Saturday, October 31, 2009

Super Set Me!

This morning Drew and I slept in a little bit, had breakfast in bed, and then headed off to the gymnasium. We had a big day of workouts planned, so it was good that we had breakfast beforehand.

I started a new week of Weight Lifting (Week 5 already!). This week is all about Super Sets. That means that you should perform 1 set of the first exercise (Exercise A) and immediately perform a set of the second exercise (Exercise B). Then you can take a rest interval. The book explains that, "Your body can adapt to a certain training routine in approximately 2 weeks. This means that you will get little or no results if you do the same workout longer than 2 weeks in a row." So, as a result, you have to switch things up a little bit.

Here is the workout from today:

A) Leg Extensions: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 13 reps @ 60 lbs
B) Leg Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 115 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 115 lbs
A) Dumbbell Pullovers: 3 sets of 15 reps @ 20 lbs
B) Lat Pulldown (triangle bar): 3 sets of 15 reps @ 60 lbs
A) Dumbbell Flys: 1 set of 15 reps @ 10 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 12 reps @ 10 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 10 lbs
B) Dumbbell Bench Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 8 reps @ 20 lbs / 1 set of 6 reps @ 20 lbs
A) Crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps
B) Ab Bench Crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps

On my first leg press, I realized that my left hamstring still hasn't recovered from last week. I'm thinking that maybe next time I'll lower the weight slightly on the leg curls in order to have a shorter recovery period. I think I'll still get a good benefit even if I lift 5 pounds less each time.

Everything went pretty well. Luckily, the weight room was pretty quiet so it wasn't a big deal to be using two pieces of equipment at essentially the same time. I was always a little worried that someone would sneak in and take the machines that I was using, but it all worked out.

After the weight lifting, I headed over to do some cardio. I happened to spy a new piece of equipment that I hadn't seen at the gym before! It was a computerized spin bike. As soon as I saw it, I felt like my entire winter just got a lot better. I know that the spin bikes are better than the cardio bikes, but I never really wanted to use them because I really like to know how far I've gone and I also like the fact that you can program the cardio bikes. Well, everything I liked in a cardio bike has now been delivered in a spin bike!

So, I hopped on. I didn't love it. I played around with a lot of the settings and tried to figure out which settings I thought I would like best. There are spin class programs that you can do or you can do a more customizable program. The internet says that there are about a million combinations you can do, so it seems like perhaps if I mess around with it a little bit more, I can find something that I like.

The thing that I don't really like is the part where you get out of the saddle (in the spin class program). Somehow that seems really unrealistic to me in my regular bike riding, but I can understand that it is making my legs stronger for training purposes. I also always feel like I should keep a 90+ cadence and having a lower cadence makes me feel weird too, like I'm cheating somehow.

After testing out the bike for a bit, Drew and I hit the pool again for another of our swimming lessons. Although this isn't much of a workout for me, I'm really enjoying it. Drew is definitely improving, but he definitely still has a long way to go. He gets tired really easily after swimming one length of the pool (18 yards). We did work a lot on kicking today, which I think was really helpful. It's definitely the case that he has a lot better form kicking or swimming when he's taking it a little bit slower than when he's racing and rushing.

We did a couple of races where I would give him a (huge) head start and then try and beat him down the pool. I beat him in the kicking races, but didn't quite make it (I was one stroke short) in the swimming competition. It's things like that that make it really fun to get in the pool with him. And I hope that he likes it too.

Weight Lifting
Time: 37:15
Calories: 299
Maximum HR: 162
Average HR: 132

Spin Bike
Time: 29:24
Distance: ~8.5 miles
Pace: 17.35 MPH
Calories: 357
Maximum HR: 180
Average HR: 167

Time: 28:00
Calories: 181
Maximum HR: 159
Average HR: 119

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Calories, Calories

I ended up taking today as a rest day for the week, so I thought I'd use today to write about something that I've been doing recently ... counting calories. First, I think I need to back up and start from the beginning. I'd say that about a year ago, I wasn't 100% happy with my body. I had gained a few pounds, I wasn't really utilizing my gym membership and knew that I should do something about it. I started going to the gym maybe around 3 times a week and started to feel a little bit better.

I started out at about 149 pounds (in my mind, 150 pounds is some magic threshold that I was hoping never to cross and although I wasn't completely comfortable being so close, I was happy that I hadn't gone over). My body fat percentage (according to Drew's scale) was nearly 26%. I think that was the most shocking number. I know that women are always fattier than men, but compared to Drew's body fat percentage, I felt fat. I'm 5'8" and never looked over weight (and in fact, I wasn't). I just noticed that my pants were a little tighter than they had been before. There was even a brief consideration of buying the next size up, but I told myself that I wouldn't give in.

It wasn't until sometime in February of this year when Laura asked me if I'd want to sign up for a triathlon with her that I really felt like I got into the groove of things. I then started becoming more consistent with my workouts (like working out 6 days a week). What helped me the most in becoming more consistent was the fear factor of signing up for a triathlon as well as having a plan when I went to the gym. I knew I had to do X number of hours / workouts each week. I didn't always do exactly what the plan said to do on any given day, but I always tried to match the number of hours I spent working out.

By May of this year, I had firmly lost 5 pounds. I waited a while before I really admitted it to myself because I was afraid that it was just a fluke each time I stepped on the scale. Turns out it wasn't. I should say that this was never really my goal when I signed up for the triathlon. It was just an added benefit. In fact, I never really thought about weight loss when I was considering signing up. My body fat percentage had also gone down to somewhere around 24%. By this point, I could tell that my clothes were back to fitting they way they were when I bought them. I also kept hoping that my body fat would go down, but I wasn't going to stress out about it.

I should say that I've never really struggled with my weight. There have been several points in my life where I thought maybe I could lose five pounds and so I did. Until two years ago, I never really exercised (other than sports in high school) or belonged to a gym. I just figured that by living in New York City and walking around a lot, that counted as enough exercise.

By September, I was down to 141 pounds, which is where I currently am now. And, the last time I weighed myself (last Saturday 10/24/2009), my body fat percentage was down to 20.7%. When that number popped up on the scale I literally yelled out "Ohmygod" several times because I just couldn't believe it. I can tell, especially doing this weight lifting book, that I am getting stronger and my muscles are getting bigger. It's just nice to know that the effort I've been putting in is paying off.

Which brings me back to where this post started ... counting calories. Drew had told me that he wanted to keep track of what he was eating and so I said I'd do it too (we've done this before where we just kept spreadsheets of what we ate, but didn't count calories). This time, he signed up for the Daily Burn website, which will keep track of your workouts and food and will also count calories. So, I signed up too and said that I would do this for two weeks with him. Tomorrow will be the end of the two weeks.

When I first signed up, I put in my current weight stats, said I'd like to lose 5 pounds (mainly because it seems like you need to have goals on this website), and that I was "moderately active - doing moderate exercise 3 to 5 times per week". That calculated that I should eat somewhere between 1669 and 1919 calories. Before this, I really had no idea how many calories I was eating. I felt like I ate pretty well during the week and a little less well on the weekends. I never really felt like I denied myself anything, but I also don't splurge too often on really big calorie meals.

Turns out that the calorie range of 1669-1919 wasn't really working for me. I really felt like I had to think about everything that I ate, which I hated. I would get to the end of the day and still be hungry, but be afraid to eat because I didn't want to go over my calories. Drew told me that if I hated it and it was making me unhappy, I should just stop. But, I felt like I had told him that I would do this with him and I wasn't about to just quit.

So, after the first week, which I found miserable and actually made me feel bad about myself, I decided that I had probably cheated myself on the exercise portion of the website. I changed it to "very active - hard exercise 6-7 times per week". This was still one step below "extremely active - marathon training, etc." I felt like "very active" was more realistic for me because I do go to the gym about 6 days a week and I spend at least an hour there. I'm not really training for anything yet, so "extremely active" seemed wrong. By switching to "very active" I got a new calorie window of 2371-2621.

This is so much better! I can eat and not have to worry about going over my calories or feeling bad if I want to eat a piece of (reduced fat) cheese on my sandwich at lunch. I can even splurge and still be within the range. The website does say that if I want to lose weight, I should eat slightly under that calorie range, but for maintaining my weight, that's the correct range. I'm still undecided about whether or not I will continue this. I think it has been good for me to see what I'm eating and what it adds up to, but I'm not sure I'm cut out to do this for the long run.

So, at the end of this long post, I guess I'd just like to summarize and say that I'm pretty proud of myself for overall making good choices with food. I really don't think that I have some of the food stigmas that it seems like lot of people have. Food doesn't make me feel happy or sad. It just makes me feel not hungry. I think that this calorie counting really taught me a lot. The funny thing is that I know I'm eating more than I did a year ago, but it's actually okay now because I'm also exercising on a regular basis. Overall, I'm really happy with where I'm at right now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forgetful Day At The Gym

This morning Drew and I got up and headed off to the gymnasium. Somehow, this is all becoming a bit routine. However, I'm actually really glad that we have each other to push the other to get up and out of bed. This morning I think that Drew wasn't exactly happy to wake up, but once we were walking to the gym, he said that he was glad that he had gotten up and was going. He's going to the World Series games tonight and tomorrow, so I'm not sure if he'll be too tired to go the rest of the week.

He had to leave for work a little bit early today, so we each did our own thing. I did a quick warm-up on the treadmill and then headed to the weight room. My hamstrings are a little bit tight (mainly my left one). I think it's mostly from the leg curls on Monday. Drew said that he'd like to think it was from the deadlifts, but since it's really mostly my left leg that is tight/hurt, he agrees that it's most likely from the leg curls. I thought that made the most sense because I sort-of knew when I was doing it that it was going to be bad the next day. I'm hoping that by tomorrow it'll be back to normal.

