Saturday, September 27, 2008

The whole package

It doesn't make sense in this sport to try and get better if you are not going to pay attention to the whole package. It doesn't make sense to log hours and hours on the bike, pounding the pavement or swimming in the pool or even time in the weight room if you are going to ignore other aspects of our sport like getting enough sleep, proper hydration and eating right and of course, believing.

I know this.

Yet, again this week I expected results and improvement on my long Saturday run but completely ignored part of the package -- proper hydration and nutrition. As I suffered through my 12 miles today, I got angrier and angrier at myself. I know I called myself stupid many times. I had showed up to run, with all my nutrition and hydration for the day, I was mentally ready to put the tough effort in, but I hadn't followed any semblance of proper pre-run fueling.

Let's see... my last two days started their precipitous dive on Thursday night with a salad, loaded baked potato (cheese, sour cream, bacon), a cheeseburger (no bun) and, to top it off, a half bottle of wine. Thursday night I slept like crap (bc of the half bottle of wine) and woke up tired and likely dehydrated too. So, I slept in, missed my swim workout and recovery run and headed to the office. I tried to get myself back on track with breakfast - some buckwheat waffles, toasted plain with a fruit protein smoothie, but then chose poorly again at lunch with too many chips and salsa to go with my fajita fillings, rice and beans. I repeated Mexican for dinner (I could eat it every meal if it were healthy) with some more rice and beans, chips and cheese dip, and shrimp fajita filling. I added my salt for the evening with 2 margaritas. My dessert, a 200 calorie gluten free peanut butter cookie from Trader Joe's that I've been craving since last December when I had them last. Then, rather than going to bed early to get some extra sleep, I stayed up late baking my unhealthy cookies, watching the presidential debates and then reading, get this, Nutrition for Endurance Athletes.

As I was berating myself on the run today, I counted my fluid intake from yesterday.... 2 margaritas, 1 cup of coffee, 10 oz fruit smoothie, and only 24 oz water. Pitiful. Is it any wonder my legs felt like lead, I suffered dehydration symptoms and in general had a crappy run?

I know better.

If I really want to improve, I need to commit. . . not just at workout time, but also throughout the day and week. Wanting it and believing will only carry me so far, I need to pay attention to the whole package. Its time to start!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Round and Round I Go.....

Over the past week I've been to the track twice. The first time, last Saturday, for my three mile timed run and tonight, for my weekly speed workout.

My results pretty much mimicked my love/hate relationship with the track. Tonight's workout was successful and I left the track feeling positive. Saturday's run was frustrating and disappointing and I left the track questioning the work I am putting in.

But whether I have a good results or mediocre ones, there is something that draws me back to track. Why? I'm not sure. For hours before these workouts, I dread the burn I know I'll feel in my lungs and legs. I get anxious about meeting goal times. And at times during the repeats, I'm working so hard I dry heave and want to walk off the track. But, on the other hand, there is something rhythmic in the work of intervals, a simplicity in my task. I like the lightness and quickness I feel in my stride that occurs at the very beginning of each new set. Its empowering to have to work hard. And finally, there is the thrill and surprise when I pour out my everything and I pass a goal time that on paper pre-workout seemed unattainable.

Tonight, as I finished my 4th of 6 600s, the sun was setting in the sky in bright hues of purple and pink, my heart was racing hard, and there was the beginning of fall's crispness in the air. And despite the hard efforts and my raspy breathing, at that moment it was nothing but peaceful. Just me and the track. I smiled, and set off for number 5.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A postcard from LA!

I got this postcard from LA today from TG40.

McQueen understands that Patriot Sangria is jealous. Don't worry Patriot Sangria. You'll be your own star after Mighty Man!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A mid-month update

Sorry for taking so long between posts. Last week was hectic with a trip to Chicago late night work hours. And this week, I've been exhausted and under the weather since Wednesday.

I wish I could report that things have been going swimmingly on my new back to school plan. But, they have not.

First, the nutrition. I have learned that my body can not handle a high protein diet. Twelve ounces of meat a day does crazy things to my stomach and I need more carbs to sustain my workouts. Consequently after 4 days on the diet, my stomach (and my husband) was saying STOP and my long run on the weekend was a disaster death march. So I dropped all the extra meat, but apparently (I learned today) didn't compensate with enough calories . . . which has contributed to this week's malaise. Today I returned to my nutritionist Tina and so hopefully after this weekend, I'll be back on track. New plan, new start.

Second, the strength training. This part is actually going well. I have gone each week to my Wed am core endurance class and as of Monday am now set up with a strength training program to add in one other day during the week. I am now able to laugh the day after core training without cringing from pain. Always a good sign :)

Running. Well I still really don't like it and my training gets mixed reviews. As I alluded to above, my first week's long run was a disaster. I had NOTHING for the entire run after mile 2. My HR soared, I walked a TON and for the first time ever I couldn't complete my mileage because I was too afraid I was going to pass out. Granted, it was extremely hot and humid that Saturday in Nagshead, but still my results were frustrating. How could I not run 14 measly miles when two weeks earlier I did a half ironman? Many kudos to TG SanDee for sticking with me and helping me shake it off afterwards. Total distance of the death march - 10 miles. Mid-week following, I did have a great track workout which helped me regain some confidence. And, last weekend's long run was MUCH better. 15 miles completed. My pace was a little slower than I would have liked (Ave 11 min) but I felt better during the run and was able to complete the distance. There were even a few times when the tunes on my ipod brought a smile to my face.

Which brings me to this week. Monday was great - my calfs were sore but I managed to get through a personal training session in the morning and then in the evening, head back out for a short 40 min run workout with 15 hill repeats wedged in the middle. While my legs felt the long run from the day before, they eventually loosened up and I actually felt strong bounding up the hill.

Tuesday was when I first started feeling wiped out. And so, I skipped my Tuesday evening easy cycle. Wed morning I headed out and made it through core class. I felt sluggish but I chalked it off to the 6 am hour and my upset stomach to dinner the night before. By mid day, my stomach felt rotten, I had chills off and on and I had a headache that wouldn't leave. I made it through the work day but collapsed that night on the couch at home and went to bed early. I felt slightly better yesterday but still sluggish. I made myself do my cycling workout before dinner - 75 mins of pedal stroke and cadence drills and riding. I had no legs for the workout and my sports drink made my stomach feel all bloated and gross. I managed to get through a normal dinner at Kitchen 64 and then headed to bed early in hopes of getting in my long run this morning before work.

When the alarm went off this morning, I knew 16 miles were not going to happen today. My head felt like it would explode and I was wiped out. So I rolled over and went back to bed for an hour or two.

Both Coach Harlow and my Nutritionist Tina concur. My body needs rest to fight off a bug I seemingly have caught AND I need to pay close attention to my calorie intake so I am eating enough. So no long run for me today. If I'm feeling well Sunday evening, I'm supposed to give it a go. In the interim, lots of fluids, enough calories and rest.