Tag Archives: progress

Building Up Endurance (or Shocking Myself)

This week of workouts started out pretty normally, but it ended with an accomplishment that shocked me so much that I’m still not totally believing it. But I know that the accomplishment was all because of the hard work that I’ve been doing over the past few months.

My Monday workout was an endurance day where we didn’t switch between blocks. There were 3 blocks on the treadmill and each block started with a 3 minute push pace. I know I can run for 3 minutes, but since I didn’t want to overdo things I did my 1 minute intervals for all of them. I’m not sure why I’m so scared to run for 3 minutes at a time when I have done it before, but I’m sure it has to do with the lack of confidence I have in myself while running. I’ve been running since the end of May last year, but I still don’t feel like a runner. I’m hoping that I can build confidence running soon, but I know I also have to be patient with myself. With the rest of those 3 treadmill blocks, I did 1 minute intervals for the 2 minute push paces and I ran all of the all out paces.

On the floor for that workout, I did some squats with arm rows using 15 pounds (which is pretty heavy for me). I also did some plank work on my toes which is still a newish thing for me. My right knee has been bugging me so being on my toes is a necessity. But it’s not easy to do plank work on your toes after doing them on my knees for so long. I also used 20 pounds weights for my standing tricep work (again, heavy weights for me). And we had 300 meter sprint rows to end the workout. I did those in 1:07 and 1:04 which isn’t too bad for me considering this was at the end of the workout.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and we didn’t switch between blocks. It was technically a run/row, but it wasn’t a run/row in a traditional sense. We had 5 different blocks that were guided by the coach and we transitioned between the treadmill and the rower for each one (3 run blocks and 2 row blocks). All of the run segments were short and I ran for all the push and all out paces. I was still walking during my base, but now looking back at it I might have been able to run the entire time. And for the rower, we had 100, 150, and 200 meter sprints with jump squats between each sprint.

On the floor, we didn’t really focus on one specific area and did more of an all over workout. We had arms, legs, squats, abs, and the ab roller. I tried to do heavier weights for most of the work but I wasn’t able to lift the heavier ones like I had the day before. And we ended the floor work with a 3 minute row (while the cardio side was in their last treadmill block). Also, on Wednesday’s workout I had a friend in class with me for her first class! It’s been a while since I had a friend with me who had never been to Orangetheory before, and I was trying to help her out with following the pattern of class. It wasn’t the easiest first class to go to, but she did amazing!

Friday’s workout was an endurance day. And this was the workout that shocked the hell out of me! We didn’t switch between blocks because it was a distance challenge day. It was a 10.5 minute challenge which we had done about a month ago. The month before, I pretty much did 1 minute intervals and I think I did amazing with my distance. But instead of focusing on distance like I normally do (and try to beat my previous distance), I decided to see how long I could run for.

Since I started running back in May last year, I’ve been trying to build up my running endurance. But I’ve been struggling with it lately and I’ve been scared that I hit a wall in my progress. I haven’t really run for more than 3.5 minutes before (basically when I run for .25 miles), so this was a perfect chance to test things. Going into the challenge, I thought maybe I could run for 5 minutes and then take a little walking break before running again. But I also am stubborn as can be and I thought that maybe I could run for the entire thing.

Despite this being 3 times longer than the longest time I’ve ever run, I wasn’t going to hold back in this attempt. I knew that I’d have a second 10.5 minute distance challenge after this one, but I focused on the first one when I was the most prepared and least tired. And there were plenty of times during those 10.5 minutes that I thought that maybe I should stop and go back to my intervals. But all of that talk was mental and not physical. I was surprised that my body wasn’t hurting more, but I was also keeping my speed pretty slow at 4.5mph. And in the end, I ran for 10.5 minutes without taking a walking break, jumping the rails, or stopping in any way.

Even typing that I ran for that entire time, I still can’t believe that I did it. I thought that I was so stuck at running for 3 minutes or under, but all that talk was in my head and I really was able to overcome that and prove to myself that I could do it. This wasn’t my furthest distance and it is tough to be ok with that since I am competitive with myself. But focusing on endurance is different from speed and it’s time for me to do endurance.

In the second attempt, I tried to run for the entire 10.5 minutes again but I was pretty tired. I had to take a couple of breaks where I jumped the rails to catch my breath or pop my hip. And because I’m stubborn and competitive for the last 30 seconds of the second attempt I increased the speed a lot just so I could beat my original distance.

After doing those runs, I was pretty tired but also so energized by the fact that I did something that I didn’t believe I could do. I was on cloud nine during the floor and didn’t focus too much and didn’t get as many rounds done as I would have liked. We focused a lot on arms so I was using slightly lighter weights. In the second floor block, we had a 500 meter row (which I did in 2:12 and I’m very happy about that) and ab work. But to me, the highlight of that workout was the running.

Now that I know I have much more endurance than I knew, I’m thinking hard about how I want to do my cardio in the workouts now. I know I probably can’t run for the entire cardio time (which can be up to 30 minutes), but maybe I can start with running for my base pace and then going down to walking when I need to. During the next mile challenge, I don’t want to go for a PR anymore but instead want to see if I can run a mile without walking. I haven’t done that since I was a kid.

I didn’t consider myself a runner when I started this past week of workouts, but I have to say that by the end of the week I think I finally am starting to think of myself as a runner and someone who can just be a runner (instead of a run/walker) one day. I don’t know if I will ever run an entire 5K race, but then again a week ago I didn’t think I could run for .5 miles and I did that on Friday. This past week has given me a lot to think about and reevaluate and I am hopeful that my progress will continue, just not in the way I imagined it would.

Lots Of Running and Rowing (or Proof Of My Progress)

For a while, I was making such great progress in my workouts. But I think from the past few weekly updates it’s becoming clear that I’ve been getting a bit stuck. I’ve been doing little improvements here and there, but in general I’m at the same level that I was a few months back. I’m not using heavier weights, I’m rowing at about the same wattage as I was before, and my running is still at the same speeds and lengths of time. I know I need to work on this, but it’s been tough. So this past week of workouts, I did my best with trying to see where I could make improvements.

