and all things considered, I feel okay about it all. Thank you, Whole30.

I forgot to take pictures of last night's dinner and update the blog afterward, but WOW my dinner was so delicious. If you've ever been to Austin, Texas, you have undoubtedly had the pleasure of visiting the following:

Torchy's Tacos is basically the greatest restaurant ever conceived by man. It's not especially healthy (unless you don't eat the tortillas, in which case it's actually pretty good because there's no rice and beans and it's all fresh whole foods), but it's DELICIOUS and cheap. They have a zillion different kinds of really creative tacos and they all taste like heaven. After several Torchy's trips during which I made it my mission to try every single taco on the menu, I narrowed down my #1 favorite to the Crossroads and my #2 favorite to the Brush Fire. Whenever I visit Austin (and I will be moving there quite soon--yay!), I make it a point to eat at Torchy's every single day and work out extra hard to make up for it.

So last night, in the midst of the deleterious effects of my SLF, I was craving Torchy's so hardcore. (Again, at least I wasn't craving doughnuts.) I decided to try to recreate some Torchy's right here in boring-ass old Northern VA. I made two kinds of tacos: my best attempt at the Crossroads, with pre-cooked brisket from Trader Joe's that I simmered in Mexican spices and vinegar for a while, and some fish tacos using the Garlic & Chile fresh halibut fillets from TJ's, with a creamy lime-paprika dressing and homemade vinegar slaw. Instead of tortillas, I used big romaine pieces. I also added fresh minced jalapeno to both


I ate six of those fuckers. Sweet holy Skywalker, it was satisfying. Not nearly as good as the real thing, but good enough that it made me really happy. And I actually still stuck to the dairy-free thing: the creamy lime dressing was something I whipped up myself, using homemade olive oil/ghee mayonnaise mixed with coconut milk, lime juice, vinegar, and paprika.

Today I woke up still feeling a bit poopy (actually I slept in ridiculously late, and it's not like I chose to snooze that long--my body literally did not wake up until nearly noon--DAMN you SLF!), and I felt nauseous yet still chocolate-craving, so like I said, I polished off those chocolate pom seeds. Then I had a ginormous pot of coffee and worked until just about an hour ago, when I was feeling a bit normal again.

Workout today: Hill repeats (part of marathon training) and the Crossfit WOD.

I warmed up by completing two sets of the following circuit: gently jog 400m, do some P90X-style Military Marching and Knee Raises, some Mary Katherine lunges, and 20 jumping jacks. Really good warmup.

Hill repeats are accomplished on the big hill right behind my house. It's an increasingly quite steep grade, and running up it and back down again is a .15 mile distance. It takes me about a minute-thirty, on average, to run up and back down. What I do is alternate sprinting the repeat and just running the repeat at race pace, with about a minute of rest in between each repeat. I do as many as I can in 20 minutes. It's a hard, fun workout, the weather was GORGEOUS today, and I had a great time. I got in 8 repeats in 20 minutes.

Then I came inside and did the Crossfit WOD, which was 21-15-9 of handstand pushups, ring dips, and pushups, for time. Modifications: I cannot do a handstand pushup, and can barely do a handstand, so instead I hold a handstand against the wall for as many seconds as reps are called for. Also, I don't have rings. So I substitute chair dips. Pushups I do full, but I take breaks in child's pose when I hit failure. I did the whole workout with these modifications (and I was actually really proud of my pushups form and stamina) in 11:14.

I followed up the workout with a glass of coconut water and my usual protein shake, only I was running low on spinach and used some frozen kale instead. Discovery: I can actually make the kale palatable (i.e. blended finely enough, with which a shitty blender is difficult) by just blending it for a REALLY long time. You just have to be patient, and then it's great.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Phase 2 - Day 3

Uuuuuuugh I am hating P90X. I don't know if it's just my mood today, or if I've completely hit the wall with how long the workout takes/how annoying Tony is, but it took everything I had to get through Back and Biceps just now. Lately I'm looking at the P90X for the day and thinking "Guuuuuuuuh... an hour and ten minutes... let's just do the Crossfit WOD and call it a fucking day." Part of me is really resisting P90X and I'm not sure why, because I'm seeing results. It definitely works. It just takes a huge chunk out of your day and is BORING.

Back and Biceps is sort of like Shoulders and Arms in that it's really isolated movements targeting specific body parts. So, lots of curls and pullups, and many variations of both. It's both hard and mind-numbingly boring.

