Level 9

I’m always happy to get in a good strength training session at CrossFit, especially when it involves my legs.  I feel more comfortable each week that I’m able to accomplish the workout.  Wish I could go more often, but I do need to make time to run, and with work, you know how that goes.  This week, as part of the warmup we did Front Squats.  I used a 75 lbs barbel.  We had to do 7 sets with 5 reps.  I think the last time I did this workout I was only able to squat 55 or 65 lbs.  This is an example of a front squat:

front-squat

The WOD (workout of the day) was only 10 minutes.  It consisted 500m rowing on the stationary rower, 400m run outside and then Hang Power Cleans, as many as you could do for the remainder of the 10 minutes.  I used a 55 lbs barbel and was able to do 62 reps.  My thighs were pretty sore for the next few days.  It’s weird because I like the soreness.  It just means I have to look forward to building muscle.  Here’s an example of the hang power cleans:

This week I was really bad about getting enough sleep, and I remembered that I wrote that as one of my “Steps for Success” in the beginning of the Training Journal. I’ve also been overeating junk food a bit too much recently.  So since it’s a new week, I am re-reading my goals and steps to make this week successful.  I already started out with a terrific long run, but I’ll talk about that next post.  Here’s how Level 9 went:

  • Sunday – Key Run 80 easy with my girl G.  Avg 10:04 min/mi.  The weather was somewhat decent 79° and 89% humidity.  I actually felt pretty sluggish starting out, but once warmed up I felt ok.
  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – Key Run Fartlek 3 brisk 2 easy, 8x.  Had to be done after work.  It was 88° and sunny.  The heat was disgusting, and ended up walking during the “easy pace” intervals.  I actually was pretty happy and comfortable with the brisk paces.  When I got home I did PiYo DVDs; 20 minutes upper body and 20 minutes lower body.
  • Wednesday – Cross-Train + run 15 easy.  This was CrossFit day (as mentioned above) and the warmup already consisted of some running drills anyway.
  • Thursday – Rest.  Legs were way too sore for anything.
  • Friday - 40 minutes with 6×20 sec strides.  Had a good steady pace for the most part.  It was 82° overcast with 74% humidity.  My fast strides could have been a bit faster, but I attribute that to the leg soreness.
  • Saturday – Rest

This week I threw out my  blue Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 shoes.  They were my first pair of runners I got fitted for.  It was bittersweet.  I tried to hang onto them to wear to work but my feet were too achy by the end of each day, and I knew it was time to just let them go.  They will be missed :(

I can’t believe I’m already on Level 10!  That leaves me to 10 weeks for the half marathon and 21 weeks to the Disney Marathon!

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Level 8: And Running Rivals

Runners are funny people.  They’re helpful and encouraging to each other, but they also can be competitive against each other.  I know, because I can be too.  When I trained for my first half marathon, I knew going in that I was going to run with one of my friends.  I followed her on RunKeeper, (she lived in a different city so we couldn’t run together) and at the time she was training while pushing a stroller.  That was one of the things that made me get out and go on my training runs knowing  she was training hard.

Well, about a year ago a co-worker told me about someone she knew that also was a runner and that I should check out that person’s page on a social network site, and maybe I could run with them sometime, if we were at the same fitness level.  (Can you tell I’m trying hard not to give too much away about the person?)  Well, I finally broke 2 hours in the half marathon last December, and that person also did earlier this year.  So I’ve been following them and their races.  Well, today, for the first time, I actually saw this person on the trail I normally run.  It actually fired up that little competitor in me again.  I signed up for a race in the fall knowing that this person is also running that race.  I guess you can say they’re my running rival, they just don’t know it, ha.

Also a weird thing happened a couple weeks ago.  I was doing an A.T. run, it was just going to be 5 miles.  I started with a 10 minute warmup, it was about an 11 min/mi.  There’s an older Asian woman I frequently see on the trail that always looks hard core.  She passed me during my warmup.  When it came time to bump up my speed, I passed her since she was maintaining her same pace.  I figured I’d see her again when I came to my turn-around point, but I never did until the very end of my run.  She said hello, and asked me how far I ran.  I said 5 miles, she replied, “Only 5?  I ran 5 too, I ran up here and back and ran down that street and up this street…”  I was just thinking, OK….  and?  I smiled politely at her.  We exchanged names, she asked what race I was training for, I told her the Disney Marathon, she said she was running that one also.  She said she was from Thailand and she wanted to send her friend a video of herself running.  So she gave me her phone and I recorded her running past and running back.  She thanked me, I said it was nice meeting her….  I saw her on the trail today, but we made no eye contact.  LOL.

