Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weighed Down?

Usually I look forward to stair workouts, well at least until im actually standing in the stairwell before we start.  I tend to make small talk and random chit chat prolonging the inevitable pain.  Stair workouts are so much tougher than track workouts, theyre shorter in duration but feel much worse and there is no “easy” pace when it comes to stairs.  The slower you go, the worse it feels because youre basically doing lunges for minutes on end.  

The building we climb (which likes to remain anonymous) is 20 floors so the climbs usually take us about 2:30 – 3:00.  As of late my fast climbs have been in the 2:30-2:35 range and I didn’t start averaging that until the past month or so, not sure where the sudden burst of intensity came from but I most certainly cant complain!  brady can bust his speedy climbs in the 2:20s and can even go under 2:00 when he desires to.  sometimes during these workouts, your legs get the “floor 7” feeling as we like to call it and you start to feel sluggish yet youre only 5 floors in.  that feeling might last for a few floors, then we reach the halfway point, ok only 10 floors to go.  I try to mentally trick myself into ignoring the next 4 floors because once we hit 16, I just start thinking theres only 4 floors left, just get to 20 then the 2 monster floors will take care of themselves.  Floors 21 and 22, have steeper taller steps and theres more of them, makes ya really work at the end of the climb.  Once you get to the top, its hands on the knees and heavy breathing, im sure we would collapse but the landing is covered with dirt, dust and construction debris and remnants, not a safe collapsing platform.  We stagger down to floor 19 and wait for the elevator.  Im yawning uncontrollably because that’s what oxygen deprivation does to me and when were standing on the landing before we start the next one, im feeling lightheaded and a little wobbly.  Oh the way that only stair climbing can make you feel, ya don’t get to feel like that at the track…

Sometimes after or even during that 1st warm-up climb, I can tell how the rest of my workout is going to be.  although there are times when my first climb feels horrible yet somehow I bust out my fastest climbs to date, that was the case a couple of weeks ago and im still shocked about my times.  ive actually been having a lot of those recently :)

Friday, was one of those days where the 1st climb felt bad and it didn’t get any easier or better after that.  this was one of the worst stair workouts ive had recently, my times were about 5-10 seconds slower than where I should be, my legs were feeling that floor 7 feeling at floor 5, my heart was beating out of my chest and my lungs were about to explode.  I thought about one-stepping it to make it easier on myself but I didn’t have it in me and im not sure that woulda provided any relief either, my quads were trashed.  im not sure why this workout was so rough, maybe because my legs were still sore from running the Chicago half marathon on Sunday (I ran a PR, 1:29:30!!) or it coulda been because I didn’t take any rest after that and decided to do a tempo run on Wednesday too?  either way, it didn’t make a difference, I struggled during all 5 of those repeats but got through it.  the suffering doesn’t last long but dang, hitting 2:40 was almost impossible today

Saturday I ran 12 miles at busse with brady and brad then the three of us turned around and ran 10 miles in long grove on Sunday, I also got up early to do 6 miles on monday morning in the rain so I really wasn’t sure how my legs would react to stairs later that same day.  it was weight vest Monday too!!      

ah, the weight vest, such fun!  I think that mine makes me look like a tiny super hero or perhaps a member of the bomb squad.  The weight vest workout usually consists of a WU climb with 3-5 sets with the vest on then a CD climb.  Currently, my weight vest contains 6 – 1 lb sand bags and the vest itself probably weighs about a pound so im lugging an extra 7 lbs up those stairs!!  and we keep increasing the weight each week, good thing my vest maxes out at 12 sand bags! 

The WU climb felt surprisingly good, I was worried what might happened today since the workout on Friday didn’t go as planned.  once we put the vests on, it didn’t feel that bad either.  the vest is bulky though and makes it hard for my short arms to reach the rail as easily as I normally would so I found myself pushing on my legs a lot.  the vest also kinda tips me forward a bit too.  my times were dead on though, about the same or faster than I did during the last weighted climb (2:53 average) and that was with less weight so I felt some redemption for Friday’s climb.  brady blazed his last vest climb in 2:40, thats faster than I could do my repeats in last week and he was toting an extra 18 lbs yesterday!!  his legs were on fire, I finished about 14 seconds behind him.  we took the vests off and went up for the CD climb.  It always feels strange after the vest is gone, you feel lightweight and free for a few floors but then the pain sets in just like it always does.  It likes to trick you that way, let you feel good and then bam, outta nowhere, it hits ya. 

People in the elevator were extremely chatty today too, several asked us if we were training for the marathon, to which we politely declined and said we were climbing the sears tower instead which seemed to spark some interest.  others asked how much weight was in our vests and how many times we were climbing.  its always nice to have some friendly conversation in the elevator ride down, better than people rolling their eyes and giving us evil looks, which happens occasionally. 

Its strange how some days your body just doesn’t wanna react or push itself the way you think it should.  Sometimes, it just says let me be today, im not up for the challenge, I need to go easy.  the mind tends to get frustrated and wonder why one week you can have your best workout ever then suck the next week.  obviously fitness doesn’t just disappear like that, so you chalk it up to just being a fluke and move on with it.  cant dwell on the sluggish ones because most likely, the next one is gonna be stellar

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