Flowin’

It was a great workout today. I went to the gym with Jason again for back/shoulders (same workout). The exercises were still a little clumsy, but I think next cycle I’ll be stronger and it’ll feel more natural. Then I went for a run, got about 6 miles in, last three miles in about 21 minutes. Cardio still exhausts me in a way I love, but I’m starting to get used to the feeling of weights.

I did have a pounding headache today. It’s abated since my run but I worry it’s the pre-workout. I can’t think of anything else. I had a fair amount of caffeine yesterday since I had to get up so early and work out before working all day. I’ll have to keep an eye on that. If anyone has any suggestions or recommendations for pre-workout, send them my way.

It really helps me not to stress about miles. That’s always a big thing for me. Worrying about getting my miles in if I’m tired or I don’t have time. Stressing about the upcoming race. I have so much going on “academically” it helps to not have to worry about unrelated goals.

Tomorrow is legs day (I’m still sore from Thursday), but I have a 90min spin class in a week I need to prepare for, so I may have to back off weight tomorrow because I’ll need to cycle first. I also have a job training tomorrow so we’ll see what happens. My life becomes hellish starting Tuesday so this is where the real challenge comes in, blogging and working out.

I’m sorry if these posts have been lame. I feel like they have. I’m trying to get in the habit again but I guess not too much has been going on. But once things start back up, I’m sure horrible things will happen, and everyone will be more entertained.

Progress

I finally hauled my glute up this morning at 4:30 (key to getting up early? Go to bed early) to make it to the gym by 5:30a. Not a soul. Bros were still sleeping off nightly hangovers and I had the place to grunt in by myself.

I felt a lot more confident today. Yesterday was legs day and Jason went with me because I’m a lame ass and didn’t want to face the testosterone alone. I actually like working out with him; he challenges me more than I do myself. Managed 335 on leg press and it made him proud.

So I felt a little better, and being able to focus on my workout versus what I look like to others helped quite a bit. Being out of my element makes me a completely different athlete. If you can call me that at the moment.

The cycle starts back over today so I’m at chest and arms again. Second cycle, still week 1. I guess I should start posting weight but I’m still a little shaky about it (not to mention I don’t pay much attention with increases since I’m still finding my footing) so third cycle I’ll try to do that.

For me cardio is really hard in the morning. I’m usually very lightheaded afterwards and I just feel like I’m going through the motions. My body isn’t awake. But this morning I enjoyed it, and I hope to stick to morning lifting when next semester starts up.

I’m having to learn how to tolerate lactic acid build up in a new way. I’m not sure what it is, probably the anaerobic work? But it’s a different kind of burn. And I have that shakiness afterward that’s very different from endurance work.

I have been taking preworkout, and I can’t say I’ve seen or felt anything different in my lifting. Definitely when I run with it though. It’s more a motivator to get me out the door when I’m exhausted. I’m just nervous about taking it on top of all the other caffeine I ingest to make it throughout the day.

I’m just feeling yesterday’s workout this afternoon, so we’ll see if a run happens today. DOMS is painful, and I’m avoiding my roller. I don’t like missing cardio but, new goal, right?

I’m curious to see how this holds up during the semester. Mornings work because by this time I’m exhausted, and by this day in the week I’m dead. I hope I can stick with it.

May have other news regarding my pain (another reason I’m apprehensive to run today). But I want to wait. And hopefully these posts get more interesting.

Arnie I aren’t

Yesterday was:
Back and Shoulders

Bent over rows 12-10-8
Lat Pull Down 12-10-8
Seated cable row 12-10-8
One arm DB row 12-10-8 (heavy)
Shoulder shrugs 15-12-10 (squeeze and hold at top for at least a second)
DB shoulder press 12-10-8
Upright Row 12-10-8
Forward raises 12-10-8
Lateral raises 12-10-8
Cable rear delt fly 12-10-8

I always read my workout in Arnie’s voice in my head. Which pretty much sums up how I feel about this. Except I’m not a badass at this kind of workout.

