Tuesday, November 13, 2012
It's late, and I don't want to spend much time on a blog because I want to get to bed earlier tonight than I have been doing. So this will be a little fragmented, because I want to jot down some thoughts but don't want to take the time to organize them well.
Today is Tuesday, a work at home day. Because I did intervals on my day off yesterday, today is a non-running day. That meant walking 5K at lunch to get my steps in.
My usual Tuesday evening commitment isn't happening today, so at 5 I quit working and thought about lifting weights. I wanted to get some grocery shopping done today, so I kept it short. Ended up just doing deadlifts and incline dumbbell chest presses. That, and 20 paces of light walking lunges as a warmup. That wouldn't have felt like enough to be worth the effort of going to the gym, but it would have got me out of the house fast enough for my Tuesday evening commitment, if it were on today.
Maybe less is more, in some cases. I did the working deadlifts at 195 lbs., and 2 reps at 215 just to see that I could. I controlled the chest presses with 40 lb. dumbbells, and next time I might boost that to 42.5 lbs. with my platemates; after that, I need to either buy heavier dumbbells or go to using the bar.
It's enough, even though I skipped doing a pulling exercise. I don't feel too bad about that, given that I do pullups du jour every morning. Hmm. With 15 neutral grip pullups in the sets this morning, it might be time to start looking at dip belts to add weight there. It might take me a while to convince myself that the fantasy of doing *weighted* pullups could become real.
Got home from grocery shopping, and found an envelope from the National Weight Control Registry in the mail. Took the time to read it, and filled out the forms. I'd send them photos, but what I've got is electronic and I don't have a color printer. So I told them they could contact my doctor for weight loss verification. I'll mail that off tomorrow.
And now, off to bed. Tomorrow will be a long day, so it will be at least Thursday before I worry about shopping for more weight lifting equipment. Hmm. Not having a gym membership could get expensive here . . . but I'm lifting more than when I had a gym membership, so it could also be worth it.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Today is a bank holiday, but not a holiday at work. I took the day off anyway, so I could exercise in the morning before donating blood in the afternoon. I reasoned that if I got the run/walk intervals in early, I'd have enough time to hydrate before the blood donation appointment.
"Early" is a relative term. Between waiting for the alarm to wake up, and being leisurely about breakfast and computer use first thing, I didn't get out until 8 AM. I was listening to my body, but not sure I understood what it was saying. The bad foot was clearly ready for this. The sore thigh wasn't 100%, but might have been ready. Then there was the blood appointment. I ended up deciding to do the run/walk intervals, but not to try to run fast and to keep the intervals at 3/1.
The sky was overcast, the temperature was 60° F (16°C), and there was a light breeze from the south. The sore thigh reminded me in the first two running intervals that not rushing things was a good idea. Then it warmed to the task, and I had to make myself slow down when it came time for the walking intervals.
I noticed that it's hard to get Mr. Testosterone to shut up when I run the same route as last time. It becomes obvious when I'm not as far at X minutes as I was the last time I ran this route. Maybe this would be easier if I didn't have the intervals beeping in my ear; but I need that beep to keep from running longer than I should.
Got to the end, and it mapped out to 4.29 miles in 34:15, for an average pace of 7:59 per mile. That might be a second or two quicker, as I fumbled with stopping the app; but close enough. I had the iPhone out and was watching when I hit the end of the 8th cycle at 32 minutes; I was at 3.98 miles then. So for the average of full cycles, I was at an 8:02 pace. Close enough to the average 8 minutes that I had told myself was good enough, but really not that much slower than last time.
I noticed that RunKeeper generates a graph of elevation and pace. It's not very interesting when I run the mostly flat 5K, but it looks kind of cool with intervals and the three little hills thrown in:
I'll take tomorrow off from running because I won't run two consecutive days when my legs and feet aren't 100%. I'll take Wednesday off because of the work and evening commitment schedules. So the next possible intervals would be on Thursday, in three days. That three day rest factored into the decision to do intervals today instead of resting the leg. That, and the blood donation; I wanted to get my 10K steps in.
The blood donation was a little different. The nurse couldn't get a temperature. Then she had trouble reading my blood pressure. She did get a pulse, at 50; that seems normal enough for where I am as a runner. Then the iron count came in at 12.4, when they needed 12.5. At this point, I'm not terribly confident in this nurse's competence, so I took the offered retest of iron. Another nurse came in, and the iron from the other hand came in at 14.4, with room to spare. The temp came in at 97.6, right about where it usually does for me. I think the blood pressure reading was high for me, but it was within the Red Cross range so I didn't complain.
Got to the donation, and I had the original nurse back. She picked a vein that had given previous nurses trouble, and the flow was slow. The machine kept beeping. But the donation did complete, so that was good.
