Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012 - By the Numbers

Swim -  7600 meters (4.72 miles)
Bike - 75.89 miles
Run/Walk - 68.99 miles

Yoga - 430 minutes (7 hours, 10 minutes)

Countless hours of stretching. I really do not know how I did all the exercising I did before with only a miniscule amount of stretching. I guess that's why I got hurt? LOL

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Did You Hear That?

::chirp, chirp, chirp::

Did you think I disappeared? Well, I sort of did. That silence you heard was the first week of our home school year starting! We got off to a very rough start (that's putting it kindly LOL)... but I have managed to get my workouts in early and get back home to get the kids (read: teenagers!) up to start lessons at a decent hour. It meant getting up at 5:30, which hasn't been easy, but it's worth it.

Monday is my yoga day so that was easy, and a good way to start a new school year. Tuesday I did my swim and it went very well. I am up to 450 meters at a time, which is over the distance for the triathlon (which I still haven't registered for... I really should do that...).

Wednesday was a bit trickier because that is brick day. It's only a 45 minute/15 minute brick, but the sun doesn't come up until after 7 now, and the park that I like to do bricks at is 20 minutes away. That is just not doable on a school day. As it turned out, Hurricane Isaac was messing with Atlanta's weather anyway, so I went to the gym for the first time in a couple of months and did my brick indoors. I have 2 more of these to do, so I will make sure to do one more outdoors and we will adjust our start time that day.

Today is a swim day, and I decided to bump tomorrow's run to today to do a swim brick for the first time this training. I really remembered those being easier than they were, but I have to remember that I was in better shape last time I was tri training. It really sucks to be reminded how much fitness I have lost in so short a time. But I did it, and that's all that matters! I intend to get some more swim bricks in - just not next week because the public pools are closed for the week in our county.

The tri is 4 weeks from Sunday! That's so hard to believe. I ran into a friend today at the pool who did this triathlon last year and she told me that the water felt really good last year despite the air temperature being very chilly. That is something that has been bothering me - I don't own a wetsuit and I don't want to rent one because I wouldn't be able to practice in it. She gave me a few tips for dealing with the cold sand, which I really appreciated!

I guess I should register...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Race Report: Magnolia Run for Epilepsy 5K

For the first time in more than 5 months, I woke up before dark to head to a race. I was a little bit nervous, but my only goal for this race was to enjoy myself! So if all I accomplished was to cross a start and a finish line, then it would all be good!

I chose this race because it benefits the Epilepsy Foundation of Georgia. Most of you know that my son has epilepsy. He started having seizures in 2008, which actually led me to start running in the first place. He was seizure free for 2 years before coming off medication in 2010. He was 13 months seizure-free off medication when he had a tonic-clonic seizure on 11-11-11. He returned to medication and has been on it since, and hasn't had another seizure. I haven't taken advantage of the information or services of the Epilepsy Foundation (except the national website's message boards) because I honestly thought years ago that it was a little blip on the radar and he would grow out of it. But apparently that is not to be... and I think we will need to make use of their resources. Also, I have a number of friends who live with seizures, or who have children or grandchildren with seizures. This cause is near and dear to my heart!

I left the house at 6 AM to head to the race. It has been so long since I've done this, and I was very nervous. But the drive down was easy and I had no trouble finding a place to park. I picked up my race number and felt the excitement kick back in. Here is my race bib and D-tag! :)

I stopped a lady in the parking lot and asked her to take my traditional before-race picture! I was representing ROTE (Running of the Ears) in my visor and singlet.
As the sun was starting to come up, I took a picture of the finish line! :) Then I put my camera back in the car and did my walking warm-up. Because my training schedule called for a 45 minute run, I decided to do 10 minutes of running in the parking lot before the race started.
It was time to line up for the start and I wanted to find a good place in the crowd - I didn't want to start out with the faster people and drive them crazy when I start taking breaks, but I also didn't want to have to use up energy in weaving in and out of people. Luckily, I lined up in exactly the right place! This was a very well-run race, and the course was a nice one. After the first half-mile or so, the crowd thinned out and I could do my intervals easily. I stuck to 4/1 except for a couple of times ...OK, it was when I saw the photographers on the course! LOL

I think running for 10 minutes before the race was a great idea for me. One of the problems I usually have with 5Ks is that by the time I start to feel like I'm in a groove, the race is over. I didn't feel that way at all this time! It was fantastic! The weather was beautiful, and I felt so good while I was running! Simply awesome!

