Oh my abs…

“Decide. Commit. Succeed.”

-Beach Body

These are clearly not my abs…

But they are very sore!  Not sure which workout did it, but I even have pain in my love handle region (yup, even skinny, workout-a-holic, marathon runners can have love handles).  I am taking it as a sign of their inevitable demise… like they are crying out in anguish as I diligently work to annihilate them. “We’re meelllttting….meeellllttting!”

Sorry. Having a Wizard of Oz moment. 😉

For a while now, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been that sore after working out.  Not even after boot camp (despite feeling like I’m going to die DURING the sessions).  It’s been really frustrating because I’ve been pushing so much harder in my cross training, and I feel like my muscles are refusing to acknowledge my efforts.  Originally I thought it was because I wasn’t logging all the crazy running mileage lately.  Then I thought it might be the extra protein I’ve been cramming in- but either way it still made me feel like a slacker.

That is until Monday night- when I rolled over and woke up from the familiar sensation of pain in every muscle in my body. LOL   I’m not sure whether it was the rock climbing on Sunday or the triple workouts earlier that day that finally pushed me over the edge.

BTW , why is it that the real soreness hits 2 days after the fact instead of immediately?…It’s like a con to keep you working out cause you feel fine and then all of a sudden you feel like you got hit by a truck. (Or you hurt everywhere immediately and think “S%^T…Can’t wait to see what tomorrow feels like!” )

Anyway, initially I was sort of puzzled as to why my abs were so much more sore than the rest of my body because I didn’t feel like we did a ton of ab exercises at boot camp.  Then I did Insanity today and realized that maybe we did as I found myself doing ski abs (BOOO!!!) and  in & outs all over again.  (We also did body saws… which I hate even more than ski abs- picture a plank involving moving men, enough said– which is why I practice them regularly at home and remind myself that I once hated push-ups too… ok so maybe this also could be contributing to my ab pain)

Overall, boot camp Monday night was awesome!  We did 8 different exercise stations of 8 reps 8 times.  In addition to the in & outs, body saws, and ski abs, the exercises included burpees, push-ups, one legged dips (8 each leg), sprints, and walking lunges (8 each leg).  I was already sore from my previous 2 workouts, but plowed through the whole thing anyway (and still finished ahead of Adam by a healthy margin…but who’s keeping track?)  I think part of my determination came from the fact that I had just done the Insanity Fit Test and beat both the people in the video on their reps (who had already been through the 6 wk program)- clearly proving boot camp has improved my endurance!  Truthfully, even the first cardio workout today was easier than the stuff Mike puts us through.  While I admit I was getting tired by the start of the last interval- it was the LAST interval.  Mike has me working to the point of almost passing out or throwing up by half way through his classes on a regular basis- and this was no where near that!  That being said, it was still an intense workout.  Oh, and I really enjoyed the stretching!

Here is my initial Fit Test result:

Number of reps in 1 minute (with some dog interference)

Switch Kicks 136

Power Jacks 60

Power Knees 78 *

Power Jumps 64

Globe Jumps 12

Suicide Jumps (Burpees) 28

Push-up Jacks 31

Low Plank Obliques 115 **

*(I didn’t beat them on these, but also missed the fact I was supposed to switch legs…)

**(possibly why my love handles are screaming)

Also not me, but something to aim for…

In other news, I signed up for the New England Tough Mudder May 6th 🙂  A bunch of people from boot camp are doing it so it should be a lot of fun.

I have also set a goal for myself to be able to do a pull up (unassisted) by the end of the year.  I figure if I can get from struggling to do one push-up to 300, then it’s a pretty reasonable goal… even if I can’t picture ever being able to.  lol

I Came, I Saw, I Conquered

“You are never really playing an opponent.

You are playing yourself,

your own highest standards,

and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.
– Arthur Ashe

That is how I felt about boot camp Monday night.  Initially, I really wasn’t feeling up to going because my poor Lucy was not feeling well after her vet visit.  She was really making me worry because she looked so miserable and was refusing to move.  She was so pathetic!  Luckily, she perked up before it was time to leave.

