Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Putting forth the effort

This is the start of a 2 week stretch of 50+ hour work weeks for me, I'm thinking of it as my professional marathon.  Instead of paying a crappy entry fee, I'll be handsomely rewarded on payday.  In addition to keeping our house running, bills paid, fridge stocked and kid breathing we have also been a bit worried about the impact of our workouts and dietary habits.  Sunday night we spent hours in the kitchen, preparing several meals that can be mixed and matched for lunches, dinners and snacks for all 3 of us.  The nice part about it was we were in the kitchen, music going, wine glasses full having a good time with each other and not with the TV on.  It was king of a fond farewell since we will be ships passing each other in the night until Friday.  So we seem to have food figured out, now it's the workouts.  Today sucked, I wanted to sleep when the alarm went off at 6.  I stalled at the water's edge, if Kali had been ok with it I would have just walked right back to my car.  But I'm only going to have 4 opportunities to swim in the next 14 days so to waste it would only be stupid.  Then comes this afternoon, we finally make it to nap time and as I go to make my bed on the way downstairs I almost climb into it.  No!! I can't postpone today's workout as I won't be home for nap time tomorrow.  I'm sitting here now, exhausted but pleased that so far I haven't fallen behind.  Can I keep it up for the whole 2 weeks?  I don't know but I at least need to put forth the effort.  Fitness is very fickle and it wouldn't take much for me to loose the gains I've made over the last few months and staying in bed or getting a nap wouldn't be worth the cost.  Don't get me wrong there are definitely days (ie: last Saturday when the party started at our house at 3am) when the workout gets canned, but these days have to be the exception to the rule and not the norm.

1.6 mile swim and 90 min hill workout on trainer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shade tree mechanic at your service

When I got my first car I became obsessed with doing my own repairs.  This was likely motivated by the poor condition of the car, the frequent repairs it required and my lack of cash flow.  I changed my oil, patched a muffler (too many times), did something to the exhaust pipe although I can't remember what exactly happened.  It got to the point where I was often found with my legs hanging out from under the car and my Dad had a hat made for me with the title of "Shade Tree Mechanic".  Fast forward to  present day and I pretend to know nothing about my car and can't tell you the last time I changed my own oil, but alas I've gotten into cycling and need to find that old hat.  

There is something about that relationship you have with your bike that requires you to be willing and able to do a fair amount of tinkering with it.  I'll fully admit I've been slow to embrace this (shall we discuss the not all that distant episode with the flat tire?).  But again being motivated by my cash flow issues I find myself with the bike upside down and grease up to my elbows.  Today's adventure was getting comfortable with my rear tire.  I've had a squeaky break problem for several weeks and have been to the bike shop twice now with no improvement.  Before hitting the store a 3rd time I decided to give my wallet a break and e-mail my local bike encyclopedia.  His advice, take off the tire, clean the breaks and the rim.  WTF!  The back tire is intimidating, there is a lot going on back there.  I ignored him, and he brought it up again.  So foolishly I play with it one night after work, beer in hand.  Almost instantly I panic when the chain starts to lift off and put it all back together in a hurry hoping I did no permanent damage.  Again, insert multiple curse words.  

Here we are today, and after watching no less than 4 you tube videos on how to remove my tire I can report, I did it.  Yep, tire came off...breaks and rim wiped clean of all debris...and after what seemed like 30 minutes but was likely only 90 seconds or so it went back on.  I think I sweated more worrying about getting the tire back on than I did during my entire workout today!  I won't know if it helped with the breaks til this weekend when I'm hugging them down a hill.  I even included evidence (don't judge the mess we missed bringing the recycling out last week).  So maybe now I can live up to the oath I made in that I would practice changing a flat tire (both front and rear now).