This was today's workout:

Leg Extensions: 1 set of 14 reps @ 60 lbs / 2 sets of 12 reps @ 65 lbs
Dumbbell Squats: 1 set of 15 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm) / 2 sets of 12 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm)
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 8 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm)
Dumbbell Flys: 3 sets of 10 reps @ 10 lbs (per arm)
Dumbbell Curls: 2 sets of 12 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm)
Crunches: 3 sets of 20 reps

I knew right away that the leg extensions were going to be hard because of the aforementioned hamstring issue. Straightening out my left leg isn't easy at the moment and that made the exercise even more difficult. I think if my legs had been more rested I could have done a heavier weight, but that was all I was capable of today.

The dumbbell squats were actually supposed to be barbell squats, but I felt like I needed Drew's help in order to figure out how to do that and I couldn't find the neck support that I wanted to use, so I just figured that doing dumbbell squats would be similar enough for today.

The rest of the workout was pretty straight forward. The crunches, however, were supposed to be reverse crunches, but I couldn't really find the right kind of bench to use and my legs were so tired I wasn't sure that I could lift them up in the air. In the book it said to do 3 sets of 10 reverse crunches, so I did 3 sets of 20 regular crunches. In my mind, that makes up for it.

After I was done with the weight lifting, I headed over to do some cardio. I realized when I was leaving the weight lifting area that I had somehow lost my sack with my (reading) book and my water bottle. Turns out I left it at the treadmill that I did my warm-up on. I grabbed that and headed to the elliptical machines. I did a 30 minute cross-country workout that really wasn't that hard at all.

After finishing up the elliptical, I headed over to the stretching area. I did some foam rolling on my hamstrings to try and loosen them up a bit. I also did some rolling on my shins. Holy cow, did they feel 100 times better than the first few times that I did this. I guess it's working! After some stretching, I headed home for the day. When I got there, I realized that I left my water bottle on the elliptical machine! I'm usually not so forgetful like that. I'm going to blame the early hour of the morning and perhaps not enough sleep last night. Luckily, I called when I got home and they were going to check on my water bottle so I should be able to pick it up after work. It's not anything special, I just hate to lose things that I actually use.

Weight Lifting
Time: 34:10
Calories: 184
Maximum HR: 143
Average HR: 112

Time: 30:00
Distance: 2.50 miles
Calories: 261
Maximum HR: 149
Average HR: 138

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nothing A Hot Shower Can't Fix

This morning I set my alarm for nice and early so that I could get myself up and finally go to a group run with Terrier. I haven't been in quite a while and I was really looking forward to it. It also wasn't too bad weather-wise. When I looked at the weather, my phone said that it was in the low 50s and cloudy and would be raining later on (cue ominous music).

I walked from the apartment to the bottom of the park, like I normally do. I actually was passed by one of my teammates who was running there. But, I just really like to walk along the city streets. Too much traffic and stopping and going to worry about (although less so before 6 AM!). Once I got to the park I started running as I was running a little bit late and wanted to make sure I got there on time. I ran to the meeting spot and then a few minutes later, we all headed over to do our drills.

We did our normal drills of strides, high knees, butt kicks, skips and then Coach Spencer had us do a couple that incorporated stretching. We would walk three steps, then do a quad stretch with one leg, walk three steps, stretch the other leg. We also did another one to stretch our hamstrings (hugging your knee to your chest). Definitely a nice way to end the drills.

Our main workout today was a 5-mile tempo run. The run started out just fine. I had probably run about a mile and a half and felt one little drop fall on me. At that moment, I wondered, do birds ever pee on you? Obviously they do the other thing, but I've never heard of anyone being peed on by a bird. (Yes, I'm weird and these are the kinds of things I'm thinking about while running).

About a minute later, it became clear that it wasn't bird pee or something else random that I felt. It was the rain that was supposed to happen today. All day. Somehow I missed that news bulletin. I don't know that it was miserable or even really that bad, but there were some things I would have done differently if I knew it was going to rain: (1) worn contacts instead of glasses (2) worn my old shoes (3) worn pants instead of shorts.

The only really bad part was that I got some sort of stomach cramp around the 2-mile mark and had to walk for a minute or so. It wouldn't have been so frustrating to have to walk if it wasn't raining! At some point I gave up on wearing my glasses and just put them in my pocket. I couldn't see through them anyway and since it was so dark outside, it didn't really make much difference if they were on or off.

The rest of the time running I spent thinking about getting home and taking a really hot shower. That thought was enough to get me through the rest of the run. When I got to the bottom of the park, I did think about the fact that I should really keep going and finish the whole 5 miles, but I was cold and wet enough and I didn't know what I'd really be proving at that point, so instead I just went home. I think that's okay given the circumstances.

And, just as a side note, it's true ... the shower fixed everything and made me feel much, much better. Almost made me think that it's not too bad to run in the rain, given that you had some forewarning.

Run To Meeting Point
Time: 7:30
Distance: 0.81 miles
Pace: 9:15/mile
Calories: 92
Maximum HR: 181
Average HR: 168

Time: 43:58
Distance: 4.40 miles
Pace: 9:59/mile
Calories: 612
Maximum HR: 188
Average HR: 179

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Shoelaces

One of the errands that I didn't mention from yesterday was that Drew and I ran into Jack Rabbit just to take a quick look around and I picked up some new shoelaces! I had been complaining about wearing my regular shoelaces in my new sneakers but I'm not quite ready to give up on my old shoes (as they are good for days where I'm not running or the weather is bad), so I got myself a second pair of fancy bungee shoelaces! I wasted no time last night lacing them up for this morning. Here they are in all their glory:

I got to test them out for the first time at the gym this morning. I didn't have a ton of time at the gym today as I needed to be at work early, but Drew said that he would help me with my lifting today as there were a couple of new exercises included and one said that it would recommend having a spotter if available.

This was the workout:

Lat Pulldown (Underhand): 1 set of 12 reps at 70 lbs / 2 sets of 10 reps @ 80 lbs
Deadlifts: 1 set of 20 reps @ 45 lbs / 1 set of 25 reps @ 45 lbs / 1 set of 20 reps @ 55 lbs
Leg Curls (Right Leg): 1 set of 12 reps @ 30 lbs / 1 set of 10 reps @ 35 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 35 lbs
Leg Curls (Left Leg): 1 set of 10 reps @ 30 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 35 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 35 lbs
Calf Raises: 1 set of 15 reps @ 125 lbs / 1 set of 20 reps @ 125 lbs / 1 set of 18 reps @ 135 lbs
Barbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 12 reps @ 35 lbs / 2 sets of 10 reps @ 35 lbs

The lat pulldowns were fine, except that the bar that was there is the kind with the little metal bumps that makes your hand hurt from holding it. I'm wondering if perhaps I should get some of those weight lifting gloves? Except that I think that they're a little ridiculous and that I should just toughen up.

The deadlifts were another one that didn't go too well. I read the instructions in the book, watched Drew do them, had him tell me what to do, and I still am 99% certain that I wasn't doing them correctly. All it felt like I was doing was lifting a heavy bar up and down. And it really wasn't that hard. I quit doing them when I reached 20 or 25 reps because it clearly wasn't working that well since I was getting such a high rep number. Drew said that he was really surprised that I'd have to go to failure on a new exercise and I sort-of agree. I had no idea what weight to start with (the book does give guidelines, but it's not a guarantee) and that really meant that I really couldn't figure out what weight would give me failure after 10 reps.

The rest of the weight lifting was fine. I actually was pretty close to Drew on the calf raises, which I was excited about. He was lifting 150 lbs and I did 135. Secretly I really wanted to put some more on and see if I could do 150 too. Maybe next time I'll just see. The barbell shoulder presses were pretty hard. Drew had to help me with the last two reps on the third set. I do feel like my muscles are doing better and lifting more weight than they were 4 weeks ago, so I think the book is working!

After the weight lifting, which took a little longer than I was anticipating, I really didn't have too long to do cardio. I just did a quick mile on the elliptical before heading to the stretching area and then heading home for a shower and an earlier day at the office!

Weight Lifting
Time: 47:37
Calories: 284
Maximum HR: 149
Average HR: 116

Time: 11:15
Distance: 1.00 mile
Pace: 11:15/mile
Calories: 119
Maximum HR: 162
Average HR: 150

Sunday, October 25, 2009

You're In The Wrong Lane

This morning Drew got up and headed to the gymnasium while I stayed in bed, finished up the Dan Brown book, and then dragged myself downstairs to sit on the couch and watch some TV until he came home. He then made us breakfast (I'm ridiculously lucky, I know) before we set off on an afternoon of errands.

Drew wanted to find some water-bottle type things for his Muscle Milk and other powdery drinks and after going to three stores, we ended up finding these cups at GNC. He said he doesn't think he will use the blender ball, which was a little bit disappointing to me. I wanted to know if they made everything better. We also headed over to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy some new (protein) bars. They have the best prices in the city (along with a huge selection), so while it's not the most convenient place to get to, it's totally worth it! After going to Trader Joe's and buying lots of frozen fruit and lots of nuts, I headed home to get ready to go swimming.

When I got to the pool, there were several people milling about and no coach. I was worried it'd be a repeat of two weeks ago when no coach showed up, but luckily, the coach had sent someone a message and said that she was coming in from New Jersey and it was taking longer than expected and she'd be there, but would be late. She ended up being about 15 minutes late, which was a bit of a bummer for me.

We all got in the water and as soon as I jumped in the middle lane, one of the other swimmers, Heather, said, "You're in the wrong lane!" She tried to convince me to move over one lane as she said that I'm a faster swimmer than she is, but since I hadn't been to practice in a while, I was too nervous about being slow.

