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Dancezwithkittehz - THIS IS SPARTA! (aka Spartan race training)


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So, I just realized I have less than a month to my Spartan race. Holy crap, ya'll!!! Since that is coming up in just about 4 weeks I decided my Spartan training shall be the theme of this challenge!Luckily, my regular training for aerial already is good training for the Spartan race, but I really need to ramp up my running! I can hike and walk long distances easily so it's just a matter of doing run/walk couch to 5k (Zombie style, of course) to work on getting my legs used to impact again.

Here are my specific goals:

1. Prepare for those burpees! (aka push up time!):

I am pretty confident that I will own most of the obstacles, but who knows what may go down race day so I need to be ready for those 30 burpee penalties for any incomplete obstacle. To do this I plan to work on push ups every other day until race day.

2. Keep on hanging on! (aka climbing/aerial/"pull" related exercises):

Along with my push ups I will also work on pull ups/ climbing/ aerial related skills every other day. I took an aerial conditioning class last week and realized how much I haven't been doing enough work in this area.

3. CHARGE!!! (aka running training):

I need to get up my running distances. For this I will continue working on Zombies, Run! C25K training every other day (alternate days from my strength training days)

4. Let's turn the world upside down! (aka ab work to improve my aerial inversions):

This isn't directly related to Spartan training, but strong abs will help in all of the other areas of my challenge. I plan on working that plough pose a ton + working on inversions in aerial class and on my pull up bar + a bunch of upper ab  and oblique stuff in addition because muscle balance is good yay! I will work on this every other day (same day as my strength training days.)


Life Goal:  Declutter and streamline! I am leaving this semi open to interpretation. This can both be things like physically cleaning and streamlining my room/house as well as mental stuff. All part of building my batcave for continuing improvement and habit change!!
 

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I've also decided on some unofficial goals of trying to give myself more aerial-spiration (inspiration by watching cool aerial videos.)  I'm not skilled enough yet to be able to bust out too much in the way of choreography and there aren't any adult dance classes going on around so I need some pretty performance stuff in my life.  I found this awesome video of a really sweet aerial silks performance at a festival nearby-ish to where I live:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn9lU-rWNZQ

 

She seems to have one of those super bendy body types, so I don't know that I've ever reach quite this degree of flexibility, but it was awesome to watch the way she add flair to every way she moves, even her classic climbs and super basic stuff. I've been having trouble with getting myself to use my whole body and engage my legs in my climbs lately, so this was great inspiration!!

 

(P.S. If anyone can tell me how to make embedded youtube videos work...I tried but wasn't sure how to code it to make it work!)

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Thanks! I'll try that next time.

Yesterday was advanced beginner aerial, today was a running day. Can I say am so damn thankful I had Veteran's day off? I am SO SORE! I tend to really save up as much energy as possible for aerial and I really bust ass and then I am so sore I can barely sleep after. (I did manage to advil and Benadryl myself to get some sleep)

I am so so so excited about my advanced beginner aerial classes and am still so unbelievably happy at my fortune that they switched my previously just beginner level aerial to advanced beginner. I learn new things every day and it really pushes me to work even harder! I'm also really proud that the aerial conditioning class I took for fun last week actually helped me pinpoint some problem spots in my technique and how I can work through them (making climbs a whole body activity that uses my legs, and whenever I get caught up in inversions remembering that if I drop my head my butt WILL go up like it's supposed to.)

My run today was painful. I think I am going to experiment with adding an extended warm up walk before starting my Zombies C25K app. (Well. I can't do that on weekday lunch runs I guess! Limited time.) today I felt like I didn't really work through all the lactic acid built up in my legs until my run was almost over.

Admittedly, the trail I did today is way more technical and much more dramatic ups and downs than the trail I do at work! I have to remember that my pace is going to suck on technical trails even if I figure out how to get the pain and soreness under control!

I am doing walks on my running off days and I stretch after my runs, so I'm not sure how else to mitigate the pain. It could be I will have less soreness after my body gets used to running. If anyone has tips on how to prevent lactic acid buildup I would really appreciate it!!

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My arms were still waaaay too sore today (like, had to take advil to not get distracted at work and to be able to chop veggies for dinner sore. Where DOMS.) I knew I might need to throw in a rest day here and there so I postponed my strength day until tomorrow and did a nice easy walk around the lagoon at lunch and let all the muscles rest.

I can't decide it I want to run and strength train tomorrow or maybe I will do lunch walk + strength train and do runs on Friday and Sunday to keep things on an every other day schedule. Either way I will be hitting the lagoon either running or walking and spending some quality time with my pull up bar!

