Sunday, December 11, 2011

Marathon Countdown & Blogging Breaks

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it?  I don't think I've stepped away from my blog for quite this long since I started writing it over two years ago.  It's been a busy couple months.  I left my old job as digital marketing manager for a downtown association for a position with a local ad agency as a copywriter and digital content specialist.  Worlds apart, let me tell you.  But change is good, and I've been adjusting to different hours and new routines.  Between that and some wicked shin splints, my marathon training really took a hit.

So, training.  I'm 28 days out from my second marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon.  I'm nervous, a lot more nervous than I was for the Donna earlier this year.  I'm running this one by myself (well, my dad and one of my friends are running too, but we're not running together), and I'm starting to fret about my nutrition, my pacing and my stamina.  Of course, if I wasn't nervous right now, it would probably mean I didn't care enough about it.  I also went through a period of a couple weeks where I just felt burnt out.  I messed up a couple of my long runs, and really struggled mentally with getting through more than five miles.

I've also been pondering the training I've done for this marathon as compared to the previous.  I've really focused on heart rate training this time around, and based on the half marathon, 10k and 5k I've done in the last  few weeks, it's really paying off.  I'm finally getting faster, which is ridiculously exciting.  I've always been a back of the pack runner, but I'm finally approaching mid-pack!

It's been fun being on the same training plan as my dad and our friend, Bdub.  We've all been able to check on each other, since we know what distances we should be running when.  E has been a great support crew, and I know he and my stepmom will be wonderful cheerleaders at the race.

So I'm looking forward to it, but I'm just nervous.  I received my "final race instructions" email this weekend, our hotel is booked, and I'm starting to think through race day strategies.  I know I'm a much better, stronger, faster runner than I was last time around, so I think I'll do ok, though I've had to readjust time expectations.

The new job also means I've switched my running schedule to the morning, so during the week I'm ending my run when the sun is coming up.  Training for the marathon this time around has definitely taught me to be flexible with my training.

And now I'll stop boring you all to tears.  This is just a catch up - we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

FIERCE Marathon Training

Ok, so not really crazy fierce, but I have turned a wonderful corner in my running and in my marathon training.  E asked me a couple weeks ago to define my goal, and to prioritize marathon training.  Did I want to forego work happy hours, late nights and get togethers for  training or focus on training?  Either is fine, but little old me who isn't always good with the goal setting really struggled with the answer to all this.

I've set a goal for the marathon.  I want to run a 4:40.  I know that isn't super speedy, but it's quick for me.  I really want to do well.  So, after some long hard thinking and some long hard runs, I decided I wanted to focus on the marathon and make a commitment that I would really focus on my training.  No excuses.  And it feels good to have made the decision, it feels good to be working hard.

So here's where I'm at.  My plan calls for runs Tuesday - Thursday, with a long run on Saturday and recovery run on Sunday.  Monday is a recovery day and Friday is a rest day.  So,

  • Tuesday night, I do whatever distance is scheduled, leaving a half mile to do 6 strides.  I'm really trying to focus on my form.  I tend to not lift my knees or kick my heels back enough, so this is my time to pay attention to how I'm running.
  • Wednesday is an easy zone 2 run, staying around the mid to high end of my zone.
  • Thursday is speed work and this means tempo.  I *love* this part of the week.  I love going fast.  I know that I can run swiftly, I just can't keep it up for long periods of time yet.  This means zone 3 and getting my blood really pumping.
  • Saturday long runs are just that - long runs.  Keeping it in zone 2 and finding a rhythm so that I remain steady.  My biggest challenge is that I tend to go out too hard and too fast.  E ran with me this past weekend and it made a huge difference.  This was possibly the most successful long run I've had.  It gave me a lot of confidence and really taught me to push through the pain.
  • Sunday is recovery, so an easy zone 1/2 run. It's hard to go slower, but I always feel better by the end of it.
  • Monday I've gone back to strength training, for both upper and lower body.  I think it will help my legs but I would also like to get some strength back in my upper body and core.  
  • Fridays (or wherever I can fit it in) is for yoga.  

So there's my routine.  I feel motivated and confident about this marathon (though I already feel like I want more time!).   

On a side note, who watched Kona this weekend?  What an incredible race!  Chrissie just continues to blow me away, and Mirinda Carfrae was amazing.  Oh, and I suppose I shouldn't forget Crowie's course record!  I still haven't heard - did he know he was close to breaking the record before he saw the clock?  They way he was high-fiving and taking his time coming in make me think he didn't.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charlotte is Still a Pretty City, Even in a Monsoon

After only a few days to settle in after E's Cedar Point full, I packed up and road tripped from Jacksonville to Charlotte, NC for a conference.  I work for a business improvement district, also known as a BID (similar to a Downtown Improvement District, or DID).  This is also why I always capitalize "Downtown."  Most major cities and Downtowns have BIDs, and for the most part, you probably aren't even aware that we are there.  BIDs and DIDs are formed by Downtown property owners agreeing to to be self-assessed for an additional tax on their property values in order to fund improvements in the district's boundaries.  We are often responsible for events, permitting, Downtown advocacy and more, depending on a BID/DID's focus.  Wikipedia has a much more concise definition.  Anywho, like most trades, we have an industry organization, the International Downtown Association, and once a year representatives from BIDs, DIDs, merchant's associations and more gather in a particular Downtown to talk shop, learn and network.  This year's annual conference was, obviously, in Charlotte.

When we go somewhere, we aren't just looking at the shops.  We are critiquing, admiring and speculating over features like trash cans, wayfinding signage, cleanliness, the ratio of retail to restaurant to business to residents, population density and more.  Our mission is Downtown revitalization in this age of pervasive suburbia, so we like to see what other Downtowns are doing and how we can apply that to our own.  It was my first industry conference, and though I handle the digital side of our marketing, which was sparsely covered, there was still a lot to learn and a lot of ideas to bring back.

The opening reception was held at the Nascar Hall of Fame, a place I did not think I would ever darken the doorway of.  While not a Nascar fan, I do have a soft spot for old cars, and it was neat to see the restored grand dames of racing from the 50s and 60s.  The closing reception was held at a trio of art galleries, which was really fabulous.  Charlotte was just a gorgeous Downtown - vibrant nightlife, thriving restaurants and just really clean and well maintained.

A cool pocket park devoted to literature
The downside of this otherwise productive weekend was the rain.  We stayed at the Downtown Hilton, which fortunately had an attached YMCA with a lovely long line of treadmills and a bank of t.v.'s tuned to close-captioned CNN and HGTV.  Thanks to being at a conference in the midst of ever-present rain and marathon training, I logged a lot of time on those treadmills, though all I really wanted to do was run outside through the Downtown streets.  I really love the opportunity to explore new cities on foot.  On the other hand, I have never been able to stomach more than three miles on a treadmill, and I did that in spades this weekend with a 4 mile, 5 mile and 3.5 mile run.  The only downside was missing my long run for the week.  I had a 10 miler scheduled for Saturday and decided to break it up into 5 and 5, due to the way the conference was scheduled that day.  I got in the first five, but in the afternoon plans changed and the day snowballed away from me.

