Whew, ok, the last post gave me the willies. Talkin’ about humans and feelings and stuff.
Things that do not impress me – arm day noodles and also feels like 30 degrees. C’mon winter. You had your time. Spring please!
Today, I’m going to go with total randomness.
Last week was the first week in a long time that I have barely noticed my heel being cranky. I was feeling some pretty big feelings about this earlier in the month, but I’m hoping between rest and dutifully wearing my insoles, its healed. Not to mention about missing out on some killer running weather, I’ve missed most of the season where I actually wear clothes that look somewhat put together since it’s not 200000 degrees outside. Why bother looking nice if I have to complete the ensemble with running shoes? Oh well. I can be a fashion police fugitive if it means a year of injury free training and racing. I’m willing to make that sacrifice, so it’s been a winter of mostly the same five hoodies and two pairs of jeans every week.
Speaking of things that should set a good tone for the upcoming season… I am really really really really really really enjoying heavy weights (as much as I like to make faces while doing it on the Instagrams). I forget how much I actually like taking the time to lift. It’s just as achievement based as run/bike/swim, it’s super fun to keep those weights numbers going up, and you really and truly can’t overdo it. I’m doing one hour three times per week, and I can see that’s pretty much the top limit on what’s useful. Unlike riding my bike, which I want to do as much as humanly possible until I collapse into a puddle of quivering goo.
I’m starting week #4 today and my gains right now are probably more based on remembering how to actually do the exercises (muscle memory) than actual strength. However, even if it’s totally subconscious, I do feel more sturdy and a little more definition in the marshmallow fluff all over my body. If I could eat a little less, I’m sure it would help but that’s a whole ‘nother thing. I’m hoping to stick with the lifting more throughout season – 1-2 times a week. Honestly, coach-me thinks lifting probably does me more good than a random 3-5 mile jog, but it’s hard to convince athlete-me of that when the thing I compete at is swim bike RUN.
A day of happy. Bikes, weights, unicorns fighting robots, and good food.
Obviously, since I’m just mandating that I do “cardio” 3xweek for 30 minutes, I’ve been riding my bike and that’s it. Because of the heel shenanigans, I decided to lay off the running, but I am looking forward to getting back to it in the next week or so. I’ve had some plans to hit the pool but then it will be cold or rainy or the sky will be blue or the day will end in -y and I do something else instead. Hopping on the trainer takes so little prep time. Swimming for 30 minutes is like a 75 minute commitment. I know I’ll get back to it when I need to, I’ll whine about being slow for a month, and then things will go back to normal.
Here’s a weird thing – my bike rides have actually gotten really GOOD lately. Over the last week, I’ve noticed that I’m putting in less effort to get the same power numbers and speed. I’ve also been having less trouble waking up in the morning, and actually have been able to hit the workouts before work fairly regularly. Ladies and gentlemen, I think I have hit the mythical place I haven’t seen in years: BEING RESTED! It actually feels great!
It’s like all the things are coming together. Weights make me feel great. Shorter bouts of cardio with some intensity is awesome. The other key is that I’m handling some shit in my personal life a little better which is a little tough for my BRAIN but fantastic for my body.
As an endurance athlete, I’m used to constantly feeling beat up. I’m actually more comfortable feeling a little tired and sore. During season, the punishment is mostly from workouts and a little fun when I can fit it in. During offseason, it’s adventures and enjoying the freedom to have beers more often and not being the best at sleeping and of course junk food because I don’t have to care what I feel like when I wake up in the morning because I’m not training.
I mean, after you earn an “Official Badass” mug you have to break it in at least once, right?
This has been a weird situation where I’m not training hard but also under a strict embargo to not eat and drink like an asshole because I’d really like to see the other mythical place called: AT RACE WEIGHT. It’s quite weird. Usually I have a reason not to go home and have glasses of whiskey like, “I have to get up and train for two hours tomorrow and you know how miserable that feels”. Now, I’m having to come home to “Yes you CAN have beers tonight but should you?” It’s like college, where all of a sudden you have freedom to do whatever, but then this big goal in the distance, and your job is to not to eff it all up by pursuing short term pleasure instead of long term goals too often.
It’s been a weird handful of weeks trying to sort this one out. I figured this would be a little easier, but it’s the end of February (two months later) and I’m still struggling with this one at times. In my quest to analyze what my malfunction is here, I’ve come up with a few things. Alcohol is fun. Just like Sleepytime Tea and my book and a square or two of dark chocolate now mean bed, a glass of whiskey means it’s an evening off goals and to dos, and it’s time to relax and unwind.
