Saturday, December 30, 2006

A week is a long time

I started my bike workout today thinking it would be a piece of cake. 1 hour?! No problem! However, about halfway through the workout, my legs were really fatigued. "What is going on?" I asked myself. Then I remembered that I haven't even been on a bike in a week. A whole week! Usually I am on a bike at least twice a day. Usually more. But once a year I am forced to take time away from my bikes and that is at Christmas. Maybe that's the real reason why I don't like Christmas. My workout today was supposed to be a brick workout with a 25-minute run after my bike ride, but I couldn't do it. I forced myself to push through the bike workout, but I couldn't go for a run. I did some core strengthening and push-ups, which I have also lost a lot of. At one point over the last month, I could do 14 full-length push-ups and today I struggled through 4 full-length and 16 knee push-ups. I guess it can be lost very quickly. So here are my "stats":
Time: 1:01
In zone: 45 minutes
Average HR: 129 (how embarassing!)

I guess it'll just take a bit of time to get up to par and I'm sure it didn't help that I haven't eaten much today. Tomorrow I hope to hit the pool, but I might not be able to due to travelling and visiting.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Holiday cheer!

I thought that I would do a lot less training over the holidays than I did, but it still wasn't very much. On Boxing Day I went on a 6-mile run. It was one of the best runs in the past little while. I was at my parent's farm in middle-of-nowhere Saskatchewan and my dad suggested I do a run "around the block." In Saskatchewan, the gravel roads are set up in a grid with 2 miles between them. So it was easy to calculate that 1 block and then home would be 5 miles. I started out thinking that I would run 2 miles, but I had a realization. I never run without time constraints. I'm always trying to fit my workout into my busy life. This was my chance to run for fun. Because I was - I wasn't running because I had to, I was running because I wanted to. This is my hobby. It's not a job and no one is forcing me to do it.

So I lengthened my stride, did some dynamic stretches on that long, lonely gravel road, and set on my way to run around the block. It was such an amazing run. It is very flat where I grew up, so there were no hills and I didn't do any intervals. I just ran at my pace and enjoyed the amazing scenery. From every direction, I could see snow-covered fields and the occasional farm yard. I met very few cars and it was so peaceful. I wore my ipod to keep me company and listened to Amy Millan's new folk album, which was so perfect for this particular run. It was slow and easy... or so it felt. In actuality, I think I ran it fairly quickly, but the time flew by. When I got home, I proudly told my dad that I ran around the block and my family was astonished that I had run it so quickly. I don't know how long it took in terms of minutes, but time seemed to stand still while I was out there. It just didn't matter. It was amazing.

Contrast that to today's run. I got up and just wanted to go for a quick run. Today's brisk temperature of -29 with the windchill almost made me stay home in my warm house and watch a movie, but I got out there. I have not researched the physiological effect of cold on the body while running, but my body was not happy. I actually had to walk some of my 2.5-mile run because I was so out of breath. It felt like I was carrying a backpack full of bricks. According to my HRM, it took 37 minutes and my average HR was 153 with 27 minutes of that in "the zone." I got home and did some yoga to get my blood coarsing through my body. It felt good to stretch, but I shan't run in that kind of temperature again.

Yesterday I bought myself a log book. I have absolutely no idea how much I've run in 2006 or before and I'm extremely curious. From what I can tell, this is the beginning of my real career as a triathlete because this type of record will be looked back on and thought about and studied. I love the thought of it. I have not been successful at keeping an online journal with mileage, etc. So I hope a paper one will help with it. I bought the Canadian Runner's Log and hopefully it will be fruitful for me.

My coach emailed me my workout for the week. I'm glad this is an easy week. Next week is supposed to be a testing week. So that'll be nice before I get into the swing of training in 2007.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Run run running!

Yesterday was my day off. My hamstrings were still a bit sore, so that was good. I didn't do a lot of anything, except walking around trying to get Christmas shopping done. This is what I have found to be most difficult: juggling work, training, AND getting ready for Christmas. Really, it's ridiculous! I'm so exhausted and I'm not even training as hard as I could/should be.

So I took this morning off of work and went for a run. It seemed really early, but really it was only 7:30. I did a good 6km and then did yoga. That's 3 times this week. Nice! I did some walking around again for Christmas shopping. Tonight I'm going to make cookies and maybe chill out. I'm exhausted, but Christmas parties are everywhere. It only happens once a year, but I'm TIRED! Juggling is hard to do.

