Monday, August 29, 2011

Minor Setback

So I went to Boeing last week in Everett, Washington (just outside of Seattle).  Had the most amazing business trip ever with a tour of the Boeing factory, ate lots of delicious food every day, enjoyed the cool temperatures and green wilderness with snow capped mountains.  Sigh.

Tried to run up there, but after being offered a ride from a drunk dude coming out of the casino next door to the hotel, I was no longer comfortable with my surroundings.  I tried to run, but I had a hard time relaxing and I was paranoid about every stranger (a.k.a random creepy dudes) around me.  My run was more of a run/walk and then I used the resistance band inside my hotel room. 

A mediocre workout at best.

This was last Wednesday.

I returned to Houston early Friday morning, ready to turn it up again after work when Hurricane Irene derailed my plans. 

Wait, didn't you say you were in Houston?  Yeah, but when working for the airline business, any hurricane impacting a major airport that we run out of, effects every employee.  It was a night of working late, with all hands on deck.

Saturday...blah day.  Overslept my alarm and napped on and off all day.  I blamed it on the time change. 

Sunday, I will start the day as a superstar.

My body had other plans for me.  Migraine knocked at my door accompanied by his best friend Vomiting.  Pestered me all day. Not the day I had in mind.

So you would think, I would be ready to throw my hands up and surrender, right?

Not when you have the most amazing tri coach to help you put things in perspective.  In her eyes, this is minor in the whole scheme of things.  She thinks I will come back bigger and better with all the rest I am getting.  With a whole year of working hard towards a goal...what is one week?

I am going to listen to her, and listen to my body.  After all, isn't this all just a mental game?

Of course it is.

You have not defeated me yet, Mr. Half Ironman.

Oh no, if I am going down, I am going down swinging!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2011 Bridgeland Race Report

A year ago, this was my first sprint triathlon with an open water swim. I finally have a chance to see how much my times have improved over a year.

I was pretty exhausted already after throwing a baby shower for my sister-in-law the day before.  But somewhere I found a second wind to pull this off. I had laid out all my clothes and equipment the night before so I was pretty confident that I had everything.  Transition set-up went quite smoothly that morning.

This 2011 race will always be an extra special one for me since Charlie signed up for his first triathlon.  The course is in the Bridgeland development which is on 290 and Fry road.  So cool to finally get to do a race together.  And our friend is her first too.  We have to leave our house at 4:30am.  We all pile into Jessica's SUV where her awesome husband drove us all down and stayed to root us on.

There is quite an increase in the number of people from last year.  But as expected, the OnUrMark racing productions is extremely well organized and the extra people were well accommodated.

It is a beautiful cloudless morning and I have an hour before my wave starts after transition closes.   Charlie is the first age group wave after the professionals and I feel nervous for him.  As I watch him take off and I see he is okay, my nerves get the best of me and I decide to hit the port-o-potties. Whoops...line is crazy long and I decide I do not have to go that bad.  I sit on the shore and wait.  I chat with 22 year old swimmer next to me who is in shock that I am 35.  I think she  made my head triple in size but least it took my mind off being nervous! 

Swim: 500 M
Well, my goal is to swim freestyle the entire time with little to no stopping. Well, I managed to swim about 90 percent of it freestyle.  I found a groove and decided to take Coach Pam's advice and sing a song.  The first song to come to mind was Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice, Baby" because I truly know all the words without music.  I am cruising right along and sighting along the coast and I think I am doing quite well until I pause for a moment to look up and discover I am way outside the buoy. I am quite a bit off course. Yikes!!  I had to take a hard left another 25 yards to position myself on the inside of the buoy.  I am feeling a little frantic inside because I do not want a DQ penalty for being off course. There went my groove...from that point on I was back to bobbing my head up and down every few strokes to see where I was at. Not what I envisioned at all.  I must master the alligator technique to sight in front of me and not just to the side.

Note to self: Must add extra open water practices to my 70.3 race training.

2010: 17:01
2011: 16:27 (not as improved as I was hoping to see, but I will take it)

Because of my blister issue, I decided to bring 2 different pairs of socks.  I knew this would affect my transition times but thought it would be worth it to have dry feeties (yes, I invented that word).  I am still trying to master the art of gracefully drying off and putting on socks over my soggy feet ALL this while I heavily pant from recovering from the swim.

2010: 3:24
2011: 2:54

Bike: 13.5 MILES
Did I mention I love my Felt bike??  I feel like a rocket on it.  The only ladies that passed me had the Lamborghini type bikes and I was okay with that.  The course was flat and fast and I really enjoyed it.  I even pulled back a little at the end to save my legs for the run.

2010: 51:49 (16.2 mph-14 miles)
2011: 41:00 (19.8 mph)

This is where I took a hit putting on my dry socks.  Oh but it was so worth it not to run with "squish, squish" sounds in my feet.

