Back from vacation and into the real world. Ugh. Now despite taking a ton of opportunities to get out and hike with my dogs, the exercise was far from intense. In fact the only thing that was high intensity was the eating. Ya there was a lot of that. My plan when I got back home was to ease into working out again. Problem was that I had a ton of work that I wanted to catch up on so my workouts suffered significantly while I was at work. Yes I could have worked out before work but if I have to choose between rest and exercise, usually rest is going to win. And there were times when traffic slowed me down so much getting into work that I wouldn’t have been able to do much anyway.
Friday I went out and hit my favourite set of trails. They are hilly and single-track and they wind through forests and even though everything looks kind of bleak right now, in (hopefully) a few weeks, the hills will be blanketed under trilliums and trout lilies and dappled pools of sunlight will break through the tree cover. I had meant to bring my spikes but as we had had a big thaw, I figured that I would be able to navigate around any icy patches. And even though my phone said there was a windchill of -21 celsius, I just had to get out there. For some reason I felt the need to drive there with my neck gaiter up over my face. I couldn’t figure out why the odd looks from other drivers until I looked in the rearview. Ohhhhh riiiiiiight. Thankfully I didn’t have to stop at the bank on the way. That could have been awkward. I parked and soon was moving along the trails, gingerly picking my way along the frozen ground. I felt a tension I hadn’t known was there slowly melt off into the forest around me. The first little bit of the run is usually the part where I feel disjointed but that eased off rather quickly. I was rounding a bend, shortening my stride to prepare to lengthen once out of the curve…and my left foot slipped right out from underneath me to the left and my right knee cracked right into ice. I’m not sure if I landed on my hands or knee first but I stayed frozen for a brief moment as I did the hurt inventory. You know what I mean: that head-to-toe scan where you evaluate where it hurts and how bad. I stood and stretched my knee as I looked at my impression in the light dusting of snow. Such perfect handprints next to a twisty mass. It looked so funny (or maybe that was adrenaline) that I took out my phone to snap a pic as I flexed my knee and it was so cold that my phone died. Well so much for pretty trail photos. So after a few short steps, I set off again.
Maybe I should fall on every run because even though this was the first time I’ve done real trails in it seems forever and the windchill was minus ridiculous, I felt like I was moving smoothly and easily, as though I could go on forever. Unfortunately forever was cut short when flurries suddenly descended on the forest. And as much as I needed to feel the sting of ice pellets, I needed to get home safely even more.
The next day I expected to see all kinds of interesting colours on my knee but there was nary a mark. Not even any soreness. But for some reason I didn’t feel like running, perhaps because it was still cold and yucky out and I didn’t feel like running around home again and even less like getting in the car. So I had the brilliant idea to do a Tabata-style HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuit. Tabata’s usually involve doing an exercise for 20 seconds hard then resting for 10 seconds and repeat for a set amount of time. Most people I know do each exercise for four minutes then move on to the next. Because I hadn’t really done any kind of workout like this in forever, I was going to hedge my bets by running through a circuit. I carefully crafted out a list and wrote it down:
- burpees (exercises of torture)
- jump squats
- mountain climbers
- alternating superman (lay face down on the floor and lift alternating and opposite arms and legs)
I set up the stopwatch on my phone, made sure the area was clear around me as the dogs like to creep up on me, and hit start. By the first rest, I was already questioning my sanity. And even though I had the sheet written out and sitting right in front of me I completely skipped over things and screwed up the order and somehow never did push-ups. I stopped the timer after the first set and was about to walk away when I had to pause: why was I stopping? Because it was hard? That’s the whole point. I’m never going to get better at anything if I walk away at the first sign of difficulty. So I put the phone back down, turned the timer back on, and leapt and jumped and cursed and nearly bounced my face off the ground until I did the second set. Problem was my math skills are lacking at the best of times and for some reason I didn’t realize I had short-changed my workout by a lot until a lot later. And my brain was lacking oxygen for sure. I did some stretchy and relaxing yoga to ease the non-stop shaking in my legs.
Then on Sunday, I went for an easy run around home. My calves were tight so I didn’t want to stress them out too much. It was still bloody cold but it was sunny and pleasant. I went home and decided to break out the old foam roller. Now I should put a warning tag on my foam roller: sometimes it helps, especially my outer thighs. But there have been times when I have rolled my calves and been left hobbling for days. I don’t go at it too hard and I don’t rest my entire weight on it. I just let the weight of my calves rest on the roller and flex and straighten my toes like everything and everyone says you’re supposed to. About an hour later, I stood up and knew right away I was in serious trouble since both of my calves were tighter than a drum. Crud. It’s going to be a long and painful few days to come.
March 6 – Treadmill 40 minutes with some faster intervals at the end
March 7 – Damn work
March 8 – I just want to exercise
March 9 – Is that really too much to ask?
March 10 – Trail run 7 km (54:59) and the day I got re-introduced to gravity
March 11- HIIT and yoga
March 12 – 7 km roads (47:45) and the f&#@?%*g foam roller
The diet has been good but nothing really exciting to talk about. I was so good at work and only ate the food that I brought. OK except for one day when I had curry chicken with rice and beans. But that’s healthy so it’s alright.
Breakfast was either my usual scrambled eggs with one egg and eight tablespoons of egg whites with a whole wheat english muffin or the same mix made into an omelette with some smoked cheddar and salsa. Then for dinners and lunches, I like to cook up a steak and split it into three or four meals and have that with some roasted sweet potatoes. This week I made some spicy chickpeas that were supposed to be crispy but not so I tossed those in with the sweet potatoes. A nice arugula salad with segments of blood orange and a scattering of raw cashews showed up, tossed with blood orange olive oil and espresso balsamic vinegar. During the work week I like to keep things simple just for saving time and brain power.
Do you have any go to meals? Especially for taking to work or dealing with a hectic day?