Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 in Review

Sometimes I look back at a year and I wonder how I should quantify it. A year ago I was pleased and proud of myself... this year, right now, I'm more negative, though I truly have just as much to be pleased/proud of/grateful for.

So I think I'll start off by assessing how I did on my goals... For 2008, my goals, as stated in this blog, and my performances were:

Firsts
1. Complete my first 10K race. Check - did 2.
2. Complete my first Half Marathon. Check - did 2.
3. Complete my first Sprint Triathlon. Check - did 2.

Numbers
1. Lose those last 5 pounds. (But only healthily - if my body wishes to keep those 5 pounds, then the resolution becomes maintaining my weight.) Check - maintained. On January 2, 2008, I weighed 131.0. This morning I weighed 131.4. For much of the year I was 128ish - holidays are hard on me - but maintain I did, and I'm counting it as a goal accomplished.
2. Run at least 520 miles. Check - we're at 725.75 with one run to go.
3. Bike at least 520 miles. Check - 717.
4. 52 swimming miles this year. Check - 71 miles (125,000 yards).

Athletically, I accomplished my goals, really beyond my wildest dreams.

Humanly, I've had a harder time. I got back on The Pill, which was a huge mistake. I realized that, and got back off it, but it has really caused some depression issues for me (again). Note to self: It will NEVER be *different* this time. Run away screaming.

Career-wise, I got a promotion to a more high-profile, high-responsibility position. I love and hate my new job, and while I am certain I made the right decision, I did not achieve the sense of satisfaction that I had hoped for. I've been wrestling with the knowledge that several higher positions that I am interested in are open or opening, and which one(s) should I apply for? Many days I think that I'd like the lower profile position (that also pays less than at least one other option) because I don't like being stressed about work. And I'm stressed a lot. This has been a very difficult conclusion to draw, though, because I've always been ambitious, and I'm pretty much choosing to glass ceiling myself for awhile. I do think that ultimately it is a better decision for my mental health, but it isn't without its drawbacks, the primary one being the people I'd be working with... (I'm going to go off this tangent now, because I could go on forever.)

I am grateful for my husband, my kitties, my family, my friends, my job (isn't so terrible to stress about which path upwards you want to take when many people are being laid off!), my home, and my runner-self. I am grateful for this year. I am grateful for the willpower and the desire to get out of bed each morning, stumble into the cold, and to continue to improve me. I did improve in 2008. I will improve more in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lakes of Williams Ranch 30K Race Report

I'll jump right in here: The first couple miles were fine. I was actually pretty proud of myself - I didn't want to run any sub-10 minute miles for this race. My goal was to go slow at the beginning and not feel like crap at the end. (I achieved exactly half of this goal - the slow part!!)
I made the turn and started the first loop and caught my first glimpse of Preston! My heart
rate strap had never synched with my Garmin (and yes, I turned it on when I was far away
from people, so it is just on the fritz), so I took it off and handed it to him - no reason
to chafe if I can't even get data out of it!

After that, it was basically just 3 hellish loops. As I was coming in on the first loop I
yelled to Preston that I couldn't believe I still had 2 to go - that's how crappy I felt.
One good thing did come out of the race, though. The aid stations were set up every 2nd
mile, which corresponded to a loop turn-around. The first and second aid stations I took
Gatorade. The 3rd, 5th, and 7th I took a Honey Stinger gel with water, and the 4th, 6th,
and 8th I took an Endurolyte pill with Gatorade. The end result was zero leg cramps at the
end, and no GI distress. So, I think I may have finally found my magic marathon nutrition
combination!

Back to the race: I stayed sub-11 miles until I was through 13, walking only the aid
stations. At 13 I was struggling, so I started walking once per mile, and my miles started
getting slower and slower. I'd be all proud of myself, that I was still running, and I'd
look down at my pace and see 12:30 when my body really felt like it was doing 10:30! It was
mentally a very tough last 5 miles. Very tough. At 16 I was really hurting. Physically
hurting. I made a new deal with myself that I could walk every half a mile. I wasn't
comforted that everyone left out there with me looked to be struggling as mightily as I was.
And it was HOT by then. When I got into my car, which had been parked in the shade in a
garage after the race, it read 76 degrees. UGH! Preston said a lot of people were
complaining. I passed a guy within a few 100 yards of the finish line who said something
about the pain almost being over. This is the first race I've run where I really actually
was in pain. Wow - I don't have any words for that.

I couldn't see the finish line until the very very end, so it felt like it would never come.
I just kept shuffling along in some kind of loop-continuum. But it did finally come, my
Gramin reading 18.78 miles. I got my medal and my (lame) cotton T-shirt, but couldn't find
the water. I do hope the race director rethinks the set-up of the finish line amenities,
which were nice, but confusing! (And it isn't like most of us have just tons of brainpower
when we've been running for 3.5 hours!!)

I'm not sure I'll do the warm-up series again... I mean, I would, if I were training on my
own for sure - supported long runs and all of that. But for training with a
group, the schedules didn't always mesh well, and the first two were on the terrible hills
(though I will do the Houston Half again - medal and really nice tech singlet), and the last
two shorted finishers either a medal (25K) or a tech T (30K), both of which I'm coming to
expect for my money and for races that long... to be fair, I won't be doing San Antonio
again either, til they cough up a tech T.

This turned out to be my last long run before the marathon. I'll elaborate in a later post
on that...

So, 18.6 miles in 3:29:03. I'm sorry this post feels so fragmented. My feelings about the whole race are rather fragmented. I ran it, it was long, I struggled, I finished, and that's pretty much all I've got, other than the nutrition goodness that came out of it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Super-Late Turkey Trot Race Report

The Dallas Turkey Trot is an 8 mile race (the distance around White Rock Lake, where it was originally held) that takes place on Thanksgiving morning in downtown Dallas.

We stayed at the Fairmont downtown (less than $100 per night - great runner's rate - and a nice hotel), and walked the mile or so to the start. It was a blustery morning, but nice.

What was not nice was the lack of organization between the 3 mile run/walkers and the 8 milers. The 8 mile race was supposed to start 15 minutes before the 3 mile fun thing, but when the gun went off, some 3 milers started, a lot stood in the middle of the start corral blocking the way, and a large portion slowly started wandering off on their 3 mile stroll. Now, please don't misinterpret: I am ALL FOR going on a healthy 3 mile walk with your entire family and dog and stroller on Thanksgiving morning. I am ALL FOR that 3 mile walk being an official Turkey Trot. But please, please listen to directions!!! If they tell you to talk to the side so faster people can go around, please do that!! If they tell you not to start, don't start, GAH!!!

Here is a good one. At the turn for the 3 milers, there was a sign, 3 MILE TURN LEFT HERE, with a giant arrow in the MIDDLE of the road. About 100 yards farther on, there was another GIANT sign saying, If you are a 3 miler, turn around, you have missed the turn. I actually heard a 3 mile lady say to her friend, "Do you think they mean it?" And then they kept going!!! GAH!!!

Anyways, other than all that, it was a nice little race. I like these sub-10 mile distances right now!! I wanted to go it at a sub-10 pace, too, but I didn't want to burn out for the 18 miler I had coming up that Saturday. But for the hilly viaduct, I would have had my time.

On the viaduct, that was actually pretty cool. My dad told me ahead of time that my Granny Alice had been stuck on the Houston viaduct during the tornado of 1957(?). My imagination took me away and I thought of my family as I ran along.

It was Viaduct Mountain on the way back in that wasn't much my friend, so I tried to tell myself that I was on Allen Parkway in the last 10k of the marathon in January, and just power myself up that bitch. It worked.

On the downside of the mountain I saw a runner down. He already had about 30 people around him, so I didn't stop, but I heard the most wonderful thing as I ran by, one of his people yelled for a medic. Then I heard behind me, in stages, going farther and farther back, the cry of "Medic". There is something both inspiring and comforting in that.

And thus I finished, 24 seconds slower than I'd have liked, and 800 calories in debt on a big-eating day (which I more than made up with 3, count them 3!!, slices of mom's most excellent chocolate cake).

I'll do the Turkey Trot in Dallas again, probably in 2010, but I'll seed myself muuuuuch farther forward than the signage suggests. Happy late Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lots, Just Lots

I've got a lot to cover!

Turkey Trot Race Report is forthcoming, but here is a quick recap: I left on Sunday for my parents' house. I ran a 4 miler on hills on Monday, legs still feeling a little dead. Decided to cut the planned 4 miler on Tuesday because I realized I was scheduled to run 8 in the Turkey Trot, then 18 on Saturday. Figured 30 was enough for the week!! Tooled around with my rents, saw some friends, had Thanksgiving with family, saw some of Tut's stuff, then headed home on Friday.

Ok, so, about that 18 miler - I finished it! Woodlands Fit runs this one with Kingwood Fit. I had never been to Kingwood before, but it is quite a nice place. The first 9 weren't too exciting - through standard neighborhoods. I did hook up with a WFitter that I had never met before at about 5, and we would run the rest of the way together. I was glad, because despite the lovely nature trails and lakes of the second half, I was hurting after 15 pretty strongly, and any distraction was welcome. Anyways, 18.28 miles in 3:26. Not too bad for a training run! One of my coaches even emailed me to tell me I didn't look like I was struggling at the end - I may not have looked it, but I felt it! I told her, though, that for the first time I felt like maybe I could actually do this marathon thing. She said, "If you can do 18, then you can do 21, and if you can do 21, you can finish the marathon." Wow.

Beyond that, Preston started C25K on Monday!! I'm really excited. I think that he would really enjoy competing in the 5Ks in the Spring, and I'll really enjoy having him running instead of feeling guilty about dragging him around to all of these races.

