Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Oh, that explains it.

So after a few days of slow, ugly workouts, I finally figured out what was going on. I'm sick. Complete with achy muscles and a stuffy head and a slow brain. But without M, who makes really good soup. I must make my own soup.

M gets upset when I am sick, so while he's making me soup and trying to cheer me up, he stress eats. Usually he stress eats a sleeve or two of saltines. My saltines. Sometimes he even gets two boxes at once, one for me, and one and a half for himself. So I guess the bright side is that I get to have all my saltines to myself.

Will return to life in a day or so. Right now, an extremely long nap sounds good.

I did stop by the store to get rations. I got two types of soda (which I never drink except when I'm sick)- grapefruit and ginger ale. Yes, they burn my poor sore throat but it's comfort food dammit. And the taste is exactly the same on both of them. Actually, everything tastes the same right now... Flavorless.

I also got jerky. Don't ask me why. I was just walking listlessly through the store and saw the jerky section and something about the salt seemed AMAZING!!!!!!! I brought home vegetarian gluten jerky and tuna jerky. First time in my life I've ever done that. Maybe I need more protein? Or electrolytes?

Well I'm off to my couch. I think the drugs are starting to kick in.

I hate the plague.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Balance?

I was really tired for some reason today- just had no go juice for the bike. I usually love to get on my trainer and ride but today it just felt like a chore- not so much physically but mentally. I mean, my body was tired too, but my brain was just entirely shut off. After riding while talking to M for a while, I cranked it up (both effort and music) to try and a get a good workout in. I just couldn't find a pandora station I really liked. I couldn't find a song I liked. I couldn't find a pace I liked. So finally I set a timer for 10 minutes, and promised that if I worked hard for 10 minutes, I could get off. This usually works out well- usually, after ten minutes I am all revved up and ready to keep going.

Not today. After 10 minutes, I was ready to call it a night! So I did.

I went in for 30 minutes of a nice tough Barre3 workout and my shoulders feel better. I think I stiffened them up a bit after my Saturday hike. I had that one big slip, where I went down on the slippery rock race and used m arm and shoulders to hoist myself back to upright. Whoops.

I am also working on the eating thing- after nailing my percentages for a while now, my new goal to add in is drinking. I am trying the trick of using rubber bands on my water bottle to remind me what number of refills I am on. Hydration has always been hard for me, but I am determined (yet again) to break my dislike of water. Everyone tells us it is good for us, right? And I do notice that I seem to feel warmer when I drink more.

I am also trying to remember to toss seeds and nuts into my bag. Friends will be happy to know how hard I am working on eating my snacks so I don't get too ravenous (and cranky) in between meals.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sun Hunting, Eugene Edition

This afternoon, I chanced to look out over the hills. This wasn't too hard, as one wall in my living/dining room is pretty much all windows. The day had started off rainy, and I had pretty much given up on sun hunting as the weather reports all showed rain at the coast too.

But then, around 1:41, I noticed something odd with the light. There was no rain falling, and everything seemed much... Brighter. It was as if someone had turned on a giant yellow lamp. Out on the deck, a quick glance upwards confirm my suspicion- there was variation in the cloud cover, and the sun was valiantly attempting to break through.

There's only one way to respond to that. BIKE RIDE, BIKE RIDE, BIKE RIDE!!! Within 10 minutes, I was dressed in layers and was pumping tires. I ended changing down layers several times (and was grateful that I chose to go lighter!), but remain eternally grateful for my brother in law who gave me booties last year. Seriously, bike booties change your world. They even beat my gloves for favorite winter bike gear ever.

I rode a 20 mile loop, up Bailey Hill and basically, down the back part of the Hutch's Monday ride. It's a simple loop but I love it. It's different every time. I certainly felt different... All that core work seems to be paying off, as I felt I had power to spare. I think I'll be doing some speedwork in February! I wish I could afford Computrainer classes, but alas, it's just not in the cards right now.

