Thursday, February 28, 2013

#2500 Crunches Challenge: Day Seven

How dedicated are you to this personal challenge?

Have you dropped down in public and made your core stronger?

Bobby knows no limits

Have you gotten up way early and crunched your crunches in?

C-dizzle aka Speeds gets hers in early

Have you found a few minutes during the workday to challenge yourself?

Redbull Office, as seen from EWS's crunch position

Here's a look at the great work done in the seven days we've been crunching:

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The question remains - with three days left in the challenge - what do you have to give? Screw yesterdays ... we can't change them. Let's focus on today. What can you do today that your future self will thank you for?

Let's start with 50 or 500 crunches. Whatever that 'almost unobtainable' number is. You, yes, you - Thursday is yours to conquer, so go get it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#2500 Crunches: Day Five Results

OFF. THE. CHARTS! As of last night, two of our Crunchers - Elisabeth and Holly - arrived at the magic number #2500! Hey you two, how's the weather over there in Kickassville? Is the gun show in town? Nice work!

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As you can see, a couple more people are milimeters away from hitting the goal, too. Deme and Jason are making a run for the finish line ... which isn't really a finish line because there are still 5 more days of crunches ahead of us all. You four should be setting your sights on the 5K number.

For Day 6, two mini challenges wrapped inside of this bigger challenge. Mmmmm, like a challenge burrito.
1) How many crunches can you do in a row without losing proper form? Let us know!
2) Add two 1-minute planks to your crunch workout. One at the beginning and one at the end.

If you are up for either, go for it and report back how it went.


Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. High-Five for Day 5!! Have a great Day 6-Pack!

Monday, February 25, 2013

#2500 Crunches Challenge: Day Four Results

Day Four Done! A lot of people said they had some motivation issues this weekend - you felt like your numbers were too low (which ... they weren't! No one who reported in was less than 100) or you didn't report in at all. Not to worry, that's why Monday comes around each week. It lights a fire under us to get back at it.

Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you. – Darren Hardy

You said, on Thursday, you wanted in. So you are in. Now stay in! Time's going to pass anyway. Get as much as you can out of it for yourself.

Here's the running tally for the last four days:

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One of the reasons we are doing this is to get people to do the core work they say they 'should' do, but never get around to do. Lack of time, lack of motivation, lack of accountability all stand in their way. So, on Sunday at our Team's practice, we saw both crunch challengers and teammates who hadn't signed up all get down on the ground and knock out 500 crunches. Core work following a 2.5hr ride/run/ride/run brick is dedication. When this happens, who wins? Everyone.

A few action photos of the challenge so far:

Thanks EWS for the pics!

Lulu getting in her abs during the Oscar broadcast

Still feeling like you want out? Here's your consolation prize:

For everyone else - get in those numbers tonight! It's time to hit quadruple digits and get halfway to 2500. Ready, set, crunch!

#2500 Crunches Day Three Results

Day Three's results are posted over at "And....GO!" by Holly.

Check them out here!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

#2500 Crunches: Day Two Results

Good morning!! Raise your hand if you are on track to hit 2,500 by next Saturday? What, it hurts to raise your hand because your abs are so sore? Good. It's working! We are two days in. They say it takes 18 repetitions to make a habit. We won't make you go 18 days, but 10 should put you on your own path to keeping this workout up.

Here's a look at the standings. If you don't see your name on the graph, it means you haven't gotten in your numbers - please do! Day closes at 10pm PST, so take today to do some crunches and message us. Here we go:

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Worth repeating - take some photos or video of your torture and send along. We'll throw something together for you to stare at while you do the workout so you don't feel so alone. For instance, Jessica, Kelli and Jen making swim workout a little more evil.

Nice work ladies!

It's the weekend!! Plenty of extra time to crunch away. Bonus points if you do it in unusual places such as the lobby of a bank, on a bus, or in a museum. (Not advocating bad behavior, but...) Looking forward to receiving the next set of numbers tonight. Go, go, go!

