Thursday, May 29, 2008

It better rain

I had planned to bike to work today, but then those pesky meteorologists said it was going to rain this afternoon. They better be right. I get annoyed when I change workout plans around the weather and the weather doesn't follow through. I want to see some torrential downpours. The radar looks promising so we'll see.

I skipped my swim last night because I was wiped by 8:30pm. The thought of driving to the gym (20 minutes), swimming for an hour, and then driving back was more than I could mentally wrap my brain around last night. So I skipped it and went to bed early. Sometimes I feel that sleep and workouts hold equal value in the training plan and this was one of those occasions.

Tonight I'll be hitting the trainer (because its going to rain cats and dogs like the weather-people say) and watching a few movies I picked up at the library yesterday. After that, I might even be able to motivate myself to the gym for a swim. I really need to. I haven't been in the water in quite a while and I've got a race this weekend. First tri of the season. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Commuting by bicycle -- the best multi-tasking EVER

I biked to work today. 11 miles into the wind at 6am and it was fantastic. Seriously. I was more excited about biking today than I have been in a very, very long time. I even took the long way home, for nearly 30 wonderful miles of two-wheeled commuter bliss.

The way I see it I got two hours of workout for the price of one. And I'm liking that math.

My bicycle commuting adventure was just what I needed to get myself out of this workout rut I've been having. I didn't even let the jackass that honked at me for sharing his lane get me down. (he was probably just jealous that my commute was costing me ZERO dollars and I was getting my workout in....)

You know how you drive by those people out running or biking while you're on your way to work. They're usually standing at an intersection patiently waiting for the cars to whiz by. They're fit. They look a little intense yet they seem to be an odd mix of relaxed, happy, and energetic. Like they're just dialed in to all their senses and enjoying every minute of life right there in front of you. And just for a minute you are wishing you were them. Just for a minute you wish that you hadn't hit snooze this morning instead of heading out for that run. Just for a minute you wish you had earned that blissful moment of endorphin-induced euphoria.

Well this morning I was that person. And it really was that great.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Madison Half Marathon

This race fell in line pretty well with my half Ironman training, and since I got a free entry with a shoe purchase at Endurance House I figured I'd go for it. Its a pretty small race, with only 2000-some half marathoners finishing. But that was fine for me right now...I don't need the hype, I just need the miles.

Yesterday I biked to packet pick-up (I'm really into this biking for transportation thing lately...especially with gas hitting $4/gal.) and only got in 21 miles, which made me feel like a big slacker. Which should really put in perspective how totally distorted Iron-people reality becomes....there are many, many people out there who would think a 20-mile bike ride was a pretty decent workout....and I'm sure there are even a few who wouldn't be able to complete a 20-mile ride....and here I am thinking I'm a slacker for only getting in 21 miles the day before I am supposed to run a half marathon. Seriously. Iron-people are whacked in the head.

The race went pretty much like I thought it would, considering where I am in my training. 13 was a stretch since I only hit 10 miles in training two weeks ago. But I'm not above walking, and I'm all about a training run with water stops (having to be self-contained is so annoying) so bring on the half marathon.

I started strong. The pre-emtive overdose of Ibuprofen had given me some temporary relief of all my aches and pains so the first couple miles felt great. I even made a point to pass my the pace group for my goal time because it just felt like they were going so slow. Things were ok until mile 6, when I saw my goal pace group pass by me as I stopped to get water. Huh, that's not good.

Mile 7 is when the pain in my hip kicked in (apparently Ibuprofen works for about 6.5 miles), and it was pretty much all downhill from there (figuratively, I only wish I had been speaking literally about it being downhill). I felt OK up 'til mile 10, when the pain was starting to be particularly worrisome. So at that point I just gave myself permission to walk. I had matched my longest training run, and I didn't want to do more damage than necessary. There's a fine line between pain that you can/should run through, and making the problem worse. I chose to err on the side of caution.

So here's what I learned on my well supported training run:

1. If you start ahead of your pace group you will probably finish behind them. (I knew this too...its the number one rule of racing...don't start too fast. But in running as in life, when you break the rules you usually have to pay the price.)
2. I still hate Gatorade.
3. I much prefer taking the road solo, to running in a crowd. So annoying to have to dodge people.
4. I hate people yelling my name like this will make me run faster. Just cheer and say something encouraging if you must.
5. I am slower than a lot of really un-athletic looking people. And I am not as OK with that as I thought.
6. I have GOT to get some better running music for the iPod.

