Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Feeling Strong, But Looking for Change.

My workouts have been going well.  Yesterday was my kettlebell day, so I started off with my 1 mile run then I did:

3x2 TGU
3x20 2H swing with 16kg

when I was done that grouping I added 40 more swings to bring it to 100

Set B:
4x5 Goblet squat --16kg
4x10 push-up (it called for 8, I did 10 using an incline)
4x10 pull-up (it called for Burpees, but I've been working on the pull-ups with a green band)
4x 20 swings  (this I added to the workout, in order to incorporate the 300 swings a day).

I finished up with 100 for swings for 300 total.

The workout went well.  I had no issues using the 16kg for all of the squats, but I am feeling it this morning.

These workouts, from Breaking Muscle, have been good, but I'm thinking of changing it up a bit.  As the weather warms I want to run more.  I also want to work towards being able to run a half marathon in the fall, so I need more running days, with strength mixed into it.

I've been reading everything I can on doing that. Mostly no one thinks should should do it.  But everyone is writing for either elites, or those who are pushing the boundaries in their sports.  So I never squat 120 lb?? Or press 44 lbs?? I'm ok with that.  And my running speed?? It will not get much faster.  I've 44, not 24.  I want to be able to keep going.  I want to reverse the muscle mass loss that comes with aging.  I want to keep running, even when I'm pushing 60 (or more!).  I want to be able to hike all day when I'm 65.  :)  Those are my goals.

I read a good article about cardio or strength first on Breaking Muscle. The article's conclusion was that it didn't much matter.  If you run first, you will have less muscle fiber to engage in your strength, but in the end you will still have used the same amount of muscle.  Same was true for the other way around.  At the end of the workout you will have used and worked the same amount.

The other thing I read was on Sparks People. It was a response from a trainer, Nicole Nichols, who said, yes, it would be better to separate the strength and cardio, but you do what you need to do (poor summary, you can read her response at the link. )

Both of these posts made me happy, because, yes, I just need to do what I need to do to get it all in. I should be working on strength, and I can keep running.

All of this brings me to the need to change things up just a bit.  I'm going to use the strength workouts from BeSlam 3x's a week and run on those days too.  I already run 1 mile before I do my kettlebell.  I think I will mix up running first and strength on Tuesday's and Wednesday.  I may not run at all, or keep it at a mile on Friday.  I also ordered Lauren Brooks' latest DVD, The Kettebell Body . That's for days I don't want to think, or want to make sure I keep the workout short. I tend to add on to everything I do.  The DVD will keep me honest. :)  I also love The Grind workout from her Volume 2 DVD.  It's perfect for after a run.

And I can't forget my yoga.  I love yoga.  Last night I did a wonderful  Yin routine from YogaGlo.  I need Yin at least twice a week, and then a Hatha or flow practice at least once a week.  I do some yoga stretches after every workout, but I need some more focused time.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cold Run!

I know that this is normal for spring; 50 degrees, sunny, with a cold wind. But that wind was so cold! I managed a 6 mile run in that wind. This morning,  when my alarm went off, it was raining,  so I slept in. :-) I decided I could run later, and I did. The wind was so cold that my pace got faster each mile. By the end I was at a 10:40 pace ( including walk break! ). My normal pace for my ling run is closer to 12:00, even 12:15.

I also got 300 swings done with my 16kg bell, as well as 30 assisted pull ups and 40 push ups on an incline. 

Now I'm soaking in a hot tub.:-) my calves are killing me from yesterday's hike. I need to roll them out and stretch. But after a wonderful dinner of pork loin, homemade bread, and a couple glasses of wine, I'm tired. Tomorrow is rest day. I may do some gentle yoga in the morning just to stretch out and center.  But I will enjoy my rest day.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


The last two days have been fun. Yesterday I took my kids on a 4.5 mile hike. The weather was perfect,  and the trail beautiful.  The hike started out going up a ridge, then it was flat for awhile.  During that portion we had incredible views of the gorge. After a nice lunch break in a field of daffodils,  we headed down towards the river. We walk along the river for 2 miles, then at the end there was a small waterfall.

Today, my husband and I went on a 7 mile hike. This hike had it all: beaches,  rock walls, forest trails, and an incredible top of the mountain view. There were a lot of steep sections,  and by the end we felt done. But it was so fun getting out to hike. I love hiking, and I would go every weekend if I could.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Turkish Get-ups!

Today's workout was TGU themed.

