23 degrees and a bike

Winter on the trainer23, that’s it.

It wasn’t going to get any warmer today. The coach declared today a bike day and the trainer was waiting. It takes me several private pep talks to overcome my frozen inertia.

Workout #1: Bike
Planned Duration: 1:05
15 min gradual warm-up
 this was funny… there was no chance of a “rapid warm-up”.

On a whim I grabbed a DVD that turned out to be perfect for today’s ride.  Wayne’s World, an 80’s cinematic classic.  The Bohemian Rhapsody scene came on just in time finish off the warm up.  Mike Meyers & Dana Carvey car jammin’ out to Queen could not have been timed better. After some head-bopping, trainer jammin’, I felt ready for the rest of the workout.

I do like that my trainer is in the fresh air, once I get warm.  I like to be outside in the winter. This is a good thing since there’s no room in the house to keep the bike set up and if the bike wasn’t ready to go, it would be way to easy for my skip it.  So, it is what it is. And a workout done is better than none.

InTent workout in winter
InTent Winter Workout

Monday morning swim, not.

Pool in the dark The 5:10 alarm was unwelcome this morning.

The bed was warm and cozy and begging me to stay.  The grinding sound of the salt trucks gave me hope…maybe a school cancellation…? Then the pool would be closed.  No luck.

The driving wasn’t too bad. I was happy to see that the parking lot was just sparsely covered with cars.  I figured I was about to reap the benefits of my dedication and maybe have an entire lane to myself.

We waited. And we waited. Our numbers started dwindling and then it occurred to me that all of the die-hard, AM lap swimmers were missing. Wait a minute – something was up.

So it turns out, there is a website for the community use pool:

Lap swimming cancelled

Oh, how I wish I had just given in to the call of the flannel sheets this morning.

She hits the wall

swim gogglesToday’s workout: humility

In previous posts, I’ve presented some of my initial challenges with swimming on my back: Does your neck hurt when you do that? 

I’ve also celebrated my progress and ability to predict the end of the pool by watching ceiling tiles: Procrastination & BTTW

Today, my neck was in a great position.  I was swimming in a reasonably straight line – tracking with the ceiling tiles.  I easily spotted the broken tiles which signaled the end of the lane. I completely failed to extend my arm.

Bam. Right into the wall.

I kid you not.

Trail Running

Trail runningWorkout: Recovery Run (Trail Run)

Planned Duration: 0:30
Description: 5-10 min dynamic warm-up
Easy pace throughout
If you can get on a trail, do it. Trail running is good for your soul AND it helps increase your cadence and strengthen your stabilizing muscles.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve run trails. Several ankle sprains between early 2011 and late 2012 have kept me running on the smoothest surfaces I can find. But after a good year of PT and ankle exercises, I was really looking forward to this workout.

The Ashland Reservoir trails vary from wide, rocky fire roads to rooty, single track (with a strong slope to the water).  I find lots of company on the trails in the afternoon. Much of my company is the furry, four-legged, wagging variety.  And these dogs couldn’t be happier to be outside walking in the woods.  The dogs and their people are consistent wavers and smilers when we cross and share the paths.

It felt good to be back. I do love how I feel when I’m running in the woods.  My coach was right on (again); it’s good for the soul.  I feel like I am part of the forest when I run in the woods.  It’s like I become connected to the trees, the pine needles and the other animals scurrying across the dried leaves. (I’m not running fast enough to be at a scurry pace on this first trip back into the woods.)

The terrain is hilly, sloped, and leaf covered, so my legs are continuously adjusting to the different surface that each step meets.  Every step of the way I knew that every moment spent balancing on the bosu ball, etc. had been a worthy investment.  My ankles haven’t been this strong at any point in my memory.

I truly enjoy the mental requirements of trail running .  It’s like thought and instinct blend together as I look at the path ahead for the next safe foot landing.  I feel deer-like. My alertness is peaked, but not in a stressful way. It’s very different from my awareness when I’m running on the roads, against traffic. Road awareness feels more defensive, trail alertness feels more inclusive. I don’t feel any increased stress or tension.

This was an exceptional run.  When I returned back to my car, I felt  healthy and fit . This run had restored more energy than it had consumed.

Thanksgiving Workout

WOW! That was cold!Your Workouts for Thursday, November 28

Workout #1: Crazy Polar Bear Bippy-Freezing!
Type: Other
Description: Have fun, crazy lady!
Pre-Activity Comments: WOW! That was cold!

The 34th Annual Thanksgiving swim. I’m not sure why the tradition began.  Duxbury beachThe swim takes place at Duxbury Beach in Massachusetts (New England cold). Our swim location is a stone’s throw from where the pilgrims set ground, before being able to make their way into Plymouth harbor.  I’m sure some of the pilgrims fell in the water and got cold. So possibly we’re re-enacting?  This is doubtful.  It’s certainly the result of mixing beer and otherwise clear thinking 35 years ago.

The 2013 swim was one of the coldest.  Many years the air and water are actually warm enough for people to run in 2 or 3 times.  We have scads of photos through the years of people hanging out on the beach afterward and socializing. (One of my favorites is of my dad, in his bathing suit, talking to my grandmother in her big, warm winter coat.)

Thanksgiving SwimWhy swim? It’s impossible to make this seem like a wise choice, but there is something wonderful about a group of people rallying early on Thanksgiving morning to spend time together.  There’s something special about hanging out with a gang of all ages (from 8 to 70 this year) that counts to three then runs into the freezing ocean roaring like polar bears. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me.

Workout #2: Happy Thanksgiving!
Type: Other
Description: Thank you for being an awesome, inspiring athlete and thank you so much for giving me the honor of coaching you!

Workout #3: Gratitude, Play with Family
Type: Other
Description: Play, play, play, play. Love life!
Pre-Activity Comments: Mission complete.  A wonderful holiday and many, many reasons to be grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving 2103.

What sport isn’t all about my core strength?

core powera. swim
b. bike
c. run
d. none of the above, so just get over it and do more planks. (sigh)

After last week’s monster “pull buoy at the ankles” workout, I sent a long email to my coach. It was all about how sure I was that my old, left shoulder injury and its weakness was causing my left arm to cross my body.  Her response went something like: “or it might be your core.”

Two days later, I practiced “high-elbows”.  I sent another email to my coach.  I was even more sure that I had found the cause of my body crossing stroke.  My left elbow had been too low, and clearly this was the result of my old, left shoulder injury.  She responded that high-elbows weren’t really all the rage, anymore.  So I asked what the new rage was.  Her response went something like: “focusing on your core & core-strength.”

Yesterday, I went to the pool, still fairly certain that my high-elbows were my answer.  My warm-up swim drills included a few hundred yards of swimming with a pull buoy at my ankles.  And this time she included with”closed-fists”.

She made her point.  Core strength it is.  (sigh)