Monday, March 31, 2014

More About The Spring Classic Duathlon

I was amazed at the acrazing people at the Spring Classic Duathlon. While I was setting up my bike before the race, some guy was talking to a woman while they were both setting up their bikes. They had been in triathlons and duathlons before and knew each other. I started paying attention when he said, "Yeah, I took a bad fall, went over my handlebars." 

She said, "Oh, no, when did you do that?" 

He said, "Oh, about twenty minutes ago, warming up, out there on Airport Way. And I had surgery in January, so I couldn't do as much training for awhile."

And I thought *I* had problems with training and not feeling so great.

The people who showed up for that race and finished it were seriously HARD CORE. 

I crossed paths with a woman during the second 3-mile run as she was about 1-1/2 miles from the finish, after the turn-around, and I was a couple of hundred yards away from the turn-around. She was crying. 

I mean, I did plenty of crying on that day, but not like she was crying. She was seriously sobbing her heart out, tears streaming down her face as she walked and stumbled along.

I called out to her as I passed, "You go, girl! You are my shining example!" She smiled and shook her head but picked up her pace. I watched her the rest of the way. I couldn't catch up with her. She went from walking/jogging to jogging/running, and she made it to the finish a couple of minutes before I did. I never did catch up with her. 

Jason said she was crying as she finished, crying as she went to pick up her bike, and crying as she went to her car. But she finished.  She really was my shining example, making me feel like I had to keep going, running instead of walking and jogging and stumbling, and finish strong.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Modified Challenge: Starting Sunday, March 30, 2014

Okay, from your comments, here's a modified version of the challenge:

Week 1: Start Keeping a Food Journal.  Each day, write down what you eat as you go through the day. Optional: Also write down what time you wake up, the time you eat, how much you exercise, how much water you drink and what time you go to bed.

Week 2: Continue Week 1 habits.  Add: Eat 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables per day.

Week 3: Continue Week 2 habits.  Add: Find a new way to prepare some healthy fruit or vegetable that makes it more enjoyable (i.e., edible). And share this with the rest of us.

Week 4: Continue Week 3 habits. Add: Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. This can be as simple as brisk walking. The goal is to raise your heartbeat. If you're feeling a good cardio workout, working up a sweat, increased heart rate, it counts. Also, the more that you can vary your exercise routine the better. So, do cardio one day and weights another. Try different forms of exercise (i.e. an elliptical one day and swimming another). Try to establish a routine. If you must, you can split this into three 10 minute segments for a total of 30 minutes.
Week 5: Continue Week 4 habits. Add: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. However, since some people find it hard to drink that much water, you could change this to fit YOUR MAXIMUM healthy amount.  
Week 6: Continue Week 5 habits. Add: Take supplements each day as recommended by your doctor or other health professional, including dieticians (but not including information from magazine and newspaper articles). 

Week 7: Continue Week 6 habits. Add: Start your day with"Quiet Time" every day. This should be at least 30 minutes of meditation, and can include your own scripture study or other medication that you currently do. 

Week 8: Continue Week 7 habits. Add: Sleep at least 7 hours each night.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Okay, I Did the Spring Classic Duathlon!

It was raining as hard as it was yesterday, which was fine with me, because I think I do better in the rain than in the sunshine. In races and in life in general. I think. Unless I'm just being delusional. But anyway that's what I think.

The Spring Classic Duathlon started at 10 am with a 3-mile run, which I did in better time than I've ever done before, which I suspect is because I kept saying to myself, "Don't be the last one in, don't be the last one in." And I wasn't. Though I was close. When I got to the bike racks, it looked like all the bikes were gone, but only because most of them were.

Anyway, I passed people like crazy on the cycling part, which I attribute to Derek's excellent training in spin classes and individual and small-group training. But by the time I finished that, a lot of people had already finished the final 3-mile run. Which, okay, I'm glad for them! And when I grow up, someday, I'm gonna be like them!

I wanted to give up so bad, so many times. And I wasn't the only one crying (yes, I admit I cried a good part of the time).  It was hard. Did I already say that? Let me say it again, just in case: It was hard.

On the bike, riding along Marine Drive, which runs along the south bank of the Columbia River, the wind was blowing so hard from the south that you had to lean into it in order to keep from being blown off your bike. I'm not kidding.

Also, it seemed to me that the wind changed direction so I was always riding into it. Would've been great if I was a plane, could've taken off. Another cool thing about that ride: next to the runways at PDX, so you could see the planes taking off.

Another thing: It was raining so hard, and at one point hailing (I think), with the wind blowing the rain and/or hail sideways, that it hit your face like a bunch of needles. Did I mention it was hard?

