Category Archives: Uncategorized

Race Schedule 2019

New Bedford Half Marathon                Sun Mar 17  CMPLT  2:28:09

Boston Spartan sprint 5k OCR              May 11

BoneFrog New England 6 mile OCR    May 18

Boston Spartan Super 8 mile OCR        Aug 10

Ragnar VT Trail Relay 28 mi total        Aug 16

Spartan Ultra Killington 30 mi OCR     Sept 14

Manchester Marathon                            Nov 10

Spartan Fenway Sprint 5k                      Nov

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Squat Fail

It started with me peeing my pants during a jump rope warmup – a few times despite repeated trips (had written “runs” but that just didn’t seem right) to the bathroom.  A few years ago during some squat workout, a friend around my age was laughing about how squats always made her pee her pants and I was so happy that I was not alone.  For middle age women and apparently sometimes for those younger who had kids, this is an issue we deal with.  I live in fear of heavy squats for this reason.

I did a squat/bench strength retest yesterday and failed at finding a max at both.  In squat, the main reason was my lower back hurt and I felt very unstable so stopped. Am I living in fear or is it a valid reason?  I will do 400 air squats anytime and put in longer term work so I’m thinking its not that I’m mentally weak.  Darn that Goggins for now planting a seed (perhaps unintentionally) that anytime I don’t almost kill myself like he does that I am not pushing hard enough…..

In bench, I did more than I ever have 3@105 lbs but started to feel a torque on the recovering shoulder so stopped there.  Then the WOD was 5x 9 burpees over bar/6 cleans/3 presses for 3 min each with 1 min rest.  Also a decently harsh workout for the shoulder so I did with 55 lbs and smoked the burpees!  This was an eye opener that I am not 100% back quite yet.  Got home and did 75 min on the bike trainer to do a bike retest – was pretty tired even during the warmup but did the work.

Another day today – am trying to leave work “early” around 3pm so I can do my run test before scuba class and be in bed by 10pm.

Honest reporting, clean eating and doing the work,

Laura

 

Finding Time and Back Update

I got home last Thurs Jan 17 around 8:30 after two previous late nights at scuba class and working out and just ate and went to bed.  What is the right call to make?  Missed my workout but got sleep.  Maybe it was to quit working so late and make myself the priority but not sure I can do that 100% of the time.  Thurs my boss came by my desk looking tired around 4:30 and several sales teams asking me for packaging of our new service offerings so I stayed to come up with the “We’ve Got Your Back” set of services… The night before I had scuba class from 6-9pm and went running after until around 11pm in the cold.

End of week 5 on Jan 20 and a few observations/changes to make:

  • Need to get in the 5-20″ meditation daily.  This hasn’t been going so well.
  • Need to do better with grip strength practice.  Cleaned up basement so can make the rounds down there with the plates when I have a bike workout.
  • Need to ensure daily 20″ of mobility to fix this back – this has been going pretty well and my back definitely feels better than it was but is still pretty sore.  I haven’t had the searing pain in the two spots in my lower back I’ve had before but it still spasms and I’m afraid to wear high heals at work because of it.
  • Has been really fun changing gears and going from a heart rate (HR) zone 2 to 4/5 in practice.  HR2 sure seems slow and my mile times are over 12 min when I am doing that but with a fast cadence, easier to practice the Pose running, which seems like it takes effort still but feels more natural than it did at first.
  • Significant improvements in left shoulder.  I did 3 pullups last week with the briefest pause and no assists.  Slight pain after so I’ll stick with 3 this week until it goes away after.  Deadlifts, squats, push presses no pain at all anymore with increased weight almost weekly.  DL started at 150 and went to 3×10@185.  PP from a hard 45 to 60.  Squat from 65 to 105.  Bench from 65 to 3×10@85.
  • Huge learnings on technology and its issues.  Realized I need my bike fitted so am on the schedule at FitWerx in Peabody.  See last post!
  • My physical therapist couldn’t help but laugh when he saw how inflexible my hamstrings are – see pic at top where I am now staying totally square when stretching hams and can’t even bend over with straight back as I’m already stretching – putting the pipe behind me keeps me honest.  We’ll see where I’m at in a month or so.
  • Pose running:  Still easiest to feel the foot plan and heel kiss while running against a pole but faster cadence and keeping ankles loose helps too.  Huge differences between left and right legs in difficulty of lifting my foot.
  • I am doing really well at the crossfit WODS now with better aerobic capacity and the longer workouts.  Except for snatches, I’m doing the workouts and they are still so much easier than they used to be.

I think the answer for workouts vs. work may be the lunchtime workout.  I like my mornings – I will try to do some meditation and mobility in the morning.

