Heart Rate Monitor

I recently got a Polar F4 HRM for Father’s day. I had a HRM before, but never one that counted your calories.  This was such a great gift.  Something about knowing the actual calories that I have burned in an exercise has made all the difference.

This morning I did the INSANITY max recovery… It was hard, but not real hard.  Before, I would have noted that I worked out for the day, so I was good. However, now that I have a HRM that counts my calories, I knew I had only burned 300 calories.  So when lunch rolled around, I went to the gym for another workout.

I like the “in the zone” feature shown above, but fair warning, it beeps annoyingly when you drop below your range.  (You can probably turn the beep off, but directions are for sissies!!) Since I have gotten my new toy, I have blown through my weight plateau that I had been stuck on for a month.  It is really awesome.

The HRM is not doing the work, I am, but it is motivating and I am enjoying it.  If you are stuck on a plateau and need a little motivation, maybe a HRM is for you!!


Barbarian Challenge Recap

Alright, after a couple of days of recovery, let me fill you guys in on this obstacle race…Coach Crystal’s Barbarian Clan started out in good spirits:

Spirits high!

Crystal and I were also clowning:

Look at that gun! She was sad when her number finally washed off… she called it a badge of accomplishment.

Amid our high spirits, we began the Barbarian Challenge.  After successfully getting over the junk cars obstacle, it was on to the electric crawl… You crawled under hanging wires, some of which were live.  I was the only one to avoid all the live wires.

Then it was down a hill and into the creek… the exit from the creek was not well-marked so several of us out front continued down the creek bed until being alerted to turn around (about .25 mile I guess). Once we got back to the creek exit, we found it bottle-necked with people.  The hill was so steep and muddy, it was almost impossible to climb without help.  Basically, you pushed the butt in front of you and someone pushed yours to get over the slickest part… Haha.

There were a lot of huge hills. In fact, I found the terrain harder than any of the obstacles…  I ended up on hands and feet on several them. There was the slick tarp obstacle, a balance over mud, a VERY difficult wall obstacle,  a rope climb obstacle (no knots and slick = HARD), a lot of muddy crawls under the barbed wire, travel through a creek on slick rocks, through a culvert, and a weird crawl under a tarp, pitch black, with hay bales blocking your path (a maze I guess, but it was 15 degrees hotter under there and seemed like a ridiculous obstacle to save for last).

Finally, a race to the finish.  While we didn’t intend it, our Barbarian Clan ended up finishing in two groups.  Crystal and Jeremy finished together about nine minutes ahead of me and Brian.  We didn’t run together, the rope climb just bunched everyone back up.

Overall, we finished 7th out of 35 Barbarian Clans which I thought was pretty good. (Most people ran individually and not in Clans). I finished with a time of 1:24.  (the winner finished in :48 WOW, right?).  So this race took me almost three times as long as my last Warrior Dash… and was at least three times as hard.  I almost got sick (after the rope climb) and thought I was going to pass out on the last couple of hills and after the race (hills doesn’t do them justice… bluffs maybe?  not quite vertical cliffs?) .

We weren’t as spry afterward:

I was staring off into nothingness… but I was proud of that medal!! It was earned!

But we bounced back once the endorphins kicked in:

We may have been delirious!!

Overall, it was an achievement. And I have the T-shirt… Not the one below! Crystal’s shirt will never be the same.

White?? Really??

WOW — Barbarian Challenge — just wow…

This post will be short because I just don’t have the energy to make a longer one.  That may have been the hardest athletic things I have ever done… there were, I think, 6 hills of about 100 yards that were like 80 degrees.  A wet rope pull (with no knots) to a bridge (CoachCrystal got rope burns on her thighs coming down, poor thing… she also beat me again, but that was to be expected)…Crazy… almost killed me. And I think some of the path could be dangerous if you weren’t exceptionally careful.

But I survived with only a few scratches, got the medal, and sang “Angel Eyes” with the band.

” Girl, you’re lookin’ fine tonight
And every guy has got you in his sight
What you’re doin’ with a clown like me
Is surely one of life’s little mysteries
So tonight I’ll ask the stars above:
How did I ever win your love?
What did I do; What did I say
To turn your angel eyes my way?”

Yes, that “Angel Eyes.”   Haha!!  Have a great weekend, everyone!!

