Friday, February 28, 2014

Mixed Win

My husband and I won our mixed combo match last night, 6-2, 7-6.  Bill was a little off in the first set and got better throughout the match, which seems kind of funny because we won the first set by more games.  The opposing man had a strong serve and pretty good movement, so I neutralized him by lobbing my returns.  I still need to work on my pace on groundstrokes so that I can have a good passing shot.

My 3.0 team was playing at the same location and the same time.  Unfortunately, they were only able to win two of the five courts.  One of the lost courts lost in a match tie-breaker, and two lost when they timed out in the second set.  It doesn't get a lot closer!

It was such a gorgeous clear night at the location we were playing at way out the suburbs, but it was way too cold to linger and appreciate.  That reminds me - this Astronomy Picture of the Day  with the crescent Moon and Venus is really neat.  I need to remember to look for Venus during the day sometime.  That day would have been a good day to do it, since I could have used the Moon as a starting point.  Ah, well.

Today is my rest day, and I actually have nothing difficult scheduled for fitness for today.  This morning I did my shortened version of P90X2 Recovery + Mobility.  The foam rolling felt good.  When I do foam rolling at other times of the week, I usually just roll my hamstrings, glutes, quads and IT band.  For this longer routine, I also roll my calves, adductors, another part of my upper leg, and the lower back.  I'm not sure what muscle I mean by "another part of my upper leg".  The part I roll is mid-way between the IT band (on the side of the leg) and the quad (on the front).  Today, these parts of my upper legs really needed foam rolling, as they were really tight.  Hopefully the rolling helped.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Crazy Balance Moves

Yesterday after work, I did a run focusing on speed intervals.  I did 5 minutes of warm up and cool down walking at 3.5 mph.  Then I did 8 intervals with 3 minutes at 7.1 mph and 90 seconds at 3.5 mph.  This totaled 46:00 and 4.12 miles.  It's amazing to me how running just a little bit faster can be so much harder.  A few weeks ago I did the same interval set up, but at 7.0 mph, and it seemed so much easier.  Even the Star Trek TOS episode I watched didn't keep my mind off of the fact that I was working so hard.  But the intervals are supposed to help me run faster overall, which would be nice, so I stick with them.

I sweated so much and lost enough salt that I didn't get bloated up today after eating out last night with my husband and father-in-law.  I even had a bunch of salty prosciutto (yum!).  I do put Nuun All-Day in my water when I exercise, but it can't keep up with the electrolyte loss in running apparently.

This morning, I did P90X2 Chest + Back + Balance and X2 Ab Ripper.  I have a love-hate relationship with this work out.  I do love the feeling of actually finishing it.  However, I hate some of its crazy balance moves because they are, well, crazy.  Since I can't do a lot of unassisted pull-ups, I modify most of the pull-up moves to be regular pull-ups or chin-ups, using a chair to assist.  But I do the rest of the moves as indicated.  I will say that it's a good feeling of accomplishment to be able to do moves like the "side arm balance" on a medicine ball with essentially no struggle.  Since the last time I did this workout, I definitely lost pull-up strength, but I kept my chest strength pretty similar.  I burned about 240 calories on the whole thing.  Afterward, I foam rolled my legs.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Back on Track

My tennis is back on track, or so it seems.  Our combo team won all three courts last night.  Joan and I won 6-0, 6-3.  My groundstrokes were still not really staying in, but I was able to hit my backhand OK, and basically make do.  One of our opponents was an especially weak player, so we focused on her and didn't have too much trouble winning.  Of course, I love to play with Joan because I can depend on her to be in the right spot every time.  We play very well together.

