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Friday, October 30, 2009

Track on Tap - Peanut Butter Jelly Time Remix

I did the legs and back P90X DVD on Thursday morning and I am glad I got it done. Many people talk about not liking to exercise in the morning but I have to disagree. I make my exercise a priority and I generally schedule more than one session a day – but sometimes things just come up. Yesterday was one of those days – my schedule got way off – for good reason – but I missed the gym at lunch. I was glad that I had already done a good session.







But Thursday night was the Halloween Edition of Track on Tap and we had a great time. We had a good turnout and our first stop was the Keg and Barrel. I saw a lot of friends from the Beer Club (remember – I am a member of both the beer club and the running club – the only difference is that beer club don’t run).






We stopped and chatted for a while and then split for downtown. Lots of cars were honking and waving at us. We hit Brownstones and stopped for bit. This was a pretty warm and humid night here and Mississippi and really felt like I needed to peel some clothes off. We were all sweating pretty good. We attempted to go to the Bottling Company but they had some kind of MTV’s the Real World casting call promotion – and cover charge… So we headed back around the corner to the Wine Bar and sat outside. Since the last two trips were short we were starting to cool off a bit.











We headed back to the Keg and Barrel but Jodie and I were feeling a little ripe and headed home early. Total – 3 drinks – 3 – 4 miles. A good time for all.

This was a good test for running in costume for the 1/2 marathon on Saturday. I think I can do the banana as long as it is not raining. If so, I think I can get a guaranteed PR for running as a banana - although the mustache would not make it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

STADIUMS - faster, stronger, better

The STADIUMS returned again this week. I am not sure if it is the cooler weather or adaptations but we are continuing to have success. I dropped the recovery interval by another 10 seconds this week. If you remember, about a month ago we mixed it up and decided to do the STADIUMS more like hill repeats and intervals instead of just running up and down them. The fatigue factor of just running up and down was just that – only producing fatigue. In an attempt to help increase strength and possibly VO2MAX I decided to make every working set ALL OUT. I set my GPS wrist computer to 15 second intervals followed by an appropriate rest interval. The first attempt was for a total set (working + recovery) at 2 minutes. After the first set or two, Chad and Richard decided that the rest interval was just too long – they wanted to go faster. So, against my better judgment we cut 30 seconds off the rest – 90 seconds total for the set. After about 10 sets we all started to get sloppy – the work set was not as fast anymore. In fact, Chad and Richard had to change the workout up – they were failing. I completed the workout but my last few sets were slow.

I did not like that workout – it was unattainable. So the next time we did STADIUMS I stuck to the original game plan. 2 minutes total – 15 seconds working set followed my 1:45 rest. We had success. The next time we cut 10 seconds off of the rest. I was still able to maintain the intensity of the working set just with less recovery. So this week another 10 seconds was chopped of the recovery – and guess what – success again. I am excited about taking 10 more seconds off and trying the 1:30 total set again. That would SHOW progress! (Although to be fair the temperature has turned cooler).

Looking at the chart below would indicate that the heart rate ramps up quicker with less rest but I am able to maintain the same level of exertions without blowing up! The chart shows my max heart rate recorded for each interval – notice with faster intervals we do more sets – the total workout is 30 minutes regardless of number of reps.



On another success front – I have noticed that I can do more reps of various types of chin ups with doing the P90X sessions. The first few times that I did the sessions, towards the end of the workout there just would not be much left. Now I am able to perform a few more reps = still hard – still tired – but more reps!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A little bit of swimming

I am getting better at jumping around thanks to the Plyometrics P90X session. This session is fun and it makes you work pretty hard. I have started to skip a lot of the breaks and even some of the ‘slower’ 60 second routines. The session is set up in a way that you do 3 intense exercises and then you slow it down a bit and do another exercise for 60 seconds. These longer exercises, although you are still moving and stuff, are not as strenuous as some of the other more ballistic exercises. So, sometimes I hit the skip button and get right back in the action. However, I am sure to make up for the missed exercise by repeating some of the more dynamic exercises – the really jumping around exercises. The first time I did this session the soles of my feet were really burning – you spend a lot of time on the balls of your feet. That burning sensation is starting to go away – maybe my feet are getting used to it or they are adapting.

At lunch I hit the pool for the first time in a couple of weeks. It was an easy workout – probably too easy. I think I did 12 x 100 yards on 120 – that gave me a lot of rest. I was swimming easy and finishing the 100’s right about 1:35 – 6. I really was just going through the motions. After the swim I hit the weight bench. Boy, the bench press is weak after swimming even if it was just easy swimming.

I fell of the diet a little bit last night with a little bit of cookies and beer – both at my weaknesses.
Totals:
Cals: 2,936 Fat: 21% Carbs: 42% Protein: 20% Alcohol: 17% Fiber: 51.0 grams

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Diet and P90X - about a month so far.

