Sunday, January 24, 2016

Back To Basics: Week 2

I did it...I had another perfect week!  That's not to say that all the workouts were perfect (because they weren't), but I didn't skip any of them.

After 6 days of workouts, this was much appreciated.  I squeezed in a call to my bike guy about that awful creaking sound, worked until about 6-6:30, came home, scarfed down some leftover spanakorizo (I swear I'll take a picture the next time I make it), did a little laundry, played with the bunnies, and crashed hard.

1000 yard swim.  This wasn't easy, but I felt pretty good in the water.  I think my body is slowly remembering how this whole swimming thing works.  The key word here is S.L.O.W.  I'm not fast in the pool, but I'm okay with that.  I'm hoping that all this base building leads to less open water freakouts once I get to that point.  After the swim, Mr. R&R and I were both starving so tacos were on the menu again.  Perhaps Taco Tuesday will become a thing around here?

My arms didn't ache when I woke up this morning!  Yes!  Tonight's scheduled workout was supposed to be on the bike, but I swapped it with Thursday's run workout because I am scheduled to work very late on Thursday (no chance of walking out of the office before 7pm) and I know there's no chance in hell that I'll be willing to leave the house and run after that.  It's been quite frigid here, so I headed over to the indoor track for 3 miles.  It took a solid 2 miles to get warmed up/used to the cold, dry air, but my 3rd mile was encouraging.

The hamster on the wheel goes 'round and 'round

By the time I got home from work, I was ready to eat all.the.things.  I had picked up sushi from the place down the street from my office, but it had to hang out in the refrigerator while Mr. R&R ran and I hit the bike for 45 minutes.  I took a few extra minutes to implement Brent's suggestion of how to make the awful creaking noise stop - and it worked!  The workout may have only been 45 minutes long, but I was dripping sweat inside of 10 minutes.  It was composed of 4 intervals, each 7 minutes long - designed to improve both muscle endurance and pedaling economy.  I did my best to match my wattage and cadence to what was on the screen, but it was tough! When it was over, the sushi was devoured at an alarming rate.

Note to self: Friday night is rugrat night in the exercise pool.  My gym is adults only, but they allow family swim for a couple hours on Friday night.  Fortunately, the kids are relegated to the small exercise pool.  There was a handful of people in the lap pool, but we were each able to get our own lane and I banged out my 1000 yards.  I was even slower than I was on Tuesday night, but I was pretty pleased with how I felt again.

On the way home, Mr. R&R and I were both hangry.  If you've never heard that term before, it's that feeling of being so hungry that you become angry and snappish.  Obviously this situation called for dinner - fast!  We debated going home, getting cleaned up, and going out to dinner, but it was already 8:30pm and going out would have meant waiting at least another hour+ to eat.  We swung by Trader Joe's, grabbed a few things, and headed home and into the kitchen.  I dealt with chopping and Mr. R&R manned the grill pan.  We were eating delicious fajitas in under 30 minutes - and for less money and fewer calories than we would have had we gone out.

Steak and Chicken Fajitas
One word to describe today: Busy.  Mr. R&R had a meeting with a personal trainer (they throw in 2 sessions when you join) and while he was out, I ran around to pick up coffee, groceries, and all the crap we needed from Target.  When I got back, we unloaded the car, put all the groceries away, changed into bike clothes, and hit The Cave for another 45 minute sweat/suffer-fest.

We crawled off the bikes, hurried through showers and getting all dressed up, and stopped to pick up one of my coworkers on the way to a somewhat mandatory work event.  It was a nice party (chilled crab claws on the buffet and open bar with designer cocktails), but by 10:00pm we were both struggling to keep our eyes open.  Lucky for us, my coworker was ready to call it a night as well, so we excused ourselves, dropped her off at home, and we crashed as soon as we got home.