Anyway, I pretty much walked most of the way on the second 3-mile run, and glad I was able to do that much. Forced myself to jog a few steps, then walk, then jog, walk, etc., so I wouldn't be the last one in. And I wasn't. And I earned a silver medal in my category. The only other person in that category, a 68-year-old woman who passed me about halfway through the first 3-mile run and stayed ahead of me the whole rest of the way, won the gold medal. I am proud to be in company with people like her!

So, in three weeks, I'll run my first half-marathon, which I'm going to work like crazy (I'm going to be acrazing, like Laura!) to prepare for.

Yeah, I'm Doing the Spring Classic Duathlon!

I went to Fit Right Friday morning where the nicest sales person ever, Ryan, who is running in the London Marathon on April 13, helped me:

He measured my feet and found a pair of "neutral" running shoes for me to try while he videotaped me running on a treadmill.  Then he showed me the videotape, which shows my right instep turning in slightly as I step down (pronating) but coming back normally as I lift the foot, but the left foot  taking all the weight on the outside of the foot.

He recommended "neutral" shoes, found 3 pairs for me to try on, and let me choose the pair that felt best. He said I can bring them back in 30 days if they don't turn out to be just right, even if I've worn them outside, run on trails on them, etc.

So then Jason and I drove the route of the duathlon. The rain was POURING down. And there's supposedly a 50% chance of that same kind of rain on race day, which is good (for me, anyway).

And then I went to the gym and ran 2 miles on the treadmill, did some stretches, and talked to Derek about the rest of the things I need to do for the race (stretch, rest, eat carbs, drink a lot of water).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Please Don't Take My Sweets Away!

Ellen, thanks for your comment:
Okay, here's my idea. Let's cut out that second week with the no sweets of any kind. I think it's more reasonable and sustainable and encouraging to start adding fruits and vegetables in the second week, rather than taking away my sustenance. I mean, seriously, I have to eat something, and if I just cut out the goodies then I'll starve to death. Let's save that one for the last week. :-)
 I totally agree. Let's cut out that goal for the second week, move the rest of the weeks forward, and so on.

Everybody,  I'll write more about this tomorrow and Sunday and I hope that by Sunday I'll have the latest and greatest version of our own group 8-week challenge posted. In the meantime, if I don't make it by Sunday, we at least know to start (or continue) by keeping a food diary.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

When You're Not Ready

What if you haven't done the training you'd planned to prepare for a race? What if you have a slight knee injury which you're worried could turn into a major problem?

Well, that's where I'm at right now. I'm not sure what to do about the Spring Classic Duathlon in two days. I think I'll at least start the race and do the best I can. But it kills me that "the best I can" is going to be much less than what I thought it would be.

People keep telling me, "You're not competing against anyone but yourself." I know they're just trying to encourage me. But, and I guess this is another way of saying what I just said, "myself" is the hardest competition.

Meanwhile, I'm taking Ibuprofen and aspirin and I'll start icing the knee, which I realized I should be doing from a Web page with info on treating runner's knee.  The conclusion of that article reinforces my worries but also gives me courage to go ahead and at least start that race on Saturday.

The good news about patellofemoral pain syndrome is that it’s a relatively minor condition. Indeed, it’s really just a chronic failure of tissues within the knee to fully recovery from running-induced damage between runs. The bad news is that it can be just as debilitating and last just as long as more serious breakdowns.
The good news about patellofemoral pain syndrome is that it’s a relatively minor condition. Indeed, it’s really just a chronic failure of tissues within the knee to fully recovery from running-induced damage between runs. The bad news is that it can be just as debilitating and last just as long as more serious breakdowns.
The good news about patellofemoral pain syndrome is that it’s a relatively minor condition. Indeed, it’s really just a chronic failure of tissues within the knee to fully recovery from running-induced damage between runs. The bad news is that it can be just as debilitating and last just as long as more serious breakdowns.
The good news about patellofemoral pain syndrome is that it’s a relatively minor condition. Indeed, it’s really just a chronic failure of tissues within the knee to fully recovery from running-induced damage between runs. The bad news is that it can be just as debilitating and last just as long as more serious breakdowns.
So, Also, Derek and another trainer at 24-Hour have given me some great advice on longer-term care and prevention. So I'll be going to the Fit Right store to get the right shoes for me, for a change and doing more exercises to deal with the underlying problem of the knee pain.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Great Ideas! Let's Keep 'Em Coming!

