TWIR #97: Snow + Schnitzel + Stiffness, oh my!

In many ways, this week has felt all over the place. There was a long weekend, a road trip, a strange week at work, further attempts to run, and further SI stiffness as a result of said running attempt.  And on top of all that, I ate so, so many carbs throughout the week. In other words, I am a creature of habit and as soon as I deviate from my routines, I have no idea what’s happening in my life.  Enough rambling.  Let’s see what the week looked like.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: minimal walking, maxium carb-age
Observations:  Road triiiiiip!!! I spent most of the day on my ass, eating donuts (okay, that sounded like I ate multiple donuts, when I promise that I only ate one) and sausage and schnitzel. But we did walk for maybe, like, 2 km so that obviously balanced out the sitting and eating, right?  I know, I know. It doesn’t. The worst part is that our favourite schnitzel place was closed and the place I chose as a backup sucked, which means that I ingested thousands of schnitzel calories that weren’t even worth it. Schnitzel fail.

Sunday
Activity: mini hike
Relevant Stats: 9.2 km, elevation gain unknown (but very moderate)
Observations:  I cannot say this was my favourite hike. We definitely either ended up on the wrong trail or the trail descriptions were wrong about the distance (quite likely since three sources showed three vastly different distances). Either way, we never found the ridge and encountered a river of mud and melting snow for what felt like a solid kilometer, all of which made me grouchy. However, the day was redeemed with the following: outstanding Mexican dinner, mucho craft beer tastings + fudge from a roadside fudge shop.

Monday
Activity: semi planned rest day
Relevant Stats: so much car sitting + border waiting
Observations:  This felt like the world’s longest day thanks to some serious border lines. It shouldn’t have been a surprise as it was a long weekend. When we left the cabin, I was fine with not stopping to hike on Stevens Pass, but by the end of the day I wished we had because sitting for six hours straight is not good. Also, I ate way too many carbs, breaking the cardinal rule that just because you slip a little bit in one day, doesn’t mean you have to spiral into excessive carb consumption.  You win some, you lose some.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: OMG, 5:25 a.m. felt so very, very early. And then my trainer did so many activities that involved me holding a squat position, or that required coordination (of which I have none). It was the kind of training session that made me feel both weak and like a lumbering oaf.  On top of that, I felt a bit stiff from Sunday’s hike, not because it was strenous but because I was careless walking on crappy snow and mud and jolted my body a couple of times. That’s what I get for hiking grouchy.

Wednesday
Activity: running intervals + core work
Relevant Stats: 45 min (8 x 2-3 minute running intervals)
Observations: I cannot explain how excited I was to do running intervals, if for no other reason than to break up the monotony of strength training.  I was still a bit stiff so I took it slower than usual on the old treadmill, but pushed it a bit harder for at least one minute of each running interval. I found mixing running with core work meant my legs had more energy for the running intervals, so that was a win too.  Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Thursday
Activity: strength training (core and glutes)
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: Alas, of course I was stiff from running intervals. I took it a bit easy and focused on very controlled core and glute work, and felt pretty good by the end of the workout. I celebrated with some fantastic aburi sushi at one of my favourite destinations, and tried not to think about the fact that it was probably the last time I’d eat there for a very, very long time…or the fact that I was ingesting more mid-week carbs…

Friday
Activity: strength training (legs and arms)
Relevant Stats: 43 min.
Observations: I know, what’s up with the 43 minute workout right? After a few sets of heavy prowler pushes, the first I’ve done on my own in a long time, I was just done. I no longer feel the need to ride out a workout just to a ensure it’s a certain length. When the old body says ‘that’s enough’,sometimes you just have to call it a day.

And just like that, the weekend is here. We have snow in the forecast (!!!!), which I wanted to be excited about, and yet I fear will never actually make it into the city. This is the one downfall of moving from the suburbs back into the city. We never get the snow. Alas, snow or no snow there shall be some golf watching, some wine drinking, and maybe even another attempted run. Happy weekend y’all.

I’d also appreciate all of you doing a snow dance for me.

