rest week in review
As I mentioned briefly in my previous post, this week has been a bit of a blur of lazy non-eventfulness.
We returned from Yamanashi on Sunday evening. As usual, after the race itself I was overwhelmed with a feeling of extreme accomplishment at having my weeks of training and anticipation finally behind me and knowing that I had achieved my goal and done it well. I felt very peaceful and content for the rest of the evening. There were the occasional twinges of ambition and desire to do it all again, but mostly general sense of freedom at not actually being in active training anymore.
I woke up Monday morning sore and fatigued and feeling similar to how I often feel before coming down with a cold. The areas that I expected to be sore, my shins and calves, were totally unaffected, but my knees felt stiff, and the muscle between my hip and outer thigh on the right side felt very abused. Especially when I shifted my weight onto my right foot. This actually caused me to walk with a very slight limp for the rest of the day, though it was hardly bad enough to warrant that.
My gym is always closed the 3rd Monday of every month, so I let myself sleep in rather late and relax a bit before heading in to work. I had told most of my co-workers about the race, and made sure to bring in a selection of Yamanashi grapes for everyone to sample. In return I was allowed to regale them with tales of my success with minimal complaint.
I had made an appointment for a massage at my favorite Chinese massage place the week before, knowing I’d need it after work on Monday. They seem to be redoing their entire business method and things were not quite ready when I arrived, but I was still able to get in for a 70m massage; of which I’d estimate 75% of the work was done on the back of my legs and my hips. It was very, very nice.
From the top left: fresh spring rolls, khao soi noodles, gai kaprow, and kabocha pudding with coconut ice cream.
I’m looking forward to going back with friends to sample more of the menu. Their Thai Iced Tea and lemon grass iced tea were among the best I’ve had in Tokyo.
Although I’d decided to take this week to rest up after the race, I didn’t want to be entirely inactive, so on Tuesday morning I woke up and went to my usual Group Kick class at the gym. I was worried I wouldn’t be quite able to handle the higher impact tracks just yet, but I made it through intact and had a lot of fun. It was nice to get moving again. I briefly toyed with the idea of getting in a very quick, very slow run after work as well, but decided to stick with my original plan of resting.
I wasn’t feeling terribly creative in the kitchen, so for dinner I pulled out the ball of dough leftover from last week’s pizza and threw together something with what we had on hand. It ended up being a pretty awesome combination: simple tomato sauce, mozzarella, cottage cheese, maitake mushrooms, caramelized onion, spinach, and a selection of two varieties of crunchy grapes we brought back from Yamanashi.
I would have preferred to go with a simple olive oil sauce, but we had tomato sauce that needed using up. It still came out well, but next time I will go simpler.
Pizza win…. eating fail….
I had made it a point to stop by Doughnut Plant on the way home, as I knew Pumpkin Doughnuts were due out the next day and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any of the current selections before then. We split two cake doughnuts for dessert: Banana Pecan and Cranberry.
Both were phenomenally moist and tasty, though the cranberry may have had a slight edge on flavor.
Wednesday I had actually planned to go in to the gym for a strength training session and maybe a short swim, but when I woke up my brother was online and I ended up video chatting with him until it was almost time for work, since I hadn’t spoken to him in a while.
I had not slept very well because I stayed up late trying to finish writing out my massive race recap the night before and my energy levels were very low throughout the day. My race euphoria had also finally started to wear off, and as a result I felt pretty out of it most of the day. I had been looking forward to Wednesday night yoga, but when time came to actually leave work and head to the studio my motivation had waned. I almost didn’t go, and it took some last-minute encouraging emails from Eric to get me on the train in time for class.
Of course, yoga was awesome and made me feel worlds better, though we spent so much time in down dog this particular class and my shoulder blades ached for the next two days.
After yoga I ended up meeting my friend Keiko, who happened to be in Shinjuku as well doing some shopping, and we had a light dinner and scones at a new scone specialty shop called Conanoco that opened up where the 2nd Shinjuku Doughnut Plant location used to be. We had been eyeing the shop for a while before it opened, and were really pleased to finally try it out.
After some deliberations we both chose to order a salad & kabocha soup set, with two tiny scones each. We split all of them and tried vanilla bean, whole wheat, chocolate pecan, and koucha (earl grey) with the optional cream and homemade raspberry and blueberry jams. I also had a mini pot of organic tea on the side.
It was a nice place for a light meal and conversation over tea, and I can tell it will be regular stop for us in the future. On the way out I bought blueberry cream cheese and the orange koucha scones to take home for Eric, and I have to say, the orange koucha may have been my favorite of the whole lot.
I thought about running again on Thursday morning (it’s really hard for me to stick to that whole ‘rest’ part of a rest week, can you tell?), but when I woke up it was raining, so I had no choice but to take the day off again. The cool weather inspired me to have some warm Scottish oatmeal for breakfast for just the 3rd time so far this season, and it was very nice way to start the day.
Work was entirely uneventful and dragged. When I returned home I pulled out the leftover frozen gnocchi and threw together a very quick and simple tomato sauce to have with it for dinner. The leftovers made for a fantastic lunch the next day over spinach.
Friday morning was clearer than the day before, but still a little on the chilly side, so I opted to have oatmeal again before heading off to Group Power at the gym.
For some reason the class was extra popular, and there was very little space for me to set up when I arrived. I managed to stake out a position close to the back thanks to some of the other regulars moving a little bit to make space for me.
The class was difficult. My leg muscles were a bit stiff from the race and lack of exercise throughout the week, so I went a little light on the weights for the first few tracks. I upped it to my normal level by the lunge track, though.
After work I headed out to meet my friend Jessica for our weekly night out. We had decided to go to Roppongi to have Iranian food at a restaurant we are particularly fond of, so, I headed towards Ebisu to kill time before she got off work. It turned out that Eric and his friend had also decided to meet in Ebisu on their way out, and I found them shortly after arriving.
I spent a little time talking to Eric’s friend about nutrition and doughnuts before continuing on to Roppongi. The poor guy is trying to lose some weight but really has no clue how to go about doing so. It seems that he was severely restricting his calories to make room for drinks later that evening, and had only had a single onigiri for dinner. I tried to talk some sense into him, but I don’t know how much it stuck.
Dinner with Jessica was very tasty, as usual. We had our standards at Aladdin, and then headed over to the Tokyo Midtown location of Golden Spoon, which is one of the few frozen yogurt places in Tokyo and a favorite stop of ours.
We decided to go to Golden Spoon on the assumption that they would have Pumpkin Pie yogurt available, and we were not disappointed. Jessica ordered her cup with Pumpkin Pie and Cake Batter, and I went for Vanilla on the side of mine. We both got the nuts cookie topping, which is the best available at Golden Spoon.
It was amazingly good.. in retrospect I should have gone with my gut and had a full cup of the Pumpkin Pie, though. It was that fantastic.
Now that my rest week is out of the way I’m looking forward to being slightly more productive this upcoming week. I’m also hoping to establish an actual schedule for posting blog entries, as I really let things slide and pile up here and would like to get back into some sort of rhythm.
Does anyone else have a hard time getting back to normal after a short break in your routine?