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

 

 

 

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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

Fu***** Goggins – 4030 pullups in 17 hours

I know I’m always a little late to the party and just found out about this guy David Goggins – ex Navy Seal and Army Ranger etc.  I was listening to him on a podcast and then heard a few things that blew me away and now I’m a big fan.  One is that he did 4030 pullups in 17 hours – that is one of the things that made my jaw drop – never thought anyone could do this.  It, like the Iron Cowboy who did 50 ironmans in 50 days, makes me want to think bigger.

Watch the video below….. This guy Jesse Itzler had Goggins live/train him for one month and it is about the things he had him do.  The motto is basically you have to do things that suck every day.  One of things that made an impression is that there are long races with several folks on a team doing relays over very long distances and Jesse met him because he saw Goggins doing it alone 🙂  Message is real – we hold ourselves back mentally.  I remember when I thought 150 wallballs was a crazy amount and now I do it all the time.

So I’ve organized our company to see how long it will take all of us to do 4000 pullups.  A guy is bringing a pullup bar tomorrow.  My preference was to have one in the main doorway to cubeland and you’d have to do one to enter but I think we’ll put it on a conference door adjacent.  Strict form only, hands under or over but no kipping allowed.  Whiteboard to track folks….

I did 80 last night with blue band and 80 pushups last night as I have to get back to doing regular pullups!  This will also selfishly help me get to that goal if I can train during work also 🙂

Also, got Kenny motivated last night – he is working on getting jacked and back in shape also.  Look at this back!

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Ride on (you Zwifters know what I’m talking about!)

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

 

The gear you need…and then comes the work

The following is a summary of the gear necessary (so far) for my ultra training and for managing nutrition:

Clothes – Running, Cycling, Crossfit

  • Bike shorts – I am biking in week 3 and my bottom still hurts!  My athletic girlfriend says use triathlon shorts and do not wear underwear….
  • Compression tights – I am a fan of Athleta and having tights with an easily accessible pocket to pull your phone in and out of during runs (NOT the zippers).  If you get tights going just below knee, make sure the lowest band is 2″ wide or it can cut into your leg/back of your knee.  If under 25F, I’ll wear my pair with fleece inside else these are good for normal winter days in New England.
  • A good sports bra – nothing moves in this thing!  I get this “Anita” bra – no underwire WHICH WILL CHAFE AND HURT YOU! at Copley Mall at a store called Rigby and Peller.  If you have underwire, use body butter or something or you will get a burn eventually.
  • I’ll wear cotton shirts for crossfit workouts but if running or hiking, I’ll wear wicking shirts.  I’ve found that one long sleeved shirt plus one medium weight fleece is all you need down to 10F with hat and gloves.
  • I’m in love with smartwool shirts although they have to be the lightest weight to wear to crossfit and you don’t want to get too hot running.
  • I don’t wear gloves unless its below 32F.
  • Good socks – I love Thorlos and also just bought some smartwool and balega socks to try out.  Thorlos have the most cushion so are good for walking around the house and seem to be the least tight as well.
  • Shoes – I like minimalist shoes and use innov8

Running Gear

  • Night visibility equipment:  hand torch with front and rear lights, clip on lights (my favorite are the smiley faces), a high vis vest I also wear in the daytime on every run, a light “harness” which blinks and changes colors, headlamp.
  • For tracking of heart rate, running foot cadence (pace in foot strikes/minute) I am using a Wahoo TICKR chest heart rate monitor that feeds data to a Wahoo Runfit App.  Results for Runt app in first pic and results for fitbit in next three.  RUNFIT is better because fitbit heart rate doesn’t seem accurate once it is high.  The results below are for the same run –

HR issue:  RUNFIT says avg HR 127 with max 154, FITBIT says avg 145 with max 164.

RUNFIT also gives you minutes/mile by mile, cadence and a map of your run. I LOVE that RUNFIT will talk to me and tell me every time I hit a mile and my HR and last mile time in additional to overall time.

FITBIT has a better map showing each mile point.

The problem with using your phone GPS (either with Fitbit or Runfit) is that it runs the battery down fast – I have an iphone and before a 70 min run today, it was at 60% and barely lasted the run.  This will be what forces me to switch over to a Garmin device with longer battery life when workouts get longer!

 

Cycling Gear

  • You don’t need this specific trainer but I got a KICKR Core Smart trainer that I bought with the appropriate cassette (rear gears) for my bike.
  • My Specialized Ruby bike (without rear tire)
  • Application I use to do runs and be with other humans vs. alone in my basement is Zwift.
  • Using the Zwift application on my phone, I mirror results to the tv through Apple tv.
  • The Zwift phone app (or on your computer) will find any sensors you are using and your smart trainer.
  • Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor- if it isn’t picking up your heart rate, move the sensor down on your body.  My bra was blocking it for awhile before I figured this out.
  • Wahoo cadence sensor (for pedal turns/minute).  The RPM shown in the application without this sensor is not your pedal turns.
  • Sweat Towel
  • Extension Cord to charge your phone and a phone holder to put onto the bicycle handlebars

Overall Setup (we also have a Concept2 Rower):

From the left, a Wahoo cadence sensor (this is one piece only, no mating piece needed to determine cadence), iphone charger and handlebar holder, appletv, wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor.

