Friday, March 31, 2006

"Getting fit is done by gradually and progressively increasing training because while the heart and lungs respond quickly to exercise, muscles and joints take longer. That is why those who go too far and too fast end up injured and unable to run at all." Greta Waitz, 9 time winner of NYC Marathon.

I came across this quote today while reading an article about Greta Waitz and her ordeal with cancer. It struck me as particularly appropriate today because of my earlier post about increasing my running time only 5 min. at a time per week (LSD runs). Its also a little ironic coming from a woman who had only run 13 miles at one time before entering the NYC Marathon for the first time. But if you knew her previous history, you would realize she had actually trained for shorter, faster track events for years before her marathon debut, so it seems to have transferred over into her first marathon experience.

Greta was still setting records when I first started running in 1988. I didn't know of her at the time, nor of any of the other women greats up to that time until about a year later. It was an exciting time for women to be finally coming into their own in the running world, so maybe it was an appropriate time for me to have started too.

Whatever the reason behind my starting to run and eventually turning to triathlons, it was as if I too had evolved. I had been very active for all of my life, first as a kid (and we did not have organized sports for girls at the time) and later as an adult and young mom (after getting over the rebellious years where underage smoking and drinking were in). I had walked about everywhere there was to walk in the city I lived in (we didn't know about running then), rode bikes as far as the boundaries we knew at the time, and swam every day in the summer, regardless of the weather, in an outdoor, unheated pool. It was probably more than most girls did. When the babies started arriving, I feld I had to do something to keep in shape. So I walked and/or biked, and took kids with me whenever possible. When the final baby arrived, that probably was the winter when I really first started running--around my dining room table, much to the amusement of the baby. It was one way to get some fitness, watch him, and amuse him apparently at the same time. I had no fancy running gear. Sweats and worn out aerobic shoes worked just fine.

By spring I was ready to get outside, but running didn't occur to me at first. I thought I would just walk the dog, briskly, as often as possible. Or the baby. It was getting too difficult to drag 4 kids along at a time, and listen to them either complain or drag along. After a while, it was taking too long to even walk the dog, so I figured I might run, just to "save time." By summer, I ran my first 5k, and the rest was history.

So it might seem surprising that I am in this build-up phase again. I got depressed. I got lazy. I let other people control my schedule and my life for too long, until I finally broke away earlier this year and decided to take back my life.

Its not all easy to say that and then follow through. There still are a lot of days it would be easier to skip a workout, but I have finally reached the point of no return, and every day something will get done, because that's the way I was before all the changes, and I can't see any reason why it can't be that way again.

So I will train slowly and carefully. I will not be rushed, even though it goes through my mind every day. I don't want to be injured again and let the doubt creep in. I will conquer this beast because it is the way I am, and I will solve my problems along the way. Women like Greta did not give up, and she is still fighting a battle to survive and get strong again, so for me it should be easy compared to that.
QUESTION: If you do your "long" run in the morning and get to work and find out the elevators aren't working, and you have an office that covers 6 floors, can you add the number of stairs you climb over and over and over in the first hour to your workout?

This has been an ongoing problem for 2 weeks, since rennovation work in the building started up again. Last week it was a walk up 12 flights from the basement level. It wasn't too bad, but I did break out in a major sweat. I really couldn't complain because one of the guys on crutches actually walked up the whole thing too. (He's a runner too, and I think we were the only ones who ended up doing the whole 12 floors.) Usually I take the stairs between floors most of the day anyway, depending on how many trips I've already made and how many floors we're talking about. Today thankfully it was the whole 12 floors, but I had already been able to get to my floor before they "crashed" again (figuratively of course). But after the 5th time in about 30 min., I was starting to feel the burn.

I had decided to get the long run out of the way this morning, knowing full well it would be a major struggle to get on that treadmill for over an hour when I got home. And since we're leaving for Chicago at 6:30 am on Saturday, I wasn't about to start out the weekend with the grandkids (all in one hotel room) at 4 am. It was 5 when I got up today as it was and 5:40 when I hit the 'mill.

My mindset has been good these last two weeks. As I mentioned before, once I made up my mind to make Johan's Trifest Olympic triathlon my first main focus race for the year, the pressure was off, and I was able to finally stop feeling like I was forcing myself to do something I really didn't want to do just yet. If I want to do the 25k in May, I will up the training, but only after I see that my progress continue and I become willing to do it. Right now I am adding 5 min. a week to the long run. Doesn't make much of a difference distance-wise, but it does help reinforce in my mind and my body the repetition of running more than an hour at a time. Which I can do. But falling back to the treadmill again--because it really is easier, safer, more convenient, etc.--I am only going to slowly add time and let the distance take care of itself. They say the body doesn't know the difference between 5 miles and 20 miles (right!), but it does adapt to the difference between 20 min. and 2 hours. My body however needs to be convinced, so repetitive one hour plus runs is on the agenda until I reach 1 hour 30 min. Then I will decide how I feel at that length of time and adjust things accordingly. That means at least 2 more weeks at the LSD pace (long slow distance).