Well, back on the diet front – Monday’s are long days for me – I have a lab after work that lasts from 6:30PM – 9PM (although it usually finishes early). That means it is fairly easy for me to continue my scheduled diet for the entire day. Therefore, yesterday was pretty easy with a total of 1,594 calories. The lab instructor was very excited about McRib being back at McDonalds- wow – what a contrast. Also, on Monday’s I have been taking the morning off from exercise so I have not been expending as many calories. My total workout for Monday was a 6 mile run at lunch. The weather was perfect and I am glad that I got it in – it is raining now.

The eating plan consisted of:
2 x peanut butter jelly sandwiches
2 x peaches
1 x kiwi
20 x cherry tomatoes (approximate)
½ cup oatmeal
1 x Whey protein
1 cup cottage cheese
1.5 cups soy milk
½ cup bran buds cereal

Totals:
Cals: 1,594 Fat: 26% Carbs: 50% Protein: 24% Fiber: 46.8 grams

I have also continued the P90X program. I had heard that many people are sore all of the time and it is super hard, etc. While I admit it is a very good workout and it is quite challenging I think that I brought a base fitness into the plan that was above what was required. I have been a little sore in places that I normally do not work out (like the butt – there are a lot of squats in some of these workouts). I also do not know if I will have the dramatic results that some people have. Now the workouts are indeed getting easier – I have increased my reps on the pull ups and increased the weight on many of the exercises. Also, on some of the sessions I have started to skip the rest breaks. However, we will just have to wait and see if doing these sessions just makes me better at doing P90X or if it will translate to better all around fitness. All in all they have kept me motivated in the off-season and I am enjoying them! So to me, P90X has been a success thus far.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Adventure training - TRAINED!

I have not been recording my workouts like I normally do. When I am not working activity towards a goal it is hard to care what exercises I am doing. With that said I have been doing the P90X (5x per week) on a regular basis as well as some other fun stuff. Fun stuff like the STADIUMS, Tabata intervals and I have recently starting doing the rowing machine. I have never played with the rowing machine – but – it is the real deal. 10 minutes on that device and you are exhausted. Arms, legs, back – you name it. It also has a nice little graphing feature that I can totally buy into – marks me work harder.

On the diet front I did not have any alcohol or sweets this weekend. But I still did not stay on track as good as I could have. I have a weakness for cereal and I dipped into the box a little too much. My weight is up a little.

I finished up my ‘Adventure Training’ class this weekend with the ‘high ropes’. These are like jungle gyms for adults. I really got into it. There was one task where you climbed a telephone pole and then had to stand up on top of it – that got the adrenaline pumping. Once standing there was a trapeze that you tried to catch. I did not make the catch but the task was super cool. There were several other tasks – like walking horizontally across a telephone pole 40 feet off the ground, a team climbing challenge, etc. It was a fun day out in the woods. Oh yeah, there was also a zip line about 60 feet off the ground – pretty cool stuff – and college credit!

I’m going to be in New Orleans this weekend for Halloween and I am still thinking about running in costume. I will get to have a trial run on Thursday nights Track-on-Tap. I will have to see if I am able to run a couple of miles much less 13.1. After this weekend's race I think I might gear up for a 1/2 marathon PR attempt in early December.

I’m still going to track my food this week but it will be tough – Thursday there is a Halloween party at work and then that night is the track on tap…

Friday, October 23, 2009

Diet, P90X -

The diet is still being track – you can view it here on fitday. My weight is holding steady although I did have a few run and diet cokes last night at a little get together. The positive of this is I did not snack any at all. This is a big improvement for me (to be fair, snacks were not readily available – but still – I could have ordered something). My calories, even with the drinks can to 1,776 with a calorie distribution as follows:


Fat: 17% Carbs: 33% Protein: 28% - and oops Alcohol: 22%

I did the legs and back P90X session again – this was the third time that I had done the session. It is getting easier. Not easier due to some physiological adaptations but I think more from familiarity with the routine. Maybe a little better coordinated. Of course, I am like everyone else, I get better with practice. The session is still very demanding and I think that you can add even more challenging aspects – jump a little higher, squat a little lower, do more chin ups / pull ups, etc. The workout is solid. I just need to keep bringing my A game and rinse and repeat about a dozen more times!


I should have jumped in the pool for lunch but I have been slack in this area. I have talked about joining masters swim for about a month now but I have not taken any action. I know that this is the appropriate action I just have not taken it yet – I really don’t want to drive across town in the morning and all of that jazz – these are only excuses. I need to get off of the fence.

I played racquet ball at lunch for a little less than an hour. It was a good time and I enjoyed the camaraderie but I did not feel it progressed towards a goal. It was just activity – not that there is anything wrong with that – but …

I realized yesterday that I have a ½ marathon in 9 days – I have not even run this week. I will not have any problems completing said ½ marathon but I won’t be able to perform at my best. I’m not sure how this will make me feel. As a backup plan I may just wear a costume since this race is on Halloween!