Sunday = Run Day.  I really didn't want to run this morning.  It was cold, my legs were really tight, and the gravitational pull of the couch was insane, but I knew that the only thing standing between me and another perfect week of workouts was 30-ish minutes outside.  After some coffee I piled on the layers (fleece-lined tights, wool socks, 2 shirts, fleece jacket, mittens, ear band, and hat) and headed out the door on a 2 part mission.  Part 1: Get My Run In  Part 2: Stop at the crappy grocery store on my route and pick up green onions (my usual grocery store didn't have any on Saturday).  The first mile wasn't fun, but the second sure was - it was downhill and at sub-9 pace.  I darted into the grocery store, grabbed my onions, jammed them in the inside pockets of my fleece, and hauled my ass uphill for a mile - while hoping I wasn't steaming the onions in the process.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 29:03
Avg. Pace: 9:23/mile

Mr. R&R and I scarfed a late brunch of eggs and chicken apple sausages before getting started on all the laundry/cleaning/food prep we needed to do.  He took over laundry duty while I hit the kitchen.  This week I made Ambitious Kitchen's Dark Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Banana Bread (made exactly according to her recipe), Skinnytaste's Potato Broccoli Cheese Soup (modifications: left out the celery, used full-fat freshly shredded sharp cheddar, skipped the American singles), and Iowa Girl Eats' Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowls (modifications: used broccoli slaw instead of coleslaw mix).

The Dark Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Banana Bread came out great.  I ran all the numbers and it comes out to just 207 calories per slice (assuming 12 slices per loaf).  This will be consumed as a pre-workout snack.

I'm a soup snob - or at least very particular about soup - and the Potato Broccoli Cheese soup tastes exactly like a baked potato topped with broccoli and sharp cheddar.  That just happens to be one of my favorite ways to top a baked potato, so I was happy.  It's approximately 275 calories per bowl, so it will be perfect for Mr. R&R and I to take for lunch early in the week.

The Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowls were kind of a project to make - lots of careful timing, searing in batches, etc.  I'm very happy that Mr. R&R joined me in the kitchen for this one.  The finished product was incredibly un-photogenic, but tasted phenomenal. My only complaints were: A) The rice noodles were a little gelatinous (I think they got a little overcooked ) and B) The rice noodles and sauce were a pain in the ass to clean out of my wok.  Overall though, I'd make this recipe again and I look forward to having the leftovers for dinner tomorrow night.

All my food prep is done through Wednesday morning and it's time for some bunny nose bumps and bed!

Week 2 Totals:
Swim: 2025 yards (1.15 miles)
Bike: 18.71 miles
Run: 6.28 miles
Total Time: 3 hours, 43 minutes

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Back To Basics: Week 1

What do you do when you feel sluggish and cruddy after the holidays? When you haven't worked out in a month and you've been eating all the things? In my case, you go back to basics and rebuild your base.

After rediscovering my love of multisport racing last year, I think I'm finally ready to end my break with triathlon (yep, we're getting back together).  I'm also ready to stop lugging around the winter/holiday fluff that I put on while being a total sloth after the Last Call 5k.

Obviously, there's a plan here - there's always a plan.  I came across a really interesting triathlon base building plan on my bike trainer app/site (TrainerRoad), so I've committed to following it for at least the next 4 weeks.  I may actually do a second round of base building before moving on to the build phase since it's been a long time since I tri trained and I need all the help I can get!

The plan looks something like this:

*Mon: Rest
*Tue: Swim
*Wed: Bike
*Thu: Run
*Fri: Swim
*Sat: Bike
*Sun: Run

This seems pretty reasonable to me and it's acceptable to rearrange things to suit your schedule so long as you don't do the same sport on back-to-back days.  I'm in!

I'm also making a concerted effort to clean up my diet.  I've been skipping breakfast, eating too many meals out, and drinking far too much.  I've decided to do a lot more meal planning and weekend prepping - and only 1 cheat meal per week.

So here's how Week 1 shook out:

It may have been a rest day on the workout front, but we were definitely busy around here.  Mr. R&R and I finagled our schedules and got out of work at a somewhat reasonable hour and promptly drove over to a local gym to take a tour.  This particular gym has multiple locations in the area - and most of them have the thing we need most in a gym - a pool!  After a tour and some chatting, we signed up.  I'm officially a gym rat again.  

After that, we headed home and had dinner: Butternut Squash and Apple soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  I didn't love the soup, but it did the job.

The gym location we toured on Monday has a pool, but it's only 16 yards long and is mostly meant for water walkers and AquaZumba types.  It'll do in case of emergency since it's open 24 hours, but there's a location about 20 minutes away that has a standard 25 yard pool, so after a long day at work, we headed out there.  My first pool workout in 17 months was only 850 yards, but it kicked my ass all over the place - it felt so good to be back.  We didn't get home until 9:30pm and we were both freaking starving!  Dinner (tacos) was thrown together in between showers and we were eating by 10pm. I'm pretty used to eating dinner late, but this was just silly!  I'll definitely have to make plans for fast dinners on swim days.