I gained a few pounds in the past 2 weeks. I'm back up over 130, so I need to start dieting again, but it is the strangest thing - things just keep happening that seem to get in my way. I'm about ready to drop the hammer once and for all and get in 2 good weeks of healthy eating before x-mas, though... I feel rather like my body is craving a nice long hibernation. I'm storing fat, and each morning when I wake up it is everything I can do to drag myself out of bed, and sometimes I'm not even making it to my workouts. I suspect that this is why people program off-seasons into their plans. I haven't really taken any time off since I started almost 2 years ago, but it is difficult to justify and stomach time off when you use exercise as a method of weight control, mood control, etc. I've been trying to do less time each week in a sort of controlled off-season way instead. Focusing only on running and letting everything else slip so I'm putting in fewer hours. It may be working, but my head is so fuzzy from it that I can't really tell!! I'm sure that this, too, shall pass. I am really looking forward to some short stuff in the Spring, though!

I have just one more thing to really talk about. My work hired my replacement (finally - took them 10 months!). I was really ambivalent about the whole thing... but I really like her. She friended me on Facebook, and as a result I took a look at her blog. Now, here's the thing... I discovered from reading her blog that she is even cooler than I expected, which is great. But, I almost feel like I'm peeping through the window to her private thoughts. I shouldn't, I mean, she linked to her blog, so she must expect that people will follow the link and read it, and she must be intelligent enough to not friend people that she doesn't want reading it, but still, there is something almost wrong about it all. I started thinking about how very few people who know me know about my blog, and about how I like it that way. I never write these entries for anyone else, though I don't mind people reading (obviously). I never wanted to censor myself here, and I never have, with the exception of work stuff. Would I be weirded out if someone from work found my blog and then commented on it (without me telling them about it) - yes, indeed I would. I work with Librarians, y'all, and if they can do their jobs, I think they could find me... Just a lot of thoughts running around in my head regarding blogging and personal privacy and public access and the nature of knowing someone. Somehow a person's blog seems such an intimate thing (or at least, it can). It may only seem that way because of the way I think of my blog, but there it is. If you are reading an uncensored person, then you are really seeing into a part of their personality that they may keep hidden in the world of real life. And if that is the case, could it be true that one who reads your blog knows you better than the people you interact with on a daily basis?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRESTON!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

C25K Redux

I've recently had the opportunity to recommend Couch to 5K, (and an associated podcast that makes it super easy to follow) to a few friends and acquaintances. I try not to prosthelesize unless asked for advice, but once I'm asked, I can go on for hours because I feel so strongly about the program and its potential for positive impact in ANY non-runner's life.

So an old friend has started the program (he's on Week 2 now!), but is experiencing shin splints, so we talked for almost an hour last night (the short answer - I'm sending him to Luke's for new shoes).

Near the end of the conversation he said something better than I think I ever could. He said:

You know, it just seems like when you do something positive for yourself in one area of your life, you begin to want to do more positive things in the rest of your life.

Amen, Tyler!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Half Rocked and Rolled - Rock n' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon Race Report

Drove down to SA on Saturday. Straight to the Expo (parking sucked, and it was freaking cold as hell walking to the stadium - on the positive side, the TomTom pronounced it A-llama-dome, which was freaking hillarious!!). Expo was seriously crowded, and I thought packet pick-up was poorly layed-out with lines criss-crossing everywhere. I had always heard that there were good freebies at expos, but I didn't see any here. Booked it out of there quickly. Oh, one other negative - cotton t-shirts! I'm turning into a tech t snob. Don't even bother if it is cotton, especially if you are catering to a crowd that is running long!

Anyways, after that we checked into the hotel, Staybridge Suites at Sunset Station, which was really really nice except for the price and the trains blowing their horns all night long... very nice that it was walking distance from the finish line, though. I'd recommend it, with earplugs.

Walked over to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, which is apparently like a total institution in San Antonio, and I have to say, based on what I ate, with good reason. Preston was super excited about eating there. I was trying to be a bit careful and not upset my stomach the night before a long run, so I tried to eat less than I normally would, and it worked quite well.

Then headed back to the hotel, watched a movie, and crashed around 8pm. And woke up off and on with train whistles all night long...

Woke up on Sunday at 5. Drank my coffee, ate a banana, and couldn't really force anything else down. Had a grumpy stomach, but was able to stick around in the hotel room for long enough (6:20) to settle it. I had a hard time deciding what to wear. It was supposed to be in the 30's on race morning, but rising into the 60's before the end of the race. I knew I'd be cold at the beginnins, and I brought cold clothes, but I didn't want to throw any away and I knew I'd be in sleeveless by the end. Finally decided on shorts, sleeveless, covered by two layers of long-sleeved tech that I'd pass off to Preston when I saw him on the course. Did have throw-away gloves. Left for the starting line shuttle at 6:20 (really cold outside!!). Arrived in line 6:25. Stood in line til 7:10ish. Arrived at start at 7:25ish. Walked to corral 15 (scheduled for 14, but couldn't find entrance). Stood there and listened to the start. Realized that I had plenty of time to get out of the corral, run to the porta-potty, do my business (no lines!!), and get back into the corral to stand for 15ish more minutes.

Finally I got up to the front, where the announcer guy did a great job of firing me up!! Perhaps too good - first mile was 9:30ish pace, which I think is too fast for comfort at the end... I felt good. Didn't even really look at my Garmin until the first aid station, where I called Preston to tell him I was close, but then I missed him at our first meeting point!! Hells, I tied my shirts around my waist, resigned to running for 6 more miles with them on, boo!! Then I just enjoyed myself for the next several miles, with the exception of that beastly long hill around mile 4,wtf?? The downhill afterward was bang-up awesome, though... Saw Preston at 8.5, again at 9.5ish, and 10.5ish. Really felt quite good til 11, then started to wonder if I'd ever finish... saw the lead marathon woman run by me when we both had 2 miles to go - that really puts it into perspective for you, doesn't it? That woman ran twice as far as me, only about 10 minutes slower than me. I mean, wow. The hill up into the finish line was a bitch, I'm not going to lie. That was somebody's idea of a sadistic joke, and it was soooooo not funny!

The course overall was really quite lovely, ran through some scenic areas of town, past the Alamo, and all of that. I'd be interested to run the marathon course that continued onto mission trail too...

After the finish line was another small grumbly... there were only 5 photo booths set up, and no way to bypass them. I was standing in this sea of thousands of people who were going nowhere, and I was cramping up really bad, with no ability to walk it off!! Finally one of the photogs started letting people walk through. Bad set-up, though, really. And no finisher's shirts, boo!! Medals are super nice, though, and heavy! Lots of variety in the finish foods.

Little trouble finding Preston in the sea of people, and still fighting cramping in my legs, so I headed back to the hotel, where he found me. After I cleaned up, he took my to my very favorite San Antonio/Austin eatery: EZ's Brick Oven and Grill. They have stellar cheese fries and oreo cookie shakes, and their Rosemary Chicken is the BEST EVAR. And I ate all of that. And took another shake to go for the drive home!

All in all, I enjoyed my first big event. The crowd support was really cool. I could tell that it was an inaugural event - the race organizers have a few things to work out (shuttles, photo booths, etc), but it was a neat-o event that I enjoyed!

Overall time: 2:14:21. A new PR!

Oh, yeah, the 2:15 pacers were right in front of me in my corral. They went out fast, so I kept thinking they'd come back to me if I just ran my race (I really wanted a 2:10ish), but they never did. Oh well...

The Garmin actually registered 13.33 miles for the half. There were so many turns in the course, maybe that is where I picked up the mileage. I tried not to do much weaving...

Garmin splits to come. Overall I ran this race more evenly than the Houston Half or the HMSA 25K, and I'm really happy about that. Next up, Dallas Turkey Trot. I'm really looking forward to it - it is only 8 miles, so I figure I can really try to put the pedal to the metal for it. When I hit 8 yesterday, I thought to myself, "At the Turkey Trot, this will be the end - how cool is that??"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some days...

Some days it is an accomplishment to just get out of bed.

Today was one of those days.

30 minutes slow run would make me proud of myself, if I hadn't shorted myself a swim and I didn't want to still go back to bed so badly...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

HMSA 25K Splits/Results

Garmin splits:
Miles 1+2: 20:17 (didn't pick up distance for first quarter-ish mile.)
Mile 3: 10:14
Mile 4: 9:55
Mile 5: 10:25
Mile 6: 10:19
Mile 7: 9:59
Mile 8: 10:31
Mile 9: 10:00
Mile 10: 10:49
Mile 11: 10:15
Mile 12: 10:46 (bathroom break)
Mile 13: 11:57
Mile 14: 11:02
Mile 15: 12:33
.65: 7:19

Chip time: 2:46:27, 10:44min/mi. 39 of 74 in age group, 835 of 1135 overall.

Monday, November 10, 2008

HMSA 25K Race Report


Got up at 4:45, drank my coffee and ate my toast. Left the house at 5:30, arrived downtown at 6ish and had no trouble parking this time! Headed over to the race site, used the facilities (kudos to the brilliant race director who decided to put the facilities under street lights so that people could see!!!), and found a lovely curb to snuggle with Preston and get bitten by mosquitos on until the start.

My Garmin was grumpy since we were starting under a building-bridge, so although I started the timer, I didn't get any GPS data until around a quarter of a mile into the thing.

I had run part of this course before - the Dad's Day 5K in June of 2007 took place here. I remember how daunting that hill seemed on that day. It was still daunting yesterday, but this time I was going to have to run it 6 times!!

