Sunday, February 28, 2016

A swimming bummer, an amazing run and cutting weights short

I started out with a really good swim Friday night. After my warmups and drills, I started on 4 x 100 descending, with the intent to do 5 total. My first one was great! On the second, I was slightly slower on the fastest 100. OK, no biggie. I was slower on the third, and again on the fourth, and again on the last. I was pretty bummed I couldn't hold pace. Maybe I didn't have enough rest? Oh well.

I did, thanks!
It was another ridiculous 62-degree day today. Wow! I took advantage with a 5-mile run around the neighborhood. It was the longest I've run since I've been on IT band rehab. I had some discomfort in my left IT band and knee around mile 3-4, but no real pain. I finished with a smile on my face and the warm sun on my back.

It's February!!!!!
After my run I wanted to do a weights video. Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones was next in the rotation, and I was able to bump up the weight for a few moves. (I'm anticipating sore shoulders tomorrow!) I started to feel lousy by the end and figured it was just me working my butt off. A few minutes later I started to feel all my telltale symptoms of dropping blood sugar. Ugh! I quickly stretched and chugged some apple cider, and after a cuddle with one of the mutts I started feeling better.

Now, to wrap up the weekend and set myself up for another good week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A moment of swimming clarity

Swim, swim, swim.
I wasn’t looking forward to my usual evening swim Monday. I was already tired, and I knew I would be getting home at bedtime. Throw in time for a snack, logging my workout, getting ready for bed, etc., and I knew it would be another hour at least until I hit the sheets.

Then I realized… I don’t HAVE to swim until the pool closes. I can swim an hour and leave! I’m not being held prisoner and forced to swim laps against my will.

I did 2400 meters in about an hour and headed home in a decent mood. I still got to bed later than I would have liked, but that was no one’s fault but my own.

It was nothing special, but I was much happier about my time in the pool, which is a victory in itself. Hooray!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week in review Feb. 15-21: A bit of everything but not enough of anything

Not bad, considering.
OK, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic. The week started out slowly with me getting over a cold, and I had high hopes for getting a million and one things done this weekend. I was productive, but not THAT productive. I try not to be disappointed, but I feel like I come up short every weekend.

The good news is that I did do a little bit of everything in the four days I got any training in, and the highlight of my training weekend was RUNNING OUTSIDE. And not just outside, but a decent 4.25-mile run outside in 61-degree weather! I was not going to miss out on the unseasonably warm temperatures on Saturday.

By the numbers:

Swim: Just once in the pool this week, for 3200 meters in about 1 hour, 20 minutes. Nothing special, as this was my first time in the water in a week and a half after missing my last two planned swims to a cold. However, I did log a couple fast-for-me 100-meter repeats, which felt awesome.

Bike: Twice on the trainer this week for 3 hours, 15 minutes, in one shorter big-ring interval ride and a longer small-ring interval ride. This is working for me right now so I’ll stick with it for a while.

Run: One glorious outside run of 4.25 miles in 44:31. Considering I’m coming back from nothing, I’m happy with that. Plus, although my IT band was a little tender, I was in no real pain at any time during my run. Success!

Weights/plyo: One weights video followed by my plyo exercises, for about an hour and a half total.

Pre-hab: I got through my glutes routine in about 45 minutes, but just ran out of time to do anything else. I had grand plans to do all of my pre-hab while food prepping and cleaning the kitchen on Sunday, but it didn’t happen. I tend to run out of weekend when I still have things I want to do.

Yoga: I DID do some yoga this week. When it became clear I wasn’t going to be a pre-habbing maniac Sunday night, I did 20 minutes of self-guided moves instead. My hips are TIGHT. I needed this. Badly. And probably need it again tomorrow… badly.

Total: Eight sessions in a bit less than 8 hours. Not bad considering I took Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off to recover from my sniffles.

I’m not disappointed with my week; I just wish, like every week, I could have squeezed in a bit more. Scheduling training around real life and all its pop-up disasters is something I’ll probably have to do until I retire!

