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The ‘Death By’ Workout

December 20, 2012

Every morning I check what the CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD) is going to be.  After-all, a girl has to know what to wear ;-).  For example, if we’re going to be running I’ll wear my current running shoes and pants.  But if it’s going to be a heavy lifting day, then I’ll wear old shoes and shorts.

Tuesday morning the workout was as follows:

Front Squat 3 rep max
Strict Press 3 rep max


Death By
Push Press & Deadlift

Just looking at the workout I had no idea what ‘Death By’ meant, but had a feeling it would hurt.  After a few minutes of internet searching I found out the Death By workout means with a running clock, do one rep the first minute, two reps the second minute, three reps the third minute, and so on until you reach 15 minutes or 15 reps.  The trick is as the minutes go by you get less rest in between sets.

We started with Push Press, I used 45lbs while Hubby used 65lbs.  For the first few minutes I figured I had this workout in the bag.  It wasn’t until I started minutes 9 and 10 that I could feel my form starting to go and it took a bit more effort to get in each rep unbroken.  By minute 15 I couldn’t do all 15 reps unbroken and had to put the bar down halfway through.  I’m happy to say I finished the entire workout but almost reach muscle failure on that final minute.

I also completed all 15 minutes in the Death By Deadlift, but I was only using 65lbs, a weight that was too light for me.  even in the 15th minute I was more bored with counting than I was worried about reaching muscle failure.  But, lesson learned.

Overall I completed 120 Push Press reps and 120 Deadlift reps.  My arms are sore, but not so sore I don’t want to move.  The more CrossFit WODs like this we complete, the more I’m convinced CrossFit is the sport for me!


Don’t Mess With Success

December 15, 2012

Two years ago when I started training for my first half marathon I went to a local running store and was fitted for Mizuno Wave Rider 13’s.  Those little numbers took me all the way through 13.1 miles pain free.  Afterward I switched shoes.  Not because the new shoes fit better, but because they happened to be on sale.  The same pattern continued through now, but I haven’t had a pain free run in quite some time.  Recently, my achilles tendons are always sore and the bottoms of my feet cramp when I run.  My most recent Couch to 5K training run was to run for 20 min non-stop.  I made it 15 before I had to walk; not because my breathing was out of control, but because my feet just couldn’t handle running past that point.

After talking to my fitness go-to advisers (aka Hubby, Mom, & Dad) it was clearly time to go back to my original running shoes.  One trip to the local running store later and I walked out with a shiny new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 16’s!

Here’s to pain free running from now on!  What’s your go-to running shoe?

My New BFF

December 13, 2012

Aside from Hubby and the Puppy of course!

I started CrossFit!!!  Last Tuesday I took my first crossfit class and it was … A-mazing!!!  I’ve now officially taken five classes and walked out each time feeling like Jello.

Going into the class I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of the CrossFit Games on the TV and all I could think was “I can’t do any of that”.  Surprise, the movements are possible you just have to modify.  For example, I can’t do more than one pull-up at a time, but add some elastic bands and we’re in business!

Since the gym (I know formally it’s a box, but that still feels weird to say) is new, every class has started with fundamental and strength work.  So many exercises I never knew existed!  Who knew there were so many different ways to squat!  So far we’ve worked on front squats, back squats, goblet squats, and thrusters.  The best part was running around town Saturday morning carrying a 25lb weight plate and having others look at you like you’re crazy.  Is it weird to say those looks are motivating?

Tonight’s workout involved A LOT of jump rope so it’s time to foam roll while watching one of my favorite 90’s movies “Sabrina”.  What’s your favorite 90’s movie?

Lessons Learned from a Failed Running Year

December 5, 2012

A year ago I was starting to plan my 2012 racing schedule.  I knew I wanted to participate in a lot of races and I knew I wanted to raise money for the HHT Foundation.  So, I created Running for HHT.

But let’s go back a little further.  Hubby and I ran the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon and it was an amazing experience.  What wasn’t so amazing was the severe IT Band pain we both had by mile 20.  Another 6.2 miles later and we both had a bad case of IT Band Syndrome.  Fast forward over a month and I finally felt like running again.

Ignoring the fact that any fitness I had going into the marathon was long gone, I started running again.  I created an ambition training plan figuring I could pick up exactly where I left off.  Wow, was I wrong.  I wish someone had slapped me up-side the head Agent Gibbs style (points if you can name the TV show) and reminded me I hadn’t run in months.  Who am I kidding, I hadn’t exercised in months.

Armed with said training plan I set my sights on the Unite Half Marathon.  I’d like to say running was difficult at first but became easier as I added miles and got back in the swing of things.  But in reality the opposite happened.  With every additional mile my running got slower and more labored.  It took more and more motivation just to get myself out the front door and even after I started each run, I couldn’t wait for them to be over.  If I stopped at a water fountain mid-run, there was almost no chance I would start running again regardless of how far I still had left to go.