It was a frustrating workout for me, at least on the machines. My secondary muscles are too weak and I can’t find a weight that’s challenging and allows me to maintain form. Jason says I should struggle but I’m really struggling, to a point where my form is a hot mess or I feel I can’t even activate the muscles I’m targeting because the others are too weak.

However, when I hit the dumbbells, I felt it. And liked it better. Jason’s going to follow me around at some point and make sure I’m not mucking it up. I use the iMuscle app on my phone to check form and alternate exercises if I need it.

But the up side is, when I can feel it, I enjoy it. I like seeing how much weight I can handle. I guess in time that’ll build up.

My issue is, unfortunately my time is limited with work and much of my time is devoted to this kind of training (as it should be). I’m not getting much cardio in and because I’m still trying to find my weight to work with it’s not as smooth.

Also, my pain isn’t getting better. And that’s all the more frustrating. Potentially looking at another surgery terrifies me and I feel like I’ll never get back to a fitness level I’m proud of. And yeah, I’m worried. And I’m tired of being in pain. And I miss feeling strong.

Today I didn’t lift. I wanted to get a good run in since I wasn’t working all day. Six miles and stopping at a light I almost puked on these poor kids crossing the street. Pain wasn’t good either. However, I finished in about 48 minutes, with stop lights. Not bad.

Tomorrow is legs, and because those are still of respectful strength, I look forward to it.

Will also contact the doctor about continuing pain tomorrow. Fingers crossed for me.

Finish Line to Start

The past six months I’ve missed two marathons. I’ve been out about $400 and my pride. I’ve had one surgery and a month of physical therapy.

The past month my pain has returned and no one knows why.

I also graduate in May and I’m working three jobs and an internship. I’m not sure whether I’m going to grad school next year or not. That’s up in the air.
Long introduction short, I’m taking a break from marathoning. Have I said that before? Bet yer ass.

But this time I am. And I’m focusing on something new. I’m still hoping for lots o’ cardio and of course running, though I’m working in more sprint work. Now it’s more about weights.

My boyfriend is into bodybuilding, and I’ve always kind of poo-poo’d it, like he’s poo-poo’d hours of cycling or running. Not that we say what the other does is easy, but rather not our thing or silly.

And those who lift, I salute you, OK? So don’t jump down my throat. But if you’ve seen me you’d know the accurate description of me is this:

Big legs, little arms, no friends.

Big legs, little arms, no friends.

Terrifying, for sure. But I don’t eat that much meat and my head isn’t that big. Point being, I used to lift and love to lift, but when I marathon train it takes a back seat.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going Starla (much to my boyfriend’s dismay), but I am trying for a balanced body strength-wise. Can’t knock it until I try it.

So this morning I hauled my butt up before the crack of sunrise (and bearable temperatures) and got to the gym super early so no one would see me embarrass myself. Jason, my boyfriend, had me do this for today:

Chest/Back
Bench press barbell
12, 10, 8
Incline dumbbell bench press
12, 10, 8
Dips
12, 10, 8
V bar tricep push down
12, 10, 8
Curls (preacher)
12, 10, 8
Incline dumbbell isolation curls
12,10, 8
Cable flies
15,12
Tricep pushups
3 sets – failure
Hammer curls
10, 8, 6

Now, I struggled. Because like, I’m supposed to. But I struggle more than physically. BECAUSE I struggle physically I struggle mentally with this new workout.

I can run for hours. I can cycle for hours. I’ll get jelly legs but I won’t be sore. This, though, this I’m trembling. Every time. And I’m not even doing anything that heavy on my upper body.

I feel weak and I feel amateur. I don’t know jack about this kind of training and I’m not familiar with that feeling.

Which isn’t necessarily bad. I like being sore. Having something new. But I feel like I’m going couch to 5k. So noob.

I’m not sure how or what to eat. What to do with my cardio. What to expect.

