Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Beauty and the Burn

Today was just about the best snow day I have ever snowboarded.  The powder up at Snowbird was thigh deep and I just bombed down double blacks and rode virgin tracks in the back country for a few hours. 

The only problem was that my killer workout yesterday left my quads feeling like jell-o and I had to stop and rest every once in a while to let my muscles stop spasming, mostly my hip flexor and left quad.  When riding in the powder you should have a really fat powder board, that I do not have, and you have to lean back to keep your nose up.  Snowboarders usually ride in one direction which means one leg gets the entire workout which I call the burn.  Skiers get to transfer their weight so their muscles get equal rest and equal workout, therefore, less burn.

Riding on the new fallen snow creates the most beautiful quiet, shushing sound, not like the usual scraping sound when riding on compact snow.  As I was hiking over to our backcountry paradise I stopped to appreciate the beauty of the tree branches, heavy with snow, the snow falling all around me and the silence that eludes me, being a mother of four.  The song, "For the Beauty of the Earth" popped into my head and I sang it in my head while I finished my hike over to where my sweet husband was waiting for me.  I feel blessed that I have the health, the means, the time, the companionship, the last minute babysitter, and the freedom to experience days like today. The least I can do is appreciate it.  Thank-you Jesus for creating this beautiful place.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My favorite Game: The Sprint 8 interval workout

don't these girls look happy? haha.  Well, at least they're ripped!
 Have you ever dreaded running on the treadmill? Have you ever hated every minute of jogging while reading or watching television for hours? Well those days can be over with this workout! It's like an addictive game for me that I play against myself and it's called Sprint 8.  My dad read about it in a swimming magazine that detailed some of the Olympic athlete workouts.  The benefits of this and any interval training workout is that it forces you to get in shape fast and quick.  You can feel your body get faster and faster and every day, you can increase your levels or decrease the spacing between intervals until you're running faster and harder than you ever thought possible.  In German this training is called Fartlek training, which made me laugh as a teenager running on the track team.  You will feel so good about yourself when what was difficult a week ago is too easy and you keep going up and up and up.  It is so much more engaging than just jogging. I'm hooked!

This workout is..

Run for 1 minute 30 seconds at a medium slow pace.  Mine is at 6 on the treadmill
Then sprint as fast as your legs can go for 30 seconds.  I run this at 11 on the treadmill
Do this 8 times until you reach 16 minutes.  It will be the most intense 16 minute workout ever!

There are many reasons I like this workout. 
1. It's fast and I can do it while the kids eat breakfast if I'm running late
2. I always finish it because I always think, "hey, it's only 30 seconds.  Of course I can do 30 seconds!" each time I do the interval. 
3. The day after, I can feel the muscles deep in my buttox hurting.  I know no other workout that gets down that deep. 
4. I really like the feeling of sprinting and getting my body in that totally laid out position.  Feels good.

The only thing I don't like about this workout is that it takes my treadmill a while to speed up to 11 from 6 unlike doing it manually on a track or the street where you can speed up rather quickly.  This means I have to push the 11mph button at 23 seconds and not 30, so when the half minute comes around, I'm actually running at full speed. 

I've realized that sometimes when I explain things, people don't understand so here's a very clear breakdown of the workout.

0-1:30 jog
1:30-2:00 sprint
2:00-3:30 jog
3:30-4:00 sprint
and so on.  

Of course you can do this outside, but it's easier to just "let up" when you're not forced to run. There's one thing for sure.  I will not slow down. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

5 babies in 6 years

This was my very fat self.  I'm lucky I can hide behind my three lovely daughters!

I'm a mother of 4 and counting and I've had 4 babies, one stillbirth and one miscarriage in less than 6 years and basically, my body is tired of being pregnant! In-between each baby I have stuck to my goals of...

1. Doing a race, usually a sprint triathlon, to get back into shape and
2. Losing weight to attain a borderline acceptable weight of 140lbs.  Not fat, not skinny. Blech.

Before I had my first child, I rigidly followed the Body For Life routine to get into shape, which I absolutely loved.  I, however cannot dedicate all my energy and time to follow it exactly, so now I loosely follow it by...

1. Doing a hard core interval workout every other day for 20 minutes mixed with an occasional long run
2. Eating many small meals and eating the majority of my food before 6pm
3. Limiting my deserts to Sunday and special occasions and severely limiting sugar intake

My very much used and loved treadmill display screen

When I started a month and a half ago I weighed 162 lbs, which is the pathetic starting point from my heaviest pregnancy ever, peaking at 182lbs, even though I had my smallest baby at 7lbs 6oz.  What's up with that? Every other pregnancy I've stayed around 175 so I have no idea what happened this time.  I thought I would stay thinner because I just moved out west where people are really healthy and active (compared to the general population of Pittsburgh) but maybe I was just lonely for my friends and husband who couldn't join me for two months after I moved, pregnant, with my three little kids.

 After following my regimen for 6 weeks,  I weighed myself in this morning at 149.8 lbs and ran a 5K in 24.16 minutes!
Me on the scale this morning.  I almost cried when I saw I was in the 140s! Maybe I'll be able to wear something other than leggings in a couple of weeks. 

My goal with this blog is to document my progress, force me to reach my goals through public embarrassment if I don't, and to possibly inspire anyone wondering if they can get into shape after putting their bodies through so much abuse through pregnancy.  I say that you can!

My goals are to reach a steady weight between 130 to 135 and to do a REAL Olympic length triathlon and a half marathon by the end of the summer. 

This is my journey