This was the workout:

300 front crawl
100 kick (with board)

Main Set
100 front crawl
2 x 200 negative split 0:30 RI
3 x 100 race pace (on the 1:50s)
4 x 50 kick all out (on the 1:20s)

2 x 50 drill
100 warm down

So, Heather was right. I should have switched into the faster lane. I definitely should have switched at some point during the workout, but I didn't feel like it. Or I should have led my lane, but that didn't happen either. The funny thing was that when we got out of the water, I really felt like I had a nice leisurely swim and everyone else was saying how hard the workout was. I'm guessing that maybe next time I should step it up and go in the faster lane so that I can feel like I got a good workout too. I definitely wouldn't say it was bad, I just wasn't really challenged at all.

It was really nice, however, to get back in the pool with the team. It's been at least a month since I've been swimming with Terrier and I was glad to be back. It's just a reminder how much I like these group workouts. I'm really going to have to remember that on Tuesday morning when my alarm goes off early for the group run!

Time: 49:55
Distance: 1600 meters / 0.99 miles
Pace: 50:25/mile
Calories: 510
Maximum HR: 172
Average HR: 152

Saturday, October 24, 2009

You Workout On Saturdays?

This morning Drew and I got up for a long session at the gymnasium. He wanted to go swimming again, but because that isn't much of a workout for either of us, we both wanted to workout prior to the swimming. I figured I'd use today as a lifting day and also do some cardio before swimming.

When we got to the gym, the woman at the front desk looked at us and said, "You workout on Saturdays too?" She was impressed with our dedication, so it was nice that someone else noticed that we've been coming consistently. Although Drew probably will end up actually going to the gym more than me because I've now decided that for running, I'm going to be staying outside whenever possible.

I'm starting Week 4 of my weight training plan. This week all exercises are done to fatigue. Generally, I was supposed to be aiming to hit fatigue somewhere around 10-15 reps. The book had a good point in saying, "Your muscles do not count, they respond to stress. Do not do 10 reps and stop if you can do more." Drew and I did a quick 5 minutes on the treadmill and then headed over to the weight area.

This was the workout I did:

Dumbbell Squats: 1 set of 25 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 12 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 12 reps @ 25 lbs (per arm)
Dumbbell Rows (right arm): 1 set of 20 reps @ 15 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 20 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 20 lbs
Dumbbell Rows (left arm): 1 set of 15 reps @ 20 lbs / 2 sets of 12 reps @ 20 lbs
Barbell Curls: 2 sets of 10 reps @ 35 lbs / 1 set of 8 reps @ 35 lbs
Ab Bench Crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps
Crunches: 3 sets of 15 reps

Drew said that he would help me with my squat form so we did about 12 body weight squats so that I could get the feeling of the motion. He said that my form looked really good. I started with 15 lbs in each hand, but was able to do too many reps, so I decided to go with 25 lbs in each hand. Then I felt like the hardest part of the squat was holding the weight, not the actual squat itself. I still think that next time I could bump up the weight some more if my goal is to get to 10 reps.

I had a really hard time trying to figure out what weight to start out with. On the dumbbell rows, it was really hard for me to not just duplicate what I had done with my right arm, even though 15 lbs was clearly too light. I had to remind myself that my muscles would be just as stressed even though I didn't do as many reps. Good advice from the book!

After that I had about 25 minutes to do some cardio. I have seen people using this Nautilus machine at the gym that is essentially two treadmills next to each other (one for each foot). I decided that I would try it out. Um, yeah. It's practically impossible to figure out how to program that thing. I tried to program it, which involved about 25 steps, and gave up and did the 5 minute demo. Twice during the demo, my foot fell from one treadmill to the other, so I realized that is probably not the exercise equipment for me and I headed over to the stairs.

I hopped on the Stair Mill, set it for 20 minutes at Level 10 and climbed away! So much better. I didn't fall off, I understood how to work the machine, I was happy. After my 20 minutes, we headed up to the locker rooms to get changed for the swimming. I drank my Muscle Milk while I was changing in order to get some calories and protein in after my workout.

Then it was time to hit the pool. Drew is definitely looking better in general, but I still don't think he's going to win any contests. I had him do more of the same thing that we did last week - use a pull buoy and work on breathing and his stroke. We then did some kicking with a kick board for the first time and he's not so skilled at that. I wish I knew what the problem was, as I'd really like to try to fix it, but when he was kicking, he wasn't moving. At all. Of course, I wasn't helping matters, as I found the whole thing to be silly and was laughing. I'm going to have to research this a little bit further.

We then spent the rest of our time in the pool goofing off a little bit and seeing how long we could swim underwater while holding our breath. As much as Drew is a sinker while swimming the front crawl, he is a floater when trying to swim underwater and holding his breath. I definitely am better at holding my breath, but I'm not sure whether or not that's a good life skill?

All in all, I am glad that Drew is getting into the pool more. I find the whole thing to be a little bit of a challenge and am going to have to see if I can research some tips on kicking for beginners in swimming.

Weight Lifting
Time: 34:20
Calories: 256
Maximum HR: 162
Average HR: 127

Nautilus / Stair Mill
Time: 24:44
Distance: 2.00 miles
Calories: 272
Maximum HR: 170
Average HR: 159

Time: 30:33
Calories: 166
Maximum HR: 156
Average HR: 113

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Don't Have To Get Up So Early

This morning Drew and I both set our alarms for somewhere around 5:30. We both pressed snooze and he got up a few minutes later. I dragged myself out of bed at about 5:40 and got all suited up for the gymnasium. Drew got himself a heart rate monitor (after his failed attempt last time), so we both were wearing them today, so I actually have real stats again!

When we were standing and waiting for the elevator, Drew looked at me and said, "You don't have to get up so early, you know." I replied that I did. I know myself too well to know that if I didn't get up when he was leaving for the gym, I'd talk myself into staying in bed. Part of the reason that he's been wanting to get to the gym earlier is because he's been doing cardio / weight lifting / cardio, but I generally don't like to do two sets of cardio, so I just do a quick warm-up and then lift and then do my cardio. So, even though we're at the gym together, we don't really workout together.

These are the lifts I did today:

Leg Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 110 lbs
Dumbbell Curls: 1 set of 15 reps @ 12.5 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 15 reps of 15 lbs (per arm)
Lunges (Right Leg): 2 sets of 15 reps
Lunges (Left Leg): 2 sets of 15 reps
Tricep Pushdowns: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 30 lbs
Side Lateral Raises: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 5 lbs (per arm)
Ab Bench Crunches: 2 sets of 15 reps

I think it's a little funny that lunges are included in my weight lifting book, but I understand why. I'm actually not very good at them, so I found a spot by the mirror where I could have a good side-view of myself so that I could ensure that I was doing them properly. I think that with a lot of body weight exercises (lunges, crunches, push-ups, etc.) a lot of times people just rush through when they'd get more benefit by slowing down and using the proper technique. Just my two cents on the topic. I actually alternated right and left leg sets as it felt weird to do all right leg and then all left leg. Even doing 15 of my right leg in a row was funny.

Once I was done I headed over to the stair mill and hopped on for another session of Speed Intervals at Level 9. Man oh man does that machine make you sweaty! I felt like my towel was drenched by the time I had climbed up 132 flights of stairs (interesting fact: there are only 102 floors in the Empire State Building).

I then headed home, leaving Drew on the Arc Trainer, finishing up his second set of cardio. I'm not sure he is in love with his new heart rate monitor as the Arc Trainer machine was telling him a higher number of calories burned than his heart rate monitor does. I tend to have the opposite problem, where the machine doesn't give me enough credit. To be honest, I'd rather be in my position. When I got home, I had another taste of the Muscle Milk. Yum! It's just so delicious. I knew that it'd be a little while before Drew got home and then still longer before he made our breakfast smoothie, so I didn't feel bad having my post-recovery snack. They say that it's really important to get protein right after working out. I'm just following instructions!

Weight Lifting
Time: 26:51
Calories: 181
Maximum HR: 156
Average HR: 122

Stair Mill
Distance: 2.75 miles (132 floors)
Time: 30:52
Pace: 11:13/mile
Calories: 334 (machine said 280 calories)
Maximum HR: 174
Average HR: 165

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Found A Reason To Workout At Night

This morning I woke up early, checked the temperature for the day, and rolled over and went back to sleep. Because the weather was supposed to be almost 70 degrees, my plan was to wait until after work to get my workout in. Now, I know I just said that I like working out in the morning better, but I just had to take advantage of this warmer weather.

All day long I just had ants in my pants wanting the work day to be over so that I could head home and get outside! Finally, 5:30 rolled around and I headed home to get ready for my workout. Walking home was so nice, but I definitely hurried so that I could start working out before it got to be too dark.

I knew I wanted to go running in the park. It's really well lit and I knew that there would be a lot of people out since there are a lot of runners still getting ready for the marathon next weekend. At first I was thinking that I would run up to the 102nd Street Transverse and then back home, but that's about a 5 mile trip and I haven't been running that much recently, so I didn't want to press my luck by increasing the mileage too much. I knew I had to figure out another plan.

I headed off to the park wearing only a tank top & shorts. This seemed crazy to me since last weekend I was decked out in full winter gear with layers and the whole nine yards, but I'm not one to complain about warmer weather, so I was quite happy. Once I got to the park, I realized that I should run clockwise and head north first. Most people in the park run counter-clockwise (which, according to all the signs, is technically the wrong way) so I was definitely running against traffic. Part of my plan in going north was that I knew that there was that patch along the West Side where the lights are out and I figured I'd rather run there while it wasn't quite all the way dark yet.

