Tag Archives: strength

Another Peak Performance Week (or Some PRs and Some Not-So-PRs)

Another Peak Performance Week is done and to be honest it didn’t quite go the way I thought it would. It seems like most of the time during that week I will PR or come really close to getting a PR on all the challenges. But this week didn’t have that in the cards for me and it’s not easy to accept that. I know so many of my posts about my workouts lately have been how I need to go easier on myself, and this week was another example of that.

Monday’s challenge was the 500 meter row. It was a 3G class and I started on the treadmill. But because I knew the rowing would be after my first treadmill block I took the treadmill pretty easy. Once I got to the rower, I knew that my PR going in to that workout was 1:53.7. My goal in my head was to get it under 1:50 flat. I went pretty hard and fast as soon as I started and fortunately I didn’t seem to gas out until the very end of the row. I tried to not look at the timer on the rower and just focus on the countdown for the meters. And when I got to the last 100 meters I went as hard as I could since I knew it would be done soon. When I got my 500 meters done, I took a look at the timer and was pretty surprised with myself.

I had a feeling I had gotten under 1:50, but I had no idea I had done it that quickly! That’s about 7.5 seconds faster than my old PR which was only done earlier this month! I was not expecting to have such a huge improvement in such a short time frame.

After the rower challenge was done, we were into a more normal 3G workout that had a strength focus. I pretty much overdid it with the rower and was still dealing with a bit of nausea so I walked everything on the treadmill. On the rower, besides having the challenge we had 200 meter sprints with 20 seconds of rest in-between and also a 3 minute row for distance (I didn’t do so great with that since it was at the end of class). And on the floor, we mainly did upper body work but there was a bit of ab work and some squats thrown in there too.

Wednesday’s challenge was the floor rep challenge. I have done this before but I hadn’t looked at what my previous rep counts were before this class. This class had 4 blocks on the treadmill and 4 blocks on the floor and I started on the treadmill. The first treadmill block I was able to do my normal running for the push paces and walking for my base paces. Next on the floor was some lunges, abs, and a 200 meter row. Then I headed back to the treadmill.

I knew that right after this treadmill block I’d be doing the floor challenge so I walked the 4 minutes I was on the treadmill. I didn’t want to get too tired before the floor work and I think most people were taking it easy for that same reason. Then I went to the floor where it was 4 minutes of continuous work. The challenge is that you count how many reps in those 4 minutes you do. It’s 1 minute of squats, 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of pull ups on the straps, and 1 minute of sit ups.

Since I didn’t know what my old count was, I didn’t worry too much this time on what I wanted to get done. I did 95 reps total in those 4 minutes and felt pretty happy with myself. Then back to the treadmill where I did another 4 minutes of walking before going back to the floor to do the floor challenge again. This time, the exercises were reversed (so sit ups, pull ups, push ups, and squats). During the squats I knew I’d be close to 95 again so at the very end I did 2 really speedy squats and got my count up to 96. All I ever want to do is at least 1 better than what I did before and that’s exactly what I did. But after class I realized that I had done well over 100 reps the last time I had this challenge and I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to do better.

And Friday was the last day of Peak Performance Week and it was the mile challenge day. This is always what I look forward to and fear that I will struggle with. I don’t know how I got it in my head that the mile challenge is such a big deal, but that’s what I think of it. Since I knew I wanted to get it done first, I made sure that I started on the treadmill. I had been trying to plan out how fast I need to go for how long to get a PR. I already knew that I wasn’t going to try to run the entire thing but instead do intervals with really fast sprints.

As soon as we got started, I did my first sprint. I did 1 minute at 6mph followed by 1 minute at 5.5mph. I then walked for a minute to recover at 3.8mph (this is the same pattern I had when I PRed). This worked really well for 2 rounds and then things started to fall apart. I was already having a bad hip day and had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night before so my body wasn’t feeling so great. And after my second round I knew that I was overdoing it. I had to jump the rails to take a quick break. Since I didn’t stop my treadmill, this is totally cheating and I’m not happy about it.

For my third round, I reduced the run time and increased my walking because I knew the last round was coming up for me to finish my mile. And I knew that I’d be pretty close to what my old PR time was so I wanted to make sure I went as fast as I possibly could go. I don’t remember the exact speeds I went, but I think I was between 6-6.8mph for the last 90 seconds or so. And once I got my mile done, I stopped my treadmill.

This is exactly what my PR was from before. But since I jumped the rails to catch my breath, it doesn’t really count. But to know that I was able to tie myself isn’t too shabby. I haven’t been doing as much running lately as I had before the last Peak Performance Week and I was dealing with some physical issues this time. So I think to have expected to PR was almost unreasonable even though that’s exactly what I had hoped for.

