Yep. Theme for today is keeping it simple. Sometimes I have a bad habit of over thinking things. Being thoughtful is great, good, & useful. However over thinking stuff slows me down. My training has been okay but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was not 100% motivated and training for Ragnar & maybe Goruck. Don’t get me wrong, I have been getting up and putting in the work and documenting my progress but something just was not clicking.
When I am honed in on training I often go to sleep at night going over in my head what I plan to do in the morning which oddly is relaxing. Since the downtime of my last race in November, going home and coming back to San Diego things were not totally clicking. Possibly it is my rehab of my shoulder. It is annoying, but I know my strengthening exercises and avoiding exercises that will slow down the healing process will pay off. That could be part of the problem, having to hold back and slow down a bit. But.
I realized it when I looked at the calendar and realized how close Ragnar is coming up in June.
I didn’t have a set training plan. Duh.
Sure I had a mixture of logging mileage, hiit work, sandbag work to strengthening my core and legs…but I didn’t look at the calendar and look backwards to where I am now to make sure I am where I want to be physically when I step on the plane.
Shoulda coulda woulda…
Without boring you & laying out the workout plan (I will give a more specific update on that in a couple weeks) lets just say I am feeling focused again. Also I have incorporated jumping rope into cardio work. That is kicking my butt, especially as the last thing I do after a tough session with a pull up bar, sandbag & other stuff. I just got a cheap one, I saw those fancy speed ropes online but maybe i will graduate to those eventually –but for now this one is good enough.
And maybe, just maybe if I am further on than I want to be & my shoulder is great I will do Goruck in San Diego the week before Ragnar in Colorado. Sounds like a great idea right?? Stay tuned.
I workout better when I am training for something & have a date I am working towards. It was going to be Goruck. I have a nagging tweak every once in a while around one of my rotator cuffs. That is nothing to ignore. So I have been working on strengthening it & backing off a bit from exercises that may piss it off. There is full range of motion and not a complete searing pain but still I know this is nothing to mess with. I am really chomping at the bit to do my yearly Goruck Challenge, the next one is in about 2 weeks here in San Diego. Luckily or un-luckily I have an interview the day after that challenge. That settled it. Instead I have my mind set on getting ready for Ragnar in June. Goruck will be there, I am looking forward to it & my body will be ready when it happens. Stay tuned on when I am signed up for a 3-peat. Aside from my mileage I want to make sure I am hill-ready for Colorado. It will be interesting with the elevation which I have mentioned a couple times.
Speaking of that interview & pushing forward. I am not going to lie, I am kind of impatient for this personal training business to get off the ground. It takes time though. I have been working on increasing my knowledge day by day. I may have mentioned the Personal Trainer Development Center (PTDC), if I have not yet – is a useful organization that Jonathan Goodman is a part of.
I first heard of it when I purchased Ignite the Fire which was written by Goodman. I was reading it when I was more serious about becoming a personal trainer & before I began studying for the ACE certification. It is a pretty helpful resource with lots of great tips. I soon signed up for his emails which also includes “Best Fitness Articles” which are useful too. The most recent thing I have done is become a part of the Professional Trainer Society (which was rolled out by the PTDC). I got in when it is $30 a month which gives me access to tasks set out depending on what “level” you are as a trainer. So when you are just starting out like me tasks include shoring up a good 30-second elevator speech about what services you provide. So far the most useful part is the forums. I have gotten a lot of good feedback regarding a question I posed to the community about interviewing at gyms.
One frustration is capital. No, I am okay with Sacramento being the capital of California. Instead it is not having much capital to help start out a business. There are things I want to do, purchase and involve myself in but I don’t have the capital yet. I will get there. It is just a limitation that I am quite aware of. Okay perspective check….I have really only owned a business for 8 weeks. The reason I realized this is that I got my letter from the newspaper that published my business name in the paper as part of getting the “doing business as” (dba) license. It has to be posted for 8 weeks. Long story short! But the business cards came out great as well as the logo. Step by step…Incremental Fitness is still just a baby.
