Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mini Hiking

It would be a sin to be in Colorado and not do some physical outdoor activity like hiking; however, I'm not sure the guidebooks said to do in steel toed boots and up to see wellpads, pig launchers, valves, and pipelines. I honestly didn't think I was going to go up in the mountain to see our pipeline, but my boss wanted to show me my new project (which I'm totally excited about, but I think my coworkers are still confused and intimidated). We did so much walking around and hiking up small hills (usually full of mud), which is exercise, exercise, exercise. My legs were sore, my ankle hurt, and I was exhausted when I got home. Being able to survive this made me confident about the expected hiking I'm doing with Ashley in 2 weeks when I visit her in California.

Since we got home late from our dinner, I was too tired and didn't sleep well at all. Stupid dry air just kills my nose. So, I slept in this morning and wouldn't you know it, the darn gym was empty. Go Figure!
Took these in December 2010 on the way to our drillsite.

At the top of the Mesa, the valley is where I was located this time around.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Early Early Morning Hotel Treadmill Running

On a side note, I did make it to Grand Junction, Colorado, yesterday late afternoon. Boy, was that airpline ride turbulent.

Since I didn't have to be in the office until 7 a.m. and the office is literally right across the street from the hotel, I decided to get up at my normal time so that I can hit the gym. I believe this is the earliest that I have ever gotten up to run, but I knew that I would not want to run at the end of the day (it's going to be a lonnnnngggg day of meetings). When I got in there, I honestly didn't think anyone would be up nor did I think that it would be busy. Wrong on both accounts. It was busy, very busy and it was a small workout room, which was quite different than yesterday's exercise room. They had very little and I was thankful that 1 of the 2 treadmills were open.

I did my pre-run walk at 2.5 speed until I reached 0.10 mile and then I kicked it up to 5.0. It was hot in there and everyone was steaming up the place with their sweat and breathing. The television was on, but it was the stock market type news (BORING); however, I didn't have control and just tried to focus on it. When I got to 0.30 mile, I decreased the speed to 4.6 again. I am just not ready for a higher speed. But I'm proud to say that at 0.90, I cranked it back up to 5.0 and then I increased the speed to 5.5 when I was at 1.07 (1 mile is actually 1.10 to add the 0.10 I did for my pre-run). I decreased the speed down to 2.5 so that I can walk until I reached 1.35. I burned a total of 126 calories, which makes more sense than yesterday's 146 (added 16 calories on my first step).

My goal for this run was to watch time so that I can see how many minutes it takes me to run a mile. Unfortunately, it's not good. I reached 10 minutes at 0.75, 13 minutes at 1 mile, and a whopping 15 minutes for 1.10 (a true mile). My total time was 18 minutes, which is just not great, but I'm working on it. I mean, I was able to increase speed at the end when I haven't yet been able to do that due to my ankle throbbing. So, that's a positive.

Afterwards, I didn't really feel comfortable doing most of my post-run workouts, because the men were there and it was close quarters. Plus, there wasn't much room nor was there anything to really hold on to for my crunches. I did watch this lady do ab work on the ball, but she looked as lost as I usually do and stopped quick. Therefore, I decided to at least use the weights since I was there. I did 3 reps of 20 squats with bicep curls using the 7.5 lb weight (they didn't have 10). I did shoulder curls (3 reps of 20) using that same weight in between each squat rep. I also did butterfly raises using the 5 lb weight, but only 3 reps of 10. My plan was just to go to the room and to perform my ab/situp workout, but I ran out of time.

My only wish is that I had brought my swimsuit so that I could get in the pool for more of a workout. Next time, I will be more prepared...and also bring my jacket.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hotel Treadmill Running

Sorry for the double posts today, but I wanted to write about my workout this morning before I forget my stats. I was supposed to write my post about Saturday's run on Sunday, but I was too busy and traveling yesterday. I'm going to be too busy tomorrow to write anything since I should already be in Grand Junction right now. Our flight was almost there when the Captain came on the intercom to tell us that we were turning around, going back to Dallas due to the 60 mph wind and unsafe landing conditions. My flight leaves today at 2 p.m. since everyone got assigned the 9 a.m. flight. Anyhoo.

