January 2019 Goals : How Did it Go?

crossfit, goals, pregnancy, running, swimming, year of 1% better

We’ve reached the end of the first month of the year! I’ll admit, it felt like a long month. Not a bad month, but it just sort of felt like it was January forever. I have a suspicion though that February will fly by — not because it is short, but because it is my dissertation defense month.

Inspired by James Clear’s Atomic Habits, I declared 2019 the year of 1% better. Though I did have some big goals like running one thousand miles, mainly I just wanted to work on little things, little habits. Part of this is because so much of 2019 is up in the air with a baby coming late May/early June and not even knowing where we will live, work, etc. (I’m not stressed, I’m not stressed, I’m not stressed) next year. I did not want to make a grand goal, get attached, and have something out of my hands happen. The other reason is that I am still convinced by Clear’s arguments. Do small things and eventually they will make a big difference.

So how did January’s 1% better goals go? Quick review: I wanted to submit my dissertation, run ninety-one miles, practice double-unders 3x a week, do not go out to eat (unless, of course, someone invites us out), swim 1x a week, read a book on Catholicism, and poach an egg.

I’ll begin with the most important. I submitted my dissertation last week Friday. And yes, I feel as weird about being done as I expected. This was the most important thing I had to get done this month. All else could slide (and as you’ll see did slide), but this was my baby, so to speak. A project I began working on in the spring 2017 is beginning to be over, although I suspect I’ll be stuck with Jean-Jacques Rousseau for awhile. I’m committed, ha!

The goals to run/walk 91 miles and to practice double-unders 3x a week did not happen. I am not one to offer excuses, but this was a little bit out of my control. I’ll offer the excuse of pregnancy. A couple weeks ago I had excruciating pelvic pain. I sat down on the couch and just could not get up. It is significantly better now, although definitely still there. It does seem, though, that running aggravates it. I have a pre-natal appointment today and I plan on talking about it, but it was a real bummer. To add injury to injury, I messed up my left ankle while attempting to do double-unders the other week. Granted, it also is doing much better. It was black and blue and swollen. Now, two weeks later, it is just swollen. Still, I’m calling the double-unders a win. Even with the little bit of extra work I did put into them before ankle-gate, I could tell I was improving. They were not beautiful, but my double-under attempts in work-outs actually began to include actual double-under successes. I feel confident that when things start to get better and I work on them again, I will begin to improve in no time. I cannot do double-unders, but I definitely became 1% better.

I only swam twice this month. I’ll admit, I love swimming, but it is really hard to get motivated. Also, currently, my swimsuit does not fit and when I put it on, I can actually hear, “I am the egg man. Whooo. They are the egg man. Whooo. I am the walrus…” I ordered a new one, a bikini even (giving that belly some room!). And it did not fit. Ok, these are excuses. Still, that is two times more than December and I love being able to swim with a watch.

We only went out to eat by ourselves once this entire month. Our reason was to celebrate me finishing and submitting my dissertation which it seemed required a little more fanfare and getting out of the house. With other people, I think we went out to eat twice. We used to go out to eat about three times a week, whether that was picking up sandwiches or whatever. I am calling this a huge success and I’m hoping to keep it up. As I said, it is not like the food around here is spectacular. It is just sheer laziness that led us to eat out as much as we did. Plus, not eating out has had led to other good habits such as finally starting to meal plan and prep. Successfully.

I’m doing the Carrots for Michaelmas CathoLIT2019 reading challenge, as a sort of over-all goal for the year. I finished my first Catholic read for the year with True Devotion to Mary. I usually read in the mornings, so this has actually been a pretty easy habit to incorporate.

Did I poach an egg? You should know better than to even ask. Those eggs have only been boiled (eaten with some delicious Maldon salt, oh my goodness the best discovery of 2019 so far) or fried over-medium in January. Maybe next month?

How have your 2019 goals been going? Did you have specific January goals?

 

 

 

 

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Monday Miles : January 21 – 27, 2019

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, running, swimming, training

I did not run a single step last week. After noticing my ankle was not getting better and instead turning all black and blue, I decided to just keep off of it. My ankle could not have picked a better time to malfunction, because the weather has been terrible. This week is only going to get worse with several days remaining in the negatives.

Though my ankle is starting to look better and is no longer bruised and the swelling is starting to go down, I probably will not be running this week either. I do not want to risk it. I know my joints and ligaments are all loosey-goosey (is that right?) at the moment and the last thing I want to do is create lasting damage that I have to deal with post-pregnancy too.

