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Not So Fast… – 09/10/2009

Yes, I cheated yesterday & I’m back up to 168lbs.  Yes, I am not makingaaa girly_girls_lift_weights_tshirt-p235039136489522999gsv1_325

 progress yet, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  So, I’m all excited about the running and then, wait. not so fast…

Here’s the deal with the Dr.  Seems I didn’t mess up my back last month – my back’s been messed up since birth.  Pars defect of spondylolisthesis.  This seems pretty crazy given the fact that my back has always been so strong.  But He’s got the fancy doctor’s office with the PA, nurse, waiting room & all, so I’ll have to acquiesce.

A genetic defect in my spine that I’ve had forever.  This was good & bad news, but mostly good.  Good – no spine fracture.  Bad – vertebrae slippage.  Good – treatment only requires at-home PT.  Bad – no more running.

aaa 0904_woman_with-weight_preview“No Running For You!”  From the exercise nazi.  ( a Seinfeld reference, yeah.)  Remembering I am in a positive place now, no hard feelings.  Deep relaxing breath.  I am so glad I didn’t blow that $165 on those running shoes.  Moving on from here I just need to figure out where to go instead.  I was excited about the running because it was making an impact on the weight loss.  But I think the impact on my spine in future years will be too high a price to pay.  Hmmm, what to do instead.

High repetition weight training.  Core work outs.  Notice how we intuitively gravitate towards what isaaa strength best for us?  My favorite form of exercise has always been weight-training.  Seems with the situation with my spine, this was probably the best, aside from maybe swimming. (I hate swimming in chlorine)  Now, back to the problem I was having a few months ago – why has it become so hard to go upstairs to the gym in my house and weight train?

Well, it seems for now, I have the PT exercising to do as I prepare for my long rides starting next week (OMG, so soon?)  That will keep me busy to begin.  Then I’ll just have to resort to forcing myself through the first few days.  Maybe I can do it like the cycling & give a beginner weight-training class.  Seems like when I have people show up for something, I seem to get the work done. 

IMG_2525-1 reversedMaybe I’ll get back to serious practice with the fire-spinning & belly-dancing. (yes, that’s me in the picture!!)  I guess I just worry that the calorie burn won’t be high enough.  To off-set it, I’ll have to dramatically increase my lean muscle mass.  I gotta tell you, it is hard to ‘feel-the-burn’ when doing hip-shimmy’s & belly-rolls.  Sorry this is such a whiny, boring post today.  Get this off my chest & tomorrow head in a new direction.

spine picYesterday I weighed in at 165lbs.  I’m not weighing today, so there!  ; )  It has been an interesting & long week so far.  Today is the day – Neurologist Appointment!!  Finally.  I don’t know how much of what I am feeling is real & how much is imagined.  I have really cut back on riding, I’m not running at all.  Not losing.  Not training.  I honestly don’t know how I’m going to ride ‘as a ride marshall’ 65 miles on the 19th & 72 miles on Oct 3rd.  Keep playing the Dr statements through my mind, because they sound so weird.  Fractured spine… narrowing spinal cavity… arthritic lumbar spine… he can’t be talking about me, right?

So, the day will be interesting.  I hope the Dr can make sense of my ramblings.  My cervical spine is tight.  The thoracic section hurts during the day & makes a grinding noise when I twist left & right.  Tightness & pain in the lumbar area.  I’m such a baby…

And so I runWoman Runner 1 a

First, we’ll look at the science of training, then detail 2 types of endurance building exercises to incorporate into your running schedule to increase your strength, endurance & skill.  

Interval Training is repeated bouts of high intensity exercise with intermittant rest periods. Intermittant exercise allows a higher total volume of high intensity work. Interval training allows us to accumulate a greater volume of stress on the blood pumping capacity of the heart.

These exposures to additional ventricular stretch may help trigger ventricular remodeling (bigger ventricle volume).  A program employing relatively low volume but high intensity endurance type exercise will be very effective in increasing the VO2max of a previously untrained or (substantially detrained) person.

woman runner 4For the untrained, interval training is a way of accumulating minutes of exercise at a higher intensity than our skeletal muscles are initially adapted to tolerate. In the untrained, the heart is better conditioned to endurance performance than the skeletal muscles.

