donderdag 22 juni 2017

Thursday Workout Recap

Because I missed posting it yesterday.  Whoops 🙂

Monday – Rest Day.  So good at these.

Tuesday – Two mile run, followed by Team Fight swim.  These are supposed to be in the other order, but there’s nowhere for me to run after swim, plus it’s 9:00 at night and I just want to go home and sleep.

Wednesday – FTP test.  I was DREADING this.  And it went really well.  Or really terribly, depending on how you view it.  I went up by 11 watts.  That’s awesome!  Except it now means that all my FTP based workouts are going to get that much harder.  So, improvement is good, but…

Thursday – 5 mile run on the schedule, but I was burnt out.  Did about 3.5 and stopped.

Friday – 2000m nonstop swim.  I probably should have pushed for a bit more speed here.  But I got the distance in.

Saturday – 8 mile run in the soupy air.  It was only in the 70’s when I started, so I hoped that the run wouldn’t be too bad.  Nope, I forgot about the 94% humidity.

Sunday – I had been sneezing much of Saturday (allergies) and that plus the humidity meant that I just couldn’t face an outdoor bike ride.  So I pushed myself on the trainer for 2.5 hours.  Outside would have been better, but I got in the time, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

The post Thursday Workout Recap appeared first on Elbowglitter.

dinsdag 20 juni 2017

Cheating Surfaces Again

People seem to always find a way to cheat.  Doping is nothing new in triathlon.  It’s clearly wrong, but it’s not new, and we all know it’s continuing.  The above is a screenshot from a post on SlowTwitch.  For anyone who can’t see the image, to summarize, a woman was caught letting air out of the tire of one of her competitors just prior to IM 70.3 Syracuse.  Thankfully, she was reported, disqualified, and the victim’s tire was reinflated.

I’m sure more reporting will come out, and I would very much like to hear from this woman why she was messing with someone else’s bike (allegedly, she claimed she was trying to inflate someone else’s tire, but got the bikes confused – if so, why did air come out of a tire and not go in?).  But the sad thing is, this isn’t a unique situation.

When athletes dope, they’re only risking their own health.  When someone messes with someone else’s equipment, they’re risking injury to that other athlete.  You might think that letting air out of someone’s tire will just make them slower, or make them have to stop to change the tube (thinking there was a puncture in it).  But this could also lead to a crash and physical injury to the athlete (or to other athletes if the crash takes down others, which can very easily happen).

You hear of all sorts of suspected sabotage.  An athlete’s seatpost suddenly drops during a race because the clamp has been loosened, even though it has never fallen before.  An athlete leaves transition and finds her brake pads are misaligned and rubbing (though this can happen from the bike being accidentally bumped in transition). Tires mysteriously go flat.  Items disappear from transition.

Of course, some of this can happen randomly or by accident.  I don’t understand how you can accidentally grab someone else’s shoes in transition, but I suppose it’s possible. And when something mechanical goes wrong on your bike, sometimes that’s just dumb luck.

But sometimes, it’s because people have decided that sabotage is a great way to cheat.  Conveniently, I’m not really competition for anyone, so let’s hope my stuff is safe.  But this really mars the spirit of triathlon.  I have seen plenty of people stop to help others during races.  We’ve all seen people helping others over the finish line.  That’s the sport I love.  And sure, you can be competitive.  You can push to be faster than someone else.  But the goal is that you are faster, not that you make someone else slower.  And there’s certainly no glory in getting there by cheating.

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Sculpted Bikini Body Workout: Arms & Legs- Surfer Girl

vrijdag 16 juni 2017

Friday Five 2.0 – Summer Running Tips

This week, I’m linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for their Friday Five 2.0 topic, Summer Running tips.

While I love the long days of summer, I don’t so much love the hot days of summer.  And I live in the land of humidity (DC wasn’t actually built on a swamp, but I totally understand why people say that), which makes summers even more fun.  I am much more of a spring and fall weather runner, and don’t even mind running in the freezing cold.

That said, summer is here, and I’m in training (when am I not?) so here’s how I handle the heat.

1. Go Out Early

Okay, I’m actually terrible at this one, but if you want to beat the heat, get up early and get running.  I don’t like to run in the dark, but hey, the sun’s up early in the summer, so get out there as soon as the sun comes up.  The day is just going to get warmer, so get in your workout while you can.  You can always nap later.

2. HYDRATE

I can’t emphasize this one enough.  Drink water.  Drink so much water.  Drink all the water.  (Also, get some electrolytes.)  In the summers, I make a point to carry more water than I need. For long runs, I wear a hydration pack and put ice into the reservoir, which definitely helps keep me cool.  I use NBS Hydration and Preload for running.  The Preload has really helped me prevent cramping and post-run headache issues.

And hydration isn’t just when you’re working out.  I make a point to get at least three liters of water a day outside of my workouts.  No matter how much water you drink during your run, if you’re starting at a deficit, you won’t be able to make it up.

3.  Protect Your Skin

I am a pale, pale redhead.  But even if you’re not, you should protect your skin from the evil rays from that glowy orb in the sky.  My preferred sunscreen is by Zealios (who is conveniently celebrating Ginger Awareness Month).  This stuff is amazing.  It’s zinc based, which I prefer, as I think the physical barrier gives me better protection, and it has amazing staying power.  This is the only sunscreen that I can confidently use during a triathlon and know that it’s not going anywhere, even on the swim.

I also own DeSoto Cool Wings, which not only protect me from the sun even more, but if I can manage to keep them wet, they also really help keep me cool.  I mainly wear these for races, as it’s easy to dump water on them at water stops.

4.  Slow Down and Listen to Your Body

Don’t kill yourself in the heat.  If you’re out for a long run and you feel like your effort is the same as normal, but you’re slower than you want to be, don’t automatically push yourself harder.  Take a minute to evaluate.  How are you feeling?  Is the heat getting to you?  It’s better to be a bit slower and be safe, especially on training runs.  But this also applies to races.  If you’re feeling sick from the heat, slow down a bit.  Get some extra water or ice and try to cool off.  It’s not worth pushing yourself so hard that you’re sick.

This was my theory during my 70.3 last year.  The temps in Augusta were abnormally warm, and by the time I got to the run, the joke became that we were running on the surface of the sun.  I did my normal intervals for a good chunk of the run, but I hit a point where when I tried to run, I would get lightheaded from the heat.  Rather than push, I decided to pack my sports bra with ice and power walk, with a few jaunts of running.  Yes, it meant I finished slower than I possibly could have, but I also finished under my own power and I felt good doing so.  Worth it every time.

Any good summer running tips you can recommend?

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woensdag 14 juni 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

Another week down, another workout recap.  I don’t have another race for about a month, so I think this month will be a lot of really hard workouts to see what I can pull out at Rev3 Williamsburg.

Monday – Travel day/Rest

Tuesday – Bailed on my swim workout in favor of sleep.

Wednesday – 60 minute structured trainer ride.  Felt surprisingly good after the tough weekend.

Thursday – 5 mile run

Friday – 2000m at the pool, 1700 nonstop.  For me, these are a good opportunity to work on form, which is where I end up falling apart in OWS.

Saturday – 7 mile run that I should have started much earlier, but sleep is so very delicious.

Sunday – 2.5 hour training ride followed by a 2 mile run.  I split this one up.  I did 70 minutes with a group outdoors and then the last 80 minutes at home on the trainer.  It was just a little too warm out.  Should I have stayed outside?  Yes.  But I did not.  Next time, I think I’ll do the solo part of the workout before the group ride.

