Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

This is a "Thursday Thoughts" and a "Thursday Things I Shouldn't Admit".

I worked as an engineer for 7 years and four different companies out of college. Although I loved studying engineering, I absolutely loathed it in the real world. A trained monkey could have done any of my jobs post graduation. During my days at work I would find ways to waste time and disappear. One of my first jobs was right next to the airport and I would sneak out the back door and go watch the airplanes take off and land. Or, I would hide in the stairwell or in my car. For a LONG TIME.

So, what is the worst job you ever had and/or what would you do to avoid working?

April Totals

Man, it was a HUGE month in April. Of course, I've been saying that every month and each month is only going to get bigger. :) I didn't get in all the workouts, but I think I did a pretty good effort in getting most of them done and with pretty good success. May is going to be an even better month: I'm racing!

Swim = 20,775 meters (That's over TWELVE miles of swimming!!!)

Bike = 308 miles WOW!!!

Run = 68.29 miles

I didn't get any strength training done. If there's one thing to go on the weekly schedule, that would be the first one. For next month, Dave and I have made a pact to at least try to get in all our workouts on the days they are scheduled. And that will include strength training.

A toast to April....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Foto Friday

Here's a pictorial of my bike ride yesterday...

First of all, rocking the new Trakkers team bike jersey. My first bike jersey. Crap! Guess that means I'm no longer "just" a runner.

After a warm up and two of four intervals, I decided to meet the pavement personally as I tried to turn my bike around. I suck at turning around. Dave wasn't there to pick me up or laugh with (at) me. I hide to ride back with my bloody knee.

I was supposed to do a run off the bike after I returned, but I realized half way through the bike that Dave had the key to the car and his bike ride was 10 minutes longer than mine--a whopping 5 minutes less than my run. This is how unhappy I was that (a) Dave had the key and (b) that I had crashed my bike...

Alas, there would be no trying out my new racing shoes, the Saucony Fastwitch. Like my fancy laces I put in them? Of course, the racing shoes will continue to be named "The Green Dragons."

Big bike ride on the agenda this weekend. See you on the trails!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

I meant to ask this question last week while I was actually on vacation, but didn't get around to it.

Dave and I have done a lot of traveling together. That's what you do when you don't have kids, right? We have been to beaches and cities and have even traveled abroad. What we have found is that we love to explore. If we're going to some place new we REALLY want to check it out. Our parents travel very differently than us. My parents are beach lovers and will go and sit on a beach. All. Day. Long. Dave's parents are retired and travel by cruise. All. The. Time.

So, where do you like going on vacation and what do you enjoy doing on your vacation?

And a little vacation picture...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I will never complain about my bike being uncomfortable again

Even though I was on a rest week, I really tried hard to stick to my training schedule while on vacation. As mentioned previously I scouted out swimming pools, made plans to run with my dad (only after I realized I forgot my heart rate monitor chest strap and couldn't do my run test on the schedule) and even went so far as to rent a bike. Friday was biking day. So, the family headed to Sarasota to the bike shop where I had already called ahead and reserved my bike. My parents also wanted to rent beach cruisers and do a little riding. We get to the shop and lo and behold, they didn't have my reservation. Crap! Someone in Sarasota, Florida is running around with my credit card information. Guess I'll have to keep an eye on that. Anyway, they were able to get me a bike and set it up for me, but they only rented road bikes and therefore, my parents decided not to rent a bike (even though they sold beach cruisers).

In theory, renting a bike and continuing with my workouts was a wise thing. But in practice, this did not go so well. I was smart enough to bring my own helmet because YUCK, but I decided not to bring my pedals and shoes because I figured the bike would have toe cages on it and I only had a 45 minute ride on the schedule anyway. Of course, no toe cages. When was the last time you rode a bike where you weren't strapped into the pedals? I haven't ridden a road bike in a long time. The only bike I have at home is my tri-/time trial bike. I used to have a road bike, a Giant OCR3, which I had converted into triathlon ready with aero bars, etc. When I had been fit for the aero bars on that bike, the person told me that bike would never fit me. Giants are not made for most women. To say I'm short-waisted is an understatement. My belly button and my busts are roughly three inches apart from each other. :) Anyhoo, wouldn't you know it, this bike was a Giant OCR-whatever?! I was so uncomfortable riding this bike. My shoulders, my arms, my back...nothing felt right. For as much as is said regarding tri-bikes and how unstable they are, my bike felt like a tank compared to this thing. I felt completely out of control—white knuckles. Plus, don't tell me that Adamo seats are made for men. I will pay a gajillion bucks to never ride a bike without one again! And to top it all off, the route started and ended by riding over a bridge. Not just any bridge, mind you, a drawbridge. I thought I was going to die or at least throw up. I almost called my parents to come pick me up...I was NOT going over that bridge a second time.