It rained a teeny bit, for about 10 minutes, on the very back end of the loop, but my layers kept me plenty warm. I did get muddy down to the skin, though. Grit had soaked through my seams! Most of the time though, I had view like these- yes, mom, I came to a complete stop before taking these pictures! Safety Priest!







Squeezed in a run

Thursdays are always busy days at work, and I had some people coming over my house that evening. I managed to squeak away from work by 4:30, but I still had a ton of things on my to-do list for the day, like "make ginger tea for the group" and "clean the bathroom" and "vacuum" and "run".

Oh boy.

Normally, being that all-or-nothing uptight personality (true story? I used to think I was a mellow person, until I met M and realized that I'm actually kind of tightly wound), I would have thought I needed at least two hours to get a decent run, a stretch, and a shower in.

Last night, I decided to just GO FOR IT. So I changed as fast as I could, ran out the door, and headed out for what turned into a nice 35 minute run. (Don't know how far I went- remember, no tech this month!) I felt pretty good, with no aches or pains. And I was so focused on getting done in time to get all my other stuff done that monkey brain was a non issue for once.

I managed to get home, showered, and all the chores done in time for the ladies to arrive, which was great, because the ginger tea had JUST finished steeping and the house smelled like warm yummy ginger.

I never did get the Barre3 workout done yesterday, but baby steps, right? At least I got something in.

Here's my recipe for ginger tea:

6-8 cups of water.
A hunk of ginger, nice and heavy, about as long as my hand, which is 7 inches from where my palm meets my wrist to the top of my middle finger.
Sweetener (honey, if you can get it. If not, agave or *gasp* demon sugar is just fine.

Get the water onto a hot burner. Put it in a pot, first, or you'll make a huge mess.

Cut the hunk of ginger into slices about 1/4 ich, ish. Get about 12 slices or so.

Here's the fun part: on a cutting board, lay out the ginger. Get something like a rolling pin. I would use a meat tenderizer, except that I don't have one. Whack the ginger until it's beaten down.

Dump all the ginger, and its juices, into the pot. Let it boil, and boil the daylights out of it for about 20 minutes or so.

Stir in 1 TB of sweetener.

You'll want to strain out the ginger pieces as you decant the tea into a pitcher or carafe or other nifty pouring device.

Ta-da! Fair warning- it is VERY gingery and spicy!

The recipe I have on my fridge says to not drink more than 2 cups a day, unless you have a bad cold. I ignore that. It is spicy and makes me feel warm whether it is hot or cold. So I just make a pot and drink it until it is done, 2 cups a day be danged!

This is also a great drink to make before a car trip, for those of us who get motion sick.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Klutz in the Pool

Today I went for the first swim of 2013. It is really cold outside. It is so cold, the fog is freezing to the trees, which makes everything look like a Narnia winter wonderland... but remember what happens in Narnia in winter? Yeah, wicked witch, giant lion, all that.

Some times, staying in on these cold cold days makes us safer, right?

So I decided to pack my stuff and head to the pool. The pool has good daytime open hours. And bonus- when it is really cold outside, that pool water feels so nice and warm! I really like the Willamalane pool because they have such a nice deep lap pool. I'm tall, so in shallow lap pools, I have to consciously remember to not stand up and rest. Can't do that in Willamalane. It's all floating, all the time.

I decided to spend today working on technique so I grabbed a few paddles, and after I warmed up, started working on the arm drills a friend suggested. My catch is totally off, so I am learning the arm bending to have a better catch. I tend to flail my arms like windmills- like one of those little windmill dolls people put in their gardens. Well, human beings have "elbows" and when we bend our elbows, we can reportedly go faster through the water.

I'm working on it.

So I went back and forth and back and forth for about 20 minutes, doing different variations on the drill. But then, the paddle on one hand started slipping off, and I tried to prop myself up on the lane rope to adjust it. Staring at a paddle while floating about... bad idea! I hadn't put my silicone plugs into my ears either, so I got a few good sloshes of water right at the same time that my eyes were trying to focus... instant seasick!

