Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Preparation is Key

We will just call this "The time I prepared for New Years Eve like I did the US champs."


This doodle shows the 5 weeks a year professional runners get to live like a semi-normal human (in purple). The “lame season” is when training is so hard, the hours outside of training are exclusively devoted to recovery. Thus lame season=live-like-a-robot season.

Unfortunately the holidays fall in the "lame season" but just because you live like a hermit during lame season, you can still afford to have a few days of fun. It just has to be carefully executed. Like my dad always says: "Don't do two stupid things at one time. That would be too stupid."

That's why I began preparations for my NYE Bourbon Street New Orleans vacay 3 weeks in advance.

I entered lame season 10 pounds over weight. No big deal. My weight is almost completely determined by alcohol consumption. For some reason calories are not created equal and 1 calorie of beer=100 calories of snickers bars. So I cut out alcohol completely. Even a nightly glass of wine gets me in trouble with the scale.

Bourbon Street does this really unhealthy thing called 3-for-1 hurricane specials plus beads. That means you get 3 huge sugary alcoholic drinks for the price of 1 huge sugary alcoholic drink. Plus, beads! There is a 100% chance you will not be a functioning human and a 79% chance you will be diabetic by the end of the night.

Hurricanes are not good for my "don't do two stupid things at one time because that's too stupid" life plan. So I made sure I did everything else right.

In the 3 weeks leading up to NYE:

I cut all alcohol to get my weight regulated.

I ate plenty of good fruits and veggies. Mostly because I love plenty of fruits and veggies

I cut my caffeine addiction. It is hard for me to stay up past midnight, so I need the help of a stimulant. I made sure my body wasn't used to caffeine in order to get a bigger bang for my buck with my 6pm pre-party cuppa joe.

Also, because it is hard for me to stay up, I made sure to have a surplus of bedtime hours. Extra sleep to make up for my soon to be deficit.

Day of:
I forced myself to sleep in.

I made sure to prehydrate all day with water and Gatorade

I took a pre-party nap

I ate consistently throughout the day. All healthy, easily digestible food. No szechuan beef!

I stretched and massaged my feet to prepare for dancing.

I brought fashionable, functional, comfortable dancing shoes (heels are the devil!)

I drank a pre-party coffee to get me jazzed and keep me jazzed. I need to stay awake for New Year!

I shaved my legs for the occasion. Weird, but runners do that pre-race. And pre-party apparently.

I made sure to eat after to maximize recovery.

I drank a Gatorade to replenish electrolytes.

I drank a protein shake. I don't know why I did this. Probably because I was hungry and thirsty and this quenched both simultaneously? Or it seemed like a good idea after my intense DancePlyo session.

I did a "cool down"—which consisted of watching Lord of the Rings to make sure I went to bed without any hurricanes left in the system.

And there you have it! With preparation I had a perfectly executed party plan and the next day felt good enough to continue the grind of training. Plus I wasn't even hungover for my annual hangover recovery breakfast!

I am a champion.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Songs Secretly About Track

Ridin’. Chamillionaire & Krayzie Bones
“They see me rollin’, they hatin’, patrollin’ and tryin’ ta catch me ridin’ dirty”

Chamillionaire runs the fastest time in the world. The public is skeptical Chamillionaire does not use performance enhancing drugs. USADA initiates drug tests.

“Not in jogging pants either, tell them wear some sexy clothes
Now my game so professional”

Kanye demonstrates the difference between practice clothes and race clothes. Jogging pants are for practice, but on race day, a skimpy uniform makes you look professional.

“You say you're searching for somebody that will take you out and do you right.”

Usher and the meet director discuss finding a good rabbit that will take the race out smoothly and on pace. They immediately call the best rabbit in the sport, Matt Scherer.

“No, I don’t want your number. No, I don’t want to give you mine. I don’t want no scrubs.”

A meet director tells TLC to not contact him again because he does not want slow or injured people in his meet (or, as he calls them, ‘scrubs’).

