Saturday, January 30, 2016

Warning: It's going to be a low-volume week

Healthy dinner.
I barely made it through this past week. So far, it's been five days of craziness with working late, personal meetings, guests in town, fighting off a cold, finishing up some financial processes that took WAY TOO FRICKING LONG, truck shopping, etc. etc. etc. (Am I the only one who didn't realize pickups were so expensive? Sheesh!)

The other night "dinner" was a 9:45 p.m. trip to Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Their million-flavor pop machines will always be my weakness: half lime, half cherry Fanta, please. But I've actually had a salad for lunch four days this week, so that's something.

I've logged three workouts this week so far, and that includes one session each on the bike and in the pool. Oops. On the plus side, I got 8 hours of sleep last night for the first time in about two weeks.

I plan on putting in a good bike session today and maybe some weight lifting afterward before family starts coming into town for dinner. Tomorrow is a bit of a wild card, although the predicted high temperature is 48, so there's a 99% chance a run will be squeezed in.

I'm preparing to call this week a step back and take whatever I can get. But next week -- watch out!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Week in review Jan. 18-24: Busy bee

A bit of everything.
It was a busy week last week, but I was able to get in a decent amount of training, entertain a houseguest, work late one evening and even eat and sleep occasionally. Whew!

(Side note: How on earth is it February next week? Seriously?)

I swam, biked and ran twice each, did a decent amount of pre-hab, and even lifted. Sadly, my yoga was MIA this week. I really need to work that back in the schedule this week and every week.

By the numbers:

Swim: Twice, both in the pool, for 6000 meters total in about 2.5 hours. I got to the pool a few minutes later than I would have liked one day, so I had to cut my swim a bit short. I had one of my best swims in a while the other day, with consistent, fast-for-me 100s on only 7 seconds rest. Reaching through and pulling the water seems to be making a difference.

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, for a bit longer than 3 hours total. Eh, nothing special here: A shorter session of big-ring intervals, and longer session of small-ring intervals to change it up a bit.

Run: Twice, once on the treadmill and once on the road, for 5 miles in about 55 minutes. I am still taking it very slow to get back into the swing of things. My treadmill run was OK; my IT band still bothered me close to the end. My road run was a lot more fun since it was a family outing with my husband and my crazy lab mix. She literally bark-screamed when she realized she was going for a run with both of us – best dog day ever. It was brisk but not too cold and although I got a few twinges in my IT band, they went away shortly afterward and I was able to finish 3 miles with no problem.

Pre-hab: One cycle all the way through – hips, glutes, and ankles-arches-toes – in about 1.5 hours spread through the week.

Weights/plyo: One heavy/body weight lifting session for about an hour, and one session of my plyo moves for about 20 minutes.

Total: 11 sessions in about 9 hours, 17 minutes. Not bad!

It was a decent week, especially considering I took two days completely off training. I love my cousin dearly, and I’m happy to host her for the occasional weekend, but I will be happy to have my Friday nights back. I have a couple evening events scheduled for this week, so I’m not expecting major volume. I just want to do the work so I have a nice base come spring.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Santa brought a bunch of swim stuff!

Goodies for me!
Santa was almost a month late, but he just dropped off a box of new swim stuff!

A new cap, a couple new swimsuits (so I don't have to risk a wardrobe malfunction with every trip to the pool), ear plugs, conditioner and, what I am most excited about, new flip flops. My old flip flops broke and, surprise surprise, they're hard to find in Michigan in January. So I've been wearing my husband's giant flip flops and getting some strange looks.

I'm off to the pool in a few minutes to try some of this stuff out. Yay!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

I didn't realize how badly I've been skimping on the weights...

I need to get more familiar with these.
... Until I was going over last week's review and thought to myself, "I wonder when was the last time I lifted weights twice in one week?

I started clicking backward through my Google calendar... and kept clicking... and kept clicking... until I hit FEBRUARY.

It's been ELEVEN MONTHS since the last time I lifted weights twice in one week.

No wonder my IT bands have been causing me issues — I'm a weakling!

