maandag 31 oktober 2016
zondag 30 oktober 2016
donderdag 27 oktober 2016
This weekend, the Marine Corps Marathon is here again. While I have never run the marathon and probably never will (I am a retired marathoner), this race is always on my calendar for one very important reason – Race Cheering.
I love cheering at this race. No matter the weather. It’s always a ton of fun. MCM is a bucket list race for a lot of people. It’s a race that immediately fills up and that people sometimes try for years to get into. And it’s not an easy course. It’s got a required minimum 14 minute per mile pace, and there are various cutoffs you have to make on the course.
My preferred cheer spot is just after one of those cutoffs – right after the 14th Street Bridge. This is late in the race. This year, due to the route change, the end of the bridge is around mile 20, usually it’s closer to mile 22. Having run the bridge in other races, it’s a tough part of any course. It’s over a mile long, there are no spectators allowed on the bridge (though often one or two manage to sneak on), and because the bridge ends with a downhill, you can’t see the end. It just seems to stretch on forever.
From our cheer spot, we can see the faces of people as they realize they’ve made it over the bridge. They’re into the last miles of the race and they’re past the cutoffs.
The big thing that we all insist on doing when we cheer is that we wait for the very last runner to come through. I’ve been at races where I’m late in the race and it’s a tough experience. You can tell there were spectators there cheering, but they’ve mostly cleared out by then. Just when you need that emotional push from a stranger, there’s no one there. So we make a point to be there for all of those people coming through at the end. It’s fun to see their faces when they realize that we’ve saved them snacks (because of course we hand out snacks).
It does sort of make the day anticlimactic. “Was that the last person? Yep, that was the last person. Okay, let’s go home.” But it’s a lot of fun, and I’ll have my cowbell out to cheer for each and every runner racing this weekend.
woensdag 26 oktober 2016
I’ve noticed a lot of people track their annual mileage. I used to track my run mileage, but I’ve definitely fallen off the wagon on that one. I think for 2017, I’m going to use these recaps to add up my swim/bike/run mileage and see what I’m actually doing throughout the year.
Last week was definitely not a perfect week. The downside to not pushing towards a big race is that I’m less motivated to get in my workouts. But I did pretty well, I guess.
I also got some work done on my blog over the weekend. Finally got my Race Reports page updated as well as my sidebar. It made me realize that I’ve done a LOT of races. And I think this is the first time that I’ve gotten this late in the year without a real plan for the next year. Best work on that soon.
Monday – Rest Day. I’m also back to choir rehearsals. These are a little weird, since our director passed away unexpectedly this summer, so we’re working with guest conductors. I definitely enjoy being there, but Monday rehearsals from 7:30-10 are tough.
Tuesday – Scheduled swim, but since I knew Wednesday’s workout was going to be a miss, I opted to get in a trainer ride and some lifting. It also meant I got to bed early.
Wednesday – A good friend was in town, so we met for dinner. No workout.
Thursday – Lifting. Lots of lifting. I’m so glad to be back to regular strength work. I never want to do it, but then I realize just how incredible it makes me feel.
Friday – Trainer ride and strength work.
Saturday – Oh, the joys of flexibility in my schedule. I flipflopped the weekend’s workouts due to the weather. So this became a 1:45 trainer ride.
Sunday – Gorgeous 8 mile run. We’re having perfect running weather right now. I know it’s not going to last, but I’m going to enjoy every single minute of it.
dinsdag 25 oktober 2016
maandag 24 oktober 2016
(Okay, there’s some organization I still have to do and boxes I have to deal with, but it’s 95% done and that feels darn good.)
Let’s go back. So back in July, I discovered a soft spot in my wall and some evidence of water leakage. After ripping out some carpet, things did not seem good, so I called some repair companies. Everyone figured the leak was due to some improperly placed nails outside. No big deal. Just some simple repairs.
Then the mold abatement company (because you always call a mold abatement company when you have water in your walls for a long time) came in and started the work. And it turned out to be way worse than expected.
