Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Looking For Motivation

1 x 200- warm-up
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, swim
5 x 50- 25 fly/25 free
1 x 100- cool down

Single leg squats
4 x 10

Stability ball curls
3 x 12

2 x 1:00

Your friendly neighborhood Dirtbag needs an event to think about. I'm so wanting to do something stupid I even looked at registering for the Honolulu Marathon in December. $140! So that ain't happening. There is the biathlon series coming up starting in December, and individual registrations for those are $25 or all three for $60. So that is probably where I'm going to put some money next.
 I also need my knees to cooperate. After yesterday's workout there for for sure soreness around the left knee. I'm not sure yet if it's the muscles responding to the squats and curls or is there is still an injury being worked out. But it is tight. I think I need to keep foam rollering it too. I've got single leg squat goals. I want to be able to do pistols, unsupported squats, so that's what I'm working towards. It's all about strengthening around the knee and stabilizing the hips. Eventually I stop supporting my foot back behind me and start kicking it out in front and sitting onto a bench.
Not me. Yet.
Also, I realize how rubbish the last few general posts have been, reflecting how I've been feeling about the workouts. And like the workouts, I fell out of the habit of doing this so now I'm in the process of getting it back.

Monday, October 29, 2012

15 Things A Beginning Cyclist Should Do


I have a new piece for active.com online now. You have actually already read it, it's the Things a New Cyclist Should Do blog I wrote a few weeks ago. I liked it so I sent it to my editor, who also liked it and put it online. So even though you've already put it into your eyeholes and brain matter I'd appreciate if you clicked on the link anyway so active knows people read my stuff. Someday I will be famous. Then they'll see! You'll all see! Bwaahahahahahah!!!!
Seriously, click the link. This one here. Thanks.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Continutes for the Rehabs!


1 x 200- Warm-up

3 x 10- Stability ball curls

4 x 12- Supported Single Leg Squats

2 x 1:00- Plank (one on Bosu ball)

My swim motivation is still really screwy, and I don't have a good reason why aside from there is nothing to train for right now. Also, my focus is more on getting my legs strong and stable so that injuries become a thing of the past. So I'm swimming for maintenance and that sucks sometimes. Hopefully as my fitness comes back my intensity will too.
The squats and whatnot went well. I'm feeling the soreness, which is a welcome thing. Nothing is better than doing a workout and then the next day your muscles reminding you about it. My knees still wobble and my hips drop during the squats, but this is only the second time through. That'll improve.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Let the Rehabs Begin! (Finally)

1 x 200- warm-up
5 x 100- increasing intensity by 25

Single Leg Squats
4 x 10/per leg

Stability Ball Curls
3 x 10

2 x 1:00

Rode the bike up the hill to the gym and got a short swim in. 700 yards is barely a warm-up as far as I'm concerned but I was more interested in getting some of the rehab workouts in. I don't see many intense training days in my near future. I'm going to try and use this off season to get strong and stable so that when the next season comes around I can be fast and injury free.
I started the rehab workouts with single leg supported squats. I put one foot up on a box jump box (?) and then tried to execute slow, stable squats, keeping my knee tracking straight forward without too much side-to-side wiggle. This was harder than it should be. Especially the right leg, which had all kinds of wobble wobble. My hips also liked to drop to one side. Ah, all the little running issues explained in one short exercise. I'm going to need to do a lot of these.
Get him a body bag!
 The next piece of the puzzle is strengthening the hamstring and tendons behind the knee, again to strengthen and support. Laid on my back, feet up on a stability ball, raise my hips to the sky, and roll that ball to my butt, touch, and back out again, all nice and slow and smooth. It hurts my ego some to say that I felt both of these exercises. I'm a young, strong, tough Dirtbag. Couple of squats and curls shouldn't be a thing. But they were. This might be a long, slow road, but the end of it has Health and Strength and Speed waiting, so it's worth it.
And, because a strong core will mean better swimming, biking, running, and overall health, I brought in the planks.
Now all I have to do is keep this up on a regular basis. Like always, the hardest part of working out it making it a habit, especially when you have to break the couch habit to do it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

An Open Letter To Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie From a Teacher

This is a video I made expressing how I'm feeling about the current teaching contract situation in Hawaii. It has nothing to do with fitness or triathlon. It has everything to do with the rest of my life. Please watch it. If you agree, please share it. The public needs to know how teachers are feeling, and maybe more teachers will be inspired to share their stories.
The direct-to-YouTube link is here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two Crappy Choices

