Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday update

Personal Trainer appointment was interesting. His main focus is on good form and developing muscle for good posture and healthy bones/joints. He gave me 4 upper body exercises. One I was doing before, the others are new. I learned that my right shoulder is weaker than my left and that my biceps are "developed" but my triceps are "weak". Next time we talk about lower body. After that, I will be asking him about core.

Running group had us doing 3x3min hard with 2 min easy between followed by 3x2 min hard; this was with a warm-up/cool-down of 15mins each. Garmin suggests that I was running a 9:00min/mi pace +/- 10 secs for each hard repitition. I didn't even know I could run that fast. I guess that's what happens when you are on a track and only running hard for a short duration.

Had a routine physical today during which, doctor discovered an abnormal heart beat and ordered an immediate EKG. Seems I have PVCs (aka arrythmias). May be related to anxiety. Scared me at first, but I think it is going to turn out to be okay.

House looks pretty good. I should sleep okay tonght. Too bad I didn't think to take before pics; without them you have no idea what it took to achieve this. Instead I have one of the garage...our hideout for all things that have been banned from the house for the next 5 days or so.

I may disappear for the next 4-5 days. You are all in my thoughts. Have fun out there, folks!!


Took yesterday day off to prepare for the houseguests. Husband is off all week, but I need to work Tues/Wed.

Started by preparing mentally; we went for a 32 mile bike ride. It was a nice morning, a little breezy and wam, but nothing to complain about. Apparently the MSF class took a lot more out of me than I realized because I started off low on energy. I do think that I learned some things that transfer to better bike handling skills. I'm noticing improved cornering already.

After the ride, I was in a happy place. The rest of the afternoon was devoted to activities related to "making it look like some other family lives here" as my daughter said. LOL. I like how she's thinking.

Soon I will be out the door for a personal trainer appt. Husband has been working with said trainer for a few months. He's been bugging me to go too. Today is my first appointment. It will be interesting to see what he thinks I need to be working on. This evening will be track work with the running group.

For me, the rest of the day includes a full day of work, making dinner for the family, and cleaning the patio furniture. The kids are in charge of cleaning the house today and have been armed with a checklist. You know what? I think we might just pull this thing off. :)

Have a good one!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Through the Looking Glass

It sure feels different being on the other side. By now most of the weekend is behind me. Here's how things went.

OWS - Went up to Cochiti with Cindy and Misty on Friday. I was so anxious while we were driving up there, it made me feel sick. And it started off not so well for me, but they both were very patient and reassuring with me until I could get calmed down and into my rhythm and start swimming like I know how. I ended the swim feeling good about it. It's going to take more practice, but I know I can do this. Thanks, ladies!!

After the swim, Cindy gave me something that make me smile. Check out the picture of this box of cookies. Is that cute or what? And the cookies are shaped like little tortoises and bunnies. I love it!!

Friday night was the classroom portion of the MSF Basic Rider Course from 6pm to 10pm. There were 24 students, 12 for the morning session (my session) and 12 for the afternoon. We watched some videos, reviewed basic motorcycle safety, and prepared for the written test.

Both Saturday and Sunday morning we needed to show up at the riding rage bright and early. Motorcycles are provided, but in the case of scooters, they allow you to bring your own. I really wanted to take the class on my scooter vs. a motorcycle so I was thrilled that they permitted it in my state. Many states do not.

Here is a picture of my scoot being hauled on a motorcycle hitch trailer behind my SUV. I am unable to load or unload it unassisted, so husband begrudgedly dropped me off and picked me up each day.

Once again, I started off mentally in a bad place. It took a good 45 minutes for me to calm down. I could not properly perform any of the maneuvers when I was tense. Early Sunday morning I was riding so poorly that I was sure I would fail the skills test. However, one of the rider coaches was quite helpful and engouraging. He made me believe I could do it, and that made all the difference in the world.

Long story short, it was tough. One person dropped out of the class and three failed the skills test. As for me, once I got into a better place mentally, things started to click and I managed to pass the test with plenty of margin. WoooHoo!

When I find some free time, I need to listen to a book on tape called "Practicing the Power of Now". One thing I can say for sure, is the mind can really sabotage the body when it wants to. I couldn't swim well or ride well when my mind was telling my body that it was scary and difficult. But once I worked through it, I did fine in both cases. Hopefully that means that next time won't be so bad.
Now, if we can just get the house ready for our guests...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yin and Yang

As you know, the Yin-Yang symbol represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work. The outer circle represents "everything", while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, called "yin" (black) and "yang" (white), which cause everything to happen.

I've never really understood the concept until this week. Now suddenly it seems to make sense.

I've experienced what they call Yang energy (bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, strong) in my exercise this week.