I took the time to head to the gym since I can't get in to my company intranet and I needed a break from reading the very large binder of material in preparation for tomorrow's meeting. It took awhile to find the gym, which is weird since this is a small hotel. But they should have a sign in the lobby that says the exercise room is out by the pool instead of making us walk down the hallways to get to it. Anyways, I digress. I got in there and started to stretch. I noticed a guy just standing there drinking water (an employee) and I wondered if he is just going to stay there to watch. My butt would certainly be faced in his direction; this made me uncomfortable, but he left (thank God). I had the remote to control the big television, but it was too my side. This would be okay for now, but not when I start running. I could just picture myself watching something and then just slipping right off the treadmill.

I started walking at a speed of 2.5, but with one step, I apparently burned 16 calories. I'm not sure that is even possible. I walked to 0.10 and then turned it up to 5.0 to start my run. I ran at that speed until probably around 0.33 when I decided that I could barely breathe (working on getting in shape) and decreased the speed to 4.6. This was much better. It was somewhat hard, but I kept staring at my butt in the window reflection. It looked massive; it was just all butt and it made me run more to get rid of such a big butt. Then, National Geographic started showing skydivers doing a 16-Way CRW jump and then a record breaking base jump. This got my attention and distracted me, which was good since I was starting to get really tired and full of negative thoughts at 0.85. I ran to 1.10 (had to add the extra 0.10 to make up for my pre-run) and then walked to 1.35. I was very happy with myself for completing a mile without stopping. I also burned roughly 146 calories (maybe subtracting 16 calories); however, the other stat thing said I burned 207 calories. This machine was old.

After my treadmill running, I worked out. I got on that big inflatable ab ball to do 50 crunches. I may be the only one in the world that doesn't love this ball. Maybe it's because I'm not sure how it really works or I'm not doing it right, but it never seems like the intense ab workout like everyone claims. So, I only did 50 front crunches and went to the floor. I used the bench to hold my legs, while I did 20 situps and 30 side body crunches each. I got up and did arm raises and squats, only this time, I had dumbbells. The first round was 30 arm raises and then 20 squats with the 10 lb weight. That didn't last. I was still sore from walking and carrying my heavy bag/laptop bag trying to find a hotel. I reduced that to 20 arm raises and 20 squats with the 8 lb weight. I did this 2 times. Then, I did 20 shoulder curls and butterfly raises, both with 8 lb weight. I did this 3 times, but I split up the last butterfly raises in to 10 reps. I also did 30 shoulder curls on accident, because I wasn't paying attention.

All in all, I feel excellent with my workout and I can't wait to get better!

Memorial Park Run

I've been close to this park for some time now, but I haven't gotten there just yet. On Saturday, the weather was beautiful and I decided it was time to head over for a morning run. My plan was to run a mile again. When I got there, I did some stretching and some workouts, including 50 crunches, 30 side body crunches each, the navy seal ab cruncher (that's what I call it and it's holding on to the bar, while you bring your legs down to 6 inches off the ground and holding it there for 50 seconds...did this 3 times), toe raises, arm raises (3 reps of 30), and then squats (3 reps of 20) between each arm raise. A man said that I was doing good and then we talked about my injury. I wished the man good luck and went on my way. I tried to do the incline sit up thing, but my boney spine doesn't work on those benches (it hurts). This was the same for situps.

For the first time, I went the opposite way than I have normally done on this run. The thought process was that this is a 3 mile run and I wanted to be close to my car if I have issues. So, I started at the 3 mile marker for my run and figured I would turn around at the 1 mile marker. The people weren't as smiley and happy to see me like at Bear Creek Park last week. These were more serious runners. I did notice that there were alot of children there, which made it difficult to concentrate when there is crying all the time. I think I might like the evening runs better. I also noticed that there are mile markers going both ways, which I have never seen before (probably because I never went in this direction).