Friday, February 22, 2013

#2500 Crunches: Day One Results

Good showing so far for the #2500crunches Challenge. We've got about 70 (!!!) people playing along, so at this point, we are closing sign ups. Miss the cut off? Stick around and see what challenge is up next after this.

DAY ONE: Click for larger image

So how are you going to get this done?

Do you do sets of 10 ever 30mins?
Do you go for 250 straight?
Do you stick to a schedule of averages - 250/day?
Do you stockpile 500 at a time and break every other day?
Do you forget that you signed up and force yourself to crunch 1225 times in the last two days?

Looks like people are taking various approaches. We've got some slow and steady 250-ers. We've got some balls-out +400 crunchers. Would someone please catch Jason!? And then a couple folks who want to start the challenge today.Feel free to share how you're getting at it. And while you are sharing, send us some photos of you in action. If we get enough, we will go all arts-and-craftsy and show you a collage of all of your work. Everyone looks photogenic while straining through hundreds of reps! (Lies...)

One of our Ironteammates, Solange, has spun this into a fundraiser for herself. She is taking on the challenge, but agreeing that she'll up the ante and add in more torture (planks!) if you support her fundraising. Read more about it on her site, Ironwoman Dreams.

Final Note on Reporting Numbers: We'll take your daily total by 10pm PST each night. Anything reported after that gets flipped over to the next day. Cool? Cool.

One day down, nine to go!

Have a great weekend, and keep crunching.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Plank Challenge Complete. New Challenge Begins!

The final results of the seven-day Plank Challenge are below. I'll continue updating the graph through Friday for anyone who wants to get their bar to the top of the page. As of this morning, the combine efforts of our ab work resulted in 405 minutes and 45 seconds. That's 6.7 HOURS of planking last week.

Nice work!

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For anyone (meaning, anyone reading this) who is game for another challenge ... read on. Wednesday is an off day, and Thursday we start up some more core work.

: #2500crunches

Here are the rules:

1. You have 10 days to do as many crunches as you can. The goal is 2,500. Easy math - about 250 per day. All forms of crunches count (regular, side, bicycle, etc).

2. The challenge starts on Thursday, Feb 21st and conclude on midnight on Saturday March 2nd.

3. Make sure you are following @goingforgoofy and @hesort. The updates will come from us. No big deal if you want to unfollow us after. But you will be missing out on my tweeting photos from Your loss.

4. Tweet/Facebook message/Comment below that your going to play, and we will add you to the graph. We'll take sign ups starting TODAY through Friday morning. After that, sit out and wait for the next one. Or play along, but you won't have a bar on the graph. Again, your loss.

5. Send total crunches updates each night (between 6-10pm) and the graph will be posted the next day. Use the hashtag #2500crunches to catch our attention.

Once again, no winners and losers. Only abs and acccountability. Thank you guys for playing along this past week - crowdsourcing motivation has been VERY worthwhile for me and my abs. I hope it has been for you too.

The Goal

MID-DAY UPDATE: We've got over 30 people in for this next challenge. Any more takers? Let us know.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Plank Challenge Day Seven

It's Day 7 of the Plank Challenge!

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Lots of progress throughout these last 6 days. Day Three and Day Five are posted here. Funny thing, when I first drummed up the idea, I really didn't expect any one to play along. Initially, it was a public declaration that put the accountability on me to follow through. But as the week's gone by and more and more people have joined in, it's become a much more fun game! So, thanks all for playing along.

Final Reminders and Notes:
There are no winners, and thus, no losers. It's like elementary school gym. You get a pat on the back for trying.
Any minutes you've gotten this week are good minutes. It's core work you (definitely me!) would not have done.
And lastly, although the challenge ends at midnight tonight, because I'm charming and/or desperate for friends ... I'll continue to update the graph through Friday and send out.

Ready, Set, Hold your way through today! Happy ab-ing.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Plank Challenge: Day 5

Five days into the Plank Challenge and two down. Today and tomorrow are the final days to cram in as many plank minutes as possible. The core of your future self will thank you.

Here's a look at all the ab work accomplished over the weekend!! Shout out to Stuart for pushing himself past the 8.5min/day average. Keep on holding, folks!

