Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year 2012 - By the Numbers

My totals for 2012:

Swim - 25.44 miles
Bike - 364.38 miles
Run/Walk - 644.31 miles 

Yoga - 4160 minutes (69 hours, 20 minutes)

Brazil Butt Lift - 2031 minutes (33 hours, 51 minutes)

December 2012 - By the Numbers

Swim - 5200 meters (3.23 miles)
Bike - 35.88 miles
Run/Walk - 82.63 miles

Yoga - 208 minutes (3 hours, 28 minutes)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday Training!

I hope everyone has had a lovely December and has enjoyed whichever holiday you celebrate! My family and I had a wonderful Christmas yesterday! For the first time since I've started running, I chose to ask for something that isn't running related. This is what I received:

Now that the kids are no longer outgrowing their entire wardrobes each season, I am able to start spending a little more money on my own wardrobe. I haven't bought a nice pair of non-running shoes since I started running. In fact, I have only purchased running shoes or Crocs for my footwear. My teenage daughter informed me that Crocs are no longer in fashion, so I decided I needed a new pair of shoes. I wear my high mileage running shoes as everyday wear, but sometimes you just want to wear something else. And I have always purchased my shoes at Payless, and balked at paying more than $20 for a pair of shoes, but running has changed that as well! It's funny how I don't bat an eye at paying $100 for running shoes and $70 for a running skirt, but I don't want to invest in my everyday wardrobe! LOL

As far as training is concerned, I have been able to keep up my workout schedule even with all the busy-ness of the holidays. It has required some very early mornings and some shuffling of the workouts around to different days, but I've stayed on track for the most part. This is week 6 of half marathon training already! It is going very well, and I have actually been feeling quite healthy overall. I am really making sure that I keep my pace guarded in the hopes of keeping myself from injury - and it seems to be working!

I will be leaving for Disneyland 3 weeks from tomorrow! That doesn't even seem possible! I am getting very excited! My mom and I planned out what we want to do while we are there... which is basically everything! LOL It's going to be a great trip and I am SO very excited!

Hope the last training experiences of 2012 are safe and rewarding and here is to moving more in 2013!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waivers are up!

It's that time again... waivers for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon are up and ready for printing! :)

Click on this link to print your waiver now and save time at the Expo!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Letting go

Sorry that it's been awhile since I've posted. You see, on our 12-12-12 walk, we ended up with a companion who walked with us. And I've been a little busy with welcoming this new guy into the family! :)

Sebastian... better known as "Bast"
It's almost like having a newborn. Or maybe, rather a toddler... as I've been having to cat-proof the house bit by bit! But he's a sweetie and he's starting to feel quite at home now.

Back to the topic at hand now -

I got some new shoes last week. Finally took the plunge and got some bright shoes!
Mizuno Wave Rider 16
They are awesome and beautiful and I've run in them twice so far. I had a little problem with my big toe this morning, so I'll give it another run or two and see if it happens again. If so, I'll go a half size bigger. They feel very nice and remind me of my Brooks Launch shoes that got discontinued right after I found them.

I also picked up another pair of the Brooks Ghost 5 that I've been wearing with much success since August. But now with the two new pair of shoes, I had no room for them. I decided it was time to let go of my older shoes. I took a picture of them for my scrapbook, and then they will be donated. I bid them a fond farewell and may they take their new owners on more of the wonderful kinds of adventures they took me on!

My first ever running shoes! I spent $40 on them and thought I was big time!

The shoes I wore in my first Half Marathon!

The shoes I wore to complete the Coast to Coast Challenge in 2010!

This pair of Nikes and the two in the next picture combined together to get me through my first marathon and the Goofy Challenge!

The shoes that helped me learn never to buy the same color of the same style of shoe if I can help it at all!

Here they are... the 6 pair of shoes that are leaving my room and moving on to better things!

Letting go can be hard, especially because there are such wonderful memories associated with these shoes. But sometimes you have to let go of the past and look to the awesome things that the future holds!




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12

The kids and I walked 1.2 miles at 12:12 on 12-12-12-!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 3... Check!

Week 3 workouts are in the books and so is the first run of Week 4! Everything is feeling pretty good, despite the fact that I ran too hard during my run intervals during the Jingle Jog. I guess I just got excited or something, but my Garmin time was 31:50 and that was with running 3 minutes and walking 2 minutes! I didn't have the intervals going on my watch so I can't break them down that way, but to average less than 10:30/mile when you are walking nearly half that time means that the run was way too fast to be good for you legs. I have to remember that I'm focusing on laying down miles and time on my feet and to keep the pace nice and slow. I did much better during today's run!

I have decided to add a 2 mile walk to the end of each long run session on Saturdays to get my body used to being on my feet for a bit longer. I would like to be up to a total of 10 miles on my feet two weeks before Tink, so when I have to be on them for 13.1 miles in the race it won't be such a shock. So that long run two weeks before is 7 miles, and I do around a mile warm-up/cool down each day, so another 2 will put me right at 10. So I'll just add 2 each week to gradually build up to that point. I hope that strategy will prove to be effective!

I spent most of yesterday afternoon going through the Disneyland book I ordered to plan out the excitement for my mom and me. She went with me back in 2010, but it was such a whirlwind trip that we missed so much! So this time, we're going to stay longer and really take it all in! I am so excited! It's even better than Christmas!




Sunday, December 9, 2012

Going Coast to Coast for Spectrum!

You've been waiting for it all week... and now, at last, here is the BIG NEWS!!

I am going COAST TO COAST again in 2013!! What does this mean, exactly? Well, it's simple! I am going to run a half marathon in California... and then I'm going to run a half marathon in Florida 5 weeks later! It's part of Run Disney's Coast to Coast Challenge. I did it once before in 2010, but those races were 6 months apart. 5 weeks apart is going to be a whole new level of challenge, and I am very excited about it! I will be doing the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on January 20th and then the 5th Anniversary Princess Half Marathon on February 24th (as I had planned to do all along). After completing the Princess Half Marathon, I will receive the Coast to Coast medal in addition to my Princess Half Marathon medal!

Now you may be wondering what this means for the fundraising I am doing for Spectrum, our local autism support group.Well, I figure Double the Miles? Double the Races? Double the GOAL!!

Yep, instead of raising $500 to send two children with autism to Spectrum's summer camp - I am shooting to raise $1000 to send FOUR children to summer camp! WOOHOO!!

A special thanks to those who have already donated! I appreciate you helping me to make my 5th year of running about something bigger than me! And if you haven't already donated, what are you waiting for!?! You can make a donation online through my fundraising page!

Stay tuned for updates on my training! The first race - Tinker Bell Half Marathon - is only 6 weeks from today!! :D

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Race Report: 2012 Jingle Jog for Autism 5K

I had a really great time at the Jingle Jog for Autism 5K today! The weather was beautiful, though a little warm for a Jingle Jog! LOL Not that I want it to be freezing like it was in 2009, but a little chill in the air would have been nice! It felt like early spring! :)

The venue and course were new this year and it was an improvement, I think! The vendors and number/shirt pick-up were inside Loganville High School, which would be very nice if the weather were terribly cold outside. There were lots of activities for kids outside as well, more than I remember seeing before. There seemed to be more vendors as well. The course was a bit hillier than in previous years, but it wasn't awful. Overall, I'm really pleased with the changes and I think it will allow the race to grow more in the future.

Pre-race!

Swag!

Sporting the Jingle Bell!

Post race picture! 