My run lasted to 0.5 mile marker before I had to stop; however, this is up for debate. It could actually be at the 0.75 mile marker, because I think I missed a mile marker (you will read later) and it took forever to get to the 0.5 mile marker. I was out of breath, my ankle was hurting, and I got a side cramp, which were the main reasons for stopping. I walked to the 1.25 mile marker before I picked up the run again and turned around. I ran to the 0.5 mile marker, stopped for a walk, and then decided to run a little after the 0.25 mile marker back to the 3 mile marker where I would finally stop. However, some time, I found the 0.25 mile marker on my run that I thought I had already passed. So, somewhere I miscalculated.

My thought process during this whole time was me rationalizing why it was ok and to be proud that I only ran 0.75 miles instead of 1 mile like last week. I was saying that it's good to listen to my body, because my ankle hurt pretty bad. But when I saw that 0.25 marker, I knew that I actually did run a mile; I just didn't run it all at once.

Things I learned about this run:
1.) It's getting hot again.
2.) I was still sore from my physical therapy workout on Wednesday (yeah, Jeff did a number on me),
3.) I loved my pre-run workout so much that I can't wait to do it again.
4.) No matter what, the mind is a powerful thing. When you get in an argument with your mind, most likely, it will always win. My body tried to fight, but the mind hit me with the negative thoughts and I had to walk. It's okay though. I am getting better every week and I will get stronger to beat the mind once again.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't Get Discouraged

A weird concidence happened yesterday; I was writing about not hearing from Jeff when they called to tell me that my appointment was at 5. When I got there, Jeff asked how I did this last week without him. I told him that I did fine and even ran a mile in which he congratulated me in my accomplishment. However, I also told him my concerns of my foot. In the last 2-3 weeks, I haven't felt like my foot has gotten any better. It was improving for sure, but now, it's just the same, stalled. I told him that I'm just so tired of wearing tennis shoes all the time and being in pain (although, I am wearing other shoes more and more and less pain throughout the day). He told me that I know it feels that way, but we have also been increasing the exercises, which is why my foot is hurting still. He reminded me that I couldn't even run a mile a couple of weeks ago and now I can. So, I felt better. I realized that yes, I'm wearing my ankle brace less and less, wearing other types of shoes, and putting more work on it, which means more pain before it gets better.

Jeff initially started with the stablizer ball thing, while my right foot (the good one) was on this foam pad 4" high. I looked at soccer and we talked soccer. Then, I saw Jeff lay down this long, foam pad (same height) on top of the tape ladder that is on the floor. My objective was to walk on it, one foot in front of the other. It was difficult at first, because it's hard to be stable on something that squishes underneath your feet (guess that is the point). Then, he put me on the wood stablizer thing that goes back in forth. He complimented me on how I'm not whipping back like I used to do and that I have more control. At this time, this midget girl came in that I have seen before. My fascination with midgets is crazy and I just tried not to stare (very hard). Jeff then took me to the ball throwing net thing, but I had to stand on this foam pad again, while throwing the ball. It was so hard and my ankle and foot were hurting. After about 10 minutes, he made me go back to the stairs to do toe raises, while hanging my foot off the edge. I also had to have 3 control stops to add an extra layer of difficulty. My calves were hurting after about 15 minutes of this raising stuff and I wished that I had stretched before I started.

I was then led to the machine to do the maze. Jeff made a comment on how "enthused" (total sarcasm) I sounded when I said that I wanted to do the maze. I just told him how hard it is and I can't figure out why I can't do this exercise. He said that the highest score was 23% and I informed him that I got 29%, which then he said that we have a new record (go me). Only this time, I didn't let the thing get me; I just didn't care. And you know what, I got a 43%, but no one was around to watch it. I should have stopped there, but I decided to see if I could do better. Boy, did I get cocky. My next round was 13% and Jeff saw that one (not the other one, of course). I then got on the ski machine and he told me to do 1 minute on, 1 minute off, but if my ankle starts to hurt, I should stop immediately. I did this for awhile and it wasn't my ankle that was hurting; it was my thighs. Whoa, my thighs were burning, because I haven't gotten this much exercise.

