Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finding the WTF sweet spot

As I write this, I've got some pretty sore arms. Not "can't move" sore- but that kind of sore that makes you proud, you know you worked hard- you earned it. There are muscles in my legs and butt that will be pretty sore by tomorrow. I like it.

In the past 2 years- I've come an amazing way on my journey (so far) to lose weight, move towards getting fit and never stopping. 75 lbs down (and maintained loss for a year)- I hit a plateau about this time last year. I think my body was not getting enough muscle confusion. In training for the half marathon last year, I focused so much on my running that I let my strength training slide. Then as it slid further away, my strength wained and so did my running intensity. I never stopped running, just wasn't improving and increasing like I had been. Then winter came.

When we switched gyms in January- I left behind a great trainer as well. He really helped me know fitness again but schedules and money. . . .well, it just didn't make sense anymore. As it is, I need a second job to fund my race fantasies (half-kidding). In the winter, I started to psych myself into getting back to that really fit, ever improving, state I had been in a year ago. I WANTED to feel that great again and I knew I craved it- but yet, I couldn't get it kickstarted. I needed my muscles to scream WTF at me for awhile- because that's how I know greatness is happening.

So- I started looking around at options- martial arts, kickboxing, group fitness classes, CrossFit, cycling, back to swimming. . . . . .CrossFit was the one that caught my attention.
If you don't know what CrossFit is, there is a ton of information on the internet- and I'm not about to regurgitate it all - but I found a great video to explain it to some of those close to me- so I'd like to also share it with you.

The great thing about CrossFit is that it can be customized to fit anyone's level - there are modifications to any of the exercises you see here that make it manageable. I was apprehensive at first- because most of the people you see in these videos are ultra fit. Which is EXACTLY how I knew I had to try it.

Thing is- it isn't cheap. It isn't a $9.99 gym- it's a work till you want to puke kind of exertion that you pay someone a lot of money to teach you. Sounds great, right? I thought so too.

But given that I left the last gym and trainer because of money- I didn't have the chance to try it yet. I even wished, publically on Twitter, that Groupon would offer a CrossFit offer soon. Lo and behold, less than 2 weeks later- my dream came true. A Groupon for CrossFit at a box with a schedule and location that work for me! Heaven! Church of Iron- here I come!! (you can find them on Twitter at @Church_of_Iron as well).

After having a few questions answered over email, I made the plan to start today at 6am - and so I did. Planks, side planks, push ups, squats, pull ups, sled pushes were all part of my reality today- modified to my current ability so I NEVER felt like I couldn't do anything. The group was welcoming, challenging and definitely a place I'm looking forward to spending more time.

At this point- I see myself doing a pretty hard core beginner schedule for the first 4 weeks (to use the Groupon as much as I can!)- and then hoping to take advantage of it 2-3 times a week after that, in order to keep up my running training as well.

I definitely have the plan now to move forward in the next phase of this journey- I couldn't be more excited!

(While I know barely anything about CrossFit at this point- I'm happy to share my experiences and answer any questions you might have and I am looking forward to documenting this tranformation)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Finding the Fun!

I realize I have been taking the "occassional blogger" title way too seriously since my last post. After my hip injury, I had to take a few weeks off. Turns out it was not actually from weak muscles but actually hip bursitis. With a couple of weeks of rest and a very slow ramp up back to mileage (an a shoe change)- I'm back out there and feeling great!

While I took the time off from running- I did a few things;
  • I found pleasure in exercising in other ways- cycling, Arc Trainer, getting back into regular strength training.
  • I got crazy about creating my race schedule for the year.
    • As part of that planning though, I decided I wanted to have lots of FUN races intermixed with the more serious ones this year.
I have at least one race, per month, through the end of the year. At least 11 races planned- and that started on May 5 with the 500 Festival Finish Line 5K. It was definitely no PR, but with 94% humidity and still being cautious with my hip, I am pleased with a sub-38 minute finish.

Some of the really fun races I'm doing?
  • May 12 (TOMORROW!!) - Dirty Girl Mud Run Indianapolis, a 5K obstacle/mudd course
  • June 9 - Tap N Run Indianapolis, a 4K with a beer chug at each K and a full at the finish!
  • July 29 - The Color Run Indianapolis, a 5K with blasts of color at each K- resulting in a rainbow of fun at the end!
  • September 14-15 - Ragnar Napa! Can't wait to get my 3rd Ragnar Race in! I'm runner 12 this year!
I'll also be attempting my 2nd and 3rd half marathons this year- Aug 25 and Nov 3. In planning for this during my recovery, I also decided to do some shoe and form research. I was very drawn to Newton Running in my search. The concept is easy to understand and who doesn't love the fun colors?! I also was happy to see that they have a guidance trainer for those of us who overpronate. I was hesitant to move away from my Strong Stability style shoes but longed for something lighter and brighter. I landed on the Distance U model and placed my order.
I mean, who couldn't love those colors?
I've been running in them for about 3 weeks- pushed past the initial adjustment phase and ran my first 5k of the year in them. I haven't had ANY hip pain since starting to run with them. So far, I think they are amazing.

All of this renewed energy and planning for my running really helped me find the fun and the joy in it again. I had begun to feel very weighted by the monotony of training - I'm enjoying it so much- I might say that the injury may have been for the best!
Happy Running!