**Warning- A lot of this post is me still trying to convince myself I made the right choice**

Today, in about two and a half hours, I'm supposed to be waking up and heading across the island for a fun Splash and Dash. It's a 500m swim/5k on the Marine Corps base I signed up for a few weeks ago to have something to look forward to. Military events are always well priced and Super Awesome Wife and I enjoyed doing it as a relay last year.
Thursday evening I went for an easy run. Planned three and a half miles or so. Every once in a while for the first mile and a half I'd get a sharp twinge on the inside of my right knee. By the time I was breaking two miles that twinge was pretty constant and getting sharper. At 2.25mi I couldn't run anymore. I cut my course short and walked home. Frustrated. Grumpy. Muttering to myself about being lazy and not doing the rehab like I should have been. A few times on the walk home, as you do, I tried running. Maybe it was a phantom pain. Maybe it was one of those sharp knee pains that goes away after a few minutes, like magic.
Or maybe it would be right there, waiting to pull me up short.
Yeah, take door number two.
So now I have all of Friday, which I spend popping ibprofen, wearing my compression brace, stretching, foam rolling, and oscillating back and forth between "I don't think I can run a 5k, and I don't want to walk it" and "Stop being a pussy, you'll be fine." And I mean hard swings back and forth. The mind argues, "It won't be any fun and you'll probably be stupid and try to run through the pain, which will probably just make it worse in the long run." "Shut up, wuss. You did a 70.3 and you're worried about three freaking miles?"
Yeah, I am. The difference between the pain of muscle breakdown over the course of a hard race and the pain of working through an injury is vast. One you feel like a champion for breaking through. The other you just feel breaking.
But that isn't stopping me from being up at 3am feeling guilty. It actually woke me up at 2:30, because it's nearly all I've been thinking about today (well, that and this, which I would appreciate you taking eight minutes to watch). So 2:35am found me pacing my apartment, running in place, and doing squats, waiting to see when and if the pain would kick in. I would do something, no pain, then I would walk a little and there was the dull throb in the back, waiting, taunting me. Will I become a full on sharp stab like Thursday? Will I ruin your race? I know I should argue back that I don't care, it is a $25 fun event and no one will blame me for walking if I have to. But I will. I didn't sign up to walk, to half ass it. I signed up to go.
So my choices are go and almost for sure hurt with injury pain, which will make me frustrated that I went and that I'm hurt, or protect my knee and not go and try not to feel like a bitch for it. It seems like I keep missing workouts and events.
I turned off my alarm. I'm not going to risk it. I'm not going to go. I'm going to stay home and be grumpy that I stayed home. I'm going to question my choice about a hundred times in the next 24 hours, probably beat myself up a little, and try not to be too much of a grump to pregnant wife. As I type that I check in with my knee and right now- no pain. But I'm pretty sure that's a myth. And I've got to trust myself.

Monday, October 15, 2012

An Ironman, A Half Marathon, Some Workouts, And A Request

It was a big week for Team Dirtbag. Not so much for me, but the team had a good week.
I did a few workouts, went on a run or two, did some swimming, and tried not to feel too lame. Right now every swim workout feels like the first swim back. Stella does not have her groove going right now and nowhere is that more frustrating than in the water. Ego says that is where I am always strong. Ego is sometimes a moron.
My lower back has been bugging me too for the last few weeks and I don't know why. But I have a theory now, thanks to Barefoot Angie Bee's Superhero Husband. He recently posted something on the Facebooks along the lines of, "Lower back pain? How have your core workouts been going?" Cue lightbuld. Core workouts? Normally swimming is my main core workout. But I haven't been putting in as much tiiiiheeeeey now! So along with today's swim I did two one minute planks as a way to kickstart the core strengthening. I bet that is a big part of the problem. The other part is our futon is kind of a piece of junk and I bet that isn't helping any.
The Grey did the Gunstock Half Marathon this Sunday. I guess he got lost and that is why he didn't win All The Things. But I'm hoping he will write a little thing for us about it. Anyway, way to go Grey! Runners are crazy.
Speaking of crazy (yes, I am the king of the segue) Diesel completed the Kona Ironman over the weekend. Last year I did an interview with him about it and I'll probably make him do something along those lines again because it was really cool last time. For now all of us at Team Dirtbag stand and applaud his efforts and dedication. When you're in the middle of training and doing big endurance things isn't a Big Thing anymore it's hard to remember what kind of accomplishment something like that is. So big congratulations to Diesel for getting in there and getting that did.
Pictured: Me
Now for my request- I try to be involved one way or another in charity things. I have this small soapbox and a few of you gather round to hear me shout, which I appreciate. Sometimes I'm going to try and sell you on something more than fitness. Almost always that thing is a cancer-related charity (I'd also hit you up for supporting Planned Parenthood, but that doesn't come up as much). Cancer is one of those things that touches almost all of us. And the most basic way of getting in there with cancer is giving to one of the many organizations out there. Right now, however, I've got another way.
The name Tig Notaro might be familiar to a few of you. She's a comedian who is, depending on your taste, really funny to pretty amusing. She's going through some heavy, rough stuff right now and, because of who is she and how she sees the world, she did what she knew to deal with it. She took it on stage. It isn't really a spoiler what she talks about. A few days before the stand-up show I'm talking about she was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. Then she went on stage at the Largo in Los Angeles and was as open, honest, and funny as any human could possibly be about it. The Largo tapes almost all the shows that happen there. Brilliant comedian Louis C.K. was there that night and after the show, with Tig's permission, he took the Largo's recording and now it is on his website. If you would please, take a few minutes and click on this link. Louis tells the story better than I do. Then, if you feel like it, please either follow the link on that page or this one and spend five dollars on the recording. One goes to Louis, four go to Tig to do with as she sees fit. I really recommend this. Trust me, it isn't a bummer. You come away from 30 minutes of a person sharing some raw stuff more confident in the human condition than you were before you started listening. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Running Hot and Cold

