Showing posts with label strength training. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strength training. Show all posts

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Time for a Break

This week, we went from below normal temperatures and rain to above normal in one day.  With my upcoming Ice Age Trail Race on Saturday, I watched the forecast like a hawk. As happy as I am to see it warm up, I do not like to run in the heat. As the week went on, I reduced my mileage so as not to tax myself too much before Saturday's half.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Enjoying the Ride

For this old runner who is training for back-to-back races without a formal training plan, things are progressing nicely! I added up my miles for March and I hit 100 miles this week. The last time I ran 100 miles in a month was 1 year ago! I'm only running 3 days per week, so I'm really happy about this. In addition, I'm feeling stronger on my runs. The extra day of CrossFit has definitely made me stronger and has helped me improve my speed on the road and the trails. While my goal isn't to run faster, I do want to run more consistently and pace myself better, and that is happening. 

My main goal is always to have fun when I'm running. I also have to protect myself from injury. Personally, I'm just happy to be running again and running well. I'm enjoying this 'freeform' training and it will get me to the finish lines of my races. 

Now, if only the mud would dry up! Rain rain go away!

Ice Age Trail Lodi Marsh Segment

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Too Old to Run? and I Tried it! Naked Protein Cookie

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Naked Nutrition sent me a package of Sugar protein cookies to try in exchange for my honest review.

On Monday, I ran into a neighbor who I hadn't seen for a while. In what became an awkward conversation, he said he was surprised to see me still running. I asked him what he meant and he kind of stammered a non-answer. The insinuation was that I'm 'too old' to be doing this anymore. He didn't say it in those words, but trust me, that's exactly what he meant. 

This week, Tom Brady announced that he's going to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one more year. He's 44 and holds nearly every NFL QB record. While he's the oldest QB in the league, he's not the oldest QB to start a game (that honor goes to George Blanda at age 48). No matter how you feel about him, he's the GOAT and is still at the top of his game. 

Now, I'm no Tom Brady, but my point here is: who gets to decide when one is too old to participate in sports? I should give this topic the full blog treatment. Ageism is pervasive in our society. I think the baby boomer generation is doing a good job of changing expectations, but we've got a ways to go. 

Speaking of old, I completed my screening mammogram, breast ultrasound, and DEXA scan on Monday and my colonoscopy on Tuesday. Everything was normal except my bone density, which has unfortunately declined alarmingly. This really bothers me because I'm doing everything that I'm supposed to for bone health: weight-bearing exercise, eating healthy, and taking lots of Vitamin D and calcium. As my rheumatologist said, the only thing I can do is not get old. Ha! So it's back to my regularly scheduled program and hoping that what I am doing will slow the bone loss.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Math is Hard

If you've been following my Instagram this week, you already know what the title of this post means. Twice this week, I miscalculated my workouts. This has happened to me before and while I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, when I'm in the middle of an activity, I cannot do the math. During Tuesday's CrossFit WOD, I incorrectly counted my reps and ended up doing more reps of the activities than I needed to. During my trail run on Wednesday, I didn't plan my route ahead of time, figuring I'd get about 7-8 miles. Well, I ended up with 9.5 miles when I was done. It's fine, but seriously, why is calculating miles or reps so hard during a workout? 

Of course, I turned to everyone's source of expertise, Google, and was surprised at how little I found on the subject. Basically, what I learned is that your ability to perform the workout math declines because the blood flow and your focus are going to the task at hand. The good news is that this is temporary and soon after the activity, your ability to focus is actually better than had you not worked out. 

And really, isn't that what really matters?

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Muddy Shoes

Like so much of the country, we are on a roller coaster ride of weather. There's a saying about the weather here in Chicago: if you don't like it, wait because it will change. We've finally had some warmer weather, a little teaser of spring, that has melted most of the snow and ice. I ran in the mud and it was a blast!

I know it's too soon to get excited about spring, but this so-called 'false spring' was just what I needed to put a smile on my face this week!

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Sometimes You Get Just What You Need

What a challenging time of year to be an outdoor runner! 

We've had that freeze/thaw thing going on for a couple of weeks, where we get a warm sunny day with snow and ice melt followed by a blast of polar temperatures, which freezes it all back up again. In spite of there being ice everywhere, with adjustments to my normal running routes, I have been able to navigate safely and get my miles done outdoors. I've got a 15 mile trail run in April and then the Ice Age Trail Half Marathon in May and I've got to start building my miles again. 

In spite of the ice and snow or because of it, I've had to slow my roll a bit. It's actually been ok because I've seen some really cool things on my runs this week!

