Monday, December 3, 2012

November Round-Up

November was an interesting month as far as working out. It had some good ups; it had some downs (it's us; we have downs. though that will need to change); it saw the scariest thing to happen to us yet.

Read on!

Running: 10.6 mi
Swimming: 2400m (1.49 mi)
Cycling: 55.8 mi
Lifting: one official session
Other: 20 minutes (at least) of walking, 1:19 of Sportoga (which really is strength, too) and 15:30 of race volunteering.

That last one seems funny, but if BeginnerTriathlete is going to have "race volunteering" as a sport, then damnit, I'm logging it because I did a LOT of that.

Running ... was meh. Swimming was the exact same as October, but actually slightly faster so yay for that and cycling was a nice improvement. We also voluntarily rode up the death hill from Boulder Peak since a friend of ours was out here and wanted to ... for fun. We managed. It was tough, but we managed.

Granted, that month will be the weekly totals in a few months, but y'know. Silly Ironman training ...

Speaking of which, I read a great quote the other day - "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." Well, IM is terrifying, so I think the dream is big enough.

December's plan is the beginning of base-building. We've sketched out when IM training is going to start officially (5.20.13), so we need to build ourselves a nice solid base so we don't die when that rolls around. This also means the return of the Mark Allen lifting plan; we're just using the start of IM training as our "race" (or the completion of the program). Ahh, sweet, sweet structure ...

Anyway, gotta wrap this up so I don't miss the start of registration for the Boulder Tri Series. Damn IM Tahoe making me hover around my computer so I can get us into IM Boulder 70.3 (and 5430 and 5i50 Peak) and beat all those other people wanting to get in for altitude training!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

OMGOMGOMGOMG

I really couldn't think of another title, because ...


That's right, I (well, both of us) are registered for Ironman Arizona next year. November 17, 2013, Brandon and I will be in Tempe becoming Ironmen.

My original goal for this was IM by 40 ... but it's ending up being IM by essentially 30 (that milestone comes next summer). I'm scared, but at the same time, SUPER excited.

Hopefully by this weekend I'll put up my volunteer recap post, but I will say this - walking around everything on Saturday, I felt like I was meant to do the race. I felt a sense of calm and yet it felt like my pulse was racing (even though it wasn't at all). I know I'm going to have to put in a ridiculous amount of work before I toe that starting line, but it's going to be completely worth it. I know that now.

Keep following along, because I need to be kept accountable for my training. Starting in December, we'll start simple base building (since we're totally in off-season fluff mode right now) and then in February, we'll ramp it up a bit more so we've got a solid base for actual IM training when it starts in late May.

Wish us luck, because, yep - you guessed it, we'll need it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

October Round-Up

... and end of month recap.

Monday, October 29: 43:12 of cycling

10.76 miles; average cadence of 74, 14.94 mph average. 29.1 max speed. Cherry Creek State Park ride.

Tuesday, October 30: 28:49.43 of running

2.9 miles for a 9:56/mi. BRC-DTC Halloween run. Done in essentially my wedding dress (so loose corset. also gems near armpit that chafed). Slow for me on that loop, but fast for me right now.

Wednesday, October 31: 30 minutes of Sportoga

Stretching and strength work; one of the bonus sessions from MX12. Totally awesome. Love this workout.

You saw right here how my month went, but here are all the numbers tallied up.

Running: 8.68 mi
Swimming: 2400m (1.49 mi)
Cycling: 10.76 mi
Lifting: five sessions
Other: about a half hour of yoga, half hour of walking, the aforementioned Sportoga, 5:43 of Wii Fit

More Wii Fit than I would have liked, but it kept me moving. Running was pathetic, but coming back from an injury will do that to you. I basically kept my goal of moving though, and for that, I'm happy.

November? Hopefully a bit of building back my strength and cardiovascular endurance. Cycling is already better than it has been the past two months (but that's also partly because a friend of ours is out here and he likes to ride a lot).

I know I won't hit all of my distance goals that I had hoped to this year, but I will do my best to come as close as I can.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recap: Oct. 22-Oct. 28

Last full week in October.

Monday, Oct. 22: 35 minutes of walking

Grocery store and back. Exhausted.

Tuesday, Oct. 23: 18:27.42 of swimming

800m for a 2:18/100m. 2x100m, 2x200m, 2x100m; break in the midde for some hot tub time and to calm down my stomach. This went horribly (note to self: Mr. Goodbars before swim time? bad idea), but I got it in. Swimming after spending a good amount of time in a hot tub also makes your muscles feel really weird.

Wednesday, Oct. 24: Off

Our accountability is awful. That, and if I really want to get into the day: took car into shop, got rental car, friend came over (and stayed longer than expected), it snowed. No real good excuse, in other words.

Thursday, Oct. 25: 15 minutes of lifting

Another room lift done late at night. Crunches, abdominal leg raises, side leg lifts, calf raises, side db raises, bicep curls, tricep extensions, squats.

Friday, Oct. 26: 31 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

Was up way too late the night previous and therefore woke up much too late to squeeze in much else before work.

Saturday, Oct. 27: 25:21.08 of running

2.39 miles for a 10:36/mi. This was slower than the last time I did this run this month, but it was also a hell of a lot colder. My lungs don't like cold.

Sunday, Oct. 28: 30 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

Just to get something in.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Recap: Oct. 15-Oct. 21

This week was a bit more of a disaster, including two off days. Both days, to me, were understandable, but still upsetting.

Monday, Oct. 15: Off

"emotionally exhausted. it wasn't happening. on the plus side, ART appt says I'm good."

A bad family visit that I don't want to get into on here killed me to the point that I had no physical, emotional or mental strength to do squat.

Tuesday, Oct. 16: 16 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

"hey it's something." Happened late at night.

Wednesday, Oct. 17: 15 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

"didn't want to skip this." Happened right before work.

Thursday, Oct. 18: 24:34.25 of running

2.39 miles; 10:16/mi. This was hell cardiovascularly ... unsurprisingly, but it also felt really good. Also the hell hill in the neighborhood? It never really gets easier, but hot damn, it can get harder.

