Change of Plans

crossfit, cycling, running, swimming, training, triathlon

I received some bummer news yesterday. The Williams Bay Triathlon is cancelled due to lack of sign-ups. While I’m glad they let us know early, I have not really found another sprint triathlon that I can transfer to. And I looked and looked yesterday. The couple in Michigan I thought looked promising are either too soon that I would not be ready (Cereal City in Battle Creek), on the same weekend as half-marathon (Ann Arbor Triathlon), or a little too far away (Traverse City). I’ve checked for triathlons in Ohio too, trying to find one close to the hometown, but alas, nothing.

So, yeah. I’m a little bummed. I had a really good swim yesterday too. Finally. I did not feel like I was fighting the water or gasping for air every time I took a breath. Instead, it felt like ease (not easy) and I left the college rec center feeling excited. Even though I grew up swimming, those 500 meters have seemed really daunting to me and I left the pool yesterday thinking, “This could happen. I may not totally suck.”

I started this year wanting to start running consistently again. And amazingly I’ve been doing that. I have only one more race to go with the Serious Series of trail races and another trail half-marathon, Run Woodstock, in September. Then surprise, surprise other things started to interest me. I never thought I would want to do a triathlon, but here I have been swimming and cycling. I started CrossFit. I’m not sure if January 2018 me would have expected all that, but I guess I had a change of plans.

So. Here is another change of plans. Granted, it is not one caused by my growing interests. There is a Spartan Race at Michigan Speedway on the same weekend of the now-cancelled triathlon that Bruno is trying to persuade me to do. I’m not so sure yet. I’m no Amelia Boone. Crawling under barbed wire gives me the heebie jeebies. Plus, I still really want to do a triathlon.

I’m not sure a sprint will happen this year, but late August in Coldwater, Michigan there is a mini-triathlon, a super sprint. 300 yard swim, 6 mile bike, and 3 mile run. It is not exactly what I wanted, but it may be just I need to accomplish a first triathlon. It is close by and I’ll be ready.

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles : July 9 – 15, 2018

crossfit, cycling, lifting, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

I began a relaxing weekend with a sore throat, runny nose, and a mild temperature. That did not stop first year marriage anniversary festivities. We stopped at a local winery before heading out to eat at one of the oldest restaurants in Michigan. Realizing we were close to a Barnes & Nobles, we spent about an hour there looking at books before heading home. It was a nice evening out to followed up by a relaxing Sunday. We spent our actual anniversary grocery shopping, splitting a bottle of Veuve (a very generous gift from friends) in the afternoon, and watching Death of Stalin.

Anyway, this week’s workouts were fine. The pool was closed do to a swim camp on campus and I took Sunday off, but most of them were fine. I find that I am no longer as sore after CrossFit as I used to be. Although, to be very clear. I am still sore.

This week I am hoping to get back into swimming and do two bike rides instead of just one short one. Saturday should be the last long-ish (for me) run before my final half-marathon in the Serious Series this summer. After that, it is go time on triathlon training.

7 – 9 : CrossFit. Warm-up. 2x 200m run, 10 push-ups to downward dog, 10 side squats. Squat snatch progression. WOD: Run 200m, 10 squat snatch, run 200m, 8 squat snatch, run 200m, 6 squat snatch, run 200m, 4 squat snatch, run 200m 2 squat snatch, run 200m. So. I am really bad at form. I am fairly certain it was not until the last two that I even got the squat snatch close to what it is supposed to look like. I did this was a PVC pipe. Real talk. I’m trying not to be embarrassed about this. 15 minutes.

7 – 10 : Morning. Easy heart-rate run. 60 minutes under 152 bpm. 5.13 miles, 11:39/mile average. It was super, duper hot. I ran on the bike path near the lake and I’m pretty sure I can add “bugs” to my morning breakfast. Afternoon. CrossFit. Warm-up. Every minute, on the minute. 12 minutes. 45s jump-rope, 45s ring-rows, 45s row, 45s bear crawl (3 rounds). Pull-up and kipping prep. WOD: 5 minutes – 3 cal bike, 3 box hand-stand push-ups, 6 cal, 6 box hand-stand push-ups, 9 cal-bike, 9 box hand-stand push-ups. 5 minutes – 50 single-unders, 3 jumping pull-ups, 50 single-unders, 6 jumping pull-ups, 50 single-unders, 9 jumping pull-ups, 50 single-unders, 12 jumping pull-ups. This was harder than it looks. It always feel like it takes so long to reach a single calorie on a bike. That said, I think my jump-rope is improving. Hopefully those single-unders will turn into double-unders.

