Saturday, January 30, 2010

Erg Sprints in the books

What a long, tiring, but fun day. A short post to report on the Mid Atlantic Erg Sprints where I participated in the 30 minute row and 4 person mix relay (2000m).

Goals going into the event were to cover over 7000m and come within 500m of the overall winner. Whether or not I'd attain that many meters, I was hoping to have a split of at least 2:10/500m. There were a total of 4 preregistered women in my event, but I wasn't sure how many (if any) would sign up race day. The weather (4-6" of snow) and distance seemed to keep other competitors away, but I looked at the original list and figured I could finish 2nd or 3rd even without knowing the ability of the other rowers. I had an idea of who would finish first as she did last year, so another goal was to finish within 500m of the overall winner who I figured would blow away the competition.

I'll have to say that adrenaline is absolutely incredible. I was fired up with a heart rate well over 200 BPM (guesstimate) and couldn't get it down. I led the event for the first 500m or so (woo hoo!), but knew there was no way I could maintain a 1:55 500m split the entire time. The monitor showed my place as well as who was in front of and behind me and by how many meters. Knowing I didn't have a shot for 1st place, I tried to settle into a slower pace and get my strokes down to 24 SPM.

I seemed to be fine around 2:06, but couldn't get my SPM under 26. I was good for the first 10 minutes, then 'hold on for dear life' kicked in for the rest of the race. I was situated in the back of the field, but could see my GF up front who had one eye on the screen showing all the racers 'boats' and one eye on me. We worked out a couple hand signals for her to give to me if I was dropping my hands or slouching. The signal I gave her a couple times was a head shake - 'not good'.

For those marathon runners, it was miles 17-23 that were the worst. Translated to the 30 minute row and it was minutes 12-7 where I'd hit my wall. My quads were fried and my form was poor. I kept losing pressure, however, I was able to maintain my distance from the girl behind me, so I was hoping she wouldn't have a 5 minute kick in her. Even the music I was listening to couldn't get me to settle down.

I kept thinking in terms of 'songs' to figure how much time was left in the event so I didn't have to keep staring at the monitor, and 3 was the magic number. I zoned out and held on for dear life those last 5 minutes. I let out a few loud grunts of frustration hoping it would speed up time and end the event. At 2 minutes left I gave a few extra good pulls to ensure my place and held it until the monitor time ticked 0:00 and my total meters and place flashed in front of me..

2 - 7101m - 2:06

I had met a couple goals and also knew I was about 360m behind the first place rower. I was fine with that and happy to be done, wobbly legs and all.

The 2000m relay was one of the last events of the day, so I tried to not sit too much and rub out my legs. I'd brought The Stick with me and used it on my quads and calves. It seemed to help some as I pulled a 1:40-1:48 during the second leg of the relay. We were the only group in Mixed Masters, so I metaled again. We raced with 6 other teams who were younger and stronger and it showed as we were the last in our heat to finish. As a hodge podge group thrown together the hour before, we faired well.

I'm happy with how the group performed and had a good time. It was a long day and should've gone to bed 2 hours ago when I'd originally planned. A good workout is planned for tomorrow as I start to transition my focus back to running.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A decent run

This past weekend I ventured out to Bull Run Marina with my GF and a few friends to get in some time on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail. Since none of us are particularly fast, nor in shape enough to cover too much distance, we settled on an out-and-back run. That way any of us could turn back at any point in time. And the fact that it was raining kept us from running too far away from the car.

Bottom line, the run felt great. I didn't over compensate and tried to run as naturally as possible, albeit, a lot slower than usual. Being away from the trails for so long hampered my confidence as I was a little iffy on the downhills due to the wet leaves and my feet weren't as nimble over the tree roots. To have that as the only negative about the run is a good thing as is finishing the 4 miles injury free.

That's right - 4 miles. My mileage has increased from 200m to 1 mile to 4 miles. If there's one thing that I can guarantee is that I will go into any race I do this year under trained, and I am totally fine with that.

I'll be sure to update my workouts in following posts.

Monday, January 25, 2010

So why all the erging?

This is a question you may (or may not) be asking yourself. If I plan to do a 100 miler in less than 16 weeks, I should focus on running, right?

Well, since I've been on the IR for a bit, I wanted to spend more time working on overall cardio and fitness without the pounding of the road. I'm no too keen on setting the bike up on the trainer or rollers as I have some fudging to do with the gears and overall set up of the bike before spending more than my 4 miles a day of commuting on it.

And I hope to row again this year. I'm not sure if I'll be on the water as early as this spring because of my training schedule, but I want to work on dialing in my technique and reminding my butt what it feels like to be sitting for a long time.

The main reason for all the erging is that I'm participating in the Mid Atlantic Erg Sprints on Saturday, January 30th. Specifically, I'm entered in the Masters Women 30-Minute Row.

More about my workouts to come later.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Running sucks when it hurts

First off, here's a brief recap of my workouts of late

Friday, January 15th

500m row
40 air squats
30 sit ups
20 push ups
10 pull ups

Time - 6:44 (I think)

Testing out a workout to see how long it would take. Push ups are my weakness as my reps were similar to this - 5-4-3-2-3-2. I used the green band on pull ups.

