Paul Reiser got me through my workout. (and other weekend updates)

Ok, maybe I went a little overboard this weekend but when subconsciously trying to avoid swimming, the only thing to do is fill your schedule with everything else humanly possible!  Aside from regular weekend festivities (which kept me plenty busy anyway!) I sprinted, Muay Thai’ed, danced, and biked my little heart out.  Here are just a few things that the workout parts of my weekend taught me:

1. Sprints are killers.  I’d rather run for days than do a few sets of sprints.  (But my love for PRs will keep me doing drills to get faster. It’s a vicious cycle of love and hate.)

2. I will do anything for a free t-shirt.  (I first learned this when I was in college and got suckered into opening up credit cards or listening to Army recruiters because of the promise of a t-shirt that was usually a size XXL and would then sit in my closet for years.  Sometimes they gave away water bottles though – those were good days.)  Anyway – Katharine and I went to a Muay Thai class and ended up signing up.  We’ve done Muay Thai a couple times before after hearing our friend Katey rave about it, and loved it.  Yesterday I punched, roundhouse kicked, and front kicked my way around (along with intermittent squats, jump rope, and sit-up drills) and after a personal session, free gloves and wraps and TWO free t-shirts, we were members!  I’m a big fighting fan – UFC, Glory kickboxing, Lion Fight, boxing, whatever – and have been wanting to do Muay Thai regularly for a while.  What better time to start than in the midst of triathlon training, right?  It’s good cardio, right?  It’s a totally rational thing to do, right?!  (Some professional fighters who I follow train at that place, which may have slightly influenced my decision.  Celebs AND free shirts?! Keep going – you’ve got my attention!)

3. Ballet makes me feel like I’m a kid again. I did ballet for 10 years when I was younger and got back into it in December and go every Sunday.  (Don’t worry, family – it’s just for fun.  You won’t be dragged to any recitals or performances of The Nutcracker like you were yearly for a decade. I had always assumed you loved those performances just as much as I did, but years later the truth came out! I think the word torture was even thrown around.) There’s something about the smell of the studio, feel of the ballet slippers and the music that makes you forget it’s a workout.  Oh, nostalgia.

 4. Biking while watching Mad About You makes the time fly.  Yes, Mad About You – that old sitcom from the 90s with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt.  There’s something about that show that I love.  Paul and Jaime, man – they’re the best tv couple.  So I had 2 episodes on my DVR (yes, you read that correctly – I DVR Mad About You) and flew through 16 miles on my bike.  It was great – my legs barely felt it.  (I might need to invest in padded bike shorts, though!) 

And now with week 1 of triathlon training officially in the books, I am ready and excited for week 2!!

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Boxing beast

Boxing day – one of my favorite days of the week!  I always say that running is my therapy, but boxing is an entirely different kind of release.  It’s where everything comes out. And it fit in perfectly with the tri training schedule, which called for a solo cardio workout today.

I started with a quick 1.6 mile run as a warm-up.  1.56 miles in, I looked up saw Tony the Trainer looking ready to box.  I rounded the run out to 1.60, because I feel better ending my runs in multiples of five, and jumped off to wrap my hands.  (I always feel like a badass when wrapping my hands.)

We started slowly. Jab. Jab, cross. I’m a hard puncher, but I think today was extra hard because this was a tough week at work and it was still on my mind.  Double jab, cross, hook.  All I could hear was the pap, pap, pap that my gloves had on the pads that Tony the Trainer had on his hands.  The stress of the week lessened with each movement.  Triple jab, slip, cross, duck, cross.  We were in the main part of the gym where most of the cardio equipment was, so everyone on a treadmill or elliptical could see us.  The audience just made me punch harder, and Tony the Trainer’s compliments as I punched made me too cocky. Jab, cross, jab, cross, slip, slip, cross, duck, hook. I pivoted and moved around the floor ducking, slipping and punching.  Double jab, cross, duck, body shot, pivot out – let him chase me.

I should do this for a living.  I’ll quit my job and be a professional boxer.  I’ll win fights and give some of my winnings to criminal justice organizations so I still have some tie to that. Maybe I could still work part time, but not until I establish myself in the boxing world.  I’ll be like the Rowdy Ronda Rousey of boxing.  They’ll call me Merciless Meredith Schriver.

Pap, pap, pap!! I kept punching and ducking, trying to figure out Tony the Trainer’s next moves.  Here comes the champion!!! I lifted my head and celebrated a particularly good cross a bit prematurely, and Tony the Trainer came back at me with a jab right to my forehead, directly between my eyes.

Ok, maybe I got a little carried away.  Tony the Trainer knows how to remind me that I am just a beginner.

