Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reaching New Heights

Huh, I didn't even realize Brandon had blogged this week. Oh well ...

What I have to say kind of stems from what he said. I forced out my last scheduled run for the week this afternoon after I got home from work. I wanted to run yesterday, but actually sleeping in for a change, stress and a lot of crap to do ended up pushing running - and a workout in general - off the docket. Which I wasn't happy about.

So come today. It's kind of cold (freaking ski season has already started (!!!!) in the mountains) and I still feel like crap from all the food I ate yesterday and I really had no motivation to run. But, as much as I may tolerate slacking off on my cross-training, I'm NOT deviating from the half-mar plan.

So I went. I went on the low end of the mileage range (5-6; did 5.12), but I did it.

And I logged it ... and I saw my weekly total - 20.99 miles*. First ever week over 20. EVER. For someone who has had a ton of weeks in the past of mileage of anywhere from 1-3 miles (and as recently as six or seven weeks ago), this is HUGE.

I've also surpassed my highest run month total and have one more big week left in October ... let's just say I never thought I'd run this much EVER in my life.

Still, it's kind of nice realizing that 4-5 miles is now "short" while as little as 9 months ago, that was a "long" run.

* totally forgot my footnote earlier ... but I meant to write that once I saw that total, I was SO TEMPTED to run to the mailbox and back or something just to get that extra .01. But I didn't.

Friday, October 22, 2010

11 Miles in the book

I can't help but wonder something: will I look back on every previous year and just shake my head at the pathetic-ness that each year was in training?

If you're curious as to why I am reaching this conclusion, or pondering such things, look no further then the title of this blog post. 11 miles in the book. No, not 11 miles for the week. Not 11 miles for the month. 11 mile run yesterday. 11.18 to be specific. Yes, we have crossed the double-digit threshold for running a in a single distance. And it was an interesting run, to say the least.

The first 3-4 miles were very rough. The stomachs of both of us were ridiculously unsettled and there were feelings of nausea from both of us. At one point, both of us hinted at cutting it down to a 5-6 miler and doing our long run separately this weekend. But we both kept grinding it out, because, as we reasoned, what would cutting it short do? So we put in 5-6 miles but then that still leaves us having to do an 11 without each other. And realistically, the only day I could pull it off is Sunday, when I am on an overnight. Even then, it would take a lot of moxie that I don't know if I could find. So we kept pushing, hoping eventually our legs would kick in and our stomachs would calm down. And they did.

The time wasn't spectacular by any means, and certainly nothing to brag about. But what was impressive was the guts. The willingness to keep plodding along. The ability to keep the grind going. And the ability to, quite frankly, suck it up. That is what this post is about, and that is clearly what our season has been about.

And why do I mention looking back and mentioning the sadness that my training has been in years past? Because quite frankly, my training in years past was sad and pathetic! I mean, we don't have to rehash the numbers for you here, but let's face it...there were way too many days of "oh, it'll be ok if I take today off" and whatnot. Thankfully, that mentality has seemed to stop for the most part. We slip up every now and then, but face it; we're doing much better then we once were.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I didn't want to run

Like T had a week ago, I was faced with a dilema yesterday. I had slept on the crew room couch yesterday and ended up having a very long day. I was also faced with the prospect of running in New Orleans. We don't stay in a safe neighborhood there (not that it's a safe place anyway) and on top of that, I hadn't eaten well all day, so I really, quite frankly, didn't want to even hit the treadmill.

I did.

It might have only been 2 miles, and I face the prospect of running again tonight in DC.

But I did it.

Last year, so easy to put off. So easy to just say "pack it in for tonight, Brandon". Not last night.

Does this show progress? Yes. Am I proud? Yes. Do I still have work to do? Absolutely. Back on the horse.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Difference Two Years Makes

If I haven't already mentioned it before, I log my training both manually and on a program on Facebook called Voomaxer. I love my manual log, but Voomaxer is nice in that it compiles all the numbers and miles and whatnot together for me.

The other thing it does is keep track of how many miles you have on your equipment (so, goggles, bike, running shoes, etc.).

After today's run (which felt awesome, by the way), I decided to randomly click on the equipment tab:

Saucony Progrid Omni 6
over 2 years old 148.76 mi

Mizuno Wave Alchemy 8
over 1 year old 253.25 mi

Mizuno Wave Alchemy 9*
4 months old 17.53 mi

Nike Zoom Structure Triax 13
4 months old 142.93 mi

Yeah. A pair of shoes I had two years ago I wore for 150 miles (well, probably a little more than that since i started voomaxer-ing after i bought them) ... and now, after four months, I have the same mileage on my current pair of shoes.