Swam for a mile and 1 hour of hills on the trainer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

sick, sick, sick

So I typically only blog on the days I workout, but one area I'm lacking in training is the nutrition and could use some advice/tips/suggestions.  So lets talk about my disasterous ride on Sunday.  I'll preface all of this with the fact that we are self-neglecters when it comes to food in our house.  I shop for the meals we are cooking and we rarely have more than that in the house.  I'm also pretty anti-processed food so even fully stocked we don't have much in the grab-it-quick-before-a-ride category.  So Sunday I woke up (late) and realized that if I was going to ride I needed to go NOW and oh-by-the-way we have NO food.  I left the house around 7:30 with a bag of trail mix (the dried fruit and mixed nut kind) and drove off to my riding spot nibbling along the way.  I rode in Scituate, following the Providence Bicycle Time Trial route, planning for 3 loops making for a 45 mile ride.  I had vitalyte and water with me and started by following my 15 minute rule plan and had several sips every 15 mins.  About 10 miles in I started to have stomach pains.  I was trying to push my pace so initialy felt that I had overdone it on the last hill and back off hoping that the pains would also back off.  No such luck, it got to the point where I was having trouble staying up right on the bike.  I thought about stopping but with a loop there was no easy way back to the car.  My pace for the first 10 miles was 16.3 and for the last 10 dropped to 11.5.  It was terrible.  After 45 minutes I did choke down a GU hoping it would help, it didn't.  My whole body hurt to move, I made it back to the car and somehow got my bike in the back and made it home.  I couldn't walk into the house and it took about 45 mins to recover.  So lessons learned include that I can't eat on the way to my ride, I also can't eat trail mix.  Usually I have a bagel/toast/bar about an hour before I leave the house and haven't had a problem. 

So what suggestions are there for days when I don't have the benefit of an hour before taking off for a ride?

What have you found helpful to eat before a ride that is quick and easy? 

Lastly when your stomach seizes up on the bike, what helps so you can get through the ride? 

I'm beyond irritated that I wasted a great morning because of a stupid dietary mistake.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Digging the community love.

There is a lot happening in Providence and RI that is worrisome; Joe and I wonder often how long we'll stay here given the job market, general economy and condition of the public schools in RI.  For now it's home and for all that's worrisome there are many aspects that we've come to love, mainly the sense of community that we've found.  Not a weekend goes by that we don't run in to several friends/acquaintances/colleagues along the way, quick greetings often turn into coffee or lunch plans.   Our run this morning was from our local running store.  Rhode Runner, if you haven't been go and check it out.  It's the kind of store that it doesn't take long to learn the names of those who work there and you are greeted by name when you walk it, it just feels nice.  While we were out on the roads, we saw countless familiar faces, conversation was often interrupted with a greeting yelled across the Blvd.  It's always amazing how small lil rhody actually is, it doesn't take much conversation to realize that you know the same people, use the same CSA, run the same races.  What's so funny about my love of this sense of community is that when I moved here I loved the secrecy.  Going out and not knowing anyone, it was a breath of fresh air after leaving the town I was born and raised in.  But for now, with the kid, I love that we are raising him in a place where it's hard to go unnoticed and most people know your name...or at least recognize the sight your jogging stroller.

Ran 9 miles (adjusted mileage accounting for the jogger would be 13.5 miles

Friday, July 20, 2012

You want to go how far?

So after pestering my swimming friend all week to meet me at GVP this morning, my alarm went off at 6 and I thought very hard about sending a SCMI text (sorry, can't make it).  It was only at my begging that we were going there and not the pool so I fought off the urge, grabbed my stuff got in the car.  It wasn't long til we were wading into the water and making final goggle adjustments when she almost killed me.  "I was thinking out and back to the dock twice".  What?!?!  That would be just over 2 miles, longer than I had gone before and longer than I thought I could go.  Again, this is what I get for hanging around with people training for Ironman distance races.  I put it out of my mind, agreed and off we went for the first out and back.  The whole time trying not to think about having to do it all over again.  At the dock we talked briefly about some sighting techniques so I just remained focused on that.  Once back at the beach there was a brief moment of hope where I thought she had forgotten about the 2nd lap.  Unfortunately I wasn't that lucky, she wished another swimmer well and asked if I was ready.  Ready?  No, I'm going to drown out there due to exhaustion and they'll have to drain this pond looking for my body!  Again reminding myself that this was my own doing for pestering her all week, I just said of course and we started to swim.  It was all good til something grabbed my leg, well rather brushed against it, but I freaked and then lost my rhythm.  Made it to the dock only to have to turn back towards the beach.  There were no freaky attacks of the underwater monster on the way back in and it passed fairly quickly.    So after all my self doubt and grumbling I started the day with a 2 mile open water swim!  Pretty pleased if I don't say so myself!