The exterior of the modern art museum
So, it is what it is.  I'm proud of myself for sticking pretty closely to my plan while I was gone. I have a tendency to flake on runs or not plan well for them, time wise, when I travel.  It feels good to know my discipline is just getting better and better!  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Support Crews and Road Trips, Oh My!

Ok, so the road trip hasn't happened yet.  It will officially commence this Thursday at 5 a.m. when we load up my dad's Land Cruiser and set out for Cedar Point Amusement Park for E's first iron-distance triathlon!  I'm so proud of him for all of the training he has done, and I know he is going to kick some Cedar Point butt on Sunday.  I can't believe it's here.  The past five months of training have been an incredible learning process for both of us.  He has been training for this race to support the Ulman Cancer Fund, and Team Fight - you can donate here, if you're so inclined.  It's an excellent cause and one close to our hearts.

We spent most of the long weekend packing - we are taking all our own food with us, so I am making huge batches of our favorite pasta-and-protein meals, and we are also bringing along our microwave and toaster and all other manner of goodies.  In addition to his taper, my marathon training started today!  So I'm packing my nutrition for a long run on Saturday and some runs while on the road on our drive up.  It's going to be a full truck!

In other exciting news, as I mentioned, my first official marathon training run was this morning.  I was out there before dawn this morning, and it was beautiful.  We had rain coming in, so it was windy and a little wild out.  I got inside right before the worst of it started.  The run went really well - it was a nice way to kick off training.

This weekend was also like running Christmas.  A few weeks ago, The Clymb ran a 2XU sale, and I scooped up a pair of compression tights, which got here on Friday.  And, though I felt like a hypocrite, I tried on Nike Free's again when I was at our local run store Saturday and loved them just as much as when I tried them out several months ago.  Despite my vows to not support Nike, I gave in and bought them.  I have been wanting a pair of minimalist shoes in rotation with my Newton's, and these just felt so good.  I took them out on Sunday for an easy 3 miles with my dad, and absolutely loved them.  Being able to feel my movements more even improved my stride a bit.  I definitely have been nursing some sore calves, but I'm loving these shoes.

That's it for now. I'll blog from the road, I'm sure.  We have two days in the car to get to Cedar Point.  Happy trails!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fear of Commitment

The first time you train for a marathon, it almost doesn't matter what plan you choose.  If you're like me, your sole goal is to finish. Sure, you want your time to be respectable, but if you do poorly it's okay because you can always say, "well, it was my first one!"  But your second marathon....oh no, uh huh, no excuses this time.  You've done this before.  You should know better.  If you're doing this a second time, there are expectations.  Both for yourself, and others you tell about this momentous decision.  And by "others you tell" I mean everyone in the free world and beyond because dammit your entire life is going to revolve around training for this race.  So once you've crowed the news of your decision across the social media masses, called your grandma so you can hear how proud she is and told your parents (and in some cases, talking your parent into running it with you) you realize you need a PLAN.

There's just so much PRESSURE.  How many miles a week?  What should the weekly mileage be?  Should you incorporate strength training? Yoga? Speed work?  What will your nutrition be?  Should long runs be on Saturday or Sunday?

I was almost exhausted thinking about it. And in the last two months since clicking the little "register" button on the Run Disney website and paying the exorbitant amount of cash they extract from you in order for you to slap on a pair of Mickey ears and run through the Magic Kingdom, I've "decided" on four different plans.  I felt like freaking Goldilocks.  This one is too short, this one doesn't have enough weekly mileage, this one just doesn't feel right, this one offended me in some indefinable way and is now dead to me....I swear, people probably spend less time picking out names for their unborn children than I have picking out a marathon plan. I've even declared in this very blog that I had chosen a plan.  Only to input it into a Google calendar and decide I wasn't so into it after all.

But now the start date for Official Marathon Training is only a week away.  Next Monday (which is a "rest day," so super anti-climactic) begins my training for marathon number 2.  And I've decided on a plan recommended by the New York Marathon, identified in a somewhat demoralizing  fashion as the "First Time and Casual Marathoner" plan.  I'm not sure how I feel about being a "casual marathoner."  Regardless, it's a good plan. I hit several weeks at 40 miles, have three 20 mile runs and a nice mix of during-the-week runs.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sneaky, Evil Blisters

I haven't been posting much because life has been kind of crazy - with good stuff, to be sure, but there still hasn't been a lot of time left in the day to blog, unfortunately.

Saturday's are normally my long runs.  This past Saturday, I suited up and went out, to a relatively nice morning. Unfortunately, I neglected to pull up my left sock all the way.  I realized this when my Achilles started to ache from the collar of my shoe rubbing one little spot raw.  I stopped, fixed the problem, and tolerated the discomfort of a budding blister for the rest of my run.

Through a series of unfortunate athletic events in the proceeding days, what was an uncomfortable little blister became a gaping flesh wound.  I discovered this (and I think mostly caused it) by roughly pulling my bike shoes off after my ride on Sunday.  When I put on my Newtons to get in a quick post-bike ride, it felt like someone was stabbing hot knives into the back of my ankle.  Sounds nice, doesn't it?  I spent Monday and Tuesday dutifully applying band-aids and Neosporin, letting it air out when I needed it and mostly just being annoyed by it.

Then came Wednesday.  Not one to let a little blister (or gaping flesh wound) deter me from a run (which it had already done for a few days), I slapped on one of those nice, thick "no-slip Blister Band-Aids."  I made sure it was really stuck on there.  Put on my socks and shoes and I was off.  I felt great: my legs were fresh, it didn't feel like an oven outside for once and it was just an all-around nice evening.  I planned to do about 5.5 miles.

A little less than two miles in, I started to feel a little rub.  And then I began to feel pain.  I glanced down and saw that my no-slip Blister Band-Aid (it was even name brand) was poking out of my sock, length-wise, and waving in the breeze like a merry little latex flag.  I stopped to try and jimmy it back into place, but it wasn't having any of it (safety note: when adjusting workout wear while running, try to avoid stopping in the exit lanes of parking lots so large black trucks don't honk their horns at you).  So there I was, cotton from my sock scraping my Achilles raw.  Good times.

Defeated, I cut my run short and ran, hobbled, and skipped my way back home, thinking of all the ways I wanted to punish this evil little bastard that has taken up residence on my ankle.  I see pre-wrap and bandaging in my future.  I'll probably go out looking like an idiot, but I will not let this thing beat me!

Also, if you haven't checked it out, E over at Tristarter is raising funds for Ulman Cancer Fund.  Every little bit helps. Ulman helps out kids and young adults living with the disease, and it's really a great cause.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An Ode to the Run

Don't get me wrong - I really love triathlon, too.  I like the challenge of three disciplines, I like the variety it brings to my training, I like how I get more of an all-over tone rather than putting too much into just my legs.