The last of my ramblings is how often I am surprised by the positive energy online. Between WordPress & the blogging community and also Instagram I have been impressed. Maybe it is because I grew tired of Facebook & deactivated it haha. I have never really been a person to put myself out here like this until I decided to put myself on the personal trainer path. The positive energy is apparent in all of the blogs I follow. Its pretty cool to read about other people overcoming their challenges all across the world, sharing their week, writing thoughtful things or just making me laugh. Of course nearly every time I look at someone else’s WordPress site I am like, “wow! I want my site to look like that!”
Okay, that is enough ramblings for today… time to push forward offline.
So without further ado…I have entered the training realm, personal that is. After my logo was finished – which I am really happy with then I got through the important things on my checklist. There are a lot of things I want to do but in the “need category” that is mostly done. Yes, clients that is also in the category. That will take time but I already have some feelers out. So the logo is above and the link to the site is below:
Post-race I did some trail running, which was great. I definitely prefer trails to the road any day. I did a couple weeks along with other fun activities but now I am going to lay off focus on stretching and just relax. I had some shoulder soreness I think from training and not the last race itself. Also with Goruck being my next event I plan to do I want to make sure I am good before I start working out…Besides it is the holidays and time to head home. No trails to run or pull-up bars that close and it is actually winter in other parts of the country, true story. Its easy to forget that in San Diego. In the new year I will at some point decide which Goruck Challenge I will do and especially once I sign up ill be back in training mode.
It is always interesting how my body reacts (it does not like it at all) when I turn the dial down on the training/workout regime during the week. What is also interesting is how unconsciously or consciously change my eating when I am really grinding it out. Grinding – I crave more meat and have a lot more protein via eggs, whole milk and other natural sources. Breakfast is probably one of the biggest things that is different when I am not training. When training the breakfast is easy – the post workout shake with lots of goodness: eggs, whole milk, turmeric, raw honey, ginger, cinnamon and whatever fruit I have lying around and sometimes flaxseed. Not working out as much? Dang it, I have to think about it. Dinner is pretty much the same….veggies, fish, quinoa, sometimes pasta, mix it up & repeat.
Aside from the training perspective is I am coming close to taking my personal trainer certification exam. When I have some time I am reading a lot of articles, blogs & listening to podcasts about fitness and personal training. Some things I internalize and definitely want to incorporate into my own business. Business. My own business That is another thing that will be a whole new world for me. If I do what I plan to do it will be me. In other words I would not be working out of/for a gym. I am going back and forth about at least starting working at a gym, maybe as an intern. I am open to it and still looking at some gyms in San Diego. But perfect world I will be a successful personal trainer working with clients for the most part outside, possibly in a rented space but overall getting clients to enjoy working out outside in the elements. But who knows, maybe my perspective will change.
We shall see what 2016 holds for me. I think about the new year and my goals & opinions about personal training. I want to become the part of the fitness industry that changes peoples perception of exercise to be something that you want to do. To explain we all at some point see exercise as a punishment to whatever various extremes we may take it. I understand if one wants to make changes for their health, (as they should) just don’t hate your body. Instead – be excited about the process and the perspective of the progress and frustrations. Looking back to see how far you have come is valuable. Another thing I encountered when I mentioned to friends of friends is the assumption that I am a hardass personal trainer. I don’t see that persona as productive to leaving a positive memory of your last workout. Of course those that may find value from that so I digress to those of you that do. Although I am quite hard on myself I am not that way with other people, which would also carry over to personal training.
This will be my last post of the year. Its time for family with a tad bit of studying too. If any groundbreaking posts come up in my head ill roll em out in the new year. The tail end of 2015 has been a pretty good one. I have some exciting things to do in 2016. Goruck, Men’s Health Urbanatholon, Spartan …and it looks like I have been wrangled into a Ragnar race in Colorado (eeek! running at higher elevation! that will be very interesting), and of course working on getting my ducks in a row on this business…or maybe it will be like herding cats. Hopefully it will the former as it will be a bit easier.
