In the wake of my first half marathon, I've been pretty lazy. The first week back, I had a pretty good excuse, mainly because I got sick and I didn't want to expose anyone at Parsons Training to my illness. Personally, this should be rule No. 1 when you go to a gym: If you are sick and are dripping in the nose or coughing and sneezing, STAY THE HELL HOME! It's a pretty simple statement. I wasn't feeling bad the Monday after the race, but by the time my next session was up on Wednesday, I was full blown sick. I was coughing and sneezing and I had a headache that would have made most people cry from the pain (for me, I merely called it a Wednesday). I was so bad I had to skip on my chiropractor appointment and just sleep. I probably made it worse by the fact I had to be good dog parent. Since I wasn't going to my parent's house and my car broke down suddenly, I had to walk the pups everyday to keep them consistent in their bowel movements and keep them happy with me (they get rebellious when they don't get any outdoor time with me). I pretty much didn't do any working out or running for nearly a week, save for the dog walking. If anything, this forced sloth came back to bite me in the butt on Monday. I did pretty well for the most part, maintaining a good pace with Jon as we did a lot of lifting and functional stuff, culminating in a set of inverted sit-ups that made my head spin due to the fact I was still a little light in the noggin. But it was definitely something I needed, merely for the fact I had to get on the horse again. It doesn't take long to lose all of the gains you acquire, and if you want to keep those muscles tight and those lungs fully functioning, you have to keep moving.
My legs still weren't quite ready to go on Tuesday, merely because I had seriously shocked my body the day before. While I had been doing a lot of walking during this time, it still doesn't make up for the hell that a good workout could accomplish. I'm not going to put down people that do a lot of walking, for it is the best way to stay active and is the easiest of all workouts. But I'm a bit more advanced than that, and I need something much tougher on my body. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait for too long, because Jon gave me one hell of a workout on Wednesday. First of all, he told me to do a specific one called "San Antonio Spurs: 2014 Champs." I said "Aww hell no!" in my most gangsta-sounding voice and changed the title of the workout to "Phoenix Suns: 2015 Champs." (one can dare to hope, for they did beat San Antonio on Halloween night...my friend Andy went to the game, which means he needs to go to the games all the time now that he seems to be a good luck charm! hehe). Now the weights didn't seem all that much when you look at it, but it is the cumulative effect that will ultimately get to you. I had to do 100 Chest Presses, which I ultimately tossed aside and did Bench Presses instead so I could lay a claim at the bench press rack. I had a couple easier workouts with 50 Mountain Climbers and 50 jumping Jacks, but then the whole thing went to hell once again when I had to do a 50 Barbell Squat-Push-Press with 115 pounds and then do a 50 Barbell Bent Over Row with the same weight. I would then finish everything up with a 1,000 meter row on the rowing machine.
I started with the bench pressing because I figure it would be the best way to get my body warmed up. Little did I know my overconfidence would come back to bite me. Initially I thought of doing 135 pounds, but decided against the notion. It was a good thing I decided to be less of a "man" and go with the lower weight, because by the time I hit 60 reps, I was already dying. The burning sensation in my arms was pretty intense and my breathing was becoming labored. At first I was doing 10 reps per set, but by the time I hit 100, I was happy to do six or seven. I guess I should have known better, for taking on this task first and not splitting the rep counts on the exercises tired the heck out of me. Sometimes I keep forgetting that desire and passion are much harder to contain than reality. By the time I finished, I was pretty much tapped, and this was barely the first exercise! I decided to do the jumping jacks just to give my arms a rest, which was something I was definitely going to need since I was going to do the barbell squat-push-press. Now I've done these plenty of times before, but never after doing so many bench presses. My body was already tired and screaming at me, and here I was about to do 50 reps on an exercise that I might do 20 of at the most. It was a miserable experience to say the least. I micromanaged the rep counts to do five at a time, and even then, that didn't help all that much. The weight really wasn't the problem for me, but it was the explosion out of the squat that caused the most trouble. Having been off the beaten path for a while, my legs weren't quite ready for the pressure I was putting them under. I've also started putting more emphasis on the depth on my squat, merely because I need to strengthen my legs in regards to the different running style I will be partaking in (more on that later). It was tough to say the least, for my grunting must have been quite off-putting for the various people in the gym. Fortunately I kept my personal disdain to a minimum and didn't go all "blue" with my efforts. I will say this, my wrists were not right for two days after that exercise. By the time I got into the 30-rep count, my wrists were already gone. I had to literally think about other things to keep my mind off the pain in my wrists.
