Late Week Update

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This week has been quite hectic at work, and when you factor in Valentine’s Day, the end result is no new posts for a couple of days.  I did, however, get in workouts on each of the last three days and I am gearing up for a race tomorrow.  With that being said, today’s post will be on the lengthier side.

Wednesday: I decided to try out one of the new treadmills at the gym.  They are quite a bit more sophisticated than the treadmills that they were replacing and I would guess that some will find them intimidating.  They are WiFi equipped so you can log in with an iFit account to track your workout or just surf the web while running.  There are touchscreen controls and a built in iPod/iPhone dock built (unless you have an iPhone 5).   There were two preset courses on the machine, one in Cape Town, South Africa and the other was on the coast of Monterey, CA.  I chose Montery and the display screen toggled between Goggle street images, satellite views, and a topographical map of the area.  The course varied between a -3% and 4% grade.  I ended up running 4.98 miles at a 9:18 pace.  I was quite pleased with the end result.  I want to check out the other bells and whistles on the machine in the upcoming weeks.

The fancy new treadmill at the gym.

The fancy new treadmill at the gym.

In addition to my run, I did a Warrior Dash circuit.  I upped my exercise time to thirty seconds per move with the normal thirty second rest time.  I completed two sets each of the following exercises:

  • Leg Press
  • DB Bench Press
  • Pulldown
  • Leg Curl
  • Plate Crunch
  • DB Step Ups
  • Bicep Curl
  • DB Front Raise
  • Squat Jumps
  • V-Sit Off Bench

You wouldn’t think adding just ten seconds would be that noticeable of a change, but it definitely was!  I felt the effects of the extra work before the end of the first set.  But, in the end, it is worth the end result.

Thursday:  I took a half day off of work so I could finish preparing my Valentine’s Day dinner for the wife.  I printed her a menu and transformed our dining room into a private restaurant just for the two of us.  I grilled filet mignon with a wedge salad, Fleming’s style scalloped potatoes, corn souffle, yeast rolls, and chocolate croissants for dessert.  She was very impressed with dinner, and so were all of her friends that she bragged to about it.  I also got her some flowers and Peter Pan on Blu-Ray (she is a Disney fanatic).  She got me the race medal display that I posted about previously as well as an infographic poster of Sid Bream’s slide, (yep, that’s two links) which is one of the greatest moments in Atlanta Braves history.  I have a bobblehead of this on my desk at work as well as at the house.  Yes, I am a gigantic sports nerd, especially when it comes to the Braves.  I will post a picture of the poster when we get it framed.  It is an odd size, so we have to get a frame made for it.

The Braves promo pic of the bobblehead

The Braves promo pic of the bobblehead

While prepping dinner, I was able to escape for a few minutes to get in a run.  It was nearly seventy degrees here in Memphis, so it was much warmer than your usual February run!  I ran 3.26 miles at a 9:44 pace, that might of been better if I didn’t have to battle someone’s pit bull around mile two.  Seriously, who lets their dog, a pit bull at that, run freely through a busy city neighborhood?  He nipped at my heels a few times, but never got a hold of me.  Usually when I encounter a dog like this, his/her owner is nearby and keeps the dog contained, but not on this occasion.  I guess I need to start running with a stick or something.

The flowers I sent to Susan at work.

The flowers I sent to Susan at work.

Dinner at BK's Prime Chop House

Dinner at BK’s Prime Chop House

I also used this idle time to go pick up my race packet for the Move It Memphis 10K that I will be running on Saturday.  There really wasn’t too many goodies in there, but the shirts are cool.  It is a baby blue, long sleeved Zorrel cotton blend Dri-Balance shirt.  And with a projected temperature of thirty-nine degrees at race start time, the long sleeves will come in handy with the participants.  I’ll post a pic of the shirt with my race racap tomorrow afternoon.

