Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 18: Jalking

* For the purposes of my blog, I've decided to use a new term: jalking.  Jalking is what I do on the track.  I thought about calling it wogging, but there were just too many gs to type and, frankly, I do much more of the alk than the j so it's only fitting that I use the appropriate portion of letters.


  Saturday morning: my stomach came undone last night & this morning; still dizzy from ear problems; knee hurting like it wanted ice and rest.  So I ate raisin bran with milk, waited a while, biked to the track, and jalked 13 laps.


  My legs felt like they were made of lead and wrapped in concrete, and I was short of breath pretty quickly.  I kept mentally berating myself for not losing weight (again!), wincing at my pear-shaped shadow on the ground, and thinking about being the slowest person in The Upcoming Event.  But I kept going.  I may be slow and fat, but there's more to me than that.


  Eventually I completed the second mile (the second mile is always the hardest for me).  The track became a little cozy with people, so my mind wandered from worrying about my slowness to worrying about weaving in and out of people (since everyone else was walking and I was jalking, I did have to pass people).


  I stopped thinking about books' description of good stride, and just went with what felt reasonably comfortable.  However, I didn't let myself get too comfy in the alks between js.  I began doing little bursts a little faster.  My 5K jalk still took forever, but I kept it interesting for myself.  (I'll do my best on July 24, but I sincerely hope that the volunteers working the event don't have grand plans they're itching to get to by early afternoon – I'll still be jalking my way along the course for quite some time.)


  Here are questions I came away with today:

1.   When describing the bike portion of the race, why do books say to pedal along rapidly in low gear to conserve leg strength?  Pumping my legs fast and 'easily' is way harder than pushing slowly and with strength.  Am I doing this all wrong?

2.   What's track etiquette?  Pass toward the inside or outside of the track?


  Now to find the ice pack.



Friday, June 17, 2011

June 17: recovery day

  When I stretched out to fall asleep last night, my abs were already protesting the day's workout!  That's not supposed to happen till the next day!  I'm sure there's a rule somewhere that says worn-out muscles don't hurt till the sun and moon have traded places twice.  Since I was already feeling it last night, I was pretty sure I'd be feeling it this morning.


  This morning I don't hurt as badly as I'd expected, though I'm sore in more places than I expected, particularly in my upper arms and abs.  I had the usual "I don't wanna,/Yes I do" wake-up conversation with myself (why do I bother?  I know I'll always get up) and biked to the Y.  On my way to the Y there were good moments (saw rabbits!) and less pleasing moment (was left in the dust by a biker showing absolutely no apparent effort – what's that about?). 


  At the Y, I received another t-shirt I'd earned, and happily found that the smaller size I requested is the right size now!  And then…


  I enjoyed the water in the pool.  I felt it, listened to it, moved through it, and felt utterly relaxed and happy.  I wasn't pushing it today; today I simply swam.  Every now and then I worked on different strokes and kicks, analyzing them and seeing how they felt.  Today's swim was not about fast, but about taking some time to breathe in and out and torpedo and glide.



Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.  It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 16: Reduced Speed Ahead

  Sometimes a lack of speed makes it possible to complete a task, say completing a 5K.  For me to increase speed would result gasping breaths and cramping sides.


  Other times, lack of speed makes exercise a whole lot harder.  Take weightlifting for example.  People usually lift and relax at a fairly steady clip.  I occasionally see guys at the gym bustin' out heavy weights as fast as they can, bulking up those biceps.  When you want to really gain strength and not bulk up, though, slow and steady wins the race.


  And then there's what David coached me through today: almost everything was in slow motion.  Not merely a steady rhythm, but taking three times as long for each lift and relaxation.  It's hard enough with weights; with four types of crunches followed by push-ups on an inverted stability ball at the end of an hour-long session, it's grueling.


  I was treated to a really good workout today and promises of more to come.  Next session of Women on Weights at the Euclid Y starts next week, and David tells me he's filling up a bag of tricks to use as we go forward.  I can hardly wait!



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 15: Diary of an Emotional Eater

  Yesterday I created an eating log so that I could track what I eat, when, and why.  But I quickly realized that I would do well to track when I wanted to eat and what seemed to prompt that urge.  I found the task to be enlightening, frustrating, and heartening.  When I saw in print how frequently during the day I want to eat for reasons other than hunger, I was amazed.  And though at the end of the day I did succumb to fatigue eating, I applaud myself for the half dozen times I overcame the urge to eat emotionally.  That took a lot of strength.  I'm going to keep that log again today.


