Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sloth By Design

I barely did anything this week, and that was on purpose.  After a lot of careful consideration and discussion, I've decided to pursue a higher volume training plan for the upcoming tri season, so just like that Sweet Spot Base training is over and this became a rest week.  It was nice.

Most of my body parts feel rested.  My stress levels are down.  My mind is clear and I'm ready to go.

Let's Do This!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Run In The Sun

It wasn't a "Perfect" week, but it was a damned good one!  I missed one (bike) workout, but crammed in an extra swim and after months of being confined to the treadmill, I got to do my long run OUTSIDE!!!!!

Monday was the usual: On the bike before sunrise, work, quick warm up run before training, training session, mad dash home to eat and get a few things done before crashing into bed.  The added bonus of Monday was the restocking of the Shot Blok stash. We were down to 1 pack of tropical punch bloks and 1 pack of mountain berry bloks - and I think the mountain berry ones taste really gross. I much prefer black cherry, citrus, or margarita!

I got a rude awakening on Tuesday morning when I woke up and couldn't move my left arm without a lot of pain.  I'm pretty sure I strained a tendon or something on Monday night while attempting to do pull ups, but not being able to straighten my arm completely sucked and made doing simple tasks rather difficult.  For example, my coffee cup usually sits to my left when I'm at work.  Not today!  I had to move it to my right side so I didn't wince every time I went to take a drink!  It improved somewhat by Tuesday night, so I was able to do a short yoga practice and fold a mountain of laundry.

That's just the workout clothes from the previous week
Wednesday started with a really good interval workout on the treadmill before work and ended with a really interesting swim.  The pool was really busy, so everyone was sharing lanes.  I shared with Mr. R&R and between him and the 6 other bodies in the pool, the water was actually choppy!  At one point I remember turning my head to breathe, getting a face full of water, and thinking 'Huh, it's just like racing.'  It never hurts to be reminded that the water isn't always going to be flat calm and I'm not always going to have as much personal space as I'd like!

I had really good intentions of getting on the bike on Thursday night even though I felt like I was going to fall asleep standing up, my arm still ached it I tried to hyperextend it, and my legs felt like lead sticks.  I even went so far as turning on the heater in The Cave and walking upstairs to put on bike clothes - and then decided that my body was screaming for rest, so I put on my pajamas and called it a lost cause.

Mr. R&R hit The Cave for his workout and I figured that since I wasn't going to ride, I could at least put together a decent dinner.
Shrimp Burrito Bowl
After looking at the weekend forecast I opted to join Mr. R&R at the pool on Friday night and do my long run on Sunday (when the temperature was predicted to be in the low 60's!).  I've never been in the pool at that particular gym location, but I can tell you that I'm going to become a regular fixture there.  The water was rather chilly, but it was really clean feeling, and apparently that combination made me rather fast!  I ended up doing the longest swim I've done in quite a while - 1750 yards (although my Garmin decided to skip 25 yards in there somewhere, so I only get credit for 1725).  We came home, had a late night snack, and crashed hard.

I enjoyed my usual leisurely Saturday morning activities of lounging, reading, and bunny-petting while Mr. R&R went to the gym for his training session and then it was time for my weekly long ride.  90 minutes of leg destroying over/under FTP drills while watching Twister - which holds up surprisingly well for a 20+ year old movie.

I was actually excited to do my long run on Sunday.  As promised, it was 60+ degrees, sunny, and not windy!  I haven't run outside since early November and that run was absolutely terrible. This one was anything but terrible!  I got to wear my favorite running shoes (too filthy to wear to the gym) and ran a route that I normally don't get to run by myself since I usually run alone and at night I feel after sticking to well lit, busy streets.

Graffiti Under The Bridge

My route took me down the Monster Hill, under a bridge, and onto some gravel/dirt paths.

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I It's been so long since I ran outside that I forgot how hard running on concrete is and how good those paths feel.  Parts of the paths were a little flooded/muddy, so I did my best to pick my way around those sections without soaking my feet, and kept a pretty consistent pace for the majority of the run and only felt bad when I tried to chug my way back up the Monster Hill. I ran for an hour and finished with even filthier shoes, mud spattered on the backs of my legs, and a huge smile on my face.

My run ended about 3/4 of a mile from home, so I had plenty of time to enjoy some extra sun and fresh air - and now I can't wait for spring!

The sun actually felt WARM!

How's the weather in your neck of the woods?  Did you get outside this weekend?

Sweet Spot Week 5 Stats:

Swim:    3,325 yards (1.89 miles)
Bike:      30.49 miles
Run:       11.04 miles
Yoga:      1 Practice (20 minutes)
Strength: 1 Session

Total Time:        6 hours, 50 minutes
Total Distance:  43.41 miles

Cumulative Distance:  256.79 miles - roughly the distance between Milwaukee and Windsor, Ontario (assuming one could drive or swim directly across Lake Michigan!).