I actually feel good. I didn't cave in. I kept the pace aerobic, and only had to use the bathroom once. (another convenience of being in your own home for these types of things) Now if the elevators would just start working, my legs might make it through the day!

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Today I got to the pool later than planned, so it was decided it would be a short swim workout. Timing is everything at the pool. Any time give or take 10 min. can make the difference between being full and being the only one swimming. There are no exceptions to the time of day or day of the week.

Today I timed it a little off. I was actually hoping it would be a lull time, but as usual, it was a pool full of jellyfish. You know, those "floaters" who actually don't ever swim a stroke, just float from one end of the pool to the other. Of course they can't do this on one side of the lane; they need the whole thing. They will not share. They do not seem to notice that people who actually can swim a lap or two might wish to use their lanes. They do have a "leisure" pool for just this purpose, as well as a non-sectioned part of the main pool which is for non-lap swimmers. But they never go there. They always need a lane for this floating motion they call swimming.

Its would be quite humorous if it weren't so irritating watching them from under water. Some are almost standing upright, some are on their backs, some on their fronts, but they are not swimming, no matter how much you stretch your imagination.

So today I shared the open section with Don (which is partly why I was late--he is retired; he doesn't seem to have any clue about my work schedule). Don is a great swimmer, having come a long way from when we first met. He can lap me in freestyle twice in a half mile swim, and multiply that for any other distance. But in kicking, I can still outswim and outkick him. I'm sure it is his arm strength that does it, because without fins, he would have no kick. I was glad there was no one else in this section because it is no fun swimming in the same lane with Don. Everyone complains, good naturedly of course, because he can't keep from slapping the water on every stroke, so every time he goes by you, you get a tidal wave of water over your head and into your mouth, no matter which side you breathe. And he comes too darn close to my face for my liking.

The rule then today was: "You see this line? Good. You stay on one side, and I will stay on the other. Got that??" Today was a good day. No slaps in the face!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

So, second week of new training plan. The plan that I hope this time goes farther than 3-4 weeks. It was easy today, so that tells me something is working. And I was awake before the alarm and excited about working out.

One part of the new training plan was facing the fact that I REALLY hate getting up at o dark thirty, packing the bags for the day, and leaving before the traffic lights are off blink and then not getting home again until 6 or 6:30. It gets old really fast. And it turned out to be counterproductive in the long run. I don't mind running either at home on the treadmill or from home. What I do mind is the above routine that tended to get dragged out later and later over the past 6 months until I barely had enough time to get a 20 min. run in. It was really starting to get to me. I don't mind going for the spinning, swimming, or weights; I do mind going for running. A lot.

So the new plan last week was to get on the treadmill at least 3 mornings a week and progress from there. So far it has worked and I have not missed one time. In fact, I am up to 40 min. today, and as I said, it seemed easy. I did go back to my own earlier advice to SLOW DOWN until my endurance is there for upping the speed, and I do tend to run faster outside, but for now it is a heart rate workout at least 3 times a week.

Today as I reached each mile, I did up it one notch on the treadmill, and it still was easy enough. I have to hold myself back. I have too many memories of hitting the roads and doing 10, 12, 15 miles and still doing speedwork and/or hill workouts. It can't happen that fast. I have had too much time off. I have to not get ahead of myself here. Same with the weight loss. One week at a time.

As for weight loss, I have begun to really read labels. There are some definite rules when trying to losing weight. First, you either have to count calories (including fat calories) or carbs. You can't do both. Most athletes do not do the carb thing, and I'm not going there either. But reading labels for calorie content, you have to be honest and look at the fat calories as well.

Take peanut butter for instance. One of my favorite foods. But alas, today I took an honest look at the calorie/fat calorie content and was quite dismayed. 180 calories per 2 tablespoons and 140 fat calories! That's most of the enjoyment gone right there. Wow, I was really surprised. Which caused me to sparingly spread the small amount I dared eat now. It makes me wonder what other surprises await me out there!