Monday’s class was a strength focus but it was a run/row day. The run segments were .3 miles on a flat incline and .15 miles at 7-3% incline. For the flat incline part, I ran for 90 seconds and then walked for a minute and repeated that until I got to .25 miles (power walkers do half the distance so since I run/walk I try to split the difference). I was tempted to see if I could run .3 miles without stopping, but I was scared to test myself. And for the incline runs, I ran for 45 seconds and walked for a minute until I got to .15 miles (since that was a shorter distance I didn’t split the difference between runners and walkers). It wasn’t easy to run on an incline, but I was grateful I challenged myself to do it. For the rowing, we had 150 and 300 meter rows and those were nice quick sprints for me.

On the floor, we had really short blocks and we focused on upper body and abs mainly. I did have some small improvements in my floor work including doing my plank work on my toes instead of my knees. I also used some of the heavier weights for my deadlifts and rows. For my ab work, I did have to use more modifications than I would like but I was still doing the work and I felt it in my core later that day and the next morning!

Wednesday was an interesting day. We started with a 10 minute block on the treadmill and a 10 minute block on the floor. On the treadmill, we had pretty long push paces (90 seconds to 2 minutes) followed by 1 minute at base pace. I did all the pushes as a run and walked during the base. On the floor, we had chest presses, squats and sit-ups. Then we came together to do the rest of the class as a partner workout.

This was a rowing partner workout. The person on the rower would row for distance while the other person did floor and treadmill work. On the floor we had jumping jacks with a medicine ball, push ups, and plank leg lifts. Then the floor person would go onto the treadmill to run. We had .2, .15. and .1 miles to do on the treadmill and I decided to run for the entire time. The .2 miles part was tough, but running the entire thing was a nice boost to my ego since I thought I’d struggle more with it. After the run, we would tag out the rowing person so they could do the floor and treadmill work.

The time on the rower averaged about 3-5 minutes and it wasn’t easy to row after  doing the running. But there were goals set for how much distance we could do as a team during the workout so I rowed pretty hard. Each time on the rower, I was pretty close to 900 meters. In the 23 minutes that we worked, we each did the treadmill and rower 3 times (so 6 total switches) and between me and my partner we got 5130 meters on the rower. That’s not too bad considering how much other work we were doing in the workout!

Friday was a strength day and for some reason I was having a pretty bad day with my hips. I was hurting really badly and I couldn’t make the pain go away. I still went to the workout, but I knew it wouldn’t be a really great one for me. We didn’t switch between blocks and we started with a 2 minute push pace on a flat road. I did run for that, but that was the only running that I did. Since it was a strength day, which means hills, I didn’t mind too much that I was walking. I did my inclines between 6-10% and sometimes I increased my speed a little bit as well. It wasn’t my best workout, but I tried to take it as a recovery day and be ok with that.

When I switched to the floor, we focused a lot on arm and chest work. It was fine with me until for some reason my right shoulder was starting to hurt (I think I might have slept on it funny). Once I started to hurt, I used some lighter weights but kept going. And we did have 2 rows that were 250 meters each. The first time I did it in 1:01.2 and the second time I did it in 55.5 which made me pretty happy. It’s nice when even during a tough workout I have something I can be proud of.

I also did a Saturday workout. I debated cancelling it and for a while I was only on the waitlist which seemed like an easy way to not go. But I just told myself that I needed to do it and it ended up being the perfect workout to end my week on when I was struggling with progress. This workout was a run/row but it was not the standard format. This time, we had running with weights that we did 3 times and then we moved to rowing with weights 3 times. For the running, we had to do .25 miles each time. I’ve run .25 miles before, but it was a struggle and I wanted to see what would happen this time. It wasn’t easy to run the entire thing, but I did it. And I did it all 3 times! I did have a break between each .25 miles when I had to do weights, but technically I ran .75 miles in that workout! The rowing was 150 meters so that was fast and the weight work that we had to do between everything were shoulder and arm focused. But the sense of accomplishment I had each time I did my run made everything amazing in that workout.

On the floor, we had a lot of squats and ab work. I was using lower weights than I know I could have used but I also was very tired after doing my running. I was doing plank work on my toes again (which is pretty tough with my hips not being as great as they could be) and I was doing speed skater lunges without having to put my toe down which has been something that I’ve been working toward for a while. It seemed like this workout, which I questioned if I wanted to do, ended up being the workout that proved to me that even when it doesn’t feel like I’m getting stronger I really am.

I keep trying to tell myself that progress is slow and that I have to be patient with myself. And as long as I keep going that I will see progress in the long run. But it’s tough when you feel like you are stuck in a plateau to convince yourself that you are doing the right thing. So having a positive workout week like I did this past week helps to keep me motivated and feeling like I am on the right path.

Making Progress (or Preparing For My Thanksgiving Workout)

This past week of workouts were really great! I’m not sure what happened, but I was able to do things better/faster/stronger and I wasn’t necessarily trying for that. I know that part of it might be that I’m getting ready for my workout with my family on Thanksgiving. My dad and I are pretty competitive with that. I know he will always do better than me on the treadmill (although he hasn’t seen me run yet), but I want to do better on the rower and lift heavier weights. And I think this week really got me ready for that.

Monday was a strength day. I was able to run during the flat road push pace during the treadmill time (it was for a minute). But since the treadmill time was very focused on hills (as strength days are), I mainly power walked. I did try to do my inclines at the recommended incline or higher. We had a lot of 2 minute hill segments and I was usually keeping the treadmill at 8-12% incline. The inclines are finally getting easier for me (they got really tough after I tore my calf and I don’t know why it took so long to get easier) so I’m testing the higher inclines again during strength days. I’m glad that things seem to be getting better and I think I can start to challenge myself on strength days again.

For the floor on Monday, it was mainly arm work. But we had rowing to do for each of the 3 blocks. The first block was 600 meters, the second block was 500 meters, and the last block was 400 meters. The average time I seem to get is about 30 seconds for every 100 meters (which is what beginners are supposed to do). When I tore my calf, rowing got tough but that didn’t last too long. But then when I got my stomach bug/gallbladder issue, it got tough again to row. My stomach didn’t like being compressed like that. It hasn’t been easy rowing lately, but I figured this was a good day as any to challenge myself. And I really went hard. I managed to do my 600 meters in 2:35 (instead of my usual 3 minutes), the 500 meters in 2:03 (instead of 2:30) and 400 meters in 1:31 (instead of 2 minutes). Some of those are the best rowing times I’ve done for those distances and it was at the end of the workout so I felt really great that I could still accomplish something that awesome when I was that tired.

