Friday, August 26, 2011

Riggsbee Rd and Riggsbee Av are miles really

8/24 run 42 mins @ Fullsteam Brewery with Fullsteam Ahead! Run Club in Altra Instincts

temp low 80's
HR avg ??? max ??? (strapless)

Visual representation of me using a car GPS
So the wife talked me into attending Fullsteam Ahead! Run Club again.  Normally I like to sit on my butt Wednesday nights, after my lifting sessions, but I wanted to do the TORC ride on Thursday and I also needed to get in another run before the weekend, so it seemed like a good idea.  I get my stuff together like normal and hop in the car about 5:30, which should give me plenty of time to get there before 6.  I pull up the History in my GPS and find 726 Riggsbee, perfect!  So off we go, the route seemed a little odd, but I figured the GPS was doing it's usual magic and routing me around all the nasty traffic on Durham Freeway.  The +1 calls and I remark on the phone about the unusual route it seems to be taking but trusting in the power of technology I think nothing of it, plus I'm kind of busy between talking on the phone and trying not to get murdered by all the aggressive after work drivers.  Somehow I don't realize I'm headed the wrong way on Erwin road, until the gps chirps away that I should be at my destination...crap, this not right.  On the phone with her still, the +1 says, "wait, did you say Riggsbee Road or Riggsbee Avenue."  Me, "well, the GPS just said arriving at Riggsbee Road but I'm in the middle of nowhere."  Her, "umm, it's Riggsbee Avenue."  Me, "WHARRGRRRBL."  I frantically punch in the full address only to find I'm at least 20 minutes away from where I'm supposed to be.  How the wrong address got saved in my GPS history I have no idea, as I don't recall ever going to 726 Riggsbee Road before.  So by the time I get there she's waiting with her BIL and she's none too happy.  So we do our own little Fullsteam run.  She used my extra driving time to pull up the route and transcribe it to her hand.

Running on Empty

8/23 run 37 mins (6x400m) @ ATT soft side in Altra Instincts

6x400m with 60 sec rest
1. 1:54  HR avg 164
2. 1:58  HR avg 168
3. 1:54  HR avg 167
4. 2:04  HR avg 170
5. 2:08  HR avg 171
6. 1:59  HR avg 173

temp 81 (about 1:20pm start)
HR avg 153 max 182 (average heart rate includes 10 min warm-up, 10 min cool-down and 60 second rest intervals)

I hadn't done intervals since the beginning of the month, so I was happy to have a slightly easier workout for them today.  This was meant to be the race week workout in the book I've been using, so I only had to do 6x400m but with 60 seconds rest.  The rest was a real killer.  I jogged the first rest, but after that I resorted to walking as I needed every second to try and get my heart rate down.  Sadly the best I could do was to get into the low 150's and by the end, I couldn't even get below 160 during the minute rest (my 60 second rests had an average bpm of 170 by the end).  Cooler days should help, or if I could just get my ass out of bed a little earlier :-)

In order to get out the door sooner, I skipped eating breakfast and just went ahead with the run.  This didn't seem to bother me too much, so I think I will start doing it more often, in order to save myself some time.

Weekly Weight Recap

8/22 lift box squat 3x315 close-grip towel bench press 3x250 dumbell snatches 5x85,3x105, *x115 pull-ups +60lbs and farmer's walk with 115 and 125lb dumbells

If I had stuck to my plan I should have only done 305, at most 310 on the squat, but my training partner inspired me with a great set (and I didn't want to have to take off those 45lb plates).  I also moved up another 5lbs on the towel bench.  Hopefully I can keep up this progress.

8/24 lift power clean 3x220 deadlift 3x410 plus strict dumbell presses 40,45lbs

These lifts were HARD.  Doing a triple with 410 seemed ALOT harder than doing the heavier doubles and singles of the past weeks.  I moved up on the power clean by 5lbs, which is my first increase since March on the triple.  We also moved our presses to Wednesdays.  I mixed in some rotator cuff band work after the presses to balance things out.

