Intervals at 4:30

I was awake by 4:30 this morning. No coffee required.

I’ve been taking ZMA supplements before bed, and that — combined with an extra hour of sleep, no nighttime anti-histamines, and adjusting to my tightened nutrition — have helped me feel much more rested without caffeine.

I’ve also found myself reading more and more of Ross Emanit’s book Infinite Intensity, which is written for fighters. And while I’m no boxer, I do want to be strong, powerful and fast — the qualities of a fighter. (I guess I’m also missing Kung Fu a little.)

Ross’ training plan is really interesting, and years ago, Andy and I did the 50 training plan from Never Gymless. That was great.

So I’ve been incorporating more and more of Ross’ training regimen into my routine. This morning I did intervals.

4 x 800m (90 sec rest between intervals)
Average time: 3:53 per interval
5 x 50m (jog back to start between intervals)
Time each round: 13 sec

I threw in some ring pull up holds and double unders, just to keep practicing. Then I finished up with core training.

3 rounds
5 wheel rollouts
6 side bends w/ 25# DB (each side)
12 supermans
10 Russian twists (each side with 6# med ball)
60 chinnies

Whew! Those wheel rollouts and side bends are no joke! I did not get my chest anywhere near the ground on the rollouts. Maybe one day?

Breakfast was fun. I’m going into work later this week and I actually cooked breakfast for us. I even cooked Mads up some pork and zucchini:

pork and zucchini in the pan

I only eat protein and fat at breakfast, so here’s what I ate:

Pork and pork pan sausage with avocado on a white plate

My day went downhill from there. I actually left for work to escape the crying. I love my daughter, but she’s been super fussy lately, and I felt like I could do nothing to appease her.

Then I had a long talk with Andy and we came to the agreement that I will not join Zach’s Olympic Lifting class in October. Or November. Or December. Maybe January. Which really disappoints me because I had my heart set on it. I’ve felt pretty sad since the conversation, even though I know it’s the right decision.

Of course, I risk circumstances changing, class times changing, class prices changing… but what are you gonna do, right? I’m privileged with the opportunity to go to my current class. At least I get that.

Being a responsible grownup really sucks sometimes.

Fighting breast cancer one step (run or walk) at a time

Breast cancer has touched many lives around me over the past year, and as October (breast cancer awareness month) approaches, I’m thinking yet again about this devastating disease.

I’ve been extremely fortunate. My mother found cancer yet again in her breast, after more than 15 years from her last battle with it. She caught it early and made the tough decision to undergo a double mastectomy. She’s fine. She really is. She’s a fighter — always has been — and sometimes I forget that she’s brushed cancer and gone through major surgery so recently because she’s so nonchalant about it. She just keeps going and going.

My neighbor across the street is the same. She battled breast cancer last spring and summer and won. She’s tough and positive, and on October 1 she’s riding in the Mamma Jamma Ride. I’m so happy she’s healthy and kicking, and I definitely made sure to donate to her team, the Saint John’s Pedalers Despise/Detest Breast Cancer. She’s going to ride 27 miles!

I can’t believe it’s been since I left KVUE in 2010 that one of my mentors and teachers lost her battle to breast cancer. When I found out Thea died, I cried. She also fought incredibly hard against it, but it won in the end. It makes me really sad to know that for every story of life, there are also stories of death.

This year I will be participating in the Komen Race for the Cure, despite avoiding the race last year. I still have my reservations about it, but my employer is paying for my race entry and we’re doing a big thing to raise awareness and build our company team, so I’m happy to participate.

I’m going to try and raise some money for the cause. Komen has a personal fundraising page for me here.

I’m one week away from another cause I believe in — Fight Gone Bad 6 — and thanks to my fabulous friends, I met the minimum fundraising requirement and I’m on my way to my new goal.

I can’t wait to head out to Camp Mabry with Luke, Mads and Andy on Saturday. Andy and Mads will be there to cheer me and Luke on. It’s going to be awesome!