I started thinking about the Great Concussion of 2010 and reminded myself that I couldn’t train for the triathlon while concussed, and brought myself back down to real life. I’ll just keep boxing as a hobbyThe world isn’t ready for Merciless Meredith anyway, I justified after getting hit again.  I probably couldn’t cut it as a boxer anyway. 

After an hour, it was time for conditioning.  15 burpees, 15 mountain climbers, 15 push-ups.  Repeat.  And we were done!  Some of my knuckles were bit torn up, but I felt great.

Now let’s see how that 6am swim goes tomorrow!

March 26 – pink bikes and broken goggles

Some of you were asking how the first team training session went yesterday.  Well….. I didn’t go!  I know – super anticlimactic.  I didn’t bring my running gear to work, ended up working late, contemplated buying a whole new outfit, remembered I’m not rich, headed home feeling defeated, and immediately crawled into my bed to take a nap.  (But not before texting a friend or two to see if they wanted to go to the gym because I knew I needed some kind of workout.  I only asked the ones who I was 87% sure would say no, though. Oops.)

Don’t worry though – I woke up almost 2 hours later in full triathlete mode and did 15.5 miles on my bike!  My stationary bike. My little pink stationary bike.

Image awww, how cute.

Don’t let it fool you – 15.5 miles on that sucker was no joke. My legs loved it though!

Today I tackled swimming. Swim cap? Check. Goggles? Check. First full piece bathing suit I’ve had since I was 10? Check. Looking like a complete dork? Check.

I was ready! 

The pool was freezing, so as I lowered myself into the water my suspicions that this experience would be pretty similar to being on a sinking Titanic were closer to being confirmed.  Long story short though: I didn’t drown (success!) but my goggles broke and flew off my big head in 2 separate pieces, ending my swim 25 minutes in.  I guess you can never be too sure with clearance aisle purchases!

Is that a sign of bad swim things to come?  I’ll let you know.

March 24

Monday, Monday – here we go!

My day started with an email from one of the TNT coaches that pretty much laid out the entire training schedule.  It started out with “1-19” – 1 meaning the first full week of training and 19 being, as he put it, “the number of weeks to go until your date with the Hudson.”  Yikes.  I’ve been on some pretty crazy dates in my life, but I think my date with the Hudson will be one for the books!

As I read the training schedule on the subway on my way to work, I realized that I would not have much of a life until this triathlon was over.  Luckily I am a summer girl and thrive on sunshine. I am outside every possible moment of summertime soaking in Vitamin D and recharging my batteries after a long and cold winter, so running and biking all summer long doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world at all. PLUS that just means more time at the beach to practice swimming in open water!!  On second thought, this triathlon might actually be one of my best ideas yet..!

Today on the schedule was either a rest day or a swim day, depending on your location/swim ability.  The Manhattan swim was for advanced swimmers, and I am not there yet.  Actually, the swim part is the most nerve-wracking part for me.  I can doggy paddle, swim under water like a frog, and tread water, but the crawl is not something I was ever able to do well.  Also, when I think of the swim part of a triathlon, my mind immediately pictures the scene in Titanic right after the ship sinks and everyone is in the water frantically splashing around and grabbing onto each other for survival.  I’m told that the tri will be nothing like that.  Maybe it will just be me – Half drowning. Trying to catch a ride on the back of the nearest swimmer.  Maybe they’ll let me wear floaties.  Or bring an inner tube. Maybe a raft and a margarita?

So anyway, the point of all that was that I wasn’t going to swim today (which was fine because I usually box with my trainer on Mondays and Thursdays and I missed the last week because I was sick.) 

By the time 5pm rolled around, Tony the Trainer texted me to let me know that he had to cancel so I considered taking a rest day, but decided to go for a run at Central Park.  I got home and put on my fleece-lined running pants, threw on some layers, and looked frantically for one of those headband things that go over your ears.  All I could find were hats.  I couldn’t wear one though – my hair was in a curly ponytail and I liked the way it looked.  I didn’t want to hide that lion mane under a hat.  Don’t judge me.

So I’m tearing apart the hallway closet looking for a headband, practically cursing under my breath because I cant find one, which is kind of weird because when I was a kid I refused to put anything on my head.  Hats, hoods, those headbands. Anything.  I was against them and could throw a pretty great tantrum if anyone tried to put a hat on my head.  I guess this is growing up!  I found a green one that my 96-year old great aunt had made and headed for the park.

When I got outside I did the usual runner routine of staring at my watch waiting for the GPS to work.  Linking satellites.  Linking…linking…. linking….. Maybe if I walk around it will work?  So I walk a bit, still staring at my wrist.  Linking… linking… Come on satellites, I know you’re up there.  I wander into the street like a 5 year old without adult supervision, still looking at my watch, and just miss a delivery guy on a bike.  Oops.  Three blocks later the watch is still linking to the satellites.