8/26 lift squat 3*x285 close-grip bench press 3x235 pull-ups +65lbs and atlas stone carry supersets x3

Today was another tough workout.  The problem with Friday 3x3 is all three sets are very close in weight, so even though we are only talking about 9 reps, each rep is a struggle.   I put a * on my squats, as I didn't get deep enough on my 3rd rep, but it's my fault for getting greedy and putting 10lbs on the bar.  I also moved up 5lbs on the bench, which felt good today and didn't give me any troubles.  The stone kicked my butt as usual.  Adding 5lbs on the pull-ups didn't help things.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wheel on my spin bike keeps on turning

8/21 spin 56 mins at SYNCstudio in Laurissa's class with the +1

HR avg 149 max 174

I was looking forward to this class to help flush out my legs after the long run on Saturday, even though I didn't feel that beat up.  I managed to figure out some of the "traveling" on the bike and we had a pretty great mix of Journey and other music.  How can you not like a class when the last track is Don't Stop Believin'?

A Genuine Long Run

8/20 run 96 mins @ ATT soft side in Altra Instincts (total time 118 mins with cooldown)

temp 89 (about 2pm start)
HR avg 150 max 161 (for the 96 min run)

The +1 did her long run with the Bull City training group that morning, and, as usual, I slept through it (since I have to work overnight).  It was my luck that she had a very busy morning and was still out of the house when it came time for me to run.  She encouraged me to go ahead and do it, so I did.  I've been cutting my carbs to see if it helps with my runs and using VESPA.  So, today, I ate eggs, uncured bacon and an avocado before my run.  I think that was it.  During the run I had my two 24 ounce bottles.  I put a Thermotab in one bottle and a NUUN in the other.  I also brought along 3 more Thermotabs (no you don't need $30 per bottle salt tabs, the $8 ones work just as well).  I ended up using all the salt tabs.  After what Peter Defty said and with the temp at nearly 90 degrees, I used one every 30 minutes.

My plan was to refill my bottles at the first road crossing, where SYNC Studio leaves out a complimentary water cooler.  This plan was working great until I got to the cooler and found it to be empty.  Not a drop left.  I still had about half of one bottle left at this point and quite a ways to go before I would turn around.  I decided to continue on in the hopes of encountering another water cooler.  This turned out to be a good strategy, although I did have to overshoot my initial turn around goal to hit the next water cooler, which is why I ended up with a total of 118 minutes instead of my planned 90 minute run.  I walked the last 21 minutes as I was out of water again by this point and I didn't want to go crazy on my first long run, especially with the ball of my foot bothering me.

I'm delighted to say I felt great during this run and I didn't have any soreness that evening or the next day.  I made sure to keep myself right under 155 bpm the whole time.  Maybe the extended cooldown did it.  Maybe it was the increased electrolyte intake.  I will definitely start doing my dynamic cooldown exercises after all my runs, as that is what I did during those 21 minutes.  The Altra Instincts are doing great, by the way.  I'm not sure how well they will work on a real trail, but they are keeping my lower legs healthy and pain free so far.

Stop feeding the atlas stone

8/19 lift squat 6x255 close-grip bench press 6x210 pull-ups +60lbs and atlas stone carry supersets x3 strict dumbell presses with 40,45lbs

These "high rep" weeks are hard, when you compare them to say 3x3 week, where you only have 9 total reps versus 10,8,6.  I made a move back towards my old weight on the squats and I'm 15lbs away from my previous best for 6 reps on the bench prior to the shoulder issues.  So far everything is holding together and the added shoulder presses haven't caused any residual pain.  The stone carry really sucked today :-)

1st Duke Forest Run

8/18 run 55 mins at Duke Forest entrance off Whitfield Rd in Altra Instincts (2nd run in these!)

temp 80ish
HR avg 150 max 173

I remember it actually felt sort of cool outside when we started this run.  The +1 had wanted to show me this loop for awhile and I was looking forward to trying out a new unpaved place to run with some decent hills.  The hills weren't too steep but they were LONG, so proper pacing was key.  I quickly realized I should have tightened up my shoes a bit more during that first, long downhill section.  The Altra Instincts did a good job of keeping the rocks out and where I've been having issues on the ball of my left foot didn't bother me too much.  Instead of running along the side of the road at the end, I think next time, I'll just turn around and run the same route back to the start, as the cars along that stretch are going really fast and there isn't a whole lot of shoulder to run on.  We started on a second loop, so I don't think the extra miles will be too big of a difference.

An Evening with Peter Defty and Vespa

Vespa CV-25 and Junior
I think a lot of people didn't know what they were getting into when they decided to attend this information session.  For those of you who don't know, Peter is a very accomplished ultra runner and the Vespa rep for North America.  He coaches MANY high level ultra runners.  His ideas are radical and controversial as they would require a complete overhaul in the diet of the average runner (and the average American).  The payoff for these changes can be huge especially for marathon and ultra distance runners.  Dale Humphrey has a good blog post that details some of the dietary changes and product usage strategies.  I'm going to list out some of the things I noted from the information session and some of the books he brought with him and others he recommended.