I had a two-mile run beforehand, for which the weather was nice but I felt really tired.

I have no idea what tomorrow's P90X will bring. If I'm in this same mood I'm not even gonna do it, just gonna do a fast interval workout. I'm also doing the 100 Pushups Challenge over on the Mark's Daily Apple boards, so that's fun.

Today is sort of blah, if you can't tell from this incredibly unmotivated blog post. But I do have a really great dinner planned! I'll update later if it goes as it's supposed to.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Aaaand derailed

Well, I can tell you right now there won't be any P90Xing today. I was waylaid by my boss for three hours, then when I got home, I discovered that River had had a little gastrointestinal issue all over her crate, requiring me to give her a bath, scrub out the crate, and launder all her bedding. Now I'm (blogging) trying to finish up a piece of work with enough time left to maybe take River for a run, or do a quick interval workout, either, or both.

P90X will be done tomorrow after I sleep in, go to the office for a quick meeting, come back, and sleep some more.

Weekend of crazy

This was a fun weekend. Thankfully, I actually got in most of the working out I had planned to finish off Recovery Week, even though I was suddenly and unexpectedly busy. Guess what I didn't do, though?*

Friday I finished off the week with a 15-minute burpee chinups session (I can't actually do a dead hang chinup, so the jumping up from the burpee helps), then an hour of yoga. Felt great.

Saturday morning I took River for a nice easy 3-miler. No hills, no worries about speed, just smooth ambling along. My pace was slow and the run was highly relaxing.

Then I stopped by the fire station to sign my County insurance forms, and lo and behold, my Monday night crew was there on their 24-hour shift (we have to do one 24-hour shift every seventh week). I wasn't officially supposed to start until today, but they were like, oh who cares, come run with us tonight! So I did. It was awesome. It was actually a pretty busy night, but we were able to squeeze in dinner at Dave's Famous BBQ (I had a salad and tried to keep things as Whole30 as possible, but it's clear that my EMT shifts are going to have to be the 20 to the rest of the week's 80, because these people eat like shit and the captain chooses where we go. Apparently there is a lot of hitting up the 7-eleven and cramming Slim Jims down their throats [that's what she said] between calls. That kind of thing). Thankfully, the night was pretty quiet after about 1am, and our sleep in the bunks was largely undisturbed.

Sunday morning I got back around 6:30 and went back to bed for a few hours. Then I got some food at Silver Diner, took River to the dog park, did some random shopping, and went to my dad's place to have dinner (I didn't actually eat his food because his idea of a meal is pasta topped with potatoes, beans, and tofu). We watched The Social Network and listened to some new banjo music he found.

Today I have a 6pm-6am EMT shift, so I'm going to squeeze in whatever P90X workout I'm supposed to do (today begins Phase 2!) and then settle in for the night at the station. A shift is in and of itself a bit of a workout. Lots of running, climbing in and out of the rig, carrying the stretcher up and down stairs, and hauling giant heavy bags of supplies and a heart monitor.

Will probably update later with a review of the P90Xing.

*If you guessed Core Synergistics, you win a pound of bacon! That's right, I just never got around to doing this workout, and I don't feel bad about it. I'm pretty sure the workouts I did instead were more effective and I KNOW they were about 5000% more fun.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Food Porn

I just made myself this gigantic plate of food (first meal of the day; I generally don't eat before noon).

That's three pieces of the baked curry chicken thighs left over from last night, two bacon-wrapped asparagus pieces also left over from last night, and today's Morning Mashup (haters to the left, that's what I'm calling it) of grassfed beef, spinach, onions, and cayenne pepper sardines, cooked in ghee with a little salt and TJ's 21 Seasoning Salute (heretofore known as 21SS because that is a bitch-ass long name to type).

A veritable SHITLOAD of food. Guess how much I was able to eat?

That's right, bitchezz! All of it. I'm now not-uncomfortably stuffed and will probably just have my post-workout protein shake for dinner, then call it a night.

OMG, though. I'm really concerned about all the saturated fat I just ate. I can feel my arteries clogging as I type. And even not a single whole grain, you know, for heart health. Clearly I'm going to be dead in a week. (ahem... note the date.)

2011 NYC Barefoot Run

Officially registered for the 2011 NYC Barefoot Run this morning! Last year looked like a ton of fun and I was bummed to be stuck in Canada where there is no cheapo Chinatown Bus to ferry me into Manhattan along with the rest of the broke college kids and unwashed backpackers of the world.