On Tuesday I ended up going to the gym for W1D3 pushups. I was also introduced to the ab roller for crunches. It helps keep the back and neck in the correct position. It's an awesome thing. That evening was the progressive run. 15min easy, 10 min hard, 15min easy. It was a tough workout for me because 10mins seems like a L-O-N-G time for running hard.

Wednesday I commuted by bike and did 4x25 crunches using the ab roller thing.

This morning 1000 yd swim, followed by W2D1 pushups. Yes, I've finally advanced to week 2. Woot! Soon I'll be out the door to meet with the group for a hill workout consisting of 15min easy, 8x800 hills, 15min easy. [Updated to mention that I did 10x600 instead of 8x600. Woot!]
In contrast, I'm seeing Yin energy (dark, passive, cold, downward, contracting, weak) in the form of resurfacing anxiety.

OWS - I'm looking foward to testing the water again tomorrow, but am apprehensive already.

MSF class - I also have my motorcycle safety class and skills test on the agenda, which will be Friday evening and most of the day on Sat & Sun. I have concerns about getting my scooter to the class and if they'll even let me take the class on my scooter. I have concerns about whether my hiking boots will be sufficient or if they'll kick me out of the class for wrong attire. I have concerns about my ability to learn the skills and pass the test at the end. I'm trying to convince myself to take a 'whatever happens happens' attitude, but deep down this has me more anxious than any race I've done.

Missed opoportunities - Because of the MSF class, I'm missing Son's initial marching band performance for the parents. This makes me sad.

Visitor prep - We need to get the house ready for visitors that are arriving next week. I don't even know if I'll have time to do what I think needs to be done with a busy weekend.

I guess the good thing about the Yin-Yang model is that these things end up being intertwined resulting in some sort of harmony. We'll see about that...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

I normally do a short swim Sunday mornings, but decided to take a rest day instead.

Yesterday morning I went for a 1500 yd swim. It felt good. I forgot my watch, so I have no idea how long it took. I think I'll be okay for the upcoming pool swim sprint tris, but OWS is an entirely different thing and I'm not feeling so good about that right now. Something to work on before end of September.

I've always liked having two pairs of running shoes on hand that I can alternate between. With different colors, I can easily keep track of which pair to wear next. I was pleasently surprised when my 2nd pair of Nike Vomero +3 (white with orange trim) showed up outside the door yesterday.

This evening I meet up with the group for a progressive run. I've been hemming and hawwing about whether I should bike commute today or if it would be better to show up fresh for the run. I need to make a decision one way or another in the next 10 mins or so.

That's all I've got today. Have a good one!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday = Endurance Day

No speedwork today, today was all about Endurance.

In the early morning, I met up with my new running group for a 50min easy run. I'm pleased with the splits for two reason: 1) I actually did a decent job of pacing myself today and 2) I think this is my first time ever to accomplish negative splits. Hoooray!

Rested for a bit, then was back out the door with Husband for a long bike ride. The route was mostly flat and we targetted an easier pace than yesterday. I've graphed our speed for 5 mile increments. The first two hours weren't bad. I actually thought I was going to negative split my bike ride too. But as you can see, it was all over for me shortly after mile 30. I was Done! Kaput! Finito! Those last 8 miles were miserable, but I did make it home under my own power so Yay for that.

Whatever you have planned, I hope you enjoy your weekend, folks!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Focus on Speed.

Joined up with the running group again last night. The workout consisted of "jogging" 1.2 miles over to the hill base, 6x600M hill repeats, then "jogging" back to the store. I didn't wear my Garmin, but the group's idea of jogging and my idea of jogging are two different things. I fell back with one other lady who seemed to be struggling to stay with the group. I told her they'd still be there when we got there, and suggested we just go easy like we're supposed to.

It's no surprise that I was one of the last ones to finish, but I found the hill repeats to be fun in a sick and twisted way. Next week we're increasing the repititions to 8 and I'm actually looking forward to it.

Afterwards, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about my approach to training. Pretty much all of my workouts have been based on building endurance. For an entire year I've been going for distance, not speed. Case in point: I had planned on getting up early this morning, swimming at the gym, then coming home for ~30 easy miles on the bike. Purely focussed on endurance.

I think it's time to add in some speedwork. This is not to say that I should throw out endurance training, but I'm ready to add in some focus on speed.

And with that, I devised a new plan for the day. No swim. One bike loop (~16miles) with hills. Push it. No stopping!

The route I chose is not super hard, but challenging enough to make for good practice conditions for the hilly sprint/oly triathlons that I have on my calendar.

I'm all giddy with the results. I'm no speed demon, but this is particularly fast for me. I'm even okay with my speed up the hills because I know I worked hard.