That being said, there's just something about running.  Maybe because of the three, it was the one I came to first.  Maybe it's because of the simplicity of it; I don't know.  But as much as I love training for tri season, and knowing that I'm getting better and faster and stronger in all three disciplines (the other night I uttered the phrase "I think in the next couple years I'd like to do a half," words I swore I would never say) running has a siren call for me.

The ritual of it - from the simple nights of lacing up my shoes and putting on my Garmin to knock out a couple miles, to the long weekend runs that see me loading my spibelt with ipod and gels and packing a cooler with water bottles, it's just great and simple.  I get outside in the early morning and love the soft morning light that filters through the trees around our neighborhood.  I love feeling part of that community of runners, seeing others out getting in their mileage before the day gets going.

Out of all of the random running accessories that I've amassed (it should be a prerequisite that a home with two triathletes needs a spare room to store all the parts and pieces of the sport), my Garmin 305 and my shoes are the things I look at with the most affection.  My Garmin in particular because it's there with me on my runs and my rides and my walks but my shoes because they carry me where I need to go.  Retiring a pair for a new one is a sad but exciting process.  Bidding goodbye is so bittersweet, even though at the same time I look forward to the new additions to the family.

Currently, I run in Newtons, and I'm a huge fan.  I can see myself sticking with these for years to come (though I might rotate in some minimalist shoes for variety).  I look at my shoes with all the affection I imagine a child holds for their favorite stuffed animal or a dog for his favorite chew toy.  I'm just attached; I like to have them with me (when running is in my future, not in a creepy, I take them to work with me kind of way).

I'm getting all sentimental I think, knowing that training for marathon #2 starts in just a few weeks.  I know I have sore muscles, ice and foam rolling in my future, and many hard hours on the road.  But I'm looking forward to it.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Marathon Training Plans

I've gotten a lot of questions about marathon training plans, what I chose and why.  So, here is the plan that I chose:

I looked through A LOT of plans before I found this one.  For my first marathon, since I didn't want to do the Galloway method, which is what the marathon was associated with, I downloaded the plan for the Chicago marathon.  It was great for a first marathon plan, and it got me through.  Weekly mileage didn't destroy me or burn me out, and I finished, which was pretty much my goal.

For this one, I feel like I've learned a lot, just in the past 6 or 8 months.  With E's training for Cedar Point, I started doing running drills with him, which I had never done before.  Strides, intervals, bridge repeats, I tried it all.  And for the first time...I noticed a difference in my running.  My stride improved, and I actually got a little faster.  Which, as most of you know, I'm like turtle-fast when I run, so I was pretty stoked about this development.  Granted, I know some of this improvement is also from strength training and cross training, but still.  It's made me a firm  believer in drills and not just going out and running, which is what I've always done.

That's a really long way of saying I chose the above plan because it caters to my new-found love of structured workouts.  It incorporates a track/interval day, a couple short runs at different paces, strength training and a recovery day.  It also has a Friday rest day, which I'm a  BIG fan of.  I don't know why, I just really, really like having Friday's off.

So, training starts September 5.  I've been bumping my runs up a bit on the weekends and during the week so it doesn't all start as a complete shock, but I'm pretty pumped.  Marathon #2, here we come!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


A lot of my posts lately have been about new stuff and not really about my training, which is something I need to remedy.

This past week, I had my biggest training week ever, logging 75 miles.  Earlier in the season, almost every workout made me feel like I was making progress, getting better, stronger, faster.  Then it felt like I peaked a bit after my sprint tri, which went so well.  My long bike rides felt slower and harder, my runs felt ok, but I also was barely making it to the pool.

I think I just burned out a bit.  Of course, in a vicious cycle, as work entered a hectic few weeks, I let it take over, so I wasn't working out much, and in turn, not sleeping much either, so I started to feel so tired all the time, and like everything was a bit of a relentless onward march.

So, a little time off, a little time focused at work, and I feel ready to be back in the game.  I finally chose a marathon training plan, so now I have some focus to my runs.  The training plan doesn't officially start until September 5, but I need to work on getting my mileage back a little before that, which has been going really well.  It feels so good to be running more again.

I went out this past Saturday for a 6-7 mile run that turned into almost 8.  One of those where I just sort of misjudged the distance between two points, and needed to stop and get water.  The great thing was, I felt really good.  Being able to stay in the shade for most of the time was huge, it made it so much cooler.

So now I just need to get back to swimming - I've been enjoying sleeping in a little too much in the mornings.  I do still have an olympic distance I'm planning to do at the end of the month!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Support Crews and Birthdays

I haven't gotten a lot of workouts in the last week or so, but I've been distracted with birthday celebrations and trying to be an awesome support crew.

This weekend featured E's first "big day," the first of two practice event days for Rev3 Cedar Point.  It was a heck of a big day - you can read about it at his blog here.  I was official support-crew-lap-counter-bike-hydration-run-hydration-nutritionist.  We spent a lot of Friday gearing up for this and Saturday was the day itself - Sunday we got a much-deserved rest day!

My birthday was last Thursday, and it was filled with great new gear.  E got me a new tri kit, one I tried on several weeks ago that I absolutely fell in love with.  I have a Zoot kit currently, but I've never been thrilled with the way it fit.  Then I tried on the Louis Garneau Pro Top and Pro Shorts.  I felt fast and skinny and ready to kick some triathlon butt!  Amazing how clothes can make you feel!  I can't wait to wear them in the HammerHead Hot Olympic.  Also - I totally love the pinstripe accents.

Sunday I went birthday shopping and decided to treat myself to something I've wanted for a long time:  Lululemon running shorts.  I've always heard great things about their run shorts, and after trying on several pairs, I settled on the Speed Short. They felt awesome and I can't wait to take them on their first run tonight! Look for a review coming soon!

So that's just a little catch up on where I'm at.  I'm close to settling on a marathon training plan - I'm thinking Hal Higdon, one of his intermediate plans.  Hopefully this week I can settle back into a regular training routine!

Happy training!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Random

- E and I went for a swim at the UNF pool last night.  Got in 20 laps straight (ok, it's only 1000 meters, but yay!) and a couple laps with my super awesome new paddles (more on those later).  We were however, rudely interrupted by the pool being evacuated due to *ahem* a "floater."  Reasons not to train when there are a lot of little kid swim lessons going on.  We made up for it by finishing the evening out with a couple of miles on the track.

- Last week, I decided on compression recovery tights (these longer rides really encouraged me to move that process along.  I chose the Skins RY400 Women's Recovery Long Tight.  E was smart and recommended we look on Ebay, and sure enough we found them new for $40 less than list price!  I can't wait for them to come in!

- On an entirely un-training related note, I'm obsessed with the VW Darkside contest.  I'll do anything for a free tshirt.

