Mad season

"Rest" was on my training schedule for today, so I did a bit of everything for a nice upper body/active recovery day: 5 minute running warmup, followed by 3×5 bench, 2×10 OHP, biceps and triceps, and then a good, long session of yoga focusing on stretching out my tight hips. I even managed to quiet my brain for a nice, restorative shavasana.

The weather here is unsettled and I’m starting to feel the odd pull I always do in fall, my delusional season. I’m not being hyperbolic; for some reason everything feels weird and not-quite-real, as if I might trip and fall into another world. This, coupled with a double whammy of anniversary grief between October and November, means I need to be a little gentler with my brain for a while.

One of my most vivid memories from the beginning of grad school– when everything else was a blur of classes and homework and research and sleepless nights– was walking around campus in a storm, agitated and certain that the wind and trees were trying to tell me something. Funny how the memories that stuck were the ones with the least reality to them. I finally started meds shortly after that…

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Training experiment

Another treadmill 3 miles this morning. Since the turkey trot 5k is about 8 weeks out, it’s time to start a proper training cycle to get faster. (Last year I set a PR, so hey maybe I can beat it this year!)

I’ve been using the Nike+ suite of stuff since the shoe sensor days (2011!) and one of the new features that they added in their last update is an adaptive coach thing. Why not, let’s see how it works…

So it asked me a bunch of questions: how far away is the race, what distance is it, how much I’m running now, how many days I want to run a week, and the everpresent height/weight/gender question. I told it a conservative 10 miles/week and 4-5 runs and it generated a schedule. This is the first week:

As you might have noticed, I did not stick to the plan today. 15 minute runs? What even is that? Maybe Nike+ doesn’t realize that some of us are 12:00ish pace runners and that a 1.25 mile run isn’t going to be very helpful training for a 5k. Maybe this is like a ‘warmup’ week and it’ll ramp up? (I peeked ahead and it scheduled some 30-minute "long runs". Hah.) So yeah, this should be interesting.

In a couple days I have a "benchmark" run where it’ll test my pace and stuff and supposedly re-work everything to fit. We’ll see what happens. In the meanwhile, though, I’m probably going to run some extra miles to keep my endurance up. Screwing with the plan from Day One…

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Test run

I had a tough time on my run this morning, and wound up doing it with plenty of walking. Oh well– at the least I got out there (although I forgot to write about it until nighttime). Hills are still giving me heartburn. Hills suck.

I’ve had one eye on my calendar trying to figure out when I can get back in the water and dive. We’re approaching the end of hurricane season, so that’s a plus, but weekends are filling up rapidly until the end of the year so I might have to wait until January or February. I’d like to get a couple dives in before I head to Hawaii in March, just so I don’t fall out of practice!

My husband’s parents gave me  money for my birthday that I’ve planned on putting towards some gear; I’d like to buy an octo and gauges, and maybe a BCD. We’ll see how far I can stretch their present! The dive shop is closed on Sundays though, so I haven’t been able to get out there yet…

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Just a little

Today’s workout was low-impact, aimed at getting some blood flowing in my legs. I’m kind of disappointed at how sore my legs are after the hiking! And it’s a weird sore: some muscle on the inside of my thighs. So I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical and then did some yoga (reclining big toe was niiiiice) before running off to a day of meetings.

My husband, who hardly ever gets sick, is sick with some kind of head cold thing. He’s been sneezing and sniffling for a few days now. Do not want…

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Scouting mission

I’m going on a weekend backpacking trip with friends next month–  we’ll hike out to a backcountry site, spend a couple nights, and then hike back to the car. This is a first-time trip for 2 of the 4 of us, so I wanted to check on the sites and the trails to get there, to make sure I wasn’t going to get lost or that there wasn’t anything too weird or hard, and to see where there was water (if any, it’s been so dry). The NPS website said it was a 3.5 mile hike back to the site.

Yesterday was a family reunion for my husband’s family. His cousin is a park ranger, and used to work at the park we’re going to be hiking in, so I took the chance to pick his brain about the sites and the hike (lucky!) He told me that, along with the way the internet said, there was also another, unmarked way to get there– a shorter, 1.5 mile hike.

