Am I A Failure?

New running shoes

I swear the world is fighting against me to thwart my efforts in training for the triathlon on July 1st. I never had this much trouble training for a half-marathon!

I think I narrowed it down to these things:

1. New house/garden.
I’ve never had a vegetable garden before, and the prep work for that has been a lot of work. I also have established plants (asparagus & strawberry patch) that need maintenance and picking on a nearly daily basis. Also, putting the final touches on the house eats up time.

2. Social life.
I know, wah wah wah. I have an active social life. But, having SO many things going on – especially on nights and weekends (my prime workout time) – it puts a cramp in my training schedule.

3. Work stress.
My job – compared to what it was 2 years ago when I was training for the half – has exploded in terms of workload and responsibilities. I’m more mentally exhausted at the end of the day and as a result, it makes it damn hard to get motivated.

4. Eating healthier.
Since the move and due to the above factors, I seem to have less time to cook and plan meals. Which means we’re either eating out or getting takeout a lot more than we used to and I’m getting frustrated with that. Thus, more of my focus is shifting to cooking healthier dinners.

5. Training time.
I can train for running events in a relatively short amount of time on any given day because all I have to do is:

  1. put on workout clothes,
  2. put on running shoes, and
  3. GTFO.

With the bike, there’s:

  1. put on cycle clothing,
  2. put on cycle shoes,
  3. get water bottles filled up,
  4. get bike down from garage rafters and check the tire pressure and address any other mechanical issues,
  5. put on helmet and gloves,
  6. make sure I have my phone in case of mechanical issues, and
  7. GTFO, and
  8. upon return, put everything away.

And swimming?

  1. find swimsuit, goggles and swim cap; pack in gym bag,
  2. find two towels; pack in gym bag,
  3. make sure lock AND KEY for the locker room is in the bag,
  4. drive to the gym,
  5. change into swim clothes,
  6. shower and get hair wet before putting on swim cap (mama don’t need green hair, yo!),
  7. swim (a.k.a. GTFO)
  8. shower to rinse out chlorine,
  9. change into regular clothes,
  10. drive home, and
  11. shower for real.

I don’t count “showering” after running and biking because I usually shower later in the evening after I’ve stopped sweating. No sense showering if I’m still sweating! But with the pool, I can shower once I get home. Why at home? Well, it’s just less crap I have to pack and haul to the pool and frankly, showering (for real) at the gym sucks. But I do need to get the chlorine out of my hair, so I can’t skip it.

Yes, I know the packing stuff with the swimming can be done ahead of time, but it still takes time regardless of *when* I do it. It also doesn’t take that much time. It’s the driving and changing clothes two times that does it.

And I know what some of you are thinking: “Carolyn, why don’t you just work out in the morning?” For those of you who haven’t had the “joy” of seeing me in the morning, I have an alter-ego named GROG who acts a lot like Drunk Hulk over on Twitter and GROG hates getting up early.

Angry Uhu

(not me, but pretty damn close as to my morning attitude – except more grumpy)

Plus, the few times I tried it, I was so stressed out trying to get everything done before work and was tired/ravenous the rest of the day. Mornings + me = bad.

* * * * *

I saw my cousin who is three years my junior this weekend at my niece’s graduation party – the same cousin who signed up to do a half marathon, the Warrior Dash and now this tri and goaded me into doing the same – and she’s in worse shape than I am. I’m not sure when I got or why I have this sense of competition with her, but I do. Having her tell me that she’s “seriously going to die” doing the tri somehow made me feel better.

I’ve swam a quarter mile already. Albeit, not all at once, but I did that my first (and only) time in the pool! I’m pretty confident if I get to the pool at least 4 more times between now and July 1, I’ll be in good shape. Besides, I’m just shooting to finish, not be super-fast or anything.

Once I install my new saddle on the bike, I’ll be stoked to GTFO and put some miles on. Unless my body/fitness has changed dramatically over the past 3 years, I’ll be able to knock out a 13 miler with no trouble.

With the running, I’m up to 30 minutes nonstop running and I did 4 miles on Saturday. Granted, I had a pee break 1.5 miles in and the last mile was more of a 2min run, 30sec walk. So in the next month, I want to get up to 6 miles running (w/no breaks) and I should be OK doing the 5k after the swim/bike. Going to do some bricks of bike/run the week before the race too.

All in all, I should be in good shape.

My goal: to finish.

And beat my cousin. 😉

So am I a failure? Considering, I think I’m doing pretty well.

A Weekend of New Things

Pink Leopard @ Mt. Fuji,  Uptown Minneapolis

It’s been a weekend of shaking things up!