I pushed off the rope... except that my triceps were so exhausted from all the drills that I had lost all semblance of arm control, and my paddle-clad hand flew wildly off the rope and came smashing into my face! Klonk.

I swam one more lap, but after that, I was feeling a mixture of seasick and stupid, so I decided to call it a day. It was fun. Remember those exhausted arms? I looked more like a seal flopping out of the Arctic than a swimmer getting out of the pool. Flop. I got to the locker room, only to discover a big spreading black-and-blue smear under my right eye with a nice red splot forming.

Thankfully, I got home quickly and put ice on it right away. A few hours later, you couldn't really tell that I had just punched myself in the face. (Right, Vestry members?) But I was definitely still feeling a little seasick, because come dinnertime, I couldn't choke down my nice healthy dinner, but the excellent french fries at Falling Sky were just the ticket to happiness. Greasy food always calms down my recalitrant tummy... and hey, I had a light day otherwise, so a dinner of a fish burger and fries is totally ok, right?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sun Hunting

After a week of straight pea-soup fog, I had had enough. I love my beautiful green Oregon, but a week solid of being unable to see the houses below me because of the thick fog, I needed a break, badly!

I had a bonus day off today, so while my more civic minded friends went to volunteer and help their communities for the National Day of Service (which I had no idea existed until I got home and saw their photos on Facebook), I went out to the coast for some sun hunting! I had heard that once you got out of the Willamette valley where Eugene is, there is sun!

Florence did not disappoint! As I drove, about 20 minutes out of town, the cloud cover was already starting to break! It was a little like driving out of Narnia- the trees here are covered in a delicate little frost, and everything is hushed and still. And as you head over the hills, you start to see peeps of blue through the grey!

I confess to getting a little over excited. There may have been shrieking in my car. Hey, I'm alone, no one will know, right?

By the time I got to the coast, I could FEEL the sun! It was so shiny and warm! I was wearing my fleece tights and a beanie because it was so cold... I was quickly wondering if I'd be too warm! (Answer- I could have worn my other tights, but I feel so rock star in my Pearl Izumi fleecies).

I walked for a while, first. And then I decided to do a bit of sand running. Man, that's a workout. I have no idea how far I ran or how fast... Just that when I checked my watch, I'd been going for 40 minutes in one direction! A combo of running and walking to take pictures and pick up cool beach stuff brought me back to point A.

So I decided to head to the national dunes. It's a fee area, but I have one of those cool lifetime access passes, so I love going to national recreation areas. I found myself entirely alone on the giant dunes... So I went dune running!

Think sand running is a workout? Try dune running. Oh. My. Sweet potatoes. My heart was instantly up (how high I have no idea as I'm running sans monitor for a while), and my whole legs were buuuuuuuuuurning. Up and down various dunes. The dunes were gorgeous and gigantic. On one hand, I'm surprised they aren't protected like dunes are in the east, but on the other hand, maybe there are just not enough of us here in Oregon that the dunes need extensive protection.

Overall, a winner of a day, and my sun hunting expedition was very successful! Inspired by the coast, I stopped by the market to get mussels to make my famous (really, the recipe was picked to be included in a special healthy cooking cookbook) Easter mussels. It is entirely possible that I had more than one serving... Like, maybe three! But at just 70 calories of lean protein, I think I earned it!

I also earned that mini mint Oreo Blizzard I nabbed on the way home. I'd just run my lungs out for a few hours. You earn your blizzards on those days!









Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bendy and Stretchy, But Eager for A Sunbreak!

It has been seriously foggy this week. We have had pretty much 24/7 fog since at least last Sunday. I am fine with the rain and stuff, but I got hooked on our Oregon sunbreaks! This is starting to wear on me- I haven't seen the trees in my neighborhood clearly for a week. Last night as I went to the mailbox, I could swirl the fog around with my hands, it was so thick! (That was kinda cool, but I'm not looking for a silver lining, here.)

I thought about going to the coast today, and doing some beach running, but the weather forecast shows that it is also enshrouded in fog. So there seems to be no escape. I'll be staying home, shut in with the kitties. That usually means I get bored and start cleaning. The only chores left right now are bathroom cleanings. Blah!

