Monday, April 29, 2013

Becoming a triathlete

I took some time to think and pray this weekend about my workouts and my goals. Because I lost my Garmin on Friday, it added a little more emotion to the whole weekend. But what I finally concluded was this: it's time to make some changes!

The biggest and most important change will be in how I approach scheduling my workouts. I want to focus on triathlon this year, and specifically on improving my cycling. So why am I still running 3 days a week, but only swimming and cycling once per week? I can not hope to improve with cycling by only doing it once per week, not matter how far I'm cycling. I need to do some drills on the bike and I need to focus on getting time in the saddle. So starting this week I will be cycling twice per week, swimming twice per week, and running twice per week. I might add a third short cycling session to the schedule depending on how I am feeling. I'm also dropping back to 30 minute runs for the next few weeks while I add the second cycling session. I feel like I should run between 45-60 minutes (yeah, minutes since I don't have a way to measure mileage anymore @@) in each run session when I'm training for the tri, but training doesn't actually begin until June.

The second change, which I already alluded to, will be a shift in my reliance on "numbers" or "data" for my workouts. I'm going to have to go back to using my wristwatch (that I bought back in 2008 when I first started running LOL) and going by how I feel. While I'm still very upset about losing my Garmin, and so frustrated because I am always so careful with my things - we have packed up the entire house for remodeling and I have carefully put my Garmin away each time I used it - I've decided that there must be a good reason for it to be gone. I don't believe anything happens by accident, and God must have a good reason for this. Perhaps I'm getting too wrapped up on my numbers. Whatever the reason, I'm going to trust that God knows what is best for me and  try to embrace this change as best as I can.

As for my lower leg, I continue to believe it's related to tightness in the calf. I was not diligent last week in my rolling and stretching (or in my hydration), and I haven't been able to get in for a sports massage, so I'm going to work on that. I'm not sure if there is anything that could be done, but if it doesn't get much better in the next couple of weeks, I will make an appointment with the sports med doctor!

It's going to take awhile to get this new "triathlete" mindset. But I know I can do it!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Well, I didn't run this morning. It was sprinkling when I woke up, which wouldn't typically stop me, but I honestly didn't feel like running. My legs were sore from the ride yesterday (which wasn't remotely speedy because of all of the blind corners at this park but which included a lot of awesome hills to practice on). And I was just tired. I had worked out 5 days in a row without a rest day and I didn't feel like it. I so rarely do this, so I feel very guilty - but it will be OK. Perhaps it will even help with the leg stuff I've been feeling.

I did do some yoga, however. I did the beginning (Opening) of the 60 minute Yoga Conditioning for Athletes DVD, which I hadn't done in a very long time. I could definitely feel it and that's a good thing.

I also unpacked all of my boxes of books today after the big flooring redo - again, blogger isn't letting me upload pictures. @@ As I was carrying in the boxes, I pretended that I was doing a CrossFit workout! LOL

Tomorrow is a planned rest day, and then I will try to run on Monday. Naked. (Without my Garmin LOL)

Should be fun.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A wild and crazy week!

Well, blogger is not letting me upload pictures tonight, so there goes my clever post.

This week we removed 20 year old carpet and linoleum in our house and got brand new carpet, linoleum (that looks so much like tile it's scary), and laminate (that looks so much like hardwood it's funny)! We had to move everything out of the house, and that includes the desktop computer that's been my best buddy since my laptop died last year.

So I've been gone. But I've been a good girl and I've kept up my workouts. Sometimes I need the release so I am not crazy!

I decided to make this week a cut-back week since I really haven't had one since Princess, and I've been feeling some random aches and pains (mostly in the lovely lower left leg again @@). I ran for 30 minutes on Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday the kids and I hiked a mile to the top of Stone Mountain and back. Thursday I swam, and today I took my bike to the park for a ride.

It's funny to me how I can be so sore and tired on a cut-back week and feel worse than I did the week before when I was working so much harder - especially since last week I spent painting my bedroom and bathroom and moving my entire house into a POD. My leg is really bothering me, and it's just plain aggravating. I wish I knew why it keeps doing this.