After the mile challenge, we moved to the floor where we had some arm work and rowing. I was still working on catching my breath and wasn’t feeling so great so I was going pretty slow. But at that point, I didn’t really care what I was doing as long as I kept going in class. After the other group finished their mile challenge, my group was back on the treadmill. I knew I’d be walking because I was in pain and I was actually walking slower than I have in a long time. But I got it done and that’s what counts. We ended class with a block on the floor that included burpees, running man, back extensions, and ab work. I was exhausted after that class but I was glad I survived the 3 days of Peak Performance Week that I set out to do.

Saturday’s workout was back to a normal workout (Peak Performance Week is just Monday-Friday). It was 3G like it normally is on Saturdays for me and it was a mix of strength and power. Since I was still hurting a bit from Friday’s workout, I knew going into the workout that I’d be walking. But I was a bit disappointed when I saw the workout because it would have been a great one to work on my running.

We had 3 blocks at each station and we switched after the first 2 back to back. Every block was 4 minutes long and it was pretty much a 4 minute run for distance on the treadmill. The first block was increasing inclines, the second block was decreasing inclines, and the last block was at a flat incline. I would have loved to work on running for 4 minutes at a time, but my body wasn’t in any shape to run. I knew if I even tried that I would probably end up hurting myself. But I couldn’t just walk and not try for anything extra so I did increase my walking speed each time I was at the treadmill. I felt like this made up for having to walk extra slow the day before after the mile challenge.

On the floor, it was more leg and plank work than anything else and I decided to work on trying to be better with what weights I used. We started with lunges that had shoulder/arm work (front and lateral raises). Normally for lunges I use 15 or 20 pound weights and for those arm moves I use 12 pounds weights. But I decided to split the difference and use 15 pounds weights. It was tough to do the shoulder/arm moves, but since it was only 6 reps I was able to keep it up. It was nice to have something feel like it’s improving since I haven’t really felt that way on the treadmill. We also had decline mountain climbers, Spiderman planks, lateral lunges, and squats.

And on the rower we started with seeing how far we could go in a certain number of pulls on the rower. It started with 25 pulls and went down by 5 each round. Normally I can average 10 meters on each pull, but with the pain in my hips I wasn’t able to get as much power behind my rows as I normally can. I decided to not pay too much attention to the distance since I knew I wouldn’t be happy with what I saw. Another block was 200 meter sprints with froggers in-between each set. Again, I lacked the power I normally have so I didn’t look too much at my time for the row. And the last block was 150 meter sprints with squats in-between the sets. We were supposed to try to squat so low that we touched the rails of the rower, but I couldn’t get that low down. But I’m pretty certain my squats were lower than they probably ever have been.

This was not how I thought Peak Performance Week would go for me, but it wasn’t all bad news. I was able to work on being more patient with myself which is slowly happening for me. I did get some PRs and I learned how to push myself better. And that’s all I can ask for a Peak Performance Week. Now I just want to focus on seeing what gains and improvements I can have before the next challenge week!

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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.

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!

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!

Holiday Workouts (or Hills, Hills, and More Hills)

This past week of workouts were really great for me. I had some pain issues, but I was able to push through them most of the time and make the most of each workout. I knew going into this week that I was recovering from a week (and weekend) where I had gone out for a lot of dinners that were splurges. And I knew that on Christmas I’d be getting Chinese food and I wanted to work out in preparation for that.

Monday’s workout was a strength day where we switched between blocks. I knew that I would be doing a lot of walking that day, but I also made it my intention to try to push myself on my inclines and walking speed. And I had extra motivation to do so because JZ, who used to be my Wednesday coach, was on the treadmill next to me! I did run when we had flat road push and all out paces (where were all a minute or under). But when the pushes were on inclines I stuck with walking. I did bump up my walking speed a little bit and my inclines were between 6-10%. I think I might have been able to do a bit better, but for some reason I held back.

For our floor blocks, we did have some rowing. It was a 200 meter row, which is a sprint, and I was able to get those done pretty quickly. We also had some squats and back work that involved weights plus some rowing moves on the straps. We finished that workout with a 5 minute core blast and I thought I’d be fine doing them. But once we started, my stomach started cramping a bit. The sit-ups were tough but I was able to modify things and just do crunches when I couldn’t do what we were supposed to do. And when we had the 1 minute plank hold, I tried to stay up as long as possible, but only made it about 30 seconds before I had to take a break.

