Mountain Trail Run

As I mentioned earlier, I was supposed to meet up with a couple friends tonight and go for a hike. Well, throughout the day a couple people bailed out and the hiking group ended up consisting of 4 other very active people: two gym-dwelling fitness guys, one tennis star, and another runner.  So long story short, our afternoon hike turned into a high-speed, high-intensity “trail” run.   I use trail for lack of a better word but most of the time we deviated off the trail and while keeping our eyes on the ground to ensure sure footing, maneuvered our way up and down the side of the mountain.

For the first half hour we hiked at a steady pace down the mountain and then for a good 45 minutes we ran at a decent pace (clocked 5:30/km on the flatter ground). The hike ended up lasting 1 hour 25 minutes and had us all panting by the end.  

This was an awesome way to hang out with friends and get a workout in.  One of the many reasons why I love summer is being able to be active in nature and this was the perfect afternoon.

If you have any sort of trail around your area I recommend taking a group of friends out for a hike, the energy from one another will fuel you up and down the hills faster than going alone.  Plus hiking with a group is always safer than by yourself; you just never know when an animal or rock will pose a threat.

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Leg Day DOMS

Oh Boy, so on Wednesday I trained legs.  The routine included:

  • Deadlifts – 85 lb 3 x 12
  • Leg Press – 200 lb x 12, 240 x 12, 260 x 12 (2 times)
  • Lunges – 30 lb barbell 3 x 12
  • Calf Raises – 30 lb barbell 3 x 12
  • Dumbbell Shrugs – 25 lb 3 x 12
  • Squat (Smith Machine) – 95 x 8, 115 x 8, 125 x 8

Then that afternoon I went for my slated 8 km run.  Wow, did my legs ever feel it!  I ended up going nice and slow at a 6:00/km pace for 6 km and then cooling down by walking 2 km.

Now.. two days later I’m still feeling all the nice muscles in the front and back of my legs, especially around my butt!  I’m not supposed to train legs again until Monday but I’m going for a hike tonight so I really hope these DOMS go away.  Plus I need to go for a 12 km run on Sunday and a 5 km progression run tomorrow.

Whatever, pain is gain right?

Hopefully it all pays off and I get a nice butt 😉 

Women’s Race Recap

On Sunday I participated in my first ever women’s only race.  It was a half marathon that looped through park paths with minimal road running.  It was a beautiful route with old wooden bridges, streams, meadows, forests views, and one killer hill at kilometre 18.  

I signed up for this race to take a break from my “competitive” race series I am participating in this year.   I have found that since signing up for my race series, every race has had a higher stress level associated with and a constant obsession with pace and time.  In my half in February I was more concerned with how many in my age group were in front of me than how I was running.  This race was to take a break, relax, and get back to the point of running: enjoying the run! 

This mind shift took some time to adjust to but by the time I went to bed on Saturday night I was not concerned with what my finishing time would be but more with taking in the whole race excitement and new route.  I switched up my typical race playlist that is usually dominated by fast paced, pop, electronic, and top 40 songs and instead opted for a country dominated list that ranged from twangy ballads to honky-tonk inspired tunes.

The morning of the race I was still a bit nervous for two reasons: I was still sore from leg day on Friday and the temperatures were slated to be 8 degrees.  I opted for my saucony spandex running shorts and a long sleeve technical t shirt.  I wore my compression socks to not only keep my legs feeling good but also to keep them warm in the chilly air.  I also opted to use my spibelt (http://www.spibelt.com/products/spibelt), something that I haven’t taken out since my marathon in January because I was afraid it would slow me down in subsequent races.  But since this was a fun, get back to the root of running run I loaded up my belt with shotblocks, some money (you never know), and my phone; I’m not a runner that runs with a fuel belt or water bottles, for me the water stations in races are enough.  

I was blessed to have my boyfriend come cheer me on.  He ended up finding some other supporting boyfriends, brothers, and husbands to chat with at the start and finish line.  We woke up at 4:30 in order to travel to the race, park, pickup my race packet, and be set to go by the start time.  I was placed in corral 1 so the gun was going off at 8am sharp.

Surprisingly, I was not too tired.  Since I have been off caffeine now since the detox, this was my first race that didn’t include a prerace morning coffee.  I did have my green tea but that’s it.  This was a factor I thought would alter my performance detrimentally but I was wrong.