Great ideas about planning meals ahead of time and finding new ways to cook things so they're more appetizing and appealing. Both of these would be a huge help for me.  What if we shared our meal plans and new recipes, too? We wouldn't say we'd have to do one a day or whatever, but just share the experiments and meal plans that turn out well. 

I finally got around to trying this recipe today. I told the children (three visiting grandchildren) they were cookies, and they loved them. I suspect that if I told them they were muffins, they wouldn't even have tried them. Their dad gave this pronouncement: "They taste very....healthy."

Here's the recipe, from Sugar-Free Mom.

A couple of notes: Saying a recipe is completely sugar free, even though it has honey or stevia in it, seems a little disingenuous to me, as does adding chocolate chips for a topping. Anyway, I used guava syrup for a sweetener and these muffins/cookies tasted great to me.

But that's quibbling, because here's what's best of all: They kept me feeling full for a long time and from having a craving for more sweets like  I would have done if I'd had just some oatmeal cereal with sugar, or toast with jam, or any of those "usual" breakfast foods.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Comments --- Thanks!

Thanks for your comments to my post yesterday about the guy in the wheelchair! And thanks for being willing to start this 8-week challenge --- and willing to wait another few days to get started. I'm really glad to be doing it as a way to support each other, not compete for points or whatever.

If you Google "8-week challenge," you'll find a lot of people doing something like this. I see that two people who claim to have originated the idea have also copyrighted it, and are making money from it, which is fine with me. I know you can't copyright a title, so we're not breaking any law by calling our program by that name. And our program is our very own, modified from something we heard of earlier and still to be modified as we go along.

I thought I would gain some helpful insights from looking at those pages, but I didn't, which is also fine with me. We've all gone through enough fitness programs, and have read enough about diet and nutrition, that we can work it out ourselves.

For instance, for Week 2, we're supposed to keep writing down everything we eat and also cut out all sugary treats. I've done this before---in fact, I've gone without any sugar or honey or sweeteners of any kind for 3 years while I lived in Venezuela---and it has been the most helpful thing I've ever done to feel healthy and satisfied and to stop craving the sweets. But it doesn't work for everyone. And even if it worked for the last 7 weeks of the program, what if you then went back to sweets, and rebounded back in a way that made you feel more addicted to the sweets? --- Not so good! So some people I've done this with in the past have adjusted the program to allow themselves, say, one piece of chocolate with their dinner, or something like that.

Also, the Week 5 goal of drinking 8 glasses of water a day may not be good for everyone. In fact, I've been reading lately that the whole 8-glasses-of-water-a-day "rule" is completely unnecessary for most people and even bad for some. I'll probably keep doing it because I find it helpful. But it won't bother me if someone else does this a different way. 

We may also want to change our Week 6 goal. The latest reporting on nutrition suggests that multivitamins aren't really that good for us and certainly aren't necessary if we're eating the right way. So we can change that one. 

Or we could make the Week 5 and Week 6 goals completely different. What could we change to make these weeks' goals more helpful? I don't know. Ideas, anyone? The thing is to make it work for us.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Guy in the Wheelchair

(Thanks for your comment on yesterday's post, Laura. Yes, I've got to allow for the normal events of a normal life and realize that I'll survive ... )

Today I remembered a great guy I saw at the Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania. He was wheeling up a very steep hill in a wheelchair, using only his hands (and strong arms and shoulders and back) for power.

His strength and determination were amazing, and he curtly rejected an offer by a well-intentioned person to give him a push. He most definitely did NOT need a push, and even more definitely did not need the pity that other person thought was kindness.

The wheelchair guy is a good role model for me, a reminder that achieving my fitness goals isn't always going to be the straightforward plan-attack-just-do-it program I wish it would be.

(I'll post some photos of us in that park in Launceston sometime soon. Meanwhile, here's the park's official Web site with some great photos of the whole park.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Starting the 8-Week Challenge (Not)

Well, so much for my first day: Nothing.

I'll actually start next week, when I don't have extra responsibilities...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thanks for 8-Week-Challenge Comments

Thanks for those comments, everyone! I am going to start tomorrow, and I am going to take it easy.

Laura, I don't do that whole bit like a food diary, and maybe it will make it easier for you to do it my way, too, which is: write down on a scrap of paper every time I eat or drink something, and make an estimate of the calories. I know the rules say, and all those people who write books and articles and stuff about this say, that you must write down the time of day and how you were feeling and how hungry or not you were, what time you got up, what time you went to bed, whatever exercise you did, blah, blah, blah, blah. But for this, I just write down what I ate and guess at the calories. (At this stage of our lives, we probably have the calories memorized of most of the foods we eat, right?)

