Tag Archives: strength

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!

Peak Performance Week (or Getting Closer To Some PRs)

It was another Peak Performance Week at Orangetheory! The last Peak Performance Week was back in November and it was a bit tough for me. I had really wanted to beat what I had done in the previous Peak Performance Week, but since I had my calf tear I’ve been trying to work my way back to where I had been before. It’s tough to know that I had been doing things better/faster/stronger before, but I’m trying to thing of my pre-injury time and post-injury time as two different things (I also have separated my life into pre-hip surgery and post-hip surgery).

So this time, I wasn’t necessarily trying to beat my best time, but just beat what I had done last time. Also, some of the challenges I would be doing were different from last time, so it made it easier not to compare myself to my former self.

Peak Performance

Monday was the 500 meter row. This was going to be a lot easier than the 2000 meter row I did last time (I was going to be missing the 2000 meter row day this time), but just because it was going to be easier didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to push myself like crazy to do something awesome.

It was a 3G day, so we didn’t really have a lot of time at each station. We rotated around a bunch and when it was time for me to do my 500 meter row, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted my goal time to be. You are supposed to do at least 100 meters every 30 seconds, so if I followed that I would do it in 2:30. As much as I wanted to see if I could do it under 2 minutes, I knew that wasn’t realistic for me right now. So after I had done about 250 meters, I decided I wanted to come in under 2:15.

500 Meters

It was close, but not quite there. I know I could have done it if the straps around my feet hadn’t loosened so much that I had to stop to tighten them, but I can’t let that get to me. It’s still a good time for me and I know that the next time I have to do 500 meters that I’ve got a good benchmark to try to beat.

Wednesday’s class got off to a bit of a tough start for me. There were so many accidents on the road while I was trying to get to class that I ended up being a few minutes late. Normally, I start my workout on the treadmill because that seems to be easier on my hips. But because I was late, I had to start on the rower first. Fortunately, we switched between blocks so I didn’t have to do 30 minutes on the treadmill at the end of class.

This day’s challenge was 1 minute of burpees. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with burpees, but they are getting easier for me to do. In my 1 minute, I was able to do 10 of them (and we had to go all the way down to the ground each time so it was like having to do a pushup with each one). I didn’t have a goal in mind for this challenge, so to me 10 sounds pretty awesome!

Besides the rough start to my Wednesday workout, the rest of the day went pretty well. My treadmill work was feeling easier than it had in a long time and I was using only 15 pound weights for my floor work (I’m working my way to using those 20 pound weights, but it’s a big jump).

Friday was the day that I had been waiting for. The 1 mile challenge. I think those of you who read this blog regularly know that this challenge is a big deal for me. I do use it as a benchmark for my progress. I’ve had mile times in the past that were over 20 minutes. My ultimate goal is to get down to a 15 minute mile. I know that my mile times on the treadmill versus on a race day aren’t always the same, but I still compare them against each other all the time. Sometimes I’m faster on the treadmill because it forces me to walk faster and sometimes I’m faster at a race because it’s a real flat road and I’ve got adrenaline going. So in my mind, they can be interchangeable.

I’ve had one 1 mile challenge since my calf injury. And while it was slower than my past 1 mile challenge, it was progress compared to my 5K mile time. So I was pretty happy. This time, I knew that it would be close to impossible to beat my 1 mile PR so I didn’t go into this with that mindset. I wanted to beat my last 1 mile challenge time (which was 17:08) and ideally be under 17 minutes.

Technically, at Orangetheory power walkers only have to do half the distance for any treadmill things. So I only had to do half a mile. But I wanted to do a mile no matter what, and I’m glad that my coach Bruce put all the treadmill blocks back to back so I would have enough time to complete it (otherwise, there would only be 14 minutes for me to finish).

When I started my mile, I was off to a great start. I was at 3.5 miles an hour for the first minute or so and then bumped it up to 3.6 miles an hour right after that. I hit the .25 mile mark and was going strong. But then, my shin splints came back. I slowed back down to 3.5 miles an hour hoping that maybe that would help make them feel a bit better. They didn’t and I started to hurt quite a bit.

