Sunday, March 20, 2011

Trail Smitten's Getting Her Groove Back

My Happy Place
The hardest part about returning to exercise after taking time off is not over doing it.  When you're making up for lost time, have friends who are training longer and harder than you and have a looming race date, this is especially challenging.  Exercising restraint, honoring those rest days and recovery workouts and sticking with the plan, rather than getting overly excited and jumping aboard someone else's, is tough!

I've been back training for a month now. To most, it would appear that I'm doing fine and am up to speed.  I am afraid that that's not the case just yet.  My training log reveals lots of modifications, set backs, sore days and unplanned rest days as the result of doing too much, too soon.  More than once I angrily scribbled "Overdid it. Sloooooow down!" in the margins of my log.  This week I heeded my own advice and thankfully managed to pull off a complete week of training without physical setbacks. Hurray! I'm celebrating!

Here's my happy week in review:

Monday:  Swim Cycle Brick
  • Half mile swim using my new and improved Total Immersion technique. It's feeling more natural.  There's no zoning out since I am uber-focused on what each part of my body is doing: soft hands, high elbows, reach under the water (not over the water), gentle kicks, belly button to each side as I rotate back and forth, breathe from both sides.  My latest mantra is I'm slippery, balanced and piercing the water.  My form is still a little rough, but I've getting over that "fish out of the water" feeling.  No improvement in speed just yet.  All my focus is on technique. Supposedly when that's in place, I'll feel like I'm swimming down hill.
  •  45 minute easy ride on my spin bike. Ah, feels good to ride after swimming. I was able to chat with my husband and do this workout from the dry warm comforts of my own home, as opposed to the wet, blustery outdoors.  
Tuesday:  Rest
  • This is always the hardest day for me. I don't like resting! Fortunately I was super busy with my daughters, work and had a post-work hair cut.  I watched my swimming DVDs, read my Mile Markers book about running and enjoyed an evening cocktail.  
Wednesday:  Long Cycle
  • Biked eight miles to work. Even in the pouring rain, it felt awesome.  My only complaint was when I had to share the road with motorists.  Please don't hit me cars!  I felt energized the entire day then biked eight miles back home in the pouring rain.  I didn't mind the rain, especially since there wasn't wind and my route back was flat and/or downhill.  Yay, for spin bike drills!  They are making me a stronger cycler who is more conscious of utilizing the entire rotation of each pedal stroke.
This shot came from a sunny,  dry, but chilly ride with my husband a couple weeks ago.
Thursday:  Run
  • Drove across town at the crack of dawn to meet up with friends.  Enjoyed a five mile run and marveled for the umpteeth time how much quicker miles go when they are shared with friends.  Who needs to "do lunch" when you can meet up and "do runs"?  Logging miles with my fabulous running partner and running buddies is the best way to start the day.  Hopefully soon, I'll be able to keep up with their distance and pace so I can enjoy their company longer.
Friday:  Cycle Run Brick
  • Went to Janet's kick-ass 45-minute spin class at the gym.  Forgot how challenging these can be compared to solo riding.  My legs were toast after countless sprints and climbs!  The night before I had balked at the 20 minute run that was supposed to follow my class.  Who runs for 20 minutes?!  Hardly seemed worth the change of shoes.  Turned out that twenty minutes was more than enough running for my legs.  I found it odd that I like to swim then bike,  I like to swim then run, I like to run then bike, I like to run then swim, I like to bike then swim, but the one combo I DON'T like is to bike then run. It's so hard! Can we please change the order of events in triathlons?  These cycle run bricks are just what I need.  I hope they eventually feel good.  Currently the run portion, is slow, awkward and exhausting.
Sunrise over canal at Pre's Trail at Alton Baker Park
Get a load of those clouds, colors and tree silhouettes!   
Saturday:  Long Trail Run
  • Took my sweet dog out for some fun in the sun on Ridgeline.  I was delighted to be back on the trails.  I enjoyed eight miles worth of quiet solitude and took in the beautiful sights-- sunbeams through the trees,  chartreuse ferns, moss covered trees, tiny wildflower buds springing from the ground.  I had a meditative, rejuvenating time in the forest.  I walked the ups and ran the flats and downs.  There was no rush, nothing to prove, only enjoyment to be found.  How I love the peace and beauty of trails.  Out there, my worries melt away and I find myself reconnecting with my small, humble place in this magnificent universe.
Trail Smitten's Side Kick Japhy Ryder.  Look at that toothy grin!
My muddy buddy radiates pure joy on the trails. Notice the blue skies and sunshine in the background!

 Sunday: Long Swim
  • Did a half mile's worth of drills and realized that maybe, just maybe, they aren't so bad after all.  Followed that up with a half mile of freestyle.  For the first time, I had a swim plan, took notes, counted strokes and timed myself.  It was out of character for me to be so science and data-driven in the pool.  We'll see if/how it helps in the weeks to come.  Currently I'm still swimming the same pace but it's only been a week of using this new swimming style. 
It was a fantastic training week.  I dare say that I just might be getting my groove back.  Four more weeks until my first sprint triathlon.  I can hardly wait!  

Love the tide, the ride and the stride...

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!! What a sweet week you had. You're doing a great job balancing recovery and getting back out there.... cuz you're being rewarded with more and more strength and stamina. And look at that sun on the trail! How fantastic is that? Japhy looks like a puppy. I think he missed you out there :-) Love love, rockstar!