Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Crazy week!

So I got back from Canada (still sad about having to leave) late Monday night, or early Tuesday morning really, worked Tuesday and Wednesday, then it was off to law school orientation for the next three days. Tuesday I took a rest day from working out because a) I was having respiratory issues and b) my body just needed to chill while my mind worked a bunch on class readings. Also, time zones were skipped and I was wiped!

Wednesday after work, I subbed Group Power in Austell. Ouch! Don't take 1.5 weeks off from Group Power because your legs will hate you when you come back. Thursday was pretty rough as I taught my regular class again less than 12 hours later. But I'm tough and with the help of DayQuil, we kicked tail, even with a raspy voice.

Then began a long Day 1 of orientation. Needless to say, scared out of my mind! But it was nice to finally meet some classmates. At that point, I was just chomping at the bit to get the party started and go to class. We already had assignments, so I spent the evening reading and taking notes.

Friday, we all participated in various events/projects around the Atlanta area. I was fortunate enough to get to visit one of the women's state prisons. Not even joking - it was a great experience. We got to speak with the state of Georgia's only female death row inmate, and we also had the blessing of spending some time with the few under-18 young women in the prison as well. The reason they are there as opposed to a juvenile facility is because with their crimes, they were charged as adults. I say blessing because they are truly strong and intelligent young women, despite their acts, and they are working hard to make good lives for themselves when they are released. Hopefully our visit helped them as well. The women in the general population inmates kept talking about how much they liked my shoes. I was wearing my Reebok running shoes that are neon yellow :) I thought I might end up leaving shoeless!

Saturday was another full day of seminars and hearing about how crazy hard the next three years would be. After attending a few days of classes, I know it will be a lot of work, but I am also really enjoying the intellectual stimulation. It's been a while since I've been in school! I refuse to become one of those law school drones that won't enjoy life while in school. I like school, first of all, so that part won't be as much of an issue, but I also think it is super important to maintain connections with family and friends, and to take care of your body. Exercise, sleep, and some relaxation - without these, learning cannot take place efficiently.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Coming down from the Rocky Mountain high.

I'm still in Canada this morning, but the official trip ended yesterday with everyone saying our goodbyes. ::sob:: It was an amazing week with an incredible group of people.

About to leave Canmore to head to Calgary

Friday, we were supposed to go to the Columbia Ice Fields about 2 hours north of Canmore, but there were nasty thunderstorms up there, so the guides had us wait a little while. By that time, considering travel and such, it made more sense to hike to a more local peak, called Ha Ling. It was named for a gentleman who was a Chinese worker in the area who said he could climb to the top of it. No one believed him, so when he completed the feat, everyone began calling it by his name.

It was a very vertical climb, especially there at the end. Not a lot of switchbacks here - just relentless forward motion. My calves look amazing after this trip with all the toe action we had on the trails. 

Ha Ling peak

So steep with loose dirt and rocks! They call this "scree."

Since we didn't have to travel far that day, when we got back to Canmore we went to a climbing gym called Elevation Place. They had rock walls but also had traditional gym equipment and an extraordinary aquatics center. We went primarily for the steam room, but quickly ended up in the rather large hot tub, then onto the waterslide, then the pool, then the lazy river. Excellent way to spend the afternoon!

Saturday, for our final hike-run, we drove even deeper into Kananaskis Country where we made an even more vertical climb to the Tent Ridge peak. HOLY COW. The climb itself was shorter than the other days, but much steeper the whole way up and more technical with the scree. I was with Graham, and he wouldn't let me quit. He said he'd carry me to the top if he had to! He didn't have to, but he did give some major encouragement and a hand to hold. Once there, we relaxed and took a bunch of great photos:

Warrior 3

Almost to the top, at a major landing

Trying to hold Tree pose :)

Running down on the landing at the top

Graham, the Canadian yoga instructor mega-ultra-runner extraordinaire, sporting Team USA apparel and doing the Jesus pose

I'm pretty proud that I took this epic photo.

This one really epitomizes the climb.