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Plankers - Tonight (after 6pm PST) I'll take @replies with today's numbers.

Friday, February 15, 2013

UPDATED Plank Challenge: Day Three!

We're onto DAY THREE of the One Hour Plank Challenge, and so far so good. More twitter folks have joined the fun, and it's been good motivation for me to stick to a goal (as arbitrary as they may seem) that I've set for myself. Thanks to 13 others who are helping keep the spirit of a six-pack alive.

Here's a look at the tracking as of Friday at 12:30pm:

Click on graph for close up

A few folks (Hi Scott! Hi Byong!) jumped in only minutes ago. They've got some catching up to do this weekend.

I'll be out of town this weekend, so there will be no updates to this graph until Monday morning. But that doesn't mean that lots of planking by all of us isn't going on behind the scenes.

PlankChallengers - on Sunday, please @reply me your cumulative minutes between Friday 12:30pm and Sunday night. I'll include on the next version. And, hey, get to know each other on twitter. You guys are all pretty neat.

So far so good! Creeping toward 60 mins of horizontal fun. Yes, I just wrote that. Ready, set, hold on, my friends!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plank Week: The One Hour Challenge

One of the most common phrases you will hear out of any athlete-in-training's mouth is, "I need to work on my core." In fact, this challenge was partially inspired by my friend Rommel, who uttered the phrase, "I'm working on my core" during our morning ride. That mention, along with a lot of chatter about Lent (or "Lint" as Coach Dave wrote on facebook this morning), got me thinking...

Time for a little challenge. For myself, but I am writing about so that others can play along if they want to. It's called Plank Week, and it starts today because I don't think any commitment should intentionally start on a Monday.

The challenge - between today and next Wednesday, complete 60 minutes worth of planks (an average of 8.5 minutes a day).

No limit on the number of planks each day.
No limit on how long or short to hold it.
No judgement if done in underwear, sans clothing.
On elbows, not hands. Keep that butt down!
Front plank only, for now.
Just simply do it.

On the Pants-Salad Scale, planks are birds. But I like that idea that by this time next week, I'll have completed an hour's worth of core work. It's not a ton, but it's more than what I am doing right now. So that's the point - raise the bar.

The goal is to get ripped like ClipArt Man here

I'll update this post with a little infographic or visual detailing my progress as I go. If you'd like to play along, just let me know and you get to be included on the chart. Maybe tell me what animal you wanna be, and I'll use a picture of it to represent you. (As busy as I am ... I have a lot of free time...clearly.)

That's it. Ready. Set. Hold.

UPDATE: Day One Done!

A few twitter and irl friends playing along - @planetmort, @melissaborek, @hmgiraffy @sswineford @danielavmar @esdi @higaiimo @907girl @5280RunnerGal - for the week.

Aiming to get that red bar crawling to the top! I'll update as best as I can during the days ahead as numbers come in.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Laundry is the Fifth Sport

If nutrition is considered the fourth sport in triathlons, then laundry is the fifth. You have to approach it strategically. Timing matters – choose your day of the week and time of day wisely. Pay attention to volume – only so much of it fits in the metal bucket so be careful not to break the machine. And ultimately your success is dependent upon your will to get it done and follow through.

All these clean clothes and no motivation to fold them

This weekend’s #LaundryFail was the result of a crazy schedule that I didn’t think through thoroughly enough. I have two competing values going on right now: the All-or-Nothing state of being, and the important of finding balance in my life. #LaundryFail is evidence that the former line of thinking is winning.

Saturday morning started at 5:15am – an alarm, a scramble pack what couldn't be packed Friday night for the practice(45mile bike/45min run), and meeting up with Coach J to carpool up to Westlake. Practice was epically cold and turned into a long day. The workout was only about 5 hours. But afterward the two of us grabbed half of the course signs (big thank you to Coach Amy for putting them up and taking most of them down! She got up way earlier than me), and then beelined for food because we were like starving toddlers.

