Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Funny Running Moment

When my alarm went off at 4:40 this morning for me to head out on my run, I didn't want to.  I hadn't slept well, and had just fallen back to sleep when the dang thing went off.  I decided to suck it up and go anyway. I fumbled with getting dressed in the dark, slipped out to the front room to put on my shoes, coat, both pairs of gloves, reflective vest, headlamp, etc.  I then looked out at the front porch and realized we had yet ANOTHER few inches of fresh powder on the ground.  It didn't appear to be coming down very hard anymore, so I figured since I was already dressed, I might as well try and go.  I reminded myself that some of my most memorable runs have been in the fresh snow.  I went out and it wasn't bad!  The roads weren't bad (I mean they were, but snowy and not icy, if that makes sense).  I concentrated on finding my rhythm and was enjoying how pretty it was, and quiet, and how I was so glad that I was able to experience this moment of serenity outside.  I was then happy I decided to brave it.

About 15 minutes into the run, I notice this man out shoveling his driveway.  He stops, looks at me, and yells, "You are F^*#ing crazy!"  I couldn't help agree, but I was having a great run nonetheless.  

Have you ever stopped and looked at how your life looks to an outsider?  The things we do as athletes that are normal to us, like getting up well before the crack of dawn, running in single digit temps, while snowing, in the dark?  I mean REALLY?!?  I am grateful for these choices I have made in my life, but I can totally see how this guy would think I am nuts.  Somedays I wonder, but I wouldn't change it for anything.  While I am out there and have the road and quiet world to myself I have often had a heart full of thanks that I am able to experience what everyone else missed because they are still in bed.  It is often on these early morning moments that I have that "all is right with the world" moments that prepare me for the day that lies ahead.

In the meantime,  Happy Training All!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I have lived in Utah for 15 years now.  I came from growing up in Houston, and I swore I would love the four seasons, and snow!  I remember my first winter here, I loved the snow and got up extra early before class just so I could take my time walking to class in the snow!  I loved it!  I have loved it every year since...until this year!

This has by far been the worst winter I can remember.  Ever since Christmas, we have only had 1 day above 30.  We have had record snows, and the snow hasn't melted due to the freezing temps.  And if this cold wasn't enough, we had a freak ice storm this week.  Let's rub salt into the wound, alrighty Mother Nature?

This has really been hard on so many fronts.  One, just being motivated to train has been hard.  I just want to stay in my warm bed.  But another part, other than motivation is the pure logistics of it.  Syracuse is the worst ever on getting roads cleared, so the roads are down right dangerous to run on. With the ice storms this past week, driving is dangerous, so getting to the pool that is already 20 minutes away wasn't worth it when it was like a literal ice rink and the UDOT is telling everyone to stay home.

I guess you could say I still have my bike, and I would have nothing but lame excuses for why I haven't hit my trainer more this week, but I didn't.  I guess you could say I am suffering from lack of Vitamin D, and I am in a total funk.  Oh, and did I forget to mention the inversion?  NBC actually did a brief on how Utah has the worse air in the nation, and most of the time, they are telling us to stay inside.  Lovely.  They are even keeping kids in from recess in some schools due to the air quality.

So this is where I am at.  I am trying to dangle a carrot out in front of myself to keep me motivated to work out.  I am thinking that if I can go until my first race (meaning first tri on March 31) with out skipping a work out, I should earn something.  But I don't know what?  What would make that worth it?  Keeping in mind this is 9 work outs a week, and some strength work (5-10 minutes of planks, crunches, push ups, etc) daily.  What would be worth it to you?  Part of me is thinking a new tri suit, or even the 910 XT I am begging my husband for.

How do you stay motivated?  Do you reward yourselves?  What should I reward myself with if I stick to my training between now and my first race?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Shake things up in the pool!

