Friday, August 31, 2012

Fitness Friday: Goals

My goals & reasons for this weekend's long run:

What about you? What are you doing this weekend to be the best you that you can be?

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Tough Love

This week I read a post by my friend Barb that was a bit of a wake-up call.  What I have to say here might piss some people off but mostly I hope it makes you think. In her post, she wrote:
"It seems that at least once a week, and usually more often, I see someone lamenting about how slow they are biking, running, swimming, or whatever. Or how they didn’t go far enough, or saying how horrible their workout was because…wait for it…they were injured."
I know I'm 100% guilty of this - in fact, her post could have been directed at me.  I'm coming back from injury (very slowly and not to my liking) and I admit that I'm not happy with how many of my runs have gone.  I know I've slammed myself on dailymile, twitter, and even in this space here.  However, Barb isn't pissed off just because I/we am/are beating ourselves up. She went on to say,
"Can you imagine how I feel reading a post that says something like, “Gah! I’m so slow, how can I even call myself a runner?” then looking at their pace and it’s 2, 3, 4, 5 minutes per mile faster than mine? Those people must look at my run reports and think I’m a total idiot for daring to call myself a runner. No? What else am I supposed to think reading posts like that? Of course they would never say disparaging things about my training, but you know what? They don’t have to. They’re putting me down just fine by treating themselves like that."
It has never been my intention to put someone else down (or cause them to feel that way) based upon how I feel about myself.   My perceptions of my performance (or my weight, my looks, whatever) are exactly that. MY perceptions about ME.  They are in no way a reflection of how I feel about them.  She's right - I would never say to someone else what I say to myself most days.  My Inner Mean Girl is a royal bitch, but she's only a bitch to me.  Just because I'm upset that I ran a 12 minute mile doesn't mean I'm any less proud of someone else who's run a 13 minute mile, or a 15 or 20 minute mile, or for that matter a 7 minute mile.  It means I feel like I didn't perform to MY potential. BUT...and this is a big one of my friends reminded me, every workout I do, the rest days I take, how I take care of my family and my job I do to make improve myself in some way.  Just because I was unhappy about a run doesn't mean I didn't learn something from it or get out of it what I needed, even if at the time I didn't realize it.  Every runner has their own set of abilities, talents, work ethic, nutrition, etc that affects how they run every single day.  How I run and how I feel about those runs are my feelings.  I'm comparing myself to me, although I've definitely been in Barb's position and fight very hard to not compare myself to runners who are much faster than me (and even to the runner I was a year ago because I don't have her abilities right now).

So, why is this being posted as part of "Thankful Thursday"? Because of what Barb went on to write. She wants to declare September to be "Celebrate Your Fitness" month.  Barb says,
"I pledge to celebrate every workout I do in September. I won’t put myself down just because my pace or distance was not what I had planned. I will celebrate the victory of that workout, which might be as simple as getting out when I really didn’t want to or as profound as a personal record. It doesn’t matter how big or small the victory seems at the time – I will celebrate it and ditch the negative."
She's giving us all a little tough love and a wake up call to celebrate what we do and why we do it.  Will I be 100% positive all month about my workouts?  I highly doubt it.  But I will try to focus more on being thankful for the ability to run what I'm capable of running, even if my performance isn't where I feel it should be.  

At the same time, I want to give Barb and anyone who has ever felt the way she has a little tough love, too.  (This includes myself, by the way.) Realize that we are proud of you for what YOU can accomplish.  We are individuals and just because we are hard on ourselves doesn't mean we feel the same way about you.  I don't want to read that someone felt bad because they didn't run as well as the next person or because they didn't lift as much weight or they took a rest day when someone else was working out.  But I also don't want to see someone getting complacent because, "I'll never be able to do as well as so-and-so."

Be the best person you can be. Be thankful for every workout you are able to fit in.  But also please stop making comparisons and thinking someone feels less of you just because they are hard on themselves. It simply isn't the case.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Training: Week 2

This week represents my last week of summer before school is back in session.  Today is my first day back and the kids all go back next Tuesday.  Training is going "ok".  I'm definitely feeling the effects of my increased mileage, with my left shin acting up.  I saw my sports chiro on Thursday and he still feels a lot of the issues are stemming from my left big toe (crazy that a jammed up toe joint would result in so many issues, but whatever).

Here's how the week played out (I'm not going to show plan/actual since I don't really have a "plan" at this point:

Monday 8/20/12 - XT - Biked 20 miles in 1:25.  Averaged around 14 mph which was great because I had so many stops and route issues.

Tuesday 8/21/12 - Tempo - managed to maintain 10 m/m pace for 1.5 miles :)  Total 3.1 in 33:43.

