Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Areas of Focus

I think it's important for everyone to understand where they need to focus at any given time so they can devise training plan that works for them.  Depending on your goals, your areas of focus are likely different than mine.  But here's where I'm at right now:

Running Focus: injury prevention & base building
  • I have a chronic problem with my left knee.  My goal is to be smart about running choices (surface, distance) so that I can extend the time between treatments.  It's been 7 months and I'm hoping to make it close to a year before I need to go back in.  This means running on soft surfaces, distance no longer than 8 miles, and ensuring plenty of rest days between runs.
Swim Focus: getting to (and staying in) the pool
  • Successful swimming requires me to get up early (5am) so I can get to the pool while it's not too crowded and be done with my swim before work.  I have a bad habit of saying that I'm going to go, but then not doing it.  The waterproof ipod has definitely helped quite a bit by reducing the boredom. 
Bike Focus: base building
  • I've been cycling about twice a week.  Just trying to get my base back right now.  In another month, I may start focussing on speed.  But for now, it's about time in the saddle.
What about you?  Any specific focus areas that you are working on right now?

Monday, June 24, 2013

a Little of This, a Little of That

Sometimes it feels like I don't get much done in my spare time outside work.  But when I look back on what was accomplished, I realize that I'm more productive than I sometimes realize.  It's just that it seems to be a little of this and a little of that, not a lot of anything.  Here's an example of things that I did last week:
  • Got my waterproof ipod all set up
  • Swam three times (with music!)
  • Rode my bike once
  • Finished two books
  • Dropped off the recycling
  • Got my handlebars wrapped with new tape
  • Ran twice
  • Set up internet & wireless at Daughter's apartment
  • Did a bunch of work in the garden
  • Walked the dogs nearly every day
  • Did some upper body strength exercises
  • Signed up for a couple of 5Ks
  • Made a hotel reservation for upcoming trip to Seattle
  • Participated in community service event whereby we assembled 500 sack lunches for the homeless
  • Won $25 gift card in a drawing related to ongoing wellness challenge at work
  • Visited the doctor for an infected bug bite, and started a course of antibiotics
  • Went to a local minor league baseball game
  • Got a pedicure
All in all, I'd have to say that it was not a bad week!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

First Impressions

Yesterday afternoon, my AudioFlood waterproof shuffle arrived.  The package included a 5th gen iPod shuffle that had been waterproofed by AudioFlood, a set of Pyle waterproof headphones, a bonus swim cap, and a small piece of Velcro (not pictured, it had fallen on the floor).

The first thing I did was charge and register my shuffle.  Then I uploaded a genius mix from iTunes.  That part was pretty simple.

Next I messed around with the headphones to find which ear piece seemed best.  I went with the small round ones and removed the over-the-ear things. I spent a little time bundling up the extra cord, using a twist tie to tie it up.  Then stuck the velcro around that. Tested it out with my goggles - clipped the iPod to the back and decided to stick the extra cord bundle under my swim cap.  This whole process took a bit of time, but once I had it set up, it seemed like it would be easy enough to get going in the morning at the pool.

Tested the whole thing out in the water this morning.  Two words:  LOVED.IT.

I started off with a timed 400 and the result was 20 sec faster than last week.  Not sure if that's related to the music or not, but it certainly didn't slow me down.  I also lost count of my laps at some point.  I know I was swimming for~ 25 minutes, so it was probably about 1000-1100yds simply based on time. I could have easily kept going, but since I hadn't eaten before I left for the pool, I was getting hungry.

Swimming with music was so enjoyable that I'm actually thinking of getting up early to head to the pool again tomorrow. Who knew?!?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Miscellany

  • I hate summer.  And we are fully in the midst of it right now.  This past week was a scorcher, hitting 100 degrees most days during the week.  And our cooler has been acting up.  Husband was up on the roof during said 100 degree days trying to get it working properly.  It seems to be mostly okay now, but I still hate summer.
  • I especially dislike running during summer.  Instead of a long run, my running partner and I decided to go for a bike ride Saturday morning.  It was lovely.  Maybe it's just the heat, but I'm getting to the point where I prefer riding my bike over running.  Go figure!
  • I swam 4 times last week: Sun, Tue, Thu, Fr.  I'm pleased with myself for that.  But I didn't go at all this weekend or this morning.  I'm hoping that tomorrow I get up early and have the energy to go at ~5:30am. I went at different times of the day each last week, and from my small sample experiment, that seems like the best time to go.
  • Speaking of swimming, I decided to go with the AquaFlood waterproof ipod shuffle with pyle headphones.  The total cost was $140 and it should arrive today.  I looked into other options, including a case for my existing ipod, but my ipod isn't working very well and I probably would have needed to replace it anyway.  Anyway, I'll be sure to share my experiences with this new toy once it arrives and I get to test it out.
  • Watched two movies this weekend via Netflix that ended up being a bust.  The first was Frankenweenie, which made me cry and ended up being an unpleasant experience for me. I honestly didn't expect that reaction, but that's what happened. Then yesterday we watched The Tree of Life, which was just plain weird.  
  • You may remember me blogging about apartment hunting for Daughter a month ago or so.  Well, we found something that seemed perfect for her, applied, and got it.  It was available beginning the middle of this month, Saturday we did the official paperwork and got most of her stuff moved in. 
  • Last night I made hotel reservations for our upcoming trip to Seattle to visit Son.  Looking forward to it!
  • I didn't end up doing anything yesterday because I wasn't feeling that great and it was hot. I think today is going to end up being another rest day. Hopefully will have my energy and enthusiasm back tomorrow. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Back in the Swim of Things

