Tuesday, September 28, 2010

UCHC 5K Course

I ran the UCHC 5K Road Race course today for the first time.  Overall, the surroundings are quite less scenic compared to last weekend's West Hartford Reservior trail, but there is much less elevation to deal with.  Here's the rough elevation synopsis.

0.0 - 0.5 miles - flat
0.5 - 1.0 miles - incline
1.0 - 1.5 miles - decline
1.5 - 3.1 miles - flat

From looking at last year's results, the competition will be much better at this race.  I'd love to be under 19:30 and I think it's quite doable given that there is less elevation at UCHC, but we shall see.  My hope is that the main incline will slow a lot of people down.  After that, it'll just be a battle to hold my spot (wherever that may be).  But having run at 6:49/mile today, I'm feeling pretty good.  I'll give the course 2-3 more tries during the week and we shall see what happens on Sunday.


Monday, September 27, 2010

2nd Place at the 7th Annual Run for Nancy's Kids

Yesterday was my first 5k race, the 7th Annual Run for Nancy's Kids to benefit the Nancy's Kids Fund, a fund that supports Charter Oak Health Center at CCMC Primary Care Center patients whose families have basic critical needs (e.g. cribs, clothing, food, bills, etc.).  Overall, I took 2nd place (1st in my age group) with a time of 19:30 (6:17/mile). 

To start, they DID run the race in the counter-clockwise direction.  I was hoping for the clockwise, but oh-well.  I figured I could still probably run sub-21.  The guy who won came in with a time of 18:13, so there was no chance I was going to catch him.  I did however seem to maintain a pretty steady pace throughout.  I don't know what my 1-mile time was, but I crossed the 2-mile mark at 12:59 (6:30/mile) and was  amazed that I had done so.  I had passed into 2nd place just at the 2-mile mark and that guy stayed within 100 feet of me for most of the last mile.  It was a battle just to maintain my faster pace because he looked like he was more of a sprinter and I didn't want to get passed right at the end.  The downhills over the last mile came in handy and I put a little more distance between us, coming in at 19:30, a solid 5:54 3rd mile.

Overall, I was (and still am) thrilled with my time.  I now know I can push a 19:30 5k and most likely even a sub-19 with a bit more push.  I have one more 5k scheduled at the moment, the UCHC South Park 5k, which benefits the UConn School of Medicine Outreach Clinic run by medical students and local volunteer physicians.  My guess is that this race (based on results from previous years) will have a tighter competition, so I should have my chance to be pushed there.  Then after that is the Hartford Half Marathon.

I love racing!


Friday, September 24, 2010

No Need For Music

One thing that I've had on my mind lately is the fact that when I run, I always do so with music.  It's naturally helpful on the long runs to keep my mind occupied and at times distracted while I'm running.   I've been curious just how much the music really aids my running.  By that I mean, if I left the music at home, would I be more likely to lose motivation because my mind would have more capacity to focus on the actual running?  Would I end up over thinking things and ruin myself in a race?  I know music has been a big help in keeping me going in the first couple weeks when I battled the initial pain and fatigue, so with three upcoming races, I decided to do a 5k without music and see what happens.  Long story short, I finished in a decent time.

So while I admit that the scenic atmosphere of the MDC trails may have helped as a distraction now and again, I at least know that I don't need to rely on the music as a running aid, which is a relief with upcoming races. 

Today's Workout:

Distance:  3.4 miles (5.5k)
Time:  24:30 (7:12/mile)
Music of choice: None

I'm taking tomorrow off before my race.  I may go for an extended walk if I find the time (definitely some stretching), but no running or cross-training tomorrow.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

2nd Day at the MDC - Already Smashing Goals

Today I went back to the West Hartford Reservior.  Last time I ran counter-clockwise, so this time I ran clockwise since I don't know which direction the race will be going on Sunday.  After today's run, my guess is that they will run the race clockwise, though I admit that I believe I'd prefer a clockwise run since the uphill is much more sudden and early on when you have more energy and the back half of the run is a series of slow declines. If I warm my legs up sufficiently before the race, I should be able to make it up the hills and across the flat around I believe reservior 5 or 6 to the race midpoint in a good pace; the hill workout certainly helped me find a way to run hills much more efficiently.  After the mid-point, the trail begins it's series of long declines.  Today I found myself getting mentally tired about 3/4 way through, so I'm hoping the race will give me a different state of mind to rely on to push myself.  Other than that, I don't doubt I will attempt letting myself be pulled by gravity more down the hills to try and gain distance.  I found if I keep my breathes shorter, it feels less likely that I'll get a side stitch like I did yesterday.  So deeper breathes on the straight away, shorter on the downhill.  If I can pull all of that off, I bet I can knock off a minute at most.

