Sprints and Double Workouts

2014-09-17 18.21.43I’m always reading online that hard workouts should not be followed by another hard workouts. Gotta avoid overtraining and all that. While I strive for as many exercise and fitness ‘rules’ in my training (hahaha, ok maybe I don’t), sometimes life gets in the way. And by life, I mean an exercise study that I am a participant in. Not going to say what the study is, but it required me to do about 40 mins on the treadmill in the AM. Loving my new fitness gear!

2014-09-17 09.29.22And in the afternoon I joined Davis Aquatic Masters for fun swim times. And by fun swim times, I mean dragging my already tired body (see fitness study excuse above) through a sprint set. 24 X 50 yards. Treadmill hard effort in the AM and swim sprints in the PM. Ok, I guess I could have skipped swimming, but then I wouldn’t make my XT targets for the study. And that would be bad.

Surprisingly enough, swim sprints after an exercise test wasn’t terrible. 1:15 was a lot of rest. That said, when we finished 10 minutes early, I skipped the cool-down completely and hopped right out of the pool. See, bad training practices again…! At least I took the time to roll out after my run today? ;)

Workout week (in review): Sick edition

Sometimes my body fails me. Like last week. One the day before my flight home from Hawaii, I started to get a sore throat. It hung around for a few days and then turned into a full blown cold over the weekend. Plus bad cramps Sunday Overshare? Not the best combo. This was even more unfortunate because I was off on another adventure – a camping trip with my running club to attend a cross country meet. They are the ladies in yellow…

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While I am usually good (slightly obsessed?) at hitting weekly mileage/swimming/etc, I am a firm believer in not working out while I’m sick with any sort of head cold. This is because a) I feel like shit during workouts and b) the potential cost of being sick for a few extra days does not outweigh the benefits of a six mile run. As such, I decreased both the volume and intensity of my training this past week.

Monday - 10 miles of hiking.

Tuesday – Sore throat. Skipped 5 mile run and did super light open water swim because it was my last full day in Hawaii.

Wednesday – Rest day.

Thursday – 4.6 miles of running. I was feeling a lot better and decided to go for usual Thursday run. The run was harder than usual. Sickness? 4hrs of sleep the night before? By bedtime I was feeling crappy again…

Friday – Rest day.

Saturday – XC meet. I ran the warm-up (2 miles easy) and then watched everyone else race. I didn’t really plan on competing in the first place (too slow), but I probably would have put in at least an hour of running. It was rather entertaining listening to half a dozen people ask me if I was injured. Not injured, just lazy/sick. Later in the day I went for two swims in Whiskytown Lake with goggles and cap so I’m going to count it as a workout. So so beautiful and clear. And a huge improvement over my mirky Lassen swim! The rest of the day was spent lounging on the beach and eating yummy camp food. Win.
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Sunday – Still sick. Even though I wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep, everyone was going hiking, so I tagged along. Nice, short hike to a pretty waterfall. My only regret was not bringing a sweatshirt. It was cold in the shade…

That pretty much sums up the goings on lately. Weekly mileage 6.6, down from 18-20. No yoga. Minimal swimming. No biking. I’m trying to be mindful and proud of myself for taking it easy. However, I have a triathlon that is less than a month away and my training has been slacking. For example, I cannot remember my last brick workout. Yikes. I’m kind of panicking about the race and wishing that I hadn’t signed up already. With that in mind, I better do a brick this coming weekend and make it count!

Workout week (in review): Hawaii Edition

2014-09-04 17.11.43It’s been a while! But that is because I’ve been vacationing in Hawaii (not giving up on my blog). It was a fairly uneventful trip with lots of relaxing on the beach, hiking, and catching up with a friend. I did some swimming as well, but couldn’t really bring myself to do any real swim workouts. Open water swimming is just not my thing… I tried but got bored/scared of sharks after about 20 minutes. That is okay because I got a lot of running in.

