Saturday, December 28, 2013

New gear makes even the worst ride better!

This morning I set out for the Silver Comet trail to ride 40 miles. The Channel 2 Weather guy predicted a high of 55 with some sun through mid-day but rain starting at 2:30. Well, he got it HALF right. @@

I was so excited to try out my new Christmas gear! Not only would I be wearing my new cycling jersey and using the top tube bag on the bike to carry my fuel, but I would also be using the leg warmers that I bought myself as a treat!

Don't I look cute? I mean tough?? :D

I didn't want to wear a jacket because I wanted my jersey to show. Sure, it was going to be chilly at the start, but with sun and 55 by the time I was finishing, I figured it would all work out.


For one thing, it was not sunny, and that makes a big difference. And it was 41 degrees when I started. And that is really, really cold on the bike. But I was expecting that big warm-up, right? Yeah, right. When I got back to the car 3+ hours later, it was a balmy 44 degrees. Yep, 3 whole degrees. And it wasn't sunny at all. I was literally freezing. I couldn't feel my toes at all. My bottom felt like it was made of ice cubes.

The ride itself was miserable. I was cold, as we have already determined, but I was also feeling crummy. I think it was the later start time and the fueling involved with it. I had the same problem yesterday with my long run. By the time I finished each of them, I was starving and feeling awful. I guess I need to figure out how to fuel long workouts that don't end before lunch.

I did finish, however, and there are a couple of silver linings with the workout. The first is that I found out that less than half a mile from my usual turn-around point, the place where it feels so isolated and somewhat scary, is a trail head with a bathroom and a clear view of a divided highway! LOL Who knew?!? And the second is that this ride turned into 43.4 miles, which is officially my longest ride ever. I decided that since it was going to suck, I wanted it to at least suck with a PR.

The new gear worked out pretty well. The leg warmers fell down about 15 miles in. I fixed them, and then at my turn-around I pulled them up much higher and they didn't fall down again. The bike jersey fits perfectly and I really love it. Having the big pockets in the back was a big help. I carried my cycling gloves in case my hands got too hot in my regular running gloves (Ha Ha) and later I put my Honey Stingers chews in another pocket for easy access. The top tub bag is pretty cool but not nearly as easy to open as I was expecting. I cannot open it with one hand, which means I can't open it while I'm riding. I hope that it will open easier the more I use it. I also bumped it with my legs a few times at first, but later I didn't even notice it. I'm not sure if that's because I didn't bump it, it didn't bother me, or perhaps I'd lost all feeling in my legs. LOL I did learn that it is NOT water-proof as it was full of water after the long drive home in the rain. So if it starts to rain, my phone will have to come out and go into a baggie or something to keep it safe.

During the ride, I was pretty much thinking that doing the Half Ironman was not going to happen. How could I go 16 more miles feeling so crummy, and then run a half marathon after that?? But I guess I shouldn't make decisions based on one bad ride.

It sure would be nice to make a decision, though! ;)

Last long bike ride of 2013 is done! I never would have thought I'd be able to ride 43.4 miles on the bike by the end of the year! I'm so pleased with how well my base-building is going!! Just a few more workouts left, and one nice rest day tomorrow, and then it's 2014!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Very Triathlete Christmas!

So last year, I purposely avoided asking for anything to do with training. That just wasn't where I was at the time, and that's OK!

This year? Not so much! LOL

I must have been a very good girl because Santa brought me everything on my wish list! :D

In case you can't tell what some of the things are, I will start at the top and work clockwise to tell you about all of my goodies!

1. Mizuno Wave Rider 16s in bright orange! I have been dying for some really bright shoes and these are so awesome!

2. TYR lap swimsuit from the grab bag section at Swim Outlet. My old suits (also from the grab bag section) are getting really worn out. But I'm not sure there is anything worse than putting on a new swimsuit that isn't all stretched out! Wow, did I feel squished!!

3. A top tube bag for my bike. Now I can carry all of my stuff and not have to wear the Spi Belt!

4. A special clip for a cue sheet for long bike rides!

5. Seriously the softest hoodie on the planet! And I have a LOT of hoodies, so I should know! (This runs a bit big so if you like a snug fit, size down. I ordered a small and it's roomy on me, but I like my hoodies to be nice and big.)

6. My very first cycling jersey! I can't tell you how completely psyched I am about having a cycling jersey now. I feel like I'm part of "the club" now. :D I chose to get a medium, and it's plenty long and not too snug. I wanted to be able to wear a long sleeve shirt underneath if it's cold, but I didn't want it to be too big and be flapping in the breeze. I think it's perfect!

I am looking forward to my long bike ride this weekend! It's going to be cold, I think, but I don't care! I have to use my new stuff!

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Triathlon-induced Schizophrenia

I think I have developed this mental illness. It may not be in the DSM manual, but it should be! Allow me to describe how it worked during my workouts this morning. (And yes, workouts - as in plural. The pool is closed tomorrow so I had to bump my swim back to today. I ran first, then I swam.)

Mile 1 of run - talk myself out of Ironman 70.3 Augusta, it's too expensive and we could use the money for other things

*** I should note here that I had woken up this morning determined not to do IM because of the comments on a triathlon board I frequent to my question about the unexpected expenses involved with a HIM. But then when I checked the board, someone else had posted that you don't HAVE to do it that way, and it's perfectly reasonable to do a HIM fairly reasonably. So that put me back on the, "I could do this!" bandwagon.

And now, back to the run.

Mile 2 of run - decide that I should do Augusta.

Mile 3 of run - daydream about doing the Ironman, and wondering if I could finish before the cutoff

Mile 4 of run - convince myself that I would barely make the cutoff because my cycling is still slow, so maybe it would be better to wait until 2015, once I'm trained up properly

Mile 5 of run - thought about something else besides triathlon! No, I'm not kidding!

Mile 6 of run - it's back! Remembering what my mother said about not knowing what a couple of years might hold. Decide that I should do Augusta in 2014.

There was some stretching and while I stretched I debated staying at my mom's house vs. getting a hotel in Augusta. Also wondered if I should ask Mom to go with me. She hasn't been to one of my triathlons yet. Then started to remember how my first marathon went, and how much pain I was in. My aunt and uncle were there, and I was able to keep from them exactly how bad it was. Could I do that with Mom? And if I couldn't, what would that do to me, or to her?

Drove to the pool during this time. By the time I'm in the water, I have decided yet again not to do Augusta. I will do Olympic distance this year and do a Half Ironman in 2015 or 2016. It's not like I'm not going to fall out of love with triathlon!