Today's Workout:

Distance:  3.4 miles (5.5k)
Time:  22:37 (6:49/mile)
Music of choice: Missy Higgins

Yesterday I told you I was hoping to race sub-21 on Sunday.  Taking today's time for 3.4 miles as a proportion, I would have a 20:37 5k time.  So I've already gone sub-21 minutes.   I guess I only have sub-20 minutes left on my previous predictions; that's about 13 seconds per mile faster.  Keep the uphill strides efficient, don't let the downhill ruin my diaphragm, and do as much as I can to keep up my pace on the straight aways.  I think I can do it.  That is if they run the race in a clockwise direction.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Testing Out Sunday's Race Course

Back in the swing today and glad to be there.  I went for an earlier run today to avoid the cooler temperatures we're getting at night now.  On top of that, I went over to the West Hartford Reserviors to check out the course that I'll be racing this coming Sunday and it's a bit more hilly than I thought it'd be, but all-in-all it's a good course; very scenic.

Today's Workout:

Distance:  3.4 miles (5.5k)
Time:  24:00 (7:03/mile)
Music of choice: Missy Higgins

The race will be a 5k (3.1 miles), so proportioning today's time gives me something like a 21:48, which is better than I thought I ran, so that's cool.  I did notice that I got a slight side stitch after allowing myself to stretch out and fly down a decline, so I'll have to be careful about that.  Otherwise, I like that the course is a paved trail; much better than running through streets in downtown.  I think at this point I will attempt to push a sub-21 time, maybe sub-20 minute if I can.  I'll run the course a couple more times this week to get a better feel.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Motivation Dip

After 14 days of training and 1 day off, I felt my first dip in motivation.  I really did not feel like doing much today.  I reasoned with myself that I should do at least something but that I didn't have to push it, so I settled for a cross-training day.  I'm not sure why though - those are the worst days thus far.

Anyways, I'm glad to have a few races coming up.  They will certainly help me stay on focus and continue training.  My first 5k will be this Sunday (Sept. 26th) in West Hartford.  Then my 2nd 5k will be the following Sunday (Oct. 3rd) at UCHC.  Finally, my half marathon will be in Hartford on the 9th of Oct.  

Today's cross-training workout:

1.  Up-Downs (10 reps with 10lb weights)
2.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit ups and 15 crunches)
3.  Push Ups (30 reps)
4.  Lunges (20 reps)
5.  Side Turns (15 reps)
6.  Bicep Curls (15 reps with 50 lbs)


7.  Up-Downs (15 reps with 10 lb weights)
8.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit ups and 20 crunches)
9.  Push Ups (40 reps)
10.  Lunges (30 reps)
11.  Side Turns (15 reps)
12.  Bicep Curls (20 reps with 50 lbs)

Given my first motivation speed bump today, I'll let myself "cool off" this week prior to my first race.  It may be good to let my body rest a bit more than usual before pushing myself pretty hard this Sunday.  It's not that I couldn't still do it after a normal week of training, but my calves have been continuously sore and I'd prefer to know that come the 9th, I don't have any injuries.

So... the plan is to do a 5k run tomorrow, some sort of cross-training on Thursday, and then a run both on Friday and Saturday.  Then Sunday I race.


Monday, September 20, 2010

First Hill Run

Today I decided that I had built up a sufficient amount of endurance and should add a little bit of speed work / interval running into my regime.  Therefore, I headed out to whatever road it is on the east side of Stanley Quarter Park and did some hills; I sprinted up the hills on the balls of my feet and then walked/jogged down.

The total distance was 6.6 miles (10.6k), but a portion of that was walked as well.  In total, I ran 2 miles to get to the hill at a sub-7 minute pace, did 2.6 miles of hills, and then ran another 2 miles home at about a 7:30 pace. 

Distance:  6.6 miles (10.6k)
Time:  maybe 1:10 or there abouts
Music of choice: Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

Overall, the hills were a good change up and I'm sure they'll help in time with my Marlborough Spring Triathlons or any hilly running course in general, but for now I'm content in knowing that I will quickly grow to hate hills.  haha  I'm fine running them at a convo pace (a pace at which you're able to continue a conversation), but sprints suck.  haha

Keep chugging along guys!  Ciao.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Long Run Day

Today's Workout:

Distance:  10 miles (16.1k)
Time:  1:26:15 (8:37/mile)
Music of choice: Sara Bareilles - Little Voices album
BPM: 154 (resting = 66)
Sweat Rate: 1.9 L/h

Yesterday I talked about how I lost ten pounds in about 10 days.  I meant that to be my little plug for exercise; "Hey everyone!  Look at what exercise can do for you."  But instead it seemed most people that I heard from seemed to feel that I was being harmful to my body, so I'd like to just address a few things in that respect. 