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maandag 12 juni 2017

Race Report – 2017 Escape the Cape Olympic

Escape the Cape Ferry Boat

I jumped off this boat. Yep. A perfectly good boat. And I jumped off of it.

Last weekend, I did my “scary” race of the year – Escape the Cape in Cape May, New Jersey.  Every year, I like to do something that scares me.  Last year, it was Augusta 70.3.  This year, rather than tackle a new distance, I decided to go a different route and take on Escape the Cape.

This race has been tempting me for a while.  Why?  Because you start by jumping off the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.  That is crazy.  I’m not particularly afraid of heights, but I do have a healthy sense of self-preservation and jumping off of a perfectly good boat goes against that.

I admit, I didn’t pay much attention to anything in this race beyond “jump.”  I knew it was an Olympic distance, but beyond that, I was focused on that jump and the swim.  Most of my swims are freshwater, so this had me concerned for many reasons.

Then I started to hear more about the run course.  I knew it went onto the sand and I knew that was going to be hard.  Then the race director, known as DelMo, started putting out videos apologizing (sarcastically) about how hard he made the run course.  The turn-by-turn run course came out and included steps such as “Curse DelMo,” “WTF, DelMo,” and “Find DelMo, Kill Him.”

So, you know, that was promising.

One thing I missed about the run course until the day before (when Kristin pointed it out) was that it was only 5 miles, not the 6.2 I was expecting.  So that helped.  I was so focused on the swim that I didn’t even look at the distances of the other legs.  That’s quality race prep.

Race morning dawned bright and early and Kristin and I headed out to get setup in transition and get ready to board the ferry.  We had to board the boat at 6, and my race didn’t start til 7 (and Kristin, who was doing the sprint, didn’t start til 7:45).  So we had a lot of stuff to bring with us.  I packed a little bag with an almost empty can of TriSlide (to help get my wetsuit on), some snacks, and some sunscreen squeezed into a tiny baggie so I could apply it while getting ready.

There was a lot of excitement and nervousness on the boat, and that hour went by very fast.  I couldn’t believe it was already time to jump!  As soon as the horn went off, some people raced across the timing mat and leapt in, including one guy who did a flip. No way was that happening.  So I got in line and made my way up to the start.  Standing there on the boat, I realized the jump wasn’t that bad.  I think it was 12 feet.  In my mind, I had it as high as the dive platforms at the pool.  My pool has a 10m (33 feet) diving platform.  So 12 feet was nothing.

There were four people directing people to jump.  The current was incredibly fast, so when someone jumped, by the time they surfaced, they were already a number of feet away.  Right before I jumped, I watched someone lose their goggles when they jumped, so the volunteer helping people in was warning all of us to hold on to their goggles.

Finally, the person before me jumped, and I was told to jump as soon as the person surfaced. I refused to think, just jumped.

escape the cape jump

However, I should have considered my race photo, as I clung to my goggles.

The swim was amazing.  The current was fast, but the adrenaline boost from the jump was so helpful.  I didn’t feel any anxiety while swimming at all.  The waves weren’t too bad, but there were enough that it was sometimes hard to see the buoys to sight.  They had a ton of lifeguards out on boards though, so I just stayed near them when I couldn’t see the buoy, knowing that they were somewhere on the course.  It was a straight line, so it couldn’t be that hard, after all!

Swim: 27:32 (see what I mean about the current?)

The distance to T1 was ridiculous.  It was definitely a long trek, and not easy in bare feet.  A guy in front of me had stashed a pair of flip flops along the way which was a genius move.

T1: 7:05

This bike course was about 24 miles, two 12 mile loops. The sprint athletes, who started 45 minutes after us, only had one loop to do, which meant that for my first loop, I was mainly racing with other olympic athletes.  The course was flat and fast, aside from one bridge.  I loved having a two loop course, because it gave me a good chance to understand the loop and then really let it go on the second loop.  This was the first outdoor ride I’ve had all season where I could feel the results of all of my work over the winter.  I felt like I was flying.

escape the cape bike

The second loop was a bit more crowded as the sprint athletes joined us, but it wasn’t too bad.  Definitely no worse than some other races I’ve done.

Bike: 1:25:44

On to the run.  At least it was only going to be 5 miles.  I could do anything for five miles, right?  The majority of the run was along a street with some amazing spectators.  Lots of people out on their porches and yards, enjoying the morning and watching the spectacle.  I waved and called good morning to a lot of them.  I absolutely love races that go through neighborhoods like this one.  Seeing all the people out, hearing the cheers, having quick conversations, it makes the run go so much faster.

The olympic had a total of four sections through the sand – two on the way out and two on the way back. I’m not sure what I was expecting.  People kept referring to these as “dunes,” but I would probably say “beach.”  The word “dune” made me think I was going to have to climb up something.  And I suppose entering and leaving the sandy area was bit of a climb, but nothing like what I feared.

escape the cape run

It’s easy to look good in a photo when you can see the photographers up ahead.

Don’t get me wrong – that sand was not easy to run on, but I lost less time than I thought I would.  I ran where I could, walked where I had to, and continued to collect sand in my shoes.  I think the challenge made it even more fun than I expected.  It was hard, but not impossible, and everyone out there was just so friendly that it was hard to not smile.

Run: 1:10:35

Total time: 3:14:10

escape the cape medal

I finished this race so incredibly happy.  I felt so great about what I had just done, and I had such a great time.  This was a great challenge and an amazing race.  I definitely want to go back and race it again.  I encourage everyone who is looking for something a little crazy to try it out.

 

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Booty Sculpt & Spin Mobile Workout: BeFiT GO- 15 Min

woensdag 7 juni 2017

Do one thing every day that scares you

I’m currently working on my race recap for Escape the Cape, but it probably won’t be out until later in the week.  The race has free race photos (amazing!) so I’m waiting and hoping to have a few good pics from the race.

But I just have to say – this event was amazing.  When I set up my race schedule this year, I made it a goal to do something that scared me.  Last year, that race was Augusta 70.3.  The distance was daunting, and the idea of that training was a little terrifying.

This year, I had initially planned to register for a different 70.3, which ultimately got cancelled, and I just couldn’t find a 70.3 that I wanted to do that fit well into my schedule.  I’m a busy lady, after all.

So instead, I decided to jump off of a boat.

Escape the Cape starts with a leap off of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.  You jump off a boat.  And then swim a mile (or .35 miles if you’re doing the sprint).  It is intense and intimidating.

And it was awesome.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  I certainly don’t do something frightening every day, but when I do, I like to go big.

Of course, now I’m wondering what I have to do in 2018.

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donderdag 1 juni 2017

May Mileage Update

ImageParty / Pixabay

The quest for All The Data continues as I track my monthly mileage.  As I have mentioned before, I’ve only ever tracked yearly run mileage before, so I don’t have any set distance goals for 2017, but I’d like to see how far I go to figure out what sorts of goals I can set for 2018.

May Totals
Swim – 7.2 miles
Bike – 161 miles
Run – 43 miles

I actually had to double check that swim number to make sure it was right.  But I’ve been going to the pool at least once a week, usually twice, plus I had the 2.8 miles at Swim Fest tacked on, so I guess 7.2 miles isn’t that far off.  It’s still pretty darn impressive.

Biking and running remains relatively steady, which is exactly where it should be in my training at this point.  I think my biking number will pick up next month as I start getting in longer weekend rides.

Year to Date:
Swim – 21.9 miles
Bike – 921 miles
Run – 224 miles

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woensdag 31 mei 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

Hey look, a week where I actually got stuff done!  One thing I’m realizing as I do these recaps is that I need to get more strength work built into my plan.

Monday – Sweet, sweet rest day.