Swam 2 miles and completed an hour hill workout on the trainer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You're on vaca? Great, lets run!

There is nothing I like more than to hear that my running friends are taking a stay-cation!  Having the kid and switching to evenings has severely impacted my social life.  It would be dramatic to say it's non-existant but it exists in a very different way than it did a while back.  So these stay-cation running dates are great for me, friends who I don't get to see often, training and the kid can tag along...nothing but the weather to complain about!  This week I'm lucky enough to have not one but TWO friends out of work this week!!  It takes some good friends who agree to get up early on vacation week and meet me and the kid for a morning run in this weather.  I'm not sure why but they've both agreed, it must be because of my endearing personality.  It's also nice to mix a social call with some training; the miles are always easier/faster/funnier with company (and the kid doesn't count as company).  It's always a nice break in my day/routine as well, it's been a long week over here and when I headed out for our date/run I was in a pretty terrible mood.  Fast forward 2 hours that included a brutally hot run, breakfast, and a walk through the playground and I'm in a happier place.  So much love to my running friends and their stay-cations!!

Ran 3.5 today

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Family time on the run

Joe leaves tomorrow and I need to start training again...there is no time to loose.  He's going to grump if I take off on my own and I'm going to pout if we do nothing.  So where's the compromise?  Family fun run on the way to breakfast, of course!  Quickly we get into our running stuff and pack up the kid and the jogger.  Joe claims the first half (downhill section) of the run with the stroller leaving me with the much more challenging (uphill) portion.  I'll stifle my protests because he's agreed to be out here and hope that he's going to move a speed above the grand-pa pace he's been running lately on these runs.  The kid gets a cookie for each hand as a bribe to go along with the whole idea and off we go.  I think the breakfast wrap waiting for him at the finish was a good motivator as he moved quicker than expected during his leg and we were able to do a negative split for my leg (note that means I ran faster with the stroller than he did...not that it matters to anyone but ME).   There were some moments of disgust at the end when we looked at the clock and realized that it was barely 9am and we'd already run, had breakfast, and strolled through the farmer's market.  Cheers to another successful Family Fun Run, a perfect combo of mandatory family time mixed with a bit of training.

Ran 3.5 miles

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New day and new goals

It's been 3 days and I'm already over the Amica 70.3.  Been there, done that...now need to do it again a little faster.  For the first time ever my short running/racing career I find myself not only motivated but super jazzed about a time goal.  Lets be honest I'm not a great runner, my marathon times are embarrassing and with the right training I can run a respectable half but have never fully committed to the training.  With this tri stuff, I'm certainly not fast enough to win any cash, but I'm by far not the slowest in my age group.  7:03:48 was a great time for Sunday, but I'm yearning for a sub 7 hour finish time.  I've never wanted something so bad in terms of racing and also felt so confident that I can do it.  Yes a 4:30 marathon would be delightful but that's never going to happen for me.  This on the other hand, I can manage.  So lets talk about what I need to do differently for this to happen.

1.  The heat - It was a nightmare beyond nightmares.  I can't control the heat but I can control when and where I race.  That said I'm thinking Firmman in Sept but will wait for the weather report.  All jokes aside, if the 5 day forecast comes and we are looking at high 80's again then I'm waiting til next year.  I'm not racing this fall to see if I can finish, that's what Sunday was about, this is for real and I don't want to waste my time.

