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What 10 days of Lazy Wrought

September 24, 2011

As I said in my last post, I took ten days off of running and swimming for no good reason and filled my body with junk food.

This week, I got back in the swing of things, some what.  No pool yet, but I ran 4 times.  And I still had some junk, but less of it, more home cooked, whole foods and I tracked it all.

I saw the scale move some. In the right direction for the first time since July.

But the really important thing is how I felt.  While I could tell I had taken some time off, it wasn’t as bad as I had thought.  My runs slowed a little and my long run was just average today, though that might have had to do with a bit of dehydration and a pace that was a little too fast thanks to my running partner.

But overall, I felt good that I was able to take some time off and then get back into things without really feeling it.  It was there in subtle ways, but overall… I feel like I have the body of an athelete. Not in appearance obviously, but in ability.  I can keep up my athletic endeavors even if the old nonathletic me rears her head from time to time.  I am slow.  I am fat.  But I am an athelte.

Which reminds me I really need to do my review of the Slow, Fat, Triathlete books.

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What a difference a week makes

September 18, 2011

Last Saturday I had my longest run ever.  6.27 miles in a hour and 40 minutes.  Yes.  That’s SUPER SLOW.  I don’t give a shit.  It was awesome.  My hip bothered me for about a minute halfway through, but I ran through it and it went away.  I think I’m going to have to add a bike ride in to my cross-training, as I don’t seem to have a problem with it when I’m doing tri training.  The bike just strengthens it or stretches it, or both in just the right way.

So I had an awesome run.  Felt great.  sunday night I got my training email for half group and was pysched to see we were doing speed work on Wed. I actually uttered the words “I like speed work.”  And somehow come Monday – I lost the feeling.  I didn’t workout this week at all.  I did yoga.  And finished 100 consecutive days! That will have to be its own  post.  So other than some light yoga nothing.  I skipped my solo runs, skipped speedwork, avoided the poll and didn’t touch weights or the cable machine once.  I also ate junk, junk, junk.  Oh and some more junk.

It’s as if I was a different person.  Or my old person.   In the past it was the norm to eat processed crap more than not, to go home after work and just collapse for the evening.

I know I like working out.  I know I like racing.  I know I like the way I feel when I eat healthy.  But I backslide.  And this week was one of the worst backslides in a long, long time.

But I have hope for this coming week.  One step back must be followed with two steps forward.  Or at least one step forward.

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Tropical Storm Lee and the Triathlete

September 5, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee formed in the Gulf last week and immediately the forecast became rain, rain, rain.  All of it being of the thunderstorm variety according to the ten day forecast.  Thursday morning, I found this very frustrating as I needed to get in a couple of swims and a long run during the next few days.  That morning I decided to pack my bag because maybe the rain would hold off.  And while the rain did come in that afternoon, it was just light showers and no thunder.  I was able to swim without sharing a lane for the first time in weeks.

Friday was also a swim day and I didn’t even bother to pack my bag that morning as the forecast was 100% chance of thunderstorms for pretty much the whole day.  But by lunch time, I was hopeful because while it had certainly poured at points during the day the thunderstorms were staying well off the coast still.  So I went home, grabbed my gym bag and then called the gym when I got off work to double check that they were open.  No lightening, no thunder, you’re good to go.  So I went.  And once again I had a lane to myself, about halfway through my workout I had the whole pool to myself.  Loved it!

Saturday the storm really rolled in.  I was supposed to meet my run group for a long run at the lakes at 7 that morning.  I set my alarm for 6, but the wind and the rain woke me up at 4 and kept me up.  I knew there was no way I was going to make it out anywhere by 7.  When the alarm went off I turned it off and burrowed back under the covers.

