Author: Damien A. Joyner

Competition, Obstacle Course Race

T-minus under 6 weeks till San Franciscooooo


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I was going to do my overview of the race in San Francisco and strategies etc… but that will be next.

So I am back on the training schedule…kind of. VERY unusual for me I am not having much structure this time training for an event. Often I am bound by the structure, it does work for me very well. On the other hand sometimes I get so concerned about doing what exactly I have planned, and I for some reason don’t get out that day and instead do some exercises with the sandbag at home I feel kind of behind. Which is wrong.

So this time I have a loose schedule which consists of->

  • Long run
  • Tempo run/fun + pullups & other excercises
  • Agility day & full body workouts
  • Stair sprints & other excercises
  • Fartlek & other sprint goodness next month.

The reason I am kind of looser this time around is because last year I was ready for this event since I had the Bootcamp Challenge before it. As I mentioned before I just have to increase the mileage to get that under my belt. I am doing good and not going out and doing 12 miles now. I know I could do it…but that is recipe for disaster/injury. Adding a mile or so a week works. I’ll get to what I will be focusing on this time around the next post.

Another thing, eating.  The week & a half or so I took off to stretch things out and fully recover.  I don’t weigh myself often at all. I am often curious though after a tough week or whatnot how my weight has changed. Unconsciously or I would say maybe more on purpose I don’t eat as much or “feed the beast” when I am not training. I didn’t necessarily eat like a slob, just not as much. So I lost about 4 or so pounds…I think of muscle. Especially when I am pushing it and grinding it out on the road, under the sandbag or other stuff I make sure to replenish what I burnt off, get that good stuff in me & equally importantly heal the muscles quicker. I don’t know how many years ago it happened but I have gotten pretty good at listening to my body and what it needs. The more I workout, the more tightness and more I push myself I have learned what I can do and when I back off a bit. Of course there are days when that all goes out the window & I am under an icepack, but luckily that does not happen that much.

Had a great workout today & turned things up a bit. I did a good paced 8 miles with more hills than I usually do + pullups & core exercises. I have such a hard time just doing one thing on any particular day. I can’t just run, I want to do two other exercises too.  I like doing things in threes. I have no clue where I got this from, but it is always has been a constant part of my workout routine – always in threes. Hey, whatever works for me!

Trail Running

Status check


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Sooo, its been a week of stretching, icing and the usual other stuff. It was not as hard taking this week off as it was the week or so before the race.  Tomorrow I will dust things off and do a relaxed trail run to see how things feel. The tightness is gone for the most part around my knee. My shoulder was kind of sore but I think that was from the clean & press exercise I was doing.  For the record I am not going to worry about or mention tapering again…haha I think I just tend to overthink that. I have a good idea of what I could do/have done that will result in me running myself into the ground and ending up on the injured list. I just won’t do that.

Looking forward I will probably focus on my mileage at first instead of other things. I know that the course in San Francisco is more spread out between the obstacles.  Just like last year I need to get the mileage and hills under my belt so I am ready again.

Studying for my personal training certification is going pretty good. I don’t really fell the need to blog about my studying process, but ill just say a couple things. Things are starting to come together. I am looking at my own and other peoples posture a lot differently after covering a section about common muscle imbalances.  Today I am doing some viewing of youtube videos and making my outline better so I can better understand how certain muscles work.  End of the day it is pretty cool learning about how the body works. Just working out and training I am more aware about tightness and soreness in my body.  I have also become more aware how tightness somewhere my body can affect other areas. Now adding  studying to the equation it is quite interesting.

So this week I will not to go too hard or too strong…even though I can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow on the trails & leave the watch at home. I already was doing 8 miles with a pretty good time. So it is not much of a stretch at all to be doing a solid 12 or so before race day.  Today is a short & sweet post in-between my day off and a bit of studying. I should have a good plan of attack for the weeks leading up to the next race & I will do my review of the Men’s Health race too and assess what goals I will set up for myself to surpass the second time around.

Obstacle Course Race, ocr

San Diego Bootcamp Challenge – Goal accomplished!


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Start of the race!!
Start of the race!!

I got 3rd place in my age group, 20th overall.  Woot! More pics soon… but lets back up a bit.

2 Weeks away from race day

So I could give the excuse that I didn’t really blog the week & a half before race day was because I was busy… Nope. A day after a good workout my right knee, calf and hammy were super tight. So I was frustrated & a bit down about it. I couldn’t find any swelling, only tenderness. So I spent alot, I mean ALOT of time on the barrel roller I blogged about. At least every morning and night I spent about an hour or more digging in there to release the tension. I iced a little bit but I was getting the feeling that it was doing more harm than good. I ran twice during this doing a fast 3 miles. My times were great. However I wanted to start the race at 100%. Then my thought process went to the fact that I could still get in the top three of my age group and not be at 100%. I had to have faith that I was not going to “lose” anything during this time off. I did alot of work preparing myself for this. About 3 days out I was feeling much better. The day before the race I went for a fast run to get my confidence level up. It worked. It was my 2nd fastest time and I felt loose. All the other soreness I had was gone too. Sweet!

