Monday, July 15, 2019

Week in review June 8-14: Summer holidays are over but the heat is on

Not my best week, but I had some decent rides and decent runs.
Happy Monday, everyone. I tried to write something mid-week so this space is more than just a rehash of what I did the week before, but I got busy. And then there was Thursday night when I used up every iota of mental energy to do a weights video before becoming a human blob and eating nothing but ordered-in pulled pork for dinner. You know how it goes.

I worked a regular Monday-Friday week so I didn’t do any extra training on any holiday days off work, I’m sad to say. I did do three bike rides, including one outside, and three runs, including one a smidge faster than usual. There was one session of PT and the aforementioned weights video, but that was it for the week.

On the plus side, the only time I didn’t cook dinner was for that barbecue on Thursday; I even cooked dinner Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday. And I worked in the garden for a bit yesterday and picked lettuce, zucchini, and squash for dinner yesterday evening, which was amazing. Having super fresh veg all summer long definitely helps keep me on the eating a healthy dinner wagon. Yay veggies!

The workouts I did were:

Bike: Twice on the trainer for 30.25 fake trainer miles and once on the road for 25 miles for about 3:44 all together. Trainer rides were my usuals and I didn't get out to the closed-to-traffic bike route until late, so I called it at 25 rather than risk getting hit, which was disappointing. BUT, at least I got to get outside on a nice day.

Run/Walk: Three times, all on the road, for 9.65 miles in about 1:56. This actually was a great week for running: I successfully bumped up my intervals to 3:30 running/1:30 walking, I did something resembling speed work on a very hot Friday, and I kept that one extra interval on Sunday to make a "long" run. Except for the heat I had good weather all three days, which I was very happy for.

Weights: One 55-minute video. This was really difficult to work in my week this time around.

PT: One 30-minute session for hamstrings only. Same.

Total: 8 sessions in about 7:05. This still an average of an hour a day so I can't be too upset about that, although I wish I'd fit in more.

Something kind of funny happened with my weights video Thursday: My legs killed me for days afterward. They felt heavy on my run Friday, I didn't have any speed for my ride Saturday, and they were STILL a bit sore on Sunday. I said I wasn't sure if that was because of A. Being out of racing shape, B. The video, C. Getting old, or D. All of the above. Sadly it was probably D. But, I was still out there even with sore legs, getting it done as much as I could. Yay!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Week in review July 1-7: Shocker – when I have time off work, I train more

Decent trainer riding and not-too-shabby other stuff.
I wanted to pop over here and write something mid-week, but I was too busy over a long Independence Day weekend relaxing, lazing around, and taking care of some of the little things that pile up (all over the house…). I didn’t do anything big and didn’t travel anywhere, but I got to hang out with out-of-town family, see friends I haven’t seen in months, splash in a pool, eat WAY too many hot dogs, enjoy a few sunsets, and other shenanigans that come with a summer holiday. I DID get some decent training in as well.

We got sent home early Wednesday (my boss was ready to peace out before we were, lol) which gave me plenty of time for an extra-long trainer ride before a family dinner. I marked the actual Fourth of July holiday with a double of a barre class and a very hot wog, which was followed by lazing around, reading, spending too much time on Instagram, drinking by the pool, etc. One highlight of the weekend was 6.5 pounds of pork roast that had spent 16 hours in the slow cooker and was much enjoyed by my husband and me for the next few days.
I wore one red and one blue sock to barre but I don't think anyone noticed. =(
We did make it to the pool to splash around, but no real swimming was done.
Friday was an easy day of making a strawberry rhubarb crisp with rhubarb from my mom’s garden, doing all my PT, and a barbecue at our friends’ house, where I ate WAY too many of the aforementioned hot dogs. In hindsight, I did a lot of lazing around this day and could have squeezed in a pool swim, but there’s something to be said for taking a day once in a while to not change out of your pajama pants until 3 p.m.

