Training Log… Date Unknown!!!

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Okay, okay, I haven’t done the best at keeping up with my training log. Truth be told, I fell off the wagon considerably. But I kept following the wagon as it trundled down the road, and eventually I sort of hauled myself back onto it in a less than dignified manner, and am at least there if not in the form and function I hoped.

Lots of change in the air. Running around my neighborhood in Minneapolis as the snow melted, I realized that this is not a great place for me and the dogs. Ophelia now is strong and bigger than Hooch, and she also loves street food. Like street pizza. Or street squirrels. Or street poop. She eats it all. No discrimination. We play a constant game of “can I consume this before my human makes me drop it or scoops it out of my mouth?” Also, the girls have some allergies, and I think it’s about the city air. We live right next to a freeway, which just can’t do them any favors.

So, back to Alaska we go! Ophelia has landed a job as a tour dog on the Denver glacier this summer with Riley Dyche, a good friend and great musher. Hooch will be on couch assignment with another friend in Fairbanks. I think she’ll be relieved to have a break from her offspring. Their relationship has looped back to one where Hooch just endures Ophelia, and Ophelia just wants to hang off Hooch’s ears. Don’t get me wrong. They still love each other. But. Hooch will appreciate an extended spa day.

I fly them up on Alaska Airlines next Friday. I’ll drive up to Fairbanks, see some friends, drop off the dogs, and then spend a week with my parents. It will be great to be back in the 49th state. I’m hoping to climb some mountains, do a little hiking, and generally enjoy nature and friends. And Turkey Red. (Best restaurant ever, in case you don’t know.)

Then I’ll be back to Minneapolis to be with my personfriend, enjoy some summer sun, and prepare for the next big step– moving to Fairbanks! I’m ironing out details, but the move is on the move. Or at least it’s pretty imminent. I’m excited. I’m finally aiming for what I have dreamed of my whole life, building my small kennel. I don’t have huge aspirations, but I want to run Iditarod, and I’m excited to do it in my own style. Nervous too, let’s not kid ourselves, but mostly pretty stoked. This coming year or two I’ll have and raise pups, get to know the Fairbanks area a little better, and start building ATAO Kennel. When the pups are yearlings or two year olds, we’ll do some mid distance races, and when they are three, the goal is Iditarod. So– big plans. We’ll see.

But oops, this is supposed to be a training log…

So… for now, I have been running the girls every morning. Last weekend I got myself out on a solo run, because it was too hot for the dogs, and it felt great. I intended to go 3 miles but ended up doing 5. I kept a decent pace (right in what I used to train for), and felt good. I’m getting back into the habit of running. Running with the dogs is still hard on my legs but we have been doing short runs (we also have to keep it short cuz it’s HOT for these guys!), and just a lot of them. Today is the first day I haven’t run with them in the last week maybe. We’ll take a rest day and then hit the pavement early tomorrow morning.

Okay, not the most comprehensive log… Just what’s up. I am still running. Still adventuring. And back here to tell you about it, I guess. Thanks to some accountability buddies for keeping me going. Eleanor keeps me boxing. We box twice a week even if we don’t want to. Alycia inspires me to keep running. We have talked about all kinds of things and can relate to wanting to run and not wanting to run. And running anyway. Shawn Goggins gently encourages me to get my shoes on and go out the door even if I don’t feel like it. And the dogs require me to get my butt in gear.

I’ll update more about Alaska visits and impending plans…


Training Log 2/26 – 3/3

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Okay, real talk today.


So I’m famous now! My debut as a podcast guest has aired here. It’s about… Periods! I never thought I’d be interviewed about that. Ha. It’s quite timely, though, because this week has been a hell of PMS.


My friend Whitney, who recorded the podcast, added in a section after our interview about PMDD. I didn’t even really know what that was until she mentioned it, but once I looked it up, I was like– Whoa that’s me. As I mention in the the episode, my PMS strikes hard. This is when depression and hopelessness and general lack of perspective really rule my brain. It’s also when it’s the very hardest to put my running shoes on.


I didn’t stick as arduously to my routine this week. I’m gonna give myself something of a pass (because my other MO is to beat myself up about it, and none of us need that). But I am going to look at where and why I skipped some stuff, how my workouts went, and what I want to do better. Accountability!