The worst part of the whole week happened today. Somehow I managed to lose my Garmin 305. I took it off the bike at the park and I usually toss it in my bag with my helmet, but when I got home today it wasn't there. I looked all over the car, all in my bag and my shoes and my helmet - even drove back to the park to see if it was in the parking lot. Unfortunately, it is gone. I sobbed and sobbed on the way home from the park. My husband gave me that watch for Christmas in 2009 as a huge surprise. It's so sad.

I have a run on the schedule tomorrow, but my heart is really not in it so I don't know if I will or not.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A hundred excuses

Today I am going to celebrate. I didn't set a PR. I didn't even race.

Today I am celebrating the fact that I did my planned workout.

I did it!
I have had this workout penciled in my calendar for weeks: "15 miles - road". I even mentioned it on my blog: I was going to stick with 15 miles in my new pedals for three weeks in a row, first on the trainer, then at the park/trail, then on the roads! I was originally supposed to do a course preview of the Iron Girl Atlanta course with a local group, but that was canceled. So I had to do my own thing. I decided to go to Stone Mountain. You may remember my previous experiences cycling around The Mountain. Big hills. Ouch. But I was excited and ready to go for it!

In the last few days, however, anxiety began creeping in. I found myself coming up with 'reasons' not to go.

It's going to be too cold. 

We have a LOT to do around the house before they come to replace the floors on Tuesday. 

It's a long way to drive. 

Hubby isn't feeling well and I should stay home and take care of the kids. 

Maybe I should wait a little longer before getting out on the roads.

It's been a long week of workouts and I'm already sore. Maybe I shouldn't push it on those hills.

As you see, the excuses ranged from plausible to flat-out ridiculous! The bottom line is that I was nervous. Even this morning when the alarm went off, I puttered around for another hour before finally getting my rear in gear. I listened to praise music all the way to Stone Mountain in an attempt to boost my confidence. And I kept telling myself that it didn't matter how fast I went so long as I was able to keep my cadence at my target. When I arrived, there was a race going on and I nearly turned back around - but I realized that it was nearly over so I went to find a parking spot. I found one immediately, which was probably a good thing! LOL

The ride itself was fairly uneventful. I made sure to stop and clip out at all the stop signs. I didn't do as well on the hills as I'd hope to do. I'd heard that clipless pedals really help with the hills, but I didn't get that feeling today! I guess it's just lots of old-fashioned hard work that is going to get me over those hills without losing ALL of my speed. I did do a better job at using ALL of my gears, including the big chain (I think that's the one) that allows me to continue to pedal even when I'm going down the hills. And I didn't fall over, or get hit by a car, or crash my bike, which is all good! I think I learned a lot today, even if I didn't magically fly up the hills like I'd envisioned!

But mostly, I'm just glad that I go out there and went -when every part of me was saying not to go! Sometimes, that's the hardest part of the workout!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wetsuit practice!

During this morning's swim, I decided to give the wetsuit a try! I knew I couldn't do the entire workout in it because I would get overheated, but my search for an open water swim to try it out in has not been successful. And I want to make sure that it works for me in the water before my 30 day fit guarantee period is up.

So, to the pool I went. Carrying my huge bag-o'-wetsuit! LOL

I went after the big morning rush and was a little annoyed to find that most of the swimmers were in the locker room changing. Right where I wanted to put on the wetsuit! I sure as heck wasn't going to try to get it on poolside with everyone watching!

But it turns out the nice ladies that I say hi to each morning were very, very helpful and supportive! They helped me make sure I had it on right, and there were a couple of experienced tri ladies there to make sure I had everything in the right place! That helped to relax the nerves quite a bit.

Right here would be a great place for a picture of me in my wetsuit at the pool. 

Blog Fail. @@

I walked out onto the pool deck and my favorite life guard applauded! The nerves popped back up again! I went over to chat with him for a minute and then I finally got up the courage to get into the water.