I guess, prep for next weekends race I did run into work this morning (Friday) - I did an easy 6 miles at about 8 minutes per mile pace. I think that I will be lucky to hold that - much less in costume!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

STADIUMS - DIET - SUCCESS



I was able to stick to the diet on Tuesday! I logged 1,746 calories for the day with distribution as follows:


Fat: 26% Carbs: 45% Protein: 29%

I’m still trying to work out the best distribution for me and trying to work more raw fruits and vegetables into my diet. I only ate ½ pound of carrots yesterday and one peach. If I have them around I eat them but the bulk of my diet is breads and grains. I’m looking for substitutions.

On the exercise front I did the P90X arms and shoulders DVD before work. This is a good workout but once again, due to the smaller muscle groups it is easier. I started to do some drop sets during the session. Starting with a weight that I can only complete 8 – 10 reps and then immediately selecting a lighter weight and finishing the set. This is challenging but once again I walk away from this workout not completely soaked with sweat (the other sessions I am SOAKED).

Lunch brought the STADIUMS again. It has been two weeks since the last session – last week was the coliseum which brought its own challenges but not like the STADIUMS. Having been successful on our last outing with 15 seconds working set followed by 1 minute 45 seconds recovery (this includes the down portion of the stadiums) it was time to up the ante. Since the working portion of the set is already ALL-OUT I could only cut some time off of the recovery. I loped 10 seconds off for a recovery of 1 minute 35 seconds. The total set would now be 1 minute 50 seconds. The previous successful session fit nicely with 15 reps in 30 minutes. This time it would be 17 reps in 31:10. Several people dropped off of the challenge this week due to various reasons – ill, forgot their workout shoes, scared, weak, etc. But for the ones that took on the challenge there was victory. We were able to successfully achieve our goals. All of my working sets were within the allotted 15 seconds – some were close but all were successful and the recovery proved manageable. Now, I am not one to believe that all of this success comes from cardio or strength gains – but more of the success is due to the change in weather. It was a beautiful day on Tuesday and, like the arms and shoulders session of the morning, I was not as soaked in sweat as I can be. However, all said and done my heart rate average for the session was nearly 10 percent higher than 2 weeks ago. The 10 seconds less recovery time equates to 9 percent less recovery – a little bit less time for the heart rate to drop. It is hard to qualify with the available data but my heart rate dropped about 2 beats more per rep with the additional 10 seconds of recovery. I am not a statistician but I do find it interesting. I can’t wait until next week to carve a little bit more time off.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Diet tracking Day 2 - OOPS



Well, day two of the diet was not as promising. Left to my own devices I probably will. Jodie was commissioned to make another cake – it kicked ass as usually – had a big dragon and stuff. But she had to deliver it last night. There was a mixing bowl left on the counter. The bowl had been scrapped but there was some residue. I hit this pretty had. Oh well – mistakes were made. I really did not have enough calories yesterday and fell into the same predicament. I got into too much of a deficient and cheated. This is a lesson that I seem to repeat over and over. Total calories for the day were 2,047. About the amount that I think that I need but I would like the foods to be more nutrient dense.

Exercise yesterday was the P90X plyometrics (jump training) program. This one is a hard cardio workout but I have started to skip most of the breaks. There are a few exercises mixed in that let you rest. I find that the arches of my feet start to hurt a little bit – but it is getting better. At lunch I did the rowing machine for the first time. Now this is a workout – that machine uses everything. After the only 10 minutes of rowing (damn hard workout) I did some strength training and called it a day. My weight is down a little bit – I am actually in my normal range. I am going to fine tune my diet and try to find an acceptable balance.
Someone asked me if my legs were sore from the P90X videos. Not really. The leg exercises are all or mostly body weight. In the past when I have done strength training with my legs I was always sore. It did not seem to matter how slow I started. I would be sore for several days – I mean like not walk down stairs sore. In fact when I started up the STADIUMS again I was sore for about 4 days – it did not stop me from running or cycling but the workouts were not quality. I think the body weight exercises with the STADIUMS are a pretty good compromise right now. I know that I will not gain any size in my legs (not my goal) but I think that I will gain some strength.



ALSO - My good friend Tony is SOLO biking the "Devil's Backbone" along the Natchez Trace - you can follow him here - Riding the "Devil's Backbone"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Working the plan - the diet plan...

Well, I started tracking my caloric intake yesterday – it is time to get back on track. And I scripted the plan yesterday morning my food that I had on hand at work. Monday’s are a long day for me since I have class after work – on Monday’s I am at work from about 7:30 AM until 8:30 + PM so I gather up quite a bit of food. I think that I might not be getting enough calories on a daily basis and this throws the whole diet into shambles whenever I get out of my norm. I’m thinking that I probably need somewhere around 2000 calories for subsistence and then I need to alter that amount depending on my activity level. So I am a little low right now.

