Quote of the day


Joseph Campbell

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Coming off a moderate volume of workouts last weekend I happily took Monday "OFF" from working out (as per my workout schedule, Mondays are my dedicated day off). Tuesday came too quickly and I was back to the grind. I managed a 60 minute spin on the trainer before work then squeezed in a 40 minute easy run along Cherry Creek trail after work. Wednesday, I slept in (well, as late as this girl sleeps in...usually 7:30 am is as late as I go). After a morning full of coffee infusions and getting lots of odds an ends done around the house, I jumped into the pool for a very kick-focused and tough 60 minute swim.

I was running late and had about 90 minutes to 'recover" from the swim before my training session. This was a complimentary training session with Pat Conrad, a personal trainer I met through my dear friend, fellow athlete extraordinaire and ambassador for Ragnar, Aniela Swider.  A few weeks back I had "crashed" one of their one-on-one sessions and so today I had expected the same type of workout: a 60 minute non-stop circuit/core/plyometric boot camp.

Boy was I in for a surprise.

As it turned out I was meeting him for a baseline fitness test. If you've never done one of these I guess I would describe it as a series of varying exercises which are time/speed/repetition focused and where the inevitable outcome is an insane amount of lactic acid build-up.  The goal is to set a baseline of fitness to build off of so that when the fitness test is repeated, usually months later, you have improved on many if not all levels.

My baseline fitness was preceded by body fat testing (with calipers), measurements of the circumference of my thighs, calves, arms, waist and hips. There was, of course, a place on the information sheet for my body weight (as well as my neck circumference :-)).  I swiftly declined weighing myself as it was, is and will always be an unnecessary evil for me (see my previous post: Saying goodbye to the scales).  The numbers generated from my measurements are, for now, just numbers in my head. Yes, I would like to see how they change/improve, but I will not focus on them.

Then the work started.

1/2 mile sprint on the treadmill  - as fast as my legs would take me (and, yes, when I was pushing 11.5 mph I had visions of myself falling smack dab onto my face). Since I had never done something like this and, by nature, I am a "conservationist", I started off too slow to hit a sub-3 minute time, but damn near close.  Next time I will start fast and finish faster, no problem.

Sit-ups for 60 seconds- as many as possible using proper form: elbows to knees on the up and shoulder blades making contact with the floor on the down. Pat of course was standing on my feet FLASH BACK presidential physical fitness test!!).  In my head I wanted to get to 60 but I hit a wall at 50 and managed to squeeze out, in a most painfully slow way, 6 more, for a grand total of 56.

Push-ups. Full, not modified, push-ups with good form; as many as possible without breaking rhythm (i.e. if I paused, slowed down or sped up....game over). I squeezed out 30.

Plank: Holding a proper position for as long as I could until failure. 2 min 09 seconds. (ps: my body started shaking after 30 seconds)

Pull-ups: From a hanging, dead weight position, wide-grip. To be honest, I wasn't even sure I could do 1. I managed 2.

Leg press: 209 lb. Max out without breaking rhythm or form. 41 reps completed.

Re-testing was originally scheduled for for May 1st but my coach (Coach Jen) encouraged me to try again March 1st. Below are my goals or May 1st but I'm looking to see if I can hit them all sooner. To be continued! 

1/2 mile: 2 min 50 sec
Sit-ups: 62
Push-ups: 40
Plank: 2 min 20 sec
Pull-ups: 5
Leg press: 45

This week I was reminded what a great motivator baselines are. When you take time to establish a base-line (or it catches you by surprise like mine did on Wednesday), whether its for work, fitness or any aspect of your life, you have foundation for improvement.  And, maybe, with hard work, you will end up doing things you never thought you were capable of. 

Please don't forget to make a small contribution to my cause. I know the race is months away but every day leading up to it counts and your donation, however big or small, will benefit many people.


  1. You are motivational, Bergs!

  2. Oh my goodness, Emi. I cannot do even one "full" push-up (and partials are a stretch). I am in awe. You go girl!!