Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moving update

As of last night at 5 PM, we are no longer home owners.  I've got mixed feelings about this.  I really, really love our house.  But I really don't like Houston.  I've joked that I wish we could take our house with us.  Hopefully we can find something we like in Denver - if anything, the view will be much better (hopefully).

Today is my last day in the Houston office.  We had a happy hour a week ago to say "goodbye", which was really nice.  As of yesterday, my office is about 2/3 of the way packed.  Wish I could say the same about the house.....

Tomorrow the movers show up to pack and load our house.  We'll be spending the night sleeping in our empty house on an air mattress.  Then Thursday, we'll be starting our migration to Denver, spending the night either in Stillwater, OK or Wichita, KS.  On Dec 31, we should be in our hotel in Denver.  Our stuff arrives in Denver Jan 7, so we have a week to figure out a place to rent.  We're not super picky - just really wanting 2 bedrooms and a 2 car garage.

Would like to write more later, but between being sick and moving, all my energy needs to go towards this.  We'll be taking photos along the way and I'll write up a move post.

2010 Training in Review

hoping for more of a big December, but the move and bronchitis had other ideas.... however, 2010 was a HUGE year compared to 2009.

Bike: 92h 21m 04s - 931.87 Mi
Run: 59h 23m 10s - 314.55 Mi
Swim: 123h 15m 55s - 305325.1 Yd
Pilates: 31h 15m
Yoga: 16h 05m

Bike: 106h 20m 16s - 1438.6 Mi

Run: 125h 24m 37s - 652.94 Mi
Swim: 101h 05m 38s - 254039.3 Yd
Pilates: 15h 50m
Yoga: 36h 05m

Bike:  the difference here is probably that I did once a week spinning for a good chunk of 2009 and hardly did any in 2010.  Also did longer 50+ rides and one century ride.

Run: HUGE difference - more than double the miles :)

Swim: not surprisingly (and sadly) my swim volume was down.  In 2009, I was still swimming 3-4 times a week.  In 2010, I had to drop down to 2 times a week.  Difference in yards is ~ 16 workouts.

Jan - Houston Half Marathon
Feb - Frost Yer Fanny Du
April - Ironman TX 70.3
June - Ironman Boise 70.3
July - Katy Flatlands Century Ride
August - TriGirl Sprint
September - Houston Oly
October - Firethrorn Sprint (5th place AG)
December - RunGirl Half Marathon

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Race Report - RunGirl Half Marathon

My coach wanted me to do a half marathon before the big move to Denver... had a choice between the Galveston Crab Walk half marathon or RunGirl.  I ended up going with RunGirl because its organized by local RDs and the run was essentially the bike course from TriGirl, which is 100% in a park.  That, and the goodie bags from the RD are usually the best in the area :)

It was pretty chilly out, but I prefer to run a bit chilly.  I decided to wear my Pistols for Pandas tank top and compression shorts, with a last minute addition of gloves and sleeves.  My friend and I hung out in the warmth of my truck until 15 minutes before race start.  What was nice about this race, as opposed to larger half marathons, was that this was a small race with maybe 300 participants.  Parking was right by the run start/exit, bathroom lines were small, and the start was uncrowded.  Since it was cold, I really didn't do a warm-up, except for a few leg swings and some half hearted leg stretching.

My goal was a 11:00/mile pace and a finish time of 2:25.  My coach has been having me do a bunch of pace running that decends to a few miles at the end at sub-30 seconds under race pace.  My plan was to go pretty easy (11:15) for the first half of the run to settle into a rhythm and then push 2 miles at 10:30/mile and see how long I could hold my 5 k pace to the finish.  Its been a while since I ran 13 miles continuously (without stopping at water stations) and I've been having random issues (quad, heel, tight calves), so I was curious to see how today would go.

Since the race was so small, people settled into their paces pretty early on.  I went out a bit too fast - 30 seconds under goal pace for the first mile but quickly settled.  The course was a bit hilly but I managed to hold onto my 11:00/pace.  Around mile 2, my calf decided to lock up, making my left foot go completely numb.  I kept running, hoping that, as it sometiems does, my calf could loosen up naturally.  I ran ~2 miles and nothing, so at the second water station, I walked for a bit.  Crazy enough, a few steps in, just like magic the blood vessels opened up and I had feeling back in my foot.  Hooray, especially since its hard to run with a totally numb foot.  Especially when it starts at mile 3 of a 13 mile race.  My foot went a bit numb over the next mile, but not as bad as before.  I ended up walking the next water stop (around 5.5 miles) since I took in a gel.  Fortunately, after that, my calf relaxed and my foot was good to go.  After the 5.5 mile aid station, I felt warm enough so I ditched the gloves and sleeves (tied them to my fuel belt).  The people around me (wearing tights and long sleeves or jackets) thought I was crazy, but I knew as long as I was in the sun, I'd be fine.  We came back through the start area through this strip that during TriGirl is the last 1/2 mile of the run and is horribly hot.  I laughed as the wind was blowing and it most definitely was not hot today.  Looped thru the race start and went off to complete loop 2.  I wanted to hold ~10:30 pace for 2-3 miles then hold a 5k pace for the last 2-3, depending on how things were going.  Weird part about this race was that I ran most of it by myself - I had no one to pace off of.  I kept watching my watch and somewhere around 1:50 I figured that if I held on, I may finish around 2:20, 5 minutes under my goal for the race.  With 3 miles left, I kicked it into gear, holding a 10:00/mile pace.  I felt muscles in my quads that I've not felt before and my legs/knees were starting to get wobbly.  Running faster than the 10:00 pace wasn't going to happen, but I felt good about maintaining things.  For the last 2 miles I just focused on catching people ahead of me - I NEVER pass people, so this was fun.  My goal was to finish strong, and I was doing that.  I came back through the TriGirl run course and knew that once I turned the corner I had 1/2 mile to go.  At that point, I just kept pushing (although really, it probably wasn't that fast... I was just trying to hold momentum), curious to see if I could come under 2:20.  All said and done, I came in at 2:20:42.1.... 4:18 under my goal time and 10:48 under my last half marathon in January.  Huge PR, all due to me running my ass off all year.

Post Race
put on warmer clothes, ate 3 breakfast tacos, sat in my truck with my friend to get warm.  good times!  I was limping a bit, but nothing near as bad as at the end of other long races.  Only did a bit of stretching, which will probably come back to bite me.

In comparing this race to January's Aramco Houston Half Marathon, they were 2 different races, mainly because I'm a more seasoned racer. 

In January, this was my first half marathon and my longest running race to date.  I was training with a more beginner-oriented group, doing a 5:1 run/walk ratio.  The crowds were much larger, the race was run.  But the race was also much harder to finish.  The last 2-3 miles were just tough, mentally and physically.  Also, the week leading up the the race, I was super nervous/excited.

This race, I entered it really just for fun and to see how I'd do.  I had a goal time, but no pressure.  Now, running 2.5 hours is no big deal, especially considering that I've spent 7+ hours on a race course twice since then.  This race was smaller and lacked the "show" of the Houston Aramco race, but it was prettier and probably more fun, since it was low key and in a really pretty park setting.  Going into this race, I wasn't nervous at all but I had a plan to execute.  I knew I could execute it based on the weeks of speed work leading up to the race.  So today was more a matter of testing myself and seeing how much I could do - and have fun doing it.

And based on my perfomance today, I would say I had a great race :)  Great way to end the season and Houston and to say goodbye to the local community before I move to Colorado.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

November Totals

First month of IMTX training - and my first month of being coached by Carole.  Focus this month seemed to be running, in preparation for the RunGirl half marathon on Dec 12th.  This was the first 100+ mile running month for me - pretty cool!

Bike: 11h 41m 47s - 125.58 Mi (mileage is short since I had 3.5 hrs on the trainer and my wheel magnet wasn't working, so I didn't get any mileage.  Mileage should be around 170 miles.)

Run: 19h 50m 06s - 104.06 Mi

Swim: 7h 40m - 17550 Yd

Yoga: 3h 00m

Review of November Goals
  • Get up to speed working with Coach Carole. This means learning to work with someone new, adjusting to their workouts, communication style. It also means more time on the bike. It was a bit bumpy in the beginning - the first week was a HUGE run week, 37 miles, where I'd been running 25 miles in a week.  That freaked me out.  But I think that week was a test and since then, we're getting into a rhythm and I'm figuring out how she works and vice versa.  She's been having me do a Friday run, Saturday long run, and then a Sunday run followed by a bike.  I think these Sunday runs (which are not awesome feeling) will teach me what it feels like to run coming off of a 112 mile bike.
  • Re-work my running schedule (again, with Coach Carole). I'm scratching the Houston Marathon (per Carole's instructions) and will most likely be doing the RunGirl 13.1 Dec 12th. I am running RunGirl, so this is done!
  • Get regular massages.  I got 3 (?) massages in November.  Then some muscles started hurting and I can't tell if its due to training or the massage.  So I'm chilling out on the massage front for a bit.  I have been spending more time with the foam roller and my Stick, since my left calf muscle is VERY tight. 
  • Keep my house clean - aka "show mode". We just listed it and we really need it to sell quickly. I am suprised and pleased to report that we have been doing a great job keeing the house clean. It helps that we don't have much in the house right now, so there's no clutter.  We also have our "show" routine down, so getting the house ready for a showing is pretty easy.
December Goals
  • RunGirl Half Marathon finish time of 2:25 (11:00/mile pace).  I did the Houston Half Marathon in 2:31 and I'm a faster runner now, so theoretically, I should be able to meet this goal.  The RunGirl course has some (small) hills, though, which could affect me.  We shall see.....
  • We had a preliminary offer on our house yesterday, which is great, but it makes the month of December really, really crazy.  The proposed close date is Dec 29th - we've asked for the option to lease it through Dec 31st so we have a few extra days.  This means I have to get quotes for movers, pack, figure out logistics, survive the selling process, and move to Denver.  To say I'm a little overwhelmed right now is an understatement.
  • Find a run group in Denver for my long runs.  Research swimming groups so I know what my options are, depending on where we end up living in January.
  • Keep up with the training, even with the moving craziness.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving workouts

aka - my coach may be trying to kill me, but its for my own good.