I don't have a race shirt picture yet because there wasn't anyone home to take a picture of me - they were off on this busy day taking my children to their various activities so I could do the race! But I'll post it here when I get one!

I still can't believe that this is my 5th time doing this race...it doesn't seem possible that I've been running this long! Can't wait for Jingle Jog 2013! :)


5 Years of the Jingle Jog for Autism 5K!

Race Report later to come this evening! I can just tell you that it was a great race and I had a fabulous time!

But in the mean time, check out these pictures from the Jingle Jog for Autism 5K over the years:

 
2008 - My first race EVER!
2009 - The freezing cold year! Also, the year my husband and two oldest children ran, too!

2010 - The year I ran 7 miles first, then came to run the Jingle Jog!
2011 - The year I had to walk because I was recovering from an injury!

2012 - 5th Anniversary! This one will probably be known as the Heat Wave year!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's like a heat wave!

The southeast has been experiencing some mild weather this week, and Atlanta is no exception!

Our forecast high for Tuesday was in the upper 60s to low 70s, and we have no activities on Tuesdays, so I decided to push my swim to Friday and take Frank to the park!

I waited for the kids' rest time to ride which brought back memories of when I first started out in the whole running thing and they were too young to be left alone. I would put a movie in for everyone to watch during rest time and go run through the neighborhood. They didn't get much screen time on a school day so I knew a DVD would insure than nobody moved for the duration of the program! Alas, everyone is older now so rest time consists of Riley reading aloud to Reece from whatever book series they are going through (currently The Lost Hero series by Rick Riordan - they just finished The Kane Chronicles by the same author) while Austin works through his rest time to get his work finished sooner.

The park after lunch on a Tuesday is a virtual ghost town! I don't think I've ever seen it that empty, except once or twice on a frigid winter morning when everyone else waited for warmer temps. That was perfect for a bike ride! Usually I have to dodge lots of walkers, runners, kids on bikes, and dogs, but today I just had to dodge a tractor that was spreading mulch along the side of the trail! I couldn't complain too much because that means that the leaves (what they make the mulch out of) are all off the trail and I don't have to worry as much about wrecking!

I was able to keep a really awesome pace (for me)! My Garmin showed one mile at 15.4 mph! That's incredible for me! I feel like I'm getting much stronger on the bike, which is my goal for next tri season!

This morning's temp was 57 (before sunrise). I actually went out in short sleeves and a skirt - in December!! It was a little windy so I could have stood wearing capris, but I never felt truly cold. I was able to run in my new Under the Sea Sparkle Skirt for the first time so I could test it for... oh never mind, you'll have to wait for Sunday to find out! ;) I trust Sparkle Skirts so much that I didn't need to do a test run, but since the weather cooperated I figured I would go for it! As expected, the fit and comfort were awesome!

It looks like the nice weather will hold through the weekend and the Jingle Jog for Autism 5K on Saturday! I'm not sure I've ever done that one in just a skirt before, but with temps in the low to mid 60s, it appears that it will be another first on that day!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Back to the start of it all!

This coming Saturday I will be participating in the Jingle Jog for Autism 5K! This was the very first 5K I ever ran, back in 2008! That means that this is my 5th year in a row to run or walk this event! I am so excited! It's so hard to believe that I have been running long enough to have done a single race FIVE TIMES!!

The location has changed this year so it will be a new course, which will make it even more exciting!

I still can't decide what to wear this year, though. It's going to be quite warm and most of my "Jingle Jog" attire is geared towards the colder weather. So I'm leaning towards wearing my puzzle piece skirt! :) I may end up deciding the morning of the race! :)

Stay tuned for a race report on Saturday afternoon and evening! And then... I have some big news to announce on Sunday!! You really won't want to miss it!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week 2 in the books!

This week's training is in the books and it went quite well! I have had a little bit of tightness but not anything awful. I am back to rolling several times a day, which is fine if that's what it takes. I am noticing that my hamstrings and calves are definitely not feeling as tight overall so I think I'm making good progress!

On to week 3... and a very special 5K over the weekend! This will be the Jingle Jog for Autism - yes, my very first 5k back in 2008! I will be running it for the 5th time and I'm so incredibly excited! It's at a new location this year, so that will be different, but I'm still looking forward to this with all my heart!

All I have to do now is to decide which Sparkle Skirt to wear: Green, Red, or the Puzzle piece one! :D


Saturday, December 1, 2012

November 2012 - By the Numbers

Swim - 3850 meters (2.39 miles)
Bike - 40.78 miles
Run/Walk - 62.29 miles

Yoga - 206 minutes (2 hours, 26 minutes)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 1 of training complete!

I did my (short) long run on Saturday morning and aside from it being really cold, it went well!

I am feeling pretty good... not feeling any discomfort when I run, just some twinges. But I do still feel the discomfort now and then through the day. It's frustrating, but I'm just going to keep rolling and stretching and training!



Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Cycling

We have had a spell of glorious, beautiful weather here in Georgia this week - and today is the last day for it. So I took advantage of the weather and took Frank out to the park instead of going to the gym to ride the stationary bike.

And I am SO GLAD I did!

The weather was beautiful, and I haven't felt so strong on the bike in a very long time. I was able to go up the hills without having to shift down into a much easier (lower?) gear! And my RPMs stayed just about the same, which is important.

The park was extremely crowded today, too. I guess if you weren't Black Friday Shopping then you must have been at my park! LOL I've never seen so many cyclists, or so many people getting family pictures taken! It was great though. And I managed a really nice pace for me, despite having to weave in and out of people.

I also lowered my seat a little bit, so I don't know if that's the reason for my improvement, or if my legs are stronger now (I have been doing more strength work), or what. But I was excited! I had 2.5 miles that were over 14 mph and that's really good for me!

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

First Half Marathon Training Run! :)

Today was the very first day of training for the Princess Half Marathon in 2013!

I am going to follow the Run/Walk a Half Marathon program from the book, Marathoning for Mortals. (And YAY my ability to make links is back thanks to my new mouse! WOOHOO!). I have used this book for all of my half marathons, though this will be the first time I've used the Run/Walk program instead of the Run program. Erg, there goes my ego again. @@

Today was the first run. I was supposed to run 3 minutes, walk 2 minutes and repeat that 7 times for a total of 35 minutes. I did this same interval during my run on Saturday and it worked well. Today went even better!

I went to the chiropractor on Friday morning and he did another adjustment on me - and this time he did my neck, too, which was a freaky feeling! But I think it is helping. I'm supposed to run this week and see how I feel. If I'm better, then I don't need to go back. During this morning's run I felt about 80-90%!

I need to take myself back mentally to where I was back in 2009 when I was training for my first half marathon. Back when it was just me running and there was no pressure to be fast or to run long or anything. Back when just being out there at all seemed like an amazing accomplishment. My ego needs to go away so I can get over the fact that I'm taking walk breaks and I relish the fact that I'm building up my endurance again. 

Basically, it's No Pressure Running, but with a training plan and a goal! And a sparkly medal at the end!

And don't forget, I'm running the Princess Half Marathon for a good cause! If you would like to support my fundraising efforts for Train 4 Autism and Spectrum Autism Support Group, just click here: Jennifer's Train4Autism Page

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When my ego attacks

I went to the chiropractor on Tuesday to ask about my left leg issue. I was really afraid that there was something majorly wrong - like a stress fracture. He is a great guy and newly certified as a Sports Medicine Chiropractor, so I knew he would get it. I described what has been going on and he said that he would adjust me, for sure, but not everything was chiropractic, so let's talk about some other aspects of my training.

