Category Archives: Fitness

Lots Of Running And Hills (or Back To A 4 Workout Week)

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve had a 4 workout week, so it was good to get back to it this past week. I am still on pace to hit my workout goal for the year, but I know that I can’t have too many 3 workout weeks in order to stay that way. I am trying to prioritize my workouts more again now, and by having a 4 workout week I think I did just that.

Monday’s class was a bit tough for me. I was having a lot of hip issues the entire class and I think it might have been due to me being in the car so long the day before. I hate when I have bad hip days because it’s tough for me not to push myself to do what I know I can do. But I tried my best to take things a bit easier. It did help that we had a bit of an odd format in the class. Our cardio was a mix of treadmill and rower and the floor was a mix of floor and treadmill. So while it wasn’t a switch day, we did switch back and forth a bit.

I was able to do my push and all out paces on the treadmill as a run despite my hip issues. And on the rowing, I got pretty close to some goals that I’ve been working on. We had 300 meter rows which I’ve been trying to get under a minute. I was able to do them in 1:01.6 which is pretty close considering that I wasn’t feeling right that day. But what threw me as a challenge in that workout is that the floor had an entire section that was plank work. Normally I don’t mind that, but Monday was day 1 of my new plank challenge. I hadn’t done my plank challenge before going to the workout, so I tried to do my best knowing that I’d be doing more plank work when I got home.

Wednesday’s workout was pretty amazing and I’m so glad that it was a class that I was in. It was a power day which always means short sprints on the treadmill. I love those because I know I can do some pretty great sprints and I get time to walk and recover after doing crazy speeds. This time, we did have some push to all out paces which were a bit longer, but a lot of the class was focused on very short all out paces (under a minute). I did most of the push paces at 4.5mph and the all outs right after them at 5.5mph, but I was going really fast for the stand alone all out paces. I was doing most of them at 6.5mph and got all the way up to 7.2mph at the end. And even though we had the walking recoveries between all of the fast running, I still did over 2 miles in under 29 minutes.

For the floor, we focused most on arm work which was a good break from using my legs. It was a lot of chest and tricep work with some pushups in there too. In the second block, we were on the rowers and followed the same pattern that the treadmill had with all out paces with recoveries. In 4.5 minutes on the rower, I was able to do just over 1,000 meters which is great for me!

Friday’s workout was a run/row (which I love!), but it was a challenging run/row. This time, we were doing hills with the run row and I was determined to run my hills. We pretty much had .1 mile runs with increasing inclines (starting at 1% and going up to 5%). There were also decreasing inclines but I never made it to that part of the run/row plan. Running on hills will probably never be easy for me but I’m so motivated to get better at doing them. I’m pretty ok with running at 2 or 3% and I used to be ok running at 4% but that’s become more challenging for me lately. And 5% has always been tough. But I managed to run every single hill (I did slow things down a bit for 5% but I was still running).

And for the rower, we pretty much had 100 meter row sprints. I had recently PRed on my row but of course I wanted to do better. But since I was coming off of the treadmill I was feeling a bit tired. I did take time to try to get my heart rate down so I could do a better row (which is probably why I didn’t get that far down the run/row plan) but I couldn’t get a new PR on my row. I was getting some higher wattages than I’m used to, but my stroke rate wasn’t as high. But it does give me hope that a new 100 meter PR might be coming up soon.

And when I moved to the floor, it ended up being pretty much one long block with adding exercises for each round of the floor work. We had a variety of burpees, shoulder work, using the straps for rowing work, and some ab work. And in the middle of the long floor block we did get a bit of a break (which was nice). But that break wasn’t easy because we were doing timed rounds of squats and 4 point planks. It felt like a pretty long floor block, but it was good and I felt pretty awesome after I was done with it.

I was a bit nervous for Saturday’s workout. It was my first 4th workout for a few weeks plus I had done the running on the hills the day before. And of course, this workout was running on hills again. I think that most of the time I would have just skipped running knowing that I had worked on my hill running earlier that week, but I decided to go for it and see what happens. Fortunately, the workout was a 3G workout so I was only going to be on the treadmill for about 15 minutes. We had push paces at 2, 4, and 6% and was able to run all of them. The 6% run was pretty tough and I debated about going to a walk, but I decided to stick it out and I’m glad that I did.

Next, I moved to the floor where we had 2 short blocks. The blocks were a mix of abs, upper body, and lower body work. We did squats, weighted rows, plank leg lifts, weighted arm fly, pullovers, and running men. And my last rotation was the rower where we had 2 short blocks as well. The first block was rowing with rests between each set and the second block was 250 meter rowing with squats between each set. My rowing was not that fast or that strong since it was the end of the workout, but I wasn’t trying to do anything too crazy at that point.

I’m so glad I got another 4 workout week in. It’s funny how not that long ago I was scared of 4 workout weeks and now I almost miss it when I don’t get in the 4th workout. Something feels like it’s not complete with my week if I’m not doing an extra workout in there. I do want to see about maybe adding some more workout stuff at home to do on my days off because I know that doing a little something every day is probably the best thing. But I don’t think I could do Orangetheory more days a week (maybe I could do occasional 5 workout weeks but not on a regular basis) but I want to see what else I can do to work on building up my physical fitness.

It’s A Fitness Challenge (or Being Calm and Plank Time)

Last month, I set my monthly challenge to work on staying calm. That was a pretty easy challenge to do, but I had that be easy on purpose. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to accomplish last month and I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. Of course, I ended up not needing a simple challenge for the month and I was feeling like I didn’t really get that much done. I’ve really gotten used to pushing myself in my monthly challenges and last month didn’t push me. I didn’t know that my month was going to be the way it was, so I can’t be too upset. But that got me thinking about what would challenge me a lot in May.

As I mentioned yesterday, I realized in last week’s workouts how tough it was for me to hold a plank. I used to be great at doing a basic plank and could hold it for over a minute without any issues, but most of the time in workouts now they are planks with other movements too. It’s been a while since I’ve focused on holding a plank and it’s something that I just assumed I could still do. That’s not the case and I want to get back to having my core be as strong as possible.

