Personal Training: session 9

I finally did it! I managed to run immediately after my workout with Alison! Huzzah.  I didn't let the TRX induced butt kicking deter me from the miles I needed to run.  Yay!

The run felt good too. Today is the second time out in my new running shoes. I was a little nervous after yesterday's run.  Intervals on the treadmill, and during the walking there was some major arch cramping.  Running? Totally fine.  Walking? Cramp city.  Thankfully today was smooth sailing (running?) without a hint of a cramp.  Huzzah.

See, I have a hard time finding shoes that work well for my feet.  Chances are the shoes are going to give me blisters.  And then blisters on top of the other blisters.  This phenomenon does not remain only in running shoes, but all shoes.  I have many (many, many) pairs of shoes, but most days find me wearing my Danskos or my flip flops.


and a few steps back

Today is a typical March day in Portland.  It's raining, not a downpour but rather a quiet drumming on my aluminum window shades.  The sky is grey, but not oppressively so.  And though the thermometer reads a balmy 52 degrees (considerably warmer than last week) I can still feel a slight chill in the air.  All in all it's a great day to listen to Adele with a nice mug of Lady Grey tea.

[Side note: how much do I love "One and Only?" I could listen to that song on repeat for days.]


Personal Training: Day 8

Back to the meathead section again today.  It was oddly empty.  Sadly devoid of meatheads.  Only my own reflection to study in the mirror.

Light pink is not my color.  (I know Candace, I'm a winter.  I shall, henceforth, dress accordingly.)

I've never been that comfortable with the whole "staring at myself in the mirror" thing.  Especially if my face is red and sweaty.  Oh well.  Personal training and bikram yoga are challenging.  Most especially bikram yoga, where I am commanded to look at my puce-colored, sweat soaked body and contemplate how beautifully strong it is.

Beautifully strong indeed.


Today's Workout

lunge walk across gym


10x reverse bench press (40lb bar)

60 sec curl and press (20lb bar)

60 sec cobra pose (on bench w/ weights)

60 sec reverse crunch (on bench w/ 12lb wt)


15x lat pull down (40lb)

15x triceps (40lb)

lunge walk across gym

60 seconds plank reach through

45 sec side plank (each side)

45 sec hover plank


10x back extensions

10x roman chair

20 min treadmill run


Personal Training: Session 7

I arrived at the gym 45 minutes prior to my scheduled session today.  I hoped I could get my run on the treadmill in before my workout with Alison.  (Since it's been proven running on the treadmill after she kicks my butt is a silly idea.)  I like to run on the treadmill at least once a week so I can "test" different paces.  I suppose you could call this "speed work," but we don't want to get too fancy or technical here.  Anyway, I had foolishly anticipated that at 3:45 PM the gym would be fairly empty, especially when I though of all the people who must be picking up their children from school.

I was incorrect.

Every single treadmill was taken.  Every single elliptical machine was in use.  Ditto with the spinning bikes.  My options for cardio equipment were:
  1. The stair stepper that broke my headphones.  (Though that incident may not have been entirely the machine's fault.)
  2. That weird elliptical and stair stepper hybrid which always makes my feet go numb.
  3. recumbent exercise bike.

I chose the bike.  Since it didn't have it's own TV screen, and I wasn't much interested in the shows playing on the big TV screens (basketball, blurgh) I turned on an audiobook and pedaled away.  Harry Potter is pretty good listening if you're on the recumbent bike for 35 minutes.  I was a teeny bit disappointed I wasn't able to watch the Food Network today.  Heaven help me, I love watching cooking shows when I'm on the treadmill.

Once I met up with Alison we headed over to the "meathead" area.  (Her words, not mine. Though to be fair she was right.) I felt doughy and pale the second we walked into the free weight section.  True, I *am* doughy and pale, but it doesn't stand out so much when I'm over in my normal section of the gym.  I blend in with the other doughy and pale people.  The people in the free weight section were not doughy, or pale.  They were ripped. They wore shirts where the armholes were open to the waistbands. The heaved heavy weights and then stared at themselves in the mirror.  They were very tan, especially when you consider the fact that it is March in Portland. 

Luckily we slowly worked our way back to the weight machines and kettlebells, leaving the buff men behind.  I did lots of dips, push-ups and pull-ups.  We discussed restaurants for most of the session.  (Why do I think about food so much when I workout?) She asked for my top picks here in Portland (she's relatively new to the area) and here they are:

Today's Workout
10 x lat row with barbell (30lb)
10 x reverse fly (12.5 lb each hand)
10x fly
10x twisty crunches (15 lb)

15 pushups
10x bench step ups (15 lb, each leg)
10x reverse crunch
10x dips

10x pullups
10x dips
10x dips
10x pullups

10x medicine ball twist
45 sec plank

10x bicycle crunch
10x bicycle crunch double pulse


Personal Training: Session 6

My body is strong.  My body is beautiful.  