Wednesday’s workout was endurance, strength, and power and it was also a run/row. This was a pretty fun run/row for me. The first round was .5 miles if you were a runner and .25 if you were a power walker, so I did .375 with 2 minutes of running and a walking break. Then I had a 100 meter row which was nice and fast. Then it was a .35 mile run at 3% incline and I did .25 miles at that incline with 1 minute interval. Then it was a 250 meter row. Then the incline got tough and I did a .15 mile run at 5% incline. I wanted to do the entire thing as a run, but I was too tired so I did my 1 minute intervals instead. Then a 400 meter row on the rower. I finished the run/row with a .15 mile run at 3% with 1 minute intervals. It was a tough run/row, but it felt really awesome when I finished it!

On the floor, we had a good mix of upper and lower body work. We had some squats with weights and I was able to use 20lbs for those. Then for the shoulder work, I was using 15lbs. The rest of the floor work wasn’t with weights. We had ab work, bicep curls on the straps (I feel like it has been a while since I’ve had to do those!), rowing on the straps, and plank jacks. It was a really good workout and I was pretty happy with all the work I did that day especially since on Monday I didn’t run for any of the incline work.

Friday was another strength day. I’m not sure how I got so many days with inclines on the treadmill but I did. I’m not a huge fan of running on inclines, but I took this as a sign that I was meant to work on them. We had some push paces at 2 and 4% and I ran all of those. When we had higher inclines, I walked for those. We had 2 sets of 3 minute hill climbs and I walked those entire climbs at 6, 8, and 10% inclines. And all of our all out paces were at 2% inclines and I did run for all of those, but I did it at a slightly slower speed than normal. Overall, I was totally happy with my running at inclines that day.

For the floor work that day, I did struggle. My right arm was bugging me (I think I might have slept on it funny) so I had to use lighter weights than I would have liked to. The weights felt too easy, but when I used the heavier ones I could barely lift them. It was a weird feeling, but I just had to go with the lighter weights and be ok with them. The very last floor block was actually a rowing block for 6 minutes. My stomach was having some really bad cramps while on the rower so I was taking breaks pretty often.

Even though my Friday class ended on a slightly negative note because of the rowing, I still had a smile on my face during class. That’s because my Friday coach, Bruce, was wearing the Santa hat I got him 2 years prior. He’s worn that for the workout or two before Christmas each year and it does make me really happy that he does that.

And since I wanted to get ready for my Chinese food on Christmas, I did a workout on Christmas Eve as well! This workout was a 3G workout and it was the workout where you pull assignments out of stockings to find out what you have to do on the treadmill, rower, and floor.

I started on the treadmill for that workout. My first card said I had to do a 45 second push pace at 4% incline followed by a 30 second all out pace at a flat road for 4 rounds. I was able to run for all of it and did a walking recovery between each round. The next card I pulled was to do .24 miles, 1 minute of walking, and then another .24 miles. I did it as 1 minute intervals and I didn’t get through all of that but I got through most of it with my intervals.

Next, I was on the rower and I pulled a card that said do to 240 meters, a 20 second recovery, and then another 120 meters. That was for 3 rounds and it went pretty well considering how much I struggled with my rowing the day before. The next card I pulled was to do a 2400 meter row. I knew that there was no way I could get that done in the time that I had left, so I just focused on rowing for the rest of the block the best that I could.

My last block was on the floor and for that we either were going to pull a card that said we had to do the coal moves (which were the tough ones) or the present moves (which were still hard but easier). I ended up pulling the present card, but I had to do 24 reps of each move which made it seem harder than the coal ones would have been! The moves I had to do were single arm snatches (I did that with a 20lb weight), full squat shoulder presses (15lb weights for that), squats, tricep push-ups, and full sit ups. I just made it to the end of my second round when time was called. We finished with a 3 minute core blast and while there are still some ab moves that are very tough on me, I managed to do most of it without modifications.

Like I said before, since I know I’m not going to make it to my workout goal for 2016, I’m focusing on the intensity of each workout I have left this year. Even though some things weren’t as tough as I know I could have done, I think I did a pretty good job with my 4 workouts this week! I’ve only got 3 more workouts left in 2016 before I start my 2017 workouts. I know that I’m going to push myself as much as I can this week to end on the best note possible!

Wanting To Run (or Focusing On Running And Rowing)

My week of workouts last week were a bit interesting. I’m discovering that I need to push myself harder to get my heart rate up, but my endurance isn’t quite there yet. I’m finding the most trouble on the treadmill. I used to be able to get my heart rate into the orange zone while power walking, but now it doesn’t want to get there unless I’m running. I know this is a good sign and I’m getting much stronger with my cardiovascular ability. But I need to work on the endurance to get there too and I’m not finding it as easy as it was when I started running to build endurance now.