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Finding My Groove

4 weeks into Sweet Spot Base training and I think I'm finally finding my groove - at least for the moment.  I haven't done all the workouts exactly when I planned to do them, but I'm still getting them done.  The biggest challenges right now are getting up on time to work out in the morning and managing occasional bouts of insatiable hunger.


I was on the bike before dawn for an hour of intervals, scurried off to work and a breakfast meeting (involving food that made me nauseous for the rest of the day), stopped home long enough to change and scarf an apple since I didn't want a repeat of my near-fainting episode from a few weeks ago, and hauled ass to my training appointment.  After last week's 4 day post-session misery, my trainer backed off on my abs a bit and we had a productive session.

I also had some company/help while folding the basket of workout clothes when I got home. I'll never get tired of Spot's love of laundry.  He likes to survey the basket/pile of clean clothes, walk across/stand on whatever I'm folding, and then lay next to the folded clothes.


Once again, I failed at getting to the gym this morning, but I did resurrect the Green Monster for breakfast thanks to some leftover spinach lurking in the refrigerator.  It was a nice change of pace from proatmeal.  Tuesday night found me on my yoga mat for a 30 minute flow practice - which I desperately needed.


Since I missed my run yesterday, I hitched a ride to the gym with Mr. R&R again this morning.  I think my body is rebelling against the idea of running so early, because once again, my psoas flared up again after a mile.  I ended up figuring out that I could run about a quarter mile at a reasonable pace before the pain got unmanageable and required me to walk until it was under control, so after a little fiddling with my watch, I was able to turn my crap run into an interval workout.  I ended up running 4x400, getting home with just enough time to shower, make another green monster, and get to work.  The day flew by (work has been C.R.A.Z.Y.) and I got home in time to make dinner and go to the pool.  Swim nights are always tough because by the time I get home from work, I'm freaking starving, but I have no real desire to cook and I don't want to eat too much because swimming + full = feeling like I'm going to puke.  The answer was to indulge my inner toddler.

It wasn't the healthiest option, but it did the trick. I was supposed to swim 1400 yards and ended up swimming 1500. #ExtraCredit


The late swim made me hit the snooze button again, but having to ride in the evening wasn't so bad since Mr. R&R was suffering right next to me doing his missed morning ride as well - and then there was my view for the rest of the evening after I got off the bike:


Can all mornings start like this one?  I was doing yoga on the living room floor with a blanket draped over me because I was freezing cold and Spot decided that this was an invitation to curl up next to me and demand to be petted and snuggled.  It was so sweet!

Normal people have date nights at bars and restaurants on Friday nights.  Triathletes apparently have them at the gym - where one person swims and the other runs.  After last week's successful Friday night long run, I decided to repeat the performance but increase the distance a bit.  It was nice.  The gym was mostly empty and I pretty much had the entire row of treadmills to myself.  It's nice starting to run a little longer again.  I miss my distance running roots.


Sleep. Glorious sleep.  I slept for almost 9 hours, drank coffee and surfed the web while Mr. R&R went to his training appointment, and then parked my ass in The Cave for 90 minutes of over-under intervals.  All I can say is: Holy F**k that was hard.  Like really hard.  When I climbed off the bike, everything I was wearing was soaked with sweat and my legs were jello.  My top priority after 90 minutes of leg-burning sweatiness was food - and then dragging myself to the grocery store.  Ow!

And on the seventh day, I rested.  I slept for upwards of 8 hours, consumed copious amounts of coffee, and washed a mountain of Walter and Spot's laundry.  Still to come today: 90 minute massage (I have so many knots in my back and legs right now), human laundry, and some food prep.  Right now, I'm thinking of making tuna salad and another batch of roasted chicken sausage and veggies to get us through Monday and Tuesday - a good start to what will hopefully be another 'Perfect Week'.

What was your biggest challenge this week?  Your biggest triumph?

Sweet Spot Week 4 Stats:

Swim:     1500 yards (0.85 miles)
Bike:       41.80 miles
Run:        8.87 miles
Yoga:      2 practices (50 minutes total)
Strength: 1 session

Total Time:       7 hours, 5 minutes
Total Distance: 51.51 miles

Cumulative Distance:

213.38 miles - roughly the distance from Milwaukee to the city of infamously contaminated water: Flint, MI.  (Eek!)

Sunday, February 5, 2017


My do-over of Sweet Spot Base Week 3 went better than my first attempt - a lot better.  I did all my workouts!  Was I tired? Yep. Were there days when I didn't want to do anything?  Uh huh.  Was it all worth it?  Absolutely.  I may be sore, exhausted, and have a pile of laundry the size of Mt. Rainier, but the sense of accomplishment is definitely winning here.

