Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Week of the Crossfit Experiment

This Crossfit experiment is so insanely hard. It isn't the workouts, although they are ridiculously tough most days it is having the patience to not put in the miles. It is trusting that the Crossfit workouts will do their thing and make me a better runner even though; I am not necessarily running during them. I try to go balls to the wall in every workout, to make sure I am getting the most out of every second I am at the box (gym in CF speak). But the patience... the patience... ahhhhhhhhhh!!!

On Tuesdays I do my long run. I have been trying to get in a 20 miler each week and then the rest of the week I don't worry so much about mileage I just get in some short ones. But, the last few weeks those 20 milers have been hard, I am dragging by mile 15 and well that is sort of scary for me. 15 miles should be an easy run for me and lately it has been a chore. Today I wanted to show my legs who was boss (what was I thinking?) and I did a 27 mile run. OMG! It was hard; it wasn't a little hard it was A LOT hard. I did manage to crank out the last few miles at around an 8mm pace but the struggle to get to mile 27 was ridiculous. I am left wondering...

Is it the Crossfit? Is the less running ruining my endurance? Are my muscles so tired that I shouldn't expect them to put in a long run? I just don't know. I don't have the answer. My gut tells me that I am strong; I am stronger than I have been in over 15yrs but am I a better runner? Should that matter?

All I know for sure right now is that, I am exhausted, smashed, destroyed, etc... from my run today and my arms hurt so badly it is stupid (from Saturday and Monday's CF workout) so, ummmm... I guess that means I am doing something right, :).

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Week

This week I decided next year I would do 3 ultras: Mississippi 50 in March, VT100 in July and Heartland100 in October.  I plan to use Mississippi as a gauge as to how well Crossfit is working for me. 

I am now going to Crossfit 3 times a week.  Which is about 3hrs of cross training which, I am translating to 18 miles of running.  So, if I would usually run 80 miles on said week now I will run 62 miles along with Crossfit.  I am super excited to see how this works out for me.  There are some things I am already noticing.  Last week on Tuesday I was out running a 20 miler, my endurance is definitely starting to fade in the off season and it should a little.  This is supposed to be a down time but, I was a little scared when at mile 12 I was feeling tired.  At around mile 17 I realized something was up with my route and I was going to get back to the car at 19 miles and I could either run in circles to get another mile or just drop the hammer and make the last two miles count.  I decided to go all out and I mean all out.  I stood up straight, concentrated on having my legs rotate under me, I pulled in my core, and hot damn my old sticks took off.  When I peaked at Garmin she said I was running a 7:05, then I hit a hill and I dropped to a 7:15, what the heck...7:15 going up hill, me, Tara Tosta... whose legs were these?  Then I hit the down hill dropping below the 7mm mark.  Holy Crap! I was flying and I felt awesome.  Ummmmm....I guess Cross Fit is working for me.  Those boys may have hosed my shoulder for a few weeks but in return they are giving me speed. Wahoooooo!!!!

I am going to have to make sure I keep my long runs up in order to preserve my endurance but,  I am loving the feeling of being stronger over all.  There are days I walk into the gym and think...WTF! But then, I actually do said work out and am so dang proud.  One day this week I walked in to see ropes hanging from the ceiling and I thought, oh no, because you know the boys didn't hang them there for decoration, you know before they even say it that they are going to want you to climb to the top of those suckers but you know what...I did it.  I climbed the rope, like a little kid, I climbed that rope not like Phil my monkey friend who took to rope climbing like a gazelle takes to running but, I did it!  I used the first method described here but you should know if you do that method with running shorts on you are going to get a rope burn on your ankle, ughhhhhh.

