Archive for exercise

Holy Cross Fit, Batman!

My fingers can barely hit the keys.  My arms want to slump back to the sides of my body and stay there forever.  The major muscle groups of my body feel like jello.  The culprit?  Cross Fit.

This morning I went to my strength & core gymsperiment.  I have taken this class once before from a sub, so it was a little choppy and I didn’t really get a good feel as to whether or not I would like it. I really wanted to try it from the original instructor. I walked in and there was a sub, again.  Judi, the sub, quickly stated, “Jenn said you were a willing group and I could do whatever I wanted with you guys.”  So she proceed to lead us through her typical Cross Fit class.  Seriously, Holy Cross Fit, Batman!  I may never walk again.  First she made us do two straight minuets of push ups.  I started all on my toes and shit, but ended on my knees begging for mercy.  From there we shot into sit ups for two minutes.  When I was in high school, we would take the presidential physical fitness test, and we had one minute to do as many sit ups as possible.  I could always do something like 50 in a minute.  I looked like a yo-yo popping up and down.  Today I did 30 in two minutes.  I guess two babies and 22 years of avoiding ab work has caused my yo-yo to lose some of its string.  After that she started us on this crazy plan:  some insane exercise for one minute followed by a minute of rest.  So one minute of “thrusters” (squats with weights), one minute of squats, one minute jumping off and on my step, one minute of throwing my body onto the ground and then hopping back up.  We did this three times.  After the third one I thought, thank God, I survived, at least I can go home now.  Judi had other plans for us.  My brain must have blocked some of this because I can’t really remember what we did.  I know we counted backwards, and there was a bar raised over my head.   And I know it’s difficult to raise or even use my arms now.  But after that we did get to stretch and go home. : )

Would I do this again?  I think I would if I knew what I was getting into from the start.  Having it sprung on me was a bit challenging, especially since my knee doesn’t always want to track right.  Seriously, this class could have been called Squats 101, and that is hard when you have knee issues.  On the flip side, if I’m ever going to be like Batman, able to jump from tall buildings without injury, then I need more cross fit.  I’m looking forward to feeling sore in a few hours.  And maybe this class has inspired me to get out there and go run.  Running seems much easier than this insanity.  I have been avoiding running since Haulin’ Aspen on Sunday.  Today’s advice: Find your inner Batman!  You’re not working hard enough until you start yelling HOLY COW!

Gymsperiment: Water Aerobics

I hate the gym.  Over the years I have had many friends take me to classes, or offer to join the gym with me.  I have always said, No.  Perhaps I just fear that if I go into one of those classes I’ll look ridiculous.  This summer we’re doing daily swim lessons at the gym.  In order to “legally” go to the pool after lessons and swim, I decided to buy a family gym membership.  Along with this pass I have decided to conduct a “gymsperiment.”  For the month of August I am going to try different classes in the hopes that I will find something that I enjoy doing.

Yesterday I ran the new seven miler at Haulin’ Aspen.  Traditionally, the day after a race is supposed to be for rest.  With that in mind, I thought, Water Aerobics is like rest, right? That is unless you have a teacher who expects perfection:  she doesn’t want to see you bouncing when you should be walking, or making fists when you should be creating more resistance by using open hands.  I had no idea how hard core water aerobics was.  I guess I owe my mom an apology (for many things) “I’m sorry I ever doubted that H2O class was less than exercise.”  To make matters worse, I was greedily taking advice from the 60 plus year old woman next to me who was schooling my butt.  She offered one tidbit of advice early on and then I just hounded her every time the instructor gave us a new assignment.  She attends class everyday!  Her last bit of advice was, “Buy water shoes so you stop slipping.”  Yes, it was like dancing on a slip slide for a complete hour.  And every time I tried to get away with slacking off a little, either the instructor or my new dance partner would come over and correct my form.

If I decide to try it again, I think I’ll have to attempt the deep end.  After class the instructor told me, “Make sure you stretch your calf muscles all day, you’ll be surprised how much of a workout this was.”  So much for resting my legs.  Maybe I’ll sleep in tomorrow.

Good Thoughts:

1. I finished 34 out of 51 women in the 7-miler at Haulin’ Aspen.

2. Rob took the kids on a breakfast picnic while I was racing.  I think they’ll talk about it until they re 20.  It was adorable.