- I'm digging in for marathon training.  Yesterday, I made a free Runner's World SmartCoach plan, just to see what it looked like.  A friend of mine used it to run the Buffalo Marathon earlier this year, and I"m intrigued.  My goal for this marathon is to break five hours (hopefully lower than that but I'm starting my goals low) and this plan has me finishing in 4:28, which I would be pretty stoked about.  It would also start next week, easy, which would allow me to focus on tri training through September, and then really focus on marathon training. Last year was sort of a last minute decision to do the full marathon rather than the half, so I'm digging the idea of being able to focus on the training for the next 27 weeks.

- Additionally, turns out one of our local bike shops has the Cannondale Slice that I'm so enamored with.  It's a ways out before I have enough saved up for a bike, but man it was pretty to ogle it.

That's all for now!  Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finding Crow

Clearly, this is not me.  Source
Isn't it interesting how a group of crows is called a "murder"?  I've always found animal group names interesting.    My topic however,  has nothing to do with the bird and everything to do with the yoga pose. You see, I discovered crow at a local studio that I attend now and again about a year ago.  I was utterly mystified the first time I saw it.  The coordination and logistics that were required to achieve this pose were beyond me.  I just stared, trying to work out how to make it work.  Needless to say, I didn't even approach this pose that day.  It bugged me though.  I just couldn't figure out how to do it.  I asked a yoga teacher friend to demonstrate, and she did, and I still couldn't quite manage it.

Six months ago or so, while doing a class on YogaGlo, the instructor flowed into crow, and suddenly, I got it!  I even managed to get myself there for a couple of seconds.  Success!  I still couldn't articulate what I was doing should I have to explain it, but I was stoked.  Since my yoga practice ebbs and flows, I didn't get to practice it nearly as much as I should have to be able to achieve, though every time it gets a little easier.  Especially if I have a block to catch my forehead, just in case.  Last night, trying out a new at-home yoga DVD, I revisited crow in a way I haven't in a long time, and it reminded me how much I long to fly.  And also, how helpful a block would have been so I didn't bite it when I leaned too far forward.

All of this is a really long way to say that crow is a bit of a metaphor for me in all areas of my life, but especially when it comes to triathlon and running.  That attempt, over and over, to find that sweet spot.  Even though a yoga pose might be "achieved" when you finally reach it, you've never really conquered it - there is always room to improve.  My second year in triathlon has driven that point home to me, that for every milestone I hit, there is another yet ahead, even sweeter to achieve than the last.  Triathlon and fitness is a journey that I am really loving.  I look forward to getting better, stronger, faster.

And oh yeah....I SIGNED UP FOR THE DISNEY MARATHON.  Disney World, here I come!  

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jax Sprint Series #1 Race Recap

Saturday was my first full (read: non-relay) tri of the season and I was absolutely dreading it.  That damn ocean swim was just psyching me out, despite knowing that my swim is so much stronger this year, and that in general I am a more well-rounded athlete.  So Saturday morning, bright and early, we packed up the car and headed north to the event.

They made some changes to the course  layout this year, and they were all phenomenal.  One change was moving the transition area out of a grassy field to a parking lot, which was so much nicer.  Last year you'd run from the beach with all the sand on your wet feet into this grassy field, making your feet a gross combination of grass clippings, sand and salt water while you tried to get your bike shoes on.  Ugh.

We got there, got bodymarked and set up transition.  Doing this for the second year, and having more friends who have gotten into the sport, we did see some friendly faces, which was nice.  The race almost sold out, so it was pretty packed.  The weather was nice and overcast too, which was awesome.

Overall Time: 1:35:46

Distance: 500 Meters
Time: 9:51

This. Was. Awesome.  Last year, the swim for me was characterized by hyperventilating, back stroking, doggy paddling misery.  This as a cucumber.  I started on the inside in the thick of the pack, whereas my strategy in past years was to start on the outside right, so I would have fewer people around me. Worked out great.  All the swimming has been paying off.  I'm so much more confident in my stroke and my breathing that I was able to just go out and do it.  In fact when I passed buoy 3 of 4, I couldn't believe I was that far - it felt so short!  It helped that the ocean was really glassy.  I shaved 3 minutes off my time from last year, and I probably could have pushed even harder.  

Time: 3:08

WTF, was I eating a sandwich?  Taking a leisurely stroll?  I ran into transition, but once there, not practicing transition since last year was evident.  I had an added step of putting my bondi band on, but in general, I just moved really slow.  A lot of "Oh yeah, I need my gels" and "oh, gotta put my sunglasses on."  Clearly, T1 needs some work.  I really could have gotten this down and reduced my overall time.

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 50:46
Avg. Speed: 18.9 mph

I can't begin to say how good this felt.  Since I didn't blow up on the swim like I have in the past, I was actually in good shape going into the bike.  It felt so easy, like I was trying to figure out where the wind was coming from because I just felt like I was sailing along.  They bumped the course up to 16 miles this year, from 10 miles the previous year, which I think worked in my favor.  I like the longer Olympic distance because I can settle into each leg a bit, and the longer bike allowed me to do that.  Stoked about my speed.  I pushed it, but it didn't feel brutal it just felt like - wait for it - I was moving like a well oiled machine.

Time: 1:53

Better than T1 obviously, but still a bit slow.  I don't have Yankz or anything on my Newtons, and they have longish laces, so it took me a hot minute to get them tied.  I was able to run in from the bike dismount; my legs felt really fresh.

Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 29.48
Pace: 9:56

I did this race without my Garmin, using just my sport wristwatch so I had a basic grasp of total time.  I felt like I was moving really slow.  They changed the run course this year, thank god.  Last year, it was hot hot hot.  No shade and this course that felt like forever, even though it was only 3.1 miles.  Lots of turns that you thought would be the final one.  This year, they re-engineered it a bit, so it went by much more quickly.  As a fun gesture, since it's typically so warm, they went door to door prior to the race and asked the people who lived along the course to set up sprinklers so there was a nice shower.  Really though, with the cloud cover, the day remained blessedly cool.

So there you have it, folks.  I'll post pics when I get them.  I'm no reinvigorated for racing and for triathlon!  In the meantime, I've been oggling this:

and this:
Both are way out of my price range, but now I know what to save for!

And one last note - I have compression socks, but I want to go full bore and get compression tights.  I'm split between Skins and 2XU, but am open to suggestion.  Any thoughts?

Happy training!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

*Cough* *Hack* Sick of this Smoke!

If you haven't heard, large portions of Florida and Georgia are on fire.  To date, we have something like 400 wildfires burning in the area, meaning that everyday we are enveloped in thick smoke and the news is full of air advisory warnings.  This is really throwing a wrench in outdoor training, though we've been lucky enough to start early in the day when the smoke is least bad.  It seems to really come in later in the morning.  It's getting to the point where Downtown (I work for our Downtown association) looks like a zombie movie in the making.  As I look out my office window everyday, I can see the streets becoming smokier and smokier - and on days when it's really bad, like today, it seeps into the office, causing watery eyes, runny noses and a general feeling of sensory irritation.  Walking outside in the morning, there is always a fine layer of ash covering cars.