So this week was all CrossFit. It was probably for the best I did not run, because it was a rough week.

1 – 21 : JasYoga Back Relief.

1 – 22 : CrossFit. 3 rounds for time – 9 power snatches @ 35 lbs., 15 push-jerks @ 35 lbs., 21 air squats + wall push-ups. 9 minutes 43 seconds. I’m still not quite sure what the difference between a push-jerk and a push-press are. They look the same to me. And I know I did the power snatches, but I already forget what they are. Movement vocabulary is hard. After we did max reps for pull-ups. Guess how many I did? Maybe after pregnancy….

1 – 23 : CrossFit. Hang power-clean every thirty seconds for ten minutes (20 reps). 45 lbs., 50 lbs., 55 lbs, 55 lbs., 55 lbs., 55 lbs., 60 lbs., 60 lbs., 65 lbs., 65 lbs., 70 lbs., 70 lbs, 70 lbs., 70 lbs., 70 lbs., 70 lbs., 70 lbs., 70 lbs., 70 lbs., 70 lbs. I have never gone above 55 lbs, for a hang power-clean, so basically after five reps it was all PRs from there. Also, because I cannot do math, I thought we were done after my first 70 lbs. Ha! 4 x for time – 15 high knee-raises on a bar, 50 foot dumb-bell walking lunge @ 10 lbs. 8 minutes 14 seconds. My hands were tired.

1 – 24 : CrossFit. Four rounds – 00:00-2:00, 400m row; 2:00-4:00, rest; 4:00-6:00 Air squat + wall push-up; 6:00-8:00, Rest. Managed to get all rows in with seconds to spare and about 210 air squat and wall push-ups.

1 – 25 : CrossFit. This is the workout I had been waiting for all week. You see, back in December we did a thruster work-out that hurt so bad. That was when I met Jackie. When I doing my thrusters, people were already done with their pull-ups. I did not want to run away and hide the next time they were on schedule and they were this day with a vengeance. I’m happy to say it went much better. For time – 50 thrusters @ 35 lbs., 40 jumping pull-ups, 30 thrusters @ 35 lbs., 20 jumping pull-ups, 10 thrusters @ 45 lbs. 13 minutes 11 seconds. I suspect not underestimating thrusters is what made them better this time. I have a healthy fear now and it made all the difference.

1 – 26 : I had every intention of going to the pool to swim today. I went to the pool and it was packed. The end. Bruno and I bought a bunch of candy (I promise this never happens) and watched the Fyre documentaries.

1 – 27 : Rest.

Totals: 0 Runs, 0 Swims, 4 hours CrossFit, no double-under practice. 4 hours total.

Onward!

Monday Miles : January 14 – 20, 2019 (20-21? Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, goals, lifting, monday miles, running, swimming

So fun fact. We had our twenty week ultrasound today. I thought last week was twenty weeks, but apparently I’m measuring further along than we all thought and my due date is now late May instead of early June (does it really make that much of a difference?). Anyway, it is nice to know that I’m closer than I thought instead of further. I already feel like I have been pregnant forever.

Anyway — to work outs. Last week was a good week! But I’m back to having a lot of pelvic pain. Then, while doing double-under practice (of course, one of my goals for January), I landed on my left ankle wrong. I thought it would be fine and even continued to run/walk on it. But yesterday and today, it has been really grouchy. That last week went so well means I have the confidence to take it easy this week.

1 – 14 : Swim. 100m free-style warm-up. 10 minutes – 25m swim, 30 seconds rest. Repeat. 100m free-style warm-up. 450m. 2:10/100m. Strava puts me at 492 yards. 1:58/100 yard. Double-under practice. Run/walk. 5 minute walk, 20 minute run, 2 minute walk on treadmill. 2.48 miles. 10:58/mile.

1 – 15 : Run/walk. This is the one from last week where I felt pretty discouraged. I could not even move for ten minutes without having to hop off to use the restroom. 4.49 miles. 12:23/mile. Around 55 minutes.

