Week 37: workouts

On Monday morning I went to the Hopkins gym for my lifting routine.  I wasn’t in the mood to run for a warm up, so when I arrived to the gym I decided to try a machine I’d never used before.  It was very much like an elliptical, but it didn’t have such a restricted range of motion – something between an elliptical and a stair climber.  Anyway, I loved it.  I spent ten minutes warming up and really trying to open up my stride to benefit my hip region which tends to get really tight during runs.  Afterwards, I stretched my lower body before beginning the heavy lifting.  This time the routine was four repetitions of the following: 12 assisted pull-ups and dips with 70lb removed, 5 knee push-ups with elbows in, 30 total side crunches, and 30s planks with arms extended.  I’m hoping the planks will help strengthen my wrists, arms, back, and abs in preparation for full pushups when I get stronger.

Tuesday was an early morning since Adam had to be into work by 8am.  We woke at 4:50am which wasn’t too bad since I was actually looking forward to my swim workout (despite my dream that night in which I got caught in several tidal waves).  Oh the drama.  We arrived at the pool around 5:30am and swam until approximately 6:15am.  In that time I did 100m warm up freestyle, 100m kick, one-arm drills, 50m kick, catch-up drills, (something else) and 100m cool down.  I probably forgot something in there since I wasn’t trying so hard to remember everything.  I took less rest between sets this time so I could really feel the cardio aspect of the workout.  It tired me out!  I have plenty of room to grow in this regard and I’m looking forward to it.  I had a couple 50m swims with good form, but once I started to get tired my breathing rhythm was disturbed and my form got worse.  I am getting more comfortable turning my head to breathe, though, and I’ve had less trouble with water getting up my nose.  Despite all the drama/anguish I’ve felt leading up to my swims, I’ve found it to be very calming and peaceful.

Wednesday was a run day for me this week.  I set out to run a 5k up north just after sunrise (around 7am).  It was warm and muggy enough that my sunglasses fogged up the moment I stopped running.  During the run I felt some discomfort in my left heel/ankle and tried to focus on improving my form which has felt rather sloppy lately.  During the run I didn’t feel the need to check the distance or the time – the route finally felt like a routine and I was in a good place mentally.  I didn’t think ahead and feel the need to rush and cover “all that ground I had left”.  No, I just focused on where I was at the moment.  This attitude reminded me of swimming where I’ve felt the need to rush to finish the set so I can breathe, when in practice it makes more sense to slow down and focus on breathing enough during the set.  Overall I finished this 5k in 29:51 and I felt good about it.

I woke at 5am again on Thursday to join Adam for another swim workout.  We were in the pool for only 35 minutes or so, but it was my best swim yet.  I swam 100m warm up, 100m kick, 50m one-arm drills, 50m catch-up drills, 50m kick, 4x25m fast, 50m fast, 50m kick, and 50m cool down.  My form was the best during the fast parts when I was breathing every third stroke.  I’m much more comfortable breathing on my right side, so I’d like to practice breathing on both.  After the workout my shoulders were killing me, my right especially.  It seems that keeping the same lifting routines while adding two swimming days is making my shoulders a bit unhappy.  They’ll get over it eventually!

Friday morning I joined Adam at Meadowbrook for a lifting routine.  This required another 5am wake up, but I was happy to get the workout out of the way earlier and leave more time in the morning for other things.  The weight room at Meadowbrook is much quieter than the one at Hopkins and much less crowded, so I think it’s worth the drive.  This time I did 5 sets of 12 reps for the following exercises: assisted pull-ups, flye, skullcrushers, and curls (skipping shoulders since they were so sore).  Adam and I did our ab routine after the third set.  When we returned home I went for a short run around the neighborhood.  The weather was a little cool and felt great.  I finished the 2 miles in 18:37 then stretched.

I didn’t do any workouts on Saturday and I was feeling pretty grumpy by the end of the day – not sure if it had anything to do with the lack of exercise.

lr-runOn Sunday morning I went for my first long run on a trail.  I left home with Adam around 7am when the sun was just rising.  We arrived at the Loch Raven Reservoir and parked at the top of a big hill.  The start of our run was a long downhill portion which served as a nice warm up, but I knew it would be tough on the way back.  At the bottom of the hill we hopped on one of the trails.  It was much hillier than the routes I’m used to and there were a ton of rocks along the path.  It felt like we were running on a riverbed.  What I didn’t realize at first was that our path was also a bike path and the rocks were likely there to help prevent erosion.  This became clear when two bikers went flying past us a mile and a half into the run.  Luckily we had plenty of time to see each other and make way, but that certainly wouldn’t be the case for some of the sharper turns.  Next time we’ll be sure to seek out trails where bikes are banned.  For almost the entire run I had my eyes on the ground, planning my steps, so I didn’t really get to enjoy the scenery, but the fog, cool temperatures, and general quiet were enough to make me appreciate the new location.  We turned around at 2.5 miles to spare my ankles and lower legs and make sure I wasn’t too fatigued to navigate the rocks.  On the way back I did catch a root or a rock and trip, but I wasn’t going fast and it was only a mild setback.  We made it out of the woods with only the long uphill back to the car.  I did my best to grind through it and finished the 5 miles in 58:07.  Despite the rocks and bikes, I’m really happy with the way things turned out and I’m looking forward to coming back soon!