Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One and Done: Things I've Learned/Remembered About Endurance Training in the First Month

Well, the first month is done.  Amazing how fast a month goes when you are training and working and working and training.  It's like a day, maybe.

This will be short, but the things I have learned and/or remembered about endurance training are as follows:

1.  Always pre-map your routes, especially when you move to an unknown area, so you don't bike/run twice the distance.

2. Buy more food/Bring more food

3. Alarm clocks suck anytime before 9am.  This is 7 days a week when training

4. You chance of hitting/being attacked by wildlife greatly increases the earlier in the day or later in the evening you train

5. Always carry TP

6.  Buy more food/Bring more food

7. You will be tired/hungry/awake/crazy from now until after the race is over.  Then you will be even more tired/hungry/awake/crazy.

8. Race registrations cost a lot.

9. Handlebar tape will come undone when you are farthest from your car and/or a bike shop

10. Circle swimming=Thumbs down

11. Buy more food/Bring more food

12. People will wonder why you seem so awake and you will wonder how you are faking it so well

13.  Find good running tunes and change them up often....Van Halen's "Why Can't This Be Love" is an awesome one....for now.

14. Sunscreen.

15. Buy more food/Bring more food.

Happy Training!!!

T-minus 17 months!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Well-Intentioned 4 Day Weekend Away....

Intentions.  Good ones.  I had them.  I really did.  Intentions to get my running in while I went to Montreal and Vermont last weekend for a friend's wedding.  Guess how long that lasted?

Now I know I am not the only one who has done this....I hope, or I'm going to feel like a HUGE slacker.  I even made room in my tiny carry-on (cause let's face it, I'm not paying $25 for a checked bag) for my running gear including hat, GPS (very useful in foreign country!), some gu's and my hand held water bottle!  First morning there, even after drinking two bottles of wine the previous night (I'm on vacation and I shared so :P) I got my butt up and went running....Didn't set an alarm cause who cares when you're on vacation and the weather doesn't hit 100 by noon.  It was a beautiful run in my most favorite kind of weather and it reminded me why I love to run.  I love to run to burn off the drinking calories but I also actually love to run for that freedom in the cool weather....No, this feeling does not hit when it's 100 out and I actually despise anything in 100 degree weather besides sitting in a pool or the ocean.

Now we drove to the wedding site in Vermont 4 hours away and had a great mini road trip there.  Hit the store, the hot tub, and then the family and friends pre-wedding gathering at the bonfire with S'mores.  Oh, you must remember diet rules go out the window when on vacation.  Even with the best of intentions I succumbed.

Wedding morning was suppose to be a 10 miler.  Hurt my knee to the point where I couldn't actually bend it without pain and it wasn't form the IT band side.  That was all the excuse I needed to not run the next morning...That and the other bottle of wine and some beer we had.

Wedding reception was a blast and included lots of beer.

Mini-road trip back to Montreal was a blast and when we got to Montreal it included lots of wine.

Next day in Montreal was amazing and included lots of wine and vodka.  I did walk like 5-10 miles in the city so that has to count for something.

Now it's leaving day.  Getting on a plane across the country for a 6-7 hour ride into the jet stream so I thought maybe, just maybe I should get my ass out of bed and do a little run.  Managed to do two miles with sprint intervals.  Not bad for a slacker who's done nothing but eat and drink her way around the Northeast the last 3 days.

I love mini vacations.  Not only for the piece of mind and rejuvenation you get from being away from "the grind" but in seeing good friends, not being on any kind of schedule, and doing whatever you damn well please.

My travel bug came back full force and I almost cried when I had to get on the plane back to SoCal again.  I have two parts of me and I still don't know which one will make me happiest.  One wants to find a place to settle down and have a great house and the other, more likely the slightly louder one, wants to forget everything and just go travel and see that big bright world.  There is a lot in it and my spirit is called to see it more times than I'm prepared for.

Back to the grind....training, working, but keeping my wandering soul free to allow me to see any new opportunities that come my way....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How Do You Kill a Hard Earned Downhill? Let Me Count the Ways....

So about a week ago, George and I did a 25 mile Camp Pendleton loop in the middle of the day in 95+ degree weather.  Not so smart.  I am not a creature of the heat and I ran out of water about 8 miles from the car.  It also took us a ridiculous 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.  Yes, that is a whopping 10mph.  I could feel my brain expanded as far as it could against my skull and was just waiting for it to self-combust.  Like this:

So Tuesday I got my ass out of bed at 445am and drove to Oceanside and was on my bike by 6am...5:55 if you will.  It was dark and I really couldn't see what was in front of me the first 3 miles or so until dawn so the fact that I was not, in fact, thrown from my bike into the abyss that is the sideline of the San Luis Rey River Trail, eaten by a pack of coyotes, sprayed by a skunk, or attacked by a hungry homeless person who sleeps out there (I wouldn't blame them since my new fav bike food, the Honey Stinger Waffles, are delicious, although I would put up a fight), I consider the first 3-5 miles a huge success.

