Archive for November, 2009

Weekly stats (I’m looking for the perfect  application/ API that feeds 2 facebook programs, Daily Burn and TeamBeach body… or maybe I should write one)

  • Running – 25 miles
  • Bike/spinning – 24.5 miles
  • Swimming 1,300 yards
  • P90x – Week 5 workouts – all.

It was  a good and unpredictable week, seemed every day required a bit of adjustment.   I shared about the juggling act of last Sunday (11/22/09) with a Sprint Triathlon, the new tortures of the Week 5 Chest, Shoulder and Triceps.  Round 2 for that workout went much smoother today, a five-mile run helped get the blood flowing and Ab Riper X was the perfect cap.

That juggling act seemed to continue the whole week.

Monday, Day 30 – Plyometrics. This has typically been my favorite workout (having done some similar jump training before the summer’s Pike’s Peak Double weekend).   After the previous day’s triathlon,  I was feeling a wee bit tired and struggled through some of this.  I did my best and forgot the best – no sense throwing off the weekly rotation by resting a day (though sometimes that’s warranted).

Here’s the Day 30 Pictures – I’m scared to look!

Tuesday, Day 31 – always one for purchasing things as cheaply as possible, I embarked on my early P90x venture in the same way – google some ads, hit eBay and pick up some DVD’s for around $50.00.  I paid the piper though on Day 31 – Back and Biceps.   In place of a #11 DVD there was a bonus #1 DVD.  So thanks to some more googling I got the sense of what should be done.  I also promptly ordered a new set of DVD’s from Beachbody.  I’m no shill.  Though I’m a Beachbody coach, it’s a reminder that cheap is not always lowest price.  Not a lot of recourse to call a help desk that doesn’t exist for 6 month old product.

Paying the piper meant google and finding a couple of good overview of the workout.  I find a nice series here (take a peek), scribed the workouts and hit the workout at our YMCA while my kids were at swim team (though tough, they had the tougher workout – 90 laps =])   My arms felt like falling off would feel better than the wonderfully painful rotation of 2 bicep and 1 pull/chin up workout.  Wow!

Wednesday and Day 32, Yoga.  I really didn’t want to do Yoga.  Kids were at home and it was my turn to watch them.  I was debating a 1/2 Yoga X workout.  Then it happen.  Weather warms up, kids play with friends and my Yoga workout turned out well and full duration.  I still stink on the Warrior 3 poses and routines.  Abs were hurting.  Static poses were just a bit better (can do the bridge up for 30 seconds now!).  Yet all in all great to get er’ done!

Thanksgiving, Day 33, brought the old friend back and legs to me.   A run on Thanksgiving has been a tradition for me.  This year I added a spinning workout.  So after 6.75 miles running and 14+ miles on the bike (about 2 hours total), I felt my legs were just fine.  So in between I worked in the back pull up/chin up sets and Ab Riper X – again at the Y.  This was a fun adaptation, pushing probably more cardio but still building legs (especially spinning and some good running hills).

Ah, Friday, Day 34 KenpoX, was the one seemingly normal day.  I rested from my morning run, hit KenpoX and then a 750 yard swim at night.

So all in all, when things do go as planned, it’s OK.  Learn the workouts well and you can take them on the road.  There’s some fun in doing this stuff at your gym now (got some, “wow, you look like you know what you’re doing looks” from a few people, which was surprising for me around weights 😉

Back at the end of Week 6!

Will begin Day 31 of P90x today, but am thinking about Day 29.  There are so many good blogs out there on it.  One of my favorites is from a real overachiever in the San Francisco Bay area –  Check it out.  It’s a nicely daily diary of his journey!

Sunday, Day 29 was  torture in terms of beginning the week 5 rotation after a morning Sprint triathlon.   Held indoors at the Northeast Lincoln YMCA in support of the Strong Kids Campaign,  the Sprint was a blast.

Even more rewarding was doing this alongside my son Joshua.  He ripped through the kids dualthon.  He finished his 50 yard swim and 3/4 mile way too fast (should have done the 100 yard swim and 1 mile for the 11-13 age group, actually wished he would have swam my 500).  The good news he was there to run the lap counter and lament that dad still doesn’t have his flip turn down (I can coach it and did it in high school but need to tune it).  A pedestrian 10:30, 500 yard swim (need to get that to 8 minutes soon), fast 10 mile bike (32 mph- love the spin machines) and good 5k on treadmill (23:55) left me pumped.

And left me lamenting the new set of punishment and torture in the evening.  This was probably my most lack  luster workout of them all, yet was glad I still brought it, tried my best and forgot the rest.   1 ARM push-ups, now familiar chair dips and pike push-ups were just what I needed to bring me out of my shell.   All 24 exercises were worth it.

Core  and Pillar Strength Motivation

I’ve been blessed this year to hit mileage highs for the 2000’s: 1,500 running, 475 cycling and 25 swimming miles.  I’m nudging personal bests from 5k to 1/2 marathon (running).   I’ve been able to extend my fledgling triathlon pursuit to the Olympic distance and had the thrill of completing my first Pike’s Peak Double in August.  Trimming my marathon time back into 4 hours and onward 3 hours 30 minutes have proved daunting though.  While on track for a good marathon time in October (perfect day and course at the Des Moines Marathon on October 18th) – a sore  left Sartorius / Hip Flexor muscle group jumped into the fray.  It was a recurrence of a similar, more significant pull from 1996.

What happened?

