pull-up

Confinement Day #2

“Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest”

-Ashleigh Brilliant

Or feels as frustrating as injury...

Okay, maybe it’s not technically confinement, but it may as well be.  Someone should just go ahead and lock me up because not being able to exercise has been DRIVING ME CRAZY.

Then, as if life were taunting me, the gym called me today because my payment didn’t process for the third month in a row (ever since I updated to my new credit card).  They needed me to come in person, so I hauled myself over there on my way home from work to fix the issue.  I was definitely having some serious exercise envy watching everyone workout.  I would have been happy even to do a little cardio, but I was a good girl and didn’t risk it- even when G-Dawg showed up after his run or offered to do some lifting. (He quickly remember my shoulder and apologized when I shot him a dirty look reminded him I couldn’t)

On an up note, I ran into Mike while I was there AND HE TOTALLY MADE MY NIGHT! He said a client of his was in the gym Saturday when we were lifting, and she just happened mentioned to him that there were two guys doing some really sloppy pushups and getting completely shown up by a girl.  Mike said he knew right away it had to be me based on the description she gave.  It definitely cheered me up to hear that I was, in fact, actually kicking their butts at something even while nursing my trashed shoulder and feeling like a wimp.  It was absolutely the nicest thing anyone could have said to me (THANK YOU MIKE!!!). lol  Plus, I know he wasn’t making it up just to make me feel better because he was clearly excited to tell me.

Tonight I’m going to try some time with the foam roller to see if it helps the knee.  Mike agreed with my plan to lay off Insanity for the rest of the week and really give my body time to recover.  It’s somewhat fortunate that this happens to be a week where my work shifts are all scheduled on boot camp days, so at least I ‘m not missing days I could have made otherwise.

Have a great night everyone!!!!

On the Eighth Day She Rested…

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. 

~Lily Tomlin

My computer is mocking me...

And she wasn’t happy about it!

I feel like I’ve been taking a lot of rest days recently, so with my most recent shoulder tweaking I asked myself “What would Adam do?”  Adam wouldn’t take a rest day; he would take off the whole week (if not longer).  Adam would give his body a chance to get back to 100% before attempting to punish it any further.  However, Adam is not neurotic, so we’ll see how long I can pull this off.

Every time I get the itch to exercise I just remind myself of how long I’ll be down if I keep pushing and really injure myself.  Hopefully my shoulder and knee will both be good as new soon.  In the meantime I am going to have to find another way to de-stress that doesn’t involve snacking or spending money (retail therapy!).

Wish me luck people!!!

I Just Did Something Crazy…

“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”

James Cook

Ladies and Gentle,

I have done something completely insane, but before I get into details I figured I catch you up on my most current fitness failings. 😉

BUILDING SUSPENSE PEOPLE!!!

So lately my left knee has been bugging me a bit.  It’s always the same spot- where I twisted it snowboarding a few years back.  I’ve had an MRI which was normal and got the green light to go balls-to-the-wall with my fitness craziness.  Anyway, I think with all the extra time and intervals on the new month of Insanity that there’s a good possibility I’m doing something to irritate it when I’m bouncing all fatigued (it’s more like thundering when I’m tired actually- case in point).

Given the knee issue, I have really been trying to back off the Insanity a little this week. That’s why I was really excited to do some upper body lifting this weekend.  Last night I ended up meeting the guys at the gym for some “light lifting”.  I don’t remember much of what we did other than the pull-ups.  Since I am still pull-up challenged at the moment, I had G-dawg as an assist. He had me do 3 sets of 3 while he spotted.  On the second set my shoulder popped and was feeling weak, but I managed to finish.  G-dawg insisted he was barely even touching me, and that I had improved dramatically from the last time we did them.  Since my shoulder was acting up though, we did the last set with a rope so my elbows were close together.  It definitely seemed a bit easier, but I didn’t appreciate having to come up twice each time to the right and left. lol

Unfortunately, my minimal assistance pull-up victory was short lived because this morning when we lifted again I totally flaked at bench.  My shoulder wasn’t feeling right and I just couldn’t get anywhere with my left arm.  Instead of using to two 10 lb plates on each side, I was down to 10 lb on each and struggling.  It was a little frustrating, but I was still able to get some decent lifting in by using lighter weights and changing my grip.  Adam and G-Dawg told me that I need to learn to focus more on my chest muscles when benching and stop relying on my shoulders, but it’s a little hard to do when your chest is female and not ripped with pecs- just saying. It’s a work in progress. 😉

Dead lifting makes me feel like a bad ass!

