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 #70: the longest week ever

Good God, was this the longest week ever or is it just me? All day Tuesday I thought it was Thursday, which is never a good sign. Somehow I also managed to confuse myself about this being the short week at work when it’s actually next week. I am so done and ready for the weekend.

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: earned a cool $200 at our garage sale and scored a shitload of free boxes and packing paper
Observations: At first I was very bitter about devoting my entire Saturday to the likes of garage sales and driving 35 minutes each way to pick up a bunch of boxes. In hindsight, it was necessary and having packing materials for free is a huge win. The patio cider after all our chores was particularly rewarding.

Sunday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 6 km
Observations: I waited too late in the morning to run and it was hot and horrible. I am really not loving running lately. Because I never run more than 6 km these days, I’m certainly not getting any fitter and, therefore, it never feels easier. I do believe that when cooler Fall temperatures roll around, running will suddenly and miraculously start to feel easier. I have to believe this in order to even keep attempting to run.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I slept terribly Sunday night, probably because I drank too much wine and cider on a work night. I never learn. As a result, Monday’s workout was all sorts of unpleasant, but I persevered and even upped my weights on some key exercises. Unfortunately, in the midst of a kettle bell clean, I tweaked my SI slightly. Damn you, unstable body.

Tuesday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I had planned to take Tuesday off because I’d forgotten I already took a rest day on Saturday. By the time I realized this, the only time of day available to me was the dreaded apres work time slot. I was super irked about this as it’s my least favourite time of day to exercise. However, I will say that my post-work spinning feels way better than my early morning spinning. I think my legs like to be good and awake before I submit them to high-tension seated hill climbs.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: Push ups, negative pull ups, passive hangs, and crawling while towing a weighted platform behind me. It was about as fun as it sounds and I had rug burn patches on my knees for the rest of the day from crawling on that fake turf. Ugh. But my trainer said my body looked fairly solid during the workout and, aside from the passive hanging, nothing seemed to aggravate my SI.

Thursday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 6 km
Observations: When there’s an air quality advisory due to wildfire smoke, it’s probably not the best idea to run outside. What did I do? I ran outside. I was clearing my throat the rest of the morning and had a headache most of the day, but I survived this run and thankfully it was a lot cooler than Sunday’s run. It was also the last run for this week so hurrah for that!

Friday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 5 min. warm-up + 45 minutes strength
Observations: Single-legged exercises where I have to attempt to keep my hips level continue to cause my SI issues. Weighted bench step-ups were not feeling so hot on the old SI today, but I pushed through and focused on form as much as possible.  The low point of my workout was almost killing myself stepping onto a bar I’d left laying on the ground. For a brief moment I saw my life flashing before my eyes, and also suffered the humiliation of being in clear view of at least a dozen gym-goers. I’m so graceful.

With that, the week is over.  Time for some extra long weekend fun. Bring on the smoke-impeded sunshine, patio ciders and outdoor fun!

Omg, elephants are the cutest. This makes my Friday even better.

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 #68: work trips and tiredness and hotel gyms, oh my!

Before I get to anything, happy national junk food day! I heard about this on the radio this morning and wanted to jump for joy. I’m not normally one for these ridiculous “national [insert something random] day”s, but this is one I can get behind. I don’t need to justify eating extra ice cream, but it’s somehow still comforting to know it’s virtually an expectation today.

In other news, this was a week of two trips, a lot of tiredness and a really shitty hotel gym.  As with every week since I’ve started my new job, I can’t say my workouts were all that great, but I tried to keep consistent. I give myself an A for effort…and a C- for execution. Here we go!

Saturday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: mini road triiiiiip! (i.e. a lot of sitting on my ass)
Observations: We hit the road at 6 am and had a full day of activities so I pretty much knew a workout wasn’t going to happen. It could have, actually, as we were done the bulk of our real activities by 2 pm, but at that point it was about 35 degrees outside and a craft cidery sounded like a much better plan. It was. We left with a case of cider.