I don’t think I’ve necessarily hit a wall, but I’ve hit a small barrier. It’s like weight loss. When you start losing weight, you tend to lose very quickly at first and then it slows down. When I started running I found I could push my time by huge jumps without too much effort. Now, I’m finding it tough to run longer than a minute at times. I’m not giving up or losing hope, but it’s made me realize that I have to focus on training a bit differently now and perhaps I was just staying in my comfort zone before and now I’m truly pushing myself.

On Monday, we had a power day that switched between blocks. All the blocks were pretty short so I was able to do some good treadmill work. I was able to run during all of the all-out segments which were either 30 seconds or 1 minute long. I’m pushing things a bit with my speed on those all-outs, so I’ve been doing more at 5.5 mph when I’m not too tired (when I’m tired I’m scared I’m running sloppily and don’t want to hurt myself).

With the power day, we also had rowing to do. The rows were timed sprints and they weren’t too horrible for me. We had 3 timed sprints (1 minute, 2 minutes, and 4 minutes) and while my wattage on the rower was pretty low for me, I was able to do all of the sprints without taking a break and I hit my goal for the distance each time. There was a rowing workshop this past weekend that I wished I could have gone to (I was out-of-town) but I really want to go to the next one. I know I could be doing better with my rowing and I’d like to work on improving that.

Wednesday was a power day again, but no switching between blocks. It felt more like an endurance day for me because of the long time on the treadmill, but we had several walking recoveries during the 23 minutes on the treadmill so that helped a lot. Some of the push paces were 2 or 2 1/2 minutes long, and for those I had to stick with power walking. I really wanted to run (or run/walk), but I knew I needed to save my strength a bit for the all-outs. I did run during the shorter 1 minute push paces including the time that we had a 1 minute push into a 1 minute all-out (so that was 2 minutes of running). While we had the shorter all-outs, I decided to really push myself (I had barely been in the orange zone at all with my heart rate) so I ran for 30 seconds at 6 mph. That is definitely fast for me and I don’t think I could have done it for more than 30 seconds at a time. But it made me happy and gave me a boost of confidence when I was losing a bit of confidence in my running.

After all that treadmill work, I was exhausted. But I was only half way done with my workout so I tried to catch my breath so I could do my best during the floor work. For the floor, we had 2 long blocks that had a couple of different things to do in each one. But we started each set in each floor block with a sprint row. One block was a decreasing row and the other block was a constant row. But they were always sprint rows. I was starting to feel a bit competitive with one of the people on the rower next to me so we decided to race each other for one of the 150 meter rows. The goal time for 150 meters is under 45 seconds. But in my race I was moving so hard that the rower was starting to move with me and I was able to do it in 29.8 seconds! I lost the race (the other person did it in 28.8 seconds), but I was still pretty happy with what I was able to do. And I did another race (but with myself this time) for one of the 200 meter rows at the end of the workout and was able to do it in 47.9 seconds (goal time is under a minute).

I didn’t work out on Friday (I was on the plane on Friday during my usual workout time) so I did a Thursday workout instead. Thursday was endurance, strength, and power all in one workout. And it was a run/row day so I was really able to work on those workout elements. Because there was endurance, strength, and power for the run/row; each of the segments of the run were different. Some were longer distances, some were at inclines, and some were super short. So I had to work on a plan on how to use running during them all. For the long distance one, I did 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking. I did the walking distance for it (which is half of the running distance), but my coaches have all been ok with that. They know what I’m doing and they have all been really supportive.

For the strength running, since it was at an incline I had to plan carefully. But I did want to try the running with an incline because it’s a good way to push myself without having to run longer. I still did 1 minute of running and 1 minute of walking for it and I was splitting the difference between the running distance and walking distance. I ran at the running incline and walked at my usual walking inclines for push paces. This was pretty tough (especially running at 5% incline), but I was able to stick with my 1 minute/1 minute plan so I was feeling pretty awesome about that.

The power running were all short bursts of .15 miles. I really planned on just running the entire thing because I know I can do that and have done it plenty before. But this was at the end of the workout and I was pretty exhausted (I was rowing sprints between all of the running segments so that was a lot). I really tried my best to run as long as I could, but I was feeling like walking after 45 seconds. I stuck it out for the minute and then started to walk.