It looked like this:

3x3 TGU
3x10 swings

3x2 TGU
3x20 swings

3x1 TGU
3x30 swings

Looking at that I knew that it should have been progressive; doing a lighter bell, medium bell, then heaviest.  I could have done that. I could have done the first grouping with my 15lb, then 2nd grouping with my 20lb, then last group with my 26lb (12kg).  But I didn't do that.  I decided to do them all with my 12kg bell.  That meant 18, per side, TGUs with 12kg.  I was a strong workout.  I also added to each grouping.  I've been working on pull-ups and push-ups so I added 3x5 of each for each group; giving me 45 of each by the end.

I also noticed, when I got to the end, that I was 20 swings short of 200, so I added 20 swings and another round of push-ups/pull-ups.

When I finished the second grouping I starting thinking maybe I could try to do a half get-up with my 16kg bell.  I did try, but I was unable, but I will continue to try.

Which brings me to my kettlebell workout earlier this week. I decided to not do the scheduled workout, and try out one I saw on Breaking Muscle by Pat Flynn.  It was called 2-1-3, where you did 2 cleans, 1 press, then 3 in the rack squats.  He also suggested combining it with swings for his 300 swing workout challenge.  So I decided to go for it.  I wrote my own workout.  It went like this:

5x5 deadlifts
5x20 swings

5x2-1-3 (both sides)
5x20 swings

5x 10 pull-ups (these I do assisted with a green band)
5x10 push-ups (which I do on an incline, aka, my bathtub)
5x20 swings.

The workout was intense, in fact, it was way to hard.  I think that was because I pushed the weight with the deadlifts.  I used my 20kg and 16kg bell.  My back was sore for 2 days.  But the best part about the workout

I pressed 16kg!!!!!

I had never done that.  I was swinging the 16kg, and decided since it was a single press it should be maxed, so I went for it.  It was hard, but I managed it.  My arms felt it the next day.  The squats also were good.  I don't normally squat that weight.  I know I can, I just avoid it so that I don't interfere with my running. But my run the next day (5 miles) felt great, and so did Thursday's run.  I may start upping my squat weight.

But overall, it's been a good kettlebell week.  And even though Tuesday I did my own thing, I'm happy with the Breaking Muscle plan.  It's been working for me.

Today, I'm going on a short hike with my kids.  The weather is perfect spring weather, and it should be a good day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Slowly Recovering and I Hate the Time Change

This past weekend the pressure finally let up on my ears and I could run.  I had a nice run Sunday morning, just six miles, and it felt good.  But I'm hating the time change.  We had just got to the time of year when the sun rose at 7:00 AM, now it's dark till 8:00.  I know most people prefer the light in the evening, but I like to run in daylight.  So Sunday, I was back on my treadmill.  The issue I had with a dog last Sunday was on my mind, and I didn't want to encounter anything in the dark.

Monday was my rest day, and I needed it.  I'm not completely better from this cold.  Sunday's run wore me out and I needed the rest on Monday.

Tuesday was kettlebell day.  I ran for a mile, then proceeded to do 3 rounds of 5 single-leg deadlifts, 10 each side push-presses, and 30 second planks.  Then I did 2 rounds of 10 each side lunges, 10 squats with bicep curls and triceps extensions, and 10 jump squats.  I finished off with 3 round of pull over crunches.  I also did my 50 pull-ups/push-ups and 300 kettlebell swings.  I was thinking of trying to add 300 swings a day, everyday except my rest day.  I think it would go a long way to helping me strengthen my core, which is my primary goal this year.

Today I ran 5 miles, plus did my 300 kettlebell swings.  Last week I read Murakami's book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and now I'm thinking about doing a Half marathon in the fall.  It even maybe me think about a marathon, but I'll see how the half goes.  I've done 3 Half marathons, but it's been a while since I've run that much.  I've mostly focused on strength.  But I think I may be ready to focus on running, dialing down the kettlebell work for just a bit.  That wouldn't happen till late summer, so I still have time to work on strength.

And that brings me to my happy thing for the day.  I was able to kick up into a headstand today.  I kicked up with my sneakers on when I was done stretching after my run.  It felt so good.  I felt strong; no pressure on my head, my arms and shoulders held me fine.  I'll admit I felt proud.  I've never done that in my life.  I couldn't do that kind of thing as a kid, and at 44 I did it.

