insanity

Bad Ass Boot Camp and Weekend Recap

“Success is a marathon, not a sprint.”

~Unknown

(It’s a good thing too cause I suck at sprinting!)

Where to start!!! I’m a little behind in the blogging department, but it’s only because life has been crazy busy (with all good things!).  I am happy to report that I am finally operating at 100% capacity, and it’s lucky because it is 65 degrees out and sunny!

Looking so bad ass in my socks for boot camp!

Saturday we had an AWESOME boot camp session, which I have affectionately dubbed “Bad Ass Boot Camp”.  I had found these bad ass socks online (through some of my Facebook/blog buddies) and got a pair not only for myself, but also two of my favorite boot camp ladies.  We all decided to wear them to boot camp together and it was definitely beast mode on!

The workout consists of 5 min stations consisting of deadlift, clean and press, body saws, burpess, alternating toe touches, treadmill, and pushups.  I deadlifted 95 lbs over 60 times in the allotted time AND managed over 100 pushups on my last station. That was more than Adam, but he insists his form was better. I ran further than him and did more burpees too…just for the record!  I also pointed out to him that I was lifting a higher percentage of my body weight than him (mostly because he has been slacking off with the gym lately, and I was hoping to light a fire under his you-know-what… mission accomplished 😉 )

I was SO ECSTATIC about completing that workout- particularly the pushups (I made this clear to Mike by putting a big smiley face on my paper next to the total and drawing stars around it).  I used to really struggle with real pushups.  When I first started boot camp I could barely do one!  Now I hammer them out like it’s no big deal.  It’s exactly what I remind myself whenever I struggle with another exercise- LIKE PULL-UPS!

Conquering the handstand pushup!

 Sunday, we followed up our kick ass boot camp session with some indoor rock climbing.  Adam and I invited some of our boot camp buddies and his best friend to come too.  We had a pretty good turn out and everyone totally rocked it.  I was pretty impressed with how well everyone climbed, but not really surprised considering what kind of shape everyone is in.

While we were there I managed to knock out 3 (and a half) handstand pushups, which was a major achievement (at least in my mind) because I had done some serious upper body lifting earlier that morning to train for my pull-ups!

I was especially excited to see my girl Kelly kicking butt because she was a little nervous about it at first.  It wasn’t long before she was killing it though.  It was definitely a nice change to add some new people.  Plus, it will be fun to have more of a crowd in the future.  Going in a group added a whole new level of fun (and entertainment).  It also helped everyone push just a little bit harder. 😉

Tonight I’m looking forward to getting back to boot camp.  I already did my Insanity workout this morning, and am thinking about running to the gym to do my pull-up weight training.  I hope everyone is having a great day!

Holy Hip Flexors!

“I’m smiling because I love it.”

Shaun T.

Story of my life!

Holy shoulders! Holy hurt!

The good news is month one of Insanity is done.  The bad news is (and let’s be truthful- no one is actually surprised here) “RECOVERY” week has started, and there are still level 1 drills (BOOOO!).  My trainer had warned me that the recovery week was no joke.  It was filled with a lot of torture as promised, but still totally doable.

To be honest, I was really looking forward to the new workout this morning for 2 reasons. 1) I was getting REALLY BORED with repeating the other workouts day in and out (now I get the same one for another 5 days straight…wooohooo!). 2) I needed the stretching after hitting the gym yesterday.

It won't kill you. I promise. No one has ever died of pain.

Plus, I as much as I hate it at times (like when I’m doing it)- I still LOVE IT (yes, even the level 1 drills).  It’s the best substitute I have for missing boot camp, and even if it isn’t quite as challenging as the the torture Mike inflicts, it’s still a really good workout and a great way to start the day.

The other bad news is I am not as 100% as I originally thought yesterday. lol  Our group training session totally kicked my butt, and it wasn’t even that hard.  Not that it wasn’t hard, but there were a few exercises I don’t normally struggle with that were really difficult for me.  For example, usually on ball-to-wall (you squat and then throw a medicine ball up at the wall and repeat) I use the heavy ball and crank them out, but last night I had a lighter one and I still felt fatigued.  I even struggled with the jump rope!

