Pages

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Week Later...

OK, so, here I go again with excuses and nonsense and things out of my control. And no working out. Just remember, you've been warned.

Last Wednesday (12/23), I opted to sleep in and skip the gym. We were supposed to be flying to Wisconsin that evening and I figured I had enough on my plate as it was. We got to the airport to find out that our plane was delayed by an hour, and then another hour, and then another hour, oh, and then another hour ... and then canceled! So, that meant waiting around for an hour and a half to get our checked bags back and then taking a taxi home. While we were waiting for the bags, we found out that we had been booked on a flight on Friday (12/25) that would take us from JFK to Norfolk, VA to Atlanta, GA and then to Milwaukee, WI, but we wouldn't get in until about 8 PM on Friday night.

Um, so, that sounded pretty bad. We'd miss Christmas! I should just say that neither Drew or I believe in the Jesus aspect of the holiday and we prefer to celebrate the family togetherness aspect of the holiday (plus the Santa part), so we didn't like this option that the airline came up with for us. We had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that if we wanted to get there, we'd have to either fork over $1000 to get there or we'd have to try to reschedule (we were thinking originally we could go for New Year's Eve instead so we'd still have 4 days).

When we called the airlines to try to reschedule for New Year's Eve, the woman told Drew that we could take this same silly route from New York to Virginia to Georgia to Wisconsin on Thursday (12/24) and arrive in Wisconsin around 5:30 on Christmas Eve. So, although it wasn't our first choice of flight plans, it was obviously best for the spending time with the family and it seemed like there wasn't much of a choice to be made at that point. We tried to fall right to sleep on the 23rd (we got home after midnight) since we'd have to leave pretty early in order to tackle lines at the airport in advance of our 9:30 AM flight on Christmas Eve.

We got to the airport and after waiting in a completely unnecessary line, we boarded our first plane to Norfolk, VA. All of our connections worked out just fine and we actually made it into Milwaukee about 45 minutes early. Except, my bag didn't. This really was okay since I didn't have any presents in it (I had shipped them to Wisconsin before-hand), but a bummer nonetheless. As a result of this Christmas Eve flying instead of flying on the 23rd, we missed yoga on the 24th with Drew's sister (missed workout #1).

We headed off to Drew's parent's house and had a fantastic Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Day night (12/25) we went to see "Up in the Air", which I really liked. And when we got home from the movie, that's when the trouble started. Drew got sick. Really sick. So, that was no fun. And that meant that we would be missing our workout with his parents on the 26th (missed workout #2). I actually thought that it would be fun to go with his parents and show them what we normally do at the gym and maybe shake up their routine a little bit. So, since Drew was stuck on the couch, I ended up heading to the mall with his mom and sister instead. I'd like to count that as my pseudo-workout for the day.

We were flying home early on the 27th and I guessed that we'd be back in our apartment by 2:30, so I was thinking that would workout well and I could either try to get a run in (it was really warm in NYC that day) or head to the gym. Except that I got sick on the plane ride home. Really sick. The same sick that Drew had, except worse, I think. So, as a result of my sickness, I missed my Sunday workout (missed workout #3). And then I missed workouts Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (missed workouts #4, #5 & #6, respectively).

I did come to work today mainly because I was feeling like I was obligated to come after missing Monday & Tuesday from illness, not because I was really feeling any better than yesterday. That makes me think that I'll also be missing a workout tomorrow too. I'm really trying to not feel down in the dumps about getting sick and having plane issues and all of this other stuff. I'm just trying to tell myself that I have plenty of time before I actually have to perform at any planned event and I'll get there with no trouble once I get back to feeling better. I would be shocked if I've consumed 3000 calories in the past three days, so it might take a while for me to get back to feeling 100% with the way this recovery is going. I am hoping that pretty soon I'll feel up to it so that I can go and do some low-impact cardio and at least get back on the wagon.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookies, Flight Delays & Working Out

Well, I've once again been a really bad blogger, which means that what I've really been is a bad exerciser! Oops. I'm chalking it all up to the holidays. I'm planning on starting fresh after the new year. I'm guessing that the majority of Americans are also thinking that exact same thing, but I really mean it. Otherwise I'm going to be really sorry when I can't finish my half-marathon in March!

I spent the weekend in Wisconsin with Drew's mom and sister making Christmas Cookies. It really was a two-day baking marathon and we made all sorts of goodies. I'd try to explain it to you, but the best way to do so is probably just to show some pictures:

Pfefferneusse, Chocolate-Covered Oreos, Bird's Nests, Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Melting Moments (in the foreground), Snowballs (in the background) plus a 20 pound bag of powdered sugar!

Cutout cookies (waiting to be frosted), Candy Canes, Raisin-Filled Sugar Cookies

Gingerbread (there were many more not pictured!)

Cutout Cookies Decorated & Frosted

And, we made even more cookies than are pictured here. I think that there were about 10 different kinds of cookies, plus the candy and chocolate-covered things that we made and Chex Mix! It was a really fun weekend of mostly girl time. And then I got to bring lots of goodies home with me!

The only bad thing that I can really say about the weekend is that I checked before I left for the airport and saw that my plane was on time. However, when I got there, I discovered that my plane was delayed for 4 hours, so since I was there an hour early for my original flight, I had 5 hours to wait around the airport. That meant that I didn't get home until after 3 AM on Monday morning.

Needless to say, my plans of working out on Monday morning went right out the window and I actually slept in on Monday and got to work late as a result of my late plane Sunday night. I briefly considered going to the gym Monday night, but I was so tired in the afternoon and pretty much went home, had dinner and fell asleep, that it probably really was better for me in the long run just to get the rest.

That meant that this morning I had to get back on track! And I actually did get up and go to the gymnasium. I'm starting Week 11 of my weight lifting book. This week is about doing three sets in a row (with 30 seconds rest between sets) and then three minutes rest between each exercise. It was a total body workout, so it didn't focus on one specific muscle group. I think that those are my favorite. I feel a little sore all over when I do these workouts, but am not having trouble lifting my arms (for instance!). The goal reps today was 10 in each set, but the book said that you may have trouble reaching 10 in the third set because your muscles will be fatigued. This was today's workout:

Barbell Squats: 2 sets of 10 reps @ 95 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 95 lbs
Lunges (Right Leg): 1 set of 10 reps @ 10 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 8 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm)
Lunges (Left Leg): 1 set of 10 reps @ 10 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm)
Lat Pulldown (Wide Grip): 3 sets of 10 reps @ 70 lbs
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 10 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 6 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm)

During the right leg lunges, I noticed that my knee was feeling a little sore, so I decided to cut the third set short. I think I could have struggled to finish the set (as I had to do on the left leg), but it seemed wisest not to push it if I could notice the soreness. The dumbbell bench presses went a lot better than the last time I did them and could only do a couple (although that was at 25 pounds, not 20).

After the weight lifting, I went over and just stood and stared at the cardio equipment for a few minutes. This was similar to when I open the closet door and just stand there and stare until I figure out what I'm going to wear that day. Finally, I decided to settle for the elliptical. Last time I used it, I wasn't that into it, but I decided that I would try harder this time.

I did the interval setting on the elliptical machine for about 30 minutes. Whatever the 'factory' setting was for the intervals, I bumped both of them up pretty high, so it was definitely a tough workout and I was sweating by the end, which I was happy about.

After the weight lifting and the cardio, I headed over to the stretching area. I stretched for a while and then tortured myself and did 100 crunches. My weight lifting didn't incorporate any ab work today and I figured if I'm going to be indulging in all of these cookies that I helped to bake, I should try to keep my tummy looking good! I did the crunches in five sets of 20 to make it more manageable and gave myself about 30-45 seconds rest between each set.

Drew and I are flying to Wisconsin tomorrow night to stay with his family for the Christmas holiday. We're both hoping to workout while we're there, but I'm not sure I'll have time to blog, so there might just be one big update after the fact.

Weight Lifting
Time: 29:11
Calories: 204
Maximum HR: 167
Average HR: 126

Elliptical
Time: 30:45
Distance: 2.50 miles
Pace: 12:18/mile
Calories: 317
Maximum HR: 163
Average HR: 155

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back On The Upper East Side

Earlier this week, Drew had asked me if I'd like to come along with him when he met with his personal trainer. The original plan was to meet Friday morning. When I got home from the gym last night, I found out that the plan had changed and that we'd actually be meeting with the trainer, Billy, this morning. The only bummer about this plan (regardless of what day it was) is that we had to meet Billy at Drew's old gym on the Upper East Side. Since we had to meet Billy at 6 AM this morning, I said that we weren't getting up any earlier than we had to and we'd be taking a cab to get to the gym.

We got to the gym and stuffed our stuff into the locker room and when we met upstairs to do a little cardio before Billy got there, Drew told me that he had just gotten a text from Billy, who had a "minor catastrophe" at home and was running late. So, that meant that we had some time to kill. Luckily, we had brought our work clothes with us, so it didn't really matter if Billy was on time or not since we could just go straight from the gym to work.