 

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TWIR #96: ahhhh, life with a chronic injury

You go for one run and your body’s like “okay, I’ll teach you what you should already know: you have to ease into running, you dolt!!!!”  This perfectly sums up my week. After the joyous occasion of a legitimate (short) run, I spent the rest of the week cautiously working out in fear that my SI was not faring so well. Moral of the story: as ridiculous as it sounds to start with a 2 or 3 km run, it’s probably a wiser choice.

Still, the week wasn’t a total write off workout wise, so let’s see what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: declined both a donut and Dairy Queen
Observations:  I sometimes wonder who I am becoming when I say no to both a donut and Dairy Queen in the same day, my only day of the week on which sugar consumption is a free for all.  Don’t get me wrong, I still ate sugar. I’m just shocked at turning down two of my faves.  In other news, we fit in some good walking, some beer flights, and a homemade pizza night. In other words, Saturday got a thumbs up in my books.

Sunday
Activity: run!!!!!!
Relevant Stats: 5.7 km run/40 min.
Observations: This run is a true testament to how much I loathe driving to the gym on weekends. When the alternative is a painful (not injury painful, but painful nonetheless) and painfully slow run, you know you really needed to spice up your workout routine. I was proud of this run. I felt accomplished. I was slow as molasses and, perhaps for the first time in my life, I avoided feeling utterly defeated despite being slow as molasses.  That’s growth.  But I gotta say, between the run and additional walking (another 4 or 5 km), my legs were done like dinner.

Monday
Activity: light strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: Not wanting to push it too much after a running day, I kept things pretty light and pretty basic with Monday’s workout. I focused on controlled movements and reduced my weights.  My SI was feeling okay, so I was optimistic that all would be fine and perhaps running no longer had a vendetta against me.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations:  Ugh. Just when you think your injury has maybe taken a back seat at long last,  you wake up stiff and tender. I suppose this is why they call them chronic injuries. As my trainer pointed out, it’s also ludicrous that I tried to go from running interval laps at the track to a 5+ km run in one fell swoop. Evidently, 5 km is not a small start.  I’d like to say lesson learned, but it’s probably not.  At any rate, she took it easy on me in some respects but not in others. For instance, she added weight to prowler chest presses  as if she knew I’d made comments on my blog about the fact that they were getting easy.  The worst moment, however, was when she subjected me to the horror of watching my form on film. There is nothing like seeing yourself in video to make you feel as though you are making no progress with how good your body looks.

Wednesday
Activity: strength training (focus on arms)
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: I tried, I really did, but I had nothing in the tank for this one. It could’ve been that it was my second early morning workout in a row, and that I’ve gotten too used to my cushy mid-morning workouts.  Who knows? All I know is that I tried to focus on my arms to give my stiff SI a break, and they had nothing to give me. Push ups were a disaster. Presses were wretched. It all just felt off.

Thursday
Activity: strength training (focus on controlled stability movements)
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations:  Thursday’s workout could be summed up with the following words: still stiff, still no desire to work out. I cobbled together a decent workout, still being ultra cautious so as to protect my tender SI.  I have to tell you, though, that I was pretty frustrated by the fact that my SI wasn’t feeling 100% better even four days after a relatively short run. It’s one of the things that is most difficult to deal with chronic injuries. You just can’t count on your body to bounce back as quickly as you want it to, and you can’t always predict how it will respond to things.

Friday
Activity: strength + treadmill running intervals
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: See? You really can’t predict things. After four days of SI stiffness, today my SI felt 100% absolutely fine. To stave off boredom at the gym, I decided to go crazy and do some slower running intervals. I kept the pace way low for my sets, and stopped after 7 sets because I was starting to get some stiffness around my tailbone, but other than that it felt fine. However, I also know that tomorrow will be the true test.

Speaking of tomorrow, we are off to Leavenworth for an annual trip that involves giant pretzels, schnitzel, spaetzle, beer and Bavarian-themed village fun. Oh, and road donuts…which are nothing more than donuts eaten while on the road.  In other words, I’m outta here for a weekend of fun and indulgence, along with some snowy outdoor adventures for good measure. Happy weekend y’all.

 

Training Tuesdays: what are you committed to?

Bear with me: this is a bit of a long one.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what gets in the way of achieving fitness goals, even when they’re incredibly important to us. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple issue to unpack.

