Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well Deserved Rest Day

I'm feeling extremely fatigued and today is my rest day and I'm happy to take it!

After last week at CrossFit I was having a lot of shoulder/chest/back soreness. The weekend I planned on lifting nothing, did get in a run on Saturday in my five fingers, and then attempted a mountain bike ride on Sunday. I ended up bagging out half-way through the ride :( I was making stupid mistakes, not feeling confident - and the more I worried about it the more mistakes I was making. Physical fatigue was playing with me mentally. I decided further riding was not going to go well, and it was best to go home rather than risk injury. So that's what I did. It's unlike me to bag out on a ride! And in fact, I don't think I've ever done that before.

And then the beginning of this week was two very intense and difficult workouts for me at CrossFit - including a lot of pull-ups and upper body - Ugh!

I'm sore. I'm tired. My body wants recovery time. Today is a well deserved rest day :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post Robie Bragging

I am very proud of achieving 1st place in my age division at the Race to Robie Creek. The race is a 13.1 mile run and coined the "toughest half-marathon in the Northwest". A 2000+ foot ascent up and over Aldape Summit and almost 2,000 foot descent. And since this is my blog...I'm going to brag and show a picture of my 1st place award (as well as other photos)!

It's hard to achieve, but I finished 1st in my age division (35-39), 25th overall female (out of 1100 females) and 218th overall across the finish line. And I didn't even prepare for this race! I had run a 53.7 mile trail run in Moab 3 weeks prior and didn't even know if my legs would run. I actually thought I might end up walking/running.

Greg after he finished Robie - soaking his feet in the icy cold water. I asked him to flex for this shot and he happily complied! Great legs, Greg! Greg did GREAT as well! He never ran a race, and did not prepare for this race as a runner - he prepared by doing CrossFit and going out for under 10 runs with me. Plus, he never ran anything over 12 miles! So his finish in 2:02:59 was absolutely incredible!!! He wanted to come in under 2 hours, but I think his time was extremely impressive!

Curt Hardy, Sheri Edmond, and me at the post-Robie race party - which is always too much fun. Drink too much beer, and not drink enough water. So much fun!

Me and Sheri Edmond. She's so supportive! She loaned me her Garmin for the race, and she was the first person I saw as I crossed the finish line. Big hugs to Sheri!

Me and Greg after completing the Race to Robie Creek -sharing our experiences. It was so much fun to hear what Greg thought of the race. It was his 1st race and it was his first time running Robie so I was very curious what he thought of all of it. We're both very happy the race is over, and very happy with our times.

Greg came in at 2:02:59, and I finished at 1:53:57. Woo Us!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

OMG-Tomorrow's Workout

Recall, today I just did my first 100 pull-ups without band assistance. My hands are torn up and I am currently wearing bandages on both hands - I look like a boxer ;) I can't even get any water on my hands - I can't even wash my hair because the shampoo stings; and can only use soap on the tip of my fingers to wash my body. It's sad. Very sad and painful.

So when I saw tomorrow's workout, I was a tad bit distressed:

30 Handstand push-ups
40 Pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1.5 poods
60 Sit-ups
70 Burpees

But after looking at it for awhile, I accepted the fact that I will be going to CF tomorrow morning and will have to do the WOD. So I looked at each task and asked myself "Can I do this?". I can do the hanstand pushups using bands - so no issue there. I can swing a 35lb KB swings - well I can do 5 sets of 10. I have no problems at all with sit-ups - I can do hundreds without issue. And burpees are really fun though I haven't done 70 in a row - but they are do-able and I enjoy them so I don't see a big problem here. The only task I have an issue with is the pull-ups. My hands are torn up which makes my hands unbearable when grasping the bar. If my hands were not torn up, I would attempt them -- but I don't know. If I tear them up more then I healing time will be longer. So, I wonder if there is an alternate to pull-ups? Or should I just buck up, apply tape and just go for it. It's only 40...right?!