Later that morning the rain stopped and the wind lessened and I decided “Hey!  I could go for my run now!”  So I did.  The rain came back after about 20 or 30 minutes, but running in the rain, not so bad really.  Even if that rain is a tropical storm.  I ran in the street more to avoid puddle on the sidewalk and trees over my head, but mostly it was just a really great long run.  The only bad moment came when just a couple of blocks from my house my shoe came untied.  Stopping to tie it and then starting running again… hurt like all get out.  Still, when I was done, I looked like this:

Next week I’m totally ready to conquer six miles.

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Yoga some more

September 1, 2011

Did you know September is National Yoga Month?  (It’s also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Ovarian/Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month. I’m still not sure why they couldn’t spread these cancer awareness months out a little bit.)

I’m still going strong with my consecutive yoga, although not quite as strongly as I had hoped. Once I finished my second challenge – 44 Mornings of Yoga, I wanted to come up with a third challenge to get me through 100 consecutive days.  Something that would keep my morning yoga, but add a bit more upmph and pow to things.  A bit more of a challenge.  But I didn’t do it. I’ve just be waking up and doing a bit of yoga and ladida that’s it.  I wanted to hit the donation studio for Alicia’s classes, but half-marathon training makes that not possible.  And then today Katie posted about doing Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days To Personal Revolution.  And I’m intrigued.  40 days of yoga and mindfulness.  Awesome!  Of course, the women’s center here in town is adding Tuesday Thursday morning yoga class that would also fit in my schedule.  Another intriguing option.  I want to do it all.

And that might just be the problem.  I need to chill out. I am training to swim a mile.  I am training to complete a half-marathon.  I have completed 86 consecutive days of yoga and am aiming for 100.  I’m tracking my calories in and out. I’m doing strength training again for the first time in ages.  Oh and I’m now two months away from starting to write a damn novel in 30 days, while leading and encouraging a like minded group of individuals to do the same.  It’s possible, maybe, that I just need to reign myself in a little bit.  But doesn’t mean I’m not now in my car on the way to the bookstore to check out that book!

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Race Recap: Zoo Zoom 5K

August 27, 2011

Baton Rouge Zoo Zoom 5K – 8:15am August 27, 2011

I had high hopes for this race.  Specifically I had hopes for a PR.  Since my last 5K I have done two Super Sprint Triathlons and six weeks of speed work training.  At the beginning of the month I did a 2 miler and set a nice new pace that I was sure I could have kept up for 1.1 more miles.

During the not fun at all triathlon last weekend, even with all the walking I had a good (for me) pace that I was proud of.  So I was just sure that today I could handle a new PR.  I wasn’t even looking for much.  Just shaving a few seconds off my best 5K pace.

But for some reason I just couldn’t do it.  I think a lot of little things added up. I tied my shoe too tightly, so I had ankle pain and I had to stop to retie. I was slightly dehydrated and then drank too much before the race started and in the beginning to try and make up for it.  I didn’t have my normal pre-prace breakfast.  None of these were huge things, but perhaps the combination of them just eroded my ability, or my perception of my ability.  I was on a good pace for the first mile, but things just seemed to go down hill after that. I didn’t really feel like I had slowed down or walked more than in the first mile, but apparently I did.

Still my mood was over all good.  I wasn’t the second to last over the finish line even if I was a back of the packer.  Early in the race I had picked out certain people to make sure I beat (am I the only person who does that?) and I beat them.  It was hot, but most of the route was shaded.  Running through the zoo was just fun, if extra smelly at times.  And I got animal crackers at the end.

I’m thinking my two biggest hurdles are thus: 1) Weight.  I weigh about 20 or so pounds more than two years ago when I ran my first 5K, but I put in a lot more work and I’m running around the same pace.  If I could just lose some weight I would automatically get faster.  2) I am not a morning runner.  95% (if not more) of races are run in the morning.  I think my body is generally like: “Wait.  Why exactly are we doing this instead of sleeping?”

The answer to the first: Get serious about eating whole, healthy foods and not sugar.  Do some kickass strength training.

