Posts Tagged ‘BeachBody’

PR Running

PRs drive me - how about you?

The PR: Personal Best, Personal Record (PR) – in swim/bike/run/row/adventure race/CrossFit worlds a PR is about your victory over yourself.  Whether you’re a back of the pack, middle of the pack or top dog – it doesn’t matter.  PR’s are celebrated by friends and competitors alike.

As I’ve reprogrammed my training over the last year and a half to a strong mix of strength training and aerobic balance (swim/bike/run/row) I’ve been very blessed to attain some PRs – not ALL TIME PR’s but 12-13 year ones.  So I’m thinking they still qualify.  Plus it still provides some goals to see if my 45-46 year old self can beat the 28-30 year old self.  Of course in the back of mind I’ll think “why in blazes didn’t I train like this in the mid 1990s?!”

Here’s the running benchmarks I’m chasing.  (for validation go to  and/or

  • Marathon – 14 year best 4:07 (Tulsa in November 2010), all time best 3:55 (Lincoln 1996), Boston Qualifying (3:30 in 2011, then 3:25 from 2012 to 2014 – ugh!)
  • 1/2 Marathon – 12 year best 1:44:30 (Grand Island in August of 2009) all time best 1:41:17 (Lincoln 1997).  I want to measure this again this year and see impact of Strength / Anaerobic Training begun in October of 2009.
  • 10 mile – 13 year best 77:10 (7:42 pace, State Farm in February 2011), all time 76:00 (7:36 pace, Statehood Day 1998)
  • 15k – 16 year best 73:45 (7:54, Governors Cup in October 2010), all time best 71:18 (7:39 pace, Governor’s Cup 1994)
  • 10k – 12 year best 46:32 (7:28 pace, Novartis in March 2011), all time 42:37 (6:52 pace, Omaha Corporate Cup, 1996)
  • 5k – 12 year best 22:49 (front half of Novartis 10k, March 2011), all time best 20:59/ 20:32 (6:45 pace, Bun Run in 1996 and  6:41 pace Public Safety 5k – Omaha – 1996).
  • 1 Mile – 5:59 (Lincoln Mile, 1998), foggy memory of a 5:18 in High School in practice in 1981… but that was a little while ago.
  • Track events – this is going way back – to the early 1980’s.  Back when stop watches had hands on them and distances were in yard 😉

I’m also starting to keep a journal of the CrossFit lift totals – as meager as they are sometimes.  The idea is to track these over time as well. (Numbers below are in pounds)

  • Front Squat (legal ;-)) 155
  • Back Squat – 185
  • Military Press – 135
  • Push Press – 145
  • Split Jerk – 135
  • Deadlift – 255
  • Bench – 185 (all time 205)
  • Fran – 75# – 7 minutes 12 seconds.

This can also be applied to weight, body fat, annual physical results (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc).  Right now my racing weight is at 168-170lbs.  Two years ago before the Lincoln Marathon I was at 183lbs with a nice little marathoner’s belly that men pile on over the years.  My weight was slightly lower at the Tulsa Marathon (164).  One change has been been continued Paleo Nutrition moves (higher protein, animal fat) and heavy strength training cycle from February to early April).

What PR’s do you keep?  What value to you see in them?

I see them not as a wall to bash your head against – but a meaningful measurement to see what your current state is.  And whether you’re an age group winner, trophy sniffer (almost to that age group winner, or where I’m at now), mid pack or back of the pack – it doesn’t matter.  PR’s are all about you! They also can help motivate you when your workouts are hard, progress slips or motivation wanes!

I have a few more opportunities over the next several months to test this out – the Lincoln Marathon next Sunday, Cornhusker State Games in July and Pikes Peak Double (great comparison to my age 40’s peak of  endurance/aerobic fitness in August of 2009).

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CrossFit Logo Baby!

Slate Magazine is on a roll.  After digging deep into the beginning of the 20th century, Annie Lowery jumps into 2011 with a quick, somewhat superficial review in her January 20th “Work Out So Hard You Vomit, The rise of P90X, CrossFit, and the “extreme” exercise routine.”


The article focused more on the business models of Beachbody (parent company of many professionally produced exercise video series such as P90x, Insanity, etc) and CrossFit (the open source, “bootcamp” oriented fitness movement).  There was a brief review of each program (P90x and CrossFit) and then a contrast between the two.

