Thursday, July 28, 2011

The new me

Me: Ow, my legs are really sore from yesterday.
Family member: Why, what did you do?
Me: Another one of those 10-minute workouts.
Family member: (Clearly unimpressed)
Me: It was a lot more fun to tell people about my Ironman training.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gym math

Today's six-minute "minimalist" run workout is done, but it wasn't very satisfying, and I think I know why. It's not because I miss spending two hours pounding my feet to oblivion, or because I have some emotional need to rack up a bunch of miles or because I'm worried I didn't run long enough to burn any calories. No, it's because it throws off the ratio.

See, I've whined mentioned before how long it takes me to get ready for a workout. But when you've got to be at the gym for two or three hours, those 20 minutes aren't that big a deal. Even when you throw in the blogging time afterward, it's generally at least a 3:1 workout-to-associated-crap ratio.

Compare that to today:
  • Get dressed for running: 4 minutes
  • Pack gym bag/fill water bottle: 3 minutes
  • Discuss with husband merits of driving to gym for 6-minute workout: 7 minutes
  • Find keys: 5 minutes
  • Drive to gym: 4 minutes
  • Put stuff in locker: 2 minutes
  • Work out: 6 minutes
  • Shower and change: 7 minutes*
  • Drive home: 4 minutes
  • Whine Blog about experience: 23 minutes
  • Unpack gym bag (which I'll definitely get to right after this): 1 minute
So that's 6 minutes of working out and 60 minutes of associated crap, and now instead of 3:1, my ratio is 1:10. I'm terrible at being a minimalist.

* To be fair, I might have done this anyway.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pumping iron

I've been putting off starting my experimental new workout plan because I've been so busy editing a book on deadline, but then I thought, Isn't the whole point of a 10-minute workout that you can do it despite being busy? As a matter of fact, it is.

So, needing a break and a shower anyway, this was the workout I did just now:
10 close-grip push-ups
10 inverted rows
20 kettleball swings
Rest 1 minute
Repeat 5 times
(The "research" phase involved some Googling to find out just what close-grip push-ups, inverted rows, and kettleball swings actually were.) 
Immediate results: My arms now feel like licorice, and I'm still breathing hard, five minutes later.

Also, I did the rows, not inverted, with 20-pound dumbbells. There is no way I could lift my body weight. When I get to the point where I can, I guess I'll have to start doing this at the gym. They probably have real kettleballs there, too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This is going to be great

So I'm getting close to the one-month mark since my race, and I've been sort of casting about for a New Life Plan.

This is my husband's term. He always teases me when I come up with a brilliant new strategy to get more housework done, lose some weight, get organized, plan healthier meals, write more personal letters, be a better parent, read more literature, grow a garden, expand my mind, or whatever. It goes like this: I read an interesting article, form a conviction, do some research, add my own clever twist, set up a schedule or a set of complex rules, make some lofty declarations. Then everything goes great for a while until I get bored or forget completely about it. Then I come up with a new New Life Plan.

Pffft. As if this were a problem.

Anyway, the Ironman training was a New Life Plan of sorts, and I was thrilled with the results. (Take that, NLP doubters.) But it is nearly time for a new one, and only today, a Facebook friend posted a link to a very interesting article called "Two Experiments in Exercise Minimalism." The most minimal of the minimalist experiments suggests working out only 32 minutes per week—a far cry from the 20 hours per week I was doing toward the end of my Ironman training.

So right now I'm in NLP Phase III ("do some research"), and I'll let you know how it goes. But I'm kind of excited to try this. It will leave a ton of time for me to start a regular bathroom-cleaning schedule, make handmade birthday cards with my kids, experiment with quinoa recipes, and learn to quilt.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

W00T with a capital zero

Maybe this is exciting only to me, but I went to a yoga class today, and I KEPT UP WITH IT. It wasn't some sissy class, either. Everybody else was dying. (Well, to be honest, I was dying too, but I was also rejoicing inside and not sitting on the floor trying not to pass out, and therein lies the victory.)

It's been exactly three weeks since the race, and I think this means I am getting close to being recovered. I've been eyeing some of the spin and aerobics classes at my gym, but I think I'll actually start a bit smaller. Maybe a swim or something.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Branching out

My kid's in a swim meet this weekend that's part of a larger event called the Big Sky State Games, and there are sports going on all over town, everything from archery to wrestling. Michael just made my day by announcing that next year he also wants to do the kids' triathlon (150 meter swim, 2 mile bike, 800 meter run). Wouldn't that be so cool? Maybe I'll sign up for the adult version (a sprint) and we can practice transitions together.

I also really want to swim at this meet next year. It's the only one I know of where you don't have to be a member of USA Swimming to sign up. I challenged Michael to a race in the 400 IM, which is his favorite event and used to be mine. Right now I know I could take him, but he's got a whole year to go from 10 to 11, swim two hours a day, get awesome, and put me in my place. Sure, I could change my blog name to "Zero to 400 IM," swim two hours a day, and get awesome, too, but right now I really can't foresee doing any of that. And going from 40 to 41 is no advantage.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Best of both worlds

I deliberately didn't set the alarm last night to get up for yoga. I figured there was no chance I'd sleep past 8:30, and if I did…well, I'd rather have the sleep than the exercise anyway.

And wouldn't you know it? When I woke up and looked at the clock, it was 8:59. I had a slight pang about yoga but felt great for all the extra rest. I tiptoed into my office, so as not to wake my husband (whose sleeping-in skills were putting even mine to shame), checked my email, and then went down to breakfast feeling efficient and refreshed.