I don’t talk a lot about my work in this space, and when I do I tend to be complaining. This isn’t really fair to my work as there are parts of it I’m supremely passionate about, like the concept of commitment or, more accurately, competing commitments.  What fascinates me about human behavior is that we can have goals that are really and genuinely important to us, yet still fail to make progress towards those goals because we act in subtle (and not so subtle) ways that work against us.  In my work, I am looking at this paradox of human behavior through the lens of leadership, but it’s equally applicable to fitness goals.

How many of us have set out to improve our health at some point, to exercise more, eat less, get in better shape, run a marathon, the list truly goes on and on?  Research shows that most of us suck at achieving our goals and resolutions, with studies showing success rates ranging from 8-40%. Those are strikingly poor numbers.  It’s easy to simply assume that the reason we fail with these goals is because they really don’t matter to us and, following with that logic, if the goals mattered more we’d be more successful.  Well, as it turns out, that’s not actually the way that our brains are wired. We can be firmly committed to a goal and still find ourselves making zero progress towards it.  Enter: the competing commitment.

I have been consistently committed to my fitness for the last 12 years or so, but prior to that I struggled with sticking to fitness routines. I’d start then stop like it was my job. Was my health important to me? Absolutely and without question. So what was the problem?  At the time, I had no idea. But as I’ve spent time delving into the world of human behavior, I’ve been able to shed light on this question.  I share this in hopes that if you’re struggling with making progress towards fitness goals, this might help you too.

The Quick & Dirty

Here’s the thing: humans are protectionist little creatures. We are hard-wired to resist change and avoid perceived risk–and note the use of the word ‘perceived’ because in the case of assessing risk, perception is reality. The odds are stacked against us to make progress when our actions might ignite the little threat centers in our brains.

What does this have to do with fitness goals?  For some of us, the reason we’re not making progress is because, in some way, the thought of taking action towards our health is perceived as a risk to our sense of self or our way of seeing the world.  When that happens, we suddenly find ourselves committed to minimizing that risk. Unfortunately, in order to minimize the risk, we sabotage any and all efforts to achieve our initial fitness goal.  In other words, we are committed to our health goal but we are also equally committed to reducing any risk or threat to our way of seeing our self and the world. When two competing commitments collide, the end result is that things come to a grinding halt and we make no progress towards our goal.

Digging Deeper

I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘okay, how could I possibly see getting fit as a threat?’ I hear you. It sounds ridiculous.  I invite you to walk yourself through this bit of a process.  I’d like you to consider the last health or fitness related goal that you had (or maybe have) for which you’re not making progress.

With that goal in mind, ask yourself what are you doing, or perhaps not doing, that is working against the goal? For me, when I’ve failed to stay on the fitness track in that past, my list included things like: telling myself I’d work out tomorrow instead of today, choosing TV or plans with friends over my workout, hitting snooze so many times that I’d run out of time to workout before work, “forgetting” my workout clothes at home, trying to run fast and frustrating myself instead of starting slow and building up.  And those are just a few of the ways I was getting in my own way.  When answering this question, it’s important to list actions or inactions without judging them.  They are neither good nor bad. They simply reflect what you’ve done or not done.

Here’s where things get interesting. My natural reaction in the past would’ve been to assume I could just do the opposite of whatever I’d listed and my problems would be solved. Just stop hitting that damn snooze button and fitness will be mine! Sadly, when we focus on the actions themselves, we miss the underlying beliefs that are the real source of our action and inaction.

Instead, try this: for everything you’ve listed in your list of things you are doing or not doing, contemplate having to do the opposite. When you think about having to do the opposite, what worries does that raise for you? If I’m honest with myself, the thought of working out made me worry that I’d look foolish, that people would judge me for being unfit, that it would feel hard and uncomfortable, that I would lose out on time with my friends.  These aren’t pretty to look at, nor should they be. Our worries and anxieties are rarely pretty, but they give us powerful insight into what’s really going on under the surface.