Tuesday – Team Fight swim.  Lots of long distance in preparation for the weekend’s crazy swim.

Wednesday – 60 minutes on the trainer.  I don’t know how people train without a mat or towel under their trainers because this sweating is ridiculous.

Thursday – Easy 5 mile run.

Friday – Easy 60 minutes on the trainer.  With the holiday Monday, I was opting to skip my rest day and actually get in an extra day of biking over the long weekend, so I took this one easy.

Saturday – Swim Fest

Sunday – My first Princeton Sports ride of the year.  We did the old Iron Girl course, and that’s 16.5 miles of no joking.  I really like doing these group rides, and because I was putting in so much distance last year, I didn’t do a ton of them.  My plan this year is to try to do the group rides to not only get in the added push of riding in a group and trying to keep up, but also to help support the newbies that will start to show up.  I’ll just do the ride with the group, then go back out for whatever extra mileage I need.  Or maybe I’ll try to get mileage before the ride.  Whatever works for that weekend.

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dinsdag 30 mei 2017

Race Report – 2017 Fort Ritchie Swim Fest

This weekend was the Fort Ritchie Swim Fest.  It’s a really great event and perfect open water practice.  There are three different races in the event – 750m, 1500m, and 2250m.  (Clearly, it’s a 750m loop.)  You can do one race or any combination of the races.  In previous years, I had done the 1500m and the 2250m, but after watching some friends do all three races – the 4500 – I decided that I wanted to do it this year.  That’s 2.8 miles.  That’s a lot of swimming.

My goal for the event was to just finish.  I wasn’t worried about times, because I had to save my arms to get through the final 2250.  So I knew that I would likely be slower than normal, and I was okay with that.  This was an endurance test for me.  And also some quality cold water practice, because the water was 64 degrees.

The first 750 was definitely the hardest, because when I got in, the water was so cold that it literally made my skin hurt.  It took a good five minutes for my face to stop hurting in the water.  Thankfully, the pain did stop and the second two races were much easier, even with getting out of the water and getting back in.  This is a good reminder, because my race this coming weekend is going to be stupidly cold.  At last check, the water was 59 degrees.  Maybe it will make me swim faster?

This event was definitely just a slow and steady, and I’m happy with that.  Yes, my 2250 was 9 minutes slower than last year.  But this year, I did a full 2250 before doing the second 2250, so I think that’s okay.  Leading up to the race, I thought doing all three races was crazy.  I still think it was a little crazy, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to do it again next year.  It’s a fun challenge and it’s great practice.  If I can get through that kind of swim, my olympic distance races this year (1500m) are going to be a breeze.

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Dancer’s Barre Legs Workout #1: The BOD -Dancing with the Stars’ Kym Herjavec

woensdag 24 mei 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

geralt / Pixabay

As I mentioned on Monday, this was a really great week workout wise.  That doesn’t mean that all the workouts felt great, but I got them done.

Monday – Rest Day.  I’m really good at these.  I wish I could get more done on rest days though.

Tuesday – Team Fight Swim.  I really enjoy being part of a group swim.  I feel like I push myself harder than I do in a solo workout – especially when I’m the slowest swimmer there.  We’ve got some beasts in the pool!

Wednesday – 60 minutes on the bike trainer

Thursday – 4 mile run.  This one was more sluggish than I like.

Friday – 45 minutes in the pool.  This one was a struggle.  I’m not sure if I was just tired (6am swims are early!) or worn out, but I had to force myself to not bail early.  I showed up, I might as well get the workout in.

Saturday – 25 mile bike followed by a 1 mile run.  I rode the Columbia Tri course for the first time this year and it was awesome.  I really love that course, even though I’ve never done the Columbia Tri.  It’s got some quality hills and is just a beautiful route.  It apparently got repaved recently as well, which made it even better than I remembered.

Sunday – 8 mile run.  Apparently, after riding all those hills, my legs were wholly uninterested in an 8 mile run, and I think it took about 6 miles to actually warm up.

 

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maandag 22 mei 2017

Back to Basics

I had an awesome training weekend this weekend.  I didn’t set any new records, but I got in a 25 mile ride and an 8 mile run, and it felt good to get the mileage in.  It helped that the weather was pretty perfect for both.  Not too hot, not too cold, and the rain held off.  I feel like I’ve been biking in threatening rain a lot lately, which is much less fun than it sounds.  Running in the rain can be enjoyable, but biking in the rain? Thumbs down.

I’ll hit on this in my weekly recap, but after looking at my training on Strava, this was the first week in a while that I had 6 workout days on the schedule and actually hit them all.  Life has been busy and so my training has been less than it should be.  That could be exactly why things felt so good this weekend.  It could also be why it felt like it took me 6 miles to warm up on my run yesterday – my body just wasn’t used to this kind of work.  Or it could have been all the hills I rode on Saturday. Or a little bit of both.

Either way, it feels good to be back.  Now to just get my diet back into order and it should be smooth sailing.  Until something else crazy comes up.

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Body Toning Pilates Workout: Kara Griffin

vrijdag 19 mei 2017

What To Do When a Race Goes Wrong

Tumisu / Pixabay

Apparently, this past week has been a rough one for a number of triathletes.  I’ve seen a lot of people posting about how open water swims went poorly, bike workouts were struggled through, and runs were crushingly painful.  I’ve also talked to a number of people who had bad races over the past month and are feeling down about the rest of their race season, wondering if they should cancel races or drop down to shorter distances.

So what do you do when a race goes wrong?  You don’t give up, that’s for sure.  Just because you have one bad race doesn’t mean that all is lost.

First off, what made the race so bad?  Did you freak out on an open water swim?  Did you struggle through hills on your bike?  Was your bike or run split slower than you wanted?  Did you feel like you were struggling through your entire run?  Were there unexpected aches and pains?

Then figure out why.  And remember, sometimes, it’s just not your day.  You can do everything right and still have a rough day.  It happens to everyone.

How was your training?  And be honest with yourself.  Did you actually put in the work that you should have?  Did you let yourself slack off maybe a little bit too much?  When you skip a workout because you’re tired, are you really that tired or do you just not want to go running?  I’ve seen a lot of people skipping too many workouts because they’re worried about overtraining.  You have to learn to be honest with yourself.

And if you’re getting in those workouts, are you doing what you’re supposed to?  If your plan calls for speed work, are you really putting in the effort?  Are you choosing to ride in a flat area rather than a hilly area? (Which, of course, is a good idea if you’ve got a flat race coming up, but if your race has hills, get yourself out onto those hills.)  Are you putting in the work at the pool or just halfheartedly swimming laps until you hit the 45 minute mark and then getting out as fast as you can?

On the other hand, overtraining is real.  Are you pushing your workouts too hard?  Remember, your long runs should not be at race pace.  You should have some harder workouts and some easier workouts through the week.  If you push to your limit on each workout, you will end up injured or burnt out.

I think keeping a training log is an incredibly important tool in helping you figure out if your training has been where it should be. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  You can scribble down notes in a notebook, in a file on your computer, whatever works best for you.  Just something like “This was my workout and this is how I feel.”  You’ll start to see patterns in your training.

On race day, did you follow your plan or did you go out too fast?  When I run half marathons, it’s very easy to get caught up in the pack and start out too fast.  You will see a lot of runners do this.  Hold back and stick to your plan.  You don’t want to use up all of your energy at the beginning and have to slog through the last few miles.  Plus it’s fun to start passing people as they run out of energy and you’re still going strong.  Aim for a negative split (running the second half of the race faster than the first half).