I'm excited to be rework my training plan for the next few weeks and see what happens.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Training Tales

Yesterday I did a short swim followed by W1D2 of the push-up challenge for the third time. Push-up progress continues to be slow, but I do feel that I'm making progress and intend to stick with it. Then this morning I did upper body strength work in the AM.

Here's where it gets interesting. Remember when I mentioned getting new shoes on Friday? Well, while I was there, the shoe guy asked if I was training for anything and I mentioned the chips-n-salsa half marathon in September. He casually asked, "Why don't you join my running group? We're training for that race."

My fist instinct was "No!! I don't want to join a running group!!" but as he talked with me about it, it seemd like something I should at least try out. They meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the store for speed work and Saturday early mornings at the Bosque trail for long runs.

This evening, I met up with them for the first time. The workout consisted of jogging over to the high school track, a few warm up laps, then a fartlek run of 3 x 4minutes of tempo running with 2 minutes jogging or walking in between. I opted for walking. He specifically said that tempo running should feel a little easier than 5K race pace, and that he would be asking us to run harder in a few weeks. Aftewards, we did some high knees, butt kicks, and one other drill. Then we jogged back to the store and called it a night.

I left my Garmin on during the jog over and running around the track. The map cracks me up because of all the arrows going around the track.

After analyzing the data, it looks like I did about a 10:25 pace during the warm up laps and a 9:15 pace on the tempo segments. All I can say is that it's a good thing that I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin. That's pretty speedy for me and I actually should have gone a little easier on the tempo segments, but I was one of two runners that quickly fell to the back of the pack. Having said that, I enjoyed the structure of the workout. I plan to join up with them again on Thursday. :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Women's Distance Festival 5K

One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. - Henry Ford

Friday afternoon: I went over to a local running store to look at and discuss running shoes. I learned that I do not over-pronate and therefore could/should wear a neutral cushioned shoe rather than a stability shoe.

After running around the store in many different pairs, I settled on Nike Women's Vomero +3 which have a totally different feel to them than the Asics 2120s I have been wearing. Although I was nervous about buying something different, I hoped they might help my aches and pains.

Saturday afternoon: I gave the new shoes a little test run and decided that I would wear them at the 5K. I also bought a new jog bra from Target. It's quite cute. I'm hoping to wear it on the swim at the upcoming triathlons and then throw a loose sleeveless shirt over it for the bike and run. I figured I'd give that a trial run at the 5K as well.

Yes, two new and un-testested items at a race.

Sunday morning: Woke up to unusually cloudy skies and a cool morning. What a delight! Arrived at the race location plenty early. Met up with a friend from church who was running her very first 5K as well as Cindy and a friend of hers.

The course was flat, my Garmin says we had only 50 ft vertical gain from the lowest to highest point. It was also mostly pavement, with just a short stretch in the dirt. The shoes and jog bra both performed well. Hooray!

Official time: 29:43, something like a 9:34 pace. I'm quite pleased with that.

My friend doing her first 5K ran the whole way and finished in someting like 33:30. Yay! She even admitted that it was fun. She asked me if we should stay for the awards. I explained that since I wasn't expecting to win anything and needed to get home to get ready for church, I wasn't going to stick around.

So I went home, made sure Son was awake, texted Daughter about when I would pick her and friends up for church, & uploaded my Garmin stats. Before I made it to the shower, my cell phone rang. It was Cindy, calling to let me know that I had actually placed in my age group - 3rd F40-44. What?!?!?! You've gotta' be kidding me!! She had kindly picked up my award and was holding it for me. As for Cindy, well, you'll just have to check her blog to find out how she did. ;)

[Update, official results are up! There were 13 women in our age group. I beat the woman in #4 spot by 2 seconds. Although I didn't know it at the time, I guess sprinting at the end paid off]

So I dashed out the door to meet her over at the Bosque trail. She was preparing to run another 13miles, crazy woman. The award is a cute charm bracelet with the "medal" being an engraved charm. We goofed around a little bit taking pictures with our phones, then I rushed home, showered, picked up a car load of teenage girls, and made it to church on time. Okay, I walked in with wet hair, but I wasn't late.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks. Make the most of it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

How Not to Pace Yourself

Running again today wasn't Plan A, but it was an acceptable Plan B. As such, it was supposed to go down was like this: ~3 easy miles(~12 min/mi pace). That's not quite what happened, though. What can I say? I'm really excited to be running again.

Wheeeeeeee! I'm running again.

(happy face)

Life is good. I really missed this.

Mile 1 - 9:21 min.

Oh crud. That's too fast. What am I doing? I'm going to hurt myself again if I'm not careful. Must.Slow.Down.

