Category: Fitness

Proceed with Caution…

 In typical Kim zero to sixty ASAP fashion, I’ve gone from months of slug like behavior to biking or lifting weights 6 of the last 7 days. And the strength training program is lower body dominant. I just returned from. Derby party and can barely move. Tired. Sore.

Over training is what lead to my shoulder issues. I feel so damn good when I am working out that I quickly go gung ho. It’s something I have to watch. The irony is i burn myself out, start feeling like crap and then forget how doing proper training or regular exercise Right now I’m just exhausted. I’ve been good about sleep, and food has been pretty spot on. Not trackin food now so have no clue to calories in, but dont hink im in a hard deficit. So far not in a bad place (as if one week of training could affect me that badly this quickly). In the past the first signs of over training  are trouble sleeping. Probably a cortisol stress reaction. A year ago I ignored this sign and the ver increasing shoulder pain until that compounded the keep issues.

Plan now is to kick back and rest tonight, hopefully sleep in tomorrow. Sounds like the boys want to go ride the Kettles. Which is fine. I need to ride demon Bermuda and squash that demon. Neither Hubby nor Kiddo have been riding this year, so shouldn’t be at a fast pace, and will include plenty of rest. The big benefit of me doing my own rides is I won’t feel so much like we’re wasting the ride by not pushing. That feeling has lead to some less thn optimal attitude on family rides in the past. Imagine that, me with my bitch on. Never happens.

Did another strong curves work out yesterday. Oh. My. For what seems very easy simple, low key routines, they sure as hell activat the glutes (and hamstrings and hip flexor) with just enough big muscle upper body work to balance thing out. No stupid bicep o tricep isolation work (as I I need bigger upper arms. Yuck.) Great core work, too.  Both typical abs but also back. Like it so far.

Today’s ride was to and from Kiddos baseball game with detours around The Mitchell and Fox Brook trails and an extension over to Calhoun and back.  If I’m gonna ride pavement I do like this route. Was riding Coda, not a mountain bike. Realize I need some cadence sensors. I can tell since getting rid of Dolce (my roadie) I’m fallin back ino my less than optimal but nature 60rpm cadence as opposed to the 85-90 I’d worked so hard to cultivate. Just another thing to work on.


To really know if you are improving, you need some kind of benchmark to evaluate progress against. It’s as true in sports as it is in business. At work, we routinely set baselines or benchmarks, and this week’s first trail rides of the season have me thinking about benchmarks in my mountain biking. Every sport has its own ways to measure training and skill progression. As with road cycling or running, there’s the simple measure of time taken or average speed within a section of trail. More important than a speed measure in mountain biking is judging the development of technique and how that allows you to ride harder trails, tackle larger obstacles, get more air, be more aggressive. if you are only interested in speed it can be bench marked against your own performance or that of others. There’s tons of gadgets and smartphone apps that help you track this. Many of these allow you to compare how others rode the same routes. I find this interesting and a piece of the bigger picture, but my biggest competitor is myself. I need to measure my progress versus the trail, improvement in technique. I am at the point in my mountain biking skills development that increasing strength and stamina play a significant role, but I still have so much to learn in this sport. So much technique to develop.

By riding the same trails regularly, I can easily judge the progression of my skills. Now starting my third summer mountain biking, I’m realizing both what I’ve already learned along with an awareness of how much I don’t know. It brings a smile to my face when I look back at pictures like these from 2011 and remember struggling with a climb I can now top, being afraid to ride across rocks I barely notice, coming to a dead stop in front of a log, I now pop over without a thought.

As I rode this week, I remembered how we used to have to stop at each and every bench, along with at the top of every small climb to rest and recover. I’m working hard at active recovery, continuing to pedal while I catch my breath. Limiting rest stops. I continue to be surprised how much the line you take or the momentum you have going into a climb, descent or obstacle plays a part. There were places on Sunday’s ride I struggled due to a line that put me into bigger roots or rocks, or how by not having proper momentum, I had to put a foot down in areas I’ve cleaned in past. At the same time in a section of the Muir trails called The Beach, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to ride. I remember the first time we rode that section, stopping half way up to rest. It’s the first time I’ve actually felt like I was enjoying a climb. Minutes later Hell’s Kitchen reminded me why it has the name it does.
But with increased confidence and skills, also comes increased chances for error. I’m riding faster. Attacking sections more. Weaknesses are being exposed. At the Ray’s Women’s clinic, I struggled with both speed and bike angle/position in the bermed turns of the pump track. At Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, I did better at speed, but Kiddo chastised me for not leaning the bike, for going through upright. On Sunday’s ride, in a section called Bermuda…. Damn bermed turn. I just don’t trust myself to lean the bike through them. Towards the bottom of the section, the final left turn, took the turn too high on the berm, upright, no real lean. On the exit there’s a small tree to the right. Because I was high I was on the right edge of the trail and bbeing upright meant my handlebars were not leaning away, I clipped the tree. Leading to a face plant and a bloody nose. Funny how many thoughts go through your head in a millisecond. ….Don’t look at tree! You’re gonna hit tree. I’m flying. Splat. Oops there’s gonna be a bloody nose. Get off bike off trail before someone barrels into you. Feel blood begin to pour. Pinch nose….
Still work to do. Benchmarks set, and continually updated. I’m super stoked about this summer’s riding. Here in Wisconsin  I hope to do some rides with other women in addition to the family and solo training rides, there will be rides and the Women’s Clinic in Brown County, IN in June, riding on our family vacation to Breckinridge, CO in July and another prior to my nieces wedding at Killington, VT in August. Plan on doing a WORS race or two, The Brown County Super-D, Fall Colors Festival. Hopefully we can sneak in another spot or two, like maybe a trip up tp Copper Harbor, MI.
Tho, face it, even with a desire to more formally train this summer, I still want to stop and smell the roses so to speak…pausing to snap a few pictures and enjoy the view will always be a part of my enjoyment of mountain biking.

