Sunday, May 15, 2016

Weekly Workout Recaps (Monday 2nd - Sunday 15th)

This update is going to be a bit different from those in the past, simply because there is so much to recap. Two weeks of posts?!? Yikes. Here goes!

Week 1
(Monday 2nd - Sunday 8th)

Monday, May 2nd - W6D1
Monday started off the same as it has for the last 5 weeks - with Couch to 5k. We ended Week 5 with our first "long" run (20 minutes), but the plan backs off a bit (back to run/walk intervals) in Week 6. Our intervals were:

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 5 minute run
  • 3 minute walk
  • 8 minute run
  • 3 minute walk
  • 5 minute run
  • 5 minute cool-down walk

The run went perfectly, Susan has been doing great, and we had our whole little crew for this run too.

Also, right as we set out, a goose honked at me and I said, "Uh rude!" to it...and then all four of the geese it was hanging out with decided I was a jerk and were very vocal about it. They honked me all the way out of sights!

And if you look back, Sunday the 1st was paintball day with the boys, which I was tired and sore from on Monday, so I decided to skip the swim in lieu of laundry and meal prep. Not a bad decision - the pool will always be there later!

Tuesday, May 3rd - trainer ride, lifting
I've been pretty good about getting up for Trainer Tuesdays. I hopped on for 30 minutes last week to warm my body up, get a sweat on, and prepare for the day:

30 minutes, average HR of 131
After work the lifting happened:
Not too bad. Still pissed about my bench. I'm actually working on a plan for that.

Wednesday, May 4th - W6D2, 3 miles
The morning started again with C25k. Intervals were:

  • 5 minute warm-up walk
  • 8 minute run
  • 5 minute walk
  • 8 minute run
  • 5 minute cool-down walk

I was meeting Papa Bender for dinner after work, but I had enough time for a 3 mile run. Guys...this run felt hard, even though my heart rate stayed pretty steady:
3 miles, average HR 150.
I know it felt hard because the day before I did deadlifts and lunges, but it was definitely a mental game to get these three miles in.

Thursday, May 5th - lifting
I've kind of given up trying to get up for anything on Thursday body just needs a day to sleep in. So Thursday was a lift-only day:
Also, this day was supremely annoying. Cam and I met at the "other" gym location, which isn't as big and doesn't have as much equipment. Every single squat rack was being used by someone who was:
  1. Doing arm lifts
  2. Doing nothing
I kid you not - when we first got there some guy who looked like he was set up for deadlifts was talking on his phone. We went and changed, came out and he was still chatting away. Cam was in a bad mood and finally went and asked the guy if he was using the rack, and the guy acted all surprised that someone would ask, and then stood their on top of some 45s laying next to the bar, with his foot on the deadlift bar...still talking on the phone. In the other rack, some gym-bro was helping his lady friend do...shoulder presses. Don't get me wrong, they were buff and she looked like she was prepping for a competition...but why the eff would you do that in one of three squat racks when they're a perfectly good military press instead? After nearly half an hour (when they were between sets), Cam went over and said, "Hey, are you guys using THIS SQUAT RACK?" And they got all embarrassed and hurried up to finish their last set.

The box squat rack was also being used by someone doing rows nearly the entire time we were there.


Okay, not really, we did the rest of our stuff and got out. Although, as you can see, we didn't get to do our decline bench because the effing leg restraint was broken so #gahhhh.

Friday, May 6th - W6D3, dog sitting
I got up Friday morning and made it to C25k, although Susan (our only 'new' runner, couldn't make it). I ran the 25 minutes with one other person (I seem to remember taking a short walk break because my friend needed it, and a few stops for shoe ties :P), then got ready and headed up to my desk:
I ended up working pretty late on Friday (til 5), and went over to my aunt and uncle's because I was dog sitting this adorable fella:
Dex the Best!
Cam and I took Dex for a walk over to a Mexican place that ended up being SOOOOOO worth it. My burrito was the size of my head (though my head is less football shaped :P):
Sunglasses for scale.
I only ate half of it (with some extra avocado I found in the fridge...thanks Aunt Cathleen!), and then promptly fell asleep:

Saturday, May 7th - nada
Well...I did take Dex over to the forest preserve for a walk in the morning...
It was supposed to be a run, but Dex pulls A LOT and I missed the trail entrance, and my ankle started bugging I threw in the towel.

Other than that, Saturday ended up being a shopping day. Cam needed some new clothes and shoes, and I needed to get some Mother's Day stuff (and an impromptu gift for my godson, Miles, to throw in his birthday package, which I just posted off to England) so we went to the mall and spent a good few hours cruising around.