Come on, Nike+… link up!!! If you don’t, how will I know how far I’ve run?  Or my pace?!  How will I accurately train for my triathlon?  My entire training could be a lie because you can’t find a satellite.  For the love of God, WHY ARE YOU SABOTAGING ME?!

Oh, it linked.  I apologized to my watch for being dramatic. 

And off I went!

It felt like October.  Crisp air and the air had that awesome dry leaf smell.  It wasn’t spring-like at all, but it was beautiful.  I saw the sunset, some guy getting patted down and handcuffed by the cops, and another guy jogging in a suit.  God, I love New York.

5.15 miles and I decided to call it a day.  Feet, take me home!  

Next thing I knew I was at Starbucks. 

Not quite home, but I was fine with that.  One Venti unsweetened green iced tea later and I was headed home for real this time!

Tomorrow will be my first workout with the team.  That should be interesting! 🙂

And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has donated so far.  I appreciate all of you!  If you are interested in donating, please visit my TNT fundraising page at http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyctri14/meredith

1st day of training!

Today was the official first day of training for the New York City Triathlon!  I am participating through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training (TNT) and the first team workout was held this morning at Central Park.  I had already committed to a half marathon in Flushing Meadows, Queens so as bummed as I was to miss the first team workout, I figured a half marathon is a pretty good workout by itself, so I should be fine!

I had been sick for over a week and still wasn’t feeling great when I woke up this morning, and there were many times throughout the morning when the thought of not running crossed my mind: when I overslept, when I couldn’t stop coughing, as I was taking a shot of DayQuil, when I realized that there was no 7 train service in Manhattan so I’d have to take 3 different subways to get to the starting line, when I realized I had left my earbuds at home, as I stood freezing at the starting line. 

I mean, most of why I do races in the first place is for the swag and the pre-run carbing, and I already had the t-shirt and had eaten a ton of pasta alla vodka and bread last night so, really, I could just turn around and go home, right?

Wrong.  I am super competitive and this race was going to get run, damnit.  (I just needed that DayQuil to kick in.) 

Ok, so the Star-Spangled Banner was sung, runners took their marks, and off we went. Slow and steady. And without music.  Yikes.  I tend to start races too fast, so I made sure I was aware of my pace.  It was actually easier without my race music, which is usually an embarrassing playlist or a show tunes station on Pandora (seriously).  Usually during half marathons I am ok until around mile 8 when I hit a wall for about a mile or so and then get re-energized by mile 10.  Today, I felt it by mile 3.  This was going to be a long race.  But I was strangely aware of my thoughts during the race, which are usually cancelled out by my playlists.

There was some repetition in the race and just before the 3rd mile mark was the sign for the 8th mile mark.  Those evil race SOBs, I thought.  God, I wish I was on mile 8 already.  My mom always told me not to wish my life away, but would it really be that bad to wish for it to be about 45 mins, even 30 mins, into the future so this race could be over faster?  There were people already walking, and I noticed a guy in a green Air Force 1/2 marathon tee shirt on the side of the course.  Poor guy – I wonder how he did in that half.  I don’t typically walk during races – like I said, I am competitive and in my warped mind walking is just the same as giving up.  I started to think about the teenager in the paper the other day who died after a half marathon.  I can’t die today.  My desk at work is a mess and I don’t want my coworkers cussing me out as they go through everything.  Maybe I could allow some walking today.  (Not until at least halfway through though, I told myself.)

Not long after mile 3 there was a band playing.  Hey boys. I couldn’t let them know I was already struggling, so I straightened myself up and smiled as I ran past them.  Don’t ask me what they were playing or if they were any good.  I wasn’t really paying any attention.

More running…. over a bridge…. through some mud…. in front of lots of cheering spectators with signs.  I didn’t know anyone in the crowd, but I sure wasn’t going to let them know I was struggling either.  So I ran by them and soaked in their cheers, like they were all there for me.  That’ll really get you motivated.

Hey! There’s Air Force 1/2 Marathon guy again!  We were near mile 6 and he was jogging with a cute blonde in a pink shirt.  Pale pink, not obnoxious pink.  “So Megan, where are you from?” Air Force asked Pink Shirt.  What?! They’re going to run with each other and help each other out?  That’s adorable – they’re adorable.  I hope they get married.  I made a mental note to check in on their budding romance later, but for now I was going to pass them – I had found a groove and I needed to keep it going for as long as possible.

 It didn’t last too long.  Soon I found myself looking for shortcuts and wondering if I would be able to cut out a few miles.  Would anyone know?  Would anyone stop me?  Would I be able to look my friends in the eyes when they asked me how I did?  I decided today wasn’t the day for cheating, and I kept chugging along. 