I pipped in a little bit in terms of my direct observation over the last year.  CrossFit’s founder, Greg Glassman, tends to evoke an either powerful positive or negative response in terms of style and CrossFit affiliates are painted in an extreme light.  P90x was cast in a generally more favorable light but with a “campy” label and focus on Beachbody’s ever-expanding revenue motivation.

Here’s my quick thought – either program is a powerful introduction for someone leading a sedentary lifestyle or a training boon for someone (like myself) who had been out-of-balance in terms of aerobic only exercise.   Those two along with the emerging “bootcamp” approach to training and maintain High Intensity Interval Training/ Circuit Training, Pilates, etc., are far better than the alternative – nothing, sitting, eroding health.

And as I shared in my comment to Lowery’s article, I have not been pushed to beyond what my capacity or into “pukey” land by any of the seven CrossFit trainers I’ve learned from.  Each one has stressed form over load (weight).

So go out and workout hard!  You’ll have fun.  Even if you’re 45 years old or older/younger!

An ode to pull-ups would not be complete without a nod to Mr. P90x Pull-Up, Tony Horton. This video was captured by Beachbody coaches, Kristin and Pat Hain, before Tony’s Super Saturday event in Lincoln Nebraska in October of 2010. Tony cranks out 20 switch grip pull-up/chin ups (with a slight kipping swing)!

Weekly stats

  • Running – 23.25  miles
  • Bike/spinning – 13.2  miles
  • Swimming – 0 miles
  • P90x – Week 11 workouts – Chest & Back, Shoulders and Arms, Legs and Back, 4 Ab Riper X and KenPo
  • Snow Shoveling –45 minutes

Talk about a challenging week to run outside.  I made it 3 times outside and 2 track workouts inside.  Temps dipped into minus 14 range overnight Thursday – Saturday.  Brrr… 

Sunday, Day 71 –  Walk/jog 1+ mile to get the car parked back at church, chest and back as well as 5.7  miles on bike and Ab RiperX at the Y.   Great to have P90x in the inclement weather.  Not making gains on every routine, but overall better workout.  The push up bars (used since week 4 at home or at Y) really stress the form.   Pull up routines benefit from the Precor pull up machine (allows a little weight to boost) as well as straight out trying it.  Still not above 12 in one shot.  Really enjoy the chest/arm/ab workout!

Monday, Day 72 –  3.2 miles – with last 2 at an elevated track at Faith Lutheran during boy scouts.  Felt great to just run without worry of footfall on ice/snow.

Tuesday, Day 73 –  Ran 6 from Lincoln High at night (good footing on the trails) and Ab Riper X core (all exercises except for the sit up modified). 

Wednesday, Day 74 – Ran 6 from home with dogs Heidi and Cash.  Much slower.  In advance of another, thankfully lesser, snow fall.  Spikes held up well.  Went from 9:50 pace on Tuesday night to 11:10 mile.  Yuck!  Shoulders and Arms at the Y afterward.

Thursday, Day 75-  7.3 miles on bike at the Y – much faster than Sunday.  Maintained a 15mph pace.  Then Legs and Back, Ab RiperX!  Tony Horton comes to town on Friday so better look good!

Friday, Day 76 –  2 miles running in minus 5 weather, with dogs, then KenpoX.  Met Tony Horton and other area coaches tonight!  What a blast of encouragment.  Nice to have him stop in right after a flight when he could have ducked and crashed in the hotel to rest.  What an inspiration!  I’ll be with my kids on Saturday at a swim meet, so will miss out on the group work. 

Saturday, Day 77 – Ran 5 miles at 8:30 clip at a nice indoor track at Norfolk YMCA during the kids’ swim meet.  Joshua and Annaliese rocked during their swim events!  Also Ab RiperX (4 times this week)!  Mason Twists with medicine ball on final 10.  Probably my biggest improvement in P90x has been the Ab Riper X.  The first workout I had to take 2 minute breaks between each of the 11 routines, fading and falling to match the reps on final 5.  Now I can actually add to each one. 

Back at the end of Week 12 which kicked off with a great 12 mile run on Sunday!

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