Wednesday 8/22/12 - XT - completed a NTC 30 minute strength workout.

Thursday 8/23/12 - Yasso 800s - 2x800 at approx 9 m/m pace. Total 3.1 in 31:32.  Then did an OWS that was a disaster. Swam for 30 minutes, somewhere around 1/2 a mile.

Friday 8/24/12 - Rest day

Saturday 8/25/12 - Long Run 5 miles - Kept it very slow and easy. 1:00:39 (12:07 pace). Trying to be ok with the really slow pace.  I wish I could say the slow pace kept me from feeling sore, but it didn't.  I spent most of the day stretching and icing.  I even had soreness in my right knee and I NEVER have knee issues.  This concerns me.

Sunday 8/26/12 - XT - walked 3.1 miles in 52 minutes, then 25 minutes of stretching and abs.

It was a pretty good week - I managed to get in all my workouts, but I'm fighting the injured feeling and that frustrates me greatly.  Hopefully the next week will go better, but with school starting up, getting the workouts in will be the hard part.  Do I start working out at 5 am?  Ugh.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fitness Friday: Tough Decisions

I believe in previous posts I alluded to the fact that I wanted to complete one more triathlon this season.  Being in Michigan, the tri season is relatively short - basically June to mid September and my first tri was mid August.  As far as first triathlons go, it went very well.  I'm still recovering from that ?@!#?$%)* stress fracture/reaction and my running has really not been where I'd like it to be - pace wise or pain/ease wise.  I had it in my heart to compete in the Reeds Lake Triathlon on Sept. 8th but in all honesty, I'm not ready.  I won't BE ready in 2 weeks.  I have it on good authority from several friends who have raced it before that this is NOT a beginner tri.  The course is much hiller than Millennium, not to mention longer.

If you are friends with me on twitter or daily mile, you might know I had a rough swim yesterday.  At this point, the swim was the one discipline I really felt comfortable with, but Thursday's OWS in a different lake and in a wet suit shook me up a bit.  To be clear, that isn't the only reason I've decided (85% sure) that I will NOT be competing at Reeds Lake this year.  I just know deep down that I'm not ready.  I know that I could do serious damage - both physically and mentally - if that race does not go well.  (It actually has some pretty scary minimum times - ones I'm barely hitting in all disciplines - so there's a strong chance I may not be able to even finish.)  BUT...I've never considered myself to be a quitter.  Having a DNS for the 5/3 River Bank Run this year SUCKED OUT LOUD - but I was in a boot and there was absolutely NO WAY I could have run 15.5 miles. I couldn't have even walked the 5k. The DNS was decided for me. I probably could do Reeds Lake, but I might end up even more injured if I try. My shin has been hurting quite a bit with the ramping up in my running since finishing the tri.  I'm working HARD to get my base back and it's literally kicking my ass (and pissing off my leg). After many long discussions with a few of my friends (and you know who you are - thank you for looking out for me and being willing to tell me the shit that I don't really want to hear but need to hear for my own good), I know that this race is a bad idea. I need to be smart.

Sometimes being smart is admitting you aren't ready.

My priorities have changed. I LOVED training for Millennium.  I would have never guessed that I would end up liking biking and swimming so much and the challenge of the "threesome" (as my van now says) was right up there with distance running.  But for the next few months I need to be a runner.  I 100% MUST be healthy and finish Disney's Wine and Dine in November. Failure is not an option. It's already paid for and it wasn't cheap. Plus, that race is where my heart really is right now.  I'm looking at a few running races between now and then to use as tune-ups or training runs, but I probably won't decide to actually do them until the day before and that's ok.  (With the exception of the Grand Rapids Marathon Relay, which I'm already registered for and REALLY excited to do.  It will be my first relay and I can't wait to tell about the experience later.)

This post may sound a little Debbie Downer, but it really isn't meant to.  I had a rough day yesterday.  I won't deny that I shed more than a few tears (ok, I cried a lot), but I'm ok with it.  I'm running smart.  I WILL do more triathlons next season.  I'm hoping to get a bike trainer, new shoes and clipless pedals this winter so I can keep improving my biking and I'll continue to swim for cross training, too.  But for right now, I am focusing on getting healthy and running the best race I can in November.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Semi-wordless Wednesday: fresh!

