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 #66: oh insufferable heat

We pacific northwesters are so delicate when it comes to heat. We complain bitterly about the never-ending rain and grey skies that plague us for about 10 months of the year, and then when the sun finally graces us with its presence we all walk around saying things like “ugh, can you believe this heat?” You just can’t please us. I am typically a fan of the sunshine and warmth so long as I don’t have to do anything terribly taxing.  But let me tell you, it takes a toll on my running, which has already taken a bad hit this past year.  On top of that starting a new job threw my workout schedule into a tizzy. Translation: this was a bad week for workouts.

Saturday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: 9-hole round of golf + campground-walks-with-wine
Observations: I had really good intentions of running. Really good.  I don’t even know what happened but the option of golf was presented to me and I’m determined to get better so I had to say yes. Then by the time we got back it was hella hot and the only solution was to drink poolside ciders. Obviously.

Sunday
Activity: sort-of-planned rest day
Relevant Stats: 9-hole round of golf + laziness
Observations: I knew a proper Sunday workout wouldn’t happen after Saturday’s cider and wine fiesta. Plus it was hella hot again. We opted for another round of golf. Although not at all strenuous, standing around in the sun waiting for my turn to tee off made me sweat enough to fool myself into thinking I’d worked out.

Monday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 6 km
Observations: Determined not to let the whole long weekend get away from me without at least one workout, I forced myself to run. After a weekend of laziness and drinking, it did not feel good. I am amazed I even lasted 6 km.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations:  We were back to our usual training shenanigans, which meant all manner of unenjoyable exercises.  This week’s worst exercise prize went to pulling a prowler loaded with weights while doing walking lunges. I’ve always felt bad for animals that have to haul lazy humans around (horse-drawn carriages, dog sleds, etc.). Now I feel even more sorry for them.

Wednesday
Activity: attempted run
Relevant Stats: 3 km (no, that’s not a typo)
Observations: This run went nowhere fast, literally. I had zero gas in the tank, zero motivation, and it was so, so hot even though it was only 10:30 in the morning. After one particularly long uphill stretch, I called it quits. Also, the steady flow of sweat dripping down my back and into my pants (I know, it’s TMI) was very unpleasant. I thought I’d go to the gym to make this into a decent workout, but it was my last day of freedom before starting work so I opted for 48 Hours Mysteries instead. I think that was the right call.

Thursday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: first day of work…eek!
Observations: I knew I wasn’t likely to fit in a workout and I was right. Between the ungodly early morning and meeting a million new people, which is about my least favourite thing, I was ready to crawl into bed by 4:30 pm. I haven’t had a headache in ages, but I had a raging one by the time I got home. It wasn’t a bad day, but man going back to work is rough. I barely made it to 9pm before falling into an epically deep slumber.

Friday
Activity: cardio warmup + strength training
Relevant Stats: 15 min. spin + 20 min. strength
Observations: This wasn’t the workout that I envisioned. I had great hopes of a full hour workout. Somehow I underestimated the commute downtown combined with the walk to the gym and found myself short on time.  I worked up a good sweat but even I know it still wasn’t enough to make up for the rest of the week.

This is a shameful workout recap. I am going to blame the heat even though I know that wasn’t really the cause. I like a good scapegoat.  All I have to say right now is TGIF.

I feel you man.

TWIR #65: energy rebound

I am not at all religious but I’d like to say a big thank the lord almighty that my energy seems to have returned this week. Maybe it was the extra rest days I’ve been scattering throughout my week, which begs the question of whether I should always take more rest days. Or maybe, maybe I’m just a master at finding any avenue to be lazy. No matter, it was a better week. Let’s just leave it at that.

Saturday
Activity: run/hike
Relevant Stats: unknown distance, 40 minutes
Observations: I started with a hill run that felt like death care of my our weekend getaway being in a town about 500m higher in elevation than our home town.  Then I discovered a network of trails and had to keep climbing and climbing because that is what I do when I discover trails that lead to better views. It was worth it, and I felt much less guilty about all the wine consumption later that night.