So today I drove up to the park and hiked to the site using both trails. I did the short one first– my husband’s cousin had only told me where to park, and said that the trail was through an immature forest, scrubby reclaimed farmland, for a while, but once I got close it would open up into mature forest. I had no idea where I was going on the unblazed trail, and I was nervous about trespassing– on one side of the trail was very well signed private property. But once I saw the trees change I remembered what he had said and breathed a sigh of relief, and sure enough the campsites weren’t much farther up the trail. The trail was easy, wide and relatively flat.

Then I drove to the parking lot for the other trail, the longer one. This one was overgrown with spice bush and brambles and grass– tick central– and it had a really steep, long section that wasn’t fun with a mostly-empty daypack, so I didn’t feel good about newbies with 35+lb of stuff on their backs trying to do it. But I did cross a couple running creeks this way– now I know where there’s water.

Altogether I got about 9 miles of hiking in, and now I have a better grasp of the trail system and where to find water. Success! I’ve decided that we should go the easy way, so the newbies have a nice experience (and I’ll stash extra water in the car too, where it’s quick to go back and get.) The best way to get people into a new activity is not to throw them into a tough situation, right? If it’s easy and they enjoy it then I might be able to get them out for longer trips next time…

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Cardio Queen of Sore Calves

I didn’t write about it, but yesterday evening after work I went to the gym to try to get a quick workout in before heading home. I started on the treadmill and got about 3/4 mile. I asked myself, "why do my calves and feet hurt so much? wtf?" and then I remember that I spent the night before standing for hours in uncomfy boots at a show, and I didn’t get much sleep. Recovery, what’s that? Anyway, I finished off that workout with another 30 minutes on the dang elliptical before running to the train in my sweaty gym clothes.

Today my calves felt marginally better, and I plodded out 3 miles on the stupid treadmill, adding another 15 minutes on the stupid elliptical after that. I tried to stretch some afterwards but I’m not sure how much that’ll help. Tomorrow is a rest day due to a family reunion with my husband’s family, so maybe I can get another, longer run in on Sunday and my legs will be able to handle it.

I’m feeling some self-inflicted pressure for this family reunion, since I am newly married into it. Do I need to bring an impressive dessert? I’m planning on making cherry cobbler with the last of this spring’s tart cherries that I stashed in the freezer. Those cherries are effing precious, all right? I feel like that’s plenty fancy, so hopefully it goes over well. This will probably be a chance to spend time with the extended family that couldn’t travel to the wedding (which is most of them) so maybe we should bring pictures too…

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Ain’t got time to be grump (but I am anyway)

I had morning meetings, so the gym was item #1 when I got to work, to get it out of the way. I actually lifted a little bit– squats, bench, OHP– and then hit the elliptical for 30 minutes to get some active recovery on my calves. I had to pack two sets of gym clothes thanks to logistical issues that keep me from taking my bag home tonight; I feel kind of gross for leaving the soggy used set in my locker.

About a year ago I took a week of project management training and I thought it was pretty cool. I managed one of my boss’ projects last year and that went well enough. This year, my boss wants me to manage three– one of which is a high-visibility, big-deal product. (I also have another project that was my own proposal– so that’d be 4 total.) I’m not so happy about this.

First: (damnit, Jim,) I’m a scientist, not a project manager. The more PM I do, the less time I have for the science work that is 75% of my job. I suppose I should just pull that extra time out of thin air, eh? (Soon I’ll be putting together my work plan for next year and that’s going to trigger some tough discussions…)

Second: I feel like my job has become making sure my boss has his shit together. But my boss is, well, a manager. Shouldn’t he be able to handle making sure his projects are on track? He’s passing more and more of the task tracking and admin stuff to me, because he’d rather be working on the fun science he likes and refused to give up when he got shoved into management. I get to be the one that nags him when he’s a month behind on emails, and the one that reminds him of meetings because he won’t use his calendar. Fun.

Third: I have one week of training, and one project’s worth of experience, and this is hard and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing and I don’t have any support. I’ve been trying to read books and learn things but honestly I need like a PM apprenticeship. I mean, I’m dealing with things like "What do you do when you’re managing a project that was proposed/approved without consulting with you, and has dependencies that probably mean half of the deliverables are impossible to deliver?" It would be nice if I had someone to talk to about this stuff, but I’m flying blind.

Anyway, that’s enough work rant for today…

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