Saturday, December 31, 2011

November/December/2011 Round-Up

Soooo ... you may have noticed I haven't done a monthly round-up for a while. Quite honestly, it's because I really haven't had anything to round-up.

Yes, I know that's bad. Yes, I know it sucks. Please, no comments from the peanut gallery.

I could list off excuses for why the fall/winter have been so bad ...
- work
- moving
- wedding
- exhaustion of the year's stress piling on
... but I really don't like making excuses. I didn't make the time to fit in workouts. Could I have? Most likely. Did I perceive having the energy to do so? Nope. I've read everything about "just do 10 minutes, you'll feel like doing more," or "you can find 10-15 minutes to fit something in," or "working out will give you more energy," but the last few months even 10 minutes has felt monumental to me. To us, really.

To wit, the numbers from the past few months:

Running: 19.27 mi
Swimming: .19 mi
Cycling (outside): 0 mi
Cycling (inside): 0 mi
Lifting: ... maybe once? can't find my dang log to verify.
Other: ... if lifting a whole hell of a lot of boxes and carrying them up essentially a walk-up apartment counts ... yes. A whole lot of that.

The other thing that REALLY didn't help is our usual online log dying on us. For the past few years, we've logged our workouts not only in a physical log, but on a Facebook app called Voomaxer. This year, it crashed a few times and finally died ... I think in mid-November. The creators of the app got sick of Facebook's constant tweaking of itself and said that our data still existed, it just existed on its extremely user-unfriendly Web site.

Dealing with that mess was so frustrating and, in a weird way, I think demotivating as well. However, in late November, we took the plunge and joined Beginner Triathlete. I personally haven't played around all that much with it yet (seeeee the crappy numbers), but I think ultimately it will be better for us. Brandon's considering even upgrading from the free membership to really utilize all the site has to offer (tips on this would be welcome).

However, as it is December 31, it is time (in about 12 and a half hours here) to bid this year adieu. The last week in general has been pretty crappy, but this year, on a whole, I'd have to say was a good one. We got married, did our first half-Ironman, got a new place, I got a job promotion ... a lot of good things. I just wish we didn't do them all in ONE YEAR because that much stress? Sucky.

Running this year went okay, even though our mileage went down from 2010.

Swimming was a struggle for much of the year with less mileage, but I almost completely transitioned to the crawl/freestyle stroke, so that is a good thing.

Cycling, despite my retarded feet in the HIM, was a huge success this year. We both put up our biggest cycling numbers ever and I really do think it paid off, with our fastest averages in races to date.

Lifting went really well over the summer, in the fact that we did it consistently. I also think that paid off on race day.

Other workouts weren't as plentiful or as varied, which is really kind of a bummer.

For 2012, our focus is SPEED. 2013 is Ironman and endurance and the grind, so we'd like to focus a lot on speed and short-course racing this year. We may consider a late season 70.3 (Harvest Moon, maybe?) and are definitely planning on one or two half-marathons, but fall training is going to be tricky as we're going to Europe in September for our delayed honeymoon/first anniversary trip. Where we really don't plan on working out much. Running, maybe. Walking, definitely. Eating well? Screw that. Food in France is AWESOME.

When Brandon gets home this afternoon, we're going to try and come up with a game plan for our racing season and I'd like to come up with some training goals as well. Maybe mileage goals; we'll see.

Hope everyone's 2011 was good, and hope that 2012 is much, much better!

Race #11 of the Season: Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #1

Well ... this was supposed to be our first duathlon.

However, it was cold, snowy and windy on race morning (about 27 degrees, iirc). Given that we haven't been training much ... or, you know, at all ... and don't trust ourselves on our road bikes on snow and ice, we pretty much decided to scrap the whole duathlon and switch to the 4-mi run only option (which quite a few people did).

We bundled up that morning to prepare for the weather.

Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #1
I look pretty ridiculous (duathlon ninja!), but I was toasty warm.

When we got to Cherry Creek State Park that morning and saw a road cyclist wobbling along on the ice, we knew we made a smart decision. Well, that, and seeing transition.

Chilly Cheeks Duathlon #1
Yeeeeahhhh ...

While there were a few road/tri bikes in trans, a few had fatter tires on them (that is, more tricked out for this type of crappy weather). In all honesty, I do think we could have maybe managed, but the other consideration was I had to work at 3pm that day and going as slow as we probably would have, the 10 mile ride probably would have taken two hours and I didn't want to take any chances.

So, run-only it was for us. Brandon started about two minutes ahead of me, but hung back to be able to run the course with me (which explains his slower time on the sidebar). It was coooold and windy and blowing snow and quite frankly, kind of miserable. However, I kept positive through the whole thing, glad I was out there to begin with with about 200 other crazy people who decided to not stay inside on what would have been a perfect day to cozy up in front of a fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate.

Brandon, on the other hand, was a lot more miserable and not happy we were out there. He was struggling pretty badly mentally trying to get through the run. Since I (still) have a crazy imagination, I pulled out one of our snowshoeing stories and started talking about us needing to make it home in the snowy post-apocalyptic world to get back to the dinos of Team Baby Dino. A little imagination (and break from reality) can go a long way. That helped him out enough to make it through.

In almost our slowest-ever four mile run, we made it to the finish, happily turning in our timing chips and headed over for hot chocolate, chocolate-chip banana bread (SO TASTY) and Cup O' Noodles (which, like many other items, tastes REALLY good after a race. every day? not so much. post-race? mmmmmm.)

Time: 48:11 (12:03/mi pace)
Overall Place/Total: 22/29 (run only division)
Sex Place/Total: 15/21
Division Place/Total (F29&UND): 4/5

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Race #10 of the Season: Mile High United Way Turkey Trot

It's near Christmas, but I have to write about a race that we did on Thanksgiving.

For the fourth year in a row (well, my fourth; this was brandon's third year), we decided to run the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot. As we hadn't been doing too well on the workout front, we went into this race with no expectations and only one goal - be faster than our first year (48:26) doing the race.

That goal? Was met.

Anyway, race morning was fairly laid back, since we had the aforementioned lack of expectations. Which was nice ... because after we got to Wash Park and got registered, we decided to make a leaf pile out of the giant leaf carpet that was on the hill near my car. And then, naturally, jump!

Turkey Trot
Leaf jump!

Turkey Trot
Brandon diving head first.

Turkey Trot
Before taking off the t-shirts and running.

After putting away the camera, it was time to go run. Like last year, they had the corrals for the start time and we hopped in Corral 2 (just like I did last year).

Despite all the walkers in our wave (who should have been at least a corral, if not two back), we were able to head off on a decent clip for the first mile. It was slow-ish, but it felt good to move. That's really what the whole race held.

Like the Denver half, I still feel the strength in my legs - I just don't have the cardiovascular endurance to match. As a result, we had to walk right around the three mile point.

Still, for not doing too much training, I was pretty satisfied with the time. It's about my off-season average (or early-season average) of craptasticness, so at least it was a familiarity.

Time: 41:23 (10:21/mi pace)
Overall Place/Total: 3099/7379*
Sex Place/Total: 1368/4162
Division Place/Total: 271/617 (F25-29)

After the race, it was off to home to pack**, shower and cook some for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

*See? BIIIIIIG race. Warmer weather probably helped with the mass amounts of people, too.
** We moved! Our own apartment! YAY!