We were pretty much back to our routine by Saturday. I would have liked to get in a long outdoor ride but the weather was being finicky and it ended up storming during my riding window, so I was happy I was on the trainer inside. And I did my usual “long” run yesterday during my usual food prep routine. Nothing special there.

I would have liked to lift yesterday and even optimistically kept my workout clothes on after my run, but alas, by the time I was at a good stopping point it was already getting late. I’ll try to get back into a routine of a video or barre during the week and heavy lifting on the weekend.

Anyway, it all worked out to be:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 57 fake trainer miles in about 3:55. Not too shabby, but I wish the weather would have cooperated on Saturday. Oh well, it is supposed to be nice this weekend so fingers crossed I can get in a good ride then.

PT: Three homework sessions for about 2:30. Hey, not bad on this one! And I got in one hamstring session after work early in the week!

Run/Walk: Three times, all easy run/walks on the road, for 8.65 miles in about 1:50. Slowly, slowly, slowly building up. I was happy to get outside all three times even if I had to dodge storms one day and deal with the humidity another day. Other than the weather everything felt pretty good. I’m still having a bit of uncomfortableness in my left hamstring if I let my form lapse, but concentrating on running smartly seems to do the trick.

Weights: One barre class for about an hour.

Yoga: One solo session of mostly bends, pigeons, twists, etc. for about 15 minutes.

Total: 11 sessions in about 9.5 hours. Not bad at all!

There are always going to be things I wish I could have accomplished during a few days off, but I’m pretty happy with the mix of training, household to-dos, lazing around, and spending time with friends and family. Now, it’s back to that pesky “work” thing, but I’m hoping to keep the momentum going as long as I can.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

June: Some time on two wheels and even some time on two feet

I love it when I add up my totals for the month and I’m pleasantly surprised. June ended up being a pretty good month for training.

In no small part this was because it was a boring month: I didn’t go anywhere, and I had one 20-day stretch during which I did at least one workout every day! Taking a couple of days off work and doing doubles on those days helped, too.

I slowly built up my running mileage from “very easy” to “easy,” and I rode my bike outside twice – not nearly enough, but it was nice to get outside for the first time since last summer (!). I did a good amount of PT, lifted some weights, and even stretched it out a bit with some yoga. I didn’t make it to the pool or do any other workouts, but I’m still happy with how everything shook out.
I love it when I add up my totals for the month and I’m pleasantly surprised. June ended up being a pretty good month for training.

In no small part this was because it was a boring month: I didn’t go anywhere, and I had one 20-day stretch during which I did at least one workout every day! Taking a couple of days off work and doing doubles on those days helped, too.

I slowly built up my running mileage from “very easy” to “easy,” and I rode my bike outside twice – not nearly enough, but it was nice to get outside for the first time since last summer (!). I did a good amount of PT, lifted some weights, and even stretched it out a bit with some yoga. I didn’t make it to the pool or do any other workouts, but I’m still happy with how everything shook out.
Bike mileage by month for the past 11 months.
Bike: 12 times, 10 on the trainer for 169.26 fake trainer miles and 2 on the road for 71.65 road miles, in about 16 hours, 17 minutes. This is the most time I’ve spent in the saddle in a long, long time, probably years, mostly due to those two long road rides. Except for last week when exhaustion just overcame me, I stayed in a steady three-times-per-week routine and even increased my FTP last month, and I am proud of both.

PT: 8 times, all homework for about 8 hours. This may not seem like much, but keeping a twice-ish-per-week average when I’m not even going to the clinic anymore is a big victory for me. I am really making an effort to do my glute prehab exercises from last year as well as my hamstring exercises from this time around. I had an alarming amount of soreness after I had done them for the first time in a while, which makes me think I cannot neglect the glutes! I want to keep running forever, not in six-month increments because I keep getting injured.
Running mileage, not counting all the walking warmups and cooldowns for May and June.
Run/Walk: 13 times, all on the road, for 34 miles in about 7 hours, 38 minutes. I started the month running only in a super slow shuffle and I ended the month doing legit running three minutes at a time for 4 or 5 intervals, so, progress? I have found I really have to concentrate on good form or my hamstring will hurt again. I think the next step to keeping myself running in good health is to see a physiotherapist or running-specific physical therapist to do some more work on strengthening exercises and correcting any imbalances.