I did several sets of laps today for my swim. My warm-up set consisted of me thinking not a lot about triathlon and more about the fact that the pool is set up for yards on Mondays which always freaks me out. I go when it's set up for meters. Not really a big difference, but enough to make me feel off for the warm up.

My next set was breast stroke and back stroke. While I was doing these, I started thinking about the current in the river at the Augusta 70.3 and how cool that must be to be going down river in a wetsuit! And it isn't in the ocean, although a river is pretty freaky. I remembered how people are telling me that Augusta is the perfect HIM for a beginner. I decide that I'm going to go for it.

The next set was my endurance set where I practice long, smooth strokes while only taking breaths every 5 strokes. I decided to try to put a little OOMPH into these today. Because I need to really get my swim up to par for a HIM. I've been sort of slacking on the swim mileage. I start trying to calculate how long it will be until I get home, and wonder if the kids are even awake yet, since it's their first day of Christmas break. Then I get this horrible reminder that my son wrecked his vehicle and we haven't yet found out how much it will cost to fix it. I decide I should not be spending any money on me. My kid needs a driveable car! What kind of a mother am I that I would dream of spending money on me and not on him. I am ashamed.

The last set before the cool down was my speed practice and where I practice breathing on one side only (I do a bilateral breathing techniques most of the time). I am mad at myself for being a selfish mother, which makes the speed come easier. And I start thinking of how strong I have gotten over the last year with my swim, and although I am not totally pleased that I am developing swimmer's shoulders and back, it's cool that I'm feeling strong. And it's not that much money to spend on Ironman. I just won't do any of the 5Ks or 10Ks I usually do that eat up so much money. I could swing this all on my race budget if I'm careful - and I'd spend that money on me anyway, so it wouldn't be taking money away from my son's car repairs.

The cool down was spent thinking about the fact that I was going to be completing 2000 yards in the pool for the first time. That's almost the distance for the HIM swim, and I've still got 9 months to go. I am feeling awesome! And boy, do I have to pee!

OK, so that's basically how my brain worked this morning. It's been like this since Saturday. It's actually giving me a headache! What do I do?!?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Decisions... or "Do you believe in coincidences?"

My planned post for today was about the problem I am having with deciding on which races I want to do in 2014. I have so many wonderful options, but there is the problem of limited time and money. That's nothing new and nothing unique to me! I don't know any runner/triathlete who is able to do every race/activity they want to do all the time!

These have been my main options, in order of their appearance in my mind:

1. Sprint tri in the spring, Olympic distance tri in the fall
2. Olympic distance in the spring and fall
3. Olympic distance in the spring and metric century bike ride with my uncle in the fall

About 2 weeks ago, things started changing. I went to an informational meeting of a local triathlon club. We had to go around and tell about ourselves and our plans for 2014, and then they talked about triathlon for the first timer. When one of the head guys (whose name I can't remember) started talking about himself he mentioned that he is signed up for the Augusta Half Ironman in 2014. And then he added the strangest comment, "Ms. Cooper is doing that, too - she just doesn't know it yet." I was like, "This dude is nutso!"

But then my 40 mile ride on the trainer was the next day and I found myself wondering what the exact distances are for a half ironman. I chalked it up to the a delirium induced by a 3 hour trainer ride. I actually almost blogged about it because it was so funny, but I never had time.

Then this morning, I was at the trail for a 40 mile ride and it was raining. As I was getting my stuff pulled together, a man/woman couple came in off their bikes and said they were calling it a day and they were off to run instead. I laughed that I had no choice because I ran yesterday. The man asked how many miles I was planning and I said 40. He then asked me what I am training for. I told him I'm laying down my base for the 2014 tri season. He asked which race and I told him I wasn't sure, but I am looking at a couple of Olympic distances. He said, "Already riding 40 miles? You should do Augusta Half Ironman!"

So for the 2nd time in as many weeks, some stranger is telling me I should do Augusta? And since he tells me about this right before I head out on a 3 hour ride, my mind is rolling it over in my head like crazy the entire time. In fact, I even changed up my fueling schedule because there is only one fuel stop in a HIM. (And I don't even know if that's true! @@)

Being the logic-minded person that I am, my mind also takes me through the pros and cons. The first and biggest con is that the Augusta HIM is the same day as the metric century ride I want to do with my uncle. In a normal year, they would have been a week apart, but this coming year the ride date conflicted with Rosh Hashana so they moved it back a week. Not a big deal, until the idea of Augusta was implanted into my subconscious.

The next biggest con is the money, but since it would be about the same amount of money I would pay for transportation to the bike ride, that's not a complete deal breaker. I would need to get a hotel in Augusta, I think, but my mom only lives about an hour away so I could avoid that expense if I needed to.

As for pros... that is a bit trickier. While a HIM wasn't on my immediate radar, I had been thinking that it would be neat to do in 2015 when my son graduates. He will be my first homeschool graduate and I was thinking that could be my graduation present to myself. But then, 2015 is going to be a huge year for $$ because of that graduation and my daughters turn 13 and 16. Since I'm apparently already trained up with a good base, it might be more practical to do it this year.

Another reason a HIM wasn't on my immediate radar was the time necessary to train and could I do the kind of mileage required to complete it. According to folks who know these things, my base is good and I'd still have 9 months to train. And we are already taking off June and July from school next year so I'd be able to get in some really intensive training without having to worry about school. 

I really don't believe in coincidences. I say that all the time. So two different people (complete strangers) bringing up the same race has me really, really intrigued. Oh, what to do!?!?!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Little bits of cycling joy!

Yesterday I was going to attempt to do something I haven't done since August - a brick workout! I was a little intimidated, especially because I was going to have to run off the trainer, which I had never done before.

I had a bit of bicycle maintenance to do before I could do the workout. I may have mentioned before that I thought my tire pump was dead. I have been having a hard time with it, but assumed it was user error. Then I thought there was something wrong with my tire, until I watched the guy from Apalachee Cycle fill up my tires in mere seconds before the One Can Ride. Since the pump had been given to me when I got Frankenbike, and it looked pretty well-used when I got it, I figured it was time for a new pump.

Have you ever priced tire pumps? It's like most gear for triathlon - bargain basement prices all the way up to the amount I paid for my first car. And since I had just managed to wipe out my fitness budget with Black Friday orders, I was working on a limited budget. I finally gave up and went into the bike store next to the Game Stop (I was Christmas shopping with the girls LOL) and they had pumps on sale. I bought the least expensive one they had! I know, that was scientific, huh?

