Closing the Gap: Week 1 (AKA Base building)

Oh winter, you torment me EVERY year. We are currently coming off the highest snow accumulation totals in Boston coming in at 73.9 inches. HOLY! I’ve got to be honest…

I’m in a giant funk.

February, you can leave now. Nobody likes you here. And take your snow with you.

Things at my job have unfortunately not slowed down as I had anticipated, but instead they have actually gotten even more busy and complicated! I feel extremely deflated, frustrated and just plain tired. On top of the weather and job burnout, my husband has been traveling for work so much recently that it’s made these cold winter days very lonely. It’s been easy to get home, put PJs on and go to bed at 8pm. I have been trying to fight this funk with every fiber of my being, but in the end I lose the battle. I could name a million reasons for why I can make excuses, but it’s not acceptable. The upside is that while my back does not feel 100% and these snow storms have limited my ability to visit my chiropractor, I feel good. It’s refreshing to not feel like my body is revolting against me. I really should be ready to dive into training head first, but clearly I need to turn this funk around. 

I recently read Burn Your Goals on my mini get away to Arizona with my mother. As a whole, I thought the book was a great approach to being successful whether it be in sports, your career, and life. They emphasize “trusting the process” over focusing on winning or achieving a very specific goal.

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This is particularly applicable to an endurance sport like triathlon, so I’m trying to incorporate these tips into my training this year. There are a few quotes from the book that really resonated with me, but the most powerful one is: 

I want to know what you are committed to doing with your 24 hours a day to close the gap between who you are and where you want to be.

What am I doing now to close that gap? Right now, wallowing. Sure, it might keep me warm and toasty, but is it going to help my swim, bike and run game come race season? NO. Is it going to lead to the elusive perfect job where I feel fulfilled but, most importantly also not over worked (not convinced that exists)? Most certainly not. I’ve decided that whenever this evil funk comes creeping back into my life I am going to ask myself “what are you doing to close the gap?”

Monday

No work out.

Snow Day. Oh, winter depression! I thought an article from Boston.com really hit the nail on the head in listing “The Stages of Grief: New England Winter Edition”. On the plus side, I absolutely crushed cleaning, laundry and other household chores.

Tuesday

45 minute trainer ride in Z3

Snow Day, 45 minute great trainer ride – focused on HR riding in Z3 as much as possible for some aerobic conditioning with some hills worked in. Ah sweating!

That evening my triathlon team had it’s annual New Member Party that had unfortunately been postponed due to the snow storms. It was great to meet some of the new members, talk about the team, what races everyone has planned for the upcoming season and get psyched for the year ahead. I could feel the excitement building and the fire coming back. Definitely the kick in the you know what that I needed.

Some of the new members of the 2015 BTT rookie class

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Wednesday

45 Minutes of home core fusion work out and lots of yoga and stretching

Back to the office. 

Thursday

45 Minute trainer ride: intervals 

I work at a school and WOW, the amount of snow that has accumulated on the playgrounds is just mind boggling. I wish I had a before picture of this! I came home and knocked out 45 minute intervals ride on the trainer. 

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In the trainer zone!

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Friday 

Easy treadmill run + Swim

No work out. Sad Panda

My husband got back into town late Thursday night and when he is in town I try to drop him off downtown so we can squeeze a little extra time in together. I was so excited to catch up with him on what is normally a 5-10 minute drive, but about a half a mile from our apartment we came to a complete dead stop and stayed there for nearly an hour. With a conference call looming and no end in sight, we decided to turn around and work from home. Making it the third day at home this week.

Just a few trucks as we turned around…

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When I got home I checked twitter and apparently an 18 wheeler hit a city bus because the roads are so narrow due to snow banks. GREAT. I had planned to do an easy run and swim at the gym after work, but given the traffic and parking struggles, I knew it wasn’t realistic. Rob and I had dinner plans with some friends that evening, so we decided to punt on workouts and focus on the weekend.