Friday:  I decided to take it easy on my mileage today, so I just ran an half a mile warm up before doing my Warrior Dash circuit for the day.  My circuit consisted of the following:

  • DB Lunges
  • DB Military Press
  • DB Row (:30 on each side)
  • Leg Curl
  • Russian Twist
  • Lateral Lunge
  • Bench Dips
  • DB Lateral Raise
  • Calf Raise
  • Strait Leg Raises

It was a good workout and hopefully I won’t be too sore for my run tomorrow.  I love Friday afternoons at the gym because I am virtually the only person there, so I can use whatever equipment I need without any delays.  It is quite peaceful.

I guess I’m going to call it a night so I don’t oversleep in the morning.

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TRX Tuesday & A Very Short Run

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Yesterday was the first time in weeks that I have been able to attend the Tuesday evening TRX class at my gym.  For the longest time, this was the only TRX offering at the gym that I could attend, and now due to my wife’s work schedule, it is hard for me to attend this class regularly.  But she did buy me a TRX home kit, so I can at least get in some workouts despite my sparse class attendance.  I do, however, like to attend the class periodically to try new exercises as well as some exercises that you cannot do using the home kit.  My original plan was to run a couple of miles, do the TRX class, and run a little bit more, but that did not happen quite like I planned.

Before class, I had to go home and let our dog out since I was certain that his eyeballs were floating in head.  After letting Beau run around for a few minutes, I couldn’t just leave him at home alone for thirty minutes until Susan got home,  so we played for awhile, and I didn’t leave until there would be only about a ten minute window between Susan and I being there.  This meant that I was only able to run about a mile on the treadmill before class began.  I still wanted to run a couple more miles after class so I could stay within my usual weekly mileage.  Class, however, was very challenging (which is a good thing) and my legs were rather sore afterwards so I skipped the extra miles.  At least the mile I did run was at a decent pace of 9:20.

I also noticed yesterday that the gym has gotten two new treadmills, so I am excited to try them out sometime this week.  Maybe it won’t be a battle royale in the gym for the two good treadmills anymore.

And on a belated note, it is great that baseball season will be back soon!  Pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Monday!  Go Braves!

Long Run? On a Treadmill?

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I woke up early this morning with the intention of running my twelve miles.  Too bad mother nature had a different idea.  When I last checked the weather forecast, we weren’t supposed to get rain until this evening, but apparently that was incorrect.  There was a steady rain coming down as I got ready and upon looking at the forecast on my phone, there was a 70% chance of thunderstorms until 7:00 pm this evening.  This left me in quite a conundrum, do I ran in the rain or do I attempt my long run on a treadmill at the gym?  Being that a decent amount of lightening was in the forecast and it seems like everyone in Memphis has been sick over the past few weeks, I opted to try my hand at the treadmill, even though this will be by far the longest distance that I have ever attempted on a treadmill.  In fact, it is longer than the most of my weekly treadmill distances.  Now Sundays are hard to gauge for attendance at my gym.  When the gym opens, there are lots of people there, signing up for the weekly classes, but usually if you bypass this line, you typically can get one of the two “good” treadmills.  And thankfully today, this exact scenario played out for me.  I was already apprehensive about doing the twelve miles on the treadmill, but I can’t even imagine running those miles on the older treadmills.  As I set up my distance, speed, and such on the treadmill, I noticed that the max time I could set it for was ninety-nine minutes, so either I was going to run my faster twelve miles ever, or I was going to have to reset the treadmill timer at some point.  No big deal since I would have to use my GU and probably get some more water.

