Brain in neutral, legs moving

I wasn’t sure I would be able to manage a run today; DOMS is taking a toll on my legs from all the squats yesterday. But once I got to the gym and hopped on the treadmill, I was fine for a slow 35 minute recovery run. I didn’t have my usual tracker app (its update has totally broken it) so I just put on Zombies, Run! and ran along for as long as I felt like.

When a run is hard work, it’s necessary to keep the brain engaged and focus on stride turnover, breath, and all the other pieces that have to come together. But these slow recovery runs just mean the brain goes into neutral and as long as I don’t fall off the treadmill or hurt myself everything is fine. I don’t know which kind of run I like better, but they both have their place.

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Making lazy work; and, I am not the Hulk

Squat, bench, row day: 115, 95, 85. Squat was supposed to be only 110, but I was lazy and just threw 2 35lb plates on the bar– otherwise it’s 25s, 5s and 2.5s (fiddly!) They were tough but doable. The rows, on the other hand, were barely doable, and I don’t feel like I can hold my form properly at this weight. There’s some piece of muscular strength that I’m lacking, so I’m going to break the Stronglifts rules and drop it back 5 or 10lb and really perfect it before I add more weight. (Yeah, how do you handle that in SL? What happens once you get out of the beginner gains phase and get stuck?)

That took me a half-hour, so I decided I had time to hop on the treadmill for a quick run– I pushed it hard and kept it to just a mile. But I was running in my minimal shoes and my feet definitely feel tired and over-stretched now. (Once again, I was being lazy and didn’t change my shoes. You know you spend too much time in the gym when you need more than one pair of shoes to complete your workout.) Hopefully they feel okay tomorrow; I’d like to run again.

I was talking to someone I see occasionally at the gym, and they mentioned my workouts and asked if I could "beat everyone up now". I wish I could say this was the first time I’ve gotten this kind of comment from people. At my best, I’m a gentle person; I’ve worked hard in my life to channel my innate aggression and anger into more productive behaviors. I wonder why the fact that I’m strong makes people assume that I would use it for violence? Is it the masculinity of strength that leads people to project aggression onto me? To be honest, this really bugs me, because it is something I’ve had to work on.

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Plodding along

My partner has been struggling with fighting off what he calls "SARS-MRSA-bird-flu-bola". Apparently there’s a virulent strain of ick going around his work, and the last few days he’s been having some elevated immune symptoms. Fun times! Keep that stuff away from me, I’m tired enough as it is. (There’s something going around my work too, but it seems most of my sick coworkers have the good sense to stay home.)

Anyway, I’ve been pretty sore and tired lately and I thought today I might hop on the treadmill and see how it goes and swap to the elliptical or whatever if I needed to. But it turns out I could manage to plod along slowly on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and that was satisfactory.

I might have to enforce some rest this weekend and maybe through Monday… my feet are unhappy in a suspiciously stress fracture-like way. I’ve been making sure to wear comfy shoes, but they’re still twingey. Honestly though, I’m fine with a break– my period started too (surprise! early again!) so I am just about done with everything right now…

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The perils of talking about protein

Today was quick lifting: squats, overhead press, deadlifts. Everything got bumped fine and more than likely will get bumped again next time. I think I really underestimated my starting weight for OHP, but I’m not complaining; it’s good practice to work on my form (squeeze them buns!)

The lifting part only took 20 minutes, and I stuck some yoga onto the end– nothing exciting, just making sure to stretch my hamstrings, quads and back. My body has been feeling a little beat up this week; I’m tired, and my joints are sort of stiff. I’m pretty sure I need to make a better focus on diet and sleep, since I’ve let my recovery activities slide a little.

Speaking of diet… so how many of my lifting readers have been out eating with people, and somehow you wind up mentioning the amount of protein you want to eat that day? And people look at you like you have three heads, and inevitably go on to tell you about how Americans (in my case) eat way too much protein anyway. (Bonus points if they give you a lecture on how your diet is destroying the environment– that might just be me, since I work with some pretty granola folks.)

