Run ALL The Races

I have a problem.

A race problem.

I want to sign up for every race under the sun. When I can’t find a local race I have been feverishly scanning for ones in New York State (don’t worry Shawn, haven’t found any yet).

I have been having problems with my rotator cuff in my left shoulder so swimming has been infrequently lately, which puts my triathlon season sort of up in the air. Because of this I have been concentrating more on road races, and have tentatively come up with a race plan. I haven’t signed up for anything yet so things may change.

May 18 – 5000m track race. Weird, right? It’s $3 so why not?!

June 2 – 75km Heart And Stroke Ride for Heart – 75km on my bike!

June 15 – Triathon. Not sure if this is a go, but if it is I will probably be a baby and just do the Try A Tri again this year since my shoulder is being a bitch.

July 28 – another triathlon, sprint distance this time

August 11 – Toronto 10 miler. This would be my first 10 mile race and fit in perfectly for my fall half marathon plans

August 31 (I think) – sprint #2

September – no idea. Maybe nothing!

October 20 – take #2 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.

It looks kinda crazy to me! I’m really looking forward to training for this half, it was my first last year and it is a great course. Also I think I just love training and the long runs.

Who knows, maybe next year I will eat my own words and sign up for a full.

Or not.

What’s next on your race schedule?

Three Things Thursday–Let’s Workout

Borrowed from Leigh! This is definitely a way more fun way to do Three Things Thursday.

Three CrossFit movements that I love:

  1. Box jumps
  2. clean&jerks
  3. I love a love/hate relationship with the snatch

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Three workouts that I love:

  1. CrossFit
  2. Running
  3. Swimming

Three of the worst things to happen while working out:

  1. Having to pee
  2. Clothing moving to places it shouldn’t
  3. Falling – while running, or with a barbell, or during box jumps…

Three of the best things to happen while working out:

  1. PRing, while in a race or lifting is always awesome
  2. Hitting goals, like pace or weight or movement
  3. Having fun!

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Three workouts that I will never choose to do:

  1. Zumba
  2. Insanity – although i have done it I hated it
  3. Aqua-fit

Three pet peeves when it comes to working out:

  1. People who don’t wear enough deodorant (or at all) and workout near you (this)
  2. People not doing the movements correctly in order to be done faster
  3. People not watching where they’re going or what they’re doing

Three workout related goals:

  1. Half Ironman
  2. Clean&Jerk my body weight
  3. Deadlift 2x my body weight

Running & Deadlifts

Hello and happy Friday! I’d say TGIF but I work this weekend, so today is more like my Sunday than a Friday.

Last night at my gym I attended a running clinic put on by Steve from Running Free in Ajax.  He spent some time talking about form, cadence, foot fall, etc.  Then he took us for a bit of a run.  We ended up going 4.5km (no idea how long it took us).  I actually managed to run the entire way which I haven’t done in ages.  Although I was at the back of the pack I’m still pretty proud of myself for keeping a steady pace and not needing to take a walk break at all.  There is hope for me yet!

Steve mentioned that a shorter stride is actually more effective than a crazy long stride.  When you are taking long strides you have more of a tendency to land on your heel instead of your midfoot, where you should be landing.  With a shorter stride, your legs are landing underneath you, so you are more likely to land on your midfoot.  It was interesting to try to shorten my stride and pay more attention to where my foot was landing.  I think I was somewhat successful.

After the run I stayed at the gym to do the workout.  Since I haven’t been making it to the gym a lot in the last 2 months I was going to take it easy on myself, but apparently I am not allowed to do that. 

This is Kyle.  He wanted a picture of him eating a pita on the blog. He is also the one who made me deadlift at 135. Thanks, Kyle.

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The workout was:

10-1 of deadlifts and ring dips
(1o DL, 10 RD, 9DL, 9 RD, etc)

I did the deadlifts at the “advanced” weight of 135lbs, which was the right decision since I did the first 10 unbroken.  I broke the rest up usually by doing half, taking a short break, then doing the rest.  The ring dips I did with a red band.  I’m surprisingly not as sore today as I thought I’d be, especially since I don’t think I’ve deadlifted in over 2 months.

