Week 3: Climb for Clean Air – Week of Changes

The plan:

Mon: Interval + Strength Training

Tues: Strength Training with Weston

Wed: Long Cardio within Endurance Zone with 25lbs pack

Thu: REST day!!

Fri: Interval + Strength Training

Sat: Training Hike – 6 Hours Hike, 30lbs pack

Sun: Long Cardio within Endurance Zone

Oh, where do I begin.  Let see.   I introduced a lot of changes this week.  I changed my schedule around to accommodate holiday, used a new pack, hiked in the afternoon instead of the morning, have no rest days until the end and I struggled to identify what caused me to, well, struggled during the hike.   If there’s a lesson to be learned this week, I need to have compassion for myself.   I need to allow myself to fail, since failure is just a beginning to another success.  I need to learn to be more forgiving, more patient and not to introduce too much change at the same time.    As a Production DBA, I should have known better.  We hate that during deployment, yes?

In overall, this week is a week of changes.  I learned a lot about myself and my limit.   This is only my week 3, and I know I’m doing pretty awesome so far <this is me patting myself in the back>

How it actually went down:


I had a hard time finding motivation to do my training today.  I was super sore and just plain tired, and my schedule today is a bit out of whack so I can’t really work out in the morning and have to do it after work, which is very difficult to do after full day at work.   I did do it tho.   I started the work out with a Cardio Interval Training at the treadmill.   I ran 2.1 miles in 3o minutes, with 3:1 ratio again, which means – I ran with 6mph for 1 min to push my heart rate above 163, then slowed down to 3.5mph for 3 mins and let my heart rate drop below 163.   I did okay until the last 5 minutes when I can’t really get my heart rate down, so I didn’t push it and just coasted through the end of the interval.   Shortly after, I did the strength training, new routine that Weston designed for me.  Today its routine B as describe here.   Let me start by saying, I have a LOT of work to do.   First routine – I literally cried from being so frustrated due to not able to do even one rep.   My husband John was trying to help me by holding my back and feet, but I was being a way too stubborn and wanted to be able to do this routine on my own.  Did I do it?  Yes.  I did.  Second and third set – I did them all by myself without weight but this is just another thing that I know I have a lot of work to do.   The second routine – I suck.  Again.  I can not lift my hips from the floor at all, especially my left one.   So we improvised and only lifted my leg and I had to report this back to Weston tomorrow to see if he can adjust my routine.   The rest of the routine, I did pretty good.   Overall – I am not too happy with tonight’s strength training but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m creating a baseline.  This is where I am going to look and compare weeks from now to see how far I have become.


This is the day that I’m working out with Weston and I think the fact that I show up means something, or he probably just feeling sorry for me, haha, but he gave me a semi-rest day!  We didn’t really work out today, but worked more on doing a review on the plan and how I did.  I had to repeat a few exercises to him and show him things that I can’t do.  He adjusted a few things for me, showed me the right way to do a few routine. The most important thing that I took from today’s session is I have to do my repetitions slow, focused and within my range of motion. He’d rather have me do lighter weight, but complete reps, rather than heavier one.   We agreed that every strength training will consist of four hip exercises, lunges, squat, step-up, and four types of cores exercise.   Ten routines total, 12 reps, 3 sets.   We also talked about cardio and how important it is for me to build a lactic acid tolerance by doing a long cardio activity within my fat burning/endurance zone.   He used the comparison of a storm drain.   My body is trying to build more storm drains by doing a long cardio so lactic acid can be flushed faster and my endurance level will increase.   All in all, it was a very good session.


I changed my plan around.   Instead of long cardio, I decided to do an interval training and strength training today.   I did the interval at the elliptical this time, no weight.   I put on the interval program on the machine and go with it.   I made sure that my heart rate is pushing to 170 during the 1 minute interval and hover around 160 for 3 minutes and I was able to keep it the same interval for the entire 30 minutes.  I noticed a big different though.   I’m no longer struggling as much compare with last week.   That.is.progress!


Due to my semi-rest day on Tuesday and the fact that this Sunday is Easter, I decided to move my rest day to Sunday and do my long cardio today.   I set my music on, get my book ready on my iPad and just get going.  I made sure my heart rate hovered between 148-150,  which is the border of fat burning zone and the endurance zone and I was doing great.  I didn’t feel tired at all and I knew I could carry on conversation just fine with others during it.   I kept on going and going and going…. and when an hour pass, I looked at my iPhone and it said… 4.42 miles!!   Wow!   This girl just did 4 miles.   This girl.  I smile cheek-to-cheek.   I know for all of you runner out there, that prolly nothing, but for me — this is huuuuge!!!