Damn straight!

Admittedly, doing Insanity in the morning, and lifting to train for my pull-ups immediately beforehand probably affected my performance some; but I was dragging WAY MORE than usual.  I hate that feeling- especially because I know it means I should probably back off some until I really am back at 100%.  On a side note I still totally kicked ass on the box jumps and killed my previous PR on the tall box. 🙂

I don’t know why I am so impatient when it comes to exercise.  I hate when I don’t feel like I’m making progress, even maintaining isn’t enough for me.  I have this little fire burning inside that is always driving me to push harder, get stronger, jump higher, move faster, and conquer the next challenge.  Why? Because making those strides is empowering and the feeling is addictive.  I honestly don’t care as much about my physical appearance as I do about ability.  When I demolish a hard workout, I truly feel like I can do anything.  It is the best high there is- completely intoxicating.  It also an amazing outlet and the most effective treatment for my anxiety/PTSD I’ve found yet.

I don’t expect everyone to understand my relationship with fitness.  In fact, most people won’t, and that’s okay with me.  I have my boot camp family and enough people in my life who get it not to be concerned with the ones who don’t. 🙂

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something or stand in the way of your dreams.  If something is important to you, just go for it and forget what anyone else has to say about it.  The only person who can ever stand in your way is you.  You are as unstoppable as you choose to be.  Go out and conquer your goals- whether it’s a marathon or a jog around the block.  Everyone has to start somewhere.  If you commit and believe, you WILL SUCCEED.

Another great one from Motivation,Hope,Strength. Be sure to check out their Facebook page!

If You’re Happy and You Know It…

“Think big, believe big, act big, and the results will be big.”

Raise your hand! 🙂

I bet you can guess why I’m so happy today!  That’s right!!! I got to workout this morning!!! I was pushing hard, exploding with power, and jumping leaping all the way through the LAST Insanity workout of month onewithout feeling like I was going to die. BONUS!!!  Okay, maybe not through the WHOLE thing, but that’s only cause basketball/level 1 drills suck royally.  (I was extremely grateful to say goodbye to that specific workout of month 1 ;))

Anyway, the good news is my body cooperated.  I’m so glad we are finally on the same page again.  This makes me feel completely prepared to go to the group training session today.  It has been WAY TOO LONG since I’ve had a tough workout with Mike and my boot camp peeps.  I was completely bummed to miss SNOW DAY boot camp Wednesday night, but I knew it wasn’t a good idea when I actually had to pause the Insanity workout and dragged my way through it that morning. However, now that I’m all mended I am totally ready to ROCK IT tonight.

I have been withdrawing from exercise BIG TIME! I HATE when I can’t workout.  My eye was twitching the ENTIRE time I was sick.  I had no alternative form of stress reduction.  Alright, I admit I cheated a little and did some pull-up training on occasion.  This morning, though, for the first time in several days I was FINALLY able to work out at full capacity, and voila! Eye twitch extinguished!

I’m not sure what Mike has in store for us tonight, but I AM READY!!!! I think I may even see how high I can jump next to the tall box with the small one on top of it since I am completely determined to get up there at some point! 🙂

Happy Friday Everyone!!!! I hope you get your weekend started right!

My Body, It’s a Changing

“Ask yourself ‘can I give more?’ The answer is usually ‘Yes'” 
-Paul Tergat 

Usually, but not always.  Today is the last day of February, and the pull-up bar is still winning.  However, it was NOT because I didn’t give it my all.  I did.  I gave my all this whole month, and not just in pull-up training.  I did a month of Insanity, ran a brutal half marathon, started self-defense training, learned how to properly throw a punch, and hit the climbing gym hard.  Am I guilty of overtraining? Possibly… But getting an endurance junkie/fitness fanatic to admit to overdoing it is like getting an alcoholic to admit he/she has a problem.