Did you freak out in the water at your triathlon?  This can happen to anyone at anytime, but ask yourself – did you practice appropriately?  Did you get in open water swim practice?  Did you put in the time getting used to swimming in cloudy water where you can’t just follow a line on the bottom?  Did you do any open water swimming in a group?  Even if you’re an experienced swimmer, open water practice will help every triathlete.

Regardless of the answer to the above questions, you should also formulate a plan for how you’re going to get yourself out of an open water freak-out.  A lot of people have a mantra that they repeat over and over or they sing a song in their head.  Some people flip onto their back and float and breathe for a minute or so.  Do what you have to so that you can keep going.  Remember, you are prepared for this swim, and you will get through it.

Most importantly, don’t give up.  If your last race went poorly, that doesn’t mean your next race will.  Do some serious soul searching about what really happened and then do what you need to so you’re ready for the next race.  Everyone has a bad day.  And those bad days just make us stronger.

 

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dinsdag 16 mei 2017

Race Report – Kinetic International Triathlon

Kinetic International Finishers Photo

Photo credit to Keely

Triathlon number one for the season complete!

This was the first year (I believe) for the Kinetic International distance.  I’ve done the sprint here before, and the course looked the same as Giant Acorn (though I think the bike course is reversed from the last time I raced it), so I had a general idea of what I was getting into.  And then the weather forecasts started to roll in.

Once again, I started the season with a cold, rainy triathlon.  But this year, I knew what I was getting myself into.  I was much more mentally prepared for a miserable experience, and I think that preparation made a world of difference.  Also, it wasn’t that miserable.  But I was prepared for this to be a slower race than normal.

Race morning, the temperatures were in the upper 40s, and it was raining.  Great.  Awesome.  At least the 60-something water would feel warm.  Gotta find the bright side, right?  I got in the water as early as I could, probably at least 45 minutes before my wave started.  That’s the great thing about races at Lake Anna – you can get in the water super early and just sort of splash around until your wave starts.  It’s perfect for people nervous about the open water.

I was in the very last wave, which didn’t worry me too much.  This was an international and a 70.3 distance raced together, so that meant I had no risk of being the last finisher.

When my wave finally started, I struggled to find my groove at first, most notably because it was impossible to see the buoys.  The rain had stopped for the most part, but it was foggy and just hard to sight.  Not a big deal all in all, but annoying.  The swim course was a big rectangle, so once I made the second turn to go back towards the shore, things were much easier, though at that point, the wind picked up and there was some significant chop to the water.  I can handle that as long as I can tell where I’m going.

And though it felt like it took forever, I was finally out of the water and on my way to T1.

Swim: 41:24

One downside to races at Lake Anna is the long distance to transition.  It’s paved, which is nice, but it’s just a long uphill run.  Barefoot.  And since it had rained so much, once I got to transition, everything was just a huge mudpit.  I bet the bike tracks were at least an inch deep, probably more.  So that was hilarious to deal with.  No running for me – I didn’t need to find out how much padding my wetsuit would give me if I fell.

I stripped out of my wetsuit, getting it super muddy in the process and tried to clean my feet off to get my socks and shoes on.  (Yes, I wear socks on the bike leg.  I get blisters otherwise and it’s worth the few seconds it takes me.) I also watched a guy cursing at his wetsuit because he was stuck in it.

I opted to not put on my arm sleeves since the rain had stopped and I would rather be cool than overheat.  Plus they’re so annoying to put on while wet.

I definitely wasn’t hurrying in transition, which is probably something I should work on for next race.

T1: 4:39

On to the bike leg.  I was worried that because my cleats were so filled with mud that I wouldn’t be able to clip in properly.  Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad, but future me had some serious shoe cleaning ahead of her.  I headed out on the bike, which starts with a lovely uphill.  Having done the course a number of times, I was ready.

The roads were still a bit wet but not too bad, though I was still glad I had slightly underinflated my tires, especially on some of the speedy downhills.  I had a goal pace in mind and found myself just below it, but I think I tend to overestimate my goal pace in general.  I was also struggling with some tightness in my quads because I was so freaking cold.

I was pretty pleased with how I hung in during the bike, though I wished I had brought some cookies for a snack.  I forgot how much I like snacks on the bike.  Snacks are one of the best parts about biking!

Bike: 1:41:59

T2 went much better, though again, no running through the mud, so it was a slower trek.

T2: 3:15

And on to the run.  This I was familiar with.  It was a two loop course (though they tacked on a tiny bit near transition – I guess the old course was just a little short) with a grand uphill on each loop.  Hooray.  I didn’t even bother to try to run it, knowing it would shoot my heart rate up way too fast, so I just power walked it.  The downside to that is that there are tons of spectators there.  So I just chatted and said I was getting my moneys worth out of the course.

At this point, my upper hips/butt muscles were very tight (actually, using the internet I think maybe it’s my gluteus minimus? Anyone?) and I hoped I wouldn’t be fighting this the entire run.  Thankfully it just bothered me on the hill and then faded.

Because it was still cool, I was able to set into a good rhythm.  Not quite as fast as my most recent half marathon, but that wasn’t done on bike legs, so I was pleased to find a good groove.  I got tons of compliments on my Coeur team kit – it will be on sale next season!   It was awesome to feel so good out there.

The volunteers were spectacular.  As I was coming through, the pizza lunch delivery had just come for them, and I kept threatening to steal their pizza.  The tables were manned by kids with adults supervising, and these kids were great.  Sometimes, kid volunteers get sullen or bored, but I loved the enthusiasm these kids had.

Finally, FINALLY, I was cruising in to the finish.

Run: 1:20:22

Total time: 3:51:38

Not my fastest, but far from my slowest. I was thinking I would be around 4 hours with the weather, so I’m quite happy with this.  And I knew I had a good shot at placing Athena this race seeing as there weren’t a ton of entrants.  I was hoping for second.  First was unexpected and a delightful way to start the season.

Now I need a trophy shelf in my pain cave!

After the race, I got back to transition to retrieve my poor, muddy bike, and noticed they had  put down straw in transition.  SUPER nice.  Of course, my bike still had chunks of mud all over it.  That was a problem for future me too.

And my new tip: Use a blue IKEA bag as your transition mat (or stick it under your mat/towel).  Then when you’re done, you can throw all your gross gear inside it and haul it back to your car and contain the crazy amounts of mud.  When you clean your gear, just hose down the bag too.

 

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Full Body Sculpt & Burn Workout: Body by Becky

maandag 8 mei 2017

So Much Work, So Little Time

This is a fair approximation of how I felt at the end of last week. stux / Pixabay

It’s been an insane two weeks.  We had a big work event that involved four days of travel last week, and I’m still not sure I’m fully recovered.

It was definitely an awesome event, but the lead-up and execution was incredibly stressful and meant a lot of overtime.  That also meant a lot of missed workouts, which probably didn’t help my stress levels.

This season, I’m really working to prioritize my health.  I don’t want to risk letting myself get run down and then prone to getting sick.  So I’m making a point to try to get 8 hours of sleep a night.  I’m really getting closer to 7, but even that’s a big help.   While things were crazy, I also made a point to not push workouts.  For example, I had a trainer ride to do and it was clear that I just didn’t have the energy to get it done properly.  So rather than destroy myself, I just took it easy and tried to not worry about it.

Of course, I have a race this weekend, so I am a little worried about it, but I’ve decided it’s better to go into the race healthy and well rested and slightly undertrained than totally burned out.  At least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself.  It’s easier said than done!