Revving through a course PR Omaha 1/2 marathon, I felt the left quad/groin area sing a bit – actually scream – coming down a steep hill at mile 9.  Finishing the race strong, I thought nothing of it until the next day and ensuing 3 weeks.  So hobbling to the Des Moines Marathon start 3 weeks later, thanks to some ice, cold soaks and vitamin “I” (ibuprofen) – I reflected — “it’s time to get serious about the root cause”.   My 4 hours 30 minutes was ok and I was grateful to finish – but not nearly what my average 1/2 marathon times of 1:45 and weekly mileage were trending toward (3:50 to 4 hours).


You see the root was more of trunk cause – the core / pillar strength, or from right above my knee to below my pecs.  Years of running had weakened the quad area and at times gave me a false pass on core/pillar conditioning.  My strength training focused on the shoulders, arms, upper chest with occasional grudging crunches or leg lifts.   So in essence, I was running on limbs with poor support from the trunk.  Swimming had helped improved the trunk, but I was in desperate need of more. Classic mistake.

Solution – P90x

In early June I had the idea that core strength should be high on my list.   I had watched enough of the P90x infomercials and thought, “didn’t seem like a magic-exer-waist band, roller, glider gizmo fraud” (the lengthen excerpt below discusses this at length). Plus they looked pretty ripped.  Even if I could get 50% of the results, then worth the venture.  Sealing the deal was the impact it made in some of my friends lives, who went from sedentary to healthy weight/nutrition over a several month span.

So felt God had laid one of those lemonade from lemon moments and placed the perfect opportunity to “get real”.  Post Des Moines marathon seemed to be the perfect time start (and stave off those post marathon “blues”).

I wanted something I could hit after a morning run with little or no additional equipment.  I used to do something similar, or attempt to, at the YMCA before I began running with my most devoted running partner, Heidi – 65lb yellow lab of endless hyper energy.  But having her sit, down, wait, stay is not her strength while I hit it for 45 minutes after our run.

The beginning

Start of Core/Pillar Strength - 90 day program


After my lovely wife captured the obligatory “Day 1 picture mugshot” of me slumping over, pushing the gut out, unshaven, adderall deprived, kids mocking me and looking scary, I began my journey.  It does seem, as with any program, that the end picture, in this case Day 90,  involves each man getting a man scape:  shave/wax to remove chest hair, score a new hair do, bleach those pearly whites, some fake bake, and put on the happy music for the overall ‘vibe’!  Women go through their own mysterious “after” routine.  But I digress there.

Week 1 to 2 were tough!  In a nasty, good, fun way.  My left sartorius area was still tender and could feel it on the jump training (plyometric), Ab X, Yoga and Back Leg exercise routines.  Specific exercises that helped me remember Mr. Sore Sartorius was still there were the “hot foot felonies”, “scissors of stress” and “warrior torture pose”.  By the middle of Week 2 I could feel the core and pillar strengthen with validation on a series of speed/ track workouts.  In Week 3 to this Week (4) I’ve noticed a trimming of about 1 inch on waist from my runner’s / sympathy child birth weight gain “pooch” (which when your youngest is 8 years old and you’re a guy, doesn’t buy a whole lot of , scratch that, any sympathy).

Do I have six-pack abs yet?  No.  But I’m getting closer.  The “insulation around those six-pack abs to help keep the beverages cold” has been reduced.  I think I qualify for a 2 pack.  I’m not at the point where those abs can be used as a wash board, but at least I can see where the washboard is at in laundry room closet.  Get it?

Next Steps

I’m eager to not only finish the 90 days but to keep this as a continual habit.  It takes 21 days to form a new habit (good, bad habits seem to in grain after 2 days).  I’m there and more importantly am eager to see the proof in the pudding for the 2010 marathon, road race, triathlon  other crazy stuff that 45 year olds “shouldn’t do” type schedule.

If this helps you – please let me know.  If you’ve found another way to strengthen your core and pillar, share that as well.  I’ve included additional references below from  You don’t have to run out and purchase P90x or any Beachbody product.  You don’t need to rush to a local health club bootcamp.  Though either one is not a bad idea and will help keep you on target!  You can follow your own path.  I just found that the lack of a video (Tony’s smiling face) or a group (what I have in running with human and dog friends, or spinning, cycling and swimming next to my kids) tends to diminish my enthusiasm and accountability.

If you would like to explore some of the BeachBody offerings, I recommend it.  Please check it out on the this site.

Absolutely effective abdominal exercises for building your core strength

American Running Association

Core strength is essential for optimum health and athletic performance. You develop some core strength just doing what you do-moving throughout your day, including running.

But to optimize core strength you will have to apply yourself to specifically strengthening your abdominal muscles. Your payoff will be better running performance, lower risk of back pain, and last but not least, an aesthetically pleasing midsection.

You won’t want to waste your time or money, however, on ineffective exercises or expensive gizmos. In a study from San Diego State University, researchers tested and ranked the leading abdominal exercises and equipment and found some surprises.

Effectiveness was evaluated by measuring muscle activity using electromyography. For one, the ubiquitous “crunch” is way down the list (11th out of 13) for effectiveness. But even the poor crunch bettered the Ab Rocker, which (for nearly $70) came in dead last for effectiveness.

None of the tested equipment (Torso Track, Ab Roller, or Ab Rocker) targets the abdominal muscles as well as these top-rated exercises: the Bicycle maneuver, Captain’s chair, crunches on an exercise ball, and the reverse crunch (see below for descriptions).

Additional References: Core and Pillar Strength