Drew said we had about a half an hour to kill, so he jumped on the arc trainer. I really wanted to use the stair mill, but Drew said he didn't want to be exhausted from them, so I listened to what he had to say and did the elliptical machine. Except that really wasn't what I wanted to do. And I wasn't putting any effort into the whole thing. So, after 14 minutes of lack-luster elliptical, Nature was calling. I took care of that and decided to spend the next 16 minutes on the stairs. So much better! I was sweaty and happy!

Billy got there around 6:30 and rounded us up and took us to the weight room. Right away he had us grab some dumbbells. I got a 15 pounder and a 20 pounder. He had me start by setting both on the ground and then picking one up and lifting it over my head, setting it down and switching to the other dumbbell and doing the same thing. I did 15 of those with each arm.

Then I switched to the cable machine (which I hate). This exercise wasn't so bad though. All I had to do was pull the handle that was attached to the cable, while rotating my torso (similar to punching someone). I did 15 of those with each arm at 27.5 lbs.

Then I went back to the dumbbells for round two, but Billy bumped up the weight to 15 lbs and 25 lbs. Let me tell you, it makes a lot of difference those extra 5 pounds on the heavier dumbbell. I did 15 more of those with each arm. And then went back to the cable machine for round two at 32 lbs (15 reps per arm).

Then he had us lift up the Squat Machine with our arms (feet on the floor) 15 times. I did it with no weight, but Drew had to do it with weight, which just seemed mean. I also wasn't able to keep my feet on the floor the whole time. I had to jump up onto the platform to make it easier on myself (and keep my arms from failing).

We alternated that exercise with some modified pull-ups. We used the Smith Machine. Our feet were up on a workout bench at the end of the machine and we had to lift ourselves up 15 times. My arms were pretty much screaming at me already by this point. Then, of course, we had to do the Squat Machine thing again 15 times and the Smith Machine pull-ups 15 times. On the second round of Smith Machine pull-ups, I had to put my feet on the floor at the end in order to complete my 15 reps.

Then there was a quick breather while we walked from one area of the gym to another. We went into more of a stretching area and Billy had us get into plank position and just hold it for a few seconds. Then he had us alternate between plank position on our hands and plank position on our elbows. Ugh. That pretty much sucks. I couldn't even tell you how many times we did that. I think it was about 15 times the first time, but then we had to do some more later on, so I'd guess that we did that 20 times in total.

This is where things get a little fuzzy for me because I wasn't really in a position where I could write things down. I know that we did 25 real sit-ups. Turns out that I'm not very good at those. Billy had to hold my feet down. I am really good at crunches, though! We also did 5 push-ups.

And then we had to do this horrible thing involving a ball. I got really frustrated during this part. The point of it was that we were in plank position and we had to get our hands up onto the ball and then back off the ball. I thought that we were supposed to be able to get our hands up at the same time, which just wasn't working for me. I sort-of wanted to lean back and "jump" onto the ball with my hands, but that didn't seem very smart. I had a really hard time doing this right. After I had gotten it down a couple of times, Billy said that we couldn't leave until I had done it two more times properly.

So, I did the first one and rolled the ball to Drew. Then I put my knee down on the ground for a second. Billy asked Drew if I was doing it right and Drew said that I did put my leg down. Of course, that meant that we had to do even more of these dumb ball exercises. Even though I put my leg down after I was done with my part and had rolled the ball back! Ugh! I wasn't a very happy camper at that point.

Luckily, that was it. Billy had another client at 7, so we only had him for a short while. Of course, I forgot to press start on my watch right when we started training with Billy, so that's why my stats are a little off below.

After that, we still had about an hour until we had to hit the showers, so Drew asked if I wanted to do a fartlek run with him on the treadmill. The answer was really no, but instead I said yes.
But, on the way there, we saw the computerized bikes that they had at that gym and decided that we really needed to try them out. They were Expresso bikes. Um, can you just say awesome bikes? I'm pretty sure I've seen these before on Brie's blog and was super jealous when I saw them there.

They're really nice. They have gears that you have to change, the handle bars move, the seat isn't horrible, you can clip in (although I didn't have my bike shoes with me). I'd give it an A+ as far as bike equipment at a gymnasium and I fully intend on asking my regular gymnasium why they don't have one (or two!).

I chose a "Challenging" workout for us that was called "Wicked Workout". That should have been a dead giveaway right there. There were some serious hills in that baby! The highest % grade that we saw was 49%! Try climbing that in real life. Drew said he didn't really know anything about % grade or why it's done as a percentage, but I think that this article does a good job explaining it.

The riding was really fun (despite the fact that I spent a good deal of time muttering under my breath about the hills). It was fun because you had to try to stay on the road and I could see Drew ahead of me. I also really liked it because I tried to catch up to the other riders and then crash into them. It didn't really seem to have any effect on my riding or theirs, but it was a great source of entertainment for me!

The only really negative thing that I'd have to say about this bike is that the downhills were nothing like real life. You had no credit for the momentum you'd have if you were really going down a steep hill. But, I guess if I wanted it to be real, I'd don a bunch of cold-weather gear and ride my bike outside. The other negative thing was that Drew was way faster than me. He finished about 13 minutes before I did. I wasn't overly excited that he was that much faster than me, but I still had a really good time riding bikes with him.

In total this morning, I burned exactly 1000 recorded calories at the gym! I'm pretty sure that might be a new record for the gymnasium! I also think that it was probably more than that since I cheated myself out of a few minutes of working out with Billy, but I'm really happy with that total and all the effort that I put in this morning. I'm going to be out of town this weekend and I have almost no expectation that I'll be working out (in fact, I'll be making Christmas cookies, and lots of them), so I'm trying to compensate for that now. This was a really good start!

Elliptical & Stair Mill
Time: 30:00
Distance: 2.75 miles
Pace: 10:54/mile
Calories: 272
Maximum HR: 165
Average HR: 144

Training with Billy
Time: 22:10
Calories: 215
Maximum HR: 175
Average HR: 149

Expresso Spin Bike
Time: 47:10
Distance: 7.93 miles
Pace: 10.1 MPH (average)
Calories: 513
Maximum HR: 204*
Average HR: 160

*This heart rate is 100% wrong. When I was starting my watch for the bike riding, I looked down and it flashed on 204 and then immediately went to 118. So something was wrong for a second there (or I have some sort of heart flutter/murmur). But, since it says it on my watch and I don't have the actual number, I'm just going to record it anyway.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Where Are The Dumbbells?

Tonight after work I was determined to do some weight lifting. I've been slacking off so much in general recently and I'm really thinking that although I was originally planning on being able to be done with this workout book by Christmas, I can still be done by the New Year and that still seems like a good thing! I had to finish up the last workout of Week 10 (Pyramid Up). Today's workout focused on back, biceps and abs. So, after work, I headed home, changed clothes and went to the gym to do some weight lifting. Here is today's workout:

Dumbbell Pullovers: 1 set of 14 reps @ 25 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 30 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 35 lbs
Lat Pulldown (Triangle Bar): 1 set of 12 reps @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 70 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 80 lbs
Dumbbell Curls: 1 set of 12 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 6 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm)
Barbell Curls: 1 set of 12 reps @ 30 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 35 lbs / 1 set of 6 reps @ 40 lbs
Reverse Crunches: 1 set of 12 reps / 1 set of 10 reps / 1 set of 8 reps

When I got to the gym, it was pretty busy in the weight area. No big surprise there. At our gym, there are three main weight lifting areas - one area with most of the free weight machines - one area with dumbbells - and then a good number of the plate-loaded machines are in another location. I was in the area with the dumbbells and there are about 4 weight lifting benches there, all in use. Well, that's not exactly true. Two were in use and two had towels laid over them with no one in sight. That sort of behavior is just so aggravating to me! Especially since one person had a towel laid out and then a backpack on top. I waited for a minute or two for a bench to clear out and still no one had started using that bench with the backpack on it.

Anyway, I started doing my dumbbell pullovers. There are also two types of dumbbells at our gym. The lighter ones (from 5-25 lbs) have rubber ends and they're mainly the ones that I use. The heavier ones have metal ends and are stored on different stands. So, when I went looking for the 30 lb dumbbell that I needed, I couldn't find it anywhere. I looked up and down the row twice and finally found it on the bench with the backpack. I looked around and a guy started walking toward me. I asked if I could use one of the two 30 lb dumbbells that he had 'saved' on his bench and he sort-of gave me a hard time about it, but since I didn't see him doing anything, I didn't feel too bad about taking it for the next 45 seconds while I did my one set (which I did explain that I'd be really quick).