More motivation to get serious about the weight lifting once again.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week in review Jan. 11-17: Decent training among sickness and a house guest

Not a bad week.
I had a pretty good start to the week and a pretty good end to the week. The middle was “meh” with a couple days off to fight a cold and accommodate a house guest, but I felt good about handling both with only a few adjustments.

Let’s get down to it:

Swim: I only made it to the pool once, for 3200 meters in about 1 hour, 21 minutes. I had good intentions to swim after work Thursday, but had to leave work early to sleep off the beginnings of a cold instead. Unfortunately, I couldn’t reschedule for Friday because of my houseguest. Still, that one swim was good, with descending 100s on 7 seconds rest, my best “speed” workout so far this cycle.

Bike: Twice on the trainer for 3 hours total. I did a bunch of 5-minute big-ring intervals for my shorter session, and a bunch of alternating medium/medium-hard/hard/medium-hard intervals in the small ring for my “long” ride, which kept it interesting enough. I wish I could have gotten on the trainer once or twice more this week, though.

Run: First, the good news: Twice, both on the treadmill, for 4.5 miles total (one 2-miler and one 2.5-miler). I am trying to stay positive when it comes to my running, because that is 4.5 more miles than I have been able to do for a while, and although I am running very slowly, at least I am running.

And, the not-so-good news: I managed both miles Wednesday without any pain at all, but Sunday I got the familiar twinges at the familiar distance, right about 1.7 miles in. I was able to finish the 2.5 concentrating on form and landing softly, and it let up as soon as I was done running. Now, I haven’t been as diligent lately about my glute pre-hab. Maybe I am right on the cusp of glute strength vs. running load? Whatever is going on, I won’t be adding mileage until I figure it out.

Weights: Hey! Two times, once doing bodyweight/heavy weight moves of my own and once with a video, plus one round of plyo moves, for about 2 hours, 20 minutes total. Not too shabby! I am starting to add weight to my heavy routine, and I want to barf less and less with the video, so I feel like I’m getting somewhere.

Funny story why I only did one round of plyo moves this week: At the end of my second set of walking weighted lunges, suddenly I went down with charley horses to both quads. I decided to call it at two sets and skip the plyo that day. Mediocre multisport problems!

Pre-hab: Two rounds of hip exercises and one set each of glutes and ankles/arches/toes, for a total of about 1.5 hours. I had big plans for another round of glutes and feet last night, but our friends’ dinner party ran late and we were having too good a time to leave early. I’ll try to do extra this week.

Yoga: Nothing this week. Again, I had big plans, but had to prioritize my time.

Total: 12 sessions in just longer than 9 hours. Not bad!

This week will likely be a mirror image of last week, possibly with a bit more confusion around an additional evening work event. Hopefully I can keep the germs at bay for another week and keep logging those training sessions.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Typical January: Fighting off a cold

What, you don't bring Vitamin C to work?
It's that time of year. I had mild sniffles all this week, but by Thursday afternoon I was feeling sick enough that I left work early, which I haven't done in years.

Side note: I appreciate that you are a dedicated employee, but if you are coughing all day, every day, please stay home.

Luckily for me after a few hours of sleep I felt worlds better and was back at it Friday. And the silver lining was that I got to spend a few hours cuddling these two:

We know you no feel good, but rub our bellies anyway.
I got a flu shot this season and I'm just hoping it gets me through winter without a big setback. Come on, antibodies.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week in review Jan. 4-10: Not enough hours in the day

Decent swimming and biking, at least.
Well, a week off to sleep in and fart around was fun while it lasted, but last week was back to work and real life.

As to be expected, my training hours took a big hit. But I did run twice in a week for the first time since my October marathon, I think, so that’s a small victory.

Swim: I got to the pool twice, for 6400 meters total in about 2:45. I felt like I made a minor breakthrough with reaching through the water and pulling it, instead of flailing about from one end to the other.

Bike: Only twice, both on the trainer, for 3 hours total. I had a meeting one night that threw off my s-b-r rotation: Do I skip? Do I trade? Do I try to work another ride in another day? In the end I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and went out for sushi after my meeting instead.