The goal of all of this is to get the body to burn fat for energy instead of the 1500 calories or so of glycogen it has available on an average day.  By burning fat you can reduce/eliminate your need for calorie ingestion during training (which has many benefits), reduce muscle fatigue/post workout recovery and increase sustained performance during longer events.  In order to prime your body for burning more fat Peter advocates a low carb diet.  This is especially interesting to me, being a larger runner, as I find dealing with calorie and fluid requirements for longer runs to be quite daunting.  I've already had some great results experimenting with reducing my daily carbohydrate intake and using the product on runs over the last few months.


Some of the books Peter recommended:
New Atkins for a New You
Protein Power
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living
Authors/Research Institutes:
Dr. Eric Westman
Weston A. Price Foundation


He recommended using the following formula for heart rate based training, which is a bit more aggressive than standard Maffetone Method based sessions.

180 - age + 15

Peter advocated making sure to take a VERY LONG TIME TO WARMUP in each training session to ensure the body will burn fat over carbohydrate.  He also emphasized the importance of fluid and electrolytes for ketosis (fat burning).  I could be mistaken, but I believe he said he ran Western States on up to 60 oz of water and 1500mg of sodium per hour.  These number seem huge, but if the body isn't also trying to digest food at the same time I can see how this could be possible and a requirement to sustain such high effort for nearly 24 hours, 100 miles and temps up to 115 degrees.  He also recommended UVB treatments for athletes, although I didn't have time to discuss this point with him.


If you are not used to eating low carbohydrate, using VESPA during the transition can reduce the side effects a person may experience during the first couple of weeks (brain fog, lack of energy, craving carbs etc).  He recommends a rare steak and a baked potato loaded with butter and sour cream the night before a race.  I didn't have a chance to write down much else, but I hope to have more information to share as I continue experimenting with the product and my diet.  Since I already have to be gluten free, my carbs aren't very high to begin with, but I've made a point to drop them even more and replace those foods with more healthy fats and proteins.  Using VESPA, I have stopped needing to take in gels during a run and my recovery seems to have improved tremendously between workouts.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Breaking More Records

8/17 lift power clean 2x230 deadlift 2x420

In some ways, I'm more proud of a record on a double than I am of a new record on a single.  I finally moved up on the power clean for my double.  I think I've been doing 225 for like 6 months or more.  I stuck to my 5lbs on the deadlift, which puts me 5lbs off my single.  The key I'm finding is to make sure I complete my exhale and start my inhale before I start descending for the next rep, otherwise I can't get in enough air while descending with all the weight and I end up feeling like I'm going to pass out.

I had to take the tests and qualification on Tuesday for the training I did over the weekend, so I didn't have time to workout that day.  Also, I attended the Vespa information session with Peter Defty at Bull City Running on Tuesday night.  I'll do a separate post to talk about that.  I've been using Vespa when I run (although those runs have been few and far between lately).

Monday Quickie

8/15 lift box squat 6x280 close-grip towel bench press 6x220

I had a dentist appointment afterwards, so I didn't have time to do any auxiliary lifts today.  I was sore and super tired before the workout as I was working overnight the whole weekend and in training from 8-5 during the day.  Hopefully I can stop burning the candle at both ends after Tuesday and catch up on some rest!

New Territory

8/12 lift squat 1x285 close-grip bench press 1x265 pull-ups +60lbs and atlas stone carry supersets x3 dumbell presses 10x40,3x55,6x40

Thursday I had to practice for some training I am attending over the weekend, so I didn't have time to get in a workout.  So here we are at Friday squats and bench again.  The day I skip the most due to my work schedule.  This is also probably the most important day of the program.  I continue to stay conservative on the squat and move only 5lbs a week in order to make sure I don't miss any lifts.

Today was a landmark day on the bench, as I singled the weight I did prior to my shoulder injury.  I bridged a little but nothing too bad.  So far my shoulders feel great, so I'm really excited to see where I can go over the next few months while I am still healthy.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Records!

8/10 lift power clean 1x240 deadlift 1x425

The lighter sets weren't very foreboding, as they all felt heavy to me, but I pulled off a couple records for my current body weight.  Looking forward to seeing if I can keep moving up next month!  I did miss my first attempt at the power clean and my right knee did something weird on the second by I made the catch.