Sunday, May 8th - gardening
Sunday was Mother's Day, and I ended up being too busy for anything. I left Cam's early (not that I had to stop and buy Mother's Day cards or anything...) and made it home in time to get ready for an early lunch and a movie with my mom and brother. When we got home we stopped at my grandparent's for a while (they live next door), and I suddenly felt like gardening!

I texted my brother to pick up some extra topsoil for the garden, and when he got home and I spent a good hour getting things weeded and prepped for planting. I sweated and lifted heavy bags of dirt, so I'm counting it towards my physical activity for the day ;)

Week 2
(Monday May 9th - Sunday May 15th)

Monday, May 9th - W7D1, 1800 yards swimming
Week 7 of C25k is when you go from doing run/walk intervals, to only running, and the Week 7 interval is 25 minutes each day. Susan and I were the only ones there, and she told me that when she did W6D3 over the weekend she only got to  17 minutes before she had to stop and walk for a little bit. So I pulled our pace back...and she got to 18. Truth is, I should have pulled it back just a little bit further, so that was me being a bad coach. We walked for about 90 seconds before we picked it back up for the last few minutes, during which our pace soared again because we had to run through sprinklers. Not even joking.

The uptick in pace is evident in our total distance - 2.7 miles, which is about a quarter mile further than we usually travel during these sessions:
After work (which included overtime) I got myself to the pool. I wasn't excited about it, but I did it. 1800 yards, a majority of which were kick drills. I did a few drills using my fins, and holy crap, I feel like this swim actually made a difference. Although to be honest, I think I need to start swimming more to really make the improvements stick. Since I started running again I haven't spent nearly as much time in the pool and I can feel it.

Anyways...the workout and recap:
Workout Source

Tuesday, May 10th - trainer ride, lifting
I got up slightly later than I'd hoped (whoops, slept through that first alarm) and had some dishes and lunch packing to finish before I left, so I only got 25 minutes in. Honestly, I could have tried harder - my heart rate was a little low during this ride, but I was really dragging from the kick drills the day before:
25 minutes, average HR 129
After work, there was lifting:
I guess my bench is getting a bit better, but I'm still stuck in the 60s and 70s. *sigh*

Wednesday, May 11th - W7D2
Per usual...C25k in the morning. This was such a good run for Susan, because we pulled the pace back that little extra bit, and she excelled through the whole thing - no stops at all. It was a pretty refreshing run for me as well, and I felt good even after dead lifting the previous evening:
Before bed on Wednesday I devoted some time to foam rolling and stretching with some slow yoga flows. And then...

Thursday, May 12th
I slept in on Thursday. I was going to try and get up an run since I didn't set my trainer up Wednesday night (not that I ever use it on Thursdays anyways)...and I just wanted to sleep. So I slept the extra 20 minutes, and then got up and got some chores done and puppies loved on before leaving for work.

After work (and more OT)  I went and lifted, alone this time because Cam was working late. I decided to pull a workout from Thinner Leaner Stronger. I bought the book last summer and never implemented the workout, but I decided to try it out to see if it will help my bench to use this guy's theories. To be totally honest, I should probably give the book another read through as well.

Anyways, here was the workout (exercise>sets by rep>poundage lifted). I did not do deadlifts because I did heavy deads on Tuesday and my hamstrings didn't want to do more:

Friday, May 13th - W7D3, hot yoga
We had our whole group for W7D3, and though our pace crept up just a bit, Susan made it through all 25 minutes again!
I managed to not work OT on Friday, and squeaked out of there just in time for hot yoga. The normal teacher is on vacation right now, so we had a sub...not that it matters since I haven't gone in ages. However, because Joy wasn't teaching, the class was way smaller. Like half the size, so that was weird.

It was definitely a leg/ab heavy class, and I struggled through it since I'd just done a lot of legs and abs. My everything hurt the whole time, but I got through it.

Saturday, May 14th - Tai Chi
I woke up on Saturday and laid in bed for a good half hour simply because I was sore. After yoga the day before, I did not feel like going to another yoga class, so I decided to hit up my normal yoga studio for Tai Chi with my mom instead.

It was great! The class was small, and there is so much to focus on in your breath, movements, and body. In life, I do a lot of things quickly. I waking up early to swim, bike, run, and lift, my job is fast paced and I always have somewhere to be...but there is a lot that can be learned from taking a minute to slow down and feel your body shift between the movements you're doing. I truly enjoyed the class and am hoping to make it back for the remaining 4 classes in the session. And go ahead and add Tai Chi to the list of things I'd like to learn more about!
This is right outside of my you enter and leave it is a great reminder of what life is really about.
Sunday, May 15th - bike-run brick
I ended the week with a bike-run brick (I went straight from riding my trainer to running). It was a nice day out so I could have ridden outside, except that my bike is at Cam's and I'm using my mom's on the trainer, and it's wearing out the tire.