I have been doing lots of interval workouts on my bike on the trainer. I miss being outside but I am waiting for my fleecy tights. It is cold and wet out there and I need my warmth! They are coming in the mail from my kleptomaniac husband who took them to West Virginia with him. Yesterday, I did a little movie night where I watched some TV on my iPad and just rode, long and steady.

I've also been doing lots of barre3. For $15 a month, I'm sure getting my money's worth out of this. I really like how many different programs there are and that they add new workouts frequently. I also really like the food blog! She is posting some really delicious recipes. I love he variety. I get bored doing the same DVD over and over, but so far, I haven't had to repeat a single program. It is definitely making me bendier, which is good. And it's achy, but good achy. Not like Crossfit where I was so sore I couldn't move the next day- this is just a creaky soreness. And it really is helping me with the tri stuff, thanks to all that good stretching.

I am also thinking of heading to MSA and having the official coach draw me up a good plan for training for that 70.3. That is probably what I will do. Then I can put all the workouts into a spreadsheet and check them off.

For this month, I decided to go totally computer free. No iPhone GOS app, no heart rate monitor, no bike computer, nothing. I'm even running with my plain iPod. It is interesting to go numbers free, including no watch! I can get caught up on numbers so I decided to just play this month while I got bendy and stretchy again, and worked on nutrition. One thing at a time, right? I figure in February I can start with the numbers and computers again, and that'll be fine. Speedwork can resume then.

The only thing I am still insisting wearing out is my Road ID. Never go running or riding without it. But after I got my sister a Slim, I want one of those too! :-)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hanging in There

I feel like a bad blogger... I keep doing something and thinking "oh, I should blog that" and then next thing I know it's 11pm and I'm on the way to bed. It has been craaaaaazy busy. I will have put on at least one program per weekend by the end of this month. What with other work stuff, it's a little busy.

Add that to working out, meal planning, and making my cats happy, and I haven't even had time to watch TV, let alone blog.

On the meal planning side of things, I've continued to work on MealBoard. It remains kind of a pain in the butt, mostly because I'm still entering in my recipes one by one. But I'm already seeing, once I got a few meals in there, how much easier it is to just drop a meal into the plan. And I love the automatic grocery list- that alone makes all the trouble worth it for me. I limit myself pretty strictly to what is on that list, and my grocery bill has been pretty small this month. Bonus saved money AND easy groceries!

On the training side of things, I am continuing to do Barre3 and liking it more than any video Pilates/yoga/ballet workout EVER, which is saying a lot. I really like Pilates and that sort of thing, even though I'd totally let myself slack the last few years. But the combination of light weights and stretching is really helping- I am already feeling more bendy, and the nagging shoulder pains I've had (always chalked them up to results of injuries from The Crash) are really almost gone. My right wrist still has significant pain in push up position, but I get lots of modifications for those moves. I don't know if that will ever go away.

The downside of things like Pilates- when you have been away from it for a while- is that your body can react pretty quickly, so you can feel your muscles tightening up and lifting underneath the pudge that still remains. I actually feel pudgier right now, even though my scale and tape measure tell me otherwise. But I have to remember that I've dropped nearly 17 lbs of the Connecticut Pudge, and right now, I'm only 9 pounds away from my first goal- to hit my wedding weight. I tend to be really horrible to myself, body wise, so empirical evidence like tape measures help me maintain realism. It's just tough when your body is changing, so parts of my jeans are slack and loose and other parts are snug and tight, and it's different parts than a few months ago!

On the other hand, my cyclist's quads are not too shabby... A good cyclist has got to love her super-powerful legs and bum! They aren't skinny, but they can haul tail up a big hill and I like that!

I continue to ride and enjoy my bike on the trainer. I just love that BMC. It's really my baby. I'm a little weird, so I'm perfectly happy riding intervals inside while streaming Pandora radio stations. But I prefer outside whenever I can get it, and I steadfastly refuse to run on any "dread mill", ever.