The road where we do our Sunday long rides also experienced quite a bad fire, which is thankfully out now.  Riding along the road, which is a coast road, is sobering though, with the ocean on one side and the other side a charred wasteland that stretches on for a few miles.  You can taste the flavor of acrid, burning wood as you pass it.  I've resisted the urge the last few weeks to stop during my ride to take pictures.  I'm moved to both document it but also just to mourn it.  I know that wildfires are a cycle, but it makes me sad to think that places like Okefenokee Swamp are in danger of burning completely.

Living in Florida, you can pretty much train year round outside.  This time of year, when it's 100F out during the day, and still 80F before the sun comes up, the heat is something to deal with.  But this is new, this inability to go outside really.  It's weird to not be sure if you can run outside because the smoke might not dissipate by the evening.

I wanted to post pictures, but Blogger is being stubborn.  I've never quite seen anything like this.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dream a little dream...

Blogging has been...tough lately.  I feel like I've lacked the mental energy to compose, or think about my workouts  in a linear enough fashion to blog them.  That said, I've had some really great training lately and some not-so-great training.  But I suppose through the long rides on the bike, the miles on the run and the laps in the pool, I've really been thinking about what I want to accomplish.

I think of all the things that once seemed impossible to me or inconceivable.  Making any money from writing was one of those things, and that's changed entirely.  Getting yoga teacher certification seemed a million light years from anything I could do, yet now I know I just have to settle on a home studio and make the commitment, whether that is now or a year from now.  I would never have thought I could run a marathon, but I did, and am seriously considering signing up for the next one.

So, things I want to do - maybe these are more of a bucket list?

- Become a certified yoga instructor.  I don't know that I necessarily would want to teach on a regular basis, but who knows?
- Make the lion's share of my income from my writing.
- Maybe BQ?  That one still seems a little out of reach :)
- Train, train, train.  I've really enjoyed devoting a significant portion of my life to fitness, and to making healthy living a lifestyle, so it's something that I look forward to incorporating even more of over the years.

In other news, I have a new favorite shirt:
Sometimes I can feel the nerdiness seeping right out of my pores
Also, my porch herb garden is coming along fabulously.  I made lasagna the other night and added fresh basil and tarragon from little porch garden and it really brightened up the sauce.

And lastly...I went on my longest ride ever weekend before last and it was EPIC.  Training overall has really been great.  This weekend is my first tri of the season.  Hoping my swim has improved!  

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Newest Obsession and Deciding on Races

This is going to sound a bit sad, but my newest obsession - my herb garden.  I suppose I should clarify that by saying it's more of what is evidently called a "container garden."  We live in a condo, on the third floor, so our outdoor space is limited to a screened-in  porch, which is a decent size.  Late last year, I started growing basil, to supplement the amount we were buying since we both have a fondness for pesto.  I also started some oregano and cilantro from seeds.  However, winter came, we traveled, and my poor little plants died.

Now, I've started again.  My boss brought in some basil seedlings from her garden, grown in composted soil with seeds dried from a previous year's crop.  So I planted them and they took off!  They are huge!  This reinvigorated my desire to be some sort of earth mother type with an extensive collection of home dried herbs and fresh plants to cook with.

Today I realized it was an obsession when I took inventory of what I have (and what I have coming, because I may have ordered this kit of seeds from Amazon): Basil, sage and lavender, plus oregano, chamomile and cilantro seedlings sprouting.  Oh yes, and I also have a creeping fig that I thought was pretty when I was at the local garden store last weekend.
So anyways, that's my little rant on my growing container garden.

In other news, I'm looking forward to doing a sprint tri relay this weekend!  My dad is swimming, E is biking and I am running.  I've never done this series, the BFAST, but I'm looking forward to it.  Amazing how much more excited I am when I know there is no ocean swim involved!

Also, while I haven't officially signed up, I'm thinking I'm going to do the Disney marathon in January.  Which means if I've chosen my marathon, what tri do I want to do?  There is one semi-local, called the Amelia Man, which is a possibility, and that takes place October 16.  For that, I'm just a little sketchy about that long of an ocean swim when I'm still freaked out by sprint ocean swims.  So, I don't know.  I should probably have all these things decided by now!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Awesome Training Weekend

I'm finally feeling back in the training groove and feeling like I can start to see pay offs.

- Ran speed drills last night and was actually picking up my feet!  I am a notorious shuffler when I run, and last night felt like my hammies and glutes were actually communicating with my quads and calves.  Inordinately excited about this.
- Ran bridge repeats on Tuesday.  While it was tough (humid and major car exhaust) I really enjoyed it.  I never used to feel like I could really push myself, and I am gaining so much confidence in my abilities.  It was so fun to huff and puff my way up the bridge.  Plus, I recover more quickly now which I think also helps a lot!
- I did my longest ride of the season so far, 32 miles, last Sunday.  I was able to keep my speed up and my legs felt great the whole time.  Happy day!
-  I spent my day off on Monday relaxing and putting new plants on our porch.  I've now got basil, a creeping fig, sage and seeds planted for cilantro and oregano.
- Bondi Band is also sending me a headband to review AND one to give away, so stay tuned for that!  (I'm wearing my "Wanna race?" Bondi Band in the pic below!)

Post-run, pre-sunset on Sunset Cliffs
So this is short, but happy Friday everyone!  Hope everyone has a great weekend of training and relaxation!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What a Vacation...well, not really

I didn't get the "hold the bouquet at your hips" memo
Vacation from blogging is more like.  I've just been...burnt out.  One of my great friend's got married a little over a week ago, and I was her Maid of Honor.  It's been a roller coaster of bridal shower, bachelorette party and all kinds of other activities.
On a more sad note, E's grandma passed and we went to San Diego for her memorial service week before last.  You may know already know him from Dailymile, but he is training for Rev3 Cedar Point and has joined Team Fight in her honor.  He's also blogging about the experience.
I've also picked up even more freelance work, plus my day job and with all that and training I've just been plum burned out.  All I've wanted to do is sit and read.  This past weekend felt like a little bit of recovery and this coming weekend is a three-day weekend - YAY!  I do believe next Monday will find me doing absolutely nothing.  Pretty excited about that, if you can't tell.  I've just had that constant feeling of treading water and not getting anywhere.
We did get out for some runs while in San Diego.  We went for a run on Sunset Cliffs, which in the two times I have been there is turning into one of my favorite places to be.  Like Muir Beach outside San Francisco, it represents everything to me I've always thought of when I think of the sea.  I know, I grew up in Florida, at the beach, but we have these flat, sandy beaches, which are lovely.  But I've always thought of the ocean in much more romantic terms; I wanted the waves crashing onto jagged rocks, sheer cliffs, hidden tide pools and caves...personality, I guess.  Our beaches here are flat and unchanging, ocean on one side, dunes on the other.  I grew up with all these old fashioned black-and-white British movies with widow's walks and secret tunnels.
The Uninvited, 1944
So anyways, Sunset Cliffs.  It was really a great night.  We ran along the cliffs and into Ocean Beach, finishing up at the cliffs to stop and watch the sunset.  It was just a stunning place to run, and a place where a lot of people are really active.  You run on these skinny, sandy paths and there are these huge, beautiful homes to one side and then the sheer cliffs and ocean to the other.  Amazing.   After that, we changed and headed over to Ocean Beach for some delicious sushi.  It was a really nice night.
We were also able to run in the hills around our hotel. This Florida girl felt those hills.  Even the slights grades were hell.  I guess this means I should start doing bridge repeats, because let me tell you, it was a little sad.
After that, I missed several days of training due to the wedding and life, but now I feel back on track!
This weekend, I had an amazing swim - 1000 meters without stopping!  I got in a nice 5 mile run and a 27 mile bike.  I am a happy (albeit sore) girl.

