Tuesday, March 6, 2012

When Life Happens

For the past three weeks, I've had a lot of flexibility, low work load, and general open schedule for workouts. I knew this was living a pipe dream and that I was bound to wake up in a mess of schedule conflicts, a gym that doesn't open early enough (who knew), and work that will not stay within a 40 hours a week boundary.

That wake up was this morning. My schedule SHOULD look like this:
Monday - 1 hour upper body and core workout (with Blair!)
Tuesday -  AM Swim, PM - 1 hour spin class
Wednesday - Track Practice
Thursday - 1 hour of spin and 45 minutes of core work
Friday - 30 minute swim

Instead, my week is going to look like this:
Monday - as planned
Tuesday - AM - Miriam's, PM: Spin and Swim
Wednesday: re-creating track practice on the dreadmill (AM), PM: Concert with Chadd
Thursday: 4 am. I repeat, 4 am, 1 hour on the bike trainer (my first time!) 45 minutes in the gym for weights; Thursday PM - girls' night
Friday - 30 minute swim and total exhaustion.

I suppose it's not as big of a change as I think it is. One of the things I'm struggling most with and simultaneously love is how scheduled my life has become. If you knew me in high school or college, you'd have seen my hard copy planner (oh before google calendar....). I had highlights, check boxes, pages folded, specific instructions, etc. I seem to be able to handle a strict schedule (or diet) or nothing at all. Reminds me vaguely of my swimming issues (full power or sink) So, when the slightest thing comes up, like having to stay late at work, I get totally stressed out beyond reasonable proportions.

I also let things that I need to do on the regular totally slide. For example:
- My roots are horrific. I absolutely must find a new hair stylist yesterday.
- Eye liner. I've been out of make up, most specifically eye liner, for probably a month now.
- Manicure. I know these things all sound super stupid, but my nails are like... my thing.
- Pedicure. A must for distance runners. I don't like losing toenails.
- Taxes. They are literally 75% complete and have been for...oh, a month?
- Writing my grandmother. I used to do this weekly. I've been a terrible granddaughter.
- Making food. I have never eaten out as much as I do these days. I used to love cooking...I still do! But I am so tired/apathetic when I get home from work and training that I care about 0 percent.

I wish I had a solution. Maybe with practice will come some sort of ease of mind. Maybe I'll learn to balance myself out without strict schedule or going hog wild when I have nothing planned. Until then, I'm trying to focus on the wins of the day, remind myself that very few things are ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL and look for enjoyment in the craziness I signed myself up for. Because, really, when is it ever worth being miserable for months just to feel glory in the end? Don't worry. I'm not feeling miserable, more just like I need a vacation.

But as far as wins of the day go...yesterday...

My workout with Blair last night was seriously awesome. We tried kettlebells for the first time and they were excruciating...I should look into a specific kettlebell class. But whoa this morning, hello hip flexors. And my entire right ass check is a knot. BTW, if you don't already, you should follow me on Fitocracy. That link will get you an account (free!) and we can compete and stuff. It'll be fun.

How do you balance all of it? What is your stress breaking point? What were your wins of the day?


  1. This sounds a lot like grad school. I'm lucky that my work does stay in its 40-hour a week place, but trying to fit in schoolwork, getting to class, eating more or less the way I want to, some level of fitness, talking to my parents, seeing friends and Kenny, and some standard of personal grooming can be really tough. I break down in tears an average of once a week. At least. Usually when some crisis comes up that keeps me from getting work done that afternoon and my nails look terrible.

    But I have coping strategies too:
    -I have the lowest-maintenance haircut ever, and I'm training it to go more days between shampoos and styling.

    -I trim/shape my nails and remove polish at night, then throw on a couple coats of polish first thing in the morning at work (and a top coat every day after) before anyone else is there. It only takes a couple of minutes, but they have all morning to dry and set while I work.

    -Except for a Saturday yoga class and hiking/biking with Kenny on the weekend, all of my fitness is transportation. I bike to and from class at least once a week (17 miles), take the bus to work and bike home once a week (~18 miles total, and I can read on the bus), and once it's light late enough I'll be getting off the metro at the airport and running home (~3 miles) after class on Wednesdays. I also walk or bike to run errands whenever possible. It doesn't add a lot of time, but it gets me outside and helps me stay sane. I also love audiobooks while I'm biking on the trail.

    -My go-to breakfast has been 3-minute oatmeal (it cooks decently well with the boiling water from the coffeemaker at work) with almonds, dried fruit, and a little brown sugar and cinnamon added. It takes almost no time to prepare, it's cheap, and it keeps me going all morning.

    -I see Kenny after class when I know I'm not going to get any more work done anyway. I also keep on top of my work enough that I can spend Saturday night and all day Sunday having fun with him (although sometimes I send him out for a long walk with the dog so I can knock out some reading). I'll also do stuff like buy him a Kindle book when I know he's almost ready for a new one, or have dinner delivered to his place after a tough day - It doesn't take a lot of time for me, but he knows I'm thinking about him even when I don't have a lot of time to spend with him or I'm exhausted when we are together.

    This stuff works really well for me, but it's not quite enough to keep me sane. I can't wait to hear other people's coping strategies!

  2. I have little useful advice to offer, but that hasn't stopped me from talking before, so here goes:
    -I work almost exclusively with dudes who will never notice what I'm wearing, whether or not my hair is perfectly one, or what my nails look like. So I don't bother with makeup and spend about 3 minutes getting dressed in the morning (really).
    -My significant other is finishing his doctorate, so it's not like he has time to do anything time consuming with me during the week anyway.
    -Said significant other also bikes and runs. Major multi-tasking time saver.
    -As far as cooking goes, you get a net time save out of cooking a big batch of something on the weekend and eating it all week when the alternative is to order in every weeknight. The microwave is much faster.