Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting under control!

Funny how it seems so hard to get in control for someone who is for the most part in control. I have been like a kid in the candy jar with workouts and by the end of last week I found myself starving and very tired. I knew I was headed down a slippery slope last week and wrote about it in my last entry. I gave myself one week of total freedom before I felt the need to pull in the reigns. I finally came up with a training plan. It was hard to work in all the races I want to do and still train effectively for Coyote Two Moon. I had to pull back on some of the short races I had lined up so I could fill those weekends with good quality endurance based running. I only took my schedule out through the end of December because frankly it was taking a long time and I was developing ADD as I continued on. I really wanted to go for 4 week cycles but when I got it all down on paper with the key milestone events 3 week cycles made more sense. It's probably better anyway as I continue to build my base back up again. Just because I have my running under control does not mean I have my weight training under control. Maybe in a couple of weeks I can back off but for now it's so much fun I can't stop.

This week was week 1 of my training plan and on Tuesday I made my first trip to the track. I begged Trisha to come along so I wouldn't wimp out. It was a short session of 200's and 400's so nothing over the top but it was plenty hard enough as I watched my HR climb to 182. It didn't help that my hamstrings were screaming, "mama" from boot camp on Monday. However out of shape I feel my times did not reflect a significant down turn from where I left off. I am happy to report I was less than 5 seconds off my peak phase times. I do think the lack of body weight helps me move a bit faster so I hope I can maintain some of this loss as it seems to come in handy.

Today Trisha and I headed to the gorge for a 2.5 hour run. She is super fit right now so I got pushed the whole time trying to keep up. The day was perfect and the temperatures pleasant with no wind. The trails were empty and it was so nice to be out there. She brought along a new GPS watch that her and Darin are wear testing so it was fun to see the new tool in action. The GPS is built into the watch so no other piece of equipment is necessary. I think it's a Garmin but not sure, Darin can confirm this. She ran the entire way up Angels Rest and I tried to do the same falling a bit short but overall I was pleased with the fitness on big girl terrain. I wore the NB trail shoes I am testing and they were great. Granted the terrain was not slippery and I not sure how they will do on the slippery rocks but I liked them a lot. We climbed a bit over 3000 feet today in a short run. It was pretty much straight up and straight down. My downhilling is pretty pathetic but I felt better as we went along. I have a ton of work to do there and I can't wait to see how my quads respond tomorrow.

On other fronts I have been busy doing boot camp 3 times a week. It's M,W,F at 6:30 a.m. and I am getting my behind kicked. It's a blast and my partner Lisa is a work horse. She never complains and it's inspiring to watch her bust her butt with such strength and metal toughness. It sure makes me buck it up. As hard as it is it's a blast at the same time. This session goes for 6 weeks and we are almost done with week 2 already. After boot camp I go straight to the gym for running or incline walking for 45-60min. After that it's food then the weight room with Marlin (trainer) and 3 other girls. He matched us up for a group session which has some awesome benefits. First, the price, and second the camaraderie. There is just something about working out with others that helps me be my best. Maybe is the competitive drive or simply wanting to put my best foot forward. Overall as a group it's full of tough girls. They are fun and amazing so there is no shortage of hard work. I am enjoying getting to know them and already the laughs are good. But, since I do this schedule on Monday's and Wednesday's I am getting my sorry butt kicked but good! I love it!

Hagg Lake planning is in full swing and Stacey and I are busy getting all the permits, brochures, shirts and registration going so we can be ready on November 1 for entrants. This is our 4th year of RDing the event and when we get going it seems like yesterday we were doing the same thing. Fingers are crossed hoping the race will continue to sell out and runners will continue having fun on the opening race of the Oregon Trail Series.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Scottless schedule!

First off I want to thank all of you who were open enough to provide so many words of encouragement and support while I ventured into the unknown world of bodies. It truly makes stepping out of our box easier when others are there to add valuable comments and encouragement even though it's not their gig. THANK YOU!

