Thursday, July 30, 2015

Workout Six: I can do Plank! Who Knew!

I really like this little workout log -- I fill in the next workout
when I get home from one. So it's all fresh in my mind and I'm
Yesterday was my first time with my re-vamped Workout A -- it's the same basic workout as the first time, but I didn't get on any of the machines this time. It was all body weight or dumbbells all the time. Which I liked MUCH better!

I was super-sore after Monday's workout (I think I still have some of that residual soreness) and I think at least some of that was because I haven't gotten into very good habits regarding warming up and cooling down. I always do a bit of cardio to get started -- get my heart going and my blood flowing and get myself oriented, but that doesn't really do anything as far as range of motion or limbering up or anything like that. 

So I added about 5-10 minutes (I figure it will be five when I'm more confident about what I'm doing, last night it was more like 10) of range of motion and getting loose type things. I used the guidelines in The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises and selected warmups that wouldn't feel too much like exercise, but would make a difference. 

I started out with 10 minutes on the elliptical, then did my new warmup routine. I'm not going to detail it all out because I don't imagine anyone is all that interested -- but it's limb swinging and twisting movements and some core stretches and stretching hamstrings and opening the hips and all like that. It was good. 

The actual strength workout was: 
  • Plank (you can see what it is here) -- 2 sets of 30-60 seconds. This one doesn't exactly have reps -- just hold the position for 30 seconds (or more) at a stretch. I was sort of psychologically prepared to have to do it at an incline (which would have been easier) but I didn't. I'm not totally sure how long the first set was -- what I wrote down was 11, because that's what I counted ("one one thousand, two one thousand..."). The second time I actually spotted a second timer and know I did 30 seconds. They didn't feel like hugely different lengths of time, though. My form wasn't absolutely perfect for all 30 seconds and I'll be working on getting better at it for sure. But honestly, I didn't think I could do it at all. :D
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Squats (dumbbells) - 2 sets of 15. I used 15 lb weights and felt like I was working hard but not impossibly. My form was definitely better this time and I didn't feel even a second of strain in my lower back. That was awesome. Next time I'll try 20 lb dumbbells. 
    • Bent-over Rows -- 2 sets of 15. I had sort of planned to use 15 lb weights but after using those for the squats I wasn't so sure about it, so I used 10lb ones instead. I think that was probably about right. I may shoot for 15s next time, though. When I did rows on the machine I did 40 lbs, so I should be able to do more. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Step Ups -- 2 sets of 15. These are pretty straight-forward -- step up onto something step down. Do all the work with one leg then switch sides. Hold weights. The only step boxes at our gym are a little low, so I'm going to have to do something to make them more difficult. I was holding 10lb dumbbells yesterday and that wasn't enough. The New Rules of Lifting For Life suggests holding a weight on one side, so that you have an unbalanced load. I think I'll try that next time. 
    • Pushups -- 2 sets of 15 was the goal, what I achieved was one really icky set of 8 and a good set of 15. On Saturday, I really surprised myself by being able to do "modified" pushups, with my hands on a bar at about hip height (part of one of the row machimes). The last few were hard, so I knew I was working, but I did them. I tried to go lower yesterday -- to a bench about knee height -- for the first set yesterday. It didn't go well -- it was hurting my shoulder and felt basically awful, so I stopped at 8 reps. For the second set, I went back to the hip height bar and it felt fine. I'm not sure if it was the specific bench I was using (the seat of a machine back in the circuit area), which is a little constrained as far as space goes, or what. I'll try to go lower again, but maybe not so much lower all at once. 
After I finished the strength workout, I got back on the elliptical and did five minutes of Intervals of Insanity (I like that name for them). I did this on Monday and loved it. It manages the curious balance of being utterly exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. Once again, I spent a minute getting reacquainted with the machine, then did 20 seconds of crazy, all-out intense effort (15 miles an hour, baby!), then 40 seconds at a slow, easy recovery pace. Repeat until I can repeat no more. In practice, I did 5 (or nearly so) of the crazy all out intervals. 

