Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How I'm doing on my goals for 2010, in pictures

It's going to be a long day

Tuesday: Yoga, walk 2 miles
Wednesday: Rest

8 a.m. Feels like I've put in a full day already. I started feeling better last night and decided to give the morning yoga a try today after all. When it was over, I still had time before anyone at home would be awake, so I got on the treadmill. Now I've had two breakfasts, I'm showered and dressed, the kids are in school, my husband went out to work in a coffee shop—and I'm looking at another day with not a lot to do and wondering why, in that case, it had to start quite so early.

11 a.m. It's my normal lunchtime, but I'm not hungry because I've been snacking all morning to stay alert. Don't know why I'm bothering to stay alert, because although I now have a few things to do, I've not started them yet.

2 pm. Oops, suddenly have tons of work. There go any plans to ride my bike later. Taking a real rest day tomorrow. I wrote it down already, so it must be true.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tired now

Sunday: Yoga, walk 2 miles
Monday: Walk 2 miles, yoga, swim 3,000 yards

I had no work today, and somehow I decided that meant it would be a good idea to spend three hours at the gym. Tired now, and sore. I think I'm going to postpone 5:15 a.m. yoga yet again and take tomorrow off. Unless it's nice biking weather.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bad decisions

Saturday: Yoga, bike 40 miles

I guess I was really annoyed about being defeated by the uberhill route the other day, because I decided to do it yet again. It started off being a good decision. No wind, no traffic, nice and cool, and the climbing is still getting easier every time. I decided to ride all the way into the town of Molt before doubling back to make my loop, which was exciting because I crossed the county line again. (Don't know why that makes me feel like such a daredevil…)

Unfortunately, a storm crept up on me while I was up there, and when I turned off to make my loop back home, I realized I was going to be riding right into it. I hadn't brought any extra clothes*, but I figured that's all part of the getting-tough process. Then I saw several lightning strikes and rethought that toughness thing a bit. Um, yeah, better go back the way I came instead.

So I headed back, but it started pouring rain on me anyway. The wind was chilly, and it looked to me like things were only going to get worse. Just then I saw a car pull up to a mailbox, and I figured it might be my only chance to ask another human being for shelter. I asked the woman if I could duck into her barn for a minute, and she said sure. So I walked my bike down the dirt driveway*, got out of the wind, and stopped to think.

Eventually I decided the best thing to do was to call my husband and have him rescue me* before things got really nasty, but darn it, there was no cell signal. I stood there a while debating about going up to the house, but then the rain died down, and I decided I was being a wimp and needed to get back out there. Unfortunately, by that time, my tires and biking shoes were covered with mud, and when I got back to the road, I couldn't clip in.

I pedaled for a while anyway but realized that if I couldn't clip in for the descent I was probably going to CRASH and DIE, so I stopped again and used my fingernails and most of my water** to clean off the clips. Eventually made it work, and eventually made it home. Then stayed in the bathtub for an hour and a half.

I keep reminding myself that it is good to get a lot of varied experience and good to learn from mistakes right now.

* Bad decision
** Seems like a bad decision but was probably for the best

Friday, August 27, 2010

Licking my wounds

Thursday: Walk 5 miles
Friday: Walk 1 mile

Well, I found out I was the fourth person to turn in the correct answer on the World's Greatest Copy Editing Challenge. Rats! Guess I'll have to look elsewhere for vocational affirmation.

My back seems pretty OK, but maybe a bit fragile. Or maybe that's just my imagination. Either way, I didn't want to miss my Thursday night walk/TV time, but I'm taking today off.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sugar fast

Tuesday: Walk 2 miles, weights, swim 1,000 yards
Wednesday: Bike 34 miles (14 mph)

The kids went back to school today, and I decided that this was the moment to start my sugar fast. I usually swear off sugar between Halloween and New Year's, in order to avoid making candy and cookies a daily part of my diet, but it's obviously not good for me at any time, so I've instituted a special Ironman-edition sugar fast, from now until the race. I'm allowed my usual exceptions (holidays and birthdays), plus I'm going to let myself have the occasional dark chocolate square (which all the women's magazines assure me is healthy, healthy, healthy), and obviously whatever sugar I need to get through long workouts.

