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

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 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

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.

 

 

Monday Miles : May 14 – 20, 2018

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

I was really happy with this week. Aside from missing one swim (my shoulders and arms were unbelievably sore after Monday and Tuesday’s workouts), I hit them all and was happy with how I felt. Plus it was a productive work week on my dissertation too, so I felt like I was walking on air by the end of the week.

5 / 14 : Lunch time swim — 10 minutes, 10 x 25 freestyle, 2 x 25 breast stroke. 300 m. Pm — Crossfit. 45 minutes AMRAP 400m run, 3 x rope climbs (I laid on the floor and pulled myself up), 400m run,  15 x clap push-ups (on my knees, because I’m not quite there yet). I ended up doing 5.5 rounds, 2.75 miles. I loved this work out. Like a lot. Probably because I could run. Romwod for mobility.

5 / 15 : Morning — very, very easy aerobic run for half hour. Stayed under 152 beats per minutes, 2.6 miles. Afternoon — Crossfit. Squat jerks and muscle ups. Neither of which I can do (yet, people, yet). I used a pvc pipe for the squats and used a box for my attempted muscle ups (my success level on those pretty low). 21 squat jerks, 7 (attempted and heavily scaled) muscle ups, 15 squat jerks, 5 muscle ups, 9 squat jerks, 3 pull-ups. This was rough. It happened. Something to keep working on. Romwod.

5 / 16 : 35 minute bike ride, 6.6 miles. Nice, relaxing work day.

5 / 17 : Morning — 3.2 miles, 9:30/mile pace. Afternoon — Crossfit. Another humdinger. This one left me shaking. 5 rounds in twenty minutes, 1 minute push-press (I used the lady bar, 35 lbs. and I was on the struggle bus), 1 minute bear walks (or you mean the Satan walk, because I’m pretty sure this walk is from Hell), 1 minute row for calories, 1 minute rest. It doesn’t look like much, but I actually thought I was going to get sick at the end. My arms were so shot. Still, I enjoyed myself. I think?

5 / 18 : Romwod. Rest. Rest.  Rest. Rest.

5 / 19 : Run. 6 miles. I was not sure how this run was going to feel. After Thursday, I was sore. I felt shot. But I tell you what, this has been one of my better runs. I could have gone faster and held myself back. I felt strong and my legs felt good. I started to get a little tired from the hills at the end, but managed to average 10:05/mile pace (the goal was not to go faster than 10 minute pace or slower than 10:30).

5 / 20 : Bike. 35 minutes. 7.7 miles. I still feel like I could run faster up the hills than I can bike them, but it is coming. I mean, I have been sticking around 35 minute bike rides for a bit now and that is about a mile improvement (one massive downhill helped…but then again, I did have to go up that hill first). I still think riding my bike is terrifying. Every time a car passes, I pray a little “thank-you.” Facing fears, people. Facing fears.

Totals : 300m swim, 14.3 miles bike, 14.5 miles run, 3 hours Crossfit.

A damn good week.

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles : May 7 – 13, 2018

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

Aside from introducing Crossfit into the rotation, it was a pretty low-key week. The pool has been closed all week, so I was not able to swim (I’m very happy to say I finally got a swim during a lunch break today). Then we headed to Frankenmuth for the weekend, so I had already planned on taking it a bit more easy with my other work outs. It turned out to be the right thing. We had a great weekend break just away from dissertation work and regular life. It was much needed.

crossfit

Me, doing my “box” jumps on plates at my second Crossfit class (aside for the introductory). 

 

5 / 7 : Bruno and I went to our first ever Crossfit work out this evening. It was a preliminary work-out, to look at form, establish a base, etc. That said, I was nervous. Everyone was super nice and super positive. 500m row, 40 air squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups (of the girl-variety); 10 pull-ups on rings (I’m not sure what these are called, I just was at an incline under a set of rings and pulled myself up ten times). Time: 7 minutes, 3 seconds. Romwod for mobility.

5 / 8 : Morning — 4 miles at aerobic heart rate. I’m trying to make sure that my runs stay easy, especially if I know that I’m going to be doing more sprinters, faster anaerobic work outs later that night. Afternoon — Crossfit. 8 x 100m rows; mobility; wod for time — 40 calorie row, 40 kettle-bell thrusters (used a 10 lbs. dumb-bell), and 30 no push-up burpees. I did this in a little over eight minutes. Romwod.