Race Day

A huge plus of this race in particular is that is in San Diego, and even better I am pretty close to the location of the race.  I was up early, stretched out and had breakfast.  So fast forward to the starting line. I did as planned. I started in front and had my watch on. I did a well paced mile to the start of the obstacles. I won’t spend the time talking about each obstacle…but I will say that there more obstacles added to the course. I liked that. The reason I like that is because the fastest times over the years have sometimes lets say seem a bit amazing even if that person was running a flat 3 miles. Yeeeah. So 30 second planks were thrown in and some more crawling through tunnels. The end was great. A guy and I were sprinting to the finish line and he beat me. I talked to him afterward to give him props on his kick but also ask how old he was. Hahaha. I wanted to make sure he was not in my age group & he was not. With his help I got 3rd place in my age group!!

So it felt and does feel awesome that I nailed it this time..so next year ill do Spartan. Hopefully all three of them. We will see.

Now…

Now I take a couple days off stretch, ice any lingering soreness and relax.  During this time I will look at my training document for the race in SanFran and use it to map out training for that one.

Competition, Innov8, New Balance, Nike, Running, Shoe Reviews, Trail Running

Status check & shoes I am working out in these days


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Status check….

So training is coming along well. There have been some growing pains/soreness as expected. Listening to my body I have backed off a bit on some exercises or mixing things up with something different. It was harder for me a couple years ago to go off of my schedule and feeling oddly guilty about changing things up. That is probably how I over trained and hurt myself once. Road work is going well. The 3-miler is clocking in around 21 minutes & my 6miler was just a tad bit over 40 minutes. I’m happy with the pace but I know that that is just one piece of the puzzle.  I don’t think my legs have ever been this strong before so that is good for the confidence level.  Leading up, I think I should get a massage. I often have a hard time doing things like that for myself but I think its best for me to go in relaxed and not as tight and sore.  So that is on my to do list.  There is no gear or clothing to get as I already have what I need. On that note…

Shoes I am working out in these days

Road shoes

Adding some color to my road work...
Adding some color to my road work…

These days I am a fan of the Nike Zoom Pegasus line.  I got a “lightly loved” Pegasus 31 a year or so ago and put a good amount of miles on it and I had them on in San Francisco at the Men’s Health Urbanatholon. Recently I got the puppies in the picture above. I have narrow feet so I feel like they support my feet well, firm enough and the cushioning is just enough for me. I have switched to other shoes like some by New Balance but think I have found my line.  If i have to jump on a trail for just a bit they have enough traction but I prefer them for logging miles on the road. They are light, breathe well and have alot of reflective material on them for those early morning runs before the sun is all the way up.  The price is not too much especially since I have found some great deals online. I got these brand new puppies for around $75.

Reflective "swoosh" along with the skull motivating you.. or intimidating your competition.
Reflective “swoosh” along with the skull motivating you.. or intimidating your competition.

Trail Running shoes

Hello trail, here we come...
Trail running was always fun, now its even more enjoyable with these on…

I have gone through different New Balance shoes. My last pair were nice but pretty bulky and heavy. I believe they were old 980’s. I  scoured trail running & OCR blogs, magazines and articles to see what other enthusiasts wore. Innov8 is one that came up alot so I decided to give them a chance. These are the Roclite 243’s. I saw alot of competitors in Spartan and other races that involve alot of mud and dirt going with this brand. I decided to give them a shot. I was not ready for how light they were. I really liked that.  Also they are really flexible, minimalistic and meld well with whatever terrain I threw at them on the trails. The grip was great and no rocks have inflicted any pain on my big toe thanks to a good toebox nor the bottom of my feet. Also they fit tight and comfortably. I can’t vouch yet how well they do in mud especially going up an incline. But so far I am happy with them. I’m 99% sure ill run in these at the end of the month.  Most of the race is on dirt so it wouldn’t hurt to get as much traction as I can.

Sandbag work & whatever-else-I-decide-to-do shoes

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Originally I purchased the New Balance MInimus MT20 a while ago to run on trails. That.Was.A.Bad.Idea. After one run on the trails my feet were so tender afterwards I had to take a couple days off the trails. No bueno. They also didn’t really have enough traction to provide either for the trail.  After I kept reading how lifting or squatting with running shoes was not good for you I decided to wear these when doing squats or whatnot that did not include running. They are perfect for this. Sure I am not at the gym doing powerlifts but I may as well try to get to most out of my squats with the sandbag and whatever else do with the bag.  Not much traction but just enough and I feel as if my narrow feet are well supported with the Vibram soles. So on days when I have a trail or road to run before I do other exercises Ill just throw both pairs in the backseat. Over time have frayed and have small holes on top where the shoe bends at the toes. Other than that they have been great.

