Monthly Archives: June 2006

6/28/06 Notes

Today I had to send in my training update to my coach. Here are the additional comments I wrote. Thought it might be interesting to come back to read this a year from now. In case I’ve not already shared the link to her website, it is: Lisa Smith Batchen

Hi Lisa,

Overall I would say I feel very good. I feel like I am definitely a smidge stronger in my legs. I like the variety and having things to look at and measure while I’m working out — better than just saying run 10 miles. I find the 3 minutes at this or 9 minutes at that kind of distracts me and also makes me work a little harder because I know a break is coming up. I think when I’m out on a long run I usually feel like I need to hold back because I never know how much energy I’m going to need later. I’m really big on saying to myself “9 minutes? You can do anything for 9 minutes.”

I’m using the gym a lot which is good because I never used it before for anything other than the pool. (I didn’t even know which was the stairmaster and which was the elliptical!) I felt today’s workout was not as hard as a stairmaster workout. The workouts so far that have really pushed my limits have been the stairmaster, climbing the stairs after the big gym brick on Saturday and also the standing climb on my bike. I see a pattern there — quad stuff. I thought I had strong quads but I guess not. Today’s treadmill workout was not as hard as any of those. I feel that my butt and hamstrings are very strong but my quads and hip flexors are not. Anything that requires me to push off my legs where I can use the back part of my leg, I seem to do well (like pedaling on the bike or powerwalking uphill). Anything that requires me to lift my legs quickly (like running or stairmaster quick steps or standing climbs) I am weaker.

I am learning that I really do have endurance, that seems to be not a problem. I think I also have potential to be pretty good on the bike. I think I can do anything for a long time but at a slow speed — the bike seems to be the only place where I find myself going faster than my some people and I don’t feel like am working that hard (except when hauling uphill or standing climbing).

I like that I’m starting to look at my heart rate. That’s something I have never done before. And I think a lot of time in the past I was not pushing but had nothing to remind me that “hey, you caught your breath about 10 minutes ago — get going.” I’m into gadgets and measurements and constantly trying to beat my last time. Right now I’m determined to work my way up to that level 5 on the stairmaster or die trying.

Overall, I look back over the winter and wish I had been doing bigger workouts all winter. I did what my coaches assigned, but I think they were just interested in getting me to cross the finish line (I was training with a charity group — TNT). Now I would like to cross it with dignity. I think I could have been better prepared for Disney. I wasn’t looking forward to doing NYC tri again this year (3rd year in a row — same old course). But now I have this little part of me thinking that ‘hey, I might really do well out there.’ I’m not nervous AT ALL about doing NYC tri or the 1/2 marathon — they are just going to be workouts. I am curious, however, to see how I do with them as a benchmark. I am a little nervous about Firmman in September — my family may come to watch and I don’t want to look lame.

Whatever you tell me to do, I’m going to do it. That’s just how I work. I need a coach, I need someone to make up the assignment and say do x,y and z. Then I do x, y and z. No more, no less. I know that is probably not that admirable in an endurance athlete but I’ve really only been doing this since May of 2003 so I’m still learning.

One thing I realized I was not good at was making up my own routine. I spent two hours looking through magazines and books and at old charts and notes I had to figure out what I should do. If you tell me to do 100 sit-ups, I will do 100 sit-ups. If you tell me to do some sit-ups, I’ll do 3. I used to work out with my trainer Rhonda and she would always laugh at me because no matter what exercise we were doing I would always say “how many?” If she told me to do as many as I could, I would do fewer than I was capable of doing (say 4 pushups). If she told me to do 10 pushups, I would do 10 pushups. I might need a break but I would kill myself to do 10 pushups. I don’t know why that is, but that’s the way I seem to tick.

Even last winter I remember running with the Nike training team. We were doing hill repeats. The coach said “Connie, are you doing one more repeat or stopping here?” I looked at him like he was nuts and said “I do whatever you tell me to do.” If you tell me to do 17 more hill repeats, that’s what I do. I’m not thinking out here; I’m just getting the work done. Maybe someday I’ll get to that level of knowing how hard or how long I should be working out, but right now I’m just a blank slate. You tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I’ve yet to fall down in a pool of exhaustion saying “I can’t go any further.” If I have to stop for 1 minute, regroup and then continue on, that’s what I do.

Let me know what you want me to do next, I’m ready to try.

C

Namaste

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6/26/06 Steps

Monday. Well made it through another workout weekend. Saturday was such terrible weather and my bricks were going to be a pain in the neck to do outside so I brought them into the gym. 30 minute bike/15 minute run — 4 times. Yes that’s 180 minutes or 3 hours. It wasn’t that bad though.