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The place where I was staying on the Big Island was pretty much right at sea level. It was also at the end of the road so my only option was to run up to the highway. This amounted to approximately 2.5 miles of hill climbing – 820 feet elevation gain depend on when I remembered to start my watch. The elevation profile looks a lot like Cantelow hill… Did I mention that running Cantelow is pretty far down on my bucket list of desirable workouts?

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Being that I workout primarily on flat ground, the first run of the trip was brutal. I made it to the highway, albeit very slowly. I might have taken some walk breaks.

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The morning after my first run I was sore. Really sore. My ass hurt, as did my thighs. I’m pretty sure I waddled getting out of bed. And guess what? I loved it! So I started running the hill every other day. Some days were faster than others, but I can’t complain because I still got an awesome workout in every time. Thanks to J and Jess for keeping me company.

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Besides running, J and I also spent a day hiking in Volcanos National Park. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good with tracking my progress and only capture 3.33 miles of the 10+ miles of hiking.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 12.23.00 PMI did take a lot of pictures though.

Hike through a crater on Kilauea Iki Trail
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Sulfur vents along Crater Rim Trail.
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I think trip was success in terms of both relaxation (because really what are vacations for) and maintaining fitness. I was also really good about eating – no alcohol or caffeine all week and only ate cake for breakfast one day. Note to self – in the future, take vacation more frequently than every four years. ;)

Workout week (in review) and the Holiday Weekend

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 2.18.53 PMHappy Labor Day Weekend! My running club is putting on a 5/10K. While I won’t be running, I’ve been a bit busy with pre-race activities such as packet pickup. The club also has some Japanese visitors from Inuyama Japan so there has been a host of social events this weekend such as a dessert party and breakfast this morning. If you live in Davis, please support GVH and local high schools by signing up to run. There is race day registration so it isn’t too late!

Other than race related activities, it was a rather uneventful week…in life and at the gym. I took a couple days off because I almost passed out during a blood test. It was fun having a few evenings off for pedis, ice cream, and cocktails. But I was itching to get back to the pool.

Monday – OFF

Tuesday – OFF

Wednesday – Swimming.2014-08-27 18.19.08

Thursday – AM – run; PM – swimming. My usual Thursday running partner was away. I *tried* to get up early and run, but I didn’t make it out the door until almost 6:40AM. Yikes. I dragged myself through five slow miles. Apparently I’m super lazy when I run by myself because I averaged 9:30 mins/mile.

Friday – Swimming.

Saturday – Running. GVH long run. I was slightly hung over and very sleep deprived. I walked a bit and felt generally bad throughout. Fun! At least I got a workout in. I probably should have done some core as well, but I was quite busy.

Sunday – Running + yoga. Easy Sunday run.

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In summary, I got some good swims in, but I wasn’t really feeling the running. And I didn’t get on my bike once. Sad. Maybe PRing my 5K has made me lazy. Or maybe my body just needed an easy week.

Casual Friday

2014-08-29 18.11.39There are a few things I wanted to post about before I get to the swimming.

#1 Runner’s World published a slide show of people that used running to loose weight. I found it to be very inspirational. While this is not something I’ve had to worry about, I have some friends/family who are struggling with obesity. While running isn’t for everyone, I think it is nice to see that there is always a possibility for change in terms of diet/exercise.

Second, I’m currently loving an article from the Wall Street journal about ‘yoga poseurs’. As I’m sure we’ve all noticed, a lot of people are wandering around in yoga clothes. This number is not proportional to the number of people doing yoga. The article states that yoga participation grew 4.5% in 2013 while athletic sales went up 45%. Yikes. The people they interviewed tried to justify their loungewear addiction as ‘cheaper than jeans’ or ‘I could workout later’. Excuses, excuses. We all know this is just another clothing fad. Or maybe people want to appear fit without putting in the time to go to the gym?