Here’s hoping I can hold the sniffles off this coming week.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A meh swim becomes a great swim, and an (outside!) running mini-victory

I hit the pool last night, for the first time in a week and a half. I wasn't expecting anything fast coming off the Great Winter Cold of 2016. I did my warmup and drills, and a bunch of 200s, and geared up for 10 x 100. It seemed SOOOOO long and SOOOOO insurmountable. I told myself, if your pace stops dropping, you can wrap up early.

I took a second off from the first repeat to the second. Then three seconds off. Then another second. Then another. Well, crap. I'm going to have to do all of these, because I can't quit now. Another second. Another two. I ended the last two with a — I make no secret on here that I'm slow — 1:59 and a 1:57. I was thrilled!

I went back to my logs to see if I made 1:anythings this time last year. From what I can tell, I managed one sub 2:00 100-meter repeat last February, but I didn't do another one until March. So, I'm technically ahead of last year! Hooray!

4.25 miles, OUTSIDE, in capris.

In ridiculous Michigan weather fashion, we've had two days in a row with temperatures reaching at least 60 degrees. I couldn't make it for a run between work and swim yesterday, but you bet your butt I was out there today.

I managed 4.25 miles in just less than 45 minutes. Not bad! I had a few twinges in my knee but no real pain. This was the longest I've run since my October marathon! And, it was the first time I've run in a week and a half, as the Great Winter Cold of 2016 also set me back here. A decent run, feeling OK, in the fresh air and sunshine? YES PLEASE.

I had spent two hours on the trainer before my run, and I finished up the long training day with a weights video and my plyo moves. I am sore and tired! I will take it easy tomorrow and hopefully start the new week off on the right foot.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The benefits of being sick and a weight wake-up call

I am feeling a million times better today. I finally broke down and took some medication yesterday morning (I try to avoid meds as long as I can) and before too long I could breathe again with very minimal loopiness. Success! Plus, I had a major work victory yesterday, which contributed to my glee.

I took another night off training yesterday, meaning the extent of my activity was making nachos for dinner and watching the season premiere of Better Call Saul. (Get your act together, “Pryce.”) Because we are hard-core party animals, my husband and I went to bed shortly after 9 p.m., where I read a few pages of an actual book before turning the lights out at 9:30 p.m. I had my alarm set for 5:40 a.m. and didn’t even need it.

Is this what normal people do with their evenings? Go to bed early instead of spending hours training and prepping healthy meals? I could definitely get used to going to bed at 9:30 every night. I haven’t felt this rested on a weekday in a long time.

However, the not training and nachos for dinner brings me to my second point: The weight loss isn’t going as well as it could be, unsurprisingly. I’m not comfortable with sharing exact numbers, but because I like charts and graphs, here’s a visual with the actual numbers cropped out:
Overall downward is good, but that upward trend, not so much.
When I stepped on the scale Jan. 1, it gave me a number I have never seen before. I knew the end had come for the free-for-all eating and relaxed training that had filled much of November and December. Two weeks later I was 3 pounds down and thrilled to see it, although logically I knew much of it had to be water weight and other easy weight loss from simply getting back on a plan and back on the treadmill. But my Feb. 1 weigh-in was back up by 0.4 pounds, and this morning’s was up by another 0.8 pounds, reducing the total loss from 3 to 1.8. Which, although the downward trend is good, includes gaining back 1.2 pounds in the last month. Which is not good.

Now, I’m not a slave to the scale and I know that the be-all-end-all is not a number but how I feel and perform. I’m also realistic about weight fluctuating through the month, week and day. Really, my overall weight goal is “don’t NOT fit into my work pants.” But a number that keeps going up is a good indicator that things aren’t going great, and vice versa.

TLDR: I need to be less of a fatass and get my butt back in gear. Except for a treat on Valentine’s Day (ok, a couple treats) and the nachos yesterday, I’ve actually been pretty good this last week with limiting the sugar and junk. But now it’s time to get serious once again. They’re not “treats” when you have one every day; it’s not a “rest day” when there are seven in a row.

