Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Connected

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by yesterday and left wonderful comments.  Your kind words and thoughts were more helpful than I can tell you!

By yesterday evening it was clear (as many of you pointed out) that I really needed to go for a run.  And not just any old run, but an early morning run, a time I love the best.  My current work schedule makes early morning runs really, really, REALLY early.  Like 3 am early.  But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

My old job started at 8 am, so most mornings I would be up before 5 for my morning routine:  coffee, internet, “business", and stretching.  Out the door by 5:30 or so, depending on how many miles I was running, then home by 6:45 and on with my day.

Getting up that early, I got to see my neighborhood and my hometown in a different light.  Literally.  5:30 am is pre-dawn most of the year.  Running in the dark meant that I always knew the current phase of the moon, or in which direction to look for Orion.  I could tell you with some precision what time the sun would come up and I’ve seen more than one shooting star during a run.  I’ve always felt very connected to the nighttime sky (in fact, my tattoos are the Moon, the Sun and Saturn, and maybe you already noticed all the stars on my blog), so getting up early to run in the dark was a real pleasure for me.

It’s been over six months since I’ve run in the very early morning.  There was a long stretch of unemployment - no need to get up early if I didn’t have any place to be - and now a job that starts at 5 am (and btw, driving to work in the pre-dawn hours doesn’t even compare).  When life changed, I simply re-adjusted my schedule and ran when it was convenient.  Even if the sun was shining.

But stepping outside this morning into the cool, dark air was like coming home.  Sure it was significantly earlier than I was used to, but there was my moonlight and my stars in the sky, just waiting for me to connect with them again.  I breezed through two miles without even looking at my Garmin (it’s not like I could see it in the dark anyway) and when I got back I knew that run was EXACTLY what I needed.

I’m so grateful for all of the joys running brings me, and that includes the connections with you here in bloggy world.  Happy Running to us all!

P.S.  I know some of you will have safety concerns about me running at 3 am.  Have no fear, I don’t wear an iPod but I do wear my reflective vest!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Training, Interrupted

Nope, no injuries, and thank goodness for that, but my training is still suffering a setback this week.  My cousin died on Sunday and even though his passing was neither sudden nor unexpected, it’s hard to handle.  Losing a loved one sucks.

Yesterday was supposed to be a long (for me) swim, but that didn’t happen.  I could barely get off the couch, much less into the pool.  Likewise on today’s planned brick.

I did manage to swim 800 meters today and tried to really focus on my body position in the water (rather than letting my mind wander and devolving into tears).  I took a full minute off my previous best 800 time, but it required every ounce of concentration I had and left me wiped out.

The rest of my training week is up in the air, as I’ll be travelling this weekend for the service.  I’m hoping to get in my scheduled long run before I leave.  We’ll see.

On the one hand, I know that I need to run and ride my bike to clear my head and maybe even work through some of this grief.  On the other hand…right now I just can’t get my butt out the door.

Do you continue to exercise through sad times?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Running Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, almost four years ago, there was a chubby mom who knew she needed to get fit (before the rest of her jeans didn’t fit).  So she went for a walk on a nature trail near her house.  It was a one-mile round trip and she had been walking it every morning for almost a year with no weight-loss success.  Then one morning, something magical happened:  she decided to see if she could run.  She could!  And it was awesome.

She started running that mile a few times a week, then she started running more.  Soon that one mile became two and then three.  She entered a 5K race and loved the feeling of pinning on that bib.  She went from saying, “I’m going for a run” to “I am a runner.”  Many pounds were lost and confidence was gained.

She went from looking like this:

Before

to looking like this:

P CropFast forward to this morning’s 9-mile run, where our intrepid heroine is travelling that same nature trail where this whole journey started.  There’s another woman she sees somewhat frequently, a woman who might be trying to lose a few pounds, who has been walking the nature trail for many months now.  That woman is RUNNING!

Our hero calls out, “Hey, you’re running! That’s fantastic!”

“Yep, I’m trying.  You’ve inspired me,” came the reply.

Best. Compliment. EVER.