To my surprise, I floated. Freaky! I only planned to do 300 meters. I figured that would give me a decent feel for how it would fit while swimming a sprint tri (around 450 meters) without getting me overheated. The sensation of swimming in the wetsuit is hard to describe. It was a lot like having a pull buoy between my legs. My body floated on top of the water and I used my arms but almost didn't feel like I needed to! It was really effortless. I can understand now why the wetsuit would give you an advantage! I did my 300 meters and it felt like I'd barely done anything!

Getting the wetsuit off wasn't all that bad (getting it on wasn't that hard, either, once I made sure the crotch - sorry for the language but I don't know how else to describe it - material was up as far as it could go before I tried to pull up the top part). The zipper pulled down easily and I was able to peel it off quickly. I rinsed it off, inside and out, in the shower and then laid it out to dry while I finished my workout. 

Oh, one funny thing... when I got out of the pool, I could feel the water running down the legs of the wetsuit! That was a strange feeling! :)

So, there was my wetsuit practice report! Once again, the anticipation was worse that the actual event! Maybe I will still be able to find an open water swim to practice with it, but if not, it's waiting for me in case I need it for my tri at the end of September! :) It is so nice to have one so I won't have to worry about the weather!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

For Boston

Today was not a scheduled running day for me. However, in light of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon yesterday, there was no way I couldn't run today.

A group on Facebook have organized a virtual run today called Runners United to Remember  - I learned about it from my friend Jan who shared it. I went to their Facebook page and printed out the bib and laced up my shoes this morning.

Hmm, it seems I have sort of a snarky look on my face. I'm not trying to make light of the situation, but during my run I had been reflecting that if they were hoping to stop these events from taking place with acts of terror, they picked the wrong group of athletes. This is NOT going to stop runners. Period. Anyone who runs 26.2 miles for fun is much stronger, mentally and physically, than that!

Another movement on Facebook is for all runners to wear a previous race shirt today to show solidarity! I chose one of my Fallen Heroes of Georgia shirt and the hat from my very first marathon. It just seemed appropriate. 
My prayers are with everyone today - the people in Boston, the runners and their families, the volunteers and organizers, the first responders, and the entire running community. There are so many broken hearts everywhere today. If you can, go for a run or walk today and make sure to wear one of your old running shirts, if possible! Let's encourage and support one another through this difficult time!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The story of how "The Fall" happened...

Day 2... a nice bruise has developed!

Now that I have a little time, I thought I'd share the exciting store about my fall.

I was speeding down a new trail... 18 mph, and a took a curve too fast, and...

Yeah, right. LOL

Well, I WAS at a new trail. That part is true. And I kept getting lost. On a trail. A paved trail. In particular, I kept turning off to the parking lots. So I could come to a set of stairs going up, and I'd have to turn around. Since I'm not very good at turning, I have to slow down quite a bit. The first time (yes, I did this more than once @@), I had no problem - executed the turn and went on my way!

The 2nd time I didn't have such luck. I went off the paved trail and couldn't get back up. Instead of clipping out and putting my foot down, I panicked and over I went! LOL

Is it bad to say I'm actually kind of psyched about it? I've been really worried about my first big fall. And now that I've lived through it, I can let that worry go. I fell. It hurt. I kept going. If I hadn't been able to keep going, I would have walked back to the car or called my husband to come get me. Falling is part of cycling - it's inevitable! I just hope it doesn't happen too much!

Side Note: This morning I ran (thankfully the fall didn't hurt my ability to run LOL) - 40 minutes which ended up being right around 4 miles, my longest nonstop run since 2011! :D

Saturday, April 13, 2013

First Fall - Check!

Ouch - this stings! :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gear Report: Lunatik Athletics Running Skirt & Compression Socks

You may remember that I participated in a virtual race called Race 2 Remember back in March - to raise money for Alzheimer's research. Here is the race report, in case you need a refresher - CLICK HERE!