My first impression was that it was going to be a really boring run, and that remained true.  There is only so much you can do while running in one place for that long.  I watched Louisville and Notre Dame go through twenty overtimes (or so it seemed) on SportsCenter, multiple pundits argue on CNN, and listened to some of my motivation music on my iPhone.  No matter what I did, it didn’t matter, I was still stationary and that can be a bit of a drag.  My second impression was that this run was going to be warm, very warm.  The gym temperature was set at seventy-five, which is warmer than I ever set my house, and they did not have to ceiling fans going to help alleviate the heat and humidity of the gym.  Needless to say, by the time I completed my twelve miles, my clothes were drenched, probably more so than if I would have ran in the rain!  MY third impression was that at least running on the treadmill was going to help me maintain a steady pace for the entire run.  When I’m running on the roads, I tend to have some substantial deviations in speeds, plus you have to wait on cars, red lights, and avoid other pedestrians and dogs, so the treadmill is a positive alternative to all of these hindrances.  I ended up running 12.16 miles at a 10:13 pace, which if this were race day, would have me a few minutes ahead of my personal record!  And my fastest mile was mile ten, so there was something left in the tank to finish that last mile, so all in all, that is back to back encouraging weeks of long runs!

Now that I am all showered up back at the house, I’m relaxing on the couch watching one of my all time favorite movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  I remember when I was a child, my brothers and I recorded this movie off of the NBC Sunday Night Movie of the Week and we would watch it at least once a week!  We watched that VHS until it completely wore out, and it is still odd to me to watch the movie when it is not edited for TV.  When I quote the movie, I still tend to use the edited lines out of habit.  I love that the team that the Cubs are playing when Ferris and Cameron are playing hooky is my beloved, but terrible at the time, Atlanta Braves.  Baseball Prospectus does a nice write up on the game that was used for the film.  Growing up watching the Detroit Red Wings, I always appreciated the Gordie Howe jersey that Cameron sported for the entire film.  This is the film that introduced a generation to former Richard Nixon speech writer, the incomparable and monotone Ben Stein.  It also one of the earliest movies on Charlie Sheen’s IMDB page.  It still pains me to see that car destroyed, and how oblivious his dad is throughout the movie is simply perfection.   And the following is just one of the many great exchanges in the movie:

Ed Rooney: I don’t trust this kid any further than I can throw him.
Grace: Well, with your bad knee Ed, you shouldn’t throw anybody… It’s true.
Ed Rooney: What is so dangerous about a character like Ferris Bueller is he gives good kids bad ideas.
Grace: Mmm-hmm.
Ed Rooney: Last thing I need at this point in my career is fifteen hundred Ferris Bueller disciples running around these halls. He jeopardizes my ability to effectivley govern this student body.
Grace: Well, makes you look like an ass is what he does, Ed.
Ed Rooney: Thank you, Grace. I think you’re wrong.
Grace: Oh, he’s very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him. They think he’s a righteous dude.
Ed Rooney: That is why I have got to catch him this time- To show these kids the example he sets is a first class ticket to nowhere!
[he hands Grace some papers]
Grace: Oh, Ed, you sounded like Dirty Harry just then.
Ed Rooney: Really?
Grace: Uh-huh
Ed Rooney: [scoffs lightly] Thanks, Grace.

All in all, today is shaping up to be a good day.  And The Walking Dead finally returns tonight!  And on a side note, the only time it rained today is when I was running.  In fact, the sun is out right now!

Treadmill Hills

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I took yesterday off from working out after giving blood, so my running schedule has been pushed back a day.  That means my twelve miler will be Sunday and today was a short training run.  I made it to the gym for the first time all week so I could utilize the treadmill to do the hill training  program that I had forgotten to do until today.  Running on the treadmill isn’t quite as scenic as doing my hill work running the roads, but it is much easier to control and coordinate, most of the time.  I decided to run for thirty minutes and the program was designed a little different than I was expecting.  I chose level 4, which meant the hills were a grade of 9% grade, but the speed was just a thirty minute per mile pace.  Obviously, that wasn’t going to work, so I bumped the pace up to a ten minute mile, but every time the elevation would change, the pace would drop back down.  This was quite annoying, but after a few minutes, I was able to finally get the speed stay constant.  The course started with a warmup, then would alternate between 9% hills and 1% rest periods.  There were no gradual elevation changes, just peaks and rests.  Next week, I may try the calorie burner which gradually builds to the apex, then slowly comes back down, but I’m not sure yet.

