Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The little things

I have heard lots of folks talk about the little things lately. I have to agree that sometimes it's the little accomplishments that amount to the most.

With it being summertime I have to wait to get my swim workouts in the evening after my husband gets home from work. This has lead to a downward spiral of evening workouts. I swim Tuesday night, wake up Wednesday exhausted and not ready to do my next workout, I push it until the evening which results in most of my workouts getting done in the evening. Last Thursday was difficult because I had planned to go to the gym in the morning before my daughter's swim team practice so I could run. However, the night before she had a swim meet and both girls were up really late. My youngest slept in until 8:30am and my oldest until 9am. This is basically unheard of from two girls who wake up at 7am 7 days a week. I knew they needed their sleep and I wasn't going to wake them up so I could get my run in. So once again, I pushed another workout until 7pm. I was so not motivated. I told myself I would just go out and run my old loop. I used to run/walk this loop a long time ago when I first started running. Mostly because it was a mile loop but the ups and downs of my neighborhood always made it so that I could never run the entire distance. I figured I would go out and just enjoy the evening, it didn't matter how long I ran or if I walked it, I just needed the fresh air and some endorphin's. Much to my surprise this loop is actually 1.35 miles (I didn't even have GPS back in the days that I use to try and run it!). Even better was that I ran the entire distance. It's silly, I haven't tried to run this in years because I have been more focused on distance but it was a nice little surprise at how I don't need to be scared of hills all of the time! 

Speaking of hills. Since I got my road bike it's only been out on the actual road maybe 8 times. Most of my riding is on the trainer. There is this one hill on my local trail that taunts me both running and biking. I can't run up it or bike up it. Mostly when running because I'm that far out on the trail I've already been running a lot of miles and this hill just seems ridiculous. It's a short one, but really steep. With the bike, since I'm new to clip-less pedals my largest fear is that I'll fall over mid hill if I run out of gears or at the very top of the hill is a busy intersection that needs to be crossed. My other greatest fear was that even if I made it to the top of the hill I might tip over trying to unclip if I needed to for vehicle traffic from sheer exhaustion. The other issue is that prior to this hill it's a slow steady climb before you even get to it. Meaning my legs are already sore and I'm already close to running out of gears. 

Sunday I decided I needed to attempt it. There weren't too many people on the trail yet so I figured embarrassment would be minimal if I fell over, I was 1 mile away from the car and could limp it back if I really needed to. So, I stopped a little bit before the base, popped a Honey Stinger and drank some water. I clipped back in and went for it, and to my surprise I made it to the top without using all of my gears! Lucky for me, there were no cars at the intersection and I made it across safely. Holy shit, I did it! I still had a little bit more of uphill work prior to the lovely downhill all the way back to the car but I got through that as well. 

After making it back safely to the car, I threw on my running shoes and headed out for a 15 minute run. My heart rate was feeling the residual affects of the effort on the bike, but it was all very worth it. 

Below is the Training Peaks elevation graph of that little hill. I must say it is always fun to run down it or ride down it on the way out :) 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Swimming like a fish

I've been managing to get my swim workouts in twice a week now that my pool is available in the evenings. Slowly I'm able to swim a little bit further at each session. I keep reminding myself that it took me a really long time to build my run strength and speed so I have to be patient with myself when it comes to swimming. I've also been able to slow down a little in the pool and pace myself, it's not a mad dash to get to the end of the pool, it's endurance that I need to keep in mind.

It's been fun having my daughter swim on swim team and learning more about the sport in general. I'm amazed at her 1 hour workouts, 15 minutes of dry land workouts and 45 minutes in the pool. I guess I would be a pretty good swimmer if I was int eh pool that much.

Wednesday we had a meet and she popped both her freestyle and backstroke times. She's about 3 seconds away from a a bronze time in backstroke and seeing as how she has popped her time by 3-4 seconds at every meet in backstroke, I'd say she has decent shot at earning that bronze time.

My youngest had the option to participate as a Mini this year, but said she didn't want to and at four I wasn't sure she was ready. I had two different parent's comment today that she should be swimming on Mini's after seeing her in the pool. She is floating on her back and kicking, so we may have two girl's who specialize in backstroke in the house. At any rate, she'll be ready to swim next year after getting familiar with the entire process this summer and following her sister to all of her meets.

Some photos from her last meet.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Summer is the time when most people are in full swing with their training and racing. Summer is typically the opposite for me because I have a 7 and 4 year old who I stay home with over the summer. I also melt in anything over 83 degrees.

Now that my big races are over I decided to use the summer for base building in swimming and cycling. I had the bright idea to plug a sprint distance training plan into Training Peaks to follow to keep me on track and to see if I can find a way to actually get all of this training in. Right, now I remember why I do all of my training in the winter when the kids are in school. Let's just say there have been a few fails in trying to execute this plan. I'm going to keep trying because I have been in continuous training mode since September/October of last year and the payoff has been totally worth it! I'm just going to keep plugging along and try not to get too upset when things don't go exactly the way I had hoped, I do after all have 9 months before my first triathlon.

