Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Belated week in review Sept. 14-20

Ugh — I've been busy. It's been a week where things keep expanding to fit all of my free time and I don't have much left over for errands, relaxing, blogging, etc. Last week I had to work into the evenings a couple times and I dedicated a whole day to food prep and cooking up garden produce.

I mean, those are still first-world problems and I'm not really complaining. I got in a decent training load last week, even if I was up past my bedtime most nights. I am trying a couple new things: Working a fourth run back into my week, since I'm not going to be able to swim outside any time soon; and doing some mobility work at least once per week. For the past two weeks now, Monday swims have been replaced with easy runs + mobility and it feels good so far. I do love a good theme and am jokingly calling them Meander and Mobility Mondays for now.

A few weeks ago I got a flat tire on a bike ride and it's been surprisingly hard getting that taken care of. I needed a whole new tire, and I want to support my local shops, so that took a few extra days. My lever snapped, so I had to go to another shop to buy new levers. The tire came out of the box in a square shape (???), which made getting a new tube inside it almost impossible. I tore the first tube and spent an hour with surgical precision arranging a second tube inside the tire, praying to all the cycling gods when I finally did need to use the levers for the last bit that the tube was safely inside. I haven't left for my ride yet, so I guess we have yet to see how good of a job I did.

I only lifted weights once last week and didn't do any yoga, but some of that time was replaced with making tomato sauce with tomatoes fresh from the garden, working late, making zucchini bread, supporting a friend's new socially distant biergarden, etc. You win some, you lose some, and it was still a good week overall.
Solid week for running and cycling.
Training totals were:

Run: Four times, all on the road, for 25.2 miles in about 4:17. Adding another easy run is feeling good so far. My "long" run this week was 8.2 running plus 0.5 warmup/ cooldown to equal 8.7 miles for Justice Ginsburg, and that didn't feel like too much. I'm not too keen to add any speed work back in yet, so I'll keep going with the additional easy run and slightly longer long runs for now.

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 59 fake trainer miles in about 4:03. Since I didn't get to ride outside last week, I did a slightly longer ride mid-week. I'm re-watching Parks and Recreation and it's the perfect show to zone out to.

Weights: One heavy/body session for about 1:25. I don't even remember why I didn't do a mid-week weights session — I was probably tired and took a nap, haha.

PT: One running form session and one mobility session (some moves I saved on Instagram) for about 50 minutes.

Swim: One 1600 meter session in the pool for about 43 minutes, just drills and a longer set.

Total: 11 sessions in about 11:17.

So, not terrible. It was a solid running week, had some new stuff to try, and worked around the changing of the seasons and other life demands. With no races or anything else coming up, that's about all I can expect.

I hope your weeks have been safe and training-tastic!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Week in review Sept. 7-13: Holidays and long days

Not terrible considering ... everything.

Ugh — I am already behind at everything and it's only Tuesday. Last week was rough, even with the extra day off, and I think I'm still feeling the effects.

I'm learning that here in Pandemic World there are going to be good weeks and not-so-good weeks. Last week wasn't TERRIBLE but the stress of everything got to me and it definitely showed in my training. I didn't make it to the pool at all, and I didn't have time to buy a new bike tire before Wednesday, so I didn't go for an outdoor ride, either. I spent a good part of my furlough day working at our side business, which is fine on occasion but ... who wants to spend a day off working?

The weather also started to turn last week, which is nice for running, but sad for me who really likes summer. I'm just not ready for fall — am I ever? Kids are back at school, and I'm stressed thinking about COVID numbers rising at local colleges and my alma mater. Plus, the sun rising later and set earlier had really started to be more noticeable in the last few weeks. Dark, chilly, pandemic, stress, no days off — it was a lot to handle.

Even though I was stressed and didn't sleep a whole lot, I still managed a decent week of:

Bike: Three times, all on the trainer, for 58 fake trainer miles in about 3:47. I had shredded my tire the week before and hadn't had a chance to get to the bike shop before last week, and I needed to put in a few good hours at our business anyway, so no outdoor rides for me last week. I'm going to try to fit in as many as possible before the weather really turns. I have all winter to focus on trainer rides.

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 22 miles in about 3:42. I have been adding on a half mile or so to my Saturday runs and so far, so good. I thought about doing a virtual race this fall but, meh. This range is feeling good for me so I'm going with it.

Weights: Twice, one video and one heavy/body session, for about 2:30. It's been a while since I did pullups and I was feeling it. I've been consistent-ish for a few months now so I'm happy with this.

Three sessions of my prescribed moves plus rolling.

Yoga: One 15-minute session. Every week I swear I'm going to do more and then I don't. I'm weak.

