Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spartan Race 30 Day Challenge Recap Pt 1

Ok, so 30 days straight of workouts was a bit of a stretch. But 30 days straight of workouts plus a blog post to along with each? Insane. A nice idea in theory; not so much in reality. Family, job and my sanity must come first. I think I did about 11 or 12 days straight before getting a touch of the flu and screaming for a rest day. Blah. We took rest days occasionally thereafter, and I just completed Day 29 yesterday. So I'll start with day 5, and give a summary of each.

Day 5: Workout: Consistent pushups for an hour.  I did 8 pushups per minute while cleaning the kitchen and the refrigerator. In retrospect, I probably could have done more, but my arms were tired when I finished. That was a good workout to throw in on a rest day. Not strenuous, but gets you some upper body work you get in while multitasking. I liked it.

Day 6: Workout: Hill Repeats. Did these as part of the normal hill repeats with Leslie and Tammie. 8 times up and down Jail Hill. For those who do not know, Jail Hill is about a quarter mile long, decent incline, but not terrible. 

Day 7: Workout: Crossfit: The Nicole - 400m and max rep pull-ups
As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.
c/d 10 minute jog
This was awful. Anything that tells me to do max rep pull ups is awful.  I honestly cannot remember how many rounds I got in, but by the end of the 20 minutes my arms felt as though they would fall off. At the time I did this, my maximum pull-up number was 4. Now it is 5.

Day 8: Workout: Warmup jump rope 10 minutes. Run 2 miles. 100 lunges. Run 2 miles. 100 squats. Run 2 miles. Sprint 400m. c/d one mile.
Loved this. Totally destroyed my legs. And they needed it.

Day 9: Workout: 800s, etc.
w/u one mile
Run 800 hard
20 Squat jumps
Run 800 hard
20 box jumps
Run 800 hard
20 Tuck jumps
Run 800 hard
20 Lateral Jumps over box
c/d Run 1 mile
Figure 8 abs with medicine ball – 60 seconds
Plank 5 mins

Oh baby. This one was big time. It took forever, but Ramsey and I did every last bit of this one at the track. You know that saying that "pain is weakness leaving the body?" Well, I toughened up a little that day. Ouch.

I'll continue the rest later. Until then...

"Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts." - Unknown

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Spartan 30 Day Challenge: Day 4

Quote of the Day: "A river cuts through rock, not because of it's power, but because of it's persistence." -Jim Watkins

And so it happened. Hard week at work, up late, and I found myself incapacitated when the alarm went off at 4 a.m. So I slept another couple of hours, went on to work, and resorted to plan B. Life happens. It was 8 p.m. before I came to a point where I could squeeze this workout in. The fact that I went ahead and did it, as opposed to sinking into the couch of comfort, though, is proof that I'm making progress. Baby steps.

Day 4's workout was a Crossfit session called The Mary, which consisted of 8 rounds of tabata followed by a 30 minute run. Tabata is high intensity interval training (HIIT) where you go all out for 20 seconds on a particular exercise, then rest for 10, then all out again and so on. Recent research has proven that this kind of training gets you more bang for the buck, calorie burning-wise, than just about anything.

8 rounds of 20s on, 10s off for each exercise. Do all 8 rounds of 1 exercise before moving on to the next.

  • Burpees - mine were done in the driveway, and I used to yoga mat to protect my hands. Go hard!
  • Suicide planks - on the yoga mat. Start in plank position, go down to both elbows, then back up, then back down for the entire 20 seconds
  • Front squats - typical front squat, trying to get parallel and quick reps to keep up the intensity
  • Dips - I didn't have a dip station, so I did them on the bumper of a car


Suicide Planks

Front Squats


I followed this up with a 30 minute run of about 3.4 miles. It was a pretty night be running, and I felt the stress of the day literally dissipate from my pores. So glad I got this one in.