Most of you know that I have a Forerunner 610 by Garmin that I love. I bought it initially for running since that had always been my main focus. I have been using it recently for biking as well, it's nice that I was able to make one small purchase for the bike and now have some great cycling data as well. The only thing it doesn't do is swim and transitions. I haven't been too worried about this since my swim times aren't hugely important to me right now. I'm just trying to survive the yardage and build endurance. I'm not really in the market for a multi-sport gps watch right now, but I have been interested in and following Bia as they get ready to launch a new gps watch made for women by women. This week they launched their Kickstarter page looking for backers to launch the project. Essentially they need to raise $400,000 by July 13th in order to get the project off the ground. I am fascinated by this entire process. I had never heard of Kickstarter before and it's concept is pretty cool all on it's own. At any rate I decided to back the project and I'm hoping that they reach their goal because I sure would love to have that shiny new watch on my wrist come Spring of next year.

Of course, I have questions and wonder how the watch will work, will it be comfortable? Will the touch screen be too sensitive and where do I put the gps stick on my swim? Ultimately, I am really excited to try this watch and support these ladies who are chasing their dreams and making a watch for us! Which is why I decided to be a backer. Check out the website, there are many levels to chose from and I think it will be super exciting to watch this project take off and be part of it all. You can also check out their video on the right hand side of my blog to preview the watch.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

See Jane Run 5k Birthday Run!

Race bling

A couple of months ago I decided that the way I really wanted to spend my birthday was to run! The See Jane Run always gets me with the chocolate and champagne at the end. The nice part about racing on your birthday is that you have options. I could treat this as a fun run and enjoy myself or I could actually race it and try to earn a new 5k PR. Let's just say I left it up until the very last minute to make that decision.

Since I hadn't been able to get my bib on Tuesday I made my friend Alice meet me at 6:30am so we could carpool and so I could get my bib before it got crazy. While we had lots of extra time to stand around, I was glad we had gotten there early since the line at 8am was ridiculous! We debated most of the morning about wearing our pull-overs or not and finally decided to check them.

I went into this race the least prepared ever for a race. Yesterday was Sydney's Birthday party, followed by time trials for her swim team. Besides being on my feet all day yesterday I was also in the sun all afternoon. Let's not even talk about hydration and nutrition. This is not how I would typically prepare for a race but I wasn't worried since by the time last night rolled around I had it in my head that it would be a fun run and that I just wanted to go out and enjoy the day. And then that plan went to shit pretty quickly.

The start of the race was a bit confusing, I didn't hear a countdown and I didn't hear a horn blow or anything. It was simply the wall of people in front of me moving. Now that I think about this, it probably has something to do with the City or East Bay Parks. I do remember there being lots of noise rules because it's a residential area. Once I crossed the timing mat I quickly found an opening to the left and took it. Oops, guess I should have said bye to my friends or something.

I had a huge smile on my face, it felt good to be running and it was my birthday. This was exactly what I wanted to be doing on my 37th Birthday! Then I quickly realized that I felt good and I was here, so why not try for a PR? If I didn't earn one I had lots of good excuses for why I didn't. Staying to the left of the group seemed to work pretty well for getting around people so I didn't have to do too much zig-zagging through the crowd. At some point I realized I was listening to the Mini-Mermaids playlist (a clean bunch of fun songs for the girls that I coach) so I readjusted my playlist. I headed out pretty hard, probably too hard but I was really having FUN!

There was some confusion on the course, as we approached an aid station there were no volunteers handing out water and I didn't have enough time to make my way over to it anyway. I reminded myself it was a 5k and that I would be fine. When we hit the turn-around it appeared that we would not be returning on the path like last year but staying on the street. This was fine at first as most of us managed the two way traffic, but as we hit the walkers it became impossible, I was getting hit on both shoulders trying to navigate through the oncoming crowd. I'm pretty sure I wasted more energy on this than I did at the start of the race navigating around others. Eventually I gave up and hit the path but then was stuck behind slower runners. It was frustrating that the path hadn't been marked better or that weren't people advising the walkers to stay to the left for the folks on the return leg. Eventually I made my way through the crowds. The last mile hurt, I had a side cramp the entire last mile, which was reflected in my pace. Some pain you can push through, some pain you can't. This was definitely pain I could push through.

With about 3/4 of a mile left I checked my pace. I was still running sub10 minute miles which was where I needed to be to earn a PR. I told myself to just maintain my pace and I would be earning a birthday PR! As I got closer to the finish line I looked at my overall time and I was at 29:45, I knew I was going to earn a PR but I was hoping to get as close to 30 minutes as possible. Thankfully I had it in me to sprint to the finish and pass a few people along the way to come in at 30:12! Shaving 1:14 off of my last 5k PR time.

I certainly had no idea I had that in me today, I wasn't even sure I would earn a PR and if I did I felt like I could shave off 30 seconds, maybe. I guess this means next time I have to go sub 30 :)

My friend Alice - racing 8 months postpartum! 
Mary-Sue and I celebrating PR's!