We just got back from Houston so I’m cleaning up my eating and I poured out alcohol too. Because even though I don’t have a goal or a race or anything, I’m doing something so cleaning that up is important to me, I feel better and see results. Though what exactly, I’m not sure.

I’ve technically been on this one week, but that was trial. This is my real week 1.

I’m doing the pre-workout and protein thing. Not doing the six million meals a day. Not that important for me.

I’ll go over my thoughts more in-depth but for now, this is what’s going on. Still learning but… Let’s see what I’ve got, yeah?

The Fight

Honestly, the past two months have been as crazy as the weather around the States. And honestly, I don’t know how many people will even read this anymore, but I feel like I owe those who do follow me – be it Twitter or Facebook – an explanation for my mysterious statuses/tweets.

That’s internet courtesy, right?

The past two months, I’ve been in fights. Fights that have tested me as a person, tested my relationships, and most of all, tested my body. I had to fight with a doctor to take the pain I was feeling seriously, a doctor who didn’t return calls or make treatment plans, a doctor who turned her head in faux sympathy, handed me a tissue box and told me she “didn’t know what was wrong with me” or “what else she could do”. I had to fight with the disappointment of giving up a race. I had to fight with the fear of whatever the hell was going on with me (something, if you know my history, I’m not unfamiliar with). I had to fight to keep my relationship afloat, fight to keep my family from worrying when I was worrying myself, fight a depression that blanketed me as I wobbled back and forth between being able to do what I love and being bedridden.

All I can really say is, starting May 3 I experienced excruciating pain that accompanied a week-late period. God knows what kind of landslide that caused, with me peeing on three pregnancy sticks, my neglectful doctor making me pee in a cup twice and drawing blood, the main assumption being some botched pregnancy (sorry, family, if you read this). Seriously, I knew that wasn’t the issue. So they chalked it up to a cyst. Like most OBGYNs do for females. And sent me on my way with some Vicodin and orders to start back on birth control once I have my period again, despite the fact that my period disappeared for 2 months after that.

Well la-dee-da, I’m on my way knowing I can’t run my marathon in June on my birthday but still trying to get my exercise in and enjoy my summer. Except the pain comes back, Jack. Like you won’t believe. And I have to quit my job as a cycling instructor because I can’t teach. And I’m unreliable at my internship because some days the pain’s so bad I can’t focus and I feel like I’m going to puke, and in the setting I work in, that won’t work.

And my doctor doesn’t return my calls. And I’m taking more and more pain pills and spending more and more time in bed and sinking deeper and deeper into feeling like I’m a nut job.

Finally I switch doctors and next thing I know I’m under the knife, adding laparoscopy to my list of surgeries.

Which is the fight I’m fighting now.

I spend the second day post-op vomiting up an unfortunate meal from a restaurant I usually enjoy in reaction to the pain pills.

Today, the fight is a little easier.

But my main struggle – and will be for the next few weeks if not a couple of months – is getting back to where I was. My legs are mush. I have weight around my hips. My abdominals are non-existent (considering they’ve been cut open).

And I’m scared shitless of how I’ll get back into this.

I’ve been at the bottom before. I’ve gone from a 99-pound stick to a marathon runner, but I have to find that again.

Maybe this blog will help. It usually does when I try to start back up. Also, I have a wonderful support system of family, friends, and loved ones.

I have an obstacle zombie run in October, and a full marathon in January. Maybe I’ll pick up a half somewhere in there as a marker.

But God knows, I walked a couple miles tonight and felt it.

I’m fighting to not feel useless, hopeless.

The next few days I have some downtime as the wounds in my stomach heal, so I plan on making a nutrition/exercise plan to get back at it (and so I don’t try to bust my ass the first week).

Oh, the diagnosis? Well, something the doctor has never seen before of course: my bowel bone was connected to my ovary bone. In order to help my father understand, the doctor compared it to having one of a man’s testicles strung up and pulled on slightly. For two months. Isn’t that some fun shit? I thought so. The good news is, it may be something I’ve been dealing with for years that’s finally been solved. All those GI problems may have been because of this. Or not. But we’ll see.