1 – 16 : Run/walk. 1 mile walk, 1.5 mile run, a little under mile walk. 3.24 miles. 14:24/mile. Around 47 minutes. This went better. I wore the new pregnancy belt which may be why. I feel so weird wearing it inside on the treadmill. It is a self-consciousness problem I think. CrossFit. 5x 45 seconds double-under practice, 300m rowing. 12 minutes 58 seconds. Ok, so the double-unders went so much better. I actually managed 25, which is 25 more than I used to be able to do. It is a start. BUT in the fourth round I landed on my left ankle all wrong. I finished the work-out. I even continued to work out on it for the rest of the week, but given that it is still bothering me today I’m taking it out of commission. I don’t think I broke it considering I can walk and even run on it, but I certainly did something to it. There’s always something.

1 – 17 : Walk outside. 45 minutes. 2.56 miles. 17:35/mile. I like to think that when I do finally do an ultramarathon that I will credit all this walking for helping me get there. Hah! CrossFit. 5 x 3 shoulder press @ 55 lbs. AMRAP – 12 minutes. 1 pull-up (green-band assisted), 2 push-ups, 3 squats; 2 pull-ups (“”), 4 push-ups, 6 squats; 3 pull-ups (“”), 6 push-ups, 9 squats; 4 pull-ups (“”), 8 push-ups, 12 squats; 5 pull-ups (“”), 10 push-ups, 15 squats; 6 pull-ups (“”), 6 push-ups, 6 knee push-ups, 18 squats; 7 pull-ups (“”), 7 push-ups, 7 knee push-ups, 21 squats; 7 pull-ups (“”), 16 knee push-ups, 24 squats; 9 pull-ups (“”). I liked this one. Plus, I was happy I didn’t have to switch to knee push-ups until 12 push-ups and not even all knee push-ups until I had to do 16. Small victory!

1 – 18 : Run/walk. 4.32 miles. 15:48/mile. Around an hour on the treadmill.

1 – 19 : Run/walk on the treadmill. I walked only one mile and then decided I would run for as long as felt ok. I made it to 5.44 miles. 12:26/mile. 1 hour. I was really happy with this! JasYoga Prenatal Fluidity video.

1 – 20 : Rest. Rest. Rest.

Totals : Run. 22.8 miles. 5 hours 10 minutes. Swim. 450m. Around 15 minutes. CrossFit. 2 hours. Double-under practice. Twice. 7 hours 25 minutes.

Onward!

Monday Miles : January 7 – 13, 2019 (19 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, running, swimming

This week was derailed by snow, illness, and most of all, shoddy planning. We left for Ohio Thursday night with full intentions of returning Saturday morning. Every single time we travel we bring more than we need. Friday was a planned rest day. So should I bring my work out gear? Anything for my dissertation? No. Because we’re heading right back.

Around three a.m. Saturday morning I woke up to find out Bruno was quite sick. At first we thought maybe indigestion, so I did not think much of it. But after a couple hours, it was very clear he had the flu. He was not going anywhere.

Not that it mattered anyway. It snowed hard in Ohio and the roads were a mess. So Saturday was spent reading kindle books and taking care of Bruno. It was not too bad, although I could feel creeping dissertation anxiety set in.

Sunday, though, the dissertation anxiety was in full swing. Luckily, Bruno felt much better (although definitely not at 100%) and after mass, we drove back up to Michigan, messy roads be damned. I had slept pretty terribly the previous three nights, so all I did was go grocery shopping and try to do as much cooking to prepare for the next week to make sure all I had to focus on was my dissertation.

So yeah — life gave me a bit more rest days. Once again, trying not to get frustrated with myself, but appreciate that hey, at least I can still do this. Plus, there were a few other wins. Three days of CrossFit this week, instead of just one for example. Most importantly, last week’s pelvic pain seems to be much diminished. I will be keeping an eye on it, but much rejoicing on that front.

1 – 7 : 60 minutes walk/run. Mainly walked with 3 x 5 minute runs. 3.96 miles. 15:11/mile. CrossFit. 5 x 3 shoulder presses ever 2:30 minutes – 50 lbs., 55 lbs., 60 lbs. (previous PR), 65 lbs. (new PR!), 50 lbs. WOD – 8 x 20 seconds push press (usually 5-7 each round), 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds bar-bell row (5-7 each round) – used 45 lbs.

1 – 8 : 50 minute run/walk. Walked five minutes, ran ten. Repeat. 3.84 miles. 13:01/mile. CrossFit. 5 x 400m run + 15 hang power-cleans @ 45 lbs. 21 minutes 7 seconds.

1 – 9 : Rest.