The other day I planned a short run that I call the "Holli Hills"- its a tough, hilly route named after a friend of mine who uses a wheel chair and has the most positive attitude known to mankind. I run the Holli Hills because they remind me of her optimism, and that loop never fails to cheer me up. As I worked my way down one big hill, I decided to tack on an extra flat loop for fun.

And then I wondered what the heck happened- when did I become the sort of person who tacked on extra distance to my runs?? Who IS this person?

In other news, I also noticed my shoes show significantly less heel wear on this pair, and lots more wear further up the shoe. Looks like I am doing well with reducing my heel strike. I plan to get to Lake Stevens injury-free!

Things for me to work on: for the rest of this month, I really want to work on my negative monkey brain. I find that as I go out, any little bit of pain sends me into this really negative spiral. And while I HAVE had a few really bad crashes and a few minor injuries, none of it has been stuff I didn't recover from. But still, I start mulling over the crashes or reliving the injuries or worrying about being ale to breathe at altitude or awful things like that. As we all know, negativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'd love to know what others have done to conquer that monkey mind, and to snap yourself into I a positive place- how do you beat that? Especially when you HAVE been injured in a sport- how do you prevent yourself from reliving the negativity? Give me your positivity suggestions!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Plugging Away

Disclaimer: Remember that I'm using my blog these days as more of a tri training/gee ain't Oregon cool journal than as a blog where I expound on issues. If you were hoping for something groundbreaking, keep walking. But if you are interested in a triathlete who is prepping for a half-ironman in July who is keeping a blog just to keep accountable to her two actual readers (Hi, mom, and uncle T!), then go for it. I haven't yet found a training journal app I like, so this is it for now.

A busy couple of days, but it's the way I like it. Without M in town, I have a bad habit of working too much at the office and becoming a hermit otherwise, so it is SO GOOD to have friends to have dinner with, who are totally low stress, where I know I can promise to bring roasting veggies but show up with salad and it's all okay.

I've been keeping up with the Barre3 workouts. What is interesting is the choices in length of programs- I haven't yet tried a 60 minute program, but I find that the time passes so quickly! I have done mostly 40 minute programs, but also quite a few 10 minute programs. I made a deal with myself that if I felt "too busy", I would commit to just 10 minutes. I have been an all-or-nothing person for so long- either I got my 1.5 hour workout in with all its components, or I was SOL. With the online Barre3, I am challenging myself to try things like a 10 minute stretch workout in the morning before getting ready for work, and suddenly finding time for a 40 minute Ballet Fit buttkicker at night. Hmmm.... we shall see if this works out!

I have two interval workouts programmed into my 30/30 app now. This morning, I did one that is 10 minutes of intervals: a 15 minute stead warmup, and then 40 seconds hard- 20 seconds recovery, 10 times, followed by five minutes rest. I didn't yak up my breakfast, but there were a few intervals during which I considered it! Yeah, I was working that hard. (Endurance people will get it.) It. Was. Really. Tough.

I am also working on my nutrition: I don't like to say diet because that sounds extreme. I prefer to say that I am working on re-learning how to fuel my body. Right now, I'm using South Beach as a meal plan while I use workouts as my chance to eat cheaper carbs. I'm also trying to rebalance my body: I take my multivitamins, but I am finding my bod still acts up a bit since the whole E. Coli in Mexico thing.

Sorry, was that TMI?

In other news, I really like Jill Will Run right now, because she is so good about talking about how hard it is for her to work into other mindsets beyond the self-shaming of the average magazine. She is a recovering eating disordered person with a new baby, who is living into the reality of her new body. She is really open about her tough relationship with food and body image, and I find her really empowering for that reason. She's very much about positivity, and focused on being HEALTHY with this whole endurance athletics/body thing- support that I also need!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Holy Roller

The question was asked of how the Holy Roller (my pulpit bookcase-turned-bike-desk) has been working out.

It's great, actually.