There are a ton of 30 day plank challenges out there (even though May is 31 days, I can use a 30 day challenge and just repeat the last day). I’m going to be using an app I already had on my phone, but it seems like the set up is pretty similar to something I found online.

I don’t know if I’ll be doing the rest days, but it’s nice to know they are there in case I need it. I have a feeling that it’s going to seem really easy at the beginning but once it gets to doing them for a minute it’s going to be very tough and challenging for me. And that’s exactly what I want in a monthly challenge!

I think doing another physical monthly challenge will be good for me. Since I discovered I have the liver tumors, I’ve had some very mixed feelings about my body. I feel like my body has betrayed me because getting these tumors is such a rare thing. I’ve been working so hard on improving my body and my body decided to screw it all up. But I also feel so grateful for the strength I have now because I’ve been able to do at least 2 5Ks with the tumors in me (I have no clue how long I’ve had the tumors so maybe all my races have been with them). And by some miracle, my body has been able to shrink the tumors when nobody thought that would be possible.

Because I’ve had those mixed feelings, I need something that should be totally positive for my body and to help me reconnect with myself. It’s weird how disconnected I’ve felt lately and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced disconnection like this before. I had a similar feeling when I rapidly lost weight on the UCLA RFO diet, but this time it was even worse. I didn’t feel like I had any power over my body or what it was doing. I didn’t feel like I had control like you should have. And once I found out the tumors shrunk, that feeling continued because I don’t know what shrunk the tumors and I didn’t feel any different. How am I supposed to be connected to my body when I don’t feel the difference between a 10cm tumor inside of me versus it only being 4cm? I need to get back to feeling like myself again and I think doing a physical challenge will help me.

At the end of this month, I’m supposed to be able to hold a plank for 300 seconds. I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to do that, but it will be interesting to see how close I can get to it. But if I can’t do it, that’s not what the priority of this challenge is for me. I need to reconnect to myself, feel strong again, and take control of my body in a healthy way. And hopefully by the end of this month I will be able to say that I accomplished that!

I know some of you have also been doing monthly challenges and I’d love to know what you are doing for May. And if you are doing a plank challenge, hopefully we can support each other.

Friends and Family Workouts (or Getting Pushed To Do Better)

This past week of workouts was awesome! And it’s not just because I had thought for so long that I wouldn’t be able to work out. I really had some great things happen in my workouts and in each workout I had someone with me to cheer me on! I was planning on doing 4 workouts once I knew that I wouldn’t be having surgery, but it ended up being a 3 workout week. But that’s ok because I think I got more out of each workout than a normal workout day!

Monday’s workout was while my parents were still in town. One day I’ll get my mom to take class with me, but this time it was just my dad. He’s done a couple of Orangetheory workouts before so he knew what he was in for. And since he reads this blog (hi Dad!) he knows what some of the workouts consist of so he can try doing things at his gym. Since going to Orangetheory he has started to use inclines on the treadmill and he pushes himself harder in his workouts. But he always says that he works hardest when he’s in a class with me because there is a coach pushing him on (plus, he and I are competitive).

The workout on Monday was endurance, strength, and power and we didn’t switch between blocks. My dad and I started on the treadmill and the first block was endurance based. We had some longer push paces and I was able to run all of them (I really did want to impress my dad with my running). The second block was a mix of strength and power and we had only short all outs but they were all on hills (3, 5, and 7% incline). I usually don’t run at those higher inclines, but again I wanted to impress my dad so I did it! It wasn’t too bad doing the 7% incline for only 45 seconds, but I don’t think I’m ready for longer running at that incline. So with the last block, it was longer hill time so I spent that block walking all my inclines. But even with the walking, I got to about 2 miles on the treadmill in class.

On the floor, each block started with rowing. Rowing is where my dad and I are most competitive. He easily beats me with running and I almost always beat him with weights. But rowing is where we challenge a lot. He still tends to beat me, but I’ve had some great rowing workouts lately and he doesn’t usually get to row at his gym. So I was happy to see what we were going to do. Between each of the floor blocks we had a 300 meter row (I did it in 1:03.3 and my dad did it in 1:03.1), a 90 second timed row (I got 384 meters and my dad got 387 meters), and a 15 stroke pull test (I don’t remember the exact numbers but I beat my dad that time). This was the closest I’ve been to beating my dad on the rower and that was awesome! I’m even more excited to see what I will be able to do by Thanksgiving!

While we were rowing, another friend in class took a photo of me and my dad getting our rowers set up. It is a super cute photo and I loved seeing that the official Instagram account for my Orangetheory location put it up in their Instagram story!

I think my dad was super excited to see us on there (and he doesn’t use social media so for him to be excited about it means it’s that much more awesome). For the rest of the workout that day we had squats, chest presses, lunges, triceps using the straps, plank work, and ab work. I think my dad had a great time working out with me and he said he was a bit sore the next day.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and my friend Dani was in class with me! It was a switch day, but we did 2 treadmill blocks back to back before switching the first time. The running was mainly very short segments (either push to all out paces or just all out paces) and I ran all of those and then walked my base paces. It was a pretty good speed running day for me but I didn’t hit any new records with my speeds. But to me, I’m still so happy that I can run so I’m always impressed with running days. I did end up walking the last treadmill block, but that’s because of what I did on the floor.

When we moved to the floor, we mainly had squats with shoulder work and then sprint rows in-between the sets. The sprint rows were 100, 150, and 200 meters and Dani and I decided to race. Dani is insanely good at rowing and I knew that she could always beat me, but the idea of racing her would probably help me get my sprint rows done faster. And while Dani did beat me each time, I managed to do some PRs and almost PRs with my rowing! The downside to that was that I was starting to hurt pretty badly after the rowing. My hip was killing me and I was starting to get some stomach cramps. So because of that, I had to take it easy for a lot of the workout (which is why I walked on the treadmill).

My last workout of the week was on Friday and my friend Elizabeth joined me! She’s a new member of Orangetheory and we aren’t always able to be in the same classes. But she might be able to start going to the same time on Fridays as me. And our workout this day was a run/row that had endurance, strength, and power elements to it. I was excited for a run/row and this one seemed pretty awesome for me. The running segments that I got to were .5 miles, .4 miles at 2%, and .3 miles at 3%. I was able to run all of them (not run/walk, just run) and it’s still so amazing to me that I can run for .5 miles without stopping!

