Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Reflection on 2014

I've been pondering this blog for awhile now.  Mostly, what do I want to say?  How does one measure a year?  How do you determine if a year was good or not?

To figure it out, I've been weighing what was good and what was bad.  Here's some highlights of the "good":

- I got a ground school instructor position with my company.  An important resume builder
- I transferred bases, from Newark to Kansas City.  Much easier commute
- I solidified some great friendships, added new friends, and kicked out some negative people in my life
- I began taking more steps to further my career (ground school instructor being one of them)
- I had some great trips this year (Minnesota and Vegas were awesome)
- I got my finances secure, to the point that we are actively house shopping

But there were some "bad" things too:

- T and I had a somewhat rocky year in our relationship life (not airing any dirty laundry, just stating the truth)
- I became a workaholic for a period of time, driven by money and money only
- I developed some laziness, becoming a bit of a couch potato

But since this is a fitness blog, you can probably guess what is the worst thing of the year was...that's fitness.

Simply put, fitness was not a priority this year.  To the point that my fitness year was the worst since 2006.

I have weighed on why this was, and have come to a few conclusions. 

The first is that I rode the wave of being an Ironman finisher way longer than anyone should.  There are some reasons for this, but none truly valid.  The second is that as the year went on, the excuses for not working out got more creative (work, work, etc.).  Eventually, working out became a chore.  Going to the gym, putting on my shoes to go for a run, dragging my bike outside?  It all became work.  Even in years past, when riding/running/swimming/lifting weights were tedious and monotone, basic fitness was never difficult for me.  This year, even something as simple as going to the hotel gym to lift for 15 minutes became a chore.  Things like TV, dicking around on the internet...these were things that became more important than 20-30 minutes of activity.

Now, instead of dwelling on what 2014 was not, it's time to move on, turn the page, and make 2015 the year that it needs to be.  A lot of people would say that you shouldn't rely on the New Year to flip the calendar and begin change, but right now, I need something to flip the mindset, and a new date on the calendar seems like a great excuse to do so.  Obviously talk is cheap, and unless I put my words into action, 2015 will simply be a repeat of 2014.  So let's talk a bit about the game plan:

- 175,000 meters of swimming
- 5,000 miles of riding (exercise bike and trainer counts)
- 500 miles of running

There's races to be had.  I have three half-Ironmans on the schedule, a couple half-marathons, some other sprint tris, and various other races sprinkled in.  The reason is that racing gives me a purpose.  Racing is why I do what I do.  I love racing.  Simple. 

I also need to improve food.  That's pretty obvious.  My eating habits are terrible.  I'd say we're right now at a 50-50 healthy/unhealthy.  A long way to get to 80-20 or 85-15.  Luckily, if I start working out a lot, that will be pretty easy to figure out.  That process, my friends, will also be in baby steps.

Obviously life can throw wrenches in the mix.  My schedule is inconsistent at best.  There are life goals that will take time this year (buying a house for example).  Most importantly, the chance to further my career is becoming quite serious, and that will ultimately take priority over pretty much everything.  But there can always be a balance.  Always.  It's up to me to figure that balance out. 

To begin the year, tomorrow morning I will hop on the trainer and do The Pain Cave, which is a pseudo-new years tradition.  It's not much, but it's a good way to start off the year. I have a rough gameplan of fitness over the next few days of this trip I'll be on. 

There's a few hours left in 2014.  Tomorrow, the page turns, and 2015 begins on the right foot.

Also, next year, I vow to blog at least once a week, and hopefully twice.  Look for workout stuff, but also life lessons as well.

See you next year!

Triathlete Christmas

Yes, remiss in blogging, but when I'm not doing jack, I don't have much to blog about. I'll do a year-end post soon (as well as my 2015 goals post), but for now ... this.

It's weird being an adult. Christmas presents are barely a surprise and when asked what you want, all you want to reply is, "I dunno, bill money?" The few things I might want (since come on, triathletes always want new gear), I don't want enough to get for Christmas ... especially because those few things are out of our gift budget.

That being said, most of our presents to each other were definitely triathlete-related.