First, the weight that I have lost is not from dehydration.  When I go running, I do lose weight through sweating, but I more than counterbalance for that by drinking plenty of water both after a run as well as throughout any normal day.  The ten pounds I've lost is disregarding the daily fluctuations for each workout.

Second, I had no intention of working out to lose weight, it was simply an effect of training.  I also feel that unless you are already working out regularly, any training regime will cause you to lose a certain amount of weight.  I have become quite used to this phenomenon from my years in competitive swimming.  I swam 10 months out of the year, but when my personal season came around (about 5-6 months into my full 10 month span), I would lose 20 pounds in two weeks like clockwork every year (165 down to 145).  So I'm quite used to my body fluctuating at a rate faster than most people; it's just how my body seems to work.

Third, losing weight does not mean you're harming your body.  If I dip below 160 then I might begin questioning things.  At the moment, I keep gaining speed and endurance, so while I'm sure you can make an argument for why what I've done isn't the best training method, it's still working. 

Lastly, in my advice for most other people, I tend to stress the idea of taking a day off.  I say that for two reasons.  1) You don't want to mentally burn yourself out.  Getting two months out of a moderate workout schedule is much better for you than giving up one week into an intense schedule, so let yourself ease into the training.  2) One high-risk time for injuries is at the beginning of a training regime.  Your body is not used to pushing itself so hard, so let it slowly work up to the more intense levels or you'll end up resting injuries more than you actually workout.  That said, I've been going for 14 days straight now.  Kind of seems contradictory, right?  Not so in my book; let me explain.  I was still just as happy to get up and go for my 10 mile run today after a previous 13 days of training, so mentally I'm not in danger of burning out.  As I've mentioned before, when I feel it would not be smart to run on a given day due to blisters, pain, or tightness, I do cross training which may focus more on core and upperbody.  However, I do admit that running is not solely a leg muscle exercise, so while my legs get a rest on the cross-training days, my upper body still gets a light workout on running days.  Therefore, I will be taking tomorrow off and canceling my plans to do a cross-training workout.

If you guys have ANY other comments, questions, or concerns, please don't hesitate to comment or email.  I'm more than happy to talk about my training schedule or yours.  I fully admit that I'm not trained as a personal trainer, a nutritionist, or anything, so I'm working solely from my own experience as an athlete and scientist.  I'm always happy to learn something.


Friday, September 17, 2010

For Those Who Want To Lose Weight

Today's workout:

Distance:  5k (3.18 miles)
Time:  22:13 (6:58/mile)
Music of choice: Shuffle
BPM: 156
Sweat Rate: 2.4 L/h

 I'm shooting to do 10 miles tomorrow.

Now, for those who are always looking for ways to lose weight!  I've kept from saying anything about this for a few days because I know personally how much my body weight can change, but after three days at a pretty constant level I feel I can say with some certainty that I have stably lost 10 pounds in ten days (take that corporate diet plans!).

I started the blog at 175 lbs and returned from my vacation to N.C. at the same weight.  Ten days later I started keeping track of my sweat rate and was surprised to see that my first pre-run weigh in was 164 lbs.  I thought I was just low, but I have maintained 164-166 for the last three days.  You have access to all of my workouts.  My eating habits have become slightly healthier (more vegetables in my meals and fruit for snacks) as of the last ten days.  I am by no means going hungry; quite the opposite.  I eat more volume of food now than I had before starting the training.  However, the type of foods I eat are less fatty and my training has increased my metabolism.  One thing I've always told any friend of mine on a diet - don't just change your eating habits, get to the gym now and again as well.  It's a killer combination.  You don't train without cross-training, why diet with only one focus?

Oh, something I'll talk about in the future is a guy named Tim VanOrden who is the founder of RunningRaw.com.  I watched a few of his youtube videos today about how he is testing his athletic ability while on a raw vegan diet.  The idea was pretty intense and would certainly bring me back around to reanalyzing general nutrition. I'm hoping I can get ahold of him personally to ask a few questions, but we'll see.  I'll come back and talk about that later down the road.

Keep up the fitness guys (and gals!).  Ciao!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yesterday & Today

Yesterday's workout was a bit late in the day, so my apologies for not having it up until now.

Yesterday's cross-training workout:

1.  Up-Downs (10 reps with 10lb weights)
2.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit ups and 20 crunches)
3.  Push Ups (30 reps)
4.  Squats (30 reps)
5.  Side Turns (15 reps)
6.  Bicep Curls (20 reps with 50 lbs)


7.  Up-Downs (10 reps with 10 lb weights)
8.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit ups and 20 crunches)
9.  Push Ups (30 reps)
10.  Squats (30 reps)
11.  Side Turns (15 reps)
12.  Bicep Curls (20 reps with 50 lbs)

Today's run:

Distance:  5k (3.18 miles)
Time:  22:04 (6:55/mile)
Music of choice: Missy Higgins
BPM: N/A (forgot my watch, so I couldn't take it)

Comments: I'm finding that a longer stride and a bit faster pace (just over conversational) leaves me feeling SO much better both during and after the run.  The longer stride I think helps keep my body from moving much vertically, which keeps my diaphragm from giving me problems.  Also, my feet tend to not have any issues (ball pain, toe blisters, etc) with the longer stride.  I haven't attempted anything beyond a 5k at that pace, but I'm hoping I can soon.