Turns out they have a kind of cool bike in the gym (again I never notice these things – has probably been there for years). The bikes are somewhat close to a real bike — kind of like a spin bike in that you can extend your arms out. It’s not a racing bike seat but it wasn’t bad. The cool part was that I could hold the handle bars in different positions and it would still take my pulse and depending upon which workout I chose (fat burning, cardio, hill, or a couple other ones) it would automatically change the resistance to keep me at the required pulse. So I mixed it up. One time I would do the fat burning, then next time cardio (hard) and then I tried the hill workout but had to put it back to fat burning pretty quickly.

I concentrated on never letting the rpm’s down to less than 90 and felt I got a good spinning workout. It was not a traditional cycling workout because cycling outdoors requires a lot more balance and control that you don’t get indoors but outdoors I never get a chance (okay it’s my choice not chance) to spin nonstop for 30 minutes — I’m always finding some reason to stop and coast for a second here or there. Except maybe for some stretches on 9W there is always something that makes me pause.

The running part was not that bad. I kept the treadmill on 1% and just tried to run each 15 minute segment a little harder. At first I was creaky, but by the time I got to the last 15 minutes I felt really strong. Cocky even. Woo hoo, look at me, I’m really running. The time just flew by. I felt great. That was short lived.

The last part of my workout was to run the stairs for 15 minutes — single steps and double steps. I live in a building with 47 stories and the gym is on the 2nd floor. I figured I would just run up the stairs and be done in 15 minutes. I had just done 3 hours and was feeling strong — how hard could a couple of stairs be? Well, I can tell you — HARD.

First of all, I couldn’t run them at all. Not even two stairs. When I started up the first flight as soon as I lifted my legs it was like lifting dead weight and I knew this was going to hurt. I knew I was in for it. By the time I got to my floor (17) it was already 4 minutes and I wanted to die and I wanted to quit. Flashes of Disney came back to haunt me. Where is the exit? Right there. Elevator only a couple meters down the hall. Dare I take it?

Suddenly time came to a standstill. All I kept thinking was “I can’t do this but I can’t quit either.” I really, really wanted to finish my workout. I really hate to have to quit. So I forced myself to keep going. After what seemed an eternity I checked my watch — 5 minutes!! I almost died. Oh my God, this is a time warp. This is my “No Exit” (as in Sartre). I kept going.

After what seemed forever I checked my watch again and it was at 6 minutes, then 7. 15 minutes just seemed undoable. Finally I decided, 15 minutes or the top of the building whatever comes first. I made it to the top of the building 47th floor at 14:01. I stopped. I was literally drenched from head to toe (I was already soaking wet when I left the gym). There was no energy left in any of my muscles and I said enough. If the point was to kick my butt, considered it kicked!! Out of the entire 46 flights (remember I started on the 2nd floor) I was able to do only 3 stairs 2 at a time. I was crawling up those stairs. Of course the entire time I’m thinking to myself — I’m going to start doing these stairs every day. I’m going to be able to run up these stairs and take them two at a time if it kills me. I’m just a little competitive with myself.

I took the rest of the day off. Literally off. I put my feet up, watched movies, read books and was basically a hermit. I didn’t go out, didn’t call any friends. I didn’t care. It wasn’t that I was so exhausted — I recovered by the time I got home and had some lunch. I was just mentally tired and wanted a chill session from the week. Strangely I wasn’t that hungry all day — you’d think I’d be starving but I wasn’t so I really tried to take advantage of that and let some of the calories burn off.

Yesterday I had a really good run — was very aware of what I was doing. Also it was an easy 2 hour run and I excel at workouts that begin with the word easy. lol

Over the weekend I was listening to some of my Dharma (Buddhist teachings) tapes and realized that I have been so busy and running around that my seat of fitness had been missing a part — mindfulness. I had been concentrating on tracking points and doing my workouts but I was missing mindfulness. I was missing being in the moment and really being aware of what I was doing and what I was experiencing. Particularly with food. I was so consumed with tracking points that I was forgetting part of the experience — being aware of what I was eating. I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. Gobble, gobble – okay write that down. I wasn’t paying attention to the consumption only to the reportage. I started to realize how I had let that whole part of my existence slip. Not being mindful is more than missing a leg of the experience of being — it is the seat. So here I had a couple of strong legs to build a chair but still nothing to sit on.

