Monthly Archives: April 2012

April Week 4: Cycling

Why did I only cycle once this week?  I am not very fast, so cycling with the regular group leaves me either cycling alone or feeling like a guilty snail with the one or two people who hang back with me.  If I weren’t there, they could go the speed they actually want to go rather than having to wait for my slow self to get over the “mountains” (haha, that’s funny because most would consider it very flat around here).

So what about my friends who cycle?  Busy would be an understatement.  School, work, social lives, healing injuries, work, home repairs, and work all get in the way of things like going on a bike ride with a friend.  Did I mention that they also work?  Damn them and their work ethics.

Why not cycle alone?  After witnessing and hearing about other cyclists around town who have hit or been attacked by dogs while on the road, that’s not something I’m interested in doing.

This week, as I said previously, I’ve only been out once.  For 5 miles.  My friend graciously set aside one afternoon to go out with me.  We had planned to hit up the local 17 mi loop but he began to have trouble shifting gears very early on.  It seems that after not riding for 6-7 months the gears were a bit fussy.

Week 4 verdict: not a total failure, but not what I had hoped for.

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April Week 3: Yoga

I tried two different types of yoga this week.  The first was less “yoga” and more “high school gym class”.  I wasn’t all that impressed.  The second was hot yoga.

oooohhhh yeah…

It has been about 3 years, and one major ankle sprain, since I have attended any kind of a yoga class, so I wasn’t expecting to do very well.  I’ve also done yoga before but never hot yoga.  It wasn’t as hot as I expected but it did feel quite cool when I went out into the “hot and humid” outdoors.  I was a bit confused that we were being mostly led by a video, though there was an instructor too.  The shrill voice from the video was quite annoying.

I did a lot better than I expected, so I am quite pleased with that.  My area to work on has always been balance, rather than flexibility.  I will definitely be attending hot yoga again, I just wish that it didn’t conflict with group cycling.

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April Week 2: Running

Another week of pushing myself paid off!  The farthest I had run prior to this week was in a 5k race, so 3.1 miles.  I’ve heard many times that the first 2 miles or so are the hardest.  I managed to run the 5k without stopping by just telling myself that I wasn’t going to stop.

I have had a thought rolling around in my head that I could do more than a 5k as my goal running goal for each month.  I decided to check out the running plans for marathon training.  The first week of the marathon training calls for:

Sun: Rest
Mon: 3 mi
Tues:  Rest
Wed: 4 mi
Thurs: 3 mi
Fri: Rest
Sat: 5 mi

So, how did I do?  On April 9 (Mon) I ran 3 mi in 33:56 and on April 11 (Wed) I ran 4 mi in 43:03.  The Wed run was the longest I have ever run, so a personal record!  I had planned to run on Thursday, but decided to run an obstacle course 5k Saturday afternoon at the last-minute.  I decided to do some light weights on Friday, which turned out to be a bad decision.  I was doing some dumbbell side bends and pulled something in the hip/back area.  After sleeping on it, I knew it would be a bad idea to potentially hurt myself even more a couple of weeks before my next mud run.  So, one or two fewer runs than I wanted but I still set a distance record!

Next week: Yoga!

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Only Girl in the Gym

A bit of background: I recently joined a gym with three floors

Top: Lockers, Tanning, Spinning, Yoga/Aerobics
Ground: Treadmills, Bikes, Ellipticals, Weight Machines, a few dumbbells/free weights
Basement: the Iron Dungeon!  All free weights, dumbbells, and barbells

I have seen girls on the top and ground floors, but never in the Iron Dungeon (a name I have given the basement).  However, I have only recently joined and have been there about eight times.  A quick search on the internet tells me that this is a very common question that female lifters ask.  Why am I the only girl in the weight room?  Am I the only girl who wants to be able to bench press a bear?

Ok, that second question might not be so common.

