Monday, January 31, 2011

THUNDERSNOW

I don't have to tell you what happens when THUNDERSNOW attacks a city.

But in case you don't know: workouts stop.

THUNDERSNOW began midday on Wednesday. I skipped my Wednesday workout because I was enjoying getting an absurd amount of sleep every night (between 7-9 hours) and figured, no big deal, I'd do my running group Wednesday night.

I left my office at 4:15 and was home by 5:15 and very glad to be off the roads. Running group was clearly not happening considering I almost broke myself just walking a block to the liquor store (THUNDERSNOW calls for beer).

Chadd and I did go down to the Dupont Snowball fight:
video
Unfortunately, Chadd got slammed in the face with a big snowball and got what would be a black eye if he bruised. He just wound up with a puffy face and a red eyeball for a bit. Battle scars, man.

This meant that Thursday morning, I was in no mood to get up (especially since I was going to sleep in a bit to go to a client meeting, but when the client cancelled due to the roads, I decided to work from home. Which meant there was no way in hell I was going to go to the gym when I could sit around in sweatpants.

Friday, I was feeling very Friday-esque and didn't do anything.

Saturday, I did bite the bullet and head out at 10 to the Georgetown City Sports running group. Nike was there doing a give-away. I got a free city sports running shirt (yaay technical!) and won a draw string bag, which is always nice--especially since I need something for my cycle shoes.

The run was great, save the parts where I had to navigate across ice/snow/whatever that people hadn't shoveled yet (shame on you), but man did I feel out of shape. I was EXHAUSTED after the 5k and could have gone for a nap. What a difference a few days makes...

I will say, I have found the ideal combination for winter running: running tights under pair of shorts, tank top, long sleeves, zip up, skull cap, gloves.

I taught 20-20-20 on Sunday morning, as usual, and combined my 1 minute efforts for both upper and lower body.  For example: right leg piston squats with a left arm raise for 1 minute.

My shoulder are not exactly happy this morning. But now that my gym buddies are back in town, I don't have an excuse to not get to it. We've agreed that Monday mornings basically never happen, so here's the schedule this week:

Monday: YMCA running group (7pm)
Tuesday: AM: Light Run/Leg Weights, PM: teach cycle (7pm)
Wednesday: PM: Fleet Feet Running Group (hopefully Tuesdays' "wintery mix" won't get in the way)
Thursday: AM: Light Run/Arm weights
Friday: AM Cycle
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Cycle Certifications

Clocking in with a grand total of 7 workouts.

By the way, tried out my new cycle shoes--my butt killed for a few days. They really do help with the stabilization and isolation of muscles. Can't rely very much on gravity anymore. Definitely worth the switch.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Schedules, arms, shoes and other things

My abs are burning as I write this.

So far, my "back to normal" routine has been going pretty well.  I'm not as tired as I was in the beginning stages of recovery and my strength hasn't disappeared too much.  Last week:

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: A.M. Cardio and Weights
Wednesday: Fleet Feet running group (see below)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: A.M. Spinning
Sunday: 20-20-20

This week/Accomplished and Planned:
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: A.M. Cardio/Weights, P.M. Cycle
Wednesday: A.M. Cardio
Thursday: A.M. Cardio/Weights
Friday: A.M. Spinning
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 20-20-20

And I just sneezed and it burned.  Clearly, I got a good workout on Sunday.

Teaching again is really great--a lot of my regulars were there and were clearly happy to see me (even though I had awesome subs).  I had a great time and made a special effort to make sure everyone is in just as much pain as I am...

(one week later)...

I need to get better about hitting "publish post"...because this has clearly been sitting around for a bit since I wrote it.

Continuing the workout trend has been good--I took Wednesday and Thursday off because I was lazy and slept in, and had Restaurant Week dinners both nights, but I made up for it by working out on Friday morning (am cycle) and skipping out a bit early on work and hitting the gym before date night with Chadd.

This morning I taught 20-20-20 again, which was awesome.  This week we did an arm burn out, which is my new favorite workout method:

10 exercises, 1 minute each.
Arms:
- bicep curls/hammer curls
- upright rows
- shoulder press
- triceps kickbacks
- deadlifts
- pull over (lie with shoulders on ball, squeezing glutes, holding weights above chest, then over head, then back to over chest)
- bear hugs on ball (shoulder still on ball, arms out with weights, to center, back out, repeat)
- pushups (can be substituted for "pyramid" pushups--10 basic, 10 with one hand on top of step, 10 straddling bench, 10 with other hand on bench, 10 basic)
- weighted jumping rope (act like you're jumping rope weights in hand)
- triceps dips

Do that 2x through, broken up with 10 minutes (or more) of cardio (Good time for speed work on the treadmill, to be honest) and the finish up with the 10 minute ab routine that will slice you up:

1 minute each:
- basic crunches (no cheating)
- leg lifts (don't swing the legs, even foot prints towards the ceiling)
- rope climbers
- leg scoops
- bridge
- side shoelace grabs
- double crunch
- the "row" (sit on tailbone, feet off ground, holding a weight, scoop from side to side, fully rotating body)
- low plank
- high plank

voila.

