Jemez Mountain Trail Runs

A Strong Week

It’s not even Friday and I must say, I’ve had a pretty good week of working out.

A couple of milestones for me this week was getting out and doing things on my own. I do love having a workout partner especially for the tough workouts but this week, Jerritt, my workout partner for the most hideous of workouts, was busy with his job. At least that’s what he told me.

Easter Sunday, I got out for a trail run with Peyton, my wonderful, beautiful, sweet pup. We walked and ran for just over 3 miles. It was a beautiful day. Instead of beating myself up for walking more than I wanted to, I decided to absorb the moment and enjoy the day. I even went without my music and instead, really tuned into the beauty around me.

Monday, Jane and I went to my gym for a 30 min circuit training with Ropes, Kettlebells and TRX.

Tuesday, Jane and I went to Piney Z for a run. I love this trail! There is nothing quite like running while dodging snakes, seeing alligators and relocating turtles. This doesn’t happen on every run, but just the thought of the adventures we might come across make the run more exciting.

I like to use my Nike + GPS app on my iphone for my runs. It tracks distance, times, pace (which is depressing) AND it connects to Facebook so that when my friends, “like” my “I just started a Run with Nike +” post, I hear cheering through my headphones. Not sure how that works, but it’s pretty motivating and fun.

On the Nike app, you can choose from several options, one of which is time. You choose the time and it will tell you your half way point. That is when we turn around. The most we have done is 45 mins with a turn around time of half that.

I had my phone strapped to my arm so I asked Jane to push the 45 min option. Since Jane is also pushing 50 and can’t see anymore, she ended up pressing the 60 minute option. I didn’t find that out until we got done with our run.

Since we didn’t get a 22 minute notice to turn around, we kept running further and further up the trail. We ended up going into unchartered (for us) territory. It was wonderful. I kept wondering how anyone could possibly spend their running time pounding away the miles on the streets or sidewalks, inhaling fumes, listening to and dodging traffic when we have such incredible trails available.

We ended up turning around because we weren’t sure how much further the trail would take us. We ended up running 57 minutes. We didn’t walk much and I actually ran longer without stopping than I have in a very long time. It was a huge confidence booster.

Wednesday was my Joe day. We went to the stadium for ramps and swings. I love workouts like this. Doak Campbell has a 5 level ramp system that leads to the top of the stadium. Here is what we did.

Run up and back first ramp level
Do 100 Kettlebell Swings
Run up and back 2 levels
80 Swings
Run up and back 3 levels
60 Swings
Run up and back 4 levels
40 Swings
Run up and back all 5 levels
20 Swings.
Repeat the 5th and work you way back down the ladder.

You can do this workout on a hill or even a straight road. Just add laps each time.

Thursday is my tire day. I actually started sweating about this workout on Wednesday night. I had nightmares about it.
I dreaded it because I knew I had to do it alone. I had to depend on myself to push me through a workout that is just plain horrendous. I thought of every reason to put it off but finally decided to suck it up and do it.

My goal was to do 5 sets of 5 flips for a total of 25. I wasn’t worried about time because I know I’m going to slow down half way through the work out.

I really worked on my form so that I could get by with as few bruises as possible. I consulted with my “tire coach”,
Bud Jeffries about the bruising and he assured me as my form and strength improve it will get better. He also said that I will adapt. I haven’t posted pictures because I know my mom will freak out a little and begin questioning my sanity. Come to think of it, it won’t be the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last, so here is the picture. Sorry mom!!

My first few flips I was able to avoid setting the tire on my thigh for the transition, as I get tired, it became hard to avoid.

I managed 4 sets of 5 flips and then 1 set of 3. It took just over 25 minutes. I had to rest longer between sets and reps towards the end. I was exhausted but it felt great to get through half of my goal with 9 weeks left for my 50 flips for my 50th birthday goal.

This is the first exercise that I have found that works every muscle, head to toe. I know it’s not for everyone; actually, I know it’s not for most people but there is something about flipping tires that appeals to me. I think it must because it’s something I can do that requires everything I have mentally and physically. To set a goal of doing 50 for my 50th birthday is part insane and part awesome.

I have to admit, I am researching World Records and unorthodox feats of strength done by women. There isn’t much info out there. Maybe, just maybe, I will trail blaze this area of strength.