So that is it.  Sure I could have used my road shoes on the trails.  I however feel more confident on the trails with a bit more traction.  Also with shoes for different things it should spread out the time spent on them so I won’t wear them down as quickly.

Obstacle Course Race

One.Month.Away


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The inside of the Inov8 shoe box. Great motivation.
What you see when you open up an Inov8 shoe box. Great motivation & great shoes.

The 2015 Bootcamp Challenge is a month away. I could do it today. I am ready to devour those obstacles & pumped to put my body to the test to see how the training has paid off this time. But there is more work I need to do.

I am training towards to reality that all of the training will come together. This week  – this is what is on the menu:

Tuesday

  • 3ish miler fast trail run
  • 50 clean & press w/ #60 sandbag
  • 60 sandbag squats & other shoulder & core exercises w/sandbag

Wednesday

  • 100 sandbag squats (around the world)
  • 50 clean & press w/sandbag
  • 100 pullups

Thursday

  • Fartlek intervals  -15 min
  • Timed bear crawls (about 80 feet), jog backwards to start
  • As many turkish getups until failure

Friday

  • 8 mile timed run
  • 50 clean & press w/ sandbag
  • 60 squats & other shoulder & core exercises

Saturday

  • Timed stair sprints incorporated with good-mornings with sandbag, bear crawls down stairs, clapping pushups and whatever else I want to do.

Things will change in September. Among other things I will stop running on the trails and focus on timing my true 3 miles on the road. I want to know what my pace feels like on flat ground for 3 miles and see what my time is. Also, the long run will be decreased after a 9 mile run.  Aside from conditioning for this race I want to make sure I have a good amount of miles under my belt. The reason being is after this race I am on a good track for my race in San Francisco which is an 11 mile ocr. It is in November (Men’s Health Urbanathalon). Last time after Bootcamp Challenge I was adding a mile on every week onto my long runs to get ready for November. It worked out fine, I felt good in the race, but I don’t want to push it like that again.

Soon ill have to figure out tapering. Obviously between all this I will be on the barrel roller.  Alot. After doing the fartlek interval last week I sure did feel it the next day! Lets just say squats were a bit of a challenge…

Fitness, Recovery

Barrel roller relief


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I got a barrel roller (Skilz) over the weekend and I have been getting up close & personal with it this week.  I know I am late to the party on this one but I am glad that I arrived. I was able to address the tightness in my lower calves & do some more thorough pre & post workout warmup/stretching rolling out things.  I like the firmness of this (vs a softer foam roller).

Ahhhhh...it may hurt a bit but the end result feels awesome.
Ahhhhh…it may hurt a bit but the end result feels awesome.

After a day or two of getting my lower calves loosened up it paid off. My 3 or so miler on the trails was back up to tying my fastest time.  Next week it will only get better.  I had to scour youtube for just a bit to find a way to use it so I could put more pressure on my calves than just rolling on top of it.  Below is the link to the video. Check out the part where he uses the foam roller.

Calf self massage & stretch

Cooking, Uncategorized

My cooking soliloquy


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so·lil·o·quy

an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play

Well hopefully there are “hearers” out there. 🙂 But I was thinking about this a couple days ago…why I love cooking. For me it goes back to my childhood. Both of my parents are great cooks. Growing up- for birthdays & other special days the question was “what do you want?”…not Where do you want to go out to eat? Going out is reserved for when the house is tired or whatnot. I pretty much follow the same practice. So I was lucky being immersed in foods cooked/baked/made from scratch, loving veggies (almost all, yes mom & dad sweet potatoes are NOT on that love list) & other amazing meals they would and still do.

Cooking itself for me is relaxing 98.9% of the time. It’s creative. It’s rewarding. It’s self sufficient. After you are comfortable you stop scouring cook books, making sure the measurements are right (unless ur baking) & letting go a bit of perfection it is fun. Or you get a couple recipes & mix and match what you like about them. Hanging out with a good friend or friends while doing it makes it even better.

But end of the day if you cook you know what is going into your food. You understand how preparation can help. It could be complicated. It could be simple. But you know the ingredients. You know if there is butter, coconut oil, or the worst crisco known to man in your meal.

For me a sign of care, friendship, love or whatever for another person is cooking for that person or persons. Of course the ranges of “just cooking” to “throwing down” should be kept in mind if you are wooing them or just cooking, :). Its all relative though. Effort is effort. Anyone invited to the dinner etc party should realize that!

Okay today is my rest day & not-on-computer-day. Its Netflix time. Ciao!

