Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ode To My Training Log

Oh Training Log, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
  1. You show me that last year's "long swim" is now shorter than my routine one.
  2. That over time I run consistently stronger/faster/longer even if from week to week (or even month to month in busy times) it doesn't feel that way.
  3. That I weigh less than I have in four years.
  4. That, whereas I now consistently run or swim 5x a week, previously I struggled to do more than 3 sessions of aerobic exercise in a week's time (including walking).
  5. That I have been more consistent with my yoga practice over the years than I remember.
I have kept an unbroken training log for over three years now, marking down my weight, workouts, migraines, and menstrual cycle, along with notes about how illness, travel, weather, holidays or work kept me from working out (those don't stop migraines or my period, sadly). At various points I have also kept track of my attempts at regular meditation or efforts to cut back on sweets (both mostly failed), along with various other things that now I can't remember, my notes being too cryptic to decipher. Maybe caffeine consumption?

My log shows me when I was first pregnant, when I first thought there was something wrong with that pregnancy, and when I had that fear confirmed. It also shows me when I was pregnant again, when pre-labor started, and then, a week later, proper labor, and then two days later, finally, Buddy.

I've experimented with format, I've tinkered with the size, and who knows if the current form of my log will continue to meet my recording needs. No matter. I'll come up with something new and continue to be grateful.

"I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach..." (Elizabeth Barrett Browning).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Oh Canada!

Staying up too late to watch the last night of ice dancing. I love the Olympics.

I've heard all kinds of complaints about NBC's coverage (and I am tired of watching the same commercials over and over again), but for all that NBC is super schmaltzy, I think they do a good job of explaining these sports and making them interesting and showing us what to look for. I certainly wouldn't know on my own, given that I only watch this stuff once every four years.

Oh, it looks like it will be another half hour at least before the last group of ice dancers begin. I just can't do it. So off to bed and I'll watch it tomorrow - that's what YouTube is for.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yoga for Lent

Well, it's Lent, and this year my Lenten observation is to practice yoga everyday. It's pretty much the only regular time in my life that I set aside for quiet and meditation, so when I was thinking about how to observe Lent, it just made the most sense to do so through deepening my yoga practice.

So, even if it's only for 5 minutes in a given day, I will take some time each day to practice, and I may use the opportunity to try some of the more meditative practices that I don't usually take time for. I'm curious to see what the effect will be in my life. "Surrender" is the word that keeps coming to me.

Some passages from "The Athlete's Guide to Yoga" by Sage Rountree, the reference I use most often.

"The philosophy of awareness is what makes "doing yoga" more than merely stretching or gymnastics. Just as workouts become training sessions when you are working toward a goal race, practicing poses or sitting still becomes yoga when you are doing it with a purpose." (p.12)

Hatha yoga uses the tantric approach, which focuses on accessing the universal consciousness through the body. Instead of being something to be denied and transcended, the body is the vehicle for self-realization. Thus the self-improvements that are a secondary benefit of yoga and of endurance sports help bring us toward the ultimate goal of connection with the [divine]. (p.13)

So far, I'm four for four. Forty-two days to go.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Saved By The Dude

Went to the pool after dropping Buster off this morning for a long swim... and it was closed. Again. For at least the third time this year so far (only 1 lifeguard showed up). I am always very grateful that I have a pool in my neighborhood and it's pretty cheap, but it's cheap because it's run by the park district and therefore completely unreliable. Not so grateful then.

So I came home much like Buster when he's mad - stomping and shouting. Luckily The Dude was still there to calmly say, "Why don't you go for a run then?"

Duh. Of course.

So I headed out into the clear sunny day, and had myself a nice little run down to the lakefront, the longest since my ankle sidelined me at the holidays. And it's been a pretty good day since then! Even if I haven't done most of the chores I took the day off to do in the first place.

Eh, who needs things filed?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Oh, I am so happy, I am finally running again. Carefully. My ankle has not stopped hurting entirely, but it seems to have more to do with how supportive the shoe I'm wearing is, and not what I'm doing with it. Certainly not running wasn't helping in any way, and neither was the recommended treatment. So I will try treating it the way I've dealt with all my tendon problems since pregnancy - with careful activity, rather than curtailed activity. And ice and ibuprofen when it's really painful.

What does careful running look like for me?
  • Wearing my "SuperFeet" insoles in all my shoes;
  • Finally getting good walking shoes with adequate support for work and play;
  • Keeping my stride short, and using a quicker turnover for increased speed, rather than a longer stride;
  • Using the treadmill for speedwork and tempo runs until my ankle (and the sidewalks) improve substantially;
  • Focus on consistency in training and endurance rather than speed this year, and allow more time to slowly build up my distance.
Happy Running to us all!

Maybe Not This Year

So, just in case you were wondering, it seems that toddlers make museum guards very nervous. We went to the Art Institute yesterday with Buddy to check out their new Modern wing but didn't end up staying long... at least once in every room we had a guard say something to us, always something way obvious like, "Don't let him touch the art." You think? And we weren't allowed to carry him on our shoulders, either, not even in the hallways where there wasn't any art, which just didn't make any sense to me. You'd think he (and the art) would be safest with him on our shoulders.

It was a real shame, too, because Buddy was clearly digging what he was seeing, pointing and saying "dis?" which is what he says when he's interested in something, and chattering away unintelligibly when a particular piece meant something more to him. So it hurt to see how unwelcome we were. I'm sure it would have been fine with them if he were in the stroller but he wouldn't have enjoyed it or been able to see the art which is of course hung at grown-up levels. And we weren't all that impressed with the "family" areas.

So I guess we'll just look for other opportunities to get him cultured, and try coming back in a few years. At least at home he can touch my paintings as much as he wants.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Run Run Run Run

Nope, that's not what I've been up to (ankle still not okay), that's what Buddy did on his very first trip to the Field Museum last month! That and press every button he could reach, regardless of whether or not he could see the results from pressing them. He's usually quiet around strangers but apparently not when there are buttons involved - he was shoving the big kids away to get to them. Luckily he's still small enough and cute enough to get away with that.

Then we went into the older sections, the Northwest Coast and Plains Indians displays, which were two of my favorites as a kid. No buttons to push here, since they haven't yet been modernized and made all interactive, just quiet, low-lit displays of clothing and weapons and sacred objects and all the usual stuff you think of belonging in a natural history museum. Buddy loved this too. He would run in his special penguin fashion (chest forward, arms somewhat back) full steam ahead - until suddenly he would stop before a case and look inside it intently. Until he was off again. Then he discovered the free-standing cases and the opportunities they offered for running around, and around, and around, giggling madly whenever I anticipated him and caught him by going in the opposite direction.

I love going to museums and had been wondering what it would be like for me when we started going to them with Buddy, since right now (and for many years) he'll dictate the pace of our visit. So now I know - it's awesome. I loved watching him enjoy himself and feel so at home, I loved looking to see what was catching his attention. It helped that we tag-teamed, The Dude and I, switching off on who would be the one to follow behind Buddy and who would push the stroller with all our stuff. That way we both still got some chance to look at the displays ourselves.

So I am looking forward to future trips to cultural institutions - I think the Art Institute may be the next stop.

(Plus, at the Field Museum, there's now a Corner Bakery on the first floor instead of the crappy stuff they used to offer for food. Really, how could it get better?)