First of all, with my run this morning, I passed the 100 mile milestone for running.  My first time doing this.  Woot!

Workouts this weekend weren't terrible, but they were challenging.
  • Friday - 1 hr run with some short hill work
  • Saturday - 2 hr run with pace work.  During the run, I really didn't think I was hitting my pacing.  When I downloaded my file afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was right on the money for my pace.  Very cool.  No ice bath, but I did wear my compression socks and tights all day.
  • Sunday - 1 hr run follwed by a 2.5 hr bike.  It was very windy for the bike, so I flipped my garmin screen to show only total time, cadence, and HR.  This actually turned out to be really good, as I could focus on my cadence for the ride.  As a result, I had my highest average cadence ride to date.  I intended to take an ice bath when I was done, but this plan was thwarted by a last minute appointment by a realtor to show my house.  So instead of stretching and an ice bath, I sat in my truck stalked my house.  Should have at least worn my tights, but I feel like a dork going out in public in them, and by that point in the day, I had errands and chores to do. 
  • Monday - 1 hr run.  This was the worst run ever.  I think my pace was a pathetic 12:30/mile, which is SLOWER than my Boise 70.3 half marathon overall pace.  Everything was just so tight and wouldn't loosen up until the last mile.  I know why my coach had me do this run though - very realistic training for how things will feel during IMTX.  Better I get familiar with this sensation early so I can be mentally prepared for the suck-fest.
This week is a bit lighter - I've got the RunGirl half marathon in 2 weeks, so I've got some speedwork and then its taper time.  Yay!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Feeling Inspired

Sunday my "cousin" (Will's cousin Jeff's wife) completed Ironman Arizona in 16:04.  Tina is just amazing.  She used to be a marathoner - that is until she developed compartment syndrome, which basically means that anything below her knees is incredibly tight and running is very painful.  But being the very tough and determined person that she is, she's just kept on going.  To enable her to keep running, she's had to survive frequent and painful therapy to release the compressed tissues.  Most people with this syndrome just stop running - the treatment is just too painful.

I raced IM Boise 70.3 with Jeff and Tina in June.  She had a strong finish but knew that she had a lot of work ahead of her for IMAZ.  Her plan was the survive the swim, be strong on the bike, and walk/run the run.  I stalked her all day and was fairly concerned for her on the bike -the weather was horrible and I don't think her pace was as fast as she was hoping.  Fortunately, she made all the cutoffs and finished in 16:04.  Jeff took video of her finish line run and it brought tears to my eyes, just knowing everything that went into that moment.

Seeing Tina complete IMAZ definitely gives me a boost of confidence that I can complete IMTX.  :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

calm before the storm

I think we're going to have a very interesting couple of months (6-8?) ahead of us.  Wowzers.

Denver update
I am officially a Denver employee!  Yay!  I'm still living in Houston, probably for another month.  Our house has been on the market for 3 weeks - we've had 8 showings.  Most comments are that they like the house but don't like the apartments directly behind our house.  The apartments are actually condos, of which the majority are privately owned.  So, while there isn't anything we can do about them physically being behind our house, we can better educate potential buyers on what they are.  Hopefully this will yield some results.

We had 2 showing yesterday (Sunday), which strikes me as odd.  Sunday seems to be a day where most people get ready for the upcoming week.  At least for us, that's the day we do chores, laundry, grocery shop, and make our food for the week.  Having 2 showings put a crimp in our style.  Especially when the second one called us at 5:45 PM, asking if they could schedule a showing for 5:45 PM (me: "that's basically right now???").  We have an 1 hour courtesty notification on our listing and the listing service actually sounded a bit testy when I asked for 10-15 minutes so we could leave our house.  Good thing I wasn't in the middle of cooking dinner!  I mean, who really looks at a house at 6 PM on a Sunday night?  And the comments were that the "house wasn't large enough".  Ugh.  Annoying.

Our tentative plan is that I'm here until the end of December, then we'll drive me (and my bike) up to Denver, where I'll stay with my mom in January.  I should have a field project back in Houston for half of January, so I'll be going back and forth, which is perfect.  That way, I should have enough overtime from work where I can go up to Denver and look for a rental house w/out having to use vacation time.  Then at the end of January/early February (assuming our house doesn't sell before then), we'll pack the house up and move everyone up to Denver.  Will still isn't 100% on board, and I'm not sure why.  We both agree that living in limbo is a bad thing for both of us, but for whatever reason, he seems tentative to set a move date.

So far, so good.  After a killer week, things have stabilized and are going ok.  Fri-Sat-Sun seem to be killer days.  Friday is usually a swim workout and an 1 run.  Saturday is a long run, Sunday is a long bike (and with an occasional 1 hr run tossed in there).  Its challenging for me to work in some of the runs (ie hill workouts or the Friday runs) because I'm battling darkness.  I prefer to run in the mornings, when there isn't much traffic, but to make it to work on time, I need to be done by ~6:30.  On days where I swim (practice is in the morning), that leaves either a long lunch so I can run in the daylight or having to run after work in the dark. 

I pulled some stuff in my right leg during my heavy week.  My achilles is tweakly, likely from my Newtons.  Then I pulled my quad/adductor (same thing I pulled last Nov) - likely from not stretching when it was tweaky on a run last week.  I've been doing extra stretching and using KT tape, which helped.  Today things feel much better - I'd say 80%.  Hopefully things will continue to heal and I'll be 100% for my half marathon on Dec 12.

To make things even more fun for us, Will's got some family health issues that are pretty serious.  His grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Not a huge suprise as he's 89, and apparently its highly treatable.  And Will's dad is having more health issues.  His diabetes is not at all controlled, he's lost 100 lbs in 8 months (he's now at 250 lbs, but this is not healthy loss, he lost mostly muscle), he may have a rare bacterial infection in his heart (probably from his heart surgery), and he is needing more and more frequent care.  He keeps having low blood sugar episodes, which cause him to fall and not be able to get up, which then results in a 911 call.  He can't work and doesn't have enough money to cover his mortage and bills if he can't work.  We're (as a family) are looking at options and will likely have to make some difficult decisions soon. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

power of positive thinking

I survived my first official week of Ironman training,  More than that, I did really well and actually had fun.  I'm impressed with myself and how I did. 

This week I have:
Run 36.68 miles (a record for me by ~10 miles), including 1 track workout
rode my bike 3 times, including 2 trainer rides
swam 6300 yards
did yoga for one hour (not on my plan, but I did it anyways)
did a total of 13 hrs, 20 min of exercise

Friday-Saturday-Sunday were especially daunting.... 
Friday - masters swim practice, 70 min run
Saturday - 15 mile run, 30 min recovery bike
Sunday - 30 min run (which my coach told me will feel like crap) and 60 min bike

Scary, especially for a non-runner like me.  Especially with the 10 mile jump in weekly mileage AND the fact that this was my first 15 mile run.

Once I got over being freaked out - I mean, I can't be all defeatist "I can't do this" if I don't even TRY to do it first - and wrapped my head around it, I just went to work.  Follwed the plan.

I fully expected to not be able to walk last night.  I really had no idea how today's run and bike would feel.  And crazy enough, I felt pretty good last night.  And I was able to run and bike pretty darn easily today.

I'm pretty proud I stepped up to the challenge and am excited about the next 26 week of IMTX training ahead of me :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big deep breaths and positive thinking

This week is my first "official" IMTX training week.  If anyone is counting, I am 27 weeks away from the race.  I hired a coach and with any coach, there are "getting to know you" growing pains.  I've also never trained for an IM, so there's that unknown that I need to wrap my head around too.

My coach likes to load my workouts on a weekly basis, based on her experience as a coach.  In the past, she's loaded multiple weeks at a time, but then had to make a bunch of revisions, so she prefers to just load the workouts on a weekly basis to minimize any re-writes.  I'm a planner,so that's hard for me.  I like knowing what I'm doing several weeks out.  But I need to learn to let go and "trust the coach". 

This week is a run-heavy week.  When it was loaded on Sunday, my first (and second, third, fourth) thoughts were "holy crap, she is trying to kill me."  Lots of running.  8 miles yesterday, track workout tonight, 7 miles Friday, 15 miles Saturday, 3 miles Sunday (plus a little swim and bike thrown in).  I have never run that much in my life.  Its scary.

What I decided yesterday (after whining a bit) was that my attitude about this week is VERY defeatist.  I'm already thinking that I will die before I even attempt this week, when really, I have no idea how this week will go.  Instead, I should be approaching it with caution but also a "rise to meet the challenge" attitude.  That would set me up for success mentally instead of thinking I'm going to fail before I even begin.  Not to mention that this is my FIRST training week.  I have 27 more weeks ahead of me and 140.6 miles on May 21, 2011.  If anything, kicking my ass early and often will set me up for success during IMTX.  I just need to cut the control instinct and just roll with things.  And be positive.  Chances are, I'll surprise myself with what I can accomplish when challenged.