This morning I did Insanity: Asylum vol. 1 Vertical Plyo.  I really hate this workout.  It is, as the name implies, insane.  There is just no break, so it's so hard to keep correct form and keep going.  However, I needed a workout in this phase that would work my legs and was shorter than about 42 minutes, and this one fits the bill.  It makes me appreciate what I feel are more effective plyo workouts, such as P90X2 Plyocide.  I burned about 216 calories according to my BodyMedia.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Horrible Tennis

Well, my tennis last night at TCCP was horrible.  It's a good thing it wasn't an official match, because I just couldn't pull my game together.  My groundstrokes wanted to go long, and I wasn't really seeing the ball at the net.  When I lobbed a bit, I did better.  My serves were also pretty good.

I know everyone has ups and downs in their game, but it's frustrating to do so badly.  It seems that I often play badly on Monday (maybe that's just confirmation bias, and not really the case).  I wonder if that's because I do so much on the weekend that I'm just tired on Mondays?  Although I did get 8 hours of sleep on both Friday and Saturday nights, which was great.

On the plus side, it was a gorgeous clear evening.  One thing I do like about this time of year is that Orion and the other pretty winter constellations are in prime position right after sunset.

This morning my workout was P90X2 Shoulders + Arms and X2 Ab Ripper.  I've always like the Shoulders + Arms workout because it doesn't involve terribly fancy moves - it just has you do most of the moves standing on one foot.  I was hoping I'd be able to lift a bit heavier than I did after doing Body beast the previous month, but I guess not.  According to my Body Media, I burned about 186 calories for the whole thing.  I also did some foam rolling on my legs afterward, especially my left IT band.

I have a match tonight.  I'm hoping that I can play a bit better than last night!

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Loss, and a New Phase of Workouts

Well, last night's 3.0 match broke my winning streak.  We played the team that usually ends up winning the league, and true to form, they crushed us.  Joan and I played #1 doubles against a woman (and partner) that I've played several times and haven't beaten yet.  Our match last night was so close, though.  The winning score was 6-3, 2-6, 1-0.  Our opponents had really good net play and overheads, so we started lobbing them in the second set, which was very successful.  Joan did a good job at the net guarding against short shots and hitting a number of great reflex volleys. 

We were all set up to win the match tie-breaker, we thought.  However, we got down in the tie-breaker 4-9 and it looked bad.  We didn't let it get to us, though, and Joan served to win the next two points.  Then we won and won until we tied it up 9-9.  Unfortunately, we lost the next two points to lose the tie-breaker and the match.  Fortunately, they were good points and not some dumb errors.  We had a great time, since it was a really challenging match.  Despite the loss, I felt like I played pretty well overall.  I really need to work on the pace of my groundstrokes - in particular having more confidence to really hit them and remember to follow through.

My morning workouts have moved into a new phase.  For the next three weeks, they are focusing on strength, balance, and stability.  My workout this morning was P90X+ Kenpo Cardio+, which is one of my all-time favorite workouts.  It blasts a lot of calories without seeming like a huge sweat-fest.  The kicking also fits in with my current balance and stability emphasis.  I burned 286 calories according to my BodyMedia device.

My left knee started tweaking a bit during the workout.  It didn't really hurt so much as feel off.  I think my IT band is really tight.  Not unexpected with all the tennis and running I've been doing lately.  I did squeeze in a few minutes of foam rolling on it after the workout, but didn't have time for much.  I may try to do some later if it's still bugging me.  Sometimes it just works itself out.

Looking forward to my Monday night doubles at TCCP tonight.  It's so low-pressure compared to a match that I can have more fun with it.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Boxing Morning

Today I went to my usual boxing class.  It was a good class and I worked up a nice sweat.  I do think that working on punching fast and hard has help me build upper-body power for tennis - volleys and serves.

I was thinking more about my comment yesterday that my outside runs seems to end up more like tempo runs than easy runs.  However, this article from Runner's World seems to say that when training for half-marathons, tempo runs of 6 - 8 miles are good.  So I guess that's not all bad.

