Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So when does this start to feel good?

It seems to me that training in general is an inescapable trap ... a futile battle against ourselves that we will never win.  In essence it is an endless loop filled with empty promises of "just one more" or  "almost there" pushing our bodies to the brink of soreness and weariness and beyond in search of the slightest sign of improvement ... but at the first sign of improvement we feel the necessity to push that much harder to ensure that we once again feel that burn that reminds us how far from our goal we actually are.

Why do I do it??  Am I sick???

Maybe I am, because I'm beginning to like this again ... I actually look forward to most ... ok, at least some of my training times.  Tonight was no exception.  I was at the gym ready to hop on my spin bike when my phone rang ... another accident ...


Another late reported accident

Shit, shit!!

I flopped against the wall, twiddling my cell phone in my hand waiting for updates when I had an epiphany ... I was at the gym!!  I was not at the yard (no, that was not the epiphany part, but it does tie in) ... I could sit and stare at my phone just as easily while riding the bike as I could sitting on the floor next to the bike.  In fact, I could stare at the phone while listening to my music, too.  I wound up making a couple calls from the bike and handling everything but the last call while riding - by that time the class was almost full and the instructor was just starting the music, so I left the room for 43 seconds and returned in time for the official warm up.

Training Stats:

Tue:  Spin - 1 hour, slightly more than moderate effort (I'm such a slacker,but my legs were really feeling Monday's efforts on the stepper)

Wed:  Spin - 2 hours, moderate / high effort (hour 1 moderate while dealing with work - hour 2 high and very fun).  I also learned a valuable lesson ... Never tell your slightly sadistic spin instructor that you enjoy intense slower cadence driven hill type classes because she'll likely do exactly that ... and you'll wonder why you ever thought you liked it.

I must be sick ... I really, really liked it ... but when does it start to feel good??

Non training:

Well, my non training gripes seeped into my training rants ... 'nuff said.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Going green?

This may definitely be a sign of the end of the world, but I voluntarily bought leafy green vegetables and ate some for dinner after my workout.

I'm torn between lines of logic at this point.  My schedule has always been rest day on Friday, long run or ride Saturday and an easy run or ride on Sunday.  Lately I just haven't been motivated to do anything on Sunday despite the fact that my legs feel good and I'm not horribly tired.  Should I change my rest day to Sunday since I find myself resting any way?

I don't know ...

Training Stat ... (note the lack of an "S" on that)

Stepper - 50+ min.  20 level 3, 20 level 2 and 10+ level 1
Elliptical - 15 min

I keep surprising myself by pushing beyond mental barriers with relative ease - is this a good omen or is it just that I have such a low opinion of myself and my abilities that almost anything surprises me?  I mean, I know I've improved some but I never would have thought I could do something as simple as 50 minutes on the stepper - but I did it with relative ease and probably could have done a bit more - and my legs felt great - I my heart rate recovered very quickly.

Non training

Just read my previous gripes - Stress at work - Stress with some family situations - Blah, blah, blah ...

Pam's mom is starting rehab this week and seems to be doing better.  Hopefully she'll be strong enough to go home soon.  Pam is handling everything well as usual - she is incredibly strong.  I'm sure she could use a break - not from helping her mom as much as dealing with other family members that are driving her nuts.

Here is this weekend's scheduled run:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Playing in a pile of my own goo

I can't call it Gu because that's a trademarked name ...

Training Stats:

Thu - Elliptical 30+minutes & treadmill walk (3.2 mph) 20 min.
Fri - DOR
Sat - 15k 3:1 first 4k 1:1 up 1st hill 10 min run downhill 5 min rest at 7.5k to stretch & text, 45 sec: 75 sec run up hill 2 (steeper hill) 5 min run down hill followed by 1:1 and 1:2 ratios to 14.5k.  Walk last .75k

Andrea and I managed to shave nearly 11 min off the same distance from 2 weeks ago ... I was a bit impressed with that, but I still have to improve if I'm going to finish the marathon with any level of comfort as far as time goes (I figure there's probably not a lot of physical comfort ahead for me).  Our pace is very steady and our walk breaks are actually at a faster pace now - but perhaps the most bizarre stat off the Garmin today was the fact that we actually had a segment at what they consider a fast run today and it wasn't even a downhill segment.  Of course it was only 4 feet of fast run, but still ...