Total: 12 sessions in a hair less than 12 hours.

This week is shaping up to be about the same, but it's early yet. I think my pool days are pretty much behind me for the year, although I MIGHT try to squeeze in one more swim on a warm day later this week. My shoulder was killing me this weekend to the point I couldn't lift a wine glass or coffee mug, but it's better a few days later. I'm still stressed about the pandemic, and losing daylight, and work, and and and and, but I seem to be doing an OK job managing it with training and playing with the dogs. Sleep will probably always be something I need to work on.

Anyway, I hope you are holding it together and getting in some good training sessions if you can. At least we have fall running to look forward to!

Monday, September 7, 2020

Week in review Aug. 31-Sept. 6: A strong start with a flat finish

Last week was definitely interesting. I started off strong with my usual Monday recovery swim, Tuesday run and PT, and long Wednesday of a bike ride followed by weights and another swim. It was gloomy and wet to start Wednesday, and I almost gave up on my ride and headed home. But within a few miles, the skies had cleared, and I settled in for a nice long ride.

Until about mile 32. I'm still tentative on the downhills so I was braking gently, and I heard a loud pop behind me. UGH. I do OK with flats (I was a nerdy kid who used to take my bike wheels and tires apart for fun just to put them back together again) but I think this was the first flat that I was too far from my car to just coast back. I found a picnic table and got my tubes and tools sorted, only to realize... I didn't remember ever having practiced with a compressed air cartridge before. Well, I was about to find out.

Every time I've flatted it's been the rear tire. Ugh.

And then, to add insult to injury, I popped my spare. You have to be REALLY careful to get every bit of the tube in the tire before you hook up that cartridge, I discovered. Sigh. I was about four miles away from my car and didn't want to hoof it so I just pedaled very slowly back. Probably a dumb idea, but my husband was an hour away at least and I didn't feel comfortable hitching a ride. I made it in one piece, which is about all I could ask for at that point. By the time I got home I was fine to do my usual afternoon strength session and evening swim.

I had good intentions for the rest of the week, but I had to attend an evening work Zoom on Thursday, and my husband is facing another hard deadline at our business he manages and needed any and all extra help he could get. I spent Friday evening and much of Saturday and Sunday working with him. Not the way I wanted to spend my long weekend, but I did manage to fit in a run Saturday and a trainer ride Sunday so I could at least do SOMETHING.

One little bit of good news is my 7-mile run on Saturday, which was my longest run in 3 months. I have really been focusing on running with high knees and that seems to be making a world of difference with the hip flexor that was irritating me. I have nothing to train for, really, but I feel good about building my mileage back up to have an actual long run once per week. Maybe there will be a virtual half marathon with my name on it this fall, who knows?

Anyway, last week's totals were:

Not a shabby week, considering.

One 32.5-mile road ride and one 25-mile trainer ride, for 3:52 total.

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 19.5 miles in about 3:17.

Swim: Twice, both in the pool, for 3200 meters in about 1:25.

Weights: One online barre class of about an hour.

PT: One homework session of about 35 minutes.

Total: 9 sessions in about 10 hours, 9 minutes.

It still wasn't a terrible week, flats, work meetings, and side job work notwithstanding. I didn't get any yoga done, but other than that it was pretty well-rounded. Considering, I am pretty happy with it overall.

There is definitely damage to my tire wall (which probably caused the first flat) so I'll be in the market for a new tire. I really want to support my local bike shops during this time, and none of them seem to have convenient hours, so I may or may not be riding outside again this week. But I'll get out there eventually. No races means I can swim, bike, and run however I want, and if I have to take an extra week off, eh, who cares.

I hope you all had a less eventful week and more happy training.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Week in review August 24-30: More swimming than I've done in years

A lighter week, but still not a bad week.
My big news this week is that I made it to the pool a whopping three times. I know that's nothing for a "real" swimmer, but I honestly can't remember the last time I swam three times in a week. From scrolling WAY back in my logs, it's been at least four years. Wow, wow, wow.

It's been a weird, weird time these past few months. I've been hunkered down as much as possible, only interacting with other humans at the grocery store or when we go to a restaurant with outdoor seating. I've been running and riding solo and swimming mostly solo in the outdoor pool I have access to. I don't know if it'll be open past Labor Day and I don't know if and when I'll have access to an indoor pool. So I figure, why not take advantage while I can? Who would have ever thought I would enjoy and want to swim so much.

We had some severe weather last week, so I had to do some shuffling to avoid storms. I did two weights workouts, but I only did two bikes (one outdoors) and two runs, when I usually do three of each. It was fine, though; I enjoyed the slightly lower volume week and the extra pool time.