7 – 11 : CrossFit. Warm-up – 3 minutes jump-rope. Various lunges, arm circles, inch-worm push-ups, squat progression, dead lift progression. 3 x 3 squats – 65 lbs., 75 lbs., 85 lbs. 3 x 3 deadlifts – 65 lbs., 75 lbs., 75 lbs. WOD – For time. 45 x squats – 65 lbs., 45 x deadlifts – 65 lbs. 10 minutes. This was deceptively simple. No big deal, I thought. Hah! The squats were ok. Hard. But fine. The deadlifts. After the first ten I could not believe I had 35 left. I fought for every single deadlift that I did. I focused hard as hell on form. I could maybe do 2 or 3 at a time, then only 1. I was the very last person. At around five left, I felt like I was going to cry. It hurt so bad. I could feel my lower lip making a grimace. I finished. It hurt so bad. But I finished.

7 – 12 : Morning. Easy heart-rate run. 60 minutes under 152 bpm. 5.22 miles, 11:28/mile average. I was sore from the previous day, but still for the most part felt pretty good aside for the heat. Afternoon. Short bike ride. 36 minutes, 8.2 miles. 13.7mph pace.

7 – 13 : Rest.

7 – 14 : Run. 6.3 miles. 9:41/mile pace. For the most part this run was fine. My legs were still sore from the previous work outs, but I still felt great. However, the heat has just been really bugging me lately. I was not thinking and didn’t bring any water with me for this run, figuring it was fine because I would only be out for an hour. By mile five, I felt shaky and then quickly became nauseous. Lesson learned.

7 – 15 : Anniversary day! Rest.

Totals: 3 hours CrossFit, 17.63 miles ran, 8.2 miles cycled.

xo, Ali

Thoughts on “The Process”

books, crossfit, dissertation, goals, graduate school, reading

At the moment my “guru” is Ben Bergeron. I love Chasing Excellence (I re-read it after finishing). I love his podcast. I love his Instagram account. His advice is commonsensical and yeah, a lot of it I have read or heard before, but I like his presentation. I always come away not feeling just inspired, but I actually try applying his suggestions and recommendations — not something I always follow through on. And while his book is about CrossFit athletes, I think all of it is applicable to graduate school.

I have one quibble though. And it is not just Ben who says it. I see it all over. The process. The process, not the outcome is what should be focused on. We can only focus on today. We can only focus on what we are doing right now, in this moment. The outcome does not matter. Just today. Only today. Ben Bergeron and two-times CrossFit games winner Katrin Davidsdottir never discuss winning the CrossFit games. He writes they never even talk about it. They only focus on the process.

I am very lucky. What I most want in life, I already have. On a good day, I wake up. I write. I work-out. I eat. I write some more. I eat again. I read. I study French. I read some more. I might work out again. I eat for the last time. I read even more. Bed. If you would ask me what I want to be doing twenty years from now, I hope I do what I do right now, but writing something different, reading different books, maybe studying a different language, and hopefully teaching. Sure, I’d like a different location and a different income. But the core of my life is exactly what I want. I wanted a life of learning and I am living that life right now. I just want this life to be able to continue.

In this way, for me, the process is the goal. The process is the positive outcome I want to continue. Yes, I want to write a good dissertation. Yes, I want to get my Ph.D. Yes, I want to publish. Yes, I want an academic job. Doing what I do every day, the process, should ideally lead to those outcomes. But I only want those things so I can continue doing what I do right now. I’ve already “made it,” so to speak.

So, back to not caring about outcomes and focusing solely on the process. How can I not care about writing a good dissertation or getting an academic job, not as the ultimate goal, but because without these outcomes, the ultimate goal the daily life of learning, is threatened? Because without these goals, in a way, my living in the process is threatened. Without achieving certain outcomes, I can probably say good-bye to all that. And as my dissertation comes closer to being finished, as I come closer to going on the academic job market, as Bruno as I talk more about this probably being our last year in Michigan, I know strongly I do not want to say good-bye to all that. Outcomes become more important. It doesn’t mean I do not care about the process, but outcomes also ensure that the process continues.