Fitness, Training

Re-hashing a bad training day & how my log saved my sanity


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Okay, so pretty dramatic title – but still.  At this point things are ramping up in my training schedule since the race is in late September. For instance: reps have increased, hill sprints & fartleks are on the menu, I am timing some exercises now to increase intensity, I am only using the #60 sandbag & I need to must beat my long and short runs each week by at least 5 seconds… the last one is the rub.

Last week was my 2nd week of things ramping up.  My short run – a bit over 3 miles on hilly trails was not good. My time was about 20 seconds SLOWER than my fastest time. Frustrating. Very. I did some extra sandbag exercises after as punishment. I don’t get runners high (at least I don’t think I do). But a good time always makes the day awesome, and not reaching my goals…. well.

Then I came home, entered my day in my log. Added a few four letter words for extra measure in the notes column & scrolled back to see how things have progressed.  I realized two things 1. I felt more fatigued at the end of my workout week more than usual these last two weeks & 2. I’ve had some tightness on my lower extremities that hasn’t been addressed in the way I usually do. Why? well…

Who the hell broke this? Oh yeah, me.
Who the hell broke this? Oh yeah, me.

My trusty stick was used to roll out my legs and other tight parts before & after a workout. Perfect timing when I am a bit sore than usual I break it while rolling my leg. At least it died doing what it was meant to do.

A friend gave me a lacrosse ball. Which was a nice replacement to an old tennis ball to grind out tense traps and such on the floor. I’ve been pretty creative with it but I need something better.  Another friend is planning to hook me up with a good foam roller soon. Until then gotta keep being creative & stretch.

So perspective.  For some silly reason I thought when I ramped things up it would be seamless transition with no more fatigue than usual.  Yep, silly.  Also only the short run time has dropped. I’m shaving seconds off my longer run every week – which for the time being is 8 miles. In addition- the other days are going as planned. So I just have to stick to my motto – train hard, train smart. The last thing I want to be on the injured list. Been there, done that.

Cooking

Lazy Fish & Veggies Recipe


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This is something I make at least 2-3 times a week. There is probably some recipe out there probably similar with a more sophisticated name…but at least you know what this is by the title right?

Ingredients

This time I did onions, garlic, mushrooms, veg I got from the farmers market, peppercorns (to crack), cumin, paprika & coconut oil…and fish (a mild flavored white fish).

What I did this week... The fish & coconut oil are staples...the rest depends on what I have in the fridge.
What I did this week. The fish, coconut oil, garlic & onions are staples…the rest depends on what I have in the fridge.

Preparation

  • Slice up all of the veggies but not too thin. You don’t want them to get too soft/overcooked.
  • Slice up the lemon, no squeezing necessary.
  • Cut up the onions as fine as you want. I prefer large chunks so I don’t chop them up.
  • Smash the garlic (see the lazy theme?)
  • Then place them in your pan & pour/scoop some coconut oil in the pan. Id say 2-3 tablespoons or so.
  • Sprinkle the pepper, cumin etc… If you have fresh rosemary, basil, sage etc, it is great also throw in whole.
Ready to top with the fish!
Ready to top with the fish!

Now one more step – the fish. It can be frozen or thawed. I have had success either way. If it is frozen just add a couple more minutes to cooking time.

Ready to cook...dinner in T-minus 8 minutes.
Ready to cook…dinner in T-minus 8 minutes.

Put whatever seasonings you see fit on top of the fish. I put paprika & dug out a cherry bomb pepper (yes its hot) out of the freezer & put some pieces on top. No need for much salt with that “heat.” So you can use cayenne pepper if you don’t have any fresh hot peppers lying around. Feel free to put the lemon on top of the fish but I like it underneath so it cooks with the veggies and the juice stays below and also boils up into the fish too.

Cooking instructions

Put on medium heat, have the top fully on the pan. 8 minutes cooking time. Add additional minutes if the fish is frozen.  Once the fish is cooked, the veggies will be done!

A healthy & lazy & dinner is served.
A healthy & lazy dinner is served.
Fitness, Training, Uncategorized

Goals


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I was going to talk about another race or studying for my ACE certification but instead a short one today about goals. For me working out or specifically training for an event is about setting goals for myself. Larger goals -> finish in a certain place or make it through the event. I often forget leading up to it  there are equally if not more important smaller goals of sticking to my workout schedule, making sure I take care of any tightness in my body or allowing myself to recognize how far I have come.  Incremental progress no matter if it is a couple of seconds, an extra pull-up or a more fluid bear crawl exercise will add up to a better event for me.  Easier said than done to allow myself to recognize this, haha. The rest of the day not working out regardless how it goes is better after that workout and achieving one or many goals. Next week, hill sprints begin.  Goal set. Such a love/hate relationship with those.

Sprint, breathe, walk repeat.
Hello hill….Sprint, breathe, walk, repeat.