Monday, February 28, 2011

February Recap

I feel like I've been going, going, going all month... which is mostly true.  February has been a fairly productive month for me, here's a little peak.
I LIVE out of these two bags.  Literally.  I didn't spend a single weekend at home all month.  :)

T's neighbor got a new puppy, she is just way too cute for her own good.  Here T and Lola are sizing each other up... He's a softy, so no doubt she won this staring contest.

How could you resist this face? I had some much fun taking pictures of her, you'd think she were my puppy.... speaking of which... I want a puppy.... lol

This one is mine.... getting learned up on what the daily new is.  Shortly after this picture she shredded this paper... T thought it was funny until I made him pick up after her.  I told him she'd do it!

My new "nephew", Paxton.  He was a month old on Feb. 24th.  I seriously can't get enough of this little guy.
I mean really, how can I not 100% love this little man?

I seriously adore this man.  T and I went "camping" in Paso Robles for President's Day weekend.  The weather was terrible, but the wine was good.
This is why I call it "camping."  I grew up doing the tent thing... and don't miss it a bit.
While camping I did my first brick even though the weather wasn't great.  Gotta love a trainer!
I can hardly believe it already March!  I'm ready for another month of adventures! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

True Confessions Tuesday

I’m not feeling totally amazing today..  Aunt Flo (sorry TMI) has come to visit so I’m dealing with all that related stuff on top of feeling a little sicky and have got a headache.  If I didn’t have a quiz in my night class I’d be going home early and feeling sorry for myself.  Instead I’m studying and finding triathlons.  And writing my confessions…
  • I know it doesn’t seem like much, but I drank a whole bottle of wine myself this weekend.  I’m not much of a drinker so this is surprising, but we were in wine country and tasting, and… it’s just what happened.  I don’t feel any guilt over it, as I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process.
  • Today is the first day I’m tracking my eating, something I’m committing to for the next 4 weeks minimum.  I also have added a protein smoothie as my breakfasts since I’m fairly certain I’m not getting enough protein for the amount of activity I’m doing.  I had forgotten how delicious they are.
  • Counting this upcoming weekend, I have gone out of town for 6 weekends straight.  While my living situation isn’t what I wish it were, I am really looking forward to next weekend being spent at home.  And maybe some personal time… a majority of my alone time in the past 6 weeks has been my driving time.  It wears on me.  On a very positive note, while going out of town every weekend I have managed to make every planned weekend workout with the exception of only one.   I do believe I’m dedicated. 
  • My brick this past weekend freaked me out and motivated me at the same time.  It was SO FREAKING HARD to find a running rhythm coming off the bike, that I seriously couldn’t imagine running a half-marathon after riding 56 miles on the bike when I finished my short 2 mile brick run.  After showering and eating I was able to remind myself that I have 5 months to fully prepare for this race, and I can gain a lot in terms of fitness, but also experience, in those 5 months if I use them wisely.  My brick also reminded me of the importance of proper hydration and fueling before and during my workouts.  Having only a banana before riding for 1:20 and then running another 20min was simply a bad idea.  I’ve always been bad at keeping up with my hydration and eating, so it’s something I need to start working on ASAP.
  • I have chosen 2 sprint tri’s (one in both April and May) and an Olympic in June to help me prepare for my half.  I’m excited about these races, as I think they will do more for building my confidence than anything else.  These will be great experience builders.
Hope everyone has a great week.:)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh the frustrations...

Today I skipped a scheduled workout.

Yep, I am still agonizing over missing one workout in.... 4 weeks.  It is probably because I have done every workout I've planned to do in 4 weeks that I am so bummed.  Bummed to break the streak, bummed that I'm feeling so worn down that I felt the need to skip my run this morning.

Truth is, I don't feel like I should be feeling so worn down that I'm skipping workouts.  I don't feel like the volume of my training is high enough that I should be so tired, and I'm concerned about how I'm going to feel in a few months when I get into the heart of my Vineman training.  I know that there will be a certain amount of adjustment that my body will make as I train more.  I’m just concerned.  Combine this with some recent frustration with body image, and I’m having a lot of anxiety about my coming triathlon season.  I’m left wondering what the best plan-of-action in the coming months is, and so far I’ve come up with some ideas.

  • ·        I must start tracking what I’m eating.  I’d love to lose a few pounds, but reality is I have no idea on a day to day basis how much I’m eating, and I think it’s possible I’ve lived in diet mode for so long that I am under-eating sometimes.  This would lead to feeling over-trained any day.
  • ·        I need to take a recovery week soon.  And I need to actually follow through with said recovery week.  Decrease in volume, but not intensity.  And this does not mean increased intensity because I won’t be doing as much… Must exercise self-control.
  • ·        I need to figure out how to sleep better.  I wake up several times a night, and its wearing on me.  Up until 6-8 months ago it was very unusual for me to not sleep through the night, I’m not totally sure what changed, but I need to counteract it.  Any thoughts? Sound machine? White noise?  I don’t really know what the options are, but I need to do some research.
So… Tomorrow is another day.  I’ve actually got 2 workouts planned for tomorrow, swimming in the AM and a trainer ride in the PM.  With some luck my impromptu rest day today and (hopefully) restful sleep tonight and I’ll be ready to get back on it. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My mom...

