When is it time for a planned break?

Sorry, sorry. This is the for real post. I was writing this while sitting and waiting for my food earlier, because I had tried to order a Salmon Roe roll, which apparently is really hard to understand over the phone (say it fast), so when I walked in the door, instead they just handed me this cup of fish eggs and asked for $20. So, we had a discussion and I waited. Then when I finally got my rolls, I quickly ‘saved’ what I had written on my phone, but it ‘published’ instead. And, that is why you got a cut-off post earlier…

My blog readership plummeted last week. I suppose it has something to do with the whole people don’t want to hear you complain thing – though they do want to hear about you falling down, just preferably while laughing in an ironic way.

I didn’t post really this weekend either – a first in a long time – simply because it was time for a break. But, the internet isn’t really the main thing I’m taking a break from currently (especially since my job description right now basically just reads: ‘Do the internet’). The main thing I’m taking a break from is structured training and racing.

It looks just like this:

Except with pants, obviously.
Except with pants, obviously.

I know, you’re thinking: And that’s different how? Or, probably more accurately: wasn’t she already taking a break?

After getting hurt going into Boston, I was put on forced hiatus. Forced injury hiatus is NOT a break. It is anything but break-like. It’s full of angsting and water running. After Boston, I sort of just broke down/meandered my way through training, with a few days here and there of nothing, because I was supposed to run the Dipsea. Half-heartedly semi-training and spur-of-the-moment racing to prepare for a bigger race is NOT a break. (Even if it is more fun than water run angsting.)

So, now. Now, I am on a scheduled break.

The plan had originally been to kill it at Boston obvs, rest and recovery for a week or so, keep it tight for the Dipsea, and then take a planned break for three weeks, extending through our trips to Tahoe and Hawaii. I’d come back better than ever. For a possible return to seriousness.

That didn’t go exactly according to plan, but we now find ourselves at the scheduled break phase of the programming. It also happens to coincide with the crazy levels of work currently. That makes The Break sort of obvious and also sort of less break-like. But, still.

I did nothing last week except 23′ of swimming and then 38′ of easy running, which included the weird heart rate sitting in the middle of the trail stuff. This week, I’m planning on some casual evening workouts, same next week. Hopefully, some trail running in Hawaii (yay Hawaii!) if my foot is feeling better than it was this week (boo dress shoes). And, then?

I’m not sure yet.

That’s part of how a break works. You don’t worry about what comes next too much. But, I’m thinking about a return to serious training – like over ten hours/week training, like riding my bike more than just to and from work training, like possibly TRIATHLON TRAINING. *gasp*

Here are possibilities for the second half of the year/fall, add suggestions:

  • 50K Trail Ultra
  • Pacific Grove Triathlon
  • Donner Lake Swim
  • Fall Marathon (or possibly winter marathon)
  • The San Rafael Mile
  • Lagoon swimming maybe
  • Tiburon Triathlon-ing
  • Preparing for possible Ironman next year
  • Something else?

What should I do this fall (besides hope I don’t have to get bone spur surgery)?

Working Full-Time Really Puts a Damper on Things

So, what has been my deal this week? Where did I go and why did I keep posting things like this and this:

I really wanted to say y'all, but thought it might be weird.
I really wanted to say y’all, but thought it might be weird.

Turns out, I started a super awesome temporary/fill-in job at KQED, the public news station in San Francisco. This is exciting news (yay), but I am working the morning shift (boo) and it takes a really, really long time to commute from Marin to the Mission in San Francisco (double boo to shitty public transit). I’ve been leaving the house at 6:15 a.m. and getting home at 6 p.m. – at the earliest, often later.

It is wearing on me.

The added problem is that because I was also working full-time as a freelancer I still have stories left to finish and assignments due. I’ve been working on those while on the ferry or at night after I lay on the floor for enough time after walking through the door to let my brain stop hurting.

The extra added problem is that I’ve had a cold all week. I woke up (or rather didn’t sleep) the morning of the Dipsea with a very definitive cold: sore throat, ears popping, etc. It’s progressed all week, through the stuffed up and eyes watering to the burning up and then back to the sore throat. That’s basically meant that even when I get in bed by 11 p.m. to get about six-and-a-half hours of sleep, I don’t fall asleep because I cough and can’t breathe. Until last night, I pretty much had slept less than five hours every day since Saturday. That is way too many days.

Needless to say then, or maybe it needs to be said: I have not worked out much. I meant to, or really I didn’t mean to much since I knew I was going to be wrecked, but by the time I get home I don’t want to do anything except lay on the floor.

This is a terrible situation.

