running out of time…

I’ve hit the point in training where I no longer have enough time. Even the longest day of the year, just a few days ago, there was not enough time to fit in my training and the things I needed to do. Let alone the things I wanted to do…

Runs are now just barely fitting into lunch with a fake clean-up afterward- just enough so that my co-workers don’t boot me out in the afternoons. The long runs have to fit in the evenings or weekends now, competing for time with the bike rides, which are now mostly in the 2-3:30 hour range and the primary occupier of the evening hours, say roughly from 5:30-8:45. I suppose one could make an argument for morning workouts. But let’s face it. If you’re telling me I could go workout in the morning, you probably don’t know me very well at all. Sleep is another important part of training. Don’t get me started on that.

You do the math. There’s not time for much else these days. You know, things like grocery shopping, let alone cooking (come to think of it, I’m not exactly sure what I’ve been subsisting off of lately. Suffice it to say, it’s probably too embarrassing to list here anyways). Hanging out with friends (unless they’re on a bike or running alongside!). Playing with the dogs. Getting an oil change. Cleaning the house? Fuhgettaboudit.

Ah. And this would explain the recent lack of blog updates as well. My bad.

Time, or rather, the lack of it is a common challenge with any training program. But I’ve found it to be especially noticeable over the past 2 or 3 weeks or so.

This feeling of not having enough time is accompanied by a, well, a  feeling of not having enough time – that is, there are just 6 weeks till race day. That sentence distinctly makes me feel like I’m running out of time, even more than trying to go grocery shopping AND cook dinner at 9 p.m. at night.

Tick tock, tick tock!

Advertisements

in the blink of an eye…

Yesterday we took advantage of the cool, but very pleasant weather, the Memorial Day holiday (day off) and a really fantabulous 70 mile long multi-use trail we have in the area that we had (remarkably) never used before. We were slated for a 3 hour bike ride this coming weekend (the end of week 11), but bumped it to yesterday because we had all the time in the world and who knows what the weekend would look like.

Along the way, we were graced by 3 moose and countless great blue herons in the river and marshes alongside the trail. It was quite easy to get distracted by the abundance of wildlife. And it would have made the time go by really quite quickly if it weren’t for a persistent headwind that kept us from really cruisin’.

We were making pretty good time despite the headwind. But our heads were on swivel sticks. Looking this way and that to glimpse all of the creatures we could see. And somewhere along the way, I decided to look down – at my shoulder, I think – and in that second, maybe two, I drove my bike right off the side of the trail into the soft gravel that grabbed my tire and threatened to take me down.

Now, I know what you’re thinking right now.  “Didn’t she just fall off of her bike not too long ago?”  I’m not going to justify that ridiculously inquiring line of thought with a straight answer (see answers here and here); suffice it to say I may or may not have some injuries that may or may not have originated from a certain incident approximately 5 weeks ago.

As is always the case when you’re falling off of your bike, it all happens in slow motion. Well, steering off of the trail happened in the blink of an eye, but what happened after that was Matrix-dodging bullets-slow.

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

“Not…”

“a-”

“-gain…!”

“(insert self-scolding)”

“@#%$^%)*!”

“Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

Fortunately, in this particular instance, I was able to steer myself back onto the path and slow my bike to a stop. Rather gracefully considering the circumstances if I do say so myself.

And eventually, I was able to swallow my heart and put it back into its rightful place in my chest and get it to beat at a less frantic pace. Eventually.

Talk about a close call. I mean, really.

And I can hear you judging me – “GOOOOOOD-ness! Someone get that girl some training wheels!”  At this point, I can’t say I blame you. I will certainly not turn down training wheels. Elbow pads. A-D-D meds. Whatever would help. This is madness.

All I can say is this – please be careful out there. You may not have the same tenuous relationship with your bike as I do, but all it takes is the blink of an eye to steer off the trail, hit some gravel, or lose control and turn your training ride into a trip to the hospital or worse. I’ve had enough mishaps on my bike for a lifetime (or at least it feels that way with how things have gone lately). I think I might even start taking my own advice: Take ‘er nice and easy out there. Happy riding.

bugs in my grill…

Today’s 2nd workout of the day was a biking one, one that involved hills. The workout called for 1 hour and 15 minutes on the bike, with a warm up / cool down and a hill climb set consisting of 10×1 minute climbs with 2 minutes active recovery in between.

