Sunday, January 31, 2010

Downs and ups

Rest week has come to an end.  And what an end.....but that's the end of this story.

Work was a bit crazy, and of course everything wanted at the last minute, as we're having some big guests coming in this week.  Hopefully they don't expect me to dress up.  Jeans are my standard work attire.  And hopefully they don't expect me to actually come in on my work at home days.  I will if I *have* to, but it really messes with my...*ahem*....other activities (workouts).

Workouts were light.  I think I was on my bike all of once.  Two masters swims and a swim lesson.  A few easy runs.  Oh, the swim lesson went well! She gave me a few key things to work on.  As expected, it's proving difficult to change my heavily ingrained habits.  Especially at masters when I'm trying to keep up with my lane mates.  But I'm working on it.  I've been instructed to drop down a lane once a week at masters and do some serious work on ingraining the new, good habits.  We even worked on some breast stroke and some butterfly at the lesson.  Butterfly with fins=pretty fun. Don't get me wrong, it was still freakin' hard.  But kinda fun too.  Overall I really liked the instructor.  She has a way of putting things that keeps it simple and just makes sense.  So I'll probably work on things for a while and go back for a tune-up eventually.  Plenty to work on for the time being tho.

I had one easy brick (my one bike ride).  Just a little 20 minute easy run after the ride.  My day got away from me and I ended up running close to dark.  I had my headlamp tho, so no sweat right?  Evidently not so much.  I was a couple of blocks from home, running along, then looked away from the side walk for a second to check out some traffic.  Next thing I know I'm laying on the ground.  Whaaaa?  How did *that* happen?  Evidently I caught my foot just right on a raised part of the sidewalk.  And down I went.  I caught most of my weight on my left knee/hip. I hobbled home and put ice on it right away, but a nice little egg swelled up on my knee anyway.  At this point, a few days later, I've got a nice bruise and it tightens up when I sit still too long.  But I think I'll survive.

My last workout of the week was my run test, which I'm not terribly good at.  I have pacing issues, in that I have no idea where to start so that I don't die towards the end of the 20 min test.  Last time I tested, back in November, I went out waaaaay too hard for the fitness level I was at then.  And got slower and slower.  Not good.  This time I swung in the opposite direction.  I went out a bit too conservatively and kicked it up in the second half.  Kicked it up quite a bit....for me anyway.  So while I'm pretty happy with the improvement I've made since November, I think it could have been an even bigger improvement if I hadn't taken it quite so easy to begin with.   Maybe, just *maybe* I'll get to test once more before the tri season gets going.  In the meantime I can work some more on my run form, and get my legs ready for my 8k in about 3 weeks.

Sunday morning I took Bam out for a hike at Garin.  It was a bit muddy, and bound to get worse since we're expecting more rain again this week.  I know we need it, but the sunshine over the weekend sure was nice.  We took a little side trail I hadn't been on before and Bam took of a bit ahead of me.  She usually goes a bit ahead, then comes back to check on me, or waits for me to catch up.  At one point I came around a corner and she's standing in the trail, hackles up, issuing a low growl.  It really startled me....there *are* mountain lions around.  I stopped and tried to look all around.  And then I saw it.....cows.  Four small cows.  At least I hope that's what she was growling at.  There is certainly no love lost between my girl and the cows out there.  She's never forgotten being chased by one and holds them all responsible.  Just to be safe, in case it *wasn't* cows she saw, I decided it was time to head back towards the main trail.  Where there were more people.  And fewer mountain lions.

Digging for....I dunno...truffles?

Wrapped up the weekend with a movie (Invictus), some house cleaning, some resting, some baking (Oreo cupcake anyone?), and a peek at the Grammy Awards.  Now, back to work!

January summary:
swim: 10.83 hours
bike: 11.61 hours
run: 9.13 hours
strength: 9.0 hours
grand total: 40.34 hours

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Why is it that the weight comes off soooooo much slower than it goes on?  How is that fair?  I know,  I know, no one ever said life is fair. 

I did lose another 1.5 pounds, according to my weigh in.  That was on my old crappy scale that only measured to the nearest .5 of a pound, not my new *fancy* scale that measures to .1 of a pound.  AND measures BF (just as inaccurately as my old scale) AND tells me my BMI (in case I didn't have access to the bunches of BMI calculators to be found on the internet) AND tells me my "max calories" that I can eat to maintain my currently body weight.  And I have to say....that was the most entertaining of all.  Apparently I can consume about 2300 calories to maintain my weight.  Yeah, right.  I think that's how I got into this mess to begin with.  "I'm working out a lot, I can eat whatever I want."

