Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spending Dough, Crazy Brick and Serious Stuff

It's been an expensive couple of days, I'll say that much. It started yesterday with needing new tires for my vehicle... $825 later, I have new tires. Ugh!

Then I had to find 10 speed Dura-ace bar end shifters for my bike, so it could be fixed before this weekend's training session. I can get through the week taking spin class for cycling, but going a weekend without a long bike, on my bike? No way.

T., my bike fix it guy, texted me before I left the bike shop and said I needed a new chain too... there I go, back into the store to spend more money.

He just texted me a little while ago that my bike is done and it "rides better than it ever did."  I hope so!  I"m so tired of problems.  It ought to ride itself with a full tune-up, new shifters and new chain!  :)

Tonight my Daughter is going to learn to ride her two-wheeler.  One of my friends from the club is coming over.  He swears he'll have her riding in an hour! He's as excited as she is.  I have an hour run tonight, but I can't miss the biking session... so chances are that run won't be happening, but who knows.

Saturday is "Crazy Brick".  We have these training challenges every 6 weeks, to help kind of gauge where we are at.  Essentially we're doing a triathlon on Saturday!  For those training for a half I have an hour long open water swim, a 2 hour bike at race pace, then a negative split run.  Sounds like overkill, and it is, but it's good for the mind.

I need to workout my nutrition.  I'll probably do my regular race day breakfast, plan a multi-hour bottle of Perpeteum & Water for the bike/run.   I need to experiment with solid foods on the run.  Seems like by the time I get to the run I'm at capacity for drinking another drop, and just feel like I'm going to vomit.  Yuck.

Masters was good this morning.  It was a challenging workout with 15x100's on my interval.  Whew... I get tired thinking of it.  At first I was going for 2:20/100m for my interval, but after I made the first 5 with more than 10 seconds to rest, I dropped to 2:15/100m.  I made most of them, missed a few, but only by 3-5 seconds.  I would love to do 2:15/100m at Redman.  That would be a great improvement over last year's something like 2:35/100m.  I know I'll be better.  By how much?  Is the question.

My surgery date was rescheduled to 7/12.  I'm kind of thankful I don't have to wait until 7/22.  I just want it done and over with!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Body Marking Debate

So if you read my mini rant yesterday about body marking, then you know how I feel about it.  However,  I thought it was important to learn exactly what the rules were before I start preaching the rules.  I checked out the regulations on USAT's website, and I couldn't find any clarification.  Instead, I emailed my question and the Officials Commissioner wrote me back:

"Body marking of category, age, or division, is not required by the Competitive Rules.  Only race number body marking is required.  Identifying each athlete by division or category is optional for race directors.  Accordingly, your should address your concerns to the individual event organizer where you compete.  The race director may very well be able to accommodate your request and be happy to do so."

So there you have it!  You really don't even have to have your age, just your race number!  My apologies to Sarah for being thoughtless and embarrassing her, prompting the discussion at the race!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Report: Y Freedom Sprint Triathlon 2011

Elysha, Me at Danskin '09
I am, by no means, full of myself, but I know when I feel good on race day. Last year I spent so much time being tired from training, not knowing I was Anemic, so darn near every race I felt like crud -- it really did take some of the fun out of it for me. 

Last year, this race in particular, was just a killer for me.  I cried a lot at this race, missing my dear friend Elysha.  It was a good day last year in that I was able to help her son and his friends do the race, but outside of that it was such a bad performing and sad day for me. 

Sherry, Marla and Me
This year, another one of Elysha's friends decided to do the race, so it was again a chance to remember Elysha and smile. I met up with M to give her tips on transition, and I was so happy she was doing the race.  M had told Elysha she would do a tri with her one day.  Who knew Elysha would be gone so soon?  Life is too short.  Anyway, when M crossed the line, one of the last finishers, my eyes just filled with tears.  I still miss her so much.  :(

So, on with the race report.  Have yet to get our splits for the race, so I have no idea what my times were. The splits I have listed are off my Garmin, which are not completely accurate because it relies on me remembering to press the start button (Ugh!)  I started it late in all cases, but these numbers are close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades.

Y Freedom 2010 ===>2011

Swim: 8:26.2 ===> ???
Bike: 36:48.5 ===> 33:13
Run: 47:48.5 ===> 38:17

Total Time: 1:37:11.8 ===>1:26

Got up, had my coffee. Got in 20 minutes on the trainer (not 30 as assigned). I didn't get do the recommended hot shower either, but I was fairly certain my GI issues were done, and I didn't want to wake the family up. :)

Brought breakfast with me: A mini whole wheat bagel w/almond butter, small banana and a Hammer nutrition bar for pre race breakfast (2 hours before start). Drank 16 oz. of G2 and 16 oz. of water. Ate breakfast at 6am (1.5-2 hrs before swim start.)

Got to transition setup. I felt really good. I had plenty of time, so I did swim an 300 easy in the pool to warm up. Drank some more water and hit the potty for one last time.

Swim: Swim started fast and fine... didn't seem like as long of a wait as normal. No one passed me, so that was good :)  The guy behind me tagged my feet just once and I gave him the opportunity to pass me at the wall, he declined -- I felt good. On the last half length it was a line of people walking! So frustrating.  Did what I could, there was no getting around them. This is the reason I generally hate pool swims.  I do think my swim went well. We'll see.