Monday, March 27, 2006

I feel so much better about workouts now that I have actually figured out what works for me. I often get the guilts because I'm not thinking Ironman all the time. Its not that I wouldn't like to do one, its just that I don't think I'm there yet. If I didn't have to work 40+ hours a week, didn't have to deal with all the things I do, maybe I could actually think about and get involved with that type of distance. First, I do not have the income to support just jumping into any race that suits my fancy. Second, I do not have the time or energy right now to even put myself in a dream of doing that sort of thing. You see, my life isn't just about me. Its about dealing with my kids and their lives, the grandchildren, my boyfriend, work, and taking care of my dad, his medical problems and appointments, and dealing with all the family problems that go along with that. I have to divide myself in at least 10 directions, including training. So I guess I equate that to only being able to give 10% to something all the time, or neglecting things a lot of the time. Which I do sometimes.

This weekend was a mixed bag of everything. An issue arose with my brother that affected my dad. My brother thinks my dad "owes" him for "allowing" him to build a house on his property. To get back at him it seems, he doesn't bother to pay the taxes for that piece of property until they are ready to seize the property for a tax sale. If he would deed the property over to my dad, this wouldn't be an issue. My dad would pay the taxes. But he refuses because as he thinks in his mind, my dad "owes" him and refused to "give" him $14,000 a year ago to get his own home out of foreclosure. My dad ended up giving him $7,000 with the idea this would pay for the parcel of land his house sits on. That wasn't good enough. Nor was the other $43,000 that my brother either weasled out of my dad or took outright. Its a continuing saga that I don't know what to do about. But it cost me a night's sleep Friday night.

I was surprised then that the 6 mile run went as well as it did on Saturday. I timed it so I could go to my massage right after and then deal with my brother. While it seems to have resolved itself temporarily, I know it will come back and bite me again next year and the next. I don't want to talk any more about this because it irritates me so much, and I need that energy for other things.

Sunday was a 1 mile swim and 15 mile bike (inside--still too cold for me to want to go outside; hopefully it will be one of the last snowy, sleety weekends). I was a little disappointed in my mile swim time (41:15), but often when I am going to swim a little longer than usual I do slow down without realizing it, I guess to pace myself. This is the first swim/bike brick since December, and it was a full mile swim instead of 800 yards, so it was a little slow getting started on the bike. But I basically did the same bike time as last week doing just the bike alone (1:02:25). I know I need to work on both, but I still have some time. I figure with my inside bike and 2 spin classes last week, the total time was 1 hour 92 min., about 39 miles. (More than Don who is doing IM Coeur D'Alene in 3 months! But his run is much better than mine, so I guess he figures he will get the bike down as soon as the weather turns. )

This weekend I will be in Chicago with the grandchildren, so probably won't get much time to work out, so that leaves a Friday night run hopefully. That also means pacing myself out this week so I am not doing back to back hard workouts.

I also have had the progress of losing 6 pounds, about 2 pounds per week. What I have done mainly is eliminate LOTS of unneeded calories per day that were not getting burned off. If I were to continue at this rate, I could conceivably lose all the excess pounds from the past 3 years by the time of my triathlon in mid-June. It is wishful thinking, but also very possible to happen, just by doing what I have been doing (or not doing) for the past 3 weeks. Stay tuned for that progress.

Friday, March 24, 2006

This week has been busier than usual at work. I don't mind being busy, in fact I prefer it. But there is a limit, like not having time to get up and use the bathroom. Come on here. Its not a sweatshop!

But the workouts have been successful. Two runs, two spins, and a swim this morning. My 1000 yard time trial was 18:10, about 12 seconds slower than my last one a month ago (and I haven't swam in 3 weeks!), but still 1 min. 11 seconds faster than 2 months ago. I didn't start out with a time trial in mind. I just wanted to ease back into the swim after the 3-week layoff after having been sick and then just trying to get back to a routine. I had to swim in the "hot" pool, so felt a little sluggish and actually weak and just decided to stop at 1000 to get a drink. Looked at my watch and was quite pleased, despite the way I felt. Add to that my 15 mile 1 hour bike ride this week, and my attitude has been greatly improving. I realize a lot of my setbacks have been with my mind and emotions over the past few years, but I keep plugging on and occasionally I get a week like this one. Again, despite the way I have felt otherwise.

The race again that I plan to focus on as my main tri/race for the short-term is It is an Olympic distance race on June 17. I checked the results from my first time at this race and my swim was under 35 min. I probably can reach that again if I don't panic. The bike was a little slow as was the run (it was 95 degrees on the run!) so I am hoping to improve on both. The bike is do-able, the run is possible. I just have to get my head on straight and keep training over and above all distances to be sure I reach my goal of improving on my races of the past. I don't care if it is 1 min. better, I will be happy. I have been down so low since those other two races, that any improvement will be major, since I will have come a long, long way to achieve that.