On Saturday the 25th (technically last week, but I did my training log early last week), I did a 4 mile run. It was slow and stedy but I kicked its butt. That was at a cabin in Wisconsin some friends and I visited. I ran among the fields. It was awesome to be out of the city, even if farms feel pretty city-ish to this Alaskan.


I will admit on this 4 miler I was a bit hungover. The friends and I enjoyed a lovely friday night involving a lot of wine and board games, and, probably unwisely, a big bonfire. This was the first time I managed to get a hangover for about a decade. Good times. However, I’ve always found that exercise really does help me sweat things out. Headache and nausea aside, I tied up my shoes and took em out for a stroll. It was slow but good for me. I felt better after. Make note!


I also threw in a quick boxing workout when I got back, doing some jumprope and the weight routine I learned at Mark’s Boxing Gym.


I did a 3 mile run with the dogs the next day, just cuz, and that felt great. We also went for a little hike at Taylor’s Falls on the way back home, which was more excercise in the form of resisting Ophelia (who has become giant and very strong) yanking me around everywhere.


The Monday after I got back ended up being much busier than expected. I did my scheduled 3 mile run at a good pace, but didn’t get in my 30 min of boxing. I hoped to push that to Tuesday but then the avalanche of waiting til tomorrow began.


Tuesday I did go for another run with with dogs. Ophelia especially is getting more and more ansty as she grows into her dog body and wants to do the one thing thousands of years of evolution and breeding have selected for her to do: RUN!!! However, she is also really really strong now. Up to this point it has been okay for me to run with the two dogs. I used to run with Hooch alone frequently, back in the day. With her and Ophelia it was obviously a little tougher, but it was working pretty well. I use a skijour belt to distribute the pulling against my body. My running style is drastically different from regular running. It’s like running down a very very steep hill. You have to throw all of your weight backwards.


The dogs are at a point now where I cannot keep excellent control of them when I have them both on leash! When I am walking them, there are times where if they both decide to throw their weight against me, they will drag me where they want to go. This bodes well for my future sled dog team! But it is difficult for walks, and now, it is really really hard on my legs during runs.


On Wednesday, I didn’t run, partially because I felt crummy mentally, partially because I’d done an “extra” run Tuesday (even though it was with the dogs!), partially because my legs were starting to hurt. I played basketball but wasn’t at my peak. I could really feel my legs. It felt like I was getting shin splints again, which I haven’t had since high school. I am sure this is due to the situation with the dogs.


Thursday, I had a real battle with myself. I did NOT want to run. I knew I had to to make up for missing a run Wednesday, but I was fighting it. Ophelia was also extra extra pesky. She needed a workout bad. Finally, I compromised with myself and took just Ophelia on a run. This was easier to manage, but she still pulls harder than Hooch. Hooch has learned over many years to keep up a steady trot. Ophelia just wants to GO. So even though it was just her, it was still pretty high impact. Another note– I live right in the city, so I’m running completely on pavement. There are some places I could drive to to get to more trail based running, but my option here is pretty much sidewalk or pavement.


I did do a good boxing workout Thursday night. I have been doing a lot better at pushing myself in boxing. I hold myself to the same standard as I hold my friends who are working out with me. I feel good about what I’ve been doing with that.


Friday I did a short (2.5) mile run with my person-friend, Shawn. They run at a slower pace than I normally do, which was excellent for me. My legs were still really bothering me. Doing a short and slow run warmed them up and actually made them feel a lot better.


Saturday I was supposed to do a run. Did I? No. I had a lot of social things, but the truth is, I just put it off. Sunday, same story. In my defense, I did start getting really sick on Sunday– I caught a plague that’s going around. But is that a real excuse? No way. I have done things way effing tougher than go on a run when I’ve been sick. So that’s a pretty lame cop out.


Here’s advice: don’t put things off!!! Once you do, it starts a cascade. I know, because I do this all the time. This week was a perfect example. At first, I kept pushing workouts to the next day, and then I gave myself a pass on one workout and it gave me permission to not do any workouts. This, coupled with my impending PMS, was really tough to fight.


As I mark this stuff down, I see the run I really missed was my big weekend run. I have definitely been feeling a lot of guilt about that. It’s a really tricky balance between accountability and shame. I need to work on being accountable but not flogging myself with guilt. It’s not really useful.


