Wake Up, Work Out Part 2

whyPart 1 of my wake up, workout experiment is over, and it was a complete and total success.  I’m celebrating this victory – waking up and working out has been a serious challenge for me – I am NOT a morning person so this is a win. Saturday was cardio and a pilates workout and Sunday was a rest day. Two weeks of waking up, working out (and just doing exactly what was on the paper without moving anything around) is in the books.

That’s the good news. Part 2 of my wake up, workout experiment was supposed to start today. The last two weeks have been workouts at home, now it’s about waking up, going somewhere and working out. Today that place was the gym, and that workout was swimming and weight-lifting. Except instead of wake up, work out, I went with wake up, cough up a lung.

I’ve been around a bunch of sick people and it finally caught up with me. I wasn’t feeling great the night before and I had trouble sleeping so when I finally got to sleep around 2am I hadn’t set the alarm, thinking some extra sleep would help me fight off the cold. What I did not expect was to sleep for over 14 hours. I had a little self-pitying “why me, why now” moment since now not only did I not feel well, but because my gym closed early for New Year’s Eve I wouldn’t have time to get there to do my workout, and also spreading my germs around the gym seemed like a dick move. Oh, and I felt like crap. So I did a modified weight workout at home and called it a day.

Today I woke up feeling worse and decided that it was in my best interest to let my body rest and heal so that’s what I did.

Onward.

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Schedule It, Just a Little Bit

flat lay photography of calendar

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Yesterday was the hardest workout I’d had in a while. The night before I couldn’t get to sleep  so I was up until almost 4am. I woke up a headache, possibly because my brain was chock full of excuses for why I should postpone the workout – I wasn’t feeling good,  I had a ton of stuff to do that had to be done during business hours, I had slept so late – did it really matter if I “woke up and worked out?”

As my brain yammered on I set up the room for my workout circuit. As I got started my brain switched gears – this time trying to convince me to make changes- are the toe-taps between exercises really necessary? Do I really have to do 4 circuits – I was sore after three circuits of the same exercises last week, I could just do them more intensely, right? Maybe it would be better to do the exercises in a different order? Maybe I could do the HIIT workout today and this workout tomorrow?”

At this point I should explain that when I’ve been in a bad place about workouts in the past, I have a sordid history of re-arranging them over the week. I would get all the workouts in, but I would do them in a different order than my coach created them. So when I started this “wake up, work out” thing, I made a commitment to do whatever was on the schedule, whenever I woke up. My brain is just going to have to get used to it.

The workout drug on so slowly, and then a phrase that I used often during low points in my marathons popped into my head (thanks brain! way to get onboard)  “Just keep moving forward and at some point this will be over.” Not exactly the pinnacle of positive thinking, but it works for me. And, just like that, it was. Four circuits each of dead bugs, jump squats, inchworms, push-ups, and burpees, with toe-taps on the step between each workout, are in the books.

Today’s workout was much smoother. A HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) session followed by a core workout comprised of sit-up variations. Done and done.

In other news, I’m working on my race schedule for the year. This has been another fraught area of my training. Races are important to practice transitions and racing with a bunch of other people, and to have something to motivate you. But they can also take up a whole weekend and, as I was desperately trying to build up my speed in the past years, they’ve taken a backseat to maximizing training. Every year I say I’m going to prioritze the races, and then every year I don’t. Not good. This year I’m committing to a race schedule set out by my coach, and to doing them no matter what’s going on in my training – Two sprint distance, one Olympic, one 70.3 (aka Half IRONMAN,) one Full IRONMAN.

Sounds simple enough, but finding the triathlons that will for for schedule/conditions is a slightly tedious process  (trying to imitate my IM conditions as much a possible – calm swim, fairly flat bike and run, and a closed, or very well protected bike course, without a ton of travel since that gets super expensive.)

I’ll talk more about schedule as I make decisions, but here is my question for today that’s come up through my research:

Why do so many tri’s start their bike section straight up a hill? Like…seriously?!?! I’ve certainly climbed bigger hills like these, and I’ve practiced this kind of hill – there is a short, steep hill down to one of the parking lots of the beach path so I’ve practiced stopping at the base of it and then climbing up. But right at the beginning? No matter how much I practice I’m still worried that I will be in the race, start peddling and just roll back down. These dudes who just run their bikes to the top of the hill may be my patronus. (2:00-2:12 of the video)


So the research, scheduling, and waking up and working out, continue.

