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


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.

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.