However, I need to think about my training plan.  I've been doing scheduled tempo runs for about 5.0 miles on the treadmill at speeds of 6.5 mph. I do those every other week - I have been gradually escalating the pace.  I do the 6-mi run every other week, as well.  If I'm only running twice a week, is having one tempo run per week too much?  The tempo runs are paired with speed intervals one week and a longer run the second week.  Maybe that's all OK, and I'm overthinking.  So far, I've been able to keep up with the training.

I have a 3.0 match tonight.  It's against a very tough team, so unfortunately I am not optimistic about it.  But you never know what can happen!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Eleven! Also, a run and practice

Last night, my 6.5 combo team won all of the courts!  Joan and I played very well on #1 doubles and won 6-4, 6-3.  I can't say that I hit my forehands with confidence, as was my goal, but I did feel like I played well over all.  We made very few unforced errors, kept the ball in play, and focused on working the weaker of our two opponents.  It's the eleventh win in a row for me!

This morning I did a 6-mile run as part of my half-marathon training.  It was supposed to get up to about 60 F today, so I waited and ran just before lunch so it would warm up a bit.  I really wanted to run outside, since I need to get used to that for the half-marathon, and I need to work on my pacing.  I did 6.05 miles in 1:00:21, which I was very happy with, considering I had about 10 minutes of walking for warm up and cool down in there.  Also, I ran on Rock Creek Trail, which still had a couple parts snowy enough that I had to slow down and walk.  I ran through numerous puddles, getting soaked feet, which was not pleasant.  I had wanted to run outside to work on my pacing, but I was definitely all over the place with my pace.  This was supposed to be a relatively easy run, but I think I end up pushing myself more like a tempo run the whole time.

This afternoon, my team had a practice outside in the gorgeous weather.  After a warm up, we did the recovery drill that I did in my clinic last Saturday.  Then we played three rounds with different partners; some played singles.  The first round was a good one for me, but my legs were definitely fatigued for the second two. 

After practice, I foam rolled my legs a bit.  I really need to do that more after runs. because it does make them feel better.  However, I don't think it's the best to do it right away, but to wait an hour or so.  That makes it hard to remember.

tomorrow evening I have a 3.0 match against a hard team.  Probably my winning streak will come to an end, but it's been good while it's lasted.

Friday, February 21, 2014


It's Friday!  Unfortunately I've got a lot of work to do today and this weekend.

This morning I did Insanity: Asylum vol. 2 Agility Tutorial and Ab Shredder.  If you skip forward through the tutorial's warm-up steps for each sequence, it tightens the program up into a 20-min agility blast.  That gives me enough time to fit in Ab Shredder as well, since I only have about 40 minutes on MWF.  Burned about 185 cal, according to my BodyMedia.

Tomorrow is supposed to be unusually warm, so I'm looking forward to tennis practice outside.  But first, a 6.5 combo match tonight.  My goal will be to hit more confident forehands.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rest Day

Yesterday afternoon, I did a tempo run as part of my half-marathon training.  I ran 5.0 miles at 6.5 mph, except for a 5-minute walking warm up and cool down.  I did it in 51:41, which was faster than both previous times.  Nice!  I did have to take some short walking breaks during the run.  During the run, I watched Star Trek TOS "The Conscience of the King", which is a good episode - a lot of good dialogue.

Today is my rest day.  This morning I did a shortened version of P90X2's X2 Recovery + Mobility.  I basically only do the foam rolling and the stretching at the end.  No workout or match for this afternoon/evening!

I always struggle with rest days, because I feel lazy.  I know that they are good for you, but somehow it's hard to relax.  Especially since my weight is up about 2.5 lbs since my recent low on Saturday.  I know that's only water weight, but still it's hard to take.  Since I should have a low-stress day today, that should go down tomorrow.  But I've been hungry lately, so it's been hard not to cheat.  So many conflicting impulses!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ten in a row!

I can't believe I had my tenth match win last night!  Fran and I won on #3 doubles in our 6.5 combo match: 6-4, 6-2.  I did not play that well - my forehands were really tentative.  However, Fran was on, and our opponents were not the best, so it worked out.  Unfortunately we lost the other two courts.