Friday, Oct. 19: 35 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

Was too tired to do anything else, but it was a good session; lots of new high scores.

Saturday, Oct. 20: 15 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

"just quickly squashed this in." Done late at night post-work.

Sunday, Oct. 21: Off

Didn't feel like it was a good idea after the car accident; just in case.

So yeah, not a good week, but I understand it. I also accept and own up to my off days and, quite honestly, don't regret them. This week's going slightly better, so yay for that.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Car Accident

Yesterday, on our way to a bar to watch the Vikings game (sounds like a bad joke, right?) we got rear-ended at a red light.

T's car is pretty broken, but thankfully her and I are ok.  A bit stiff but otherwise no neck injuries or anything like that.  

For being hit at nearly 30 mph, walking away with no injuries is pretty significant.  Furthermore, her Toyota Rav 4 suffered some damage but I think it's going to be okay.  And thankfully, the other guy is okay too.  Although he was really shaken up; literally, his hands were shaking to the point he dropped his paperwork.  We assured him that things were going to be okay and that we were fine.  No use yelling at the guy.

Bottom line is, this blog isn't just about our fitness.  It's about life.  Make sure to wear your seatbelts.  Take care of yourself.  And don't take things for granted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Recap: Oct. 8-Oct.14

Still managing to move. It hasn't been impressive by any means and I'm kind of embarrassed to be posting what I'm doing, but a big part of me believes I need this break, mostly mentally more than anything.

Monday, Oct. 8: 27 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

The original plan was to swim, but Brandon was too tired to do so.

Tuesday, Oct. 9: 30 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

I hate that I consider Wii Fit an actual workout. I only feel marginally better about it because it's an available sport on BeginnerTriathlete.

More importantly, I also had an ART appointment this day for my back in which I learned my hips are out of whack due to lack of stretching. This REALLY annoyed me because I wanted to be a lot better about stretching this year and I failed miserably. This just shows me that I can't ever slack on that.

Wednesday, Oct. 10: 10:55.80 of running, 15 minutes of yoga

Yay! I ran! Only a mile to test things out for both of us, but it went okay. We also took it purposefully slow for that purpose. Also did the running and all sports mini workouts from the Yoga for Athletes DVD.

Thursday, Oct. 11: 18:13.98 of swimming

800m for a 2:16/100m. 2x100m, 1x200m, 2x50m, 1x200m, 1x100m. This swim was a major struggle and I also burped up breakfast, almost puking in the pool. Not pretty.

In other news, I also signed up for MX12, a members-only site/program that includes 12 of Chris McCormack's most effective training workouts. I saw it on Twitter, kind of hated the infomercial-cheesy site, but for $97, figured why not? The workouts look awesome (and brutal) and I can't wait to start doing them. Brandon and I figured that this would be the closest thing to coaching without hiring an actual coach (something that we can't afford). I also put forth a couple extra bucks per month for the VIP membership which includes access to a special Facebook page and spreecasts with Macca. If anything, it's lending itself to be an awesome community of triathletes that I look forward to interacting with more once I get back into serious training.

Friday, Oct. 12: 26 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

Put this off until almost midnight. Hate putting stuff off that late.

Saturday, Oct. 13: 21 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

Also late at night due to family business.

Sunday, Oct. 14: 21 minutes of Wii Fit Plus

From the workout log: "hate that this is all i've really done this week. but at least i did more of the yoga and strength"

Once again, nothing special. Week three so far isn't all that wonderful, but I'm hoping to change that soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Calf Recovery

I've been rehabbing my calf.  It's going pretty well.

Here's the deal.  All season long I've felt a twinge in my calf.  Only once during the season did it force me to stop a run.  So I didn't really think it was that big of deal.  That changed after the Denver 1/2 Marathon.

I was throwing a football around in the park with a friend and when I was running, I definitely felt the twinge.  The problem is, it forced me to come up limping.  I iced it and we tried running again the next day, but I made it about 10 feet before I felt pain.  Ok, I decided, this wasn't going to work.  

I rested it and iced it and elevated it, but nothing seemed to improve it.  I still felt that twinge.  Finally, we decided enough was enough.   With T recovering from back pain and my calf still bothering me, we made an appointment at Cherry Creek Spine and Sport to have someone take a look at us.  This clinic specializes in Active Release Therapy, or ART.  Our friend Steve in a Speedo has undergone this, and it comes very highly recommended.

I met with the doctor who told me this was a common injury among runners and I would recover quickly.  Telling me that I had significant scar tissue built up from 4 years of running, maybe improperly, maybe just the way I run, he explained to me the calf muscle.  He showed me that towards the bottom of the calf, the two muscles come together and unfortunately, blood flow becomes limited.  (I forgot the terms.  Dr. J can perhaps help?)  Furthermore, because of this area the injury is in, it can affect your hamstrings, hips, and your Achilles.  I guess it shows that everything in your body is truly connected.

After some vigorous work that had me groaning in pain (I broke the rule of a massage...don't groan) he showed me some stretches that would help me heal faster.  He said the scar tissue had to be broken down and once he broke it down, I could run to keep it loose and stretch it to keep the scar tissue from forming.  Sure enough, the day after he broke it down, I was able to run a mile.  It was only a mile, and it was slow, and there was some pain, but it wasn't so bad that I didn't have to stop.  

I have been consistent with the stretching and my calf, dare I say, is on the way to recovery!  I am going in to see him again tomorrow and we'll see where we're at.  I hope to be running more  seriously very soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Recap: Oct.1-Oct.7

Week one of October is in the books, and I managed to move every day. I'm still being cautious, so it's not impressive movement, mind you, but still.

Monday, Oct. 1: 15 min of yoga, 25 min of Wii Fit

Did the Yoga for Athletes DVD; running and all sports mini workouts. Wii Fit was mostly balance and aerobics. Stretching felt reeeeeally good.

Tuesday, Oct. 2: 24 min of lifting

Ahh, strength. Just a room lift, but I try to make them decent. Crunches, hamstring bridges, supermans, bicycles, squats, calf raises, side and front db raises, db curls, tricep kickbacks.