This morning I went to the pool AGAIN.  Yes, that's the third time this week.  Since I ended up paying for a monthly membership at the gym, I'm trying to get my price per swim down to a reasonable level.  Ha!

I know I've asked this before, but does anyone have any advice about waterproof mp3 players / headphones?  I'm seriously looking at the Waterfi Ipod Shuffle.  I can get it from amazon for about $155 including headphones and shipping and could have it by Monday if I order before noon.  It has a 2 yr warranty, and would be familiar.  But is it worth it?  That's the big question.

There's another one that I'm looking at as well, by Audio Flood.  It's a little cheaper, different headphones.  Same 2 year warranty.

I have never like running on a treadmill because it's boring.  That's why I always run outside.  But lap swimming is equally boring and I don't have any other options for swimming, so I need a distraction.  I think music would help.  Any advice would be appreciated!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A New Favorite

Key hole cut out in back with contrasting trim
I found and fell in love with a Marika technical shirt with a key hole cut out in back and contrasting trim at Marshalls.  I searched for it online and now have it in three different colors!

It's a great summer weight, is longer than the average running shirt, and super cute.  To see what it looks like from the front, check out the photo I posted in my post about the Kenyan Run (I was wearing a purplish one).  I wore one of the other colored ones last night and tried taking an over the shoulder, in the mirror, shot of the back (which by the way is not as easy as it seems! LOL). Anyway, it's cute, right?

So other than the fact that I'm going to have some interesting tan lines from this shirt, it's perfect!  It's super cute with a skirt, but you'll have to trust me on that since you can't see my bottom half in this photo. Best part, I'm a bargain shopper and probably paid $55 total for all three shirts!!!  Woot!!

How about you, any new favorites lately??  Do you bargain shop like I do, or do you tend to pay full retail price for name brands?

p.s I swam again this morning.  I rock!!

Monday, June 10, 2013


By golly, I actually had a weekend that slightly resembles triathlon training!

Saturday morning Run:  Chose an out and back trail route (7.8 mmk) for Saturday morning. This turned out to be good for two reasons. First, it was partly shaded on a hot morning.  Second, when I felt like quitting at 5.5 miles, I had no choice but to keep going to get back to the car!  There's a reason I chose routes like this: one way or another, I *will* get my intended mileage in.

Saturday afternoon Ride: I had grandiose plans of a medium distance hilly ride with Husband.  However, it was crazy hot (90+) and I was feeling it. This time we had a route that doubled back close to home a few time, giving me an option to bail.  And I took it.  At 9.5 miles, I was done.  He, on the other hand, continued riding for another 30 miles.  I guess I'm a hot weather wimp.

Sunday afternoon Swim:  I actually got into a pool and swam!  Not without a little drama though.  The two best options for swimming based on where I live are a gym with a pool that requires monthly membership for access, and a community aquatic complex that is significantly less expensive, but non-ideal hours.  Well, I tried going to the aquatic complex yesterday afternoon, but was turned away because they were at capacity.  Doesn't matter how cheap it is if I can't get in to swim, right?  So I headed straight to the gym and paid for a month so I could use the pool.  I even got a lane to myself!  So now to make it more economical, I just need to get over there and swim more often.  And you know what? That might just be the motivation I need to swim regularly.