Weights: 4 times including 2 barre classes, 1 video, and 1 heavy/body session, in about 4:20. Once a week isn’t terrible, so I’ll take it, but I would really like to lift twice a week with some regularity.

Yoga: Hey, I did some yoga! Just 2 easy sessions for about 30 minutes total, nothing outstanding, but enough that my body appreciated it.
About half my time spent biking, which sounds about right.
Total: 39 sessions in about 36 hours, 45 minutes.

And a revisit of my loose goals for the year:

Rebuild running smartly:
I have made some good progress this month.

Make PT as much of a priority as running: Well, I spent more time PT'ing than running, so I'm counting this as a success.

Keep cycling on the trainer: Success!

Get back in the pool: Nope.

Continue a lifting routine that works: Didn't do too badly this month. Mild Success!

Yoga: Mild success!

Sprint triathlon and/or half marathon: This is still up in the air. Right now I'll be happy to do my usual summer 5K and maybe the sprint duathlon I did last summer.

I also feel better about "phrase of the year": ARRIVE, DRIVE, STRIVE, THRIVE, ALIVE. I have been showing up, I have been working, I have been improving, I am in a better mental place. Maybe it's because summer finally came?

Whatever the reason, I was very happy looking at my June numbers. I hope you also had a great month training and doing other fun stuff.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Week in review June 24-30: A strong start but a sleep-deprived finish

Less biking, but a more even spread overall.
Last week started out great. I had taken off work Monday and Tuesday so I could skip town and avoid the International Freedom Festival fireworks between Detroit and Windsor, sparing my dog the terror of the scary booms from the sky. But by the end of the week, I was exhausted and needed a couple days completely off training to recover.

I was able to do a long-ish trainer ride and even go through my heavy/bodyweight lifting routine before heading out of town on Monday, so I was feeling good. We slept horribly Monday night but were back early enough on Tuesday that I could grocery shop, go for a run, and get through a full round of my PT moves while food prepping for the week. I even did a bit of yoga before bed. I was powering through and feeling great!

Unfortunately it was back to reality on Wednesday and the only thing I could muster after work was a trainer ride before ordering in dinner and doing nothing else for the evening. I rallied for a run after work Thursday and enough food prep to make sure I had healthy things to eat on Friday. Friday ended up being a 14-hour day of my regular work before heading out to an evening event, capped off with a 55 pounds of fluff panting in my face at about 3 a.m. when a storm rolled through. Even though we left to avoid the fireworks, we couldn’t escape the scary thunder. Poor thing.

I had high hopes for an outdoor ride on Saturday, but we were running behind after recovering from a scared dog keeping us awake, and got to the market and brunch so late that became unfeasible pretty quickly. I could have rallied for a trainer ride but lying down for 20 minutes turned into a full-fledged nap and there was no turning the ship around after that. I chalked it up to a very necessary rest day. I did manage a nice run yesterday (Sunday) although my body still felt tired.

I really didn’t get enough sleep Saturday night or last night, either. I don’t let myself sleep in too late on Sundays, since I’ll never get up for work at 5:45 a.m. on Mondays if I do, but sadly that didn’t help the tossing and turning last night. That alarm came early.

So I guess my takeaway from last week is that I didn’t get nearly enough sleep. But I did get in a few workouts:

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, for 33.75 fake miles in about 2:18. I did a few minutes longer on my day off Monday, but I didn’t make that Saturday ride happen.

Run/walk: Three times, all on the road, for 8.85 miles in about 1:53. I was able to bump up my run intervals to 3 minutes with 2 minutes walking, with no problems.

PT: One homework session of all my exercises, for hamstrings and glutes, in about 1:30.