I read an interesting article a few weeks ago on the Runners World website about getting a running rival to help push yourself to train harder and give yourself motivation to get out there.  It’s so important to remember that in a sport like running, you are constantly competing with yourself, and that can be motivation enough.  But it’s also very fun to add in an actual person to compete against (even if it’s in secret).

I had another hectic work week where I had to stay late a couple days, and because we were involved with music practice, I missed out on some CrossFit classes and runs.  I made due with enough points though.  Here’s Level 8:

  • Sunday – Key Run 75 minutes.  81° 89% humidity.  Having an awesome running partner, G, makes the time pass so much quicker.  She ran with me for 60 minutes then headed off to a Jazzercise class, (that girl is hard core!), I finished the last 15 minutes alone, but all-in-all it was a great run, I felt comfortable.  I pre-fueled this time with a chocolate peanut butter Gu.  First time I tried that one, and I really enjoyed it.
  • Monday – Cross-train, PiYo video workout.  I did a 30 minute “Hard Core on the Floor” workout.  It’s basically core muscle workout that’s mostly on the floor.  It probably wasn’t the best idea since my abs still hurt from my Ab Mat workout in CrossFit last week, but I guess it can only make me stronger.
  • Tuesday - Track workout 1200m Repeats.  10 min warm-up 1200m, jog 3, repeat 6x.  This run was awful.  It was 78° with 89% humidity.  The first interval was doable, but there was a cloud covering the sun.  After the first set the sky was suddenly clear, and there is hardly shade where this track is located.  Each interval became more and more painful with the sun blazing on me.  I only managed to do 4 sets, and thought maybe I should try running in another area of the park that was shaded, but I had nothing left in me.  I am still counting this run and it’s points because I feel like I’m justified by the heat factor….  I’m sticking with that ;)
  • Wednesday – rest
  • Thursday – A.T Run 10 easy, 30 brisk, 10 easy.  It was stormy outside so I took my run indoors on the treadmill.  Since it was post-work time, there was actually a line-up for the treadmills, in which case you’re only allowed to do 20 minutes out of courtesy for others.  I did a 10 minute warm-up and set my pace to run the next 10 minutes faster.  When I looked out the window it looked like the heavy rain hadn’t started so I decided  to try running outside.  It was drizzling slightly and cooler, but lightning was flashing everywhere.  I could feel little pulsations of adrenaline each time it did.  I felt really great for the last 20 minutes and then the cool down.
  • Friday and Saturday were very busy days, so I rested.

I feel really good about going into level 9.  22 weeks until Disney, 11 weeks until Lake Nona Half.

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Level 7: Reloaded after a Recovery week

“Listen to your body” The Level Up Training Plan and Journal frequently tells me throughout the book. They recommend a recovery week every 4 weeks. But, once I got started on the plan, I didn’t feel like I had enough weeks to do the plan and fit in all the recovery weeks. So I figured it was OK to skip one early on. Definitely not a good idea. After my long work week and skimping on some sleep for a few days, when the 70 minute key run came that Sunday, there was not much left in me. I ate well and hydrated well the day before. But when it came to the run I felt extremely sluggish and fatigued. I usually get up pretty easily even early morning, but I found the few days after it was getting tough and I was getting to work a bit later than normal. My husband said, “When’s the last time you took a rest week?” “I haven’t yet. I was trying to catch up for lost fitness,” I replied.  We both agreed that it was probably better for me to take that much-needed rest week. So, instead of doing a prescribed “recovery week” where you scale down the workouts. I did absolutely nothing. Hubs said, “Take a rest, and think about how strong you’ll feel when you start running again”. Boy, he was right!

This is how my recovery week went:

Sunday: Key Run 70 minutes.  Started out late so it was already 80° and quickly heated up to 85°.  I knew I was going to take my time since it was later, but I felt horrible and tired the whole time.  I partially think it may have been due to a faster paced run the day before.  Even though time and time again I’ve told myself, I know I shouldn’t be doing a tougher workout the day before a long run.  Anyway, I guess that’s what happens when you push yourself too hard.  Here’s the splits from that run.  The last 2 miles were especially tough.  I just tried to keep trucking along.

 level 7

Monday – Saturday: REST.  Much needed rest.

