Friday, May 27, 2011

Post-Race Randomness

It’s five days post-World’s Toughest Half and I can finally sit on the toilet without grimacing and muttering, “ow ow ow ow ow ow” – hooray!  Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about this week, bullet pointy-like:

  • Results are posted and I came in 14th out of 15 for the duathlon.  Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!  There were actually 16 of us at the start and I sure wonder what happened to that last girl.  I saw her on the bike leg quite a few miles behind me, but she still looked like she was plugging along.  Even though they made a big deal of the cutoff times on the website, there are results posted for people who took well over 9 hours, so I don’t think she missed a cutoff.  I hope she didn’t get hurt on the bike.  While we were running the first 3K, she told me that she had signed up for last year’s race, started the race and got LOST during the first run leg!!  The race director let her come back this year for free.
  • I talked to SO many people during this race!  Everyone was so nice and it was such a tough course that it was an instant “bonding” situation.  Afterwards, one of the guys I talked to during the run leg shook my hand and thanked me for keeping his spirits up – totally made my day!
  • IronHubs told me about watching a girl decide to DNF the race on the bike leg while he was waiting for me to come by.  He said she didn’t look too beat up and hadn’t crashed her bike or anything, but had obviously just given up.  What a bummer.
  • I am already planning another duathlon!  I am completely in love with this sport!
  • And there will be triathlons this summer, too.  On the books already is a Super Sprint in three weeks that I am really looking forward to.  Big Boy will be making his Super Sprint debut at this race – it’s his first non-kid triathlon event.
  • Because it’s a pretty big step up from the kids’ triathlon distances (kids distance is a 150 yard swim, 4 mile bike and 1 mile run, the Super Sprint is a 400 yard swim, 8 mile bike and 2 mile run), Big Boy has his first training schedule up on the refrigerator.  Big Leagues, baby!!  His favorite part?  Crossing off the workout after it’s done.  That’s my boy!
  • While I’ve been sitting around on my fat lazy butt recovering this week, I’ve still been eating like I’m training for a Half Iron.  Ooops.  Maybe I should get back out there and burn some calories, huh?
  • Except that I’m totally not ready to get back to it!  I went for a little swim on Wednesday, which felt really good.  I did a teeny tiny bike ride yesterday with the boys, which also felt pretty good, so I thought I’d try a short recovery run this morning.  Holy moly that was a suckfest.  Ever start a run feeling like you’re already at Mile 24?  No bueno.  I made it 2 miles, but my legs never loosened up.  I think I’ll stick to swimming for a few more days of recovery!
  • My poor feet have spent so much time in shoes lately that putting on my VFFs this morning was really hard!  Booo.
  • Wearing regular running shoes for the whole WTH race was a good choice, though.  When I fell off my bike on that training ride, it was because I couldn’t get my stupid shoe unclipped and I was a nervous wreck thinking about that happening on race day.  Sure, you can generate more power from a stiff bike shoe, but safety was my real concern.  There was also the fact that I knew I’d be walking up some hills, which is tougher in bike shoes.  Add that to the two transition venue logistics and it just made more sense to wear one pair of shoes all day long.  All in all, I think it worked out well for me.
  • In fact, all my gear worked out well for me on race day.  I hadn’t really had a chance to wear my outfit on any long training days, so I was taking a real leap of faith that it would fit well and keep me comfortable.  Thankfully, I finished the day with no chafing and no lingering “girl parts” pain.  *whew*
  • I made my outfit myself (if you couldn’t already tell that from the crooked seams and sloppy neckline).  I loved matching my bike, I loved being easy for IronHubs to spot and (not that I’m an attention hound or anything, except for the fact that I totally am) I loved how people kept cheering, “Go Bumblebee Girl!!”  I know it sounds dumb, but looking cute made my race even more awesome.
  • I polished my nails yellow, too.  And it made me insanely happy that the medal ribbon was yellow.  Really, can a girl ever get too matchy-matchy??