I felt a bit disappointed in myself but as soon as we were switching to the floor my coach told me how impressed she was with my running improvement. While I’ve been so focused on times and distance, I haven’t really thought too much about form. But I guess I no longer look like I’m struggling for each step and things are starting to look really smooth and fluid. That gave me a huge boost of confidence and made my floor work on Thursday a lot happier.

After my Thursday workout, I started asking my running friends about help on building endurance. A couple of them are going to be sending me some notes and advice that they’ve seen online or have heard in running groups. I need to start thinking more seriously about my running training if I want to keep improving. I never realized how hard I could push myself and train like this, but I’m so glad I’m doing it. Since the beginning at Orangetheory I’ve felt like an athlete (not just someone at a gym). But now I feel like not just an athlete, but an athlete in training and I need to take that mindset outside of just my workouts and start researching running and planning things out.

I’ve got a few more months until my next 5K race. I feel pretty good that I can PR on the race (unless I get hurt I will be doing a run/walk race for the first time). But I don’t just want to PR on the race. I want to set a goal for myself that is tough but achievable. Hopefully I can reach that goal and prove to myself that even if my running progress is stuck now that in the long haul I made huge progress.

Pushing Myself (or So Many Hills!)

This past week of workouts seemed to all be strength days (or at least partially strength days). I know that Orangetheory mixes things up, but I really did hit the strength days only! Strength days are days where you are supposed to be heavier on the weights on the floor and during cardio you do inclines. Since power walkers always do inclines for push paces and all-outs, strength days are days I try to push my inclines higher (like you are supposed to) and I always seem to struggle with that. So I’m guessing somehow I needed this week of strength workouts to test myself to my limits!

Monday was not just a strength day, but we didn’t switch between blocks so I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes straight. I managed to do my hills at between 6-10% even though I know I was supposed to do some at 12 and 15%. I used to be able to do those inclines without any issues, and it does make me sad that I’m still not back to where I used to be (and there’s a chance I might never be able to do those higher inclines again). When we don’t switch between blocks, my body is pretty exhausted by the end of the cardio. So by the end of things, I was doing my base, push, and all-out paces at the same incline and just bumping up the speed .1 mph for each of them. I was supposed to up my inclines, but I just wasn’t able to do it.

On the floor, it was very legs focused. We had lots of lunges and squats which are getting better for me. My lunges are still difficult with balance issues, but my form is significantly better. And my squats are much easier and I’m getting closer and closer to being able to use heavier weights while doing them. The only problem I’m having is that my arms aren’t strong enough to hold those weights. I’m struggling a bit with my grasp with the 25 pound weights and that’s with using workout gloves. I’m not sure how to strengthen my arms, wrists, and hands to be ready to hold heavier weights so I’m open to any suggestions.

On Wednesday, it was an endurance, strength, and power day that also happened to be a run/row day. But it still felt like strength only because during the run/row we were doing all inclines. All the rows were 250 meters and I managed to get faster each time I did the row (which is not normal for me). My best row was 250 meters in 57.4 seconds, which isn’t that bad at all! I’m pretty happy I got that row done in under a minute at the end of the cardio block! For the treadmill, we had progressively increasing inclines but decreasing distances. I did .4 miles at 6% incline and 3.5 mph, .2 miles at 8% incline and 3.6 mph, and .1 miles at 10% incline and 3.7 mph. The fact that I’m doing 10% inclines is good because for a long time the highest I could go was 8%. I’m really trying to focus on that improvement versus the improvement I would still need to make to be back to where I was almost a year ago.

On the floor on Wednesday, it was a lot of arm work. I was doing my chest flys at 20 pounds (chest flys are harder than chest presses which I can do at 25 pounds). For my squats I was holding a 25 pound weight and was able to use that same weight for my triceps work too. We also had some planks and pop jacks, and both of those I was able to do on my toes (versus my knees).

Friday was another all strength day. There were 6 blocks total (3 on cardio and 3 on floor) but we did do a switch in the middle. We did 2 short cardio blocks first, then switched to do 2 short floor blocks. Then we went back to do the long cardio block (11 minutes long) and the finished with the long floor block. I was so happy for the switch because it did give my hips and legs some time to rest before the long block. For one of the short cardio blocks, we worked our way down the hill. I started at 10% incline and every 30 seconds we went down 1%. I did that entire thing at 3.5 mph and it didn’t feel too fast for me at any of the inclines. On the long 11 minute block, we worked our way up the hill and my inclines ranged from 6-10% incline. For the last all-out I really wanted to see if I could go higher than 10%, but I was too tired to try it in the end and I’m sure it’s for the best since I don’t want to try a high incline when I’m tired (and my walking form is sloppy).