The true test will be the next time I step on the scale in two weeks… or if I stop fitting into my work pants. Whichever comes first.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week in review Feb. 8-14: It’s all fun and games until you catch a cold

Not terrible, considering.
Well, I could only hold off the sore throat and stuffy nose for so long. By the time I left work Friday, I could feel that an actual cold was coming on, and proceeded to spend the next two and a half days rotating time between the couch and bed.

I was mostly congested and tired, so any activity was followed by a nap or going to bed. Farmers market and watching the Olympic marathon trials (go Desi!), then nap. Dinner out with friends, then bed while they kept the party going. (Or is that just me being old?) Brunch with my parents, then nap. It was a pretty uneventful Valentine’s Day overall.

By now I’m feeling fine in the head so I’ve been at work, but I promise that I have been washing my hands, using hand sanitizer, and Lysol-ing everything after I touch it. The itchiness caught up with me last night and it was all I could do to make salads for lunch before taking a Benadryl and trying to go to sleep.

Training is not on the schedule right now. But I did get a decent four days in last week:

Swim: Once in the pool for 3200 meters in just less than 1:20. This included my “fastest” (for me, less slow) 100-meter repeat in a long time. Small victories!

Bike: Twice on the trainer for 1:15 each, 2:30 total. Both of these were a warmup, build, and 4 x 5-minute intervals in the big ring.

Run: One very easy treadmill run for 2 miles in 20:40, a 10:20 pace. A slight bump up from the 10:31 pace I had been doing (5.7 mph to 5.8 mph on the treadmill), and it felt fine.

Weights: One session of heavy lifting/body weight exercises for about an hour following my easy run. These usually include pull-ups, pushups, deadlifts, bicep curls, abs, etc. etc. etc.

Total: Five sessions in about 5 hours, 10 minutes. Which, considering that was only four work days, is pretty good.

I’m going to take it easy for at least another day before I even think of doing anything resembling a workout. I went to bed before the “Better Call Saul” season premiere last night, so watching that is about the extent of my plans for tonight. I won’t do anything more stressful than yoga or pre-hab for a while yet, I think. I just need to rest for a bit and get my body ready to go on its own time.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I fought the cold and the cold won

T.V. and tea.
Yep. I'm sick.

I hope the flu shot I got earlier this season will keep the illness to a dull roar. Right now I'm just tired, sniffly and very stuffy.

Watching the marathon Olympic trials is going to be the closest I get to training today. I'm going to go lay down as soon as the women are done.

Oh, well. Better to get sick early in the season, I guess.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Quick hits at the end of the week

Some weekday training. And meal planning. And salad making.
I did some training on a Thursday, last night, for the … second time this year. For some reason, Thursdays have been the oddball day so far in 2016. I’ve had personal meetings, I got sick, I went truck shopping and truck buying, etc. All on a Thursday. Last night was nothing special; I did my usual weekday ride of a few big-ring intervals. I wasn’t feeling 100% as I have been fighting off a cold for a few weeks now, but I put in a decent showing. It was nice to get that extra weekday ride in for the first time in a while.

Earlier this week I marked two years of blogging. Wow, that went by in a flash! I got into the blogging game very (very, very) late, but I still enjoy rambling on about my mediocre training and trying to balance swim, bike, run and life. Since my last blog birthday, I actually only completed one triathlon, but have also done another marathon and a couple swimming/multisport events. And I’ve had a lot of fun and even improved a bit. I’d call this last year a success.

I mentioned that I didn’t feel 100% lately and as today has gone on I feel less and less great. Not sick enough to leave work, but the pool is sounding NOT appealing right about now. I am leaning toward making tonight a “lay in bed and watch movies” kind of night, followed by a good night’s sleep for once, and hopefully I can hit it hard again tomorrow. But, there’s no sense in stressing my immune system and paying for it with multiple sick days later.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Week in review Feb. 1-7: The road to mediocrity is paved with good intentions

I guess it wasn't terrible?
Like pretty much every other week in my training history, I had grandiose plans. I’m going to swim three times! I’m going to get on the bike trainer every day! I’m going to lift weights and do all my pre-hab exercises AND do yoga every night before bed!


