Slow and Steady

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PJ Wednesday-I'm ready to roll

I have not being doing triathlon long, just a few over the past 4 years and nothing longer than an Olympic distance. Well I am hoping the volume of events I participate in will grow this year. One way to motivate myself to do so is by riding my brand new road bike! Yay, I am so excited!! I have been chugging along on my dinosaur of a mountain bike since 1999 and even when I bought this mountain bike it was already a 2 year old model. I am not one much for spending, so this was a really big purchase for me. I will tune out the critiques about better components and brand envy (Trek, Specialized etc.). This bike is great start for me, and feels like a pretty fancy upgrade from my 12 year old Specialized Hardrock Mountain bike (see Main Blog photo)

I have not been to a race yet where I haven't gotten the condescending sounding "good for you" or thumbs up when people see me on my mountain bike at a road triathlon. I am not sure I am going to make the jump from Olympic Distance to Ironman, so I just needed a bike that will get me through the next 3-5 years while I figure it out. This bike fits nicely, is comfortable to ride and has easy to use gear shifting. I am not yet skilled at utilizing the gears as I have NEVER ridden a road bike until yesterday, but I am so excited to learn. I had store demo stock pedals when I rode around the store parking lot, and they didn't have the ones I needed when I checked out. Apparently the fancier the bike the less you get when you purchase. Really, no pedals with purchase? The next local bike shop closed for the night so I had to wait until today to buy my pedals. A nerdy coincidence is that the bike's color scheme matches my Tri Club cutesy lame is that? Sorry folks you'll just have to put up with my matchy matchiness. 

By the time I got home, dinner was done and 1 of 2 kids were asleep there was no time for a daylight ride. Around 9:30 I finally got the opportunity to take a spin around the block. Here is a picture of me in my Penguin PJs getting ready to roll. Wow! Can I just say that I have never felt fast, but today I felt so fast it was scary. This bike is so agile, light and zippy. I am not sure I will be able to handle curves and downhills, but my new optimistic self thinks I know enough bike smart people to teach me. A HUGE thank you to AA for going with me to explain and translate the bike speak, to help me wrangle kids and help me feel confident about such a major purchase. You are awesome and I can't wait to ride with you sometime.

So do bikes get a name, like boats and cars do? Hmm, even if they don't I think I might need to name mine.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn' t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.  ~Lucille Ball

So I have this thing I do at work, I send out motivational quotes and call it Monday Motivation. Sometimes I am off on Monday's or just flat out get so busy I forget and I send out Tuesday Tidbits. This month is Women's History month so I chose quotes from prominent women in American History. Lucille Ball was an amazing part of my childhood. I have probably seen every episode of I Love Lucy and was once so engrossed in an episode that I almost burned my parent's kitchen down. I lost focus on the oil that was heating up to "fry temperature" for my lunch and poof went the cabinets above the stove. My parents did get a nice new set of cabinets out the damage I caused, but I digress. The above quote is my Tuesday Tidbit, the post that follows is not so bitty :o)

In addition to the wise words of Lucille Ball I also read recently a great article on Scott Jurek, ultra running super hero. He was quoted in the most recent runner's world as saying elite athletes need to have some level of arrogance to be successful. Now I know I am never destined to be an elite athlete, but Mr. Jurek and Ms. Ball are on to something. If you haven't picked up on it yet, I am a terrible pessimist. I lack a general self confidence. One of the things I admire about the bloggers I follow and people I read about, is that they can say out loud how good they think they are...ahem, KNOW they are. I am jealous of that fact. If I were to ever say I was good at anything, I would immediately have talkers remorse and wonder how many people hated me for saying something so arrogant. Once, I posted on this blog that I was good at leadership. I regularly consider removing that post for how awful it makes me sound, but while elite is a little too much for me to own at this stage in my work career, work is the one realm in which I feel I regularly excel. Sure I have room to grow/improve, but what elite person would settle for their current accomplishments? For me, work is my space to really exhibit my natural abilities. Unfortunately, I don't carry this confidence over into my real life. Instead of exuding the confidence I should have in myself, I instead take "modest" and manipulate it down to self-deprecation. This trait we'll call it, is amazingly frustrating to most people. I can't tell you how many times people have challenged me by asking, "why can't you just take a compliment?"....well I just can't. I aim to be better, but that is all I can commit to right now.