The improvement in lactate threshold, or the percentage of VO2 max that can be maintained without significant lactic acid accumulation.  Changes in the lactate threshold occur over a longer time-course than the improvement in maximal oxygen consumption, even if we train regularly.  And remember that our diet can strongly affect our lactate threshold.  Give consideration to removing refined carbs & sugar from your diet when training to raise the threshold level.  (Make it take longer for your body to start producing lactic acid.)

Speed Workoutswoman runner 3

 

These are short intervals that are performed at faster than your normal training speed. We are going to begin with introductory level speed workouts and moderately improve speed and performance for a 5K race. Base these workouts on your current 5K race time.

If you have not completed a race or do not know your current 5K race time, here is a way to figure it out:

There are 2 levels of time trial measuring. If you are very new to running, run a full half mile & time yourself. Rest for 3 minutes in between, then run another full half mile. Add these 2 times together and multiply by 3.25. That will give you a good starting point for training purposes.

woman runner 5a aIf you are slightly more advanced, try this: Go to a 400 meter track (most high school tracks are 400 meters) and run three 1600 meter repeats with one minute of rest between the three repeats. There are 1609 meters in 1 mile. Run the repeats at a pace that you can maintain for the entire workout. Make sure you choose a challenging speed that still allows you to complete the three workouts. Calculate your average pace per mile for the three repeats. Multiply this pace by 3.125. That will give you a fairly accurate estimate of your 5K race finishing time.

Hill Repeat Workouts

 

Hill repeat workouts will help build strength and speed. These workouts are short, repeated runs up a hill of small, moderate or high grade, depending on your experience with running and your fitness level. Remember, if you’ve never run hill repeats before, start a little easy & gradually increase the distance and the intensity.woman runner 6

Newer runners can do shorter sections up the hill, then jog or walk down, increasing the uphill run distance regularly until you are running all the way up & down. Start by finding a hill with the grade you want to train on. Run up it at race pace or faster, then jog or walk down for recovery. The grade should be steep enough to test you, but not so steep that your form suffers.

Run or walk a warm-up before you begin. At least 5 minures of running or walking. As you hit the incline, lean forward with your back tall. Lift your knees and focus more on vertical, rather than forward, motion. Lift through your hip flexors and push down with your glutes and calves. Keep your shoulders relaxed and low as you pump your arms.

Shorten your stride. Stay on your toes. Think baby steps. Depending on the hill and your current conditioning, do 3 to 10 repeats, totaling 20 to 40 minutes of hill repeats. Vary the intensity; short and very steep, longer and not-so-steep, fast/faster/fastest. In combination with a regular running routine, run hill repeats once a week. Always finish your workout with 10 to 15 minutes of easy running or walking to help the body cool down.

Now, just go do it

There you have it.  Running 101, 102, 103.  Everything you need to know to be a healthy, strong runner, start-to-finish line!!

woman runner 2a

aa pizza TRAP GOODLet me preface today’s post by explaining the purpose of the blog & the exercise & the dieting is to lose weight, while learning a healthier lifestyle that will lead to choices that enable me to maintain a healthy weight & fitness level so that as I get older, my quality of life will be good.  So, it’s not all about the weight.  It’s not all about the countdown.  (22 days to surf day)  While I would have liked to have lost the weight in 3 months, we have to consider the bigger picture.  If I lost the weight, but didn’t find healthy habits, I’d be doomed to regain almost immediately.  That may be why people feel dieting doesn’t work.  April, let me modify what you said.  “It’s not you that failed, but the method of application of knowledge”.  The Biggest Loser shows ‘hyper-weight-loss’.  It’s not realistic.  You can’t take those methods into real life and make them work.  And you can’t lose weight quickly.  It just isn’t possible.  But dieting does work.  I just don’t think it works as fast as we want it to.  And I’m noticing a narrow margin for error (cheating).  So, for me it’s taking longer, however, instead of getting discouraged, I am seeking out information, feedback, methods that increase my ability to succeed in healthy weight management.