Another great use of the fresh basil (bruschetta) & zucchini from our garden (sadly the tomatoes are from the store - ours just aren't getting red)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wine and Dine Half Training: Week 1

Last week I asked what you all thought of the training recaps each week and the overwhelming response was to keep them, so here we are with week 1 of my training for Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  The race is November 10, 2012. Wine and Dine will be my 2nd Disney race and my first night-time race.  SQUEEE!!! I have some lofty goals in the back of my mind for this one, but coming off injury (and my running and my race weight not getting back to where I think they need to be fast enough) the primary goal will be to cross the finish line in the upright position and get 2 medals hung around my neck.  When I finish, I'll also have earned the 2012 Coast to Coast Medal since I ran the Tinkerbell Half back in January out at Disneyland :)  The chance at double bling will keep my feet moving for 13.1 miles.  Worst case? I crawl.

When I started looking at a training plan for this race, I really thought I would use the half plan from Run Less Run Faster, but the first long run is 10 miles and I knew that wasn't going to happen.  So, I'm still following a 3 run per week (tempo, yasso 800s (speed work), long slow run) plan for this race, but it's scaled back quite a bit.  I'm also still toying with the idea of another triathlon before summer is over, so some biking and swimming are thrown in the mix as well.  The plan just isn't nearly as detailed as my tri plan was and I have no clue when/how I'll fit in any bricks before the tri since I don't want to give up any long runs.

So let's see how week 1 played out.

Monday 8/13/12 - Plan XT - Completed Run 2 miles in 20:57.  Calves and ankles were really stiff from the tri but loosened up a little on the run.

Tuesday 8/14/12 - Plan Run 2 miles tempo - Completed XT Bike 12.69 miles in 55:15.

Wednesday 8/15/12 - Plan XT - Happy Birthday to Me! Completed 2x800 at 4:30 pace with 4:30 recovery. With warm up and cool down I ended up with 3 miles in 32ish minuts.

Thursday 8/16/12 - Plan 2x800 at 4:30 pace with 4:30 recovery - Completed XT Swim 1000 yds in 46:40.

Friday 8/17/12 - Plan OFF - Completed OFF

Saturday 8/18/12 - Plan Long Run 4 miles - Completed 4.33 mile run in 49:36 with negative splits. WOOT!

Sunday 8/19/12 - Plan XT - Completed 30 min abs and arms workout.

Basically this week was the trial week to see how things fit.  Obviously, Tues/Thurs runs did not work out and will continue to not work because of my girl's diving schedule - so there will be some tweaking to the plan in the coming weeks.  So long as I get in the 3 quality runs each week, I'll be good.  I'm happy that I got in all of my workouts, even if my legs are a little pissed at me.  Running 4 miles without stopping on Saturday was a huge confidence boost, too, since that was the longest run I've done without walking since getting injured.  Let's just hope the trend continues.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Menu Monday: PESTO!

What do you do when you have a basil plant that looks like this?

You make pesto!

4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, big stems discarded, rinsed & dried
Salt to taste
2 cloves garlic crushed
4 Tbsp pine nuts (or walnuts if you want to save a few bucks), lightly toasted in a dry skillet
3/4-1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

1. Combine basil, salt, garlic, nuts & about 1/2 the oil in a food processor or blender.

2. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container & adding the rest of the oil gradually (I only used about 1/2 of the remaining oil.) Add more oil if you want it thinner. Store in the fridge for a week or two.

3. Stir in the Parmesan by hand just before serving.

This turned out so good for my first try. I just served it cold on noodles. Do you have any other yummy ways to serve pesto?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fitness Friday: Searching for the Joy

I found this picture on Facebook this morning & promptly stole it. Running has become such a mental challenge for me since I got injured. It's as if running has lost it's therapeutic benefits (and as much as I've learned to love swimming & biking, they don't have nearly the same endorphin-producing effect that a 6 mile run has). This makes me really sad because I've used running as therapy for so long & now it doesn't work anymore.
I need to find my heart in running again. I'm sure I'll get there, but it's taking a hell of a lot longer than I'd like.

Have you ever lost your mojo? What have you done to get it back?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Race Photos

Today I'm thankful there were a couple pictures from last weekend's triathlon that didn't completely suck. I need help deciding which to buy.

Which do you think is better? Sadly there were no pics of me on the bike & the swim pics induced vomiting (not really but yuck - definitely not something I'd spend money on).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tri Tuesday: Week 14 The Finale

Today marks the last installment of training recaps for my first triatholon :)  The week was really pretty easy since it was a taper.

Monday 8/6/12 - Scheduled OFF - Completed Swim 0:20 for about 600 yards.  The thought of only working out 2 days this week made me get in the pool for an easy swim.

Tuesday 8/7/12 - Scheduled Bike/Run Brick (0:30/0:10) - Completed Bike/Run Brick.  I biked 7 miles in 29 minutes and then ran an uber fast (for me) 9:46 mile for the Shrinking Jeans Virtual Olympics 4 x 4 mile relay (my team took GOLD - but I think we were the only ones who entered - LOL).  It felt so badass to know I still could crank out some speed for at least short distances.