While I am not sure arrogance is the right route for me, I do plan to be more self confident as a wife, mother, and runner/athlete. Maybe when I become an elite wife and mother, some arrogance will surface, but we'll have to wait and see. Elite athlete? No, but maybe elite Athena Athlete in my own way. Elite meaning I try harder and work harder to earn the athlete title. Elite meaning that I stop racing just to finish and start racing against myself. Often times I don't push myself as hard as I can because I fear success. Success means I would need to sustain my efforts, replicate them, risk failing and probably my worst fear...that people will have expectations of me that I can't live up to. SCARY! It is at this point that Lucille Ball in her perfect way will help me on the path to optimism. I need to remember it really doesn't pay to get discouraged, I need to keep busy doing my best and staying positive about my efforts. Making optimism a way of life is probably going to be my toughest challenge in life, but one I need to stop shying away from. Optimism is the key to restoring...maybe better said, establishing faith in myself.

Thank you, thank you to those of you who already have faith in me, your optimism is truly an example and I want to be a positive example to myself and others. Good night bloggy blog world.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Respect the Distance

On Saturday I started writing this blog in my mind. In fact during my 20K I wrote it about a half dozen times. Possible subject titles considered:

  1. A Busy Busy Day (Why: at 5:30 am before I had to pump, drive 1.5 hours to a run, run about 3-4 hours before driving another 45 minutes to a 2 year olds bday party at a zoo only to drive another 1.5 hours home)
  2. Today I felt like a RUNNER (Why: at about mile 4 of my 12 miler. Damn I felt good)
  3. Living in the Valley has its price (Why: at about mile 5 during a 1.5 mile climb of about 750 feet. Not bad, just felt never ending, did I say never ending, because what I meant was NEVER. ENDING. Yeah we dont have hills where I live, hence the 1.5 hour drives for runs)
  4. Mental toughness (Why: During a very proud moment of a short steep climb that I ran to the top of without stopping at about mile 6.5)
  5. Liar (Why: when I was on a single track and all I could think of was the guy at the last aid station must have gotten his facts wrong when he said the next aid station was only 7k away. Really, the longest 7K ever. 100% gorgeous, but the last mile before the aid station seemed to last forever, must have been the uphill climbL)
  6. The World is Ending (Why: at mile 8.5 when my ITB acted up, again at about 10 when I realized that I could just about cry having to go another 2 miles and at mile 11 when I thought I was running, but my body voluntarily stopped and decided to walk with my approval, good thing I care what people think because I ran the last ¾ of a mile only so people wouldnt see me walking.)

The winner of this weeks blog title as you can see is: RESPECT THE DISTANCE

I have often allowed myself to participate in things for which I am obviously undertrained. The fact that I can still do many activities and finish, albeit slow, doesnt act as motivation to try harder to prepare. Saturday was such an example. I had not run a single step for this 20K save for the 8K flat as a pancake road race I did on 02/27/10. Here is my race report. I am proud I finished, but ashamed for taking it so lightly. I need to respect the distance. I did learn from this and am super excited & motivated to do better, try harder and be more prepared. As youll read below I now know what happens when you do not "respect the distance."

Race Report
Friday 03/19/10
Pre-Race meal: Friend had a bad day so we cracked a very nice bottle of wine early in the day
Went to a crab feed where I ate some bread, some pasta, lots of butter drenched crab and drank a tiny bit more. Went to sleep at about 11:30

Saturday 03/20/10
Woke up about 5:30
Pumped, No water or breakfast, Drove 1.5 hours to the Marin Headlands near San Francisco.
About ½ before race time I realized I had a granola bar in my gym bag and ate that (mixed nuts & peanut butter coating)