Weigh-in 168lbs.  Oye, consistency.  Last week I stumbled upon a great motivation blog.  In one post, Luc discusses & explains Feedback Loops.  See it Here.  Take the time to read it, as you will gain insight into why things you tried to accomplish in the past may not have been as successful as you desired.  He is an excellent writer.  From it you will see some great steps to modify what you do & increase your success reaching your goals.  Be it weight-loss, work goals, finance management or whatever. 

Taking this wonderful new information and applying it to weight-loss should bring about greater success for me.  Now, acknowledging I did not accomplish any weight loss in the past week,  I am supposed to observe my lack of progress.  I see that on Sunday (my long ride), I did not ride due to hurting my back at a performance on Saturday.  Monday I was so far behind at work that I had to use my ride time to catch up, so no ride.  Wednesday, The Guy had a problem at work, and because we work as a team in everything, we needed to fix his problem.  Hence, no ride.  I did ride as usual Saturday & Tuesday.aafructose container

Still allowing the fructose overdose on 8/21 to justify crazy eating, my calorie intake was as high as 2000 on several days over the last 2 weeks.  (it was weird, having that fructose sent me into a weird depressed funk that I am still pulling out of)  Also, my food choices were not what I needed to be eating.  Sugar, wheat & starch in several meals.  Also, having trouble concentrating caused a slowdown with work, so I fell off my every two hour meals causing me to eat either too much or too little through-out the day.  It was odd, during the week immediately after the fructose test,  twice I found  myself at the end of the day with no appetite & having only consumed 800 calories.  Way too low.  Now, I am supposed to reflect on what could have been different.

aa calmscene 1Aside from not picking up that damn box, I don’t think I could have done anything to ride on Sunday.  That cost about 2500 calories.  I could have fought through the depressed funk harder to keep on top of my work.  That would have given me the ride on Monday.  I was in denial as it was happening.  Oh, no, I’m not depressed, just stupid.  Whine, whine, whine.  Why is it so hard to remember how to do my work.  Blah, blah, blah.  That was so productive.  Wednesday night needing my attention could not be avoided.  The Guy is so wonderful, & as his wife,  I owe it to be available to him in a crisis.

On to food.  I need to gain a replacement action for when I hit stressful times.  Two distinct triggers came up in the last few weeks.  Doctor appointments make me very stressed out.  I have a high-maintenance client that stresses me out.  And meeting with new clients stresses me out.  I know many of you don’t believe how shy I am.  Doing things like showing up to lead rides or doing a riding clinic makes me extremely nervous.  Working with new clients has made me nervous for 22 years, it never got easier.  Fire performing in front of anyone, even people that I know terrifies me.  But I have a very full & active life.  Feel the fear & do it anyway.  I think I perfected this.  The Guy tells me he has a hard time knowing when I’m fearful of these situations.  He says I always look so calm & confident. aa calm water cloud  Let me assure you I am not!!

I am going to make sure to schedule all Dr appts so I have time to eat eggs before I go.  That always works to curb my appetite.  Racing to the store to get some emergency dark chocolate is not bringing me closer to my goals of being healthy.  Along with eating eggs before my meetings, I’m going to spend a little prep time before new client appointments to prepare for my nervousness.  I always focus my prep on the appointment itself.  I want to see if giving thought & taking notes on the nervousness will help ease the stress.

The stress from the high-maintenance client?  Hmmm, I need a way to restore the energy they suck out of me.  I’ll have to give this one some thought.  All this sounds just great, doesn’t it.  I have to be mindful of why these solutions did not work in the past.  The Guy & I live at a million miles an hour.  This is my life, I love it & wouldn’t change it for anything.  But I know I struggle implementing new actions because they require me: 1. to slow down, which stops my momentum & 2. change, doing new things always takes up extra energy.  So how do I move forward with changes that will bring different outcomes?

List some specific actions that will bring about desired change.  Let’s see what that means.

Hard, strict action of eating before leaving for a stressful situation.  Must -Eat- Eggs.  Make sure I leave enough time for eating.  Reacquaint myself with (yuck) hard boiled eggs.

Schedule in time before client meetings to think about why they make me so nervous.  Remind myself that I really am good at what I do.  I am intelligent, articulate, and occasionally charming.  I work hard for my clients and do a great job.  I am ok.