Now I have a confession to make. I used to be one of them. No, not a yoga poseur. I starting practicing well before I bought my first pair of yoga pants. I mean that I used to wear yoga pants every other day. To work. To coffee. Traveling. Whatever.

DSC_0035I justified it as cutting down on laundry – wearing jeans and then changing into to crops for running was just wasteful. But then something changed. How can my mentees and colleges take me seriously when I’m wearing pajamas to work? Sure, it might hug my butt, but really, my coworkers shouldn’t be looking. And since I spend so much time in workout clothes, I kind of want to get out of them when I get home. Now, nothing make me feel better than throwing on a skirt and some makeup when I get home at night, even if it is just to cook dinner. I still wear yoga pants (like today = my version of super casual Friday), but I also make an effort to look ‘put together’, 99% of the time.

I don’t really care what people wear out. I’m just rambling about my current personal clothing preferences. I’ve cut my yoga clothes wardrobe down to one pair of pants (three if you count a bright purple and brown pair I wear exclusively for yoga). Now, let’s not talk about my current swimsuit addiction…

#3 After I almost passed out during a blood draw, I realized that I haven’t been eating enough. I decided that it was time to remedy this. Enter chocolate peanut butter bites, honey jalapeno cornbread, and watermelon cocktails. Delicious!

2014-08-26 21.07.31 2014-08-28 20.19.48 2014-08-29 20.07.03So about the swimming…

Swimming three days in a row was killer. 16 X 100 IM/FR….totally brutes…my arms wanted to fall off. I was also surprised we had a full lane on Friday. Weird. It was all good though because it has been at least a month since I’ve squeezed in three swim workouts in a week. Now I just need to work on spacing them so my arms are not completely dead. Super happy with my accomplishments though. Maybe lane 5 is an obtainable New Year’s resolution.

Have a fun holiday weekend. I’ll be having fun prepping for my running club’s annual race.

Santa Rosa Marathon – (5K)

This post could easily be titled ‘Weekend away: how I fell down and still managed to PR my 5K!’. But I’ll get to that later.

This week wasn’t the best… I had a paper deadline that I was stressing about and I was also a bit of an emotional basket case. I was really looking forward to some fun this weekend. I had been planning a trip to Santa Rosa to visit a friend and was super excited about it. We’ve known each other since we were four years old and have shared a lot of memories of tie-dyed t-shirts, camping trips, and watching Empire Record over and over again. Even though we live less than 2hrs away, we don’t get together often. Catching up was definitely in order, as was seeing her newish home.

I got off work Friday and decided to kick off the weekend with an 8 mile run and then a girls night (with another friend). Except the 8 mile run turned into 9.4 (good company though!). And I was way late for my dinner date. And I was generally cranky/starving. We decided to drive to Winters for dinner (about 17 miles away). As luck (much sarcasm here) would have it, the downtown was hosting an Earthquake festival (foreshadowing for Sunday) and the restaurant we wanted to go to, Preserve, was totally booked. I could not wait 30 minutes for a table, so we headed next door to Mexican food.

If you know me, then it will come as no surprise that I am a) not very fond of Mexican food and b) lactose intolerant (though I continue to consume milk products…shame on me). I ordered a quesadilla (apparently my brain was not functioning properly). Dinner was massive.

2014-08-22 20.51.16 And I ate the whole thing. Even though it was rather disgusting. See.2014-08-22 21.05.26We wandered around the festival for a bit and then I went to work after. Lab at 10PM on a Friday night is totally normal… By the time I got home I was seriously sick to my stomach and spent the next 12 hours on the couch in fetal position. All in all a rather terrible start to the weekend.

Around 10am on Saturday I had to decide whether to get up or cancel weekend plans. I decided to go to Santa Rosa. Worst case, I drive there, feel sick, hang out for a bit, and then head home. Somewhere along the drive (while stuck in traffic), I decided that I was feeling better and should definitely sign up to race a 5K. Because weekends away are so much more fun when there is a race involved. So I went to the Santa Rosa Marathon Expo and purchased a bib. Unfortunately I was too late to get a cute t-shirt with Peanuts cartoons on it. Sad.