I'm about 5 pounds from what I *think* my goal weight is.  I have yet to figure out what my racing weight is, according to Racing Weight, because I have to determine my actual body fat percentage.  I still haven't been able to fit in an appointment to get dunked and I don't trust either my trainer who pinches me with the calipers (which shows a much higher than realistic BF percentage) nor my new scale (which shows a much lower than realistic BF percentage).  Maybe I could split the difference?

But I am on the right track....slowly.....slowly....getting there.  And when I get there I'm eating a big 'ol pizza to celebrate!

Just kidding........sort of. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun stuff coming up

It's the last couple days of my 3 week build....which means:
  • I'm wiped evidenced by my craptastic swim this morning.  Did not make a single interval except the warm up, and I don't think those really count.
  • I get a rest week next week!  Woot!  Although this comes with a run test.  I'm looking at that as a good thing tho.  I expect to see some progress from my sad run test of a couple months ago.  Reminder to self: PACE IT!  Yeah, last time I did not do so well with the pacing and died off at the end.  I'm sure I can do a better job of that this time 'round.
  • Only one more workout this week!  A brrrrrrick.  I am somewhat reluctant to ride outside for it tho, even if the weather is clear, as I am lazy and don't want to have to clean all the grime off my bike that I'm sure to pick up from the still wet roads.
I signed up for one more "race".  It's an 8k on 20Feb.  Sounded like fun and coach said "sure", so I signed up.  *And* a guaranteed PR since I've never 'officially' run an 8k before. Bonus!

I've been frustrated with my lack of progress in the pool.  I feel like I'm just as slow as ever.  I'm not saying Masters isn't cutting it for me, because I've really only been going for a couple of weeks.  I just want to get someone to really look at my stroke and see if there are some obvious places that I need to concentrate on.  Am I still swimming "flat" or am I actually rotating a bit more now?  Am I being lazy in my pull?  What's going on with my kick?  Why do fast swimmers seem to swim so effortlessly and I feel like I'm killing myself to go nowhere?  You know, maybe get the answers to some of these great mysteries.  So I scheduled a swim lesson for next week.  It'll be interesting at the least, and at best I'll learn some key points to work on.  Can't hurt anyway, eh?

And while I think these are kinda fun and definitely make a point, I'm not sure I'd want to antagonize someone in a 3k pound weapon.  That could get seriously ugly seriously fast.  I definitely like the "Don't Run Me Over" one tho.  I have, morbidly I'm sure, been reading a lot lately about bike accidents and I have to admit that I would choose to ride on the one (boring) bike path near by rather than head out onto the roads. 

And now....I'm off to my next massage appointment.  Knock wood, but the shoulder is hanging in there.  I've been working a little on the biggest knots and it *may* just be doing some good.  Imagine that.

Happy Weekend All....and here's to some sunshine!

Monday, January 18, 2010

I've got *some* nerve

And not in a good way.

The massage on my shoulder lasted until this morning.  Or should I say until some time in the middle of the night.  I woke up to a tingling down my left arm.  Most likely I was sleeping on it....again.  I have had a tendency to sleep on my left side with my left arm curled up under my pillow.  And I've woken up with my arm asleep before.  But now the tingling hangs around a while.  Joy.  It's been suggested that I don't sleep on my side, but do you know how hard it is to change your sleeping habits?  I really concentrated on it for a while, to the point that I was constantly waking myself up to turn onto my back.  That does *not* make for a restful night's sleep.  Of course, waking up with a sleeping arm hasn't been so hot either.

I'm pretty sure at least some of the nerve issue is related to this amazing (again, not in a good way) knot that I carry around on the top part of my left trapezius muscle.  I can press on the knot and send a nice pain right up the left side of my neck/head.  And I'm sure the nerve that's traveling through there goes both back up to the neck and down to the arm.  From what the good doctor (hello WebMD) has to say, it would seem to be the ulnar nerve that is giving me fits.

Luckily (so far, knock wood) it hasn't been much of an issue while I'm working out.  I was really surprised last Friday at masters swim when it didn't give me any grief at all, not even doing butterfly.  Or at least my sad, pathetic version of butterfly anyway.  Hopefully some more massage and some heat applied to that knot will get me through a couple of weeks until I can get to the PT.  And then....I promise myself.....that I will perform some maintenance.  There.  I said it.  Wrote it.  Whatever.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A week in bullets, random of course