So I did a little over 50 minutes on the trainer (I had some watch issues which is why it doesn't show that much), and then a 2 mile run.

Check out my ghetto laptop setup:
And my poor dogs, napping beside me:


52:00 minutes, average HR 132
Once I found my legs that first mile felt fast, and I needed it. But afterwards I pulled it back to something that felt more sustainable.

Overall, we'll call it a success...and preparation for the many bricks to come.

I will say though...I did not want to do this training session. I had a terrible week, and I wanted to do nothing. As a matter of fact, at 12:10pm, when I started this brick, I looked at my watch to see a grand total of 981 steps for the day. At noon.

I got up at six.

The workout helped me feel better. I zoned out a bit and it helped clear my head. It didn't solve my problems, but it allowed me to think about them a bit differently.

To Wrap Things Up...
My training program starts in 15 days and goes straight through the first week of October. It's going to be hard in so many different ways, but this week I truly saw the virtue in pushing through every single workout because it's what you need to do. I had so many reasons I could have skipped the gym and just gone home straight after work and crawled into bed.

Instead...I showed up at the pool or to running group or to the weight room, and I put in my time.

And that's exactly what I'll keep doing until I'm across those finish lines.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Random Things on a Thursday (#10)...on a Friday

I've got a shorter selection of randomness for you this week, and it's a bit late, but I'm sure you'll all manage ;)

Ned has been acting really weird for a few weeks. Hasn't been eating well, very fidgety, seems moody, has been trying to burrow all over the cage, not pooping...all of the stuff you want a pet to do normally, Ned has not been doing.

Wednesday night Cam texted me and said something was seriously wrong with Ned, and that Cam thought his anus was prolapsing (I kid you not, that's a thing that happens with beardies). So I'm saying I'll take Ned to the vet after work and stuff, getting all worried and thinking about putting sugar paste on his inside-out colon...

...then Cam's mom calls me to say: Ned is a girl!

It turns out bearded dragons are really hard to sex (which we knew), and we guessed wrong with Ned. And all of this weird behavior the last few weeks? Well it's because Ned has been getting ready to lay eggs, and SHE has now laid like 10 eggs.

I would have been moody too. Anyways...Nedette and an egg:

Hi there, I'm running a marathon in LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS. I have to start fundraising for said marathon.

So keep an eye out for that post, because it's coming, I promise!

Vegetable Gardening
Good weather has come just in time, because I need a weekend off from everything to just reconnect with the basics. I'm going to be planting my vegetable garden again this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited!

I have yet to decide what I'm planting, but I'll be reviewing last year's post for all of those notes I made (see, I knew it would come in handy!).

I've been on the search for new music lately. I've been in a total mind-funk, and music is helping to ease me through the day and keep me from thinking too much.

If you have any suggestions, send them my way! I'm open to just about anything, but no Justins (Timberlake or Beiber) and absolutely NO Green Day.

If you have a favorite workout song or something that pumps you up, please post it in the comments!

Quite a few weeks ago I went and saw the movie Allegiant with my friend Kate. She's a YA librarian and we've made a habit of seeing many of the movies that are based on YA fiction, and we both love the Divergent series.

Obviously this is a big enough deal to me that I'm blogging about it so it's totally possible that you don't care but bear with me

OMG, they changed so much! It totally diverts (hah) from the book. Like, in a huge way. I spent a good chunk of the movie wondering if I was mis-remembering the book. Then at the end Kate was like "WTF" and I was like "WTF" and we decided they just went wild and stopped caring about the story.

Also of note - neither of us realized there is going to be a 4th movie! We thought they were going to end the film series with this one, not split it in two (a la Harry Potter and Hunger Games), but sure enough, there's going to be another one. Which just confuses me even more, because it feels like they've already told the whole story.

Maybe I need to go back and read the book again?

Harvard Health Blog
I've posted about stuff from the HHB before, but I found this post about nutritional strategies to address anxiety and stress really interesting. It goes with that old adage 'food is medicine'. It is not the only medicine, but what we eat really does have an affect on how we feel and act.

Speaking of Healthy Eating...
I've been pretty good about prepping my breakfasts and lunches for work during the week. I have Greek yogurt with honey, berries, and cinnamon for breakfast - I mix up the yogurt on Sunday and add nuts at my desk). For lunch, it's salad with baked chicken - I make the salad and then put some of it on a flour tortilla - and I drink a La Croix with that.

