I was going to try to do a complete week of the training program straight through, in order, but I stumbled on the last day. I just couldn't find the time Sunday to do three straight hours of running and biking.
Or, to be a bit more forthright, I couldn't find three straight hours without sacrificing sleep, church, lunch out, yoga, or "The Amazing Race." I also took a trip with my husband and parents to see the inside of the house where I grew up, which is being sold and was having an open house. (It was a very pleasant day, actually, that day when I blatantly shirked all my training.)
Today I had a workalanche, and there honestly weren't three free hours (or three free minutes) to do any training. I will try again tomorrow, but I'm actually not all that hopeful.
I stayed up late last night and had every intention of sleeping in, but the chime of my pea-sized bladder drug me out of bed at 5:30. Once I was back in bed, my brain started chirping urgent messages at me, and then a half-hour later my stomach joined the chorus. It was worse than summer with the &%#@ birds.
Long story short, despite a fairly formidable to-do list, all I had managed to achieve by 4 p.m. were two crossword puzzles, a game of cribbage, and a long nap.
Now I've achieved two crossword puzzles, a game of cribbage, a nap, and a two hour and 45 minute bike ride AAAAAND the day's pretty much over. Wow, Sunday is going to be fun!
Hey, massage? What a great concept. This afternoon I got an hour of healing power directed mostly at my calves and feet. I know people who don't like massage, but I honestly could have stayed in there for five hours without the slightest desire to leave. (And that's saying something, because I get ravenously hungry every two or three hours now.)
Today, there were many things that sucked. Working every waking minute (when I wasn't exercising or blogging) was a large one. And as I headed out the door at 8:30 p.m. to get my run done before the gym closed, my son ran up to me and said, "Mom, I haven't seen you all day! Your endurance training is tearing this family apart!" He was joking, but it was true that I didn't see my kids for more than 5 minutes all day.
But enough of the suck. Let's focus instead on some things that are awesome:
Today I was supposed to swim three fast 400s, descending. I decided to try for 6:20, 6:10, and 6:00. I achieved 6:20, 6:09, and 5:57. Triumph!!
I just had a bowl of oatmeal with pecans, chocolate chips, and caramel, like a Turtle. It's the post-running snack I had been planning all day, and it was yummy.
Tomorrow is my rest day, I don't have as much work, and I get a massage.
I thought it would be really entertaining to break down how I felt at each five-minute chunk of my tempo run. I tried, but it just ended up this:
Minutes 0-5: Oh, crap.
Minutes 5-10: Crappity crap crap crap.
Minutes 10-15: Oh, sweet mother of crap.
…and so on. All to achieve a whopping 10-minute-mile pace for 30 minutes.
My heels feel OK, but I am icing and rolling and massaging and stretching anyway. If my massage were today, I'm pretty sure the therapist could spend a productive hour working entirely on the kinks below my knees. Come to think of it, I might ask her to do that.
P.S. Running in newer shoes did make me feel springier. Time for new shoes already? Crap.
I was really glad I didn't have to run today, because my heels needed a break. I finally Googled "heel pain" to see what might be wrong. Oh, duh. Plantar fasciitis. I already stretch my calves obsessively, and I am wearing little bags of ice in my slippers right this minute, so I'm totally on top of fixing this. I would be surprised if I already needed new running shoes, but that will be next on my list if it doesn't get better. I have a fresh pair standing by, so maybe I'll try those next time I run and see if they make me feel any springier.
I don't know if I mentioned it before, but my sister surprised me on my birthday with a gift certificate for a massage. I finally feel relaxed enough, workwise, to schedule it, so I popped into the massage therapist's office after my swim today and set it up for Friday. I've always wanted to try massage but could never justify spending the money, so this is a very exciting present.
This week I'm planning to do the workouts in the exact order they appear on the training schedule, including the third swim, just because I can. I don't think it matters that much that I do them out of order, but I might as well stick to the plan when possible, right?
My rest day was supposed to have been midweek, but we were out of town all this weekend at a swim meet, so I tried to "save" it to use it on Sunday, when I knew it would be all but impossible to work out.