Jeff asked me if I wanted to run on the treadmill or just get hooked up to the machine (compression therapy) and I told him to hook me up to the machine. My ankle was hurting, hell, my legs were hurting and didn't think I could handle running. He told the lady to start me on medium pressure and then switch over to high pressure. It felt good to have this thing again; I have missed this torture device. I always feel better afterwards. When it was done, Jeff said that I'm doing good on my own and only need to meet once next week. However, I'm going out of town for work all week long. So, we are meeting the following week. And they have a gym at the hotel and I hope to do some running on the treadmill each morning. I can get up early enough to do this since the office is right across the street.

With injuries, it's important to not let it get you down. However, it's been a long time since I've been healthy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thai Massages, Rodeo, and KISS

This post includes some recent activities that occurred this week that have something...a little bit to do with exercising. I haven't really heard from Jeff (my physical therapist); I should probably call him. Actually, as I was writing this post, they called me to collect money and inform me that I do have an appointment today. Weird.

I'm going to start with the Thai Massage. I have had a lot of stress going on in my life right now and somehow I ended up on a review web thing about this Thai Massage Place that I see on my drive home everyday. My shoulders were extra tense and I thought I would give them a call. What do you know, they had appointments available after work and of course, I signed up. When I got there, I was overwhelmed by the incense, which normally I hate, but it seemed calming for some reason. I met my lady who was this cute, little, short, Tawainese lady. She led me into a room with a big bed...okay, different, but whatever. I stripped down to my undies and got in to the bed (no sheet really). She did a great massage, climbing on my legs and kneading the hot stones into my shoulders and back. I loved the bed, but I hate not having the hole so that you can breath and relax comfortably while said massage is going on around you. My neck hurt, because I kept it to the side to breathe. At times, it was alittle more intimate than I am used to with a massage. And when she turned me over to sit up, the teeny towel fell to expose my melons as she massaged me. It was so weird, but I enjoyed it to an extent. Since it was a big bed, she ate up my time getting off the bed and grabbing lotions, rocks, or whatever. I'm not sure I would go back, because I liked the Thai Massage I did in New York; that woman was all over my body and it was on a massage table. It was more relaxing to me. I think I will stick to Beautique. And I only bring this up, because massages help your muscles, which helps your exercising and running.

Last night, I went to Houston's annual Livestock Show and Rodeo to see KISS. I mention this, because it is a great deal of walking, which is exercising. We did take the bike taxi from the car to the dropoff, but we still had to walk, walk, and walk some more. Of course, we were on the opposite side of the stadium than where we should have been. So, more walking. Stairs, walking, ramps and then repeat at the end of the night. I can say that this is for sure great for me to get this much walking. Thank God, I had my ankle brace on to help out with the excessive walking. The rodeo was also different than I'm used to in years passed. They don't have much of a break between competitions and the barrel racing was greatly shortened. But I have missed watching bull riding and barrel racing. Btw, KISS was awesome. The audio in Reliant Stadium sucks and my theory is that it was made for an open roof. When the roof is closed, it echoes so much that you can barely hear anything, but base. And it's so weird to my friend and I that KISS used to be the devil's music, but now it's for kids. There were so many little children with their faces painted. These little girls next to me knew all the words. Kudos to them, but weird for me.

I'm still going to try to run this week...maybe today, maybe Friday, maybe this weekend. I know for sure that it won't be tomorrow since it's St. Patty's Day! And btw, HAPPY ST. PATTY'S DAY. Get crazy Irish!

Friday, March 11, 2011

And I've Come Full Circle

Today was the day of all days, because I finally came full circle with my training and this blog. It's been a rough week personally (wow, tired of saying this) and for my ankle since I have had to do physical therapy on my own (i.e., you aren't as motivated to do much as when Jeff is making you do something). I have done my morning workouts with squats almost every morning except for Wednesday (okay, it was the night after Fat Tuesday, give me a break).

But today was the day I decided to actually run a mile, at a track, actually running. I drove the long distance to go get my registration taken care of since I'm expired; however, the line was super long and I forgot that I only had credit cards on me (they only accept cash or check). I thought, "Hey self, I will just go get some money from a store. No, I have a better idea...I will just go run and hopefully the line will get shorter." So, I drove my self (all decked out in my running clothes and shoes) to none other than Bear Creek Park. If you have been following this blog, you will notice that this is the place where I started running with Jodi (almost a year ago today) to train for the half marathon.