I headed north and decided that I'd cut across the bridle path at 86th Street to cross over to the East Side and head back towards home. On my way there, I did take one 10 second walking break after running for a little over 10 minutes. I didn't feel too bad about it. I knew I just needed to catch my breath and then I'd be fine. Once I got closer to the bridle path, I realized that the bridle path wasn't the best plan. It's not covered with street lights like the other main paths and there are a lot of ruts in the path, so I ended up running along the bottom of the reservoir instead.

Somewhere along the reservoir path (about 15 minutes in), I really started to get into the groove of running. I haven't felt like that in a long time. I knew I wasn't going that fast, but I felt really good running. I was reminded how hateful the treadmill is and how I really should make sure I'm running outside where I actually enjoy it instead of on the treadmill. Because I'm doing this weight lifting book right now, it's a lot easier to just do my cardio at the gymnasium, but I think on the off days, I might try running outside more.

By the time I had been running for 25 minutes, I felt like I could run forever and I actually considered making the run longer. But, I knew I should stick to my original plan of not going too far too soon, especially since I haven't been running recently (although that has been on the treadmill). I finished up strong and walked home.

When I got home, I tried out something new that we bought: Muscle Milk Light! I had tried it before at the NYC Triathlon Expo and then I bought some of the ready-made stuff while I was on vacation in August, but I had never had the powder before. It's delicious. It is an awesome post-workout treat in my opinion. I had my treat, hit the shower, and then made dinner. I probably would have been happy to have 4 more glasses of Muscle Milk instead, but that doesn't make for the most balanced meal.

Time: 35:28
Distance: 3.40 miles
Pace: 10:25/mile
Calories: 474
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 176

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Guess They Really Meant New Exercises

This morning I set my alarm in order to get up and go running with Terrier. But somehow the idea of getting up at 5:15 and going running outside in the cold wasn't that appealing. I know I should have taken advantage of today as it was actually warmer than it has been previously, but somehow I just wasn't in the mood. I did, however, manage to get up and head off to the gymnasium with Drew a little bit later on in the morning.

This week's weight lifting is called "Adding New Exercises". I wrongly assumed on Sunday that I had learned the new exercises for the week. When I opened the book this morning, you can imagine my surprise that there were in fact other new exercises for me to learn. I guess they weren't kidding when they said that we'd be adding new exercises.

This is what I did:

Dumbbell Curls: 1 set of 15 reps @ 10 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 15 reps @ 12.5 lbs (per arm)
Side Lateral Raises: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 5 lbs (per arm)
Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm)
Calf Raises: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 100 lbs
Leg Extensions: 1 set of 15 reps @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 65 lbs
Leg Curls: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 20 lbs (per leg)
Ab Bench Crunches: 2 sets of 20 reps

Luckily, the new exercises for today: dumbbell curls, side lateral raises and calf raises weren't anything too new, but I did look at the book's instructions for all three to make sure I was using the proper form.

After finishing up my weight lifting, I headed over to the cardio area. I'm still on treadmill protest and I was really hoping to do the stair mill. I walked over there and saw that both the stair mills were occupied, so I set up on an elliptical. I had done about 3 minutes before I realized that one of the stair mills had been vacated, so I hurried over and jumped on before anyone else could! I'm reading the new Dan Brown book and while I don't think it's a classic, it certainly is entertaining, and kept me going at the gym today, which I think is the point.

I did a quick half an hour of stair climbing on speed interval level 9 before getting off to stretch and head home to get ready for work. I think that level 9 is a new record for me, so that's exciting! I was really sweaty when I was done, but I wasn't that tired, so that seems like a good sign. Drew really wants to compete in the Empire State Building Stair Climb in 2010. Maybe I should try it too?

Weight Lifting
Time: 30:03

Stair Mill
Distance: 2.73 miles
Time: 30:00
Pace: 10:59/mile
Calories: 277*

*Again, I forgot my HR monitor. Well, that's not 100% true. I remembered to wear the strap, but forgot to wear the watch that ties it all together and records the data! Oops!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reading And Not Running

Today Drew and I were guilty of sleeping in this morning, which meant only one thing. That I'd have to workout after work. I actually always feel bad falling back asleep in the morning because I know that then the fact that I haven't worked out will be hanging over my head all day long. Luckily, I seem to be able to guilt myself into going to the gymnasium in the evening, so it's working out okay so far. I'd still rather get it done in the morning.

Drew left work really early today and headed to the gym. I headed home when I was done with work and changed quickly and then got myself to the gym. He was just finishing up his lifting and was about to do a second session of cardio, so we headed over to check out the machinery. I decided that the treadmill has left me really frustrated recently, so I avoided it today. Plus, Drew finally finished the new Dan Brown book, so I was anxious to start reading it, which I can't do while running.

We got elliptical machines next to each other and chatted about our days and read our books. We were on different machines, even though they were both Precor machines. I did the "cross country" setting and Drew did the "variety" setting. He then pushed up the resistance and the cross ramp to the maximum, so he didn't have too much variety. I really like going really hard for a while and then having an easier setting as a little break for my legs. It totally gives me something to strive for.

We finished up with some quick stretching. I think we were both anxious to get home and have dinner that we sort-of rushed through. My hamstrings are tighter than usual from my leg curls from yesterday and rushing through the stretching didn't help matters any. I'll try to make up for it later. I've been wanting to do more yoga and I'm thinking that I'm really going to commit myself to doing it more next week. Something to look forward to!

Time: 45:00
Distance: 4.74
Pace: 9:24/mile
Calories: 494*

*The calories for today are from the elliptical machine. I forgot to wear my HR monitor again, so I'm just going to use these numbers even though it's probably a little skewed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Saw My Tricep

This morning I headed off to the gym to start Week 3 of my Weight Training Program. I'm really enjoying it so far. This week introduced some new exercises, so I wanted to start on the weekend so that I would have more time to try out the new exercises.

This is what I did:

Lat Pulldown (triangle bar): 1 set of 15 @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 12 @ 70 lbs
Tricep Pushdowns: 1 set of 12 @ 35 lbs / 1 set of 15 @ 30 lbs
Leg Extensions: 1 set of 15 @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 15 @ 65 lbs
Leg Curls: 1 set of 15 @ 20 lbs / 1 set of 15 @ 25 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 15 @ 12.5 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 12 @ 12.5 lbs
Ab Bench Crunches: 2 sets of 15

The lat pulldowns that I was doing before were the traditional wide grip pulldowns and this one used the triangle bar. Not too different, although I guess this just must work a different part of my back (Drew says the middle). This week I am supposed to try to do shorter reps of more challenging weight for the two exercises I've done before: lat pulldowns and shoulder presses, which I tried to do.

The tricep pushdowns did not go well. I wanted to use the lat pulldown machine because that's what is illustrated in my book and I'm comfortable with it and Drew showed me a different machine to use. We did the first set using Drew's machine and I had a hard time keeping the correct form. I also didn't really understand the weights because I apparenly was lifting 35 pounds, but the weight plates said I was lifting 70 pounds. I am trying to be more comfortable in the boy area, but my discomfort with the unknown of this new machine and all of its complicated parts made me a little frustrated. We ended up doing the second set on the lat pulldown machine with a regular bar and that was a lot easier for me. Drew even showed me how my tricep looked in the mirror, which was pretty cool!

The rest of the workout was good. We used the single leg curl machine instead of the double leg curl machine, so the weight listed above is the weight for one leg only. Drew and I both like the single leg machine better, but I can see that if I was rushing, I'd want to do fewer sets and would probably use the double leg machine.

The ab bench crunches are done on the decline bench. I really concentrated on keeping my abs scooped like I learned from pilates while I was doing the crunches. When Drew got on the bench, I accused him of cheating because ususally core work is a little easier for me and he whipped right through those crunches!

I ended up not doing any cardio at the gym. I was originally thinking of going to the Terrier swim, but when the time rolled around, I wasn't in the mood to (a) wake up from my nap, (b) go outside in the rain, and (c) have the potential to have no coach again like last week. I forgot to wear my heart-rate monitor to the gym, so I don't have any fancy stats for the day, so it was just a bit of an old school day at the gymnasium.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Let's See What We're Working With

This morning Drew and I got up early and headed over to the NYSC to go swimming. While he knows how to swim I don't think he'd be too upset for me to say that he's not the best at it. He had told me that over the winter he'd really like to try to go swimming a few more times, so today was our first shot.

We got in the water and Drew just looked at me and said, "Okay, what do I do?" I told him that he should just swim a little ways so that I could see what we were working with. He swam about half-way down the lane before stopping, which was enough for me to see that he could be a decent water polo swimmer, but maybe isn't the best at putting his head into the water and breathing to the side.

I'd say that the biggest thing for him to work on is the fact that he likes to pull his head straight up and then roll to his side rather than just rolling to the side. He said that he feels like he doesn't get a big enough breath if he just rolls to the side. I tried explaining that he should stay rolled until he feels like he's gotten enough air, which he definitely tried, but I'm not sure he's quite got the hang of it yet. I also think that part of the problem might be that he's not exhaling enough, so I suggested that he blow out his nose, which I think he tried, but that's harder for me to see.

The entire time (other than the first little bit) I had Drew use a pull buoy because he's a bit of a sinker, so that helped keep his hips up and without kicking, it was one less thing for him to have to worry about. I do think that he got better by the end of our half an hour in the pool. I don't think that he'll win any races anytime soon, but in general, his arm form looks pretty good. If we could just tie in the breathing, I think he'd actually be good.

I didn't get much of a workout in (I spent a lot of time doggy paddling behind him watching his form), but I was 100% okay with that. Sometimes it's nice to just be able to have fun and share this whole triathlon thing with someone else.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Everything Is In My Bag

Today after work I was planning on finishing up my weight lifting for the week. I was originally thinking that I would have to go home to change clothes before heading to the gym, but then I realized that from working out with Laura this morning, I already had everything I needed in my bag, so I saved myself a trip home and was able to go straight to the gym.