I can understand at 6 AM that it might be okay to leave your stuff lying around on a weight bench when it's not that busy. But it's really just not okay to reserve weights or benches when you're not doing anything and there are people waiting for benches. The gym just seems like one place where people ought to be able to clean up after themselves and put their weights back where they found them and put their dirty towels in the bins, but that just doesn't seem to be the case! (Okay, I'm done ranting now...)

The rest of the workout was pretty good. I definitely think that when Drew is with me he pushes me a little bit harder than I can do on my own. On the dumbbell curls, the last set with the 25 lb dumbbells, I did cheat a little bit. I only did one arm at a time and set the other dumbbell on the floor. I think I managed to do 2 or three with each arm unassisted and then I had to use my other arm to just assist a little tiny bit. I'm not sure if that counts or not. Drew would most likely say it did since it wasn't that much of a difference. I just needed help pushing it from a 45 to a 50 degree angle and then I could get the rest of it up with one arm.

All in all, I'm glad to be one week closer to completion of this weight lifting program. I've really tried to stick with it and I know I haven't been as good the last couple of weeks, but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now! I'm going to say here that I'd like to keep weight lifting when this program is done, but maybe not quite so regimented. Or it'll probably be more like the last two weeks where it has taken me 10 days or so to do 7 days worth of workouts, I'll just spread it out more.

Weight Lifting
Time: 41:35
Calories: 199
Maximum HR: 154
Average HR: 109

Best NYC Pools in 2009 (By Amy)

While I definitely don't disagree with Laura's assessments on her pool list, I had to make one of my own. I haven't been to a couple of the pools on her list and not living in Brooklyn makes my list more Manhattan-centric (OK, they're all in Manhattan!).

Without further ado, here's my list:

10. New York Sports Club (49th Street & Broadway): I'll never be a huge fan of splitting a lane or the 18-yard pool, but it definitely is close to home and great for teaching Drew to swim.

9. The "Other" 14th Street Y: The pool is always really crowded in the morning and people aren't great at seeding themselves into the proper lanes.

8. Westside YMCA: This pool is definitely a bit like a Russian Bathhouse, but people are really great at seeding themselves into the proper lanes. And there is the biggest locker room that you've ever seen.

7. 14th Street Y: Not too busy and a really warm pool. Locker room is a little iffy.

6. 92nd Street Y: The pool has a weird tile rim around it, so you can't hold onto the edge at either side (which I think is bad when you want to push off the wall). Of course, I'm willing to over look this flaw when sitting in one of the two hot tubs!

5. Asphalt Green: I love the fact that it's 50 meters. Love it. Hate the fact that it's in the middle of nowhere in comparison to my apartment!

4. Manhattan Plaza Health Club: I was not a huge fan of this pool at first. There is a rather surly fellow in the fast lane. However, they have a retractable roof over half of the pool and two hot tubs, which made me realize that there's more to this place than I originally thought! (But bring your own towel, otherwise there is a fee).

3. Reebok Sports Club/NY: For as fancy as everything else about this gym was as a whole, the pool was definitely smaller than I anticipated. And most people were pretty slow swimmers as a whole. But, they force you to circle swim when more than 3 people are in a lane and the lifeguard seems pretty good about enforcing the rules. Plus, the hot tub is awesome.

2. John Jay College: Nothing too fancy about this. Have to bring your own gear, really small locker room, but it's where my Terrier Tri team practices and I always have a killer workout here.

1. Jewish Community Center: How a pool with no hot tub made the top of the list, I'm not really sure I understand. But the locker room facilities are great. The pool is amazingly beautiful, especially when it's sunny outside.

Honorable Mentions should be given to the following:
Battery Park Swim & Fitness Center: Pool is really small (as is the gym), but the hot tub is great. Gym also never really seems to be that crowded in the morning, which is a big plus.

Atlantis Health Club/Marriott Hotel: Pool is really short and shallow, but definitely a great place to practice dolphins in the water for beach swim starts for open water swims.

Guest Post: 2009 Year In Review: NYC Pools

This is Laura, a friend of Drew and Amy, as well as Amy's frequent Wednesday morning swim partner. After I posted (on Facebook) my top-ten list of NYC pools for 2009, most of which I have been to with Amy, Amy and Drew suggested that I turn it into a guest post for her blog. I will admit that this list is somewhat Brooklyn-centric (and otherwise slightly biased), but putting that aside, and without further ado, here is my top-ten list of NYC pools for 2009. Now all we need is for Amy to make her own list so we can compare and contrast!

(10) Asphalt Green - this would be ranked higher if it weren't so far away from everything. Full 50m pool, and a beautiful one besides - but not really worth the commute during the week.

(9) Riverbank State Park - another lovely 50m pool, and home of some good TNT memories besides.

(8) Battery Park Fitness - okay, technically, I haven't gotten in the pool here, because the one time we tried, it was too tiny and crowded. But the hot tub, when it's working, is very nice.

(7) The 14th Street Y - because that's where I basically learned to swim. Yes, the pool is small, but it's conveniently located and I have good swimming memories here.

(6) The 92nd Street Y - the pool was kind of meh, but the hot tub was pretty sweet.

(5) Manhattan Plaza Health Club - sun roof + hot tub. Need I say more?

(4) The Dodge - because that's where all the cool Brooklyn kids swim.

(3) The Reebok Sports Club - the gym was too fancy; the pool was okay; but the hot tub, however, was out of this world.

(2) The JCC - I think it's the most beautiful pool in the city, second to none.

(1) LIU - because it's home.

See You Next Year!

I was completely unable to drag myself out of bed yesterday to go running with Terrier. Drew got up and went to the gym and I just stayed in bed sleeping. When he got home from the gym, I told him that I pretty much hate myself right now. I don't know what my problem is with getting up in the mornings. I'm wondering if I went to bed earlier if I'd have an easier go of it. I've always needed a lot of sleep compared to the average person and I'm wondering if I'm simply staying up too late.

This morning I had a really good reason to get up and out of bed! I was meeting Laura to go swimming at the JCC. The last time we went there was in May and we've been saving our last trip there for something special. I'm not sure that today qualified as special, but we're definitely running out of places to go and we have to use up these passes prior to the end of the year, so it was mostly now or never. They have really nice facilities and we lucked out last time in that it was a sunny day and the sun just shines into the pool and it's really beautiful. This would be the most perfect pool if they only had a hot tub.

This morning we got to the pool, took stock of how fast people were swimming in the lanes, and finally motivated ourselves to get in and start swimming. I didn't go with any sort of plan today. I had asked Drew how far I should swim and he said 1.1 miles, so I sort-of had that in my head as a goal for today.

I swam in the fast lane and when I got in there was one girl that was faster than me and one that was slower, so we all made it work pretty well once we figured out the proper order to swim. It was nice to have someone that I knew was coming up behind me and it definitely made me push a little bit harder and swim faster than I would if I had been in the lane by myself.

Eventually, those two girls got out and I had the lane to myself for a few minutes. I definitely slowed down then. I could tell because I started humming. I know it's a little bit silly, but I really like to hum while I'm swimming. I can tell when I slow down and relax into a slower rhythm because I automatically start humming. When I'm working harder, I don't spend enough time under water (since I breathe more often) to hum.

Then two guys got in my lane and showed off with their hot shot equipment (kick boards, pull buoys, fins, etc.) and started swimming. I actually felt pretty good because even with all the fancy stuff they had, I still definitely held my own without any gear. I just kept swimming most of the time.

I swam in sets of 100s, sometimes 200s, depending on the lane traffic in the pool. Then I'd stop and take a quick break before starting again. Probably only 10 or 15 seconds, although I did have to stop for a longer period once in order to adjust my goggles. I had tightened them for the big swim meet, but they really don't need to be that tight if I'm not diving off the blocks, so I had to put them back to normal as they were giving me a bit of a headache.

After we had been swimming for a while, the sun finally started to come out and started streaming through the water. It really is beautiful to see while you're swimming. Of course, it made it hard to breathe on the right because the sun was blinding me in my eye, but I probably needed a little extra practice of breathing on the left anyway.

So, goodbye JCC pool! At least until 2010. Thankfully, that's not so far away. I told Laura when we got out of the pool that I think that next year we'll have to have a bigger debate on which pool we're going to as it seems like since we know them now, we'll be able to really figure out if we should get the bad ones out of the way and save the good ones for later or do a mixture similar to what we did this year.

All in all, today was a fantastic swim. Much better than I was hoping for. And I even went further than Drew said I should. Seems like a win-win situation. And, of course, I also got up and got my workout done before work, so that was a big bonus as well.

Swimming
Time: 44:36
Distance: 1.24 miles (2000 meters)
Pace: 35:53/mile
Calories: 520
Maximum HR: 182
Average HR: 166

Monday, December 14, 2009

Everything About My Legs Hurt

After yesterday's weight lifting and bike riding, everything about my legs is sore. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but they are pretty sore in general. Mainly in my rear end and inner thighs, which Drew says could be from the squats. Needless to say, when I woke up this morning, I was just not feeling it.