Now I got off of the San Luis Rey Trail (Let's just call it SLRT from now on) about 6 miles in onto College Ave and then take a right on to Vandegrift that is the main road that loops through Camp Pendleton.  This being morning rush hour for those sexy men in uniform, there was a TON of traffic and I took my turn going up to the gate and showing my ID (no warrants out for my arrest yet!!).  Continued on that course in the cool, misty, overcast morning and was stoked to do that same 25 mile loop in an hour and 40 minutes!!!!  WAHOO!!!  That's like 15 mph so literally 150% faster than last time.  I told you my body doesn't like heat.

My gripe:  There are two decent uphills on this loop, which are, as to be expected, followed by some decent downhills made all the better because you EARNED them.  HOWEVER, nothing kills a hard earned downhill better than a red light either half way down or right at the bottom (especially when the bottom then dips right back up a hill that you were hoping to have some go-juice on)
(from http://cycleforlife-buildpeace-stopaids.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.html)
OR a pedestrian in a freaking crosswalk.  Coming up to the road with that smug look on their face like "HAHA you have stop for me."  Fuckers. I'll go through you!!!
What I wish the signs said at every crossing at the bottom of a nice downhill...with bikes in place of the cars

(From http://www.fark.com/comments/5255599/NYC-drivers-crossing-citys-most-dangerous-intersections-will-soon-be-getting-help-from-countdown-clocks-to-determine-how-long-they-got-to-run-light-mow-down-pedestrians)
I finished the loop and did an extra 5 miles out again onto the SLRT and then back to get my 35 miles in prescribed by my coach.  It is an awesome feeling to have done a rockin' workout and look at your watch and it only be 830am.  

Mixed up my protein shake and drank that as I drove to my friend's house to shower before work.  I now know why people always carry those travel mugs with a beverage in them while driving.  There is something amazingly calming about holding a travel mug with a beverage in your hand while driving that calms you down and makes your little world seem right, to the point where you don't even care about traffic or red lights or idiot drivers.  Or maybe that's just the endorphins...

Monday, September 10, 2012

First week comes to a close....

Well, week one is done and not without a little soreness.  I decided 5 weeks ago that it would be a good idea to sign up for the Heart Break Ridge 13.1 on Camp Pendleton despite the fact that there were no finishers medals and I hadn't really been running.  At all.  The most I wound up running at any one point in time was about 4.5 miles.  Yep.  Awesome training plan right?

Anyways, race day arrives and its about 90 degrees, really humid, and there is no breeze OR shade on this course whatsoever.  The hill itself, one of the more family friendly named ridges on Camp P., wasn't really that bad.  Yeah, it was steep, but it wasn't that long and the rest of the course was fairly flat...just hot.  They had water stops at just about every mile or two which was perfect.  I doused myself every time just to stay cool.  This New England girl cannot heat regulate very well!

Now, to get to the good part of this race....Marines:)  Ok, Ok, most of them are probably married but they were all running the opposite direction on their way back while I was on my way out and they were shirtless and glistening.  I guess that beats a finishers medal even though I don't get to take them home with me.

No IT band issues during the race, surprisingly since I didn't train much at all, but just sore the last two days since.  Luckily working at a running store allows me to foam roll during my downtime:)

Other than that I got a few short runs in before the race, my first swim back which felt amazing seeing as swimming is my strength and just feels good, and even a recovery ride yesterday morning after the race of 20 miles with George.

It definitely feels awesome to be back on a workout schedule and working towards a huge bucket list check!

Monday, September 3, 2012

And so it begins....

Workout #1: Worst run I've had probably since January when I did the Carlsbad half marathon two days after having food poisoning.

I guess the plus side is that my Ironman is 18 months away.  The other plus is that my view was along the cliffs of southern California overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Other than that, I felt like I was taking 2 miles of steps forwards while really actually not going anywhere training wise.  There are SO many people out on weekend mornings here in SoCal so there is no end of inspiration and "get your fat ass off the couch-ness."  Will most likely be needed during those days and weeks that I know are coming that will be just like today.  The days where workouts are terrible and the road seems too long and you start to question whether or not it's worth it.  Obviously it is, it's just a matter of finding that thought or feeling or thing that can get you back to your focus and make you keep on trucking.

