This week was fun. It didn’t go as planned but I managed to work everything in. It was a week of lessons. All good ones – I just wish I had already known them.
On Monday night my boyfriend and I went on the walk/jog together. We decided not to take music so that I could work on my jogging pace. You’ve heard of the “talk test” right? Our friends at Runners World explain it well in their article Speak Easy. Remember that crazy HR of 207 when I started the run of the TRI-it-on? That’s the highest its been in a while but sudden high heart rate regardless of exercise is something I’ve dealt with on and off since high school when I was diagnosed with Dysautonomia. Basically my autonomic nervous system, the part of the body that control things like my cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, metabolic system, and endocrine system, is sometimes dysfunctional. So no matter how “fit” I am, my HR is often above my aerobic zone during exercise. I’ve worn a HR monitor for the past seven years when exercising. I remember during my sprint TRI in 2007 I hadn’t yet figured out how to turn off the beeping noise it makes when you’re out of zone so during the run it was going off like crazy. An older gentleman ran passed me and shouted, “You’re not going to blow up, are you?” Haha. Nope. Come on, heart rate. I came home from the race, pulled out the instructions and had it changed before the afternoon. Usually I don’t need to see the number or hear the alarm. I can feel it when my HR stays >198 for more than three minutes. I feel winded. Sometimes it’s just my Dysautonomia kicking in, most times I’ve pushed too hard. But this journey is about being healthier so I’m going to start listening to my body. That’s why I’m slowing down and using the “talk test”. Of course it means I won’t be going as far in the allotted time. There will be times to push and times to slow down but I will keep moving, knowing this will be better for me in the long run (no pun intended but it totally works). So back to the walk/jog intervals – I felt great. We actually jogged longer on the last interval because we were feeling so good. I almost ate the sidewalk during the first interval. I got excited telling a story and totally ran my left foot off the concrete, down to the ground 5” below. The grass was tall so I didn’t expect to feel that lopsided. It threw off my balance but I recovered in 3-4 steps, arms flailing. A little ankle roll but not a bad one. I couldn’t help but laugh, which was good because my boyfriend was laughing too. I couldn’t see the expression on the lady’s face walking her three dogs toward us because it was dark. Maybe I should pay better attention to where I’m going but I’m from the South and Southerners have an innate desire to look at a person when they’re talking or listening to them. Oooo, or maybe I should get a headlamp. Do people wear headlamps while running at night?
Tuesday I was going to make up for the swim I missed on Monday and bike. One of my friends and her husband just welcomed their first child into the world, a precious little girl, so I was going to make them dinner that night. I looked through my recipes and found my grandma’s blueberry muffin recipe. Not clean but they are delicious. I read through the ingredients, searched my “baking center”, made a list of what I needed (including the other meal items) and then headed to the grocery and a small country store a few miles down the road. Well two trips to the grocery and two trips to the feed mill later I finally had everything I needed. Note – just because the extract bottle is brown doesn’t mean it’s vanilla. Ug. And I left my debit card and cash in my workbag. Of course a small town feed mill wouldn’t take anything else.
Winner in the planning department right here. The extra trips ate a good hour of my day. There went my dedicated swim time. I visited my friend in my workout clothes. The new mom looked more presentable than I did, awesome, then headed to the YMCA (Y) to get in a bike ride. Five miles into my workout I was fading. Oops, should have eaten a real meal by now. It was 7pm. I had an energy bar and a muffin earlier in the day but hadn’t focused on hydration or protein. I churned out the last few miles at 45-60% instead of 90%. Lesson learned.