Friday, July 23, 2010

You Know You’re a Triathlete When…

  • You can convert miles to Kilometers in your head
  • You’ve ever had “bike envy”
  • The training plan calls for a bike only day and you feel really strange not running afterward
  • You can name all the flavors of GU Chomps and you have a favorite
  • You play “Spot the Triathlete” in public by looking for men with shaved legs
  • Men who don’t shave their legs look freakishly hairy to you
  • You use more acronyms than the military:  RPE, PR, SRD, OWS, etc.
  • You struggled through high school math, but you can easily add splits and transition times in your head to figure out what paces you need to make your goal time
  • You know at a glance what shoes your competitor is wearing and how much they cost; likewise with her bike and wetsuit
  • You have no problem wearing compression socks out in public
  • When you grow up, you want to be Chrissie Wellington

Happy Friday

and

Happy Racing this weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Four Things Thursday

Because it’s my blog and I’m not feeling the cutesy today.

1.  Today was a speedwork day – hooray!  Nice and short, and thank goodness for that because I didn’t get going until 11 am.  Hello hot.  Five miles total with two 1-mile repeats, easy peasy, and I hit them both at 7:38 (goal was 7:48, w00t).  Sadly, I made the total moron move of not bringing anything to drink.  Even more sad, I made this same moron move last week and really should have learned my hot and thirsty lesson.  Apparently I have short-term memory issues (“Hey, you’re Tony Randall!”).

2.  My favorite part of today’s run (besides killing my splits)?  The orange Gatorade that was waiting for me when I walked in the door.  The Hubs makes Gatorade from powder WAY stronger than I do; it was actually gritty from the undissolved powder and tasted like Tang.  YUM!

3.  I attempted swim drills yesterday and I didn’t completely suck.  I did kick drills, stroke drills and speed drills.  Who knows if I did any of them correctly, but I look at it like this:  ya gotta start somewhere.  Goodness knows when I first started doing running drills I was clueless and that turned out okay.  Is there a Swimmer’s World magazine I can subscribe to?

4.  Today is my baby’s 10th birthday!  I have no idea how he “growed up” so fast, but I’m so excited about the person he is turning out to be.  Happy Birthday Little Boy!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crazy from the Heat

Ahhh, what post isn't made just a little brighter with a David Lee Roth reference, hmm??

Week Two of heat-slash-marathon training came roaring to life with a 12 and 4 brick this afternoon and even though it's not getting any easier, at least it's not getting harder.  So I got that going for me.  (A Caddyshack reference, too.  What am I?  Old?)

Riding a bike in the middle of the day really isn't bad.  I live in the suburbs, so traffic is pretty light around mid-day.  I don't have to stop at many lights and I don't fear for my life the way I do in the early morning when drivers are all focused solely on getting to work ("What bike?").  Sure it's hot, but all I have to do to get cool is go faster.

The run, however, is a different story.  The run was just plain hot, no getting around it.  The dirt trail near my house that simulates my tri race course has almost no shade (just like the tri race course).  I played many mind games with myself to keep going today.  I brought my iPod as a crutch.  I let myself walk a little bit in the sparse shade and I drank almost 18 ounces of Nuun in the 34 minutes I was running, but it was still bloody hot.

I spent a lot of my bike ride today thinking about work - solving paperwork problems, reliving compliments, pretending I was telling off rude clients, etc.  Almost the entire run, though, was consumed with reminding myself why running in the heat is "good" for me, in spite of that whole dying-of-heatstroke thing.  Making myself run today and not cutting it short or giving in (too much) to walking is making me stronger for race day.  In fact, there was this little portion of my brain that felt completely badass for getting out there and getting it done in this weather.

Wait a second, you mean I'm starting to like running in the heat??  Yeah, like I said...crazy.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Family Training Day

For most of our training, The Hubs and I can work out a schedule that leaves one of us at home with the boys while the other of us is out for a run or a ride.  Occasionally, there's a short amount of overlap time (my boys are 12 and 10 - trust me, they can turn on the TV and pour their own cereal while we're out).  Now that The Hubs is deep in Half Iron training, though, it's getting trickier to get in my long runs and bricks.  Today, we solved the problem by taking the boys out to the lake and getting in some of their tri training, too.

The kids, of course, were completely on board with this because exercise is way more fun when you call it "training."  Likewise, that boring old peanut butter toast tasted so much better because we were "fueling," and everyone loves bragging about it later, a.k.a "blogging."