I parked about 6 miles from a local hill that I knew from past experience was more than a 1 minute climb (especially early in the year when I’m a slow climber) and set to work. The 6 miles to the hill provided a nice, if a little too short, warm up. Then I turned into the crazy lady that set up the hill and turned around 3/4 of the way up like I gave up or something. Over and over and over again. I can just see the thought bubbles of passersby, “what a quitter, she was so close to the top!” It’s days like this when I feel like I need a shirt that advertises my workout. Yes, I’m only going 3/4 of the way up, but I’m also going up it 10 times. Stop judging me!  Ironically, but probably not surprisingly, I would totally judge someone I saw turning around without making it to the top. Pansy. But I digress…

There was something that I quickly remembered about me and biking hills. And biking in the spring. Ah. There are lots of bugs out right about now. And when I’m going up hills, I catch a lot of them. In my mouth. On my face. In my helmet. The harder and longer the hill, the more bugs I catch. Lovely little springtime surprises.

As I’m rounding out climb number 6 or 7, I pass this old guy who I had seen going the other way a few hills back. Like I say, he’s old. Square glasses, pot belly, white hair, bright yellow spandex jersey, not moving super fast. Now, I had waved to him the first time I saw him… this is standard fare for me, to greet other bikers and runners I see.  The first time I passed him, he just smiled. But the second time? The second time he opted to – no joke, I can’t make this stuff up – blow me a kiss.  Yeah, seriously. Like a little nod and a “hey baby” kiss.

What? Who does that? I KNOW!  I thought the same exact thing! And funnier (to me anyway) is that, by this point in time, my face is red and sweaty, and I’ve probably got who knows how many bugs stuck to my face, in my teeth. I spit a few out bugs along the way, so I can imagine that I’m looking pretty A-MAZING, not that I really care at that particular moment but it’s a great visual and added to the situation, it cracks me up all the more. Hot stuff ahead with bugs all up in her grill.

Oh boy, people are so very very awkward…

Being on a bike, I zoomed past in a jiffy (with a really? / what the heck?! look on my face) and within seconds was thankfully clear of any more weirdness, at least for the time being…

 

so long, stinky ts…

Workout clothing has made huge strides in the past 10-15 years or so. Remember the old cotton ts we used to work out in when we were in high school? Running stairs during volleyball practice in those hot, “Heavy Cotton” Fruit of the Loom Ts? I mean seriously – they said HEAVY COTTON, like that was a good thing! My 1st 5k was in a cotton t and my reward for finishing said 5k? A cotton t commemorating the day.

These days, technical ts rule my closet and drawers. I’m more likely to do a race that promises technical ts to the successful finishers. Shallow, sure. But it’s the new standard. My old cotton Ts have been relegated to the bottom of the drawer and dozens more race Ts are stashed in a box, awaiting their future as a Race T quilt.

photo found here

I live in technical ts in the spring, summer and fall (and who am I kidding, winter too), sweating in them hours a day, every day. Especially when it’s race season. And while each technical t maker will undoubtably tout the “quick-drying, moisture wicking” qualities of the t-shirt, with some even claiming to have “antimicrobial” qualities that “CONTROL THE GROWTH OF ODOR CAUSING MICROBES”, after some time, these Ts too will stink. Even if you follow the proper care instructions, it’s just a matter of time. This season, though it is still early, I’ve noticed a few of my favorite workout ts are in definite need of retirement. How do I know this? Well. It’s like as soon as I start sweating in them, all of the smell of all of the sweat I’ve EVER sweat in them comes rushing out in a nasty rush of highly offensive wafts that aggressively attack my nostrils (and presumably the nostrils of those around me, if anyone should be so unfortunate as to be within a quarter mile of me at the time…). How embarrassing. You know its time to dump those old ts when, 5 minutes into your workout, people start sniffing the air, wondering where that horrible scent has arisen from and why, oh why, they must be present to bear witness to it on this of all unfortunate days.

Dear old ts, you’ve been good companions, nothing but loyal and efficient servants in times of overheating and high perspiration, faithfully wicking moisture away from my body in my times of need. But I’m afraid its time for us to part ways.