For the few of you reading, I want to point out that I added a new "gadget" as Blogger calls it to the side bar.  Below the "What is an Ironman?" text box, I have a "Distance Tally."  I'm going to be keeping track of the total distance that I've swam, biked, and ran both in training and racing from the first day I started the blog forward.  Thus far I only have running up because that's all I've done and that value comes from the running total on my MapMyRun account.  Personally, I've watched some youtube videos about Ironman training that talk about the incredible amount of time it takes to really prepare and I'm hoping to eventually look at that tally and say proudly "Yeah, I did that!"

My plan is to do three days in a row of running, so tomorrow should be another 5k or maybe I'll push it to 5 miles.  Then on Saturday I'll do my long run; I'm hoping to make it 10 miles.  I'm working through some lower calf tension (not pain, just tension), but we'll see how it all goes.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10k and Rehydration

Today's workout:

Distance:  10k (6.2 miles)
Time:  53:45 (8:41/mile)
Music of choice: Sara Bareilles - Live at The Fillmore
BPM: 150

Today I started keeping tabs on another aspect of my training in order to better understand how to rehydrate and refuel my body.  Up to this point, in my previous triathlons I've simply taken water during the bike and swim, but I'm sure if I get to the point of marathons or more intense triathlon racing, I'll value knowing how to best fuel my own body.

What I'm doing is determining my sweat rate, the rate at which my body expels liquid in order to maintain body temperature.  First question I'm sure is "how do you do that?"  Well, I weigh myself before and after my workout and take the difference to be the amount of sweat I expelled in the given time frame.  Of course, you have to consider any liquids you drank during the workout and keep tabs on the temperature, your level of exertion, etc.  But overall, it gives me an idea of how much liquid my body needs per hour to maintain a certain hydration level.

As an example, this is my calculation:
- Weight before running = 164 lbs
- Weight after running = 160 lbs
- No. of kilograms in a pound = 0.453 kg/lb
- Density of water (sweat) = 1 kg/L
- Amount of water intake = 0.0 L
- Time out exercising =  53:45 = 0.896 h

[ ( [ (164lbs - 160lbs) * 0.453 kg/lb ] / 1 kg/L ) + 0.0 L] / 0.896 h = 2 L/h

Therefore today, at a temperature of 77 degrees, my body had a 2 liters/hour sweat rate.  That means that in order to keep my body hydrated at today's workout level, I need to drink 2 liters of water every hour.  Crazy!!

It's a good thing I already am in the habit of drinking lots of water throughout the day.


Monday, September 13, 2010

9 Days Strong

After watching the semi-dark sky closely all afternoon, I went ahead and chanced a run.  I made it successfully with no downpours.  I ran a 5k in 23:05 (average 7:15/mile) which was about 75% pace, verified by my BPM of 170 when I finished.

Just as a note, I was on mapmyrun.com and discovered that my previous 5k path was a bit short on being a full 3.1 miles.  So I extended it 0.3 miles.

Today marks the 9th day in a row that I've been working out.  It feels great and I honestly still feel compelled every day to do SOMETHING.  I figured after a week I'd get bored of it or find something of more interest, but I still have a good amount of motivation which feels great.  I'm happy to see I'm still personally motivated to keep going.  Hopefully this will continue on for at least another...  oh, three years.  haha.  Here's to a full month!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cross Training & c25k

After yesterday, my right shin and left foot felt a little odd, so I decided to not do a run today.  Therefore, cross training workout today with the focus on core and arms.  I used one new exercise and also started taking my heart rate (beats per minute, bpm) immediately after finishing each full set.  For a comparison, my resting bpm was 54 and my max based on some suggested calculations online is around 196.  Many workouts and/or fitness articles will mention you should work at a certain percentage of your max bpm, so I figured this will help me figure out how to gauge my heart rate and give you an idea of how much I'm really working in each set. 

New Exercise:
1.  Leg/Butt Lifts:  This is a combination of two exercises I may do separately later on, leg lifts and butt lifts.  In total, you start out by laying on your back, legs extended.  Keeping your legs as straight as possible, you lift your legs up to a vertical position.  From here, you lift your butt and as much of your back off the ground as you can.  Then in the reverse you return to the starting position.  This exercise is geared towards your lower abs as opposed to normal sit-ups and crunches which target your upper abs.

