Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Things Thursday - Fast, Flats, and Furious

FAST: I recently purchased a pair of Kinvara 2 running shoes. They are considered to be a transition shoe, sort of in the middle between standard running shoes and minimalist shoes. Many people are getting them to run faster, but my interest in them has primarily to do with the potential to reduce injury. One thing I noticed beyond how lightweight they are was that I had to go up an extra half size beyond my normal running shoe. I've talked to others, and most of them seem to be able to wear their regular size, but a few folks, like me, had to size up. Anyway, once I got the correct size, my impression has been extremely favorable. They are lightweight, comfortable, and my first run in them was amazing. I'll do a more thorough review once I've been running in them for a while.

FLATS: After a series of front flats (don't get me started on how awful that has been), I finally decided to put new tires on my bike. They are due anyway and at this rate, I've put way more than a front tire's worth of new tubes in front so it seemed it wouldn't hurt. I got the front tire put on Tuesday. So far, still holding air. YAY! I'll put the rear tire on sometime before this weekend. Until then, I have one bright blue and one fade blue tire on my bike.

For what it's worth, my go-to tires are Vredenstein Fortezza SE from Performance bike store. They have great reviews and are one of their top sellers and the price is terrific especially when they have them on sale. What sold me on them initially is the fact they are described as having a "puncture resistance system that reduces flats by 80%." One of the nasty things about riding in New Mexico is the abundance of 'goathead' thorns that plague cyclists around here. Fingers crossed that fresh new tires will put an end to the flat streak.

FURIOUS: Due to extreme fire danger, all the trails are now closed in the mountains and the bosque, including the paved bike path. This means we are forced out on the road for our runs and rides. While I agree that this was the right thing to do, what has me furious is that they are still selling fireworks!! Apparently there is some issue with the laws; it seems that nobody has jurisdiction to ban the sale of fireworks. All they can do is ban the use. Of course this makes no sense to me. All it takes is one idiot to set off a bottle rocket in the woods and next thing you know our city will be on fire too.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Run, Run, Bike, Swim

SYTO Virtual Race - The Boring Runner hosted a Virtual 5K this Saturday. I probably broke the rules by running on Friday instead. Oh well, I'm a rebel like that. Not really, it's just that I had a 6 mile run planned on Saturday at an easy pace, and I wanted to try to push it for the virtual race, so I ran the 5K on my own on Friday. The wooded trails are closed due to fire danger so I had to run in a mostly sunny area. It was freaking hot! If I actually had thorns, I'm sure I would have sweated them off. Final time - 30:33. Let's see, it wasn't fast and I don't have any pictures. In fact this is probably my most boring race report, maybe that counts for something?

Group Run - So I skipped the group run on Thursday because it was 101 deg when I left work. Ummmm. No thank you, that's a little too hot for my preferences. I ended up cycling that day instead (and hence did the SWTO run solo Friday morning). Well, I didn't skip the run Saturday morning. Met with the group and ran 6 miles. The last few miles were miserable because it was really warming up, but I'm sure it was better than running on Thursday evening would have been. This week I'm going to try to run solo in the mornings on Tues & Thu so that I can skip those evening group runs. This time of the year is miserably hot!

Cycling Success - This morning I went out for a 10 mile ride with a hill repeat thrown in the center for good measure. I've done this route a few times, but this was by far my best ride. I felt decent on the climbs, confident through the corners, and generally strong throughout. Next week I'm going to add in a few more repeats which will spread the distance out to 14 miles. Overall, I feel like this is a good route for my training.

Another Swim Time Trial - You know how I mentioned that my last few timed 400s were consistent at roughly 9:00? Well not this time. I finished in 8:37. Yeah, baby!!! To say that I'm pleased is an understatement. :-D

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Up in Smoke: While parts of the country are dealing with flooding and/or too much rain in general, we're dealing with the opposite, drought. So far we've had less than a quarter inch of rain since the beginning of the year. Granted, we usually don't get too much rain, but that is a ridiculously low amount. There are already several wildfires in the area, so over the past week, all of the wooded running trails have been closed down due to extreme fire danger. That makes me sad. We can still run on the paved trails though, which is good. I'm thinking that it may be time to try a rain dance....