We started with dietary. Um, yeah. I admitted to being a picky eater, though I am getting better. I even had zucchini in my salad on Monday! But he was concerned about my mineral stores. So he recommended that I take a liquid vitamin that he happens to sell. (For the record, it looks like mud. And it tastes only slightly better. But I am giving it a shot to see if it helps me feel better).

On to my legs. He felt for a pulse in my ankles. He couldn't find one in the right ankle... the leg that has such a hard time with circulation (and has since my last pregnancy). He found the one in the left ankle a little better. This did not make him happy. Then he felt the part of my shin where I have had discomfort. "One there - and there - and there - and there - and there - and there..." He was finding small knots in the muscles of my shin. 6 knots in about a 5 inch spread. He told me I needed to get accupressure from the massage ladies in their office, and demonstrated. I am going to roll the area at home with a ball for a little while to see if that helps, while I determine if my Trina can do accupressure. I am not too sure about seeing anyone else.

Then he did the adjustment, or as I like to call it - the medieval torture table. I think he pulled my leg so much that I am an inch taller now! But the discomfort I had in my right hamstring was gone immediately.

I am to run today (done!) and come back to see him Friday.

So I ran today. I did a 4/1 interval for 45 minutes. It was on the treadmill today because it was cold and drizzling and I wasn't feeling like much of a Tough Chik. But it did feel better than it has recently.

Now you may be wondering where my ego comes into play - since that's the title of this post.

Well, right now! :)

You see, I am going to take a bit of a step back and follow the Penguin's Run/Walk a Half Marathon training program to get me ready for the Princess Half Marathon in 2013. I had talked before about "No Pressure Running" but unfortunately, my ego didn't get the message. What my ego heard was "Get back to running double digit distances ASAP". And maybe I can still do that. But to what purpose?

I think my body is screaming for an "off season" and for me to build up a little more slowly again. And while my ego has taken a huge beating for the last year or so, in the end, I want to be a runner/triathlete for a very long time. So what difference does it make if I'm running 10 mile long runs each week in December, or if I do one in February? In the grand scheme of things, what will it hurt? (Yeah, ego... I hear you screaming LOL) My next few races are 5Ks and 10Ks, aside from Princess, and then in the spring it's time to get back into the triathlon training business again.

And maybe, just maybe, if I build up nice and slowly again... then I can plateau at that level while I add in an increase in my swimming and biking? And my body won't hate me and hurt me? One can only hope!

Or maybe, instead, after Princess I could try to build up to running nonstop again? Wouldn't that be something else?!

So for now, I think the best course of action will be to take this small step back - back to 3/2 intervals again for a little while, back to shorter 'long' runs - and let my body regroup. I'm still working in my strength training twice a week so I can be getting stronger during this time and maybe this will get me to where I want to be.

Now, if only my ego will cooperate! :D

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Race Report: Lanier Under the Lights 5K

Sorry for the silence on my blog for the last 10 days or so! My laptop died last week, and then we had a very busy weekend. I am back now using the desktop computer that my kids use for their school work... or at least the one they used to use before 2 of them got laptops of their own! LOL It is not a very fun computer to use because of the crazy mouse, but I will be fixing that ASAP! Now, on to the race report!

Lanier Under the Lights is one of my favorite events of the year. I would love to make a fancy link for you but the mouse won't let me so here you go: http://www.lanierunderthelights5k.com/ The course takes you through Lake Lanier Islands and a portion of their Magical Nights of Lights display. The money raised supports the Toys for Tots program as well as my own church's Secret Santa program. I had to miss this one last year because of my injury, so I was very much looking forward to doing it this year. Also, I had recruited a friend to do it with me and this would be her first 5K! She is mostly a walker, but we did end up running a few nice intervals and I was really impressed!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous! In fact, it probably could have been a little cooler, but I won't complain!

Here is the shirt and bib - love how the bib has the race name on it! That is always a nice touch!

 I wore my new Sparkle Skirt in the Dali print! It was very sparkly, especially in the lights!


I got a couple of good pictures of the lights... here is a sampling:

They just keep making this shirt more and more adorable each year! It's a nice quality Hanes shirt and the designs are so cute!


This is one race that sells out quickly year after year, so if you want to participate, you need to get on it right away! Another good race put on by this same race director is the Fallen Heroes of Georgia race that I have mentioned several times on my blog. This one is in March and is definitely worth attending. There are 5K and 10K options for that one. Click on this link http://www.active.com/running/buford-ga/fallen-heroes-of-georgia-10k5k1k-2013 to register!

Next race up for me is the Jingle Jog for Autism! My 5th anniversary running of my first ever 5k! I am so excited! :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Savannah: One Year Later...

Yesterday, the Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon/Half-Marathon was run in Savannah, GA. You may remember that this race last year was supposed to be my Marathon Maniac qualifier, but I was unable to complete the full marathon because of my injury. You can read the race report here, if you need a refresher.

In fact, I'm going to do the same. Why? Because I haven't read that post once since I wrote it a year ago.

Yeah, it's been that hard. (I still haven't read the one about MCM, and I didn't blog about the One Year Later because it was infinitely harder than yesterday was.)

But since I was coming here to report how I made it through yesterday without any tears or anything, I think I should go all the way and read how I was feeling right after the race. I'll be right back...

::insert Jeopardy music here::

Well, that was interesting. I wonder if I would have felt the same had I known that a year later, I still wouldn't be up to half-marathon shape still? I think I figured that if I only did the half, it would mean I would be healed up so much more quickly than I did.

But I had forgotten how much pain I was in. I had forgotten about the blisters and the pain on the top of my foot completely! Yeah, stopping at the half was definitely the correct decision for that day!

I'm really glad to be passed both the MCM and Savannah in terms of the whole "One Year Later" things. I think it will be easier from here on out. I'm really not where I thought I would be in terms of the distance I am able to run, but I'm really close. I have run 8 miles three weeks in a row now and I am not hurting. I will keep at 8 miles for all of November, and maybe December if I feel like I need a little more time.

But then once I am able to run in the double-digits again, I will feel like I'm really "back". I am ready to be back.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A DNS - but not due to injury

After much deliberation (just ask my poor husband! LOL), I have decided to skip tomorrow night's Anything is Possible 5K. This is a race that starts at 1:50 AM on the night of the time change so that you end up with a negative finishing time! The concept is great, and they give you jammie bottoms instead of a race shirt. I won this entry on Active Advantage so I'm not out any money. And with how far I'd have to drive to get there and back,  I can use the money I'm saving on gas and go buy my own jammie bottoms! LOL

The reason for the DNS is simple: I've been feeling tired and stressed due to family obligations this week, and we have tomorrow evening and Sunday afternoon/evening completely open. If I plan this right, I can get everything done on Saturday afternoon and evening and have Sunday to completely enjoy and rest up for another crazy week. And that will be worth more to me and my family in the long run!

I have been feeling quite good this week, physically! I was expecting to be incredibly sore after the hilly race on Saturday, but I really wasn't! I ran on Monday and Thursday as scheduled, swam Tuesday, and did the stationary bike at the gym today. Tomorrow I will run my now-regular 8 mile distance, and then it will be time for a cut-back week next week!

So far this No-Pressure Running/Training is going very well!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October 2012 - By the Numbers

Swim = 4000 meters (2.49 miles)
Bike = 15.14 miles
Run/Walk = 47.38 miles

Yoga = 212 minutes (3 hours, 32 minutes)


Monday, October 29, 2012

Last call for Team Tough Chik!