Reps & Weights
1.  Up-Downs (10 reps with 10lb weights)
2.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit-ups and 15 crunches)
3.  Push Ups (30 reps)
4.  Leg/Butt Lifts (30 reps)
5.  Shoulder Press (30 reps with 10 lbs)
6.  Side Turns (12 reps on each side)
7.  Bicep Curls (15 reps with 50 lbs)
BPM: 102


8.  Up-Downs (10 reps with 10lbs)
9.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit-ups and 15 crunches)
10.  Push Ups (35 reps)
11.  Leg/Butt Lifts (30 reps)
12.  Shoulder Press (30 reps with 10lbs)
13.  Side Turns (15 reps on each side)
14.  Bicep Curls (15 reps with 50 lbs)
BPM:  122

I also wanted to mention a fitness workout that a few people I know have started using, Couch to 5k (c25k).  I was first introduced to c25k through a rather well known youtuber who I fallow named sxephil (philip defranco).  Then recently I have heard from two different friends (people I know in person) that they are using the program.  I've looked over the general program and I think it's great for anyone who is either out of shape or has a difficult time with motivation.  First, it offers a workout outline in both time and distance after the first two weeks.  Now this does two things, it should force people to SLOWLY work up to running longer distances (one major cause of injury in running is pushing too much mileage too fast) and then allows people to continue weeks 3-9 however they are mentally geared.  You can also switch if say you're distance person, but one day you're a little more tired you can run a little slower and just go for the set time; no pressure.  I personally switch; some days I'm more distance oriented while other days I'm focused on the time.   Secondly, the program allows you to decide when to do each workout during the week.  So for those people who do one workout and then wake up the next dreading the idea of doing another, take a day off!  If you're into it, do all three right in a row.  If something comes up in life, push the workout a day off.  The program is easy to fit into your personal and work/academic life.  Lastly, I have heard that the program offers programs for your high tech phones (always helpful for getting those of the younger generation interested) and also audio files that provide cues as to when to switch from running to walking and vice versa.  So as long as you can GET to a treadmill or even better, outside, the audio tracks tell you what to do; just follow the instructions and don't give up!

So there's yet another program to help people get in better shape.  Oh, and I should mention that I made a promise to both of my friends that are doing the c25k.  If they finish the program in full, I will sign up for a 5k with them and we'll run it as a celebration.  So hopefully come mid November, I'll be signing up for a "winter" 5k with them.  I'm always happy to support being fit and healthy!

Ok, time to get my laundry and some dinner.  Ciao!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

8 Mile Run, New Balance, and Mapmyrun.com

Today I have a few things I'd like to talk about; today's workout, New Balance, and a site called Mapmyrun.com.

First, today's workout.  I went out and purchased some running socks based on the fact that I've been having blisters lately and had read that you should stay as far away from cotton as you can.  I got some PowerSox.  Then today I headed out hoping to be able to put in a 10k.  I got to the 10k around 53:00 and figured "hey, why not finish off the full hour?"  So I continued on out to a 1 mile mark and came back.  I ran a total of 8 miles in roughly 1:10.  It was incredible.  While I admit that I still had to work through a bit of hip pain through mile 4 and toe pain in the last mile, my feet in general felt GREAT!

Second, as I mentioned before, I found that New Balance has training schedules on their website for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon for three levels of runners - beginners, intermediate, and advanced.  I've used New Balance shoes for over three years now because they offer various widths for most of their shoes (great for people such as myself who have wider-than-normal feet) and now I love the company even more for giving that extra support of fitness.  I do admit that in looking at their beginner 5k schedule, I think they should have you run at least 30 minutes once or twice (based on the fact that I can run a 5k in 20 minutes, 30 minutes should put most people at over a 5k distance).  But either way, the schedules are there and that's great!

Lastly, I've been talking to a friend from college who has started keeping up with my blog and she informed me of what I think is an amazing site called www.mapmyrun.com.  This site allows you to map out your run to determine the distance, log your daily training, share planned out paths, and such.  There's also a site called www.mapmyride.com for those of you who prefer cycling sites.  I have only used the former site for a couple days, so I'm not sure of many differences, but if you're looking for paths other people have mapped out and made public, obviously the individual sites have their respective advantage.

I'm always happy to make use of and promote fitness items.  So please let me know if you find either of these useful.  I'd be overjoyed to hear that I've led people to something that makes their fitness goals or maintenance easier or more enjoyable in any way.

Ok, time to make some food.  I'm STARVING!!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Back on the Road and Feeling Great

Gotta' be quick, but I got back out onto the road today.  My ankle has been feeling GREAT the last couple days, so I planned just doing a medium paced 5k.  I made the 5k is 26 minutes, walked for five minutes, ran another mile, walked another five minutes, and ran one more mile; total of 5 miles today.

