Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/8-12/14 - Diving Back In

Oh hey look, a normal-style post around here!

I've taken some time off. We know that. I'm taking more time off this week (stupid getting sick). But last week, I actually kind of got back into the swing of things.

I ran, I lifted ... I got back on the bike for the first time in like six weeks.

On Monday, December 8, we joined our friends Richard and Carlos for a ride. It was easy (read: slow), but it was looong - about 30 miles in two hours. Quite possibly a little ambitious for our first ride back.

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Brandon and I think Carlos's butt.

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Selfie Carlos took (that I shamelessly stole for my purposes).

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Picture I put on Instagram at the turnaround point.

The other workout of note happened Sunday, December 14. Since we're both a bit squishy right now, we hired Richard to be our personal trainer. He'll give us some workouts but we're also meeting once a week with him so he can kick our asses into shape. And oh boy howdy, did he. Neither of us could really walk for two days after (and today, three days post-session, I'm still a bit stiff) and my immune system suffered to the point of me getting a stupid cold.

But we need the kick in the ass and some help strengthening ourselves up, so this will be a fun, interesting journey.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Skratch Night at KE

The Thursday after we got back from Las Vegas, our local tri shop, KompetitiveEdge, held a Skratch Labs night. Founder Allen Lim came to talk (he is HYSTERICAL) and he and another guy from Skratch, Jon, made some rice cakes for us to try.

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Jon on the left, Lim on the right.

It was a very informative night, both with Lim's talk and with the subsequent Q&A. We learned how Skratch got started, the whole point of real food, Lim's experiences working on the pro cycling circuit, how Skratch compares to say, Osmo, and much, much more.

More importantly, rice cakes were made! Both a sweet (chocolate chip and blackberry) and a savory (peanut butter and bacon).

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The white are sweet, the brown are savory.

They were tasty and I am willing to try them training if I fiddle with the insides a bit.

The night just solidified why I love Skratch and taught me that if Lim is ever talking, I need to go, because he is AWESOME.

Quote of the night: "Don't jam it in your mouth if you're not in love with it." - food and romance advice from Dr. Allen Lim

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Race #13 of the Season: Rock 'N Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon

On paper, this is my worst stand-alone half-marathon. Let's just get that out of the way first. I hit the 10 mile point about where I would have loved to have finished the race. But as we all know, things don't always go according to plan. Let's see why, shall we?

****

Training had been ... okay leading into the race. The week of, we didn't run as much as we had planned on. We didn't run before we left and then Thursday, the day we got in, we decided to just hike Red Rock Canyon as opposed to run it.

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Friday was a lot of walking, but we did get a nice morning run in on the Strip on Saturday.

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Super-awkward running selfie. Also wearing our Vegas shirts from 2010.

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Paused at a light.

The run taught us that going ... north? on the Strip was fast and we'd need to be careful with our speed so as to not blow up early in the race.

Sunday was strange, with the race being in the afternoon/evening. Completely threw us off our typical "race morning" preparation, but since we had kind of thrown all true goals out the window, we decided to just treat it as an evening training run (of which we had done several because of the time of this race). We grabbed a baguette sandwich lunch and headed down to the start.

The start? Not well-labeled. We knew it was south of Mandalay Bay, but which way to go? Not so clear. We figured it out, but yeah. Signs to gear check? Non-existent. Given the weird weather that day (chilly for Vegas), we just decided to say screw gear check and keep the few extra things with us (me; RunCO pullover, sunglasses, phone ... Brandon pretty much nothing). Therefore, I was able to get photos with my phone during some points of the race/lead-up.

We waited in our corrals for a good long while - there were tens of thousands of runners and 50some corrals.

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Waiting for everything to start, trying to stay warm.

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Just a few corrals away from starting!

We started off with the plan to take the first few miles easy and slowly pick it up. We accomplished this perfectly for the first five or so miles (10:32, 10:03, 10:01, 10:08, 10:00). We didn't have to walk for the first time until about mile 6 ... when Brandon started to fall apart.

5K split: 31:51

He started feeling some weird pain in the ball of his foot; if you look at the official race photos (which I'm not going to post here since, y'know, copyrights), his stride looks off from early on. He vocalized the pain around mile five and it got worse from there.

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If we were going to walk, I was going to get Mr. Pawn Stars fan in front of this place.

10K split: 1:04:38

Things just got worse from there. We had a few miles in the 11s, but by mile eight, Brandon couldn't really run again. He tried stretching his foot out; didn't help. He retied his shoes so they were super loose; didn't really help. I had him lean on me a bit to help support him and get weight off the sore foot; kind of helped.

A kind runner gave him some Advil which maybe kicked in by the end, but it was slow-going until the finish.

10 mi split: 2:01:42

Brandon wanted me to leave. I was feeling great when we were descending pace and I knew I had quite a bit in my legs ... but we had really reconnected thus far over the weekend and I refused to leave him. After all, he stayed with me throughout the disaster that was the run at Harvest Moon, so I just told him I was returning the favor.

Since I had my phone, we called our friend Nic to help Brandon out. She helped give him some great perspective - there will always be other start lines, this wasn't an A race, etc. Besides, if there's a race that's a good one to walk large chunks of it, it's this one. North Las Vegas Blvd. is usually kind of sketchy (up toward the wedding chapels, and Circus Circus, and Fremont) so that was probably the best time to be able to walk it and be safe and see the lights.

Brandon insisted on running a bit more as the race went on (my guess is the Advil kicked in) and we crossed the finish line together, holding hands, in the same time.

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Post-race. Brandon is dead. I am not.

