Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “strength training”

Ankle Still A Hot Mess; Skipping The 10K

I’m not a happy camper this morning. It’s already mid August and I’m still not running yet. Heck, I’m not even doing my daily walks. For a month I’ve diligently stretched my calf and foot in an effort to deal with the Achilles tendonitis.

The pain in the morning is just as bad as ever.

Now I’m finding that the comfort my sneakers provided in decline. Great.

That means I’ll miss the George Washington 10k in September. I can’t run it if I’m not training. And I certainly can’t run on this ankle anytime soon.

With the pain not going away, I’ve decided a little more aggressive action is needed. First up is an ankle splint. I’m picking one up this morning.

Next is massage therapy that focuses on the tendon and the main culprit, an overly tight calf muscle. I found this video online showing the massage technique.

Next up are more stretching and strengthening exercises. This physical therapy video demonstrates techniques that I can try using my stairs and resistance bands. The video also demonstrates how I can massage my tendon myself.

Hopefully I’ll feel a difference over the next few weeks.

Am I Getting Stronger? Getting A Handle On My Progress

Dot Workout Log

My new workout log. Time to start tracking my goal of building strength.

While I track what I eat, my exercise tracking is lacking to say the least. It’s a good habit I never tried to reinforce. But without tracking my progress it’s hard to know if I’m actually building strength.

To get stronger I need to constantly challenge myself physically. That means increasing the difficulty of my workouts. But if I can’t remember what or how well I did my last workout, then how do I know I’m doing better? Read more…

10K Training Detour: Achilles Tendonitis

crossing finish line 2015

The big action shot of me crossing the finishing line of my first 5K where I ran the entire 3.1 miles. I am awesome! I’m determined to do the same in a 10K race.

Well this is a fine how-do-you-do. My ankle problem is back which means my 10k training is taking a slight detour. I’m not running for a few weeks. I’m having issues with my ankle once again. My doctor suspects its Achilles tendonitis.

So I’m trying to minimize the impact on my foot. That means no running for a couple of weeks. Instead I’ll go to more spin classes during the week.

Per my doctor’s advice I’m giving up wearing high heals, flats and flip-flops for the time being. My ankle prefers walking shoes. The pain goes away quickly once I put those magic shoes on (provided I don’t stay on my feet for more than a couple of hours).

Since the pain is the greatest in the morning my doctor recommended some stretching to help loosen up my calf muscle (the main culprit) and some light foot stretches. I may pick up an ankle splint too, but I’m waiting to see if the stretching and training modifications help.

Fingers crossed I’ll be back hitting the pavement in August.

11 Weeks Of Training

crossing finish line 2015

The big action shot of me crossing the finishing line of my first 5K where I ran the entire 3.1 miles. Can’t wait to do the same for my first 10K…and yes, I am still awesome!

Over the last year I’ve tried training for a 10k with no luck. It’s just hard for me to train without an actual deadline. Well now I have one – September 10. That’s when I run 6.2 miles along the Potomac River to Mount Vernon for the George Washington Patriot Run.

While I don’t want to injure myself, I am going to push myself a little with my training schedule.  My thinking is my body can handle it since I’m not asking it to do something it hasn’t done before (just more distance and time).

Which means rain or shine, I have to run 3 times a week. It also means adding some non-impact cardio twice a week. My gym is testing a 30-minute speed cycling class this quarter. I might as well give it a go.

My current strength training, walking and yoga sessions provide a nice cross training.

But first thing up? Replacing gear. I’m heading out this morning to replace my running shoes.

I think I’ll also re-watch From Fat to Finish Line this weekend.  My training kicks off on Sunday and I’d like to go into it as excited as possible.

“You Can’t Accomplish Anything Without The Possibility Of Failure”

An Awesome Documentary Got Me Questioning How Hard I’m Willing To Push Myself – Mentally, Physically & Emotionally – To Achieve What I Want.

This weekend I spent some time looking for upcoming local races, both 5 and 10Ks. I’m always way more consistent in training when I have a deadline I’m working towards. That’s when I came across the most amazing race I’ve never heard of – The Barkley Marathon.