Tomorrow is more running and kettlebell swings.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Being Sick

Yesterday's workout was great.  I was unsure how it would go because I woke up sick.  I took some medicine, drank my coffee, and then hit the treadmill. My workout looked like this:

1 mile run warm up on the treadmill (I do my short runs in my Minimus shoes)

1 x1 TGU with 12kg bell

Group A
3x6 deadlift; 16kg + 20kg bell
3x10 heavy swing; 20kg
3x5 halos; 12kg

Group B
3x10 goblet squat; 12kg
3x5 clean and press; 20lb
3x5 good morning stretch; 16kg

snatches; 12kg--I did 8,8,7,7  for a total of 30 each side

3x30 hot potato (I don't care for those, so I did 1 set of hot potato, then 2 sets plank)

The entire thing, including stretching at the end took an hour.  I also added throughout the day a total of 40 push-ups, 40 pull ups, and 80 swings with my 16kg bell.  The goal of 50 push-ups/pull-ups and 100 swings, but by the afternoon I felt wiped out.  The cold really hit and I couldn't do anything else. I had also planned on some gentle yoga in the evening, but couldn't even manage that.  :(

I hate being sick, of course, who doesn't?  The plan today is to run for 4 miles and do some core work.  I will have to see.  I slept in and now I need to start school with my kids.  I'm also hosting a pot luck tonight that I need to cook for too.  Lots to do today and I feel like curling up in bed and staying there.

Lent begins today.  This is going to be a journey for me.  My faith has taken a hit in the last couple of years, and I need to find some solid ground.  I have very basic questions that I'm wrestling with, questions I don't expect answered, only worked through.  My questions to deep to the basis of my Christian belief.  I'm really struggling with hanging onto it.  Right now, I feel like I'm being tossed by the wind and waves, and honestly, I'm sea sick.

I was raised Roman Catholic, but because when I became an adult I questioned and had serious disagreement with the RC faith.  I stayed Christian, just not RC.  I have been most comfortable in the Reformed (or Calvinistic) corner of the Christian world.  We do not currently attend that type of church, since there are none within an hour of where we live.

Right now I feel like maybe I shouldn't have left the RC, or maybe I don't want to hold onto any of it.

I am not able, at this time, to go back to the RC church.  It's also not really in this area, nor do I want to drag my kids through such a huge faith shift.  They are quite happy with where we are at, and such a change would rock their world and not in a good way.

For now, this is about me.  I need to find some sure footing.  So for the next 40 days I'll be posting about workouts and a bit of my own introspection.  I have a lot of crud deep down, and I don't know if I want to post it all.  But, I think I need somewhere to get it out.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rest Day

Today is my rest day.  Sometimes I do some easy yoga, just to work out the kinks, but I try not to do anything strenuous.  Normally, Monday's are spent driving.  I start on the road with my kids in tow around 11:00 and get home close to 10:00 at night.  Monday's are long days.  But today I stayed home.  We've had rain/ice/snow all day long and everything was canceled.  I thought about yoga this afternoon, but decided that it was a rest day and I should rest.  So instead I read a book.

I started Murakami's book Saturday and finished it today.  It was a good read.  I now have the urge to run a race, and may even consider a full marathon one day.  I've only done half's, but who knows.  I haven't run a half in over a year and a half.  I don't really care for races.  I just love running, and the last race I did I felt so much pressure, that when it was over I was burned out.  But now I'm thinking that maybe this fall I could give it a go.  The last race I did was a spring race.  I like that one, but I hate trying to train all winter.  The kids' schedules are too crazy, and combined with the weather, it's hard.  But I think if I did one in late October or early November it would be good.  I may go for it.

On other matters, Lent is starting on Wednesday.  I haven't practiced Lent in a long time.  I was raised Roman Catholic, but I am not anymore.  I attend a Protestant church.  But I'm feeling the need for Lent.  Lent is supposed to be a time of afflicting the soul, repenting of your sin, and seeking the Lord.  I believe I'm in need of that.  Growing up, Lent meant giving up something for the 40 days (Sunday's don't count), and not eating meat on Friday's.  I think I will do close to the same.  I think I will give up alcohol (I love my evening glass of wine) and sweets.  Friday's will be a true old, fashioned fast day (Pre-Vat II), with no dairy, eggs, or meat.  I've picked some books for Lenten reading.  The first up is The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Henri Nouwen

I had thought of starting another blog just for my Lenten contemplations, but this blog is about the journey to me; the journey of me finding myself, and peace.  It's about me becoming stronger, and this is a part of that.  So for the 6 or so people who pop onto this blog, I hope you're not offended, but this is my space. :)  I plan on using it to get my thoughts out about running, kettlebell, yoga, maybe my kids and homeschooling, and about my spiritual growth.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

