Sunday, August 30, 2009

9 weeks from today...

I will have started my day on that bridge -- the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. OMG. This is getting real. I am about to run a marathon in New York City.

I feel fit.  But I do not feel marathon fit.  I'm starting to panic a little....ok, a lot.  I feel like I have a long way to go and not enough time to get there.  And every lower-leg ache or pain has me stressing, wishing the world were made of something soft and squishy and stress-fracture preventing.  Paranoia has definitely set in.  And the pains make me want to back off but the calendar says I don't have time.

But I guess that's all part of the deal.  This is marathon training.  This is what I signed up for.  Now I just have to keep finding creative ways to keep my body playing nice with the orders my brain is giving and before I know it I'll be celebrating in Central Park.

I'm trying not to think ahead.  Just get through each week.  One workout to the next.  Mile by mile.  I'll get there.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spirit of the Marathon

NYC is less than 10 weeks away, workouts are getting long, life is getting busy, and I'm desperately seeking motivation any place I can get it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You've Got Mail

The postal service has been especially kind to me lately.....

first this little bundle of goodies came; new ski pants (finally LONG LENGTH in stock, thank you, new marino wool long sleeve zip-up, because it was on sale for $22 (you can't pass up marino at a price like that), and then *bonus* Skiing Mag is back from summer break!  All around awesome mail day, for sure.  I should probably even bust out a few ski bum phrases and talk about how "stoked" I was, or....or, well I don't really know any more cool kid phrases so we'll just say that the mail put me in a pretty good mood that day.

But then, I get home today to find an oddly shaped envelope.  Strange, I haven't ordered anything lately, have I?  (Had to think about that for a solid minute or two.)  So I opened it, cautiously excited.  Guess what it was?

A birthday present from my brilliant little sis (and her hubby).  A little spending spree at Athleta.  LOVE!  Does she know me or what?

And then, just to top off my week I got to play with a new puppy.  And who doesn't love puppies?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gear Report: New Bike Rack -- Saris Thelma

I'd like you to meet Thelma.  The latest in my collection of "triathlon stuff I bought instead of buying cute shoes."  I've had the car a year, it was time for a proper rack.  Which meant buying a hitch for the car -- the most un-glamourous $200 ever spent -- but in the end it was all worth it.  No more putting the seats down and shoving the bike in the back.  The back of my back seat is much happier.  There's more room for people and stuff.  And I'm spending less time trying to degrease beige leather every couple weeks.
The only downside....doesn't work with the Trek TTX frame (tried it with a friend's).  So no sexy new tri bike for least until I can afford the new tri bike AND a new rack.  Which is not happening anytime soon (Snow's comin'. I've got lift tickets to buy!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Vegas Challenge

I'm still not sure exactly how it happened, but I can say that cocktails were definitely being consumed poolside when the challenge got thrown down. Which, as you can imagine, may have a tendency to make goals seem much more achievable than they may really be.

Regardless, its out there now. The challenge to lose 10 pounds by November 1st -- race day.

The reward, should we both hit the goal -- a girl's trip to Vegas.

Now, I've never been to Vegas. I've never even wanted to go to Vegas. So why would that motivate me? Because even though there are just two of us in the challenge, the reward trip is very likely to include quite a few of our friends. Which means it is likely to get planned even if one of us doesn't make the goal. And as I learned in North Carolina a few weeks ago, I actually enjoy lounging in the sun all day and partying it up in the evenings -- at least for a day or two. And I'm pretty sure that's what Vegas is all about.

So I want in! Let the Vegas Challenge begin!

And now the deconstruction, and self-doubt ensues....
I'm pretty fit right now. I have lost about 4 pounds over the past few weeks. Not a lot, but I think there's more going on than just dropping 4 lbs of fat. That is to say, things are, um...firming up around here. Pants are fitting better. Booties are lookin' cuter. Arms are less flaptastic. You know, a lot more positive stuff than the scale can measure. A different kind of change than if I had just cut my calories and walked around the block a couple times.

