Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1 Hour Postal Swim - 2009

My friend twisted my arm and had me swim the 1-hr postal challenge today.  Which broke my "do nothing hard for 3 weeks" rule... sorta.  The challenge is to swim 1 hr non-stop for distance.  I did this challenge in 2006.  Funny, reading back on my posts, I was really freaked out over the concept of swimming that long without stopping.  Freaked over what my distance, soreness, fatigue during and after would be.  Flash forward 3 years and its almost comical how "eh" I was today.  There's many reasons for the "eh" - pretty much all my training in 2009.  Completing a 2500 open water swim in Chicago, doing a Half Iron distance Aquabike, 2x a week workouts with ~3500 yards per workout.  Doing the 3,000 yard postal challenge in October 2008 and 2009.  Distance swimming for me is much more manageable and routine.  Its hard to pick a workout (when I'm training) where I don't get in at least 3,000 yards.  Back in 2006, I had this whole elaborate plan for the 1-hr postal - 5 x 12 minute "mini-sets".  I even practiced it a few times before the event.  This morning, I intended to do the 5 x 12 minutes and just wing it on the "mini-sets", but my watch timer wasn't working.  I was 200 yards into the start of the swim and just decided that I was going to try 7 x 500 yards with a 50 of easy free or backstroke between each 500 yard interval.  Didn't even get stressed over this, just went "eh, watch isn't working, what do I feel like swimming?"

I ended up swimming 3420 yards in 1 hour.  I was kinda bummed - hoping to swim 3500.  My 3,000 yard last October was done in 47 minutes (1:36 / 100 yard pace).  I was hoping for more progress given the 3 years and all the training.  However, what I need to remember is that I purposely wasn't working hard during the swim.  I was never even out of breath.  My coach even commented on how "easy" I took certain 50's.  Part of me is mad at myself for not pushing more - I know I could have done better.  However, taking things into perspective.... I've been doing off-season swimming since November (low intensity) and I'm in the second week of my three week "do nothing challenging" period.  And I went into this swim without a plan.  I should actually be happy that I essentially hit the easy button on this swim and had 50 more yards than 3 years ago, a swim that was challenging for me at the time.

I guess all things considered, I should be pleased.  I just wish I felt good about this morning.  At least I'm not sore :)  There, that's something to feel good about.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Log: Week ending Jan 23

I was actually a bum - YAY!

Swim: 0 [for the record, I did pack and set my alarm Wednesday but then decided that rest seemed like a better idea]

Bike: 0

Run: 0

Pilates: 2 hrs

It honestly took until Thurs before I could walk normally - my legs were that unhappy from the half marathon.  So sleep and some easy pilates were right on target.

This was also the first weekend in a looooooong time that I didn't have to train.  That meant sleeping in Saturday, spending the day with Will at the zoo, a late lunch at Little Bigs (sliders and a kaluah milkshake - yum!), and a birthday party that night.  Normally I turn into a pumpkin by 10 PM at parties since I have to get up early and do something athletic, not to mention I really can't drink.  But Saturday I was out until 1 AM and had some drinks!  Craziness!  Sunday was more sleeping in and a 90 min massage....

2 more weeks of bumming and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Race Report: Houston Half Marathon

I'm sitting at my desk with my race number starring at me, yet I don't know how to begin.  So, I guess I'll begin at the beginning!

Got out of work early to pick up my packet on Friday. Nothing too exciting there.  I suppose I was expecting "more" from the expo, but it was just ok.  I picked up some new sunglasses and some arm-warmers, so that was cool. 

Saturday I vegged on the couch for most of the day.  Caught up on my TiVo list and played 2 hrs of Super Mario Bros Wii (why is that game so hard???).  Dinner was at the Bull and Bear.  Not the best choice (in hindsight) but I thought I was ok with a grilled chicken philly cheesesteak sammich.  Home, got my race stuff prepped and was in bed by 10 PM.

Sunday morning I was up at 5 AM, out the door by 5:20.  Breakfast consisted of my traditional Coke Zero and protein bar.  Bad news was that I could still feel last night's dinner in my stomach... which was not a good thing!  Got a free parking space ~3/4 mile behind the convention center.  Ended up walking to the convention center (start of the race) with a guy who flew in from Georgia.  Walked in the convention center and whoa.... that's a lot of people.  Decided to hit the porta-john before the lines got go bad.  Wandered over to find my running club, which thankfully had a sign, otherwise I would have been screwed.  Did a bit of stretching, got my stuff ready for the day, wandered over to the bag check in to check my stuff, wandered back to my running club.  Yup, lots 'o wandering.  Then it was time to walk to the race start.  We were in the second wave, probably about in the middle of the crowd.  Even though it was in the mid-40's I wasn't cold.  Partly because of being sandwiched btwn people, partly because of my awesome new arm sleeves.  We heard a big KABOOM and realized that was the gun for the elites.  More standing around, a bit of forward progress as the first wave went, more standing around.  Then another gun and that was the start of our wave.  I thought it was very cool that they were playing Iron Maiden's Run to the Hills at the start of my race.  I was with my coach (Helen) and two other girls (Heather and Tara) who had been in my running group since July.  The goal was to run together until the 9 mile turn-around point and then see what pace we could do after that point.