The rest of Saturday was spent hanging out with my friend. We toured her urban homestead (pictures on her blog here), played with her dog and kitties, and then she took me out for a belated birthday dinner. I had a small salad because after the last 24 hours, all I could think about were fruits and vegetables. It was delicious and just what I needed.

2014-08-23 18.47.52 After dinner, we went out for ice cream at Sub Zero. Yes! The ice cream was made to order and frozen with liquid nitrogen. They even had vegan options for me (excellent).2014-08-23 19.41.24 2014-08-23 19.47.13Even though liquid nitrogen has lost its novelty (working in a lab will do that to you), it was still fun to watch them.

Here we are eating our ice cream. Aw… <3 Such a fun afternoon/evening!
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After the ice cream, we chatted for a while and then went to bed early because we were both very tired. We were abruptly woken up at 3:30am by an earthquake accompanied by some eery light flashes (probably transformers blowing). It was a short earthquake, but we were both very upset and physically shaken. We lived through a major quake (Loma Prieta Earthquake) when we were four years old and the memory hasn’t quite faded… Adrenaline + chatting + playing on internet + fear of aftershocks = not much sleep. Did I mention that it makes me so angry when people say earthquakes are fun? Watching your neighbors house fall down is not entertaining…

Race day came too soon. It was nice and foggy and cool. Perfect race weather. I said my goodbyes and was picked up by my aunt who dropped me off near the course start.

View of the half marathon course from the 5K route.
2014-08-24 07.05.37 I didn’t have high hopes for a great race given that I was recently sick and running on little sleep. I did, however, want a PR because a) running fast is fun and b) I had a bet with someone in my running club about race times. My goal was to keep my pace between 6:50 and 7:10/mile, but I decided to see how I felt once I got out there. Since no one knew I was running the race, if I did poorly, I could easily not tell anyone… Because I was an hour early, I had a lot of time to warm-up and use the bathrooms (lots of port-a-potties, thanks Santa Rosa and Change of Pace!). I met up with my aunt and we chatted while I waited. All in all, it was probably the most relaxing pre-race I have ever experienced.

I lined up on the start line and tried to get as close to the front as possible, but there was a large group of junior high (?) students blocking my path. I worried that they would burn out quickly. And I was right. The buzzer went off and we started running. And I promptly tripped and ate it on the pavement. I am a bit fuzzy on the details, but I think someone slowed way down in front of me. I tried to avoid them by side stepping. Except that I fell down on my side. Fun… I lay on the ground for a few seconds watching runners go by. No one stopped, though I did get some interesting commentary. I got up and assessed the damage.

Hip bruised and scraped.2014-08-24 12.45.30I also managed to get my arm and my palms were bruised (not shown).

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Here is my Garmin’s take on the accident. ;)Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 2.58.55 PMI contemplated a DNF. Since my legs were fine, I started to run again. My scrapes burned a lot, but I just kept breathing and running. I tried not to look at my watch for a bit and get back into the rhythm of things. When I finally checked my watch it read 2.22. I thought for a second that I had only been running for a little over two minutes. And then I realized I set the screen to give me a distance countdown and pace. Lap time was not included. I had almost gone a mile. Excellent!

The rest of the race flew by. The weather was cool, the course was flat, and the volunteers were very enthusiastic. I did not love the section through downtown with cobblestones, but the rest of the course was nice. I was breathing well and my legs felt pretty strong, though I was definitely hurting toward the end. I managed to finish in 21:38, which is a PR by a long shot.

I don’t like to be too self-congratulatory, but I am very pleased with my performance. I’ve shaved two minutes off my 5K in the last year. Perhaps having no expectation + nice, cool temps + accident adrenaline helped me overcome my mental limitations? Whatever it was, it was definitely a very good race day (and weekend!). Having supportive friends and family who believe in me more than I do myself also helped a lot. ;)

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I highly recommend this race as it seemed like a fast course and was very well organized.