For the floor on Friday we did all abs for one of the short blocks and while I could do most of the ab work, there was one thing that was about moving our legs that my hips just weren’t going to do. So I did some basic crunches during that time. For the other blocks, they seemed to focus on arms again. We did a couple of rows on the straps and then did chest presses and bicep curls (I did both at 20 pounds instead of 25 because I was dealing with some weird pain on my chest from sleeping weirdly).

Even though this was a 3 workout week, I think I pushed myself pretty hard during all 3 workouts. I pushed myself for some heavier weights when possible, pushed myself for faster rows, and pushed myself for higher inclines. I know that soon I’ll be at whatever the next level is for me in my workouts, but with all the hard work I’ve been putting in it’s tough not to be a little impatient and want to see that improvement now.

Busy Workout Week (or Maybe Overdoing It A Bit)

I had a 4 workout week this past week. I totally needed a 4 workout week (it was actually the only 4 workout week I had for April), but I think that some of my activities on my off days (or before my workouts) made it seem a bit tougher than it usually feels. Of course, I also might have felt it more because it had been way too long since my last 4 workout week and I’ve learned that I need to make sure that I’m doing them more often so I don’t get out of the habit of it.

I think my Monday workout went pretty well. It was a day that had endurance, strength, and power and those can be really fun. It was a switch day, so I was never on the treadmill for that long at a single stretch. The endurance block was full of longer push paces, but those weren’t too bad for me. The one treadmill thing that got to me was the strength section. Strength on the treadmill means hills and sometimes the power walkers are expected to go much higher on the incline than I’m ok with right now (I’m wondering if my calf will ever feel back to normal again). I tried my best, but I’m really not ok going above 8% (or on really good days 10%) on the treadmill. So I had to keep my inclines lower than I would have liked, but I tried to bump up the speed when I could.

The floor work wasn’t too bad, but my body wasn’t loving the pop jacks or knee tucks. Knee tucks are much easier for me, but they can be a struggle when I’m tired or my hip is feeling ready to be done. But what I liked the best about this workout was that the end was the endurance block that was a partner challenge. So I felt extra motivated then because I had a partner counting on me and the treadmill part of the partner workout was a 1 minute push to all-out on the treadmill so it was pretty fast.

Wednesday was a tough day for me at first. I had gone to Disneyland after the workout on Monday, and I might have overdone it a bit with the walking after a workout. Tuesday I was really sore and Wednesday I was still feeling a bit off. I tried to do some stretching work to make my legs and hip feel better, but when I’m having an off day sometimes there is nothing I can do to make it better. So when I got to the workout, I was happy to see that it was a run/row day. All the treadmill blocks were pretty short (I think the longest I was on the treadmill at a time was under 4 minutes), and the rowing wasn’t too bad. The rows were between 100-200 meters each time, so that was basically under a minute of rowing. I tried to take a moment between the treadmill and the rower to catch my breath and make sure I wasn’t pushing my hip too much. I think I did ok with that because when I got to the floor block, it went really well for me!

I was doing my squats with 20 pound weights in each hand and managed to do all my arm work with the same weights! I’m getting close to being able to move to 25 pound weights for my chest presses (somehow that is where my upper body is strongest), but I’m still doing great with 20 pounds and the last few moves of each set can be a struggle. But knowing that I’m getting close to moving up to the next weight makes me feel pretty awesome. We also had lunge work to do that day, but I wasn’t able to do my lunges how we were supposed to (with our back leg on the weight bench). So I did my regular lunges instead and didn’t feel too bad about it because I was feeling so great about the weight work I had already done.

Friday was an interesting day. Before the workout, I had put a challenge out online that for every donor we get on the film Kickstarter, I would do a burpee before the class. I really was hoping we’d get a bunch of donors, but we only got 2. But then again, that meant I only had to do 2 burpees. I’m not the prettiest doing burpees because of the hip issues, but since I was filming this to share online I tried to look awesome doing them. Sadly, trying to look awesome also made both of my hips hurt so badly (even with only doing 2 burpees), so I was already feeling a bit sore before the workout even started.

Friday was a solid 30 minutes on the treadmill to start. We had a couple of 2 minute pushes, and those felt like 3 minutes or more to me. But I managed to get through it. When we had to do hills, I had to keep them pretty low (I basically stayed at 6%), but I did bump up my speed to balance it out. On the floor, I got to use the 20 pound weights again for my chest and arm work and we had some shorter rows. By the end of the workout, my hips were feeling a bit better than they did right after those 2 burpees (I’m so grateful the workout didn’t have any burpees in it!). But even though I was feeling a bit better, I knew that Saturday was going to have to be a bit of an easier day for me.