Super Awesome Wife and I did one last West Coast Tour last week during our Fall break from school before she gets too pregnant to fly. And yes, we used the hell out of the belly getting on to planes. Pre-boarding is the way to go. Getting on with the 47% is for suckers. Plenty of space in the overhead bins, no standing around in the aisle while Johnny Genius grunts, groans, and argues his over-sized carry-on into the overhead bin or Ilsa Illiterate tries to figure out which aisle is 16 and which seat is A.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, California was stop number one (numero uno for those Californians out there in the interwebs). Short stay, just about 48 hours, maybe a bit more. We red-eyed there Friday night, landing at 6am Saturday. Which meant Saturday was kind of a wash. Fight to stay awake, crash for awhile, forget what day it is. Sunday I went for a run in the morning before it got too hot. Yeah, because I grew up in Palmdale, which is in the desert, which is where it's 100* in October. So I went out right after I woke up. Did a little over three miles at a good pace, just under 10 min/mi. The course was flat, which helped. But damn it was hot and dry. Living in Hawaii you forget what dry really means. 
Possible use of hyperbole for humorous purposes
It was nice to get our and run, though. I rarely work out on vacation but I'm trying to be halfway ready for the Kaneohe Bay Splash and Dash in the 20th that I haven't registered for yet, and that means getting regular runs in, even on vacation. Felt good, felt strong. We also had a kick ass baby shower and got a bunch of cool stuff.
After California we hopped on a plane up to Seattle, where the Super Awesome Wife's family is. Seattle is having an unseasonably dry, warm fall. By dry I mean it has barely rained at all in a place famous for it's gloomy overcast and flannel. (By the way, Seattle Bingo is awesome. Your card should have Nirvana, Flannel, Dreadlocks, Ripped Jeans, and a lot of spaces for White People. A LOT of spaces.)

Seattle with Banana Overlord (Thank you, Google, for the gifts you give)
By unseasonably warm I mean it was in the low 50s most of the time. All of you who think that is warm can stop laughing right now. That's cold. Of course I didn't bring warm running clothes. Because I don't own warm running clothes. Because HAWAII. So I went out in my shorty shorts and sleeveless shirt and got about two miles done. A mile out I started thinking, "My ears and arms and hands are really cold. This will probably not improve. I'm going home." Still, I feel like I had a decent run and I'm proud I got out. Yes, I only got out once, but at least I got out.
Today I ran after school. Normally coming home to Hawaii is wonderful. But the tradewinds aren't blowing and there is vog (volcanic fog) just sitting in the air. I'm from Southern California, so I normally don't trust any air I can't see, but the vog right now is as thick and heavy as I've ever felt. And the lack of trades means its damned hot and still. The hill down and then back up from my house isn't terrible, but I'm still not used to running hills. I did all my running fairly flat so the start and finish with climbs is playing merry hob with my knees right now. I'm trying to figure out the best way to go downhill, which is harder than uphill. Thinking I need to relax and let the wheels spin.
Also, the Warrior Dash is coming back to Hawaii next year. I got my 9am registration in and I suggest all islanders get in on it too. It was a blast last year. Early registration is up for a few more days at $45, which gets you the race, a shirt, a warrior hat, and a beer at the finish. Can't beat that. The only complaint is they are charging $20 for parking, and traffic blows to get in and out. *Pro Tip* So do what we did last year, park a few miles away, and ride a bike in. Free, no traffic, easy in and out.