The weekend was also stressful because Hooch got an infected anal gland. This had to be lanced by the vet ($$$). I felt like I should have caught this earlier (I should have), and it also made me worry a lot about money. Moving down here and being in the city has been really hard financially. Those who know me know I am not the most sensible about money. I got into a pretty good guilt spiral about that yesterday… And I also realized that I am PMSing really hard, and tend to beat myself up for things and lose hope about things. Yesterday when I was going through that, I made the choice to NOT make any big choices. That took some of the pressure off. When I get in that zone, I tend to think I need to make all the big life choices RIGHT THEN to solve the pain. But without perspective I tend to make unreasonable choices which can come back to bite me in the butt.


So that was my week in training. It’s good to see I did keep hitting the pavement. Today I am slated to go for a run. I have already put it off– but I made an agreement with myself that I will do it this afternoon. It’s sunny and clear out, and even fairly warm, so I should take my lunch break soon and hit the road.


Resetting the clock for this week!




(PS if you dig this… eg if you were one of the intrepid few who made it this far in this novel… click here and like my Facebook page. I’ll be posting pics and– I promise– shorter updates about my training!)

Training Log: Intro and Log 1

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So in amongst angsty posts, I plan to intersperse some training logs.


I talked about routine and habits in my last post, and how essential those are to my mental health. Knowing this, and being aware of my own precariously unhappy brain, I set about a week ago to get myself back in training.


I’ve been running throughout the winter, but almost exclusively with the dogs. This is a totally different style of running. Because the dogs are so strong, I work a lot to resist their pull, which means instead of my calves and quads working hard, my hamstrings and shins bear the brunt of the work (or at least this is my assessment based on what’s sore after I run!), and I also absolutely do not have to work as hard when the dogs are pulling– They take on a lot of my weight, they give me inertia. It’s awesome and I can go FAST, but if I want to accomplish some of my own race goals and keep myself in true top form, solely running with the dogs isnt’ going to cut it. I need to pull my own weight!


So I need to figure out a way to accomplish both giving the dogs the appropriate amount of exercise (whether that’s running “bonus runs” with me or free running, or both!), and to give myself what I need.


This isn’t just running. Running is huge for me, but I also really love and need the hardcore workout that is boxing. The combo of these two activities seems to be my sweet spot, for now. It’s my favorite method of being in training.


“You’re in training” is a phrase that works for me. I have a lot of goals in my life but my depression can severely truncate any motivation. So I have to find things that do push me, that make me take that next step forward. (I actually think some of my motivators are problematic in nature, but that’s a post for another time.)


This is what’s working for me. My alarm clock says “you’re in training” when I wake up. When I’m running or working the heavy bag, this is what I think and it gives me extra oomph.


What am I in training for? Hmm, that’s a good question. I have some ideas but they aren’t yet fully formed. Because I knew I needed first and foremost to adjust my routine, I created a training plan for myself just for one month. This plan will get me back up to relatively longer miles, and get me in the habit of boxing four times a week.


I’ll make a weekly post about how things are going. This is not just to torture you with boredom, but to hold myself accountable, reflect on things and worked and those that didn’t, and process what I can do better.


Here’s my training log so far for this week:


The Plan


My plan started on Saturday, but after this week, I’ll consider my week to start on Sunday. I set myself up with 5 runs from Saturday – Saturday to get myself back in the saddle. (That’s an 8 day week– So 5 days of running and 3 days off.) I set myself up with two intense boxing workouts (90 min each), which I do with a couple friends in the boxing gym I set up in my basement, and a couple “quick boxes” to do along side running days– Where I can do a shorter boxing routine that still helps me stay conditioned and builds muscle. My eventual goal with this is that I’ll do 4 full boxing workouts a week.


Quick shout out to two folks who have been hugely instrumental in my training in general, and have taught me what works best for my body. For boxing, I use the training routine I learned in Mark’s Boxing Gym. It’s an awesome workout, keeps me conditioned, and pushes me. I owe Mark a big debt for teaching me this circuit and helping me learn I could accomplish it. I’m excited to get back up to Alaska soon and back into MBG when I can. For running, Kate Arnold from Active Soles Performance Footwear got me to the point of running 26 miles on my own two feet this past summer. These folks are my mentors and I’m so grateful to what I’ve learned from them. I’ll also probably be pestering them for advice and insight.


The Execution


Here’s how my plan has gone so far this week.


