Saturday, January 30, 2010

Broomball Win!

Today we won our broomball game!! Yay! I think it was 3 to 1. I know we had 3... I got so excited I didn't pay attention to what the other team had.

It was a lot of fun this time too. The ice was actually slick and not like carpet. They must have ran the zamboni. The team we played was fun and nice. There were no hard feelings or over-competitiveness as we've been seeing with some other teams. It was a good time!

One guy was very whacky with his stick. I got whacked a few times on one leg... check out the colossal bruise - it hurts and is puffed up! But all in the name of victory! ;)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Elliptical Machine #2, with added features!

This morning I did another bout of me, elliptical, and awesome music thanks to Pandora. I tried a different machine. Upstairs the ellipticals don't have arm moving things but they do have level/angle changes. I like changing levels. Much better workout – you can feel the different parts of your legs being worked. Plus there is a little diagram with color coded lights to let you know.

I did the same routine as last time: let the music dictate my pace and intensity. It was fun!

Here's the ending shot. I entered in a fixed time of 50 minutes, so that is why the time shows 0.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spinning While Sore

Monday's elliptical workout took more out of my legs than I thought it would. After Tuesday night's weights class that made me super tired, I was worried about spinning for Wednesday morning.

I overslept... but not by too much to still rush to the class and get a bike with pedals that would work for my shoes.

The music was odd this time - we did mostly flat sprints, which I was thankful for because I don't think I could have stood up for long periods of time like we had to do in the last class. The Devil Went Down to Georgia was in the mix...very odd. I must say that the fast fiddle parts were fun to try to match my cadence to, but my legs felt like they were going to fall off.

So far this week has been very good cardio and rehab exercise-wise.
Monday - 50 minutes on the elliptical.
Tuesday - weights.
Wednesday - 60 minute spinning.
I am taking Thursday off and plan to have another awesome elliptical session on Friday with music! I will be very very happy to complete a consistent week.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Very Full Class

Tonight I took the Total Bodies class at the gym, which is an awesome class. This is an hour long strength class that focuses on arms, legs and back using an exercise ball, two sets of weights, a step and a band. It's complicated! This is the first one I've been to since the new year and it was packed! So packed there wasn't enough equipment.

I don't mind these kinds of classes - she works us pretty hard and I just wouldn't do the routines at home. So it's very beneficial and I should go more regularly. What is so enjoyable about these classes is seeing everyone in them. I'm not making fun, I'm just soooo entertained! Getting a bunch of humans together, all facing one direction, moving our bodies in odd repetitive ways that simply aren't part of the day's natural movements just cracks me up. There are uncoordinated people, people who add their own flare into whatever it is we're doing, odd outfits, and way too many butts in the face (especially when the class is as crowded as it was last night). Oh it's just so funny! I can't help but to smile sometimes...

And then I guess I become "weird smiling girl in the back" :)

Monday, January 25, 2010


I found a new gym activity to be very, very fun this evening. The elliptical! I'm not a fan of exercise machines, but have now experienced them from a delightful improvement... just add music.

I set up a Disturbed / Queens of the Stone Age station on Pandora (I love Pandora), took my phone in with me which has the Pandora app, and started listening to some kick-ass music. Along with Disturbed and Queens of the Stone Age songs that came through, there was Tool, White Stripes and others that I can't remember. Unfortunately I lost the list of songs I listened to during the workout. I paused Pandora and thought that it would keep the songs up there, but I guess it timed out. More than anything I wanted to know so I can hunt for the ones I liked and start making a playlist.

It was great. I can totally see looking forward to going to the gym knowing I'm going to get to zone out to some awesome music for a while. It is a nice alternative while I am taking off time from running.

As far as the actual workout was... it was great, but I'm still learning the elliptical. I went 50 minutes and varied my pace according to the songs, which kept it interesting.

Here's my attempt at taking a picture while on the elliptical...

And here's what I had for dinner afterwords- yum! Some olives from the olive bar at Kroger, cheese, tomatoes, and a mixture of sundried tomatoes, butter beans and mozzarella. Tasty.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

(There's a) Party In My Tummy - Season 2

We're playing broomball again this winter. This time it's with the Fountain Square League. We play on the small ice rink they have set up, so it's nothing like last year's Cincinnati Broomball Association where we played on an actual hockey rink. This way is a little more fun and goofy, though we still really really want to win (and haven't yet).

For Game #3 we got our shirts which are awesome. I'm certain we will start winning games now that we have this awesome shirt advantage.

Eye black makes us much more intimidating. Grrrrr.