Overall, I ended up running a personal best! I ran in 1:53 which beat my last record by over a minute, even with a 1.5km hill in the last 5km!  My pace averaged out to be 5:25/km which I was very pleased with.  I learned a lot from this race and I couldn’t be happier.  

Lessons learned:

  • Hill repeats really do help come race day!
  • I do not need caffeine to get me energized
  • It’s better to have fun and run a good race without stressing so much about results
  • My Spibelt is amazing and I should use it more
  • Running with women is so much fun (so much lululemon running clothes to look at on the course!) and I would do this race again
  • Having my boyfriend at the finish lines makes for a good, smiling finish line photo

The temperatures ended up being perfect for a race. It probably ended up sitting at 12 degrees for the race but with no clouds, the sunlight was direct. I felt I was dressed perfectly and felt comfortable the entire run. My 5k split was 26:30 and my 10k ended up around 53 minutes; I did not have a negative split (and I’m blaming that on the hill).

I can’t wait to run in a race again now that I have this renewed ease of racing and I’m excited to see how my race photos turned out!

Lifting My Fitness

I am now joining in on the numerous fitties that enjoy picking up things and putting them back down.  Yes, you read that right, I am now officially getting into lifting.  When I say officially I mean the big barbells, Smith Machine, and dumbbells that aren’t pink.  It’s exciting and intimidating all at the same time.

Last week my coworker and I decided that throughout the summer we should utilize the cheap campus gym membership (only $20/month) and workout on our lunch hours or after work.  So far it’s been a huge success.  We found a female beginner lifting plan from simplyshredded.com (http://www.simplyshredded.com/the-ultimate-female-training-guide.html) and made up a good schedule for our workouts.

Our first day was Wednesday and we started with upper body.  The workout included:

  • Bench Press – 45lb 3 sets of 12
  • Bent Over Row – 35lb 3 sets of 12
  • DB Shoulder Press – 15lb 3 sets of 12
  • Tricep Extensions – 17.5lb 3 sets of 12, 10, 12
  • Barbell Bicep Curl – 30lb 3 sets of 10
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl – 12.5lb 3 sets of 12

It took awhile on some activities to find the right weight to achieve 10-12 reps but overall it went well.  At the gym there are incredibly helpful staff that help with form and made sure we were performing the moves correctly.  I’m excited to see if the weights that I’m lifting will improve!

Thursday was a “rest” day but I still went to the gym for a quick lunch hour sweat.  It focussed on abs and I performed moves including planks, push-ups, v sit-ups, pike push-ups, assisted pull-ups, and assisted dips.

Friday was legs (risky considering I had a race on Sunday).  It included:

  • Barbell Squat (on the Smith Machine) – 95lb x 12, 115lb x 12 x 2 sets
  • Deadlifts – 75lb 3 sets of 12
  • Leg Extensions – 80lb 3 sets of 12
  • Leg Curl – 70 x 12, 80 x 12 x 2 sets
  • Standing Barbell Calf Raise – 35 lb 3 sets of 12
  • Lying Leg Raises – 3 x 15 each side
  • Weighted Crunch – 5kg 2 sets of 25
  • Plank – 30s side to 30s front to 30s side to 30s front no rest

Overall, it was a good start and relatively easy to get familiar with the gym equipment.  After each gym session I enjoyed a vanilla vega protein shake with almond milk.

Hope to start seeing some gains in the next month.

Yours in fitness.

Andddd I’m Back!

Holy moly was last week incredibly stressful!  

As some of you may already be aware of, I am currently working towards a degree in politics.  During the summer I am taking some final year courses to jump ahead and lighten my work load for next year.  So this past week I have been busy reading and preparing for my presentation I had to make to my prof.  This included hundreds of pages of reading and an intense meeting with my prof.  It was my first upperclassman presentation so I was nervous going in but I absolutely killed it and walked away with an 85%.

Unfortunately, the time I spent on my school this past week meant that I had little free time to blog.  But, I do want to let you now that I still continued fitting in workouts.

