Friday, April 26, 2013

Sunny morning run to Brails and race plans with M

I woke up this morning to tons of sunlight streaming through my window. Seriously, I don't expect this sort of sun from Oregon until July 5. I'm a little weirded out by all the light.

But there it was. M and I had planned a diner date at a place neither of us had been to-Brails. The map showed me that it was 3.5 miles away by the roads. So I decided to run there! It is a quick initial downhill and then mostly flat the rest of the way.

Before heading out, I was sure to rub some sunscreen on my poor nose and grab one of my visors. My goal is to never burn my poor schnoz! Last year, I saw another rider using this product that looks like a large Chapstick on her very fair skin, and tried it out- zero problems with stinging or sweating, and no sunburns since I've started using it. It even fits in my jersey pocket or bike bag. Good news for my super-sensitive easy-to-burn skin!

One of the things I do in tri training is the occasional early run on an empty stomach. In hot weather, I'll take Gatorade, but since I knew I'd be meeting M for breakfast and it was cool, I went with no water at all, figuring I'd be out for less than an hour and I was already well hydrated.
I feel like this gives me a chance to train for that end-of-the-race leaden feeling, when you have burned through all your carbs and can't bear to eat anything, and it's really a mental game to keep going. I was really actually hungry this morning, and definitely feeling that no-carb lack of energy! My speed definitely showed that- it was respectable in the beginning and shameful by the end. (I think I dropped from a 9 something mile to an 11 something!) Basically, it's the point where your legs say "wehateyoubitchwekeelyounow" and your brain has to say "shut up, legs". You only finish the race happy if your brain wins!

One of my tricks is that when I feel really miserable, I envision big sweeping road bike descents or some nice fun single track. Yeah, on a miserable run, I cheer myself up by imaging I'm on a bike.

But I usually see big results from these training days! And it helps me to know how far I can push myself until a bonk, and what a pre-bonk is. I know that if I was on the bike and feeling like I felt on the bike path this morning, I should pull over at the nearest store for a snickers and coke.

Brails was a good stop- really good coffee and hash browns. Not my favorite biscuits and gravy in town, but a great place that we shall visit again! (On a day when I'm in a Bloody Mary mood, for sure!)

M and I discussed race plans and bike tweaks. My BMC will be going in for some aerobars (YEAH!), and he is going to get his Allez re-fitted after he's had it crammed into his car for its trip. I still love my BMC and my boys at LifeCycle. They look after me well, and I dropped some serious time on the bike. (My last ride, I was holding a 17mph pace- not superfast, but faster than I've ever been before!)

I still have some work to do on the run, especially with distance. (I have to add three miles to my longest run for a full half marathon! WAH!) I've already got the bike base and swim base, so I think I just get to bike for fun and do swim drills for technique. So my training will be focused on swim and run, and my bike will be my workout candy, as always!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Ugly Run

So I was feeling a bit stressed out, and by "a bit" I mean "my poor head was about to explode".  This grown-up life thing sorta sucks, at times.  Some of it I just don't want to talk about in a public forum, yet, but maybe I will, someday...

Anyway, in the category of "training log"!

I went out for a run yesterday.  It ended up being much hillier than I'd anticipated!  I did over 1000 feet of climbing in three miles.  Yike!  So it was a bit ugly and I felt blobby and jiggly and sad and miserable until about halfway through when I got a second wind, and felt fast and fleet for about 20 yards, and then the agony that is running kicked in.  The first mile was actually pretty good- 8 minutes something, despite my monkey brain and self esteem issues slowing me down.

On the bright side, the scale has returned to showing me losses once more, so I am happy about that.

The run was a bit gruesome but sometimes we just have to do it!

For tonight I plan to finish cleaning the kitchen and then get a little bit of Barre3 in, so I can earn back some activity points.  I think I'm SUPPOSED to be overeating my daily point allowance (and dipping into activity or weekly points), but I still feel weird when I do. I'll ask my leader about that on Saturday!