Neva, when I did this with Angela and her friend Rachael, it was the best thing I did in that period of time. When you see either of them, maybe you can tell them for me how much I appreciate their doing that with me.

Ellen, I'm going to look up that Super Better site and check out those challenges. Thanks for mentioning that. I'm always looking for ways to feel better and do better; and, like you, I have to be careful not to let myself get overwhelmed with them all.

Also, Madame L is writing a post for tomorrow about a book she found about dealing with cravings for sweets and carbs. I'm getting some good ideas from that, too.

Okay, so, tomorrow I'll start again writing down everything I eat. I've been doing it for awhile, but not as seriously as I'm going to do it now!

Friday, March 21, 2014

The 8-Week Challenge

Here's the 8-week challenge I mentioned yesterday. A friend of my niece Angela helped us get started with this more than a year ago. After that time, I've done it a couple of times on my own. I believe it started with a college P.E. class some years ago, as a challenge or competition to help motivate students to reach their weight goals, as part of an overall fitness plan. For that reason, participants earned points for each successfully completed item. This part of it didn't prove helpful or motivating for me, so I've taken it out. We modified some of the steps each time we did it, and some need to be modified again. But here's what we did last time:

Week 1: Start Keeping a Food Journal  Each day, write down what time you wake up, the time you eat, what you eat, how much you exercise, how much water you drink and what time you go to bed.

Week 2: Continue Week 1 habits. Cut out all sugar, junk food, soda pop, and fast food! This is going to be the hardest week for all of us. This is as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge. Also, you can allow yourself natural sugars like fructose just make sure that you pair them with a protein to maximize energy. So, if you eat an apple pair it with some nuts or a string cheese. Also, you can have the sugar that is in a small amount of a sauce like a dressing or BBQ sauce.

Week 3: Continue Week 2 habits. Add: Eat 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables per day.

Week 4: Continue Week 3 habits. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. This can be as simple as brisk walking. The goal is to raise your hearbeat. If you're feeling a good cardio workout, working up a sweat, increased heart rate, it counts. Also, the more that you can vary your exercise routine the better. So, do cardio one day and weights another. Try different forms of exercise (i.e. an elliptical one day and swimming another). Try to establish a routine. If you must, you can split this into three 10 minute segments for a total of 30 minutes.

****For the remaining weeks, we will need to eat low glycemic, sticking to the recommended foods list and we will earn a point for each day that you do so. 

Week 5: Continue Week 4 habits. Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.  (This is one we may consider changing, though I still find it helpful.

Week 6: Continue Week 5 habits. Take supplements each day as recommended on the packaging. (This is another one we may change, as recent studies suggest multivitamins and other OTC supplements are not necessary and are sometimes even harmful.)

Week 7: Continue Week 6 habits. Start your day with"Quiet Time" every day. This should be at least 30 minutes of meditation, and can include your own scripture study or other medication that you currently do. 

Week 8: Continue Week 7 habits. Sleep at least 7 hours each night.

So, I think the reason this helped me in the past and will help me again is that it's not just some "diet," but a set of activities to help your whole life.

Would anyone like to do this with me? --- Not as a competition but as a mutual support group? Let me know. I'd like to start this coming Sunday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Training and Eating

This is the next thing I'm going to focus on, because obviously all the exercise in the world isn't going to be as effective as it could be if you're eating like a pig, eating stuff that isn't good for you, and carrying around a lot of excess fat instead of useful muscle tissue.

One thing that has helped me in the past is the 8-week challenge. I'm not going to write about it now but I will later. I've started it again, just on my own, and I'm doing a modified version of it.

Keeping motivated is a problem for me lately, and following the steps of the 8-week challenge has helped before, so I'm hoping it will help again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Treadmill Vs. Outdoor Running

I've never liked the idea of running on a treadmill at a gym. It's so boring, you're indoors, and it doesn't smell so great, and you can watch generally CNN or FoxNews, or sometimes a cooking show, or maybe some ridiculous talk show. You know what I mean.

Who wouldn't prefer running outside, with the fresh air, beautiful scenery, and all that? I've even gone running (aka jogging/walking) in the rain, many times, in fact, rather than go to the gym.

But as part of my training with Derek yesterday, I ran 3/4 mile on a treadmill, and I didn't mind it at all. Well, okay, I minded it. It was hard and I was panting and sweating like crazy. But I knew exactly how far I had run, could put my hands on the bar in front for a minute or two to find out my heart rate, and when I was done I could go do some other exercises in the gym.