Who's on First?: Getting ready for my bike ride yesterday I realized that my front tire was flat again
so I decided to fix it properly rather than top it off and hope to make it through my ride. Flipped my bike over, found the offending thorn and removed it from the tire, took off the wheel, took off the tire, removed the tube, replaced the tube, started pumping it up. Hisssssssss. What the?? Then I realized that I had put the bad tube back in, the new tube was still neatly wrapped up with a rubber band on the ground! Finally got the new tube in, and the tire inflated, and was on my way. But geeeez, am I a moron sometimes or what?!?

Splish Splash: If I do sign up for the Patriot, it's a seeded swim time start, so I need to submit a time. Timed another 400 in the pool this weekend. Two weeks ago, I got 9:00 even. This week, 8:59. Those aren't stellar times for someone on a high school swim, but for a middle aged recreational triathlete, not so bad. Hey, I'm consistent if nothing else!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mulling Things Over

So, the only race I have signed up for is the in August. It's an all women's sprint triathlon and should be a lot of fun. There is another race two weeks later, the Patriot, that has similarities, and one significant difference, that I'm thinking about signing up for again. At the moment I'm torn. If it was a no-brainer, I would have signed up already. But it's not.

  • Live.Love.Tri is reverse format: 5K run, 10 mi bike, 400 M pool swim.
  • Patriot Tri is standard format: 400 M pool swim, 16 mi bike, 5K run.
  • The same pools is used.
  • The same run route is used.
  • The bike route is significantly different. The route for the Patriot longer, and it heads out in a direction that makes it more hilly. And those hills are what's holding me back from jumping on it.
  • Two races two weeks apart seems good from a training perspective. Train, then taper for first race. Race, then use recovery after 1st races as taper for second race.
  • The fact that the format is reversed from the first to second race keeps it interesting; especially important since the location is basically the same
  • I'm not a fan of hills on the bike. Really not sure I want to go 6 miles further on the bike *and* toss in that climb.
Clearly I haven't decided yet, but I'm thinking it over. Patriot sold out last year, so I can't wait too long to make this decision if I end up deciding to go for it.

In other news, I had a tempo run fail this evening. It turned into a survival run. I don't know what the problem was exactly, but the 93 deg temp with mostly sunny run route certainly didn't help. I need to get serious about running in the morning again.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

Eau de Chlorine: Ever see that t-shirt that says "Chlorine is my perfume;" I need it to explain the strong Chlorine scent emanating from my body for 24 hrs post swim. Is it just me, or is it darn near impossible to rid yourself of the chlorine scent with just one washing?

Freaking Wind: Last night the wind was fierce. 40mph sustained winds with 60mph gusts. I was half expecting the house to picked up only to find myself transported to Oz. We lost power (no surprise) and it actually didn't look too bad outside this morning in the aftermath. However, there was a layer of sand all over everything in the kitchen that must have blown in since the window was cracked. Yuck.

Father's Day: We had a pretty nice father's day, if I do say so myself. Went to lunch, kids (I use the term loosely, they are 17 and 19) went with him grocery shopping to help out, and we spent the evening at the ballpark. Go 'Topes!

Cross-Training: Spent several hours this weekend doing yard work. That counts as cross-training, right? Well, at least it should. I was sore and tired afterwards. Have another round to do next weekend, then hopefully can just enjoy the backyard for the rest of the summer.

Confidence: Hopefully I won't eat these words, but I'm gaining confidence about the sprint tri in August as my endurance is slowly coming back. I don't think it's going to be a fast race, but I think I'll be in good enough shape to actually enjoy it. I'm even thinking of signing up for another one, slightly longer course, that's a few weeks later.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hills Make You Stronger

Nobody likes them, but everybody benefits from them. Yes, I'm talking about hill training. Whether it is tackling a hill or two on the bike, or doing hill repeats as a run workout.

This week I've had my share of hills. I've been trying to incorporate at least ONE hill even on my short bike rides. What I'm noticing is that over time, the hills are getting easier. That's a direct result of not shying away from them in the first place. And the weird thing is that now I look forward to tackling the hill when I head out on my bike. I certainly didn't expect that when I first started, I *hated* the hills.