Today is the LAST DAY to join Team Tough Chik! Sign up by midnight tonight to be a part of the 2013 team with me!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Race Report: Running Scared 13K

I had SUCH an amazing time at the race tonight! I am probably going to forget something in all of the excitement, but here is my best attempt.

I wore my new SparkleTech skirt from SparkleSkirts.com and it looked absolutely adorable and, of course, comfortable. And let me tell you... I just got this skirt and wore it tonight without having done a test run. That's how confident I am in these skirts!

I was mulling around in the parking lot and there weren't very many people. I stopped the race director and asked him if the course was well-marked and he said yes (HA! LOL) and then I asked how many people signed up and he said 40ish (HA! LOL). I made friends with a lady who was also running and we hung out together a bit.

Finally they called the 13K runners to the start line and there were a whopping TWELVE of us! LOL I was really nervous and quickly came to terms with coming in last. I knew that it wasn't the end of the world, but I was still nervous. The horn sounded for the start and we took off - all together for almost 3/10 of a mile. Then everyone started spacing out and it was time for my first walk break. And that's how I ended up last. And that's how I stayed for about 2.5 miles! LOL

That also happens to be where we went up the big, nasty hill. I was walking it and passed one lady. I made it to the top of that nasty hill to find that there were more relatively annoying hills to come - and we had to do them all twice! It was dreadful!

Around mile 6, I passed the group of ladies (including my new friend) but assumed they would pass me back when I hit my next walk break. But they didn't. And not on the next walk break, either. In fact, they never passed me again!

Finally it was time to go back down the big, nasty hill and I let myself sort of fly down it, mostly trying not to fall. I was looking forward to a nice drink of water at the water station where we were to rejoin the 5K, but they had already taken it down. BOO! No more water for the rest of the course, and there was still 1.5 miles to go!

I was back on the part of the path that I run regularly, which was good. The familiarity was very helpful. My legs were getting really, really tired, though. Probably from all the hills - and I was running faster than I usually do. But I'm not really used to that "tired legs" feeling and I don't especially enjoy it. I prefer to run a little more slowly so I can feel strong through the end of the race! I didn't get to do that, today! LOL

Around mile 7.5, I decided that I was done with this run! This is when familiarity with the course is really helpful because I knew I didn't have THAT much further to go! But it would figure that there were several more uphills to conquer. I am not sure I have ever been so happy to cross a finish line!

I stuck around for the awards, figuring that with only 12 of us, we were all very likely to win something! It was so neat as all of the 13K folks stood together and cheered the remaining ones as they came in! We all talked about how nasty the hills were! I think the overall winner finished only 20 minutes or so faster than I did!

I did end up winning 1st place in my AG - there weren't any other runners in that AG. I'm really OK with that because it's not my fault that nobody else my age signed up! Their loss! :) I received a gold medal and it is so cute!

 My legs were shaking after I finished and shook for a good 30 minutes! I came home and rolled and stretched and hopefully I will be able to walk tomorrow! :) But if I can't, I certainly earned the right to hobble a bit! :)








Thursday, October 25, 2012

So, you think you're a Tough Chik?

Well, guess what! You'd be right!!

"Our mission is to encourage each other to get out there and have fun!  We see all team members as contributing members, whether you podium or persevere, all that matters is that you are out there doing what YOU love to do.

A lot of teams out there focus their attention on attracting only elite athletes, but that’s just not what Tough Chik exclusively represents.  So we threw out the “rules” and decided to design a team for everyone."


Wanna make it official and join me on Team Tough Chik? If so, you need to hurry! Registration will be closing on Monday, October 29th! There are plenty of options to choose from - running kits, triathlon kits, cycling kits, and combination kits as well! But don't delay... you don't want to miss out on this chance to show the world "What Tough Looks Like"! :D

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Maybe less is more?

Last week I decided to less stretching and rolling.

That might sound counter-intuitive since I am actively trying to recover from injury. But  realized that I have spent the last year rolling and stretching each day for HOURS. No exaggeration. 2 hours per day at LEAST. This does include my workout (swim, bike, run, yoga, etc). Or my strength training. Because I work from home (teaching my kids) I have the unique ability to roll and stretch when I need/want to. But two hours a day?? Every day?? For a year??

Yeah, I'm over it.

So now I am only rolling before and after a run or bike. And I do my Body Looseners before a workout and a yoga miniworkout afterward. And then I do my really good stretch routine before bed. If I'm feeling particularly stiff, I may stretch again during our rest time in the afternoon. But that's it.

And you know what? I still seem to be improving with how I feel during my workouts. (I'm going to be really aggravated if I hurt during my run tomorrow morning now that I've said this! LOL)

Maybe rolling and stretching less is better for my body?! I wonder if it's possible to actually overdo it with the stretching? Hmmm...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

At least I got that out of the way...

I forgot to mention that on Sunday afternoon (my Runniversary) I took my youngest to the park to ride her bike. She asked me to bring my bike along as well so we could ride together. It had been awhile since she's ridden, plus she gets a little distracted by the sights around her. So it was a nice, slow ride on a beautiful day.

We were back in the wooded part of the trail, and I was following behind my little bundle of sunshine when all of a sudden she exclaimed, "Look, Mama! A squirrel!" and came to a sudden and complete stop.

In my attempt not to run my precious angel over, I gently applied the brakes and attempted to go around her. Unsuccessfully. Well, I did the important part and missed hitting my child, or her stopped bike.

Thus I have now gotten my first "bike crash" out of the way. Luckily the only injuries were some scrapes and soreness to the left hand that took the brunt of the fall - and my pride.

And thereafter, as we passed by the spot several more times on our bike ride, it became known as, "Mama, that's the place where you crashed!" :D

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy 4th Runniversary to me!

4 years ago today, I began the Couch to 5K program! In some ways it doesn't feel like a very long time, but my youngest who is 10 said that she doesn't remember that I ever "didn't run"!

I have been waxing nostalgic today - this has been a really rough year for me with running. I'm not sure I would have purposely signed up for all of what the last year has held for me, but I am starting to really think that it has made me a better person/athlete.

This morning, the 10 year old surprised me with a Runniversary celebration:



Isn't she the sweetest kid ever? I was so touched by her thoughtfulness! It has been especially touching because less than a year ago, the kids were complaining very openly about how all I cared about was running and I was gone every single holiday instead of spending time with them. It made me really sad. I took their complaints to heart and promised not to run a single holiday race this year, nor did I do any travel races. I wanted to show them that while running is important to me, it's not more important than my family. I hope that this celebration from my daughter is evidence that she sees that.

Tomorrow I begin my 5th year of running. I am really excited about it! There are a couple of races that I will be participating in for the 5th time - Jingle Jog for Autism and Fallen Heroes of GA! I will get to run in the 5th anniversary Princess Half Marathon and even though it will only be my 3rd time to do it, I think it's cool that the medal will have a 5 in in during my 5th year of running!

I wonder if me four years ago would have believed all that I have accomplished in the last 4 years? When I took off on that first day of Couch to 5K in 2008, did I ever expect that by October 21, 2012 I would have completed

14 5Ks
10 10Ks
6 Half-Marathons
1 Full Marathon
1 Warrior Dash
2 Sprint Triathlons
1 Goofy Challenge

That makes me really, really tired reading all that! LOL But I also have a great sense of accomplishment! I could linger on the fact that the numbers would have been higher had I not gotten injured last year, but I am not going to do that. Maybe I should focus on the fact that I did all of those things in 4 years and ONLY suffered one serious injury!  LOL

Tomorrow I will run the first run of my 5th year of running... and I will do my very best to appreciate it and ever run, swim, bike ride, and yoga pose for the next year!