The workout consisted of 400 sideways (curtsey) lunges, 400 power jacks, 400 skaters, and 200 burpees.  To be honest, I wasn’t intimidated.  Instead, I was SO RELIEVED there were NO GRASSHOPPERS involved. lol  I was totally in the zone when we started and plowed through the lunges.  I finished ahead of everyone else (mostly because I got a head start) and jumped right into the power jacks.  By the time I got to the skaters I was getting really nauseated and light headed.  I am pretty sure the room went out of focus a few times, but I kept pushing (even if it meant keeping my eyes closed!).  When I finally got to the burpees, I could only manage 10 at a time in an effort to avoid vomiting or passing out.

Despite the fact that the workout was TORTURE, I felt AMAZING when I finished!  All I could think is how much I struggled with my first real 1000 rep workout, and now I was pushing through all 400 lunges without a single break!  Boot camp makes me feel even more accomplished than I did after running a marathon.  I LOVE the people in our group.  Everyone supports and pushes each other.  It’s such a great, positive environment, and Mike, the trainer, is always coming up with new challenges.

That being said, I CAN”T WAIT TO GO BACK TONIGHT!!! lol  I am so thrilled to be able to make all the sessions this week.  I think it’s the only perk of having to work the weekend. 😉

I LOVE looking forward to working out the way I always have about running.   When winter used roll around, I’d get a little down about not being able to get out and run much.  Even though I would still go to the gym, I never enjoyed it as much as my runs outside. Now, I drag myself out to run in spite of the cold and get excited about waking up in the morning and working out as many times as I can fit in.  Most exciting: I found boot camp- the one workout I love as much as running.

I hope everyone has an AMAZING day!  Make the most of it!  If there is something you have been dying to do or try, go out and do it.  If I can run a marathon, I am certain that ANY person can fulfill his or her dreams.

Determination is key. 🙂

It’s Monday

“A day will never be anymore than what you make of it.
– Josh S. Hinds

Most people hate Mondays, but I love them.  Why? Because Boot Camp is on Monday and I LOVE boot camp!  Looking forward to getting my butt kicked tonight. 🙂  Until then, I think I may spend some way overdue quality time with my awesome mom.

I hope everyone has an amazing day and excellent week!!!!

I Love Mornings!!!!

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do.

Attitude determines how well you do it.”

-Lou Holtz

And I LOVE my morning workouts!

Morning workouts have so many benefits. 1) It’s a great way to start the day right and boost BOTH your mood and energy level.  2) Exercising first thing in the morning helps encourage you to make healthy choices through out the day.  After all, you don’t want to undo all that hard work by eating garbage. 3) You can get away with working out in your pajamas and cut down on laundry (as long as you’re at home 😉 ) 4) It’s a chance to get it done before the day gets busy and you have time to make excuses not to.

Once I get in a good early work out, I always feel ready to take on the day.  This morning I was surprised to still be able to move without much difficultly, so I did my Jackie Extreme Timesaver Workout DVD AGAIN.  I was dragging a little, but got through the whole thing.  Then I did 30 reps of tricep dips, body saws, and push-ups- and then 60 low plank obliques.  I officially pushed myself to the point of almost throwing up at a non-boot camp workout, which makes me feel like all those workouts have really improved my tolerance for putting myself through torture. 😉  As additional evidence of just how rugged I’ve become, I now have rug burn on my elbows to match the bruise on my shin from my incident with the tall box at boot camp last weekend…plus a bunch of scraps from all the prickly brush at the reservoir yesterday! (Luckily I only got a little rash and not head to toe hives like scrapes from brush typically give me!)

"Bit" by the box

Ouch! Rug burn 😦

Given that the Jackie workout DVD is starting to get “easy” for me (meaning I can finish it with weight without feeling like it is going to kill me), I have been considering purchasing the Insanity workout DVDs.  At first I was a little intimidated because I heard it was harder than p90x; however, after surviving multiple months of boot camp, a Tough Mudder, and a marathon- I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever they throw at me (even if it’s not doable on the first try ;)).  The great thing about workout DVDs is you can always hit pause, catch your breath, and keep going.  The only thing I still have reservations about is I saw a few really bad reviews about it being really hard on your joints with lots of high impact moves.  I don’t want to spend over $100 on it and then find it’s too hard on my knees to do it.  On the other hand, I feel like no matter how awesome a fitness product is, there will always be people who will find an excuse to trash it instead of sucking it up and following through.  I think at some point, I will probably break down and make the splurge, but in the meantime I have boot camp, running, and Jackie to keep me in shape. 🙂

Anyhow, the rest of my day will consist of RELAXING… unless I get the itch to workout some more. lol There are worse addictions in the world right?