10 x 250m; rest is 5x what it took me to row 250m.

My times were :56-:58 throughout. Tough workout going all out even with rest ranging from 4:40-4:50 each time.

Tuesday, January 19th
5 x 1000m on 90 second rest

20:55.2 - 5000 - 2:05.6 - 24
4:09 - 1000 - 2:04.5 - 25
4:10.5 - 1000 - 2:05.2 - 24
4:11.4 - 1000 - 2:05.7 - 24
4:11.4 - 1000 - 2:05.7 - 25
4:13.1 - 1000 - 2:06.5 - 25

That last one was tough, but I'm happy to have kept my splits within 5 seconds of each other.

Wednesday, January 20th
10 min Time trial (TT)
Totals and splits
10 min - 2452m - 2:02.3 - 27
2 min - 493m - 2:01.7 - 27
4 min - 493m - 2:01.7 - 27
6 min - 487m - 2:03.2 - 27
8 min - 488m - 2:02.9 - 28
10 min - 491m - 2:02.1 - 30

This is a different kind of hurt compared to the other erg pieces. Hard to describe, but just awful. Definitely happy with the end result. A good test.

And because the title mentions running, I should probably talk about about. I ran close to 1 mile on Saturday. Okay, I'm being generous; it was .85 miles. My GF and I were out in the mountains volunteering at a training run. The weather was too beautiful to not run, but I kept putting it off. On our way to the finish area, she dropped me off at the top of a Gap where the trail comes out to meet the road for a few feet before ducking back into the woods. I wasn't 100% ready to go, but powered up the Garmin, tightened the laces and headed downhill. Downhill running probably wasn't the best choice, but it was something. I was much more tentative than usually and taking baby steps on all the switchbacks. It felt (and probably looked) as if it were my first time running trails, but I was fine with going slow. The hip felt okay and I made sure to have 3 beers and several swigs of Wild Turkey with Honey to numb any pain. We stayed in a cabin near Luray and I spent a little time in and out of the hot tub as hydrotherapy. It's legit.

The next day I was more sore. I don't think it was due to the running, but to standing around all day. We volunteered for another run on Sunday, which included more standing, but in cold and rainy weather. No fun. A couple hours in the car coming home made the hip flexors pretty angry. Getting in the workouts and stretching have been helping, but I need to be much more diligent about it.

In the meantime, I'm going to try running this weekend and hit up some of the trails for the BRR 50 mile course. I want to see how it reacts to a flatter surface.

I should purchase some Wild Turkey just in case things start hurting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Wed - Thurs Workouts: Consistency

Wed, January 13th
4 RFT (rounds for time)
7 KB cleans
7 Jumping squats (no weight)
7 KB squat cleans
Time - 6:44

Many ways to vary this (weight and time), but I just wanted to test out the squats. I used two 20# KBs and didn't go to full depth on the squats.

Thurs, January 14th

Erg - 20 min tempo
Total - 4626m - 2:09.7 - 24 SPM
1. 5 min - 1146m - 2:10.8 - 24
2. 5 min - 1150m - 2:10.4 - 24
3. 5 min - 1157m - 2:09.6 - 24
4. 5 min - 1171m - 2:08.8 - 26

I'm very happy with this row. This is probably the longest, time wise in one sitting, that I'll row before the end of the month. I made sure to stretch my hamstrings quite a bit after this workout. My back was sore during the day Thursday, but I felt no pain in my leg, hip, or back even after sitting for hours at work. I consider this progress.

Warm up
2x through of
5 ring dips (blue band)
10 KB swings (35#
10 KB snatches each arm (20#)

Double KB dead lift - 35#

Suitcase style deadlifts with the KBs to the side.

Main set
5 x (2, 4, 6) of clean and jerk (C&J) with the 35# KB

This is done as 2 reps right arm, 2 reps left; 4 reps right arm, 4 reps left.. etc.
Total reps = 60 I had planned more rounds and a different rep scheme, but this was plenty.

This has been a good week of workouts. I've been very consistent even if I had to move workouts around here and there. I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things and into a routine. I need to get more sleep and spend a little more time warming up and stretching as well as focus in general on getting in, getting my workout done in a set amount of time, and being done with it. I have a tendency to lolly gag and put off doing it, then rushing through it or moving it to another day. And since I can workout at home I tend to wander over to see what's on TV, get more water, change shirts, etc, which takes time from the workout. I know I'll get more consistent with timing and completion of workouts.

Another week (almost) done, 17 to go.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Backlog of workouts

To piggyback on my last post, her are my workouts from last week up until this point. I'll do my best to list distance, time, weight, etc, and be as transparent and honest as possible with my workouts.

January 5th
2 x 8 min on 2 min rest
1. 1776m - 2:15 - 24
2. 1728m - 2:18 - 22

This was my first erg for an extented period of time in a looong time.
Breakdown is total meters, 500m average, and strokes per minute (SPM)

January 7th
AM - Kettlebll Clean and Press ladder
Pull ups (jump negatives)
2 x (1,2,3,4) 20 reps
20# KB

I would do 1 C&P, 1 pull up, 2 C&P, 2 pull ups, etc.

