Monday, January 31, 2011

Early Season "Brick" ... and Swim Woes

So this is the blog post alluded to on Friday.

Friday ... a day that seems so far away now. It was 65 degrees and GORGEOUS. Today? 10 and snowing. Tomorrow? A whole ZERO degrees. Oh Colorado ... I love you and your 60 degree weather swings in four days. Really. Really I do. I promise. (and it'll be 50 again by the weekend. figures.)

ANYWAY, even though Friday was a crazy busy day for me - up at 5am, work at 6am, working hockey later that night (thought 7:30p; ended up being 8pm which meant I didn't get HOME until 12:20am), I wanted to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. Luckily, I got out of work a little early so I was able to do so.

So, as soon as I got home, I quickly snarfed a quick snack and then got my cycling stuff on.

Oh unflattering cycling shorts.

I put on a lightweight jacket because I didn't know if the ambient air would be cold or not. When we did our first outdoor ride last year in March, even though it was sunny, the air was still coooold and hurt our lungs. Not so on Friday.

I was ready to hop on my bike, but I did feel bad for Brandon's bike still stuck on Skippy.

Doesn't it look so sad? :(

I didn't have too much time to feel bad for his bike though, because I had to get a-ridin'!

Happy bike in the sunshine!

I hopped on and went for a ride. I decided to go explore a bit on where the county/city expanded the road off my preferred highway exit and, in turn, found a safe back way to cycle to the gym (if we ever really wanted to) that wouldn't involve us most likely getting killed by going on the bridge over the highway with all the crazy people trying to get on I-25.

(Seriously. I've ridden that way before ... illegally on the sidewalk so I wouldn't get killed. SCARY scary stuff.)

Of course, a ride around here wouldn't be complete with a couple nasty hills. Here's one of them.

Ugh. The road does keep following that curve in the landscape at the top of the pic, in case you were wondering.

The good thing was that the ride didn't even seem that bad. Yes, the hills sucked, but they didn't seem to suck as much as I remember them sucking last year. It was a relatively short ride (10.21 mi in 39:44) and slow (well, for most of you; decently quick for me - avg mph of 15.42). However, it felt fast. I thought it was faster than most of my rides last year ... which was actually inaccurate. However, the faster rides were on a flat path (Platte trail). This was faster than anything else I had done with major hills, so obviously I'll take it.

I got home, took the world's longest transition (about half an hour, in which I hopped on facebook, changed and ate some cereal) before going out for a run.

I think I took this picture to prove that I'm still in my cycling shorts ...

... Which also means I forgot what it was like to run in a diaper. Okay, so running in cycling shorts isn't running in a diaper, but it kinda feels like it.

I ideally wanted to go at least three miles, but I got out there and my legs told me, "yeah, pffft whatever woman." So instead of running up the usual stupid hill, I ran down to do what is essentially a two mile loop ... and extended it.

Final stats? 2.53 miles in 25:30.95 for a 10:05.12/mi. For what was essentially an early season brick, I am HAPPY with that. I was also kind of surprised that the run ended up being that fast (shut up, i'm slow) even though my legs felt like lead.

It was a really motivating moment, especially since I went swimming the night before. I know I took the stupid SwimLabs lesson to improve my form and really, it did work. The problem is ... I can't freaking breathe.

Background: I am incapable of breathing through my nose without it sounding all nasally. I cannot take in a nice, deep, soothing relaxing breath through my nose. There is nothing physically wrong with me (they've done x-rays/MRIs/CT scans); I just can't do it. This is a problem when I'm swimming and the damn nose still decides to somehow inhale water into my sinuses when I'm trying to take in air instead. To get in air without rinsing out my sinuses in the process, I almost have to rotate to the point of compromising my form.

Pretty? No. Efficient? No. Frustrating. YES. It's making me feel that I'll never be able to make it through a sprint swim, much less a half-Iron swim. I'm calling SwimLabs this week for another lesson to try and focus on this crap before I relegate myself to a life of dus.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Adventures in Snowy Minnesota

... that sadly don't include any of our buddies. Boo. :(

I have a fun blog post from today's GORGEOUS 65 degree day, but that'll wait until ... later this weekend, hopefully. For now, I have a past due post from this last weekend when Brandon and I were in Minnesota for a short weekend.