A view of the rink during the break. It isn't cleaned for us so it's not really slippery at all. In fact it's difficult to try to slide.

Greg and me in helmets and P.I.M.T. shirts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Wednesday morning's spinning class was all about hills. We did hills while seated, hills standing in position 1 and hills standing in position 3. Our flats were long (about 3 minutes) so it was nice to know there would be decent recovery between each set. I was awake and ready to focus, but mid-way through, I lost a bunch of energy. I couldn't keep up with the beat of the song and just kind of plodded along, letting my own weight do the work for me. However, after the recovery on that set, I was ready again and had a good finish.

There was a guy who apparently is an instructor somewhere else who was fun to have in the class. He yelled a few times and really got into the music. It was nice to see someone alive and animated. The rest of us were just more like sweating, panting robots.

I get to the class pretty early (been the first one the last two times). Today I thought I'd take some quick pictures of the bikes. Bike 31, that was mine with the bright orange towel that was soaked by the end of class. I also went through my entire bottle of water - first time I've done that!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

12 Week Swim Plan

Online I found a swim build plan that allows someone like me, who can only swim about 50 yards before having to rest, to be able to eventually swim 1500 yards straight. It's a 12 week plan, but I'm more concerned with just being able to do it, making progress along the way no matter how long it takes.

Tuesday I gave it a shot. I did 50 yards x 12 with only 20 seconds rest in between. I did the first 6 with the 20 seconds, but then the last 6 I was really winded so I rested 30 seconds in between. Might need to do this one a few times. I don't know if I'm swimming too fast or what. I was going faster than other people in other lanes, but it was really difficult to slow down. I felt like I was trying to swim in slow motion if I went any slower. I'm pretty certain the last few were unsightly. Wish I had someone that could watch me and tell me how much I'm floundering.

All in all, it was pretty rough. But it went by really fast. I also added kicks, maybe 200 yards of them? I am planning to go again Thursday and do the same workout. 

I went to the pool during lunch, which proved to be a crowded time. And the swimsuit spin-dryer is out of order. So the rest of the day, I had my suit and towel kind of airing out in the back seat of my car, making my car smell like it too had done some laps.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Exercises and First Swim in a While

So this is what I did last night:

10 opposite arm/leg while on all fours (held 5 seconds each). 2 times.
5 bridges with leg extensions (held 5 seconds - this really gets my hamstrings). 2 times.
10 x opposite arm/leg while on stomach (held 5 seconds each). 2 times.
Planks (AWFUL). 5 planks each side (held 5 seconds each).

That was only one page of the exercises. These really need pictures to fully understand. Coming in a future post.

This morning I got up somewhat early (ok not really) and went to the pool to swim. It was a great time to go - 8:00. No one was there. It was just me and some old ladies walking the lazy river. Then around 8:30 all of the lanes filled up. I offered to share mine to a woman, but she preferred to stay just outside the lane area.

I warmed up a little. It felt great to be in the water again. I started with 300 yards freestyle, working on the breathing and reaching. I took 45 second breaks every 50. I was winded! Then I did about 150 yards of kicks. Then back to freestyle for another 300 yards. And finished with 150 yards of kicks. So I guess it was about 900 yards total. But I might be overestimating the kick yardage. It is so easy to lose track!

I am looking forward to swimming getting easier.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Diagnosis: Weak In the Hips

Most people have been weak in the knees before... and I believe that is usually associated with a good feeling of overwhelming emotion: Said in best falsetto girly-voice: "He is so dreamy he made me weak in the knees!"  But what about being weak in the hips? Same voice please: "When he gave me roses I got weak in the hips?"  No no. Weak in the hips just means you can't run for 2 weeks.

Some background: Ever since a few weeks after the marathon when I was wooed by the beautiful fall colors making a dumb decision to run at the very hilly and very off-camber Sharon Woods, I've had problems with my right knee. With what I learned from physical therapy when I was training for the marathon, I thought it was simply my IT band and that my body didn't appreciate the challenging terrain so quickly after running 26.2 miles. I tried stretching and even bought an evil foam roller. But soon I found I couldn't run longer than about a mile before the pain would start. And if I kept running I would be reduced to a limping walk. This didn't jive with my hip problems while training...I could reap the benefits of a good hip flexor stretch on my next run. Then around Christmas I noticed that I could pinpoint pain on the side of my knee and actually press on an owchie spot. I didn't think this jived with anything I'd read on IT band issues. After whining about it on facebook, a running friend sent me a word of caution that what I was experiencing could in fact be a meniscus tear. WHAT!? After more internet searching, I began to worry about that. Horray for the internet – unfiltered information at our fingertips. Dangerous.