Although I love them both, working out with two former marines is not always great for my ego.  Today it definitely got to me a little that they make it look so easy and effortless while I was injured and feeling like a total wimp.  When I lift (with the exception dead lift) my arms and weights seem to go everywhere and everything feels awkward (I’m sure it’s worse in my head than it actually looks, and the boys assure me it’s normal when you’re starting out). lol  Then I look at the two of them and they are blasting out their reps with WAY HEAVIER weight (duh! I know, they’re boys).

It just sucks that I have spent the past year busting my ass while they both slacked and now they make the slightest effort and completely leave me in the dust.  I get that they have muscle memory in their favor and I’m building from scratch, but SERIOUSLY- they could struggle a little just for my sanity?  (Or add back extensions to every workout so I can at least demolish them at something, that’s a fair compromise- right?)

Anyway, at least I’m am getting somewhere with my pull-ups! Plus, taking a break from Insanity will give me a chance to get some running in- which I really need to be doing with another half marathon and Tough Mudder coming up in a month!  The vibrams should definitely help build my stabilizers in my legs, and I really need to get used to running in them again now that the weather is nicer.

As for the craziness- first, I don’t think I officially announced that I signed up for the Pike’s Peak Ascent– 13.1 miles of STRAIGHT UP- AT ALTITUDE.  Should be a good time! Adam and G-Dawg will be there, so at least I won’t be suffering alone.  Of course, the best part is the excuse to vacation in Colorado (one of my favorite places on earth!).  Interesting Factoid- the color for the race is purple because it was the first marathon officially run by a woman. How could I not do it knowing that !?! Girl power! (Plus I made a deal with myself that I would do it if I qualified, and I’ve qualified with 3 separate races times now.)

Second- and even more crazy– I sent my “running resume” to the officials of the Spartan Race to apply for a spot in the Spartan Ultra Beast.  For anyone living under a rock who is unfamilar with the Spartan Races- it’s a series of varying length of obstacle races ranging from roughly 5K to the Death Race which spans up to 48hrs.  Unlike the Tough Mudder, there are penalties for failing to complete the obstacles (lots of burpees!) and it’s designed to be as mentally demanding as physical.  The Ultra Beast is the first marathon length race- YES MARATHON, YES I HAVE LOST MY MIND.

Here’s the thing though- I have only been back at running a little over a year, and I’ve only been doing boot camp since October.  In that span of time I have become SO MUCH STRONGER physically and mentally than I ever thought possible.  I seriously doubted whether I could finish the Tough Mudder and the Marathon, but I finished both.  I used to doubt I’d be able to finish pretty much EVERY boot camp workout- now it’s never even a thought.  If you had told me a year ago that I would manage even one of the races or workouts I finished- I would have never believed it.  If I could go from a 10K to a marathon in 6 months, then there’s no reason I can’t go from running a marathon and 13 mile Tough Mudder at altitude to a marathon length obstacle course.  I’m stronger, I’m tougher, and I have a better training program and support system.  I know in my heart I can do it! (so of course I’m scared to death!)

What have you done to scare yourself lately? Step out of your comfort zone!

As an added bonus- when I do run it (if I don’t make it, I’ll do the Spartan Beast which is half the distance) I am totally getting their Spartan Chicked Gear!  What would a woman not do in the name of awesome fashion?  It will also be pretty awesome to possibly meet some of the other amazing women I’ve been reading about (even before I ever thought I could complete an obstacle race) that are a part of their “chicked” movement. 😉

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!

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. 🙂