Haulin’ Aspen

We arrived at Miller Elementary just in time to wait in the 10 minute port-a-potty line. Luckily our 7 miler didn’t start for another 40 minutes. After re-locating our water bottles we made our way to the start line to watch the half marathoners take off. I didn’t recognize the crowd. After doing so many races around town, I usually know a few people, but today had a different feel. The crowd was young. And I think they were out-of-towners. They had that oxygen-deprived look in their eyes. And they seemed to be panting ever so slightly as they crossed the street to enter the trail. I’m still amazed that I can run 10 miles at this altitude, but find I’m out of breath at the top of my stairs.  I watched from the sidewalk and cheered for runners.  I even saw someone I knew, a first timer–Anna.  Afterward, I sat down on the curb and waited for my race to start.  The cutest woman came over to me looking very concerned and said, “Aren’t you going?  The race started!”  I love moms.  I gently explained that I was in the next race, the half of a half marathon race. I sat on my curb and found my locals.  The ever awe inspiring Connie, and many other friendly faces from the learn to run group.  We found more friendly learn to runners working as volunteers along the way.  It felt great to find smiling faces.  The first four miles were on Phill’s trail, which is where I ran the Dirty Half in June, so I tried to remember to keep my feet up .  It was a true roller coaster with lots of short steep inclines and declines.  I felt great unless the sun got through the trees. That’s when I remembered to pour water over my head instead of in my mouth.  Once we found the first (and only) water station I realized we were only about two and half miles away from the finish line.  I dumped water on my head and took off into the heart of Shevlin Park.  At one point we found a perfectly tree-lined path to run down and we crossed the river on a rail-less bridge carved out of a fallen tree-trunk. I absolutely love running in Shevlin Park.  At the mile six marker I paused to check on my friend and have a quick sip of water.  The trail in front of me was flat and familiar, I knew there was nothing but a nice long flat stretch and a short, but steep decline to the finish.  Something in me clicked and I took off.  According to my Nike plus band I ran an 8.30 mile.  It probably had me confused with someone else, but I have to admit I couldn’t believe how quickly me feet and legs were moving.  As I ran down into the crowd and over the finish line I felt great.  I even had a beer and ate some brownies before catching the shuttle back to my car.  If you’re in Bend in August you should try the Haulin’ Aspen race.  Next year, I think I’ll run the half, who knows maybe by then I’ll be running marathons.  This is where you roll on the ground laughing.

Kids Duathlon

Running is a positive action.  I don’t always want to go and sometimes I roll my eyes and shake my head because I don’t want to wake up at 5:30 to go running, but afterwards I feel great.  I have learned a lot about myself from this journey: I’m naturally lazy, I actually enjoy long runs, having a dog isn’t horrible they’re good company on runs, I feel stronger and healthier, and I want my kids to be active adventurers. Last weekend the kids got a triple-dose of race day activities. They watched me finish my 10K race at the Deschutes Dash, they competed in the Splash and dash, and they watched their dad bike and run at the Duathlon.  I love having this opportunity to influence my kids at a young age.

A few nights ago W & G wanted to ride bikes after dinner at the park.  It was early and super sunny still, so we ventured across the street and took advantage of the cool night air.  All of a sudden the park was transformed into a transition area and race track.  My 6 year old started barking out orders, “M-O-M, you’re the timer.  Ginger, we run one lap, bike the next, and then run again!”  “OK Wyatt, but I don’t like that big dirty loop.”  Replied his sister.   They ran 1/4 mile, biked 1/4 mile, ran 1/4 mile. They used the water fountain as their aid station, made me the timer, and yelled as they ran into their transition area, “I’m transitioning onto my bike now!”  It was beautiful.  Wyatt finished in 10:57 and Ginger finished in 8:50 (she took a shorter path after her first run to avoid the “dirty part of the loop”). When the race was over they biked timed sprints.  I am so happy to have taught them that participating in sports can be fun and good for you.

And I will forever have the image of Ginger running in the dirt in her pink skirt and red sparkling shoes.

As Light as a Feather as Stiff as a Board

Remember middle school sleepovers?  We would hold seances, contact spirits over the ouija board, and then lift each other up and over our heads with only one finger, chanting “As light as a feather, as stiff as a board.”  I fear that I am going to feel as stiff as a board later today.  Last week in attempt to increase our pace we added fartleks to our weekly routine, which is basically running at max speed for a determined distance.  Last week, we ran to stop signs, houses, corners, yard gnomes, or parked cars and then walked in between to get our heart rate back down.  This morning we decided to run in between our sprints.  I’m glad we did it, because the extra running made our sprints much more difficult to sustain.  And I really felt like I was accomplishing something when I’d made it to our end spot.  I also found it difficult to go back to my slow pace.  My body was ready to run, so I think that it will ultimately increase my overall pace, which is the goal.