Everyone Needs a Joe

I am always amazed by people who are self motivated when it comes to working out. I can’t help but stare at people running alone and even more mind-boggling, without music and gadgets.

I admire people who do P90X alone in their living rooms or those who workout in garage gyms with equipment tucked between lawnmowers, paint cans and rusty tools.

Unfortunately, I am not that person. I have a home gym that rivals many commercial fitness studios. I have a top of the line Landice treadmill, a Precor elliptical and a fancy pants brand named recumbent bike. I have a Smith Machine, squat rack and a Hoist cable system. I have several sizes of Kettlebells and Dumbbells. I have plyo boxes, medicine balls, bands, balls and every other gadget you can think of. Best of all, it’s air conditioned.

Do I love it?? Yes! Do I use it?? No!

You are probably scratching your head about now wondering what the heck is wrong with me. I wonder that myself. I have an awesome home gym complete with a kicking air conditioning system and yet I get in my car and drive to my dirty, dusty, hot, mosquito filled gym to workout.

If you are one of those self motivated types, this makes no sense. You see, I admit, I am NOT self motivated. I hate working out alone and I don’t like working out at home. I’ve tried. I’ve schlepped my way up stairs, got on my treadmill, turned on the TV and started to run. It only takes a few minutes to realize I forgot my water. I get off the treadmill, go downstairs, grab my water see that there are dirty dishes in the sink. I quickly wash the dishes, grab my water and then decide while I’m here I might as well do a load of laundry. I grab my water, start heading up stairs and notice I have an email….oh and then I just have to check Facebook real quick. While I’m here, I might as well check Twitter….You can see where I’m going with this.

I just can’t workout at home. There are too many distractions. I get in my car and head to my work gym. I got my music and workout picked out and I’m raring to go. I put on some music and begin my joint mobility. I start looking around and realize the benches aren’t stacked on a straight line. It will just take a second to stack them and straighten them. I get back to my warm up and I can’t help but notice the Kettlebells aren’t in straight lines….This goes on and on and before I know it, clients are arriving for class.

I can’t fight it any longer. Call me what you will but I am not self motivated when it comes to exercise. I hate working out alone and when I do my workouts suffer. I don’t workout as hard as I could, I cut it short, I take long breaks, my mind wanders and I just end up finding something else to do.

I know me. I know how I operate. In order to be successful, I have to take who and what I am and make it work for me. I can’t just stand in an empty gym and will myself be self motivated. It’s not going to happen.

What I have done is to set myself up for success. I know I do better with a workout partner so I have workout partners. I have a lot of them! I have Jane, who likes, or rather dislikes running as much as I do. We go to the trails a couple of times a week and run. If needed, we walk and we don’t feel guilty about it. We don’t run for time, we run for exercise. We do have a running goal but if we don’t reach it, we really don’t care.

If you know me and you’ve been reading my blog, you know, I like to do some weird workouts. I like to do stuff that normal people would run from. These kind of workouts are just pure suckage. They must be shared with someone who likes to do things that suck. I have Jerritt or Ricky for that. Jerritt and I just started this new suck fest so I’ll see how long he lasts.

Last but not least are workouts that fall somewhere between social and suckage and that is where I have Joe.

My workouts with Joe are some of the training workouts for his May 50K run in the mountains of New Mexico. Joe runs. He runs far. He runs fast and he can do it alone if needed. Joe also has Megan for his ultra long distance training runs.

Joe and I meet once or twice a week for endurance training that doesn’t involve much running. In addition to stadium workouts, we meet once a week at Trinity Catholic School to run the hill and do Kettlebell swings. The running part is fun because it’s straight up hill. We are up to doing sets of a 100 Kettlebell swings alternated with 8 trips up the hill (Joe, not me). Running the hill gives him some hill experience while the Kettlebell swings gives him a ton of endurance training without adding more impact on his joints. The swings also strengthen his glutes, hamstrings and trunk.

Today we arranged to meet as soon as school got out. I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept much the night before and I had a very busy day. Last thing I wanted to do was workout but I couldn’t let Joe down. As I got closer to the school it started to rain. Secretly, I was glad. The hill is very steep and would be dangerous in the rain.

As soon as I pulled into the school, it started to pour. I called Joe, who was just pulling into the parking lot. We stayed in our cars talking on the phone trying decide whether or not to stay. I was trying to be reasonable and responsible but my real motivation was to get home and get my nap on.

