12 May 2010

Achieving Qi With Index Cards

There exists a delicate balance between the amount of training that I can endure, and my body's ability to actually withstand and tolerate that training. It is sometimes physical, but more often psychological. I believe mental fatigue from the rigors of la vie quotidienne play the largest part in determining my  physical well being. There are times when I can actually fool my body into doing more than it is capable of physically, if I am mentally neutral—the state that I define as not being overwhelmingly mentally fatigued. Ironically, I am actually most susceptible to crash and burn if I am overly eager to get in a workout. I think that the anticipation of the actual workout takes some energy. It is like the wait for the swim the morning of a triathlon. My body needs just the right amount of micromanaging in order for it to not rebel and want to sit in front of the television watching reruns of Golden Girls.

The last three or four weeks have been incredibly difficult in terms of training. Here is what has been going down:

1) Busy at work
2) Finishing some gigantic projects/starting NEW gigantic projects
3) Left shoulder feels like it might dislocate at any moment while I am swimming
4) I have five children
5) I have five children that I would like to spend time with
6) The weather has been consistently terrible to go out for a ride, and I do not feel like putting my rig back on the trainer
7) I have been going to bed too late because I am up trying to catch up on projects
8) My wife feels it is necessary that we spend at least ten minutes every night talking
9) Remodeling two bathrooms in the house
10) Giving and grading final exams

I literally saw no end in sight to the mountainous amount of work I had going on, but it is beginning to thin out here recently. My saving grace? 3X5 index cards. Honestly. Everyday I spend time writing down everyone I have to email, mail out scores to, and errands I have to run through the course of my day (as I remember them.) Some of these errands make lists on consecutive days until they are finished. It feels really good to be able to cross anything off that list.

Okay, instead of getting crazy about not getting to get in my scheduled workouts during the 36-week commandments of training, I asked my friend Kelly over at trimommylife what could be done since I am still under a little bit of stress. She recommended that because I am not getting in the volume that I would like these last couple of weeks—especially with the swimming—she suggested I ought to aim for making every workout a higher intensity. That is exactly what I did. Last Thursday I ran a 20:48 5K. Then Friday and Saturday I ran two consecutive 8 milers (8.5 on Saturday at an 8 minute pace.) Sure, not blazing fast, but still faster than I was running last year at the mileage. I hit the gym for some weight training yesterday. It was the first time I've hit the weights since starting Ironman training back in January. The result? I am having trouble walking up and down the stairs today.

Cousin Matthew is coming up this weekend to begin the Summer Beatdow..... er training. Matt had a serious relapse this past year and put on some serious weight as a result—a good twenty-five pounds—and the number on the scale is steadily rising. His problem? Plain and simple: he drinks alcohol, gets three sheets to the wind, and then runs out for fast food at 1 a.m. while hammered. That is pretty much a recipe for disaster. One obvious solution for weight loss is to avoid the empty calories found in alcohol by NOT getting snookered off your rocker. Sure, I imbibe from time to time in a nice glass of wine, the occasional beer (or three, and it is rare that I will ever have more than two beers.) Two beers and I am done—cheap date. Getting back to Matthew, he will not have the opportunity to drink this summer. He is going to eat better, and his only form of transportation will be his two legs or a bicycle. I am pretty brutal when it comes to "Fat Camp." Fat Camp is not fun, and being the sadist that I am, I do not mind inflicting pain and suffering upon someone if I know it is all for the greater good.

The cycling is not going as well as I would like it right now. What the heck May! Really.... forty degrees in May?! I mean honestly, what gives? My training parter Mike said we should try to get in the lake soon  as I have a tri coming up on 6 June and we are both eager to start training in open water without all the chlorinated, 92 degree water that we are use to. The next day or two after he mentioned that, he told me that he looked up the lake temperature and it was 46 degrees. Forty six! I would have to put a wetsuit on top of my wetsuit to get in water that cold.

I have some VERY exciting news to announce in my next post, which coincidentally will now be a little more frequent as I have passed the proverbial hump of the insane end of the year work load.

Okay, more soon. Train Smart!


Caratunk Girl said...

Hey you will get back to where you want to be on the bike - I don't blame you for not wanting to put it on the trainer again. With 5 children it has to be pretty darn tough to get the training in. I can't imagine! Looking forward to the next post! :)


You need to make your training more efficient. Instead of running 8 miles at 8 minute pace... you need to run 8 miles at 6.5 minute pace. This will free up 12 minutes, about the time you need to talk to your wife... LOL. I know you're not laughing, sorry. I just had a lapse in the line between humor and seriousness.
Good luck with the juggling act...

Molly said...

remodeling two bathrooms at once?? Seriously, did you give each kid their own bucket?

LOST was soooooo good. So good. I was bummed that there is only one episdode left until the 2 hour finale...until I decided to look at it as 3 separate episodes so now I feel better.

And I'm counting your comment on the headband post...if you win I know you have a house full of girls who would wear 'em.

TEX said...


I can relate to using index cards. They are a great short term solution to not using a day planner/runner/timer, blackberry.

Water is up to 47 !!
ps one training 'trick/tip' I am trying. Decide on how many workouts I CAN fit in per week: 2 run, 3 bike, 3 swim. Schedule them in as an AM or PM workout. Brick Outs only on weekend. One bike is LONG, one is "Speed/Hill" w/o. One run is LONG, one is "Speed/Hill." Same for swim. Does that make sense? More workouts scheduled for Weakest activity vs. fewer for shortest. Take the weeks "plan" and Fit it into YOUR weekly schedule.

One other reminder: BIG MAC !

RockStarTri said...

Kelly is wise. When life gets in the way I need to often trade duration for intensity realizing that the stress from life kicks it up yet another notch. Keep on keeping on!

Sherri said...

You do have a LARGE load...and I understand!!! You do an amazing job! And your training times are fast! I am excited to hear how your race goes June6th!
My hubby..has your same list...and he applies the same theory to the kids, as you have done to your training this week! (Since he does not have as much time as he would like...the time he does spend with them he kicks up the intensity!--- It works!) =) Good luck!