100 Pull-ups!!

Today's CrossFit WOD was a killer:

50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
10 Muscle-ups
40 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
8 Muscle-ups
30 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
6 Muscle-ups
20 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
4 Muscle-ups
10 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
2 Muscle-ups

The usual prescribed ball for da' ladies is 10#, not 20#. Also, while I am working on muscle ups, I just don't have the strength (yet) to hold up my own weight. So the alternative to muscle-ups is 4 times the number of dips and pull-ups. That means for every 1 muscle-up, I had to do 4 pull-ups and 4 dips. I also had to use a purple band for assistance on the dips - it's the lightest assistance before doing dips without assistance. I did, however, do pull-ups without the use of a band - since last Monday. a week. Yay, me!

The results of this WOD can be seen on my hands:

Doesn't look too bad but hurts terribly.

It took me 30 minutes just to get half-way through the WOD - completing rounds through 30 wall balls and 2 rounds of dips/pullups. My hands were just too torn up, and my upper body just did not want to throw myself over the bar anymore. I'm satisfied with my pullups - having just learned to link them 1 week ago, I completed 100 today!! Again, yay me!!

My next goal will be to learn muscle-ups!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I've Gone Global!

These are just too cool not to post! These are statistical information on people around the world who have watched my Ultra video. It's too cool to see that people in other counties like Canada, Great Britain, Spain, South Korea, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway - just to name a few, have viewed my video. I'm not quite sure why I'm so excited about that, but I am :)

Pull Up Goal - Finally!!

Since joining CF, I have been working on my pull-ups. I began by using a green band for assistance, and over the months progressed to less assistance bands - blue, then red, then finally purple. Purple is it though and then you have to work without a band. I made great progress on the purple band but could not get the movement of the kip down without the band - it had become a security blanket. In December I finally got my first unassisted pull-up, but it really looked bad, felt bad and required a much greater effort than was necessary. After a couple weeks, I gave up hope of progressing to unassisted pull-ups and used the purple band. But at the same time, one of my coaches recommended I do negative pull-ups - where you hop up so the chin was over the bar and slowly drop your body down. So, I incorporated a few of those when doing my pull-ups.

It is now April and I still didn't have my unassisted pull-ups. But while watching some CrossFit videos, I noticed a gal doing unassisted kipping pull-ups - and it looked so easy. I said to myself - Oh, I can do that! So, on Monday morning I walked into the gym newly inspired to work on my pull-ups. After stretching, I chalked my hands and walked over to the pull-up bar. Without hesitate, I grabbed hold of the bar and stared at the wall in front of me. I didn't think - I just did. I cranked out 3 linked, unassisted pull-ups! I jumped down off the bar. Wooo Hooo!!! So that I would not forget my form, I did another set - and cranked out 4 in a row. Inspired I tried again. This time, I put together another 3. All sets felt great!

I have now included 3 to 4 sets of 3 to 4 unassisted linked pull-ups in my CF warm up. I will continue to work on pull-ups but it seems like I'm the right track and will continue progressing - without the assistance of bands!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Running Robie in Five Fingers?

Today I ran one of my favorite runs - Hulls Gulch - in my five fingers (5F) During the run I was thinking about how I was running today versus 1 week ago today when I was running Robie. Could I have run Robie in my 5F? Should I have run Robie in my 5F?

To answer this question, I paid for close attention to both my uphill and downhill form. On the uphill, I felt very strong. What you realize when running in 5F is that you land very lightly and you pay attention to where your feet landing - fearing the dreaded pebble you could land on at the softest most tender part of your foot. Ouch! Something you really don't need to worry about is that on your feet versus the bounding you do when you know you have soles to protect your feet.

The downhill is another question. I ran downhill at Robie at an average pace of 7:05. I know I could not have run that fast downhill in my 5F as fast as I ran in my normal running shoes. Most of my attention would have to focus on the terrain and landing instead of just focusing in on running due to the worry about pebbles and the lack of traction. And, the slush, ice and mud would have been a problem - in my normal running shoes is was a precarious situation but in 5F it would have been much worse - again because of lack of traction.