Monday, November 01, 2010

October Totals

My last month of "being a bum" before starting IMTX training.  I think that taking this time off has been really good.  I feel recharged and ready to roll.  October was really chaotic, with my transfer and getting the house ready, and spending a week in Denver.  I was very good in Denver, though - did 2 runs and 2 swims.  Running at altitude was actually easy (and it was 39 degrees!) but keeping my walls long during my swims was hard.  My poor lungs were burning from less oxygen.  The workouts in Denver must have paid off, though, because I managed to get 5th in my Age Group at Firethorne
Bike: 4h 21m 27s - 72.48 Mi
Run: 16h 59m 39s - 91.54 Mi (sooo close to 100 miles - this is the MOST MILES EVER for a month for me - I had 86 miles in May)
Swim: 9h 24m 34s - 24896.81 Yd
Yoga: 3h 00m


Review of Octobber Goals

  • Work on consistent weekly running. Would like to be able to report back next month that I was running 3x a week, just like my schedule says. I did much better this month!  I ran 3x a week for 3 of the 4 weeks this month.  The 1 week where I didn't do this, I decided I needed an extra day recovery from Firethorne (and from my Denver trip).  I ran all my planned long runs, except for the weekend I had Firethorne.
  • Work on tempo and speeds for running. Now that the cool weather is back, I need to incorporate more tempo running into my weekday runs. I didn't accomplish this goal, mainly because I was not specific in planning my runs.  Back when I was coached, I had intervals and speeds.  This month, I was more just like "push the back half or last few miles".  Not at all specific.  I will say that overall, my runs have been faster and I have been able to push harder with the cooler weather.  And at Firethorne, I did CRUSH my 5k PR (10:00/pace) by running the 3 miles at a 9:22/mile pace.
  • Enjoy this month - its the last month before Ironman training begins. Done and done!
 November Goals
  • Get up to speed working with Coach Carole.  This means learning to work with someone new, adjusting to their workouts, communication style.  It also means more time on the bike.
  • Re-work my running schedule (again, with Coach Carole).  I'm scratching the Houston Marathon (per Carole's instructions) and will most likely be doing the RunGirl 13.1 Dec 12th. 
  • Get regular massages.
  • Keep my house clean - aka "show mode".  We just listed it and we really need it to sell quickly.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Race Report - Firethorne Sprint Triathlon

AKA yet another race that I didn't really train for

AAKA my last local race in Houston

AAAKA the race in which I won a shiny!


This one was close to my house - so I got to sleep in a bit (5:30).  Rolled out to the race, ate my usual 1/2 of a protein bar and a diet coke.  Racking was open by row and for once, I was the closest rack to the bike in/out.  Yay!  I hate hate hate running in cycling shoes.  The racks were a mess, most people put their bikes facing the exit and then put their bags in the space where opposite bikes were supposed to go.  Sloppy racking is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.  Ran into a few friends and debated the merit of wetsuit use for a 500 m race. C (who is amazing and wins overall masters for every race she's entered this year) said that the water felt warmer than officials claimed and was going sans suit.  I went over and got my chip then decided investigate the water temperature situation.  I waded in knee deep and confirmed that yes, the water was warmer than the 73 degrees that officials were claiming - it felt more like 75 or 76.  There was none of that shock you get when you hit cold water.  And since this was only a 500 m swim, a wetsuit really wasn't worth the hassle, even with the wetsuit strippers.

Transition closed at 7:15, so I wandered over to the lake and ran into my swim coach and his relay team.  Hung with them for a while, ran into some other swim team friends.  My wave didn't start until 8:03 and the race started late, so I had time to kill.

I've swam in this lake 2x before, once in a wetsuit and once w/out.  Its a real simple counter clockwise rectangle course.  We wade in and I notice that there weren't all that many people in my wave - maybe 30-40 people.  I wanted to see how hard I could go but not completely redline.  The gun went off and it was a pretty smooth start - no jostling or crowding.  I did have one girl hang with me for the first 3 buoys but I had a feeling she would get tired and drop off, while I just got stronger.  Sure enough, just before the turn buoy, she cratered and I kept cruisng along, focusing on my kick.  For me, a strong kick = fast swim.  Its easy to forget your kick in distance swimming, so my job was to stay focused.  Coming into the finish, there weren't all that many people to swim through or much scrambling.  Getting out of the water, though, was very awkward, as the pond base was slimy clay and they only had a 4x8 ft piece of plywood for the "ramp" out.  I ended up losing my balance trying to stand and had to bend down and grab 2 fist-fulls of nasty clay.  I think I still have clay under my nails a day later.

Pretty basic.  Kept a good job to my bike (heard a go Boise! [my Boise tri kit]) and saw that most of the bikes were on the rack.  I didn't really see anyone in front of me or near me in the swim, so I had a feelilng I was close to the front, if not at the front of the pack.  Pretty clean T1, although I fumbled more than I would have liked with my socks.  I may want to consider ditching the socks in the future.

The bike course took us north up FM14XX past I-10 and then an out and back east/west along Hwy 90, then back south.  We had a pretty good wind from the south, so immediately, I was zipping along easily at 20+ mph.  Which is nice in terms of getting your bike flow and HR down, but sucky because you know its going to hurt coming back.  The course wasn't awesome, mainly because we didn't have a dedicated lane to ride in - it was mostly shoulder.  And all of Hwy 90 was chip seal with some pretty decent pits.  Once I got on Hwy 90, I wanted to stay slightly uncomfortable, in terms of speed and pacing.  I wanted to stay in Zone 3-4 and get some decent speed, staying around 18 mph.  When it came time to pass someone, I'd drop a gear and get up to 19.5 mph, stay there for 1-2 miles, until my legs started to feel fatigued, then drop back a gear to 18 mph.  I repeated this ~5 times over the 16 miles and I think the speed boosts helped to keep me sharp and focused.  No one in my AG passed me on the whole bike and at the turn, I really didn't see anyone close behind me.  This added to my motivation to keep pushing and see just how hard I could go.

It was pretty crowded coming into the bike in, so that was interesting.  Pretty smooth for the rest of the transition, except my sunglasses somehow got tangled up in my helmet.  I stayed on target though, only putting on my shoes, and carrying my garmin, visor, and drink out with me onto the run.

Run is always my weakness and to make it worse, it was hot out.  I hate hate hate running in the heat and have a hard time really pushing.  My goal today was to PR for the run - meaning I needed to be under a 10:00/mile pace for the first 2 miles, not walk at all, and kick it into gear for the final mile.  I decided to race in my Newtons, hoping that they'd give me an edget.  A bit risky, since I've never run "fast" in them, but I've been doing all my short (up to 7 mile) runs and bricks in them, and have been feeling pretty speedy in them.

The run first took you on a crushed granite loop around the lake then onto sidewalks and city streets, then more granite, then streets to the finish.  Around a 1/2 mile I got passed by 3 people in my AG.  They were flying, not much I could do.  I needed to stay on target with my pace and just push, no matter how uncomfortable I got.

For the first mile, I was around 9:45/mile (at least when I looked at my watch).  I was running faster than I'd wanted to and was torn.  Do I keep going since it feels ok and hope I don't crash or do I make myself slow down.  I don't know if I made a conscious decision on what to do - I think I pretty much played it by ear.  I do think I slowed down a bit for mile 2, I did see 10:xx/mile a few times.  Once I got to the last mile, I focused on light feet, short strides, and speed.  It was hot, my lungs weren't happy, but I was going to PR on the run.  To add motivation, no one else had passed me, and at the turn around, I didn't see anyone in my AG who were even close.  This put be at best in 4th place (assuming I was first out of the water).  I was not going to allow myself to crash and burn - I was going to hold my position or do my best possible to keep it.  I don't know what my pace was in the last 1/2 mile, but I suspect it was somewhere in the high 8:xx/mile area.  I'm certain my finish line pictures will be funny - I was fighting a side cramp and breathing hard.  But I finished STRONG and held my position.  Mission accomplished.

500 m swim, 16 mi bike, 3 mi run
Swim: 9:34.5; 1:55/100 meter pace (PR for tri suit)
T1: 1:46.1
Bike: 53:27.8; 18.0 mph
T2: 1:18
Run: 28:05.1; 9:22/mile pace (PR!!!)
Overall: 1:34:12

Swim: 2/21, 145/541 (I think my overall rank is a bit low due to the number of wetsuits in the race)
Bike: 4/21, 300/541
Run: 9/21, 347/541
Overall: 5/21, 245/541

Other Analysis
I did some number crunching, and I was 2nd going into the run by more than 1 minute.  It really shows how strong my swim leg is, since I was actually 4th in my AG on the bike.

Nutrition-wise, I think I over did it a bit.  I had 2 scoops of Infinit and 2/3 of a Hammer Gel.  I ended up with side stitches on the run.  Nothing terrible, but still, they're never fun.  I think if I didn't have that last gulp of gel, I could have avoided the side stitches.

I did this race last year and was hoping to compare 2009 to 2010.  They changed the bike course a bit (and added 1 mile) and changed the run (although I don't think they changed it substantially).  In 2009, I used a wetsuit and had a PR on the swim but was 45 seconds slower in T1 than 2010.  This year, I was actually a net 15 seconds faster on the swim, even without the wetsuit.  So, not wearing the wetsuit was actually the right decision.  Also, my 2009 finish time was 1:35:45, vs 1:34:15 in 2010.  The course was 1 mile LONGER and I finished 1:30 FASTER this year.  Go me!

And the best part.... awards were 5 deep.  Meaning I got a SHINY!!

Every emotional for me - this was my last local race in Houston.  Very amazing that I not only PR'd but got HARDWARE.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

milestone : 500 miles running in 2010

I really don't have a mileage goal for anything - I'm too new and figure as long as I'm having fun and meeting my training goals, I have no business setting mileage goals for the year.  And really, I have no idea what I'm actually capable of, in terms of annual mileage - I'm too green.