Running store websites are calling my name, their pages full of colorful new ts and the promise of a (temporarily) clean slate. It’s that time. Time to start anew. A-shopping I will go. Trust me, my nose (and your nose) will thank me later.

photo by Fleet Feet

veggies and cookies…

The other day, I ran out to the grocery store to get some fruits and veggies… a common trip; we go through produce pretty fast ’round these parts. I tore through the produce corner real quick-like: bananas, snap peas, green beans, spinach, mushrooms, a cucumber.  The mangoes were an impulse buy. I knew exactly what I wanted – stuff for some stir-fry, stuff for some smoothies – so I was in and out in 5 minutes.

Yet, here’s what I came home with:

There were these really super persuasive Girl Scouts right outside the door to the grocery store… and by really persuasive, I mean, they were basically just standing there. They might have asked me if I wanted to buy some Girl Scout Cookies. Or maybe they just pointed at me and then pointed at the table full of cookies. Let’s just say I was no bastion of strength in the face of these magical cookies.

I figure it evens out my food groups, right? Fruits, veggies and sugars? Ha. More like they’ll be tasty little rewards for things like taking the time to stretch post-workout or doing the laundry.

But I do have to say, even though I was weak that night, all 4 boxes are sitting in my freezer right now… out of sight out of mind. It’s reassuring to know that they’re there if I want them though (for now anyway, until my hubby discovers them!)!

on why spinning bikes are my archenemy…

I was thinking about this today – remember that one time I fell off of a spin bike? No? I do. Like it was yesterday. And it’s a special story about a very special girl…

Last time I was training for a 70.3, similar to this year, the beginning of training season was a nasty, snowy, rainy mess. (It’s been snowing and raining since Day 1 of training!)  Naturally, I’d much prefer to be outside as much as possible, but sometimes it’s more reliable to just plan for an inside workout. And a good substitute for biking outdoors is taking a spin class.

photo found here

Spinning classes are a hot commodity around here. We live in a pretty active community, lots of triathletes in town and all of us are trying to get some bike miles under our belt while the roads and trails are still covered in the snow. It seems like all of them require you to reserve a space in advance and I have a hard time planning ahead, so on this fateful evening, I  found myself hitting up the spin bikes alone after the classes had cleared up – around 8 p.m. or so and the gym had (fortunately) emptied out quite a bit. The lights in the room were out and just enough light was filtering in through the glass doors for me to function, so I plugged in my headphones and went for it.

Something I have always struggled to understand is the benefit gained from the part of spin class where your bike has zero resistance and your legs are literally just spinning at the whim of the bike. Being still pretty new to the spinning scene, it struck me as both odd and a waste of class time – I get far more out of the climbs and the higher-resistance portions. Nonetheless, on this particular evening, I had decided to mimic a recent class I had taken so in between some climbs, I dove into the frantic uncontrolled spinning part of the workout.

Now, a quick note for those who haven’t been on a spin bike – there is usually some sort of hand brake that you push down on to slow the pedals. This is an important feature to remember because spin bike pedals do not slow down when you stop pedaling – not like they do on a normal bike. On spin bikes, the pedals just keep right on spinning (I’m assuming this is where they get their name…). Here’s the part where I went wrong. I stopped pedaling and as I tried to stop, my foot, trapped in the cage on the pedal, kept right on moving at Mach speed and went from flexed at the bottom of the cycle (heel driving downward) to pointed at the top of the cycle. And then my weight just rolled over that ankle and it collapsed. And I fell. Off the bike.  Bruised my ego, yes indeedy. And had a doozy of a bruise on the back of my hamstring from when the back of my leg hit something as I was falling (I’m still not exactly sure what…). And that is the story of that one time I fell off of a stationary bike.

These days, I only hit the spin bike when I have no other viable options. And I skip the crazy spin part where you have no control over what your legs are doing – I pedal on, but I keep my resistance high and stay in control. Because in truth, when I’m on that crazy contraption, all I can think is, “Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall!”  And I totally mean it! And sure, it’s embarrassing to be the girl that fell of a spin bike, but at least no one witnessed this ridiculously clumsy and not-at-all graceful exhibition of extreme uncoordination. But can you imagine if you were the girl who fell off a spin bike with 20 other people present?! I would probably take someone out with me as I went. Oh man, I would NEVER live that down!

Bike Fall / FAIL; photo found here