All that is to say, why not care about outcomes? Why not discuss them, want them, hope for them, long for them? I understand that people become way too focused on hitting a certain goal rather than living a certain life, but I do not think that means that wanting things to go a certain way, having specific goals and outcomes is always a bad thing. I do not think it is a bad thing especially when those outcomes are not merely stopping points, but help you continue with the bigger goal, the process.

 

 

 

 

Monday Miles : July 2 – 8, 2018

crossfit, dissertation, monday miles, running, swimming

I am back in real life. I hate to use this word, but the last few weeks have been busy and not in ways that relate to my dissertation (where productivity really counts!). First we had to pack and move out of our old place. We could not move into our new place until July, so we stayed in Ohio for a couple of weeks. That involved helping my mom and step-dad pack up and move out of their old house into their new house, plus a trip to Nashville, plus a wedding in Columbus, plus trying to see family and friends at home. Then. We drove back to Michigan, moved into our new place. A day after moving, Bruno’s parents came down for three nights. They left yesterday morning. It was great to see them, but I was itching for regular routine, regular life hard last week, counting down the days. Real life can now begin.

I celebrated the end of “life sans routine” by running ten miles, going to mass, and working on editing chapter four all Sunday afternoon. It felt good.

I mostly consistently ran while home and even biked (more on that later!), but in the interest of time and space, here are the work outs from this last week — aka the week where we were back home, but not back to life, back to reality.

7 / 2 : We moved my mom in and at the end of the day drove back to Michigan. Rest.

7 / 3 : Morning. Ah. Found my heart rate monitor and did an hour a 152 bpm. 5.3 miles, 11:11/mile average. Afternoon. Return to CrossFit. Oh. Boy. Warm-up. Different jump-rope movements. Box jump prep. Kettle bell prep. WOD – For time. 4x 20 box jumps at 20″, 20 kettle bell swings at 35 lbs. I had to do the type of swing where it was only up to my nose. That was hard enough in the last few rounds and I could feel myself losing form. I couldn’t imagine getting it above my head at this point. 10 minutes 50 seconds. Romwod.

7 / 4 : CrossFit. Hero WOD. Riley. 1.5 mile run, 150 burpees, 1.5 mile run. I RX’d this. I did every single damn one of those burpees. I came in not knowing if I would be able to. The coach said we could modify to 75 or 100 and after each of those numbers passed I thought, “oh, I could do more. It will be ok.” So yeah. Around 53 minutes later, I finished. I thought it was mentally harder than Murph, because you can’t switch those burpees up with anything. You just have to keep doing them. Also, we are told to think of the person the Hero WOD is named for — I was so exhausted during the final run all I could think of was the Founding Fathers. Thank you, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and co., you got me through this. I kept telling myself, “Do not dare walk! What would the Founders think?” This is what happens when you study political theory. I didn’t walk…so I guess it worked.

7 / 5 : First ever Brick day. 30 minutes cycle. 20 minutes run. The bike went fine. I did thirty minutes — getting about 7.5 miles. It was the run that hurt. Running after riding a bike at noon in “real feel” 96 degree heat is not fun people and I love running. And it was only for twenty minutes and I felt destroyed. I only ran 1.81 miles — around 10:51/pace. Bruno’s parents came this day — so no CrossFit in the afternoon, just tried to clean and prep.

7 / 6 : My first swim in weeks. Ah, this felt good. Warm-up — 100m drills. 100m breast stroke. Work out — 100m free, approx. 30-40 second break, 75m free, break, 50m free, break, 8 x 25m free with 30-40 sec break. Cool down — 75m breast stroke. 700m total. It really is not much. But I do feel like I am making progress. I want to swim even more.

7 / 7 : 1 hour bike ride. 13 miles. So, even though I know how to ride a bike, I do not know how to ride a bike. This ride was all about figuring out gears — where should I be on an uphill? A downhill? It was a hilly ride and parts were a little scary (hi fast down hills!), but I think I am slowly starting to figure it out.

