Monday, October 21, 2019

Week in review Oct. 14-20: Steady rides and a race

Exactly half cycling — I'm not sure I've ever done that before!
Last week was pretty fun. I was able to buckle down and do some decent trainer rides and decent runs during the week, and even ran a fun 5K on Saturday. I took a full rest day and one easy morning, and still logged about 8 hours of training.

I knew that I would be running the 5K on Saturday so I was strict with a bike-run-bike-run schedule Monday through Thursday. I took Thursday afternoon off work for a random other reason, but used some of that extra time to do a speed run, which ended up as four descending miles, ending with a speedy-for-me 8:16 pace before another mile cooldown. By Friday I was feeling sniffly and not great, so I decided not to squeeze in anything else and instead to go bed at a decent hour. I already wrote about Saturday’s 5K here. I wasn’t feeling very motivated Sunday but I was able to tough love myself into two steady hours on the trainer, which is my max right now. I can tell you though, that couch was TEMPTING.

Bike and run are right where I want them to be right now, I did some but not enough weight training and PT, and I didn’t do any yoga or swimming. So, there is plenty of room for improvement. Swimming has been on the back burner for a while, but I would like to do another birthday “triathlon” next month, so I should probably get in the pool a couple of times before then, right?

A non-training victory recently has been healthy eating. Minus a few weak moments where I put away a medically inadvisable amount of potato chips, the only dining out my husband and I have been doing is our regular Saturday morning brunches. I had to go back in my Google calendar to Oct. 5 to see the last time we went out to dinner! Wow! I am the house chef so this is no small feat. Yeah, there have been many potato chips, chocolate chips, and glasses of wine, but I am reassured that even if I am not doing heavy training, at least I am eating plenty of veg and (mostly) healthy meats.

Anyway, last week’s training shook out to be:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 62.5 fake trainer miles in about 4 hours, 4 minutes. Nothing out of the ordinary here; this worked out to be two hour-ish-long interval rides, and one longer steady-state ride on Sunday. I usually ride long on Saturday but I switched things up with the 5K and didn’t feel like trying to squeeze it in later that day.

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 14.18 miles (I ended on an odd number because of the 5K) in about 2 hours, 29 minutes. Nothing spectacular here as I didn’t end up doing a “long” run, but it was nice to shake it up with the fun race on a beautiful day.

Weights: Just one video this week, after a run so I skipped the warmup. But I did some pull-up and chin-up work afterward so let’s say this was an hour.

PT: Sadly, just once this week, about 35 minutes of my latest batch of exercises and some rolling out of the quads and calves afterward.

Total: 8 sessions in about 8 hours, 9 minutes. Even with a day off, that’s pretty good, so I can’t be too mad.

Motivation was in pretty short supply yesterday and I am tired on this gloomy, rainy, Monday, so getting into a groove this week is probably not going to be easy. But even if I am not killing it training-wise, consistency, healthy eating and sleep will help. Hopefully.

Here's to great weeks for us all.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Detroit Free Press 5K 2019 Race Report

We ran a 5K this morning! A few years ago, as part of the Detroit Free Press Marathon and half-marathon festivities, organizers created a 5K on Saturday, the day before. We did the race in 2017, and it's since expanded a bit to include a competitive mile beforehand and a fun kids' mile afterward.

We were only doing the 5K, but we got there early enough (competitive mile started at 9 a.m., 5K at 9:30 a.m., and there were special medals for those doing multiple races all weekend) to find a parking spot easily and watch the competitive mile begin. The winner did it in something ridiculous like 4:18, which was LESS time than it took us to walk the block and a half from the start line to the finish line while we were spectating.

It had been pretty brisk in the early morning and we each had an extra layer on, but after watching the winners of the 1 mile we had plenty of time to walk back to the car to leave our fleeces and yoga pants before walking back to the start. The sun was out and there wasn't a breeze, and I knew once we got moving we would be fine. I was wearing long run leggings and a long-sleeved shirt, and a fuzzy ear warmer headband and light gloves, which I stashed after the first water station.

Before long, we were off! We had no time goals for this race, planning only to run steadily and have a good time. About a half-mile in I started hearing yelling and started to get concerned thinking that someone had fallen and people were yelling for help. I about died laughing when I saw this sign:
Amazing! We laughed about this for the rest of the race.

There really wasn't anything notable about the race except that it was a beautiful day and we weren't setting any records. I stopped for water once, my husband stopped to fix a weird sock fold issue once, but we plodded along and had enough energy for a finish line kick. And then we were off to brunch.

