Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another September Rambling...

Healthiness. I think about it a lot. I aspire to be a healthy person, both physically and mentally. It's certainly not easy on my job, but I try to do mt best. As I sit here in my hotel room, I think about all the factors that I have going against living a healthy life, both physically and mentally. This is obviously an incomplete list, but it's what comes to mind right now.

Commuting to Greensboro tasks me both physically and mentally. Generally, I have to leave the house around 1:30 in the afternoon to catch a flight to either Atlanta or Charlotte, and from there head to Greensboro. I get into Greensboro around 11:00 pm, and I spend that first night there on the crewroom couch so I don't have to pay money for hotel room. This leads to a night of not-great sleep (not so bad that I can't fly the next day if necessary). It also isn't necessarily clean, as I don't get to shower until later the next day. In terms of mental factors, it's hard to be away from T, especially when we're in the midsts of wedding planning. Furthermore, it's lonely here. I know no one, except a few crewmembers that I have flown with, and as I said to T, I am not getting emotionally involved in this company. It's also tough mentally to shell out money when it's already so tight as it is for hotel rooms to ensure that I can have a comfortable bed, a shower and sink to clean myself up, as well as a continental breakfast to ensure I get some good food in me.

So how do I combat this? The physical part isn't too bad. I make sure I'm well rested before I start my commute. I try to sleep on the airplane, and if I can't do that, I just try to relax. I am still combating not getting stressed about the commute, which has been going better recently. I make sure to eat properly (no Delta snacks) and hydrate myself properly. Once in Greensboro, I make sure I adequately brush my teeth (I'm using a heavy fluoride toothpaste right now) and wash my face. I also floss. When I get into the crewroom, I'll say goodnight to T, change out of my clothes into some sleeping clothes, and make myself as comfortable as possible on the couch. To prevent myself getting further stressed out, I'll check my schedule right before going to sleep to make sure I don't subconsciously wake myself up.

When I wake up, if I have a trip, I'll go to the bathroom, again, brush my teeth, wash my face, and floss. Then I'll change back into my uniform and start my day. If I don't have a trip, I'll do the bathroom thing, eat some oatmeal or fruit, then check my schedule and make sure I don't have anything. Then I'll start the process of getting a hotel room. Once I get to the hotel (I have been able to check in early every time) I'll eat some continental breakfast, then go to my room, where I immediately shower. Then I make myself busy.

One of the big things I try to avoid when I'm on the road is watching too much TV. It's very tempting, since I can only read so many books or explore so much. But instead of sitting there watching TV for hours, I'll instead work out (obviously) or even just sit in the hotel hot tub. I'll catch myself up on news sites on the internet, work on to-do lists that I can accomplish on the road, research things that interest me, upload photos (I'm way behind on that) or whatever else. I'll walk around the hotel, provided it isn't in an unsafe neighborhood. Basically, I try to stay busy. It cuts down on the stress and also keeps me mentally awake.

No matter how much technology is available to us today, I still miss T when I'm away from her. Cell phones, internet chat, none of it can replicate a conversation with her face to face. The physical contact is also nice and is missed. One person awhile back asked me what the hardest part of this job was, and I told them it was the loneliness. I can be in Burlington VT, while one of my friends is in LA, while another is in Washington DC, while another is in Seattle. Being that I am away over 50% of the month, you can imagine how hard it is on both of us. But we make do. One of the things we are getting better at is making time for ourselves when we're in Colorado. Our time is our time.

I like the idea of keeping my body and mind's time to go for a run! :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TBD Ghetto Half-Marathon Training Plan

So in one of our recent comments, Kris asked us to share what we're doing for half-marathon training.

As I've mentioned ... either here or somewhere else on the interwebs ... that our "plan" is something I cobbled together one afternoon. It's very loosely based on some other programs I've seen, with no specific days for running so we can fit it into our non-traditional work schedules. Also keep in mind that this is our first half-marathon and we really don't know what we're doing. Hopefully though, this will work.

We're also in week two of the plan. All of the dates are "week ending dates" ... therefore, the Sunday of said week. This is based off of counting back from race date which is December 5. All the shorter runs have also been fairly balls-out ... though that may change once our "short" runs get to five-six miles (which still feels really long). At that point, we may end up splitting the end runs to a tempo and a speed work.

Hill work is not included as every run around here involves at least one giant freaking hill.

9/19 - 2-3 miles ... 6 miles ... 2-3 miles
9/26 - 2-3 miles ... 7 miles ... 3-4 miles
10/3 - 3-4 miles ... 8 miles ... 3-4 miles
10/10 - 3-4 miles ... 8 miles ... 4-5 miles
10/17 - 4-5 miles ... 9 miles ... 4-5 miles
10/24 - 4-5 miles ... 9 miles ... 5-6 miles
10/31 - 5-6 miles ... 10 miles ... 5-6 miles
11/7 - 5-6 miles ... 11 miles ... 5-6 miles
11/14 - 4-5 miles ... 12 miles ... 4-5 miles
11/21 - 4/5 miles ... 10.5 miles ... 3-4 miles
11/28 - 3-4 miles ... 8-9 miles ... 2-3 miles
12/5 - ... undecided. Probably two shorter runs and, obviously, 13.1 miles to finish.

