Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11: Sugarland & Shakespeare

"Hard to beat an incredible machine,

made of blood and love and hope and lust and steam."

– Sugarland


  Today was my long jog day: thirteen laps around the track.  I'm dismayed to find that though I've increased the distance of jog and decreased the distance of walk, my overall time increased!  I have visions of being the last pirate to finish, with the volunteers picking up traffic cones behind me as I make my way toward the finish line.  There's no shame in finishing last, but I'd really rather finish unobtrusively in the middle.


  Several times during today's jog, I found myself close to tears.  I remembered elementary school gym classes: running a mile with a cramp in my side after my classmates had already finished.  I was moved by the lyrics in "Defying Gravity": "Everyone deserves a chance to fly!... to those who'd ground me, take a message back from me, Tell them how I am defying gravity, I'm flying high defying gravity."  I thought about the fact that the only person in my life who would try to ground me is me: the pessimistic voice in my head.  I've got support out the wazoo!  That thought overwhelmed me. 

"You may never know how far that you can go

till someone lifts your feet up off the ground."

– Sugarland


  Toward the end of my jog, I passed a man who'd just started walking the track.  He asked how I was, and I panted "tired."  He gave me two thumbs up and congratulated me for being there, and I jogged along and discovered the danger of simultaneously crying and jogging.  My throat started closing up!  Luckily I had water with me so I took a sip, practiced the breathing I use to stop cramps in my side, and soon was in control of myself again.


  A profoundly deep jog.  And yet as Shakespeare's Hamlet reminds me, none of this is to be taken too deep to heart: 

"What a piece of work is a man,

how noble in reason,

how infinite in faculties,

in form and moving how express and admirable,

in action how like an angel,

in apprehension how like a god!

the beauty of the world,

the paragon of animals—

and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?"



Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10

  In the midst of weightlifting yesterday, I talked to my trainer about how long it takes me to do a mile.  He said, "It won't take that long when you're jogging," to which I ruefully replied, "That is when I'm jogging."  J 


  So in addition to building up my endurance to jog 5K at all, I'm working at moving up from a snail's pace to a turtle's pace (and keeping an eye out for athletic turtle sportswear).  I shaved a minute off my time today, and did so without the aid of music (where is my mp3 player?) and without any knee pain (woohoo!).


  This was after waking up early on my own, and lying in bed for 10 minutes, telling myself I was too tired to go to the Y.  But my exercise brain wouldn't be silenced, and the rest of my morning is history.


  Oh, and my eating has been spot on.  I'm relieved to see that despite no longer attending Weight Watchers meetings, I've incorporated their lessons into my daily life.  I'm not saying it'll last forever, but I'm learning to stand on my own two feet.



Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9: Inspiration

  I'm really proud of navigating a recent off-kilter stretch.  Yesterday morning I got to the gym to realize that in my helter-skelterness I'd put my shirt on inside-out and was wearing two different kinds of sock.  My knee hurt when I jogged and was a little wobbly the rest of the day, and overall yesterday was just one of those days.


  Yesterday afternoon a friend invited me for an early morning bike ride today; naturally I said yes.  I laughed when I said to my husband that I felt like a dog going for a walk – not sure where I'd be going, but happy that someone would take me.  By bedtime though I was overtired and rethinking the bike ride idea.


  I slept badly all night, and when it was finally time to get out of bed, I was tired.  Blessedly, it turns out that due to a thunderstorm, my friend and I had to reschedule.  So I took a look at my weary face in the mirror and went back to bed.


  Today, being Thursday, is weightlifting day.  I assure you that I wanted no part of it.  I'm tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, and in dire need of stress relief, good luck, and a break.  But I evaluated how my body felt, and it felt traitorously up to the task of a workout, so I had no real excuse to skip out.


  I warmed up with a half hour bike ride, then met up with my trainer.  It's a darn good thing I didn't know what I was in for, or I'd never have gone to the gym today!  He wiped the floor with me!  At one point during endless shoulder work, I was listening to the sound of angels calling to me from the pearly gates. I asked David, "Am I ever going to get any stronger?"  He replied that we were working on muscular endurance.  Oh.  Well then.  Carry on with torturing me.