The weather is so beautiful outside, just alittle breeezy, just alittle cool. It was perfect running conditions. And it was early in the morning, which means that there was hardly anyone there. This also had a negative effect, because then someone could easily get me (there is a seriel rapist in a nearby area).

I got out of my car, did some stretches (moved away from the van full of prisoners that were cleaning up the park), and started to walk. I was confused on where I would start since I was only doing a mile and was concerned that I couldn't run a mile and then would be forced to walk the rest of the mile back to my car. I decided that I would run to the halfway mark and turn around. So, I started running when I hit that familiar 1 marker that Jodi and I always started at each time we ran. It felt weird to run again like this and my breathing was not great. Hell, I was just focused on my ankle and didn't even bother controlling my breathing. I wished that I worked on my stride, but I was just running (at this point, I will level with you that it was jogging...extra light jogging) like some crazy, old lady with a limp. I think I even was hunched over.

BUT I WAS RUNNING AGAIN! I couldn't get that out of my head that I was running. Even hearing the scary noises in the bushes in the secluded part of the track didn't get me off my buzz, because I was running again. I would pass people and they would smile at me or wave hello. I felt like they all knew that I was back, back for good.

At the halfway mark (and what is it that getting 0.25 mile marker felt shorter than getting to the 0.5 mile marker), I turned around. I think I scared an old couple just leisurely enjoying their walk, because I looked up at them (concidentally) and quickly jolted a turn around. They probably thought I didn't want to run by them or something.

But I kept on running. I didn't stop, not yet. I felt like my breathing was a little out of control at this point and my ankle was sore, so I decided that I would stop the jog at the 0.75 mile marker (really the 0.25 mile marker...keep up). I figured that I didn't want to push my ankle to the point of tears. However, when I got to the 0.75 mile marker, I kept on going. I just didn't feel it was time to stop. I reached the last turn before I head back to that 1 mile marker and then my ankle started to hurt bad. I figured it was the way that I made the turn or something. That 1 mile marker was blinking at me saying, "I'm only a few feet away...come one, don't puss out." So, I listened; however, I slowed down my pace alot and limped more. And then the stupid 1 mile marker disappeared and I figured I saw a mirage on the track. I kept on pushing, getting slower, hunched over more, and limpier (is that a word?). Finally, I saw the 1 and got excited, but no sprinting. I just kept up the slow pace (at this point, a lady looked at me oddly).

I reached the 1 to stop for my walk and then gave myself an imaginary high-five as if someone was there with me. Yeah, I probably looked stupid, but who cares, I was running again.

And I just kept thinking of Puddy. Watch the clip.

I walked back to my car and did some stretches before I headed back for the long line. I'm not going to sugar coat it, my ankle was hurting, which made me realize that I wasn't ready for a half marathon (but that 5K sounds right). When I got home and showered, I did my my workout (only it was 12): 50 front crunches, 30 side crunches (actually turning on my side, which is harder) each side, 20 situps, and 50 squats (using the SUAR lady's advice and tighten up my abs).

On a side note, that stupid line was even longer. Damn cutbacks in Harris County! GRRRR!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Additions to My Morning Routine

This will be a short post since I don't really have much to add this week. I don't have physical therapy, because Jeff is gone. Also, I'm attempting to run a mile some time this week to see if I could actually be ready for a half marathon in the middle of April. I'm not sure when I'm doing this since it was rainy and windy yesterday and I'm going to Cowboy Mouth tonight. Oh and if I can't do the half, then I will probably do the 5K. I have do something!

On top of my 50 front crunches, 30 side crunches for each side, and 20 situps, I added 50 squats yesterday morning. This morning, I changed up the side crunches by physically turning my body to the side and crunching up. Is that even the right term? Well whatever it is, I felt it really working better than what I was doing. It was hard. I also only did 30 squats since I woke up late and didn't have time to do 50.