Run: Twice, once on the treadmill and once OUTSIDE because it was almost 50 degrees in JANUARY, for 4 miles total in about 43 minutes. I kept the treadmill at a s-l-o-w 10:30-ish pace, and ran even a bit slower with my husband outside, and both times my knee felt fine until about mile 1.75. It’s just a personal preference that I would rather do 2 miles slowly than try to run-walk for farther, so that’s what I’m going to keep doing for now.

Pre-hab: One round of hip exercises in about 15 minutes. Eh. I should have done more.

Yoga: One session of mostly hips and hamstrings in about 15 minutes. Again, Eh. I should have done more.

Weights: I just couldn’t/wouldn’t make it work this week. I had big plans to lift during the week, then time got away from me and I didn’t want to eat dinner at 9:30 p.m., so I postponed. Then I had big plans for the weekend, but I saw “The Hateful Eight” instead. (I liked it but it is a Tarantino movie, so prepare for gore.) I need to be more disciplined about lifting, though, because I find it really does make a difference in my body composition.

Total: 8 sessions in just less than 7 hours. Not terrible – the two swims, two bikes and two runs this week is a pretty good base – but of course I always wish I could have squeezed in just a few more.

Judging by the forecast, I won’t be getting outside to run again any time soon (the wind chill was -4 this morning) so this week will be all about getting that indoor work done. The good news is that since getting back on the trainer, my to-read stack of magazines has shrunk considerably.

I’m having a houseguest for the next three weekends, which will be fun but it will surely disrupt my training for sure. So the plan is to hit the weekday workouts hard and if I can get additional stuff done on the weekends, great! Who knows – maybe hibernating away from the -4 windchills will take priority.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Back to work, back to run, and a swim breakthrough

Why you no take me for run, Mommeh?
Unfortunately, it was back to reality this week with that pesky job thing. No more sleeping in until whenever I feel like it and no more training for hours right smack in the middle of the day.

My training really suffered. It's been a very light week of two swims, one trainer ride, two very easy runs, and my hip exercises. That's it. I had grand plans to get lots of stuff done today, but, well, I've done a lot of sitting on my butt instead. Sigh.

My runs have been OK. I've gone for 2 miles, 2 times this week, one on the treadmill and one to enjoy the nice weather today. I took it very easy both times and my IT band felt fine until about mile 1.6 each time, but I was able to finish. I'm getting there.

(I also scored some Adrenalines at 33% off. Brooks is having a sale if you shop online.)

I also feel like I've had a slight swim breakthrough. During my swim last night (going to the pool on a Friday night; do I know how to party or what?) I realized I could reach a bit farther. So I tried reaching as far as I could throughout my stroke and I noticed a pretty steady 0:10 decrease on my sets of 200. Hey! It's not much, but I keep chipping away.

I have hope I'll squeeze in 10 different training sessions tomorrow but chances are small. In the meantime, I'll keep working on that job-life balance, just like everyone else. And maybe play a Powerball ticket.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week in review Dec. 28-Jan. 3: A week off work means my best training week in a long, long time

A nice training week.
I made the most of my holiday break by fitting in 11 hours and 45 minutes of base-building training. When I went back to my logs, the last time I had a total that high was August. Wow!!!

And honestly, I didn’t think I did THAT great this week. I took one day completely off, went for only one very short run, and didn’t do any yoga at all. But my bike was good, swim decent, and pre-hab above average. I guess that all adds up.

By the numbers:

Swim: Twice in the pool for 6400 meters in not quite 3 hours. I had the extra time, so why not do some longer sessions? I know I’m a long way away from blazing fast in the water, but this also included a sucked-less-than-this-time-last-year time trial, so that’s reassuring.

Bike: Four times, all on the trainer, for a total of 5 hours, 30 minutes. Whew! I got into an every-other-day routine starting on Monday and just stuck with it for the week, including a 1:45 “long ride” on Friday to start the new year off on the right foot.

