TWIR #72: dead legs

I tried running twice this week and both times I had nothing but dead legs. I hate heavy legs when running. I can handle being out of breath. I can handle general muscle or joint pain. I can handle boredom and tiredness. But heavy legs are my kryptonite. I just want to throw in the towel and kick my workout to the curb. It’s especially frustrating because I know my legs are strong and I know I am not overtraining. There is no excuse for heavy legs. None.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: first successful day at the driving range!
Observations: I had my best day on the driving range by a long shot, and then got to eat birthday cake, so I think we can agree it was a good day. It wasn’t an active day, mind you, but it was a good one.

Sunday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: You have no idea how close I came to lounging around like a champ all day on Sunday. When we got home from camping, I had little desire to do anything. I thought about running but, ugh, running has sucked so much lately. I thought about going to the gym but, ugh, I don’t want to drive on the weekends when I drive so much during the week. Long story long, I did an at-home strength training workout that actually did a number on my glutes.

Monday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 5 (measly) km
Observations: I was excited for this run…until I started it. My legs had nothing in them. I instantly blamed Sunday’s wine and the fact that I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn’t fall back asleep. Maybe those were contributing factors, but it almost doesn’t matter to me. I’m tired of constantly having crappy running experiences.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: My training session was like a gift from heaven: no active hanging, no negative pull-ups and even no pushups (!!!!!!).  I mean, I did have to pull a weighted sled along the ground like a horse, so it wasn’t all fun and games, but I will never complain about my trainer leaving my upper body alone for a week.  Then I went to see my physiotherapist at the end of the day and, man, did he do a number on the muscles around my sciatic nerve. I thought it had helped, but it really didn’t.

Wednesday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 6 km
Observations: I thought I’d do a run to test if my sciatic and sacroiliac were back on track. The answer: nope. Not only was my run crappy, yet again, but it also left me with sciatic twinges and lower back tension. When will this injury just leave me the hell alone?  Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself.

Thursday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 30 min.
Observations: I’m beginning to think lunch time workouts are just not going to work at this job unless I finally get the answer to the seemingly unanswerable question: how do I get my access card programmed to let me into the office tower gym? Seriously, I have now asked four people, none of whom know nor can to direct me to someone who might. Long story long (again), it takes me too long to get to and from the gym so I ended up with a crappy 30 minute spin workout.

Friday
Activity: really nothing but sort of strength training
Relevant Stats: 20 minutes
Observations: I’m not going to lie, I wouldn’t have lasted much longer. My SI felt like a ticking time bomb today. Every exercise felt one stop closer to a total meltdown. But the real kicker was that 17 minutes into my workout one of my meetings got rescheduled for a half hour earlier, so suddenly I had a choice: lie and say I had a conflict or suck it up and end my workout. I hemmed and hawed during a set of step ups and my SI was the deciding factor. I was done.

Now it’s Friday and I have an exciting night of packing my china set to look forward to. Living the wild life, I am.  Maybe I can scrounge up some wine to accompany the packing. Yes, that seems like a wise choice. Happy weekend y’all.

TWIR #71: I need to pay attention

I said last week felt like the longest week ever and I may have been wrong, because this work week was only four days and it felt every bit as draggy as last week. On top of that, I lost focus during my training session and tweaked my SI yet again. I’m still convinced–and, I might add, my physiotherapist did not fully disagree–that work is not good for my body.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: bitchy comments to major cellular carrier, check
Observations: We flew out to Alberta to surprise my mom for an early 70th birthday celebration, and then took her out to get her a smartphone because she’s wanted one forever and has been stuck with a flip phone. I’m proud to say she’s already a texting machine with a full grasp of emojis. Excellent. In the process, however, I went full-on bitchy customer on a very unhelpful cellular carrier staff member. I mean, seriously, we don’t have a lot of competition in Canada but there are choices. Sidenote: seriously, Canadian cellular plans are just over-the-top expensive.

