Monday, November 7, 2011

Kate's Log 11/7/11

I am the 1% I’m not the most humble person in the world; perhaps you’ve noticed? Where my husband can happily work out all alone in the basement gym, I prefer a crowded gym, surrounded by grunts and whimpers, squat racks and treadmills, spandex and wrist straps. And the truly flammable part of this lame confession is that I like it when people at the gym stare. Hell, I stare wide-eyed at the guy who squatted (for reps!) 700 pounds the other day. So, yeah, I definitely get a little validation from my (sparse) fan club, mostly comprised of octogenarians who come to workout, if only to get away, I presume, from the old ball and chain; after all, one would be hard pressed to call what they do, “exercise”. In any case, I know they cast an occasional glance my way and this does not bother me in the least. Every once in a while, they offer an appraisal of my efforts. Just yesterday, I was completing my last set of chin-ups. At this particular moment, I struggled to get my chin over the bar and a slightly-older-than-middle-age man stood patiently at the stack, watching. When I finished—successfully—the man turned to me and said, “you know that only 1% of women in the world can do an actual chin up. Good for you!” Well, there you go. I am the 1%. This factlette is very satisfying, but I sure wish it would pay my mortgage. In any case, my workouts are going really well. I did tweak my back last week, picking up Wyatt, but I also came down with Strep Throat. Thus, I took a bit more rest than usual and am feeling (almost) great. John has changed things up this week. My long intervals on the bike are increasing slowly, with the goal of getting to 2 x 20’. Holy hell; this is hard! My former self absolutely loved cardio: steady state, AT, HIIT. I was a hamster, frolicking on the stair stepper or the erg, relying on my sweat as in indicator of effort. Today, however, I’d much rather be swinging my kettle bell or lunging my way around the boathouse bays. Note to self: this does not jib with the whole, “maybe someday I’ll do an Ironman” thing. Emphasis on maybe. John also changed up my shorter intervals into a much more interesting, less mentally challenging protocol: 30” on / 60” off, 60” on / 2’ off, 90” on / 2’ off (x 3). I love these kinds of intervals because they are just as physically taxing without the mental anguish of repetition. This bike has been such a great tool; nothing hurts when I ride, which cannot be said for any other cardio equipment. I’m ready, I think, to adjust the bike to a more typical set up for a competitive cyclist (or someone who just wishes to be more efficient). The main change to my lifting has been to add some weight to my lunges. I’m now completing multiple sets of static lunges with weights hung from a dip belt. While the lift itself is awkward, it’s a great way to load my lunges without putting any pressure on my spine. I’m up to a few warm up sets followed by 4 sets at 30 pounds. I’m also ready to start adding some weight to my bench press, but am holding myself back for now. I want to focus on one new thing at a time, so that I can absolutely pin point what, if anything, causes pain or discomfort. We have a fairly predictable cycle now, so that changes (both big and small) with specific aspects of my recovery occur every few weeks: load lunges, alter interval protocol, increase bench press, add some additional PT / Prehab exercises.

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