Thursday, December 30, 2010

Also, ice is slippery

Wednesday: Bike 32 miles
Thursday: Rest

The rest of my family is off ice skating today. It kind of sounds like fun, but today is supposed to be a rest day, and since I'm not a very good skater, it also seems like it would be too much of an injury risk. Guess that means I am Taking This Ironman Seriously. And why not? When a thing takes this much time and this much work, you don't want to do it halfway.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Swimming goal

Sunday: Bike 20 miles, run 4 miles
Monday: Swim 3,300 yards, bike 16 miles
Tuesday: Run 5 miles, swim 1,800 yards

My 2010 mileage/yardage goals sort of became obsolete when I decided to do a June Ironman and started a formal training program. But it's still a big yay for me that today's swim pushed me over my goal for 2010 of 150,000 yards. (150,600! YAY FOR ME!) So far I'm 350 miles over my biking goal for the year, but I'm not going to make my running goal of 600 miles unless I can run 83 miles in the next three days. Still, 500 miles of running plus everything else adds up to a pretty good year.

Lately my kneecaps seem to be in collusion against me. One day the left one will hurt, the next day the right one will hurt. It doesn't feel serious, but the joints are popping a lot, and today the right one has a tiny sharp pain when I walk (but not when I run). I keep reminding myself that when it comes right down to it, there are only two steps to finishing the Ironman:
  1. Do all the training.
  2. Don't get injured.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas busy today

Friday: Swim 2,500 yards
Saturday: Merry Rest Day!

'Twas the day before Christmas
And all through the gym,
Every treadmill was humming,
The pool filled to the brim.

The ellipticals hummed;
Even the rower was rowing.
The tough guys did free weights
Their muscles e'er growing!

This evening's family time;
Santa's sleigh's coming soon.
But the morning's for workouts.
Joint closes at noon.

Sorry to be so irreverent on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, God bless you, and don't forget to open your Gift!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bargain hunting

Wednesday: Bike 38 miles
Thursday: Run 6 miles, bike 11 miles

So I was talking to one of the fitness instructors at the gym about how expensive triathlon gear is, and she mentioned that she had bought two cycling jerseys for less than 5 bucks each at Goodwill-type stores. It makes sense. They can't take the time to agonize over what each donation is worth. It could be someone's old Little League T-shirt or a $150 cycling jersey—it all gets priced at $3.99. So I went to check the Montana Rescue Mission store, and lo and behold, THEY HAD ONE! It's a nice-looking blue thing with the front zipper and the pocket in the small of the back. It also has two long elastic loops in the pocket for some unknown purpose. (I've never owned a cycling jersey, so I have no idea what. Actually, I'm not 100 percent sure it is a cycling jersey. But it looks great, and it's a useful layer for whatever.)

Encouraged by my big score, I decided to start watching eBay like a hawk to see if I could find a used version of the $200 saddle I want. I found one of those, too, and put in a bid, which currently stands at 99 cents. I think it's too much to hope that that will pan out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Viewing the eclipse

Sunday: Bike 15 miles, yoga
Monday: Swim 3,100 yards, run 4.5 miles
Tuesday: Rest

I'm happy to have made it to a rest day: My hamstrings are sore and my to-do list is long.

We stayed up late last night to watch the lunar eclipse, having promised the kids that we would wake them up to see it, too. When I went in to wake Dexter, I realized that lying on his back, he could actually see it from his bed, so he wisely decided to stay under the covers. Michael was not so lucky. The moon was almost straight overhead, and there didn't seem to be another window in the house with a good vantage point. But we bundled him up and took him outside so he could take a look. I don't think he thought it was worth the trouble: It was 1 a.m. and 3 degrees.

I think if I work really hard the next three days, I can be done with everything and have nothing to do between Christmas and New Year's but work out and visit family. Wish I could take a training hiatus, too. You know what would be an ideal occasion for taking another bonus rest day? Why, Christmas Day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The hardest part of my workout

Friday: Yoga, swim 2,350 yards
Saturday: Bike 17 miles, run 3.5 miles

This was one of those stereotypical days when I really didn't want to work out, but afterward I felt great. You'd think I'd learn to anticipate the feeling-great part and show a little more motivation on the front end, but it never seems to work that way.