We have to ask ourselves: if these are my worries, what am I committed to?  If we look at my worries, I was committed to never looking foolish, I was committed to avoiding discomfort. I was committed to being seen only as capable and skilled.  So what’s the problem with that? Well, unfortunately getting fit was going to require me to be uncomfortable at times. My muscles would have to hurt. I’d have to struggle to build up cardiovascular fitness. I’d potentially look foolish trying out new exercise moves and not being able to master them first time around.  My competing commitments were working against my health goals and keeping me in a steady state of being unfit.

Our work doesn’t stop here, though, because our hidden commitments are the manifestation of underlying assumptions and beliefs. The question becomes, for my competing commitments to be true, what must I believe to be true about myself or the world around me?  In my case, I believed that people pay attention to and judge those that are trying to get fit; I believed that getting fit should be easier for me; I believed I would struggle to rebound if I embarrassed myself in the process of getting fit. Were these beliefs true? Of course not, or at least not in all cases. That’s the thing with our beliefs, though. They don’t have to be true for us to believe them at a very deep level, and to let them dictate our behaviour.

Once we start to see the underlying beliefs that are holding us back from our goals, we’re in a much better place to start to question those beliefs with small and safe-enough actions (i.e. actions that are a bit of a stretch but not so much of a stretch that they sent us into amygdala hijack).

What’s the point of all this?

If you’ve got a health or fitness goal that’s really important to you, but you’re not making the progress you want to make. Perhaps you feel frustrated or stuck and like you just can’t ‘make yourself’ do what you know you should be doing, work your way through these questions. Challenge yourself to really dig deep, to pay attention to your feelings. If you do this, you’ll notice when you’ve hit on a belief that’s been really powerful in holding you back.

Is this going to get you on track with your health goals in one fell swoop? Not at all, but it might give you a different perspective on how to make progress. So, really, what are you committed to?

**Full Disclosure: The concepts discussed in this post are from the Immunity to Change model created by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. I’m an Immunity to Change facilitator and use this model extensively in my work and coaching.  It’s based on sound research by smarter people than I, so if you don’t believe me, check out their work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TWIR #95: some days are better than others

Well if that post title isn’t stating the obvious, I don’t know what is. It seemed fitting for this week, though. This week my energy ebbed and flowed, my body tried to decide if it had a cold or not, and my head tried to decide whether it wanted to kick this bizarre headache or keep it around just for shits and giggles. As a result, my workouts were all over the place. Here goes nothing:

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: never ending rain trumps motivation
Observations:  It is cliche to complain about rain in Vancouver. It comes with the territory when you live here. But seriously, it has rained every single day but one this month. That is too much and sometimes it causes me to lose my will to leave the house.  I didn’t even get out for a walk and I am embarrassed to admit my step count for the day, and therefore I will not.

Sunday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats:  potential immune system meltdown trumps motivation
Observations: I spent most of the day certain I was fighting off a wicked cold. My head wasn’t right. I was exhausted. I felt like one of my nostrils was on the verge of clogging up. My throat was scratchy. On the upside, I successfully left the house–not to do anything active, mind you–but it was progress over Saturday, and you can’t take that away from me.

Monday
Activity: strength straining (attempt)
Relevant Stats: 20 min.
Observations:  Several weeks ago, I had this strange (read: annoying as all hell) headache. It wasn’t a migraine. It wasn’t a tension headache. It was this headache that got progressively worse throughout the day, and which made me feel as though my brain was bouncing around inside my skull with every step. In other words, it sucked. Well, it came back on Monday and haunted me during my brief attempt at a workout. Not only that, but my massive gym, the one that I love with all my heart, the one where I rarely have issues with equipment, it let me down. There were no benches. None. Just people hovering around benches, which I presume they were using at some point but certainly didn’t seem to be using as I walked by repeatedly giving them stink eye. I’m still not over it, as you can tell.  Between the headache and the why-are-there-no-god-damn-benches drama, I had a short and terrible workout.

Tuesday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: I must have been in a slightly better headspace because there were still no benches available (?!?)  but I managed to stick it out for a decent workout.  Guilt over Monday’s pathetic workout plus feeling like my belly had gotten decidedly more jiggly over the last week were to thank for this workout. I also felt like maybe, just maybe I’d dodged my looming cold, but the glee over that was overshadowed by my headache’s continued presence.