T1: I think it was pretty fast. Uneventful. In and out.

Bike: Forgot to turn the Garmin on, so the first few minutes on the bike was getting that going, but once I left the park I enjoyed the cross-ish tailwind and tried to keep my heart rate 160-165, which I was doing solidly and still feeling good. At the main turnaround we had some cross headwinds so that slowed me down a little, but I still kept the HR 160-165 and 19-23 mph! At 7.5 miles in I went to downshift, after turning directly into the wind, and the shift lever just came apart in my hand. Crud. 

Anyway I pulled over to try to collect the pieces that had dropped on the road, but I couldn't find them. As you might imagine I was pretty frustrated. I was having a great ride, and I knew it!  The v'teer was going to call someone to help me and I almost gave in and said, "Sure.", but I still didn't know if my bike was rideable. I got back on and attempted to ride. When the lever broke it threw the chain to the smallest ring in the back and I was still on the big ring in the front. I figured it would be tough, but at lest I could make it work for the last few miles.  I also didn't think it would be worth the risk of shifting the front, something else breaking, then finding myself walking my bike back to a DNF.  Anyway, I made it back.  Whew!  Wow!  According to the Garmin I stopped for almost 2 minutes for my bike issue.  I could have shaved 5 minutes off my time from last year, but I'll have to settle for 3.  :)

T2: Probably okay. A little longer than T1. Uneventful.

Run:  Left on the run and I knew I went hard on the bike on that last few miles, so I tried to stay positive. After a half mile I had to take a quick walk, "Ugh! Already?" I just kept it together and kept moving realizing the whole run was ahead of me. Head up, open chest, hips under me. HR was between 155 and 165. I took a few more quick < 30 second walk breaks as needed.  It seemed like in no time, I heard someone say the finish was a just a 1/2 mile away... then I was done. :)  It appears I picked up approximately 2 mins pace per mile from last year.  Maybe all this stupid running is paying off. :)

All done!
George (his first tri!) and me
Post race:  I felt spent when I crossed the Finish.  My quads were burning -- pretty certain I just tore them  up on the bike.  Sprints are supposed to hurt, so it's all good.   Outside of the malfunction, I don't think I could have put forth any better effort at swimming, biking and running.  Clearly  I need to pay more attention to technical things, like my Garmin. :)

Overall I like the race for a number of reasons, but truthfully, I hate pool swim triathlons.  They're crowded and you are somewhat limited on the swim  by the people in front of you... unless you're good at being aggressive and navigating. I do this race because Elysha loved this one (of course she did; it was a pool swim!).  I love that it's so close to home and this year we had a ton of BAMmers show up, so that always makes for a good time.

After the race I took a shot at one of my club mates, Sarah (a fellow club-mate and Athena athlete), who I knew would understand my jabbing as somewhat serious as well.  Make no mistake, I clearly see her point too.  When athletes choose to race Athena or Clyde, they're supposed to get an "A" or "C" on the back of their clave, instead of their age.  They are competing in a weight class rather than an age group.  They make this choice when they register for the race.  Generally volunteers are body marking and they either don't know about weight class competition, or are never instructed by the RD to inquire.  The premise is, that if you are racing weight class, you want to be able to see the others racing weight class... just as the age groupers can identify others in their age group to compete against.

Evidently I was the only Athena stupid enough to mark their calve.  :P

Now, I'm not a top competitor, so it's not like anything was taken from me, but I do feel like I deserve to know who I'm racing against.  It was clear to me during the awards why several of the women were working to pass me... it was because they were Athena and I was marked. (If they only knew how bad my run was they wouldn't have had to work so hard!) I was suspect because of their size (which I realize isn't always an indicator) but all of them, only had race ages on their calves.  I thought surely they wouldn't do that?

I think it should be the athlete's responsibility to let the body marker know.  After all, the athlete knows what they registered for, age group or weight class, and further, if they don't have themselves marked appropriately and place, they should be penalized, just like they were breaking any other rule.

So what of it?

If you are racing Athena or Clyde, what's your take on having appropriate calve markings?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mental Toughness

It's occurred to me that one of the hardest parts of training isn't really biking and running in the heat, and it's not swimming in a pool or lake that's so warm you feel like a piece of poached salmon.  It's not getting up at 4 am and repeating the insanity day-after-day, nor is it early bedtimes, whacky nutrition and declining invites because you "have to train."

One of the hardest things to train is your mind.  When you first start, there's lots of "low hanging fruit" which translates to quick improvements when you start training.  It makes for good motivation to continue.  However, when all that low hanging fruit is harvested and you have to start working a little harder to get the fruit at the top, that's when the mental training begins.

Everyone handles stress differently.  When it comes to training, if I'm stressed, I tend to want to train alone. Others just force feed themselves their workouts in and effort to release some of the stress.  I say go for whatever works for you.

I see the lows of training as a necessary evil; forging through them helps you become more efficient navigating through tough and challenging times.  Eventually your lows just don't seem as low anymore, because you've learn to navigate through them faster.  Just like on race day, when things maybe aren't going your way, you become injured, you're not making your goals and you  just know that no matter what you do, and no matter how well you can turn it around, that you will still might not finish satisfied.