I wrote on Facebook that this is a terrible situation and a lot of people have responded to commiserate and to point out that they have it worse, because isn’t that what we do? Top each other’s pain. But, my point isn’t that it’s bad for me. It is, but rather that it’s a bad state of affairs for everyone. It’s bad that it’s normal for a commute to take over an hour ONE WAY. It’s bad that being gone for work for 12 hours or more every single day is a bragging point, something to be topped, to prove that the more desk time you put in the better you are. Of course I work hard, but the end product is the point, not simply putting in the time. (It also reminds me of Michael Scott on The Office: ‘I can spend all day on a project, and he will finish the same project in half an hour, so that should tell you something…”) It’s bad that people are so exhausted after their three hours of commuting, which is absurd in this day and age, that they have no energy to do anything else: workouts or community events or pursue hobbies.

So, now that I have a handle on things. (Sort of.) And, I think I have it down so I can leave my house at 6:40 (yay!), then I’m going to start trying to do workouts in the morning before that or easy runs in the evenings after. And, KQED seems like a good place to work. The people are cool and the stories are really interesting, so I’m pretty sure they have a good attitude about getting the work done when it needs to get done. Now, if we could just make the public transit run smoothly and quickly all the way here…

A Few Random Things That Weren’t Individually Worth Their Own Post

  • It turns out Tupac the Cat is a boy, not a girl. Obviously, this has changed everything and he is very confused.
  • I started training at KQED this morning for an on-call job. This is very exciting, fyi. But, I do not know how people workout and make it to offices by hours like 8 a.m. I especially don’t know how they do this if they went to a comedy show last night and Dana Carvey made a surprise appearance and it went super late. I got about six hours of sleep and didn’t do anything this morning except get up, shower, and get in the car.
  • At that comedy show, the woman taking tickets recognized me from hosting the local weekly news show, Seriously Now, on public access. I’m pretty much a celebrity.
  • My sister is visiting through Saturday. We’re trying to come up with super awesome exciting things to do tomorrow.
  • Yesterday, before Maggie got here, I did a track workout at the high school by my house — which, incidentally, is not the high school I coach at, it’s our rivals — and there was a PE class going on. Since it’s the last days of school, they were just goofing off and the teacher didn’t mind that I was running in the middle of their class. So, I talked to him a bit and then he started giving one of the kids a hard time, saying ‘When I was your age, I could run a 10-flat 100m. Can you do that?’ And the kid said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I could totally do that if I wanted to.’ Which, obviously, he couldn’t, because you know 10″ is quite fast for 100m. But, the teacher challenged him to do it then instead of just being all talk. So, we all watched the two kids, who were convinced they were super awesome, make it about 50m before completely losing steam. Ah well.

Write Down a Log of What You Do During the Day

A couple days ago someone posted on twitter this suggestion: KEEP AN ACCURATE LOG OF WHAT YOU DO EACH DAY HOUR BY HOUR AND PREPARE TO BE HORRIFIED. (Caps their’s, not mine.)

So, I did. Yesterday, I wrote down in a notebook everything I did in time chunks over the day. I was quite exhausted by the end of the day, mostly from all the writing of the notes — which means today’s notebook would probably read: ’10 a.m. – 11 p.m.: Sit on couch.’

Here’s what I did yesterday, which was more-or-less a normal day:

8:45: After going to bed way too late, not falling asleep, and waking up on-and-off all night, I finally decide to just get up after 4-5 hours of sleep.

9:00: Phone interview with industry analyst for story on start-up tech company. Jot down questions for start-up tech company later.

9:15: Shower, try on multiple outfits before deciding just to wear dark jeans and a white t-shirt again today. Check the address of the doctor’s office, pack all my stuff up.

9:45: Drive to doctor’s office. Manage to get lost despite looking up address and the fact that it’s 5′ from my house.

10:00: Phone interview with start-up tech company, while sitting in my car.

10:20: Doctor’s appointment to figure out what’s wrong with my foot. (Including a quick drive back to my house to get extra pairs of running shoes.)

11:20: Leave doctor’s to head to RIA Biz office, with stops to get gas and breakfast/lunch from Whole Foods.

11:55: Get to RIA Biz office, pow-wow briefly with editor about story on tech start-up and other things working on.

12:10: Eat lunch/breakfast, browse the internet and read news/stories/ideas/stuff. My essay is up on The Billfold! Yay! Whoa, some of these comments on my essay are intense. Answer all my emails, setting up other interviews and stories and jobs, while finishing lunch/breakfast.

1:15: Phone interview with another industry analyst for story on tech start-up company.

1:40: Start working on story on tech start-up company. Begin opening tons of internet windows to research different facts. Write maybe 100 words.

2:05: Phone interview with advisor to tech start-up company.

2:30: Decide to go for a walk, stop at the bank, get some M&Ms.

2:45: Start seriously writing story. Alternate write sentences, check facebook.