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Belly Dance Workout for Beginners: Cardio Fat Burn- Leilah Isaac

maandag 1 mei 2017

April Mileage Update

ImageParty / Pixabay

Continuing on my trend of MORE DATA for 2017, I’m still tracking all my mileage.  I was a little afraid of this number because the past week has not been great for me.  I had to put a lot of extra hours in at work, and since I’m really trying my best to stay healthy, I prioritized sleep over workouts.  It’s not an ideal situation, but I’d rather go into my first race of the season slightly undertrained but healthy than properly trained but risking injury or illness.

Work will ease up after this week, and I’ve got a race and Swimfest this month – so there will be plenty of swimming happening in May.  So very much swimming.  Quite likely my highest month, if I make it to all the workouts.  Which I intend to, barring injury or illness.

March Mileage
Swimming – 4.4 miles
Biking – 178 miles
Running – 47 miles

Not my highest totals, but not far off.  Considering this includes some missed workouts, I’ll take it.  I’m really surprised at how many bike miles I put in every month.  Of course, much of this is trainer riding, which doesn’t exactly equate to outdoor miles, but it’s how I get in my mid-week workouts.  Plus I really love riding my trainer.  Somehow, it’s a very different type of suffering than a treadmill run.  It’s also a very disgusting sort of workout.  Seriously, make sure you have a mat or a towel under your trainer, because the sweat is really impressive.

Year to date
Swimming – 14.7 miles
Biking – 760 miles
Running – 181 miles

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Pilates Cardio Circuit Workout: 15 Mins- BeFiT GO

woensdag 26 april 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

I saw this cool bird while out on my Sunday run. He seemed pretty unconcerned by all the people and dogs passing him.

It’s as if my brain doesn’t realize that I have a race coming up pretty darn soon.

Monday – Rest Day.  I’m really good at these.

Tuesday – Team Fight Swim.  So many sprints.  I definitely pushed too hard on these.

Wednesday – Switched it up since my bike was in the shop.  Did Thursday’s five mile run.

Thursday – Went to get my bike from the shop, thanks to traffic, I didn’t get home until late.  But at least they managed to figure out the clicking.  Apparently continually splashing Tailwind from my terrible aero bottle is not so good for a bike’s inner workings.  But $35 later, it’s all fixed.  And I have a different aero bottle.

Friday – Swim in the morning, then a super long day at work.  Hooray for morning workouts.  Though I was still an old lady and went to bed early.

Saturday – Weirdly, I couldn’t sleep Friday night.  I don’t know if it was stress from work or what, but around 3am, I gave up on the plan to get up early to go to the Key to Keys sendoff at 6:30 in Baltimore and turned off my alarm.  Due to weather, I then did 30 miles on my trainer, which is not ideal.  I was also totally exhausted, so it took FOREVER.  But I got it done.

Sunday – After a proper amount of rest, I went on an 8 mile run.  This went much better.

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dinsdag 25 april 2017

Open Water Practice

This guy might be at your open water swim, but he looks friendly enough, so it’s probably okay. ArtsyBee / Pixabay

It’s that time of year!  Open water race season is starting.  And with that comes open water swimming practice.

If you haven’t already figured it out, open water swimming is very different from pool swimming.  Most notably, you don’t have a handy line at the bottom that you can follow to ensure you’re swimming in a straight line.  In fact, you probably won’t even be able to see the bottom of the body of water.  I know that most of my races aren’t that clean, and even if the water is pretty clear, once you get a bunch of triathletes churning it up, it gets pretty murky pretty fast.

So no matter how much you swim in the pool, I really recommend getting some open water practice before your first race.  I make a point to get in the water before my season starts every year.  I want to get practice in while wearing my wetsuit, and I want to remind myself how much the first minutes in cold water really really suck.  Then it gets much better.

Locally, there are a couple of practice swims that I’m planning to attend.  If you’re in the DC/MD/VA area, check out the practice swims at Fort Ritchie and Luray.  Wave One also has a couple of clinics available.  I’m sure there are others I’m missing.

If you aren’t in the area or can’t make any of these swims, definitely look for a body of water where you can swim before your season starts, even if you can’t swim very far.  Even just swimming around a dock can help you get used to the weirdness of open water.

Barring all of that, if you’re doing a race in a wetsuit, get in that wetsuit and get into the pool!  Unless it’s an outdoor pool that’s still pretty darn cold, you shouldn’t do your whole workout in the wetsuit because you’ll overheat, and no good comes from that.  Even just a few laps are better than nothing.

 

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Legs & Booty Chair Workout | 15 Min: Sweat Factor- Sam

woensdag 19 april 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

I am really bummed that this weekend’s weather is supposed to be cool and rainy.  I was planning to go ride Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park for their car free day on Sunday, but it looks like the weather is going to be cold, wet, and foggy, and not at all conducive to a good training ride.  I’m going to wait and see what the weather looks like come Friday, but I may give up my spot, try to get in a good training ride Saturday morning before the rain comes, and do my long run on the treadmill (blech).  With race season coming up soon, I want to make sure all of my outdoor rides are quality.  I also don’t want to ride in the cold and wet if I don’t have to.

Last week was kind of hit or miss workout wise.

Monday was a rest day, and we had a Coeur Team Captains call, which was super helpful and a reminder that I’m on a team with some very incredible ladies.

Tuesday was a scheduled swim, but the pool was closed for Spring Break.  I considered hitting the pool before work, but with an 8:00 meeting, that wasn’t an option.  I did a quick run and some strength work instead.

Wednesday I had another FTP test.  I was exhausted and didn’t expect this to go well at all, but I surprised myself.  I wasn’t quite up to my most recent max, but I was darn close.

Thursday called for a five mile run.  I remember when 5 miles was my long weekend run.  Those were the days.

Friday I went back to the pool in the morning for the first time since September.  It was good to be back, though it was also my day off work, so I didn’t have to be there ready to jump in the water right at 6am.  This week is going to hurt.

Saturday I went out and rode 25 miles, my first ride outside this year.  I went for an easy route, just to make sure I remembered how to ride.  Followed it up with a 1 mile run.   I was hoping the ride would be faster, but you can’t win ’em all.

Sunday I had a 7 mile run on the schedule, but I was absolutely exhausted and probably fighting off some sort of bug.  Saturday after my ride, I actually laid down and watched tv, which is something I never do, so I should have expected that I was fighting something.  Thankfully, a full rest day seems to have done the trick.  I mentally struggle with skipping workouts because I feel like I’m just being lazy, but when my body is really pushing back, I do my best to listen.

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maandag 17 april 2017

What do you need to do a triathlon?

skeeze / Pixabay

A friend of mine is interested in getting into triathlons (yay!) and he asked me what things you need for a triathlon.  I gave him a few tips, but it got me thinking.  What things do you need to do a triathlon.  And I’m not talking about the intangibles, like grit and determination and a bit of crazy, I mean the actual stuff.  So I’m going to break it down into some categories for you: Needs, Definitely Nice to Have, The Next Level, and You Don’t Need This, But It’s Cool.

Needs

  • Something to swim in
  • Bike
  • Bike helmet
  • Clothes to wear on the bike and the run
  • Shoes to bike and run in*
  • Bike hydration method

*I guess technically, if you’re a barefoot runner, you don’t need run shoes, but you will still need shoes while on the bike, so put something on your feet.

You don’t need to have clipless pedals or special bike shoes.  Those will appear in the next section.  Your bike doesn’t have to be fancy.  It can be a road bike or a hybrid bike or even a mountain bike.  Whatever you have, that works.  I have seen people racing on cruiser bikes.