In endurance training, we frequently won’t rest until our bodies force us too. Why? Because we cling to a delusion that our super human power of mind-over-matter can conquer anything.  We train through pain, fatigue, emotional breakdowns, and injuries until the only thing keeping us going is pure will power.  When our bodies can’t push any longer and our muscles are shaking and numb, we conquer with our hearts.  There is no “can’t”.  There is no “too much”.  There is no “take a break”.  There is only indomitable will.  Good luck trying to reason “overtraining” with that!  Especially when most of the time we get away with it.  We work out 2 or 3 times a day and we aren’t tired.  In fact, we feel great– accomplished even.

After all, just because a person works out more than you might be able to right now, that doesn’t necessarily make it unhealthy.  While it may be true that sometimes I push a little too hard and my body makes me pay, it is also true that most of the time I feel great.  I also get sick significantly less frequently than my friends and coworkers, and when I do it usually for a shorter length of time.  However when I do get sick everyone is so quick to point to overtraining as the culprit, as if that is the only reason an athlete ever gets sick.  (Of course, when you’re sick I don’t point my finger at you and say “see that’s because you DON”T work out.  I told you being sedentary wasn’t good for you!”)

Yup, that's how I roll. No I'm not going to change.

When I do have issues, it’s not generally because I’m doing more than usual.  Instead, it’s me trying to do my typical amount when I’m sick or sleep deprived.  Getting three good workouts in on a day off does not usually send me into a tail-spin.  However add in a stomach bug and some serious dehydration the day before, and yeah it probably wasn’t the greatest idea.  Lesson learned.  No it doesn’t mean I need to work out less.  It means I need to train smarter.

While I may be pretty frustrated with not being able to push hard at the moment, I am trying not to let it detract from what I have accomplished in the past month.  Not making the pull-up deadline has made me feel like I haven’t been improving at times, however then I do something simple like try to put on my skinny jeans and realize that I can’t pull them over my calves or quads!  I tried on a size 2 pair of jeans in the store and they were baggy.  Walking past the mirror I realized I now have definition in both my calf muscles, as in the are two distinct muscle groups (something I hadn’t even achieved running in vibrams). I am stronger and I can feel it.  I am jumping higher, my endurance is better, and my body is changing.  It’s an ongoing process, and as long as I continue to put the work in I know I’ll continue to have results.

Remember the Time…

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” 
– Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner

(maybe I should have been a wimp…)

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired!

When I ran a really hilly, windy half marathon with a stomach bug and got dehydrated… and likely gave myself ischemic colitis?  Yeah, that totally sucked.  (Not the running, the getting sick part…just to clarify) It sucks even more now because yesterday I felt fine.  In fact, I felt great.  I felt so great I did two Insanity workouts and then spent a couple hours at the climbing gym where I was either climbing or belaying pretty much the entire time…

I did drink lots of water, but apparently not enough cause last last I woke up in pain… again.  It wasn’t as intense as Saturday, but it was enough to keep me up all night.  When I dragged myself in to work this morning, they pretty much turned me around and sent me home where I have been drinking fluids, fluids, and more fluids ever since.  

They were very kind to offer me some IV fluid before I left, but I told them I could manage to drink on my own.  So, now I’m home “sick”- except I feel more exhausted and frustrated than sick.  I did take a nap, which helped with the sleep deprivation, but I am super annoyed about not being able to work out. 😦  I am also not happy about missing work... but more the working out.  I have been having some sharp, crampy abdominal pain on and off…mostly after eating, so I have been pretty much trying to avoid food and just drink liquids instead.

Initially, I had hoped to use some vacation time at work today to get out in time for boot camp, but instead I will be home all day with no exercise allowed. Total bummer!

Boo!

I guess I should have listened better to my body on Saturday, but I honestly didn’t feel that bad.  I’ve been either getting or getting over something all winter, so I didn’t think much of the symptoms.  When I had all that pain while I was running, I really wasn’t sure what it was from.  I thought maybe all the uphill running was making my abs hurt and the nausea is not that unusual for me when I’m pushing hard.  When I finished and got really sick, I figured I was probably dehydrated and may have developed some ischemia.  However, I NEVER would have imagined I’d still be having issues 2 days later.