My first day, Saturday, I had a 3 mile run planned. I didn’t give myself any big expectations as far as speed, because it has been so long since I last ran on my own. It was a gorgeous day– 60 degrees in February! I got up at 8:00 (“You’re in training!” said my clock) and got ready to hit the pavement. I always have anxiety and resistance to running before every single run. I used to have so much anxiety I would get physically sick. I’ve really come a long way in overcoming that, but some of it is still there. The thing that gets me out the door is putting on my shoes. If I can trick myself into getting dressed (I don’t think about WHY I’m getting dressed in these athletic clothes), then when I’m ready, my brain says… “Oh… I guess we’re dressed for this. Might as well.” I also have a delay start on my running app, MapMyRun. I start the timer with a 5 minute delay as I’m putting on my shoes. That sets things up so that when I walk out the door, I can move around a bit, stretch, or just walk, until the app voice coach says, “Start your workout.”


This three mile run was tough. I could really tell it had been a good while since I had gotten out on my own feet. I definitely have gained some weight over the winter (pretty normal for me, unless I’m mushing), and I could feel it. I tried to think light, easy thoughts and take light, easy steps. Learning to run with a quick, short-stepped cadance was huge when I started training for my first half marathon three years ago. I had always run with long, heavy strides. Short, light steps are the key to long distance– at least for me.


I sweat and suffered through that three miles, but I made it. My time was even half decent, if I recall. I felt great.


I have a routine after running now where I take a bath right away. I’m horrible at stretching, though I’ve gotten better in my old age because I have to. Stretching and then taking a hot bath helps keep my muscles limber and happy, and so far injury free. I’m awesome at pushing myself way too hard and ending up hurt and off my feet. Moderation does not come easy to me, but I’m trying!


Sunday I originally planned to do a short boxing routine and rest from running, but life transpired and I had to push the boxing to Monday.


Monday it was rainy, but I got out for another 3-miler. This one was easier! The rain was nice. I went down to my basement boxing set up and did a quick short routine right away, while I was still warmed up from running. Good quick workout! I didn’t do as much as I had wanted but let that be okay.


Tuesday night I had my longer boxing workout with my buddies. This went really well. I had been slacking off on these workouts, but I determined to push hard and my friend Whitney and I had a really good workout. Buddies are good to get a little competition going and push each other to do our best. I think we both ended that workout feeling it!


Wednesday I jumped up to a 5 mile run. I was a little nervous about if I could do this, since the two 3-milers were a lot harder than I expected! But I went for it and had an awesome run in the sunset. I don’t always run exclusively in the morning or afternoon. I do have to coorinate my eating around running or my workout, or else I’ll have a terrible stomach experience. I have to have at least 2 hours of not eating before a workout– more is better. Morning workouts are good but sometimes it doesn’t work out for me. Wednesday morning I met with a friend, so my workout was slated for the afternoon. I procrastinated right until the sunset, but it was a beautiful run. Then I went home, stretched, and hopped in a really hot bath. My legs were sore but I felt great. Wednesday nights I go to basketball. This was right after my bath– so about an hour break between running and basketball. I a
te a banana and granola bar, because I was definitely hungry durning my run, but I didn’t want to eat anything heavy before playing ball. I played basketball with friends for a good 30 – 45 min. I love basketball and although I may not have a lot of skill, I hustle. Thanks to the bath I didn’t feel too stiff.


I think moving again a couple hours after my run was really good for me. I’m surprisingly un-sore today. I think I’m doing a good job easing myself back into training. Typically when I amp my exercise back up I do some suffering the first week, during the workouts and after too, being sore. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at with this. It’s not to say I don’t feel it. I have some soreness. Having a bath available to me is pretty huge. Trying to be deliberate about what I’m eating, and working really hard about drinking a LOT of water (for me) has probably helped too.


Tonight I have another intense boxing workout, and tomorrow I have a 4 mile run planned. My eight-day week will end on Saturday with one more 4 miler. I have the urge to jump right up to 7 miles, because mentally I know I can do it, but I also know that’s probably not smart with my body. Next week I’ll operate on a similar pattern, and do a longer run of 6 miles next Saturday.


I’ll be doing my boxing routine on my own tonight, without my buddy to help push me, but I have to be accountable and push just as hard as if someone was watching. I’m in training!


I know there are some other folks out there who have shared their own training programs or goals with me! I appreciate the accountability. It inspires me to hear what you’re up to! Feel free to comment below with your own plans for this month!