Other miscellaneous Gear

  • A good journal is indispensable – there doesn’t seem to be one answer to recording all that you do…cycling is in wahoo app (which uploads to strava), crossfit is nowhere I like, running is runfit (which uploads to Strava).  I use a journal to document things I am learning and all I do day to day along with my wall calendar for high level.
  • Jump rope for warmups
  • Fitibit Charge to stay connected with my family – we have weekly step challenges I love plus I was using it for running when I just cared about distance and mile pace which it does a great job at.  Fitbit also give you cool, uplifting messages in the morning when you put it back on after a shower!  It is NOT waterproof
  • A weight bench, 45 lb bar when I have to do a strength or crossfit type workout at home
  • Pullup bars upstairs on a bedroom door
  • Ring rows next to the weight bench
  • Last but not least, a good bed!  We just spent a ridiculous amount on a Sleep Number bed with adjustable base so we can go into zero gravity position.  Got it yesterday and you can see us with cat below trying it out.  Sleep Number can have adjustable hardness by side.  We returned a Tempurpedic memory foam mattress we had just gotten.  A good night sleep is so important!

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Meal planning stuff

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  • Food scale and for travel, a portable food scale and collapsible measuring cup
  • Protein powder and shaker bottle with ball or something to help powder mix (i do it with just water)
  • LEAK PROOF containers – I use Six Pack Fitness Containers shown above
  • Good olive oil – I recommend my neighbors’ who imports it (and I know good olive oil from living in Italy) – Johnny Madge
  • Bathroom scale

Hope this helps as I’ve been struggling to accumulate all this stuff over the last year!

There are no excuses – no hurt shoulder – no lack of equipment – it is just me and the 250 days until the race…

Laura

Taking the Shoulder out for a Spin!

NEARING END OF WEEK 2

Rotator cuff shoulder surgery was June 11, 2018 and I got my final surgeon’s clearance on Dec 7.  It is healed but not at full strength.

Well, it has been an exciting few days as I have achieved quite a few firsts since shoulder surgery doing the strength workouts – goal is to increase weight slowly then if no shoulder pain, increase again.  The mental issue is that there is no prescribed way to go from not doing these to knowing when you can do them and how much weight to use post surgery.  I decided to take the shoulder out for a spin!  I never know if I’m being smart or wimpy with what I do (or don’t do)…. Huge results this week:

  • First time doing Back squat with weights – did 105#, 10 reps (a little challenging)
  • First time doing Wallballs – 150 total with 8# ball.  Very excited about this! Favored right arm a little on catch and push up.
  • Increased Bench press – 75# (easy)
  • First time doing Dead hangs with full weight (no scap pullups yet) – 30 reps.  Needs a good warmup to settle in with partial weight at first – hard to make it comfortable but did it.  Hung from the bar for 2.25 minutes.
  • First time 25# kettlebells 3×12 reps.  Note that early Dec I tried lighter KBs and stopped because I could feel a twinge in the shoulder and now nothing!  What a difference a few weeks makes. patience (not my strong point)

Also, the pose running method started to make more physical sense as I change from a heel striker to a foot ball then heel kiss kind of gal.  I could actually easily do the ball/heel sequence best while running leaning against a wall – this was great as I know what it’s supposed to feel like now.  I also realized that you have to pick up your knees (do proper pose form) to make it work.  Loved that I had a running routine focused on just practicing this (and the sore calves to prove it!!).

Since I’ve been running, I’ve also had some pretty bad lower back soreness (causing me to dread putting on socks in the morning as it’s so stiff) and despite doing a long list of posterior chain mobility, it took this video below to fix it in 5 minutes!!  I’ll be doing all of these daily from now on as well as continuing my other mobility work.  I was working these two painful areas with a lacrosse ball earlier to no avail (as he states in the video!).

 

It’s also been fun to put myself in different gears for once – for a long time I just run with one speed (and OK, get gassed out during the shuttle runs we do sometimes in crossfit) and my new coach and workouts have me varying pace with heart rate.  Two examples below.  First is when I run pretty easy, then do a few accels.  Second was my pose running practice starting at a lower HR and then moving into a higher one for the end of the run.

 

 

I am also back into my strict nutrition plan using the RP templates.  Treating almost all days as light days for now as I try to cut back a little. Have been stagnating at ~140 lbs for a while now.  This picture on my fridge is helping me make the right nutrition decisions….I ate perfectly for 7 months and have been struggling being super strict the last few months but think I am back now.