And while I was there, I got some more lube for my chain. I had noticed during recent rides (even on the trainer) that my chain was starting to make some noise. Since I put my old bottle of lube somewhere safe (@@), I haven't been able to find it. I figure that I will be able to find it now, since I replaced it!

So yesterday, before the big brick - it was time to love on my bike! Now, the last time that I tried to lube the chain, it wasn't pretty. In fact, it was annoyingly messy. But this time I was smart - I watched You Tube videos on both chain lubrication and tire filling! And it must have helped because I lubed that chain like I'd been doing it my whole life! And while the tire pumping didn't go as smoothly, it was much better than with the old pump. I felt like an absolute pro!

As for the brick, that also went very well! One of the hardest things for me with a brick is that feeling when you start running that you're going SO SLOWLY. After being so fast on a bike, it feels like you're crawling. But since I had done my 20 miles sitting in place, actually moving through the neighborhood felt like I was flying! I only did one lap, which is about 1.6 miles. It worked perfectly because I'm running about 16 miles a week right now, so increasing by 10% is exactly 1.6 - love it when the math works perfectly! :D

 So yesterday's workout started with a lovely ride on the trainer in the garage, with my full tires and well-oiled chain (that sounded so lovely and really felt easier to pedal), and ended with a lovely run around the neighborhood on a gorgeous sunny but cool day! Man, I love triathlon! :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Jingle Jog for Autism 5K

So sorry for the delay in this post. Saturday through Tuesday proved to be such a busy time for us! I was barely home during my waking hours on every single one of those days. I apologize for the delay!

You already saw what I was planning to wear! The weather forecast was calling for a 100% chance of rain and highs in the upper 40s. It wasn't going to be a very pretty day at all. But I couldn't just not go. This race means so much to me, not only because it was my first ever 5K, but also because the money raised goes to support the summer camp programs for kids with autism in Walton County.

I got dressed in my adorable outfit. You know, I really felt that I looked so cute! :) This was probably my favorite costume for any race. It was so sassy!

Gonna Jingle All the Way!

I got to the race location (where they had set up under the bleachers in an attempt to keep us all dry while we waited for the start) and picked up my shirt and bib. I was supposed to meet some folks from my Moms Run This Town chapter, so walked back to the car to put my stuff away before it was time for the group picture.

On the way back to the car, a lady and a guy were walking in front of me. The lady stopped and turned around and said, "Are you going to wear those bells through the entire race?" I said, "Yeah," and giggled. She said, "Well, stay away from me. It's going to mess up my cadence." I was a bit shocked and tried to laugh it off with her, but really?? This is a JINGLE jog. Wow.

I made it back to the area under the bleachers and talked with some friends while we waited for picture time. Just about the time we did the picture, the sky opened up and the rain just started pouring down in sheets! And then the wind picked up and the rain was blowing sideways (and under the bleachers). I have to admit, I was feeling a little freaked out at the prospect of running in that mess!

MRTT Group Pic #1
MRTT Group Pic #2

We did two pics because some folks missed the first one! :) Santa was happy to oblige us!

About 5 minutes before the race start, the rain subsided. It was very welcomed. This was a new course and it started downhill so I was not looking forward to sliding down the hill in the crowd. The race started a bit late, but not too bad. I didn't wear my Garmin because of the heavy rain, so I really had no idea how fast or slow I was going. I wasn't out for a PR, anyway.

I took off at a pretty good clip, literally jingling all the way! I wanted louder bells and I got them! LOL I wonder how many people ran PRs in an attempt to escape my jingling?? The course was similar to last year's course, just not running up to the high school. It was out and back and then out and back a different road, and then out and back the same road to the finish. I was thinking it would be horribly boring but it really wasn't too bad. One of the benefits of the out and back was seeing the winners. The guy who won was literally 3 minutes (at least) ahead of the next person behind him! It's inspiring to watch all of those fast people, especially since I know some of those very fast people!

My legs were absolute lead. I mean, completely dead. It was 12:30 and I'd been standing around for an hour - not stretching, not warming up, nothing. Just BAM - RUN! Not a smart thing. I really should have warmed up or something. The weather held out pretty well. During the 2nd mile there was some rain but it wasn't too terribly bad. I didn't even realize how wet I was until after the race was over! ;)

I was so not prepared for the speed at which I took this race. I hadn't fueled properly, and there was the aforementioned lack of warming up. I ended up walking up one hill just to catch my breath. I was getting very over-heated in all of my layers! I remembered thinking at one point that if I didn't end up with a sub-30, I was going to be really upset because I felt like crud! And then I remember wondering why on earth I was doing this because I wasn't setting out to do a PR or anything. I really should have slowed down a little so I could enjoy myself! Oh well.

As I pushed to the finish I saw the finish line clock ticking away in the 28:xx range and I started kicking myself for that bit of walking! I had had a chance for a PR and I blew it! ARGH! I ended up crossing the finish at 29:07 which was good considering the conditions and my lack of preparation. I headed straight for the results board. I turned in my card and watched them put my card in the 3rd place slot for my age group. There was a 2 minute difference between me and 2nd place, though, so I was wondering if someone hadn't turned in their card yet.

I got so cold waiting around watching the results board. I hadn't really felt that cold during the race, or even beforehand. But I guess sweat and cotton shirts/Santa hat/socks do not work well together! I debated going back to the car for my jacket (and my phone so I could take pictures of the awards and the results board) but I was afraid they would start the awards and I'd miss it! So I stood there and shivered.

I really shouldn't have waited because I had such a busy afternoon and evening ahead of me, but I simply had to get my award! It doesn't happen very often that I win an age group award! LOL It took awhile to start the awards but once they started, it moved very quickly! I knew several people who won their age groups, and one of my friend/s husband's won the Masters Overall award! I can thank the female Masters Overall winner for my 3rd place award because she was in my age group! Her win bumped me from 4th to 3rd, although the posted results don't reflect that - her name still shows as 1st in the age group as well as Masters, which makes me want to pout! LOL But she finished in 20:41. Join me in my awe of her speediness!

The first place winners in age group got a cute little mug. 2nd and 3rd got medals, which are cool, but not nearly as cool as a cute mug!

Me and my 3rd place medal - my frozen red nose makes me look even more festive, don't you think?

The back of the medal
My 6th Jingle Jog for Autism was fun-filled and rewarding! The worst of the rain held off for the 5K and the course more enjoyable than I expected. I'm so glad I didn't let the weather keep me from participating.