As you know I wasted no time getting back to what I love to do and that's run on trail. Since I have been coached by Scott for the last 3 years it's been easy to find my way back to a schedule because I was accountable to him. I work well when I have a detailed plan. I can stay extremely disciplined and in control. But.....without a schedule I am sort of a loose cannon. I am going to coach myself! The first thing I have realized about my client (ME) is that she NEEDS a schedule and needs one ASAP before she hurts herself. Okay enough 3rd person....maybe. I have run everyday since Sunday. No big deal, it's only Thursday...right. Well I have gotten myself so incredibly sore I have to take a day off from running tomorrow. My quads are sore, my calf's are sore and my hamstrings have no idea what hit them. All of this is good soreness but if I don't get a handle on myself soon it's not going to be pretty. My knee is fine but it let me know today that my medial quad is sooooooo sore and tight that I better work it out before I hit any real descents. I can't get enough of the trails and the lovely fall leaves. Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons in Portland. My first day on the trails I seriously almost got choked up I was so happy to be out there. Completely silly but true. This true break has really got me hungry which leads to my current problem......self control. The great news is I have thrown in a bit of tempo work to get a base line and it wasn't bad nearing 7:30's. My cardio is still good from all the incline walking. Of course I am sure my threshold area is poop right now but that's normal when coming back anyway. Overall I am pleased with my starting point but am shocked at how sore I am. :)

While Alex was at baseball practice (2.5 hours) I started working on my running schedule. I have learned so much in the last 3 years from Scott it should be easy to draw it up, right? Well, what I found was I just kept bumping things so fast I had myself running nearly 120 miles a week by mid January....not gonna happen. So, back to the drawing board and this time I created formulas to drive the workouts and progressions. My old finance days do come in handy here and there. So far it's coming along but I still have myself ramping quickly. I will keep at it but this is much harder than I thought it would be. I wonder if I will be so disciplined when I only have myself to answer to? I sure hope so because the value of good training plan and one that's followed is the only thing that keeps me progressing.

I am almost done wear testing the NB trail shoes shown above. I am super picky about my trail shoes which I am sure most of us are. These are really great shoes and I like them a lot. I have had only 5 runs in them but hit a lot of good terrain, rocky, smooth and some mud. They perform nicely on it all. I haven't taken them to the gorge yet but will in the next few days. That will be the real test. With my wide forefront and high instep fit is a big deal but these shoes have a lot of mechanisms for solid adjustments.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I went running today!

It was so fun to wake up and lace up my shoes for my first run in 6 weeks! I couldn't get out the door fast enough. For the week leading up to the show all I could think about was drinking coffee and going running and I have to say I waisted no time doing both.

For the final week the diet got ugly for 3 days. That carb depletion before the loading was hard by the third day. Day 1 & 2 were not so bad but by Tuesday night I was beat. That night my evening cardio left me dizzy and shaky. But....the good news is I got to start loading back carbs on Wednesday. The caloric intake was different everyday starting on Wednesday. Starting at about 1500 calories and ending at 1200 on show day. I ate 8 meals a day, all very small and perfectly balance with proteins, carbs and fats. My water intake remained at 150 oz until Friday were it went to 75 oz then 60 oz on show day. My energy was off the charts on Wednesday as my body gobbled up the carbs. I had to slow myself down during cardio and I had good strength for lifting. By show day I was ready and felt like I did the best job I could have done in 5 weeks. Mark told Sarah he thought I stepped on stage at about 8% body fat. The girl that won my height class took the overall winner for the show and she had muscles I didn't know existed. I don't know how low her body fat was but standing next to her I looked like a twig with padding. :) She looked amazing and I am sure she works her tail end off to achieve it.

Friday we drove down to Canyonville and I started the painting process. No one told me how awful this part would be. I got painted at 4:15 then again at 8:00 p.m. NO SHOWER OR WATER can touch the body. Sleeping was icky. It feels like you put a ton of sunscreen on, hung out at the beach all day then go to bed. A lot of the paint came off in the bed and my clothes were ruined. I had a good idea the clothes would never be the same so I was prepared with an old t-shirt and shorts. The smell is disgusting and since you have to be in the paint, get touched up and glossed many more times throughout the day you smell horrible! Here are some pictures of the before and after painting.....I was black! The next morning it's up early then hair and makeup. My hair and makeup looked awesome. Tori (another competitor) did my hair and Mendi (a figure pro) did my makeup. I looked really good and hardly recognized myself.