Sunday 
Activity: “hike”
Relevant Stats: 5 km
Observations: I call this a “hike” because really we travelled at a slow pace and barely gained any elevation and were surrounded by hordes of other hikers doing the exact same thing.  Still, we walked in nature, which constitutes a hike in my mind, and also justifies post-hike nachos and beer.  Don’t judge, it was hot as hell and cold beer was in order.

Monday 
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: shameful experiences on the chipping green and driving range
Observations: Good grief, I am certainly not making any progress on the golf front. I meant to work out after we flew home but by the time we ran our grocery errands and did our food prep for the work week, there was no workout happening. I settled for some time at the golf course, but other than sweating from heat and from the anxiety of nearly launching a ball right at the stranger next to me, it most definitely did not count as a workout.

Tuesday 
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: It was going all fine and well until I got distracted during a kettle bell dead lift and lost my form. There went my SI and then the rest of the workout was modified. The good news is that even my modified workouts these days are legit. I no longer have to downgrade to barely moving, and simply lower the weights and eliminate the negative pull-ups and other hanging exercises (which I personally consider to be a huge win). Still, I was pissy about it because, well, it’s been a solid year and a half and I’m f’ing tired of this nagging injury. Ahhhh, that felt good to let out.

Wednesday 
Activity: spin + stretching/core
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 10 min. stretching/core
Observations: I blame the prowler sprints for this terrible workout. My legs were dead. I got stuck on the spin bike that feels 100 times harder than any other spin bike and this half hour sucked the life out of me. I was also cranky as all hell because I dragged my ass out of bed ridiculously early, encountered unusually heavy traffic and got to the gym 10 minutes later than usual. I dread the rapidly approaching September and all the increased traffic volume it brings with it.

Thursday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 50 min.
Observations: While I avoided any single-leg loaded exercises, I didn’t take it easy today, particularly on my arms. They were done like dinner by the end of the workout.  Then I went to visit my dear physiotherapist, who I haven’t seen in months, and who battered my tender soft tissues like a sadist. At least I got the laser treatment at the end. I love those laser treatments with all my heart and long to be able to afford my own one day. It’s only $30k. Easy peasy.

Friday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I admit that I half-assed the first ten minuts, but then my body miraculously woke up and the rest of the ride was smooth sailing. Okay, ‘smooth sailing’ might be an overstatement, but it was okay. I was also pleased to see that yesterday’s laser treatment  seemed to have taken the edge off my SI pain.

And so the week has come to a close, and I am left feeling disappointed by my progress yet again. I am certain that my fitness is regressing by the day, yet I feel minimal motivation to change that. On weekends, in particular, I want nothing more than to lounge aimlessly, clutching a glass of wine, and dream of the day when every day is the weekend. Happy Friday.

 

TWIR #69: work is bad for my body

Well, I am now three weeks into the new gig and it’s safe to say it’s not been kind to my body. Since starting I’ve had the nagging fear that my sciatic is about to wreak havoc on me and, by the end of the week, my SI was back to it’s annoying old ways. I’m working hard to convince my better half that this is a sign I should take more time off work. No job is worth my body falling apart yet again. So far, he’s steadfastly resisting my attempts to retire early.

Saturday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 6.5 (awful) km
Observations: Good lord, this was not a good run and there was no reason for that. It was overcast and cool for the first time in days. I’d had a good night’s sleep. I even had a breakfast apple fritter for fuel (don’t worry, I also had an egg on toast for actual sustenance). Come to think of it, maybe the apple fritter was to blame. No matter, it was a bad run and my lower back wasn’t happy with me the rest of the day. As it turns out, that was the beginning for my sciatic and SI issues. Moral of the story: don’t run on the weekend. It’s just not worth it.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: 3.5-4 holes of a 9-hole golf course
Observations: The lone form of exercise for my day was carrying the golf bag for the last two holes. I certainly got no exercise from my game since it was such an abysmal disaster that I completely gave up.