For the rowing, I only got to 2 rowing segments which were 100 meters and 200 meters. My 200 meter row was good, but nothing special (I was also pretty tired by that point). But for my 100 meter row I decided to see what I could do. My PR for that distance is 17.7 seconds and I had done 17.8 seconds on Wednesday. I was going as fast and as hard as I could on the rower and I managed to get it down to 17.6 seconds! At the speed I’m going on that row, there isn’t a ton of room for improvement so just taking that .1 seconds off is a huge accomplishment! I didn’t get that far down the run/row plan, but that’s because my running is still on the slower end of things.

On the floor, each block was 3 moves and then we were supposed to hold a plank until time was called. We had a nice mix of things including hop overs, lunges, squats, burpees, chest presses, and bicep work I only made it to the point that I had to hold a plank once and holding the plank was tough. I don’t think I hold plank too often in my workouts and that got me thinking (more on that tomorrow).

I’m so glad that I was able to work out this week and that I’m already back to my normal workout schedule. I had been so worried about how much time I was going to have to take off and I’m glad that I didn’t have to experience that. I’ve made so much progress lately because I was worried about the time off, and I’m thinking that pushing myself all that time was perfect. I’ve proven to myself that I can do more than I thought and I have the intention to keep that momentum going.

A Short Workout Week (or I Would Have Ended On A High Note)

When I thought that this past week of workouts was going to be my last week before surgery, I knew it would be a short workout week. There were only so many days in the week before Thursday and I booked 3 classes in a row so I could at least get 3 classes in. And once my surgery was cancelled, I decided to keep my workout schedule the same since my parents would be in town and I was going to spend time hanging out with them. But if this week had been my last week of workouts before a long break, I would have been pretty happy with myself. It was a great week of workouts and I felt super accomplished!

Monday’s workout was one that I had heard about online the week before. It was called the Everest Challenge and it was 23 minutes on the treadmill all at inclines. We started out at 2% incline and went all the way up to 15%. I’m not that used to being at the much higher inclines as I was before so my goal was to try to wait as long as possible to reduce my speed on the treadmill. I made it until 13% incline at my usual walking speed that I use for my base pace and then I dropped it down a bit for the last 2 inclines. And even though I spent the entire time walking and sometimes walking slower than I’m used to, I still got 1.3 miles done during class.

The floor was mainly upper body work which was good after all those hills on the treadmill! The first block was chest presses, hammer curls, squats with shoulder work, and a 250 meter row which I got done in 50 and 48 seconds. The second block was a lot of work using the weight bench including leg lift ab work. I usually can’t do the leg ab work because of my hips but I decided to test it out and found that I could do them with a decent range of motion. It took me forever to do all my reps for the ab work, but I did it and that’s what matters! I totally felt it in my core and not in my hips which is a huge victory for me.

Tuesday’s workout was a power day that was a very unique switch format. There were 6 total blocks, but it wasn’t just floor, treadmill, or rowing blocks. I started on the treadmill and had all push to all out paces. Since there were no base paces, I was able to run everything. Next, I moved to the floor where it was all work with the Bosu ball. I had lunges, squats, mountain climbers, and sit ups all using the Bosu. Then it was back to the treadmill where we had more push to all out paces but in between each set we had squat bicep curls. Then it was to the rower where we had sprint rows with squat shoulder presses. Back to the treadmill again for more push to all out paces. And finally I was back on the floor for lunges, chest presses, and pop jacks.

It wasn’t an easy workout, especially for a power day which usually are my favorites. Moving around like that was fun and it was a nice switch from the standard blocks that we do most of the time. Even though it was tough, I was having a lot of fun and felt like I was challenging my body more than normal because the blocks were so short. I also had to think more about my workout than I usually do because it wasn’t the routine that I’m used to. All of these things are good things that challenge me that I don’t get to do as often as I probably should.

My last workout of the week was on Wednesday which was an endurance day. Originally, when I thought this was going to be a big deal workout since it was going to be my last one for a while, I tried to get a bunch of friends to sign up for a class with me. But once I heard that surgery was cancelled, some of my friends decided to try another class another time. It’s not a great time for many of my friends to take class and I’d rather have them in a class where they are more relaxed and not stressed about traffic.

The workout had 2 different 6 minute distance challenges on the treadmill. I know that I can totally run for 6 minutes and I was excited to see what I could do during the challenges. It’s not easy to do these challenges sometimes because I overdo it in the beginning and then the second challenge suffers. This time, I took it easy the first time just to get more comfortable with a longer run. But even though I took it easy, it wasn’t easy. And for the second attempt, I bumped my speed up more just because I wanted to be able to beat myself. And I managed to do over .5 miles each time which it pretty great for me!

Between those challenges we also had a regular treadmill block. I did my normal plan of walking all my base paces and running my push and all out paces. I probably could have run the entire time, but I wanted to save my energy for the last distance challenge. And I’m glad I did that because I’m so happy with both of my distances.

On the floor we had 2 blocks that were a nice mix of work. We had alligator and tricep work on the straps, 4 point plank and sit ups for core, and burpees and mountain climbers for all over body work. Plus, we also had a 600 meter row that I did in 2:28. Overall, the floor work was pretty awesome but I unfortunately was hit with some bad nausea while on the floor and I forgot to pack my anti-nausea prescription in my pill container I keep in my purse with the medications that I don’t take all the time (I keep pain pills in that container mainly). I was taking a lot of breaks on the floor to make myself feel better so I didn’t get as many reps in as I could have done. But it was important for me not to push things too much because I didn’t want to make the nausea worse.

Overall, these were 3 incredible classes where I got to push my body a lot and worked really hard. And if these were my last classes before surgery I think I would have felt ok about that. Of course, I’m much happier that I didn’t have surgery and I’m not missing any classes now. I’m back to my regular workout schedule already and can keep working toward more and more goals! I’ve got about 6 months before my next 5K race and I’m already looking at my workouts as training for that!