After our first round of fartleks last week I was sore everywhere.  To the point that I must have said out loud, “I can’t believe my abs are sore.  I can’t believe my legs are so sore.  I can’t believe my butt is so sore.”  Finally I opened up my mouth to discuss my sore bootie again and Rob just started laughing.  When I asked him why it was funny he said, “You’ve said it at least a hundred times.”  I tried to refrain from saying it anymore, but I was still thinking it.   So today  I am eagerly awaiting the stiffness to creep over me.  I love that feeling.  It makes you feel alive and it reminds you that you did something hard and succeeded.  Maybe I’ll do some quick yoga or deep stretching before anyone else wakes up to decrease the stiffness.   I highly recommend a sprint day.  It almost feels like a day off from running!  Just remember to be as light as a feather as you run, and be prepared to feel stiff. Maybe that night you should invite your old middle school friends over for a seance and lift.

Good Thoughts:

1. I’m all signed up for Haulin’ Aspen, and now I have an itch to run the half marathon instead of the 8 miler.  I must be crazy.

2. Last night my kids had their own duathlon at the park.  Super cute!

3. Rob is all about riding his bike again.  I’m so happy for him.

4. I’m going to try to alter my diet today, I’m ready to drop some weight.  Any suggestions?

Lap Swim

After swim class I decided it was time to venture into the 50 meter lap pool.  I have just finished a good lesson and I feel pretty confident.  My friend and I walk over to the lap pool, find 2 empty lanes and slowly slide in. Instantly I am overwhelmed by the pool.  I can barely catch my breath to even begin my lap.  I start swimming slow and steady.  As I approach the drop off to the deep end, I start to panic.  I grab the ropes and pull myself to a stop.  My friend does the same.  We stand there at the abyss laughing nervously. Finally I catch my breath and complete my lap.  I cling to the side of the pool, hovering above the deep end and under the diving board.  I feel both terrified and terrific.  I know I have to swim back to the other side of the pool, my towel is there, and the wind is blowing so hard above the water that it’s too cold to walk back.  Besides, I can’t be a wuss.  I can do it!  So I push off, determined to swim the entire way, even if I have to float on my back.  I freestyle for the first half, as I see the floor re-emerge below my legs I move into a slow breast stroke, keeping my head above water to refill my lungs.  And then I find my hands landing on the end of the pool.  I did it.  I made it back to the beginning, one full lap.  I cannot believe how winded I am after one lap.  I ran a half marathon, and yet I am winded.  Then I remember, swimming is a completely different sport, different muscles, different panic triggers.  I am so happy that I am trying this new sport.  I am so intimidated by swimming.  I will prevail.  I will conquer this fear.

“So you look good Coming and Going”

Apparently running a half marathon takes a lot out of you.  Our one day of rest on Monday is now going onto day three of rest.  I think my friend Jen had the perfect reason for not running yet, “I feel like my feet are broken.”  Thankfully I feel pretty good, so I have been experimenting with new exercise videos.  Y’know the ones friends lent you, or that you bought on impulse after watching the infomercial for 10 minutes.  My favorite tape, which I regrettably don’t own, is Buns of Steal.  I just love it when Greg Smithey says, “So you look good coming and going.”  Wait, I’m still laughing.

My collection consists of: P90X, Turbo Jam, Wii Fit, Wii Jillian Michaels, some random Pilates and Yoga DVDs by Gaiam, Michelle Khai’s Kettlenetics (which I completely forgot about until I opened my workout dvd case),and the complete Windsor Pilates series.  Please do not do the math.  I have decided to start with Turbo Jam for two reasons: 1. There is a 10 day jump start program that says you should lose 10 pounds or 10 inches or 10 days of your life right a way.  and 2. It’s my friends set and I’ve had it for months without trying it.  I either need to do it or return it.  And I just hate returning something that might make me look stupid hot without trying it.

Yesterday I did the “learn & burn” CD.  Luckily it was 6 o’clock in the morning and no one was watching me, because I know I didn’t look nearly as cool as the Asian chick on the top step or the creator’s little sister who never broke a sweat and smiled blissfully the entire time.  I think I probably did look better than the guy with the long pony tail.  He just creeped me out, and we never got to see his abs, so. . . maybe they needed a guy and grabbed him off the street?  Still I’m ready to give it 10 days.  I’m even going to try to follow the eating plan for 10 days, so I guess we’re off to the grocery store to stock up on wheat germ and protein powder.  Yum!