Sunday
Activity: unplanned rest day/”mountain” walk
Relevant Stats: 45 min. trail walk
Observations:  I thought we’d get home early enough to work out, but we left later than planned due to the 45 minute trail walk. It was called a “mountain” on the trail sign but I assure you it was just a nice hill. Sure, we walked up it and down the other side, but I hardly consider it a true workout. Still, considering I spent the rest of the day on my ass in a car, I suppose it’s far better than nothing.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 30 min.
Observations: Words cannot express how bad my hotel ‘fitness centre’ was. I tried to articulate it yesterday so that when I wrote about my meagre 30 minutes of exercise you would understand that 30 minutes is all a reasonable person would be able to tolerate in that space. I tried, I really did. It was heinous.

Tuesday 
Activity: cardio warmup + strength training
Relevant Stats: 20 min. run + 25 min. strength
Observations: Against my better judgment, I ventured into the company gym where I was pleasantly surprised to find windows (!), kettle bells (!) and a cable motion machine (!!) along with an assortment of other solid equipment. The trade off was working out around fellow employees, but since it was my first trip to this particular location no one knew me anyway. Worth it. I was rewarded with a home-cooked meal by one of my best friends who just so happens to live 20 minutes away. That made the work travel a little bit better.

Wednesday 
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: successful walk to grocery store for ice cream
Observations: I had an early afternoon flight which meant the only time to work out was first thing in the morning. Lately, I’ve been pretty good at morning workouts, but I felt pressure to be in the office extra early because I was leaving so early. In other words, I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed early enough to fit in a workout and arrive at the office by 7.

Thursday 
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 4o min.
Observations: I cannot remember the last time I survived on a spin bike for 40 minutes. Lately I hit the 10 minute mark and am ready to move on to the next thing. I seized the moment and stuck with the spin bike for my entire workout. I wish I could’ve rode longer but work was calling. If only I could get up just fifteen minutes earlier every day, but somehow getting up that extra fifteen minutes early feels like getting up two hours earlier by about lunch time. Sigh.

Friday 
Activity: cardio warmup + strength training
Relevant Stats: 5 min. spin + 40 min. strength
Observations: Oh man, those pushups today were not feeling so great. I’ve backed off my full tricep pushups lately and it showed.  I fit in some solid leg and glute work, though. It’s all about balance, like when I work out and then convince myself I can have a giant bowl of ice cream as a reward (and because it’s national junk food day, of course). Balance at its finest.

And now we have reached Friday and I am so, so, so incredibly excited to do absolutely nothing this weekend. There will be golf, there will be watching the Open Championship final, there will be wine, there will be recently acquired craft cider, and there will be hearty celebration of national junk food day. Happy Friday!

oh yeaaaaaaah, it’s a remarkably wonderful day!

Mid-Week Tangent: an open letter to my hotel ‘fitness center’

Let’s just forget that I should be posting about gelato, shall we? I didn’t have any over the last week. None. My heart hurts at the thought of wasted gelato opportunities. In the place of my usual gelato sins, I instead express my dissatisfaction with my hotel gym. With any luck, next week I will return with new gelato reviews. Until then, here we go…

Dear hotel “fitness center”,

I have intentionally put quotations around your name because you have over-promised and under-delivered. You bear only a tiny resemblance to an actual fitness center. When I think of a fitness center, I think of an inspiring health venue where I can access a wide variety of equipment that allows me to maintain my fitness. I think of a bright, open space that accommodates many guests. Since this is quite a tall hotel, I can only assume it houses many who may wish to work out.  You, my hotel gym of the week, you should call yourself what you are: a dungeon gym. It would most definitely help to manage guests’ expectations.

I know, it sounds harsh, but sometimes we have to hear the bitter truth in order to improve.  You are literally located in the basement, which is only the first of your many issues.  Because of your underground locale, you are dark and windowless and filled with stale air.  Honestly, I could get over all of that if you weren’t also smaller than my living room. I assure you, my living is not gargantuan. I live in a row townhouse. These are not known for having monstrous great rooms.  It is modest and works for what we need. Your tiny space does not work for what I need.

I imagine that there are something like 300 rooms in this hotel. Even if you are only at 50% occupancy right now, and even if only 5% of your guests actually want to work out, you cannot reasonably support that volume of activity. And we all know that your guests are working out either first thing in the morning or after whatever work day or conference they’ve attended.  You hold four people at a time, max.  And there is no way that more than one person could be doing any form of strength training at the same time, what with the six inches of free space you’ve provided around your lone bench (more on that later). In other words, your size is woefully insufficient. Bigger is not always better, except when it comes to fitness centers.