After I'd cruised down on the elliptical -- a couple of minutes of just easy going to get myself back together -- I did some recovery stretches while my muscles were still warm. 

The other recovery thing I did different (this one we both did) was to have a high-protein snack (Greek yogurt) as soon as we got home. We usually have yogurt after dinner as a sort of dessert -- last night we just had it *before* dinner while we were changing. 

I do honestly think it helped -- I'm much less sore today than I was after Monday's workout. Even my shoulder where it got a little tweaky after those bad pushups doesn't hurt much today. Hooray! 

Next workout is scheduled for Saturday. I know Patrick is going to be doing a cardio day. I'm not sure -- I'm so loving these strength workouts, I'm tempted to do my B workout again (that's the deadlifts, split squats, shoulder presses, and pull-downs -- with side plank instead of any ab machine this time -- workout). We'll see how I feel on Saturday. If I'm still kinda sore, I may run. Or maybe I'll go completely off the rails and get on an exercise bike or something.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Workout Five: Deadlifts and some crazy intervals

Workout Log 7/27/2015
Yesterday was my first go-round with Workout B -- the other whole-body workout I'm doing. (Workout A and Workout B are going to be alternating.) As I noted the other day, these are still works in progress -- new information is being integrated and I want to be responsive to how things make me feel.

I learned from Saturday's workout that I was conservative with the starting weights, so I went a little higher this time. That was successful -- I really felt like I was working almost the whole way through. 

I started out with 10 minutes on the elliptical machine -- we'd been starting with 15 minutes, but the elliptical machine kills my quads and I didn't want them giving their all before I started really working out. I also did a few stretches and things. I *totally* forgot to do a warmup set of anything, which I feel a bit bad about because I badgered Patrick about it a while  back. I'll do those going forward.

Yesterday's workout was: 
  • Deadlifts (dumbbells) -- 2 sets of 15. I used 15 lb dumbbells for both sets and that was probably right for my first time out -- I was able to do all my reps but I don't think I could have done more. I was a little worried that these would put strain on my lower back, but I remembered to lift from my hamstrings and glutes and that worked perfectly. They were actually more comfortable than the squats were on Saturday (until I figured out to tuck my butt). I'm going to start with 15s next time again and see how I feel after the first set. I don't know that I'll be ready to go up to 20 pound dumbbells so soon.
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Shoulder Presses (dumbbells) -- 2 sets of 15. I used 10 lb dumbbells for this and again felt like I was working pretty hard. I need to check my sources about form -- it took me a bit to feel like I wasn't doing something weird to my shoulder. Once I did figure it out (shoulders back, chest out and proud like Superman), they felt good. I was sharing a set of weights with a dude who was alternating using them with doing impressively hard looking things on a contraption that looked like something out of a dungeon. I managed to get my reps in while he was doing something else, both times. 
    • Lat Pulldown (machine) -- 2 sets of 15. I had the machine set at 40 lbs for the first set and 45 for the second. I really put my focus on working my lats and that was good. I'd like to do these on the cable machine at some point (rather than the one I was using) but for now, this is a lot less intimidating. And it's near where the dumbbells live, so alternating the sets works out really conveniently. 
  • Alternating sets of: 
    • Split Squats (dumbbells) -- 2 sets of 15. I had originally planned to do Lunges here, but further research indicated that lunges are hard on the knees and my knees get a little tweaky sometimes. Split squats are easier in that regard. Which doesn't mean they're easy. I used 7.5 lb dumbbells (which were barely a noticeable blip compared to my body weight) and they were rough. I have this feeling my form went all to pieces toward the end there. I had a problem with my rear (non-working) foot getting crampy during the first set, but it was better in the second one. Maybe I had my feet down better. This was good and hard and I really worked on it. 
    • Ab Glider (machine) -- 2 sets, one of 15 (forgot I was only going to do 8), one with two mini-sets of 8 (took a little pause between, but 8 didn't feel like anything so I did 8 more). As predicted, this was another ab machine I didn't like. To be clear, it's not that I didn't like it because it was working me too hard, I'd probably be okay with that. I didn't like it because I don't feel like it was doing anything at all. The first set of 15 I did on the machine with bodyweight only and it was total meh. (The way the Ab Glider works is you have your knees on a swinging platform in a frame.  Lower arms are on the frame. Using abs, pull knees toward chest.) I don't know why, but it really didn't feel like anything. So I went to a machine pre-loaded with 40lbs of weight (in addition to the bodyweight on the machine) for the second set. It didn't feel like much more. I don't know -- maybe I wasn't doing it right, maybe I wasn't pulling my knees up as far as I should. Anyway, meh. Next time I'm going to do something else. 
  • Torso Rotations (machine) -- 2 sets of 15. I had the machine set at 40 lbs and that feels like it was probably about right. This machine targets the obliques and the general "twisting the torso" apparatus. I need core work like crazy, so I'm happy to do a little supplementing. Especially when I find an exercise that feels like it's doing something. Next time I think I'll start at 45. 
After I was done with the weights, I got back on the elliptical. Patrick was doing a bit more cardio and cool down. I decided to do some really crazy intense intervals as a finisher (recommended in both New Rules of Lifting for Life and The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises). After a minute of getting acquainted with the elliptical machine again, I went for 20 seconds at a crazy all-out max effort, then rested for 40 seconds. Then went crazy all-out for 20 seconds. Then rested for 40. Repeated that for 5 minutes (so five 20-second crazy all out stretches). Then cooled down for 2 minutes. That was just amazingly awesome -- I felt like I was Doing Something Outside My Abilities. Also, because the intervals are so short, I stayed alert and engaged the whole time. Loved it! 