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This is a big box ... I wonder what it could be?


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That big box? Was a second trainer for the house. Yep, Skippy got a brother (or sister) as well as a climbing block to accompany it.

What else is triathlete-y in that pile?

- Ironman sweatshirt (for me)
- Ironman 2XU compression socks (for Brandon)
- USA swim trunks (for Brandon)
- a doughnut swimsuit that yes, says "will swim for donuts" on the butt (for me)
- a BU running pullover (for me)

Simple, and easy. 

Hope your holiday season has been wonderful, everyone, as has your 2014. We here at TBD can't wait for 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

12/8-12/14 - Diving Back In

Oh hey look, a normal-style post around here!

I've taken some time off. We know that. I'm taking more time off this week (stupid getting sick). But last week, I actually kind of got back into the swing of things.

I ran, I lifted ... I got back on the bike for the first time in like six weeks.

On Monday, December 8, we joined our friends Richard and Carlos for a ride. It was easy (read: slow), but it was looong - about 30 miles in two hours. Quite possibly a little ambitious for our first ride back.

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Brandon and I think Carlos's butt.

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Selfie Carlos took (that I shamelessly stole for my purposes).

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Picture I put on Instagram at the turnaround point.

The other workout of note happened Sunday, December 14. Since we're both a bit squishy right now, we hired Richard to be our personal trainer. He'll give us some workouts but we're also meeting once a week with him so he can kick our asses into shape. And oh boy howdy, did he. Neither of us could really walk for two days after (and today, three days post-session, I'm still a bit stiff) and my immune system suffered to the point of me getting a stupid cold.

But we need the kick in the ass and some help strengthening ourselves up, so this will be a fun, interesting journey.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Skratch Night at KE

The Thursday after we got back from Las Vegas, our local tri shop, KompetitiveEdge, held a Skratch Labs night. Founder Allen Lim came to talk (he is HYSTERICAL) and he and another guy from Skratch, Jon, made some rice cakes for us to try.

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Jon on the left, Lim on the right.

It was a very informative night, both with Lim's talk and with the subsequent Q&A. We learned how Skratch got started, the whole point of real food, Lim's experiences working on the pro cycling circuit, how Skratch compares to say, Osmo, and much, much more.

More importantly, rice cakes were made! Both a sweet (chocolate chip and blackberry) and a savory (peanut butter and bacon).

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The white are sweet, the brown are savory.

They were tasty and I am willing to try them training if I fiddle with the insides a bit.

The night just solidified why I love Skratch and taught me that if Lim is ever talking, I need to go, because he is AWESOME.

Quote of the night: "Don't jam it in your mouth if you're not in love with it." - food and romance advice from Dr. Allen Lim

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Race #13 of the Season: Rock 'N Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon

On paper, this is my worst stand-alone half-marathon. Let's just get that out of the way first. I hit the 10 mile point about where I would have loved to have finished the race. But as we all know, things don't always go according to plan. Let's see why, shall we?

****

Training had been ... okay leading into the race. The week of, we didn't run as much as we had planned on. We didn't run before we left and then Thursday, the day we got in, we decided to just hike Red Rock Canyon as opposed to run it.

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Friday was a lot of walking, but we did get a nice morning run in on the Strip on Saturday.

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Super-awkward running selfie. Also wearing our Vegas shirts from 2010.

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Paused at a light.

The run taught us that going ... north? on the Strip was fast and we'd need to be careful with our speed so as to not blow up early in the race.

Sunday was strange, with the race being in the afternoon/evening. Completely threw us off our typical "race morning" preparation, but since we had kind of thrown all true goals out the window, we decided to just treat it as an evening training run (of which we had done several because of the time of this race). We grabbed a baguette sandwich lunch and headed down to the start.

The start? Not well-labeled. We knew it was south of Mandalay Bay, but which way to go? Not so clear. We figured it out, but yeah. Signs to gear check? Non-existent. Given the weird weather that day (chilly for Vegas), we just decided to say screw gear check and keep the few extra things with us (me; RunCO pullover, sunglasses, phone ... Brandon pretty much nothing). Therefore, I was able to get photos with my phone during some points of the race/lead-up.