I never thought beyond those ideas until I Googled "treadmill vs. outdoor running" and found a whole slew of articles on this topic. Here's one which points out some good and bad things about running on a treadmill.  Here's another one, from Runner's World, that makes the same comparisons and also suggests how to use the treadmill for specific training, while still using the outdoor running for the real conditioning. Quoting from the article:
... treadmill running and road running are not quite the same. Running on the treadmill is easier than running outdoors... One reason is that the treadmill belt assists leg turnover, making it easier to run faster. So most runners find that their pace on the treadmill doesn’t correlate to their road pace. Also, some of the soft tissue conditioning or “hardening” that occurs with road running does not occur with treadmill running because the plate or base on the treadmill "gives" more than road surfaces. And, obviously there are no weather conditions to deal with when running indoors.

However, the treadmill can be a great training tool. Because treadmill running is easier, use it for speed work. Use the treadmill to help you run faster by speeding up the pace for short intervals and then slow it down for recovery intervals. This is a very convenient way to get in some speed work or tempo runs in a controlled setting.

So I'm still going to go running/jogging at the lake as planned later today, but not going to be so reluctant to use the treadmill for speed work, and for some rainy days.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I Don't Have Anything to Write About Training Today --- Wait! Yes I Do!

I have a lot of thoughts fuzzing and blurring through my head: tiredness, muscle ache, and that lousy left shoulder with the stabbing pains which make me wonder why I'm doing exercises that make my shoulder hurt anyway. And so on.

But anything new? No, not really.

Wait! Oh, yes, in my training with Derek this morning, besides "bricking"---going between the bike and the treadmill---I did that thing where you jump up on a box.

I mentioned that to him because Laura had told me about it. She got it from "5 Exercises to Improve Cycling Power." Derek had me do this in some of our training last year, but we hadn't done it for awhile.

Instead of having me jump up on a box, though, this time Derek had me jump up on one of those step aerobics platforms. I did it first with two risers under each end and then with three risers under each end. By the way, I jumped up with both feet, planted firmly in the center of the platform, and then stepped down one foot at a time, to save my knees.

Having established that I could do that, he had me jump up from straddling the platform to land in the middle of it. Then he had me jump up from two feet to land on one foot, alternating feet of course, to work on balance as well as strength, in both the facing and the straddling positions. Finally, he had me jump up from a few feet away.

This, along with the super aerobic exercise of the bricking, left me feeling pretty good. Still wondering why I went to body pump earlier, but figure I've got to keep doing that until the gym re-instates the small group training or boot camp classes.

(See, I keep telling you there's going to be more about training!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

14 Weeks to Go

Ellen just pointed out in an email message that we have 14 weeks to go before this summer's Huntsman 140. Her son James has been out riding his bike in the cold. At least, he's in Utah, and it's March, so I'm assuming it's cold. Not me. I am going to spin classes and doing all that cross-training, and that's going to have to do it for now.

As Laura wrote in a comment to an earlier post, "The more I train, the more I realize I'm never ready. I'm in a constant state of training and getting ready. And that's okay. Or it better be."

Yes, it better be!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Classic Duathlon Coming Up --- Help!

On Saturday, with less than two weeks to go until the duathlon I signed up for, and having missed some of the training days I was counting on to prepare for that, I was getting discouraged.

However, I went out to the jogging trail at the lake anyway, and was able to jog 3 miles in a better time than the last time I did it, three weeks ago.

....Which was very encouraging. So I'm thinking I'll go ahead and do the duathlon even though I'm not as prepared as I thought I'd be by this point. I'll just keep working up to it and be as prepared as I can be.

....And regard it as a training exercise, not as a race (which is how the organizers are talking it up, in emails I get every couple of days).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Body Pump: The Day After

Is this some kind of fitness hangover? Because oh boy do I ache in more places than I thought I had. But that's good, since they're all muscles, not joints. Not all of my joints, anyway.

So on Friday morning when I went in for the 9 am spin class, and the person at the front desk gave me a ticket for the 9 am body pump class instead, my reaction startled her. "No!" I practically shouted. "Not body pump! Spin!"

Because, yes, I'll take another body pump class, but not quite yet. I want to keep that to a "Yes, you've worked hard" ache, not a "Why are you trying to kill yourself?" ache.

So: I don't have anything more to say about that. Just, I ache. And, yes, I know I've already mentioned this in another post about another day.

Also, sweat. Yes, I think I've mentioned sweat, too. No blood, so far. And hoping to keep it that way. Tears, yes, but only after I get home:)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Exercises to Improve Cycling Power

Thanks to Laura for sharing this with all of us who are training for this year's Huntsman 140: an article titled "5 Exercises to Improve Cycling Power."

