Thursday, January 29, 2015

Clawing Back

Somehow the last few months of vacation, holidays, and fun are showing up very clearly on the scale and in my clothes.  Hmm, wonder how that happened??!! 

What's done is done and I just now have to fight my way back. 

I told my running buddy I feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff and I've been there for a few months.  He keeps telling me to just keep showing up.

And it's finally working.  After a solid month of showing up, I'm feeling better.  Mentally, it's working.  I've been actually doing the workouts.  Nailing them.  Glad I am training by heart rate because the paces are just depressing, but at least I'm giving it the effort.

I resisted the urge to phone in a run multiple times in the last couple weeks.  We've had some tough workouts. 

Two weeks ago Thursday was a warmup and cooldown, and four progressive tempo miles in the middle, with a goal of accellerating by 15 seconds on each mile (so the last mile 45 seconds faster than the first).  I did phone it in a bit on the first of the miles, but mostly because I'm not quite sure of pacing and I didn't know what I'd be able to sustain.  I managed to do the progressive part of the run for each mile, ending up with my last mile 1:15 faster than my first.  Absolutely amazing for me!  Even when I'm in great shape, that's a tough run (because I usually push my first one too hard and there isn't enough left in the tank to make it properly progressive). 

This week, on Tuesday, we had a workout that was warmup/cooldown, and in the middle, two miles in zone 3 (which is basically around marathon pace), half a mile recovery, then another pair of two miles.  Of those 4 "business" miles, 3 of mine were within an 8 second spread -- the other (mile 3 of the 4) was about 15 seconds faster than any of the others.  I'll take it.

Today was hills.  Only 3 hills, about half a mile each (this is our "long" hill loop).  I ran the first two hard and I was considering phoning it in on the last one -- purely out of habit.  I'm used to being exhausted on the hills and I somehow got in the routine of "just finishing" the last repeat without worrying about pace or heart rate.  So today, I thought I'd run hard to the street light, about 60% of the way up the worst of the loop, and then I aimed for the "stop ahead" sign, about 66% of the way up the bad stretch, then I shot for the fire hydrant, about 75% of the way up, then I aimed for the slight turn, about 85% of the way up, and then the crest was in sight, and then I said, well, might as well finish out the flat part of the loop, and it was done.  "Just finishing" the last repeat is okay for me when we have a lot and I'm really struggling.  But only 3 loops?  There was no good reason for me not to push on the last one, even though it had been hard and I felt slow and I was struggling.  But it's done!

Slowly clawing my way back...

It's 3 steps forward and 2 steps back right now, but all due to my own choices/priorities.  We have tons of fun on the calendar in the next month. 

I'm flying up to KC in a couple hours.  Working this afternoon, work dinner tonight, working tomorrow, then spending the weekend with my best friend from law school and visiting a few high school friends, including my prom date, which will be great.

Next week there is a very small chance my middle little brother will be visiting but it seems unlikely, but next weekend is full -- dinner with a big group of friends, dinner with another couple, and then book club at our house.

And the following weekend is Mardi Gras!  The ball is actually on Valentine's Day so I bet there will be a lot of red dresses this year.  I haven't picked one yet, need to shop next weekend -- unfortunately, thanks to the last few months, I don't think any of the 5-10 that are in the closet will fit. 

But as long as I keep showing up, keep doing the workouts, keep hitting target heart rates and not stopping just because it feels hard, in the end, hopefully, God willing, I'll get back to where I want to be! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Carbon Footprint

Mostly just recording this momentous event for my own sake, but I thought it was cool.  Yesterday was Wednesday and both our cars sat in the garage at home all day.  And we both worked!  At our workplaces! 

Hubby took public transit to and from work, and I ran. 

Woot!  (See, finally made my resolutions and I'm getting to work on the commuting one already!) 

I don't think it's sustainable for either of us, but it's cool to do occasionally, and nice to have the option if we ever decided to become a one-car couple or a car was in the shop or something -- or I guess if we became a zero-car couple (which would not be by choice, and we would have been screwed since we drove to and from boot camp together before work, but at least we could still get to our jobs if we sold or lost our cars). 

It took him 1 hour and 27 minutes to get from the door of our house to his desk -- total distance of 11 miles.  That strikes me as a collossal waste of time. 