Yesterday, our run group did hill repeats. The format for this particular workout was 1 mile warm-up, 6x60sec uphill FAST pace. Then a 1 mile cool down. I was very pleased with my performance on two accounts. First, I hit the same distance each time (.12 miles), didn't fade on the 5th or 6th one. Second, my hard pace averaged 8:30-8:35 consistently. Granted, it was only a minute each time, but that's faster than my 5K pace and hitting that pace window consistently on this workout made me happy.

How about you? Do you do incorporate hill training? And have you noticed improvement as a result?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

I may not be much faster than I was when I started this whole running, triathlon, etc journey several years ago, but I certainly am much smarter. Here are are a just few things I've learned that I wish I had known from the beginning.

  • Listen to your body. - It's not a sign of weakness to skip a workout when you are sick or injure. It's the smart thing to do. Running when you are truly ill won't help you recover. Nor will running on an injury. Many times it makes it worse. Take a few days off and let your body recover, it's worth it in the long term.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! - All year round, and especially in the summer, it is important to stay hydrated. Athlete's lose hydration when they sweat. It's important to replace those fluids (and salt) otherwise you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, fainting, puking, or muscle cramping. Trust me, it's not fun.
  • Track the miles on your shoes - When I first started running, I figured a pair of running shoes should last a year. Sure, it made sense to me back then, but shoes don't break down based on time, they break down based on mileage. Running on worn out shoes leads to injury. I like to change mine out at about 400 miles, but that depends on the shoe.
  • Socks matter - When I started running, I ran in loose cotton socks. This led to blisters. I've learned that running in the correct socks is important. You don't need to spend a lot on socks (I've been very happy with socks found at Target), but you do need to wear some made from a wicking material (I like coolmax) that fit your feet snugly. I've also found that I'm fond of injinji socks when cycling.
  • Be comfortable when you run - A few ladies have asked me which is better for summer: Shorts, Skirts, or tri shorts? Tank tops, t-shirts, or athletic tops? And my running friend who is beginning to train for triathlon wants to know what's best to wear to the pool. The answer is "you tell me!" When I started on this journey, I thought there was one right answer. I saw a lot of women in form fitting athletic tops and running shorts, so that's what I wore. Over time I've learned that whatever is most comfortable for each individual is the right answer. And I've learned that for me, the better answer is loose tank tops and skirts.
Those are just a few things that I've learned the hard way over the years. What would you add to the list?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Snippets

  • Thursday bit the bullet and ordered a pair of Saucony Kinvara 2 shoes. I can't wait for them to arrive!
  • Missed two workouts last week (Wed & Thu) due to the smoke. Despite this, I managed to pull off one swim, one walk, three bike rides, and two runs along with two forced rest days. Not too shabby.
  • Currently suffering from a cold. And achy body from bike ride. And sun burn from a place I couldn't reach to put on sunscreen. This is not a good combination. Next time I'll definitely ask for help with the sunscreen. Ouch.
  • I had to toss out a pair of DeSoto tri shorts that were worn in the back. I was wearing them to get use to tri shorts on the bike again. I'm glad I didn't decide to wear those to the pool, it would have been obscene. Yikes!
  • A while back I mentioned having trouble with my ipod, a gen 4 nano that won't hold a charge long enough to get through more than a few albums. I didn't want to buy a new ipod, because I like this one (except for the battery issue). Well, I found a place that will replace the battery for me. So I will be sending it off...
  • My garden is doing well now. After inspecting the perimeter, we figured the rabbits were getting through by the side of the gate or possibly through the gate itself which had larger holes in the fencing than the rest of the garden. A friend helped me secure the gate with chicken wire to keep the rabbits out. No more bunny damage. Yay!
  • I go through phases where I create "quick and dirty" quilts for Project Linus*. Sometimes I'm busy with it, sometimes I take a long break. Well, you could say I'm busy with it again. I have completed seven toddler-sized quilts in the past two weeks. I'm hoping to get to 12 in the next two weeks, then take another break from it.
  • My running friend decided to register for Live.Love.Tri. I'm so excited! Today I was supposed to meet her at the pool. But I'm feeling too cruddy. We'll do it next weekend.
  • Stocked up on orange Accelerade. My favorite is tri berry, but I haven't been able to find it locally. The orange is pretty good though, reminds me of summer days when I was a kid, buying a push-up bar from the ice cream truck.

