Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Last night's adventure was great. I arrived at the gym with my muscles warmed up and ready to go - no need to spend ten minutes on an elliptical or a rowing machine. I skipped a few of the core exercises at the very end (oblique raises, stability stuff) because I was tired and I knew my form would be awful. Since this was my first strength training workout sandwiched between bike rides, I decided I could cut myself some slack.
I woke up again at 4-ish and had a lot of trouble getting back to sleep. I even tried listening to my "Deep Sleep" relaxation/hypnosis program. It relaxed me, but I didn't sleep. In fact, this was the first time I've heard the very end of the program.
I must have fallen back asleep, though, because I didn't wake up again until the radio came on. (I have an alarm that slowly raises the light level in the room, and then turns on the radio when it's time for me to wake up. I often wake up ten minutes before the radio comes on.) I woke to find the Empress Dowager resting on my chest. At least she was well-rested!
I got in another short swim drill session at lunch. It wasn't great, but I believe I'm making some progress. All I have to do is survive the swim, right? I am anxious to get out into the river. I want to see how swimming feels when I don't have to stop every 50 meters.
My first tri offers a back-to-back sprint. I'm hopeful I can switch to that, instead of the sprint I'm signed up for. The swim will be the deciding factor, though. If I'm really miserable after one swim, I doubt I'll want to do a second after the ride & run.
Not riding home tonight. If I drive home tonight, I can get in a swim workout before court tomorrow morning. My past two workouts have been really short - just enough to do a few drills. I'm hopeful to spend an hour in the pool, which will give me time to work on bringing my heart rate back under control. (As soon as I start using my arms, my heart rate shoots up.)
I'm glad I'm not riding: we have 30 mph winds right now, with gusts. And it's blowing dust, which is even more miserable. I do plan to run along the canal (just under a 5K) this evening. And then I hope to have a relaxing evening (as if that ever happens!).
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Last night's Vestry meeting ran late - about 9:30. I was already really tired from waking up before 4 Monday morning and then not being able to get back to sleep. I had about an hour to myself before the meeting; I laid on the floor with my legs up to relax my back. The Empress Dowager (our oldest cat) took advantage of my horizontal state and took a nap on my belly. Not sure how much sleep I got, but it was delightfully relaxing.
After trying in vain for an hour to get back to sleep yesterday morning, I went for a run at about 5 a.m. It was too dark to run along the canal (a nice dirt road, but no street lights), so I ran on the asphalt streets of my neighborhood. I took a meandering route through the neighborhood - I was hoping to run for close to an hour, so it didn't matter where I went. I ended up running 6 km.
Bloomsday is in about 6 weeks, and that's a 12K. I still have plenty of time to build up my mileage. I figure I can add a half km to each of my weekly "long" runs and not burn out my legs. My glutes were beginning to feel tired during the run, but I kept up my 2-3 minutes of running to 1 minute of walking throughout the run (except for the five minutes at the beginning and end). My back has been kinda touchy, so I was a little worried about running on the asphalt, but it hasn't bothered me.
I wore my compression shorts while I ran, and I decided to try an experiment: I left them on. I didn't take them off until this morning. No muscle soreness at all. I laid on the floor with my feet up on the wall for about five minutes when I got home (that's my sure-fire shinsplints avoidance plan) and I stretched pretty good as well, but I think the compression made a difference. (It's not that different than wearing a girdle, which I do when I'm in business attire.)
Because I got home late from the meeting, I decided to take an hour of sick time this morning to let myself sleep in. I still only got 7 hours of sleep, but I was unwilling to take on today's challenges with just six hours of sleep.
No one got arrested last night, so I didn't have to go to court this afternoon. But I was hoping to get over to the gym at lunch time to do some swim drills. My legal assistant told me I should just go anyway. So I did. I logged it as a half-hour of leave, rather than just skipping a half-hour of work (not that my boss would have noticed or cared, but I prefer to not skip work if I'm being paid to be here).