This post was prompted by a conversation I had in the Iron Dungeon.  I was in the free weights room of my gym the other day, headphones in, and doing bicep curls like a beast.  The last month or so I had been doing curls with 15 lbs dumbbells at 15 reps/set and felt that it was time to move up to the 20 lbs.  In between my sets, a guy sat down at the EZ Barbell curling station near where I was doing my curls.  We glanced at each other and on my next set, I turned to look in a different mirror so that we wouldn’t be creepily looking in the mirror right next to each other.  After completing my next set or two, he got my attention and thus began a conversation in which I am still unsure what his motivation was.  As this was a couple of weeks ago now, this isn’t a word for word account and some of the dialogue might be out-of-order.

“Spoken” *Thoughts*

Guy: “Are you trying to gain or lose weight?”
Me: *That’s not a question you hear everyday* “I am trying to get stronger.”
Guy: “You can get stronger by lifting lower weights with higher reps.”
Me: *Not exactly correct there, guy* “Well, I’ve read several articles that have stated that is not really the best for gaining strength.”
Guy: “Well, I’m a health and fitness student and I saw that you were shaking while lifting the weights.”
Me: “Yeah, this the first time I have attempted to lift the 20s.  I’m only going to start out with low reps and work my way up to higher reps.”
Guy: “Oh, ok.  I just wanted to let you know that you might want to do lower weights with higher reps.”

I attempted to put my headphones back in and he got my attention again.

Guy: “Where did you read those articles?”
Me: *I didn’t expect to be citing my sources in the WEIGHT ROOM* “I don’t really recall right now.  Women just don’t have the right body chemistry to bulk up like a man.”
Guy: “Yeah, women don’t have much testosterone.  You’re still going to gain weight if you lift heavy though.”
Me: *Yeah, but I’ll be gaining muscle, not fat.* “I’m not concerned with gaining weight.  I just want to get stronger.”

There were some sort of parting comments after that and we haven’t talked since, though I have seen him around.

Here’s the thing, I’m not really going to get strong  curling 5 lb dumbbells for 30 reps forever.  I am going to get stronger curling 20 lb dumbbells for 10 reps and then moving up to 25s at the appropriate time.

I went home that night and had a hard time not seeing this conversation from a militant feminist POV.  Since this interaction, I’ve told the story to a few people trying to figure out his motivations.

Ultimate question: Was he trying to be

A) honestly helpful
B) flirtatious
C) tough man helpful (i.e. “poor little girl doesn’t know what she’s doing”)

Guys tend to think he was flirting.  Girls have been split between honestly helpful and flirtatious.  Me?  Still not sure…

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April Week 1: Strength

April is Fitness Month!  This month I will either be pushing myself a little harder in exercises I have been working on or trying out things I haven’t done in a while.

Week 1: Strength

I visited the gym twice in the week and kayaked Saturday and Sunday.  I performed several exercises the two days I visited the gym:

April 2

(Exercise – weight repsXsets)
Burpees – 15X3 (PR)
Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly – 15 7X5
Mountain Climbers – 25X3
Dumbbell Bicep Curls – 20 7X5
Dumbbell Side Bends – 30 15X5
Ab Crunch Machine – 35 10X5 (PR)
Barbell Squat – 30 10X5
Barbell Deadlift – 30 6X5 (PR)
Russian Twist – 15 25X5
Bench Dip – 10X3

April 3

Run 1.5 mi 17:23
Barbell Bench Press – 15 5X5
Ab Crunch Machine – 35 15X5 (PR)
Arnold Dumbbell Press – 15 10X5 (PR)
Russian Twist – 15 25X5

April 7

Kayaking appx. 5 mi in 2 hrs
Canoeing appx. 2.6 mi in 30 min
Hiking appx. 2.5 mi in 1 hr

April 8 (not technically part of the week, but including it here)

Kayaking appx. 5 mi in 2 hrs

Not my best week, but I set a couple of personal records.  Next week is running!

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March Race – Warrior Dash!

