Saturday, December 31, 2011

Month in Review: December and 2011

So here we are again.... Another year over and all is left to do is tally up one more time and then move on.

December has been a pretty good month. Especially the days off were enjoyed very much. I discovered CrossFit and was really enjoying. In fact, Terry and I both enjoyed it so much, that we signed up for another month of good hard fun! ;-)

Unfortunately, I strained a neck muscle last Tuesday doing a push press and had to sit out for a couple of days, but I'll be back in the box Monday and can't wait!

Everything else this month was so so. It's my last month of off season and I certainly didn't stress much about missed workouts.

This has been quite a year too!

It's been pretty sweet to have put in more miles in all three disciplines in 2011 compared to 2010. I even beat my running mileage and that was quite a surprise. But with that, there was also not a whole lot of time for anything. Good thing I like swimming, biking and running (sometimes).

Just in time for New Year's, I also signed up for all my triathlons in 2012. Here goes nothing:

Parris Island Triathlon - 3/17/2012
TryCharleston Half - 4/21/2012
Lake Murray Triathlon - 5/6/2012
Festival of Flowers Triathlon - 6/10/2012
Paris Mountain International Triathlon - 8/4/2012
The Dam Tri - 9/30/2012
Hickory Knob International Triathlon - 10/13/2012

The season highlight will be my first half Ironman distance in April.

Resolutions? Really just one: Break my gear habit and don't buy anything new in 2012! Exceptions: Something breaks (e.g. Garmin), wears out (e.g. running shoes, tires) or is on super sale (under 10 bucks for clothing).

All is left to say now: Have a wonderful evening and get into the new year safe and sound!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Run or Three Times a Charm

In the past, I have signed up for two races in December in both registrations ended in a DNS (Did Not Start) due to a stomach bug one year and a chest cold the next year. Last year, I didn't even sign up for a race in December and this year, I wasn't planning on it, but since so many of my friends ended up running it and the whole idea sounded kinda fun, I did sign up for the Santa (Fun) Run yesterday.

Costumes were encouraged and so I ran my very first race in costume. Well, it was just the socks and the hat and the greenish running skirt could be seen as a little elfish - I tried! ;-)

The run started at 5.30pm and while I do quite a bunch of my runs in the evening, I am not a fan of actually racing in the evening. I basically spend all day sitting around waiting for it to get here.

Package pick-up was at the Kroc Center and the race was benefiting that organization. I run by this building all the time, but never knew what it was. I think with having the package pick-up there and also the post race activities, they did a great job of showing off this new facility to the active community. It's a really pretty gym/ rec center and of course it's very shiny and new.

The course was mostly in Falls Park and Cleveland Park and the Track Club did a great job with decorating the course with Christmas lights and little lanterns. It was really pretty. I only every now and then wished I had taken my head lamp with me, because there were a couple of dark spots on the trails and I actually saw a couple of people trip and fall because the trail does have some serious bumps every now and then.

Tri buddy and me before the race.

While this run was mostly social and fun, I am still happy with my splits. I started out running with a friend for the first 2.5 miles and then went ahead and just tried to really push it for the rest of the way. I felt good and pretty strong up to 0.5 miles from the finish when I started to fade a little, but it was also mostly uphill at that point. Overall, I am very happy with the run and just in general happy to be able to spent the some of the evening with friends and be silly running in costumes while enjoying Christmas lights and music.

Oh and even though it was a fun run, coach said to negative split it... Mission completed! ;-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How much longer do you have?

This morning, I was walking up the stairs to the office and asked a co-worker "How much longer do you have?" - meaning "When are you going on Christmas vacation?".

I am seriously counting down days at this point (4 more work days). The last couple of months have been rough and I am just ready to be off for a couple of days and recharge my batteries. Now that more and more people are on vacation, things have slowed down dramatically and it's feels good to start wrapping things up and get some "house cleaning" done, before the crazyness of year-end close is sucking us up all over again. Okay, that's enough work talk.

The older you get, the faster time seems to fly by and you'll hear it from everybody, but heck: "Where did 2011 go?" I honestly can't imagine, that Christmas is only a little over a week away (nope, I don't have a single gift yet) and New Year just a little over two weeks away. Since I have already spend a week in Germany in September, I won't be going back for Christmas/New Year. I am a little sad about it, but nothing to be done... For a brief second, I thought about flying out for a couple of days, but that's really crazy and won't help in the "recharging batteries" department. Fortunately, we were able to talk my parents into coming over for two weeks next summer and it has been fun to start the planning process there... two words: ROAD TRIP!

There has been a lot of cake, cookies and candy in the office lately. Of course, it's the season of FOOD and it's the gift that keeps on giving, since you'll have boat loads of fun for the next couple of weeks to get rid of all the extra lbs. At the same time, I am trying to not stress about the scale right now. Once we move into full blown training again, things are going back to normal fast.