I'll be doing that again. Almost certainly after every weight session. 

Maybe every time I go to the gym. That was cool! 

I have a tendency toward the creaky stiffness today -- I woke up pretty fine but feel like I've been congealing at work. We may need to invest in a foam roller (fortunately they're cheap) to help work out some of the kinks post-exercise. 

Next workout is Wednesday and it's going to be weights again. I've made some modifications to Workout A (to get rid of the ab machine I didn't like and the glute machine I didn't like). I'm going to be doing: Plank (2x30 seconds, at an incline if necessary), Squats (dumbbells), 2-Point Row (dumbbells), Step Up (with weights), Pushups (at an incline, though hopefully a lower one than I was at on Saturday). Plank is in instead of the Ab Machine -- it's a core stability exercise and I think will do me more good than the machines will. If I need to start out at an incline (which would be easier), I will. I'll be doing that crazy all out cardio thing again for sure. And if I feel like it, I'll get on the back extension machine again. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Workout Four: Gettin' serious!

My workout log from yesterday. :D
I did my first real strength workout yesterday -- I'm not counting the circuit stuff (because I couldn't adjust the weights the way I wanted and I didn't like some of the machines in it) or the couple of sessions I spent learning what to do.

That said, I'm still sorting out the weights I should be lifting and what exactly I want to do. Based on a fair amount of research (books and online, main sources listed at the end), I'm working with the following principles: 
  1. I'm going to be alternating two workouts, both of which are total body workouts (but which do different exercises). 
  2. I'm going to be preferring body weight and free weight exercises over machines because they bring in more additional muscles to stabilize the body and the weights and therefore do more good.
  3. I'm going to be preferring large-muscle and compound exercises over those which isolate muscles (see above point) and those which target small muscles exclusively (like biceps curls and triceps kickbacks). 
  4. Every workout should be a challenge. 
Yesterday's workout was: 
  • Squats -- 2 sets of 12 reps each (I meant to do 15 but had 12 stuck in my head so that's how many I did) with 60 seconds of rest between sets (that's the rest period between all the sets here). I'm intimidated by barbells (even empty ones), so I used dumbbells (with the okey dokey of the trainer I spoke to last week). I started with 5 pound dumbbells (10 lbs total) and that was too light. (Though that's in addition to my body weight.) For the second set I moved up to 10 pound dumbbells and that felt closer to right -- I finished my 12 fine, but the 15 I meant to be doing would have been a bit harder. I'm going to start with 10 lb dumbbells next time and (hopefully) move up to 15s for the second set. 
  • Alternating sets (see below for how the alternating sets work) of:
    • Pushups -- 2 sets of 15. I'm not doing the knee pushups that are often recommended as wimp pushups because research indicates that they don't engage the core as well as full-length ones. I am doing modified pushups -- yesterday I was at about a 45 degree angle. (I had my hands on a horizontal bar on the row machine I was using for the next exercise.) I did pretty well with that so my plan for next time is to have my hands on one of the weight benches for the first set and see how I do with that. I can go back to that horizontal bar for the second set if I need to. 
    • Rows -- 2 sets of 15. For this I did use a weight machine of the kind that isolates muscles and that I'm generally not favoring. The cable machines, which aren't so rigid in how they're used, would be better, but they're generally being used by the serious (and seriously intimidating) weight lifters and I'm willing to cede that ground to them (for now). 