 

“You should be motivated to train…”

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One evening this week after tucking the kids into bed, I walked into the kitchen to find one of Andy’s workout books open on the counter.  It’s was Ross Emanit’s Full Throttle Conditioning, and the page it was open to had the words “Warning Signs” at the top.

It was Andy’s way of gently suggesting I not work out that night.

We’ve been talking all week about how I’ve been feeling, because in general, the past week has been a bear.  There’s been suckage all around, from training to work to home to just general attitude.  My mantra has been, “I’m crabby.”  And it has stayed with me for the better part of the week.

Ross’ book has some techniques to avoid what I’ve been feeling, which may be partly due to overtraining.  But I think it’s also LIFE (I miss my running buddy! Mads is teething and getting up at night! I really want to east that birthday cake, but I would have to write it in my food log and then Zach would see it!).  You know the signs of overtraining — stuff like fatigue, lack of enthusiasm, not being able to perform when it counts, and so on.

I’ve definitely been fatigued, and not enthusiastic. So I took Saturday and Sunday off.  Sunday was kind of an active recovery day.  Normally I go for a long run.  But I was not looking forward to running with the stroller, which is what Andy wanted to do.  SO we walked.  I started off crabby and emotional and just pissy in general.  But 2 miles in, and after lots of talking, I was feeling better. In fact, when I saw the pullup bars at Auditorium Shores I decided to do 10 negative pullup holds.

And you know what?  I felt even better.

By the end of the walk I was a different woman.

We came home, I tackled a big house project and got it mostly completed, so I felt even better.  I thought about doing a workout, but I decided to give it another day at least.  I’m actually looking forward to workout out, possibly Monday night.

I’m hoping that when Tuesday morning rolls around, my enthusiasm has returned in full force.

Never under-estimate the power of rest and talking.  It goes a long way.

Endurance WOD: 400m repeats

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400m on a track:
Start somewhere on oval; run around the curve toward the left; finish at same spot on oval.
400m at my house:
Start in backyard on mulch; run around porch corner; dodge homemade rings dangling from pull up bar; through the gate; over the weedy side yard; around the carport post; sharp left at the sidewalk; maneuver over bumby, uneven sidewalk; U-turn at the 2nd telephone pole; back down the sidewalk; sharp right at the driveway; dodge the car; through overgrown weeds; in the gate; around the rings; around the porch corner and back to the start.
Whew!
It’s been a while since I did a straight up endurance WOD. I toyed with the idea of adding something like squats, but I decided that would be too much like a met-con.
This one pretty much killed me. It laid me out, but I went all out on this one.

8 x 400m repeats
(Rest the exact time it took to run interval.)
1) 1:54
2) 1:53
3) 1:55
4) 1:54
5) 1:55
6)1:54
7) 1:54
8) 1:53

I was shocked by my times. All under 2 mins! Yay!
I still feel shaky, but what a workout!

Our Sunday run

There are an insane number of people who run at Lady Bird Lake on the weekend — especially when I think it’s waaaaaay too hot.

Of course, I’m one of those people — so I really shouldn’t talk.

Andy and I took the kids and their respective strollers down to the trail for what has become our weekly long run.  It’s part of our preparation for the Tough Mudder.  I feel bad for Andy, who pushes the stroller with Luke.  Luke is nearly 40 pounds now.  He’s getting a bike for his upcoming birthday, so hopefully he’ll be able to ride along with us at some point.  But for now, if Andy and I want to run together, we push the kids.

I gotta say, pushing a stroller is no joke.  My arms always feel fried. And it’s not easy pushing one with soft wheels (which is what I’ve had to deal with).  So it’s actually great training for the Tough Mudder for when we have to run through mud and stuff like that.  All we have to do now is add in push ups and squats every mile or so.

We ended up running the Congress to Mopac loop — 4.79 miles @ 46:49.  This time does not include our water stop at Auditorium Shore or the 1/2 mile Andy needed to walk because his knee started hurting.  In fact, I’ve told Andy he’s out of commission for at least a week because of that pain. I hope he feels better soon.