Wednesday, Oct. 3: 25 min of Wii Fit Plus

Oh hey, we forgot we had Wii Fit Plus. Games are more fun. We tried to run today, but Brandon's calf (and my back a little) were no bueno.

Thursday, Oct. 4: 28 min of lifting

I left this until way too late in the day. Supermans, crunches, bicycles, wall sits, leg lifts, front and side db raises, db overhead press, db curls, overhead tricep extensions.

Friday, Oct. 5: 26 min of Wii Fit Plus

I'm addicted, I'm not going to lie. Plus it snowed today, so blah to that.

Saturday, Oct. 6: 18:31.09 of swimming

Woo, an actual legit workout! 800m for a 2:19/100m. 2x100m, 2x200m, 2x100m. Ziti burps while swimming are also not pleasant. Not as bad as sushi burps, but still. Ugh.

Sunday, Oct. 7: 16 min of lifting

Almost forgot to get something in! Supermans, crunches, side crunches, hamstring bridges, leg raises, calf raises, side db raises, db chest press, db curls, tricep dips.

Nothing special and the part of me that loves adrenaline and sweat and heart-pounding exercise is not happy, but I'm doing something and right now for me, something is much better than nothing.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

September Round-Up

September was kind of a crappy month, so I'll make this short. Partially because I don't want to dwell on the crappy.

It started off okay - like we figured it would - and then two glorious weeks in Europe. And then our half-marathon where we broke down. Since then, ugh. We've tried to move, but it hasn't been anything spectacular.

Numbers:

Running: 31.87 mi
Swimming: 2600m (1.62 mi)
Cycling: 8.86 mi
Lifting: one session
Other: just over 23 hours of walking, a bit of throwing around a softball, "commuter cycling" (cycle-hire bikes in London), geocaching

Pretty sure that's my highest running total this year, but the cost it came at was not good. Swimming was ... eh and cycling was just one ride to and from work. But we had fun on our trip and life is truly what matters here.

For October, our goal is to only move, every day. At least 15 minutes of something, whether it be running (if we're allowed to; ART appointment on Tuesday), swimming, lifting, Wii Fit, whatever. So far, so good.

I'm also going to try and update what I've done each week to stay accountable; something I think I need more in my life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

An injury. A real one.

I mentioned in my post-race recap that my calf was sore after the Denver 1/2 Marathon, although I didn't go into detail about it.  Welp, I will today.

After throwing around a football last week with my friend Jimi, I felt my calf just wasn't right.  I tried taking it easy, but after crawling on my bike trainer and trying to ride, I made it 2 minutes before the pain was just shooting throughout my calf.  It took that to determine that I am not just suffering from a minor calf injury.  This is something serious.

I took the weekend essentially off, putting my calf up, icing it, and hoping that would fix it.  This morning, we tested it out on a short run.  I made it a whopping 10 feet before I crumbled.  I am not going to run on an injured calf, so we turned it around.

Not going to lie, this really upsets me.  I don't know what the deal is, but I know rest is the only thing that will fix it.  As a precaution, I made an appointment with Cherry Creek Spine and Sport, which specializes in Active Release Therapy.  Let's hope this fixes it.


Race Recap: Denver Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon

Yes, this is coming super late.  I've been bad blogging this year for some reason...

Running a 1/2 marathon two days after returning from Europe?  Might not be the best plan.  I got in one long run before we left for London, and that went well, so after honeymooning in Europe which involved a ridiculous amount of walking, we took an 11.5 hour flight back from London to L.A., followed by a 2.5 hour flight to Denver.  So that's 14 hours of not moving 2 days before the marathon.  :-/

On Friday, we went to the race expo.  This year it was a lot better organized.  We browsed all the booths, stopped by our good friends at Boulder Running Company, and won some tuna packets.  Yes, you read that right.  After that, we headed home and relaxed.  The idea was to take it easy the day before so that we could continue to rest our legs.

Saturday morning, we woke up and headed for downtown.  Like T mentioned, we had to park farther away due to the parking meters being active.  No big deal.  It was a beautiful morning and we were in good spirits.  Very important.  I know when I'm not in good spirits, or nervous, that it generally reflects on the race.   We made it to our corral, saw her friend Liz, and then the race started.  Here we go!

The First 5K
Ok, last year, we definitely took the first couple miles way too easily and it certainly bit us.  This year, we wanted to go out fast, but pacing ourselves.  The ultimate goal was 2:10:00, breaking 10 per mile and earning a PR.  Our next goal was a PR in the 13.1 mile distance.  Finally, failing that, it was to PR in the Denver 1/2.  So those first couple miles were important.

We hit the first mile about 9:50, which was where I wanted to be.  T looked ok, and I was feeling great.  I knew it was a long race, but hey.  Started off on the right foot.

In mile 2, we actually sped up, so I told T we needed to dial it back a bit.  We avoided the first water stop.

In mile 3, T had to take her first walking break.  I didn't mind, because we had made some great time.  I did make it clear that we wouldn't be able to sustain those all race.  

When we hit the 5K point, we were at 30:44, so still under a 10 per mile.  My optimism was still high.


Getting to the 10K
The hill of doom up 17th was a formidable foe last year, and while we killed it, it may have killed our race.  This year, we decided to walk up it.  I didn't mind, and knew if we could tear ass along 17th and make it to City Park, we had a good shot at our PR.  However, along 17th, T started to walk a bit more than she should have been.  At one point, I got a bit testy and she got upset.  I decided to not voice my frustrations anymore, but knew that if I didn't do a bit of pushing, our time would vanish.  Our margin of error was very thin.

When we turned into City Park, I was still feeling great.  I knew I could push it, make up a bit of time, and would be ok.  I didn't know about T though.  By this point, she had expressed some back pain, and I knew she was not doing well.  Earlier, we had agreed that if either felt better, we would let them go.  I started to think it was going to be me this year. 

T ran ahead of me, and I let her go.  I figured it would be a double-edged sword; I would give her a chance to cool off from our previous race argument and she'd feel confident knowing she could push it without me by her side.