*Project Linus is a not-for-profit organization that creates blankets (quilts, afgans, fleece throws, etc) for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need. These handmade gifts of love are intended to provide a sense of security, warmth and comfort.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Smoke gets in your eyes

On Monday I went out for a short 8.3 mile bike ride. I was racing against the wall of smoke heading our way from the wildfire in AZ. I barely beat it, but I'm glad I did. It was particularly bad that evening.

Tuesday I met my running friend for a 4 mile run. It had been hazy and smoky all day, so instead of a tempo run we decided to just run easy. My eyes were stinging and her throat was burning when we were done. Stupid smoke.

It's all about which way the wind blows. This morning the skies are blue! If the blue skies holds up through the day, I have another bike ride planned. But if the smoke returns, I might call "uncle" and let this be my rest day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Smoky Skies

We've been under an air quality alert since Thursday. Smoke started rolling in on Thursday evening from some wildfires in AZ. At the worst, visibility was poor, there was a light ash fall, and a distinct smell of smoke even in the house. At times it gets much better than that, but it has been hazy all weekend. The alert says that if visibility drops below 2 miles, it is unsafe to exercise outside. At 3-5 miles, they urge folks to use caution. I assume that visibility of >5 miles means everything is considered safe.

All of this smoke caused our run group to cancel for Saturday morning. I've been running with one particular lady who has returned to running after a 2 year break. I noticed that I could see the mountains, albeit not too clearly, and they are a good 12 miles away or so. I figured that meant it was safe. The two of us decided to brave the smoky skies and went out for a 6 mile run. We talked triathlon the entire time. She's thinking of doing the Live.Love.Tri as well. If so, it would be her first. I kind of hope she decides to jump in; it would be great to have a friend to train with.

Now, you know the saying "it's just like riding a bike", right? Where exactly does this saying come from? For me, regaining bike fitness just isn't all that easy. Yesterday afternoon, Husband was heading out for a 20-25 mile bike ride. I wanted to join him, but that seemed way too far for me. I ended up turning around short of 5 miles and logged a mere 9.3 miles for myself and that was plenty. Perhaps it had something to do with the 6 miles I ran beforehand or the smoky skies, but I really think it's a matter of cycling being more difficult for me than the other two sports.

I wonder if "it's just like swimming laps" might catch on. For me, swimming seems to come back much more easily than cycling. Today I was able to completed a 1600 swim. That's twice as far as I went on my first swim (of the return to swimming) last weekend. I also decided to time myself on a 400. My time actually wasn't too far off where it was when I stopped swimming late last summer. If I can knock off 5 seconds per 100, I'll be back to where I was. Not too shabby for having taken a 9 month break from the pool.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Brick + Rest

On Wednesday (Day 9), I did a brick workout. Cycled 8.3 miles, then immediately switched to running shoes and ran 1.5 miles. Even though it was a short brick, I was quickly reminded why bricks are important as my legs felt like jello straight off the bike.

I appreciated all of your comments on my last post. Thursday morning, which would have been Day 10, it was crystal clear that I needed a rest day and I needed it now. I struck through the word "Run" on my training plan and replaced it with "Rest."

So here is where I am at. I want to achieve 3x week running, 3x week cycling, 2x week swimming plus 1x week rest. The only way this is going to happen is to plan to double up twice a week. For now, I'm aiming to swim+run on Saturdays. If I plan to bike+run one day per week as well, this should all work out.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 8 & May Tally

Yesterday I met the running group for a 3.5 mile trail run. This morning I'm beat! After thinking about it, I realized that it was my 8th day in a row of some sort of exercise (run, bike, swim).

Side note, Husband & I *did* go out for a bike ride on Monday, but the weather didn't cooperate as well as I would have liked. We were out there in 25-35mph winds. Nice when the wind is at your back, not so nice when you are riding straight into a headwind.

Today, the plan is to cycle after work. Unless I figure out how to better double up, my triathlon training doesn't have any rest days. On the one hand, it sort of seems like switching up the sports gives certain muscles time to rest. On the other hand, my heart/lungs aren't getting a day off. So I'm not sure this training plan that I have devised is such a good idea.

If you are training for multi-sport events, how are you handling rest?


May Tally:
  • Walk: 8 mi
  • Run: 54.4 mi
  • Bike: 42.8 mi
  • Swim: 1800 yd