A Long Workout Week (or Being Emotional And Going Easy)

This past week of workouts was a bit crazy for me. I was on such a high from my amazing 5K race the weekend before. Then I was nervous because I knew that this would be my last big workout week before my surgery. Then I found out I’m a medical miracle and my surgery was canceled. My emotions really got to me this past week and it did affect my workouts. And since I was emotional, I ended up overdoing it at times and having to take it easy when I really didn’t want to. If this was my last 4 workout week before surgery I probably would have been a bit disappointed. Fortunately, that won’t be the truth so I can feel a bit better about how I did.

Monday’s workout was a mix of endurance and power and it was a run/row day. I was still feeling a little bit sore from my race, but I really wanted to see what I could do since I was feeling so amazing from my PR. The running portions were .6 miles and .15 miles. I started doing my 2 minute running intervals, but after those first 2 minutes I had to stick with walking for the .6 mile parts (which means I did .3 miles since power walkers go half the distance). I did manage to run the .15 mile segments in full, but it was a bit slower than I’m used to. And for the rowing, we had 150 meters and 600 meters and just like the running I ended up doing those a bit slower than normal. I tried to just tell myself that it was a recovery workout, but I struggled not to push myself more.

I did much better on the floor that day. We had squats with bicep curls and lunges with arm raises which both went pretty well for me. Lunges are still a weak point, but they didn’t feel too bad. We also had 2 rounds of 1 minute of knee tucks and while I was hoping to do them on my toes I ended up doing them on my knees. My hips were hurting a bit more by that point and I knew that pushing myself would hurt more than help. And we ended with a core blast with plank work and sit ups.

Wednesday’s workout as a mix of endurance, strength, and power. This was my first workout after finding out my surgery was cancelled and I was feeling on top of the world. I think that feeling had me wanting to push myself to new limits to prove how great things are. All of the blocks were 5 minutes (4 on the treadmill and 4 on the floor) so I decided to test out my running again on the treadmill. I had some time to recover and my legs and hips were feeling pretty good. So for the first block we had a 4 minute progressive push followed by an all out pace. I increased my speed .1 mph each minute and managed to run for the entire 5 minutes. The second block was 30 second pushes to 30 second all outs and I managed to do the last all out at 7.7 mph which felt almost too fast but at the same time felt amazing to do it! The third block was all inclines and while I tried to run them it wasn’t happening for me so I walked everything until we had the all out pace at 3% incline (I told myself it was good practice for the giant hill on the 5K next year). And the last block on the treadmill was kind of mix of everything we had already done. We were on the treadmill for about 28 minutes and I almost went 2 miles. That’s faster than my 5K pace and that was pretty incredible to me!

On the floor, we focused a lot on leg work which felt a bit tough after all that hard treadmill work but I did my best. We had squats, lunges, and squats to walk out push ups which were new to me and very tough to do. We also had a rowing block where we did static squats between rows. And we ended with a core workout for the last floor block.

Friday’s workout was a power day and I had really been looking forward to it. The blocks were short and had a lot of great opportunities for me to work on my running some more. All of the push paces were quick and we had a lot of 30 second all out paces with walking recovery back to back. I maxed out at 7 mph which isn’t my all time best but still pretty respectable. The only downside for me was that I was feeling pretty light-headed by the end of the treadmill block. I’m not totally sure what caused it, but I did have to go to the hospital for some blood work that morning so that could be the culprit. Whatever caused it, it wasn’t fun and it really affected my floor work.

On the floor, it was arm focused with chest presses, skier swings, squat rows, and shoulder work. I really was trying to work hard, but the light-headedness really was getting to me on the floor. It felt like I needed to take a break every few moves and I know that I didn’t get that much work done compared to normal. Again, I knew that I needed to go easy on myself but it’s tough to do that when I know what I can normally do. But I also was scared that I would get worse so I just took my time, focused on my form, and did whatever I could get done before we were done with that block. And when we ended on the rower we were working in time with the treadmills but I didn’t worry too much about rowing with a push or all out pace. I just rowed when we were supposed to and took rests when we were supposed to.

Saturday’s workout was a 3G workout and I was pretty grateful for that. I was having a tough morning and I was glad that I didn’t have to spend more than 15 minutes at any section of the room. I started on the treadmill and as soon as I started I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to run at all. My hip was killing me and I was dealing with some pretty bad cramps. So I did only walking for the entire 15 minutes. It was an endurance workout so we had a lot of longer push paces which for me meant having the incline at 6 or 8%. I didn’t feel like I was working that hard and my heart rate monitor was showing that my heart rate was much lower than normal. But I had to just consider this workout a recovery day and be ok with that. Walking for 15 minutes is still better than if I hadn’t been at the workout at all.

Next I moved to the floor where we had 2 small blocks of work. The first block was squats, plank leg lifts, and core knee tucks. I was doing fine with the plank leg lifts (which normally cause me some issues) but I really struggled with the knee tucks. My body just didn’t want to bend that way and I worked to find out how I could sit to do the best modification I could do. But on the second block I had much more success with the work. We started with single arm rows on the straps and this was the first time I didn’t have a tough time keeping my shoulders down. I was visualizing my back muscles moving and for some reason that helped me from not bringing my shoulders up and I felt the work a lot more than normal. And the last move was doing push ups with one hand on the Bosu ball. I had to do the push ups from my knees, but I was feeling really great about how I was able to balance nicely with the push ups and was able to get farther down that normal.

And I finished my workout on the rower with long rows (3 minutes first and then 600 meters after) and some squats and lunges between rows. The rowing went ok for me and I was able to get my 600 meter row in under 2 minutes which is always my goal. But the squats and lunges were getting really hard with my hip bugging me so I took my time and balanced myself on the rowers. Fortunately, there was an empty rower next to me so I was able to use both my rower and the rower next to me to hold on to.

Even though my surgery was canceled, this week’s workouts will still be based on the schedule I had thinking I would have surgery. I’ll still be able to get 3 workouts in, but it will all be in the beginning of the week. My parents will still be in town so I didn’t want to take time away from hanging out with them to do my workout. But in another week, I’ll be almost back to my normal schedule and I’m so grateful for that. I’m on track to hit my workout goal for this year so I’m glad that I won’t have to worry about taking any time off from my Orangetheory classes!