Wednesday 8/8/12 - Scheduled OFF - Completed OFF

Thursday 8/9/12 - Scheduled Swim/Bike Brick (0:10/0:20) - Completed Swim/Bike Brick (0:12/0:23) I really pushed on the bike and finally got some speed back up there, averaging about 13.8 mph.

Friday 8/10/12 - Scheduled OFF - Completed OFF and packet pick up :)

Saturday 8/11/12 - Millennium Triathlon Day!!! I finished a 500m swim, 14.8 mile bike ride, and 5k run in 1:52:56.  You can read all about it here!

So, what did I learn from this little endeavor into the world of triathlons?

  • I really do like swimming :)  My technique may not be the best, but I don't completely suck at it either.  I even think my swimming ability improved along with my endurance. Having specific workouts and drills really breaks up the boredom of just swimming laps.
  • Biking is really scary at faster speeds but I LOVE my Trek Lexa.  I have friends who are REALLY fast on their bikes and the thought of going 25 mph on a regular basis, not just when zooming down hills, scares the crap out of me.  That being said, I don't plan on upgrading from the road bike I bought this year any time soon.  Now, maybe cycling shoes, new pedals, and a trainer from Santa for Christmas might be nice. (Granted this would also slow down my T2 time since I'd need to swap shoes, but I can work on that.)
  • My running is still no where close to where it needs to be (or where it used to be).  I'm still having some achiness in my injury site that I think I just need to accept is going to be there unless I want to quit running completely, which I don't want to do.  The real test for my recovery will be to see how the shins behave as I ramp up my mileage and start doing speed work for the Wine and Dine Half in November.
  • Triathletes are really nice people.  Even with all the jostling in the water, people were saying "sorry" when they hit you :)  A couple of ladies that I passed on the bike were super encouraging and then I returned the favor and kudos when they blew me away on the run.  Golden Rule certainly applies.
  • Practicing your transitions is necessary.  I wouldn't have been nearly as fast in transition if I'd been worrying about where all my stuff was and what order to swap everything out.
  • Biking and swimming are great for cross training.  I hope to keep them up as long as I can (which is why I need a trainer at some point because I'm not going back to riding those awful stationary bikes at the gym and will NEVER ride my bike in the snow).
  • Stretching and foam rolling are still important.  I did neither all weekend, then did a decent 2 mile run on Monday and I'm paying for it today.  Ouch.
  • ANYONE can TRI.  There were people of all shapes, sizes and ages at Saturday's race (and I got my ass handed to me by a ton of people older and bigger than me - so high 5s to them - they freaking ROCK!).  Plus, if I can do it, you can too!

There you have it, folks.  I'm now a triathlete and I fully plan to do more of these.  Hopefully my running improves enough that I feel comfortable registering for the September tri I have my eye on.  It's longer: 880m swim, 18 mile bike, 5 mile run and REALLY hilly.  Plus, it'll be a wetsuit swim for sure because the lake will have cooled way down  by then.  Apples to oranges in comparison to Millennium but I want to give it a shot.

Now I want some feedback from you.  Have you liked reading these recaps?  Should I keep them up for November's half or would you like to see a different type of post in their place?  Leave me some ideas in the comments, please.

Thanks for all the support the past 14 weeks, too :)  I wouldn't be able to stick with this and do what I do without your encouragement.  ((hugs)) and *kisses*

Monday, August 13, 2012

Millennium Triathlon Race Report

So, this past weekend I finally completed my first (yes, I said "first") sprint triathlon, Grand Rapids Millennium Triathlon!  I am officially a triathlete :)  I went into the weekend in a horrible funk.  The weather had gotten really nasty (read COLD and RAINY) and I was so freaked out about the possibility of biking in the rain.  Thanks to the beauty of Twitter and my friends who have been there before, I had some great advice and went to bed feeling a little bit better about the whole situation.  Luckily, it ended up not even being an issue because the weather turned out pretty freaking great - overcast and low 60s with not a drop of rain in sight.

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup Friday afternoon was really easy.  I met my friend, Mindy (who was also doing her first tri), at the downtown Y and we easily found our numbers and got our packets. There wasn't much expo to speak of, just a couple booths selling other Millennium Triathlon gear. Swag included a nice, long-sleeve wicking shirt and a fun lidded tumbler.  We didn't really know what to do with all the extra numbers in our packet so we asked a couple of the volunteers (one of whom I knew through another friend of mine) and they both set us straight on how to mark our bikes and helmets, as well as how to wear our timing chips.