We left the house nice and early, but it was already creeping into the 70s when we arrived at the lake.  The Hubs set off for his long-ass bike ride and I got in the water for a little OWS practice.  Since it wasn't actually on the training schedule for today, I didn't push my pace or my distance, I just enjoyed the feel of the water and only ended up swimming about 400 meters.  Then Big Boy and Little Boy got some open water training in and they did awesome!  My boys are like fearless fish in our pool, so I wasn't worried about them having any of my panic issues.
Ready to get in the water!

 
Out of the water and fueling up for the bike


Everyone's ready - let's roll!

This lake is at the top end of the bike trail that The Hubs and I rode a few weeks ago.  Doing an out-and-back from this end means that the first half is net downhill and the return trip is, in a word, brutal.  I had eight miles on the plan this morning and high hopes to keep my pace in the sub-nines.  Um, yeah, in the heat and on hills...that didn't happen.  But I had such a great time running with my kiddos that I wasn't really thinking about my pace.  (Sadly, what was actually going through my head was Miranda Cosgrove's silly song - the last thing I heard in the car - that I barely know any of the words to.  This is why I like to run with an iPod.)

This bike trail is very well-traveled on the weekends, and there was no shortage of cyclists and runners this morning.  Lots of people said things like "Way to go!" to the boys, which made them very happy.  Big Boy and Little Boy have accompanied me on a few runs here before and I'm so proud of how far they've come with bike trail etiquette and hill-climbing skills.  They were both up out of the saddle on the 8% grades and they even got to pass a few slower riders (while calling out "On your left!")

As we neared our car, both boys decided that they wanted to do a little run to finish off their morning, to make it a full triathlon training session.  "Are you sure you're up for it?" I asked.  "Of course, Mom, we're hardcore like you and Dad" was the reply.  Am I the luckiest mom in the world or what?!?!  So, off they went for a loop around the parking lot while I took a red-faced and sweaty pic.
*whew*  All done with my run, now I'm waiting for the kids to finish theirs

Right about the time we finished up our ride and run, The Hubs came back from his bike ride and headed out for the second half of his brick, a 5 mile run.  I checked the weather and felt a whole lot better about my inability to hold a regular pace:  84 degrees at the finish of my run - yikes!  Since we were at the lake anyway, what better way to cool off than hopping back in the water?
Finally done - what a great morning of training for everyone!

Final stats for the whole family:
Me - 400(ish) meter swim @ snail's crawl slow + 8.01 mile run @ 9:09
Big Boy and Little Boy - 150(ish) meter swim + 8 mile bike + .5 mile run @ race-ready pace!
The Hubs - 45.33 mile bike + 5.28 mile run @ speeds I can't even achieve in my dreams

Happy Weekend and Happy Training!  Did you enjoy some "family time," too?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Baaa! Baaaa!

First my refrigerator, now this:  I'm showing off my medals, a la Marlene.  I went back and forth on whether I was going to post this or not.  I've only finished two marathons.  None of my local races give out bling for less than a half-marathon distance.  And goodness knows I've never placed in my age group!  But, here's what I realized (and it's right there in the title of my blog):  I'm an average athlete.  I've never claimed to be anything other than mediocre, so hopefully none of you came to this post expecting to see a race closet full of hardware.  But if you come to my house and walk down my hallway, you will see this:
My side

The Hubs' side

From my first Half Marathon.  It's a REAL cowbell!

My first Marathon - what an awesome day!

I may be average, but my kids think I'm a rock star!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Heat Training

In preparation for next month's triathlon, which is sure to be even hotter than last week's, I decided that I really need to get acclimated to the heat during training.  Okay, to be honest, my work schedule made the final decision for me, since I work the 5 am - 10 am shift most days (and even though I love to run in the early morning, 3 am is too early for me).

I have never actually tried heat training before - when I taught preschool I had summers off, so I just got up earlier and earlier to run in the cooler morning temperatures.  At my new job - *gasp* - I discovered that normal people don't get three months of vacation time a year and have to run when the work schedule permits.  Who knew?

