Hoping Cycling is Helping

I am REALLY struggling with running right now.  Not the running itself, but getting running.

I ride my bike to and from work, taking the long route whenever possible.  I ride 6-15 miles a day, and I’m making great progress on my Ride to Hogwarts, but I have three 10k races this fall – the first is this Saturday, and until yesterday, I hadn’t run in over two weeks. 

My work schedule has been crazy.  I worked 7:30pm to 3:30am last night, then 1:30px to 10:1pm today (yes, i’m at work… BAD GIRL)  I’m usually able to schedule a little extra time at the beginning and end of the day for my commute, but finding time and energy to run on top of everything is nearly impossible.  My legs are feeling so much better, and my breathing is getting stronger when I ride.  Hills are getting easier, and I’m getting more adventurous – but running is supposed to be my passion, and I’m not dedicating the time to it that it deserves – that I deserve.

Yesterday, my partner told me they’re going to train for a half-marathon with me.  This is awesome!!!  We went for a run together last night before I had to start work, and my motivation is back!!!

We did find out yesterday that the conference we’re going to Philadelphia next year for has been moved to September, so I won’t be there in June for the ODDyssey half-marathon.  Instead, we’ll just take a weekend trip in June to cottage country and do the Band On The Run half-marathon instead.

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Unplanned Planned Rest Day

I’m trying to take at least one (preferably only one) rest day per week, usually on the weekend.   This week, I was thinking it would be tomorrow,  but my body let me know this morning that it would be today.

I got up to pee this morning, and when I went to sit down, it felt like someone shot me right through the tops of both kneecaps.  Crap.  Okay.  Finish up in the bathroom,  try a few knee bends.  Nope.  Dammit.  Google says it’s a common overuse injury in cyclists, and I don’t like where it’s headed. With my goals, and my races coming up, I can’t afford a lot of rest days, but I sure as hell can’t afford to blow out my knees.

So today is a rest day, although I am on my feet at work all day, so it’s more an active rest day.  Tomorrow I will run, and cut the grass, and Monday I will go back to cycling.
I found out last night that I have a decision to make at work, too.  Right now, I am working 2 part-time jobs, and barely clearing 20 hours a week.   

One is at a pet store.  I make minimum wage there, get a shift once every few weeks, and there are no benefits – BUT I get a 15% discount on pet supplies, which is a huge help when you have as many babies as I do.

My other job is at a home improvement store.  No discount there, but it pays a little more, has benefits, bonuses, and they treat us well.  During the summer, I was working 30-40 hours a week there as a cashier.  Now I’m getting 15-20.  If I go below an average of 20 hours a week for too long, I will lose my benefits.  

Last night, I was offered a job within the home improvement store that would mean significantly more hours at a higher pay rate, no more dealing with customers, and Saturday nights guaranteed off.  All shifts would be full shifts, no more 4-5 hours at a time, and I would get free licensing on all kinds of cool equipment.  

Sounds like a no-brainer,  right?

There’s a catch, of course.

It’s night shift.  I don’t know what impact this might have on my running/cycling/swimming/racing programs.  And I live in a town where nothing is open at night, so if I want to keep my sleep schedule fairly consistent on my days off, I’ll be pretty much stuck at home.  I won’t be working with the people I’ve come to love, and when my dad comes back from sick leave (we work at the same place) we won’t see each other.  I also MIGHT lose my job at the pet store because I won’t be available during the day for cashier shifts.

HOWEVER: Starting work late in the evening means dinners at home with my partner, and most of the evening together.  It means most of the weekend together after my Saturday morning sleep.  It means I’ll be able to predict my life better.  Finally, and most importantly,  it means getting to our financial goals quicker.

And it won’t be forever.

I think I have to take it.

Mea Culpa

Sorry, I know I’ve been MIA for a few days – it’s been a crazy week.  

I’ve still been getting workouts in for the most part.  Monday was a holiday, so my partner and i took the dog for a nice long walk along the waterfront,  then went and heled my parents clear some trees up at their property.  

Tuesday I rode 12.8 miles on my bike, and even checked out a mountain biking trail I found online – I had forgotten how much fun technical mountain biking is! 

I missed Wednesday because of several appointments and a tight work schedule,  so when yesterday rolled around and I wasn’t feeling up to working out (really upset stomach) I did a yoga session instead just to stay active – after all,  I can’t miss 2 in a row!