I did drag myself out of bed and made it to the gymnasium, which at this point seems like a good thing. Of course, once I got there, I really didn't feel like doing a whole lot, so I settled for the Arc Trainer. I ended up setting it for 50 minutes and just read my book and lifted my legs up and down. It's pretty mindless. Also, didn't really do a whole lot for my heart rate.

I guess I'd say that this workout was better than nothing, but I'm not overly proud of it. I'm mostly proud that I actually got up and out of bed. I also happened to overhear someone at work talking about the fact that they hadn't washed their hair in about 5 days and all I could think was that they must not really workout, which somehow made me feel better about doing anything at all this morning. It might not have been my sweatiest workout, but I definitely had to wash my hair!

Arc Trainer
Time: 50:00
Distance: 1.45 miles
Pace: 34:28/mile
Calories: 436
Maximum HR: 152
Average HR: 140

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Resting, Weight Lifting & A Swim Meet

Well, I somehow managed to do it again ... take three whole days off from working out. Of course, once again, this was not my intention, it just happened. To be a little bit more fair to myself, Thursday was a planned rest day. Friday, I was too tired to wake up early enough to make it to the gym and Friday night we had things to do around the apartment. Saturday, we had stayed up too late Friday night and it was really cold out, so Drew and I skipped our planned run. We had our friends over for a holiday brunch on Saturday and since people ended up staying until after 5:00 (a sign of a good party, I hope!) we didn't make it to work out on Saturday either.

I'm not going to lie. I did feel really bad about missing these workouts. I know it's not imperative right now that I workout every single day, but I like it. It makes me feel better in general when I've got it done and over with for the day. But, I'm not going to wallow in this. I'm only going to try to do better in the future.

Sunday we slept in a little bit and then headed to the gym. I desperately needed to do some weight lifting in order to keep up with my 12-Week plan and I thought I should do some cardio too and try to burn off some of the homemade donuts I consumed on Saturday! Drew left for the gym before I did, so when I met him there, he was finishing up some cardio on the Arc Trainer, so I decided to just do a few minutes with him there as a warm-up. Then we headed to the weight room.

This was today's workout:

Barbell Squats: 1 set of 12 reps @ 65 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 95 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 115 lbs
Leg Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 180 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 225 lbs / 1 set of 6 reps @ 270 lbs
Leg Extensions: 1 set of 12 reps @ 80 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 95 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 110 lbs
Calf Raises: 1 set of 20 reps @ 180 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 225 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 270 lbs

Holy cow, my legs are getting strong! I took last week's numbers and tried to start with the middle set as the first set today so that I could keep bumping up the weight. Drew was there to help spot me. I yelled at him on my last set of squats because I thought that he was touching the bar and making it heavier, but he said he wasn't doing anything. I'm not 100% convinced, but I also realize that it was probably mostly in my head. On the calf raises, I did ask him to help hold the weight up while I switched from pushing with my legs to getting my toes set-up (I used the leg press machine for my calf raises) and while I can hold 270 pounds with two legs, it's not quite as easy with one leg, while moving your other foot around.

Once we were done with the weight lifting, I said that I wanted to ride spin bikes. When we walked over to the computerized spin bikes, they were being used, so I suggested that we ride in the spin classroom since there wasn't a class scheduled for Sunday. I wasn't thrilled with the fact that I wouldn't know my mileage, but I've decided just to guess based on past performances on the (computerized) spin bike).

I gotta tell you, after lifting legs, there isn't really anything that my legs want to do other than turn to jelly. Needless to say, biking wasn't fun. I was ready to quit after 5 minutes. After about 10 minutes, I said to Drew that I was done. Of course, I hung in there. Part of my problem was that I didn't think to wear biking/tri shorts and sitting on the spin bike seat in just some running shorts was not fun! Mental note to never make that mistake again! When I'm on the computerized spin bike, it will often tell you to feel free to get up out of the saddle for "saddle relief". I definitely had to do that today.

After riding for 10 minutes, I decided that I would spend the next song on my iPod out of the saddle for a change of pace. That went so well that I decided to do it a second time after 20 minutes of riding. The second time I just happened to be listening to "Don't Fight The Moonlight" by LeAnn Rimes (go ahead and hate on my music all you want, but Drew had recently asked for some country music and this was on the playlist!). The really good thing about that song for the spin bike is that the chorus is faster than the rest of the song, so I did some really fast sprints during that part and recovered a little bit during the rest of verses. All in all, I actually really ended up liking the workout. I definitely like it more when I know my mileage, but I liked jamming along with my silly tunes.

After we were done with the biking, we headed over for some stretching and Drew suggested doing some throw-downs. I was thinking that maybe we'd get to fight, but it really wasn't that much fun. Instead it was an ab exercise we've done before. The throw down part happens when Drew throws my legs back down once I've raised them up. The first set we did 15 and the second set 25. I think at that point Drew was done with them, but I said we had to do 20 more for an even 60. He said that 60 seemed like a random number, but I had been thinking of doing my normal 60 crunches, so it didn't seem quite so random to me.

After all the stretching and ab work, we headed home for some breakfast. I had some brunch left-overs of eggs and potatoes and Drew had his normal smoothie. I putzed around a little bit (mostly watching TV) and finally had to get ready for my big Terrier Swim Meet!

I had signed up for two events - the 50 M free and the 50 M backstroke. I only really entered the backstroke to see if I could have a chance at winning something. The other day they posted the events and the heats and there were supposed to only be two of us competing in backstroke, so I thought I had a fairly good chance of winning!

When we got to the pool (Drew came along with me to cheer), I hopped in and did a couple warm-up laps and practiced diving off the blocks. I had to tighten up my goggles, so I was glad I practiced. The 50 meter free was the second event, so I didn't have to wait around long. I ended up doing the 50 meter free in 35.97 seconds. I don't really know if that's good or bad in the scheme of things, but it was definitely not good enough to win (winner finished in 28.72).

The 50 meter backstroke was the 10th event and it turned out that someone else entered the competition, so there were three of us. I thought maybe I'd have an okay chance and was talking about it with another teammate before the race. And then we were in the water and I was off:




So, the funny thing about these photos is that it looks like I was just kicking on my back and didn't ever take a stroke. Maybe that's why I came in third place (out of three, which basically means I lost)? Either way, I finished in 42.37 seconds. Again, not sure how that stacks up in the world of swimming. When I got out of the water, our head coach (Robert) came up to me and said that even though I lost, I did a fantastic job, so that was nice. And then the teammate that I had been talking to before the race came up and said that normally I would have had a 50/50 chance of winning, but I was going against one of the fastest swimmers on the team. Oh well. It was still a fantastically fun time and it was nice to have a fun event and not really have to practice.

Weight Lifting
Time: 44:58
Calories: 328
Maximum HR: 165
Average HR: 128

Spin Bike
Time: 30:00
Distance: ~10.00 miles
Pace: ~20 MPH (average)
Calories: 355
Maximum HR: 184
Average HR: 168

50 Meter Freestyle
Time: 35.97 seconds
Distance: 50 meters
Calories: 10
Maximum HR: 184
Average HR: 150

50 Meter Backstroke
Time: 42.37 seconds
Distance: 50 meters
Calories: 13
Maximum HR: 179
Average HR: 164

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Finally! I Woke Up!

This morning I actually got up and out of bed early like I'm supposed to be doing every day! Of course, I did make Drew promise to wake me up, but he really didn't even have to give me a hard time. He woke up first and went downstairs and I woke up about 10 minutes later. Even though I got up later, I was ready to leave first. I'm not sure of everything that he does in the morning, but I know it involves getting dressed, eating a bar, drinking some creatine, making Muscle Milk for the gym, and just some general putzing around. But, for the life of me, I can't figure out what takes so long about all of those things! (In truth, it's the putzing that takes a long time, I think).

Either way, we made it to the gym a couple minutes after 6 and I headed straight for the weight room. I had wanted to lift weights yesterday, but that was a failure on my part, so I had to make up for it today. I asked Drew to help me with my first lift, bench press, so I could try to do a little more than I'd feel comfortable doing on my own.

This was the workout:

Bench Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 55 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 65 lbs / 1 set of 6 reps @ 75 lbs
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 1 set of 4 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 8 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 6 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 6 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm)
Tricep Pushdowns: 1 set of 12 reps @ 30 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 40 lbs / 1 set of 6 reps @ 50 lbs
Crunches (with weight): 3 sets of 20 reps @ 25 lbs

The bench press went pretty well. I needed a little bit of spotting from Drew to get to the reps that I reached on the second and third sets. I only wanted to count the ones that I actually did 100% on my own, but Drew said that would be selling myself short as he only took off a couple of pounds at the most and the reps that are hardest for me to complete are those that are most beneficial for my muscle growth.