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Blargh. I'm starting to think this might be a mild strain and not just soreness since I am on day 3 and it hurt like hell when I woke up this morning. Pain when resting. No swelling that I can tell and no mobility problems, so I think just some rest (total rest of that arm and not "I won't work out today but I'm still going to use my muscles and carry heavy stuff") should do it. I didn't have any sudden onset pain like I normally do with an injury so hmmm but soreness should be gone by now!

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I decided to try out Tiger Balm since I always hear good things about it. I smell so festive! (And it seems to be working. Lol)

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Yaaaay. Feeling much less pain today in my left arm. I'm still going to try to give it rest today (maybe 90% rest instead of 100% rest to test it a bit.) I was really careful to make sure I didn't sleep with it in any weird position and I didn't wake up with it hurting like hell, so that worked. WOO!

 

Hopefully by tomorrow it'll be even better and I can start thinking about getting back to training!

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My arm may be acting up, but I can still run!! (Or run/walk. Training and all that.) 

 

Today I completed Zombies, Run! C25K training Week 4, Workout 2. This week is a lot of walking drills interspersed with high knees. (And they give you seriously 30 seconds or something to do 10 high knees?! I do 20 since there's plenty of  time and then I still finish before the next prompt. I ran around half of the first 5 minute free run and then 13 minutes or so out of the last 15 minute free run. Yay!! I'm running for longer!  I'm not very fast yet (I averaged around 17:48 for the 2.75 miles I did today), but I'll get there!

 

I haven't had to take any pain killers for my injured arm today, so I hopeful that it will ready at the very least for aerial on Monday. I will have to gauge how it is feeling on Sunday and cancel my class ahead of time if there's any question. ($25 per class is a lot to waste if I'm not feeling back to 100%. Whee 24-hour advance notice cancellation policies.)

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It's the weekend aka an excellent time to work oh my decluttering goal!

Today I went to battle with my closet:

I threw out an entire trashbag of old worn out clothes and also shoes from the last 15 years or something (apparently young me didn't throw away old shoes. Was I hoping they would regenerate or something? Who knows!)

I also put together a bag of perfectly good shoes for donation. My style has completely changed over the last year and all my old athletic-ish shoes just aren't me anymore (except for my actual running/hiking shoes that I wear for well.. Hiking and running.)

Now to go to the store to prepare for Friendsgiving! I'm making delicious french bread stuffing with lots of fresh herbs and stock (no broth. Broth is for the weak!)

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Thanks!

 

My arm is feeling much better, but I decided to skip tonight just to be safe. (I want to have a few days of no pain before I test it out too much.)

 

There is a dance company I have wanted to see for years that is doing a touring show and coming through the area tonight. I decided the combination of still healing arm + OMG Pilobolus is here = take a break from class and go see the performance. I am so excited!

 

Since I am resting up my arm I only did leg and core work this weekend. I guess I did use my arms technically to hold a plank and they seemed to do OK with that at least!

 

Saturday strength training:

1. Plough variations/ working on inversions on the ground. I think I held this for around 5 minutes switching around from plough pose to just pike with my legs in the air, to inverted tuck, to inverted split legs, to pencil and just kept switching it around.

2. With feet on exercise ball and starting from plank pose I did 10 each of pulling legs to tuck and pike

3. 25 bodyweight squats because why not?

4. 30 walking lunges (maybe more but I failed to remember to write down my total. woops)

 

Sunday Run:

 

Sunday's run and the last mission of week 4 went pretty well. My speed is going up sloowly. This was on the hardest of the trails I regularly train on, so I always expect my speed to be lower, but I actually did 17:15 on the last half mile which I ran the majority of (there are a few super steep hills on this that I walk because it seems more energy efficient.) My average pace for the entire run including all of the walking intervals at different speeds and the warm up etc. was 19:50. I realized the hardest part of the 10 high knee, 1 min slow walk, 1 min fast walk, for me is the SLOW part. My natural walking pace is pretty speedy so I have to really think to go slow. I tried actually pretending that I was on the lookout for zombies and that seemed to help me get in the zone. Whatever works!!

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Oh. My. God. That was the best performance I have ever seen. I don't think I have seen a dance show that had me with that total look of wonder almost the whole way through. Holy crap ya'll!!!

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It's beginning to sink in that my race is just barely over 2 weeks away. WOOO! I

 

I am pretty set if I stick with my training (assuming my arm behaves itself.) I'm going to be really cautious about doing any serious ramping up on my upper body routine. Better to do gradual and not go nuts and cause myself down days since I already missed a week of training from my angry left forearm last week!