I was on my bike by 5:30am on Monday morning, listening to podcasts (my new favorite form of solo trainer ride entertainment thanks to Mr. R&R), and working up a sweat. It was tough doing hard work first thing in the morning, but it was nice to have it out of the way.  I had an appointment with my trainer that night, so I didn't get home until a little after 7pm.  Fortunately, I'd done a little meal prep on Sunday night, so Mr. R&R and I didn't even have to think about what to make for dinner.  We just tossed a couple bowls into the microwave and dinner was on the table in 5 minutes.

If you haven't tried the One Pan Roasted Dinner yet, stop whatever you're doing right now and get thee to the grocery store and into the kitchen.  This dinner is a total lifesaver.

  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  • Line a large sheet pan with foil for easy clean up.
  • Chop up a bunch of veggies (or cheat like I do and buy them pre-chopped from Trader Joe's), slice a package of chicken sausages into rounds, and toss it all on the sheet pan.
  • Mist lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
  • Cover everything with foil and roast for about 40 minutes
  • Remove the foil and roast for 10 more minutes
  • Voila...dinner for two...twice!

Chicken Sausage, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, and red bell pepper

Tuesday morning didn't go according to plan.  I overslept, woke up sore beyond words from my training appointment, and missed my chance to get a run in before work.  I ended up doing a 20 minute yoga practice that morning, and a 30 minute deep stretch yoga practice that night after work.  I think the after work one was my favorite since I did it in the living room and Spot kept coming over to "help" when I was draped over a bolster stretching out my hips!

Wednesday morning brought the opportunity to make up for Tuesday's missed run.  I hitched a ride to the gym with Mr. R&R at 5:30AM and put in a really uncomfortable 3 miles.  I was hoping to run farther in that 30 minutes, but my evil psoas kept flaring up and necessitating walking/stretching breaks, so I guess it was more like an interval workout.  That night we headed for the pool.  I wasn't sure how my planned 1200 yards would go since I couldn't stand up from a chair without my abs complaining, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The swim went reasonably well and I was able to complete it without any real pain issues (other than the pain in my eyes resulting from the creepy old guy in an itty bitty speedo).

We were the last people in the pool before closing time
Thursday morning's bike ride did. not. happen.  I got to bed late and couldn't manage to peel myself out of bed at a reasonable hour, so that meant an after work ride.  I dreaded it all day long, but once I got down to The Cave, the hour passed quickly thanks to another batch of podcasts (NPR's TED Radio Hour if you're curious).

Friday was interesting.  I had originally planned for it to be my rest day with a long ride on Saturday and a long run on Sunday, but when Mr. R&R said he was going to the pool on Friday night, I decided to tag along and get my long run out of the way in favor of complete and total rest on Sunday.  I'm really happy that I did that.  First, we checked out the newest location of our gym that opened 3 months ago since they're open later on Fridays than the rest.  It was stunning.  I've never seen such a nice gym!  I parked myself on a treadmill, fired up a Spotify playlist, and ran negative splits for the next 45 minutes.  I haven't run a step over 3 miles in months, so that was a pleasant surprise! Mr. R&R reported that pool was also amazing - not crowded and really, really clean.

Saturday started off with sleeping in (for almost 10 hours!), a few leisurely cups of coffee, and a visit to the Great Lakes Pet Expo. I really enjoyed saying 'hi' to the ladies that brought Walter & Spot into our lives and seeing all the other animals.  

Flemish Giants with the Wisconsin House Rabbit Society

I even found a herd of turtles (yes, I know that a group of turtles is actually called a bale) - which would normally freak me out, but I'm trying really hard to be less afraid of things that live in the water.

After our Pet Expo adventure, we did our grocery shopping for the week and promptly came home to nap.  Obviously, Mr. R&R and I are becoming old people!  Post-nap, we both went down to The Cave for our weekly long ride.  It was a tough ride, but watching Spectre made it slightly more bearable - although I think I'm going to bite the bullet and try a new brand of tri shorts because chamois seams get really uncomfortable - if you know what I mean!

Today, Sunday, was finally my day to do nothing in the swim/bike/run department.  It's been busy (laundry, making snacks for the Super Bowl party we're going to, getting ready for next week), but kind of wonderful since I'm not beating the crap out of myself on top of all that!

I finished Sweet Spot Base Week 3 with:

Swim:    1200 yards (0.68 miles)
Bike:      42.02 miles 
Run:       8.70 miles
Yoga:      2 practices (50 minutes total)
Strength: 1 session

Total Time:      7 hours
Total Distance: 51.40 miles

January Totals: 
Swim:     2.34 miles
Bike:       105.91 miles
Run:        14.86 miles
Yoga:       20 practices
Strength:  6 sessions

Total Time:        23 hours, 15 minutes
Total Distance:  123.12 miles

Cumulative Distance:  161.87 miles (If I got in the car and started driving from Milwaukee, that would put me just outside Lansing, Michigan!)