Here is a self-portrait after the race! :)
That towel around my neck was one of the greatest post-race giveaways I've ever received! Right after crossing the finish I was handed a bottle of water, and then I walked a bit further and was handed this wet towel out of a bucket of ice. I said thank you and put it up to my face. The guy who gave it to me said, "No! Put it around your neck!" WOW, that felt so good. It wasn't an unbearably hot and humid morning today, but that cold on my neck lowered my core temperature by at least 10 degrees. I did my walking cool-down and my stretching with it there, and then I wiped down my body before getting in the car to drive home! So awesome!!

The shirt is a good quality tech shirt and the logo is in my fantastic favorite blue colors! :) The only problem is that it's huge! But it will be good to layer over a long sleeve shirt in the winter time!
All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better first race back from my injury! I will definitely add this one to my list for next year! On a side note, this was also my first race as a 40 year old. I realized that when I went to find my results in the age groups list and couldn't find me. I was looking in the wrong age group. @@

Long run tomorrow... I think I may do a 3/2 interval because my quads are really sore from yesterday's bike ride. I will see how I feel when I wake up in the morning! And speaking of morning... off to get some good sleep for this body!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Mountain

I decided that I wanted to work on my cycling by venturing out onto more roads, not just the local parks. So today, I headed to Stone Mountain Park.

It's a pretty place, isn't it? The bike/running path is part of the main road that runs around the base of the mountain. Just by taking a look here, doesn't it seem to be pretty flat around the base?


It was 5 miles around the base of this mountain and UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN. At one point, I was going so slowly, I debated getting off the bike and running up the hill because I could run faster than I was cycling. It was shortly after this thought ran through my head that I was passed by a fellow cyclist like I was standing still (which would be pretty accurate, as slow as I was going). It was embarrassing. I really suck at cycling.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, I was pulled over by a policeman for not coming to a complete stop... on my bike. He only gave me a verbal warning. But my gosh, it was a rotten start to a workout.

In the long run, I need to work on my cycling. Right now it's my weakest link. And I'm not going to get any better by riding my bike in circles around the local parks. I need to be on roads and, since I'm in Georgia and likely to race around here, I need to tackle hills. So while it is awful now, doing this on a regular basis will be good for me. Hopefully, I will see improvement sooner than later!

Now I'm headed to bed. I have a 5K tomorrow... my first one since I've been "recovered." My goal isn't a time goal, however. Instead, I'm wanting to relax and enjoy myself. That's really all I want - to enjoy myself. This race is for a good cause that's near and dear to my heart, and that's really what's important! Be sure to check back tomorrow for the race report! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why Can't I Do It??

Yesterday I did my "big brick" - the 45/15 one, which is the longest one for my training plan. I do it a total of 4 times. I was intimidated thinking about doing it, and I didn't sleep a wink the night before.

But I did it! And I did pretty well. I ended up riding a little longer than 45 minutes because when my timer went off  was on the other side of the park. I needed to get back to the head of the trail where I left my bag. I ended up riding 10.82 miles, which is my longest bike ride in a year.

Then I headed off on my 15 minute run (which I have changed to 2 miles so I can run beyond the 'dead legs' feeling coming off the bike). The trail is 2.2 miles long so once around and I'd be done. And it went marvelously! I felt strong by around the one mile point, which is about a half mile early!!). I averaged a 10:13 pace even with my walk breaks! My first mile was 10:25 and my second one was 10:02!! Remember that's INCLUDING walking for a minute every 5 minutes. It's shocking!

I wore compression socks yesterday and felt pretty good. Every now and then I felt something that seemed like it might be my knee twinging, but it didn't last long if that's what I was feeling. It really was a successful workout!

But I still didn't register for the triathlon. :( I'm starting to worry a bit. What is wrong with me?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dodged a bullet!

I've read some race reports from last night's Area 13.1 Half Marathon - the race I was supposed to run. The one I lamented about missing in yesterday's post. Apparently there were some logistical problems. I've seen complaints about the course being dangerously dark in places. But the biggest concern was the lack of water in the last 5 or 6 miles (depending on reports).

That would have been SO bad for me. I don't carry my own fluids during races. I have a handheld bottle but I feel awkward when I'm holding it while I run. I could try a waist pack but those are expensive. So I would have been out of luck. And it was warm and humid last night, as you would expect for Atlanta in August. That could have been very, very bad for me.

As much as I was melancholy about missing the race, I am so glad I dodged that bullet.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The only thing we have to fear is...

I have saved up enough money to register for the Lake Lanier Triathlon.