In the words of the world-famous Swim Bike Mom: Keep Moving Forward!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

8 miles - it's very nice to see you again!

I did my 8 miler this morning. It was a beautiful fall day out there. Not a cloud in the sky and the temps were in the low to mid 40s. Since I hadn't run much last fall and winter, I was unsure what I should wear. I went with capris and a skirt, and a long sleeve shirt, and mittens. That was just about perfect. I probably could have gone with just the skirt, but I am so cold-natured.

I went with the 4/1 intervals, which is new. The last two times I have done 8 miles (post injury) I did it with 3/2 intervals. But I wanted to see how it would go. Physically I was all over the place. The first couple of miles felt awkward, which is typical. My shin was a little cranky, but not painful. Then around the 4th mile my right ITB started to make its presence known. I stretched at the top of the hill during my water break and that seemed to help. I think the cold weather was either making my muscles tighter, or was making me clench up and tighten them. Either way, I re-focused on relaxation and form. Miles 5-7 went beautifully! And then I started to get tired and my form started to suffer. Aches popped up in all sorts of places and it got harder mentally as well. It didn't feel awful, just harder than it probably should have been.

But before long, the Garmin read 8.00 miles and it was time to stop (well, to do a 10 minute cool-down walk anyway! LOL). I did the cool-down, stretched, drove home and rolled and did some yoga. And then took a nice warm shower. I know that cold/ice is supposed to be a runner's friend but in my case, the heat relaxes my muscles and makes me feel much better. I put on the compression socks and took my older daughter shopping all afternoon - the walking around being very good for the legs!

Legs are feeling pretty good... there is the usual tightness in the left shin but the hip/ITB is feeling just fine. My time was a little less than an hour and a half which is good. This race next week has a 1:45 cut-off. There is a really big steep hill about 7/10 of a mile long that I will have to walk up (I've run it before and it was B-A-D! LOL) and I wanted to make sure I can do that and still finish in time, and I think I can. I am waiting to see how my legs feel in the next day or two before I decide if I need to drop down to the 5K. So far, I think it will be fine! I'm not too terribly concerned about finishing "in time" because I know I will be pretty close, and if they close it down before I get there it won't bug me! This race is at the park where I do most of my long runs so it's not like I will be out on the roads somewhere without direction or support. I'm mostly doing this race so I can wear my new Sparkle Skirt and get a cute Halloween long sleeve shirt to wear! Yes, I have my priorities! ;)

Enjoy your workouts, friends! 




Thursday, October 18, 2012

On the Road Again...

Sorry for the delay in posting... this has been a crazy sort of week where I spent most of my days taking children to the doctor. The littlest one for a checkup and the middle one to see about a dance injury (achilles tendonitis and she's all booted up for 3 weeks. You know what's as sad to see as a runner who can't run? A dancer who can't dance. Poor girl!). Around those events, we have managed to get our school work in, and then I feed the crew, try to keep up with the house, and collapse on the bed at night and think, "Wow, I really should blog about my workouts!" LOL

I ran Monday and it was good! My shin bothered me just a little bit, but I focused on relaxing the muscles and releasing them. I still believe that the shin problem is related to a tightness in the calf or hamstring (or both). I'm hoping that watching my form, making sure to slow down in my run intervals, and releasing muscle tightness while I run will help remedy the issue. I ran for 30 minutes, 4/1 intervals.

Tuesday's swim was nothing short of awesome! I stuck to my regular 2 sets of 500 meters and I felt relaxed and strong. I also worked on form and relaxation during my swim. I'm going to stick to these same two sets for around a month before I slowly work to combine them into one 1000 meter set.

Wednesday was a rest day. Going to be taking two of these most days during the off-season. Wednesday and Sunday. If the weather is particularly nice, I may take the bike out on Sunday afternoon for a ride, but other than that, I am going to rest a bit more over the fall and winter.

Today had "RUN" penciled in on the calendar and the weatherman penciled in "RAIN" over the top of it. I waited and waited for the rain to go away - it was a hard and fairly chilly rain or else I would have toughed it out. Weather.com indicated rain until 10AM so I grabbed the mp3 player and hit the gym. I really didn't want to do it because it would add 30 minutes to my morning for travel time, which would mean a rushed morning of lessons. I'm also not too fond of the treadmill. But I didn't want to miss my workout, ether. So I sucked it up. Of course, right as I was pulling into the parking lot, the rain stopped. Figures.

The treadmill does have a couple of benefits - no hills and no banked roads to annoy my legs. Also, I am forced to maintain a steady pace which helps me avoid running too fast on my run intervals. But it's just so boring. Who would have thought that I would one day prefer to be in the outdoors than indoors for exercise? Crazy!

I had planned 45 minutes for my run today. I am trying to pick up where I left off with the triathlon training. I had been doing a 2 mile run after a brick, and then a 45 minute run, and a 6 mile run. I am going to start with a 30 minute run, a 45 minute run, and an 8 mile long run on the weekend, plus a day of swimming and a short day of cycling on the stationary bike, and finally, the two rest days. I feel going up to the 8 mile run won't be a problem because the intensity and duration of the other workouts is so much less. I plan to add time to the weekday runs little by little until I'm running an hour each weekday, and I want to build up to 10 miles on the weekend run. That's my ultimate goal for the winter and really I don't need to run any more than that to fulfill my training goals. That amount of running would have me ready for any half-marathon, and it would also give me a good base if I want to tackle an Olympic distance triathlon next summer/fall.  I will be doing one cut-back week once a month to give my body a break.

In keeping with my "no pressure running" mantra, though, I am not writing any of these time or distance goals in my training calendar. I'm going to be going very much on how I feel. If I wake up one morning and I don't want to run very long, then I won't. If I can make those goals by the end of the winter that would be great, but it won't destroy me, either. I just want to stay healthy and enjoy my running (and swimming and biking) again!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

One More Day

My rest week is drawing to a close and I think I have 'run' (get it? run?? har har) the gamut of emotions as the week has passed. First I started off feeling great and enthusiastic, and somewhat antsy. Then I was tired and frustrated. Then I questioned if I ever really wanted to run again.

Yeah, that was in a period of 7 days. Can you say "roller coaster"?!? LOL 

Then I woke up this morning feeling much more centered. And I really feel like God spoke to me either last night or this morning. I have been trying much better recently to listen (but that's a post for another day, maybe tomorrow?) - and I'm so glad I did because I'm not sure I would have heard this in the busy-ness of my own mind.

You see, I've been questioning why I am doing this. By "this" I mean running, swimming, biking, racing. If you've kept up with my blog lately, you know this. I have had this persistent feeling over the last few months that "this" is no longer enjoyable, and that what I start out doing for stress relief was actually causing me more stress. And since my overall stress level has increased in recent years (homeschooling high schooler[s], recurrence of seizures in my son, adolescence ramping up among my teen/tween daughters), the last thing I need is MORE STRESS.

But this morning I woke up thinking, "You have to MAKE it enjoyable again." I thought and prayed about that for a long time. What does that mean? How would that happen? And it became quite clear: I have to drop it back to the place where it's fun again. Where is that point? I'm not exactly sure.Is it 30 minute runs, 3 times a week? 5 miles a couple of times a week? No clue? But there is a point out there where it is enjoyable and fun, and I have to find that place.