worlds toughest du 141

  • This week’s inability to comment on other people’s blogs is driving me nuts (though I am secretly glad it’s not just me having some annoying user error, which is what I thought when it first started happening)!  Jim, you completely kicked butt in Fargo – congratulations on marathon #11!!  BDD, I’m so sorry about your bike wreck.  I can sympathize and I agree that you need to get right back at it.  Keep your confidence up!  ajh, I would love to talk about all things duathlon related with you!  I don’t see your email on your page, but you can hit me up:  PahlaB2@gmail.com

Monday, May 23, 2011

World’s Toughest Duathlon Race Report

Yesterday’s race was originally supposed to be my “A” race for the year – Half-Iron, baby, woo hoo!!  Then my training got a very late start due to back issues/sciatica.  Then I completely freaked out about the open water swim.  “A” race?  Not so much anymore, more like a “Let’s just make it to the starting line and THEN we’ll worry about whether or not I’ll make it to the finish line” race.  Well, I am happy to tell you that (with a little switcheroo to the duathlon option) I made it to both the starting line AND the finish line, and you know what?  I think it actually was my “A” race after all!

BEFORE THE RACE

Saturday afternoon we made the hour drive up to Auburn for packet pick-up.  There was no expo, just a mellow “Here’s your shirt, good luck!”-type pick-up.  I decorated my “T-Bags” (the starting line/T1 was in a different location than the finish line/T2, so you filled out your name and number on two bags, then set up your T2 with all your run gear the night before.  At T1 on race day, you put all your swim stuff into the bag and they transported it to the finish line.) and we were off to drop my stuff at T2.

All Sorts of Stuff 005Packet pick-up was in an elementary school gym.

All Sorts of Stuff 007I scored the most awesome rack spot right at the bike dismount and next to an easy-to-see sign.

RACE DAY

I slept remarkably well on Saturday night and woke up at 3:30 ready to get crackin’ on the day.  I worked really, really hard to keep my nerves at bay, with moderate success.  I would be fine for long stretches, then a huge wave of nausea would hit me, “OMG, what am I thinking, trying to do this??”  I had my coffee and got all my stuff together and we left the house around 4:40 am (race start was 6:45).

It’s about an hour’s drive to the race, but we knew from the website that there was no parking at the race start.  The race director suggested parking at the finish line and riding your bike (about 7 miles) down to the race start.  Yikes!  Thankfully, from my one aborted attempt at training on the bike course, I remembered a little group of businesses about three miles from the start and we were able to park in their parking lot and ride in from there.

I nabbed another sweet rack spot in T1, right next to the bike mount line.  It pays to arrive early!  I chatted with the other duathletes and got body marking done, then hunted around to find the duathlon starting line.  It wasn’t marked.  Ummmm, this is not a good start to the day!

worlds toughest du 005The end-of-the-rack cones all had funny pictures and names so you could remember where you put your bike – I love it!

worlds toughest du 008Stupid aging up!  I’m 41 until November, thankyouverymuch.

worlds toughest du 009Maybe this is the starting line, maybe it’s not…

We scoped out the finish of the run and I spent most of the wait time singing a little “I’m so glad I’m not getting in the water!” song.  Seriously.  I was so fricken glad not to do the open water swim!

RUN #1 – 1.8 MILES/3K

I spent a lot of time on the race’s website in the weeks leading up to the race, but I have come to the conclusion that reading about a course does absolutely nothing to prepare you for running (or riding) that course.  Case in point, the 3K run at the start of the duathlon.  I understood that it would be trails and paved roads, but I was remarkably unprepared for the single track mountainous trek it turned out to be.  I can totally see why people love trail running, it was absolutely gorgeous and lots of fun.  Unfortunately, living in the middle of suburbia like I do, my ability to run trails is extremely limited.  Hence, my standing at the end of this portion of the race -  2nd to last.  3K Run:  20:04, T1:  ~ 2:00 (I didn’t time it and official results include it in my run time)

worlds toughest du 011“Mass Start” of the duathlon.

worlds toughest du 023Ten steps in and I’m already at the back of the pack AND heel-striking.  Stupid shoes.

worlds toughest du 028This is what most of the run looked like – gorgeous forest scenery and treacherous footing.