I haven't registered yet.

Why not? I don't know. My husband suggests that I may be afraid. And I can't say that I disagree with him. I was hoping that I would get through this first block of triathlon training - the time I needed to be able to save up the entry fee - and I'd be pulling the trigger as soon as the check was deposited! Instead I find myself apprehensive. And it bothers me more than I'd care to admit.

To add insult to injury, tonight was the Area 13.1 Half Marathon. The one I registered for as my 'comeback' and then backed out of. I backed out to focus on the triathlon instead (or maybe that's just what I told myself??), and now that I could register for the tri, I haven't done it.

It doesn't take a genius to know that I'm not in as good of shape as I was this time last year. But I am not having any pain, and my speed is up to a more normal range (when you factor in the walk breaks that I'm still taking - 4/1 intervals). I am grateful for that, absolutely! And my flexibility is 1000% better than last year. I can touch my toes - can touch all 5 fingers to the floor, actually! I can do the triangle pose in yoga without having to use a block! That is amazing!

So why am I so scared? I have registered for a 5K next weekend, and my first 10K in October. I didn't have any trouble registering for either of those. This past week I swam 350 meters without stopping, and the tri swim is 400 yards, so I'm pretty confident. The longest bike ride I have done is a little shy of 10 miles and I need to be able to do 13 miles. I have a 60 minute bike ride coming up this week and I should get pretty close to 13 miles. I can obviously do a 5K in some combination of walking and running. Can I do all of them back-to-back?

This coming week's training includes the longest brick on the schedule (45/15), and an hour on the bike, which I mentioned before. It won't be the longest bike ride but it should get me the distance. So I'm thinking maybe I will feel ready to register next weekend once I have successfully completed those workouts??

I guess we'll see...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Whew, I lived through it!

I lived through the WDW Marathon entry fee discount for the medal release without signing up for the race! Whew!! LOL

Actually, if finances weren't an issue, I think I would go for it and just do a slow walk/run like I did for the Goofy this past year. That medal is just amazing, and the course changes to run through the speedway and the baseball stadium make it that much more appealing!! I think I could manage that without hurting myself. It wouldn't be fast but that doesn't matter to me.

Alas, the money is just not there right now. And that's OK. I'm still hoping for Princess 2013.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Marathon Amnesia

If you're a runner who loves Disney then surely you have already seen the 20th anniversary Mickey Marathon Medal already. But just in case... here it is:
It's beautiful, isn't it? It is a double-spinner with a modern Mickey face on one side and a classic Mickey face on the other. There are also two quotes engraved around the Mickey. It is absolutely, positively beautiful!


I've spent today trying to convince myself that I can do another full - that I even want to. Thankfully, a Disney race is not in the budget at this time, and I suspect that the full marathon will fill up before there is a chance for the money to appear. Which is probably a good thing! LOL

Because I WANT IT!!!

(I do find it ironic that I am sitting here thinking and planning and scheming for a way to participate in race of a distance that is one that I really do not want to attempt again and it's 5 months away --- all the while, I still haven't fully committed to a local race that I've been training for for the last 2 1/2 weeks and is only 6 1/2 weeks away. I wonder why I am so hesitant to pull the trigger on this triathlon??)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What a weekend!

After Friday's dream run, I was a little nervous about my weekend workouts. I had pushed a little harder than usual on Friday due to the run feeling so good, and I wasn't sure if I had used up everything for Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday was my longest bike ride in a year. I think I had done the same amount of time on the stationary bike at the gym, but that's without the hills that you get on the real bike. It's not the same amount of effort at all to pedal on level 1! LOL There were storms overnight and I had a tummy ache. I slept maybe 2 hours all night. I had to be up early to get the bike ride in because my daughter's had fittings mid-morning for their new dance shoes. The ground was still wet, and I debated going to the gym, but in the end I thought that getting on the road would be the best bet for training. I needed to spend time on the hills, and the roads could very well be wet on race morning!

So I did it... took my bike to the "secret area" that I found near my house went for it. 9.67 miles later, I had finished!! I even ventured out onto the main roads three times - on purpose, this time! LOL I practiced shifting more smoothly and efficiently, and then I practiced stopping at a stop sign and starting back up quickly again. Surprisingly, there were no problems!