I also hit the gym today – the skill work beforehand was 1 power snatch + 1 hang (full) snatch every 30 seconds for 4 minutes (I used 65lbs).  The workout was slightly crazy:

4 rounds
Bear crawl 2 lengths of gym
10 Thrusters (I used the advanced weight again 65lbs)
10 burpees

That was tough.  It took me 16:59 to finish and my legs and arms were shaking when I was done.  However I managed 8 more burpees to help a fellow CrossFitter finish her last round – burpees seem easier when they’re for someone else!

Tonight I plan on playing around with making custom ribbon for some Blue Jays headbands and dog collars in preparation of the KILLER year my boys are gonna have next year (wishful thinking maybe but with the recent trades my hopes are definitely up) and also some custom ribbon for headbands with my gym’s logo.  Also wine.

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I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Now that the time change has come and gone, a lot more of my runs have to be done in the dark.

Normally I am a morning runner, mostly because I like to have it done with before I start my day, but also because I am not comfortable running alone in the dark.  I like running in the dark, but before this training cycle I’d only ever run with the Running Room at night so I was always surrounded by lots of people.  Not so much right now.

Instead of just NOT running (which would be easiest, but also the laziest option), I have assembled my “Defeat The Dark” running ensemble:

- I have started taking Scout with me.   Since I am going fairly slowly still I can take her for up to an hour and she barely gets winded.  And while she isn’t exactly a tough cookie, she at least looks tough (maybe?) and will bark if she’s worried. Or at bags of leaves. Or spook at shadows.  On second thought maybe taking her isn’t such a good idea.

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I swear she just ran 6km with me. She doesn’t even look tired!

- Wearing my headlamp.  Shawn got it for me last Christmas and I finally have a use for it (other than bringing horses in in the dark).  I can see in front of me better and I’m more noticeable to drivers and other pedestrians.

- Reflective clothing.  My Running Room jacket has reflective stripes on the body as well as the sleeves.  I really need to find reflective bands I can wear on my arms and ankles so I’m even more visible.

- I’m NOT listening to music in the dark.  I almost never, ever run without music, but I’m now making an exception.  This way I can be more aware of what’s going on around me (and determine if Scout did hear something or if the bag of leaves is just that scary).  I still run with my phone just in case.

I’m also sticking to well light areas that I know well, and of course telling someone (ie Shawn) when I’m leaving, where I’m going and when I should be back.

So far this is working out ok, and I’m a little less leery of running at night, although I would still rather run in the morning!

Any other ideas or suggestions for running in the dark? What do you do to keep yourself safe?

Running Errands (Literally)

(Did you know Rock The Dogs has a Facebook page now? I’d love it if you hopped on over and “liked” it! )

I’m doing my best to pretend I don’t have a race on Sunday. A triathlon. And that I still can’t swim to save my life (that’s a lie – I can save my life, just not swim efficiently or effectively or fast or, or, or…)

Last Friday I was supposed to do a long run of 6km, but I woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating stomach pains. They finally went away midday, so I headed to CrossFit for the 4pm class. The WOD was brutal:

1km run
50 bench press
25 back squat
1km row

I managed the run in 6:03 which I was pretty happy with, given how hot it was and how much I suck at running lately. I did the bench presses at 45# and the squats at 115#. It took around 23 minutes I think.

By the evening my stomach hurt again – I’d even laced up and gone outside to run, but didn’t think I could risk it.

The long weekend happened (I worked), and on Wednesday morning I met up with fellow FitApproach #sweatpink Ambassador Michelle of Push.Pump.Progress for a hilly trail run! It was neat exploring a new area and meeting a new friend, and the hills were ridiculous.

