Thursday, June 30, 2011

Introducing the Jean Bag

Since I'm STILL waiting for my polypropylene sandbags from Patriot Surplus, I took a friend's advice and called an audible. I cut the legs off a pair of baggy bluejeans, grabbed two zipties and some duct tape and BAM! Meet the Jean Bag (Name courtesy of Tanis from FFF).

I know the jean bag doesn't look like much, but this little bastard was a PITA on the beach last night. Weighing in at 25.4 lbs of packed sand, the Jean Bag accompanied me on my first 1-mile deep sand training run.

I have to admit that, while the run itself was probably the hardest mile I've ever undertaken to date, the worn denim was pleasantly soft and allowed the sand to mold itself around my shoulder, eliminating the jabbing pain I experienced running with the dumbbell a few days ago. It was also much easier to switch shoulders while running since I could just throw it onto my shoulder mid-stride. The poly bags will be more of a bitch as they'll get slick, but at least I was able to get in my first run while I'm waiting for the real McCoy to arrive.

The run itself took 15 minutes in total and, while the sandbag and added weight was a bitch, the worst part of the run was the burning in my shin muscles and my feet. I ran barefoot in deep sand for 99 percent of the distance - I'll admit to dipping near the water once or twice but, at high tide, this offered little reprieve from the soft sand higher up the beach.

After I finished, exhausted and steaming hot, I grabbed my 7' surfboard and hit the water. I thought the waves were too small for that board, so I started paddling north to just get some more exercise when I came upon a bigger, hollower inside wave in the area where the lifeguards just left duty. JACKPOT! I enjoyed about 45 minutes of basically uninterrupted, uncrowded waves. They were short and steep and most closed out on me at the end, but I got some fun rides and the water was clear, clean and warm! I love a sunset surf session.

All in all, last night was an extremely successful first training day.

Next run is tomorrow. Only 7 runs left before the challenge, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Training Like a Warrior Looks Silly in the Real World

I'm still awaiting my sandbags which, for reasons beyond comprehension, were on back order. But, Warrior Training couldn't wait any longer, so...I hit the gym last night for my first official training workout.

What did I do? I'm glad you asked. I was warming up on the treadmill when it occurred to me that I could very easily just grab a dumbbell and jog with it right there. I picked up a 30-lber, wrapped my hand towel around the handle, propped it on my shoulder and started walking.

Holding the weight was a bit awkward since my shoulder is so narrow the weight saddled it, therefore the weighted ends pressed against my collarbone and traps - not exactly a pleasant sensation. But, I figured, Warriors don't train in comfort and I pressed on. I increased the elevation to 3.5 and the speed to 4.5 and started a light jog.

I must have looked a bit odd, because of the way people were staring at me, but who cares. Either they think I'm some sort of nut (which is partly true) or were just enraptured by my feat of daring in the middle of Workout World. LOL.

Either way, I don't really care. About a half mile in, the sweat started...and it ran and ran and ran down my face, down my back, even down my arms and legs - and I don't usually sweat much when I workout. I jogged the mile in 14 minutes while switching shoulders when the burning became a bit uncomfortable, then walked another quarter mile with the weight before I called it quits.

After a very short rest, I hit the pull ups. Bodyweight +15 lbs x 4, +10 lbs x 4, BW alone x 6...with basically 30 seconds rest between sets. Then, on my way out, I hit 6 BW chin ups for the hell of it. Why not?

I didn't do Burpees last night, but I'm pretty happy with the first workout. I woke up sore from yesterday - my neck, shoulders, traps, thighs, calves and obliques are all sore from the incline and the added weight on alternating shoulders. Turns out it was a pretty decent workout and I'm looking forward to what it's going to do to me to train this way for the next three weeks.

Tonight I will hopefully surf a bit with my kiddo, then a bodyweight run in the deep sand for tomorrow. I'm going to stick with every other day workouts to ensure I don't end up hurting myself before the challenge by doing too much too quickly.

Stay tuned...more Warrior training updates on the way!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Warrior Challenge Awaits

Summer is officially here and it's time for a new challenge. I've been having way too much fun outside to spend a lot of time in the gym lately, so I'm taking on a new challenge - The Warrior Challenge is coming to a beach near me on July 16 and I signed up.

The Warrior Challenge is a 1-mile deep sand run while carrying a 40-lb sandbag, followed by pull-ups 'til exhaustion, followed by 2 minutes of as many Burpees as you can do, followed by a "mystery challenge."

This is a competition I would NEVER have considered a year ago...first of all, running on the beach is hard enough, but to do it with a 40-lb bag of sand on my shoulder is just insanity. And they don't give the 115 lb girls a lighter bag than the 200-lb men and special ops guys who I will be running against. I'll be running with more than 1/3 of my weight. That's like a 200-lb man running with 70 lbs on his shoulder. Somehow not totally fair. I think they should do it as a percentage of body weight, but apparently this is some sort of special forces test so the ladies just have to be tougher - as usual.

Then there's a pullup station - from deadhang, straight-up pullups. Since I couldn't even do 1 last year, I would have laughed at the thought of doing them 'til exhaustion. Not sure how many I can do now b/c I always do them weighted, but I'm going to find out!

The Burpees are the least of my concern. They'll be tough, but after I train on the beach with the sandbag, they should be fine. And the mystery challenge will most likely involve swimming, but who knows that they'll come up with.

In all, the competition sounds fun and has given me new motivation to train hard again - even if it's in a different way. For the next three weeks I'll be the lunatic running across my beach with a sandbag on her shoulder. would be great if I did the run then clamped the sandbag between my thighs and cranked out a bunch of pullups that way, but that'll have to wait for next year. I'm only up to 20 extra lbs on pullups as of right now.

I will keep you posted on my training which starts tonight with pullups and burpees and, maybe, a bodyweight run on the beach. Wish me luck!