I gave it more time and made fixing my knee an obvious and urgent resolution for 2010. After all, life without running has been nothing short of quiet misery, one that people with any kind of passion can relate to. This week I did a test run which netted the familiar pain at the same time stamp during my run. Damn. I called Oxford Physical Therapy. Denial was over and it was time to fix this.

So yesterday I had a screening at Oxford by the same guy who treated my hip issues while training for the marathon. After a bunch of questions and a lot of gentle and kind aggressive and painful poking around on my knee, he has come to the conclusion that my IT band is in fact tight beyond tight and my hips are weak. This is causing the band to rub on my knee, hence the pain. He watched me walk away and then back to him and said my hips drop when I walk, meaning the muscles aren't supporting my hips as well as they should. When I run, this becomes worse and causes my leg to not be supported well enough, in turn causing my IT band to extend farther than it should and rub.

He really doesn't believe it is a tear of any meniscus or ligaments because of the position of the pain (towards the back of the knee) and because no pain was caused by twisting my leg in all kinds of directions. So this is good news. It is "simply my IT band". But it is a lot more difficult to fix than I thought it would be.

So basically for the next 2 weeks, I am concentrating on continuing to spin and swim (cardio) and then trying to strengthen the hell out of my hips and legs. After that I'll do a trial run and see where I'm at. Each day that goes by is either going to be a move in the right direction towards being able to run again (i.e. if I do my exercises) or a delay in being able to run again and possibly not being able to do the Pig (if I don't do my exercises). I have to keep that in mind. It shouldn't be hard.

So here I go! I guess this is a 2 week challenge of sorts. Hopefully this blog will help keep me honest. I haven't done any exercises today yet (slap on the wrist!!!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spinning (Hills x 4!)

This morning's spinning class was brutal! We did 4 sets of a 12 minute build where we went through a series of hill stuff. See the progress below, picture-book style with silly diagrams to help explain the spinning terms for those who've never spun.

We started off in a flat... la de dah...

Then added lifts to that: pedal for a few strokes...then keep pedaling while standing in position 1 for a few strokes...then keep pedaling while smoothly sitting your butt back on the saddle.

Then we added resistance to go up a hill and sprinted part of that.

Then we stayed on the hill in position one, sprinting at the end.

Then we stayed on the hill at position 3 for a few minutes, sprinting the end. Ug.

Then we went down in the saddle and did lifts and sprinted the end of that before we could be done with the whole thing and rest.

And then we did it 3 more times.

The first rest was 1 minute, the 2nd 45 seconds, the 3rd 30 seconds. BRUTAL. And adding to that, during the rest you could do 25 pushups! I opted not to since I can barely do 5 pushups. The fourth set killed me. I'm glad she kept saying things like "this is it and then you're done!"

It was awesome.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Today during my lunch break I queued up a movie on Netflix and rode on the trainer for about 50 minutes. Great idea, but I need to pick a better movie to ride to next time. I watched Tuvalu. It is an art film, and while it was captivating, it wasn't very good to ride to.

It is very stylized and this cover makes it look even better than it was. That's not a scene from the movie though. Different parts of the movie are black and white, or sepia toned, or blue, or green or red. Never in full  color that I remember. And they sped up the film to kind of mimic old silent films for most of it, which was kind of interesting. There was barely any dialogue, just a lot of pointing and grunting or laughing. The whole thing kind of leaves my face screwed up in puzzlement. That is what I love about Netflix though–never would have seen this movie otherwise.

The ride was fine but I'm still sore from recent activities. Tomorrow morning is another 5:50 spin class at the community center (continuing my perfect Wednesday attendance streak of 1), and then later in the day the PT appointment–can't wait to see what they say.

Test Run

Monday I went to the community center to update my monthly payment and do a test run on the knee. I plodded along on a treadmill at a very easy pace for 1 mile... no pain! Then around 1.5 miles I started to feel the familiar pain on the side of my knee. I ran until the 'mill said 2.0 miles and then stopped. Now I have an appointment with Oxford Physical Therapy on Wednesday. Booo.

So I am anxiously awaiting Wednesday's appointment to see what they say. My guess is I'll have to have an MRI. At this point, I just want to start working on getting it better so I can run again. I am losing my patience, but am so glad I can still bike and swim.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cross Country Skiing

Friday I got to try out cross country skiing! My friend has some old skis of his parents. He gave me a quick lesson and then I took them down to the bike trail and gave it a shot.

