Sunday, December 29, 2013

challenging week

It was a challenging week. Vacation is always interesting - with more opportunities, but also more difficulties.

The soccer game on Sunday with Calvin did change my week a bit. It definitely left me sore and off-kilter, and then I followed that up with a hilly walk Monday (which actually was good, in retrospect). After that I felt I needed a day off racewalking, so I used the hotel elliptical. Big mistake. It was so different from the ellipticals at my gym! I don't know what it was about the angle of the foot plates or something - but it used my calf muscles way way more than I am used to. By that evening they were screaming, and continued to be excruciatingly painful for several days. It hurt just to walk across a room. A lot. They were tender to the touch and extremely sensitive. This left me in a quandary. I wanted to exercise - let's face it, food was going to be difficult this week, and exercise was essential - but exercise was also painful.

If you have been reading this blog any length of time, you won't be surprised that I went out and exercised anyway. Mentally, I needed it. It was painful, but on Christmas Day (Wednesday), I race walked 6.86km at a slow 6:55/km pace. My average HR was only 136 --- you can see that the problem was my sore legs, not my cardiac conditioning! To make matters worse, I had consumed a fair amount of chocolate prior to going out (hey, it was Christmas!), and I got nauseated about 2/3 of the way into my walk. That slowed me even more, but I was still glad I went out. When I got back to my brother's house (we were visiting him in northern California), my mom wanted to go for a casual walk with me. I rested up for a bit and the nausea subsided and then enjoyed a very nice walk with her. The weather was SO lovely - mid 60s (17C) and sunny. I was almost hot on my racewalk, even though I wore shorts and a T-shirt. Ahhhhh. The warm weather was fantastic.

The next day, my calves were still screaming, but I knew I had to try to exercise. The elliptical was out of the question. The kids wanted to swim in the pool at the hotel, and I wanted to walk with my mom. Solution? The exercise room had a window to the pool, so my mom and I walked on treadmills in there while watching the kids in the pool. Awesome, except that I hate the treadmill. I lasted for 30 min of good racewalking at a very slow pace (5.5 mph - 10:54/mile, which is just under 7min/km --- keep in mind that RW on the treadmill is IMO ridiculously more difficult than RW on the street) before I quit. Later that day, because I am crazy? Stupid? Forgetful? I did a very hilly hike with my brother, his wife, and Calvin. It was an awesome hike and I'm glad I went, but it did make the calf problem worse for sure. We hiked up and then did some trail running on the way down. Calvin and Alex were waaaaay ahead of me but it was still a good time.

On Friday my calves were certainly not any better for having done the trail hike/run. So I race walked anyway! I enjoyed a somewhat painful racewalk on a lovely trail over to Discovery Park in Sacramento, near our hotel. I managed 6K in 38:01 for 6:20/km with ave HR 139, which was not bad at all considering the amount of pain I was in for the first 500m. You'll notice that split was rather slow… as was the 2nd 500m because of a hill up over a bridge. Mostly the route was flat (Sacramento is very flat) but there were a few inclines on the road due to overpasses etc.

Saturday I took a rest day, because I knew I had to sit in the car all day while we drove home (10 hour drive). My legs don't tolerate car rides after RW these days. They don't tolerate car rides much at all, come to think of it, though that seems to be improving slightly.

This morning I wasn't feeling much in the mood to work out. My calves were still fairly sore, believe it or not, and my mood wasn't the best. A week of eating a bit too much combined with muscular pain had me wondering if I'd ever feel back to normal again. It's been a long year. But I got out there anyway, and as usual, felt MUCH better for having done a walk. Today I did 6.27km total in a relatively speedy (for me, lately anyway) 6:13/km for a total of 39:01 with ave HR 151. My legs actually felt quite good for most of the walk, and the odd pain I've had the last 6 months only showed up at about 5km or so, and even then it didn't sap my strength much. I finished well and wasn't sore from sitting in church afterward, either. It was cold, though… sigh… I really miss the warm weather in CA. This morning it was 18F (-8C), which isn't too terrible for here in the winter, especially since it was calm and foggy-ish, with good footing.

I'm glad I am feeling OK today, and that my muscles seem to be recovering. I am hopeful that with my return to a more normal routine this week that I will feel good and continue my improvement despite last week's stall-out.

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