Race Day!
Race morning I woke up around 3:30, which REALLY sucked, and I didn't fall back to sleep until sometime after 4:30.  Then the damn alarm went off at 5:30. Ugh. That's early.  Luckily the race is only about 8 miles from home so I didn't need to be up any earlier than that.  I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal and some coffee, woke up the husband, and we were off to Millennium Park.  (If you ever have a chance to come to Grand Rapids, I highly recommend a visit here - it's beautiful.)  Parking was easy (although a bit muddy - had to carry my bike from the car) and there were tons of volunteers to direct the athletes to the transition area.  The bike racks were organized by number (I was in the last wave & waves were by gender and age group) so it was easy to find where I needed to rack my bike.  Did you know if you are really short and ride a tiny bike it might not touch the ground when you hang it on the rack?  Now you do! I had to use my shoes to keep it from spinning around :)
I got myself body marked and then scoped out the beach area and the bike in/out and run out areas.  I loved reading the tweets from my friends all over the twitterverse - they really helped get me hyped up and excited! While checking things out I ran into Mindy and her roommate so we hung out together and waited for our heats to start.  (She's just a baby so she started in the 1st women's heat!)  Before long they called for the green caps and we lined up at the edge of the lake.  I was trying to bounce around a little because it was still REALLY cold and I didn't want to hit the cold water (we were told 74* and they made wetsuits legal at the last minute) with cold muscles.  Somehow I ended up near the front but off to the outside. I caught a glimpse of M with the camera and made like a fool :)
The Swim: 500m in 13:22 (rank 310/445)
The guy starting each heat counted us down and we were off.  The water was COLD but it was warmer than the air. Still, putting my face in sort of took my breath away. So weird.  I tried to keep my head down and just swim but there were so many people jostling for position.  I don't know how many times I got kicked or had to stop and tread water because I was trapped.  I realized early on that I was a better swimmer than a lot of the other women but I couldn't figure out how to get around them.  I actually made my way to the inside which was probably more crowded but people were swimming faster here.  It wasn't until I made it almost to the 2nd buoy that I really felt like I was in a decent swimming groove.  My breathing was all over the place - 3 strokes, 5 strokes, every stroke, head out of the water, head down with good form - but I never switched strokes (unless you count needing to tread water because I couldn't go anywhere & I'm not counting that). The water gets really shallow and weedy (EWWW) near the exit and a lot of us started to walk but then it dropped off again.  I decided to swim until my hands hit bottom and then I got up and ran out of the water. I am THRILLED with how well I did in the swim.  M said I was out of the water in about 12 minutes (the time is longer than that because you have to run up the beach and sidewalk a ways before hitting the timing mat).  I thought my swim time would be closer to 15 minutes so this shows me that I really pushed myself in that lake.  I even think I could've gone faster if there weren't all those other women in my way!
T1 Swim to Bike: 3:00
I headed into the transition area and had a momentary brain fart when I realized we came into the area from the opposite side than I had gone in to set up. The bonus was that my bike was closer, but that meant I had to run farther with my bike, too.  I had a small towel to sit on, so I plopped down, quickly threw on my socks and shoes without really drying my feet (this would cause them to become VERY icy on the bike), pulled on my skirt and race number, my helmet, shades & my gloves.  The gloves gave me fits because my hands were still really wet and dummy me kept wiping them on my ALSO WET shorts. DUH. I unhooked my bike and trotted out to where we were allowed to get on them.  It was really far - or at least it seemed like it.  I feel like I should've run faster here, but overall my transition seemed to go pretty smoothly.
The Bike: 14.8 miles in 57:58 (15.3 mph rank 374/445)