Spend the next week preparing for things a tiny bit slower.  Resist the urge to race from one task to another.  Breathe occasionally.

So, this is one part of an on-going experiment with feedback loops.  We’ll see next week how it goes.aa peacefully mine

Weigh-in, 167lbs.  Still trapped here due to bad choices.  I will be giving this alot of thought this week to try & figure out how to better stick to the dieting.  Also, holding stronger to the aa hospital signmulti-faceted exercise.  Some of it may be due to frustration.  Some of it may be due to this tremendous depressed feeling that came over me a few days after my fructose test.  Results from all the fun testing I’ve been doing has been slow in coming.  The running stress-test & heart ultrasound with the cardio DR showed nothing wrong with my heart, so far.  Still no explanation of the chest pain when my heart rate goes above 170.  He is pushing, (really hard) for me to have a heart cath done.  I’m afraid, very afraid <<shaking & trembling>> 

aa doctorsLung Dr is refusing to give me understandable info from my chest Xray.  He wants me to see a ENT Dr, because he thinks I have Vocal Cord Dysfunction.  I want him to tell me what the dark stuff I saw at the bottom of my Xray was first.  We’re at a stand-off.  All the other cool tests he ran show my lungs are functioning at 91% capacity, which he thought was great with my age & smoking history.  I’m going today to have an MRI of my back.  Funny thing happened at my internist’s office last week.  I pulled a muscle in my back recently, so we did a back Xray to see what type of damage lifting those boxes caused.  He said, based on the Xray, I probably just pulled a muscle, however

Don’t you just love when that happens.  However… it looks like you have a slipped L5 vertebrae & arthritis of the spine, things that have been going on with your back for a really long time.  So, we want you to go see a neurologist.  The neuro-Dr won’t see me without the MRI  So, after the MRI, I’ll be running off to see the Neuro-Dr.  What fun. 

Just on the off chance that my kids are reading this blog – really consider all the abuse you are giving your bodies right now, little ones.  I know in your 20’s you feel so invinsible and all.  But it appears as though from 45yo – 55yo, you have to spend all your time & energy running around to all these Dr’s, calculating just how much that carefree & reckless lifestyle is really going to cost.  I know you still don’t like listening to me, cuz I’m your mother & all, however

And so I runaa great running

Once we have a clear understanding of how to ease into a training program that incorporates running & how important a role rest & recovery play into it, we are ready to explore being a strong runner.

Let us begin with stretching.  We’ll start with stretching even though it won’t be the first thing you do simply because it will be the first think you think you should do.  Only stretch after the muscles have warmed up (.5 to 1 mile walking, for example)  Be very careful when stretching, you can do more harm than good if you are not knowledgeable about the proper way to stretch. 

Only stretch to the point of mild tension. No stretch should ever be painful.  Stretching exercises are static in nature and should be held for 20-30sec. Do not use bouncing or jerky movements.  Instead lean into the stretch & try not to hold your breath. Normal, relaxed breathing is best.  When done properly, stretching can decrease the chances of an injury but if done wrong, can actually increase your chances of an injury.

aa runner stretchingMuscles should always be stretched slowly, reducing the muscle tension allowing the muscle to be stretched further.  Personally I don’t stretch for cycling, haven’t found a need to yet.  But what I have found with running is stretching is very important.  As I began running I did not stretch & found that my large muscles were way too tight.  I spoke with experienced runners, they discussed why stretching was important.  About elongating the muscle for better performance.

CALF STRETCH

Stand with feet hip-width apart, back straight and stomach tight. Keep the knees slightly bentaa calf stretch
MOVEMENT: Step forward with left foot. Keeping in a straight line from head to the right heel, lean forward but keeping the right heel on the floor. Place both hands on left thigh.
HOLD: Slowly count to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other side. the front leg should be kept over the ankle. Do not hold your breath, breathe gently
SAFETY POINTS: Keep the back straight and the tummy tight. The knee of the front leg should be kept over the ankle. Do not hold your breath, breathe gently.

