Winter is Different Than Summer

First, check out Hyedi’s blog for a running headband giveaway and Sarah’s blog for a basket full of Hawaiian goodness giveaway.  Although, if you don’t, then my odds of winning go up….

Obviously I have been through winters before.  And obviously I have seen a time change or 60 in my lifetime.  Yet I am sitting here shocked at how much different this time of year is than summer.

I even trained for this same half at this same time last year, but here I am like, “Oh! It’s Dark!” and “Oh! It’s Cold!”

So we’ve had to get creative with our workouts.

The track that we use isn’t lit.  It also is not made of that fancy newfangled track spongy stuff…it’s dirt.  And the last turn is washed out because it is in the middle of a gulch.  It doesn’t rain here just about ever, but erosion has occurred   So running on this track in the dark or without complete sunlight makes the sprinting aspect of the sprinting workout pretty impossible.

So, aside from dragging ourselves out of a warm bed (is this even a realistic option?) before work, we are doomed to the treadmill.

Fact: one of the busiest weekends at the gym is the week before Thanksgiving.

For some reason, I always feel really self conscious when sprinting on the gym treadmill.  It makes this really obnoxiously loud BOOM BOOM BOOM noise, generating annoyed stares from the people there to walk in peace.

On Tuesday we braved the BUSY gym and did a 5 minute warm-up, then sprinted for 1 minute/walked for 1 minute for a total of 20 minutes before our cool down.  I was hitting between 6/6:10 minute mile pace during the sprints.  I would like to be at about a 5:30 sprint pace by the end of this training cycle.

I do think that sprinting on the treadmill is easier than being in the real world, BUT the treadmill doesn’t let you slow down, and keeping up with the pace is essential if you don’t want to be launched back into the wall/the nice walker behind you.

We followed the sprint workout with plyometrics.  This isn’t something I’ve done too much of in the past, but according to coach Aaron, plyometrics increase your eccentric load (I THINK) giving you more of that explosive energy needed for speed.  Wikipedia says, “plyometric exercises use explosive, fast-acting movements to develop muscular power and to improve overall speed.”  Meanwhile, all the cross fit people are sitting there saying DUH.

We looked kinda like these people.

Basically, we ventured deep into the weight lifting area, and jumped onto a box and jumped off it.  All the meatheaded weight lifters were giving us weird looks (Why these people jump?  Jumping no give big muscle….I always give meatheaded weight lifters cave men accents).

In addition to more gym speed training, we’re having to cram in 3 weeks of “Amy doesn’t want to DNF in the indoor tri” training.

For the next few weeks, Wednesdays will be our Spin It To Win It day which is a fancy way of saying that I’m trying to  master the art of spin biking.  Yesterday was spin class #2 for the year and today I’m feeling the saddle soreness.  At least I think that’s what it’s called.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Spinning really works out muscles that I must not use very often because I was having a hard time sprinting up the imaginary muddy hills that the instructor kept leading us through.

There is work to be done here.

There is also work to be done on indoor tri logistics.  Aaron doesn’t seem to think that the transition area will include locker room access meaning no changing that requires privacy.  As a girl of ….um…a certain size I can’t really run without a sports bra.  An option I suppose is to wear a sports bra over a swim suit and remove as necessary (and deal with the fact that this will look completely ridiculous).  I’ve been trying to research swimsuits, but I haven’t found any yet with the support I need.  I haven’t looked into full tri suits (I kind of don’t want to buy something that I may only use once), but apparently they take the whole issue into consideration.

So, that’s where we’re at.  Today is more speed work, tomorrow is yoga, and this weekend is our long run and intense swimming crash course.

THANKS FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT on my indoor tri.  I feel silly for being so nervous about it especially since it really isn’t half as scary as an outdoor sprint.  We’ll see how it goes.

Happy Thursday! (Also, I wrote this REALLY fast today, so I didn’t edit.  I don’t even want to know how many mistakes you can find).