So what is my body saying? It's probably telling me that it isn't a good idea to run the same day that I'm going to donate blood. I don't think I'll make that mistake again. Over the next few days I'll find out whether I correctly interpreted what the sore thigh was saying. Ditto for the bad foot, but I'm more comfortable with understanding the foot.
It's 10 days to the 10K I've committed to. Assuming that I've understood what my body is saying, I think I'll notch up to 4/1 intervals on Thursday, do more of them on Saturday or Sunday, and then take Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off from running before the Thanksgiving Day 10K. If my legs and feet were perfectly healthy, I'd want to just run 5K or so on Tuesday; but things being as they are, I think resting the leg and foot is more important than getting a day of cardio work in.
After this, I'm waiting till I can run continually for half an hour, three days a week, before I sign up for another race. The competitive field just makes Mr. Testosterone too loud for comfort.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
At the tender age of 49, I took up weight lifting as a means to try to control my weight. It seemed to work for a few months, then stopped working. Six years later, I admitted that the reason it didn't work is because you can't out-train a crappy diet. Since then, I've been on SparkPeople tracking what I eat and getting some exercise every day; but heavy lifting got squeezed out of my schedule about a year ago when I got really into running.
Fast forward to running injuries, and I'm having to admit that another cliche I wanted to ignore is true: Runners need to cross-train to reduce injuries. Strength training is highly thought of. As I think about what I *didn't* injure, I'm pretty sure a history of doing squats and Romanian deadlifts helped me have zero problems with my quadriceps and hamstrings when I first trained to be a runner. I had some calf issues, but I hadn't trained calf raises nearly as diligently as I'd trained squats and RDLs. And ongoing kettlebell work was keeping those hamstrings strong.
So, as I rehab from the bad foot, I'm getting back into lifting weights. I have a nice set of equipment that I bought some time ago. One of the nice things about weight lifting is that there is no technological obsolescence; an Olympic bar purchased in 2005 is every bit as good as one you could buy today. Just dust the equipment off and rearrange the basement to make it accessible, and I'm good to go. Except for the minor detail that I actually have to *use* the stuff.
Re-entry to weight lifting is a time to be diligent. It's easy to lift once and then let it drop again. It's harder to start from being off the wagon and go to lifting regularly, which is the goal. Today is the 4th time lifting since I started, and the 3rd time since I got real about figuring out what my current working weights are.
The heavy lift du jour is the Romanian deadlift. This works the hamstrings, and was traditionally my second heaviest lift, behind only the conventional deadlift. After being pleasantly surprised by how much I could deadlift and unpleasantly surprised by how little I could squat, I wasn't sure where the working weight for RDLs would shake out.
It turned out that 185 was a good working weight for RDLs today. 195 would have been too much. Since my RDLs have historically been just a little lighter than my conventional deadlifts, this supports my thinking that I could have deadlifted a bit more than the 185 I deadlifted a week ago. Next session I'll test that theory.
The pulling exercise du jour was barbell bent over rows. I added some weight; and then some more; and a bit more; and found a good working weight at 105 lbs.
I have never in my life done barbell bent over rows at 105. The last time I was doing them regularly, 85 felt about like 105 did today. Looks like all the pullups I've been doing have been good for more than just the lats.
For a pushing exercise, it was the bench press. I worked at 95 lbs., which was about right for now. It's also about as much as I've ever benched, though I haven't done much with the bench press. I've done more with dumbbell chest presses, which I haven't consistently done with heavier than 45 lb. dumbbells (90 lbs. total), ever. All in all, I'm happy with my upper body strength for this pass at re-entry to lifting.
That was enough for a session, but after I refilled my water glass I decided to do a round of one leg calf raises. They went much as expected. Then I set out to do walking lunges.
Last session, walking lunges with a pair of 20 lb. dumbbells defeated me. Let's think about that. I did them after my squats, with both exercises working the quads pretty hard. Oh, yeah. I remember. Do the walking lunges on the day you do RDLs, which work the hamstrings hard and don't do much with the quads. I also dropped the weight a bit, using a pair of 17.5 lb. dumbbells. (Technically, these are 15 lb. dumbbells with 2.5 lbs. of magnetic plate mates added on to each DB.) That turned out to be a good working weight for 20 paces (10 reps) of walking lunges, and I have just enough room cleared in the basement to get those 20 paces in if I'm careful how I turn.
Now that was enough, and I geared up to go for a 5K walk so I could get my 10K steps in on a Sunday. As I thought about writing this blog, I realized I forgot to stretch, again. Thinking about the blog brought it back to mind, and I took the time to do my stretches. The quads needed them. Light bulb moment; if I'd been in the gym, stretching would have been a natural part of the routine. But I've disrupted that pattern by canceling the gym membership and lifting at home. So I need to establish the stretching routine at home.
This can be done. Blogging about it helps me keep the details in mind, which makes it more likely that I'll keep this up.