Ultimately, I'm glad I didn't run Robie in my 5F. They/me would have done well on the uphills, but the flats and downhill need some work and not enough that I think I would ever do as well in my five fingers as I did in my normal running shoes on the downhill. And, I'm not sure I would ever run Robie, or any other race that I was competing in for time, because you do have to be more cautious in your foot landing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Better Test of CrossFit: "Toughest Half-Marathon in the Northwest"

[Originally written for Modern Paleo]

Greg here, again. Recall that the goal with CrossFit training is not to be elite at anything in particular, but rather to perform well at everything in general -- to "specialize in not specializing" athletically. CrossFit's founder thinks this is possible, and that their methodology is the best way to pull it off. Of course this just begs to be put to the test, as I explained last time with the story of Tammy taking on her first ultra run.

We had a lot of fun with that test, but wouldn't it have been even more interesting to use someone who didn't start out as a trained runner? Sure!

That would require finding the right lab rat. Maybe someone who wasn't athletic and sporty growing up... think "classic band-geek who's into computers." Like me. :^) Even as an adult who became active, I simply didn't enjoy running. "Sorry dear, I know you looooove running, but it's mountain biking for me -- your 'fun' hurts too much!" So of course I've never trained to run any of the races I would never have thought to enter in the first place. Like Robie. (Cue the ominous music.) Growing up in Boise, I was well aware of this annual rite that draws thousands of masochistic runners from all over: The Race to Robie Creek, billed as "the toughest half-marathon in the Northwest." No kidding.

It's so easy to be all macho about stuff in the future, isn't it? "Alright, T -- if you actually run that Moab ultra, I'll run Robie!"

Then, wouldn't you know it, the future arrived. It was test time. Would my unspecialized training let me "perform well" at this fabled exercise in running brutality? Or, failing that, could I at least finish the horrid thing and not be prevented from using stairs for a week? Here's how it all went down:

As for the stairs question: happily, no problem! While I could certainly feel tightness in my legs for a couple of days, I wasn't hampered. Case in point: the Monday morning following the race I turned in a strong performance on our regularly-scheduled random CrossFit beatdown, which happened to be dominated by lunge-walking and squats.

(P.S.: Did you notice who was already there, waiting for me at the finish line? Yeah, the little sandbagger. Even that morning, Tammy was saying she didn't expect to be able to do more than jog/walk Robie in a social way because of training for, running, and having only three weeks to recover from a very different kind of race. Yet she ended up being the 25th female over the line and outright won her age division! Needless to say, she's thrilled with having gained the capacity to so casually demolish the best results she ever saw with her previous training methods.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Greg and Tammy - Strengths for Robie

Ha Ha!! It's funny that people say/think Greg and I are competing in the Race to Robie Creek. Friends/family have said to both of us that they expect me to beat Greg because I'm a runner.

First and foremost I am not in competition with Greg - we are each others biggest fans and they only thing we are racing is the clock. I've never thought of this race and asked myself if I could beat Greg to the end! My questions have always been whether I am recovered enough to run the race, and if I can run it, will I do a good job. Greg has always just wanted to "represent" well.

Second, I don't think people understand how Greg has been training or what he is capable of doing! They don't see him at CrossFit. If they saw him perform, they would think Greg has the capability of doing extremely well at this race! No, Greg is not the typical runner, and has not done typical typical training for Robie. He's added a few distance runs into his regimen - something like 8 to 10 runs of various distances but nothing totalling 13 miles. What I have seen is that he kicks my butt on every sprint workout we do and he flies on any downhill we run. Plus, he has this amazing ability to mentally endure far beyond what his body wants to do. It's a skill I have not yet acquired. So I think Greg will finish before me. Kick butt Greg!!!

As for me, I am good at endurance and hills, but have not trained for this race - it requires a much faster pace than the 10 minute pace I was working to maintain for my 53.7 mile Moab run. Robie is less of an endurance and more of a strength race. By the time I can calm into a pace the race will shift to the down. And running downhill is NOT my strength! I seem to run downhill with my brakes on :(

I am a runner just starting to get strength, and Greg is a strength guy just learning to run. How it ends up -- we'll find out soon!


I know predictions are a bad thing to make BUT...

I predict the following for Greg
Up Pace: 9:40-9:50...if not quicker!
Down Pace: 7:15-7:30...if not quicker!!

It may be shown to be incorrect in my prediction - but I don't think so. Greg is extremely strong and has power and can really kick it in on the down.

He'll do very well!

