Friday, December 31, 2010

OK - I lied

I decided to post a pre New Years thought:

Considering how long I've been away from training I'm actually proud of what I've accomplished over the past few weeks.  I don't feel like I'll ever be back in the mental place where I look forward to training, but in the last week or two of decreased activity I can see a definite difference in the way I feel with and without exercising.

I do not make resolutions as it seems to place unreasonable expectations, but I do have my 2 major goals for the year and several lesser goals which are not necessarily related to the major goal.  If I didn't mention this before, my brother is interested in running the marathon this year, and now possibly my nephews and one of my nephew's fiance may want to run ... my son isn't interested, but we can still have a family vacation of sorts - looking forward to the occasion.

I am not fooling myself into thinking this will be easy, I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I have my Garmin out and ready to use - if I can figure out how I will link my training data so we can all have a good laugh.  I am getting a weighted vest to help my anti-slow training (I cannot in good conscience call it speed training).  I have already done some hill training (and I still hate hills, but they are a necessary evil).  It will be a good year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One week of no posts can only mean ...

I haven't been doing much :-(

Between being busy at work and feeling borderline sick / tired, I've decided to not push too hard going into the holidays.

I probably won't post much over the next couple weeks, but I will try and do at least a bare minimum so I don't go completely crazy.  My "official training calendar"will still start in January - Looking forward to it.

Merry Christmas ... and if I don't post before then, Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guess what I did!!!

No ... not another striptease karaoke rendition of I'm a little tea-pot

No ... I didn't buy the time share at the mental services building - not even the one with the view of the shock therapy room.

Training Stats:

Tuesday:  Hill running - 1 min up at slightly unslower pace followed by 1 min walk down.  5 reps per set followed by 2 min level ground run and a 2 min rest.  Repeated for 3 sets

Wednesday:  Here's the big news!! - SPIN CLASS!!! -  1 hour easy spin warm up followed by 1 hour torturous, demanding, relentless incredibly fantastic spin class ... and I kept up with everything!!  I was so surprised, I didn't think I'd be able to do so well - not quite where I left off, but closer than I thought.  I spent the majority of the time with an ear to ear grin on my face ... very cool.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Am I allowed to say ...

I kind of impressed myself today

Training Stats:

Stepper - 30 min.  20 min level 3, 10 min level 2 ... and I still had gas in the tank ... and my legs still felt fresh ... and I left a huge puddle on the floor.

Treadmill - 30 min.  Easy 25 min at 3.2 mph on 1.5 elevation, 5 min 3.0 mph at 1.o elevation.  I will not run on the treadmill - feel way too awkward.

I really feel like I have a training plan that is coming together - I feel as though the goals in the countdown clocks above might actually be attainable.  My cardio is coming surprisingly well for the number of months away from anything more physical than flipping a burger on the grill.

The official training calendar starts in January, but the preparations are going smoothly.  I have plenty of training clothes, 3 pair of shoes available for walking and running, I'm doing core work virtually every day, I have equipment to work my upper body at home - and I have several lower body exercises I can do at home
Non-training stuff

So I spent the bulk of last night with a tube stuck to my face and an F-4 tornado blowing up my nose - probably better known as a CPAP titration.  Surprisingly it was not horribly uncomfortable ... just a tad bit strange.  Thanks to the Ambien I got a few hours of sleep, but after I woke up at 2:30 or so I found the wires, tube and wind to be a bit distracting.

If I can survive this week I can focus on training new drivers for a little while ... and we should be getting a couple of drivers back by the end of the week.  Hopefully the new year will bring slightly less work stress ... that way I can worry about the stresses at home.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So I realized ...

That basically I'm a dork ... Here a gave my last post cute and pithy title and never once referenced either sugar nor espresso.  Well, the espresso should be self explanatory - I had a double-shot ... mmmmm.  The spoonful of sugar was a trainee passing the drive test and hiring on - definitely a bright spot in a long dismal run of work issues.

Training Stats:

Today - 20 minutes elliptical :-/ ... that's it :-(

Other Stuff:

I have been so tired the last few days - all I want to do is sleep - but unless I take an abien I don't sleep well ... even if I take one I'm not guaranteed good sleep. 

I've been running in circles regarding my follow-up sleep study (specifically the titration for the CPAP machine).  Now I'm not exactly looking forward to this ordeal, but I want to get it out of the way.  The short version of the story goes like this - The insurance company authorized a titration for Pam, but won't authorize the machine until it's complete.  In my case the insurance authorized my CPAP, but not the titration.  The company won't let me get the machine until I have the follow-up study, but I can't have the follow-up study because I already have a machine authorized. 