I'm really glad I went to the club. I am still struggling, but I made some progress. When I first get in the pool, I practice just breathing in and out while submerging my face. The I do a few laps with a kick board, again just practicing breathing. Then I try a few laps with my arms out in front, only stroking when I'm rolling up to breathe. And only then do I try to put it all together.
I suck at the "putting it all together" part.
Once I'm swimming, I try to keep going even if it's not going well. If I have to do a few strokes keeping my face out of the water, so be it. Just keep moving forward. I have this goofy side-stroke I can do if I need to. It's not as efficient, but it works.
I'd been in the pool for a while when I started to get frustrated. I was about to get out of the pool when I decided to try one more thing: with my heart rate elevated, I went back to step one - just breathing. It still works the same, even with my heart rate up. So I then tried a lap. The first length was good (breathing to my right side), the second length was not-so-great but still passable. I got out of the pool happy. That was nice.
Tonight is a new challenge: I will ride to the gym to strength train, then ride home. I've ridden to the gym just to make sure I could do the distance; this will be my first ride to the gym with the express intent to work out. Yeah, I think I should get some uber-serious props for being a dedicated-enough bike commuter to ride my bike to the gym.
So I'm hopeful it will be a good day.
I've also started scheduling my workouts. I've never done that before, but trying to get in two runs per week, two strength training workouts per week, and at least two swims while commuting by bike is more than I can handle without some structure. Tomorrow I will drive home so that I can use the pool before court on Thursday morning; that leaves Wednesday evening open for a run (and some much-needed work around the house!).
The one thing I've learned I CANNOT do is strength training after swimming. It will be interesting to see if I can strength train after riding the 8 miles to the club. I have to climb a hill to get to the club, which means I'll be in an more upright position. My upper back & neck shouldn't be stressed when I get there (that's the issue with swimming - I wear out my neck & trapezeus muscles keeping my head up near the surface of the water).
So, I'm thinking lots of happy, positive thoughts for a nice ride to the club, a challenging but productive workout, and then a peaceful ride home as the sun sets.
Not a bad day!
Thursday, March 13, 2014
I only spent about 20 minutes in the pool this morning. Lesson learned: I need to leave the house a little earlier for Thursday-morning pre-court swims.
I almost feel like I'm back at square one. I am doing better, but I'm struggling to put it all together. I do notice it's easier to breathe on my right side than my left, but the big issue is still the panic that builds if I feel water in my nose.
I did pretty good today: I either blew it out or spit it out. I don't think I swallowed any. But I need to learn to deal with this CALMLY. I'm going to get a lot of water in my nose. It happens. I need to focus on just keeping continual outward pressure any until it's time to breathe in.
I also had a hard time exhaling through my mouth. It seemed like when I did that, it felt like water was headed for my sinuses. I'm not sure home much of that was physical and how much was mental. It doesn't really matter, because again, I need to learn to deal with this calmly.
I think what I'm going to do is hit the pool as often as I can, even if it's only for 15-20 minutes. It's only with practice that I can re-train my brain and get it to not panic when it thinks water is encroaching on its turf. Any time a kid in my jurisdiction gets arrested, I'll have a hearing in the court across the street from my club in the early afternoon. That means I can be in the pool every day of the week. Thursday mornings are a given, too. If my husband is willing to part with my company for an hour or so on the weekend, I can get in a weekend drill, too.
Part of my frustration is that my first triathlon is only two and a half months away. I know I can do this, but I would prefer to go into my first tri uber-confident. I want to start doing open-water swims as soon as possible (once the river warms up a little and I buy my wetsuit).
I need to remind myself that I have a good plan. I'm committed. I'm focused. These inconveniences and bad happenstance are not going to derail me. The only thing that is going to stop me is me, and that is NOT acceptable. Absent some life-altering injury, I am going to do this triathlon. What I need to do right now is cut myself some slack. Remind myself I am a complete beginner in the pool. Even if I can only do a few laps, so long as my form is good, I don't care that it's only a few: speed and distance will follow.