WTH 3K ElevationElevation profile for the 3K run, definitely the easiest part of my day with “only” a few hundred feet of climbing!

BIKE – 56 MILES/90K

Since IronHubs had to ride back to the car anyway, and the car was three miles into the bike course, he accompanied me along the start of the bike leg.  It was a really nice way to start the bike, plus when I was overheating at Mile 2, I got to ditch the bike jacket!

worlds toughest du 048Nothing like having my own personal race photographer!

The cool thing about the duathlon option is that I was out on the bike course way, way, WAAAAAAAY before I would have been if I’d done the swim, so I got to see the lead cyclists as they whizzed past me.  Well, really, by the end of the bike leg, I got to see almost the entire field of athletes as they whizzed past me!  Every time I got passed, I reminded myself – mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud – “I’m not racing you.”  In the immortal words of Big Daddy Diesel, I was here to rulk my own race.  Or, in this case, I was here to balk (bike/walk) my own ride.  And, yes, there was plenty of walking!  The entire 56 miles was hills, hills and more hills.  Just when I thought I couldn’t stand one more hill, there was another one anyway.

First walking break was at Mile 3, where I fell off my bike on a training ride.  When I got to the bottom of that hill, I thought briefly about how great it would feel to grind it out and conquer it, but then I realized that it was mighty early in my day to be blowing out my quads, so walking it was.

According to the race’s website, the first 6 miles is the hardest climbing, but I can say in all honesty that the ENTIRE bike course is hard climbing.  There were no flats.  You were either going up or you were coming down and even the coming down part wasn’t easy.  At one point near halfway, the descent was so steep and scary that my triceps muscles started cramping from bracing myself and riding my brakes so hard!

IronHubs was the most awesome support crew in the world, meeting me at several points along the bike route, cheering and ringing his cowbell for all the athletes.  It was such a boost to hear that bell ringing in the distance and know I was going to see him again!  He found me about Mile 8, Mile 20-ish and Mile 37 and snapped a ton of pics.

worlds toughest du 064Mile 8

worlds toughest du 065I eat hills like this for breakfast.

worlds toughest du 085Mile 20-ish, still on the outbound part of the course.

The course was more or less an out-and-back, with a big loop at the top that had the hardest and steepest climbing (and descents) of the whole race.  I remembered from the course description that there was a long, sustained climb during this section, but those words simply don’t do the reality justice.  Holy crap, that climb was brutal, unforgiving and endless.  I was able to grind out maybe half a mile of it, then had to walk the rest – which was a whole ‘nuther MILE.  Yeah, I lost a little time on this part. 

I hit the one and only low point of the day a few miles after this – I had let myself get pretty dehydrated and hadn’t eaten enough.  I could feel my energy draining and my spirits flagging, so I made a real conscious effort to suck down a gel and drink, drink, drink.  Thankfully, right about then was when I saw IronHubs for the last time before the finish and he totally passed me some of his energy.  He captured this part of the race on video.  Yay.

Surprisingly, I felt really good on the bike overall.  Everything after Mile 42 was a distance PR, and this was for sure the hardest ride I’d ever been on, so I felt super proud of myself.  I smiled and said good morning to everyone who passed me.  I chatted with lots of other riders during sections where we were going the same speed (you know, before they passed me).  I was happy with the way the day was going and I was so proud of how many hills I was able to climb, never mind the ones that I couldn’t.  I reminded myself often of my race goal to “Keep smiling, keep moving forward.”  Race goal:  met!

WTH Bike ElevationCourse elevation profile.  Please note that the scale is measured in thousands of feet!

worlds toughest du 096Dismounting in T2.

Sure, I had a great time on the bike leg, but OMG, I was so, sooooooo happy to be done with it!  I think I may have shouted, upon arrival in T2, “I am SO happy to be off the bike!!”  In fact, I might have shouted it more than once.  56 Mile Bike:  4:34:34 (12.2 mph average), T2:  3:05

RUN #2 – 13.1 MILES/21K

I spent a good portion of my day saying this mantra in my head:  “How do you eat an elephant, P?  One bite at a time.”  Sort of wordy for a mantra, but it summed up my race plan pretty nicely – don’t worry about what comes next, just deal with what you’re doing right now.  So, until I was actually on the run course, I simply hadn’t thought about it.  I had read the course description, but surely you’ve noticed by now that those were useless in the face of the day’s reality.  I understood on some level that there would be more trails and more hills - yes, more hills – but hadn’t let myself think about what that would mean for my poor, tired quads.