I have a couple days off from matches, and then we'll see if my winning streak continues. 

This morning, I did the Insanity Core Cardio & Balance workout again, with a similar calorie burn as Monday's (189 cal).  My lats are sore today.  It must be from the kickboxing workout yesterday, which is kind of funny, because I don't usually get sore lats from real boxing.  I think it must have been the exaggerated hooks.

I have a tempo run scheduled for this afternoon after work.  I like tennis, but it will be nice to have most of the evening to myself instead of hurrying to a match.  I also need to get to bed on time (or even early!) since the last couple matches have been at 9pm and kept me up late.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ninth Win in a Row!

Anu and I won our court last night in our 3.5 match.  It wasn't too tough: 6-4, 6-0.  One of our opponents was older and couldn't move well, and so we took advantage of that.  The other woman was getting very frustrated.  In the second set at 5-0, she said, "Well, this isn't fun any more."  What are we supposed to do about that?  We weren't mean about winning, but it's not like we're going to lose because she feels bad.  This was my ninth win in a row!

Anu was hitting some awesome forehand returns.  Even though our opponents had very little pace on their serves, she managed to slam them back deep to the baseline.  I talked to her afterward about how she did that, and she said she really tries to flip her hand over (generating topspin), which helps to keep them in.  I really need to try that.  When I get balls with pace, I can hit pretty strong forehands, but I overhit weak balls usually.

In fact, our team won all of the courts last night, giving us all a boost in morale, since we've played some hard teams.  I had been hoping for a sweep, but it was nice to see it happen.

This morning for my workout I did Cathe Friedrich's 4 Day Split Kickbox workout.  It's one of my very favorites, although it's not really a challenge any more, which is why I do it in my recovery week.  I burned about 220 calories according to my BodyMedia.  This workout is what got me interested in kickboxing and boxing many years ago.  It's still fun to do, although I find her punching a little slow and stylized now.

I am starving this morning for some reason.  My planned calorie intake was about 1600 yesterday, but I cheated on that with a cookie and a piece of chocolate, so it wasn't that low.  Snagged some M&Ms from the main office this morning.

I have another 6.5 combo match tonight.  We're playing a hard team, so I suspect my winning streak is about to come to an end.  Oh, well, a challenging match that you lose is still fun.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Another Win, and Starting Recovery Week

My 3.0 team won all the courts last night.  The opposing team is usually a pretty weak team, and last night was no exception.  Fran and I won on #1 doubles with 6-1, 6-1.  I don't think I played particularly well, but it was good enough to get the job done.  Eight wins in a row now!

Saw the nearly full waning gibbous Moon when leaving the match.  Another pretty night, but too cold to want to stay out to appreciate it.

This morning I started my recovery week for my morning workouts.  I did Core Cardio & Balance from the Insanity program.  According to my BodyMedia, I burned 186 calories.  This is a really good recovery workout because it does get your heart going, but it's not a killer.  I can tell I haven't been doing much jumping in my workouts lately, though, because some of the moves were tough.

It's kind of funny to think of this as recovery, because I burned more than in my workouts last week, but it is a recovery from lifting.  Over the last three weeks, my morning workouts have been focused on strength, using mostly Body Beast BULK workouts.  So no lifting this week.  I do have to really make myself take it easy, though, because I just feel like I'm slacking off.

Tonight I have a 3.5 match.  Unfortunately it's way up at Tennisplex, so it's going to be a late night.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Two matches, two wins!

I won both my MCTA matches last night!  Back-to-back at 6pm and 9pm.

Fran and I won on #1 doubles for my 6.5 combo team.  Nice to beat a 3.5/3.0 pair when we are both 3.0s.  Our opponents did not move as well on the court as we did, to cover holes and anticipate shots.  We won 6-2, 6-2.  Our team also won #3 doubles to win the match.