I had ridden the bike course once in training and it also follows a lot of the Grand Rapids Marathon and 5/3 Riverbank Run 25k route, so I knew what to expect.  Hills.  Lots of small, rolling hills.  Nothing too crazy but enough that I had to work.  I got passed on the bike right away by several people, but I also passed 6 or 7 myself - including a few I took going up hills.  This made me happy. What I wasn't prepared for was the wind.  Holy moly the wind was strong and there was a headwind for a good portion of the ride.  I was tired and kept switching from small to large gear and then downshifting into easier gears, but I was thankful for a nice bike that could take it.  I hadn't inflated my tires the night before since I was anticipating biking on wet pavement and I would quickly regret this.  They felt a little soft the whole ride and I just prayed over and over that I wasn't getting a flat.  Being in the last heat and having most of the fastest people long done before I even got out there made for a lonely bike ride for most of the route.  My inner mean girl kept trying to tell me I was last but I just told her to STFU.  I had passed at least a few people and I even took a couple girls right at the end of the nearly 15 mile ride. My feet were FROZEN and numb during the entire ride and I felt a little cold but not as cold as I thought I would.  Not unbearable but not entirely pleasant either. I know I didn't drink enough on the ride - only about 1/2 my bottle of Nuun.  I'm sure I finished the bike course pretty dehydrated but the temperature made me feel like I wasn't sweating. Learning experience - drink even if you don't feel like you need the fluids. I commented on twitter that I really felt like I left it all out on the course.  This was hard. The wind was hard.  I felt like I was going sooo slow but I finished and I beat my sub-1 hour bike goal by over 2 minutes!
T2 Bike to Run: 1:23
Nothing much to report here.  I came in REALLY fast around the curves in the parking area and was *thisclose* to wiping out, so I probably slowed down before I really should have.  In any case, I managed to stop before the red line, hop off my bike and sorta run to my transition area.  My frozen feet were NOT happy.  I quickly ditched the gloves and swapped my helmet for a hat and off I went.
The Run: 3.1 miles in 37:11 (12 m/m rank 400/445)
This, in a word, SUCKED.  All my bricks in training were done in warm weather and weren't quite this long. Plus, they didn't have hills right at the beginning of the run.  Note to self: run more hills.  My feet were still so cold and stiff from the bike ride that I felt like I was running on rocks.  Also, my left calf/achilles cramped up right away.  I had it in my head that I was NOT going to walk today - I mean, it's only 3 freaking miles! but I couldn't do it. Mentally it was really hard to push through.  I kept worrying that I was going to re-injure myself because my muscles were so cold and I probably walked 4 times in the first mile. I kept leapfrogging this poor girl who was running the entire time. I've been that girl and I know how it sucks to have someone run/walk and pass you. It's hard.  By around 1.5 miles my legs had loosened up a little but were still in pain.  I just started counting my steps.  I can't tell you how many times I counted to 60 - telling myself I needed to do at least 5 counts before I walked again. It worked though. I made it to the aid station at mile 2 and then only walked 1 more little hill before the finish.  As we were coming into the parking lot and about 1/4 mile from the end, I saw a girl ahead of me in my age group (the beauty of having our ages written on our legs).  I made it my mission to beat her and I did with about 25 yards to spare.  Can you tell I was happy to be done? I believe I should have been able to finish this run at an 11 m/m pace at the very worst.  In my head I even had a goal of 33 minutes - maybe foolish, but there you go, so running a 12 m/m really disappoints me. I wonder if I'd had my Garmin if I would've run better.  If I'd seen how badly my time was sucking maybe that would've made me push through the pain and helped me suck it up.  Who knows. I know I gave it my all and I finished with a very strong kick at the end (I really wish I knew what THAT pace was).  Just shows me that A) I completely suck at judging my pace, and B) my running is no where close to where it needs to be for my half in November.  I have a ton of work to do.
Finished in 1:52:56
388/445 overall
143/186 women
19/26 in my age group
Overall, I am very pleased with my first triathlon. I obviously have room for improvement (especially in the run) but I beat my A (just finish) and B (finish in under 2 hours) goals by a landslide.  The race was well organized and the course is fun.  My one big complaint is the lack of a finisher's medal.  The water bottle and towel are nice, but this self-professed bling whore wants her medals!  Apparently medals are more of a running thing.  Guess I'll just be adding a charm to my running necklace instead :)  I'm already looking ahead at a tri in September, but the run is 5 miles and I want to see how my leg holds up over the next few weeks as Wine and Dine Half Marathon training starts Tuesday!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fitness Friday: @trammisms ?: My Favorite Gear!