  I'd told David that I was training for the Pirate Triathlon, told him about the lake swim and all the rest.  Now he's making sure that my muscles are up to the challenge of endurance.  While part of me thinks it was really stupid to give David a reason to work me even harder than he has up to this point, the more mature and athletic part of me is grateful for his knowledge and encouragement.


  Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser worked with me today, too.  During wall sits, at which I'm becoming a pro, I wasn't thinking about my legs muscles, but about Bob telling me to focus on my breathing.  I took deep breaths in, and exhaled slowly.  Before I knew it, three sets of I-have-no-idea-how-long were done.


  When I got home I found my clothes and knee brace soaked through with sweat.  Only now that I've fed my muscles some milk and peanut butter am I starting to rejuvenate.  It's a good thing too, because school's out.


  Today was another lesson in "just do it" – just go to the gym if my body feels uninjured and capable.  And it was another lesson in "you really are strong, you really can endure."


  Now to reschedule our bike ride!



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June 8: I jogged a mile!

  So the good news is that I jogged a mile this morning on the treadmill!  Taking my lesson from the outdoor track, I slowed down to what is for me a sustainable pace.  I'd started by thinking I'd just jog 3 minutes, which turned into 5 minutes, which turned into 10, which turned into a mile.


  The bad news is that soon thereafter my knee started hurting enough that I got off the treadmill and onto an elliptical machine.  That wasn't much better, nor was walking back to my car.  So I'm sitting here with an ice pack on my knee and believing that I'll be able to find the secret to keeping my knee happy while training for and completing the Pirate Triathlon. 


  My eating has been pretty good; there's been a great influx of cherries, thanks to some really good cherries at Marc's (thanks for the tip, Mom).  Yesterday and the day before, I was craving salt, so maybe I'll spend a few minutes browsing the internet for likely causes of salt cravings.


  By Friday morning, one of my biggest challenges will take shape: my children's schooling will be done till August.  It'll be time for me to adjust to the changes that go along with having my kidlets around all day – enduring their little tiffs, their summer-long requests for ice cream, the boredom that sets in after weeks of being assignment-free. Thankfully, my kids are also really great kids, and usually everything can be made right by a trip to the pool.  I'm already working out how I might be able to swim laps during the kids' rest periods.


  Jogging, diet, kids' summer break – they're all challenges which I can handle well if I prepare myself and stay positive.



Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6: Weekend book ban

  This morning I've mandated a personal ban, or at least a weekend moratorium, on books about triathlons.  I'm eager and excited until I crack open books about them; then I come away with all manner of catastrophic triathlon images in my mind.  This is one of those cases where ignorance is bliss. 


  On the other hand, I'm perfectly welcome to talk with people who have participated before, and to read up on how to improve my skills.  Take swimming, for example.  Over the weekend I watched a couple on-line training videos and read about improving speed (I'm going for efficiency) in the water.  I absorbed the lessons and practiced this morning.  The result: I can now pretty comfortably breathe to my left or right in my stroke!    


  My plan is to continue with my training schedule (which is evolving), learn what I can to increase my endurance and efficiency, and make sure I've got my equipment in good order (thank you for installing my kick stand and new hand grips, O Wonderful One!).


  Here's a fantastic accomplishment:  Even as recently as last Friday, my neighborhood jogging goal was to reach the lamppost in front of #94.  Know what I did?  Immediately after this morning's bike/swim/bike combo, I jogged past it!  I jogged all the way to the end of my street, walked the end cap, and then jogged all the way home.  I'm planning to measure the distance around the block so I can calculate how many laps it would take to cover a mile (or 3.1), though I'm likely to lose count well before I reach that many laps.


  So the lesson here is the same as I've found it to be in Lighten Up, Weight Watchers, and life in general: focus on me and what I need to do, and keep it positive. Put my oxygen mask on first.  Believe it, be it.  Just do it.  It's meant to be, and it's up to me.