Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Funday Swim Workout

It's been awhile since I shared a good swim workout with everyone.  I swim with a good group of friends during lunch on workdays.  We tend to do pretty simple workouts during the week since we're on the lunch clock.  On the weekends though, the time limit gets thrown out the window and we swim longer and with more variety. 

Here's a fun option to try out for a workout.   This workout flew by and was challenging yet fun. 

2 x 150 as 100 swim, 50 stroke
200 kick

Main Set
4 x 100 descending
4 x 75
4 x 50 stroke/free
4 x 25 stroke in IM order
3 x 100
3 x 75 descending
3 x 50 stroke/free
3 x 25 stroke

Cool down
4 x 50 over/under
200 swim

I don't recall the exact mixture of free and stroke swimming that we did.  I swam off the workout group a little bit because my foot was bothering me so much so I had to just pull for some portions of the workout.  I was able to stay within the time intervals that the group was doing so that made me happy.  On a side note...I think it would be fun to finish going down the repeats ladder with 2 of each distance and then 1 of each distance.  It would be a long workout but manageable I think. 

I would challenge you if you are a triathlete like me to try swimming some stroke during the shorter sections of the workout.  A 25 yard swim of butterfly, breast, or backstroke is a nice and easy way to start incorporating more stroke into your workouts.  I got in a couple backstroke sprint intervals during this workout. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Post run mystery

Saturday I was up early to meet a friend for a run before joining up with the half marathon training group.  I had 13 miles on my schedule for the day and the training group was only doing 6 miles.  Jody and I met up at 6AM and headed out on a route that would take us across a portion of town different from what the training group was doing.

We had a great run and ended up getting in 6.6 miles.  We walked into the activity center just after 7AM and still got to hear most of Mike's talk over nutrition and proper water stop etiquette.  It is so fun to watch the training program participants during Mike's talks each week.  They hang on every word that he says and are so eager to learn and progress on their journey.  So many of the participants are first time half marathoners and it is truly amazing to talk to them and hear their stories.  Every week our group run is the longest run many have ever done. 

Back to the run...with the training group we headed out on a lollipop loop that covered the first 5 miles of the course.  Some of the ladies on the Rush team worked a water stop around mile 4.  I stopped and helped them pick up water cups when I passed.  Frankly I was at mile 10.6 for my day at that point and needed a stop.  I was overdressed for the temps and probably needed more fuel up to that point.  The stretching that I got from bending over and picking up the cups felt pretty great too...bonus and helped out the group!

I finished up the run and still needed about 1/2 mile to finish my distance for the day.  I headed back out to cheer others in as they were finishing.  Once I got done I did some stretching and then headed with another friend to a local coffee shop for breakfast.  Jody and her husband joined us once she was done and we had a great time catching up.  It was a great runs were good and the company before and after was great too. 

After that I headed home and cleaned up.  I met up with my sister and her family for lunch later and shortly thereafter I developed pain in my foot.  It was so odd since I had such a great run and hadn't done anything during the run to hurt it.  I've never had foot pain like this before so of course my mind went to the worst possible scenario...stress fracture.  I iced my foot but the pain continued...but mainly just when walking. 

On Monday, I made an appointment with an ortho and went today to have it checked out.  Good news...the x-ray doesn't show a fracture.  Bad and anti-inflammatories and wait and see if it improves with rest.  I can keep up cardio like swimming and biking as long as I don't feel pain.  Running is off the table since walking causes pain.  It is likely tendinitis (Dr. speak for overuse injury!) along the tendons that run along the side of my foot.  I feel like it's a bit of a mystery...I thought my training plan was conservative so overuse doesn't seem right but I also don't feel like it was an injury either. 

I'm 3 weeks out from my 25K and just a little nervous about this set back.  I'm hopeful that I can knock this out with some rest.  I'll be wearing comfy shoes as much as I can to work and hope that helps too.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Welcoming New People to the Gym

My gym has become crowded again with lots of people returning to fitness with the start of the New Year.  It means that some of the classes that I attend are a little busier now but thankfully the pool has stayed manageable.  At lunch time the parking lot and locker rooms are packed!It's good to see that the resolutionists are working to develop fitness habits and I really do hope they are able to find a fitness regimen that they like.  I do have to share a few favorite moments from the past couple of weeks as I encountered some memorable new people attending classes for the first time!