 

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Bitterness Toward the Snow that Infringed Upon my Sunshine

(UPDATE: Since posting this, reports of two devestating tornadoes hitting Dallas have surfaced.  Obviously this makes my weather complaints a little overdramatic.  I hope all of you Dallas peeps are ok.  My thoughts are with you).

I knew it was too good to be true.

The last two weeks have been perfect with none of the typical March wind.  Just glorious, perfect 75-80 degree sunshine. We’ve dined al fresco, brought out the summer clothes, and put bad thoughts about the mean cold behind us.

{Taken less than 48 hours ago when we sat outside in our summer clothes at the winery}

Because the weather had been so nice,  last weekend we went to Lowe’s and went a little plant crazy. Aaron let out his inner farmer and got all sorts of veggie seeds, and I pretended that we didn’t live in the barren desert and bought some tropical plants for the yard (if you water them enough it should work, right?).

{Only appropriate that I have a lavender plant I think}

Last summer was kind of a garden dud.  Albuquerque had one of the coldest winters on record after a few weeks of warm (in other words, plants came out of hibernation and then froze to death) followed by one of the driest summers on record (we had no moisture for about 3 months straight and when it did rain, it was more of a spit).  Plus, we had  just gotten a puppy whose whole purpose in the dog world is to dig out mice from the ground (but really, he’ll dig holes for any reason). So, not only did we not have a garden, but whatever plants/trees we did have pretty much decided to head to the great big nursery in the sky.

But this year was different.  We were going to have an amazing backyard and host amazing backyard parties, and everything would be perfect. 

But the weather decided to throw us for a loop.

We’ve been watching the temperature closely these last few days.  Since Sunday night, the highs have dropped about 20 degrees, but the lows were staying in the high 30’s. I figured we (and our little veggies) would be ok.

All was good until I woke up this morning to SNOW!

Not just a few flakes here and there.  This by far is the most snow we’ve had all year.

I went into full on panic mode this morning and did a frantic rescue effort.  I ran outside in whatever clothes I found first on the floor (sorry you had to see that, neighbor lady).  The tomatoes, ferns, and strawberries got hauled inside.  The veggie garden got covered with every spare blanket and towel I could find.  Poor Giuseppe even had to sacrifice his blanket to the cause (he wasn’t too happy about it).   

Then, after trying to organize the frizzy hair mess into a bun, I had to pull out some winter weather gear (my body did not like the idea of being stuffed into skinny jeans and boots after living in skirts and dresses) while trying to stop Giuseppe from eating the plants that are  now taking up my living room.

Our run tonight might be very muddy and cold.  I’m already dreading it.  And making up excuses to sit on the couch with some soup and a snuggly blanket…if only they weren’t all keeping the lettuce sprouts warm.

And if this wasn’t crazy enough, tomorrow is supposed to be back up to 70.

DUMB.

Also dumb are my protective instincts toward plants. 

And, in case you were wondering, I didn’t win the lotto (or even get two right numbers on the same ticket).  If I had, I would be at some lovely beach resort instead of blogging during lunch in winter wonderland.  I’m pretty bitter toward machine generated lotto numbers right about now.  Guess I’ll have to buy that DeLorean some other day.

And Then it Snowed

Sometimes (but not very often), it snows and sticks in Albuquerque.  This weekend it actually snowed twice which is a Christmas miracle! While I’ve made no attempt to hide my discontent over cold weather, I am amazed how even just small amounts of snow can make an ugly, dirty world look magical.

For a few days, the weatherman had been warning us about massive amounts of snowfall…I would say we got less than a quarter inch at our house and it melted before 10 on both mornings, but on our Saturday and Sunday runs we were able to run through a sparkly, frosty wonderland.  And all reports point to another snowstorm tonight into tomorrow.

We’ve also spent hours taking pictures of it.

What?

I was outside in my robe and flip flops on Friday night experimenting with the camera.  Saturday morning we tried to get Giuseppe to pose cutely.  He was more interested in snow digging.  We repeated the whole thing last night and this morning.  These are some of the 100 pictures we took.  (Really, we are pretty snow deprived).   My favorite are the long exposure pictures like the one above taken at about 10 p.m.