And congrats to Meghan over at Triathlete in Training for finishing her very first tri!

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Hate Being Sick

Wednesday my throat felt a little sore - I chalked it up to post-nasal drip.  Thursday, it was more of  a scratchy feeling, and I felt sort of fatigued.  I downed some Nyquil last night and went to bed, hoping to stave off what I was sure was an oncoming cold.  I was right about the cold, wrong about being able to stave it off.  I woke up this morning feeling pretty crappy.

So I've embarked on a regimen of feel-better stuff.  Generic Dayquil: Check. Immune System-boosting Green Tea: Check. Spicy Feel-Better Lemon Ginger beverage: Check.  Unpictured: Wellness pills, Nyquil, Multi-vitamin.

In other more interesting, less whiny news, training has been going really well.  I'm still loosely following E's full distance training plan.  Loosely as in I'm doing the workouts at the same day and time, but I"m not necessarily doing the distance, speed, etc. required.  But it's great!  I've been sticking to it, I am starting to be able to see my abs again, which is super exciting.  Weight wise, I lost two pounds the first week, and have held steady the last two weeks (I'm actually willing to believe some of this might be muscle gain).  I had a fabulous swim on Tuesday, and every run the Newton's feel better and better.

What great active stuff does everyone have planned for this weekend?  Any races?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Great Weekends...

It's amazing how quickly time flies when you're having fun!  Last week was a lot of training, a lot of day-job work and freelance work and life work.

This past Friday, I took my first "rest" day in two weeks.  Two weeks!  I'm so proud of myself.  That kind of fitness is a streak I need to keep up.  And I say "rest" day since it wasn't so much intentional as it was that a great friend of mine is getting married soon, and I am her maid of honor and it was her bachlorette weekend!  So, the dancing, drinking, eating, laughing, gossiping good times started Friday afternoon and ended Saturday afternoon after a relaxing morning spent chatting and enjoying the roof-top hot tub and pool deck.  I came home Saturday afternoon, showered, unpacked, and promptly collapsed onto the couch.  I felt so old; I don't go out like I used to, and don't drink like I used to.  But despite my surpassing my normal 10 - 11 p.m. bedtime by several hours, I think I managed to hold my own and it was great spending some time with the girls.  We all agreed we don't do that enough.  I did miss getting in gym time on Friday and I really missed my Saturday long run, but it was definitely well worth it.

So thoroughly rested, this morning we got up before the sun and went to the beach for one of E's favorite traditions, the sunrise Easter service.  I'll admit, given my early morning workouts, I thought this would be the year the pre-dawn wakeup call would not see me stumbling around, bleary eyed, clutching my redbull can like it's my only tie to consciousness, but I was wrong; it was exactly like that.  Maybe next year I'll manage to be chipper.

After the service, we came home and rounded up our bike gear.  E had a three hour ride on the agenda, while I was planning on doing around 25 miles, followed by a short run.  I know I need to start getting my legs used to moving after the bike again.  And let me just say, today's bike was awesome.  I pushed it over the bridge, keeping my speed and cadence up, and enjoyed the rest of the ride.  My goals for myself today were to work on things that I'm not too great about on the bike, namely taking in nutrition and water, and also getting really twitchy at busy traffic crossings because they make me so nervous.  I'm proud to say I was good at all three!  I was very proud of myself.  I got back to the car, got in a little-over-a-mile run/walk and then got to the best part of the morning (well, maybe not best, my ride was pretty awesome), throwing on my swimsuit and hitting the beach.  It was a great, relaxing way to end a wonderful weekend.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Love New Toys

So, this weekend was pretty exciting.  I've needed new shoes for a while, but couldn't decide what I wanted. I was split between going with something minimal or Newtons.  I almost went with Newton's when I got new shoes last year, but I was a little afraid; running was still something I was on the fence about and hadn't learn to love yet or trust myself with - like now!

Anways.  Saturday, we hit up Jax Running Company and my personal favorite, 1st Place Sports.  I started with Jax Running because while 1st Place carries Newtons, they only started to recently, and Jax is pretty knowledgeable about the line.  Between the two stores, I tried out several different shoes.  After all the reading on minimal footwear, it was really interesting to take them out for a spin.

Newton Neutral Racer: From Newton's website:  Newton Running's top-of-the-line neutral performance racer is the ultimate shoe for Natural Running. Engineered for speed, distance and performance, it is the ultimate "PR in a box." With a level platform construction and Action/Reaction Technology™, this lightweight, high mileage racer gets you to the finish line faster and with greater efficiency, quicker recovery and less overuse injuries (like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis). Recommended for any distance just like its complimentary training partner, the Neutral Performance Trainer.

Light and fast, this was a cool shoe.  The Newton's are definitely a different breed of shoe, but my stride felt great.

Saucony Kinvara:  From the Saucony Website: RUN - Neutral.  Neutral running shoe that allows your foot to run uninhibited, lightweight, flexible.  Minimal midsole construction with protection from the pavement.

I've been really curious about these.  They were super light and flexible, however, while I favor a wide toe box (I run in Saucony ProGrid Ride's right now and love them) this toe box felt huge.  While the shoes were the right length (size), I felt like there was too much shoe flopping around from mid-arch to the toe.  From a minimal perspective, I can see why people love them, they were just a little too wide for me.

New Balance 10:  From the New Balance Website - Minimus is a whole new approach to footwear, inspired by Good Form Running and designed to be worn with or without socks. The Minimus Road running shoe is engineered for use on pavement and other varied running surfaces. Supremely comfortable and extremely lightweight, the WR10 is taking the running world by storm. 

These shoes looked really cool, and they were definitely thin soled - it did feel rather like running barefoot.  However, it didn't feel like it fit my foot right.  There's arch support, but it felt like it met my arches in the wrong spot, and like my foot wasn't exactly the shape it should be to fit in their toe box.  Those with narrower feet might do better in these.