I felt like kind of a hypocrite today, though, because I packed jelly beans for my long bike ride. Literally two hours into the sugar fast, and I'm already rooting around in the kids' candy drawer? Uh-huh.

So today I set out to finish the ride I couldn't do Sunday. What a great route. The climbing is hard — but gets easier every time — and the reward is 24 miles of awesome scenery and gradually-rolling-downhill terrain. I was feeling great afterward. I got home, showered, started to get dressed, and then felt this, um, twanging sensation across my lower back. (Backs are really cruel that way. They get you when you least expect it.) I had to lie on the floor for about 10 minutes, but then got up and took some Advil, and I think I'm actually not too bad off. It did derail my plans to try the 5:15 a.m. yoga class tomorrow, but I think I'll be OK in a few days.

I wasted literally the rest of the day on a stupid contest, trying to find an error in a book that was just published, in order to have the author declare me "the world's greatest copy editor," among other prizes. I believe I've found the error, and now I'm just anxiously waiting for email confirmation that I'm the world's greatest copy editor. The competitor in me could not resist that challenge, phrased in that way. Sure hope I was the first one to email the guy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In which I struggle to stay upright

Sunday: Bike 23 miles
Monday: Rest

When I set off on my ride today, it was easily the windiest weather I've ever (voluntarily) ridden in. But you know, when I signed up for a June Ironman, I think I forfeited the right to be choosy about the weather for my workouts. Anything short of snow on the roads is biking weather!

I did get a little concerned about the sky as I set off, though, because it looked like I was going to be riding right into an oncoming storm. But I was thinking rain or maybe hail. What I got was wind, and lots of it.

The ride I was planning is about 10 miles of climbing, some of it pretty difficult, and then about 25 miles of rolling hills and descents on a long loop back home. The climbs are bad enough in calm weather, but I found it incredibly tough with a giant headwind gusting toward me at about a 45 degree angle. The shoulder becomes a cliff in places, and I was very concerned about getting blown off the road. Luckily there's not a lot of traffic, and I rode toward the center so I wouldn't end up in the ditch, or worse.

I finally made it to the top, where the landscape opens up — and the wind basically doubled. So even though it was flat or downhill, I was struggling to get my speed into double digits. I suddenly realized that at that rate I was going to be out there four more hours, OR possibly have to call my husband for a rescue, possibly in the middle of nowhere, possibly someplace out of cell range. But I really hated to go back down the steep hills with that cross wind. So I stopped for a moment to think and decided that the lesser of the two evils was to go back.

Sheer terror! By the time I got down, my legs were shaking and my hands hurt from gripping the brakes, but at least I stayed on the road.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Early to rise?

Saturday: Yoga, swim 1,500 yards

Yoga today was great: It was a hard class, but I kept up, and I can feel my muscles remembering what it is they're supposed be doing. I wish I hadn't taken that month off before my race, but now that I am again one with the universe, I think I'm going to stick with it.

In fact, I'm seriously considering starting to go to the 5:15 (yes, that's a.m.) class taught by my favorite instructor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I could do weights or a quick run afterward and still get home in time to see the kids off to school and start my workday. And there are Spin classes taught at that hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I could make it a regular thing if I wanted through the winter.

Of course the problem with that plan is that I'd have to go to bed at 9 or 10 every night, possibly even before the kids!

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's supposed to be hard

Friday: Yoga, bike 19 miles (16 mph)

So I'm already back to feeling exhausted and unmotivated, but I guess I've been working out for two-plus hours nearly every day, so it's not all that shocking. Going to press on, though. Getting tough as iron is supposed to be hard work. Plus I've been counting calories, and it's great to see myfitnesspal.com say, "You've earned 1159 extra calories from exercise today."

Oh, is that all? I don't think I could eat that many extra calories if I tried. (Not going to try, either.)