I got there and changed clothes. The only snag was that this morning in the hot tub, I wore a pair of bikini bottoms and my sports bra, so since it was still quite wet, I just wore my regular one. Luckily I was just doing weight lifting, so it wasn't anything too sweaty I had planned.

These are the weights that I did:

Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 15 @ 20 lbs
Lat Pulldown: 2 sets of 15 @ 60 lbs
Leg Press: 2 sets of 15 @ 110 lbs
Dumbbell Pullovers: 2 sets of 15 @ 20 lbs
Barbell Curls: 2 sets of 15 @ 30 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 2 sets of 15 @ 12.5
Crunches: 2 sets of 15

I did all of the arm weights, except the shoulder presses before doing the leg press. When I went over to the leg press machine, there was a guy using it. I had to wait a minute or two for him to finish up, which I was okay with, since I felt like my arms were too tired to continue and finish up the last weights. I also was really happy when the guy finished with the leg press machine, he asked me if I wanted him to take off any of the weight he had been lifting. I said no and then went ahead and added weight! He was lifting 90 pounds and I wanted to lift 110. I know it is only 20 pounds difference, but I felt pretty good about that.

I then went and finished up with the shoulder presses. I really only wanted to lift 10 pounds because my arms were so tired already, but apparently there is only one 10 pound weight at the gym, so I could lift 7.5 or 12.5 and I went ahead and chose the heavier weight. I thought that there was no way I'd finish the first set, let alone the second one, but somehow I managed to do both. I was really struggling at the end, but I did it!

Next week has some new exercises in the plan, so I'm thinking that maybe I'll try to go on Sunday to have a bit more time to get the swing of things instead of trying to rush on Monday before work. We'll see how things go.

Time: 27:17
Calories: 169
Maximum HR: 147
Average HR: 117

You're Wearing Those?

This morning I met Laura for a workout. Originally we were going to swim together, but she has some sort of swimming thing tonight, so she asked if we could ride cardio bikes instead. As an added incentive, we thought that we'd go back to the Battery Park City gym and cap off the workout with a session in their hot tub. In theory, this did not sound like the worst plan we've ever made. When I was getting ready this morning and putting on my biking shorts, Drew looked at me and asked, "You're wearing those?" I was so confused. Why wouldn't I wear biking shorts to ride a bike? Then he remembered that I was riding bikes instead of swimming and then it didn't seem so silly to him.

In actuality, it was 38 degrees when I left the house and it was raining. I walked to the subway, rode the subway for 20 minutes downtown and then walked 15 minutes to the gym (of course, it's still raining). I got there and Laura said that she'd meet me in the cardio area. I headed to see what we were dealing with since we hadn't checked out the cardio equipment during our last visit. Now, the reason for this biking session is because Laura has stress fractures in both her legs and can't run right now. So, because the bike was a critical part of this workout, I had called the gym yesterday to ask if they had bikes. They said yes. Then they told me that we couldn't take a class, but we could ride bikes. I assumed that meant that we couldn't take a spinning class, but I wasn't really sure what kind of bikes that meant that they had.

Um, it meant that they had a laughable selection of bikes. By selection, I mean that there were two. One was upright, more like a regular bicycle and the other was where you're seated (in an actual seat), where your legs are out in front of you. And the second bike, where your legs are in front of you had no foot straps for the pedals. I took one look at that bike and knew that I wasn't in the mood for that, so instead I decided to do the elliptical machine.

Now might be a good time to mention the tickers to the right of my blog. I definitely stole them from Kathy because I think that they're a really good way to keep track of mileage. Of course, Drew pointed out to me the other day that there is something wrong with the bike ticker because it seems to be stuck on zero. That's because I'm lame and haven't ridden my bike since the triathlon. It's also because right after the triathlon, Mother Nature decided that it would now be winter on the East Coast, and I'm too chicken to ride outside. Of course, that number could have gone up this morning, but it was not to be.

But, I killed it on the elliptical. Made me wonder what happened the last time I did it that I was going so slowly. I did the "variety" setting, so every minute or so it would change resistance on me. It went to easy as 2 and as high as 18. I gotta tell you, anything over 12 really slowed me down, but I think it was a good workout overall. I was definitely sweaty by the end of it.

When we were done with our cardiovascular activity, we headed down to the locker room to get ready for the hot tub. Laura wondered if we shouldn't take a cool shower, but we decided just to go and get in. The hot tub was not very hot. That might be a bit of an understatement. It was 92 degrees. That is NOT hot tub hot. After doing some Google research, it appears as though 102 degrees is the accepted temperature for hot tubs. I'd think anything warmer than your body temperature would be best. The last time we were there, it was really hot and wonderful and this time, not so great.

Even though we didn't have the best ending to our workout and we had to walk the 15 minutes back to the subway in 38 degree weather, at least it wasn't raining on the way back. I'm not sure I'd want to trek all the way down there again just to do cardio and have the hot tub ending be disappointing again, but we do have one more visit, so I might be willing to give it one more shot as long as we called first to make sure the hot tub was hot enough!!

Distance: 4.00 miles
Time: 42:58
Pace: 10:44/mile
Calories: 525
Maximum HR: 176
Average HR: 161

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mission Accomplished

This morning I woke up to beeping alarm clocks and Drew saying, "C'mon, we have to get up and meet Eric at the gym." Eric is our friend that Drew just convinced to join our gym and come and work out with us. While getting up to meet someone was a good motivator for us, apparently it wasn't for Eric, because he had some alarm clock trouble and never showed up. Either way, it got us to the gym, so it served its purpose.

I was bound and determined to finish what I started yesterday and do the three miles on the treadmill. I didn't like it one little bit, but I finished it today, which is more than I can say for yesterday. Drew was off in the boy area lifting weights, but according to my plan, I lift on non-consecutive days, so today isn't a lifting day for me. After I was done with the treadmill, I had some time to kill and it was all I could do to get off that thing, so I decided to look around and see what else was available.

As luck would have it, the stair mill was available, so I hopped on that. Then I hopped right back down when I dropped my book off ... oops! Once I recovered it, I hopped back on and started climbing stairs. I did intervals on Level 8. That machine makes you so sweaty. The sweat was dripping into my eyes and once on my book (this is probably proof that all library books are a little bit icky, but it definitely was an accident). But, I enjoyed my time on the stair mill, and working out is supposed to be a little bit fun, or at least make you feel good, so I felt like my goal was accomplished there.

After doing the stairs, I headed over to the stretching area to stretch and do some more foam rolling on my shins. I didn't want to cry out in agony quite as much as I did the first time, so that must be a good sign, although it was still pretty painful. I'm hoping if I just stick with this, it'll get better and easier. Plus, it should hopefully make my shins happier with all the running I plan on doing in the next few months!

Treadmill Running
Distance: 3.00 miles
Time: 29:50
Pace: 9:56/mile
Calories: 422
Maximum HR: 192
Average HR: 172

Stair Mill
Distance: 1.77 miles (84 floors)
Time: 20:00
Pace: 11:17/mile (4.2 floors/minute)
Calories: 289
Maximum HR: 177
Average HR: 171

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh! My Treadmill!

Yesterday I donated blood at lunch, which if you know me personally, you'll know is a huge feat. I try and try and try to donate and generally have too low of an iron count, so the fact that I did it is amazing to me! And I saved some lives. Of course, donating meant that there wasn't any workout for the day. I think it's an okay trade-off.

This morning Drew and I had the same alarm clock problem as Monday. What is wrong with us? Why can't we just get ourselves up and out of the bed? I think it is the weather. I'm not a fan of leaving a nice warm bed to head out into the cold. Ick.

That meant that I had to hit the gym after work again today. I'll be honest, I have not been into cardio recently. I don't mind doing the weight lifting, but I just don't really feel like doing the cardio. I know that part of it is that I have a plan for the weight lifting and I'm left to my own devices with the cardio. I do much better with a plan and for the moment I sort-of feel like I'm drifting around and not really doing much of anything.

I told myself that I'd do the weight lifting for today and then I'd do three miles on the treadmill. I wouldn't care how long it took or be worried about speed, but that I wouldn't leave the treadmill until I was done with the three miles. I even took along some support in the form of podcasts of "This American Life" to listen to on my iPod.

After a 10:35 minute walking warm-up on the treadmill (0.70 miles), I did the weight lifting with no issues. I didn't want to push it too much since my vein in my left arm is a little weird from yesterday's blood donation and the last thing I wanted was some sort of weird complication. I figured better safe than sorry and lifting 5 or 10 less pounds wasn't going to be the end of the world. This is what I did:

Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm)
Lat Pulldown: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 60 lbs
Leg Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 90 lbs
Dumbbell Pullovers: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 20 lbs
Barbell Curls: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 25 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 10 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 8 reps @ 15 lbs
Crunches: 2 sets of 15 reps

So, the one thing I haven't mentioned is that I can't always do these exercises in the order that they're listed here, which is how they are in the book. Mostly depends on what is open at that particular time at the gym. There are also very few weight benches in the free-weight area, which complicates things. The last two times, I've felt like once I get a bench, I should do all of the exercises that require one before I relinquish it.

Today, that meant that I did the dumbbell bench presses followed by the shoulder presses. First, that was the heaviest that I've lifted for the shoulder presses, but I was paranoid about getting up and getting a different weight and losing my bench, so I did the best I could, but my arms were exhausted by the end of the shoulder sets. I was lucky I got to 8 reps on the second set. Exhausting!