4:10: Leave after quick pow-wow with editor about story, will have finished tonight! Nearly 850 words done, lots of stuff to clean up and edit, though. Drive home.

4:50: Finally get home. Stupid traffic. Talk to Steve in New Mexico for a bit. Change back into shorts.

5:15: Phone interview with new hire to tech start-up company.

5:30: Phone interview with different new hire to tech start-up company.

5:45: Do core work for a bit. Change into swimsuit and walk down to complex pool. Swim a bit.

6:25: Shower, put on different shorts and t-shirt. Try to decide what I want to do tonight. Decide what I will probably end up doing is sitting on the couch and watching TV. Bemoan the fact that I want to go out to eat, but nothing sounds good after last night’s rich, super-cheesy hors d’oeuvres with Vivek at fancy wine bar where George Lucas’ chef makes whatever food he feels like making. Wonder if downing a pitcher of margarita and bowl of gaucamole by yourself is sad. Probably only if you do it in a public place. Decide it is time to start drinking.

6:45: Make a snack and start work on finishing story.

8:15: Submit story! Congratulate self by reading stuff online.

8:45: Unload dishwasher, do dishes, pay bills, watch the new Law & Order. It was trippy. Eat dinner of gauc and hummus. Finish bottle of wine.

10:00: Send an outline to an editor person for potential story, answer a bunch more emails related to different jobs.

10:50: Sit down to fulfill goal of working on my writing every day. Am so tired and sleepy though. Write a terrible few hundred words.

11:15: Brush teeth, put on different shorts that qualify as pajamas. Get in bed and read some stuff.

12:00 Make executive decision that I will not be waking up early to go to track practice.

12:10: Turn off light.

I actually feel pretty good about my day yesterday, but not so good about my day so far today. I really don’t feel like working out at all, which makes it hard to get motivated. I don’t know if that means I should just do it anyway or what. And, it’s getting so hot. I hate the heat.

You try it. Write down what you do for one day. Disgusted with yourself?

Boston Photo Challenge: Snacks and Work

I was going to write a post about flexibility, work schedules, and training. On the eve of this, my anniversary of quitting my job and venturing out into the unknown as a freelancer, I thought I’d write about whether or not working from home(ish) at the beck and call of whoever wants to pay you is beneficial for your training or not.

Except, ironically perhaps, I am suddenly swamped with a story that got dropped in my lap last night (while I was covering something else actually) and needs to be done now — with calls to be made and people harangued and writing done, another story due tomorrow that I had planned on writing now but is being bumped by said urgent-super-important story, an interview this afternoon, many emails to be returned, schmoozing work-type drinks this evening, and another training session to get in on the Alter-G first. All of which has to be wrapped up, with another two workouts tomorrow morning, before I get on a plane to Phoenix.

So. I suppose that sort of maybe answers the question.

Instead, I saw this 30 days to Boston Photo Challenge on Annabelle’s blog — of which I’m a total lurker, but that’s ok, because aren’t we all:

A photo a day makes Boston come quicker.
A photo a day makes Boston come quicker.

The idea is to post a photo on each of those days around that theme. I don’t think I’ll do every day, because I’m lazy and unfocused — or rather I would be a much happier person if I wasn’t both lazy and extremely ambitious. I did think I’d post today, though, since I’m sitting at my desk taking a work break. Here is my Boston Photo Challenge #Snack Picture:

Breakfast and lunch, but not quite brunch.
Breakfast and lunch, but not quite brunch.

I am well aware that eating at your desk is bad for your physical, mental and emotional health, ok? But, I figure, since some days I sit on my couch and watch The View at 10 a.m. while eating cereal, then some days I have to sit in an office and eat sad snacks in front of my computer. (That empty container, though, is the most amazing yogurt-granola-strawberry thing ever.)

Now, back to work.

No Training

Yesterday I was trying to wrap up a busy week, finish two stories, drop off a bulk mailing at the post office, and get four interviews done. (For the record, I totally killed this week. Even knocked out my 2 x 20′ at marathon and then half-marathon pace no problem.)

And while I’m trying to finish up I get a call from a restricted number. I answer with my usual: Hi, this is Kelly.

The person on the other end says, with no introduction or segue: Did you get my message.

You know, maybe. Since I don’t know who you are you’re going to have to give me more information.

It turned out to be the post office, of course. And there was some small error on the bulk mailing form that I had to go all the way back down there for, of course. But that seemed like a fitting way to wrap up the long week. Then, I polished off a bottle of wine and now I’m headed to a girls’ weekend. (Why is girls’ weekend a thing in society, on a side note.)

No training, probably not much sleeping – though an article I wrote yesterday about sleep has me worried I’m not getting enough. But, I will solve the long unanswered question: what is a vodka tasting and how much vodka can one actually taste?