7 / 8 : 10 mile run. I was up at four, because Bruno’s parents left early for Connecticut. I did not sleep well and considered going back to bed after they left, but instead ate breakfast, began stretching, and just got it done because I knew it would make me feel better. Average pace was around ten minutes.

Totals : Run — 20.1 miles, bike — 20.5 miles, swim — 700 meters, CrossFit — 2 hours.

It was good to be back at it!

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles : June 11 – 17, 2018

crossfit, monday miles, running

Not so many miles this week. As I mentioned yesterday, it was probably the least productive week of my summer — with packing and moving. I underestimated how long everything was going to take me and Friday was a total scramble. Even though I’m in my hometown for the next two weeks (aside for an excursion to Nashville) I’m hoping to get it together with more consistency.

I’m not good at not working. I could feel my relief working on my dissertation this morning. Ah, this feels right. I suspect the same feeling will come to me when Bruno and I work out later this afternoon. We have a few travel WOD’s planned (I think my mom is planning on joining us today!) and I’ll be getting back on track with running, biking, and swimming.

6 / 11 : Nada. Nothing.

6 / 12 : Mid-day 40 minute heart-rate run (keeping myself under 152 bpm). It was burning hot. I could not keep my heart rate down. 3.4 miles. Crossfit. Warm-up — assortment of single-unders, dead lift practice, lunges. WOD: Every four minutes for five sets. 35 foot dumb-bell walking lunge. First set 15 lbs., second through fifth sets 25 lbs. dumb-bells. I think the first set of 3 dead-lifts were 125 lbs. Every set after were 135 lbs. This is the highest I’ve ever dead-lifted. I know this is pretty light, but I was so proud of myself. The women I was lifting with kept adding more weight when we were building up and I remember thinking, “I have no idea if I can do this.” And I did. Three sets of 15 Good Mornings, 20 sit-ups. Romwod for mobility.

6 / 13 : Rest. I was so sore in the best way possible from Tuesday’s work out.

6 / 14 : Still sore. Crossfit. Warm-up — “Rowling.” Rowing and burpies. I suspect I ended up doing around 700m row and about 15 burpies? Dumb-bell squat progression. WOD: For time — For time 30 calorie row, 50 dumb-bell front squats with 15 lbs. dumb-bells. 6 minutes 38 seconds. Core work.

6 / 15 : Moving.

6 / 16 : Hometown. Relaxing. Visiting.

6 / 17 : Father’s Day. Relaxing. Visiting. Sleeping.

Total : 3.4 mile run, 2 hours Crossfit.

xo, Ali

 

 

Monday Miles : June 4 – 10, 2018

crossfit, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

We are about to start a full week. We are moving all of our stuff from our current house to the new house this week, but because the landlord wants to put some new stuff in the kitchen (a cause for delay I am totally fine with) we cannot move in for another two weeks yet. So at the end of this week we are picking up my mom and step-dad from the Detroit Airport on Friday afternoon — they will be moving back to the states after two years of working in Spain — and heading back to Ohio for two weeks. Add to all this that I managed to mess up my left elbow again (it was previously broken a few years ago) and lifting anything, straightening it, holding anything with my left hand leads to a lot of pain. So, yes, it is a little chaotic over here.

Workouts for last week (or lack thereof) were heavily influenced by my non-functioning left elbow/forearm/wrist. I tried to take it easy in preparation for the Dirty Duo Flirt with Dirt on Saturday. It is better, but still not optimal.

6 / 4 : Crossfit — 2x 100m run, 15 morning glories, 15 air squats, 30s/30s ankle stretch. Movement prep with PVC pipe for cleans. 4 x 5 cleans with 35 lbs. bar bell. My form was pretty atrocious for the movement, so the coach just had me working from the mid-thigh to jump motion over and over again. WOD – For time. 15 cleans (same mid-thigh to jump motion) and 21 calorie row. 2 minutes and 53 seconds. Romwod.