It's working for me because I've found that since starting my new job and with C25k I'm so busy. I'm working overtime without even realizing it. I'm still running and lifting and getting ready to train. Things are crazy right now, and this makes my life just a tiny bit easier!

This picture is from a few weeks ago, but it hasn't really changed. So here's my fridge on a Sunday night:

In the mornings I just grab what I need (for one day or two, if I'm going to Cam's), throw it in my lunch bag, and go!

Annnd I think that's it for the week!
I'm busy, and there's tons going on, which is why I need to get going :)

I'll be back on Sunday with a two week round up of workouts, since I've really been slacking on posting about those lately!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Mother's Advice.

I know this is a little late, but I was super busy on Mother's Day celebrating the best mom ever (and I've been busy since then too), so I beg your pardon and hope it'll earn me some slack!

This entire post is going to be a giant wall of text. Sometimes things happen and because it's my blog I want to write about it and process it all as I go, and my poor readers (you) end up with a long-winded intricate story with multiple pieces involved. I know there are two types of readers: Those who will give up at the end of this paragraph, and those who make it through the posts, struggling valiantly until the end to better understand one more person on this planet and how one person's experience can help us reflect on our own lives.

I'll let you decide right now which person you're going to be today - and I don't blame you either way!

Here Goes.

In what turned out to be a fortuitous timeline of events, I ended up needing some motherly advice and affection right in time for Mother's Day, and thought I'd share it here, since it's kind of a continuation of some other events and feels that I've blogged about in the past, and because my mom was happy she got the opportunity on Mother's Day.

I also want to share it because it fits in with my triathlon journey...with my race journey. With my drive to continuously challenge myself. Things I do because my mom always told me I could do anything if I put in the effort.

I'll start by saying that, just as I have a blog to write in, I also read lots of other blogs for various reasons. Two of those things are Running and Triathlon - I know, you're shocked.

I read a lot of blogs written by people I don't know and will probably never meet, a few written by people I consider "internet acquaintances" and sincerely hope to meet, and another small group written by people I know in real life (ranging from "Best Buds" to "We went to high school together"). The particular blog post that caused this dilemma was written by one of those high school people.

I feel like it's obvious why I wouldn't post a link, but if it's not, I really bear no ill will towards the writer. She's accomplished some great things with running and triathlon, her blog is fairly upbeat, and that's what I subscribed and was reading it. I don't want people think I'm hating on her or that I'm jealous - how can I be jealous of what someone else has done when I've got my own path to walk?

I will say, the one time I reached out to her for some tri-centric advice, I wished I hadn't. It wasn't that her advice was bad, was that she was totally un-encouraging, which I've never encountered with any triathlete ever before. Everyone is always encouraging and helpful. However, she basically let me know that my "A" race for the season - the international/Olympic distance for the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon was too lofty and ambitious. That I'd be scared by the crowds and transitions, that I should start smaller first...those kinds of things. seemed weird that she would not encourage someone to do what other people once encouraged her to do.

After that, I decided to never ask her for advice again. I can figure this tri thing out without her, that's for sure. get to the point, I unsubscribed from her blog the other day. I've mentioned before that I was kicked out of a wedding party a few years ago because..well, go read the post if you need to know.

The tie-in here is that the aforementioned blogger was also in that wedding party. I need to throw in some additional story here, but I promise I'll get to my point, and back to what this has to do with this other girl's blog.

Since I "broke up" with my friend over two years ago, I've pieced together this weird little puzzle and realized she was actually lying to me a lot, mostly when I was trying to spend time with her. I would try to call her and hang out with her and her (then) fiance, and she would always tell me they were "staying in to save money for the wedding".

Like a sucker, I bought that line every time.

It turns out she was, at least sometimes, going out with her 'other' friends. People I did actually know and got along with (they just weren't in my immediate circle of friends). Call me unreasonable...but if you knew your "best" friend was going to be alone on a Friday or Saturday night and if they called you to hang out...wouldn't you invite them along? If your plans were just to hit a few bars with people, why would you leave them hanging like that?

In the past I've wondered if she thought I wouldn't fit with them, or if it boiled down to her just not wanting me there...and the truth is I will never know. Which sucks.

About a year ago I realized all of that was happening towards the end of our friendship, and it hurt. Like...that's a really, really sucky realization, even after the friendship was long dead. That my "best friend" kept me out of the loop for years before the friendship ended...I wish I could have seen that writing on the wall. She was keeping me at arms length, and roped me back in with the whole bridesmaid thing, and because I was a loyal friend I went trotting back to her.