  • Alternating sets of:
    • Glutes machine -- 2 sets of 15. What I wanted to be doing was step-ups (step up onto box, step off, repeat), but except in the circuit area, our gym doesn't have steps. Which stinks. I didn't really like the glute machine, though some of that was because I had the weight too low by a lot, so next time I'm going to invade the circuit area and use their step boxes and dumbbells instead. At least until they seem too low for me, then I'll have to, erm, think of something. 
    • Abdominals machine (one of three or four with similar names at the gym) -- 2 sets of 8 (except I had the weight too low for the first set and did 12). What I wanted to be doing here was an exercise I've seen called "Reverse Jackknife" and "Swiss-ball jackknife" or "Ab Pull-in". You can see more about it here. Our gym doesn't have stability (or Swiss) balls, and doesn't allow outside equipment, so I have to do something else. I didn't particularly like this machine either, but that may be because I wasn't using it right. I'll use the machine again next time, doing it correctly, to see if I like it better. 
  • Back extensions machine - 2 sets of 12. This is another case where I was going to do sets of 15, but had 12 in my head so that's how many I did. I wasn't necessarily planning to do this one, which is why it's added in purple (the pen I was using at the gym) while I was there. I'm not sure I need it and I don't want to be targeting those muscles in such an isolated way. I have it down to do again next time, but may not after that. I'm not sure. 
Alternating sets work thusly: Do one set of the first exercise, rest 60 seconds, do one set of the second exercise, rest 60 seconds, go back to the first exercise and repeat until all sets are done. It's pretty simple. 

That took about 30 minutes, which with cardio to warm up (and a few warm up moves) was about right. I want to do a bit of recovery stretching in the future, though I may do that when I get home. I'm feeling a little achy today -- not in a bad way at all, but in a "I used my muscles and now they're recovering" way. Which is actually kind of cool.

I've already worked out the weights I want to start with next time I do this workout, and that I'm going to be doing the step boxes (with dumbbells) instead of the Glute machine I didn't like. 

That said, Monday's workout is going to be Deadlifts (with dumbbells), Shoulder Presses (dumbbells), Pull-downs (machine), Lunges (body weight and maybe dumbbells) and a different ab machine (which I probably won't like). The optional extra is Torso Rotations. I'll see how I feel at the end of everything. I know from yesterday that I underestimate the weight I can handle, so I'll take that into account.  

  • The New Rules of Lifting for Women, by Lou Schuler, Alwyn Cosgrove and Cassandra Forsythe. 
  • Knack Weight Training for Women, by Leah Garcia
  • Fitness Weight Training by Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle
  • We just got two more books, which is part of why both of these workouts may be changing over the next few days. Those are: 
    • The New Rules of Lifting for Life by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove
    • The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises by Adam Campbell

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Run Seventy-Two: And Other Stuff

I don't know why I'm sucking so badly at running
right now.
I went for my first run in a little over a week today -- it did not go well, though I did keep walking, and walking pretty fast, so I did get a decent workout. My hip started hurting while I was walking and it never really felt quite right. I'm not at all sure what's up with that. 

