Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Topaz Tussle

How quickly the feelings of satisfaction, happiness and optimism can change to fear, panic and dread!

Yesterday as I was driving out to the trail for a quick run before picking up Troy from baseball practice I was reading my email. Mark contacted me to let me know he had found Joan Peterson via a search online. He is a much better ‘searcher’ than I! I was so excited. I was going to call her as soon as I finished my run.

As Topaz and I began our run up the trail my friend Kevin was running toward us, just finishing his. I haven’t seen Kevin in forever and it was really nice to see him. I did feel bad that I had 20 seconds to say HI and BYE as I had to pick up Troy shortly.

I was smiling, laughing and enjoying the 70F degree weather as I ran upon the trail. As Topaz and I entered the dense pine forest I heard something running really fast in back of me. I heard the sound that Topaz usually makes when he is catching up after taking a detour into the woods, running as fast as he can, paws beating upon the trail sound, catching me. I glanced over my shoulder and there it was, a huge dog running at break neck speed toward us. I recognized him immediately as an American Pit Bull Terrier. Fu**.

Topaz was about 20 feet ahead of me so I called him back before the dog caught up to me. He could hear the alarm in my voice. He ran to my feet and sat, looking up at me. As the dog approached I said in my happy sing song voice ‘nice pup, hi pup, he’s nice, good boy Topaz’ and I was thinking to myself oh man, he’s going to go right for the neck. I released Topaz from his sit/stay and let him smell Pit Bull. Topaz’s fur was standing on end as was the Pit Bull. Oh boy. Here we go. Pit Bull latched onto Topaz’s neck, shaking him like a ragdoll back and forth. I began to scream at the dog, then lowered my voice in a disciplined manner to let go and stop. I pulled on his thick square head just below the ears and realized he was clamped down on Topaz’s fur, not his skin. I pulled and pulled, he would not release. Finally I began to kick him in the head. He let go of Topaz, there was white fur everywhere, I told Topaz “RUN”.. He looked at me, questioning my command and I realized he couldn’t see my eyes. I removed my sunglasses and said RUN again. He began to run through the woods but the damn Pit Bull was a strong sprinter. He was 10 feet in back of Topaz when I thought to myself : how far will they go, how long until he catches up and how am I going to catch up with Topaz? I thought better of my decision and called him back. This all took place in a few seconds. As Topaz came back to me and sat at my feet the Pit Bull stopped about two feet in front of Topaz. I told him to STAY, he did.

The owner arrived, splayed his body upon the Pit Bull, forcing him to the ground. He was full of apologies and I was just in shock. There was no blood. I looked at Topaz’s neck and could not believe there were no puncture wounds.

I ran upon the trail as fast as I could. I couldn’t wait to get out of there! I was shaking like a leaf, I couldn’t feel my legs and Topaz was like yeah, whatever, let’s run and have some fun.

I hope they aren’t at the trail today!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Bit of an Update..

I thought it was probably time for a little update on the bodybuilding endeavor. However as I read over this post, it is as if I suffer from non-medicated ADHD. It’s a bit of everything.

Last year when I asked for opinions as to whether one could, or should, try to train for bodybuilding and ultras simultaneously the concensus was no. When I asked for reasons as to why I was usually given a shrug of the shoulders or a vague reply that usually included a phrase stating that the two sports oppose one another too greatly. One builds muscle one doesn’t. Fair enough. I couldn’t find anyone who had actually tried to train for both, so I had to try! We know how that turned out.

The only thing in common that I have found between bodybuilding and ultrarunning is the tough training, focus and persaverence necessary. Of course if my diet while ultrarunning hadn’t been so minimal there wouldn’t be that tough mental difference. Body shape really is all about diet. That’s another whole vs exercise on the weight loss front.

I’ve been training seriously for only a month and I am amazed at the changes in my body. More changes than when I tried this last year and was at 14 weeks. Physically bodybuilding isn’t all that difficult. I’m used to training, pain and putting in time. Of course the lifts are exhausting at the time when preformed and there is much delayed muscle onset soreness in the following days as I am pretty much sore 24/7, but that doesn’t bother me. If I wasn’t sore I would probably feel like I hadn’t worked hard enough. In this phase of training bodybuilding doesn’t take any more time that ultra running does. I’m in the gym 5-6 days a week for roughly 1.5 hours at a time. Of course on top of that I run with Topaz for 1 + hours a day for the pure joy of it.