“Because your crystal ball ain't so crystal clear. I’m tellin’ y’all it’s sabotage”

A competitor orchestrates a world record attempt. The Beastie Boys unexpectedly beat the competitor and claim the world record as their own, thus sabotaging the record attempt. 

“You see the old way wasn't working so it's on us to do
what we gotta do, to survive.”

2Pac shows the selfish, but yet practical, mentality behind doping. (Note: Maybe 2Pac wouldn’t have this attitude if there were lifetime bans? Don’t do it 2Pac! You are too good for that!)

“Tick, tick, tick, tick on the watch
And life's too short for me to stop
Oh, baby, your time is running out. This time, baby, I’ll be bulletproof.”

La roux is coming off an injury and only has a short period of time to become as fit as possible (hence “bulletproof” against the competition). She is feeling anxiety to get the maximum amount of work done before the impending deadline—the USA Championships.

“Yeah I questioned if I could go the distance
That's just the work, regardless of who's listening”

Macklemore does better when Coach is around to hold him accountable. In this particular workout, he is questioning his ability to finish an unsupervised workout.

“So many watches I need 8 arms”

Because Kanye’s life is dictated by splits, he has amassed a GPS watch collection so large that he would need the space provided by 8 arms if he were to wear them all at the same time.

“If I wasn’t married to the streets, it’d be you”

Plies obviously has a crush on a girl, but he has no time for a relationship due to his commitment to running intervals on the roads.

“Keep Knockin’, whether you’re Lou’Vuitton it up on Reebok-In”

Keri is going to different companies, such as Louis Vuitton and Reebok in an attempt to gain sponsorship.

“Legs jerked, overworked, underpaid, don’t be afraid”

Ludacris’s legs are exhausted from the training, and his salary is not indicative of how hard he is working. However, he is not currently worried about his physical or financial well being. 

“All the rappers be hating, off the track that I'm making”

The Letsrunners are saying derogatory things about Jay on the message boards. None of these people are fast enough to be Jay’s competitors.

“Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.”

 What I personally will say this year after my breakthrough. SUB 1.58

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Swimming Tips for Those Who Swim Like House Cats!

Tips to go from "Yes, I can keep myself alive for at least 5 minutes if dropped in an ocean" to "I am almost socially acceptable swimmer!" in 8 weeks!

Getting hurt sucks. I dealt with high hamstring tendonitis last winter. It was the suckiest.

This is the injury progression
1.  Denial.
 No, I'm not hurt. My hamstring is just a tiny bit aggravated. I'm not limping; it's my natural gait.

2. Less denial with a bit of stubborness.
It hurts a little, but I think it will heal as I train through it.

3. The halfsies method.
Yes it hurts. I have developed a recovery plan where I do the meat and potatoes of the training and cross train the rest of the time. That way, I get out of shape while overtaxing my body at the same time. Plus my injury stays aggregated.

4. The unintentional 3 days off: 1 day on method.
I'll take 3 days off to let it heal. Then I'll ‘test it out’ to rehurt it and then take 3 more days off as protocol.

5. Band-aid method.
Ok it hurts. I have no time, and I'll get fired if I don't run through it. Ibuprofen on tap please!

6. Sidelined.
You win, body. I concede.  After 7 weeks of being stupid, I repent and will learn to swim while the hammy heals.

You know what sucks as much as injuries? The 2 hours you spend a day on the elliptical or bike trying to maintain fitness and not gain weight from your injury-depression-overeating.

After 3 days of torture on the stationary equipment, I decided to learn to swim via the Youtubes. It turns out, I was even more “beginner” than beginners.

I have a list of very overlooked tips for you people who also swim like house cats! They were probably overlooked because they are such no brainers for people who have experience in the pool outside of Sharks and Minnows.

1. When you first get in the water, you will probably think, "Hey, I'll just swim to the other side." Before you know it, you're 15m down the pool stranded, wheezing as if you've never exercised before. Tip #1: DON’T PANIC. Panicking will result in a panic loop. You breathe in water. You start to drown. You worry not only about your life, but also about not causing a scene. (Even in life threatening situations, I still have a need to maintain social appropriateness. Probably because I’m a lady.) This in turn causes you to panic more. One panicked breath and BOOM, you are the story of the week for the lifeguards. 