I did learn some bad news about the Jingle Jog's future. The person behind the race is moving away and the race is being taken over by the Council for Exceptional Children, an organization for special education teachers.  So next year it will be called the Jingle Jog for Exceptional Children. I don't know if the proceeds will be going to fund the summer camps anymore, or if it will be going to the CEC to fund their own projects. If the money isn't going to help local autism parents, there is really no reason for me to participate. I will have to wait and see next year, and ask the folks running it then. I hope they will continue to support LOCAL parents of children with AUTISM, as this race has always done!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Flat Niffercoo: Jingle Jog for Autism 5K

I may look like a drowned rat by the end of the race, but I'll be a cute drowned rat! :D

'Twas the Night Before Jingle Jog...

'Twas the Night Before Jingle Jog
When all through the house...

OK, I really did try most of the afternoon to come up with a cute poem in the style of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. But in the end, it just didn't happen. I'm either not that creative, or my brain has just shut down for the year. Maybe inspiration will strike later and I can come back and edit this post! ;)

So, it really is the night before Jingle Jog, that is the 8th annual Jingle Jog for Autism 5K. You may, or may not, remember that this race was my very first race EVER back in 2008! In the strange way that race dating works, that's 5 years ago but this will be my 6th time participating! I have tackled this race in so many different ways.

In 2008, it was my first 5K and I was hoping to just run the entire thing. And I did!

In 2009, I was running with my then 10 year old daughter!

In 2010, I heavy into the miles and ran 7 miles that morning before I came to run the Jingle Jog!

In 2011, I was injured and walked the whole thing.

In 2012, I was still recovering but also trying to prepare to run/walk a half marathon in a few weeks (and it was almost 70 degrees at race time! LOL)

So far, 2013 is looking to be a wash out. The forecast is calling for a 100% chance of rain and race time temps around 48 degrees. Bums me out because I had big plans for dressing up. I'm still going to dress up, but I'm going to end up being soaking wet, so it won't be as much fun! ;)

It's funny how my perspective has changed in these last 5 years. This night in 2008, I was so afraid. I didn't know if I was going to be able to run the whole 5K and I really wanted to. Tonight, I'm thinking that it's 'only a 5K' so I can wear my cute stuff and deal with being wet for that brief bit of time! Pretty cool, huh?

Stay tuned tomorrow evening for the race report! If you're running or racing tomorrow (anywhere but Florida @@), stay warm and be safe! :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kick-butt training!!

This was a great week of training! The weather was quite uncooperative, and my schedule was a bit crazy, but I still managed to fit in all of my planned workouts!

Today I had a 40 mile bike ride on the schedule, and the temperature stayed in the low 40s with a 'feels like' in the high 30s, with off and on rain all day. Back to the trainer again!! I don't think I've been on the roads or a trail on the bike in over a month! It's awful! But I am grateful to have the trainer, and a space in the garage to ride it where it doesn't disturb the family.

To combat the craziness of 40 miles on the trainer, I broke it up into 3 segments, two 15 milers and a 10 miler. I took a break after each of the 15 milers and came in to stretch my legs and have a snack (peanut butter on a sandwich thin). I was really surprised at how quickly the time passed. I don't know if it was taking the breaks that made the difference, or if it was my intensity (low resistance/gear, high RPMs), or maybe it was both. Either way, it was successful!

Averaged a little over 14mph!! And right around 90 RPMs! Goal achieved!
 I came inside and put my feet up to rest like my Uncle, who is a cyclist, had taught me to do.

It's not a chair rail - it's a foot rest!
So this marks the end of this 3-week segment of training and it's time for another Cut-Back Week! The last one I took was when we went to Disney World, so that wasn't really a lot of relaxation and recovery going on. This coming week I will enjoy cutting back on the intensity and volume of my training, and I get to cap off the week with the Jingle Jog for Autism 5K, the very first race I ever did, back in 2008!! I'm very excited!

My goals for this upcoming week are to keep the intensity under control (since I have a tendency to up the intensity during the Cut-back Week when I decrease my volume), get in ALL of my planned stretching and yoga (hard in the busy-ness of the holiday season), and to have a complete blast at the Jingle Jog! :D

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Long FAST run!! :)

I had to get my long run in this morning - so weird to be doing a long run on a Wednesday. But the weekend ahead is completely crazy, in a fun "It's almost Christmas!" sort of way. And since next week is a cut-back week, I really wanted to get in another 10 miler. My last one the week before Thanksgiving was sort of an accident. I was running at the hilly park and I could either walk the mile back to the car or run it... so I ran it, and that made 10 miles! LOL

So this time I wanted to set out to run 10 miles. It was a mild but foggy morning. Like pea soup fog. And damp from all of the rain we've had recently. Despite the weather, the park was busy!

I started out like I always do, feeling sort of blah - especially since last night was my tap class and we did our dance a bunch of times! But soon enough, I fell into an amazing groove! I felt great and I let myself go with it. I knew I was going to be faster than my usual 10 mile time, but it wasn't until I got done that I realized how fast I truly went!

An average of 9:48?? Over 10 miles! And look at my splits:

I came SO close to running negative splits! Mile 4 was off because I got a text and since I'd left the kids at home sleeping, I wanted to check it, so I walked while I checked. (It was my son telling me he was up and doing his school work - such a good kid, er, almost adult! LOL)

I have to admit, I've had the Garmin Connect page up all day, just so I can stare at it... especially that 9:05 mile 10! :D I'm so vain!

I'm going to spend today in compression socks, rolling and stretching as often as I can! Hopefully I won't have too many bad affects from the speed I put my body through this morning! I can't blame anyone but myself if I do, though! :D

Friday, November 29, 2013

I was #500!

Right before I left for Disney World, I published my 500th post. You may remember the fanfare surrounding this miraculous event.

You don't?? Really?

Yeah, don't worry about it... I forgot, too! I did, however, publish a great post #502!

Coincidentally, during that time, a fellow Team Touch Chik member was running a contest for the 500th like on their Facebook page! The winner would get some free Nuun tablets, and since I was almost out of Nuun, I decided to pop on over and like their page...

and I won!!

I got two new flavors to try - lemon and tropical - and they are very yummy!

I love personal notes, and her handwriting is simply fantastic! :D
The blog is Fit Moms Full Plates and I have really enjoyed reading it and getting to know Dani and  Pam! They post recipes and race reports and all sorts of goodness, so you should check them out! And go like their Facebook page, too! :)

And while you're on Facebook, you should like the page for Running Through the Castle, so I can get more than 23 likes! :D

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Race Report: Turkey Trot 15K

I didn't fall off the face of the earth, I promise! Between being gone to Disney, and then coming home to a very busy week, I wasn't able to post much. I was able to post on my Facebook page, though, so remember to like my Black Pearl Academy Facebook page so you don't miss anything!

