Saturday, February 23, 2013

Busy times getting back to the swing of things

So I had grand visions of trying to use ActiveGoals to track my workouts. I was going to go for frequency in February. But the app doesn't sync between phone and iPad. Since I don't carry my iPad everywhere with me, no syncing is a big deal breaker.

I really need to get a training journal on hand!

Last week, I went snow shoeing for the first time in my life. It was the first time I'd ever seen people using a ski lift and there was a LOT OF SNOW. I've never seen snow like that- it felt like it was halfway up the big trees. My friend loaned me her wife's snowshoes, and I skipped along. We met four other people on the trail. They had cute dogs and we made instant friends. We went about 6 or 7 miles and had sunshine and snow.

I noticed that snowshoeing felt most effective when I tried to weight my heel more (I guess that's where the pontoon-y sort of effect is strongest). Which means that I think I have mostly eliminated the heel strike from my run stride, because it felt weird to do a heel strike! Booyah!

Here's to a season of running injury-free. I've been lucky (knock wood) to have no major running injuries. Just a pulled muscle or tweaked leg here and there.

On the frustration aspect: I felt like my weight was very stubbornly stuck at a 5 pound loss from the beginning of the year. Which is annoying, as I wanted to drop another 10 by the start of the season. I'll be focusing on meal plans and eating sensibly. I noticed (when we were snowshoeing) that I didn't think about eating beforehand, and just had a picky bar on hand in my pocket. I left my lunch in the car, and didn't die on the trail. So it's entirely possible that I've been overfeeding my off-season body. Can't imagine how an Italian-Portuguese girl could do that, eh?

So we shall see how the "eat sensibility but don't obsesses and for God's sake give me my Lenten Cadbury Creme Egg, you monster" plan works.

In other news: I've added high-cadence into my bike training. So far, I am maxing out at the 110s but I have also discovered the magic of my little ring. I'm a bit of a masochist in use of the big ring- I got it into my head a long time ago that STRONG PEOPLE RIDE THE BIG RING thanks to a training tip article I read once saying "Make one day a week your BIG RING ONLY day."

I read that back in the days when I was on The Tank (my Trek 7300 which clocks in at something like 35 pounds) riding with roadies.

I've ridden mostly big ring ever since. Seriously, I rode most of Leadman in the big ring, only clicking down to the small ring at the very top of the mountain. I also got smoked by most of the field (though I did catch and drop a few old guys and a bunch of tri bikes on the climbs. But a bunch of them came back and dropped me on the flats later. Not everyone though. Heh heh heh.)

So this season, on my sexy smokin' hot BMC, I am going to experiment with high cadence and the small ring. It very well could just be that this bike fits me so well that I'm finally learning proper techniques.

Also, I want to invest in some minimalist shoes. I've been slowly moving to flatter and flatter shoes. I really like my current pair for long runs, but I have been thinking about something more minimal for trail runs and short speed work.

High cadence on the bike, quick turnover on the feet on the run.

We shall see!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lent in 2013

I am not a good person for giving stuff up: in fact, during Lent is the only time of the year I allow myself the eating of Cadbury Creme Eggs. One year, I successfully gave up meat and another year I gave up hot lunch with excellent results both spiritual and physical. But I've got enough stress in my life right now that I don't feel comfortable focusing on food during this Lent.

My women's group is reading Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter together, and we will be discussing the book in house meetings over the Lenten Period.

I am also borrowing the Dhammapada, the Tao te Ching, and the Bhagavad-Gita.

I just bought In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore, which is supposed about learning to live slowly in the moment, in the midst of our culture of fast. I liked that others pointed out that he is NOT anti-technology or anti-smartphone or anti-connection. He's just into figuring out how to live your life in the present.

I tried to get it off the library via e-book and they didn't have it. So I ordered for my Kindle which was wirelessly delivered in less than a minute. I realize the irony of using the fastest method possible to get the book.

Which leads me to my actual Lenten discipline.

It seemed to me that a lot of klaxon bells in my life were calling me to slow down a little. Esp with M out of town, I find I have been checking email at all hours of the day and night, and my work bag stays firmly seated on my dining table while I eat dinner standing up at the kitchen counter so I can read a few more articles. Whoops. My balance has gone out the window, with just me in the house.

Last year, I gave up Facebook between the hours of 6PM and 9AM. I do use Facebook as a tool in work- we list services and events, and add announcements on our page. Turning it off was really fun. I used an app called "Self Control" on my computer. (I don't think they've made it an iPad app or an iPhone app yet, what a pity.) It's very basic: it blocks certain websites, specified by you, for a certain period of time. I would use it to block Facebook for anywhere from 3 - 24 hours at a time.

This year, I'm going to expand that to no internet between the hours of 6PM and 9AM. I will allow myself to stream movies or use my Kindle to read books. I can use apps that are on the iPad like solitaire and Jigsaw puzzles. But on both the phone and the iPad, no random internet. No falling down that rabbit hole of "this article recommends you read that article recommends you read this blog recommends you won't believe what shoes this celebrity wore to McDonald's yesterday!"

I think I will use parental restrictions to block this stuff- turn on the parental restrictions when I leave work, turn them off when I get to work in the morning.

With all this extra time, I am going to :

-Ride my Bike
-Do Barre3 workouts (along with movies, streaming a workout from this service is on my allowed list)
-Read all those books.
-Practice some piano. (I am giving credit to the Barre3, but my hand feels like it is gradually loosening up a little and I want to see if I practice regularly, how much real playing power I can regain. The viola is a little ways off, still, I fear. My bow needs rehairing anyway.)
-Get more knitting done.
-Call some friends on the phone.
-Watch some TV.
-Get more cooking done.
-OK, whatever, I suppose some running is probably in order.
-Oh, and swimming too.