6 / 5 : Morning — 700m swim. 200 m drills/breast stroke warm-up. 500m 10 x 50m swim w/ 30-45s recovery. I was really happy with this swim. But afterwards, this is when my elbow started bugging me. Crossfit — RUNNING! Hoorah! Warm-up was a bunch of different mobility walks — lunge twists, kick-butts, high knees, hurdle walks, etc. WOD: 4 x 200, 1 minute recovery in between, 3 minute recovery after last 200, 3 x 300, 1 minute recover in between, 3 minute recovery after, 2 x 400, 1 minute recover. It took me 22:06 minutes and I ran about a 7:00-7:30 pace for each interval. I am really loving crossfit, but sometimes I get so overwhelmed with how much there is to learn, so it was nice to have a day where I knew what to do — just run. Romwod.

6 / 6 : Rest. Here begin the onslaught of elbow woes.

6 / 7 : Rest. Elbow.

6 / 8 : Rest. Lots of stretching and hamstring prep for the race on Saturday.

6 / 9 : Flirt with Dirt Dirty Duo 5k and 10k. I will be writing a race report this, but for now, I can say it was a very humbling (and muddy) experience.

6 / 10 : Rest.

I’m hoping to get back to more training this week, the elbow feels a bit better (but not much). Running, though, my main love, should be fine.

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles : May 28 – June 3, 2018

crossfit, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

This week, like always, was a little bit of everything. I took it easy on both of my weekday runs to recover from Murph on Monday. As I mentioned on Friday, my bike broke so I’ve been doing all my rides on an indoor trainer. While the trainer does let me set resistance, rpm, calories, heart rate, I actually cannot figure out anything else. It doesn’t tell me mileage, but I think it tells me power, but to be honest — this is how much of a newb I am — I have zero idea what any of it means. I’m just rolling with it so to speak and hoping to borrow a family bike after I go to Ohio next week.

Here are this week’s work outs!

5 / 28 : My very first Murph. It was scaled. It was still hard. Read more here.

5 / 29 : Rest. I was not expecting to be as beat as I was. I was not mentally tired, but I felt physically tired. A cheeseburger was a necessary part of my “recovery” diet.

5 / 30 : Morning – 50 minute run at below 152 beats per minute heart rate. 4.52 miles, averaging 11:02 mile. I get that eleven minute miles are basically slower than a warm-up jog for most people, but this is actually about twenty seconds per mile faster than last week’s run at the same heart rate and same route which made me pretty happy. Afternoon – back to Crossfit. Warm up — 2 x 100 single-unders (I only got to 75 first round and 89 the second), 10 wall squats with 3 second hold, 10 in and outs with a bar, 10 front squats with bar (mistakenly had a 45 lbs. bar for this — mistakes were made!). WOD : 5 x 3 front squats. Rounds 1 & 2 : 35 lbs. Rounds 3 & 4 : 55 lbs. Round 5 : 65 lbs. 3 x 6/6 split squats, 30 banded crunches. As with most crossfit things, this was my first time ever doing a front squat. Ever.

5 / 31 : Swim — 500 meters. 5 x 50 meters, 6 x 25 meters, 2 x 50 meters. 30-45 seconds after each 50 or 25. This was my first swim were I didn’t just do 25 meters at a time. It felt hard. It felt rough. I know it will get there. 5 x 100 single-unders. I will master you!…only to move on to double-unders.

6 / 1 : Morning : Indoor bike — 40 minutes. Every nine minutes increased resistance for one minute, then returned back to original resistance, tried to mainly just focus on going 90-100 rpm. I have no idea what I’m doing. Run — 40 minutes easy on treadmill (it was raining). 10:40/mile. Also, I did that thing where I breathed through my nose instead of my mouth for this run because I did not have a heart rate monitor. Afternoon : Crossfit. Warm-up — 50 single-unders, 100m run, 50m dumbbell over-head walk with 15 lbs. dumbbells, 15 x leg-throws with partner, 50 single-unders, 100 m run; 50m front rack walk (15 lbs. dumbbells); 3 x toes to bar practices, 45 seconds double-under practice, 100m run, 50m waiters walk and farmer carry with 15 lbs. dumbbells, 3 x toes to bar attempts, 5 x wall ball squats @ 14 lbs, 5 x wall ball thrusts @ 14 lbs, 5 x wall balls @ 10 lbs. WOD (yeah, you read that right. That was all a warm-up!) — For time — Run 1k, 50 single-unders, 100m double dumb-bell walk — 15 lbs., 50 single-unders, 30 wall ball shots @ 10 lbs., 100m front rack walk — 10 lbs., 30 toes to bars (attempts!), 30 wall ball shots, 50 single-unders, 100m farmer/waiter carry — 10 lbs., 30 toes to bars (attempts!), 50 single-unders, run 1k. I finished in 29 minutes and 8 seconds. It was no joke. Also, I think my grip strength is getting somewhat better because I could actually stay holding onto the bar longer, which was convenient.