I had to skip my Wednesday workout (more on that tomorrow), so I went on Thursday instead. And I honestly think that Thursday was one of the toughest days I’ve had ever at Orangetheory (several other people I know agreed with me on that). It was worse than the Hell Week workouts! It was an endurance day, but it wasn’t a normal workout day. All of the blocks were 6.5 minutes long. We started with the treadmill for a block. I was able to run the 90 second and under push and all out paces completely. For the 2 or 3 minute pushes, I ran for 1 minute and walked for a minute.

After that block, the treadmills headed over to the rower. We had 2 different 3 minute distance sprints. Inspired by my awesome rowing on Monday, I decided to see what I could really do with these sprints. Normally for 3 minutes, I would get just about 600 meters done. And rowing for 3 minutes straight isn’t easy, so I can’t push myself as much as I can with the sprints. But after completing the 2 distance challenges, I was pretty darn impressed with myself!

rowing-challenge

I’m very happy that I was close to 700 meters both times! And I got my further distance on the second sprint, which most people couldn’t do. That was nice. After the rowing, we headed back to the treadmill for another block of work.

When we got to the floor, it was a lot of hamstring work which is always tough for me. Most of that work is too tough on my hips, so I have to do modifications. It’s not bad, but it does sometimes frustrate me because I really do want to do what everyone else is doing. After one block on the floor, we headed up to the treadmill and had a treadmill block in the middle of our floor work. That treadmill block included a 3 minute push, so I did my 1 minute intervals with it. And we finished up with another floor block. I was so exhausted after that workout, but it was a good exhaustion.

Going back on Friday after that tough Thursday workout wasn’t fun. But fortunately for me, it was another strength day so I mainly was walking on the treadmill. Again, I ran the push and all out paces that were on flat inclines (30 seconds to 1 minute), but everything else was walking on inclines. This time, the inclines were a little bit lower (usually between 6-12%) but I was increasing my speed a bit more to compensate for the lower incline.

The floor work was a lot of focus on shoulders. I was doing my shoulder press at squat fly with 15 pound weights. I know that in the past I’ve done shoulder presses with 20 pounds, but I must have slept funny the night before because my right shoulder was bugging me. I didn’t want to push it too much and risk an injury, so I went a bit easier. But I was able to use the 20 pound weight for my triceps work (one day, I know I’ll have buff arms!). We also had some rowing to do while on the floor. During the first floor block, we had a 500 meter row. And with the second block we had a 350 and 300 meter row. I didn’t do any super spectacular row work that day, but considering what I had done earlier in the week, I was just happy to be able to do what I normally do.

And I managed to do a 4th workout this past week too! I’ve realized that there’s a good chance I won’t make it to my workout goal this year (at my last count, I’ll be 4 workouts short and I’m seeing if I can add them in somewhere). So I’m trying to get in as many workouts as I can to be as close as I can get to the goal. I worked out on Sunday (which is something I rarely do) and it was a pretty great workout. It was an endurance, strength, and power workout; but it wasn’t done in the normal order that I’m used to. It’s normally in the order it’s is described, but this time it was strength, power, and endurance.

For the strength block, we started with a 2 minute push pace on a flat incline, so I did that and ran for the entire thing. Running for 2 minutes isn’t easy, but I’m glad I did it. For all the incline work, I was at 8% incline and bumped up my speed a bit more with my power walking, But the final part of the strength block was a 1 minute all out pace at 4% incline. Since 4% is considered “flat road incline” for power walking, I’m pretty comfortable at that incline. So I decided to do my all out as a run with the incline. I really felt the incline in my legs, but it wasn’t unbearable.

The power block was pretty short with push paces to all out paces that were less than 2 minutes total. So I was able to run all of that and I even bumped up my all out pace a bit and finished that block running at 6mph. And the endurance block was tough as always. For the 3 minute push pace, I did my usual 1 minute intervals. But we had a 2 minute push toward the end of the workout and I figured since I ran a 2 minute push at the beginning I’d like to try to bookend the treadmill time with another 2 minute run. This was a bit harder than the first 2 minute push (I was tired by this point), but I’m really glad I did it.

For the floor work, we had a pretty good mix of things. We had some hip/leg work, some back work, some core, and some rowing. The blocks were going much faster than they normally feel and I was pretty happy with all my work on the floor. I did struggle with one of the ab things because my hips weren’t feeling up to it, so I just did regular full sit ups instead and that seemed like a good substitute to me.

I’ve got one more workout (this morning) before I head to Thanksgiving and have my family workout. But I think I’m in significantly better shape this year than I was last year and I’m in a great spot to be able to battle with my dad during the workout.

My First Run/Walk 5K (or I’m Still In Shock)

This past Saturday I had the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. I’ve done this race several times in the past and I had been really looking forward to it. It’s a really nice out and back flat course and since I have done the race before I’m very familiar with the course and know when I’m getting close to the turn around. For a while, I had been training hard to make this a run/walk race (for the first time ever!). But after getting sick I wasn’t able to train like I was before and I felt like I lost a lot of progress and endurance. I figured that I would do my best, but I wasn’t expecting too much for this race.

I was able to pick up my race stuff on Friday after work, so I prepped all my stuff Friday night before going to bed. I usually wear a hip pack to carry my phone, keys, and anything else I need before/during/after a race. But I knew that wearing that would make running very difficult, so I had to plan differently. Since my workout pants have a little pocket, I could put my phone in there and I strung my keys through my headphone cord and put those in the pocket too. So I was feeling very free for whatever running I was going to be able to do.

Race morning I woke up at 5am and quickly got ready. I ate a little bit of a banana so I’d have something in my stomach, but my nerves were getting the best of me so I couldn’t eat or drink too much. By 5:30am I was in my car and headed to Hollywood and Highland where the race was. Once I parked, I got ready in my car and in the parking lot since it was nicely lit down there and it was a bit warmer than it was outside. And about an hour before the race was supposed to start, I headed up to street level to stretch and do my best to prep before the start.

pre-race

I tried to keep moving around so I didn’t get too stiff and was stretching my legs and hips. I really didn’t want pain to be a reason why my race wouldn’t be good, so I was working hard to make sure my body was ready to go. I did find some friends before we started, and seeing them made me feel a bit more relaxed and ready to see what I could do. And before I knew it, we were ready to go (we started right on time at 7am which was nice).

