Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Motivating or Discouraging?

This is a very hard time of year for me. The events that excite me into training are months and months away. The mornings are dark, which makes it hard for me wake up. I barely wake up in time to go to work, let alone to walk the dog or hit the gym. Even though, you have hours in the evening; the darkness at 6 or 7 tricks my mind into thinking it is bedtime. I guess they call it the “winter-time blues”. Whatever you want to call it, it makes staying in shape and staying active very difficult.

I have been working hard to meet my goal. I created a spreadsheet to track my kilometers and keep a goal. I am not doing as well as I would like - just shy of 62 km. As of today, the break down looks like this:

Run - 21 km

Bike - a big fat 0.

Swim - 4.4 km

Walking - 36 km

Clearly, I am doing much more walking than anything else. I was sick most of last week and barely left the house. I am certainly not biking as much as I would like; the cold and snowy weather has intimidated me. I would like to do more running, but I am listening to the physical therapist and taking it easy while perfecting my form.

I was proud of my spreadsheet when I was on track. I opened it up every day, and bragged about it. A coworker friend of mine said, you should add a column that will show you if you are on track. So I did. 2011 km, is about 5.5 km a day. It didn't take long for the "on track" column to grow quickly (148.50km), while my "current total" column is a little stagnant (61.87km).

At first, it was a little bit motivating, causing me to walk or run a little farther. Lately, however, I am beginning to feel a little discouraged - I almost feel as if I am failing at my goal. I know I have plenty of days to catch up. When the days are longer and warmer, it will be easier to log extra km.

And as I look out my window - the snowy thunderstorm about to drop up to 10 inches certainly will not help.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Great Start... Minor Setbacks.

My New Year’s Resolution was 2011 km in the year 2011. I was very excited to get started. I signed up for a 5k Resolution Run and even I made a excel spreadsheet to track my progress. On New Year’s Day, I woke up to walk the dog, and then headed downtown to the park for the 5k. I felt confident that I could run most of the 5k, even though I am slowly rehabbing a foot injury. It was a beautiful 40 degrees, everyone was amazingly friendly and I was wearing my ankle brace.

The first mile was easy – small rolling hills. I had a time under 12 minutes. Just after mile 1, there was a hill. The water at the top was motivation to keep running. Turning the corner, just to see another hill that was both bigger and steeper caught me off guard. I was motivated; I kept pushing. I had to walk a little because my foot began to hurt and I got a cramp in my back. I finished in 36 minutes and 28 seconds. Not my best 5k time, but a great time to keep trying to beat through the rest of the year.

The beginning of the year started off with a bang – a little over 9 km on the first day. I haven’t quite kept up that pace, but I was still on track through the weekend. The first two weeks were tough, the cold and a little snow made it difficult to bike. With the foot issue at the run, I have gone back to the doctor and I am beginning physically therapy for my foot. But, I still feel like I can complete this goal. When the weather warms up and the days are longer, I hope the doctor will clear me to run again and it will be easier for long bike rides.

Current km count = 40km.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Torres del Paine

I am spending the first 11 days of 2011 in South America. Buenos Aires for New Year's, then Iguazu Falls, wine tasting in Mendoza, Argentina and finishing up in Santiago, Chile. However, this is the "non-active" part of my vacation, which started with a backpacking trek in Patagonia. I didn't think it was fair to be 11 days behind in the 2011 in 2011 Challenge due to a vacation that actually included a lot of exercise, so I am going to count my trek, even if it technically happened in the end of 2010.

The trek itself was a circuit around Torres Del Paine National Park that took 8 days and covered roughly 70 miles. The net elevation (highest point - lowest point) is nearly 4000ft, but if you include all the ups and downs in between it's something like 15,000 ft up and down.

It is among the most hard core things I have ever done. It was pretty tough physically -- especially the day which crossed Paso John Gardner, the highest point on the trek -- but what made it even more awesome was the feeling that it was just you against the wind and the mountain. I hiked with my friend Alyssa, and we met another girl named Lisa, so I wasn't completely alone, but we were more or less fending for ourselves -- no tour guide to watch out for us.

We hiked between 4 and 7 hours a day -- usually between 10 and 20 km. Our packs weighed about 25 pounds, and the trek often included climbing over rocks or crossing through streams. By the end I felt a little like superwomen -- my legs were made of steel. I'm hoping those muscles are still around by the time I get home -- I'm going to need them if 2011 in 2011 is going to become a reality!!

Current km count: 113.5