Weights: One heavy/body session in about 1:15.

Yoga: One self-guided session for about 15 minutes.

Total: Eight sessions in about 7:11. Eh, it’s still more than a sessions a day for more than an hour a day on average, so I can’t be too mad overall. But man, I crashed and burned by Saturday.

Here’s to a few days without storms, fireworks, or tossing and turning at night. And happy Canada Day to my neighbors.
I haven't included pics of my girls in a while, so here's my big baby...

... and my "ferocious" pibble, doing what she does best: Snoozing.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Week in review June 17-23: An absolutely perfect start to summer

Half my time biking, and more than half of that was a gorgeous outdoor ride.
Last week was one of the best training weeks I've had in a long time. I didn't do a ton of training, but I felt like I did some high-quality stuff and the weather most days was PERFECT. Summer wowed us with its entrance!

On the bike, I did an FTP retest and did a nice, long outdoor ride. And I had absolutely gorgeous weather for all three of my runs. PT and weights wasn't AS great, but I still did a little bit of each. I did go out for coffee twice during the week, but I cooked dinner at home every day, so that counts toward the "healthy" column.

I did only one thing after work each day, but I was able to rally this weekend with doubles both Saturday and Sunday. It helps that I took today (Monday) and tomorrow off work as PTO days, so I didn't have to do my grocery shopping and food prep yesterday. I spent the extra time doing PT and barbecuing with the in-laws, welcoming summer on their back deck and donating some blood to the local mosquito population. I was so happy to have nice weather I didn't even care.

Anyway, workouts were:

Bike: Three times, twice on the trainer for 19 fake trainer miles in two one-hour-ish sessions, and then a gorgeous summer ride of 40 miles in about 2.5 hours. I was up early-ish on Saturday and spend that extra time doing three laps of the park, with a short back and forth to make it 40 even. I didn't have to dodge too much kids-on-bikes traffic (although some random rollerbladers blocked the lane and then wouldn't move for an ambulance???) but I did have issues almost falling not once, but twice when I stopped and unclipped one foot to drink. After that all drinks were taken with both feet on the ground.

PT: Two homework sessions, one all of my knee + hamstring exercises and one of hamstring exercises only, for about 2 hours total.

Run/Walk: Three easy run/walk interval wogs, all on the road, for about 8.4 miles total in about 1:48. I was pretty sore last Monday after adding one more run/walk interval to make a "long" run two Sundays ago, so I took one more week at 2:30/2:30 run/walk just to make sure everything was OK.

I do get some hamstring pain during the run portions but I find it only happens if I'm not being super careful with my form. I am thinking about working with a form coach or getting some kind of physiological assessment to see if I keep getting left-side injuries because of different leg lengths, or the scoliosis I was diagnosed with as a kid, or something else. I really want to get to the root of the problem and address the biomechanics instead of treating injuries.

Weights: One barre class for about an hour. Speaking of glutes, we REALLY worked them this class.

Total: 9 sessions in almost 9.5 hours. I am happy with this! I feel it was a good week.

As I said above, I took today and tomorrow as PTO days so I'm about to hop on the trainer for a bit (I'd go for an outdoor ride but it's gloomy and misty outside, and the logistics won't quite work) and lift some weights before relaxing for the rest of the day. And I'd like to do a nice run tomorrow before jumping into the grocery shopping and food prepping I didn't have to do yesterday. 

I hope you had a great week and as awesome a start to summer as I did.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

FTP achievement unlocked!

There has been lots of this over the past few months.
Back in January, I set a goal to increase my virtual FTP on Trainer Road by 26.5%. It seems like a random number, but there is a method to my madness:

I used Trainer Road sporadically in 2017, then hurt my knee and had to take some time off. When I had recovered enough to get serious about bike training again, that first FTP test back (in October of 2018) was an increase of 26.5% from more than a year earlier. So while another 26.5% increase might seem like a big goal, it was based on some low-ish numbers. It might be tough but I knew it would be attainable.

