Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back on track and being a triathlete

As I promised, I am vowing to get back on track this week. Last night was a nice start to it, even though I only swam 1000 meters in a pretty slow time. I couldn't get a rhythm going and to be honest, it was pretty frustrating. Nevertheless, I'm glad I got a good swim in.

I've been wanting to talk about this for awhile and am now just getting around to it. It's the "triathlete mind". Many triathletes out there consider themselves really good in one triathlon discipline and ok or even not ok in the others. For instance, many triathletes were swimmers in high school and college and discovered the sport of triathlon. Since they are athletes anyway, the other two disciplines aren't too difficult for them. But because they are so good at swimming, they focus on that and forget about the other disciplines. This isn't the right attitude to have. Instead of thinking of myself as a pretty good swimmer and a decent runner who can do ok on the bike when necessary, I'm going to think of myself as a triathlete. Not someone who can do one sport better then the others. No, I'm going to train in all three disciplines and become good in all three of them. Because I'm not just a swimmer. Not just a cyclist. Not just a runner. I'm a triathlete. And I continue to aspire to get better.

Got a run scheduled for today. And it's going to feel good. :-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Working out...it's suffered...

I haven't blogged in awhile, because...well...there's not a lot to blog about...

As you all know, I am going to be out on the street May 1st. Well, I decided the best thing would be to be proactive and find a job before this happens. Which means filling out applications, getting my job history together, etc. Sure enough, it paid off and I got calls for two interviews last week. One on Wednesday and one this last Monday. But unfortunately, that means my working out has suffered immensely. I haven't been doing very well and frankly, it's very upsetting. I understand that this is what people talk about when they mean life gets in the way, but still man. It's hard. And I know some people say that being busy and stressed is great for their workout life. Not so much for me. It's harder on me and I'm physically and mentally more taxed.

I'm on vacation in Minnesota this week, but I do plan on squeezing in some runs and whatnot. And then next week, I vow to get back on track. Because where I am at right now is unacceptable. Plain and simple.

Monday, March 15, 2010


It's been a rough week.

Last week was a good week. First time on the bike, 11 miles overall in running ... good week.

This past week, however, has been a struggle. I don't know what it was with exhaustion and work and everything, but it was bad. Very bad. Like three-miles-only bad.

The really bad part is that this hasn't been the first time something like this has happened. Just look at January. Putting in miles like that is great ... if I can follow it up with a similarly good week. It's not worth it if the next week is shitty.

In good news, Brandon and I got RoadIDs! They came in the mail and they are pretty. We used the discount code Steve in a Speedo had on his blog to get 20% off ... so we splurged and got the Wrist ID Elites. We've yet to chop them to size, but we're both excited to run with them!

Workouts will be a little sketchy this week thanks to driving back to Minnesota to see mutual friends, Brandon's family and a lot of hockey at the WCHA Final Five tournament. If any of you are out there and want to hang out, let us know! :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Ran again today. 3.37 miles which brought me to a grand total of 11 miles for the week.

11. That's my highest mileage EVER. Not one of my runs was under three miles. That's probably also a first.

On Facebook, I wrote that I was proud of my 11 miles, but I also know that by the year's end, I'll be running a lot more each week as I prepare for my half.

However, I also know that I need to build up slowly. Brandon and I went for a walk with my dad after our run which brought up today's mileage to seven miles (on my feet total) and ow, my poor feet. They'll hopefully toughen up eventually.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Digging Deep

How many times have we had those moments of "oh I'm a little sore.", or "I'm just too tired."? How many times have we said "I want to do that." but come up short? My post today involves two things...an article I read in Runners World and my treadmill sprint today.