First up was the TRX class that I attend.  Before the holidays the class was about 50-60% full most of the time.  The last two weeks it has been full...maybe one-two sets of bands open.  The funny moment happened last week when one participant wore chaco style sandals to class.  The trainer who leads the class had to help her with some of the set up for ab work where your feet go in the straps so you can get in plank position.  He advised her that sandals were not the best choice for the class.  In that same class, very randomly a person came and just stood in the doorway watching class for about 5 minutes.  It was odd to have an audience!

Next up was Bootcamp class.  Bootcamp is advertised as an intermediate to advanced level class.  There is a very strong core following of people that attend this class.  The class has a size limit and the trainer has had to lock the door before when the max is hit. 

One day last week a funny question came up from one of my friends at the start of class...if your pants were on inside out would you want to know?  I was 100% certain that my pants were on correctly so I quickly looked around and noticed that one of the new comers had her pants on inside out.  My friend quietly pointed it out to her but she wasn't bothered by it.  There was plenty of time to run to the restroom and change them to be right side out but she just kept them as they were.  I'm impressed with her confidence because I would have died of embarrassment. 

The bootcamp class is a mixture of circuits and you rotate in groups of 4 between stations.  On this particular night we were doing a version with fewer stations.  In this format, half of the group works together doing cardio/weights in the center of the room while the other half works the stations.  You rotate between the center of the room and the stations.  You still go to the stations in a counter clockwise order.  We ended up with groups of 6 people on a couple of stations which is a no-no.  We also ended up with a few people that didn't understand the flow between the cardio and circuit stations.  Thankfully the trainer gave a more detailed description of the circuit and flow between stations at the next class and things flowed much more smoothly.  It was a little mayhem though last week!

Overall, the influx of new people hasn't really gotten in the way of my workouts.  I am worried that soon the TRX class will fill up.  It's tough for me to get to the class super early so hopefully attendance doesn't increase more than it has already!

How has your gym been the last few weeks since the start of the new year? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Long Run Disco

Today I split my long run up into two buckets.  I'm helping as a volunteer for the half marathon training program so I got in some miles before that group run started. 

I was a little slow getting up and ready this morning so I got to the starting spot at 6:10...10 minutes after the early group started.  Oops! No worries for me though...I just put on my headlamp and headed out on a local 5K course.  I tacked on some extra distance running through some of the downtown neighborhoods.  I got to 4.75 miles by doing this which was just about what I wanted. 

Right at 7AM I headed to the Activity Center where the training group meets.  I put away my headlamp in the car and had a few bites of my Kate's Bar and sips of water.  I stepped inside just in time to hear Mike talking about the training plan and how to avoid common running injuries.  There are around 260 runners signed up in the training program and I can only hope that they all avoid injury over the next 2 1/2 months. 

The beginners had a 5 mile route on tap today.  I try to hang to the back and chat with runners through out the run.  Once we hit the turn around I slowly pick my pace back up to my normal pace and then say hi and check on runners as I make my way back to the start.  I was so impressed with all the people that I talked to...for many it was their first time running 5 miles.  It was great and so inspiring! There were a few rolling hills in today's course and everyone tackled them with a smile on their faces. 

On the return trip back to the activity center, we were headed into the sun with the wind blowing in our faces.  It felt great since I was slightly overdressed for the awesome temps this morning.  There is a neighborhood that has a wrought iron fence along the sidewalk.  The sun was streaming between the houses and the fence bars and it felt like I was seeing strobe lights.  It was quite psychedelic and just like a disco ball reflecting light.  I finally had to look to the side and try to avoid the crazy sunlight. 

I finished up the 5 miles with the group and then turned around and headed back onto the course.  I cheered for everyone finishing and ran with a couple ladies to keep them company on their finish. It was fun to give people high 5's as they made their way up the last hill!  I ended up adding on another 2 miles doing that and got to my total of 12 for the day. 

After grabbing a bottle of water I headed to the local coffee shop to have breakfast with some friends.  They had just finished up some of the Disney races last weekend so I got to hear some of their race stories.  All in all it was a great start to the day and a great run! Only 4 weeks until my first 25K!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Oh Happy Feet

Did you know that there are 52 bones in your foot?!?! If you are like me you probably take having happy feet for granted.  Every so often though my feet remind me that running and dress shoes make them unhappy.  When that happens though I break out some of the items below to return my feet to their happy and healthy selves!