Lots of shuffling up to the start, then a slow jog.  I haven't checked my Garmin, but given all the people, I'd estimate my pace was somewhere around a 12:30 mile.  More shuffle running, trying to find space.  Up the hill at the Elysian Viaduct.  Helen instructed us to do a slow jog up the hill.  I got confused and went into greyhound mode (I hate having people in front of me) and went a bit too fast.. which Helen promptly yelled "slow down and take it all in".  Which kinda became a running joke when I fell behind later on.  Up over I-10 then downhill into the Heights.  This was the very cool part, since the Half and Full marathoners all merged here and the street was just a sea of people as far as you could see.  Then it was just running with a lot of people.  Lots of weaving around, trying to avoid the walkers, potholes, road patches, etc.  We do a 5:1 run/walk ratio, and I was amazed with how good running felt.  There are times where the 5 mins just drag on and on and on.  For the majority of the race, when my watch beeped (all 4 of us were beeping in unison, it was pretty funny) it was like, already?  time to walk?  ok. *beep* time to run? no problem!

The first oh, hour or so flew by really quickly.  What I remember is weaving through the crowd, chasing Helen (my coach), running past houses with residents outside cheering (some even were blasting music), random people handing out snacks to runners, the guy wearing a full-on furry cow costume, and just how good running felt.  Nothing hurt, pace was good, I was having fun. 

We hit the 10k part, went up a hill then south on Montrose, the one street that had familiar landmarks.  At about oh, 8.5 miles, my digestive system decided it really did not like my dinner the previous night.  It was uncomfortable, but not awful.  No porta-johns in site, plus, I didn't want to lose my running partners.  The GI thing passed, but I was slowing down by that point.  Maybe not so much slowing down as Helen and this other girl got faster.  Tara (who I ran with consistenly since July) and I stayed together, which turned out to be a good thing.  At the turn-around, we lost Helen but trudged on.  At mile 11, we hit Allen Parkway, which has a gradual hill and is the last stretch before you hit downtown.  My GI was being difficult (very annoying) and Tara had a case of "everything hurt".  Now, I don't even know Tara's last name and I'm pretty sure we'd never be friends IRL, but I was so glad to have her for that last part of the race.  I kept her going (only 4 more run segments... we can do it) and she kept me going.  Really, we were what eachother needed.  I really think that if I didn't have her, I would have just said screw it and walked more than I did.  But I didn't and I kept running.

As we approached the finish line, I was really expecting more "hoopla".  I had visions of the last mile being full of noise and spectators.  Really, it was the last 1/4 mile that was like that.  The mile before that was a bit spooky, running through downtown on relatively empty streets (compared to the crowds of the day).  My GI started really being unhappy, and with the finish line in sight I did say "screw it" and walked for a bit, until Coach Scott found me, put his arm around me, and made me run.  Was it fun? no.  But am I glad he did it? yes.  My "realistic" goal was 2:45, my stretch goal was 2:30.  I finished in 2:31 and am very very pleased.  In fact, my 10k - 9 mile split had me running a whole 1 min/mile pace faster than my overall pace.  Pretty cool.  Did an arm pump as I crossed the finish line (mainly so you could see me in the pictures - which failed since I was behind giants and all you can see is my arm).  Then we found our coach, took some pictures, and got our medals.  And then I had a huge asthma attack (why now after I ran 13.1 miles???) and my poor legs transformed into stiff, sore limbs.  That's ok, though, because they didn't hurt when I was running, and that's what matters.

So, in summary:
  • Do not eat at the Bull and Bear before a race.  Your stomach will thank you.
  • KT tape is awesome
  • Running with my training partners and coach was awesome. 
  • I ran just shy of my stretch goal, and exactly at my training pace
  • At no point in time did I think "why am I doing this??? I'm a swimmer, not a runner!".  I guess this means I'm a runner now.... eeps!
  • Even though my legs still hurt (its Wednesday), I still get nothing but good feelings when I think about my race.
  • And I'm looking forward to running this race next year!  Woo!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day before the Houston Half Marathon

Goals for the day: watch tv, play Super Mario Bros Wii (its hard, seriously), drink a LOT of water (something I've not been good about lately), charge up my garmin, shower and re-tape my knee with KT tape, and pick up my bike from the shop.

I left work early yesterday to get my packet pick-up and to tour the Expo. I was actually well behaved at the expo and didn't buy a whole lot of stuff. Got a new pair of sunglasses (that make me look bad-ass. I figure I'm not fast, so I may as well look good, right?) and some arm warmers. I was really torn on what to wear at the start of the race for my upper body. Race-start temperature is ~40 degrees, which is a bit too chilly for all the standing around I'll be doing before the race starts. I usually wear a light weight long sleeve over my t-shirt (excuse me, tech short sleeve shirt) and then after ~1 or 2 miles I take the long sleeve off and tie it around my waist. I really don't want to have to mess with that (full disclosure: I don't want my race picture to have me with a shirt tied around my waist), and I really don't feel like buying a "disposable" long sleeve shirt, so the arm warmers are perfect. They're sleeves without the shirt, which means they're compact and I should be able to tuck them into my hydration belt. Plus I can use the sleeves on future runs and bike rides.