The incline dumbbell bench press was not easy. Last time I did this, I made a mistake and did decline bench presses, so I tried using the same weight as the decline bench. Um, massive failure. The first set was horrible. I think I was just so surprised that I couldn't really do what I thought I'd be able to do that my muscles (or my mind) just gave up. Once I accepted that it'd be really hard, I got better on the second and third sets. I didn't bump up the weight since I figured I was probably about at my max anyway.

I felt really good about the tricep pushdowns. Last time I did this workout, I could only do 5 reps at 50 lbs and I feel really good that I was able to add one more rep into that last set. Little by little, I'm getting stronger!

After the weights were done, I headed over to the cardio area. Drew was on the Arc Trainer, but I thought I'd climb some steps this morning. I really enjoyed the Aerobic Training setting I had done last time I used the stair mill, so I decided to do that again. And I still really liked it this morning. I was definitely nice and sweaty by the time I was done with the cardio and ready for some stretching!

Weight Lifting
Time: 41:46
Calories: 158
Maximum HR: 138
Average HR: 102

Stair Mill
Time: 35:00
Distance: 3.16 miles (151 Floors)
Pace: 11:04/mile
Calories: 353
Maximum HR: 162
Average HR: 152

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Must Have Shoes...

This morning the alarm went off and Drew got up and I didn't. I did, however, pack a bag so that I could go to the gym after work today. Which is what I did. And if you think that this post sounds exactly like yesterday's post, that was mostly my plan. Except that when I got to the gym, I realized that I had packed everything, except for my shoes! I was planning on doing weight lifting and cardio today and briefly thought about doing the weight lifting in my work flats, but decided that it would be utterly ridiculous and I couldn't bring myself to do it.

So, I headed home with a thought in my head that I would do some of the Exercise On-Demand workouts and be happy with that. It might not be quite the same, but it would definitely be some variety in my workout routine, which can never be a bad thing. I got home, changed into my gym clothes, and sat down on the couch in order to choose what workouts I would do. They had two Biggest Loser options - one with Bob and one with Jillian. I decided to check out the first one on the list, which happened to be the one with Bob.

I'm guessing that this was a segment of a longer exercise video, but this was called Biggest Loser Cardio Max. It definitely started right away without much warm-up. I thought that it was okay overall. There was really only one tough part that involved holding plank position for about 2 minutes (okay, maybe it really wasn't quite that long, but it really felt like it, and it was definitely over a minute). Most of the people on the video had small weights in their hands to increase the resistance, but I didn't really feel like taking the time to find mine, so I just did it without them.

After the first video, I thought that 20 minutes really wasn't enough of a workout, so I decided to do another one. I thought about doing the Jillian one, but then thought that I'd mix it up and try something different. The next video I chose was Cardio Groove and Burn. This one was trickier because you were really supposed to be learning dance steps while doing cardio. I am not a dancer. Never have been, never will be. So, when they did some serious salsa steps, I mostly ran back and forth across the living room floor while turning my hips back and forth. I'm not sure I learned any dance moves, but I did roll my hips a lot!

I should mention that while I was doing all of these videos, Drew was sitting on the couch doing some stuff on his laptop. Even though he claimed that he wasn't watching me, once in a while, I'd hear a giggle from the peanut gallery behind me, but he mostly kept his comments to himself. I did feel especially silly when the girl from Cardio Groove & Burn told us to get sassy and insert our own style into the dance. I'm not sure I have said style on the dance floor, I just tried to do what they were doing as best as I could.

I don't know that this ended up being the best workout that I could have had today, but it was 100% better than giving up after I found I didn't have my shoes at the gym. I think that's all any of us can ask for ... to not give up!

Biggest Loser Cardio Max
Time: 20:27
Calories: 193
Maximum HR: 163
Average HR: 147

Cardio Groove and Burn
Time: 30:05
Calories: 266
Maximum HR: 163
Average HR: 141

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday After Work

This morning the alarm went off and Drew got up and I didn't. I did, however, pack a bag so that I could go to the gym after work today. Which is what I did. I really wasn't feeling it when I got there and my legs are a little tired after yesterday's run and weight lifting (no big surprise). So, I decided to do some fake running (a.k.a. the elliptical machine).

I picked some sort of interval program and just started moving my legs. I mostly concentrated on reading my book instead of concentrating on my workout. I forgot to bring my watch and HR monitor strap, so I don't have any fancy data today. That meant that I had to remember my distance and time. Frankly, the reason I stopped when I did was that it was a perfect trifecta. I had finished a chapter of my book and the miles and minutes were both even. Seemed like the best reason to get off the machine that I could think of.

I finished up with some stretching and headed home for dinner. I definitely don't love going to the gym at night, but since I wasn't lifting, it really wasn't too bad today since I just got on my machine and stayed there the whole time.

Elliptical
Time: 38:40
Distance: 3.10 miles
Pace: 12:28/mile

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Runners Spit A Lot

Yesterday on my way home from work, I decided that I would stop into City Sports because they always have pretty good stuff on their clearance rack, and I was hoping that I could score some good long-sleeved running tops. I also signed up for their mailing (by e-mail) list, so I also had a 15% off coupon for any one regularly priced item. I ended up finding two long-sleeved tops that were both originally $60 each, but on sale for $20 each and a pair of shorts on clearance for $15. Granted, I know I didn't need the shorts for winter, but for $15 it was too hard to pass up!
This was my shopping booty:


While I was walking home from work yesterday, I was walking home in a wintery mix of snow and rain. Not too fun. It also made me a little bit nervous about this morning's race and what the weather conditions would be like. I knew it would be cold - the coldest morning so far this winter, I think - but I also wasn't quite sure how that would go for me. When I woke up this morning, I got up in plenty of time to get dressed, eat and get all organized before the race and to ride the subway up to pick up my race number and chip. Instead of taking the subway, I decided to just take a cab. I know it seems like I wimped out a little bit, and I sort of feel like I did, but I was also okay with that. I really didn't want to end up standing outside for any longer than I had to in the cold.

The temperature was 33 degrees and according to the internet, felt much colder (about 10 degrees), although I didn't think it felt that much colder. I ended up wearing: a tank top, a long sleeved shirt, my new purple long-sleeved shirt, running tights, shorts, my Terrier bike vest, gloves and my Westchester Triathlon running hat. The bike vest was fantastic for the pockets! I took some Muscle Milk to have before the race in one of our new collapsible water bottles, so the back pockets of the vest were perfect for holding the bottle while I was running.

I took a cab up to 89th Street and picked up my number and timing chip and it was about 7:10 by that point. I was supposed to be meeting the other Terriers at 7:30. Since I had some time to kill before that and all I had to do was stand outside, I figured I might as well just jog for a few minutes to keep myself a little bit warm. I ran for about 10 minutes and then went back to the meeting spot. People started arriving shortly after that as well as Coach Robert, who led us through some drills in order to warm up before the race.

We started with some push-up drills. We went into plank position and then did some stretches by bringing one foot up next to our hand. We'd then go back to plank and do a couple of push-ups. Then we did some really short stride drills - high knees with claps underneath the knee, marching, stretching our quads, and one really horrible one to open up your hips. That drill called for you to bring your knee up and then swing it out to the side of your body and then put it down on the ground. Every time I did that, I could just hear my hips clicking and cracking. It really wasn't my favorite and I was glad that it was a short drill. After the drills, we ran up to the start of the race.

Holy cow! That was not what I was expecting! I was expecting a few hundred people ... not thousands of people! This is what greeted me:

To be fair, I've seen other NYRR races in the past and they've never had anywhere near this many people participating. I was floored as to how many people were there. I lined up in my corral (near the back, with the other slow people), and waited for the race to start. I did cool down a little bit while waiting, but it wasn't too bad and they started the race pretty much on time, so that was nice. I have to say that I never got nervous while I was waiting for the race to start. That told me a couple of things: (1) that I was really taking this seriously as a race and (2) that I had absolutely no doubts that I could complete this. Me waiting in the corral:

I have never done a running race before and certainly not one with 8,000+ people participating, so I had no idea what to expect. The first mile was definitely the worst because people were really bunched up and there was a lot of jostling for position. There were also a lot of faster runners coming up from the back because they had gotten there late. Also, one of the most surprising things to me was all the noises that people were making. I must have heard 1,000 people hock up loogies and spit them out. I had no idea that runners were such big spitters! And then, all throughout the race, I saw people spitting all over the place. Gross!

The start of the race was at 102nd Street, which meant that we had to tackle the Harlem Hill almost right away. I thought that would be good because it would make the rest of the race seem pretty easy in comparison. Truthfully, the hill really wasn't that hard. I don't know if part of that was the fact that I was mostly being carried along in a sea of people or what, but it really wasn't bad at all. I reached mile marker #1 at 10:10. I was hoping to average about 10 minute miles, but I also really wasn't wanting to push myself too much. After all, I only signed up for the race to motivate myself to keep my running miles up at a decent place, not to win anything. I figured that anything under 1:05:00 I'd be happy with although I was hoping to beat my Standalone Time from a week ago.

