Friday, December 2, 2011

Finding Home

In two weeks I'm moving...

In two weeks I'm moving away from a town I've come to love and call home, to a house I already call home.

At some point in the past 18 months I stopped having just one home, and began to have 2.  Every time I leave one I am torn between wanting to stay home, and being ready to go home.  And its left me wondering, how can that be?

I am going to miss Fall in Sacramento.  The colors, the crisp air.  Fall in the "City of Trees" showcases bright reds, oranges, and yellows, yet still maintains the greens in the few redwood and pines we have.  Sidewalks disappear beneath leaves, creating a soundtrack to my early morning runs of the air in my lungs and the crunch beneath my feet.

I am going to love creating a home in which I live.  For the past 18 months I have only existed in a space, I have not been living in a home.  Where I live in Sacramento right now was always going to be temporary, and for that reason I never put much thought or work into making it cozy, or somewhere I was proud of.  It is where, Sunday night - Thursday morning (and maybe a weekend here or there), I keep my clothes, shower, and sleep.  I am eternally grateful for having this place, and the people I share it with, but I am not sad to see my time in this location end.

I am going to miss running in Folsom.  Whether its a quick 5 miles through a beautiful, quiet neighborhood, or any distance you'd like down the bike trail, running doesn't get much better than whats available here in Folsom.  Along with running, I will miss the cycling here too.  Miles of back roads to explore that are lightly traveled, challenging, and often lead to beautiful vistas or a coffee shop stop.  I was introduced to, and fell in love with cycling here in Folsom, and for that I have been blessed.

I am going to love exploring a new area.  There are roads I have yet to travel and new ways of getting from A - B that I have to discover.  I love getting lost and then finding my way home.  Inevitably I find a park or neighborhood I want to run through, a local coffee shop I want to ride to, or a new restaurant I want to try (and those really are the 3 most important things, ha!).

I am going to miss the memories I recall only because I happen to be in the place they were created.  I have spend nearly all of the past 8 years in this area, and I have made MANY memories here.  Some good, some bad, but they are all a part of me.  Moving away doesn't make them any less a part of me, but sometimes its fun to take a momentary jaunt down memory lane and remember how far I have come.  Riding my road bike for the first time, introducing a friend to running, running through the end of a bad, abusive relationship, failing at training for a marathon, finishing my first triathlon, training for my first 1/2 marathon.... and countless more... they all happened here.

I am excited for the memories I've yet to make.  And how far I still have to go.  I am excited to get to better know the people I have already met, and meet more people along the way.

From one home to the other... Its gonna be a good move.  :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Life has been a bit tough recently. The whos, whats, whys, and hows are somewhat unimportant, and many unanswerable, but the aftermath has left my heart heavy and life feeling a bit burdensome. 

I have been in survival mode.

This includes not working out because I want need the extra hour of sleep, and my diet has take a hit from all the running here and there, and eating out I've been doing because I haven't made it to the grocery store like I wish I could have.

But I believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  And it is getting brighter.

Next Tuesday is the last step that needs to be taken before life can even begin to take a "normal" shape.  It will be a sad day, but a peaceful one as well, my family has been preparing the best we can for this day for several years, and I think while we are all sad to say goodbye, we are relieved that she (my grandmother) is finally at peace.

Because I am beginning to see the possibility of normalcy return to my routine, I am trying to make small steps to take better care of myself between now and then.  Right now I am eating an apple (which is delicious, btw) instead of tracking down the delicious carrot cake muffins that the coffee shops here on campus carry.  Its a small step but at least in the right direction.  A yoga studio close to me offers 10 days for $10, so tomorrow I am going to my first yoga class.  I am excited.  I need to find some center, and some balance, and I am hoping yoga will set me in the right direction.  The best and biggest step is opting to stay home this weekend.  It will be the first weekend since August  that I will be home with no plans.  Seriously.

And Friday I will run.

Just writing that makes me smile.  I miss running.

Beyond this weekend I've already started up an excel sheet planning out workouts and plugging it all in, along with where I will be and when.  I know there is a saying... "Even the best laid plans...."

But plans that go awry are better than never having a plan at all.

I will leave you with what will be my 2012 motto (really my motto for the rest of my life)

2012 I'm coming for ya with BIG plans!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting it on paper...

I suppose this could be a a True Confessions Tuesday post, in that I'm planning out the rest of my year (goals and workout focus-wise) so that others know my plan and can hold me accountable.  :)

I have officially, mentally committed to running the Wine Vine Run half-marathon on Nov 13th.  This will be my fourth race of the year.  :)  I am hoping to PR this race, and given that my first and only other half-mary was at elevation and I feel like I am in much better running shape now than I was then, I'm thinking this is a good possibility.  Dare I say I'm hoping to break that 2:00 barrier?  I don't know, but its a secondary goal to PR-ing it.

After the Wine Vine Run I will be switching gears and begin to focus more on my cycling and let running take a back seat.  I say this with kind of a heavy heart because I so do love running, and love running in the cold and rain, and sometimes snow even more, but I need to work on being a stronger cyclist.  I can still run 1-3 days a week and enjoy all the things I love about running in the winter.  Here is the real problem with switching gears to cycling mid-November.. I am the biggest fair-weather cyclist there ever was.  I love to complain about it being too cold/windy/wet/cloudy/etc on rides.  So I'm also hoping to overcome this whiny part of myself.  Learn to love like it, or maybe even just tolerate it.  And pick up and extra 1-2 mph along the way.  I have planned my first tri of 2012 for early March, so sometime around the beginning of the year I will also get back into the pool and re-build what I'm sure I've lost there.  That will probably be when I drop the weight training that I have begun doing, it will just be too difficult to fit it all in.

Here is where I'd really love an idea of two... I would really love to find a hoodie that says the following:

On the front - Winter Cycle Training
On the back - Whine less, pedal more.

Anyone have any ideas on where I could find something like this, or have something like this made at a reasonable cost?  Any ideas would be great.

So there are the next 3+ months in a general idea.  Just hold me to it, m'kay? :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here we go again...

I'm on the weight loss bandwagon, again (kinda).

I struggle with this because the truth is, I want to lose weight not for vanity reasons like I have in the past, but to be a better triathlete.

That's the honest truth.

No really.

Ok, so maybe a little bit for vanity reasons, but for the most part, I'm pretty happy with how I'm looking these days.

But when I read that you can speed up something like 6 sec per pound lost per mile on a run... Ummm, yeah, sign me up.  If I lost the 6 lbs I'd *like* to lose, I'd roughly be 36 secs faster per mile just because of the weight I lost.  That's over 6 minutes off my half-marathon time. 6 MINUTES

But the reality of losing weight, cutting calories, counting calories (which I nearly refuse to do!).... I just don't know that I have it in me.  And then my dear friend April reminded me that there is a possibility that I could eat too few calories for all the workouts I'm doing, which is the LAST thing I want to do (over-training is ugly, and I don't want to go back there).

So I really don't know.

I'm started a weight lifting routine.  I've got 6 weeks mapped out for me by a trainer I paid for years ago and then never really used.  Its not what one would call "triathlon" or "running" specific, but I figure with my lack of weight training anything would be helpful at this point.

So for now I'm trying to be mindful of what I eat.  More whole foods, less processed stuff.  I indulge from time to time... and I don't think at this point I'm ready or willing to give that up.

But all in all, I'm pretty on the fence about this whole weight-loss thing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One Month post-Vineman...

In all honesty I have several things swirling around in my head that I could write about, but this topic comes first to mind, and will probably be the easiest to write about.

I am now one month post-vineman, and its been quite the.... lazy recovery month.  In the past month I have done 10 workouts, 4 of which have been since Monday.  I have been reluctantly (for fear of losing all the fitness I've gained) in recovery mode, and for good reason.  Looking back I can honestly say, I did too much, pushed too hard, and ignored my body and brain's need for rest in the weeks leading up to Vineman.

I wanted to make myself better than I had the time to train for, and in the end I think it had an immeasurable effect on my performance on July 17th.

Most people talk about feeling incredibly fresh and full of energy during their taper, I instead was battling chest congestion and continued to be moody, tired, and lacked motivation to be anything but.

Does this mean in the coming year I can't train as hard and push as much...? Not really.

But deciding 6 weeks out from a 70.3 isn't the time to decide to "get serious."

And I've been paying for that decision for the past 6 weeks.

So now I'm cautiously returning to regularly scheduled workouts, and trying to make myself remember that rest is as important as the workout.

So what's next for me?  I've found a half-marathon in Paso Robles, CA the Wine Vine Run.  Currently I have no goals for this race other than to run it strong.  I'm sure as I get back into training I'll begin to for a reasonable time goal for it, but for now I just want to feel good about working out again.

Then I've found an Olympic distance tri in early March 2012 that will be a great motivator to get me on the bike even when the weather isn't my definition of perfect for riding.  I am a self-proclamed fair-weather cyclist, but that attitude does nothing to improve my cycling strength or stamina.

But really, I want to love these sports again.  That is #1.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sometimes it takes a picture.. Thankful Thursday

I was looking through my email for a picture for Christie O's Motivation Jar and came across this picture:
Which I would like to compare to this recently taken picture:
At SF Zoo, the cutie is Troy's niece. :) 

Or maybe this picture...?
Troy and I post-Vineman
Am I the only one seeing the difference? 

Its not just about the weight difference (which I see in the pictures) its about the real smiles in the last 2 pictures that I'm faking in the first.  The first picture was taken in sometime in late 2006, I was in the midst of my deepest depression I've ever experienced, just had been put on meds to help pull me out of the deep dark hole I was in, and my life was in upheaval.  I wasn't sad/depressed because I had put on weight, I had put on weight because I was sad/depressed.  Because I couldn't bring myself to care about what I put in my body or if and when I moved my body.  

Exercise has been a blessing in my life, especially in the past (nearly) 5 years.  I've been off the depression meds with the help of counseling and.... being healthy and kind to my body.  When I'm sad, I go for a walk, or a run (or bike or swim or whatever), anything to keep me from laying in bed making me even more sad.  I mostly fuel my body with healthy foods, because I noticed it makes a difference in my emotions.  When I eat like crap, I feel like crap, both emotionally and physically.  

And those around me have been so supportive of my crazy healthy eating and exercise habits.  Friends, family, boyfriend, his family... the list could go on.

So for this Thankful Thursday (my first) I'm thankful for those of you who keep the smile on my face real and not faked.  Because real happiness does come from within, but is so much easier when you have the support of those closest to you.  :)  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who needs some motivation...?

I've been stalking for some motivation and some words of wisdom.  Not really for any particular reason, but to have them tucked away for the rainy days that I might really need them.  Wanted to share a few.  :)

Because its the truth

Doesn't matter the motivation, just keep going.

Get closer to your goal everyday with good choices and hard work.

Change your thinking.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Its nothing.... physical.

WHOA... THAT was intense.

Vineman 70.3 2011. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run.

Race weekend began Friday with an Athletes Welcome reception and a "meet some of the pros" interview and Q & A. The pros in this distance, and the full ironman distance are freaking animals. They are racing at incredible speeds and training incredible distances, and doing races with only a few weeks between. ANIMALS. And incredibly inspiring. Beki and Daniel joined me at the reception, Daniel won some items from a few of the sponsors in the door drawing. :) It was a good start to race weekend.

Saturday was expo day. Here's the thing.. Before I could pick up my race packet I had to attend a pre-race meeting. Pre-race meeting happened every hour on the half hour... and I got to the expo at 1:35.... dammit! Now I'll admit that I'm kinda of wound up tight, so I didn't want to get involved in the shopping expo part of the afternoon until after I had my race packet in hand. Problem is by the time I waited around for the hour, and then sat through the video that basically gave only information that was in our race program, and then waited in line to get my race packet I was no longer really interested in cruising around the vendors checking out what could be had. I made a lap around and then was ready to leave. :-/ Saturday evening Beki, Daniel, Rich, and Hudson came and joined Troy and I with his sister and brother-in-law, kids and my parents for dinner. It was great to have so many people around to keep my mind off the upcoming race. There were lots of laughs and by the time everyone went their own ways it was bed time with an early morning ahead.

WORST NIGHTS SLEEP EVER. There is so many factors that contributed to my lack of sleep Saturday, but when the alarm went off at 4 am, all of those things needed to be left behind because this race is not about the physical, there is not a single person who got through all 70.3 miles without being mentally tough.

The hardest part of the swim was actually getting in the water in time for my swim start. Vineman does in-water, age-group starts in waves separated by 8 minutes. We were a little late leaving the trailers, and then it was a total MADHOUSE at the start, by the time I racked my bike, went back to find Troy and my parents, used to potty one last time, then went back to get body marked (thanks Beki!) and put on my wetsuit I was RUNNING for the water, weaving through the mass of Mens 50-54 that we set to start after my wave. The announcer came over the loud speakers speakers "There is a young lady in a red cap trying to get through the crowd to make her swim start, please give her some room gentlemen.." Gee thanks... I ran and dove into the water making it out to the rest of the girls in time to hear the 20 SECOND warning for my swim start... awesome. :)

Later, after I was back at the trailer talking to my parents and Troy about the race they mentioned that they couldn't pick me out of the group of girls waiting for our swim wave to start...
"You know that girl that was running into the water and nearly missed the start? Yeah, that was me."

There were 2 sections of the swim that were shallow enough to walk in, and I'm not ashamed to say I walked. Getting to the swim start late left me out of breath from the get-go, so it was nice to be able to calm my breathing down before continuing on the swim. Luckily the water was fairly calm and not too cold so I got into a nice rhythm 1, 2, 3, 4, breathe... 1, 2, 3, 4, breathe... Every once in awhile the rhythm would be broken because I'd be on the verge of swimming over someone or someone was on the verge of swimming over me, but I was able to settle back into it easily. Getting out of the water I felt better than I did at my sprit tri (of only 700 yards instead of 2100 yards) back in April, proving to myself that all the time I've spent in the pool has paid off.

Swim time: 42:45 (55/81 in my age group) - I am super happy with this time.

Damn wetsuit, I couldn't get the damn thing off!! I nearly ate dirt twice trying to get the stupid thing off my feet. All slippery and I was in a hurry. After getting all the swim gear off and getting my bike gear on I had to pack it all up into a bag so that they could transport it to the finish line for me. The unusual thing about Vineman is that T1 (from swim to bike) and T2 are not in the same place but instead separated by about 15 miles. Logistically its honestly kind of a nightmare, I had to drop off my run gear in T2 Saturday while I was at the expo. Anyways, I spent just over 6 minutes in T1, not a great showing, but I was off on the bike.

The Vineman bike course is beautiful, seriously It weaves past endless vineyards and through quaint little wine country towns. I didn't take the time to enjoy any of it. Initially I was too concerned with taking it easy (there was still a long way to go) and then later I was concerned all the people that were passing me. So. Many. People. Sometimes I felt like I was slogging along on a beach cruiser, while everyone else was was zooming past me on these amazing tri bikes. Wow. Now I wouldn't begin to say that I am in as good of shape as any of these people, because I don't know, but I do know that riding a tri bike is far more efficient than riding road bike.. and I want one. I want one BAD. But that is a detail for down the road. Anyways, back to the bike ride... I am going to freely admit that I was not properly prepared for the bike. Maybe the cold I got about 2 weeks ago that is still lingering and caused me to cough most of the bike ride played a part in my less than stellar bike performance, but mostly I think I just didn't train right. When I live in Sacramento I can't help but train with hills, they are a part of the locale, but down by Troy's its easy to avoid hills, and riding hills is tough so its easy to justify avoiding them.

So I over did it on the bike. There is a saying, there is no such thing as a good bike and a bad run in triathlon. If you have a good bike and it leads to a bad run it means you over did it on the bike. Bad planning. So I had a mediocre bike and a rough run.

Bike time: 3:43:04 (66/81 in my age group)

Problem with T2 is that I haven't invested in tri shorts yet, or any tri clothing gear really, so my cycling shorts have too much padding for me to run in them. When I was done with the bike I had to go into T2, rack my bike, grab my running shorts and run to the changing tent, change, then run back to my bike to drop my cycling shorts and set out on the run. T2 time was over 8 minutes (in comparison, I have a friend who does T2 in less than 2 minutes). Tri gear is now on the "must-get" list before I do another one. It will just make my life so much easier.

A huge "newbie" mistake I made was I didn't stick to my eating plan on the bike, which meant that while I did an ok job keeping hydrated I didn't eat any of the mini Clif bars I had with me. This means that from the time I left on the swim until after the run I had a total of 7 pretzels in the solid food department. SEVEN. In an event where I burned 5000-8000 calories this was just a dumb mistake... it also meant that when I set out on the run I have very little left in the energy tank to expend. I also freely admit to only doing an "ok" job of hydrating on the bike, another thing I need to work on, so I was probably a little (or a lot) dehydrated going into the run.

My quads where destroyed from the minute I stepped off the bike.

And by destroyed I mean cramping, terribly. And only small sections of my quads were cramping, not the entire thing (thank god!), but it was really tough to set out running when parts of your quads are simply not functioning properly. Between mile 2-3 I finally had to stop and stretch them out, I was just in too much pain. There was an aid station about every mile, and I stopped at almost every one of them for water and gatorade and soda, or some combo of the three. I walked probably 1/3 of the run portion. I hurt. I was tired. I was just surviving the event at this point. There was no way I was going to DNF, but it wasn't going to be pretty.

Leading up to mile marker 12 I mentally prepared myself for my final 1.1 mile. I was going to run it. The. Whole. Damn. Thing. Had I remembered to stop my watch when I crossed the finish line I'll bet it would have been my fastest mile, or close to it, I was that determined. I passed one woman walking about .5 mile from the finish and waved her in with me.. "Come on, lets finish this together" she picked her pace and ran with me for a few hundred yards but she had even less left then I did and told me to keep going, she'd seem me at the finish. I didn't see her again, but I know she couldn't have been far behind. My parents were waiting about 500 feet from the finish, when I saw my mom and dad I began to tear up... They are so freaking supportive of me in everything I do, and this was no exception. I saw them at my swim start, T1, T2 and the finish. They. Are. Simply. Awesome. I headed down the finishing chute and kicked it up... I was going to leave it all out on that race course. I passed 2 guys on my way in, old guys, like old enough to my my father, but it doesn't matter. I left it all out there.

Run time: 2:35:44 (69/81 in my age group)

At the finish line I also saw Beki, Daniel, and Rich, and then Troy, his sister Kimmy, brother-in-law CJ with their two kids. I"m not sure if it showed but I was in disbelief. Was I actually done? Had I actually made it? Hugs around, I am so, so, so, thankful for Beki coming out and stalking me around the course taking pictures and her and Daniel cheering me on. Awesome friends. Love you guys!

Total time: 7:16:17 (69/81 in my age group)

Final Thoughts:
Currently I will admit to struggling with being two minds about my performance yesterday. On one hand (and of reasonable mind) I am just so happy to have finished, and today I'm suffering from only some sore muscles, but not major aches or pains. On the other hand (and of the crazy mind) I tell myself that I could have done better, gone faster, whatever. This attitude is of absolutely no help when it comes to celebrating my achievement of finishing. I mean, lets be serious, I moved my body over 70.3 miles, across 3 different sports, in the same day. Just finishing is a HUGE accomplishment.

So I'm going to use that little voice that says I could have been faster, better, stronger to drive me to be better, faster, stronger next year. I am doing Vineman 2012. I am giving myself some time to recover, but then I'm going to start becoming better, faster, stronger.

So I am a (half) Ironman. And next year, I will be a better, faster, stronger, and smarter Ironman. :)

I'm hoping to gather together all the pictures from race day ASAP and I'll post up some of them in a later post. Thank you to everyone who provided support, encouragement, well-wishes, and congrats. I can't tell you how much it has all meant. Really.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Restless... And prepping

Before training for triathlons I would have never called myself a busy body. Seriously, I'm the girl who can sit on the couch and read for HOURS on end, only taking breaks to potty and eat.

But I'm having a hard time relaxing. A really hard time relaxing. It feels like if I'm not training, I should be training, or I should be preparing something, or doing something to be ready for my next training adventure. Or I feel like I should be taking care of the things that I don't do because I'm training, dishes, laundry, cleaning house, etc, etc. And to be honest its stressing me out.

Maybe lists will help?

I've been thinking about starting some lists so that when it comes time to pack up the car and head north for Vineman I will know I have everything.

So question I have for you, what do you bring to races that might be easily forgotten? Or what have you forgotten that you wish you wouldn't have? Help me out!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Training Update - 4 weeks to go...

Well, I'm down to the final 2 weeks of training before taper... Man how time flies.

I was talking to Troy about race weekend a couple days ago and realized I was not only speed talking, but my voice was also a weird, un-soothing, quite possibly dislikable tone that further clued me into just how nervous/excited I'm getting.

I feel like triathlons have been a long time coming for me. I've been a runner since I was a teenager, I swam in high school, and then the missing piece fell into place when I got my road bike almost exactly 4 years ago. I had all 3 skills, and wanted to put them together, but haven't until now. And now... well... even though I'm worn down by the training I'm REALLY enjoying the experience. I have never, ever, been in the kind of shape I am in today. And when I look in the mirror I may not LOVE everything that I see, I could pick out things that I want to change, etc... but how can I not appreciate my body? Last week I covered 115 miles in 11 hours with this body. And it has done very little complaining about all the stress I'm putting on it. Its just really amazing. And I'm finally feeling like asking it to continue to push for the next two weeks will not break me. My body can handle it.

So this upcoming week is still kind of a "?" about my exact plans. If I hear back from the guy I met at the pool last week I might be joining him and a couple other people for a hilly 11 mile run tomorrow, which will be my long run for the week. Other than that I want to fit in my 3x3x3 for each sport and keep moving forward. I am aiming for a 60-64 mile ride this weekend. We are going to Paso Robles for the weekend again, so I need to find a route over there to get in the mileage.

Here's my thinking:
Monday: Long Run/Swim Endurance (Speed) 2
Tuesday: Ride 1-1.5 hours
Wednesday:Swim Muscular Endurance 4/Ride 1.5-2 hours
Thursday: Recovery Run
Friday: Run Long Intervals/Swim Endurance 7
Saturday: Ride Long (60-65 miles)
Sunday: OFF!

And if something changes and I need to move workouts around, I'm prepared to be flexible in that way. :) So cheers to another week of training! Let the journey continue. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sending Mixed Signals...

So I just read an op-ed by Jillian Michaels here.  I originally wanted to write a long response that included how ridiculous I felt it was for her to write a post that, while I agree with her points, she also is equally responsible and participates in a culture that says one thing and then does another.

I don't really care if she is required by some line in her contract to allow her name to be used on a diet/supplement product, or if she actually was a part of developing this.  Either way, in my mind, she gave up much of her credibility the moment she signed the dotted line and began to participate in the supplement business.  If by chance you don't know, supplements are one of the most deregulated industries in the country.  There is no responsibility of the producer to back up claims they write on their box, nor are they even required to provide a full list of ingredients in their products (they can use the phrase "Proprietary  Blend" to prevent full disclosure).  It is my opinion and belief that the supplement business preys on the frustration and lack of clear information most people encounter when starting, trying to maintain, changing, revamping, or maximizing lifestyle choices they might make in weight-loss, weight maintenance, sport performance or simply everyday well-being.

Don't get me wrong, I know how easy it is to be sucked into the claims of supplements.  As a high schooler I tried dexatrim because I wanted soooo badly to lose weight.  I wanted to look like the popular girls, or the skinny girls, or (for goodness sakes) just look good in shorts.  What happened?? My friends asked me why I was being a psycho.  Seriously.  I was a raving lunatic on that stuff and didn't lose a single pound.  Insult to injury.  Blah.

What did I learn?  What have I learned over and over and over since?

Whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain your weight, improve your sport performance you've got to keep 3 things in mind... (and I don't think these are in any particular order)

  1. Patience - You've got to give yourself time to learn how to do something differently.  Whether its eating, running faster, walking further, lifting more, cooking, grocery shopping, or whatever else you want/need to work on, you've got to put your patience hat on with yourself.  Be nice to yourself... if you are having a good day, congratulate yourself, if you are having a bad day, make one single good choice and move on.  And be patience with others in you life.  They are changing with you.
  2. Its hard work - Its gonna take some blood, sweat, and tears to make a meaningful change.. But you get so much out of blood, sweat, and tears that in the end it is worth it.  You are worth it.  I am worth it.  Maybe there are days that you wish it would all just happen with the wave of a wand, but imagine the lessons you would miss if that happened?
  3. Enjoy the ride - Recently I've been hurting on the run.  Its had made running hard and tiring and I was just pushing through, FORCING my body to get in the few miles that I could muster.  I didn't enjoy them, in fact I had gotten to the point that I dreaded going out for a run, dreaded doing the sport that I have done to one extent or another (with love I might add) for more than 10 years.  I WAS NOT enjoying myself.  Then I ran with my friend Beki.  I went out with the intention of enjoying the miles, enjoying the company, and not worrying about my pace, or how far we went.  And a funny thing happened, I enjoyed myself.  I didn't hurt.  I loved the run, the weather was good, it even rained on us the last couple miles (I love running in the rain), and when we finished I had a smile on my face.  My run reminded me of an important detail of any journey.  You have to enjoy it.  
So I guess those are my lessons learned, and any less than putting the time in, the work, and having a little patience has caused me to have more frustrating and waste more energy on the wrong things.

Hope my ramblings make some sense.  :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Training Update - Countdown Continues

Well, the first of these last 4 build weeks is down, and I am... lots of things.  My body is tired, but my mind is restless.  I keep getting preoccupied with what I'm going to do AFTER Vineman, which hardly seems important right now.  But I keep thinking about it.  I seem to already know I will want to do another half-iron distance race.  Most likely Vineman, the location is awesome, and local which is a plus.  But anyways, there are other things I should be thinking about right now... LIKE MY UPCOMING RACE IN 5 WEEKS! Sheesh.

Anyways, to give you a recap of last weeks training... honestly I'm feeling like I rocked it. :D  I got in all my workouts, yes a couple of them were shorter than I had originally planned, but 9 workouts in 6 days and moving my body 97 miles in those 9 workouts is awesome no matter what.  I'm thankful for my rest day today, my body is feeling the wear and tear of those miles, but I'm also looking forward to getting back to it tomorrow.  And my take aways from those 97 miles...?  I must learn to drink on the bike.  Must.  In 46 miles I drank a 1/2 bottle of cytomax and 1/2 a bottle of water, which is simply not enough.  When I got back to my car I proceeded to down nearly 2 more bottles of fluids... thirsty much?  So this upcoming week I'm going to work on my on-bike hydration plan.  Maybe set my watch to beep every 15 minutes to remind me to drink will have to be the way I go.  Just a little something to remind me to drink.  I'll get it figured out...

And now for this week's plan of action...
Monday: Cycle Descending Intervals/Swim Muscular Endurance 3
Tuesday: Run 5 mi
Wednesday: Brick: Cycle 20-25 mi/Run 3-5/Swim Endurance 6
Thursday: Yoga/Off/Short run.. we'll see
Friday: Run ~9 mi
Saturday: Swim Endurance (Form) 3/Cycle ~ 50-55
Sunday: OFF!

Well, off for another week! Who's got something fun and exciting planned??

Ps. 5 weeks from today I will be toeing the starting line and crossing the finish line.  Its go time!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Final 2...

About to leave the house for my final 2 workouts of the week, and I can hardly wait to be done.  Not the best mindset going into a swim and long bike ride, but I'm feeling this week's training mentally more than physically which I think is harder to push through.

I have a book with a 52 week training program to a half-iron distance race... and was giving thought to following it in the coming year (loosely) and doing this same event next year.  Is that crazy?  The program includes rest after the event and fall/winter with reduced training and increased focus on strength training, etc.  Basically what I've already been thinking I'd be doing.

Anyways, why I'm giving so much thought to plans after Vineman instead of focusing on this huge upcoming race I'm not sure.. but I'm pretty preoccupied in my head recently with all of it.  And I *might* feel more than a tiny bit crazy about it. Ha!

Happy Saturday!  See y'all on the flip side.  :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

And the countdown begins...

If I were writing this 2 days ago I could say 6 weeks to Vineman, and 4 to taper!  So its almost close enough to count.  :)

I plan to update for the next 6 weeks every Sunday, how my week went, and what I have on tap for the upcoming week.  Of course sometimes things happen, and the post will come Monday, or maybe even Tuesday (like this week), but I am determined to keep an account of these final weeks leading up to Vineman.  Because I'm excited.  Because I'm worried.  Because I'm nervous.  Because I want to remember later.  

So recap of last week... I drove 800+ miles Thrusday-Monday to spend some time with my parents, go to Beki's Law School graduation (!!!!! Congrats again girl!) and get some things from my place in Folsom because I'm moving down to Troy's for the summer (still working out the details, but I'm going to try my hardest to make it work).  I biked once,  ran twice, and went for a 5 mile hike with my parents.  Not my best showing, but it was a conscience choice to give my body, which has been hurting, some time off and I've come (mostly) to terms with that.   

Moving down to oil country means adjusting to a new locale for training.  I found the city aquatics complex that I was hoping existed, and lucky for me its cheap ($3 a swim), and there is also a Wheelmen group that has bike rides mapped and listed on their website, so I'm off to a good start.  The problem with the actual town Troy lives in is that it is small and overrun with oil field traffic (lots and lots of big rigs and trucks) on the roads that have little or no bike lane or shoulder.  This means I've got to go into Bakersfield for both swimming and cycling, a 30-40 min drive.  So workouts will take some planning.  It also means that swimming and cycling will always be double days to limit the number of times I make the trip into town, and my brick days means doing a 3-a-day workout day (first one is tomorrow) which is again totally doable, it will just require good and well-thought planning on food. hydration, and sleep.

Training plan for Week of 6/6:
Monday: Swim (Endurance 5)/Cycle (Descending Intervals)
Tuesday: Run (3-4 mi)/Core work
Wednesday: Swim (Muscular Endurance 2)/Cycle (~30 mi)/Run (2-3 mi)
Thursday: Run (3-4 mi) or Off/Core Work
Friday: Swim (Anaerobic Endurance 1)/Cycle (~45 mi)
Saturday: Run (7-8 mi)
Sunday: Off!

I'm off to a good start for the week, with all of my workouts done for Monday and Tuesday but the core workout which I'm planning to do this afternoon.  :)  Who wants to be my butt chewer if I start missing workouts??

Hope everyone is having a fabulous week so far!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mantra... Tuesday (night)??

Sometimes we find what we need even when we aren't looking for it.  How I always manage to forget this fact is beyond me, but I just had a pleasant reminder come my way via Shrinking Jeans this evening.
My sciatica hurts still, I'm a day away from being done with the semester, I still live 300 miles away from Troy, I still live 200 miles away from my cousins, I'm broke, I don't have an internship lined up for the summer yet, because I don't have an internship lined up for the summer yet I haven't lined up a job, one of my most favorite people in the world had major surgery last Friday to remove colon cancer that they found in her liver, ovaries, and colon, I hate our weather, I hate cancer, I can't run more than 3.5 miles without it feeling really HARD, my living situation (though I'm thankful) still stresses me out...... should I go on?

I am currently overwhelmed and I need to remember....


Everything is going to be alright.

One step at a time...

Where do you need to start?

I'm feeling a little disconnected recently, and in the past day have come to realize its not because no one is talking to me... its because I'm not talking to anyone.  I'm feeling so overwhelmed by some things in my life that I've subconsciously decided that its easier to put my head in the sand and act like everything is totally ok, than face the worry, fear, stress, or whatever other emotion I may be experiencing at any given moment.

And what is bothering me the most...?  If I had to pick one, I'd say its my sciatica and the related inability to run without pain and/or weakness that has made my runs so mentally and physically draining the past few weeks.  And if I can't run, how am I supposed to do the international distance tri I have planned for the first weekend in June?  Or more importantly Vineman in July?  If I can't run how do I train, and if I can't train how will I ever get to the start line, let alone the finish line.  HOW?  

*sigh*  I've got what I would consider a high tolerance for pain, but this is simply draining and leaves me completely unmotivated for any workout I have on the books.  I can't afford to be unmotivated anymore... Vineman 70.3 is 2 months from today..... 2 months.  

So I need to snap out of it.  Today's run actually didn't hurt, it only ached which is a vast improvement.  I need to keep stretching, keep sitting on that fraking tennis ball (ouch!), and most importantly I need to stop assuming that this is going to keep me from getting to the start line, because if I believe it, it will.  

So tomorrow I swim.. and stretch and tennis ball... and maybe even get in a bike ride (trainer or outside, we'll see if mother nature stops being a cranky b!tch).  Have advice?  I'm all ears!

"Beatings will continue until morale improves"
and by beatings I mean tennis ball sitting. ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May Your Way Check-in!

 Another week down, and not just for the newest challenge over at, but also in my HIM training...  and it feels like its getting soooo close (9.5 weeks to go!)

So how am I doing?  Good, ok, great.. depends on what we are specifically asking about.  So here it goes:
  1. Downward trend on scale: I'm down for the week.  Next!
  2. Here is a link to my Training Schedule.  If a workout is in green, I got the job done, if its in red, I missed it.  If my week is from Wednesday-Tuesday I had an 89% completion rate for last week! Woot!  I made some changes, but as long as I felt like it was a good effort at the workout planned I gave myself credit.  I've been having sciatica pain/weakness which presently has me secretly (ok, not so secretly anymore) worried that its going to keep from training.  Last night I did some good stretching and sat on a tennis ball, and laid on the foam roller on my lower back and today things are feeling a bit better.  Its still there, but at least this morning I've been walking without much pain which is a nice improvement over yesterday.  A nice NSV was a Daily Mile friend who has done the same half-ironman I'm doing this year commented on one of my workouts that I'm "packing in the miles" which is a good sign considering he at least has an idea of what the training should look like and seems to think I'm on track.  Its a nice feeling when I feel like I'm terribly behind (which is probably not the case, but I like to worry).  Best thing I've done for my tri training in the past 3 weeks? I bought a swim workouts for triathletes book that is pushing me in the pool far more than I'd push myself, and I know it will pay off come race day. :)
  3. My diet could be better, could be worse.  I feel like I'm making good choices more days than not, and more meals than not.  Probably the best part about not eating meat during the week is that its pretty tough to eat out if you are avoiding meat, so last night when I really wanted to hit a drive-thru after 13 hours on campus I drove home and quickly made a boca burger.  It was delish and WAY healthier than anything I could have picked up on the way home.
So overall I'm doing pretty good.  I'm in my last week of the semester with only 2 finals next week on Tuesday! (YAHOOOOOO!)  Since some of you may know I'm always on the road, after finals I'm actually going to stay home until Saturday before I head out to see family for a few days and then some RV camping for Memorial Day weekend.  I'm hoping in that time I can get in some good training and then take a down week while I'm doing the most traveling.  This will not be an off week, this will not be an off week, this will not be an off week... but instead give my body a chance to rest up before the last few pushes to Vineman!  I've also got an olympic tri planned June 5th, which will hopefully show me just how much all this training is paying off.

Hope everyone is having a stellar week!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Runner's.... *ahem*

Now that we are a week removed from Reno Rock 'n' River 1/2 Marathon I can finally write my race report... ;)

You know, its a funny thing doing a distance/race for the first time.  There is no PR, or PW for that matter, it just kind of is.... You've finished, and you can mark that item off your Bucket List.  My Bucket List (maybe I should actually write one down) has been getting a lot of action this year (first triathlon, first 1/2 marathon) and there is more to come (first Olympic triathlon, first 1/2 Ironman... maybe another 1/2 marathon and on the non-athletic front, graduating from college in Dec).  For better or for worse, I don't have a lot of self-doubt about my ability to cross the finish line, I do have some about getting to the starting line because I've been hurt more than my fair share, but crossing the finish line, especially for the first time, just hasn't been a big deal so far.  This won't be true when I begin to race the same distances for PR's, that's when it will get ugly, or emotional, or both.

But anyways...

May 1st turned out to be a "brisk" (read: cold) morning in Reno.  Kirsten, Beki, and I got up before the crack of dawn to eat our breakfasts, begin to hydrate, and head out on the road for Reno.  The drive up was actually quite beautiful with the sun rising in the east turning the Eastern Sierra Mountains a subtle shade of pink or purple that reminds me of why I love mornings so much.  They are... quite, peaceful, beautiful, perfect in ways that sunsets and the end of the day just aren't for me.  It was a quite ride north, but I'm guessing that may have had something to do with nerves and not enough coffee than soaking up the beauty of the morning. ;)

After we parked I was SUPER thankful that they had gear check at the start/finish line, because I decided on erring on the side of under-dressed for the race and was wearing only shorts and a short sleeve shirt for the race, so my sweats and sweatshirt were nice to have in the 40* morning mountain air.  The three of us hit the porta-potties before grouping together with the rest of the 1/2 marathoners and the official start countdown.  Now here is where I made a mistake... because I was cold, and the porta-potty was cold, and being out in the sun was warm(er) I didn't give myself the time I should have (you're welcome) in preparing my internal system for 13.1 miles of running.  I didn't know this when we set off at the start, I didn't really know it at mile 1, 2, or 3... but I began to realize the error of my ways around mile 4.  To save you from the details, we'll leave it at this... I was uncomfortable until mile 12 when I finally allowed myself to stop at a porta-potty just a mile short of the finish line (what can I say, I'm stubborn and wanted the discomfort to just go away through sheer power of my mind... or something).  To say that my discomfort ended at mile 12 would be a lie though, because after 12 miles of running, coming to a stop and then trying to get yourself running again is painful and mentally draining, but at least I felt a little better while doing it.

Between mile 4 and mile 12 I realized a few things....
  • There is some interesting running apparel fashion out there.  I'm pretty sure the zebra pattern leg warmers with pink/black tights under them was my favorite, but I can't be sure.
  • It takes a lot of mental strength to let people pass me, I always want to use them as the "rabbit," but that doesn't mean its smart, and many of the people who passed me in the first half, I passed in the second.  
  • Pacing is everything, and that fact is almost worth coming up with the funds for a Garmin, or something easy and lightweight like that.  My birthday is coming  up, maybe there is someone I can con into that as a gift.. haha
  • When you get tired your brain will tell yourself all sorts of things that are ridiculous once you have the presence of mind to actually think...  Somewhere in mile 12 I had my first real doubt about my 1/2 Ironman in July.  And it wasn't in a quiet, polite voice in the back on my mind saying "maybe the 1/2 isn't for you"... it was a loud, thundering voice speaking in definite terms "You don't want to do that 1/2 Ironman, imagine how much more it will hurt than you are RIGHT NOW."  Now this is probably might be true, but I am not afraid of pain, and I know come July 17th, I will be more ready for that pain than I was on May 1st.  And I will survive.
From mile 12 to the finish I spent nearly 1/2 mile following a guy who was having a much worse race than I was... how do I know?  He was vomiting... every 4-5 sets he would retch again, sometimes it would bring up whatever fluid he has drank on the run, sometimes it would just further fatigue him and slow him down even more.  On more than one occasion he was offered assistance by fellow runners and race officials alike, but he was having none of it.  When or how he finished I have no idea, once I had gotten too close I couldn't stay behind him because every time he'd retch it made me want to, and that wasn't what I had signed on for. 

Coming around the final corner to see the finish line made me realize just how little I had left in my legs... would I have felt better if I had take water just once, or eaten the Gu I brought with me?  I really have no idea, but I'm going to try to start training with water/Cytomax on my longer runs so that on July 17th, when its warm and I've just finished a 56 mile bike ride and 1.2 mile swim I have no worries about how my body will react if I try to eat something.  My one wish... I wish they had a time clock at the finish line, I think seeing those seconds tick away would have helped find that 100 yard sprint finish in my legs that without I couldn't pull.... 

Crossed the finish line....

I am a 1/2 marathoner...

Waited for Kirsten and Beki (who both PR'd!!!!)...

Finally we went to check official finishing time... 2:04:25
247th Overall (795 Females)
49th in Age Group (139 in my Age Group)

Monday, May 2, 2011

May my Way...

May Your Way Challenge

Edit: Link to my excel training schedule is included below, should you care or want to see how crazy I am, or want to make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. ;) My blog has gone long enough without any love.  I have been super busy with school (down to the last 2 weeks!!!!!!!!) and so when something had to give, the blog time was at the top of the list.  Its not because I don't enjoy it, I just don't feel like its quite as important as writing a 19 page report that a majority of my class grade is dependent on (I know, weird).  :)  So here we go...

The girls and guys over at SJ have started a new challenge for the month of May.  At the end of the last challenge I had planned on taking a break from doing them because sometimes I just feel like its extra pressure that I could maybe do without.  Truth be told this challenge is pretty great in the fact that we (individually) get to make our own goals and will check in each week with these goals.  I'm really getting into the heart of my triathlon training, and my biggest goal for this month is consistency.  How can I trust the training if I'm not doing it enough to gain the benefits?  So here are my goals and I'll explain more below.
  1. I'd like to see a downward trend on the scale.
  2. Complete 85-90% of planned workouts
  3. Continue with my new eating habits.
So explanations:
#1 - I have no weight loss goals other than I'd like to see the scale move downward as I get closer to my big(gest) race day (half-IM on July 17th), so this month that might mean I lose 2-3 lbs.  Since my workouts are getting longer and/or more intense I doubt that I'll have to actively work at this other than just not stuffing my face with foods that aren't the best choices (fast food mainly).  But honestly I don't want to blog about losing weight.  The ups and downs of the scale  is hardly the most exciting or important thing that is happening in my life right now so I'd just rather not talk about it other than in my recap at the end of the month. M'kay? :)
#2 - Excel training calender In the next few days I'll be making an excel spreadsheet that will list all of my planned workouts.  At the end of each week I'll highlight in yellow (or another happy color) the workouts I completed and in red the ones I didn't.  Each week I'll also calculate my completion rate for the week and my aim is for 85-90%.  I'm giving myself a little bit of wiggle room because reality is life happens and sometimes workouts get missed.  I want to give myself the opportunity to not beat myself up over this fact.  Since I am entering the bulk of my tri training I'm going to be following a 3 swim/3 run/3 bike format where I might add in an extra bike or run some weeks (I know I will never want to swim a 4th day, so why even mention it? ha!).  Generally this means M/W/F I swim, M/W/Sa I'll cycle and T/Th/Su I'll run.  Details to come in the excel spreadsheet that if you are interested in, I will post to Google docs and update from time to time.
#3 - For the past 3-4 weeks I have been eating vegetarian while at home and on my own but then allowing meat when I am out of town (read: every weekend).  There are several reasons for this, but its mostly because this is the way I grew up and I find myself eating way more fruits and veggies with this mentality than without.  I am being careful about getting in plenty of protein (in fact I start basically every day with a protein smoothie, bam 27g protein!) and still eat dairy and eggs during the week too.  Basically I just feel better eating this way, but I am not yet ready to completely give up meat, nor am I prepared to impose my dietary choices on other people in my life.

So there you have it.  I'd like to briefly mention that I RAN MY FIRST HALF MARATHON YESTERDAY!!  And while I need to write up a race report I just don't really feel like doing it today.  I'll say this about my race though -
I finished in in 2:04.45 which is a 9:30/mile pace (awesome)
and I did that at 4000 ft of elevation above where I live and train, which is even better.
Over race weekend I got to meet the lovely Kirsten and Beki which was awesome and so nice to have a girls weekend.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My First Triathlon!

Edited with official split times at the bottom!
Ever feel like you have so much to say, but no idea of where to start, or even how to start? That's how I've feeling presently about this race report.  Do I start with the fact that I did 1workout (a 4-mile run) the entire week prior to race day?  It seems weird and unfair to begin there, because when I crossed the finish line, I wasn't thinking about all the workouts I had missed in the 7 days prior.

I was proud.  I was excited.  I was tired.  I am ready for more.

Its hard to say that I really knew what to expect on the swim.  I haven't swam in a lake/river/pond/ocean in years, and I have never swam in any of them with the intention of getting somewhere fast.  Or at least as fast as possible.  I heard over the loud speaker that water temp this morning was near hot-tub temperatures, at a scalding 60*.  Who was super thankful for renting a wetsuit?  This girl right here.  I can honestly say there is no way  I would have been able to finish the swim without it.  The cold simply would have taken too much out of me.  But today the cold was only one of two major obstacles (other than the open water, 750 yards nonstop obstacle).  The other, and maybe more overwhelming, was wind.  Lots of wind.  Said wind made the sometimes glass-like lake, into a lake of moving crests and troughs.  One might describe the water as choppy, or white-capped.  Either way I found myself swimming toward a white pyramid-like buoy, that I could sometimes see, and sometimes could only see the oncoming wave, wondering what the eff have I gotten myself into???????  This is where I admit that I, for a moment, really didn't think I'd be able to finish the swim. 
Now bear with me, I decided this required a moment of play on Paint to give you an idea.  So for the first leg, we swam nearly directly into the wind and the waves.  This was exhausting and ridiculously overwhelming, I couldn't swim any stroke that resembled anything, except maybe sidestroke.  By the time I got around the first buoy I was ready to give up, or at least call over a kayak to rest, but I pressed on, and it got easier.  By the time I rounded the second buoy the final buoy and finish line were in site, did it matter that they looked miles away?  Not really, at least I was headed in that direction.  It was also around this time that I finally found a rhythm and felt like I was finally moving.  Getting out of the lake proved to be harder than I was expecting, when I tried to stand up and run out of the lake the water that was inside my wetsuit ran down the legs and slowly out the bottom, making my legs heavy, slow, and very clumsy.  It was awkward.  But I was done! Running up the beach I saw my parents for the one and only time the entire race... my words "That was the hardest thing I've ever done."  I'm pretty sure that is still true.

Other than trying to forget my helmet and glasses "404, YOUR HELMET!!!!!" (a very nice volunteer yelled at me before I got too far away from my transition area) the bike was actually awesome.  My arms were really tired from the swim, but my legs felt fresh and fast.  Probably too fast initially.  The bike was 2 6.5-mile laps, and I'd bet if I had splits for each of them, the first would be faster than the second, because I reined myself in.  If I had any hopes of finishing the run feeling good, I couldn't blow myself up on the bike, and my initial pace out of T1 was going to do just that.  The course was curvy with not a lot of flats, which is actually the kind of riding I prefer.  I passed several people on the bike, and I'll admit was good for morale.  :)  Coming into T2, I was feeling tired, but not blown up.

Whoa, Beki mentioned the run to me when she found out I as doing the same tri as she did last year.  And she wasn't kidding.  This run had a little bit of everything, including some billy-goat status mountain climbing, both up and down, that everyone I encountered, including yours truly, walked.  It was fairly crazy.  There was also some soft-pack beach running during which I seriously was beginning to wonder if Ashton was going to pop out and inform me I had been punked.  A swim, a bike, and then this was the 4-mile run they came up with?  In all fairness and honesty the run was beautiful, and I was thankful for the shade that running dirt trails through the forest offered, but it wasn't for the faint of heart.  Every runner I encountered, whether they were passing me or I was passing them, was super friendly with lots of "good jobs" and "keep it ups."  I found the speed in my legs to chick a few dudes in the last mile, which felt good. :)  And then there was the finish line.  I almost wanted the run to keep going, I was just getting back a rhythm after the hills, but the moment I crossed that line and allowed myself to walk, there was nothing but gratitude from my body, it was tired.

And I was a triathlete.

Final time: 1:48:xx 
Official time: 1:49::08
Swim: 20:28
Bike: 50:11
Run: 38.29

Overall I came in 203 of 388 (+5 who DQ'ed or DNF)
In my age group (24-29) I came in 10 or 25.  :)
The swim was my weakest sport by far, and the run might have been my strongest.  Back to the training I go.  Pool time tomorrow!