8:45 start
  • Initial climb was about 650 ft spread out over 1 mile (took me 23 minutes, yuck)
  • More climbing.
  • Nice decent to the first aid station (see Blog title #2)
  • Crazy long climb (see Blog title #3)
  • I went with Chompers by GU for my during race food. I also tried a single corn chip at the first aid station to get some salt in.bad idea. Minor gastric distress from miles 5-7. How 1 stupid chip can do that I am not even sure. I guess I need to pack some TUMS on my long runs just in case.
  • Nice straight aways, gorgeous single track with a couple climbs      
  • About 100 yards from the 2nd aid station my IT band hurt so bad I could barely walk down the awesome technical downhill preceding the aid station. I was so bummed. Being a slow runner I thrive on how much time I make up on the down hills. It is kind of ridiculous I know, but it is the only time I feel fast.
  • At the aid station I stopped to stretch my ITB and both my calves cramped. Not a little, not a threat of cramping, but CRAMPED!
  • I worked it out and knew I could Rock the last 3.5 miles. The last 3.5 miles are a gift from the race directors. Mostly flat with some gradual downhill. It is the time to dig into the reserves and punch it to the end.
  • WRONG! I ran with calves as tight and hard as tree trunks. Then my arches started to feel like they were blistering from the rub (new one for me). Tiny two foot drops on the trail made my ITB hurt. My hips stopped firing and I could feel my tush jiggle and make my hips hurt. Finally my legs voluntarily went from running to walking, no conscious decision there. I would say the first 1-1.5 miles were awesome, then as quickly as I thought I was feeling good, my body totally crashed and burned. This is what I get for not training and drinking alcohol the day before. Dehydration I am sure was a contributing factor.
  • I was actually afraid I would not be able to finish. Every step hurt. Every step muscles in places I didnt know existed threatened to cramp up. My world was ending. How I got to a place where I thought I was going to PR then a split second later was praying I could even finish walking is beyond me.
Finished: in 3:09:34 My PR at this race was 2:53:29. This was back in 2006 when it was a training run for my first and only marathon. Id like to think with more training I can out run my former self in the trail run middle distances now. Arent you supposed to get slower as you get older? I literally walked an amazing amount in that last 2.5 miles, I know with training, I could easily shave chunks of minutes off this time. At the finish, which is beach side, I quickly kicked off my shoes and hobbled as quickly as possible to soak in the cold ocean. Elite athletes do ice baths, I take a dip in the ocean. I would like to think it is the same desired result, muscle relief.
Post meal: Water, water, Sprite and a slice of bread with peanut butter.

Thank you RA and VG for getting me out there, I had such a great time, despite the complaining above. When's the next one?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Five

1. I didn't do my 1/2 marathon trail run last weekend. I was convinced staying out until 2:00am for a bachelorette party was a good idea. Being severely undertrained made being convinced easier...that and my running partner flaking for medical reasons.

2. I got a new bike trainer. Hooked up my bike. Have used it once. Not exactly my best efforts to stay in shape lately.

3. Work is good, I've been working too much, which makes work feel good. Getting more done at work, getting less sleep at home. There has to be a better way.

4. Crab feed tonight! I have been to exactly one crab feed in my life. I was a band geek and I was working our fundraiser. Seriously so disgusting to watch people smash, crack, suck and eat the crab so savagely. It's all you can eat so the headonistic atmosphere didn't help either. But we are supporting a friend in their quest for little league funds and I am looking at it as a social night out.

5. Big Saturday tomorrow. My 20K trail run is going to be...something, we'll see. Yes I am still severely undertrained, but this time I get to tack on sleep deprived, poorly nourished (unless Jack in the Box has made it to the top of the food pyramid) and I have a kids bday party at a zoo to attend immediately after. Good thing I get to rest on Sunday...oops, volunteering my time at 7:15 nevermind.

Hope you have a physically active and yet restful weekend.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Week...Weekend Update

Ok, so it was a hectic week with some highs and goes. I had to work out of town for a few days last week. I was sad to leave my family, but excited about working out in the hotel gym, catching up on some sleep and networking with work peeps. Networking, check. Workouts, um not so much. Sleep? Somehow less than when I am at home?! I was gone most of Tuesday through Thursday and back at work Friday felt like trying to squeeze in Tuesday-Thursday into one day. Amazingly stress-FULL, but rewarding. I haven't been putting in many extra hours in my new temporary position, but plugging in just 1 extra hour really made me feel committed and thankfully, productive too.