OK, Pam spent the better park of a couple weeks bugging the doctor, the sleep study place, the insurance, the company for the CPAP and the local pizza delivery dude until finally the right paperwork wound up in the hands of the right people ... the only problem is my authorization for the machine expires Monday.  The people at the diagnostic center stepped up and asked another patient if they would change their schedule to get me in on time ... so, tomorrow at this time I'll be strapped to a machine with wires sticking out of my head ... Yippeee!!

I'm not going into whine mode about everything else that's going on ... I'll just say you need more than a spoonful of sugar to make several gallons of lemonade tolerable ... Stress is starting to build up again and I don't know quite what to do about it - Training is a big stress reliever, but it's hard to train when I'm physically and emotionally exhausted.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just a spoonful of sugar ... and a double shot of espresso

Skipped any official training today, although I managed a 45 minute walk at a good pace.  Nearly 12 hours at work seems to sap all of my time ... and energy.  Maybe if I had worn my running shoes to work I might have managed a run instead of just a walk.

I don't know how much more stress I can tolerate before I implode again.  It's just stupid stuff - drivers who don't study for tests - stupid little accidents ... and a couple pretty bad ones - loads of crap being by the corporate baboons ... because they were stupid and spent millions on untested and inadequate technology we have to cut our expenses to below bare minimums while they slurp their shrimp puffs off of frilly little toothpicks.  They question why we're buying so many new tires - why we need so much oil - why we're fueling so often ... DUH - They're buses ... Without tires, oil and fuel they're redneck lawn ornaments!

I really could've used a gym break ... or more specifically, a jacuzzi and sauna break, but I didn't want to deal with all the gym rats after a day like today.  Taking my ambien now and hopefully will get a decent night of sleep.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A bit of a lazy day

OK, really ... if today was a bit lazy I'll need to be comatose to get any rest.  I should've specified it was a bit lazy as far as training goes ... Just a few short walks and some core and upper body work at home.

Really a pretty good day, but just a tad bit hectic for my taste.  The stress level within the company is really getting unbearable.  It makes it difficult to concentrate on anything else when work issues, or any issues start swirling through my head. 

So I leave the stress of work and where do I go? ... The post office!!  Yes, that's so much less stressful than work!!  And where did I go after that?? ... Costco - holy cow, what was I thinking??  Maybe I was just want to see how high I can get my blood pressure.

Tomorrow will definitely be better.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Leaving puddles on the floor

Training Stats:

20 min street run / walk 1:1 ratio with the run segments a little more intense (notice I didn't say fast)
20 min stepper - actually feeling stronger toward the end of the session
20 min elliptical - Actually a bit impressed with myself on this because elliptical is not my favorite.

Other Stuff

Starting over really kind of sucks (that statement was almost the title of this entry).  My brain remembers running - maybe not running well, but running.  My body may remember but doesn't want to cooperate.  My slow run sessions on Saturday actually felt pretty good, but the more intense run session today were tough - but I know I will get back to where I was if I work at it.

After the run I hit the gym in the midst of gym rat rush.  I grabbed my favorite stepper, buried myself in my headphones and cranked my music up.  By the end of the 20 minutes I was drenched with sweat and the oh so familiar puddle had formed on the floor under me ... as a bizarre sidestep - my pasty white really glistens under the bright gym lights when I'm sweat saturated :-)

After leaving a drizzling trail amongst the treadmills I gave up finding an open one,  The lady standing on the machine playing kissy face with her hubby (or boyfriend) annoyed me a bit because she stood there for at least 5 minutes just talking to the guy, knowing that people were waiting, before she even started getting ready to walk.  I decided to hit the elliptical that was right behind the stepper I used ... A couple of girls jumped on the stepper and the one beside it.  One girl pointed at the puddle and said something (I couldn't hear because my music was playing), next thing I know they're both jumping off the steppers and heading to different machines.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting the momentum going

Part of my frustration over the past couple of years is that I had finally made truly noticeable progress - I was actually on pace to reach a tangible goal - and then it all fell apart ... like it was ripped from my grasp while life itself just sat there and laughed at me.

