Saturday, April 30, 2011

April totals

My life, reduced to statistics:

Swim: 25,600 yards
Bike: 487 miles
Run: 111.5 miles

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Done for the day," what a concept

Wednesday: Swim 3,100 yards, run 6 miles

I finished my swim at around 9 this morning, and as I was getting dressed, woman in the locker room said to me, "Isn't it a great feeling to be done for the day?" I could only smile and agree. No point in explaining that I had to go home and work for 11 hours straight, then come back and run for an hour and 10 minutes, before I would actually be done — only not really, because I'm still working for a couple of hours tonight.

It was a great run, though. It was designed to be a track workout. I don't have a track, especially in the dark, but there are a couple of treadmills at the gym that helpfully display a picture of one, and show your little dot moving around it. Running when, a), you're in shape and, b), nothing hurts (looking at you, feet) is really not half bad.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some perspective

Sunday: Bike 23 miles, walk 2 miles
Monday: Run 10 miles, bike 13 miles
Tuesday: Rest

I know you can't really read this. But this is from the site where I'm getting my workout plan. And the arrow shows where I click to get to the week I'm now right on. Holy cow! My life is like 83% ruined right now!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Couples skate

Saturday: Bike 32 miles, run 7 miles

Today was the kind of early-spring day we get every year in Billings where you can see some people wearing full-length winter coats and people wearing shorts and tank tops in the same Costco parking lot. Both of these types are nuts, of course. It was pretty cool, but gorgeous and sunny, and with only a slight breeze so that you could feel the sun actually warming you for the first time in six months. In other words…the perfect day for a run outside!

To make it even better, my husband (who took up running, like, three months ago and is already much faster than me) agreed to come along. The pace was a bit slow for him but the duration a bit longer than he was used to, so it was a challenge for us both (of course I had just gotten off of two hours on the bike). I don't know if it was the sunshine, the endorphins, the company, or all three, but I felt fantastic when we got done.

Nice day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Making things right

Wednesday: Swim 2,400 yards, bike 22 miles
Thursday: Run 6 miles, swim 3,200 yards
Friday: Yoga, swim 2,200 yards, water run 30 minutes

So I was at the gym from 7 to 10 last night, came home and worked until midnight, and then was back at the gym again from 9 to 12:30 this morning. Too much. So tired. Bad planning. Also, it's been snowing horizontally all day.

Luckily I don't have any work today, and there's no school either, so I was able to remedy all of the above with the following steps:
  1. Procure food, lots of it, and right away.
  2. Make some green tea.
  3. Get out my knitting.
  4. Put on fuzzy socks and slippers.
  5. Turn on a space heater in the TV room.
  6. Gather up the family and choose an old MST3K on Netflix.
  7. Fall asleep to the sound of children's laughter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Delayed-onset gluttony

Tuesday: Rest

I've been hungry a lot since I started this nonsense, but I am never so hungry as the day after a really long workout. And since that's often a rest day, it ends up seeming kind of ridiculous. Today, for example, I've been glued to my desk chair literally since 7:30 a.m. Let's see, female, age 40, sedentary, 170 pounds…

Expected daily caloric needs: 1,500
Actual calories ingested today: 15,000,000

Monday, April 18, 2011

10-day forecast

Sunday: Run 13.5 miles, bike 12 miles
Monday: Swim 1,500 yards, bike 84 miles

I had great hopes of getting my bike off the trainer today, right up until I got out of bed, looked out the window, and saw it was snowing. Jeesh, I thought, I should really pay more attention to the weather forecast so I can make better plans.

Snow, rain, rain, snow, possible riding weather for two hours in the afternoon, rain, rain, snow, snow, snow. So yeah, the new plan is the status quo. Dang it, Montana!

This was by far my longest ride ever (at five hours and fifteen minutes), but it's frustrating that I'm not sure just how long it was in miles. I was averaging 16 mph or so when I was riding outside last fall, so I've just been assuming that speed when I log my workouts. I really, really, really hope I am actually faster than that now.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

There are no short workouts

Friday: Swim 2,700 yards, bike 24 miles
Saturday: Walk 2 miles

Today was technically supposed to be a 5+ hour bike ride and a swim, but we were in Bozeman all day for my son's climbing competition. I toyed with the idea of doing one of the shorter workouts for this week instead after we got home tonight, but I just took a peek at the schedule and—surprise!!—there are no short workouts! It's a 20-hour training week!