The exercises are plyometric box-jumping, dumbbell step-up, dumbbell side lunge, deadlift stiff leg, and barbell hip thrust. I can see why these will all help improve cycling power. As Robert told us in spin class one day, it's important to "...use the appropriate exercise to accomplish your specific goal."

Unfortunately, to me these 5 exercises all look incredibly ... impossible.

But I did read the article and I will try the exercises, right? Yes. And I'll keep going to Body Pump and Body Combat classes and of course keep training with Derek.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Body Pump

Today I finally broke down and went to the Body Pump class at my gym. The 5:30 a.m. Body Pump class. Aaaarrgh!

I'd peeked in on these classes sometimes, and they looked incredibly hard. I mean, not the exercises, which are just lifting weights in various positions and configurations. "Just." But getting all the gear set up seemed monumentally difficult. And all the people looked like they knew what they were doing, and I sure didn't.

So the only reason I went today was my friends R. and J. went with me. I'd run into them last Saturday in spin class, after a long time of not seeing them, and they offered to go with me to help me get set up and get started.

It was just like they show in this video, except a much larger room and class size. I'm glad I went. And I'll go again, even though I'm sure I'll ache tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Find Your Greatness

Thanks, Laura, for posting on Facebook about gym bullying. I followed the link and watched this clip:
"Greatness: It's just something we made up." So true!

Here's the story of the photographer at the gym. So why *WOULD* anyone make fun of people  at the gym who are working hard to improve themselves?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I ached all over this morning. But I went to the 9:15 am spin class because I knew it would be good for me. The aching stopped about halfway through, but it's back now.

Fortunately this is just muscle soreness, which I don't mind at all. In fact, I see it as a good sign, that my combination of running/jogging yesterday morning and going to the Body Combat class in the evening have helped me get stronger.

It's not that I believe in that hokey old saying, "No pain, no gain." But I do believe that some (not all) pain is good, and that struggle is absolutely essential.

So I struggle on.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Body Combat

I just got back from body combat class at my gym. I've taken a few of these in the last few weeks, and I really like them. They give a great aerobic workout while sort of teaching some actual boxing, jujitsu, and Muai Thai techniques.

In the classes I've taken so far, we're nowhere near as competent as these people look! The class is way more crowded, and way less disciplined:

We have people in there kind of waving their fists toward the instructor when they're supposed to be doing a jab; other people stopping in the middle of a set to mop the sweat off; and a couple of people in each session just walking out after the first half-hour.

Anyway, I've been enjoying this class as my second hour of exercise on some of my workout days. One thing I haven't done, and won't do, is buy my own cute little pair of gloves.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rest Days

I've planned my training schedule for this year's Huntsman 140 to include a rest day every week: Sunday, the day I always save for attending church and resting from every other kind of work, too.

It seems that not only Mormons or other religious people recognize the need for a rest day from rigorous training. And even when you're taking a weekly rest day, you can get burned out.

I found this article about the signs of overexercise.   It also clarified for me while I find it so hard sometimes to take that rest day: the dopamine released when I exercise is addictive.

But also taking a break makes it easier for me to start again on Monday morning, not feeling worn out or burned out.

This article from "Runner's World" explains "Why you have to back off in order to push hard." The author writes,
Years of research disprove the notion that a day off wrecks fitness; in fact, the opposite is true. Little detraining—the loss of fitness and performance that occurs when you stop working out—happens until you take off more than two weeks. When it follows difficult bouts of work, rest lets your body adapt to the work and improve. ... Without recovery, adaptation may occur short-term, but ultimately it will fail.
I worked my butt off for six days to enjoy logging a zero on the seventh. I caught up on sleep and nursed soreness with massage and light stretching. The day was as crucial to training as a long run. I could push through hard workouts knowing rest was ahead. I started the new week physically and mentally restored—ready for whatever masochism awaited.
And this one has five rules for not over-training when you feel like you just have to:

1. If it's physically or emotionally fatiguing, don't do it.
2. If it's in the name of fat loss, don't do it.
3. If it's explosive, don't do it.
4. If you don't want it specialized, don't do it.
5. If you have to warm up, don't do it.

Also, this author adds at the end: "Rest day training shouldn’t take more than ten minutes."

I really recommend this article --- the whole article, not just these little snippets I've included here --- for when you (I) are (am) tempted to do more than you (I) should.  I needed that!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Sweaty Day, Another Insight

I love coming home from the gym dripping with sweat.

I like what Robert, the 7:30 am Saturday spin teacher, said last week at the end of his spin class:

"You could spend 2 hours on the treadmill and not get as good a workout as you just got."