Monday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I consider this one of two good workouts the entire week. I was a bundle of energy care of going to bed at 9pm on Sunday night. I did hills. I did sprints. I did standing hovers. It felt good. Even my SI appreciated the lack of impact and forward lunging. The week was off to such a promising start!

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I am convinced that, despite all my efforts, my arms and shoulders are actually getting weaker. I was dying during this workout, and literally dripping sweat. Of course, that could’ve been due to the fact that their AC was out. Trust me when I say that lack of air flow in a small, training studio does NOT lead to pleasant aromas. My SI and sciatic seemed fine during and after the workout, which lulled me into a false sense of security for Wednesday’s planned workout…

Wednesday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 6 km
Observations: Ugh. Running mid-day in the summer is no bueno.  For a city with so many trees there was a surprising lack of shade on my chosen route. It was hot. I was sweaty. None of the water fountains I ran past shot water more than 1/8 of an inch beyond their spout. Gross. Although a terrible run, I was still happy to fit in a workout after the ridiculous morning events that caused me to miss my usual a.m. workout. On the downside, my SI and the muscles surrounding my sciatic nerve were less thrilled with my workout choice. As it turns out, they weren’t ready for a run yet.

Thursday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I got up earlier to get to the gym earlier and somehow still ended up with only a 45 minute workout before hauling ass to work where I narrowly missed making it to my first meeting on time.  On top of that, my SI was not digging the vast majority of exercises and, by the end of the day, was feeling decidedly like the old days and that is not a good thing. This only cemented my belief that work is bad for my body.

Friday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: You know those mornings when you just don’t want to get out of bed, and even once you’ve been up for the forty minutes it takes you to drive downtown to the gym, and even still once you’ve been on the spin bike for a solid 10 minutes, you STILL refuse to resign yourself to the fact the workout is happening? Yeah, today was that day.  In the name of honesty, I’ll tell you that I used lighter tensions whether I was climbing, seated, standing or sprinting. I do believe that this particular spin bike feels harder than the one I usually use, but that could also be a total cop out.  On the plus side, my SI was a little better today. I’m hopeful that by avoiding running over the weekend it will work itself out. Wishful thinking rarely gets me anywhere, though.

Alas, me and my questionable SI are going to sail off into the weekend with a glass of wine in hand as we organize for a townhouse complex garage sale. Personally, I think it’s an idea fraught with potential to be a total shitshow, but we also have a ton of stuff that we really need to ditch. What better way to spend half a Saturday, right? Yes, that was laced with sarcasm. Happy weekend, y’all!

TWIR #64: the week of exhaustion

I have no explanation for how tired I’ve felt this week. I stopped taking allergy meds late last week, and yet for the better part of the week I continued to feel beyond exhausted. I had little desire to work out, and napped frequently. If this is still related to seasonal allergies, may I be the first to say that pollen can kiss my ass.

Saturday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I think this may have been my only good workout the entire week. I remember being tired, but not so much so that I didn’t force myself to do negative pull ups on my own. That’s saying a lot.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day + putting green
Relevant Stats: amazing 30+ foot putt!
Observations: No, I’m not attempting to claim that going to the putting green is exercise. It is not. I merely wanted to brag about my amazing long putt. Seriously, it was beautiful. It was a fluke, of course, but beautiful nonetheless.

Monday
Activity: yoga
Relevant Stats: 90 min.
Observations: I wrote about this on Monday, but my body simply did not want to do anything remotely intense.  I’d forgotten just how difficult yoga is when you lack any semblance of flexibility.  I wished desperately that I had a legit yoga block. Instead, I had to use various makeshift items like books, or a small upturned basket, or a tin box. Resourcefulness at its best. At the end of the day, my legs felt the best (i.e. least tense and stiff) that they’ve felt in ages, so I think it was the right call.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I sort of thought I’d bounce back from yoga day and be ready for intensity. Sadly, this was not the case.  The early morning wake up call on Tuesdays is always rough, but it felt even rougher this week. My SI and lower back were also causing me issues. My trainer has noticed that my right shoulder isn’t functioning properly again, which is causing me to strain my SI with certain types of motions. Good grief. Will my body ever function properly? I rounded out my day with not one but two naps. I told you I was tired this week.