So now that I'm pretty much over feeling like I need to puke, I'm off to take some more Ibuprofen....that goes well with beer, right?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I can't run, I have nothing to wear

I'm all about gear. I've got piles of it. Unfortunately, most of it revolves around cold-weather activities. I realized this when I was seeing weather reports for race day that said temps would be in the 80s.

Nuts. I don't have a wardrobe for that. More specifically, I hate every single pair of shorts in my workout wardrobe right now. EVERY pair. I was really hoping I could wear pants. (pants also help cover the "magic knee tape"...more on that in another post)

I can't tell if I'm secretly dreading this race and trying to find excuses to not toe the start line, or if it really is time to buy some new running shorts. The two pairs I have were purchased the year I ran my first marathon....2001. That was a while ago. And I didn't like them then, i just needed them.

Is it just me or do shorts pretty much suck in general? I have yet to find a truly flattering pair of shorts for any use, workout or otherwise.

So I went to Dicks...mostly because I happened to be over there and I was thinking well I might as well try to find I tried on some shorts. I hated all those too. But I did end up getting a new shirt. Its pink -- because pink still makes me feel cute even when I'm sweating and disgusting. Maybe everyone will be so distracted by my cute new shirt tomorrow that they won't pay any attention to my ugly, ill-fitting, ancient shorts.

Or maybe I'll wear pants afterall. I'll just sweat a little more. I can deal with that.

....see how hard this working out stuff is.....

(in reality i realize NO ONE cares what you are wearing when you race....but its a mental game with me, and i swear if i feel cute i run faster)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Running in the rain....biking to a wedding....

To set the record straight, I actually enjoy running in the rain. It makes me feel tough. People driving by either look at you like you're nuts (which makes me feel tough), or they give you the knowing nod like 'you go girl, you dedicated athlete, look at you not letting mother nature put a damper on your workout' (which makes me like something of a superhero because dedication is the hardest part of 'toughness' if you ask me).

But yesterday, as I headed out the door on what was supposed to be a 10 mile run, the wind kicked up....and it was cold. And then it started to rain. And every ache or pain that I've had throughout my training this season came flooding back. Even some old favorites I'd long forgotten about. And 10 miles turned into 3.

I'm really hoping it was the weather that brought this on. Last weeks 10-miler went really well. My hip has been giving me problems a little since, but the run itself was good. In fact, a bit into the second lap we passed a little girl running for her big wheel on the loose. She stopped and let us pass, but from behind me I heard "good running." And I thought, is 'good running'.

But last night that little girl probably would have said something like "mommy look at that soggy pathetically slow grimacing girl out in the rain....what's she doing?"

So we'll call that the low point of the weekend.

On the positive side, I found a creative way to get my bike ride in this weekend....I biked to a wedding. Imagine that, biking for transportation. What a novel idea. It felt very productive, and then didn't make me resent being at a wedding when I should be out biking.

I actually have to thank my co-workers for the idea. When asking what I was doing this weekend they joked "probably biking to Fennimore?" (Fennimore's about an hour by the idea of biking there is pretty preposterous to a normal non-triathlete person) And then it hit me....ya, that's a great idea. Rather than bike around in a circle and then head to the wedding....I'll bike to the wedding. I did have the luxury of a date who was willing to drive the SAG wagon with all my stuff, and a place to shower and get ready once at the destination. So it was a go.

I had to change up the tactics....and get up painfully early...but I got it done. I ended up dusting off the old Gary Fischer Utopia Hybrid (I LOVE this bike. I miss it. I should really ride it more. I am not loving my road bike these days.) and taking the Military Ridge Trail, but I got almost three hours of riding in regardless. And riding is riding as far as I'm concerned. And while the trail isn't hilly, I do think its pretty much up-grade the direction I was heading, which was also right into the wind. So its not like it was a cake-walk.

A few miles into the ride, I realized how relaxing it was to not have to deal with traffic and directions. And having not been on a solo ride all season, I really enjoyed just letting my mind wander. It was a beautiful morning, and there were very few people out on the trail to share it with so I just soaked it all in. Blissful selfishness. I think I really needed that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I'm like...famous....or something

It seems I've made an appearance on the Saris website. Had I known this would be a publicity photo I would have put on a little lip gloss or something. Nothing like having your post-100-mile-bike-ride picture make it to the internet....but doesn't it look like we just had 100 miles of fun?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

As if the cheese and beer weren't enough... we're shotgun-toting rednecks in winter parkas?

I was looking up the date for The North Face Endurance Challenge and found this little gem of quality PR for the state of Wisconsin:

The North Face Endurance Challenge Midwest Regional now has a new date:

Date: Saturday, October 25th

This change was deemed necessary due to the state of Wisconsin announcement that shotgun antler-less deer hunting will be permitted on October 17, 18, and 19. For the safety of everyone involved with The North Face Endurance Challenge, a new date was set.