Today he said, "If you've got too much gear, you're not being efficient in your training. Too much  resistance will actually keep you from getting an efficient workout. If you want to develop your thighs, there are other ways to do that. In this class, we're working on cardio and endurance. Use the appropriate exercise to accomplish your specific goal."

So, just to clarify: My goal in going to the gym is not to get all sweaty. The sweat is just a satisfying side-effect that reminds me of how it feels to be alive and how it feels to keep moving toward my fitness goals.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Pain is Temporary...

I just now, thanks to Google, found out that Evel Knievel was the person credited with this quote: 
“...bones heal, pain is temporary, [and] chicks dig scars...”  

I first heard something like this was from my daughter Val, who wrote it on my cast when I had broken my hand when we lived in Jeddah. She wrote a longer version, and changed the "chicks" to "hunks." So it was something like this: "Bones heal, pain is temporary, glory lasts forever, and hunks dig scars." 

But today, in Jason's hospital room, I read in an old "Outside" magazine this quote, which is my new training motto: "Pain is temporary. Suck lasts forever." 

I think it's interesting that every version of this keeps the common thread of the temporary nature of pain. Easy to think about now, sitting in front of the computer, and must be remembered when running, biking, swimming, or if you're the one lying on that hospital bed, to keep that perspective.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thanks to Everyone! --- Also, Perspective

Thanks to everyone who has written and/or called and/or texted.

Jason is doing fine, and we expect he'll make a quick recovery. The surgeons told us he has a better chance than most because he doesn't smoke or drink, doesn't have diabetes or any heart conditions, or any other of those risk factors.

On Wednesday morning he got to have cranberry juice and broth. Not so great; in fact, he got stomach cramps.

But then, around lunchtime, he got to eat orange jello! He has refused to eat orange jello, or any kind of jello, for about 40 years now. But today he was so excited about that orange jello he gobbled it down like it was the most exquisite food of his whole life. Which it was, I guess. And he loved it.

So that's all I wanted to say about perspective. Yeah.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Even More Insane? Yes!

Thanks to Laura (again) for this video, like the previous one but even crazier:

And thanks to Laura and Cim for your comments and good wishes and especially for the sympathy from someone who has been through that same ordeal and knows how miserable it is.

And thanks to everyone for your prayers. We appreciate them all so very much! Jeff is really sick, even though he's trying to pretend like he's just having a relaxing vacation in a nice soft bed.

Wait, this is supposed to be about training, isn't it. Okay, so, here was my training with Derek on Tuesday morning, which made me wish (almost) I was in a hospital bed instead of at the gym:

Six sets each of (1) sprinting down the basketball court and back while he held me back with a resistance rope, (2) 2 minutes at highest intensity on rowing machine, and (3) pushing the sled with 45 pounds up and down the basketball court. The idea was to get my heart rate up. And it worked.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Most Insane Exercise Class Ever

Thanks again, Laura, for pointing me to something interesting: this time, it's a video of the most insane exercise class ever. The video goes for about 2 minutes, and I can't imagine how they keep that up for a full-length class. But more power to them!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Training: Small Change in Plans

You know how I wrote about how we have to be willing to change our plans as circumstances dictate? My big plan, which I've worked very hard to keep up with, has been two hours of hard exercise every day except Thursday (only one hour) and Sunday (no exercise, unless you count running around after toddlers in the nursery at church as exercise).

I had my first hour of exercise today in my usual way, in Derek's 5:30 am spin class. Later, Jason and I were talking about whether it would work better for my second hour to go to the 6:30 pm body combat class at the gym or go running/jogging/walking at the lake together.

We were talking about that as I was driving him to a Kaiser clinic where they have an ultrasound so he could get a better diagnosis for some really bad pain he'd started having yesterday afternoon, when we'd gone to a Kaiser urgent care clinic.

At this second clinic, the radiologist looked at the ultrasound and said he had a hernia and would probably need immediate surgery, but he should get a C-T scan first to be sure, which he would have to have done at another Kaiser clinic about 30 miles from there.

Tell you what: I made that drive in record time. And I make it faster than most people already, even on regular days.

Anyway, at THAT clinic, actually a hospital emergency room, after hours of waiting to get this, that, and the other test done and person consulted, a C-T scan was finally done, and Jason was diagnosed with a perforated colon. And depending on who talked to us at which moment, surgery was imminent, might wait until tomorrow, might not be necessary at all, and, finally, would not be done.

At last they checked him into a room where he'll stay for the next 3 to 4 days, minimum, with intravenous "nutrition" and antibiotics, to see if the problem can be solved that way.

So, my second hour of exercise today was a moot question all along.