In fact, I had to laugh*, because last week on Thursday it was three hours' worth of biking and running, and the schedule said it was (and I quote), "the maximum that we'll ever ask you to do on a weekday." The same day's workout for this week is an hour and a half run and a two-hour ride. Now, I'm still really tired, but I'm pretty sure 1½ + 2 = 3½. And 3½ > 3.

Instead I took a stroll with my husband and am using up another bonus rest day.

*I really am laughing. It's a little funny to me that a) I'm about to embark on a 20-hour training week and b) I'm expecting to be able to handle it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm assuming half a mom is better than no mom at all

Thursday: Bike 28 miles, run 6 miles

The training is ramping up to a new level. Know how I can tell? Do you remember the last time it did, and I found myself constantly forgetting where my keys were and trying to store spinach in the silverware drawer? Well, now I'm doing stuff like that again, plus some stuff that's worse:
  • I no longer get up in the morning with the rest of the family.
  • I fall asleep at my desk.
  • I stand up and then immediately fall back down again.
This morning I actually did make it out of bed before my husband left for school with the kids, and so I rode along in the car with them (because that's quality time right there, is what that is). Only when we arrived at the elementary school did I realize I had forgotten the annual "Memories for Moms" event, where all the loving, on-the-ball mothers bring their children to school early and have an (apparently memory-generating) muffin or donut with them. My son was all, "Quick, Mom, come in with me and we can still do it!" I weighed the feasibility of this:
  • I had not put in my contacts. That's OK. My glasses look cool, even if they don't actually allow me to see all that well.
  • I had not combed my hair. No biggie, it doesn't look that much better when it's combed.
  • I was wearing pajama pants and a stained T-shirt. Might be do-able. I really love my kid, and I could probably leave my coat on to cover the stain.
  • I had left the house with bare feet.
Looks like I owe somebody a donut.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This workout may have affected my brain

Tuesday: Walk 2 miles
Wednesday: Run 5½ miles, swim 3,400 yards

The pool at the gym has reopened after an eight-day closure. The water looks different now; it's somehow too blue. Which made me wonder what color it was before, exactly. Then I tried to think about something else.

I've decided my second-favorite training food in the whole wide world is cereal and milk. Fast and easy. It's the perfect pre-workout food, the perfect post-workout food—and since that pretty much covers my whole day, what more could I want?

(My favorite training food in the whole wide world, in case you were wondering, is food someone else has cooked for me.)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not my favorite kind of sandwich

Monday: Run 9½ miles, bike 16 miles

Ouch. This workout didn't have "epic" in its name (it was actually called a "Bike Sandwich"), but it felt a lot harder than Saturday's. I had to run for 80 minutes (treadmill), bike for an hour (trainer), then run for another 40 minutes (great outdoors!). My feet didn't feel so hot for the second run (darn it), and I think I really need to get serious (again) about healing them up. In fact, I'm going downstairs right this minute to get baggies of ice.

("Jeopardy" music plays.)

I also realized that if I want to get tough, I'm really going to have to start getting outside more. As of right now I'm a big baby about:
  • Temperatures below 60 degrees.
  • Temperatures above 80 degrees.
  • Wind.
  • Uneven surfaces.
  • Inclines greater than 1.5%.
  • Traffic.
  • Precipitation.
  • Bright sunlight.
  • People looking at me.
  • Carrying water with me.
  • Not having water to drink the moment I want it.
I'm pretty sure I used to be tougher than this, but it's been a long winter on the 'mill.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Epic confessions

Saturday: Bike 73 miles, run 4 miles
Sunday: Yoga

I decided to suck it up and do "Epic Iron Day" on the trainer. Yep. Four hours and 35 minutes staring at a wall in my basement with only an audiobook player for company. It wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I was actually kind of enjoying the new book I started, which was a Smmpmmm Pmmmmmm nommmsmm.

Oh, you didn't catch that? A novel from the Stemmmmmppy Pmmmmm series.


Stepmmmmny Plmmnnann.

Oh, fine. The Stephanie Plum series. It was a Stephanie Plum novel, and I liked it. OKAY?? HAPPY?


Friday, April 8, 2011

Choices, choices

Friday: Yoga, run 4 miles

It hasn't snowed too much so far, but I just looked at the forecast and it's calling for more snow tomorrow and a high of 45 degrees. So now I have to decide. Do "Epic Iron Day" inside on the trainer? Do "Epic Iron Day" outside in several layers of winter clothes? Move "Epic Iron Day" to Sunday? Move "Epic Iron Day" to Monday?