If you register by April 10, you get a $10 discount. Really, at $65, a weekend lecture intensive followed by a run and a party, in New York of all places, is a freaking steal. I've paid 65 bucks just to run 5K with a bunch of strangers for 25 minutes.

Go here to register.

As I told Arwen this morning, I will, btw, be running this in Vibrams. It's New York City (well, Governor's Island, but still). I'm not that brave.

In other non-workout-related news, I'm beginning the process of "weaning myself off the bean", as my yoga instructors call it, in prep for the teacher training this summer. We have to sign a contract saying we won't drink, smoke, druggify, or ingest stimulants like caffeine for the whole thirty days. Thankfully there is no such contract for meat eating, although I will be surrounded by militant yogi vegetarians/vegans and will probably have to get my steak requirements in under the radar, or risk ostracizing (the yoga community, as much as I love and am a part of it, is generally not so good about sticking to the non-judgment yama--bitches can be judgy). Anyway, back to my original point about caffeine: I've suspected for a while that's it's more a matter of the daily coffee ritual than the actual caffeine I am addicted to, so to begin to get off caffeine, I've switched to green tea and decaf coffee in the mornings. We'll see how this goes. I'm giving myself two whole months for the weaning, so really, there's no way I can fail, right? Ha.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Phase 1 - Day 25 cont'd

Hahahaha. No. Just no.

I don't know why I have such an immense mental block about doing Core Synergistics. I think it's that it looks boring, I'm sick of Tony, and I never seem to have a free hour-plus to spend on it.

Tonight, I once again rejected the concept of core synergizing, and did another Crossfit-esque workout I made up. This was what I came up with:

5 rounds for time:
400 meter run
10 pushups
50 jump ropes
20 chair dips
20 kettlebell swings

I did the workout out on my patio and before I started mapped out 400 meters around my condo parking lot. I figured I would be done in about fifteen minutes. This was a vast overestimation of my fitness ability, because in 12:50, I had just gasped my way through two rounds and was shaking. As dinner was literally waiting to be eaten in the kitchen, and I was seriously questioning my ability to even walk inside, let alone do another round, I went ahead and stopped at 2 rounds and finished up with a little ab routine of 25 situps, 25 scissor legs, and 25 mason twists.

I think I'm going to do this workout every week as a way of keeping track of fitness gains. My goal is to get to five rounds, period, forget about time. Once I get to five rounds then I'll start trying to beat my time. I'm sure there are more well-rounded circuit workouts I could use (this one is pretty heavy on arms), but whatever.

So, no Core Synergistics, once again. Who wants to place bets on whether I'll actually do Core Synergistics at all during recovery week?

Phase 1 - Day 25

Whoooops. Forgot to update Ye Olde Blog.

This week is Recovery Week, which as I said in my previous post is basically lots of yoga and Core Synergistics. Sad fact: I have yet to actually do Core Synergistics. I took a rest day Monday because my entire lower half was screaming from the Legs and Back workout on Sunday (and honestly, I was due one anyway), then Tuesday started with Yoga X (not really, I did my own 90-minute sequence).

Yesterday I was supposed to do Core Synergistics, but I got mildly caught up at work, and then when I was all changed into my workout clothes and ready to start, I looked at the workout and JESUS it's more than an hour long and it looks like fully half of it is Tony blathering between sets. I'm not disputing the workout's effectiveness; I'm sure it's great. But I just did not have it in me to waste that much time with Tony.

So instead, I did a Crossfit-style workout that ended up being really fun, and still "recovery"-ish, i.e. no balls-out cardio circuits. It comprised:

3 rounds, 40:20 second work/rest intervals
Kettlebell swings
Wall handstands
Wide front pullups
Toes to bar
Knee to elbow planks (get in plank position holding yourself up on your elbows, then bring your knee to touch the opposite elbow, hop the leg back while doing the same with the other knee, back and forth)

I also finished up with five negative pullups, each five seconds long. As you can probably tell, I'm really trying to work on my shoulder and back strength. I WANT THOSE PULLUPS. And handstand pushups, for that matter, but before I start building those I need to be able to, you know, do a handstand.

It was a great workout, about 20 minutes in length including the warmup and the negatives at the end. The toes-to-bar are REALLY hard for me and require breaking through sort of a fear thing--it's simply WEIRD to tip my body back far enough that my toes come up to the bar, and the first few times I tried it I failed not because of lack of strength but because I got to the "WHOA NELLY" point and just dropped. This time, I was able to get in 7 the first round, 5 the second round, and 5 the third round, with my quads and forearms being the failure points. I finished up the 40 seconds of each round with hanging knee raises if I couldn't do any more toes-to-bar.