I’m not arguing the point that many people probably eat more protein than their bodies need to maintain their muscle mass. The assumption that people make is, unless you look like someone who starred in an Avengers movie, what you’re doing isn’t much different than the person who spends 45 minutes on the elliptical machine every day. But people who lift weights aren’t trying to maintain their mass– we’re tearing it apart and rebuilding it stronger. All the time. And in order to make that happen, we need to eat lots of protein.

It’s kind of a special case– I’m trying to get strong like Wonder Woman here, even if I don’t look like it :)

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Just another day

My lifting soreness took a bit of a break today, and I felt fine to squeeze in a (rainy, treadmill) run this morning. I don’t think I could manage a long run, but 35 minutes was fine; it started off tough but once I warmed up a bit it felt a lot better. The cardio room was sticky though; I sweated a lot…

I feel like I’m veering between laziness and over-activity lately, and it’s not being helped by the fact that some mood issues are leading to problems with my body image. I don’t have the motivation for nearly-every-day exercise now, and when I do have motivation, I’m unhappy with my perceived laziness so I want to do everything (see all the combo/multi-workout days I’ve had recently).

This time of year is hard for me anyway, and it would probably be best if I can find a sort of happy medium… and give myself the grace to do activity or not, missing one workout isn’t the end of the world. And there’s nothing wrong with racheting the strenuousness down either– a walk instead of a run, without feeling like I need to be walking for hours to "make up" for it.

Some days I feel like I’ve got my shit together, and some days I don’t…

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Unorthodox workouts

I’m not sure that the preferred way to structure a workout is to do an hour-long yoga class and then lift, but that’s the way I did it today and it seemed to work all right. Yoga is a nice warmup and then some.

The Tuesday morning class is a fundamentals class, and I like it because, due to being mostly self-taught, I always have bad yoga habits that need correcting. It’s one thing to do a flow class where it’s vinyasa after vinyasa; it’s another entirely to take one pose and break it down into its components and focus on alignment and how small changes feel. The class is also interesting due to being mostly men, which is unlike any class I’ve attended. The instructor is a man who’s a member at the gym and he has apparently recruited men he knows to take the class.

After class, I got started on the squats, bench presses, and rows– at 100lb, 90lb, and 80lb this time. I was going in with tired legs, so the squats were a little harder than usual. And I get the feeling I’m going to cap out on rows very soon; unless I do some serious adaptation I’m probably going to hit my limit next week. The lifting went fast though; I finished in 30 minutes.

I feel like yoga is good for my lifting. It’s not just stabilizing, it encourages me to be mindful as I lift. I’m not sure the converse is true; there are some things in yoga that are helped by being strong (I have a lovely, strong chaturanga!) but I still get tired in lots of poses. Being strong does tend to help my balance though, which is nice.

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Back to nature

The weather is gorgeous today– a beautiful early fall day. And I did go out for that park run! The trail was a bit damp, but it’s pretty well-drained (aka rocky) and there wasn’t much mud. The leaves have just started to turn here, and the wet leaves and undergrowth had the most amazing smell. It felt so good to be out in the woods for just a little bit!

It turned out to be a nice 3 miles in 40 minutes. I got a bit carried away in the park (like I always do) and the planned 30 minutes turned into more than that, since I had to run back from the park. It’s an interesting route; the land slopes towards the creek, so the way out is downhill, the park part is relatively flat, and the way back is all uphill. And the way I picked to get back had a ridiculous steep hill going up to the main road (and no sidewalks; dodging cars is fun). Today I was thankful for my strong quads.

This morning was chilly and I packed a pullover and wore it out, but I quickly realized that it was warming up quickly and I really would’ve been fine in my tank top… unfortunately I hadn’t brought my phone armband so the shoulder pocket on the pullover was the only way to keep my phone out of my hands so I kept the pullover on and sweated.

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