There are athletes with natural ability who have a good foundation, they train well, they never seem to have an "off" day, they get better and faster.  However, just because someone is an awesome athlete doesn't always mean they have the mental tenacity required to get through tough challenges on race day. Just maybe, because they don't have to manage as many lows in their training, they also don't have the learning experiences of pulling themselves up and out of whatever is going wrong. I've seen some really awesome athletes have less than stellar days when they couldn't get their head-game together because they've not been a position often enough where it was required.

Now, I may not be the fastest athlete out there, but I'm pretty darn tough in the head.  I know, seemingly ironic given what I've been going through the last several months; it sounds like one ginormous whine-fest.  When the odds are against me I know how to wade through and process what I need to. It sometimes not very pretty and can take time, but in the end I can say I've dealt with whatever it is and can move on.  Just the exercise of managing issues makes my mind stronger.

At Lonestar 70.3 I chased the cut-off the entire day.  I was in the last swim wave, I had to have a good bike to have plenty of time for my run, but not blow-up on bike!  I had to be so disciplined throughout that entire race, and it wasn't until I had 10K left that I felt like I could breathe.  Even then I was concerned about my focus.  That entire race was like having a gun to the back of my head for 6 hours. 

In spite of having to crawl out from under all these lows lately, I already feel just a little stronger.  I feel like if I didn't have all these sh*tty experiences, that maybe I wouldn't have the tenacity to make it through races like Lonestar or even worse, last year's Redman.

So "Here, here!" to coming up and out of sh*tty experiences!  :)

Which brings me to my point..

One of the blogs I follow is "LP (Dwarf) Triathlete"  he's a little person who absolutely loves triathlon. There's no doubting his passion and drive for the sport.  I've been following him for a while now and he's pretty inspiring (as you might imagine).  He has that mental tenacity, that doesn't allow him to quit, no matter what he's facing.  He recently did his first 70.3 (here's his race report) and it was a rough day for him, but he finished -- and he's living proof that mental strength is just as important as physical endurance.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Here's Your Sign: Your Favorite Race Signs

I want to be ready with some awesome signage for Redman.  I'm doing the Half, but I want to be ready to root for the half dozen who are doing the Full.  They're going to need it!

So what are some  of your most favorite race signs you've seen?  Here are some I've seen personally, and found on the internet: 

"You're living my dream!" IMTX 2011

"If you pass-out we'll DRAG you across the FINISH line"  Houston Marathon 2011

"Hello complete stranger!  I'm proud of you!"  Housotn Marathon 2011

"Do it for the tamales!"  IMFL 2010

"Your Feet Only Hurt because you're KICKING ASSphalt!"

"No time for tiring, only INSPIRING" Houston Marathon 2010

"Pain is temporary, but results on the Internet last forever!"

"Chuck Norris never ran a marathon"

"PR or ER"

"I didn't wake up early to watch you WALK!"

Mind Matters & Weekend Training

It goes without saying last week was a pretty emotional week and yeah, it impacted my training a little bit; short about 45 minutes total, so really not that bad. I got my surgery date for the end of July and I just can't believe the ups and downs I'm experiencing, grieving for something I don't even have; grieving for having my option taken away from me.  :(

My life is full though, and I'm completely blessed with my Daughter and Husband.  While having another child would be nice, it's not a necessity for our happiness.  Disappointing?  Sure, but we are still happy without another kiddo.  Cassie will be fine and will still thrive without a brother or sister.  She has cousins who adore her as if they were her siblings... heck, probably even better!  Knowing what we know now, we just have to make more of a concerted effort to foster those long distance relationships.  I think as they get older, that will happen a little easier.

So training.  I was registered to do the Swim for Sophia, but after my Friday breakdown, the last thing I wanted to do was a swim race with 200 other people.  My mind just wasn't there.  Frankly, my swim is coming along fine, so it's not like I had to do it. I've already swam the 70.3 distance and know I can do it.  I'm just trying to improve right now. Instead I went out for a run.  It was hot and humid, but I got it done.  Pace was about a minute off and in spite of drinking 30 oz. of water in the 90 minutes, I was still down 3 lbs. after the run.

On Sunday I had a 2:30 ride and again, I just rode alone.  Hubs and I wanted to try to ride together, so we actually tried to get a babysitter for Sunday morning, but no luck. Babysitters have too much fun on Saturday night. :)  Maybe another week we'll get lucky.

For my long ride I tried Hammer Nutrition Perpeteum for my nutrition on the bike.  I still have to do a longish brick with it, but I think I like it.  It has a really light flavor (I tried the Orange-Vanilla... it just has a faint "dreamsicle" taste that isn't overpowering.  I made a multi-hour bottle and used that and water for my ride.

My ride was good.  I pushed the pace in the crosswinds and horrible headwind I had on part of the way home.  I did have a nice tailwind for about 12 miles on the way home (where I was able to make up my time from my gas station stop).  I only rode by heart rate, I didn't even look at speed. I had left my Garmin running at my stop at the gas station, so my average would have been even better than the 16.7 mph I wound up with for my 41 mile ride.

Masters was fine this morning.  No drama and a good workout :)  Had some really great 50m sprints!

Favorite Oprah Quotes from her Finale

“You can help somebody. You can listen.  You can forgive. You can heal. You have the power to change somebody’s life.”