I kept running; forcing myself to follow the training schedule and run the races scheduled.  The races I ran for fun went well, but all the races I participated in for me were a disaster and disappointing.  The only race I really enjoyed was the Tune Up Tri.

Fast forward another 6 months to July.  Marathon training was underway and I was past the 10 mile mark for my long runs.  I was training with a friend, which made it easier to actually complete each training run, but I still couldn’t shake the “I hate this” feeling.  Then the summer heat hit and what was already bad became worse.

In August, I decided to defer the marathon.  I hated to defer the marathon knowing I wouldn’t reach my 100 mile goal, but I know it was the right decision for me.

Now, after a few months break, I’m running again 🙂  I’m currently in week 4 of the Couch to 5K program and feeling great.  I’m starting to look forward to my runs again and I’m proud of myself after I complete each run.

Next year won’t be as exciting but I have a few races in mind starting with the Marine Corps Marathon since I can’t defer the marathon a second year in a row without losing the initial entry fee plus the defer fee.

Lessons Learned:
1. Sometimes you have to start from the beginning
2. Pay attention to nutrition, especially during a race
3. Pay even more attention to hydration
4. It’s so much easier to wake up and do your long run when a friend is waiting for you
5. Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

How do you get back into the groove after a long break from exercise?

National Running Day

June 6, 2012


100 Miles for HHT – Donation Page

Today is National Running Day!!!  If you haven’t gone for a run yet, check out your local running store, many of them are hosting free group runs today!  Not only are group runs great for giving you that little extra push in your training, it’s also a great way to meet new people.

Have a great run!!!


J. Brian’s Tap Room 15K

June 3, 2012


100 Miles for HHT – Donation Page

6 seconds.

6 seconds difference between my time last year and my time this year.  While a part of me is frustrated that I didn’t improve over last year, the other part of me is thrilled!  Thrilled because my first mile split was 9:44, thrilled because my running speed has improved over last year, thrilled because I paid attention to my nutrition this year.

I woke up race morning literally 500 ft. from the start.  My parents came to visit and we decided to stay in a hotel near the start.  It was wonderful waking up, getting dressed, and walking out the door.  No Puppy to take care of, no drive to the race, and no getting nervous because we’re having trouble trying to find a place to park.

The wather was perfect for running at about 55 degrees.  For once, I was dressed appropriately.  I could have gone without my long-sleeved shirt but I was glad I had it for after the race.

Since I made it to packet pickup the day before the race, the first thing I did was find where they were handing out timing chips.  After that, all I had left to do was warm up and wait for the start.  I did a quick 5 min jog to warm up and stretched my calf’s and IT bands.

Finally it was time for the race to start.  I started out well.  I was running what I felt would be a sustainable pace, although looking back it was really only sustainable for a 5k.  The course is an out and back with a few loops in the middle, so just before crossing the 1 mile marker, is the 7 mile marker.  Both last year and this year all I could think when passing the 7 mile marker knowing I hadn’t even gone a mile yet was “I wish I was going the other way right now”.  But I kept moving, skipping the first water stop, and trying to pass people just like I had the week before at the Tune Up Tri.  Among the maybe 2 people I managed to pass, one of them was a guy with a mohawk (remember him for later).

I walked the water stops, thinking it would be a nice little break and would help me keep a good pace.  Well I was wrong.  Once I got moving again all I could think was how much I wanted to walk again.  I made it to mile 3.8 before I gave in and started to walk.  I wasn’t tired, I just couldn’t seem to force myself to keep running.  At that point I was going up a small hill and told myself I could walk the hill and then would start running again.  That was about mile 4.  I made it to about mile 5.9 before I couldn’t make myself keep running and had to walk again.  This was excluding walking the water stops.

And that’s how my race continued for the remaining 3.4 miles.  Except each time I walked it became more and more difficult to start running again and then to keep running.

Remember mohawk guy from earlier in the race?  About mile 8.4 I had to walk again and thought “well at least mohawk guy hasn’t passed me”.  No sooner had I thought it, mohawk guy went running by.  NOOOOoooooooooo!  I tried to keep up, but I had to walk again just before mile 9.  I did manage to get myself to run from mile 8.9 through the finish, but couldn’t help feeling disappointed when I saw the clock at the finish line read 1:40 as I crossed the finish line.  The same time as last year.

After crossing the finish line I dropped off my timing chip and collected my finishers pint glass (this year’s glass is on the left).  I can’t say I’ve ever been happier to cross the finish line of a race and just be done.

My parents waited to check out of the hotel so I could change after the race, then we headed to a local winery!  I can never seem to walk out of a wine tasting empty-handed!