Crazy, huh?

* These were the ones I got just before BoulderBOLDER and hated. I've worn them once since I got the Nikes and that was because I was doing some condensed days of running and I wanted to let the Nikes poof back out or whatever shoes do.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Regarding Yesterday

This was something I wanted to post last night, but I was just way too tired to do so. So ... you get it now.

I didn't want to run.

I was tired. I was up for around 21 hours the day before and up early again that day. Two full days of work combined with improper nutrition.

I didn't want to run.

I was stressed out. My car died coming back from lunch at work (ed. note: only a dead battery!) and my day just got longer as a result. I was running out of light and time if I wanted to eat a decent meal as well.

I didn't want to run.

It was cold and rainy and wet. I really just wanted to curl up and sleep. Brandon said with all that had gone on that weekend, he would have been fine if I took the day off and didn't get that run in.

I ran.

I remembered watching the Ironman World Championships the night before. Seeing those athletes, thinking about what they must have done in training to get to that point. Knowing that I'd eventually like to try to make it there myself. Knowing that a little rain shouldn't stop me.

I ran.

I didn't even short myself. I had a 4-5 mile run scheduled and I ran what ended up being 4.43 miles.

I ran.

Last year, I would have taken the day off. I would have chalked it up to being tired, to it being cold, to it being rainy, to being stressed.

I ran.

I couldn't let myself sacrifice my training like that.

I ran, and it put me at just over 16 miles for the week ... my longest week in training yet.

I'm glad I ran.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Congrats to Macca!

I was sitting reserve in Pittsburgh yesterday and staying with a friend of mine. So what's the natural thing to do after a day of golf? (not my choice, I got roped into it. I hate golf.) Sit around and watch the Ironman World Championship coverage on the Ironman website, of course! Seriously, T and I are both giant nerds, but I've talked about passion for triathlon and how both T and I have that passion. In the same way that people admire basketball and football superstars, T and I admire Chrissy Wellington, Craig Alexander, Chris Lieto, Linsey Corbin, Chris McCormack, and other professional triathletes. So with our computers set up we texted/talked to each other about each big thing that was going on in Kona yesterday.

Chris Lieto is a very talented triathlete who has won the Ironman before, in Wisconsin, Canada, and Tokyo. The guy is ridiculous on the bike, setting the course record in Canada and last year having a 12 minute lead on eventual champion Craig Alexander in Kona. This year, Chris was kicking some major ass on the bike, but with temperatures topping 104 degrees, it was a hot day, even by the blast furnace Kona standards. Chris started off the run, but early on, it was obvious something was going on. He was struggling a little bit. The announcers were unsure of what was happening, but I could see it in his form and his expression. Fast on his heels were Andreas Raelert and Chris McCormack. McCormack has won Kona before, in 2007. Even further back, but just as dangerous, was Craig Alexander, who has come from behind in both his Kona wins on the run. He was running an unreal 2:35:00 marathon pace. Lieto was faltering, and soon was passed by McCormack. I thought there was the possibility that Lieto would be able to rally, but he was unable. No Kona again for Lieto, who has hinted at hanging it up. I think he's still got a shot at winning Kona, but certainly the window is closing for him.

Anyway though, Chris McCormack made a crucial decision that ultimately netted him victory. Near the last aid station, McCormack and Raelert were running stride for stride, just as Mark Allen and Dave Scott were in the Ironwar. At that point, the observers twittering about the race and myself were wondering if it would come down to a sprint. When they shook hands, I figured they were making an agreement to not sprint until the end. Turns out it was just congratulating each other on a great race. At the last aid station, McCormack elected to not stop for aid, but Raelert did, and was unable to catch up. I was surprised he made the decision to stop. I mean, at that point, step on the gas! Grind it out! You're so close! But it wasn't to be. Chris McCormack snapped the tape in Kona and silenced the doubters about him. Most importantly, he held off Craig Alexander, who finished 4th and was very gracious.

The thing is, McCormack winning the mens side of thing probably wasn't the biggest story of the day. No, in my opinion, the biggest story of the day was Chrissy Wellington's decision to not race. The hype surrounding Chrissy coming into this race was unreal. It didn't seem to be a discussion of whether Chrissy would repeat; it seemed more like would whoever finished 2nd get closer than last year? These questions were moot when Chrissy announced that due to flu-like symptoms, she wouldn't be able to perform with the respect that the race and her competitors deserve. Talk about a classy human being. She races Ironman with the respect Ironman deserves. You don't compete in Kona unless you are capable of doing your very best. Chrissy captures that, and in turn, captures my respect for life.

