Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mar 10-29: Life Post-Spartan

Mar 10: Lower and upper arms and legs are sore.  Only got 2 hours of sleep, after daylight savings, a late departure from ATL, and a 6am meeting the next morning. 

Mar 11: No workout today, because of work dinner.  Good to continue resting, anyway.

Wednesday, Mar 12:
4.0 in 34:13, 8:33 ave.  2 degrees of incline.  Even 1.5 mi of running was tough and felt like it took forever!  Considered stopping at mile 2, but I made 3 miles a goal.  It did get easier as I went on.  My legs felt kind of bangy.

Thursday, Mar 13:
65 min on the recumbent bike with the TV and running magazine.
Mar 14: Got a beautiful 10.5 hours of sleep.

Saturday, Mar 15:
An unplanned double-workout day!  Did a 55 min strength session first, at 3pm, because it had been a while (not counting the Spartan race itself), and my body was craving it.  I still felt pretty good afterwards, and I wanted to take advantage of opportunities to run outside, so I went to the park for some Zombies.  Did 5.2 mi in 43:32, 8:19 ave, at 6pm.  Legs felt tired during the sprints.  Wondered if I lost some endurance, or maybe I’m still just recovering from Spartan.

Sunday, Mar 16:
Wasn’t sure if my uncushioned knees could handle the run after yesterday’s double, but they did.  Calves were sore all day.  It was a bit of an emotional day, too.  The run itself was decent, though.  5.0 in 43:12, 8:38 ave.  I did the run on the treadmill, at 4 degrees of incline = 7:39 effort.
Mar 17: Hooked on Spartan.  Did pushups and pullups today.  Too tired to do any workout, though.

Tuesday, Mar 18:
55 min of the recumbent bike.  Could’ve maybe done a run, but the bike was more appealing, because it’s so easy and relaxing, like physical/mental/psychological candy.  Dinner has been making me tired lately… wonder why – post-carb crash?  Just the workday catching up? 
Mar 19: Too tired, and legs too inflamed to run.

Thursday, Mar 20:
Work was busy, so it went by fast this week.  I’ve been having to drink tons of H20 over the past couple of weeks, just to keep my lips from being very dry, on top of the copious amounts that I normally drink.  Did 5.0 in 42:19, 8:28 ave, on 4 degrees if incline = 7:32 effort.
Mar 21: Slept 8pm-12am, then 3am-6am.

Saturday, Mar 22:
I had been running in the evenings, but it had been a while since my last run, so I went in the morning this day.  When I was there, a family was blowing up a hot-air balloon, seemingly just to test it out, so it didn’t go airborne, but it was pretty cool to see, nonetheless.  The excitement of watching it get inflated, hang out, wondering if it would lift off, and deflated, made the loops around the park more exciting. 


I did this run only with some PB in me, but I had that midnight meal, so it wasn’t too hard.  6.7 in 55:56, 8:17 ave.  After the run, I watched Divergent and did some shopping, so it was a very pleasant and fun day.  I rarely go to the movie theater.  I only go when I am certain that the movie will be good, which is pretty much when it’s based on a book… Harry Potter, LOTR, Hunger Games, Les Mis… those are probably the only movies I’ve seen on the big screen in the past 10 years, if not more.  I get to catch up on other movies on plane rides.  Anyway, Divergent didn’t disappoint. 

Sunday, Mar 23:
The run started slowly.  I’ve had little pullup strength in the past couple of days, too, for whatever reason.   I’m now on Season 1, Episode 15 of the Zombies, Run! running + story app, and this time, the chases really caught me off guard, because they’d come when I least expected it, right after the transmissions that told story clips.  They were hard to keep up with, too, and I got caught once, at the end.

Monday, Mar 24:
Did workout 1 of the Jillian Michaels Hard Body DVD, for the first time.  It wasn’t too hard.  The sets are short and end right as they get tough.   I supplemented it with some of my usual strength-day PT.

Tuesday, Mar 25:
Did 55 min on the recumbent bike.  Felt like I had done it recently.  I like bike days, when there’s no pressure to do the run, because they’re so easy and relaxing.

Thursday, Mar 27:
I debated about whether or not I would do the run, because I planned on doing a 12K trail race on Saturday.  It had been a while since my last run, though, and my endorphin receptors were missing a true workout.  My body felt unused and neglected.  It was a great run, with 4.0 in 32:38, 8:10 ave, at 3 degrees of incline = 7:32 effort.

Mar 28: I held out hope until the last day, but I decided late at night, that I wouldn’t end up starting the race after all, because after doing calculations, I didn’t think I’d be able to make my flight, or if I somehow did, I definitely wouldn’t get a chance to shower, after the muddy, rainy trail run.  And 13 hours of flying + a 6 hr layover like that wouldn’t have been pleasant for anyone.  Oh well.  I made the right choice.