I think I managed to make a homemade Gu sort of thing from raw sugar that tastes pretty good and doesn't irritate my stomach.  I'll keep trying it and if it keeps working the same I'll probably use it on the big day.

Next week is a half marathon distance on a course that is more brutal that the actual marathon.  It will be the toughest, but not the longest run of the training.  I keep flip-flopping about how prepared or ready I am going to be in June - today I felt pretty good about my effort but at the same time I know 15k is nowhere near a complete marathon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Testing out the calf ...

... in a bigger way than I planned.

I went to spin class tonight - typical routine with the first hour self directed and quite a bit easier than usual just to make sure my legs weren't going to cramp up again ... and it was good.  No pain, no cramping, all was good.  Now all I had to do was take it easier than usual during the class just to be sure ...

Yeah, right!

I don't know what happens to me when that music starts and soft spoken, sort of ditzy lady turns into a drill sergeant in spandex, but suddenly my brain does not understand "take it easy."  And then to make it more interesting it was pretty much nothing but hills tonight - moderate tempo, lots of resistance and a lot of out of the saddle work.  During the longest climb I could just picture the instructor sitting in a dungeon with chains on the wall and torches flickering planning out her brutalities for her unsuspecting class.

In the end my legs did great - no pain at all ... other than the usual "you worked me too hard" complaints I get from them.  Tomorrow should be a light day - maybe some treadmill or elliptical ... we'll see.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Random thoughts

Day 2 of my self imposed exile from the land of training and jog ...

The good news - My calf feels much better, just a bit of soreness in the lower part of the muscle but I am able to walk and stretch without it having a cow.  I really think it was only a cramp, but I've never had a cramp hurt that bad for that long.

The bad news - I still can't manage to get all the sparkly green nail polish off.  I knew the super glue based polish was a bad idea.  It is gone for the most part, but even after several times soaking in nail polish remover I can still see the occasional green sparkle.  Hopefully it's gone before flag day ... I don't want it to clash with my red white and blue nails ;-)

I am so tired right now.  I feel like I've been awake 72 of the last 60 hours ... and to make matters worse, I forgot to take my Ambien last night so what little sleep I didn't get was non existent at best.  I did get nearly 2 consecutive hours ... after my alarm went off and I was supposed to be heading to work.  I was going to leave work early anyway to be with Pam while her mom was having an angiogram ... Oh well.

Pam's mom is fine.  She had a stent put in to open a mostly blocked artery, but everything went well and she is resting in CCU tonight.  Tomorrow she will be returned to a regular hospital room and my schedule should be back to whatever is normal for me ... Pam, on the other hand, will still have at least a couple of weeks of helping get her mother back to some form of normal home life.  With any luck the doctor will get her mom into therapy.

Tomorrow will be about catching up on whatever work I missed - taking a long faster paced walk and maybe trying a couple short run segments.  If all goes well I'll be back in spin class Wednesday.  I need to find the balance between not pushing it too hard to get back to my routine and using this discomfort as an excuse for falling back into old habits.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

David Lapoff where is your sage wisdom when I need it most

Ironically it was on a different web page I was just looking at, but ...

Training Stats:

Tue - Spin 75 min ... maybe 80
Wed - Late afternoon nap ... and a couple of walks
Thu - A lot of hecticness, very little sleep and staying up until 2:30 in the morning (more details below)
Fri - Huge spaghetti dinner for our 24th anniversary at Dominick's Italian Restaurant
Sat - 5+k of the scheduled 15k because ...

I was so tired this morning ... I haven't been sleeping well all week anyway, but the last couple of days have been even worse.  Pam's mom was admitted to the hospital Thursday night with what is possibly a very mild heart attack (they still don't know for sure), so Pam and I spent the last couple of nights staying up late and doing the obligatory duties when somebody is in the hospital ... sitting there and staring.  And on top of that, what little sleep I've been getting has been interrupted by very bizarre dreams ...

But anyway ... Andrea and I set out despite me being tired, the impending rain, the rising wind and the fact that I still had glittery green nail polish on from St. Patrick's day ... and yes, that means fingernail polish ... and yes, it's still there :-\  So we increased our running today to 3:1 and I was doing pretty good - holding a good pace and feeling pretty good ... until the hill.