The trip was mainly to give Brandon's parents their Christmas gifts and so Brandon could get a new laptop (we think his officially died today. r.i.p. lappy.) ... and also so we could work on invitation stuff for the wedding.

In any case, we wanted to work out while we were there, but knew that it was going to be waaaaay too cold to run ... unless you're of a certain breed. Which we're not. Yet.

So, we decided to improvise. Since Brandon's special and gets to check bags for free, we decided to bring out sticks, skates and snowshoes. When we got in Saturday night, we headed over to meet up with one of his roommates from college and his wife and go play a little pond hockey at Pearl Park. We were already on the ice when it occurred to me, duh, I should have brought my camera, but at that point, I said, ah, screw it, and kept on skating.

That was the first time in over a year that we'd been able to play a little puck - informal as it was - and it was AWESOME. I miss hockey, I really do. I just don't seem to have the time for it.

On Sunday, because we mostly just sat around the house all day, we did get out the snowshoes and tromped around for a good hour/90 minutes. Below are some selected photos of the fun (and yes, we sledded some too).

Snowshoeing in Minnesota
Brandon trying to go off of some ramp that the neighborhood kids built.

Snowshoeing in Minnesota
Me attempting to go down the hill in the sled AND snowshoes. It didn't turn out too well.

Snowshoeing in Minnesota
Brandon after going down the hill face-first. Might not have been a smart idea.

Snowshoeing in Minnesota
Attempting to slide down a slide. It didn't work too well - I think my padded butt was too big/friction-y.

Snowshoeing in Minnesota
Snowshoes and swings.

Snowshoeing in Minnesota
One can't really pump one's legs when one is attempting to swing with snowshoes on and deep snow around.

Anyway, fun times regardless ... even though next time I'm out there, I want to see some more peeps.

Coming soon: post about my first unofficial brick of the year!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Motivation = nonexistant

This year, we're facing an uphill battle when it comes to racing. As we're continuing to expand our horizons in terms of growth, the job does not get any easier. We're facing a 1/2 Ironman, as well as trying to conquer another 1/2 marathon (this one faster and stronger). So you'd think we'd be motivated to work really hard, work out all the time, and plug along, right?

Not so much.

After a great 2 1/2 weeks in Denver, in which I worked a lot but also really enjoyed myself, I figured I'd return for this simple 3 days of reserve in Greensboro with my batteries fully recharged, ready to sit reserve, and enjoy the fact that I only have a month and a half left of this place. (I'm transferring to Indianapolis come March. Easier commute and better base!) Instead, I found out on my last day I have an uncommutable worthless day trip that will force me to stay an extra night here. And therefore, my play on a 4.5 mile run was just shot.

I'm really realizing that being in Greensboro just depresses me in every which way imaginable.

I was able to slog out a 4.5 mile run, albeit very slowly. While I was running, I was trying to take in the sights around the town. I was running on a country road, and I could have been running on a country road in Minnesota, or Montana, or even Nebraska. The major difference with this run though, is I knew I wasn't running in any of those places. I was running in Greensboro. Which continued to depress me.

So instead, I kept repeating to myself "one more month". I just kept imagining myself not having to do the two-leg commute to Greensboro, wasting an extra 6+ hours each time I go to and from the place. Imagine me getting an extra 42 hours a month at home simply by moving bases. It might not sound like much, but it's an extra two days that I currently don't get. That's pretty damn significant.

I guess sometimes, motivation is tougher to find then we'd like to admit. The key is, I'm realizing, finding that small slice that forces you to do what you know you need to do.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Santa Barbara...ahhhhhh

I know, this has been a longtime coming. I think my computer is stable enough to do this...for now anyway. Blah.

Anyway, the other day, we had a long layover in Santa Barbara. While the rest of the country was shivering in cold and snow, Santa Barbara was forecasting a high of 65 degrees. Yeah, sweet. I had heard from various other crews that this overnight was something special, so I decided to take advantage.

After a nice breakfast, I decided to head out for a run. Keep in mind, my running shoes and bag were still MIA, so I was on my old Mizunos. I was just going to go for a short run to the beach. The hotel girl told me how to get there, so off I went. Right outside our hotel was a lemon orchard. That was really cool to see!

I ran west, hoping to run into the ocean...but I kept zigzagging through neighborhoods and couldn't really find where I was going. Dejected, I decided to turn back to the hotel, my run taking much longer than anticipated. However, I wasn't too worried about time, because as soon as I got back, I was renting a cruiser bike from them! That's right, I rented a cruiser bike. Talk about fun!