Tomorrow: 1 hr. 15 min. run. Whatever distance I can achieve.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So naturally just when I am complaining about not having any running motivation, I come up with a plan. And believe it or not, I stuck with it this morning. I think I let myself off the hook about the possibility of running the 25k in mid-May and that made putting together a plan exciting rather than something to be dreaded. Not that I don't think I can do it, its just that it has so many painful memories I find it hard to mentally want to do this race. It is the premiere race in Grand Rapids so everyone and anyone who can run even a mile starts the year off training to either run the 25k or the 5k. I have been forced into running the 5k for the past few years, again not from lack of training but just mentally refusing to do it. 25k is 15.5 miles. It is only 2.4 miles longer than a half marathon, but it is hard. You get to 13.1 and want to be done. Then you start wondering how you will ever complete a marathon when 15 miles is killing you. And it has its standards.

The "standard" women's time, in the minds of local runners, is 2 hours. Two hours means over 7.5 miles per hour. That's faster than a lot of people can run a 10k. The closest I have ever come to 2 hours was over 10 years ago at the peak of my running years. It was after a particularly good winter of training. It wasn't without its setbacks, and it was wonderful to be running that kind of pace. You are just cranking out the miles and feeling good. There is no notice of thirst, hunger, blisters, heat, cold, or anything else that bothers you during a race. You are feeling good because you are passing people left and right, you are keeping pace with your training buddies who are 15 years younger than you. You are feeling no pain. And you know you are going to PR. You are going to finish with all those who you are usually chasing in every run or race.

So let's get back to reality. That was once. Maybe twice being close. But out of the 10 or 11 times running this race, the real time was closer to 2:30 or worse. Now that's really not that bad, but when you cross the finish line and see all the faces of those who have finished 30+ minutes before you and are still standing, you start feeling less than a runner. No explanation for this. It just happens. I'm sure many have had these feelings. Instead of feeling elated to be done, you feel like you let others down. And I know that is crazy thinking but can't help it. I have learned to keep my mouth shut so as not to bring any attention to my effort, but your time is always an issue and I hate that it is.

Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if I hadn't been at the top at one point. Being on the bottom and trying to make your way back up to at least back of the pack is hard enough without all the mental demons trying to take you back down.

So I am going to put this plan into action. A modified but do-able goal for the Olympic tri in mid-June. If at some point there is a breakthrough and I am able to run the 15.5 miles in mid-May, so much the better. The plan will be to continue run training so I can at least finish a 10 mile run. I guess I need to lower my goals in order to reach them first before I can go over my head and keep getting frustrated. Time will tell.

Monday, March 20, 2006

That's how I feel, even though I really haven't been totally slacking. After being sick for about a week, I still find I am really tired. I'm sleeping more than usual but can't get the motivation to get up early enough to go to the gym. Twice last week it was noon time workouts and twice at night. And its not like I am doing nothing, just NOT RUNNING. I am way off my miles for the month. Sunday I actually ran for 30 min. and it felt better than I expected. Last week after the Saturday ride, Sunday was a washout, since I still felt weak and not up to par. Monday I did do 20 min. on the elipitcal, Tuesday a spinning class, Wed. a spinning class, Thursday eliptical. Friday nothing. I had gone out with some girls the night before and was really tired then. It was dumb to do, but I have to admit these nights don't happen often. Went to dinner and a play. Didn't drink or anything but still went to bed really late (1 am), so Friday it was just get through the day. Ended up working until 6:45 pm that night! Maybe that's why Saturday I just couldn't get awake. I finally did get to the gym and did 15 miles on the stationary bike in 1 hr. so I was pretty happy with that. Sunday I was still tired but did make myself do the 30 min. on the treadmill again before other commitments took over my day.

So, I really need to refocus on the running. In my mind I see myself able to run 10+ miles effortlessly, but in reality it is more like 3-4. Running used to be so easy. Now an easy workout is swimming and/or biking/spinning. Why do I have such a block on running??

