Sunday, May 31, 2009

Let the good times roll

Today was my 2nd bike outside, and my first out on the roads again.

I was nervous.

I didn't want to go. What if it's windy? What if there's alot of traffic? What if I get a flat and I don't have any spare tubes? What if I can't make it up the hills? What if I'm slower than last year? What if my butt hurts? What if I get tired?

Are you going to complain all day? Or are you going to get out there and ride?

I really don't want to go.

I kinda picked up on that. You don't have a choice.

But what if I have problems?

Lemme axe you somethin''re planning on doing Harvest Moon, correct?

Yes, but....

But nothing, you have THREE months to prepare for that bike route. THE bike route that kicked your butt more than ANY other race has done. If you don't get on that bike today, you might as well kiss your chance of a PR away.

ok, fine. But I'm not going to enjoy it if I feel pressured into doing this.

What pressure? You registered for this. You knew what it would take. Y'know what? You are just being LAZY.

That's not necessarily a fair statement, and I knew it. But I had no justification for why I didn't want to go except that it was "the unknown". First real ride of the season. I was nervous. After spending months on the trainer riding flats, I didn't know if I could climb.

And....climbing hurts. It's hard. It's tiring. The last real climbing I did was during Coeur D'Alene. So, my last experience on the bike....well, we can't really say it was a positive experience.

Still, Elephant Rock wasn't going to change dates just because I wasn't feeling prepared. I had to know what I'm going to be in for, next Sunday when I head out for 62 miles.

I grabbed two bottles, a bar, and I left. I was going to go for 2:00.

I'm a wimp when it comes to riding. The weather, while may be perfect for everyone else, is always "too cold" or "too windy" or "too hot", for me.

I couldn't use that excuse today. The sun was blocked by clouds. The temperature was perfect. There wasn't a wind to be felt, not even a breeze. I could honestly say it was perfect.

As I was riding, I thought about alot of things. I kept the pace easy, and I enjoyed the ride.

Eventually, another triathlete pulled up along side me. We chatted for a minute. I don't know why I did it, but I asked, "You don't happen to be training for Coeur D'Alene, do you?"

He had this look of complete shock and said, "Yea, I am." We shared stories for a few minutes. Then, he went on ahead.

I remembered this time, last year, a couple of weekends to "peak". That time, for me, was a weird time. It's a time of complete selfishness. It's a time that training literally became a part time job. It was a time where I could no longer think or see straight.

It was the only time in my life of racing where I never even doubted my ability to finish.

I started wondering why this is. Why I tend to doubt myself so often, when I have proved over and over that I can accomplish just about anything. We all have times when we'll miss a pr. But the track record shows that more often than not, I'll hit my goals. When I am consistent, realistic, and balanced, I will succeed more often than not.

And my success is determined by more than my finishing time.

Next week, I have Elephant Rock. This is a fun, low key, bike tour. I get to ride through Black Forest, the Palmer Divide, farmlands, down and around Colorado Springs, and up and down through the foothills. I get to eat peanut butter bagels, meet some great people along the way, and take pictures of some of the most beautiful areas in Colorado, which I will be sure to post.

Someone asked me how long it will take me. Why is it always about times? Why do people always want to know how fast I am? To me, it really doesn't matter. I remember last year when a peloton passed me like I was standing still. I remember yo-yo'ing with an older couple for 20 or 30 miles, and I remember focusing on the women in front of me using them as some kind of force to help me get to the next rest stop.

And it was one of the best days of the year.

I don't remember how long it took me to finish the century last year, but I remember the people, the party, the feeling of thinking "I DID IT!"