  • I've survived another week of "short" workouts.  I swear, this short stuff is more painful than IM training.  I know it's good for me and will be beneficial in the long run.....but ouch.  On a positive note, I may be getting at least a little bit of my run legs back.  Then again, I'm not at all sure that I'll be "ready" for a 5k in a couple months.  Or at least not a 5k that I want to push for a PR at.  We shall see.  I've still got 3 months until my first tri, a sprint, so plenty of time for more bike torture, ahem, I mean work.
  • The last time I saw my PT we worked on some tightness in my right leg.  It was a toss up between the right leg and the left shoulder.  Um, yeah....wrong choice.  All week I had some tingly/asleep/nerve pinching kinda thing going on down my left arm.  I saw a massage therapist last night and she worked on it, but it needs quite a bit more work.  Sadly my PT is out of town until early February.  More massage may be in order to try and keep the pins and needles to a minimum until he gets back.  *sigh*  This is what my 'no-maintenace' policy has got me...well, the policy and old age.
  • Weight is stuck this week.  My system may be in shock after two weeks of healthier eating that followed the holiday binge.  Not sure.  But I definitely can't be trimming my diet much more...I'm hungry most of the time.  I eat enough to fill up, not stuffed, but then I'm usually hungry only about an hour later.  Maybe I need even *more* protein.  I'm logging my food and will probably follow up with the nutritionist in a couple more weeks.  I got a bit crabby and down this morning when the scale didn't move from where it was last week.  Then I realized that all I can do is eat well, train well, and let my body take care of the rest.  The weight will be what it will be.  And I'll keep telling myself that until it sticks.
  • Work was blissfully quiet last week.  The big bosses all come back Monday, so who knows what next week will bring.  But a week of quiet was certainly nice.
  • I had my first masters swim workout where I was forced to try butterfly.  Well, ok, not *forced*, but it was a 'non-free' workout where the lane leader got to choose the strokes and well, when they threw butterfly in there, I tried it.  Luckily it was only a 25 or a 50.  No one was brave enough to make the 75 butterfly. There was a lot of non-free work and it was exhausting but fun too.  While I'm not getting a lot of stroke help at masters, and I may not be getting any faster, I'm having fun so that's gotta be a good thing, right?
  • Still a bit tired most days.  Sleep has been a little off, but seems to be getting back on track.  Life of the party that I am I was in bed before 10 last night.  A Friday night.  Damn, it sucks getting old. ;)
  • Speaking of's almost my bed time.....but it's a rest day tomorrow and I think I'll be sleeping in.  Woo hoo!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Be careful what you ask for

I wrapped up the workout week with a rest day today.  Funny...I didn't accomplish nearly as much as I thought I might.   Ah well....the dust bunnies will wait.  At least I got the small dog that was scattered around my house vacuumed up.

Work was a wee bit crazy this week as a lot of meeting prep was going on.  Next week it could go either way.  If all goes well at the meeting, it will be *very* quiet all week.  If not, all hell could break loose.  Let's hope for 'well', shall we? :)

Weight is back to where I was pre-holiday binge.  From where I'm sitting now, I'd like to drop another 5-7, I think.  It may be time for another dunk test to see where I am body fat percentage-wise.  It's really more about getting leaner than getting my weight down.

Workout-wise, it seems I'm getting into the thick of things to get my sorry self back on track.  About 9-1/4 hours all together, pretty evenly distributed between swim/bike/run/strength.  This week also marked my first week as an "official" master's swimmer.  I finally signed up and, wow...even went twice!  In one week!  I don't know why I was so reluctant.  Yes, I have been one of the slowest in my lane....and I'm in one of the slower lanes.....but no one has laughed at me...yet.  The people have been really nice, including the coach.  I almost revised this on Thursday when he bumped me down a lane, but it turned out okay.  He said that all 4 of us were swimming about the same pace, and we might as well have 2 per lane rather than be all bunched up.  Yeah, the other girl in my lane and I then proceeded to dust the lane with 2 guys for the main set.  Not that it was a competition or anything.  No, of course not.

So remember how I've been saying, for a while, that I want to work on my biking in particular this year?? While it hasn't been bad so week seems to have a bike focus.  And some of it looks, shall we say, painful.  But from what I hear, that is what it will take to build some biking legs.  In return, those biking legs will allow me to have some running legs too.  That's the plan anyway.  So right now I say...bring on the pain.....but check back in a few days.  I may be crying like a little girl.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Giving Thanks