As much as I love the swim, and I do, it is often the area that I feel that is hardest for me to get around to doing, the easiest work out to skip.  First of all, the closest pool is 20 minutes away.  And, with the hours they have open for lap swim, it either leaves me with 5 in the morning (which is my normal work out time, but it takes extra time when I have to plan 40 minutes of driving there and back all BEFORE work) or 9 pm at night.  I had originally put it into my training schedule to hit the pool twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday night for that 9 pm time.  Who the Hell was I kidding?  Anyone that knows me knows I have NEVER been a night person, and asking me to be awake that long is laughable at best.  I know, I know, it is pathetic that a 33 year old fit and healthy woman can't stay up past 8:30, but it is what it is.  I just desperately need my sleep, at a minimum of 8 hours a night.  And when your internal clock gets you up at 4:30 regardless of the day of the week or the time  you went to bed, you get my point.

I thought that if I had someone to go and swim with it would create an accountability that would make me go.  However, in reaching out to to my TriBuddies, no one took the bait.  They all have other schedules, swim arrangements, whatever.  I then decided to suck it up and go in the morning a few times a week, and find a way to make it work.  So I did this past week.  I met some people there who I have seen before, and the introduced themselves and said that they are simply a group of friends that meets up on MWF mornings and they take turns planning the work outs.  They invited me to join them.  PERFECT!  Finally some accountability for me!  Since this was at the end of my work out, I agreed to meet them the next time, which was this past Wednesday.

I showed up and they told me that the work out always started with the same 600 m warm up.  200 swim/200 pull/200 kick.  No problem!  I finished that and then they were doing 4x100's swim with 25 easy, 50 sprint, and then 25 easy.  A little tougher, but still, no problem.  Then they did the same set of 4x100's as pull with paddles.  Um...your kidding, right?  My shoulders really can't handle more than 100-150 pull at the most, and they were already feeling like lead from the day previous strength work out.  I tried anyhow, and it wasn't pretty.  I was pathetically slower than the rest of them when I had been able to keep up or even stay slightly ahead in the other parts of the work out.  Humbling to say the least.  I have always taken pride in the swim as it is the one thing I generally do very well at of the tri sports.  Well, there is obviously work to do!

But, this is going to be good for me in so many ways.  One, it will get me to the pool now that there are people expecting me.  I have learned that I can make it work with my work schedule, and it spares me from staying up late.  It is also a chance to meet new people in the sport, and they are getting me out of my comfort zone on the work outs.  And did I mention that part of the work out was to do any stroke other than free style?  Well, fly was most definitely out, my attempt at breast stroke barely had me moving in the water, thank heaven I still am decent at back stroke.  Yes, I was humbled to say the least.

On a positive note, I haven't missed a single work out all week!  I usually end of slacking on at least one, but not this week!  And I have only missed 2 since the New Year...and they were both swims ;P

My training schedule for now is following a 3-3-2 model...three bikes, three runs, and 2 swims a week, with daily strength work in the form of 15-20 minutes of planks, push ups, crunches, or whatever else I can come up with.  With that many work outs and working full time and being wife and Mom, only missing two in the past 18 days makes me quite happy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

♪♪ A-B-C-D-E-F-G....What do these races mean to me? ♪♪♪

As I came up with my list of races for this year, and am sticking to one a month (with the exception of ones thrown in there through the Striders Series) I need to pick out which ones mean what to me.  What are my goals?  How do I prioritize my training for them?  In the tri world I have heard people say, which one is your A race?  Or the one that is most important or means the most to you.  So, with that in mind, and looking over my 2013 schedule, I would say the following are my A races:

SLC Half Marathon 4/21 - I really want to have a sub 2 half marathon.  I think that I can do it with good consistent training, and I was only 8 minutes off last Spring.  If this one doesn't go as planned, I may have to add one at the end of the season to just try again.  With the Striders series, I should be in great shape for this as we would have run these distances, and had a half marathon already as a "practice" race for this one.

Spudman Oly Tri 7/27 - I am really seeking a sub 3 hour Oly distance tri.  I think it is easier to have a PR at an Oly distance where the discipline distances are more standardized.  In a sprint, they are all over the place, so with an Oly, I would love to have a sub 3.  With the down river swim, and the flat course for run/bike, I am hoping this happens.