HAMSTRING STRETCH

Caution:avoid this exercise if pain is felt in the lower back aa hamstring stretch
MUSCLE: Hamstring
LOCATION:Rear of thigh
STANCE: Standing up straight, place right foot slightly behind hips.
MOVEMENT:Slowly bend the rear leg as if sitting backwards. keep the front leg straight with a very slight bend at the knee. Place hands on right thigh. Push buttocks backwards, slowly, until you a feel a slight tension in your hamstring. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
HOLD:Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other side.

QUADRICEP STRETCH

MUSCLE: Quad/Quadriceps Femursaa quad stretch
LOCATION: Front of thigh
STANCE: Two feet together, bend your left knee and with your left hand take the left foot towards your buttock.
MOVEMENT: Slight bend on the supporting leg. Keep the knees close together. Tilt the pelvis forward and keep the back straight.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other leg.

THE CHEST STRETCH

MUSCLE: Chest muscles/Pectorals and Deltoidsaa chest stretch
LOCATION: Chest and Shoulders
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent
MOVEMENT: Grasp hands together behind your back.  Ease your arms gently up behind you.   This should give a feeling of the chest ‘opening’.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat stretch twice)

THE LOWER BACK STRETCH

MUSCLE (S) WORKED: Erector Spinaeundulatingspinestretch
LOCATION: Lower back
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees bent with hands on thighs.
Shoulders should be slightly apart.
MOVEMENT: SLOWLY pull stomach in and curl upwards (similar to a cat)
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 and return to original position. Repeat twice

UPPER BACK STRETCH

MUSCLE: Trapezoids and Latissimus Dorsiaa back shoulder stretch
LOCATION: Upper back
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
MOVEMENT: Clasp the hands over head with the palms away from the body. Gently push the palms away without locking the elbows.
HOLD:Count slowly to 20-30. Repeat stretch twice

DELTOID STRETCH

MUSCLE: Deltoidaa deltoid stretch
LOCATION: Shoulder
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
MOVEMENT: Take the right arm across the body at shoulder height, keeping the shoulder relaxed. Place the left hand on the right arm slightly above the elbow and gently bring the right arm towards the chest.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30.Repeat stretch twice. Repeat with left arm.

ALL OVER STRETCH

STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.aa all over stretch
MOVEMENT: Raise left  arm overhead.  Slowly begin to stretch upward.  Lower left, raise right & repeat, stretching upwards.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30. Repeat stretch twice

Next we’ll go into actual training drills to make you faster & stronger.  Now,  I don’t know anything about running, I am a cyclist.  The information I am providing is different things I am learning as I start running.  If you are new to exercise, it is very important to work with your doctor to begin a successful exercise habit.

Weigh-in this morning was frustrating.  166lbs.  I wanted to be at 160lbs, but I didn’t make it happen.  Made some more poor choices.  Friday was my ‘fructose sensitivity’ test.   Go to aa css mmmmhospital starving, drink 8oz of pure fructose, breath into this capture bag every 15 minutes for 1.5 hr, then every 30 minutes for 2 hrs.  Leave with your stomach cramping with a ‘I am going to starve to death’  feeling.  Race into gift store on way out of hospital, grab 2 cookies & some chocolate.  Drive fast to Chick-Fill-a’s for not one, but two chicken salad on whole wheat sandwiches.  Race home, while eating & pass out for a 2.5 hour nap.

So, no riding Friday.  We did ride 24 miles & ran 2.75 miles Saturday.  Sunday I used some other riders as an excuse to short my long ride, to give my back a rest.  I did 28 miles.  That was probably a good thing.  Joined everyone after the ride & had a large blackberry cobbler with ice cream.  That was definitely a bad thing.  I am 32 days away from the surf/spin event.  Having trouble being positive, but I will do it any way.

And So I Run

runners 7Running is an excellent way to get in shape & lose weight.  For me, it’s a great way to cross-train & burn extra calories.  Having a definable goal makes training better.  It gives you a more finite feeling to your training as well as something to look forward to.  So, The Guy & I are beginning to run.  (no, that is not me or him in the photo)  Actually we’ve been at it since June.  We began with walk/runs, and gradually worked our way up.  I am comfortably at a point where I can run a half mile without stopping.  I do 3 mile runs, walking for 3 minutes at each half mile point.  I don’t include the walking in the distance measured.