On Monday’s I have decided to sleep in a little and skip the morning workout. So at lunch I simply did my Tabata intervals on the treadmill (8 X 20 seconds with 10 seconds recovery). I have been successful with 11 MPH and 12 MPH so today I decided to try 13 MPH. After my warm up I was pleased to find out that the treadmills at the gym top out at 12.5 MPH – this was a good thing. I was able to complete the session but it was a little bit reckless. At one point when I jumped off of the treadmill for the recovery I accidently hit the emergency stop button on the treadmills rail. This set me back a little bit since I had to get the treadmill back up to speed. After the 24 minutes of running (10 minutes warm up / 4 minute working set / 10 minutes cool down) I did a little bit of strength training (back and abs). This was an easy day – also not that many calories were burned. But I was happy to see that my weight has come down – yes – I lost 5.6 pounds in the last day. So at this rate I will hit my goal weight, well, by tomorrow. I am pretty excited. I mean it was hard to stay on track for an entire day but the results were worth it!

Of course I am joking, my weight can easily fluctuate 10 plus pounds in a weekend (especially after hard training days – that was always a disappointment). I am going to stick with a weight plan and follow it - the general trend is a lower body fat percentage. Now I just need to fine tune the plan and work it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back to the diet -

Wow – It has been a little while. I guess that I am experiencing a little but of the post-ironman blues. Fall is not my thing anyway and I guess coming off of a high – well, I have been having fun exercising but fun without direction. I need the structure.

Anyway, last Wednesday the storms moved in and the STADIUMS had to be relocated. We went and did the coliseum – the basketball courts. This is still a challenging workout but it is not the STADIUMS. For one thing – it is air conditioned. Another is that at full speed it only takes about 8 seconds to reach the top. The first two climbs we used to figure out the rest intervals. They went from a 1:15 RI to 1:00 total for the working set with the rest. Then we started to alternate between doing double steps and single steps. Some people like the singles some people liked the doubles. The singles took about 5 or 6 seconds longer going up. It was a good compromise to alternate them. Total up and down for the singles took about 31 seconds while the doubles took about 25 seconds. I pushed the pace to set benchmarks and I was about to get the singles down to 27 seconds and the doubles down to 22 seconds. The intensity was still high but the shorter working sets made the session much easier. We ended up doing 40 repeats. It was a good workout.

I have kept up with the P90X for two whole weeks now. I have altered the plan to fir my multi-sport lifestyle. I am really only doing the DVD’s 4 times a week and I have not done all of the sessions. I did the Kenpo (TYBO thing) only once and I have not done the yoga-X session at all. The DVD’s that I have done are the Chest & Back, Plyometrics, Legs & Back and Shoulders & Arms. I believe that each of these DVD’s are really good. I feel spent when I complete them but I will have to wait and see about results. I am going to keep up with this altered version of the P90X program.

With the weather turning cool again I had to pull out my arm skins for the Sunday group ride. I should have also pulled out leg skins and maybe even my shoe covers. I only rode 30 miles but my feet were cold the entire ride. This cold front came over night and again I was not able to acclimate quickly enough. These 50 – 60 degree afternoons will just fine in about a week (actually in about it week the temps will probably be back in the 80’s again).

Now onto the diet. For about a week and a half after I completed Ironman Louisville I actually lost weight while exercising less and eating more. This is no longer the case. My weight has crept up this past month and I am at an uncomfortable level right now. I have said this for years but it is really easy for me to follow a plan but I have never created a real eating / diet plan. I am going to do this right now. I am eating the same meals over and over without any problems but I am an opportunistic eater. I can’t go to all you can eat type restaurants or holiday get togethers and stay on track. I always over indulge. This was very evident this past weekend. I went to essentially 3 of these type events – 3 outdoor BBQ outings. There was really good (bad for you) grilled wares as well as a huge selection of desserts. I probably sampled everything. Starting tomorrow, it won’t be interesting reading, but I am going to start posting my food journal on this blog – you can skip right over it but I think the accountability would do me well. Feel free to comment on the selections and amounts (no pop tarts I promise).

I know that it will not be perfect but it is a start.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adventure training

I got back into the pool on Monday and took an easy 2000 yard swim. I am trying not to drop the swim habit and this swim session was a success. I enjoyed the swim. I warmed up and cooled down with 500 yards each and did 10 x 100 yards for the working set. These were done on 1:45 – it was not overly challenging but it was a good workout. This 1:45 gave me about 10 seconds of recovery. I could have pushed hard but that was just not in the plan. I am still going to join the Master’s swim team but I have definitely been dragging my feet. I need to prioritize!

Tuesday was another P90X session – Arms and Shoulders. This is a good workout but being smaller muscles (arms and shoulders) I can exhaust them pretty easily. This makes this a great workout but I think that it is a little bit isolated. Sure, my arms and shoulders are cooked and I am sweating big time – but there are lots of larger muscles that have not been touched. I think more of a full body workout would be a better use of time. The good thing is that I can bounce back from these workouts rather quickly.