The day of the show is busy in the morning and since I was doing both open and masters (over 35) I had to do both suits twice. The masters class was big and they held us up there a very long time which was exhausting and hot with the stage lights. On my first trip out and posing for the judging my legs were shaking like a leaf. They were uncontrollable. Even as I flexed with all my might they just shook and shook. As I was standing there I wasn't really nervous but the shaking seemed humiliating. All that was going through my head was how embarrassed I was to be shaking like a leaf. But as we began the turns I glanced and saw others shaking too. Whew....I am not the only one. Immediately upon exiting I asked Mark and he said it was totally normal, everyone is shaking and the audience can't see it. What a sigh of relief because from my standpoint it seemed like an earthquake had struck my body.

Overall I had a blast. It was a very cool experience and my body came out great. I was very pleased with the athletes and their camaraderie in what would seem like a very superficial endeavour. What I found was very professional people who loved what they do, helpful, encouraging and down right fun to be around. I suppose it can be different in different venues and different people but the ones I was around were great and I felt honored to be among them. I placed 3rd in my height class and feel really good about that plus I got this really cool bronze eagle. The number 2 girl got me on the two piece round when her 8 pack appeared. My mini 6 couldn't compete. :) Getting up on stage was easy knowing my support group was one row away from the judges. I could see their faces, clicks of the camera, tips from Mark as I posed and I heard a few rooster calls too. It made it so much fun. The big question is....will I do it again? I loved the switch to my body for sure, the break from the pounding and a different focus but I wouldn't trade it for ultra running for one minute. I did something that scared the hell out of me and I am thrilled to have done it and thankful for it taught me about me. I may do another show next year in the off season again but for now I can't wait to get muddy!

So, I wasted no time getting back into the swing of working out. I was up at 5:30 preparing to hit the road for boot camp at 6:30. Mark does a book camp which is all about nutrition and working out group style. It's 1 hour long, 3 days a week for 6 weeks and you measure your progress from start to finish. After that is was more running for a total of 8 lushes miles. We did 2 miles as fast as you can at boot camp for a base measure. Then it was weights with Marlin and Erica, then walking at an incline with Sarah. I worked out from 6:30 to 11:00 today and loved every minute of it! I got coffee on the way home as I dreamt about my 90 minute run on the trails tomorrow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Home Stretch

No, it's not my Halloween costume it's my makeup! Today Gretchen came over and did my stage makeup and it's awful but that's what it needs to be. Layers and layers of very dark foundation and dramatic eyes. I still don't have the false eyelashes on and my body gets painted on Friday. They call the tan competition's not a tan...okie dokie. The idea is to have your face match your skin, wow.

They eye shadow will match my suit. :0 It's hard for me to believe I need to look like this but I have put myself in the hands of serious professionals and am just going along for the ride so bring on the eyeliner baby!

Only a few days left and I am getting excited to do the competition and get back to running. Weeks 3 & 4 were fairly uneventful. I didn't have any menu changes and my exercises schedule stayed the same. What I noticed is by Wednesday after 4 solid days of 3X30 min. of cardio and lifting hard everyday I was dead. Thursday's were an off day and seemed to bounce back really nice but Wednesday's were hell day. I did finally get my suits and here they are! They are amazing in an odd sort of way. As I said before they are extremely uncomfortable and the blue one is super scratchy. All my posing sessions are now done in full dress absent the gotty makeup that's required to help your face show up under the lights. I am super lean but am disappointed in my muscle bellies. I always felt like I had pretty good sized muscles until they were unearthed and what laid under the fat is tiny little muscles. So to put it mildly I look really small, sort of like a 12 year old girl with wrinkles. It seems that every day as I work the necessities of this process I get my mind blown. I love to have my mind blown and I have gotten a complete eruption by dropping myself head first into this world of bodies. EVERYTHING is about the body, shaping it, flexing it, forcing air into it and it's a wild ride.

When I went to pick up my suits from the gal who makes them she of course had me try them on and do my poses. She tweaked the fit, shoved things around and studied the look. The conversation that proceeded went something like this: She says, "Your a beautiful girl with a great shape and you should go into this show and think of it as a great experience then work really hard for your next one......I think you have the potential to go pro". I look at her and assure her I won't be doing another show any time soon as I am going to get back to running. She then says, "Well then just enjoy the process and don't expect to much". Hmmm I think she has more to say but won't. I tell her, "Do you see a problem?....If so, give it to me I can take it and would love to hear what you have to say". She says, "Okay I will give it to you straight, your simply not lean enough"! She proceeds to tell me there will be at least one other girl in my height class that is shredded and is that way all year around and she will most likely win. I assure her I am fine with it and I have never looked this good with only 11 pounds of fat on my body I can go into this feeling fine....I have already won in my mind.