  When the alarm clock went off today, once again I didn't want to get up and go to the gym.  I suspect that in addition to a raging head sinus infection, I suffer some level of bi-polar.  There are weeks when I'm so jazzed up that I can barely shut my brain down to go to sleep; life is effortless.  Then there are weeks like this one, when I have to force myself up and out of bed and go through my daily routine.  There are weeks when I'm all about fresh produce; and weeks like this when I can't summon the energy to slice a pineapple.  Again, I'm hoping that this log I've created for myself will help.


  Back to the point: though I would have preferred to stay in bed, I got up.  Though I would have preferred to drive to the Y, I biked.  Though I would have preferred to quit after one mile on the cross-trainer, I then walk-jogged a mile on the treadmill, even jogging the complete quarter mile at the end.  Though I would have preferred to not wear my sweatshirt home over my t-shirt, I put it on and discovered as I was biking home that I was glad I did.


  When it's in my power, when I've got the emotional fortitude, to choose between what I want and what's best for me, I seem to do well with making the right choices in a lot of areas.  I'm glad for that. Now I need to train myself to make the right choices about food, even when I'd rather stare glassy-eyed at the wall or reach for a spoon and a jar of peanut butter to numb my stress.  I'm formulating a little plan, and the food log is just part of it.  I need to do as much on my own as I can, with a little help from prayer & my support team.


  So hooray for what I've already accomplished today and for what I will accomplish today. 


  A little inspiration from today's workout music:

Faith is believing you can close your eyes and touch the sky…

Hold on tight to what you feel

 and ride.

-- Martina McBride


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14: a different kind of workout

  Today's going to be a forced day off from training.  The cause is not an injury, thank goodness, but a realization that I haven't taken a day off since June 5 (it's best to take one day of rest each week) and that I need to get my act together as far as having my kids home from school with me for the summer.


  I struggle with the usual mommy angst: being a good mom but wanting to break out of routine.  Our kids are too young to be left alone while I jaunt off to do something fun for me, and I'm reluctant to look for someone to watch the kids if there's nothing I need to get done.  They're my kids and my responsibility to be with them.  My husband's already working two jobs; I feel like a spoiled brat for wanting the luxury of me time.


  And yet I want it.


  I struggle with finding activities that interest an age range spanning from 3-11 plus 37, and that can be started or stopped at the drop of a hat as other playmates wander through.  I struggle and struggle, then find myself crying in the laundry room or looking for food to numb the bewilderment and fatigue.


  Do I get time for me?  Yes, absolutely.  In these early hours I have time to exercise or write or read.  It's my choice to exercise rather than do something imaginative like window shop.  And on days when I'm lucky, even my littlest will play with the neighbor kids for fifteen minutes before running back to wrap herself around my leg.  In those minutes, the easiest task to complete is eating something, making something disappear.  It's way harder to cut fabric strips or sew pieces together; it's less tempting to fold laundry again or to pick up the clutter again.


  So since I'm taking a day off from the gym, I'm going to see about taking things step by step.  Maybe I'll clear the kitchen table entirely (again) so the kids can have their meals & snacks there.  Then I can have the dining table set up all day with my sewing toys, allowing me to sneak in some moments of progress and eventually be able to show some accomplishment in something.  What I'd love to do is just go to a non-grocery store and simply look around and see things and get new ideas.


  I'll also continue to cherish this struggle: the struggle of having my kids so much a part of my life.  The days when they'll grow up and move on draw ever closer on the horizon, and I want to be happy and healthy with them while they're still close to the shores of home.



Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13: back to work

  My gastro-indulgent weekend is behind me. Or perhaps given the sugar, salt, and fat I consumed, it's still with me.  Either way, I've given myself strict instruction to return to healthy eating today.  Somehow or other I'm going to make that lunchtime salad be just as appetizing as a hot dog fresh off the barbecue and that ambrosia.


  Yesterday morning I challenged myself to bike 12 miles, which is roughly what I'll be doing on that not-so-distant July morning.  I identified little quirks to deal with, and felt good overall.


  This morning I worked my first brick.  A brick, I've learned, is triathlon-ese for doing 2 of the 3 events.  So this morning I did a swim-bike brick.  I swam with my tri-shorts on over my suit, then biked soaking wet for just 6 miles.  I don't know whether I should have biked all 12 today, but today I made the choice to bike for 6 miles and I'm happy with it.


  Halfway through yesterday's 12-mile ride and near the end of today's 6-mile ride today, my stomach requested attention.  Yesterday being part of a gluttonous weekend, I fed it with a homemade trail cookie (raisins, peanuts, m&ms, and of course lots of sugar, butter and flour).  Today, getting myself back on the straight & narrow, I'm thinking Greek yogurt with grape nuts mixed in is the way to go.