Okay – now this class that I am taking on Saturday’s (it is just 3 Saturday’s but it is all day). The description was for land and water orienteering and team problem solving. That sounded right up my alley. I would really like to get into adventure racing and maybe Xterra or something. However, the class is more about team work – like from a corporate retreat point of view. There were 10 on us taking the class and the ages ranged from 18 years and one month to me – nearly twenty years older. There were several trust exercises – they started off with just leaning forward and backward 10 to 20 degrees and depending on the other person to catch you. I was teamed with a couple of girls (no offense) and I guess that I was a little bit heavy – she tried really hard but – yeah – I hit the ground. No harm / no foul but it was kind of funny. At the end of the day we did another trust fall – this time it was from about 5 feet off of the ground and all the class members had their arms interlocked. That was fun – And I did not hit the ground. The class is not what I was looking for but I think that I will enjoy it – I did however, miss the only local triathlon because of class.

I am looking forward to the STADIUMS again this week – if the rain holds off!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Solid running, P90X and adventure training

At lunch on Friday Jim was fishing for someone to run with – So I obliged. Jim is a little bit listless following the ironman also. We don’t seem to have a whole lot of direction right now. Don’t get me wrong – I am still exercising and maintaining / improving my fitness but without clearly defined goals I am not focused. Jim mentioned Boston Qualifying again – he ran Boston a few years ago – he said he did not have a good race – the goal had been just to qualify. He also mentioned maybe trying for a 2:59 marathon – now that is a lofty goal. During the summer we do our cycling time trials – staggered start – set course – always trying to PR. Jim and I tossed around the idea of starting an evening running time trial. Something like a 5K or maybe a 4 or 5 mile run. Get a group of people to meet after work one night a week and lay it on the line. This would be our speed work and camaraderie all wrapped into one. Seems like a good idea even if it is only Jim and I that show up!

On Saturday I had class – Adventure Training – so I got up early per normal to get some exercise in. I had skipped the Kento P90X DVD earlier in the week so I thought that I would make it up. Although I was sweating profusely the work out just was not very intense! At this point I simply do not have the balance and coordination to do this work out all out. Watching the people on the DVD they are using their entire core and twisting with their legs to deliver what looks like powerful kicks and punches. Try as I might the most that I could incorporate was my upper torso and shoulders for the punches. I am really going to have to work on this part of the DVD’s. Funny story - When I was an out of shape chubby little kid – 5th or 6th grade I begged my mom to let me take karate. This was a big step for me – I was completely unfit – very little exercise and no diet what so ever. For the karate classes you had to commit to 30 days and had to buy a karate suit and stuff. My mom made me promise to stick with it. I was scared and excited about the class. During the first class they had us do all of the respect stuff when entering the ‘dojo’ or whatever and then had us practice some punches and what not. It was fun. I was having a good time. Then the instructor was going to do a little bit of a demonstration – show us some of the moves connected together. He was kicking and punching and we, the kids, were all lined up watching him. It was impressive. I was kind of day dreaming about being some kind of karate kid. Then the instructor started to a lot of punches and was kind of dancing around us – the line of kids. On one of his punches, and these were real punches – during the back stroke his elbow connected solidly with my eye socket. I went down like a sack of potatoes. I was dizzy and dazed and confused. Looking back I think that I may have had a mild concussion. The instructor felt horrible and helped me up. I sat out the remainder of the class. I was frightened at this point and was never to return to karate.

So, a little bit defeated by the Kento DVD and not feeling completely spent I put the pylometrics DVD in – this is the dynamic jumping around DVD. I was able to keep up the intensity on this one – in fact I skipped most of the water breaks and just fast forwarded the DVD. This, on top of the previous DVD was exhausting. I really laid it all on the line. Then it was off to class.

My adventure training class was described as land / water orienteering and team problem solving. That is not was the class was about. I will follow up on this a little later in the week.

After class Jodie and I went to gather out supplies for Halloween. The one prerequisite is that you have to be able to run in the costume. The track-on-tap Halloween addition is slated for Thursday, October 29. Jodie and I will also be in New Orleans on Halloween for a ½ marathon and I am considering, since I have not trained at all for a ½ marathon to run the race in full costume. This will definitely not be a PR but I bet it could be fun. We are also going to stay the night in New Orleans and do all of the Haunted Tours and what not.

Sunday is the first day of the week for me regarding the P90X series so I popped in the Chest and Back DVD. Last week this was very challenging – lots of pull-ups and push-ups. I brought the same amount of intensity as before and I had a great workout. Using a chair I was able to complete a lot more pull-ups and keep the intensity up. I took all of the water breaks and really tried to push myself. I am not used to the circuit training intensity of these routines. I think they will be good for me. I was dripping wet, a little nauseous and had a splitting head ache when I finished. Good stuff.