The only thing I can do now and take it easy and wait it out… and be smarter next time!  In the future I will definitely be doing a better job of hydrating myself before race days (instead of drinking caffeine all day to stay awake at work…).  Also, I think I’ll seriously consider bringing my hydration pack on any future half with only 3 water stations.  Aside from the Tough Mudder, I can’t ever remember being that thirsty on a run!  I would rather carry a little extra weight than run this risk of getting dehydrated again.

The good news is being home sick has given me a chance to catch up on my blogging, and blog reading!  Plus, I know know I’ll be back to kicking butt (my own that is) in no time.  I have a whole list of goals now and I am ready to get at them- body permitting.

I totally need to make one of these!!!

Colchester Half Recap

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” 
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

Yesterday I ran my second “official” half marathon in Colchester.  I have run the distance several times now, but this race was special because it was a first half for a kick ass, amazing friend of mine.  The course was absolutely BRUTAL. It was hills, hills, and more hills.  Steep hills, gradual hills, never-ending hills…  Plus, the wind gusts were up to 50 mph, which is super fun when you’re running up hill into it.  I felt a little guilty for recommending she try it after realizing how tough it was, but she is a boot camper so I knew she could handle it- no matter how tough.

"You train to look good. We train to kick ass."

Our morning started with an uplifting visit from one of our fellow boot campers (Superwoman Kelly) with PRESENTS!  Who doesn’t like surprise presents? Especially when they are awesome “We train to kick ass” t-shirts from your trainer!  I think that definitely helped to get us pumped!  All the support from our boot camp peeps was almost overwhelming.

Despite the less than stellar conditions and brutal hills, we all managed to survive- a HUGE achievement in my book!  I had been feeling pretty crummy the day before and continued to have stomach issues the morning of, but I figured it was just nerves.  However, as the race progressed I realized my stomach pain and nausea were actually getting worse and not better. I literally ran as fast as I could without vomiting.  I had NEVER experienced pain like that on a run before.  I tried to convince myself I was not sick pretty much the entire time, but once the race was over and we got home, I spent a good part of the afternoon curled up in the bathroom or doubled over in pain.  I think it was probably a combination of factors including: GI bug circulating at work, dehydration due to stomach bug and exercise, and running a little harder than I probably should have.  

As of this morning I was still having pain anytime I ate, but it seems to finally be resolving. I did still manage to get through two Insanity workouts this morning and then hit the climbing gym this afternoon with Adam and one of his friends.  I thought the climbing might be a little rough after being sick.. and the half, and the two morning workouts… but it actually felt pretty good and turned out to be a lot of fun.  Plus, I figured it would be good pull-up training!

While we were at the climbing gym, Adam accomplished his February boot camp goal of doing a handstand pushup.  I found this particularly impressive since we had already done quite a bit of climbing.  I figured it was worth a try but only managed to get down about an inch.  For the record though, my handstand totally beat his- and I got into it all by myself. 😉  Anyway, it’s definitely something I’ll be adding to my to do list! – along with the pull-ups, a one handed pushup, and jumping on the tall box with the small box on it.  The fact that Adam made it up on his second try and I’ve been diligently slaving at my goal for weeks makes me feel like maybe he didn’t pick something hard enough- that and his friend totally ratted him out that he used to do them “all the time” in the Marine Corps.  jk- I’m totally proud of him.

 Overall, it was an awesome weekend.  I spent time with a lot of great people and got a lot of tough working out in too!  Adam and I even got to go out for some Hibachi after the half with some of our friends from boot camp which was a real treat!

Also, Adam’s friend gave me a lot of great tips on building the muscle groups for my pull-up and I am super psyched to try them out.  I am still a little frustrated that I haven’t been able to do one, and, consequently, haven’t met my February goal.  However, I have helped several other people conquer their goals and that is equally rewarding.  I’m sure I will get my chance too, but until then I will keep busting my tail to get it done!

In the meantime, I can celebrate the victories of my boot camp buddies, including my friend Melissa who annihilated her February goal and rocked out the half yesterday in 2:14. (Her lofty time goal was 2:15- not too shabby!)  I finished only a couple minutes ahead of her and Adam (not surprisingly) smoked us both.  Our friend Jamie also ran with us and KILLED IT despite not feeling great while running.  It was such a great experience to race with all of them!!!