I also just hit a new low weight of 138.8… I think those abs are in there somewhere !!

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Finding the time but it’s not easy – loving the workouts, singing super loud in the basement during the bike workouts and loving the silence during running, trying to not the let the buttonwood hill take my soul!

A lot of talk and haven’t really done $%^& yet but putting in the work so far and trusting in my coach.

I also did great at the 2nd scuba class and didn’t feel uncomfortable at all in scuba gear.  I was facing my fear, walked in and told the instructors I was determined to work on my underwater breathing (my current hypothesis with the panics is that I am afraid I don’t have lung capacity) and their response was “good thing you don’t need to hold your breath!”

Failed at the Lindt vs. ence photo tonite as I ate two Lindt balls at Marguerys house before being thrown out due to politics…these were the Lindt balls I gave her as I couldn’t have them in my house without eating 10-15 at a time.

Not perfect but determined.

Laura

 

 

 

Mental Toughness

Treading water for what seemed like an hour, the diving instructor put us to a stress test to see how comfortable we were.  First, we had to test our buoyancy and hold our breath, stop kicking and just see if we were a floater or sinker.  Probably 10 secs of holding breath – terrified me although I can swim decently well when I am by myself.  Then we had to lie face down breathing to the side (which I know how to do well) to use least effort in case we were conserving energy – another terrifying exercise.  Then we had to use arms and bob up and then shoot down underwater a few times.  I secretly touched the bottom a few times to lesson the fear – feeling guilty.  I do not understand the panic in a group situation when I can do any of these things alone without issue.

Brings me back to the mini triathlon over 10 years ago where we had a very short swim in a pool and I choked – had to dog paddle my way through – couldn’t breathe.  That incident I may never understand.  I need to put myself in this type of situation and prove to myself I can swim with others around.  Kenny has me holding my breath to prove I can hold it (OK – 45 secs and 30 secs on 2nd try).  Then do the same with face under water and lastly doing it sitting on the bottom of the pool – a fun thing for the weekend….you can find me at the Nashua Y with my snorkel gear on Sunday.

So, because of this I’ve b,een doubting if I am mentally tough or not.  How can someone be tough yet panic in a pretty inocuous situation?  My conclusion – also after listening again to David Goggins’ audiobook – is that mental toughness is continuing to try even if you fail.  It doesn’t mean you are never afraid of anything.  It means you go back.  It is grit.  And that I know I have.  So I’ll be back in the pool tonite for class #2 of 6, practicing slow breathing and relaxation techniques, as I sit on the bottom of the pool in my scuba gear for the first time (and then doing an hour run in prep for the Ultra afterwards around 10pm!).

Also, I was in the top few of my crossfit box yesterday for the WOD which included 100 box jumps and the same # of reps for abs.  I started out one of the last (due to a weakness with the assault bike) but am good for the long haul and finished first in the class.  For the first time I was hopping up and down off the box fairly easily.  I also hit under 140 lbs two days in a row which is significant.  Leaning down and toughening up!

Laura

Priorities…250 days until the Ultra

End of Training Week 3 Jan 6. 250 days left to train for the Ultra.  Watching Youtube videos of people finishing the Killington Beast got me out of bed during my last trip to Phoenix and down to the gym out of fear.… people saying that they couldn’t imagine having to do double what they just did…I say there is no hard race, just bad training 🙂 and I remind myself that I do best in the long, grueling type of events.  My old friends didn’t call me S.A.D. “Self Abuse Director” for nothing!  Below is a “memo” I found from high school from my buddy Dave who would find me running alongside the road in sleet storms during High School…

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Went back to work Wed Jan 2 and immediately had to organize logistics to fly to JFK and commission our part of a microgrid system Thurs and Friday.  I’ve got customers calling our CEO about impact to the larger project.  The cover picture shows two of our battery systems on top of the future TWA hotel at Terminal 5, JFK airport. Nowhere else I’d rather be on a cold night at midnight than testing and looking at oscilloscopes!  (this is really true – it is fun and I love my job)

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Last time I was down there on the Turner construction site, I got in trouble for not having my OSHA 10 so I spent 6 hours on Jan 1 doing the training, 5 hours Jan 2 and another 2 Jan 3 before passing my test 30 minutes before getting on the airplane!  Admittedly, I could have done a better job doing that over the holiday break.  I had a fantastic break through – just back from 3 weeks on the road and loving every minute of being at home with Kenny and his family.

So, I missed 3 days of my training because of this.  I also had brought all my lunch meals for the two days and got screwed up leaving them in the construction trailer and while on the job site roof, they bought food around 10pm for everyone and I ate a chicken parm sub – definitely NOT in my nutrition plan.  TOTAL FAIL.