A couple of us from the running club were going to get together and run the Hobble then Gobble Thanksgiving day race course. The race directors wanted to make a slight revision to the course. I was not sure if I was going to be able to make it – the time might conflict with Beer Club. So I was sitting around the house eating candy (we were decorating Halloween cupcakes for Beer Club) and a little bit stir crazy. The weather was cool outside and there was a slight drizzle. I decided to go for a little run – no real direction – maybe 3 miles or something. I headed out at a very easy pace and I felt good. I just trucked along in the rain. I was soaked but I was enjoying the run. I would not be making the Sunday group ride today – I would so much rather run in the rain than ride in the rain. Before I knew it I was coming up on the Beaver Pond – this is 4.5 miles from home. I turned around and Charles (ultra runner / solid cyclist guy) came up from behind. I did not want to slow him down too much so I really picked up the pace – miles 6 and 7 were a couple of minutes per mile faster. I was glad he came up because it allowed me to get some real striders in during this run. These couple of miles really dropped my pace average for the run. After talking with Charles I dropped the intensity down a little bit – still higher than what I was running and finished up with 9 miles for the run. A good solid run.

I took in some nutrition at home and the phone rang. It was Charles from the running club and he said we were getting together to run the 5 mile hobble then gobble course in about an hour and a half. So, why not, I would get a few more miles. The rain had let up for the most part when I got to the race site. Audrey, Charles wife, wanted to run Buccaneer – this is a very hilly route. I discovered it during a long, hard brick last summer – it ate my lunch. I had joked about changing the hobble then gobble course to include Buccaneer but we would lose so many participants the following year. We have also batted around the idea of having ‘The hardest 5K in the Hub City’ race on this road. Anyway, Audrey and I decided to run the hills. My legs were a little tired and we pushed each other. It was challenging. Towards the end we both picked up the pace and finished the 5 miles with an average pace of about 8:10. This was faster than my ‘easy’ run earlier. So all in all I got 14 miles for the day – about 7 easy and about 7 hard.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh STADIUMS

Sorry I have not been my usual diligent self with my posting. Without a clear cut workout plan I am having trouble. I am not having any trouble working out – just working out with direction. However, to add to that I am having fun with the workouts.

For the past week I have been doing the P90X workouts in the morning. I was actually a fan of the format from the original Power90 series a few years ago. I used the Power90 series of DVD’s for a few months and they were challenging. The Power90 series did get rather monotonous – there are only 2 DVD’s with 4 full workouts plus 2 really short abdominal workouts (about 5 minutes each). I believe the plan was to alternate each of the first two workouts (the series 1 /2 – beginner) for about 6 weeks and then do the same with the last two workouts (the series 3 / 4 advanced) for the last 6 weeks. I am pretty sure that I just jumped into the second series and did those off and on for a couple of months. They were fun to supplement running and outdoor activities when the weather was rough – I lived in the Midwest for a dozen or so years and being from Texas – I did not do well in the winters.

That being said – I started up the original Power90 videos again last week. They were still good just not as fresh – I still like the format. I was going to take it slow since I had not done much strength training for the past 6 – 8 months. I was able to complete the advanced videos. They were challenging but manageable. Unfortunately, manageable means that I would probably get bored with them pretty quick. I found a friend that had the P90X DVD’s (the X stands for Xpensive) and he let me borrow them. Tony Horton looks a lot different in the new series – his hair is much darker, his face is leaner but he looks a little bit like gaunt. I know that he is a little older but he looked better before he went Xtreme.

So this week I started the P90X program. Now, from the get go, I am not following the plan. I am not usually willing to cut out the things that I enjoy for one purpose. I know that I would see better results if I was able to concentrate on one or two objectives – and believe it or not I am working on these goals. I would like to drop some body fat, I would like to put on some lean mass and I would like to get faster at endurance based activities (racing). So with this P90X program I am going to continue to run / bike / swim and probably some fun activities as well.

In one area that I am pretty good at being smart is not letting my ego get in the way in the weight room – and I am continuing this with the videos. I have no problem picking a weight that is appropriate for my strength and my build. So for the first video, which was mostly body weight anyway, I stuck to 20 pound hex dumbbells (I later pulled out some 10’s and 30’s – depending on the exercise). They were using higher weights in the video but they were quick to point out that proper form is more important than weight. They were also very diligent about writing down your weights and reps – something that I used to do religiously but have gotten slack. I am going to pull out a workout log and start charting the progression again. That is something that always used to keep me motivated – I enjoyed seeing the improvement – even if it took weeks to go up just a rep or two. I will keep you guys posted on my progression with the P90X videos – and just to be fair, I think almost all of these video series will produce results if you follow them. I am such a proponent of working the ‘PLAN’ that give me sweating to the oldies and I think I could see results.

The workouts this week involved 4 P90X workouts – Chest and Back, Plyometrics, Shoulders and Arms and Legs and Back. I skipped the YogaX workout – I think that I am too type A for a 90 minute yoga routine in the morning. I think that the workout really could benefit me with coordination and balance but I don’t have the time in the morning during the week and – simply – it put me back to sleep. So on that day I did about 10 minutes of the yoga video and then did two rounds of abdominals – 1 Power90 and 1 P90X. I also skipped the Kenpo (TYBO) workout. I will pick this workout up this weekend because it looks like fun. I will give further, more extensive reviews of each of the workouts once I get the routine established.