"Nobody but you is responsible for your life. You are responsible for your life. What is your life? What is all life? What is every flower, every rock, every tree? Energy. And you’re responsible for the energy you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others.”

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”

“Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to find it.”

“Start embracing the life that is calling you. Find your calling—know what sparks the light in you so you in your own way so that you can illuminate the world.”

“There’s a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of being happy. Your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough.”

Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

Try saying to your loved ones: “I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.”

“There’s always room to grow when you lead with the truth.”

"Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.”

"And you, whose names I will never know, have been the greatest love of my life."

I’ve talked to 30,000 people on this show and they all wanted validation. Everybody wants to know, ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything?

Each one of you has their own platform. Mine is a stage in a studio. Yours is wherever you are you can help somebody, you can forgive, you can listen, you can heal -- you have the power to change someone's life.

You are responsible for the energy you create for yourself, and the energy you bring to others. Don't wait for somebody else to save you, to complete you, to fix you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ups & Downs

Yesterday was a particularly tough day, for many reasons.  It started off bad, went to just barely okay, and by the end of it I was spent.

Masters started off great... I was pleased with my TT effort -- especially being able to note such a marked improvement over my 2011 time trial.  However at the end of the TT I got into a little scuffle with my lane mate and it's been bugging me entirely too much.  I'm not certain he was having the best of days.  He's a great runner and biker.  Swimming?  He's getting better, but suffice it to say that swimming is probably the only thing I can do better than him.

During our time trial I came up on him at around 800m in. I started ahead of him too, which means I was ready to completely lap him.  I tagged his feet with my right stroke, then with my left and backed off.  He hammered me, solidly planting kicks right in my face and then shot me a look.  It was abundantly clear he had no intention letting me by.

I was kinda stunned at his behavior.  "Did he really just do that?" This guy is competitive with his own level of athletes, but generally a good sport to all, so I thought, "Maybe I'm making this up?"

Fueled by his behavior I sprinted and tried to get around him again in the next length.  Even though it was clear I was overtaking him, he wouldn't give me any clearance to pass AND there was and another swimmer coming, making us 3 abreast the lane.  We got to the wall again and he stayed the same side to push off and I did the same, but this time I got past him.  It was entirely too much drama for 50m, and it sucked all the fun out of my morning.  I just hate pissing people off. 

So yesterday morning I sent him a message, "Hey, Did I piss you off?  I'm sorry I tagged your feet in swim this morning.  I was just trying to get past you."

I mean we were, after all, doing a time trial.

10:30 last night he replies, "Yes.  I will get over it."

I don't even know for sure what I did!

Was tagging his feet inappropriate?

Or is his ego just a little bruised?  I don't have the reputation for being a super-fast athlete, you know? 

So I replied again.  "I don't want to continue to piss you off, because then both of us will be miserable.  So, how do you suggest I handle this situation next time?" Passing him is bound to happen again at some point, just as I'll have days where he passes me... especially with those damn fins. :)

I just don't want there to be all this tension at Masters, because then I won't want to go. Ugh!

So that's, that. 

I rushed home from work, leaving later than I hoped, and headed out to brick to make up what I didn't do on Tuesday morning with usual my run/bike/run.  Although this time I did just a longer bike/run.  The bike was good.  It was 1 loop easy and 2 loops hard... repeated it and ended with 1 loop easy.  I felt good about my effort, though I kinda went outside of the Heart Rate MC planned.  It was so freakin' windy yesterday!  It was like riding the Lonestar course. I couldn't help it.

The run?  Not so good.  I could feel my calves tight on the bike and on the run I was just cramping.  Tried to tough it out for a mile out and just gave it up.  It was an ugly stretch of walk-stretch-run-walk.

This morning was a fartlek/spin/run.  I'm guessing I wasn't really recovered from yesterday.  the 1,000m TT, the brick and 6 hours of sleep, probably did me in.  I got out there this morning though and did it... ugly as it was.  My normally 18 minute run home from the Y took me nearly 22.. it was so freaking humid, even my legs were dripping sweat. 

Bad days are bound to happen and that's okay.  It does make you appreciate the good days even more.  I know part of it is my state-of-mind.  I hate that I upset someone I genuinely like and respect.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

1000m Time Trial

This morning at Masters we did 1000m time trial after about a substantial "warm-up".  LOL  Had a little scuffle with a lane-mate (not quite sure what his effin' problem is yet), but outside of that it was good.

In January 2010, I was swimming 1000m at 2:33/100m

Today?  I swam 1000m in 21:15 that's 2:07/100m 

Would love to get under 2:00/100m for this same time trial.  One day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CompuTrainer Fun: FTHR Testing

I've never had the chance to ride a CompuTrainer before and Hubs and I have been contemplating the purchase of one.  MC gave me the opportunity to do my FTHR test on his.  It's way cool, and if you're a data geek, it gives you plenty.  I have so many numbers and charts from my 90 minute test, it's a little overwhelming!  I have data for the right leg, left leg, spin scan, cadence, wattage, heart rate... there's a ton of it!  All if it helpful with improving cycling performance.

Your FTHR is the highest average sustainable heart rate you can produce on either a 40km time trial on the bike or a 10km run.  So, whatever your average HR for the 20 minute TT portion of the test, minus 5%, gives you a "functional threshold" for HR... an important number to know for training.