This week I hit 500 miles running for 2010.  My total mileage for 2009 was 315 miles.  I'm crushing last year's mileage - in fact, I wouldn't be suprised if I came close to doubling it.  Ok, I just did the math, I should do way more than double last year's mileage.  Wow.  For a "non-runner" that's a lot of running.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Mythical Way Home

Finally I can say it.  We are moving to Denver.  The possibility came up late July, became more concrete towards the end of August, and finally yesterday, I got my transfer letter.  I've told a few people well before the letter, but since we had to figure out how to approach Will's job, we couldn't make a grand announcement until yesterday.

I'm 4th or 5th generation Coloradan, but when I graduated high school, I couldn't wait to escape.  Went to college in Montana, met a boy who was getting an oil-industry degree.  We decided who ever got the better job, that's where the other would go.  In 1998, the oil industry was doing well, and it became obvious that our path would be to a place that is oil-centric, namely Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, or Oklahoma City.  Will ended up with offers in Houston and Dallas, and we chose Houston.  The idea was that we would live here for 5 years and move to Denver.  That was in June 1998.... more than 12 years ago.  So much for our "5 year plan".  Over the years, we thought about just up and moving, but the stars weren't aligning.  One of us had too good of a job opportunity in Houston to give up, the market was crappy, house market was too high, too low. 

When I took my present job in 2006, our corporate HQ is in Denver.  The idea was that I'd prove myself in Houston for 2 years and then try to get a transfer.  Fast forward 2 years, and I had great opportunities in Houston with the company, I had a sweet professional network that aligned me on a fast-track career path, and as much as I hated Houston, I couldn't imagine giving up my network, which at the time didn't translate to Denver.  In 2010, our company moved from a regional organization to a national organization, which in the back of my head a little voice was saying "hmmm, maybe this will open up new opportunties to the west".  Still, everyone WANTS to go to Denver and its very competitive.  I just kind of gave up actively persuing Denver.  We hate Houston, but we like our friends and our life here.  We decided that was enough for us (with kick ass vacations thrown in).

My workload in the past few months have dwindled, some of it was client related, but really, I was beginning to see that my office was not getting the types of projects that I wanted to do.  I'm one of those people who like big robust projects that are long term and high profile.  I hate scrapping work together week after week, just to stay busy (which has been what I've been doing for most of 2010).  In July, we got a new account manager for a project I've been managing for a while.  Its listed as one of our top clients to grow and I regularly get calls from BD people, asking how to grow the project.  Really, the project has a mind of its own and there's little we can do to expand it.  So, when this new account manager (R) called me, I was not very excited, thinking it was another BD person with the same MO as all the others.  R was different, she was very understanding of the complexities of the project and wasn't pushy.  R is also a staffing manager in the Denver office and said she noticed my name was on the weekly national "light on work call".  I confirmed that it was, and she asked me a few questions about my experience.  She had a project that needed a PM - but the requirement would be a transfer to Denver.  Strangely enough, I have the exact qualifications for the project (client and technology), and when she said Denver, I replied back with "I'm a Native and I have my CO PE."  We both agreed that there were too many coincidences for this to all mean nothing.  R did some checking on me, to make sure I was a good candidate.  She came to Houston in August for BD work and we discussed the opportunity in more detail - left me with a choice of positions: the Denver PM job or stay in Houston and lead our BD effort for a client sector.  Incredibly flattering, and I was not expecting 2 offers.  After a few sleepless nights, I decided that while the BD offer was VERY flattering, it was still not a sure thing.  Moving to Denver for a new project was a sure thing - and it meant moving both to our corporate HQ and moving HOME.  Something I wanted to escape from so badly when I was 18, but have trying to figure out how to return there for the past 10 years.

At the end of August, it was determined that I was THE candidate for the job.  How does that happen?  Everyone wants to move to Denver - why and how did it end up that little old me is the best one for the job?  This has been more flattering than words can describe - basically being hand picked for a complicated high profile project.  Wow.

And then once I made my committment, it took 1.5 months to get the offer put together.  Ugh.  That's ok, I've been here 12 years, what's waiting a few more months. 

Will's job has been an interesting complication - he started a new job on Sept 1.  Fortunately, its with people he's worked with off and on for the past 6 years.  Our hope was that they would be ok with Will telecommuting.  Will told his boss yesterday, and it went great.  His boss basically said that Will could work for them, no matter where he was living.  I can't even express how great it is to see our hard work being paid off with such loyalty. 

So, we've got out work cut out for us.  We're in the process of clearing out our house and making a few small repairs.  House will go on the market Oct 29th.  We're pricing it aggressively so it will hopefully sell fast.

My official transfer date is Nov 13th, but really, that's an administrative date.  Denver said that as long as I get up there in 1-2 months after Nov 13th, then I'm ok.  They understand that I have a house and husband to figure out.  And if our house doesn't sell by Christmas, I'll go live with my mom (its nice to have that option, but yikes) and Will would hang out here until the house sells.  Lets just hope it sells fast.

And then there's also marathon and IMTX training at altitude and in the winter with snow.  We'll just see how that goes.  Too easy to get overwhelmed right now.

We're very excited but at the same time scared and sad.  Houston, as much as I knock it, has been really good to us.  We've made great friends and we really like our life here (except for the heat, humidity, and ugliness).  However, I really have to belive that Denver is where we belong.  Hopefully I'm right.  There's only one way to find out.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Race Report - Houston Triathlon

Meant to get this done sooner, but this race was my one day off, smack in the middle of 1.5 weeks of field work and then a quickie weekend trip to MN for a wedding. 

This race had three options: full Oly distance tri, 300 m swim then oly distance bike/run, and a duathlon.  Lots of choices. I did the fully Oly distance.

I signed up for this race on somewhat of a whim, but also had a few reasons. 
  1. I'm still really cranky I didn't get to do the Gateway to the Bay Oly in April, because I had the world's worst stomach virus the night (and morning) before the race.  I had an Oly distance as an unoffical goal for 2010, and even though it was supposed to be BEFORE a 70.3, I still wanted to race this distance.
  2. Several of my friends were doing this race - racing with friends is fun!
  3. Wasn't sure if this would be my last chance to race in Houston in before IMTX, so I wanted to enter for nostalgia.
Since I entered on a whim, I really hadn't trained for this race either.  Now, I've been swimming 7,000 yards a week and doing my marathon training.  Haven't touched the bike much, but I did do a 43 mile ride the weekend before the Oly.  When I told Will that I haven't trained for the race he asks me "what have you been doing in the mornings if its not training???"  Silly boy.  I had to explain the difference between training for the sake of just having something to do versus actually training for a specific event.

So, I signed up and THEN read the course layout.  After I signed up.  2 loop swim with a 300 ft run in the middle, 1/4 mile "run" between the swim exit and transition, 2 loop bike course (with up ato 1,000 athletes on it), and a run which included a lap through the football stadium and UP the stadium ramps.  Uh, yeah.  Why did I sign up again?  All this race needed to complete "the crazy" was a mud pit and fire at the finish line.

This race was relatively close to my house, which was nice.  Parking was a bit of a bear (one entrance) but once I got parked, transition was nice.  I love it when they pre-assign numbers.  Also, the two people on either side of me never showed up, so I had tons of space.  I got my gear set up and then checked in on some friends (two of which had never done a duathlon before).  Then transition closed and it was off for a long trek to the swim start...

The swim was in a residential lake and consisted of a 2 loop (700 m loop) swim with a 300 m run btwn loops.  The idea was to have this swim be like ITU races.  To complicate things, the start was a wave start, so eventually, you'd have waves of people starting and other swimmers starting their second loop - sort of like a crazy merge onto a highway.  Or roller derby.  I was in the last wave (boo).  Made for a crowded first loop but the second loop was a bit better. 

This was probably one of the craziest swims I've done in a while, mainly due to the congestion.  I seemed to have some girl in my wave magnetically attracted to me.  She's be all up in my business, whacking me, and then I'd see her veer off sharply off course.  Then a few minutes later, she's whacking me again.  I've never been whacked on the back of the head so many times.  I really think this chick swim an extra 1/4 of the course with her navigation issues.  My pace and effort felt ok, navigation was good.  The 300 m run sucked - mainly because you go from being at a horizontal redline to a vertical redline and back to horizontal.  Lots of blood flow and stomach shifting.  Basically the run sequence made me nauseous, which is never fun.  I didn't hit my watch a loop split, so I have no idea which loop was faster.  Its a toss up, because I spent most of the second loop navigating around the older men of the previous waves.  I had a really good hand-up out of the water (there was a big step to exit) and then it was off, running along the carpeted 1/4 mile road into T1.  My achilles had been acting up, so best I could manage was a pathetic jog, which sucked since people I beat out of the water were now beating me to T1.  Boo.

Nothing notable.  Put bike shoes on, number on, helmet on, grab bike and go.  It did seem like the bike mount line was pretty far away from the transition gate, but I was hobbling along, so chances are, it was just me.