What about clothing?  At triathlons geared towards beginners, you will see everything.  Wear what works for you.  Some women will do the entire race in a what is essentially a bathing suit (including elites).  I am not one of those women.  You will see ladies get into the swim in a bathing suit, then pull on shorts in transition.  It’s an option, but I would worry about chafing.  At the bare minimum, for women, I would recommend a pair of triathlon shorts, a sports bra, and a shirt to put on at transition.  For men, I would recommend the same, minus the sports bra.

What are triathlon shorts?  Basically, they are spandex shorts with a bit of padding in them. Not quite as much padding as bike shorts.  They’re designed so you can swim, bike, and run in them.  If you tried this in bike shorts, the padding would fill up with water on the swim and be quite uncomfortable, and you would feel like you were wearing a diaper on the run.  Technically, you can wear whatever shorts you want, but I would very much recommend tri shorts.

In most triathlons, you will find water stops on the run course.  Sometimes you will find them on the bike course, sometimes not, but either way, you’ll want to have some sort of hydration plan for riding the bike.  This doesn’t have to be fancy.  A bottle in a water bottle holder.  If you struggle to pull out a bottle on the bike, wear a Camelbak or similar hydration device.  Hydration is very important.

Definitely Nice To Have

  • Tri Kit
  • Socks (for me – others will disagree)
  • Clipless pedals
  • Bike Shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Chamois Cream to prevent chafing
  • Flat Repair Kit

A tri kit is either a two piece or a one piece outfit that is designed so you can wear it the entire race.  You know what’s hard after getting out of the swim?  Trying to pull a shirt on to your wet body.  If you wear a tri kit, you don’t have to worry about changing at all during the race.

You don’t have to ride or race with a flat repair kit, but I really recommend it.  If you’re out for a ride and you get a flat tire, you’re going to need to fix it, right?  Sure, you could also just call for a Lyft, but that’s not going to work in a race.  So I recommend getting a repair kit and learning how to use it.  I will talk more about this in a later blog post (and if you’re local, will be doing a flat clinic in July).

One thing that scares a lot of cyclists is clipless pedals.  These are confusingly named – they’re called clipless because they don’t have toe clips (which are really old school).  However, you do clip your shoes into the pedals.  So you have special bike shoes with a very hard sole that have a cleat on the bottom.  This cleat will attach to the pedals so that while you ride, you get the full force of motion from your legs.  You’re not just pushing down, but you’re also pulling up.  It’s amazing how different riding feels.  Will you fall over?  Probably.  From a complete stop.  Usually in front of people.  But you will mostly just hurt your pride.

The Next Level

  • Aero bars
  • Wetsuit

If you’re taking your racing to the next level, you might want to have aero bars put onto your road bike.  This lets you ride in a much more aerodynamic position.  You will see lots of people without them, but it’s an inexpensive addition to your road bike.

I struggled with where to put “wetsuit” on this list.  Technically, you can be a triathlete and race multiple times a year and never ned a wetsuit.  They’re only absolutely needed when the water is exceptionally cold, making the race wetsuit mandatory.  You can just avoid those races.  But there are also races where the wetsuit is an option.  In these cases, I like wearing my wetsuit.  It adds buoyancy, and “free speed,” as my coach calls it, plus it makes the cold water seem less awful.

You Don’t Need This, But It’s Cool

  • Tri bike

You will see lots of triathletes with really cool bikes.  And you know what?  Every single one of them wants a newer and cooler bike.  You see, the proper number of bikes to own is n+1, where n is the number of bikes you currently own.  Tri bikes put you in a more compact, more aerodynamic position.  The geometry lets you use your leg muscles in a way that helps save your legs for the run.  It’s not a requirement by any means, but if you’re in the sport for a while, eventually you’ll find yourself looking at tri bikes, doing the math, crunching the numbers, and deciding if it’s for you.

There are plenty of things that triathletes use that aren’t on this list: Sunscreen (wear it), towels, different little products that people use on the various legs of the race, but these are some of the big things that came to mind, things that people need or wonder if they might need.

Anything I missed or miscategorized?

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Restorative Yoga Routine: 10 Min- BeFiT GO

vrijdag 14 april 2017

Do The Hard Things

AstroPic / Pixabay

Starting this week, my training schedule has me back to swimming twice a week.  Pool workouts are always my most dreaded workouts of the week.  I do not know why.  I think part of it is because it has to be so meticulously scheduled.  For running and biking, I can sort of do them whenever I want, but when it comes to swimming, I’m either going to a pre-scheduled group swim or I’m swimming in the morning before work, which means I want to get to the pool as early as possible to ensure that I’m not super late for work (though I’m technically on a flexible schedule, so even when I’m “late,” I’m not really late).

Going to the group workout isn’t actually that bad.  I’m meeting up with a group!  It’s fun!  They’re fun people!  And all I have to do afterwards is shower and go to bed.

Morning swims though, I think I find them awful due solely to the logistics.  Get to the pool fast, hope I can get a lane, get through my workout, shower and make myself presentable, and then rush off to work.  But while I’m actually swimming, it’s not bad.  I don’t mind the workout itself.  In fact, I really enjoy swimming.  It’s a great workout, as evidenced by my wobbly arms and legs after the fact, but it doesn’t feel as rough on my body as running or biking.

But somehow, in my brain, swimming is the hard part of the three sports in triathlon.  Not the one that I’m worst at (that’s probably running), but the one that I struggle the most to train.  I’m trying to get it through my head that going to the pool isn’t that bad, that it’s great to have my workouts done early in the morning, and more importantly, the more I train my swimming, the less time I spend in an open water swim.

So I have to make myself do the hard things.  It doesn’t matter that I don’t want to.  I have to do it.  And we all have those hard things that we don’t want to do that we have to do.  So get out there.  Do the hard things.

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woensdag 12 april 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

sleeping fox

Shingo_Nono / Pixabay

This was probably the last really easy week I’ll have for a while.  Hello, spandex season… I mean triathlon season.

Monday – Rest Day.  Due to some work commitments, I had to pull out of singing my next choir concert (though I will be at the concert as a volunteer) which means that I no longer have long, late rehearsals Monday nights.  It’s an actual rest day.  I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

Tuesday – My schedule said “Go to swim if you feel like it.”  Let’s be honest, I rarely feel like going to swim.  Also, I was still pretty sore from the race, so I just did an easy walk through the neighborhood and called it a day.

Wednesday – 60 minutes on the trainer

Thursday – 4 mile run

Friday – Strength work, plus a 30 minute walk.

Saturday – Had to flip up my schedule this weekend, so I did my first brick of the season.  20 minutes on the bike trainer, followed by a 10k run.  I pushed the 10k faster than I should have for a training run, and I paid for that on Sunday.

Sunday – 90 minute FTP based trainer ride.  Wasn’t sure I was going to survive this one, and yet I really love these sorts of workouts.

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dinsdag 11 april 2017

Virtual Races – Worth It?

Virtual races seem to be all the rage lately.  What is a virtual race?  Simply put, it is an event where you can participate from wherever you are.  On the day of the race (or weekend, or week, or however long the organizers give you), you go out, run the distance, and (usually) report back on your results.

Well, that sounds like the training I do all the time.  The difference with a virtual race is that there is often swag involved.  Medals are the most popular swag, but some races have t-shirts, race bibs, and other items for those who sign up.

So obviously, a virtual race with swag isn’t free.  Frequently, there is a charitable aspect to the races as well.  Sign up and a portion of your entry fee will go to charity.  I’m all about fun fundraising ideas, so this is a great one.

But virtual races get a lot of negative comments in the running community.  Some people claim it’s not a real race.  And it’s not a traditional road race, that’s true, but that doesn’t make it any less of a race.  Can people cheat?  Sure.  Can they sign up and get the medal and never run?  They can do that too.  But that’s not the point.