Next week is going to be fairly chill in terms of training, but I am going to run as much as possible. We also might do some skiing and tobogganing, which will be fun and physically stimulating. And some skating too! I love winter activities! This is the good part about Christmas... doing winter activities with one's family.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hamstrings... so ... sore...

I wimped out yesterday. Yep, I did.

I did yoga in the morning, but was so extremely tired after work that I could NOT make myself get on the bike. It really didn't help that I had a brutal commute home and was almost hit twice and had a verbal altercation with a guy driving a huge van. So I was emotionally and physically spent.

My hamstrings are so sore. As I was running on the treadmill at work today, I couldn't help but do some mental training in "the zone." I quickly found myself was running halfway through the Ironman marathon. My hamstrings were sore, but I had to run through it. I imagined people on the side of the road cheering me on and how I had to keep going and breathe into the pain. "In pain there is truth." But then I was brought back to reality by the beeping of my heart-rate monitor as I got out of my zone (I was into the 180s), the whirring of the treadmill, and the tunes in my ipod. I remembered that I have 36 weeks left to train. I can still build up my muscles, I can still work on my hamstrings. I have lots of time and lots of reasons to kick it up with my weight training. It'll be worth it!

This morning I did yoga again and I realized once again that I recover a lot faster when I consistently do yoga as opposed to when I don't do yoga. My hamstrings are still a bit sore, but I can tell that they are mending well. Also, I'm keeping a food log for this week.

Tonight I'll hit the bike for about an hour. I'm still not sure how I will get my Christmas shopping done, but I'll figure it out. I also have a chiropractor appointment today after work. Taking care of myself... check!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Check and Check!!!

Today I did everything I wanted to in the way of training. I feel so accomplished!

This morning I got up bright and early and hit the pool. I did a solid 2500 yards (2286 metres) in the pool. I just did intervals of 500 with a 250 warm-up and 250 cool-down. Simple and easy is the way for me.

This afternoon, we had a killer run session with the tri club. 26 second 100 metre intervals that went like this:
300, 400, 500, 400, 300 rest 5 minutes x3

I ended up doing the second and third 500m interval at 28s 100m. My running coach was a total hard-ass and wouldn't let me do the entire third interval at 28. But my legs seriously felt like shite. It felt like they could not stretch and my stride was so short on the 500m intervals. It hurt a lot. I guess that's the point, but it sucked! I have to remember the quote "In pain there is truth."

Now my lungs feel super oxygenated, which I absolutely love. I feel like I'm completely pure or something.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Better late than never...

So my inspiration came at about 8:30pm, but I took it. I got on my bike more out of boredom than an actual want to train. I suppose my results won't be as good as if I was actually inspired, but at this point I'll take all I can get!

Total time: 1:10 (ie. 2 episodes of Sex and the City, Season Six Part 2)
In zone: 0:56:47
Average HR: 143 bpm

Now I'll do some core and push-ups and I'm going to go for a walk in the snow. Hopefully the streak continues tomorrow!

Also, I tried the Chocolate sample of Vega, the vegan version of protein powder. It wasn't too tastey, but it was definitely worth it for all the good stuff in it! I can't decide what flavour I should invest in.

Inspiration needed!!

The past few days have been pretty sketchy in the way of training. Between feeling a little blue about a friend dying, our staff Christmas party, really uncooperative training, and sleeping poorly, I just have not really felt like training. Last night I biked for about half an hour on my trainer and I did some yoga yesterday. This morning, I slept in and it was snowing so I didn't even run! I'm trying to convince myself to get on my bike tonight and put in some intervals and then go for a walk outside in the fresh snow. I could probably get into that. Tomorrow I'm going swimming with a friend of mine and then running, so hopefully that'll help kick-start my week of getting back into it.

This is a really hard time of year for so many reasons. First, is the darkness and the low energy that goes along with that. Usually Saskatchewan's saving grace is that while it's freaking cold, it is also sunny. But this winter has not held true to that. It has been cloudy, rainy, and snowy. I hate it! I am a sun person for sure. I can deal with cold temperatures as long as I can spend some time outside. Also, Christmas is a bad time because it is super stressful and we're supposed to eat lots of baking, but because I can't eat most of it, it makes me a little more stressed out because I constantly have to figure out a tactful way of saying "no." At the same time, I haven't really been motivated to eat healthy either. This is probably the worst part of being a vegan because there aren't a lot of healthy, easy meals that one can make. Although tonight I'm planning to make burritos, which should be good.