In the past I wasn’t able to get any soreness out of my biceps. Yesterday bicep/tricep was on tap and I was shocked at how my arms looked. I performed supersets consisting of tricep-then bicep and the pump was scary. Near the end of my workout my biceps were so large that they ached. They resembeled concrete bricks. It brings attention and this is difficult to get used to. I prefer to blend in and not have anyone notice me lifting, although as I’m the only girl in the weight room I don’t blend so well. Needless to say, today my biceps are sore.

My workouts in this phase consist of two options: high volume versus heavy. The high volume consists of supersets with higher reps and lighter weight, the heavy is less reps, heavy weight. Both kick my ass. I alternate between the two. Body parts are split as shoulders/traps high volume shoulder/traps heavy, legs high volume, legs heavy, arms high volume, arms heavy, back heavy, back and rear delts, chest and shoulders heavy, chest and shoulders high volume. Shoulders are hit twice a week-once with chest and once with traps. Hams will be hit twice a week soon. I love it!

Anytime Fitness doesn’t have great leg work equipment for hamstrings. I’m going to head over to Gold’s Gym on my next leg day to compare equipment. I used to be a member of Gold’s from 1991-2006-it was Monticello Athletic Club and Synergy Fitness before Gold’s purchased it. After Gold’s made the purchase Anytime Fitness arrived to Big Lake and that was when I made the switch, about 4 years ago. I’ve been happy with AF but they do not offer the equipment that Gold’s does.

I’m also going to get a day pass one of these days – maybe Friday as I’m off from both jobs- to check out Lifetime Fitness. When I was at their gym in Plymouth for the run training program it looked awesome!

Oh, and does anyone know where JOAN PETERSON is? She was a trainer at Monticello Athletic Club/Synergy Fitness/Gold’s and I want to get back in contact with her. I know she moved from the area and can not for the life of me recall where it was she moved to.

Of course, as I have stated before, my diet is a major change. I call it the undiet. This is where my difficulty comes in. You’d think I’d be all over eating more, but alas, it is a change that I am very uncomfortable with. I’ve been dieting forever and a day and not dieting kind of freaks me out.

Oh, you will notice that I am no longer eating a vegan or raw diet. I was going to originally try a 30 day trial that morphed into a 6 month period because I enjoyed it so much. However, not so much with building muscle as the goal. There may very well be bodybuilders out there consuming a vegan/raw diet but I am not.

Here is my daily nutrition for this week:
Meal 1: egg whites, extra lean ground beef, oats
Meal 2: chicken breast or 97% FF ground turkey breast, brown or white rice , side mixed veggies
Meal 3: 2 scoops whey isolate, medium red apple or grapefruit
Meal 4: chicken breast or 97% FF ground turkey, sweet potato, side green veggies
Meal 5: Lean red meat, fish, side green veggies
Preworkout: hyperbolic/karbolyn
Post workout: karbolyn whey isolate, oats

Yeah, no shortage of food here. I am truly eating all of the time. I bring my cooler wherever I go but I sometimes forget to eat. That seems crazy doesn’t it? I’m eating every 2.3-3 hours! I wonder if part of it is because I’m telling myself to eat, not diet, and I tend to self sabatoge myself. You know, when dieting I’m thinking about food constantly. Of course when I’m dieting I’m hungry constantly. Now I’m finally beginning to feel a bit hungry before my next meal. Earlier in this program I was still full while getting ready to eat my next meal. No longer; a sure sign my metabolism is beginning to change. I’m not freezing all of the time, either. At home I don’t have to wear slippers and wool socks, down blankets, etc. At work I still need to dress warmer as I sit underneath a cooing fan. Yeah, that sucks big time. I’m always cold at work.

I never crave sweets and this is a big change. Here it is almost Easter and I had to remind myself to visit Godiva Ridgedale tomorrow for Easter baskets. I almost forgot. That has never happened. I need to bake the bun bun cake as well. I kind of forgot about those two items. Sugar is not an issue at all. I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to say that before.