I can’t lift my arms!

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

~Oprah Winfrey

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve!  I -for one- am looking forward to saying goodbye to the old and in with the new!  Last year was really tough for me, but I also had a lot of great breakthroughs including running my first 10 K, 15 K, Tough Mudder, half marathon, and full marathon.  I also started this blog,  joined CT-Alive and, did fundraising for both the Wounded Warrior Project and victims of domestics violence through the Running for the Color Purple Campaign.  Oh, and I joined Boot Camp and made the commitment to get my butt kicked on a regular basis!

Despite my mixed feelings about 2011, I have to admit that I met a lot of AMAZING new people- especially the Arch Angels and Boot Camp crew.  There was plenty of good to go with the bad, and the best part is a lot of it is documented here for me to go back and read. 🙂

I had a low key New Year.  I threw a holiday leftover pot luck dinner party with my mom for our immediate family and then headed to bed early.   Of course, the rest of the neighborhood had other plans and decided to set of fireworks at 3 am- leaving as sleep deprived as I would have been if I had partied the night away. lol  It also didn’t help that boot camp left me so sore that every time I moved in my sleep it woke me up.  (Thanks Mike)

In terms of crazy workouts, boot camp yesterday consisted of stations at the gym including bench press, box jumps, decline sit-ups (with a twist to make them even harder), sand bag push, burpees, ball to wall, jump rope, pull ups, and a host of other “fun” stuff.  I still struggle with jump rope and box jumps, but pushed as hard as I could.  The large box was up to my waist and I made it up 5 times on the first round before I missed and landed on my shin.  I switched to the medium box and got called out by the trainer!  The next round I did the tall box the whole time without falling.  The highlight of the workout was beating Adam (yup the marine who is twice my size) on his reps at many (most) of the stations (even doing the same weight on some of them).  That DEFINITELY made me feel like I’ve made HUGE progress. lol 

Thanks to all the new winter running gear I got for Christmas (Yea! new workout clothes!!!!) I have been keeping up on my running too.  I have been logging much in the double digits, but I have been getting out consistently, despite the cold.  My chilliest run to date was 23 degrees. 

I hope everyone has an amazing New Year!!!! I’m sure the universe has many great things in store for all of us.  🙂

Another Milestone

“You may want to skip your workout today. You may want to quit. But there will be others who push forward.
And you will be another day behind. “

Today I didn’t feel like going to boot camp.  I was exhausted. I had been running errands all day, and I was dragging at the last session.  In general, I have found my body less than cooperative lately.  I hate performing at less than my best, so I was dreading another potentially miserable workout.  I knew if I could just haul myself there, that would be glad I came.  Seeing everybody is always an instant mood boost.  Plus, I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I’m finished- even if I feel like I did less than par.  I reminded myself of all these things as I headed out the door.  As an added bonus, I was able to convince Adam to come (a first for this month)!

The workout involved splitting up the exercises with a partner.   The number of exercises was based on the gender of the pair (girl/girl, girl/boy, boy/boy).  Since I was with a guy (not Adam, we were all partnered with new people), we had the medium number of exercises.  We decided just to split them down the middle and kept pretty good pace at keeping up with each other.  The exercises consisted of burpees, dive bombers, low plank obliques, a sadistic low plank exercise involving moving men, and push-ups.  For most of the stations, we had to split 300 reps- including the push-ups.  The most push-ups I had done up to this point was 100and I had struggled.  When I hit 101 at this session I was excited.  When I finished the 150 (in sets of ten- and then 5 when I was getting tired) I was ecstatic.

Back when I started boot camp I couldn’t do 10 push-ups in a row, let alone 15 times!  I didn’t even feel that tired, so I finished the rest of the work out and then did 150 more with Adam while he finished up (he was in a guy/guy group and had more reps on each station- his excuse for me smoking him 😉 ) That is officially 300 Push-ups! – 3 times my previous max!  It was definitely a victory worth celebrating, so I fixed up some chocolate peanut butter protein shakes when we got home. 🙂

I am so grateful to have an awesome boot camp crew (and instructor/trainer!) to push me to my limits.  Having people around to help motivate you is such a valuable tool in training.  I never would attempt the workouts we do in boot camp on my own!  Every class starts with “I don’t know if I can do that”, and finishes with “WOW, I can’t believe I did that!”  Exercise is my prozac.  It relieves my stress, quiets  my anxiety, and makes me feel like I can take on the world.   I sometimes feel guilty spending money on the classes or training sessions, but then I remind myself that when I tried therapy my co-pay was for $30- for 15 minutes!  Boot camp and training session are a BARGAIN compared to that!!! Plus, therapy could never compete with how good finishing a tough workout makes me feel. 🙂

Time for an overhaul…

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.”