1 – 10 : 60 minutes run/walk. Walk 10 minutes, run 20. Repeat. 5.21 miles. 11:31/mile. CrossFit. 10 x for time – 10 burpees, 5 ring-rows, 5 kip swings (I’m not calling this by the right name — I can’t do a kipping pull-up or any pull-up yet). 17 minutes 47 seconds.

1 – 11 : Rest.

1 – 12 : Rest.

1 – 13 : Rest.

Totals : Running – 14.6 miles, 2 hours 50 minutes. CrossFit. 3 hours. 5 hours 50 minutes. Did not do my January goals of swimming or double-under practice (did both today though — so at least starting this week on the right track.)

Onward!

 

Monday Miles : December 31, 2018 – January 6, 2019 (18 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, running, swimming, training

This week started out strong. I ran. I swam. I continued the process of finishing my dissertation. I had a few goals on Strava I was hoping to achieve, because well, I felt so good.

Then, boom. Hello, pelvic pain. Thursday night while sitting on the couch, one minute I was totally fine and the next I was in excruciating pain. I’m not kidding. I could not even walk upstairs to go to bed. Bruno had to bring me down some blankets and a pillow. To try to even get off the couch, I felt just a pull in my pelvic/tail bone area that I honestly thought I would have to crawl to get anywhere. I woke up on the couch around 2 in the morning and slowly, slowly made my way upstairs, but I think cried from the pain for like an hour until I was able to fall asleep again. I’m a lot of fun, people!

It felt a little bit better Friday morning, but only enough that I could hobble upstairs very slowly to use our bathroom. I did not work out (obviously). Every movement felt like a pull on my tailbone and the pain in the front seemed mostly on my right side. I went to get a massage in the afternoon, which helped dramatically. Saturday was much better, but still painful. Sunday I went for a walk. And today, well today I can tell something happened, but the pain no longer makes me feel like I have to get sick, but instead is very faint.

So 2019 started with a big bang. I have tried to keep in mind while the running has been good that things could change and I may just not be able to run anymore. Of course, that is easier said than done. Even while eighteen weeks pregnant and not able to work out, I had a hard time just being “nice” to myself and letting it go.

I’m trying to be nicer to myself this week. I’ll probably be walking with my runs — just trying to get the time outside in, not the miles. We’ll see.

Anyway — here are last week’s workouts.

12-31-18 : Run. 15 minutes. 1.29 miles. 11:43/mile.

1 – 1 – 19 : Run. 45 minutes. 4.43 miles. 10:10/mile.

1 – 2 : Run/walk. 30 minutes. 2.35 miles. 12:45/mile. I walked two minutes, ran three. CrossFit. It was so good to be back. However, I can always really feel it when I haven’t gone in awhile. 20 minutes – AMRAP – 3 wall walk planks, 15 toes-to-kettle-bell, 200m run with 14 lbs. medicine ball, 25 Russian kettle-bell swings @ 35 lbs., 45 second double-under practice. 3x + 3 wall walk planks (try saying that fast) + 2 toes-to-kettle-bell. I actually really liked this one, although I had to keep checking the board — “wait a second, what am I supposed to be doing now?” I did not think the run with the medicine ball was that bad — just awkward. Like, where should I put this damn thing? I will admit that in each of my 45 seconds of double-under practice, not a single double-under was accomplished. Yikes!

1 – 3 : Swim. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I missed the pool so much. I have not swam since my triathlon in August. I look like a beluga whale in my swimming suit right now (but you look at how expensive maternity swimsuits are). My new Garmin goes into the pool with me — so that was a lot of fun because it meant I do not need to count anymore. Anyway — I did 100m breast stroke warm-up, then 10 minutes of 25m repeats free-style with 30 seconds rest. Then another 100m breast stroke. According to Strava, which puts everything in yards — I did 437 yards, 2:37/100 yards. Later I learned that for pregnant women, breast stroke can be very irritating and cause a lot of pelvic pain. The more you know. Run. 18 minutes. 1.62 miles. 11:06/mile. Practiced double-unders. Actually managed to do a few. Redemption!

1 – 4 : Pain. Recovery. Massage.

1 – 5 : Pain. Prenatal yoga for pelvic floor. I am going to try to start doing this once a week now.

1 – 6 : Morning walk. 30 minutes. 2 miles. 15:45/mile. Still pain, but significantly less.

Totals: Running/walking – 12 miles. 2 hours, 18 minutes. CrossFit – 1 hour. Swim – 437 yards, 11 minutes. 3 hours, 29 minutes.

Onward!