2nd half of the race

By the 10K point, she was walking again, and we were at 1:04:00.  Our chance of 2:10 had slipped away and our 13.1 PR was in jeopardy.  However, I was determined to give it my all, so around mile 7, she told me to go.  I was still feeling good, although a bit taxed by now.  I was determined to go though.

I bounced out of City Park and made the turn.  This is another real grind.  You're essentially doing a mile and a half out and back.  You see people running past you, at fast paces, and it's easy to get demoralized.  I kept pressing on, not walking.  However, I was lonely.  I've run every race this year with T, and we had just spent a week and a half in Europe together.  Suddenly, I was without her, and it didn't feel right.  Knowing that a PR was most likely out of reach at this point, I made a decision.  I would walk/run until she caught up with me.  It was not a hard decision to make or rationalize.

She eventually caught up to me near mile 10, and I then learned how in pain her back really was.  I was amazed she was able to keep going, and it inspired me.  I also was going to be the pusher on this day, which I'm not always able to do.  I told my dad awhile back I'd be a better coach then a player, and I still think that's true.

I told T that she would have to push a bit, and she did the best she could, although we definitely did more walking than running.  I didn't mind.  

Rounding Cheeseman park, we came within a mile of the finish line.  T ran as best she could, and I told her cracking 2:30:00 was a possibility, and regardless, we could beat last years time.  She was skeptical, but I made her push the negative thoughts out of her mind and forced her to run hard to the end.  It was fun and crossing the finish line was wonderful.  I crossed at 2:29:59, just beating the 2:30:00 mark.  I shattered the time from last year by nearly 10 minutes.

Post-Race
Immediately post-race, we both noticed issues.  T's back was in massive pain, and as for me, my left calf was very sore.  I have had some nagging issues with this calf all year.  We collected our stuff and headed for the car, limping along very slowly.

Overall, this race has made us 0/2 in the 1/2 marathon.  Certainly our running training was not as good as it could have been (isn't that always the case?) but furthermore, another life event caused havoc on our running just before this race.  I don't regret it, because let's face it, life comes first for us.  We're happy, married, still fit and healthy.  A bad race does not reflect on that, I think.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Race #9 of the Season: Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half-Marathon

Well, it's been just over a week since this race and I'm still feeling the after-effects.

We knew going in it would be interesting. My last run leading up to race day (9.22) was on September 8; a 10-miler that went surprisingly well. After that, a few days off for trip preparation and then 10 glorious days in Europe with no running (despite our best intentions), but a crapton (and I mean crapton; you'll see in the September recap) of walking.

The main downside to the trip happened in London. I don't know if it was the bed or not, but I slept poorly due to back pain. I had some leg soreness (due to walking), but the back? It took an hour or so each morning for it to feel better. It went away in our last couple days ... just in time for an 11.5 hour flight back to the states, a small airport sit and then another three hour flight home.

We got home at around 11pm Thursday night and woke up a lot earlier than expected Friday morning. We got to the race expo about when it opened, picked up our packets and walked around a bit. We said hi to our friends at BRC-DTC and I bought a lighter weight long-sleeve Run CO running shirt. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch, did some unpacking and then our standard breakfast for dinner then bed.

Saturday morning; out of bed dark and early. We were going to park on Broadway like we did last year ... and then realized that last year's race was on a Sunday when meters are free. This year, race was on a Saturday (dang Broncos) and therefore, no free meters. And they'd turn on while we were running and there'd be no way for us to get to the meter and feed it. So, off it was to the suggested parking on the Auraria Campus and the mile walk to the start line ... where I got some nice pictures of the downtown skyline at dawn.

September 22

September 22

Our attitude was nice and relaxed (typically a good thing) as we got to Civic Center Park, dropped off our gear at gear check and then actually got in our corral well before the start, unlike last year. Surprisingly enough, we actually saw my friend Liz as she made her way to her corral.

Eventually, it was time to start. Our plan was to take the first few miles nice and steady, which we succeeded at. The first few miles were right around 10, 10:15/mile which was the race plan. I felt okay in those miles, but not good. I've been starting to feel good starting in mile twoish on most of my runs ... but not this one. Even hitting the three mile point ... not so good.

5K Split: 30:44

We hit the nasty hill at the start of 17th and decided, unlike last year when we attacked it, to walk up the hill (this is at about mile 3.5). I was personally happy about this because I was having a bit of a time trying to get my lungs underneath me. It was early on in the race, but I could already tell it was probably just not going to be my day.

17th Street was a bit of a struggle. Brandon was upset, but I couldn't keep at the steady running pace that he was holding. He can hold a steady pace and maintain; I can't right now. I run at the pace that my body wants to for as long as I can hold it then walk at a brisk pace to get my lungs back and then go go go again. In shorter races, I pretty much red-line it, but at the longer distances? The run/walk is how I roll. Therefore, we stayed together, but kind of.

At mile 5, we turned left on Park (I think) and I hit the one groove I would hit all race. From the turn off 17th until we turned into City Park, I felt awesome. Too bad that would be the only time.

City Park ... was City Park. Brandon felt like he was frustrating me a bit (not gonna lie, he was a teeny tiny bit) so he hung back, just staying in sight of my back. He was feeling okay, unlike me.

10K Split: 1:04:06

Not long after the 10K split, we made the decision to split up, as that was part of our original race plan: if one of us felt better than the other, we'd separate and run our own race from that point on. Since Brandon was obviously doing better than I was, he went off. Before we split, though, he made me take my gel (earlier than I had wanted, but I think he thought it might help me out).

By this point, my back was starting to act up. A little after mile seven, I was walking way more than running and by the turnaround at 17th and Colorado (so mile eight), my back was making it so I could barely run.

I saw Brandon at the Esplanade out and back and he said he was going to slow down and wait for me. That inspired me to try and pick it up and run some more, but it felt like my back was compressing with each step and I was starting to get some soreness in my left hip. In short, misery.

10 mi Split: 1:50:20

(yes, that shows how much I was dying)

I finally caught up to Brandon around the Gu table at around mile 10.5. I asked Brandon why he waited for me; he said that after spending almost two weeks together in Europe and with all our training together, it didn't feel right to finish the race without each other. That, and he knew he wasn't going to hit 2:10, so y'know.

