Supportive strength and endurance

Following on from my core workout yesterday… it seems like I’ve exercised everything evenly, since my entire midsection– front, sides, and back– is all somewhat sore, including some muscle groups that I’ve never really paid attention to before (like whatever it is that flexes the spine laterally? Internal obliques, I guess.) Exciting! Maybe I should keep this in the rotation for Thursdays.

When I started running, I started from a very low level of fitness. While I could get myself around fine at a walking pace, muscles had a lot of catching up to do when I started trying to go faster. One of the first new muscles I noticed were my (external) obliques that did a lot of work helping my body to rotate. They got strong much faster than the opposing muscles. I felt like I needed to be careful not to contract them too hard. Now everything’s stronger thanks to lots of lifting work, but I’m excited to build more strength and resilience.

Anyway, today I ran Saturday’s 5 miler instead of the 3 miles scheduled, because it’s bitterly cold out. Running outside on a day with a high of 20F and 20mph winds is not a viable option, so I will probably miss my run tomorrow– I’d rather get the long one done today and skip the 3 miler.

The run went pretty well, considering– I had some problems with my feet but I was able to finish the run without walk breaks in 1:01:53. (That meant an abrupt treadmill switch when the first one went into "cool-down" mode after 55 minutes. Argh!) I finished the run ravenously hungry… wasn’t fueled up for a long run, I guess!

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Core hardcore

Recovery day today. I’m not sure if I really honored that or not; I wound up hitting the gym pretty hard, and I did work some of the muscles I use for running, so we’ll see if my body responds like "active recovery" or if it responds like "what the hell".

But! I’m increasingly aware of core imbalances/weaknesses that could use some work, so today I did exercises that ought to hit everything– my low back, obliques, abs, hip flexors, glutes…

Biceps/Triceps (I gotta)
Weighted back extensions
Cable wood chops
Situps
Leg raises
Kettlebell side crunches
Kettlebell swings
myrtl-like and hip-tastic: donkey kicks, fire hydrants/knee circles, jane fondas, clamshells

2 sets of 20 of each of these was a lot! I guess the question isn’t "will I be sore tomorrow" but rather "how sore will I be…" I hope it won’t be too bad… I have another 3 miles tomorrow to get done, and 4 for the weekend.

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My body keeps track of everything

Well, the good thing about being on a training plan is that I don’t have to think too hard about what I’ll be doing at the gym every day, I just check my calendar and go. Today said easy 3 miles, and that’s what I did, in about 36 minutes. The first 2 miles were tough and my legs were tired but by the third mile everything clicked into place and I felt better and stronger.

Afterwards I decided to do a few sets of situps/crunches and devote some time to really stretching out my hips and glutes, since my lower back is still very twingey. Those are some weird muscles– they seem to hold onto emotions and getting into them can be as much head work as body work. Some reclining big toe pose with twists and cross-legged forward folding helped a bit, though it was hard to let tension go to stretch into the places I wanted to.

Maybe tomorrow I should attend the end-of-day yoga class…

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First run of the training cycle

This year’s spring 5k training starts today! I forgot to decide on/look up a format, and I didn’t run yesterday (gave the cold one more day to hit the road) so today’s run was a treadmill combo 3 mile/tempo. I ran the first mile at warm-up pace, the second mile fast, and the third cruise. I finished the 3 miles in just under 35 minutes, and busted my butt to hang onto a 11:00 pace through mile 2. (My last 5k, a PR, was ~11:30.) And as a bonus, the heat from the run seems to have dislodged most of the gunk from my sinuses and I can breathe again. For now, anyway.

A couple of old injuries are nagging at me though. My back strain from like 6 months ago is flaring up again– really? Really?? I have no idea why. I guess it’s time to pull out the heating pad again. And yesterday I noticed that, although my left big toenail is mostly grown out and healed up from its abuse on the hiking trip, the right one isn’t growing. I gave it an experimental pull and yep, it’s not really attached to the nailbed anymore. I figured if it hadn’t fallen off by 3 months out it wouldn’t, but I guess that’s not true. Now I don’t know what to do about it? I guess I’ll just wait for it to go. Sorry, that all is kind of gross…

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I do like the flower crown idea though.

I think I’m coming down with something– my nose is running, my throat is sore, and I’m super lethargic. But I went to the gym anyway. We’ll see if that was a good idea or not tomorrow…

Actually I feel a little better after dragging myself through a slow-ish but solid 3 miles on the treadmill. Hungry though! I’m still experimenting with saving breakfast for after my workout.

(tw: weight loss and wedding crap follows)

Plans for the wedding are rapidly crystallizing (omg stress) and things that were very abstract 2 months ago are now much more real. Hello, Wedding Industrial Complex!

One thing that’s popped up for me– without anyone bringing it up, even, this is all me here– is wondering if I should try to lose weight/grow my hair/otherwise change my appearance for the wedding. All of the sudden I’ve somehow internalized the idea that I need to look like one of them waifish wedding dress models with long tousled hair and a flower crown.

As far as I can tell, pre-wedding weight loss is 1) temporary; 2) non-health focused; and 3) oddly not about the husband-to-be but rather for impressing other women and getting ‘good’ pictures.

Of course, looking at it critically isn’t helping much to chase away the feeling that it’s something I ought to do. My partner likes how I look now, I think I look fine in pictures right now, but it’s just "what is done".

Maybe one of the plusses of this short engagement is that I won’t have too much time to worry about it…

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Going to the gym will keep me from pulling out my hair, right?

A little bit of everything today: lifting, running, yoga. I wanted to run more, but my legs were tired. I only made it a mile and a half of the 3 I had planned. I have a lot of work to do getting my legs in condition to run more.

Short post today: work + wedding planning nonsense means I have only a few cycles to spare. My mother is very very EXCITED about wedding stuff and I’m about ready to put her on mute…

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Making plans

Well, I’m back from Florida. Overall the trip was kind of a wash; viz stayed bad (3′) so I didn’t dive at all. Instead, every day we spent most of the day visiting someone– my grandparents, my aunt, my aunt and uncle, our friend. Note that my partner and I are very much introverts. By the end of the trip I was done with human beings and hoarse. I love them all, but that was too much. (My partner is a saint for being patient with everything, too.)

On the way to the airport, though, it was a gorgeous day and I made a detour to Fort De Soto and we spent half an hour on the beach with our toes in the water, picking through shells. I’m very displeased that was the only beach time we had. It figures that it wouldn’t get warm until we were about to leave!

Now I’m back at home and back at work and therefore back at the gym. I really wanted to run so I hopped on the treadmill and put down 3 miles, playing with the speed and incline. I think this might be the first time I’ve started a full 2-month running training sessions with sufficient endurance to run hard for 3 miles.

Now I just have to pick a plan! I’ve been doing Higdon for so long and it does the trick, but maybe I should try a new one. It’s kind of hard to find a 5k plan in the right range; a lot of the intermediate ones have too much mileage, but the beginner ones don’t have enough. At the end of the day they all seem to look the same, though: 2-3 hard training runs, 2-3 easy shorter runs, and a long slow run.

Any suggestions out there for something different?

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