When I lose track of mindfulness that’s when everything gets frenetic. I find myself rushing to get things done and I’m always running just a tad behind. I find myself looking outside myself for satisfaction — food, love, wine, song. When I am mindful, I am able to look inside myself for satisfaction. When I slow down, think about what I am doing (fingers touching the keyboard, coffee touching my lips) time seems to slow down and suddenly I’m not so crazed. I find I’m okay with being me and my existence. It’s like those stairs. If I had run up the stairs two at time and dashed through my workout it would have been a different experience. I wouldn’t remember what it was like to be at stair level 17 vs. level 27. I’m not saying there is not an experience to be had running the stairs — I would see the same stairs in a different way. But in this experience of going slowly, I feel every muscle in my leg working — I know what it feels like to stand at level 32 and feel the sweat dripping down my legs and my lower back beginning to ache and my lungs greedily grabbing for air. It is in that moment I am truly alive because I am mindful.

I think I experienced my first state of mindfulness when I was 13. I remember this moment very clearly. It was a hot summer day. Nobody was around to play with. I remember I was sitting on the hood of our gold stations wagon. I remember being quiet, not so much bored as quiet and very awake. I remember I had a white cotton shirt and cutoff jeans shorts with a 1/2 inch fluffy fray. I remember looking at my long spindly legs hanging off the hood of the car. I remember seeing them very tan. I remember feeling like time was standing still and that the summer was going to go on forever and that day was going to go on forever. And the lawn was so green, the green-green it gets after a rainy day and every blade of grass is nourished, plump and so proud.

I remember that moment seeming to go on for a long, long time. I remember then saying to myself “remember this moment; this is what it feels like to be 13.” I don’t know what made me say it, but 43 years later, I remember that moment like it was yesterday and I have recalled that moment so many times over the years and I remember what 13 feels like. I remember what long tan legs feel like. I remember how quiet it was. I even remember the heat of the metal underneath my butt. That was my first experience of mindfulness. I didn’t know what it was called then but I took notice of the moment without judgment — ‘ah, so this is 13.’ Not good, not bad — just 13.

I’m sorry to say that my moments of Zen have been infrequent over the years. I got caught up in the rush of the 80’s and 90’s like many people and years slipped through like grains of sand through an hourglass. That’s the shame of it. When I look back over my life it is moments with awareness that I remember and I’m sorry to say that I let a lot of years go by without awareness. I want to remember my life and learn from it. I don’t want to just muddle through without being present. When it comes time to sit on the porch and reflect I don’t want to say “I don’t remember because I wasn’t really paying attention.” I don’t want to have a lot of regrets because I was unkind to people or to myself out of distraction.

Mindfulness is the root of fitness. Fitness is caring about yourself and being aware of your actions (that sounds so easy doesn’t it?). If you are going to eat the chocolate cake (or glass of wine) — make it a good one. Enjoy it, savor it, remember every second of it. Go slowly. If you are going to do a race and feel the burn — feel every second of it. Go deeply into that feeling, into that emotion. This is where life exists down deep in that twitching muscle — in that nano second that you might have missed if you were not paying attention.

Namaste

Today I would like to leave with a story and a poem. First the poem:

You…Me
Silently walk…
Through busy city streets
Hearts lifted…Three Steps and A Bow

Peaceful Journey
Silent, Thoughtful
Compassionate, Loving
Opening, Accepting, Embrace Peace

Trekking
Kindred Hearts are…
Quiet, Still, Pure, Warm, Light
Meditating deep within our Journey

by Elaine Adachi

Now the story:
Three Steps and a Bow

The next time I do those 46 steps from my gym to the roof, I will bow after every 3rd step.

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6/23/06 Lurking

Friday. Blech. I was only down .2 pounds at WW today. No, not 2 pounds, .2 pounds. That stinks. I think I deserve more due to the amount of working out I did this week. Unfortunately, when I look at my tracker for the week, I have to be honest every single day there are some extra calories in there that don’t belong, lurking, seemingly inconspicuous, but nonetheless, there. Add them up and instead of losing 2 pounds I only lost .2. Whaa, why can’t I ever get away with anything? Why do all my calories have to count?!?!

Sunday night I shared a bottle of wine with Michelle. No harm in that right? Hmm. Once again wine seems to be the most consistent lurker. I had worked out so hard that day but then I blew it all at a picnic where I decided “picnic” meant “pick at anything I wanted.” Cheese, chips even a brownie.

On Monday I drove to CT. Although I had a salad and lean cuisine for dinner, I “HAD” to have some wine with my mother. C’mon it’s my mother — we should be able to have some wine, no? I didn’t have to, but at that point in the week I thought I had been so good I deserved it. (Notice my memory loss? I thought I had been so good when a mere 24 hours earlier I was noshing on Taro Chips and brownies). Let’s not forget those 4 pieces of chocolate and those 4 oreo cookies I found lurking in my parent’s fridge.