Like I tried helping him push through last year, he tried doing the same to me this year, pushing me to run whenever I could. This was a bit tricky, especially in Cheesman, as the back felt awful and the hip pain started going into the outside of my left knee. When he told me to push, I ran only until I felt the pain going into my knee; as soon as I felt it there, I'd stop. I am not screwing with my knees.

The last 5K was fairly awful, but like I made Brandon do last year, I was able to run from the turn off 13th, past the Capitol building and down to the finish. I didn't necessarily sprint like usual, but I gutted it out.

Final Stats:
Time: 2:30:04
Pace: 11:27/mi
Overall Rank: 5804/8168
Gender Rank: 3483/5348
Division (F25-29) Rank: 809/1117

Obviously not what I was hoping for. Second time I've attempted this race and the second time it's killed both of us. Last year, granted, was more Brandon but I had my fair share of aches and pains in it and this year ... ugh.

Post Rock 'N' Roll Denver Half-Marathon
Brandon post-race.

Post Rock 'N' Roll Denver Half-Marathon
Ugh.

Post Rock 'N' Roll Denver Half-Marathon
Trying to smile.

The pain is really evident on my face in that last photo.

It's been a week later, and I still haven't run. I've swum, I've thrown around a softball ... and that's about it. I tried jogging in place in the apartment to see how it feels and while I don't feel the compression I did during the race, my back still is not all that happy. I don't know if it's due to a weaker core for not doing any core work for almost three weeks, or walking around in shoes with insufficient support, or what, but I don't want to take any chances. My plan is to try running again October 3 and see how it goes.

Beer (and wings and fries and salad) after the race though? That was probably one of the best things all day.

Post Rock 'N' Roll Denver Half-Marathon

Friday, September 7, 2012

August Round-Up

I think with this post I'll be officially caught up on blog posts ... woo hoo! And with good timing, too; Team Baby Dino is off on their very delayed honeymoon/first anniversary trip to Paris and London in four days! That's right; Tuesday (after a long run) will see us off to the airport to begin our journey across the pond for 10 days of food, being a tourist, taking lots of pictures ... and running once or twice for the half-marathon we're doing two days after we get back.

But first, August numbers:

Running: 28.48 mi
Swimming: 4865.76m (3.02 mi)
Cycling: 113.65 mi
Lifting: five sessions
Other: just some walking

Although I posted on a speedy swim I had in August, swimming was generally a struggle. I'd get in the pool, attempt to swim, and give up after 800m. I'd get that dang half-mile in, but it was rough getting there.

Cycling numbers ended up being good due to a few things:

1.) Bike commuting. I was able to ride my bike to and from work quite a bit and that's just shy of 9 miles each time.
2.) Long(ish) rides. I did two thirty mile rides; one with Brandon revisiting the Platte and one by myself downtown to go see the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Running ... was both good and bad. I'm not happy that the numbers still stink. However, I am glad that I've been getting in some long runs to prepare for that silly half-marathon at the end of the month that we just signed up for yesterday.

September's numbers are going to be interesting just for the sheer fact that we're going to be out of the country for half the month. I plan on getting in two longer runs before we leave - 10 or 12 tomorrow with the group at BRC-DTC and then 5-8 Tuesday morning before we leave ... as well as two swims and one ride.

While in Europe, we're hoping to run at least once, preferably twice and ideally three times ... but we're going to be realistic about it, too. We're going to walk a TON which will help some and I'm probably going to try to sneak in some strength work when I can. Swimming won't happen, but if they have B-Cycles (community rental cycles) and it's not perpetually raining, we're hoping to rent out those, too.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hot Run

This summer, the heat has really been a factor in training.  

Thanks to record temps across the west and midwest, where I do the majority of my overnights, running outside has been, interesting, to say the least.  I've done some morning runs as early as 4 am to beat the heat, and even those have been hot at times!  Furthermore, I've learned a few things about my body and how it responds to uber hot temperatures.

I run very hot.  In other words, I heat up quick and I sweat a lot.  I remember when I was younger playing hockey I was a sweaty hockey player, which is kind of ironic when you're playing in a 10 degree ice arena (or -20, if it was a high school home game!).  I also have learned something about taking in fluids.  It's best to take in a ton of fluid the day BEFORE I do a long run, so I don't  get that sloshy feeling in my stomach.

Today, I went for a 7.5 mile run in Wichita.  It was 97 degrees.  About two weeks ago, I did this same run at a 9:52 per mile.  But I did it at 7:15 in the morning, when it was 65 degrees, so we're looking at a 32 degree difference.  Very significant.  I forced myself to dial it back, because I knew I had a long way to go.  I also cherished every ounce of shade on the run and every breeze that kicked up.  I carried my fuel belt with water and flat Pepsi.  Although both got warm, they were very refreshing and kept me going.  

I'd say around 4 miles in, after I made the turnaround point, my body decided it had enough.  I kind of felt like a horse who fell apart at the 3/4 pole and needed a whip to get moving.  I've noticed on hot runs, this happens.  My body breaks down very quickly.  The important thing is to keep moving, even if I walk.  I think about the Ironman that I want to attempt in 2013, and I know as a weaker runner, that if I stop, I probably will stop for good that day.  So it's a lesson in determination and drive.

Running hot definitely wears me out, but there's a bit of pride in it.  While other athletes are sitting inside taking the day off, or are on the treadmill, I'm out there putting in the miles I need to succeed. :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Race #8 of the Season: Tri for the Cure

Late, yeah, I know.

This race was a big one in some respects - triathlon #12 of the career. I've come a long way from the first time I did this race way back in 2007. I've run a lot of races, I've done several Olympic-distance tris and I've done my first half-Ironman. This race kind of sucks in several ways (ways in which I'll describe later), but it's a return to my roots. And, with our decision to solely do shorter races this year, I figured it was a good time to return to this race.

My friend Genevieve, who I also did the race with my first year, also intended on racing this year and that contributed to my decision. However, she ended up not being able to race as she had to be on call for her job.

