The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Its All About Balance

After swimming a mile yesterday, I felt good. I found my own slow rhythm and it felt easy. I felt like I could have kept going, but that’s not too surprising since I usually swim further and harder during Masters workouts. But that got me thinking about balancing speed and distance during a triathlon. How much should I push the speed if I am only swimming 1/3 mile? But when I get out of the water, there’s still the bike ride and the run. I need to think about balancing effort for all 3 events. Then I thought about something Hagen said during our triathlon panel discussion. If you want to race fast, you have to train fast. How do you balance speed v. distance when training. Of course, its not only swimming, biking and running. At the very least there needs to be some strength work and stretching and yoga. So how do you blend all the pieces into a complete fitness program? Should I balance all the pieces differently during the off-season? All of this does take time, and I like to do other things, like reading, blogging, watching TV, photography. How do you balance all these pursuits into a day/week/month/year/lifetime? And food. That’s a big one. How do you balance all these other activities and still have time to shop, and cook and prepare meals. Because if you don’t, you are still going to get hungry and make bad food choices. Then there’s the job. And commuting. I can use some of the commuting time to work on some of my other favorite activities. But work is work and my job is fairly rigid so I have to balance all the other pieces outside of that box. I haven’t really mentioned interacting with other people like my family and friends when they can’t be combined in these other activities. Although I am my favorite person to be with, there has to be time for hanging with the people I love. Tomorrow DH and I are going to Florida to find balance. We will be attending a bat mitzvah and visiting with family. We will probably find the time to do some swimming and maybe some running. We will probably eat too much but it will be for a good reason. We won’t think about work for a few days, and we will spend time being with family we haven’t seen in a long time. I’m really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No Sox

I usually have extra everything in my gym bag. So imagine my surprise when I got to the gym and realized I had no socks. Now, I know what my DH would do in that situation. He would work out without socks. But I hate not having socks. Faced with lemons, I made lemonade. I got in the pool and started swimming. I didn't do a swim workout. I just swam laps. The Pawling Triathlon has a 1/3 mile swim, so I swam 600, just trying to find my rhythm and keep it going. That went down easy so I did 2 more of those. Sweet.

It was one of those evenings when I fell asleep on the train on the way home and I briefly tried to talk myself out of going to the gym. But I knew there would be no free pass tonight. Then when I put my feet in the water, it was cold and tried to think of a reason why I shouldn't get in the pool, but I knew I was being utterly ridiculous. I'm glad I got it done because it really felt good. And how I have learned to love the lingering smell of chlorine.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cramming and Cooking

I feel like I am cramming for the Pawling Triathlon, which is less than 2 weeks away. For a variety of reasons, I did not prepare with the intensity or the consistency that would allow me to feel like I gave it my best shot. So I have been trying to make up for it with weekend bursts of high energy and weekday workouts whenever I can make it happen. But still, life gets in the way. On Saturday, DH and I attended a bar mitzvah, which kept us out of the house from 9 am until 5 pm. Somehow, I managed to avoid overeating. When I got home, I decided I had to do something, anything other than spend the evening sitting in a chair. Eight hours of that was more than enough. So I went to the track for a run. And it was a good run. It was only 2.5 miles, but it felt good and I knew I had overcome considerable inertia to get there.

On Sunday I did another brick. The ride was slow but uneventful. The run was also slow and uneventful. The fact that the run was uneventful is actually an event, because I was able to run 2 days in a row despite Cranky Knee Syndrome. Although you won’t find that diagnosis in the orthopedic Big Book of Medical Codes, you probably will find the treatment plan-- don’t overdue it, ice, Advil. Well, on Sunday evening my legs including my knees were tired, but they were fine the next day. I will fit in some workouts in the next 10 days but it will be hit or miss. DH and I are going to Florida over the holiday weekend to attend at Bat Mitzvah and visit family. I guess I will do some swimming.

When not cramming for the triathlon, I have been cooking. I work at a small college and every year the students hold an auction to raise money for the yearbook, etc. They ask for donations of “goods and services,” and every year I donate homemade lunch for 2 for 5 days. I make sure I feed my students well, which forces me to cook and DH and I also end up eating good nutritious meals. Last week I made grilled shrimp with mango salsa, lasagna, spinach salad, split pea soup, and berry bread pudding. This week I made roast pork with roasted red potatoes, ramen slaw, vegetable frittata, edamame succotash, and slightly spicy mashed sweet potatoes. All this good food has translated into not eating or craving processed food, and I feel more energetic. It really does make a difference. I needed this reminder that taking the time to prepare meals based on fresh foods and lots of vegetables is worth it. Now if I can just get out of cramming and work on consistency............