Again, I know it's the VERY beginning, but it just stinks to start out with a workout that just BLOWS. Just reminds me how very far I have to go before crossing that finish line in New Zealand.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coach? Check. Motivation? Check. Let the Ironman Training Begin!

Ok, Ok, so I have not been great about keeping up with this blog.  Ok fine, I suck at it.  But you'll be happy (and possibly slightly worried) to know that I honestly haven't done jack since my last last-minute race, the Safari Park Half Marathon, on May 6th.  I got a free bib 3 days before so I recruited my awesome friend George and we pulled it out of our butts and got it done.

I also found a coach for my Ironman training!!  I'm so excited!  We met up at a coffee shop and if it weren't for a job interview I would have sat all morning talking to him!  He's super nice, actually cares about non-podium finishers, is very affordable, offers free group runs and group rides if you live in the North County area, and he just fits with what I am looking for.  YAY!!!!  Tripower Multisport Coaching

So yeah, quick update, getting back into the game after a crazy shit-hitting-the-fan spring and summer.  Can't wait to get the 18-month train moving.

Stay tuned for more reliable and fun updates on the journey to Ironman New Zealand 2014.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Little Rock, LONG race, BIG Bling!!!

26.2....SQUARED!!  Here's how it all went down.  It was a blustery day landing in Little Rock on Friday March 2, 2012 and the plane let us know such by suddenly swaying violently side to side and then dropping.  Thankfully, maybe more "obviously," I made it safe and sound although I got my heart rate up higher than any run could!!

My Mom was there waiting for me and we headed over (yes, within 5 minutes of being off the plane, I was in the car....Yay for carry-on baggage, pre-printed boarding passes, and small airports!) to my Dad's work on the other side of the airport.  Said hello and was STARVING so we headed to downtown to grab a bite to eat and hit up the Expo!!  Giggity Giggity, I love Expo's!!!

Grub was grabbed at the Flying Saucer, a cool little pub right on the main street with lots of beer and decent food.  Can you see where it gets its name?

Ok, on to the expo!  Being as I was in the land of Clinton, I figured I'd share with you the "Wall O' Clinton" that is a permanent fixture at the Convention Center.

The whole entire process of this marathon was smooth and user friendly.  Seriously, I was actually suppose to run this marathon last year as my first marathon and got seriously ill a few days before hand flying home from Australia and couldn't run.  I was able to defer my entry, without paying a single penny more, to this year's race.  (Thank goodness I ran this years and not last cause just wait until you see this medal!!!)
The theme was "disco" and they had the whole expo set up like it was a disco, complete with a GIANT disco ball in the middle of the ceiling...and I mean GIANT!!  The registration table, besides offering packet pick up and "I forgot my confirmation sheet" services, also offered miracles.  Yes, miracles.  Anyone who runs will know just how important this service is:)

I got my packet, my shirt, checked out the free samples and the booths, and even got a free 45 minute massage that really seemed to help.  I had been having the cramping, numbing issue with the bottom of my feet for a few weeks now and it definitely stems from my hips, glutes, and IT band.  I think this did the trick cause I did a 2.1 mile shake it out run around the lake my parents apartment is on later that night and it felt great!!!

Alright, so now it's race day.  Sunday March 4, 2012, 6:45am.  We leave the apartment to make sure we don't get stuck in any downtown race traffic due to runners getting dropped off, roads being closed, early starters, etc... Not even an issue.  Not even the teensiest bit of an issue.  Except I forgot to put on deodorant.  OOPS.  Not the biggest issue in terms of things that could have gone wrong but since it was suppose to be 70 degrees by the time I finished, deodorant would be nice to have.  Thankfully the people of Little Rock, and all the local businesses, were so happy to have us there in their town that the folks at the Marriott right in front of the starting line had their little shop open for "forgotten toiletries" and I was able to get deodorant no problem.  They were even welcoming non-guests to sit in their lobby to stay warm while we waited for the bewitching hour and were helping facilitate the bathroom lines.  THAT won't happen anywhere else, guaranteed.

Starting corrals were as follows: A (or "I'm Kenyan/Kenyan on the inside"), B (or "Almost Kenyan"), C (or "Some other non westernized countryman") and Open (or "The rest of us slow-ass white folk).  Guess which one I was in? :)

I stuck with the 4:55 pacers for most of the race, however their idea of "bagging time" seriously hurt at the end and I wound up 6 minutes behind them.  They were running 10:00-10:30's most of the race.