Another long cardio day.     I had to cut down the work out time today to 45 minutes due to the limited time I have due to an event I was attending at our church.   I hopped on the elliptical machine and just started walking.   My iPhone app said I did 3.42 miles in 45 minutes and I was right on the border of fat burning and endurance zone the entire time.   I felt great and hopped off the machine.   Shortly after, I immediately felt this sharp pain on my right thigh.  I stopped walking and somewhat puzzled and kept walking.   Did my thing, went to my event and when I finally lay in bed, I realized this is not just “I’m sore and my muscle hurt” kinda feeling.   Few peeps on the twitter told me that this might be an injury or some sorta strain.   I kept stretching it, took some Advil and went to bed.


View from Top of Mt. Si

Hike day.   I had planned to go to Mt. Si for today’s hike.   With 3,700 feet elevation changes, I thought this would be a great hike to test how my training been preparing me.   I also switched my day pack and used what I called my “summit pack” and I put my usual 25lbs weight plus my 10-essentials.   I can’t ask for a better weather to do a hike!  It was one of the best weather!days so far this year!   I still felt the pain on my left thigh but I shrugged it off and headed out.    Due to an Easter Egg hunt activity in the morning, we didn’t start walking until 1:30pm.   It was pretty hot and even with the cold breeze, the sun is warming the whole mountain out!   Within 10 minutes of walking, I noticed a significant different on my strength and energy.   I was struggling.  My right thigh hurt, my shoulder hurt, I was breathing heavy, it was hot, and I can’t get my breathing or my pace right.   I slowed down, tried to find my pace but it wasn’t working.   Half hour into it, I gave up.   I looked at John and told him that I had to dump some of my weight (I put extra water as a weight on my pack) since I barely can walk.   It was very hard for me to do that mentally.  I felt like I’m moving backwards.   One step forward, two steps backwards.

Me at the top of Mt. Si

We hit 2 mile mark about 1hr 45 mins and decided to keep going.   As we went higher to the mountain, the air was getting cooler.  I breathed better, and was able to focus more on my walk.   I wasn’t struggling and managed to walk slow, focus and steady.   At mile 3, the trail was covered with ice.  It was slippery and I was quite amused to see others who walked on this trail with tennis shoes and slip and slide on this ice.   I didn’t bother to put my Yak Trax on and just kept walking since my boot had a good traction and I had my good hiking poles with powder basket on them, so I was on a good shape.   The only problem, the pain in my thigh was getting worse and I had to even walk slower.  3 hours and 45 minutes later, I was finally arrived at the top of Mt. Si, about an hour longer than I was anticipated.     Heading down the mountain turned out to be more challenging than I thought.    It was by far, the worst descent I ever had for the history of my hiking (and I did a lot of hiking in my life-time!).    My leg hurts every time I took a step down, and I used my poles to shift my weight to it and my left leg and I literally limp my way down to the mountain, for entire 4 miles!  It took me almost the same time we hike up to the mountain to come down.   It was a long day, a long hike.   I was soooooo happy when I took off my hiking boots and elevated my leg.   I did an 8 plus mile hike, for 7 plus hours.   That’s huge.   Yes, it wasn’t my best day and I was a little discouraged by it,  but as I write this post, I know that I accomplished something.    And I’m pretty darn proud about it.


#SQLHike – SQL Fun before Portland SQL Saturday

Karen Lopez (blog | twitter) started this event throwing an idea of having a bunch of SQL peeps to run a half-marathon together (or walk it) at Portland Marathon on Sunday October 9, 2011, which is a day after SQL Saturday Portland.   I’m not a runner, even though somehow I was dared talked into registering to the event and I know it will be a lot of fun and we can just walk it.   It’s an 8 hours event, so just like Karen said – you can walk it, run it, take a nap, do a little shopping and still finish the course  🙂

Snow Lake Trail

Snow Lake - One of the famous trail around

That’s a weekend activity.  There is still the Monday prior to SQL PASS that has no activity prior to the conference itself if you are not attending the pre-conference, so being a local and avid outdoor enthusiast, as well as a hiker – I would like to propose… a SQL Hike!  Well, you can call it whatever you want, but I would love to organize a hike to a local trail that is not too far, not too strenuous and will have an awesome view.   We are very blessed here at Pacific Northwest since there’s gazillion trails around.   We can do a little walking, a little picnic at the top/end, have a good outdoor’sy Pacific Northwest Experience, a little bonding, good work out and a good beverages and food for post-hike ot the chosen-joint afterwards.