This photo is from after the mold abatement. The white paint is all part of the abatement process. But see that weird shape behind the third beam from the left? That’s rotted away wood. The white behind it isn’t paint. It’s the wrap on the outside of the house. Yes, at this point, all that is keeping the outside out is a piece of plastic and some improperly installed siding. This was not awesome.
Oh yes, and to do this, I had to take everything out of my office. You know what an English major with a law degree owns? Books. Lots of books. So many books.
So many repairs. So much time. Such poor time management from one of the contractors. And, of course, this was all going on as I was training for Augusta. There’s nothing less relaxing than coming home after a hard workout and being faced with all of those boxes.
But finally, the exterior work got done, and the week after Augusta, the interior work was done.
And then my office looked like this for a few weeks because I was busy. I’m a social gal, after all. I just had to sand and paint, but getting two coats of paint onto the walls took two weekends. I also had to buy and assemble a new desk (the old one got damaged by the water leak and was no longer stable). While I was at it, I picked up the filing cabinet that I’ve been thinking about getting for a few years. I’m a grownup. File boxes aren’t cutting it anymore.
But this weekend. This weekend I finally finished it up. The room isn’t perfect. I wanted to put in better flooring. I just have an indoor/outdoor rug that I bought a few years ago placed directly on the concrete floor. It’s not quite the right size, but it works and I already owned it.
I’ve got to deal with a few things, hang up a few more items on the wall, and deal with the stack of filing that I’ve been ignoring. I also need to go through all my files before I put them into the filing cabinet. I’m a bit of a paper packrat and I think there’s some shredding to be done.
But the boxes are out of my living room and dining room. My house looks so big now! It’s a much nicer place to hang out in now!
Which is good because thanks to all of this work, I’m broke.
zondag 23 oktober 2016
vrijdag 21 oktober 2016
There is a popular Cherokee parable that I’m sure you’ve heard.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorry, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
There is a lot of negativity in the world right now. The U.S. elections definitely aren’t helping anything, but this isn’t just about elections. It’s also about people who think body shaming or race finish time shaming is okay. After all, if you’re doing it from behind a computer screen, who cares? It’s not as if you’ll ever meet that person. Heck, you can even do it with your real name on Facebook and get away with it.
But even if you can get away with negativity – why? People often say “If you put negativity into the world, you will get negativity back.” Now, I’m not saying that you should look at life with rose colored glasses. There is a lot of stuff out there to get angry about. And I’m certainly no blissed out hippie walking around emanating peace, but it’s not a bad idea to take a look at your reactions to what’s going on around you. You should also look at where you’re spending your time online. Do you frequent sites that mock other people? Maybe that’s not the best place to be spending your time. You only serve to feed the angry wolf inside you.
I agree that there are some people out there who I think are ridiculous, who perhaps I would mock if given the opportunity – but I try to rise above those urges. Humor at another person’s expense really isn’t funny, and even if the other person doesn’t know, by giving into that sort of humor, I’m really only hurting myself by letting that sort of negativity in.
I’m not recommending some drastic life change. Just maybe consider this parable. After all, it’s popular for a reason. And consider which wolf you are feeding in yourself. Maybe that evil wolf is getting a little too chubby for his own good.
woensdag 19 oktober 2016
So it’s Wednesday, which is usually a workout recap day for me, but something happened on the internet yesterday that I wanted to talk about. The internet bullies came out in full force. I wasn’t their target, but that doesn’t make me any less angry and disappointed about what happened.
To briefly summarize:
A woman who ran Augusta 70.3 (who I had “met” in a Facebook group and who seems pretty darn nice) posted in a Facebook group about an experience she had. She was wearing her Augusta finisher’s gear and a stranger came up to her and told her that it was inappropriate for people who didn’t do a race to wear finisher’s gear. She considers herself a “bigger triathlete” so I guess this person didn’t think she had the right look to have finished a 70.3.
That’s a feeling a lot of triathletes have. “I’m too big to do this.” Sure, it’s easier to bike up hills if you’re carrying less weight. It’s part of the reason I’m working to drop some pounds – I want to get faster. Does it mean that I can’t do it at my current weight? Nope. Does it mean that I couldn’t do it 20 pounds heavier? Nope. So this woman wanted to share her story, share her frustration, and also her pride at having finished the race.