Alright, race is over & happy belated Thanksgiving… 🙂
So first the numbers: This year my breakdown of the race was
Overall time: 1:39:40.. and the rest
Later on I will compare this to last year. Sooo
Race start was good, I like how there are so many waves so there is less of a chance of a big backup at an obstacle. I was in wave 4 so we were one of the earlier ones to go around 7am. Majority of the racers were 1st timers but there was a good show of hands of repeat offenders to the race when the organizers called out for a show of hands.
So overall the obstacles were the same. Overall it was the same route throughout the city including the glorious hills. The list of obstacles is above & of course at http://www.menshealthurbanathlon.com/san-francisco-classiccourse.html . The toughest obstacle for me just like last year was the Marine Hurdles. These suckers are high & come just below my chin which is pretty tall for a 6′ 2 guy like myself. So instead of grace and some technical stuff its just a matter of pulling myself up and jumping over. It works well, not the most graceful but effective.
Not long into the race we start the hills. I did well on them last year and I was excited for them this year. I felt as if I pushed up them faster and a better methodical pace. I would attribute that to making myself do more hills in my figure 8 run of 12 miles. It was kind of comical. I would do small steps, relatively high knees up a steep hill….some people would sprint past me up to the flat part & I would pass them on the flat part. Then again they would pass me up the steep part…I would pass them and not see them again. Its definitely important to learn and practice good form and running pace up those hills. Killing yourself running up them only sucks away that energy once you are on flat ground where you should be coasting.
During the race it felt as if it was longer. Alot of the same obstacles as last year with 1 or 2 different ones. I wore my watch this time ( a lesson learned from the race in San Diego). I didn’t religiously look at it but at least it gave me a sense of where I was and my time from last year. Jumping forward to the near end of the race. I looked down and I was creeping up on my time from last year & I was not happy. Often during my runs & races are no different – I go back and forth between positive talking to myself (you can do it, good job, keep those feet underneath you) and then talking shit (wtf? you are faster than this! really?!). I will let you guess what I was saying to myself when I saw my time getting closer. I have not paid for to pictures yet – but soon you will see the grimace on my face when crossing the line.
Cramps. Calf Cramps. Glorious. I will get back to why I think it happened in a second. But anyway I saw the finish line, saw that my time was getting close to last year and I pushed through the rest of the obstacles and sprinted to the finish…beat my time. Post-hydration & banannas, water & beer (yes, I trained for that too) I was walking out of the race arena and asked a person working there if the course was longer… She said, no but we added a lot more obstacles. NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE. So I was happy/impressed that with the additional stairs, which I could tell there were a lot more and whatever else was different I not only increased my pace from last year but also beat my time. That was cool, but of course I kinda wanted the same course so I could see what my time would have been. However I understand why these races add more obstacles each time as people such as myself get used to it and can be faster the next year.
Overall review of the race
Bib pickup was at some off the grid spot this time unlike last year it was at TRX. Not really a deal breaker at all but other racers I talked to commented on this. Much more important than this it seemed shorter staffed than last year. Last year at nearly every turn there were volunteers cheering us on. It may seem like a little thing but its a big help especially at mile 9-10 and you are nearing the end & people are giving you high fives & telling you – you are almost there. Another thing – there was no water for us before the race. It was kind of weird. After I checked my bag at 5:45 am I saw a food truck selling stuff & people were buying stuff…but there should have been water for us. So I will take part of blame for not drinking enough water before the race (why I think I was cramping at the end) but still… there should have been something for us.
Race swag was great – this year we got a really nice shirt made my lululemon. Two thumbs up on that!
Aside from those little nit picky things – great race, well organized, will for sure do a 3-peat next year. I met a cool couple in the beer garden after the race from Austin, Texas & took them out to a Speakeasy I went to last year. That is what it is about at the end of the day. Training hard, great results and celebrating it after it is over. I even gave a guy props at the end of the race that I was pacing but could not catch – turns out he recognized me from last year!