I had my running watch ready to go with 1 minute intervals set. So I was planning on running for 1 minute and then walking for 1 minute for as long as I could. In my training runs on my own, I usually could do that 5 or 6 times and then I would have to start cutting back on the running time. I would do 45 or 30 seconds of the 1 minute run and then walk the rest. I knew this was likely to happen, so I wasn’t thinking ever that I could do the full running minutes for the entire race. I just wanted to try my best and see what I could do. For this race, I really just wanted to finish in under 50 minutes (which would easily be a PR). My long-term goal was to finish in under 45 minutes, but that wasn’t even a though for this race.

Once I started, I started my watch and my music and started to run. The first minute of running went by quickly and very easily. I tried to stay toward the side of the course so that I wouldn’t bother people by walking. Sometimes I had to go around walkers when I was running, but that wasn’t that big of a deal and just tried to not obstruct any other races.

When my running watch is doing intervals, the default screen is showing how much longer is in that interval and how many intervals I’ve done. I keep it on that screen and while I can get an idea of what time it is, I didn’t want to focus on my time while racing. The first mile marker came up and I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval and I was very happy with that. I passed the water station while walking and took a few sips of water before focusing on the second mile.

The second mile is always the tough one for this race for me. The turnaround is in this mile and I know the course probably too much so I’m pretty focused on how many blocks were left before turning back. I just tried to focus on my music and trying to do the best running I could do. I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval, which is significantly better than I’ve ever done during a training run. When I saw the turnaround sign, I was very happy. Normally, I try to tap the sign and I see it as good luck. But there was a slowish walker in my way and I couldn’t touch the sign this time. I tried not to let that get to me and just thought about how I was halfway done!

The second half was a bit tough. There were times where the running minute was feeling like it was taking forever. I would glance at my watch and see that there were less than 15 seconds to go before I could walk and I kept deciding to finish the running minute. I know that I told myself that I didn’t have to run/walk the entire race, but I am so competitive with myself and wanted to test my limits. Once I saw the 2 mile sign, I finally started to realize that I might actually be able to maintain my intervals for the entire race. There is a bit of a downhill going toward the finish line and that is always really nice to get to. I saw the markers for the 10K race and knew I had .2 miles left to go. I just kept saying to myself that I can totally finish at this pace because it was almost done.

My last walking interval was very close to the finish line. I knew I didn’t want to finish knowing I could have done more running. So I cut my walking minute short and decided I would run for the rest of the race. It ended up being about 90 seconds of running and I finished the race sprinting across the finish line.

I stopped my watch as soon as I crossed the finish line. I had seen the official race clock say that it was almost 46 minutes and I knew that I started after the official start since I was toward the middle of the pack. But when I looked at my watch to see what it said, I was so sure that I had screwed something up because I really could not believe it.

garmin-watch

My watch was saying that my time was 44:47.8. I really thought that I either started it too late or stopped it too soon and figured I would wait to see what the official time sheets said before I got too excited. I knew I finished in under 46 minutes because of the official clock and that was also unbelievable but I knew it was right.

While I was waiting for the official times to be posted, I found some of my friends. My friend Brenda is a part of the Oscars/Halloween party group. She also had some issues with being able to train recently and was not expecting anything too crazy. But she was able to PR for the race and did amazing!

with-friends

I also ran into Heather, who is the executive director of My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is the official charity for the race and they always have a team running it. It was great to get to see her again and I’m hoping I can do some more work with My Friend’s Place in the near future.

with-heather

Finally, the official time sheets were updated so I could check what my time was. And after looking at it, I finally had to believe that I did was well as my watch claimed.

official-time

My official time was 44:48 (which is basically the same thing as 44:47.8) Not only did I PR (by over 9 minutes) I actually beat the long-term goal I had of doing a race in under 45 minutes! I really did not expect to do anything close to this and even a few days later I’m still in a bit of shock. After having several disappointing races when I felt like I did really great, I was expecting this to be similar. But I actually did better than I ever could have imagined!

post-race

I wasn’t able to drive home right away because I was in such disbelief. I made a couple of phone calls to people who I knew wanted to know how my race went. Each time I said my time, I could barely believe what I was saying. But soon enough hopefully I’ll start to believe that I did it. I’ve got to focus now on some new race goals because I did all of them in a race that I was so stressed out about.

Once I got home, I added my new medal to my medal hanger (I’m looking at buying an extension for it since I’m running out of room).

medal-wall

I spent the rest of my day relaxing and trying to nap since I had gotten up so early that morning. I kept looking online at my race time trying to believe it and not think that I’m dreaming or that some mistake happened. I know that I had trained hard for this race, but my training never got such incredible results. I think a lot of it had to do with race day adrenaline and that helped me to run more than I normally can do.

I never expected to have such an amazing race day. I’m glad that I still pushed myself even though I knew that things might not go the way I was hoping they would. Even though I thought I had given up on myself a little bit, I guess deep down I really hadn’t and this was my mind’s way of telling me to keep pushing it. And I’ll get the chance to test that out again in about 6 months when I have the next 5K happening (unless I find another race I want to do before then). But for now, I’m just so happy and grateful that my hard work paid off and I had the greatest race day I even could have wanted.

best-race-ever

Building My Endurance (or Lots Of Running)

I’ve been trying to focus my running at Orangetheory a bit more than I have before. When I started to run, I was just so excited that I could do it that I was going crazy with everything! I wanted to be able to run 5 minutes and I wanted to get faster and faster. I haven’t experienced burnout (thank goodness!), but I’ve been noticing my progress has been stagnant and I realized that my scattered focus could be part of the problem.

So for this past week of workouts, I really wanted to focus on my endurance. I know I need to build endurance in order to do my next 5K as a run/walk. I don’t necessarily need to be able to run for a long time in a single stretch, but doing longer stretches means the shorter ones I’ll be doing during the race will be easer. Building endurance isn’t easy, but I think I did a pretty great job this week working on it!

Monday’s workout was an endurance one that switched between blocks so I could push a bit harder with my running. We had some pretty long push paces and I decided to run a bit longer with them. When the push paces were 2 minutes or more, I ran for 2 minutes (double my usual 1 minute run time). It wasn’t easy to run for 2 minutes at a time a few times, but I’m glad I did it to prove that I could. The second treadmill block had shorter push paces, but since I had come from the floor I was a bit tired and I went with my usual 1 minute run time.