Saturday I was using the bike instead of the treadmill. The cardio blocks were back to back so I was on the bike for 30 minutes straight. It technically wasn’t a distance challenge day, but we were given a distance to try to get to in class. The runners on the treadmill were supposed to do a 5K (3.1 miles) or better in the 30 minutes, so I figured on the bike I should try to go 12 miles since for run/row days the bike has to do 4 times the distance of the treadmills. We had a lot of long pushes between the treadmill blocks. It seemed like a majority of them were between 2 or 3 minutes and I was feeling pretty tired by the end of the blocks. But once we were told to switch to the floor, my distance on the bike was 12.1 miles, so I was pretty happy about that.

The floor work was a lot of should work and we had some longer rows too. One block was an 800 meter row and the other was a 400 meter row. I managed to do both without having to take a break, but it wasn’t easy. And I was under the time that we were supposed to be under for the rower, so that was pretty awesome. At the end of each floor block, we had a 1 minute plank challenge. I still have to do planks on my knees (on my toes hurts my calf), but being on my knees also allows me to focus much better on my form. I could feel the planks in my core a lot, but I was able to keep going for the entire minute both times.

This week, I know I’ll be doing 3 regular workouts. There is also a dri-tri on Saturday that I’m debating about doing. I know I’ve felt left out in the past when I didn’t do the dri-tri, and I think that maybe I should just push myself to do it. But I also somehow don’t feel ready for it yet. I’m hoping that by tomorrow I will have a decision made on whether or not I will go for it. This dri-tri is the preliminary for the regional dri-tri, but since I know that I will not be a contender for representing my studio if I do it my focus will only be to finish and not to beat anyone else. I know that if I do it, the chances of me being the last person to finish is really high, but if I go for it I think finishing is the only goal that I’ll have in my head.

Reaching New Goals (or Time To Go All Out)

I had a pretty intense week of workouts. I had thought I might try to do 4 workouts this week (it’s been a while since I’ve done that), but now I’m so glad that I kept it at 3. But I know that I need to do another 4 workout week soon in order to reach my goals. But these 3 workouts totally felt like I did at least 4.

Monday was a tough day for me starting out. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain from when I woke up that morning. I tried to stretch as much as I could before class, but when you are going to an 8:30am class, there isn’t a ton of time to get ready before the workout. So I went into class hoping it wouldn’t be too tough and planned to do my best.

This class was insane! We had 9 all out segments between the 2 treadmill blocks. In a typical treadmill block, I’d say we would usually have maybe 2-3 all outs. But to have 4 all outs in one block and 5 in the other was a lot! And for all of these all outs, I did do my typically all out speed/incline (3.6 mph at 8% incline). The good thing was all the all outs were short enough that it wasn’t too horrible, but I could really feel the work I did later that day. Despite being tired and in pain, I didn’t let that stop me from working really hard on the floor work too. I was using my heavy weights and not doing too badly at it.

Wednesday was a crazy class, but I only have myself to blame. I found out before class started that it was going to be a 7 minute challenge day. Basically you have 7 minutes to go as far as you can on the treadmill. You do your own speed and incline settings and it’s just a personal distance challenge. I keep photos of my records on my phone (it’s the easiest way to remember them), and I thought that my previous 7 minute challenge distance was .424 miles. So I was determined to beat that. And when I looked at the treadmill after my first attempt, I was pretty frustrated.

Attempt 1

We had a short block between the 2 7 minute challenges so I tried to not let my first attempt get me down. I went even faster on my next attempt, spending 5 of those 7 minutes at 3.6 miles an hour and was so happy when the 7 minutes were done.

Attempt 2

I was so happy that I got a new PR! And when I looked at my phone to delete my old PR photo, I realized that I had remembered my old PR wrong. My old PR was .421 miles, not .424. So I beat my PR both times. Not only that, my old PR was a .007 increase over my old one and this time I had a .008 increase. I know it’s not a lot, but that’s improvement to me!

After the 2 7 minute challenges, I was so tired. Thankfully, most of the floor work was abs so I was able to relax a bit while doing it. I wasn’t trying for any other records after my new PR, so I didn’t push myself too much on the floor work.

On Friday, I was still on a high from my new 7 minute challenge PR. That helped because we had to do 30 minutes straight on the treadmill and we had a lot of all outs. All the blocks seemed to be 3.5 or 4 minutes and thankfully we had walking recovery time between each block. With all the short blocks, the treadmill block actually felt shorter than the 30 minutes usually feels. But even with it feeling shorter, I was still so tired by the time the treadmill was done.