The good news is I have lost about 4 pounds. It is more than just being sick and/or not eating, because when I can't breathe or taste, I tend to crave chocolate, so have been endulging in that when I usually don't. The secret may be revealed later. In the meantime, I hope to continue on my 2.5 pound per week weight loss and see what happens by mid-June when I will do my first outdoor tri for the season. If nothing more, I need to focus on that race as my key race and see how I do. I have all these grand ideas of what I want to do this year, but I really need to get through that race before I can feel confident enough to attempt something longer.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Saturday Group Ride.
It ended up being a very surprisingly nice day Saturday. Rain and thundershowers were predicted. Instead: sunshine and blue skies AND warmth. I worked that morning in an effort to catch up from being out sick and actually had a very productive day. I got a call around noon from Don saying they were going to meet at the Musketawa Trail at 2. I had to work until 2 and still had to go home, get my bike, change, etc., but I said I would be there, just a little later. Man I hustled to get out of work asap, throwing things together and into my car to leave and speeding onto the highway. I felt like that Suzuki commercial where the girl changes in the elevator to go for a bike ride.
I wasn't sure who would be there, but figured it would be a fast group. I was still a little woozy from the antihistamines, not eating much, and general fatigue of not being able to breathe well yet, so I figured I'd just take it easy and bring up the rear, turning back when I felt like it.
Pulling in the driveway, I got the evil glares of the neighbors as they were fussing over their lawn, etc., while they KNEW I was not going to be working on the yard that day. They haven't spoken to us in over a year because of the yard thing, and today I was glad they weren't going to make any small talk. I tried to not feel guilty (yeah right!) as I loaded my bike up and quickly changed my clothes. I soon forgot about them as I headed down the highway to finally get out and ride.
It was warm but windy, and I was glad I had thrown in a jacket and gloves. Driving outside the city always takes the temps down a few degrees, and throw in the wind and you never know how cold the ride would be this early in the season. By the time I got there, the guys had already rode 12.5 and headed back to see if anyone else showed. No one else did but me, and I began to get a little nervous. Tom, Don, and Mike and me. Not a usual combination to ride together, but they said it was just an "easy" day. I knew regardless of how easy it would be for them that I would be riding at full speed. I still figured I'd hold on as long as possible. They had all run 18+ miles that day, so I was hoping for a little slack.
Going out it was extremely easy to keep an 18mph pace, but I soon began realizing the wind was behind us! Yikes. No way could I keep up this pace biking into the wind. I felt pretty good though so figured it couldn't be that bad. We hit the 7.5 mile mark and they decided they had had enough. I looked down and had hoped we would do 10 before turning, but I decided to turn back too. Good thing. Within one mile, I already was slowing to 14 mph and continued to go down to 12 mph. The wind was steady. My strength was not. With still 4 miles to go, we stopped at one point for traffic and I quick grabbed a drink and realized I was gasping! Tired? Don asked. Oh, no, just trying to catch my breath! (yeah right). By the last two miles, my legs were getting wobbly and I no longer cared if they were in sight. I just kept pushing the pedals, like I was going through sand. My legs were dead! I hadn't eaten much for breakfast or lunch and it now showed. I coasted into the parking lot probably a good 5 min. behind the guys, and I know they were going easy. Don could tell I was toasted and knew it was probably because I had been sick and said as much. They all said they were doing another group ride on Sunday on another trail so we would meet the next day.
The next day, however, my legs were jello and I bagged the ride after 5 miles. I needed another day to recover I guess.
I will spend this week just gradually catching up again with nutrition and strength. My indoor tri for next weekend was cancelled, so that's a relief of sorts. It would be great if we could get another weekend like this next week too! I mean, after all, it will be the last weekend of winter. Oh, yeah, measurable snow is forecast starting Thursday. Blah!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Relaxation. For me, relaxation comes in the form of not doing any training, blogging, surfing the net or even watching TV. On a plane, in a car, on vacation. It comes from doing crosswords. Not easy ones either, mind you. They have to be semi-hard at least or I get bored. Too hard, and it seems like a waste of time. I can do them in pen in 20 min. or so usually. This goes back to the days when my grandmother and I used to do them together, so maybe it is a comfort thing too?

It has actually become one way during the work day to take my mind off things for those 20 min. We get two papers at work, both with crossword puzzles and other puzzles as well. There are about 4 of us who scramble every day (or as often as possible) to get the first start on the puzzles. The other 3 hate it when I get there first because they know they don't have a chance. I hate it when 2 of them get there first because they mess everything up. They put in wrong words without checking the down or across to see if it fits. Or they spell something wrong, so basically you have to check every answer they put. The third person has the nerve to change correct words with wrong words of her choice, even though they obviously don't fit down or across! And she even sometimes ADDS letters within squares to make a word! She needs to just give it up.

I guess what amazes me the most is that these seeminly intelligent people: (1) can't spell; (2) have a limited vocabulary; (3) are idiots!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Naturally, one of the drawbacks of ever taking any time off work is the backlog of work when you get back. Not that it has to be that way in my office, but most of the time it is. The person who is supposed to cover for me is so lazy. She never does anything but pick up the mail. Everything else is ignored. (She's just SO busy doing nothing, you know??) I have to hand it to her though, she is REALLY good at one thing--delegating to others.

So all day I have been busting my butt to do the work that was left for yesterday. I doubt I will get it all done (so this is why I am wasting my time on a post?), but I will just need to come in tomorrow anyway.

