Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Don't eat more candy that you can burn off tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Guggenheim: A good reason to work out

Driving in Spain was not something I would say I succeeded at. Directions, even less so. Which was a major source of stress, and inevitably wasted time, before arrival and enjoyment of any given location.

Bilbao was probably the most extreme example of this. We drove around for what felt like hours trying to figure out how to get to the city center. Bouncing off (sometimes literally) freakishly big roundabouts...some more than once. Once near the city center we did laps around the Guggenheim. Laps. Paint the Budweiser logo on the car and we could have started our own euro-style NASCAR circuit. We could see the Guggenheim but how do we get there? Better yet, where was our hotel? And where can we park this godforsaken BMW so we can walk?!

After finally checking into the hotel with the car safely stashed in and underground parking ramp we receive the dreaded news....
--the Guggenheim closes in 45 minutes and is not open tomorrow due to it being a national holiday--

Thus starts the vacation version of transition. Up the elevator, deposit suitcases, grab essential items, and head out. No time for messing around, this was potentially once-in-a-lifetime stuff. We hit the pavement and it was a full on power walk for 15 minutes. No time for chatting, or pictures. This was all business. But with 30 minutes still on the clock we stared at the information booth agent in disbelief when she informed us they were no longer selling tickets. We had missed our window of opportunity. Sort of like being at mile 24 when the Ironman clock turns hour 17. No Guggenheim for us.

But I'm hesitant to write it off as a total negative.

First and foremost, its all part of the experience of the trip. The driving, the stress, the crazy roundabouts, all leading up to a sprint to the finish. It's one of those memories that will long outlive anything we might have seen inside that building.

It was also a good little reminder of how working out has benefits that trickle over into other avenues of your life. Had I been out of shape that might have been a really miserable, low-point of the trip. Instead, we were laughing as we sailed along to our target. Laughing at how completely chaotic and ridiculous the entire day had been, and how somehow this crazy sprint-finish was just par for the course.

And anyway, we were told that "the best views are from the outside."

I agree. But then, I may have a slight bias.

Monday, October 27, 2008

delayed effect

I'm home.... I think.

For a few days I wasn't quite sure where I was but now I think I have been in one place long enough for my over-extended life to catch up with me and reality is setting in hard.

I'm so, so tired. And I should be. Its just funny to me that it didn't hit me until now. The dark setting in so early now and the cold days are probably not helping this either. But I think going from sunny and 95 in Phoenix to 40 and flurries here is a tough transition no matter how much travel preceded it.

And I'm sore. And again, I should be. Last night was my first strength session after pretty much not working out for three weeks. I tried to take it easy on myself and was actually thinking I had been too easy....until today, the day after. Ouch. Apparently carrying your camera around Europe for week or so doesn't really get you in triathlon shape. And logging almost 50 hours of airport and flight time in 2.5 weeks doesn't build muscle? Huh? Total bummer. I was really hoping I was onto the latest workout craze with that one.

Ah well, its back to life. The workout planning is in full effect. Speedwork picks up again on Wednesday. I'll be able to make the strength sessions now until December. The race schedule has been unexpectedly altered but is in the process of being reworked and nailed down. And road trips to races are in the works for November. So you know....same old, same old. Just the way I like it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More vacation workouts

More stairs.

More rewards.

OMG, the walking. Seriously. So - much - walking. In some ways I think running 10 miles and then sitting on your bum for the rest of the day is easier than the non-stop walking.

Even my brain is getting a workout. The constant language barrier can be exhausting. I'm not complaining. On the contrary, I love it. I'm just sayin' can wear a girl out. Uno mas Vino por favor? And please don't correct my Spanish....its horrible, I know this. I took German in High School, OK. Today at lunch I accidentally asked for the "hill" instead of the "bill"....cuesta, instead of close, but still not impressing anyone (though our waiter was a good sport about it). I wish people in Illinois and Minnesota spoke different languages. We mid-westerners would be much more "worldly."

I'm going to try to go for a run tomorrow morning before we hit the road. :) Buenos noches, amigos!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The vacation half marathon

I'm sure I easily walked 13 miles today. Easily. If America were more like Europe we wouldn't have the obesity problem that we have. The car is such a hassle that I ditch it at any opportunity (or available parking stall) immediately and walk.

We walked A LOT today because of my total refusal to move the car once we found a free overnight parking spot. We even hauled our bags about a mile uphill to our hotel because I didn't want to mess with driving around, having to call the police (apparently its routine?) to get let into the square temporarily, and then getting back down to where we parked and hoping a spot would be there.

We also did stairs. 151 steps to the top of Alcazar on the world's oldest stairmaster.
A little sketchy at times but the end of workout reward is well worth it.

Then, after the obligatory siesta (I love a country that naps!), we went out in search of dinner and walked at least four miles so that we could end up eating right across the street from the hotel. Figures. But again, can't complain about the scenery on the hike.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ahhh, Spain

Well unless you count 14 hours of travel as a workout....not much training going on around here. But there's a lot of, well, "life training" happening. Which I think is just as valuable.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Speed -- in black and white

OK. I'm going to put this out there just to keep it all 100% real here.

Here are the times from my second (ever, probably -- or at least in the last decade) speed workout. This blog is no gimmick people. I am slow. Here is the proof....
  • about a mile warm up
  • 4x400 w/2:00 rest---
  • time - pace
    1:58 - 7:56
    2:07 - 8:28
    2:09 - 8:36
    2:10 - 8:40
  • 1 mile cool down at roughly 9:30 pace.
I'm not going to pretend I really understand everything that the numbers mean, although I'm pretty sure they confirm I'm not going to be making the Olympic team anytime soon. But these numbers are encouraging in a couple of ways,

1. They prove that I can run at my goal pace.

2. Even my cool down is already faster than my last race pace, so improvement is possible.

3. Hitting these numbers felt slightly less horrible than what I did last week (which was not on the track so I don't have exact numbers, but the workout was roughly the same), which is encouraging.

The run is by far my weakest link in triathlon (well, aside from the swim but that's a mental issue not a physical one), which means its where I have the most room for improvement. So that's where I'm going to be putting my efforts this off-season. Hopefully it will pay off come spring.

WHAT??! Shut out by my sponsor?

Full? How can this be? Does The North Face not know they are practically sponsoring all my athletic endeavors (at a profit for them, I might add)?? Clearly they have forgotten to save me a spot in the Endurance Challenge. Clearly.

I was a teeny bit pre-occupied with my upcoming BIG HONKIN' MONTH OF TRAVEL and put off registering. Can't a girl get a little leniency?

I'm so, so bummed. I was really looking forward to this race. A 10k trail run, how completely perfect. The perfect distance. Fun terrain. Good eye candy ('cuz you know Dean Karnazes was going to lap me at least twice during the race). And an environmentally friendly carpool of good company all lined up.

But no. It was not to be. I will just have to take my $45 and spend it elsewhere. (like at Patagonia or Nau)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Dreaded Trainer

I know. Most people don't want to think about it yet, but soon there will be SNOW. So get your netflix pics all lined up now. Here's something to keep you from wanting to slit your wrists every time you have to get on the trainer in front of your TV this winter: Skinet's Top Ten Ski Movie List

However, I think I'll be skipping the one that shows the guy breaking both his ankles. If I pass out on the trainer I'd prefer it to be because I worked out too hard. Not because I have a low tolerance for other people's pain.