Wednesday
Activity: track workout
Relevant Stats: 35 min./8 lap intervals + strength intervals + run home
Observations:  I thought perhaps my cold was back on Wednesday, but despite this I opted for a track workout. In my experience, running when you’re not sure if you have a cold is either the best or worst idea ever. It’s the best idea if it turns out not to be a real cold, and the worst idea if it turns out to actually be a cold. Only time would tell. The workout was rough as I haven’t run on the track in a while–damn you treadmills for making running feel easy–but I persevered. Huzzah!

Thursday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations:  When I woke up I was certain my cold was turning into the dreaded flu. I felt tired and sapped of energy.  My trainer took considerable pity on me. I know this because she let me do split lunges without weights, and that minor concession felt as good to me as that time my parents surprised us at Christmas by telling us we were going to Disneyland.  Not to create the impression my trainer is too nice, she also integrated a new hated activity: backward plank walks into a low squat. I can’t explain it any better than that, but what you really need to know is that it sucked and left my quads burning. By mid-day, I was convinced that my cold was not in fact a cold, but then by 9 o’clock at night I knew I was wrong. Seriously, I feel like this on-again-off-again cold was in the midst of an existential crisis. It needed to decide if it would stay or go.

Friday
Activity: light strength training
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: Well, there is no doubt now that the cold has made up its mind: it’s here. I had to make the tough call: to work out or not to work out? I’m always the most conflicted when I don’t feel like a total bag of crap. When I feel awful it’s easy to turn down a workout, but when I’m just sort of tired and have a few symptoms I feel like I’m really just being lazy. In the end,  I went with a somewhat shorter, definitely lighter workout and now feel as though if I hermit inside to hide from the rain and my cold tomorrow, somehow it is ever so slightly more acceptable.

I am ready for a weekend of being lazy, blasting this cold out of my system with epic amounts of oil of oregano and ungodly dosages of vitamin C (laugh if you want, I swear it works), and hopefully still finding my way to a donut even though sugar is super unhelpful for the old immune system. Sigh. Hope your weekends involve less phlegm and congestion than mine may. Happy weekend y’all…also, sorry for kicking off your weekend by talking about phlegm.

TWIR #94: Shaking it Up

Any time I travel, I find I end up shaking up my workout routine a bit.  Most of the time, this means reducing workout duration or missing a day here or there. This week, however, it just meant the return of an old favourite and moving things around within the week. The end result was a workout week that felt a little less stale. Hurrah! Let’s see what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: operation-surprise-my-dad-for-his-70th-birthday successfully completed!
Observations: After a quick early morning flight, we surprised the heck out of my dad and whisked the fam out to Banff for the day.  There is nothing like fresh, mountain air to reinvigorate the spirit.  Though we didn’t get a real workout in, there was lots of walking and photo snapping, and my soul was happy so I was 100% okay with no real exercise.  I also shook up my cheat day and stayed carb and sugar free thanks to those new Starbucks egg bites (sidenote: still not sure how I feel about them and they’re odd, souffle-like texture…) and finding a lunch spot that featured many healthy options.  Somehow, I even resisted the urge to down my half pound of fudge the second I had it in my possession. Growth.

Sunday
Activity: at home strength workout
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations:  We bought my dad a Sonos speaker system for his birthday and were having some issues connecting it to an older stereo system. I could explain the whole set up but who really cares? Suffice it to say I have no patience for nor experience with technological set up so I avoided the whole damn set up process by escaping to the basement for an at-home workout. We capped off the day with a lovely stroll along the Bow river, my mom’s famous home-made caesar salad and turkey pot pie, a half pound of fudge, and a belly ache. Worth it.

Monday
Activity: mini winter hike!!!!!
Relevant Stats: 5.2 km return, 295 m elevation gain
Observations: I have a smaller-than expected ice carving festival to thank for this hiking adventure. Our plan had been to check out the ice carvings in Lake Louise and then grab overpriced specialty coffees at the Chateau Lake Louise. When it became clear that the ice carvings would occupy all of 15 minutes of our time, we needed a plan B. We opted for a quick mini-hike through safe snow terrain and headed up to Mirror Lake. Though a quick and easy trail, I was left wondering why this was my first winter hike of the year.  Plus, man do I miss that nice, fluffy, dry Alberta snow.