That might have been a mistake. I am seriously dragging right now, my heels hurt from running, and my workouts in the hotel gym were both fairly miserable. They came after a day of driving and/or swim meet, and both after a huge meal as well. Oh, and since the hotel was packed with unsupervised kids I had plenty of company the whole time, jumping from machine to machine, bouncing around on exercise balls, playing with the weights and TV and water cooler (it really was a pretty nice hotel gym), and just generally screeching.
My husband says I am too easily upset by little inconveniences—though I'm not sure having to run 8 miles on a full stomach while everyone else goes to the pool and then finish up on a stupid recumbent bicycle is a little inconvenience—but he probably has a point. I can't really count on things going smoothly through the rest of this training and especially during the race itself. I need to get better at treating each obstacle as a learning experience.
Not sure what I learned this time. Maybe "Don't be so stingy with the bonus rest days."
Three and a half hour workout today, and afterward I felt peppy. Peppy! Of course, I had to immediately sit down at my desk and have not moved for the past four hours, so things may have taken a turn for the worse. I'll have to get up in a minute and see if I can walk.
On a completely unrelated note, I'm having the worst time finding "reading" material for these long workouts. Despite declaring that I just wanted to listen to brain candy, I really haven't been able to find any that I can stand. I've started several semi-popular novels, but they sucked so much I just couldn't go on. I did listen to the entirety of "Twilight," even though it was mind-meltingly bad, just to see what all the fuss was about. (I still don't understand what all the fuss was about.)
I had better luck going on a mini 19th century British literature kick, despite having hated "Wuthering Heights." I just finished "Jane Eyre" and absolutely loved it, and today I heard "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," which was also pretty good. (Oh, and before that I listened to an audio version of "Chi Running," which was excellent, but it probably would have been more useful to listen to it on a run rather than a bike ride.)
I'm thinking that I'll stop trying to find good modern stuff and just stick with the classics and nonfiction. At least then, even if I don't like the book, it still will have been good for me.
I feel like I'm paying for the excesses of birthday-Valentine's week. I guess the only way to repair several days of easy workouts and pounds of sugar is by pounding the workouts and going easy on the sugar. (HA ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!)
But seriously, I've been working really hard just to squeeze everything in. I don't think I've wasted 45 minutes in the past two days—and by "wasting" time, I mean frivolous nonsense like having dinner with my family and helping my kids with their homework.
P.S. I had my husband come downstairs and listen to my bike trainer again. He got down on the floor and watched it spin, said "huh," went and got a bunch of tools, came back and said some bad words, went and got a bunch more tools, fiddled around with things, and told me to try it again. Silence! Mostly! I'll take it! Thank you!!
So my bike had been making a sort of roaring noise sometimes on the trainer, which was a little disconcerting. But since no one could seem to hear it but me, I just shrugged and turned up "Jane Eyre" a bit louder. Then Saturday night I noticed that the chain was rubbing in some places and that there were actually metallic-looking little bits of dust all over the floor under the bike. Huh. That can't be good!
So I took it to the local bike shop, and they told me my chain was "shot," "beyond repair," and at one point I think he even said "toast." I got a new one, and some instructions on how to take better care of it. I got the bike back on the trainer, and WOW does it pedal smoothly now. The difference is amazing, and I can't believe I never noticed before that my old chain felt like it was clogged with tar and playground gravel.
All was nice and smooth and quiet for a few minutes, and then ROOOOAAAAAAR. What is causing that awful sound?? And how long until spring??
On Friday, I woke up all groggy after way too little sleep, and went to yoga, which happened to be an unusually killer class. Then I went straight to the pool, and by the time I'd finished a huge set of 100s (some under 1:30, thankyouverymuch) I had a pounding headache and was shaking from hunger and exhaustion. I went home, ate everything in sight, and then had The World's Most Necessary Nap, from which I emerged three hours later, and even groggier, to head back to the gym to try to run. There, I thought several times about stopping, because my left calf was cramping up pretty bad and seemed on the verge of being sprained again, but each time I was able to stop and stretch and continue.
Today I almost decided to bag the whole thing because I was a little afraid I'd hurt myself on the two-hour run, but I stretched really well ahead of time and put on my calf compression sleeves, and it wasn't too bad. Well, I should say I didn't get injured. "Wasn't too bad" hardly describes 3 hours and 15 minutes of workouts. "Glad it's over" is more accurate.