2.  Nutrition - If you read this and complete in longer distance tri's, please share with me what you do.  I know it's all very personal but I need some help here.  I'm thinking it's time to shift from GU on the bike.  I've started to do some research and will continue to do so.  I'm frustrated enough by this topic that I'm going to try and share what I find on the good old blog so if there is some other lost sole out there they can see what I've played around with.  The cramping on Sunday did indicate that I need to make some changes so it's going to be trial and error around here for a few weeks.

3.  Training - I'll start back for real next week and have already come up with a plan.  Nothing too drastic from what I've been doing but I'm adding a few things.  More open water swims, I don't think I can find any wrestlers to join me but I'll be able to focus on sighting and endurance without flip turns.  I'm still stuck on the trainer during the week and one of these rides is being bumped to 90 mins, lets pray for some good naps.  More bricks and transition runs.  Every other Sat I'm planning on a long ride followed by a 5-6 mile run...ties in with #2...nutrition.  I'm also hoping to add a heart rate monitor to my routine, I've fought it long enough.

Those are the big 3.  Until I find a sponsor I'm not likely going to make any major upgrades to my Phat Whip or other accessories.  If you know of any company looking to sponsor a 31-year-old-middle-of-the-packer-Mom-of-1 please let me know, this is getting expensive!

Trained for an easy hour on the bike.

Monday, July 9, 2012

70.3 Race Report

I'm breaking my own rule, and blogging on a day I didn't work out.  Sorry, but felt like I needed to share my recap.  Feeling ok today, sore but it's manageable.  Already planning out my next one, too close to coming in under 7 hours not too.  Haven't completely flushed it out but since Pumpkinman is full, going to train like I'll do Firmman but only registering if the weather is in my favor (read as no heat and partly cloudy with low surf).  Details to come later.  I also have to shout out to my cheer squad, kidding aside they were unreal.  When I ran through Steeple St on my first loop I was blown away by how many people were out there.  I hesitate to name names for fear that I miss someone.  Please know, I wouldn't have crossed the finish line without all of your support and positive vibes...even those who tracked me from home or just thought of me during the race yesterday.  Ok, enough with the sappy stuff, here's my race report....

Providence 70.3

Pre-game:  This started on Sat with packing all my color coded bags and dropping them off all over the state.  I’ll say that as a newbie to longer distance tri’s this was a challenge.  After dropping off my run stuff I realized that my shoes were still tied and my socks were in a ball.  Lessons learned, lessons learned my friend.  Race day, I was up at 3 and the coffee pot was already brewing.  Down went a bagel with cream cheese and an apple, lets not talk about how much coffee I consumed.  Wasn’t long before my professional 70.3 escort service (cheers to Jeff for getting out of bed for this) showed up to get me to the start.  I quickly found my bike and stood in line to have my tires pumped.  While in line I re-taped my GU with packing tape and removed the electrical tape.  One of the reasons I chose this race was due to it being local and from the get go I knew this was the right choice.  Having Ron, Kali and Jeff there from the start helped to ease my nerves, if they thought I could finish then I must be able to.  Made it to the beach a little before 6 and very quickly the clock hit 6:30 and I hit the water.

Swim: 46:52
There was a brief moment when I thought about walking off the beach.  I realized that I could walk home and text my family and friends it was a big mistake before they were even out of bed.  Nevermind, I had a baby last year I could do this.  The swim was at Lincoln Woods, a place I never even put my toes in, forget about swimming 1.2 miles.  Unlike previous races, I went right in with my wave and dearly paid for that decision.  No one told me I was swimming with a bunch of WWE wrestlers, the kicking, punching, elbowing was unreal and never really let up.  There were a few moments when I found my groove and then got caught up with the stragglers from the wave before also the same time (it seemed) that some of the faster swimmers from the wave behind me caught up.  It got ugly.  After a strong kick to the throat followed by an elbow to the head I gave up on sighting and swam for my life; turns out to be a bad move as I finally look for a bouy and see that I’m off course.  A lot of very bad words fly through my head and I swim like hell to get out of the cesspool.  Next time, I go in ready to fight.