Nike Free:  From the Nike website:  The lightweight Nike Free 3.0 v2 Women's Running Shoe offers the extraordinary feel and natural movement of barefoot training—without sacrificing support, cushioning, underfoot protection or traction. 

Had I not gotten the Newton's, these would have been the pick.  They were light, flexible, and felt like they moved with my foot in all the right ways.  I took them around a couple of times, and just liked the overall fit and feel.

Ultimately, I got the Newton Neutral Performance Trainers.  And I love them.  They just felt right when I put them on.  From Newton's website:  Newton Running's top-of-the-line neutral performance trainer is the ultimate shoe for Natural Running. Get a fast, flexible ride with greater energy return and less impact. The 2010 model has enhanced durability in the heel, a new high-rebound midsole material and improved upper fit. This shoe allows you to run naturally — faster with greater efficiency and less overuse injuries (like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis). Recommended for any distance just like its complimentary race-day partner, the Neutral Performance Racer.

I took them for a quick spin yesterday, post-bike.  My knee was a little funky and it was my first time running off the bike this year.  I'm looking forward to tomorrow night, which is my next run.  Can't wait.

In other cool news, I just got these in the mail:

Sweet, sweet Daily Mile stickers.  I don't know where to put them!

On a final note, congrats to everyone who raced this last weekend and at Boston today!  Awesome job, everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gear and the Big Day

As a continuation of my last post on what to wear in triathlon, it also got me thinking about things I did or didn't need for my first tri, and also all the little things I had to learn!

E had actually done a sprint triathlon a couple months before I did my first one, so that taught me a lot about what gear you need to take, setting up the transition area and how the whole day works.  I discovered that at least for the first couple of times, checklists are uber-helpful.  Or just running through each portion of the race in your head.

My checklist looked something like this (keeping in mind this is really for sprint, maybe olympic, distance...the higher distances come with much bigger lists!):

  • Swim cap (usually provided with your packet)
  • Goggles
  • Helmet
  • Gloves (though for shorter distances, some people do without)
  • Sunglasses
  • Body Glide (as needed)
  • Shoes (you never know)
  • Water bottles
  • Gel(s), chews, etc.
  • Socks (if you wear them with your bike shoes.  If not, move this to the run).
  • Hat/cap/visor/headband.  Whatever you wear to keep your noggin protected from the sun.
  • A small towel to put all your gear on in the transition area.
  • An extra water bottle to rinse your feet or towel to wipe your feet off if you need to.  Sometimes the trek from the swim exit to the transition area can contain a lot of sand/grass/grime or overall dampness that is not pleasant when you're trying to put socks on.
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • A t-shirt and shorts to throw on post-race.
  • An extra bath-sized towel in case there is a place to rinse off or if you want to dry off, post-race.
  • Race number and race belt

Tips for the night before:

  • Do your goggles need an extra dose of anti-fog?  Do that early evening so they have time to dry.  
  • Will you get up at the last possible second since these things start so darn early?  Lay out your breakfast the night before, or figure out what you'll take with you on the go. 
  • Try to get a good night's sleep, even if it is tough because you're excited about the race.  :)
  • Put your bike number on your bike.  If you're anal retentive like our household is, it needs to be lined up just right.  It can be a bit of a pain.
  • It's also a quick time-saver to attach your race number to your race belt and pack them together.
  • Relax!  Tomorrow's the big day! 
  • Maybe this tip will be too girly, but I've run into this once or twice.  When you get there, they body mark you, which means writing in giant sharpy on your arms and legs.  If you're the type that gets embarrassed by a stranger feeling your legs if you haven't shaved in a couple days...well, take care of that.  Hey, it will help you on the swim and the bike!
  • Numbers:  You get three.  One for the front of your helmet, one for your bike and one for our race belt.  I've also occasionally gotten a fourth one that you can stick on your race bag. 
I don't think I forgot anything.  Comment and let me know what tips you have for someone doing their first race!

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    What to Wear in Triathlon

    Meg over at Triathlete in Training has her very first sprint tri coming up and asked me to do a blog post about what to wear in a tri.

    I did my first triathlons last year, and between my introduction to the sport and my boyfriend's training for a 70.3, we spent a lot of time on tri websites, in tri stores, etc., researching, examing, trying on and talking to seasoned triathletes.

    Sample Tri Suit
    The first thing I discovered is that true tri clothing is ridiculously expensive.  Like a pair of shorts is my total clothing budget for the month.  I work for a nonprofit, so I'm not exactly rolling in dough, and even though I know this stuff lasts for a long time, that's a lot to shell out at once, especially when you are also starting to get things like shoes and pedals and all the random gear that goes along with being a triathlete.  We athletes do love our gear, don't we?

    Anywho, what I learned was that there are a few different options for those of us of the female persuasion.  You can go with a tri top (usually a tank top, sleeveless or raceback) or a bikini-type tri top.  For bottoms, there are tri shorts of different lengths (I've found I prefer the shorter ones) that have a thinner chamois than a standard cycling chamois, plus you can swim and run in them, and they dry quickly.  They also make bikini-style tri bottoms.  Or, if you're more of a one piece person, you can get a tri suit, which are definitely pricier, but rival the comfort of a cycling bib and you're not fussing with anything riding up or down.

    I also learned this stuff runs small.  I usually wear a small, and I'm more of a medium in tri clothing.  All the manufacturers are a little different.  If there is a tri store near you where you can try on a couple different brands, it's worth the time to figure fits best, and what feels best.

    This is clearly not me.  Just the shorts I got.

    So, after researching, I decided my best option would be to find something on clearance.  Since most tri companies put out a new line every year, with slightly different styling, they clearance the previous year's merchandise.  It takes a little more work than buying straight off the shelf (thank god for the internet) but you can usually, eventually, find a matching kit for half to 2/3s the price of it new.  I really like All3SportsTriathlon LabTriSports and really if you just google, there are a lot out there.  

    As a side note - don't wear anything underneath this stuff and use bodyglide where applicable.

    Ultimately, I'm glad I made the investment in tri clothes.  I knew I would be doing a few - I wanted to make sure I was comfortable, wearing something that would dry quickly and help keep me cool, and while it might sound silly, I wanted to look the part.  I knew I would feel uncomfortable the whole time if I looked like it was my first time (or second, or third...).  Plus, spending the money on the clothes was somewhat of a commitment to the sport for me.

    What is your favorite thing to wear when you're racing?

    Next up - accessories.  

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    By Special Request

    For those other quote collectors out there, here are a few of my favorites (though my favorites do change according to my mood).  What are some of yours?  

    Note:  I may have had trouble choosing just a few.