I still haven't decided, but I should mention that #2 is not actually an option. There is no way I'm getting on a bicycle with the words "winter weather advisory" ringing in my ears.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Thursday: Bike 16 miles, run 3 miles

Running has felt really, really good lately. It still takes me a little longer than usual to warm up, because of my stupid feet, but once I get going, it's smooth sailing. (And when running feels good, everything is good. You know it's true! Hellooooo, endorphins!)

It's supposed to snow tonight, but the forecast for Saturday is 59 degrees and sunny. I'm really hoping I can get my bike off the trainer. It probably depends on the size of the snowstorm we get, but I just don't think I can stare at my wall for four hours and 35 minutes. (Instead of "Saturday Triple," this Saturday's workouts are being called an "Epic Iron Day." Gulp.)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thoughts on long walks

Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Bike 16 miles, run 5½ miles

I'm actually not feeling too bad today—yeah, okay, sore, but not ridiculously so. The first few steps after sitting at my desk for a long time are kind of comical, but after sufficient warm-up, I can walk like a human being. (And run 5½ miles!)

I am a little worried about my feet, though. They're not that much worse off than they were before the latest death march, but the left one especially never fully healed from plantar fasciitis, and I think these long walks are brutal on it. I was planning to do two more death marches before my race, but now I'm worried that that might be too much for them to heal up from.

One thing I decided (yesterday, in my fog of pain) is that six hours is long enough. Not just for my sanity but for my body, too. After all, I'm only planning to be out on the run course for 6½ hours! Next time I'll keep the walk to six hours again but try to increase the distance covered by jogging a bit, maybe two minutes out of every ten or something like that.

Oh, and I made another decision, too. I'm going to make the next long walk a bit less of an "adventure" and instead do loops centered around my house. Billings people will appreciate this: My 20-mile walk was from my house, up Zimmerman Trail (harrowing), and ALL the way along the Rims to just overlooking Main Street. And back. Scenic, yes. Safe, relaxing, and dotted with bathrooms, not so much.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Death March IV

Monday: Walk 20 miles

Here's me five minutes after getting home from my 20-mile walk: These walks just get easier and easier. I feel great! That gave me so much confidence for the race! I'm a stinking genius!

Here's me thirty minutes after getting home from my 20-mile walk (trying to stand back up again): Hey, what happened to my legs? My back and hips are killing me, and I can't stand up straight! My feet feel like they're exploding! Curse all this gravity! What have I done to myself? I'm such an idiot!

Staggering off to bed now. We'll see if a single rest day tomorrow will be enough to let me resume training or what.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Single

Saturday: Bike 56 miles

No "Saturday Triple" today, and that was a good thing. I felt headachy, tired, and generally out of it, and had a fairly rotten ride as a result. (I told my husband my "symptoms," and he said he felt the exact same way yesterday. So maybe it's some weird little virus, or maybe it's just that I'm training for an Ironman, which I've heard can also make one tired.)

I noticed that next Saturday is a 4+ hour ride, and I really think that will be the time to get off the trainer. Hoping for cooperative weather from April 9 through June 26. C'mon, Montana!!

Also, I finished the first draft of my fantasy race report. I couldn't decide what to write about how it felt to cross the finish line, and I eventually decided there's no need to write that. The important thing is to cross it, and once I get there in real life, I'll feel whatever I feel. No need for motivation on that front.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The power of pretending

Friday: Yoga, swim 3,100 yards

My aunt recently emailed me this little story in a book she was reading, about how a woman calmed her pre-marathon nerves:
…I started thinking of something I'd do only if I had already successfully run the marathon, and what I decided was to write a letter to my grandmother in New York, as if the marathon had already come and gone and I had happily completed it. I wrote her a couple of pages, excitedly telling her how easy it had been and even making fun of myself for having worried so much the week before the race. I kept this letter with me all week, because, of course, I didn't really write it with the intention of mailing it. I wrote it for myself, and I read it to myself from time to time throughout the week whenever I felt nervous or overwhelmed. And come race day, I ran 8.5-minute miles the whole way—no wall, no cramps, no problem whatsoever, just like I'd written to my grandmother."
I thought this was a cute idea and filed it away, but then it hit me while I was swimming today that if I wrote a pretend version of a race report—a lovely, perfect, but realistic race report where I do everything right and the ending is triumphant—well, that would be seriously helpful. It would be not only a tool to inspire me, but also one to force me to think through what a perfect race would actually look like. And not only that, it but it might help my brain memorize what a perfect race looks like so that I can consciously or subconsciously act it out.

So I'm going to take a stab at writing that. You can find it over on its own page (to the right, under "Home" and "Boring page of stats"). I'm going to update and add details as I think of them. It's mostly for me, of course, but you can read it if you promise not to mock me.