Thursday, January 24, 2013

What I've been running in lately

I is (was?) a diehard Newtons fan.  Love(ed?) those things.  I've also run in Brooks before (Adrenalines in 2011) but got shin splints (not sure if it was shoe related) and went back to my Newts.  Back in December, I was at a club event at my local running store and gravitated to the hot pink shoes.  I tried on some Altras (zero drop, very minimal) but ultimately ended up with the Brooks PureFlow2s.  They have a 4mm heel drop, are crazy light, and are SUPER cushy. 
Did I mention these were bright pink?
I got these with the intent of wearing these occasionally, something just for fun runs.  What suprises me is that these are the shoes I grab every single time I head out to run.  They're really comfy and my feet and legs seem to like them.  As a bonus, they're $100 and I can usually get them at a 20% discount from my local running store. 

Jury is out on durability or how they respond on long runs.  My feet started to hurt around mile 8 of my 10 mile race last Saturday, but that could be attributed to not running that far.  Every other run in these has been great.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frosty's Frozen 5 and 10 Race Report

aka skiing doesn't magically give you endurance miles.

You think I'd have learned this lesson already.  Apparently not.

I did the 10 mile "race" on Saturday, the second of three races in the local winter distance running series.  The previous race was a 10k.  I'm also doing the 10 mile next month.  The good thing about this series is that it is essentially the same course each month.  I expect that next month's 10 mile course is identical to Saturday's, which will be a good comparison and hopefully I'll see some improvement.

Race instructions from my coach:
  • take in ~100 cals about 30 min prior to race
  • do a 20 min warmup.  A "warning shot", telling my body to be ready to race.
  • Take the first 5 miles easy, with a HR of 150-ish
  • Gradually increase the HR every mile, ending up around 170 or so.  Pace may not actually increase but effort will.
  • Take another 100 calories around 45 min and again around 1:30
My time goal was somewhere between 1:45 and 1:50, with a "I'll be happy" goal of 1:47. 

The race was at 10:30, so I planned to show up at 10 AM.  I was not expecting to spend 10-bazillion years in line for the bathroom, so my 20 minute warmup was cut down to 5.  But it was a QUALITY 5 minutes.  There were maybe 500 people running the 10 miler, so finding my club friends wasn't hard. 

It was sunny and the noon temperature was forecast to be 50 degrees.  It was 30-something when I left the house, so I left wearing black capris, my navy club long-sleeved shirt, and my SunRype tank top.

Immediately after starting to run, I was roasting.  I was hanging with two of my friends, using a very loose definition of "150-ish" for my heart rate.  In all honesty, it was more like 158, but I felt good.  Finally at the first aid station (around 2.5 miles) I had to strip.  With my shirt layering (tank over long-sleeve), I basically had to strip everything off.  Hat, nutrition, race belt, garmin, tank top, THEN my long sleeve.  Then I got to put everything (minus the long-sleeve, which got tied around my waist) back on.  During all of that, I lost my friends. 

I kept on running according to plan, keeping things light and easy.  I found some people to run with and hung with them until the turnaround, which was somewhere after mile 5.  At that point, I saw my friends ahead of me, and my legs decided to go.  I kept telling them to slow down but they didn't listen.  I found my friends around mile 6.5 and just zoomed right on past them.  Heart rate was at 168.  Definitely not a gradual build to 170 at the finish.  *sigh*.  I was breathing ok and feeling ok, so I just kept going.  Until around mile 7 where things weren't so good.  They weren't bad, but they weren't good either.

See, the issue with this race was that my longest training run was the week prior, which was a 7.3 mile MAF (slow effort), which included 5 min of walking at the start and finish of the run.  Not continuous semi-hard running.  I should have had longer runs but I decided to ski for two consecutive weekends in a row.  So the fact that I made it 7 miles feeling good with continuous running was pretty good.  And it wasn't suprising that I started having to negotiate with myself after that.  I decided to walk the next aid station, which was somehwere around 7.5 or 7.75 miles.  Which I did.  And I think a race photographer snapped a very flattering photo of me at the aid station.  awesome!

After that point, the run became a series of negotations.  I ended up with running 0.5 miles and walking 0.1 miles.  So about 5 min run / 1 min walk.  Which was manageable.  I ended up sucking it up for the last 3/4 mile or so and ran that straight, except for walking up the little evil hill as you return to the race venue.  I tried to pick up the pace a bit more as I was nearing the long end of my race goal, but it just wouldn't happen.

In all honesty, I just didn't feel like hurting for this one.  I could have pushed it, but I didn't see the point.  This was a practice run and I just didn't feel like laying it all out there.  Next month I may have a different opinion.

I finished with a time of 1:50:03.  If I remove my strip-break from my total time, that puts me around a 1:48:30.  All things considered, not too shabby.

We'll see what next month brings.

Monday, January 14, 2013


It was really cold this weekend in Colorado.  Which is a bummer when there's fresh powder up on the ski hills.  I would have loved to have gone on Saturday (and missed the Broncos game - darn!), but this girl does not ski when the high temperature is less than 10 degrees.