Leonardo Da Vinci
Hi Everyone!!!
I would have posted yesterday, but by the time I got home from work I was too tired to do anything but sleep.
I’m happy to report that Thursday I not only managed to make the morning group training session, but also boot camp.  In a stroke of luck, Randi happened to get out of work at 2, so we were able to have dinner early.  After some much needed girl time, I headed home to find Adam fast asleep and the time still early enough to make class.  In what might have been a foolish (and potentially disastrous move), I headed to boot camp on a full stomach of Mexican- complete with frozen strawberry margarita.  Normally, I’m not someone who drinks (or even over-eats), but rare catch up sessions with a close friend serve as a special occasion in my book.  For better or worse, it was on.
Mike had announced on Facebook that he had a particularly brutal workout planned, something he reiterated to me at the end of our training session.  He told me not to worry about coming because it was going to be awful and I had already put in a good work out.  Of course, this only gave me further incentive to want to come.  I just can’t resist a good challenge!
The torture session consisted of our previous 1000 rep workout with the addition of 500 reps of “grasshoppers”- an exercise that I’m sure was invented by contortionists consisting of touching your right shin to your left forearm (and vice versa) while in the high plank position.  Let’s just say my legs did not want to cooperate on this one.  The 400 lunges that followed went by pretty quickly (I did them in sets of 100- a huge improvement from last time), as did the 300 power jacks (done in sets of 50), and 200 skaters (also in sets of 50).  When I finally reached the 100 burpees, I started to have trouble.  Unlike my previous experience, fatigue was not my main issue.  Rather, it was fighting my stomach not to lose my barely digested meal with all that up and down movement. But, in the end- I MADE IT!!!! It was totally worth the nausea.  While I would never plan to have a large meal and drink before a workout, I can’t say I regret it.  Rather, I’m glad I made the decision to go in spite of it.
The aftermath (2 days later) has left me hating stairs, sitting, and standing.  I told Adam we need to install a motorized chair on the basement stairs so I can get up and down.  In the meantime, I have convinced him to take care of the laundry for me in exchange for laughing at my pathetic inability to move or walk normally.
In other news, I have been starting to work on updating some of the posts and pages on the blog.  I also have been making a mental list of some races and events I’d like to run in the upcoming months.  Potential candidates so far include the Mount Snow Tough Mudder in May, the Pike’s Peak Ascent in August (I know- I’m going to hate myself), and the San Fransisco  Marathon (Adam’s idea).   He’s trying to sell me on running across the Golden Gate Bridge, but I’m not stupid.  I know how hilly it is there and told him if I’m running in San Fran, it won’t be for less than a Tiffany necklace (like Nike Women’s Marathon gives out for finishing).  I’m not sure whether he is seriously considering this demand or not…

Back to training

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
~St. Francis of Assisi~

I have made my return from my post marathon rest period.  I took a whole week off to do nothing.  No blogging, no Facebook, no running, and no boot camp.  Of course, I was miserable; but I needed the time to recharge.  My marathon training had pushed me to the point that I was dreading my runs instead of enjoying them.  Now I’m back to looking forward to my work outs!  Last night I used some of my extra hours from my long weekend shift to leave early and make it to boot camp.  It took me over an hour and a half to get there thanks to the 84 traffic, but it was completely worth it.  I love our boot camp crew.  It makes working out so much more fun when it’s with a group of awesome people. Plus Mike (our instructor) always pushes me harder than I would push myself- case in point- I would never attempt 100 push-ups on my own. 🙂

Today I am headed to the gym for a group training session with Mike.  Then I am meeting up with my BFF for dinner.  Lots to look forward to today!  I hope everyone has a good one!

100 Push-ups

“Victory is won not in miles but in inches.

Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.”

Louis L’Amour

Today I did 100 push-ups IN A ROW!…well…sort of in a row.  There were brief rest periods, but that was only because my arms were turning to jello.  None-the-less, breaks or not, 100 push-ups is a milestone worth celebrating in my book!  Why? Because I celebrate the small victories in life- and this month in particular, I need all the small victories I can get.