Honestly, I feel lucky to have gotten through last week in one piece with truck shopping, work being crazy, errands, a Super Bowl party, and all that other stuff to work in with real life. Since it's already Tuesday night, here's a quick review for posterity:

Swim: Twice, both in the pool, for 5275 meters (I know) in about 2 hours, 12 minutes.

Bike: Twice, both on the trainer, for a total of 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Run: Twice, once on the treadmill and once on the road, for a total of 5 miles in about 55 minutes.

Weights: One video for about 50 minutes.

Pre-hab: A round of ankles/arches/toes and a round of hips for about 40 minutes total.

Total: 9 sessions in just less than 8 hours. I know I can do better, but it wasn't terrible for an off-season week.

Triathlon is a hobby that I have to work around real life. On to the next week.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Two cars and foot cramps

We're a two-car couple again. Yes! My husband doesn't have to waste two hours of his day every day driving me to and from work, and I don't have to be abandoned at the Y waiting for a ride (bringing me back to the days I was waiting for my mom, oh, everywhere).
Lots of room for bikes in the bed.
Hopefully this will be good for my training, as I won't be working his errands and truck shopping into my schedule anymore. I lost Thursday's workout to signing all the paperwork, and that should all be behind me now.

Last night's swim was another comedy of errors. I had a heck of a time finding a parking spot and took a risk with a spot marked for one hour but in a two-hour zone. I did my warmup and drills, and 5 x 200 at a decent-for-me pace. I started on the first of 10 x 100 and was 75 meters in when... foot cramp! A bad, one, too. I hung out in the deep end for a while (which I never do) trying to stretch it out, but it was no use. I got out and limped around the pool to my stuff and headed out while I could still get out on my own power.

On the plus side, I didn't have a parking ticket waiting for me. I headed home, ate some chocolate, and went to bed early.

Hopefully today I can do a nice, long trainer ride and maybe some weights before the weekend commitments start kicking in. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow so I see another outdoor run in my future.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

January’s swimming time trial: A day late but a big improvement

Still slow, but less slow than last month!
I have proof that I’m making improvements in the pool. Hooray! OK, OK. The bar was set pretty low. But still, it’s nice to see I’m moving even a little bit faster in the water.

I missed my planned last swim of the month last week, so did my 1,000 meters Monday instead. Eh, technically it was only 21 hours late, so I’m not too worried. After my warm-up and drill set and a few descending 200s, I hit my watch at 22:04, for a 2:13/100 meter pace.

This is a big improvement from the trial I did in December, 25:00 flat for a 2:30/100 meter pace. So although I have a long way to go before I hit fast, I’ll take “not quite as slow” for the time being.

I’m also ahead of where I was last January, when I did 1,000 meters in 25:32 for a 2:33/100 meter pace. I did last February’s in 21:27 (2:09) and last March’s in 21:53 (2:11), so I have my work cut out for me if I want to keep improving.

But, I feel like I’m off to a good start. I just have to be consistent getting in the pool and keep chipping away at it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January in review: Hey, it wasn’t that terrible!

Hours this month. I wish there had been more running. =(
In many ways, January was a comedy of errors with fighting a cold, temporarily being a one-car couple, family in town, late nights – you name it. But looking at my training totals for the month, I don’t think it was actually THAT bad, considering.

I swam a bunch, I biked a bunch, and I even started running short distances very slowly again. My yoga practice still leaves a lot to be desired, but I did do some pre-hab and lift some weights, so the supplemental training wasn’t a total wash.