Saturday

45 minute Pilates Megaformer class at Btone Fitness + 35 minute easy trainer ride

I returned back to my favorite pilates studio, Btone fitness. I first visited Btone before my wedding in 2012 and absolutely loved their “megaformer” core work out. The reason I haven’t been back is that classes are a bit pricey (but worth it) and not terribly convenient to my apartment or job. Despite those challenges, I enjoy how these classes complement my swim/bike/run workouts and when I noticed they had a New Years deal for 10 classes back in December and I decided to jump on it! I was a bit nervous that I would be absolutely dying, but I actually felt very strong the entire class. We did a variety of core, leg and arm strengthening and toning exercises over a 45 minute class.

Here is the description from the Btone website:

Our signature classes, available at all of our studio locations, are our TONE classes. During these classes we combine Strength, Endurance, Cardio, Balance, and Flexibility in not only 1 class but in EACH AND EVERY MOVE through the use of the state of the art Megaformer. It combines the strengthening and toning benefits of weight training and the lengthening and postural enhancing benefits of Pilates in a circuit training sequence. Classes keep the heart rate up and burn extra calories, making it a great cardio workout as well. The routines incorporate old-school exercises such as pushups and lunges with brand new moves reserved for the Megaformer. The support of the machine allows you to get an intense workout with low impact on your joints. It provides maximum results in minimal time and will be sure to leave you hopelessly addicted with its always-changing routines,fun music, and atmosphere.

There were a few newcomers in the class and the instructor Jody made a point to explain everything in detail so no one felt lost. I am already contemplating how to incorporate this into my fitness and training cycles moving forward. 

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Afterwards, I decided to hit the trainer at home, I did a fairly easy Z3 aerobic ride for 35 minutes. It felt nice to balance out the toning core work with some good old fashioned sweating.

Saturday afternoon Rob and I went to our nephew’s second birthday party. What a cutie! I can’t believe how fast our nieces and nephew are growing up. So much giggling, laughing and joy. Being an aunt is just the best 🙂 

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With another winter storm already underway, Rob and I decided to raid the grocery store in order to stock up for the 12-22 inches that was forecasted for Sunday-Tuesday.

Sunday

Slow 60 minute run + swim practice 

1 hour of shoveling + 30 minutes of stretching and core work

My alarm went off just before 7am as I had plans to meet my friend Alexis for a easy hour run and then Cambridge Masters swim practice. I popped out of bed and checked the conditions outside, there was at least another 4-6 inches of snow on the ground and it was snowing pretty hard. I could literally hear my heart SINK. I texted back and forth with Alexis and decided that I was going to pass in fear of the conditions on the road and parking challenges I would face coming back. I cannot tell you how incredibly frustrating it is to constantly have extreme weather greatly interfere or cancel my workouts. Rob and I then decided to take a chance on an unshoveled spot on our street and shoveled wet and icy snow for over an hour. That is something, right?!

My neighborhood during a break in the snow action

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This is the scene on literally every street corner

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After running some errands on foot due to conditions, later on that afternoon I received word that my school had yet another snow day. The 5th snow day in three weeks! Rob and I decided to make the best of it and have some wine and italian meats we picked up from our favorite local specialty shop, American Provisions

Extra time with this guy is always a treat <3

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So that is it, not exactly the week I had in mind but at least I turned my whole mental game around, got some fairly decent trainer and home core workouts in. I was really sad and frustrated that I wasn’t able to run or swim, the roads are so horrible that I was nervous I would get hit by a car if I ran, and the conditions of the roads for getting to 5:30am swim practice were less than ideal. Note to self: next year move to the suburbs and buy a Subaru. I am crossing my fingers and sending no snow vibes to mother nature in hopes that I can resume a normal swim and run schedule to complement my time on the trainer. And as if I needed another reminder…

I want to know what you are committed to doing with your 24 hours a day to close the gap between who you are and where you want to be.

Weekly Totals:

  • Cycling: 2 hours and 5 minutes 
  • Core/stretching: 2 hours
  • Shoveling: 1 hour 
  • Swimming: 0
  • Running: 0 

How do you overcome training challenges? What are your favorite at home workouts?