St George 26.2 10/5 - I always want to do well with a marathon.  After seeing my huge improvement from one year to the next with this past race, I REALLY want to keep that going.  I don't know what it is about a marathon, but they mean the most to me.  I only do one a year, and that is only if I get in through the registration.  The challenge is so great in any marathon, regardless of how many you have done, that I just really want to see improvement.  And, I also have a career goal of qualifying for Boston, and even though I am currently 45 minutes away from that, any move in that direction is a good thing :)

B races (still important, but like good practice for the A ones):

Icebreaker Tri - a mini sprint.  I can compare with last year since it is virtually the same course as Women of Steel was.  A good one for measuring progress, but that's about it.

St. George Oly - a practice for Spudman, and I love Southern Utah for races.  I can use this as a test run for Spudman, and then have a few months to improve where needed.

Ogden Valley Tri - (I am assuming of course they are even bringing it back) I love this one.  It will be a good progress measuring race.  I loved it last year, and it will be good to just see progress over a year, do one close to home, and have fun.

C Races (just for fun):

Everything else.  I love racing just to race, and I use them to gauge where I am and where I need to go.  I also like to have fun, so that is where everything else falls.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Resolution Run 10k

I was pretty excited to do this run. One of my goals for 2013 is that I want to focus on shorter distances and being faster at them. This was one way to do that, and it is the first 10k I have done independent from the Olympic distance Tri I did up at Bear Lake. I also know the organizers, so it was fun to do a local race where I know the owners.

This is the first race that Utah Endurance Events has ever done as they are a brand new racing company. I honestly didn't expect much at all knowing that this is their first race. Well, I was wrong! It was very well organized! I was impressed by they registration process, the inexpensive race fee, and they actually had a really cool t-shirt!

The one thing I was worried about regarding this race was something completely out of their control, and that is the weather. It has been DANG cold, to say the least. Today was no exception. At the start line as I was waiting in my car for more people to arrive and start the race, my car said -2 degrees. WTH?!? I kept thinking that I should have stayed in bed, but since I was already there, maybe I would get in line with the 5k racers and call it good. But honestly, I really wanted to say that I have done a 10k, and I knew other people doing the race, so I decided to tough it out. The run was all through the west side of Kaysville, starting at Boondocks and joining the Rail Trail at a few spots. I had never run that far down on the trail, though I have been on it on my bike. It was a gorgeous morning even though it was still cold. I was impressed that they had aid stations every 2-3 miles, though I didn't stop to use them. I felt bad for the volunteers braving the cold to man the street corners and those stations! It was so cold out, at least I was moving and warming up some! They were all very cheerful and clapping and supporting us runners as we went by. Hats off for great volunteers!

I honestly felt really good the whole run. I had dressed just right, not too warm and not too cold. I was really glad that I made the decision to wear two pairs of gloves though, as I have had my fingers freeze on a few runs this week in similar temps. It paid off as I had toasty hands the whole time, and honestly, as long as my feet, head, and hands are warm, I don't need too many other layers to be okay on these freezing runs. I was honestly more cold once I was done!

The run itself was pretty uneventful for me, I was feeling good, keeping a pretty good pace, though I made a point not to glance at my watch to see what exactly that pace was. I just wanted to enjoy this run and go as much by feel as I could. I only had one person pass me the entire 6.2 miles, so that was great as well! It does wonders for you mentally when you pass those around you :)

I was really ready to be done about mile 5 when I started to feel the muscles on my face be really stiff and hard to smile. This was just a couple miles after my eyelashes started to freeze together and make it hard to open my eyes at the corners. I decided to try to sprint the last 1/4 of a mile to the finish and was pleasantly surprised to see the clock at the finish say 1:01:32, which was exactly the time my Global Trainer recorded for the run as well. That is an average pace of 9:54/mile, which as all three of you regular readers know, is awesome for me. I finished 8th in my age group (dang, there are some fast women out there!) and 17th overall. I would call this a very good day!