For the most part, people were friendly, congratulating her for having a good comeback to the guy, applauding her pushing through and finishing.
Then someone decided to go look up her finishing time. (This is an a**hole move to begin with, let’s be honest.) Turns out, she was an official DNF at Augusta. Different race companies have different rules, but for IRONMAN races, if you finish over 8:30, you are officially a DNF. They still let you finish, they still give you your finisher’s hat and your medal, but you just don’t have an official time. Did you then finish the race? I think so. Maybe you’re not official, but you covered the distance. It’s a very different situation from races where they give you a medal even if you get swept. I suppose technically, you’re not a finisher, but you pushed through, got to the finish line, and now you have a goal to beat.
(As an aside, my personal opinion on this has more to do with what you put into the race. Did you follow your training plan? If you got sick or injured and had to miss some training, that happens, of course. But if you put in the work, and on race day, things just didn’t go your way, you deserve that finish. If you didn’t train, thought you could just rest on your laurels, and showed up and got an official DNF, well maybe you shouldn’t be getting all the accolades. Heck, if you didn’t train and finished within the time limits, you probably shouldn’t be getting all the accolades.)
This guy calling her out on the official DNF didn’t stop there. While plenty of people were still saying she had every right to wear the gear, others started to pile on the negativity. And then it got worse. Someone created a Facebook group to make fun of her as well as others, using her finisher picture as the header picture. But this wasn’t just a private group. No, they actually invited people they wanted to bully to the group.
People. How old are we? This is incredibly childish (actually, I think it’s an insult to children to refer to these idiots as such). What is the point? How awful must you feel about yourself to bully someone from behind a keyboard?
The fact that this was happening got shared in a few different Facebook groups I’m in. And people were supportive and angry at the bullies. But what makes me sad is that even though there were all these amazing voices out there, those mean voices are still going to cut through for a lot of people. And some people who are new to triathlon, who are just considering their first race are going to end up stepping away because they don’t look like a “typical” triathlete and don’t want people making fun of them.
The thing is, 99% of the triathletes I have met are AMAZING people. They don’t care how fast or how slow you are. At Kona, it’s pretty much tradition that the winners come back out late in the evening to give the last finishers their medals. You see it happen at other races as well, and it’s not unusual at any distance to see finishers cheering on the people still racing. Because we all run the same race.
Don’t let the mean people scare you off. And don’t let the mean people suck you in either. Making fun of another person is not the way to feel better about yourself. We’re all better than this.
dinsdag 18 oktober 2016
maandag 17 oktober 2016
This weekend, it was back to reality. First weekend of normal training since Augusta 70.3. At first, I thought I had a 12 mile run on the calendar, but was delighted to discover that it was only 8. Of course, those 12s are coming up soon, with Space Coast on the horizon. While that’s rarely a goal race for me just because the early morning humidity usually kicks my ass, I think this year, I’d like to really push it, see how strong I can run. Of course, that means training.
I also decided to see what this Pokemon Go addiction is all about, so I had the app on while I ran. I think I get it. Collecting virtual creatures is strange, but also kind of fun. And hey, if it motivates people to get out and get moving, I’m all for it.
I also had an almost two hour trainer ride on my schedule. Yes, for the off-season. I know that the place where I have the most room for improvement is on the bike, and so my goal is to pick up at least 1 mph on my average pace. It helps that I really enjoy structured trainer rides, at least for now. I can turn on the tv or listen to an audiobook or a podcast and just focus in on my workout.