I haven't run in a while, but I haven't been slacking either -- we went to visit my parents over the weekend and went to her local gym twice while we were there. Small-towns are awesome, by the way -- the owner of the gym let us come in on Saturday, even gave us a key because no one was likely to be there when we went, without charging any sort of daily use fee because we were just using the cardio machines. Very nice. 

I went on one of the elliptical machines on Saturday, so Patrick and I could be next to each other. Also, I'm enjoying mixing things up, which may be part of why my running is getting worse. Though I'm not sure how much sense that makes. 

On Monday, I spent a lot of the time talking to the trainer at the small-town gym about what I want to do with dumbbells and weights. I didn't do full sets of anything, but did a lot of moving dumbbells around. Some of what I learned from her was really helpful -- good form for squats -- and some I'm keeping in my head for the future (the Cybex leg press machine is a beast). 

We did a lot of driving to get to my parents' place and back so maybe I'm just sort of congealed from  sitting all day yesterday and that's why running didn't go so well today. I'm glad I at least got out and moved around. And I didn't stop when my hip got a little hurty -- I just slowed down. That's a little bit of something anyway. 

(Note for my mother: Nothing is seriously wrong with my hip. It just got a little tired while I was walking, but I was walking pretty fast. It'll be fine tomorrow.) 

Next workout is scheduled for Saturday -- It's going to be a sort of a prep day. I'll do some cardio to start off (maybe 20 minutes or so), then I'll go through all of the strength-training exercises I'm planning on doing (there are two different workouts which I'll be alternating) to make sure I'm comfortable with what I'm doing. Also to get an idea of where to start as far as weights. 

(More detail on the two different workouts and the exercises I'll be doing after Saturday's prep session.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Workout Three: 30 minute circuit again

I've got to do something about better pictures for when I do strength training
rather than running. 
I did the 30 minute circuit at the gym this evening, after 15 minutes of warm-up and cardio on the elliptical machine. It was a great workout and I feel awesome. A little sore (in only good ways), which I wanted (because I had a sense I was being too easy on myself doing the 30 minute workout before).

I'm not sure I'm doing the elliptical right -- which is kind of weird (and lame) because there aren't many different ways to do it. I mean you get on, push start, start going. There's not a huge range of different motions possible. But I'm still not sure I'm doing it exactly right. It seems to work my quads *really* hard. It's possible to go backward on one so maybe I'm going backwards and not realizing it. (Patrick says it works his quads when he's going backwards and he uses the elliptical for preference.) I dunno. I like it and it's a great 15 minutes of cardio, but I do think I'm doing it wrong. Or something. 

I was willing to push the weights some on the circuit tonight -- I think I've been being too conservative and cautious and need to push myself a bit harder weights-wise -- but the machines on the circuit have 15 pound increments on the weights. Seriously?? What's up with that?? That's a huge jump -- 30 pounds was too light for me to really feel like I was working on some exercises, but I couldn't possibly move 45 pounds for a whole minute. I may need to try part of the time at the lighter weight, then raise it and finish at the higher weight. 

Actually, though, what's really happening is that Patrick and I are each working out a strength training program for ourselves. We'd love to get professional assistance from a professional, but what with one thing and another (and the awesome customer service of a lady we've come to call "Judy Who Says No"), that's proving challenging. In place of that, we're doing what we do: we got a bunch of books from the library, found an awesome website for Sports Trainers and Other Professional Exercising People (, gotten information about all of the machines available to us at the gym (because neither of us feels ready for free weights) and are figuring out a starting point for ourselves. 

We're working independently on this -- we're sharing information but weighting it differently, I think. And we're also responding to our own sense of ourselves and what we need and want. So while we're doing this together, we're not moving in lock-step. Which is good because this is not a situation where the same solution would work for both of us. 

I want to eventually get to free weights, but for now the machines  a) are less intimidating, b) will give me "starter muscles" with which I can move around free weights without hurting myself, and c) are less intimidating. (That's a big deal.) I know how to work the machines -- and the ones I don't know yet have handy instructions RIGHT THERE to look at. And a diagram to show you which muscles you should be working. Very convenient. 