First, the article. You ever hear of a guy named Matt Long? Yeah, me neither. Not until I read March 2009's Runners World. This story, it's incredible. Check it out here. Basically, this New York City firefighter, Boston Marathon qualifier, and Ironman got hit by a bus and beat up pretty bad. Bad to the point that he couldn't walk, had no right glute muscle, and had over 40 surgeries. He was broken down and couldn't figure out a reason to live anymore. Then he woke up and wanted to do a marathon. That's right. Hit by a bus and he wanted to do a marathon. And he succeeded. 7 hours later, he succeeded. Imagine that. I was reading the article (again) on the flight down to Tulsa and it gave me chills. Here was a guy who just longed to run. A guy who wanted nothing more than to be what he was. Inspirational, eh? More on this in a bit.

Second, my workout today. You know by now in Tulsa I don't run outside. And no, the article didn't inspire me to do that. But I did hit the treadmill, like I like to in Tulsa. About 20 minutes into my workout, I was feeling achy. Probably due to the fact this was my 2nd day of running in a row (4.62 miles yesterday). My body isn't quite up to 2 days in a row yet, and I wanted to stop. But you can see where I'm gonna go here. I thought of Matty Long. The guy who has a titanium rod through his leg. All he wanted to do was run. And here I was going to complain about a little ache in my legs?

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Another one of Brandon's moments where he has the lightbulb go off. No, this isn't about me. This is about our community. The triathlete community. You know, there's days where our bodies tell us to take it easy. I respect that and adhere to it. But then there's days where we slack. Days where we are lazy. Imagine if you DIDN'T have that choice; if your only option was to be lazy.

Something to chew on.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Food for Thought

I ran today. 4.44 miles. With that run, I have now run 51.74 miles this year.

Last year? 151.51.

It is the first week of March and I am already one-third of the way to last year's total and I'm not even one-fourth of the way through the year.

This makes me happy. Very, very happy. :)

MY February Recap

Yeah yeah, I know I've been lacking on getting this done, but really, I've been flying a lot and sending out resumes and yeah. So it comes a few days late but that's ok.

Anyway, as T put it, February is the Monday of months. My parents are both born in February, which means I have to spend extra money in Feb. I also got my "we don't like your company so we're disbanding it" notice, the Vikings didn't play in the Super Bowl, etc. etc. etc. Basically, it's not a good month. And as a result, working out suffers.

Amazingly, my mileage was good in February both in swimming and running. My frequency though decreased. I ran 7 times for 18.91 miles, swam 5 times for 2.95 miles, one stationary bike, three treadmill sprints, and one room lift.

Another thing that happened in February is my diet suffered. I was doing tough 4 day trips and also, I think after the news of Lynx broke, my diet got worse. That is something that I must improve for March.

But there are good things that happened in Feb. We both learned a lot about our bodies. I pushed it up to 1000 meters. The hill of death is getting easier. And most importantly, it's over. March is here. Springtime. Rebirth. All that crap. It's time to start pushing ourselves. Time to start increasing mileage and speed. Time to get out on the bike. It's time to grow.

And on that note, I'm going for a long run in Fargo, since I have that kind of time today. :-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Enjoying the Sunshine

Oh, March is here and it is sunny and FABULOUS. No joke.

Yesterday, Brandon was jonesing to get on the bike as we haven't ridden our actual bikes since, oh, September. I know, I know. We got them all tuned up about a month ago and yesterday was one of the first really pretty days we've had in a while, so we went for a ride.

First Ride of the Season
Brandon with his bike.

First Ride of the Season
With my bike. Oh, the pasty whiteness ...

First Ride of the Season

So, we filled our tires up with a bit more air and off we went. We made jokes about if we remembered how to clip back in again (we did) and I fiddled with my stupid cyclometer ... as usual ... because it's a freaking pain in the butt. We breezed down a hill we normally run up. We did okay up a hill we have run up before.

We got to the E-470 trail before we realized, hey, as much as it's warm out, this cold winter air? Hurts our lungs. A LOT. So, we only went a little ways up the trail before we turned it back around.

First Ride of the Season
Brandon bummed about turning it around.

First Ride of the Season
Me, still glad to have gotten a ride in.

While we were sitting at one of the lights waiting to cross the street, we noticed that the little bit of water on the trail made for some fun splatters.