On top of the P90X workouts I continued the Tabata treadmills (good, quick, hard workouts) plus the stadium, plus a couple of endurance runs, plus a quick swim.

Regarding the STADIUMS – I really got them dialed in this week. I added a little more time to the recovery (30 seconds) to allow full force for the working set. I programmed my watch for 15 seconds of work followed by 1:45 seconds of recovery. Once again for the first 10 reps this seemed too easy but it got more challenging. I was able to complete each work set with intensity in the 15 seconds – many sets were successful by split seconds. The total amount of work during the 30 minutes was less than last week (or the week before for that matter) but I was able to maintain the intensity. In the weeks prior, doing more reps lead to more work / fatigue but the intensity was not there – I was dragging on the last half of the session. I am not sure which is better but I have always thought that when doing repeats you want to maintain the same intensity throughout the workout – 1). To help prevent injury due to fatigue and bad form and 2). To really push the upper limits of your VO2max. If you are overly fatigued then it may feel like you are giving everything but your speed has dropped off and you limit your adaptation. My bad analogy is like when you are doing the bench press – you go through your workout, then the working sets and then after you are completely spent you decide to do a burnout and try to do as many reps with just the weight of the bar. This is hard – it hurts – but are you really lifting very much weight? Are more muscle fibers really being recruited? Or are you just doing work? Anyway – I am going to try and continue this method for the foreseeable future and try to know a few seconds off of the recovery while trying to keep the intensity.

I will also keep a close eye on recovery – that is something that will dictate success or failure!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

P90X adn tabata's

I have officially jumped on the P90X bandwagon. My volume of run / bike / swim has dropped off a bunch but I still want to increase my fitness. I have no illusions about P90X helping with my speed (triathlon or running or swimming) but I do believe that it can help me gain some strength (not necessary muscle mass) and lose some body fat. I have done exercise programs in the past and they can keep me motivated and it helps a lot that I am following a plan. I do so much better when I do not have to think about what I need to do – I tend to overanalyze and this can get me in trouble.

So on Sunday I did day one of the P90X program. I read a lot about it on various forums and the consensus was that it is hard and that I would be sore all of the time. I will admit that it is challenging but I have been doing strength training on and off for a number of years. The first workout involved a lot of pull ups / chin ups and pushups. These are exercises that I really like. I have a bias towards body weight exercises because I am not usually the strongest person around – but pound for pound I can put up a pretty good fight. I also really like body weight exercises because you have two ways to win – either lose a little bit of weight or gain a little bit of strength and you can do more!

Anyway – the first video kicked my butt! It seemed like there were a couple of dozen sets of pull ups. Now when I say I like pull ups and chin ups that does not mean that I can just sit there and crank out 10’s of them. I once challenged myself to do 30 pullups in 3 sets (1 minute rest) – I tried all sorts of combinations 10 – 10 – 10 / 12 – 10 – 8 – it took me a couple of years to reach this goal – today – I’m not sure if I am there…

I’m like only good for around 10 – 12 the first set and then I drop off quickly – this will be a challenging workout for months to come. The pushups were another matter. I can crank out a lot of pushups (50+ if needed) and I have the endurance to keep the reps up – but even this was challenging – just as it should be!

I am going to try and keep doing one of these sessions each morning and still get my cardio in at lunch or at other times. I have continued to do the Tabata intervals on the treadmill – on Monday I successfully did the 8 reps at 12 MPH! It was much harder that the 11 MPH the previous week but it was manageable – I will increase it next week.

On Tuesday I was out of the office all day but I still got the p90X workout in and in during the morning and during the afternoon I ran 4 miles on the treadmill. I did an easy 10 minute warm-up and then increased the pace to just under 7 minutes per mile (6:58) – I kept this up for 2.75 miles and then did a burn out last ¼ mile at 6:00 minutes per mile. It felt good – hard but good. It is still hard for me to imagine running that fast for an entire 5k. My PR at that distance was 19:09 last March – which is a 6:10 pace. I think that I have a long ways to go to get back to that speed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Transition set up and motor pacing


On Friday I continued with the Power90 DVD workouts. They are already becoming a little bit routine although I do like the strength training portion of them. That was one area that I missed this summer – I just did not have time with all of the other volume.