This is the test (source Hunter Allen & Andrew Coggan):

20 minute warm up riding at a moderate pace about 65% of your max HR
3 X 1min fast pedaling efforts at 100rpm with 1 min easy recovery between each
5 minutes @ 65% of max HR
5 minutes all out. Punch it and hold it!
10 minutes easy @ 65% of max HR
20 minute time trial on flat course.   Do not start out too fast!
15 minutes at 65% of max HR
15 minute cool down

So the goal is to produce the highest average watts for the 20 minutes.  You can't go out too hard and then blow-up, because then you can't calculate the data.  The directions say it's "better to start out in the first 2 minutes a little under what you believe to be your FTP, build up along the way, and then ride at your maximum level in the last 3 minutes."  The later is what I was focusing on; building and ensuring I was working at my maximum level in the last 3 minutes. 

Time-wise, I executed the test correctly. Coach says it's been surprising how many screw it up! But that was about the only positive.  LOL  He says, that if I did the test again today, it would come out better now that's I've done it once. It was surprising to me how the most subtle changes in stroke and balance can change the data. 

The 5 minute punch was good, but when I got the the 20 mins, I started in the same place as the 5 minute punch and when my legs started to burn after 5 minutes in, I was afraid I would blow up after 5 minutes and not be able to make the 20.  For about 2 minutes I slowed down only to realize I was then going too easy.  What I didn't think about is that little correction cost me 10% of my testing time!  Plus, every time you shift your position on the bike it's recorded and it costs you in power, so you have to get balanced and comfy on your saddle to begin with.

Keep in mind, I'm a maybe a step above a recreational rider.  I've never been fit for power on my bike and only know the most basic fundamentals about stroking on a bike.  We won't even get into what the charts shows about the weaknesses in my stroke!  I did walk away feeling like maybe I should sell my bike and give it all up, but naaah.  At least now I have a baseline.  I can't be any worse than I tested, ever again.  LOL

5 minute - punch and hold:
19.35265 Average Speed
177.5714 Average Watts
91.2449 Average Cadence
140 Average HR
161 Max HR

20 minute - TT
17.61005 Average Speed
146.9744 Average Watts
89.80513 Average Cadence
143 Average HR
157 Max HR

FTP Heart Rate = 149

Essentially I skewed my 20 minute time trial data by taking 2 minutes to figure out where I should have been.  MC says I'd be over 18 for average speed and over 150 for average watts.  He is certain, knowing what I know now, I would test better the second time. 

Also, my 65% of my max heart rate really doesn't feel like I'm doing anything... so on the "easy" parts I was riding at more like  80-85%

For now though, we're using 150 as my functional HR threshold on the bike, until I retake the the test.

And yeah... I'd really like a CompuTrainer.  :)

Race Report: FunFest Run by the Bay 10K

I don't generally plan to do running races, except for the half marathons and a turkey trot over the fall/winter months, but sometimes it's nice to run a supported race for a long run on Saturday morning.  I get to run with others, there's hydration on the course, and I generally run somewhere different.  It's nice way to break the monotony. :)

Friday night was a rough night though.  At around 1:30 am I woke up vomiting clear stuff.  Ugh... even to think about it still makes me want to gag.  It wasn't fun.  I was up until 3:30ish, then must have finally fallen back asleep.  I woke real tired and groggy.  Suffice it to say I did not have my race day BuZzZz going.  :(

Until the rough night, I was looking forward to this run because I had been making good progress and I wanted to see what I could pull off (even after a full week of 70.3 training).  I tried to remain positive, knowing I didn't feel quite as badly.  I knew I'd have to change my mindset and go for it.   I headed out and saw some tri club friends there and that made me forget about how cruddy I was feeling, so that's a plus!

I had never been to this location before, so I was looking forward to running someplace new.  The race started and ended in a park, but took you along Skyline Dr. out to the dike.  I thought it humorous that they billed this race as a "..scenic run through Bay Street Park and along the waters of the Gulf. Feel the cool gulf breeze..."  I'm here to tell you, there was nothing that resembled a breeze.  It was terribly hot and humid...  exactly how it's supposed to be on the Gulf Coast in June.  Ugh!

I had a cup of coffee, tried to eat something before I left, but really couldn't. I drank a 32 oz. bottle of water from the time I got up until the race start. I stupidly didn't bring my own water bottle (there were water stops darn near every mile though) but they started running out of water on the back half -- even before all the fast people hit the last aid station, I heard!

On the start I took off with everyone.  I got swept up in everyone's pace so I had a great first mile!  LOL  That always happens!! Miles 1 and 2 were great, with no walkbreaks... Mile 3 I took one quick one on a long uphill; so as to not to let my HR get away from me.

Then came Mile 4:  I was overcome with that feeling of nausea.  Gah!  I tried to keep going but I think I took at least a full a minute walk through an aid station.  By mile 5, I started to feel a little better, and mile 6 was only faster because there was long downhill and I could see the finish!  LOL

Mile 1  11:46
Mile 2 13:24
Mile 3 13:27
Mile 4 14:35
Mile 5 13:30
Mile 6 12:50

So, while I know I can do better, I'm pretty pleased. I couldn't control being sick, but I certainly did have control over my own hydration and should have brought a bottle with me.  My goal is to be able to run at a fast enough pace to make it from aid-station to aid-station for my next half marathon.  I only want to carry a small bottle of nutrition.  I hate the belt and I always find a way to ditch it!