By the numbers:

Bike: Twice, once on the road for 37 miles and one trainer ride for 23 fake miles for 4 hours almost exactly. The outdoor ride was hot but I had some new gloves and a new jersey, so that part balanced out the heat.

Weights: Twice, one video and once through my heavy/body routine, for about 2:30 total. Nothing too out of the ordinary here. I'm pretty happy that I've been able to maintain a lifting routine.

Run: Twice, both on the road, for 12.5 miles in about 2:07. Nothing out of the ordinary here, either. It was hot. I brought water. The end.

Swim: THREE times, all in the pool, for 4800 meters in about 2 hours exactly. I'm pretty much only doing drills and freestyle here, and that's fine for me.

PT: Twice through my homework routine for about 1:10. 

Yoga: Just once for 15 minutes. I'm still having a hard time finding another block of time during the week. Maybe that will be my September challenge. 

Total: 12 sessions in a hair longer than 12 hours.

Considering the weather and other challenges of the last week, I'm happy with this. I ended happy, uninjured, and still married, and had time for some family fun and relaxation, too. And, for the next few weeks, I'll be trying to squeeze every last bit out of summer that I can.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Quarantraining goals and toys

I've been pretty fortunate during this pandemic that I'm able to work from home, have access to an outdoor pool, and haven't, to my knowledge anyway, been infected. I've been swimming, biking, and running pretty regularly and have racked up quite a few "quarantraining" hours.

It's ironic that I have this extra time to train and races have been cancelled (rightly so), but I'm trying to make the best out of it. Lately, I've been doing things I *want* to do and trying to squeeze in as much summer as possible. Like, I'm less comfortable breathing on the left side swimming, and since I won't be racing in a lake for a while, I really don't see the point of practicing. Also, I never got the hang of flip turns and I just get frustrated when I work on them. Maybe I will revisit flip turns when and if I have access to an indoor pool this winter, but for now I don't need to waste the mental energy.

I'm going to enjoy this view for as long as possible.

There have been a few days when I would have loved an air conditioned treadmill, but our home treadmill is on its last legs so I have been sucking it up for the hot runs. I take ice water with me, take a quick break to drink every one or two miles depending on how hot it is, and call it at two laps around my neighborhood. I won't have any fall races, so there's really no need to push it on the hot days.

I thought about really trying to work on my FTP on the bike trainer, but I decided to hold off on that for now. Right now, my "big" bike workout of the week has been driving to a nearby state park with some actual hills and doing a few laps. It's safe, I can leave extra water in my car, the bathrooms are open (I pack a mask every week!), and my parents are a few miles away if I need to take an emergency shower or something. I figured I would make that my bike focus until the weather turned, since I'll have all winter to work on getting that FTP up.

I have also been doing weights pretty consistently twice per week, mixing up my own heavy routine with online barre classes and some tried-and-true videos. My quads and back muscles are as big as I ever remember them being, and I can do more chinups and pullups than I ever could in my life. Yeah, it's some extra work, but since I have the time so I might as well get a good strength base going, too.

One more thing I have done to keep pandemic training interesting is order a LOT of toys, clothes, and gear over the last few months. I got new running shoes from my local running store, and took advantage of some deals on running tanks and some spiffy shorts with phone pockets built into the legs. They are my new go-to! I bought a couple swimsuits, bike gloves, and a couple bike jerseys, thanks to the Facebook algorithms targeting me with sales until I couldn't take it anymore. But really, these jerseys were a steal.

I got a couple of these at deep discount. I'm cheap, so I love a bargain!

A couple of other random things I ordered were some new handlebar tape for my bike, a book on building good running form, and some tennis balls. I figured now is the time to take a hard look at my running form and break it all the way down if necessary. And if and when I no longer have access to an outdoor pool, hopefully the tennis balls can be another sport to keep me in shape. I used to play in high school and college, and have been on a few rec leagues in my adult life, so I'm looking forward to hitting some balls again.

New handlebar grip to spiff up my bike and a book on running form.
New bike gloves and my new handlebar grip. I only had green electrical tape to finish it off. XD

I think my next purchase will be one of those percussive muscle massagers. Any recommendations? I am probably looking in the $150 range. My coworker bought an Achedaway and loves it, but I am looking for something a bit smaller and cheaper right now.

I'm not sure what my pool situation will be after Labor Day, or how long the weather will hold out for outdoor biking. Knowing how terrible Michigan weather can be, and how this pandemic is progressing, I'm going to assume I'll be stuck inside all winter. So for now you can find me quarantraining outside as safely as possible. Hopefully you all are staying safe, finding some good deals, and getting in some extra hours, too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Week in review Aug. 17-23: Another solid and steady week of quarantraining

Not a bad week -- solid and steady training is about all I can hope for right now.
Hello! It was another week of lights out at 10:59, so there was no staying up late to write blog posts. I had another couple of healthy goals, too: no potato chips, fruit instead of candy for a snack, and setting a Facebook timer from the embarrassing amount of time I was spending on there to a still embarrassing but slightly less amount of time. So, I'm getting there.