Then on Tuesday, I worked all day at a client and then went to my brother’s house to have take-out. I thought I was being oh so healthy when I ordered steamed veggies, steamed shrimp and brown rice. Of course then I started to gab with my sister-in-law and one drink lead to another and lead to 3 glasses of white wine. Then I was still hungry so I had to have some of my brother’s kung who-do-you-think-you-fu-ing chicken. That’s chicken coated and drowned in some high caloric stew. I don’t even like chicken but lately I’ve been eating anything in sight because I seem to be terminally hungry. No workouts on Tuesday to counter punch the calories either. Oh yeah, and then there was the almond incident. Almost forgot about that. I bought a small bag of almonds (4 oz) figuring I would snack on them during the week. I ate the whole bag during the day while sitting in front of the computer. It was such a small bag!! When I saw that little bag was 17 points I almost fell of my kung pow.

So Wednesday I headed back to NY. Stopped and did my grocery shopping and picked up a bagel with light cream cheese. Not too worried about that because I knew that I had a big workout when I got back to the city so I would be working that off. I tried to eat somewhat lightly during the day becuase I knew I had a party on Wednesday night — Summer Solstice you know, not just any old party. So I nibbled a little of this and a little of that and before I knew it I had eaten all of my points for the day. Get to the party and of course I have to have some wine. Then I have to have two pieces of brie and some Triscuits because, because, I was talking and not paying attention and as Maggie says “one beer, two beers, three beers chicken wings” or as she has modified for my own particular habit “one wine, two wines, three wines, FONDUE!” Ugh.

Yesterday was fine. At least one day with no wine and a chance for my liver to recover (remember I PROMISED my doctor no more than 6 glasses of wine in a week and this week was double that). So all in all my 2 hours a day of working out netted me only .2 pounds down because I ate like a pig and drank like a fish all week. I felt like I was losing and then pow — I just let all these calories creep up on me night after night. Had I had only one night “out” that would be one thing, but I had four — Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Those darn, skulking, sneaking, lurking, slithering, creeping calories. I didn’t see or it or feel it creeping up. It just happened.

I’m fine for the next week because I don’t have any trips or big parties scheduled, but the following week I have a trip to Charleston to visit my friend Corinne for 4th of July. Yummm, just thinking about Charleston makes me hungry. Must come up with some strategies before I board plane.

So that’s the story of how a hard workout week ends up netting me down only .2 pounds. It seems a shame to put in all that effort and come up with nothing to show for it. Will I remember that bottle of wine with my Mom? No. Will I remember that brie? (Okay, maybe I’ll remember that brie — it was pretty good, lol). Will I remember the Summer Solstice (I’ll remember the people not the wine.)

Maggie made a really great comment today in our meeting. She said if you are going to indulge in calories make sure you sit down and really enjoy it. If you can’t avoid that piece of cheesecake and you just have to have it, sit down, eat it slowly and enjoy every bite of it. Otherwise if you are just going to wolf it down and not enjoy it — you might as well eat carrots. LOL, she’s so right! At least a carrot doesn’t lurk.

Okay as Oprah says “when you know better, you’ll do better.” I know better, I’ll do better this week — promise.

Namaste

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.”
Ecclesiastes 9:7

Hey, it’s in the Bible for Chris’s sake!

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6/21/06 Moshing with the Material Girl

Wednesday. Funny story. Okay funny to me. I was driving home from CT and stopped at my usual gas station on the Merrit Parkway. When I was in the Ladies room a woman said to me “you really had to go!” I looked at her like she was from New Jersey and said “what?” She said “I saw you running across the parking lot, you must have really had to go!” I still didn’t understand what she was talking about. “I wasn’t running across the parking lot.” I said to her. “I just saw you!” She said. “We were in the car right next to you. You pulled in, got out and ran across the parking lot into the gas station.” I just shook my head and got out of there, I had no idea what she was talking about. Yeah, I had to park my car at the end of the parking lot because NOBODY seems to know how to park in just one space there but I wasn’t running.

So I get out into the parking lot and start heading for the car. And guess what? I was running. That woman had been right! I didn’t even notice it. My legs were just running on their own. Can you believe that? Yeah it wasn’t that far but I guess they were so rested after Monday’s swim and Tuesday’s day off that they just decided to take off without me. I got to the car and was a little stunned. I don’t think that has ever happened to me before. I mean I have broken into a little jog when I was walking somewhere but only because I’ve decided to do it — submitted the application to my legs and hoped they would comply. I don’t think I’ve ever run without knowing it. But then again, maybe I have because had that woman not said something to me, I wouldn’t have know that I had run into the gas station. How weired is that?!?!?! Has that ever happened to anyone else?