I’ve also learned if I let myself sit on the couch being bored watching bad TV surfing the net, I’m more likely to want to have a glass of wine to make that more exciting. If I do something engaging, like beading, playing games, etc, I’m generally pretty engrossed as is. Idle hands, and such.
Along with all this other healthy living noise, I’ve been doing a decent job at the QUALITY of what I’m putting in my mouth, if not the quantity. I have been reliably eating about 1900-2000 calories per day average, which I know at my current level of activity is just about maintenance level if not mayyyybe a little under. So, I’m not losing weight and that’s okay, because I’m not currently doing the things to lose weight. I’m a little grumpy about that, but at least it makes sense. Between a new lifting program and trying to eat the good food and not be a jerk and have vodka for dinner every few days, I’ll give myself some grace to allow myself to eat enough not to feel (too) hungry as long as it’s good quality food, for the most part.
I have been tracking and quantifying all my food, so that’s a huge step in the right direction. Next week, I’m bringing out some of the big guns – food that is lower in calorie but should be just as filling. I’m going to try to stay away from overloading on full fat cheese and high calorie sauces/dressings, and really stress less sweet fruits like berries and plums that are higher in fiber but not as many calories. Still the same method of tracking calories and/or diet quality, I’m just trying to play the game a little better. At some points in my life, at this level of activity, 1200-1500 was a normal day – not that I want to go that low, but 1600-1800 should not be THIS HARD.
Tacos often save my life for meals these days. Whole grain (corn tortilla). Lean protein (organic beef). Dairy (light organic sour cream and cheese). Veggies? Well, I get lots of veggies elsewhere. 🙂
Speaking of hard… I’ve really got a block about this learning to do video thing. I have no problems with pictures (I mean, obviously). I actually have gotten comfortable with the live streaming thing – both on a professional capacity and now at home streaming driving games (most Saturdays at 6pm – come watch us drive badly for a few hours). Making what I’m considering “video content” (at my desk, about a topic, with some picture references) is a little harder. My husband was terribly kind to set it up for me, and then I realized how GROSS that view of the office is (the background is a bunch of papers and mess and the closet door) and now I’m self conscious about that. Since that’s what I have to work with, I’m going to have to figure it out.
Then, of course, there’s all this crap. For the moment, I’m mostly going to leave it alone or I’m going to have to go back on that drinking thing… y’know… My baby steps are going to be:
I took the first step and applied for a brand ambassadorship for a small company I like and respect. My goal is to keep an eye out for other ones that come up that I’m interested in (though I missed the window for a lot of them by waiting until after the first of the year).
I plan to be more interactive on social media. I think I’ve finally gotten over feeling like an internet weirdo about commenting on people’s instagrams and twitters and stuff. It feels like this is what blogs used to be, and the best way for me to feel like part of a group instead of an outsider looking in is to be a participant and just clicking <3 does not count.
I think I feel so awkward about asking for help because I haven’t paid it forward enough yet. So, I’m going to look for opportunities to offer help where and when I can. I may not have copious free time, but I’m happy to offer advice on shit I know about – being a productive and efficient human (even if I don’t always follow through I know HOW), advice on the video game industry, advice on training or healthy diets and at least casual advice on helpful things to do to make that thing stop hurting or feeling weak or being a beta reader for a book or whatever. I’m going to look for opportunities to help and mentor and maybe I’ll be more comfortable asking for it myself.
Whew, ok, getting heavy again. Reading these non-fiction books is making me think too much. At least the one I’m reading right now (Run Fast, Run Forever) is just kind of making me nod along going “yep, I’ve followed this training plan before, I know I like it…”.
The one day where we were not either freezing or raining we went and played bikes in the woods. And it was glorious!
It’s not been all business time. I’ve played a lot of games. Video games, table top games, some board games, and we even went bowling with some friends. I had one of my best scores in a while, something like 145 (and of course, I forgot to get photographic evidence). We saw Brian Posehn on Friday (with tickets practically right on the stage, it was awesome). We had lunch and game with the family on Saturday. We saw Black Panther on Sunday and it was really powerful. I’m so close to actually breaking out my canvases and paints and my beads. We played mountain bikes last weekend on a day that was actually not cold or rainy. I have spent a few rainy mornings in bed reading, and sometimes it’s even fluffy sci-fi fiction! There is downtime being had, folks.
It feels like winter is starting to come to an end, even if technically we have another month, and even if the weather surprises us like crap days with rain and 30 degrees. I’m really looking forward to Spring – in that I’ll be training (aka, get to play outside in the pretty weather) but not training TOO much (aka, get to play outside in the pretty weather occasionally doing things that don’t include watts/pace suggestions). First, though, I need to sort out two things – my spring training plan and my spring race schedule. Then the season can ACTUALLY change.
What are you most looking forward to about Spring?