Wednesday
Activity: mostly an unplanned rest day with some half-assed yoga
Relevant Stats: 30 min. yoga
Observations: Honestly, I was going to do nothing on Wednesday. I spent most of the day dreading any kind of workout. After popping out to run an errand (at 3:00 in the afternoon, no less), I had a brief surge in energy and contemplated a run. By the time I got home, the moment had passed and I thought yoga instead. My heart and body were not in it and I abandoned course after a pretty weak 30 minutes.

Thursday
Activity: cardio warmup + strength training
Relevant Stats: 10 min. stairs + 50 min. strength
Observations:  It took everything, and I mean everything, to get me to the gym. I had no interest in going. Once again, an early morning trip into the city had left me tired and unmotivated. I forced myself to the gym and somehow managed to stick it for an hour. If I’m honest, it wasn’t a great workout. I wasn’t drenched in sweat by the end, so there was little pushing it. Oh, also, there may have been another afternoon nap. WTF.

Friday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 7.5 km (!)
Observations: I expected today’s run to be short-lived and painful so I meant most of the morning dreading it. Sometimes the universe hands you a most unexpected good run, and today was that day. All things considered (tiredness, still-not-so-great-SI, mental state, etc.), it felt pretty good and I was able to run a reasonable distance (for me these days).  I do enjoy when my workout week ends on a high note.

There is no hiding the fact that this was a piss poor week for workouts. I can only hope that whatever crippling source of exhaustion struck me this week disappears as quickly as it came. If it is just allergies, all I have to say is:

Pollen, if I’m unfairly blaming you for my tiredness, I’m sorry. But chances are, it’s you.

TWIR # 63: SI, allergies and errands, oh my!

Where did this week go? It’s something I’ve rarely wondered since I left my last job. I mean, when you’re able to take a lengthy work hiatus, I think it’s poor form to complain about time flying by. But I’m gonna do it anyways. This week felt short!  I spent most of it feeling like crap care of allergies and supposedly non-drowsy allergy medication, but I also felt like I was constantly either running from thing to thing or trying to get a whole bunch of life crap in order for some maybe-big-changes-that-I’m-not-ready-to-talk-about-yet-thank-you-very-much.  Translation: I’m glad it’s Friday. Let’s take a look at this week in workouts:

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: roadside bear sightings: one
Observations: We took a quick trip up to the Okanagan, complete with wildlife sightings. My main goal on Saturday was to hit Tickleberry’s for ice cream and fudge on the way to our destination. Sadly, I forgot that summer season is upon us, which turns this roadside ice cream stand into a hellish tourist trap. The lines were insane. I love me some ice cream and fudge, but not enough to wait for half an hour.  I walked away empty handed and sad. Don’t feel too sorry for me, though, there may have Dairy Queen later that afternoon. Even though it felt like sloppy seconds, it was still pretty damn tasty.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: sedentary, sedentary, sedentary
Observations: Well, Sunday was a day of very little motion. Aside from walking to and from restaurants and a seemingly never-ending mission to find healthy road snacks, I basically did nothing active. I sat in a car, then got home and sat on the couch. It was laziness at its finest and I regret nothing.

Monday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 11 km, 400 m elevation gain
Observations: Once again, a formerly easy hike felt like my own personal Everest. I was dying on the way up. My legs were tired, my lungs couldn’t get enough air. I wanted to turn around.  And then it all went to hell. Whatever allergens have been unleashed lately attacked me and I turned into a congested, snotty, sneezing disaster. Damn you, nature.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I barely got my ass out of bed for this session. Let’s just say that 5:45 am felt particularly awful while on allergy meds. Though the workout was still tough, my trainer gave me the most wonderful gift: I did not have to do negative pull ups or push ups.  She told me at most I’d get that once a month. I’ll take it! Just don’t tell her that I sort of missed having them as part of my workout…

Wednesday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 4.4 km, 400 m elevation gain
Observations: I braved the pollen and hit the trails for a short and steep jaunt up the Abby Grind. My energy felt moderately better than on Monday’s hike, though my legs still felt like they were trying to power through quicksand. On top of that, my SI was not loving this hike. By the time late afternoon rolled around, my lower back had stiffened up nicely and my SI was feeling some sharp pains with certain motions. Ugh.