We're currently thinking of two days a week of strength training and Saturdays for cardio -- which gives us the flexibility to go for a hike, or to a museum, or do something exciting (that will be an alternate to a run or a trip on the elliptical) on the weekend. At least that's the current plan. 

We're probably not going to actually start for a week or so, which just gives me time to refine my plan. :D

Next run/workout is scheduled for Saturday. I believe I'm going to be running on the road, unless things go differently from what I'm expecting. Goal for the run: See if the (little bit of) strength training I've done so far makes a difference. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Run Seventy-One: I think I just did an interval workout!

Not a best-best, but the best I've done in close
to two weeks, so I'm *pleased*. 
I think I did something like an "interval" workout today, at least for a few minutes. I was having a good but slightly frustrating run -- it's like all the endurance I've gained is just kind of fizzling out on me or something, which is kind of ticking me off. 

I have a hypothesis about this: The decline in my endurance (breathing-wise) started about when I started taking allergy shots for my chronic, perpetual dust (and other stuff) allergies. It seems possible that the shots are making me more sensitive to that, so my lungs are a bit more twitchy. I'll try to remember to ask my allergist about it next time I see him. 

In the absence of a lot of endurance, I decided to try something else today -- I went for as long as I could running, then walked as needed, then ran when I could for the first 25 minutes of my running time. For the last five minutes, I did something I've never done before: I ran faster than I ever have before (5.7 miles an hour or faster) for one minute, then walked at about 3.7 miles an hour (which is about as I can comfortably sustain) for one minute, then went fast for a minute, then walked, then went fast. 

I could probably have gone even faster for a shorter time, but I wouldn't have been able to keep it up for a minute, I don't think. Next time I'll see if I can go even faster. Or maybe do a minute fast and only 30 seconds of walking. Or something. 

That was really cool and left me feeling like I'd really worked out, which is utterly awesome! :D

Next workout is scheduled for Wednesday -- I might do the circuit thing on Wednesday, with higher weights and pushing myself a little more, because cool stuff is going on this weekend and I won't be able to. Goal for the workout is to rock the awesome! 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Workout Two: 30-minute Circuit on my own

Not my own picture. Found this on the web. But it's the 30-minute thing at
a Planet Fitness. Which I love. 
We went to the gym yesterday morning and it was awesome. I did 15 minutes on the elliptical machine (next to Patrick) to warm up and get my heart-rate up a bit. Then I went and did the 30-minute circuit workout. I was a little nervous to do it by myself without the guidance of the trainer, but it went really well. 

I was pleasantly surprised that even on my upper-body and arms I didn't have to set the machine for the lowest possible weight. I was working under the No Muscles Above The Waist theory and was adjusting the weights accordingly. But every time I had to adjust them up a notch after a test lift. That was way cool!! 

I need to do a bit of research (and Patrick and I went to the library and got some books on strength training) to see if it's a bad thing or a good thing that I'm not hurting particularly at all today. Does that mean I'm not pushing myself hard enough? Would being sore mean I'm pushing too much? I just don't know. 

Just like last week, I felt energized and really excited about it all day long -- that felt like a great workout and I felt wonderful. So that's got to be a good sign. But maybe it would be a better workout if I pushed a little hard. Research, ho!! 

Planet Fitness also has a 12-minute Ab Circuit that I want to explore. The 30 minute workout only has one ab machine and I can tell that I'm not getting tons out of it. It might work well to do the 30 minute circuit except instead of the ab machine in it, jump over to the ab circuit and do that instead. So the whole workout would be a little less than 45 minutes. We looked at the machines in the Ab Circuit last night and some of them are pretty intimidating. I think I want to do a class on that with the trainer so I can figure the machines out. I think she may have one on Wednesday and if so I'll be taking it. 