I dipped my toe in the (hot) water on Tuesday's brick workout - 14 mile bike, 2 mile run - by starting my workout a little after 8:30, which is a good two hours later than I prefer.  Temps were in the low to mid 70s with 15 - 20 mph winds blowing, so my bike speed suffered mightily (16.8 mph - ouch!), but the run went reasonably well (8:16 pace).  I felt like it was a pretty good start to my heat acclimation.

Today's run was more of a suffer-fest.  I didn't get on the road until almost 10 am and we were already hitting temps in the low 80s - ugh!  On the plan today was a 5 mile tempo run:  one mile warm-up (as if!), three miles at 8:16 pace, then one mile cool-down.  I kept it nice and easy for the warm-up (8:40), but pushed it a little too hard on the tempo part (7:59).  By the time I got to the cool-down, I was tapped out and took a LOT of walking breaks (11:15, 8:48 average pace overall).

Reading about heat training and expecting performance degradation is one thing, but experiencing it first-hand isn't what I'd call "fun."  I know it's good for me, though, and gives me another Ace in my running deck to pull out on rough days.

What's your best heat training tip?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Fridge - Exposed!

It took everything I had not to clean up my refrigerator before taking these pics, just so you know.
Here's the challenge:  Take the pics of your fridge, then tell us
  1. What's all that crap on the front?  This wasn't actually on the original post, as far as I know, but my fridge is covered in "stuff" that I thought I should explain.  There's the duelling training plans on the lower right side, the family calendar on the top right and the kids' latest report cards on the left.  Also on the left is a pic of The Hubs running Boston and a pic of my oldest son (now almost 12) when he was about 2 - awwwwww.  Another highlight:  the postcard on the upper right that reads "26.2 Miles is Supah Fah," one of many souvenirs from Boston.
  2. A few things you like in there.  I drink my fair share of the milk (in fact, we're running low right now with only two gallons - I usually buy at least three), all that creamer is mine, and the carrots are my go-to afternoon snack lately.
  3. What you can't live without.  I'll be honest, I can't live without the creamer.  I take it with me on vacation.
  4. What you should live without that is currently in there.  There's a nearly empty bottle of pre-mixed margaritas that's been in there for about two months - ick!
  5. What you wish was in it. Dessert!
Okay, I showed you mine, now it's your turn!

What's in your fridge???

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Thoughts

Today is the first day of Marathon Training!!!  Oh, how I love starting a new training schedule.  I spent a few hours yesterday tweaking all the ins and outs of this one because here's what's going on in my life between now and Marathon Day:
  • My next sprint-distance TRI, which is only a month away
  • Big Boy and Little Boy are also racing a TRI, the day after mine
  • The Hubs is racing his first Half Iron-distance in September
So, we're a little busy with four training schedules in the house right now!

Today's training included - ironically - the fastest 1000 meter swim I've had this summer.  *sigh*  Of course, that doesn't mean that my swim was actually fast, just fast for me.  1000 meters in 26:31.

I'm very excited to get back to marathon training, I've really missed the speedwork and core work.  I've still been doing core work during TRI training, but it's been haphazard at best - this plan has core work written down, so I know it'll get done.

Please note the Boston magnet holding this schedule to the fridge, a souvenir from our trip this April when The Hubs ran Boston.  I'm hoping it'll spread a little BQ magic on my training.

Other random Monday thoughts:
  • I swapped out my pedals last night and I'm officially using clip-on bike shoes.  It's not as scary as I was expecting.  *whew*
  • I'm on the hunt for perfect socks.  I've realized lately that I don't like cushioned socks anymore, so I bought a pair of Feetures! Light that I'm going to try out tomorrow.  I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Since I was at Fleet Feet, I bought a TRI sticker for my car, to go right next to the 26.2 one.  It had to be done.
  • The race pics are up on the photographer's website and the picture of me coming out of the water has my BFF Richard the Kayak Guy in the background!  I'm going to purchase it just for that reason.
Happy Monday and Happy Training to you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

TRI for FUN Race Report

The short version:  WOOOO HOOOOOOOO!

The long version:
I realized yesterday that I was feeling really good, really confident and really excited about today's race.  I had a nice pasta dinner, I pre-hydrated, and I got to bed at a reasonable hour.  But when the alarm went off at 5, the nerves hit hard.  Honestly, I wonder why celebrities pay all that money for a "cleanse" when all you really need is a good dose of race-day nerves!