I don't know if I'll actually accomplish all of this- just reading those books and playing piano might be all I can manage to pull off!- but I am looking forward to the practice.

Off I go to burn some palms and eat some pancakes. It is Shrove Tuesday, meaning that we gather people, burn the palms from last Palm Sunday to make ash for tomorrow's Ash Wednesday services, and Men's Clubs from all over the Episcopal church are descending on their churches to make delicious, delicious pancakes.

True story: my beloved is a wonderful cook at home, but he is fussy about his pans. He was once pressed into service at a parish pancake supper, where he was put to work on a griddle for the first time in his life. He is not friends with the griddle. After turning in about a dozen charbroiled discs, he was released from pancake duty. He went to work on the coffee and people were much, much happier with that. Becausehiscoffeeisawesomeandstrongandpeoplereallyloveitawholelot.

Happy Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Return to normal... I hope!

I'm still coughing but feeling good enough today to begin my return to normal plan. That means normal eating and normal workouts. It's a bike ride for me today and some Barre3.

I'm also planning to go snowshoeing with friends this weekend. So excited! I've never been.

This months, my goals are to keep off the five pounds I dropped in January, and maybe drop a few more. It'll be hard work, I'm sure, ESP after the fun of eating nothing but tomato soup and saltines all last week. (Yes, Campbell's. Don't judge, foodies.). But I have a consult with an RD and I'm going to talk to her about protein and vegetarianism. Mostly I just want to find an easy way to plan meals so I can hit that 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 balance for the offseason while getting enough calories, and I want to figure out how to do this more easily than I have been.

I also plan to try tracking my workouts with ActiveGoals so I can set goals for time or distance or frequency, and see how that goes. I keep a sort of training journal... I just like meeting goals because then I feel like I won something!

Lets see how this goes for me!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Icky sicky but bearing up

Still a phlegm filled bowl of misery, but oddly, feeling a bit better after I dragged myself out of the house. I stayed home all morning sneezing and eating soup. But once I got to work, I got some chai and started feeling a little better. Then I threw out my entire sermon and started fresh. The old one just wasn't going to work out, and the new one started coming together in less than an hour. What a pity, because I spent a whole week on the other one.

But it was Corinthians and the "love is patient, love is kind" reading. And even though I know very well it is not about two people but about a whole community, I just kept coming back to the current separation from M and how much stress he is under as he job hunts while trying to finish his fellowship and hoping he will find something that he loves and not knowing where or what that will be, and knowing the only thing that is certain are my plane tickets in April. It is very hard sometimes to remind myself to operate out of love and to not panic and run screaming that the world is ending. When I feel sick, it is very hard to be optimistic. We won't even get started on how working on that sermon brought up the memory of the world's worst baby shower that I ever attended. I always guess too large on the measure-the-mom's-belly game, and once got my cake taken away as punishment. Really. It was stress and bad memories all day.

I think that sometimes, certain sermons dig too close to the preacher's sore spot. Sometimes, it can be prophetic to preach honestly on a painful subject, but often it can just be awful to preach from a place of one's personal pain. There's just too much pain right now to preach on "love is patient". No one would find anything educational in a sermon where I meditate on "love stinks, separation sucks, the world is ending, and I'm totally freaked out". Especially because non-sick me would roll her eyes and promise it is not that bad.

A least I dragged myself through a gentle Barre3 this morning, and took a shower which means I am at least alive. (If feeling run down and stuffy and short of breath and headachy and generally whiny). Going out for a friend's birthday felt good though- carbs and salty anchovies, and I was actually feeling pretty rad by the end of it. Maybe my body is rebelling to healthiness? Or my friends have magical healing properties.

I think I have about an hour of work left on this new sermon this evening, and then I'm off to an early bedtime. I already picked up Super Bowl food for tomorrow- fake chicken nuggets and tofutti cuties. I have plenty of veggies at home to eat. So it's me and the commercials and a blanket on the couch, whatever time I get done with work tomorrow!

Friday, February 1, 2013

New month, new goals

Starting the month still sick, but I was able to tell that grapefruit soda is not the exact same thing as ginger soda this morning. And my soup was tasty. That is a step in the right direction. Luckily, my schedule allowed for a lot of sleeping this week.

I'm having soup for most meals right now. (Because I'm sick.) I made "Goodness Soup" out of Clean Food. You basically empty your fridge and shake all the contents into a soup pot but for some reason, it comes out thick and delicious, where my version of fridge soup usually comes out more like gruel.

I think Terry Waters is on to something with her additions of lentils, beans, and kombu. In fact, I bet you that kombu has magical thickening properties.

At any rate, now that we are into February, I finally feel ready to start pulling out my heart rate monitor and GPS trackers again. I went sorta tech free for much of the fall, and totally tech free last month. Lets see if all that fun had a pay off.

This month, Each week I want to push myself to do three interval workouts of 15 miles or more (on the bike), two 5ks all under 27 minutes and a long run for fun, and start swimming with my super swimmer friend. I have decided to keep my Barre3 subscription for the core work and stretching, so I'll keep up with the six sessions per week. Those can be any length.

I also want to connect with a nutritionist. As I start to ramp up training again, I think I just need the help of a pro to be sure I'm getting enough, not too much, and the right sort of enough. I've dropped about five pounds since Jan 1 and want to be sure I am doing this in a healthy way so I don't get sick before Ironman!

I think I will need to get a journal to track all this!