By the way, I decided I'm going to count calories every day until I've lost 5 pounds. After that I'm not sure what I'll do. Probably a little happy dance — and then count calories every day until I lose 5 more.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feeling better

Thursday: Bike 22 miles (15.9 mph), walk 5 miles

I think taking yesterday off was the best thing I could have done. Not only did I wake up feeling peppy again, but I have a little more clarity about my training. Specifically: All I need to worry about right now is losing some weight and biking, biking, biking. It's too soon to worry about a formal training schedule, and it's way too soon to freak out. (Or maybe way too late, but there's no getting out of this now.)

I did have an insight on the treadmill that might be helpful: I walk way too slowly. And since undoubtedly the Ironman is going to involve a good amount of walking, it would be really good to get comfortable walking faster. So today I pushed my pace a little bit, and next week I'll push it a little more. It wasn't my-mom-walking-through-the-mall fast, but it's something.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A small sampling of what's going on in my head

Monday: Yoga, bike 17 miles
Tuesday: Swim 1,500 yards
Wednesday: Walk 2 miles

I'm getting overwhelmed thinking about all the things I need to do to get ready for the Ironman. I thought I had my priorities in order (bike, bike, bike, swim, and yoga) but not running has me feeling fat and panicky. Isn't that the best way to lose some weight (and isn't that the real priority)? Shouldn't I be trying out my hip and making the call whether I need physical therapy while there's still time? And when I swim, I wonder if I should be working solely on endurance (10 months early) or try to work on speed (for the leg of the race where I will least need it). Should I do freestyle only, or should I keep my other strokes practiced up so they'll be available to me if I need them? Maybe I really shouldn't worry about swimming at all just yet? And even yoga has me worried. There's no doubt in my mind it's beneficial, but is it beneficial enough? Would my time be better spent on weights? If I do weights afterward, will I get less benefit because I'm already fatigued? Or will I just burn out from too much time in the gym? On top of all this, my motivation is waning (again, 10 months early). The more I think about everything I need to do and how I can possibly schedule it, the less I want to leave this chair.

So my plan for today is to make a plan. Just a short one, like from now until school starts. And I'm also going to do some more research on what an Ironman training plan should be so I can form some of the broad outlines of the rest of my year is going to look like.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Better offers

Friday: Yoga, weights
Saturday: Yoga
Sunday: Rest

I keep meaning to go biking, but I keep getting better offers. Today, my parents called and wanted to know if the kids and I wanted to float down the river on rubber rafts and go rock hounding on the islands. Well, of course! It was an all-day event, but it ended with ice cream, and I found 44 agates, so a day well spent.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two trips to the gym

Thursday: Swim 500 yards, walk 5 miles

The 90-minute walk is going to be a Thursday evening tradition: We don't have cable, and it's the best way for me to watch "Project Runway."

The 500-yard afternoon swim was supposed to be longer, but I hadn't moved my goggles back from my post-vacation "pile" to my gym bag, and the only ones I had were leaky and unacceptable.

I've been counting calories on My Fitness Pal, but somehow it seems to be making me heavier. I think because it gives me way too much credit for the exercise I do. (Example: Yesterday it said I burned more than 1,900 calories on my 30-mile ride. Surely it doesn't realize what an awesome bike I have. Or that 14-16 mph is not really that "vigorous.")

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tough enough

Bike: 30 miles

Another good ride. I am trying not to obsess over the mileage, so I've been keeping the bike computer set to display the average speed instead. Of course, that means I obsess over the average speed a bit, but maybe that's a good thing. Yesterday was a hilly route, and I averaged 14.8 mph. Today was much flatter, and I averaged 15.3 mph. That's pretty good for me!

So of course the point of all this biking is to get used to a variety of situations, and just generally get tougher. Today I came home with:

1. My shins coated with gravel.
2. Giant sweat stains on my shirt.
3. Two saddle sores the size of nickels (pre-existing).
4. A grasshopper in my hair.