I hopped on the bike and this time, had my iPhone with me, which led me right to the beach. I walked out on a pier and just took in the ocean. It was most pleasant and relaxing. I then sat in the sand and just reflected. I promised myself it would be a great year. Then I took off to toodle around Santa Barbara, and more importantly, find In 'N Out, which I did!

Basically, it was a great day of fitness, working out, and just overall happiness.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Of SwimLabs and Skippy

... Hopefully one of these days Brandon will blog about his run and cruiser ride in Santa Barbara from this week, but that's neither here nor there for this second.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my December Round-Up post, Brandon got me swim lessons at SwimLabs for Christmas. Well, my first lesson was yesterday and hoo boy, was it insightful!

The good news: I'm not a lost cause when it comes to my crawl. Yay!

The bad news: I still have a TON of stuff to work on. My breathing, which I knew was going to be an issue ... is. I kick with my knees too much and my stroke isn't so efficient. Therefore, I have a huge old list of stuff to work on:

- breathe into my shoulder
- kick from my hips

- reach on each stroke
- hand/arm entry into the water

It's a lot of stuff to keep straight and it's rough trying to put it all together. I'm just hoping that one day it clicks for me. In the meantime, it looks like a pull buoy is going to become my new best friend in pool training.

In Skippy news ... I've been on him four times so far this month. I've worked my way up to 30 minutes, though it's still in a few segments. I know it's rough; a few weeks ago, I posted on facebook how I was going to learn to love the Skipster even if it killed me. A friend posted the following: it takes absolute discipline cause trainers suck!!!!

And he's totally right. I've heard that the Spinervals DVDs are awesome and indeed, one came in the box with Skippy, but I have a feeling it's a bit too advanced for Brandon and I. I know that the series does include some beginner DVDs and I think that we're going to have to try and track them down.

In the meantime, I've found that sports-related movies (okay, just Center Stage (don't judge me!) and Miracle) DO help. I don't know whether it's a mutual suffering - you suffer along with the people on the screen - but it helped. Particularly watching Miracle tonight as I put in 30 minutes on Skippy.

My new goal for him is to be able to either suffer through an hour (even if it takes a few breaks) and/or 20 minutes consecutively by the end of the month. I hate that I can't do that now, but I have to keep reminding myself - building blocks. That's all this is.

Monday, January 10, 2011

1.9.11 Snow Run

So yesterday, we had a run on the schedule. We typically try to run about three times a week (i don't do so well running back-to-back days, so this works nicely for me) and Sunday marked day three.

However, it was kind of cold. And snowing. Snowing kind of a lot.

Colorado decided it didn't want any snow this winter until 2011 and we've gotten a few storms since the new year began (and one right before). However, training is training and when you've gotta run, you've gotta run.

Due to the crap in Brandon's post below, he almost didn't come with me, but decided, after all, to go be crazy and run in the snow with me.

Our run, in a few pictures:

1.9 Snow Run
Brandon ready to run.

1.9 Snow Run
Me ready to go. I'm wearing running tights, UnderArmour spandex shorts (tights are a bit too big up top), running skirt, running tank, tech t, long-sleeved tech shirt, toasty SkirtSports jacket, gloves, ear mitts and two hats. Why so much on top? Gotta keep that core warm ... it also surprisingly helps the breathing, too.

We decided on just a short run due to the snow and the conditions - 2.2 miles - and it was rough.

Random question to insert here ... why, when it snows, is it ALWAYS blowing in your face?

Since Brandon was on reserve, he had to carry his phone with him just in case he got called. His company didn't call him, but another important call did come in that he had to take so we did end up walking a good chunk of the run just so he could talk on the phone. And yes, I suppose we could have stopped moving, but it was cold and the snow was definitely coming down harder at that point so we decided that staying mobile was the best option.

Besides, by the end of the run, I was running with my hand up to try to block the wet snow from hitting my half-frozen face.

1.9 Snow Run
Brandon after the run. He ditched his sunglasses because they were fogging up which is why you get the epic eyelash pic.
1.9 Snow Run
Me afterward. White jacket makes me look less epic. However, please note that my once red toque is now white.