First Ride of the Season

We worked our way back home (mostly uphill) with our lungs dying due to the harsh air. Happily, our legs felt okay so the few bouts on the stationary bike must have helped a little bit. Who only knows how they'll hold up on a longer, hillier ride, but it was a good sign nonetheless. It was a very short ride (just over 4miles), but it was a nice start.

Since it's even prettier outside today, I decided to go for a run (okay, I had planned one for today anyway).



That fact makes me SO HAPPY. I didn't even need it. I haven't not run with my New Balance hat in probably five months. I took it off during a run once, but that was it. The weird thing was, I almost forgot what it felt like to have my ponytail swinging around smacking me in the ears and stuff. I'd gotten so used to having it squashed under a hat. Bizarre, I know.

I also got to run in shorts and short sleeves. Granted, I had done those before, but the lack of hat was the biggest thing. I did 3.19 miles in 33:05 (10:22.26/mi) and it was:
- my second fastest time all year
- my fastest time on a run over three miles this year

This whole "not taking a ridiculously long break from running" thing I think is finally starting to work out for me ...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

February Round-Up

Oh hey, look, I'm back like I promised!

I'm not going to lie; February was a very difficult month for both of us in terms of working out. January is easy because we're all motivated due to the new year and a new start. March is the start of spring and April through September ... well, you're in season at that point so it's no problem.

February though ... there's not much good about it. It's cold, there's nothing all that exciting in it (Olympics this year notwithstanding, but the WO aren't as exciting and motivating as the SO anyway, but I digress ... and Valentine's Day really doesn't count) ... the only good thing about February is that it's short. It's the Monday of months if you will.

Anyway, even though February felt awful, when I looked at my logs, I worked out 14 of 28 days. 50%. That's obviously not what I want, especially when some of those days off were in three-four day chunks. However, when I break it down to the point where I technically averaged out working every other day, it doesn't seem quite so bad.

The month finished off on an off day which I don't quite like, but eh. Anyway, the numbers:

Running: 20.94 miles (average went down 18.38 seconds/mile)
Swimming: 3.29 miles (average went down 1:42.03/mile)(5300m)
Cycling: 16.2 miles (two sessions on the stationary bike)
Lifting: two sessions
Other: nothing. boo.

Though I didn't run or swim as much as I did in January, my times still went down and they went down in each run and swim I did so it's not just due to a smaller amount of miles. Cycling dropped more than I wanted (boo) and lifting was, well, about the same as last month.

All in all, February wasn't as good as I would have liked. Still, for a crappy month in still what is the triathlon off season, I'll take it.

Plus, March is already off to a decent start as I've dragged out the real bike. Woo!

Monday, March 1, 2010

On Swimming Frequency and Running

First order of business: tomorrow will be the February round-up and number totaling.

I know Brandon mentioned it in the post below, but his roommate Tim came out for the weekend and we went for a run. The run was a variation of the run I did in this post, including running up that damn hill. I've run up Timberline a few times; each time with having to walk. This run, I was noticeably behind Tim and Brandon, but I was able to keep running.

That's right; I never stopped running. I also found out that adding another little bit to the run after the hill gave me a little more energy and helped me feel better. Typically, after I crest the hill, I keep running down Timberline until home - which is mostly a gradual downhill with a few minor rises. With Tim, however, we added another bit on to extend the route to just over three miles. Doing so, as I said, made me feel better. I don't know if that little bit helped purge some of the lactic acid out of my legs (i dunno how that works exactly; it doesn't make sense in my mind that it would work that way, but who knows). I also don't know if it's the fact that I can't really feel good under three miles these days. Either way.

Another thing that I started thinking about was training in Colorado. I'm a Colorado girl, born and mostly bred. I love the beauty in my state and I don't think I take it for granted, but Tim got me thinking that sometimes I do. As we turned the corner out of the neighborhood, Tim about dropped his jaw with the view of the mountains that we got. He also kept commenting on the view and the weather and everything, really, every couple of minutes.