Usually switch days are easier on me since I get a break from the treadmill, but Monday wasn’t like that. The floor work was pretty tough on me and we had endurance rows to do. Both blocks had 800 meter rows and I’m happy that I could do them without stopping. But I know that pushing myself that much did affect how my second treadmill block and second floor block went. I wasn’t going as hard after the halfway mark, but since I was pushing myself in the beginning my second half was really just like a normal workout for me.

Wednesday was a strength day, so I wasn’t able to do as much running. I really am not really to work on hill running, and I have to be ok with that for now. Whenever we had flat road work, I did run to make up for it. We had a 1 minute push and a 2 minute push on a flat treadmill so I ran for those. And I decided to do the all out at 3% as a run which confirmed it for me that I’m not ready for hills as a runner yet. The floor work was a bit easier for me (I love strength days on the floor) and I was able to do some nice heavy weights. We also had a 2 minute sprint row which was nice compared to the endurance row from Monday.

Friday was a run/row day that had some hill work, but I decided to just go for the regular run/row format using my run/walk work. The run parts were a bit long, but I decided to go for 90 second runs and 1 minute walks which is a bit different compared to normal. It wasn’t easy to do it for the distances we had to go, but it proved to me that I could do it and I know that this will be helping my endurance so much. Because I was focused so much on the treadmill work and doing my distances, I didn’t make it that far down the run/row plan. But it felt so good doing a longer run segment that it didn’t bother me at all.

The big thing that bugged me on Friday (and I’m aware this is stupid) is that I wore new pants to the workout. They are the same pants that I usually buy, but I think they changed how they are stitched or the fabric because they felt way too tight. A lot of the work on the floor was abs that day, and wearing tight pants didn’t help at all. I was struggling and my form was looking sloppy. I hate to blame the pants, but I know that they caused that problem.

And I finally did a 4th workout in the week! I made it to a Saturday workout for the first time in a while! I knew I needed to do this and I’m so glad that I did. And this workout ended up being the perfect way for me to end my workout week. It was another endurance day, and this time we had distance challenges in it. All of the blocks were 10.5 minutes long and we had 2 treadmill blocks back to back (so no switching).

The first treadmill block was supposed to be 3 minutes at a push pace followed by 1 minute of walking. I didn’t want to run for 3 minutes (nor do I think I can do that more than once or twice), so I did the 90 seconds of running followed by 1 minute of walking for the entire block. In the end, I did a little less running so I could end with the all out as a run (I needed a walking break before the all out). At the end of the block, I noticed I was close to .75 miles and I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to it.

Fortunately, the second treadmill block was a distance challenge for 10.5 minutes! So I did the same pattern as I did before, but I bumped up my speed for my running segments. Going faster was pretty tough since I was tired and I’ve been doing almost all my running lately at 4.5 miles an hour, but in the end it totally paid off.

distance-challenge

I’m pretty proud of myself for what I was able to do and I felt amazing after not only reaching a goal that I set for myself but passed it!

After all that awesome running, I wasn’t going to let the floor work get me down. We had endurance rows (1,000 and 500 meters) and I managed to do both of them without stopping and being under the time that I wanted to be done in. Most of the rest of the work that day was lower body stuff like squats and calf raises, but there was also some ab work so I got a bit of a rest on the floor.

Considering it’s been a while since I’ve had a 4 workout week, I’m so happy with how well this past week went for me. It wasn’t easy, but I made it through. My race is coming up soon and I’ve been a bit concerned on how my progress has been going. But this past week proved to me that I’m doing better than I believed I was doing!

Still Figuring Out Meal Planning (or Will Food Ever Be Easy For Me?)

I’ve been doing pretty well lately with food stuff. It’s not something that I don’t have to think about any more, but I’m definitely spending less time every day thinking about what I want to eat or what I should eat than I used to. It’s nice not to have my thoughts always consumed by food (no pun intended), but I’m still figuring out what is right and best for me.

I know that I can cook and that I can use pretty much all fresh ingredients, but that’s not always easy for me. There are plenty of times that I realize it is dinner time and I don’t have something that I can make easily. I don’t want to risk going to the store because then I will grab everything that looks good to me at the time. So it’s important to me to have prepared meals in my house that are easy for lunches and dinners.

I’m still really loving the salads I can get from Trader Joe’s and I eat those pretty regularly for lunch (it’s easy to talk to customers and eat a salad). But I do need variety from time to time and some of my old standbys (like peanut butter and jelly) just aren’t doing it for me anymore. So I have to find other easy things to make and a lot of those things end up being frozen meals.

When I was younger, I did eat the frozen diet meals on a semi-regular basis. But honestly those meals aren’t that tasty, they have a lot of chemicals to cover up for things that are missing, they are expensive, and they aren’t a lot of food. So I’ve been exploring more frozen food options including ones that I used to consider not healthy options in the past.

I’ve been working on tracking my foods carefully and I can find ways to make the higher calorie meals work into my day. And I’m discovering that it isn’t as hard as I thought in the past. I’m not eating that high of calorie counts for my breakfasts and lunches, and if I’m not having a binge episode I do have lots of calories left for my dinner. So making stuff that I used to consider off-limits are now perfectly fine for me.

Taking away the stigma of bad foods and good foods has been really good for me. I’m exploring more food options that I never thought I could enjoy (like frozen tempura shrimp) and I’m really liking it. I’m getting more variety in my meals and that is helping to keep things from getting too boring too quickly. There are still some things that I’m trying that I know can’t be a regular part of my diet, but it’s ok to find things that are good splurge meals from time to time.

I’m eating more frozen foods than I would like, but considering the alternative for me I think this is ok. I still want to find a good balance between prepared and frozen foods and cooking from scratch and that just isn’t coming easily to me. I still get annoyed that my food issues aren’t going away as quickly as I would have liked them to, but I’m seeing progress and trying to give myself credit for it.

The baby steps of progress aren’t always easy to notice on my own, but when I reflect back on my meals for the past month or so and realize that my days under my calorie goal are outweighing the days over the calorie goal, I realize that I’ve been making progress without thinking about it or noticing. I’m still not ordering delivery food and that’s something I’m proud about as well.