Since I've put all of these plans in my blog, I really hope to follow through on all of this. If any of you all out there have any suggestions, PLEASE leave them! I will report tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A much-needed update!

Wow, I haven't updated for a few days. It's been an emotional little while with a loss of a friend. However, I've still been training.

On Saturday, I did my first long run in a really long time. I ran with a couple of friends for a 12km run. It felt good, but hard at the same time. My left ankle started hurting about 10km in for no real reason. It is totally fine now, so I don't know what the deal was. My chiropractor cracked it and said there wasn't really much in it, so I think it might have just been my body being like "What, exactly, do you think you're doing right now?" So I'll have to increase my mileage slowly, 10% max.

On Monday I did some yoga and not much else. Today, though, I ran this morning for a good 4km in about 25 minutes. That's a pretty good pace for me at this point in the season. This evening I did a 45-minute easy bike ride on my trainer. I've found that doing an easy spin is awesome while accompanied by chatting to friends on the phone. I'm going to get a headset tomorrow so that I can keep doing that. It is definitely motivating.

My non-training activities are also going well. Yoga is great and keeps me limber. I can now do 12 full-length push-ups. And I am learning lots of new songs on the guitar, which makes me happy. My goal for December is to sustain the aerobic capacity that I've built and not lose it too much over the holidays. It shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'm excited to get back into it in January. Now that I have my schedule all set up.

Also, I really hope to get up and running in January. I think I'm going to try to design it myself. That's my holiday project. :o)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A needed day off

Yesterday, I had a day off of training. My body needed that so much. My legs were pretty sore and my muscles needed some time to recover. I love having my recovery day on Wednesdays. It's like in the middle of the week, I have the whole day to myself. Back to the grind today, though. A good swim tonight!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Heavy day

Today I had a heavy day of training. At lunch, I ran 40 minutes and just over 3 miles (our treadmill is in miles for some reason) and did intervals within that. It felt good, but kind of boring. I really need to get a poster to put up in front of the treadmill. Maybe I could learn a language or something. Our treadmill is in the middle of the office and everyone is amazed at my training and such. So they always come in to see what incline I'm set at and what speed I'm at. I like to think that I'm helping to motivate others. One of my coworkers is actually going to start running because of me. She's starting out at 4.5 minutes walking and 30 seconds running. I think it's a start! Right now we just have the treadmill on loan, but it looks like we're going to keep it (I bet that's what the fitness store thought would happen!). That is very good for me because that means that I can train in the very cold weather without having to join a gym! Awesome!

Tonight I went to our coached triathlon club bike session. It was pretty good. We did intervals at HRZ 4, but I didn't actually go that hard because of the testing I did yesterday. Our session went like this:
10 minutes warm-up, dynamic stretching
4 x 2-minute intervals with 1 minute rest in between
5 minute rest
4 x 2-minute intervals with 1 minute rest in between
10 minutes cool-down
Abs circuits (do twice):
* plank hover with alternate leg lifts (hold for 2 secs) (8 seconds - 2 for each leg)
* bum raises (30 seconds)
* side plank left (30 seconds)
+ side plank right (30s)
+ bridges (30s)
+ bicycle (30s)
Ball circuits (also do twice):
* crunchies (30s)
* Russian twists (30s)
* froggies (These kill so bad) (30s)
+ rollout on ball (20 seconds)
+ plank on ball (2 reps at 10 seconds each)

All-in-all, I feel good. But legs are killing me right now. My thighs are still sore from Sunday. It's a good thing that I have a day off tomorrow. Thank goodness!

Monday, December 04, 2006

In pain there is truth?