The course is a hilly 3 loop course. I got the feeling that the out was a bit more down hill, and the back was more up hill, and also with a headwind.

I started out a little slower than my past two races. I thought that perhaps pacing is why I keep dying at the ends of these longer races, so my goal was to run between 10 and 10:30's for the first loop, then pick it up a bit if I could. I was sucessful in this new pacing plan, as my splits will show, though it didn't prevent me from dying in the last 3 miles.

I definitely felt better for the full first 10 miles than I have in my past two races. I felt strong, and I was running along at a clip that I felt I could maintain. I walked only the water stops. I sat Preston twice per loop, which I enjoyed very much.

I was feeling a tiny bit tired as I headed out onto the third loop, but I knew I'd be ok at least until the 1st water stop, since there was plenty to keep my mind occupied until then.

As I approached the 2nd water stop, I started to feel that I was going to have to take a bathroom break, and when I saw an open facility, I jumped in. Although the stop only kept me for about a minute, I felt stiff as I started running again, and it was after this point that I really started to struggle (just before mile 12).

I still crossed the half marathon mark faster than 2 weeks ago (by a few minutes). However, at that point I was struggling sufficiently that my goal became to NOT WALK anything but the last water stop. I felt like all the walking was my big disappointment at the Houston Half, and I didn't want to fall into that trap again. I keps shuffling along, checking my watch for how much farther I had to go, multiplying by 10 and telling myself that I only had that number of minutes to go. I noticed landmarks from the first two loops and talked myself through them to the last water stop. From there I was able to process the concept of running to the end, which I did.

I experienced some cramping after I stopped, just as in the Houston Half. I must work on this.

I don't have my official time, yet, but I think I was around 2:46:something. I will post the Garmin splits and the final results as soon as I can.

I'm a bit sore today, and feeling a little tired, but otherwise I am fine. I wish that I was faster, but try to keep reminding myself that for this season, just finishing the races and going the distances should be my most important goal. I am very pleased that I seem to be able to go a few miles farther in each race before the wheels come off.

My hope now is that in the Rock n' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon next weekend I will finish the whole race and not feel bad at all. If the pattern continues, this is a reasonable expectation!

Friday, November 7, 2008

HMSA 25K On the Way

HMSA 25K is this Sunday, and I'm running it.

I'm rather hoping for redemption from the Houston Half's rather disappointing run...

I am feeling better. I've hit all of my runs this week, all of my workouts, and I've really felt good for almost all of them (yesterday's 4 miler being the exception, but I'm certain that it was just the weather - I slept in and ended up running in 70 degree temps instead of my beloved 50's). I really feel back on track after two weeks of feeling almost-but-not-quite-sick, and definitely in the doldrums.

I ran up to Luke's yesterday and grabbed two new wristbands and a new set of socks to try, and most importantly, an Amphipod pouch that will attach to my running shorts for me to carry my gels in on long races when I don't want to run with my Fuel Belt. I know not to try anything new in races, but I will be trying that. If something bad happens, well, it is a 3 loop course, so I can toss the pouch off to Preston if I need to.

So, my goals? I'd really like to run anything sub-2:35. That would be 10 minute miles. I believe that I need to try to go out just a bit slower so hopefully I don't blow up so badly at the end, so that is a goal. In the absence of these two goals, I just want to finish! It'll be my longest race to date, but I've also got a shot at redemption coming up next week at the San Antonio Half, so I need to focus on not doing so much damage that I feel terrible and miss all of my workouts next week. I know that all it takes to do that is a super-slow pace, so even though I want a sub-2:35, I recognize that it may not be wise, and will try to run my race accordingly.

I'll post the results on the flip side...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Luke's/Koala Houston Half Marathon Race Report


Well, I'm a little disappointed in this one. The race is a 3 loop course along Allen Parkway, which means HILLS. Lots of them. Some steep little buggers too. I knew it would be good practice for the marathon, which finishes along this same route. (I should clarify that I wasn't disappointed in the race itself, but rather my performance in it.)

Unfortunately, I got a terrible headache on Saturday, and when I woke up on Sunday though the headache had gone, I still felt totally crappy. I dragged myself out of bed, ate a piece of toast, and we were off.

Unfortunately, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to find parking in the street downtown and walk to the start, so I got there with only about 10 minutes to spare, a serious need for the porta-potties, and no time for it. There was nothing for it. I figured if the feeling didn't pass, I'd use them at the relay hand-off, which I reckoned would come between miles 2 and 3.

Thankfully, the restroom urge passed, but the general overall cruddiness feeling did not, and it turned into a long race for me. The first 6 miles went all right, especially considering the congestion, all at target sub-10 pace, even with 2 water stop walks. I did pass up the first 2 water stops, which in retrospect, was probably a mistake. Next 4 miles were solid 10's - rather in the same pattern as the Space City 10 miler, only I actually felt better at 10 than in the last race - well, I should clarify: I felt like I could keep going, and I had so far only walked the water stops. However, I could feel that I was in for a rough last 5K.

Sure enough, that last 5K was beastly. I yelled to Preston to expect me to be slow on the last loop. I started walking once per mile whenever the Garmin turned over a mile. That quickly augmented to once per mile plus all water stops. Which then through the volition of my own traitorious body expanded to the uphills, the water stops, and once per mile. I really was miserable for that last bit. It has never happened to me before where I'm "running" up a hill so pitifully that my strides are less than a foot-length, and my body switches to walking, which is faster, of its own volition. That happened twice in this race.
After I crossed the finish line, my legs actually gave way a few times. In some ways, I am rather comforted by this - I can say without a doubt that I gave all I had in this race. I'm certain, without a doubt, that I ran the best race I could run. That should be all that anyone ever hopes for... but I am still disappointed that my best wasn't about 8 minutes faster.

The weather was lovely. The only thing that I can think is that I was sick. Or I just had a really terrible day. Or some combination thereof. Or the hills killed me.

Here are the Garmin splits:
Mile 1: 9:52
Mile 2: 9:30
Mile 3: 9:28
Mile 4: 9:37
Mile 5: 9:53
Mile 6: 9:28
Mile 7: 10:11
Mile 8: 10:10
Mile 9: 10:57
Mile 10: 10:48
Mile 11: 11:23
Mile 12: 11:33
Mile 13: 12:02
.26: 2:25
Total: 2:17:08

96 of 159 in my age group. 1415 overall of 2100ish.

2:18:08 at 10:33 min./mi. pace is my official time. (This is gun time. I don't know why my chip didn't register over the start line, but I believe from the splits along the course and my Garmin that I was really about a minute faster.)

Oh, also, took a Honey Stinger at about 5 miles, and again at 9 miles (with caffeine). That worked great.

What I learned this time: have Preston hold some sunglasses for me, walk ALL the water stops, allow extra time to park downtown.

I have another half mary in about 3 weeks. I will do everything in my power to improve my performance.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

United Space Alliance Space City 10 Miler Race Report


I decided to do this race rather at the last minute - after the 10 for Texas, which is run muuuuuch closer to home was posponed until the day before the San Antonio Rock-n-roll Half, thus kicking me out of running it. I wanted to practice running a longer race before I busted out with the halfs, so this was really my only option.

Woke up at the ass-crack of dawn to get in some food and try to do some bathroom business before the hour long drive to Clearlake. Uneventful trip down, nice parking spot, traumatic porta-potty experience in the pitck black morning (will bring a headlamp to future winter races), and I was ready to go.

I had a little trouble working out what I wanted to do with my gel. I kind of wanted to take 2: one for early mile 4ish, and a second for 7ish, but I didn't want to carry my water belt, and I wasn't too excited about my hand water holder in a race situation either. I finally crammed one into the tiny ocket in my shirt, and decided to just go with one at the halfway point.

My goal for the race was anything under 10 minute miles, or a sub-1:40 finish time. The temperature was over 70 degrees, so I conceded to Preston that it could be closer to 1:50, but 1:40 was my true goal. My plan to accomplish this was simple, and one that has worked for me in races past: every time I looked down at my Garmin, I wanted to see my pace at something sub-10. If not, I'd speed up. I did also plan on walking the water stops.

So, off we went. Instant little tweak in my right shin in the first mile, but it faded and otherwise I felt good the first 2 miles, very short walk throught the first water stop, and good the next two. Walking the next water stop, I knew I was slowing a bit, but a long way to go. I started running a bit more conservatively, took my gel (Honey Stinger - Ginsting) at the 5.5 water stop, and was still feeling strong through mile 6, and was even able to pick it up a little in the 7th mile before the wheels really came off. The rest was a slogfest with me talking myself farther before walking - took two unscheduled walk breaks in that last bit.

I think what happened was simply a combination of the heat and the fact that I was really trying to run the distance for a time. This is the reason I wanted practice in race conditions, because in my long runs I don't set a goal time - I'm just trying to get the distance in. Taking that gel alittle earlier and having a second might have helped as well...

All in all, I'm really pleased I ran this race. I feel better prepared for the Houston Half next week as a result of it. It was a nice flat race with great volunteers and a nice after party. They also included a great long sleeved tech T in the race packet. I love it when organizers give away tech Ts - I will actually wear those!

Anyways, here are my Garmin splits:
Mile 1: 9:27
Mile 2: 9:19
Mile 3: 9:41
Mile 4: 9:39
Mile 5: 10:00
Mile 6: 10:06
Mile 7: 9:42
Mile 8: 10:15
Mile 9: 10:46
Mile 10: 10:24

And here are my official splits:
First 5 miles: 48:54
Second 5 miles: 51:20
Total: 1:39:48
Average pace: 9:59 min/mi
15th out of 40 in my age group, and 418th overall out of about 700.