Despite that, she still spent the night at our apartment the night before so she could go up with us on race day and watch and cheer as long as she could.

As a result, the night before the race was a late one, much like when I first raced this race five years ago. Five years ago, my brother had his house-warming party the night before the race. As a good sister, I stopped by (with Gen, ironically) ... and ended up staying up a little later than I would have liked, figuring it was okay because I usually stayed up that late - keeping with the schedule, you know?

This year, I was waiting for Brandon to come home. He ended up coming home for the night on a Colorado Springs overnight, watching me race while technically at work. I caught up with Gen waiting for Brandon to come home, staying up late but not regretting it a second. I know I race better relaxed and going to bed relaxed would be better in the long run - or so I figured.

Earlier that day, I rode my bike to the expo for packet pick-up and chit-chatted with the higher powers that be at Skirt Sports which may hopefully result in something cool ... more on that if I learn more. Regardless, the chats put me in a giddy mood for the rest of the day and carried over to that night.

Race Day

The day of, Brandon and I woke up early, turned on the Olympic women's marathon for a bit and then as soon as I was packed up, borrowed Gen's car and drove up to Cherry Creek State Park. We parked, unpacked my stuff and got me a prime spot in transition. We then walked back to the car, drove home and ate breakfast and continued to watch the marathon.

(side note: Shalane was not wearing the knee socks ... why? pretty sure that was half her problem ... her power was gone!)

With about 90 minutes before my wave start, we left the house and walked up to the race (Gen decided to drive just in case she needed to bug out). Once we got up to the site, we split up - I went into trans to actually get my area set up and get ready to race while Brandon and Gen hung out.

Tri for the Cure

The Swim

The swim wave came around a little unexpectedly; they were announcing the waves to line up to get ready - I heard the groups before my wave ... and then I heard the groups after. As soon as I heard them call the later groups, I dashed off and squashed my way down through to my wave. Oops.

However, I got there in time and off. There were a ton of people - Tri for the Cure does a great job with the wave starts and organization with the thousands of people that do the race, but that still didn't prevent swim bottlenecks.

The swim itself was an upside-down triangle. I finally had a little space to myself at the bottom of the triangle, but as soon as I turned back to shore, I ran into more people.

This was a little annoying, but I ultimately think it helped me; I think I may have (inadvertently) drafted for the first time in a race because it led me to my fastest swim time. EVER.

Time: 18:00 (785th overall)

T1

I forgot how long the run up from the swim to transition was. Ugh.

Tri for the Cure Tri for the Cure

Yeah, I stopped running at one point. I got ready to ride and then clomped the long-as way to the bike out, waving at Brandon and Gen again.

Tri for the Cure Tri for the Cure

Time: 4:31

The Bike

This bike course is so familiar to me and I knew where I could push it and where I needed to hold back. Brandon and I rode the course a few times to specifically figure that out for me. I felt good at the outset so I pushed slightly harder at the beginning than planned.

The few issues I had were on the shooting center road past the point where the road is typically closed. It was very, very crowded on this section and the road needs repaved. Badly.

It was really hard to pass in this section, there was a lot of clumping of riders. It's hard for me - the Tri for the Cure is a really beginner-friendly race which is ultimately a good thing. However, it's not nice when people (un)intentionally ride tandem and draft off each other.

The super frustrating part of that was they changed the wave starts this year to go by ability level. I'm not a beginner by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn't quite meet the requirements for the competitive wave, either. So, I lumped myself in the intermediate wave which essentially assumes that this race wasn't your first rodeo ... but I know that it was for some just listening to people in my wave before the swim.

So, while I wanted to bomb it on the return part of the shooting center road out and back, I really couldn't do it and lost a bit of speed as a result due to slowing down to either people roadblocks or potholes.

Once back on the main road, I pushed the speed as much as I dared without killing myself, saving some energy for the death hill.

The death hill, all things considered, I did alright. It wasn't pretty, but I did it.

I turned to the downhill section and one of my proudest moments came on the turn at the bottom of the hill - I still managed to make the turn going 20-something mph, which is fast for me ... especially considering I still corner a bit tentatively after the crash (four months later, I know).

I rode steadily back, following the race plan except for taking in nutrition on the bike - I didn't feel like I needed it, so I didn't take my gel as planned.

I also didn't see Brandon or Gen coming back into transition; apparently I rode faster than they expected me to.

Time: 38:40 (17.6 mph, 260th overall)

T2

I got off my bike and clomped my way back to my spot to get ready for the run. Easy peasy.

Time: 2:43

The Run

I'm not going to sugarcoat this - the first half of this run f'ing blows. It's all uphill, there's no shade (well, there's no shade at all on the run) and it's on pavement on the Dam Road with rocks all around you - you run in an oven. Ugh.

I sort of ran the first little bit past the tents (including the SkirtSports booth) and then decided, "screw it," walked and took in my gel.

I ran/walked pretty much the whole first mile which, as I said before, is entirely uphill. I hit the mile one marker at either 10:20ish or 10:30ish; I forget now.

I picked it up slightly in mile two, particularly after the turnaround point where the course started to go downhill. I kept up my steady run/walk rotation and made up time.

Mile three was almost entirely running and almost entirely downhill.

They changed the finisher's chute slightly from the last time I did this race, but it really didn't amount to much. It was just something I remember thinking as I neared the finish.

There was a woman at the end that I came up on in the chute that I tried so badly to beat across the line (because I'm crazy like that) and according to the race photos, I did, so woo to that! I also finally saw Brandon at the end of the race, but unfortunately he missed getting a photo of me crossing the line. Boo.

Time: 30:12 (9:44/mi, 508th overall)

I met up with Brandon and Gen, grabbed some food, talked to Chris at the SkirtSports booth, went home, showered, grabbed food and busted our butts back down to the Springs so Brandon could get back to work.

All of those numbers, though? Added up to a HUGE race PR. A 13:14 race PR from the first time I did the race (1:47:22) and damn near a 30 minute PR from the only other time I did the race (2:00:20)

Overall Time:
1:34:08
326/1971 overall
40/198 division (25-29)

The bummer of it all is that I'm still 4:08 off from being able to race this race "competitively", but it's all good. I'll miss it next year for the same reason I didn't race it last year - it always falls on the same day as IMBoulder70.3 ... which I'm doing next year.