Andy is no running buddy

I was sitting at the kitchen table tonight, marking on the dry erase boards we keep on the fridge with our schedules and menu for the week (I’m endlessly anal if you haven’t noticed), when Andy sat down and said very seriously:

“Cindy, I don’t think I’m a good running buddy for you.”

Duh. Did he really just come to that conclusion?

“I run better when I’m setting my own pace,” he told me.

I smiled and answered, “I know, hon. But we’re training for the Tough Mudder.”

We had planned to work out on Saturday, but we were both so exhausted that we slept in, and by the time the kids were in bed it was super late and the temp still felt like 105 degrees outside.  (Plus Mads was still slightly fussy and restless for hours.)

Andy sitting on a wall, while Luke stands next to Mads in the yellow jogging stroller.So we agreed to run with the strollers on Sunday.  We got to the trail earlier this time, but it was still incredibly hot.  Mads fell asleep on our way to Auditorium Shores.  Along the way, Luke loudly pointed out all sorts of observations, all of which were interesting.  But since our culture frowns upon making comments about people within earshot, we got a lot of looks until we had a talk with Luke about what was socially acceptable in our culture.

Andy must have been dehydrated for most of the run, because he kept needing to stop and walk during our run, which looped from Mopac to the Congress Bridge at back.

Cindy poses at the Roberta Crenshaw trailhead at Lady Bird LakeBut still, it was a nice morning, even if it was close to 100 degrees.  I was wearing my new Lulu shorts and sports bra, and lamenting the fact that I had no top to go with my new clothes when Andy pointed out I could just run without a short.  Heck!  About half of the women on the trail do that.  I’m usually so conservative when it comes to my wardrobe that I shun stuff like that, but this time, I decided to take off my shirt and run the rest of the way in my bra.

“Why haven’t I been doing this all along?!”

Eff if I know, Andy told me.

Results: 00:001:59

When I got home, I decided to add some strength work on top of the run.  Andy started “breakfast”, while Luke and I went outside.  Here’s what I did:

Shoulder Press 3×3
55-65-70
Ring Rows 3×5
Front squat
65-75-85
Good mornings
65-70-75

Running back to Mr. Genovese

In 6th grade, my P.E. teacher was Mr. Genovese. I loved Mr. Genovese.  He was so nice, even to a fat girl like me.  He encouraged, but never yelled.  And he was cute.

I didn’t mind dressing out for gym.

We alternated between Health class and P.E.  I remember spending weeks in a classroom taking notes on the digestive system, then abruptly needing to dress out for gym the next week.

I don’t remember much of what we did in P.E., but I do remember having to run a mile.

I wasn’t exactly “fat” in 6th grade, but I certainly wasn’t skinny.  I played soccer, and I ran a lot in short bursts.  I also played tennis, so I ran all over the court.  But running a mile was different.  It was longer, and it was really hard for me.  But I wouldn’t let myself stop.  I dug in and focused on breathing.  One lap, two laps…. until I finished.

I actually surprised myself.  All of that soccer running must have paid off because I distinctly remember my mile time: 7:41.  I don’t think I ran it that fast ever again.


I want to run that fast again.  One day.  I used to think I could never do it, but all of the Crossfit Endurance stuff really seems to work.  Kind of like soccer, it’s about short intense bursts of speed rather than slogging miles.  I’m running 400m in about 1:47 — consistently.  Now, it’s time to clean up my form.

I showed up at Austin High’s track this evening for a special edition of the free endurance workout.  This time it was more focused on technique, rather than the workout.  Coaches Lisa and Benjamin led us.   We went over POSE and did a bunch of drills.  It was definitely geared toward newcomers to POSE, but I think I benefited.  There are a lot of things I hadn’t been clear on and I also tend to get sloppy when I tire.  There was even a workout designed for us to practice what we learned:

6 x 200m

We didn’t keep time — it was all about form.