I hate asphalt

8/9 run 48 mins on ATT by Bull City Running in Altra Instincts (1st shoe run!)

temp 95+ (after dynamic stretch workshop)
HR avg 162 max 175

The +1 is doing the Bull program through Bull City Running, so she had a 50 min run tonight, but first she wanted to check out the dynamic stretch workshop at BCR, so I figured I would tag along.  I think the two combined to work against me, but I'll get to that in a minute.  I brought my new running shoes, the Altra Instinct, and wore my flip-flops for the clinic as I'm most comfortable practically barefoot and I hate to start a run with sweaty feet.

So turns out the workshop is being held outside in the heat on the concrete and we all get to practice alongside the instructor.  Normally this isn't a big deal and it didn't bother me at the time to run around barefoot doing various drills but as soon as I put my shoes on started running the balls of my feet felt like they were on fire.  This feeling only got worse the longer we ran.  I don't know if the concrete took of some skin and the sweat was burning me or if it was just some kind of weird hot spot, but it felt like I was running on giant blood blisters the whole time.  I'm thinking the combination of barefoot concrete warmups, the new shoes and running on pavement created a bit of a perfect storm.  My feet look any worse for wear after the run but they continued to hurt for a day or two.

The run itself started off great, but the relentless pace of the +1 and the oppressive heat began to take its toll toward the end.  I was ready to be done and felt like I was trying to sprint by the last 10 minutes.  I definitely need to be running more and not using the bike as my excuse.

Monday Singles

8/8 lift box squat 1x310 close-grip towel bench press 1x265 dumbell snatches 5x85,3x105, *x115 pull-ups +60lbs and farmer's walk with 115 and 125lb dumbells

This workout seemed to take a long time, but we got everything done and made all our lifts.  The farmer's walks are a new addition.  Should be a great exercise for adapting the body to dealing with heavier loads, especially in motion.  The pickup makes my right shoulder pop a bit.  I have some lofty numbers to hit this week.  Hopefully the plan comes together :)

The Substitute

8/7 run spin 54 mins at SYNCstudio in Laurissa's Kristin's class WITHOUT the +1

HR avg 155 max 175

The +1 ran 10 miles this morning, so she bowed out of spin class again.  I don't blame her, as I wouldn't have gone either if I ran 10 miles (or even 3 for that matter).  It was very different from the usual Sunday class, as Kristin looks to weigh about 40lbs and moves with the speed of a humming bird.  I did my best to keep up.  I got in a pretty good workout but I wasn't feeling the music today.

Keep on Keeping on

8/5 lift squat 5x265 close-grip bench press 4x225 pull-ups +60lbs and atlas stone carry supersets x3 dumbell presses 6x40 (testing out the shoulder)

Added in some extra shoulder work, now that my shoulders are feeling good.  Keeping my elbows in on the bench is working great so far, although I need to make sure I don't bridge.  A pretty good day all around.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I think I'm getting the hang of this...

8/4 bike 82 mins at Lake Crabtree on the TORC beginner/intermediate ride

HR avg 144 max 182

So today wasn't quite so terrifying, ok, it wasn't terrifying at all.  Except for maybe when we watched the crazy guys at the pump/jump track thing.  I didn't fall, and I managed to complete almost all the obstacles I attempted.  Michael, who led the group, spent a good amount of time explaining various skills and techniques as we encountered opportunities to practice them on the trails. I feel like I learned a lot and I only hope I can implement it on my next ride.  Brian, who led our first ride the week before, was there too, but he went with the intermediate group today.  Our friends, E&C were there along with their friend Will.  The +1 was out sick, so she missed out on lots of tips, hopefully these added techniques will give me the edge I need to keep up with her on the next ride :-)

Early workout

8/3 lift power clean 5x205 deadlift 5x395

I had to take my Dad in for a bone marrow biopsy today, so we worked out early since I had to hit the road for Greenville to take him to his appointment.  The workout was tough and I'm shocked I was able to pull 395 on my fifth set.  It was difficult, but if I make a concerted effort to breathe out at the top of the rep and inhale as I lower the weight I'm able to finish without breaking form.  I did pause for a second at the top on my fourth rep to get an extra breath, but I figured it was better than blacking out...