On the way down

Finally back to the runnable :) I'm smiling so big because I made it and didn't roll off a cliff. Also because I was totally high...on life.

I did so much this week that I was scared of. I learned a ton about mountain running, both down and up. It's been since college that I've gone on a trip more than 3 days, and I've certainly never done anything like this before; it was truly an amazing experience that has helped me to clear my mind and refresh my spirit in preparation for law school beginning later this week. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Canadian Rockies update!

Well, it's 4:47am and I can't sleep. Mountain time zone has me thrown a bit, plus my legs are totally shredded and achy, but I wouldn't trade it. This trip has been totally amazing so far.

My friend Sean and his buddy Graham organized a trip to various places in province for 6 days of run-hiking and exploring the natural beauty that is Alberta, Canada. Words cannot describe, so I'll just show you this:

That is Moraine Lake, the bluest water you'll ever see.

We've had to work hard to get these incredible views, but again - worth it. We = the awesome folks who are also on the trip, who before now were strangers. Everyone is super chill and lots of fun to be around.

The crew at Moraine Lake

Earlier in the day at Lake Louise. We are lucky we got a shot without tons of others in it - lots of tourists here! See the snowy area behind us? That's where a few of us hiked to/ran down from, about 7k total miles. The other group ended up there as well with some additional miles thrown in. The climb was about an hour and thirty minutes of straight uphill, with a visit to the Tea House thrown in as a pause.

The Tea Houses are out in the mountains, only accessible by foot, and they serve various beverages along with sandwiches and other basic cafe-type foods. I think they have helicopter food drops every so often! The employees actually hike to work, about 45-50 minutes up.

Yesterday evening we did a "beer mile" around Canmore, where we're staying. The fast running on top of 3 days of strenuous climbing did me in! Quads = wrecked. But so fun!

Rewind to Day 1: got in Calgary at 3:15, got picked up at the airport shortly thereafter, and there were now 5 of us smushed into a Volvo station wagon, me sandwiched between the guys - it's a quick way to become fast friends for life. We headed to a short but very steep hike on the way to Canmore up to Windy Pass. The name says it all. When you get to the top, the windy through the gap is insane! Once we came back down, we got to town, got some groceries, and headed to the lodge to settle in. All of us were worn out for sure. Best sleep I've ever had, that night!

Next morning, for Day 2, we headed out to hike-run the Iceline Trail, round trip about a 10k. Again with the all uphill then all downhill. Amazing views!

At the top

View of the most incredible waterfall from the ground - we hiked to where we were actually higher than the falls. After the hike, we came down, crossed the road, and got a little closer to that bad boy. The spray from the falls travels at least 100 yards. And it's all from glacial melting.

We met up with the other group and headed to Banff to the hot springs to soak our tired legs. It was pretty warm in there, but not hot, so later that night we got in the hot tub at the lodge for round 2. But before that, we cooked some dinner on the grill then headed back out with Sean to see Canmore (read: drink beer by Bow River). Marcus tried to teach me how to skip rocks - I was able to do it like twice maybe :)

More updates soon!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Marathon Training Week 4

You may have noticed I skipped a post on week 3. Well, I was out of town last weekend on a mountain getaway, hiking, rafting and making brookies, so I didn't stress about missing a 10 miler. I got some good training runs in earlier that week prior, so I felt good about that.

Week 4 - I ran 11 miles this morning. It's been many months since I even came close to touching double digits, so I'm happy with getting it done in just under 2 hours with my Atlanta Track Club peeps. I only really ran one time this week - Monday - for 5 miles. As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, Group Power put my body out of commission until about Thursday. I did a short 2 miler (half of which involved walking only!) on Tuesday, thanks to my dear understanding pal Alesa who didn't fuss when I said,"Let's walk for a bit, shall we?" I was worthless and still had 2 more classes to teach that day! Holy lunges! :)

I'll be making up any missed mileage this coming week, though. I'm headed to Canada for a week to explore (via foot mostly) the Rockies! It's a trip I truly can't afford, but I made it happen and I'm pretty excited/nervous! A little "last hurrah" before law school starts. Life is too short to wait until the "perfect" time to get out and see the world. There's never a "good" time to travel; you just have to make it happen, if you want something badly enough.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A week in workouts 7/28-8/3/2014

Monday: 5 mile run and Group Power (ouch! Don't run before Power!)