After the weight lifting, I had to head over to the treadmill to live up to my promise to myself. I started out by walking for 0.25 miles at 4.0 to warm-up a little bit. Then I increased the speed to 5.5 and just took it slow and steady. I played around with the speed a little bit and finally got frustrated with the whole thing and put a towel over the machine so that I couldn't see the miles ticking by.

While I was running, the manager came up onto the treadmill next to mine and put a notice up about how the machine was broken and that it'd be fixed next week. I happened to mention that I noticed that two other treadmills were out (they were opposite of where I was running). That prompted a lot of standing around and talking for a while. Then the worst thing ever happened! A worker was doing something with the power plugs for the treadmills, trying to get the broken ones to work, I'm assuming, when he unplugged my treadmill! What? I had a towel over it! I don't really know how far I got! I had a personal goal!

I will say that I had peeked a minute or two before this tragedy happened and I was at 2.7 miles, but I'm unsure if I made it to 3.0 miles like I had planned. Once power was restored to my machine, I tried to run again, but I was so mad that I just gave up. Looking back on it now, it seems silly, but in the heat of the moment, I just felt so frustrated that I couldn't talk myself into running anymore. The worst part was that until that moment, I actually wasn't hating it like I have been recently. This is probably just proof that I shouldn't rely on machinery for my run and I should get myself outside into this cooler weather and run a path where I know the mileage. I'm going to try to remember that.

Weight Lifting
Time: 24:53
Calories: 169
Maximum HR: 149
Average HR: 121

Treadmill Running
Distance: 2.70 miles (?)
Time: 30:50 (from my HR monitor)
Pace: 11:25/mile
Calories: 386
Maximum HR: 188
Average HR: 168

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dueling Alarm Clocks

Yesterday I got all suited up and headed over to the Terrier swim. When I got there, there were only a few people there. That wasn't too surprising as it has seemed like the last few times there haven't been a lot of people attending. The problem? No coach showed up. We all waited for about 15 minutes before giving up. It's a little frustrating to get all ready and then have no coach, but there isn't anything I can do about it.

This morning, Drew and I both set our alarms so that we could get up and go to the gymnasium. Except that we both kept hitting snooze, so our alarms were each going off every 5 minutes or so for quite a while before we both gave up and realized that we weren't going to get up early to go to the gym, so we turned off the alarms and slept in.

Today at work was our flu shot day. While we were waiting for the nurse to come in, the woman said that although your arm might be a little tender from where you get the shot, you can still exercise. I thought that was a bit of a bummer as I was hoping to have an excuse to skip the gym tonight. No such luck.

After work, Drew and I headed to the gym like we had planned this morning. My main purpose for going was to do my weight lifting. Drew took one look at the busy weight room area and said that he felt like punching someone, so I was left to lift all of the heavy things myself. The book said that this week was supposed to be challenging reps and that the last two reps should be really difficult. I bumped up the weights a little bit on some of the sets to try to make it harder. And it was! This is what I did:

Dumbbell Bench Press: 1 set of 15 reps @ 20 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 12 reps @ 20 lbs
Lat Pulldown: 1 set of 15 reps @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 70 lbs
Leg Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 110 lbs
Dumbbell Pullovers: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 20 lbs
Barbell Curls: 2 sets of 15 @ 25 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 15 @ 12.5 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 12.5 lbs
Crunches: 2 sets of 15

20 lbs on the Dumbbell Bench Presses wasn't my first choice, but there was a girl on the weight bench next to mine who was hoarding all of the free weights. I would have liked to do 15 or 17.5, but they all were being held hostage underneath her bench. Instead, I just did fewer reps the second set. I guess it all evens out. Also, my arms were dying by the time I got to the Dumbbell Shoulder Presses. They were exhausted during the second set. I could only eek out 10 and even that was a struggle.

After doing the crunches, I thought that maybe I should take Coach Spencer's advice from last week and try out some foam rolling on my shins. Holy cow. It was so painful. I had no idea. I had to grit my teeth to keep going and there were a couple of times where I couldn't even convince myself to roll backwards (after having already rolled forwards). Mostly, it made me want to yell out some really bad words, which I was yelling in my head, but kept to myself.

After the foam rolling, I still needed to do some cardio, even though I would have been happy to avoid it. I have to tell you, running after foam rolling your shins is not the best idea in the world! I tried to stick with it, but it wasn't really happening. I did a combo of walking and running and managed to get 2.5 miles, but then I was done for the day.

I did realize during the disaster of a run that perhaps the reason I don't like the actual shoelaces on my new shoes as much is that perhaps they're not as tight as the Jack-Rabbit laces, which causes my foot to slide around a little bit more than I'm used to. I think I'm going to give up and start using the laces that I like on the shoes, as that seems to be the best plan and then I'll have no reason to complain.

Weight Lifting
Time: 25:37
Calories: 184
Maximum HR: 154
Average HR: 125

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 24:45
Pace: 9:54/mile
Calories: 316
Maximum HR: 188
Average HR: 172

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It Looked A Lot Bigger On Our Bikes

This morning Drew asked if we could go over to the Westside Highway Path and run up the stairs that I had noticed a while ago and then I had pointed out to him on our bikes about a month ago when we were out for a ride. He said that he didn't want to run there because he didn't want to be tired when we got there, but when we were trying to cross the Highway itself, I said we had to run across the street in order to make the light. Then he said that he actually wanted to run the rest of the way there, so I said we should walk for just another minute, and then we started running.

Once we got to the stairs, I think we both realized that they weren't as big as we had thought before. Drew said, "It looked a lot bigger on our bikes." That was the truth. But, since we were there, we didn't really have a lot of options, so we just ran up and down a couple of times. Drew was hassling me trying to get me to go two at a time, but I really didn't want to. I told him that he should worry about his own workout, and I'd worry about mine. I didn't mean it to be mean, but I also don't think I should have to do things that I don't want to or that my body just isn't feeling like doing on a particular day.

My calves were really tired from yesterday's weight lifting and these stairs weren't helping the situation any. I did end up doing a couple runs up two at a time, but most of them were just one by one. Drew also made me do this horrible jumping drill. I sucked at it. I had to jump up two stairs, down one, and then up two again. So, I'm practically incapable of jumping up two steps. I have never claimed to be a good jumper and today was proof that I'm not one. Drew kept telling me that I needed to jump with both feet at the same time, but I was more content to jump with one foot at a time. To jump with both feet at the same time, I had to crouch down really low, swing my arms, and then jump. Way too complicated for my taste! In any event, it took me quite a long time, but I eventually made it to to the top of the stairs jumping up and down.

I can't remember exactly how many times I went up, but I think it was either 10 or 11 times. In order to err on the side of caution, I'll just say it was 10. Drew definitely went up at least one more time than I did, maybe 2. Right when I think our legs were getting really tired, it started sprinkling, so we decided that we should head home (after having done some dips and push-ups using one of the park benches).

We ran part of the way home and then I made Drew look into the Bottle sculpture that's in the park, since he had never looked inside before. Then we walked the rest of the way home. All in all, maybe not quite the stair workout we were looking for, but still better than sitting around the house and doing nothing.

Run There
Distance: 0.70 miles
Time: 6:47
Pace: 9:41/mile
Calories: 85
Maximum HR: 180
Average HR: 171

Stair Run
Distance: 0.25 miles
Time: 17:30
Pace: 70:00/mile*
Calories: 202
Maximum HR: 181
Average HR: 162

Run Home
Distance: 0.65
Time: 5:11
Pace: 7:58/mile
Calories: 67
Maximum HR: 182
Average HR: 173

*Let's pretend this number isn't there, okay? I blame Drew and his jumping on this number. Also, I'm fairly sure the dips and push-ups are included in the time, which isn't really quite fair.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wait, You Mean I Have To Tie My Shoes?

After my failed attempt at swimming this morning, I knew that at least I'd have to finish up my weight lifting for the week. I decided that I would wear my new running shoes to the gym. My old ones are looking a little tired after the triathlon and it also just seems like it's about time for a new pair. The only problem with the new shoes? I actually had to tie them! My old shoes have the Jack Rabbit version of Yankz, and I know that those kind of laces are more for triathlons than for regular running, but I love them. I am thinking that I might have to switch out my old laces onto the new shoes. Either way ... here they are ... old (left) and new (right).

I donned my new shoes and headed off to the gymnasium. I did a quick 7:30 minutes on the treadmill. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do 5 or 10 minutes, so I compromised and did something in between.

Then it was off to the boy-area for the weight lifting:

Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm)
Lat Pulldown: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 60 lbs
Leg Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 110 lbs
Calf Raises: 1 set of 12 reps @ 110 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 110 lbs
Dumbbell Pullovers: 1 set of 15 reps @ 20 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 25 lbs
Barbell Curls: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 25 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 1 set of 15 reps @ 12.5 lbs (per arm) / 1 set of 10 reps @ 12.5 lbs (per arm)
Crunches: 1 set of 15 reps / 1 set of 20 reps

I tried to increase the weights a little bit today and see how that felt on my muscles. I was definitely tired a lot by the end of the second set and in a couple of cases, I couldn't quite finish the second set of 15, but I still think I did a good job. Next week's weight lifting is the same lifts, but with increased weights, so I sort-of jumped the gun on that, but at least I have a good idea of what I'm currently capable of lifting.

I also thought it would be a good idea to increase the weight on the leg presses, since they are the only leg lift that is currently in the plan. And, while I was there, I thought I'd just throw in some calf raises too. Walking home from the gym, I realized that maybe I should have only gone up 10 pounds instead of 20, because my legs (especially calves) were really tired. Should make the next couple of days really fun.

Distance: .73
Time: 7:30
Pace: 10:00/mile
Calories: 98
Maximum HR: 173
Average HR: 154

Weight Lifting
Time: 27:36
Calories: 189
Maximum HR:142
Average HR: 121

To Swim Or Not To Swim?