And while there is certainly still more that could be done -- TEN POUNDS IS A LOT. And I need to eat to be able to work out at the level I need to. So this is going to be an interesting balancing act.

Therefore, I have developed a very technical, highly scientific approach to The Vegas Challenge that will nearly guarantee success: DON'T EAT CRAP

No, really. I truly believe that if I stick to the marathon training plan and concentrate on simply making healthy food choices, I can do this pretty easily. And I think it breaks down to a few simple rules:

-eat lots of fruits and veggies
-enjoy tastes of calorie dense foods - (i.e. lay off the alfredo, practice portion control!)
-stay hydrated

I'm debating about whether I'm even going to track what I eat. I might try for a few days, but realistically the last thing I need right now is something else to keep track of.

So the challenge begins. Ten pounds to go and ten weeks to get there.  We shall see.....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scenes From A Sunday Ride

It was such a perfect day today that I had to drag my I-ran-10-miles-yesterday bricks for legs out for a ride. And because the potential for beautiful days is about to start a sharp declining trend I figured that my favorite bike route had to be on the agenda....the ride to New Glarus.

I'm not sure why I love this ride so much because holy topography is this ride hilly!  But New Glarus is adorable.  And they make doughnuts there.  And beer.  And the views are pretty spectacular.  So what's not to love, really?

Well, I didn't love the giant biker-girl eating dog that chased us down (I have NEVER had a dog chase me with such intensity and so far from home.  We were FREAKING OUT.  Luckily we had been coming down a massive hill and had some speed because this dog was coming at us like a heat-seeking missile.  The beast even crossed a major county road and then continued to tear down the road we had turned onto to come after us.  Talk about an adrenaline rush.)....but other than that, beautiful day on the bike!

Here we are, parked and ready to head into the bakery.  Apparently they have meat in New Glarus too.  Ruefs here claims to be the "Bratwurst Headquarters".  Lots of "wurst", some made with "Spotted Cow" (that's beer, in case you're not a local).  Gotta love Wisconsin.

And I think my bike made a friend....awww.

Friday, August 21, 2009

And now it starts to get real...

After some convo with my coach, this next four week training block will show a noticeable shift to an emphasis on running. Because, you know, I have this marathon thing...where I have to run 26.2 miles.....

(Apparently I expressed my hatred for running a little too strongly in my athlete survey and he had been hesitant to add too much run mileage into the schedule, ooops. Not so much honestly next time.)

But its all good. I've built a solid base-fitness level, and have managed to stay injury free so far -- a HUGE accomplishment -- so in a way I think the miscommunication worked out for the best. Moving forward there will be no more progression in volume for biking or swimming. Now I'll just be maintaining those efforts and adding volume and intensity to the running.

Did I mention I don't really like running?

I'll only run three days a week, but they are "game face on" serious run sessions. Which is going to be a challenge for me. It's still hard for me to get excited about run workouts. But my fitness level is in a good spot right now, which will help. Getting psyched up to push yourself for a workout is an entirely different (and hopefully more tolerable) mindset than getting psyched up for a workout that's going to hurt because its beyond what your body is presently capable of.

With this shift in emphasis, my personal goal (and let's not share this with my coach) is to get more serious about the strength workouts. They've been on my schedule since day one (supposed to be functional-based, like pilates or yoga), but I've kinda been ignoring them. They're are only so many hours in the day, and when time runs short, those are the workouts that are the easiest to drop.

I did do some core-work after my hills on Tuesday and noticed a significant improvement in the sit-ups and planks. But its time to get more routine about it. Because aside from the marathon business, ski season is coming, and I want to be rockin' the new bikini I just bought when I hit the post-mountain hot tub parties. I mean, a girl's got priorities.

And yes, I'm probably the only girl I know who buys a bikini in the middle of summer with the sole intent being to wear it in the snow. And I'm totally cool with that.

Here's a basic outline of what my weeks look like:

M: swim workout (usually about 1600-1800 yds)
T: strength + hill repeat workout
W: bike (I've been doing around 33 miles, will probably drop to 20)
Th: easy swim + tempo run w/pick-ups
F: strength
Sa: long run (starting at 1hr 30min and going up from there)
Su: long bike (will probably stay around 33 miles now, under 3 hrs)

Notice there is no mention of laundry. That would be because there is no time for laundry. I have the piles to prove it.