There's something about the term "shotgun antler-less deer hunting" that sounds so completely barbaric and backwoods that I'm slightly disgusted. Though I am well aware that hunting season is practically considered a holiday around here, it pains me to see it in writing.

Monday, May 5, 2008

And just when you thought you were having a bad day...

This is what greeted me after work tonight.

Ten days the little guy has to wear that. Its breaking my heart. What have I been complaining about? He has been truckin' around the house bumpin' into things...getting stuck on the carpet....getting stuck on the stairs.... So I'm just going to stop complaining and get over myself now before someone makes me wear a cone on my head. Tomorrow's workouts will be running, fuzion, and swimming....all cone free. :) No excuses.....really.

If you don't have anything nice to say....

You know how when you don't have anything nice to shouldn't say anything at all? Well, I probably shouldn't blog today because I don't have anything nice to say. Really. I can't come up with one positive thing to blog about right now.

So if you don't want to be pulled into my downward spiral of negativity you should probably stop reading. Come back and visit later when I have my attitude adjusted and my head back on straight.

If your sticking around for the goes....

My training sucks. My time management sucks. My nutrition sucks. Everything just seems to be sucking right now. And I guess everything is all intertwined so if one thing gets out of whack, of course it would all be out of whack.

I'm tired. Cranky. Busy. And I didn't work out at all last week. That's right. Not - one - workout. For seven whole days. Am I a serious athlete or what?

It all started out innocently enough. I ran crazylegs in crap weather. Then I went out....on a Saturday night....and drank a glass of wine....and it was downhill from there. Do you see how fragile this system is?

I had called off the Sunday bike ride the night before because they were calling for a chance of snow. I draw the line for hard-core triathlete girl perseverance at snow. So I went out Saturday night and and enjoyed myself. And no, I wasn't nursing a hangover the next morning....but I guess I forgot how great it felt to go out for dinner on the weekend. And drink a few glasses of wine. It felt so good that I wanted to remember what sleeping in felt like. And going out for breakfast. And then I was already on the road to ruin so I decided to catch up on the million or so errands that I needed to run that I hadn't had time for lately because of all the biking and running nonsense. All the while taking note of the blue skies and mild temperatures.

Never believe the meteorologists. They are just out to make your training miserable. They will predict blue skies and it will pour on you in the middle of your 40 mile ride. They will predict weather bad enough for you to cancel your training session only to have it turn out to be a beautiful day. And then the guilt will eat you alive.

Then as if I didn't feel guilty enough about missing my long weekend ride...a number of relatively non-catastrophic but unavoidable events popped up and created enough of a diversion from my routine to completely derail my training for the rest of the week.

And let me tell you, once the peloton of motivation drops you off the back of the're done. Toast. Welcome to the downward spiral of negativity. We hope you like your stay.

Even when I did manage to get back into the swing of things I had a bad attitude about it. I should have done my long run Saturday, but the weather was crap. Again. And when you haven't worked out for six days...well what's one more?

I knew I had to get up for the MS Walk in the morning on Sunday so I figured I'd just run the 7-mile course and save myself the hassle of a 3-mile walk that wasn't going to help my training anyway. And if there is one shining moment in the past week it was my Sunday morning run. It was such a perfectly beautiful day....and having the water stops was so nice....and they had bananas and pretzels, how thoughtful. I almost had a positive mental breakthrough during that run until I realized I was competing against walkers. Not that it was a competition....because it wasn't. But you know it always is in your lets be real. And at this point I needed to mentally feel like I was "beating" all those walkers I passed. But then when I did stop to walk a few times after passing people they would almost catch me. I'd have to start running again to stay ahead of them. So apparently I'm slow at EVERYthing. Even walking.

Then I promptly went from 7-mile run to 3 hour bike ride with two motivated cyclists not currently under the influence of any negative spiraling action....which only made mine worse. Compounded by the fact that I was busting my tail just trying to keep them in sight on the ride. We ended up with a mechanical malfunction that ended the ride after only 2.5 hours and I couldn't have been more relieved.

And now here I am. Staring at another full week. Wondering if I can get it all done. And trying to get my head in the game with this training. When did it stop being fun and start being a chore? And how do I get back to the fun?

Fun or not, I told myself that this week I was going to stick to the training plan 100%. No slacking. Even if my head's not in the game, my body's going to be. Ok, so now I need to go find my training plan......