The run felt GREAT, so I'm psyched.  This goes to reinforce the lesson that I can't push the mileage too fast. 

On another related note which I will try to come back to, I have worn New Balance running shoes for nearly three years now.  The company is one of the only shoe brands that offers shoes with various widths, which for someone with wider-than-normal feet is a gold mine!  Anyways, I was on their website today after a friend told me about new shoes he had gotten recently and I found something that has increased my dedication to New Balance.  They have training schedules posted on their website for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon at three levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  As a person fully supportive of healthy living, I am more than proud to find that they have these available to anyone that wants to try to run. 

Ok, gotta' run.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

2nd Cross-Training Workout

So I decided to give myself a second day off to let my blisters heal over before going back out on the road.  Below is the workout I did today.

First, I added a few new things to this workout, so let's go over quickly what those are. 

1.  Squat:  Pretty straight forward.  Start in a standing position and squat down to a sitting position.  I'll usually start these at a pretty steady pace and then as I get further into the work out I'll begin slowing down the beginning stand-to-squat and try to speed up the squat-to-stand to get more out of the exercise.  This is mainly geared towards the quadraceps. 

2.  Calf Extensions:  On a machine at the gym, these are typically done in a sitting position with the weights at a 45 degree angle or so up.  I don't have the machine, so I simply do them standing; it's the same idea, just using your own body as the weight.  You can always just carry dumbells in your hands too if you want more weight. 

3.  Core Twists:  To get into position, grab a light weight and sit down.  Lift your legs up off the ground;' I usually cross mine at the ankles for more stability.  Now lean back a bit until you feel it in your abs - your abs should be tight throughout this entire exercise.  If your abs loosen, you need to lean further back.  Once in position, pick up the weight and move it from one side of your body to the other (I usually let the weight just touch the ground in order to maintain that I'm not cheating and cutting it short) and back; now repeat.

For any other exercises, please refer to the previous post.  Ok, now how MUCH did I do?

Reps & Weights:
1.  Up-Downs  (15 reps with 10 lb weights)
2.  Squats  (30 reps)
3.  Crunch Ups  (3 sets of 5 sit-ups and 15 crunches)
4.  Push-Ups  (30 reps)
5.  Calf Extensions  (50 reps)
6.  Side-Turns  (10 reps, each side)
7.  Shoulder Press  (15 reps with 10 lbs)
8.  Bicep Curl  (15 reps with 50 lbs)
9.  Core Twists  (30 reps)

8.  Up-Downs  (15 reps with 10 lb weights)
9.  Squats  (30 reps)
10.  Crunch Ups  (3 sets of 10 sit-ups and 15 crunches)
11.  Push-Ups  (30 reps)
12.  Calf Extensions  (100 reps)
13.  Side-Turns  (15 reps, each side)
14.  Shoulder Press  (20 reps with 10 lbs)
15.  Bicep Curl  (15 reps with 50 lbs)
16.  Core Twists  (40 reps)

Tomorrow, I plan on being back out on the road with a 5k.  My game plan is to run short on Friday, long on Saturday, short on Sunday with a bike ride after (or maybe vice versa), cross train on monday, run tuesday and wednesday, cross train thursday, and repeat.  Obviously this will change based on how I feel, how well the weather cooperates, and what else is going on, but that's the game plan.

I will leave you today with the Ironman Trademark, which was written on the back of the course instructions for the very first Ironman triathlon in 1978...

"Swim 2.4 miles!  Bike 112 miles!  Run 26.2 miles!  Brag for the rest of your life!"

Yesterday's Cross Training Workout

This is what I did yesterday for my upper body crosstraining workout.

First, I'll describe the various exercises and then I'll give you the number of reps and weights. 

1.  Up-Downs:  Starting from a standing position, you move down into a squat, placee your hands just beyond shoulder width apart, hop your feet down to a push-up position, do a single pushup, hop your feet back up underneath you (back into a squat position), grab a weight in each hand, stand up, do a shoulder press, and repeat.  As the first exercise in the workout, this is geared towards getting each group of muscles (legs, core, arms) jump started, though fyi I have already done a warm up to get my heart rate up. 

2.  Crunch Ups:  This is simply a set where you vary the number of stomach crunches and sit-ups you do.  I generally start with the sit-ups, placing both of my feet flat on the ground with my hands on either side of my head.  Then for the crunches, I lift my legs into the air at a 90 degree angle and have my hands across my chest.  This is obviously geared towards both the upper and lower abdomen & core. 

3.  Push-ups:  We all know what these are.  I'll freely move between push-ups where my elbows go out perpindicular to my body and those where my elbows bend backwards parallel with my body.  The former works more of your pec and shoulders; the latter, your shoulders, triceps, and biceps.  This exercise also keeps your core flexed as long as you keep your back straight, as you should be. 