I tried Qigong. Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. I picked up a DVD when I was replacing some long-lost favorite yoga DVDs.

I tried to get Tim to do yoga with me, but he had tendon replacement surgery in his right hand years ago and he can’t do a lot of poses that yoga requires (like downward dog) without a lot of pain. So, to give him the meditative benefits of yoga, I thought Qigong would be a good thing for us to try. I went through the first 5-10 minutes of the DVD before I did yoga and was pretty impressed. Might have to get him to do it with me tonight after my personal trainer session! 🙂

I discovered I love sushi. I’ve tried sushi before and hated it. What ended up being the case was the seaweed wrap on the sushi; I am not a fan. I’ve even tried the seaweed salad at my favorite Japanese restaurant and again, hated it. Which is sad because seaweed is FULL of nutrients!

Back to the sushi. We met our awesome friends for happy hour at a bar/restaurant nearby and had a great time. When it came time to decide where to go for dinner (we didn’t want to eat at the bar we were at), they all exclaimed they wanted sushi at the restaurant next door. Tim and I gave each other a nervous glance (Tim liked sushi as much as I did) and our friends said “they have other food too!”

Problem solved!

Except we were both feeling adventurous! 😉

So I ordered a small bowl of shrimp fried rice as my “just in case” dinner option and let our friends order for the table. I had sushi and sashimi and loved every bit of it! My new favorite rolls are the “Pink Leopard” (shown above) and the “Green Tea”. Both are wrapped in a soybean wrap and with no seaweed in sight!

We liked it so much, we considered going there for supper Sunday night! But clearer heads prevailed and we decided to go back later in the week! 🙂

Tim and I are going to become vegetarian (or even vegan). We watched most of the documentary “Forks Over Knives” Friday night and having seen “Food, Inc”, it just seems the right thing to do for our health. Also, since I’m a huge environmentalist, it just makes sense for the health of the planet.

I have a good friend who has been on a vegan diet for over a month now, and has been having fantastic results! This is a friend whose pastimes included curing meats (especially bacon!) and eating all things porcine. I’m going to interview him for the blog to get his story in the next week or two.

Yes, I know this flies in direct conflict with our new-found love of sushi. But, with any new process, it needs to be gradual: red meat first, then pork/chicken, then perhaps fish. We may just end up being pescetarians when this is all done. Which would let us continue to be sushi fanatics! 😀

What fun, new things did you do over the weekend?

Working Out In The Winter

That's a lot of drifting

In a few days it’ll be Halloween. After that, it’ll be November.

While this fall has been pretty nice, it’s only a matter of time before the view out my front door resembles the photo above (which is the view out my front door after a snowstorm in 2007). For someone who loves to run outside, winter creates a number of problems for me:

  • I won’t run in the dark. I’m not a morning person, so working out after a full day at my job works the best for me. Since it gets dark around 4:30pm in the winter – when I’m leaving work – it’s completely dark by the time I get home.
  • I won’t run in temps below freezing. I have year-round allergies and running in below-freezing weather causes me no end of respiratory problems. I can handle lower aerobic activities like snowshoeing, but running is a no-no.
  • I won’t run in the snow/ice. Too slippery and I’d rather not injure myself. Plus, combined with the darkness, it’s hard to see any items that would make you trip or fall.

Because of this, I’m relegated to running on the treadmill at my gym over the winter.

As a distance runner (I think anyone who can run more than a 5k on a regular basis is a distance runner), there’s nothing more painful than transitioning from running outside to running on the treadmill. I try so many different things to distract myself from the fact that I’m running nowhere and staring at a wall while I’m doing it. I try audio books, podcasts, and music and it helps somewhat, but I just can’t help but think “am I done yet?” when I’ve barely put two miles in on the treadmill!

To help this year (inspired by Angela’s goals), I’m going to try a number of new items. First, I’m going to try transitioning to running in a minimal shoe – like a Vibram Five Fingers or a Merrell Barefoot – which will allow me to initially run a shorter distance on the treadmill and give me a goal to build up my distance. I picked up a pair of the Barefoot Pace Gloves this summer just to wear out and about and they’re quite nice, so I already have all the equipment I need to start!

Secondly, I’m going to try fartlek workouts on the treadmill. Yes, I know I just said “fart” (heh), but fartlek is Sweedish for “speed play” and it’s training that will help improve your overall speed. That’s one thing I really need to work on over the winter as I’ve lost a good minute per mile since my injury.

Finally, I’m going to try and stick to this plan of exercise throughout the winter months:

I think combining those two plans and following my structure of working out to get me through each week, I think this winter will (hopefully) go by fast!

What’s your winter workout plan?