None Shall Pass

This morning was a lovely morning for a long run.  It was 50 degrees, there was a slight breeze, and I intended to run 8 miles.  I live 1.5 miles from a small state park.  I usually run down to the park and around it and it's running trail for my runs.  The area is well lit (when I run in the dark), and generally safe.  Today my plan was to run down to the park, around the 1 mile loop, then out the back of the park to go around the outside of it, and then back around it again.  Doing that twice, plus coming home would be 8 miles.  I ran around the loop, which was very pretty this morning.  The sun peaked out just in time to make parts of the lake look golden, and the geese managed a mass landing in the lake just at the right time, so that portion of the run felt a bit poetic.  I ran around the back portion of the park to head out the back entrance when I saw a few dogs.  Strays are not unusual in this area.  Generally, they are not a problem, unless in a large pack.  There are also a few dogs that live in houses behind the park, and those dogs sometime run loose.  Today, one of those dogs decided to park itself in the center of the back entrance and would not let me pass.  I wasn't concerned when I first saw it, but then I noticed it was staring at me, no tail wagging.  I decided to stop running and just walk past it, but then as I got closer it got up and started howling at me.  I would not let me through.  I turned around slowly and walked away.  I turned and saw that the dog had sat back down and was staring at me as I went.  I decided not to try again, and I changed my route.  I ran around the lake a few times, and then headed home.

It was still a nice run, but I was annoyed at that stupid dog.  I was also annoyed that I live in an area that has so many stray and loose dogs.  There are times I hate living where I do.  There are some great things about living in this small town, but for me, the negatives tend to out way the positives.  But, now for a few of the positives from my run.  I past 5 older gentlemen as I ran.  I know each one, not by name, but I've been seeing them at the park for years.  One, (whose name I do know), asked me where my running partner was this morning.  Everyone there knows who I am and who I'm married to (it's that small of a town). There really aren't any safety issues.  I see these men, as well as some women (who weren't out this morning), every time I run.  They each wave hello and ask how I'm doing.  It is nice to know there are friendly faces looking out for me and who know my routine.

Which brings me to my devotional verse this morning:

"For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction" Gen 41:52

We have lived here for 12 years.  Mostly I have a bad attitude about it.  This place is far from my family, from anyone I care about.  The church we currently attend is really not my style (I"ll put it that way, I don't want to say anything negative or get into any theological issues).  Every Sunday, I find myself forcing myself to go for the sake of my kids.  Everything my kids do or want to do is an hour a way.  We spend a lot of time driving just to do the basics.  We homeschool, which has been good, but I don't have a choice.  The local schools are not an option, so even if I think a certain child would do better at a decent school, that isn't going to happen.  There are times I feel trapped here.  But we are here.  My husband loves his job.  It's a good job and he thrives here.  The kids are generally happy.  Yes, they would love some things to be closer, but overall they are happy.  I have a nice home, 5 great kids, a loving husband, but most days I seem to focus on what feels like an affliction.  But God has made me fruitful here.  I need to focus on that.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I Did It!!!

I got myself upside down (with help), and stayed in handstand against the wall.  I've been working on that and this week I was able to walk my legs up one wall and toss them across to the other.  It may be a bit of cheating; I still can't kick all the way up to the wall, but I don't care.  :)  I got myself upside down and could hold it.  I didn't even feel shaky.  I believe all of my push-ups and pull-ups are starting to pay off.

Right now, I working on doing 50 push-ups and 50 pull-ups (using a green band for assist) 3x's a week.  The goal is on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.  Wednesday I plan on adding in a bit of extra core work after my run.

Running felt more difficult this week.  It may have been because of the extra arm/shoulder work.  My shoulders felt tired when I ran on Thursday.  They've never felt like that before.  Who knew tired shoulders could affect your run?

It's been a busy week.  I spent a lot of time driving my kids places, and getting ready for my middle son's birthday.  He turned 12.  I think he had a pretty good birthday week.  He got to visit with a friend who had moved out of country, and for his birthday he got an iPod touch (which he has wanted forever) and a Rip Stick skateboard.  He's a happy 12 year old boy.

Also this week, we got something fun.  My husband won a gift certificate and we used it towards the purchase of a trampoline!  We have 4 kids still at home who are very excited about the trampoline.  It got put together today, and they've had a lot of fun jumping. I think it's a great way to get the kids outside and away from the computer.