Too much exercise

Yes, I did count the one hour of ice skating as a workout because I was holding our 4-year old just like this for the entire time!  I nearly passed out with exhaustion!

Yes, I did count the one hour of ice skating as a workout because I was holding our 4-year old just like this for the entire time! I nearly passed out with exhaustion!

Is it really possible to exercise too much?  Yes, I think so.  I answer this question based on my own experiences during the month of January.  You see, my number one goal for the month should have been to focus on my triathlon training.  Instead, I was sidetracked by a little competition.  I tried to do both, but my need to compete always seemed to overpower logical reasoning.

The competition involved tracking your total number of workouts for the month of January.  Of course these had to be real workouts that lasted for a minimum of 30 minutes.  I only considered real workouts those that involved an elevated heart rate.  As mentioned in my last post, I couldn’t even succeed at a simple walk.  Luckily for me, my triathlon training involves running, swimming, cycling and weight training.  So, I focused on those 4 types of workouts for this competition.

Typically, my training does involve more than one workout per day.  For example, on Mondays I always follow-up an interval swim with a bike ride.  On Wednesdays I need to do a ride followed by a run.  On days that I go to the gym, I always do at least 2 workouts because I have 2 hours (thanks to childcare) so I typically do a swim or run followed by weight training.  However, there are days that I will do my long ride or my long run and may  not include another workout.  Additionally, I am SUPPOSED to take one rest day.

Well, there were times during this competition when I only did one workout in one day.  That was not sufficient for my competitiveness so I was forced to do three workouts on other days.  Usually I would add-on a weight training session on these days.  During the entire month of January I NEVER took a day off.  I didn’t want to have to play catch up on another day.  And, all of a sudden, my goal changed to beating the number of workouts  of last year’s winner: 60!  I wanted at least 61.  But 61 didn’t seem like a lucky number so I opted to aim for 62 if I could.

So, I did it.  I got my 62.  Not sure what that means.  Some people think it means I am a bit of an overachiever or maybe just slightly crazy.  It sure as heck doesn’t mean I am hardcore.  If anything, maybe less smart than usual.  I did sign up to complete a 1/2 Ironman in May and I nearly overtrained myself.  Worse case scenario, I could have injured myself.  Stupid competitive nature.  Why can’t I be a soccer mom and find solace in bringing the best snacks to the games or driving the most fabulous minivan?  Okay, I know you are laughing now.  I would never own a minivan.

Oh, and I have no idea whether I even made the top 5.  I know I don’t really win anything, but bragging rights would actually make this all worth it.  Okay, there is always March Madness.  Yeah, I better not even mention that right now.

You know what pisses me off the most about all of this?  I didn’t even lose more than half a pound!  Seriously people.  I must have consumed whatever calories I burned.  And that’s a lot of freakin’ calories.

The Art of Walking

I had a pleasant walk/jog while it was snowing today.

I had a pleasant walk/jog while it was snowing today.

In all seriousness, I am truly amazed by people who can walk a marathon.  26.2 miles is a looooooong way to walk.  It takes a very loooooooong time.  I am the most impatient person I know.  I wouldn’t be able to walk for that long without going nutty.  I find it very difficult to run with someone who needs to stop to walk.  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against walking AT ALL, but I have such a terrible urge to start running. I am a very bad walking buddy.  I am totally enthralled by those folks who can walk freakin’ fast.  For the life of me, I can’t walk that fast.  I just have to break into a jog in order to keep up with them.

So, I know I have mentioned this January competition before.  We will soon find out who has completed the most workouts for the month of January.  My only goal is to at least beat last year’s winning number.  That doesn’t mean that I will be the winner this year, but I figure that is a good goal to shoot for.  Well, after my swim and ride today I knew that I had to squeeze in another workout.  I thought about doing a weight training session because that is what I usually do when I just need to add on a workout.  Then I thought about walking to pick up my daughter from school.  Usually I take the little ones and I don’t count that as walking because it is more like shuffling your feet and stopping every minute to say “come on or hurry up”!  Today I had the opportunity to walk alone.