At lunch I decided to try the Tabata intervals on the treadmill. I warmed up for 10 minutes real easy – 6 MPH – a one mile warm up. Since I normally do not do 20 second sprints with only 10 seconds of recovery I was going to take it easy. I have plenty of time to up the intensity. I do not want an injury that is for sure. So right at the 10 minute mark I cranked the treadmill up to 11 MPH. I can do ¼ mile intervals at 10 MPH (or at least I could the last time I did intervals) so 11 MPH for only 20 seconds should not be too hard. And it was not too hard. I was only doing 8 sets for a total of 4 minutes. I would jump on for the 20 seconds and then jump off of the 10 seconds. They were manageable but I did want to jump off the treadmill at the 20 second mark. I looked at my heart rate results after the fact. I topped out at about 179 beats per minute – nowhere near my max – at least the max that I have seen during 5k races – (192 – 194). I also noticed that the 10 seconds of rest did not allow for my heart rate to recover any. During the 4 minutes my heart rate slowly climbed. There were not any dips like in a traditional set of intervals – 10 seconds is simply not enough time for my heart rate to drop. However, that being said, I think the short rest breaks did allow my heart rate to climb at a much slower rate. If I had been outright for the entire 4 minutes I do not think I would have made it – My heart rate would have gotten out of control. Next week I think I will try the same routine but a little faster – a little harder. – Maybe 12 MPH.

On Saturday a group of us met to ride the Eagleman Triathlon bike course – this is the local race that started up last year. I’m not racing it – I have a class that starts on Saturday – but I wanted to get out and ride the course as well as help set up the transition for next weekend. There was a pretty good group of us at 6:30AM. We were going to ride two loops for a total of about 33 miles. I had invited a friend from campus – Jason – who wanted to get in a little bit of open water swimming – the Eagleman will be his first triathlon. Jason was on a hybrid bike. I decided to hang back and shoot the breeze with Jason while we rode the course. Jason had not been off of the trace much and the hills proved challenging. When we were about done with our first loop the fast guys were starting their second loop. I pulled a u-turn and tried to catch up with them. This was tough. They were riding pretty fast and they had a couple hundred yards on me. I really had to dig deep and maintain a fast pace to get a wheel. All I thought about was that you just need 30 more seconds and then you can coast. I think I said that a couple of times. But finally I caught up with them. It only took a couple of minutes for my heart rate to subside from my hard effort. My heart rate dropped back into a comfortably hard range. I was relieved to have caught up with them. We had a good ride for a few more miles and then Keith took the lead. He created a gap of about 50 feet and no one was going with him. I dug deep and tried to bridge the gap - no one came with me. Keith rounded a corner and I finally caught him. We worked together to create a big enough gap that no one could bridge. To be fair –Keith and I are not racing next weekend – we had nothing to lose. All in all it was a spirited ride and a lot of fun. When we got back at the transition area we did a little baby brick – nothing much, only like 1.5 miles. It was a good pace but nothing spectacular. It was comfortably hard.

After the run a few more people showed up and we spent the next few hours assembling bike racks, putting up temporary fencing, carpeting the swim / bike entrances and trading race stories. The place really started to resemble a triathlon transition! Later, Ben and I drove the bike course and marked the turns. There should be no miss understanding of the course – easy stuff. While we were marking the course Mike L. was riding it. We passed him but he was right of our tail! For a couple of miles we were just in front of Mike and I was driving so that he could motor pace off of us. It was a lot of fun – more fun for me since I was driving I am sure. But there was a nice straight away and Mike was right in my draft doing about 35 MPH. It was pretty cool stuff.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

STADIUM intervals

I have continued with the Power 90 - I did the abs-whatever-thing instead of the ab - BOSU- lutly class. The Power 90 abs thing is more like what I do on my own and it is gruelling even though it is only 5 minutes. Next I did the advanced cardio DVD - 40 minute of a ton of leg lifts and kick boxing stuff followed by - damn - the same abs-whatever-thing. I was pretty beat by the end of the session - I would say that this was also comfortably hard. It was manageable. A few more of these and I might need to kick it up a notch.

Last week the STADIUM was tough. IT was hot and the workout was grueling. If you remember, each set involved single steps, double steps and then the bleacher lunges. As many as possible in 30 minutes. I was able to bust out 9 sets (27 times I climbed the stadium). I think about half of the sets were solid. The rest, well the fatigue had set in and it was just hard. I know that when I do intervals on the bike or on the run that I try to make the last sets as strong as the first sets. Keep the intensity up! So, this time at the stadium we mixed it up a bit. I wanted to bring the intensity and keep the intensity. I decided to only run the double steps - they tend to be a good compromise between speed and strength - but give myself a little bit of time to recover so that I could hopefully keep the same pace (intensity). I decided to have each set last 2 minutes.

As soon as we ran up the first set - it only took about 14 or 15 seconds- Chad and Richard thought that 2 minutes was took long (the rest would be 1:45 seconds if we could keep pace). I let them get the best of me and I changed the game plan. Okay, now it was 1:30 per set - and the working sets had now increased from 15 in 30 minutes to 20 in 30 minutes.

The intensity was maintained for a little more than half of the duration. It got hard and I started to drag after the 12th climb. Chad and Richard were slowing even more and decided to break from the task at hand and do lunges instead. I kept of the game plan but I slowed down a second or two - which is significant in such a short sprint. All in all I felt that this was a more satisfing workout even if it was not as fatiguing. I probably did not burn as many calories but I think that my fitness improved more. Next time I will try the 2 minute sets and see if the intensity can be maintained for the duration. Once that benchmark is set then we can chip away at the rest!