On the floor on Friday, we had a lot of rowing, TRX strap work, and planks. I’m definitely getting some balance improvement with my TRX strap work (I can occasional do work where we have to balance on 1 leg). My planks are a struggle because it’s still a bit painful in my calf to do the work on my toes. So I’m usually doing plank work on my knees, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

Just typing out all of the things I did in my workouts this week is making me tired! I was telling a friend that I swear the classes feel harder now than they did when I was starting (with the exception of my first class that made my quads hurt so badly). I’m sure that this isn’t true. But I’m also not used to trying harder and to improve in my workouts the way I am now. In other classes, it’s so easy to just keep doing things at the same effort that you always have. Nobody really notices and you don’t worry about it.

But now, I have my heart rate monitor keeping me on track, my coaches knowing what I’ve done in the past and pushing me to do more, and finally being motivated myself to want to see how much better/faster/stronger I can get. It’s no longer a big deal that I’m maintaining a regular workout routine, it’s that I’m really improving and not just using it to try to lose weight.

Workout Celebrations (or A Week Of Awesomeness)

I really had a great week of workouts this past week. I was very nervous that I’d have a bad week (more on that in a bit), but it ended up pretty good and I think that I could not have improved on it.

My first workout of the week was on Tuesday morning. I got home late on Monday night from Sacramento and had my WIF meeting on Tuesday afternoon. So my only workout time option was 7:30am on Tuesday. I’m not the biggest fan of those early mornings, but they’ve become much more tolerable as I’ve done more. Bruce (who is usually my coach on Fridays) was my coach that morning and he saw me in the lobby while he was wrapping up the 6:30am class. I think he was pretty shocked to see me since he usually only sees me in the afternoon.

Tuesday Morning With Bruce

I was super happy to see that Tuesday’s class was a run/row day! That means less time on the treadmill for me so I try to do speed training. Most of my treadmill segments were at 3.5 miles an hour, but I did do some bits at 3.6 miles an hour and it didn’t feel as difficult as it did the week before! So that’s some good improvement for me. And the rowing was 200 meter sprints, so I was able to really push myself on those without getting too tired.

Even though I was pushing myself a lot in class, my heart rate stayed pretty low. I’m thinking it was a false reading because I was really out of breath in class and felt like I was pushing myself as much as I normally do. Maybe it was low because I was tired or something, so I didn’t let the low heart rate affect me too much.

Wednesday was another fun class because it was my Wednesday coach JZ’s birthday class! Technically her birthday was later in the week, but it was the Wednesday class closest to her birthday so that counts too. The treadmill section of class was a solid block (so 30 minutes without the breaks on the floor) and it was full of push paces. It almost felt like almost every part of the treadmill time was a push or all out with very limited base paces between them. Most of the push paces were 1 or 2 minutes so they were a bit long but not too long. I was able to maintain my regular push pace of 3.5 miles an hour (which isn’t easy on the long treadmill days). But with all those push paces (and the incline associated with them), my hips were hurting me pretty badly by the time we got to the floor.

I’m not sure if the treadmill time was too tough on me or I was just having an off day, but I was having some serious issues with my balance on the floor. I was trying to do my best, but I was spending a significant time trying to balance myself and not doing the workout. I was able to do at least one round of everything on the floor, but I can usually do at least 2 rounds.

After the class, of course we had to take a birthday photo with JZ!

Happy Birthday JZ!

My last workout of the week was on Friday (I only did 3 workouts this week). It was a switch day, but the switching between blocks wasn’t the way we usually do them. For me starting on the treadmill my blocks went treadmill, row, treadmill, floor, treadmill, and finishing on the floor. The treadmill rows were pretty tough with long push paces including a 3 minute push pace (which is the longest we do). That 3 minutes seems to take forever, but I was able to get through it and didn’t hurt too much. And for the brief all outs we had to do, I was able to do 3.6 miles an hour even after the really long push pace.

My legs were feeling wobbly after the treadmill blocks, so I was a bit careful on the floor blocks. We were supposed to do running man and plank jacks on the Bosu for one of the blocks, but I knew that it would be too much for me. But I was able to do them without modifications on the floor. There was a time that I couldn’t do either move at full speed, so to know that I’ve improved enough to not need modifications for the basic move made me feel really proud of myself.

This coming week will either be a 3 workout or 4 workout week (I’m still trying to decide if I’ll go on Saturday). But I’m happy that I’ve been pushing myself more and more each week because I’m really starting to see some big improvements in my workouts, strength, and endurance. Even if I’m not losing weight right now, improvements are signs of progress and that’s really what I want!