Me and My Chi Running

Run SlowWell, things have finally gotten better. We are settled into our new place, I am feeling much better, and I have hit all my workouts. I don’t want to use the M-word for fear of jinxing it, so let’s just say that I’m happy to be back in a good groove.

As anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows, I’m a glacially slow runner. I have no problem with that, but the IRONMAN time limits do, so I have to find a way to speed up, increase my distance, and avoid injury. I’ve dabbled in the past with Chi Running – a style of running that is influenced by T’ai Chi. I saw some improvement, but I wasn’t able to fully integrate it into the running schedule I had then. Since I’m at the beginning of another training cycle I’ve decided to fully commit and see what happens – I think that having technical aspects that I can focus on to improve will be really helpful, and since running has been my most injury-prone sport, Chi Running’s focus on injury prevention definitely appeals to me.

Here are my workouts since last I blogged:
Saturday: Swim, Run, 10 Squats each hour
Sunday: Bike Ride
Monday: Run
Tuesday: Bike, Squat
Wednesday: Swim, Run
Thursday: Bike, Squat
Today: Rest Day




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Greetings from Sick Town

When last we spoke I woke up for Phase 2 of my wake up, work out experiment to find that I was sick. It was not great timing since were also in the middle of moving.  Again.

Last year around Thanksgiving we found out that our landlord was being foreclosed on, and we had to move in late December. We moved super fast and never really fully unpacked – our garage was a huge mess.  This year around Thanksgiving we found out that our new landlord was selling the house and so we had to move again. In order to wait for a better market, and to make sure that if this keeps happening, it doesn’t keep happening at the holidays, we decided to Airbnb around for a while, starting in Vegas (we’re fortunate to both work from home so that we can work from anywhere.) Since we’re putting our stuff in storage,  we really needed to really go through everything, get rid of the stuff we didn’t need and moved in an organized fashion like actual adults.

Which is why I took one day off and then, even though I didn’t really feel any better I woke up, did my workouts (a bike training and run respectively) and then continued to organize and pack. That was unwise. I got super sick, escalating to bronchitis, with highlights including coughing until I threw up, having to take nebulizer treatments to be able to breathe, getting worn out walking to the bathroom, and going over a week without getting more than about 4 hours of consecutive sleep.

It was the worst possible timing and super frustrating – I feel like as I’ve gone along on this journey every time I get a little bit of momentum something goes wrong.  The moment I felt a tiny bit better I had to dedicate all of my time to going through our stuff, getting rid of stuff, packing, and moving.

So we arrived in Vegas Saturday night, I had one day to unpack and recover, and my break from running, biking, and swimming ended on Monday. Monday was a run, Tuesday was a bike trainer ride and 10 squats every hour, Wednesday was a run and a swim, Thursday was a bike trainer ride and 10 squats every hour, today is my rest day.

It’s a bit of a rough re-entry, but taking a break was the right call. Longtime readers will remember that I took on this challenge to do sports that I didn’t like and that I’m not good at. I was planning to do that for 2 years. Now that I’m in the 5th year of my 2 year plan, I really needed a break to re-energize myself. Now I’ve started the 10-month push to IMAZ19.


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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.


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Schedule It, Just a Little Bit

flat lay photography of calendar

Photo by on

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.



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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 on

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.



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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."


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.




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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.



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