Now, I need to get around to creating a lower body workout that will be just as painful and effective.

Gym routine this week looks like:
- Monday: Evening group run with Y (likely to be a minor workout for me)
- Tuesday: Morning leg routine, evening cycle
- Wednesday: Morning Cardio, evening running group with Fleet Feet
- Thursday: Morning upper body routine
- Friday: Morning cycle
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: 20-20-20

Changing gears, fun new subject: Shoes!

I am sad to announce that I've decided to break my many year streak of wearing Nike Max Motos.  I love those shoes and strongly recommend them to anyone looking for a good, light weight, neutral running shoe.  However, after roughly 4 years (probably more) of only using motos, I've decided to try something a bit different.  I will likely keep purchasing the motos to teach in, but since I've vowed to take running seriously this year (something that people think I'm kidding about because how can one not be "serious" about running when training for a marathon), I've decided to get a pair of shoes dedicated to running only.

When I was at Fleet Feet the other week, I had some time to kill before the running group.  I met Phil, one of the guys who works there, who talked to me about shoes. I thought I knew about shoes, and boy was I wrong. Phil knows shoes. If you're looking for someone to tell you about running shoes and what you need, ask Phil at Fleet Feet, though I'm sure they all know their stuff. Bottom line, we decided that if my then-current shoes (motos) were on the scale of Good to Best, mine were somewhere between the line of good to better. Looking to work with a shoe dedicated only for running, he let me try on about 7 different pairs of shoes. I took 2-3 of them out of a test jog up and down the block. I tried everything from Nikes to Brooks to Sauconys to Asics, and there I found, in the last pair of shoes, something miraculous: Ascis Gel Nimbus 12. Yes. Please.

I've been running with Nikes that use air technology (which keeps the shoe very lights) and since I wear orthodics in my shoes, the lighter the better. However, they cushion just a little less. I really have liked the gel nimbus in the week or so that I've had them. I can definitely tell the difference with the gel (better shock absorber), and the fit is just a bit more suited for stability. On top of that, the shoe laces come around on a slight "s" curve to better bind the shoe to your foot.  Better yet, Phil taught me how to tie my shoes just a little differently so that the shoe better connects with my heel.

I've been cautions since I haven't run out of a moto in so long (basically my entire running career), but so far, just doing 3-4 miles, we're off on a good start.

Also related to shoes:
Last tuesday at my first cycle class in quite some time, I realized that the instructor bike at the Y only accommodates clips (yikes). The instructor before me kindly help me take the bike off the stage and change it for a bike with cages. Then, someone in the class asked me why their clips weren't fitting in our bikes (???). She said she had "egg beaters" (over my head like a flock of geese) and thankfully someone stepped up and said "oh, those are the types our bikes don't handle, they're really only made for mountain bikes."

I don't mind being ignorant about something fitness related, God knows there is more to that subject that I'll ever have a handle on, but something that is pretty basic to what I'm teaching...I can't ignore it much longer. I haven't ever invested in a pair of clips, simply because it's just that: an investment.

Chadd and I went over to City Sports in Georgetown (which is launching a running club that I am seriously stoked about) and I talked to one of the guys and basically owned up to the fact that I am a clip-ignorant cycle instructor.

They only carry two pairs (both Shimano). He grabbed each for me and I tried them on. It's tough to say "wow, that's a comfortable shoe!" when trying on clips. Clips are essentially made to be supportive (read: stiff) along the bottom of the shoe to act as an extended pedal. You clip into the pedal, making your foot much less likely to slide off/out of the pedal.

They didn't have my size in the older version (read: cheaper) and since the difference was only $10, I figured what the heck, and grabbed the newer version: http://www.bicyclebuys.com/shoes/ShoeMTB/SHWM61PART

Pretty slick.

Report to come on how those work out on Tuesday, though you should have seen me this morning. After teaching 20-20-20, I figured I better try them out before I taught with them. I found a bike on one of the floors that was a spinning bike and clipped in. Ok. Not too bad. Pedal pedal pedal, awesome, we're good. Now to dismount.

Oops? I finally gave up (I was feeling fuzzy after a lack of food and teaching) and took my shoes off while still attached to the bike. Note to self: release by moving heel to the side and then release.