583.5: 2018 Running in Review

crossfit, pregnancy, races, running, swimming, training, triathlon

According to my Strava, I ran 583.5 miles this year. This is not a large number. Nor is it a particularly pretty, nice round number (I mean if I did not take this last week off, I could have at least made it to 600 miles). That is an average of a little over eleven miles a week. In a world where I am in constant admiration of women who call fifty mile weeks low mileage, I know it does not seem like much.

I started this blog with two big goals: run consistently and finish the Serious Series.* The past few years since my first and only marathon were filled with plenty of hopes and goals, but no finished races. Usually my hamstring and hip would act up and I would back off, give up, then start again.

I am not exactly sure what changed this year. My goals were humbler to be sure. I never had a single time goal for any of my races other than to finish. I did just that in April at the Trail Half-Marathon in Pinckney, Michigan. I cried at the finish line.

On the way though, I started new things and as the stress of “can I just make it to the race?” started to diminish, I rediscovered joy.

I started CrossFit — Bruno’s idea, but it did not take me long to love adding it to the schedule, something social to offset to my usually headphones in the ears, solitary running. I did my first Murph a month after starting and survived.

Then out of nowhere, I decided I wanted to try out a triathlon. By fate it seems, I found a beautiful used Trek bike at a shop near my local hometown. I started swimming again. I rode my bike down the same country road and bought a pair of those biker shorts.

And all the time, I kept running usually four times a week, sometimes three. Hills became easier (thanks, CrossFit). I won my age group for an August trail half-marathon. A friend of mine and I decided to run sixteen miles on a random weekday, just to see if we could (we could). I did my first triathlon later that month, deciding that yes, definitely, I would try for a sprint next year 2019 (now, as a pregnant lady, I say — we’ll see, ha!).

After several years of wanting to, I finally went to Run Woodstock in Pinckney. Bruno and I camped out, drank beers, hung out with fellow trail runners, listened to sixties and seventies cover bands, and cheered for ultramarathoners as they made their way through the finish line. I ran a 5k and then a miserable half-marathon, the slowest of my entire year. Little did I know, at the time I was racing for two!

The rest of September, October, and the first half of November, I ran very little, if at all. I found out Baby C was on his or her way and while excited about the pregnancy, I felt horrible. I continued going to CrossFit, which I think helped maintain some fitness, as I didn’t really lose that much speed when I started running again (well, aside for the sudden lack of aerobic capacity that comes with being pregnant — but I’m still faster than what I was at the beginning of the year).

I have been consistently running, along with CrossFit, again for the last six weeks. In those six weeks, I ran a 5k — the first race I knew I was running pregnant. I honestly did not think I would be able to run it under thirty minutes, but managed to do about two minutes better than that (and only around two minutes slower than what I was able to do this summer). While that made me happy, mostly I was and have been just grateful to be outside running again. I’m not kidding. It is cold and Michigan and in six weeks of running, I have ran on the treadmill only once.

So, yes, 585.5 miles might not seem like much, but to me those miles brought me to a lot of places and a lot of joy in 2018. At the beginning of this year, I did not know if I could consider myself a runner anymore. Now, at the very end, I not only consider myself a runner, but a CrossFitter, and a triathlete.

If 583.5 miles could bring me to all that, who knows where the miles will bring me in 2019?

xo, Ali

*I had a third goal in mind for this blog: de-stressing from my dissertation. I’m happy (relieved) to say it helped.

Monday Miles : August 20-26, 2018

lifting, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

The triathlon did happen! There was about an hour delay because of the lightning, but as we started getting closer to ten in the morning, the storms cleared up. I’ll write more on that in my race report for tomorrow as it was quite a day.

The next races I have are the Funky Bus 5k and Hippie Half-marathon at Run Woodstock. I have been planning on running those for fun though and will mainly transition for training for a later fall 10k. The plan is to still maintain swimming and biking once a week. It was nice not just running, even though running will always be my favorite. Hopefully in the spring or next summer, I will do a sprint triathlon. I’m not sure if I would be ready for an Olympic distance. Someday, but I would like to do a few sprints first.

This week brought me back to the track for the first time in a few months. I took it easy on CrossFit getting ready for Saturday’s race. I feel good!

8 – 20 : Morning. Swim. 100m drills, 100m breast stroke. 3 rounds of 1x 100 meter free-style, 2x 50m free-style. 200m free-style and breast stroke. 1000m.

