Pushing myself

Workout B4 today and I am still tearing it up. Something has happened and I feel like I can lift more than I’m lifting, like I’m not challenging myself as much as I could be. I’m not sure if this is an accurate feeling, but it’s not a bad one.

I put another 5 lb onto the reverse lunges and rows (up to big ol’ 45lb dumbbells now) and switched to a barbell for the push presses and got that up to 80lb. And I’m using 45lb plates for my back extensions now, which feels quite beefy (those are big plates!) I wish I had such positive things to say about the incline reverse crunches but honestly I hate them; my lower back really feels crunched up at the bottom of the eccentric phase. I suspect there’s a better ab exercise for me out there.

After all the lifting, I decided it would be a good day to test how fast I could run that mile (on the treadmill). And well, the answer is sort of mixed; I ran it in just under 10 minutes, which is good, but I was hoping for a little bit faster. That was a dang brutal 10 minutes though… I don’t think I’ll be making a habit of it! It probably doesn’t help that I was running on tired legs from the long run yesterday and today’s lifting.

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Long runs and shoes

All I wanted to do today was have a nice long, easy-ish run where I could put my brain in neutral for a bit. 45 minutes and somewhere between 3.65 and 3.85 miles later, mission accomplished. (The treadmill said 3.65 and my thingumbobber said 3.85, so it’s somewhere in there… probably closer to 3.65 though.) CNN was on the gym tv and it was unending terrible news, so my brain didn’t really stay in neutral but I guess today is no good for escapism.

I think it’s time for a new pair of running shoes; I’m having the characteristic calf pain that’s like an early warning system. Mine have 176 miles on them, according to my records, but after I finished training for the 5k in the spring I was also wearing them when traveling (which isn’t the best, but I’m not packing a pair of shoes for running AND a pair for walking in) and sometimes when lifting, so they have plenty of wear.

Shoe models have turned over since I bought my last pair, so I’m debating

a) hunting down another pair of my old ones (Mizuno Wave Rider 16)
b) going to the new model of my existing shoe (but the 16 was a bit big through the forefoot and I got some blisters, and they’ve reduced the structure in the 17 and people say the fit is looser)
c) trying the men’s version of the women’s shoe I loved/hated (Saucony Ride– it was so lovely and squishy but the women’s wide was still too narrow and gave me epic blisters)

In the end, it’ll probably be ZAPPOS TO THE RESCUE and I’ll try one of each and send the rest back. (Seriously, this is how I buy all my shoes these days.)

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The luxury of worrying about inactivity at work

Workout A4 today. I am pretty sure I’m not going to make any significant progress on the pull-up front; today’s negative chin-ups were still too hard. And my hands and forearms are getting sore and tired… which is not really a good sign. Well, one more week to go. The lat pulldowns only got 15 seconds of rest today between sets and they were a big ol’ pain in the butt. On the other hand, I loaded split squats up with 105lb easily, and did all 3 sets of pushups on the floor without a problem (and with pauses). So my non-target areas are doing fine. I finished it all off with 15 minutes on the elliptical at interval effort.

More research about the health risks of sitting is coming out every day, and I have mixed feelings about it. It’s evident that sitting for hours at a time is related to health problems, so it’s good to take frequent breaks or even use a standing desk if one is able to.

I have some perspective, though. My parents (who are relatively young, mid-50s) have always worked manual labor jobs– my dad is a carpenter and my mom worked a variety of factory jobs and retail. They never had the luxury of sitting at work… and I watched them come home from work every day exhausted and beaten down and they told me, "Use your brain. Go to school and get an office job. Don’t do this." My dad’s body is a wreck from spending days outside hammering and lifting and falling off roofs way too often, and he goes through more ibuprofen than I care to think about. My mom shattered a kneecap at work 2 years ago. They’ve sacrificed their bodies for their livelihoods (and mine, too).

And here I am with that cushy office job, reading about how we’re sitting too much and we’d be better off with standing desks or treadmills. And I can’t help thinking about how this entire conversation needs a healthy dose of privilege checking.

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I tried…

I have been feeling just… off… yesterday and today. My tonsils are swollen and my joints are painful like I’m fighting something off. I trust you, immune system, but I wish I knew exactly what you are doing.

I’m going to this big ol’ BBQ this afternoon and for Reasons I really wanted to get a run in this morning. (The Reasons aren’t necessarily quality reasons.) And I got dressed and headed out, planning on 3 miles, but from the first couple steps I could tell that my body wasn’t cooperating– everything hurt! Not like super-duper-ow hurt, but the dragging-down kind of hurt where it just makes everything not fun.

But anyway, I dragged my butt through 2.5 miles in 33 minutes and called it a day. Now I just sort of want to stay home and sleep rather than going to this BBQ…

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Little pool day

Pool day! Okay, it was more like pool 35 minutes. I went and swam some laps and felt kind of tired and sore. My shoulders aren’t awesome today. I should stretch some more before I cool down completely…

We have plans tomorrow to go to a BBQ and I’m hoping to fit in a nice run in the morning beforehand. The weather will still be cool and nice, and then I’ll have a nice appetite to eat all the tasty BBQ foods :)

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Changing it up

What a weird summer day! It’s not even 80F out. I was thinking about going for a swim, but the temperature gave me pause. And I could run, it’s nice weather for it, but it wasn’t grabbing me today. And then, around lunchtime, I found myself dancing around the office to B-52′s Rock Lobster. (Luckily I was working at home and didn’t subject my coworkers to it.)

And it was really fun, and as I was grinning and catching my breath I was like “huh, dancing is great! Hey, I haven’t played dancey game in a while, I should do that…” So I did. It’s been… months maybe? since I’ve played, and my body still remembers enough to 5-star the songs on Hard. Maybe I’ll get around to working on some new songs.

After I finished dancing, I dragged my yoga mat out of the corner and went through some sun salutation-ish stuff and some nice hip openers. It’s been a while since I did yoga too. It felt awfully good. I’ve been doing rudimentary stretching after my workouts, but it’s not enough– everything was so tight.

I’ve been so focused on running and lifting and swimming that I’ve neglected some of my other fun activities. I’m glad I got back to them today!

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Getting better all the time

Wow, I am seeing so much improvement in this stage! I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep adding 5-10lb per week to these dumbbell lifts. Actually… it’s getting to the point where wrangling the dumbbells is harder than doing the actual prescribed exercise. I can use 2 hands to get a 40lb dumbbell to my shoulder for the reverse lunges, but for something like the push press that clean-ish motion gets very awkward with dumbbells… I suppose I can switch to barbell, I’ve done barbell push presses before.

I finished up the workout with 15 minutes on the treadmill. I seem to be getting faster. Well, it’s probably a bad idea to draw conclusions based on a short run on a flat treadmill, but it was 1.4 miles in 15 minutes (10:43 pace), which I find impressive for myself, anyway. It would be fun to do a test one day to see just how quickly I can run a mile, to provide some gratification to my inner high schooler…

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