I was surprised when Janice contacted me to let me know that I had won a prize. And the neat thing about this contest, that I didn't realize, is that you get to PICK your prize! I had many wonderful options but in the end I went with the running skirt and compression socks combination from Lunatik Athletics. I had never heard of this company before, and since I love running skirts so much, I decided to give it a try!

I received my prize right away and they even enclosed a little note, which I thought was very sweet! I probably should have taken a picture of the skirt, socks, and note to place here - but I didn't. And I wonder why nobody contacts me to give me free stuff to review or to sponsor my blog! LOL

Oh, well, moving on...

It's been too cold to run in a skirt until this week. But Wednesday when we got home from our trip and I wanted to hit the trail, it was 81 degrees! My new skirt was calling to me!

I did remember to have my son take a picture of me before I headed out!

The colors in the skirt go very nicely with my race shirt from Princess 2013, don't you think?

The design of the skirt reminds me of a Running Skirts Athletic skirt, except there are pockets on the shorts and not on the waist (more like Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra). I ordered a Small (where I should be according to the size chart) and it fits OK. I have a fairly ample rear-end and larger thighs compared to the rest of me, so my skirt is a little tighter across the butt than it might be on others. It's also a little shorter than it appears on the picture on the website but, again, that just might be how it fits on me. As for comfort, it felt very nice when I was running. The shorts did ride up a bit, but I blame that on my larger thighs. The shorts are not compression but they do fit snugly. It was very, very hot when I was doing my run but the skirt wicked moisture away quite well and I was comfortable the entire time. This skirt is only $47 - which is a downright bargain compared to what the major companies are charging for their skirts! For that price, you could justify buying one for running errands or hanging out in!

I decided to wear the compression socks on my run - something I don't usually do - since we had done the hike the day before and my calves were a bit fatigued. One think I like about these compared to the other ones I have (Running Skirts brand) is that they don't come up as high. My other ones are very long and come up to the bend in my knee which can be a bit uncomfortable. I just realized when I pulled up the size chart that I should have ordered a Medium in the socks instead of a Small - my mistake! That explains why they are a little tighter at the top than I would have liked. They still fit OK in the foot length and around the ankle - probably where my funky leg shape comes in handy! LOL Overall they were very comfortable and I came back from my run with legs that didn't really feel any worse than they had before the run! I think I might try a pair of their compression sleeves one day - I've never worn them but lots of people I know swear by them and say they are better for long distances because you can still wear the socks you normally wear.

Overall, I really liked this skirt and compression socks from Lunatik Athletics and I'm anxious to follow this small company's products in the future!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hiking in the Mountains!

My family went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a trip the last few days! I had taken my running stuff with me, but the area where our cabin was located was not conducive to running.

The road was very narrow and windy and barely room for 2 small cars - no shoulder at all. I didn't feel it was going to be safe to try to run on it, and I don't drive my husband's huge truck so I couldn't go down into Gatlinburg where it would be safer.

But we did go for 2 lovely hikes to waterfalls!

The first one was a nice, easy stroll through the woods led by a park ranger!

The second one was self-led, a little longer and more strenuous, despite being on a paved trail!

It was so much fun to be out there with my family enjoying nature and being active! We had a lovely vacation - our first one as a family in 2 and a half years!

I did go for a run last night after we got home - since it was so warm, I ran in my new Lunatiks skirt and compression socks that I won a few weeks ago. I'll do a post about that tomorrow! :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Trainer ride - check!

I decided on 15 miles again for my bike ride today, and since I'm still working on the pedals (ok - since I'm still a chicken! LOL), I decided to stick to the trainer. Really, aside from being a little bit of a chicken, my thinking was that the BSG (Bike Store Guy) told me that I will be using ALL of the muscles in my legs with the new pedals, so I figured that I needed to make sure my legs don't go dead.

So my plan is this - 15 miles the next 3 weeks: trainer this week, park trail next week, and then the road the following week.