 

Goals for the next few weeks:

 

1. Keep on top of my running!  I'd like to get to where I am running a solid 30 minutes at once by the end of this week and next. As long as I keep with my every other day running I should be fine. My last few runs I've felt like I could have kept going after my Zombies, RuN! C25K ends. I think on the weekends/ when I have time for it I will keep that last free run going as long as my legs feel willing to do and then taper off for week one of December so my legs are ready to go then. I am running today at lunch!

 

2. Keep on top of strength training days! Lately I have been slacking on push ups and doing all pulling and hanging and climbing, so I need to really make sure I get in a solid arm day on EVERYTHING at least twice a week, maybe 3. I'm going to see how my body feels and week of the race I will definitely keep it to two days/taper this as well. I am also doing this today when i get home before my hill walk if I have time.

 

3. keep working those hills! The Malibu Spartan Sprint course is a notoriously hilly bastard. I do a lot of hills, but I want to keep up with it for sure. This week I started doing "butt buster hill" with my friends which is marching up a steep hill in my city and then cooling down by winding down through the neighborhood then repeating this loop over and over. We did 3 on Monday which totaled to about 4.5 miles. I might hit this by myself on the weekend as well and do a good 6 reps and I think I will run parts of the downhill because I felt it was a bit too easy for me with that big of a break. We are doing this tonight and I am hoping we do 4! I always do an annoying hilly trail on weekends for my runs so I may extend the run part or at least keep walking after my run and do some of the even hillier trails in that park.

 

My arm is happy and hasn't hurt in 3 days so LET'S DO THIS!! RAAAAAAAAAAAAR BEAST MODE!!

 

(P.s. I ordered myself some new Nike dri-fit pants because I am walking and running so much and I only have the one pair and they last forever even with heavy use so I can justify the ridiculous $100 they cost me. This pair I got snazzy black and red snakeskin print, so I look extra awesome. My black pair has lasted 2+ years with no sign of wearing out through days and days and days of backpacking and hiking and running and the thighs have not worn out at ALL like I have happen with "real pants" as I call non-exercise wear. And the elastic is still perfect unlike my dance/aerial pants that usually die on me within 6 months of heavy use!  I swear they Nike makes this stuff out of magic. Anyway, I digress!)

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Woot! I'm definitely improving on my runs and running for longer!  Today was week 5, workout 1. I ran more 3 minutes of the first 5 minute free run and I ran the entire way for the last 2 free runs, both were 10 minutes long w/ a 5 minute break between. My totals were:

time: 55 minutes, miles: 3.15, average pace: 17:28

 

Tonight is strength training and butt buster hill!

 

Odd note: I am starting to realize for me that my biggest struggle in running is that it takes my legs forever to warm up but once my muscles are actually warm I can run just fine. I wish it didn't take 20 to 30 minutes to work past my muscles burning like crazy!!!

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Last night I ended up doing:

 

1. Really easy bodyweight strength training to test out my arms post injury and no pain today so YAY!  I did 2 sets of 15 "girl" push-ups and one set of 10 tricep dips. My arms aren't even sore today so I am going to try to do a little bit more tough upper body workout tonight.

 

2. Walk up booty buster hill - We did two loops today since we were both sore to start: total distance: 2.5 miles, time: 55 min

 

Today

 

1. Lunch walk. I was hoping a walk would help keep my legs from getting super sore from running yesterday. I did: distance: 1.86 miles, time: 38:36 min

2. Planks: I did 2 one minute planks randomly at my desk today. Sneaky, assassin style to avoid weird looks from coworkers etc.

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Saturday:

 

I did a quick little 20 minute bodyweight strength training day working on all my goal areas (except running, of course!):

 

2 sets of 10 hanging shrugs

1 minute plank

5 hanging tucks

5 hanging pikes

2 sets of 10 knee push ups

4 sets of 10 inverted rows (2 each forward and reverse grips)

5 inverted tucks and planks on exercise ball while holding plank

1 minute of inversion work on ground (plough, tuck, pike, straddle, splits, etc.)

 

Monday:

 

Aerial! And my arm handled it fine. Today was a silks and hammock day.

 

I did a lot of climbing the silks since I'm trying to correct my form on that and I was successful! Yay! I had read an article on straight arm hang in regards to rock climbing but I realized now that I have gotten really bad about doing all bent arm all the time when I climb and realized if I do straight arm + lift legs higher that would really help my form. I went up and down maybe 10 times throughout the night switching legs every other time and switching back and forth between classic climb and russian climb. I was having one of those days where I could. not. get the silks to separate so I didn't practice angel descent as I had hoped to.