On the bright side, I have plans for a walk and/or climb tomorrow with a friend of ours.  I got her hooked on rock climbing a few weeks back, and now I'm finding I miss the walls a bit too.  It's such an intellectual as well as a physical workout.  Very good for monkeybrains.

Plans for this weekend include a big bike ride, some Outside Time Of Some Sort on Friday, and scheduling some swim time with another friend.  Plus, I'm organizing TWO rides for the parish this summer.  And I hope to find a Saturday century between now and July so I can get my BMC his first real century!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Down sick for the day

We both discovered we were catching a cold. You know when you've been really stressed for a long time and fighting it off, and right when you get back to normal, BAM, you finally get sick?

Yeah, that happened.

We were pretty good on the road, eating plenty of veggies and Subway sandwiches and not eating much crummy stuff, except for the Denny's sundae I got M for his birthday. And we drank 20 bottles of water between the two of us. But still, it was a ton of cheap carbs I don't usually eat.

So after getting home and drinking my kale smoothies again, I caught a lovely cold. So I spent all day today lounging and sleeping and rationalizing the anxiety that creeps up. I find running and especially biking helps me keep my raging anxiety in check, and when I don't get to do that for more than a day or so, my monkey mind starts screeching at me.

GEARs rides continue, but I think I will skip tomorrow's. At this stage, I am willing to do stuff solo, since my race is bigger than M's this season, but right now, I still want to hang out with him a little more. He's only been back a week!

Besides, I want to experiment with the idea of Weight Watchers in person meetings for a while. I need to take off a bit more poundage to feel race-ready, and I think I need some alternative way of tracking to help me with that. I've done great with LoseIt, but I've gone as far as I think I will with straight calorie counting. I've been tracking myself with a pedometer and realizing I'm not as active as I thought I was. Tri training is really the only movement I get. In reality, if I'm not careful, I can spend a day moving less than 3,000 steps. I decided I want some extra a count ability for a little while. I only have ten-twelve pounds to lose for me to feel ready, but it's a tough ten pounds!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Climbing the Walls, Running the Roads, and my thoughts on the Boston marathon bombing

Now that M is back home for good (which has a much different feel than when he was back for visits: we put the luggage away!), things are a little different.  The cats are still hanging out with me more, even though Origami Cat is warming up to M.  (He was very excited when M came home, but then he's gotten stand-offish.)  I have switched sides in the bed again (like I do from time to time) and I have stopped wearing socks to bed.  I'm sure M appreciates my feet-sicles.

Yesterday, he joined me and a few people from work to take the youth rock climbing at the climbing gym.  He's a very experienced climber.  I was surprised that our younger boys didn't really come out for this one- it attracted mostly the older girls and their friends.  I was really impressed by them- our older teen girls are some amazing athletes.  They are rowers and skiers and runners and flag-team members and a chicken keeper, and they are strong climbers!  They are mostly better than me (probably because they have more upper body strength and because they didn't just spend two weeks traveling and eating mostly carbs).

I was really glad to get some climbing in.  I mostly belayed.  I got to tackle this one angled-out wall that I hadn't been brave enough to go up before.  It was a tough climb and I didn't quite hit the very top, but it was my version of bad-ass.  When I got down, I had scraped my knuckles so I had literal bloody knuckles.  Rawr!

Then we all ended up in the bouldering cave turning backflips on the handholds.  Even I turned a backflip!  I thought for a second I was going to lose my grip and fall on my head, but I pulled it through!  My shoulders are definitely tense, though.

Today, it was sunny and cool in the afternoon so I cajoled M into a nice little road run.  At this point, I am significantly faster than him, so for a while I ran ahead of him.  And then I slowed down and we ran/walked/walked/ran the rest of the way.  Because we spent so much time apart that sometimes it is just nice to hang out with your training buddy, even if you are at different levels.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, I am appreciating having my running buddy/life partner near me all that much more.  While we were apart, we endured a hurricane which flooded and damaged many parts of DC and made cell phone coverage go out.  I hated that feeling of knowing that he could get hurt and I could have no way to get to him.  When things are bad out, it feels that much more comfortable to have loved ones close by.