That's enough success for me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Decision undone

In two weeks, I have a bike tour.
Here are the facts:
1.) I have been riding three times per week.
2.) The riding has been on my trainer.
Here are my concerns:
1.) My a$$ might not be ready for a longer ride.
2.) My legs might not be ready for any hills.
Here are some other things to think about:
1.) Do I really want to go on a 62 mile ride without really being prepared?
2.) Am I being too hard myself? Could I pull off the 62 without any outside riding? I also don't want to overstate my abilities. I'm not a very good cyclist. Although I've gotten better over the years, some the of the hills on this tour are really hard on me. There are a couple of very steep short climbs that are very tough.
3.) Look at the profiles, after 30 miles, the 62 mile ride becomes a (mostly) downhill.
4.) The difference in climbing is 1200ft. Is that that enough for me to say "Don't do it".
5.) The century and the 62 mile ride start out on the same route. I did the century last year and know the first half of the route. The 32 miler starts out a different direction, so it's a decision that I have to make prior to starting.
6.) The following weekend, I have a half marathon. Again, this one will not be for a PR. However, I will treat it more race-like in the sense that I am going to correct mistakes that I made in last week's race. Does this change my decision for the bike tour?
The decision:
I'm changing my previous decision of dropping down to the 34 miler. Instead, this week I'm going to get outside and ride some hills to see how I feel. If I do a shorter but still hilly ride and feel pretty good, I might try the longer ride.
If I ride outside and start cussing at the first larger hill, then I'll stick with the 34 miler.
If you have any opinions, either way, please let me know.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Feeling like a "regular" person

I made a resolution last year.

After the crazy number of hours that I spent training last year, I wanted to feel like a "regular person".

I wanted to wear clothes that are not made of dri-fit, water resistance, or worry if the material would cause any chafing. I wanted to wear shoes that were not retired running shoes and ride a bike that didn't even have clips.

I wanted to wash and dry and style my hair, not pull it up into a wet ponytail.

I wanted to wear a hat, not a visor not a cap.

I wanted to wear big FAT J-LO sunglasses, not Optic Nerve.

I wanted to meet people who have no interest in "training" for anything and have never heard of GU or knew what an M-dot was.

Over the past few months, I have met the most amazing people at my gym. A couple of them have been tri-athletes, but the ones who have become my friends are not. At first, I was "the woman who swims". Then one day they saw me putting on running shoes and asked, "Are you going to try to run?"

I've found it so much more fun to listen to their stories and to ask questions about their workouts than to talk about pace, mileage, or recent races.

As much fun as it was talking about my sport a few years ago, lately, I don't want to talk about it so much. I want to be a "regular" person. I want people to know that I have interests outside of triathlon. I want to spend my weekends doing things other than competing and training like crazy.

Today, I woke up before everyone, not because I set the alarm but just because I always seem to get up with the sun. I got my 2 hour ride in. As everyone else was waking up, I was putting my bike away. I showered and put on shorts, a regular shirt, my "walkabout" hat, J-LO sunglasses, and comfortable walking shoes.

Then, we all head down to a small pub in Denver for lunch. While we watched the rain pour down, we laughed and had a great time and great food. Afterwards, we head over to the Arts Festival where we walked around for 2 hours in the pouring rain, all the while joking around, examining the most amazing lifesize sculptures, and staring at amazement at what some people are capable of creating.

When it was all said and done, we went home and Mike made the best GI-NORMOUS plates of nachos, and we all sat down to watch a movie rental.

I can honestly say today was better than the best day of training.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


The crazy-not-my-fault-decision-that-had-to-be-made.....

On June-something (1st weekend of june), I have my first bike race of the season.


Every year, I do this race. Every year, I love it. Last year, I did the century. I paid for it out my butt. Literally. With tons o'climbing, I'm pretty sure THIS race made me prepared for Coeur D' ok, BAD example.

This year, I haven't been able to ride outside. Every weekend has been rainy or snowy or in some cases, dangerously windy. Yea, I'll run in anything. But riding in bad conditions? Well, that's just plain stupid.

And at best, I'm a weak to moderately-weak cyclist.

And I've had enough stupid in my life.