Back when I was had my 3rd bloggiversary post and requested questions, Sara at Domestically Challenged asked what some of my favorite running gear, clothes and accessories are (and since she's a teacher she'll probably correct my horrible grammar on that sentence). It's the eve of my first triathlon so I figured now was as good a time as any to answer her question :)

I'll start with some of my favorite running clothes:  
I pretty much live in the long bra tops from Nike.  I like them really tight to smush down the girls which means my daughter and I wear the same size (which is completely crazy, but whatever).  My favorite bra
is from Under Armor and they are really hard to find in colors other than white.  This hot pink one is AWESOME but really old.  As for bottoms, I'm also a big fan of Nike's long shorts and their capris.

I had the hardest time finding tri gear that didn't make me feel like a total cow.  I like my running clothes tight, but these things take tight to an entirely new level.  (For reference, my Nike gear is all a size small and my tri gear is either medium or large.) After trying on about 30 different things, this outfit from Pearl Izumi has become one of my favorite running outfits as well.  Even thought the shorts are shorter than I normally wear, the grippies shut up, it's totally a word at the bottom keep them from riding up.  Plus, the bottoms are lower cut in the front which is really awesome and super comfy. (This is what I'll be sporting at my tri tomorrow!) I need to check their website for running-specific clothes since I'd love some more shorts without the chamois liner inside. 
Shoes! I can't talk about running gear without giving a shout-out to my Asics GT-2170's :)  I've worn this model of shoes for several years now.  I thought about trying to switch to a lighter, more minimalist shoe after my whole stress fracture/reaction mess but every doctor and running store I talked to said not until I'm 100% healed.  They said stick with these, so that's what I'm doing.
Here are just a few of the accessories I can't live without:
Zensah compression sleeves, a hat (I have several), race number belt (this one is from One More Mile and is actually my daughter's but I love the WTF), my Garmin Forerunner 205, Body Glide, Nuun, Shot Bloks, RoadID (you can get one by clicking that link over there --->) and a great pair of running sunglasses.
Last but not least, some of my favorite accessories/clothing items EVER are my Team Sparkle skirts. Every major race I've done since my marathon last year has been run in a sparkle skirt (Grand Rapids Marathon, Tinkerbell Half, Knoxville Half, Down and Dirty Mud Run).  I've worn other skirts before, but I get so many compliments every time I wear a sparkle skirt and on those rare occasions when I chick a guy, I think, "yeah, you just got passed by a girl in a skirt!".  The blue one will be making it's debut at the Disney Wine and Dine Half in November - I can't wait to show you all my outfit for that race. It's going to be so fun!

I'm undecided whether I'll wear a sparkle skirt tomorrow for the tri.  How about you all vote.  Should I wear the lime green skirt for the bike and run?  (I haven't done any biking in it, but at this point with the rain in the forecast it might actually brighten the day).  

Leave a comment - yes or no - should I sparkle at tomorrow's tri?

Disclaimer - all opinions are mine and so is the gear - I just love this stuff, no one paid me to talk about it :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Tri-ing not to freak

Just a quickie so I get these anxieties off my chest. These are my top 3 worries about Saturday's triathlon:
1. People kicking or hitting me during the swim, causing me to panic. I know it's inevitable & it isn't personal, but it's going to be hard not to flip out and even harder not to hit or kick back.
2. Wiping out on the bike. I've become a much more comfortable rider but I still struggle with turns, especially tight ones. I've also done nearly all my rides solo & having other bikes around me scares me.
3. The weather. It's going to be cooler than it has been, which is great for the run but means I'm gonna be cold on the bike. It's not going to be cold enough to warrant a long sleeve shirt or arm sleeves though (plus I can't get those on when I'm wet anyways).

Have you done a tri? Any advice to get me through this?

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednedsay: 15!

My babies are 15 today - hard to believe they went from this...

To this....

I love these kids - so proud of the bright, confident & responsible teens they've become.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tri Training: Week 13 The Home Stretch!

The 14 week tri-plan I've been following had 2 weeks of taper at the end, which seemed a bit silly for a sprint tri.  I decided to go "off plan" again this week and make up another peak week from training (so what I'm reporting is the week I repeated).  The week went well and I hit about 43 total miles.  It's no wonder I was tired by Sunday night!

Monday 7/30/12 - Scheduled OFF - Completed OFF.  After the previous weekend's long bricks - I needed this.

Tuesday 7/31/12 - Scheduled Run 0:30/Strength 0:30 - Completed Run 0:40/Strength 0:15. I switched things up because of the heat/humidity and headed to the gym to do a treadmill ladder workout.  It was challenging and left me in a puddle of sweat at the end.  I had about a .6 mile warm up/cool down (10 minutes) and then 2.8 miles of running during the ladder. I finished with a 15 minute abs workout.  I was toast.

Wednesday 8/1/12 - Scheduled Swim 0:30 - Completed Swim 0:37. Set a new distance record of 1200 meters (or yards, I'm never really sure how the pool is measured). 

Thursday 8/2/12 - Scheduled Bike 0:40/Strength 0:30 - Completed Bike 0:45/Strength 0:30. Rode 11 miles in 45 minutes.  I picked a very hilly, country road route to get used to streets again.  It kicked my ass.  Then I did a 30 minute abs workout that further turned me to goo.