INSANITY … literally

Well, she has done it. Coach Crystal has officially lost her mind.

Any NASCAR fan has heard of Talladega, one of the two restrictor plate races on the Circuit.  Restrictor plates are necessary to slow the car down because it is so fast. Anyway, in September, Talladega Speedway is hosting a half marathon to combat prostate cancer.  Coach Crystal wants to run it… not only that, she wants me to run it too.

It is a good cause and strikes close to home because my grandpa died of prostate cancer.  So I have agreed to do it. I have to complete it in 3.5 hours, so I should be ok even if I have to walk some of it.  You also run through areas that the public is generally not allowed to visit. You end at the finish line after running on the apron of the track.

(You can’t actually run on the track in the corners because they are banked — on a side note, I have driven a race car on that track… freaking awesome!! The corners sorta look like a wall rising up to you as you travel toward them at 160+, but while cars can handle them, ankles probably could not.)

So my INSANITY program has to be extended.  I am still doing it, but the last two weeks will probably take a month because I have to run three days a week.  Otherwise, I will never be ready in September. What do you guys think — is she insane or am I?

No, he didn’t!!

With time at lunch, I headed home to do the next INSANITY workout.  However, it was so pleasant and (relatively cool – 81 degrees in Alabama) that I decided to put the workout off and use my new app, RunDouble, to continue to get ready for longer runs.

It was much more difficult today.  The temperature kept rising (85 degrees when I got finished).  The hills were far greater than South Alabama.  And I had to keep jumping off the road as cars came (longer distances mean I ran out of the subdivision… I think I may just do a couple of laps instead in the future.) Not counting warm-up and cool-down, I ran 3.87 miles in 44 minutes (40 running and 4 walking).  I was disappointed to have a pace over 11, but I can only improve.  Total distance including warmup and cool-down was 4.31 miles, so that is good.

So I got back from my jog and noticed that my neighbor had seen my garage door open and, thinking we had forgotten to shut it, closed it for us.  Unfortunately, I was now locked out of my house.  “Why did you leave the garage door open when you ran?” A very good question and one asked by Coach Crystal when she came to let me in.  I don’t know, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And then we were in the kitchen and I was getting water.  Crystal asked where the dog was.  I told her that he was outside and went to let him in and found that … THE BACK DOOR WAS UNLOCKED!  I had not thought to check it even though I had let the dog out before my run.  I don’t think Crystal would have even noticed if the chagrin on my face hadn’t given it away.  She was not happy in the moment (she had to skip her jog), but can laugh about it now.

A word of advice…. any time you think you are locked out, check all  your doors first!!

4:15, INSANITY – Max Cardio and Cardio Abs, and a P90X2 revisit

So I woke up at 4:15 this morning to grab an early workout. Coach Crystal usually works out this time but after a late night at the office, the workout room was all mine. Unfortunately, my body was upset with me for trying to stay up waiting on Coach Crystal and watching too many episodes of Game of Thrones before the free HBO weekend ran out. 🙂 (Those books are awesome. I like the series as well.)

So I wake up, get dressed, and head downstairs with zero motivation.  I remind myself of the tricks some of you guys helped me with and just decide I am going to start the DVD, no pressure. So I do. Then I start the warm-up.  I am moving slow… but I kept at it and it got better.  INSANITY – Max Cardio is the non-repeating, no rest routine.  Needless to say, I took a lot of breaks.  More than I usually would, but I had worked up a pretty good sweat by the time I finished. It was also the first double workout with cardio abs added at the end.  The cardio abs  is the same routine as the first month.  I really like it, though that last exercise still makes me giggle.

As the day went on, I just couldn’t be satisfied with the effort I gave on that workout. When I found myself with time for a second workout, I jumped on it. I didn’t want to do another INSANITY workout — that would be INSANE, so I pulled out an old P90X2 workout – Chest, Back and Balance.

INSANITY and P90X are vastly different routines. P90X2 allows rest time between each exercise (this routine was variation of push-ups followed by variations of pull-ups (so much more fun now that I can actually do pull-ups…. thanks, power bands.))  It was a really good workout, a nice break from INSANITY and I am glad I picked it up.

So keep working hard, and I will, too.  Good luck everyone!!