A 5K is a good choice for a first race because of its relatively short distance and because it is the most common race distance. There should be no trouble finding a 5K race in your area at most times of the year.  You can race at any time of the year, but for your first one you may want to consider a race in the spring or fall, when the temperatures are mild. Begin training with at least 6-8 weeks of time prior to the event. (If you are starting with walking, add an additional 4 weeks to your training time.)

Try to pick a large race for your first one. A larger field will provide a “party atmosphere” that will help motivate and encourage you. A large field will also make new runners less self conscious about where they finish. The large field will provide plenty of runners in the front, middle and back of the pack.

Easy Runsrunners 2

Beginning a new discipline is most successful when you start easy & plan for long-term success. For those of us learning how to run, we’ll start with easy runs. Easy runs should be run at a pace that feels fairly comfortable. You should be breathing hard, but should be able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running too hard. If you can sing, you are running to easily.  (that is definitely not me in the photo)

You will determine your starting point based on what you have been doing fitness-wise. If you have not been doing any physical activity, you may need to consider walking at first. If you need to do this, use the same mileage distance as what you will be running. Walk briskly to increase your heart strength. As the walking becomes easier, and your ankle ligaments stronger (from the walking) begin to perform walk/run/walk/run training. Every week make the walking portion shorter & the running portion longer.

You will reach a point where you are running most of the way, then finally the whole way. Once you are able to run the entire distance, you can begin speed & hill training. Make sure you don’t move into the speed/hill training before you are ready. This will cause an injury or a weak area in your body that will continue to cause you problems.

Starting out, listen to your body. If you start to experience minor muscle pulls, you may be increasing your distance too fast. By taking it easier in the beginning, you will become a stronger runner in the end. At the same time, make sure you push hard enough to see a slow, steady increase in strength, skill & distance. Don’t be too easy on yourself. Once you begin to feel stronger, you’ll be able to push a little harder.

runners 6All work and no play makes Jill an underperforming athlete.

Build rest & recovery into your training program. Doing a modest amount of good-quality work during an extended rest period can totally prevent fitness fall-offs. Because the intense work preserves fitness or nudges it upward, while the added rest permits the repair of muscle cells and the synthesis of new enzymes, mitochondria, and capillaries – things which make you a better athlete! 

Rest and recovery is not the same as skipping a workout. Successful athletes and fitness enthusiasts on every level build this crucial component into their training programs. While you already know that you have to progressively challenge your body with activity if you want to build your fitness, here’s a surprise: the actual physiological gains occur during rest and recovery!

Use rest and active recovery along with proper exercise training, and you will take your workout efforts to new levels and produce greater results than if you concentrate on working, working working. We aren’t talking skipping training, just find a balance and work out at the right level of effort so that you enhance your training results. We’re talking quality training, rather than quantity training.

Note there are 2 types of rest. Complete rest and easy rest. Both are important to increasing your fitness levels and both are very different. Complete rest is just that. The day you do no physical activity at all. Rest. Period. No matter what your fitness level, you need one full, complete day of rest from training each week.  Then there is easy rest, or active recovery. This is also sometimes called an easy day. You still want to spend the usual time training, but perform at an easier intensity than normal training.  It’s good to follow hard days up with an easy day, giving your muscles time to recover.  So easy days once or twice a week.  Make them scheduled easy days, not “I feel wimpy, so it must be an easy day“.runners 11

While effort is 50 percent of the training equation, restoration and recovery is the other important 50 percent. To see results, you have to work out at a level of effort that challenges your body, whether you’re doing cardio, strength or flexibility training. However, this does not mean that you have to hurt your body or always work out harder to get results. Without rest, both types, you will not reach your true fitness goals.

So there you have it.  The first part of Run Training.  Next we’ll go into stretching properly.  Keep in mind,  I don’t know anything about running, I am a cyclist.  The information I am providing is different things I am learning as I start running.  If you are new to exercise, it is very important to work with your doctor to begin a successful exercise habit.