Ended up getting home at 4:30p only to jump into my own car and head to the valley to get a haircut. My car, however, is missing its front, side mirror and has been since Thursday night. Why? Well, when you get into a fight with a cement pole in a parking structure, the odds are against you. Haven’t had time to get it reattached or fixed. That’s on the list for tomorrow.

Hairs cut, groceries bought and back home around 7pm. Prep for Sunday’s 10-miler starts. Route slips, double check the course, follow up on outstanding emails. Crash to bed around 11pm. Wake up at 6:30am. Read and write emails, pack for the day and head to the park for our hilly workout. Overall a wonderful Sunday practice followed by and equally fun team brunch.

Hungry Hungry Heroes

We had a team social at 2pm down the street from the park, so I didn’t have a chance to go home (10miles away) between the run/brunch/social. And because time got away from me at lunch, I had to reschedule coffee with a former work colleague. (Out the window goes the balance!). After hanging out with a small group of teammers for an hour, I finally went home.

Had three things to accomplish before I let myself shower (unattractive, I know) – write a team email, write a coaching email, prep for a conference call today. When I started on these, the sun was still up. When I finished, I realized I was sitting in the dark in front of the bluish computer glow. Hunted down my dinner at 6:30, showered by 7 and caught up on the outside world by 9pm.

Monday Morning Breakfast

This is endurance living and it is not to be half-assed. Lots of great things accomplished … except for laundry and anything not remotely related to triathlons. Well, that’s what today’s rest day is for – some self-coddling in the form of: brussels sprouts for breakfast / take the car in for an estimate on the mirror / find ways to entertain myself and laugh a lot. Oh, and go to work. And maybe I will fold my laundry.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Being Sore and Telling Lies

I've been missing this feeling ... kind of. My glutes, hips, back and pecs are a little bit cranky today as a result of last weekend's Trample Cancer Night (indoor trampoline park) and three days of working out at a higher intensity.

The trampoline outing left my back and my triceps sore, as expected. Last time our team went there, we had no idea just how intense a workout it is on your body. That took three days to recover from! This time around I did a lot less jumping, but still woke up stiff.

Because my bike was in the shop for a tune up on Wednesday, I flip-flopped our Thursday run (hills) with our Wednesday bike (75mins). Wednesday morning I ran a handful of 90-second reps up a little beast known as Hetlzer Rd. Cool temps, good tunes and waking up on the right side of the bed - it was a kick-ass run. Turns out, it's still kicking my ass ... and my hamstrings.

Thursday morning was a bike ride - solo, since my ride buds did their workouts the previous day. It had been a while since I really have had the chance to jam on my bike. Like, push really hard for as long as possible and make my quads cry. So despite a later-than-expected start time, I hit the bike path for 70mins. I road down to the beach (always and forever a blessing to live in pedal distance of the Pacific Ocean) and back. Oatmeal performed well. The tune up has made him shiny and quiet.

About an hour later, walking up the stairs to work, I could really feel the heaviness in my quads. Dead-ish legs, almost. And it was that feeling that made me skittish for the evening's hill workout with the team. (Note: I don't do hills two days in a row, but this schedule flip caused this one-off occurrence.) Headed up to a new hill location, this one in Beverly Hills. Turned out that one of my teammates had a strained calf and wasn't healthy enough to hit the incline. So instead of standing around and letting time waste, we ditched the hill in favor of a bootcamp-style workout. It went something like: planks, sky-grabs, jump squats, lunges, push-ups, planks, standing squats, lunges, calf raises, push-ups, planks, sky grabs. It didn't last long, maybe 20 minutes. But I am certainly feeling a little bit of that today!

This morning I peeled myself outta bed and chucked my body into the local pool. Water temp according to the lifeguard - 70 degrees. Holy ice cube! I had to abridge the swim set (cue the sound of a stadium full of cheers) and only fit in about 45mins of the prescribed 60 minutes. The set itself was moderately hard from a cardio standpoint, but what got me was my stroke. I'm working on changing my form - I no longer want to swim like a pterodactyl - and with these changes come demands upon muscles I haven't used in a while. Suffice to say, my triceps (again) and my pecs are screaming at me after only the shortie workout. My gosh, they feel weak! In time, they will build up some strength (fingers crossed I don't start looking Hulk-ish), but for now and for the coming weeks, the pool is going to be my torture chamber. Well, then again, what's new...