The answer to the second: Well I’ll be running every Saturday morning from now through December 3.  Hopefully that will be enough and if it’s not… *Gulp* Early morning, pre-work runs? *Shudder*

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Race Recap: Miles Perret Mini Triathlon 2011

August 24, 2011

I’ve been trying to write this recap for days.  I decided tonight I’m just going to DO IT.  The biggest problem is that it was a bad race.  And I’ve never had such a bad race before.

The race was a 200 yd swim, 8 mile bike, and a 2 mile run.  So the swim was shorter and the bike longer than the Rocketchix I did.  It was not a USAT sanctioned race and I figured it would likely be a “beginner” race.  I was surprised at how little information I recieved about the race.  Just an email about a week before about packet pickup, when transtion opened, and parking pretty much.  I was thankful that I had done a tri before so I knew how things would work.  The race was about an hour/hour and half away from home, so I decided it’d be nice to leave the afternoon before so I could do early packet pickup and have time to check into the hotel and have a nice relaxing night with The Man.  Check, check, and check.  Though somehow I ended up making the hotel registration for the  Hilton in Baton Rouge and not Lafayette, so I didn’t get the awesome deal I was expecting.  But we still got an upgrade to a junior sweet and an extra 20 dollars will not break me.  We went to a wonderful Indian resturant with a fun atmosphere, delicious food and attentive, but not intrusive service.  Loved it.

The hotel was on the race route and we just walked down to transition area.  This is where things started to go wrong.  I expected things to be more “casual” I guess is the best term, especially when packet pickup turned out to be a race number and t-shirt and that’s it.  Still it was a little surprising to realize that they weren’t even organized in how they were  body marking people.  Some of us got our age group markings, some didn’t.  Some people got three markings.   Some got six.  It was… odd.

Then we moved to transition and I was just shocked.  So small.  So cramped.  And not organized.  Instead of having an assigned rack based on race number it was a free for all.  It was mostly in the parking lot, but there wasn’t room so those of us getting there not right at 5 ended up up on a grassy curb, shoved up against some bushes.  Also as there wasn’t an assigned number of bikes per rack, no one was racking in opposite directions, just all facing forward, taking up more room than they probably should.  I got an end space right next to the bushes and blame that early morning transition set up for the FOUR mosquito bites I got ON MY BUTT! I was also a little nervouse about how many NICE tri bikes and road bikes I was seeing.  Wasn’t this a beginner race?  Shouldn’t there be more hybrids and mountain bikes?

After set up we wandered over to the pool, to escape the mosquitoes and just settled in for the wait.  My race number was pretty high, so I knew that I’d be getting into the pool later.  When we registered we had to give our estimated swim time so I assumed that we would be seeded and given our race numbers based on that time.  It soon became apparent that had not happened.  Hardcore triathletes were scatter throughout with kids, and those of us with extra padding.  There didn’t seem to be any pattern at all.  Which was even more apparent when people started getting in the pool.  The first man in was passed before he got to the end of the lane and I think he was probably the 8th person out.  Sometimes there would be three people standing and waiting to go under the lane rope to start swimming as they had all reached the end of the lane at once.  I saw a man doing a sort of modified breast/backstroke within the first 50 or so people, going very slowly and making it very difficult for people to pass him as his arm movement took up so much of the lane.  Once I saw three men try to pass another man all at the same time.  Four big men trying to squeeze in the same area of a lane.  It might as well have been an open swim for them.  All I could hope for was that I wouldn’t be kicked or swum over.

Luckily my swim went smoothly.  I passed on person and was passed once.  I realized that I REALLY need to practice swimming under the rope lanes on turns.  I was SO SLOW during the turns.  I finished in just under 5 minutes, right where I expected and wanted to be and I walked/shuffled to transition.  I swear I didn’t think I was moving that slowly, but my transition time was pretty much as long as my swim time.  Two minutes longer than my T1 time in Rocketchix.  I took off on the bike, after manuvering around people in transtion who were just standing around talking to a racer (WTF?) and reminded myself to PUSH.  Goals for this triathlon were to finish under 1)1:30 and 1:20 if I could, 2)to improve my paces for each event as only the run was the same distance, 3)try for around 12mph on the bike and 4)to work HARD.  When I had so much trouble on the bike in Rocketchix I sort of just gave up.  All I wanted to do was finish, and I was already with the back of the packers, but not where anyone could really pass me on the run so I just kinda gave up.