CrossFit is still going strong and I am sad to just have one more week left. I won't be going back for another month, since 1) morning group swims start back up in January and 2) the driving to get to and from the gym before work is just insane. I am planning to continue to lift weights and squeeze in some met-cons at the gym two to three times a week. I am fully aware that this plan is very ambitious and it's not going to be the same without the coaches and the CF crew, I have been training with the last couple of weeks. Also, regular gyms are just not really set-up to house a CF workout, but I'll just have to see how I can modify the WOD (workout of the day) to make it work. I did find an app with suggestions for Road WOD, basically met-cons that don't require any equipment e.g. pushups, situps, squats type stuff.

The other training stuff is going good as well. At this point, it doesn't feel quite like off season anymore, but I still get to play and do stuff that I normally wouldn't do during the racing season e.g. mountain biking incl battle wounds. While CF left me sore a lot, I have to say that I can feel the improvement that it already brought to me swimbikerun. I just feel strong right now. Yesterday, we did a killer WOD and I was hurting all day, but when I jumped in that pool last night, I just felt strong... The same thing also happens while biking and running. It's quite amazing and I want to bottle the feeling, but of course that's not possible. Hopefully, the memory of this will get me in the gym to continue putting in the work on the weights!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

2 down, 2 to go

Yesterday, I finished my second week of CrossFit (CF) from the four week CF deal. Since I wanted to make most out of those four weeks, I decided to try to make every morning class this week (Monday through Thursday), if my body will let me.

Truth to be told, I was thiiiiiis close to reset my alarm to later, but I am so glad got it done. Every workout feels great, once you got it out of the way right?

Here is an example of one of the workouts at HIT CrossFit in Simpsonville:

dumbbell presses 3/3/3
dumbbell Bulgarian split squat 8/8/8/8

AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) 10 (minutes)
15 barbell row
30 tuck jumpsThose workouts never look like much on paper, but they sure kick butt. They do suggest how much weight you put on (different numbers for guys and girls), but so far I did almost all of the workouts with lighter weights. I can feel myself getting stronger and maybe I'll be able to do the suggested weights in my last session. That sounds like a goal to shoot for! ;-)

While I don't think I had much of an opinion (good or bad) about CF before I started, there are several things that I didn't expect:
  • We do real weight lifting moves and such. Seriously, I was completely surprised that the first move I made was a bench press. In the meantime, I learned what a box squat, thruster, power snatch, shoulder press etc is. By the way... It's all free weights. There is not a single machine in the whole gym.
  • You are going to lift real weight. This is not some light weight fifty reps type stuff... You load the thing up and then squeeze out 3x5 reps and you have done it right if you almost can't do the last one... AND: You are going to be surprised how much weight you can lift.
  • Real weights hurt. While you expect heavy weights to stress your muscles, I was surprised on how much my hands hurt. I understand that I have sissy hands and they just need some time to grow some nice calluses.
  • The first week I was hungry all the time. It was ridiculous, but also showed me that this stuff kicked my metabolism up a notch. Now it seems like my hunger levels are back to normal.
Light bulb moments for me:
  • I can do squats until the cows come home, but my arms turn into noodles about 5 reps in.
  • Along the same lines: I only seem to get sore from the rib cage up.
  • The biggest surprise for me: I LOVE THE WHOLE THING! LOVE IT!!
About HIT CrossFit:

I don't have any reference point since this is the only "box" I have been to, but I have a feeling that we ended up at a good place. The instructors are really helpful and constantly correcting form and proper technique and explain the movements when doing the lifting, since you can certainly do a whole lot wrong and hurt yourself if you don't do it right.

At the beginning, I was hoping those 4 weeks will be over soon and yesterday morning after realizing, that I am already half way through, I am a little sad that I only have two more weeks to go. I am really contemplating on doing another month, even though the place is logistically a nightmare for me. I still have a couple more weeks to decide.

"Every time a girl dead lifts, an angel gets their wings."
~ HIT CrossFit t-shirt print

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Month in Review: November


Since December is already almost a week old, I think it's about time to review November. ;-)

November was my first full month of off season, that didn't quite feel like off season anymore by the end, since two-a-days popped up on my schedule again.

The big event for the month for being part of Team D.N.R. at the Ragnar Relay Tennessee and I milked that race report for what is was worth.

Due to the end of daylight savings and shorter days, my biking has dramatically dropped and consists now mostly of spin classes and one ride on the weekend. The big biking highlight was the new fit on the Speed Concept that hopefully is going to prevent further backpain crazyness. I also did a cycling clinic on one Saturday and spend 4 hours cycling around the band practice field at Furman trying to improve my cycling skillz. We did all kinds of crazy things and let me tell you that cycling in wet grass is exhausting, but it's so much better in the case you fall off the bike. Yep, that happened too. We also did some climbing and descending practice on the lower part of Paris Mountain. Good stuff all around.

The biggest change from previous months were in the yoga and strength department. Those numbers are up up and up. I did a lot of yoga and foundation practices earlier this month and it helped a lot with my back pain. I have been pain free all month. We also added back in a lot of functional strength and core strength and hopefully that is going to make me a stronger and faster runner and cyclist overall.

And there is CrossFit. CF makes me sore... very sore... all the time. There will be a separate post.