Friday's sunrise snow run

Saturday, February 19, 2022

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

This week, Sammy Jo and I sat down and had a candid discussion. A few weeks ago, she pushed me a little harder on a lift than I felt comfortable with. While I did say something at the time and she reduced the reps, she still had me lift the weight. I was upset that she wanted me to continue, but I didn't want to let her down. I left that session feeling sore and unsettled. Those feelings simmered. When I saw her the following week, I said something about it to her, but it didn't go well at all. After taking some time to think about it, I walked into this week's strength session, prepared to discuss it but also ready to call it quits if she wanted. 

I explained how I felt about lifting something so heavy. I felt scared that I was going to hurt myself. I didn't want to disappoint her. I didn't want to disappoint myself. I felt like she thought I was a wimp for saying it was too heavy. And I apologized for not saying something at the time. Then it was her turn. She didn't hold back. Bottom line: she said she knew I could do the lift. She said she would be ok if I couldn't. She wants me to tell her how I'm feeling at the time. Most importantly, she said it's ok to fail on a lift. In fact, she told me she expected it on the one that scared me because she knew how heavy it was. She'd rather have me try and fail than not try at all. This, she said, is how to get stronger. 

And isn't that the goal?

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Dear February,

Dear February,

As you know, I really don't mind winter, as long as there's snow on the ground and a few sunny days. I also don't mind a snow-free path, even if it is cold out. But every year, you mess things up. You throw in a warm day and melt the snow, only to freeze it and turn everything to ice. It would be great if you could make up your mind. 

Anything but ice. 

Sincerely,
Wendy

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

There's a saying that runners are friends you haven't met yet. I've met some of my best friends through running. Of course, with any group of people, there's bound to be a few who aren't your type. But have you ever met someone who left you scratching your head? 

Random horseshoe tree on Sunday's trail run

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Fighting the Good Fight

For those of us who work in healthcare, especially those of us who are working with patients, things have never been so bad as they've been the past couple of weeks. I don't talk much about work here on the blog, but I don't think I've ever felt as burned out and run down as I have lately. This current surge is affecting children more than we've seen with any other strain of Covid.  I'm testing multiple patients throughout the day and the large majority of them are testing positive. Combine that with the mental health crisis we are seeing in pediatrics and yeah, it makes for a tough day. 

The good news is that at least here in the Chicago area, the numbers of Covid cases are starting to level off. My hope is that this variant continues on its fast and furious pattern, burning itself out soon. Fortunately, none of the kids I've seen are very sick. I wear my N95 mask all day with the hope of not getting sick. 

It's increasingly hard to motivate myself to go to work. Making sure that I get in a run or a workout before my day begins has continued to keep me grounded. I also have tried some meditation through the Happify app and that simple act of breathing and centering helps to keep my anxiety down. I'm certainly not ready to leave my job, but I am ready for things to normalize somewhat. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

How Low Will You Go?

When you live in the northern part of the US, you get winter. This week, we had arctic-style temperatures and yeah, it was cold. On Thursday, I was working out with SJ when a fellow athlete walked in and asked, "why do we live here?" 

I get it. I'm not a fan of the cold either. But I do like the snow and when you live here, you have to make the best of it. I grew up in a rural area of Illinois and we played outside all winter long, sledding, ice skating, and snowmobiling. I was an avid downhill skier, although the hills we have for skiing would be laughable to those of you who live out west. 

I've learned to dress for the cold so that I can get my miles done outside. As long as the wind isn't blowing, I can tolerate just about any temperature. But every once in a while, I have to take my runs to the treadmill. It happened once this week. You know it's cold when Cocoa won't stay out for long. 

I ask you this:

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Another Idiot Runner

Who's an idiot? Apparently, me...and a few other runners I saw on Wednesday's snowy, muddy, slushy trail run. I was crossing the parking lot, deciding between calling it quits and continuing on for a couple more miles. A group of 4 runners I had seen earlier on the trails was stripping down in the sunshine and preparing to leave, when one of them called out to me. "Another idiot runner!" I stopped and he laughed, gesturing to his running companions. "All of us," he said, laughing. 

I don't know if running the trails in the snow and slop constitutes a diagnosis of idiocy, but I laughed and continued on, telling the group I had been planning to stop but challenge accepted. I mean, how could I stop after that backhanded compliment? I ended up going 2 more miles before returning to my car.

Wednesday's sloppy trail run

Sunday, December 26, 2021

'Tis the Season to Keep Moving

Just because it's the busy holiday season doesn't mean I put my workouts on the back burner! Au contraire, my friends. If anything, I'll cut back on holiday prep to squeeze my workouts in. This year feels more stressful than usual to me. Between the chronic stress of the pandemic and the explosion of Covid cases in the past couple of weeks, I need to move my body more than ever! Thank goodness for it all. 

Friday's foggy run

Monday, December 20, 2021

2021 Year in Review: Finding My STRONG

When I chose the word STRONG as my word for 2021, I clearly had no idea how deep I was going to have to dig to find my strong. At the time, I already realized that 2021 was going to be challenging. I think that after 2020, we were all crazy optimists and thought things were going to be better. We were so full of hope for the new year. Of course, nothing magical happened with the turn of the calendar. It never does. I know that and you know that. But it never hurts to hope, right?