No rest for the weary - tomorrow our team heads up to Westlake for a 4hr ride and 45min run. Sunday brings 10 miles to the table (some extra special hills in there as well).

I'm going to lie to myself and say that the brick workout will "shake out" the soreness. But I realize that's like saying, "Sure, you'll be able to relax during your sports massage." Letting our brains lie to our bodies in order to keep going when it gets tough: it's an underrated skill and should be exercised frequently. Sip of sports drink, lie to self, "it's not that steep." Bite of nutrition, lie to self, "Almost done."

Other favorite lies I tell myself include:
  • The water isn't that cold
  • 5:00am isn't that early
  • Cytomax tastes good
  • It's just a little rain/wind/indigestion
  • These spandex make you look athletic and not at all like a sausage casing
  • The laundry will do itself
  • You deserve to eat bacon-wrapped bacon after that 3 mile run
Happy Friday. This weekend is going to feel like 8 days long. (...Add that one to the list)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The About Me Page

There are a few memes circulating the interweb that keep cropping up in my sight. They are a bunch of questions that prompt short but revealing insight into who you are. They are fun to read, especially of my friends ... though I equally read strangers' answers. Many are questions that don't come up in regular, everyday conversation ... like, "What was your dream job as a kid?" and "Do You Like the Smell of Play-Doh?" and an addition from the rerun of How I Met Your Mother that I'm watching, "What color is your pony?"

Since I couldn't come up with anything worthwhile to write today, I thought I'd lean on these random reveals as a post. Lame, yes? Are you going to continue to read anyway? Yes. So, boiled down to only a few facts, this is me:

Childhood Sports Hero: Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon, Rebecca Lobo. I wore his jersey (three sized too small, for the majority of 5th grade).

Year You Became a Runner: January 4, 2006.

Year You Became a Triathlete
: March 2010

Most Memorable Moment in Sports
: Watching the '95 Uconn Women's Basketball team beat #1-ranked Tennessee at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT. My parents had season tickets and I vividly remember what it was like to be amongst that crowd of fans.

First Car: 1994 Jeep Cherokee (my dad's)

Favorite Movies: Many - Shawshank Redemption, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Usual Suspects, and new adds Mean Girls and Pitch Perfect

Favorite Food: Salad

Hated Foods: Veal, Olives

Spicy or Not Spicy: Spicy (more/better)

Favorite Race: WDW Goofy Challenge

My First Marathon Was...: A line in the sand. Stepped over and never looked back.

Next Run/Tri Race: Great Wall of China Marathon / Wildflower Olympic Tri

Favorite Book: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series (okay, that's 7 books...)

Favorite Book about Sports: A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington

Life Needs Less: Egos

Life Needs More: Hugs

Fears: Rejection

Most Valued Personality Traits: Goofiness, Generosity, Kindness

Bucket List Item: Overnight camp on the beach. Road trip without a set plan. Take 3 months off of work to bike across America.

Goals for 2013: Spend Dec 31, 2013 among friends, looking back on the year with gratitude and a sense of accomplishment in whatever forms they take.

What Color Is Your Pony: Disco Ball Silver

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Game Day Nerves at My Job

Tomorrow at work, I have a project to do that is both exciting and anxiety-inducing. The work itself isn't the challenge. What's hard for me is that it brings back memories of my old job, and the three-plus years I spent living in a stress bubble, to put it mildly.

At my last job, I was the script coordinator on an animated movie. Much of my role involved managing recording sessions with the voice actors. At its best, I got to travel on the company's dime and watch some amazingly talented actors perform. At its worst, I'd spend really early mornings and really late nights at the office preparing for these sessions - I got very intimate with a whole host of office supplies.