5 / 9 : 35 minute bike-ride. 6.6 miles. I am still loving my bike rides, not so much my bike though. Romwod.

5 / 10 : Morning — 3.2 mile run at around 9:20ish pace. I still haven’t uploaded my garmin watch, so I’m not exactly sure of the exact pace. Afternoon — Crossfit. AMRAP 100 single-unders (I need to work on my jump rope skills); 6 calorie row/bike; 20 mountain climbers in eight minutes (I could only get through two rounds…that jump-rope).  21-15-9 deadlifts and box jumps. 55 lbs. for deadlift and my box was more like a few plates stacked on top of each other. Things to get over: Box jumps freak me out. I’m always worried I’m going to sprain my ankle. Romwod.

5 / 11 : Romwod.

5 / 12 : FRANKENMUTH! Rest. Well, we did walk around a lot, but we also ate a lot of fudge and schnitzel.

5 / 13 : Rest.

Total : Run 7 miles, bike 6.6 miles, 3 Crossfit sessions. Not much, but I knew it was going to be a busy week with travel and looked forward to some rest.

On to the next week!

xo, Ali

Tri Not to be a Chicken

dissertation, goals, running, swimming, training, triathlon

Confession I: I used to be a total daredevil when I was younger. I think growing up on a dairy farm skewed my idea of “dangerous.” My sister and I would pile up hay at the bottom of a haymow and jump off. We would climb up the sides of silos to see who would go up the highest. We dared each other to grab hold the electric fence (explains a lot, ha!). I grew riding around fast as I could on four-wheelers (sometimes falling off).

Confession III: I’m a total chicken now. There are so many things I’m afraid of now. I’m scared of flying (Bruno had to practically hold my hand through the whole flight from Madrid to JFK in New York), scared of driving (I almost never drive), scared of large groups of people (hello, feeling suffocated), and scared of riding my bike (I had a bad bike accident several years ago, breaking my left elbow).

The day after my half-marathon I signed up for the Williams Bay Triathlon. It takes place September 22 in Williams Bay, Wisconsin on Lake Geneva. It is a sprint distance: 500m swim, 13 mile bike, and a 5k run.

This place holds a special place in my heart. My grandma grew up in Williams Bay. My great-grandma cooked for the mansions that line the lake. It was (is?) a popular summer vacation spot for Chicagoans. Legend has it my great-grandfather was an excellent athlete and would regularly swim across the lake and was even such a good hockey player that the Chicago Black Hawks wanted him to play for them. His mother wouldn’t let him go. All family legend of course. Lake Geneva is a family vacation spot, a place I grew up swimming in during summers. I look forward to swimming in the lake again and doing something small to honor my family history.

I’ve made a mixture of the Hal Higdon half-marathon running three days a week plan plus the Joe Friel beginner triathlon plan. My goal from here until I finish the Serious Series in early August is to run three times a week, bike twice, and swim twice. After the Legend half, I’ll focus more intently on brick training, etc. I am excited to switch things up and I am excited to finish off the season with something different. I can maybe count on one hand the people I know of who have done triathlons (I think like three people, maybe?).

I only have a mountain bike, the same one from my accident. It is rickety and feels a bit like a death trap (oh hi, fear!). I have plans for replacing it before the triathlon, but it will have to wait until the end of the summer (lest I fail the Dave Ramsey commandments of fiscal responsibility). But for now, I put an odometer on my bike and a helmet on my head and as of last week have been riding around town.

And it is nice. I honestly never thought I would like cycling. Even when I would go to and from work on a bike (see above about being scared to drive), it was kind of a drag. But I think now, because I have an end goal, a plan. I find myself looking at bikes, researching bikes, and talking about bikes. I work in the archives of an academic who was known for his cycling and I became very excited finding a letter on how many miles he cycled a year, advice for the newbie cyclist, and buying your first bike. I never expected this interest to happen, but it did.

But it is also a little scary. I think I’m still afraid from my accident. I get nervous about going downhill, like to the point that I probably can’t really take advantage of it because I get that heart racing “it’s too fast” feeling and start tapping the breaks. It is both exhilarating and terrifying. Every time I go out I become a little braver.