This morning I met Laura for a swim at Battery Park Swim & Fitness Center. This was our first time trying out their facilities. The description on the fitness passes that we have sounded really nice with a "glass enclosed pool," and I guess that I missed the part about how long the pool was, even though I'm generally quite good about that.

It was also a little tricky to find the Fitness Center itself, but we did. I think that Battery Park is its own little world downtown and they've made it confusing on purpose to keep outsiders out. The guy at the front desk seemed more concerned with checking his Facebook page than he was with us. He didn't even bother to tell us where to locker rooms were. We headed down the hall, which turned out to be a bit of elaborate labyrinth. But, one of the first things we found was a hot tub!

We finally figured out where the locker room was and got into our suits and went off looking for the pool. We eventually found it behind the door marked "Swimming Pool." Right before we walked in, Laura said, "this is going to be really small, it's only 50 feet." We walked in and looked at the pool. It was decent looking, but it was really short. There were four lanes and three were occupied by people who were moving at about a snail's pace. The lane that was remaining wasn't ideal since it also had the pool steps (that's right, steps, not a ladder).

I just looked at Laura and asked her if she would want to go in the hot tub. She said yes. Then I asked her if she wanted to go in for a half an hour (the time we were going to spend swimming). I think that she felt a lot guiltier about skipping the workout than I did. But, I think we both knew we weren't going to have a great workout in that short little pool, so in my mind that makes it okay.

We then spent the next half an hour in the hot tub talking and relaxing. I will say, it's not the worst way to spend the morning, even if it did involve going all the way downtown. We can go back to this facility two more times with our passes, which I might be able to be talked into for another morning of relaxing. Or maybe even some cardio and then a hot tub session. I'm just a sucker for hot tubs!

I think the most exercise either of us got was on our walk from the Fitness Center to the subway. Most of that was my fault, because I just was following Laura instead of just going the way I knew to get back to the subway I needed to ride. We did get a nice 0.75 mile walk into our morning, which isn't so bad! At least we did something!

At this point, I'm hoping that I'll be able to go to the gym after work today and at least do my 3rd day of weight lifting for this week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Don't Worry, I'll Protect You From The Drunk Guy

Right after Westchester, our weekly Terrier bricks ended (in anticipation of the bad weather that's to come, I'm sure). They then announced that they were adding a couple of other workouts, including a group coached run on Thursday evenings. I was thinking that I would try and make it today, even though when I was walking home from work I felt so exhausted that I thought I could have gone to bed then for the night.

Instead, I got all changed and decided that I would wear my new Zoot running tights (I think this is an accurate image here). Walking to the park, I realized that there might be a slight problem with these tights. There isn't a drawstring! I mean, there isn't even supposed to be one, it's not like it just fell out. But, I definitely needed one as they were sliding down a little bit, which wasn't seeming like it would be the best thing in the world for a run. But, I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happened and hopefully my pants wouldn't fall down.

Once I got to the park, I decided to run to the meeting spot. I figured that would be a better test about the tights. It actually wasn't as noticeable once I started running. Probably because I was more focused on the fact that I was running than I was on my pants falling down. I'm not entirely sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Because I ran most of the way there, I got there about 10 minutes before the meeting time. Our running coach, Spencer, was already there, so we chatted for a bit and waited for other people to join us.

Except, no one else came. We waited about 5 minutes past the meeting point and then Spencer said that he supposed that I got some one-on-one coaching tonight. I told him that it was really okay, that I could just go ahead and run on my own, but he said I wasn't getting off that easy. Now, I'd like to say that a few weeks ago when I was hitting my peak, I might have been super excited at the prospect of a one-on-one running session. Today, I just felt tired and like I was going to be in for a rough workout!

We started out with our normal strides workout. I realized about half-way through that this would have been the perfect opportunity to time them and see how long they take, but of course I didn't think of that right away! Doing the strides by myself was a lot harder than doing it with a group. Spencer said that I should take whatever recovery time I needed between them, but it feels weird to just stand there and not run back, so I didn't really take much recovery.

While I was doing the strides, a guy who was either drunk/high/crazy or all of the above started hanging out right near where I was running back and forth. Spencer sort-of moved between the guy and me and told me, "Don't worry, I'll protect you from the drunk guy." The guy wasn't really a nuisance, but I just feel like sometimes people are unpredictable and the last thing I wanted to do was run into him by accident.

In addition to our normal strides (8), high knees (2), butt kicks (2), karaoke (2) and lunges (2), Spencer had me do some skips (2). While we normally do skips, we generally either just skip or we clap our hands under our leg while skipping. This time he had me swirl my arms forward on the way there and backwards on the way back. I have to say, I felt completely ridiculous doing that. At least if we had been doing it in a group, it wouldn't have looked so weird. But, luckily, it was getting dark, so I don't think people thought too much of it. Or I guess they could have thought I was drunk and/or crazy!

Once we were done with the strides, I had to do a set of lunges forward, to the side, and then diagonally backwards. I was not good at these. Most of my problem was that I was taking too big of a step, which made me a little bit wobbly. We finished up with 10 squats and then it was time for the main workout.

As soon as he started explaining the workout, I knew I was in for trouble. We were going to run the lower loop of the park twice, the second time slightly faster than the first, and then we'd finish up with 6 x 200. As soon as he told me the workout, I knew that there was no way that was happening. My first thought was that I'm one of the slowest people on the team and that it would take too long for me to finish the workout.

I'll try to sum this up a little bit and say that I did not have a good run. About 1.2 miles into the first loop, I wanted to die. Or at least walk for 20 seconds and catch my breath. At the exact moment where I really thought I was going to have to say that I was going to stop for a minute, Spencer said that all I needed to do was to break down the run into little segments and that all I needed to concentrate on was running from one light post to the next and not about the whole thing. That helped immensely. I still, you know, wanted to die, but a little less than I had before. After another minute or so of running, I told him that I didn't think I'd be able to make it around the second time. I felt like such a loser. Why could I run 6 miles in the triathlon after running and biking but not 3.4 in the park on a random Thursday night?

Spencer told me not to quit and that it was my mind that was telling me that I couldn't keep going, my body would be fine. I wasn't 100% sure I believed him, but he said that we could keep running back to where we'd start the intervals and then do the intervals and be done, which meant we didn't have to run the whole lower loop twice. When we got to the point where we stopped in order to start the intervals, Spencer told me that I had done a really good job and put out a great effort. The entire time he was totally encouraging and kept telling me to relax and just calm down, but somehow I just couldn't. I was stuck on thinking that I was running too slowly for him and that I was holding him back and I just couldn't relax and settle into a rhythm.

We got back to the "S" or the starting point for the intervals and we took a minute break before starting on the 200s. I thought that the 200s were actually really great for me. I was running on the road and Spencer would run along side me on the walkway and give me tips about my form (mostly I need to use my arms more, try to run more on the top of my foot instead of my heel and, of course, pick up my heels more). After each 200, I had 2 minutes recovery where I had to jog in place. Its a lot nicer when the group is there so that you can just stand around and chat for a minute or two. Jogging in place feels a little silly.

I had just been saying the other day that in terms of triathlon, I really started to like running for its simplicity. Of course, Spencer had to go and ruin that with a whole bunch of things for me to think about. But, on the plus side, if I can really work on some of the comments that he gave me, I think I'll become a better runner. In total tonight, I ended up running just about 5 miles. It should have been more, but I really think that I did the best that I could. Sure, it would have been easier if there had been a group and I could have just taken my time, but I wouldn't have gotten the same value out of the run.

Run To Meeting Point
Distance: 0.73 Miles
Time: 6:33
Pace: 8:58/mile
Calories: 86
Maximum HR: 186
Average HR: 174

Distance: 1.20 Miles
Time: ~10:00
Pace: 8:20/mile

Run Around Lower Loop
Distance: 2.3 Miles
Time: 21:38
Pace: 9:24/Mile
Calories: 335
Maximum HR: 195
Average HR: 190

Distance: 0.75 Miles
Time: 5:23
Pace: 7:10/Mile
Calories: 210
Maximum HR: 190
Average HR: 178

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's A Little Distressing

This morning I was determined to get back into the swing of things by going to the gymnasium. Although, to be honest, when the alarm went off, I wasn't so sure of that decision. However, I got up and headed off to workout with Drew.

We did a quick 5 minutes on the treadmill as a warm-up. I just jogged slowly at speed 5.5 on the treadmill in order to wake-up my muscles before I made them lift a bunch of heavy things. We then headed over to the weight room and I did the same workout that I had done over the weekend.

Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm)
Lat Pulldown (wide grip): 1 set of 15 reps @ 60 lbs / 1 set of 12 reps @ 60 lbs
Leg Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 90 lbs
Dumbbell Pullovers: 1 set of 15 reps @ 15 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 20 lbs
Barbell Curls: 1 set of 20 reps @ 20 lbs / 1 set of 15 reps @ 25 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 10 lbs (per arm)
Crunches: 2 sets of 15 reps

I felt a lot better with the workout today than I had on Saturday. I think part of that was that I knew what the exercises were this time around. Drew suggested that I try to make "Day 1" of each week of this plan over the weekend so that I have a little bit more time to figure things out.

After doing the lifting for today, we headed over to do some cardio. I asked Drew what he was going to do and he said the Arc Trainer. I just do not see the appeal of that machine. But, when I told him that I was going to do the Elliptical, he said that he'd join me! So, we found two machines side-by-side and went on our ways. I did a random hill setting on level 8, which, if I'm honest, was mostly pretty easy. It didn't prevent me from working up a sweat though! I will tell you that it's a little distressing to work out for 30 minutes and only go 1.04 miles when you're not swimming.