Today I did 11.8 miles on the bike, 3x plowed some further trails, and even got “lost”(I knew where I was in proximit to the highway and could have followed the same path back, but I didn’t really know where I was in general) – resulting in me having to carry my bike up a steep embankment to get back to civilization – lol.

I’m doing not too badly at getting my cycling miles in, but I need to work on my “Run/Walk to Mordor” challenge – we’ve decided that my reward for that will be a road bike, and I have my eye on one already 🙂  I’m hoping to run tomorrow morning early, then bike to work the long way.  My first 10k of the year – a fundraiser for the local humane society where we got our beautiful dog – is next Saturday! 

Long, Strange Trip

I missed my ride yesterday, so I needed minimum 15 miles today to make up for it.  I started by riding to work this morning, which took care of 3.5 miles – only 11.5 to go after work.  Ooh boy.

We have some beautiful bike routes in town, but they’re short, and I’ve seen a lot of them these past weeks, so I decided to ride across the causeway into the neighbouring county.  I discovered while I was out, however, that there is no bike path, and possibly no sidewalk, on the causeway.  This posed a challenge for me, and I finally had to admit to myself that I’m not confident enough in my cycling ability yet to tackle the causeway.  So, I did a couple of laps around the park, then headed home the long way.  I got my extra 11.5 miles in!   I may never be able to walk again, but I got my ride in – lol.

This year’s cygnets (the gray ones) – not much smaller than Mom and Dad now, they’ll be off on their own soon enough.  Such an incredible sight to see!

 

New Shoes, Crazy Exercise Day and Cycling Loot

I tried to make my “new” Salomon shoes work, I really did.  I stretched them multiple times in the freezer, and tried to break them in gradually, but nothing worked, and so Thursday night, my partner and I headed out to Sport Chek to get new shoes.  It’s not easy for me to find good shoes with my size 11.5 feet, and almost every pair I tried was too small (the biggest any of the brands had was an 11, which fits sometimes,  but not always).  I tried several beautiful pairs of Asics, but they were just snug enough that I knew I wouldn’t be able to run in them.  Then I tried on a pair of New Balance and oh my god.  Damn.  Okay, those are comfy.  Not as flashy or pretty as some of the others, but not ugly, either, and so comfy!   I got a pair, and we got a good pair of Asics for my partner, both of which were on sale.  Then we had enough Scene points for $50 off, and I had a coupon for 10% off the entire purchase.  All in all, a pretty good score.

I decided to start breaking in the new shoes as soon as possible, with  three 10k races coming up – so I ran 3 miles yesterday morning with them, and it was amazing!  Beautiful weather for running, although it started to get hot towards the end, so I dumped some of my water over my head to cool off.

We had guys digging up our yard Thursday and Friday, so I was trying to spend as little time at home as possible.  I got home, cooled down for a bit, then headed back out on my bike.  I did 9 miles.

I saw this in the water under a bridge. It might be one of the creepiest, saddest things I have ever seen. (Don’t worry, I looked around, I didn’t see any children in the water. Thank God.)

One of the challenges that Nerd Fitness suggests is Walking to Mordor – a journey of 1779 miles.  There have been many articles written on this task – even websites and apps dedicated to it.  In fact, my partner is currently walking to Mordor to earn going back to school (another story) – it’s win-win-win, because it’s a good way for them to work on leveling up fitness while working towards leveling up career at the same time, it forms healthy habits, and it buys some time to save the money we need.  

I want to get a SmartHalo for my bike, and decided that I would have to cycle a certain distance to earn it – rather than just saving up stones for it, which would take far too long.  I decided Mordor was too far – if it’s worth a full education for my partner, it seems a little excessive for a bike accessory – even though it’s faster to ride than to walk.  I decided to see how far the Hogwarts Express would have travelled in the Harry Potter stories.  Using this article, and then this map,

I figured out that the ride from King’s Cross Station to the estimated location of the mythical school would be a distance of 612 miles by bicycle.  Perfect.  I want to get the SmartHalo before its official release in December,  because I can save a bunch of money by preordering. I picked November 25th as a deadline, and I officially started tracking on September 1st, which means 86 days for 612 miles.  That amounts to an average of 7.11 miles per day.  Now: I have three 10k race days in there, and 2 “away” weekends, so I know there are going to be missed days.  To make up for those, I plan on averaging 10 miles a day when I do ride, and hopefully that will give me enough of a buffer to hit my goal in time.