4.  Squat Curls:  Here, I am doing a typical squat, going down to a nearly 90 degree angle in my legs and holding that while I do a bicep curl in one arm; the other arm is generally held out for balance.  This exercise works the quadraceps and bicep, but by combining upper and lower body it also involves the core to balance.

5.  Side Turns:  I'm sure this has an official yoga or exercise term, but I haven't found it.  To get into position, lie on your side with your elbow underneath your shoulder and your upper leg directly on top of your lower.  Lift your body into a proned position where the only parts touching the floor are your forearm and your feet with your chest facing parallel to the floor.  Much like push-ups, it is important to keep your body as straight as possible.  Start with your free arm pointing towards the sky.  Then tuck that arm to your chest and turn your body so that your chest is facing the floor (I am generally able to keep my feet from turning much) and then turn your body back to the starting position.  To get the most out of this, try to pause at the three positions: arm out, arm in, body turned.  The idea is that your core is working to maintain balance throughout the exercise, so don't throw it off by moving too fast.  This exercise is geared to your core.  Your shoulders will feel it a bit too, but the main exertion should be in your core. 

6.  Shoulder Press:  Another very common exercise.  Hold a pair of dumbells  at your shoulders (your upper arm horizontal and forearm vertical) and press them to the sky, repeat.  If your back starts to bend, lower the weights and increase reps or incorporate more core work into your routine. 

7.  Bicep Curl:  Yet another common bit.  At home, I generally use a full bar instead of individual dumbells because I will tend to let my elbow fall back behind my body if I used dumbells.  I would much prefer to use a pulley system which keeps you from cheating with position, but I don't have it yet.  Same idea as above if your back begins to bend. 

Ok, now that you know WHAT it is I did, I'll show you how MUCH I did.  My goal was to keep my heart rate up and do a medium workout.

Reps and Weights:
1.  Up-Downs (12 reps with 5 lb weights)
2.  Crunch Ups (3 consecutive sets of 3 sit-ups and 15 crunches)
3.  Push-Ups (20 reps)
4.  Squat Curl (10 reps with 5 lb)
5.  Side Turn (10 reps on each side)
6.  Shoulder Press (10 reps with 10 lb)
7.  Bicep Curls (12 reps with 50 lb.)
8.  Up-Downs (20 reps with 5 lb weights)
9.  Crunch Ups (3 consecutive sets of 5 sit-ups and 10 crunches)
10.  Push-Ups (30 reps)
11.  Squat Curl (15 reps with 5 lb)
12.  Side Turn (15 reps on each side)
13.  Shoulder Press (15 reps with 10 lb)
14.  Bicep Curls (15 reps with 50 lb.)

The whole workout took me a little under an hour (~ 50 min). 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Alternate Day

I gave myself a running break today.  My blisters needed time to heal and my IT band, or glute, or TFL (whatever it is) needs time to stretch back out).  So I did an upper body & core workout today. 

I liked the change up, so I'll be adding that to my regular regime.  Plus, I think my injuries have been somewhat due to upping my ante too fast on running, so I'll try to stick to two days in a row of running for now and then something else. 

Tomorrow I may still need to give my blisters some time.  If so, I'll find something else to do.  If not though, then I'll try to just stick to a fast paced 5k. 

Ok, gotta run.  Ciao!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Compromise

I psyched myself up today to run an hour.  That would put me at about a 10k or just beyond depending on how well I ran.  Unfortunately, I ended up eating lunch later than I wanted to and then as I should have expected, my blisters from yesterday were still a bit of a bother.  So as I jogged/walked up to my starting point, I gave myself an option.  I can give the hour long run a shot and just bear whatever happens along the way knowing that I'll have tomorrow off from running or I can push myself harder today on a shorter distance and opt out of the full hour.  My goal was a 5k in 20 minutes; a minute faster than I've done them since I started.

I've typically hit my turn around point (a bit further than half way) at about 12:15/12:30; today I hit it at 11:15.  The first half of the return trip was dodgy, but the last half felt great.  I ended up finishing on 20:00:65 - couldn't have timed it better if I tried.

I also found my left hip is becoming a bother.  There's a dull ache just behind the hip joint.  I'm not sure if it's an IT band issue or maybe the muscle (glute?) is the problem, but I need to look into how to stretch/flex that better.  A friend gave me a new stretch to add to my regime.  Since I'm taking tomorrow off from running (may still do some sort of cross training or workout of some kind), I'll make sure to stretch again tonight and multiple times tomorrow to try and really get that worked out; or at least to see if there's any improvement.