I am so thankful for my mom.

This was one of my first thoughts when I finished my 10K last weekend.  I actually thought about my mom during a majority of the run.  I remembered her training for and attempting to break the 1hr mark for 10K's more than 15 years ago, and struggling to do so.  I remember waking up throughout my childhood and walking out to the front of the house just in time to watch my mom "sprint" up the road leading up to the house... she taught me to finish strong.  Reality is, my mom is the reason I run.

When I was a kid there was one major non-negotiable in my house that I remember. I had to do a sport. Ok, two non-negotiables, until I was middle-school age I also had to play an instrument, I played the piano for years, and a single year of flute in the 4th grade... but that's another story.

I had to pick a sport, and stick with that sport for a season.. no quitting.  I started with gymnastics (which was my fav and I had to quit due to logistics of getting me there) and ballet.  When I got to the 6th grade I learned to ski through my school, I also started school team sports (volleyball, basketball), and took up soccer as a summer sport.  During the summer I also took swimming lessons until the 8th grade, which wasn't "cool" but it made me a safe, strong swimmer according to my mother. 

My freshman year of high school I went out for the soccer team and didn't make it, I was totally bummed, but it was understood that I'd just pick another sport.  I did swim team, and I started piano lessons again.  I made the soccer team my sophomore year, and I did swim team again, I quit piano.  My junior year I only played soccer, it was a light year for me.  My senior year I switched it up a bit, I ran cross country to get conditioned for soccer.  I finished my high school athletic career playing the final soccer game of the season - "Senior Night" and scored a goal.  By this time it wasn't that I was forced to do a sport, it was second nature, normal to always have a season to be looking forward to.

And here is really why I am so thankful for my mom... all the fights, frustration, and tears that were involved in keeping me in sports (and it wasn't always easy, I didn't always want to do a sport) has given me so much in adult life.  There are a lot of things about myself that I am not confident in, my looks, parts of my personality, etc.  But I am confident in my body's ability to do.  I am confident that when I try a new sport, or set a new goal, I can do it.  And I know this confidence is because I did sports growing up. 

So after my run I called my mom.  I told her all of these things, and I thanked her.  Her only real question: "What's your 10K time?"

"56 minutes"

"Wow, Missy.  Way to finish strong."

You taught me that, Mom.

The makings...

I've got a post in mind... mentally in the makings, I just need to find the time to sit down and write it out.  Maybe tonight.  :)  Though the topic isn't stressful or anything, maybe getting it out of my head will help me sleep.  Haha, or maybe not.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ramblings of an Exercise Science student....

Let me start first by making it clear... I am a senior (read: not yet graduated) in an Bachelors of Science Exercise Science degree... I am not (yet) a personal trainer (though maybe better educated than some of them) and I am not a nutritionist (a designation that means little) or a Registered Dietitian (a designation that means A LOT). I have been an athlete to varying degrees for most of my life and love seeing people be active and healthy, regardless of what form your activity takes. Some take the dogs for a walk, play on the Wii Fit, do pylometrics, run a marathon, lift weights, hike, ride a bike, play on a sports team... it doesn't matter! What matters is that you MOVE YOUR BODY! There are scores of scientific articles that point to the healing powers of moving our bodies, improving symptoms of depression (I know I move instead of taking a pill everyday, I've done that, and its not for me), decreasing the effects of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic infections, lowering your risk of obesity related disease, some types of cancer, and so many other illnesses and diseases it is nearly impossible to even begin to list it all here... truth is we are only beginning to know the true impact being active can have on our bodies... and the possibilities are infinite.

I read Twitter a lot. I follow some wonderful people who have incorporated activity/exercise/movement into their daily lives to build self-confidence, have more energy, be healthier, and for many, lose weight. This is a wonderful thing... research has shown that people who are active and lose weight are more likely to keep it off than inactive people. But exercise and losing weight can be a huge source of frustration when the scale simply doesn't reflect all the hard work and commitment we put into our training/exercise/workouts.