Thursday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 80 min.
Observations: In efforts to calm my SI, I focused on strength and stability. it seemed to help. I had a great strength workout, and even forced myself to do negative pull ups and push ups on my own. In hindsight, it was probably my trainer’s secret goal to make me feel so guilty about not having to do either exercise in our session that I would feel compelled to do them on my own. She’s a crafty one.

Friday
Activity: run + epic cleaning
Relevant Stats: 6 km test run + 3.5 hours of deep cleaning mode (yuck)
Observations: I’m calling today a test run because my SI hasn’t been happy with me the last week but it’s so off and on that I wasn’t sure if running would affect it.  The good news is that running felt fine, aside from it being brutally hard after yet another week a half without running. The bad news is the crouching over shower enclosures and scrubbing the crap out of them was not so kind on my SI. You win some, you lose some. Also, yes I know that cleaning isn’t really a workout, but I’m going to own it today because that scrubbing was hard work and lugging our giant vacuum up and down multiple flights of stairs also sucks.

At this point, I want to say a big TGIF and dive  into a bottle of wine. I feel it’s worth noting I won’t drink the entire bottle myself.  I could, mind you, but I won’t.  All in all, and pardon the language, this week gets a big:

I mean, any excuse to use a picture of an alpaca, right?

TWIR #62: these weak arms will be the death of me

Welp. After nearly four months of carefree, injury-less living, I tweaked my SI this week. It was bound to happen, I suppose. Still, I was irritated by it.  I’m not in a lot of pain this time around. It’s really only sharp and random movements that are causing aggravation and even that’s pretty minor.  Plus, it was raining all week so I had little desire to hike or run anyway. Look at me, finding silver linings.  Let’s bring the rambling to an end and see what I got up to this week:

Saturday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 12 km
Observations:  Sunshine! Warmth! And on a WEEKEND (!!!)…uh, not that every day isn’t a weekend for me. I got up early and hit the local mountains for a relatively easy jaunt on the trails, combining a few partial trails for a total of 12k. My early start allowed me to escape nature before it got hella hot. By mid-afternoon, we were on the lookout for a way to escape the heat, so we hopped in the car and headed to our campsite, where we swam for a while before walking way, way, way too much and attempting to play tennis against a wall with a wiffle ball (not easy). My legs were done by night’s end. Thankfully roasted hot dogs and wine eased the pain.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: delicious gelato discovered
Observations: On the way back from the campsite, we took a swing into White Rock for an ocean front stroll and gelato. I remember nothing else from the day because good gelato trumps everything.

Monday
Activity: hike
Relevant Stats: 11 km
Observations: I thought a day off would refresh my legs, but it did not. I hiked a trail I’ve done a million times and one that’s pretty damn easy, if I do say so myself. It killed me. My legs felt dead and I was literally dripping sweat (okay, it was also really warm out). Clearly, at my current fitness level, three hikes in four days, no matter how easy, is too much.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 45 min. legit workout/15 min. sad, pitiful workout
Observations:  This is when my weak arms and shoulders let me down. After sets of hanging exercises, negative pull ups and full tricep push ups, my arms were done like dinner. Then we, and by “we” I mean my trainer, upped the weights on our deadlifts. It turned out to be a bad combo.  My tired arms and shoulders lost their form and I tweaked my SI. I seriously wonder at what point my arms will stop feeling like jello from activities that seem like they should feel easier over time. I would like it to be soon.