But... even feeling sick and having issues at mile 4, I still PR'd my 10K time by 3 minutes with a 1:21

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hire a Triathlete, USAT

Blog Post: Hire a Triathlete | Community | USA Triathlon
by Rob Urbach / June 09, 2011

After I accepted the position of CEO at USA Triathlon in February, I attended a summit where I was introduced to a number of CEOs from different companies. One CEO in particular had been sought out for his position in a high-profile company because of his qualifications, one of which was that he’s a triathlete. As CEO of this particular company, which is a household name, his leadership qualities and endurance were traits necessary to perform his job duties well under pressure.

Think about triathletes you may know. They are determined, disciplined folks who manage their time well and are typically prepared to deal with stressful situations. Being a triathlete takes dedication and focus to keep going when you hit a wall in training or a race. Triathletes understand the importance of balance as they make time for training sessions between the time they want to spend with their families, friends and careers. Triathletes are familiar with commitments when they map out their training plans and race schedules year after year. Triathletes set goals and follow those goals through to the finish, to the best of their abilities.

The sport of triathlon requires attention to detail and triathletes need to work hard to make sure that all the pieces of their race-day puzzle – swim, bike, run, transitions, nutrition – fit together in order to cross the finish line strong.

Though this particular CEO was extremely qualified for his job because of his résumé, the fact that he was a triathlete gave him an added boost.

As I heard his story, it occurred to me that the unique qualifications it takes to participate in triathlon are also important for an employee who wishes to be successful in his or her job. Discipline, time management, commitment and dedication are all characteristics of an ideal employee.

What’s more, triathletes understand what it is like to be part of a community, surrounded by others who are working toward a common goal, even if it is an individual pursuit like triathlon. Triathletes are team players, and they are willing to step up and help a fellow race participant – a quality that is admirable in the corporate world when everyone needs to be on board.

The bottom line is this: Hire a triathlete. One of these strong, motivated athletes may be just what your company needs.

Sharing with fellow athletes: How do you think being a triathlete has helped other aspects of your life? Post your reply in the comments section below.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

More Small Victories!

Wow!  This morning was great for me, if I do say so myself.  I'm sort of waiting for the bottom to fall out of my "speed" bucket, because I had two more great runs this morning!

Run 1 was :40 fartlek run to the Y for spin class.  It was 5 minutes easy, 8x1 at 5K pace with 1 minute jogging between each minute, 5 minutes easy and then a mile straight out and easy the rest of the time.  My 5K pace was more like a sprint, because maintaining at 10 minute mile for me is not possible on 5k, and each of my minutes were all 10 min/mile paces.  Me?  10 min/mile pace? 

Don't laugh, you runners, but I did the 10 min/mile pace 8 times in a row! 

LOL  (I can laugh... you can't!). 

My average pace came to 12:45 for the 3.18 miles.  I'm thrilled with anything under 13!

Spin class was good, but my legs were spent from the fartlek.  I got on the spin bike and really had to get into a couple minutes before it felt better.  Eventually it did and I left it all on the bike by the time class was over.

After spin was :20 minute run home.  No goal for this run, and I didn't expect much either because spin was tough today.  Coach says I can kill it on the 2nd run, if I want, since it's such a short run.  Kat, my tri-club friend, is also the spin instructor at the Y and she decided to run with me the length of the parkway to get to my house.  I laughed to myself because she's just a chatty Kat and I'm dying trying to talk and run.  I always run alone... I never talk.  I can't believe how much harder that makes keeping control of your heart rate! 

In any case it was a good run, and my 1.6 miles home was a faster pace (of course the distance was shorter) than my first run... 12:44.  Okay, I know, only 1 second faster, but would have been even faster if I didn't have to stop/slow down for traffic!  So I made it home in 18 minutes -- that's 1.5 minutes off my best time so far. 

Kat was slackin' because she was running MY pace all the way out there, so of course she'd "feel great."  I told her she had to sprint back to the Y, and she said she'd text me.  She made it back there in 12 minutes!  One day I'll grow up and run like her... or anyone else faster than me. :)

Small victories. I have to remember these moments because when August comes and I'm having to slow down even more because of the heat, I can reflect back and feel some kind of success.

Masters Swim tomorrow.... 5:15, bright (or dark, really) and early!


On Tuesday I was supposed to see my OBGYN to get the reults of my Ultrasound and have a biopsy done.  I show up at the office, and they tell she had to do surgery that day and was not coming back to the office.  The attendant told me she tried calling me, but I had no messages.  This kind of ticked me off because no one called my cell or work number after I just filled out a dozen pages of contact info on my last visit there, updating everything... but that doesn't matter, really.

When she told me the doc was out, I couldn't control it, and busted into tears.  I felt like such a wuss.  She rescheduled my appointment for the end of June (so now I had to wait another 3 weeks for an answer) and I walked out... then the flood gates opened.  Another 3 weeks of not knowing what the heck is wrong with me?  Another 3 weeks of feeling like everything is on hold.  Ugh!

It's the unknown I can't stand.  I can't prepare for it.  I don't have the chance to be ready for whatever is being dished out.  It's completely out of this self-proclaimed control freak's control, and it's pretty much the worst way for me to feel in my world. 