Back to workouts today. I enjoyed my day off even though I was working at a client all day I felt like it was a real indulgence to just sit at the computer and work. Like anything in life, you have to have the hard to appreciate the easy.

I did my spin class then 30 minutes on the stairmaster and 15 minutes on the rowing machine. I neglected to reread my workout before I went down (I was in a rush to make it to spin class on time) otherwise I would have seen that I was supposed to do 40/stair and 17/row. I just did what I did last week. Oops. My perfect record with my new coach shot already!!! Ahhh!!! I did manage to workout at level 4 on the stairmaster today with some spikes to level 5. But I can’t even imagine doing 40 minutes at 5/6 (which will be my goal on Friday). With a little help from Madonna today I was able to keep 4 going. 5 is hard for me. But I really tried and that is the important part. Honestly don’t know if I could have done it without Madonna’s club beat to keep me going. “Time goes by so slowly, Time goes by so slowly. Every little thing that you say and do….” (Okay it sounds better when you are working out to it.)

1:30 run tomorrow with 30 minute eliptical afterwards. Friday is a repeat of last week. Madonna and I will being doing the stairmaster (c’mon 5’s). Then I have more rowing followed by a Pilates session with Ellie and those darn 100’s. Saturday my bricklettes and Sunday a long run. 4 days of hard work outs then swimming again and a break. I’m already looking forward to next Tuesday! But I’m ready to do this. This is what I have to do to get better. This is probably what I should have been doing all winter — but never mind about that — focus on the tasks at hand. I’m doing it.

Namaste

“There are moments when I can’t believe I’m as old as I am. But I feel better physically than I did 10 years ago. I don’t think, Oh God, I’m missing something.”

Madonna

Me too!!! Who knew I would turn into a Madonna fan in my 40’s?

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6/20/06 How the Cookie Crumbles

Tuesday. My day off! Zippidee doodah! Of course I woke up this morning NOT tired. Figures. I had been getting so tired I thought for sure I would be totally burned out today, but actually no. I’m ready to go. No worries though, I’m saving up my energy for some of the big workouts awaiting me starting tomorrow.

Did my swim yesterday and was disappointed to find myself nearly 4 minutes slower than last week. Last week I did a 38 minute mile this week it was 41 and a few seconds! Yikes! When looking at my splits I realized I started out fine, but got slower and slower as I tried to swim harder and harder. Hmmm, I know they say it is about efficiency, but if I am efficient already, how do I get faster? I tried pulling harder, turning more, head down, elbow up. What’s left? I think I should just let this go for now. In the big scheme of things if I can be consistent at 40 minutes and if by next year I drop that down, great, otherwise, concentrate on other stuff. Let it go and in it’s time, it will come back to you.

So I did my swim and some core (not as much as I should have but I did some). Then headed up to CT for family and work. I walked into the house and what was sitting on the counter? Some kind of berry pie. What was on top of the fridge? A box of Whitman Sampler chocolates. What was in the fridge? Some Oreo cookies. I was hungry and tired. I made a salad and a lean cuisine for dinner then shared a bottle of wine with my Mom. Then around 8 p.m. I was watching TV. and I heard a chorus of voices calling from the kitchen — “Sweets, Chocolates, Contraband!” I kept trying to fight it. But alas, I lost; I ate 4 pieces of chocolate and 4 Oreo cookies. I didn’t even like it. I ate it because it was illegal. It was my entire childhood flashing back to me of the list of foods I was not allowed to eat and my total rebellion at being told what to do. There were apples and yogurts in the fridge too — notice they were totally silent during this exchange — wimps, some friends you are.

I was so mad at myself for giving in that I actually stood in the kitchen and declared out loud. “You do not have power over me. I get to say what I want. Just because I know you are bad for me and I SHOULDN’T have you, I will not fall prey to being controlled by you. I am going to be an Iron woman and if I can beat 2.4 miles in the water, 115 miles on the bike and 26.2 miles of running — I can resist you stupid little pieces of chocolate and cookies.” I heard some snickering coming from the fridge — wasn’t sure if it was the pie or the chocolates, but it wasn’t very nice.

I shut off the light and forced myself to go to bed. While lying in bed I tried to figure out what was it that was calling me. It’s not the sugar because really I rarely even think about cakes, candies or cookies (except once a month when chocolate has no equal). Wine is my sweet of choice and cheese my fattening food of choice. The problem with cakes, candies and cookies is I know they are taboo and anything that is taboo has a lot of appeal to me. As soon as I think “oh, no I shouldn’t” a second little voice says “oh, but let’s!”