It was a three-loop course, which I absolutely LOVED!  Aid Station…Mile 1 marker…Mile 2 marker (halfway done with this loop!)…Aid Station with the cheering, yelling, dancing people (loved them!)…climbing, climbing, climbing some more…see IronHubs...repeat.  There is no way in the world I could have done a full 13.1 mile loop or even a 6.5 mile out-and-back.  Breaking the run into small chunks was definitely the way to go.

Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted by this point in the day and my lofty goal of having a good run went out the window as soon as I left T2.  I ruffled (ran/shuffled) on the flats and downhills and walked the uphills, leaving me with an average pace slightly faster than the course sweepers.  Ha!  Another race goal met! 13.1 Mile Run:  2:39:34 (12:11 average pace)

worlds toughest du 110Heading out for Loop #1.

worlds toughest du 121Coming in from Loop #2.  It was me and the stragglers at this point, we all looked pretty rough around the edges.

WTH Half Marathon ElevationHalf Marathon elevation profile.  Can I tell you how much I never want to see another hill ever again for the rest of my life?!?!

worlds toughest du 136Finish time:  7:40:13 (Du start was 15 minutes after the Half start)

worlds toughest du 139Me in all my salty, sweaty, snotty glory.  Damn, I was happy to be done!

worlds toughest du 148I know you’re wondering, if I got passed by everyone all day long and walked a good portion of the bike and run, how the heck did I win my age group???  Well, maybe you noticed in the picture of the mass start – there weren’t all that many of us, and ummmm, yeah.  I was the only one in the 40 – 44 year old women AG.  I’m still displaying this thing proudly – I earned it!

worlds toughest du 151The very, very, very best part of my whole day??  Coming home to this!  I have the best support crew ever!

Thanks for sticking with me for the whole race report, I know it was almost as long as the race!  If you take away one thing from my experience, let it be this:  YOU can accomplish anything!  If I can survive a long course duathlon with all the obstacles I found along the way, anybody can!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

World’s Toughest Ho-Hos

worlds toughest du 144

worlds toughest du 150

I came, I ran/rode/ran, I kicked its ass!  Finish time 7:40:18.  There’s definitely a reason this thing is called the World’s Toughest Half.  Full race report with a million pictures coming soon!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Race Goals

  1. Don’t drown.  (Yes, I know I switched to the duathlon and will not be swimming, but not drowning is always a goal of mine)
  2. Don’t crash my bike.
  3. Treat the day like a training day, because I’m certainly not racing this silly thing!
  4. Walk my bike on the big hills, even though there are a ton of them.  (Sub-goal:  actually be on my bike for more than two-thirds of the bike course)
  5. Beat the bike course cut-off time, which means averaging over 12 mph.
  6. Beat the run course cut-off time, which means averaging faster than a 13 minute mile pace.
  7. Even if I gotta come in with the course-sweepers, beat the overall race cutoff time of 8 hours and 30 minutes.
  8. Keep smiling, keep moving forward.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Big Girl Pants and Ho-Hos

First, thank you all for coming to my pity party the other day.  I know they’re not much fun to attend, but everyone throws them once in awhile, right??  I really appreciate all of your kind thoughts!

I’m all done feeling sorry for myself now and I’ve made a final decision about Sunday’s race:  I’m still doing it, but I’m switching to the duathlon.  I stewed worried obsessed thought a lot about what to do, and there were a couple of things that I kept going over and over in my mind:

  • Even though I’m not fully trained for the distance, I have been training with this distance in mind.
  • That hill was really, really, really hard, but it’s arguably the hardest part of the whole bike leg.  If I can make it past Mile 3, the rest will probably seem easy!
  • Since I’m nowhere near trained for the run distance, I already have a plan in place for “rulking.”  Why wouldn’t I just make the same sort of plan for the bike leg and walk up the toughest hills?
  • There’s no shame in walking my bike, but I would feel ashamed of quitting the race.
  • I already paid *mumble mumble* hundred dollars for this race.
  • Not only do I have to earn the Ho-Hos, but they expire on May 27th.

