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.

The post Wednesday Workout Recap appeared first on Elbowglitter.

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

The post March Mileage Update appeared first on Elbowglitter.

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.

The post Friday Link Love appeared first on Elbowglitter.

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!

The post Wednesday Workout Recap appeared first on Elbowglitter.

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.

The post It’s Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Week! appeared first on Elbowglitter.

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.

 

The post I have a love/hate relationship with FTP tests appeared first on Elbowglitter.

maandag 20 maart 2017

Inside Tracker – March 2017 Tests

If you’ve been reading a while, you know I’m a fan of Inside Tracker.  I’ve written posts about my first test and my second test, and you can learn a lot about how the service works in those posts.  In short, you go get a blood draw, and in a few days, you get your results and all sorts of data from Inside Tracker.  What I love is that they don’t just look at what’s considered “healthy” by your doctor, but they’re also looking at what is optimal for an athlete.

It’s been a year since I’ve done tests (though I did input some data from a doctor ordered test at my annual physical last summer), and my diet hasn’t been so great as of late, so I was interested to see how the results would play out.  Turns out, the numbers were better than expected, but I still have some solid work to do.

I’ve got a number of things in optimal zones, but here I’m just going to talk about where things aren’t optimal, because I believe that this is where Inside Tracker truly shows its worth.

Note – you can click on any of these to see more.

So my blood sugar is trending up.  This isn’t a surprise.  I had done a really good job of watching my general sugar intake and lately, I’ve been finding jelly beans stored in my pocket.  So that needs to stop.

My cholesterol is down from my last test, but that was from a doctor’s test that I input myself, and it wasn’t a fasting blood test.  That said, it’s still up from my last Inside Tracker test, and that’s not something I like to see.  Much of this is genetics (joy of joys), but I can absolutely do some work on this.

Similar results with my LDL, though I’m closer to where I was at my last Inside Tracker test.

Rounding out cholesterol, we’ve got HDL and Triglycerides.  Nothing in the optimal range, but I’m working on it, but at least I’m in the officially “healthy” range.

What’s key about all of these?  One big way to help these numbers is to lose body fat.  And this is exactly why I work on weight loss.  Or more importantly, fat loss.  I’m huge on accepting your body for what it is and not worrying about your weight.  But on the other hand, you also have to accept your health.  As Inside Tracker says, Blood Don’t Lie.  I’m confident there are people much heavier than me who have much better results on their blood tests, so it’s not solely weight – genetics plays a huge role here.  But for me, if I want to get my body into those optimal zones, I need to continue to whittle off the excess fat.

Step one, fewer jelly beans in my pockets.

Ferritin is a number that I’ve been working on, and you can see how the change in my diet has been increasing that number every so slightly.

B12 isn’t trending in the right direction, and I think this one might be where I look into supplements.  I don’t really want to add octopus or beef liver to my diet right now.

I’ve seen pretty much no change in my Inflammation Group, which tells me that what I’m doing isn’t working.  I’m not any worse off than I was, but I’m also no better.  Once again, one of the options is reducing calorie intake, which hey, I’ll be doing anyway.  This might also be where I look into supplements.  I’m wary of adding too many supplements, but Vitamin C isn’t a bad one.  I usually only add additional Vitamin C when the plague hits my office, but maybe it’s time to make that an every day thing.

In general, I’m going to research some more supplements.  This is an area where you can’t just say “Hey, I’ll take a pill for that,” because supplements aren’t all created equal.  I’ve already decided to add spirulina, because as long as you’re taking a supplement that’s free of contaminants (do your research), there aren’t any side effects.  Other supplements don’t work in the same way, so it’s worth doing the research and talking to a medical professional.

Full disclosure – as a member of Team Coeur, I get a discount on Inside Tracker tests, so I paid a discounted rate for this test, but as you can see, I’ve been a fan of the company from well before I started to receive a discount.  All opinions are my own.  As was the blood.

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HIIT & Spin Circuit Workout for Fat Loss: 20 Min- BeFiT GO

donderdag 16 maart 2017

Thursday Ramblings

Security / Pixabay

This past week has been a bit more crazy than normal.  I still haven’t adjusted to time change.  I suppose I like the added daylight in the evenings, but do we really need Daylight Saving time?