As far as what I think of the bombing: This was a terrorist act, regardless of who built and detonated those bombs.  It breaks my heart for the runners whose race was ruined. There's nothing like the thrill of finishing a big endurance event, and to have your finish ruined in this way is just unspeakable.  What's more, and what's worse, is that this terrorist act was designed to impact the largest number of runners and spectators.  Timed at about 4 hours into the race, that is when the largest numbers of finishers are coming in.  Many will be in the finish line area recovering after finishing, many more will be approaching the line, and many spectators will be cheering them on and helping them and waiting for their own runner to finish.  It's the time when the most number of innocent people are intently focused on each other.  Four hours in to the race is the Everyman's moment, when normal everyday people finish their race.  They are caught up in the thrill of success, and it seems at finish lines that we all get carried away in this wave of support and positivity.  That to me is the worst part- that such a terrible act occurs during one of the times when human beings are most intently focused on supporting each other in a positive way.

One of my facebook friends is preparing for a marathon herself, and has already stated that she intends to run.  She said "Fuck you! I will run!"  which I said should be a new T-shirt!  It summed up what i was thinking, for sure.

I lose my patience with terrorists.  What am I supposed to do?  Stop running because they want me to fear the finish line?  Stop watching and volunteering for races because they want me to fear the trash bins?  Stop cheering for strangers and getting caught up in the endorphins because they want me to fear?  No way.

There's a line from Christian scripture, about "perfect love casts out fear".  Yes, I understand the scripture is talking about God's love for us, but I've always found the finish line of events from 5Ks to a long triathlon to be the place where I experience humanity's best positivity and love for each other.

I've seen the videos and photos, and what I see is runners falling to the ground as the bombs detonate, and then I see scores of police and first responders and volunteers running into harm's way to help those who were injured.  I see people grabbing each other and shielding each other and helping each other after the blast.  I see people using whatever they can get their hands on to lend aid, and I see people staying with the injured so that no one is left alone and afraid.

I will never fear the finish line.

The terrorists failed, again.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Snowed In and Swimming

So M and I are driving back home across the country to Oregon.  We got up this morning, saw some dire things on the news about horrendous weather, and decided to book it to try to outrun the storm.

Mother Nature did not agree.  The winds were absolutely atrocious.  At one point, the rubber on M's windshield wiper ripped right off and we had to pull over to the nearest Napa for a replacement.  Soon, we saw signs that I-80 was closed down.  We stopped for lunch to stop at a place with wifi to evaluate the weather.  Since the weather was scheduled to go from bad to worse, and as I watched, the I-80 closure was expanded, we cut our losses and holed up at the truck stop La Quinta.

This actually hasn't been all that bad.  We got some bonus rest, I got to do some sink laundry and use my travel laundry line (Rick Steves would be so proud!), and I took M out for a birthday dinner at the truck stop.  It's all romance, with me.

The hotel has a swimming pool.  My first thought was "Oh darn, I didn't bring a swimsuit".  Then, in jest, I asked M if he had his tri shorts handy.  He was not in a swimming mood.  But then I remembered that I had MY tri skirt, AND a sports bra.  Bingo, instant swim suit!  If I'd wear it for an actual tri, then I'd only look a LITTLE ridiculous wearing it in the 3-foot deep section of a hotel swimming pool, eh?

So in I hop.  The water was bathwater warm, so I spent far less time than normal standing on the stairs squeaking about cold water.  I decided to do laps, switching strokes.  So it was breaststroke, crawl stroke, side stroke, and back stroke for about 25 minutes.  Then I did a few minutes of barre3 in the deep end.  Because wearing your tri outfit to swim in the hotel pool isn't weird enough.  I didn't have my goggles, so I did get a little red in the eyes.  But it was very nice to do something and blow off some more steam.

All in all, this is a much more pleasant stranding than last summer's dreadful incident.  We have a nice 24/7 truck stop with three options of eatings, a really cozy clean hotel that is as far from the Sketch-o-riffic Motel of last summer as can be, and plenty of fluffy pillows.

And I am really, REALLY glad I am not out there with the tornado warnings, ice, sleet, and frozen roads!