I learned about it via a documentary that’s currently on Netflix – The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young. It is an amazing story that spotlights the quirky traditions and oddball personalities surrounding this race.

But what I loved most happened after watching the movie. More on that below. But first, What is the Barkley?

Read more…

10k Training Commencing, Weather Be Damned!

exercise goals

From outdoor to indoor cycling, daily walks and long hikes, I’m focused on running a 10k this year and re-establishing my habit of exercising daily.

I want to run a 10k this summer. Unfortunately the weather isn’t cooperating. Old Man Winter doesn’t want to let go just yet. Between last week’s snowstorm that left mostly ice and the rain, I’m stuck indoors wishing I invested in all-weather running gear.

But all is not lost. Since rejoining the gym I’m toying to using it as much as possible before the weather takes a turn for the better.

Now I’m not a treadmill runner. I’ve tried that before and I’m just too clumsy for that contraption. Spin is where it is at, baby! Yep, my cycling classes not only helped my legs get into shape, but improved my endurance too.

Monday was my first class in nearly 2 years. It was pretty much as I remember: playing with the resistance setting to get the most of the workout and a bike seat that only Satan could have created.

Ugh! Even with biker shorts (they are padded), my butt is still sore from that class. A few more classes should end the soreness.

Of course I loved every minute of it…the class not the soreness! Of all the things I did at my old gym I really missed spin the most. It was a great way to burn off all that excess energy I build up during the week. But I really loved was my yoga class immediately after spin. It’s a perfect block of time to burn off and refocus your energy.

Unfortunately there currently isn’t any yoga following cycling at the moment. That just means I’ll stick to following Yoga with Adriene.

Between spin class, weight training, daily walks, running intervals (weather permitting), and upcoming bike rides and hikes along local trails (can’t wait), I need to carve out time in my schedule. I really lost the habit of exercising daily. A schedule is the first step in rebuilding that habit. I also need to create specific goals and milestones to hit. I’ve set goals for weight training, but now I need targets for cycling, walking, hiking and running (tracking distances, daily steps, speed, etc.).

Hmmmm…I have to noodle on that a bit more.

What are your fitness goals this year?

Final 40 Fat Challenge

March 19 weigh inThis morning I stepped on the scale for the first time since January. I expected to gain weight back from my week-long fast (usually half comes back). Turns out I kept just 2 pounds off. As a ‘glass half full’ gal, I’ll take that.

So I’m officially stepping on the scale once a week. I’m tracking my food consistently once again. The wine is officially out of the house. For the foreseeable future, eating out is over with.

Funny how exercising regularly improves your mental focus. I know exercise doesn’t help with weight loss. It’s all about building strength, improving cardio and balancing hormones.

Most importantly it clarifies choices.

Battle Of The Final 40 Begins
Stepping on the scale I start my new journey – getting to a healthy level of body fat.   I know focusing on weight is dumb and doesn’t do any good. I need to focus on reducing my body fat while maintaining/building muscle. It was those fat cells that went wonky on me and caused the cancer after all.

I’m using the same calculations I made back in August when I figured out my ideal body weight.   For the sake of sanity I’m calling this challenge “The Final 40” since the balance of lean body mass and fat pegs my ideal weight at 165.

That doesn’t mean 165 pounds is my maintenance weight. Before cancer came a knockin’ I was dealing with a nasty infection due too excess skin (sigh…those were the days).

I’m looking forward to those days once again.

New Challenges, New Goals, Better Attitude

new life

My life has changed and I’ve set me sights on some new health goals to work towards.   FreeDigitalPhotos.net and mrpuen.

Over the last 5 years I’ve learned to focused on health and not weight loss. The results have been awesome. My doctor pronounced me healthy. After achieving my goal  I did the expected.

I coasted.

For 18 months I maintained my weight of 185 pounds. Sure I still wanted to drop about 25-30 “vanity” pounds because I knew the extra weight would eventually cause havoc as I got older. Knowing that didn’t propel me to take action. Oh, I came up with some new goals…and promptly started coasting again.