Not bad!! Beat my goal time and pace by the slimmest of margins, and got good practice to boot. Next up is the Houston Half next Sunday. Onward!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Great Nutrition Experiment, Take 4, and Miscellaneous

Cliff Shot Energy Gel - Razz: Nasty. I wanted to like this one, but no dice. No GI problems.

Cliff Shot Energy Gel - Mocha: Not quite as nasty, but I still wouldn't buy it again. No GI problems.

Speaking of GI problems, I had a big one on yesterday morning's run. These problems are becoming fewer, but more severe when they occur. And they are seriously frustrating. I ended up walking A LOT of that run because of the pain. I'll leave it at that.

In other news, it had been being quite nice in the mornings, post Ike. In the upper 50's and 60's. Really quite lovely. It was amazing to me the improvement that moving the mercury down below 70 would do for me. Not any more!! Yesterday morning it was in the mid 70's and humid, and this morning it was almost 80(!!!!!) and so humid that it is now raining. I looked down at one point and I was shuffling along at 12 minute miles, totally out of breath, and my heart rate was 209(!!!). UGH!!! I can't wait for the lovely fall weather to come back...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Great Nutrition Experiment - Takes 1, 2, and 3

As I learned from Clearlake Tri, I need to start taking in nutrition in my longer events and training. Sooo... I went to Luke's the other day and bought 1 of everything (well, not really. More like 1-2 of each brand in flavors I thought I might have a prayer of liking) and combined that with what I've gotten in race packets, and I'm going to be trying everything until I find a few that I like. Here's what I tried so far.

Hammer Gel - Orange: Totally nasty. I tried this about midway through a 9 miler. I took in the first mouthful, gagged, forced it down, then thought I was going to puke. It was everything I could do to swallow the second mouthfull. Now, part of the problem here is flavor, I'm absolutely certain. I hate all orange flavored things (except oranges themselves). This was a race packet thing, though, so I figured I should try it. After it was down, it was fine. I felt like I even had a little pick-up at the end. I've bought another flavor to try, so this one isn't out.


Sport Beans - Fruit Punch: Not bad. Took these before a 10 miler, and suffered no adverse effects. They aren't quite as good as a jelly bean - they sort of pack a punch, but I liked it well enough, I was thrilled with how many beans I got to eat for 100 calories, and my stomach seemed to be fine with them. I like these for before a run, but I'm not sure how I'd feel about having to chew during...


Gu - Tri Berry: Not my favorite. Definitely better than the orange Hammer Gel, though. Took this in the middle of a 10 miler. Didn't feel much of anything in the way of pick-up, but didn't fade badly either. Stomach was fine.


Sport Beans - Watermelon: Not bad. Took these before a 12 miler. I had some stomach troubles, but I'm not convinced that it is the beans' fault. I would try again before I rule them out. Not quite as yummy as fruit punch, but has caffeine.


Honey Stinger - Gold: LOVE IT!!! Tastes like Honey. I love sweet stuff. I love honey. I love this gel!! Again, a few stomach issues on this run, but I was having them before the gel, so I'd definitely try this again before ruling it out. Absolutely my fav so far.


Accel-Gel - Strawberry Kiwi: The lady at Luke's warned me that the protein could cause a stomach rebellion. Since I was already having one, I took this just 2 miles before the end of my 12 miler, and ran close to home for that last bit. I actually didn't have any additional problems that I'd attribute to the gel, though I'd try it again before knowing it was safe. I wasn't a big fan of the flavor. It just seemed too artificial. I can't imagine liking chocolate, I know I'd hate orange, so vanilla might be my only shot with this brand.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Belated Clearlake Int'l Tri Race Report


Or: My First Bonk

So, I took a nice relaxing day on Friday, complete with setting up all my tri stuff on the step in the entryway of my house and obsessing over whether or not I was forgetting something. Good times. With everything all packed in my official race day Astros bag, I crashed into an early sleep.

Alarm went off at 3-something. Ate a marathon bar, a banana, and had coffee to get the system moving. As usual on a race morning, boy, did things ever move. The bike was already loaded in the Menace, so it was just a matter of grabbing my bag, my water bottles and nuun that had been in the fridge overnight, and going.

It was a long, quiet drive down to Clearlake, with zero panic until the construction at the end forced us to re-route. (Which ended up being fine.) Got a stellar parking spot with our early arrival, so I started sunscreening up while Preston pumped my bike tires. I was seriously considering making another run for a bathroom when I heard the unmistakable sound of a tire deflating. Crap.

Preston asked me what I was going to do. I didn't have a spare tube or anything with me. I told him let's go over to transition and see if there is bike support around, otherwise, maybe I'll just swim and then DNF. Luckily, when we got to transition, Webster Bicycle was there. They fixed me up pretty quick, and were totally cool. When I offered to pay them, they didn't even take my money! Thanks, Webster Bicycle!!!

After that episode, my stomach wasn't too happy, but nicely, the site had public toilets instead of port-a-johns. Took care of business, set up my transition area (remembered to take the covers off my bike shoes this time - also brought my nice pair of watersocks for the transition area and pre-race, and really liked that too), and was ready to go. I was to be in the last wave starting, so I headed down to the start only about 5 minutes before they closed transition.

The swim was basically 3 sides of a rectangle, with the 4th side being the shoreline. The bouys were set up a little funny, though. From the start, it actually looked like you could get a better line on the swim by staying wide left of the bouys and just swimming straight at the turn bouy. I talked about it with Preston, and that's what I decided to do.

This was totally the right tactic, but so much of the swim is a mental game, and it totally psyched me out!! I was basically the only person in my wave trying to take the short line, and it totally freaked me out. I know (now that I'm out of the water) that it wasn't logical, I actually think I knew at the time that it wasn't logical, but I was bothered anyways, because I was swimming out there totally alone and on my own. It took basically the entire first leg for me to get my heartrate down and breathing down to something resembling normal. I had joined the others in my wave at the turn, and the second wave was fine. I was swimming with everyone else, passing people, and generally hitting my stride. Then came the third leg. I got around the turn bouy, and again the bouys seemed to be lined up really strangely. I decided to swim straight for the exit instead of zigzaging bouy to bouy. Again, it was totally the right strategy, but again I was questioning myself as I swam. What if I wasn't aiming at the actual finish? What if I was totally off course, etc. I wasn't. I came out of the water 5th in my age group.

Swim Time: 1000 meters in 24:34.
Got pulled out of the water, ran up the grassy knoll and into the transition parking lot. At that point I sat down, took a little nap... not really, but I really need to work on my transitions. I tried to dry my feet, got my socks and bike shoes on, tossed on my helmet and sunglasses, and, new for this race, my camelback. (which I also loved, btw. Being such a spaz on the bike, it is waaaaay easier for me to reach down, grab the mouthpiece, stick it in, and then drink while holding onto the bike with both hands, than to grab a waterbottle and drink all one handed.) I had totally discounted the little hill out of the parking lot, so I was in too hard of a gear and Preston says that I looked a little goofy as I was starting off, but I was up it quickly and on the road.

T1: 2:20 (15th in age group (of 17))
For the first 10 minutes or so, I just focused on spinning and trying to get my breathing and heartrate under control. Then, oh my gosh, I turned the corner and there was the Kemah Bridge. I had never seen it before, so I had No. Idea. when I signed up for the race how big it was. It looked like the freaking Galveston Bridge!! (Though it is actually smaller than that.) I cursed out loud, and immediately shifted onto my middle chainring. By the time I got to the top (which I totally had to talk myself through), I was only going 8mph. I didn't brake going down the other side, though, and hit 35mph, and that was way fun!!

For the first half of the bike, I just wanted the number to be over 17 every time I looked down to see how fast I was going. I wasn't struggling too hard to make that happen. Some time relatively soon after the bridge, though, I lowered my standards significantly, accepting 15 and struggling for 16. I hit an emotional low when I saw a lovely horse that reminded me of Lady, who just passed away. I fought my way back out of it, though I never really regained any speed. I was surprised when I was pulling into transition in just over an hour. The course was supposed to be 18.6 miles, and that'd be seriously fast for me! Found out after the race that the course was shortened to 16.4.

Bike Time: 16.4 miles in 1:01:07 (16.1mph avg). Dead last in my age group.
I was so freaking happy to be off the bike that I was grinning through transition. I was still slow, though. There is no excuse, other than I was just flat out feeling it. The only thing I did differently was to grab my hand-held amphipod full of nuun for the run.

T2: 2:14

I started out pretty strong. My Garmin took a bit to find me, so I didn't know exactly how strong, but I felt pretty good to be running. Unfortunately, the feeling quickly passed. Did you know that hot nuun is really gross? Me either. I love the stuff, but, damn, it always needs to be cold!! So I quickly realized that dragging my nuun bottle around me was going to be a waste of energy, but I wasn't about to put it down, so that sucked. I started run-walking pretty quickly. My initial plan was to run everything, but walk the aid stations. Well, we had to run up this mild bridge hill thing, and I decided I deserved to walk a bit. And it went like that, on and on and on, a terrible slogfest where as soon as I started running I started to plan walking. By the middle I was running 3 and walking 2, and by the end I was running to one streetlight and walking to the next.