Courtesy of Dan's Marathon blog
The first 10 miles went by really easily, as they usually do in this sort of race, and I got to see my parents at the start, 3, 8, 10, and 13, mile markers as we wound through the streets of downtown Little Rock starting by the River Market District, then making our way to the Governor's Mansion (who was outside waving and cheering us on...Mayor too at mile 6!!!  I'm telling you, these people LOVED having us there!).

We then made our way by the Little Rock Central High School where the Little Rock 9 became infamous with the desegregation of our nation's schools.  Mile 13.1 was right at the capitol building.  Beautiful building but also the point where you know it's about to get serious.  The half way point marked the beginning of the long 2+ mile serpentine hill climb to the Heights district of Little Rock (or the "old money" as my Dad says).  It wasn't really that bad of a climb.  Fairly gradual, with one or two places where it flattened out before starting to climb again.  I ran the whole thing with no problem.  At that point, going up, anything besides flat, felt good on my legs!  The people cheering on the hill were great and one guy even told me I had the "best shirt out there" (which I totally did:))

Mile 16 began the downhill portion of this course and I gotta tell you, as I'm sure you know, it hurt just a bit.  Parts of it were REALLY steep and the knees were not appreciating it.  I made it, improved a bit on my pace for obvious reasons, passed the 8:00 and 7:45 pace groups (who started at 6am warming up the course for us:)) and then made a left onto the Cantrell/Riverside Drive out and back portion of the race.

At this point, things are starting to hurt and the out and back has no breeze anymore and it's getting pretty warm.  Mile 20 welcomed us to "the wall" under a giant blown up archway.  This race was awesome for another reason: at Mile 20.5 on the start of the return to town and the last 10k, there is a sheet drawn like a wall and it has sharpies for anyone who wants to sign it to do so:)  Little touches make the biggest difference!

The Final Climb
Courtesy of the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette
I walked and ran this bit, and then decided I'm gonna hurt no matter what so suck it up buttercup and get your ass in gear (yes, that is verbatim from my brain).  We, however, had one more hill to conquer after the 25 mile marker.  It was a little bit tough at that point but I saw my time, that I could possibly hit the under 5 hour mark, and knew that 1.2 miles was it.  That was all that was left to this race.  It hurt less to run so I picked it up a bit (this was NOT something I could do at the Marine Corps Marathon in DC so go me!!!).  I managed to run the last 1.2 miles at a 9:30 pace (amazing for me that far in) and it actually really barely hurt to run that fast.  It felt BETTER, in fact.

I powered through that last 1.2 and felt like a rock star!  I didn't meet the under 5 hour mark but I DID manage to PR the race and shave over THREE minutes off of my marathon time.  Final score? 5:01:48.  Not shabby for me at all!!!  Now here's the best part:

And to give the most fitting description of this medal, one that I could never come up with on my own, I introduce Dan of Dan's Marathon blog:
"I knew it was going to be big, loud and ostentatious.  But it was something else entirely to actually behold it and wear it.  A cheery volunteer lifted an obnoxiously large explosion of purple and grey glitter, a dinner plate sized hunk of tacky that is impossible not to love, and rested it on my weary shoulders.  They definitely delivered on size.  The zero in “2012” in the middle is the size of most large finisher’s medals, so we could spy other marathoners from a mile away." 

My parents took me to a nice steak dinner that night, we finished off the "wacky cake" my Mom made a few days prior, and we watched a movie.  All in all, a fitting end to a long, but wonderful day.  I have to say it is a race worth doing.  The organization, the volunteers, the course, the weather, the extremely welcoming people of Little Rock, and of course, the mammoth sized medal make this a must on anyone's "To-Do" list.

Oh, and that zero in the middle?  Yeah, it spins....Now if only it had LED lights...But that is another year, another race, and another 26.2.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Carlsbad Half Marathon

Well, this half marathon was way better than Las Vegas.  It was also warmer and on the ocean but we won't get into that:)

It was mid 50's during the run, a couple thousand people, but super well organized and tons of space so the lateral movement was non-existent!  Everyone was super polite, the volunteers were great, the views were incredible, and getting to run with the Ford Family is always cool!

Running on the ocean in January in shorts and a t-shirt...ok I can't get over it!!  Heather Jackson blew by on her way to her 3rd place finish so that as fun to see as well.

Alright, I really don't have much to report on this race, even though time-wise it was my worst half marathon yet....I had food poisoning two days before so I'm going to go with that.  Was having leftover digestive tract issues from that during the race:( NOT COOL

Oh, and to cap it off?  Got to watch the Pats beat the Ravens after the race and sit on my butt the rest of the day:)