And that's the way it goes with most of life, most of the time, isn't it. Or if not most of the time, way more than we'd like.

My sweet husband being who he is, he  insisted that I not stay at the hospital with him overnight but get home and take care of the birds and get some sleep and get my regular training session tomorrow morning. So I left there around 10:45, and I'll just go spend most of each day with him until this problem is resolved.

And I'm thinking I need to get out of the mind-set I've been in, two hours or my day is wasted --- and change gears entirely, at least for a week or so.

As long as I put my faith in God and keep moving forward as well as I can, He will take care of me. My whole world may turn up-side-down, but I have to trust in God, or what would be the point of it all, anyway?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More Motivation: The Sayings of Robert

I mentioned in yesterday's post attending Robert's spin class at the gym. Here are some of his motivational sayings during the class:

Your legs should be about to burst right now. That's how you know you're getting the workout you came here for.

I need you not liking where you're at because that's how hard you should be working out.

More power! More strength! More speed!

You choose: Back off or go harder. It's all your choice. Dissociate or whatever you need to do, so you can go harder, focus, forget the pain.

It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be close.

Abandon any reservations and just go, go, go. Start getting that competitive mind-set. We all have it, and it's all in your mind. Get to the point where you think you can't do it, and do it anyway.

You don't have to do two hours on the treadmill. Just do this one-hour class, and you get better results. I'm not knocking running. It has its points. But this workout will give you better cardio in half the time.

Those who think they've got it may have to search real hard to find it.

Do not break. Do not give in. Do not give up. Keep it coming.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Another Cycling Instructor

I can't believe I said this morning that I would write a post every day this month in my blogs. What was I thinking?!?

And what can I write about today, anyway?

Hmm, something I've been thinking about a lot lately, with apologies if it doesn't sound complete and coherent yet, still at the randomly roiling stage:

I went to the 7:30 spin class at the gym this morning (before teaching the self-defense class at the college), taught by Robert. He has a style somewhere between Derek's and the styles of the other instructors whose classes I've attended. That is, these two male spin instructors are different from each other in a lot of ways but are even more different from the women.

Maybe, as Laura suggested, simply being male allows an instructor to be louder and sterner and more commanding than the women instructors. On the other hand, I've been in some classes taught by one of the women who does something similar, walking around the room yelling at everyone, "Go! Go! Go! Come on, I know you can do it," like some kind of cheerleader on steroids.

Aha! Maybe that's the key: She's more like a cheerleader (encouraging and cute) than a coach (tough and demanding)?

What do we expect of cycling and other fitness instructors, anyway? And how much do our expectations relate to our culturally influenced expectations, specifically those based on gender?

I found an interesting Web site** written by a male personal trainer in which he discusses  why it's harder for women than men to be successful as personal trainers.  I say the article is "interesting" because I don't endorse everything this guy Jonathan has to say about it, though I agree it has a lot to do with sex.

I've been in a spin class where a middle-aged guy went up to Derek afterwards and said, loudly, "You're so much better than these women teachers they have around here. Why do they have so many women when they don't even work you as hard? They should have guys teaching all these classes."

(Tell you what: when I heard that I wanted to work HIM hard, with my fists.)

But his comment illustrated the double bind for women: You're supposed to be cute and fit and find "feminine" ways to motivate your class members or clients; while the men are supposed to be tough and manly, reflected in tough talk and tough mannerisms; and classic good looks for men aren't that important.

Hmm...I could be wrong on the good looks issue, now that I think about it...but classic good looks for men include the masculine toughness. Also, just looking around the gym at several personal trainers with their clients this morning, it seemed to me in a very non-scientific sampling that the women smiled a lot more than the men, as they do in most situations, another gender-based culturally influenced behavior.

Because it IS about image, isn't it, which does have a lot to do with sex or at least gender.

Anyway, after this morning's class I went up to talk to Robert. I said, "Great class, and I loved your music."*** He smiled, then said, very seriously, "Thank you. You don't know how much it means to get a positive comment. Sometimes people act like we're some kind of punching bags. They want to tell me my music sucked, or I worked them too hard, or whatever."

Hmm, that's all for now. Still semi-random and incomplete, but where I am today. Thanks for going with me this far, and feel free to comment here or on the Aunt Louise or Madame L blogs. 

**I Googled "trainers clients male female" and came up with a lot of interesting hits; I recommend this method for anything, really; and I know Madame L agrees with me on this research method, even if Ms. Wynn the science T.A. doesn't.

***Featuring a lot of classic and contemporary metal, ranging from AC/DC to Linkin Park (which he called "angry white boy music"---a great description!)