Next workout/run is scheduled for Monday. I'll most likely be running. Goal: Awesomeness and feeling great! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Run Seventy: Deliberately kept it kinda easy

I kept it around 4.3 mph for most of my
running, because I wanted to take a little
I had thought that I might do the circuit-weight thing at the gym tonight rather than running, but when we got there I decided I'd run after all. I didn't want to push too hard though -- my legs are still tired and I seem a little more easily winded than I was a few weeks ago (in my long-ago heyday of 2.78 miles in my usual 40 minute run). It just seemed like the right thing to do, I guess.  

I've been simultaneously pushing awfully hard when I've been working out -- trying to push the pace every time, trying to increase the distance every time. But at the same time, I've been walking more rather than less, so to try and keep my distances up (and increasing), I've been pushing myself to walk uncomfortably fast, even when I'm warming up and cooling down. I think I'm outstripping the meager little base of fitness and strength I have (so far). 

(That's not even getting into how I'm totally ignoring my upper body, which is starting to feel unbalanced. But that's a different issue.) 

Anyway, I took it a little easy this evening and it was good -- I felt good while running, I wasn't watching the clock, and it was nice not to be pressuring myself about distance. I ran at a comfortable speed and walked at a comfortable speed and that was nice. 

Next run/workout is scheduled for Saturday -- I'm either going to do the circuit-weight thing or spend the time on the elliptical machine. A change will be nice. Of course, I thought that today as well, so it's always possible that I'll change my mind and run. Goal: Feel good, do well, sweat a lot!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Run Sixty-Nine: Felt Really Good!

Didn't get an accurate distance -- this is a guess.
But the main thing is that it felt good. :D
Friday, Patrick and I did a circuit training thing at the gym -- with just enough cardio (on the elliptical) to warm up before we did it. We were working with the trainer and it felt *great*. I just loved it. We then spent the weekend relaxing, hanging out, playing board games, watching baseball, and just having a wonderful holiday weekend. 

We basically didn't *move* Saturday and Sunday, so by this morning I was itching to get up and get moving. I spent the whole day looking forward to getting to the gym. 

It didn't disappoint either -- I didn't have anything like a best run (still not sure what's up with that) but I felt really good. My legs were a little crampy,  though they don't feel as dead and tired as they were last week. At least not right now, we'll see how I feel tomorrow. 

Regardless of how my legs feel, I think I'm going to feel really good about having gone today. I needed that something fierce. And I can't even begin to say how cool it is that two days of pretty much not moving had me craving a workout and a sweat and a nice intense run. 

Love it! 

Next workout is scheduled for Wednesday. I'm not sure if we're planning on the circuit thing again or if we're going to do cardio again. That's going to depend some on how Patrick's back and shoulder feel, I reckon. We don't have to go in lock-step, of course, but I loved that 30-minute circuit thing so if he's feeling up to it, I'm definitely going to want to do that again. If he's not feeling up to it, I'll definitely run. Goal for the run: Try to get back to awesome, darn it. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Workout One: 30-Minute Circuit Training with Patrick!

I don't have a good picture of us at the gym, so this will have to do.
Patrick and I went to the gym yesterday to do the 30-minute circuit class with their trainer. (This is their real, actual, full-time trainer, not the substitute we had last week.) I really liked this trainer -- she pushed all of us in the class some but didn't go crazy. She set the weights on the machines for us and did a really good job of it -- I'm a little sore today, especially in my upper body (where I apparently have No Muscles), but in a really good way, like I worked enough but not too much. 

We started out with 15 minutes or so on the elliptical machines to warm up, then went into the circuit class. Their circuit program is kind of like Curves -- one spends a minute on a machine, then a minute doing cardio (mostly) moves with 30 seconds to transition between, rotating through the machines. The trainer was telling us different moves to do each time, which I liked, though the calf raises were a beast. 

This seems much more in-my-reach than getting a personalized program -- I have No Muscles in my upper body so three sets of 12 push-ups is simply and strictly impossible. Being told to do three sets of 12 Triceps Thingies with 10 pound weights is, likewise, really not helpful. I can maybe move that much a few times but there's no way I can do it for 3 sets of 12 without being too achy to move the next day. 

Which will not feed my motivation to go back and do it again.