Let's talk about food. This week has been great, with the exception of last night. Last night my mom wanted Chipotle and I was taking River to the dog park anyway, so I said I'd stop by Chipotle on my way back. Once I was actually in line, though, I started trying to put together what I was going to eat, and I realized that Chipotle is sort of off limits for me at this point. Let's look at what I eat:

Tortilla: Hell no (easily fixed by getting a burrito bowl, but let's continue anyway)
Rice: Nope
Beans: No
Meat: Hell yes
Peppers and onions: Yes, except Chipotle's are cooked in veg oil so they'd be kind of a cheat
Salsa: Only the ones without corn
Cheese: No
Sour cream: Nope
Guacamole: Yes

So, all in all, I would have been paying 8 bucks (guac is extra) for a bowl of a small serving of meat, a few PUFA-rich peppers and onions, some salsa, and a dollop of guacamole. Didn't seem financially prudent. Chipotle has officially joined the ranks of once-in-a-blue-moon cheat meals for me, along with 5 Guys burgers and Subway.

Instead, I got my mom's burrito made and then went next door to the "Kabob Palace" (really, that choice was my first big mistake), where I ordered beef and lamb kabobs with salad, no rice. The food was good, but was cooked in something that gave me a terrible tummy reaction and I spent much of American Idol, to put it as delicately as possible, occupado en el bano. My fault, really. I should know by now not to venture out of my restaurant comfort zone. New rule: If I don't know for sure what ingredients and cooking oils they're using back in the kitchen, I'm not fricking eating it.

Today, to make up for the tummy upset, I fasted until about 1:00 and spent the morning working. Then I took River to the dog park at around 11, and afterward hit up Whole Foods, the international food store (for River's food), and a small natural health food store nearby (mostly just to check it out). Whole Foods... bless you. They have by far the most affordable/healthiest/most sustainable meat options out there. I'm also vastly appreciative of the ranking system they have for animal treatment of all their meats. I can root through the packaged stuff till I find a 4 or a 5 and get the rest of what I need directly from the butcher. So I picked up a package of chicken thighs (making baked curry chicken tonight), a couple of grassfed beef shanks, and some ground grassfed beef. I also got some organic coconut oil, a couple tins of sardines, and some coconut waters.

The natural foods store was pretty lame... terrible selection and most of it is cheaper at Whole Foods anyway. Their selection of protein powders was terrible and insanely overpriced. But they did have coconut butter, which is delicious and which I have to stop myself from devouring ala a pint of ice cream, as well as local organic eggs. And a pretty good pick of Yogi Teas (I love Yogi Teas and it seems like I can never find a store that has more than one or two kinds). I got a green tea meant for muscle recovery.

Then the REALLY great find was at the international food store, which I usually only go to for River's food (giant selection of organ meats, offal, and meaty bones), but as I was perusing the aisles I decided to see what kinds of cooking oils they sold. Sure enough, there was a good selection of coconut and palm oils (although I wouldn't buy them because the packages don't say whether they're hydrogenated or not and I don't trust it). And nestled in among the oils? BIG JARS OF PURE GHEE. For like four bucks. I was thrilled.

Got home, put everything away, and then made myself a lunch mashup of grassfed beef, bacon, sweet pepper slices, onions, eggs, and mini heirloom tomatoes, all cooked in ghee. I also had some of the muscle recovery tea with a spoonful of coconut oil mixed in, and a couple sinful spoonfuls of the coconut butter (that stuff is freaking amazing).

Today I have forsworn to actually do Core Synergistics. I will. I really will. Also there will be yoga.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Before/After Pics

I was just having a conversation over IM with Arwen about before/after pictures, and I have to say, I'm not sure if I'm ever going to post my Before pics that I took three weeks ago. I'm taking more pictures this Friday, which is Day 30, and I'm expecting a hugely noticeable difference in the way I look, but the Before pics are TERRIBLE. I mean, I look worse than I've ever looked in my whole life. It's horrifying to think of posting them. I'll have to ruminate on it some more before I can talk myself into it.

Also, Insanity, you're kind of lame! Beachbody has this thing where if you send in your before/after pics after doing Insanity, they send you this awesome shirt. Which Arwen wants, (hell, I want it too), and will totally deserve after doing 90 days of that tough-as-shit workout. But it turns out you have to send in all this stuff, like the receipt, proof of purchase, a picture of the contents of the box, your credit card statement... highly lame! Naturally, she didn't keep a lot of that stuff.