8 – 21 : Afternoon. Run. Easy 3.5 miles. 10:22/mile pace. CrossFit. WOD: for time, 20 ring-rows, 30 over-head squats, 20 ring-rows, 20 over-head squats, 20 ring-rows, 10 over-head squats, 20 ring-rows. Over-head squats are no joke! I started out using a bar bell during my warm-up and the coach told me it might be best for me to switch to a PVC pipe. I trusted his wisdom. It was the right move, because there is no way I would have been able to get through that even with a bar. 11 minutes 36 seconds. Romwod.

8 – 22 : Morning. 1 mile warm-up. 6x 400 meters with a 200m “float.” 1 mile cool-down. I tried to maintain between 7:30-7:40 pace for all my 400m. I think I was mostly successful. The work-out called for 8 repeats, but at around 8 in the morning, the football team started showing up and frankly, I kind of felt silly being out there. So I left and continued my run before heading back home. Next time I’ll show up to the track a little earlier. 4 miles.

8 – 23 : Rest ‘n Romwod.

8 – 24 : Rest ‘n Romwod.

8 – 25 : Coldwater Mini-Triathlon! 300 yard swim, 6 mile bike, and 3 mile run. As of right now, I still do not have my time (although I can say I ran a 9/mile average pace for run…my first mile was so slow!). Romwod.

8 – 26 : 5 miles. 9:46/mile. It was so humid my glasses kept fogging up throughout my run. I swear in places I did not even know I could sweat.

Totals : 1 hour CrossFit, 1275m swam, 6 miles biked, 15.5 miles run.

xo, Ali

‘Twas the Eve Before my First Triathlon Eve

cycling, goals, races, running, swimming, training, triathlon

The weather forecast warns of storms on Saturday. I keep checking and the storms remain. I’m hoping for a brighter day for my first triathlon, the 34th Annual Robert Huntley Memorial Mini-Triathlon in Coldwater, Michigan, this Saturday. Even rain is fine. I do not want another cancellation. I could not find a replacement sprint triathlon for my original plan. I do not think I can find a replacement any-distance triathlon that would not involve extra travel.

I’m happy I found this race. What I read about it makes it sound like the perfect triathlon for someone like me, a beginner who has no idea what she is doing. It is a local race. The profits go to the cross country team. I’m excited to be a part of it. I’m excited to swim the 300 yards, bike the six miles, and run the three miles that will take me to my first triathlon finish.

That said, I have no idea what to expect. I have no goals other than to just go by feel and see what happens. Mainly, I am trying to see this as a learning experience. I want to learn how to do transitions. I want to learn what it is like to race my bike, and I want to get comfortable swimming in the open water again. I want to do well, but I’m trying to keep my expectations minimal and one step at a time.

It is hard not to think of the future as I plan for this race. It was not necessarily what I had planned. I wanted to do a sprint triathlon. But I think the big thing I am going to have to focus on is just staying present. Yes, doing this triathlon will help when I finally do a sprint next year. But I also am racing this race. I want to be in this race too both mentally and physically. I do not want to future-trip through it the whole time.

That said, I have a vague idea of what I’m hoping: under one hour. I have no idea if that is feasible. I could be severely over-estimating what I think could happen. I do not think I am under-estimating. We’ll see.

Tomorrow I’ll get Cat (the bike) ready and get everything set up. I’ll have my fingers crossed for good weather the whole time. Rain is fine, but storms can stay away. This runner wants to become a triathlete.

xo, Ali

 

 

Pond of Certainty

daily life, swimming, triathlon

This past weekend was a our first visit to my mom and step-dad’s new house. It is a beautiful red home out in the country. It feels more like a vacation lake house than a place where people day to day live. The part of the house I was most excited for was that it has a pond.

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Sun shining, hearts full, eyes squinting. 

Bruno does not know how to swim, so Saturday we hung around the “beach” area. I tried to explain (badly) to Bruno how to float and once he was able to do that, kicking, using his arms. By the end of the session he could do a free strokes free-style and a few strokes backstroke. It was not pretty, but I was proud of him and I think he was surprised at himself. He described swimming as “teleportation” because he would close his eyes (no goggles) and find himself in a different place.

After, I planned to do a swim workout in the pond. I did not know how long (meters or yards) it would be. The plan was to set a timer and focus on trying to swim continuously. No big deal.

