Monday Miles (100th post!) : August 6 – 12, 2018

blogging, crossfit, cycling, monday miles, races, running, training

Today is my 100th post! When I started this blog back in February, I wanted something to add to my day that was not just graduate school related. Don’t get me wrong. I love graduate school. I love Rousseau and political theory, but I wanted something else to add to the day that would help bring the stress down and to help me remember I’m not only a student. In return, it has added some more fun to my day that is not just mindlessly scrolling the internet (so guilty).

It is strange how much has changed in one hundred posts. Back then I was working on my third chapter of my dissertation. Now I am working on my final chapter, chapter five. Then, I had not ran a race in two years. In the time I have been writing this blog, I have raced four. Then, no CrossFit, just on and off lifting. Now, I have been doing CrossFit for three and a half months. When my brother saw me yesterday (for the first time since January), his first words were, “Jeez! Triceps!” (Excuse me, while my ego explodes.) In the day to day, when I do not think progress anywhere is being made, it is nice to look back and see that actually a lot has happened. I’ve accomplished a lot in these one hundred posts. Who knows where I’ll be in the next one hundred?

So, yes, to the main purpose of this post: this week of training.

8/6/18 : Yoga with Adriene: Yoga for Tired Legs. Romwod. I was still exhausted from Saturday. I just wanted to focus on stretching and getting my hamstrings feeling better.

8/7/18 : Morning – Leg shake out. Bike 30 minutes. This was so slow. 4.8 miles. Yoga with Adriene for Cyclists. Afternoon – CrossFit. Back squats. Find eight rep max, every three minutes for five rounds. Round 1 – 65 lbs.; 2 – 85 lbs.; 3 – 95 lbs.; 4 – 105 lbs.; 5 – 110 lbs. I fought hard those last eight reps. Keep in my mind my last 1-rep-max was I think 123 pounds, so it is probably higher now? I love back squats. Front squats – every two minutes for five sets, three front squats with one thruster. Round 1 – 43 lbs.; 2 – 53 lbs.; 3 – 63 lbs.; 4 – 73 lbs.; 5 – 78 lbs. I like these too. My wrists hurt a little bit after, but I was told that would go away as I gained more forearm strength. Romwod.

8/8/18 : The impromptu sixteen-miler. Good lord. This may have not been the best decision, but I’m glad I did it. My legs were already tired and I did more than I thought possible in three hours. I’m most likely not going to run that 50k, but I’m looking at a possible race later in the fall. More on that later though.

8/9/18 : I could do no more than Romwod.

8/10/18 : Romwod again.

8/11/18 : CrossFit. Also, known as the work out where I’m pretty sure Bruno and I got lapped. This was a partner wod and Bruno is a little further ahead in his ability to do pull-ups than I am, so this was kind of a mess in trying to do everything synchronized. Still, it ended up being a good work-out. Here is what I managed in a little under 20 minutes: 4x 10 ring-rows, 200 meter run. 3x 17 jumping pull-ups, 200m run. It was ugly, but it still happened. Romwod.

8/12/18 : Rest. Sweet rest. Bruno rolled my legs out and that is about all we did. Glorious.

Totals : 16 miles ran, 4.8 miles cycled, 2 hours CrossFit. Pretty good for a recovery-ish week.

xo, Ali

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Miles : July 30 – August 5, 2018

crossfit, cycling, lifting, monday miles, races, running, training

Two days after the Legend trail half-marathon, I am still completely shot. The CrossFit work out today features running (and burpees) and I played around with going, but decided against it. Don’t be stupid, I keep telling myself, rest, recover. So, I’ll put on some Yoga with Adriene and do some graduate student things and some cleaning things. I think I’ll have to ease into this week instead of going full steam ahead.

I’ll share the details of my final race in the Serious Series tomorrow, but for now all I can say is that I’m hella sore and hella happy.

Here are this past week’s work outs:

7/30/18 : REST.

7/31/18 : Run. Easy four miles. 11:09/mile. Stayed under 152 bpm heart rate.

8/1/18 : Bike. 8.2 miles. 36 minutes. 13.7 mph. CrossFit. Strength – push press. Build to max 3-rep weight in seven minutes. I built up to 73 lbs. WOD: 5 rounds for time – 5 pull-ups (banded), 10 push-press, 50 single-unders. For the first round of push-presses, I was not sure what I was going to be able to do, so I played it safe and kept the bar. 33 lbs. As soon as I picked it up, I knew it was too easy, so rushed to add some two 10 lbs. to the bar — so sets 2-5 I did 53 lbs. At one point during my single-unders my coach said, “Jump a little higher.” As soon as I did that, the single-unders turned into double-unders. I was happy about that! I could only manage four, but that is four more than I was able to do before. Time: 14 minutes 40 seconds. Romwod.

8/2/18 : Run. 3 miles. This was just supposed to be whatever feels good. That happened to be 9:16 paced miles in the hot, hot sun. This run was immediately followed up with CrossFit. 5x 500m row sprints. Stay within 15 seconds for each sprint. Times: 2:02, 2:04, 2:09, 2:08, 2:08. Holy hell. Ouch. Here I am humbled again by CrossFit. No big deal I thought when I saw this work out. No big deal when I started my first set. 150m it was a big deal. I was on fire. Pure will was what it took me to finish some of those sets. I cannot imagine sitting on that thing for four hours doing a marathon. Also, here is where I point out another fun fact: the female winner of the marathon row, Margaux Alvarez, for the games had faster 500m splits then I did for my sprints with 3 minute breaks. Romwod.