I discovered, however, that I will do a 90 min run outside when it is 10 degrees.  Interesting. 

Essentially, this boils down to this: I really, really hate the treadmill.

After some whining waiting for the air to warm up from the morning's low of -2, I decided to run at noon.  Fortunately it was clear and sunny.  I'm pretty sure if it wasn't, I would have turned around and headed back to a treadmill somewhere.  More time was spent procrastinating, looking for things to wear.  Really, what do you wear for stuff like this? 

I ended up with this ensemble (no photo, sorry):
  • Smartwool running socks.  I wanted my heavy weight pair of Wright Socks, but the sock troll must have taken them.  I figured they were wool, so hopefully my feet wouldn't freeze?
  • Lightweight Nike running tights.
  • Heavyweight (fleecy inside) Zoot tights as the top layer
  • Brooks PureFlow 2's.  Almost grabbed my Newtons, but the Newts have a ton of light and airy mesh.  No thanks.
  • Lightweight Terramar mock turtleneck zip up top (base layer)
  • Mediumweight Zoot top (middle layer)
  • Zoot running jacket (fairly light but is wind resistant)
  • lightweight running hat with a ponytail hole
  • medium weight gloves
I also packed my inhaler, as my asthma likes to act up on cold days.  Finally, I filled my 10-oz hand held water bottle with hot water, and shoved it in the pocket of my jacket.  Then I whimpered and hit the door.

My run was a 1:30 MAF run with a HR limit of 143.  I was supposed to walk the first and last 5 min. Those first 5 minutes made me question my sanity (mainly because I didn't bother putting on anything to cover my face).  But once I got running, things were shockingly ok.  Everything was nice and quiet, there was no one out except the bunnies.  There was water flowing in the stream next to the trail, and it was so cold that the water was steaming.  The steam then froze to the grass growing next to the stream.  Pretty!

Going out was just fine, coming back was a bit cold, especially the last 2 miles with the wind in my face. (brain freeze anyone?) My feet were shockingly warm and even a bit sweaty.  My hands were almost too warm but I didn't dare remove my gloves.  The hot water trick worked well and my water bottle didn't freeze.  Legs were a bit cold at times, but not too bad.  Upper body was perfect.  Unfortunately, I've discovered that my fancy new running hat really doesn't cover my ears all that well, so I'd have to tug on it (not super easy to do with gloves) or hold my hands over my ears (while running) for a bit.  I'm sure that looked cute.  I ended up getting 7.3 miles done and I didn't freeze to death.

The best part was that Will had our fireplace warmed up and ready for my return.  Sitting by the fire has never felt better.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This is me not freaking out

My last Ironman training experience was full of fear.  In my heart, I knew I could do it.  But I was motived by the thought of how much it would hurt or (worse) not finishing.  I went into workouts, most of which were personal-bests for me wondering which workout would kill me.  And then being pleasantly suprised when a solo-100 mile bike ride was fine and even a bit fun.  The whole experience was new and unknown.  I would frequently catch myself thinking about it and my pulse would race and I started to breathe a bit harder.  It was scary but also fun.

I'm now training for my second Ironman.  I've selected one that is significantly harder than my first.  Ok, maybe not significantly, but the bike is WAY harder.  But I'm not scared.  Maybe I know that my coach will train me up properly and I will finish.  I'm ok with not making time gains, mainly because the bike is 4,000 ft more climbing this time.  But I know I can do it.  Because I have before.

This makes a huge difference mentally.

It has been well documented that I am not a strong cyclist on the hills.  I am hoping that this will change.  I have also signed up for IM St George 70.3.  A course which is nortorious for how hard it is.  And somehow I've signed up for this as a training race for IMCDA.

I am crazy.

The bike is definitely a stretch.  It has a 4 mile long Cat 2 climb.  I know what a Cat 1 climb feels like.  I can probably walk faster than I can ride a Cat 1 climb.  I had a freaking spider create a web on my handlebars on that damn hill.  But I made it (with a bunch of walking) and I lived.  It was bad but not awful.  And that Cat 1 was with minimal training.  I am confident hopeful that with the right training, going up that 10% grade in St George will be fine.  Hard, but fine.

Training this time around is definitely different.  I feel pretty strong and like I'm on the right track.  I know what to expect.  Sure, all of this hill training may hurt a LOT, but I know that it will make me stronger.  Which really, is about all anyone can hope for. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A good end to 2012

I had high hopes for most of 2012, but most of those hopes really weren’t realized. I had a really hard 2011 and a really hard early 2012, and then a broken heel, which made for a summer of disappointments. My heel finally was declared healed in September and things started to look up. I suppose that the time leading up to September made me evaluate things and appreciate the little things. Like walking without pain. And taking time to enjoy things. Oh and beer, drinking lots (and probably too much) beer. Also, I’ve been spending quite a bit more time with Will, which I think has been a good thing. Since my free time wasn’t dedicated to training, we ended up doing new things, drinking new beer, and generally having a good time. Finally. A good time.

