Bake, run, eat BBQ

Happy Fourth of July to my US peeps! It’s been a busy holiday for me so far; this morning I rolled out of bed, made coffee and started baking (this and this; I parbaked the crusts yesterday so I just needed to fill them). We’re headed over to my partner’s parents’ house for some BBQ later so I wanted to make tasty desserts to bring.

The weather had good timing– it rained all morning, but by the time I was done baking it’d cleared up. It’s still gray out there and super sticky, but at least it’s not hot. (All the folks who made pool plans for today are sad.) I headed out for a 40 minute run around the neighborhood, brutal hills and all.  I fit in 3.11 miles (I guess this counts as yet another holiday 5k eh).


I’ve been wanting to take a picture of the hills around here so you all could understand my complaining. I stood in the middle of the road (on a pedestrian island) at the end of one of the biggest ones, but I’m afraid the picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s steeper than it appears here. The terrain slopes down to a large creek at the bottom, and back up to a ridge, about a half-mile from peak to peak. I like running this way because it’s shaded and kind of pretty and not too much traffic, but argh these hills. The rest you get running downhill never matches up with how hard it is going uphill…

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A2G is not for me

Since the holiday is approaching, we have 2 hours early dismissal today– hooray!– but since I still have a boatload of work to do, I need to make the most of my time in the office. Without giving up my workout, of course.

Quick lifting fit the bill. I added weight to bench again, got a little extra shoulder work in, and instead of doing squats I did deadlifts. It’s been a while! The DL loads weren’t heroic; the first set was 10x155lb and the second was 5x175lb. And they went okay– except that the callus on my hands has worn off, so I ripped up my palms. Good times.

I also spent some time with bodyweight squats looking at my form in the mirrors. I have big thighs and inflexible ankles and getting to parallel is always a challenge. Bodyweight squats obviously have a different weight distribution than back squats, so it’s not a direct comparison– I think it’s easier for me to hit depth with weight on my back– but to get more depth I wound up with a very wide stance, toes turned out, and keeping my knee over my toes was hard and put a lot of stress on my IT band. Do not want. I’ll have to do some more experimentation with a lightly loaded bar.

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How to refresh the brain in 5 miles

I sort of wandered aimlessly into the gym this morning; I wanted to run, but didn’t have any idea how long or how hard. This is my 4th run day in a row; usually that’s not my style but my legs feel fine (thanks new shoes!) and I was looking forward to putting my brain in neutral for a bit on the treadmill.

Well, I looked at my Zombies, Run! app and a new mission was out– and it said it was 60 minutes long. 60 minutes? Doable… I guess… and if it was awful I could bail and do the rest later.

It turned out to be a darn solid run. The mission actually wrapped up just a bit shy of 5 miles, so I kept going to get to that milestone. I paused after 2.5 miles for a trip to the drinking fountain, and around 3.5 miles to fix my shoelaces, but aside from that it was 1:01:21 of steady running.

My gear wasn’t quite right for a long run though; once I stepped into the shower the searing pain around my back and waist indicated that I’d chafed quite thoroughly. The back chafing I can’t do much about, but I should’ve worn different undies. Ah well, now I know.

Now that I’ve got a refreshed brain, it’s time to go eat lunch and then get back to work writing code and crunching data.

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Give us gear– in all sizes

For some reason, getting back to the gym was the best thing ever. I got my 2 sets of 10 quickie lifting in, and added weight to bench and rows. (Yay!) Even squats felt good today– they could probably stand a bump up, too.

Afterwards I fired up the same interval workout from yesterday and hopped on the treadmill. Since it was nice and flat, I made it tougher by running the walking intervals (albeit slowly). The workout is just the right length to tack on to lifting and still get out after a decent time.

Fit and Feminist posted to Facebook a kickstarter campaign for size-inclusive high performance leggings. They go up to 3x/size 26. This is a good start, but I always sort of cringe when I see things called "size-inclusive" when the sizing still misses a bunch of people. Perhaps they’ll consider doing a 4x in the future.

I’m lucky that my butt usually just fits into the biggest size of straight-sized activewear. I still have a tough time finding the perfect item, or things I like (mesh capris, where have you gone?) but clothes aren’t a barrier to my activity. But for people who are larger, just finding workout clothes is a significant hurdle. And, when they can be found, they usually cost a fortune at specialty online retailers! It’s a strange catch-22: fat people are told we should exercise, but no one wants to sell us clothes to wear while doing it, and people give us shit when we dare to exercise in public anyway.

