P90X – let the torture begin

Well hello there! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Hope you didn’t miss me tooooo much. I’ve had a lot going on in the past couple of months and I have many exciting new things that I’d like to share with you. First things first though. To get back on track, let’s talk fitness. 

We’ve been doing “okay” with our running schedule. I say that in quotes because we’ve actually been doing terribly with our running schedule, BUT, not completely in vain. As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to shave some serious time off of my Disneyland Half Marathon pace this year. The past two years have been great; but we’re gearing up for year 3 and it’s time to kick it up a notch! I need to progress to the next level of runner-dom. I’d like to run as close to, if not under a 10-minute mile for the majority of the race. I believe I can do it, and I know what stands in my way. All I have to do is create a plan of action to remove the obstacles from my path.

#1, Weight. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (except this time I’ll try and listen to myself), excess weight is really the number one factor that will slow you down. Muscle is one thing. Yes it weighs more so what I’m saying may sound counter intuitive, but muscle does something for you. Muscle helps move your blood around, gets oxygen to your lungs and propels you forward. Muscle is important and necessary, but it won’t matter a lick if you’re covering it up with dead weight in the form of fat. Fat is a dreaded enemy. It’s just like running with sandbags around your waist. Or with two small children holding onto your ankles.  Or carrying bricks in your pockets. Whatever visual works for you. It’s no good for a runner. So, in creating a plan to get to a 10-minute mile for the Half Marathon in September, I must include weight loss at the top of the priority list.

#2, muscle. A lean body is important for speed, but as I mentioned above, so is muscle. Running uses pretty much ALL of the muscles in your body in one way or another but it doesn’t necessarily build those muscles for you. Sure, it does to a point, but not to an optimal point. For example, a strong core is so crucial to strong running. It keeps your form tight, keeps you balanced, regulates your breath, alleviates pressure on your back. I could go on. However, running itself is not going to give you the strongest core possible. I’ve been running for years and I have a somewhat smallish waist, but I do NOT have a strong core. I used to. When I was doing Pilates religiously. I’ve never built a super strong core JUST from running. That’s just one example. The same could be said for your arms, legs and back muscles. For the past three years, running has pretty much been the sum total of my workout regimen. That’s all well and good, and I have excellent aerobic capacity because of it, but my body has plateaued. I’m not building up any new muscle by running, and it’s muscle I’m going to need if I want to speed up. So there we have #2 on the action plan. Build muscle.

Those are the two priorities right now. If I can drop some pounds and build some lean muscle, I know that I can get down to 10 minutes and under on race day. Now how do I do it? Lose weight, build muscle. Well, what can I say. There is one major zeitgeist in the fitness world right now that is pretty sure to do the trick. I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon, and taking on P90X.

I’m always late to these sorts of things. I hear about the latest fitness fad and I figure it’s just that, a fad. Everyone gets excited about it and in a couple of years something new comes along. Blah blah blah. That may be the case, and P90X will certainly lose fashion and join the ranks of outdated fitness crazes with Tae Bo and Jazzercise, but for now, I’m in. My friend Ryan did the program and sent me before and after pictures. I was so frickin’ AMAZED at what I saw, that I was sold. I think crazes are probably crazes for a reason. They work.

So that’s what’s happening on the road to Tahiti! I know that’s it’s going to be impossible to continue a 6 day a week running schedule AND stick to the P90X program. I’m not going to set myself up for failure in trying to accomplish that. I’m still going to run though. For. Sure. I can tell there are certain P90X days that are going to be easy enough on my body that I’ll still be able to do 3 mile runs. Shoulders & Arms for example. Totally. It was a tough workout on my arms but I could still run. Plyometrics on the other hand? No chance in hell. That one knocked me on my back for the entire day. Holy guacamole that was hard awesome!

I started the program last week while I was up visiting my Mom and I just have to share a funny story. I certainly got off to a hilarious start. Not sure if that’s what Tony Horton had in mind, but what can I say, my mom and I always end up laughing together. So here’s what happened. I can’t do pull ups… yet. They tell you to never say never in P90X but for now, ain’t no way. So instead I’m supposed to anchor my resistance band in a door jam; but my mom’s living room is this big open space and there were no door jams nearby. So instead, I had my mom hold on to one end of my resistance band while I did my workout. Let’s just say, I think she got a workout too. It was hilarious! Maybe you had to be there, but just look at the expression on my mom’s face!

hey, it worked

There was almost as much laughing in the first workout as there was me cursing and screaming in agony. Good pain though, good pain. I’ll tell you who’s having the last laugh…

curse you Tony Horton and your bazillion death push-ups!

So, in a nutshell, if you are looking ahead towards the Disneyland Half Marathon (or any upcoming race) and want to shave some time off your pace, consider jumping on the P90X bandwagon. It’s going to be hard work. That became very clear within 15 minutes. (I won’t even go into my arch enemy, Ab Ripper X, in this post).  But I know the payoff will be so sweet!

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