The truth is I could not have worked harder though and work was the right call this time.

I am determined to breakthrough this maintenance phase I’ve been in since June and make some real progress in getting leaner and stronger.  Here are my STARTING Pics from this morning.  If I don’t start losing fat, I am dropping macros next week:

Comparison from over a month ago below – I have gotten way stronger arms (as viewed from the front anyway) since I’ve been able to lift more but not much different.

For now, I’m back on track with workout done today, food prepped for the week and a plan to help with my back issues.  I HAVE TO FIX MY LOWER BACK SORENESS!  I made a posterior chain workout routine and had my physical therapist take a look/comment on it.  I’m working it and hoping to make some progress…It’s still hard to put on my socks every morning!

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Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass and an ultra finish,

Laura

 

Official Training Day 1: Run Test

Dec 17, 2018 Official start of training for the Spartan Killington Ultra Sat Sept 14!!

Food: Following RP template base, this was a light day

Workout:  Run test (pic above after) per my coach

Completed 3.2 miles in the dark with my hand torch and smiley lights:

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Gear:  Used new TICKRx heart rate monitor using Wahoo Runfit App.  I did an experiment of data from Fitbit vs. TICKRx and here’s how it compares. In summary Fitbit is about 10 BPM slower than TICKRx and does not provide cadence data:

Fitbit used with Fitbit app
(started first, shutoff last)
TICKRx used with Wahoo Runfit App
Mile splits 9:43 mile 1
9:25 mile 2
9:08 mile 3
9:23
9:21
9:00
Avg pace/mile 9:22 9:12
Heart rate avg/max 147/160 157/169
Dist 3.18 3.22
Total time 29:50:00 29:39:00
Cadence no data 155 SPM
How I felt Great although slugging down 20g protein powder in vita-coco made me feel a little queasy!

I also have both uploading to Strava so wanted to see what happened.  Only the fitbit uploaded for now…..

AAARGH!  I was trying to see if I could break the 9:00 min mile barrier and did a mile in 9:00…..I did mile 2 and because the runfit app talks to me each mile with my pace (finally!  have been trying to have fitbit do that for months) and heard mile 2 was 9:21 so really tried to pick it up.  My fastest time before this for a mile was 8:54 and had 9:07 at the end of six miles around Sept.

I am always scared.  Was scared before I did this – don’t know why as worst that could happen is I go out too hard and die, which would be a lesson learned based on what pace I was at.  I’ve done this distance a ton of times.  Ben Bergeron classifies fear as being a fear for your life/safety (which despite being dark was not) or a fear of not belonging to the pack.  Since I am not really part of a running pack, not sure that these categories are accurate.  Maybe I’m just afraid of failure even if it is just me looking – and I firmly believe in the wise saying that Success (or courage) is moving from failure to failure with equal enthusiasm (quoted from Churchill, Lincoln?).  I liked Ben Bergerons statement about not worrying if you’re nervous before something as it just means your body is getting ready – that made me feel better last week when I had to speak at an energy conference!

I got my first indoor trainer a week ago, the KICKr CORE and have it and our rowing machine setup downstairs with TV so that I can use the Zwift racing app.  I have no idea what the parts of a bike are called how to change a tire, patch a tire and am still confused on the gearing.  I did a 20 mile Zwift ride through London and got stuck on a hill trying to figure out how to lower the gear….need a cheat sheet for left vs. right gears and top/bottom levers on each side.   Took us a few hours to get it assembled and setup with Zwift, and then more time to see how to upload to Strava.

My butt is killing me today.  I need something to hold my phone on my bicycle handlebars and need to try to sync the cadence tomorrow during the bike trial as I believe the TICKERx will get that data vs. buying a cadence sensor.

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Here’s to day 1 in the books and a little stretching/yoga to follow!

Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass,

Laura

Shoutout to the BHE: Best Husband Ever

Kenny Donahue has listened to me every morning for the past year as I weigh myself and make a few comments in the morning, as I put on my fitbit and read out loud the little motivational message it gives, as I catcall him every morning while he’s in the shower, as I tell him every day I am so happy I am back to normal and puts up with me coming home after 8pm because I’m working out after work and have a two hour round trip commute, eating a limited set of food (much of which he doesn’t eat so we are cooking separately a lot), having patience while I’ve done physical therapy every night rolling around in the living room, helping me weigh and cooking me food per my plan being supportive, and being so self confident while I surround myself with a set of jacked men as my support team 🙂

My handsome, sweet, funny, smart, gentle man – thanks babe!