I think we should make our own shirts when this is all over.

Phase 1 - Day 20 and 21

This weekend was really busy, but I had time to wrap up week 3 of P90X and get in some fun time as well.

Saturday I was supposed to do either Legs and Back or Rest/X Stretch. The weather was super gorgeous, though, and I knew it was supposed to snow Sunday, so I decided to make Saturday the Rest/X Stretch day so that I could take advantage of the sunny but cold weather with a run.

I should state that to me, Rest/X Stretch just means I don't do P90X that day--I do yoga anyway and I'm not going to sit through an hour of stretching with Tony babbling away at me.

So yeah, I had a nice run. My muscles are generally so tired from P90X that my runs these days are more like painful, slow slogs, but it's still nice to get out there. I just absolutely LOVE the trails by where I live. They're nice asphalt paths, and they're in among the trees enough that you get pretty scenery, but close enough to the roads that it's not secluded and dangerous to run alone.

Now that I've nearly completed a month of P90X and my muscles should be pretty used to the extra effort, I'm going to build back up my weekly mileage and do the Saturday long run like I used to, so that I'm not off-track with my marathon training. It's funny, it seems SO far away, yet I know that if I lapse in training it's going to be a bitch to get it together later. So right now I have to just make the effort to maintain, until it's time to ramp it up in the summer.

Sunday dawned snowy and cold. The snow was melted by like 8am, though. But the frigid cold and wind remained. Fuck running in that nonsense. I'm just not one of those "neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night" die-hard runners, and I never will be. I like running because it's enjoyable. Add in freezing cold 20-mph gusts? Not. Enjoyable.

So instead I went over to Arwen (who is simultaneously doing Insanity over here--actually, she's about a month ahead of me) and Dan's house of funtimes, and we did our workouts together in the basement. Legs and Back is probably the slowest-paced of the P90X workouts--mostly because Tony fritters away, I don't know, A MILLION minutes jabbering about random shit between sets, to the point where I'm both in pain and all CHRIST GET ON WITH IT--and Insanity is, well, Insanity. So while I was across the room holding wall squats and deep speed skaters until I cried, mostly standing in one spot, Arwen was hopping around like a maniac to her Max Cardio Plyo Blow Your Brains Out Circuit or whatever, and it was an interesting and mildly hilarious juxtaposition, because we were moving at basically opposite speeds yet both making the "kill me now" faces and noises.

I felt really, really good about my pullups yesterday, though. I'm still lagging behind my numbers on that first week, but the chair is WAY out there and I'm using much more of my own strength to pull myself up. Somehow I did the wide-front pullups differently this week, because my forearms were a shaking mess afterward, and they've never hurt before. It felt like when I've gone to rock climbing gyms.

I also did Ab Ripper X. Go me! Twice this week! I feel good about that. I don't know why I treat Ab Ripper as a throwaway, but I just CAN NOT get into it. I should love it. It's short, painful, and effective. OKAY RESOLVED. I'm going to do it three times this week, no excuses.

After our workout fest the three of us went out to dinner at a place in Old Town that had pretty good food but pretty bad service. Not a terrible experience by any means, just sort of meh. Then we went to 7-eleven to get ice cream for Dan and went back to the casa and watched the tail end of this weekend's themed SVU marathon on USA. I could probably watch that show 24 hours a day and not get tired of it.

Today begins Recovery Week! Looking ahead, it's a lot of Yoga X and Core Synergistics, which I know from reading Fitbomb is actually a pretty difficult workout, and I'm looking forward to it. There's also Kenpo X and two X Stretch days thrown in. I'll be doing Crossfit and more yoga instead of those. Today is supposed to be Yoga X. Which means a 90-minute Moksha series for me. I don't care how hard the sequence is supposed to be, I don't think I can tolerate Tony leading me through a yoga class.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Phase 1 - Day 19

Well, I've hit another stumble in my P90Xing. Today I was putting my 30/60/90-day milestones into my calendar, and I realized that the schedule is much tighter than I thought; now that I've set it back a week by repeating week 2, my last week lands right on the first week of my yoga training month. That's not gonna work. Besides being totally involved in a ten-hour yoga lecture and practice six days a week, I'll be in Canada in a rented room without any of my equipment. So basically I need to finish exactly one week earlier. Which means this repeated week? Is back to being Week 3.