Virtual races are a great way for many people to motivate themselves to run.  Not everyone enjoys the traditional road race.  I know plenty of slower runners who find races intimidating, and prefer to participate in virtual races only.  (I wish they weren’t so intimidated, but I’m glad they have an outlet for their running.)  Some people like the flexibility of virtual races.  If you work weekends, you might not be able to run the local 5K, but you can do a virtual 5K on your Tuesday off.

One virtual race series with some pretty sweet medals is the Hogwarts Running Club.  Seriously, check out that bling!  I already spend enough money on races, so I’ve not done one of their virtual races, but if you’re a medal person, this looks like a great group to be in.  (I hear their community support is also pretty sweet.)

A screenshot from the Zombies Run race. Yes, I was listening to a cast recording while running.

Over the weekend, I did the Zombies Run Spring 2017 Virtual Race.  For me, the pull wasn’t the bling, but rather the story that comes with the race.  I really like the app, and having gotten to try out the previous virtual races for free as part of their 5 year anniversary celebration, I wanted to give this one a try.  I also have been using and enjoying the Zombies Run app since it was first released, and by paying for a race, I could make a small financial contribution as a thanks.  I really loved all the hype that comes with the race.  There are two training missions that are released prior to the race, so you get some lead-up to the story.  It definitely builds the excitement and the race made my weekend training run a lot more enjoyable.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to be doing a ton of virtual races.  I’m already spending enough money on racing as it is!  But if you’re looking for some added motivation, check out some virtual races and get running.

 

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Beginner Arms Workout: Arm Flab Blaster- Steve Jordan

vrijdag 7 april 2017

Weekend Plans

Is anyone else vaguely giraffe obsessed as of late? Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Happy Friday!  This has been one of those weeks where I can’t believe it’s already Friday and I am really really ready for the weekend.  I’m also struggling with the fact that it’s already April.  My triathlon season starts NEXT MONTH!

I have a lot going on next week, so a big part of my weekend plans include doing a bunch of meal prep for the week.  I’ve been using my Instant Pot a lot and at some point, I will put together a post about what I use it for.  Even if you’re not a cook, if you like to meal prep in a short amount of time, the Instant Pot is awesome.

Of course, I have a couple of workouts on my schedule, and I will be using my run to do the Zombies Run! virtual race.  I’m typically not big on virtual races, but I have been using the Zombies Run app since the beginning – it was the first Kickstarter project I ever backed.  Because I only use it when I run outside, I’m behind in the missions, so I haven’t paid for the app at all except for that first Kickstarter payment, so I decided it was time to throw them a bit of money.  A few weeks back, for their 5 year anniversary, they put the previous virtual races up for a short period of time so that people could run them for free and the stories were so much fun that I’m glad I’m doing this one.

For those of you unfamiliar with the app, the only way I can describe it is that it’s like a radio show.  You can set the app to play music or podcasts or nothing at all, and then every so often, they break in with more of the story.  The general plot is that there is a zombie infection and you are a runner for one of the camps – so the story you’re hearing is the radio operators in your ear and your fellow runners around you.  It’s very well done.  I don’t typically listen to music while I run, preferring spoken word because it makes it easier to hear what’s going on around me, so this is perfect.

Sunday is the wedding celebration for two very awesome friends, and I’m so glad to be able to celebrate their marriage with them.  Talk about two people who truly deserve each other.

I’m also still working on my spring cleaning projects.  They are… not moving very quickly.  But hey, spring just started, right?  Plenty of time!

And of course, I will be obsessively checking to see if there is a baby giraffe in New York yet.  Because why not?

 

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woensdag 5 april 2017

March Mileage Update

ImageParty / Pixabay

I can’t believe we’re already a quarter of the way through the year.  I’m still struggling to remember to write 2017 on things.

So one of my goals for 2017 was to track all of my mileage, just to see what sorts of distances I’m covering over the year.  Part of me wishes I had done it last year with 70.3 training.  Part of me is glad I have no idea.  It’s easier to consider another one when I’ve forgotten how hard I had to work for the last one.

March was a pretty good month.  Set a half marathon PR and increased my biking FTP.  All this work is paying off.  Now to make sure that I don’t just rest on my laurels.

Also, it’s almost race season.  I really, REALLY should start eating fewer cookies.

March Totals:
Running – 50 miles
Biking – 175 miles
Swimming – 2.3 miles

Not bad at all!  Way more running than February, about 5 miles less on the bike (negligible, really), and the drop in the swim distance wasn’t as drastic as I thought (considering I did a half century swim in February).  And this is all going to pick up next month.

What’s scary is that I discovered that Strava is also tracking the time spent doing all of these workouts.  I refuse to look at that number.

Yearly Totals:
Running – 134 miles
Biking – 582 miles
Swimming – 10.3 miles

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maandag 3 april 2017

Race Report – 2017 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

This weekend, I ran my seventh Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  And I think the weather was among the best that it has ever been.  This year has been pretty iffy, weather-wise, and while it was a little cool before the race, the day turned out beautiful and the blossoms were still beautiful.  Best of all, I got to meet up with some of my Coeur teammates before and after the race.  I’m so glad to get to know some of these girls so much better, and I’m looking forward to racing with them again.

As I wrote earlier this week, my goal was something under 2:10.  In my head, I had 2:05 wandering around, but I knew that was a long shot, as running 12:30s was going to be a whole lot faster than anything I’ve been able to pull out lately.  (Spoiler alert – I didn’t run that fast.  This isn’t one of those sorts of posts!)

This is probably the most “local” of races that I run, and I love that the logistics are so easy for me.  I get to park at my office building for free and walk down to the race start.  I love not having to worry about parking or traffic.  I left my house around 6 for a 7:30 race start and had plenty of time.  That’s the last time that’s going to happen this year.

Before the race, I met up with a bunch of my Coeur teammates and it was so fun to finally get to talk to these ladies in person instead of just online.  Everyone was so wonderfully nice.  Seriously, if you ever see anyone in a Coeur team kit out on a race course, just say hi.  Such friendly people.

I was in the Purple People Party Wave again this year – it’s the wave of people planning to finish in 2 hours or more. I joke that it’s the wave of people who like to get their money’s worth out of the course, but honestly, it’s often full of people who are stressed about the race time limit.  Because of the need to open up roads, Cherry Blossom has a 14 minute per mile pace requirement, so there are a lot of racers in the purple wave hoping that everything goes their way and they make that pacing requirement.

Before and during the race, I ran into a lot of friends, including some I was meeting for the first time in person.  Man, the internet is awesome.

As the race started, I didn’t really have a set pace in mind.  I knew I wanted to race under 2:10, so I wanted to run sub 13 minute miles, but other than that, I didn’t really have a major goal.  I just wanted to try to enjoy the race.

For whatever reason, this race, I just never found that running high, which was kind of a disappointment.  I was pushing, but not too hard, meeting my pace goals, and enjoying myself, but I never got that rush that we all often get during races.  So when I finished, it was kind of a bummer, even though my final time was pretty darn good.

Of course, part of the problem could have been that I didn’t realize how good my time was.

I ran a 2:07:09.  Which is meaningless until I look at my previous ten mile races.  This was faster than I have run any ten miler since before my heart issues were diagnosed.  I posted that, and my friend Kate said I shouldn’t qualify the PR.  And she’s right.  I should just reset everything in the spring of 2010 and move on from there.  So with that in mind, this was a PR.  It’s still a bit shocking to be cutting time from my races when I feel like I haven’t been run training a lot, but it shows just how much all my work on the bike really does help – and I enjoy it so much more.

Now, to see how this all plays out during triathlon season!