Wednesday’s lesson – Check the swim team schedule. It was another walk/jog interval and swim day. I was going to do two swim workouts in one. I packed my swim bag and headed off to the Y. I hate treadmills, I really do, but curvy girls need more than a swimsuit to run in so I chose to run then change into my suit. The interval workout went as well as it could for being indoors. I walked at 3.7 mph and jogged at 5.2 mph. That seems so much slower than what I do outdoors. This may be a silly question but does running on a treadmill help you learn to pace? Anywho, I went to the locker room and shimmied my suit on. Okay girls, you know what I mean. Guys have it so easy getting into a swimsuit when they’re sweaty. It’s a workout in itself getting the suit on. I grabbed my towel, goggles and pink cap and headed to the pool. I made it to the glass doors and saw some serious speed work going on in every lane except for the one with little kiddos learning to float on their backs. Dang it. Swim team. I looked at the schedule posted on the door and sure enough a local high school’s swim team had the pool occupied for another two hours. With the outdoor pool (50 meter) closing after Labor Day I hadn’t even thought about checking the indoor pool (25 meter) schedule. I gathered up my stuff and headed home. I called my boyfriend on the way and told him I’d have to swim later that night, after community group. I couldn’t miss two workouts. It was supposed to be catch-up day. Being the genius that he is he suggested trying to swim at a different Y. Like I said, genius. He meant I should check another Y’s schedule later in the week but I had about an hour to spare so I drove to another one. I’m fortunate enough to live almost equidistant from two. Four beautiful lanes without a soul in them, a lifeguard, a slide, and the swim lesson peeps. I jumped in and away I went. Earlier in the day I researched Master’s swimming programs in the area and read up on what a good pull looks like and should feel like in freestyle. As I swam I tried to practice what I’d learned, or re-learned. I grew up as a summer swim team-er but its been 13 years since I’ve had any instruction. I did each of my 200y sets in 4 minutes. Much faster than any of my 200s this past summer and I wasn’t even trying to go “fast”. I was focusing on technique – rotating in the water and pulling through the stroke. Yay for better efficiency! Of course having a 25 yard pool instead of a 50 meter pool means more pushing off the wall and a shorter distance due to the whole yards v. meters thing. I wish we used the metric system here in the States. I use it everyday at work. My premature neonatal patients are weighed in grams, not pounds and ounces. The medications I order are based on kilograms and milliliters, incredibly more accurate. But I digress; back to swimming. Two trips to the Y later I had gotten in my double swim. I felt more efficient in the water, which is essential for triathletes who have two more sports to do after they get out of the water.
I looked forward to Thursday, Zumba and a bike. I have an awesome Zumba teacher. She is petite and jam packed with energy. The first time I went to one of her classes I had to sit out a song in the middle. Her classes are a mixture of hip-hop, kickboxing and Insanity with a teeny bit of Latin thrown in. We shake it. There are women of all ages and ability levels and a few 20-something year old guys who put all of us to shame. There’s a modifier for most of the killer moves, which came in handy when I battled shin splints this past spring. There are songs almost entirely made up of squats, lunges, kicks and that motion where you jump up in the air, pull your knees up above your waist and slap your quads. According to my HRM I burn anywhere from 650 – 800 calories in an hour of her class. Told you it was intense. But I love it. I’ve missed a few weeks lately so this workout was tough. I limited the jumping in an effort to save my shins, which meant I ended up doing a lot of squats. Why don’t I look like Beyonce yet? The bike was a quick four miles, hills. I tried to keep my rpms at 100-105. Whew, my legs were tired.
Friday was another walk/jog and swim. Remember the second Y I went to? It’s connected to one of my favorite parks in Nashville. I did the intervals in the park then went in the Y for the swim. The park was beautiful. There were moments no one else was in site. One thing I’ve enjoyed about beginning to run is the friendliness shared among runners. When you pass one going the other direction there’s usually a smile or a brief wave. Today there was a guy who was booking it. We passed each other twice. He was incredibly fit and focused but each time he gave me the motorcycle small hand splay/finger point. Look the next time two motorcycles pass each other. The drivers drop their arms then give “the signal”. My boyfriend loves to ride and dreams of owning one at some point so I’ve learned a little, probably just enough to embarrass him. I finished the intervals, stretched, then sat in the car briefly with the AC on and sipped some water. Then the thoughts set in. Did I really have to swim today? It was nearing 5 pm; the traffic would be horrible on the way home. Maybe I could skip…. Nope. I had the radio on to one of our local Christian stations and the song “He is With Us” by Love and the Outcome was playing.
We can’t pretend to see the ending or what’s coming up ahead
To know the story of tomorrow
But we can stay close to the One who knows
We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
Though it might hurt now
We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no
He is with us.
Knowing that the Lord is with me in the larger things gave me the confidence to just “go” and swim. If He’s not giving up on me then I shouldn’t give up or give into myself. It’s just exercise but the Lord is already using it to teach me some spiritual lessons. And the swim felt great. The hardest part is getting to and in the water. I imagine swimming for me is like running for all you long distance track stars. When I “run” I have yet to make it past the point of “Oh my gosh. Is it over yet?” but in the water I have peace. I can think about things other than swimming, when I’m not focusing on technique, and just go. Not fast. Not fast at all. But I sometimes forget its exercise. Until I slap my hand on the metal stair railing like I did today. Ouch. Back to reality. I swam a little further today because it felt good. And my first Master’s swim club practice is next week! Yikes!
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Grace and peace,
Clean and Curvy