This is still not your greatest fault. No, your greatest fault is your utter lack of equipment. I get it, you focused on the basics: a couple treadmills, a couple ellipticals, a bike, one bench and some free weights.  The problem is that you overlooked some really simple, and not overly expensive additions that would go a long way.  How about some kettle bells? How about some weighted bars? How about a spin bike that actually costs less than that fancy stationary bike that doesn’t give you half the workout? How about a versatile cable motion machine instead of your random assortment of strength machines that take up more space and offer less options? Give me variety!

Sorry, hotel gym, all I’ve done here is criticize. I suppose it’s not your fault, but rather management’s fault that you are so down and out. Still, I have to be clear: I won’t be using your services on my next stay. Although I despise working out at work, my company does provide a free, and far better, fitness center for me. I will choose sweating in front of colleagues over the dungeon.

All the best.

TWIR #67: exhaustion reigns

It has been a week, my friends. Starting a new job is no cakewalk for the energy levels. I wrote a whole post about it that never saw the day of light because I was too tired to edit and post it.  My workouts have been the best they could be in light of the fact that my schedule has not been my own and I am still trying to figure out what’s culturally acceptable in terms of mid-day workouts at my new job. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m tired. So, so, so tired.

Saturday
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 6.5 (painfully hard) km
Observations: Have you ever thought it was a good idea to throw your own birthday party? Let me spare you the trouble: it’s not. I spent the whole day running around buying food and drink, and getting the house tidied. I had to cram a run in first thing in the morning, which is my least favourite time of day for a run. It felt awful start to finish, but at least it was early enough that it wasn’t hot out yet.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: cake for breakfast! golf! gelato! more cake!
Observations: Birthdays are supposed to be gluttonous, right? I firmly believe so, and my own personal challenge seemed to be how much crap I could consume in one day.  At least we walked a fair bit and golfed. I doubt either did anything to combat the calories, but you only turn 38 once.

Monday 
Activity: cardio warmup + strength
Relevant Stats: 15 min. spin + 20 min. strength
Observations: This was by far my worst workout of the week. My legs felt like lead on the bike. I had zero interest in strength training. It was a true workout fail. Mondays. Ugh.

Tuesday 
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 60 min.
Observations: This workout can be summed up by the following phrase: return of the negative pull ups. Damn I hate those things. Everything else in the workout was hard but manageable, but those negative pull ups leave me hating life. I guess the pushups were also kind of painful, but I am starting to accept them as a necessary evil of working with a trainer.

Wednesday 
Activity: run
Relevant Stats: 7 km (without coffee!)
Observations: I forgot to set the coffee maker, which meant a caffeine-free early-morning workout, something that I never do. Apparently, I should do it more often. While by no means was this an easy run, I also didn’t feel like I was going to die. It may have helped that I was able to run oceanside in the cool, morning sunshine.  I have missed my waterfront runs since moving to the suburbs.

Thursday 
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 50 min.
Observations: Hallelujah for a decent cardio workout! Fuelled by feeling utterly overwhelmed, I did more sprints that I’ve ever done in the course of a spin workout and I hate sprints. I also had a good, old-fashioned, cathartic cry on the drive home so it was a rewarding day for the body and spirit.

Friday 
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: After an unexpectedly wonderful commute downtown and an earlier-than-expected arrival at the gym, I had high hopes for a stellar workout to round out the week. It didn’t quite meet my expectations. It was a solid strength workout, but not as intense or lengthy as I’d wanted. I might blame forgetting to set the coffee pot (again! ugh!) for this one. As much as it didn’t seem to make a difference for my run, I do think coffee helps with early-morning strength workouts.

Sure, it wasn’t a banner week for workouts, but I am highly impressed that I worked out every single workday. I promise you it didn’t feel easy some mornings when the comfort of bed was almost too much to tear myself away from. Now at least it is Friday. For a moment I thought that meant sleeping in, but I fear weekend sleep-ins will do nothing but wreak havoc on my workday sleep cycle.  Working life, what a drag. I sometimes wonder why I decided to go back…