Onward!

 

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Rolling Along, But Not Really, Because of Bike Issues

close up photo of black bike wheel

This is not the tire on my bike. You can tell because it’s holding air. Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Let’s start with a bike update. The current issue with the most recent flat was compounded by the fact that my tire pump is broken (WT actual F!?) Got that remedied and the air is very clearly leaking out of the valve stem. I looked it up online and, as usual, they claim that it’s “super easy” to fix it yourself.

Ok, look, I know that this sounds whiny and bitter (and it is and I am) but I wanted to become a triathlete and an IRONMAN, not a bike mechanic. Plus I’ve had so many troubles with the bike that I’m terrified of messing it up by working on it myself. I. Just. Want. To. Fricking. Ride.

In other news, I’ve continued with my wake up, work out experiment. Giftmas was the toughest day since we had to dye one of our dogs green for a photoshoot, and then I was cooking a full holiday meal. So the last thing I wanted to do was workout, but I did it. To catch you up, the last few workouts have been Pilates, a rest day, then another circuit workout with Cross sit-ups, mountain climbers, plank spidermans, squats, and forward lunges, with toe taps on the step in between each exercise. Then yesterday was cardio and a core workout (go go gadget planks!) and today was a rest day. Last week and this week have had 2 rest days each and it is a luxury I’ll miss when it’s gone.

Onward.

 

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Getting Into a Bit of a Groove

Heather grey t-shit with a slurpee in a cup with a straw with hearts on both sides and the text "Burpees? Yeah, No, I thought you said slurpees."

Source: activateapparel.com

Today is day 5 of my wake up, work out experiment and it’s going ok. I’m still not at my best first thing in the morning, but I seem to go from feeling like hammered crap to feeling ok somewhere in the middle of the workouts, and I’m finding that it is really nice to have it done so that I don’t have the workout looming for the rest of the day.  Because the workouts are timed (and I’m using my phone timer) it’s super tempting to check the news and social media before my workout, but I’m staying strong y’all!

Yesterday’s workout included 3 times through the following circuit, with toe-taps on the step between each exercise:

  • Dead bugs (lie on the floor and bring the foot on your extended leg up to meet the hand on your extended opposite arm)
  • Jump squats
  • Inch worms (standing up, bend at the waist and put your hands on the ground, walk yourself out to high plank position, then walk yourself back)
  • Push-ups
  • Burpees (sadly that’s not a typo for slurpees)

Today’s workout was a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training – alternating periods of intense work with periods of less intense work) session utilizing moves on a step, followed by a core workout which was, mercifully, variations on crunches rather than just planks like the last core one.

Onward.

 

 

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The Bikemare Continues

Trainer dogDay 2 of the Wake Up, Work Out plan started with a blip in the form of a flat rear tire on my bike. The plan for the day was steady cardio and then a core workout (so. many. planks.) but for the third time since I got this bike, the back wheel was flat. For the third time. The third time. The third. time. And did I mention that I’m only riding inside, becuase…seriously…UGH! I have had the worst luck when it comes to bikes. I was hoping getting the new bike would break the curse, but apparently not yet. I continue to be hopeful.

I would have to whine about it later since I had woken up, and thus was obligated to be working out. I fired up my computer, found a cardio class and got it done (luckily I’m still in the “any cardio I want” stage of my off-season training.) Then I moved on to the core workout – it was three circuits of: front plank, right side plant, front plank (again), left side plank. It’s plankapalooza over here.

Julianne goes to water aerobics on Tuesdays so I thought it would be fun to go with her. My muscles were pretty tight from the new workout so it was a nice way to loosen up, and the hot tub time afterward was an extra bonus.

Today (now yesterday since I thought I published this last night but didn’t!) was a rest day. One of the reasons I chose this program was because it has a mid-week rest day that I hope will help me ease into the wake up, work out thing.

Onward.

 

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Wake Up, Work Out

CS 3

My Maltese, ChadShannel Royale in his pink basket-bed cuddled up in fluffy blankets.

