Thursday, May 9, 2013

the bipolar emotional nature of training

You like that title? I think it sounds totally legit, like it's the title of a dissertation or something. Like when you read it, you probably expect to go on to read an expert talking about something. You probably expect to have your mind blown and your world changed. Ha. Lucky for you, I've been training for a triathlon for TWO AND A HALF WHOLE WEEKS, which definitely gives me 'expert' status, so...let's get on with it.

Here's the thing I've learned about 'training' (which is really just exercising, only a lot more of it than I normally do, and with a goal in mind other than 'get less fat'): It's either terrible or it's awesome. And all day long you go back and forth between the two. Last night when I couldn't sleep (because my body hurt too much to sleep) I mentally plotted my emotions about training on a graph. It ended up looking like one of those heart graph things, you know,  steep inclines followed by huge drop followed by huge rise followed by huge drop...yeah, that thing. 

In summary, here's when I feel positively about training: When I'm not actually doing it and I'm not sore.

In summary, here's when I feel negatively about training: When I'm about to do it, doing it, or in pain from having done it.

Here's how my feelings about training go on a typical day:

6:30 a.m.- Wake up, stand up, notice that whole body hurts from previous day's training. Feel a little bit negative, but then remember that soreness=getting stronger and maybe skinnier? Feel better. Look in the mirror and realize you aren't any skinnier...feel negative.

8:00 a.m.- While driving to work, discuss with Matt what the workout plans for the evening will be. Feel positively-- we're doing this! We're gonna rock this! Make grandiose plans for how hardcore our workout is gonna be and how awesome it's going to be.

12:00 p.m.- During lunch, spend more time planning the afternoon's workout and jazzing each other up for it. Pretend you're feeling great and convince yourself that TODAY is the day that running is actually going to be fun and exhilarating and not just torture like yesterday. Today is definitely the day.

5:00 p.m.- On the commute home, start realizing that you're still sore from yesterday. And tired. And think about how great it would be to NOT go make your body do something it really doesn't like doing.  Innocently inquire of the husband what he was wanting to do this afternoon, just in case he forgot about working out or changed his mind. When he immediately responds with whatever workout you'd previously planned, sigh loudly and make up some sort of ailment that might get you out of it-- the bruise on your knee...allergies making it hard to breathe through your bothering your eye...and see if he'll take the bait and let you off the hook. (He won't) Resign yourself to working out. Think about whatever's coming on TV tonight that you can look forward to watching when The Torture is over.

5:40 p.m.- Get excited about at least wearing cute workout clothes. Then realize that since you're working out and getting super sweaty every single day, all of your favorite workout clothes are already disgusting and buried in the dirty clothes hamper. Try not to cry when pulling on your Nike Tempos that used to fit perfectly fine but now somehow squeeze the skin on your hips/waist and create extra fat rolls. Get excited about working out again-- maybe today those love handles will magically disappear!!

5:45 p.m.- Final workout prep- phone in arm holder thing, Endomondo app ready, bikes/water ready if biking. Feel excited. Exercising releases endorphins! Running makes you stronger! People who do triathlons are total badasses and soon you will be one, too!!

5:47 p.m.- Start running. HATE LIFE.

5:49 p.m.- Still running. Pretty sure it's been like 5 miles already. Whole body hurts. Want to die. Can't figure out why the phone hasn't buzzed and informed me it's been a mile yet. Pause to check. Discover it's only been POINT THREE MILES. Cry for a few minutes. Run some more.

5:53 p.m.- Think mean thoughts about all the bloggers with running blogs who whip out 10 miles in an hour on an 'easy' day when they didn't even really feel like exercising. 

5:55 p.m.- OMG I HATE RUNNING. Every single part of me hurts. Ponder how it's possible for your earlobes to hurt. Refuse to look at the phone because you know it will only hurt you to discover how short a distance/time it has truly been. Then start wondering if maybe the GPS is malfunctioning? Or maybe the phone broke? Better make sure. When I get to that mailbox up yonder, I'll check.

5:57 p.m.- IT BUZZED!! It's been a mile!! I ran a mile in 10 minutes!!!! Fist pump and trip over my own feet because I'm not coordinated enough to run and fist pump at the same time. Stop running. Start walking. No need to be an overachiever.