All of this is alongside two lifts a week and attempting at least one swim and one bike a week as well as cross-training.

So far ... it's going well. Lifts and runs have been going mostly to plan, but the cross-training has been faltering due to life. My concern with this is my knee. If you recall from BolderBOULDER training ... I started having knee issues when running longer distance weeks. However, when having longer distance run weeks in RattleSnake training ... knee pain was no issue.

At the time, I thought it may have been due to shoes (and part of it probably was). However, I'm realizing now that it's probably due to the vast amount of cross-training I was doing. So I'm going to try to make that a focus as well.

In general, though, that's what we're up to. It's been working out to runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays/Sundays thus far, but that might change later ... especially since MOST training plans involve the long runs on the weekend. This is probably mostly due to the fact that most races are on the weekend, but also due to the fact that most plans are written for the 9-to-5er ... not people who may have their off days on Monday and Thursday, for example. We're also trying to do our long runs together, too, and Brandon's schedule has had him off Wednesday-Friday lately.

Okay, it's late and I'm just rambling now, so I'm going to end this. Wee.

Team Baby Dinosaur does not promise half-marathon success with this plan. In fact, they haven't finished it themselves so have no idea how it'll work for you. If it sounds good to you though, sure, give it a try. Just don't blame us if something goes wrong.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How September has been going

I talked about making changes awhile ago. As Dr. J put it, don't be like our current politicans and actually show some results. Two blog posts about politics? Yeah...

Anyway, I'm sitting here in Syracuse and in a blogging mood. I've been contemplating the changes that T and I have made over the month of September. Making better choices. Working harder. Not making excuses. Obviously, these changes don't happen overnight. But with effort, hard work, determination, and support, they happen.

For instance, T and I are both training for the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in Las Vegas, cheering on our friends Kris and Mark as they run the full marathon and enjoying hanging out with the newlyweds! T put together a crude training plan for both her and I to follow. The reason we put together our own is anything you find in magazines/books is strict and doesn't allow for leeway. Any of you that follow our blog know that my schedule is highly erratic at best and exhausting at worst. There are times where I am physically unable to work out due to logistics or other factors. This plan allows us for flexibility. It also is building us up at the pace that I am quite frankly used to from my other experiences.

Also, I mentioned awhile back that I've been uncomfortable with some weight that I have put on recently. I was making extremely poor choices when it came to food, which is unlike me in the first place, and quite frankly, was very frustrating. Of course, the justifications for making those choices were numerous, but pathetic. So T and I have made the commitment to make better choices. We're still not perfect and have slipped every now and then this month, but for the most part, we're doing a fine job. As I said earlier, these changes don't happen overnight.

I think part of making these changes is also making some better decisions mentally. As you all know, I'm commuting to the east coast quite a bit for my job. It's rough and hard. And yet, being negative about it is only going to hurt me. That can't help me in terms of my training, so making life changes will help me as well. At the very least, focusing on the positives in my life will certainly help me out.

On that note, time for a short run. Syracuse looks flat and farmy. This should be pleasant. :-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Delving into Politics?

I've never really talked about politics on this blog. I haven't really felt the need to. I have my beliefs and am not interested in imposing them on other people. I respect people for their beliefs, even if I disagree with them. And generally, when I get into a political discussion, I am able to be civil with the other person, no matter how extreme their views are. But this article and this event simply disgusts me.

In case you haven't been following the news, there is a planned Quran burning in Gainesville, Florida, which is also where our friend and fellow blogger, Dr. J lives. A small church is planning on burning the Quran on 9/11 between 6 and 9 p.m. Obviously, this burning is protected under the 1st Amendment, which, as unfortunate as it is in this case, protects this event.

This event has been condemned around the world, including by the Vatican, Muslim leaders, Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, and other Christian churches. The church pastor has a history of controversy, running an "anti-homo" campaign against the mayor of Gainesville, who is gay.

I can understand the message the pastor is trying to send. After all, on 9/11, there were images of Muslims burning the American flag and firing AK-47's into the air in celebration. But in my estimate, 90% of Muslims around the world are a peaceful group who condemn the 9/11 attacks and the message that this branch of radical Islam brings. How does burning the Quran promote the idea of peace? Instead of this event, why not engage in a debate with a Muslim?

I'm as angry as anyone over 9/11. But continuing the random hate will not bring a solution.

Monday, September 6, 2010

August Recap

I've put this off for awhile...because I'm not impressed with my numbers. I'm actually disgusted with how little I worked out in August. Aside from completing the Olympic triathlon, there is very little to be talking about.

So...rather then share my disgusting numbers with you, I'm going to remind you that T and I are making changes for September and that is that.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

August Round-Up

August was a month with very few bright spots.

In terms of numbers, it was the second worst month so far in terms of running and right around there when it comes to swimming. Sucky McSuckerson June was worse, but not by much.

One only needs to see how craptastic August was for me in terms of training by looking at the number of off days written in my workout log: 19. That's right, 19. In a month of 31 days. That's over half the month.