I’ve always had weird circadian rhythms. Left on my own I naturally sleep and wake almost completely opposite of normal times – I have since I was a kid. My life is set up to let me live on a pretty flexible schedule a lot of the time. Often when I have a speaking gig my days will start at 7am and end after 10pm, but speaking makes me so energized that it works out fine (I think my weird schedule even helps with jet lag, but that’s just a guess.) I also get sunburn under fluorescent lights, so I have spent most of my life avoiding the sun like a vampire. This works for me in every area of my life, except for triathlon training.

When it was marathon training it was fine, most of my training for my first and second marathons happened after dark.  Many of my long runs ended as the sun was rising (which went horribly wrong on 6/26/16 which shall forever be known as “Blisterpocalypse 2016,”) but other than that was more or less fine.

This does not translate to triathlon training. Running at night is fine, but open water swimming in the ocean at night is not fine (for me, anyway, I’m sure there are people who do it but as someone who is afraid of pool sharks, swimming in the ocean after dark is just too much.) And I can bike at night, but my speed is noticeably slower and lord knows I don’t need any help being slow.

So as part of my current off season training I’ve decided to work on getting closer to a normal schedule. Step one of that is my “wake up, work out” plan. I’m not yet trying to shift my sleep schedule, but instead of waking up and then waiting until I feel like it to do my workout, I’m waking up and then working out first thing.

Today was the first day. Having read roughly a zillion articles about trying to become a morning workout person, I had set out my clothes and set up my workout area. (I chose a program where the workouts can be done with the equipment I have at home if I want for the first two weeks – waking up, driving somewhere, and then working out will be the next step!)

It was…rough. I usually ease into my day. Wake up, stumble around, drink some tea, check e-mails and social media etc. So this morning I rolled out of bed put my workout pants on with only two tries (I probably could have worn them backwards but decided against it,) got dressed with no further incident and started working out.

Today included 3 rounds each of bicycle crunches, mountain climbers, squats, spiderman planks, and lunges, with speed taps on a step in between each exercise. I felt like ass starting out, and it got bleak at the start of the second round realizing that I still had two rounds to go. But by the end I was feeling more energized (which was good, since I misjudged the time and, after stretching, needed that energy to take a shower and get dressed and out the door in 10 minutes.

Still, I’m trying to focus on the fact that I did it (and make sure that I lay my pants out correctly tonight for tomorrow’s workout.)

 

 

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Burnout – There’s An App For That

One of the things that I told Coach Steve when I decided to take another year to achieve this goal was that I needed a break. Not that I wanted to stop training, but that I wanted – needed, really –  to do something else for a little while.

A huge part of the reason that I wanted to undertake this IRONMAN journey was to push out of my comfort zone and participate in fitness activities that are…not my first choice when it comes to what I enjoy (or what I’m good at!) But now that I’m in the fifth year of my two year plan, I’ve been spending a TON of time swimming, biking, and running for 4 years now and I was feeling burnt out and dragging myself to workouts thinking the end was in sight before my training was interrupted and the end became another long year of training away.

So Coach Steve came up with a plan for me to do the strength building and cardio I need with a little more variety and self-direction than my training plan has had the past few years. I’ve had some interesting experiences, perhaps the most notable being a so-called Zumba class that was actually Jane Fonda style aerobics (jumping jacks while holding 3 pound hand weights?!) where every song was a Cumbia. It was even less fun than running!

One of the challenges I sometimes have is that not enjoying the workout means I think I’m working as hard as I can during a workout, but when I’m done I realize that I was confusing discomfort and mental struggle for physical effort. Getting burned out is certainly not making that any better.

In order to have the best chance for success this year, I’m going to have to find a way to make sure that I’m pushing as hard as I can during my workouts. I started seeing ads for apps that take you through a workout – with music matching the goal cadence, and instructors providing structure and encouragement. I decided to try it out during this free cardio time. Even if it doesn’t make sense once Coach Steve is the boss of me again, it might get me in the habit of being more clear about my exertion vs my frustration!

I tried an app called Aaptive. So far I’ve done indoor cycling, elliptical, and treadmill workouts and it makes a real difference in how hard I’m working (plus, so far, it makes the time go by faster which, especially on the treadmill, is saying something.) Unfortunately, there’s a bunch of weight loss nonsense (like giving the number of calories burned per workout as if that number is remotely the same from person to person,) so that’s frustrating.

I’m enjoying continue to workout but getting a break from the workout structure of the last four years, and I’ll be back to it soon enough.

Onward!

 

 

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