Hopefully more baby steps happen to me this way and that recovery is in my future soon. It will be nice to spend even less time focusing on food when that happens and I’m excited to see what the next baby step I make will be.

Continuing To Impress Myself (or A New PR)

This past week of workouts were pretty amazing for me. I had 3 workouts which was fine (especially since I did a “workout” at Disneyland by walking almost 8 miles there). I wasn’t expecting to have anything awesome happen since I had such a wonderful PR with my mile the week before, but I’m glad that I surprised myself!

Monday’s workout was an early one for me. I usually go in the morning, but I went an hour earlier than normal so I could have more time at Disneyland after (and I’m aware that I’m crazy for going to Disneyland after a workout). Getting up earlier than I’m used to was a bit tough, but fortunately my workout didn’t feel that much harder than my usual morning one.

This time, we had an endurance day. On endurance days we have really long push paces and I usually can’t run for the entire thing. Usually I try to run as much as I can, but since I didn’t want to overdo it before Disneyland I decided to run for 1 minute of each push. I’m sure I could have done more, but considering how bad my hips were feeling that night, I’m glad I didn’t push myself more. We also had a row block as part of our cardio where we were doing 90 second sprints. Those were pretty short sprints so I was able to do them without too much trouble.

On the floor that day, we did some more rowing with 300 meter sprints (which takes me about 90 seconds so all the rows were about the same). We also had a lot of variety with the floor work with using the Bosu, straps for rollouts, weights with the squats, and body weight with plank jacks. I was definitely feeling exhausted after the workout, but I’m glad I didn’t skip a Monday because of Disneyland.

Wednesday was a bit of a sad day. My Wednesday coach, JZ, has been my Wednesday coach since my first full week at Orangetheory. I’ve loved having her as my coach each week and she’s been not only a great coach but has become an awesome friend too. There have been very few weeks where she wasn’t my coach on Wednesdays and I love having that consistency in my life. But JZ has her own company and that is starting to take up more time so she cannot teach classes on a regular basis at Orangetheory anymore. She’s still going to be on the sub list (so hopefully I’ll get her from time to time) and she’s going to work out there too so this workout wasn’t a goodbye, but it still was a bit of a downer.

JZ

Even though I was sad about this being JZ’s last regular class, I still wanted to kick some butt in the workout. It was a power day so I was excited to have shorter push paces so I could do more running. The push paces were between 2 minutes and 1 minute and I’m happy that even thought the 2 minute ones were tough, I still ran for the entire time! The second half of the cardio workout was a run/row (usually a run/row is the entire cardio workout) and it was a combination of push paces to all out paces. The longest time on the treadmill was 2 1/2 minutes, and I did manage to run for that entire one. I was really exhausted on the rower after that, but I’m just happy that I’m doing slightly longer running times more often now.

On the floor that day, we had 4 short blocks and each block started with holding a plank. The first time (which was 30 seconds) was easy and I felt pretty confident that I wouldn’t have a problem with any of them. But each time they got longer and it was harder and harder for me to hold the plank. When we had to do it for 2 minutes, I was taking a couple of breaks because my core just couldn’t stay up. I used to be amazing at planks (when I had a personal trainer 10 years ago, my PR was over 3 minutes in a steady plank) and I really do want to get back to being able to do that.

Friday’s workout was another endurance one, but this one had a challenge in it as well. In the beginning of the workout for cardio, we had a 6 minute challenge for distance. I’ve done 5 minute challenges and 7 minute challenges, but never a 6 minute one so I wasn’t sure what distance I was going to hope for. But I figured if I could be at a similar distance to my 7 minute challenge one, I’d be happy.

I did the 6 minutes as a run/walk with running for the first minute, walking for the second, repeating that for the third and fourth minutes, and then running the last two minutes without a break. It wasn’t easy and I was tired because I was pushing my speeds to be a lot faster than I’m used to. But I was so happy to see that I not only matched my best 7 minute challenge, but I beat it!

6 Minute

After the challenge, we had another 7 minutes on the treadmill doing regular endurance work. I tried to run a bit more, but I was pretty tired from the challenge so I stuck with walking until we had the all out at the end of that block.

Then we switched the floor so the other half of class could do their first 6 minute challenge. On the floor, it was a long block filled with squats, rowing, burpees, hamstring work, and abs. After we got through that, we had a 500 meter row. My time on the rower wasn’t great, but between the challenge and all the floor work I was ok with that. I only made it over to the rower once during the floor block and then it was time to switch again to be on the treadmill.

We repeated the 6 minute challenge and I figured I could bump my speeds up more since I knew this was the last 6 minutes on the treadmill for class. I was going a bit too fast in the beginning so I had to bring my speed down a few times, but I was able to keep the same pattern I used the first time. And when we had the last 30 seconds, I got my speed up to 6.0 miles an hour and sprinted to the end. And since I worked so much harder the second time, I managed to PR on the challenge compared to the first attempt.

6 Minute #2

That’s almost 1/2 mile in 6 minutes! I remember when I started at Orangetheory that it would take me about 5 minutes to go 1/4 mile! I did wonder if I should have tried a bit harder because I might have actually been able to make it to that 1/2 mile mark, but this just gives me something to strive for next time so I can have another PR.

After the second challenge, we headed back to the floor where we did a lot of work on the Bosu (which mean I could sit down for a lot of it). I’m glad I had that time to catch my breath and decompress from the workout because it still boggles my mind sometimes that I’m not just running but running at speeds I never imagined I could do!

This workout continued to prove to me that I am making major progress even if I doubt it at times. When I don’t have things like treadmill challenges or rowing challenges to compare myself to, I can feel like I’m stuck even if I’m not. I’m trying to get that stuck feeling out of my head because I don’t think it’s going to help me improve on my endurance, and that’s my big focus now. I know I can run/walk for a mile, but I need to be able to do that for 3.1 miles in about 2 months. I know that I can always just walk it if I get too tired, but my goal is really do to the entire thing as a run/walk and that’s only going to happen if I get my endurance up a lot in the next 2 months.

Feeling More Progress (or Olympic Workouts)

This past week at Orangetheory was another themed week. This time, it was Olympic week. Each class would have a challenge that we would all do and they would post the top people each day (each challenge had 4 winners, men under and over 40 and women under and over 40). I had no expectations of being number one for any challenge, but I think you all know that I love a challenge and I was ready to see what I could do!