This past holiday season has been a ridiculous amount of fun. I am healthy and not limited in what I can do. We have time and (fortunately) some money and opportunities for some fun stuff. I am specifically taking time to enjoy things now because pretty soon I will be sucked into the Ironman CDA training monster. Sure, I’m working with a coach right now and getting workouts in. But I have free time and some flexibility. Best to enjoy that because in late February, I won’t have free time until June 24.

Merry Christmas from the Timberline Lift
at Copper

Our holiday was a bit on the selfish side. We just focused on us and having a good time. I got a ridiculously good deal for a place in Breck over Christmas, so we were up there from Dec 21-25. We were originally supposed to head home on Dec 24th, but we got an extra night’s lodging (for free!) and decided to stay and have fun. As a bonus, it snowed big poofy flakes on Christmas Eve, which made for a powder day on Christamas. Ooooh, twist my arm. Life was truly rough. We skied (ok, I skied, Will boarded) 3 times in 4 days. The first day was very frustrating, mainly because Will is still learning and he is s.l.o.w. Wow, so slow. And standing on a hill in my ski gear is about the least comfortable thing and I get cranky. I kept telling myself that patience would be rewarded and I would have a husband who could keep up with me in a short while. The second day on the hill was a bit better – we found some runs that had some fluffy snow and Will discovered that he liked small bumps. Ok, these things are progress, and so much more fun than groomer greens. I actually had to twist his arm for the Christmas Day powder, mainly because he was tired and he had no idea how fun powder really is. I told him “two runs and if you’re not feeling it, we’ll go home. Besides, this gives the plows time to clear the highway.” I’m so glad I pushed, because it was the first day he had fun. Really, this day was pretty magical. On the drive to Copper there was a HUGE Christmas morning sun dog (where the clouds are frozen and create fragmented rainbows around the sun). The mountain was fogged in and the air sparkled with frozen ice crystals. Add some holiday music at the Timberline lift, powder, and zero lines and we were both incredibly happy. It was magical, and I’m not one to ever use that word.

Beautiful at the 'Boat
New Years weekend was spent in Steamboat. We had been there in the fall, a few years back and loved it. Technically, I have skied Steamboat before (I think I was 8?) but my main recollections were watching the winter Olympics, swimming outside with steam rising from the pool, and my dad being an a-ss and abandoning me on the slope. So, for all practical intents and purposes, this was my first time skiing at the ‘Boat. Same with Will. We went with his cousin and my friend, rented a cheap (but clean) hotel room and crossed our crossables for powder. We were lucky, as Steamboat had something like ~6 feet of snow in 3 weeks, and 1 foot of freshies two days before we got out there. Everything was spectacular. The gondola was a bit confusing (and fast!) at first but really fun. On our first run, we immediately noticed the snow at Steamboat is indeed special, even on groomers. We did a few runs as a foursome then split up as our friends wanted to do a bowl and I knew that Will was not yet up to bowls. We found a nice long blue groomer which had plenty of trees that opened into meadows of bumps. Will did trees and bumps and had a great time. We re-grouped at lunch and closed down the lifts. Amazing. The second day was equally amazing. Will was tired by lunch and hung out at the lodge. Chase and I found ourselves some tree runs.
Trying to document the sparkly snowflakes
Skiing in aspen groves with powder and bumps, as the air sparkled with perfect shiny snowflakes was again, magical. NYE was fun (but mellow). Happy hour and snacks at a brewery. Watching the torchlight parade and fireworks. Eating Chinese food in a place that was heated by one space heater. And watching Star Wars. Early to bed for more skiing New Years Day. Too bad the temperature was ~5 degrees, making the snow sticky and not a whole lot of fun. Not to mention freezing toes. Still, it was a fun start to 2013

Happy Erin with powder tree bumps. 
Unofficial "1:30" run at Steamboat

Monday, January 07, 2013

2012 Distance Wrap Up

Just putting this up as documentation.  It is kinda fun to look back at my totals from year to year.


Bike: 156h 20m 12s - 2124 Mi
Run: 89h 49m 24s - 497.56 Mi
Swim: 77h 59m 24s - 209457.5 Yd
Strength: 4h 30m
Core Training: 1h 50m
Elliptical Training: 48m 08s
Hiking: 13h 30m
Skiing: 4h 00m
Snow Shoveling: 20m
Snowboarding: 5h 00m
Spinning Class: 3h 00m
Yoga: 2h 00m


Bike: 117h 34m 39s - 1624.36 Mi
Run: 57h 04m 47s - 289.09 Mi
Swim: 82h 53m - 231174.3 Yd
Strength: 3h 20m
Aqua Jogging: 20m
Elliptical Training: 40m
Skiing: 60h 00m
Walking: 2h 15m
Yoga: 6h 00m

Huh.  I was only 400 miles short of my 2011 bike total... Interesting.  And I would have never guessed, but I swam more this year.  Even with barely swimming for 3 months this summer with a broken foot.  I guess that tells me that I have *finally* found a swim team that I like and do consistent practices with.
Running is understandably much lower - nearly half of 2011.  Thank you broken heel for that one.   But hey, look at all the skiing time :)