I even have two bike computers: my road one, and one I use as I pedal slowly doing work or watching TV or goofing off. In fact, I need to do more of that. Maybe a new rule: on the bike all the time when just dithering. If I want to sit on the couch, I have to commit to a show or a knitting project. Something to make me productive. I can write and watch TV while pedaling.

I haven't been tracking my mileage, but maybe I should. Numbers keep me honest.

I keep my shoes and a visor handy. And you can see I still have my seat bag handy just in case a sunny day happens along and I can head out on a road ride.

The only downside is that my road bike has a road saddle, meaning that as long as I'm wearing my bike shorts with their female-specific chamois, I'm comfy as can be. Seriously, with shorts, I can ride on the bike all day and get off happy and ready for more.

THAT'S HOW AWESOME MY BMC IS.

But if I'm just wearing jeans or yoga pants, I get pretty uncomfortable after about 30 minutes, and have to take a break. Yeah, bike shorts are really all that important.

Overall, I'm down a belt notch and feeling a lot bendier. A number of the little aches and pains are working themselves out, which is good. I really needed to do this focus on flexibility. Don't know if I'll ever be doing the figure skater "hold my foot up behind my head" thing ever again, or the ballet dancer "lift your foot to shoulder height" like I could once do, but I feel a lot better after just three days.

Today, I am going to bring my swimming stuff and decide at work if I want to go do a swim session or come home and ride my bike, with a half hour Barre3 workout planned.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Productivity is Way Overrated

So this morning, I thought I had a terrifically busy day. The morning was slow, but the afternoon was four back-to-back meetings. I was so virtuous that I actually got up and my workout first thing.

Virtue never really works out in your favor, ya know.

I found an app called 30/30 in which you can set up a timer to remind you about certain tasks. I think it's supposed to remind you to be productive, but naturally I've set it up for trainer workouts.

I set up a ladder intervals workout, and set my playlist and pedaled away. After not riding as much when M was home, it feels good to be back on my bike. After the bike ride, I did a session of Barre3. I'm actually enjoying those workouts enough that I look forward to them, and I find I'm looking for longer workouts than just the minimum. Today's was core and stretch.

Done right off the bike, it was more like jellyfish pilates meets wooden plank. But the bonus of stretching on tight warm muscles that had just done a hard workout is that I felt INCREDIBLY bendy later in the day.

Then I got to work and discovered that I actually only had TWO meetings- the other two are for other weeks! But the two I DID have were at the same time, and we all needed to talk to each other anyway, so it all worked out just great.

And then, with my unexpected evening off, I finally got to catch up on Downton Abbey. Seriously, Facebook during playoffs, politics, and TV premiers might be my best friend in productivity. I get so frustrated with spoilers that I just block Facebook and get a ton done!

I have not yet found the right size needles to work with my yarn for my next gargoyle, but maybe I'll make that my Thursday project.

In other news, the other priest I challenged in this Ironman- I saw a recent picture of him online. I'd been anticipating challenging friendly ole priest to a friendly little clergy deathmatch. In the process of getting in shape, he's gone downright lean, so right now, he looks like Mr. Mc-CRUSH'EM. I'd better start doing some serious intervals, because this dude is going to BRING IT this summer. Actually, start rooting for him, because I have a feeling he will place really well in his age group and might crush his clergy competition.

It's time to get my Serious Training Plan in order.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day one: new toy

Since enough people read this to keep me honest, I figure it's worthwhile to put out there in public what I'm doing.

Today, I bought a Barre3 program and signed up for the cheapie version- online lessons. Normally, I'm not crazy about DVDs because they get repetitive, and I dislike home workouts because they are hard to be motivated for. Well, online community, I would like you to be on my case all month about how this challenge is going! And the workouts reportedly change frequently in the online video version of Barre3. Isn't that a great idea? Online workouts whe the content changes all the time. It would be like going to actual class where the instructors change things up!

Anyway, I got to buy a new toy today: the fitball! I am always skeptical of workout plans that require gear, but since I already had the mat, I figured a $12 ball couldn't hurt. I am really glad I got it. It is used in some creative and buttkicking ways that just cannot be replicated with any other item I have in my house.