But... the attendant called me yesterday morning.  She was so sweet.  She said, "I kept thinking about you last night and I felt so bad... I should have checked your information better."  "I know it's last minute, but can you come in for 11:15?"

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (my reply)  I was so relieved.

So I went and found out I have 2 little fibroids (only 2mm in size) that are causing all this stinkin' trouble!  Just 2 little buggers the size of a bad zit.  I mean really, look at a ruler... 2mm is freakin' small!  I just can't comprehend that something that size can mess me up this way!  It's both unbelievable and fascinating in a weird way.

The good news is I can be fixed.  It will require an ablation (Nova Sure), which will take care of the extreme blood loss, which will in turn take care of the Anemia! Hopefully no more IV Iron Infusions!  Basically the ablation burns the lining of the uterus away. I know, sounds rough.  Doc said she'd try to "zap" the fibroids if she can get to them, but they're near the Fundus and she might not be able to get to them.  She also said she'd "clean-up whatever else I find."  Which kind of tickled me because I immediately pictured her pulling a kitchen sink out of my uterus.  LOL 

The bad news is that means no more babies AND Hubs will be "snipped" too, so there's no chance of getting pregnant.  Getting pregnant after an ablation can result in serious complications.

Muy mal.  :(

I don't take the no more babies thing lightly either.  It's just that I've been processing the possibility for the last year, knowing it might come to this.  It's still disappointing to have the decision made FOR me; like someone too my choice away. I hurt for my Husband too, because I know as an only child, he really would have liked (as would I) to have had a sibling for Cassie.

It would  have been nice, but Cassie is healthy, beautiful, smart and thriving.  Really, we couldn't be blessed more than we are with her.  Some people don't ever get the chance to have their own, or parent any children at all.

Unfortunately, Cassie is at the age where kids ask all the time for brothers or sisters.  I just tell her, "Mommy is broken and my tummy can't carry a baby."  She accepts that answer for now.  Thankfully.  I'm sure the deeper questions are forthcoming.

So to end on a happy note...

The surgery is not long and it's supposedly just a 1 day recovery, which means everything is "go" for Redman 70.3.  Whew!!  Priorities, I know, right?  Even if it turns out I need more recovery time, Coach says we'll manage the schedule to accommodate whatever I need.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


My morning run/bike/run thing is working pretty good.  This morning I actually woke before my alarm, so maybe my body is adjusting to this early morning stuff.  I am on Week 3...  so almost 21 days.

I got up so early that I took advantage, and got my longer of the 2 runs done first.  Hubs had a meeting this morning and I figured if I got home earlier I could help with Cassie, if needed; both can be a little pokey in the morning. :)

I ran from home, through the 'hood and made it to Bauerschlag in 40:18 for 3.11 miles (12:57 pace). I saw the stats and hit STOP on the time. I took a slow jog the rest of the way to the Y and then I reset it when I started spin, so I guess I somehow wiped it out? Grrrr. I hate that because I like data!  Especially when I feel like I had a pretty good run -- although my heart rate got away from me at about 2.5 miles in and I took a super-quick :10 walk to pull it together.  Other than that, no walk breaks.

Later, my Daughter saw how ticked I was when I realized the data was gone and said, "Well Mommy, you have to do it again then."  Haha!

Spin was good.  I rode with lots of tension today to make the most of my run home.  It was 1.55 miles in 20 minutes for a 13:17 pace, and it was hard going at first, but it got better.  I kept my heart rate pretty steady and in control.  Only stopped for the traffic, and no other walk breaks.  The Run home was more controlled, and my HR was more flat, which is what I'm working towards right now on regular runs. 

Food today:

Breakfast (Usually takes me about 45 minutes to eat this)
4 hard-boiled egg whites
1/2 C. Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 C. Peaches (in 100% Juice, no sugar added)
1 T. Chia Seeds

4 oz. Skinless Chicken Breast
Romaine Lettuce
Cherry Tomatoes
1 slice 100% whole wheat bread

PM Snack
Fage Cherry Pomegranite 0% Yogurt

Not sure... probably something quick, Subway, since I have a late doctor appt.  

Today is the day I go back to the OBGYN for my ultrasound results and biopsy.  Ugh.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can still do Redman.  :)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Race Report: Tejas Triathlon (Relay)

I did a relay for Tejas Triathlon yesterday.  I did the swim.  It was a 600 yd open water swim in a man made lake in a subdivision.  My time was 13:24 (or 2:14/100 yds)  My goal should have been to maintain a 2:00-2:05 pace per 100 yards, but I thought the course was in meters so I had set my goal to do between 2:05-2:15 per 100m. Long story short, I met my goal in meters, which means I failed to reach my goal in yds.  That's the bad news.  The good news is, I'm now confident I can hit my goals for my next race's 300m pool swim... so long as I can be aggressive, pass people and not let people go ahead of me! 

Side note:  I took a look at some swim time and paces from previous years.  My
worst recorded pace was 3:17/100m in 2009 -- so I'm pretty darn happy being
able to note a marked improvement.  Where I couldn't break 2:00/per 100 yds
on intervals at the pool, I'm now doing 2:00/per 100m regularly, and had a
PR of 1:48/100m.  So as long as the swimming is paying off, I'm happy!!!

