Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nothing exploded

Tuesday: Run 2 miles, bike 23 miles

I got on the treadmill this morning for a super-slow, super-easy test run. I can't say my calf is back to normal, but nothing fell off, went "twang," or exploded, so I won't complain. I've been instructed to be extremely cautious, so I guess that means I'll start my runs on the treadmill and finish up in the pool. Blah. No hope of getting back outside to run for a while, either. Double blah.

So far this year I have:
  • Run 450.5 miles;
  • Biked 2,050 miles;
  • Swum 126,200 yards; and
  • Lost exactly 1 pound.
What's wrong with this picture? Oh, right. I eat too much. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010


Saturday: Swim 3,200 yards, bike 13 miles
Sunday: Yoga, water run 55 minutes
Monday: Rest

I had another physical therapy appointment this morning and got the go-ahead to try an easy run tomorrow. Huzzah! I have to say all this water running has made for a nice, low-impact week, and I'm feeling pretty good as a result. (On the other hand, I'm pretty sick of the pool.)

I got to thinking that one strategy for getting through the Ironman—just to get to the finish line, mind you—would be to train really hard at biking and walking. That would most likely keep me from getting injured during the training, and if I had a fast enough bike split, there should theoretically be plenty of time to walk the marathon. (That's not what I'm going to do; it was just an interesting thought to comfort me when I couldn't run. But I am still planning on working some really long walks into training…)

So I'm desperately trying to finish up a big work project so I can have my life back. I keep telling myself that when I'm done with X, I will have some free time again, but unfortunately there always seems to be a new X on the horizon.

Friday, November 26, 2010

2,014 miles!

Thursday: Swim 2,200 yards
Friday: Bike 19 miles, water run 40 minutes

Big day today: I hit my biking goal for 2010 of 2,010 miles! In retrospect, I guess the biking goal wasn't as challenging as the running and swimming goals I set for myself, but still, that's a whole lot of miles, and I'm proud of myself. I'm guessing I will actually get to 2,500 or so, with all the training that's still ahead of me this year.

The weather has been so miserably cold that I couldn't continue riding in the garage and still keep all my digits intact, so I brought my bike inside. I'm still staring at a wall the whole time, but I have a nice little setup in the basement with the fan blowing straight at me and all my stuff nearby. I've been listening to books on tape to entertain myself, which would work if I could just start picking some better books. ("Wuthering Heights"? What was I thinking?)

Today after my ride I brought my 12-year-old to the pool with me so he could play around while I did my run, but he ended up mostly just sticking by me keeping me company. It sure made the time go faster. I'm hoping I'll be back to real running by Monday or Tuesday. My calf is feeling pretty much back to normal, but I'm leaving the decision in Dan's hands, and my next PT appointment is Monday morning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Injury update

Tuesday: Bike 28 miles
Wednesday: Bike 36 miles, water run 40 minutes

I've had three physical therapy appointments in the past two days (I think Dan understands I'm in a real hurry to get healed and get back at it), but unfortunately no more until Monday because of Thanksgiving.

He told me my soleus is strained, and that I should definitely not be running this weekend. It's still a bummer, but in a way it's nice to have someone tell me what I should be doing. The uncertainty was almost the worst part.

P.S. I like the therapy for this better than the therapy for my hip. Then it was all hard work, icing, and foam rollers. Now it's all heat, massage, and ultrasound. I could almost have a nap on the table.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chlorine poisoning

Monday: Swim 3,100 yards, water running 55 minutes

Doggedly continuing on with my "making the best of it" and "doing the smart thing," I decided to jump back into training but just replace the running with low-impact stuff. The result was me spending two straight hours in the pool and my skin shriveling up like a raisin, but I did it. I also made a PT appointment for tomorrow with my man Dan, and bought a new pair of running shoes that hopefully won't try to kill me like their broken-down brethren did.

All of this sounds great, and I can't think of any better way to handle it, but for some reason it does nothing to dispel the cloud of gloom I feel over being injured in the first place. It's like I'm realizing for the first time that I can be broken. Like, crap, if it happened once, it could possibly happen again, at a much worse time and in a much worse way. Or maybe it's just the horribly cold weather bringing me down. Or chlorine poisoning.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Trying to be smart

Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Yoga

We are essentially snowed in, and I've spent most of the weekend either asleep or sitting around with my leg elevated (and/or wrapped, and/or iced). At first my calf seemed to do nothing but get worse. The smallest bit of walking or stretching or massage, and it would ache like crazy for several minutes afterward. In fact, it woke up aching this morning after I had slept for something like 11 hours. The aching itself is no big deal, really, but I've been worrying myself sick about what it means for my training.

But here's the good news! I took an Advil several hours ago, and as of this moment my leg feels pretty much normal, so I'm daring to be optimistic about tomorrow. And if it's still in bad shape when I wake up tomorrow, well, then, I'm going straight back to the physical therapist. Either way, I'm also going to replace my running shoes Monday.