I love to move.  To feel my body.

I've been disconnected for too long.  I'm getting back into my skin. 
 (thanks TheBerry for the motivation!)

It's no secret that I have body dysmorphic tendencies.  (Tendencies, not BDD.)  I'm certainly not the only one who is unhappy with their appearance.  I can't think of one friend who is satisfied with their physical appearance.  Which is silly because I have some mighty fine friends.  (You're welcome.) 

Earlier this year, say about a month ago, I was in a dark place.  My body image was at an all time low, and the subsequent anxiety was crippling.  I was in a place where meeting my friends for drinks would cause a mild panic attack.  My boyfriend heard nothing but a litany of how unhappy I was and how fat I felt.  (How fun for him.) Thankfully Chris is a supportive and patient man, and time and again he would talk me down from the ledge.  He'd also reassure me that I am "cute as hell." Awww.  However he didn't completely let me off the hook, because every time I'd complain he would ask what I could do to start making myself feel better.  Every single time I'd answer "I need to start working out again."

So simple. So true.

I'm only three weeks into working out with Alison/training for the MARATHON and I already feel more like myself.  I'm not 100% or even 75% satisfied with my physical appearance, but I'm not dwelling on it.  I don't have anxiety attacks when I think about what I'm going to wear in public.  I appreciate my body.  I have respect for my body.  It is strong, it is getting stronger.  Running is getting easier and is feeling great.  I'm sleeping more soundly.  I made it through 90 min of Bikram Yoga after work yesterday.  Thank you, Body. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I'm not out of the dark entirely, but everyday is getting lighter.


Today's Workout:

30 seconds jumping-jacks
10x backward lunge w/ 8lb wt both hands
10x shoulder raises to side and front
15 push-ups
10x med ball v-hold crossovers
10x foam roller balance scissor kicks
5x foam roller balance leg raises

15x walking lunge & high knee w/ med ball above head
30 second plank
10x biceps on machine 
30 second plank
10x biceps on machine
15x walking lunge & high knee w/ med ball above head

30 sec kettlebell half swing (30 sec each arm)
8x bosu ball lunges (each leg)

w/u 5 min
Run 4 min
fast walk 2 min
run 6 min
fast walk 3 min
run 4 min
fast walk 3 min
c/d 5 min

(I missed a day.  No. I skipped writing about a session, I didn't miss the work out.  It was good. I sweated a lot.  I was sore the next day.  I had visitors in town, so I didn't want to ignore them in favor of this blog.) 


Personal Training: Day 4

I hate to be late.  I really really hate to be late.

So, when I checked my e-mail this morning (at 9:04) and realized my appointment was at 9:00 and not 9:30...I was a little upset.  More than a little upset actually.  Luckily the traffic and parking gods were benevolent and I made it to the gym a mere 17 minutes late. 

Luckily short workouts can be just as effective as long ones.  Especially since you have no time lollygag.

I am always foolishly optimistic when I meet Allison.  Each session I bring my iPod and running shoes in the vain hope that I'll run right upstairs to the treadmill.  It just hasn't happened.  I'm usually too "worked out" to even consider running. 

It all works out though, because if I had jumped on the treadmill then there would have been no run in the rain this afternoon.  And that run rocked.  Felt awesome. Yay! Yay! Yay!

Today's Workout:

12x lunge walk w/ 20lb wt
12x squat w/ 8lb wt each hand
12x fly w/ 8lb wt
12x row w/ 8lb wt
12x triceps w/ 8lb wt
30 sec  plank
15 pushups
12x lunge walk w/ 20lb wt

2x12 reverse crunches
2x12 dips

Run in the park!


Personal Training: Session 3

Today was a rough one.

I've decided to blame it on the cold.

So. I've decided I need a short term goal.  The Portland Marathon is still 7 months away, and frankly seven months is just far enough away for it to still seem unreal.  Plus, if the MARATHON is the sole focus of all this training and attention, then there might me a good chance I'll have some performance anxiety.  I need a "smaller" goal to take the edge off.

Last year I had Hood to Coast to take some of the focus off the Portland Half Marathon.  Also it added some pressure toward the need for training.  I sure didn't want to be the slowest team member to disappoint my team by not being fully trained.  Sadly the good folks in charge of HTC did not want the Rancho 12s to run again. (Poppycock! It's not like were the slowest team.  There were TWO WHOLE teams slower than us.)  This year it seem the Foot Traffic Flat will have to do.  I'll run a half-marathon at 6:30 in the morning if it means I can eat strawberry shortcake before noon. Yum.