Maybe… just maybe… I’ll run as fast as I did when Mr. Genovese was my coach.

400m repeats

For the first time — since before I got pregnant with Mads — I showed up at the track for one of the free Endurance workouts.  Unlike the last time I showed up at the track, it wasn’t cold and dark.  It was sunny and sweltering.

96 degrees.

And I had just done “Fran” that morning.  What was I thinking?

Maybe the heat had affected me.  Or my friends.  Beth and Steph went with me, and this is what we did with about 5 other Crossfitters:

4 rounds
400m run
50 squats

The goal was to go hard on the run and use the squats as recovery.  Coach Benjamin, who is part of Crossfit Central’s Endurance program, said we should aim to keep each 400 under 2 minutes and within 10 seconds of each other.

My first 400 was 1:49, but I don’t know what the rest were.  I don’t have a watch and it was HOT.  I’m sure they weren’t within 10 seconds of that.  I have no idea how long the entire WOD took, but I was really sweaty afterward.  It felt good to be be over, but in the end, it was good to be back at the track.

When I got home, I FEASTED on the frittata Andy had made for dinner and some salad.  I was sooooooo hungry.  And I wondered whether I would be able to drag myself out of bed in the morning to do the home WOD I had planned.

Guess what.  I didn’t.  Maybe tonight.

“There she goes!”

There is constant construction in my neighborhood.  Houses are old, and sometimes the owners die and homes are renovated or razed when new owners take over.

There’s a house up the street that’s been under renovation for months. I think the woman that owned it moved into a nursing home or died.  I feel bad that I never met her, but I never saw her outside.

In January or February there was a port-o-potty in front of the house.  It’s gone now, but every time I pass the house I think about that port-o-potty and how my friend Beth ducked into it during a warmup 400m run from my house.  “Did you just use that port-o-potty?”  “Yeah.”  “You know I have a bathroom at my house…” “I know, but I’ve already used it twice…”

I laugh every time I remember that.


There were workmen in front of the house Monday morning.  They were sitting in their trucks, waiting for the foreman or contractor, I assume.  They stared at me as I made my way to the telephone pole and back on the first leg of my endurance workout (which I had skipped on Sunday).  I felt a little uneasy running by — like I was being judged.  I nearly called off the whole WOD.  But I gave myself a hard kick in the pants and told myself to suck it up and finish.  It didn’t matter that I was putting on a show.  Hell — it would be a GOOD-LOOKING show, and I should be proud.

As I ran back to my house on round 6, I heard one of them say “there she goes!”  I laughed.  I HAD put on a good show.

Here was my workout:

6 rounds
400m repeats
(rest 2 minutes between rounds)

OK — so I did modify it a little.  The original was 8 rounds — but I didn’t want to run by the workmen THAT many times.  And the rest was only supposed to be the amount of time it took you to run the previous interval (which was about 1:47 for me) but logistically, it was easier to set the clock to 2 min.

Times: 1:47-1:43-1:46-1:47-1:47-1:48

All under 2 minutes!  Yay!  And that wasn’t all.  I warmed up with a mini met-con and some strength work:

5min AMRAP
9 sprawl
6 KB Russian twist (1 pood — each side)
3 KB press from ground

Results: 4 rounds + 7 sprawl

This was a great WOD, and it can easily be turned into a longer met-com.  Andy made it a 12min AMRAP, changing the presses to 3 one-armed on each side.

Love my kettlebell!

Then, I tested my shoulder press strength:

Shoulder Press
3-3-3-3-3

Results: 50-60-70(only got 2)-70(only got 1)-65

Check it out — I got 2 at 70#.  That means it’s not my 1 rep max anymore!  I can’t wait for Crossfit Total in June — I will be smashing some PR’s!

Diva Dash disappointment

Oh, Diva Dash.  I had such high hopes for you.

Your website promised excitement, challenge, and fun all rolled into a women’s only obstacle course.  Your website was brilliantly done.  Beautifully designed.  It really sold it to me.