I was warned that Monday’s workout was the mile challenge, so I went in expecting that. Turns out, it wasn’t the mile but instead a mile by mile challenge. The plan was that we would do a total of a mile on the treadmill and a mile on the rower, but it was broken up into quarter mile segments. Even though I know I can run a quarter mile, I was still feeling the run class a bit so I didn’t want to push myself too much. So I did my 1 minute run/1 minute walk plan and did .18 each round (runners were supposed to do .25 and walkers .125 so I tried to do something in the middle). The treadmill went well and I can actually feel that my form is starting to get better.

The rower is where I was struggling a bit. My form has always been a bit off because of my hips, but I was just feeling like I couldn’t get my legs to do what I needed them to do that day. I know my rowing was really sloppy and probably didn’t look that pretty, but I got them done. I don’t know what my exact time was for the challenge, but I did get it done within the first half of class which is good. I hate when there is a challenge but I’m not able to complete it due to time issues.

On the floor on Monday, I ended up doing a lot of squats and lunges. Normally that would be ok for me, but my hips were starting to get really weak and I could feel the pain coming on. I was trying to do my best, but I know that I was doing less than I typically could. I know that I’m really tough on myself and I shouldn’t be when there is a real physical issue stopping me, but I’m still frustrated at times that I can’t do what everyone else is doing.

Wednesday’s workout had a 4 minute row challenge. I did this challenge after some of the treadmill work, so I was a little tired but also a bit warmed up. We were challenged to try to get at least 1,000 meters in 4 minutes, but I knew that wasn’t going to be possible for me. I know that the average that I could do would be 800 meters, so I really wanted to get to 900 meters this time. During those 4 minutes, I tried to zone out and not pay attention to the clock or the computer on the rower. I wanted to not think about how much more I had to do or get frustrated if I wasn’t going to reach my goal. When we were told that we had 1 minute left, I tried to get as much speed and wattage on the rower and when it was done I finally looked at the rower computer. I got to 890 meters, which is much better than I normally can do but just shy of what I wanted to do. But overall I’m pretty happy with that distance.

On the treadmill, we had some hill work so I was walking for those. But for the non-hill work I was able to run almost all of the push paces and then all of the all out paces. I’m starting to notice my endurance is getting a little bit better, but it’s not getting better as quickly as I thought it would. Hopefully by the time I have my next 5K it will be closer to what I need it to be for the race! But I did push it a bit on the speed and every time we had a 30 second all out, I was going at 6mph (instead of 5.5) so that felt pretty amazing!

Friday was a workout that I should have been waiting all week for, but I had no idea that it would be the challenge that I look forward to the most: the mile challenge. I really didn’t know that was on Friday (all the challenges were surprises) so I had no time to get excited or nervous about it. Fortunately this time, we had a run/row after the mile challenge so I wasn’t feeling too rushed to get it done.

I know I had an insane PR my last mile challenge, so I went into this mile not caring if I got a new PR. I just wanted to run/walk the entire thing and to be under 15 minutes for sure. I kept things the same as last time with my 1 minute run/1 minute walk, but I was going faster with the speeds than last time. The mile wasn’t easy and I did have to take 2 small breaks for water but I was definitely doing better than I ever had before on the mile challenge. At about the half mile point, I saw that I was pretty much on pace with my last mile, and I was very happy about that. Again, I had no intention of trying for a PR because that last PR was so tough for me and my body felt it afterwards and I didn’t want to go through that again. I ended up running the last .1 straight and went a lot faster than I usually do, but in the end I managed to easily be under 15 minutes and got a new PR too!

My Mile

This is 11 seconds faster than 2 months ago! And not only that, this mile was less painful and hard on my body than the one 2 months ago! Again, this is just proving to me that even if my progress is feeling slow to me, my body knows better and there really is some great progress happening with me!

I didn’t get a ton of the run/row done after the mile. I got my 600 meter row done and then was on the treadmill for the last 2 minutes of that part of class. I know that some people got the entire run/row plan done, but to me it was most important to try to do the best I could do on my mile. And I think I did exactly that!

The floor work after the mile challenge was a lot of arm work so I was using 20 pound weights for most things. We had a lot of squats and some plank and ab work (during which I felt like I could finally catch my breath). And when we were stretching at the end of class, I felt a lot more flexible than usual which is odd for me. I’ve always been a pretty flexible person and even after my hip surgery my flexibility wasn’t affected too much. There are a few stretches now that I really can’t do because of the issues with my hips, but in general I can stretch pretty far. But to feel extra flexible after a workout really made me feel amazing and I’m glad that my mile challenge day ended that way!

I also had a workout on Saturday, but the Olympic week was over by then. Even though I told myself before that 4th workouts in a week would be on the bike, I went for the treadmill this time. My hips don’t hurt as much when I’m running as they do when I’m walking, so I’m not hurting as much in my 4th workout as I was before. I’ll still probably use the bike from time to time, but I’m glad that I’m able to do more running work in a week.

Saturday’s workout was a power day and we didn’t switch between blocks. But I like the power workouts because they tend to have shorter pushes with all outs, so I can do more running. We did have one longer push that was 2 minutes, so I only ran 1 minute of that. But for pretty much all the other pushes I ran everything. And we had 8 all outs and I ran them all. I even bumped up my speed a bit on the 30 second all outs with going 6.3mph. That’s a bit too fast for me right now, but it was fun to try going that fast to see how it felt.

All of the floor work on Saturday was pretty short blocks, so I never got too tired in a single block. There was a ton of arm and chest work that I did with 20 pound weights, and some lunges that I did without weights (my balance isn’t super great and the weights make it a bit too tough for me). We also had sprint rows of 100 meters and then after each 100 meters we had to do power jacks using a medicine ball. By the time we were done with the workout, I was ready for a nap!

This really was a great week of workouts for me. I loved the Olympic week challenges and each day I was pushed quite a bit. I got a new (unexpected) PR on my mile, and I did running on the treadmill for 4 workouts in the week! I don’t think I could have expected anything more than this and I’m glad that not only did I have some great workouts but I feel like I did some great work! The plan for this week is to do 3 workouts, but I think that because of the work I did last week those 3 workouts are going to be amazing!