2. Invest in goggles. Your eyes cannot "adapt" to the chlorine. They will swell up, and you'll see those little rainbows surrounding all sources of light. $15-totally-worth-it investment.

3. Invest in a swim cap or hair tie. I, too, at first was doing the free flowing mermaid hair. It gets in the way. Going to take a breath and getting a mouth full of hair is absolutely terrifying. (If it happens, see tip #1). Make sure you have a high quality hair tie. Or just be a real swimmer and get a real swim cap.

4. Breathe out while underwater. This will go against every fiber in your being. Also, don’t tell swimmers this tip. They will question your intelligence and say a condescending remark. Probably something like, “DUH!”

5. Look down. I know eyeing the edge is much more comforting, but looking down lets you float more on your lungs. And someone sometime mentioned it being more aerodynamic.

6. Intervals are your friend. Doing intervals gives you the precious rest time you need. Plus they make you look like an expert (if you have goggles and a swim cap that is).

7. Use those toys! Like the kick board and the in-between-the-thighs floaties! Using only half of your muscles really takes the strain off your lungs.

8. You will get the hang of breathing. I promise. It will probably take 2 weeks, 10 near death experiences, and 13 coughing fits, but you will get it.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Holiday Troubles (with solutions!)

Yo not-professional runners,
 We aren't so different, you and I. I too find it hard to stay fit over the holiday season.

Why the holidays are the spawn of Satan to a professional runner’s fitness:

1. Lack of routine: without a set meeting time, the odds scrimping on the all or part of the workout skyrocket. Why I allow myself to procrastinate until 6 pm to do a workout, I do not know. I will sit on the couch and think, "You will hate yourself when it gets to dinner time, and you have to go workout." And I continue to sit there and have anxiety at the amount of shame I will feel in 8 hours.

Solution: Set a workout time and tell everyone about the time slot you have "to go to work*"
*calling it work is important here. If you refer to it as "practice," You and everyone in the family will condescendingly be talkin' 'bout practice Allen Iverson style.
“I have to go to practice at 8:00.” sounds optional.
“I have to work at 8:00.” sounds only-death-can-get-me-out-of-this mandatory.

2. No training partner: I love training in Seattle because it is my socialize time. At home, it gets reversed, it's my obligation that interferes with socialize time. Running solo sucks.

Solution: Find a training partner.
They don't have to do the workout; they just have to do a workout at the same venue and time. That way, you can both be witness to how great you both are and then complement each other.

3. No coach: The honor system method of training works almost okay until the self-motivation starts to waver. Everyone ever said, "In order to be the best, you have to have freakish robot-like self-motivation." I am proof that this theory is bullshit. I am self-motivated, but sometimes I need external pressure out there to jumpstart the self-motivation. Being your own substitute coach wastes energy that could be allotted to the workout. 

Solution: Find a stand in.
Get a friend to tradsies timing a workout for a lunch. I tried this with my dad and fired him within the first 20 minutes. He got too passionate about his new job and went into a yelling rampage. He then challenged me to a race. Apparently he did not understand why in races I didn't pace myself so I could pass everyone at the end.

4. Distractions:
My friends and family are wonderful. They are also wonderfully oblivious to my career. They celebrate when I celebrate. But that's pretty much it. We are both invested in my track career for the celebrations.

Solution: I have none. Feel lame or feel shame? Your choice.

5. High Calorie Holiday grub:
For those invested in my running career, I am currently a little off the mark when it comes to race weight. Christmas time has so many tempting high calorie nom noms. It's easy to avoid chocolate bars when they aren't around, but when left unattended around those chocolate-chip cookies, I shovel in the goods as if it's my last day before hibernation.