After, my running workout, I did the last remaining Warrior Dash circuit.  I did :20 exercise, :30 rest again today, but starting next week, the circuit times will increase.  Today’s circuit consisted of the following:

  • Pushups With Feet On A Chair
  • Stair Runs
  • Jump Lunges
  • Wipers
  • Jump Rope
  • 45 Lunges
  • Chair Step Ups
  • Burpees
  • Glute Bridges
  • Russian Twists

My first impression after the circuit was that burpees are as hard as I remember from high school football.  Also, doing the workout at the gym required a lot more running around than if I were doing it at home, so that only enhanced my workout.  I’m sure some of my fellow gym patrons wondered what this sweaty weirdo is running around the gym, going up and down the stairs, jumping on chairs, and the such, but I guess no one is there to judge too much.

Tomorrow will be another day off from running, but will be a TRX workout day.

 

Thursday Training Run & Chilly Cheeks 5K

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Today marks the fourth consecutive day that I have run three plus miles, and my legs are a little sore.  Yesterday I decided to take advantage of the 55 degree weather, as well as use my replacement Nike+ watch.  I ran my favorite route through the neighborhood when I got home from work and it felt great!  I ran 4.27 miles at a 9:36 pace.  The roads and sidewalks were much clearer than I was expecting.  Usually after a big storm, the roads in this area are filled with fallen branches and such, but yesterday was not too bad.

Today, I decided to run my Chilly Cheeks Virtual 5K since I am going to run my ten mile long run of the week on Sunday.  Originally, I was just going to run the 5K in conjunction with the ten miler, but since Susan and I a couple of obligations to take care of tomorrow, so I decided to postpone the run until Sunday.  Today was quite a cold day, so I guess the Chilly Cheeks 5K is an appropriate name.  The highest temp of the day was 36 degrees, so I decided to run the race on a treadmill at the gym.  My legs were a little tight from the three straight days, but it wasn’t anything that would keep me from running.  I ended up crushing my race today!  I ended up running my 3.1 in 26:30, which is over a minute faster than my previous personal record.  I know it was aided by a treadmill and not in an officially sanctioned event, but I’ll take it.  My time probably would have been even better, but my shoe came untied so I lost some time from having to fix that problem.  I’ll post more about the race when I get the medal and certificate in the mail.  I’ve decided to postpone my Warrior Dash circuit and TRX workouts for tomorrow since I pushed it a little bit during today’s run.

My new shoes haven’t been delivered yet, so I’ll share them when they finally get here tonight.

Quick update on a new TV show that I’m sure that you’ve seen advertised repeatedly over the last six months, The Americans.  The pilot was good, not great.  The show is dark and intense, but forced at times.  Some major plot points were very predictable, but I don’t want to post any spoilers for anyone that may have the show still sitting on their DVR.  I am very intrigued to see the direction the show goes over the course of the season, and like most shows, I am confident that the show will iron out the kinks as the season goes along.  Seinfeld’s first season was terrible, yet it is widely regarded as the best sitcom of all time.  Ratings were great for The Americans and there is no reason the show won’t maintain them for the next few weeks as it gets into its groove.  If you haven’t watched the show yet, I’m certain that FX will show it repeatedly over the next week, so give it a shot.

Wednesday Workout & Some New Toys

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Wednesday showed a return to my predetermined workout routine.  My replacement Nike watch had not come yet, so I ran on a treadmill at the gym.  Instead of planning a certain mile goal, I decided to run for thirty minutes then do one of my Warrior Dash circuits.  I kept a 9:31 pace for the entire half hour, so I logged about 3.11 miles.  The display on the treadmill started showing some weird symbols, but simple math and a quick Google search shows me that I’m close on the mileage.  Whenever I run on a treadmill, unless I’m doing a hill workout, I usually set the grade to 2% to help mimic the road a little bit.  I felt great after the run and went straight into the twenty seconds of exercise, thirty seconds of rest on the following circuit:

  • Body Weight Squat
  • DB Incline Press
  • DB Upright Row
  • Glute Bridge
  • Wipers
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Pushups
  • Supermans
  • Bicep Curl
  • Reverse Crunches/Knee to Chest