Food had a lot of power in our house. It was used as a reward and celebration and punishment (many a meal I was forced to sit at the table to finish food that I just didn’t want). Don’t waste — food is expensive. There was a long list of illegal foods — too. No chips, no candy, no processed anything. Spaghettio’s were a huge favorite of mine, not because they tasted so good, but because they were “bad” for me. Raising a big family on a medium income meant we made everything from scratch. You would think this would make me a healthy eater. In fact I am a generally healthy eater, but sometimes when I see a pre-packaged food like chips or cookies I still have a flash of “ooh, contraband, illegal substance.” All the subliminal marketing is recalled by the shiny packaging and some bright colored lettering. “I shouldn’t, couldn’t, oh, okay, let’s just sneak one, okay two.” I did the same thing with cigarettes and it took me 25 years to break that habit. What makes me think food will be any different?

I am able to see now what is going on. I am able to recognize it, stop and talk myself down off the cookie jar shelf. (Now that there are only two people in the house and no growing kids I guess cakes, cookies and candies are no longer contraband.) My Dad has a real sweet tooth and I know what an enemy sugar can be. I know what it feels like to ride the sugar rollercoaster. Once you start with sugar, it takes over with the energy spikes and dips that then cause you to want more sugar. It’s a vicious ride of ups and downs. No sooner do you get off the ride than you get in line for another time around. Some people should just not be allowed in the amusement park — I’m one of them.

So today I’m ready and armed. I’ve had it “out” with the fridge and I believe I am victorious (but I’m watching over my shoulder). Workouts resume tomorrow and cakes, cookies and candies will be substituted for something a little healthier but still special – like some nice seafood. It’s quite ridiculous actually — the power a little piece of chocolate can have over a grown adult. I plan on walking through the kitchen with my fingers in my ears while singing “I don’t hear you, I don’t hear you, la, la, la, la, la.” I’m tougher than an Oreo cookie; I think if it comes to a knock down drag out fight, I should be able to take it. Crumble, cookie, crumble.

Namaste

“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands- and then eat just one of the pieces.”
Judith Viorst

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6/19/06 At War

Monday. Looking forward to 10 a.m. By that time I will have done today’s 1 mile swim and a core workout. Then NOTHING until noon on Wednesday. Yee Ha! I’m tired, need a rest. Yesterday I rode my bike for 2 hours and then did a 45 minute run. The run was creaky at best. Okay, okay, it was more crippled than even creaky, but you know what? I finished it. And as my friend Stacie likes to say “done is better than perfect.” Sure I wish I was galloping instead of gallomping along the Westside bike path but it was what it was and quite frankly I was tired. I’ve worked out a lot this week and had company and had work to do so I give myself big points for getting it all done while tracking every bite of food that went into my mouth. (My home scale says I’m down 2 pounds but that won’t count unless it shows up on Friday.)

I had a few less than perfect moments during the week — went out to dinner and ate cheese in all of its forms with some wine — went out to a picnic and ate cheese and pita bread and then had three glasses of wine. But overall I think I put in a good hard week of work with just a few moments of indulgence. It could have been much, much worse and as soon as I knock off my swim and core workout this morning, I’m putting my feet up and not doing anything but a stretch until Wednesday’s spin class and the forthcoming tortures my coach has planned for me. I’m doing it all because I feel if you are going to put something to the test (like a new coaching plan) then you have to do the work. I’ve always been pretty faithful to my training plans so this should be no different. It is tougher already because I think the training plan is tricking my muscles into working harder. Things like the Stairmaster, rowing machine, standing while climbing, are all new tortures to my muscles and although I have no actual muscular soreness I have an overall tiredness from being just plain ole tuckered out.

The upcoming week’s workouts have a few humdingers in them like a treadmill workout after a spin class. In the treadmill portion of the workout I will have to do 10 minutes at the same pace for a bunch of different incline levels (totalling 1 hour). I don’t even know if our treadmill goes up to an incline level of 8 but I’ll be finding out soon! I was having some difficulty running last week at level 1 (although usually that is not a problem). The other interesting workout will include 4 mini bricks. Bike 30/run 15, four times followed by 15 minutes of stair running. It’s the 15 minutes of stair running that scares me. It takes me almost 4 minutes to run (okay walk) up 17 flights of stairs. Do that almost 4 times? By ones and twos? Oucheroo. But I’ll do it, because it has been assigned.