    "There is a language older by far and deeper than words. It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone. It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory. We have forgotten this language. We do not even remember that it exists."
    --A Language Older Than Words by Derrick Jensen 

    “Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes”
    --Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera

    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
    -- Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 1962, Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

    “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep”
    -- Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost

    “Some people are just born with tragedy in their blood”
    --Donnie Darko

    “We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes”
    --Madeline L'Engle, The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth (1993)

    “When women let their hair down, it means either sexiness or craziness or death, the three by Victorian times having become virtually synonymous”
    --Margaret Atwood

    “What surprises me about humanity is that in the end such a narrow range of plights defines our moral lives.”
    --Douglas Coupland

    “If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on the headstone might well be: ‘It seemed a good idea at the time.’”
       -- Rebecca West

    “If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood
    and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for
    the endless immensity of the sea.”
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    I love that place where you get in running where you're just never out of breath and you just feel like you could go forever. I love that. I love feeling strong. 
    Ann Bancroft, polar explorer 


    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Busy Busy Busy

    I've spent a lot of time over the last couple weeks doing many things that doesn't have anything to do with training.  Which I guess is good - this is sort of a break between seasons, and a chance to get myself situated before I start training more and before I can run again ( I'm going to try tomorrow evening or Saturday morning after yoga.  T minus 36 hours...but who's counting?).  

    We've spent some time cleaning up the house, including getting new bedding, as we decided the bedroom is the first room we want to re-do.  When we were in San Francisco a couple years ago we bought a lot of local photography pieces, and decided to do our bedroom in a sort of  San Francisco theme, using these pictures and lots of soft grays and blues and whites.  Essentially we spent a weekend learning that there is a large amount of hideous bedding out there.  I mean really, people, who buys some of this stuff?  We finally gave in and went to West Elm.  

    I also got a bunch of basil seedlings from someone at work, so I planted those last night.  If they take, I won't have to replant to replace the one's I killed through neglect over the winter.
    I also have also been lucky to land a couple freelance jobs for some great companies, so I'm excited to work on these, but getting moving on them has taken a lot of prep work.  But I was super organized last, corralling my myriad email addresses (including the one linked to my freelance website that I never check and apparently lost some potential jobs since I never check it...ooops) into one hub so I don't miss anything I stay more on top of things.  Do you see a theme here?

    We also got to go see Citizen Cope on Sunday night, which was a lot of fun.  He is doing a special acoustic tour, so it was a lot different than what you normally hear from him.  It was at the Florida Theatre, which is now a concert (and still sometimes movie theatre) venue.  It's beautiful inside; it's one of the oldest "moving picture" and "talkie" theatres in the country, and I believe one of the first to get air conditioning.  

    So this coming week should be re-dedication to training.  I've felt so off not being able to run it's colored everything else. I'm ready to get back in the game!

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Getting Back on the Horse...Er, Bike

    Sunday marked my first ride after oh, I don't know, 6 months?  I'm still giving my knee a break (no running and no stairs) and I'm going bonkers.  I feel like a teenage girl whose boyfriend just broke up with her.  I think about it all the time, I wonder why my knee is betraying me, I get excited about  group runs I see forming only to remember that it's not in my life right now.  I'm trying to bear this grief silently; well, sort of silently...I'm sure E is tired of my "but I want to ruuuuuuuun" whine.

    Anyways, the original point of this was getting back on the bike.  I was exciting about getting cardio, but a little wary about how much this ride was probably going to blow.  I remember last year, when I also went all winter without riding.  That first ride back was miserable.  Mostly just because making it event to 15 miles an hour felt as hard as a long uphill climb.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a great way to see - or feel rather - the benefits of marathon training.  My legs felt great.  Sure, it was tough at certain parts, but I was in it mentally and physically.  My quads were screaming at me in certain parts, but I pushed through.  I was overall really happy with the ride, glad to be back on the bike and most especially, glad to be getting my heart rate pounding.

    I also had an interesting experience during my swim last week.  The pool I'm in now is a lot smaller than the pool I used to use - this one is a junior olympic size.  About mid-way through my swim this pack of big guys came into the pool area, very obviously dedicated swimmers.  One wound of sharing a lane with me.  After warming up, they started doing drills, fast.  And the combination of their high speeds and the small pool meant suddenly I felt very much like I do when I'm swimming in a tri.  There were people and choppy water all around me and I immediately reacted like I do in a tri: all thoughts of a proper swim stroke left me and I started flailing, doggy-paddling almost, with my head jutting out of the water like a dog, gasping for air.  I'm actually pretty happy this happened - I think a smaller pool where i have to share a lane sometimes and sometimes am surrounded by big swimmers might be a big win for my anxiety!

    Saturday, March 19, 2011

    Stylish Blogger? Who, me?

    I haven't done one of those posts yet, but Ryan over at I Tri Because I Can nominated me so darn, I just have to find seven things about myself to talk about.  I know you're all enthralled, right?

    1.  I love NPR.  I have a piece of junk stereo in my car that only plays CDs when it's in the right mood, and for those of you who haven't experienced it, Jacksonville has got to have some of the worst radio stations in the country.  I mean, they're just all bad.  So a couple years ago, I started listening to NPR now and then to mix things up a bit.  Now, that's pretty much all I listen to.  If I'm in the car, NPR's on (I occasionally switch it up with a few minutes of the classic rock or alternative stations, but not often).  Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered, Car Talk?  You name it, I listen to it.  I have recently started perusing the NPR gear shop online - I have the frightening feeling that some sort of "I <3 NPR" clothing is in my future.

    2. There are two areas of  my life I spend way too much money on:  running/tri gear and books.  I could spend my days reading and running and cycling and be perfectly content.  Since getting a nook for Christmas, I'm back to my bookstore employee level (a job I got for using the word "voracious" on my application) of reading, so I've put  myself on a buying hiatus.  I have to read everything on that nook before I buy anything new!  And follow that up with the huge stack I just got of real books from the library book sale.  Phew!

    3.  Baking is something that relaxes me - it is an act of creation.  I am not artistically inclined - I couldn't draw a straight line or make an attractive arts and crafts project to save my life.

    4.  I collect quotations.  I recently moved everything into a google doc and it is a massive collection of quotes on every topic from everywhere.  Any time I find one, I add it to my collection.  This document goes on forever.  I've kept this in some form or another since I was 15.

    5.  I could eat cereal all the time. In fact, I do often have it for both breakfast and dinner.  I'm on a kick right now with Kashi Honey Toasted Oat - mmm, that along with Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk is like a little bowl of heaven.    

    6.  I am a sucker for corgis.  Especially (and perhaps most pathetically) for Youtube videos of corgi puppies.  It's an addiction; I'm seeking help.

    7.  I love old movies.  No modern movie star can ever replace Cary Grant's wit or Clark Gable's charm.  I grew up on a  lot of these movies, and to this day, one of my favorite things to do is watch Judy Garland belt out a tune about trolleys or get riled up along with Kate Hepburn as she spars with Spencer Tracy.  I also find old horror movies far more bone-chilling than anything out today.

    I think I'm one of the last one's to do this, so if you haven't done this...I nominate you!

    Also, my grab-bag swimsuit came in the mail....and it wasn't hideous! It's actually kind of cute! I wore it to the pool on Thursday - but more on that swim later, it was an interesting one.