Joe started telling me about his new running shoes. I couldn’t see him but I could tell by the excitement in his voice that he was not leaving until he took the shoes out for a trial run.

The rain let up just enough for us to grab our Kettlebells and get them under the overhang. The rain let up as we started on the hills. We were actually a little disappointed. I did 2 hills to his 8. I had to take it slow. Since I was wearing my Vibrams, I ran around the outer edge of the hill and down the path rather than running straight down hill.

We ran to our Kettlebells. He did 100 swings and I did 80 snatches. I can’t even remember the last time I did snatches. I was so happy!

Then came the torrential downpour. As Forrest Gump said, ” Little bitty stinging rain… and big od’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath”. Water gushed into the overhang and rivers formed around our Kettlebells.

It started lightening. We looked at each other, paused and headed out for another lap. We were like little kids. We ran though puddles and mud. We dodged rivers and ducked with each thunder clap. It rained so hard that I couldn’t see where I was going.

Joe finished a total of 50 hill sprints and 500 Kettlebell Swings. I did 12 hill walks, just over 100 snatches and around 300 swings.

It was awesome!! No way I would have done that by myself. I would have left and I would have missed out on an incredible fun workout. And, that is why I have Joe.

Who is your Joe?

I’d like to introduce you to Nastasha

Today marked my 3rd workout post cast.

One of the things I’ve been struggling with besides getting started again is having a plan of action for my workouts. I have goals of course, but unless I couple that with action, my goals remain just a dream. I think that is a famous quote because it sounds familiar.

I have to set myself up for success and one of the ways I have done that is to make plans to meet someone for workouts twice a week. My friend and boot camp client, Joe is training for The Jemez Mountain Trail Runs in New Mexico. I agreed to come up with several workouts to help him train for the steep terrain and the ever increasing elevation that he will be running.

Because we live in Florida, our options for elevation training are pretty limited. We decided one day a week will be workouts at Doak Campbell stadium, the other day will be running the hills next to Trinity Catholic School. Joe had never been on those hills and I had been a regular, pre-injury.

I told him that these were some of the steepest roads in Tallahassee and are at least a mile long. I was a little embarassed when Joe told me that he drove the hill and it was a mere quarter mile. It seems like a mile

On Tuesday Joe ran the hills while I patiently walked. Even when I was working out on a regular basis, these hills were challenging. Walking them for the first time in months was tougher than I’d like to admit.

After walking the quarter mile hill several times I decided to try a little bit of running. There are several cut through streets between the hills that are about 40 yards in length. I jogged those. My inner 20 year old, kept goading me into running up the hills. I tried hard to resist but ended up running some of the downhill portions. I felt fine but forced myself to stop while I still had energy. It felt great to workout again.

Today I met Joe at the stadium. Earlier in the day, I emailed him several hellish workouts designed for the stadium and the ramps. I told him to cut them up, fold them and open one when he got there. Doing that will help keep the workouts interesting and help him prepare for the unknown. He ended up with a ladder workout of the stadium steps and the ramps. The workout was one trip to the top of the steps and 1 run up the ramps. He added to the ramps while continuing to run one set of steps in between until he was running up the ramps 5 times. While he did this, I started walking up the steps. I watched Joe run past me several times. I had to force myself to stick to my plan of going slow, resting as needed and stretching throughout.

I went in to walk up the ramps that lead to the upper levels of the stadium and that is when Natasha appeared. I’ve decided to name my inner 20 year (that is trying to kill me), Natasha. The name conjures up the imagine of a raven haired assassin. As the new, smarter me was focusing on gradually building an endurance base while continuing to baby my newly healed foot, Natasha was whispering in my ear, mocking me.

I began to run. It was a constant battle. I ran up one level to shut her up and walked up one level to satisfy the new, smarter me. My big compromise was to stop even though I felt I could do a little more. I do have to admit though, my legs were shaking and I was beginning to feel a bit nauseous.

I left feeling on top of the world and with lots of energy to spare.

One of my goals for tomorrow is to write down my workout plan for the next couple of weeks. I am still being treated for shoulder pain so any upper body work is out. I am going to start adding squats, deadlifts and swings a couple of times a week in addition to meeting Joe for hill and stadium workouts.

The prospect of getting back into a regular routine is exciting. I just have to keep an eye out for Natasha.