Tune Up Tri

March 26, 2012


100 Miles for HHT – Donation Page

Yesterday was the Tune Up Tri!  My first triathlon of the year and my second triathlon ever!  I have now raced 5.5 miles, on my way to racing 100 miles for HHT during 2012.  5.5 down … 94.5 miles to go! 😉

The day started at 4:15am.  Well let’s be honest, the alarm went off at 4:15, I didn’t actually get out of bed until about 4:30am.  Luckily I packed Saturday night and already had my bike loaded into the car.  Puppy didn’t want to get up either, the only way I got her out of bed was by coaxing her with food!

While taking Puppy outside I discovered it was about 10 degrees cooler than I was expecting and misting/raining.  Moving to my backup plan, I grabbed a long sleeve shirt out of the laundry.

After taking Puppy out and feeding her breakfast, I left the house.  When I got to the race site, the parking lot was mostly empty.  One great thing about this race is the parking.  Of all the things to worry about on race morning, for this race, parking isn’t one of them (I don’t think the lot ever filled).  Since I didn’t attend packet pickup Saturday the first thing I did was pick up my race packet.

In addition to my number there were two Hammer Gels!  Hello breakfast!

I immediately attached my number to both bike and helmet and headed to set up my transition area.

This year, the transition area was first come, first serve.  To avoid the issues I had last year during transition, aka ‘where’s my bike?’, I chose a bike rack in the corner.  Probably not the ideal spot to choose, but at least I wouldn’t be wandering around aimlessly searching for my stuff.

I also remembered from last year to bring a plastic bag to put my helmet and goggles for transition.  Enter my Marine Corps Marathon packet pickup bag!

The bag over the seat is just a regular grocery bag.

Once my transition area was set up, and I was positive I hadn’t forgotten anything I went back inside the complex.  I immediately found where they were handing out timing chips and where they were body-marking.  They had about 8 volunteers body-marking, so even though the line was really long, it moved really fast.


I couldn’t believe how quickly I was able to get everything done.  All that was left to do, was warmup.  Since my bike was already setup in transition, I went for a quick run around the parking lot.  As soon as I started running I felt fast, not fast fast because I’m a slow runner, but fast for me.  I finished my warmup and headed in for the pre-race meeting.

The pre-race meeting was a little longer than I thought was necessary, but they did say it was deliberate to allow the sun to come out a little more before the race started.  Can’t say I blame them for that.  The national anthem was played and then it was time to race!

I was in wave 2 to start.  Five minutes of bouncing around trying to keep myself loose and warm later we were off.  I settled into my fast warmup pace and really tried to push myself.  The run felt great, my breathing was a little labored but I just kept telling myself it was a race and to keep pushing!  Right from the start I kept passing people.  I’d pick someone ahead of me and focus on passing them, then I’d pick someone else and pass them too.  Next thing I knew the run was over and it was time for the bike.  I walked through the transition area to my bike, got my helmet on, and walked my bike out of transition.  I knew I should be running, but I didn’t want to trip over my bike and thought it would be better in the long run to have a minute to catch my breath.

Once on the bike, it took two tries to get my right foot placed on the pedal correctly, and then another second or two to remember which gear I had left the bike in (I deliberately left it in an easy gear to start).  In an effort not to embarrass myself again, I put it in the hardest gear I thought I could maintain and just kept going.  Just like the run, I felt fast.  I kept telling myself the same thing I had during the run ‘it’s a race, it’s ok to push yourself’.  While no one passed me during the run, 4 people passed me on the bike, but one I passed back, so really only 3 people.  I tried to keep going faster up until I hit the end of the bike.  Then I slowed down to safely get off the bike; I had visions of myself falling while trying to get off the bike and was determined to not let that happen!  I ran the bike back to my transition spot and got ready for the swim.

Just like last year the wet pavement was cold and my feet started to go numb, but not to the extent of last year when it was snowing.  I ran into the building, then had to walk on the pool deck.  I got in the water and started my swim.  That’s when things started to go downhill.  I inhaled water during my third (of ten) length of the pool.  What I needed to do was stop, cough it out, and catch my breath, but I didn’t want to stop moving.  So I kept pushing myself forward, but I never felt comfortable during the swim after that.  My swim time was only a minute slower than it was last year, but I’m still a little disappointed it didn’t go as well as the run and bike.

Overall I had a great race and I’m really happy with myself.  I took 4 minutes off my time from last year!  For whatever reason, I decided to stay for the awards ceremony.  I’m glad I did because … I won my age group!  I was so surprised when they called my name.  I never win anything in races.


If I had finished with the same time last year, I wouldn’t have even been top 3 in my age group.  But as Hubby pointed out, their loss!  Overall this was a great race, well-organized, and the perfect start to the triathlon season.