Bike was a pretty straightfoward 2 loop course with long straight stretches of road.  Immediately out from T1 I saw 22 mph on my Garmin and thought "sweet - I'm hauling and not dying!"  Then I turned the corner and realized that my speed was aided by a tailwind.  Nothing like reality to bring you back down.  The wind was maybe 15-20 mph (2nd loop stronger than the 1st) and it was pretty much head/tail wind.  I much prefer that to crosswind, because with head/tail wind at least you get SOME reward during the tailwind part.  Crosswinds are just annoying and wear you down, with little reward.  The bike wasn't as crowded as I feared.  I caught up with my duathlon friend, he seemed like he was doing ok.  When I asked him what loop he was on, he said "2" and I had a few select words, mostly related to being the last wave on the swim.  I was destined to be on the course forever.  The second loop was a bit windier, but the course was flat so it wasn't awful.  My speed in the headwind was ~12-14 mph, while I easily maintained 20-24 on the tailwind.  Around mile 15 I could tell that I haven't spent much time in the saddle - especially in my Boise kit.  Things were starting to get a bit uncomfortable - nothing awful, just a good reminder of why actually training for a race is a good idea.

Nothing remarkable here.  I did actually manage to wait until I was running away from my transition spot before putting my hat on.

I've been regularly running 5 miles for my "short" runs and 11 miles for my long runs.  A 10k straight should not be a problem.  The first 3 miles were great - it was cloudy and the run course was nice.  It was in a residential neighborhood and we went along crushed gravel paths adjacent to houses and lakes - some of the residents were even on their back patios cheering us along.  Right around mile 3 the sun came out and *bam* I got hot.  And anyone (all 2 of you!) who reads my blog knows that I fall apart when the heat starts.  And so I started walking bits and pieces.  Not awful, but definitely not great.  I went from "hey, I bet I can negative split the run" when it was cloudy to "hmmm, heart rate is up there, lets slow down and have fun".  I fully admit to walking the ENTIRE football stadium section.  It was just silly.  Around the football field, up the spectator ramps, around the seating area, and back down the ramp.  Given my shin split / achilles issues lately, I thought running up/down the ramps was a dumb idea and was perfectly happy walking.  I did run the final 1.2 miles, so at least I have that.  Once I got within a 1/2 mile of the finish, you could see the transition area and you just KNEW you were close.  I tried to go faster (sub-9:30 pace) but there just wasn't any gas left.  At least I know I finished hard and couldn't have finished any faster than I did.

Results - 1500 m swim, 24.85 mi bike, 6.2 mi run
Swim: 31:04.8; 2:07/100 meter pace (slow for me, not sure what the deal was)
T1: 5:24.8 (gotta love the 1/4 mile run to T1!)
Bike: 1:25.1; 17.5 mph
T2: 1:23
Run: 1:14:59, 12:05/mile pace
Overall: 3:17:59

Swim: 8/34, 37/643
Bike: 24/34, 507/643
Run: 29/34, 544/643
Overall: 27/34, 477/643

Closing Thoughts
Overall, the race was actually pretty fun.  The swim and the football stadium were annoying, but I understand why the RD set up the race like that.  He was trying to do something different and fun.  Its just that my version of different and fun are not quite in line with his version.  My stretch goal time was 3:15, so I came pretty close to hitting it.  I told myself that anything under 3:30 would be fine, and I cam in way faster than that.

I had a good time, and I think with the improvements they'll make next year (this year was the inaugural race), it will be even better.

Monday, October 04, 2010

September Totals

Still in "not really training" mode.  I did try to focus more on running this month.  When I did last month's post, I realized that while I'm supposed to be running 3 times a week (2 x 5 miles, 1 x long run) I was consistently only doing 2 of the 3 runs, for various reasons (usually related to work or a race).  So, in my brilliance, I decided to make sure I did all 3 runs the first week of Sept, effectively a 22% mileage increase.  And I used my Newtons for both 5 mile runs.  In my warped head, I figured that I'd built up to 5 miles in the Newtons, so 2 x 5 miles (Tues/Thurs) was no big deal.  Also, I somehow think that if its on my plan, even when I don't run according to plan, I'm still operating at that mileage.  So I didn't think that adding another 5 miles to my week would do anything.  Wrong.  Hellllooo shin splints, where have you been?  And also I developed some new achilles tenderness.  Which made me skip some runs in September, and now I'm in some sort of loop.  But I think I learned my lesson.  Hopefully.

Bike: 5h 53m 08s - 95.09 Mi (including 40k bike from a race)
Run: 12h 24m 17s - 63.32 Mi (not too shabby - up from 44 miles last month).
Swim: 9h 56m 04s - 25240.42 Yd
Yoga: 3h 00m

Interesting tidbit - Sept ties for my 2nd highest monthly run mileage.  The highest was 86 miles in May (peak IM Boise 70.3 training) then I had 63 miles in April (build month for IM TX 70.3).  Pretty cool that I'm maintaining a mileage that was once really hard to maintain.

Review of September Goals

Enjoy the calm before the storm. I think September was a pretty chill month.  I did a nice ride on the IronStar course, put down a decent time on the Houston Olympic Triathlon, even though I haven't been training specifically for it.  Tried to be more consistent with the running, but only managed to run my 3 runs/week once, which resulted in injury.  Awesome.  But I did get in every long run in Sept, except for one.  I had to work that Saturday and had the Oly the next day, so chances are even if I wasn't working, I would have skipped that run anyways. 

October Goals
  • Work on consistent weekly running.  Would like to be able to report back next month that I was running 3x a week, just like my schedule says.
  • Work on tempo and speeds for running.  Now that the cool weather is back, I need to incorporate more tempo running into my weekday runs.
  • Enjoy this month - its the last month before Ironman training begins.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Maybe that whole thing about the Mayan Calendar is true

For the first time ever, I've run more than I've swam.  Eeeks.

I'm afraid to find out what this means....

Acutally, its just because there was a storm (abeit a VERY far off storm) Friday morning, which meant that practice was cancelled.  I meant to head in later in the day, but work had other plans.  But still, nearly 2x the amount of run time.  Craziness.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

August Totals

Not really training for anything, so this is really a filler post.  lolz.  Well, scratch that.  I am technically training for the Houston Marathon, but looking at my training calendar, I realized there was only one week where I ran all 3 of my weekly runs.  Most weeks I only got in 2 runs a week.  Maybe I'll do better this month....

Bike: 3h 42m 23s - 60 Mi

Run: 8h 33m 48s - 44.54 Mi
Swim: 9h 31m 13s - 24578.08 Yd
Yoga: 3h 00m


Analysis: bike was much lower, but that's because I've intentionally not been riding it much.  And July had a century ride.  Run was slightly higher, and that was including bailing on 2 long runs because of race conflicts, and I missed another long run for vacation.  I'll consider that a success.  Swim yardage was higher, which is interesting since I took a week vacation.  I suppose all things considered, August was a pretty decent training but not-really-training month.

Review of August Goals
  • Still going for the "take it easy and have fun" with some modifications. goal achieved!
  • Start marathon training. I signed up for Kenyan way and I have my schedule for the month. I can't follow it completely due to some race conflicts but overall it seems manageable. I think I'm on target with this goal.
  • Lazy-Hazy 5k (my last race for Team JambaJuice). I'm hesitant to put a time goal down because of the heat, but during the last 5k I walked for 30 seconds at the last water station. If I didn't walk, I would have finished in under 31 minutes. Granted, I still had a PR that day, but I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't gut it out more. Its only 3 miles. I should have sucked it up more. Goal for this race is no walking unless puking is imminent. My time was slower than the last 5k I did, but I stayed true to my goal and did not walk.  I attribute the slower time (nearly a minute) to the fact that it was WAY HOTTER.  Like I had no buisness running a 5k kind of hot. 
  • TriGirl Sprint Triathlon. This will be my first "repeat" triathlon and it will be interesting to see if I've improved. Last year I finished in 1:16. Granted, I haven't been training for sprints AT ALL. And really, I've barely touched my bike. But I would be very happy if I could beat my time from last year, just knowing that my overall fitness and mental toughness have improved since last year. Didn't beat my time, but I think that's because distances were different (swim, especially) and the bike course had more 90-degree turns.  My overall rannkings (age group and overall) were better, so this is probably a better way to evaluate improvement. 
  • Slowly break in my Newtons. Its very tempting to rush it, but I'm going to be responsible and break them in properly so I don't get injured. I'm staying on plan.  Currently up to running 3 miles in the Newtons.  I really really like them :)
September Goals
I'm actually not going to do goals this month, because so many things are up in the air.  I pretty much have the first 2 weeks of September where I know I can stay on schedule and the rest of it is chaos.  Two weeks of babysitting a boat in a refinery has a way of doing that to you.  October looks even crazier, and don't even get me started on this fall and winter. 

So I guess my goal for September is to enjoy the calm before the storm.  Because really, the next 6 months ahead of me are looking really insane (but in a way where things will all be better when we come out the other side).  How's that for vague and ominous?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Race Report - Tri Girl Sprint Triathlon

I know, I still need to do a Boise RR.  Its half written and on my desktop.  I'll post it eventually.  But this RR is super easy.

sunrise at the swim start
Showed up at 5:45 to set up.  Was a bit different than normal, as I had a friend (M) with me and it was her first time doing a triathlon.  I wanted to make sure she got set up properly, to make things easier on her.  The RD did pre-assigned racking by number, so that made things easy.  I'm pretty sure they gave us more space than normal between numbers, as it seemed like I had quite a bit of room for my stuff.  Or maybe it felt that way because my last two races were HIM distance, with a lot more stuff.