On Thursday I walked into Crossfit to see that Austin (one of the two trainers that run our sessions) had come up with some frickin nutso workout for us that included Wall Climbs.  Wall Climbs????? I scratched my head and thought "OH NO."  If it sounds odd it is never good.  I am including a video of a Crossfit Wall Climb.So Austin's idea of a good time was: 2 x (1 wall climb, 25 burpees, 1 wall climb, 25 push ups, 1 wall climb, 25 box jumps, 1 wall climb, 25 air squats, 1 wall climb, 25 kettle bell swings).  I don't know if you noticed but the whole wall climb, burpee, push up combo, well it is a ton of arms.  I was so wiped out I was crouched gasping for air and praying I could get up the wall.  Yes I skinned my knees on the wall, you can do that if you are exhausted and your legs just fall down the wall as your arms give out.  Who knew? 

So to summarize the week: rope burn + wall burn + one long run = good week of working out.

45 miles this week, wooot wooot!!!!

Now to try and work in time to fix up this house.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Training Plan

Yesterday I posted I am toying with a new training idea.  The plan isn't solid yet but, it is close enough and already in action.  I am doing an experiment that hopefully won't hose up the next ultra season.  I love running there is no doubt about that.  I love long races, I love love love a race that cuts you to your core and makes you question everything and then that awesome feeling of climbing out of that pain cave and finishing the race.  100 miles hurts, there is no way around that.  But, maybe I can train different, eehhhhhhh, goes against my whole "you have to run to be a better runner" saying but, maybe just maybe I could use some cross training :).  Ok for sure I could use some cross training, my core is ridiculously week, my arms are useless sticks and that leaves me with over sized legs and glutes.  So, I could definately use some cross training but, how far do I take this cross training?  That is the question right?

Da da da...and here comes my adventures in Crossfit Training.  I have only been at it for a little over a month but dang I am already feeling stronger.  I can already more easily bound up hills.  The classes are downright humiliating some days, humbling others and kick ass every day.  I pretty much suck at the workouts and have to scale them down to weights I can actually lift while the little 100lb girl next to me whips the prescribed weight around like it is a paper sack.  Nahhhh, that isn't embarrassing at all.  I have to keep in mind that I am competeing with myself and that I haven't lifted in over 20yrs.  At the end of the workouts I always feel like my heart is going to pop.  The Heart Popping is what made me think the new plan could work.

What if...I cut down mileage and include Heart Popping crosstraining?  The experiment is to decrease mileage to 30-50 miles a week and add in crossfit.  I plan to sign up for a 50 miler in March.  That will be my measuring stick.  If I can run around a 9hr, 50 miler then the crossfit is working, if it is a struggle then I will go back to more running and less crosstraining (I won't cut it out all together but it will have to decrease a ton to make time for running).  I am not sure you can really train for 100 miles running only 50 miles a week, that sounds nuts but the CF people swear by it.  I guess there is only one way to find out and it seems like a fun experiment.  If nothing else maybe they can make my arms strong enough that I can run on my hands when my legs get tired, lol. 

I have met some awesome people at Crossfit.  One of them is a triathalete.  I feel like she really gets where I am at and the whole ultra running thing.  Laura is helping me figure out how to use CF to supplement/replace some of my running.  I love having someone to bounce this plan off of.  I will keep you posted on how us old ladies do with this whole Crossfit thing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

24hr Race from Crew's Perspective

As most of you know I have been quite lucky with crew and pacers at my races.  The running mamas have come through for me each and every time.  Even when people have fallen out for different reasons they have managed to juggle kids, jobs, races, etc. to make it to the race and help me out.  I am one lucky girl to be a part of such an awesomely supportive group of women.  Us Running Moms come in all shapes in sizes,  all speeds, and  all distances, that if you ask me is why we ROCK!!!!! 

I wrote a Race Report from my perspective on the 24hr Race but here is a link to Kelly's perspective.  She and Candice came through big time when at the last minute one of the mom's had a medical emergency and wasn't sure if she could make it (and she shouldn't have but of course she (Denise) is a machine so she still made it to the race). 

I will post in the next few days about my latest training ideas.  I am doing an experiment.