PM - Erg
2000m TT, then 3x500m @ 2:05 on 30 seconds rest

20000m - 8:20.5 - 2:05.1 - 29 SPM
1. 500m - 2:04.2 - 31 SPM
2. 500m - 2:06.6 - 28
3. 500m - 2:06.2 - 28
4. 500m - 2:03.6 - 30

This was one of my worst 2K TTs. Awful. About 30 seconds slower than over the summer. Splitwise, though, it's pretty consistent. I started off a tad fast, but held a good pace for the middle 1000 and picked it up for the last 500m. Ideally I'd like the pace to increase throughout, but I'll take it and build on it.

Rest 3 minutes, then 3 x 500m
1. 500m - 2:05.3 - 28 SPM
2. 500m - 2:05.1 - 27
3. 500m - 2:05.5 - 26

Wanted to hold my 2K average for a few 500m repeats on short rest.

January 8th
5 RFT (rounds for time) - 6:40
7 dead lifts (75#)
10 ring dips

Took it easy as this was my first time doing DLs in a couple months. I started with a blue band for assisted dips, then moved to one foot on the ground. Focused on the full range of motion (ROM).

January 10th
5 Knees to elbows (K2E)
10 KB snatches (5R/5L) - 25#
15 push ups

Time 10:44. Was a bit conservative on the K2E since it used to aggravate my butt. Snatches were good, but I need to work on my left arm. The push ups were weak. I switched to knee push ups by round 3 to keep up the intensity. I didn't want to end up doing 1 rep at a time.

January 11th
3 x 5 min on 3 min rest
2:10.4 24 SPM 1147m
2:10.5 24 SPM 1150m
2:11.0 25 SPM 1145m

I wanted to hold a 2:10 per 500m rating and succeeded. I was also happy with the 24 SPM. It was also the 3rd day of 6 that I've been on the erg, so I was feeling it in my lower back soon afterwards.

January 12th
Crossfit Endurance (CFE) workout - Tosh
3 x (250m + 500m+ 700m)

Rest is the time it takes to cover each distance.

250m - 1:07, 1:01, 0:59
500m - 2:06, 2:00, 1:59
700m - 2:57, 2:50, 2:50

My form was gone on that last 700m. Used my rest time to set the monitor to countdown the meters and used my Timex watch to time the rest periods, hitting the lap button when the monitor hit '0'. I must've been resting too long at the end of round 2 as I initially set it for 700m instead of 250m. I could've rowed another 150m to have it count, but wanted the exact time/distance, and reset it.

I have an idea of where I'd like my times to be, but this is definitely a good start.

All caught up! Now I have tonights workout to do..

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So I guess I should update this thing

Where have I been? What have I been up to? Is that the $1,000,000 question?

I've been laying low. I've been getting fat. I've been in Seattle. I've been in a mental funk.

I'm still dealing with back problems, which a doctor 'diagnosed' as a Piriformis issue. My Physical Therapist seems to disagree, as do I, so we continue focusing on my back and core. I got a look at my x-rays and my lumbar region looked pretty jacked. The squishy parts between the vertebrae are much less squishy (technical term) and the vertebrae.. well, let's just say they don't look like they're lined up properly. That seems to wrecking havoc on my low back and hip. Or so they say...

I'm accepting it for now and doing what I can to get better. That is, after not doing much the month of December. Look at my training log and it's pretty barren. Look at my belly and it's pretty rotund. I'm done feeling sorry for myself and knew I could do more than bike my 4 miles a day and eat almonds. The thing is, I'm not one to ease into something. If I'm going for a run, it's a 10 miler with hills. If I'm lifting, it's deep squats and some kettlebell snatches. And not 1-2 times a week, but 4-6 times with a couple two-a-days.

So I'm taking a heeyyyuge step beck to look at the big picture. What can I do now, without overdoing it, to get healthy? How little of baby steps do I have to take to build my mileage? I have MMT coming up in May. I also have another (potential) hundred miler in October. Between now and then are a number of long runs and races I'd like to do.

Last week was basically Week 1 for me, and I decided to test things out. I haven't run since Oct/Nov. I was (legally!) picking up some prescription meds from down the street and decided to run the length of my alley on the walk back. I did this twice - dropping off the meds, picking it up. Each "run" was 100m. So far, my mileage for 2010 is a whopping 200 meters.

I've been adding more workouts and working on strengthening my core (no crunches) to keep my back aligned. So far I've been feeling good. I've been getting on the erg more and even did some dead lifts - 35 reps of a 75# bar, and no pain afterwards. This is all promising.

I'm going to do my best to keep this more up to date with more posts about my workouts. It will keep me honest and give everyone a glimpse into my training. As I did last year, I'm going to follow CrossFit and CrossFit Endurance to train for everything. No more weekends of 50k races Saturday followed by a 20 miler Sunday. I do have a few longer runs planned that I hope I can still complete. If not, oh well. I'll have to trust my training.

Stay tuned!