Saturday, Mar 29:
I didn’t end up doing the trail race, but I still got in a good run.  4.0 in 33:23, 8:23 ave.  Splits> 17:20 (8:40 for 2), 8:17, 7:45.  3 degrees of incline.  Pure Cadence running shoes.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

RACE REPORT: Georgia Spartan Sprint 2014


I went into the Spartan Race thinking it would be a fun way to shake up the old running and racing routine.  My sister got me the entry as a Christmas present, and we were running it together, with her friend.  I was going to use it as a way to get a feel for the obstacles, to prepare for the Spartan Beast in November.  I trained through it, knowing that running-wise, I wouldn't have any issues.

Leading up to the race, I studied up a bit on the Spartan Race youtube channel, which has some how-to videos on obstacles like the 8-foot wall, the inverted wall, and the rope climb.  I visited my sister in Atlanta a couple of days early, so that we could hang out together and anticipate the race together.  We had a planning session where we printed out race docs and planned our schedule.  She tried her first burpee the night before, haha.

On race morning, her friend came over at 7:30am.  I made a kale +yogurt +soymilk +ginger +strawberry smoothie.  I had debated about whether or not I wanted to bring my GoPro.  I didn't want to ruin official race pics by wearing the GoPro, but this may be the only chance I have to do the race for fun, so now would be the time to wear it and get those shots.  I decided to go with it.  In the car, I realized that I hadn't brought the waterproof backdoor, but with some duct tape and an hour-long ride to the Conyers International Horse Park, I made the skeleton door waterproof.

We arrived at about 9am, just after the elites started.  We got our race numbers, chip bracelets, and headbands on.  There's a big festival area where you can practice the different disciplines, and as noobs, we played around with it.  It was a lot of fun just horsing around.  They had instructors there to help, too.  The atmosphere was very festive and fun. 

Because there were over 7,000 people finishing the race this weekend, they had waves being released every 15 min.  There were spectator areas where we could watch the first waves coming in.  They designed the course so that you could view a number of the obstacles from the festival area.  The most epic one was the long stretch of barbed wire and mud pits that led to the finish line.  We saw one guy roll on top of the barbed wire... it hurt to look at.  This was going to be epic.

As it neared time for us to go to the start, we dropped off our gear.  Before you could even get to the starting corral, you had to get over a wall.  One poor girl totally ate it when she fell off the top of it.

After some William Wallace words to pump us up, we were off!

 The first obstacles were just combinations of mud, hills, and fences, to ease us into things.

There was a good bit of normal running, so a runner may do well at this kind of race, I thought.

We started meeting progressively taller walls, though... like 6, 8, then 10 feet.  It helped to have buddies on this.  TT and I would help up my sister, then TT would help me, then TT, despite being the shortest, at under 5 feet tall, got herself up, by herself, like it was no big deal (she got some help on the 10 foot wall, but she did the 8 all by herself)!

There was some variety later on, with the Traverse Wall, a Cargo net, the Spear Throw, the tire pull, and a Sandbag carry.

My favorite was the inverted wall, since it looked hard but wasn't that hard to do.

I slipped off the Traverse Wall and missed the Spear Throw, so I did 60 burpees there.  By the time I got to the rope climb (and overestimated myself by picking one with very few knots), my arm and grip strength (which wasn't that much to begin with) was toast.  TT aced it, but you can see my shadow as I dangled for a few moments before dropping.  A dry rope at the beginning of the race would've been manageable, but this was not.

Fortunately, this was almost the end... after taking my 30 burpees in a big pit of mud, it was only the Slip wall, the barbed wire field, the fire, and the gladiators left.

We made it!

It was cold.  The showering area was cold. It was tons of fun, though.  We celebrated with a good Malaysian/Thai meal afterwards.  Immediately after the race, I was thinking how glad I was that the Spartan Beast wasn't for another 8 months.  But a couple of days later, I couldn't wait til I got my chance at redemption from those burpee-inducing obstacles, and a chance to see how fast I could push things.  I'm hooked!

Friday, March 7, 2014

RACE REPORT: Kings Mountain Gateway Trail 10K 2014

I've started to miss racing.  My last race was in November, the iRecycle HM that didn't go as well as I hoped.  For much of the past few months, doing any kind of exercise was considered a victory.  My apartment complex's treadmill has continued to have issues with its monitor, and it has gotten noisy, so I would take advantage of the weekends to run outside, and I'd try to force in a single day of treadmill running during one weeknight.  The weekend runs also afforded me the opportunity to rack up Zombies, Run! app's virtual supplies to build up my base camp.

The Zombie chase portions of the weekend runs actually helped to keep up my speed, even though I haven't done formal interval training sessions.  Cramming my outdoors runs on weekends also helped me get used to running on tired legs.


Monday Feb 3: 4.0 in 32:42, 8:10 ave.  Almost didn't make it out of lying in bed, but glad that I did it, post-run.  Practiced 2x25 burpees afterwards.  2 degrees of incline = 7:50 effort.

Tuesday, Feb 4: 50 min strength session.