  • Tuesday: Ran 6km, hill repeats
  • Wednesday: Gym workout focussing on arms and shoulders
  • Thursday: Gym workout focussing on abs and back
  • Friday: Gym workout focussing on legs
  • Sunday: Half marathon Race (will post a recap)

I am back now and my school load is pretty light now until July when my term papers come due.  Today I hope to post the details of my gym workouts and lifting schedules, as well as post a race recap from my half marathon race this past sunday.  

I hope Y’all have stuck with me and forgive me for my long absence.

Live fit and free! 

INSANITY Update

It’s a sad, sad day when at the tender age of twenty a girl finds out she has bum knees…

And that’s the reality that was brought to my attention at my recent doctor’s appointment.  Since as long as I can remember I’ve had an extra bump just below my knee.  Some of you may be familiar with this, it’s called Osgood-Schlatter disease.  It was a result of my extreme hockey conditioning I endured in my younger years and has lasted with me into my twenties.  Osgood-Schlatter’s pain can stay dormant for years if it’s not irritated.  Unfortunately, jumping, squatting, and high impact moves trigger the knee pain and intensify it.

The verdict? My doctor suggests I step away from INSANITY as it will only continue to worsen my knee pain and warned that if I keep it up, my running will become jeopardized.  

So with a heavy heart I write that I am abandoning my INSANITY journey… BUT my journey does NOT end here.  As per my doctor’s advice, I have swapped INSANITY with a gym membership and am going to start lifting!  I am aiming to incorporate 3 days of lifting with 5 days of running to make up my summer fitness regime (gains will be evaluated in September and a new plan formulated to fit the needs of the time).

I hope y’all continue to follow and read my blog as I will be posting my daily workouts and fitness adventures. I will continue to take my measurements and post them as well.

The Good, the Bad, and the Detox

I did do the 3 day detox over the weekend (find out more by reading my earlier blog post “Enough is Enough”) and boy was it a challenge.  I’ll do a brief recap so that anyone thinking about embarking on the cleanse will be prepared for what would be to come.

The Good

  • Caffeine free since Friday with no headaches since Saturday
  • No longer bloated 
  • No more strong cravings for white breads, baked goods, or sugars
  • Officially dairy & gluten free
  • Learned a couple new recipes

The Bad

  • Horrible migraine Friday and a small headache Saturday (probably from caffeine withdrawal)
  • Low energy; had a nap every day
  • Started getting really sick of vegetables by day 3
  • During day 3 felt weak and couldn’t go for a hard run

The Detox

What can I say, it did it’s job.  I am officially off caffeine/coffee, which I never thought I would ever be saying, and I am gaining energy with each day.  The cravings I have now are manageable.  It’s been 4 days without empty sugars, junk food, processed food, gluten, and dairy and I no longer want them if I see them.  My stomach is no longer bloated (it was in a bloated state for probably 3 week prior).  I’m hoping to see further results the longer I stay off gluten, dairy, and caffeine so I will be continuously monitoring as time goes on. I did lose 4.4 lbs during the detox, although that was not the point of the detox it was nice to see.

Withdrawal

I’m blogging to try and distract myself from the heaviness I’m feeling in my head, especially behind my eyes.  Today is my first day of my detox and my first day in probably ten years that I didn’t wake up and immediately perk myself a cup (or two or three) of coffee.

My morning had a much different start today.

First things first, as per detox instructions, upon waking I had a large glass of filtered water with ginger and lemon added.  I then went for a walk with my mum that included a stop at Tim Horton’s.  Don’t worry, I didn’t order a coffee but I did enjoy a green tea (no milk or sugar added).

When I got home I made a green smoothie for breakfast.  I’ve claimed to make green smoothies for breakfast before but this one was the real deal; it tasted like grass and included celery, cucumber, parsley, kale, lemon, and an apple.

Thankfully, I am only working a half day today.  I did not have to pack my detox lunch but for a midmorning snack I brought celery, carrots, and cucumber to munch on… which were already gone by the time 10 o’clock hit.  Lunch calls for a “seaweed” salad so we will see what exactly that brings.  I successfully did all the grocery shopping for the entire cleanse last night so I do have all the supplies I need, I just have to figure out how to use them.

As for now I only have one more hour left of work.  Hopefully my coffee withdrawal doesn’t turn into a migraine.  I hear it gets easier with time and that by the third day I should feel like a new woman, one can only hope.  I have a feeling a nap is in my imminent future.