Side note:  Still no rain!  More closures in the bosque and foothills due to extreme fire danger.  *sad face*

Edited to fix typos.  I oritinally edited this on my tablet which did some interesting word substitutions.  Note to self, blogs are best created wtih a keyboard!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Five

  1. Until this morning, I hadn't run since Sunday.  Yes, I confess, I didn't run on National Run Day.  
  2. I bought some meal replacement shakes with the idea of having something quick / easy for days that I don't get a lunch break at work.  I'd rather eat a meal but I figured this was better than nothing.  As it turns out, I've been having one most days with breakfast (meal augmentation vs replacement) and they seem to be giving me more energy and curbing my appetite so I don't reach for unhealthy snacks as often.  Not how I expected to use them, but it seems to be working for me.  I bought two flavors, chocolate and vanilla.  I don't care for the vanilla on it's own, so I've been mixing half and half and I add them to a half/half mixture of milk and water.  I may blog more about this after giving it a bit more time.
  3. Rode my bike Tuesday and encountered the biggest and most disgusting gnat cloud ever.  Must have gone on for a quarter mile.  I don't know what was up with that, but it was gross! 
  4. I've been running almost exclusively in running skirts lately.  I go through phases on this, but right now I am enamored with running skirts.  I've even been wearing them when I walk the dogs.
  5. My knee has not been bothering me lately.  I seem to have found the magic combination:  right shoes, right stretches, right trails, right distances, etc.  I hope it stays like this for a while!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Weekend in Reverse - Saturday's Ride

Yesterday I posted about the Run with Kenyans.  Today I will tell you about the Tour de Cure experience.

Ride Info:  This is a ride to raise money for the Diabetes Association.  My father had diabetes and diabetes runs in his side of the family, so it's something that hits home.  Each riders needs to raise a minimum of $150 to participate.  The event offered full century, metric century, quarter century, and a "family fun ride".  We chose the quarter century.  If they had offered a half, we would have chosen that, but a metric was too far for me at this time.

Pre-Ride:  Packet pickup was on a Wednesday evening, which was not all that convenient for us.  We arrived to find out that we had not raised the minimum according to their records, but we had!  Called the office the next day to get that straightened out.  Signs of things to come?

The event site said that the quarter century was starting at 11:30.  Husband, running partner, & I were all riding together.  Running partner arrived early and found out we could start before 11:30.  We were still en route to the event, but figured we could get rolling by 11am.  In general, the earlier the better.  It gets hotter and hotter as the day goes on.

A reminder that this ride was held to raise money for the ADA
Ride:  Husband checked us in and they told us to "get on out of here" - meaning that not only were they allowing early starts, they were encouraging it. I forgot to print a map.  I took a photo of the course map that they had set up at check-in.  Good thing, because it turns out that I would need to reference it.

Photo of course map that I ended up referencing while riding
The ride started on a fairly busy street, which was a little scary, but then moved to a dedicated bike path for a while and a road with a bike lane.  We went through some scenic areas. The volunteers at the aid stations were enthusiastic.  The course itself, however, was not well marked.  We also *never* saw any SAG vehicles even though they were supposed to be our there. And since they didn't start everyone together at one, we were pretty much on our own to find our way.  We missed a turn or two on the way back.  Didn't see any any course markers for the last 4 miles or so.  We knew in general where we were going, so we eventually found our way.

At this aid station, they even mentioned that other riders were complaining about lack of clear course marking
I would also like to add that my running partner isn't a very experienced cyclist.  We decided that I would ride up front to set the pace, she would follow me, and Husband would sweep from the back to make sure we were both doing okay.  I wasn't sure she would be able to keep up with me, but she did pretty well except for an uphill section.  Other than that, I only had to stop a couple times to let her catch up.  Husband was helping her better understand how/when to shift her gears.  After this ride, she feels much more confident on her bike.
Husband, Running Partner & I 
Post-Ride:  They had hamburgers and hot dogs with fruit cups for us after the ride. I was hot and sweaty and sunburned.  We needed to rush off to packet pickup for the next day's running event. I couldn't wait to take a shower.  Hahahah!

Post race food
General Thoughts:  I'm not sure I would do this event again due to issues with course marking/support.  Being out there with Husband and Race Partner made it much better experience than it may have been otherwise. I should also mention that it was a successful charity event (just over 200 riders participated and in total we raised almost $50K for the ADA) and the volunteers were awesome.

After the ride, Husband explaining more to Running Partner about shifting gears 

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Weekend in Reverse - Sunday's 8K Run

I have a lot to share about the weekend after having done the Tour de Cure on Saturday followed by Run with the Kenyans on Sunday. Decided to post about it in reverse simply because the photos from Sunday are handy at the moment.

Race info:  My running partner, my husband, & I decided to do this race.  Race proceeds benefit global health initiatives in Kenya (medical supplies, training, etc). They were collecting used shoes to take to Kenya as well. In addition to a cotton race t-shirt, participants receive hand carved giraffes made in Kenya.  Several Kenyan elite runners participate in the event, so it's a chance to run with them (or be left in their dust which is more accurate, ha!).  They had two distances available:  5K and 8K.  We chose the 8K.
The giraffes Husband & I received.  Nice!
Pre-Race: Prior to the race, we were treated to a few songs by Kenyan performers.  They also opened us with the national anthem.  Then the runners lined up, and they introduced the elite athletes.  The only one that I was familiar with was Mbarak Hussein, a long distance Kenyan athlete who resides in Albuquerque.  I believe he's the one who organized the event to raise money for health initiatives in his native country.