Did I mention that I can't wait to be back to my old self? Man, this is taking a lot longer than I thought. I can't be too old.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Every Session, I Run More

I'm combining both Monday and Wednesday's physical therapy sessions in one post. The biggest thing I noticed is that my sessions are getting tougher (i.e., I'm really sore afterwards and one or two days later) and I'm adding more run time.

On Monday, the only thing that I did new during this session was Jeff took the BOSU thing and turned it over. He told me to stand on it with one foot (of course, it was my bad foot). I had to balance on my bad foot and try to control the stability. If I get to out of whack, then I can put my other foot down or grab the handles on the stairs. It took awhile and it was super hard, but eventually, I started to get it under control. Even Jeff commented that I'm getting the hang of it, but man, did my ankle hurt afterwards. He then took me to the machine again to practice my dot training (that's what I'm calling it now). He asked me what I wanted to do and I said the maze, of course. He commented that I have some kindof vendetta against this maze thing. I did; I wanted to get better. Well, my highest score was 33%. I guess that was better than -4 the previous week.

So, now it was time for the treadmill. I was excited to get on this thing, because I wanted to push myself and really work to start running again. I was able to do 3 minutes on 4.5 speed (no incline). I burned somehwere between 20 and 30 calories. I was surprisingly winded, but a lady commented about how she was impressed that I could do that much and not look bad. I told her that I was in fact winded right now. I mentioned to her that I was training for a half marathon when I got injured and now I'm doing this stuff to get better. She was intrigued about the fact that I was doing a half marathon.

This other worker hooked me up to the compression therapy machine and asked what pressure do I usually have it set (oh and I found out that 30 was the temp and not the pressure setting). Jeff told her that I was medium and if I go any higher, than I will kill him. This is true; however, I noticed at the end that I could have had higher pressure. I really didn't feel it as so tight as usual. So, either my ankle is getting stronger or I'm not really sure.

On Wednesday, I had a rough day personally, but I was ready to take it out on my ankle. Jeff put me back on the BOSU and it didn't last long. He said that I was getting the hang of it too easily. I was, but it's still hard to control it. So, he handed me the 2 lb medicine ball to stand on, while I threw it at the net. Only this time, he put a 3 in pad thing to stand on for balance. Oh my, this was very hard. I barely lasted 10 minutes (if that at all). I had to slowly throw the ball and then catch my balance each time. Jeff noticed that I was having issues and took me off. Wow! My ankle was hurting some fierce. He gave me the balance board thing and told me to sit down so that I can do this and take a break before I moved on to something else.

Afterwards, he took me to the machine so that I could once again conquer that stupid maze thing. This time, I got as high as 37% twice. Only Jeff said that he would count 39% since I lost it on the last dot dropping me to 37%. He took me to the walking area so that I could go back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth) with walking on my toes and my heels. I did this for a while since Jeff got distracted with another patient. Finally, he remembered me and pointed me to the treadmill. He turned it on for me and left me to control speed so he could work on his other patient (I noticed it was the same lady as Monday that talked to me about my running). I set the speed to 5.0 this time and had a goal for 5 minutes. And I so did 5 minutes burning 60 something calories. Since Jeff was still distracted, I noticed that I was only at 0.3 miles. I figured I would just walk the rest to at least get 0.5 miles. I burned a total of 72 calories, ran 5 minutes at 5.0 speed, and walked the rest of the time at 2.5 to make a total of 0.5 miles. I was so happy. My ankle didn't feel shaky and I felt better about my running. I started to get in the zone, but I was certainly winded and sweaty. I've got a lot of work to do if I'm going to run that half marathon at the end of April.

He hooked me up to the compression therapy and I told him that I think we could increase the pressure since it didn't feel quite as tight on Monday. He looked at me funny and asked if I was sure. Oh, I was sure. And even after the thing beeped it's completion, I felt like I could have done more.

So, yay for me on my week of finally running. I can't wait to run more and more and more. Next week, I don't go to physical therapy, because Jeff is gone. He recommended that I do things on my own to see how it goes. I think I'm gonna try to get a mile in next week...maybe.