It was pretty challenging. Someone had been skiing on the trail before me, so it helped greatly to stay in their smooth tracks. On the way back I tried to go on the side of the trail that is not pavement so I could get a better push off in the ground with the poles. But it was uneven and I kept falling over, so I got back on my tracks.

The trail- you can see the lines from a previous skier

Lovely retro orange

It took me a little bit to get the rhythm down, but when I did, it was very fun to glide along. The skis made a unique sheering noise as they moved over the snow, which was kind of mesmerizing. Unfortunately it seemed that each time I started to go at a pretty good clip, I lost my balance and fell over.

A couple of views from the trail

I didn't go very far, but it was a great workout. As I suspected, I am sore all over from the short time I was out there. My arms and most of my legs are sore. Even my toes/feet are sore, I think from the pushing off motion. It was so much fun though. It snowed while I was out there and was really beautiful (wish my pictures could capture that better). If I lived somewhere that it snowed more regularly, I would definitely have a pair of skis to have fun in the snow.

Friday, January 8, 2010


It snowed a few inches. I have yet to play in it, but hopefully will get to today! It's also really really cold out. The sun came out this morning. Our house doesn't have the best nature setting, but here are a couple of (iPhone) pictures. (Had to get the awful 5 a.m. face off the top of the blog anyway, yikes!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Spinning Class of the New Year

I am making it my mission to attend the Wednesday morning spinning class at the community center each week. This morning's was the first of the year, so I have perfect attendance so far!

One issue with the class is it the fact that it is held before I am awake. This means I have to use my alarm and drag myself out of bed. I am a morning person, just not a 5 a.m. morning person. See Figure 1 for proof.

Figure 1. Me at 5:15 a.m. Ahhhhh! It lives!!!!!!

The class was great, but I haven't done anything for some time, so I felt it. And I'll probably feel it even more tomorrow. I also got there later than necessary, since now it is the new year and everyone is trying to start it off with exercising. And good for them; let me make it clear that while I joke about how it's annoying that the gym gets crowded with all the Resolutionists, I am by no means truly upset. I think it's great! There was a girl in the class, however, who was really annoyed, talking about how she had to wait for a treadmill the other day. (I mean, the gall of these other people thinking they can work out!!) She glared at me a few times, perhaps because she didn't recognize me from 2009's few classes I attended. Well, I didn't recognize her either, so hmph!

Tomorrow we are supposed to get a decent amount of snow (for Cincy). I wish I had cross country skis. I've always wanted to try that.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

December Challenge: finis. On To the New Year!

The December Challenge has ended. In summary, I joined the community center gym, rekindled my love for spinning, and am in the ongoing process of learning how to swim laps without swallowing a pint of pool water. It was a good kick-start and fun to begin to do other things. The consistency for the month kind of fizzled out in the end. But it has helped me realize how much effort/discipline required to do everything I want to do. When I was just running, it was easier – one activity, predictable, and I could do it any time I wanted. Taking classes at their given times and figuring out when the pool is open and not crowded definitely takes more effort.

And now for some lists... I love lists!

Some loose goals for the new year:
1. Figure out what is wrong with my knee, aka make an appointment with Oxford Physical Therapy
2. Get stronger overall
3. Eat better

In keeping with the spirit of "new year resolutions", an umbrella resolution is to be more consistent with training. I want to get serious, be it setting a new goal for a marathon or trying to do my first triathlon. This is the stuff I like to do, what I love. I'm happiest when I am giving it as much focus as possible, so I just need to remember that and not think about distractions and the temptation of laziness.

Specific goals / training desires:
1. Get the garage set up with my wind trainer again. This is happening right now as I type. Greg is putting the place back together (we had a small flood which made it a mess). I am looking forward to streaming random Netflix shows while riding. Though I haven't figured out how I'm going to listen to said shows over the volume of the trainer (computer's speakers are not loud enough).
2. Take one spinning class per week minimum.  5:50 a.m. is rough, but there is also a 9:30 class that might be possible when I'm not really busy with work
3. Keep swimming.... I'm up to 1000 yards total and I can do 100 yards consistenty. While this seems like a swimming fitness level equivalent to only being able to run across the living room before having to gasp for air, I keep telling myself the best way to get better is to, as Dory says, just keep swimming.
4. Be able to do real pushups.  Useful thing to be able to do. You never know when you might lose a bet and have to do 20 pushups or something.
5. Work on overall strength. Legs, arms, abs, pinky fingers...everything!

I have race/event goal ideas too, but I don't want to talk about that until I know what is going on with my knee and how that will effect what I can do this year. Really hope it's nothing too major.

So, here's to a new year, new training schedules and new possibilities!!