Still, I feel lame that I sort of half-assed it last week, so to make up for it I'm going to do extra Crossfit WODs on the off days next week. Hopefully the extra bit of HIIT during the "recovery week" will compensate for the relatively weak Week 2.

Today was supposed to be Yoga X. Despite having mentioned that I'm curious about Tony Horton teaching yoga, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I did my own yoga series as usual this morning, and then in the afternoon I did a Crossfit workout: 21-15-9 reps of burpees, Abmat situps (I don't actually have an Abmat, but I make do with a folded pillow under my back), and kettlebell swings, for time. My kettlebell, btw, is 20 pounds.

It was a good, hard, short workout. Felt like getting back to form, in a way, after these looong P90X workouts. 21 burpees in a row? Difficult. But my overall time was 12:43, respectable, I think.

Tomorrow is Legs and Back. My calves are less sore than after last week's Plyo, but still, it's gonna hurt.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Phase 1 - Day 11

Today's Shoulders and Arms was more difficult than the previous ones have been. Not sure why. And actually, it wasn't more difficult all around. On some of the exercises, notably the curls and upright rows, I banged out almost ten more reps on each than last week. That was exciting. But on any of the overhead presses, like Alternating Shoulder Presses and Deep Swimmer's Presses, the going was TOUGH. And on the latter I definitely got fewer reps than last week. It was hard.

Buuuuuut I still felt good about the workout. My arms are so pumped after this workout, it's like I was stung by a million bees only on my biceps and triceps. Also, I rocked the shoulder flys, which I usually suck at. I'm only using 5-pounders because my delts are WEAK, but I was at least able to pump out more than ten per set. I also like the modifications I do on the tricep kickbacks--namely, I flat out don't do them and instead sub in more sets of chair dips. This is because I don't own a heavy enough weight to make the kickbacks at all hard, and it feels like a wasted set when I do them. So I just do more chair dips, making it hard by putting my feet up and even raising one leg. I love chair dips. Triceps = whooo.

In other news... FUCK YOU WEATHER

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Phase 1 - Day 10 (again)

Typing this as I stretch. Oh, Plyo. At last I might--MIGHT--be beginning to actually enjoy you. Mostly because I'm not crying in pain, and I'm now able to get through all the sets with Tony and Crew at their pace. I do need to pause and lengthen the water breaks by about 30 seconds, though. The pausing I do is not at all about being tired (though I am) and completely about SIMPLY NOT BEING ABLE TO BREATHE. It's like I just came off the peak of Everest, or something, I'm just gasping for air after each set.

Got through the full minute of Hot Foot, yay! That alone makes me proud. Hot Foot is brutal.

I also discovered that running to the kitchen for my coconut water halfway through the workout is a genius idea. After the first three sets I could feel my legs trembling and getting that feeling like they're made of cement, and I was honestly worried I wouldn't make it through the workout, and it struck me that an infusion of electrolytes was possibly in order. Awesome plan. I took small sips after every exercise and by the next set I was feeling good again. Coconut water is the best recovery drink one could ever want.

Today's Tony Soundbite: "I want your joints straight. Limbs like a BOARD. Be a BOARD. Don't get bored!" Then his creepy pedophilic uncle laugh, giggling at his own pun. Sigh.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Phase 1 - Day 8

It's like we went back in time!

Chest and Back tonight was pretty good, although I'm reaching a funny sort of Mars-retrograde phenomenon where as I become more able to do the exercises with proper form, they become harder and I can therefore manage less reps before crashing to the floor. So I feel that I'm progressing, but my numbers are smaller. Still feels good to be doing all my pushups from my toes instead of my knees. Except the Diamond Pushups. I do not understand how anyone can do those from their toes. They are impossible. I pushed the chair I use for my assisted pullups out about a foot, too, and my reps went down but I was certainly working much harder to pull myself up.

Ran out of time for Ab Ripper, again. Sigh. Ab Ripper is just going to have to be one of those things I squeeze in a couple times a week in spare 15-minute windows, because I just do not have the time in the evenings to do all the things I need to do.

Today's food was good. Carby, but good. Leftover tuna for 1st lunch, quinoa dish for 2nd lunch, post-workout shake, then for dinner this "salad" I make of roasted sweet potatoes chunks, roasted mushrooms, and ground beef spiced with cumin and cinnamon. I like when I'm full halfway through a meal and put the rest away for lunch tomorrow. It feels good to leave food on the plate.