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Wednesday afternoon at CrossFit we did the WOD that I am STILL feeling today:

Every Minute On the Minute
10 deadlifts
100m row penalty for not getting 10 in a minute

I started off with the prescribed weight of 135#, but by the 5th or 6th minute my legs were BURNING and I just couldn’t continue at that weight.  We switched plates and I finished with 115#.  I love deadlifts, but not 100 in 10 minutes. (And I had to row 200m after, too).

And now it’s Friday and my hamstrings and glutes are still in some serious pain from that workout.  It made my long run this morning pretty difficult.

I had 8km planned for today, and the forecast was calling for thunderstorms.  I had gotten permission from a friend I’m cat sitting for to use her treadmill, but when by noon the rain still hadn’t shown up I decided to combine errands and running, and run the 4km to my friend’s house, check on the cats, and run home for a combined distance of 8km.

I gotta say that it was a lot more fun to run with a destination in mind.  I don’t really like out and backs as much as I like loops, or even better, point to point.  My run felt like it had a purpose beyond just covering the 8km.

My screaming hamstrings and glutes made my pace a lot slower than I’d intended, and led to some walking up hills, but overall I was pretty happy to be out running the longest run since my injury in March.

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Tomorrow is Fight Gone Bad at the gym – we are doing it as a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. At this point I don’t think I’ll be participating, as I’m sore AND have a race on Sunday, but I’ll bring my gym clothes with me, just in case.  In either case there will be lots of pictures and a recap next week!

Have a great weekend!

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Have you ever “run” errands before?
Anyone else racing this weekend?

Training Tuesday–CrossFit Endurance

Yes, it’s Wednesday, not Tuesday.

Oops.

Anyway, I wanted to do a post about CrossFit Endurance as I’ve had a lot of questions about it in the last week or so. Keep in mind I’m not an expert, I don’t have a coach (for the CFE anyway), and I’m kind of making this up as I go along.

From the CrossFit Endurance website:

We focus on eliminating unnecessary volume of training while increasing intensity. Our programming is structured, sport-specific and seamlessly integrated with Olympic lifts, powerlifting, gymnastics movements, explosive activity and mobility-based support. Everything we do focuses on midline stabilization and working from the inside out.
Our strength and conditioning approach for endurance athletes is unparalleled. We incorporate the CrossFit fundamentals of being constantly varied. Repetition is the enemy and results in a decreased ability to build fitness.
Make no doubt, our program is not easy, but we believe the journey is part of making the results more rewarding. Our design is to maximize you as an athlete and to elevate your fitness.

The CFE model is 3 days a week of single sport (in this case running), with 3 days of strength and anywhere from 4-6 CrossFit WODs as well.  This means doing double days a few days a week – but always separating the running portion from the CrossFit by at least 3 hours to give your body a chance to partially recover.

The 3 running workouts always have specific purpose – you are never just running to accumulate miles. There are the short interval days, the long interval days, and the tempo/time trial days.  CFE believes that intensity is key to building stamina and endurance, and not just hours upon hours on your feet, so the tempo/time trial days should never be longer than 90 minutes of running. 

There are also specific workouts posted to be performed on certain days (never on the TT/tempo day).  This is where I start to differ – I’m still following my gym’s programming instead of the CFE workouts.  This could prove to be a problem but I won’t know that until October when I run the half.  I’m also doing the TT/tempo days as a regular long run – so by distance, and probably more of an LSD time run instead of a crazy intense workout.  I feel that, for myself, I really do need the long run to feel prepared to run an entire half marathon.  I hope that as time passes I’ll be able to turn up the intensity for at least part of the long run, but at this point this is just wishful thinking.

Here is an example of a few weeks of my training (just the running workouts):

    Short Intervals       Long Interval       Long Run (TT/Tempo)
    Tabata (20 on 10 off)    3 x 800 m (2 min rest)              10 km LSD
3 x (100m, 200m 400m) 4 x 1200m, rest 2 min              15 km LSD
10 x 100m, rest 45 sec              5 x 400 m              17km LSD

(This is a few weeks away yet, and the 10km week is a cut back week)

I’m not making these workouts up – CFE posts workouts daily, so all of my workouts (save the long runs) have been taken directly from there. 