This frustration is understandable... and this is what I know:
  • There is absolutely no one-size-fits-all approach to diet or exercise. All bodies react differently to different stress. For one, a high protein diet might work, and for another its a disaster. In training for a marathon, one plan may work for one person, and will cause incredible over-training in another. You have to play around with things and find out what works for you.
  • In line with the no one-size-fits-all... exercise is a tricky subject. Some people can do 6 workouts a week and feel great, whereas someone (of similar fitness) would find that to be too much, or maybe too little. This also can be applied to workouts from week to week. Periodization is an incredible tool that I think everyone should use if they are regularly active. In my case, my body can handle about 3-4 weeks of progressively more intense workouts, but then I have to have a week of decreased activity. Sometimes this is less workouts over the week, or shorter workouts with the same number of days. It really just depends... but in order for your body to adapt to the conditioning stress it has to have time to rest. IMO, it doesn't matter if you workout with DVDs at home, go to spin class, lift weights, or train for a race or event, you have to have rest/recovery weeks built into your normal routine. Your body will thank you. On the flip side of this coin, if you want to see change, you must push your body, you must stress it. Adaptation only happens with stress... Just recognize that there is such thing as too much.
  • Weight-loss..... ah yes, shedding those unwanted pounds... Don't we all know that 3,500 Cal = 1lb? Here's the problem... that conversion assumes 100% of your weight loss in fat loss, and this is never, ever the case. The equation gets far more complicated when you factor in that up to 40% (this is in non-active, calorie restriction weight loss) of weight lost is in fact NOT fat loss, but instead muscle loss (mostly). So the usual assumption that if you burn 500 more calories than you consume everyday then you would lose 1lb a week... its simply not that easy. Add in that weight loss and exercise (along with mental/emotional state) can change the hormone levels in your body which will effect how you body uses fat for fuel and things really get complicated. I know it is frustrating... I've been there, I've lost the same 25lbs, twice, and working on the last 5-10. For me its a matter of having faith. Faith that even if the number on the scale doesn't reflect what I think it should, I'm doing the right thing for my body. On weeks where the scale doesn't move in the right direction I remind myself that my running is getting faster (my main training goal right now) or that I simply used my body the way it was designed to be used... our bodies were not meant to sit on the couch, they were made for moving!
  • Even with all this variability, it helps to talk to other people. Sometimes they have thought of something that you would never consider, and can bring new ideas to the table. Individuality is an amazing thing, its what keeps life interesting and engaging, but it doesn't mean you can't learn from others. The important thing is to remember that what worked for someone might not work, or work the same for you. Learn from every new experience and technique you try, take what works and discard what doesn't. The human body's ability to adapt and respond to what we ask from it is incredible, its just the response varies from person to person. :)
So there you have it, those are my ramblings. Its hardly all inclusive and might not be helpful, but for me, knowledge is power... Power to make good choices and continue to move forward in the face of frustration and uncertainty. But maybe that's just me. :)

“Nature has given the human body a wonderful engine management system. It actually responds to stress by adapting to cope with it better”
-Peter Keen, exercise physiologist and coach of Chris Boardman, World Champ Cyclist

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

True Confessions

This is my first True Confessions blog, so we will see where it takes us....

Truth is, I have no idea what to say. I don't know what people want to read, or are willing to read, and I HATE sounding whiny. Asking for help or admitting that I might need a hand up is one of the hardest things I am trying to teach myself. This last weekend I got a hard lesson when I had an emotional freak-out on my boyfriend. I was feeling... unimportant. We live 5 hours apart, so our primary mode of communication is the phone, and last week we didn't spend more than an hour TOTAL on the phone all week. Combine this with an enormous amount of stress caused by school and not sleeping well... I was primed for a total meltdown. Tears and frustration flooded out of me Friday night on the phone... "I've had this crazy, terrible week and you have been totally M.I.A... It feels like I'm at the bottom of your list in terms of priority, and I really needed you to be there for me this week and.... nothing." Here's the thing, he had no idea. He had no idea that I was having such a terrible week or that I wasn't sleeping well. And I can't totally blame him... because I wasn't telling him. I didn't want to spend (precious) time on the phone complaining how I have been waking up ever 2 hours, or that I am so completely stressed out over school that I nearly burst into tears and hugged a professor when he told me he would add me to an already over filled class. I still haven't told him that I am totally stressed out about money, or that I dread going home to my current living situation.. Every. Single. Day. In my mind there is nothing he can do for me about these things, so why whine? But the truth is, its not whining, its sharing my struggles. And if I don't share these struggles with him (or friends, my mom, other family) then they don't know that I'm in need of support. Support can come in so many different forms... for me, often what I need most is a hug. Someone to tell me that it is temporary and that I will do what I have to do and make it through. Why is it so hard to ask for that?

Saturday morning T surprised me with a visit while I was visiting family that live about halfway between us. He wasn't even out of his truck before I was crawling up into his lap, giving him a huge hug with tears running down my face. It was such an amazing pay off for letting myself open up to him the night before. Does that mean I will keep my guard down and stop putting up the front like I've got everything together? Probably not, but its a good lesson that I should do it more often. :)

I don't know if others struggle with this as much as I do. I'd imagine that I'm not alone here, but I'd love to hear... How do you ask for help?