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!