Sunday
Activity: sort of planned rest day
Relevant Stats: high amounts of car-sitting
Observations: Well, I could have revisited my trails Sunday morning, but I just didn’t want to. Instead, we had a leisurely morning before packing up the car and heading home, which was fine until we hit the Fraser Valley at which point the never-ending stop and go traffic made me want to tear my hair out. I wasn’t even the one driving. Road rage is real my friends.

Monday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: mother f*@#ing carpet cleaning completed
Observations: I will never again in my life clean carpets myself. My lower back was wrecked from two measly sets of stairs. Between the carpet cleaning and errand running, I had little time nor energy left for a workout. I attempted a run and made it half a block before my lower back said a flat out “bitch please!”

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: OMG I broke a full on sweat and my legs were burning by the end. We took it up a few notches and had a legit workout and suddenly I realized that my two weeks of abstaining from any real strength training was palpable in every single one of my muscles. Note to self: don’t slack on strength training anymore.

Wednesday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 7 km
Observations: It was the perfect day for a run. It was cool and overcast and I was psyched to run without heat. You can probably predict that the cool and overcast weather lasted for about 1 km of my run. Murphy’s Law clearly states that the sweltering sun will come out at the precise moment I think that I’ve lucked out with perfect running temperatures.

Thursday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I strength trained on my own! And with full sets! And mostly with full weights! I even forced myself to do negative pull ups. After the last two weeks, I considered this to be a major feat.

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: My plan today was to do a short hike in the Fraser Valley, but apparently hoards of people trying to make an early long weekend getaway wreaked havoc on the highway.  All I know is that it wasn’t moving and our radio traffic station listed at list four major problems. The hike wasn’t meant to be. It then took me almost an hour to get myself off the highway and to the gym. Excellent use of time. At least my workout was a good one. I feel good about a couple of decent strength workouts this week since I’ve been slacking in that department lately.  With this workout in the books, I’m ready for the weekend. Bring on the sunshine, beer and campfire hot dogs!

Let’s keep this train rolling and let’s celebrate the moment that seemed to spur on a decent week of workouts:

Yesssssssss.

Happy weekend.

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 #60: arms good, runs bad

My arms resumed normal function this week, which meant some seriously great strength workouts. But, because the universe likes to keep things in balance, my running hasn’t been great.  Trade offs.  Perhaps one day I will hit my workout groove again. Until then, let’s see what the week had in store.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: one successful layer cake for mother’s day dinner
Observations: I did my first crumb coat on a cake and now I understand why they are essential. For the first time, I had a cleanly frosted cake without a single speck of cake crumb marring its surface. Win.

Sunday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 70 min.
Observations:  I was so excited to integrate my arms back into my strength workouts that I stayed at the gym longer than an hour, even though I was trying to get home for the final round of the Players Championship. Thank goodness for PVRs.

Monday
Activity: cardio + strength
Relevant Stats: 30 min. stairs + 40 min. strength
Observations: I intended to run but it was absolutely pissing rain and, somewhere along the way, the thought of running in torrential rain has become completely unpalatable to me. I opted for the gym, which everyone else had also done, which meant it was crazy busy and also smelled particularly ripe.  Nonetheless, I managed a solid cardio warm up and even more strength training. These arms will get strong if it’s the last thing I do.

Tuesday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 31 pitiful minutes
Observations: This was the worst run I’ve had in months. We broke our no wine on weeknights rule on Monday, and I swear this bad run can be fully attributed to drinking half a bottle of wine. Though I love my wine, I am certain it impacts the quality of my sleep which, in turn, impacts my workouts. I managed a half hour, but let me tell you there were a lot of breaks-disguised-as-needing-to-check-my-phone. Terrible.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: I was petrified of returning to my trainer. I told her my arms hurt for 4-5 days and her response was a glib “Oh yeah, usually people’s arms will hurt for a week, but it gets better the next time you do that exercise”. I took this to mean I’d have to revisit the dreaded arm exercise, and I was right. Thankfully, I did fewer reps this week and seemed to emerge from the workout with a functioning upper body. What fears me about my trainer is how excited she’s getting at my upper body progress. I have no issue with her increasing weight and complexity with my lower body, but anything related to my upper body is terror inducing.  I think she smells my fear.