The year kicked off with that turmoil in Washington D.C. and I started off the year battling anxiety and despair. But instead of succumbing to my feelings, I acknowledged them and vowed to "find my strong". At times, it felt as if the universe was out to test me on this declaration! I had a lot of personal struggles this year, besides that battle with depression and anxiety. There were some significant injuries--the tendon tear in my wrist, SJ joint dysfunction, and the broken ankle and foot. I didn't figure on starting the year with an injury bingo card!

I already reviewed my year of bling, so I'm not going to talk about races in this post. Instead, I'm going to use the outline of my original word of the year post from last January to evaluate how I did on my journey to find my strong. Did I find it?

Grand Tetons National Park

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Running Back in Time


Weekly Rundown
Sunday: trail run 7-ish miles--Garmin malfunction
Monday: pool running
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: trail run 5 miles
Thursday: strength training
Friday: run 5.5 miles
Saturday: rest

Saturday, December 4, 2021

A Return to Running

My return to running from my ankle and foot fractures continues! While writing this recap, I can't help but share my pride in my progress. I've been slowly increasing my running intervals for the past month but really -ahem- hit my stride this week, with 2 longish trail runs and another zippy 5 miler on the bike path. While my ankles are still a bit cranky, once they loosen up, I'm able to move well. RA hasn't always been happy with my increased miles either, but I ran a total of 69 miles in November.

Wow. I saw that number and was stunned. Happy, but stunned.

Why has this comeback gone so well? I credit the work I did while I was healing. Instead of agonizing about not being able to run, I looked at what I could do. As soon as I could, I started walking. I added pool running, which gave me cardio and mobility. I participated in a trail hiking challenge on the Ice Age Trail, which helped me build strength and work on agility. My strength coach adjusted our sessions to incorporate mobility work in addition to building strength. The funny thing is that I didn't plan any of this. These opportunities came my way and I took advantage of them. 

I'm going to continue to increase my running intervals with the goal of eventually eliminating the walk intervals. Pool running will stay in my rotation through the winter. I'd like to add more strength work and I'm still trying to figure out when I can add CrossFit back in. It's a great problem to have, isn't it? 

Apparently, I run with my eyes closed!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Enough Already

For the past 4 1/2 months since my injury, I've been patiently returning to running. There has been a lot of splashing around in the pool. Modified strength training. Walking and hiking. And finally last week, full-on running, using 3:1 run/walk intervals. I've been pretty pleased with what has mostly been uneventful, steady progress. 

Until Thursday. After my pool running session, I decided to set up our outdoor Christmas tree. The whole neighborhood sets up little trees in their front yards. It's pretty awesome and since it wasn't terribly cold, it was a good day to do it. I gathered the ornaments and proceeded to carry them outside when I missed a step in the garage and painfully rolled my ankle. Not my right ankle, thankfully. It was my left and oh did it hurt. I felt sick to my stomach and had to sit down for a few minutes to evaluate the damage. Nothing broken, thank goodness. I stood up and hobbled out to the tree. As I moved around to decorate it, I started to feel better. I finished my job and headed back inside to rub some CBD salve on the ankle and put it up for the day. As I write this, it's still sore and stiff but I'm able to run and walk without a problem.

Grateful nothing bad happened, I couldn't help but think, enough already! It kind of felt like a theme for the week.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

So Much to be Grateful For

With Thanksgiving coming up later this week, it's time to reflect on all that we are grateful for. Let's be honest, for so many reasons, 2021 has been a really crappy year. I'm not going to talk about any of that. It's Thanksgiving and I'm going to focus on the positive, the stuff that kept me going in spite of what was truly a very difficult year for me personally:

And this week, my return to full-on running. 

On Thanksgiving, we'll be celebrating in person, with my entire family. I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday's trail run

Sunday, November 7, 2021

A Shocking Amount of Miles

I didn't total up my monthly miles for October until I started preparing this post. Shockingly, I had 90 miles, a combination of running and walking miles. Twenty-seven of those miles were on pavement, the rest on dirt. I am surprised and grateful that my body let me move so much. Most of the miles were due to my push to complete the Mammoth Trail Hike, which I did on Sunday. I'll have a full recap of the challenge on Tuesday. The challenge was a great motivator for me to move as recover from my injury. I learned that just because I'm not doing much running, it doesn't mean I can't move like a runner!

While I have a long way to go before I log 90 running miles, I'm going to keep working my way back with that goal in mind. It's going to be a long road-pun intended--because my ankle mobility is still limited. My right glute isn't firing properly either, which is the main reason I can't just get up and go. I'm going to continue to work on strength and stability, doing my exercises at home and at the gym. I'll continue to do walk/run intervals, gradually increasing my running as my body allows.