So far, I have not written much to acknowledge Domestic Violence Awareness Month (I did however, write a post about Breast Cancer Awareness– somewhat ironically).  Perhaps I’ve been avoiding it.  I have faced it head-on in terms of charity work and running a half and full marathon to raise awareness.  Yet, somehow I haven’t taken any time to focus on it here.

October is a difficult month for me.  My wedding was October 21st.  The day was traumatic, and the two months that followed were even worse as the abuse continued to escalate.  Despite the fact that I currently have a happy and productive life -with an amazing network of friends, family, and even work out buddies– when October rolls around I feel more stressed, anxious, and above all sad.  As content as I am with my life, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.  I’m still grieving for the naïve part of myself that was rudely awakened to just how cruel and vile some people can be.  I didn’t choose to become a different person; it was forced upon me.  While I don’t regret what I’ve been through, I do (at times) feel cheated that my view of the world was shattered in such a base and senseless fashion.

Perhaps it wasn’t a great idea to schedule my marathon tapering and recovery in the midst of a time when I need running therapy the most; however, I truly believe running the full, grueling 26.2 miles of the marathon was an appropriate tribute to the other victims of abuse.  It was a testament to ability of the mind and spirit to endure suffering and overcome a seemingly insurmountable distance.  Running in October gave the races extra significance, as well as added motivation for me to finish.

All that being said, my first post-marathon run on Monday was AWFUL.  I had been itching to go all week and thought I had enough time to recover (I know, being sick all week probably shouldn’t count as recovery time!).  Unfortunately, my body didn’t agree.  My knees were bugging me from step number one, and my legs felt like lead. It was the marathon all over again!  I couldn’t believe I was still having issues (and, no, I shouldn’t have been surprised).  I tried to enjoy Penny’s company instead of being frustrated.  She wasn’t paying any attention to my internal struggles. Instead, she spent her time rolling in every muddy puddle she could find until she finally emerged looking (and smelling) like the swamp thing.  Once sufficiently covered in mud, leaves, and-who-knows-what else she would return back to running up ahead and beckoning for me to chase after her. We ran and hiked for about an hour; and then, much to her chagrin, I brought her home and gave her a bath.  At boot camp that night, I continued to drag and felt crummy.  I was feeling sick and frustrated with my body for being achy and uncooperative.  Given that I am still feeling under the weather, I was somewhat dreading going back tonight.  I didn’t want to go through another work out unable to do my best.  I HATE being held back for any reason- sick, injured, etc.

That is why I am EXTRA happy to have FINALLY had a good work out day. LOL  I didn’t even have any knee trouble- despite all the running.  We did sprints with 100 reps of 10 different exercises in between (YES- Another infamous 1000 rep workout).  The exercises included jumping jacks, one-handed mountain climbers (that’s right one-handed, because we are hard-core!), crunches, skaters, power jacks, crab toe touches, low plank obliques, heismans, power jumps (I may hate these more than psuh-ups),  and then finally PUSH-UPS.  It was not that long ago that I couldn’t manage ONE real push-up (NO “girlie” push-ups allowed at boot camp!). Today I did 100.  Take that PTSD October stress!!!!  I am going to own you this time around!

rolling in the mud

Hurricanes, Nightcall, and Training…

You do not have to be a hurricane, to turn things around

dedicated to my sister

We survived the hurricane.  Last night I was on call, so I got to drive home during the “worst of it”.  It really wasn’t as bad as I expected.  The toughest part was trying to get to my house with our road flooded and closed off.  We are pretty lucky; I know a lot of people had it a lot worse.  The rest of my family are all without power, including my sister who has well water.  I offered up our spare room, but haven’t had any takers…

I slept through most of the storm.  By the time I woke up it was over and the flooding was gone- proof that sleep does fix everything.  No running today 😦  I did make it out for a walk with Adam and the dogs once the wind died down.  I’m still waiting for my foam roller and cliff bloks to come in the mail, but may try to squeeze in a long run tomorrow anyway.  I’ve been feeling like a slacker despite continuing conditioning.  Yesterday I made it through the whole Jackie Workout DVD with weight and without breaks.  That was a first for me. 🙂  Usually I struggle with the weights on all the upper body stuff.

Anyway, this is a short post because I am wiped…

More to come tomorrow!