Wednesday, Feb 5: 50 min recumbent bike session.

Saturday, Feb 8: 5.8 in 51:16, 8:48 ave, at the park.  My old Brooks Trance 8s felt stiff and uncushioned.

Sunday, Feb 9: 6.5 in 55:27, 8:26 ave, at the park.  Switched to a more cushioned but old pair of Saucony Kinvaras, which felt much better.

Tuesday, Feb 11: 55 min recumbent bike session.  Was going to try to run on the treadmill, but it was occupied.  I was just as fine biking, though.  Did 35 and 15 burpees afterwards.

Wednesday, Feb 12: 4.0 in 31:52, 7:58 ave.  2 degrees incline = 7:39 effort.  First run in the Brooks Pure Cadence shoes, which were very cushy in the forefoot, and overall light.  It's nice.

Thursday, Feb 13: 55 min strength session.

Saturday, Feb 15: 8.2 in 1:09:47, 8:30 ave, at the park.  This has been my longest run all year!  Slept 11 hours, then napped 3 more.  I have been feeling like my immune system has been down for the past few days.  The run felt easya nd good!  My knees always seem to get temporarily bangy at somewhere around the 3 mi mark, but it passes.  There were patches of leftover snow from this week's storm.  While watching the Olympics, I've been itching to try XC Skiing.  I love their outfits.  Biathalon, with the guns, looks really cool, too.  I like how running gives you the feeling of being spent.  With XC Skiing, it's not just your legs depleting you; it's your arms, too - a whole-body outpouring of effort.

Sunday, Feb 16: 6.7 in 59:12, 8:50 ave.  I did the Zombie chases (it's an option you can turn off/on), even though I felt like an easy run.   I felt like not doing it would be cheating.  I wasn't sure if my legs could take the chases, but they were fine.  I had nearly taken the day off as a rest day, though.

Monday, Feb 17: 45 min bike session, while watching the Olympics on TV.  35 burpees afterwards.

Tuesday, Feb 18: 5.0 in 39:58, 8:00 ave, 2 degree incline = 7:41 effort.  Considered taking a rest day, but body fairly awake, even though my spirit was not... so nearly rested.  But I went anyway.

Friday, Feb 21: 60s Strength session.

Saturday, Feb 22: 6.8 in 57:44, 8:25 ave, at the park.  Body and head felt hot in the afternoon... not feeling 100%... but I had to get in a run, and that actually somehow made it feel better.  I don't know what's up with my body.  I did some exercises on the playground equipment afterwards, to prep for the Spartan Sprint.

Sunday, Feb 23: 6.0 in 50:36, 8:26 ave, at the park.  Body (head, arms) hot again, so slept most of the day.  Considered a rest day because of it, but why not run.  It was fine.  Practiced pullups a lot today.  I was almost relieved that the Olympics were over, so that I no longer had to feel compelled to watch the entire primetime coverage (and as much of the weekend coverage) as I could every day.

Monday, Feb 24: 60 min recumbent bike session.

Tuesday, Feb 25: 4.0 in 33:14, 8:19 ave, 3 degree treadmill = 7:41 effort.

I was excited to race again.  I decided to go with matching Salomon SLab shorts, shirt (wore a shirt because it was upper 30s), Mizuno socks, and new SLab shoes.  We're not supposed to try gear for the first time on race-day, but I did that with both the shorts (which have built-in compression) and with the shoes (which have a unique lacing system).  I did have a backup for the shoes, in case they didn't feel like they'd stay on well or fit well during the warmup.  They were fine, though.  I've used Salomon Mission XR trail shoes in the past, and those didn't fit tightly enough, but these SLab shoes, which were a size down, were good, and the lacing system seemed to do better.  They held up just fine during a hilly and gravelly course with uneven footing.

I signed up, checked out the competition, and looked forward to the fun that is trail racing.  You never know what the course will bring you.  The race brochure said that it was an out-and-back course, so I pictured something flat.  It was not flat, but that's just fine.  I wanted a trail race, as opposed to a road race, because I wouldn't be pressured to try and PR.  It would just be about racing.  From the start, I was first out of the women, and 4th overall.  The first half-mile was downhill then flat, then it got hilly, then the turnaround portion was super-hilly, then back.  It was a road-width gravel trail, where the gravel was loose.  Some of the uphills and downhills were decently sloped, and I flew down the downhills, letting loose.  I did my usual energy conservation during the uphills.  I caught 1 guy, so I ended up 3rd overall, 1st female.  Prizes for all age-groupers and overall winners were these tiles with hand-made clay leaves on top.  It was cold, so I didn't need any hydration, and I didn't need any gels.  I had fairly fibrous foods for breakfast - refried beans on tortilla chips with salsa and fat-free cheese, and a Larabar (dates, nuts), but there were no issues.

It was very cold waiting around afterwards, but the fires were nice, and I liked smelling like campfire afterwards.  It was a nice race with nice people.  It was a good way to get out again.