If I ever need to travel during a week where I NEED my bike, heck yeah, I am packing it up and taking it with me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Foto Friday

Because today is my birthday, this post is all about ME!!!

First, a picture of me at the jetty in Venice, FL.

Secondly, I got my swim stroke videotaped today. In my head I feel fast and out of breathe, but in this video I look slow and quiet. I already know what's wrong with the stroke, what's your take?

By the way, yes I can flip turn. I'm just a lazy fool.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tri-ing Something New

With a last minute decision I hopped a plane and headed down to Florida to crash my parents' spring break vacation. Although it's rest week on the schedule, there are still workouts to be done. So, I researched my opportunities down in Florida and found many, many options. For swimming, I called the local YMCA and got myself hooked up with the masters program.

I arrive in Florida on Tuesday night and was settled into the hotel around 10:30pm. I got ready for bed quickly as the next morning was going to start early, like 4:30 early. I was out of the hotel by 5:00am and to the local Y by 5:05. The place was already packed. And yet, I was bringing down the age by like 30 years. I looked around for an indoor pool but couldn't find one. The outdoor one was pitch black. Where the heck was everyone? Finally I ran into some swimmers (and I knew they were swimmers by those giant robe jackets they were wearing) and they guided me to the outdoor pool. Outdoors, in the dark, in April? This is so not Ohio.

I don't think this was normal masters. Not that I have anything to compare it to. The age range was 35-65, but I didn't see anyone that really looked to be around 35. I was the youngest by far. There were two workouts: a short workout (1800 yards) and a long workout (3500 yards). I chose the long workout, but soon found out I was one of only 3 people who took that workout. I didn't have to share a lane, which was nice, but everyone who was there was a triathlete so I saw NO ONE doing flip turns. Sharing a lane wouldn't have been an issue. The workouts didn't have send offs or rest periods so I just used my best judgement.

Finally I finished up around an hour and 15 minutes into the workout. I did get some feedback about my stroke that I'm interested in sharing with coach and seeing what she says. I'm going back again on Friday to give it another try. And then maybe when I get home, I'll look into the masters program at the local high school.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nightmare on Elm Street

Actually this workout wasn't a nightmare, but we did start it on Elm Street and I thought it made for a great title. Plus, super-cute picture!

On the agenda was a 3 hour 15 minute ride that had to include lots of hills. So we drove out to Granville, a half hour trip, but the only place in Central Ohio with serious hills. Plus, Granville is also home of a 'rails to trails' that goes for about 14 miles one way. We started off with a warm up on the trail and then headed out of downtown to do our climbing. I have to admit, I have a serious mental-block when it comes to triathlon. It's been well documented in this blog that I have major freak outs in open water. Those freak outs have been applied to biking as of recent. Ever since seeing the hills Dave rode in Couer d'Alene, I've been nervous about what Louisville has to offer. Yesterday while riding up our first hill, I did it again: FREAKED OUT!!! I stopped half way up the hill and yelled to Dave, "I just can't do this!" He calmed me down, saying we were almost to the top, but neither of us could get started again on the hill, so we had to ride down a little and start again. After that initial freak out, things seemed to go better. The hills were long and steep but doable. The pace was slow and the heart rate was slow. Check out the elevation map compared to my heart rate.

Dave asked me at the end of the hills if I would be able to do that whole set again? That's probably what my half and whole Ironmans would be like. Yikes!!!

After the hills we headed out to the trail to finish up the last hour and a half with a controlled heart rate. We headed toward Johnstown and rode for what seemed like forever. Problem was my heart rate kept high and my pace was slow. What the heck was going on? Dave said we were going uphill, but it didn't seem like it. That is, until we turned around. Oh my, how we were going uphill. If you check out the elevation map above, you'll see the last big hill that goes on for about an hour before we start coming back down? Yeah, that's the hill we were "climbing" on the trail.

When the ride was finally over I had another half hour of running. My legs felt like bricks at the beginning but quickly were turning over and I was comfortably traveling along at an 8:30 pace. Sweet! But, when I hit the 24 minute mark (almost done!) my stomach decided to tie itself in knots and I suffered until I got back to the car.

In the end, I didn't do the miles I had hoped to do on my bike and certainly am still nervous about the many, many hills to come. But, I'm trusting Coach and knowing there are many, many more workouts to come to help me gain my confidence.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thursday Thoughts

A few years ago when I worked a "real job" I had a cleaning girl that came out twice a month. It was wonderful to come home on those days and have the whole house clean. When I quit my job, I had to quit her too. And, I swear, I have not been able to keep up with the cleaning since then. Dave and I made an agreement this year that whenever we had a "fall-back" week that we would clean the house. As of yet, that hasn't happened. There are certain chores I love to do (laundry) and certain chores I hate to do (cleaning the bathroom).