6 / 2 : Swim — 500m, 10 minutes of drills — 200m back floating, gently kicking, not using arms (thank you Total Immersion!). I would switch to breast stroke when I couldn’t get myself to move anymore, but after the first few times, I made most of the way down the pool. 300m — freestyle, 25m reps with 30-45 breaks. I tried to count strokes. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many strokes it takes to get down the pool: 22-24. There. I said it. Things can only go up from here. 40 minute indoor bike. Every four minutes increased resistance for a minute maintaining 90-100 rpm. Like I said, I’m just doing what I can with what I have for right now.

6 / 3 : Run — 7 miles. 9:44/mile. Average HR 161 bpm. This was both faster than the same exact run from last week at a lower heart rate and in hotter temperatures. I’m just saying. This run I noticed something different. There is a final hill on my very last mile that is always just excruciating for me. I usually spend the ten minutes before I get to it convincing myself not to walk it. This time it felt easy. Like, in the “why were you so worked up about that” kind of way. It felt good.

I’ve got another race coming up this week — the Flirt with Dirt, so the plan is to take it easy for this week.

xo, Ali

Tales From My First Murph

crossfit

To begin, I have to say it felt good to do something to memorialize soldiers who lost their lives. I consider myself a patriotic person, but I think three-day weekends like Memorial Day or even the 4th of July can get lost in the things to do, places to go. I’ll admit that I probably do not spend as much time reflecting as I could or should. I tried to fix that this year beyond just doing Murph on Memorial Day, but also in what I read over the weekend.

Murph RX’d is : 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run. Add to all that a twenty pound vest and you are all set. The work out is named after Michael Murphy, who not only performed this work out called “Body Armor” on the regular, but died in Afghanistan exposing himself to fire in order to get signal to report the situation. You can read more about him here. I meant to read this book over the weekend, but it was “lost” in the library.

I was nervous all weekend. I looked up a million articles on Google about Murph, advice for first-timers, what to do, what not to do. The main thing on my to-do list for Saturday and Sunday was to drink water. When Sunday hit the nineties and I saw that Monday would be much the same, I became even more nervous.

All morning on Monday I had some real butterflies in my stomach. I had eggs, bacon, toast, and oatmeal with strawberries. I tried to stretch and calm myself down, but that nervous feeling in my stomach persisted. I let it go, figuring that I would feel better once I arrived at the box. I was right.

I’ve only been doing Crossfit for a few weeks and have started from the very bottom of upper body strength. I did Murph scaled : 1 mile run, 100 ring-rows, 200 knee push-ups, 300 squats, 1 mile run. I did them “broke ass Cindy” style with twenty rounds of 5 ring-rows, 5 knee push-ups, 15 squats, 5 knee push-ups. My A goal was to finish under an hour. My B goal was to finish.

Everything I read told me not to go out too fast for the first mile. At this point is was about ninety degrees, so I don’t think that was going to be too much of a danger. So I started closer to nine minute pace, gradually increasing to around 8:30 where I hovered until I had about a half mile left. I determined I felt good, so I increased until I finished in around 8:15 minutes. It felt like a good warm-up.

I thought the ring-rows, knee push-ups, and squats went fine. I told Bruno, if I learned anything it is that I should probably start doing regular push-ups and banded pull-ups during my regular work outs now. Everything I read/heard also said the push-ups are what will get to you. I am not even sure I can string together 20 regular push-ups (although if I can do 200 on my knees, I probably could), so I worried about that and opted to stick with the knee push-ups. In hindsight, I wish I would have given the regular ones a go at least for a few rounds.

I thought the twenty rounds went quickly, but I think I’m strange. I really like the “chipper” work outs. I looked at it like a six mile run. Every five rounds was a “mile”. I really did not struggle too much mentally during the work out, except towards the very end, but only very mildly because I was almost done.