Looking back on it, I think there were two things in play, here. One is that I was overheating. I was really hot. It was probably 90 degrees by this point, and super humid. When I'd pour water over my head, I'd get this strange shiver, feel like I was going to throw up, and then go right back to being hot. It was hot!! The second factor, I think, is that I was bonking. I hadn't practiced with any nutrition, and I was afraid to try anything new on race day, even though I knew at an anticipated 2.5+ hours I was going to need it. This was a mistake. Big mistake. I just had nothing left after about half of the bike.
Many thanks to the "Hooter's" guys aid station (at the turnaround). I think maybe the station had originally been manned by Hooters girls, but those of us in the back of the pack didn't get to see them because they needed to serve food at the post party. But the boys at that station were freaking hilarious! Gave me a good laugh, which I sorely needed at that point.

By the end my feet were getting hot spots and I was just ready to be done.

Run Time: 1:11:14, 15th in my age group.

Overall: 2:41:31.1, 15 of 17 in my age group, and 241 of 273 finishers.

Afterward, I ate a protein bar and a banana, drank a nice cold bottle of nuun and another bottle of water and headed home, stopping along the way to throw it all up again. Another sign of me overheating.

So, what did I learn? Yes to the watersocks, learning not to freak out when I choose my own line on the swim, Webster Bicycle (and learning to change my own flat some time soon!), and the Camelback on the bike. No to no nutrition, warm nuun, and overheating. Yes to more biking!! The bike is truly my limiter. I was *thrilled* with my swim place, and had I had the run I'm capable of, I'd have been in the top 10 of my age group in the run. That last place on the bike was really honestly the best I could do on that day, and it is really what I need to work on the most.

This'll be my last tri of the 2008 season, but I'm already vaguely planning next season... I know now that I can do an Olympic distance event...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Almost time to tri again

Not much time to post, lately. Sorry for that.

Doing the Clearlake Int'l Tri this Saturday. A bit nervous. When I signed up about a month and a half ago, the decision was difficult for me. I know I can do each of the distances seperately, no problem. 1k swim. I do that every time I hit the water, at least twice per week. 30k bike. That'll be the hardest, but it is only about 3 miles farther than CB&I, so I know it is doable. 10k run. I'm already up over that in FIT, so obviously doable, even in the heat.

With all of that said, my real goal is just to finish. This will be my first foray into anything longer than a sprint (though I know that this isn't even as long as an olympic tri!), and certainly my first endurance event over 90ish minutes.

Of course, I do have some times in mind. Anything less than 3 hours should be totally doable, even if I blow up. Based on my times at the CB&I, if I can just keep the pace up, I should be able to pull a 2:45 (12 min swim doubles to 24, 55 min bike plus 15 min for 3 more slow miles, and 60 minutes for the run, plus 4 minutes for slow transitions), and if my day is truely stellar, then 2:30 would be my out-of-this-world amazed goal.

I'm nervous, but we'll see how she goes. Just going to try to forget all of these numbers, have fun, and finish upright. Oh, and learn from my CB&I mistakes, and learn from any new ones I make, which I'm sure I'll do....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

On the power of Phelps

I, of course, am following the Olympics.

When I was growing up, every four years (and later every two), my family would gather around the television and watch the Olympics. And I mean *all* of the Olympics. At least, all of the coverage that was available. If we weren't home, we'd tape it. In fact, I believe that I probably still have some of the old tapes somewhere...

Anyways, that isn't ever going to change for me. Once every other year, you can expect me to be totally incommunicado for a few weeks, because I can't drag myself away from the tv.

But I wasn't thinking of the Olympics when I bought my tickets to the Astros game on August 16th waaaaay back in April. I was just thinking about how the tickets were half price...

So you can imagine how horrified I was that I would be missing the Olympics. Even though my trusty tape-replacement machine (aka the DVR) would be recording the evening's festivities, what if it fucked up? What if I came home and nothing was there? I checked the thing a few times before we left, but ultimately the cheapness in me won out: we went to the Astros game.

I was wanting an Astros technical T so that perhaps I could sweat slightly less miserably when going to games, so some time in the middle innings, Preston and I vacated our seats to go look in the shop. It just so happened that Michael Phelps was about to swim the 100 fly, and the shop had it (instead of the Astros game!!!) on the tv. We gathered around with about 40 other fans to watch. Holy fucking shit, that was the. most. awesome. way. to. watch. Phleps. win. by. a. fucking. fingernail. Seriously. When he was heading into the last 25 I looked at Preston and said, "He's lost it." But no. He proceeded to make the most unreal, 40 strangers yelling at the tv during an Astros game comeback EVAR.

Oh, yeah, and the Astros won.

And I get to go see Randy Johnson pitch tomorrow.

Annnnnd, the DVR in fact DID NOT record the Olympics while I was gone. Let the record show that I am obsessive-compulsive about DVRs and alarm clocks because this shit ACTUALLY HAPPENS. I'm not just paranoid. (Though I am that.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Complainy

You've been warned.

On WF#4:

Noting my mistake last week, I was careful not to go out too hard at the start of the 5 miler. I was assisted by a healthy dose of fear: this would be my longest run since Hell (read: Summer) arrived in Houston. But, damn, it is HARD to watch a group of people (Yellows) who are supposed to be running the same approximate speed as you (9-10 min/mi) haul ass away running 8's when you are holding a solid 9:30. I had to work really really hard to subdue my ego, keep my adrenaline in check, and hold on to my nice steady pace. I succeeded, but ugh!!

Also, being at the back of the group really blows, because there is no one in sight, so if you aren't familiar with the route, you are screwed. Not only do I not live in THE Woodlands, I also am terrible with directions, so double strike. Add that to the fact that the route instructions they gave us had an incorrect street name on it, and yes, I did, in fact, miss a turn. Or two. And folks, let me tell you, that fucking pisses me off. At this point, I'm really not sure why I paid money for this level of suck.

And finally, one last bitch about WF. I was running along, and these 3 ladies passed me, talking loudly about coupons. At the water stop, I kept running while they stopped and walked. One was walking slower than the others, and I passed her. Right after I passed her, she started running again. I was catching up to her friends, so had moved to the right to pass. This woman ran around me on the right, pulled over right in front of me (we're talking less than 2 feet before I made the pass), and then stopped running and started walking with the friends. Needless to say, she came within about a centimeter of being full-on rear-ended by me, and I was PISSED at the SERIOUS evasive action I had to take. That's just FUCKING RUDE. If you're going to run with a group, at least learn to not do shit like that.

I swear I'm still trying to maintain an open mind about WF. I really am. But with each passing week it gets a bit more difficult...

On Biking:

I've been biking almost entirely on the trainer for the past few months. It makes it easier (read: quicker) to get rides in before work when you don't have to gear up and down and stop at stop signs, etc. I also thought after CB&I that I really needed to practice pedaling straight with breaks of the stop sign ilk to make myself more sucessful in a tri situation.

But here's my beef. I bought a really cool trainer. I thought. The one the LBS recommended. In the beginning all was well. However, a few weeks ago, the unit started heating up, taking some of my rear tire with it, and squealing/squeaking loudly. To avoid this and slipage, I had to increase the resistance, but now no matter how hard I try, I'm stuck in the easest 3 gears of my middle chain ring, struggling to make 10 miles per hour. Now, I know that I'm no great cyclist. I know I'm not even good. But I can *certainly* ride faster than that, even on my worst day, and even on my trainer.

I keep telling myself that this is good - when I get back on the road it will feel so easy, but honestly, I think it is bad for my confidence...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WF3, and Dolly Run

First on last weekend's FIT run.... it was ok.... I'm still not totally convinced about this whole group thing. The Yellows and Reds were to run the same route, and the Reds started just a few short minutes before the Yellows. As a result, when we started, we were almost instantly all jammed together on this congested path. I was super annoyed. (I'm pretty pissed off at the universe in general on most mornings, but I feel like there were some real issues in play here.) First of all, the Reds needed to be running single file on the right side of the path. The path is only wide enough for 3 total, and that includes both directions, so you should never run more than 2 abreast anyways. That way the faster Yellows could have been passing on their left, and still left some room open for the poor unfortunate souls who were trying to go the opposite way. When this wasn't the way things went, however, I felt like it was totally unnecessary behavior on the part of several Yellows to actually run off-path on the left to try to get around the pile-up. There were trees there, for crying out loud, so they'd jump off, run a few feet, then jump back in in front of some poor sap, then do the whole thing again. Really dangerous. Oh, and just in general, it would be really helpful if people would put their conversations on hold for the first half mile of the run so some of these problems could be more easily alleviated. I'm just sayin'...

Anyways, when we got to the first intersection, most of the Yellows, including me, took the opportunity to jump around the Reds, and then we were running freely. I found myself about 5th from the "leader". Is this what it is like to be near the front of a race??? I'm not sure it is my favorite... near the front we were all running splits in the 8's. I realized that I was going out too fast, and made an effort to rein it in, but then I ran into a situation where I was the only one around. The fasties had all gone on, and the people who were going at a proper speed were way behind. This sucked for 2 reasons: I love to chase people, and run better when I'm doing it, and I don't really know the routes, so I didn't know where the hell I was going. Ugh!! I'm thinking I should print up a little map of this week's route, if it is posted in time, and use some tape to "laminate" it, and I could stick it into my wrist sweat band, because apparently, even though the point of group runs is to run with a group, I'm never gonna get to do that... (Now I'm just being bitter. I keep trying to keep an open mind and tell myself that it'll settle down and get better, but each week of same suckiness makes that harder.)