Tech Tip: In order to do this workout fluently and efficiently, I used a timer app on my iPhone that I downloaded from the App Store called "Seconds".  It is made for training sessions like this, and I set it for 8 rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. It counts down the final 3 seconds of each interval. The price was right - free.

How I felt: Tired at the beginning, re-engergized at the end, and I got a good night's sleep.

Spartan 30 Day Challenge: Day 3

Quote Of The Day:  “The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to use the stairs…. One step at a time.” - Rande Wilson

30 days straight of intense workouts seems a bit daunting when you are on day 3. It's still early enough that you are still carrying a bit of excitement, but you know that will pass in the days to come. When you've let your fitness slide by the wayside for 3 years like I have, you start losing the confidence you need to take on challenges that scare you. That's when you have to make conscience decisions when you are thinking are clearly that will trump the voices in your head when you aren't. Like having someone hold you accountable. Like deciding the night before what time you'll get up to workout no matter how you feel at 4 a.m. When training for marathons, I used to hurry up and eat an energy gel, then I knew I had to go on and run...because who would eat an energy gel for no reason? Little things, anything really, that will help you get that next workout in, they add up. It's the compilation of those little decisions that get you to the start line, and eventually the finish line. It's not some overwhelming revelation. It's not some extraordinary amount of will power. It's making one good decision at a time. Eating the elephant one bite at a time.

So the good thing, in my opinion, about day 3 was that it was only running! When I saw that it was just a fartlek run, I knew there was no way I was going to wimp out on that. I guess I was thinking that if I was ever going bail in the next 30 days it was going to be a day harder than this one. So here it is:

Fartlek Run (2-4-6-4-2):

10 min warmup
2 min hard/1 min jog
4 min hard/2 min jog
6 min hard/3 min jog
4 min hard/2 min jog
2 min hard/1 min jog
10 min cool down

We got in 5.19 miles in the 47 minutes, and had a spectacular view of the moon and Venus the whole time. Go get it!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Spartan 30 Day Challenge: Day 2

Quote of the day: “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” - Vince Lombardi


1.5m warmup run
5x15 jump squats
5x15 australian pull ups
1.5m cool down run

This one started at the rec center at 4:30 a.m. The run through the park to the CCMS track is about 1.5 miles, so that was the warm up.

My 800s were slow, but not bad considering how out of shape I am. I did most of them between 3:30 and 3:40. I'd like to be less than 15, but I'm not there right now. During the rest period after each 800, we did 15 jump squats (modified from the spartan workout's "thrusts") and 15 Australian pull-ups (modified from regular).  It was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be, but we made it to the end.

What's an australian pull up?  It's a modified pull up where you hold a bar, keep your feet on the ground, and pull your chest up towards the bar. It's good when you have no pull up bar around, or want more reps than you can normally do.

How Did I feel? I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I was a little sore from Day 1, but I still felt okay. Tonight, I am a lot sore.

Had a hard day at work, and I'm ready for some sleep and Day 3.

Spartan Race 30 Day Challenge - Day 1

Quote of the day: "If you don't dare to begin, you don't stand a chance of getting there." - unknown

Here's the workout:

4 x 100 lunges ( 50 each leg) 
2 x 50 crunches 
7×10 push-ups 
2 x 50 crunches 
4 x 50 b/w squats 
2 x 50 crunches 
25 chin ups

I started at 4:45. I needed to start at 4:15. I wanted to run 4 or 5 miles, then do the above. Since I slept 30 extra minutes, I ran 1 mile then did the above.

Lunges - I did them all, but I did a variety of walking lunges, standing lunges, and jump/cross lunges. Probably the most lunges I've ever done at one time.

Crunches - I did them all (all 6 sets of 50), again different varieties. Traditional crunches, bicycle, and reverse crunches.

Squats - Did them all normal squat style. Legs started really getting tired near the end.

