Training Week 12: Jan. 19-25

So, here’s the thing. I took a rest week last week and I got more tired. I basically spent the whole week in a smashed, tired little ball, lying on my bed. I am not even making that up. There’s something about as soon as you give your body a break, it’s all: ‘Ohh, this is what that’s like?! Well, screw it, I’m out, bitches!’

On the other hand, I’ve been feeling (maybe) better this week. And, hopefully, I’ll be faster for the half-marathon this weekend.


Ran a hard 12 1/2 miles on trails with my brother-in-law. It wasn’t that hard—most of it was chill and moderately easy—but there were parts that I was pretty sure we were running fast, which my Garmin totally later confirmed we were.

Nate’s strength class after. By that night, oh man, my legs physically hurt so much that I was actually positive the bones inside them were hurting.


Swam 1,000 yards. And, you’re lucky I even got that much done. Everything still hurt so much.


Swam 2,700 yards with The Kids. This included an 800 straight. See, the thing about swimming with The Kids is that pretty much everyone on the faster half of the pool could beat me at a 100-yard race. But, almost none of them could beat me at ten of those in a row. I got stamina. So, this was my kind of night.


Oh god. My body just like quit on me overnight. I started throwing up. When I woke up in the morning to shower and get dressed, it was. not. happening. Not even a little bit. I ended up sleeping about 15 hours.


20 minutes of yoga and rolling.


In the morning—and I mean 4 a.m. morning—I had to drive out to Temecula to film a Spartan Race for a documentary I’m working on about obstacle course racing. Running around the obstacles with a camera made me realize that my ankle, which had been sore for a few days after Monday’s trail/strength extravaganza, was still really hurting.

Rode 10 miles easy on the beach path (with three 1 minute pick-ups) just to shake it out and make sure I could get back to training soon.


Went to Long Beach with The Kids for some open water practice. We did one 1,000-meter(ish) loop moderately hard as race practice and then The Kids ran, but as soon as I took a few steps in the sand it was clear my ankle was not up for running. Why? Because my body quit on me. So, I swam another loop.

TOTAL: 5:35

Hopefully, now, I am rested?

Oh, Rest, Right

Usually, I train on a three weeks on/one week off schedule. Sort of. I mean I tend to not operate exactly on a seven-day plan and it’s all relative. But, I do always make sure to have three to five days of very, very easy stuff to recover about once per month.

Here’s the thing, though: I kind of forgot to do that.

I wasn’t training crazy over break, just steady and hard. And, I was doing some other random stuff (like cross-country skiing). And, I kept taking a day or two off or easy every now and then, when I felt tired. So, it just seemed like I could keep chugging along. Plus, my schedule was such that I was going to have two weeks at the end of January of basically no working out. It made sense, then, to push through until that break.

Only that didn’t end up happening. And, instead, the first two weeks of school have beaten me up. So, Tuesday, when I was trying to decide what I was going to do this week and how I was going to deal with the fact that I’d barely slept the night before and this documentary that’s trying to kill me and the fun of driving all over Greater Los Angeles, Steve suggested maybe it was time for a rest week.

No, I’m fine. I don’t even feel physically beaten up.

As soon as I decided this was a rest week through Saturday, though, my entire body just collapsed. It stopped functioning. I slept 15 hours on Thursday, after being not well over night. I’m pretty much about to fall asleep right this second. The idea of working out is mind-boggling. It’s amazing how as soon as you cross a finish line, you stop being able to even walk straight.

Ways Not to Recover from an Ironman

– Move to LA 16 hours after you get home from your race
– Start a graduate fellowship program immediately after moving (like without enough time to unpack your clothes)
– Have that program begin with an intensive, 9 hours/day, three week bootcamp
– Stop sleeping
– Become a coffee drinker

In case you were wondering, this is a recipe for feeling fantastic.

The Problems with a Recovery/Easy Week

This week was supposed to be 3-5 days easy and then jumping back into training after I recovered. That was the plan. But, oh man.