Can we pause for a second and talk about how insane all of this is?  Friends, I am not a runner. I have never been a runner. If you told anyone I used to swim with that I was training for a marathon, they'd laugh in your face.  And I don't even want to know what my old coach would say.  We'd run (occasionally) as cross-training for swimming...and I was always at the back of the group complaining the ENTIRE TIME. (How pleasant for everyone.)

See this bridge?

Five years ago I would have flat out refused to run across. (It's approximately 2 miles.)  But I happily swam underneath it.  On more than one occasion.

Side note: if you're every looking for a fun open water event try The Long Bridge Swim in Sandpoint, Idaho.  The swim is 1.76 miles, the bridge guides you in the right direction, and it really is a great event.  I promise.  Plus you get ice cream when you finish.  Or at least you did in 2007, which was the last year I did it.

Anyway, my point is that there's something surreal about training for this MARATHON.  Maybe I'm still a teeny bit incredulous that a (big) part of me wants to run 26.2 miles.

Back to today's workout.  Largely ab focused.  I didn't feel great today.  The exercises were hard and I still have sucky balance.  Also, I couldn't do the TRX ab exercise, which I found slightly disheartening, but at least I have no where to go but up on that one!  This is one thing I really like about Alison, she offers me encouragement to try exercises I'd psych my self out of, but can quickly modify the plan if need be.  That and she doesn't seem to mind my endless questions.

My run this afternoon, though short, was beautiful.  It was 60 degrees and sunny in Portland, so I couldn't bear the idea of running on the treadmill.  I only did two miles, but I was a good two miles and felt great to be running outside in the sun.  Yay for the sun! It doesn't hurt that today's route was through Laurelhurst Park.

Today's Workout

10x Kettlebell swings (15lbs)
10x step-up w/ medicine ball (10 each side)
10x step up lunge

10x balance ball shoulder shaper
30 sec balance ball flutter kick
45 sec plank
30 sec side plank (each side)
10x kick & arm pull
10x side cross reach w/12lb weight
10x triceps w/ 12lb wt

60 seconds TRX squat w/ jump
3x 10sec TRX plank
12x side lunges

2 mile run in the park.

(Obviously I don't know the names of several of the exercises.   I should work on that.)

Affirmation: Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. -Thomas Jefferson.


Personal Training: Session 2

This personal training thing is going to work well for me.  I realize that after only two sessions, such a declarative statement might seem a tad premature.  Nonetheless, I think this personal training thing is going to work for me.

Take today for example.  I woke up this morning with a "work hangover." (No, I do not drink at work.)  Nursing can be a physically demanding job, and after three days of twelve hour shifts it can be exhausting.  It's not unusual for me to have achy muscles, throbbing feet and the cheerfulness and attention span of a gnat.  This is how I felt this morning, but with the unwelcome addition of early cold symptoms.  Sore throat, stuffy nose and pounding head.  I had just snuggled back into the blankets for an extended sleep-in when my phone rang.  It was my trainer asking if we could change the time of today's session, and if I could meet her in an hour.

I could and I did. 

I didn't make any excuses, and I didn't listen to that internal voice that was telling me "this is too hard. You have a cold. You are tired. Why don't we stop and go home and eat cookies and watch TV?" Yay! This personal training thing is going to work for me.

We did a more extensive workout today, and I know I'm going to be sore tomorrow.  Circuit training with free weights, kettle bells, balance balls, and mat work.  I also was introduced to TRX.  It's crazy.  I couldn't stop thinking about how awful it would be if the beam crashed over on me.  It didn't and won't thanks to the whole "bolted into the floor" thing.  But who can stop irrational fears?  (Let's talk about knitting needles sometime.)

During the course of my workout I managed to learn some things about my self as well. Nothing terribly introspective, but here they are anyway:

  • I find it more difficult to do a lunge when my left foot is ahead of me than my right. 
  • I have terrible balance--especially if I'm talking.  I actually muttered to myself "stop talking, focus on what you're doing." to keep from falling off the step.
  • Sometimes the things I mean to say in my head spontaneously burst from my lips. (See above.)
  • I sweat a lot.  This is not new, I realize but it seems I sweat more than other women who are doing similar activities.  But not as much as the men. 
  • The guilt/shame in telling my trainer that I had not worked out as planned over the weekend made me stutter and my face turn red.  Awful. 
  • I find the phrase "my trainer" borderline insufferable.  I will henceforth refer to her as Alison.  
  • I do, in fact, have a cold.

So, I meet with Allison again on Friday.  I work on Wednesday and Thursday.  I cannot handle telling her that I slacked off again.  (Besides, part of training for a marathon is indeed running.) Since I can so easily talk myself out of gym time after a 12 hour shift, I guess I'll have to go before.

This requires waking up an hour ealier.


Stupid goals. Stupid, stupid goals.