I know October it still way away, and I probably need to re-post this later, but want to just get an idea if this is something that you guys are interested.   If so, leave me a comment and I’ll start thinking about the trail and location.

October will be a FUN month!


Strength Training: Routine B

Exercise Routine B:

  1. Hip Flexer:  Weighted – Seated Leg Raise (3 sets/15 reps/5 lbs ankle weight)
  2. Hip Abductors:  Bodyweight – Side bridge hip abduction (3 sets/15 reps)
  3. Gluteous Maximus: Bodyweight – Lying hip extension (3 sets/12 reps/5 lbs angle weights)
  4. Gluteous Maximus: Bodyweight – Lateral Step Up (3 sets/12 reps/10 lbs dumbbells)
  5. Gluteous Maximus:  Self Assisted – Single Leg Squat (3 sets/12 reps/10 lbs dumbbells)
  6. Obliques:  Self Assisted – Plank (3 sets/12 reps/2 counts hold)
  7. Obliques:  Self Assisted – Bridges, Each Leg (3 sets/12 reps)
  8. Obliques:  Self Assisted – Side Crunches (3 sets/12 reps)



Week 2: Climb for Clean Air – Pain Equal Gain

Week 2 Plan:

Mon:  30 mins Cardio (plus 25lbs weight) + Strength Training

Tues:  Strength Training

Wed: 45 mins Cardio (plus 25lbs weight)

Thu: REST day!

Fri:  Strength Training

Sat:  REST day!

Sun:  3 hour hike with 30lbs weight

Another week that I get to cross of my calendar.  Wow.  16 more weeks to go and I am in a whole world of pain this week.   It’s a good (really?) pain though, the kinda one that make you do ‘ow-ow-ow’ whenever you get up from your chair or going up the stairs (or down!).    You know the ol’ saying about No-Pain-No-Gain?  Well, I better gain a whole’ lot cause this week is about a lot of (muscle) pain.   This week, I also decided to contact my good ol’ trainer that I love and hate.   Weston Williams who train at Outrageously Fit studio is helping me by creating a specific program just for me.

This week is an exhausting week for me and I’m having ‘why in the world that I am doing this again’ moment tonight, but Karen Lopez tweet me this quote that totally lit fire under my behind:

The miracle isn’t that you finished, it’s that you had the courage to start  — John Bingham

Thank you Karen.   I need to hear that.    I’m doing this because I want to help American Lung Association to raise money to find the cure, but most importantly, I’m doing this because life is short, and I need to have a courage to start an adventure.   Any adventure.   I choose this one, because it so close to my heart and challenge me physically.

The actual:


I did the same routine as last Tuesday’s strength training.  Check the routine on my Week 1 for Tuesday post here. The only difference this week was I consistently used 10lbs dumbbells on each of the routines and I did pretty somewhat okay (or so I thought) on most of it.  Lunges still made my heart rate jump to the roof and I think it always going to be that way and I always going to love and hate that routine no matter what.   Keep in mind, this was a day after I went to Little Si, so I was feeling the pain.  For cardio,  I put 25lbs in my pack and did elliptical machine for 30 minutes after a 10 minutes warm up.


Today is my assessment day with Weston.   Note to self:  When your trainer told you that  “today, we’re not really going to work out since I’m going to just do an assessment on you, he lied”  Oh-my-golly.   If this is a no-work-out day, I’m not even sure I want to know what the work-out day look like.   After a 10 minute warm-up, we did cross training on all lower, upper and cores.   Start with, yes, a triple step-up/squat/lunge.   Then we did cores routine that involved some plank, bridges and side oblique crunches (which I suck big time). We ended the day with upper body routine.   I don’t even remember what the routine was, however, I do remember one thing.   I suck.  Again.   Upper body strength is my biggest weak link.    After the “non-work out” day, Weston told me that he wants to to focus on cores and upper body work out for the next 4 weeks as well as hip exercises.   Apparently, my left hip is weaker than my right and it showed from the way I did the squat routine.   My cores, well, do I really have to say anything on this?   You get it, right?  I.have.a.lot.of.work.to.do.  The end.


Long cardio day.   I put 25lbs weight inside my pack and I did a hill climb program on the elliptical machine for 5o minutes plus 10 minutes warm up.   I walked for total 2.17 miles today and I stayed within my endurance zone (which I’m tellin’ ya – it’s so not easy to do).   Thank you Jes for the tweet during the work out.   For Erin, who made sure I was up and at the gym.  It made me smile and it helps.   This is what I love about my circle of friends.   They pump you up.   They cheer you on.   They made this whole journey easier because they are with you every single way, well in spirit.