Finally a big SHOUT OUT to MissFits Kate and Flori. They both WON their age groups at the Harryman Triathlon on Saturday. And kudos to Jon who rocked it too, on his way to Mooseman.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Evening Recap

Wow, I'm tired! I have spent the last 4 days riding, swimming, running, lifting, and stretching. This was the last weekend before the Pawling Triathlon that I have "free."Extending it to 4 days gave me my best opportunity to beat myself up, trash my legs, and toast my arms. And best of all, I got to do a good part of it with friends!

On Saturday I led a 34 mile club ride. It felt like 31 of those miles were uphill. I only remember going downhill 3 times! When we got to the Croton Dam, we took out our cameras and asked this man (who also had a camera around his neck) to take some photos of our group. He was happy to oblige. He then took some photos of us with his (high quality SLR) camera and sent us the link to his Flickr account.

These photos courtesy of ballroompics.

What a beautiful day to be out and about on a bike. Here we are at mile 23.
You can feel the energy and the love (we were oblivious to the hills still to come in the last 11 miles).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Beat Repeat

I had the day off on Thursday because I was supposed to be out of town, but when that changed, I decided to take the day off anyway. I usually work 4 days a week, and I am off on Fridays. Therefore, I have 4 days to get some work done in preparation for the Pawling triathlon, which is only 3 weeks away. The formula has been pick two, eat, sleep, repeat. Tomorrow is likely to be one of the most perfect being outside days of 2010. I am going to take advantage of that with a longer ride, with many hills. The ride alone may be enough to trash my legs. I'm actually looking forward to beating myself up! Makes me feel alive when I push and the road pushes back.
Here is an unexpected gift from Thursday's ride. I was heading down the bike path, just minding my own business, when 2 woment told me to slow down and look up.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Discussion

Tonight the bike club sponsored a dinner meeting/panel discussion on training for a triathlon. We had several triathletes on the panel, covering all triathlon distances. I talked about one extreme-- the non-competitive sprint triathlete-- in contrast to Hagen, the 10.5 hour Ironman Extraordinary Athlete. In the middle were Jon, Kate and Eve who have done all distances from sprint up to 70.3.

There were 17 people there, many of them new to the sport but some wanting to step up to the next level. Since most of them are coming to triathlons from cycling, they were really worried about the swim. What if I freak out? Did any of you ever freak out? Should I swim from boat to boat to get through the swim? I told them about my experience-- I freaked out the first time I tried an open water swim in a wetsuit, 2 weeks before my first triathlon. I had to get out of the water. I then had 2 weeks to slay the"Open Water Demons," which I did. The motto of that story: you have to do an OWS before the race. Then you will be ready and you won't freak out and you won't be looking for a boat to get out of the water. I think we got that lesson across.

We talked about the different reasons we pursue this crazy sport; our different philosophies about preparing for a tri; and some good stories. There are always stories. Luckily Jon did not share his maddog story from last weekend!!! If that had been combined with Hagen's description of the mass start of the Ironman, the newbies would have fled the room never to be seen at the start of the OWS at a triathlon.

I enjoyed being on the panel and I also really enjoyed listening and sharing with everyone in the room. I have a better appreciation for getting more out of the time I spend "training" because the cross training doesn't wear you down physically as much as the pursuit of one sport. And if I didn't swim, I wouldn't have these fab shoulders! If nothing else, I certainly feel motivated to work harder at it just so I know I am giving it my best shot, no matter how slow I am. Slow is still beautiful.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Conspiracy Theory

Seems like the world has been conspiring against me these past few weeks, making it really tough to work out with any intensity or consistency. I was out of town on business, I came down with a bad cold, I had work that kept me in the office later than I expected, my shoulder has been bothering me, not sleeping well has made very really tired in the evening, and the weather has been less than ideal. Yesterday, the bike club celebrated "Cinco de Velo" but the morning rides were rained out. This morning I was scheduled to lead a 34 mile ride. I was awakened by the howling wind and when I turned on the radio, the traffic report included some local roads closed because of downed trees. I canceled the ride. My windows of opportunity keep closing! I decided to go to the gym for a swim and then yoga. When I got to the gym, I discovered they were closing early for Mother's Day, no yoga. Egads!! I have a triathlon in 4 weeks and I feel unprepared even for this sprint. Oh well, it's not like I have a chance of bringing home any bling anyway. On the upside, I did have a really nice swim today, despite not having been in the pool for several weeks and a slightly bothersome shoulder. And now I am just hanging while my husband and son prepare dinner. It's now 6 pm, I predict we will be eating at 8:30. They are clueless.