Only…when I got to the kitchen, the clock said 7:15. I checked my cell phone to confirm. Wuh? Weird. Not only did I get to go to yoga after all, but the illusion of having had extra sleep never left, PLUS it felt like two extra hours fell into my lap.

I don't suppose there's any way to re-create this effect, but I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Finally got a car report: A pin(?) came loose in the differential(?) and banged around the transmission, destroying it. So now we need a new one. Forgive me, I don't know anything about cars, and it's been 20 whole minutes since I was informed of this diagnosis; I could have it wrong. The part about needing a new transmission is right, though.

And I finally figured out the problem with summer (besides overly busy auto repair shops): The early, early mornings and late, late evenings are the best times of day, and you definitely want to be awake for them. (Not that you have much choice. The heat keeps you from going to bed, and the birds keep you from staying in bed. Not to mention a little something called 18 hours of daylight.) But that leaves you chronically under-rested.

I guess I'm really not the first person to deduce this, since the solution is well known and time honored. Just don't call me this afternoon, because I may be lying under a big sombrero, trying it out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

June totals

I don't know what the point of this is any more, really, except maybe to put March, April, and May in perspective:

Run: 64 miles
Bike: 280 miles
Swim: 19,100 yards

Man. A couple of yoga classes, a couple of walks, and one short run over the past few days, and I am exhausted. I can't get over how, instead of making me tough as nails, the Ironman turned me into an invalid. Where are the guidelines on how to recover from something like this? Better yet, where are the guidelines on how to maintain at least some of your fitness after something like this?

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I took everyone's advice and bought the finish line photo, so now you can see it in its high-res glory (and, um, legally). I probably could have fed a starving child for three weeks for what they charged me, which I was actually weighing into the purchase decision until I remembered that the Ironman itself had already cost a village or two. I probably ought to dedicate 2012 to making a matching donation to charity.


Having perspective is such a downer. Let's focus on the trivial. My eyes were open after all! Plus, the picture highlights my new best feature, my knees.

My favorite yoga class was yesterday. The telling-everyone-all-about-my-race part went great, but the actual yoga was kind of a joke. I spent a lot of time either doing easier versions of everything or just plain sitting. Oh, well. I'm content. It will all come back.

Today I went back to the gym again with M.H. and did a lite version of his typical workout, which is alternating between 15 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes lifting weights. Running felt pretty good, but I really didn't attempt to do any serious lifting. It seems pointless without some kind of plan, and I'm really not in the mood to be sore all over for no good reason.

Hey, didja see that nifty photo? That baby's going on the Christmas cards this year for sure!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Between life plans

Since the Ironman, I've read two novels and started a third. I've gone on walks with my husband. I've participated in the campaign to have at least one family meal a day. I cleaned a thing. I've even worked a bit at my actual job when my brain would let me stop obsessively reading Facebook, blogs, and my own race report. (There's this one paragraph that the editor in me just isn't happy with yet, but I usually end up rereading the whole thing because it brings me so much joy.)

And of course we had the fabulous "vacation" in South Dakota, which in retrospect was all about laughing—at our jokes, at our predicament, at the tourist traps, and especially at the "Finding Bigfoot" marathon playing on Animal Planet. Sample car game: Everyone holds their breath for a few seconds. Then, youngest to oldest, everyone exhales in turn with a satisfying "Puh." It sounds like this: Exaggerated gasps. Silence. PUH, PUH, PUH, PUH. Hysterical laughter. You can see why we ran out of fuel for our hilarity before the trip was over. Those flames were burning way too hot.

But this is all a good start. I think it will take some time to rediscover what my life was like before training started eating up three hours a day. Then it will take more time to figure out how I want to shake it up next.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Since our minivan stubbornly refused to reenact its funny noises and disturbing lurches in front of the repair shop people, and since we were good and sick of South Dakota, we decided to risk the drive home. We made it all the way to Sheridan, Wyoming, before hearing our first ominous CLUNK, and we were literally cresting the final hill prior to descending into Billings before the car shuddered to a complete stop.

First of all, I'm extremely thankful that:
  1. We made it as far as we did.
  2. My parents live within rapid rescuing range.
  3. The car died someplace with cell service.
  4. The car died during auto repair shop business hours, on a weekday.
  5. It was not 110 degrees outside.
But we still came home one hot, sticky, stinky, miserable, exhausted, and about-to-be-broke family. I haven't yet decided how I'm going to ease back into working out again, but I'm really glad I have "Recently completed an Ironman" as an excuse to not attempt it just yet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stranded but Making the Best of It

My son's swim meet went well, and the "Swim for the Win" sign earned me an extra hug. Now if we could just escape from this town.

Our car started making funny noises and doing funny lurches on Saturday, and by Sunday we were kind of afraid to drive it any more. It seemed like a transmission problem, but since it was the Fourth of July weekend (of course), we weren't able to get it in anywhere until this morning.

We decided to make the best of being stranded in Rapid City, South Dakota, by pretending it was a vacation and doing all the touristy junk they have in the Black Hills. We rented a car, and so far we've seen Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, ridden an alpine slide, played miniature golf, done a human-scale maze, and toured a cave. Oh, and ice cream. Lots of ice cream.

Now the initial report from the transmission repair shop is that they can't find anything wrong with it (of course). I'm about ready to risk driving it across the desolate stretch of Wyoming that we will have to cross to get home just so we can escape from this humidity and the crappy Super 8 we had to move into. Also, I packed for a three-day trip and this is Day 5, and I would really enjoy some clean clothes.