So there is the update!. I’m enjoying this process very very much and am excited to continue!

I can’t wait to attend as a spectator at the NPC Gopher State Classic on April 10 and in Rockford IL in May!! I can’t wait to see Liz and Mary up on the stage at the Grand Prix Natural on May 22.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Elizabeth Rose 8K

A few months ago my friend Debbie came to tell me that her daughter, Elizabeth, was fighting stage 3 ovarian cancer. I couldn't believe it. As close as I am to ovarian cancer (mom, grandmother, aunt) I hadn't known of a case involving such a young woman. Elizabeth is 23. Elizabeth is tough, she's beautiful and she's kicking cancer's ass.

Today was our fundraiser for Elizabeth. An 8K race, much as we put on for Ann, before she passed from lymphoma.

We had a nice morning, the rain let up for the race, we had many participants. So many members of the community came out to support Elizabeth!

It was wonderful to see so many faces that I hadn't see in way too long.

Thank you so much for coming out to support Elizabeth. She has a bright strong future ahead of her :)

Run On E!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MDRA Run Classes!

This spring I will be coaching MDRA beginning women’s running classes in Maple Grove instead of Edina. I loved to coach the Edina classes, but alas, the commute just became too much of a hassle. Our class began at 6 PM and I would have to leave home by 415 to arrive on time. Two hours is too much for a 54 mile drive.

I am so glad to be able to coach the Maple Grove class. Maple Grove is only 30 minutes from home so the commute is a non-issue. I was introduced to the coaches over coffee last month and can’t wait to begin!

If you are interested please go to MDRA and register. We are meeting in the Maple Grove Senior High School, Room 255 April 7-May 26 from 6-8 PM.

We will have a blast!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I am just amazed at how much my body has changed by making a few changes to my diet and workouts.

As you know I had been eating approximately 1200 calories while running approximately 80-100 miles a week and lifting 3 times a week. My body was used to the low calories, the high activity and was still performing quite well. I had become totally accustomed to this way of living and afraid to eat any other way as I would gain fat. You’ll remember that to lose 25 pounds a few years ago I began to eat only one carbohydrate meal a day (chose oatmeal) . As soon as I ate more than 1 carbohydrate meal a day I would begin to gain fat. Yes, fat. It wasn’t just the water that was hanging onto the carbohydrate grams.

Since my diet and workout overhaul a few weeks ago when I took on my new endeavor I have seen big changes in my body, not to mention my mind. My diet was changed from 1200 to 1800 calories and yes, I was scared I’d gain fat. I didn’t. My coach said I wouldn’t and I didn’t. Even with two oatmeal meals a day, sweet potato and brown rice!

My calories are now at 2000 and whala, no fat gain! My workouts have been rock solid. I can’t believe how strong I have become. Amazing what some GOOD FOOD will do for a gal!

Last night I was lifting back/delts. As I approached the assisted pull up, iPod blaring, focused..a guy interrupted me by pointing to my shoulder and saying something. I rolled my eyes and thought oh for christ sake, what does he want? You see, I don't ever visit at the gym. I am there to lift, I don't make eye contact, I listen to my iPod, I am focused, I work. Well,he was pointing and looking right in my eye ball so I pulled out my ear bud and he repeated ‘what are you trying to do, make the rest of us look bad?’ I chuckled and smiled, then put my ear bud back in, suprised that he noticed, and went on to complete supersets of 20, 18,16,12,10 assisted pull-ups superset with seated cable rows 20, 18, 16, 12, 10. It was amazing.

By the time I finished my back/rear delts workout I was pumped. The trainer stopped me on my way out and asked me ‘what kind of changes have you made to get this?” pointing to my arms. I was now fully dressed, he could no longer see my arms. I told him I began to eat and lift high volume. I am just shocked at the changes that are already taking place, mentally and physically!

On Monday my calories are increased to 2200!! Egads!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And So It Begins..

Those of you who have been reading for some time won’t be surprised that I have again jumped into the bodybuilding ring; heart and soul.

To body build competitively is something that I have wanted to do for a few years now. I really enjoy lifting, watching my body change as I develop mass, getting stronger as I can lift heavier weight and more reps. I love seeing the progress. I love the challenge. I love stepping into the unknown. In the past I allowed myself to be afraid, to be paralyzed by fear. I now embrace the fear as I realize it is growth.