Pretty basic - 300 meter, counter-clockwise triangle, ~60 people in my wave.  I normally like to be at the start buoy closest to the buoy line, but this time I got to the swim start a bit later than normal, and it was pretty crowded on that side.  I prefer to be in the front, so I ended up over to the far right of the start area.  This actually worked pretty well, as I decided to swim straight to the corner buoy from my starting position. This actually meant I had a ton of clear water (since everyone flocks to the buoy line) and I'm pretty sure my swim distance was a tiny bit shorter.  I hit the first turn and remarked to myself at how short this was.  ("hmmm, turn already?")  The course people were awesome and put a line of noodles together between the buoys.  This meant I never had to look up to sight, I just had to avoid the slower people from the wave in front of me and make sure I stayed a consistent distance away from the noodles.  I was in the second wave, which again, was really nice, because I only had to swim through one wave's worth of slow people.  I'm usually towards the end and get stuck dodging older men.  I swam hard to the finish, got a hand up out of the water and jogged into transition.

Not much to say.  Hardly anyone in transition yet (good sign for a strong swim) but I spent time messing with stupid things.  Got to the bike mount line and dummy didn't arrange my pedals for a quick mount (I'm not coordinated enough to try for the pre-clipped shoes).  It felt like forever to clip my feet in.  Grr.

I have not spent much time on my bike in the past two months, and I've definitely not spent much time doing speed work.  The thing with sprints is that there's a very fine line between fast enough and so fast you burn your legs up for the run.  The course was an out and back though a park with some small hills and way too many 90-degree turns.  Right away I got a good rhythm going and saw 19-20 mph on my garmin.  There was some girl in my age group that blew past me on the bike, but was showing some fading or pace issues.  I noticed on some small hills that she was struggling, and I knew that I could take her on the hills thanks to my Boise training.  Not too much to say about the bike, other than it was a whole lot of passing people in the first wave, a little bit of me being passed, and me trying to go fast but not blow my legs out.  The course was a tiny bit nasty because it was mostly downhill going out and uphill coming back (we're talking maybe 100 ft elevation, though).  And all those dang turns were major speed and cadence killers.  When we came out of the park, the girl from before (who I ended up passing in the hilly section) blew past me and I was just hoping she'd blow her legs out by going too fast.  My mph was slower than going out on the flat but I didn't want to push it and not have enough for the run. I was just focusing on keeping my cadence high and my legs light for the last bit before transition.  The photographer remarked "good job Lady" to me as I came in, which was odd.  Lady.  When I told Will about this later on he said "you're no lady!" If only I had thought of that quip on the course.

Shoes off and back on easy, but I was dinking around with my garmin.  I finally told myself that hello, its a race, and I can mess with the garmin while I ran.  Turns out I forgot how to operate my garmin for races... you can't reset times if the timer is still going.  Idiot.

So last year, I remember that it was really hot and I walked way too much.  My goal was to negative split and not walk.  I ended up wearing my Brooks, despite the calf tightness I have when wearing them.  Sure enough, during the first 2 miles, my calves were not that happy.  Not sure if this is a function of me not doing many bricks lately or the shoes.  The first half mile of the run is icky - full sun, pavement.  But once you get into the park and the trees, its a nice winding paved/gravel trail in the trees.  I was behind my cycling nemisis and slowly gaining on her.  To my delight, she started walking at the water station and I knew I had her.  I carry my own water anymore, to avoid congestion and the temptation to walk at the water stops.  So I just kept cruisng on though at my own pace.  After the turnaround (1.5 miles) my legs loosened up a bit and I sped up.  With a mile left, I tried to go faster - kept my pace at or below 10:00/mile, with pushing hard for the last 1/3 mile.  Its really not that hard to push yourself when the run is only 3 miles (and your last race was a HIM).  Into the chute and my name was called.  Then an ice-cold towel around my neck and I was happy and done.

I need to tweak my bike-nutrition for sprints. I mixed my Infinit the same as normal, 2 scoops for one bike bottle (about an hour's worth). This is what I did for all my sprints last year, my training rides, and my HIMs. Well, apparently its too much for a sprint because I got some twinges of stomach cramps on the bike and two not-very-nice side-stitches on the run.  The overall effort is only around an hour (shorter than most of my workouts), so I think I'm at the point in training my glycogen levels where I don't need so much fuel during a sprint and I can go with maybe a half-strength mix and be just fine.

My goal coming into this thing was to beat last year's time (1:16).  I'm much stronger now and I thought if I could run the whole run, I was golden.  I was pretty bummed that I was a minute slower than last year.  However, the swim last year was short, and according to my friends, there weren't as many turns last year either.  When I compare my stats from 2009 to 2010, I made a marked improvement in the swim, run, both transitions, and my overall time, when compared to my own times and my placement in the age group and overall field.  My bike was slower, and I'm just chalking it up to not doing as much speed work and all the sharp turns (I was 0.5 mph slower). 

Swim: 6:13.8; 2:07/100 meter pace (several of us felt the swim was long this time)
T1: 1:42.9 (my fastest T1 ever)
Bike: 36:23.9; 18.1 mph
T2: 1:17.4 (my fastest T2 ever)
Run: 31:52.2; 10:37/mile pace
Overall: 1:17:30

Swim: 4/58, 19/353 (I'm happy about that)
Bike: 19/58, 87/353
Run: 32/58, 186/353
Overall: 17/58, 89/353

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marathon Training and Yoga

Marathon training has officially begun.  Well, mostly.  After much internal debating (and talking with friends) I decided to join Kenyan Way for marathon training.  I have my schedule through the Houston Marathon (assuming I "win" the lottery next Tuesday) and I think it wil work.  I could choose how many days a week I want to run (I chose 3), my current weekly distance and long run distance (15 miles/week, 10 mile long run), and I can also adjust my training pace to accomodate the heat and humidity.  For now until ~October, I'm basically running 5 miles on Tues, 5 miles on Thurs, and 11 miles on Saturday (21 miles per week).  Every 4th week is a recovery week, where my long runs are cut by 4 miles.  Then in October, the speed work (track sets or progressive runs) kick in, my week-day runs are between 5-7 miles long,  and my long runs gradually get longer and longer until December where I start running 20 miles.  I will have 3, 20 mile runs.  They'll be broken up, one week will be 20 miles, next week will be 12 miles, then 20, and so on.  Christmas Day will be celebrated by a 20 mile run.  Lucky me.  I suppose my "present" will be an ice bath and a nap.  Plus, I can eat whatever I want all weekend guilt-free.

Based on what my friends say, this seems like a good, solid plan.  Its nice to hear I chose wisely.  Especially when I look at my former running club's marathon training plan.  The longest run is only 15 miles - at Thanksgiving.  Two months before the marathon.  Not to mention they're missing more than a few miles.  Those poor people, it will be a tough race for them.  Glad I was smart enough to switch groups!  It may cost more and its farther away, but being properly trained is worth it!

The new running shoes are still being broken in.  Or maybe its me that's being broken in.  The Newtons are doing really well.  I've run 4 times in them, being well-behaved and only doing 1 miles per run in them.  They feel good.  Wish I could say the same for my Brooks.  My calves/achilles are so tight when I run in them, and lately my left foot goes numb after 2 miles.  Hoping this is just me being my usual "resistant to change" and hopefully running in the Brooks will get better.  I'm very tempted to race TriGirl in my Newtons this weekend, but its not worth a potenial injury from doing too much too fast in strange, form-altering shoes, so I will run in either my old NB's or run in the Brooks.

Something else I've been working on is yoga.  I've been actually more of a pilates person - have been doing pilates consistenly for ~3 years.  I really liked the core elements combined with the stretching.  But lately its boring and not very challenging.  Most likely because the Monday "Power Pilates" instructor (while very nice and technically a good instructor) is just not challenging enough for me.  I loved the old instructor - if I skipped even one week, I would be sore for days.  But I suppose the other ladies (who are not hard-core like me.. ie do "normal" amounts of exercise) didn't appreciate the harder workouts and complained.  Which is why I'm not being challenged enough.  Sure, I could take private reformer classes, but I'm not sure I want to fork over the $ for that.  I added in yoga last year, at the encouragement of some gym-friends of mine.  There's a 5:15 AM spin class and most end up going to yoga at 6 AM, which is a pretty insane, but actually good combination.  I did that last fall, then last winter I decided that waking up early on Thursdays was too much to ask of myself, so I stopped.  I resumed the spin/yoga in February, when HIM training started.  I've since dropped the spin class but have continued with the yoga.  We've had 3 yoga instructors since I started.  Andrew was insane - his class was more of a "look at the crazy things I can do", while most of us watched and laughed our own "yeah, right, I'm never going to be able to do that" laugh.  He moved, then we got a woman, who well, sucked.  But it was the only yoga class I could fit in, so I went anyways.  Some was better than nothing.  There were so many complaints about her that she was replaced by Bob.  Bob used to drive me batty, because the few times I went to one of his classes, he did breathing stuff, and he had finger chimes.  Blech.  I really didn't like his classes at first, but like I said before, it was the only class I could work into my schedule, so I needed to suck it up.  I don't know what happened, but about 2 months ago, I really started enjoying his class.  Poses were getting easier, and while he didn't do much breath work, the 2 minutes he does at the very end (while sitting - not lying down) is actually very useful.  And the breathing cues he gives us during the poses are very helpful too.  My favorite poses are half moon and anything with pidgeon.  He's also big on triangle and revolved triangle (or other revolved poses) and with my swimmer shoulders, I have pretty limited mobility in getting them rotated around and open.  But lately, he's been having to adjust me less and less.  I don't know if he's just given up on me or if I'm better.  I like to think I'm getting better.  I even got a "you're doing better" at the end of class yesterday (un-solicited!).