I felt awesome yesterday when we got home -- invigorated and energized and happy. That DID seriously feed my motivation to go back. :D

They also have a 12-minute ab circuit that would probably be a good thing for me/us to do. I hate doing almost all ab exercises -- no matter how they're disguised they still feel like crunches, which are Hell. This probably contributes to the No Muscles in my upper body problem. I should probably do some work on that. I'd like to take the ab circuit class with the actual trainer and see how that goes.

I'm especially interested in all of this because one of my stated goals when I started this Upward Trend thing is to go to the climbing wall gym here in Laurel and be able to climb. Obviously I need muscles in my upper body to do that.

I believe our plan is to do the circuit one or two days a week (we're still discussing this: Patrick's thinking one, I'm thinking two). In a couple of months, we'll try again with the design your own program class, with the actual trainer (rather than the desk-attendant substitute). By then maybe I will have Some Muscles in my upper body, which will make that a lot more feasible.

I have a sort of an idea that if we're going three times a week we could do the ab circuit and 30 minutes of cardio one day, the overall circuit and 20 minutes of cardio one day, and 45 minutes of cardio one day. Or we could to the ab circuit and the overall circuit with just enough cardio to warm up one day, the overall circuit and 20 minutes of cardio one day, and 45 minutes of cardio one day.

I can't help but think any of the above options will help both of us be healthier overall *and* help me be a better runner. Even if I'm running less.

Next run/workout is scheduled for Monday. Weather report says I'll be at the gym. I'm not sure if we're going to be on the treadmill or doing the circuit thing. Either will work for me. :D

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Runs Sixty-Seven and Sixty-Eight: Inexplicably Tired Legs

Monday's run, like Monday's child, was absolutely
beautiful. I didn't excel myself running, but it was a
delightful night. 
I did run on Monday -- it was a beautiful evening and I was out on the road and it was lovely. I'm in a bit of a slump right now as far as speed and endurance, my legs just seem kind of tired. Or something. Anyway, it was a delightful run. Then when I got home, Patrick told me that ants had gotten into the pantry and we needed to go get ant traps. We also needed to spend much of the evening cleaning the *heck* out of everything in there (and throwing out some stuff that had ants in it). So I never got a chance to post Monday night. 

(For the record, our efforts appear to have helped -- we have noticeably fewer ants now. Hooray for good cleaning and ant traps.)

I was going to post on Tuesday, but was crazy busy at work all day, then we had a friend over (sort of -- we spent the evening with him on Skype) in the evening until bedtime. I suppose I could have today, but by that point it made as much sense to wait until I could post about both Monday and today.

I did things a little differently on the treadmill
today -- shorter stretches of both running and
walking. Probably about the same total
running time. 
Today's run was on the treadmill -- Patrick went with me and spent his time on the elliptical machine. It went quite well. Once again, it wasn't a best-best, though it wasn't bad, but it was better than I was expecting given how draggy I've been all week.

Which brings me back to the theme of the post: My legs have been really tired, occasionally crampy and just kind of flat feeling since last Wednesday. I'm not at all sure what's up with that. It doesn't feel like anything's exactly wrong -- no joints hurt, no muscles feel strained. I've heard of baseball pitchers going through "dead arm" periods when they just can't muster the velocity and "stuff" they're capable of. I don't think this is that dramatic, but my legs are just *tired*.

Maybe it's just that I'm tired. We've had a busy week. Fortunately we have Friday off from work because of the 4th of July (observed), so we'll get an extra day of rest.

Because of having Friday off we're going to be going to the gym on Friday. We're planning/hoping to be able to hook up with the trainer we worked with last Friday so we can get the rest of our individual programs. Depending on how hard we work and what we do in addition to working with Jose, I may count that as Saturday's exercise/run.

Next run will either be Friday, Saturday or Monday. Running on Monday is definite, no matter what happens with the other days. I won't miss that one. Otherwise, I really can't predict very well because I don't know what's going to happen. Whenever it is, my goal is to do my best -- hopefully I'll pull out of this tired legs thing, otherwise I'll just do the best I can.