6:11 p.m.- Walking hurts, too. Spend some time hating everyone who has ever said that they liked running. Check app and discover the mileage passes a lot more slowly when you're walking. Start sprinting. I mean, if your body is going to hurt no matter what, may as well get this over with quicker.

Repeat, repeat, repeat...until you reach the designated 'end point' and turn around and repeat your trail back home. Run, hate life, check app, complain to Matt that you're going to throw up, walk awhile, beg him to go home and get the car and come pick you up, sprint really fast to get it over with. Whine whine whine. Pass a cow pasture- sprint REALLY fast because dude those animals smell BAD. Body hurts. Might die.


Feel like you might die, but also feel really proud because LOOK-- 4.37 miles?! That's respectable! Sure, I walked at least half of it. But I did it. And I didn't die. Maybe this tri-training thing isn't so bad after all.

6:58 p.m.-10:00 p.m.- OH THE PAIN. Too sore to cook. Too tired to eat. Too tired to watch TV. Too tired to read. Too sore to sleep. Too hungry to relax. Rapidly oscillate between feeling positively (I did it! No pain, no gain! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!!) and negatively (OMG my body is broken. I will never be able to run three miles AFTER swimming and biking...what was I thinking??!!)

And then repeat that whole thing every. single. day. Although it's slightly better if the exercise is biking (with no running after) least biking has moments of being fun and not ONLY pain. Then again, it also has more moments of pure terror (when cars are next to you) maybe it's not actually better. But I think it is.

So in conclusion, I have no idea why I'm doing this except that I've convinced myself that following through with this insane goal is my key to being a True Badass. Oh, and when I look back on my 'workout history' on the app, I get all smiley and feel so proud of myself. And I like that feeling. Emotionally. But my body still feels totally broken.

PS. If you're wondering why yesterday's bike ride is broken into two separate rides, that would be because we rode to a restaurant (stop app), ate dinner, and rode home (new 'workout'). That is definitely the way to get your workout in...with an incentive like Mexican food at the midpoint!


  1. I feel like this about ALL exercise. And usually my excuses keep me from doing it which is why you are amazing and strong and will look awesome (after tonight's workout) and I am paying for a gym membership and not getting my money's worth.

    ps. I also promise tonight is the night where you will discover you LOVE running :) 98 3/4% guaranteed!

  2. Ha, a lot of this describes how I feel when running - never do I get to the point where I am actually enjoying myself, but I always feel like a Rockstar afterwards! Not that I've run in nearly a year, but you get the idea.

  3. You are doing awesome!! Make sure to get some good rest too! Your body needs and muscles need time to recover :)

  4. You've totally confirmed for me the fact that I'll never do a triathalon. In fact, I may never ever run again! Ha!

    In all seriousness, though - good for you!!! I'm proud of you girl! :)

  5. Welcome to training:) If it makes you feel any better (emotionally, can't help the muscle pain), I only did my first race to prove I could, then I was totally quitting. That was 6 years ago. I don't know if that will make you feel better or worse, so I'll stop now.

  6. Ha! I love that two minutes later it feels like 5 miles in. I seriously have the same thoughts sometimes. :)

  7. So proud of you for sticking with it, and I definitely think a midway stop for Mexican food is the way to go... in fact, probably a good idea to have some post-workout Mexican food as well for a reward.

  8. Keep up the good work! My experience has taught me that one days you will actually find yourself enjoying it (I choke on my doughnut as I say that, but seriously.)All of the hard work is worth it in the end!

  9. Alright, so I got the app, now I just gotta log in and use it because it looks awesome!

    And you are awesome for keeping up the training! I have my tri next weekend and I'm already freaking out!

  10. 5:49 made me laugh so hard! "pretty sure its been like 5 miles." I have been there!

    You are doing great!

  11. It's official, you are a rock star! 2 and a half weeks in means that you are committed and as such, entitled to a whole new work-out wardrobe. Any excuse for a shopping spree!

  12. I am so impressed and inspired that you are doing this.

    If I ran up my street, I would seriously die.


I love comments almost as much as I love Mexican food. Seriously.