Hollywood Half 5K (or It’s Hill Time)

I feel like I had done so much preparation for this 5K. After doing a run/walk 5K for the first time last year, I knew what I was capable of and I wanted to push myself to see what I could do 6 months later. I knew that I could do more than what I had done the last time and I wanted to makes sure I prepared myself the best I could. I worked on my endurance a lot during my workouts at Orangetheory so I could run longer during my intervals. I started to run on inclines to prepare myself for the crazy hill. But even with all that preparation, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted to do at this race.

I tried to keep my nerves down while I drove to the race bib pickup. It was in a different place than before so it was a bit of a longer drive for me. But there was a  meter with time left on it right by where we had to go, so I took that as a good sign. I got my race number and got back into my car so I could get home, have some dinner, and get to bed nice and early.

I usually don’t have too much trouble sleeping before a race, but this time I really struggled to fall asleep. I went to bed around 9:30 and read for a little bit. By 10:30, I turned off my light and tried to fall asleep. For some reason, I just couldn’t get my brain to shut off. I was tossing and turning and just couldn’t fall asleep. Around 2am, I finally fell asleep but since I had to get up at 4am I didn’t get as much sleep as I had hoped.

I wasn’t feeling too tired when I got up, so I tried to stay positive and hope for the best. I got my stuff together, drank a little chocolate milk (I don’t do well eating that early but I don’t do races on an empty stomach), and got into my car to drive to Hollywood. And as soon as I opened the front door of my house, I noticed that the ground was wet and it was still drizzling. I knew that there was light rain in the forecast, but it hadn’t started when I went to bed so I was hoping it was wrong.

It was raining or misting the entire drive there and I thought that maybe it would be like last year where it was raining until the race started but during the race it wasn’t. And that’s exactly what happened! It was misting until it was time to get into the corrals to line up but I didn’t have to deal with the rain during the race at all!

It seemed like the race was a bit smaller than it’s been in the past, but that was fine with me. There was still a great energy in the starting area and I was getting really excited as we started to get ready to go.

I tried to stay as excited as possible but the idea of trying to run on the hills was still making me nervous. But I put a smile on my face and got myself as mentally prepared as I could be to start.

The race started super prompt this time and they were letting the corrals go much quicker than they have in the past. I was in the 5th or 6th corral and I crossed the starting line at 6:15am (the start was at 6am). And as soon as we started we made a turn to go down the first hill.

I had set my watch intervals to be 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. I had every intention of sticking with that as much as I could and it went really easily at the beginning. Of course, running downhill isn’t too bad. But even my run back up the hill toward the starting line wasn’t that bad at all. I was sticking with my intervals and feeling pretty great. I was a bit tired, but not nearly as bad as expected. And before I knew it, I got past the 1 mile marker.

And then the big hill was in front of me. It happened to be part of my walking minute when I started the big hill, but as I did it I realized that I just wasn’t going to be able to run up it. Thinking back now (and knowing that it is supposedly a 3.5% incline), I probably could have done it. But at the time it seemed impossible. So I decided that I would ignore my intervals during the hill and I would walk up but run down. That did work ok with me although I know that my walk uphill probably should have been faster.

As soon as I was at the bottom of the hill I got back on track with my intervals and a few minutes later I was at the turnaround (which is close to the 2.5 mile mark). After the turnaround I was feeling really great and got to the last little hill of the race. It starts as a downhill so I decided to run that entire thing and walk up just like I did with the big hill. I really wanted to stick with my intervals, but I knew that I needed to do what felt right for me in the moment.

After getting up that last hill, it was pretty flat from there to the finish line and about only .2 miles left. So I started running and decided that I wasn’t going to stop until I crossed the finish line. I glanced at my watch and knew my time was going to be close to my PR so when I turned the last corner and saw the finish line I took everything I had and sprinted to finish as fast as possible.

I stopped my timing watch as soon as I crossed the finish line but it took me a minute or two to calm down and catch my breath before I could really look at what it said. I went into this race knowing that it is a tough course to PR on because of all the hills. I knew that even though I was running more than I did the last time, I also walked on hills which is slower than my normal walking intervals. So I was pretty shocked when I looked down to see that I PRed by 14 seconds!

14 seconds isn’t a lot, but it’s something. And on this course I know I’ve been slower because of the hills. When comparing this race to doing the race last year, I improved by about 11 minutes. When comparing this race to the best time I had on this course, I improved by about 9 minutes. That’s insane!

After I got my medal and had my timing chip cut off my shoes, I ran into Ken who is also known as the Free Hugs Guy! Ken is the director of this race and I was so excited to see him! And of course, I had to get my hug from him.

I wanted to see what my official time was, but they were having some issues getting the official time sheets printed. So I decided to wait in line to take a photo with my medal in front of the step and repeat. It took a bit of time, but I had time to kill so it was perfect.

I think my expression says it all. While I hoped to get a PR with this race, I knew that reality might be different and I didn’t want to get my hopes up. And then I surprised myself by not only kicking butt with the longer intervals and dealing with the hills, I did get the PR I was dreaming of!

My official time was exactly what my watch said (which made me happy to know I’m getting better at timing with my watch) and I started to walk back to the start line where I parked my car. I could have taking the subway one stop like I have in the past, but I decided that my legs needed the stretch and the walk would be good for me.

The next race I’m planing on doing will be the Hard Rock Cafe 5K which is probably about 6 months away (they haven’t announced the next race date just yet). But now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do 2 5Ks with mile times under 16 minutes, a few of my friends want me to go for a Disney race. Doing a Disney race has been a dream of mine, but I know they have 16 minute mile restrictions and I couldn’t get under that. But now I can and it’s time to think more seriously about doing a Disney race. I’m also debating if I want to do the 10K as another challenge for myself, but that’s still something I need to think about and see how I feel over this year.

I don’t think I could have asked for a better 5K race. I never knew that adding running to my races would make them so much better. I’m not struggling as much as I have before and it is making me think a bit more about adding some other races back in. As of right now, I don’t know if I’ll add any more races this year. But I’m thinking about it and seeing how my body feels as I push myself more in my workouts. But even if I just keep doing 2 races a year, that’s enough for me to prove to myself that I am getting stronger and faster!