I would definitely do this run again. It was well organized, small and local. They did a great job and I enjoyed it, even with the cold.

My next race isn't until the start of February when I start the Striders Winter Racing Series with their 5k. I am hoping for a PR with a good month of training ahead of me! In the meantime...

Happy training all!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Race Plan!

I have been brewing for months over what my goals are for 2013, and what races I want to do, and how to sync those two things together in being smart about what races and events I do, instead of just signing up for whatever ones come my way.  I have done that in the past and would like to hope that I am a little bit smarter this year (here's to hoping anyway).  I first had to determine what my goals were, then pick a races and events that would align with those goals.

My goals for 2013 are as follows:

1) Improve my run speed.  This is what continually keeps me off the podium, or at least is the biggest issue.  Other things will come with practice, such as my T times, etc.  I know that by doing shorter distances and focusing on intensity, instead of volume, I can hopefully improve my pace.

2) Sub 2 hour Half marathon.  My most recent 13.1 time and my PR is 2:08:42.  I am hoping to make that a sub 2 hour.

3) Remain injury free.  I have come to realize that my plantar fascitis is going to come and go, but I have learned to manage it.  I am hoping that with the continued cross training that is the essence of tri training that I can remain injury free, as well as implementing strength training, stretching, and my foam roller. 

4) One sport specific event a year...at least.  I want to have at least one cycling specific, one run specific, and one swim specific event a year. 

5)  Be consistent!  I want to be consistent in all that I do.  Mainly in my training, but also in my diet, and my performances, and hopefully that means consistently improving, even if it is by a couple of seconds.

6) One race a month.


So, with these goals in mind, here is my tentative (things can always change and life happens) race schedule for 2013....drum roll please......

1/5  Resolution Run 10k
2/2  Striders 5k
2/16  Striders 10k
2/23  Romp and Stomp (a snow shoe-ing 5k)
3/9  Striders 10 miler
3/30 Icebreaker Sprint Tri
4/6  Striders Half Marathon
4/20 Salt Lake City Half Marathon
4/27  Striders 18 miler
5/18  STG Olympic Tri
6/1  Little Red Century Ride
7/27  Spudman Olympic Tri
8/24  Utah 70.3 Relay - Swim portion
9/14  Ogden Valley Sprint Tri
10/5  St. George 26.2 (if I get in with the lotto)
11/21  Turkey Trot 5k
12/7  Santa Run 5k

So this would give me 10 running events (the bulk of which are part of the Striders Winter Racing Series),  one cycling event (my first century ride!), 5 triathlons (one of which is a relay), and a show shoe event just for fun.  Whew!  It seems like a lot, but it does stick with the one event a month, with the exception of the races that are part of the Striders Winter Racing series. 

I am so excited!  Especially since the first race is just 48 hours away, and it is my first independent 10k!  The only other one I have ever done was connected to the Olympic Distance tri I did at Bear Lake in August.  This season will also bring me my first triathlon relay, my first century ride, and my first out of state race, which will be the Spudman Oly in July, which is in Burley, Idaho on the Snake River.  

I do like repeating some races, but only if I really like them, as is the case with the Salt Lake City Half, and the St. George Marathon, and the Ogden Valley Tri.  I like to try new things, new races, and new race organizers.  This year I am also not racing with any company that doesn't do finisher medals.  Dumb, I know, but it is what it is.  I, of course, don't expect them for 5-10k races, but otherwise, bring on the bling!

So, there is it.  Let's git er done!  And in the mean time...

Happy Training All!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review - You are an Ironman

You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World's Toughest Triathlon

With a few weeks off at Christmas and some long hours in the car, I knew I needed to read something.  I honestly like any kind of book, but I really like reading about real people's lives.  With my new found hobby of triathlon, I had seen this one recommended on BeginnerTriathlete.  So, I downloaded it to my Ipad and was eager to start it!