After giving it some thought, I'm not in good enough shape to do the 65 mile ride. Not with the climbing. If it were flat, hell, I'd say go for it. But being miserable and 30 some odd miles from a finish, and knowing that it would take me hours to me a wimp....but it just doesn't sound appealing.

Of course, I have time to think about it, to change my mind again, to back out, wimp out, and then whine about, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to back down to the shorter race of 35miles.

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Next up, what I've been doing this week....



had some ice cream last night

Each year is different, but I have noticed a trend in my training. (To think, it only took me 25 or so me a quick learner). Once I hit 14-16 weeks of solid training, I like to take some time off.

This week it was 3 full days.

It was so nice. Three complete days of rest, then I did a 30 min easy run today. I was thinking of swimming also when I thought "what's the rush?" do it tomorrow. So, that's what I'm doing.

My ow swim access opened.

The temp is 51 degrees.

Good thing I opted to keep the winter fat.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Results: Mixed Bag

I'm not really sure where to begin with this "race report". I guess I'll do the Good, Bad, and Ugly.

For those of you who are freaky blogger lurkers, you already know this. I invite you to skip ahead to the good stuff.

This race was not going to be a "race". I wanted to test nutrition and pacing (without a HRM). I fully intended on "Going out Easy and Maintaining". I started a different type of carbo loading about 3 days ago. I didn't have a goal time in mind, but I wanted to see if I could accurately judge my RPE (rate of perceived exertion). I wanted to try my hand and running this as a negative split. I have 2 PR attempts later this year: a half iron and a half marathon.

The Good:
I felt great starting yesterday. Eventhough I had to get up at 3am in order to drive to this race, I felt great this morning. I had my normal race breakfast.

At the race, I was cold. I usually have tea in the morning, but I left my cup at home. One of the expo vendors was a coffee I or don't I?

Well, being as chilly as I was, I opted to have the coffee. (See The Bad).

At race start, I started to notice that my stomach was cramping up. It wasn't too bad, so I decided to stick with my plan. (See The Bad). I did go out a little faster than I wanted to. I thought that an easy pace would be about 10:20. I was currently running at a 9:40. The 9:40 felt comfortable, but I slowed down to a 10:05 pace.

I maintained the 10:05 pace through 6 miles.

The Bad

Right at the start, I knew the race was going to be a challenge. My legs felt great. I felt great. But, my stomach was starting to cramp up.

I was hoping that it would "stay high up" if you know what I mean. I knew that if it was just stomach cramps, I could run through it.

Before too long, I was.....started to taste the coffee again.

A short time later, Ineeded an outhouse......NOW. I had passed one at miles 2 and 4, but now I was hoping that I would make it to mile 6.

I made it to mile 6.

The outhouse line was 15 people deep, but I really didn't have a choice. There wasn't an option for going behind the trees.

After doing my bidness, I grabbed some water and started running again. I'd lost alot of time at the outhouse, but it didn't matter. I had bigger issues at hand now.

I picked up my pace where I left off, but I realized pretty quickly that I wasn't going to be able to maintain my pace and my clenching at the same time. One was going to have to go.

I slowed down.....I slowed down almost a minute a mile. (I don't have my garmin here).

When I got to mile 10, I wasn't sure I could take another 5k of this, but I decided to grin and bear it. Just get it over with.

I thought my final time would come in around 2:15-2:20, and the first half was on pace to come in around 2:10. I felt good. I wasn't fatiguing. Had the situation been different, I'm pretty sure that I would have finished right on target. As it was, I finished much slower at 2:28.

Lesson Learned: The pacing worked, and I learned that I probably want to avoid coffee pre-race. I used to drink it, but I've all but given it up over the past year. The carbo-loading plan went well. I felt energized and physically great this morning.

In roughly a month, I have another half marathon. I'll stick with the plan the next time around. No negative split today, but those things are going to happen.

After that, no more running races until my half PR attempt in Oct.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2 Days and counting

There ya go.
That's my race map.