Friday 8/3/12 -  Scheduled Swim/Bike Brick (0:20/1:00) swapped for Saturday due to scheduling - Completed Swim/Bike Brick (0:20/0:53).  The swim was fine - just basic laps in my friend's pool, but I was not feeling this ride.  I went 12.4 miles (about a full mph slower than the hill ride from Thursday) and this route was pretty flat.  It pissed me off that I was biking worse on an easier route.  I think I wasn't well hydrated and I had a migraine during the ride.  Not very confidence building for the last weekend before a race. 

Saturday 8/4/12 - Scheduled OFF - Completed OFF.  Needed to pick up the kids from band camp so my workout consisted of sitting in the car for 3 hours, sitting in a stadium watching marching band shows for 2 hours, and then crashing on the couch when we got home. 

Sunday 8/5/12 - Scheduled Bike/Run Brick (0:55/0:25) - Completed Bike/Run Brick but struggled. I biked 12.74 miles in 0:56 (13.5 mph average) on a slightly hillier course than Saturday.  I woke up early to get this done before church and before the major heat of the day, but I never felt like I got my groove.  It was very humid (85%) and around 75*.  I was surprised how much this affected me on the bike.  I also think I drank too much because I got done with my ride and I had to pee.  Ended up coming in, going to the bathroom, and then watching the top finisher's of the Olympic Women's Marathon.  You'd think watching these women run a full marathon in a much faster time than I can even run a half would motivate me, but it didn't.  The run sucked donkey dongs. 2.06 miles in 22:51 (11:05 pace).  I walked about a bazillion times and yelled at myself for every one.  I mean, seriously, it was ONLY 2 MILES but I couldn't pull it together.  Sucky way to end my week but it happens to the best of us.  Just wish it didn't happen so often to me. Dear God, can I please start loving to run again and feel like I'm getting back to my "old" self? Love, Me.

So, I'm officially into the home stretch. A couple easy brick workouts on the schedule, plus I'm throwing in some extra swimming and biking because that doesn't kill me and I really don't think I need to taper much for this.  Now, if I was doing an Olympic distance or more, you bet your ass I'd be tapering.  For this distance I don't think it's really necessary and neither do my "coaches".  Next week at this time, hopefully you'll be reading a race report :)

Thanks for all the love and comments - I'll definitely be channeling any mojo you can give me next weekend!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Motivation Monday: Mantra?

Do you have a mantra? This might be mine for my first triathlon this Saturday:

What do you keep telling yourself when the going gets tough?

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Fitness Friday: HOT, poorly planned brick

Today was supposed to be a rest day in prep for back-to-back brick days this weekend. (Can I be happy that tri taper starts Monday????). Sadly, tomorrow I need to drive up to Central Michigan University (Fire Up Chips!) to pick up the wondertwins from band camp. This meant a change in the plan. I had a my annual physical this morning (suckage on the weight gain this year but Go Me on the 100/60 blood pressure) so I didn't get to start my swim/bike brick until after 11 when I finally got home after a stop at the lab. It was almost 90* by then. Thank God today wasn't a bike/run brick!
I set up "transition" next to my girlfriend's pool.

The only thing I might need to add would be my compression sleeves, plus I didn't bring my run stuff (basically just a hat). I was not well fueled or hydrated to begin with, plus had blood drawn at the doctor. I felt fine on the 20 minute swim but this resulted in a massive headache by about mile 8 on my ride. Suck. I've been camped out & dozing on the couch ever since, not eating until almost 3pm. Oops. Lunch was pretty good though once I finally ate something.

Am I the only person who prefers honey on her peanut butter? What is your favorite PB topping?

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Progress

I've been such a Debbie Downer with regards to recovery from this stupid injury that I forget to acknowledge how much progress I HAVE made.  The numbers don't lie and I'm thankful to see this kind of improvement.

  • Running: 4 miles 
  • Biking: 48 miles
  • Swimming: 3.15 miles
  • Walking/Elliptical: 11.44 miles

  • Running: 20 miles 
  • Biking: 113 miles
  • Swimming: 3.38 miles
  • Walking/Elliptical: 5.4 miles

  • Running: 31 miles
  • Biking: 93 miles
  • Swimming: 3 miles
  • Walking/Elliptical: 1 mile
I'm even more thankful to have so many awesome people in my life cheering me on, helping me with training plans, talking me off the ledge and basically being my sunshine through all this. I might have just given up if it weren't for all of you.  So ((hugs)) and *kisses* - I love you guys! MWAH!

I know I've posted this before, but it's so true.  I hope if you are struggling with something that you have wonderful people in your life who love you and are helping you through it - whatever it might be.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Happy Birthday, Mom

Today would've been my Mom's 70th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom. I miss you.

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Happy New Year 2020

It looks like my M.O. is to open this blog when I get the notification the domain name renewed. LOL oh well. I hope everyone is having a n...