I’ve mentioned in a couple earlier posts my overall exercise goal for the year: run a 5k or cycle in a race once a month.  That would equal 12 races this year, which sounds like a lot but it really isn’t.  This month was a hard decision!  There was a local cycling race and the Warrior Dash on the same day and I went back and forth for over a month on which event I would attend.  I have wanted to run in the Warrior Dash ever since I heard about it, so I had to do it.

The course map didn’t quite match the actual course and, while I didn’t count, I think that there were actually more obstacles than they listed.  Some of the obstacles were climbing over walls, crawling under barbed wire, climbing on cargo nets, and jumping over fire.  I was an idiot and had forgotten to eat lunch and drink enough before the race and ended up walking a fair amount of it.  I think I did very well on the obstacles, but the running (or lack thereof) is what slowed my time way down.  My time ended up being over 40 minutes, which is worse than I had wanted but better than I thought it would be once I realized that I hadn’t eaten in several hours and didn’t have time to eat before my wave.

Who wears white to a mud run?

One of the encouraged traditions for the Warrior Dash is dressing in a costume.  From looking at pictures online, most people went with the “warrior” look.  I decided that a princess would be a much better idea.  A proper princess wears a lovely dress, long gloves, panty hose, and a tiara.  I, very briefly, thought about heels and then realized I wanted to finish the race on my own two feet, not on a stretcher.

Not so white anymore!

The tiara stayed on!  I did get a few compliments on the run and a couple of people asked if I was a bride/getting married.

Getting cleaned up at the Warrior Wash

The gloves were very helpful in getting clean!  I thought about offering them to other people to scrub the mud off, but decided against that.  I donated the shoes on the way out and threw the dress in the washer when I got home.  It came out white!  I am going to re-use it for another obstacle course race, not sure which though.

On to the next race!

EDIT:  Pictures from the race photographers

Princess daintily leaping over fire

Princess crawling out of mud (warrior dash symbol with hands)

Crossing the finish line

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Week 5: Repticon and March Summary

I didn’t think I would be able to attend a festival the last weekend of March because of the Warrior Dash on Saturday.  Luckily, there was Repticon!  While not really a festival, it was a reptile and amphibian show in Perry, GA and I figured it was worth a look.  They had a variety of vendors selling everything from equipment to food to actual exotic animals.

AAAHHHH! Giant Snake!

Here are a few of the animals they had for sale…

Green Tree Python

Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis)

Australian Blue Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)

Veiled chameleon (Chamaeleo calyptratus) juveniles

Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

I was surprised to see some species that were considered threatened or endangered being sold, such as the Axolotl from above which is Critically Endangered.  Though some of the listed species were endangered in select areas of their native range, not the entire.  Here’s another that I saw that is listed by the ICUN’s Red List as endangered.

Woma Python (Aspidites ramsayi)

Of course, some of the vendors were selling some animals that are considered an invasive species in our neighboring state Florida.  The veiled chameleons above are one species that have been reported in the wilds of Florida.  I wonder how they decide what is sold in Florida since there are several species of snakes, turtles, lizards, and amphibians that are invasive.  Here are a few I saw that EDDMapS Florida reports.

Dumeril's Boa

Black and White Tegu (Tupinambis merianae)

Colombian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria maurus)

So, how did I do this month?

Week 1: Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Festival – FAIL
Week 2: Peaches to Beaches Yard Sale – SUCCESS
Week 3: Calico Arts and Crafts Show – SUCCESS
Week 4: Fire Ant Festival – FAIL
Week 5: Repticon – SUCCESS

A 60% success rate.  Not too bad!  I am not sure that I would do a whole month of festivals again.  It gets to be more of a hassle than fun.  Maybe try to hit one a month or one every other month in slow seasons.

April: Exercise/Fitness month!

Week 1: Strength/Weights
Week 2: Running
Week 3: Yoga
Week 4: Cycling
Week 5: Wii Games

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