After a long week (for my hubby alone with the kids) I had a mini vacation planned for Saturday, thanks for taking one for the team honey. A girlfriend I played basketball with high school and in college was sorority sisters with, with invited me to a wine tasting weekend in Napa. Then Sunday I enjoyed becoming a member of our local zoo and hanging out with my family and other not so wild animals. Saturday there were about 18 of us and about half were sorority sisters. No we were not a winery's worst nightmare, there was enough going on at each winery that we didn't look like a large party of drunk women. I must say Napa/Healdsburg knows how to host an event. For $20 we tasted all we wanted, ate gourmet polenta, breads, cheeses, tapenade, grass fed beef stew, vegetable rice pilaf, perfectly prepared rib-eye steak, chili, chocolate and the list goes on. No need for lunch on this wine tour, the wineries definitely had those bases covered.

We stayed with a sister's parents who after a lovely day of wine barrel tasting, had a long table set in their backyard and dinner ready when we arrived. Fresh Guacamole, Salsa Verde, Ribs, Carne Asada, Chicken, Rice, Beans, Chips, Salsa, barbecued mushroom caps, salted meats ante pasta style and more open bottles of wine than I can count. It was scene straight out of a movie. Good times, Good times. I got an amazing nights sleep that night, like 12 hours. Wow did I need a catch up day. On this trip I discovered new grape varietals, the joys of white chocolate and expanded my list of favorite cheeses. Comte is now on the list and Mt. Tam Triple cream has worked its way up the list from top 5 to top 3. White chocolate is great, but I enjoy it for what it is, not what it claims to be. White chocolate I maintain is not really chocolate, it is just something delicious with a shared name. I bought a few really nice bottles and I look forward to enjoying them over the next couple of years. Like me, wine is something that gets better with age. Wine, Cheese and Chocolate are expensive things to are swimming, biking and running, just check the registration fees, clothing and necessary accessories and equipment.

On the subject of athletics I picked up my new Delta Tri Club technical shirt, visor and pull over sweatshirt. I also got the new running skirt/capri combo and tri swim suit from skirtsports I ordered last week. I picked up my DTC stuff at a swim workout I was not participating in...I should be doing Master's swim as part of my weekly routine. I need to spend more time training in general, I have literally not run a single step since the 8K over a week ago, ok wait I did a 5 minute warm up with my personal trainer last week. I am severely undertrained for this weekends trail 1/2 marathon. It is on beautiful trails so I figure a 13.1 mile hike, should I have to walk the entire thing, is still a nice way to spend a Sunday. I am hoping to run at least half of the run, maybe not all at once, but overall. I have been so busy I still haven't gotten fitted for a Tri bike or bought a bike trainer. Good news is a good bike trainer is on sale at the bike shop across the street from my personal trainer. I went there tonight, but they were already closed. I have a personal trainer appt. tomorrow early enough that I can hit the bike shop after, kid free and hopefully motivated to get on track. I keep talking the talk, but need to step up walking the walk.

Ok, I feel like this post is long enough so Swim, Bike, Run....EAT, DRINK and have fun!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Registration Station

There are alot more races I need to register for, but this is what I have so far. I am so torn over weekends and how I should spend them. There are too many runs and TRIs on the same weekends and I can't race every weekend.

01/10/10 Cal 10K ~done
02/20/10 Rodeo Beach 5 miler ~done
02/27/10 Almond Blossom 8K ~done
03/06/10 Wine Road Barrel Tasting ~ oh it'll be quite the leisurely event (Napa wine trip with friends) :)
03/14/10 Redwood 1/2 Marathon Trail run
03/20/10 Priates Cove 20k Trail Run
04/18/10 Zin Spin 50K Bike Ride
04/24/10 Delta Tri Club Practice Tri
05/02/10 Avenue of the Giants 1/2 Marathon

Hopefully my hubby doesn't freak out over this schedule. Because most runs are out of town, he usually gets to play single dad. Guess I will need to pitch in as single mom for some fly fishing trips now. Not a bad trade off, although it does make spending time together a little difficult, but we work it in. Some day I hope he'll start running just as I am sure someday he hopes I learn to row a boat so he can fish. I know I was supposed to write about how he would want me to learn to fly fish, but really, fly fishing is sacred time that I am sure he mostly appreciates doing alone. Not sure he'll talk about G-d or religion with anyone, but nothing gets him closer to G-d than quiet time, standing in river, listening to the water rush and surrounded by nature in perfect form. It is the best way I can think fly fishing feels for him because that is what a good trail run does for me.