I did have a rough time during the last mile though both mentally and physically. I ran the whole damn thing. I did not walk. I kept wanting to walk. I knew that even if it took me fifteen minutes to do the last mile, I would still meet my “A” goal, still finish in under an hour. But I refused to let myself. Someone took my picture and I had a few choice words about how I felt. I think the f-bomb was used. I ran the last mile a little over a minute longer than the first 9:30minutes. And I am not kidding when I saw it was the hardest mile I’ve ever run in my life.

I ran back into the box looked at the clock : 51 minutes 15 seconds. I laid down for a good two minutes. I could not stand. I felt so completely wiped. But I also felt like it was a total victory. I was really happy with my time, doing better than I thought I could. I was happy with that last run, because I just kept moving forward. Also, a friend of mine told me that I went out for the last run with the exact same stride as I went out on the first. I was really proud of that. Those 300 squats were not scaled.

I celebrated with some Bud heavy and we went home, showered, ate lunch, and Romwoded (is that a word? It is now) before heading out to a fellow crossfitter’s house to hang out at the pool. It was the perfect victory celebration.

33776656_10211696538195366_7230989055301779456_o

I feel like our faces say it all: happy, but tired. Also, note the color coordinating. This was not planned. 

 

33691393_10101720107768891_5505693665932083200_n

Officially my favorite picture of Bruno. 

 

I’m still sore and still tired, but I also feel really proud of myself. It was a really fantastic day.

xo, Ali

 

 

 

Monday Miles (Tuesday Edition) : May 21 – 27, 2018

crossfit, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

Hello and good morning from post-Murph/Memorial Day. I am wiped out and sore. For now, all I can say is that I survived. More on that later though. For now, here are last week’s work outs.

5 / 21 : Morning – 18 minute swim. 18 laps (450m) — free; 2 laps (50m) breast. I took a 30-45 second break after every side. I think in two weeks, I’m allowed to start put 25s together. Right now, just taking it easy, really, really trying to focus on form. That looks like three strokes breathe to one side, three strokes breath to the other right now. Some laps I feel really smooth, others I feel clunky, splashy, not right at all…like a human in the water. Afterwards, I went to the weight room to practice just hanging. I can barely hold onto the pull-up bar, so I thought I would just try to hold on for a minute, take a break and do another minute. Hilarious! I could barely do that, but could only manage 15 seconds. So this is what I did: 5 x 15s; 45s break. Starting from the bottom. Afternoon – Crossfit. Warm-up. 3 x 12 calorie rows, 3 x over-head weight jumping lunges @ 10 lbs., 3 x 12 barbell bridges. WOD. Pyramid back squats with increasing weigh, decreasing reps. 5 x 55 lbs; 4 x 65 lbs.;  3 x 75 lbs., 2 x 85 lbs, 1 x 95 lbs., I cannot remember the increasing rep, decreasing weights numbers, except I know they were heavier than on the way up, and I finished 5 x 65 lbs. I really enjoyed this work-out, but I had no idea where to start for weights. The girls helped me and I think I ended up figuring it out and next time I’ll know! 2 x 30 kettle-bell lat bends. I have no idea what these are called. Romwod for mobility.

5 / 22 : Morning — Pre-run. Rolled out quads, hamstrings, 50 clam-shells, 50 Jane Fonda’s, hamstring stretch. 50 minute run. I’ve been trying to make Tuesday my aerobic heart rate days and stay under 152 beats per minute. I ended up running 4.35 miles at 11:26/pace. I was actually pretty happy with this (even though I know it is oh so slow) because my legs felt good and I didn’t have to keep stopping to walk because my heart rate was getting too damn high. Afternoon — Crossfit. Various warm-ups, Spider-Man lunges(?), shoulder rolls, etc. WOD. For 40 minutes. Every two minutes. Run 400m. 30 burpees (I managed 20 the first round and 15-17 the last four). 375m row (I did this every single round). 20 box-steps and 15 v-ups (I did knee v-ups). I think I did this with low-grade nausea the entire time. But I made it. Romwod.