And, really, the Ho-Hos clinched the deal.

Allow me to explain:  after a really big race, I get to eat something I would never in a million years eat otherwise.  My marathon treat was a Costco poppy seed muffin – you know, those ones that are as big as your head and probably have something like 85 grams of fat.  When IronHubs finished Silverman, he double-fisted Lucky Charms and Twinkies.  For this race, I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted Ho-Hos and IronHubs went out and bought them.  And hung them up in our kitchen as a nice little daily reminder of why exactly I get my butt out there and train.

Behold the Power of Ho Hos 002

The thing is, none of the redemption races I looked at were big enough to earn the Ho-Hos.  It was WTH or nothing and no fricken way was I letting those Ho-Hos go bad!

So, I’m putting on my big girl pants and I’m gonna go kick ass at a long course duathlon.  I feel strangely optimistic about this weekend, giddy even.  I have a plan of attack and Ho-Hos waiting for me at the finish line – life is good!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I’m Not That Tough

Sadly, it seems that I’ve gone from bad to worse, so I am raising the white flag and surrendering. 

Yesterday, I gathered up the broken shards of my confidence and set off for another WTH course preview training session.  This time I was all set to tackle the bike course:  Race day outfit?  Check.  Hill climbing gears on my bike?  Check.  Hydration and fuel for a 60+ mile ride?  Check.  One full page of complicated turn-by-turn directions?  Check.  IronHubs as biking buddy?  Check (and thank goodness for that)!

bike ride 004Ready to ride.

Let me back this truck up for a second and tell you how nervous I was.  Not about the ride, actually, but just about the race in general.  For weeks now, I’ve had anxiety about whether or not I was going to be capable of doing this race.  Like over-the-top anxiety, which is not really typical for me.  Oh, sure, I get nervous about races, but not this kind of hyperventilating and sick to my stomach stuff.  Last week’s swim certainly didn’t help matters.

On the drive up, IronHubs and I talked about me switching over to the long course duathlon option and I felt really excited about that.  I’ve never done a du before and it would totally relieve the swim anxiety – perfect!  So, off we went with my heart full of hope again.

Of course I had obsessed read over the bike course description, so I knew the first 6 miles included 1200 feet of climbing.  I was prepared for it to be tough.  I was prepared for it to be technical and challenging.  I was not prepared to FALL OFF my effing bike at Mile 3.  Well, not “fall off” so much as “struggle so hard to climb a really, really steep switchback hill where I am actually rolling backwards in between pedal strokes, desperately attempt to unclip my foot so I can walk my bike, then tumble ass-over-teakettle fashion into a ditch full of brambles when I can’t get my stupid foot out of the clip.”  Oh, and don’t forget the part where I screamed like a little girl.

As I laid there in the ditch with my right foot STILL attached to my damn bike, it occurred to me that I can’t do this race.  Not just that I don’t want to, or it’s making me dry-heave with anxiety, but literally.  As in, this is a physical challenge that I cannot meet because it is outside my skill set.  Ouch.

As for bodily damage, there was very little.  I am grateful for the relatively soft landing because it could have been much, much worse.  My helmet didn’t hit the ground, my seat only needed a little readjusting and most of the blood came from the thistle scratches rather than road rash.  I’ll spare you the pictures of my scratched and bruised butt.

bike ride 005Doesn’t look like much on my elbow, too bad I can’t take a pic of my sore ego.

After I picked myself up out of the ditch, I walked my bike up the hill a little further, thinking I had to be near the top.  Not so much.  IronHubs was all set to soldier on and complete the bike course, but I had nothing left in me.  We turned around and went home, another epic FAIL in my logbook.

So.

Where do I go from here?  My head is pretty much a swirling black hole of thoughts and feelings right now, ranging from complete despair and worthlessness to relief to bitter, crushing disappointment, and wanting to sign up for another race next weekend or never wanting to do another race again for the rest of my life.