Mile 7: the drumline.  It was music to my ears.  Literally.  All of a sudden a high school marching band drumline started playing that was reminiscent of New Britain High School’s drumline back in my day – and if you know anything about NBHS and the Golden Hurricane Marching Band, you know what I mean.   Yessss! The drums thumped in my chest. They don’t have any glockenspiel players.  What drumline doesn’t have bells? I contemplated volunteering and showing them what a little bell action could do for their cadences, but no – I had a race to finish.  The band’s color guard and dancers were there, too.  Are they twerking?  Are they old enough to be twerking? I sound old.  Look at them go! I wonder what school they are from. Water station up ahead – thank God.

I reached out to grab water, and saw that I had been handed Gatorade.  Gross – it’s lemon.  I hate lemon Gatorade.  Oh well, I guess beggars can’t be choos – oh god this is delicious.  Who knew yellow could taste so good.  Delicious electrolytes.

Back around to Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  I wonder if anyone famous is playing now.  I wish it was time for the US Open.  Only 5 months to go.  Maybe I’ll get to meet John McEnroe this year.  Maybe he’s here NOW!! Papa, can you hear me?!  Some guy on the sidelines gave me a high five.    

Mile 8! This is where I wished I was before! I have to confess that I walked a bit here.  I didn’t want to, but I had to.  But the band was around the next bend, so I quickly picked it up to show them that I still had it.  Because I’m sure they were wondering.  Right?

Back around to the bridge, where a girl on a megaphone was being extra cheery and motivational and annoying right at its base.  “You can do it! It’s only uphill for a short time! Y’all got this!”  So cheerful.  I bet she couldn’t run a half marathon. If it was so easy, why isn’t she doing it? Someone needs to take that megaphone away fro- “Hey girl – I love your running pants!! Best pants of the race!!”, she bellowed through the megaphone, looking directly at me.  Awww, she is so nice.  I love her.  Thank you, Douglas, for getting me such awesome pants for Christmas!!!

Made it over the bridge and got to another water station.  I hope they have yellow Gatorade!

Ok, I got this.  It’s almost over.  Are those cows?!  Did I miss that the first time around?  How does anyone miss a field of cows?!  Queens is weird.  I started walking again here to open a protein bar and take a couple of bites.  I wished that I had Gatorade energy chews, which I usually have during long runs, but I forgot to go to the store yesterday.

Mile 11: There’s Air Force and Pink Shirt!! They were walking together and talking.  I wonder if they’ll have a race themed wedding.  It’s a beautiful day and love is in the air!  And then I got super dizzy.  Lightheaded.  Blackness creeping in from my peripheral vision.  Uh oh – maybe I should walk.  I had some more of my protein bar and wondered what Air Force and Pink Shirt were talking about.

“GO, MEREDITH!!!”, I heard from the sidelines.  What?! Someone came to cheer me on? I looked around and saw faces of strangers waving to another girl, presumably also named Meredith.  How dare another Meredith run this race!

Cute guy up ahead!!! I picked up the pace so he wouldn’t think I was a slacker.  He wasn’t in the race, just a guy walking on the side of the road.  As I got closer he smiled and reached out for a high five.  His hands are super soft.  Wait, he is saying something to me.  What? How many miles are left? I was tired – I couldn’t even remember what mile I was on.  “I don’t even know”, I told him and I ran on.  Ugh, so stupid.

Now we’re in the home stretch, and I just want it to be over.  The next mile and a half went something like this: So close.  I can do this.  That girl has great hair!  I wonder what kind of conditioner she uses? Do I hear Bon Jovi? Awesome.  Does that guy have ‘sticky sweet’ written across the back of his shorts?  I wonder if he is a Def Leopard fan.  Pour Some Sugar on Me is probably one of the most popular stripper songs.  I wonder which is more popular – that one or She’s My Cherry Pie. I haven’t heard of Brett Michaels in a while – I hope he’s doing alright.

I started to slow down to a walk just before mile 13. I was coughing.  My hips were burning. My ankle hurt.  I wanted to be done.  “Come on girl, you can do it. We’re almost there.” said a guy running near me.  You know what, Orange Shirt – I CAN do it.  And I did – sprinting at the end to beat a girl at the last second like some Olympic sprinter. (Apparently being tired doesn’t make me any less competitive.)

I got my medal, grabbed a bottled water, poppy seed muffin and a banana, and headed toward the train. 7 to the N to the 6 (because the 7 wasn’t running in Manhattan, remember?).  I found out that the uptown 6 also wasn’t running.  While on the train, I ate my food, texted some people to let them know I was alive, and wondered what happened to Air Force and Pink Shirt.

So what did we learn today?  That the MTA sucks on the weekends.  (But we already knew that.)

Tomorrow will be an easy day.  Just a ballet class in the afternoon and resting for a week of more running, swimming, and some boxing.  I’ll be triathlon ready in no time!! 

Stay tuned!