I knew it would actually be a workout because our neighborhood is all hills.  I never considered doing a walk as one of my workouts because I don’t really consider it a workout (I know it is a workout to speed walkers and people who don’t run… but not to me because I am a purebred runner).  The hills are the only thing that made it more of a workout so I figured that was good enough.  Of course it started snowing as soon as I put my shoes on.  That never stops me and I actually welcomed it this time because it made the walk more challenging.

Up the hill I went.  I was passing other parents who were walking to school.  I even sped by the sidewalk that leads to the school because I had an additional 10 minutes and I needed to make sure I would get a full 30 minute workout.  I couldn’t count on my daughter to walk home fast.  After climbing uphill for quite some time, I started going down.  It was too much for me.  I couldn’t walk down the hill.  I started jogging down the hill.  So, there I was in my jeans and puffy jacket jogging to the school.  It felt more natural to jog.  It was EASIER to jog.

I don’t think I get the art of walking.  I am terrible at it.  I drive my kids (and husband) crazy  with my impatience during our walks together.  I don’t know why I always feel the need to run, but at least I resist the urge when I am in the mall.

When no one is looking…

 

What do you do when no one is watching you workout?  Let’s say you went out for a run, alone.  Do you stop to walk more often than when someone else is with you?  Or do you push yourself harder because you don’t have to worry about slowing down for someone else?  I tend to believe that most people opt for the first option.  It is too easy to just say “the heck with it!” when we are alone and no one is watching.  But, why even workout if you aren’t going to do the best that you can do?  It would almost be a waste of time.

 

A few of you may choose not to go to the gym because you assume that people are watching you and judging you.  Well, don’t get too full of yourself…. people typically have more important things to think about.  And who really cares what someone else thinks?  Isn’t it supposed to be your workout, not theirs?  Everyone has a different strategy and of course we should all know that everybody’s body is different.  I admit that I have often wondered how an overweight person can pass me out on the race course.  Obviously, my running fitness is not as fine tuned as theirs and I have learned that you can never really assume anything.  You can get your rear kicked by anybody.  And the same applies in the opposite situation.  You may see someone at the starting line who appears to be fit as a fiddle, has the so-called runner’s body and all of the most current running gear and gadgets.  Then, the next thing you know, you are flying by them at mile 12.

 

When no one is looking, I try so hard to give it my best, but I must admit that I often fail.  However, yesterday I was on the spinning bike (not in spin class) and I forced myself to sweat bullets.  I didn’t allow any breaks and I pushed through the pain.  I really felt like I had a good workout when I got off that bike.  I was proud that I did that all on my own.

 

I know that I am competitive and that I am most challenged when I am with someone.  I spend some time running and riding with people who are more experienced (and way faster) than me so that I am forced to push myself harder.  It just seems much easier to do that then to try to give myself a stupid “you can do it” peptalk.  Today, during boot camp class, I was in so much pain trying to hold a plank (forever, I swear) and it took everything I had not to let my knees touch the ground because I knew that no one else in the class was going to give up.  It was actually kind of funny because I found myself trying to meditate and breathe evenly and I am not one to do the inner feelings crap like the yogis.  The instructor had said “put that pain in a box and ship it the fuck out of here” (sorry, but those were his exact words).

Then I think about the discipline.  When no one is looking I get my bum out of bed early to go for a run.  When no one is looking, I make the choice to go to the gym.  When no one is looking, I ride 20 miles instead of 10 miles.  When no one is looking, I run up the hills instead of choosing the flatter path.  I think I’m finally getting pretty good at this.  I tell my daughter to “always do the right thing even when no one is looking.”  That is something that we all struggle with.  Take note and try to push yourself a little more the next time you are working out alone.  Or, make the choice to look fear in the face and try working out with someone who is faster or stronger than you.  I get tired of people saying that they wouldn’t want to run with me because I am too fast for them!  That is the whole point!  (And I am really not that fast :).