And that is what I most appreciate about this new training plan, it really truly shakes things up. It is not just longer (which I’m not actually sure if my body would hold up to right now, to be honest), but it requires two different sports, one of which I can barely do (bike), and one I haven’t done in over a decade (swim). It forces me to be brave with my biking, brave with cutting down running from four to three days a week (yeah, I know that four is barely any and I barely ran over 20 miles a week anyways, but still, different for me).

Even more, it forces me to be brave in changing my goals. I always wanted to go longer with running. I still do, but I think sometimes I want to do too much too fast (I had a solid seven mile run! Let’s look at 50 mile training plans!). And I’ll say it again and again and again. That dissertation is number one priority. I have to do things that do not get in the way of my being able to think and work well most of the day. Sometimes being brave is just being honest with where you are.

Anyway, I’m feeling pretty excited about training right now and I am definitely not going to be a chicken.

xo, Ali

 

The Smell of Chlorine

goals, swimming, training, triathlon

Yesterday, I put on a swimming suit that made me look like a seven year old. I went to the college rec center, tried to find the entrance to the swimming pool, sighed with relief when I found it, and sighed with further relief when I found that there was only one other person in the pool. I awkwardly sat my towel down with my flip-flops and hopped in. I struggled and then gave up on my swimming cap, put on my goggles, looked at the clock, and began to swim.

When I was younger I was a water bug. I have baby pictures of me about to burst with joy being in the pool. Afraid of the water? Not me. I remember taking swimming lessons, but I do not remember not knowing how to swim. I wanted to be at the pool all day every day. I pretended to be mermaids with my sister, constantly trying to touch the bottom of the 12 foot (I was maybe 7 years old at this age), diving off the diving boards, and ate all the glorious Swedish Fish in the world (always associated with summers at the pool for me, 1 penny = 1 Swedish fish, people!). My oldest friend, Paige, and I would hang out at her grandparents fish farm (doing what else?) swimming in a large pond.

I’ve never been afraid of the water. This is probably why I opted to take a ship across to Europe rather than fly for our honeymoon. This lack of fearfulness around water has probably led to some irresponsible decisions. I mean what kind of parents let their elementary school kids swim in the middle of a 20-30 feet deep lake without life jackets? Mine. In their defense, it was the nineties and we were strong swimmers.

lifepreserver

Rocking my Minster Marlins swim suit. Life belts? Who needs ’em?* 

 

By the time I was the age when I could start swim team, I was at the pool all day. I was never very good, never went to regional championships, and was usually in second or third heat, but I have blue ribbons from those heats! I swam back and breast. I remember really enjoying it until I got old enough to be “too cool” for swim team. I did one year of winter high school swim and did not swim again.

I have been playing around with starting to swim again for awhile. After the half-marathon, I kept telling myself. I looked up beginners swim work outs. I bought a suit, some goggles, and a few swim caps. I watched a few youtube videos on form.

And yesterday was the day. The smell of chlorine evoked so many memories. It reminded me of the time I did not use goggles, opening my eyes in the chlorine, and swam so much this way that I could not open my eyes because they were so red and painful from the chemicals. I laid on the couch with a wash cloth over my eyes. It reminded me of the time Paige and I spent all day at the pool swimming and planning on how we would clean the Miami-Erie Canal while making large taffy like creations with fruit flavored tootsie rolls. It reminded me of the weird “beep” the start at the beginning of a race would make. A lot of these memories are from around twenty years ago — that’s how long it has been.

My first swim work out called for only a ten minute swim. Swim one length (25m), wait 30-45 seconds, swim another, repeat. I could only swim five laps…so 250 meters. And I was wiped out exhausted. I know this is not very much at all. I know there are swimmers who do 3000 meter work outs. I’m pretty sure my form was garbage, I kicked my feet too much, and towards the end I was struggling with staying in a straight line (actually, I struggle with this while walking too). But I was satisfied and happy.

I already cannot wait to get back in the water again. My goal for this next twelve-week training period is to try to swim twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. The pool is closed due to finals (I think most of the lifeguards are undergrads), so I will not be able to swim again until next week Friday. I’m already excited for it, hoping to get in just one more pool length. I’m looking forward to smelling like chlorine again.

xo, Ali

*Just kidding kids. Be safe.