The meticulousness with which I had to operate - write up the sequences, comb through pages, find typos, format and reformat and reformat again, assemble the 'sides' gather misc. materials - still makes my head hurt. A damning voice in my head would lambast me for any mistake I found during a third or fourth proofread. And the voice screamed louder when - once a year - a typo would slip through to the actor's or director's or producer's binder. The atmosphere of the sessions - for someone like me, a Hollywood minion not a big fishy - was tense. The challenge was to be on-point at all times. Run around and get done whatever was needed. Be able to react to last-minute demands and changes smoothly. Grace under fire. Pressure cooker central.

Inevitably after the records, when my supervisor and I would drive back to our studio, I'd finally uncrank my shoulders and back and relax my brain. The physical and mental stress was a lot to handle. And while I'm a person who likes to push limits and face obstacles, I never felt that the sense of accomplishment superseded all those very uncomfortable feelings.

I spent three and a half years in that role. After the film wrapped, I was offered a similar opportunity on another show at the studio. I did not have another job lined up, so it was a very risky move to make when I declined it. I knew, for the sake of my sanity, I needed something new.
“When you have come to the edge of all the light you have
And step into the darkness of the unknown
Believe that one of the two will happen to you
Either you'll find something solid to stand on
Or you'll be taught how to fly" - Patrick Overton
That "something new" is my current position. Not that new anymore - I've been here for 18 months - but markedly different in many positive ways. The leap of faith landed me in a very good work situation, and I'm grateful every day for it. Okay, some days more than others. But I try to show some appreciation daily.

I still work in animation, but in my position, recording sessions scarce. In fact, I never thought I'd handle one again. However, life likes to laugh at you when you think in absolutes like "always" and "never". Life is laughing at me now, because tomorrow I've got to go run a session. And irony of ironies (laugh at me, Life!) it's with an actor I worked with at that previous job. Small-ywood, huh?

So how to combat the 'performance anxiety' about this work? Well, I remind myself that I'm an athlete. And I go and re-read one of my favorite articles, Why Runners Usually Make Great Employees by Olivier Blanchard. Because I don't have a work coach, sometimes I need to find my own cheerleader (this article) to tell me that I'm capable of doing a good job. It's calming to be reminded that my involvement in sports over the last 24 years has shaped my brain to be able to handle almost anything. Deal with the pressure, grit my teeth, stay focused, be okay being uncomfortable, and get the job done well.

An excerpt:
You learn a lot about how to break thresholds and get past your own little ego, training for events like these. When you’re tired and sore and hungry but you still have four miles to go, guess what? You still have four miles to go. How you get through these last four miles is entirely up to you. Nobody cares whether you walk those last four miles or run, or hail a cab. Nobody made you set 26.2 miles as a goal. Or 100 miles. Or 144+.

Once you’ve broken past your lack of will and learned to keep going, you are transformed. A similar thing happens to Marines during training. At some point, who you used to be before you went beyond what you thought your limitations were, before you kissed excuses goodbye, before you left all of the bullshit that stood in your mind’s way ceases to exist. You become someone else.

That someone else, the marathoner, the long distance cyclist, the triathlete, the Ironman, he or she walks into your place of work with you every morning.
So I will go to the session tomorrow reminding myself that the stress and the pressure and the demands are nothing I haven't seen before. They're nothing compared to what I put myself through on a bike or a run or a swim. And the same brain I bring to my workouts and races is the same brain I can bring to the studio.

But just for good luck, maybe I'll wear one of my race finisher shirt underneath my work clothes.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Numbers and a Lesson from Hamlet

Goodbye January. Goodbye 4:30pm sunsets. Goodbye base training. It was a busy month for me: two half marathons, a full and a 5K squeezed in among triathlon training. My volunteer commitments picked up, my ability to sit still or sleep waned. And most importantly, I laughed a lot. For me, it was one of the better starts to a year that I can recall.

January's tally

On a more reflective note...we could all take a lesson from little Hamlet. Going after a new goal or challenge can be scary. Often, taking the first step is worst. And sometimes you have to do it more than once. And sometimes you'll want to walk away. But if you remember why you're doing it, you will find a way. But a warning before watching, he is so darn cute your eyes might melt.

Little Hamlet Goes Down the Stairs

Happy Friday. Happy February. Go out there and find your own oatmeal.