We went down to the expo today to pick up race packets. Then, we drove the course. That's where things get a little funky.

The course is a disaster.

It's a straightaway (as you can see), no real hills at all.

But the first half of the race is completely under construction. I'm not sure how much "fixin" they can do through tomorrow night.

That's good and bad. It's good because now I won't even be thinking of getting caught up in the moment and running fast.

It's bad's a DISASTER....the road is torn up in places. It's uneven. It really is a mess.

I told Mike that I probably won't be running this race ever again.

The one positive that I can find is: Getting to the halfway point. From start to mile 7 is a climb of 205ft, a very slight one, but still a climb. That means the return, which is on a different road, is a slight downhill (205 ft) the entire way.

A slight downhill on a road that is not under construction.

That's a positive, right?

Still part of me finds this very frustrating. The RD is trying very hard to build this up into a big race; yet, the cities can't get their act together and make sure the course is safe for runners?

Who knows? Maybe they'll pull off a miracle and have the entire stretch re-paved by 5am Sunday.

In the meantime, I'm glad this isn't a PR attempt for me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

rusharusharusharusha....and I don't mean Russia

"For fast-acting relief, try slowing down." ---Lily Tomlin

Is it just me or are people in more of a hurry now than ever before?

Here are few examples of things that happened just today:

I was cut off in traffic by a car cutting in and out trying to get someplace very important, very quickly, and ended up being behind me at the stop light.

A woman nearly knocked me over trying to get to the checkout lane.

At the gym, I could hear someone behind me huffing and puffing to pass me because I was moving too slowly getting to the locker room.

I was in the car with someone who was cussing about traffic being so bad. We didn't have an appointment anywhere. We were simply spending the afternoon together. I guess she was in a hurry to have fun, so she could get back to ????

Wasn't there a quote...something about stopping to smell the roses?

I know none of this is new.

Yesterday a man was in front of me at the store, he was fumbling around, dropping his wallet, having a hard time. He looked back at me and apologized profusely. I told him, "No worries. I'm not in a hurry." At which, he gave me this suspicious smile.

Not in a hurry?

Those people are missing out on the adventure just to get to the finish line faster. Then what? So you finish without being a better person for the trip? The satisfaction of knowing you got the job done only to go onto the next one?

Perhaps I'm just getting old.

Friday, May 8, 2009

How it all began

This is the story of how I started running.

Most of you know that it all started in high school.

I've never told anyone this story before. It explains alot though.

It's true that I started running in high school when I joined the track team. I was slow. I didn't know anything about running. I didn't know where to begin in the weight room. Everyone seemed to know everyone. I tried to watch others out of the corner of my eye so I could copy their actions.

During meets, I'd watch the other runners seem to float around the track. My running was more hobbling than sprinting. Crossing the finish line was more of an embarrasment than an accomplishment.

But I loved running.

On weekends, I would go. I would run off the beaten path where no one could see me. For the sheer joy of being alone and running.

During the week, it was time for practices. I knew I was getting better. I knew I'd never be even one of the top 20 runners, but I was getting better.

One day during practice, coach came over to me. He told me that I was too big to be a runner and that I should consider doing something like shotput or discs.

That night I went home and I cried.

The next morning, I went on a diet.

And I quit track.

I was too big to be a runner.

At over 5'8" and still growing, I dwarfed the other girls on the team.

For some reason, I kept running.

Then, I went to college. I found a new joy in running really far. I would go out for hours...before the invention of the jogbra; before garmins and gu's, before carrying water, before women's running shoes, I would run.

And I still knew that I was too big to run. I started swimming. I went to the weight room. But, I still didn't know what to do in there.

Then, one day I went while the football team was there. I became friends with many of the guys who began showing me different workouts.

One day, I went into the weight room and there was another woman in there. She came over to me and said, "You're that runner I see running everywhere."

I said, "Well, I'm not really a runner. I'm a jogger. I'm not really very good. I'm not really a runner."