I have a choir concert this weekend (If you’re in DC, come see us!), which means rehearsals three nights this week instead of the normal one.  Of course, the snow that came in on Monday night thwarted that plan.  For safety’s sake, Monday’s rehearsal got cancelled, so now we’re in limbo as to whether or not we’ll need a Saturday morning rehearsal.  I don’t want a Saturday morning rehearsal.  Saturday mornings are for sleeping in, going for a bike ride, and this weekend, going to see Beauty and the Beast!

The snowstorm also didn’t help my time change issues.  I got to work from home on Tuesday, which meant sleeping in.  Yesterday morning was rough!  Even the cats didn’t want to get out of bed and they are usually 100% ready for breakfast.  Maybe by next week, my body will have this thing figured out.

A crazy week also means a screwed up workout schedule.  My coach gave me a plan for the week that accommodates all of my extra rehearsals, but then with the snow, swimming was out since the pools were closed.  I will get back to the pool eventually!  Heck, next month I’ll probably be looking at an outdoor swim in my wetsuit.  But a missed swim was just the excuse I needed to get back to my strength training plan.  I have a tendency to follow that quite well for a month or so, and then it all falls apart.  Spandex season is coming!  I need to get as toned up!  (Well, as much as is physically possible.)  Plus, you know, the added strength will be good for my race season and all.

So here’s to next week being much more normal.

The post Thursday Ramblings appeared first on Elbowglitter.

dinsdag 14 maart 2017

Coeur Team Kits are Here!

I got some awesome mail last week.  My Coeur Sports team kit arrived!  This is my third year on the team and each year, the design of the kits gets better and better.

If you love the design too, don’t worry, it will be available next year.  Because of the love for these team kits, they are team exclusive for one season, and then the next season, they’re available for purchase (without the sponsor and other team specific info).

These kits get better and better.  I’ve done a review of the kit before, and I still love them.  The chamois in the shorts is amazing.  Zero issues with chafing, even during my 70.3.  But now, they’ve added 8″ shorts to the line (I’m happy in the 5″, because I have short legs, but I know that 5″ is too short for some people) and they also have tops without a built-in bra, since many of us still have to wear a bra under our kits.  I don’t find that the built-in gets in the way, but I’m looking forward to trying a top without the built-in.

I’m also simply looking forward to racing with this team again.  The Coeur Team is filled with awesome women.  If you see any of us out on a race course this year, be sure to say hi!

 

 

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Hot Legs & Booty Chair Workout #6: Sweat Factor- Sam

vrijdag 10 maart 2017

Battling Your Genetics

geralt / Pixabay

A few weeks ago, news broke out that The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper had a heart attack while working out.  Thankfully, he is going to be just fine.  He has said that heart issues run in his family and his mother died from a heart attack, so this is most likely a genetic issue.  He’s a very lucky man.

Unfortunately, after this, I’ve seen comments online from people saying things like “See, exercising and being fit clearly doesn’t mean you’re healthy” and “If he didn’t work out so much, he wouldn’t have had a heart attack.”

Well, you’re not Bob’s doctor, nor are you all seeing, so you don’t know if that is true or not, now do you?  I bet you’re not even a doctor at all.

To quote from a USA Today article

While vigorous exercise can sometimes act as a trigger for a heart attack, it’s less likely to happen in someone who is already fit, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. The overall heart benefits of exercise “far outweigh” any risk, the group says.

 

“Physical fitness and a heart healthy diet don’t confer immortality,” but do lower risks, says Prediman K. Shah, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Good health habits also help people recover from heart attacks and prevent recurrences, he says.

So no.  The exercise was likely not the trigger for the heart attack, and because Bob is so fit, that’s likely why he survived and will recover.  Sure, his genetics tried to take him down, but his healthy habits are what kept him alive.  And of course, he’s going to make some dietary changes to make sure that he is doing everything he can to keep his heart healthy.

It’s so sad to see people use someone else’s health issues as a reason to not exercise.  “This could potentially kill me, so I’m not going to do it.”  You know what else could potentially kill you?  Just about everything.  Airplanes, cars, falling vending machines, the list goes on and on.

So if you’re using Bob Harper’s heart attack as an excuse to sit on the couch and eat chips because then you won’t die of a heart attack in the gym, you’re fooling yourself.  (Okay, so if you never go to the gym, you won’t die of a heart attack there, but that’s just semantics.)  In general, being active is healthier than being inactive.  Eating well 50% of the time is healthier than eating well 5% of the time.