Welcome to marathon training. I'd say I have officially arrived.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Mother Nature,

I understand that rain is necessary to keep the natural world all in balance and whatnot. And I like flowers and trees and stuff as much as the next girl (maybe more). But I AM ON A TRAINING PLAN HERE. Like I have a marathon to run in NOT THAT MUCH TIME. So if you could work with me a bit, that would be great.

I was really (actually, miraculously) looking forward to my tempo run on the trail tonight. But you see, you seem to think that we need rain FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS. And that's just not really going to work for me.

I'm willing to cut a, give me a window of about 90 rain-free minutes to work with tonight....I, will refrain from doing the "snow dance" quite so much this winter (I understand that hourly requests for snow might get a little old...).

So, pretty please? An hour or so to run without getting shower-soaked like last Sunday? (Ya, remember that. That was pretty funny Mother Nature....pretty funny how you faked me out like I had a window dry-time and then released the wrath of the heavens on me 1 mile from home....still laughing about that one. Pretty sure you owe me a day of 12" powder and bluebird skies for that.)

Many thanks Mother Nature...and keep up the good work with the garden growing this summer, I'm loving my fresh fruits and veggies!

The Slowest Triathlete

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blog posting in real-time I'm a little behind on the blog posting. I have a few half-started posts about events, and travel, waiting in the wings, but if I wait until I finish those to post...well, lets just start fresh again.

So last night was hill repeat night. And as is usual for me, I procrastinated the run until I could not possibly procrastinate any longer. Because that is what I do. I wallow in the dread of the workout as. long. as. possible. Because apparently, I like to torture myself.

Well, then a funny thing happened. Hill repeats DID. NOT. SUCK.

I have no idea how that is possible. But it is a fact. I felt great. I mean, as great as someone can feel while running repeatedly up a hill. But even during the "cool down" I was cranking out sub 10-minute miles and feeling like I could keep going. (Still "slow" but a major breakthrough in The Slowest Triathlete land!)

This is perplexing in the best possible way.

I have a few theories about how this happened:

1) The hill I ran was not as steep as my usual tool of torture. It was a more gradual incline that got steeper in the last half, but overall I think it was less of a grade. Which, to be honest, I think works better for the intent of the hill-repeat workouts; to repeatedly push to the lactic acid threshold -- not to make me want to die.

2) It was not melt-your-face-off hot. It was late, and dark, and the temps have cooled a bit this week. And apparently when I don't feel like my head is going to spontaneously combust from the baking rays of the sun, I run pretty well.

3) I had a run buddy. A run buddy who normally runs circles around me but hasn't trained one iota since May. And if you don't think I would take that opportunity to feel like a total bad-ass and make every effort I had to run him into the ground, well, you'd be wrong. You better believe I wanted to show off just how hard I'd been working. And apparently, when I feel like being a little competitive, that makes me run pretty well too.

So all the signs keep pointing to the effectiveness of this "actually train before your races" theory. I guess I'll stick with it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When I wasn't riding my bike....

...last week, I was playing "official" photographer for my friend's kiddo's 12-month pictures. I still have A LOT to learn, but it was fun to chase a one-year-old around for an evening. I think there are a few good pics from the "shoot." You know, when the kid wasn't trying to eat the props. Something tells me child photography goes beyond just knowing how to use your camera.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I can't keep up....

If laundry is the barometer of life, I'd say I'm currently a big ol' heaping mess. I can't keep ahead of the piles of dirty clothes, much less the blog posting. This "actually following the training plan" thing I've been doing lately is really sucking up my free time -- not to mention all the travel. But this weekend I'll be in town for the first time in three weeks so there will hopefully be some catching up happening in the life-at-home department.

Until then, I invite you to enjoy another hilarious blog about poop. Because, as you know, poop is funny. Feel free to laugh out loud. I did. And I know all you tri-heads can relate.