 

On hammocks I finally got myself to do the crochet with both legs and then pulling myself up into straddle from there where you end up with silks wrapped around your thighs and giving you an unpleasant wedgie (I can't remember what this is called.) This is one of those things I should have been able to do for a long time but just never made myself do it.  I had to get past the initial discomfort of it feeling like it was going to cut off circulation in my power thighs.

 

Next week I am determined to get down getting into arrow pose and doing the front and back flips. I keep getting stuck on the part where I have to invert myself again by crossing my arms in front of myself with one thigh already resting in the hammock. I think this is going to be another weird one like the last one where it isn't that hard but I just keep getting stuck on the mechanics of how it works. I'll get it next week. RARRR determined.

 

Today:

 

I forgot my running clothes today. Woops. I at least got out and went for a wee walk since I can do that in my work clothes. I plan to do some ab work tonight, planks, inversions etc. I may also bust out some squats and lunges just for funsies.

 

For tomorrow I plan to do a run day and some more hanging and push up work and probably more abs because EVERY DAY IS AB DAY WOOO.

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LOL! Angry diaper is an amazing name!

 

This reminds me that I really should ask my teachers at some point how to use the split silks like a hammock. Since we always have hammocks and the split silks up they don't teach that generally but I am sure they must know how!

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I realized that the zombies C25K is ramping up way too slowly and my race is on the 6th, so I'm taking a break from that.

 

Today: run day

 

Today I was shooting for doing at least two 13-15 min run intervals spaced with a min or two of running in between. I ended up doing 5 min walk warm up, 13 min-ish run, 2-3 minute walk break, 5 min ish running, 30 second or so walk break, 5 min-ish run, 30 second walk break, 5 min-ish run, 5 min walk for cool down. Basically I tried to just run as much as I could and whenever my legs got to where they felt like they were near cramping and needed to be shaken out I'd walk for a little bit, shake out my calves and ankles, and start running again. I didn't quite get in two solid 13 minute chunks but I still ran the majority of the 45 minutes so I call this a success!  My pace including walk breaks and stuff calculated out to distance: 2.69 miles, Time: 45:27, average pace: 16:54.

 

If I had to run my race this way I would be OK with it, but I want to try to run as much as possible! I wish I'd realized my zombies, run! app was doing this so slowly. I like the way it does things but also I feel like the weird week 4 where it suddenly had you running way less and doing a ton of slow walk/ fast walk/ slow walk/ fast walk intervals was not necessarily super helpful. I can already walk a long time at a fast pace and am already good at switching paces which seems to be what they wanted me to practice.

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I wish I posted this as I went along but I was being lazy about posting over the Turkey Day weekend, but I did take notes on what I did and I didn't skip any workouts! Go me!

 

Wednesday:

 

In addition to the lunch run I posted about above I also did 3 sets of 4 real push ups!  I think I am going to go back to "girl" push ups until I get my reps up a bit, but yay I did real push ups!  I also did a 1 minute plank.

 

Friday:

 

Friday was a strength training day to work on hanging and push-uping and ab-tacular awesomeness. I did:

3 sets of 11 knee push ups

2 sets of 10 hanging shoulder shrugs (forward grip one set, reverse grip one set)

1 minute plank

 

Saturday:

 

This was my last long run day before my race one week out on Saturday the 6th. I am pretty proud of how it went! I wanted to run at least 3 miles and run as much as possible and I did! And it was on the harder/ more-technical trail and my speed was almost the same as it was on my Wednesday run on easier trail!  I think I walked around 1 minute total out of the run. I ran as long as I could and took walk breaks/shook out my legs whenever it felt like things were wanting to cramp up. I did take a good 2 minute break when I realized I had been in the heavy breathing/ heavy effort range for a good 5-10 minutes and wanted to get my heart rate down a little so I could get in another 10 minutes of running to get myself to 3 miles. My stats for this run were: Total distance: 3.34 miles, duration: 58:05 minutes, average pace: 17:23

 

I can totally run my race this way and be happy with the results!

 

I plan to do two shorter runs this week and try to run the whole way through, but other than that my next long run will be my Spartan race on Saturday! (Unless that gets cancelled or something because down south is getting POUNDED with rain and Southern CA is not built to handle that. If there are more mudslides in the Malibu/PCH area I suppose they could cancel and reschedule, which would suck but HEY we need this rain so bad!

 

Sunday

 

Monday is aerial/ upper-body day, but I wanted to get in something on Sunday so I did an ab day w/ some incidental arm work because planks!! I did:

2 sets, 1 minute planks

1 set, 30 second side planks (1 each side, so total 1 minute)

2 minutes inverted ground work (plough, inverted straddle, tuck, pike, and splits etc.)