I think one big reason is that a bike-run workout requires just a ridiculous amount of preparation before I even push Start on the timer. Here's what I have to do:
  • Copy the workouts down on a little card to take with me.
  • Pack up my gym bag with my keys, phone, and the clothes I want to wear for the day and set it by the door.
  • Get running clothes out and set them by the bike.
  • Find and put on my heart rate monitor.
  • Get dressed for the bike ride.
  • Get food and water for the bike ride.
  • Put on shoes, sweat band, and headphones; turn on the fan; and make sure everything I need is within arm's reach.
I'm actually getting better at the whole drill, but for a disorganized person like me, any one of those steps can take a disastrous turn (like finding my keys, say, or enough dry laundry) and the items I need are usually on three different levels of the house. The whole thing usually takes 20 minutes, plus at least 20 more just to psych myself up to get started.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Onboard entertainment

Wednesday: Bike 33 miles, run 3 miles
Thursday: Run 6½ miles, bike 12 miles

Just for convenience, I keep my iPod (loaded with seven U2 albums and essentially nothing else) in my gym bag to use while running and my other media-player thing (loaded with audiobooks) downstairs by my bike. Because I was going to be on the treadmill for a while today, I considered bringing the audiobook player instead, but the thought was repellent. I realized I would so much rather zone out to music than try to focus on a book.

Then I thought, could this be part of why I hate my trainer rides so much? The stupid audiobooks? Having to focus? Trying to be so clever—like training for an Ironman isn't enough, I have to improve my mind as well?

So today I tried music on the bike. It was actually a lot better. But whether it's enough for, say, a three-hour trainer ride, I don't know. I think it would help if I just stopped trying to be so literary with my reading choices. I mean, I just finished Wuthering Heights, and next up was going to be Anna Karenina. Does anyone have suggestions for audiobooks that are brain candy but not so vacuous that they actually hurt?

(If you're wondering how I can listen to nothing but U2 for hours on end—well, I just can. And if there's a song I like that fits the rhythm of my legs, I might listen to it 47 times in a row.)

P.S. This is the end of Week 12; I'm officially a third of the way through the 36-week training plan. Wa-hoooo!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sleepy-time bike ride

Monday: Swim 3,050 yards, bike 17 miles
Tuesday: Rest

I would just like to say that I really need to finish the Ironman in 15 hours or less, because if it keeps me up after 10 p.m. it's going to be seriously past my bedtime, and I'm not going to enjoy myself at all.

Note to self: Never again postpone your trainer workout until 9 p.m.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tempting fate

Friday: Swim 2,600 yards, yoga
Saturday: Bike 21 miles, run 3.5 miles
Sunday: Run 4 miles, yoga

I'm a little afraid to write this, because last time I got mushy about running, life responded by giving me an injury that prevented me from doing any for several weeks.

But. It's so new and exciting to like running so much that I have to take a moment and expound.

Tonight's workout included three intervals of 12 minutes at an aerobic pace (which for me is a heart rate of 142). So not super hard, but not jogging either. Each one was just over a mile (never mind that the workout plan assumed they'd be a mile and a half.) Those darn things felt so good that I was almost disappointed when it was time to jog easy in between. I felt like I was flying along, almost effortlessly. I had headphones on, but I didn't need any other entertainment. In fact, I was so much in the zone that I didn't notice my yoga class starting without me.

Oh, also? Friends are starting to say things like, "Look how skinny you are," which is a lie but still a sign of progress.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Wednesday: Bike 16 miles, run 4½ miles, water run 40 minutes
Thursday: Bike 40 miles, run 3½ miles

The past two days have been a challenge, not least because it's almost impossible to find a three-hour block of time in which to do these longer workouts. Today, for example, I got up, wolfed down some breakfast, worked for an hour and a half to meet a deadline, ran downstairs to bike for two and a half hours, zipped over to the gym to run for 45 minutes, and then ran back to my desk again for a different project, which was mercifully late enough in arriving that I was able to squeeze in a shower first. (You're welcome.)

Of course, that moment when you stop moving is when it all comes crashing down. I just about fell asleep at my desk, deadline or no deadline, and my knees got so stiff and painful that I started worrying that I actually hurt myself. Again. (But let's assume not for now.)

I did make it downstairs for the tail end of dinner with the family, but now I'm back at my desk again, because, hey! More work tonight!