Thursday
Activity: cardio + strength
Relevant Stats: 25 min. stairs + 60 min. strength
Observations: The one good thing about receiving a call that your car is going to cost you $2081 was that it lead to a good workout. I used my cardio warmup to try to work out my mild panic at dropping so much coin while unemployed, and then used the strength workout to manage my frustration at being completely unmotivated to change my employment situation. The result was one of my best workouts.

Friday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: Don’t let the fact that this run was 24 minutes longer than Tuesday’s run lead you to believe it felt any better. It felt slow, sluggish and unpleasant start to finish. Plus, now that there’s even a semblance of Spring warmth in the air, I have turned into the world’s sweatiest runner. Seriously, it was maybe 14 degrees outside and I was a bucket of sweat. Ugh.

What’s that thing that runners always say? Something like, it’s the bad runs that make the good runs feel so good. I think that’s crap but I’m going to say it to myself today in hopes that next week brings some decent running to the table.  Until then, I’m going to get my long weekend on, which hopefully will involve all manner of sins like: wine, oceanside fish and chips, riverside walks with beer breaks, and gelato. Happy weekend y’all.

TWIR #59: The pain!

This week was all putting up with minor pain. This whole aging body thing is super uncool, if you ask me.  I used to bounce back like a champ. Sigh. Still, I managed to get back to some decent workouts, and a triumphant post-ankle-sprain return to running. Wahoo!

Saturday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 30 min.
Observations: I initially wrapped my ankle for some extra support but it was dull aching within minutes. I tried unwrapping it to see if it would help, and it did, but only temporarily. Most of this run was very unpleasant for my poor ankle so I cut it pretty short. However, I’m giving major props to myself for running at all. We were out for birthday lunch and celebrations which involved a gargantuan amount of eating and not getting home until 4:30. The cards were stacked against me for fitting in a workout at all. Also, if you were wondering, eating large quantities of rice and noodles and all things deliciously Cambodian and Vietnamese does not make for a good run.

Sunday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 85 min.
Observations: After downing a pecan mudslide Saturday night, I knew I had to fit in a good workout. My ankle was still a bit achy, so I opted to avoid the cardio. I did a killer strength training workout that left my glutes with intense DOMS.

Monday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 7 km
Observations: Thankfully my ankle seemed back to normal by Monday (i.e. I beat it into submission with the last two day’s workouts), so I hit the road for another run.  Though my ankle was fine, this run was still tough. I am constantly amazed by how much running fitness I’ve lost over the last year. I’m not sure why it surprises me since I really haven’t worked hard to rebuild my cardio fitness, yet it does.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session + short cardio session
Relevant Stats: 60 min. training + 20 min. spin
Observations: Sweet holy hell. After one day of pain-free running, my trainer took me to a whole new world of upper body pain.  All it took was four sets of three hanging exercises. I would try to explain them in writing but I am certain it would be incredibly confusing. Suffice it to say, my arms were jello by the end of the workout and continued to worsen throughout the day. Even picking up a glass of water hurt.

Wednesday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 7.5 km
Observations: You wouldn’t think that running could possibly hurt your arms, but you would be wrong. I awoke to such a stiff upper body (arms, shoulders, neck and even around my rib cage) that I knew that strength training was out of the question. Since running is predominantly a lower body activity, I thought it would be safe. I was wrong. Every swing of the arms was excruciating. Damn you, personal trainer, damn you.

Thursday
Activity: cardio warm up + strength
Relevant Stats: 20 min. stairs + 45 min. strength
Observations: My arms. My poor arms. They were still in a world of pain, yet I still cautiously ventured to the gym aiming to work my lower half. The problem with this approach is that most of my lower body activities still require carrying weights with my arms. I tried my best to avoid engaging my biceps, which are the most tender of the muscle groups, but only time will tell if this was successful. I rewarded myself with an IKEA frozen yogurt which I recall being about 10x bigger than what I was served. It was a highly disappointing reward, especially since I had to endure IKEA crowds just to get it.