We signed up for this race on the very last day to do so online, and I was hesitant, partly because of the price. But this race always gives out excellent swag: A long-sleeved tech tee, medal, and a buff (or whatever the non-name brand name is — gaiter wrap?). I wish more races gave out buffs! I use them all the time as headbands and as light scarves when the temps drop.
High quality swag for Freep races, well worth the registration fees.
It was a great race and a great way to start a beautiful fall Saturday. I hope that I'm in good enough running shape next year that I can do a combo of races and get one of the special medals. Happy fall racing!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Week in review Oct. 7-13: Head down and work

A nice variety and not a bad week.
After the family- and football-filled week two weeks ago, I was glad for a nice, boring week during which I could get done a whole bunch of training. I had 2 out of 3 good trainer rides and got in some solid runs, and logged more than 10 hours of training for the first time in a long time.

The week started out not great with an FTP test I couldn’t keep up with, but I got some good running miles in that included legit speedwork on the treadmill, and did weights twice. I did my longest trainer ride in a long time, maybe years, while watching the Ironman World Championship on Saturday, and had a 7.5-mile run with a fast finish on Sunday that actually felt good.

My SI joint has been a bit cranky so I have been trying to realign it with various stretches and yoga poses as I sit and get up throughout the day, but I did manage a mini yoga session Sunday evening after all my cooking and prep for the week was done. My left side has given me problems for years, probably because of dance as a kid and muscle tension, lack of regular stretching, and working a desk job as an adult. One more reason why getting older sucks, I guess.

Despite the hiccups, I had a good week of:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 53.5 fake trainer “miles” in about 3:34. This included an FTP test that I bombed, a regular workout of intervals with power spikes, and two hours on the trainer on Saturday while I had Kona on the computer, the Michigan game on the TV, and Slowtwitch on the iPad. The time flew by, haha.

Run: Three times, twice on the road and once on the treadmill, for 18.75 miles in about 3:07. This included an easy run on a perfect fall evening, a speed run of increasingly speedy half-mile repeats on the treadmill on a dreary and cold fall evening, and a “long” run on a sunny and cool fall afternoon. Logically I should not have done a “fast” finish having just done speedwork and with nothing coming up to train for, but I was feeling good and I couldn’t help doing the last 1.5 running miles at a sub-9 pace, which is excellent for me right now. My left calf felt a little tight afterward but it is feeling fine today.
Some decent mile splits and a fast-for-me finish.
Weights: One video and pullup/chinup practice and one barre class for about 2:15 total. I feel SO much better when I am doing weights twice a week and I want to keep up this consistency as long as I can. Even if I am not doing my heavy routine right now, at least I am doing something.

PT: Two of my homework sessions plus rolling of quads and calves afterward for about 1:10 total. Nothing out of the ordinary, and I should have done double this, but I’m getting there.

One quick session of about 15 minutes Sunday night, doing mostly bends, pigeons, twists, downward dogs, etc.

Total: 11 sessions in about 10:21. A really good week for me right now.

This coming week is full of unknowns. My husband has the sniffles – will I get sick? There is a local 5K happening Saturday – do we want to sign up? Will I make it to the pool? Will I ever get to bed at a decent hour? I am hoping to ride into this week on a bit of good momentum from last week and do just as much good training, if not a little bit more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

An FTP fail (but a plan forward)

I need to do more of this.
Monday was a training first for me: I failed my regular FTP test.

By “failed” I mean when it was all over, my new recommended wattage target was lower than my previous wattage target from the last time I tested about 8 weeks ago. It was lower by 5 points, which … seems like a lot. Blech. I declined the new number.

I knew by minute 16 or 17 that I wasn’t going to last much longer – my legs were already burning and fatigued. I really don’t think I could have worked any harder, though. By the time I tapped out my husband had wandered over to make sure I was ok because I was breathing so hard – haha! Yes, honey, I’m fine; I’m just not in as good of cycling shape as I would have hoped.

The only thing that sticks out to me as a reason is that I haven’t been sleeping well (story of my life) and that I’m pretty stressed in general. I did run “long” the day before, but long runs for me these days are about 7 miles, and I felt fine the next morning, so I don’t think that’s it. Nutrition was nothing out of the ordinary for the preceding two days, although I had had a good amount of junk food in the preceding week. I hadn’t done weights in a week, either, so my legs weren’t still sore from too many lunges or anything like that.

I don’t think there’s much else I can do except try again in a couple of weeks. I’m going to plan for mid-week, which should eliminate any real or imagined long-run fatigue. I’ll make sure I have a snack an hour or so beforehand. The only thing I can’t plan for is a good night’s sleep, but I can hope.