So now, I think I may drop pilates entirely, since Monday is now my recovery day (and the other yoga classes are even less challenging than the Monday night one) and just keep yoga.  It will be interesting to see how I can keep doing yoga at 6 AM when I also have a 7 mile run scheduled.  Maybe by that time I can run after work.  Or I will just be waking up at 4 AM to cram all this in before work.  I don't know.  But its nice to be able to see progress in something that was challenging (and frustrating at times) and then be able to translate it into other elements of my training.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

July Totals

Not sure if this will much better than June.  I was a slacker in July and it was awesome.  If your definition of slacker includes doing a century ride.  Clearly, my grasp on reality is not a strong one.  Plus, I don't live and die by how many miles or mintues I've trained right now.  Its very freeing and I can honestly say I'm having a fun time.  I'm probably logging as many miles/minutes as I was at this point last summer, but compared the structure and volume of my HIM training this spring, I feel very relaxed and free.  Way cool.

Bike: 10h 18m 29s - 167.21 Mi [115 miles in June]
Run: 8h 04m 02s - 41.25 Mi  [32.51 miles in June]
Swim: 8h 09m 42s - 21250 Yd  [16612 yards in June]
Pilates: 50m
Yoga: 4h 00m

So ok, slightly better than June.  Interesting.  I've been cycling sporadically (every other weekend), swimming Wed and Friday (Monday is now my rest day - I used to have Friday as my rest day but I figure with all my big IMTX weekends, Monday recovery will be manditory).  I have been consistently running.  Typically 3 miles on Tuesday and a longer run on Saturday (8-10 miles).  I'm really trying to be consistent on the running, which is hard because of the heat, but I do not want to lose my base which I worked so hard to attain.

And recently, I've noticed that I'm really liking yoga.  More than pilates.  I used to loooove pilates but the gym switched instructors ~9 months ago, and while she's ince and technically good, its just not very hard.  I'm just not getting much out of it - not seeing much improvement.  But with yoga, I'm seeing improvement.  Lately I've been getting "very good" and no posture corrections from the instructor, which is cool.  I'm really surprised by my changing tastes because I've been a big fan of pilates for years and now here I am considering dropping it from my training routine completely.

Review of July Goals
I really didn't have any goals other than "take it easy and have fun."  Mission accomplished.  I like goals like this.

Goals for August
  • Still going for the "take it easy and have fun" with some modifications.
  • Start marathon training.  I signed up for Kenyan way and I have my schedule for the month.  I can't follow it completely due to some race conflicts but overall it seems manageable.
  • Lazy-Hazy 5k (my last race for Team JambaJuice).  I'm hesitant to put a time goal down because of the heat, but during the last 5k I walked for 30 seconds at the last water station.  If I didn't walk, I would have finished in under 31 minutes.  Granted, I still had a PR that day, but I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't gut it out more.  Its only 3 miles.  I should have sucked it up more.  Goal for this race is no walking unless puking is imminent.
  • TriGirl Sprint Triathlon.  This will be my first "repeat" triathlon and it will be interesting to see if I've improved.  Last year I finished in 1:16.  Granted, I haven't been training for sprints AT ALL.  And really, I've barely touched my bike.  But I would be very happy if I could beat my time from last year, just knowing that my overall fitness and mental toughness have improved since last year.
  • Slowly break in my Newtons.  Its very tempting to rush it, but I'm going to be responsible and break them in properly so I don't get injured. 

Monday, August 02, 2010

New Shoes!

I recently had a friend of mine post on facebook how she was home visiting her mom and went shopping.  Strange part was that she wasn't shopping for sports related clothing or equipment.  She was shopping for "normal" stuff most women buy.

I couldn't even tell you the last time I purchased clothing that was not intended for athletic endeavours.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  The last "non athletic" shoes I bought were a couple pairs of flats (Bare Trap - super cute and comfy!) for work, think I got them sometime in March or April.  Only purchased them because with all my running I just couldn't wear heels anymore (even a tiny heel) and I was getting stink-eye from coworkers from wearing my running shoes in the office.  So I bascially bought nice comfy shoes that may or may not resemble fancy slippers.

Last week the balls of my feet were sore.  Now, my feet are tweaky anyways, but this wasn't normal.  I thought it could be residual soreness from my century ride, but it had been nearly 10 days since the ride and my feet were still sore.  So after my 10 mile run on Saturday, I figured out I had put 271 miles on my shoes since March, which meant that I was probably close to needing a new pair.  I was a bit bummed they were done so early, which meant I likely needed to switch from my beloved New Balance 76X series to something more durable.

Changing shoes always makes me nervous.  Two foot surgeries and a broken foot make for very nervous feet.

My brick on Sunday confirmed things - I needed new shoes.  Didn't want to draw things out, so I trundled over to Luke's Locker to see what the options where.  Sarah looked at the bottom of my shoes - worn almost all the way to the base under the balls of my foot.  She had me run around barefoot to judge my gait - asked if I was purposely running fore-foot.  Nope, that's just how I run.  (or I suppose that's how I run.  barefoot through a store with people watching me.  not exactly normal conditions....)  She thought I had a bit of life left in the NB's but agreed that I needed a shoe that was more durable.  We tried on some Brooks Adrenaline GT10s.  They felt cushy under the balls of my feet, were narrow enough in the heel so my very narrow heels stayed put, and had plenty of room in the toebox.  Even though my feet are very narrow, I prefer normal width shoes and a generous toe-box.  Something about I don't like having things rubbing against my two outermost toes, which were the ones that I had surgery on.  They're fully recovered, but still, I don't like stuff on my toes.  Weird.  Then I tried on some Asics.  Eh.  Then Sarah got a gleam in her eye and whipped out the Newtons.  Asked me if I was game.  I told her that I was intrigued but never had the courage to try some one.  I tried on the Modus ones, which are the stability model.  Very funky.  But intriguing.  I'm all about ugly/crazy/shiny so of course I had to get them.  And I decided to get the Brooks as well, for a "daily runner". 

I can't wait to try them both out.  I will have to be patient with the Newtons - they recommend only running 1 mile (just one!) for the first few weeks, and then you can build your distance by 10 minutes.  My coworker ran 3 miles in his Newtons on his first time out and he's been limping around with a strained calf for 10 days.  But he's a boy and a bit on the crazy side, so I think I will be wiser and smarter.  Still, only running a mile is weird.  I guess I will run 2-3 miles tomorrow in my Brooks then swing by the house and do a quick transition into the Newtons for a mile.  I hope that since I was already running forefoot (based on the wear pattern on my NBs) that the transition should go ok.  We shall see.

Its weird - I'm actually EXCITED to run.  Never in a million years would I have thought I'd be excited to run.  Very cool stuff.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Odds and Ends

Don't feel very focused lately, so here's just a lot of random...

Swift-kitty is not doing so awesome lately, which sucks.  She's 15, which is old, but she's kinda supposed to live forever, right?  Around January, her she got really skinny and her fur was greasy looking, so I took her to a new vet.  She was diagnosed with high blood pressure - so now we get to give her 1/4 of a very crumbly pill daily.  Before Boise, I didn't want to saddle our house-sitter with force-feeding a crumbly pill to our cat (who actually takes pills well), so I got tuna flavored custom compounded medicine treats.  Well, I think Swift decided that she liked the medicine treats a bit too much, and she went on a hunger strike.  In her 15 years, she's never been picky.  And now she is.  My daily life is governed by my cat's eating habits.  She'll like something for a while, long enough for me to decide its safe to buy a bunch of that variety, only to have her flat out snub it completely right after I buy 10 cans.  I'm now afraid to buy lots of any kind of kitty food, so I'm running to the store 2x a week for food.  2 weeks ago, she still wasn't eating much and even Will got concerned, so we took her back to the vet.  Bloodwork showed that she likely has either one or a combination of IBS, lymphoma, or pancreatitis.  Only way to tell for sure is surgical biopsy.  And there's no cure, only treatment, which involves chemo.  None of which are super fun for a 15 year old cat.  Sucky.  Fortunately (?) my vet's own cat is having the same health issues, so she's well versed on how to handle this.  We're trying weekly B-12 shots for 6 weeks and see if that doesn't help perk her up.  And we're trying to feed her 2-3 times a day to try and get her weight up.  She's actually eating ok-ish but she's not that perky.  Normally Swift is glued to me 24-7.  She's my nap buddy, tv watching buddy, sleep buddy.  Now she just hangs out on the cat stand on the other side of the room.  Barely even cuddles with me.  Its almost like she's trying to prepare me.  Not cool.  She's my nap buddy and I need her for all my recovery naps for IMTX training.  Ugh.  So yeah, daily happiness is directly related to if Swift will eat nasty-smelling fish cat food, while my other kitty is very unhappy to be locked in the spare bathroom, away from the food he so very much wants to eat.

Will's job is not awesome.  Will is mostly not that awesome, but I can't fix it.  He's stressed and working too much, not really having time or desire to do much else.  He may have a way out soon..... I hope so for his sake and mine.  Boo.

I really try not to blog too much about work, but this is probably safe.  For the past year, I basically have been officed in a cubicle area that I refer to as "siberia".  (I purposely wanted to be in siberia, so this is a good thing).  The other cubicles were empty, it was quiet, and I was happy.  Our office is growing and now siberia is populated with loud people.  Including a whistler.  Today I had enough of the whistling (as did my friend), so it was up to me to put an end of it.  Slightly comical, as he'd whistle and I'd stand up to figure out who the hell was doing it, only to have him stop.  This went on for ~10 minutes until I just said screw it and made a broadcast announcement asking for the whistling to end.  I then sat back down and the whistling started back up.  Turns out this guy had headphones on and didn't hear me.  He had no idea he was whistling or that it was becoming very disruptive.  He's been quiet for the rest of the day - we'll see if this sticks.