After these quick photos, we hopped inside, shed a few layers and made some oatmeal to help get our core temp back up (nifty tip I read here) ... even though aside from our faces (and my ankles; space in between tights and shoes), we weren't all that cold.

Still, mmm, oatmeal.

1.9 Snow Run
With probably more brown sugar than was necessary. Oh well; tasty!

1.9 Snow Run
Brandon eating his oatmeal. Foggy, due to the moisture/condensation on my camera lens. Stupid winter.

So that was my overly long, rambly blog post about a run that for us, was kind of epic given that last year, we would have said, "ah screw it" and not gone even though many of the others on our blog roll (whether they know we exist or not) would have done like 8 miles in the same conditions. But for us, it was a big step.

I'm just even more thankful now that the weather stayed good for Vegas training.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A disaster in the making

So far, the year has been pretty good. I got Denver reserve in the first few days, and while I worked a lot over them, it was nice to be home and flying out of home. Then I had a nice stretch of days off. Combine that with my workout schedule has been good, and you have a good start to the year.

Then last night happened.

Pull up a chair.

Normally, when I commute to Greensboro, it starts on a Delta flight from Denver to Atlanta. I leave Denver around 4 pm and get into Atlanta roughly 9 pm. Then I catch a 10:00 flight to Greensboro, getting in there around 11:30. No problem. It usually goes really smooth. Typically, what I have to do is check my rollerboard to Greensboro though since there's no overhead room by the time I'm on the airplane. Again, no problem. It's never not gotten to Greensboro.

This time, though...

When I got to Atlanta after a very pleasant flight, I called scheduling to see if they had anything for me in Greensboro. They did not, but they asked if I would be able to get to Milwaukee that night. I quick checked on my phone to see if there were any flights to Milwaukee leaving that night, and sure enough, there was one leaving at 10:30 at night. All I had to do was get there, and it would mean no going to Greensboro, lots of work, and reserve in Milwaukee. Ok, fine, no problem. I thought about it, realized I didn't have my bag, but didn't think that would be an issue. I would just go to the Greensboro gate, explain the situation, and have the gate agent grab my bag from the plane.

I did just that, and she said no problem. Well, as the departure got closer and closer, no bag. They couldn't find it. And the ramper said it was probably not there.


So the flight to Greensboro departed without me on it. And now I was not going to be able to make it to Milwaukee, since I didn't have any clothes! I called up scheduling and explained the situation. I was not calm, btw. The scheduler on the other end though was quite calm, reassuring, and basically told me to find my bag, that I was not in trouble, just find my bag. Ok. I can do that.

I went to Delta's baggage office, and let's just say that they are not helpful people. She basically told me she didn't know where it was and that I would have to check back in the morning. Great, that meant spending a night in the Atlanta airport. Triffic. I begged her for an overnight kit, which she reluctantly gave to me, and then I called scheduling again to figure out what we would do. The scheduler this time chatted with me for a few minutes, explaining that this happens quite a bit and that it's not a big deal. We talked about my options and determined the best thing was to get to Denver, where I have an extra rollerboard, more clothes, a uniform, etc. They would put me on Denver reserve so I can attempt to track my bag down and be good to go. All I had to do was sleep.

Yeah, on an airport floor. Great.

Regardless, I made it back to Denver yesterday and life is good. Today, I'm sitting here, on reserve, waiting to work. I am quite content if they do not call me with a trip. I'm just enjoying life. Yesterday T and I went for a run in the afternoon snow, and I'm sure she'll post pictures of it shortly.

Why am I blogging about this on a fitness blog, you ask? Because simply, fitness isn't just about having rock hard abs and a resting heart rate of 40. It's also a mental game. I explained what happened to my mom and she said she was so proud of me for my maturity and how I handled the situation. I told her I didn't know how to do it any other way. She said it's a good sign for the rest of my life.

Anyway, don't know what I have planned on the workout schedule today. Probably hitting the gym for some hardcore lifting. Peace, homies. :-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Skippy Chronicles

Meet Skippy.

Trainer Time

This is Skippy the Green Monstah, our trainer. He's a douche. (he's also a kinetic road machine fluid trainer.)

Okay, technically we've only hung out with him twice (photos are from session numero uno), but we've already decided he's not a nice guy. Ultimately, I'm sure we'll end up thanking Skippy for being a part of our existence at some point (probably when we get used to him ... and when we get his climbing block cousin), but for right now, he sucks.