Still, huge PRs are huge PRs. That's the fastest swim I've ever had in a race, my fastest bike split (er, average) as far as I can tell and I'm pretty sure my fastest run. I'll take it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

*squee*

I still have my Tri for the Cure recap to do (Monday, probably, or later tonight), but I just got back from the gym and neeeeeeeeed to do a quick post.

So I swam today. 1000m, nothing special.

BUT.

The speed! I did 2x100m, 1x600m, 2x100m. As I typically do, my first either 50m or 100m of any pool workout I go as fast as I can. Today, I did UNDER 2:00 for the FIRST time EVER - 1:59.58! I was at 800m in 18:18, which is some of the fastest I've ever swam that distance.

Also: total time today was 22:30.19 ... that's four minutes faster than I was doing the same distance back in Februrary. Four minutes! That's also comparable to some of my 900m times from March and April:

23:20.87
22:40.70
23:03.03

I've swam close to 30 miles this year and it's FINALLY paying off which makes me so, so, so, so, SO happy.

Not that you could tell, or anything.

P.S.: My weight was under 165 (163!) for the first time in like a year, so that was nice too. My body decided to stabilize at about 168ish for the longest damn time and it might be finally budging the slightest bit which would be AWESOME.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sherpa Report: Rocky Mountain Tri

As you read about earlier on the blog, Brandon raced his first triathlon without me at the end of July. However, that didn't mean I wasn't there ... I got to be a tri-sherpa!

Brandon already told the story; I'm just here with the photos.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
At the race site the day prior. Notice the elevation.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Snake on the turf leading to the water.

Silverthorne
Bowling pin target practice.

Silverthorne
Fisherman.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Pre-race.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
That small black tent? That's where the swim was.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
From the swim start. The "Run Start" was also the swim finish. Yeah, a two minute walk.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
On the other side of the fence.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Waiting to get into the water.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
"Stupid rocks."

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Gustave the tri dinosaur. Brandon's right behind him.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Triathletes on the shoreline.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
And we're off!

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Crawling over the rocks.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Coming out of the water.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Off to transition.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Getting ready to ride.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Off to go ride.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Best photo of Brandon EVER.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Back in trans.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
On an ouchy foot coming down the very looooong trans area.
Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Rounding the corner into the finish.

Rocky Mountain Triathlon
Crossing the finish line.

Turning 29

Welp, it finally happened.  I turned 29.

I know a lot of people freak out when they approach the age of 30.  I've read and heard the reasons why.  They haven't accomplished enough, they realize the youngest years are behind them, and blah blah blah.  

I'm not freaking out.

I've accomplished a lot in my 20's.  I graduated college.  I got my first "real" job.  I rediscovered my love of being an airline pilot.  I met my best friend and now wife.  I got back on the fitness bandwagon and have run two half-marathons and completed a 1/2 Ironman.  I moved multiple times, setting in Colorado.  I was forced to grow up very quickly, and more than once.  I got my finances under control.  I became smarter and more educated, and not all of it in the classroom.  I have dreams of owning my own business.  I saw new places and had new experiences.  I donated to a political cause for the first time.

Simply put, the 20's, while having ups and downs, I'm not sad at what they brought.  

I have one more year left.  I do not plan on wasting it.  And I actually look forward to embracing my 30's.

Friday, August 17, 2012

July Round-Up

I am quite behind in blogging, but I'm also quite behind in uploading photos, so that's half the reason why. I need to do my photo/sherpa report from Brandon's tri as well as my Tri for the Cure race recap (huge race PR). But first things first before it gets to the end of this month: the July recap.

As always, numbers first:

Running: 30.78 mi
Swimming: 5677.44m (3.53 mi)
Cycling: 66.94 mi
Lifting: two sessions
Other: "target practice" on BeginnerTriathlete (shootin')

This was my largest month running, so that's a good thing. Everything else kind of turned into a fail, though, and it started with my birthday. My birthday, the 5th, for a myriad of reasons, was a disaster as well as the whole week, really. Which really wasn't all that good given that Boulder Peak always falls the subsquent weekend.

Therefore, in some respects, that disastrous week helped with taper ... I guess ... as the race didn't go all that badly, but the problem was the rest of the month wasn't all that good either, with lots of stretches of time off.

I think the issue was lack of focus, lack of fun. Last year, we had one specific race to train for as well as a training plan (a loose training plan mind you, but we had structure nonetheless). This year, we've had no structure. We've also had a lack of fun in life and training. Maybe it was the tight budget thanks to my stupid bike crash and the subsequent bills. Whatever it was, we realized we weren't having fun at all and summer is supposed to be about fun.

Therefore, in August, we've decided to make our workout focus run-heavy (still hoping to do Rock 'N Roll Denver half-mar ... though costs haven't lined up yet) with some decent bike/swim cross-training and I really want to get back into regular strength work. However, we've also decided to have fun - enjoy the last of summer, enjoy the start of fall and not feel so bad if we push a workout to the side so we can just enjoy each other.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Race Recap: Rocky Mountain Triathlon

8500 feet above sea level.

That's where this tri was held.

Silverthorne, Colorado is just on the other side of the Eisenhower tunnel, which is essentially your true gateway into the mountains.  It's a pretty little mountain town, with an outlet mall, streams for fishing, skiing nearby, and overall just a good little place.  

When we saw that Living Social was running a deal for this triathlon, I booked it, but finances being a bit tight, we could only afford to send me.  T said she was ok with that and was willing to be my coach/cheer squad for this race.  I accepted the help.  We loaded up the car after a brief morning workout and drove on up to the mountains.  

One thing about the mountains is its instantly cooler when you get up there.  It was at least 10 degrees cooler in the mountains than in Denver.  It was a refreshing break from the heat we have been dealing with all summer.  We drove into town and just outside of it was the lake (or pond) where the tri was held.  