It took me about 40 minutes to get from the door of our house to my desk -- a total distance of less than 4 miles (including all my "building" time -- walking from the door through the lobby, elevators, hallways on my floor, etc.).  That strikes me as a perfectly appropriate commute that I should do more often since I was also getting in a work out at the same time. 

We've been toying with the idea of getting bikes.  I think my husband could be at the office in less than an hour if he biked (I'm sure the distance would be longer than 11 miles since he'd be taking smaller streets).  I could probably be at the office in about 15 minutes?  I don't really have a good guage of how long it takes to bike places.  I usually guess a speed of 15 mph but I don't know if that's a good estimate or not. 

Anyway, I was proud of us for doing it.  My husband said he liked it because he ended up watching a show on Netflix on his phone (The Fall, which I haven't watched).  I was happy to have the extra 7.5 to 8 miles under my belt. 

The bonus to hubby taking public transit was that I HAD to run home -- there was no possibility of him picking me up on his way home.  That's definitely good for me.  No excuses! 

But actually, yesterday was about the worst possible day to do this.  It rained last night.  By 6:30, it was steady.  Not pouring, but raining.  Hubby didn't have a jacket since it wasn't very cold, so he got wet in his work clothes since he had to wait a few minutes for a bus to go the final mile to our house.  And even with all the spare running gear I stash in my desk, somehow a running hat wasn't in the pile, so I also got very wet.  Ugh. 

Oh well, it was a good day not to have an excuse. 

Now to make this happen every week, at least for me...

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Resolutions, belatedly

So many blogs I read do these great posts recapping how they did on their prior year's resolutions and making new ones, but the general chaos that seems to be my life right now meant that I missed that boat.

A quick look at my 2014 resolutions.  Haha, looking back, I set them Feb. 1!  So maybe being behind the curve on resolutions is just my thing the last few years?  Anyway, lots more detail in the original post about what my intentions were, but here's the basic pass/fail test: 

  • Travel -- one new-to-me country, 6 fun trips NOT FOR WORK AT ALL.  New country done x3 (India, Nepal, UAE).  Fun trips?  Houston (doesn't really count since I drove), Mardi Gras, New Mexico (stayed at the same hotel where I stay for work, but with hubby and no work purpose to trip), home x2 (over the Fourth and Christmas), Pittsburgh, Portland, San Antonio (I said by plane, didn't say it had to be out of state!).  That's 8 trips for fun, done.  PASS.

  • Unplug before bed -- total fail.  I think I forgot this was even a resolution!  FAIL.

  • Entertain -- 6 dinner parties including 3 new to our home couples.  Sigh.  I wish I'd done better with this.  I did pull off a pretty large surprise party for my husband, so we definitely got 3 new couples.  And I can think of three other non-book club dinner parties (Italian friends, our anniversary, and the blueberry dinner) , but I definitely didn't plan out smaller dinners every couple months with friends at home as I did before.  Maybe I should give myself partial credit for hosting houseguests at least four times?  FAIL.

  • Legit PR -- FAIL.  Miserably.  2014 included 3 marathons, 3 half-marathons, 15 other races (5k-20k), and ZERO legitimate PRs.  I'm a little surprised to see that I had 21 races throughout the year, and three months (Feb., Aug., Oct.) only had 1 race each. 

  • Significant number of running commutes -- FAIL.  I barely did this at all.  Partially because I did a lot more yoga, and I can't really do both.  If I'm doing yoga, it is after work, and I have to bust my butt, driving as fast as possible to get there from the office.  Even if I ever was able to leave the office at 5 to have time to get to the 6:30 class on foot, I'd still have to deal with getting my yoga mat there, running home afterward, etc.  Just not doable.  And I don't think prioritizing yoga was a bad choice overall. 

  • Lose weight -- FAIL.  I'm about where I was last year, if not a little higher.  I stayed within the same range that I've been in for the last decade nearly, so I guess this wasn't really a priority. 

  • Finish our wedding scrapbook -- FAIL.  I made some progress early in the year, but I really should make that a goal before our sixth anniversary in April. 

  • Complete a 30 day Bikram Yoga Challenge -- PASS.  Done in April, complete with a few days of doubles.  I also attended pretty regularly all year. 

Overall, I don't think I did well.  I wish I'd done periodic check-ins to remind myself of my resolutions.