Scheduling is looking rather fluid. Running, lifting weights, and other stuff in my life seem to be shifting around right now. It will take some trial and error to figure out how to fit all the pieces of the schedule together so I get done what I need to do, and don't burn out trying to do too much.
Reminder to self: It's okay to have a lifting session with just three lifts. It's nice to have a couple minor lifts to add on, but getting the major lifts in is the important part. And now that I've calibrated where the weight needs to be on most of the major lifts I do, that should become routine.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
It's been two weeks since I did walk/run intervals. After I made the decision to rest my sore thigh, I aggravated the bad foot with some too-aggressive walking; it took a few days for the foot to calm down, but now it feels as good as it has since February. This morning the sore thigh felt almost normal, and I decided it was time to try again. Sunshine and a 42°F temperature kind of nudged that decision along.
Mr. Testosterone urged me to try run 4, walk 1 intervals. I went as far as programming that into the RunKeeper app; then when I did my warmup, the thigh whispered that it wasn't quite all better yet. So I dithered for a while, then found I could edit the walk 1/run 3 intervals to be the other way around. So I settled on run 3/walk 1, with the running first. I think that will work better when I get out in colder weather.
The actual running went very routinely. The thigh warmed to the work and didn't complain. It mapped out to 4.30 miles in 33:39, for a 7:50 average pace per mile. That was 8 cycles of run 3, walk 1 with a 1:39 run at the end to get home. It felt like I could have kept this up longer, but caution dictated that I follow the protocol.
Got home, and as I was stretching I realized that I had forgotten to stretch after lifting weights on Thursday. That would have made the DOMS in my quads worse than it had to be! Stretching after strength training may not be as critical as stretching after running, but it's still pretty important. I resolved that I would definitely stretch after lifting weights this evening!
The sore thigh has not complained again today. I can feel that the bad foot is still less than 100%, but it's not keeping me from doing anything. I'm committed to a 10K on Thanksgiving Day, less than 2 weeks from now. I'm not going to be able to run the full distance, but run 4/walk 1 intervals are looking possible for then.
The rest of the day was dominated by household maintenance chores, including some that have languished longer than they should have. I felt good about getting stuff done, and was on my way to the basement to lift weights when I thought to look for the Nebraska football game. It was actually televised here. I saw most of the second half, and it was a good game.
I didn't make it to the weight rack. Football is hazardous to my physical activity. Now I tell myself that I'll lift tomorrow, which puts next week on the same Sunday-Thursday pattern as this week. Oh, well. Lifting on top of running might have been too much for one day. (Can you hear the hypocritical rationalization in my voice? I sure can.)
And now it's time to wind down and get to bed. Tomorrow I should know whether I pushed the running too hard today or not.
Friday, November 09, 2012
Sunday I did deadlifts for the first time in many months. Next on the rotation of heavy lifts was squats. Didn't lift weights Monday, because you don't lift heavy two days in a row. Tuesday and Wednesday I had evening commitments, so I didn't get back to the barbell until Thursday evening.
Hmm. Tuesday and Wednesday are regular commitments. Friday is dinner with my daughter, thought that may be changing. I guess the rational 3 day schedule for lifting would be Monday-Thursday-Saturday. With the natural running schedule being Tuesday-Thursday-a weekend day, that would make Thursday a two workout day, after I'm able to run regularly again. I'll have to think about that.
Anyway, I thought I knew what was going on after Sunday's good results with the deadlift. I squatted a few times with the empty bar to get the position right, then set out to warm up at 135 lbs. That was harder than anticipated, so lets see what I can do. Throw on another 20 lbs.
I couldn't do a squat at 155 lbs., only a power curtsy. So back off to 145. No dice. Turns out that for right now, 135 lbs. is my working weight for squats. So much for the fantasy of squatting my weight. Then to add insult to injury, it was really freakin' hard to do a few paces of walking lunges with a pair of 20 lb. dumbbells.
Surprise in the other direction: My working weight for shrugs turned out to be 165 lbs. The last time I was lifting weights regularly, I was squatting and shrugging about the same weight. This is odd.
The non-event was that shoulder presses and calf raises went about as expected.
Today I had re-entry DOMS from the lower body work, but not much on the upper body. It seems what I've been doing has been decent for the upper body, but that going down to parallel for squats uses muscles that I haven't been working very hard for several months. Oh, well. I know how to deal with this.
I've also got no DOMS in my lower back. I guess the kettlebell work I've been doing has kept up the lower back muscles pretty well.
I'm finding that I can lift in less time at home than at the gym, if I chop the workout down to just lifting. The major problem at home has traditionally been getting in a pulling exercise, as I don't have a cable machine; but now that I'm able to do pullups, that's no longer much of an issue.
Just have to keep my motivation up so I actually *use* those weights I spent good money for several years ago. They don't do me any good if they just sit and gather dust. And the evidence is that I may need to keep up with the squats to be able to run without messing up my legs.
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