As I drove home (55 minutes) I almost started laughing. I am not sure if it's the lack of abundant glucose or that I have totally evolved. The long journey home was awesome because I found myself completely un-phased by her opinion and the realization that my self esteem is obviously not tied to my body was awesome. As someone who has always kept a check on her weight because at 5"1" it doesn't take much before you find yourself round I felt I was obsessed with my body. Well, maybe I was at one time but I am certainly over it and that makes this one week of suffering worth it. Maybe the freedom comes from now knowing that within 5 short weeks I can change my body completely and it's really not that hard. Whatever it is I am taking it to the bank.
That brings me to this final week and I have to admit it sucks! The biggest issue I am having is NO CAFFEINE! That is right down evil and wrong in my opinion. I am not a huge coffee drinker but I have my ritual in the morning and I love that ritual. I can have de-caf but really?!!! My macro nutrients changed big time pumping up the proteins and robbing my carbs. I need to drink 150 oz of water each day. My workouts stay the same so you can imagine the lows I feel. It's kind of like heading for mile 75 and a mild bonk. The only difference is I don't get to shove gels down, chug coke, eat a banana and chase it with a Red Bull. This process lasts for 4 days then we start loading the body with carbs. It's actually just like carbo loading but everything is on smaller scale. If you carb load for a running event properly you are supposed to slow your carb intake for a few days before you load. Most runners forget that process which then leaves them feeling bloated in the end. The idea is to have the muscles hungry for glucose so when it comes in on Thurs., Fri., and Sat. the muscles gobble it up and then look very very full and strong. Attached is a table of my menus macro nutrient breakdown. Everyone seems to think I am on a low carb diet but definately not for the first 4 weeks. This last week is low for 4 days then it bumps up. I put my running menu breakdown on the table for comparison. To view the table you will need to click it open. do I feel???? Comfortably numb! That is the only way to describe it. I am not cranky or irritable but quite the opposite. Not much can phase me right now and I am low on energy at certain points during the day. I think by Wednesday I will be among the walking dead. But....on the bright side I will really appreciate those carbs a lot more now.
Another amazing discovery is feeling how my body reacts to food and the lack of certain foods. I have had ah ha moments for the last three weeks. I have FELT a lot of parallels to my training and racing. The low moments I have been having are not unlike the ones I have had while training and racing. I find this to be curious. Why? Because how we fuel while training has a great impact on our performances during training. During racing it's obvious and we are much more "on it" meaning during an event fueling is everything. But.....during training fueling is everything as well. The flat feeling I have had during my walking sessions, the puffiness in my muscles which in the body world they call a "flat" look. Those are all from low glucose in the muscles which in never good. Since I am not in any over training or overly fatigued state the only variable is food. What this tells me is I need to pay attention to these kinds of feeling when I start training again because it may be due to low glucose in the muscles and I need to fuel them better. I don't know if this holds water but I am going to test it.

Last Thursday I landed myself in the emergency room in the middle of the night with a kidney infection. I must have had a bladder infection for some time and ignored all the signs. Since I haven't had one since I was 25 years old I forgot that burning while urinating is not normal. I thought I might be using to much hot sauce on my food. I know, how stupid can one person be but truly I was not even concerned until the pain in my back got so bad I dreaded breathing. Bill was out of town so I had to wake Alex up and drive to the hospital. They wouldn't give any pain meds because I had to drive home which sucked. But, they pumped me full of antibiotics and sent me home with a bunch of stuff. I found this to be extremely ironic since that last week before a figure competition it's all about water, hyper hydrating then dropping the water. Mark and I discussed it and I know I might not come in as low as I could because the antibiotics force your body to hold water in the tissues but I am doing it anyway....bloated or not! So with just a few days left I am hoping my friends are working on their "cat calls". You know the kind of comments you might get if you run by a construction project???