REST Day!   Yes.  Yes.  Yes.


If I have one word to sum up this day.  It would be ‘Disaster’.   Wow.  The new routine kick my behind big time.    I started with an interval training at elliptical machine with 25lbs backpack in me. Since Weston determine my cardio zone heart rate is 163, I did as much as I can to push my heart rate above 163 for one minute straight and slow down for 3 minutes.   I used the interval program on the machine with resistance 8 on the high interval and 4 on the lower for 30 minutes, and that felt like forever!    I also did my new strength training routine as designed by Weston, my new trainer.   I did routine A, as listed here.   Just for the record, whoever invented single legged squat – they were out of their mind since I can’t do that routine for the life of me – so I substituted that with regular squat with 10lbs dumbbell.   The hip abduction cable, I have to lower the weight on my left leg to 10lbs since I couldn’t move it but other than that, I did the whole routine (with a lot of grunting and groaning) somewhat okay.    Note to self:   I did NOT stretch afterwards which gave me a world of pain the next day.   Stretching is important and I tend to skip them afterwards since I just want to be done.


Long Cardio Day.   If you notice on the plan that I listed above, this is NOT listed as the day that I’m doing anything, but my trainer changed my plan around and told me that I need to do long cardio this day, so I dragged my behind off the couch, dropped my girls to the day care for a couple hours and hopped on the treadmill.   I did not put any weight on me since the objective of today is endurance training.   I need to be on my endurance zone based on my heart rate which is 134 and I was VERY VERY hard to keep it on that zone.   I felt like I wasn’t doing anything.  I wasn’t even sweating!  I felt like I want to do more, run a little bit faster, increase the cross-ramp higher, but that made my heart rate jump – so I had to slow down.   After 20 minutes being frustated, I finally got it.   I started sweating and able to keep my heart rate on that zone and really understand what it means to do an endurance cardio training.    I walked on 2% ramp, about 3.7mph speed for an hour.


West Tiger Mountain Summit

West Tiger Mountain Summit

I choose West Tiger Mountain as today’s training hike. With total elevation gain of 2,042 feet (start at 480 feet, summit at 2522 feet), I know that I would have a good work out for me.   I haven’t been on this trail for 7 years, but this trail was not a strange trail for me.  This was one of my favorite.   We were at the trail head around 6:30am and pretty much the only car on the upper parking lot.   I paced myself really well for the entire hike.   Slow, but steady.   Too slow for what I’m used too – but I kept my heart rate on my endurance zone (or hover around it), and I wasn’t struggling at all.  For those who’s been to this trail know that you are facing with steep trail from the get go for pretty much 2/3 of the way, and get a bit of flat area, and nothing but steep trail.   With 25lbs pack on my back, I thought I did really well.   About half mile from the top, it started snowing!   It’s a combination between hale and snow and I was COLD.   I didn’t want to stop and put my hard shell since I knew the summit is 15 minutes away, so I started to walk faster which totally screw my pace.   I was a bit struggling in the last 5 minutes, but I knew why.  My impatience got the best of me!   We reached the top short of 2 hours (1 hours 54 minutes to be exact) and I made a mistake by taking my glove off so I can tweet from there.   Big no no.  My hand was immediately numb since my gloves was wet from the sweat so when I put my gloves back in, it made it even colder!  Anyway, an hour and 16 minutes later – I was back in the warm car.    Big thank you for those who tweet me during my hike.   You guys made me laugh and it help on the motivation department.   It really did.


Strength Training: Routine A

Exercise Routine A:

  1. Hip Flexer:  Cable – Standing Leg Raise (3 sets/15 reps/20 lbs)
  2. Hip Abductors:  Cable – Hip Abduction (3 sets/15 reps/20 lbs)
  3. Gluteous Maximus: Bodyweight – Lunge (3 sets/12 reps/5 lbs angle weights)
  4. Gluteous Maximus: Bodyweight – Step Up (3 sets/12 reps/10 lbs dumbbells)
  5. Gluteous Maximus:  Self Assisted – Single Leg Squat (3 sets/12 reps/10 lbs dumbbells)
  6. Obliques:  Self Assisted – Plank (3 sets/12 reps/2 counts hold)
  7. Obliques:  Self Assisted – Bridges, Each Leg (3 sets/12 reps)
  8. Obliques:  Self Assisted – Side Crunches (3 sets/12 reps)