Chin ups - I gave it all I had in the time I had. First try, I did 5 full-blown chin ups. Second try, I barely got 4. The next 16 were pitiful. Pulling, grunting, shaking, getting light-headed, it was a sight. I added some momentum help with a little jump to get some of them, and near the end I just could not get my chin above the bar.  I held the last ones as far as I could go for as long as I could until I got to 25.

...and I trembled uncontrollably for the next 2 hours.

How I felt: I didn't feel well at all. I was tired and not extremely motivated, and I would have preferred to have just been out running 5 or 6 miles. It was raining, though, so that made this workout a little more acceptable since I did it in the garage. Completing this was definitely a challenge but certainly not impossible.

One day down, 29 to go. I got word that Ramsey gutted this one out, too, later in the afternoon.

To see real Spartan Race bloggers version of this, go to their Day 1.

Monday, October 01, 2012

To Rekindle The Fire

**I waiver between being transparent & real and what is TMI for the internet. I posted this last night, slept 4 hours, woke up and reverted it back to a draft. It scares me. Saying some of these things makes me uncomfortable, but it's hard for me to be real without getting them out on the table. I refuse to be anything other than real, whether we're face to face or in some virtual blog/facebook/twitter world. If  you are easily offended, or if this blog is TMI for you, don't read it.

This blog left off in November of 2009. 2009 was a tough year here, and 2010 was even tougher. All this relatively speaking, of course. I've made some big changes since. I made some attempts to not settle for normal. I've also realized that there is perhaps a time and place for occasional normalcy when you are responsible for two other precious lives. I pulled off some pretty cool victories, and I've experienced some defeat. Life is just like that - it moves in waves, swings like a pendulum. Sometimes things are swinging your way, and sometimes you just have to ride out the wave and gut it out until things swing up again. When I was 19 years old, I made an immature decision to marry a man that did not share my values, my priorities, my work ethic, nor my outlook on life in general. This decision swung my proverbial pendulum in a direction that affected what has been the rest of my life, thus far. I am not embarrassed to say that I gave our "family" every ounce of energy and fight I had inside of me, multiple times and beyond reason, but I could not make it successful with this man in it. It's my life and it's just how live - I go hard, I go too far, I live hard, I love hard, and I fall hard. Then I get back up. There were some good things that came from this marriage - namely, my two super awesome kids. They are so amazingly perfect that I'd never take back any decision that led me to having the honor of being their mother. Another thing is that along that rocky road of 16 years, I have found the real source and ubiquity of my strength. There are always lessons to be learned in hard times. Iron is forged under fire...perseverance is developed during adversity...there's only one way to eat an elephant. No experience should be wasted, as that's really all we are. We are each a compilation of our past experiences and our reactions to them. Yes, our reactions to them.

All of that being said, it's time for a new challenge. It's time to give the pendulum a nudge; it's time to hop up on the surf board and dare the wave to get higher. I'm not "on the road to Ironman" anymore. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the free beer.  I don't have time for 6 hour workout days right now, as a single mom and full time employee in the IT consulting industry, but I need to forge some iron in my broken pile of mental fortitude. I need to restore the perseverance of the IronLana of 2008. I'm attempting the Spartan 30 Day Challenge that my buddy, Ramsey, challenged me to. I believe it's been around a while, but I look at the workouts and think "there is no way I can do that, just no way" and then it weighs on my mind like a song stuck in one's head playing over and over again, and I have come to the conclusion that I have to do it. Some of my concerns are:

  • I'll have to start around 4 a.m. every morning to get it in.
  • I doubt I've ever worked out 7 days straight before. 30 introduces a whole 'nuther element of self discipline
  • I do not have the confidence I had in myself in 2008. I'm a bit scared and hesitant to make this commitment with so many other irons in the fire, but I see no other way across the water.
  • This in no way comes before "God, family, and work," so to speak, but it has a place in my day for the next 30.
October 1 is Day 1. If you are up to the challenge as well, speak up. Let's do it.