She asked, "How far do you go?"

I said, "Well, I know I've gone 10 miles, but I don't really know."

She said, "I'm the cross country coach, and we don't have anyone on the team that can compete at the 10 mile race. Would you want to come in and talk to the other coaches. We even have scholarship money available."

I'm too big to be a runner.

"Well, I don't know. I'm not really a runner."

After college, I started working and found myself in a group of people who really enjoyed doing bike tours.

Eventhough I was too big, I was still running.

I was still swimming.

I was still hitting the gym.

And, I signed up for my first bike tour.

150 miles.

And I didn't even own a bike.

I went out and bought the first bike I found.

It was a huffy mountain bike, and it had to weigh 50lbs.

The day of the tour, and I didn't even own cycling shorts. With a couple of days training under my belt, one water bottle, and a pair of jogging shorts, no clips just a pair of running shoes, and I was ready for my 150 miles.

It's hard to believe, but I finished.

I couldn't walk for a week, but I finished the entire distance. Climbing mountains, being baked in the heat, and I finished.

I was running, but I was too big to be a runner.

I was swimming laps, but I was too big to be a swimmer.

I was riding, but I was too big to be a cyclist.


Then, along came two babies in two years.

One in '94 and one in '95. As soon as I was allowed, I started pulling them in the baby carriage on my bike. I started running with them in the baby jogger.

One day, I was in the pool. And a woman asked me how I could swim so far.

Before I could stop the words, I replied,"I'm training for a triathlon."

That sounded great. Except that, it wasn't true.

I didn't know the first thing about "doing" a triathlon. I wasn't even a runner! I had graduated from the Huffy to a Diamond Back, and I had done a few bike races, but I still wasn't a cyclist.

Yea, I could swim 60 laps, but everyone can do that! I wasn't a swimmer.


For years, I kept that stigma of being "too big" in the back of my mind. Whenever I thought I couldn't do something it was because I was "too big".

I'm pretty sure that's what fueled me to become an endurance athlete (in the begining). I wanted to prove that jerk of a coach wrong. How could someone say something like that to a 16 year old girl?

I kept pushing beyond my own limits. I ran further and further. I rode further and further. I swam further and further.

First, I became a marathoner. Then, I became a cyclist. Then, I became a swimmer.

Then, I became a triathlete.

Although I don't harbor any ill will toward my high school coach, I have also chosen that experience to help me push beyond what I think I'm capable of. It's why I believe in others so much. It's why I don't believe people when they say "I can't do that because....."

We all have experiences and people in our lives that have hurt us in some way. We have to either learn to live with it....


just live.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's up to me

Oh wow.
Where do I begin?

This week, I am adding in Muscular Endurance swims. My swim today consisted of a lot of t-pace work. (Pace per 100m).

A lot of t-pace. Did I already say that?

Last week, I had a time trial and got my new t-pace. The first round 6 x 100 is at t-pace. The second set of 6 x 100 is at t-pace minus 2 secs. The third set is 6 x 100 at t-pace minus 3 seconds.

Inbetween the sets is 125m of basically drill work, which acts as a nice breather.

I have avoided pace work until this time. But I know that I have to do it if I want that Half Iron Pr. And, I want that PR….badly. My experiences with pace work, in the past, were not good. I would push too hard and be unable to complete the workout or I’d just become frustrated for whatever the reason.

The night before I was picking out my routine, and I noticed a little asterik next to the ME swim workout: Only do this workout when completely rested.

Oh great. Just great.

I’m going to do this workout. I’m not going to collapse. I’m going to hit my paces. I’m going to do it.

For my first 100, I felt like I was gliding. I was pushing it. My effort level felt like….it felt like my t-pace. That made me a little concerned given that I have 17 more of these to do. If This is feeling like an hard effort, maybe I wasn’t rested? At the end of my first 100, I was 20 seconds faster than my t-pace. 20 seconds. That’s insane.

