Category: training

What are you up to?

The last text I read, from a triathlete friend, repeated in my thoughts. “How about you? What are you up to?”  I spent some time mentally crafting my response.

I thought about what I was doing at the moment – lying on a paper covered table in a softly lit room with quiet new-age music playing calmly and faintly from a radio next to me. Tiny little needles stuck out of my ears, forehead, hands, feet, neck, and I’m not sure where else.

“How about me?”

Lying in the dark, I was part porcupine covered in quills, part possum, just happy to be getting some rest after a couple of nights of crappy hot-flash interrupted sleep. My regular trip to the acupuncturist, trying to get hormones in balance and perimenopause symptoms to a manageable place.

“What am I up to?”

A rush of things came to mind…”I’m getting slower…in everything” “I’m trying to figure out how to get my muscles to do the things I remember them doing, last year.” “I’m re-learning how to eat and fuel, now that my body apparently processes everything differently because of changed hormones.” “And I whine and fuss about each workout more than I can remember.”

Then, I think I woke myself up with a knee twitch. “I’m learning. I’m in transition. I’m transforming.”

“I’m in the crusty cocoon of perimenopause hoping to transform into a beautiful menopausal butterfly athlete.”

Yup, that’s what I’m up to!

I can’t write that. That would be more than he bargained for.

“I’m starting to pick things up again.” Much better.

(But really, I’m in the crusty coccoon, if you’re looking for me.)


Hello. It’s been a while.

A few years ago, I decided that I’d spent too many years wishing I could sing, so I started taking voice lessons. If you’ve ever been told and believed you had a horrible voice, this is humbling.  In addition to learning that I’m an alto and don’t actually have a terrible voice, I learned a lot about breathing and it’s necessity to making vocalizing sound. I guess I’d never had a reason to think about the mechanics of voice and and air passing over vocal chords or  what happens to my voice when I hold my breath.

I’ve been quiet.  I’ve been anxious. When I’m anxious I feel like there’s no air, so I hold my breath. And when I hold my breath, I can’t speak. So I think.  And I try to find traction and make sense of things.  And when this fails me, I stop looking for answers and starting searching for hope. This hasn’t been easy this year. Too much is irreconcilable for me.

But here I am. It’s a glimmer, but I have some.

And with just a little hope, I finally exhale.  And I find there is air for my next breath.

I can hear my voice.

Have you ever thought- ‘I wish I had that kind of motivation!’?

Me, too.

I hear I’m so motivated, a lot. There are a few people out there wishing they had half of my motivation. I’m quite happy to accept these comments as compliments at 4:00 in the afternoon. I feel super motivated then.

wake upBut come morning, it isn’t pretty. I’m no motivational poster child.  Here’s a little taste of what it actually sounds like inside my head in the morning –

“Ugh. Please let me have another hour to sleep…”  [roll over, look at phone – “crap.”]

“I think I really need more sleep.” [do math in head, realize I’ve slept for 8 ½  hours – “crap.”]

“Maybe I need more rest.  I should probably take another rest day. I didn’t have enough rest in my schedule last week.” [review previous week and recall that there were actually 2 rest days for recovery from so much dancing at 3 nights of Grateful Dead concerts – “crap!”]

“I have absolutely no interest in doing intervals this morning! I think I might need a break from training. Maybe I’m just burnt out. When was the last time I really took a break and did nothing? I think I need a break. Maybe I should just find something else?” [well, that doesn’t feel right either – sigh.]

“I’ll just catch up on Facebook and Instagram for a few minutes. “ [this is the most deadly of all the possible morning activities – 30 minutes of available workout time goes in a blink – and not like a decision – it just evaporates]

“Fine, I’ll make tea, but I’m not making oatmeal!” [such fierce protest – shuffle to kitchen. Jason’s already got tea steeping – jerk.]

“Fine, I’ll make oatmeal” [eat begrudgingly]

“I probably missed my window” [check phone – “dang.”]

one quality minute“How are you gonna feel at 4:00 this afternoon if you haven’t worked out?” [Sigh. Get dressed. Get water. Get on bike. Start moving pedals slowly around in a lifeless circle]

“This isn’t going to work. I’m not even in zone 1. This is awful!” [stop Garmin. get off trainer. adjust fan. sit back on bike]

“Just pedal and stop thinking.” [pedal, pedal, pedal, slow pedal, pedal more]

“I like this song.” [pedal, slow pedal, 10 minutes of  warm-up pass]

“You know better than to ask yourself if you want to workout in the morning. The answer’s always ‘no’.  Wrong question! It’s gonna hurt, you’re gonna be uncomfortable – of course your brain doesn’t want your body to do this. But this is how the body adapts and gets stronger. Have you ever regretted a workout once it’s done?… No.” [keep pedaling]

“Just do what you can do today. If it’s short workout – fine. Quality over quantity. Do 1 great minute of an interval; better than doing the whole thing half-assed. That’s it -1 quality minute.” [pedal up to zone 4. stay for 1 minute]

“1 more. You’ve got 1 more in you.” [pedal 1 more minute in z4]

This goes on until the first set’s complete.

You might imagine that I go into the second set inspired with renewed motivation.  Nope. The struggle isn’t as as bad, but I negotiate with myself down to only 10 minutes of the 15 minute interval.
When I get to 10 minutes and am certain I’m “put-a-fork-in-me done – I try for 1 more quality minute and then another and then another. I was fine with not finishing the set as long as each minute was good quality. I finish the set. It’s a good workout. Such a fuss, though!

Not all days are this challenging and some are worse. In the beginning, I didn’t win many negotiations with myself.  It’s not easy.

When I see updates from my friends and team mates doing amazing training – I admit – I wish I had half of their motivation. But I suppose we all have conversations like these. We all have to work hard to overcome our own style mental inertia. It just looks so effortless on someone else.