There are so many lazy people in this office. You could cut the workforce by one-third and still we would be overstaffed. But it is just the way it has been for years and many of the lawyers are loathe to change it. They want their assistant all to themselves. They don't want to share. They need her. They can't work without her. Their work is more important. (Oh yeah, and it really shows at gift time!) So you have those of us who do twice the work as most, and those who less work than most, and those who do nothing most days.

Feeling sick today, and yesterday, and the day before, etc. Yes, I scoffed at Fe-Lady's suggestion to take some time off work. Nah, didn't need to do that. Got over the body aches and coldness, just had a slight cough and congestion. Then I wake up on Wednesday with a full blown something. Couldn't stop sneezing. My face felt like an elephant was sitting on it. My left nostril was burning. That and all the other things that go along with being congested in the head and chest. I get this stuff about every other year, so it must be the even years, because nothing last year. I have always been susceptible to respiratory problems. I remember having bronchitis a number of times as a kid. I also remember always having this horrendous cough. One of my first employers used to say, "You sound like you need an iron lung." (for anyone old enough to remember those!) At that time I foolishly smoked (in my 20s), so probably by now I would need one had I continued with that habit.

And then I had a couple of weird symptoms: my middle toe on my left foot ached (!) and my hands itched uncontrollably. I'm not sure, but I thought hands itching had something to do with either kissing someone soon or coming into some money. I doubt with my cough, drippy nose, and watery eyes that anyone would want to kiss me! As for coming into some money, I seriously doubt it. Money seems to slip through my hands faster than I can make it.

So I take Thursday off, but can I lay around and do nothing?? Noooo. Have to spend at least half a day driving my son from one appointment to the next (unplanned), to get his check from work, to cash his check, to stop and get him some medicine because he's getting sick. (see reference above as to money slipping from my hands). Then I had to clean the basement because the cable man was coming, etc. I was woozy from my head being so stuffed up and the antihistamines I was taking, plus that elephant on my face. I don't think I really slept all of Wednesday night either. And I had little to no voice left. During the night Thursday, I coughed so much my ribs and back hurt today.

So I am of course having to take days off from working out. I wouldn't care that much except next week is the indoor triathlon with my friend from work. While I am hacking away feeling like death warmed over, she is basking in the Bahamas, enjoying herself and doing nothing. And then she will come back tanned, relaxed, and beat my butt badly. Oh well, I know it will happen so I might as well look forward to it. :) I will most likely get some sort of workout done this weekend, but it will not be strenuous enough to cause any more coughing fits. And naturally the first warm enough weekend we get to bike outside, I have to feel like this. If it doesn't rain, I may still take my chances with that.

And actually I do feel better today. Truly. I am coughing less, blowing the nose less, and starting to hear some sounds out of my left ear. I still have to smile and nod when people say things I can't hear if they are not standing in my face, but so far it has not gotten me into trouble!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mack truck. Yes, I think that's what hit me last night going home from work. I left work at my usual time, around 5:30. Riding home I started getting a little achy. By the time I got home (20 min. later), I was more achy but figured I just needed to use some ice. Did that and was so cold after 10 min. I had to quit. Still achy, but decided to just get into some warm clothes and start dinner. I was REALLY cold and turned the oven on with the pretense of "preheating" when actually I just wanted to stand there and warm up. While dinner was cooking, I dutifully made my lunch, packed my bag for the next day, cleaned up around the house a little. But I wasn't feeling good. In fact, as the minutes went by, I was feeling worse and worse. Every bone and muscle was aching, and I was so COLD! I finally got on my pjs and put on a fleece sweatshirt over that AND my robe. Still cold. By the time dinner was done, not only was I so achy I didn't want to eat, my eyes ached, and I was just this mess of aching and coldness. I actually ate dinner in the dark because my eyes hurt. I only ate a little and decided to go to bed, not even washing dishes, a must for me to get done every night. And I actually turned the heat up for once, something almost forbidden in this winter of high gas prices.

So I ended up wearing all the stuff I mentioned, turned on my heating pad, and got under a quilt, a down comforter and still felt I needed another blanket. Took some Aleve and was sleeping by 8:30 and didn't get up until 6:15 this am. No morning workout today.

Now I am hoping this isn't a sign of overtraining, because I can hardly say that two hour plus workouts in a row should bring on this type of debilitation, so I suspect it is some bug I picked up at my sister's this weekend. There are always an abundance of germs in her household, as someone is always sick.