Weigh-in today was an exciting 163lbs.  This means that I have worked my way below the 165lbs plateau I had been at for a few weeks.  This is due to my paradigm shift from “just enough to get by” to “just whatever it takes to get it done“.  Rode hard all week last week.  This Sunday, a 46 mile ride.  This morning 20 miles on the bike & 3 mile run. 

Bathing suit/ surfing at the beach countdown  is at 39 days and counting.  I did not do my core or surf workout Friday or Saturday.  Yesterday I did part of it.   I have scheduled time for later this evening, but if it’s like last night… I was so drained by the ride, I was way too tired. 

I made a huge mistake last Thursday.  I lifted & moved 6 heavy boxes.  While I was moving them, I kept thinking “you’ve gotta stop picking up heavy stuff like this”.  Sure enough, at about mile 32 of Sunday’s ride, I was faced with the most excruciating pain in my back that I have ever felt.  I have a really strong back, and I’m usually careful to take good care of it.  As a result, I never have back pain like that.

Sometimes on longer rides, my back will get a little sore, so completing the ride becomes a little uncomfortable.  But, OMG, this was totally different.   My back felt like it had seized up, and something was pinching sharply back there.  Not fun.  So I’m going to have to include some lower back strengthening moves each day this week.  I didn’t feel it riding & running this morning, but I’m starting to feel it now sitting at my desk.  Lucky for me, I dropped below 165lbs, which means I can treat myself to weekly massages starting today.

How to do “Good Mornings”:

Place your feet approximately shoulder width apart, directly under the bar. Maintain the lordotic curve in your low back with your chest up. Look straight ahead or slightly upward. Do not look down. The body follows the head.aagood morning

Take a deep breath, and slightly flex your knees. Under control, start to bend forward, maintaining the normal curvature of your lower back. As you lower your torso, keep looking straight ahead. This will help keep your back in its proper position. Lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor and then reverse directions and raise your torso to the starting position.  These can be done with dumbells held at the top of your shoulders, or you can do them with no weights.  If you are new to cycling, this is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back. 

Wow, in an hour, I get to have a massage, I’m so excited.  I’m going to have her do a combination of Swedish & Deep Tissue.  It’s always scary having a regular massuese do a deep tissue massage.  Your muscles are very vunerable to the skill of the massuese.  If they don’t really know what they are doing, they can damage your muscles.  I’m hoping the weekly massage begins to detoxify my muscles.  

Here is some info:  Swedish massage –  uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness and improving function in people with osteoarthritis or with poor circulation. 

Deep Tissue Massage – is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or facia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is recommended for individuals who are involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes. It is not uncommon for receivers of Deep Tissue Massage to become sore or even bruised over the next few days, though there should be no pain to the client during a session if the therapist is doing the work correctly.

A detoxifying massage can help to purge the body of toxins, improving your physical and mental wellbeing. It increases the strength of your immune system, improves circulation and reduces stress!  I’m using this as part of my weight loss efforts, along with cleaning my diet.  This should help me overcome my metabolic resistance that much better.

aadetoxmassageA detox massage is a deep tissue massage & can remove toxins like artificial additives, pesticides and other foreign nasties that are stored in your muscles. Massage of any sort helps to perk up the circulation, sending the blood pumping around the body with renewed vigour. With it go oxygen and the fuel we need to function in the form of nutrients, which are turned into energy once they reach our muscles. Our organs benefit too – improved blood circulation encourages them to do their best work, particularly those concerned with the elimination of toxins.

The lymphatic system, along with the liver, is your body’s natural detox system, acting as our own internal waste disposal unit. Having no natural ‘pump’ of its own, the lymphatic system is dependent on strong muscles, efficient breathing and exercise for its function. An overload of toxins can prevent the lymphatic system from working properly, leading to lethargy or illness, but a detox massage stimulates your lymphatic system so waste can be eliminated more easily.

Off to go eat 200 more calories & get massaged….