This doesn’t mean you have to be skinny, and I certainly don’t think you should use any of The Biggest Loser’s tactics to get “healthy.”  In fact, the tactics that they and many others use to “shed the weight” are ultimately unhealthy and bad for your body.  Instead, I think Bob’s heart attack is a reminder that even though we can’t change our genetics, we do have some ability to change how those genetics impact us.

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dinsdag 7 maart 2017

Race Report – 2017 Little Rock Half Marathon

Sometime last year, a group of friends started planning to do the Little Rock Half Marathon.  Due to work commitments, I wasn’t able to join in, and then in November, my work schedule changed, and within two hours of that change, I was registered for the race, had purchased flights, and had planned to room with a friend.  While running isn’t my top training priority right now, I didn’t want to miss out on a fun weekend with friends.

When I registered, I didn’t really put two and two together and realize just how close this was going to be to the Donna Half Marathon.  I don’t typically race this close together anymore, though I definitely used to.  But hey, that just meant that getting up to race distance wasn’t going to be an issue.

While discussing my training plan with my coach, I emphasized that I didn’t want running to be my main focus.  The last time I was heavily run focused was before Donna in 2015 and I just didn’t enjoy it.  I don’t like running four times a week.  My race that year was stellar – about a minute and a half slower than my PR, and I was delighted with my results, but I wasn’t sure that chasing a PR was what I wanted to do.  I do this for fun, and if I hate all of the training, I’m failing in that goal.

So this winter, I’ve been very bike focused, while still running twice a week (a shorter run of 4-5 miles and then a longer weekend run).  By doing that, I’ve still been able to pull out races in the sub-3 category, which is always my goal.  My PR was set at the 2012 Virginia Beach Shamrock Half Marathon at a blistering 2:48:33, so I am quite happy with 2:55ish finishes with less training.

I did very little planning for the Little Rock Half.  I mean, I trained, but I didn’t look at the course, and only sort of paid attention to the weather.  As race week arrived, it looked more and more like it was going to be rainy.  Not ideal, but I’ll take rain over crazy heat for any race day.  (Well, maybe not for triathlons… I’ve done both and I’m not sure which I prefer.)

For race day, I knew I wanted to push the run, so I didn’t plan to run with anyone, but I wasn’t setting any specific goals, so I wasn’t nervous going in, nor did I really eat properly.  Way too much unhealthy food, way more alcohol than normal (which is really any alcohol – I don’t drink regularly anymore).

Race morning dawned and it was raining and chilly.  So I wore a long sleeved shirt over my short sleeved, figuring that if I got warm, I could take it off and tie it around my waist.  That sort of thing doesn’t bother me.  We also got incredibly fashionable trash bags from the hotel.

Black is slimming, right?

I ditched the trash bag before the race, but I saw people running in trash bags and ponchos for the entire half, and even saw some marathon finishers cross the finish line wearing plastic outerwear.  I didn’t think it was that cold.

Now, cold weather is my jam for running.  I even think that the fact that my wet long sleeved shirt pressed against my body helped my run.  I was miserably cold after, but during the run, I felt great.

During the first few miles, I felt like I was going out too fast, so I tried to pull back, but wasn’t very successful.  So I just decided to see how I felt.

Around mile 5, I started to wonder if I was on PR pace.  I also started to wonder just what my PR was.  I knew it was somewhere in the 2:48 range, but wasn’t sure where.

At mile 6, I started to do the mental math.  And continued that for the next few miles, as I continued to tick off sub-13 miles.  (I know, not fast for many, but my PR was at a 12:52 pace, so this was good.)

By mile 8, I knew that if I kept up the sub-13 pace, I could set a new PR.  So I decided to keep pushing, but not push too hard.  I knew there was a distinct possibility that I was going to blow up somewhere around mile 10, but I figured it was worth it for the attempt.

So I just kept ticking off the miles and holding to my intervals, hoping that my body would hold out.  It hurt, but in the good way.  I certainly didn’t feel like I was dying, as compared to many other races.  I think the temperatures absolutely helped.

By about mile 12, I knew I had it, and I was right.  I sailed into the finish with a time of 2:46:52, destroying my 5-year-old PR by over a minute and a half.  Definitely an unexpected result, but I think going in without that expectation really helped, and the conditions were just about perfect for me.