Yoga Style Toe Separators
Profoot Care Flex-Tastic, Gel Toe Relaxers
I have had these for a few years.  I wouldn't say that I'm a regular user but I fall back on them when my feet are feeling a lot of fatigue.  If I notice that my feet are cramping a lot then I'll put these on while watching tv or lounging around.  I usually leave them on for 20-30 minutes at a time.  Note that you should not wear these while walking or inside your shoes.  These are something to use while you are seated and resting. 

The soft, foam shape goes onto your foot and spreads your toes to help stretch out your feet and toes.  Hold out your hand and spread your fingers out wide and that will give you an idea of what a yoga style toe separator does for your feet.  I have longer second toes than my big toes which means that I sometimes have episodes with Morton's Neuroma.  Spending a few minutes with the yoga separator on does wonders for my feet. 

Balega Socks

It's no secret that I love Balega.  I have been wearing Balega socks exclusively for running for the last 3-4 years.  Balega is a South African sock brand and the name is Zulu and means "to move with speed." I generally wear the low cut no show style but recently starting wearing the wool blend sock.  The weather has been colder for my long runs lately and this sock has kept my feet warm and comfortable during the 9-10 mile runs in 30 degree weather.  The socks have great cushioning on the bottom of the foot and a thinner top layer that keeps the sock nice and breathable.  I have yet to encounter a sock generated blister when wearing Balega's. 

Sole Sport Flips

I love Flip Flops but only if they are good flip flops.  Normal flip flops are flat and offer very little stability in them.  I started wearing Sole flip flops when Rush Running opened 5 years ago.  I was surprised at the price when I purchased my first pair...I won't lie that at $60 they are pricey for a flip flop.  But I was sold on the product features...a custom orthotic foot bed that molds to fit the shape of your foot.  They are heaven for my feet! I've got them in black, brown, and gold and wish winters were warmer in Arkansas so that I could wear them year round. Don't get me wrong, I definitely wear them around the house year round but don't wear them in public from October - March due to the colder temps. 

What products do you use and like to help keep your feet happy?  If you check out the Sole web site you might be able to score a pair on sale.  (certain colors are currently on sale for as low as $48!) Your feet won't be disappointed!

Disclosure:  All of these products were purchased by me and any opinions expressed are mine based on my personal experiences with the products. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Tough Swim

Today I headed to the pool thinking it was just a normal Friday.  I began the day by cleaning out my swim bag (side note: I found 2 suits, bra/underwear, 6 pairs goggles, and tons of swim caps in my bag!) and so I was ready for the new year of swimming! I didn't know that I would be kicking off the first 50's Fridays for 2013 with one of the hardest workouts imaginable. 

This workout has been our lunch crew's nemesis since Thanksgiving.  We screwed it up the first few times that we tried to recreate it until Brent put together a spreadsheet with the send off times. This makes it easy for us to follow the workout and is how we have finally mastered the workout.  Truth took us a few times to even write out the send off times correctly!

Brent got the inspiration for the workout from his daughter's college team.  They swim it in a 50m long course pool and we swim in a 25yd short course pool.  The workout is a descending set of 50's.  You begin at a 1 min interval and then work down by 5 seconds until you hit 40 sec. That's one set.  The first set requires one extra 50 but all of the remaining sets contain just 5- 50's.  We did six sets for 31 total 50's.  Once you get started it is pretty tough to keep track of the interval times...your brain just gets fuzzy from the oxygen deprivation!  One person usually calls out the next couple send off times during the sets and that helps out a lot too. 
My water logged send off's generally a good practice to put your workout in a plastic zip bag!
I did an okay job on the workout today.  I sat out on 2 of the 50's when I fell off the interval and needed rest to get back on track with the group.  I will not lie...I don't hit the 40 sec interval.  I end up swimming that as touch and go on the 45 sec but it works out that the extra time I need just comes out of the 1 min interval for the next set. 

It's a tough workout for me but I can tell that the rest of the crew is working pretty hard during the workout too.  There is hardly any talking during this workout and normally our crew is always chatting during our rest breaks.  There just isn't much rest so that makes the workout go by quickly. 

So far 2013 is off to a great start since I survived more of this workout than ever before! Plus, I signed up for the Nike Go the Distance challenge and selected 250 miles for my goal.  I officially ended 2012 with 203.7 swimming miles.  I'm excited to see if I can maintain consistent mileage throughout 2013 and continue to improve my times.  Without my goal to swim more in 2012 there is no way that I would have been able to hang on and complete the workout today!