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 : 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.

 

 

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.

 

Recipes I’ve Been Loving

crossfit, daily life, food, training

The times they are a-changing. Or so says, my favorite singer/writer/philosopher/poet Bob Dylan. And so they are. Usually I call it a day around 5, relax for a bit (some La Croix, book, and porch sitting time), make dinner, and read some more. With Crossfit evenings have become more busy. Three nights a week, I’m back home a little before seven, which means later dinners, and later bedtimes (not too late..10pm..).

With the time crunch planning dinner has become more important, especially because when we come walking through that door after working out, we are usually hungry.

Here are a few of the things that have been on regular rotation.

Meat and potatoes. This is the easiest, simplest thing we make. Usually I boil up some sweet potatoes and Bruno cooks up some ground beef or pork sausage, carrots, zuchinni, and summer squash. After sweet potatoes are boiled, I add some ghee and mash them. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is delicious. We probably make this twice a week. Maybe more.

One pan chorizo. From a Carrots ‘n’ Cake recipe. Confession: Typically I cook. Bruno does the dishes. We don’t have a dishwasher. One pot dishes are key. One pot dishes that are not bland and taste exceptionally delicious, especially key.

Smoky Black Bean and Sweet Potato Casserole. If I can remember to start this recipe ahead of time it is a game changer. It is nice to not have to worry about what to make, but just stick the pan in the oven and go. Also, sweet potatoes and plenty of cheese. Need I say more?

Shredded chicken salad. On Sundays, I stick a bunch of chicken breasts in the crockpot, add salt, olive oil, and probably way too much lemon juice and put it on for eight hours. I typically add it to salads or sweet potatoes (is there such a thing as too many sweet potatoes?). I’m thinking I might do this recipe for my next batch.

Recovery quinoa salad. This one is from my most-used cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow. Instead of recovery though, I usually make this one on Friday’s as a pre-long run dinner with some salmon. I love it. Bruno loves it. The only thing wrong with the recipe is that it can take forever to chop everything up, but it makes plenty of leftovers so its worth it.

Do you have any favorite recipes?

xo, Ali

 

 

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

 

What Worked

running, training

January through April proved to be probably the most successful training period I’ve had in years, I mean it, years. I have had to reflect on what made it work out so well, rather than end up in the flames like previous attempts at training for races. This list is as much for me as for anyone who has struggled with training blow-ups.

I’m not the strongest runner. I’m usually nursing some injury or other. I’m not the fastest (although I suspect lack of speed has more to do with lack of consistency rather than lack of ability — see above about being injury-prone). I’m remarkably average. But I desperately wanted to train and finish something. Anything.

This is what I think worked.

Going shorter. I usually would try to train for full marathons. I mean I’ve ran one before, so there is no reason why I should not be able to do a full one now — or so my irrational reason would try to persuade me. Wrong. My body does not handle stress the best, as I learned in March and early April. Running causes stress. Dissertation causes stress. None of these are the bad kinds of stress, but making sure that they are not compartmentalized, but seen more as a pieces of a pie helps (pie!). Dissertation gets the most stress because it is the highest priority, running after. That is probably is a weird way to think of it, but so be it.

Kelly Starrett’s Ready to Run. I bought this book about a week into training. And I learned a ton. Previously I did plenty of strength. I would strength train twice a week. And still, blow-up. This book led me to quit sitting at my desk (she wrote as she sat at a table in the library) and add ten minutes of mobility almost every single day post-shower. Initially I did not think these things would be a big deal, but they were. I mean my left hip-flexor is much kinder to me now than it ever used to be…now to fix my right hamstring…

Massages. Between January to March I got a massage every single Friday afternoon. Then I started tapering off to every other week and now every three weeks. My massage therapist is a total miracle worker. I also think it helped with the stress problem because my Friday massages helped me transition into the weekend much better aka work time is over.

Not drinking. Post-half I’ve been drinking a bit more, but I really, really, really did not want to have any sort of inflammation that would trigger an injury (avoiding inflammation later included no sugar, no gluten, no coffee, etc. all of which I’ve enjoyed post-race), mess up my already precarious sleep (insomnia problems), being sick in March and early April, and just generally wanted to make sure I felt really amazing. I know that some people would probably think this is overkill. I mean it isn’t like I was trying to qualify for anything or get a PR, I just wanted to finish. But I really did not want anything to mess it up. I’m a two beer hangover kind of person (unfortunately) and if I was going to do this and continue being productive at my dissertation, I wanted to feel mentally and physically my best and be very present and deliberate every single day. And I tell you what, it worked.

Clamshells. This goes along with the mobility section, but I did clamshells every single damn day. Every. Single. Day. With a resistance band. Without a resistance band. When I woke up. When I went to bed. I know they work, because I haven’t been doing them as consistently the last couple of weeks, and well, I can feel certain twinges starting to come back.

I will continue to try new things. I do want to go longer. I should probably start to do more bridges, instead of just clamshells all the time. But for now, this is the list of what I know works, what I know will get me there.

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