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Swimming: SPRINTS and active energy expenditure

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I usually swim three times a week. But due to an exercise study I’m participating in (more blog updates about that later…this depends on whether I am allowed to blog about it), some of my workouts have been canceled. Swimming has suffered a bit as have my GVH speed workouts (but I can’t say I’m sad that I have had to skip mile repeats when it is 90F outside….) On the upside, I get to wear this super fun (and sexy?) Actiheart for 7 days! Hopefully they’ll get some good data on my energy expenditure.

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So back to the pool… I missed Monday’s kicking/pulling set. And I might not go tomorrow because of a lab get-together. Sad. I was very thankful that I made it to the pool this evening because I had a frustrating day at work. Computers were not on my side today and I have a project due tomorrow. Yikes. It was so nice to sprint out the anxiety. I also got to test out my new workout bikini. (In case anyone was counting, I now have five bikini bottoms; I think I have a problem…)

I was slightly worried when I saw a long IM warm-up, but the rest of the set was pretty fun. I love short, high-intensity fin sets! Unfortunately, I forgot my heart rate monitor (required for the study). This will be a bummer for them because they’ll have missing data. And it was a slight bummer for me because I am having way too much fun matching up my perceived effort with my actual heart rate. And I have yet to wear it for sprints. My general feeling is that swimming feels harder than running, but my heart rate is a bit lower (less energy expenditure due to water suspension?). I’m not sure if this is significant or even a trend because I try not to spend my entire workout glancing at my watch.

When I got out of the pool I felt refreshed and clear headed.  I opted to take the rest of the evening off work and blog instead. ;)

Time: 55 mins
Distance: 2,400

 

Not really feeling like working out this week…stress, stress, and more stress. It happens. And while I would have loved to vege on the couch/sleep/eat pints of ice cream/etc, I didn’t. Instead, I mostly took it easy. And by easy I mean I still exercised for hour almost every day. Just at a very low intensity. I also baked a lot. And left swimming early to window shop on the internet. A new Jolyn suit (apricot, Brazilian bottom) might be arriving in the mail tomorrow. Oh, and I turned 30. Yikes! The birthday thing ended up making for a fun weekend with a lovely party with good friends, some dating back to college, and then fun with family later.

Here are a few highlights from the week.

Blackberry cupcakes. So pretty.
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A whisky sour with dinner.

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Selfies on the couch. Gotta document the last day of my 20s. ;) Loving my new Anthropology shirt (thanks J!). Cute and meets the lab dress code. Yes!
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Monday – Swimming. I did not take a picture but this was a ridiculously hard distance set due to the fact that they lane leader was super fast. I know I said I took it easy, but I lied about this one.

Tuesday – Bike – 20 miles easy. A flat tire help with the easy part. ;)

Wednesday – AM – run (1.8 miles @ 12 mins/mile with dogs); PM – swim (40 mins – IM).

Thursday – AM – run (4.8 miles); PM – swim (60 mins – sprints). I managed to get through morning run at decent pace, but could not bring myself to do swim sprints later. Instead I just swam around pool at moderate pace. It felt fantastic.

Friday – Rest day.

Saturday – Run (7.3 miles at 10 mins/mile). Nice to take it easy and soak in the sun. The poor pups missed out on 2 mile pre-run because I was too tired. Fail. I also took a nap and then slept 8 hours = win.

Sunday – Run (4 miles); bike (12 miles). My dad was visiting. And instead of Sunday morning brick (which has not happened in a while…sad!), we went on a tour of Davis on our bikes. There is course that goes around town called the Davis Bike Loop. It showcases a lot of greenbelt and areas that I don’t often make it too. However it is rather slow going due to traffic, narrow paths, and twists and turns. I am usually too impatient to do this, but it is a fun ride to do with family. It’s fun to slowdown sometimes and take in the scenery. Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 9.50.17 PM

Someday I plan to run this same loop (half marathon training run for Nov race?). But not soon…because I need to get my mileage back up first!