This week, I’m back to normal Monday night choir rehearsals. I didn’t sing our last concert because too many rehearsals conflicted with big 70.3 training days and I knew that I had to prioritize or I was going to burn out. I’m definitely excited to go back, but I’m wondering how I’m going to make this all fit. I leave for work at around 7am (usually a little earlier, as traffic has gotten heavier everywhere with all the construction on Metro) and on Monday nights, I won’t be getting home til about 10:30. Tuesday nights are team swim (moved recently from Thursday), which means another late night where I’m out til about 9:30. The big priorities are going to be making sure I get as much sleep as possible and don’t let my exhaustion mean I’m eating a bunch of junk. For whatever reason, when I’m exhausted, I just want unhealthy snacks, which we all know aren’t going to help the tiredness.
How was everyone else’s weekend?
zondag 16 oktober 2016
donderdag 13 oktober 2016
While my race season certainly isn’t over for the year (I still have Space Coast in November), my triathlon season certainly is. And already, I’m feeling my motivation wane.
This is a big part of why I race. Don’t get me wrong – I love racing. I love the sense of accomplishment. Augusta 70.3 was so incredibly hard and yet so incredibly worth it for me. I’m proud of what I accomplished and I’m looking forward to improving on that accomplishment in the year to come.
But really, I schedule races throughout the year so that I have something I’m training for. If I don’t have a goal on the schedule, something I’m determined to succeed at (or at least not fail at), I’m hard pressed for motivation.
Yes, I know exercise is good for me. Yes, I know it will help me lose the weight I’m perpetually trying to drop. But some days, I just don’t want to. Not for any particular reason, just because I’m feeling lazy. And if I don’t have a race I’m working towards, I have that much less incentive to actually do the workout.
Over the summer, I stuck hard to my training schedule and it paid off. I did miss workouts when I wasn’t feeling well, but those were few and far between, and they were when skipping the workout was the smartest thing to do. But now, my next triathlon is months and months away. Do I really need to go to the pool? No. But I should go anyway. It’s good for me and I actually enjoy it once I’m there.
So this is a big part of why I race. I need the added motivation. I wish I could be one of those people who exercise every day because they love how it makes them feel. Nope. I just don’t want to embarrass myself at my next race.
Hey, whatever works.
woensdag 12 oktober 2016
Well, it’s back to real life. Back to training, and possibly more importantly, back to eating like a normal person, not like a person who is training for a 70.3.
Monday – Rest Day. This was actually a big day. The repair work in my office finally got done, so now I can paint and then maybe I can finally get all the junk out of my living room and back where it belongs.
Tuesday – Team Fight Swim. Tough as always, but a lot of fun. It’s hard to convince myself to swim when it’s cold, but I need to keep showing up.
Wednesday – Trainer ride followed by a weights workout. Yes, I’m finally getting back to strength work. This has been my biggest failing and I need to step it up over the winter.
Thursday – Ab work. Apparently, my core is stupidly weak. This is terrible all around.
Friday – Trainer ride
Saturday – Rest Day
Sunday – Army Ten Miler!
One more race left for the year. I can’t believe how quickly things seem to be flying. I guess that’s what happens when you’re busy all the time.
dinsdag 11 oktober 2016
What can I say about this race? I love it. I always enjoy the ten mile distance, and this race has exceptional atmosphere. It’s a big race – 35,000 people – but if anyone can handle organization in a race that size, it’s the Army.
Of course, in a race like this, there is a ton of patriotism. Lots of people running in honor of fallen soldiers. Lots of Wounded Warriors participating in the race. Lots of people running carrying giant flags. It’s a really positive atmosphere.
This year was a bit more complicated since Metro isn’t opening early for races. Shannon and I drove and got to the parking garage around 5:30. My wave didn’t start til close to 9am, so we were definitely there earlier than we needed to be, but with the closed roads and large number of people driving in, I don’t regret the decision to get there so early.
It was actually raining in the morning as well, though it stopped before the race started. I wonder how many people stayed away due to Metro and the weather. Looking at the results, it looks like about 24,000 people finished. Last year, there were 26,300, and around the same in 2014 as well. So the numbers definitely were down.
While it didn’t rain, it was super windy. I’m not sure how the people carrying giant flags handled the last bit of the race without blowing over.
My race turned out spectacularly. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, just two weeks out from Augusta. (I have to admit, Augusta feels SO long ago at this point. I can’t believe it’s been just over two weeks.) My coach warned me that it was going to suck. Surprisingly, it didn’t.