When Pam's depression began to get worse I didn't have my usual methods for dealing with my own thoughts - my me time - my stress reducer.  When I'm at the gym, on the dreadmill or the spin bike I lose myself in my music ... I drown out the world, my thoughts and everything else - I'm in a world by myself.  The distraction from myself helps stick with my routine and reach, or even exceed my goal.  When I'm on the road it's just me and me - no music - no nothing.  It is my time to pray, to think, to meditate - my time to crawl inside myself and see what I'm made of and problem solve - come up with ideas for issues at work - create characters or plots for stories I may be working on.

After the extended time away from training, and with the number of issues that were adding up at work I couldn't seem to sort through the issues any more ... it was like I was not in control of my own thoughts.  I couldn't manage to do anything without feeling overwhelmed by the issues on my mind - no biking - no running - no writing - no stress release ... I just about imploded ... or maybe I actually did.

So I'm starting from zero once again - or at least that's what it feel like.  A big part of me wants to throw on the shoes and run 13 miles like 2 1/2 years ago - a bigger part of we doesn't want to try any more. 

I started with 10 minute walks across the bus yard - not for "training" but for sanity breaks.  They quickly morphed into 1.5 mile daily walks at 3.2 mph - again as a sanity break.  First trip to the gym was a laughable 10 min. walk on the treadmill and basically giving up because I couldn't focus.  I'm now hitting the gym 3 to 4 days each week doing a x-training routine (stepper or elliptical) for 20 or more minutes followed by 45 minutes to 90 minutes on the treadmill ... I've even managed to swim some laps, but have a bit to go before I jump back into spin class.

This last week I've been a bit moody - maybe it's because I had a cold - maybe it's because of the increasing stress at work, but I know a contributing factor is that I didn't train, I didn't yard walk ... I just rested.  Maybe my body and brain actually missed training ... who knows?

Yesterday's run was so encouraging.  My brain wandered all over the place -  I thought about things - made mini goals within the bigger goal - had fun.  I pushed myself pretty hard, but still had gas in the tank at the end.  I don't want to push too hard too soon - that's the same mistake I always seem to make, but after yesterday I know I can push a bit harder.

On the agenda today - 20 min. stepper and 45 minute treadmill walk.  A bit laughable, but progress nonetheless.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

LSD ... and it felt so good

Training Stats:

Boy ... saying "Training Stats" makes it sound more impressive than it actually is.  But anyway ...

5 mile walk / run in about 1:20 at a 5:1.5 minute ratio of walk to run - Long Slow Distance!!

Warning:  Possible Disturbing Visual Alert!    
If you are squeamish you might want to skip the next paragraph ...

Before I got ready for my run / walk I tried on several new training shirts and compression pants (which sounds much more impressive and macho than saying tights).  Then I proceeded to lube my legs and feet with body glide to reduce friction then squeezed my over-sized self into my spandex cool weather pants and the color coordinated long sleeve cool weather spandex shirt ... I did warn you not to read this if you were squeamish.  And for the record they were black and gray pants and gray and red shirt ... and they were base layers ... I wore regular training pants and a sweat jacket over the top of them. 

The run actually felt easy.  I didn't have my training gps, I was not worried about pace or exact walk and run ratios ... it was basically a feeling out process.  By august I should be able to do 10k (6.? miles) 30 minutes faster than I just completed my 5 miles today.

I was happy with my effort - the cardio seems to be alright ... the speed is absolutely gone, but I never had much speed in the first place.  Eventually I will get back up to a 5:1 or 10:1 run to walk ratio.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Feeling a bit better

4 days of no training, lots of sleeping and eating mainly things that would never make anybody's top 1000 diet foods and I'm feeling quite a bit better.  I figure if I get a good night sleep tonight and give myself a good stem cleaning tomorrow and I'll be good to go.

A lot of the stress from work seemed to roll back today - finally some good news.  Went to the doctor with Pam to find out what I already figured - I have a cold.  It is better to be safe, and the best part is I got to spend the afternoon with my sweetheart :-)  Nothing like playing hookie from work with the boss' permission - eliminates the guilt factor of playing hookie when the boss doesn't know.

LSD scheduled for tomorrow (Long Slow Distance) ... I'm really good at the slow part.  I will probably stick with walking, but I'll wear my new shoes to see how my feet feel after some distance in them.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting off to a screeching stop

So I wake up this morning feeling congested, hacking up lung oysters in the shower and feeling a little miserable in general.  Luckily today was going to be a light day as far as training goes, so skipping it was not missing much.

It was not a very good day at work, things just went wrong.  I'm feeling a little down right now - probably a combination of possibly getting sick and kicking myself for the issues at work.