By the time I was ready to get moving again on Thursday my legs felt terrible. Driving the car with my right foot, moving from the gas to the brake, hurt my hip flexor and I stopped being able to bend well. I got the leg worked on to loosen it up and then the whole thing was covered in bruises. Last night, I rolled over in the middle of the night and couldn’t bend my left leg either anymore and a giant knot appeared in my right shoulder.

This is pretty much what I look like now:

Somehow the recovery week screwed up my body. I’m sore and aching and having a hard time gaining momentum again. I thought I’d at least get some work done with all the time. But, man, this month has just not been my month.

Today, I was supposed to ride with a friend and, of course, it actually started raining finally. Ah well, we have to feel good about the rain!

Training Week: Dec. 16-22

Last week was the end of my “off-season” and the beginning of starting to think about training. It was a mixed bag.


Biked about 12-13 miles easy to the ferry, to the office and back.


Biked 14 miles home from working in Mill Valley, which included stops at 1. the bookstore, 2. Best Buy (worst place in the world in the weeks before Christmas) and 3. Safeway. And, I may have gotten a little overambitious in all the stuff I bought at Safeway.


Whoa, slow down, let’s not got nuts on the working out. Rest day/lots of shit to do day.


35′ or so of basic strength work at the gym and swam 1400y.


Yoga. Except it was very boring yoga and was basically a slow stretching class with a lot of “feeling the earth beneath our feet.”


I intended to go for a bike ride, but instead I ended up at Best Buy again (ugh), Safeway and two separate shopping centers — all non-Christmas related and all a mistake.


Yeah, no.

Today marks the official start of Ironman Training. I suspect I will get very boring now and do nothing but ride my bike and go to bed early. And probably cry. I suspect there will be more than a few times I start crying.

What Hitting Rock Bottom Looks Like


These are all the different things I made in the last few days. FYI, the chocolate-chip muffin looking things have a molten chocolate center.

I think I may be close to bottoming out in “off-season.” The cookies didn’t even taste that good.

Back to regularly scheduled programming next week.

A Day in the Life: How to Do An Off-Season

I am in off-season right now. That’s sort of weird, since I was basically not really “in-season” for a large part of the middle of the year. But, I still think it’s important to take at least a week or two to really chill out after getting through something hard — even if it was just hard, not fast.

The thing that’s really weird about this week, though, is that the lack of training has coincided with a lack of other stuff to do as well. Steve is really busy and gone most of this week and next. I always work from home, but usually I have meetings and interviews to do; I typically work out of different offices and places most days. But, this week, I got nothing. High school cross-country practices are over too. So, I’m really chilling out. This has really made for an incredibly low-key/boring week. My biggest problem is that if you leave the TV on court shows all day, DISH keeps asking if you’re really still watching??

I think it’s good, though. I think I’m going hit rock-bottom soon and be ready to bounce back. I’m already making plans and getting fidgety. Not that I’m actually doing anything about those plans yet, but it’s a start.

If you want to do off-season right, here is basically what I did yesterday:

6:45: Steve’s alarm goes off, because he has to head to Sacramento. Tupac the Cat is very excited about being up earlier than 8 a.m. and jumps on my head. I yell at him, kick him out of the room and go back to sleep.

9:15: Tupac’s banging on the bedroom door finally becomes impossible to ignore. We sit in bed and check the internet. Or, one of us checks the internet and the other bites a lot. Not telling you who did which.

9:45: Eat breakfast, browse internet for story ideas, send emails, etc.

10: Pull together a short “This Day in History” post for Yahoo! Travel for Thursday. End up opting for the first motel opening on Dec. 12, 1925 in San Luis Obispo. Read up, write.

10:55: Waste some time on the internet.

11:10: Realize if I want to shower before my 11:30 call I should do that. Shower, put on actual clothes for the first time in days — jeans + t-shirt.

11:20: Get a text message from a friend telling me there was a bank robbery at the bank down the street. I am such a terrible news reporter that I had no idea. The TV says the robber was shot by police and all the streets are closed. Guess I’m not going to the mall afterall.