Run: Only once, to test out my IT band and end the year on a whole number, of 1.69 miles in 17:35, a 10:25 minute per mile pace. Running slowly and for short distances feels OK on my knee, so I’m not doing to do much more than this for a while, I think.

Pre-hab: FOUR times for not quite two hours. This included a whole rotation of ankles, arches, hips, glutes, etc., and back around to ankles and arches again.

Weights/core: Twice, counting a Jillian Michaels DVD and a plyo session as two separate workouts, for about 1:15 total. I wanted to do another session this week but I just ran out of time. I didn’t want to barf quite so badly during the Jillian Michaels video this time around, so that’s at least a slight improvement.

Total: 13 sessions in about 11:45. A great week for me this time of year, much higher volume than what I’ve bene doing lately, and a great boost of confidence.

And like I mentioned, I feel I could have done more. The week included a last-minute dinner with friends, watching “The Big Short” (highly recommended), taking a day completely off to go shopping and hang out with my mom, and even doing some cleaning and organizing (a little). I feel like the week was a good mix of training, rest, and other fun stuff.

I was back in the office today so this week won’t be as training-heavy, but I’m going to try to get in some good sessions anyway. Here’s to keeping the momentum going for the new year.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015: Lots of swimming, a decent amount of biking, and running myself into an injury

2015 was full of learning experiences. I didn't do a lot of racing, but I notched a PR or two. I improved on the bike, a little. I logged my highest-volume swimming and running months ever. I skipped weight training and pre-hab, and got injured. I gutted out my seventh marathon.

For posterity's sake, a quick review by sport.

I got off to a slow start in January, but quickly ramped up the yardage. I had a couple of "life events" this year -- getting sick, adapting to a new work schedule, and celebrating both my sister's and my sister-in-law's weddings -- but still managed to get in the pool regularly. July was my highest-volume month ever, and after my second attempt at the 70.3 distance I relished some time away from the pool.

But, I didn't get any faster in the water this year. I tried to find a master's group, but that was a bust. Waking up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the pool before work was really hard, and I think that affected my improvement potential. At the end of the day, I only took 21 seconds off my 70.3 swim time, but did manage a 50-second PR in an open-water mile I do every summer.

I need to change it up this year. I'm already working on getting to the pool later in the day, and I want to schedule a swim analysis this season, too. I'm getting there, but I need to be more strategic about making improvements.

2015 was a decent year for my biking. I finally upgraded to a decent magnetic trainer and immediately felt the difference in my indoor rides. I biked about the same number of outdoor miles as I did last year, and although I didn't get to finish the bike portion of the 70.3, I was on pace for a small PR.

If I'm going to improve on the bike in 2016, I need to get outside and ride more on the roads. I haven't yet figured out how to make that work with that pesky 9-to-5. In the meantime, I plan on having a bike trainer-heavy winter to prep for spring. I'd like to invest in a power meter, but that's not in the cards quite yet. So I'll work on the engine for now.

My biggest disappointment for 2015 was that I couldn't log 1500 miles running in '15, my original goal. (I ended 2014 with 1,000 even.) I started the year on track, logging at least 100 miles per month. But I paid for it later when my SI joint went out of whack and my IT bands alternatively flared up.

I really think I was running too much and not doing enough weight training and pre-hab exercises. My SI joint issues resolved with rest and stretching, but I'm still working on the IT band stuff. After a month of almost complete rest, I managed to gut out a marathon in a respectable-for-me time. But then my OTHER IT band started, and is still, bothering me.

I've done a couple runs here and there to round out the year, but it's likely going to be slow-going to get back into real running shape. I'm also doing a LOT of pre-hab/rehab lately. Hopefully, patience and strong glutes will get me there.

I still ended the year with 1,141 miles, 141 more than last year, so that's a small victory.


My goal for this year is to be smart with my training. No more running injuries, no more wasting time in the pool, no more pedaling without purpose. I want to improve and I want to have fun, and I can't do either of those while I'm benched.

Here's to a healthy and wonderful new year.