(concerned face)

Ooooh lookie! There's a couple running together up ahead. I think I could catch up to them.

(devilish smile)

Hi there! Great morning for a run, isn't it?

(huge grin)

Wheeeeeeee! This is fun. I can't wait 'til the 5K on Sunday.

Mile 2 - 10:27 min

That's better, but it's still too fast. Time to slow down for real.

(scoldy face)

Okay, this is more like it, I think, but somehow not as fun...

(bored face)

Mile 3 - 13:48 min

Are you kidding me? Now I'm going too slow.


I give up on tryng for an easy pace. I'm almost home. I'm just gonna' finish strong.

(determined face)


(fist pump in air)

Final .25: 2:14 min (9:02 pace)

Summary: 3.25 miles, "average" pace 11:02, real pace all over the map

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happiness is...

Today is marked on my calendar as Okay to Run!

And so I did an easy 2.9 miles.

Leg felt great.

Back is somewhat problematic, but I can work with it.

Happiness is....running again. :)

Monday, July 7, 2008

One step forward, two steps back

The leg is holding up pretty well. I'm chomping at the bit to run again. I *need* to run again, and soon.

Yesterday I sent in registration for another local sprint tri in September. My schedule is shaping up like this:

mid Jul - 5K
mid Aug - sprint tri
early Sep - (tentative) half mary
mid Sep - sprint tri
late Sep - Oly Tri
early Oct - (tentative) metric century
Mid Oct -(tentative) half mary

Basically, I'm taking this big ol' break at the moment, but I'm hoping to step it up an notch in Sept-Oct. No worries, as long as I'm injury free. That's really the only reason I have so much still tentative. I wanted to test the leg.

So get this. Yesterday while making soup, I reach for some spices and get this twinge in my back. Now my back is killing me. Uggggh!! I feel like I'm a hundred years old. My theory is that I've been spending too much time on my rear while giving the leg a rest and that's why my back is acting up now. I truly believe that being active will be better for my back than sitting around, so I'm planning to keep moving even if I'm even slower than usual.

In any event, I'm hoping it's just a one or two day thing. I have a race to run on Sunday, some training to catch up on, and some pushups on the horizon with my name on them. ;P

Saturday, July 5, 2008

This and That

Yesterday, Husband & I went out for an easy ride. It was my first time on the bike since I've been resting the injured leg. My main goal was to have fun and not make the injury worst.

In the end we had 26miles behind us and my leg felt great! This morning I wondered out loud if I could run again yet. Husband suggested I wait a few more days. Always the voice of reason.

The 5K next Sunday is going to be interesting. My first time back to running won't be until Thursday.

Push-ups are still a pain in the abs, but my confidence is building. This morning I was able to drop and give 'em three. It's still not enough to start W1D2, but it's an improvement.

Here's my "Grrrrrrr, I'm strong and I can do this push-up challenge" face. Pretty intimidating huh? I bet you totally don't want to run up against me in a dark alley now. LOL

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Kick-in the ABS

Everyone seems to be doing the Push-up Challenge. I was feeling left out. In some ways, I'd really like to do this. However, I stink at push-ups. Really stink at them. Probably worse than *anyone* reading this. I took the initial test and could only do two. Sigh.

You totally stink at push-ups. You'll never be able to do it.

I have never really understood why I have such a hard time with good form push-ups. I thought it was mostly arm/shoulder strength. You'd think with the swimming, that I'd be able to do these. I'd really like to get better at them.

Since when have you given up on a challenge? If you put your mind to it and work hard at it, you can do this.

Yesterday I did Week 1 Day 1. When I woke up this morning my Abs were killing me. Not my arms. Not my shoulders. My Abs. And tomorrow I'm supposed to start with four (4) push-ups. Huh?!?

Quit while you still have some dignity. You're a loser. You'll never make it through Day 2

So I did a little research on push-ups, and sure enough, it works the core. My core strength is poor. Maybe this is just what I need.

Modify the plan if needed. Don't worry how long it takes.

At this point, I'm thinking maybe I could just repeat Week 1, Day 1 tomorrow and again on Monday. And then from that point on, try moving through the plan as written. Does that even make sense?

Don't give up. You can do this.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

June Tally

The Numbers:

Swim - 13,200 yards
Bike - 161 miles
Run -29.6 miles
Races/Events - Metric Century, Mariposa 10K


Of course I'm not happy about the injury, but I'll do what I need to put this behind me. I am happy to be spending extra time in the pool while trying to learn some TI techniques.

July Plans:

Another week of resting the leg. A fun race planned, a Women-only 5K. Primary focus is training for end of summer events. Think about starting the push-up challenge.