If this "saying" is true, then I just felt a whole lot of truth. This week is Testing Week! And everybody loves tests, right? Actually it wasn't that bad, which makes me think I should have pushed harder. A kudos goes out to my roomate for being my timer. This is to test my HR, I believe. So I went 8 minutes as hard as I could and at each minute, I told my timer what my HR was. It went like this:
warm-up for 10 minutes
1 minute: 164
2 minutes: 165
3 minutes: 165
4 minutes: 164
5 minutes: 165
6 minutes: 164
7 minutes: 164
8 minutes: 165
10 minute cool-down
1 minute: 162
2 minutes: 159
3 minutes: 164
4 minutes: 164
5 minutes: 164
6 minutes: 164
7 minutes: 165
8 minutes:170
15 minutes cool-down

The last minute really really hurt, but I feel great now! That's the best thing of workouts... feeling so great afterwards.

My thighs are a bit sore from the running intervals yesterday, but mostly I feel pretty good. Yoga this morning really helped stretch everything out. My lower back is still a bit tight, but I'm going to go to the chiro again this week. Hopefully that'll straighten things out again.

My body actually feels really good right now, all-in-all. I'm feeling very strong. Winter training is so weird. I have no idea what my distances are like because I haven't run outside in so long and my trainer isn't set up with distance. And even if it was, it wouldn't be exactly like it is riding outside in the elements. Mother Nature is so non-forgiving - the wind, the sun, the rain... all of them coming down on you as you try to get a workout in. I can't wait for spring! Only 18 more weeks to spring! And 38 weeks to Ironman! Let the countdown begin!!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"In pain there is truth"

So my mantra for the next little is going to be "in pain there is truth." At least, it will be until another one comes along. I have it written in red, capital letters on a card that I put in front of me when I'm biking.

Today I started off my day with my first swim in weeks. It has been almost a month since I dipped myself in chlorinated water. I got a new Sugoi poly Turbo Swim Racer swimsuit, so I was rocking out with that. I basically just did 1500 yards (I was going to say metres, but I swam at a 25 yard pool today) at a pretty easy pace. It wasn't the muscles and it wasn't the lungs, but I had zero motivation. I think I had to start racing myself again. That made everything better. I basically just need to get through December because in January I'm going to join the Masters' swim club. I have such a hard time motivating myself to swim on my own. This week I'm going to swim with the tri club because they got a good time of 8:15 to 9:15 (as opposed to 10 to 11:00pm).

Tonight our running coach wasn't around, but he left our workout with someone from the group. We did time pyramid intervals... good times. I did the intervals at 26s 100s (ie. 100 metres in 26 seconds) and it went like this:
200m, 300m, 400m, 400m, 300m, 200m (with equal rest in between each interval)
10 minute rest
200m, 300m, 400m, 400m, 300m, 200m
cool down, stretch

It was a really good workout. I got new shoes the other day and I could definitely feel the difference. It's funny how new shoes can give you a little extra bounce when you need it. Two weeks ago I couldn't do 26s 100s and this week I was doing more like 24s 100s. It felt a lot better, too. My ankles didn't hurt and I had a lot more "spring" and that's saying something on a concrete track (I think it's concrete).

All-in-all, I felt that today was very productive in terms of my training and it has helped me get back into the swing of things a bit. This week, my goal is to do all of the workouts my coach gives me... including weights!!!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Confessions of a vegan triathlete

It's true. It is confession time.
I love to watch The O.C. It is my guilty pleasure. I don't even watch t.v. normally, but I have been addicted to this show for many years now and since it doesn't hurt me that much, I accept it as a weakness. So what does this have to do with training?

I find it really hard to gear myself up to get on my bike trainer. REALLY HARD. I hate biking in one spot and not going anywhere. It is so boring. So the way I get myself to get on my bike (as of tonight) is to promise myself The O.C. So I watch old episodes and new episodes and it really helps me through the workout.

Tonight, for instance, I watched 2 episodes commercial-free for a total of 1:30 on the bike at a HR of 135bpm. [I was supposed to do some HR testing, but I couldn't find my HRM when I needed it. Turns out it was on my bike... figures. So I'll do it on Monday.]

This week was kind of a crap-shoot. On Wednesday and Thursday I was travelling and didn't get a chance to workout and Friday I was recovering. Then I fell off my bike because of the icy roads on Friday afternoon. Thank goodness for chiropractors working on Saturdays.

Tomorrow is a heavy day with me hitting the pool in the morning and then running in the evening. Good times. It's so cold here that I'm not running outside. I've set my lower limit at -20 with the windchill. Right now it's -26 (-36 with the windchill). We live in a crazy place.