These circuits are a great followup to my shorter running sessions.  My muscles are warm from the run and the entire circuit takes a little less than twenty minutes to complete.  I can run, complete a circuit, and stretch in about an hour and fifteen minutes!  And despite the short duration, after completing the circuit, I can feel it in the targeted muscle groups.  I still need to try the three at home circuits, but I will probably up my exercise time to thirty seconds per move next week, as well as increasing the dumbbell weight on a couple of the moves as well.  The at home circuits are common moves that most people have done before, so the extra time on those will not be too catastrophic to my health.

Last night I was able to clear a spot and hang up my early Valentine’s Day present in my Man Room/Fortress of Solitude/The Place to Be/Man Cave or whatever I will call it.  Susan gave me the gift early since I accidentally found out what it was by getting home earlier than expected on Tuesday.  She got a me a medal display from Victory Medal Displays.  We both liked the look of this particular display and thought that it would look better in our house than most other displays that we have seen.  I knew I was going to be gifted this display at some point, but I honestly assumed it would be a Christmas gift since I do not have many medals right now.  The display also has a way to hang my bibs from it while keeping a clean look that won’t drive my OCD overboard.  I can even add another one below this if/when I get to that point with race medals.

Once I fill it out some more, it will look even better!

Once I fill it out some more, it will look even better!

I also finally got my replacement watch from Nike yesterday.  Since the color of my previous watch was out of stock, I opted for the anthracite/blue glow version.  After telling my wife about it, so said that was the color she originally was going to get me, but opted for the black/volt (neon yellow or green) since it came with a shoe sensor and the blue did not.  This afternoon should be my maiden voyage with the new and improved Nike+ Sportswatch.

A color combo every Memphis fan would love!

A color combo every Memphis fan would love!

This afternoon looks to be perfect weather to run, which is great since it is going to be cold and rainy the next couple of days.  I ordered a new pair of shoes this week so I could start to break them in before my current running shoes get too worn out.  They shipped quicker than I anticipated and there is an outside chance that I would get them today.  They were at the Memphis UPS facility this morning with an expected early delivery date of today, but I just checked and they are now pushed back until tomorrow for some reason.  Oh well, they really shouldn’t ave been here until Monday, so I can be a little patient.

Friday Workout

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Today I went to the gym and tackled the second of six Warrior Dash circuit workouts, and since today was one of my designated non-running days, I decided to hit the elliptical for my cardio warmup.  I finished fifteen minutes on the elliptical at a vigorous pace and then moved on to the free weights.  I didn’t pay close attention to today’s circuit, but as I started it, I noticed that it was a leg heavy workout, which probably wasn’t the wisest decision with a nine mile run looming in the morning.  The circuit was based on the same schedule as Wednesday, adhering to the 20 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest, completing one circuit, resting for one minute, then repeating.  Today’s exercises were as follows:

  • DB Lunges
  • DB Military Press
  • DB Row
  • Leg Curl
  • Russian Twist
  • Lateral Lunge
  • Bench Dips
  • DB Lateral Raise
  • Calf Raise
  • Straight Leg Raises

I wasn’t 100% certain if the intent for the moves that focus on one side of the body (i.e. DB Row) were intended to rotate from side to side or focus on each side for the entire 20 seconds.  I opted to spend the entire 20 seconds for each side.  I figured that it was better to do the extra work rather than short change myself on the exercises.  Once I finished both sets, I decided to hit the elliptical for another five minutes just to round out my workout to an even forty-five minutes.

I noticed during my stretches that my calves were tightening up a little bit, so I’ll probably stretch a little bit more tonight to insure, or hopefully insure, my legs don’t hurt too much to tackle the nine miles tomorrow.  But, of course if they are, I can always run on Sunday

Now, it’s dinnertime and a trip to the in-laws, so I’ll leave the post as is.  I’ll update tomorrow about my weekly long run.