Odds are pretty good on the “getting over myself and signing up for another race soon” bet, though.  Even though it wasn’t enough to get me to a Half-Iron starting line, I don’t want all my training to go to waste.  We’ll see what I feel like in the next day or two, when I’ve cleaned up after my pity party.  I just got an email about a 5K on Memorial Day…or there’s an Olympic on June 5th…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

F R E A K I N G O U T

Don’t mind me if this post ends up making very little sense, because I have entered that part of race training known as the Complete and Utter Freak Out Stage.  No joke.  I can’t string together a coherent sentence in real life, so don’t expect me to have anything but crazy to say here on the blog.

The training day I had planned for Sunday went so very, very badly I almost can’t even tell you about it.  On the plan was a preview of the 1.2 mile swim course and the entire 56 mile bike course.  What I actually managed to do was 500 meters of FREAKED OUT “swimming” followed by two hours of hysterical crying and zero bike riding.  I wish I was exaggerating.  That swim shattered every single shred of confidence I have ever had in my life.  I came home – still crying after an hour’s drive – and told my husband that I couldn’t do it, I was pulling out of the race or at least downgrading to the Sprint or maybe even the Mini.  He listened patiently, because that’s what he does, and didn’t offer any opinions until I was mostly done with the freak out.  Of course, his opinion was that I need to do more open water swimming.

OMG, how am I going to do this?

When I stopped crying, I went for a run.  The next morning, I had a great bike ride and today I went for another lovely run and swam a mile in my still very cold pool.  I’m starting to feel better, but that’s mostly because I have just pushed Sunday out of my mind as much as possible.

Did I mention that I’m freaking out?

Here’s the thing:  I don’t feel like I’m afraid of swimming anymore.  I actually really enjoy it even though I’m not especially good at it.  I know I’m not fast, but getting into the pool is a workout I look forward to.  I can swim way over race distance in a pool without feeling overworked, but going 100 meters in open water leaves me breathless and exhausted.  WTF is wrong with my head in open water??  Every time I think I have it figured out, I go and freak out about something different the next time.  Panic is so illogical and I don’t seem to have any coping mechanism to get past it.

I’m not pulling out of the race.  I don’t want to downgrade, either.  Both of those options just feel like giving up or failing and I can’t accept that.  I suspect, though, that there’s going to be 1.2 miles of doggy-paddling on May 22nd.

Tell me your “I overcame panic and here’s how” stories, please!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bike Path by the Numbers

IronHubs and I went for a gorgeous long-ish ride/short run brick on the American River Bike Trail today.  We saw:

14 – Large dogs, including a St. Bernard and several Australian Shepherds.

3 – Small to medium sized dogs, including a Pomeranian who was SOOOOOOO happy to be running with his mama!

0 – Dogs off leash, which is unusual but I was grateful for it.

1  - Unobservant cyclist who made a u-turn in front of us, rode back to his group of cycling buddies and then stopped directly in front of me on the path.

7 – Groups of runners and walkers traveling two or three abreast, forcing us into the oncoming lane to pass.

1 – Group of cyclists who fell into a single file line while we passed them.

5 or 6 – Groups of cyclists who didn’t bother to move out of the way at all while we passed them (can you tell this is a peeve of mine?)

0 – Number of cyclists who passed us.

2 – Pit stops (for IronHubs not me, thankyouverymuch).

1 - Honey Stinger chocolate gel eaten.  Yum-O!

1 – 3-year old boy out riding with his mom and dad for miles (we saw him on the way up the hill and on the way back down).  Cutest thing EVER.

1 – Large flock of wild turkeys who decided to cross the bike path right as we were riding past them – yikes!  Turkeys have huge ungainly bodies and tiny little brains, which is not a good combination.

2 – Rather large rabbits, which I suppose are hares because they had very long ears.  Or does that make them jackrabbits?  I can never remember.

1 – Deer, eating the leaves on a tree, completely unconcerned with us.

800-1700 – Approximate feet climbed.  Once again, our Garmins had a wild discrepancy, even though all the other data (speed, time and distance) was exactly the same.