So, what are the chores you love and which ones do you hate?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Going Long

Next weekend is the Boston Marathon. And for the first time in eight years I'm not going or running it. That makes me a little sad. My teammate Sonja just won the Moab 100. Go watch her video, it's awesome. But watching that video has made me sad and envious. I just want to run. I miss "just" running.

Monday I had a long run on the schedule. Although there were prescribed heart rate zones, most of this run was "just run." I was so excited to do this workout. But as I stepped out in just the first mile I knew things were going to be rough. My HR was already flying, I couldn't catch my breath, and I just didn't feel normal. With only a few minutes left in my long warm up I thought about bagging it. I even turned around and started running back to my starting point, but I said to myself, "no, Meredith, you can do this." Once I got to the "just run" portion of my workout, I did feel better, although only somewhat. My heart rate was really high and I was only doing 9 min/miles. A year ago I ran the Boston Marathon at an 8:00 pace and I couldn't even run a 9:00 when I was allowed to get my heart rate up? How could I feel so out of shape with all of this training? I had hoped to run around 13 miles or so, but finished just short of 11. Freakin' 11!

Luckily Tuesday brought around a new workout: a swim. This one was also long including a single set of straight 1000 meters. I love to swim straight, long sets. And it went so well. Just like running, I just catch a rhythm and let my thoughts go and somehow pick up pace along the way.

This morning was yet another long workout. I had to bike for an hour and a half on the trainer with lots of high heart rate zones. I thought I would struggle because of fatigue from Monday and the last couple weeks, but the bike actually went really well. I kept a pretty good pace, heart rate zones were exact, and the time flew. Two great workouts in a row.

Last week I had a ton of workouts: 3 swim, 3 bike, 4 runs, and a strength workout. Needless to say, I didn't get everything done and felt like crap the whole week and during all workouts. This week I don't have as many workouts but the time is equal to last week. I feel soooo much better this week. The workouts are long and just as hard as they've been, but I like going long. I get lost in going long. This week there are positive thoughts and excitement again.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Blowin' in the Wind

On Friday I was on Facebook reading my friend Judi's status and it said 30-40mph wind gusts on Saturday. I looked at my dad to confirm this weather forecast. Yep, windy day on Saturday. On the workout schedule: 2:45 ride with time trials and hill intervals. Great.

I used to be quite the chipper morning person. My second job out of college, I had a start time of 6:00am and I was always punctual. When I quit "the real world" almost two years ago, the morning person went with that job and now most days I don't get out of bed before 8:30. That means, I usually don't start my workouts until 10:00am at least. Saturday I had good intentions of starting my workout early, but no alarm means no getting out of bed early either.

So, Dave and I started our workout right around 11:00am which meant the winds were beginning to howl. And oh my how they did! We both had 2X time trials in which we had to ride like we would in our upcoming half Ironman. The first part of the time trial the wind was at our backs and we were flying. I was doing over 23 mph and I was comfortably in low zone 2. I was supposed to be in zone 3 and just could not get my heart rate up. Dave was going so fast I didn't see him after the first five minutes and we were on a straight road in the country! Because of the wind, we decided to turn around early in the time trial to make sure we could make it back to my parents' house to refill our water bottles. I turned around and it was like nothing I had ever experienced. The wind was so strong I was going 11 mph and my heart rate reached zone 5. I was so nervous I was going to get knocked over. Luckily, I made it through and back to my parents' house with time to spare before the next time trial.

The next time trial I was feeling even better. I passed some other bikers and thought to myself, "man, I'm getting better at this. I wish I was doing a flat course half Ironman to really see what I could do." Alas, though, I turned around and that's when my mind started to wander. I was starting to lose it. I stopped three times on the return trip just because I thought I was going to get knocked off my bike. Even standing in the wind, I had a hard time keeping my balance. Finally the time trial ended and I headed over to the hill to begin my hill repeats. The bad news was, it was a big hill (to me) and it was into the wind. I did my first interval and thought I was going to die. I stopped before the time was to expire and just let my watch run out. I soared down the hill and tried to talk myself into doing another one. The second one went the same as the first. Utter frustration. I actually said aloud (among many other bad, bad words) "if this is how Louisville is going to be, I'm never gonna finish." As I headed down the hill to begin #3, I ran into Dave who was about to begin his intervals. The next two were good. I fell into my OCD ways and began counting things. It's a tick that has helped me tremendously in my running. :) The last two intervals were just too much to handle. By the last one I collapsed over my handlebars and cried. Finally I headed home and began my run.

While watching the local news last night the weatherman said the wind gusts had reached 54 mph. And that was when we were on our bikes. How we stayed on our bikes, I don't know. Dave said this was the hardest bike in the hardest conditions he had ever done. I guess that makes me feel better. Surprisingly my numbers were pretty good from this ride and THAT definitely makes me feel better.