Happy Trails all.

You snooze, you lose.

OK so let's talk about some good stuff before I share how much of a procrastinator I am. Wednesday was pretty close to a dream day. I knew I had to be at work until maybe midnight. So instead of working a 12+ hour day I decided to go into work as late as possible. So I woke up as usual around 6:00, pumped for the Bug, got into my workout attire, dropped off the Bug & the Duder at their respective day care sites and went to an appointment with my trainer. No I did not show up on time, yes she still worked me out for an hour. Thanks L. I went home and was still feeling frisky so I grabbed both dogs and went for a little jog. Cleaned up, went to work and worked 10 1/2 hrs. This morning was super awesome. To have time to do all the things I wanted was great. I wish I could start my days late more often and still end by 5:30.

So that was Wednesday. What else happened last week? The 20K I wanted to do Saturday sold out. I looked at the site and didn't sign up. Why? Just procrastinating. This same procrastination made me miss the Shamrock'n half that is scheduled for March 14th. Bummer, but story of my life. I think my husbands favorite phrase for me is "You snooze, you lose!" I have a couple other races lined up for March 13th (5K), March 14th (1/2 marathon) and March 20th (20K). Did I mention that the 5K comes with beer at the finish and optional Pub Crawl tickets? My hubby hates "going out", but said he'd do the Pub Crawl if I was interested. So this is the plan for March so far, have I registered for any of these runs yet? Um, nope. But I plan to.

This week is going to be a little crazy...for my husband. Saturday he played single dad so I could run, get a massage, get a pedicure, get my hair cut and volunteer. Tuesday-Thursday he gets to do it again because I have to travel for work. Then, he has generously agreed to throw on the single dad hat again so I can go wine barrel tasting in Napa this coming Saturday (home Sunday morning). My husband is more awesome than I give him credit for, High Five Honey!

Race Report:
So the original 20K out of town was sold out, but I found a local road race to substitute.

Friday Pre-Race meal: Husband prepared an awesome Cuban style dinner with perfect black beans.

Saturday: breakfast half a Mountain Mix Mojo bar and 4 oz of water

Run: Missed the 1 mile start because I dilly dallied at home, then didn't have directions and had to iPhone map it from the town once I got into city limits. It's ok though, the 8K was plenty.

The course winded through an neighborhood for about a mile (boring), then on a not so scenic straight away that was a fusion of country and residential like road. This was the "Almond Blossom" festival run so they appropriately took us down about a mile stretch of blossomed trees, easiest part of the run. Only to take us down a not so scenic country road back to the residential neighborhood for a park finish. I am not complaining about the race necessarily, I just think more and more that I am a trail runner. Neighborhoods don't interest me, empty flat country roads, no so much either. It was such a mental game of keeping people in my sights, picking off the ones that I could. My goal was to run the whole thing and try and get my time into the 10 minute range. My 10K in January was at about 12 minutes. I did run the whole thing, but didn't get into the 10s. I finished in 56 minutes flat which is about 11 min 20 sec per mile. Certainly an improvement, but I mentally had to work way too hard for it. I prefer distractions, like beautiful trail scenery, climbs (which I hike) and downhills (which I completely rip through) or at the very least day dreaming until I realize oops, there's the finish. I was perfectly conscious the whole run. Not my best living in the moment experience. After I finished, I traced my way back about 3/4 of a mile to pick up a friend. Got stuck in lame festival traffic. Got home and had a post race meal, a slice of wheat toast with peanut butter.

This week I am traveling for work. I hope the hotel gym is decent, I'll need all the endorphins I can get. I will be in a pretty intimidating environment. For this reason I pampered myself after the run on Saturday. Nothing like a hair cut and fancy pedicure to help me feel confident in a room full of big rigs (yes I know it is big wigs, but this little comment is a funny for my hubby). I had also planned to drop some weight, but instead I have been gorging myself on girl scout cookies. Tis the season for shortbreads, lemonades and thin mints. Thanks employees who enlist their girls in extracurricular activities.

Have a great week everyone!