Thursday, August 15, 2019

Biking When It's Hot

I'm in my 4th week of workouts, and I'm continuing to work out 6x a week, despite school having started. I've even been waking up in the morning and doing weights! Feels so good. We've been having a heat wave so it's been in the 90s, sucking all my motivation to work out out the door. Signing up for races is helping me be consistent. No excuses! I think about how bad I will feel if I don't work out, and it gets me out the door.

Today, I did a 20 mile bike ride with rolling hills in Woodside/Portola Valley. Coined "The Loop" around here, it's very scenic but it started out broiling. I went counterclockwise, which always feels a bit more challenging for me--steeper climbs. I also took Torch, the tri bike, for a spin, thinking it would be easier than the road bike. Wrong! Since I've been riding on the road bike (Pandora), it felt MUCH harder. Good to know. I was going to take Torch in Tour de Menlo this weekend. I've decided take Pandora since I've been riding her more.

Yesterday, I only did weights. It was the first day of school and 100 degrees when I got home so I bailed on my run. I have dreams of waking up early tomorrow and sneaking it in before school. Then a swim afterwards before happy hour with colleagues? I know. Ambitious.

Tuesday, I took the Juneau for a 5 mile run and resumed doing the loop around school and back home. I hadn't done it in awhile. It was hot and long, but it felt good to get back into the routine. I like that run.

Monday was a rest day. Boo.

Anyway, the workouts keep coming. I'm also keeping a food journal so I can lose the weight I've gained over the past year. I still feel heavy and slow as shit but I'm being consistent, and the workouts are getting easier. Plus, they make me feel better about myself because I'm taking action. I'm going to keep on, keeping on!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Becoming a habit

I worked out 6 days this week, achieving my goal. It's the fourth week in a row. The workouts are feeling a tad easier and are becoming more enjoyable. I love how I feel afterwards. Friday, I had to go to school to clean my classroom. I needed to get there in the morning. Instead of sleeping in my last morning of summer, I decided to get up at 7 and go for a run with the dogs. Followed by weights. I didn't want to do these things; I just knew I'd feel like crap if I didn't. I'm so glad I did. after 3 hours of cleaning the classroom with sweat and elbow grease, I was starving and exhausted. Combined with early dinner plans, I ended up working out against all odds.

Saturday was our long bike ride day. Since I've signed up for the Tour de Menlo, I wanted to make sure I was used to miles in the saddle. It's been awhile. We rode from Menlo Park to King's Mountain to Skyline, and then to the Bike Hut on Tunitas Creek Road, near the coast in Half Moon Bay. It was only a 40-mile ride (though even that's longer than what I've been averaging lately) but with 4,000-feet of climbing. I felt I might be able to do it but I wasn't super comfortable and wanted to avoid a meltdown. I like that feeling of anxiety you get before a challenging workout, like a long run. Beforehand, the course scares you, making the accomplishment that much sweeter at the end.

The Bike Hut was the turn-around. A small family farm runs the Bike Hut, a well-stocked bike stop that works on the honor system, small bills only. You can restock on water, drinks, gels, and homemade treats, like chocolate-covered pretzels. You can make yourself a pot of coffee and write messages on the board. You can rest for a moment on the bench outside, aside a rarely trafficked farm road. Birds frolic in the meadow across the street. Sometimes, hawks are perched atop fences, searching for prey in the grasses. It was a perfect turn-around, making a challenging ride have a halfway treat. Places like these are rare nowadays, and it makes me happy when I discover some that still exist.

Sunday, I was due for a long swim, particularly since I've signed up for the Santa Cruz Triathlon. After a 500 warm-up, I swam 3x500 followed by a cool-down. This has worked for me in the past for preparing for a 1 mile swim. I wasn't very fast, but I felt efficient. I worked hard, yet could have swam longer at the end. My confidence is beginning to improve. My goal right now is continue these consistent workouts as school begins. 

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Working out even when I don't want to

I did not feel like going for a bike ride today. I felt like taking a nap. Alan convinced me to go with him, and somehow, I got dressed and out the door. Exercise is not optional for me anymore. If I only worked out when I felt good, well, then I would end up taking an entire year off, like I just did. I pretended to gripe as we pedaled off, but it didn't feel too bad to spin down the block. I could always take it easy.

As we climbed Old La Honda, my quads kicked in, and my focus intensified, concentrating on keeping an even pedal stroke and light upper body. It was tough, but doable, and I pretended to complain about the steep grade at the top, but in actuality, I felt good. I was proud of myself for doing it, and after 4 weeks of weights and everything else, I could actually feel some of those muscles engaging. It felt good. The downhill felt even better.

The rest of the ride felt great. I used every opportunity to hammer and sprint when I could. I practiced my cornering on the descents. By the time we got back, I was smiling. It was only 20+ miles (with some climbing) but it was exactly what I needed.

I've committed to working out, and skipping because I don't feel like just isn't a good enough excuse anymore. Plus, all the days I work out when I don't feel good are the ones that make you especially strong. I've since signed up for 2 events: Tour de Menlo (65) on August 17th and the Santa Cruz Tri (Olympic) on September 22. It will be the 3rd year in a row, and I knew I would regret if I didn't tri Santa Cruz (pun intended). Tonight, I'm choosing a trail half marathon, my favorite event and great goal. I'm leaning towards:

Vista Verde Skyline (Los Altos; Oct 26)
Woodside Trail Run (Nov 3)
& the Woodside Ramble (Dec. 23)

Monday, August 05, 2019

More Workouts in the Bag!

I'm working out more than I'm posting. This is a good thing. Today, I swam--2000. I was feeling good so I added a little. Now I'm back to a respectable distance. My times are going down, or holding steady, and I'm already feeling the benefits of the weights in my back. I have a bit more strength and endurance in the pool. What a difference a few weeks make!

Yesterday, I bagged a 26-mile bike up King's Mountain and back. It was awesome; I felt strong and perky. My upper body is stronger, and my butt and wrists are more comfortable. The day before, I did weights and ran 4 hot miles. The dogs are both out of stitches and were ecstatic to join me.

I took 2 days in a row off before that. I was very disappointed. I'm only supposed to get 1 day off a week. I tried not to wallow in it though--it's consistency over time that matters. Day before that (Wednesday), we did an 8-mile, hilly hike in Purisima and saw 206 banana slugs!

Everything is a blur before that--I'm forgetting at least 2 runs (with weights), a bike around the loop, and another swim. Just trying to keep track of my progress. All in all, I've been steadily working out for 3+ solid weeks, about 6x/week. I have logged a total of 4 bikes, 5 runs, 5 weights, and 4 swims. I'm starting to see progress, and it's starting to get easier. I've dropped 4 pounds. Time to look at the race calendar!