The bike course was a double loop and I was excited because it meant I wouldn’t be facing long stretches into the wind like with Rocketchix.  I started out strong at around 13-14mph and felt okay.  I ended up passing a kid, but it took me a bit because he kept swerving to try and keep me from passing.  I’m ALL for kids participating in the sport but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that they know the basic rules.  This is when a little bit of anger started.  Lots of people passed me, but it didn’t feel as horrible as when it happened in May.  Possibly because the roads were closed so there was plenty of room and and I didn’t have to hear “On your left” every 20 seconds.  I made my second loop and after a bit realized I wasn’t really seeing anyone on the course anymore.  Had I fallen THAT far behind?  I had thought that a lot of the people passing me were on their second loop.  Soon the only other racers I saw were the runners on the run course and perhaps one biker far in the distance.  I started to feel a bit discouraged.

I pulled into T2 and as I was grabbing for water I was surprised to look up and realize The Man was right next to me.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to see him, but WHAT was he doing in transition?  Shouldn’t it still have been closed to non racers?  I was feeling REALLY thirsty so I decided to take my water bottle with me and I am so thankful I did.  The run course was down the sidewalk between the road and a parking lot and then into the parking lot, all the way to the end and back.  No shade.  SO HOT!  I could feel the sun beating down and bouncing back up.  And I realized I was really far back.  And that I just could not run.  Every time I tried I just ended up slowing down to walk.  I had no energy.  And then I overheard a cop say I was the last person.  And I felt like shit.  I felt like I was a failure and I didn’t know how I was doing so badly.  The heat was obviously getting to me.  By the time I had run to the end of the parking lot and was heading back I was in tears.  I actually thought about quitting and instead of turning around just walking on back to tranition and taking a DNF.  But somehow, I kept going.  I kept crying, but I kept going.  All I could think about was just running into The Man’s arms and sobbing.  It’s all I really wanted to do.  By this time I had reached the cop who was saying something as he was about to pull away (I think he was congratulating me.  I was so delirious I don’t really know.) and low and behold there is another runner!  Our outfits were nearly identical so it was easy to see why the cop thought I was the last one.

I suppose I should be ashamed that realizing I was not the last person on the course gave me a little pick me up.  But it did.  I stopped crying at least.  Then I think all the water I had drank finally sank in.  (I had hydrated like crazy the day before, but I should have drank more that morning.  I think was more dehydrated than I realized.) And I was running by all my fellow racers who were leaving.  And every. single. one. of them said something nice to me.  I also changed the way I reacted to those comments. Others had tired to encourage me in the parking lot as they were packing up their cars, but when they said “Good job” I just laughed disparagingly or shook my head: “Yeah. Right.” I was taking their positvie energy and making it negative.  Thinking: “They say good job, but they’re already done.  I’m so much worse than them.  It’s pathetic.  I’m pathetic.”  As I hit the last half mile or so I started to react differently.  When they said “Good job” I said “Thanks.”  Or great race.  I smiled.  Sometimes I said something first.  I created and fed off the triathlon, fellow racer feeling.  And I stopped walking and ran (or you know, shuffled) towards the finish line.

I was feeling so much better.  As I turned onto the sidewalk for the final 100 yards I even pulled out a little more energy to well, not quite sprint, but to at least lengthen my stride. Even thought I could see them taking down the flags at the finishline.  I knew I was the next to last person.  They could start breaking down.  But as I got closer I realized noone was even paying attention to me.  The race wasn’t chipped, they were using some other timing system that involved machines that looked like old fashioned adding machines, calling out people’s numbers, so it was actually kind of important that they realized I was you know, finishing.  So I called out, “239 coming in!” and one of the ladies kind of laughed and then looked at me and said, “Wait, are you serious?”  They had told them the race was finished and that everyone was done.  One of the machines had even been turned off.  What. The. Fuck?  I told them about the other lady still out there and then kissed The Man.  Or at least I think I did.

