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! 

Who Says You Can’t Run from Your Problems?

I finally got back out for a run today after more than a week “off” (I’ve done a lot of cycling over the past week, but no running).  I covered 6k today in walk/run intervals, but went back to a 2 minute running/1 minute walking schedule.  I actually realized just yesterday that the walk/run program I’m doing right now never has me doing more than 3 minutes running at a time, it just increases the number of intervals, so I figured that a few more days of 2 minute intervals would probably be worth it after my break from running.  

Once again, I didn’t want to go.  Today was a rough day financially and mental-health-wise, we got some very bad news, which I will not get into, but it upset me, and I didn’t feel like getting off my butt.  All I wanted to do was sit and eat junk food, but my brain wouldn’t let me.  I put it off until 5pm, then finally got up and headed out the door – grumbling the whole way.  I hated every second, and it felt amazing.  When I got home, I wasn’t stressed any more.  Que sera, sera.  Everything will work itself out, and there  isn’t much I can do, so why make myself sick?  

What it with that?  I’m not actually a masochist, why do I love running so much when it hurts so badly?  Why does it make my head so much clearer?  How is it better at reducing stress and anxiety than all my meds combined? 

Apparently,  the cycling has been paying off.  My legs and lungs are stronger, and tonight felt easier.

I made a decision yesterday too – I have a fun run coming up on September 18th, and it has a 5k option and a 10k.  I was going to do the 5, but I decided on the 10 instead – despite the fact that I have a 10k run 6 days later in Toronto.  I’ll just do some easy runs and rides in between, and I’ll be fine.

I met my first goal reward too – the new Warcraft expansion pack comes out tomorrow morning and I preordered it, because I have stayed away from the vending machine at work this month.  Now if only I was going to have time tomorrow to play it. 

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.

Freedom

For my 14th birthday, my parents got me a beautiful bike.  It was a deep-purple and black marbled Norco Bush Pilot 21-speed mountain bike, and I loved it.  For 4 years, that bike got me nearly everywhere.  It was my pride and joy.

Then I got a car, and eventually the bike was retired to my parents’ garage.  It made a brief reappearance during the summer after my first year of university while I was between cars, but returned to storage shortly afterwards.

Last fall, I retrieved the bike, and found that it was in rough shape – beyond my scope of repair, even with instructional videos – so it sat in my own garage until last month.

Then we had a string of bad luck that included our car being off the road for more than a week, and with both my partner and I having to get to work, transportation started to become very expensive.  I needed my bike.

A new shop had opened up in town – an amazing little coffee shop and bike shop combined, and I took my bike in there to be checked over and repaired.  It wasn’t cheap, but my bike was back to like new within a week, and the owner of the shop says it has another 20 years in it (god, has it really been that long since I was 14?).

I rode it home the day I picked it up from the shop, and learned two things along the way.  One, riding a bike really is the way people say – you never actually forget – and two, I LOVE to ride.  I had completely forgotten how free riding makes me feel.  How happy and relaxed.

Today I went out for what was only my fourth ride since getting my bike back.  I did 5.26 miles before breakfast, and could have easily kept going had I not decided I was hungry.

When I got home, my partner asked how the ride was.  Before I could even answer, they responded “I think somebody has found her passion”.  It’s true.  All day today I have been thinking about going back out to ride.

I just wish I had more opportunity to get better.  There is a women’s cycling group in the area, but one of the requirements to join is a road bike – which mine is clearly not – and it’s way out of the budget at the moment.

Someday.  For now, I ride solo,  and I love every minute of it.

10k Training Week 4, Day 3

I didn’t miss a single run this week!

Today was a long, hard 3.65 miles.

I didn’t wanna.  The Blerch had a really good grip (a comic well worth the read, if you’re not already a fan).

I woke up later than planned (almost 9am), having to be at work for 1pm.  

My shoes that I had tried to stretch in the freezer had gotten wet when one of the ice bags broke.  I put them outside yesterday to dry, and it rained last night for the first time in months.  They were soaked.  I couldn’t wear the pair I have been wearing,  because they’re now giving me blisters.  

My legs are still sore from earlier in the week

It’s Saturday,  my partner offered to make a special breakfast, and I wanted nothing more than to curl up with a cup of coffee and delicious food.

I have cramps.

I also have this new strategy: I imagine telling myself or my partner why I didn’t do my run today.  

None of my excuses held up.  

I still had an hour for a run.

My partner went to the store for ingredients and then started cooking breakfast while I was out.  I didn’t have a ton of time, but there was enough to shower, then enjoy my meal and a coffee.

My old old shoes may be worn out, but I can wear them for one run – they don’t actively hurt my feet.

DOMS don’t get better by being left to atrophy.

Exercise helps cramps.

Damn.

Off I went.  

I ran by the waterfront,  and I have never been so happy to have it rain on a run.  I won’t say it was a great run.  It hurt.  I was tired and struggling and worried about the time crunch when I got home.  But it sure felt great to have done it, especially when I had wanted so badly not to.

Sometimes stubbornness is the only option.  Today that was definitely the case.

Sure is a beautiful view.