Now you may be thinking, "Well, DUH, Niffercoo!" but this is a tricky concept for me. I am by nature a pessimistic person and I'm also a black/white all-or-nothing thinker. So if something is causing me stress then that must mean it has to go. Period. End of discussion.

But this morning I learned that it doesn't have to be that way. I just have to go back to the place where it's fun. And hang out there for awhile and enjoy myself. And then, later on, if I decide to build it back up again then that's good.

Now that doesn't mean I'm not doing the Princess Half in 2013. Of course, I am! I am committing to raising money for our local autism support group. But that is a low-pressure race because of the generous time limit that Disney allows.

What is does mean is that I'm not going to push towards an Olympic distance triathlon in 2013. Or a bunch of half marathons. I will stick with sprint tris, and probably just one or two (thinking IronGirl in the spring and Lake Lanier Islands again in the fall, or maybe the Acworth Women's triathlon in August). And I may do a local half marathon next fall if I'm feeling good. Or I may just stick to 5Ks and 10Ks next year. And this is OK.

I think part of my problem is that I have developed a screwed-up sense of what running is all about. I am surrounded by people who run Half Marathons and Full Marathons every single weekend. This makes it seem "normal" to me and anything less is just not worth it. I realized this last weekend when my friend Lisa commented that I hadn't told her I had a race that weekend. I remarked, "Well, it was only a 10K, nothing very important." and she responded that my perceptions are all off! I did laugh, but then I started thinking about that and realized she is right. Five years ago, if you had told me I would run a 10K race, I would have laughed. If you had told me I would have placed in my age group I would have thought you were insane. (And even here I stopped myself from going back and typing that I was really slow and just got lucky, but there go the perceptions again - it doesn't matter if I was slow. I was still 3rd fastest of the women who showed up that day that are in my age group! LOL).

So what I really need to do is stop focusing on what everyone else is doing, and just get back to how it was when I first started. When there wasn't anyone to compare myself to except for me. When I was excited just getting out there and doing my best and having a good time. I do have to start training next month for Princess, but until then, I am going to do my best to find that place where I am enjoying myself again and where I'm not putting pressure on myself. I do have that 13K race in 2 weeks but I'm going to use that as my first test of my new "no pressure" philosophy. I think I need to come up with a word or 'key phrase' to remind myself of this philosophy when I start to get carried away.

And on that note, tomorrow I will run again for the first time in more than a week. My shin goes back and forth between feeling fine and acting up. I am going to run without compression tomorrow and see how it goes.  I'm also going to focus on keeping my run interval and a nice and easy pace and see if that helps. Wish me luck! :D


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rest Week

I am half way through my (annual? semi-annual?) rest week. So far, so good, I suppose. I am still much achier than I would expect for not having done anything except stretching for the last 4 days.

My mom asked me yesterday if I am going crazy yet from a lack of swim-bike-run and I had to admit that I'm not. That's such a bummer. But maybe that just emphasizes how much I needed to take a break. The stress of constantly dealing with one injury or setback or whatever you want to call it has really taken its toll. It's hard to enjoy my workouts when they are a source of anxiety and stress, instead of a relief for it.

Oh, and on that note... I think I hyper-extended  my right elbow while using the foam roller. Yeah, seriously. My elbow. Shake your head right along with me. So I'm taking a few days of not rolling to let it heal up. @@

Would anyone like to take bets as to which body part will start hurting next? ;)




Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lesson of the Day: Always stay for the awards ceremony

Or at least remember to check the results before you leave! LOL

I had no expectations of placing yesterday, so I didn't bother to stick around for the awards ceremony. Imagine my surprise when I found out today that I won 3rd place in my age group! LOL Luckily I know the race director, so I went over to her house today to pick up my swag! This REALLY made my day! :D

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Race Report: Georgia Race for Autism 10K

Considering how relaxed I was in the days leading up to the triathlon, it surprised me how nervous I was about today's 10K. The shin issue has been worrying me, as well as the extreme fatigue I'd been feeling since the tri, but I seriously didn't sleep a wink last night! I tossed and turned and tossed and turned. Finally I gave up and got out of bed. Did my rolling and stretching and ate a half a granola bar, then got dressed. I do have to admit that it's nice to local races for a change. The race started at 8:00 and I left my house at 7:00. I could have left at 7:30 and still made it in plenty of time, though.

This was the first year in awhile that I haven't volunteered on the Friday evening before the race. So I had to do packet pick-up, which was actually a breeze. The color of the shirt this year is very nice. We also got a drawstring backpack that contained our goodies, including a water bottle.

I had a lot of time to kill since I'd already done my body looseners at home - and if you've ever read Chi Running or seen the body looseners done, you understand why! LOL I went to the bathroom - no line! And then I did my 5 minute warm-up walk. It seemed to me that there weren't as many participants this year, and judging by the final results, I was right. Not sure why that is. Maybe because there is a half-marathon in Atlanta tomorrow?

I tried to get a self-portrait of my flower from Fellow Flowers but it didn't work very well. My friend, Jill, sent me this flower and suggested that I wear it today, so I did. My pink flower represents "This is so much bigger than me." - which it is. And which is really the only reason I got out of bed this morning to go to the race while I was still so nervous. Today I was wearing my Puzzle Piece SparkleSkirt and my Pink flower while I run for kids, like mine, with autism.
The race itself went pretty well. I did 4/1 intervals and went out much faster than I had wanted. I was able to reign it in, though, and ended up finishing at a nice pace. I also followed my intervals much better than I have done in previous races. My shin only twinged now and then. My right hip was feeling very tight but it felt better after I did some stretching.

My favorite part of the race was the water stop around mile 4.5. A young man with autism was handing out water. He would get so excited after you took the water from him! It made me so happy to see him actively participating in a real and meaningful way in the community! The fact that he got such joy from this was even better

I enjoyed the last part of the race better than the first part, probably because the nerves were gone and I was confident that I was going to be able to finish. I crossed the finish line, took a banana and a bottled water, and did my cool-down walk.

Here is what has become my traditional post-race self-portrait! I'm getting much better at these! I was so pleased to have completed my first 10K race of 2012! :) 

And here is the traditional race shirt picture! :) I know you've been waiting all day to see it! LOL 
Since I felt so good during the race, when I came home, I promptly registered for a 13K race on the weekend before Halloween! :D I am a little nervous about the time limit (12:30) because there is a supermassive hill that I can't run up or down (I know because this is at the park where I have done my long runs for YEARS and I've tried that hill before and it was a big mistake LOL). But I figure if I don't make the cut-off, it's not the end of the world. I'll just keep going... I'm at the park so it's not like they can pick me up in bus or something, or deny me a finishers' medal (since there isn't one). I think it will be fun, and I've been planning to go up to 8 miles for November anyway. :D

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Holy Fatigue, Batman!

I felt great Sunday after the triathlon! My mom and I even did a little shopping!

I felt pretty good on Monday, too! I woke up and did a 60 minute Yoga Conditioning for Athletes DVD.

I woke up Tuesday feeling a little stiff. But I had gone to a rock concert the night before and jumped and danced around, and I got home after midnight. I went to the pool and did some nice and easy laps. That felt good!

Then... something happened after lunch.

It was like the bottom fell out. My body ached all over! I was simply exhausted! I tried to have some caffeine to see if that would help and it didn't. I tried some chocolate and that didn't help!  I was simply exhausted! :)

I'm not sure what happened, but man it was BAD! It has made me rethink my plans to do 4 triathlons in 2013 (including an Olympic distance)! LOL I don't remember being this tired last time... in fact, I went straight from the tri on Saturday to marathon training on Monday! How on earth did I do it?!?

