Sunday, March 30, 2014

Six Months to Go and In Control!

First of all, "six months to go and in control" rhymed much better when I was chanting it in my head then I realize it sounds now.  But it is still my mantra for the past three days and I'm proud of it, whether it rhymes or not! 

Friday was March 28.  In a month with many days of significance (Pi Day, Ides of March, St Patrick's Day), March 28 probably doesn't ring many bells except for those of us gearing up for IM Chattanooga.  It brought me both pessimism and optimism- the emotional rolling hills.  The six month to go mark is odd.  I can look at it on one hand and feel awful about myself and my training.  I am not where I wanted to be in many respects.  It is easy to feel doomed, like my race will surely fall flat and why should I even try.  But really, six months is loads of time.  26 weeks.  Half a year.  A freakin' year!  And really, regretting the past 6 months does nothing towards having an awesome next 6 months. 

So on the heals of inconsistency in training, diet, and let's face it- life in general, I geared up on Friday to kick start this "six month" period.  That didn't mean it was easy, or that I didn't have tons of excuses, but I battled each of them and have now had a very successful "first" three days of training. 

On Friday I got home from work later than I wanted and more tired than I wanted.  But no more excuses, right?  If not now, when?  I will do today what you don't so tomorrow I can do what you can't.  Yada yada yada.  Well, onto the bike trainer I went, armed with TrainerRoad and "The Dallas Buyers Club."  The workout was 4x5min segments at 110% FTP.  People in the EN haus swear this is the hardest workout.  Being a glutton for punishment, I tacked on some Z3 work afterwards to get me to a two hour ride.  Yep, how else do you spend a Friday night.  It was hard.  But rather than make excuses for it being hard ('I should ease in, go easy tonight', 'Don't want to ruin my legs for 'epic' workouts this weekend', etc), I accepted that it was SUPPOSE to be hard.  I was suppose to struggle and push myself and find out what I'm made of (might have gone a bit far there).  The good news?  I was successful.  I nailed each interval, almost on the dot!  Then I hung on for that bonus Z3 work and finished feeling pretty darn proud of myself.  Oh, and did I mention I also dragged my tush to the gym earlier that day to do some drills?  If that isn't how you celebrate "6 Months to Go Day", I'm not sure what is. 

Saturday might not seem as epic, but I'm pretty proud of it too.  I got my butt in the water AGAIN.  I had been doing some work in lab and was stressed and could've made the "I don't have time for this" excuse, but off I went.  The workout was 2300 yds (or meters, no clue what my pool is), which is definitely pushing my swim endurance.  I didn't have my watch on me, and could kind of sort of see the clock, and what I saw, I liked.  These swim classes are paying off!  The workout was a series of 8x50 hard, 400 at threshold, and repeat.  I was focusing on really reaching out in each stroke, being long in the water, and reducing stroke count.  My 50's were clocking in at :45 (if I saw the clock correctly).  I was ecstatic.  A guy joined my lane, looked pretty in shape, and I kept passing him.  I felt smooth and fast.  And my arms felt thrashed.  Usually when I swim I get tired in a general sense, but more bored than anything.  Not this time- I felt those arms working and fatiguing, which makes me think my stroke is getting more powerful.  Several times during the workout I thought about calling it quits early- you know, working up to that longer distance.  I reminded myself- now or never, and got 'er done.  Might have only been about 50 minutes of exercise for the day, but man, I was proud! 

And then today, Sunday, as I type this I'm feeling like a triathlete today.  Up at 6:15am.  On a Sunday.  Like most triathletes, but not like the person I've been lately.  As I was going to bed too late last night, I thought about not setting that alarm.  But I had a brunch date and a busy day, so I knew it was first thing or not going to happen.  On the books for today was a long ride- FTP work followed by Z3.  I knew in the warmup my legs were a bit toasted still from Friday.  I was way under my power, but reminded myself that a warm up is just that, and NOT the time to kill myself for every watt.  I kept in mind those other times when I've felt flat warming up and gone on to have a great workout.  Well, it wasn't quite like those times, in that I never felt "unflat", but I got through it.  The first FTP interval was 10 minutes, which is a short enough time span to seem doable no matter what the legs are feeling.  The second was 15 minutes, and was tough the whole time.  The third is where it broke down.  Just. Twelve. Minutes. I will admit I had to pause a couple times to recompose myself.  I was struggling, but part of me was loving it- that feeling of challenge and pushing through.  I haven't realized how much I've missed that!  I was ready to quit then.  It was a solid workout.  I'd done the time.  Right?  But I reminded myself how good I'll feel if I make it through the whole thing.  The Z3 work was broken into four chunks of ten minutes, which made it easier to digest, but not easy.  I hung in.  I kept reminding myself that a good ride wasn't one that felt easy and doable, but that challenged me and showed me what I could do.  I ended up having to hop off with 10 minutes to go, but brunch was calling, and I can be pretty proud of 2:20 on the trainer.  Thank you Netflix. 

So I'm going to call that a solid start and good omen of what's to come.  Note I haven't done any running, going on 10 days now, with my SI joint yelling at me with all it's got.  But control what I can control, and I plan to keep on being a rock star with swimming and biking and run when my body gives me the green light.  With control in workouts has come control with eating.  These past three days have not been "perfection" but they've been a giant improvement.  No crazy binges.  And there has been stress, oh my, has there been stress!  I love not feeling gross and mad at myself.  I love eating good food.  I love this new start.