Somewhere between Miles 1 & 2, I saw a guy sitting on a rock in the park. It looked like it could have been Drew, but it also didn't quite look like him. He was wearing a hat I didn't recognize and the sun shining off his coat made it look grey instead of black. But, as I was running past, I realized that it was in fact him and I yelled out and he snapped a quick picture:

As you can see, it's not really any wonder he didn't see me. I can barely see me! He said he couldn't believe how many people there were and that once he realized how many people were participating that he was wishing a little bit that he had signed up to run with me. I tried to tell him that a month ago, too bad he didn't!

At some point between Mile 2 & 3, I realized that my heart rate was pretty high, especially compared to what it's been when I've been running recently, and I tried to slow down a little bit, but that didn't have much effect, so I took a 30 second walking break as an attempt to try to get it lowered. I don't really think it helped my heart slow down, but mentally it made me feel like I tried, so that was probably what really mattered. When I got to Mile 3, there were a bunch of spectators standing there cheering that we'd made it half-way already! Even though it had taken me 30 minutes to get there, it definitely felt like it was really fast. I ran Mile 2 and 3 in 10 minutes each.

Mile 3 was right at the 72nd Street Transverse and I did briefly wonder what would happen if I just ran across and headed north, cutting off the bottom loop of the Park. I didn't really seriously consider it, I was mostly more just curious what would happen. Would the volunteers stop me? Of course, I just kept running the actual path in the park. Somewhere during Mile 4, the hip opening drills that we had done this morning came back to haunt me. My hips were not happy. I decided in the interest of personal safety that I should take another quick walk break and start again and see how they felt. I took another 30 second walking break and started running again. It was a little bit better and I realized that I could tough it out for another two miles. I was still doing really well on my 10 minute/mile pace, so I was hoping to keep it up for the end of the race too.

Pretty soon I was back to 90th Street and the point where I had met the other Terriers this morning. From that point on, I just kept telling myself that I had already run the rest of the distance once today and I was just re-tracing my steps from earlier. When I reached the mile marker for Mile 6, Drew was standing there. I gave him a fist-bump and kept running strong for the last 0.20 miles to the finish.

My official time was 1:02:12, which is a 10:01 pace. I am thrilled with that pace! Granted, my heart rate was out of control, but I felt okay during the race. I think that if I hadn't been worried about my heart rate and not taken that first 30 second walking break, I would have made it for 10:00 miles, but I'm 100% satisfied with this result, especially since all I really wanted to do was keep myself motivated to keep running.

After I was done with the race, I grabbed a cup of water and a bagel and met up with Drew. They were handing out t-shirts before the race, but I didn't get one because I didn't want to have to either (A) carry it with me or (B) check my t-shirt with the baggage people. I tried to see if I could get one after the fact, but they had packed them up already, so we just headed for the subway home. When we got home, Drew made us brunch and then I settled in for a nap!

Drew was planning on going to the gymnasium this afternoon and in order to keep up with my weight training, I really needed to go too and finish up Week 9's plan, which was legs. Oof. I'm not sure that it was the smartest idea I've ever had to go to the gym with him and do my leg lifting after running a 10K, but I figure it's not the dumbest idea I've ever had either. The lifts are still Pyramid Ups (meaning you add weight and decrease the reps each set) and with Drew's help I definitely lifted above my normal comfort zone.

This was the workout:

Barbell Squats: 1 set of 12 reps @ 45 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 65 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 95 lbs
Leg Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 135 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 180 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 225 lbs
Leg Extension: 1 set of 12 reps @ 70 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 85 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 100 lbs
Crunches (with weight): 1 set of 20 reps @ 25 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 25 lbs / 1 set of 20 reps @ 25 lbs

I've definitely never done weights that heavy before for any of the lifts. I really owe it all to Drew for pushing me more than I would have pushed myself. He definitely helped me by standing by me and the fact that he was there and I knew he would be able to help me if I couldn't do it myself helped me mentally. I wanted to make sure he didn't have to help me, but I was glad that he was there. The crunches with weight are the first time I've actually done them. All I can really say is that if you're wearing a white shirt while doing it, it's dirty. It also made it harder to do the crunches. Next time I'll try bumping up the weight a little bit.

All in all, it was quite the day today. I know I didn't have the best week earlier this week with workouts, but I'm hoping that today made up for some of that.

Running (1oK)
Time: 1:02:12
Distance: 6.20 miles
Pace: 10:01/mile
Calories: 871
Maximum HR: 195
Average HR: 183

Weight Lifting
Time: 49:10
Calories: 277
Maximum HR: 149
Average HR: 115

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tired At The Gymnasium

This morning I was exhausted. Drew got right up and started getting ready for the gym, which left me with no alternative but to do the same. Although I did sleep for an extra 10 minutes or so. When we were leaving the apartment and got outside, Drew realized that he forgot his iPod, so he went back to get it. I just kept walking to the gym. When he got to the gym 5 minutes later, I was still walking around trying to figure out what to do.

I was just so tired I couldn't make a decision. When Drew got there, he decided that we'd do stairs. Normally I always do the interval setting on the stair mill. I'm not sure I've ever done anything else. Well, this morning I decided to shake things up and do the Aerobic Training setting. I don't know if I liked it any more or less than normal. Well, I might have liked it a little bit more because even though the whole thing was a lot of intervals, they weren't as long as it is on just the purely interval level. I was definitely still as sweaty as usual, so there wasn't a lack of sweating on this different setting!

Once we were done on the stairs, Drew asked if I'd help spot him while he did some heavy bench presses. It took a little bit longer than I anticipated, but he did some really heavy lifts, the highest that he got to was doing a couple reps at 200, so I was definitely impressed with that! (Well, I helped him a little bit, but he still mostly did it himself). He wanted to some negatives and then have me help him lift the weight back up, but I told him that I was too nervous about the weight falling and crushing him, so we didn't do that.

Because the weight lifting took a little longer than I thought it would, I didn't really have time to do another set of cardio like I had been planning. So, instead, I just hopped on the treadmill and did one quick mile (in about 10 minutes). I don't have any sort of statistics from the treadmill because I thought I had started my watch, but apparently I forgot so I didn't realize it until I was already more than halfway done.

I finished up with some stretching and then headed home to go to work for the day. Yes, that's right, I'm spending this Saturday at work. I guess there are worse things, but I'm tired and wishing it wasn't the case today.

Stair Mill
Time: 30:04
Distance: 2.92 miles (140 floors)
Pace: 10:17/mile
Calories: 317
Maximum HR:170
Average HR: 157

Friday, December 4, 2009

Muscle Up!

As you can see by my lack of blogging, I've had a rough few days. Tuesday I had every intention of getting up early and going running with Terrier, but when I woke up and saw that it was 30 something outside and realized that I needed the sleep, I couldn't force myself up and out of bed. Wednesday I never really had any hope of working out since I had to be at work at 6:30 in the morning and that was too early for me to ever try to workout before. Yesterday I set my alarm, but I think I was wiped out from the extra work I've been doing at my real job and it just wasn't happening either. All day yesterday I felt like I had a black cloud hanging over me because I hadn't worked out. I was really feeling down in the dumps about it. I didn't even take three whole days off after my triathlon for Pete's sake!

Of course, the only cure for this is to get back to the gym and keep working out. So, that's just what I did this morning. Drew got up early to come along with me and he even lifted weights with me too! Today was supposed to be a leg lifting day according to the plan, but in honor of the fact that I have a 10K to run on Sunday, I decided that it might not be a good idea to do that, so I swapped the remaining two workouts for the week. Instead of legs, we did back, biceps & abs.

This was the workout:

Dumbbell Pullovers: 1 set of 12 reps @ 20 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 25 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 30 lbs
Lat Pulldown (Underhand): 1 set of 15 reps @ 50 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 70 lbs
Dumbbell Curls: 1 set of 12 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 9/10 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 3 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm)
Barbell Curls: 1 set of 12 reps @ 30 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 40 lbs / 1 set of 6 reps @ 45 lbs
Reverse Crunches: 1 set of 12 reps / 1 set of 10 reps / 1 set of 8 reps

The pullovers and the pulldowns were just fine. The curls is where it started to get really hard. On the second set of dumbbell curls, I was struggling. Drew told me that I should "muscle up" and use my whole body to get the dumbbell up. So, instead of standing still, I sort of swung my arm back in order to get it to go forward. I'm sure that's not the best form in the entire world, but as he pointed out, if you need to move or lift something heavy in real life, you're not going to be standing still to do so.

The last set of dumbbell curls was impossible. I tried to lift it once and I just wrote "FAIL" in my book. I couldn't do it. But, Drew told me that if I muscled up, I could. And I did! I did three of them. Not a huge success, but still good for my growing muscles. Drew had to help me with the barbell curls too. I was really lucky he was there with me, because he definitely pushed me more than I would have pushed myself.