Today started with a valuable lesson: I will not take 17 months off of swimming ever again.  My abs hurt like a mother and my arms were ready to fall off.  Trying to wash your hair when your arms hurt like that really sucks!

Dinner (cheater chicken, potatoes, and green beans) came first tonight, which is a very good thing because the first bike workout was brutal.  I've done it before and every single time, I'm reduced to a quivering pile of goo.  In one hour on the bike I went through 2 bottles of water, half a package of Shot Blocks, and my shirt was repurposed as a sweat mop.

Back in The Cave

The arm pain continues. In fact, I think it intensified. I guess it's a good thing that tonight's workout mostly beats on my legs. 

It's been over a month since I laced up my running shoes.  In fact, the last time I ran was the Last Call 5k - and it was about 20 degrees warmer.  Mr. R&R and I both bundled up and went our separate ways.  Not. A. Good. Run.  Between dodging ice, unshoveled sections of sidewalk, being out of shape, and being dressed like Randy from A Christmas Story, it was a slow jog (slog?) not a run.  This doesn't bode well for Saturday's Frosty 5k.

Dinner was a couple of eggs and some toast - because I had to eat, but had no motivation to do anything more involved.

It's Friday!  That means beer and all manners of fried bar food, right?  Nope.  Mr. R&R and I checked out the pool at another gym location - this one is only 5 minutes from home.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to swim at all given that my arms still felt like they were going to fall off.  I was slower than slow, but the pain let up once I was in the water and I made it through the 800 yards, hauled myself out of the pool, and called it a day.  We rolled in the door around 9pm and dinner (spaghetti) was cooked, showers were taken, and we crashed as early as possible since Saturday was both run day and race day!

I ended the 2015 race season on an incredible high by breaking my 5k PR by 8 seconds.  2016 started out in the toilet.  We bundled up, drove to the race site, and hid in the toasty warm car until the last possible second before doing the usual pre-race warm up and stretch.  I was shocked at the number of people who showed up!  We hoofed it about a quarter mile to the Start Line, listened to the race director's warnings of ice and narrow spots on the path, and then the gun went off.  I flew for the first quarter mile (low 8's) and then my nose started freezing up.  I seriously could not breath in through my nose, which doesn't work at all.  I spent the first mile breathing mostly through my mouth (not good) and it clipped by in 9:08.  It was all downhill from there and I'm not talking about the course.  I was in such bad oxygen debt that I finally had to slow to a walk, cup my hands over my nose and try to thaw everything out. Mile 2 was a pedestrian 10:03.  The misery continued for another mile.  Every so often I had to walk and thaw out my nose. Obviously this meant a pathetic performance on my part.  Not only was it the slowest 5k I've run in a long time, but I fell to 4th overall in my age group for the series. Mr. R&R, on the other hand, won his age group and is now assured of winning his age group for the series (it's mathematically impossible for anyone to overtake him as long as he shows up for the last two races), and he's the second place male overall!

 Time: 29:37 (9:33/mile pace)
Overall Place: 88/190
Gender Place: 43/128
Age Group Place: 10/20 (F35-39)

I also had a 90 minute massage on Saturday night and my arms and shoulders feel much better and my lousy mood disappeared while listening to music and snuggling with these guys.

Saturday Night Cuddle Puddle
Sunday is always about preparing for the week ahead. On the food front, I made a big pot of chicken pot pie soup and a giant pot of spanakorizo (greek spinach rice), so we'll be eating that for lunch/dinner for the next few days.  The soup turned out okay - a little bland for my liking.

Soup for you!

The spanakorizo turned out great - it was almost identical to the version made by a restaurant I used to love.  I also made up some tzatziki sauce to go with the rice and a few pineapple yogurt messes for breakfasts. We're set through at least Wednesday.

The workout du jour was 45 minutes on the bike for a workout called Goddard.  I was a sweaty mess inside of the first 15 minutes and my bike was making a weird creaking sound whenever I put a lot of pressure on the base bars or the aero bars.  Looks like I'll be making a call to Emery's tomorrow because I'm 99.99% sure that my bike is not supposed to be making that sound!

Week 1 Totals:
Swim: 1700 yards (.97 miles)
Bike: 20.51 miles
Run: 6.05 miles
Total Time: 3 hours, 39 minutes