It’s also too fast. It was the fastest that I have EVER gone in training. I just tested last week! How is this possible?

I knew I had to slowdown. The rest of the intervals went really well. I hit my times. Some intervals were a little bit faster than where I was supposed to be, but since it didn’t cause me to slow down later, I think my test last week must have had problems. Maybe I miscounted? Maybe I noted the times incorrectly?

At only one point in the entire workout did I start to lose focus. That was on interval #5 (early on, even). I regained it quickly by saying to myself, “You push until you hit that wall. You will give it everything you have.”

Instead of giving up, I got stronger. It felt really good.

Later in the day, I had a 3 mile easy run. It was a little bit windy but at 75 degrees, who really cares? It was incredibly sunny. For the entire run, I was thinking about my swim and how proud of myself I am.

No one can ever say that training for a half iron or ironman race is easy. Ironman training (for me) was challenging in managing time and doing the distances required, especially during peak weeks. It was so time consuming. My weekends were completely taken by training for a long long time.

But the workouts weren’t as physically demanding as those for the half iron. The half-iron, where I’m trying to push through “pacing” and handle a higher level of discomfort for a longer period of time….this is a huge challenge for me.

I’m making progress. Doing 18 intervals at t-pace and faster was as good as or even better than getting my PR 2 weeks ago. No one was there cheering me on. No one even knew what happened. It was just me and the pool. I tried to tell Mike, but I couldn’t convey how I felt and what I accomplished. He’ll get to see it on race day.

No one is doing these workouts for me. I have my plan. It’s no longer intimidating to me. It’s up to me to push myself. It’s up to me to find that deep motivation, when I’m tired, and my muscles are burning, it’s up to me to not just survive but to push myself to go beyond my comfort zones.

Hopefully, all that work will become a PR on September 12th.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I wrote this great post while I was swimming today. Now that I'm sitting in front of the computer, it's gone. Here are the remnants:

I am now 9 weeks into my 27 week half iron training plan. In week 1 of specific prep 3. What that means is that this week, my workouts have this...what should I call it? Instensity from hell? Annoyingly difficult challenges? Unable to breath-aspect? Call it what you want.

Last week, I did my time trials. As expected, I was faster in all three sports.

As I was celebrating my newly found speed, I failed to think of the consequences it will have on my training.


Take for example, my swim today. It was something like:

warm up: 300 swim/6X75 (R/L/Build)/200swim

Workout: 4 x250 (150 build/50 fast/50 easy)

then another 300 of r/l

Oh, and if my back isn't SCREECHING in PAIN then throw in:
6X125 (75 build/25 fast/25 easy)

Cooldown, and you've got 3100ish of burning muscle.

Of course, I realize the paradox here. How can muscles burn in the nice cool water?

Well, just shuddup. They do.

Needless to say, this whole getting faster thing isn't everything it's cracked up to be.

Strength training: Yea, you guessed it. That's changed too. I think that's one of the reasons that my swim was so tough. I was tired from yesterday's reps.

On Wednesdays, I now add in Plyo's....oh PUHLEEZE! STOP THE INSANITY.

I haven't done it yet. Since it's a recovery day, I think I might just do a walk/run again. I've been doing Tuesday's workouts as walk 1-2 min/run 5 minutes for several months now. It seems to be working really well.

tune in tomorrow when I get to experience the SHEER FUN of running 10x400's at my new pace!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Banana Split Breakfast

For those of you who emailed me about the Banana Split:

1 Banana
1/3 cup of fresh strawberries
1/3 cup of fresh pineapple
1/4 cup of Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla Yogurt
1 tsp sugar free chocolate syrup
1 tblsp granola cereal

The whole thing is roughly 200 calories depending on the amount of fruit you include. Sometimes, I load up with blueberries and blackberries too.

I also make a KILLER orange smoothie that I alternate with the banana split:
1 container of Yoplait light orange dream yogurt
1/2 c skim milk
2 tblsp light orange juice
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1/2 c of either frozen peaches or frozen mangos. (I prefer peaches).