This book is written by a man who has many friends who are part of a triathlon club.  The author himself has done a few shorter distance races, but not the Ironman.  He follows a few of them that are competing in the Ironman Arizona, both the year that they register and the following year where they compete.  This book follows six different people, regular Joe's by most standards, and their journeys to hear Mike Rice call their name and say the famous words, "You are an Ironman!"

I loved that this followed regular favorites.  Though I love to read and hear about the pros, I can't relate to them, as much as I admire them.  I have to juggle my training with being a full time wife, mom, and teacher.  I have can't dedicate the time to training that they do.  I don't have the sponsors throwing gear, bikes, and all kinds of training gadgets at me.  I am a regular "weekend warrior" who juggles this with the demands of a regular life.  That is exactly who the people in this book are.  They are regular men and women with families, jobs, insecurities, lack of financial resources to fix their cars, much less hire a private coach to design their training plans.    They are from all over the country and deal with illness, family issues, injuries, insecurities, and they are who might be next to any average age grouper at any given triathlon any given weekend.

Their stories fascinated me, and kept me interested.  I could relate to their frustration with bike crashes.  I could relate to the injuries that plague what would otherwise be great training.  I could relate to them struggling to stay motivated to train at all!

If you want a book where you can see how truly any one that wants to and has the drive to complete an Ironman while dealing with every day life, you will love this!  I think that given the range of people featured in the book, surely there is someone you could relate to.  I loved one quote from the book "The road to an Ironman is paved with LIFE".  It went to show that no matter how or what you are dealing with, you can still do whatever you set your mind to.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Time flies when you're having fun!

Wow! Has it really been since Thanksgiving since I posted? Since then, let me update you on my life in all things fitness and otherwise related.

First thing that has happened is that I completed my ATP program, or the program I am going though to get my teaching licensure. This greatly impacts my fitness/racing/Tri life in that it is going to free up a tremendous amount of time! I'm so excited to have my Monday and Wednesday nights back and not to mention all the time that I have returned to me with no more studying and doing homework! I look forward to being able to fit a few extra workouts in every week. Woohoo!

Second, I finished the Insanity workouts. They really kicked my butt! I ended up losing a ton of inches, and 13 pounds. It was really nice to go to Denver and see my Mom who actually made the comment that my butt looked smaller. Mission accomplished! Well, partially anyhow, I still have some work to do, but I am thrilled with the progress I have made.

Secondly, we had Christmas! It was so good this year! We went and saw my parents as I mentioned above and it was so fun. I even snuck in a few runs while we were there, and it is always fun to log miles in a new place. It was very cold though, as it is back here in Utah, so that affected my motivation to get out the door as well as my speed. However, one benefit of Insanity is that it allowed me to be in the comfort of my own home and not need to brave the elements. That is about to end now that SBR training is back in full gear!

Speaking of SBR, here is the Tri related gift I am most excited about.....drum roll please....I got a new trainer! I used some of the money we got for Christmas and bought it. I must say that I did have some reservations about getting one. The first of which is that I know how much I hated the dread mill that I used to have and I wondered if this wouldn't be the same thing. But, unlike running, biking is not doable with the ice and snow. I can navigate much better on my feet through it all and can do sidewalks, etc on foot. On bike, however, it just doesn't seem safe. So, if I want to train at all on my bike, this was my only option. I set it up and tried it out for an hour this morning, and the time flew by as I caught up on my DVR! This is going to be great! I can hardly contain my excitement!

I am putting the finishing touches on my race plan for 2013. I am really excited about it, and will reveal more later. One thing I have decided though, I am not racing with any company that doesn't provide medals. Any of you that read this know I am all about the race bling, so I am sticking with races and organizers I know that do them. Shallow, I know, but it is what it is. Call me bitter about only getting ONE Tri medal out of four possible last year, but I have to add to my bling :)

More coming soon, but in the mean time...

Happy training all!