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

 

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.

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

 

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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.

 

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 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