Anyways, this morning I went for my scheduled run. Like an idiot, I thought the outer bands of Hurricane Dolly had passed through yesterday, but when I stepped out into the humid morning, I noticed a cloud on the horizon. That bugger moved *fast*. Before I had run half a mile, the clouds were over me and the rain started falling. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I turned around and ran about a quarter of a mile back to a little shelter in a local park, and just stood there for a minute or two. And standing felt so.good. Let me tell you. After that, I could hardly make myself run again. I've been really kind of tired and worn down feeling this week, and once I realized that the rain was from a hurricane band and would move through, so I decided to run in it, it took everything I had to overcome my lack of inertia and start moving again. Everything. Anyways, that feeling that the air was resisting me persisted for 2 miles as I ran in the rain. Grr. This tired thing - first I thought it was left over sick from last week. Then I thought maybe I'm not eating enough, so I started eating more. Now I don't know what I think, but I want it to freaking stop. That is all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Funky day at work --> Meme completing

What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was completing my Junior year of high school. So... lots of school work, playing the drums and clarinet in the band, being a menace to society in my down time...

Five snacks I would enjoy in a perfect, non weight-gaining world:
1. Ice cream (Blue Bell!!)
2. Chocolate
3. Cheese fries
4. Braum's crinkle fries (Oh, Braum's, how I miss thee...)
5. Thin mints

Five snacks I do enjoy in the real world:
1. String cheese
2. 100 calorie packs of Pringles
3. Pb crackers
4. Fruit
5. Chocolate

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Not work
2. Travel
3. Get my PhD
4. Train for cool triathlons
5. Go on archaeological digs

Five jobs I've had:
1. Bank paper-pusher
2. Temporary library book mover/boxer person
3. Circulation in a library
4. Bookstore lackey
5. Librarian/Archivist

Five habits
1. Exercising
2. "A chocolate a day..."
Shoot, I don't know. They're habits, aren't they, so they've just faded into the background of my life...

Five places I've lived:
1. Dallas, Texas
2. Austin, Texas
3. In a tent near City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico (archaeological dig)
4. Metaponto, Italia (archaeological dig)
5. Houston, Texas

Fit Run #2

Last week I grumpified my knee with an hour and a half on the bike trainer on Wednesday. I ran on Thursday, then took Aleve (love this stuff!) and stayed off it on Friday. All 3 of my runs went well - no walking. It was really nice to have a nice low number of minutes of running (no distance) to shoot for, because I was able to mentally stop beating myself up for not going a certain amount of time or distance without walking.

So I went into Saturday feeling good. I arrived about 3 minutes late, and was just able to latch on to the Yellow group as they started running. I don't know what it is about running with people that makes me faster (not race faster, but able to sustain faster for long periods of time at a lower RPE), but I found myself passing the runners in the back to settle into a nice 9:30ish pace. Still didn't find a friend to run with. Perhaps I'm just not the friendly looking sort. I'm hoping that just having people *around* on the long runs will be enough, but we'll see.

That would be my only real complaing about WF - that it is already so cliquey that it is difficult to come in as a newbie.

With that said, I tried to grow some balls and introduced myself to one of the Yellow coaches and asked her a few questions and she introduced me to one additional person, so maybe next time...

As an aside, I think that has been one of the most difficult things for me as an adult - making and keeping friends. It makes me kind of sad...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Catch Up

There has been a lot of crazy stuff going on lately, so I've been neglecting the blog. But I'm back, and with a new "resolution".

I joined the Woodlands FIT for Houston Marathon Training last week. No big deal yet. I ran a 30:20 5K time trial (at a semi-comfortable pace, certainly not maxed) for a solid placement into the Yellow group. That is right where I wanted to be for a target pace of 9:20 for the marathon. (I know I probably won't achieve this. I know it is my first marathon, and my one true goal is simply to finish. But I also believe that I should train to run my best marathon, so even if/when I am unable to do that, I can still finish.) Anyways, I really want to come back to more regular posting to this blog so I can chronicle my first marathon training experience. So there it is.

On another note, I was finally able to find the results posted from the (one) 5K I ran in St. Louis, MO, while I was on vacation a month ago. It was a 29 flat. The short story on that race was that it was warmer than I had hoped (mid-70's), humider than I had hoped (gently raining at the start), and hillier than I trained for (there were actual hills!). Taking all of that into account, I was really quite pleased with the 29. And in looking at the results, I see that I was 6th in the 20-29 age group. Another high finish for me, just out of the top 5 again. One of my goals for next year is to start cracking into the top 5 more regularly, if possible (I know I can't control who shows up, but I can run faster!).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reevaluating My Pace

Since it has gotten so hot and humid here in H-town, I've been really disappointed in my running pace. Really disappointed. For several weeks, I couldn't even string two miles together without walking. After that, it was hit or miss: one day I'd go out and be able to run (really slow) without walking, but the next I'd go out (really slow), my HR would skyrocket (we're talking over 200 bpm here), and I'd be forced to walk. WTF??

I keep telling myself that I just need to adapt to the heat/humidity. We didn't really have much of a spring here. One week I was pretty much running in 50-60 degrees, and literally the next week it was in the upper 70's. So I think my body got no chance to gradually acclimate. As a result, I've been trying to cut myself some slack.

But it has been really frustrating! I've been stressing over losing fitness, losing speed, losing endurance. Thinking thoughts like, "Maybe I just can't run more than a mile at a time any more...", but knowing that those thoughts don't truly make sense.

Well, now I'm frustrated because I want to train with The Woodlands FIT for the Houston Marathon. Their program starts July 5th, with a time trial to determine which pace group you should be running with. Now, I had a 25:04 5K in late April. I know that my marathon pace is going to be waaaaay slower than that, however, I want to represent what I am capable of accurately so that I am placed appropriately. I do not want to run all slow, and end up with a pace group that will train to go much slower than I am capable of. I know that I will acclimate, and I know that I will continue getting faster throughout the summer and certainly when it gets cooler my speed will almost magically (at least that's how it seemed last fall) increase.

So, I plugged that 25:04 into McMillan's Running Calculator, my old friend. It puts me at a 9:20 pace for just over a 4 hour marathon, and an 8:51 pace for just under a 2 hour half. But here is what really made me feel better:
Recovery Jogs: 10:50 to 11:20
Long Runs: 9:50 to 10:50
Easy Runs: 9:50 to 10:20

These are just about the speed I've been running since the heat arrived. Even though I'm working entirely too hard for this meager speed, it is still in line with *something* to do with what I should be seeing, and even that small knowledge is somewhat comforting.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back from Chicago Distraction

Back from Chicago. Needed a random distraction from the heap of email I'm buried under at work, so here it is: Via Billy's blog, via Clusterflock:

Your Debut Album
1 - Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:RandomThe first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 - Go to Random quotations: http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
If you want to do this again, you’ll hit refresh to generate new quotes, because clicking the quotes link again will just give you the same quotes over and over again.
3 - Go to flickr’s “explore the last seven days” http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
Put it all together, that’s your debut album.


Sooo... my band's name is: Saint Paul City Hall and Ramsey County Courthouse. (Laaaaame!)

The title of the album shall be: Natural Channel to Open. (WTF??)

The album cover isn't interested in being uploaded to Blogger, but you can see it here. It is totally badass.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

To Catch a Thief

One of the buildings at my work has been closed for 2 years for renovation, and was reopened last weekend. A huge festival weekend was planned, and I worked at it both Saturday and Sunday.

So, we'd been open for about an hour on Saturday, and I was working on the main floor when I hear a man cry out, "Stop that man! He stole my wallet! He's a thief, stop him!" I looked over to see a man start running.

I immediately started chasing him, and quickly saw a route through the crowd where I could cut him off. Two other staff members followed the route he took. Sure enough, he lost them, but I saw him run behind a partition, ditch his bag and the man's wallet, and start nonchalantely walking towards the exit. I was heading him off, so I actually greeted him and then just fell in behind him and started tailing him. I looked over at a colleague and mouthed "Help." He looked back and mouthed "Help?" I nodded and mouthed back, "Help, thief." He then quickly joined me and we tailed the man together towards the exit, where we knew there were security guards. As we approached the guard, I could see that she was on her walkie-talkie, and that she was saying she didn't know where the thief had gone. I started frantically waving and pointing at the guy I was tailing, and she stopped him before he could leave.

So that no one asks, no, I don't know what the hell I was thinking, little me chasing a criminal. It was instinct: I was in my place of work, I was responsible for the people in there, therefore I chased the man. I do believe that I acted as safely as possible under the circumstances, not identifying myself or letting him know that I knew what he had just done, and letting the trained professional stop him.

But seriously, holy crap, I totally wouldn't have caught him if I hadn't been a runner!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Here's a crazy idea...

I'm not going to be able to make the Race for the Pennant this year. You see, it isn't happening on Memorial Day weekend, which I didn't expect, and the weekend that it *is* happening, well, let's just say it is a big deal at work, and I'll be working both Saturday and Sunday, so it is a no-go...

Buuuuut, I've gotten this idea. You see, hubby and I are road-tripping to Chicago starting June 5th, so I was thinking, why not do some 5K road races along the way. So what about...

Harbortown 5K, Memphis TN, 7pm on Friday 6/6.
Science Center Run for the Stars 10K/5K, St. Louis MO, 8am on Saturday 6/7.
Indian Boundary YMCA Commit to be Fit 10K/5K, Downer's Grove (Chicago) IL, 8am on Sunday 6/8.

Followed, of course, by a week of Chicago-style pizza and sloth.

I'm likin' it...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blogging it makes it real...


Or maybe my terror makes it real enough.


OMG, What have I gotten myself in to?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fartleks In Utero

This morning I woke up really really tired. I did *not* want to get out of bed. I convinced myself because it is Wednesday, and if I can just make it through this morning, tomorrow morning I can sleep a little later on my "swim only" morning, and then it'll be Friday!