Weigh-in 165lbs. Today, I set a new priority.  Although I’m doing well with the biking & the running, I have put off the weight training & core work outs for as long as I can.  I am 44 days away from the ride/surf trip.  And we know what happened last time:  <Cass & I haven’t surfed in a long time.  Last time we went, I couldn’t get up.  My arms weren’t strong enough to hoist my weight up to stand.  [whine alert]  It was a sad & dismal day.  I remember standing on shore, watching her out in the breaking waves, thinking ‘why did you let this happen, how much more are you going to give up because you have no self-control’.  I was 15 lbs lighter than I am now.  Sad.> my new board

So, here I am today, 15lbs lighter than when I wrote that.  At the same weight I was when I couldn’t get up on my board.  What is going to make it different this time?  I am going to have to do my weight training & core work outs EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So, every day, after posting my weigh in, I will post that I either did or did not do the weights & the core w/o.

I want to start by learning about my core.  Your body core is the midsection of your body, from your groin to your shoulders. This includes the pelvis, abs, back and chest muscles. It is this core that offers stability, balance and flexibility.

Transverse Abdominal (TVA) is a very important stabilizer of the lower back. It is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and the only one that runs horizontal.

Rectus Abdominisis located along the front of the abdomen, this is the most well-known abdominal muscle and is often referred to as the “six-pack” due to it’s appearance in fit and thin individuals. Erector Spinae is the group of three muscles runs along your neck to your lower back.

Multifidusis located under the erector spinae along the vertebral column, these muscles extend and rotate the spine. External Obliques are located on the side and front of the abdomen. Internal Obliques are located under the external obliques, running in the opposite direction.

Hip Flexors are located in front of the pelvis and upper thigh. The muscles that make up the hip flexors include: psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus and sartorius. Gluteus medius & minimus are located at the side of the hip. Hip abductors are located at medial thigh.

I find it helpful to know about all the muscles so when I’m preforming exercises so I can isolate better.   Working your core effectively uses isometric force.   Isometric exercises are important because they solve several problems. Weak muscles will not contract with most strengthening exercises because dominant muscles will compensate, and muscle imbalances may occur through repetitive use of the same muscle causing the body to go into “protective” mode.aacrossover situp

The first exercise is critical in re-establishing good communication between the brain and the key stabilizer muscles (TVA). Lie on your back and cross your left leg over right leg. Your left heel should be next to the right knee. Rotate right approx 30 degrees your left hip will come off the ground several inches. Push knee into the wall 6 times for 6 seconds. Start lightly and increase pressure each time. If you feel cramping in the inner thigh you are pressing too hard. This exercise will activate the TVA and should be followed up by regular abdominal exercises.

aabicycle crunchBicycle Crunch is the best exercise for strengthening the Rectus Abdominus. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Breath evenly throughout the exercise.aareverse crunch

The Reverse Crunch is great for strengthening the Obliques. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands on the floor or behind the head. Bring your knees up towards the chest so they bend about 90 degrees. Contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor in a very small movement. Lower and repeat.

aaplankThe Plank exercise is effective for developing static strength to hold the body in a straight line posture. The value gained from doing the plank exercise is specific only to holding the position. This is what we need to hold our stomachs in & our backs straight.   Start in the plank position with your forearms flat on the floor and your toes on the floor. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds. Then increase the repetitions.

Leg Lifts are great to isolate your quadriceps but they also strengthen your hip flexors while increasing your balance. You can do a full set of these, or you can aaleglift 2alternate between front and sideways to mix it up. Start by laying flat on the mat and lift your legs up.  Bring back to start and repeat many times.  Inhale on lift, exhale back to start.  Push your spine into the mat.  Stabilize your back & ab muscles.  Only do a few at fisrt, this is taxing on your back muscles.  An alternate move is to do this standing, holding onto a chair.

Lastly, the only concentric exercise to strengthen the TVA. It’s called The Beach Ball. Use a 13″ diameter beach ball and a about a 6″ piece of 1/8″ diameter plastic tubing (gas aabeachballline)inserted into the valve of the beach ball. Now attempt to inflate the ball with as few breaths as possible. Blow till you can’t exhale anymore.

The narrow tube and the ball create resistance, especially on the last breath. The longer the tube, the more resistance also. Each exhale takes about 15 LONG seconds. So for 4 breaths (inhale plus exhale) your looking at about 75 seconds.  This exercise will change your life.