All right, fine. I'm a BIG chicken! LOL But that's OK. I'm still pretty new to riding on the real roads at all, so if I need a little extra time to get my nerves ready to clip in/out on the real roads, then I'll do it.  It's not going to hurt anything in the long run! :)

I had some technical difficulties this morning. My cadence wasn't registering. I was still picking up the mileage however, so I'm not sure what is going on. I'm going to try to play with it a bit this afternoon to see if I can figure out what happened.

Everyone have a safe weekend on the roads, in the water, or even on the trainer/treadmill!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Happy Graduation Day! And Happy Birthday!

Today I completed the Couch to 5K Plan - again! :) I didn't realize when I set out to do this after the Princess Half Marathon that I would be finishing the plan on my birthday. But I did! Happy Birthday to me! This time last year, I was just getting back into running (with intervals) and was wondering if I would ever be able to run nonstop again! And now I am! What a fantastic way to start a new year of life for me! :)

Yes, I am that old!

You already know what I got for my birthday from my hubby - a wetsuit!

And you already know what I got for my birthday from my parents - cycling shoes and pedals!

As a gift to myself, I signed up for a virtual racing series that my friend, Jan, told me about - The Nerd Herd Racing Series. It begins with the "May the 4th Be With You 5K", continues with the "Happy Birthday Harry Potter 5K/10K" in July, and culminates with the "Banned Book Week 5K/Half Marathon" in September. If you complete all 3 races, you get a bonus medal! So awesome!

So besides going for a run and enjoying free Moe's for lunch, what do I do on my birthday?

Why, plan my training for this summer's triathlons of course! :D I am having a hard time finding a training plan that I like so I'm sort of coming up with my own based on Swim Bike Mom's free training plan. I based my training on it for last year's tri, but I had to modify it quite a bit because I had only 2 months to train. I have 4 months now, officially, but I've got a much, much better base for all of the sports than I did last year. But it's hard for me to go on my own and not have it all laid out for me! So I am probably over-thinking it. ;)

Don't everyone all laugh at once... 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pedal practice!

Yesterday afternoon was a beautiful, sunny day in Atlanta - and my bike called to me! It said, "You know you want to practice clipping in and out somewhere besides the trainer!" And you know what, he was right!

So I took Mike off the trainer (who seems to need a name of his/her own), and made my way down to the end of my driveway without falling over in my new cycling shoes (these, in case you are curious). That felt like the first victory because these things feel weird on my feet. And to think I got the Mountain Bike shoes because they are supposed to be easier for newbies? Wow!

I started out by clipping in on my left foot. It took a few tries but I got it. Then I pedaled and hopped up on the saddle and tried to clip in on the right - SNAP! It worked!

I pedaled up to the first cul-de-sac in the neighborhood, rounded it, and then slowed to a stop at the stop sign. SNAP - unclicked. I put my foot down and stopped.

I did this at each stop sign in the neighborhood, and even ventured outside the neighborhood very briefly. And I didn't fall once! Granted, I didn't have to make any sudden or unexpected stops, but overall I thought I did very well.

I wasn't expecting to feel such a difference on the bike, but it's very different - in a good way! I felt like I had a lot more power, especially going up hills. I'm not sure if that was just my imagination or not, but it was a good feeling, so I'm going to go with it! LOL

My plan is to do a trainer ride this weekend, just to make sure that my legs don't get more tired than expected. Then next week I will do a short ride at the park just to make sure I'm secure with clipping in and out before I venture out onto the roads. It's all terribly exciting! :D

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

3 whole miles!

Yesterday, I ran 3 WHOLE MILES without any walk intervals! I haven't done this since the middle of 2011. Honestly, sometimes I didn't think I would ever be able to do this again. I had no IT Band issues, no left shin/calf issues, and I didn't even feel the tenderness in my left foot (from dropping the pizza stone on it last Friday) until the very end of the 3rd mile. It was even a little warm outside so I could wear short sleeves!

I will never, ever take running (or biking, or swimming) for granted. Not ever again! :)