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.

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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…

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.

Loot! (AKA Rewards)

One of the things that the Nerd Fitness Academy emphasizes is that there have to be rewards for achievements.  In video games, achievements get you prizes/tools/etc., and in life, we need motivation to keep pushing through the hard work.  It’s easy to fall into the trap, however, of rewarding healthy habits with unhealthy behaviours – junk food, etc – so it’s important to have a game plan beforehand.

I have come up with my personalized loot system to share, and I have a couple of different levels of loot.

The first level is for daily healthy habits.  I have created a jar with ribbon tape marking points along its side.  Each ribbon marks a level of approximately 50 stones, and I can earn up to 5 stones a day for meeting my goals.

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My daily goals are to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, to drink 3 litres of water, to get at least 7 hours of sleep, to work out (biking to work, running, going for a swim, a hike, whatever), and to meditate or do yoga.  Each 50-stone line on the jar represents a $15 reward.  I can either redeem those stones as soon as they hit the mark, or I can keep saving them until I reach a higher reward level.  While it will be up to me to decide at the time what I want to use my loot rewards for, I have come up with a few ideas for some of the levels.

$15 – New book (digital or paperback), World of Warcraft mount/pet, inexpensive computer game

$30 – New nerdy t-shirt 

$45 – New running outfit

$60 – New bike tires or accessory

$75 – New craft supplies

$90 – New running skirt

$105 – New running shoes

$195 – SmartHalo for my bike (this is a major loot goal for me right now, it combines so many features I want to add to my bike into one device)

I also have major achievement goals.  

  • There is a new WoW pack coming out that I would like to buy – it costs about $70 USD.  Since I didn’t start my loot quest early enough to earn it before the release date, I have set a goal of not purchasing any candy at work (one of my biggest weaknesses – stupid vending machine…) from now until it releases on August 30.
  • There are a couple of piercings I want to get. Two, in fact, which will be hidden… *ahem*…  Anyway, I can get them if I don’t miss any two workouts in a row between now and the end of September.
  • I have my heart set on a running skirt from Sparkle Skirts, but they’re expensive.  If I complete my trail run in November in less than 1:45:00, I will be ordering one.
  • I am planning on running a half-marathon next June (more on that in a future post).  When I complete that, I will be getting a tattoo on my foot, which is going to be reflective of my running. I am going to post some design ideas later as well for feedback.

Lastly, for completing all of my workouts in a week, I will be rewarding myself with a long, hot candlelit bath.  It won’t cost me anything, but it’s something I don’t often take the time to do for myself.

I’m already noticing a difference in my behaviours with these rewards.  I look longingly at the vending machine at work, then remind myself that I want the game.  I almost didn’t get up yesterday morning to run, but then reminded myself that if I miss one workout, I’m more likely to miss two, and then I won’t get my piercings at the end of September (plus I get Epic Quest points if I stick with all of my workouts for long enough, so there’s another motivator).

So many things to work for, and I’m psyched!  Bring on the loot!