A bit part of that was that my friend Tricia and I ran into each other, so we ran the race together. I don’t see her very often, so it was awesome to catch up and chat for those ten miles. Made them go much faster than I expected.
Finished in 2:14ish, which I can’t be disappointed by. I would have liked to be under 2:10, but given what I was coming off of, I think that was probably overly ambitious. Either way, I finished, had a great time, and felt great.
Unfortunately, the next day I was super sore, likely from being so very cold before the race. I wasn’t really warmed up when I started. Ideally, I would have started slower, but who can manage that in a race? I think I was more sore after this race than I was after Augusta!
Now, on to the next adventure.
maandag 10 oktober 2016
zondag 9 oktober 2016
vrijdag 7 oktober 2016
First off, definitely thinking about everyone in the path of Hurricane Matthew. Stay safe, everyone.
Now that my triathlon season is officially over, I’m into the off season and getting started with my off season training plan. It’s not that I’m not racing, of course. I’ve got a ten miler this weekend and two half marathons over the winter (both in Florida). So there will definitely be plenty of quality time on my treadmill this winter.
But I also need to seriously focus on my biking, and more importantly my strength work and my diet. Like a lot of runners and triathletes, as my race training really picked up, both strength work and proper meal planning really fell by the wayside. I ate well about 75% of the time, though the meals weren’t anything exciting. Lots of randomly throwing together protein and veggies to make a meal. And when that’s happening, it’s so much easier to make an excuse to eat out and perhaps not make the smartest choices.
Don’t get me wrong – cookies will always have a place in my diet. Just not as a meal.
Strength work is something that most of us forget when it comes to training. I’m already swimming, biking, and running. I need to find time to lift weights too?
Yes. Yes you do. And you don’t need a fancy gym membership to do it. There are plenty of body weight exercises you can do, and picking up a few hand weights isn’t terribly expensive. My weight system involves a series of hand weights I’ve picked up over the years (ranging from 5 pounds to 15 pounds, though I’d like to need something heavier by the end of the winter) and some exercise bands.
And since we live in a time of awesome technology, you can find all sorts of weight lifting videos on YouTube. Plenty of great instructional clips out there to help you figure out what to do with those weights now that you’ve got them.
I picked up the weights Wednesday night once again (I’ve been doing some minimal stuff, but not a real quality workout) and it’s clear how much strength I’ve lost by redirecting my focus. I figured it was possible, but didn’t realize just how hard the workout would be. So it’s good that I’m back to regular lifting. I need to make it a goal to continue strength workouts during the heavy training, especially core work, which will help prevent injury.
Do you include strength work in your routine? How do you manage to fit it all in? What are your favorite strength workouts?
woensdag 5 oktober 2016
Yay! My race is done, so for the rest of the year, I can sit on the couch!
Oh wait, that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. This definitely was a recovery week though.
Monday – Travel day. Driving, driving, back to my house and my kitties, who were very glad to see me. However, Sunday, a few hours after the race, I did have to ride my bike the mile back from transition, so I’ll count that as part of the recovery week.
Tuesday – Went and got a massage and it was glorious. This counts as training.
Wednesday – I was supposed to get back to training, but instead I went to see Come From Away at Ford’s Theater and it was so amazing and I want to see it again. I walked there and back, so we’ll count that as my 30 minute walk requirement.
Thursday – All right, back to it. 30 minute bike. Let’s go. Oh wait, bike is broken, off to the bike shop.
Friday – Okay, now we’re on to things. 20 minute run. Go. And my quads reminded me that I had raced the weekend before.
Saturday – 45 minute bike ride.
Sunday – 30 minute run. Yeah, maybe the Army Ten Miler isn’t going to feel so great after all. But I’ll make it.
dinsdag 4 oktober 2016
maandag 3 oktober 2016
A week out from my first 70.3 and I’m feeling pretty good. I’m easing back in to training (except that I have a ten miler next weekend, so that’s not really easing in), and though I wasn’t terribly sore after the race, when I run, I can tell that I put my body through something difficult.