Right now, 20 minutes on Skippy is extremely rough. 20 minutes on Skippy is not 20 minutes consecutively. Which is frustrating and, in some respects, embarrassing.

Still, we'll keep on plugging on Skippy, much like you see below.

Trainer Time
Brandon finding something to watch before hopping on Skippy.

Trainer Time
Brandon on Skippy.

Trainer Time
Me on Skippy. Obviously this was within my first five minutes because I'm smiling.

For those of you who have been on trainers before ... we ditched the sweatshirts shortly after. I'm also going to try and dig an old fan out of storage to use while on Skippy.

Hopefully, Skippy gets to be an easier bastard to work with, or at least more tolerable. Either way, we'll probably keep you updated on our progress with Skippy the Green Monstah.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

December Round-Up

If you actually pay attention to the post tags, I usually tag these round-up posts with "progress." I didn't for this post because December didn't really have any progress to it. Of course, December wasn't meant to have a lot of progress. It was meant as our last month of relaxation. And boy, was it.

Let's go to the numbers ...

Running: 27.47 miles (average went down about 14 seconds/mile)
Swimming: Negatory, once again. (same ol' average)

Cycling: 2.7 miles (not that it counts, but average went down .2 mph)
Lifting: four sessions (been worse)
Other: one time ice skating, one crazy snowy walk

It IS good that this month saw my overall fastest running time average (10:06.26/mi). It also saw my fastest run of the year - a three mile run I did with a group at Boulder Running Company's holiday party (8:45.79/mi) ... the one time I cracked 9:00/mi all year. It's also good that I FINALLY got back on skates for the first time in over a year.

Also good from December: training Christmas gifts! I bought Brandon a FitDeck for when he travels (though i know i'll use it too), We FINALLY bought ourselves a trainer (will have a post soon on that ... hopefully) and Brandon got me lessons at SwimLabs so I can really finally fo' sho' get my crawl to a dominating force. Or enough to survive Boulder 70.3. Either way.

Overall, I think I'm happy with the way the year went. Running was AMAZING. It wasn't my fastest year, but I ran more this year than I had the previous two combined. Cycling could have gone better and it's something I know I need to work on a ton for next year. Same thing with swimming.

But for now, and for January, it's time to make "like a LEGO" (our theme) and start building the blocks for our race season, as it'll be our most challenging to date.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year! December Recap! Oh My!

Happy New Year to all our readers out there. I hope the holiday season was good to you. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm ready to face 2011 with a full head of steam. 2010 was an ok year, not good, not bad, but 2011, I'm determined to make it better than 2010.

First, I'll bring you my December recap. Let's just say it's nothing to write home about. There were way too many off days, due to stress of the holiday season/recovering from the 1/2 Marathon/I'm just lazy. I did quite a bit of lifting, thankfully, but my running suffered dramatically after the 1/2 marathon (3 times I got out there...3). I did no cycling and no swimming. Quite frankly, I sucked in December.

But let's put it behind us, shall we?

What am I looking for achieving in 2011? Quite a few things, actually.

- Complete Boulder 70.3
- Improve in triathlon overall
- Ride, Ride, Ride
- More yoga
- Complete Denver 1/2 Marathon, and achieve my less then 10:00 per mile

Those are just my fitness goals. In terms of life, I want to make some changes and learn some things. For instance, one of my biggest goals is to rediscover my spiritual side. For years now, I've been struggling in terms of spirituality and would like to rediscover that. I'd also like to eat healthier, which means I'm going to be forcing down a lot more vegetables. I'm going to be getting married (yay!!!!! Go us!!!) and once married, my financial house of cards needs to be in perfect order. I'm planning on having my debt eliminated by the end of the year and therefore, what I make will be ours. In addition to all this, I want to try to learn French, get my logbooks updated for flying, not get computer viruses (stupid TV shows), take good care of my car, and make sure that 2011 overall is a great year.

Finally, look for more blog posts on this site. Not necessarily posts just about our workouts (I ran 3.65 miles today. Go me) but articles, things I discover about nutrition and health, and opinions.

Thanks to all of you for supporting T and I through what was an extremely difficult 2010. Mark and Kris, you guys are so cute! Lindsey, keep running and get your butt over to the triathlon world! Dr. J, keep the wheels pointed towards the ground. :-)