Guess I Motivated Myself (or No More Feeling Stuck)

Last week I posted about feeling a bit stuck with my progress in running. It’s hard not to be frustrated with a plateau, and that’s exactly what I was feeling. I didn’t like feeling that way, so I guess putting it out there in my blog post motivated me to do something about it. This week I had some really great progress and I was able to continue to feel motivated and to do more than I really thought I could.

Monday’s workout was a run/row, but some of the run segments were a bit longer than I can do. When we were supposed to run .3 miles, I ran for 90 seconds (instead of the 60 seconds I usually do) and then walked until I got to .2 miles (I did in between what we were supposed to do as a runner and as a walker). Those 90 seconds weren’t easy, but I got through them and I felt so accomplished after that. The next run segment was .25 miles, which I know I can do. Again, this wasn’t easy, but it helped me remember that I’ve done this before and I could do it again. I did this .25 miles a bit slower than I have in the past, so that meant that this was the longest time I’ve run yet!

1:4 Mile

After doing that long run, I wasn’t able to fully run the last segments which were .2 and .15 miles. I was able to run a majority of those, but I know if I hadn’t pushed myself to do the .25 miles as a run I could have run those as well. Our rowing was between 150-300 meters, and since they were fast I did take some time between the treadmill and rower to catch my breath and prepare myself for the next thing I had to do. Overall, this was one of my best running days yet!

Once I got to the floor, I felt like I had already done a full workout, but I tried my best to continue to motivate myself to do more. We had a lot of upper body work with the straps and push-ups and we finished with abs (after which I was barely able to sit up). I surprised myself by how much I was able to do as well as how little pain I was in after class. Not hurting is a good sign and I know I was doing the right thing that day.

Wednesday was an endurance day, and we didn’t get to switch between blocks. I knew the treadmill work would be a tough day, but I was trying to focus on how far I could get the distance to be on the treadmill. My dream is to eventually get the treadmill to make it to 2 miles in class when we don’t switch, but I’m not quite there yet.

The endurance work has been the hardest for me to do with my running, but I was not going to make excuses for myself. When we had 3 minute push paces, instead of walking the entire thing since I know I can’t run the entire thing, I ran half of it and walked the second half. So for every 3 minute push, I ran for 90 seconds. I did the same thing for the 2 minute push paces. I can run for 2 minutes, but I was feeling really tired so I wanted to pace myself. I’m happy with how much running I did in those long pushes instead of just walking. And of course, as I’ve been doing for a while, I ran all of the all outs.

When the treadmill block was done, I shut down my treadmill and was pretty impressed with what my distance had been in class.

Endurance Day

I wish I had noticed when I reached 1.55 miles because that is half of a 5K, but I missed seeing that. But I know that my speed is up so my times are getting better and better.

For the second half of class, we had some sprint rows of 300 meters, arm work on the straps, squats using the Bosu, and ab work. Again, it was another workout that I was exhausted at the end of, but there was very little pain so I considered it a big success.

Friday was another run/row day, and this time I was able to run all of the distances we had to do! We had to do .2 and .15 miles each time (there was also a .1 segment but I didn’t make it down the list that far in the time we had). I ran every single time and didn’t do any walking except to cool down a bit after the run. When I added up everything that I ran, I did .85 miles of running. Of course, this wasn’t non-stop, but I still think that that’s pretty amazing!

The rows between the treadmill time were between 100-200 meters so they were pretty fast, but I was taking a lot of time in between to catch my breath and to let my heart rate get down a bit (it was super high all during class). I didn’t take it easy during the floor work where we had to do lots of arm work (I worked with 25 pound weights), burpees, plank jacks, and hop overs. It was another exhausting but worth it workout.

I think I got myself out of my slump. I just needed to put it out there how I was feeling to realize that I was in control of my progress and I could take it to the next level. I wrote about 3 workouts last week, but technically last week was a 4 workout week. But the 4th workout is going to be its own post, because I attended the 1 hour run class at Orangetheory for the first time! And trust me, that is worthy of being its own post!

Going Back To Normal (or An Early End To My Birthday Adventures)

I’ve had a really great birthday this year. I loved having dinner on my birthday with my birthday twin and my birthday party was really one of the highlights of the year so far. I feel so loved and I’m so grateful for the amazing friends that I have in my life. I am so lucky.

Normally, I have a ton of smaller birthday adventures leading up to and following my birthday. That usually happens because when I have a birthday party a bunch of people can’t make it. So I end up meeting them for dinner or drinks on another date to celebrate with them.

But this year, my birthday party had such an amazing turnout that I’ve gotten to celebrate with almost everyone who I wanted to celebrate with at once! I’m not used to having everyone in one place (and it was so much fun watching everyone meet each other and make new friends), and it was really just perfect.

But because of that, I’ve realized that my birthday celebrations are basically over. I still have to pick up a couple of the birthday freebies that I love and I might get birthday pie with a friend, but I’m done with planning birthday outings beyond that.

It’s not a bad thing that I’m done celebrating my birthday. I’m totally happy to have just one celebration and have that be that. It’s just weird when for so many years I’ve pretty much planned a birthday month and I feel like I’m missing or forgetting something now. But then I remember how amazing this past weekend was and I feel like I got all the birthday I needed in that one night out.

It is nice to be getting back to normal so quickly. I over ate during my birthday and I want to get the scale moving back in the correct direction. I need to focus on my health and recovery and birthday adventures are not the best time to plan that (I’m aware if I go for birthday pie that I will have to not focus on recovery for that moment).

I’ve been able to really pay attention to what I’m eating and what my behaviors are like. I got into some bad habits last week and it’s tough to break them but I know I can do it again. I’m working on remembering what I was doing earlier this summer when things were working really well for me and doing those again. And hopefully I will be back on track again within the week and if not, I know I’m making steps towards that.

I’ve got some big goals in mind for the next month or so, and I’m glad that I will be able to put my attention toward those. One of my biggest goals is with my next 5K race, which is the first weekend of November. I know that it will be here before I know it, and I want to make sure I take the time to do what I want to do. Things are going well so far, and I want to make sure that continues and things only get better!

While I’ve loved having a birthday month to celebrate my birthday, keeping things short may be the best thing for me right now. I need to focus on “real life” and not celebrating and going out for lots of meals that are splurges. I’m not eliminating the idea of a birthday month again in the future, but for right now this ended up being the perfect thing for me.