One of the best quotes from the bloggers following the race went something like this. I didn't quote it word for word and can't find it this morning, but basically he summed it up that we should all keep our dreams of completing the Ironman, since it doesn't matter who is winning the race. I think that's always something to keep in mind in triathlon. As much as I love the sport, I'm not at the point where I RACE, per se. But I definitely go hard during the event and work as hard as I can.

As I said in a list of truths I was making about triathlon this week that I'll post later...plan to complete an Ironman...dream of Kona.

Friday, October 8, 2010

My September Recap

We all know how awful our August was. Why it was awful, I'm not really sure. Burnout, perhaps? Exhaustion? Just overall tired with the whole grind of the season? Probably a combo of all of the above. But September, I was determined to rebound. Determined to get the 1/2 training off on the right foot (hehe). Determined to shed some poundage that I had started to accumulate. And you know what? All of that happened.

Let's take a look at September.

- I ran. A lot. 12 times, in fact
- I lifted. A lot. 7 times. And man, do I feel better
- Still managed some swimming and cycling. Not much. But some.
- Only 8 off days. And most were due to commute. Only 1 or 2 were just "eh, I'll relax".

I also accomplished an 8 mile run for only the 2nd time in my short career, my pace is looking good, and I am starting to feel stronger. I also have shed approx. 5 pounds and my clothes are already fitting better. All in all, I felt it was a very good month.

Now, for October, we're already a week in, but things are looking good already. I would like to swim a bit more this month, and my running to grow a bit faster. Also, I need to continue with the lifting. I'm starting to feel stronger in the core, as well as in my chest. I'm going to keep it up here, people. I'm liking this transformation. And as T mentioned, this is starting to become a grind. But I'm not too concerned right now. I'm determined to make this work. :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

September Round-Up

September was tabbed our month of renewal, because lord knows we needed it after our horrible, horrible August.

Well, we're in October now, so was September a success? I would say yes for the following reasons:

- I cut the amount of off days I had from 19 to seven. That's right, seven. That is a yay.
- The diet revamp went well and I've actually lost some weight. More importantly, my clothes are fitting a bit better.
- I put in my second highest mileage month in terms of running.
- I ACTUALLY LIFTED ON A SEMI-CONSISTENT BASIS! I've been meaning to do that all freaking year.

However, there were a few bad spots to September ... mainly in terms of my swimming and cycling. Yes, one could argue that those could technically fall by the wayside now that I'm doing half-marathon training ... but one would be ignoring the fact that I'm still desirous of actually doing a half-Ironman by the end of next summer. AND am transitioning over to crawl. So y'know.

Anyway, numbers!

Running: 44.8 miles (average went down 21 seconds/mile)
Swimming: .87 miles (average went up 24 seconds/mile)(also did about 400, 500m crawl work)
Cycling: 6.1 miles (average went down 2 mph)
Lifting: eight sessions (woo hoo, twice a week average!)
Other: fail, fail, fail.

October's theme is keep on keepin' on. This half-marathon training is already trying to turn into a grind, but we've got to focus in on it. I haven't missed a scheduled run yet and I plan to keep it that way. In other workout hopes ...

- I hope to lift about the same. I think it's working out pretty well.
- Swimming numbers can stay low-ish, as long as I'm putting in a lot of crawl work (which i'm not timing until i can put in some distance consistently)
- I neeeeeeed to get on my bike more, even if it's just for random jaunts around the neighborhood. Gotta keep those legs moving.
- Yoga has been sounding good to me for the past month but I haven't done any ... that needs to change.
- Playing hockey again might not be the worst idea, either.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Progress Is Progress ...

... even if it's small, right?

Today's scheduled long run was an 8 miler. I'm still in familiar territory here as I had done one in oly training.

That 8 miler, back on July 31st: 8.2 miles in 1:26:39; 10:34.02/mi
Today's run: 8.2 miles in 1:26:27; 10:32.56/mi

I was faster today by a whole 12 seconds, even though I know I walked a lot more.

The funny thing is, I tried to take today easy. I tried to take it slow ... though I knew I wasn't succeeding too well when I hit the 5K point in 30:57. Mile five slowed me down a whole bunch though and I had to stop the watch just after mile six to go wander into a Subway and grab some water since I was cramping some.

Still, I'll take what little bit of progress I can get.

September recap probably coming tomorrow.