Too bad you spent more on your website than on planning the actual event.

To be fair, Saturday’s Diva Dash was the first ever, and Austin was the first city to host one.  That said, the Diva Dash was not THAT different from a straight-up 5K or a 10K.  I’ve been to plenty of those that were extremely well planned.  I’m shocked that a national magazine like SHAPE didn’t organize better.

Cindy, Beth, Beth and StephEver the optimist, I’ll start with what I liked:

  • Friends
    I’m so glad I had friends to do this with, otherwise I would have been really bummed out.  Beth and Steph signed up with me, and we all drove out together with Beth’s friend, Beth.
  • The idea
    They had some good ideas.  I liked the obstacle course idea and the idea of bonding with a bunch of other ladies.  It seemed empowering.
  • Lunch afterward
    We all went to Z’Tejas after the run and had a chance to laugh about the experience and drink margaritas.  Definitely a plus.
  • GenAustin benefited
    The race proceeds all went to Gen Austin, which is a great local cause.  At least I helped other girls.

OK, so here’s what the problems were:

  • Packet pickup chaos
    There were roughly 3,000 people signed up for this event and pre-event packet pickup was planned for just 4 hours the evening before at RunTex on Riverside, which is a tiny place with little parking — plus there were some huge events going on in downtown Austin and Auditorium Shores, so streets were closed.  The event highly encourage packet pickup before the event.  It was chaotic.
  • Ran out of numbers?
    You would think that knowing how many people are signed up for a run would help you order enough bib numbers, but apparently not.  They didn’t have a number for me, so they wrote it on a sticker from the Zilker Holiday Tree 5K.  I felt gipped.  I already ran that race.
  • Not enough shuttle buses
    We were told to park at the exposition center and take the shuttle bus 1.5 miles to Walker E. Long Park.  The line was super long, and there didn’t seem to be enough buses, so we waited in line for 45 minutes.  Some ladies waited over an hour.  Thank goodness we got there early, but even then, by the time we walked into the park at 10am, all of the raffles were over and the bathrooms were out of toilet paper.
  • TP!
    That reminds me — what’s the deal with running out of toilet paper by 10am?  You know you have 3,000 women — tell the vendor to stock enough!
  • No timing option
    I knew I started at 10:30am — but I have no idea when I finished.  There was no clock, and the race was not timed.  At the finish line, were were shuttled into a chute and formed a line so they could write down our numbers in the order they came through.
    I know this is supposed to be a fun run — but there WAS a prize (a trip to Aruba) on the line.
  • That’s an obstacle?
    I was no fan of the obstacles.  They were kind of inane, although the first one, where you had to walk across a rope bridge, was kinda fun.  They weren’t really challenging,  I also felt gipped because the advertising had a barbell in it, so I was hoping to have to lift something.
    There were no barbells.
  • Water, water, no where
    It was hot.  There were no water stations until the end.  And there were no volunteers handing out water.  You had to find a cup and fill it up.  There was also no food — unless you wanted to pay.  No fruit, no nothing after the race.  If we wanted to eat, you had to bring your own or order up at one of the numerous vendors.

There were numerous other planning and execution problems, but I’ll spare you.  I could go on and on about how disappointed I am about this run, but what I’m most disappointed in is myself.  I ran it very poorly, and maybe that’s what pisses me off the most.

I actually felt like I had to stop and walk several times throughout the course — and I did.  I probably would have walked more had Steph not been running with me and encouraging me to keep going.  (Thank you Steph!  You’re awesome!)

It’s been a long time since I felt that awful during a race (and I use the term “race” loosely), and I’m embarrassed.  I hope I’m not that bad of a runner.  It’s puzzling that I was all smiles during the Cap 10K and felt like I was going to keel over during the Diva Dash (a 5K).  I wonder if the heat got to me.  I guess I need to start doing more training in the heat, if I’m going to overcome that.

Now that I’ve had my rant about the Diva Dash… let us never speak of it again.