Cycling has always been my weakest discipline and I wanted to get “better” in 2019 but wasn’t sure how to measure “better.” This was a good opportunity for me to commit to training and test regularly so I could get “better.” Since October, I’ve been pretty consistent with getting in three trainer rides per week, barring things like illness, birthday celebrations, out-of-town trips, etc.

So I was thrilled when, after a particularly painful FTP test yesterday, my new suggested FTP was just over that 26.5% mark from when I did that first “real” test in October. Hooray! And nearly 6.5 months ahead of my end-of-year goal! Double hooray!

Sadly, I don’t think another 26.5% increase is in the cards, at least not this year. The increases between tests have gotten smaller and smaller each time, so when I test again any increase will probably be in the 1-2% range. But, that’s OK. Even small progress is still progress.

I will keep working hard, and it’s nice to know that my hard work is starting to have some fitness benefit. I may not ever be good at cycling, but hopefully I can get a little less bad.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Week in review June 10-16: Another steady grind of trainer, wog, and PT

Lots of biking and decent amounts of other stuff.
The first order of good news from last week was that I finally squeezed in some yoga for the first time in about 100 years. My hips are SOOO tight and it did help.

Otherwise, I did pretty much the same workouts I did the previous week, except I didn’t make it outside on my bike. So, while I have one additional training session, I actually logged a bit less time.

But that's OK. Overall, it was a much less busy week and weekend and I appreciated the not having to run around as much. I dare say it was pretty boring, which was fine by me. Of course it rained off and on all weekend, which is why I did my long ride on the trainer on Saturday. I did finagle my schedule around on Sunday to hang out with my dad for a bit, and I still managed a wog (getting rained on in the process) and all my food prep in the afternoon/evening. Yay, me!

I also added one more run/walk interval to my Sunday wog and I am pretty sure it’s why I’m stiff and sore today. I was going to bump my intervals from 2:30/2:30 to 3:00 run/2:00 walk this week, but I think I’ll wait one more week on that now just to make sure I’m building back slowly enough.

Last week shook out to be:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 53.5 trainer “miles” in about 3:38. Nothing special here, just my usual shorter rides of longer intervals and shorter intervals, with a more steady-state ride on Saturday while watching the Women’s World Cup replay and reading Tennis magazine. It was a very sports-filled hour and a half, haha.

PT: Twice, one each homework sessions of hamstrings only and hamstrings + knee/glutes, for about 2 hours total. My glutes were SOOO sore after my “everything” PT the week before, I realized I HAVE to keep doing it to keep my muscles strong.

Run/Walk: Three times, all easy run/walk intervals, for 8.05 miles in about 1:47. I love my husband dearly but I definitely keep a faster pace when I run solo, and I ran all three runs this week alone. Add the one extra interval on Sunday for a bit more mileage than usual.

I was feeling discouraged about my running last week so I went back to my blog posts from a year ago to remind myself that only last summer I was healing from a knee injury and had to come back bit by bit then. Sure, a few years ago, an 8-miler was my usual after-work Wednesday run, but I am optimistic that if I just keep rebuilding smartly and work on my underlying form issues and pre-hab, eventually I will be stronger in the end.

Weights: One video for about 1:05. Nothing special here, and I wish I could have fit in my usual heavy/body weight routine, but at least I got something in.

Yoga: Hooray! It was just one 15-minute session of mostly hip stretches, but I definitely needed it.

Total: 10 sessions in about 8:44. Not bad at all! This was at least one thing every day, too. Gotta keep that momentum going.

I’m expecting that this week will be another relatively boring grind of trainer rides and wogging, with more PT and weights thrown in as I can. I have some time off next week so I won’t need to do any food prep for the week on Sunday, hooray! It still remains to be seen what the weather will be like over the weekend, but I’d really love to get my bike outside again. I miss riding in the fresh air! I am hoping I can fit in a couple after-work runs to non-rainy days, too.

I hope you had a good training week and have an even better one on its way.