My calves are still SCREAMING from Plyo last Friday, so tonight I pulled out my Arnica massage oil and dug my thumbs in to the muscles deep for like ten solid minutes. Fuck, it hurt. Hopefully my soreness will be magically disappeared tomorrow for--oh joy--MORE PLYO.

Phase 1 - Day 14

Um yeah. So I think I'm going to just repeat a week.

This week and weekend TOTALLY got away from me, due to crises at work. I ended up faced with either doing two workouts plus ab ripper all last night, or just calling it a half-week and starting anew this week. The latter option won out after I did Shoulders and Arms and also Ab Ripper last night and it was already 9:00 and I couldn't face also doing Legs and Back. Too much.

It wasn't totally a lost weekend, though, as I got two good runs and a long, hard hike in Great Falls in. I was trying to soak up as much of the good weather as possible. So, lots of activity, just not a lot of P90X-ing.

Because I'm uncomfortable calling myself done with a week if I skipped a workout, and I don't want to half-ass my way through this, I've decided I'm going to call the past two weeks one big intro week, and start today with Day 1 of Week 2, Chest and Back. I'm also planning to do all the workouts this week--including Yoga X (because honestly, I'm curious) and the apparently lame Kenpo X--because it's supposed to rain basically all week and I will probably not be doing much running. But I might sub in a Crossfit or Bodyrock routine for Kenpo X because I've heard it's just not hard and not very good.

However, this brings up another subject: Crossfit. My ADD self is currently entranced by Crossfit and it's taking all the willpower I've got not to just toss aside P90X and run down to Crossfit Reston. I really want to see P90X through, though, so I'm not going to start CF until probably after I return from the yoga training this summer. Plus, I think I need to be in better shape to get the most out of CF, and P90X is definitely a "get into shape" program.

So, I'm sticking with P90X, just technically set back a week. (See, this is a great example of why P90X was just not sustainable last year--one little thing in my life slips out of schedule and it's impossible to keep up with the workouts because they are SO. LONG. Squeezing in a Bodyrock workout is more possible because it's just 20 minutes. There is no "squeezing in" an hour and a half of P90X.)

Another thing that should help is that I'm pretty sure I'm going to start working from home soon, removing the travel time and getting-ready time in the mornings and allowing me WAY more time for working out and tending to River. Usually if it's a choice between not taking River to the dog park, or not having time to work out, I'll always choose River over P90X because it's just cruel to keep a border collie confined all day.

Hm, what to say about Shoulders and Arms, again? I love it. It's almost like a rest day, it seems easier (although my arms are PUMPED afterward), and my reps have increased already just from last week. Dreya seems to roll her eyes a lot more at Tony in this one.

Let me share the amazing dinner I made Saturday night, with a nod to Nom Nom Paleo: I made a curried tuna salad using avocado mayo instead of dairy mayo, put it on lettuce leaves for open-faced "sandwiches", and made bacon-wrapped asparagus on the side. The curried tuna was good but not as good as others I've had in the past. It's like I'm missing a flavor. Need to practice more on that one. But the bacon-wrapped asparagus came out so incredible, I couldn't believe it. It was so easy and SO DELICIOUS. I'll be making that one again and again.

I also stole Arwen's quinoa recipe and made balsamic quinoa with sausage, zucchini, and onion. I have that with some broccoli for lunch today. Yum.

Yesterday my friend Nate and I went to one of those South American grill-style restaurants where you fill your plate with salad and then guys come by with huge pieces of meat on skewers, and slice you off a piece as many times as you want. I'm obsessed with this place and will be back many times, I'm sure. I love place where the food is just simple grilled meat and vegetables, and you can eat as much as you want.

Okay, wrapping this up now. I'll update again tonight after Day 8: Chest and Back.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Phase 1 - Day 12

Hokay SO. Plyometrics. Somehow every time I do this workout (this is... maybe the sixth time I've done it?), I convince myself that it's not going to be so bad. Then, inevitably, during the second set of the first 4-exercise block is where I start to hit pause after each exercise so that I can just stand, hunched over, gulping air, tears squeezing out of my eyes over the pain in my legs. I can't figure out why this workout is so fucking brutal, but it is. Dear Lords of Kobol, it is.

For me, the hardest exercises are:

Swing Kicks: I have no clue why this is so hard for me, but the combination of quad/hip flexor brutality, plus the balance required, really kills me. I'm not so much breathing hard during this one as just trying to stay on my feet. If it were just kicking the legs over the chair out from the body one after another, that would be easier; but you kick each leg in the same direction. So it's right leg kicking out and over, then left leg following kicking in and over, and somehow the movement towards the body is so much more difficult to me, both strength- and balance-wise. On the other hand, I think this move is going to actually help my yoga balance and strength. So there's that silver lining.