How do you like me now? Am I tough enough yet?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Home again, home again

Bike: 26 miles

We got back from our trip to Denver last night, and other than the looong drive and somewhat disappointing Great Urban Race, it was a lot of fun. Immediately before this trip we had two weeks of out-of-town company, so it's really nice to be back to a normal routine for a while. (Or as M.H. put it, "I can't wait to have a day where I don't hear the laughter of little children.")

So kind of a fun ride today, no real purpose, just riding. As per the plan. :)

I'm starting to not be able to feel the pain in my hip, so I think I'm going to postpone seeking out physical therapy for a few more weeks and see if the exercises my brother-in-law suggested awhile back — plus not running, plus focusing on losing a few pounds — can whip it back into shape. It would be nice to get away with not spending the money. Still, I'm not going to endanger the Ironman over this, so just a few more weeks of rest to see how it does, and then I will be a good girl and get physical therapy if I need it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wanna buy a marathon slot?

Swim: 2,000 yards

I decided to email the race director and just see what the deal was with bowing out of the Montana Marathon, and great news! I can pass my slot on to someone else or defer my entry to next year (at which time I would probably try again to sell it to someone else, because I can't see wanting to do a marathon three months after the Ironman). Maybe if I can defer it twice, I'll do it in 2012.

I think I love how casual these Montana races are. When I asked how long I had to decide whether I wanted to defer, the answer was, "Uhh, whenever. Just let us know sometime before the morning of the race." :)

So that's a load off my mind. Unless I have a running epiphany when I get back from our trip, the marathon is off. I will bike, bike, bike, yoga, and swim. And finally go get some PT for my hip, because I've just been living with the same pain for like two years now, and that can't be a good thing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

8 miles of fail

Monday: Run 8 miles, bike 3 miles

So the "just ride" mantra is great, but there's also the small problem of the Montana Marathon to worry about. Right now I'm sincerely wishing I had not signed up for it. It's just a little under seven weeks away, my longest training run of 15 miles was about five weeks ago, and I'm going to be on vacation (and not planning to run) for a week starting Wednesday. Plus, and probably most importantly, I should be using this time to rehab my hip, not train for a marathon on it.

Today I was hoping to get in another long run before we leave, but I was also trying to be realistic. I would shoot for 15, but be happy with 13 if I just didn't have it in me. (And if all was going swimmingly, I'd go ahead and do 16.)

Ha. Guess I really didn't have it in me. There were so many things going wrong at once that I don't even want to talk about it. Obviously I'm still worn out from the half-ironman. But I'm very discouraged that I can be ready for this race in the amount of time I have left.

Time to think seriously about what to do. I really hate to waste the $60 entry fee, but I also don't want to do something stupid that will ultimately jeopardize the Ironman. And it might just be my tired legs talking, but frankly I don't even want to do this race.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Just ride

Saturday: Yoga, run 2 miles
Sunday: Bike 21 miles, yoga

I've been going over in my head all the things I need to get better at on the bike—climbing hills, decending hills, endurance, speed, riding in the heat, riding in the cold, riding in the wind, comfort in both positions, tolerance of the saddle, eating and drinking without slowing down… it got a little overwhelming. How do I learn this stuff? What do I work on first? Then I realized that the answer is actually pretty easy: Just ride. If I just keep at it, I will get better at everything. Obviously!

I think it's too early to have a formal bike training plan for the race, so I think that's my new motto until about January. Just ride. Just ride. Just ride.

So today it was a nice morning (although I have to remember I can't ride only on nice mornings) and I decided to go out and see how the dreaded Molt hill compares to the Bridger Pass. Holy cow. The dreaded Molt hill is no big deal at all. This was only the third or fourth time I've ever made it to the top of it, but as I was going up, I noticed a) I was not breathing all that hard, b) I was down to 6 mph, sometimes in the 5's, but never 4, and c) it's really three hills, with flat sections between them. Piece of cake!

Ah, but could I go downhill without clutching the brakes in terror? Yep. I hit 36 mph, so it was not entirely without terror, but I stayed off the brake, and it was not as scary as I thought it would be.