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Post 4km long run!

So far I love this way of training.  I can be done my running workout in 30 min or less during the week; I am running faster during the intervals than I have before, and I truly feel stronger since the last time I tried training for a half marathon.  I also like the low mileage I’ll have with this type of training – I think my knee will enjoy it better than the higher mileage I was doing before.  The key to this type of training is the strength training and CrossFit WODs, however – the running workouts are complemented by the CrossFit workouts. 

This week’s training:

Monday:
CrossFit
Hill repeats @ Max Effort

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200m up this hill – it’s steep and it HURTS!

Tuesday:
CrossFit

Wednesday:
CrossFit or Bike (or nothing!)
3 x 1200m, 2 min rest in between

Thursday:
CrossFit
Swim

Friday:
6km LSD
CrossFit

I hope that this summary has been helpful – for any specific questions please feel free to ask away, or check out the CrossFit Endurance website’s FAQs!

What It Means To Be An Athlete

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be an athlete.

Oh sure, I have run a few races, trained (and DNS) for 2 half marathons, completed a triathlon, and can throw some heavy weights around, but does that make me an athlete?

Dictionary.com defines an athlete as “a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength”.

When I think of an athlete, I think of those sub 20min 5k runners, the talented runners who can run a marathon in nearly 2 hours, those that complete an Ironman, or those guys who deadlift 600lbs.  Sure, when I’ve raced and lifted weights I’ve trained, so I have that in common with my idea of athletes – but my training is nothing compared to their hours of hard work. 

I’m definitely not talented at anything athletic; I have to work my butt off to get the mediocre results I do get.  Some people are just born to run, to lift, to play tennis, or to swim – their genetics, talent, and drive all come together to make the perfect athlete.

So where does that leave the rest of us – the middle-of-the-packers, those of us that put the time in, show up and perform, but still aren’t winning our age groups, or setting new records? Well, if we go by the definition above, then we are definitely athletes.  However, for me it’s easier to attribute the athlete title to others, even those like myself, because I just can’t see myself as an athlete.  And I don’t know that I ever will.

To that extent then I guess being an athlete is more mental than anything – kind of a state of mind.  As long as we put the work in, and train hard, and show up on race day, game day or competition day and show everyone what we’ve got, and we truly BELIEVE we are athletes, then that’s what we are.

I hope that I can get there someday myself.

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What is your definition of athlete? Do you consider yourself one?

Five for Friday

1. I started training with the triathlon club this week.  We had a track workout on Monday which was something like this:

2 x 400m warm up
8 x 200m hard, 200m recovery
2 x 800m (1min rest in between)
2 x bike skills or 5km bike/run 400m

It was a good workout, but my lungs were screaming at me so I took it easy and even sat out the 2 x 800m.

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We had the open water swim workout on Wednesday night and that was a BLAST. The water was warm, but the weather was windy and so there was a fair amount of waves.  They set out 3 buoys in a triangle that was 275m around.  I worked mostly in the more shallow area and just swam back and forth between 2 of the buoys, but I did make it around once before I was too tired.  It was an awesome workout and I’m feeling way more confident in the water now.

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2. My new glasses arrived today! I’m still getting used to them but I like them a lot.

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3.  This also came in the mail for me today, from Endorphin Warrior. I love it, and now I won’t have to write on my arm with pen for my next tri ;)

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4. I’m halfway through season 4 of Lost on NetFlix (yes this is my first time watching the show – I know, I’m a little behind the times).  As it progresses I’m learning to love Sawyer more and more, and Jack less and less.  He really isn’t that nice of a guy!

5. It’s a long weekend here in Canada – Canada Day is Sunday.  We are taking the dogs to the cottage since it’s Bubba’s last weekend with us (more on that next week) and it’s supposed to be a HOT one.  I plan on spending the warm weather in the sun, by the lake, with a cold beverage in my hand.  Happy Birthday Canada!