It was a great 30 minute workout. The instructor reminds me of Quinn, a girl from my college dance classes who was amazing, but incredibly nice and helpful to everyone. So I'm eager to keep going with this.

In other news, day 2 of South Beach was fine. I remembered to bring my snack with me when I went out, and I saved my coffee until the afternoon so I could go to Starbucks. I did cheat with a little tiny martini with supper- a teensy weensy 'tini, really, but wow, it hit me like a ton of bricks! I may just make a nice ginger tea for dinners for a while. I hate plain water so always want something special with dinners.

I was glad to have that time at Starbucks today. I witnessed the sweetest thing... This woman was there with her dog. He was wearing a service dog vest, but he was sleeping on the job! Whe she got up to change seats, I could see the dog was very old, and he was limping and moving painfully. Seeing me watching, she explained that it was the dog's last day at work and he was retiring effective tomorrow, but that Starbucks was an easy job for him, so she wanted his last bit of work to be a good, successful day.

I sure hope someone is that gracious and kind to me on my last day!

My Plan for This Month

I'm at my dining table watching the fog roll in the hills. It's pretty amazing- I can literally see the forward edge of the thick fog bank rolling in tree by tree from my little tree house. It's very cool. Of course, visibility is not down to a couple hundred feet and I am thankful for my thick walls and slippers because it's going to be a cold, damp day. I will probably not do that bike ride- I am not comfortable with riding in low visibility and wet weather after my Big Crash three years ago. But I have another plan. Read on.

So after the little ankle-crunch/hamstring/possible sartorius incident of the last race, I had to sit down with myself and acknowledge that my spending ALL the time on the bike (with some in the pool and running) and almost no time stretching or doing core work was actually not all that great of an idea. I love my peeps at the MSA but I wanted to do something more intensive than once-a-week TRX this winter, and I can't afford the unlimited badass membership this season.

By contrast to the Rev. Squishy Middle I am right now, in Virginia when I was a fastie-fast person in the heavyweight hybrid section of the pack (riding The Tank), I spent hours on flexibility and core work. I used to stretch after every workout at the barre section of my gym, do Pilates and yoga every week, and throw in some strength training. I had a decent midsection. Funny how it was so effective...

So I've decided that this month, I am going to do the 28 Day Challenge with online workouts from a company called Barre3. I saw their store in Eugene, and it seems like a Ballet/Pilates fusion. I do know pilates, ballet, and yoga, so I feel comfortable enough in the technique to feel that I can do the online workout with proper alignment and safety. So off I go. I am going to buy the ball this afternoon, and once I buy the toy, I don't turn back.

In other news, I'm also going to be doing the South Beach thing again for 28 days at least. That'll get me through Stage 1 and well into Stage 2. I've done it before and my body really likes South Beach. I like that it doesn't ban foods (except in stage 1, for a very short time), and it focuses on veggies and protein. Since metabolic syndrome is a factor for me, and South Beach Stage 1 seems to really help me reset a cranky body, I am looking forward to this time to detox and let my body rest from all the heavy rich parties of the last few weeks.

Since I've started writing this, the fog bank has moved all the way up the about 50 yards away. I can see over the office building, and down to the trees bordering the lower edge of the property, but not much else.

Fog is so cool, sometimes!

Friday, January 4, 2013

On my own again- and belated race report!

I sorta dropped off the face of the earth for a while. M had been home for a long visit after spending most of the last six months in West Virginia working with the National Parks Service. It's been tough, indeed. His kitties were very excited to have him home and ever since I returned home alone, they are being very depressed. M and I went to spend the las day of his visit in Portland, and we decided to get a room so we could have a nice slow morning today without any frantic rushing to the airport.

This morning we discovered this great little dinner place called Mother's cafe.


It was a great place for a HUGE breakfast. I got biscuits and gravy, which came with two eggs! Seriously, about half of my plate would have been great. But it was very tasty. We also split a French press of coffee, because those Portlandians know their coffee.