T1: 3:00
No issues, pretty quick.  Never used the towel to wipe my feet.  Next time will have a GU here or right when I get on the bike.

Bike: 3:36:59
Can’t complain about this at all, seeing as how I have a fear of my bike.  After dealing with a broken water cage at the very start (note to self…stop trying to DIY and use Providence Bike…no matter how easy they say it will be).  I got out there and just had fun.  3 sips of vitalyte every 15 mins and a GU every 45, again lessons learned.  I need to tweak this to help with the run but for today I’ll take it.  I would have been ok with the bike taking 4:15 so my pace was outstanding from my perspective…remember I’m scared of my bike.  I was surprised to see how much of this course I knew from my weekend rides, so there was a comfort factor.  It was just a fun time for me, lots of singing to myself to get through the uncomfortable moments and yelling for my life on the downhills.  Take away, I need to train more like I race; meaning I need to get over some of my fears and enjoy the weekend rides.  I found the course to be well marked and wanted to high five every cop out there stopping traffic for me.  Road conditions weren’t really an issue for me, but again that’s where I ride most weekends so I don’t know any better.  My only beef was right at the end by the mall, sharp turn and poor traffic control.

T2: 3:41
I’ll admit it, I got lost.  Couldn’t find my place, couldn’t remember my number.  Then swore about my socks that were in a ball and my shoes that were tied.

Run: 2:33:16
Oh my God, it was terrible.  I had said that if I got through the bike and swim, I would be able to get through the run…only barely was this true.  It was hot, likely the hottest long race I’ve ever competed in.  I realized quick that it was going to be ugly and tried a 5 min run 1 min walk plan.  Coming up to the completion of the 1st loop I started to shiver, my teeth were chattering and I couldn’t do the math for the 5:1 ratio. All bad signs, I also started to day dream about how nice an IV would feel.  Had there been water there I would have quit.  I decided to run to the next water station and take it from there.  It didn’t get better, and I walked up the hills.  At first with a stranger and we chatted a while, tried to run and cramped up.  She went ahead and before I could think about sitting on a curb I found Emily, who had been there for almost all of my long rides.  She walked right along side me for what seemed like a very long time.  I’m not sure what we talked about but I started to feel much better.  When she took off, Rick rode behind me for the rest of the way.  On Steeple St, I came through my amazing cheer squad and realized I could and would finish.  At this point I was able to do the math and knew that as terrible as I felt I was going to smash the goal I had set for a finish.  The last 3 miles were tough and way too hot.   I ran till I cramped then would walk out the cramps and do it over and over again.  Crossing the finish was great, I danced across the line with a smile from ear to ear with so many family and friends watching I couldn’t count them all.

Finish: 7:03:48
I love that I finished and had planned on a 7:30 finish so can’t complain.  The heat was a nightmare.  I went hard on the bike and paid for it on the run.  I’m already thinking of the next one.  I’m so close to coming in under 7 hours…how can I not try???  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My bags are packed and I'm ready to race

We've made it to Race Day Eve!  Nothing left to do but smile...oh yeah...and race.  Race prep has been a little daunting; lots of colored bags with lots of little pieces to remember.  Multiple to do lists in mutliple colors...my OCD parts have been in heaven.  My run stuff was dropped off downtown this afternoon and I'm already irritated about it; I forgot to unball my socks.  My Phat Whip is having a sleepover at Lincoln Woods with 1000 of her closest friends under the watchful eye of Professional Security (as told to me by the 14 year old park ranger).  My coffee pot will start brewing at 3am and then things will start to get serious.  I'll be honest, I have very little anxious energy going into this one.  Most likely due to knowing it's going to hurt like hell.  I've done the training and now it's up to the ole bod to get me through.  Got an amazing cheer squad who'll be out on the course with about 37 signs and am already thinking about the cold beer waiting for me at East Ave.  

I'll leave you with some pictures from my prep and this quote from my new positive mantra pouch:

"Perseverance is the hard-work you do after you get tired of doing the hard-work you already did" 
- don't know who said it but I'm digging it.