I have so very much to catch up with on my blog, but today I'm going to stick to the race report! I should have more time to post this weekend, so check back later! :)

There is no shortage of Thanksgiving Day races to do in the Atlanta area. The big one is put on by the Atlanta Track Club and takes place downtown. I did that one in 2010 and you can read that race report here. I had signed up to do it again in 2011 but was unable to due to my IT Band injury. And then I didn't do any holiday races in 2012 at the request of my family. I had considered doing the Atlanta Half again, but it's really a logistical nightmare. And I didn't have $70 in the budget.

So when I learned of a Turkey Trot being hosted by Five Star NTP, the race directors that hosted the Super Sprint triathlon I did in June, I was interested. They put on this race as a thank you to their customers and it's free if you don't want a medal or shirt. If you do want those things, it was $22 for the 15K or Half Marathon! And the race is up here in the northern Atlanta suburbs!

As race day approached, the weather forecast got worse and worse. The Coldest Thanksgiving in a Century! That really doesn't make me excited! LOL But it's an adventure, right? And when I went to pick up my race bib yesterday, I found that I was getting really excited!

Since the location was so close, and I had already picked up my bib, I could wait in the car until right before the start. I was meeting a friend from Moms Run This Town, and we would walk over to the start together from the parking area. While I waited, I took note of the temperature:

That's the actual temperature, folks - the wind chill was a few degrees cooler! Brrrr!
My friend arrived and we walked over to the start to look for the bathrooms. I was shocked at how many people showed up. The RD had posted that there were 1100 signed up, but I figured the weather would scare lots of folks away, especially since it's a free race! I guess we runners are completely crazy! The line for the bathroom indoors was super-long, and we ended up missing the MRTT official picture. And we almost missed the start and had to end up going outside and using the porta-potties. Such a bummer! It was so cold and there was actually ICE on the floor of the porta-pottie!

Unofficial MRTT Pre-Race picture, since we missed the real one!

The course for the 15K was 3 loops of the 5K course. I wasn't really thrilled about that but it ended up being fun because I could see people from MRTT that I knew and wave to them. But I think I've learned that this RD has a crazy view of "fairly flat" when it comes to course description! There were 2 pretty decent hills on the back side of the course.

At least someone has a good sense of humor!
I ran with my friend and the time passed so quickly while we exchanged stories about how we got into running and homeschooling! We had to run pretty slowly in the first lap because of the 5K being so crowded (the majority of runners were doing the 5K distance), but after that, we could set our own pace. I walked while eating my Honey Stinger Chews, and that took longer than usual each time because of frozen fingers (even with mittens and hand warmers!).

Overall, I wasn't nearly as cold as I was expecting once I got moving. My nose and mouth were the coldest for the longest. In fact, I could feel how frozen my mouth was while I was trying to talk! It was a really freaky feeling.

Our third lap came to an end really fast - and there was the finish line! The medal was absolutely adorable!

There was no traffic leaving and I made it home in no time at all! I had taken clothes with me to change into but I was running a bit later than I had expected so I skipped the clothes change and just went home. There was a roaring fire in the fireplace to greet me, and my hubby had put the turkey in the oven for me since I was running behind schedule! All I had to do was get in the shower - and let me tell you, that hot shower was truly my best friend! :) Ahhhh, felt so good to get really warm again!

The traditional race shirt picture had to be taken in front of the fireplace because I was not going back outside again! LOL

Such a cute shirt - no trouble seeing me today!
I think I have found my new Thanksgiving Day tradition, thanks to Five Star NTP! I am looking forward to running this event again next year! Now I just have to figure out which of their races to run in 2014 so I can qualify - maybe one of the triathlons? :D

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am thankful for all of you who take the time to read my blog (and ::cough cough:: comment! HINT HINT!).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

WOW! It's Blog Post #50....2. @@

I really don't believe I did this again.

Back in September, I missed doing something special on my 1200th blog post on my homeschooling blog. So I was determined not to do that here. My 500th blog post was going to be something special. Something AMAZING.

And I completely forgot about it.

In case you're interested, here is my 500th Post: The big #500! It was on Halloween Day, no less.

Anyway... I guess there is always the 1000th post to look forward to! :D

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I posted. It certainly wasn't on purpose. This has been a really busy week! I have been able to get my workouts in just fine, but it's been really crazy.

I reached another milestone in my running - 9 miles without walk breaks! I had been so stressed out about it, too, which was bizarre. I've been running 8.5 mile long runs for several weeks! A half mile is really not that much further. But for some reason it was LONG in my mind. But I did it! 10 feels that way as well, and I will attempt to tackle that distance in December!

I got a nice surprise this week from my friend Cindy! She is the one who sent me the Garmin after I had lost mine! Look what she found that goes with it:

It's the Garmin foot pod!

Doesn't it look cool?!
Now I will be able to track my cadence while I'm running! I used it for the first time on my 9 miler, but it only recorded the cadence for the first 20 minutes or so. I'm not sure if that was due to the low battery on my watch or if the battery needs to be replaced on the food pod. I will try it out again and fix one or both of those issues! But if the data that the foot pod collected during that short time was correct, then I am running at a proper cadence for the proper form to keep my body healthy! I'm anxious to be able to collect more data soon!

This coming week I am taking a break from formal exercise while my daughters and I go to Walt Disney World for a short vacation with my mom! Instead of swim, bike, run, I will be doing a walk, walk, walk! :D I typically continue to run when I go to Disney, but I thought this was a good time in the schedule for an extended break. I really haven't had any down time for months, just the Cut Back Weeks. It's time to just rest and relax! I am bringing a skirt with me in case I want to go for a run on the last day that we're there, which is not a park day. I wasn't planning to do this until I realized that I will finally be able to run the entire way around the lake and over the bridge between Pop Century and the new Art of Animation resort (we are staying at the latter). I have been running half way around the lake for years!! Running all the way around would be very special to me!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week of training and resting and achieving that elusive balance! I'll be playing with Mickey, Goofy, and Captain Jack! :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Race/Ride Report: 2013 One Can Ride (30 miles)

This morning was my big ride. Race. I'm really not sure what to call it! It was a group event. Sort of like a "fun run" since there was no timing or awards! LOL

I managed my anxiety much better this time. Ok, I ate my way through my anxiety - probably my weight in Halloween candy! But that's OK. At least I slept well, despite the sugar high and the resulting crash.

