Thursday, April 03, 2014
We left the Tri-Cities last Thursday, headed for Lancaster, CA, to visit my son, his wife, and their adorable child. We got home around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning. It was a great road trip. We drove down Hwy 395 - much more interesting than driving down I-5. We went up I-5 on the way home to visit a friend who lives in Dublin, CA.
I'd hoped to get in a few workouts. I didn't. We were more pressed for time than I anticipated. I also averaged about six hours of sleep per night. We both kept waking up between 6 and 7 a.m., regardless of when I went to bed. I'm still a little sleep deprived, so I'm really looking forward to this weekend!
My diet was less-than-stellar, too. A couple of nights, dinner was beer & potato chips. I did okay with food; I didn't go overboard, didn't eat fries every time they were offered, ate lots of fruit. But without any exercise, I'm not surprised I gained three pounds over the trip. I'm a little relieved it was only three pounds!
I'm not commuting by bike this week. I'm still catching up. I swam this morning and went for a run at lunch. The run was short but good: I ran 2:30-3:00 minutes each time, and walked :45-1:00 between those run periods. It was a good run. I need to get back on track with training for Bloomsday: 12K, the first weekend in May. That's soon!
I bought a Polar HRM that will record my heart rate while swimming. I'm still working with the kickboard, mostly. I did a lap of freestyle, and my heart rate jumped 30 bpm. So it's not my imagination: my heart rate really does shoot up once I incorporate my arms. I'm concerned, but still confident I'll get this down before the triathlon in June. I don't care if I have to backstroke my way through the swim portion: I WILL CONQUER THIS!
There's a duathlon here in Pasco in May, the weekend after Bloomsday. I signed up. I figure it'll do me good to go into the tri with a "win" under my belt, and it'll give me a chance to practice transition while I'm not soaking wet. It sounds fun!
Friday, March 21, 2014
As I've said all over this website, I weigh myself daily. But I recognize the number on the scale for what it is: an abstraction, and of limited value in and of itself. So, like a lot of others, I use other metrics to measure how I'm doing.
I'm really struggling with swimming, but frequently, when I get out the pool I find myself thinking, "I feel strong." I feel tall and lean - and I am neither. There's something about the water that makes me feel strong, though. I like that feeling, and I let its goodness hang around for a while.
I'm not crazy about how I look naked, but I'm not horrified by how I look in a swimsuit. My "child bearing" hips are mostly gone. There's still a bit of an outward curve, but there used to be a shelf. My inner thighs are no where near as flabby as they used to be. And my butt & thighs are more toned. I don't have the butt dimple/pistol grips, but my rear end is looking a lot better (as the Hubs enthusiastically points out ).
For a long time, I couldn't fit into ANYTHING made by Danskin. I was too big even for their XXL, which they call an 18, but runs small. Once I could get into Danskin's clothes, I realized I was hooked: I almost bought some Danskins stuff at a thrift store just because it would fit. I remember when I was 20, and I was wearing a size 12 for the first time since I was in middle school. I kept buying clothes because I was so delighted to be able to buy stuff off the rack. It's kind of the same emotion. I have some Danskins XL that fit. I wouldn't mind trading in my XXLs for M, but for now, it's a cool feeling.
My back is bugging me, so I went to the chiropractor this afternoon. I was just debating skipping the strength training this afternoon, to give the adjustment time to "take." And then I realized that I feel great, I feel strong, and I want to keep this going. So I'll do my workout, and just monitor how my back feels.
Oh, and since I treated myself to a BK Big Fish sandwich for lunch, I kinda need the workout. I was craving one, so I looked up the calorie count online. I decided it was worth it. You see, I AM a dog: food is a reward. Food is comfort. Food is love. Food makes everything better.
Hoping for a great, productive weekend. Gotta keep that forward momentum rolling!
Thursday, March 20, 2014
I tried something a little different today: I did about eight laps of just breathing, using the kick board. I'm hoping that focusing on the breathing portion will help.
I'm still puzzled why my heart rate goes up so quickly once I start using my arms. I think this may stem from the fact all my activities are very lower-body oriented: cycling, skiing, running. My arms are only there to lift food to my mouth. Maybe on longer workouts, I can spend the first 30 minutes kicking with a kickboard and breathing, and then the next half-hour doing the backstroke to work on my back, chest, and shoulders.
I'm going to ride home tonight, but I'm moving the strength training to tomorrow night. My back is feeling better now, but this morning I wasn't so sure. I think my body would like another day of "rest" before strength training.
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!
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