Last year I became serious about lifting and even set a date for a competition. I continued to run high mileage as I was planning a few 100s in addition to the show. I wanted to find out for myself if I could train for both sports. I found that I couldn’t train as hard as I wanted while training for two, extensively. Training for both sports took a toll on my body and I was left without enough energy to practice either of the sports well. I believe that I need to focus on a single sport in order to obtain the outcome I desire.

Once I put my goal of bodybuilding on hold last season I again began to focus on endurance and ran Lean Horse 100, running a PR for the distance and then Javelina 100 in the later months. As I was training for and running these races I continually checked in with myself : are you ready to put this away for a year and focus on bodybuilding? How badly do you want it? Have you had enough of the 100s for a year? Is running 50 miles a week tops enough for you, along with many other questions.

The past few months I’ve revisited that same question and scenario. When my 2010 calendar was full for the 100s I was loosely planning to run I decided to again look at bodybuilding seriously. It didn’t take long for the excitement to engulf me. I’ve now taken steps to create a successful outcome. I’ve worked out a lighter running schedule, one that I am happy with. I’ve interviewed or met with over a dozen bodybuilding coaches and I have found a coach who is a great fit for me.

My original thought was that it might be possible for me to be ready for a competition this next October/November. My coach suggests I wait until early 2011 as he would prefer more mass to my back and chest and to balance out my quads by building my inner quad and hamstring, in order be competitive. I agree. I would prefer to go into this in the best shape I can so that I can be competitive instead of just dieting down in order to get on stage before I am ready.

The past month I’ve been running with Topaz, 6-8 miles a day. No heavy training, just short nice relaxing runs. My coach states that as long as I keep my heart rate between 145-155 I will be able to continue this. I didn’t do well with giving up my daily lovely runs with Topaz last spring when I tried bodybuilding by training myself. During this off season-the muscle building time between now and when I begin to prep (16 weeks prior to the comp which will be sometime early 2011) I will maintain a 13-15% body fat so that when prep season arrives I don’t have a large percentage of body fat to lose.

He’s teaching me so much about the science of food and how it relates to my body. I learned that the female body is most anabolic when kept at 9-15% body fat. I have slowly been increasing my calorie intake and I’m not gaining fat. I am a steady 13% body fat. We’ll keep increasing the calories as time goes on so that I can continue to build and when I began the prep stage I will be able to have something to cut back upon. As it was prior to the increase I was only eating 1200-1400 calories a day, running 100 miles a week and lifting 5 times a week. There were no extra calories to cut and my body had become completely adept at eating low calories and exercising at a high rate.

I love instant gratification but this journey will not be providing much of that. This will provide a learning experience as bodybuilding is something I know nothing about, it will provide a great sense of accomplishment and a whole lot of dedication to myself in order to obtain the outcome I desire. I will be tenacious and show great perseverance.

Of course this isn’t about the comp, that will take one hour. It is about the journey to the comp. It’s about working hard, pushing myself harder than ever, learning about myself , goal setting. I’m ready.

And..I tend to become stale when I don’t have something to fuel my desire..

..And So it Begins..

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

After spending a fabulous week of fun in the sun while vacationing, I couldn’t believe it when the plane began to descend and I didn’t see any snow on the ground!

Wow, we left MN in the winter and arrived home in the spring. What a treat!

Topaz and I hit the trail as soon as we could, early Sunday morning. I had to work a day shift so we left while dark. I hadn’t been on the trail since late December! Snowshoes are no longer allowed on the trail as it is reserved for cross country skiers only and I believe only 1 person is skiing out there all season long. I have been road running with Topaz for the last few months. Road running = loud cars, school busses, dogs, etc. I am glad the skier can no longer ski.

The trail was approximately 50% clear of ice and snow. Fabulous! It was warm, 41 above, at 6 AM! Amazing. Topaz hadn’t run for a week, he was as excited as I. We ran with glee upon the trail, enjoying the sun rise, the warm breeze, the song of all the spring birds.

Record temperature of 60F yesterday, 60! Incredible.

Trail running. I missed it!

It is spring here in Minnesota, spring I say!!