11:30: Call with founder and editorial manager to talk about RootsRated, for which I’m supplying San Francisco Bay Area coverage. It’s live now, but there’s still little kinks to work out and plans to make for January.

12 to 1: Not totally sure what I do for an hour. In theory, I work on a story about food technology. Really, I do stuff. Lots of reading online and sending emails and Googling. Write a blog post. I become convinced that I don’t have a firm enough grasp on the of-the-moment internet and must create a more complete daily news round-up of things to read. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IF I CAN’T DO THE INTERNET!

Realize the 4 p.m. yoga class down the block that I wanted to take is cancelled. Decide this means I should definitely go get sushi in the evening instead.

Decide I don’t care about the internet.

1: Aw, shit, I really do have to write that post for Bay Area Bites about food delivery technologies. Write. Get massively sidetracked looking up apps that will deliver food from restaurants for you, so that I could just have sushi delivered to me and never have to leave the house. But, stupid apps don’t cover Marin County very well.

3:15: Send piece to editor. Get email about motel story going on homepage, but they need more photos. Look for public domain photos, which is very, very challenging.

3:50: Bundle up and deck out my bike with the two working bike lights we have. Bike over the hill.

4:20: Talk to the owner of Marin Running Co for a bit.

4:30: Hang out at the San Anselmo Library. Pick up Beautiful Creatures. Read.

5:15: Sushi!! (I don’t care if everyone thinks Sushi Ran is so much more prestigious and fancy, Sushi 69 is the best. THE BEST.)

6: Bike home. It is so cold. So cold. My fingers hurt.

6:30: Oh shit, how did I get this cold. It’s not even that cold out and I’m wearing so many clothes. How am I ever going to train on my bike over the winter? This is ridiculous. No person could ever bike in 40 degrees. It is not possible. Bundle up and drape myself in a Snuggie to sit on the couch and read.

7 to 10: Read, read some more. Watch some TV, eat the last of my cookies and play with Tupac.

10: Talk to Steve for a bit, who is still in Sac. Do a bit more work, send emails, make a list of numbers I need to call in the morning, put away some laundry. Browse the Competitor issue I picked up at the running store. They profiled Marin County as a running destination! Sweet. How did I miss this. Of course they told people to go to Sol Food, of course. EVERYONE goes to Sol Food. I am over Sol Food. Think about this for a bit.

11:15: Decide to get ready for bed.

11:30: Tupac shits all over the bathroom. Clean it up. Decide it can not be cleaned up to my satisfaction; throw the mat away.

11:50: Get in bed. Read some more.

12:30: Turn out the light.

As you can see, it was a super busy day.*

*Caveat: This is not typically how life is. And, yes, I do have bigger projects I could work on, but I’m ON A BREAK.

Why I Disappeared for a Few Days

Because I headed to LA to check out USC for grad school. Let’s all cross our fingers that I get into the program I want and get funding and that it magically makes everything amazing and I am suddenly a super awesome writer with book deals and magazine contracts and fabulousness.

Because, while I was in LA for 50 hours, I had dinner with a friend and lunch with another friend and stayed with a different friend. This makes me sound like I have a lot of friends. I don’t. I have like three.

Because all that made me very tired. I am actually still tired, despite sleeping until 10 a.m. both yesterday and today.

Because the fatigue is building so much that I can’t shake it out of my legs and am just dragging myself through runs. I bombed a hard workout on Thursday before I left, just bombed, couldn’t hold marathon pace off the bike and stopped, walked, turned around and jogged home. It’s been two weeks of dragging/jogging rut + bombing a race + sucking up one of my last half-dozen hard workouts before CIM. I am discouraged and not 100% sure what to do to turn it around besides rest and recover. (I am like 90% sure about what to do.)

Because I needed to step back then and not hear about how super-perfect-amazing everyone else’s workouts were going. My problems are at least 63% in my head. So, everyone else needs to get out of there.