Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Eclipsing The Lists

Christmas has eclipsed my existence for now. In the form of lists.

I make lists on an hourly basis. There's the list for the gifts purchased and wrapped. The gifts outstanding. The schedule this week for where and when I'll buy the things on that second list. There's a list of groceries to make cookies for the office and what to pack for my trip down south.

The lists are on 5 x 8 cards on my work desk. They're jammed in my driver's side door pocket, with an attached pen for good measure. They're folded in my purse.

Oh. There are Lists. They are everywhere. But such is the holiday.

So far, this is the strangest Christmas ever for me. My father has moved from our family home of 20 years (in our home town of 35 years) to Williamsburg, VA.

Beautiful at Christmas, but a god awful long trip away.

So instead of our normal holiday festivities in our normal home with the normal good cheer and heart warming feelings, I'm packing everyone's gifts Thursday morning and driving for 8 hours to a brand new home. Erg.

We're going to have to make it our job to craft some warm and fuzzy moments in the new house. Pronto.

This year, Mighty M and I decided to not put a tree up, which has made me a bit sad and kind of curmudgeonly. There was simply no time to get it up before it was time to attend our relocated holiday down south. No sense in having a tree up in an empty house, right?



You can see why I'm a little grumpy.

BUT. It's still the holiday and I've been exceptionally blessed with not one, but TWO great families, so I'll stop my grumbling about a tree and the travel.

What I have found that will eclipse the list making and taking and stashing is training.

Training is the answer, folks.

My big weekend last weekend was almost shmushed by the holiday spirit, but I managed to wrangle my BIG brick on Sunday out from under the wrapping paper and broken tape dispensers.

And I know I've said it before and at some point I'll just shut up about it, but having a coach plan my training is like the best present EVAH. A year ago I would have done the brick like this...

Sleep the night before would have been marginal, at best. Why? Because I always knew in the back of my mind that the next day was stoptional. If I stopped wanting to do it, I just wouldn't do it and fashion some reason why I skipped out of the training ether.

But when I would do a brick, I would pop on the bike, put it in a gear that was a challenge but tolerable for a long time. And then go...just in that gear...for the whole time. Period. Almost as boring as this post is.

And then, hop off for a run. Likely I would slug it out with sloppy form and focus on the distance and time, rather than the quality of the exercise.

Afterwards, I would feel accomplished but achy, likely because I didn't hydrate properly during and was working off of an "eh" diet. I may have finished a long session, but I didn't really build my engine all that much.

It wasn't the worst training in the world -- I built some level of fitness with that time -- but it was far from smart. And I want to be smart. S.M.R.T. Smart. So, with the Elf's help, now my training is a little more like this....

I wake up from a full night's sleep because I know I'll be doing the brick the next day and I know there are few excuses that count anymore. And, yes, I hem and haw about it for a while. Just getting a coach did not make me a training angel -- sometimes I still have hours when I bounce around the house dreading the impending pain. The big difference now is that I don't barter with myself on ways to skip. I just bounce until I give up and justtrainalready.

I hit the bike with good nutrition in my belly and hydration for the ride. (In fact, this is a newly acquired habit after I saw the crazy increase in heart rate for rides that I would do without fluid. Who knew my little basement would cause all that sweating!?) On the aero's, I have a detailed sheet with my tasks -- warm up for 30 minutes with some spin ups thrown in there, 20 minutes in a big gear @ 90 rpms, spin it out, 20 minutes in a bigger gear @ 85 rpms, spin it out, remaining in small @ 95+. You get the picture. An hour and a half of solid work.

I hop...I mean HOP...off the bike and take the transition seriously. Why? Because I want to make sure my legs have the benefit of as many bricks as possible. Why? Because I want to win next year. Nothing fancy like age group, but I want to win. And PR. And I do that by not messing around in my basement doing transitions in December. PERIOD.

Then it's time for the treadmill. I watch my heart rate carefully, because I have zones to stay within today. It means changing up the intensity when my ticker gets a little excited. It means slowing to a walk by the end to make sure that I stay in my proper zones. It's NOT about the mileage or the pace. For this brick it's about other things.
So, that's what my Sunday was like. And I lurved it. Every moment. And for that lovely 2 hours, I forgot all about my Christmas-tree-less living room covered in wrapping paper bits. And I forgot about the tapped checking and savings account. And I forgot about the Lists...the many, many lists.

You gotta love training during the holidays!


Curly Su said...

ahh, sounds great. i've got to get myself in that frame of mind...

Wes said...

I do lurve training during the holidays. Last year, I took my bike on Christmas vacation with me :-) Too bad VA is still way TOO cold!!

Robyn said...

Amen! I'm back to base training -- it's reall sanity training, especially this time of the year. ...and a coach IS the best present I ever got myself, too!

Laurie said...

I'm glad your training is keeping you sane, along with keeping your lists from chasing you down :)

Jessi said...

I have a question, maybe this is a silly question, but it is a sincere question! I'm a little confused by when you said "Because I want to win next year. Nothing fancy like age group, but I want to win. And PR." At first I thought well maybe when she says "win" she means PR. But then you clarified that winning was in addition to PR. So if you don't want to win your AG, what do you want to win? Or is it more metaphorical?

IM Able said...


Hi! Couldn't find your direct email, so maybe you'll check back here for the answer.

One of my goals for the coming year is to win in the Athena category, both in individual races and I'd like to sweep the MidAtlantic Multisport Series held by a large local race company. So the "win" I'm talking about is that -- Athena category placement. Thanks for asking!