So I finally dragged myself out of bed, dressed, and went upstairs to get my Garmin, where it was charging overnight. Press power, and , nothing. Nothing! Confused, push power again. Nothing. Go back over to the charger, place Garmin on it, and nothing. ARGH!!! Finally I decide to run without the technology, silencing a little voice that told me that that was my second warning to get back in bed.

Warning number 3, you ask? Simple. That was just stepping outside, because oh, buddy, it must have been in the upper 70's, and so freaking humid it felt like I was breathing liquid. I knew then, that this run was going to suck.

Nevertheless, I walked my warm-up, and gamely started jogging. After about half a mile, I decided I'd run the first mile, then turn the run into a fartlek-type interval workout where I'd run hard to a set point, then walk a bit, then run hard again. That's exactly what I did. It took me 45 minutes to go 3.5 miles, but I think the running segments were good and hard (based on RPE, no Garmin, grr), and I focused on not losing my running form.

This spring has been really tough on me... last year I didn't really start running until it was already a bit warm, so I didn't have to go through the transition of cold to hot, which frankly sucks. I keep reminding myself that I could run 3 miles without walking last May/June/July, and surely soon I'll acclimate sufficiently to the heat to bring some no-walking back. Blarg.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Public Restrooms

When an architect or builder designs a bathroom, why is it that they don't offset the sewer out-hole for the toilet line based on the knowledge that there will be a toilet paper holder on one wall or the other of the stall? You know what I mean - those bathrooms where your arm is rubbing up against the toilet paper holder while you are sitting...

When an architect or builder designs the bathroom, why do they not leave more than 6 inches of clearance between the toilet and the area where the stall door will be, knowing that the toilet paper holder will by Murphy's Law be on the side where the user will need clearance to simply get in the stall? Again, we've all been in those bathrooms where you open the stall door, stand up on your tippy-toes pressed against the toilet paper holder and suck in your gut to close the stall door passed your body. Seriously, what do people who weigh more than 150 pounds do if I can barely get in??

Why??

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Or Die Trying

This past weekend, I met a 68 year-old Boston marathoner.

I was asking him all about being fast (he beat me by almost 5 minutes at the Bellaire Run!) and about Boston and about marathon training.

He asked me about my first tri.

And about the man that died at the CB&I this past weekend. Ever since I found out, I can't help but think that I must have swum right past him. I mean, I know I passed several men... and now in my memory I have a vague flitting feeling that I heard a lifeguard say, at some point, "Are you ok?". I know I saw the ambulances go by as I was on the bike course. My sympathy goes out to the family of Randolph Parnell. It is such a sad sad thing to lose a loved one unexpectedly in the prime of life.

The sage marathoner looked at me rather shrewdly and mentioned that he intends to start one more race than he finishes. Indeed.

Monday, May 5, 2008

CB&I Triathlon Race Report

The long verson:

When the alarm went off at 4am, I woke up feeling *terrible*, just awful. I had a head-splitting headache, one of the worst I could remember in years! My stomach was also rebeling: I had diahrrea 4 times before leaving the house, and twice more at the race. On the way up to the Woodlands, I almost had to get Preston to pull over so I could vomit! I've had pre-race jitters before, but this was the worst!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I woke up feeling all crappy, but immediately downed some of my Bolthouse Farms Moccha Cappuccino to get things moving, if you will. I ate an English muffin with the intention of chasing it with a Snickers marathon bar, but it was all I could do to choke the muffin down, so I threw the bar in my transition bag.

I had checked my bike in the night before and packed my transition bag, so as soon as I thought my stomach was reasonably empty, we headed up to the Woodlands.

We parked in the spectator lot and walked along the peaceful waters to transition. The ducks/geese were sleeping, and the lights were mobbed by bugs, which at that hour seemed eerily beautiful.

I settled Preston in where he could see me tooling around in transition, got body marked, and went in. My bicicleta was fine, the rain hadn't come the night before, so I removed her plastic bags and she was ready to go. I unrolled the towel that I brought with me, really appropriately, it has a rainbow and a smiley face and says "Have a happy day!". I think it will be my official tri towel from now on. I set up my bike shoes, helmet, running shoes, everything on it.

Then I discovered the joys of a one-piece tri-suit in a dark porta-potty. (Body markings marked it up real good, too.)

Then I hung out with Preston again, used the porta-john again, grabbed my goggles and swimcap and headed over for the festivities to begin. I was practically dancing around with nervous energy as the first wave of men took to the water, waited for the gun, and were off! The sun was just peeking over the horizon as the race started. The water temp, by the way, was 76 degrees, wetsuit legal, but there weren't many wetsuits, probably because most didn't expect the temperature to go down a few degrees from last week, and also because an e-mail went out a few days before from race directors that there would be no wetsuit stripper volunteers even if wetsuits were legal. I watched the next two waves start, then moved over to watch the transitions begin before I got in line with my wave - the first wave of women.
It seemed then that things began to happen more quickly. I got in line, then soon we were being herded over the timing mat and into the (cold) water. I made my first mistake here: I chose to line up in the very back of my wave, but along the bouy line to hopefully avoid the beatdown at the start. This logic would have been fine if I were a slower swimmer, but it seems I've managed to claw my way up to middle-of-the-pack since February, and therefore I was having to pass breast-strokers. Not.Fun. And slowed me down. Anyways, lesson learned. Next time I'm thinking middle of the pack in depth, but perhaps off the bouy line a bit. We'll see how that goes.

Anyways, before I knew it I was up and out of the water and running to transition where I discovered my second mistake: I forgot to take the plastic protector thingies off my bike shoes and I fumbled around with that for too long. Otherwise it was pretty smooth, though way too slow. I managed to mount my bike without falling down, and so the ride began.

The ride was uneventful, but waaaaaaay too slow. I got passed by everyone and her mother out on the bike course. I kept fighting to up my pace, but I just didn't have anything more in my legs. I felt like almost the entire ride was a false flat with a fierce headwind - just struggling to even go slow! I also struggled with knowing how far 3 bike lengths is to avoid drafting. I am sure I erred on the side of being way too far off the wheel in front of me, and I do think that worrying if I was far enough back and trying to be "overtaken" properly hurt my speed. All of this is stuff that I can improve on, though, and I made my goal of finishing the bike in under one hour, so I was really pleased even though I'm already looking at how to get better. I really think a trainer will help: the other thing I noticed is that there was no place in the race where I wanted to stop pedaling and just coast for a second like I do when I'm biking in the neighborhood. I think time on a trainer will increase my "don't stop" stamina. I need to look into some gloves, or something, because my hands kept falling asleep, and I need to look into my fit and practice proper positioning, because every time I thought about it I realized that my shoulders were trying to climb on top of my head... Oh, and the other thing is that I need more time on a bike in my tri suit because my rear end got seriously sore! Lots to work on here as the bike was by far my weakest leg and the one where I could gain the most time with improvements.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, I finished the bike leg, gratefully and not-so-gracefully dismounted, and ran into transition. No real mistakes here, just too much slowness, and off to the run.
The run was by far my strongest leg! I started running right out of transition, not trying to be fast, but just to run the mike legs off. I *immediately* started passing lots of people, which was really cool after the mental beatdown that being passed so much on the bike was. I decided to walk through all 3 aid stations to get some water, but otherwise I was committed to running the whole thing. I'd just pick out a target and pass them. The one frustrating thing was that the multisport setting on my Garmin doesn't show pace, so it wasn't until the first mile that I realized that I was actually booking it: 8:11 on the first mile! I can't even describe how cool a feeling that was. I actually had to look at the Garmin about 3 times to confirm that I wasn't delirious! After that, it was all just about holding the pace to the end. Second mile was just a tad slower, but still in the 8's. In the third mile the wheels were starting to come off, and rightfully so. 9:05. I could totally care less at that point, though, because I could see the finish line, and I knew at that point that I was going to easily break 1:45 - which was really secretly my goal #3. I could not wipe the smile off my face.
So, for the numbers:
Swim: 11:59.9 (27/51 age)
Pace: 2:24
T1: 2:19.4
Bike: 54:08.5 (32/51 age)
Pace: 16.6 mph
T2: 1:55.0
Run: 26:54.4 (21/51 age)
Pace: 8:37 min/mi
Total: 1:37:17.3 (25/51 age)
The race itself was well run, the volunteers were awesome, the food was yummy, the night before bike check-in was really convenient... can't say enough positive things about the race.
For my first tri, this was awesome. I was thrilled with the race and I am thrilled with the results. I've already updated my side bar with a whole bunch of other races I'd like to do this year - I'm totally hooked!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I Tri'd

I did it.

500 meters swum, 15 miles biked, and 5k ran in 1:37:17.

Full race recap to come.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Nerves

First tri tomorrow.

Freaking out.

Bike all checked in, chip obtained. Alarm set, bag packed. Checked, rechecked. Nervous.

Must go to sleep: goals first.
1. Finish.
2. Finish in under 2 hours.

That's it. First time, after all.

Must sleep. Quiet, restless mind....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm an athlete?

Yesterday a colleague said to me, "You know, Amber, I didn't know you were an athlete until I heard you talking today at lunch."

I'm an athlete??

I don't think of myself as such. When I expressed this to both my colleague and my husband, they questioned me. I don't know if I can clearly articulate it, but I just haven't ever seen myself as an athlete. As a child, I was a dancer. I hated anything traditionally athletic. I hated to sweat. I'd much prefer to curl up with a book than to run, bike, or swim (though swimming was always my favorite...). In college I found I enjoyed lifting weights, and I started running, but more as a means to an end. The exercise was the means to avoid a fat (rear) end. Then I got a job and stopped exercising and gained 25 pounds. So when I began exercising again, again it was just to lose weight and get fit. An unpleasant punishment for my sloth.