5 / 23 : Morning — I seriously debated not doing anything, but as I was rolling myself out I started to feel better. Rolled out quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, feet and toe stretches. Went to the rec center on campus and did five minutes of single-under practice. My jump-rope skills ain’t what they used to be. I managed 30 in a row without breaking. A victory. 40 minutes on the bike. I focused on rpm and tried (successfully) to stay over 90. 5 x 15s pull-up bar hold. 45s break. It went better than it did on Monday! Afternoon — Crossfit. Warm-up, different jump-rope skills (none of which I was capable of accomplishing). WOD. AMRAP 10 minutes — 10 pull-ups, 5 handstand push-ups, 30 double-unders. Scaled down for me — of course. 10 ring-pulls, 5 push-ups with knees on a box, 50 single-unders. I almost made five rounds — up to 44 single-unders on the fifth round. Romwod.

5 / 24 : Run. 3.3 miles. 8:56/mile pace. I did this run later in the morning — it was hot out! It is quite amazing how in the last three weeks how much stronger my runs feel, or maybe I’m just getting better at suffering. Romwod.

5 / 25 : Rest. Romwod.

5 / 26 : In the words of Rob Thomas ft. Santana (or is it the other way around?): “Man it’s a hot one.” 7 miles. 10:00/mile pace. Average heart rate 163 bpm. By the time I came back to the house I was soaked in sweat. Mostly the run felt good though. Aside for the heat, I have no complaints, concerns, comments, questions, etc.

5 / 27 : I was planning on going for a bike ride this day, but didn’t. I’ve usually been saving my Sunday bike rides for the afternoon, but I was so tired that I ended up taking a nap instead. I was fine with this change in plans.

Totals : 500m swim, 17.6 miles run, 7 mile bike ride, 3 hours crossfit.

 

 

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

crossfit, training

I was messaging with a college friend who now lives in Turkey and told her, “I think I might be becoming one of those CrossFit people.” I joked about it, but it is true. I’ve been doing this for three weeks and I really like it, like a lot, a lot.

Rewind back to around two years ago. Me, an injury prone runner decides to strength train to fix imbalances. I buy this book (which is actually really good if you are a responsible human being). I go lift weights two or three times a week. I get told at the grad school welcome back bbq that my arms look amazing. I proceed to work myself into a chest injury. For the next six months I can barely do a push-up. I can still barely do a push-up, but that is beside the point.

I try to return to strength training, but I know my form is probably garbage and that’s why I injured myself. It never sticks.

Somewhere during all this I date, get engaged, and marry Bruno, who really wants to do crossfit, but follows me and my running ways by running too. So, finally, mid-April he asks if when I’m done with my race if we can start to do CrossFit. I’m game, because I want to do strength training and I hear good things about the local “box.” I run my race. Bruno makes the phone calls. We go.

There are a lot of things I try and I’m just not good at, but when I start improving, I start liking said thing. Does that make sense? Ok, so once again, here is something I’m really bad at. And I love it. I start researching it, buying books, etc. just like I do with running. It sounds so messed up, but I love that it hurts. I like the idea of being comfortable with being uncomfortable and even though the thought of ever doing a muscle-up sounds near impossible, that no matter what I “accomplish” I’m just getting training in doing hard things.

Moreover, it appeals to my type-A personality. Suddenly I am presented with so many things I can improve on. Bunches and bunches of things. Even the most simple of things like jump-rope and push-ups. It makes me excited.

The crazy thing is, is that it has been three weeks and I can already see an improvement. Not necessarily body-wise, but I’m sleeping. Like actually sleeping. I have gone almost a full month with no insomnia. I cannot even remember the last time I had a week where I did not have one or two nights where I was up to two or three in the morning. I suspect it is the exhaustion, but I’ve only ended an evening super drained only one or two times (this past Tuesday being one of them). I’m grateful.

I’ve been keeping an eye on things, because I do not want to burn out. I’ve brought back the heart-rate monitor onto my runs and making sure I eat enough, stretch and mobilize plenty, but so far, so good. I feel really good.

That all said, we signed up for Murph on Monday.* So, yeah, prayers may be needed.

xo, Ali

*Will be super-duper scaled, not the impressive in a vest, actual pull-ups, and push-ups kind. Will still be hard.