8/3/18 : Yoga with Adriene for Hamstrings.

8/4/18 : Run Legend 13.1 Trail Half-marathon. I am so happy with this race. It was the perfect end to the serious series and the perfect weekend.

8/5/18 : Rest. Much deserved rest.

Totals : 20 miles run, 8.2 miles cycled, 2 hours CrossFit.

A damn good week. Now to more rest and recovery!

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles : July 23-29, 2018

crossfit, cycling, dissertation, graduate school, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

I’m not burnt out. I don’t work hard enough to be burnt out. But I admit that I ended last week feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It did not matter that I received good news — fourth dissertation approved! one chapter to go! — I ended last week and began this week with the big question: what next? This is the last year of funding. Now what? And then swarmed all the things I had to do to improve already approved dissertation chapters, make myself viable for jobs, the shoddy job market, fears of not being smart enough, not working hard enough, not being a good enough writer, etc. In other words, hello anxiety.

The relationship between regular life stress and working out stress are probably not discussed enough. I see plenty about recovery from hard work out weeks, but not much about hard life weeks. Most of the time working out makes me feel better, but then sometimes it feels like another thing on the never ending list of things to do.

So I took a recovery weekend. It worked out well because I went home to Ohio. My sister had a baby (a girl!!) and my mom watched my two nephews. I helped watch the boys and visited my sister and the new baby in the hospital. We swam in the pond. Bruno and I went out to a new place on a lake for fish tacos and beers, listening to a local cover band play “Fight for Your Right to Party” while we discussed whether the right to party was a natural or civil right. It was a nice weekend, but I’ll admit. I came back to Michigan full of anxiety.

I’m hoping the recovery weekend will help me out in the long run though, that long run being the Legend trail half-marathon this Saturday. I want to feel energized and rejuvenated come this weekend, not frazzled and exhausted.

Anyway — here are last week’s workouts.

7 – 23 : Rest

7 – 24 : CrossFit. WOD: Run 5k for time. Time: 26:29 minutes. Mile 1 = 8 minutes, 2 = 8:30 minutes, 3 = 8:49 seconds, .15 = 7.53. This was hard and about three minutes slower than my 5k PR, but I was glad to know where I am. Onward.

7 – 25: CrossFit. Warm-up: 2 x 10 ring-rows, 10 push-ups, 10 good-mornings, 10 air squats, 30 second plank, 1 minute run. WOD: The Chief. Max rounds – 3 minutes. 3 power cleans, 6 push-ups, 9 air squats. Rest 1 minute. Repeat 5 cycles. My form is improving! This is the first lift aside from dead lifts and squats that I’ve been able to actually use a barbell on. Improvements! I used a naked barbell at 33 pounds and — also very exciting! — none of my push-ups were scaled. I did them all regular. Rounds: 3 + 2, 3 + 2, 3, 3, 3 + 3. Like the 5k, I have plenty of room for improvement, but I was happy for those two wins.

7 – 26: Swim. 200m breast stroke. Descending ladder, 150m, 100, 100, 50 x 8 with 30s rest. 100m breast stroke. 1,050 meters. Bike. 6 miles. 29 minutes.

7 – 27: Rest.

7 – 28: Rest.

7 – 29: Rest.

Totals: Run 3.15 miles. Swim 1050 meters. Bike 6 miles. CrossFit 2 hours.

xo, Ali

 

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

A Bike Named Caterina Sforza

cycling, triathlon

My great-grandma’s name was Bernadette. She passed away the summer before I started college, but I had the pleasure of growing up close to her. We used to pick her up and take her to a restaurant she liked. The restaurant was more like a diner known for its pies. It looked like nothing special, but had a beautiful view of a lake.

While Bruno and I were home in Ohio, I took him there to get some pie. As we got out of his truck, I noticed a bike shop across the street. I did not know the bike shop existed. We debated on whether we should check it out. I was inclined no, Bruno was inclined yes. You see, I needed a bike, but was trying to put it off until stipend checks were issued in August. I did not want to see a bike I liked and be heartbroken because we could not buy it yet, trying to be responsible and all.

We ended up popping in. I didn’t see anything I liked, but then I turned around and there it was: a red and black used Trek Alpha. It was the brand I wanted and the colors I wanted. The store owner fitted me. It was my size. It was also the price I wanted at around $400. He said it was older, but the owner hardly ever rode it and switched to a different style of bike. I couldn’t believe it. There it was. There was my bike.

We did not buy the bike. We went to the restaurant and the next day left for Nashville for three days. I could not stop thinking about the bike, but I kept telling Bruno it was not the time. But he said if it was there when we returned from Nashville, I should at least go and ride it. So on Thursday, June 28 (also Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s birthday), I tried the bike out.

And I loved it. I’ve never ridden a road bike before and it was a whole new experience. It felt easy compared to the rickety mountain bike I had been using. So. We bought her. She is considered Bruno’s first anniversary present, Christmas, and birthday present all rolled into one.

caterinasforza

I named her Caterina Sforza, who makes a fairly notorious appearance in Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy. I love her. I never thought I would be a bike person, but I guess here I am.

xo, Ali