At the half mile mark, I debated ending my treadmill challenge and just being ok with doing that half mile. But I knew that I would be regretting it later so I kept pushing on. It wasn’t an easy mile and I’m sure it didn’t look pretty. But I did it. And in the end I reached my goal.

1 Mile

My official time was 16:57, which is 11 seconds faster than what I did back in November. It’s 27 seconds slower than my PR, so I’m getting closer to being back there.

I’m so glad that I didn’t give up at the half mile. While I wished that the shin splints hadn’t come back during the challenge, they did and I did the best that I could in the circumstances. I’m sure that if my mile was pain free, I would have been maybe 15 seconds faster. But I met my goal and I’m proud of myself for that.

Since all the treadmill blocks were back to back and I took longer than everyone else to finish their mile (I’ve realized that I might have had the slowest mile of everyone at Orangetheory, but I’m ok with that), by the time that I had walked and recovered it was time to move from the treadmill to the floor work. I missed the run/row that everyone else got to do, but I was glad that the treadmill time was done because I didn’t know how much longer I was going to be able to stand the shin splint pain. I know that pushing through the pain isn’t always the right choice, but I knew it was right for me then.

Overall, I’m very happy with how I did during Peak Performance Week. I always tried my best no matter how I felt and I think that the results show that. I’m happy with all 3 of my challenges and I love that I have new challenges that I can track in the future.

Some Holiday Workouts (or Back On The Treadmill This Week)

For Christmas week, my workout schedule was a bit funky. This was due to my work schedule being weird (we unexpectedly got Christmas Eve off when we were told before we had to work) and Orangetheory not being open on Christmas (which I totally get). But even with the weird schedules, I still managed to get my 3 workouts in this week.

After being on the bike all week the week before, I decided to try to the treadmill and see how it felt. Fortunately for me Monday was an easy treadmill day. The treadmill time was very short and I think the warmup was actually the longest I spent on the treadmill without a break. That was a great way to ease back into the treadmill and I was so happy to not have the shin splint issues I was having before.

My Wednesday workout was a bit tough. The class did do the treadmill blocks back to back so I was on the treadmill for about 30 minutes straight. While between blocks we got to cool down a bit (3 miles an hour instead of 3.4), it was still a long time on the treadmill. I was terrified that the shin splints would come back then, but they never reappeared. I did take things a bit easy, but I was still pushing myself a bit because I’m so close to my pre-calf injury speed. I really want to be back to where I was, but I don’t want to hurt myself.

Since Orangetheory was going to be closed on Friday, I did a workout on Thursday. Originally I scheduled it to be after work, but since my work day was cancelled I got to go in the morning! Bruce was the coach for that class and he wore the Santa hat that I got for him last year.

OTF Christmas

It was a run/row day so the time on the treadmill wasn’t as bad as the day before. That was good because I was so tired from the workout on Wednesday. With the shorter treadmill blocks I didn’t have any issues with my shin splints or calf, but my hips were starting to bug me after a few rounds because of the incline we were using. So I lowered the incline and things felt much better.

With all the focus on the treadmill this past week, it would have been easy to ignore working on my floor work. But I tried really hard to focus on the floor when I was there and forget about the work I had done on the treadmill.

I was able to use the 20 pound weights for a lot of things this week. I was using them for squats (which I’m used to doing), triceps work, and hammer curls. The 20 pound weights are still a bit tough for me, but I’m starting to notice that a lot of the time the 15 pound weights don’t cut it for me anymore. They are feeling light at times and I know that if they are feeling easy it’s really time to push myself more and if I need to move down to the 15 pound weights partway through the block, I can do so then. But I’m working on starting higher on the weights and going down if needed.

I was originally planning on working out this past Saturday, but there were some things that were potentially going to be conflicts. So I just stuck with my 3 workouts for the week and was happy with that.

The end of the year is almost here and I’m almost to my workout goal for the year. My next workout blog post will be after I’ve hit my 2015 goal and after I’ve announced my 2016 goal (and have gotten a workout or 2 done with the new goal)!