And with that, I am going to end post so I can relax some more before the start of a new work week.

 

Lassen Camping

2014-08-10 12.53.41Summer is almost over. While I am looking forward to Fall food and cooler temperatures (and hopefully some rain!), I am slightly sad because I feel that I didn’t play hard enough. You can never have enough trips to the coast, races, and cocktail dates. Some friends from my running club were feeling the same way, so we decided to go camping. The downside of last minute trip planning was that most of California was reserved already. There were still a few spaces available at Lassen Volcanic National Park so we ended up going there. As the name suggests, it is a national park in Northern California that features volcanoes, thermal vents, and alpine lakes. This turned out to be an excellent destination. What do five friends do on a weekend trip? Hiking and more hiking, running, swimming, and of course eating!

2014-08-09 12.05.27We arrived in the park a little after lunch on Saturday and decided that Lassen Peak Trail hike was at the top of our to do list. This was a 5 mile hike with approximately 2,000 feet elevation gain.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 9.49.43 PMThe trail was very well maintain and featured switchback after switchback. Looking up had a rather dizzying effect (the altitude didn’t help with this either!).2014-08-09 14.00.45

The top of the volcano was well worth the trek because of the amazing views and rocky craters. We hung around for quite some time taking photos and resting. There was even a small patch of snow, but I didn’t get a good picture of it (or much of anything) because I was afraid I’d drop and break my phone on the volcanic rock.

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The hike down went quickly and the only notable thing about it was how much better I felt as I got to lower elevations. Besides a few quick episodes of dizziness, I didn’t really realize how ‘off’ I felt at the summit. My legs also felt more solid and my head clearer. It is really hard to explain the sensation. I didn’t have a headache or nausea (signs of altitude sickness), but it was definitely difficult.

After the hike, we headed to our campground (Summit Lake North – highly recommended) and set up camp. Because we were sweaty after the hike, and there was a beautiful lake right there, we decided to go for a swim. Unfortunately, the lake bottom was covered in a thick layer of brown pond scum. A friend asked if I wanted to swim across the lake. So of course I did… While this was not a particularly far distance, we were still at 6,700 feet and the water was rather cold. Oh, and I didn’t have goggles. I half swam, half flailed across the lake. Upon reaching the other side I found that it was equally murky and I started to have serious doubts whether I wanted to swim back. Walking around the lake in a bikini and bare feet sounded even worse so I sucked it up and swam back. We then proceeded to have an amazing feast of kabobs, pizza, grilled vegetables, salad, chips, guacamole, brownies, wine, and margaritas. Yes! I expected to pass out after a full day, but unfortunately I could not sleep (one of the downsides of camping).

I woke up bright and early and proceeded to wander around the campground for hours until people woke up. We then headed out for a trail run. After my Donner experience, I should have known running in the Sierra’s would be hard. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 10.29.46 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-12 at 9.50.57 PMI am not sure what I was expecting, but I felt pretty awful the whole time. My legs felt like lead and my heart rate was really elevated (170!?). I felt rather bad for my friend who essentially hiked half of the run with me. I was kind of hoping he’d leave me behind so he could get a decent workout in and I could collapse alongside the trail. I can’t complain too much because the three alpine lakes we passed were beautiful. And we managed to make it back to pack up camp in time for checkout.

After the run, we drove back to the base of Lassen for a dip in Emerald lake (pictured above) and lunch. Food was followed by more hiking, this time to thermal vents. The bad smell and black rain clouds made for a rather interesting experience.

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All in all, it was a fabulous weekend! I was exhausted after and managed to sleep eight hours on Sunday night. My only regret was that I did not take more pictures. Here is to hoping the next adventure is just as fun. ;)