I know...I seems like my holidays are mixed up. But they really aren't.  What better time than the start of a new year, a new decade (to others you'll have to come back in another year) to think about what you're thankful for.  Here are a few things I'm very appreciative for these days (in random order):
  • My health, which allows my body to do some pretty amazing things, even if I do them more slowly than the majority of the other participants. And even if, as I told my PT, I don't believe in maintenance (stretching, the exercises he assigns me, etc.).
  • My husband.  Even if his super-power is finding/having the most expensive stuff/habits. Yes, even more expensive than triathlon.  Hard to believe, I know, but true.  There's a money pit in the garage to prove it.  But the only kids we have are one furry, four-legged girl, so why not throw some money away on toys.  And besides that, it keeps him busy while I'm out swimming, biking, running, etc.
  • My family.  No matter how different our political, religious, or any other ideological views may differ.  There's no one who will support you like family and keep you grounded at the same time.  After all, most of them knew you when you were in diapers.  And after a couple of co-workers each lost a parent just before the holidays, I'm even more thankful to have my family for as long as I can.
  • My job.  I work in an industry that I like, at a job I like.  And I'm thankful it pays me (over-pays some, *cough* Jeff *cough*, may say) enough to do what I want, when I want.  (Although I do tend to be surprisingly frugal about most things....I prefer that to 'tight' or 'cheap', thankyouverymuch.)  I may bitch about my work but really am extremely lucky.  I get paid vacations, paid holiday shutdown, health insurance, and sick time.  I work at home a couple days a week, have decent hours and work with decent folk who appreciate me.  Yes, extremely lucky indeed.
  • For my friends.  I am not a social butterfly by nature, and as such, don't have a *lot* of friends.  But I'm thankful for the ones I have.  Add in a special thanks for Facebook, which hooked me back up with my high school best friend.  Tip o' the hat to technology.
  • The weather.  Yes, after a week in Illinois in winter, I am reminded yet again to be thankful for the weather we have here in the bay area.  Bicycling outside in short sleeves just today was yet another reminder.
  • My coach.  Yep, I'm working with her again in 2010.  She got me through 2 iron distances races last year and as I age up this year, we'll see if it's possible to get a bit of speed in these old legs of mine.
Just a few things I've been contemplating lately and working on reminding myself to appreciate each and every day.  I'm excited about what this year may bring.  I'm sure some of the 'same-old same-old', but I know there will be a lot of new challenges too.  So, here's to a 2010 that is everything you want it to be!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Starting Over

Random wrap up stuff......

2009 was a big year.  Almost 200 hours of biking.  About 120 hours of running.  Almost 100 hours of swimming.  About 40 hours of strength.  Two Ironman races.   Now it's time to start over.  Get some speed in my legs and see what I can do in some sprints, some 5ks and 10ks, some olympic distance races.  Yes, I will mostly likely do another Ironman someday.  But now is not the time.  A half iron toward the 'end' of the year, in which I've set an ambitious goal (not to be named at this time) with a big reward.  If I make it....fabulous.  If I don't....I keep trying at it until I get there.  I'll get there eventually.  Oh, and I'm really looking forward to a 3 day Tri camp in Chicago with my coach.  All women, 3 days of swim bike run, etc.  Fun!

Jeff and I spent the holidays with my family in Illinois.  We were, once again, very lucky with our travel days.  No flight delays heading there or heading home.  And the roads weren't too bad on the days we needed to drive either.  I couldn't really say that for the days in between.   It was a good visit, mostly.  We were supposed to spend a few days at my brother's house, visiting his family.  But my youngest niece got sick and actually ended up spending several days in the hospital with pneumonia.  She was finally released today and they got to go home.  Happy New Year to them!  I did go down to their place and picked up my older niece and got to visit with her for a couple of days.  Wow, that girl just goes and goes.  Oh, to have the energy of a 6 year old!

We got to see my cousin's chocolate shop (very nice!), Black and Whites Confections, and sample some experiments (fabulous!), as well as some 'discards' that weren't cosmetically suitable for sale, but tasted great to me.  Truly the best chocolate around.  She even made us some custom candy bars for our flight home.  Deeeelicious.

I was the life of our private New Year's I fell asleep on the couch around 9:00 in the middle of a movie.  I'd have to say, I didn't miss much and evidently needed the sleep.  Lately I've been, what seems to me, excessively tired.  Not that I'm falling asleep at the drop of a hat, but I just feel tired.  More than usual.  Probably time for a visit to the doc and have some labs checked.

Diet-wise, I've probably set myself back a few weeks with holiday eating.  But the chocolate alone may just be worth it.  I'll get back on the wagon and hopefully be down where I want to be in a couple of months.  At least by my first event of the year (hopefully) in March.

Today we received the sad news that my cousin had to have Louis put to sleep.  He was a fabulously big, gentle guy.  An American bulldog.  A real sweetie and it's a sad start to the new year for sure.  RIP Lou.  You'll be missed.

I have some, not resolutions, but goals for changing some things in my life this year.  It's a big b'day year, so what better time to shake things up.  After all, no time like the present, right?  Here's to a happy, healthy 2010.  Be thankful for your family, your health, all the little things we take for granted each and every day.  *ching ching*....cheers.