I was packed and ready to go by 6:15, so off we went.  The race venue is about 30 - 40 minutes away from my house and we saw lots of cars with bikes along the highway - fellow triathletes, how exciting!  We arrived early enough to get decent parking and I scored a great transition spot:  almost straight out of the water, and very close to the run start, but sort of far from the bike start. 

Setting up my transition stuff next to Mr. Bike

Body marking

That's my nervous smile.  Do you see how far out that first buoy is????

Here were my goals for this race:
  • Don't panic in the water
  • Don't be the last person out of the water (I was in the last wave start, this was a very real possibility)
  • Be out of the water - .5 mile - and on the bike in less than 30 minutes (yes, 30 minutes for a .5 mile swim!  It was intended as a cushion, since I can do that distance in about 20 minutes in a pool)
  • Be off the bike - 16 miles - and on the run in less than an hour (again, a little built-in cushion as I usually ride faster than this, but this is a pretty hilly course)
  • Be done with the run - 3 miles - in less than 30 minutes (not only is the run course hilly, it's very dusty and hot.  I'm not a fan of the hot)
  • Finish the race in under 2 hours
"I'm swimming off to my doom now!"

THE SWIM
Let's just get this out of the way:  the swim was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.  I had high hopes for conquering my swim demons, but today was not that day.  I didn't panic, exactly, but I could never catch my breath or get into any kind of rhythm.  I grabbed onto a kayak before I even got to the first buoy and met my new best friend Richard.  He was very kind and chatted with me for a few seconds while my heartrate came down from outer space.  I made it past the first buoy and sort of swam-slash-floundered for another hundred more yards before I flagged him down again.  Yikes!  Two kayak stops, not the day I had in mind.  But I gritted my teeth and got myself back to shore eventually.  Swim Time:  26:00, T1:  2:36, not great, but I'm ahead of my goal!
Out of the water with a smile on my face.  Please note that there are people behind me!

THE BIKE
The bike leg completely ROCKED!  As soon as I got wheels underneath me, I was en fuego.  I passed so many people I couldn't keep count.  I passed people on the uphills, I passed people on the downhills, I passed two and three people at a time.  Even better than all that passing of other people?  Nobody passed me!  I'm thinking of getting a shirt made that says, "Yes, I'm a bad swimmer" on the back, because I know that's what everyone was thinking as I blew by them.  Bike Time:  53:24, T2:  1:13
Sadly, I have no bike pics to share.  The Hubs was trying to take pics and time my splits for me (isn't he awesome?) and the bike pics are all of my butt.  Umm, not blog-worthy.


Here I go, just three miles left in this race!
THE RUN
By the time I got off the bike and onto the run course, it was over 75 degrees and I was drooping like a day-old flower.  I had brought a bottle of Nuun (having learned my thirsty lesson at last week's hot 10K), but it had warmed up a lot from sitting out, blech.  Note to self, freeze the bottle next time.  This run course is particularly unpleasant:  it's a short stretch of grass, then loose gravel and then almost all rocky dirt.  Only the very beginning and the very end are paved.  I ended up walking a lot of the uphills, but I never felt defeated or unhappy.  I knew my bike time had given me a boost on meeting my overall goal time, so I just kept plugging along.  Even in the heat, I knew I could do better than the 10-minute miles I set as the goal.  Run Time:  28:45, Total Time:
I beat my goal time by EIGHT MINUTES!!  w00t!!
(BTW, this is not my arm, it's The Hubs')

I didn't stick around for official results, thinking they would be online by this afternoon, but so far there's nothing posted.  Obviously, my time wasn't AG award worthy, but I'm still curious where I came in the standings.