A friend suggested adjusting my FTP manually, but I don’t think I’m quite ready to do that yet. Maybe when my workouts are feeling super easy and I’m still failing my tests, that will be something to consider. For now, I’m going to keep working hard for a few weeks and see what happens. Imagine that! Working hard toward results. Huh.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

September: A whirlwind of sickness, football, work events and other shenanigans

I'm late reviewing September but for good reason: My sister was in town for a couple of days, which resulted in family get-togethers and troublemaking. I miss her already, but I'm also glad to get back into a schedule.

September started out as a dud when my long Labor Day weekend was interrupted by a migraine. I was able to rally later as the month went on and get in some good workouts, including runs that are starting to resemble actual speed runs. I lost one Saturday to a college football game and another to a days-long work event, although I was successfully able to flex some hours and run and ride in the morning a few times. Yay!

Considering all that, it wasn't as high-volume a month as August was, but I'm OK with how everything turned out. September shook out to be:
A pretty steady increase in bike mileage these last few months.
Bike: 11 times, 10 on the trainer for 168 fake miles and once on the road for 35 road miles, for a total of 13 hours, 31 minutes in the saddle. Even though this is less volume, some good news is this is the same number of trainer rides as August; I just lost out on two Saturday road rides. Biking was a slow and steady grind toward consistency.
Very exciting, steady increase in run mileage! Hooray!
Run: 12 times, all on the road (!), for 61.25 miles in about 10 hours, 24 minutes. I'm thrilled by this. No only does this mark a steady increase in mileage for another month, but there was very little walking within runs this month (although I do count a quarter mile warmup and cooldown on most runs as part of the total mileage). Also, my overall pace has come down. Again, slow and steady wins the race here, literally and figuratively.

Weights: 3 times, 2 videos and one barre class, for about 3 hours and 25 minutes. Not terrible; at least I am doing something. I also got the big idea to do chinups and pullups after every weights workout. It started off ... not well but it got easier as the month went on. Well, not exactly easier, but I could do a few more reps, if that counts.

PT: 5 times, all at-home exercises, for about 2 hours, 50 minutes total. Nothing special here. I would ideally like to bump this up a LOT.

Yoga: 2 times at home for about a half-hour total. Again, I would like to bump this up a LOT, at least once per week.

Total: 33 sessions in about 30 hours, 39 minutes. This is still an average of an hour a day, even with all the migraines, football games, work events, etc., so I can't be mad.

There is a possibility that I'm going out of town for one weekend this month, but nothing is set in stone yet, and hopefully that is just one weekend. I like my travel and adventures but I also like logging some good training sessions. Maybe someday I'll be rich and can take train-cations. Alas, for now I have to do it like every other not-rich person — managing my training around work, family, and other obligations.

I hope everyone had a great September, and that October is off to a great, spooky start! May your leaves be crunchy, your air be crisp, and your pumpkin spice lattes be hot.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Week in review Sept. 30-Oct. 6: Football and family among some fitness

Some good running and a bit of other stuff, too.
I started a review of September but then I got distracted with other stuff – grrr!

Anyway. I knew last week wasn’t going to be a home run and that I would have to be careful with my schedule to get any workouts done at all. My sister was in town for a few days, so I took one day off work and training to hang out with her and my brother-in-law. We also had tickets to my husband’s alma mater’s football game on Saturday. We had a great time and great weather, but I think I am done with college football games for the year – noon games are an all-day commitment by the time we drop off our dogs at my parents’ house, drive to town, enjoy the game, wait for traffic to clear, pick up the dogs, etc. etc. etc. I know I’m complaining about something fun, and it was fun, but I hate giving up a whole weekend day. One or two games per season is enough for me.

I wisely front-loaded my week with a trainer ride and a weights video on Monday. My sister’s plans changed on Tuesday and we ended up doing a late dinner, which gave me time for an easy run after work and a quick shower at my gym before heading out to see her. I forgot flip-flops, so I’m sure my next post will be about how my feet fell off from whatever shower fungus I picked up.

I left work a bit early Wednesday to get in another trainer ride before they came over for a barbecue dinner and hanging out, during which my dogs tried their hardest to convince my sister and brother-in-law that dogs actually do eat barbecue. Thursday was my day off both work and training for family time (breakfast, cards, more snuggling with the mutts, and other shenanigans) and I rallied again for a great speed run after work Friday. I didn’t do any training Saturday because of the game, but I did go for a nice, long-ish run yesterday afternoon in the sunshine during a break in my usual weekly food prep.