I was laboring more than usual heading up the hill.  I don't know, it's like there's some invisible force holding me back, intentionally making it more difficult.  Along the way my right calf started feeling a bit tender.  I figured it was because it was colder than usual, or maybe because of the increased running ratio so I didn't sweat it too much ... I'd just pick up on the downhill and everything would be back to normal ...


We hit the plateau and I went to run and my right calf said, "Hello!  ... I am sooo not going to run right now ..."  When my calf turned into a valley girl I have no idea ... maybe it's the nail polish ... whatever.  Anyway, my leg was really cramping  really bad.  I stopped and tried to stretch but it was just too painful so I did something I've never done in all of my training runs or rides ... I called Pam to come and pick me up - and Andrea, too - Duh! 

So ... what does all this have to do with David Lapoff?  After I got home and took some ibuprofen I googled leg cramps to see what to do.  One of the top articles on the search was written by David Lapoff ... brought back a lot of good memories.  I really miss him.  Unfortunately his article didn't say how to get rid of leg cramps, it was talking about how to prevent them ... in fact every article I've found seems to focus on how to prevent them and not what to do if you get them.  Well ... there was the one article that said many times pregnancy causes leg cramps O.O ... Really?!? ... You think, maybe ... ... It must be the nail polish!!  I'll be looking for the nail polish remover as soon as I post this.

Monday, March 14, 2011

You know, I could really get used to ...

This breathing thing O.o

I guess I never realized how much or how bad I wheezed while working out ... I just dealt with it.  What's weird is I don't notice a lot of difference during the exertion, but my breathing during the recovery breaks is much easier ... Easier breathing = better and quicker recovery = able to do more = cool :-)  (I had to go back to my college algebra books to find that equation).  I need to remember to thank my doctor when I see him this week for my DMV physical.

Training Stats:

Yesterday -  :-/ ... Well ... I thought about doing several things, but wound up doing yard work and meandering around the house and not much else.  But my legs felt great after Saturday's run.

Today - 40 min stepper - 15 @ level 3, 15 @ level 2 and 10 @ level 1, followed by 20 min treadmill at a casual and relatively slow 3 mph walk.

Earlier today I did 2 sanity walks - first was 10 min slow pace, the second was 25 min moderate pace (3.3 mph I guess).

Tomorrow and Wednesday I'll be doing spin class and probably back on the treadmill Thursday ... we'll see.

I've already mapped out the half marathon run Andrea and I will be doing in a couple of weeks ... and I'm working on the last several weeks of training runs we'll be doing.  It feels like the marathon is looming right on top of me and I don't feel ready for it ... although it is 10 weeks away, that doesn't seem like much time any more.

And I am feeling a bit of trepidation.  Last tine I completed my half marathon distance and the next week I tweaked my Achilles tendon ... The timing of the training is virtually identical ... but what are the odds of it happening again??

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I finally did it!!

I finally blew the perfect snot rocket :-)

@ Andrea - Sorry, I've only gotten good with my left nostril ... and I really thought you were on the other side of me ... and it's not like it hit you square, in fact if you weren't carrying your water bottle it might have missed you altogether ... but I never thought it would slide up the bottle so fast while you drinking out of it.

Training Stats:

It was a perfect morning for running ... Mid 60s, blue sky with wispy clouds, light breeze ... the relatively persistent drizzle was a bit annoying, but that was my nose, not the weather.

After pulling my hair into a ponytail and applying sunscreen to my arms and face I scrambled out of the bathroom looking like a Robert Palmer girl ... with a little less makeup ... and a mustache.  Andrea was already at the house waiting for me ... ironically the the fact that I got out of bed 20 minutes late and started getting ready 20 minutes late somehow made me about 20 minutes late.  Go figure.  Anyway, we left about 20 minutes late (anybody surprised by that?) and got into our run / walk.  Today was our first day at 15k, which would simply be our 12k route extended to include an additional 15.k downhill and a torturous 5k climb up the same hill which was akin to the steepest slope of the Andes.