Also this week: aiming to get 8 hours of sleep a night--no more, no less. Which means, in order to be up at 7:15, I need to jump in bed.

Btw, stick to your resolutions and outlast that dude at the gym who doesn't know the unspoken rules. You're better than that.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Post about Many Things

So you know what happens when you wait to register for races?

They fill up.

As a result, the two half marathons that I'd planned to run this year have filled up (Virginia Wine Country and the Colorado Half).

Right now, I'm on the wait list for Virginia Wine and am scrambling for a replacement for the Colorado.  The trick in this equation is that Will leaves in May to go home for a bit, then comes back to Colorado.  I was thinking of the Horsetooth Half (mid-April), but Mom and my cousin (who lives out there) have suggested maybe a fall race...better weather!  Roze says that the Crosswinds race is less punishing (course profile says flat and fast) and, again, better weather.

So, to avoid this issue in the future, here's my calendar:

Jan: Ragnar Miami (just got back last night!)
Feb: Love the Run You're With (http://www.pacersevents.com/lovetherun/index.html)
March: B and A Half, Four Courts Four
April: Cherry Blossom 10, Nashville Rock and Roll Half
May: Marine Corps Half (maybe) or maybe New England Ragnar

Ragnar.

Ragnar was incredible.  I had a great time down in the Keys--we got to DC on Wednesday night, got Brannon, and headed to the house where we passed out after a glass of wine and some nachos.  Thursday we celebrated Chadd's birthday with breakfast at Briar Patch in Winter Park, then got ready to head down to Miami.

Chadd and I picked up K-lo in Boca Raton, then met up with everyone in Miami.  Friday morning, we decorated the vans (which looked so awesome...they had grass skirts with hibiscus flowers around them and margarita lights around the front windshield) then headed to the start line.

The only thing I'd change about this Ragnar experience would be our start time.  We got a 1pm start time and wound up getting stuck with fast teams, so we were often alone at exchange points and missing the real "Ragnar experience."  However, Ragnar was totally awesome and let us run simultaneously--Van 1 was still running their third leg while van 2 began theirs as well.  Instead of finishing after the finish line would have been closed (we'd have gotten in around 8:30), we wound up finishing around quarter of 5.

Margaritas, beer, pina coladas, all out on the Southernmost Point beach (I managed to walk into the water to about my knees in lieu of an ice bath).  The after party was INCREDIBLE.  Live music, great vendors, tons of people...it was really paradise.  The race itself was a blast, I had great people in my van and we spent a good deal of time basically rushing through the Keys (our legs were a lot shorter this time, it seemed, and traffic destroyed our ability to easily get around).  There was nothing like running over the water on the fishing bridges, or talking with the wonderful people in Homestead who thought we were crazy.  Van 1 saw a Key Deer while we saw Iguanas....there were a few legs that required runners to sign a waiver about "potentially aggressive wildlife" spawning the joke in the RagMag (ragnar magazine) with a giant fake gator saying "Imma Eat Choo"....

The whole experience was just as wonderful, but totally different than the first.  That's the beauty of Ragnar--it might be the same structure, 36 hour 200 mile relay race, but it's always new.

I'm already planning the next Ragnar, so if you want in, let me know.

On the Ragnar note...the Hood to Coast documentary is being shown for one night only in theaters tomorrow night.  If you live in the Alexandria area (Eisenhower, Hoffman Center), come see me other Brigade members, and Pacers at the theater for a reg code with a good deal and talk to me about Ragnar in person (please allow for at least 30 minutes as I can talk your ear off about how much I love it).

In final news, I'm filling out my workout schedule, which will look vaguely like this:

Monday: Rest OR Pacers evening Fun Run (Alexandria)
Tuesday: AM workout (weights) AND Teaching evening cycle (7pm Nat. Cap YMCA - starting next week)
Wednesday: AM workout  And/Or Fleet Feet Women's Running Group (6:30PM AdMo)
Thursday: AM weights workout And/Or Pacers Running Group (Logan Circle)
Friday: AM cycle or AM Cardio and Weights
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Teach 20-20-20 (10am Nat. Cap YMCA)

This fulfills my requirements for two running clubs, brings me back to teaching 2 classes a week, and gives me two rest days.  I prefer doubling up on days to workout simply because it gives me flexibility if I don't want to hit a night workout.

Ideally, I'll be able to cycle through the three running clubs--do Monday night when I can't make a Wednesday or Thursday.  If there are 4 weeks in a month (roughly), I'd ideally like to make it to a running group 6 times.  That gives me two weeks where I can only make it once or one week where I can't at all.

In final news, (too lazy to go back and correct previously written stuff on this page), I will be captaining a team for Ragnar New England, May 20-21.  Prepare.  Now...to find a good team name....