Final Stats:
Time: 2:55:15
Pace: 13:23/mi
Overall Rank: 18930/25243
Gender Rank: 11123/15862
Division Rank: 2175/2902 (F30-34)

I helped Brandon limp back to the hotel - it was pretty bad - where we showered and tried to figure out dinner. Walking anywhere was out of the question thanks to his foot, and driving was going to be tricky due to the Strip being closed down for the race. I offered to go walk someplace and bring back food as I was feeling pretty okay, but we couldn't think of anything we really wanted. So, thanks to some help from the Bellagio concierge, we figured out that we could leave the hotel property by car ... so we just went to In-N-Out and stuffed our faces. It worked.

****

Worst stand-alone half on paper, but a race that I do not regret. Could I have done fairly well if I had left Brandon? Probably ... but who knows? I also know that I would have worried horribly about whether he was doing okay or not. I stayed by my husband's side when he needed me the most, and to me, that's what matters on the day. Nic's right - there will (almost) always be other races.

November Round-Up

Radio silence again from me, I know. Post-Vegas, I went into the off-season and am now just emerging from it. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to blog and just ... haven't. You'll hopefully start hearing from me more regularly again though ...

November's numbers suck, but that's because I really didn't do much ...

Running: 36.75 mi
Swimming: 0 mi (0m)
Cycling: 0 mi
Lifting: two sessions (40 min)
Other: seven walks (7:40), one hike (1:00)

Did I do something non-S/B/R related?: Yep, I hiked.

Am I strength-training regularly?: I was until my off-season break ...

Am I injury-free?: Yes, thankfully.

This has been one hell of a long racing season and I needed a HUGE mental break. My plan for this month ended up being survival until Vegas and then ... nothing. Except for some walking, I've accomplished that, and it has been fabulous. 

I have worked out once since December began, but I still don't feel any deep urges to get going again ... although I'm currently quite squishy and some of my work clothes are getting a little tight, so I may need to start easing back into things and hope that motivation comes back as a result ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11/3-11/9: New Kicks and Core Killing

Remember this post? Where I lament about running shoes?

Well, I finally got my new kicks - the Mizuno Wave Rider 18.

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So pretty ...

At the store, they seemed ... eh, but we decided to go for it. My first run in them - October 30th - was a four-miler that I negative split and that I'm pretty sure ended up being my first sub-9 run of the year. Coincidence? Probably, but it convinced me that maybe I'll keep the shoes. ;)

I've run a bit in them since and they get more comfortable with each run, so I'm pretty happy with them.

For actual fun stuff, though, on Tuesday, November 4, I went up to Boulder for SkirtSports' monthly clinic. It ended up being murder on my core - 250 reps of various core exercises - crunches, reverse crunches, bridges, mountain climbers, supermans, and stuff I know I'm forgetting. My core hurt for days. We also did a warm-up run and some FitDeck exercises, which was a blast.

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Stolen from the SkirtSports instagram - I'm in the top right photo on the far left, on the right in the bottom left photo, and on the far right in the back in the bottom right photo. Arya print for the win!

Other than that, I've been laying low with the exception of a plank-a-day challenge. We started with 20 seconds and we're currently up to 90 seconds ... and will in theory get to five minutes by the end of the month. We also head to Las Vegas TOMORROW for our final race of the season, so woooo to that!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October Round-Up

 I totally meant to write this Monday and was even thinking about it over the weekend ... but I had Monday afternoon with the husband and I haven't been able to spend much time with him lately, so yeah.

October ... was okay. Running picked up nicely, but everything else ...

Running: 51.6 mi
Swimming: 1500m (.93 mi)
Cycling: 23.5 mi
Lifting: seven sessions (1:46)
Other: crossfit (:30), two stretch sessions (:30), nine walks (4:55)

Did I do something non-S/B/R related?: Yep; I tried out crossfit.

Am I strength-training regularly?: Still, yes.

Am I injury-free?: My butt is starting to get a bit cranky with all the running (piriformis, probably), but it's not painful, so we're going to go with yes.

As I wrote in my paper log, running wasn't awful this month, but pretty much everything else was. Swimming has been shit because every time I go to the pool, I feel nauseous. Different times of day, different diet ... doesn't matter. I'm wondering if either 24 or just that 24 changed something with the sauna in the room because oh god the smells ... and then the lifting sessions I have planned after the swims suck because I still feel like poo from the swim. So frustrating.

The bike ... well, it's hard to force myself on the trainer. Walking has been my savior in terms of activity lately.

For November, it's running until the Vegas half-mar and then hopefully just picking up strength training from here on out. We're thinking of hiring a friend of ours as a personal trainer for a few months to really build up a strong core base for next year's training and racing. We're also doing a plank-a-day challenge with the MaccaX crew, so yay for that ... I guess ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Grind

I think my lack of blogging stems to my current situation - the grind. 

I'm at the point of the year where it's the offseason for most ... and it feels like it should be for me as well given all the crap I've done this year, but I still have one more race - the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon. I've thrown out any and all goals I may have had for this race at the beginning of the year - I just haven't trained enough or properly to hit them - but I'm still hoping to do relatively well and, most importantly, have fun.

But it's hard to keep training. I had a couple good weeks of run training ... and then two that turned disastrous. Last week was another full week. This week should be, if I don't sabotage myself. Then two more weeks and it's race day. So soon and it needs to be much, much further away.

Cycling is pretty much on the trainer these days and it's hard mentally to get on there. The effort it takes seems monumental. I've tried swimming, but the last month of swims have gone abysmally thanks to something going on at the gym - some smell, something they've changed with either the pool itself, the sauna or the steam room. I manage 5 or 600, but then the nausea takes over and I have to get out.

I have plans, grand plans for next year and I've checked out of this year and am just looking forward to 2015. I just still have to remember that I still have the rest of this year, too. And that I need the rest of this year to set myself up for success next year.