Then we went to spend an hour in the Grotto in Portland. It's a Roman Catholic shrine with this killer view, a lovely meditation chapel (that's where the view is), and a lovely walk/stations of the cross. We jus enjoyed the sculptures and checked out the labyrinth and spent most of our time in the chapel. Face it, where ELSE in this world will you ever find a bunch of people just sitting quietly looking at a view? It was incredible, and incredibly peaceful. I anticipate going again! Note to clergy friends : the clergy discount is FREE!


Anyway... RACE REPORT!!

On Dec. 22, we did the Holiday Hustle. I got #2 in my age group, M got #3, and a friend of ours WON her age group in her first 5K! There were three distances- the 5K, the 10K, and a half marathon. I opted for the 10K, because while I am a horrible runner, I also realize that I don't really get going until two miles in or so. The 10K feels to me to be a good race to be a workout without killing me.

I had high hopes for this one. After spending the last month doing speed work, I had reeled off 7:45 miles and turned in a 5K split of 24:xx on my training runs. I was feeling good- not hungry, not nervous. I had had a nice restful week, physically, so I was feeling in good shape.

As we set off, I quickly outdistanced M and was feeling good heading into the campground for the first loop. My music was decent and my pace was strong- I was taking it a little conservatively for this first half of the 10K but I wasn't going at slacker speed. I'd have marked myself at an 8:45-8:55 mile.

Alas, all did not remain well. Soon into the campground, I stepped on some of the ample loose debris littering the roads from a recent storm, and it slid out beneath me! My left ankle did a nice 90 degree crunch and my whole left leg SPASMED UP LIKE A MO-FO!!! Sorry to be vulgar, but the amount of pain that roared through my leg at that moment was epic. It was like when I had caught my leg on the mat coming out of the water a Leadman. And just like then, I couldn't straighten my leg out for a few seconds. As I slowed to a (muttering swear words) walk, M and my friend blew by me on the way to their awesome 5K finishes.

As I approached the halfway point, I was seriously wondering how I could quit without looking like a slacker. I considered a sprint so I could collapse heroically, clutching my leg and moaning for a masseuse. I considered claiming hypothermia. I considered instant death. My leg felt fiery, which said to me that it was a little injury going on. Instead of any of these bright ideas, I just threw my jacket at Martin and heard my voice moan, "I'm doing so bad!" And I kept going.

I headed out on the second loop of the course alternately berating myself for my poor grammar and wondering how I could possibly finish this race.

On lap two, I saw a woman walking with a walker, surrounded by a group of people. I could see she'd recently had some sort of major medical procedure from her shorn hair, and her somewhat stilted gait. But she was trucking through. I figured if she could do it, I could stop whining.

I opted to continue, pushing as hard as I could. This explains why I was hobbling down the road, periodically slapping my seizing left leg and whimpering. I even started saying "Come on, left leg!" To try to motivate it.

Soon enough, I had hobbled to the field and the last bit of the run. The race started and ended in Richardson park, which was currently a bog. Seriously, next year, they should consider setting up in the parking lot or installing docks. I appreciate the shelter as it was cold and starting to rain, but the trade off of shelter was slogging through several inches of ice cold muddy water many times over the course of the morning.

Big props to the race for their masseuse tent! I headed right over, and got right in. The guy rolled out the super-tight muscles (he found a big knot behind my knee and some tight hamstrings. He suggested ice and heat, wich I heard as heat and heat which is why M took away my heating pad later that day!

Good enough for #2, so after all that drama I insisted on staying for the awards so we could be our ribbons! M had heard his name but didn't realize that he had won anything. So I had to send him to get his ribbon during my awards!

Since then, I've realized that my neglect of my core strength and lack of stretching is really starting to affect me negatively, so I will be signing up for an online package of core exercises to work on that. It'll play on m new ipad so it'll be a great way for me to learn all about the many powers of iPad, beyond just teasing Siri.

So new goals for training: in addition to all the tri distance stuff, since I know I can do the 70.3 distance:
-improve core strength and flexibility.
-work on swim form.

Those will be my jan goals!