So, get back on that horse, kiddo.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Last evening, the wind was coming from the WNW. Generally speaking, our winds come from the southwest. When the wind is really bad, I'll ride home via the south side of the Columbia River. It's 15 miles, as opposed to 10, but when there's a 30 mph wind blowing through your spokes it's usually worth it to take the longer but more-protected route.
Last night, I rode to the gym and then home. That's 16 milesl. I didn't do my strength training workout last night because that ride was a test, and because the Hubs gets home earlier on Mondays. In fact, he was home when I arrived. He got a brief hello while I switched over to running shoes and into a jacket for my brick workout. He's a good sport.
The ride up the hill to the gym wasn't bad because I sat at an intersection half-way up the hill for three minutes waiting on the light. Three minutes is a very long time for a traffic light, but it did allow my heartrate to come down. I had the wind in my face going down the hill, and then got stuck at the same light. :roll eyes:
My intent was to ride to the gym tonight to do a strength workout, but I've reconsidered. I will ride home, but I think the workout on top of the ride is too much. While I didn't do a lot of swimming yesterday, I did swim. My ride home from the gym was my longest ride this year. And then, as if my legs hadn't suffered enough, I went for a brief run. (I ran the first five minutes, and then alternated running and walking. My legs were not happy, and my heartrate was pretty high.)
This morning, my legs were still kind of wooden. I took stock of recent workouts: I ran a mile without stopping on Saturday. (I usually alternate between running and walking, at a 2:30-3:1 ratio. I just wanted to see if I could run a mile without stopping.) I rode 16 miles yesterday, fighting the wind for 85% of the ride. And then I ran. My legs have a right to be tired!
So I'm *just* going to ride home tonight, and then I will ride into work tomorrow. I will drive home tomorrow night, and I'll do my strength training workout then. And Thursday morning, I'll swim for 30-40 minutes before work. That should be sufficient.
Monday, March 10, 2014
At least it's not square one!
I haven't been in the pool since my lesson. Just thinking of chlorinated water made me naseuous. But I had to get back in there and try to recover what I learned from Coach Kathy. I opted to go for a run Saturday morning. I had to go to court near my gym this afternoon, so I returned to the pool at lunch time. Pool 2, though. I may never go back into Pool 1.
I have my Zoomies swim fins. I am a lot faster, but NOT crazy fast like with the full-sized fins. As Coach Kathy suggested, I spent my first few minutes in the pool just practicing breathing & keeping the air moving out of my nose. It was a real struggle. I feel like I've forgotten almost everything I learned 10 days ago.
I did pretty good. I got a little water in my sinuses, but what little I didn't blow back out I spit out. I think I swallowed a litte, but not much. I have a bit of a headache - the result of unbuffered water coming into contact with my sinuses - but it's managable. I'm hopeful this headachiness is something that will diminish with time, either because I've adapted or because I'm keeping water out of my sinuses.
It was a minimally productive pool session. I get there at about 12:20. I try to be in court by 1:15. The club is across the street from the court, so I can do it. But I only get about 20 minutes in the pool. Right now, that's acceptable. In fact, I see the advantage. I may plan to do this every day I have to be in that court. Short, frequent sessions are better for practicing new skills than longer, less frequent sessions. The downside is that I don't know until after the start of the workday whether or not I have to go to court. (It all depends on who got arrested the night before and why they were arrested.)
Tonight I'm going to ride home, via the club. It's only an 8-mile ride, but I have to climb a small hill (119' in about half a mile) to get there. Mondays, the Hubs only works until 5, so he may be home between 6:30 - 7 (assuming he actually leaves work on time, which is rare). Tonight's ride is just to see how I feel when I get to the gym. My plan ulitmately is to ride to the club to do my strength training and then ride home (another 8 miles). I'm planning to go for a run as soon as I get home - first brick of the year. Yes, it will be miserable, but the sooner I start doing them the easier life will be during my first triathlon in June.
Of course, there's a 25 mph wind with gusts in the 30+ range. A little water up may nose may freak me out, but I'm still a tough broad.
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