I also have been contemplating joining New York Road Runners and then signing up for some of their shorter races over the winter. I'm hoping that will give me some motivation to keep running and also help me out in advance of my half-marathon in March!

Distance: 0.44 Miles
Time: 5:00
Pace: 11:21/mile
Calories: 52
Maximum HR: 168
Average HR: 153

Weight Lifting
Time: 32:38
Calories: 232
Maximum HR: 152
Average HR: 124

Distance: 1.04 Miles
Time: 30:00
Pace: 28:50/mile
Calories: 284
Maximum HR: 168
Average HR: 153

Monday, October 5, 2009

Need A Routine

Yesterday Drew and I were signed up to do a duathlon in Central Park. He woke up still feeling under the weather, so he wasn't going to do it. I, however, was thinking that it would be fun and just was going to go and have a nice workout. I definitely wasn't in it for a win.

We woke up early and I got all ready to go. As we were walking to the park, We walked by a Dunkin Donuts and Drew said he'd like to stop and get a coffee and that he'd meet me there.

So, I decided to ride my bike the rest of the way there instead of walking. I changed into my bike shoes and hopped on my bike. I didn't get very far. I barely went one block before realizing that my back bike brake wasn't working quite right and that it was probably a very bad idea to go and try and do a race without properly functioning brakes.

So, we turned around and went home. I really only have myself to blame. If I had ridden since the triathlon, I would have known something was wrong and could have gotten it looked at before yesterday's race. I'm mostly upset that I paid for a race I didn't participate in. We ended up going to Toga in the afternoon and now the bike is all fixed and safe again. Apparently I need to become a better braker (although I really think it wasn't me and instead something caught on the brake cable on our way home from Westchester).

After I didn't do the duathlon, I thought about going to the Terrier swim practice, but I just happened to be napping when I would had to leave for practice, so I ended up not doing anything yesterday. I think I'm okay with that. I am a little worried that since I don't need to be training for anything specific right now that I'll just slowly stop going to the gym, but I'm really going to try to keep myself motivated.

This morning I met Nicole for pilates at 8 instead of our usual 7 a.m. timeslot. As weird as it is for me to say this, I think I actually prefer the 7 meeting time more. It lets me go home after and get ready for work instead of just quickly changing at the studio and then heading to work. Nicole is just about done with her pilates apprenticeship, so I'm going to have to decide what to do about continuing my pilates practice.

Our session was good. Nicole let me do side splits (my favorite pilates exercise) again. I tried to go down further, but she explained that the more you do the splits, the worse your form becomes and you could hurt your back. It is still just really fun anyway. What is not fun, however, is the chair. Ugh. She had me do the ab series on the chair and it's just a lot harder that way. Probably because you're forced to keep your head, neck and shoulders rolled up and you can't cheat because there isn't anything underneath you.

I am getting worried about not having to be in shape for anything until March and the half-marathon. I'm having trouble self-motivating and I'm hoping that it won't be a slippery slope. I even tried making a schedule for myself and I'm already having trouble sticking to it. Work is also ridiculously busy this time of year, so I'm hoping that once it calms down next week, I can really get back into working out more regularly and just establish an off-season routine.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We're Off To The Gymnasium

Yesterday I decided to give myself the day off. I had planned on this week being a "take it easy" type of week, and although I had set my alarm early enough to get up and go do something productive, I opted to enjoy the sleep while I could. There will be enough early mornings in my future to make up for one filled with sleep.

The weather today was a little touch-and-go. It's actually really warm (compared to the last few days), but the warmer weather brought some rain, so it's been raining on and off all day. I knew I wanted to go to the gymnasium (Disclosure: I love to call it the gymnasium instead of the gym. I know it's funny and conjures up an image that is completely unlike any NYSC I've ever been to, but I figure if it makes me happy to go there, then I should embrace it).

I tried to figure out my workout plan for this off-season and I think I've got a rough outline of what I'll try to strive to do each week. One thing that I'm really excited about is incorporating more weight-lifting into my workouts. When I first started training for triathlons, I also started lifting weights more often, but that sort-of fell off once I got into longer workouts. It also probably coincided with the fact that the weather got nicer and the last thing I wanted to do was to go to the gymnasium when I could be working out outside.

Drew had a book called Weight Training Workouts That Work by James Orvis that he gave to me to try out. I know that a lot of people have enjoyed The New Rules of Lifting for Women, but I figured that I would give this book a try since it's free and I've got it and it looks like I can do it. It's a 12-week plan with 3 workouts per week. Mostly the workouts are on non-consecutive days and I'm thinking that I will most likely lift Wednesday, Friday and then either Sunday or Monday. Of course, I blew all of that by starting today on a Saturday!

This is the workout with the weights that I lifted after doing a quick 5-minute walking warm-up at 4.5 speed on the treadmill:

Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets x 15 reps @ 15 lbs (per arm)
Lat Pulldown (wide grip): 2 sets x 15 reps @ 60 lbs
Leg Press: 2 sets x 15 reps @ 90 lbs (plus machine)*
Dumbbell Pullovers: 2 sets x 15 reps @ 15 lbs
Barbell Curls: 2 sets x 15 reps @ 20 lbs
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 2 sets x 15 reps @ 10 lbs
Crunches: 2 sets x 15 reps

I had never done some of the lifts before today -- the Dumbbell Bench Press and Dumbbell Pullovers. I've done regular bench presses before, but not with dumbbells. I'm not sure I like one more than the other. Drew told me that he thinks that you can actually lift more weight with dumbbells than you can with barbells, which is funny. The dumbbell pullovers were pretty hard, I thought. The first set I don't think I was doing quite right. The book has instructions (and pictures) on how to do each exercise, so after the first set of pullovers, I read the instructions to get some better tips on how to improve on the second set. Keeping my back flatter on the bench and leading with my elbows definitely made the second set easier and better.

When we were doing the Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Drew said, "This is how you get those bowling ball shoulders." Honestly, it never occurred to me that I would want my shoulders to resemble bowling balls, but I guess that if I do, I should keep on doing this exercise!

We ended up not doing any more cardio. Drew has just started feeling a little under the weather and we needed to run some errands and I've got a birthday party to go to tonight, so it seemed like it might be for the best to just head home. I think that I really will enjoy this book. I'm pretty clueless in the weight-room about which exercises to do and I basically need step-by-step directions, which is what this book provides. I'm supposed to do this same workout two more times this week, but I might try increasing the weights a little bit next time if I can. I didn't want to push it too hard today since I have a duathlon in the morning!

*So, when we were doing the leg presses, I was wondering how much the machine itself weighs. It seems like a fairly logical question since you count the bar when you're doing bench presses, why wouldn't you also count the weight of the sled on the leg press machine? A quick Google search turns up several varying answers and a lot of mean-spirited message boards. It seems like in the weight lifting community, you're a sissy for even wanting to know how much the sled weighs and it could weigh as little as 25 pounds or as much as 100. I guess I'll just keep wondering, but I'd prefer not to be labeled a sissy!

Time: 36:57
Calories: 172
Maximum HR: 146
Average HR: 106

Thursday, October 1, 2009

She Stole My Kickboard!

This morning I met Laura for a swim at the Westside YMCA. I had found two coupons for us in Time Out New York that had to be used by October 12. It's definitely not our favorite pool, but I found out today that my previous comparison to a Russian bathhouse was incorrect. This morning I learned that they call the pool that we were swimming in the Pompeii pool. Who knew?

The last time we were at the pool, we wore our wetsuits and I was worried that today it would be really cold without the suit, but I stuck one foot in and told Laura that "it's not that bad." She then told me that I was a liar. Really, though, it was pretty nice temperature overall. The board on the wall said it was 81 degrees. On the board there was also a sign for a "small pool" and the temperature there was 89 degrees. After we had gotten out of the water and were done swimming, I made us walk over there to make sure we weren't missing another hot tub somewhere. Turns out it was just a small pool that was 8 degrees warmer.

I didn't really go to the pool today with any specific workout in mind. I did get a kickboard and a pull buoy and thought I'd do some drills and some swimming and just see how long we felt like staying in the pool. I got in and did a quick swimming warm-up and then wanted to do some kicking with my kickboard I had brought over to the edge of the pool.

Now, I've read about this situation a lot on Beginner Triathlete under people's pool pet peeves, but I don't think I've ever really believed that people were that clueless. Turns out I was wrong. While I was doing my warm-up, the girl who was sharing the lane with me started using my kickboard. I really just wanted to stop and ask her if she thought I brought it there for her personal enjoyment. I just do not understand what she was thinking when she took it. I tried to give her a dirty look from the opposite end of the pool, but it must have worked because she didn't use the board for that long.

Personally, I was probably ready to get out after about 10 minutes in the water, but I stuck with it for a while longer. This was what I ended up doing:

200 swim
200 pull
100 swim
200 kick
300 swim
200 kick
100 swim

Nothing terribly exciting. I only threw that last 100 on because Laura was ready to get out and asked when I would be ready and looking at my watch it seemed like we should just pretend to swim for a half an hour, so I did 100 more and was done for the morning.

We got all ready for work and when I got to work I started the countdown until the sign-up for Timberman Ironman 70.3 at noon! At precisely 12:01, I signed up! I got a little bit nervous while I was waiting for the time to come for the sign-up. I can't believe that I've signed up for this, but it also doesn't seem as crazy as it did before I completed the Olympic triathlon. I've also learned from my past experiences and this swim is in a lake instead of in salt water, so I think it will be a lot better and more enjoyable. I'm looking forward to the training and the dedication that this will require and I know that crossing that finish line will be an amazing accomplishment for someone who hated working out a year ago!

Distance: 1300 yards/0.74 miles
Time: 29:21
Pace: 39:39/mile
Calories: 295
Maximum HR: 170
Average HR: 150