Solution: I tested out 3.
1. Brainwash yourself into thinking you don't like sweets. This worked until I had a sweet and got pissed at myself for the trickery.
2. Throw in some cross trains to negate those bad calories. The conversion rate is 30min bike: 1 snickers bar
3. Green-tea distraction method. I distracted myself by making and drinking green tea every time I had an urge for chocolate bars. This was the best method at a 60% success rate.

6. Alcohol is everywhere:
 Let's go over this. Beer makes you fat--Point blank. High calorie beverage=weight gain. Liquor makes you fat--Indirectly. Concentrated alcohol=complete lapse in self-control. I don't know how many times my hot toddy turned into a full on binge of gingerbread sweets.

Solution: Every time you reach for that hot toddy, just make that left turn to lame-ville and go for the green tea instead.
 I had a lot of green tea this week.

There you have it. It's so easy to stay fit over the holiday season! Just commit to a lifestyle of a non-social geriatric with diabetes.

Disclaimer to the Bossman, NIKE:
I assure you that I do, in fact, live the dedicated lifestyle of a professional athlete. I have developed a complex self-manipulation system to ensure I stay hardworking and motivated. What I’m trying to say is: don’t fire me.

Hey everyone. Go buy NIKE stuff and tell them that I inspired you to buy it! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Hospital Etiquette

My father spent the few days before Christmas in the hospital. 

[side note! My dad frequents the hospital quite often. Usually from freak accidents. His foresight went AWOL when he was 5--just before his first attempt to fly wearing his Superman costume. He's regenerative, I'm pretty sure. In fact, he is what the Wolverine movies were based off. I mean besides the killing, and other mutants and stuff.]

Back to last week's hospital story. It was nothing major, but his diet was restricted. I saw him on Monday. I knew he was okay when he refused to wear the hospital gown and insisted on wearing jeans with no shirt in order to monitor how much muscle mass he was losing. (The final answer was: Man, Phe! I went from Hugh Jackman to Dana Carvey in 4 days!) 

He called Tuesday. He sounded very upset and opened the conversation with, "Phe, I'm literally dying." 

My heart sank as I suppressed all outward emotion. "When? Why? I just saw you yesterday. What did they find? How much time do you have left. I'm on my way."

He screamed, "WAIT! WAIT! They are starving me in here. I only get chicken broth with a bit of jello. I'm wasting away. I just need one McDub (McDouble) and some fries."

Joking about "literally dying" while in the hospital should be illegal.

I tried to reason with him, but he was adamant he would only survive maybe 14 more hours on the broth diet. 

It's good to know that happiness in the Wright family is almost exclusively determined by blood sugar levels. 

I caved and bought him the Happy Meal. He had to James Bond it while eating in order to keep the nurses from "having an 
aneurysm" (again. Hospital jokes. Not funny, Dad, not funny). While he packed it, I made sure to threaten his life, "Hey Dad, I will literally kill you if I accidentally kill you via this Happy Meal." 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rank that Christmas Gift!

I come from a family that is nonmaterialistic by default because we are too lazy to go shopping. Thus making the Christmas gift exchange one of my favorite activities!

I suggested that instead of a gift exchange, we buy ourselves $100 worth of stuff online, and then bond by opening it together. But that would involve not procrastinating until the week of Christmas to order stuff.  

Highlights of the gift exchange: 

1. Nothing says I-procrastinated -on-buying-your-Xmas card like a disclaimer written in the card. It's perfect. My sister really knows how I define "love." With humor. (Also I am slightly alarmed at the lack of proof reading. Must run in the family.)  

2. This calendar. A breed specific calendar is a clear indication that I am too obsessed with my dog. 

Nanna learned how to make these scarves! Which means everyone in the family got a scarf! I forced my Aunt and Sis to take this photo. Aunt asked, "How are you wearing it?" Sister's response: "Like a tie. Hey, Phe! I got you this scarf!" (I smell a regift)

4. Two of my cousins didn't know what to get each other, so they exchanged $20. I think they are the only ones that truly understand the meaning of Christmas.