The race course was confusing to most everyone.  I heard in the years past, the swim was short, so to fix it, this year they added another buoy and another turn, which 99% of the field missed and kayakers really had no clue how to help the swimmers navigate.  On of my tri friends got skunked from 1st place in his age group because the 1st place guy cut the swim course.  I thought maybe I screwed up at first, but it turns out I was one of the few who did the whole course.  While that made me happy, I was kinda bummed when some people I expected to beat  had better swim times than me -- oh well.  I'm confident I did right. :)

I started out near the front of my wave (I'm getting braver).  I took off way too fast and by the time I was 400 in, I had to slow down a bit and take some active recovery.  After about a minute I pulled it together and finished pretty strong -- not as strong as I started, but stronger than I was for that couple minutes in the middle.  Everything just felt fatigued and burning... and there really wasn't any reason for it.

I came in and the chip exchange went smooth... we had just over a minute in transition time.  Nice!

I had another run on my schedule, so I went to pirate a loop of the run course.  The moment I started running though my calves were tight and cramped up.  I tried to run it out, stopping and stretching, but they weren't hearing it!  After a mile I called it quits and decided I'll live to run another day.

There were 12 mixed relays, which is kind of unusual.  There were a ton of HRTC members there racing.  I think it's awesome when a club has a boatload of folks racing; it looks sooooo good for the club.  Our team came in 4th of the 12.  Really, we couldn't be any happier because we all did our best.  Our biker averaged 21.5 and our runner (my Training Buddy) managed to hold a 7:50 pace for the 5K.  Our overall finish time was :57 minutes and a few seconds.  Not bad for a team of 40+ and 50+ age groupers.

I will probably choose to do this race solo in 2012.  It's a nice one.  Kudos to Out-loud productions.

Next up... FunFest Run by the Bay 10K and  then Y-Freedom triathlon (In memory of Elysha)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Signs of Progress and PR's

Well, it's going to be official tomorrow, my Husband is going to start training with my coaches as well.  3 triathletes in one household requires a lot of logistical planning.  Laundry might not get done timely, the grass might not be perfectly manicured, and the kiddo might be tired and crabby, but the PR's and firsts will abount from this family!  I see lots of fun this Summer. :)

So this morning called for an extra-early start because Hubs had decided to take the coaches up on their open invite "crazy brick."   They were doing a 6 mile loop over and back on the Fred Hartman Bridge, riding 2 hours, then running the bridge again.  The bridge doesn't look that steep in the picture, but trust me, it's pure insanity.  LOL

I did not have the brick on my schedule since I'm relaying Tejas Triathlon tomorrow.  I'm the swimmer on the team, but I have been directly to take a loop on the run course after my swim as well.  I don't get off that easy.  It's all good. 

Anyway, this morning's run was a good one.  Hubs had to leave by 5:15am, so I had to get my hour run in before!  3:50am I was up and out the door by 4:15.  I didn't eat or drink anything before I left.  Probbly not the smartest, but I've had some GI issues this week and didn't want to risk trouble.  In fact, I kept to loops close to home for that reason.  So, we're essentially starting over.  I've always ran with walk intervals, but the one thing I want to do for my next 70.3 is run without a fuel belt.  I just want to carry a water bottle... something small.  To do that, I have to get from aid station to aid station more efficiently and I can't sacrifice dehydration.  In the two 70.3 events I've done, I've ditched my fuel belt off at the 10k mark in the half marathon; by that point I'm just done with it.  It's uncomfortable and I hate wearing it.  So that's my goal -- run the half without a fuel belt AND improve my time. :)

So hit the road this morning for a 4.3 mile run.  I walked for about 10 seconds at about 2.5 miles in just to make a hairpin turn and adjust my shorts.  After than, my coach was driving down the road and he stopped me to chat.. probably less than a minute.  In any case, outside of that I ran the entire time.  My overall pace was 13:04, with two of the miles sub 13!  That's a PR for me, for 4 miles.  It leaves me feeling hopeful that even with the heat I might still be able to improve.  :)

Don't get me wrong, I think scheduled walk breaks are important on long-distance runs and I believe in them wholly.  Now if I was only doing Sprints or trying to place in every race I was doing, I might feel differently, but I'm not.  I just want to improve upon my last performance.  And really, starting to run at 40+ years old, dishes out a beating to my body.  Those little walk breaks help my body from the constant pounding and stretch out my ability to run longer before I am overome with fatigue.  It works for me.  Everyone is different.

I love small victories.  :)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Let's Try This Again for 2012

So maybe 2012 will be a lucky year for me and I'll get selected? I really abhor this lottery system, but I know if I'm on the sidelines just cheering, I'll be even more bummed (like in 2011!).  So I'm in.  I registered this morning.

I've already registered for the Texas Marathon which is on New Year's Day.  I actually signed up for the full, but with the intention of switching to the half if I got in to Houston.  The thought of doing a full crosses my mind... but then I think, why?  I just need to stay focused and work on my running.  I don't want my first full to be a more miserable experience than it needs to be.

Anyway, if I get selected I'll be doing the Texas Half Marathon on New Year's day and then the Aramco Half on January 15th.

If I don't get selected for 2012, there is a rule in place that ensures I will get to participate the 3rd time I enter the lottery.  So I will definitely have an entry for 2013, if I don't make 2012.

Maybe that's when I should go for my full?  Hmmmm. :)