As a side note - If I could go back in time I would convince myself to not get so out of shape in the first place ... then I go further back in time and prevent Sir Isaac Newton from inventing gravity so running hills wouldn't be so difficult.  And for what it's worth, whoever invented hills in the first place is not really high on my favorite people list right now either ... but I digress ...

Total - 16.1k including warm up or cool down 2:1 for the first 4.5k, 1:1 up the first hill, 10 minutes with a 30 second nose blowing break down the hill, 1:1 ratio starting back up the hill, 1:1:1 (1 min run: 1 min walk: 1 min incoherent muttering) until my legs couldn't take it then we walked up the rest of the hill.  Other than the 6 min run down the next hill the rest was a combination of 1:1 and 1:2 until we crossed the 14k mark then we walked home.

By far this was the best run we've had, although our pace suffered severely during the steep uphill ... and due to the fact that my lead felt like legs during the last 3k.  Although the overall pace is off the 6 hour goal for a full marathon it would have been under the 7 hour deadline ... and if I factor in the 5.5 minutes of stopped and waiting time we had due to traffic signals (4 different signals) refilling my water bottle at the drinking fountain and receiving a text message it was very encouraging ... not great, but encouraging.

Non training:

After today's run Pam and I went for pedicures ... soooo relaxing, especially when the pedicurist did the foot / leg massage.  It is an awesome reward for at least making a reasonable effort to stick with my training program.

A local sushi place reopened recently, but this probably isn't great news since they are very affordable and very, very good.  I suppose if I start doing 2-a-days I might be able to eat there more often and not regret it, but other wise I'll need to refrain from indulging too much.

Otherwise my life has been pretty boring lately, but I guess that's a good thing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It was either a sign from God ...

or a tmemptaion from the devil.

Yesterday started off pretty well - got some good work done on my project for work (emphasis on my ... Not the companies, not for the company.  My project for me to train my drivers better), then Pam and I spent the afternoon together before I was supposed to meet my sister for spin class (emphasis on supposed to).  We had a nice lunch before walking through the mall ... then came the intestinal pain, not horrible but bad enough for me to figure lunch was not agreeing with me.  And then my nose started running again, complete with the sneezing fits.

Nothing worse than a runny nose with aching intestines ... except maybe an aching nose with running intestines.  I left a message for my sister (and Pam text messaged our niece to get a hold of her mom) to let j=her know I was probably skipping the class.  The visual of me projectile vomiting across the spin room didn't sit well with me.

Today was going fine until after I left work.  The famous last words of "Let's stop by Sam's Club to get a few things" was pretty much my undoing ... I really, really hate that place - the crowd, the hectic environment, the rude people, the ambient noise level akin to a jet engine in a toilet stall ... I hate it.  But just when you think it can't get worse, Pam's ex boss shows up acting like he actually cares about somebody other than himself and his atrocious "just for men" 5 minute comb through ego enhancer.

Ex boss - who we will from this point forward refer to as Supreme Jackass (or SJ for short), "Are yo working?"

Pam, "No ... Still can't.  Anxiety & depression is still too intense"

I am trying to be cordial at this point and not snap SJ's neck and squirt his microbrain across the store like the festering boil he really is.  Just the sight of him brought back 2+ years of horrible memories and feelings, but I am trying to be cordial.

SJ, "Oh my gosh ..."  Which I interpreted to mean, "You know what?  I don't really care, but if I pretend to be sincere maybe my conscience won't haunt me at night knowing that we threw you out like a plate of day old caviar and never thought about you again ... I wonder if the next Escalade I get should be Ivory with maroon interior or eggplant with ... Oh wait, they're still in front of me.  I better hold this obviously fake smile for a while ..."

At this point my blood is boiling.  I politely excused myself and walked off ... muttering to myself and freaking out store employees and customers, but I walked off.

After that things kind of went downhill ... I accidentally became one of the rude imbeciles I hate so much.  The guy in front of us had set his stuff on the check out stand but left 2 cases of soda in his cart (which most people do).  I put a divider on the belt so I could start putting our stuff up and he moved it ... I rather abruptly slapped another one down and began to transfer my stuff whe suddenly he's moving the cases to the belt.  I felt stupid and apologized stating I thought he was leaving the sodas in the cart ... he wasn't mad.  Now the lady behind us was starting to put her stuff on the belt ... No problem, but sh had 2 1/2 carts packed full of stuff and there was only room for a few things ... but she was stacking stuff and stacking stuff  and when she realized she didn't have room for even the 1/2 cart she actually started pushing our stuff further forward and squeezing more stuff in there.