Tuesday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: travel day + return to the never-ending rain
Observations: As quick as we arrived, we headed back to Vancouver. And to the rain. Which never seems to end. Seriously, it has rained every day in January except for one. I’ll point out the obvious: that’s too much rain. At any rate, I’d contemplated a track workout that afternoon but, upon being greeted by torrential downpours, thought better of it and spent my afternoon meal planning, grocery shopping and doing kitchen chores instead.  Related: four-day weekends are the absolute best. For once I didn’t feel at all stressed about getting all the chores done while still fitting in fun. New goal: find a way to have four-day weekends all the time.

Wednesday
Activity: running intervals + strength
Relevant Stats: 5 min. warmup + 8 2 min. running intervals + strength
Observations: When your brand new umbrella just snaps shut unexpectedly in the pouring rain and after the world’s most painful three hours at work following a wonderfully extra long weekend that made you not want to go back to work, it can sometimes make you want to angry run.   This was one of those times. I needed to run. I craved the running. I ran at speeds I could never sustain these days, but that felt necessary to my sanity. I ran farther than I’ve run in months, and faster. And it felt freaking fantastic.

Thursday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: As it turns out, my anger fueled running made my SI stiff and made my hip positioning regress, so not only did I have to do prowler chest presses, but I had to do them with a new form that made them twice as hard.  Ugh. For the most part, my trainer spared me any torturous new activities, but I have to say that my arms and shoulders wanted nothing to do with any form of exercise so even the basics felt difficult.

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: I seriously contemplated bailing on my workout today, but I’m glad that I didn’t because a) it stopped raining and the sun actually came out while I was walking to the gym (!!!) and b) it turned out okay. I focused on nice, controlled exercises today to give my stiff body a break from the angry running earlier this week and the jumping in yesterday’s training session.  Now that it’s done, I feel accomplished. Nothing more should be required of me today, right? Right.

With that, the weekend is here. Even though I had a three day work week, I’m still saying a big glory hallelujah to the weekend’s arrival. Time to bring on the donuts and relaxation and chill time with friends. I may also day dream just a little bit about blue sky days and sparkling snow in the Rockies because, even though I could frolic in the snow here, I can assure you that it would not be under blue skies. Happy weekend y’all. Hope you find some sunshine, real or metaphorical, wherever you are.

Monday Musings: on being a former (and maybe future) runner

About two years ago now, I signed up for an ultra marathon, a mountain ultra to be exact. This after having just one half marathon (which I hated) and one marathon (which I also hated) under my belt, and this also after never really being willing to commit to a legitimate training plan for any running event. Still, at the time it seemed a worthy and lofty goal…until my SI and sciatic crapped out on me.

I tried for a really long time, too long really, to get back into running. I pushed myself to the point of re-injury time and time again.  For the last six months, though, I’ve very intentionally bid a fond farewell to any real form of running. I’ve been content with maybe weekly, but maybe not weekly, interval running workouts at the track. Most of the time, running is a distant memory.

Every once in a while, though, I see people effortlessly bounding down the street or pack myself up for an indoor workout on a sunny day or dread having to drive to the gym for a workout because it’s such a time suck. Those are the moments when I remember the runner I used to be.

I see those runners go by and I think ‘that used to be me…only slower and with a much grouchier look on my face.’ When I look out the gym window and see sunshine I think ‘ahhh, it would be so nice to be out there instead of in here.’ And when it takes me an hour and a half to do a 45 minute workout because I have to drive and look for parking, I think ‘good god, I miss the days when I could throw on my shoes, open the door and just run.’ Sure, these moments are few and far between these days, but they’re still there enough to make me wonder if I will run again. I also wonder if running is just always part of your identity, even when you’re not actively doing it, or at least how long it takes to work its way out of how you see yourself.

The long and the short of it is that from time to time I wrestle with these questions. Other times, I welcome the break from pounding the pavement and wonder if my body is thanking me for sparing it further injury. When it’s pouring rain, I am thankful that I am not out there, like I used to be, getting soaked to the very core, to the point where not even a lengthy hot shower will take away the chills. When I’m able to spend an entire day doing whatever I want instead of organizing my day around a training run or my workout, I’m equally thankful. Running, it seems, can occasionally steal your spontaneity.