All that good energy I had built up had completely drained out of me at the finish line.  How to make your racers feel like shit?  Shut down the finish line before they’re off the race course.  I grabbed some orange slices and a bottle of water and then moved over to transition.  I wasn’t really interested in seeing the results (I probably wasn’t on them yet anyway) or hearing the awards.  It was during this time The Man told me time.  He had been timing me on his Iphone and I’m so glad he did.  I finished in 1:22:24.  Only a couple minutes off from my super goal time.  (If I had moved quicker in T1 I probably would have beat it!)  I had done better than I realized, at least for me.  I had done better than I FELT like I was doing.  I felt better again.

Then as we started to break down and walk back to the hotel, I remembered the kid I had passed.  He hadn’t finished behind me, but in front of me.  How had he done that without passing me?  He only did one loop.  I felt crappy again.  I totally get that he’s a kid.  But he was a registered racer.  If I look at the posted results there I am way down at the bottom and there he is a hundred or so people ahead of me.  And he cheated.  And that just feels wrong.  It also makes me wonder – was he the only one?  The double loop would make it super easy to do, on purpose or on accident.  And with the lack of good communication you could have even missed that it was a double loop.  When people are shouting “Turn here for the second loop” and you’re running on race adrenaline, isn’t it possible that you only hear the first part of that statement?  It just doesn’t make me feel good about the race.

I ended up being more thankful for The Man timing me.  Not only could he lift my mood by telling me my time immediately, but he timed transitions.  The official results did not.  They just clumped both transitions in with the bike time.  So it looks like I did WORSE pace wise when I actually did better.  Annoying.  I wouldn’t have know really how I did on the bike otherwise.  I could have flown but then taken ten minutes in each transition for all anyone would know.

Overall I met or came really close to my goals, but the race experience was so bad that I felt like I had a bad race.  Really the best description of the whole thing is an emotional roller coaster.  I think my participation next year is doubtful.  But then I wonder if my negative feeling comes from just the fact that I finished next to last.  Am I really judging the race fairly?  I just don’t know.

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Just roll with it

August 18, 2011

It’s true that I am just a triathlon newbie.  But tonight I am packing for my second sprint triathlon, and I have trick that I think is worth sharing.

In the spring when I was doing my first race, I went to an informational meeting and was told most people don’t wear socks for sprint triathlons.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?  Biking without socks didn’t sound too, too bad, but running without them?  It just sounded painful!  We were encouraged to give this a try because getting socks on wet feet is nigh impossible, especially if you are trying to hurry things along in transition.  So I ran without socks.  And it wasn’t so bad.  I thought, hey, I can do this.  Then on my second or third sockless run I ran through a patch of sandy gravel, which then got in my shoe and then rubbed me raw in all the horrific ways I had first imagined.  I ended up cutting the run short and limping back to my car.  Sockless running was NOT going to cut it for race day.  So, what to do?

The answer: roll the darn socks on.

When you are packing your race bag, put your socks on your clean, DRY feet.

Clean and dry, put on the normal way.

Fold the cuff down about a quarter of an inch.

One tiny fold to start.

Using your fingers, or hand push the fold until it starts to roll in on itself.  Roll down the whole cuff and keep rolling.  The heel seems like it will cause a bit of an issue, but it truly doesn’t.  Just push hard.

Soon you will have rolled them right off your feet and your sock will be ready to go.

Yes, basically you have made a sock condom.  But just roll with it.  Literally!  Your socks will totally keep this shape and you can just tuck them into your shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can test out the effectiveness by soaking your feet in the bathtub and then rolling the socks back on.  I promise you can roll a sock on a wet foot just as fast as you can slip one on a dry one.

What fun race tips do you have?