After some confusion, I got checked-in and we took in the sights.  It was a really pretty view.  We listened to a pre-race brief and checked out the water.  The water was warmer, but the start was going to be really rocky.  Literally.  There were rocks EVERYWHERE!  I saw people experimenting with different ways of dealing with them, and as weird as it sounds, it looked like crawling out of the water was going to be my best bet.  They said they were going to clear a lot of them out of there, so I figured I'd figure it out race morning.  

We then headed to our hotel to get checked in.  Then we decided to explore Silverthorne a bit (I never really have).  We went to a shooting range to squeeze off a few rounds of ammo and shoot some bowling pins I have been saving for such an occasion.  That was enjoyable to say the least.  Then we checked out the outlets, but instead of shopping, we watched some guys fly-fish!  We acted as spotters for them and watched a guy pull in at least a 20" rainbow trout.  I texted my friend Steve in Atlanta to make him jealous, and he was. :-)

Then we went to City Market to get some breakfast foods, and to Village Inn for my pre-race meal.  Finally, we headed back to the hotel and crashed.

Race morning, we woke up and headed to the race.  They said trans opened at 5, even though my race went off at 8.  Because I like a good trans spot, I don't mind being early.  We stopped at a 7-11 and got coffee and orange juice.  Then we made it to the parking lot.  Sure enough, I was one of like 4 people there early.  I didn't care.  Since transition was a long, big thing, I selected a spot closer to the bike out so I wouldn't have to run with my bike forever.  I got my trans area together very quickly and then we went back to the car to relax, eat, and otherwise just basically wait until the race started.

Before the race, I got to play with a dachshund and talk to another couple who was doing their first triathlon.  I encouraged both of them to have fun.  T and I just waited for the sun to come up so it would warm up!

Finally, I got into my wetsuit and left trans.  It was time to race.

I got a warmup swim in, but surprisingly, I was worn out quickly from it.  I didn't know if the clear water was throwing me for a loop, but I was not feeling great after that warmup.  I dismissed it as nothing to worry about and decided I would stick with my game plan.  I wanted to blaze through the swim since it was only 400 meters and get out quick.  Since trans was so long and my swim time would be increased because of that, I didn't want to waste time.

After the National Anthem, I said goodbye to my cheer squad and worked my way into the rocky water.  The countdown was brief, and as I jockeyed for position, I took a deep breath.  The horn went off and I was gone!

The Swim
I wanted to blaze the swim.  It was a 400 meter event, and being that I am a strong swimmer, it wasn't supposed to be an issue.  Unlike Boulder Peak, where I got into a groove right away, this swim didn't start off well.  I didn't get a position that I liked to start, and because of that, I was fighting a lot of slower swimmers to get going.  Once I got going, I got kicked in the ribs by someone.  It actually took my breath away for a second.  I shook it off.

Around the first buoy, I noticed my breathing was becoming ragged.  I hadn't felt like this since the first time I did a tri, so I didn't know what was going on.  I switched to an every-other breathing pattern, but I still couldn't catch my breath.  I then made a decision I haven't done since my first tri: I grabbed a kayak.

I held on, just breathing slow.  I briefly considered pulling out of the race, but as my head settled down a bit, I decided I'd take it at a lot slower pace on the way back.  I wondered what could have possibly been wrong, and then it hit me: I was at 8500 feet!  It's a very significant altitude difference!  I completely forgot to calculate that into my swim pace, and it bit me.  But I was determined to keep going.  So I said goodbye to the swim buddy, and put my head down, and made it to the finish.  Once there, I literally crawled on my hands and feet to the carpet.  After exiting the water, I walked/jogged to trans.

T1
T1 was LONG, but it wasn't my fault.  As I said, transition was very very long and it took awhile to run to my bike.  I quickly got my stuff together and off I went for the bike.  

The Bike
I had no idea what to expect on the bike.  But I knew I'd have to do it without a cyclometer, as I discovered early on.  I put it out of mind and quickly got into my groove.  

This bike was a beautiful ride up Highway 9 and back.  A simple 12 mile course.  Downhill for 6, uphill for 6.  On the downhill, I didn't push myself at all.  I knew that I'd have to ride uphill all the way back, so I wanted a lot of strength left in my legs.  And having learned on the swim that if I push myself too hard, I would be suffering greatly, I kept it dialed back.

On the uphill, it never felt like an uphill ride.  I kept things steady, stayed in aero, and had a very quick and uneventful ride.  I got back very quickly and hopped back into trans, ready to start my run.

T2
I threw on my running shoes and worked my way to the run start, but somewhere along the way, I felt a massive pain in my toes.  It was nothing I've ever felt before, and was somewhat concerned.  T saw me limping towards the run start and asked what was the matter.  She told me that it would work itself out after I explained it and that I'd be ok.  

The Run
The run was going to be very scenic as well.  And T was right!  The toe problem quickly shook itself out and I was off.  

We ran along a creek and some townhomes.  The residents were cheering us on and it felt good.  I was also feeling good running.  At mile 1, I checked my watch and saw it was about a 9:10, which I knew was fast, but again, not sustainable.

Mile 2 wound us through a neighborhood, with the mountains always in full view.  It felt so good and cool.  I was absolutely loving every bit of it, and secretly wishing I could live up there.  Then we ran back down Highway 9 back to the start.  I tried simply conserving energy until that last 1/2 mile, then picking it up.  I checked my watch again and knew that under 30:00 was going to happen, but I didn't know how fast.

Coming around the corner to the finish, the spectators were quiet, so I encouraged them to cheer.  They did, and I roared around the corner one more time to the finish.  I crossed the finish line and hugged my cheer squad.  I had finished yet another tri, this one on my own!

Post-Race
We relaxed and cheered on some other athletes coming in, while we were waiting for my time.  When I finally saw it posted, I was blown away.  Not at the swim or the bike, but the run.  I had easily PRed in the triathlon 5K!  28:04!  

It was a good race, with things to take away and things to improve on, but overall, I was very happy with what I did.

Swim - 12:43 for a 3:11 per 100 meters
T1 - 2:28
Bike - 37:05 for 19.42 MPH
T2 - 4:05
Run - 28:04 for a 9:01 per mile
Total race - 1:24:26