Level 7 Reloaded

Sunday: Key Run 70 minutes.  Felt much better, weather was a couple of degrees cooler but not much.  I definitely felt stronger.  Here’s my splits from that, run, what a difference.  Even ran almost 0.7 miles more!

level 7 redo

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: 50 Brisk.  Had to be done on the dreadmill treadmill.  I couldn’t wake up any earlier before work and strong storm hit after work.  As I ran on the treadmill, looking out the window, it looked like I was standing under a waterfall or something, that’s how hard it was raining and falling off the roof.  The fitness center was warmer than usual, and I didn’t have a fan.  I couldn’t keep my pace consistent, I basically did intervals because I slowed to a half-minute walk breaks.  I watched some shows on Hulu to help pass the time.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: Key Run Goal Pace 1 mile, jog 3:30 (4x).  It was an evening run and after the sun set.  But also after a long day at work and 1.5 hours after eating supper, so I was belching quite a bit.  Started to have side-stitches halfway through.  It was still very humid, and the gnats were driving me crazy.  The jog intervals ended up being jog/walking.

Friday: CrossFit.  It was a ladder of Power cleans and weighted (ABMSU) AB Mat Sit-Ups .  I ripped a little bit of my palm open with the barbell.  Oh CrossFit injuries…  I used a 25 lbs weight.  This is how they’re done.

I did my Power Cleans with a 65 lbs barbell.

We had a 15 minute time limit, I was able to finish in 13:10.  I really need to work on my core.  It was a ladder of reps, so it got easier with each set:

wod

It was actually a pretty fun workout, and a lot of strength training, not so much cardio, I get enough of that ;).

Saturday:  Rest.  I was able to go to a CrossFit competition downtown Orlando, the War on Wall Street.  Some of our coaches and people in my class were competing in it.  It was really fun to watch.  There were a lot of muscly (is that a word?  lol) people in one area.  Downtown smelled like sweat and beer.  Haha.  The team placed in the top 10.  Very impressive for their first competition!

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Level 6 and PiYo

Had a good work week, it was very busy the first half, but thankfully it tapered down the last couple days that I even went home early a couple of times.  I took full advantage and enjoyed some naps, foot massage and chair massage, got my hair done.  As much as I love running and get my “me time” while I’m running, I always try to squeeze in some pampering time and time to relax.  Quite honestly, I sometimes feel like running on a plan can also feel like “work”.

Remember when I told you about my fun dance workout called Turbo Jam, well the creator of that, Chalene Johnson has created another fun workout called PiYo.  The name comes from Pilates and Yoga, so a lot of the moves are derived from those types of workouts.

“PiYo gives you hardcore definition, intense calorie burn, and all over strength—without weights, without jumps, and without destroying your body.”

-Chalene Johnson

Here’s a promo for the series:


 
I’m totally NOT a BeachBody coach or work for that company in any way.  I saw the videos and promos and thought it looked like a fantastic way to workout without high impact.  I get enough of that while running and doing the Turbo Jam videos.  I really wanted to try something that would help me strengthen and tone.  Especially with my busy lifestyle, it seemed like a good idea to fit in the workouts when I had the time.

piyo

I ordered it the beginning of last week and received the kit in the mail a couple of days ago.  It comes with 3 DVDs that have several workouts, a meal plan, a measuring tape, and a bonus workout DVD.  I’ve watched the intro video and did the first leg workout yesterday, and I’m liking it so far.  I’ll have to talk more about it when I get through all the DVDs.

Here’s how Level 6 went for me this week:

  • Sunday – Key Run 65 minutes.  Ate too much the previous days before including some parties where I stuffed my face with desserts and caffeinated drinks.  Had a horrible time getting out of bed and only had 5 hours of sleep.  Felt incredibly tired the whole time, but didn’t feel weak or out of breath.  Lesson learned: avoiding caffeine again and made sure to get to bed on time the rest of the week.
  • Monday – Cross Train Turbo Jam, 40 minutes.  Did it after work.  Felt very high energy and never out of breath, glad I’m getting better at it.
  • Tuesday – Key Run Fartlek 2 min brisk, 3 easy.  Did it after work.  77° and 83% humid and sunny.  Felt my brisk pace of was manageable, but did feel a bit nauseous the last 2 intervals.
  • Wednesday – REST
  • Thursday –  35 easy. got up at 4am to run in the darkness.  Very comfortable pace.  Later in the day I attended CrossFit.  Warmup was a 500 m row, 400 m run.  Workout was Curtis P’s EMOM (every minute on the minute) with 3 ring dips, I used a 55 lbs barbell.  Here’s a good example of the set.  (Hang Squat Clean + Lunge + Lunge + Push Press).
  • Friday – PiYo Intro Alignment video, and PiYo Define Legs video
  • Saturday – A.T Run – 10 min easy, 25 brisk, 10 easy.

Happy that I had a full week.  34 points this week and looking forward to Level 7, now off to work!