I’m also even more committed to my workouts because we were talking about the ironman cutoff times at the picnic over the weekend and I got a little scared realizing how little wiggle room I have to finish the ironman. I have 1 year and 4 weeks to get my butt in shape (literally). The actual countdown does not start until July 24th when I register and get into the race. But, in my mind I’ve already started the countdown. How many pounds can I lose by such and such a date? Halt. This is thinking that has never worked for me. I have to work on these 5 pounds in front of me. I can count the number of times I have done the math about where I should be by what date – that never works for me and I just hate myself for not getting to the goal. I’m a year now holding onto that 30 pound weight loss and I need to get to 35. Everything else will happen after that. (I can’t believe it has been a year already!) But the good way to look at it is it is one year I have kept the 30 pounds off.

I call this time an in-the-trenches period. This is when I have to buckle down and grit it out. These days in the trenches of counting points, doing crunches, jumping up for one moment to take a shot at the enemy (i.e., lose a pound) but then back down into the trenches for the work. Sometimes I jump up and take a shot and miss and other times I get a hit. Regardless though, it is time in the trenches. I think of my big races as battle days and taper and recover days as temporary cease-fires.

If I have learned anything in the past year and a half of keeping this blog it is that event days are the sum of the days beforehand. I know, I know, really profound. But what I mean is I must be aware that this is not just any old Monday. This is THE Monday that can make a difference 56 weeks from now when I add it to the other 393 days that will come between now and the day I have the chance to cross the big finish line.

I remember counting down the days for the marathon. At first it seemed like forever, but before I knew it, it was only 60 days away. I remember freaking out a little then. Time marches on. I’m in the trenches. I’m not getting any younger (although frankly I feel like I am!). But I have a battle plan. My plan is to focus on this moment, this action, this step, this stroke, this sit-up which will have a direct result in another year. That is my battle plan of defeating my enemy of time.

Namaste

“A good battle plan that you act on today can be better than a perfect one tomorrow.”
General George S. Patton

(which is another way of saying “done is better than perfect.”)

p.s. Can I just say I am still laughing about yesterday’s quote? Things go always go in a straight line, except when they don’t? That’s still cracking me up. Just make a plan, then do the best you can ’cause stuff happens.

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6/18/06 A Straight Line

Whoops, how did six days pass so fast? I’ve not updated the blog in six days — that might be the biggest slip to date. It certainly was not for lack of trying. I’ve been doing my workouts and doing my tracking but had a friend in from out of town and it’s kind of hard to entertain and keep your schedule in tack.

I was a smidge disappointed on Friday to find I was up .6 pounds at my meeting. I thought for sure I was down at least 1-2 pounds. I felt lighter. But I’ve putting in a lot of workouts this week so maybe I’m retaining a little extra fluid or something. I feel like I am on the right track, but maybe this week was just a little diversion off route. I wrote it all down. I was doing everything to the best of my ability but I still managed to go in the wrong direction!! Hmm, that might be my theme of the week.

Monday I did a one mile swim — 38 minutes was a smidge better than usual.

On Tuesday I woke up with a strained knee. Still managed to squeeze another one-mile swim in there but missed the accompanying run. I thought this was going to really lay me up for awhile and take me really off course in my workout schedule — was very lucky to find that it was fairly healed after one day of icing and Tylenol

Wednesday I had a multi-stage workout. I had to do 1 hour spin class followed by 20 minutes on the elliptical (was supposed to be the Stairmaster but I got confused by which machine was which — hey I’ve never used this stuff!) Then 15 minutes on the rowing machine. I thought it was a good workout — would have been tougher if I had actually done the stair master.

Thursday I did a ride in central park. My assignment was to stand on all hill climbs. OMG! Can we say ripping, burning quads? I thought I was going to die. Why would anyone want to stand while climbing? But I kept trying. I was adopted by a guy named Alan who I have now dubbed Governor of the Loop. He knew everyone out there riding at that time of the morning (I got to the park at 5:30 a.m.) He caught me on the first time up Harlem Hill and then stayed with me for the next two loops. I was not very good on the standing part. I don’t even think I could stay standing for a full minute at a time. (Note to self to actually look at my watch and see how long I can manage to stay out of the saddle.) My new coach Lisa assures me that the burning will go away and will make me faster on the run. I watched some of the guys standing and climbing like it was nothing — well probably to them it is nothing. Let’s see what happens when we attach a 50 pound trunk to their butt and watch them climb!

Thursday afternoon I FINALLY got a massage in. I haven’t had a massage since I can’t remember when. I didn’t realize how tight I was until poor Leslie had to start breaking through some of that muscle tissue. Note to self: schedule massage every other week just to break up the muscle.