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Meditation:  I’ve been reading this book and starting to practice for 10-20″ a day.

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  • First time I was scattered and all over the place – 10 min was very hard.
  • Second time 10″ was a snap and went by quickly with a good idea that came to me
  • Tried 20″ which was difficult and ended up the last 3 min under a blanket by the fire but did the 20″.

Loved the quietness though and sitting in front of my crackleflame log (which Kenny says doesn’t belong in the state of NH).

Following the rules:  This my thing.  I’ve always been good at studying and doing the work.  I was not a good student this week –

  • missed the Monday workout because it was changed from a rest day to a work day and I didn’t read the updated schedule carefully enough.
  • Did the wrong strength workout (turns out the Monday one) a different day so am doing a makeup of the Wednesday one on Saturday.
  • Thought the 10 x 1′ on 1′ off intervals meant 10″ of them not 10 reps so I ended up doing the last 3 on the bike as I wasn’t going back out in the cold rain again.  The cover of this blog is me after the run workout with all my lights, running on icy roads in the cold, cold rain.

Having the time of my life 🙂  Dark night, icy road, cold rain – bring it on!

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Clean eating, honest reporting and en route to badass,

Laura

Perils of Technology and Cadence vs. Heart Rate – Dec 23, 2018

My first official week of training is complete.  Right in the middle of it I got a really bad cold so was out for 3 days sleeping – trying to convince my coach I am not a slacker…. after the Run and Bike tests, I got a first pass at my target heart rate zones and spent the last two days trying to train in the lower part of the zones.  I totally get it, most people go all out all the time and overtrain so Z2 will seem lower than I think/lower than I normally run or bike.

Bike

Endurance Training Zone

Metabolic Training Purposes

per Zone

Perceived Exertion

per Zone

MHR%

per Zone

Your

Heart Rates

per Zone

Zone 1 (Z1) Recovery, Warm-up, & Cool-down Very light; you feel like you are doing nothing < 61% < 93
Zone 2 (Z2) Extensive Aerobic Endurance Training Comfortable; you feel like you could go all day 61-70% 94-106
Zone 3 (Z3) Intensive Aerobic Endurance Training Manageable; you feel you are working, but you feel no pain 71-80% 107-121
Zone 4 (Z4)

Anaerobic Threshold Endurance Training

Hard; you feel burning in your muscles and chest 81-90% 122-143
Zone 5 (Z5) Lactate Tolerance Endurance Training Very hard; you are in pain and want to stop > 90% > 144

Run

Endurance Training Zone Metabolic Training Purposes

per Zone

Perceived Exertion

per Zone

MHR%

per Zone

Your

Heart Rates

per Zone

Zone 1 (Z1) Recovery, Warm-up, & Cool-down Very light; you feel like you are doing nothing < 61% < 103
Zone 2 (Z2) Extensive Aerobic Endurance Training Comfortable; you feel like you could go all day 61-70% 104-118
Zone 3 (Z3) Intensive Aerobic Endurance Training Manageable; you feel you are working, but you feel no pain 71-80% 119-135
Zone 4 (Z4)

Anaerobic Threshold Endurance Training

Hard; you feel burning in your muscles and chest 81-90% 136-150
Zone 5 (Z5) Lactate Tolerance Endurance Training Very hard; you are in pain and want to stop > 90% > 151

This is how I did:

Bike – supposed to do an hour in Z2 ~100 bpm at a 90 cadence (right foot) with a few accels into Z3 ~115.  I used Zwift and a NYC course which had some unexpected steep hills so had to change midway through…

Results:

HR = 114 avg (vs. target 100 bpm) and I did manage to keep it ~100 for some of the time.  But it had to be so easy that sometimes my w/kg (level of effort on bike) was so low the app thought I had stopped!  I don’t have a good cadence monitor for bike yet but we did metronome for a bit and I was way slower than 90 with right foot.

Run – this felt way further off despite a serious attempt to run slow.  Mind you, I had just watched a youtube video where a trainer who was explaining pose method was making fun of crossfit folks who did their runs in the middle of a metcon almost shuffling out the door.  I really struggled keeping my form OK (knees higher, cadence 180) and my heart rate low.

Results:

Avg HR/bpm = avg 123 with max 158. (vs target 104-118/151).  Note fitbit avg = 145, max 167

Cadence per TICKRx 153-157 (vs. target 180).  During accels I was at 180.

Also, runfit app didn’t seem to display right so I eventually gave up and just tried to run slow and relaxed to see what happened in the end.

Conclusions/Lessons Learned:  I need to learn how to run/ride easy and how to use this technology !

A Journey in Professional and Personal Continuous Improvement

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