Blend it all together....mmmmmm, mmmmmm, good. This is also about 200 calories.

Picture Perfect Weekend

The weekend was quite the weekend.

Saturday, I logged the very satisfying 5 mile pace run (6.25 miles total), 10 mile bike (5 mile time trial with a 30 second time improvement), and an easy :45 late night form swim.

I felt very good going to bed last night, feeling that I really accomplished more than I would have thought back at the beginning of the year. I went to bed tired but feeling good.

When I woke up on Sunday, I put my feet on the floor. That’s when I started to feel the previous day’s activities. My, my, my, and I have an 11 mile run today.

I admit it. I was nervous. Another new pace—and a long run—to boot, overcast, rain all night….the day wasn’t living up to my standards for the “perfect long run day”.

Perfect or not, I’m not running on the treadmill.

That’s when I heard it….birds singing. Birds singing can only mean one thing: The rain has stopped.

I had my breakfast sandwhich and banana split breakfast. (My breakfast of choice before races). I waited roughly an hour, and I was ready to go.

Because of my increasing love/hate relationship with my garmin, I tucked it into my pocket so I couldn’t see my pace. I could only hear to beep for each mile. I had a one minute range for my pacing. I told Mike to expect at the slower end and even that would be pushing it. (I’m running 11, but the route is 12.5. Mike was planning on meeting me at the 11 marker, so we could walk home together).

I told him, “Expect a call at 2:00. I’ll probably be calling you to tell you that I’m running WAY behind schedule.”

Mike gave me the customary grunt that really means, “Whatever. You always say that then end up running faster than expected.”

Well, HE didn’t know how I felt today.

I started running. It took me about 2 miles to warm up. The air was chilly. The sky overcast, and the wind coming off the water really didn’t agree my clothing choice. I tend to dress as I want the weather to be, instead of what it actually is.

I felt as though I was running through mud. My legs were tired. I considered looking at my garmin.

At the halfway mark, I decided to look at it. I was right in the middle of my range and running :30 per mile faster than I was expecting to run.

“Of course, the garmin must be wrong.”

I kept running.

At roughly ten miles and 1:50 into my run, I called Mike.

“Um, you’re not going to believe this, but uh I’m running :30 faster per mile than expected. So, I’m going to be at the meet up point earlier.”

He just laughed at me.

The last mile of my run is uphill….the entire mile. Starting my run, I always hold back on the downhill. Going home, it’s simply a matter of reaching the top.

Regardless of how slow that last mile was, the rest of my pacing was perfect.

My new nutrtion strategy would have been perfect, given conditions, except that I miscalculated how far the water fill up was and ran from 6-10 miles without water—which meant taking GU dry. Today, that wasn’t an issue because it was so cool. But it’s looking more and more like the day of the race will be incredibly warm—verging on hot.


In the meantime, I can’t help but wonder what this “C” race will hold for me. It’s a new race for me. The course can only be easier than where I normally run.

Maybe even running easy could turn into a PR. I normally don’t feel this confident two weeks before a race, but I can’t help but wonder….

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Trust your body

I recently had a pr. The next day, I wondered how my new time would change my times in the McMillan Calculator.

When I plugged in the numbers, and my new paces spit out at me, my first reaction was “That’s fast. I can’t do that.”

Immediately, I found myself making excuses about whether or not I’d be able to hit that time for the half marathon. It was the back and forth battle: “Well, it is 6 months away” or “holding that pace for 5 miles is one thing but a half marathon, that’s gonna hurt.”

This morning, I had a 5 mile pace run. Of course, I told myself “Just do the pace from the race last week. Don’t worry about the McMillan pace. Afterall you have 11 miles tomorrow.”

When I stepped out the door, I stopped analyzing and I just ran. No thoughts. I decided to let my body take over. It knew my goal. It knew how fast it could run.