But I have had some time to think about the race and what I learned.
First, training works. Who knew, right? But on both the swim and the bike, I was trained for more than the distance, and that was totally worth it. When you’ve been riding hilly 60+ mile rides, a less hilly 56 miles feels like nothing. A few weeks out from the race, there was official notification that the course had changed slightly and went from starting with 17 miles of relative flat to 10 miles of relative flat followed by two hills. This meant a lot of people were panicking about the course. I wasn’t worried – I knew my training was solid. I had trained for hills and was ready. (Of course, if a course goes from completely flat to hilly… well, that’s a different story.)
I learned that wearing my cooling wings is worth it. For those of you who asked, the white sleeve things I was wearing during the bike and run are Desoto Cool Wings. I wear the medium. They keep the sun off of my back and shoulders, and when wet, are supposed to keep you cool. I’m pretty sure it worked as I never felt like they were making me overheat. Plus I didn’t get roasted in the full sun.
I did, of course, wear sunscreen, but discovered after the race that on my left leg, my shorts had crept up just enough to leave a pretty line of red. I do sunscreen under the edges of my kit, but apparently I didn’t go far enough.
One huge key for me was having a plan. I knew what to eat before the race, when and how to fuel during the race, and I even had planned what water stop to hit on the bike. I ended up deviating slightly, opting to refill my bottles at the first stop rather than the second, but that didn’t throw me off terribly. It was so hot that I was drinking more than I anticipated (not a bad thing), but it meant I had to rethink my Tailwind. I ended up watering down two bottles way more than normal, which worked out okay.
I also decided that I didn’t care about trying to grab nutrition and hydration while on the bike. I was going to stop and pull over before getting what I needed. No need to stress about trying to grab stuff and saving what, 30 seconds? Not worth it at the pace I’m moving.
I do need to get different aero hydration. I use the older style Profile Design bottle and on the rattly roads, it splashed EVERYWHERE. Not an issue if it’s just water, but my poor bike is coated in Tailwind and I’m going to have to have a total bottom bracket overhaul this winter to get it cleaned out.
I tried to fuel as much on the bike as I could because I had a feeling that I wouldn’t want anything on the run. And I was right. I had 200 calories of Tailwind in my bottle, and a packet of Clif Bloks with me. The Tailwind just kept getting watered down as I refilled with cold water, so I eventually got in the 200 calories and only ate one or two of the Clif Bloks. I wasn’t nauseous, but I was hot and tired and nothing sounded good. Still, I didn’t want to risk hitting a wall either. So I grabbed a pretzel here and there, nothing big, just little things. And it seems to have worked. I finished feeling pretty good. On a normal half marathon, I might have a total of 300 calories of fuel with me and take in somewhere between 200 and 300 of those calories. But I’m not starting out totally depleted.
It’s clear that I need to pick up speed on the bike. My swim is pretty solid. I’m not first out of the water or anything, and the more I work, the more I will improve, but it was okay. On the bike however, I was getting passed left and right. Some of that is just the wave starts – I had people way faster than me passing me even though they started later. But according to the ranks, I also got passed by almost 50 people in my age group. 50 people who started with me passed me. I’m not saying I need to be a speed demon, but I need to pick that up. My overall pace was 14.74 mph, including my stops (once for water, once to pee, because I am not peeing on my bike). I’d like to get that comfortably over 15 for a hilly course.
The run… well, it is what it is. I think there, I just need to drop a few pounds. The less I’m carrying, the faster I will run. I’ve been doing well, dropped about 10 pounds by last January and kept it off until about 3 weeks before the race, when suddenly cookies became an acceptable dinner. I’ve only put on 3 or 4 pounds, which I’m hoping come off in the next month or so. But I’d like to slim down a bit so that I have less weight to haul around. We’re not talking anything drastic, but it seems ridiculous to be thinking about the weight of my actual bike when I could be dropping weight off my body instead.
In the end, my big lesson learned is just to trust my training. Putting in the work will get you to the finish line.