I've done work outs in this state that have inspired awe in me, but my usual daily runs do no such thing. Tim got me thinking that you know, maybe I should again.

He also got me thinking that I shouldn't really care so much about my times. As Brandon mentioned, Tim was shocked that our time on our run was so "slow" (normal for us; slow for him). He felt like we had run a lot faster than we did. We told him that running here, especially on all the hills, can be deceptive. Brandon and I have learned to never trust a feeling on how a run went because it is rarely accurate. I'll just continue running here and eventually plan to run all my races on flat terrain at sea level. ;)


Second thing I wanted to blog about was this article from EverymanTri. The article, written by Patrick McCrann, says that for the age group triathlete (so basically me and everyone else who isn't a professional), swimming year round is a waste for three reasons.

Reason One: Swimming is a massive time suck.
Reason Two: You don't have enough available time to get really better.
Reason Three: Returning is learning all over again.

I do get his point on number one ... to a point. It can be a time suck going to the gym, changing, etc. I get around this for the most part by going and doubling up a swim workout with something else. At this point in my early season training, I'm not doing ridiculously long swims so I almost always double up a swim workout with a stationary bike or a lift.

On point two, I understand where McCrann is coming from regarding the good triathlon swimmers being people who have spent eons of time in the pool in their youth training. And, for us mere mortals to catch up to them, we would have to spend comparable time and really, that just ain't happening. Still, all I have to do is look at my own times; I've cut around 10:00/mile off my times over the past two years ... and I don't swim nearly as much as I probably should! So once again, Mr. McCrann, I respectfully disagree.

The third point I just dislike the whole concept of. I don't want to take four months off and basically have to relearn how to swim again. Screw the thought of that making it more fun or more of a challenge. I've taken significant time off in all the sports I've played. The only one where it's not a major pain in the ass to get back into it? Softball. Time off from hockey sucks ... on the second skate back. Time off the bike sucks. Time off running REALLY sucks. Time off swimming sucks too.

Ultimately, though, I think the reason I prefer not taking time off from swimming is because it's such a good form of exercise on its own. It's extremely low impact and is a great cross-trainer to go along with the running. Plus, I'll get moments of zen in the pool that I wouldn't give up in the technical triathlon off season because I sure as hell haven't gotten one in season yet.

Being sick sucks

Last Wednesday, I started coming down with a cold. I eat a lot of oranges, so I don't know how this happened, except for the fact that I work in an environment that basically circulates germs 24/7. So I guess it was going to happen...but still...sucks.

In any event, I haven't totaled my workouts from February yet, but I can tell you it wasn't a disappointment as I thought it was going to be. I ended up running quite a bit, swimming quite a bit, and doing some good treadmill sprints. Granted, my totals were not as high as January, but honestly, with all the disdain I have for February, I'm pretty happy with it. My diet suffered in February, and I definitely need to get back on track with that come this month.

Anyway, my best friend Tim came to visit me last weekend. He's my best buddy from college. He's also a 3:54 marathoner and quite the inspiration to me. We were both hockey players in college but he was definitely in better shape than I. He wanted to run in Colorado, and I was more then happy to oblige. So Saturday morning, T, myself, and Tim laced 'em up and off we went on a 3 mile run.

Tim wanted to tackle the hardest hill we have around the house so we figured out a 3 mile run that goes up Timberline. This is about .4 miles, but it's brutal. Nonetheless, all 3 of us ran up it and made it back home in 32:48 for a pace of 10:39 per mile. Not bad, not great, but I was very happy with it. Tim was a little surprised, but I told him that it's deceptively slow around Colorado.

He also shared some insight on positive attitudes. He basically summed it up as if you pummel your brain with negative thoughts, you're not going to achieve what you want. So instead of saying how brutal that hill looks, instead think about what it's going to shape your body into. Stuff like that. It's interesting insight and something that I need to always work on.

Finally, I think tomorrow I will be good to go and ready to get back into my groove.

Goodnight for now. :-)