I am feeling a little less physically fatigued today, though still quite tired. Tomorrow I am planning to go to the gym and do a gentle workout on the stationary bike (I would do the regular bike but the sun won't be up early enough for me to get it done and get back in time to teach my kids). I am wanting to keep my legs loose for the 10K on Saturday. It's the Georgia Race for Autism... not one I want to race, but one I want to enjoy! And hopefully my shin will behave itself! :)


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September 2012 - By the Numbers

Swim = 4000 m (2.49 miles)
Bike = 85.31 miles
Run/Walk = 52..48 miles

Yoga = 374 minutes (6 hours, 17 minutes)

Monday, October 1, 2012

7 Years Ago...

7 years ago yesterday (September 30, 2005), the word autism joined our family's vocabulary. In honor of this milestone, I'd like to announce that I will be running the Princess Half Marathon in 2013 with Train 4 Autism. This organization will help me raise money for Spectrum, our local autism support group that helped me so much when our kids were first diagnosed. I am hoping to raise $500 to help two children with autism attend a week of summer camp next year!
 Here is the link to my fundraising page:  Jennifer's Train for Autism page 
I thank you in advance for any donations! No amount is too small! :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Race Report: Lake Lanier Islands Sprint Triathlon

If you have been reading my blog in the last month then you know that I was afraid this race wasn't going to happen. That feeling only intensified Friday and Saturday. I prayed a lot, and tried to rest in the knowledge that I would like through whatever happened, but I was so incredibly nervous. My parents wanted to come cheer me on with my youngest child but I asked them not to. I didn't think I'd be able to face them if I couldn't finish. That's not a reflection on them - they certainly aren't like that. But I didn't think I could face the embarrassment with them there.

So at 4:45 this morning, I pulled out of my driveway alone and made the long drive up to the lake. Mom and Dad got up to say goodbye, wish me good luck, and to take a couple of pictures. Packet pick-up and Bike drop-off had been on Saturday so I only had to take my backpack with my transition stuff. Frank spent the night racked - alone and outside for the first time ever. It was very hard to leave him... doesn't he look quite lonely?

So I made it up to the lake by 5:20. Transition was about 3/4 of a mile away and didn't open until 5:30 so I sat in the car and ate my granola bar while listening to Praise Music. I hit the real bathrooms in this parking area before I headed out - only portapotties at transition. I didn't see anyone with their tire pump, so I left mine in the car. I would regret that later.

I made the dark walk alone to transition with lots of other folks. Everyone was very quiet. I am not sure any of us were awake. LOL The transition area itself was more energetic with music playing and the announcer broadcasting warnings about bike-racking penalties and drafting penalties and helmet penalties and headphone penalties. Honestly, he had me quite freaked out. He kept talking about getting disqualified if you got 3 penalties and that really worried me. Not a good way to start my morning when I was already so nervous.

I got my transition area set up rather quickly and had a lot of time to hang out and worry myself.

I looked for two people who I knew were participating in the race and eventually I found both of them, which gave me something to do. LOL Also I hit the portapotties 3 times. I was too nervous to strike up a conversation with anyone near me, which is not really like me. Truly it's hard to describe how worried I was. And then everyone was putting air in their tires. Everyone. It looked as if everyone had brought their tire pump. And mine was in the car. I probably had time to go back and get it, but that was going to add another mile and a half to my legs and I didn't want to do that. Finally, the girl with the bike next to mine asked if I had any sunscreen, so I let her have some. When she gave it back, I asked if I could borrow her tire pump. She was glad to let me use it, and I put a little air in my tires. I don't think they needed it, but I felt better knowing I had done it. Next time, I will bring my pump.

Transition closed and everyone made their way down to the water. I stopped by the bathroom (AGAIN) on the way. Down at the water, I put my toes in and found to my surprise that the water was quite warm. This race was wetsuit legal with a water temp of 74, but it felt nice enough to me. I was afraid I would be the only one without a wetsuit but the folks wearing them were in the minority. The air temp was in the low to mid 60s. I had almost an hour before my wave would get in the water so I cheered for the other waves as they took off.

Once down at the water I started feeling strangely calmer. I don't know if it was seeing the swim course finally and realizing that it wasn't overwhelmingly challenging. Or if God was speaking to my soul, or what. But I felt more and more relaxed as my wave time came. Soon it was time for the purple caps to get in the water.

The horn went off and we were on our way. I lined up at the back and tried to stay out of the way of the flailing arms and legs, but that was a bit challenging. There seemed to be arms and legs everywhere! LOL The water was a bit chilly when I was fully submerged but I warmed up quickly. My goggles did not fog up even a little bit which made the swim go so much better than in my first tri. Also, the sky was overcast so I didn't have the added glare to worry about. Sighting went very, very well. I had to do it more than I had practiced because apparently I do not swim in a straight line, ever. LOL I found myself going much faster than I wanted instead of doing a nice, slow swim. I tried very hard to relax after I passed the second buoy and that worked pretty well because the field had started to spread out. My heart was racing and my breathing was not as even as it is during my lap swims but I don't know if that was from exertion or nerves or excitement.

My official swim time was 10:39 which is more than 5 minutes better than my first tri!

I approached the Swim Finish and made my way over the dock and up the very, very long steep hill to transition. In transition I had to sit down and pull my compression socks on and that was very challenging with damp legs. I spent 6:41 in transition! LOL

I headed out on the bike and I was still really nervous. The bike is my weakest event and I was afraid of the "drafting penalty." I was pleasantly surprised by how less crowded this course was than during my first tri. That really set me at ease since I was worried about crashing on the uphills like I nearly did at my first one. I got up that big hill where the crash happened right in front of me and once I put that behind me, I felt better. My shin started to bother me which reinforces my suspicion that my bike seat is raised too high and that's contributing to the shin problems I am experiencing. The wind was whipping around a bit during a long stretch on what I think was Peachtree Industrial Blvd. but it wasn't overwhelming.

We turned back onto Lanier Islands Parkway and I was pleased to see the road traffic was quite light. At the last tri, there was a lot of traffic on the parkway going into the lake and it was very frightening. Once I hit the 11 mile marker I was feeling great because I figured I could walk with my bike and make it in in time! LOL

As I approached the very steep hill leading back to transition, I heard the beginning of "Crazy Train" playing. That's the song that Chipper Jones (of the Atlanta Braves) comes to bat to... so now I know how Chipper feels. That was positively the best song to come back to! I was feeling a lot more positive now!

Transition time was 2:37, but I wasn't hurrying as much as I could have.

Now it was time to run and while I was nervous about my shins, I knew that I could walk and still finish. I didn't want to do that, but I knew I could if I had to. I really expected the course to be flatter than it was, but we ran on a part of the lake that I hadn't run on before. And they were pretty steep. I walked a little more on those uphills so as not to mess up my shins. The skies were still cloudy and I wasn't getting too hot at all.

I walked for a little while but then saw the finish line and had to run it in, even though there was another darn steep hill! I pushed it out at the end as I made the last push for the finish! I was so excited to have finished! No medal, though, which was sad - but the awesome long sleeve tee shirt sort of makes up for it! LOL

My overall time was 1:49:02 which is less than 2 minutes greater than My First Tri when I was in prime physical condition. In fact, if I hadn't spent so long in T1 battling with the compression socks, I would have beat my previous time completely, which is amazing!  It is encouraging to see that I am as strong, or even maybe stronger than I was before these injuries happened last year. So often these days I feel like I'm starting completely over and I'll never be the same. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll be better!?!