The second match was for my 3.5 team.  Anu and I won 6-2,  7-5.  Our opponents made quite a few unforced errors in the first set, but picked it up in the second set.  We were down 5-4 in the second set, but came back for the win.  Nice!  Anu has a really good forehand return, which was a definite asset.  Unfortunately, the team did not win any of the other courts.  The opposing team was very good.  When leaving the second match, I saw a very pretty full Moon in a COLD clear sky.

I now have 7 wins in a row in MCTA!  The streak feels good, but I wonder how long I can keep it up.  I'm optimistic about tonight's 3.0 match, as we are playing the team at the bottom of the rankings.  I got the book The Best Tennis of Your Life: 50 Mental Strategies for Fearless Performance for Christmas and read it in January.  I've been trying to focus on a couple things from the book that I think have been helping me.  First, as many of the strategies in the book emphasize, I'm trying to stay loose in my matches and not get too tense and worried about winning.  In my doubles matches, I've been trying to stay upbeat and joke with my partner.  In my singles matches, I've been trying to remember jokes or funny incidents to keep my mind of the match.  So far, that seems to be working.

The second thing from the book I've been doing is visualizing.  I don't think I'm really doing it like the book suggests, as the author wants you to take a moment before a serve or a point and visualize what you are going to do.  Instead, when I am playing and the ball is coming toward me, after I've made up my mind on the shot I try to very quickly visualize the shot.  For example, if I want to hit a strong cross-court forehand, I visualize that in about half a second.  I think that this is keeping me from overthinking the shot and just hitting it.  It's hard to keep remembering to do this, though.

After playing two matches and the tennis clinic in the morning, my BodyMedia said I burned a bit over 3000 calories for the day and took almost 25,000 steps.

This morning was my 11:30am boxing class as usual at Champion Boxing Fitness.  I was worried that I was going to be too worn out to really bring it, but I shouldn't have been.  Lately I've had enough energy for everything, even with doing 5 - 6 hours of tennis in a day.  I think this is partly because I've been trying to prioritize sleep a bit (not always successfully) and eating more than I was in Dec - Jan (except the holidays!).  I've been trying to eat 500 calories less than what I burned the day before, with some limits.  I don't go below 1600 cal/day or above 2000 cal/day, except for my cheat day on Saturday, when I eat about 2500 - 2600 cal.  This plan has led me to eating 1900-2000 calories four days a week, 1600 - 1700 two days, and my cheat day.  I've also been very slowly losing weight (hopefully in fat) over the past month.  Bonus!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tennis Clinic: Recovering to the Middle

Today at TCCP's Spin & Power clinic, the focus was on recovering to the middle after hitting a groundstroke.  This is especially important in singles.  We did a nice drill:  you and a partner play only cross-court, so each of you has half a court to hit into.  When you're both on the deuce side, you can only hit forehand shots - if you hit backhand, you lose the point.  If you hit into the net, you lose two points.  After completing the drill on this side, both of you switch to the ad side and do the same thing with only backhand shots.  A very effective drill!

After that, we played some singles, again focusing on recovering to the middle.  The 3.5/4.0 woman I played against was very good at alternating short and long shots, so it was a lot of running.  I didn't want to get too worn out since I have two MCTA matches tonight!

The pro was also encouraging us to remember to follow through on our groundstrokes, which is something I definitely need to remember to do.

First 10 mile run!

Yesterday I completed my first 10-mile run as part of my half-marathon training program.  My time was 1:49:53 on my treadmill, about a 11:00 min pace.  It was tough to keep going and going.  I had to take a couple bathroom breaks after mile 7 or so.  Burned about 1000 calories according to my BodyMedia - can't beat that!  While I was running, I watched Daybreak parts 2 and 3, the series finale for the new Battlestar Galactica.  I think I'd only watched them once before, when they originally came out, so that was fun.

My morning workout yesterday was a shortened P90X2 Recovery + Mobility day.  I generally like to have Fridays as my off day, but my tennis match schedule hasn't allowed that recently.