We waited in our corrals for a good long while - there were tens of thousands of runners and 50some corrals.

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Waiting for everything to start, trying to stay warm.

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Just a few corrals away from starting!

We started off with the plan to take the first few miles easy and slowly pick it up. We accomplished this perfectly for the first five or so miles (10:32, 10:03, 10:01, 10:08, 10:00). We didn't have to walk for the first time until about mile 6 ... when Brandon started to fall apart.

5K split: 31:51

He started feeling some weird pain in the ball of his foot; if you look at the official race photos (which I'm not going to post here since, y'know, copyrights), his stride looks off from early on. He vocalized the pain around mile five and it got worse from there.

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If we were going to walk, I was going to get Mr. Pawn Stars fan in front of this place.

10K split: 1:04:38

Things just got worse from there. We had a few miles in the 11s, but by mile eight, Brandon couldn't really run again. He tried stretching his foot out; didn't help. He retied his shoes so they were super loose; didn't really help. I had him lean on me a bit to help support him and get weight off the sore foot; kind of helped.

A kind runner gave him some Advil which maybe kicked in by the end, but it was slow-going until the finish.

10 mi split: 2:01:42

Brandon wanted me to leave. I was feeling great when we were descending pace and I knew I had quite a bit in my legs ... but we had really reconnected thus far over the weekend and I refused to leave him. After all, he stayed with me throughout the disaster that was the run at Harvest Moon, so I just told him I was returning the favor.

Since I had my phone, we called our friend Nic to help Brandon out. She helped give him some great perspective - there will always be other start lines, this wasn't an A race, etc. Besides, if there's a race that's a good one to walk large chunks of it, it's this one. North Las Vegas Blvd. is usually kind of sketchy (up toward the wedding chapels, and Circus Circus, and Fremont) so that was probably the best time to be able to walk it and be safe and see the lights.

Brandon insisted on running a bit more as the race went on (my guess is the Advil kicked in) and we crossed the finish line together, holding hands, in the same time.

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Post-race. Brandon is dead. I am not.

Final Stats:
Time: 2:55:15
Pace: 13:23/mi
Overall Rank: 18930/25243
Gender Rank: 11123/15862
Division Rank: 2175/2902 (F30-34)

I helped Brandon limp back to the hotel - it was pretty bad - where we showered and tried to figure out dinner. Walking anywhere was out of the question thanks to his foot, and driving was going to be tricky due to the Strip being closed down for the race. I offered to go walk someplace and bring back food as I was feeling pretty okay, but we couldn't think of anything we really wanted. So, thanks to some help from the Bellagio concierge, we figured out that we could leave the hotel property by car ... so we just went to In-N-Out and stuffed our faces. It worked.

****

Worst stand-alone half on paper, but a race that I do not regret. Could I have done fairly well if I had left Brandon? Probably ... but who knows? I also know that I would have worried horribly about whether he was doing okay or not. I stayed by my husband's side when he needed me the most, and to me, that's what matters on the day. Nic's right - there will (almost) always be other races.

November Round-Up

Radio silence again from me, I know. Post-Vegas, I went into the off-season and am now just emerging from it. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down to blog and just ... haven't. You'll hopefully start hearing from me more regularly again though ...

November's numbers suck, but that's because I really didn't do much ...

Running: 36.75 mi
Swimming: 0 mi (0m)
Cycling: 0 mi
Lifting: two sessions (40 min)
Other: seven walks (7:40), one hike (1:00)

Did I do something non-S/B/R related?: Yep, I hiked.

Am I strength-training regularly?: I was until my off-season break ...

Am I injury-free?: Yes, thankfully.

This has been one hell of a long racing season and I needed a HUGE mental break. My plan for this month ended up being survival until Vegas and then ... nothing. Except for some walking, I've accomplished that, and it has been fabulous. 

I have worked out once since December began, but I still don't feel any deep urges to get going again ... although I'm currently quite squishy and some of my work clothes are getting a little tight, so I may need to start easing back into things and hope that motivation comes back as a result ...