Like anything in life, perspective is key. I am often hard on myself when it comes to working out or these races. My time may be just shy of last year but I had to overcome many more obstacles & some cramps at the end. Now on to Goruck in the new year. I have not picked/paid for a date yet…but believe me it is on my mind.
The Men’s Health race is this weekend.. Status? Ready. No twinges, tightness or anything else I had to work out like before the last race. I attribute that to forcing myself not to go nuts after a long run. By nuts I mean – after a 12 mile run I usually would follow that with 50 or so squats with the sandbag and some other exercise. I like doing my workouts in threes for some reason. So I would sprinkle an easy day or two in between harder days focusing on core work, shoulder and arm strength.
My main goal this time around is to beat my time from last year. I am pretty confident I can do this because last year I focused more so on pacing as it was my first race there. Now I know where I can push it more. I am ready for the hills even more than last year & I am going to try and beat my time on the stairs in the stadium. Since its so close I will do a full review of the race after it is over. No need to going over each obstacle now. It looks like most are the same and there may be some exciting new ones to challenge us.
I remember how chilly it was at the start of the race last year…but what I wore worked (shorts, tank & arm warmers). So no need to change that. I have been running & working out early in the morning while training anyway so this is a non-issue. One thing I will make sure to pack/bring is some warmer things to wear AFTER the race. After the race was over I was unconsciously shivering alot…I didn’t even really notice it until one of the guys I was talking to pointed it out..haha. So sweatshirt & warm pants check. Also having a Honey Stinger Energy Gell 1/2 way thru the race was great…so check. Carb-loading the night before the race worked well also, check.
Life has been busy (which is why I have not blogged sooner), a lot of good things are slowly coming together & studying for the personal trainer certification is going well. Rather than jinx em’ lets just leave it at that. Throughout it all I find that my best days are preceded by my hardest workouts. Grinding things out early in the morning helps calm a sometimes chaotic mind…and I love the soreness throughout the day just to remind me of a 6am training session.
Alright short & sweet..next post hopefully with lots of pics from the race & for sure a review of my second time around. Woot woot!
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).
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.
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 tomust 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…
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.
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.
Another event (not a race) I have done and will do again is Goruck Challege. It is a 10-12 hour-long endurance event. Hold on, don’t stop reading. You can do this too.
I was searching for something different than an ocr…something that would really take me outside of my comfort zone. Something that was not competitive but difficult. I saw Goruck Challenge before surfing online but just discounted it as lone of those oh-I-can’t-do-that events. Now I do it once a year. I have done it twice so far. It’s the first event I will do each year to kick things off. I see it has my hardest event of the year. Pretty much every other event I do is downhill as far as I am concerned. The races are not the same beast as Goruck Challenge. The first time I did it was on my birthday..definitely a memorable one!
First off, watch the official video ->
This is a team event. Let me repeat, this is a team event. It is not about how strong you think you are, how fast or fit you may think you are. Leave your ego at home. Instead it is about how strong the team is and how quickly the men and women can work together to accomplish whatever they are instructed to do. Both times I have done it has an awesome and amazing group of individuals who came together & worked together as a team. Especially my first time I owe it to my teammates that lifted me up and encouraged me to push through my wall and I am so glad I did. Both times was a different experience. Both times I finished it exhausted, excited and knew I would do it again.
Lastly there are many useful blogs and websites that have specific suggestions for what to bring or wear to a Goruck event. Do your research. I don’t really think I need to be another voice to add to that. My main suggestion is to pack light & don’t bring anything you really don’t need. Fight that urge to bring everything you possibly can. After your first time you will understand what I mean. Keep in mind chances are strong that someone else may be carrying your bag at some point.
Sharing my stories about doing it would not really do it justice. If the video gets you pumped, and you want to do something different sign up! There is a shorter event called Goruck Light, so if you want to experience a Goruck event that is not as long check that one out too. Just do your research, look at what is mandatory to bring. Look at what is suggested that you bring. Don’t come unprepared. Don’t be that person.
At least once a week I think about Goruck Challenge. That is how much it affected me. Period.