Clearly all the work I’m putting in on the bike has helped tremendously.  I love that I can see improvements like this without killing myself on run training.  I love killer bike workouts and loathe killer run workouts, so this is a huge win all around.

The race itself was awesome.  Amazing course support, and so very many spectators out there, even with the rain and the cold.  And best of all, the finisher’s area was all held inside the convention center, so we could get out of the cold and rain when we were done with the race.  This is definitely a race to keep on my list.  And the finisher’s medal is awesome!  Definitely bigger than normal, and the spiral on the back spins.  The marathon medal is insane – literally twice as big as the half medal and it pretty much takes up a person’s entire chest.  So if you race for medals, this is the race to run.

I set a PR, colored a llama, and drank a beer. All in all, a good day.

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Beginner Core Strength Workout #1: Steve Jordan

vrijdag 3 maart 2017

February Mileage Update

ImageParty / Pixabay

As I mentioned last month, this year, I’m tracking my mileage much more strictly than I did last year.  That is to say, I’m actually tracking all of my mileage.  I have no idea what distances I covered last year, so I’m determined to figure it out for this year.

February was a shorter month, so my mileage was definitely lower.  Plus it’s still technically the off-season.  Next month, I fear these numbers.

Running: 38 miles
Biking: 180 miles
Swimming: 3.8 miles

Not bad considering I had a trip in there where I did run a half marathon, but didn’t do much else in the way of exercise.  The swimming number is a little misleading too, since much of that was done when I did the Coeur 50×100 early in the month (note – that feels like so long ago!).

My goal for March is simply to stick to my training plan.  No missing workouts.  On the days I have strength and cardio, I’ve been doing the cardio first, based on the common wisdom that I will be more warmed up for the weights that way.  Instead, I’m going to flip that around and do my strength training first.  I find that if I’m going to skip a workout in a week, it’s going to be the strength training following a cardio workout.  If I flip them, I get the strength workout out of the way first, and I won’t skip the cardio because race season is coming!

Yearly Totals
Running: 84 miles
Biking: 407 miles
Swimming: 8 miles

 

 

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donderdag 2 maart 2017

40 Bags in 40 Days

This year, I’m trying out the 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge.

No, it’s not actually getting rid of 40 bags of stuff, though that would be nice.  Rather, it’s about decluttering one area a day for 40 days.  I’ll be honest, there will be days that get skipped, so my goal is to declutter 40 areas.

What I like about this challenge is that it’s not just physical areas.  What I really like about this challenge is that it also focuses on digital decluttering.  Let’s be honest, we all have way too much email piled up.  As of right now, I have over 1400 emails in my personal inbox and something like 29,000 in my work inbox.  These are both problematic.  For work, I can’t actually delete very much, but I can certainly sort it into files.   For my personal email, I KNOW I can delete a ton of it, and much of it can be archived out of the inbox.

Another digital area I want to tackle is my photo storage.  Because I don’t need 40 blurry pictures of my cats.

Of course, there are plenty of other areas to go through as well.  I like the idea of breaking it down into very achievable goals.  On the list of areas to declutter, some examples are “junk drawer,” “food storage containers,” and “mail.”  Nothing too big, but when you take 40 little things, the end result certainly adds up.

It’s been an entire race season since I’ve gone through all my gear and race shirts and I’m sure it’s past time to get rid of more than a few items.  Just because it’s all neatly stored away doesn’t mean that I need to be keeping it.

I also need to go through my makeup.  It’s embarrassing how very expired some of it has to be.  Do I really need 30 lip products?  Nope.  Time to declutter.

Anyone want to join me on this mission?  Tackle a few areas in your life that need to be cleaned up?

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woensdag 1 maart 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

I think it’s slowly starting to sink in that the off season is just about over.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Swim practice.  The good thing about the off season is that the pool is pretty darn empty.

Wednesday – Another FTP test.  I was dripping with sweat after this, and yet it still wasn’t my best.  It was definitely my best mid-week test though, so thumbs up for working out fatigued?

Thursday – 5 mile run

Friday – Easy walk plus some strength work

Saturday – 2 hour structured trainer ride.

Sunday – 6 mile run

Up next?  Race week.  Again.

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