This was supposed to be a high-volume week, by the way, followed by a rest week, but I guess I hit my breaking point four days earlier than assumed on the schedule. It still stinks, but I'm just trying to be smart and make the best of it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I had better not be injured

Wednesday: 2,300 yards, bike 9 miles
Thursday: Bike 19 miles, run 3.5 miles
Friday: Yoga, bike 13 miles

So in my last entry I made that innocuous comment about my calf cramping up while running. But was it a cramp? The calf is still really tight and sore, and sometimes achy, and now it has me a little worried. I tried massaging it a lot yesterday but didn't seem to get anywhere, so today I'm trying ice and compression. It doesn't feel sharply painful like there's a tear or a strain or anything. So what the heck is wrong with it?

Tomorrow's workout is supposed to involve a 55-minute run, but unless I wake up in the morning having experienced a healing miracle, I'm going to swap it with Sunday's scheduled rest day. This stinks. I hope I don't have to burn another bonus rest day (or seven) over this.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pajama party

Monday: Bike 18 miles, run 3 miles
Tuesday: Run 6 miles, bike 11 miles

You know it's not a good day when you don't even manage to get dressed. Today I got up, started working in my pajamas, and didn't finish until around 5. Then I put on workout clothes, ran and biked for nearly two hours, showered, and got right back in pajamas. Why not? It's pitch black out, and I'm not going anywhere…there's more work to do.

Despite my getting all misty-eyed about running in my last post, my body decided to rebel today. I was holding a pace just over 70% on the heart-rate monitor, and it hurt. I was breathing too hard, my calf cramped up, and even my stomach wasn't happy. Then I switched to a pace just below 70%, and everything was hunky-dory again. So 134 beats per minute = bad. 130 beats per minute = good. Go figure.

Hey, this is the end of Week 8!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why does running feel so good?

Saturday: Run 4 miles
Sunday: Rest, rest, rest, rest, rest…rest!

My husband convinced me not to bring my bike up to Butte, and after seeing the packed car, I'm not sure it would have fit anyway. But I did bring all my running stuff, and I did exercise the supreme force of will it took to put on running clothes and seek out a hotel fitness room after a very long day of swim meet spectating.

Once I got going on the run, though, I was glad I was doing something productive, and it felt good. I was kind of excited to get in 4+ miles in 45 minutes, including a long warm-up and a long cool-down. (That means that in between, I was running fast. For me.)

It's a little surprising to me how much I enjoy running. I mean, I have always liked swimming, and it has positive associations with it from all my years on the swim team, but if I were in one of those "endless pools" or something, I don't think the mere sensation of swimming itself would do much for me. Biking is newer, and I do enjoy getting out of the city and looking around at the scenery and trying to get up the big hills…but in my garage, going nowhere, the sensation of biking is more pain than pleasure. (Much more.)

Running I just like. Even all alone, on a treadmill, staring at a wall, it feels good.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tired but with something to show for it

Friday: Swim 2,700 yards, bike 16 miles

I had to drive to Walgreens this morning, and when my tired brain woke up, it had driven me to the gym instead. And that was before my two hours of workouts. Bad tired brain! No! Retain your ability to function at a nominal level!

Anyway, once I got warmed up I actually had a lovely swim and was able to hold a bunch of 100s at about 1:30, which is nice for me because it shows that I have actually improved. I'd been swimming once a week for so long before this and not really getting any better that I sort of forgot that I do have that capability.

Finally made it to that rest day. Whew.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taking it down a notch

Wednesday: Swim 2,400 yards
Thursday: Bike 26 miles, run 2.5 miles

Today's bike workout called for me to hold a 75% heart rate for two 33-minute intervals, a fact that had been driving me to actual despair from the time I woke up this morning. Then I noticed that training schedule said I'd have to be "very disciplined" in order to not let my heart rate get above 75%, and I realized that something is just not right with the heart-rate zones I've been using for the bike. It can't be. I mean, even getting to a 131 heart rate is a struggle on an outdoor ride, and holding one for that long would have killed me. Dead!

I posted a question on the trifuel.com website and got all sorts of useful advice, which verified for me that the number I have been using is too high, at least at my current skill level on the bike. I decided to just use perceived exertion for this ride, and take note of where my heart rate ends up at what feels like a 75% effort. It was a low of 119 and a high of 126.

I'm guessing 119 is actually out of the zone, but I think if the choice is between slightly under-doing the effort in a workout and hating my life four days a week, I'll choose the former.

Oh, also? Way too cold today to ride a bike. I had to defrost my feet inside for half an hour before I could head out on my run. Must remember that the trainer is a force for good. Especially if I can tone it down a notch now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jane, stop this crazy thing

Tuesday: Bike 17 miles, run 3 miles, hip exercises

I thought of 600 reasons why I should just skip my workout and take today off, but I could think of only one reason to do it: The training plan said so. So I did. I probably need better motivation at top of mind, but I'm too tired to come up with anything else right now.

I've got a pretty easy workout tomorrow but no rest day until Saturday. We're going to be out of town at my son's swim meet all weekend, and I didn't want to have too many workouts to worry about while we're there. And one trainer session in a Butte hotel is quite enough, thanks.