Kenyan performers.
The Race:  The gun went off and both 5K and 8K runners started at the same time.  The course is mostly flat except for several under passes.  This was the second event for me that weekend, and I could tell that I wasn't on top of my game.  It wasn't too bad on the way out, but the uphills on those underpasses were a struggle on the way back.  My finish time ended up being 51:04, a 10:16 pace.  I'm happy with that under the circumstances, but I really would have liked a slightly faster time.  As a side note, I actually finished about 12 seconds ahead of my running partner.  We're generally pretty well matched, but usually she has a stronger final mile and ends up finishing a little ahead of me.  In any event, running with Kenyan elites sure makes me feel slow - the lead male finished in 24:15, a 4:53 pace!!

Running Partner & I post-race
 Post Race:  They served some Kenyan food after the race, played Kenyan music, and were selling more crafts (proceeds to the same cause).  I didn't care much for the food, it was mostly fried balls of dough with various fillings, but it was fun to sample it.

Kenyan food post-race
General Thoughts: Overall, I really enjoyed participating in this unique event for a good cause.  I will highly consider doing it again next year if they have it.  Preferably *not* the day after a cycling event.  ;-)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

May Tally


  • 115.9 miles by seat (cycling)
  • 84.2 miles by feet (48.9 running, 35.3 cycling)
  • 1 race (run for zoo - 10k)
  • 5.5 hours gardening before I stopped tracking
  • 1 week with *both* college kids at home
  • 1 kid off to Seattle for an intership 
  • 1 kid looking for off-campus housing near UNM
  • 1 wellness challenge started at work


  • It was a good month!


  • Two events the first days of June - already completed, need to write up posts about those
  • Need to start swimming.  Really, this time I mean it!
  • Visiting Son in Seattle at end of month

Saturday, June 1, 2013

House Hunters - Student Housing Style

Do any of you watch the TV show House Hunters?  It shows people looking at three different locations to live (each with pros/cons) and then having to make a decision. Well, I felt like I was living it over the past few days, helping my daughter search for a place for a place to live next year near campus.  This past year she lived in the dorms, but she's ready to move on to something else.

The first place we looked is a large apartment complex that had three different floor plans.  It wasn't as close to campus as she would like and I was a little concerned about the area.  Between the two of us, we didn't agree on which floor plan was the best (we looked at a studio and two different 1br options).   However, it did have nice amenities such as laundry on site and a few pools.  While they didn't have anything known to be available at the time she wanted, but she could be put on a wait list.  They were flexible on lease lengths, 6-12 mo options.

The second place was closer to campus and in a safe area.  It was a cute 'super studio' with a separated sleeping and living space.  After viewing it, it was my favorite and her second favorite.  One of the drawbacks was no laundry facilities on site.  The apartment was available now, although ideally she'd like to move in closer to early/mid July.  Fall semester starts beginning of August.  It would be a 1 year lease.

The third place is a small complex three blocks from campus.  I'm not sure about the safety of the area, but since the parking area is literally around the corner from what would be her door, there is  at least no long walks from the car at night if she drives. No frills, but it does have laundry.  It's available mid-June. And it's around the corner from where her best friend just moved in (we didn't realize that until later, an added bonus though). It turned out to be the one we both liked the most.  So she plans to call the guy today and drop off application and fees to reserve it.  If she gets it, she probably will spend the end of June getting set up, and will actually begin living there early July.  It's a 6 month lease, month to month after that.  If she hates it, she can move out during winter break.  If she loves it, she can stay through the end of spring semester.

We have a few more places to view if this falls through, but hopefully we're done!  The rent will be similar to what she was paying at the dorm, but no additional expensive food plan to go with it.  She will, however, need to acquire (beg/borrow/buy) some furniture and pay for internet.  And she will be gaining life experience by living more on her own.

Side note, my son just moved to Seattle for the summer for an internship.  Because he wasn't able to do a house hunt like this, he took a corporate housing option.  Very convenient!  

Have any of you recently had to search for housing for yourself or a family member?  Also, what did you do when you were in school?  I had to move every three months for three years because I was in a co-op program.  I went back and forth between cities for work and school.  Each time I needed to find some place that would let me stay for just three months.  What a pain that was!

On the fitness front:  Tour de Cure is today!  And my first 8K race distance run tomorrow!  WooHoo!!