So at what point does one become an athlete? (Substitute your own term here: runner, swimmer, cyclist, triathlete.) I've often heard the argument that the difference between a runner and a jogger is a race entry form. If so, then I'm a runner. And I have, in a way, started thinking of myself as a runner. If the intent is to compete, then that is a recent development, because until 2008, I was not competitive, even in my age group. I am just as startled as everyone who knows me (perhaps more) that that seems to be changing with my 4th in age at the Mardi Gras 10K, and 6th in age at the Trolley Run that honestly would place me in many age groups in various smaller races around here. So I guess if racing with intent to compete makes me a runner, then I am a runner. If the measurement is based on obsession, than I surely am an athlete.

So why don't I think of myself as an athlete?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why I Run

This morning as I was running along in my neighborhood, I saw a cat in the middle of the street sniffing a road-kill squirrel.

Then the cat saw me.

It promptly picked up the squirrel, which was at least half its size, and carried it up into some (poor) people's yard.

Protecting its find from me, I suppose.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Open Waters

Well, I had my first open water swims this past weekend.

I signed up for a First Timers Tri clinic thingy at the race site on Saturday. It was nice: a little info on simple stuff that has been driving me nuts worrying about - how to rack the bike, where stuff will be, a few tips and tricks. Then we all went down to the water and joined up with another clinic and did a practice mass start. Not. Cool. I treaded water near the back and started a few seconds after everyone and still got beat up by the people who decided to start on the beach and swim the tangent. Grr. But I'm really glad we did it, because I swam through some panic, and I know now that I can do it. Sighting was sort of a beast too... I couldn't see past my elbows in the murky lake.

After all of that, I decided that I should go back the next day and swim the course twice more. The first time my goggles fogged up really badly (water is only 78 degrees), and between that and the sun I went a little off course, even though I really do swim straighter than I expected. But I still finished in 11:56, faster than I expected! I debated needing to go in again, but decided that I really should, as the foggy goggles had frustrated me, and I wanted a good vibe on the course before the tri. On the second swim, everything really went pretty perfectly. I felt fast in the water, and better at sighting. I was surprised to see a slower time of 12:26 when I got out, because I felt so much better, but I can easily chalk that up to not starting the watch in exactly the same place...

So, some concerns about this coming weekend have been addressed, though I'm still really nervous... as of Sunday I've stopped counting the calories, but am eating only good-for-me stuff. I'm tapering off on the workouts a little bit leading up to a day completely off on Friday before the tri (as I normally do with my run races). Trying to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. In short, just trying to set myself up as best as I possibly can.

I'll follow-up with a post on my goals later in the week...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lessons *Not* Learned from Childhood

One lesson that I've managed to never learn: start wearing sunscreen in April.

Every April, without fail, I get out into the sun and get sunburned badly. The circumstances may change: going to a baseball game, going to the beach or pool, or going for a bike ride, but the outcome is always the same. Sunburn. This April was no different, as the long ride last weekend resulted in quite a painful burn. My first bike burn. It has finally faded and begun to peel, but it was quite painful through Wednesday.

Like an idiot, I wasn't wearing sunscreen last weekend. My body reminded me, and I won't forget again this year, but something tells me that there will be a very similar blog entry next April...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Childhood Lessons Learned

When I was a kid, my parents bought me a bike. My dad went outside and ran behind me, promising not to let go. Of course, he let go, as all dads do. And then I fell over, didn't speak to dad for a month, and never got on that bike again. Almost a decade later, I decided to learn to ride a bike, and always found it enjoyable. But what I missed out on was the childhood years that form an unparalleled comfort level on the bike. I simply don't have that.

What has that taught me? To keep getting back on the bike. It is worth it.

I keep falling/crashing, but I keep getting on. It has been worth it. Today I rode 16 miles. I stopped once per mile, dismounted the bike, and remounted. I also practiced taking one hand off the handlebars at a time. Comfort may come slow, but it comes, and I am grateful for lessons learned.

My first tri is 2 weeks. I am excited, and nervous. All I can do is keep practicing - another childhood lesson learned was "practice makes perfect". My practice may not make me perfect, but it certainly makes me better. Bring it on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2 Miles in the Pool

For the first time this morning, I swam 2 miles.

(I rock.)

I had run a little 3.5 miler before I left home,

(Knee is feeling better today.)

then went to the Y for my morning 1500ish yard swim. But I have a little comp time coming to me at work, and my manager has said that I can take it flexibly in the mornings and just inform her afterwards.

(She rocks.)

So when there is no one at the pool, I keep swimming.

There was no one at the pool (at least not many), so I kept swimming for another hour.

3600 yards in 85 minutes.

(I know I'm slow. But I still rock.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

LAME!!

I'm lame, that is.

I've done it again. I went for a nice long bike ride yesterday, and managed to hurt myself right in front of my house before my bike had moved a foot. That's right. I clipped in my left foot, felt unsteady, like I might fall over, pushed down on the pedal, failed to get my ass onto the seat, and promptly fell over, like a moron. Preston looked over his shoulder and screamed (I shit you not), "What the hell happened this time??" *sigh*

I had this interesting little vampiresque two-holed little bloody wound on my right knee, on the inside, top-ish area.

I rode my bike anyways, darnit. (Probably interesting to watch me talk to myself while I mounted the second time.)

When I got back home, I took Aleve. The knee started to stiffen up. About an hour later, I crouched down and cried out in pain. Cried out again when I tried to get up out of the crouch.

Fine. I screwed my knee up.

Cancelled workout for this morning. (Damnit - never the way I want to start a week.) Actually am having a little trouble walking this morning. Really pissed off. At myself. About being a spaz. About missing workouts. About stoopid injuries. Really frustrated. Have my first tri in less than 3 weeks! MUST learn to not fall over when mounting bike before then!! MUST have fixed knee by then, and not fixed by not working out and losing all fitness. ARGH!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bellaire Trolley 5K Post Script

Two Row's was a sponsor of the 5K. And they brought their root beer to the finish line food.

Let me tell you, there is NOTHING better than a Two Row's root beer except a Two Row's root beer after a hard 5K. And there is nothing better after a hard 5K than a Two Row's root beer. *NOTHING*

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bellaire Trolley Run 5K Race Report

The goal: To PR. Which meant anything sub-29:40.

The concerns: While I felt really confident that my training could lead to a decisive PR, I had two concerns. First and foremost, the bike crash last Sunday left me with a sore right quad. When I ran on Monday it was pretty painful. I decided to opt out of running for the rest of the week in hopes of giving it time to heal. My other concern was the weather. It has begun regularly hitting the 80's around here, and my running has been suffering. Lately I've been walking a bit even on my shortest runs... something that I really don't want to have to do. Something that lead to a sense of creeping doubt in my abilities.

The race strategy: Redline it and hold until I blow up. Simple.

The race: The weather, by the way, was beautiful. About 55 degrees and overcast. Probably one of the last lovely running mornings we will get in Houston before true heat settles in. I seeded myself too far back in the pack. For the first half mile I was passing people who were really running quite slower than I was running. I was surprised by this. I looked down at my Garmin and saw a sub-8 pace. Felt really good. Refrained from freaking out that I was going out too fast. That was the goal: redline it. I was running in a new pair of Brooks Glycerin 5s, and they felt great! In the second mile I took note of the course so I'd have some mental markers on the way back. Focused on my breathing (3-2). Heart rate felt high, but didn't check the Garmin - didn't want to know. Started to wish I could walk, just a little. Past the 2 mile marker, I knew I was going toi PR. I could totally blow up in the last mile and still PR. But I kept pushing. When we got back onto the straightaway to the finish with about .6 to go, I was really struggling. I told myself I could slow down a bit, but not walk. Glanced down at the Garmin and was *thrilled* to see that "slowed down" was an 8:03 pace. At this point, I started mentally counting down the minutes to the finish. I wanted to walk quite badly, but I just kept telling myself to make it to the finish, then I could walk - it was only _ minutes to go... and so I finished. I did not have much of a kick at the end. It seems that I burned it all on the course.

Splits:
Mile 1: 8:00 (this would be a PR on my stand-alone mile!!)
Mile 2: 8:00
Mile 3: 8:02
.14: 1:02 (7:29 pace)

Total: 25:04

25:04!!!!!!!!!!! I *SHATTERED* my PR. Freaking shattered it! By 4 minutes and 36 seconds shattered!!!

I feel so stupid about the creeping doubt that I was vocalizing to my husband in the car on the way to the race. How many times do I have to demonstrate to myself that I know how I have trained, and my training is really and truly preparing me for what I'm undertaking? I can have confidence in me. In my preparation. In my fitness. It may seem silly, but it is such a revelation to know that. It is so new, still...

PR, baby!! Next up? CB&I Triathlon in May. Wow.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Crash

Well, I kept saying that I was a spaz on the bike. Yesterday I totally proved it with my first crash. I'm a little embarrassed, but suffice to say that I'm escaped with only some (deep) bruises, a little road rash, and one big scab. Pretty lucky.

Still trying to decide what to do today (off work). I was going to do a brick and maybe some lifting and core work. My knees and quads are pretty bruised up (and I've gotta say, a little painful), though, so I'm thinking maybe just lifting...

I've been in Minneapolis for the past several days, and didn't do formal workouts, though I did do *tons* of walking. Need to get back on tri track.