Welcome to the new and potentially really boring Monday feature on this blog: training recaps! Woo. Can you feel the excitement? No? That’s because it’s not there. But I’m sure like everything else I write, this will reach a state of barely maintainable pretentiousness in about a week. So stick around.
This week was supposed to be about getting back on track with all those miles after my two weeks in Greece, and for the most part I managed it, though I’ve decided to move my long runs to Monday because Mondays are easier to control. But it ended up really being about getting comfortable just showing up at the gym. I picked one of the more intimidating gyms in DC because it was the closest one to me where I could swim,1 and because they have a location pretty close to the mall so I had this fantasy that I could go to the gym and then go work at the NGA and it would be this totally great thing for me as an author. Little did I suspect, the amount of crap I need to bring to the gym now is insane: bike shoes, run shoes, change of clothes, all my goddamn swim crap, etc. It adds up. So the NGA plan needs some work, at least with a bike ride. I think they might have bag check there, though? What the hell was I talking about? Oh, the gym.
Right, so, the gym I picked is intimidating, and on Monday I definitely had one of those, “I’m the only person who has no idea what she’s doing,” moments, and I wanted to leave and go home, but I didn’t. Everyone is really nice, I’m just a shy and awkward person, so spending a week making the gym not feel like walking into a terrifying overwhelming place was probably a good thing. Now it’s just normal. A very normal nightclub that happens to be masquerading as a gym.
Run – 5-ish miles at 6 to 8 mph: I actually ran more than 5 miles, but some of it was a bit half-hearted because I really just wanted to watch the end of the movie. I felt bad about hogging the machine, so I didn’t even get to finish it. It was a holiday though so next time I doubt it’ll be as crowded.
Bike – 20 minute FTW test, 30 minutes fucking around: The bikes at my gym use some kind of color system to tell you how hard you’re going, and I had no idea how to use it the first class I took. So after my run I went and, after spending a humiliating amount of time figuring out how to use SPD clips,2 did what’s called a Functional Training WattRate test. I got a 170, whatever that means. I know it’s not accurate because I had just come off a long-ish run, and also I was being lazy, but I think it’ll be good for class because I usually go to class in those conditions. I’ll take it again in a few weeks when I actually care more.
Then I spent 30 minutes fucking around, playing with the bike, making it light up different colors for fun. My goal was to just stay on the bike for an hour total so I’d at least be used to being on a bike while other people are doing their thing. And I feel like I accomplished that goal.
Monday’s training was brought to you by…
The Mark of Zorro: I stayed for Basil Rathbone. Basil Rathbone doesn’t do so well. Overall the movie is fine if predictable,3 with lots of good buckling of swashes.
The Black Museum – The Brass Button and The Pink Powderpuff: I really want to love The Black Museum but somehow it just falls flat every episode. I think it’s that it’s a little too true crime for me, and the stories aren’t as challenging or fantastic as I like.
Swim – 30 minutes: I’m actually re-learning how to swim because I was doing it wrong, and swimming in an endless pool is not easy in the same way learning to run on a treadmill is not easy. So for now at least I’m really only thinking about the time. I fucked around in the pool for 30 minutes, 10 of which I spent swimming breaststroke instead of practicing what I was supposed to be doing because relearning how to swim as an adult will very quickly make you feel like a frustrated failure, especially when you have to stare at yourself flailing in a mirror attached to the bottom of the pool.
Run – 5-ish miles at 6 to 8 mph
Bike – 30 minutes easy: I was supposed to do like two hours but my clothes were soaked and I was hungry. Working out is logistically kind of complicated, and my bag is already huge, so I’m not sure what to do about it. I keep burning out and I can tell it’s that I’m hungry so…like…do you bring food to the gym?
Tuesday’s training was brought to you by…
The Scarlet Pimpernel: My Leslie Howard obsession continues. I mean how could you not love his fop act?
Bike – 45 minutes Flywheel
Run – 4 Miles at 6-8mph: Words cannot express how much I did not want to go straight from flywheel onto a treadmill. I felt terrible. But I did solve the “legs eating themselves” problem by eating one of those not quite ok flywheel bananas between biking and running.
Wednesday’s training was brought to you by…
The delightful voice of Stephen Murray at Flywheel: @snapsfromsteve brought the work to a frustrated post-WMATA nightmare4 workout where I was fully committed to phoning it in and ended up pulling into first. I feel like he’s probably someone who remembers that “Every night is the audience’s opening night.” Every performance matters. God I’m so nicecore it hurts.
The 49th Parallel: This movie is long so I only finished a bit of it at the gym, and the other part I finished at home. I think this is my first Powell and Pressburger film? I liked it. It’s kind of got a tv vibe with the internal episodes though which I normally don’t like, but that’s just because when we see that now we think “this should have been a miniseries,” because we long for those cliffs to hang off and create artificial tension through the symbolic black out. It would have been a great miniseries, but it’s also a great movie if you take it on its own terms, as of its own time.
Unplanned Rest Day: I got screwed out of my run by torrential rain, and I got screwed out of Zumba by Georgetown traffic that rose directly out of hell and wrapped itself around the Key bridge and M street. Sometimes I hate DC.
Personal Training: I finally learned what personal trainer does, kind of! And how to use a rowing machine! Also how to throw a giant stupid heavy ball, and jump on a box. I’m not sure I took the right lessons out of this, but I thought it was really fun, like calvinball fun, because I frankly have no idea what the hell any of the stuff we did was for so I just rolled with it.
Run – 3 Miles at the usual speed: So it turns out throwing a giant ball and jumping on boxes can make running less easy than it is first thing in the morning.
Friday’s training was brought to you by…
A Darker Shade of Magic: Just the ending. I was so hooked on the last chapters of this book that I dug out my arm band so I could keep listening while I went running. Super good, in a really straightforward, somewhere between Howl’s Moving Castle and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell good kind of way. I’m not using straightforward in a negative way, I just mean it’s like…exactly what it is. One step left of predictable in that most incredibly satisfying way.
Unplanned Rest Day: The green lady, Chartreuse, took all the run out of me, so instead I followed the Ironman World Championship from my laptop as a huddled hungover mess and prayed that the lord would make me good…but not yet.5
FAIL FAIL FAIL: it’s ok, it’s a learning experience.
- Although, see below, an endless pool is not like normal swimming.
- And this is why this was a “getting used to the gym” week. Because I’m sure the Rando-Guy didn’t even notice I couldn’t figure out the stupid bike cleats, but it felt like the whole gym was staring at me.
- Not really a fair complaint here, I know.
- I spent two hours trying to get downtown from Glover Park which is just fucking crazy. What the hell? I could have walked faster. I followed that up with an equally frustrating commute home.
- It’s an Augustine reference, with a detour through Evelyn Waugh. But seriously I need to stop drinking to run this marathon.