This will not be the springboard back to couch-potato status ... I will rest a day or 2 and then get back to my routine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A bit of history - part 2

I can't remember not being a Christian, although I was not raised in what would be considered a Christian household.  I know now that God has always been there for me, even when I turned my back on him

My faith has pulled me through some tough times, but that was severely put to the test earlier this year.  The year started with the news that I needed my gallbladder removed (a cholecystectomy if you prefer the big words).  During this time I noticed Pam slipping back into depression and again I felt helpless and truly overwhelmed.  Soon I was having trouble sleeping ... a lot of trouble sleeping.  Sometimes I would not sleep at all, or barely get a hour.  About the same time I lost my appetite ... and I lost interest in pretty much everything.  I knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it.

It reminded me a bit of the original Rocky movie.  Apollo knocks Rocky down in the 14th round and Mick is yelling at Rocky saying, "Stay down, stay down!"  But Rocky pulls himself up on the ropes and tells Apollo to "Come on" as he gestured.  Rocky lost the fight, but he went the distance and didn't give up.

In August it was like every part of my brain was yelling at me to just stay down, but I can't.  I'm pulling myself up ... I may not win the fight, but I'm not going to give up.  Whatever life has in store, bring it on.

Getting myself to start training again is important.  The truth is I really don't want to train, but I'm starting to find the enjoyment I once had ... Can you say endorphin rush?  :-)  I need the structure, I need the goals and training is the easiest place to start ... I may not look forward to the gym, but I am usually happy that I went.

I trained all four days over the Thanksgiving weekend including a 40:30 brick (40 minutes bike and 30 minutes treadmill - Bike + Run = ICK, ..BRICK), a 5 mile walk in just under 1:30 and 20 minutes on the stepper at level 2.  Not a bad start.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A bit of history - part 1

OK ... I guess before I start yammering away about things I should give a few details about where I am in my life and how I got to this place.

I'm 45 years old.  I've been married to my wife (Pam) for nearly 24 years.  We have a 20 years old son (Timmy) who is currently going to a community college and plans on transferring to a university in the future.  My family is very important to me, and I will speak of them often in my entries.

For nearly 10 years ... actually for nearly 30 years I have been interested in endurance sports - marathon, long distance cycling, ironman triathlon and so on.  For the last 10 years or so I've trained on and off in an attempt to reach certain goals - complete certain events, and to this point I have a lot of failure to show for it.  My latest attempt was over 2 years ago when I was training for a marathon.  Although overweight I was staying on target with my training ... until I tweaked my Achilles tendon, that is.  That event sent me into a fitness tailspin I wasn't sure I'd recover from.

In addition to the disappointment of injuring myself and being unable to do much of anything, I began to notice Pam was just not acting like herself.  I won't go into any details, but after months of watching her and feeling helpless because I couldn't do anything for her she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.  It was rough, but as rough as it was to sit by and not be able to help, I know it was much more difficult for her to deal with the issues.

After more than 10 months of absolutely no training, and having gained back the majority of the weight I had lost during my years of intermittent training, I was finally and desperately ready to become active again ... except Pam was still struggling, and my work life became incredibly overwhelming, and in the little time I did find to train I wound up suffering many minor but aggravating injuries.

For as long as I can remember I've enjoyed writing - mostly poetry and fiction short stories.  From the tail end of 2008 through the first part of 2009 I turned back to writing as an outlet.  Expressing thoughts, feelings, frustrations, joy through my writing was definitely a sanity saver.  Again, work and other issues gave me little or no free time to pursue what I enjoyed ...

This blog is designed to keep me on track with my training.  I hope to track my progress, discuss my goals and maybe even share an accomplishment or two along the way.  I will have many entries that will be primarily training numbers - running, biking, swimming and other cross training I do throughout 2011 and beyond.  I will not discuss my weight, weight loss, diet or anything else along those lines ... except, of course, when I reach my weight goal - but that will not be for quite a while.  For now it will suffice to say that I am very overweight, and despite that fact I am once again training.

I will also have many entries that have nothing to do with training.  I will discuss my ups and downs, my work, my family, issues and irritations as well as accomplishments and joys.  I tend to go on long, random, rambling tangents that really have nothing to do with anything (just giving fair warning in case yo actually read what I write).  I look forward to keeping this blog.  I will not promise to post every day as I do not always have things to say, but I will update my status on a regular basis.