Now I just have to figure out a goal reward for my own walk to Mordor.  Maybe I should run instead…

10k Training, Week 5, Day 2

I knew I couldn’t do today.  

I knew it.

I was wrong.

My run, according to today’s entry on the training plan, was to do ten repetitions of “run 3 minutes, walk one.”

Yeah.  Right.  I can barely manage 2 minutes running.

I somehow survived the first rep, but thought “there is no way in Hell I can do 9 more of those”.  

But I did.

It hurt.  But I pushed through, and got to see a gorgeous sunrise.

THAT is a look of triumph.

Then, because I am apparently a glutton for punishment, I put in 5.5 miles on my bike.  My legs were blasted, and I barely made it up some of the hills – but again, I did it.

My only real issue is that it feels like running isn’t actually getting any easier.  I push through, and I out-stubborn it, but every breath still hurts, every step is still agony.  I love it, but I hate it.  It’s not that I’m expecting it to be easy, but others run past me and I can’t hear them wheezing.  Their mouths are closed.  They don’t look like it is killing them.  I know I’m carrying a lot of weight, and I have asthma, but at some point it has to get easier, right?

We’re going camping tonight for the weekend, so I’ll be out of range from after work today until Sunday, but I’ll take lots of pictures, and get lots of activity in.  Tomorrow I’m planning a distance swim – not entirely sure how far yet – and Saturday will be a trail run.  Saturday’s schedule calls for a run with 14 intervals of 2 minutes running, one minute walking. I figure if I could handle this morning, I can handle that. I wish I could take my bike, too, but until I get a bike rack for the car, I’m stuck.  There’s no way to pack our little car well enough to handle all of our camping gear, plus 2 people, plus our 80lb dog, plus my bike.  

I will likely be blogging offline for the weekend, and posting when I get home, so I will have lots to say.

Confession

Time for me to ‘fess up: I missed a workout.  I didn’t run yesterday.  

I got home last night from work just after 9:00, with the intention of running,  and then cleaning the birds’ cage (we have 5 adorable tiny zebra finches) but by the time I got in the door I barely had the energy to microwave the plate my partner had put in the fridge for me.  I ate, crawled into bed, and passed out cold. 

I got up at 5 this morning, cleaned the bird cage, and went back to lay on the bed for a second before getting ready to go and make up yesterday’s run – and my back went into spasm. Wonderful.  I couldn’t move, and actually had to call my doctor’s office and cancel my appointment for today because I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive the 3-hour round trip to her office with my back the way it was. 

Now I had a problem.  By not running yesterday or making up the run today, I would have officially missed a workout.   According to my goal rewards, I can’t miss 2 in a row between now and the end of September – and if I didn’t do today’s scheduled workout or my run I would be two behind.  But what to do when you have a legitimate reason not to work out?  By later this morning I was doing better, but still not in running shape, so I decided to ride my bike to work.   It was perfect!  Great weather, and my back held up okay.

For a little bit of back story (see what I did there?) – my back has always been sensitive. The extra weight I carry – and the fact that it’s largely in my – uh – upper body  – puts a strain on it.  Then, in 2007, the car I was driving was rear-ended by a drunk driver while I was stopped at an intersection.  I was the first car at the intersection,  and I was so terrified of being pushed into oncoming traffic that I had my feet pushed on the brakes hard as I possibly could (yes, logically I know that wouldn’t really help,  but I didn’t have much time to consider my options at the time).  I  was braced so hard that with my back, I managed to twist the driver’s seat out of shape.  The glasses I was wearing were thrown from my face and found by the body shop under the back windshield, beside the brake light.  I went home that night after the accident,  but went to the hospital the next day (and stayed for two days) with abdominal pain that we later discovered was due to bruised internal organs.  My back has given me a lot more trouble since then.

I’m going to cut my losses on yesterday’s run, and move on.  One workout missed, back on track, and all is right with the world.  I usually get hung up on trying to make up missed workouts,  but I am really trying to get past it.

Bonus!  I discovered that where I work actually has bike racks!