Overall, I feel absolutely FANTASTIC about the day.  There's definitely room for improvement on my swim and run, but I felt like my training was good and my performance was pretty on par with my expectations.  I am so happy that I did this race and I'm already planning my next one!
Feeling like a ROCK STAR!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Three Things Thursday

  1. I unintentionally took today off.  What was that all about?  I meant to swim today, but had just enough puttering around to do that I didn't get in the pool before work.  Then I didn't get in the pool before dinner.  And now I need to get into bed because I work at 5 am tomorrow - yikes.  So tomorrow - the day before my race - do I do a make-up swim?  Or a core workout (which is what's on my training plan)?  Or both?  Clearly the best plan of action is to completely overthink the situation and ratchet up my nervousness a few notches.
  2. I'm getting nervous about Saturday.  Really nervous.
  3. Did I mention the nervous?  Because I have it.  (This is why I love to race.  Do you EVER feel this edgy, tingly, spazzed-out sensation for anything else?  Nope.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Ode to my iPod

Okay, I have no ode-writing skills whatsoever, but I liked the title so I'm sticking with it, even though this post is ode-free.  If I could write an ode, though, it would certainly be to my iPod.  I've been training and racing sans tunes for over six days now and I am so sick of hearing my own breathing!! 

Last Thursday was a bike ride day and I never, ever wear my iPod for biking.  The mean streets are dangerous enough when I CAN hear cars around me, I sure don't need to make myself any more vulnerable.  Friday was a day of rest before Saturday's race.  I chose to race on Saturday without my iPod and I definitely regret that decision, since I might have been able to muster up a little more ooomph with Gwen Stefani rocking my earbuds.  (I'm over it.  Really.  I just keep thinking about it, is all.)  Sunday I biked again, and Monday I swam.  I know there are waterproof mp3 players, but I haven't forked over the money for one, so swimming is a (relatively) quiet activity, too.  Yesterday I did a short bike-run brick, and knowing that I can't wear an iPod at my tri under penalty of DQ, I went about it tunelessly.

I couldn't wait to lace up my shoes this morning and pop that iPod into my arm strap.  Woo hoo, sing it to me B.o.B.!  Let's go Black-Eyed Peas!  Your music is my drug Ke$ha!  3.1 miles later I had rocked a 7:42 pace.

40% of the responders to a poll on runnersworld.com say they're most dependent on their iPods to get through a run, and I would definitely put myself in that category.  How about you:  does music make you move it??

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Run 4 Independence Race Report

I won't keep you in suspense for the results:  today sucked nuts.  No PR. In fact, there were several times during the race that I was worried about a DNF - ack!  I'm throwing myself a little Pity Party this afternoon and hey, you're invited!

When I got up this morning at 5:30, it was already 63 degrees and I sort of knew I was doomed.  I really, really don't run well in the heat and to me, anything over 60 degrees is "heat."  By the time the race started at 8:30, we were in the 70s and I was mentally readjusting my goals.  My new #1 goal was not dying, so - w00t! - totally aced that one.

The 10K course was two loops of the 5K course, so my plan was to start off somewhat conservatively (near- or sub-8 pace) for the first loop, then let 'er rip for the second one if I still had something to rip.  The plan fell to shreds when I hit Mile 1 at 7:24 - Hello?  Go out too fast much??  I attempted to reign it in for Miles 2 and 3 (7:45 and 7:48), but by then the damage was done.  I was reduced to a walk just after passing the 5K finish, then two or three more times before I even made it to Mile 4 (9:15).  I cursed myself for not bringing my own water, even for "just" a 10K, because I was so hot and thirsty.  I grabbed two cups at the aid station, drank one and threw the other one at myself in an attempt to cool off, which helped a little.  Mile 5 was 8:46 and Mile 6 I managed to whip up a 7:58.  I totally forgot to turn off my Garmin until after I meandered away from the finish line, so I'm not sure what the .2 pace was; it could have been a crawl, could have been a sprint.  Hard to say.  Final time was 50:47, an 8:11 pace.  Waaaah!

Yes, I realize this is still a perfectly respectable pace and in fact, was fast enough to earn me 4th in my AG (The Hubs and I joke that I am the Queen of 4th Place - seriously, it doesn't matter if my day is awesome or crappy, I seem to come in 4th every single time).  Okay, I'm getting over myself.  Right now.  Here I am, getting over myself.  *sigh*

Speaking of The Hubs, have I mentioned how awesome he is and how much I love him?  When I was all bummed at the finish, he assured me that I had done great, blah blah blah, and then asked, "Did you learn anything from this race?"  Who else but another runner would understand that that was EXACTLY what I needed to hear to turn this experience around?  Love him.