I took a cheesy self-portrait and headed home. :)

I will definitely do this race again next year! It was well-organized and the course was pretty good overall - especially for the lake area. But why they had to put all the parking lots at the top of hills, I will never know. LOL Hasn't anyone ever heard of plows to flatten things out?!?

I am pleased with my swim progress and now I'd like to focus on improving my cycling. I'm not sure how to go about that, but I have plenty of time. I am planning to spend the winter on the stationary bike at the gym once a week and possibly an afternoon ride now and then while it's warm enough. I definitely want to get a professional bike fitting and see if that helps with the shin issues I'm having. :)

Still can't believe I really did it! Having a medal probably would have helped that. :X LOL

Woohoo! I did it!!

I am a Lake Lanier Islands Sprint Triathlon finisher! Race report will come tonight or tomorrow! :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Two days out...

Workouts have gone pretty well this week. I'm still feeling discomfort in my left shin, but it's not horrible. I'm wearing compression socks when I run and that seems to be helping.

I'm feeling sort of "blah" about the race on Sunday. Not really sure what's wrong. Maybe it's nerves? Maybe it's the injury stuff? Who knows! I'm hoping when I go for packet pickup tomorrow that I'll get more excited. My emotions go up and own a lot lately when it comes to training and racing, so perhaps I'm just on a "down" right now. :)

Whatever happens at the race on Sunday, it will be OK!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend workout update

Yesterday I did a 13 mile bike ride at the park (which is the distance for next week's tri). I was supposed to do a 75 minute ride but my daughter had an activity so I had to cut my workout short. My main goal was to get in the 13 miles to prove to myself that I could do it. It was very slow going because of the numbers of people at the park, but I don't think that's a bad thing. I wore compression socks to see how that would feel while biking and it felt just fine.

This morning was the workout that I was the most worried about - a 6 mile run. Again I wore compression socks. Again my kids had activities this morning, so I had to run in the dark to get back before my babysitters hit the road to go to church. LOL But it was very pretty outside. My legs were pretty tired, which still surprises me. I'm not sure why - especially since I had skipped 4 workouts last week! @@ Yeah, I'm gonna be tired! Anyway, it was slow going. My left leg bothered me now and then but never anything that made me feel like I should stop. And there were several times when I didn't feel anything at all.

I came back in and iced my shins and put on compression socks to help keep the blood flowing while I was sitting at church. It's not feeling 100% but definitely feeling better than it did before.

Unless something changes for the worse during this upcoming taper week, I think I should be able to start the triathlon next Sunday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keepin' on keepin' on...

A nasty cold kept me out of action all weekend, which was probably a good thing. I had some pain still yesterday during my brick, but today I wore some compression socks during my run and the pain seemed to be less during and after the run. I'm going to keep plugging away at training and see how I'm feeling next weekend. If I can complete the tri, then I can. If I can't, then I can't.

I think I used to assume that if I did everything "right" I would never get injured. And that's just not how it goes. Injuries happen. I'm going to have to understand that. I can do everything I'm supposed to do and sometimes things still go wrong. It's just life as athlete. Nobody wants to be injured and sidelined, but that doesn't mean I have to give up. Yeah, I'm tired of fighting back. But I need to stay active for my health (and sanity), so I just have to learn to deal with the good and the bad. And all of the bad will make me really appreciate the good when it happens.

On a side note, this was waiting for me in the mail today:

I am a card-carrying triathlete now. I don't think I can turn back. At least not until September 2013. LOL

Friday, September 14, 2012

Crossroads

I feel like I've come to a crossroads of sorts. This current "injury" (left lower leg - shin splints?) that's got me taking a few rest days combined with a cold/allergies thing that is making me exhausted and feeling icky has me re-evaluating my life. And I've come to a conclusion.

This isn't fun anymore.

Running (swimming, biking) used to be something I could feel good about. It was a sense of accomplishment. It was stress-relieving and fun!

Not it's the opposite - the seemingly unending cycle of injury this last year  (IT Band, Shoulder Impingement, Blisters from He**, now this shin stuff) has taken a toll. I think I have had a total of 8 WEEKS of pain-free running in the last 12 MONTHS - and not consecutive!!!! It's HARD WORK to recover from injury. Not to mention time-consuming and expensive. And I just don't know if it's worth it anymore. The training time is also really hard to accomplish with homeschooling. I can manage the swimming because the pool opens early enough, but the sun isn't coming up until after 7 now so I have to wait to do the biking/bricks until then. Running I can usually do in the dark with a headlamp. Anyway, by the time I add in all the stretching and rolling that's supposed to prevent/treat injuries, we start our school day way behind. Evenings are impossible for training during the school year because of my kids' activities and my husband's second job. It's just piling on more stress to my already stressful life.

The triathlon is in 2 weeks. I went to the massage therapist yesterday and she worked on  my leg, and boy did it hurt. She said it was releasing, though, so that's good. I am going back next week ($$$ since it isn't part of my membership plan ::sigh::) and hopefully that will be enough to get me through. It's too bad if it isn't because I don't have any money to pay for another visit. I have completely lost my enthusiasm for this race. I really don't even know if I want to attempt it now. This is supposed to be the peak week of training and I missed two workouts - swimming because I was sick and running because of the leg. I'm supposed to do the longest bike ride tomorrow but I'm not sure I'll be able to because I'm all congested. And the long run on Sunday just may not happen if my leg doesn't feel better.

Aren't you glad you stopped by to read my blog? LOL I'm sorry, but this is just how it is right now. I'm not sure the benefits outweigh the challenges anymore. I'm not sure I WANT to fight for it anymore. There are so many other things in my life that I have no choice but to fight against - autism, epilepsy - that I just don't know if I want to hang on to an optional one.




Sunday, September 9, 2012

FALL, glorious FALL!

The temps hit 60s for the morning low and all of Georgia rejoices! Today we had our lowest temperature since early June! Coupled with the low humidity and sunny skies and it was absolutely perfect. I rode my bike this morning at the park and I actually wore a jacket! It was awesome! :)

Of course, the temps will rise again - usually we have one more week of hot weather in the 3rd week of September - but it sure is nice to get this sneak peak into fall!

The bike ride went well. My hamstrings were quite sore, though, which was troublesome. This coming week is the peak of training - the tri is only 3 weeks away! I need to be strong!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Same lesson? Sure, let's repeat it again...

This morning on my run, my leg started bothering me right from the beginning. I was frustrated, and then I decided to pray. Yeah, it feels really embarrassing to pray, "God, can you please make my leg stop hurting? It's OK if you don't and I will learn whatever I'm supposed to learn through the experience, but I've had a rough week and I could really use a break here." People are praying for real, serious problems - like a loved one with cancer, or being unemployed, or wanting to have a baby... and here I am praying for my leg to feel better.

But God is big enough for all of it. He is big enough to hear those big prayers and the little ones like mine at the park this morning. And while I know that He isn't a magic genie where you put in a prayer and get out what you want, I do know that it's OK to ask for what I want.

I learned that during the Goofy Challenge in January.

Sometimes I forget. Or, not that I forget, but rather I get to thinking that it's through my own power that I'm doing anything. And that's worse than forgetting.

But God is also patient and He won't mind me repeating some lessons over and over until they are automatic. LOL So I am trusting in Him, every day. Through pain and injury and whatever. He will get me through!