Striving for Consistency vs. Perfection

I have this tendency to let a desire to do things perfectly derail me. It shows up sometimes as procrastination (that old fear of failure thing or even a fear of success), other times as built in excuse to stop doing something or to do things I know I shouldn’t. After all, you can’t do it perfectly, why bother, right? I think everyone struggles a bit with the later. The old, “I just ate a piece of pizza, might as well eat what I want all weekend and get back on track on Monday” thing. The problem for me is that Monday never comes. Or rather comes and goes and goes and goes….

As I re-commit to training, I have to work on making consistency my focus as opposed to getting lost in a desire for perfection. I saw this already starting to happen this week. I’d combined the desire to start this new program with words from Keifer ( about late afternoon being best time to work out. I knew Kiddo had his first Little League baseball game at 5:30. Knew that I’d be pushing it to leave work earlier enough to get him to the field, let alone sneak in a workout before. But yet, I still had myself convinced I had to work out in the afternoon. That if I was going to do this, I must do it perfectly.

Obviously, this wasn’t happening, and by Monday evening, I was this close to fuck it, I’ll never get this right, why bother. My nicely equipped but lonely home gym would continue unused.

Thankfully, Tuesday was another day. Copies made and posted of the workout and warm-up cue sheets. Daily logs printed. Best of all Week1 Workout A accomplished  It felt good to sweat, to lift some weight. The program is interesting in that warm-up includes foam rolling or other myofascial release moves, static stretches, dynamic activation and mobility work. Looking at the work outs, I think I’m going to like this program. Even if I still always feel like a beached whale trying to roll around on that instrument of torture known as a foam roller. Yes, it does hurt so good.

Bottom line, I know I’m going to continue to struggle with finding the “perfect” time to work out. My schedule is never consistent. I travel frequently. Kiddo’s activity schedules change. Stuff comes up. Life gets in the way. But I know I must find that time. Be consistent.

The more things change…the more they remain the same

How freaking perfect…I come back to this blog to start bringing some personal, albeit privately public (that makes absolutely perfect sense to me) accountability to my diet, conditioning and general fitness training, and discover my last post was of the exact thing I planned to write about.


So fast forward 15 months. Crossfit was a hoot. I loved it, even if it did not love me. Supraspinatus tendinitis with impingement. Big words to say I screwed up my shoulder by doing too much too fast with less than perfect form and ignored the pain for far too long. Until I basically could not raise my arm, was heading to frozen shoulder territory. Still have twinges of pain in certain positions. 6 months of physical therapy later, I was released to start crossfit or weight training again, but haven’t. Tossed around program idea after program idea, but couldn’t settle on one. Knew that my competitive nature combined with tendency to injury made Crossfit perhaps not ideal for me.  Couldn’t quite pull the trigger and start. Winter training was a few (very, very few) spin classes, and playtime on the bike at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park. Yesterday’s ride on some real trails showed me how far I need to go to get back in riding shape.

Meanwhile clothes a bit too sung. Feel doughy. Weight feels up, but looking at logs nearly exactly the same as it was when I posted that last blog post. Overall diet is decent, not strict paleo…probably too much its of gluten and grain. Not a ton of alcohol, but a martini or beer at night is too much the norm. Generally only one drink, but more habit than need. Mainly real food, very very limited processed crap. Still stuck not making final weight loss goal, still with a long way to go.

Bottom line is getting in shape. Not about the scale, even if I know for optimal performance and self confidence, I must drop a significant number of pounds. I want to feel strong, re-connect with that athlete in me. Sure there’s the looking good, feeling sexy bit. But it’s the strong, confident, secure in my skin feeling I miss. That I am determined to bring back.

And so back to this blog. To some of the habits that worked so well. Tracking food. Lifting weights. Only this time I am not going to second guess programs. Waffle around. Tweak a trainers program because I’m some kind of special unicorn. Commit to one program, and do it for the entire 12 weeks. Re-asses after that.

The program I’ve chosen is ‘Strong Curves’ by Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis. Love that it is a lower body focus but with a decent amount of upper body. Today is the first workout. Kinda pumped to start….

(ha, see what I did there?)

What’s missing from this picture.

Simple answer me. A decently stocked weight section in my semi-finished basement. Plates and benches sitting cold and lonely.

But wait there’s more……a whole other section of the basement. A treadmill, a trainer for indoor riding on my bike, room for yoga. A variety of kettlebells (and DVD workouts for them), a set of bowflex dumbells. Chalean Extreme DVDs. 

Bottom line, I have no excuse. No one to blame but myself. A strange inertia had set in about a year ago around conditioning (and eating properly if we’re honest). The really sad thing is, I like lifting heavy weights – esp. squats and deadlifts (hate, hate hate bicep/tricep curls). This month’s Whole30 has gotten me back on track in food. I feel great. IBS symptoms gone. Tons of energy. getting lots of home de-cluttering done, cooking a ton. But yet, no work outs.
And so I realized I need a structure. Something to force me forward. So I finally took the plunge. Spent the money to sign up for the February on-boarding “Elements” class at a Badger Crossfit, a Crossfit gym close to my office. They are going to work with me around my travel schedule. This is good. January was kick the food choices back in gear. February will be get going on Crossfit, on working out. Having a gym structure is good for me. Knowing I can do a couple classes a week in a structured environment, plus bring a WOD or two home a week.
This is good.
And if I get really motivated I can do some bosu squats…..kidding. 
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