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Level 5 and Sleep Cycle

I kept things simple this week.  Since it’s the 5th week/level, I should have taken a recovery week, but the remaining number of weeks doesn’t allow for that, so I made sure I got in the most important workouts.  It was a 48 hour work week and this weekend I had 2 parties to go to, one of them I made cakepops, so that kept my evenings busy the last few nights.

In the first few pages of the Level Up Training journal, you spend some time writing out your fitness goals and brainstorm some steps to take to help you get there.  I like to take the time to read this section before I begin each level.  It’s interesting to read, because it’s basic stuff, but it’s helpful to help you commit to what you’re doing.  This is just a few things I wrote:

  • Go to bed before 10pm every night
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, minimum
  • Plan training days at least 2 weeks in advance
  • Follow the training plan as closely as possible
  • Make the time to run, no matter what

Seriously, so basic.  But it keeps me in check.

Here’s how my this week went:

Sunday: Key Run 60 easy, 5.92 miles.  Very easy, conversational pace.  When I got home, I finished up with some IT Band strengthening exercises, 40 lunges, 40 air squats, and a 20 minute AB Jam workout video.
Monday: Rest.
Tuesday:  Key Run Goal Pace Run: 800m at GP (or goal pace), jog 3; 1 mile at GP, jog 3 (2x).  It was done in the evening at 78 with 91% humidity.  I did the run at 8pm just an hour and a half after I ate supper.  I topped it off with 25 continuous burpees.
Wednesday:  Rest.  Was planning for CrossFit.  Even brought change of clothes to work, but I was the closer, and I had to keep a patient until 6pm, and the class started at 5:45pm.
Thursday:  Run 40 Brisk.  I dreaded this run all week, because I couldn’t imagine going faster for that long.  I woke up at 4am to go since I didn’t know if a storm would hit in the evening, and I knew I needed to run this.  74° and 99% humidity, it was pretty brutal.  I felt pretty good and strong maintaining my pace.  I was so glad when it was over.
Friday: Rest.  Started making cakepops in the evening.  They are time consuming, I don’t think I went to bed until midnight.
Saturday: Rest.  Needed the extra sleep and had 2 parties to go to starting in the morning.  Made these lovely little things for the afternoon party which was for a friend’s little girl.

unnamedSince one of my goals is to sleep a minimum of 7 hours every night, I remembered I have an app on my iPhone called Sleep Cycle.  It’s an awesome app and it’s free!  Did you know you go through about 5 cycles of sleep at night?  Basically this app uses this concept and tries to wake you when you are in a lighter sleep cycle.  If a regular alarm clock wakes you when you’re in deep sleep or REM sleep, you will most likely wake up feeling unrested.  You turn the app on, pick the latest time you want to be awake by and hit start.   You put the phone in bed with you under the top corner of the sheets, and it has to remain plugged in.  The app senses your movement throughout the night.  It senses your sleep cycles as you move throughout the night.  The phone will start to wake you when you are in your lightest sleep cycle, and when you awake you feel rested and refreshed.  I started using it a few years ago, then forgot about it, but I re-started this past Thursday.  Even though I woke up at 4 am, it felt really easy to get up!  It keeps trends of your sleep and even checks your heart rate with the camera and flash.  I don’t entirely feel that the heart rate is an accurate resting rate, because I always feel like it’s a bit of a fuss to get the phone out from under the sheets, so your heart rate goes up a bit.

Level 6 started today, 26 weeks to the Disney Marathon!

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Once Upon a Time, I was a sprinter… (Level 4: with Track Workout)

Hope everyone had a great July 4th! I enjoyed it with some good friends and went to an awesome fireworks show in their community park. We literally sat right under the fireworks, we could feel the particles falling on us. It was a great day.

fireworks

I got out of bed at 6:30 this morning for my last Key Workout: 800m (Run hard at 98%) x 4, 3 min recovery in between each.  Even though the workouts didn’t call for a warm-up, I felt that this early in the morning, I needed one.  I ran for about 10 minutes around the track and started into the first interval.  I tried to go as fast as I could and be breathless, but it was still warm, and 94% humidity, so I was a bit conservative.  I was still quite comfortable, and maybe could have gone faster, but I tend to doubt myself too much. Maybe when fall comes I’ll feel better about taking chances.track

I really enjoyed my track workout.  It actually gave me some flashbacks to elementary school when I used to compete in track. See, once upon a time, I was a sprinter.  And actually, for a few grades I was the second fastest girl in my grade.  I think they started try-outs in the 3rd grade. We would compete with other schools in our district.  And if you placed in the top 4 in an event, you would go to semi-finals with other school districts.  I was always on the 4-runner relay team. Being the second fastest I was the starter runner a few times.  A few times they had me compete in the 100m dash. I never really took it seriously.  Never trained hard.  But I loved to run fast and pass other kids.  My older sister happened to be the all-star athlete.  She competed in all the events: 100m, high jump, long jump, shot put.  She may have done the 800m also.  I’m thinking coach thought I had similar athletic abilities as my sister, so when I was in seventh grade, he put in me in the 800m event.  Again, never really trained.  Only did a few training runs after school not putting much effort.  I’m pretty sure I came in second to last at the actual track meet.  Haha.