So, what did I learn?
  1. If I even suspect that I'll need water, I should bring water.  Carrying 16 extra ounces of weight isn't going to slow me down as much as being hot and thirsty slowed me down.
  2. I need to eat before I run.  It may surprise you to know that I always run on an empty stomach, even long runs of 20 miles or more.  Today's total bonk at Mile 4 suggests that I should change that habit.
  3. I can't expect to run fast if I haven't trained for it.  I knew that whole lack-of-speedwork thing would bite me in the butt, I just didn't know how much it would hurt.  Ouch!
  4. Not every race is going to be a PR.  Trust me, this is a lesson I've learned many, many times, but it still bears repeating.  I will live to race another day.  Um, next Saturday to be exact!
In spite of today's less-than-stellar performance, I'm keeping my eyes on the prize; next week's TRI is my "real" race.  BONUS:  it's a distance I've never raced before, so it'll be a guaranteed PR.  Yay!

How do you deal with a disappointing race?  Let yourself wallow for a day or two?  Put it out of your mind?  Get yourself a pick-me-up ice cream?

Friday, July 2, 2010

OWS and Race Goals

I had the most awesomest, fan-freakin-tastical Open Water Swim today!  And not a moment too soon, since my tri is just a week away and I was seriously wondering if I was gonna be able to pull it off.

As soon as I got in the water today, I felt great.  I simply didn't let myself panic and I kept on swimming.  I stayed in the shallow water for the first ten minutes, but I knew that if I wanted to count today as a truly successful swim I had to make it out into the black water.  So I girded my loins and out I went into The Deep.  As the bottom got further and further below me, I kept waiting for that panicky feeling, but it never came.  By the time I made it to the buoy line it was so dark I couldn't see my hands in the water, and yet I still felt fine.  There was no mantra, no calming self-talk necessary, I just...swam.  Who knew I had that in me???

Adding to my enjoyment of the day was the success of the new gear items that I was trying out.  After last week's debacle, I knew I needed another outfit, so I shifted into shop-til-you-drop mode and discovered that I hate the makers of triathlon apparel.  Seriously, for a sport where you are swimming in freezing-ass cold water, is it really too much to ask for some modesty padding?  After trying on every single tri top and trisuit within a 100 mile radius, I finally settled on a top that covered the three Cs (so not talking about my chest size here, since that would be like an A minus) - Cost, Comfort and Cuteness, then sewed in my own bumper pads, swiped from an old swimsuit.  Add a pair of tri shorts (which were super easy to find and fit, thank goodness) and a pair of dark-tinted goggles and my outfit was complete.  I'm happy to report that all of these items performed admirably.

*whew*  So, with that huge burden off my shoulders, I am now free to obsess about tomorrow's race.  Yep, I'm racing tomorrow also, sort of a throwaway 10K that I have completely ignored training for in favor of preparing for the tri.  But being the totally competitive girl that I am, there's really no such thing as a "fun run" in my world and of course I'm aiming for a PR.

 My "that didn't suck" goal is a PR - even one second faster would be satisfying.  My "yay me!" goal is anything under 50 minutes (PR is 50:07).  My "hell to the yeah" goal is a sub-8 pace (PR is a pace of 8:05) and my "drinks on me!" goal is a pace in the 7:40 - 7:50 range, definitely a stretch but not outside the realm of possibility.  Let the number crunching begin!

On the plus side:
  • I am in good shape from all the cross-training, even though my recent run mileage is really low
  • My PR is from this race last year and even my regular "easy run" pace is faster than it was last year
  • The course is as flat as they come
  • I am at a racing weight right now
  • I haven't raced since March and am dying to run fast
On the not-so-plus side:
  • I've really only done speedwork once since my last race in March
  • My recent run mileage is really low, like 15 miles a week low - ouch!
  • It's gonna be a hot one tomorrow and I don't run well in the heat
  • Did I mention that I haven't trained for this at all?!?
So it could pretty much go either way tomorrow.  I've got that crazy calm/nervous/Zen/excited pre-race feeling that I love so much.  I'm pre-hydrating today, I've got my outfit picked out and I feel ready to rumble...bring it on!

Happy 4th of July and Happy Racing!!  I'm looking forward to reading all the race reports!