I didn't feel too much better this morning, but the aching is gone at least. And I do have this annoying dry cough and wheezing in my chest, so I suspect this is all part of it. Just when is spring going to really be here?? Spring to many comes in March or at least early April. We are lucky if we really feel it until May. Just some warmth would be great! They did say temps were going to get in the 50s this weekend. Yay!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Anyone in the Midwest (or anyone else for that matter) who wants to do a premier Olympic triathlon event should consider this one. It is now in its 5th year and is in memory of Johan Visser, several time Ironman and Kona triathlete, who met an untimely death in 2002 from brain cancer. To the end, he fought the disease until he could no longer keep going. His one wish at his death was to leave enough money to put on the best triathlon ever. I am prejudiced and feel it is one of the best tris out there. I have done this event twice and volunteered twice (as usual, the weather was skewed for this--I do the race and it is way above average temps [97 for the run!] and volunteer and it is lower than usual temps [40s for the start]), so I am trying not to jinx the event this year. I have already committed to being part of a relay, but could also do the race on my own as well, tough as it might be this year. I guess then my training right now is leading up to this event, the week before IM Coeur D'Alene, so I need to make the best effort I can to participate before we take off for Idaho and parts west.

I'm not sure what others think about why they like this race, but my own opinion is that it is one of the best run and organized races around. ALL of the volunteers and race director have either participated in triathlons, including IM distance, or are big time marathoners and/or ultra runners, so all have had tons of experience at what makes a good race. The most important thing they do is go out of the way for the athlete in every way. They do everything they can to make this a successful event and more importantly a successful event for YOU. Also, I think they give you one of the best values for your money. Tris keep getting more and more expensive, and they have tried to keep the race fees as low as possible. No one person or volunteer makes any money off this race. Any leftover proceeds goes to Hope on the Hill Foundation .

So come on to Michigan and be prepared for one of the best tris around!
Catching Up on Sleep.

Had to finally be done. I swear, I have been sleep deprived since my first child was born--29 years ago. Yes, some nights I would get 6 or 7 hours, but a lot of nights it would be 5 or 6, and even as many nights 4 or 5. Not always by choice, especially the last few years. Just can't sleep for one reason or another. Everyone I work with swears by drugs, but I have avoided that crutch, and have lately just made myself go to bed earlier. Then if I do wake at 3 or 4, I can just get up. I don't necessarily want to leave the house at that time of the cold dark morning, but its not that I wouldn't either if the gym were open that early.

So for my Saturday run I actually ran out of time to do 2 more miles--BECAUSE I decided I was going to go to bed at night at a decent hour and not set the alarm. Didn't get up early enough then and didn't really figure this out until it was too late. This started last Thursday night, through Saturday. Three nights of 9 hours of sleep. That pretty much told me I desparately needed more sleep. This is what I did for a week on vacation, other than the day of the race and the day leaving for the airport, and I felt really good all day every day. I was more eager to get up and go out and run (that and the 60+ degree temps).

Other than running out of time for the long run, it went fairly well, and to top that off, it wasn't one of those mornings of dread getting up on Sunday and doing another long workout. Today is a scheduled day off, to give me the time off I need for tomorrow's workouts--run in the a.m., spin in the p.m. I know I can do this stuff when I am not so dragged out from lack of sleep. Instead of dragging myself like a zombie through a workout, I am going to just sleep longer if necessary. That and hopefully improve on the nutrition.
3k Swim.

Sunday I decided that I would again attempt a longer swim. I have been swimming regularly, just neglecting the long swims, long being a mile or more. My longest swim to date, other than during masters swimming practice, had been 2500 yards for 59 min. back in September. I figured I would do that again. Then I started calculating laps, after doing the fast 20 lap swim the other day. 20 laps is 1000 yards. 2500 yards would be 55 laps. Hmm. Might was well round that off to 60 for 3000 yards. Yikes.

Breaking it down into 10 lap increments (500 yards) makes it go so much easier. 10 laps, stop and get a drink, start again. It was a way too to gauge my time to be sure I am staying on pace. I started at a comfortable pace and held it most of the way.

The pool was crowded--every lane but one had 2 people in it. I thought of joining that person, who was lost in his own world it appeared since he was practicing a stroke out of the water. Just about the time I decided to hop in and share the lane, he took off swimming a WILD breaststroke, taking up the entire lane with his kick and stroke. Forget that. I decided to go to the open lanes and fit in there.

Now you would think with only 2 people in the open lanes (3 combined into one big one) that we would not have a problem. My only choice was the middle so I wanted to stay clear of both of the people on the ends. Somehow they both managed to drift over into my space. Sheesh. Then another guy decides to join us, to do his water jog (hop if you ask me). So he's hopping between the 3 lanes and sure enough stops dead in my lane. I saw him stop and decided to deliberately swim into him so he would have to move hopefully. Yes he did and he got out in fact.