So. Training schedule tomorrow hopefully. And here’s your explanation. Oh, and my gross picture:

Bloated from the gas they pumped into me, but luckily the incisions are small.

Running Bullskirt: Why Female Runners Don’t Need Your Cutesy Gear

Look, Active.com, and every other running company, we need to talk.

Do me and all my female runners a favor and treat us like people please. Stop trying to market to us ridiculous skirts to run in. What the hell do I look like? I can’t handle shorts or long pants? I’ve been doing fine in them. I feel “fashionable” in durable, name brand, overpriced Under Armour compression shorts, ok? Next thing you know Victoria’s Secret will be introducing the sexy push-up sports bra and you’ll be saying that’s a must-have or I’m doin’ it wrong.

And I’m pretty sure, about 99.99999999% positive, people will not confuse me for a man if I’m not flouncing about in an “adorable” piece of running gear, like a fruckin’ skirt.

Ok, maybe when I wear 3 layers of shirts and a beanie and I’m braving 20 degree weather for a run, I may look like a dude. Guess what? Don’t give a shit. I’m not running to make sure people know my sex. If I were, I’d just go naked. The fact that people don’t know my sex may even benefit me so I don’t get harassed. God knows female runners aren’t taken seriously already. We’re hooted and hollered at while we’re staining and stinking up a well-worn sports bra or compression pants or ratty pair of shorts, which do not scream for attention, but we get it anyway.

I run to be healthy and because I like to. Your skirt will not enhance that in any way. In fact, I’ll feel like a real asshat in that thing.

I’m not training for hours and miles a week to look all cutesy while I do it. I’ve got my game face on and quite frankly, your skirt would ruin it. It says, to me, “I need this to prove I’m still feminine.”

Female runners are the ultimate woman, the ultimate person. We are dedicated, independent, driven, in love with what we do, and on top of the world when we do it. So thanks but no thanks, and screw your skirt. Women are bold enough to wear the pants in this sport, and that’s just what we’ll do.

Stressed to Fracture

This is the hardest part of being an athlete.

It’s not the training. It’s not the nutrition. It’s not getting myself out the door when it’s 20 degrees outside and the world is all ice and I’ve got a 10 mile run staring me in the windburned face.

It’s the injury. It’s the sitting around not doing what I want to do. This is where it really is an addiction because when I can’t do it, it’s awful. It’s maddening. I feel gross, I don’t eat well, my stomach issues get worse, I’m one helluva demon to be around, I’m depressed.

Sure, there are other things I can do. I plan on a lot of upper body and swimming, and as soon as the swelling goes down, cycling. But none of that is what I really, really want to be doing.

And you can’t play with a stress fracture. Because it’ll turn into a full-on break. Then I’m out for longer.

6 to 8 weeks is bad enough.

And I just hate being inconvenienced. I hate limping, being in pain, walking slower than usual. It’s all just a pain. I’m very much about efficiency and this shit is not efficient.

But I also did this to myself. My shoes are over 500 miles, they’re broken, and I was having twangs in my foot because of them. Did I listen? Hell no. Thursday was so bad for me, I needed the release, and I ran harder and harder the more it hurt. A little masochism, I took the pain because I wanted the run and because it was a release and a way to have control over things I can’t control.

The worst kind of runner is a control freak. Type A. But it’s also the best kind of runner. Because I’ll get the job done, until I break.

So yeah, this is the hard part. The grinding my teeth and twiddling my thumbs and watching my runner’s body go down the drain and not thinking about how I have to start my shit all over again. From mile 1.

This doesn’t really threaten the San Diego race. But it threatens me. And that’s enough.

For now I have to just sit; this injury is too fresh to try any cross-training. Until I can walk with only a moderate amount of pain, then I’ll hit the pool. For now I’ll try not to find other ways for release and just bite down on my aggravation.

So far, no go.

But breathing in. Breathing out. 6 to 8 weeks to go.