I read an interesting article the other day on Runner’s World, “Sprinters are born, not made”.  Obviously, I’m not at all Olympic track material, but it got me thinking, that somewhere in me, that “second fastest girl in her grade” still exists.  And although I will never again compete in a 400 meter relay, or 100 meter dash, I have the races I run now.  But the competition is not against other runners.  It’s with myself.

competition
Sunday: Key Run, 55 easy, started with my husband for a mile warmup.

Monday: 40 minute Turbo Jam cross-train.

Tuesday: A.T (Aerobic Threshold) Run.  10 easy, 20 brisk, 5 easy.  At 86° only managed brisk speed to be 9:30 min/mi.

Wednesday: CrossFit.  4 min AMRAP (as many reps as possible), 2 min rest, repeat.  10 deadlifts 95 lbs, 10 boxjumps, 10 ab mat sit ups.  Felt pretty good about doing this workout at the Rx level.  Managed 5 sets and 14 reps.

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Key Run, track workout 800m x4.  Avg min/mi: 7:22, 7:26, 7:29, 7:00.

Saturday: Rest

Level 4 done, 31 points.  I cut myself a bit of a break this week.  Only ran 3 times, and did 2 cross-train days.  But I still feel like I worked hard, and I did earn enough points to move on to level 5.  I actually dreaded the track workout all week because I feared the speed.  Now that it’s done, I feel like I’m ready for the next challenge.  Bring on Level 5!

 

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Level 3: Turbo Jam and Pushing Limits

Again, another busy week at work, but that’s nothing new.  With the Florida weather being all crazy, either too warm or raining, I’ve had to shift some workouts around.  One of the nights I wanted to go to a CrossFit class, but I ended up getting off work late, so I needed a backup plan.  I remembered I had some DVDs from Chalane Johnson‘s Turbo Jam that I had purchased about 8 years ago.

turbo-jam-2-title-front

Doesn’t this DVD cover just look like it’s so fun?  Haha.  It actually really is.  It’s kind of like Tae Bo (remember that?) had a dance party.  I think my sister had a workout video for Tae Bo 15 years ago or something.  I used to use Turbo Jam my last year of Nursing School to get fit.  2 DVDs have an instructional video, a 40 minute cardio workout, a 20 minute quick intense workout, an ab workout and turbo sculpt toning video.

It’s honestly been a few years since I’ve done this workout video.  But I wanted to keep my options open and flexible for Cross-training.  It’s amazing how far I’ve come with cardio fitness.  I remember when I first started doing the video years ago, I would actually have to pause it a few times and drink a couple of bottles of water to take a break.  I think this was the first time I’ve ever done the workout from start to finish without having to take a break.  It’s actually kind of mild in comparison to some of the CrossFit classes and some of the speed work sessions.  I’m glad I found these old workouts, I remembered how fabulous the music is also.

I didn’t get as many runs in this week, but it was still a decent week.  31 points and I feel good to go on.

Sunday: Key Run 45 easy.  Pushed to run comfortably faster.  Avg 10:01 min/mi.  

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Key Run. Brisk 8, jog 3 (4x).  Was a hot and humid morning and was very sunny.  I did about a 5 minute warm-up with hubs.  He ran a mile alone after I took off for my first interval.  I felt each interval was doable, and my breathing was well controlled.  The training guide said to aim for the last interval to be as strong or stronger than the first.  And I feel really good about being able to accomplish that.key

 

Wednesday: Cross Train.  TURBO JAM!

Thursday: Rest.  I was supposed to do the 30 min with strides, but it was pouring out with lightning and thunder.  Also, I got home and zonked out until about 8pm, so it was too late to run, I just went back to sleep.

Friday: 30 w/strides 20 sec X4.  It was freak crazy warm, but it was also right before a downpour, the clouds were charcoal colored so it was pretty windy.  The first (left) photo is last week’s strides and the second (right) photo is today’s.  I’m feeling really good that I’m getting a bit faster at them and feeling pretty good while running them.  Especially since the weather was 10 degrees warmer!

last weekthis week

 

Saturday: Will be a rest day since I’m working a short shift.

Level 4 starts on Sunday!

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