After the weight lifting, I did some 'fake running', which is what I like to think the elliptical is. Mostly, I really wanted to read my book and the elliptical is a really good way to do so. Drew did the elliptical with me, so we just did our whole workout together. Well, he stayed at the gym and did more cardio, but I had to get home and get to work early. I'm just glad that I'm back into the swing of things. Next week might be more of the same with going to work early, but I'm really going to try to stick with the workouts better!

Weight Lifting
Time: 57:08
Calories: 342
Maximum HR: 154
Average HR: 117

Elliptical
Time: 32:42
Distance: 2.85 miles
Pace: 11:28/mile
Calories: 311
Maximum HR: 159
Average HR: 147

Monday, November 30, 2009

Yeah, I'm A Badass

This morning Drew got up and went to his old gym to meet with his personal trainer, which meant that he got up really early in order to get there by 6:00. I was going to just sleep for a few more minutes, which turned into the rest of the morning, so I didn't make it to the gym before work. However, I packed a bag in order to force myself to go to the gym after work. It's a lot easier to go to the gym straight from work instead of having to go home in between and change.

I started out with some cardio, which I don't normally do. I really was thinking that I'd do half an hour of cardio, do my weight lifting and then finish up with some more cardio. Drew and I tried to figure out our Heart Rate Zones last night and this is what I came up with for mine:

195 Maximum
Zone 2 = 117 - 137 (60-70%)
Zone 3 = 137 - 156 (70-80%)
Zone 4 = 156 - 176 (80-90%)

I thought that perhaps I should try to stay in a lower Heart Rate Zone than I have been while running and see how it felt. With that in mind, I did a half an hour on the Arc Trainer. It's still really not my favorite piece of cardio equipment at the gymnasium, but it did keep my heart rate lower, so I think it was a success. It's also really good for reading, so that's a small bonus in my book (no pun intended).

I'm starting Week 9 of my Weight Lifting program and I finally remembered to bring (and use) something that I bought a few weeks ago, but haven't had the best memory. Here they are:

Workout gloves!!

Drew made me take this photo with my hands in fists so that you can truly see how "badass" I actually am...
I'm not really sure that I felt like a badass. I sort-of felt a little bit silly wearing these gloves and recording my weights in my workout book, but my hands felt a lot better, so all in all, it was a good thing!

Here was today's workout:
Barbell Bench Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 45 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 55 lbs / 1 set of 6 reps @ 65 lbs
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 8 reps @ 30 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 6 reps @ 30 lbs (per arm)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 10 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 12 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm)
Tricep Pushdowns: 1 set of 12 reps @ 30 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 40 lbs / 1 set of 5 reps @ 50 lbs
Reverse Crunches: 1 set of 12 reps / 2 sets of 10 reps

This week is all about Pyramid-Up, which means that you should increase the weights on each set and decrease the reps. This took a lot longer than some of my other recent weight lifting because you were supposed to rest for 3 minutes in between sets. The goal reps were 12 for the first set, 10 for the second set and 8 for the third set. I had some trouble lifting really heavy today because I was by myself. I thought I probably could have squeezed out two more reps on the bench press set, but I was too afraid to let myself do it. I was shaky after 6 reps at 65 pounds and wasn't sure I'd be able to do two more (or even one more) without a spotter, so I just let it be at 6 reps. Drew said I could have asked anyone at the gym to spot for me, so I guess I know for next time. Even though I'm not sure I would have felt comfortable asking anyway. 65 pounds doesn't seem like a whole lot and I'd feel a little wimpy having to ask for a spotter for such a light weight.

I kept the weight at 30 pounds for the dumbbell bench press because I was having trouble lifting the weight onto the bench and lying down all at the same time. Um, that's right. Until just right now, reading over my stats did I realize that I did decline bench presses. Oops! I gotta tell you, it was another exercise where having a spotter could have been really helpful in order to hand me the dumbbells. I actually considered switching to barbells, because I thought that would be a lot easier to manage, but I stuck it out with what I thought was the right thing.

The crunches were supposed to be crunches with weight, but the weight room and the stretching areas were so crowded that I decided to try reverse crunches again and see if I had the same ill side effects as before. It definitely wasn't as painful while doing them, so I'm hopeful that my abs are back to normal now.

I really wanted to do another set of cardio once I finished up with the weight lifting, but it was already 7:30 and I needed to get home and do laundry before tomorrow, so I cut my workout a little bit short. It definitely didn't help that the weight lifting took longer than expected, but at least now I know that these workouts will be longer.

The rest of this week promises to be pretty bad for me at work so at the very least, I'm going to plan on keeping up with my weight lifting (likely on Thursday and Saturday), but I might skip out on some other stuff. I think it's pretty certain that I won't have a chance to workout at all on Wednesday, since I have to be at work at 6:30 and will be there late as well. I also have to go into work early Thursday and Friday and I have to work on Saturday. I'm trying to take it all in stride and remind myself that I already know I can run the 10K on Sunday and I don't have anything else really big that I have to be training for at this second. It's not ideal, but I'll do the best I can.

Arc Trainer
Time: 30:23
Distance: 1.16 miles
Pace: 26:11/mile
Calories: 259
Maximum HR: 149
Average HR: 138

Weight Lifting
Time: 43:19
Calories: 196
Maximum HR: 137
Average HR: 107

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Feel Bad

Today Drew and I had planned to go running. He claims that last time we went he said that he wanted to go 3 miles and I made us run 4, but this time he actually said 4 miles, so I suggested that we run the Central Loop of Central Park (starting at 72nd Street and going up and across the 102nd Street Transverse).

We walked from the bottom of the Park up to 72nd Street and headed North. I don't know why, but I've really been on a kick of running clockwise instead of counter-clockwise, so that's what we did today too. Drew was a little worried about his toe hurting while running, but we started out fairly slow and he said that it was fine.

My legs were exhausted the entire time we were running. I think it was a combination of the longer run I did on Friday and the biking I did yesterday, but they were beat! I tried to keep us at a slower pace than it seemed like Drew wanted to run. I am still really concentrating on keeping my heart rate under 180 when possible and that seems to be somewhere around a 10 minute (or 10+) mile.

Because Drew kept running ahead of me, I told him that if I was slowing him down, he should just run on ahead. I think I told him at least two or three times that he should just run ahead. Finally, I had to tell him that him running faster than me was making me feel bad about myself. It wasn't the fact that I can't run that fast, it's that I can't run that fast while keeping my heart rate in the zone I wanted. He said that he wasn't trying to race me or even run at any specific pace, it's just how he was running. I knew he wasn't doing it on purpose, it was just how I felt about the whole situation.

I was thinking about it a lot and I think it's a lot different than running in a group with Terrier because there everyone goes at their own pace and you don't feel bad passing someone (or being passed) because there is an unwritten understanding. It's a lot different when you go running with someone specific and think that you'll be running together and then to have that person running just two steps in front of you the entire time is a little bit frustrating (to me at least).

Once I pointed out my frustration, Drew stayed behind me the rest of the way (or right next to me). It might be really crazy, but I felt like I was running more on my own pace that way instead of just trying to keep up with him and I actually wouldn't be surprised to find out that we ran faster once I started leading than we were the other way around.

When we got to 72nd Street and were crossing the transverse, I realized that if we pushed it just a little bit more, we could come out with 10-minute miles, which would be nice, so right when we passed by the Cherry Hill Fountain, I told Drew to pick it up a little and we sprinted to the end.

I don't think this was our best run ever together just because I think I was a little off and feeling left behind, but I'm really happy with the final result. After we ended the run, Drew said that while he really liked the route, he wasn't so thrilled to have to walk home from 72nd Street. I can't really say I blame him, although it is a good cool down and we did stretch for a while once we ended running. It doesn't take long for your body to cool off and then walking home isn't really all that fun in these cooler temperatures!

Running
Time: 40:57
Distance: 4.10 miles
Pace: 9:59/mile
Calories: 547
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 175

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Mini Triathlon

This morning I got up and went off to the gymnasium. I was meeting Drew at the gym and he reserved a swim lane for us at 11 and I wanted to get a workout in before the swim. When I got there I hopped on the computerized spin bike and decided to try the strength program.

I'm not sure if I've done that one before. I was thinking that it was going to be similar to the endurance program and be a lot of seated flats and seated climbs. However, it turned out to be the opposite. I was up out of the saddle more than I was seated, but it was definitely a good and sweaty workout.

I had about an hour to workout and wanted to give myself some time to stretch before the pool. That meant that after my 40+ minute bike ride, I still had about 15 minutes to kill.

So, what I decided to do was a mini brick. I hopped of the bike, switched shoes, and ran to the treadmill. I set the treadmill on 1% incline at 6.0 (10-minute mile pace). I actually ended up only running for a mile and then walked for a few more minutes as a cool down. It was actually a really easy mile and my legs felt fine, which was nice.