One of the best parts of this race was the fact that it was less than 10 minutes from my house. My alarm was set for 6:30 and I didn't need to leave my house until 7:50 for a 9:00 AM start. Easy Peasy! But then my tires wouldn't inflate right. I wasn't sure if my pump was broken, or if my brain was the one that was broken, but I figured I'd just ask for help when I got to the start.

I hadn't gotten anything pulled together yesterday and that was a big problem - left me scrambling around in the morning more than I needed to. And in the end, I ended up forgetting my Road ID at home. But I had my driver's license on me so it wasn't a big deal.

My friend, Jill, had signed up for the race, too, and she had already arrived when I got to the park for the start. It was chilly this morning and I had layered up. I do not have any cold weather cycling gear, but I made the best of it. We quickly got checked in (no race number?? no tee shirt?? LOL) and hit the rest rooms. I borrowed her pump and got my rear tire to take air but still couldn't get the front tire to work. I took it over to Bruce from Apalachee Cycle and he had no trouble at all. User error, I suppose. But I think I'd still like to get a new tire pump soon.

A little nervous but ready to go!
Me and Jill
We all gathered around to get ready to start. I turned on my Road ID app and then we waited while the 68 mile course riders took off first. We no more got on the road than my 'Stationary Alert' started going off. It stopped beeping at me, and I assumed that it had realized I was moving and turned off, but apparently that was not true. I learned later that both my husband and my mother had gotten the email indicating that I had not moved in 5 minutes. First they texted me and called me but I didn't answer since I was on the road. So then they contacted each other. My husband was actively tracking on the map for the app so he figured I was OK. But that stressed them both out until I texted at the rest stop that I was half way through. At least now I know that if that alert is going off, you HAVE to turn it off! :D

Jill and I stayed together through the course, and I cannot begin to express how much help she was for me! For one thing, shortly into the ride, people start shouting things out and point at the ground and stuff and I was all confused. Apparently, in a group ride, you shout things to allow people to know when there are cars coming up behind you, or if there are things in the road to watch out for, or if there are cars coming or the route is clear. This is stuff I wasn't really prepared for, so I'm glad she was able to explain that to me! She was also a huge source of encouragement! And it was nice to have time to catch up with her since it had been awhile since I'd seen her! She is a true blessing to me!

I'm glad I had driven the course on Thursday, but I seriously underestimated the number of hills. Seriously. Wow, I'm not sure how I did that. But you know what? It wasn't all that bad. There were many long hills and I just spun up them, and only a few hills that left me terribly out of breath! The rest of the hills weren't tough to manage at all. THAT was incredibly surprising to me! I am feeling much, much better about the idea of doing the Olympic distance tri next summer - even if the course is hilly. I have months left to get more practice on the hills! And I am already so much stronger on them than I was this time last year!

One thing I have to say that I love about the whole "bike race/ride" thing? The rest stop! We pulled up and this nice gentleman offered to hold my bike for me while I walked around and stretched my legs. And check out the food they offered:
Yummy goodness!
Yes, those are cookies and brownies! Can you even believe it?? Sure beats the heck out of energy gels and gatorade!

We stopped for about 15 minutes and then took off again to finish the course. At first, my legs were confused. LOL But they settled back in nicely. I was feeling much more confident on the second part of the course which was good because the traffic was much heavier. I even rode over the railroad tracks, instead of walking over them! Jill rode up ahead of me and I just followed her path!

That last hill at the end didn't end up being as bad as it had looked, and then we were at the finish. Or rather, our cars, because there wasn't a finish line! LOL

I did it!!
I can't believe how good I felt at the end! I probably could have kept going, at least for a little while! I had a massive fail on my nutrition/hydration plan, so at some point, I probably was a BONK waiting to happen. I drank probably three or four times on the whole ride. I only ate at the rest stop, and that was half a sandwich and a handful of Honey Stinger Chews. (No, I was too afraid to eat the cookie and brownies for fear of a tummy ache @@). That was NOT smart and I was lucky that I felt so good at the end. Yay for adrenaline.

And yay for a free lunch after the ride! They had hamburgers, hot dogs, and chili! I took a very yummy hamburger and ate it up in a hurry! I also had Cheetos and a Coke! I meant to grab a banana, but in all the excitement that was my junk food marathon, I forgot! ;)

So, if you haven't already figured it out - I had a great time and I am feeling strong, and excited, and much more confident in my cycling ability! My Garmin says that we averaged just a little over 12 MPH which is wonderful considering all of the hills! I am completely thrilled and so excited to do another cycling race/ride again one day!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Putting the "blahs" behind me!

My workouts earlier this week were just BLAH! Monday's run and Tuesday's swim were literally the most awful workouts in a very long while. I actually had to bribe myself with chocolate milk to get the miles in on Monday!

Tuesday evening was better, though. It was my last tap class before my teacher goes on maternity leave. She was 39 weeks pregnant that day and she was still able to kick my butt, but by the end of the class I had finally gotten a series of moves that had given me a lot of trouble. I'm sure it didn't sound pretty and clear, but that part can come later. Just getting the moves down with the correct tempo was the important first step!

Yesterday's bike ride was actually pretty lovely. The temps were in the mid 70s and it was sunny. So unusual for the end of October, so I definitely took advantage of it. But I also didn't push it. I have to save my legs for Saturday's One Can Ride! It's not too late to sign up, either! Here is some more information if you're interested:

 This morning's swim also went better than Tuesday's swim even though I was doing my long set instead of breaking up the distance. It's so annoying counting all those laps! LOL And the water was chilly, but my goggles didn't give me any trouble this time which helped with the frustration factor.

Now it's time to rest up the body! Just rolling and stretching to prepare for Saturday! I'm going to go drive the course tomorrow morning after I drop off my daughter at class. I am nervous and excited, but not as freaked out like I was about the trail race. I hope that the good experience I had there has taught me that there is no sense in being so anxious and upset about an event! Nervous excitement is one thing and can usually be fun and motivational. But there really is no need for the kind of upset that causes me to lose sleep and be frightened!

Be sure to check back on Saturday afternoon for my ride report! :D

Sunday, October 27, 2013

If this is cut-back week, why am I so tired?!

What a completely crazy week this has been! I have hardly had a minute to sit down and reflect on things! I thought I was supposed to be resting up!?! So much for that!