I didn’t do any PT or yoga but considering the week, I am happy with what I could accomplish. It worked out to be:

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 18.25 miles in about 3:05. A few additional run notes: Tuesday’s run was 88 degrees and humid, and I was covered with gnats by the end. Friday’s run was 48 and getting dark by the time I left my late work event. However, all of my quarter-mile repeats Friday were at a pace that began with a 7, so I was super happy to see that. Sunday’s run was sunny and warm and my husband joined me for the first 2.5 miles before I did another 5 on my own. My left hip is randomly a bit sore today (probably from the lack of PT and yoga lately) but other than that, it was a great running week. I feel like running is the only thing I did relatively well last week!

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, for 31 fake miles in about 2:05. Nothing special here, I just picked a couple of my favorite Trainer Road workouts, watched Netflix, and got it done.

One video plus some chinup and pullup practice for about an hour total.

Total: Six sessions in about 6:10. I knew I wasn’t going to be breaking any records, especially with two days off. Of course I wish I had more time but all things considered, I’m happy.

Fingers crossed that this coming week will be much more boring and I can log some good training hours. I’m hopeful for another double Monday tonight, and Saturday is pretty much blocked off for Kona viewing =) and whatever workouts I can do while watching. I don’t want to make ANY plans; I just want to stay in and focus on getting some training in, cooking healthy food at home, and trying to get to bed at a decent hour, if that’s not too much to ask.

I hope your weeks are all off to a great start.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Week in review Sept. 23-29: Big work week, big training week

Not a bad variety of stuff.
Last week was rough with a Big Work Event so I had to be super strict about managing my workout schedule. It was mostly good news: I did pretty much everything I wanted to do, I only took off the day I had preemptively written off as a wash, and I never had to wake up earlier than my usual weekday alarm to fit in a workout. Yay!

Otherwise, it was a good week: Nothing spectacular, but a good foundational layer that will hopefully be something I can keep building on. Three trainer rides, three runs, two weights sessions, some PT, and a bit of yoga. Swimming has long been off the back burner and in the deep freeze, but I am optimistic I can work at least one session per week back into my schedule soon.

Running was probably the greatest victory this week, with an easy run with my husband; a “speed” run that included a mile split of 8:04, although that has an asterisk because I had to stop for traffic twice; and a long-ish run of 6.5 straight miles. I am really feeling like the proverbial tortoise here, slowly chugging away for incremental progress. Don’t get me wrong; I am happy with this progress. Hitting 6.5 miles was a victory because now I feel like I could run a last-minute 10K with no issues, should one come up.

My knee also behaved pretty well all week. I had the odd twinge and pang of discomfort here and there, but nothing that progressed to the level of pain. I also haven’t ridden my bike outside or longer than an hour and a half in two weeks. As long as I don’t overdo it, it seems to cooperate. I hope that slowly, slowly, I can push the limit of what “overdoing it” is.

Anyway, by the numbers, last week as:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer as two shorter rides and one longer ride, for 55 fake trainer miles in about 3:36. The rides that used to feel super hard are feeling slightly less super hard, and I know that I am due for another FTP test soon. Even if I still can’t ride very long, I feel like I am making slow but steady progress here just with my consistency.

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 15 miles in about 2:33. Not my best week, and my easy run was very slow at my husband’s pace (although I did do an extra lap of our route and caught up to him later), but the speed is starting to feel more like speed and the long runs are starting to feel more like long runs. I am hoping to do a 5K if not a 10K before the weather turns.

Weights: Twice, one video and one barre class, for about 2:25 total, which includes an extra few minutes after both of these for some chin-up and pull-up practice. I’m not sure why, but I got it into my head that I was going to be good at pull-ups and chin-ups, so I am going to figure it out or die trying. I can do 3-5 at a time from standing, but the hanging ones are a LOT harder and I can only do 1 or 2 at a time. I am getting there.

PT: Two sessions of my latest running form homework, plus a few extra minutes to roll out my quads and calves, for about 1:10 total.

Yoga: One session of about 15 minutes. Even that short session of mostly hip openers and hamstring stretches felt amazing.

Total: 11 sessions in – get this – about 9:59. Argh! I couldn’t have done one more minute??? Oh, well.

I had to go back in my logs to FEBRUARY to find the last time I broke 10 hours. If I can keep going with this routine with another week, I’m sure can hit 10 this coming week. Also, I didn’t realize this, but I did a LOT of doubles last week. I doubled up with ride + weights video after work Monday, run + PT after work Tuesday, and a two-a-day of run in the morning and barre in the evening on Thursday. Sunday I did a whole bunch of stuff (run + PT + yoga), but that’s how I like to spend my Sundays anyway.

Overall, it was a good week and I hope I can have another good week this week. And I hope you have a good week, too. Good weeks for everybody!