Unlike Bruno, I have goggles. For me swimming is not like teleportation. I can open my eyes and see where I am going. And I could not see. The pond is clean, but it is still a pond. It is murky. There are plants to swim through. And then, when I made it to the middle of the pond, I could not see to the bottom. First, I thought “how eerie” and then I panicked. Work out abandoned.

It was not until the drive back to Michigan that I even told Bruno I became scared. And truly, I still don’t understand. I used to do this all the time.

I started training for a triathlon to work on fear. At that time, it was my fear of cycling. But it seems that I have been presented with another fear to work on, one that does not quite have a name. I don’t think I am scared of swimming in ponds or lakes. The pond plants do not bother me. I like the fish. I suspect it is more fear of the unknown, looking down and not being able to see, looking to the side and only seeing more murk.

Next year, I have no idea where we will live or where I will work. This is it. The last year I will describe myself officially as a “graduate student” (in life, “student” will always apply).  I cannot see. I only see murk. And as I mention, this causes a lot of anxiety.

I told Bruno yesterday that I just want certainty. I like knowing, planning, and the assurance of “if this, then that.” I get it. Nobody’s life is really like that. Still,  I think when I was swimming and looked down and saw only the “unknown” in my small family pond, I was fed up with it. I could not handle just one more thing of not knowing.

It will take baby-steps (or strokes?) to try to get comfortable with being uncomfortable again in the pond, just as I’m trying to be comfortable, excited even, about not knowing what will happen next year. At the very least, I am certain I will get there, wherever “there” may be.

xo, Ali

 

 

Monday Miles : July 23-29, 2018

crossfit, cycling, dissertation, graduate school, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

I’m not burnt out. I don’t work hard enough to be burnt out. But I admit that I ended last week feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It did not matter that I received good news — fourth dissertation approved! one chapter to go! — I ended last week and began this week with the big question: what next? This is the last year of funding. Now what? And then swarmed all the things I had to do to improve already approved dissertation chapters, make myself viable for jobs, the shoddy job market, fears of not being smart enough, not working hard enough, not being a good enough writer, etc. In other words, hello anxiety.

The relationship between regular life stress and working out stress are probably not discussed enough. I see plenty about recovery from hard work out weeks, but not much about hard life weeks. Most of the time working out makes me feel better, but then sometimes it feels like another thing on the never ending list of things to do.

So I took a recovery weekend. It worked out well because I went home to Ohio. My sister had a baby (a girl!!) and my mom watched my two nephews. I helped watch the boys and visited my sister and the new baby in the hospital. We swam in the pond. Bruno and I went out to a new place on a lake for fish tacos and beers, listening to a local cover band play “Fight for Your Right to Party” while we discussed whether the right to party was a natural or civil right. It was a nice weekend, but I’ll admit. I came back to Michigan full of anxiety.

I’m hoping the recovery weekend will help me out in the long run though, that long run being the Legend trail half-marathon this Saturday. I want to feel energized and rejuvenated come this weekend, not frazzled and exhausted.

Anyway — here are last week’s workouts.

7 – 23 : Rest

7 – 24 : CrossFit. WOD: Run 5k for time. Time: 26:29 minutes. Mile 1 = 8 minutes, 2 = 8:30 minutes, 3 = 8:49 seconds, .15 = 7.53. This was hard and about three minutes slower than my 5k PR, but I was glad to know where I am. Onward.

7 – 25: CrossFit. Warm-up: 2 x 10 ring-rows, 10 push-ups, 10 good-mornings, 10 air squats, 30 second plank, 1 minute run. WOD: The Chief. Max rounds – 3 minutes. 3 power cleans, 6 push-ups, 9 air squats. Rest 1 minute. Repeat 5 cycles. My form is improving! This is the first lift aside from dead lifts and squats that I’ve been able to actually use a barbell on. Improvements! I used a naked barbell at 33 pounds and — also very exciting! — none of my push-ups were scaled. I did them all regular. Rounds: 3 + 2, 3 + 2, 3, 3, 3 + 3. Like the 5k, I have plenty of room for improvement, but I was happy for those two wins.

7 – 26: Swim. 200m breast stroke. Descending ladder, 150m, 100, 100, 50 x 8 with 30s rest. 100m breast stroke. 1,050 meters. Bike. 6 miles. 29 minutes.

7 – 27: Rest.

7 – 28: Rest.

7 – 29: Rest.

Totals: Run 3.15 miles. Swim 1050 meters. Bike 6 miles. CrossFit 2 hours.

xo, Ali