Friday I had to do 40 minutes on the Stairmaster at level 5 or 6. HAH! I barely was able to hang on at level 3. I kept trying to move it up to level 4 — could only last a minute or two. There was a huge pool of sweat all around the machine when I was finished. Ugh and Ooph that was hard!! I had never done the stair master before. The elliptical machine is a vacation in comparison. I can’t imagine getting to level 6. But, one day at a time. After the 40 minutes on the Stairmaster I did another 15 minutes on the rowing machine. I’m really feeling my arms responding to the rowing machine — I’ve only done it twice but between that and the swimming my arms are feeling a little stronger.

I finished Friday off with an hour Pilates session with Ellie. I hadn’t done Pilates in awhile. I also remember Pilates not being a terrible difficult workout and more a stretch. Well, not on Friday!! It was probably because I had just done the Stairmaster and rowing machine but that hour of Pilates was intense!! My heart rate was definitely up the entire time. The core wasn’t that hard, it was my legs!! Holding that ring and we did another version of the hundred that almost killed me. (In case you have never done Pilates, the “hundred” is this weird crunches/breathing thing you are supposed to do every session. You kind of crunch up and bounce your arms in counts of five breaths in/five breaths out. Hard to explain. I absolutely hate doing the hundred because I feel like a spaz. But supposedly you haven’t done your Pilates workout unless you include it (propaganda). There are variations of the exercise depending on what you do with your legs. This time I had to have a Pilates ring between my knees and on the five inhales bring my knees in to a 90 degree angle and on the five exhales extend them out straight into a 45 degree angle. Okay, can we just say shoot me? I can’t even describe how to do it, never mind do it!!

Yesterday I had to do an hour and half run doing the 9 minutes on and 1 minute power walk. I thought for sure I would be dead, but surprisingly I had a very good run. I felt really strong and I swear I was running a smidge faster. Not a lot but I think I was running faster at a lower heart rate. I kept trying to get my heart rate up to the 145-150 range but no matter how fast I could get my legs going it never read more than 134-139. But I felt like I was really fluid and moving. So this may mean I have to get to the next level of moving my legs, which will be interesting — not sure how to do that yet. But by the end of the 1 hour 30 minutes I definitely felt I could do some more so that was a good confidence builder. I really felt on target and on track.

Then I finished yesterday with the Park to Park 1 mile swim in the Hudson. I really enjoyed it. I love open water swimming. There is just something spiritual about it to me. I love the feel of the water; I love the silence in my mind. I love the ability to stretch out and swim without having to worry about hitting the end of the pool. Whenever I start an open water swim I think, “oh boy, that’s farther than I thought.” Whenever I get close to the end I always have a moment of sadness that it is just about over.

I think the biggest problem with my open water swimming is keeping straight. I was definitely swimming a little back and forth. A lot of people said they had the same problem during that swim. I really tried to concentrate on my body rotation and noted there are definitely times on my right side that I am not rotating enough so I end up pulling under my body instead of on the side of my body. But I really concentrated on keeping my elbow bent during the pull and getting my right arm up and leading with my elbow. I think I did that right. I had a few moments when I was really pulling quickly which I think was right. Of course it was just a couple of minutes but I think I had the feel. Had I stayed a little straighter I think I could have knocked a couple of minutes off.

I was swimming the entire time with two people — it was kind of funny. There was a guy who I didn’t know and Carrie from our winter season. First the guy would be in front (and I actually drafted off of him a couple of times, yeah!). Then I would look up and see the guy was going off course. So Carrie and I would keep going straight and then he was to the side. I felt Carrie on my toes a lot so I know she was drafting off of me. Then Carrie would start swimming off to the left. Then the guy would get back on course and pull in front of me (if he swam straight he would have been done in 30 minutes). So when he got back on course I pull in behind him and Carrie would be to my left. Then I would go off course and back in. We did the entire mile this way. At the end the guy and I were literally neck to neck right up to the finish line. Our times were both exactly 41:42. Carrie came in just ten seconds later. It was kind of fun to have company on the swim like that. Imagine what could have happened if all three of us could have swam a straight line? That would have been really cool. That must be what it feels like to swim with the big fish. All of you swimming in a pack and heading straight into the finish. Straight! What a concept!

I was pretty tired yesterday afternoon and had to go to a picnic in the park. Ended up getting LOST in the Central Park Rambles (don’t ask, I’m an idiot). So I ended up climbing up and down paths in the woods for 40 minutes getting madder and madder at myself. What is it with me and going off course? Finally I found my way out of the woods and back to where I started and then went to the great lawn the right way. Ended up having a lovely time at my friends picnic in the park but I was cruelly aware that even though you might end up in the place you want to be you might have to take a round about route to get there.

Namaste

“Every body continues in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, except insofar as it doesn’t.”
Sir Arthur Eddington – Astronomer, Physicist and Mathematician

ROFL!! Don’t I know it!

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