Last week was pretty darn good as far as training. I did three solid bike rides, including one outside. I did three easy runs and could have gone longer, but it was pretty hot all last week and I didn't want to push it. Everything was pretty darn good; not excellent, still room for improvement, but darn good.

I'm not training for anything right now, of course, so I've been trying to focus on fun things I want to do. Like, ride my bike outside. And not push a run in 90-degree heat. And buy some new handlebar tape. And walk the dogs for a hour most mornings. And maybe dust off the old tennis racket? That one has yet to be seen.

Anyway, it was another solid and steady week of training: 

Bike: Three times, twice on the trainer for 41 fake miles and a road ride of 35 miles, for 5:13 total.

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 16.5 hot miles in about 2:50. (I'm still including my quarter-mile warmups and cooldowns because they are part of the workout.)

We had a fun homeowner issue on Saturday so I had to skip my heavy/body routine, but I did do a video earlier in the week and an online barre class Sunday for 2:05 total.

Swim: Twice in the pool for 4000 meters in about 1:50. Still doing a lot of drills and going slowly but I'm getting there.

PT: Three rounds of my homework for about 1:45 official.

Yoga: One self-guided session for 15 minutes.

Total: 14 sessions in a hair less than 14 hours. Not shabby at all.

As I said, since there aren't any races any time soon, training lately has been all about fun. I'm doing pretty well keeping in varied and staying motivated, so I'm going to ride this train as long as I can.

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy out there.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Week in review August 10-16: Less volume but fewer aches and pains

Still a decent week considering the lower-than-usual volume.
I'm late to the party again, but it's for a good reason. I set a few "health" goals this week and one was to have lights out by 10:59. I usually get up at 6:30 a.m. and my bedtime kept getting later and later. So far I'm 3 for 3, even including last night before today's furlough day. That means I haven't been staying up late to write blog posts, but I think sleep is more important.

Anyway, looking back at last week, it was a bit off. It started off pretty strong, with my usual Monday recovery swim and my run plus PT on Tuesday. I had high hopes for a workout or two during my furlough day Wednesday, but my husband needed me to put in a full day at our business he runs. He usually manages things fine without me, so I can lend the occasional helping hand even when I'd rather be out on my bike.

Wednesday ended up being an intense 12-hour day and my brain was completely zapped on Thursday. I managed to get through the work day but I was too exhausted to do anything else. I laid down in bed and ended up sleeping for an hour. I was obviously exhausted. I remember hearing on a recent podcast that sleeping is never time wasted if you're fatigued and need to recover, so I justified it to myself that way. Haha.

I was able to rally to finish the week off strong, with an easy trainer ride Friday after work, my usual run and heavy/body weight routine on Saturday, and my usual long trainer ride plus PT plus evening yoga on Sunday. So, the week wasn't terrible. I did a bit of training across the board, had a rest day, enjoyed some sunshine, challenged myself, and had some fun.

By the numbers, it was:

Bike: Twice on the trainer for 39 fake trainer miles in about 2:41. The small victory here was getting on the bike at the end of a long work week before kicking off the weekend. I also finished The Office, so I think I'll start Parks and Rec from the beginning again.

Run: Twice, both on the road, for 11 miles in about 1:53. Nothing special here, just two easy runs to keep the legs moving. Both were HOT and I didn't want to overdo it heat-wise and letting my form slip-wise.

Weights: Just one of my heavy/body routines for about 1.5 hours. I am actually seeing decent progress here. I managed more pullups and chinups on Saturday than I have ever have before. I am also thinking I need to work in some new moves or do a different routine every other week. I need to do some research and see what I have in some books I already own.

PT: Twice for about 1:10.

Swim: One pool swim for 1600 meters in about 47 minutes with drills and everything. I was just happy to be there.

Yoga: One 15-minute session. I was noticeably not as stiff and sore as I usually am, so I guess that's one benefit of a low-volume week.

Total: 9 sessions for about 8:11. Not shabby at all for a step back week.

Since there are obviously no races coming up any time soon, I'm OK with my little routine here. Sure, I can shake things up at a micro level, but I feel like I'm doing enough to stay busy and relatively fit without overdoing it.

Anyway, I hope everyone is staying healthy, safe, busy, and relatively fit. I feel like that's about all we can ask for these days.