The workouts were great and I was mostly able to keep them at a lower intensity! The one exception was today when I went to Stone Mountain for some cycling on the hills in preparation for next weekend's ride/race. I planned on only 3 laps (which is the 75% cut back). With the sun not coming up until later, and the blast of cold air we got in Atlanta this weekend, I have had to move my workouts around a bit so I can ride in the afternoon warmth. But today I was so tired! On the way over to the park, I was actually yawning! LOL

So I get out there and start my first lap, and I'm feeling absolutely awful. I'm tired and my legs feel like lead. I got around to the Big Bad Hill and I'm making my way up but it feels horrific! I was debating in my head whether or not to just get back to the car and call it a day. I reached the end of the hill and prepared to shift back into the middle ring when I realized that I had never actually shifted out of it to start with! I was pedaling up the Big Bad Hill in my middle chain! Well, THAT surely explains the problem! I am usually in the smallest chain in the lowest gear and still struggling!

I sure felt better mentally, but that exercise had taken a lot out of my legs and the rest of the ride sucked big time. BLAH!

It's not very encouraging to be going into a new week of training feeling depleted already! But the next couple of weeks aren't going to be pushing hard anyway, so I guess that's good. I want to take it easy this week in preparation for my big bike ride/race on Saturday (ACK! What was I thinking?!?). After that, I have nothing big on the schedule until my birthday Half Marathon in April - so there's no need at all to push. I can just increase my distances gently and easily and build that nice strong base for next year's races!

Or so I tell myself! :D

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another cut-back week already?!

I guess it's just because I'm getting older, but time sure does seem to be flying! It is already time for another cut-back week!

This time, my focus is on not pushing up my intensity too much. Last month, I cut my distance back by 75% like I'm supposed to, but I pushed the intensity/speed WAY up.

That defeats the purpose! LOL

So this week will be about moderation and control! So far I've done a swim workout and a bike workout on the trainer with this philosophy and they have both been successful! (My 5 mile run on Monday for my Runniversary should have been shorter and slower, but it was my Runniversary and I didn't put any constraints on myself!)

One last thing - it's going to be a COLD weekend in Atlanta! I guess I'll be breaking out the winter running gear a little early! Not quite happy about that! Hopefully it will warm up before next Saturday when I have my first bike race/ride! YIKES!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Fifth Runniversary!

Five Years ago today, I began this fitness journey! Five years is such a short time, but at the same time, it feels like I've always been doing this stuff!

To celebrate this huge milestone, I ran 5 miles at the park this afternoon!

I had a hard time deciding what to wear, but finally I settled on the shirt from the race that started it all, Princess Half Marathon 2010! 

Still one of my favorite shirts!
 Trying to take a picture of my legs in action... didn't actually work too well, but you get the idea!
I was very nicely coordinated today! My shoes, skirt, and top all matched!
The weather wasn't perfect, but the run went as well as I could hope for! I made a new playlist of my favorite songs, or songs that have inspired me over the years, and it was a blast to run to!
Five by Five!
Amazing five miles! I thank God, my family, and everyone I have shared this journey with over the last five years! And I thank all of you who have read my blog, whether you've been with me almost 4 years ago when I started, or whether you're just now finding me!

Here's to the next five years! :D

Sunday, October 20, 2013


If you have been on Facebook at all in the last few days, you have certainly seen this picture pop up in your news feed:

This beautiful young woman is Maria Kang and she has stirred up quite a controversy. I'm not going to devote a post to the pros and cons of her message or what she might be trying to accomplish with this picture. (If you are interested, however, I think Swim Bike Mom does a pretty good job with expressing her thoughts!)

What I AM saying, if I'm saying anything at all, is... this picture just doesn't have the same kind of power when you've got teenagers:

Happy Sunday, everyone! :)

(Special thanks to my 14 year old for adding the captions to the picture, since I had no idea how to do that! LOL)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

When Peer Pressure is a good thing!

Today I had my 40 mile bike ride on the schedule! I was determined that this time I was NOT going to do it on the trainer. Whatever the weather, I was going to ride outside at the Silver Comet Trail! My first group ride/race is two weeks away and the longest I've done outside is 30 miles. Nothing was going to stop me!

And then I woke up this morning. To rain.

It was a light rain, and no thunderstorms, but I was nervous. The weather man said that the rain should be completely gone after the morning, so I decided to hit the grocery store and then I would go after lunch. And then after lunch, I checked the radar and there was rain all over the place! What the heck?!?! I was debating postponing the ride til tomorrow after church.

My hubby was encouraging me to go today instead of tomorrow. His reasoning was sound - today would be less crowded because of the rain, and tomorrow the temps and humidity would be down and even though the sun would be out, it would likely feel cooler. And with the sun out, everyone would flood the trail to get in their missed workout. To go today, he said, it would just be "You and the other diehards!"

To add to the Peer Pressure, my friend Cindy (of Tinker Bell and Princess 2013 fame) posted the following comment on my Facebook status where I was complaining about the rain:

"Hum, I have this really good friend that does tri's and bike is her weakest part. She did a tri recently that rained and the bike portion was tough, but she did great. I think she mentioned in her blog that she needed more training on the bike in not so perfect weather. You should check out her blog. It is Running Through the Castle....pretty good blog."

She's pretty clever, isn't she?  

Since I couldn't fight the overwhelming Peer Pressure, I decided to get out there. As soon as I pulled out of the garage, it started raining - and it rained the entire way over to the trail. Fun. Fun. Fun. 

You can tell the weather is bad when I can pull into the parking lot of the Silver Comet Trail at 1:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday and get the 3rd parking space closest to the bathrooms! LOL I saw a couple of other people with their bikes and we all just kind of smiled at each other like we're part of this crazy club. 

I won't give you a mile-by-mile description of the ride since we'd be here all night, but I do want to hit the highlights! It rained for the first 45 minutes pretty steadily. The trail was wet, and there were fallen leaves (which I was concerned about being slippery) but I took it nice and slowly and allowed plenty of time for braking at the intersections. There were so few people on the trail that I didn't have to do any quick braking or really any sudden movements. 

Once it stopped raining, the clouds remained for the rest of the ride. Instead of trying to eat on the ride and risk slipping or falling, I used my stops at the intersections to get my food. That seemed to work well.

The furthest I have gone on the Silver Comet was 15 miles (to make a 30 mile round trip), so these extra 5 miles were all new to me. It seemed especially remote, and we weren't as close to the major roads, but it was just fine! Just about the time I'd start to get concerned, especially since there weren't many people around me, I'd see a neighborhood or some businesses. 