One of the things I went there for was razors ... my legs are just way too stubbly.  The don't actually have the razors on the aisles, they have the "buy this product" cards that you take to the cashier ... the cashier then stares blankly at it before calling one of the many minions who does not have access to the supply room so he has to run around and find a manager who really doesn't care and carries the card around for nearly 10 minutes before finally realizing she has something in her hand that is totally interfering with her ability to send text messages or touch up her lipstick, so she nonchalantly meanders off the floor and comes back 4 minutes later saying that she could not find the razors but if we want to wait she could get a forklift operator to lift another minion to the top shelf and see if maybe they were put in the wrong spot ... but that's the system at its best ... unfortunately it didn't go that well for us and amongst all the furor my brain went into lock-down.

When the manager finally returned and said they didn't have the 14 pack of razors we paid for, but she could get us a 5 pack with a free "shaver thingy" I don't think I was too polite.  I was now officially in a hurry because I was supposed to get to the gym so I could get a spot in the spin class ... but by this point I didn't feel like it.  We wound up getting our money back for the razors and took off.

I did go to the gym and I did get a spot in the class and started my early warm-up as usual, but even my favorite music wasn't getting me into the mood, but by this time the room was packed and I didn't want to just walk out.  Finally the instructor showed up and announced that the lady that followed her into the room saved her and made it possible to have spin class (it turns out the instructor forgot her shorts, but I'm not supposed to know that) but because the room was packed she wanted to know if somebody would give up a spot for her.  Then the instructor found out that the desk overbooked the class ... again.

If it was a sign from God - Thank you.  If it was a temptation - I failed.  I gave up my spot.  I had been riding for almost an hour and actually did a pretty intense ride for a self directed ride, but my heart was just not in it.  I told the lady that she could have my spot when another lady ( a regular in the class) told me I couldn't do that ... that they had to go down the wait list.  It's my spot ... I give it to her!!  Leave me alone, mind your own business, it doesn't even concern you.  Next thing I know there are three staff members in the spin room with clipboards all apologizing to me for me being displaced ... why don't you guys care this much when I'm actually upset about things??  I received no less than 7 apologies from 4 different staff members before I got out of the gym.

Did you read this far??  If so, thanks ... and I'm sorry I wasted so much of your time whining.  At least I included a sentence about training  :-\

This picture pretty much describes my thought process by the end of the Sam's Club excursion

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pretending it's the home stretch

because it basically is ...

I've exhausted my alphabetic book of excuses ending with zygodactyl zydeco zebras zipping zephyrs zealously ... next time I'll get the unabridged book of excuses.

Anyway - for whatever reason I'm having trouble finding a road, a hill or a track to run on, so today I opted for plan Q ... obviously plans B through P didn't pan out well either.  I headed to the gym and found it crawling with my favorite creatures - gym rats.  From the oblivious people who have no clue how to use the equipment to the obnoxious who seem to go out of there way to be in people's way or hog the equipment ... I opted for the stair-stepper - 30 min level 2 & 3 and feeling surprisingly strong and not winded.

After getting off the stepper I paced around the cardio equipment waiting for either a treadmill or an elliptical.  I did get a good laugh watching all the people doing bizarre things that vaguely resemble exercising on the equipment, like the guy who was doing the gazelle leap at a very fast pace, but his feet were barely touching the treadmill, or the lady who had the treadmill at the max incline and was holding on for dear life.  Eventually this lady finished her ... walk?? and had to do her ... stretching???  Of course the fact that there were now 3 people waiting for the machines made no difference ... I was first in line, the little angry gym rat in training had been waiting an entire 2 minutes and another guy was waiting at the far end of the row.  Before the stretchy lady could finish her whatever she was doing (I actually think she got her foot stuck on the control panel of the treadmill) another machine opened up.  I was about to step on when I saw gym rat jr in the mirror charging up behind me - like actually almost running.  I wasn't willing to have a confrontation over a treadmill (and unlike a swimming lane, we couldn't share it ... sorry Julie couldn't resist ;-)  )  So he jumped on the first machine just as the stretchy lady finally jumped off her machine so I didn't have to wait too long.