A Shorter Workout Week (or Doing Some 5K Prep)

This past week of workouts was a 3 workout week, but that was for a good reason. I had the Hollywood Half 5K on Saturday so I couldn’t do a Friday or Saturday workout this week. I don’t do workouts the day before a race so I did a Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday workout and it seemed like each of these workouts were designed to help me get ready for the race.

Monday’s workout was an endurance day with a 5K challenge. The idea was to be on the treadmill for 23 minutes and get as close to a 5K as possible. I know there is no way I could do a 5K that fast, but I knew I would be able to get at least 1/2 of a 5K. There were intervals that were given to us, but I didn’t follow that guide. Instead, I stuck with 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking intervals since that was what I wanted to do at the race. I’m getting more comfortable with that interval set and it made me feel more confident about the upcoming race after knowing I could do that for 23 minutes. I did 1.616 miles, which isn’t the best I’ve done, but it felt good and that’s what was most important to me.

For the second half of class, each block started with a 1 minute row sprint. In the past, I know I’ve been able to row 300 meters in a minute but I just can’t seem to get back to that. This time, I did 233, 260, and 280 meters. Those aren’t bad at all, but I’m still working on breaking that 300 meter mark again. After those sprint rows, each block was 2 moves that were timed by the coach. Each thing was 45 seconds and we switched back and forth between each move. It was interesting to not have count my reps for any moves in the entire class and I could just work on my form and making sure I was doing everything right.

Wednesday’s class was a strength day and I figured that would be perfect since I wanted to get ready for the hills at the 5K. I tried to run at 3% for the first push pace, but I could only do that for a minute. It was really frustrating that I couldn’t do more and I was starting to feel nervous about the race, but I didn’t let it get to me. I ended up running all the all out paces which were on a flat incline but walked all my push paces at 8-10% incline. I told myself that I was still training for the hills even if I wasn’t running them.

The floor work was mainly arm work that day. We did rows with the weights, biceps on the straps, and triceps with weights. But the last block had an interesting row challenge. We were trying to do 100 meters with as few pulls of the rower as we could. That meant leaning back as far as we could on the rower and pausing while at the back. It seemed easy when it was explained to us, but it was actually very tough. The first attempt I did was 12 pulls of the rower, but I eventually made my way down to 7 pulls of the rower. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get under 7 pulls, but that was one of the lower numbers of the day so I was very happy with myself.

Thursday was my last pre-5K workout and it was a power and strength day which was kind of the perfect combination for me. We had push to all out paces on inclines plus stand alone all outs on inclines. I ended up walking the longer push paces but I did run all the all outs. And I even was able to run for 30 seconds at 9% incline! I have looked up the incline of the big since this workout and it claims to be about 3.5% incline, but it really feels more like that 9% run that I did! Either way, doing some running on inclines really made me feel prepared for whatever Saturday’s race was going to bring.

For the floor work, it was a lot more upper body and core work than anything else. I was grateful for that because I was starting to feel a bit nervous that my legs would be overworked in the workout and I would struggle at the race. So not focusing on lower body work helped me mentally feel ok. We did also have some rowing in the first block with a 500 and 400 meter row. I have been wanting to get my 500 meter row under 2 minutes, and I did it in 2:00.2. I’m so close, but just not there yet. But I think I’ll be there soon enough!

For a pre-5K workout week, I think this was pretty ideal. It challenged me but it also helped me build confidence going into the race. My last 5K was so spectacular that I was worried that this one might be a bit of a let down. I wasn’t trying to get my hopes up with getting a PR since there are the hills, but I also know that I’m running more than before. But this workout helped me focus back on the work and not as much on the results and that’s exactly what I needed.

And coming up tomorrow, my race recap of the Hollywood Half 5K!

Rowing And Partners (or Enjoying A 4 Workout Week)

I didn’t realize this until after I completed this past week of workouts, but this was second to last time I will be doing a 4 workout week that I know of. I plan on getting back to 4 workout weeks eventually, but I have no clue how my recovery will go and how long it will take me to go from 3 workout weeks to 4 workout weeks. But I’m really glad that I pushed myself to do more 4 workout weeks because they now feel comfortable and normal to me. I remember when the 4th workout was a struggle and I am glad I got over that feeling. Hopefully this will make getting back to 4 workout weeks much easier for me when I am able to do so.

With the 4 workouts I had this week, I seemed to have a decent amount of rowing to do (which has been a trend) and a couple of partner workouts. It’s nice that it felt like there was a bit of a theme for the week and even though there were similarities with the workouts they were all different and had their own challenges.

Monday’s workout was a power day and we did a bit of switching between blocks but not with each block. All the blocks were about 5 minutes of less and that allowed me to pretty much do all running on the treadmill. We had a lot of 90 second push paces or 1 minute push pace to 1 minute all out paces, so the running wasn’t too long for me. The first and second block on the treadmill were similar (and we did those two blocks back to back without switching). And for the third and fourth block we mainly did push to all out paces which helped me keep running for all of the treadmill segments. It’s nice when I can do that and limit my running, but I also have started to wonder if I’ll ever be just a runner and not do any walking. I don’t know if I want to do that, but it’s giving me something to think about.

On the floor, we had a lot of lower body work and then some core work. We also did some bicep curls on straps and push ups on the ground. And the very last block wasn’t on the floor but on the rower. We were on the rower for 5 minutes and we did 20 seconds at an all out row followed by 10 seconds of a recovery row (basically going as slow as possible for those 10 seconds to get ready for the next 20). In those 5 minutes, I ended up doing over 1100 meters which really surprised me. I’m so used to averaging 100 meters every 30 seconds even though I’ve been doing much better than that lately. It was nice to have this 5 minute row to reinforce that I’m much better at rowing than I was even a month or so ago.