Tomorrow's my first day off.  Maybe I'll go to the gym and do a core/upper body workout.  We'll see.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Reflection and My First Hurdle

I've spent the last hour or so watching my youtube Ironman videos and after watching a few videos on the amount of training that goes into one of these races, I started thinking about my own training.  I thought back over today's run (the 8k) and I came to a completely new perspective.

First, the furthest I've ever run is a 10k, and that was during an Olympic Triathlon.  And my biggest hurdle is the mental aspect of running; I hate running for long distances because it gets boring and I have too much time to convince myself that a blister is worth stopping for, a cramp should be worked out, or any of the other million excuses.  I'm by no means even a decent runner, but today I ran for 40 minutes straight.  That's a first.  I may not have ran well and I'm sure in a year I'll look back and think I ran badly, but today I made my first step to overcoming that first hurdle.  Maybe tomorrow I'll shoot for an hour.

Here's to pushing your limits!


Jipped on Distance

I set off today to run a 10k.  I hadn't checked the path I was going to run for distance, but I figured it had to be pretty close.  Well, come to the end of the run, I look at my watch and "oh, it's only 40 minutes in."  Either I ran really well or that was NOT a 10k.  haha.  Turns out it was a mile short, so I got an 8k in today.

I did find how to change the course a bit to add on that extra 2k.  I'll see about giving that a shot tomorrow.  I popped a blister today, so I may end up only doing a 5k tomorrow to try and give it time, but we'll see how it feels.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Double Run Day

Got another 5k in today with a short core workout after.  So that's a total of 10k today.  Shooting for at least one more 5k tomorrow morning.  I've gotta' get my running endurance up and I'd like to keep the snowball rolling at this point as long as I can.

I'll be looking up some local 5ks this week too, possibly some 10ks and then the half marathon in October.  I need to know there's a short term goal ahead.

G'night.  Ciao!

Back to CT

I'm back in CT and at it right from the start.  Ran a 5k this morning and did some core work out on the lawn.  I've got a bunch of little things to do today to settle back into being home, but I'm hoping I can find time later to get in either another run or a workout.

I just heard that another student at school did an Ironman recently, so I'll have to get in touch with him.

Time for breakfast.  Ciao!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Plans Will Always Change

A good lesson to keep in mind (and periodically remind yourself of): plans will always change.  You cannot avoid it; things come up or fall through.  But you CAN learn to be flexible.  I'm back after spending two days near Surf City and I did not do any running either of those days.  The acupunture never happened, but I did stay active and got to do some surfing; in hurricane Earl nonetheless.  Then today it has been in the 90's if not 100's, so running was not an option.  Instead, I went for a training session with a local endurance trainer who just finished his second Ironman this past weekend.  So the running fell through, but I surfed, I picked up a number of good exercises for core training, and got some good insight into racing an Ironman.

The guy I trained with is Brian Bohrer and we worked out at Urban Fitness in Wilmington, NC.  He used to own a shop that annually sponsored a local triathlon.  Each year, they offered him a free entry into the race for sponsoring and after two years of turning it down, he decided to do it.  He now works as an trainer and has completed two Ironman's, countless sprints, half a dozen half-Ironman's, and multiple marathons.  He very much shares my feelings on the image of crossing that finish line; an incredible rush. 

But anyways, I asked him what the hardest part of the triathlon is for him.  At the Ironman distance, he said the bike.  To me, the bike, while quite difficult to complete at a competitive pace (as any of the three portions are), I always think if I get incredibly tired, I can always coast for a bit.  In the swim, if you want to take a breather, you've still got to tread water.  On the run, you've got to keep standing (hopefully).  What Brian pointed out was that the bike is the longest part of the race and due to the rules regarding drafting & passing zones, it is also the most solitary.  It is roughly 6 hours of riding a bike at a competitive pace with no one to talk to but yourself; he says it gets very easy to convince yourself that you are ready to quit at that point.  I had never thought of that aspect of the race.  You can't talk on the swim, but it is the shortest portion (2.4 miles; 1-2 hours) of the race and also you are at your most energetic state.  On the run (112 miles; 5+ hours), you have people you can talk to or at least run alongside.  On the bike (26.2 miles; 5+ hours) , you are on your own. 

Therefore, my take home message for today is that while group training is great for motivation, solitary training may be a more necessary component of the mental aspect of this race than I had previously realized.

One more evening of vacation.  As far as when I get back, I would like to manage 3-4 morning runs a week along with 2-3 good core workouts (I'd like to focus on core workouts for this fall and really set a foundation for where I branch out to next), and 1 good weekend bike.  I will let you know how ideal vs. realistic that goal is when I get there.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


5k number 3 this morning.  We went back to the original track and finished in 21:30 (same as before).  Still not as relaxed as I'd like it to be, but it's getting there for sure.

Got a full body massage yesterday too.  That really helped relax my back.  Today's adventure is acupuncture.   Then surfing tomorrow.