As with most things in life, being a runner is neither inherently good nor bad. It all depends, among other things, on what you want for your health, what your body will tolerate, what you love, and what you will sustain. For me, the verdict is still out on whether I will be a real runner again. For now, two years out from when I decided to give my first ultra a try, I’m still conflicted.

 

TWIR #92: longest week ever

Does anyone else feel like the first 5-day work week after the holidays is the longest week ever? Well, I do. Wednesday felt like Thursday. Thursday felt like Friday. You get the picture. It all adds up to my beyond ready for the weekend.  Alas, at least there were some decent workouts this week. Let’s see what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: walk + planned rest day
Relevant Stats: 7 km walking
Observations:  Saturday rest days are the best. They involve a giant breakfast donut (yay cheat day!) plus a walk to the local farmer’s market. This week’s visit was a bit disappointing, though, because our onion guy wasn’t there. Seriously, this guy grows the best onions.  You know an onion must be beyond good if I’m taking time to specifically mention it.  Completely unrelated, do you ever have one of those days when you feel like you did nothing but walk all day but then it adds up to nothing? This was one of those days. Only 7 km!?! Wtf.

Sunday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: laziness 10 out of 10
Observations: Can I lie and say the day got away from me and that’s why I didn’t work out? In all honesty, I simply cannot bear the thought of driving to the gym on weekends and I also cannot bear the thought of a track workout in the rain. I have clearly become soft. The rain never used to phase me but now I shudder at the thought of working out outside in the rain, which is unfortunate given that it rains here EVERY DAY. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it feels that way. Instead of exercising, I lounged, read my book, did chores, and ran errands. It was perfect. Sometimes, you just have to take an extra rest day for your sanity.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: Hallelujah to not having a headache anymore and to feeling a bit more energy! It was a sharp contrast to last week, and I made sure to fit in a solid workout while the energy was in me.  I even added weight to my step ups and single legged squats. On a Monday. That’s pretty impressive in my books.

Tuesday
Activity: personal training session + return of the after work walk (!!!)
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: It’s been three weeks since my last training session and, even though I do a lot on my own, there’s something about my trainer’s exercises or combinations thereof that leave me so sore.  She also manages to integrate something new every week that I despise. This week’s torture: sideways bear crawls. Ugh. On a more positive note, the rain stopped (!!!!) and we were able to get out for an after work walk, something I find very soothing after an exhausting day at work.

Wednesday
Activity: strength training + after work walk (!!!)
Relevant Stats: 35 minutes
Observations: Everything in my lower body hurt after Tuesday’s session. I decided to focus on my arms, combining all of my least favourite upper body exercises only to spare my legs.  I succeeded in killing my arms, to the point where carrying my bag back from the gym felt like a workout.  But the big win was a second after-work walk of the week! This hasn’t happened since October. The only thing that could’ve made me more excited would’ve been a celebratory donut. Don’t worry, I abstained…but I promise you it was challenging since our walk took us right past our favourite bakery. Mmmm, donuts.

Thursday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: It was back to legs to spare my arms. I’m sensing a pattern here.  My big win was upping my prowler weight to 120 lbs in between sets of kettle bell side lunges and weighted single leg squats. My legs are not going to be pleased with me tomorrow. Honestly, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not have half of my body in pain every single day of the week.

Friday
Activity: strength training(ish)
Relevant Stats: 35 min.
Observations: It’s somehow fitting that at the end of what I’ve deemed the longest week ever, I had what felt like the longest workout ever (even though it clearly was not).  I had little energy left in the tank for this workout. It could be because I left it until 2:30. It could be that I’ve overdone it other days this week. Or it could just be that it’s Friday and I’m done and I’m more than ready for the weekend.

On that note, I’m outta here. I’ve got some friends to see, some donuts to eat, some wine to drink, and some relaxing to do. Maybe, just maybe this weekend I’ll manage to fit in a workout…but no promises on that if this rain continues. Happy weekend y’all.