2010: 2:35
2011: 2:10 (estimated from my Garmin since timing company lost the official T2 time)

Run: 3.65 MILES
Okay, so here is where I discovered my epic fail.  I did not drink enough while on the bike.  So as I start running...I am obsessed with all things water.  The water stations can not come up fast enough and all I want to do is drink.  The first mile is on unshaded sidewalk and the sun gave me a beating.  I did a combination of run/walking until I hit the shaded trails. Halfway thru the trails, we hit the oasis of iced sponges.  Then I think my Hammer Gel kicked in and my legs sprang to life. But by that time, the damage had been done and I could not recover my overall time on the run with the last mile and a half.   Hard lesson learned.

2010: 46:00 (13:06 pace/3.5 miles)
201l:  41:55 (11:29 pace--Again, since the official race results combined the run with T2 time...I am going by my Garmin)

I really enjoy this race every year.  The swag is so choice.  I like when the tech shirts are actually fitted to the body.  Everyone gets nice finisher medals and a water bottle.  The race director really knows how to treat the triathletes. The after party had a live band and a mini expo.  Pizza and My Fit Foods were available after the race.

2010: 2:01:16 (Age group 43 out of 44)
2011: 1:44:27 (Age group 48 out of 74)

Charlie survived but said that this triathlon will probably be his one and only.  Just not his cup of tea...

He told me that he has a new respect for me now on how tough they can be.  Last year he did not understand why I would even think of walking during the run portion.

Now he completely understands the method to my madness.

Well, maybe a small part of my madness.

Sigh.  Okay...maybe just a tiny glimpse of my madness.

But even just knowing that still makes me grin from ear-to-ear!

Totally worth it to me to have him there with me....even if it is only once.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Midterm Progress Report: 70.3 Training

I am about halfway through my half marathon training.  I am feeling pretty good.  I had a couple of setbacks with my blister infection and migraine issues but I don't think it put me behind as much as I thought it did. 

I feel this need to stand back and reassess.

Swimming:  C+
I think I had a break through last Saturday.  After a 10 mile run, I had to swim 1200 meters without stopping.  And what do you know, I did it!  It went better than I thought.  Except for goggle adjusting, I did not stop to catch my breath.  I am finally swimming without feeling like suffocating.  Now if only I can replicate this in open water.  My goal for the 2nd half of training is to get my butt out to 288 Lake more often!  At least I have a couple of triathlons to get me started in the month of August.

Biking: B
I am feeling really good about the bike.  I feel ahead of the game with my training.  I rode 55 miles at the Katy Flatlands and my legs were strong.  I definitely need to get more hill work in there.  And keep pushing the distance.  Biking has become my strongest leg.  I am having to give up my sleep-in Sunday mornings to get my long rides in...and that is probably the most challenging part of the training. My inner child is throwing a fit.

Running: B-
Kingwood Fit has started up again.  It definitely helps to have my buds at my side.  I don't know how I would be getting through these runs without them.  I felt a huge challenge in my last 10 mile run but I blamed it on the fact I took a week and a half off to let me foot heal.  I need to start pushing the pace to the next level.  Step out of my comfort zone.  I also need to find some hills to tackle. 

Strength Training:  F
I am skipping many of my strength training workouts.  I feel so guilty about this.  I need to dig deep for the motivation.  I signed up for boot camp mid July and that went well.  But I have not done a push-up or a plank since and that was 3 weeks ago.  I have no excuse for my slacking.  None.

Diet: D
I am not happy with my diet habits.  I have only dropped 3 pounds since I started training.  All the added time of working out is making my appetite go through the roof.  I am always hungry!!  I wanted to go through a week of juicing.  Failed.  I wanted to go a week without sweets and sugar.  Failed that too.  I still tend to overeat at meals and feel like this is where my lack of discipline is rearing its ugly head.  I need to go back to planning mode and focus on eating healthier meals. That said...I need to stop eating out so much.  Ugh.

Overall: C
I see my body toning up and it feels pretty good. I am not where I wanted to be by this point, but I am not in a bad place either.  I can see how there is so much room for improvement.  The good news is, I still have time to do it.  I still would like to be 10 pounds lighter for my racing weight, but to do that...I really need to focus on the diet aspect of training.  The workouts are getting longer and tougher and I know it is only going to get harder.  I need to flip the switch and turn it up a level.  If this is only the training for a Half Ironman, I can not even imagine doubling this for a full Ironman. 

I bow to you, all those Ironmen out there.  I am in awe of you. 

There is a mental side of training that I was not expecting.  The part that wants to freak out and say, "What the H, double hockey sticks, are you doing???"  Why are you getting up at 4:20am to run 10 miles on a Saturday and swim 1200 meters afterward; only to get up the following Sunday and do a 3 hour bike ride with hills followed by another 20 minute run?  Yeah.

It is pure torture to look back each morning and see Charlie all cozy in bed with Gizmo curled up next to him. And each day you try not to collapse back into bed. It is almost like your mind is doing mental pushups every day.

Every day, there is the challenge to complete each workout without cheating, without skipping, without modification.  Each workout turns into its own mini victory. Somehow, you just keep workout at a time. 

And each day, I say a little prayer that somehow if I just keep trucking, I will be ready when I get there.  Here goes part 2 of the training plan.  Have MERCY!