Why? No fire in the belly.

Five years ago I was staring at a bleak, unhealthy future of diabetes and heart disease. Fear drove me to act. But once I reclaimed my health, I thought the fight was over.

Boy was I wrong. Read more…

Changing The Workout Routine

sleeping peekabu

Peekabu demonstrating how I physically felt after being back with a personal trainer after just two sessions.

This weekend I was sore from head to toe — shoulders, arms, chest, back, hips, gluts (oh, man!) legs — and it felt awesome! At my husband’s urging, I’m working with a personal trainer again. I wasn’t happy with my last trainer. Her aversion to both sticking to our scheduled appointments and using free weights soured me on personal trainers. I loved my first two trainers, but her attitude left an indelible impression with me.

Plus the hubby and I carved out a little area in our basement for workouts. Why should we spend the money on a trainer?

The hubby made some strong arguments for going back to the gym.

  1. Despite my 3 muscle workouts a week, the husband noticed no difference in my, strength, attitude or stamina. He didn’t see how I could meet my fitness goals for the year.
  2. While diet has more to do with my menopause symptoms, what I was doing in the home gym (yoga and weight training) wasn’t having an impact.
  3. Soreness…or lack of it. In his view, I wasn’t pushing myself as hard as I could.
  4. Most importantly, I was happier when I was going to the gym than I have been working out at home with all the distractions.

He’s right, of course. I’m not pushing myself. I certainly feel good after I workout, but the overall boost in energy just isn’t there. While I agreed with his arguments, No. 4 really hit me.

When I’m at home I find there is so much to do and so little time. So everything becomes a choice. Go for a walk in the cold or clean the kitchen? Do yoga or get a jump on laundry?  Get 20 minutes with the dumbbells or try to fix the dishwasher?

Yet those 18 months I when I belonged to a gym, I never chose chores over working out. Back then working out was a habit, like brushing my teeth. It was never an “either/or” decision.

Finding The Right Fit
After I agreed to go back to a trainer, I thought the challenge was going to find the right person. The Gold’s Gym near our home wasn’t the one I quit more than a year ago. I was leery of going back to Gold’s. But my husband assured me we’d ask a lot of questions to  find the right trainer.

Turns out, not all Gold’s are equal. Some are franchises (my not so great experience) and corporate (my new gym). The corporate Gold’s are all about free weights. Yes they have weight machines, yoga, spin and HIIT classes, but free weights are their focus.

My new trainer had no problem starting me with barbells.  During our first session he evaluated what I could do: planks, push ups, crunches, dead lifts, presses, squats, rows.  Immediately he spotted that my hips and lower back are problem areas (something my physical therapist told me to work on).

Actually my whole core is weak. I haven’t really focused on them post-surgery. Right now I’m about 75% healed, so I’ve been nervous about pushing myself. The problem is I’m not pushing myself at all. So my schedule is upper body on Tuesday, lower body on Thursdays, and rebuilding my core for 20 minutes on both days.

Setting 3 Month Goals
Afterwards we talked goals. I’ve signed up for 3 months (two 1-hour sessions a week). We discussed target goals by the end of that time.

  • 60-second plank
  • Standard push ups (no knees!)
  • Strengthen my core (includes back and hips) which is pathetically weak after surgery
  • 10-15 pound increase in bench press
  • Recapturing some of the definition and tone I lost post surgery

All are very doable if I’m willing to put in the work…and I am.

For the first time in more than a year I’m really excited about working out. Yes, I was sore over the last week. But I’m asking my body to do things I haven’t done in a while.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day With Some Mudlove!

I just got a little note in my inbox about a Valentine’s Day special on the CW tonight about one of my obsessions  (it’s at the top of my bucket list!!!) — The Tough Mudder. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than curled up on the couch with my husband learning about the folks doing the world’s ultimate muddy obstacle race.

Mudlove is in the air tonight!

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