Finally I had the whole 3 lanes to myself and the pool otherwise was emptying as well. I'm into my third set of 10 laps when wham! There's a kid in my lane swimming right into me. I was startled and stopped and said "where in the hell did you come from??" I look around and there's NO ONE in 5 lanes of the pool, but yet this giggling kid is running into me?? So I just said, get out of my lane and use another one. Sheesh! I don't know whether it was intentional or an oversight that she decided to just hop in but it was irritating. I get bothered by these types of things when maybe someone else wouldn't, but to me it is a logic thing--if there is no one else in the pool, why would you pick my lane??

Okay, not to get distracted, I continued on for up to 40 laps before I realized I was in the pool all alone. Each 10 laps my time was staying pretty much on pace. I felt it was a good pace, but by the time I hit 50 and I started doing that calculating thing, I started getting a little disappointed. I realized even by doing 60 laps, which I did in 1:05, I started thinking of an IM swim distance, and needing another 18 laps to get the 2.4 miles. That would probably take me at least another 20 min. I never figured it out like that, but figured I might be faster. Glad the reality set in now.

60 laps, 3000 yards, one hour 5 minutes, nine seconds. I was happy I finally reached this distance. I was even happy with my time, but know if I want to progress to 2.4 miles I would like to be a little faster. Distractions aside, it definitely won't be this easy in an open water swim with most likely at least 500 people around me. Maybe a wetsuit will help some, but I still have some work to do.
I was supposed to run 8 miles Saturday, but I am still not mentally to where I want to run outside when the weather is in the teens and the wind is out of the northwest. That makes the wind chill single digits no matter how you add it up. I vowed not to do another treadmill run over 3 miles, so it was going to have to be an indoor track run. The track isn't so bad--7 laps to a mile. It just gets crowded fast. Eight miles, 56 laps. After reading Tri-Daddy's advice about using a heart rate monitor or, my tried and true pacing doing my walk run, I decided to stay with the walk run for now. According to him, it took 6 months, but he was able to lower his per mile pace by running 2 min. slower for his per mile pace in his long runs. That is almost impossible for me to do, so it had to be the walk run thing for now.

The track also is quite nice because it reveals a panorama view of the city, since the walls are mostly glass. I can see the highway, my work, all the fast food restaurants in the area, the Amtrack, etc. So enough to keep your interest, if watching the people on the track wasn't enough. They finally changed the running and walking lanes so the runners have the outside lanes and the walkers have the inside lanes, although you knew not many had read the signs. The majority of walkers were still on the outside lanes, so I made it a point as often as it was necessary to let them know they needed to move.

I really didn't do too badly as far as the mental part until I got to 30 laps and realized I was going to run out of time to get to my 12 pm massage appointment. I started calculating and realized I really was only going to have time to do 6 miles, or 42 laps, and I was pushing it at that. So I started doing one of my "from the past" speed drills--run fast for 40 seconds, run slowly for 20--40/20s. It makes the time and miles go by quicker. But I was still only going to make it 6. So I decided that was going to be it. No stretching, nothing after, just hit the showers and get to my appointment.

The massage was great. Maggie is the best massage therapist I have ever had, and I've had my share of bad ones. She has helped me free up my shoulder after the dog walking/injury incident. She is helping me keep my sartorius muscle from staying frozen in place (after going to another therapist for 3 months and having her accomplish NOTHING with this), as well as helping me get my foot back in shape. Wish I could go every week.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Fifth Third Riverbank Run training log

Speaking of schedules, I just looked at my March training schedule (running). Its crazy! I am following a beginner's schedule. So my schedule for March 1 is: walk 45 min. (yeah, easy!); March 2, run 3 miles (?); March 3, run 4 miles (??); March 4, run 8 miles; March 5, off or 2-3 miles. This is a beginner schedule?? That could amount to 17-18 miles in a row. I am trying to keep my foot from giving me fits, and yet I am supposed to be running anywhere up to 18 miles in 4 days' time? I really need to think this one through a little better. I would actually love to run that many miles in a row. I used to easily run that many miles a week and more, and now am freaked out by that much at one time.

I know I use triathlon training as a way out, and its not really a way out, but at the same time I am not really planning on too many running events, much as I would like to. I really need to rethink this.
March, a new month, a new goal. What will it be? I do have an indoor tri on March 18, so that will be one goal--to do better than last, at least in the bike and run. I guess the other goal would be to increase long runs OUTSIDE! I am waiting for those mornings when you can at least see a little daylight by 6:30 am and then I will want to be outside. I spent all last winter working out inside and now most of this. I think it is wearing on me.

There is actually a guy at my gym who ran--are you ready for this?? 6,000 miles last year. All inside. All at the Y. Sometimes on a wooden track (old Y), and actually did 2 marathons INSIDE ON THE TRACK last year too. I don't think there is any way I can get that crazed or crazy.

Other than those small things, I need another goal for the month. Hopefully I can figure this out soon. I love schedules and goals.