I do try not to whine, because all of this is a self-inflicted privilege, but it would be really neat if I could have some days that are not like this, like soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

This would look good on a T-shirt

Tuesday: Swim 3,000 yards

I had the hilarious idea today that what I am having is not a midlife crisis, but more of a third-life crisis (if you consider that I'm planning to live to 120), so I tinkered with my blog name and bio for your (and my) amusement. Anyway, the whole turning-40 thing is a lot closer to the real reason I'm doing all this.

(Also, let's face it: I exempted my blog from my 25-minute Internet time-wasting limit, so I am milking that for all it's worth. Keep watching this space for the usual 27 rounds of editing it will take until I am fully satisfied with all the new elements on this page.)

The urge to waste time is strong with this one.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Sunday: Yoga
Monday: Rest

I was supposed to swim today, but I got a new big editing project with a deadline that's, um, tomorrow, so I think I'm glued to my desk for the rest of the night. It's fine. I was just talking with Dan the Physical Therapist this morning about the benefits of taking all these extra rest days I've got available to drop into my schedule. He thinks it's a great idea, and so do I, especially on days like this.

Speaking of Dan, just when I was starting to like the guy, he declared me healed from my calf strain and sent me packing, hopefully forever. I'm not so healed that I can jump right back into super-heavy mileage right away, but my calf does feel 100%. I'm just going to follow PT's orders for a few more weeks anyway and use the pool to finish any runs longer than an hour. Won't that be fun for me?

P.S. I did three cartwheels after yoga. Still needs work.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Biting my tongue

Friday: Bike 20 miles, run 4 miles, yoga
Saturday: Bike 16 miles, run 3.5 miles, water run 20 minutes

I've tried three different times to start this blog entry, but guess what? If you can't say anything nice/well-rested/non-whiny, then it's better not to say anything at all.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Could this be the key to everything?

Wednesday: Run 2 miles, water run 50 minutes, bike 11 miles
Thursday: Swim 2,700 yards, bike 11 miles

I'm amazed at how much I've accomplished (and how much I've learned) in the past two days by holding my Internet time-wasting down to 25 minutes. I highly recommend pulling out a stopwatch and trying it yourself.

First, accomplishments:
  • I spent more time with my kids.
  • I got all the Christmas decorations up and went around the house cleaning up after myself.
  • I made a to-do list with seven items and checked them all off.
  • I got caught up with my work (and invoicing).
That last one feels sweet.

And shocking revelations:
  • Having only 25 minutes means I can't even get to about three-quarters of the stuff I was reading/checking daily, let alone dwelling or commenting on any of it. I shudder to think how many hours a day I was wasting before this.
  • I kept having to resist the urge to turn off the stopwatch, because in some part of my mind certain things didn't really "count" against my minutes—as if no time were passing while I stopped to think about my next Scrabble play or a while a page loaded slowly.
  • This is exactly like being on a budget. It was almost funny how I scrimped and saved precious seconds all day so that I'd be able to get caught up on Facebook one last time before bed.
  • Since online Christmas shopping is totally legal, I did a lot of that. (That part was not like being on a budget.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New month's resolutions

So I read The Rejectionist's blog, and she has this theory that New Year's resolutions should get a trial run in December to make sure they're realistic. Or, barring that, they should be even harder than the real New Year's resolutions so that the real ones seem easy.

I love this idea, mostly because imposing ridiculous rules on myself is the only way I can get things done, even with a scary deadline looming over me. (Like, say, an Ironman in 29½ weeks.) And I have to admit that, working and training as much as I have been lately, I sometimes feel like the rest of my life is falling apart around me.

It's not exactly that I don't have time to clean the bathrooms, or finish putting up the Christmas decorations, or go shopping with my husband, or help the kids with their homework, or cook, or sit down and read a book. It's more that because I'm so physically and mentally drained, that I take the path of least resistance and end up staying in front of the computer, wasting what little time I have playing Scrabble on Facebook or reading blogs. (Oops, stumbled into a bit of irony there, but let's press on.)

December Resolutions:
  1. Internet time-wasting of all sorts is hereby limited to 25 minutes per day, enforced by an online timer. I'm going to exempt email checking, since I usually do that in inconvenient-to-time two-second increments, and also blogging, because it's good for me.
  2. By the end of the month, I will have (re-)learned how to do a cartwheel. Because, frankly, one serious resolution is all I can handle right now.