I'm having a lovely birthday except that WORK EMERGENCY! WHOOP, WHOOP, RED ALERT! RED ALERT! DROP EVERYTHING AND DO SOMEONE ELSE'S BIDDING ALL DAY IF YOU EVER WANT TO GET PAID AGAIN, FREELANCING SCUM!!
Well, not really all day. But at least five hours of urgent work dropped into my lap this morning and so I decided I'd better replace my workouts with a bonus rest day and respond accordingly in order to preserve my livelihood. (I think it must be a sign of maturity not to refuse work based simply on "But it's my biiiiiiiirthday.")
Most fun activities are on track to continue as planned. :)
I'm celebrating the last day of my 30s with a rest day. (Ahhhhh.) It was tempting to take my birthday off instead, but since this Ironman is my gift to myself, I thought I'd better unwrap at least a bit of it on the big day.
I'm already well aware that all my birthday presents, like all my Christmas presents, relate to the race in some way. Totally worth it.
I was working on deadline all morning, and I had to laugh when my husband kindly brought up some lunch for me to eat at my desk: a giant spinach salad with turkey, a hard-boiled egg, and tons of veggies. Hey, just what I needed! The total opposite of yesterday's menu! What delicious penance.
This was Massive Workout #1 for Week 20, three hours of biking and 50 minutes of running. I'm really glad to have it under my belt. I admit there were some moments when I really wanted off the bike (and then really wanted off the treadmill), but I hung in there, and afterward I felt not too bad. Actually, I could even say I felt…after my four-hour workout…fine. Hungry, but fine. This is so weird.
I did move my seat forward, since that was the unanimous recommendation from the video I posted. You guys are so smart. It was a big improvement! I think I might even nudge it a bit farther, actually.
So I've either been cheating left and right on the rules of my sugar fast, or I've just declared Super Bowl Sunday a holiday. Yeah. I know. I'd go ahead and say holiday, but the fact is I kind of cheated yesterday, too. And there's no chance of declaring a swim meet a holiday.
The problem was that I volunteered to bring cookies to sell at the concession stand. And I make really good cookies. And then I decided that, since I was making cookies anyway, I should make another batch to bring to the Super Bowl party. For that batch I got the brilliant idea of making Turtle cookies with chocolate chips, pecans, and chunks of caramel in them. They were totally amazing, and everyone loved them, and there wasn't a single one left after the game, and let's just skip all the gory details and go right to the point, which is I'm not allowed to make cookies anymore.
I'm going to start with a load of self-congratulations (deal with it).
I'm on Week 19 of this training plan now, and I'm hanging in there! I'm doing all the workouts at the right intensities, keeping up with yoga and a bit of strength training, following my plan to the letter. I can also tell that I'm getting stronger, and faster, and even a little thinner. I've learned how to manage those areas where I have potential for injury and am doing preventative maintenance.
I'm also managing everything else as well as I could have expected. I'm working a lot of hours, but keeping clients happy. I'm not leaving huge piles of my laundry and assorted junk all over the house. I attend swim meets. I take my grandmother shopping. Just yesterday I bailed out my sister by picking her kids up from kindergarten and watching them for an hour. Sometimes I even cook and help with the dishes. And every day I knock every single item off my Magic To-Do List (which I'll have to tell you all about sometime).
It's taken all the horsepower, willpower, and brain power I can muster to keep my life in this much order. And that's why I'm so worried about the next four weeks. There are some HUGE training weeks coming up. There are two, maybe three, swim meets. My workload is going to double, at least. And sometime amid all that chaos, I have to turn 40.
I'm finally getting around to looking at the video of myself biking that my 12-year-old shot. My initial reaction is that my form looks fairly decent.* I do think I'm supposed to keep my feet more level, but my calves are really inflexible, and it puts so much stress on my shins. Any experienced riders want to weigh in? Does my seat need to move forward so my arms are at more of a 90-degree angle? Is my back OK with that slight rounding? Do you like my new calf compression sleeves? Do you think I should keep any more crap around the room where I'm training?
* To be more accurate, my initial reactions were, in order, "Ugh, I still have some weight to lose," and "I can't believe my hair is so frizzy." But now I think it just looks that way because of the baggy shirt and the frizzy hair. :)
P.S. I just messed with my blog settings to make it easier to comment, so if you've tried before and couldn't, try again now. I even removed the little prove-you-are-human requirement, so you're all on the honor system that you are human.