The goody back sucked, compared to other races I've been in and what I was expecting with all the sponsors this race has. No hats, towels, water bottles.... I don't even get a real bag - its plastic. The one really cool thing, though. My race number has my name on it:
Legs feel eh, still. I pulled something in my right inner thigh from IronStar and its still tweaky. Tweaky to the point that I've started limping when I run, which has made my IT band on my left knee go tweaky. I bought some KT Tape , which hopefully (?) will help. We shall see. I probably should add "ice knee" to my goal for today too.

So that's the pre-race day post. This is the first day in months that I've slept in on a Saturday and it was awesome. Hoping today goes well and that I have fun!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting ready for hills

So, IronStar last November kicked my butt. Those teeny little 150 foot high hills hurt. IronStar was a warmup for the Boise 70.3 race - whose hills are 300 feet tall. I ran out of gear going up these tiny 150 footers and was really, really freaking out about having to go up hills twice the size. I actually planned to do weights in the off-season to strengthen my legs for those hills, except then I forgot until a week ago. Oops! And here I am, 3 weeks away from having to start training, and still in the hole for those hills.

I dropped my bike off today at the shop for its very first tune-up. Since I put 1,000 miles on Buzz last year, the tech said I needed a new chain and cassette. We were talking and I was lamenting about my wussy legs and Boise. So the tech busts out a different cassette with more gears. Why didn't I think of that??? I now feel a bit (but not much) better about those hills, knowing that I have engineering on my side.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blogging? what is that?

Ok, I need to get in the habit of writing things on here. Its hard, though, when life takes over and I get too busy. Or just want to veg. And having a blogging goal is a good way to try to focus.... In the past, I blogged about observations or how crappy my job was. Blogging was theraputic and I needed an outlet. 3 years later and I really don't need that sort of outlet... I'm happy (for the most part), which is a new thing for me. But my life is very fractured, mostly because my job is crazy but also because of my triathlon training schedule. Which makes coherent thought, especially when it comes to blogging.

So, if anything, I will try to blog weekly, if only to post training updates and total distances/times per week. And to post goals for the week/month/whatever. And we'll just see how it goes.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 Training in Review

Funny, first post in a loooong time is looking back on training distances from 2009. I hope to do more active blogging on triathlon training for 2010.

2009 totals:
Bike: 92h 21m 04s - 931.87 Mi (includes spinning and cycling)
Run: 59h 23m 10s - 314.55 Mi
Swim: 123h 15m 55s - 305325.1 Yd or 176 miles
Pilates: 31h 15m
Stretching: 14h 25m
Yoga: 16h 05m


Lone Star
4/5/2009 965m/28 mi/6.5 mi
Places 31/157/619
swim: 20:16.4 2:06/100m
Bike 1:35:55 17.5 mph
T2 02:39.2
Run 1:20:47 12:26/mile
Total 3:24:53

5/17/2009 400m/10 mi/3 mi
place: 20/35 312/467
Swim 8:17 2:05/100m
T1 2:28
Bike: 32:20:00 18.6 mph
T2 1:20
Run: 30:41:00 10:14/mile
Total 1:15:03

Memorial Hermann SugarLand
6/28/2009 300m/10 mi/3 mi
place: 10/44 236/555
Swim: 5:14 1:44/100 (long course pool)
T1: 02:22.0
Bike: ~30 min
no T2
Run:33:28.4 11:09/mile
Total 1:12:05

Jeff & Brede's
7/12/2009 300m/12 mi/3 mi
place: 11/30 243/404
Swim 5:07 1:43/100m (short course m pool)
T1: 03:00.0
Bike: 40:50:00 17.63 mph
T2 1:49
Run: 29:37.0
Total 1:20:22

8/16/2009 300m/11 mi/3 mi
place: 29/61 99/270
Swim 4:44.3 1:35/100m
T1 1:55.1
Bike 35:19.2 18.7 mph
T2 01:23.3
Run: 33:04.0 11:01/mile
Total 1:16:26

Big Shoulders Open Water Swim
9/12/2009 2500m swim
46:53:00 1:52 OWS Lake Michigan, sleeveless Zoot wetsuit

10/25/2009 500m/15 mi/3 mi
places: 18/33 402/598
swim: 8:57 1:47/100m
T1 2:31.2
Bike 50:54.9 17.7 mph
T2: 1:36.6
Run 31:45.9 10:35/Mile
Total 1:35:45.7

IronStar (swim/bike only) 1.2 mi swim / 56 mi bike
swim: 41:28 2:08/100m
bike: 3:31:05.7 15.92 mph
no run (relay entry)