Saturday, November 20, 2010

Crossfit = Faster Running! Who Knew? Turkey Trot 8K report

Ok, I have been crossfitting for about 20 days. I do it about 2 or 3 days per week for strength training. I have only been running 3 days per week, and only about a total of 10 miles per week. This morning I ran the Turkey Trot 8K in my hometown.

My A goal was to run it under 47 minutes. That was a best case scenario. I finished in 45:10! That's a 9:02 pace. Crazy! My last 5K two months ago was a 9:30 pace (very hilly). I ran a 10K at a 9:33 pace just a month ago. Running 5 miles at a 9:02 pace is a HUGE gain for me. My BEST 5K pace ever is a 9:01 at the peak of my fitness in the middle of marathon training. I was logging 25-30 miles a week back then.

I have been running a few all-out sprints per week. I've been doing 2-mile tempo runs, too. Today, a 9 minute pace felt oddly comfortable. That is highly unusual! Granted, it was a totally flat course. You gotta love flat!

If I can avoid injury and keep up these workouts, I hope to PR a half marathon in February. I'd love to run a flat 5K to see what I could do there as well. It's nice to be moving in this direction for a change. :-)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Survived One Week of Crossfit!

So, after I wrote the last post, the DOMS set in--delayed onset muscle soreness. It got progressively worse the next day, but I went back for workout #2. It was BRU-TAL! I had to do 2 rounds of the following warm up (which is a whole workout in itself):
10 pull ups
10 push ups
10 sit ups
10 sqauats
10 tricep dips
10 good mornings (a hamstring stretch)
Row 250 meters

Since my whole body was sore in new and unusual places, I was unsure how this workout was going to go. I made it through the warmup before getting my assigment of sprinting 200 meters and 15 burpees X 4. I took off at a decent little sprint and dropped right there on the pavement (as instructed) for my burpees. Google "burpees" if you don't know what they are. They are not as easy as they look! After about 10 burpees, my arms were on fire. I squeaked out my 10 and headed off for my "sprint." It's in quotes because the sprinting with the legs that had just finished burpees was kind of more of a limp/shuffle. So, after 200 meters of limp/shuffling, I had to do 15 more burpees. Before that, it seemed kind of impossible, but suddenly I realized I was half way done. Thank goodness I have a running background, because I was able to do that part on autopilot and almost recover a little between the burpee sets. I finally finished. The fun part is it was timed, and it took me just over 11 minutes. That would be 11 minutes of pure hell! Whew! My hands were all scraped and raw from the pavement. My heart rate was most certainly elevated for those 11 minutes. That's the point of Crossfit---get strong, go HARD, finish quickly. With the warm up and everything, I was out of there in 25 minutes. That was good since I was paying a sitter!

I was so sore the next day, I almost decided to quit this Crossfit thing. I felt like it was affecting my quality of life. There was no way I felt like running the next day, much less cooking, cleaning, laundry, or loving on my husband! I took a day of total rest and had recovered enough to teach my class on Thursday at the Y. After the soreness got better and I had a good 4-mile run on Thursday, I decided to head back to Crossfit on Friday.

This time, I did 3 rounds of the warm up and the WOD (workout of the day) was 10 walking lunges carrying a 20 lb. dumbbell and 15 overhead swings with that same 20 lb. dumbbell. Again, it was timed, but this time the workout was done in 5:45. Wow, that is a quick workout! Yes, I was breathing hard the entire time, my legs were shaky and weak by the end, but in just over 20 minutes, I was DONE. I felt good afterward. That is, until my friend DOMS came to visit about mid-day today. Yikes. My booty and legs are really sore along with my right shoulder.

I eeked out a 3 miler this afternoon. It's hard to run on sore muscles.

I don't know where this experiment in crossfitting is going to take me. I'm just along for the ride!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Clean Eating and Cross Fit

Do you ever feel like you need more in your fitness life than running? For three years, running was The Bomb. Over time, I ran farther and faster and it was (mostly) all good. I was proud of my accomplishments and proud of my newfound athleticism after a lifetime of uncoordinated couch potato-ness. Thirty miles a week? No problem. Eat whatever I want? Of course---I just ran 30 miles this week!

But somewhere a long the way it became less about just seeing where running would take me and more about being well-rounded, healthy, fit and STRONG. An ATHLETE, not a runner only. I decided to start with eating like an athlete. So, I read Tosca Reno's book on clean eating and a few websites. I picked up a Clean Eating Magazine. I tried to concentrate on putting good things into my body--mostly natural, whole foods. I'm not perfect at it, but I'm making progress!

Now, I'm a little obsessed with building MUSCLE. I want to get stronger. I had the goal a while back of doing a pull up--just one (I set my goals LOW apparently). I worked hard and did it. Today I did 12! I've added squats and lunges to my regular routine as well. Allegedly, the building of muscle will actually help my running. Win-win.

But I've been floundering a little with the strength training. I can't seem to get into a regular routine. I fit it in maybe once a week. I don't know good form from bad form on lots of weight-training exercises. Those big bars and plates intimidate me! (So I use dumbbells instead--less scary!) I knew I was in need of a little guidance. I started thinking about Cross Fit. I have seen the website and several of the videos. I didn't feel strong enough to even try it for the longest time. These past 3 or 4 months, I have actually started integrating some Cross Fit moves into my routine on occasion so I wouldn't have to start at zero.

Today I walked in the Cross Fit gym near my house and signed up for one month! After that, I may continue to go to that gym or I may just do it on my own at the YMCA once I've learned proper form. Let me just say it was the most INTENSE workout I've ever had. I gave 100% or close to it today. I've had a few races this intense, but never a total body workout like this.

They gave me my initial test today. I had to run 400 meters as fast as I could and row 500 meters as fast as I could. I had to do the following for 5 minutes or up to 100 reps (whichever came first): sit ups, pull ups, squats, push ups. I was happy with how I did overall:

Run 400 m. 1:46 (7:08 pace)
Row 500 m. 2:09 My form is awful. My trainer kept correcting me. I felt so awkward. I know this will get better when I get my form down. Rowing. Is. Hard. And I did it last. Whew!
Push Ups 54 Didn't make it to 100. I did 20 nonstop and then did 3 or 4 between rest breaks. Total muscle failure! My shoulders quit functioning. A year ago I did the 100 Push Up Challenge and did 107 in under 5 minutes. Not today!
Sit Ups 100 in 4:44
Squats 100 in 3:17 LOW squats --much lower and harder than I normally do. My quads and glutes will be SCREAMING at me tomorrow.
Pull Ups 12! Yes, it took me 5 minutes to do 12 good form pull ups. I really only did 11 good ones, but she gave me that last sucky one. My normal pull ups are apparently "cheat" pull ups--I was not straightening my arms all the way on the down. Today, she had me get off the bar completely for each one. So, I had to jump up to a bar about a foot above my fingertips to start each one.

I'm going back tomorrow for more---if my arms and legs are still functional!

HERE'S THE GET-FITTER PLAN:
  • Cross fit 3 days per week (it includes short bursts of running 400 meters many days)
  • Running 2 days per week---a short 3-4 miles and a longer run of 6-10 depending on what I'm training for
  • Rest two days per week. I am 40 now, you know!