Wednesday’s workout was a partner workout and I got to partner with my friend Dani. We had 2 blocks each of which were a partner challenge for 23 minutes and each of which had one of us on the rower. The first block was one where the rower controlled the pace and the other person was on the treadmill. The rowing segments were 1000, 750, 500, and 250 meters and we switched between the rower and treadmill each time. And the person on the treadmill was just running until they were tagged out. I started with running on the treadmill, but I was getting exhausted from the rowing so I ended up walking after my first treadmill time. We didn’t quite make it through the entire challenge (Dani got to do 250 meters but I didn’t), but I think we did pretty awesome.

The second block was one where the rower just rowed for distance and the other person was on the floor controlling the pace. The floor person was doing chest presses, rows with weights, lateral raises, and plank work. And when they were done they tagged out the rower and started rowing. We didn’t reset the rower between switches and the goal was to get to 5,000 meters between us in 23 minutes. I tried not to take too many breaks on the floor because Dani was waiting on me on the rower, but it was a tough block. And at the end of the 23 minutes, we only made it to 4,900 meters so I was a bit frustrated that we didn’t make the goal. But again, considering how tough the workout was I was proud of us both.

Friday was a power day and again it involved rowing. We had 4 cardio blocks and while a majority of the time was on the treadmill, for the first 3 blocks each time we started with a 45 second all out row. I was surprised how tired I was feeling after just 45 seconds on the rower, but I think I went a lot harder on the rower than I normally do because I knew I’d be done in 45 seconds. After that, we headed to the treadmills and we had push to all out paces. I did manage to run all of those but I was walking when I could between to take a bit of a break from things. The last cardio block had no rowing, but it was all push to all out paces back to back.

On the floor, the first 3 blocks started with 45 seconds of bench hop overs. My form was fine for the first one, but it really got sloppy after that because of how tired I was. The rest of the floor work was a good variety with lunges, bicep work, plank jacks, and squats. And for the last floor block we headed back over to the rower. We had push to all out rows on the same timing as the treadmills and by the end of class I was so happy that I was done.

My 4th workout of the week was on Sunday instead of Saturday (I had something I couldn’t get out of on Saturday), but it worked out nicely to have that extra rest day before that workout. Sunday’s workout was a 3G workout and we were switching between blocks so we were never at one part of the room for more than about 7 minutes. For the treadmill, the first block was push paces to all out paces and each round the push pace got shorter. We started at 2 minutes and ended with 30 seconds. I was able to run all of it but it wasn’t easy. Our walking recovery within the block was pretty short so each time it was time to run again I was really wishing there was a bit more time to walk. The second block was pretty much all 1 minute all out paces with 30 second walking recoveries between. Again, I ran it all but toward the end I was cutting my all out paces a bit short to walk a bit more than the 30 seconds we had. I was starting to be a bit sore, but I was able to get back to running after recovering a bit longer.

On the floor, each block was 3 different moves. The first block was squats to bicep curls, frogger squats, and atomic mountain climbers. And the second block was weighted flys, jump squats (I do squats with calf raises), and plank work. Even though these blocks were each about 7 minutes, they felt really long. I think it’s because I was able to get through the work quickly so I got a lot of rounds done each time.

And on the rower we had one normal rowing block and one partner rowing block. With the normal rowing block, we had sprint rows and then we got off the rower to do squats and lunges. And on the partner block we had a partner who rowed 100 meters while we did burpees and then we would switch. I was a slower rower than my partner, but I hate burpees and he wanted to work on his so that worked out well. And at the end of the partner rowing block we had a 1 minute squat hold.

For being one of my last 4 workout weeks for a while, I’m glad that I had a decent amount of variety in my workout. It’s crazy to think that I only have a few more weeks of normal fitness blogging before my posts on Mondays will be either about a lack of working out or what I’ve been doing to start getting back to workouts with my recovery. I’ve been doing these Monday workout recaps for over half of the time that I’ve been blogging and I’ve loved doing them. It’s going to be a weird transition when I’m not able to blog about fitness the same what I’m used to. But hopefully my recovery journey will be as interesting as my fitness journey has been.

Dri-Tri Time (or Beating My Own Records)

As I mentioned in my workout recap post this week, my 4th workout of the week was the Dri-Tri at Orangetheory. I’ve done the Dri-Tri once before, and while it was tough I had a great time. I had such a sense of accomplishment when I was done with the event and it felt like I had really been able to push myself more than I ever knew I could. So when I saw that the Dri-Tri was coming up again, I knew I had to sign up.

I was hoping I could get one of my workout friends to join me, but nobody was able to do it too. But that’s ok since we had an amazing group of people doing it and a bunch of the Orangetheory staff was there to cheer us all on.

The first event of the Dri-Tri is the 2,000 meter row. I’ve been doing a lot of rowing lately and my power and speed have been improving quite a bit. But even though I’ve been doing significantly better on the rower, 2,000 meters is a long distance. We rarely do rowing that long (although we did have the 2,017 meter row in January) so I was feeling a bit unsure about my ability to do the rowing. Last year, I really wanted to do my rowing in under 10 minutes and couldn’t do that. So I decided to set my goal to something that seems reasonable and wanted to do it in under 10 minutes.

While I was rowing, I tried to zone out. I didn’t go that hard because I knew that I could do too much in the beginning and burn out. I wanted to keep a relatively steady pace and just hope that I could get through it quickly enough. I was starting to notice other people finishing their row and getting up, so I knew that I must be getting a bit closer to finishing my row. I ended up being the last person off of the rower, but that doesn’t matter since I was only competing against myself and what I was able to do last time. And I ended up not only doing my row under 10 minutes, I did it in under 9 minutes! I did my 2,000 meters in 8:45.2! That was so much better than I ever imagined that I could do.

But there was no time to celebrate my amazing row because it was time to move on to the second part of the Dri-Tri: the floor work. This was a set of 300 body weight moves that we had to do. There were 2 rounds of the floor work (each round had a total of 150 reps) and it consisted of squats, push ups, burpees, hop overs, plank jacks, and step ups (I had to do lunges instead of step ups). I was pretty tired from the row, but I knew that last time the floor work was a struggle and I needed to stay focused.

I was taking breaks for water, to wipe off sweat, or to catch my breath quite a bit. But each time I was taking a break was when I was switching moves and not in the middle of a set of something. While it’s nice to have things broken up into 2 rounds, it was hard to think after the first round that I had to do that all over again. And again, I was the last person to be done with that part but I was ok with it because I knew I had the treadmill still to go.