And then I came to this sign: 

Good thing my turn-around is only half a mile past this sign! LOL (And please excuse the language - I obviously did not add that graffiti above the sign!)
Speaking of the turn-around: 

I decided to go to the official mile marker even though my Garmin said it was 1/4 mile more than 20 miles. I just wanted it to be officially official!

Half-way point and feeling strong!
Nothing terribly exciting happened on the way back. Though the neatest thing was my perspective about the distance. The last time I was out here, I was doing my 30 mile ride - and that was my longest ride at the time. Knowing I had 10, 12, 13 miles left was intimidating!

Since that time, I have done 35 and 38 and probably a 33 in there, too, but I can't remember. I have also been riding 20 miles during the week for several weeks. I'm stronger, not just physically but mentally as well, I think! 

So I got back to the car, and for some reason my Garmin measured the ride at 41.21 miles. I'm totally perplexed. Even if I did go 20.25 before I turned around, wouldn't it be 40.50 since I came back the exact same trail?!? Anyway, I'm sticking with this being a 40 mile ride! Officially, you know. 

I put Mike up on the carrier and was shocked - he was a mess! 

You may have to click on the picture to get it to zoom in, but Mike is filthy! He looks like I took him Mountain Biking on a trail!

And I didn't fare much better! Yucky!!
I changed clothes and headed home, feeling very glad that I succumbed to peer pressure today - the best kind of peer pressure! I was rewarded with a good workout - some time in the saddle in less than ideal conditions! 

Garmin tells me that Mile 39 averaged 17.6 MPH, and Mile 40 averaged 17.8 MPH! I hope that is accurate - if so, I'm pretty sure those are my fastest average miles ever! I did feel like I was really going fast at the end there, so I don't think it's terribly far off. It also shows a few miles averaging over 16 MPH! Overall, even including going slower in the rain, and being stopped at some of the intersections for what seemed like a really long time, I averaged 14 MPH which is fantastic! And my average cadence was 88 RPM which is super! 

Of course, it's also trying to tell me that I burned 3,384 calories during today's ride! I'm not sure how they get that figure but that's pretty hysterical! If only I burned that many - what fun I could have replenishing! :D

Have a great weekend, friends! Tomorrow, I shall take a rest day! :D

Friday, October 18, 2013

Looking for my "Happy Pace"!

Today was a long run day for me - probably my last one on a Friday until the school year ends. I am now running too far and the sun is coming up too late for it to be practical for me to run long on a school day! That's OK, though! I was only doing it on Friday to allow for a long ride on Saturday morning, and it's getting too cold to do that, either. So I'll bump everything back a day and make Friday my rest day!

Today was pretty nice, though - cool and a little humid. I went to the park and set out to do 8.5 miles with one purpose: to see if I could find the sweet spot of running again, my "Happy Pace"! I used to be able to dial it in so easily. I can remember thinking, and even saying a few times, "I could run like this FOREVER!" I haven't been able to find that place again since The Injury of 2011.

I thought today would be a good day to try to play around with it. My legs are tired because I added my lower body strength work back into my routine now that my tap class isn't so overwhelming. And tomorrow I have a 40 mile bike ride on the schedule, so I need to preserve my legs. "Low and slow" would be the motto of the day, and perhaps that would be the way to find that sweet spot.

I knew I wouldn't find it in the first 3 miles. I never have. The first 2.5 to 3 miles of a run has always been a struggle. Today wasn't much different, but it wasn't horrible either. I didn't use my watch except to make sure that I wasn't going out too fast. That has been too easy lately. I get moving too fast, and then I can't slow down effectively, and then I use up all my fuel, and then I end up feeling like crap and wondering why I'm running at all. NOT the sweet spot! Today my goal was to feel like everything was easy, and then slow down a little more! I really focused on slowing down, even when I didn't feel like I needed to!

Finally, in the 4th mile, I felt it. It was brief, but I definitely felt it! It had been SO long since I felt that feeling. I didn't get my hopes up too much since I still had more than 4 miles to go. It's easy to feel like you can keep going forever when you're not even halfway through your workout! LOL

And I did feel it again. I think the longest it lasted was about 4-5 minutes at a time, but that's OK. Now that I have felt the Sweet Spot again, it should be easier to find it again! SO very exciting! I also did my 8.5 miles which is my longest run without walk intervals! Another milestone to record! I did have some twinges in the last mile, but I expected them because of my strength training this week. I did some extra stretching and rolling and I'm feeling fine. Most importantly, when I finished - I FELT LIKE I COULD HAVE KEPT GOING!! WOOHOO!!

During my cool down walk, I snapped this picture of this beautiful early fall scenery in Georgia! It's only going to get more beautiful in the next couple of weeks, especially because we're expecting a cold snap soon!

Who wouldn't feel great when this is where you get to run?!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend - and may you find your own Sweet Spot in whatever you attempt!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Swim update!

It dawned on me during my swim this morning that I haven't really updated y'all on my swimming.

I know what you're thinking - you haven't been sleeping nights wondering, "What is Niffercoo doing with the swim during this off season/base building time???" 

Well, now you get to find out the 2013/2014 Off Season Swimming Plan:

Increase overall swim distance. Slowly.


OK, really, that is my plan but I have a few other things to work on in there as well. I would like to get my overall distance up to 2200 meters. Right now I'm at 1400, so that won't be too difficult.

I have also been working on breathing in different patterns than my regular bi-lateral breathing. I found that in the PTC Tri in August, when I got flustered and needed to breathe differently, it was too hard since I hadn't practiced anything else. So now I practice breathing on one side/every breath and every other breath. I do that on each side. And then I practice switching it up, in case the water is rough and I need to change plans on the fly.

I'm also practicing a little more breast stroke and back stroke. I needed those when I was flustered in August, but since I only did a few laps of each as a cool down, it was tiring. So I want to build up my stamina in those strokes as well.

And finally, yes, I am trying to build up my speed. I'm not terribly concerned about my swim speed but I think getting my heart rate up a little more when I swim is also a good idea in case I get overwhelmed again and my heart is racing - I'll know how to handle it better.

You may notice that a lot of what I'm working on is a direct result of my experiences in August! I love it when a bad experience teaches you the things you need to focus on next!

This leaves me with only the Open Water Swim to practice. You'd think it be easy enough to get over there, but I need someone to go with me and that is trickier! I think it will be OK if I can't really get over there to practice until the spring, but I would like to get in a couple of swims in my wetsuit over the winter! Hopefully I can make that work out.

I have a big weekend of workouts ahead of me - my longest bike ride and I am NOT going to do it on the trainer, no matter when I have to go to make that work! LOL And then Monday is my 5th Run-niversary! :)