That's pathetic.

If I were to pull anything good out of August (silver lining and all that crap, if you will), it would be the following:

1.) First Olympic tri ... ever. Granted, enough bad can and has been said about it, but we're looking for positives right now, mmkay?
2.) With all the off days, I should be nice and rested to start half-marathon training.

... I'm not really buying that crap either, people.

Still, I should just get the number part over with ...

Running: 19.07 miles (average went up about 10 seconds/mile ... mostly blamed to the tri)(second worst mileage month of the year)
Swimming: 2.46 miles (average went up about one minute/mile)
Cycling: 62.89 miles (average stayed about the same)
Lifting: three sessions (which i've come close to already in september)
Other: one tri, one softball game

If we want to get technical up in here, two of August's off days were very active off days, in which I walked around a whole hell of a lot (Mall of America, Minnesota State Fair), but I don't count that crap.

September will be a month of renewal. Better diet and slowly getting back on track. Starting to put in the miles for that pesky little half-marathon, but mostly building back up that strength base in the weight room. And hopefully some quality time with our yoga DVDs, as my stress level is starting to go up thanks to all the *bag customers at work.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Unexpected Bee Stings Are Unexpected

August recap will be coming shortly, but I quickly wanted to blog about Monday's ride.

Monday's ride was notable for a few reasons:

Reason One: It was the first time either of us had been on a bike since the tri.
Reason Two: We set out to have a FUN ride on the Platte River Trail and, for most of the first half, achieved this goal.
Reason Three: I got stung by a bee. IN MY LIP.

For serious.

Okay, story time: We were cycling down the Platte, playing tag, weaving in and out of the dashed lines on the trail (ALWAYS ALWAYS ceasing such nonsense when other cyclists/runners/rollerbladers came into the picture. we're safe, yo), about halfway to downtown when I suddenly feel something fuzzy. IN MY MOUTH.

Brandon, behind me, hears me screaming and sees me wobbling on my bike. He thinks a grasshopper or something landed on my leg and I couldn't brush it off.

Oh no, no, no ... I hate the crazy grasshoppers that are seemingly EVERYWHERE this year, but no. I freaked out because something flew INTO MY FACE and I felt fuzzy (and subsequently some pain) in MY MOUTH. Obviously worthy of a freakout. I was wiping at my face with my gloves just trying to get whatever it was away.

I eventually manage to stop, clip out and yank my glove off my hand and get it away from me. Brandon, at this point, catches up to me and tells me to chill out. After a few breaths ... and the realization that yes, T, you HAVE been stung by a bee and the stinger is STILL in your lip and your face is puffing up ... I calmed down enough to take stock of our surroundings. Luckily, we were near a SuperTarget that was accessible off the trail ... meaning our ride suddenly had an unexpected detour.

Brandon, deathly allergic to bees, asks me if I'm dizzy, experiencing any blurred vision, ridiculous pain, that sort of thing. I'm fine and just want to get the hell to Target and get this freaking thing out of my face. We get there, clip out and clomp through to the pharmacy ... getting weird looks the whole way. At this point, my face has puffed up quite a bit and I'm drooling. Pretty awesome, I know.

We talk to the pharmacist who agrees that we need to get the stinger out of my mouth. I find the tweezers and Brandon yanks it out. The pharmacist and assistants are in awe of how complete it is. They then hand me an ice pack and tell me to take some Benadryl (or the fake target equivalent.) I comply. We keep the stinger for posterity (which is how you get the following pictures).

After a few minutes, the swelling went down to the point that I could talk again without sounding like I was at the dentist. Brandon offered to ride back to the car and then pick me up, but I said no, I was riding back to the car.

So, off we went, our fun ride suddenly a little less fun ... magnified by the nasty crosswind (wsw ... mostly at our butts going out) going back. Plus any time a bug hit me I jumped a bit in the saddle.

After lunch and some more Benadryl (and a nice night's sleep), I ended up being fine; my lip was still a little tingly the next morning at work, but that went away by the time I got off.

Bee Sting
My lip puffing up.

Bee Sting
Bee stinger in tweezers, view one.

Bee Sting
Bee stinger in tweezers, view two.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Big Change Coming

No, not in the blog (we probably should blog more, but whatever), but in us. We're going to be making a big change in September.

Over the past few months, T and I have fallen victim to some unhealthy eating habits. It's our own fault, and quite frankly, unacceptable. We definitely slacked off after Rattlesnake in terms of working out as well, so you can guess what we have turned into. Changes are coming this month.

First off, eating. We are back to food logging. I don't really like to food log, as I can get very OCD with it (ounces of water in one sitting anyone?) but right now, I need to keep myself honest. As keeping a workout log has kept me honest with working out, a food journal will keep me honest with food.

Second off, half-marathon training. The time has come. Vegas is fast approaching and T and I are nowhere close to where we need to be. So it's time to get to work. More running is in store for both of us.

Finally, we are lifting. A lot more. It's clear how weak we are in our cores (me even moreso) so it's time to get back in the gym and pound the weights.

I'll get my August recap done soon. For now, be prepared to see some major changes in us.