Friday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 41 min.
Observations:  This is my first 3-run week in months! I am trying not to overdue it with distance until I see how my SI responds, which was particularly easy today  since, between yesterday’s leg and glute workout and the fact that it still hurts to swing my arms, I was in full-body exhaustion and discomfort. I cannot WAIT for a rest day tomorrow.

Until then, there’s Friday wine and hours and hours of Players Championship golf to catch up on. Happy Friday to me.

TWIR #56: Evil Ankle Strikes Again

As predicted last week, my week of workouts got off to a pretty poor start care of my parent’s visit. It’s not really fair to blame them. They would’ve been fine with me ditching them for a workout or two. Nonetheless, the weekend turned out to be a write-off.  I tried to bounce back during the week but I have to admit my motivation has still been lacking.  I consider myself fortunate that I’ve built a strong, habitual pattern of working out or I’m sure I would’ve abandoned exercise entirely these last few weeks. As it is, the quality and duration of most of my workouts isn’t what I hoped it would be by now. And then, then there was the whole ankle thing….

Let’s get this over with.

Saturday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: 16 km of walking + one gelato + fish and chips
Observations: Well, at least I walked a lot right? Just ignore the fact that we had waffles for breakfast, that we ate gelato mid-afternoon, and that I ate my weight in fish and chips. Oh, and then there was the wine…So, yeah, all that walking did nothing.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: 12 km walking + deep fried pickles
Observations:  Once again, there was a lot of walking…but coupled with a lot of eating and drinking. There was another big breakfast (eggs and home-made hot cross buns). There was beer and deep fried pickles. There was apple crumble with ice cream. On the plus side, despite having a giant basket of Easter candy (that, yes, my parents still hid for me), I didn’t touch a single piece!

Monday
Activity: cardio warm up + strength
Relevant Stats: 25 min. stairs + 45 min. strength
Observations: Determined to get back to exercise, I got up early and hit the gym. I fit in a pretty decent workout before heading home, hosting lunch for six, and then cooking one last family dinner while my parents were in town. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice it was yet another day that revolved around food. What can I say? My family likes to eat.

Tuesday
Activity: Run!!!
Relevant Stats: 7.75 km
Observations: I had a couple important meetings in the afternoon and wanted to clear my head with a nice little run.  It worked. I was sluggish all morning but managed a decent run. My legs felt like lead for the first 20 minutes but I ran them into submission.

Wednesday
Activity: cardio warm up + personal training session
Relevant Stats: 20 min. spin + 60 min. personal training
Observations: I got to my trainer’s studio way early so I hit the gym for a bit of pre-session spin. Of course I did this on the day when my trainer had me doing 100 lb deadlifts and RUNNING with 110 pounds on the prowler. Oh, we also did more hanging exercises, which I despise, partly because they’re giving me calluses on the pads of my hands. Blech.

Thursday
Activity: cardio + strength
Relevant Stats: 30 min. spin + 30 min. strength
Observations: It was a miracle I made it to the gym. It was a total sad sack day for me, and I wanted nothing more than to stay home all day doing absolutely nothing. However, I had a meeting I had to go to, so I figured I might as well work out beforehand. It wasn’t a great workout, and my legs and arms were still killing me from my personal training session, but I did it.

Friday
Activity: Run(ish)
Relevant Stats: 7 km + 1 rolled ankle (wah waaaaah)
Observations:  I was feeling good today. I was having a great run, in fact. The sun was shining, the air was warm, I was finally running without a jacket (!!!!) and it was glorious. Until I turned my ankle on a rock and catapulted myself forward. Thankfully no one was around to witness the spectacle as my arms windmilled in efforts to keep me from bailing. The only thing that saved me from a total face plant on the gravel path was a wooden post. I was able to brace myself against it. Damn you weak ankles! I suppose this means a week or two without running. Just when I was feeling good about things…

As I sit here RICE-ing my sad ankle, I can only give this week a: