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....

Breathe...

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 shrinkingjeans.net, 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.