This morning it was time for my "long run" of 6 miles. The weather was glorious - 61 degrees (10 to 15 degrees cooler than the last couple of months) and 85% humidity (shockingly low for this time of year in GA). I slept a little better last night but was still so tired - but who could be down on a sunny, beautiful day?? My legs, especially my quads, were sore but not so much that it bothered me to run. My shoes felt good yet again and I think I have a new favorite sock: the Swiftwick Aspire One. I bought them back when I was dealing with my blister issues, and I wasn't sure I'd like such a thin sock. But they are awesome... there is compression in them which helps my circulation issues, I believe. They aren't cheap, though - about $1 more per pair than my previous favorite socks. My only wish is that I could get the feel of these socks in the 'toesocks' that I have from Injinji. Those are best for my funky toes, but they don't always feel the best in my shoes.

For the first time in a long time, 6 miles didn't feel like "the longest run ever"! I needed that. So much.

I got a nice nap this afternoon... not sure if it was needed because of the lack of sleep Friday or all of the workouts this weekend! This coming week is the first drop-back week in the triathlon training program and I'm very much looking forward to it! My body will thank me, I'm sure. I'm hoping to decide by next Sunday if I am going to do the tri next month or not. :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

What a run!!

Just had to stop in real quick and comment on today's run - it was MARVELOUS! No pain in my legs (or anywhere else), my shoes were so comfortable, and I felt like I was flying! I haven't had a run like this in so long. I am overwhelmed with emotion just thinking about it!

It's been so long since I've felt strong like this...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cycling 101?

Feeling that Cycling is my weakest link in the triathlon chain, I decided to hit up the library for some reading material. I checked out the above book, "The Big Book of Bicycling."

Wow, I understood perhaps 4 words in most of the sentences. This is no beginner's manual, that's for sure.

Can anyone recommend a good BASIC introduction to bikes and cycling??

On a good note, I did take a couple of the tips on form and implement them in my ride on Saturday. I attempted to change the way my feet are positioned while I'm pedaling (not as easy as it looks!) and I changed my positioning on the bike during downhills. So at least I got a few things from the book anyway.

I got a bit lost on my little trek, not terribly so, but it put me out on a very busy road - not where I wanted to be. Even as early as I was out there riding, it was busy, and I kept praying, "Please don't hit me!!" as the cars would drive by. I'd alternate that with, "This is not the road I want to be on!!" LOL Luckily I got back where I wanted to be, and finished my ride. 

There is a ladies' ride out of the local cycling store each Saturday morning. I am trying to get up the courage to attempt this. It's a 15 mile ride of 14-16 mph, which right now sounds impossibly fast for me. I don't want to pressure myself with speed, so I think the best thing to do is to ride and ride and ride. And hopefully the speed will come with time. And then I can try the group ride thing. I just don't want to be the one everyone has to wait for. Too embarrassing.

I wish there was a nice beginner program for cycling like there is for running. 

As for the new running shoes... so far, so good. I had a small tender spot on my left foot on Friday but it went away quickly. Sunday's 6 miles felt great!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How hard is that brick?

Yesterday was my first 'real' brick on the schedule and it was a doozy: 30 minutes on the bike followed by a 30 minute run. I was nervous, to say the least. I didn't sleep well the night before.

I had decided to switch my focus on the bike from "getting faster" to "getting comfortable." It's been several months since I've been on the bike and I can't expect myself to be anywhere close to as fast as I was last spring when I had been riding consistently for almost a year. Taking lessons from ChiRunning and Total Immersion Swimming, I decided to work on relaxing while I ride. It made a huge difference! I had no idea how tightly I was clenching my muscles or how hard I was holding on. No wonder my wrists would hurt! Yeah, the ride was slow, but that's not the point right now. This is not going to be "Two months to your fastest triathlon yet!" This is going to be "Just cross the finish line upright!"

Coming off the bike was much easier with muscles that hadn't been clenched for dear life for the previous 30 minutes! I didn't notice any twinges in my right thigh, and the completely awful sensation that comes during the run part of a brick lasted less than a mile! My confidence is coming back slowly but surely.

When I got home, I noticed that my feet were awfully sore. I had suspected it was time for new shoes, and I decided not to put it off any longer. I went to the local running store and came home with these beauties: 

It's the Brooks Ghost 5, and they will replace my Brooks Launch (which are no longer made). I am going to take them out for their first run tomorrow morning! Hopefully there will be no blisters!! :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 2012 - By the Numbers

Swim - 2400 meters (1.49 miles)
Bike - 19.93 miles
Run/Walk - 61.89 miles

Dance (jazz,Zumba) - 6 hours
Yoga - 2 hours, 31 minutes

I also did a lot of core and strength training, too, but decided not to get obsessive about keeping track of those times! LOL