It happens that one of the other friends my ex-best was hanging out with was this other bridesmaid/blogger. Honestly, at the time (and still now) I'm a bit confused by their friendship. I'm not saying this to be petty or judgmental, but I was so surprised when I found out this girl was also going to be a bridesmaid. I didn't realize they were that good of friends (but clearly now I know I was missing out on all the nights at the bar that established this friendship). I know, it sounds catty...but I don't know how else to say it. I was even more shocked, because my friend didn't invite her cousin (who she always said was like her sister) to be in the wedding, and I'm friends with her cousin, so I was a bit pissed off about that too. I fully admit I never did (and still don't) understand any of those decisions.

I'm including all of this so when I say what I'm about to you understand my frame of reference, and why I was so hurt by what I read over the weekend.

Because on Saturday I was sitting there, getting caught up on blogs, and this girl's blog comes up on my feed about how she won a free entry into an Ironman, which is a pretty big deal. Ironman (and everything that comes with it) is expensive and time consuming. Winning a free entry is incredible, and I was genuinely glad that she was going to have the experience to race the National Championship at IMTX (Ironman Texas).

Until I kept reading. Because it felt like someone stabbed me in the gut and twisted the knife when I read a sentence that went something like, "...and two of the best friends I could ever ask for X and X [my ex best friend and her husband] bought their plane tickets to come watch me race!"

It hit me so hard right then: My ex-best friend replaced me with someone else. Just like that.

Do you know what my first thought was after that? What I asked my mom when I got home the next day?

What the fuck did I ever do to this girl that, 20 years into our friendship, she couldn't even ask me how I was doing after I had surgery, but she's willing to fly to Texas for someone she's only been friends with for four years?

And because my mom is my mom, and because she is amazing and awesome, we talked it out.

I'm sure you want to know what she told me:

You did not do anything wrong - there was always something about you she could not get past.

She explained to me some details from the past that I never even knew about. She made her observations about how when we were little and would fight, the things this other girl would be mad about. How as we got older, my mom pointed out that this girl always chose other friends over me.

And it all clicked. My mom was so right. It was never something I did, it was a problem with who I am. That in some ways, I'm unbending. I am upfront and honest, I do not placate people to make them feel better about themselves, or congratulate mediocrity. (That's not to say I don't celebrate accomplishments or encourage development. I totally do.)

And, perhaps most importantly, I don't claw other people's eyes out for one person's attention. I do not believe in walking all over other people to get where I want to be, or to build relationships with "important" people. No one is ever so important that someone else needs to be shoved out of the way for them.

But this "best friend" always set me aside when another girl was willing to "do more" (or shove me aside for attention).

Bridesmaids dress shopping was a great example.

We went to a big-box store, I tried on a few and wrote down the styles and sizes (we didn't all have to have the same dress). I told my friend I was going to check some smaller boutiques, but that I would order a dress by the following Saturday (six days later). I found a better fitting, better quality dress for a better price, ordered it, and had it delivered and altered before anyone else even got their dress.

Apparently this made me "difficult".

Some of the other bridesmaids though? They were falling over themselves to pay first at the big-box store, when it was 100% obvious that the quality and customer service was pretty crap, and that the attendants didn't know what the hell they were doing. I honestly wondered why they were so eager to drop 200+ non-refundable dollars at what felt like a scam-house.

The point is...I wasn't willing to be that person. I wasn't willing to go into debt to prove my friendship, and I was not going to make my mom pay for me to be in this wedding (which I think my friend expected me to do), because my mom was already paying for my surgery.

And that was the rub. That was the "problem". That even after 20 years of friendship and some good times, I wasn't willing to do absolutely anything. That I wasn't willing to bow to some unreasonable expectation for a friendship.

That I wasn't willing to let myself be walked all over to hold on to someone who kicked me to the curb time and time again for 20 years.

And all it took was my mom pointing it out.

My mom's advice is what helped me see through 20 years of abusive "friendship".

And that's what mom's do.

They wait until they know you're ready, until they know you can handle what they're about to say, and then the let you in on the piece of information you've been missing your whole life, because you're finally ready to hear it.

And then things make sense, and you're ready to pick yourself up, try again, and be better at it.

I know I just posted this, but I really, really love this picture. So thank you Mom, for all you do and have ever done for me. You are the one person I know who has always been my example and my hero, who will always be there for me, love me, encourage me, and pick me up when the world is trying to tear me down.

Happy Mother's Day.