I'm the activities coordinator for the office, and since work is a bit slow, I've got time to do some fun things.  My main "fun" project is a food collection drive, where I've split the office into 6 teams and we compete against eachother for the longest linear distance of food donated.  The winning team will get a prize (no idea what the prize is yet, probably a lunch or something).  Contest is for a month and we'll be doing weekly updates to keep the buzz going.  I'm very curious to see what sort of turn out we get.

I was told yesterday by our office manager that our "fun" budget has drastically increased, which means I have 6 months to spend $$ for morale and fun things.  We have problems getting volunteers to coordinate "events", so I'm mainly going the gift certificate route.  GCs to a nice chain of restaurants (Pappas), smaller $ GCs to Starbucks, company logo swag (bags, leatherman, etc).  This will be given away at meetings or random drawings.  The trick is to find something easy to do (since we're all busy) that reaches people regardless of how often they are in the office or attend meetings.  Random name drawings isn't very creative, but its easy.  I think we're also going to do monthly breakfasts, but make each business group be responsible for a month (we'll pay but they have to buy and organize).  Anyone have any other ideas that are easy to implement?

My "non-training" is going well.  I'm swimming 2x a week, running 2-3 x a week, doing yoga once a week, fitting in pilates occasionally, and randomly riding my bike.  Its nice to not have a set schedule or feel like I HAVE to get my training time in.  I'm doing the Lazy-Hazy-Crazy 5k on Aug 7th for Team Jamba Juice and TriGirl sprint August 15th - neither of which require very much training.  Actually, TriGirl might hurt, but that's fine.  I can handle 75 minutes of hurt.  Especially since most of my workouts are at least that long. 

I have my very first purple toenail.  Got it from the century ride 2 weeks ago, which is actually pretty strange.  I'm actually surprised that this is the first toenail issue I've had.  Purple toenails are *awesome*.

Oh, and I chopped 7 inches of my hair off - its now to my jawline.  I now have earrings longer than my hair.  That's a bit strange.  Still trying to figure out if I like it and what to do with it.  Still having issues using way too much styling product.  General concensus is that its cute and looks good.  I don't recognize myself and occasionally I get flashes of my mom in the mirror.  I will say, however, that its awesome to have "intentionally messy" hair.  Honestly, the messier it is, the better it seems to look.  That's pretty cool.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Katy Flatlands Century Ride

Yesterday was my first ever century ride.  This became a goal of mine last year, where I rode the 55 mile distance at Flatlands.  This distance, at the time was my longest to date - I think I had one or two 40 mile rides before I did this one.  The ride was hot, but manageable, and I made it a goal to ride the 100 mile route in 2010.

This year I've ridden 50+ miles several times this year for HIM training.  My longest ride was in May, a 63 mile ride in Chappell Hill (4 hrs).  I've been taking a break after Boise, only riding my bike twice in the past 2 weeks.  The first ride was supposed to be a 60 mile in Chappell Hill, but ended early with 2 flat tires by mile 18.  The second ride was a 50 mile ride during a club training ride.  I was able to hold a good mph on that ride and wasn't sore, so I decided that doing the 100 route at KfC was possible and not a terrible idea.  Besides, I need to do several more century rides for IMTX, so better to start early.

I have to carry 100% of my nutrition with me, so this was a great time to practice for IMTX.  I have a 28 oz profile aero bottle, a 40 oz speedfill, and a cage for a regular bike bottle - enough for 4 hrs regular strength Infinit.  For this ride, I decided to mix the aero and speedfill at regular strength (3 hrs) and to concentrate 4 hrs worth on Infinit into a standard bike bottle.  The concentrated mix was fairly thick but it was still fluid enough to pour into the speedfill at water stations.  After I drank the aero bottle, I kept that as "water only" (sometimes I just want plain water after a few hours).   The aero bottle also served as a container to refill with water to dump into the speedfill, since it wasn't practical to haul my bike over to the water station to fill the bottle attached to my frame.  I labeled the concentrated bottle into quarters and dumped half the bottle into my speedfill (roughly a 2 hr mix) at the appropriately times rest stations.  I topped it off with fresh water and assumed it would mix.  I assumed wrong - the first hour was pretty concentrated.  I needed to do a better job mixing things as the concentrated mix just sank to the bottom.  The result was that it was VERY strong and I didn't want to drink it.  I forced myself though, because I knew I'd need the calories.  At the second fill-up I did a better job mixing by blowing bubbles through the straw to mix it from the bottom up.

I supplemented my Infinit with Hammer Gels.  I like Hammer for 2 reasons:  they're a Montana company and I love to support Montana and they have the smallest amt of straight sugar in their gels.  I'm sugar sensitive, so its nice knowing there are gels which won't send my blood sugar zooming.  I brought 5 gels and had 3.  One at hour 1, 2, and 4.  Towards the end of the ride I just wasn't feeling the gels.  I had good energy so I went by instincts and it worked out ok.

I was also a bit hungry at the 3 hr mark so I tried to eat a cookie.  Not a good idea - too sweet and the texture was all wrong.  I had a orange slice at subsequent rest stops which worked much better.

The Plan
There were a total of 8 rest stops for the century ride - distance between stops was between 8 - 14 miles.  I didn't want to be in "race mode" with minimal stops, but I didn't think it was necessary to stop at every rest stop.  The plan was to stop at #s 2, 4, 6, and 8.
The Ride
Even though I showed up earlier than last year, I understimated the time to get ready.  Packet pickup, bathroom stop, drink mix, airing tires, etc.  They didn't have announcements down in the parking area, and I knew that the ride started at 7 but couldn't hear if they were on time.  I looked at my watch and saw 7:05, so I rushed off, hoping to catch the tail end of the 100 mile group and that I didn't forget anything crutial.  Fortunately, there were quite a few on the century group waiting to ride and we all left within a few minutes of me arriving at the start.

The nice high clouds that were there on my drive over to the ride start  rapidly vanished when the sun came up.  This ride is typically hot, so its not like I didn't know better.

The first 21 miles was along the route I'd ridden the week before.  Good pavement and flat.  I hit RS#1 and was feeling fine and I wanted to try and catch up with the main group, so I stayed on-plan and went on through.  I stopped at RS#2 for a quick bathroom break and to fill my aero bottle with straight water.  On the way to RS#3 I picked up a couple of guys.  There was a long slight incline with a mild headwind, and they decided to pace off of me (aka let me do the work as they draft off of me).  We hit RS#3 and I convinced them to keep moving since the next RS was only 13 miles away.  I left the guys behind me, but somewhere around mile 40 they passed me in this huge pace line.  I've never ridden a pace line before but I decided to try and tag on to the tail of it and see what it was like.  I LOVE pacelines!  I had to be careful since I was riding aero but I could easily maintain 19 mph.  It was so much fun!  Then the road we were on (Hwy 39?)  got very crappy.  It was cobble chip-seal and most of the cobbles were missing.  I ended up riding right on the white line (the paint was the smoothest part of the shoulder) and even though there was plenty of room for cars, several trucks were total assholes, blowing by us close to the shoulder honking the whole time.  Lovely.  As we turned off of 39, a BNSF train was blowing across the intersection so we had to stop for ~5 minutes and wait for it to pass.  From there, we were pretty congested all the way to RS#4.

I felt really good at RS#4 (mile 49), except for the heat.  I was ok temperature-wise riding but when I stopped I just got really hot.  All my regular strength Infinit was gone so I refilled my speedfill with the concentrate, tried to eat a cookie (not a good idea), and hit the bathroom.  I was still keeping to my plan of skipping every other RS, so I skipped #5 (mile 62).  Once I got to mile 65, things got ugly.  I got really hot, my heart rate was 160+, I was pretty much riding by myself, and all my contact points (saddle, elbows, feet) were hurting.  I'd have to fidget every few miles, which made it a long 10 mile ride to RS#6.  Once I got there, I decided to take a long-ish break.  I got cold water, sat by the fan, dumped ice down my jersey, got fresh water for my bike.  At that rest stop, I met up with one of the guys I'd friended around RS#4.  He lost his buddy, so we decided to ride together to the next rest stop.  It was just too hot to stick to the every-other-RS plan.  So off we went.  For the first ~5 miles I zoomed off ahead, but just a I did on the previous leg, I got uncomfortable and fidgety.  The only nice thing is that the clouds were building and looked like we could get rain.  Stopped at RS#7. More resting, oranges, water, ice, hoping for rain.  We had 20 miles left but decided to stop at the next rest stop anyways.  Mentally, I couldn't process 20 miles but I could handle 12 and 8 mile segments.  About 5 minutes into our ride, the sky broke and we got ~10 minutes of torrential downpours.  Now that it wasn't hot, my HR went under 150 and I could cruise.  Plus, I was so busy focusing on the rain that the other things that were bothering me got ignored.  Twelve miles went by fairly fast and we were at the final rest stop.  Normally I would have felt ridiculous stopping with 8 miles left, but by that point I was just happy for the mental break.  I messaged Will to let him know I was alive, got some more water, and we were off.  The rain was pretty bad for this leg - nearly consistent downpour for all 8 miles.  There were times where you'd hear someone go "is it hailing? nope" because the rain hurt that bad.  It sucked, but it was still less sucky than riding in the heat.  We finally got back to the stadium and I was done.  101.2 miles on the Garmin.  I did bring my running shoes but with the rain, it was pretty ridiculous.  I have 10 months to practice long bricks.  No need to start today.

Closing thoughts
It became very obvious I need to spend a lot of time in the saddle.  Leg strength/endurance was good, nutrition was good.  But those dang contact points hurt so much.  No other way around it but time in the saddle.  Not sure what to do about the heat other than just continue to watch my HR and not push too hard when its hot.

I have my work cut out for me for IMTX.  Yowzers.