Today's Workout:
Squats with 12lb free weights x10
lunge/bicep curls w/ 8lb free weights x10 each side
oblique step ups w/ medicine ball x10 each side
jackknife balance ball crunces x10 each side

10 balance ball crunches straight up
5 cross balance ball crunches each side

30 seconds flutter kick
30 second bridge
10x bridge kick (10 each leg)
30 second plank 

10x kettle bell pull
10x kettlebell bicep/tricep

30 sec TRX rows
60 sec TRX squats



I had a thought this morning while sitting in traffic.  It seems most of my deep thinking occurs when I'm sitting in traffic.  Maybe it's the NPR subconsciously telling me to think about more important things than "OMG! Snooki's pregnant?!?!"  Anyway, I thought that if I'm really going to use this blog as a "training tool" (ah, accountability) then I should probably get in the practice of posting more.

Then I said "I should post every day in March!"

And then I laughed.  The driver next to me probably thought I was crazy.

I don't know what I'm going to post when I'm not giving a run down of the workouts my trainer dreams up.  I know I want to use this to help keep myself on track....but I'm probably not going to post pictures.  I just don't need awful pictures of me floating around the Internet. Isn't that what facebook is for?

I'm not going to tell the world what I eat for every meal. I mean, who cares? Also, I feel like talking about food would make me want to show you my food.  And we don't need to cross over into food blog territory.  That would likely be counterproductive to my goals.  Furthermore, it seems that people who tell you what they eat also want to show you what they eat.  How many pictures like this can one person handle?
See, my breakfast is arty.  And delicious.

So who knows what these posts will contain.  I guess they'll give my interneting some purpose.  And maybe I'll actually start to use my brain instead of passively looking at page after page of pretty pretty pictures. (I'm looking at you The Berry and Pinterest.)

Finally, it may help curb my voracious appetite for terrible television.



Personal Training: Day One

What a humbling experience.

How eye-opening.


It's funny how who I was in high school still manages to influence the way I think of myself now.  No, I'm not foolish enough to still consider myself to be a "competitive swimmer."  Those crazy days are far behind me (ack! 11 years!?!?) But somehow all that training has led me to think of myself as a fairly fit person.

Hey. I finished the Portland Half-Marathon a mere 5 months ago.

Alas, it seems sitting on my butt in front of the television for 5 months (practically half a year! oi!)  does little to keep me in any sort of "good" physical condition.

I'm not in good physical condition. Not at all.

My body fat percent is currently 36%. THIRTY SIX PERCENT! That's almost half of my body! It's a mere three percentage points from dropping me in the "obese" category (let's not even discuss my BMI.)  As it stands I'm already at an increased risk for weight related diseases: heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.  Oi with the poodles already.


Cross out all the things you've done.

Graduated High School. Kissed someone. Smoked a cigarette. Got so drunk you passed out. Rode every ride at an amusement park. Collected something really stupid. Gone to a rock concert. Helped someone. Gone fishing.Watched four movies in one night. Gone for long periods of time with out sleep. Lied to someone. Snorted cocaine. Failed a class. Dealt drugs. Taken a college level course. Been in a car accident. Been in a tornado. Done hard drugs (i.e. ecstasy, heroin, crack, meth, acid). Watched someone die. Been to a funeral. Burned yourself. Ran a marathon. Spent over $200 in one day. Flown on a plane. Had your virginity taken. Taken someone’s virginity. Cheated on someone. Been cheated on. Written a 10 page letter. Gone skiing. Been sailing. Cut yourself (like a paper cut #JUSTTOBECLEAR).Had a best friend. Lost someone you loved. Been to jail. Dangerously close to being in jail. Had detention. Skipped school. Got in trouble for something you didn’t do. Stolen books from the library. Gone to a different country. Dropped out of school. Been in a mental hospital. Watched the “Harry Potter” movies.Had an online diary. Fired a gun. Gambled in a casino. Had a yard sale. Had a lemonade stand. Actually made money at the lemonade stand. Been in a school play. Been fired from a job. Taken a lie detector test. Swam with dolphins. Gone to sea world. Voted for someone on a reality TV show. Written poetry. Read more than 20 books a year. Gone to Europe. Loved someone you shouldn’t have. Wondered about your sexuality. Used a coloring book over age 12. Had surgery. Had stitches. Taken a taxi. Seen the Washington Monument. Had more than 5 IM’s/online conversations going at once. Overdosed. Had a drug or alcohol problem. Been in a fist fight. Suffered any form of abuse. Had a hamster. Petted a wild animal.Used a credit card. Gone surfing in California. Did “spirit day” at school. Dyed your hair. Got a tattoo. Had something pierced. Got straight A’s. Been on the Honor Roll. Known someone with HIV or AIDS. Taken pictures with a webcam. Started a fire. Gotten caught having a party while parents were gone away.