Twist Combos: It's not the Ski Hops portion of this that gets me, it's the part where we spin 180. I get SO DIZZY. I probably do only about half as many as Tony & Crew because I'm trying not to fall over the whole time. They're not especially hard, either, just dizzying.

Rock Star Hops: Motherfucker, this one hurts. You think you've been a badass with your Jump Knee Tucks earlier in the game, but then these, where you jump up, heels touching butt while twisting 45 degrees to the side, are just brutal. Plus you have to swing your arm like you're playing a guitar. It's hard, then harder, and then Tony screams "DOUBLETIME!" and does it twice as fast, and you want to die. This is one of those exercises where I pause the video after and lay spread-eagled on the bed so my chest is as open as possible while I try to catch my breath. If I had/wore a heart rate monitor, as Tony recommends during this workout, I'm sure it would be screaming at me to chill out halfway through the Rock Star Hops.

Military Marches: This is another one where the form is more difficult for me than the actual movement. It requires a lot of balance and flexibility that I don't have. Also, it's tough on the quads, which by this point in the routine are usually shaking.

Hot Foot Jumps: Hop on one foot for 30 seconds, then the other foot for another 30 seconds. Sounds easy, right? Eat a dick. It's the most painful exercise in the whole workout. Today I pleased myself by actually finishing the whole thing with no breaks, so a full 30 seconds on each foot, but I was screaming "ow ow OW MOTHERFUCKER" by the end.

Now, to inject a little positivity, here are the exercises in Plyometrics that I enjoy, because some of them are actually really fun. I think it's because Plyo brings out the kid in me that just wants to play and hop around.

Airborne Heismans: You leap to the side and bring the opposite leg into your chest, making the Heisman Trophy pose. This one is fun and promotes balance and abs because Tony makes us hold the pose for a couple seconds instead of just hopping into the next one.

Circle Run: Put your towel on the floor (I use a brightly colored knit hat I always have laying around) and run around it as fast as you can go, first clockwise, then counterclockwise. This is fun because it's a challenge to see how fast your feet can go without tripping, and also because you feel like a boxer training footwork for a match.

Jump Knee Tucks: High jumps where you slap your knees as they near your chest. This is a Bodyrock favorite, so I'm used to the form and can do them really well, and also I feel pretty badass doing these.

Mary Katherine Lunges: Really hard, but really fun, because how many of us in middle/high school would spontaneously break into the Molly Shannon "SUPERSTAAH" lunge? Brings back memories. Really hard, though. My legs scream after this one.

Gap Jumps: Leap over a pretend ravine/river/earthquake crack in your floor. I like exercises that seem like they'll have practical use in the world.

Monster Truck Tire Jumps: Any exercise where I can visualize a real-world scenario instead of just focusing on how tired and in pain I am, gets the "fun" stamp. This one has you pretending there are four diagonally-spaced monster truck tires that you're jumping one-legged through, up to the top of the field and then backwards. I envision being in military boot camp during this one. Fun.

Pitch & Catch: This one is during the Bonus Round, which I always do because it's not hard and serves as a nice cooldown. What could be more fun than pretending to pitch and catch a baseball? Besides, you know, sitting on the couch and eating ice cream? Obviously that's more fun. But this exercise is probably the most fun you can have doing Plyo.

Btw, the exercises listed above are maybe... half? Two thirds? of the actual exercises. It's a solid hour of pain. Good gravy it's hard. But Tony is at least pretty toned-down in this one and actually keeps repeating what ends up being the most useful thing to keep in my head while I'm near tears from pain: "You can do anything for thirty seconds!" Fuck yeah, it's only thirty seconds, and I certainly can do anything for just 30 seconds.

Yesterday was when I was planning to do Plyo, but fuck, it was St. Paddy's Day and I had to go have a beer with my dad at a Herndon pub that was playing live Irish music. When I got home, I knew I'd have no time/stamina for Plyo, so instead I took River for a 2-mile hill run in my Vibrams. BIG hills. It was hard. I felt good about it. But this means that I have to do P90X for the next three days straight, including today, in order not to get behind. Whimper.

One nice thing about Plyo is that I can practically feel myself losing weight while doing it. It's that hard. And I sweat that much.