So regarding the bone marrow biopsy thing, I ended up being front row for the whole procedure and trust me, you never want to have one of these done.  It gives me the willies just thinking about it.  Hopefully all the tests will comeback ok.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3 mile core meltdown

8/2 run 51 mins (3x1600m) @ ATT soft side in New Balance MT10 Trail Minimus

3x1600m with 60 sec rest
1. 8:52  HR avg 168
2. 9:37  HR avg 170
3. 10:30  HR avg 174

temp 95 (about 6:40pm start)
HR avg 161 max 180 (average heart rate includes 10 min warm-up, 10 min cool-down and 60 second rest intervals)

This was a nice "welcome back" to running after taking a two week hiatus.  Ok, I just lied, it was hot, unpleasant and I was pretty miserable.  This was my first time running with 60 seconds of rest between intervals.  I tried to pace myself, but without a pool to jump into in between intervals I just start to burn up the longer I'm out there.  It was all I could do to keep my legs moving on that last mile.  Not fun, but not a bad workout for having skipped all my runs since the 14th.  Looking back at march I did a similar set of 2 mile repeats in 8:15 and 8:37, so hopefully it's just the heat making slow.

Back to the Snatch

8/1 lift box squat 5x290 close-grip towel bench press 5x230 dumbell snatches 5x85,3x105, *x115 and pull-ups +60lbs

Our hands are mostly healed from the sauna crossfit episode, so we are back to our regularly scheduled exercises.  Also, in exciting Craigslist news, I managed to snag some more dumbells!  The seller claimed to have a set of 105,115 and 125lb dumbells, but turns out the only ones they had over 100lbs were the 115's and the 125's.  So we picked up both sets.  They are a slightly different design, where the plates on either side of the handle are loose and the caps are welded on.  It makes them difficult to snatch, as you have 115lbs of plates rattling and moving around in a slightly different direction from the handle.  I gave the 115 a shot on both sides, but I couldn't get it.  I wish we could find a set of 105's or 110's somewhere.   Also, added another 5lbs to the pull-ups, which is a couple months overdue.   I find pull-ups never get easier, you just have to progressively add weight, which makes the lighter ones feel easier by comparison.

Alone in a sea of Lululemon

7/31 run spin 52 mins at SYNCstudio in Laurissa's class WITHOUT the +1

HR avg 161 max 180

The wife was struck down by illness following her 11 miler on Saturday, so I had to go it alone to spinning class.  I would have gladly skipped, but seeing as how I slacked off on Saturday and didn't do my run again <insert heat related excuse> I knew I had to do some kind of cardio plus I already paid my 15 dollars.  Either my conditioning is getting worse or I'm working myself progressively harder in this class.  I still can't copy all the fancy bike "traveling" moves, but I try to keep my pedals in sync with the instructor.  My back bothers me a little bit during the class, but so far I've been able to avoid any residual pain, which is great and has allowed me to keep coming back week after week.

Apparently fear makes for a great cardio workout

7/28 bike 75 mins of sheer terror at Lake Crabtree on the TORC beginner/intermediate ride

HR avg 162 max 181

I haven't ridden my mountain bike since February on the Tobacco Trail and I haven't been on a real "mountain bike trail" since my first and only time over a year ago on the beginner trail at Harris Lake.   The first time was slightly scary, in part, due to the pogo stick I had for a front fork at the time and my somewhat non-functional derailleurs.  I've made the necessary repairs and improvements to the bike over the last couple months and I was finally ready to ride again!  When we went to Harris Lake over a year ago, it was pretty obvious the wife was much better at this than I am.  I also managed to crash, which didn't help things.

After picking up my newly repaired bike from REI, during my test ride around the backyard I managed to crash, and I probably should have seen this as an omen of things to come.  I was expecting a nice ride on some rolling bridle trails, but what I got was more of a white knuckle single track experience.  We met up with the beginner group and set off in single file, I talked the wife into going in front of me thinking I would have no trouble keeping up and this way I didn't have to worry about her running me over when I crashed, adding insult to injury.  She quickly disappeared into the distance with the lead pack and I was left feeling like I was trapped in an out of control Camry going the wrong way on the freeway at rush hour.  Now, I know the seasoned mountain bikers out there consider the trails at Lake Crabtree to be beginner stuff.  They still scared the crap out of me.  I only truly crashed once, and it was actually in a non-scary portion of the trail due to loose dirt/pine straw, but I had PLENTY of close calls.  How I didn't face plant into a tree I'll never know.  There was one really huge drop into a banked right hander that I walked down, but this was after seeing the wife go flying in rather spectacular fashion.  I would learn later this was due to the guy in front of her and not any lack of skill on her part.  Maybe next Thursday will go better....