My monthly totals were:

Swim: 6 times, all in the pool, for 18,800 meters (11.75 miles, thanks Daily Mile) in just a smidgen less than 8 hours. I lost one swim to a sick day and one to a car-shopping day, but I still got some decent pool time in for this early in the pre-season. That 18,800 meters works out to 3200 meters (2 miles) 5 out of the 6 times, and having to cut one swim 400 meters short because I derped around and got to the pool too late. I would have swam an extra 400 somewhere in there, but… eh. Once I start racing and lake swimming again I won’t have an even number anyway.
Week on, week off.
Compared to last January: I also swam 6 times last year, but did less distance each time and overall, so I'm about 1.5 hours and 4,400 meters ahead of this time last year. Yay!

Bike: 10 times, all on the trainer, for a total of 15 hours, 20 minutes. While I’m time crunched in the morning, I can go a bit longer in the evenings, and have been trying to make each trainer ride at least 1:15. Plus, I have been adding to my “long” weekend rides a bit at a time, working up to 2 hours this past Saturday. It all adds up, and I feel good about where I am at this point in the season. I feel like I’m a stronger rider since getting my fluid trainer. I guess riding the hills in the spring will tell.

Compared to last January: I rode three more times and for 5 more hours last year. So I'm a bit behind, but feeling stronger.

Run: My biggest headache. I managed 7 runs, 4 on the treadmill and 3 on the road, for 16.5 total miles in a hair less than 3 hours. I am trying to be positive about being able to run again after my IT bands left me in so much pain this fall. I get the odd twinge but haven’t felt actual pain in a while, knock wood, so that’s something. I’m going to keep going cautiously and slowly, and keep trying to strengthen those glute and hip muscles, so I can be back to my normal running self as soon as possible.
Week by week.
Compared to last January: This really isn’t apples to apples, but last January I managed 105 miles. Without any IT band pain. But I'm NOT going to get discouraged. 16.5 miles this month is still about 14.5 more than I have been doing. I'll get there.

Pre-hab: I logged 11 sessions. Assuming that’s divided equally between hips, glutes and ankles/arches/feet, that’s almost a full rotation a week. Which is better than the nothing I was doing!

Yoga: Only once. ONCE! I am better than this and I know better than to skimp on the yoga. I HAVE to make this a priority this month.

Weights/plyo: Three weights sessions and two supplementary plyo sessions. Not terrible, but I’d like to double that for February.

So my January was on track in some areas and a bit behind in other areas, but I feel good about the month as a whole. Now to keep chugging away for February.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Week in review Jan. 25-31: Life, uhhhh, got in the way

It was really difficult to get any training in last week. I had personal commitments, I wasn't feeling 100%, and my husband and I are still sharing one car. All of that doesn't bode well for a lot of time swimming, biking and/or running.

Part of me is bummed I didn't get more training in, but the other part of me is amazed I managed as much as I did:

Monday: A swim and my hip exercises. Hooray!
Tuesday: A personal meeting that ran late.
Wednesday: A trainer ride. Hooray!
Thursday: Working late, followed by truck shopping. (Ugh.)
Friday: My cousin was in town for her last weekend of a clinical rotation, so we went out to dinner.
Saturday: A trainer ride. Hooray! But that was all I had time for before my mom came into town to spend time with my cousin, and we all went out again.
Sunday: A very easy run and my glute pre-hab after a friend's birthday party. Hooray!

And by discipline:

Swim: Once in the pool for 3200 meters in about 1:22.

Bike: Twice on the trainer for about 3:15.

Run: One very easy run around the neighborhood for 3 miles in about 34 minutes. Overall, this felt good; my knee didn't have any twinges until past mile 2, so that is progress. But it is hard not to get discouraged about a 11:something pace when just a few months ago I was cranking out 8:08 miles that felt good.

Pre-hab: Hip and glute exercises for about 1 hour total.

Total: Six sessions in about 6 hours, 11 minutes.

The good news is I don't have any evening commitments yet this week and my cousin is done with her rotation, so I get my Friday and Saturday evenings back. The one-car thing should be resolved this week. I just have to hang in there and get the training in wherever I can.