The treadmill portion of the Dri-Tri is a 5K run. If you are a power walker, you do half of a 5K. I knew I’d be doing run/walk intervals and thought that I would try to go for the full 5K this time instead of doing half like I did the time before. I had my intervals at 2 minutes running/1 minute walking and that was going ok for me. But my hips were starting to really hurt (which usually happens when I do rowing or floor work before the treadmill) and I realized that it would be best for me if I only did half of the 5K. I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t do what I set out to do with doing the entire 5K, but I also realized that this way I would find out exactly how much faster I was this year.

I kept my intervals up for the entire thing. My speeds were pretty stable except for the very end when I took it to a sprint for me so I could get as many seconds off as I could. And I was happy to see that my half 5K was faster than what half my 5K was during my last race by about 20 seconds.

This gives me high hopes that my race coming up next week may be a PR again! But I’m still worried about how I will do with a full 5K as a run/walk again. But I couldn’t focus on that because I completed my Dri-Tri! And when compared to my Dri-Tri last year, I took just over 9 minutes off my total time. That’s a pretty impressive improvement in my mind.

When I was done, there were still a few runners finishing their 5K run. I was more than happy to hang out and cheer everyone on because I know this is a pretty tough challenge to do. This is much more difficult than a regular class since you are not stopping between blocks to pay attention to instructions. Once the clock starts, you are on the go until you complete everything. And even though I was done in under 45 minutes, it didn’t feel easier than an hour-long class.

I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to do the Dri-Tri twice so far. And I know that I will be doing it again in the future. It may be another year before I do another one because of the timing of things, but I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to do whenever I have the next one. Maybe I can take more time off of my row. Or maybe I can do the full 5K! Whatever I can do, I’m just so happy that I’ve been able to prove to myself that I’m so much stronger and powerful than I was last year!

Friends and Rowing (or More Records In My Workouts)

Another great week of workouts for me! I’m seriously so happy that each week lately has been going pretty great for me. Even with the few setbacks I’ve experienced, overall I’d say that these workouts really are going better than normal and that I’m able to do a lot more than I’m used to. I hope this keeps being the trend for the next few weeks because I’m going to be getting in as many workouts as I can!

Monday’s class was promoted as a signature workout. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it pretty much means that it’s a workout that we’ve done before. This is a way that we can track out progress (like Peak Performance Week) and see what we have been able to do. I track my workouts on Evernote so I can see my progress all the time, but it was nice to have this workout as another way to track things. The format of the workout was a modified run/row. Each block started with a timed row and then we went to the treadmill to finish. The rows were 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 4 minutes. I had goals set for each one and the only one that I missed was the 1 minute one (I wanted to do 300 meters and only made it 299).

But I had set my 2 minute goal to be 500 meters (I did 504) and my 4 minute goal to be 900 meters (I did 933), so that is pretty incredible for me. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought of rowing as my weak point in my workouts. And while they aren’t as great as everything else, the improvements I’ve been making in rowing has been helping a lot. After those timed rows, I really wanted to run on the treadmill but my legs were having it. I ended up power walking the entire time doing my push paces at 8% incline and my all out paces at 10% incline.

Wednesday’s workout was an endurance day and as a surprise, JZ (who used to be the regular Wednesday coach) was coaching! I do miss seeing her on a weekly basis, so it’s nice when I’m surprised and get to have her as my coach. With the endurance workout, I know it can be tough for me to try to run as much as I would like, but I decided to test myself again. The first block started with a 4 minute progressive push pace. Each minute, we were supposed to increase our speed and I did go .2 mph faster each minute. It’s still a bit tough for me to run for 4 minutes, but it was good to test myself like that.

The rest of the first block and the entire second block were shorter push paces (between 1-3 minutes) and I walked all of my base paces so it wasn’t too tough to keep doing the run segments. I also ran all of the all out paces (as I pretty much always do)j and tried to bump up my speed as much as I could. I was able to do 2 miles on the treadmill in under 30 minutes which keeps giving me hope that I can do another PR at my 5K in about 2 weeks.

On the floor, both blocks started with a 700 meter row. I wanted to do that in under 3 minutes, and I was able to get that done both times and was able to get faster the second time I tried!

The first block also had squats and single leg deadlifts. I usually do single leg stuff as double leg stuff because my balance isn’t so great, but I gave the single leg deadlifts a try (with lighter weights than I usually use) and was happy to see that they weren’t as tough as I expected. I had to keep putting my back foot down to get my balance again, but as long as I took my time I was able to get them done. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a lot of balance work after surgery (that involved using my core and I know I’ll be restricted on ab work), but this is a good sign that maybe I can keep working on balance stuff later this year.

Friday’s workout was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and was a run/row day. And I also had a friend (Elizabeth, who was with me cheering on marathon runners) taking her first class ever that day! I love having friends join me for class, and a lot of them are signing up for memberships so I get to keep seeing them in class! Elizabeth started on the floor when I started on the treadmill, so we didn’t get to work out next to each other, but I could tell she was having fun.

The run/row format was a tough one. It was a .15 miles all out pace run at 15% incline and each round you brought the incline down 2%. I might have been able to do a little bit of running at that incline, but I didn’t want to overdo things because I knew I would have the Dri-Tri the next day (spoiler for a post coming up later this week!). I ended up power walking all of the treadmill segments but I did bump up my speed a bit more than I normally do so I could make sure that I was getting into the right heart rate zone.

The run/row felt really long this time and I was really glad to be switching over to the floor. We had 3 blocks on the floor this time each. The first block was some weight work with squats, strap work with chest presses, and body weight work with running man and hip bridges. The second block was all work on the BOSU ball with doing arms and ab work. And the last block was all medicine ball work with squats and lunges. It wasn’t an easy class, but I felt super accomplished when I was done. And I think that Elizabeth liked it too and she’ll be coming back to try another class next week!

As I spoiled earlier in this post, I did the Dri-Tri on Saturday (which I’m counting as my 4th workout in the week). But because that’s something special and not really a regular workout, that will get its own post later this week!