15 roll ups, plus I did some small pulses and a hold in the middle spot that is the hardest (probably around 10-15 mini pulses)

 

I've so got this!!! RAAAAAAAAARR!!!!

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Report for the rest o' the week!

 

Monday, December 1st

 

1. Monday was a running day. It was really really hard to get up in the morning on Monday after the long weekend and lots of fun, but I managed!  I felt super sluggish for my run as well, but it actually went better than I thought and my pace still increased in spite of feeling like I was doing terrible!  Total distance: 1.59 miles, Total Duration: 24:57, Average Pace: 15:39. This was right in lines with that I wanted to do for my runs for my taper: keep up effort and speed but reduce overall distance per run.

 

2. Monday was also aerial day!  I was once again feeling super tired and sluggish and weak today (probably does not help that it's shark week this week -- ugh!) I didn't make any new accomplishments in class, which I was disappointed about, but likewise I also realize there are always going to be good days and bad days and I can't make a new PR every week! 

 

3. I did however, make some gains with my push up totals! Woohoo!! I went back to knee push ups until I can consistently get 3 or 4 sets of 25 per set. I am now maxing out at 3 sets of 15 knee push ups per set. That's up from 11 per set last week! Yay! Getting stronger!

 

Tuesday was rest day!

 

 

Wednesday, December 3rd

 

1. This was running day, and my last training run before my Spartan Race in Malibu on Saturday. This run felt so much better than my Monday run! I went a little shorter than my Monday run, but increased my pace again. Yay!  Wednesday run stats were:  Total distance: 1.50 miles, Duration: 22:04, Average Pace: 14:40.

 

2. I also did some arm work and core work both in my warm up and after my run:

3 sets of 15 knee push ups (same as Monday, hopefully next week I'll get a few more!),

One 20 second plank followed by two 30 second one-footed planks alternating feet,

One more 1 minute plank in standard position

 

Thursday

 

1. This was mostly a rest day but I didn't do any pulling exercises on Wednesday and I needed to get some in. I did some hanging leg lifts to tuck with my hands in different positions, and then I did some hanging leg lifts to straddle. I kept it short and sweet since I was pretty exhausted from Wednesday shenanigans.

 

 

Friday

 

Rest day number two!  I want my muscles to be ready to go tomorrow. I am so set for this race! However I also feel like I am coming down with something. My throat feels a little tickly like a coughy head-cold is coming. I really really hope it's just from sinus drainage since my allergies have been a bitch this week. if I feel totally horrendous tomorrow I can still defer my race but if I am just feeling mildly crappy I am going anyway. I feel like owning a spartan race while I have a cold would make me extra badass, right?

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I did it!!!!! WOOO! That was both awesome and the most amazingly brutal 3 miles of my life. The majority of the course was steep uphills that go on forever and they stacked the majority of the obstacles in the last half mile when I was already exhausted. Hoo boy. But I did it!

My. Entire. Body. Hurts. I feel sort similar to how I do after doing a weekend long brutal backpacking trip except it was only 3 miles in one day and I am MORE SORE.

I've learned awesome things like I am terrible at spear throwing (first 30 burpee penalty for me!)

I learned opening pill bottles must use your chest muscles because taking allergy meds today hurt! Oww! Hahaha.

I also learned that army crawling up a steep long muddy hill until barbed wire leads to some amazing scrapes and bruises.

I also learned I am awesome at monkey bars! Who knew! (So many of the women were failing miserably at these and or were riding on their boyfriend's shoulders to even do it.) Teeny tiny me with my teeny tiny arm span (I am only 5 feet tall ya'll!) got all the way across like it was something I do every day and it ain't no thang! I must thank trapeze training for how good it am at swinging to build momentum. I would not have been able to do the 3rd or so bar, which was a longer space between because it was both across AND up pretty high. I had to try five times to nail that transition but then I breezed across the rest of the path. I felt so badass! I was really nervous about that one!

I think before next one I need to to more burpees!! Get a solid pull up! And start lifting! (That sand bag pulley lift was brutal. Admittedly I was one of the only ones in my wave doing it by my damn self and I got it up more than halfway and back down in a measured and controlled fashion without dropping it. Ladies and the dudes were all teaming up with their friends. I was proud of myself!)

I also learned there is a point at which I am so tired I will pass on a free beer in order to get home faster. Who knew?!

I am not sure how aerial is going to go tomorrow but we shall see. I am taking a total rest day today! I think I am even too sore to chop and cook but I am going to try because I love cooking and chopping gets me in my zen space!

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Assassin extraordinaire!!

Current Challenge

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