Blog post written with cat assistance.

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HIIT Workout for Weight Loss & Strength: Kara Griffin

vrijdag 31 maart 2017

Friday Link Love

DariuszSankowski / Pixabay

Happy Friday!  We’ve made it!  Yaaaaaay!

As I do from time to time, here are a few links that caught my eye over the past few weeks.

Number One Scarcity: Time – I definitely feel that. I don’t know how people get so much done!

The Question to Ask Yourself When You Want to Quit – Great for anyone working on a healthy lifestyle

Let’s Talk – A beautifully honest post

I Cannot Outrun Depression – Another beautifully honest post.  We have all heard the phrase “Running is cheaper than therapy.”  This is true, and sometimes all you need is a good run.  But sometimes you need more.  And that’s okay too.

Fat Otters Don’t Need Food – This is apparently the “honest writing” section of the link post.  Kelly writes beautifully about the struggles that many people face with eating disorders.

The Agony of Triathlon Kit Sizing – Lord, yes.  So very annoying.  Shouldn’t spandex be easier to figure out?

Why We Cheat and How to Stop It – Cheating at races seems to be becoming more and more prevalent.  Why?

Body Acceptance on Instagram – Sometimes I wonder if Steena has crawled into my brain

I miss my running buddy Kim, but she’s been having some awesome races lately, most notably at Gasparilla and now she’s chasing down a PR.

How about some humor? I’ve Got Heart and Courage, Yes I Do! I’ve Got Heart and Courage How ‘Bout You!  I have some of the best teammates!

And food.  Chrissy continues to destroy me with her recipes.  This time, we have Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake.  Someone make me this please.

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woensdag 29 maart 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

Once again, I’m fundraising for Team Fight and the Ulman Cancer Fund.  I’m kicking off my fundraising with a Stella & Dot show.  If you’re interested in shopping, check out the site.  25% of the sale (all of the Stylist proceeds) are going to UCF.  If you want to just make a straight donation, click on the image in my side bar or click here.  Now, on to the recap.

After a week of snow and concert rehearsals, things were finally back to normal last week.

Monday – Choir rehearsals.  Yep, no rest for the weary.

Tuesday – Team Fight Swim.  We did a lot of kick drills.  It was a killer workout.  I was dying.  But it felt awesome anyway.

Wednesday – FTP test.  I really thought this would go terribly.  Given the kick drills the night before, this couldn’t go well. And yet it went really well and I added 4 watts to my FTP.  This basically means I’m getting better and my workouts are going to get harder.  So it’s sort of a win-lose situation.  (I originally typed “win” as “wine” and maybe it’s a wine situation too.)

Thursday – I was Burned. Out.  Long day at work, late lunch, exhausted from the FTP test.  I’m doing my best to not skip workouts, but I needed the night off.  So I did an easy walk (to the delicious chicken restaurant in my neighborhood), had a tasty dinner, and went to bed early.

Friday – Had an easy crosstraining day on the schedule, but opted to pick up Thursday’s missed 5 mile run.  Since I get off work early on Fridays, I felt comfortable running outside.  My legs were still dead, possibly because I didn’t do enough on Thursday.  Gotta keep moving or things tighten up.  But I survived.

Saturday – 2 hour training ride based on my fancy new FTP.  Ouch.  But it was awesome nonetheless.

Sunday – Easy 7 mile run.

Next week?  TAPER!

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maandag 27 maart 2017

It’s Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Week!

These cherry blossoms are by my house. I don’t even have to run ten miles to see them.

Even though it feels like I just raced, it’s race week again!  (This is what happens when I schedule a race for every month.)  This Sunday is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, a pretty popular race here in DC.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.  I really love the ten mile distance.  It’s long enough that I don’t feel like I have to sprint the whole time, but it’s not as long as a half marathon (obviously).  CUCB was the first ten miler I ever ran, a huge jump from my prior 5Ks, and the first race I ran after moving to the DC area.

I also love the course.  I know a lot of people hate running Hains Point, but I don’t mind it at all, and when the flowers are blooming, it’s absolutely perfect.  I’m not sure what the flower status is going to be this weekend, but either way, it’s a nice, peaceful part of the race course.

In terms of race goals, I don’t really have any.  I’d like to continue my recent trend of strong running and come in with a fast (for me) finish, but as always, it’s all going to depend on how I feel.  No chance at a PR here – my ten miler PR is from before my heart issues were diagnosed, and it’s going to take a lot to get me back to that speed – if it’s possible at all.  But that said, if I can beat my time from last year, it will be the fastest 10 miler I’ve run since that diagnosis back in 2010. So I suppose something under 2:08:46 is my goal.  But I’ll be delighted with anything under 2:10.

This weekend, I’m excited to run with a bunch of my Coeur teammates.  Well, “run with” is a loose term.  We’re meeting up beforehand, running our own races, then meeting up for brunch.  Some of them will have time to run extra miles and shower before brunch.  I will be pushing to make it to brunch on time.  The joys of being a slower runner.  But no matter my pace, I have not once felt like a lesser team member because I’ll be in the party wave at the race.  (The purple wave is totally the party wave.)  And they’ve promised to save me a seat at brunch.  That’s the most important part.

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Barre Calorie Burn Workout: 15 Mins- BeFiT GO

donderdag 23 maart 2017

I have a love/hate relationship with FTP tests

markusspiske / Pixabay

I often say to my coworkers that I don’t understand how they get so much done during the week.  I feel like I go to work, I workout, I shovel food in my face, and I sleep.  Meanwhile, some of them are raising kids, doing all sorts of fun activities, and one is off building furniture.

Then I realize that I’m doing two hour long workouts.  Add to that getting ready for the workout and showering after and I start to realize where my evenings are going.

(The coworker who builds furniture and takes care of her family though, I’m fairly convinced she has a time turner.  Or doesn’t require sleep.)

This isn’t a complaint.  I enjoy my two hour long workouts, plus indoor workout time is also my tv time, so I get some quality entertainment at the same time.

Last night, I had yet another FTP test.  My goal over the winter was to raise my FTP, and I wasn’t sure I was succeeding in that goal.

Wait, let’s backup.  For you non-cyclists, FTP probably means File Transfer Protocol.  I’m not uploading anything here.  FTP is also Functional Threshold Power, and it’s a measure of the maximum power you can sustain for an hour of riding.  Thankfully, testing doesn’t mean killing yourself for an hour on the bike.  Instead, you ride as hard as you can for twenty minutes, then take 95% of that to figure out your FTP.

What’s it good for?  Well, it’s a good measurement of your fitness level, but there are also a lot of great FTP based workouts, where you do intervals at varying percentages of your FTP.  So ride for 20 minutes at 75%, then 10 at 50%, then 5 at 95% or whatever.  (Don’t do that workout, it’s probably not good.)

Wednesday’s FTP test had the potential to go very poorly.  The night before, I had swim practice, where the coaches tried to drown us with tabata drills.  So much kicking.  Which is awesome, and I love a good hard swim workout, but it meant I was coming into the FTP test a bit more fatigued than normal.

Well, it turns out that didn’t matter.  In fact, it may have helped.  This FTP test was an improvement over my last.  That’s awesome – I’m getting stronger!  I’m becoming a better cyclist!

Of course, this also means that my workouts will now be scaled up, so insert sad trombone here.

Seriously though, I’m pleased.  While I don’t necessarily feel like I’m working that hard, clearly I am.  I think it means that I’ve found that perfect balance between hard work and enjoyment.  I’m not pushing so hard that I’m burning out, but I’m also not going too easy on myself either.  Now to just remain in this sweet spot for as long as possible.

 

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