Tri Training Tuesday #3

 

In case you missed one:
Tri Training Tuesday #1
Tri Training Tuesday #2

I didn’t get all the workouts in that I wanted to last week. I know, clearly I’m not as dedicated as I should be, but life does get in the way sometimes around here – which I don’t always mind truthfully! 

My bike ride was better last week, my runs were pretty good (except I need to find a backpack made specifically for running – the over the shoulder one I used on Friday chaffed my shoulder), and my swim was WAY better than the week before.  I didn’t panic while trying to breathe, and I swam 4 more lengths for a total of 400m.  I’m hoping that this week I’ll be able to string more lengths together, and do some 100m repeats. Fingers crossed. 

My favourite workout was definitely the 3.4km run to the pool, my swim, and then the 3.4km walk home in the most beautiful spring weather.  The walk had me really appreciate the beauty of my neighbourhood.  We have a lot of greenspace around here!

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Very pretty!

This week training kind of looks like this (kind of because this weekend is a holiday here in Canada, and that involves cottages and race cars and various other things so I need to be flexible with my workouts):

Monday – Off (mental health day! haha)
Tuesday – CrossFit
Wednesday – Off or CrossFit
Thursday – CrossFit + Swim
Friday – Bike + maybe CrossFit
Saturday – Run
Sunday – Run

Looking forward to swimming on Thursday – I definitely think I’m going to keep up with swimming after the triathlon.  I’d like to get better for one, and two it’s great cross training for everything else I do.

Hope your week is going well!

Do you sometimes take a mental health day? And are there backpacks made for running?? Help a girl out!

Silencing the Inner Critic

I managed to get out for my run yesterday, in the brief reprise between the thunderstorms of the day.  I did a 5km route from my house and finished it a bit faster than my 5km the other weekend.  My problem isn’t the speed when I’m running – it’s that I don’t have the endurance to stay running for very long (either that or I talk myself out of continuing – “Oh it would just be easier to walk right now” or “You deserve a break”).  I’m always my own worst enemy.

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(I swear that really wasn’t my pace haha)

And the best news of all – I went to a different community pool and I finally SWAM. I ended up doing 12 25m laps for a total of 300m.

So I know how to swim – I took lessons when I was younger, and grew up with a pool in the backyard, so the concept of swimming isn’t foreign to me, but apparently I have zero cardio when it comes to the pool.  After the first few laps I wanted to give up, like seriously wanted to get out of the pool, go home, and completely forget about the triathlon.

But I didn’t.  I changed my stroke (from freestyle to breast stroke) and continued to plug away at the laps.  And I got it done. But, like the run, I am definitely my own worst enemy, and have a lot of trouble silencing my inner critic.  I get in my own way more than my body fails me.  My body is strong and willing, but my mind is weak and stubborn.  I believe I could be a better athlete if I could just tell myself to shut up sometimes.  This is why running with music is so important to me – it distracts me from my thoughts, to a degree, and I’m less likely to self sabotage.  But clearly, I need more coping strategies if I’m going to improve.

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(See? I went swimming! I need a cooler swim cap though)

That being said, I’m proud of my double day and I’m even more determined to get better in the pool.  Two swims on schedule for next week!

In CrossFit news, we did the CrossFit total today:

The CrossFit Total is the sum of the best of three attempts at the squat, the press, and the deadlift. (Source)

I was a little disappointed with my squat effort – 145lbs.  The last time I did a 1 rep max at the squat I got 150, but I know now that I definitely wasn’t going deep enough (ass to the grass!) so at least this time my form was way better. I also deadlifted 215lbs again, and was so tempted to go for 220 but decided to give my body a break.  I only pressed 60lbs – I totally lack upper body strength. Added up my total was 420lbs! Not too shabby.

We have a killer workout on tap for tomorrow, and I hope to grab a little video of it to share with you!

Have a great Friday night and a fabulous weekend!

How do you silence your inner critic? Do you have any mantras that help you get through the mental rough spots?