Run bag holding my balled up socks

My Phat Whip excited for her sleepover

Yep, bringing my own TP..thanks for the tip Ron!
Swam 15 mins, rode 15 mins and ran 15mins today

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Where are my damn shoes?

This started out very peacefully this morning over at Georgiaville Pond for my first open water swim of the year and likely my last until Sunday.  I'd be more upset about this except that it was a stellar swim, really I couldn't have asked for it to go better.  There were no nerves (other when something, god only knows what, touched my calf on the way back to the beach); and I felt great both during and after.  Feeling like I could have gone harder and done more, a very good thing.  I did cheat a little and gave up on sighting when I realized the guy in the white cap knew the pond well and just kept on his side.  Not a complete cheat as he did make me push it a bit heading back to the beach.  I enjoyed it enough that I'm considering adding this to my weekly rotation,we'll see it did require an early wake up.  SO I go from that to a complete melt down (the stomping, sighing, arm flinging type) around 11 when I can't find my bike shoes which I left in Joe's car.  After pulling myself together I decide on a treadmill run to break in the new sneaks only to continue the meltdown when I can't find my old shoes that have my inserts.  There were under the kitchen table on a shelf, I know I didn't put them there.  I have 3 days to get more organized and am starting to loose hope.  I guess it's a good think I'm worked up about my lack of organizational skills rather than my athletic prowess (or lack thereof).

Swam for just over a mile and ran for 3.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chronically low air pressure

You would think that at some point I would realize that it's a benefit to me to monitor the pressure in all of the tires in my life.  My car tires are always low, it has one of those stupid warning lights to tell me that a tire is low but doesn't tell me which tire.  To make matters worse, the warning light NEVER stays off for more than 24 hours, meaning it's like the boy who cried wolf.  I ignore it, that is until I'm loading something in the car and realize "oh shit, I almost have a flat".  Now, the job of monitoring the car tires is Joe's, so it's always his fault when I'm at the pump filling them up in the pouring rain with the kid screetching in the back seat...it's always his fault...lets not discuss that he maybe drives that car 4 times a month.  Moving on, there are the good old bike tires that I also neglect.  I don't get along with our bike pump, it could be user error but I really think the pump sucks, so my tires are rarely inflated to where they should be.  I know, I know, this is a problem...a problem I can deal with after the big race b/c the morning of I plan to have the bike support people use thier fancy compressor and make sure I'm in a good place.  Then we land at the tires on the jogger...yep...both back ones were flat today during my run.  They were likely also flat for my last SEVERAL runs...again I never check them.  The worst part of it today was I checked them after driving to Lincoln Woods, after hauling the jogger out of the trunk, after loading the protesting child into the stroller (who was bribed with some cookies..Mom of the year over here).  Where was the pump?  At home, I took it out of the trunk this weekend.  I ran anyways.

Ran 3 miles.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Last outdoor ride and last glass of wine (maybe)

With a week to go, today was likely my last outdoor ride.  With little Castro by my side I don't typically get further than the trainer during the week so today was it.  And I have to say it was nice.  I finished the ride wanting to do more and feeling like I could do more.  Luckily in addition to needing to take it easy we have a baptism to get to shortly preventing me from going much further without ending in hot water for showing up late.  Today also marks the start of Operation Hydration.  Baseline I'm pretty dehydrated and although I haven't peeked at the 7 day forecast, I'm pretty sure it's going to be sunny hot and humid.  My pint sized supervisor makes it difficult to drink during the day; anything that touches my lips MUST be tasted by him so it's easier to avoid all beverages until nap time than share everything with him, that ends today.  So in addition to increasing my water intake and adding coconut water (which I happen to despise) I'll be enjoying my last glass of wine in the adirondack chairs this evening.  It's go time, dropped my Phat Whip off at the shop post-ride this am for her final tune up and some shiny new handlebar tape.   I'm ready.  Bring it.

Rode 30 miles this morning.