Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A challenging and fun workout and a return to the trails

It seems as if I'm losing some fitness even though I feel like I'm doing more. I drop back on something like push ups and burpees, but my push press and overall Fight Gone Bad score improves with little specific training. That, I am happy about, but want to see improvement everywhere!

My focus is not on the now, but on the five months from now when the 100 miler is scheduled. As it was earlier this year, that race is always in my thoughts - on the tip of my tongue or in the back of my mind. I know that everything I do leading up to it can affect my performance - good or bad - and I'm trying to learn from past accomplishments and failures. One thing that I don't think I had this year was adequate fitness that wasn't obtained by running, and specific enough workouts.

So last week I completed a workout that I was proud to finish even if I could barely lift my arms two days later. Damn you, DOMS!! It looked like this -

Reps of 40-20-10 of
1 KB squat clean press
tricep dips
renegade rows

We were told it was a strength based workout, so I knew right away that I wanted to push myself, and I grabbed the 35# KB. I've only used it for some swings or push presses and knew it would be a challenge, especially for my weaker left arm. But I was up to the challenge. My goal was to do 20-10-5 reps with each arm, and alternate arms with reps of 5 or 10. Within those sets of reps, I tried to do as many as possible before putting the weight down to rest. I also wanted to do a full range squat and then press up the bell as quickly as possible without too much arch in my lower back.

The first set of 40 reps seemed to take forever, but I was able to find good form early on. I knocked out the tricep dips next before moving on to the renegade rows. I used 20# dumbbells since I had a hard time balancing with the 20# KBs. This is a great core workout as you really have to focus to keep the incline plane position (think of a start position of a push up) and not shift your hips as you draw the bell up to your armpit and back down.

The second and third rounds went quicker, but I was taking more frequent breaks, and tried to keep them to only a few breaths long. I even had to dump the weight a couple times when I didn't get a good squat clean and was off balance. Better to be safe than to be injured. Everyone else had finished before me and started putting the equipment away, so I was left doing my final set of rows with 25# dumbbells, which wasn't too bad. The total workout took me 30-35 minutes. Next time I do it, I want to have a fast time, and use the 20# kettlebells instead of the dumbbells.

Saturday, I did a chilly 10.5 mile trail run as my official return to the trails. My last time out was back in September for the women's half-marathon. I took a lot of time off to focus on rugby and general fitness. My goal is to get to the Potomac Heritage Trail, Bull Run-Occoquan Trail, Prince William Forest Park trails, or further out to Shenandoah or George Washington National Forest every weekend, so this was a good first step.

I wanted to use the run to just focus on the mileage and focus in on the race five months away. The lottery for that race was Tuesday, and I was not one of the lucky 180 crazies to be selected. It was a frantic last few minutes watching the Dow Jones, and the closing number is used to determine where they start selecting from the list of entrants. Where I'm at right now on the wait list is a moot point. However, I look at it, and it looks like I have a looong climb before I get off the wait list and onto the entrants list.

I'll admit to feeling really down for a couple of hours after seeing the results. Knowing I was 'in' would be a whole lot less to worry about over the coming months. I had a run I wanted to do right after work and it would've been easy to crawl into bed and sleep it away, but I kept my promise and hit the pavement. I can't say I've ever experienced runners high in all the years I've been running, but it was a very cleansing run... of the mind, not the colon!

I'm going to keep focusing on the training program I have set up for myself and tweak it as needed. I will train as if I WILL get off of the wait list and be one of the crazies in May. I had my moment of disappointment and it has passed. Time to move on and look forward to more challenging workouts and runs.


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