I did 30 minutes on the treadmill at a moderate walk increasing the incline for the first 20 minutes and then going back down during the last 10.  Overall I'd say I accomplished what I wanted ... I just dread the gym rats (both male and female) but I did my best to ignore them and just enjoy my music and my training.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Of Snot Rockets and Streamers

Day 14 of what will be known as The Great Sinus Flow of 2011 ... at least today hasn't been filled with the intense sneezing fits I've has pretty much every day since my last post.

Training Stats:

Will not bore with the details of the past couple of weeks, but I did train some ... unfortunately pretty much everything was cut short or otherwise altered due to the insane allergy symptoms I've been sufferring.

Today:  12k 2:1 ratio for the first 4k ... then came the hill.  1:1 ratio for the next 7.??k with a few walk periods longer than 1 minute ... and ending with a barely moving walk for the last 1k or so.  My legs completely gave way one muscle group at a time ... and it was horribly obvious on the gps trainer as the running times gradually slowed from 11.25 min / mile (first 5k including the beginning of the hill) to 13.5 min / mile from the 10k mark to the 11.1k mark.

Total run / walk distance 12.25k total distance including warm up and dragging my tired @$$ home (aka a cool down) 13.5k.  Despite taking more than the usual amount of sinus meds the Great Sinus Flow continued throughout today's run.  I was not able to launch any true snot rockets due to the lack of viscosity of the flowage, but I did have a couple of streamers flapping in the wind before they wrapped themselves around my nicely braided hair like a sparkly and somewhat slimy decoration ... thank you dear for getting up early to do braid my hair for me.  I also managed to soak the seven tissues I took within the first 5k.  Once again the inhaler worked great - I did take one extra puff mid run ... It doesn't make running any easier, but it makes the recovery during the walks a lot easier.

The small victory of the run came between 10k & 11k.  I promised myself I would run at least to the edge of town.  My brain was telling me I didn't want to, my legs were telling me I couldn't ... the mental game, or lack there of, still plagues me ... but something pushed me ... that inner drive that I often lack didn't let me stop, and though the las several run segments were brutally slow, they were run segments.

Again I need to thank my niece Andrea for keeping me on pace.  I'm sure she could run much farther, much faster if I weren't lumbering along beside her.

Non training:

My highs and lows have definitely had their ups and downs ... Work goes smoothly then it gets crazy then it gets intolerable then it goes back to crazy which suddenly becomes the acceptable norm because it's slightly better than intolerable.  The only problem is it makes every other aspect of my life crazier and less tolerable than it should be.

I am really getting tired of the corporate philosophy of empty threats and broken promises.  I resent somebody who has 3 years experience delivering packages or picking up garbage telling me that my 20+ years of school bus transportation experience is meaningless because their system is better.  I'm mentally exhausted from getting my butt chewed for not having a report in on time when I was never informed that the report was due ... or that there even was a report, or a project or a meeting or whatever.  Thankfully my immediate manager is awesome and has faith in my abilities ... she let's me take an idea and run with it.  Sometimes they don't pan out, but more times they work the way I knew they would ... then corporate gets involved and tries to quash my ideas, my creativity, my spirit.

On a different side note.  My company may be opening a yard in Alaska ... they will need supervisors to help run the show for a while.  It may be my only realistic chance to see Alaska ... but I won't get my hopes up.  I'm considered a slightly rebellious rogue, although my area director of safety likes a lot of what I do and how I accomplish it ... He just won't man up and tell the VP level baboons that I know what I'm doing ... Oh well.

Right now photography is taking the edge off my tattered nerves.  Thank you Pam for getting me this camera.  I'd like to post about 638 photos ... actually, it's my blog so I can do what I want, but I'll stick with 5 of my favorites over the past couple of weeks.

OK, I lied ... It was more than 5, but I like them all.  The Sushi chefs noticed I was taking pictures of the food, so they made a happy face for me to shoot.  The squirrels were following me around ... cool.  Oh well.  Thanks for reading.