This year?  I want to make some of the same ones I had last year and actually do them in 2015! 

  • Legit PR.  Any distance, but legit.  I think this is a long shot. 

  • Return of the running commute.  I barely ran to work at all in 2014, after doing it for almost all my possible commutes in 2013.  Remember how 2013 included about 4 legit PRs and 2014 only included 1 that was illegitimate at that (a new-to-me distance)?  Hmm, I don't believe in coincidences!  But I'm probably waiting until Feb. to implement this.  It's blasted cold here lately!  We've had lows in the 30s lately and sometimes highs in the 40s (60s and 70s this past weekend, but they say more cold is coming).  I'm going to be gentle with myself.  Plus, January is a Bikram yoga kind of month for me.  The 105 degree heat feels good with the cold temps outside.  I really like to be warm! 

  • New to me country.  Odds are that it will be Morocco, but as long as I get to check out a totally new country, I'll be proud of myself. 

  • Laying out morning clothes the night before.  My husband is awesome at doing this and I'm not sure I like it, but I'm doing it.  In the end, I feel like it means less sleep for me.  I still wake up at the same time in the morning (anywhere from 4:30 to 5, depending on the day of the week (run v. boot camp)), but now that my clothes are laid out, I probably go to bed 1-2 minutes later than I would have.  So it's less sleep overall, but I look more put together?  Not that anyone cares.  But I will admit, that it's nice not to have to think about it in the morning, and if something takes longer than planned (filling a water bottle, putting a contact in inside out, whatever), I've got an extra minute or two. 

  • Dental appointment.  I am very consistent about going to the dentist twice a year for cleanings, but when I went in November, I had "the beginnings of a small cavity" and they said I need to come back and have it filled.  That sounds awful so I've been dragging my feet.  It needs to get done -- preferably in the first 60 days of 2015. 

  • Church 26 weeks of the year.  So far we are at 0.  We did better last year when it was MORE difficult with my husband's work schedule!  Need to get back on that horse.

How about if I only set 6 for this year?  Better chance of achieving them? 

I thought about putting something about languages on there, but it's going to be a half-@ssed year -- I want to keep up the Chinese but my husband really wants me to get back to Italian if we're going to visit his family in the fall, which is the current plan.  Maybe I should resolve to study a foreign language at least 30 mins per week and attend one foreign langauge class per week?  That would let me to go back and forth between Chinese and Italian. 

I really should do the entertaining one again.  I love that resolution and this past year shows me that if I don't think about my resolution, it doesn't just happen on its own accord, so a resolution might get me to have people over more. 

I definitely should put the scrapbook back on the list.  It's not going to get easier as the years pass!  I need to get it done already and put it with our wedding books. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Head Pains

For once, I'm writing to complain about a pain that has nothing to do with running or working out.  I'm at the point where it hurts to wash my hair.

We finally took down our tree last weekend, and I was bending over to take off a low ornament, and I stood up, whacking the back of my head into an overhanging corner of an armoire that holds our TV. 

It hurt so much that there were immediately tears in my eyes and I grabbed my head and held it as I ran to another part of the living room.  The fact that I knew to get off probably the best material possession in our house (a silk rug I bought in Thailand) was my first indication that it probably wasn't a mortal wound, but I was still pretty worried that I'd split my head open in a big way and I figured there was likely an imminent trip to the hospital.

I cried and cried and my husband basically had to pry my hand off to see if it was bleeding because I couldn't let go.

In fact, it wasn't bleeding at all, but over the last few days, it has developed into a goose-egg bump that hurts so much if my hand so much as grazes it.  I should have just put my hair into a ponytail once and left it alone all week. 

It has now been 5 days since that happened and it still hurts!  Definitely less than it did before, but yikes.  I guess it's probably like any other bruise and it will go away in a week?  10 days?  It actually throbs when I'm running.  How weird is that? 

I sometimes make a list in my head of what things in our house I'd want to keep and ship across the ocean if/when we ever move to Italy.  I am officially taking the armoire off the list.  It was always borderline because it's heavy and very Mission style, which likely wouldn't fit well in Italy, but at the same time, it's always been one of my favorite pieces.  Until now.

Pure evil.  Same as our coffee table for my husband, which is glass and seems to catch him on his calf about once a month.