After biking and running, I went off to stretch and also do some foam rolling on my shins. While we were both stretching, we were discussing the ab machine that neither of us has ever used before. Of course, that meant that we had to try it out. I did 30 crunches (not sure that's the right terminology or not).

Finally, it was time for the pool. Drew fell down our stairs last night and has quite the bruise on his toe! That meant that when he went to kick today while swimming, it didn't feel so great. So, instead of doing some kicking (which is what he really should be concentrating on) we did a lot with the pull buoy.

He's definitely improving overall. He still says that he's having trouble breathing, so he was trying to exhale more by breathing every 4th stroke instead of every 2nd stroke. I also really tried to emphasize to him that if he slows his arm stroke down, he'll feel more comfortable hanging out on his side before rolling back over and putting his head back into the water again. I think it's all starting to come together a little bit more than before.

I didn't really do much swimming myself, although I do have a big Terrier Swim Meet coming up and for some reason I decided to sign up for the 50 meter backstroke. I practiced backstroke a little bit. Mostly what I need to make sure I've got down is my stroke count from the flags so that I can do my flip-turn at the right time. I think with a few more times concentrating on it, I'll have it down in no time.

Once we were done swimming, we went and sat in the sauna for a few minutes. It's no hot tub, but it's certainly better than nothing! All in all, I had a really mini triathlon today with my biking, running and swimming. And of course, it was all out of order! It's not very often that I do all three disciplines in the same day, so it was just a little bit funny to me.

Biking
Time: 41:00
Distance: 12.50 miles
Pace: 18.29 MPH average
Calories: 415
Maximum HR: 162
Average HR: 150

Running
Time: 10:00
Distance: 1.00 mile
Pace: 10:00/mile
Calories: 190
Maximum HR: 175
Average HR: 158

Swimming
Time: 25:13
Calories: 111
Maximum HR: 162
Average HR: 105

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Standalone Time

I ended up taking yesterday as a rest day. Drew got up and went to the gym early, but I slept for an extra hour and then spent the rest of the morning getting ready for our Turkey Day. His parents were joining us before they had to catch a flight, so we had a pretty early dinner (more of a lunch), so it was well worth skipping the gym in favor of making and eating a special lunch.

Drew and I had thought about waking up early today to go hit some Black Friday sales, but we were lame and didn't go. I wasn't 100% sure I really wanted to brave the crowds anyway. Instead, we planted ourselves on the couch and watched lots of TV. We didn't get up and moving around until well into the afternoon. Drew wanted to head off to the gym and I decided to go for a run.

I have a 10K race coming up next weekend and I figured that although in our group Terrier runs, I generally run somewhere around 6 miles total, I don't generally do it in one straight shot, so I might want to try that out before the big race. So, that was my plan today. To do something I've never done before ... run the Big Loop in Central Park!

I didn't get to the park until a little after 3:30 and I was wearing running tights, shorts, and two long-sleeved shirts. I didn't take gloves or any ear coverings. I ended up being okay without the gloves, although they would have been a nice addition, but I really wished I had a hat/headband with me. The temperature was in the mid-40s and although I was probably dressed appropriately for the temperature, I wasn't dressed appropriately for the wind! I also didn't really factor in that the sun was setting and it'd be dark by the time I got home.

Because we spent most of the day glued to the couch, that meant that we didn't eat or drink a whole lot in our laziness. Which meant that I started the run off feeling a tiny bit hungry. In order to try to combat that, I brought some Shot Blocks with me. I'd never tried them before and figured that this was as good of a time as any to try them out. I ended up having two while running and they were sort-of everything I'd heard that they'd be. They tasted okay, but got stuck in my teeth. They also made me a bit gassy, which I didn't really like at all. I ended up deciding to give the rest of them to Laura because I didn't think I'd use them again.

I ran the Big Loop in a clockwise direction (which is against the majority of traffic). Running this way is the way that the New York City triathlon takes you, so that was a nice taste to see how that run would go. I am not really sure what route the race next weekend will take, but even if it's the opposite direction, I think I'll feel fairly confident while running since I'm so familiar with the route in both directions.

While I was running, I really concentrated on keeping my heart rate below 180 as it seems to me that somewhere in the mid-170s is really where I feel most comfortable. I know it's not the fastest that I can run, but I can keep running there for a longer distance, which seems to be the key to all of these endurance sports. I also really thought that it'd be good for me to have a standalone time that wasn't tied to a triathlon to compare next weekend's race to. My Westchester running time was 1:06:16 (10:41 pace) and I guess I'd like to get my 10K race pace closer to 10 minutes per mile.

Today I was able to shave 3 minutes off the Westchester time and I never felt like I was going too hard. I'd think that in the race it might be possible to get another 1:16 off that time to get down to 10 minute miles, so that's what I'm going to aim for.

Running
Time: 1:03:16
Distance: 6.10 miles
Pace: 10:22/mile
Calories: 824
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 173

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Max

This morning I headed off to the gymnasium with Drew and I really wanted to try to figure out what my max bench press would be. I had been looking at this site and trying to guess what I thought I could get to. I was really hoping that I could do 100, even though I thought it might be a little bit ambitious.

We got to the gym and loaded up the bar so that I'd try lifting 100 pounds. Um, it was a no go. I lowered the bar, but I couldn't push it back up. Of course, when I told that to Drew, I expected him to pick it up right away, but he didn't really help me all that much at first even though I felt a little frantic that it was going to crash down and smoosh my chest in. So, then we decided to try again at 95 pounds. Still the same situation where I could lower the bar but not push it back up.

So, then we decided to go about it from the other direction. We took lots more weight off and then started adding it back on. I was able to lift 65 pounds just fine. I was able to lift 75 pounds with a bit of a struggle. I was able to lift 80 pounds and thought I had reached my max. Drew says he's not convinced that it was my max because even though my arms were a little shaky pushing it up, he said that it was still relatively quick. I decided that I had maxed out at 80. I guess I'm a little disappointed that it wasn't more, especially since I've been doing so much weight lifting, but I guess I know where I am now and can only hope to maintain this level and hopefully improve.

After that, I went over and spun my little heart out on the computerized spin bike. I did the race day program which gets you up out of the saddle about 50% of the time. Nothing too noteworthy to report here. It definitely is a lot better now that I realized that I can clip in with my regular bike shoes, although I wonder if I'll be more likely to forget to clip out when stopping on my regular bike now that I'm getting used to the stationary bike!

Biking
Time: 37:44
Distance: 12.80 miles
Pace: 20.35 MPH average
Calories: 363
Maximum HR: 163
Average HR: 146

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Out For A Run, Home With A Turkey

This morning I got up and headed out for the Terrier run. While I was getting dressed (in running tights, shorts, short-sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt and gloves) I told Drew that I really didn't feel like going because I was so tired, but I didn't have a lot of say in the matter. I had set it up so that I had to pick up our Thanksgiving Day Turkey on the way home from the run. Technically, I guess I still could have slept in a little bit and gotten the turkey anyway, but that didn't really seem like the reason why I set the turkey pick-up for 7:00 am!

I ran there and then we did our normal strides workout. We finished the strides up today with some strength exercises. We did 30 lunges, 20 squats and two sets of push-ups. I did 10 push-ups each time (we were supposed to do 15), but I feel good about the 20 that I did do. I'm not going to worry about the 10 that I didn't do.

As far as the clothing goes, I felt like my arms were a little bit cold with just the one layer of long-sleeves, but I did end up taking my gloves off pretty early on, so I wasn't perfect, but I was pretty close. Today's workout was one that I knew I'd have to cut short in order to pick up the turkey and the couple of other things that I still needed to buy before Thursday and get home in time for work. Today's workout was going to be focusing on hills. We ran as a group to a spot on the bridle path just south of the Reservoir, under a bridge. Don't ask me exactly where we were, I get lost on those paths (which also means that the mileage today is a bit of a guess since the maps don't really cover the paths).

We were supposed to do 40 minutes of hill running up and down a longer hill and a short hill. I only did about 10 minutes of hill running before going and running back towards home. I felt like I was being a quitter, because I wasn't leaving because I was tired or anything, I just had to get my turkey! I think that I would definitely like to go back and do this workout again even if it's just by myself to prove that I can.

I got to Whole Foods just as they were opening, bought my turkey, green beans & spinach and headed home for the day. The timing worked out just perfectly.

The times below are the times I actually recorded and then what I think the time would be approximately for the strides. I didn't time them, but going off of last week's, I think this is about right, although we did a few less this week than we did last week.

Running
Time: 36:45 / (~10:00 strides)
Distance: 3.86 miles / (0.64 strides)
Pace: 9:31/mile / 15:37/mile
Calories: 466
Maximum HR: 187
Average HR: 171