Fortunately, I survived that exercise. I have to honestly say it was one of the most excruciating things I had ever done in my life. I didn't know what was more sore, my wrists on my quads. Fortunately I saved a couple of good cool down exercises for the end, doing the bent over rows rather quickly and the mountain climbers with ease. I was pretty on par with my rowing, finishing the 1,000 at a 2.10-per 500 meter rate, which is just a few seconds slower than normal for me (but then again, can you really blame me! hehe). Either way, in spite of all this torture, I decided to run regardless the next night. I was pretty apprehensive to say the least, for I hadn't run in a week and my body was hurting. And to make matters worse, I was going to start trying to run more with my legs. The problem with my old system of running is I run on my toes far too much. While doing this is certainly good for running up hill or something, the one problem you can stumble in to is calf cramps. I know now that this is something I need to fix quickly, because it is quite obvious my calves have a 10-mile expiration before the cramps start hitting me hard, which means I will never finish a half marathon pain free if I continue. If anything, I need to run a little more flat footed, using my legs (mostly my quads) to keep my projection moving forward. I'm already pretty solid at using smaller steps to reduce the impact on my knees and what not, but what good is protecting my knees if I'm gonna wreck my calves all the time. Of course, my quads felt like blocks of hard steel that night, and running four miles with out a previous warm-up night was also going to be a tough grind. Fortunately a had a good running partner to keep me on pace that night, for I might have tapped out at two and a half miles or so, which was when my legs first started feeling tired from the new form of running. While it wasn't a perfect run or a fast one for that matter, I did manage to stay off my toes for much of the time. I had a much better time of it the next night, when I decided to be the weird guy on Halloween and do a short run. And by shot, I mean another four-miler.
It started out pretty slow, for I was still feeling the residual from Wednesday and the tough run from Thursday (soreness from heavy lifting can last a good 48-hours!). The path along the Santa Cruz River was quiet as usual, but it was a little eerie. When I looked into the neighborhood adjoining the path, I didn't see any kids out and about, trick or treating and such. No parties, nothing. I couldn't hear any good Latino parties going on in the neighborhood, for just about any holiday always seems to inspire a few Norteno-driven dance parties. Nothing. Heck, even the hot dog cart near Ajo that is normally hopping at all hours was quiet. The traffic seemed pretty light at the time of night, for I didn't have to really worry about crossing streets when I started running along Ajo. It got weirder when I ran through the neighborhoods. Not even the usual "free range" dogs were out and about. I passed an apartment complex and it seemed as quiet as a Tuesday night in the open country. Even when I ran though my neighborhood, which is pretty well lit, I saw not a soul about. It was like the world had ended mysteriously and I didn't know, and here I was running around trying to burn some calories rather than figuring out a way to survive the strange apocalypse and discover the reason why humanity has disappeared. The only people I really came across was the random couple sharing some liquor at the park and ride on Irvington, which I thought was kind of bizarre. But oh well, to each their own. I started my route at the Buffalo Wild Wings on Irvington and ended in the same spot. It was still insanely quiet in the little shopping center, especially since it is always busy. When you have an all-you-can-eat buffet and a bar side by side, parking can be tough sometimes. But not that night. I swear I saw some people at the buffet that had been there the duration of the 44-minute run I had been on, enjoying whatever Asian delight they had been eating. I hope I was just seeing things, because I can't imagine stuffing my face for nearly three quarters of an hour, even though I went to that very buffet to do just that back in my meat eating days. My Friday night run was much better than my Thursday, for even though I was still relatively slow and going up against different terrain, I shaved a minute off my time. I was already feeling a little change to say the least.
One thing is for certain, taking the time off hurt my times and ultimately hurt my efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But the good thing is I get to restart. Yeah, I ultimately did nothing on Halloween Night (unlike the rest of the world), at least I took a step forward in in regards to getting back on the path to good health. It's going to be a tough road ahead, but then again, I got Ragnar Del Sol in a few months, so that is something worth looking forward to!
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Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.