The morning was cold and misty, and I ran. I wasn’t going to check my garmin. I was going to run my pace run. At 1 mile, I checked it. I was right on pace.

“That’s because you’re running downhill” I responded, “I’m sure to slow down.”

When I started the first difficult hill, I flew up the hill almost effortlessly.

If it were up to me, I would have stopped running to figure out how that just happened. But my legs just kept running.

“That was the easy hill. Wait until you get to the next one.”

At the next hill, I climbed (again) like I had wings on my back.

At the third hill and the steepest and longest, I said, “I’m going to hold this pace as long as I can. I’m not going to slowdown.”

The third hill is a mile long, and I did slow down. :20 seconds for that mile.

When I finished, my average pace was off by exactly the :20 seconds that I lost going up the hill.

But that’s ok because what a confidence builder.

As I walked the last .5 miles home, I thought about the run. Mentally I doubted myself. As soon as I let that go and just do what I do, everything fell into place. I didn’t collapse from exhaustion. I wasn’t sick from running hard. My body wasn’t cramping up. In fact at the end, I did a walk/run with Mike for another 1.27 miles…..clearly, the run didn’t kill me.

It was just scary at first.

I had to get used to the idea of “being fast”.

Welcome to my “new” normal.

Friday, May 1, 2009

That dream I'm dreaming

I am making the commitment to myself to blog more often. Whether it’s electronic or handwritten, journaling my training experiences has always been a very valuable tool to me. Logging miles is important. But it’s more important to understand what it took to do those miles. Some are good; some are bad, but all are steps toward my goals.

As some of you know, this is the year of Me. I have dedicated the last 5 months to working on the mental aspects of my training. I am so happy with the results. Like the physical training, mental training is an ongoing process that will change over time as I continue improving.

The second goal that I have is setting realistic aggressive goals. Y’see, I’ve always had this level of pain that I was afraid to reach for. Sure, I was getting faster. I’ve had PR’s, but it was…..I.was.settling for less.

I wasn’t reaching my potential.

Then, the choice was….what races? What distances do I shoot for? Where do I want the biggest impact?

My choices: Greenland 50k? Ironman? Marathon? Half?

Rather than go for distance, I thought that speed at the mid-distance races would be perfect.

I chose to pour my energy into the Half iron and half marathon distances.

With my sights set on Ironman and the Greenland 50k for 2010, speed work at the half iron and half marathon was a slam dunk.

Now that the goals were set, I had to come up with a race schedule.

My PR races are in Sept 2009 (half iron) and Oct 2009 (Half marathon). I am closing in on the ever coveted sub-6 for the half iron. For the half marathon, well….let’s just see how the half iron goes.

In just over two weeks, I will be running my first half marathon of the year. This is a “C” race in which I will be running for nutrition testing only. Time is not a concern as I’ve changed my nutrition strategy.
Another “C” race, a 65 mile bike race. This race is a “C” because with the winter we’ve had, I’ve not been able to get out on the road and climb hills. I’ve done 100% of my training on the flat trainer. It will give me a good gauge for Sept’s half iron, though.

Half marathon: “C”---completely for the sheer fun of running Half marathon. This race falls the weekend after my bike race.

A local club added (for the 1st time ever) open water ironman distance swims at my res. I’ll be mixing the ironman swims with the shorter Dip n Dash races. The Dip n Dashes are 1500m swims + 5k run. These are low key but will be done as speed workouts.

PR at the half iron

PR at the Half marathon

In addition to all this cool stuff, I have a master’s swim team that meets a few days a week. I’ll be joining them this summer. I’m still strength training 2 days per week. I spent 5 weeks in the AA stage (low weight, high reps) followed by 5 weeks building Maximal strength. Next week, I start the power endurance phase.

For this upcoming weekend, I have a 5 mile pace run on Saturday, a 11 mile long run Sunday, and a bike time trial (5 miles).

I guess that’s it.

Thanks for reading!