Morning of Robie Creek

Greg and Tammy's Morning-Of Robie Schedule
7:00 wake and drank coffee
8:30 Tammy shower (Greg should...but will he ??)
9:00 Pick up timing chip - the old fashioned ankle kind
9:30 Check in with friends and family who have sent Good luck's and a few Don't hurt yourselves
10:00 Greg shower (Thank goodness!)
10:15 Make goo packets
10:30 Walk from our house to the start line :)
12:00 Start running!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ready for Robie Creek Race?

Well, Robie Creek race is scheduled for next week Saturday (4/17) at noon. Am I ready?

The quick answer is NO!! I've run 2 times (less than 2 miles each) since my Ultra in Moab. I just don't understand -- I can CrossFit 4 days a week, go skiing and snowboarding, but my legs/hip/knee don't want to run.

My first attempt to run was with Greg on Wednesday night - 1/4 mile repeats up Kestrel x 3. Uphill I felt fine - though did not run too aggressively - partly because it is not the plan for me to run aggressively and partly because my legs are a little fatigued running. The downhill was terrible - feeling soreness in my hip and that same nagging left knee pain that slowed me to a walk during my Ultra! So, I stopped a few times and performed the squat that I performed during the Ultra that actually relieved the knee pain enough so I could run again -- and it worked. But only for the remainder of that downhill lap. Ugh!

I'm stretching out my hip and low back, rolling my back and IT band out with a foam roller, stretching my hip flexor to its max, and now taking anti-inflammatories to decrease any inflammation.

On Friday, I went out for a 1 mile run on the flats to check out my new orthotics. Again, my legs didn't want to run and my hip hurt during and after the run - though I had no knee pain - probably the result of no downhill action.

So, Robie will suck - as my legs are still too fatigued to do an adequate aggressive run on the up, and hip and left knee still too unhappy and painful to do an aggressive downhill. All in all - I do not suspect a great, or even, mediocre performance at Robie :( Bummer!

Correction to Putting CrossFit to the Test: Tammy's First Ultra

I want to correct one statement in this article. While I do believe I would have performed much better had it not been for the IT band/knee issue, and unknowingly wasting time during transition; it is my loving husband/author Greg who believes I would have "outperformed all of the female solo runners and all but a couple of the males" -- that's a pretty bold statement considering the super incredible runners in this race. What I can say is that I will work to improve my overall strength and conditioning using CF/CFE so that I can run this race next year without injury and prove to myself that I can maintain a goal pace, run my goal # of laps in under 12 hrs, and feel great doing it! For now, I am happy I completed my first ultra!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Moab Swag

Here's my Moab swag: a t-shirt, 3rd place medal and really cool race number. T-shirt says 24 hours but I only did 12 hours - apparently one t-shirt for both events. Unfortunately the t-shirt is a little too big to wear - but I think attaining the goal and getting the t-shirt is maybe worthy of getting it tailored to fit me :) I'm actually pretty proud of it so maybe....

When you race, you receive a race number on some unknown type of crinkly paper that you know is attached to your shorts for the first few miles of your race because it's noisy and uncomfortable. I always ask myself, where do I put this so that it doesn't annoy me? So, I was super excited to see my race number for Moab 12/24 race! The number is CLOTH and includes my number as well as my team name (even though I ran solo), DirtyAnkles! How cool is that!!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ready to Run!

It's been 9 days since I ran the Moab 12 Hour, 53.7 mile race. During this time, I returned to my regular weekly CrossFit routine: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I didn't run over the weekend, heck- I didn't even think about it! Instead, I went snowboarding Saturday morning, and skiing Saturday afternoon.

Today is the first day I actually felt like running - even though my body has probably been ready for it for several days. My goal was just to really get my legs out there and see how I felt doing it, and especially to check on my left knee.

Overall I felt great running but my left knee was giving me problems on my downhill. So I'm unhappy with that. So I'm going to focus on proper use of my core - engaging my hollow body (for example, when you lie flat on the ground and lift your legs and shoulders and arms, so that only your back and butt are on the ground. If you are doing it correctly, your stomach should become hard and it should be difficult.) - to help take the strain off the troublesome threesome, hips/IT band/knee. Hopefully that will do the trick so I can run downhill without problems!