I hope everyone had an excellent weekend!!!

Why I Love (and sometimes hate) My Trainer

“Dedication and commitment are what transfer dreams into realities.”

-Unknown

I never thought I could afford to work with a trainer.  I always thought it’d be really expensive.  Then I joined boot camp and met the instructor Mike.  Initially, I had my doubts.  He seemed kind of angry and yelled a lot.  That was before I got to know him.  The truth is that Mike is one of the most dedicated and committed people I have ever met- and not just in terms of training (and, yes, he still yells a lot- but he’s also the first person to give you a high five fist bump and tell you when you’ve nailed it).  He takes his role as a boot camp instructor and personal trainer very personally.  He truly wants his clients to succeed, and is always willing to go that extra mile to make it happen.

Case in point, our boot camp class is supposed to be an hour long; however, it typically runs at least an extra 15 min if not longer. Why? Because Mike stays until everyone is finished.  At boot camp we don’t finish when we are tired, we finish when we’re done (whether it’s late or not!).  His group training sessions are no different.  The last one Adam and I did ran almost an hour over (that’s double the length) and Mike did the whole workout with us (after his workout on the stair climber with a weighted vest…he still kicked our butts- hate him! jk).  I have personally even seen him stay late to give someone that extra push to meet a goal when he stayed an extra hour after group one night to help a client conquer her fear of the tall box.

I am GOING TO OWN YOU EVIL PULL-UP BAR!!!

This past month, Mike made everyone at boot camp come up with a goal, which basically turned my 2012 goal of doing a pull-up into my February 2012 goal.  The problem: my lats refuse to cooperate on this one!  I bought a pull-up bar and hung it in the guest room door way (right by the bathroom, so I have to walk by it 50+ times a day) and have been doing negative pull-ups like it’s my job.  So far, the only thing I have to show for it so far is some really sore muscles and the feeling that my shoulders are going to fall off.  Meanwhile, everyone else has been annilating their goals.  As ecstatic as I am for them, it’s making me feel like a total loser.

I know it’s not right to compare and that the part that really matters is I’m putting in a lot of effort.  However, I’m someone who pushes myself to the limit on my own so having this deadline is only making me frustrated.  Most of the time, I really appreciate Mike pushing me hard, but in this case I am pretty much hating him for it (not all the time…just when I look at that damn pull-up bar).  While I am POSITIVE I will get to the point of doing a pull-up, I’m a little doubtful it’s going to happen in the next week- and THAT is going to make me feel like a total failure until I make it.  The worst part is I just had an awesome run yesterday and I have knocked out 3 wks of Insanity, but all I can think about is that stupid pull-up!  It’s going to be the bane of my existence until I get up there.

Of course, despite all my drama with the pull-ups I really do love training with Mike (and the rest of the boot camp crew!).  They have really become a second family to me and have helped me grow as a person.  When I first started boot camp and training with Mike I went into every workout anxious about whether I would make it through (despite being in shape enough to run over 15 miles).  Over time I got to the point of approaching the workouts with the attitude of “I can get through this”.  Now my attitude is always “BRING IT ON!”

Working out with Mike is always a challenge.  His boot camp classes have been tough enough to make Insanity seem easy in comparison.  Making it through his group sessions and boot camp have made me feel like I can truly conquer anything- including pull-ups!

I don’t know that I would have made to the point of being this tough (mentally and physically) if I had not signed up for that first month of boot camp.  Running a marathon was a challenge, and it without a doubt changed my life.  Yet, it doesn’t even begin to compare with what working out with Mike and my boot camp family has done for me.  Running is a solitary sport- it’s just you and the distance you need to conquer.  There’s no peers for support and no one to push you other than yourself.  It’s great for building discipline and character, but it can only take you so far.  Having the support of other people to push and motivate you is what makes the difference.  It’s what makes a workout that would otherwise seem insurmountable seem doable.  At the core of that workout support for me is Mike.

Today I started week 4 of Insanity…and did some more negative pull-ups.  I’m not sure what the rest of the day has in store for me, but it might just include a run to the gym. 🙂