Enough is ENOUGH!

Every year I struggle in March.  The weather is still cold, the days are still short, and to top it off I’m right at the start of term paper season with exams looming.  It’s not a good situation and every year it’s where I fall off the wagon.   This past March I went from being 144 to 155 by the time exams hit in April.  It was the sort of situation where I would find myself sitting down to write a paper with a new tub of ice cream and find myself polishing off said tub of ice cream as I typed my conclusion.  It’s a situation that becomes a large problem when you find yourself facing 6 papers in two weeks.  Not my proudest moments (but I did get honours for every paper I wrote if that counts for anything).

Now it’s May and I’m still carrying my 10 extra “ice cream” pounds and struggling in over half my workouts and disliking how I look in the mirror.  It’s time to ask myself honestly what’s going on!

After my latest weekend spent being disappointed with my reflection in the mirror, feeling useless in my fitness journey, and turning to ice cream for comfort (it’s a vicious cycle isn’t it?), I’ve finally had enough.  It’s time for me to realize that unless I fuel properly, workout efficiently, and give it time to work, I won’t break the cycle I’m stuck in.

First things first, it’s time for me to kick my sugar cravings out the door.  I’ve done some research, and usually I never turn to cleanses as they do not produce long term results, but simply for the purpose of eliminating my sweet cravings I am going to give one a try.  This (http://www.hungryforchange.tv/article/3-day-detox-plan) detox is considered a “mild” detox.  Although, anything that has me skipping my morning coffee I consider extreme.

I’m excited to finally have solidified my motivation and determination back again, I could feel it slowly creeping back with INSANITY and my new running schedule, but this puts the final piece in the puzzle.  Working out + good nutrition = results

Hopefully by the end of this weekend I will be able to blog about the amazing results this detox brought.  A positive is that my mum is on board with the cleanse too and I’m doing it over a weekend so hopefully my focus can be bang on.

But I must know before going into the cleanse that this is not the start and Sunday the end.  Once my cleanse ends I have to be willing to step up to the plate and ensure good nutrition all the time. No more of this staying on track until dinner time and then letting it all go.  It’s time for me to realize that this is a lifestyle and not some outfit I put on for the day; what you eat in private you wear in public!

I will keep you all updated on how this goes, as well as with my INSANITY and running, and I hope that in a month y’all can read my posts and be proud with me of my progress! Time will be the test! 

Stay tuned.

 

Sweat Baby Sweat

Last night my boyfriend and I met up to do my INSANITY workout.  I could tell after I got home from work that my motivation was waning and I needed to figure out something that would get me doing my INSANITY workout and get me doing it with high intensity.

Naturally I turned to my girlfriend skills and used my boyfriend’s competitive and fit nature to my advantage when I challenged him to try doing Pure Cardio with me.  He quickly agreed to trying it with me and just like that I had locked myself into doing my workout (plus it made for an extra date night this week).

We met up just before 9 o’clock at a local park, laptop charged and ready, to do the workout.  We found a well lit area suitable for our needs and started it up.  It was a wonderful night, just around twenty degrees Celsius, with a light breeze; a much better atmosphere than my dark and damp basement.  As well, doing the workout outside allowed for ample space to do the moves (long stretches to do suicides on, no ceiling to hit our heads when we jump, etc.).

I am not sure if it was the result of having an afternoon nap, running earlier that day, or just having a later workout time than usual, but I could tell that my speed was not as fast as it could have been.  This could just be me being overly-critical of myself, an issue I struggle with a lot, but it is worth noting.  Another anomaly of this workout was my water intake.  Normally I only drink ~500mL throughout my INSANITY workout (even when I did Pure Cardio), but this time I ended up finishing just about 900mL (also an interesting note as there’s only 3-4 official water breaks in the workout)!

All in all, I am very glad that I did the workout and happy that I could share the time with my boyfriend.  He’s really enjoyed INSANITY so far (he’s only done two workouts) and stated that he would much rather do an INSANITY workout than go for a run with me (something I have pressured him into doing at least a couple times a month).  I’m happy with that trade off as normally for my runs I do not need extra motivation but I have found that turning on the INSANITY DVD helps if I have added incentive.

Yours in fitness.