Tuesday: Group Power (teach x2), Group Centergy (teach 1 hr. and rehearse 45 min.), run 2 miles with Alesa.

Wednesday: REST DAY

Thursday: Group Power (teach), Group Core, R30.

Friday: Walking the dog. Active recovery. I'm still a little ouch-y from this really really really tough workout week!

Saturday: Atlanta Track Club marathon training - 11 miles

Sunday: Group Power (teach), Group Centergy (teach).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Group Power July 2014 New Release!!

So...holy hell...this quarter's Group Power programming is insane difficult! I love the new challenge but woah...3 times in two days. On top of that, my fellow instructor Robin and I practiced then taught the entire new Group Centergy programming for a total of 2.5 hours yesterday as well. I am hurting this morning. So, needless to say, today will be a rest day. I'm treating myself to a haircut after work :)

Any haters out there who want to hate on group fitness classes: before you do so, please attend Group Power, Group Centergy, Group Ride, etc. Any one of these Mossa programs will kick your tail! Not to mention, I am getting super strong and can see real muscle definition in my body. This comes from consistency with varied but similar weight training routines 3 times per week. When I did CrossFit, I usually got a good cardio workout, but anytime we'd do weight work in the WOD, it was like...once in a while we'd hit shoulders with 5 rounds of 10 strict presses between 100 yard sprints or something, or like one time we did bicep curls prior to the WOD. Maybe some dead lifts as part of the WOD once in a while. Mostly it was far-too-heavy-to-build-endurance back squats (at a slow pace or, worse, one at a time...I'm not an Olympic lifter so this is useless in real life) or really fast body weight squats (which, comparatively, were better, but I mean we could've used at least some weight to build up more muscular endurance and get some toning out of it too). Point is, it was always random, as far as the weight workouts go, and I never got the chance to see improvement in myself, nor did I work with each muscle group enough in a month's time (let alone a week's time) to gain any real strength.

CrossFitters always talk about how important the concept of "constantly varied" is, but if you look at traditional training programs, such as National Academy of Sports Medicine NASM) or ACE, the two majors in the physical training world, they will emphasize periodization.

What is periodization? Here's an example:

In Group Power, each quarter we release new programming, and each new programming set gives a slight variation to how we move to train each muscle group. We will always warm up, then work the legs, chest, back and back of legs, triceps, biceps, legs (again!), shoulders/upper back, and core before cooling down. But, sometimes we use tricep pushups while other times we use tricep presses in combination with tricep dips. It is always slightly varied, but we're working the same muscle groups with approximately the same intensity. Or legs - there are so many ways to train the legs. Squats - wide or narrow stance, bar on back or holding a plate in front for a slightly different angle of resistance, lunges - dynamic without weight or static with bar on back, calf raises - holding a heavy bar, using body weight, one leg at a time, and of course all the "dead" movements: dead lift, dead squat, dead row. And don't even get me started on all the many ways to train the core! Our motto is, "Always the same, but always different." So, we work with the same set of programming for 3-4 weeks, allowing participants to see improvement and increase their resistance where appropriate. Then, we switch it up and work with another set of programming for a few weeks. As soon as your body really gets used to training a certain way, it's time for something new. Periodization.

I like science. And while there are many ways to get to the same end result, when I SEE results, I stick with that route.

What works for you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A week in workouts 7/21-27/2014

Monday: Group Centergy (teach), run 6.22 miles with Lisha.

Tuesday: AM - Group Power (teach). PM - Group Power (teach), Group Centergy (teach), run 4.6 miles with Lisha. Holy crap. But I did it.

Wednesday: Group Centergy (teach).

Thursday: Group Power (teach), run 2 miles, hiking 1 hour

Friday: Hiking 5 miles

Saturday: rafting 6.2 miles on the Ocoee

Sunday: hiking 30 minutes