Wednesday
Activity: cardio warmup + strength
Relevant Stats: 15 min. stairs + 60 min. strength
Observations: Even though my SI tweak was minor, running was out of the question for the rest of the week. It was back to basics instead. My goal was to focus on form, reduce the weight load, and get in a good strength workout. It seems to be the cure-all for my temperamental SI and, sure enough, I felt better after my workout.

Thursday
Activity: cardio warmup + strength
Relevant Stats: 15 min. stairs + 60 min. strength
Observations: Another day of cautionary strength training was on the menu. This time around, I started to increase my weights again and incorporated more stability-focused, single-leg exercises, all completed sans SI aggravation. Win! I rewarded myself with extra peanut butter M & Ms, because I firmly believe that any success, no matter how small, should be rewarded with fat and sugar. This is also why I need to work out on the regular. Sigh.

Friday
Activity: spin + strength
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 30 min. strength
Observations: Good God, I haven’t spun in ages and I forgot how hard it can be. Then, in efforts to make negative pull ups not feel like death, I forced myself to do some on my own. They were even less enjoyable at the gym where I’m certain anyone around me was horrified by my face progressing from pale to red to purple care of my excessive upper body exertion.  I have to keep believing that these will get easier one day…

Now that I’ve survived the week (relatively) unscathed, it’s time to enjoy the return of the sunshine, a couple days of arm recovery (because, seriously, my arms are dead), and a glass of wine or two (or five). Happy weekend!

Monday Musings: the long and winding road

We have had an absolutely amazing couple of weeks weather-wise. For me, any time the sun shines for days on end, I start to feel guilty at the thought of staying indoors or working out at the gym. The trails begin calling to me. Once I answer their call, once I taste that first trail of the season where there is actually a view, where the air’s aroma is that perfect mix of dry pine needles and all the greens of Spring, where the tree canopy offers just the right amount of shade from what’s starting to become a sweltering sun, I am a goner for the rest of the season. I’ll see you on the trails.

This is the state I’ve found myself in these last couple of weeks.   I want to hike. I crave the terrain, the search for ever-higher viewpoints, the familiar rhythm of my steps up steep slopes. The only problem is that my body hasn’t caught up with my mind. Instead, my body is like ‘holy f#^@, girl, you are way too outta shape for this!”

In recent years, a large part of my identity rested on being ‘the hiker girl’. I loved that I was fast on the trail, that I could cover so much ground in a day, that I rarely felt that even the steepest of trails were all that difficult. Now, trails that I would have deemed too easy to even warrant my time leave my lungs winded and my legs sore and exhausted.  In the last four days, I’ve hiked three times, a combined total of 32 km on easy to moderate trails. That was often a one-day distance tally for me and, even spread out over three days, it has left me sluggish and ready for a break. I have used this word before, but ‘humbling’ is the best word I can think to describe it.

No matter how much I want to jump right back into the types of trails I’ve been accustomed to, I won’t be able to do so right away…at least not without accepting that it will be slower, feel harder and, because of this, lead to some frustration. It doesn’t feel good to be in the position where things that were once so easy and natural feel impossibly hard again. The road to injury recovery truly is long. It has highs, it has lows, and it involves many, many (many) rough patches. Even though I am moving forward, ever-so-slowly regaining my hiking mojo, it often feels like two steps back (bonus points for anyone who has that classic Paula Abdul song stuck in their head right now…and I’m sorry).

Every time I push myself on more challenging, steeper and longer trails, it feels like I am right back at square one. I have been here before, though, a decade ago when I took up hiking and made it a mainstay in my life. I have just conveniently forgotten what it felt like to work hard to gain trail legs, growing complacent as my fitness plateaued at a high level. If I pause and reflect on the past, I know that what I’m going through now is just a part of the process, and that every journey has its valleys and its peaks. I’m just looking forward to getting back to one of those peaks some time soon. Until then, I will find solace in the fact that the tired legs and overly laboured breathing are exactly what I need to get me there.