32.84 – Miles traveled on wheels.

17.0 – Average mph – w00t!

1.18 – Miles traveled on foot after getting off my bike.

Ps Big Fat ButtHere’s the thing that kills me about IronHubs:  I’m busting my (apparently rather substantial) ass, and he’s all, “Oh, hey, I’ll get out my phone and take some pictures.”  *whistling cheerfully* 

This photo certainly makes it seem like we had the whole bike trail to ourselves, doesn’t it?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How is it Thursday Again Already???

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel invincible, like you could just go forever?  Me, neither, but I totally had one today.  There’s no real reason for me to be feeling so lively today.  Heaven knows I didn’t fuel for a spectacular workout with last night’s dinner of half of a week-old Subway sandwich and a bowl of Honeycomb cereal.  But I woke up rarin’ to go, so go I went.

My Easy 2 run started off easy enough, but I had a new playlist that got me super pumped and before I knew it my feet were flying.  It’s impossible to run slow when Sean Paul is doing his thang in my ears.  Perfect, cool and sunny weather and a huge negative split started my morning just the way I like it, so why stop there?

When I got home I did the Mom thing for a few minutes (“Did you eat breakfast?  Have you brushed your teeth?  Where’s your homework?”) and then hopped in the pool.  We’re having a little heat wave this week – today is in the 90s – so my pool has warmed up to almost 70 degrees.  Perfect, perfect swimming temperature in my opinion and time to break out Three Quarter Man, my sleeveless wetsuit.  What?  You don’t name your wetsuits?

wetsuitI’m all about the 2nd Amendment – the right to exercise with bare arms!

I don’t know if it was my excitement about wearing Three Quarter Man or my new Swimsense lap tracker (full review coming soon, but I’ll tell you right now that this thing ROCKS for a nerd-tastic number cruncher like me!), but today was my fastest and bestest swim ever.  I didn’t want to get out of the pool.  I did, of course, because I had to go to work, but whatever.

Do you name your gear?  (I do, obviously)  Do you think of your stuff as having a personality or feelings?  (again, guilty as charged)

Monday, May 2, 2011

April Recap-a-rooni

April was easily my best month so far this year, in spite of tiny setbacks (top of the foot pain that had me resting my run for about a week) and a world-class FAIL at my first open water swim event.  Small potatoes, both of them, especially as May has dawned and that means – ACK! – I have less than three weeks until my first Half Iron distance triathlon.  While most athletes would be thinking about all the hay in their barn and looking forward to the taper madness, I am still scrambling like eggs to build distance and endurance for the bike and run.  Friends, don’t train like this at home!

January February March April
Swim 6,900 meters 15,850 meters 20,300 meters 20,110 meters
Bike 61.71 miles 27.6 miles 107.91 miles 206.38 miles
Run 22.45 miles 15.21 miles 30.7 miles 32.95 miles
Strength 2 hours, 45 minutes 4 hours, 50 minutes 2 hours, 45 minutes 1 hour, 55 minutes

Some thoughts about these numbers:

  • First, the obvious - what the hell happened to my strength training???  I don’t have any real explanation other than “laziness.”  I spent so much time on my bike and in the water, I simply never busted out the balance ball.  Needless to say, I will be getting back to regular core work this month!
  • You have no idea how much I wanted to swim 200 meters on the last day of April!!  Competitive with myself much??  Because of the way the end of the month fell before the end of the week, I still had a terrific week, so I just let it lie.
  • These numbers are all the proof you need that I’m breaking in my Vibrams S L O W L Y.
  • I am so stinking proud of every single one of those bike miles.

I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the month of May.  I started it off with a really excellent open water swim yesterday (wow, who knew those words could be uttered in the same sentence?  Not I, certainly.) and I have a WTH course preview training day this coming weekend.  My thinking is that time is hurtling past me anyway, I might as well be excited about upcoming events, right?  Cheers to a wonderful May for us all!

Congratulations to everyone who raced this weekend – it looks like there were a ton of PRs and otherwise awesome races!  I’m enjoying all the race recaps!!!