Sunday, February 8, 2015

Shaking things up

I should probably not be writing a post while hormonal and exhausted, but the next few hours are the only ones where I can collect my brain in an attempt at coherent sentences that don't start with "I've had enough", "I give up", "I hate this" and "I am fucked". Alright, now that I got those out of my system, let's see how if I can turn things around.

1. My strength routine. I gave up. I took a break from it. I also decided not to continue working with the personal trainer who has been giving me workouts since September. As a matter of fact, I prefer not to be working with anyone while my state of mind is not in a place where I can have a normal training schedule. It's just not fair to anyone who has to listen to my constant bitching and moaning, especially when they are not ready or willing to hold my hand whenever I need it (which is pretty much every day). I can be a real piece of work, coaches, beware. The decision came in the middle of my last workout when I started crying, like many other times before - just that I wanted it to be for the last time. If the workouts make me cry, it means that they are not for me, period. Who in their sane state of mind would continue torturing themselves like this? Without having someone to give me feedback and encouragement on a regular basis, I cannot just wait and hope for a miracle. And working out by myself, in the middle of my living room, is not something I can do over and over again, especially with the same exercises for months on end. I ended hating everything about them, end of story.

So in this chapter, I will try something different, where hopefully I can find more joy in the moment. I will try group exercise again, I will go back to Yoga, I may even hold a plank or two when I feel like it. It may not be as efficient in making me strong enough for finishing an Ironman, but if I break the monotony and try to have fun for a change, things may just fix themselves. Who knows.

Today I took the first step in a different direction, literally. I went to Zumba! You know the theory about cross training for athletes who are used to going straight forward all the time (running, swimming, biking - d'uh) - it is said that you need cross training that makes you move laterally as well - and this is important for maintaining a good muscle balance in your body. Well, there was a LOT of lateral moving in Zumba for sure!! I was told that shoes were the most important, so I took my New Balance Minimus that had been neglected ever since my calves took too much of a beating, and the minimalist running fad ended. They were perfect. I also wore a Coeur tri top and a pair of Yoga pants.

One hour later I was glowing! This workout also made me cry at times, but it was more of an overwhelming feeling - I was on cloud number 9. I never felt so alive, jiggling my stuff like all these other girls who can.

You have no idea how much impact "This Girl Can" movement had on me. For being someone on the "soft" and "round" side instead of "lean" and "ripped" - constantly seeing images of people flaunting their 6 pack abs and toned bodies did more harm than good to me. It's not easy when you're surrounded by top level athletes, but very few are real about their bodies, only showing what makes them comfortable and powerful. Anyway, where I am getting with this, is that today opened my eyes. Just like in the video above, being in that Zumba class was such a liberating experience. There were no 6 pack abs in that class and everyone was shaking, shimmying, jumping, sweating, shouting - this class really changed me.

I came home, and for once, I did not hate what I saw in the mirror, muffin top and stomach rolls.It also happened that Mary Eggers posted an image of her stomach and little did she knew, a Facebook thread started filling with other women posting images of their "non 6 pack abs" as well. I lifted my shirt too and took exactly one picture. I looked at it, I liked it. Maybe my brain is still in the post workout fog, maybe that I don't see all the belly fat because I still have an hourglass shape, maybe it just doesn't matter that much anymore. I had 2 children, multiple surgeries, I put on 50lb, I lost 50lb... but at the end of the day, I am still an triathlete, a marathoner, an Ironman.

2. My nutrition coaching. Things are going well, for the most part. We are now at the end of the third habit, and this was the one that I had most difficulty with. It also happened that I missed taking my thyroid medication for a few days in the middle of it and my body went beserk, treating me with some nasty side effects while I was testing my hunger levels. Thankfully the coaches jumped in quickly and addressed my concerns right away and for now, I think I am set on the next steps. In total this program has 12 habits, 6 months of coaching - and while I tend to lose patience not seeing any change on the scale, just like with strength training, I have to trust the process and continue believing that the habits that I am learning will eventually lead to a leaner body. Not giving up yet!

If you are interested in the program that I am following, you can always go see Georgie's articles on her website. She is awesome!

3. Swim/Bike/Run. I ran once this week - I tried doing 4:1s, outside - but left knee started hurting after 20 min. I give up. I am taking it easy. I will go back to the massage therapist, roll, stretch and I will keep doing this run until it no longer hurts. What else can I do? I am fucked. I may go for a gait analysis too. And will ask for an MRI, some x-rays and everything else that could explain why my knees hurt. Now the pain is moving all around the kneecap... it's not even symptomatic of ITB anymore. I guess it wants to keep itself entertaining.

I also biked once. It was the first time since my back injury - so it's been what, 3 weeks? I thought I could do a 1.5h workout... yeah, right. And most likely I could have, if I had the willpower, but there too I started crying in the middle of an interval. I was telling myself that there was no reason for working so hard with a busted knee ... and I would have liked a workout more enjoyable. So I gave up decided to be gentle with myself and not go overboard. Thankfully Zin was there to remind me that I had not biked for a long time and 40min were more than enough for the day.

The workout was called Arrow, but it ended being more of a Broken Arrow. As you can see, I did spend more than 20 min at threshold and almost 7 min at VO2max, so it was a quality workout anyway, but way too ambitious for a comeback. I guess I have to work my way back up here too. I am glad that I decided not to attend the group spin, or I would have made things even worse. Did I mention that I had knee pain after the spin too? But of course. When it rains, it pours. But if you were to ask me on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad it was, I'd say a 2-3. Certainly not an acute pain, but the same nagging feeling that I've been having for almost a year. Just there to drive me crazy.

I also swam once, and it was a good one! I had to leave the best for the end... I bought a pair of ROKA SIM shorts and I tried them today for the first time. What an amazing feeling!! They lift my bum just enough to remove maybe 5% of effort, which allows me to concentrate on form throughout the entire swim. Without them, I usually fatigue in the middle of the main set and the last exercises have a pretty horrid form. However today, not only my times were faster, but I finished the workout without feeling completely exhausted and my form did not suffer.

100 free
200 pull
300 build
50 easy 
2x200 pull build 
50 easy
3x100 build
200 cooldown (50 alt stroke, 50 pull, repeat)

During the pull sets I knew that my bum was a little lower than with a pull buoy, but it did not prevent me from swimming well.

Overall, I still put in a good amount of effort as I kept kicking with them. I also tried a 2-beat kick here and there, to see if it makes a difference, but all I can remember is that it felt awkward and that I was putting in more effort than necessary to keep my limbs in sync.

Alright, I think you've seen enough close up shots of my body for a day. Time to end this post before I start peeling more layers. I'll leave you with my heart beat in the shape of a Zumba class. Guess how many songs we danced to?
Bear hugs to everyone!!