I'm a little concerned that I'm not finding time to do yoga, or lift weights, as I had hoped. I'm even more concerned that I'm not finding time to spend with my family. Right now it feels like it's all I can do to 1. Train for an Ironman, 2. Remain employed, and 3. Feed everyone. And my husband takes care of #3 for me half the time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

That screaming you hear is my hip

Saturday: Bike 16 miles
Sunday: Swim 2,900 yards, run 4 miles, yoga
Monday: Bike 27 miles, hip exercises

Oof. Feels like I went from a crazy week of work to an even crazier weekend of training. And it's still a couple of days away from a rest day! Have mercy.

So in a nutshell:
  • Saturday's ride confirmed for me everything I had already figured out about the trainer (1. It's good for me, and 2. It sucks), but I did manage to get the sweat/hair problem under control a bit with a headband and a towel. I think the next step is to park a fan in the garage for the winter.
  • Sunday was jam-packed with activities, such that the only time I could get the swim done was to get up at 6 in the morning. I also went to my first yoga class in several weeks, and luckily it was a relatively easy one. I used it to st-r-e-t-ch after my run.
  • Monday I got to try out my new bike shorts (on the bumpy roads, no less), and what do you know? They really help. Thank goodness. They're a bit on the snug side, but I am working on that.
I decided I ought to be accountable for doing some hip strengtheners at least three times a week, so I'm going to start writing them down. I don't want to end up back in PT if I can help it. But Dan achieved his great results by making me work extremely hard, and so that's what I'm trying to do to myself. I basically did sets of leg circles to failure, and afterward, between that and the hard ride, I could barely manage the stairs. Owwww.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Friday: Run 5.5 miles, bike 9 miles

What a gorgeous day for a run and ride. The only problem was that I had a little trouble keeping my heart rate down in the zone where it was supposed to be—but maybe that was just my excitement at being done with my busy time at work and the fact that it was 70 degrees and sunny on November 5.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A whole different animal

Wednesday: Bike 20 miles
Thursday: Rest

So my husband came back from the bike shop yesterday with a $5 gadget that makes my bike magically go on the bike trainer. (Well, I assume it was magic. Either that or mechanics. I wasn't there to witness it and might not have been able to tell the difference anyway.) When my work finally ended for the day, well after dark, I diligently gave it a try.

Wow. That is Not The Same as riding on the streets.

First, there was the heat. The sweatshirt I wore (because it's chilly in the garage!) lasted about 2 minutes before being flung away. Then came the sweat. It started forming somewhere on my scalp, ran down my forehead in invisible channels, and beaded up at the tip of my nose, dripping occasionally to the garage floor. (I kept trying to wipe it off, but it kept coming back, as if it was maybe trying to form a salt stalactite.) Then there was the frizz. Emboldened by the sweat and heat, my hair swelled to three times its normal size and resisted all efforts to be tucked behind my ears. Eventually I just gave up, because I wasn't going to win, and obviously I didn't really need to see where I was going (hint: nowhere).

Oh, and then there was the saddle. When you ride on a trainer, you never stand up to go over a railroad track, or put your weight on one leg to coast down a hill, or basically get out of the saddle at all. When you stop pedaling, you just…stop. So an hour and 15 minutes of riding is an ENTIRE hour and 15 minutes of riding, and let's just say I hope my new biking shorts are as magical as my husband's mechanical abilities.

Aside from all the discomfort, I learned right away that I CAN get my heart rate up to the proper levels on a trainer, enabling me to work out HARD. Plus I noticed that I have a slight side-to-side rock when I pedal. I think those two things mean trainer workouts are going to be really good for me, because I can focus on getting faster and correcting my form. It also means I am really going to hate them.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Making the best of it

Monday: Swim 2,400 yards, bike 9 miles
Tuesday: Swim 2,300 yards

I was supposed to finish out Week 6 with a bike ride today, but I ran out of daylight before I ran out of work, and my efforts to actually set up a bike trainer were frustrated by a quick-release lever that seems to be right in the way. The only thing I really had time for, glancing over Week 7's workouts, was a swim, so that's what I did. I hope I have time tomorrow or Wednesday to get that ride in before I get really confused about what week I'm on and what I'm supposed to be doing.

I'm going to be busy again tomorrow, so my husband said he'd take the bike and trainer to the bike shop for me to see what can be done. What a guy.

In other biking news, I found a really good deal on eBay on a pair of fancy bike shorts I wanted, so I've postponed the saddle shopping until I see what the magical, fluffy-cloud, yet discounted shorts can do. My one concern is that they are a medium, while I remain in the "large" category, but I figure they are stretchy, right? Plus I fully intend to be a medium in a matter of weeks.

October wrap-up

As of the end of October, the year was 83.3% over. Here's how I'm doing on my 2010 goals:

Swimming: 99,800 yards (66.5% to goal of 150,000)
Biking: 1,721 miles (85.6% to goal of 2010)
Running: 403 miles (67.2% to goal of 600)

I'd given up on hitting my swimming and running goals, but the swimming one might actually be doable at the rate I'm going now. :)