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Zombies, intervals

Yet another beautiful day! I couldn’t not go out for a run this morning. But I wanted something different than a standard, steady-state run so I pulled out my Zombies, Run! app and checked what they had to offer.

Among the new features in the latest update (at least I think it’s new?) is interval training– 25:30 of walking, running and sprinting with voice guidelines and some zombie story for entertainment. Sounds good to me!

It wasn’t a very long run (I covered a bit over 2 miles) but I made pretty good time. However, doing sprints up hills is definitely no fun. I am so over the terrain around my house.

I got my new shoes replacements last Friday– up a size, up a width– and they’re working out just fine. It’s so nice to have shoes with enough volume– it’s much easier to fit the shoes by tightening the laces than to try to find room where there isn’t any.

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2/3 of a tri

The weather’s good today and I had some time to spare and a body that wasn’t sore, so I headed out for a twofer: 3 miles running and 30 minutes swimming laps. Whew.

It’s funny; my mileage for this month isn’t awful (I’ll end up with at least 25, which is respectable non-dedicated training miles for me) but I feel like my running performance is stagnant-to-declining. On the other hand, I haven’t been working very hard on it… 3 miles in ~40 minutes on nasty hills is about what I’ve been running for months now.

After the run, I didn’t have much left in the tank for the swim. I think I just dragged my tired legs along for the most part. The last two laps I tried a new drill: 5-stroke breathing. (I’m usually a 3-stroke breather.) Brutal, but it works on some places I have bad habits: 1) I overstride, so the quicker I can turn over my strokes, the quicker I can breathe; 2) I need to fully evacuate my lungs before turning my head to breathe so I get a nice big breath as quickly as possible.  You never really appreciate being able to breathe during athletic activity, until you can’t…

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Is there a “too much”?

I’m singing that song again this morning… HIIT is kick my butt… HIIT is kick my butt…

Regular HIIT instructor is out still, so we had a replacement (different replacement from last week). He kind of dialed it in– he wasn’t going along with us like the other instructors did– but that didn’t mean his routine was any easier. 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest, for 25 minutes. I also learned today that I am not capable of doing burpees on the floor (half burpees in this case). I just don’t have enough room with my little T.rex arms– the hop forward is like 2 inches. I finally said "f it" and grabbed a step so I had room. (No props today…)

I don’t know if I’m wiped out because it was hard or if I really haven’t recovered properly. I wrote about yesterday’s run already, and when I got home I hopped in the pool and swam laps for half an hour (which was glorious). I guess I’m still learning how much exercise I can cram in without feeling like crap. Swimming is nice and low-impact, but maybe doing a moderately strenuous full-body workout and following it up with HIIT just 12 hours later is too much. Maybe. I mean, I did it and I’m not keeled over. It probably wasn’t my best effort, but I hung in there. But is it a good idea? I don’t know.

(tw: food and calorie talk ahead) As an experiment, the last couple months I’ve been tracking my food using one of those intolerable apps– not restricting, just keeping track in an attempt to eat a little more deliberately and make some more functional food choices. (I know, I know; it’s only made me a little crazy so far. I don’t track on weekends either; we tend to eat out or have special meals that someone else is cooking so I’m not even going there.) In the interest of tracking energy balance too (first law of thermodynamics eh) I’ve also been logging exercise. (My running app helpfully sticks a number on each workout. Nike should know about this stuff, right?) I have no conclusions to report out on, other than the fact that I’ve been excited to learn that my daily hemp protein smoothie gets me 80% of my iron RDA for the day (a big deal for me, since I bleed a ton every month so anemia is always a worry).

My gym puts up little fitness facts posters every month and this month’s is on the tremendously exciting subject of calories. Apparently cycling, swimming and jumping rope (?) burn the most calories per hour. (Of course, the cycling numbers are like Tour de France, not leisurely pedaling a stationary bike while watching ESPN. And if I can jump rope for a minute straight without tripping I’m happy.) Over the course of my tracking I’ve become convinced that it’s all lies. I would love to be recruited for one of those experiments where they stick me in a closed system, a room with a zillion sensors, for a week, and I eat weighed food and exercise and they measure my energy expenditure. For science, I would like to do this. Just to see.

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