Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Climbing into the New Year

I always dread the holidays.

First off, the shopping days leading up to Christmas are stressful. I have trouble finding the right gift for people and more importantly - outside my immediate family - I'm never quite sure who is even on my Christmas list.

Here is a good example: I made a dozen or so jars of blackberry jam this fall intending to give them out as gifts to my son's teachers, coaches, etc. But then I was told* that teachers don't want homemade "crap" and just want gift-cards so they can buy what they actually want. So apparently I'll be eating my homemade crap for the next few months - which suits me just fine. My jam is awesome.

*he/she shall remain anonymous.

Secondly, I'm a creature of habit. Unless I'm in my normal routine, I find it very difficult to train and eat right. The holidays provides a perfect storm: Lots of travel & lots of good food. For example:
  • My step mom's cooking
  • My dad's holiday treats
  • My aunt's cooking
Not to mention all the fast food stops while on the road.

I did a better job with exercising, but I was never in the groove and I had to improvise a bit. Here is my journal:

Monday, December 22: Weights (pre-trip)
Tuesday, December 23: Precor Stepper (pre-trip)
Wednesday, December 24: Off - traveling
Thursday, December 25: Hill repeats on my dad's mountain bike (3 times ~ 40 minutes)
Friday, December 26: Hill repeats on my dad's mountain bike (5 times ~ 1 hour)
Note: My dad's bike needs some work. The gears sometimes slip when I push too hard... which meant the hill repeats weren't as intense as I would have liked.
Saturday, December 27: Off - traveling
Sunday, December 28: Off - Busy with family

Monday, December 29: Stair repeats in hotel (16 stories 9 times, 45 minutes)
Tuesday, December 30: Weights (40 minutes) in hotel gym. Only free weights available.
Wednesday, December 31: Off
Thursday, January 1st: Stair repeats in hotel (16 stories 10 times, 50 minutes)
Friday, January 2nd: Off - Traveling
Saturday, January 3rd: Elipical Machine & Pullup intervals (moderate intensity)
Sunday, January 4th: Floor exercises and burpees (light intensity)

All in all, I managed to survive the holidays without too much of a setback. I didn't gain any weight and I managed to exercise enough to keep most of my fitness. But that isn't the complete picture. A couple weeks before the holidays, I caught a virus which curtailed a few key workouts, so in reality, the entire month of December was a complete wash.

That means that the next four weeks are going to be critical. The Empire State Building Run-up is only for weeks away and I'm going to have to train hard and eat right in order to do well. 

My fitness levels have to step up a notch and more importantly I need to lose 2-3 pounds before I start feeling race ready.

Lessons Learned:

  • Pack more of my own food on road trips.
  • Staying in a hotel with a decent stairwell was a big plus. I stayed at the Arlington Hyatt which has 16 floors and 240 steps. It was only $99 per night, but they get you with $23 parking (note to self - there was a nearby parking garage that was only $15 per day)
  • Fix my Dad's bike.
  • Walking around DC was tiring, but the exercise was welcome.