Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm Mer and He's Dave and We're Here To...

...Pump {clap} You Up!

Last year before ironman training really took hold, Coach had me doing a lot of strength training. I would usually attend an aerobic weight class and then do another day during the week using the TRX. By the time I reached my half IM in June my body was looking cut.

Right after that race started full-on ironman training and all the strength training fell to the side and eventually became non-existent. Well now, we want to be cut. I'm hoping to look a little bit like this....

And Dave, well, I'd like him to look a little bit like this...

We decided to add some weight training to our routines. And not just any weight training....Cross Fit. Now, we're not joining a Cross Fit gym. And we're not trying to qualify for the Cross Fit Games. So, we're taking the workouts off the Cross Fit website and doing them to the best of our abilities. We're not doing anything for time. We're not, necessarily, trying to max out our weight. We're having to modify things based on equipment and skill levels we have available.

We started on Monday. The workout of the day was 3 X 300m row, 20 lb ball wall throws, 10 pull ups. Our gym has rowing machines, so we were able to program them for 300m and have it count down for us. This was probably the easiest part of the entire workout. Since I don't think Lifetime would appreciate us throwing their medicine balls against the wall and letting them fall to the floor, we modified the wall throws so they were basically hip-thrust shoulder presses. The first two sets I used 10 pound dumbbells and the last set I used 12 pounds. What a difference those four pounds made! Finally was the pull ups. Ugh! Neither of us can do a pull up. Not even close. So, we used the pull up machine that allows assistance. I did my first set using 40 lbs of help, the second set I did 5 reps with 40 pounds and 5 reps with 50 pounds, and the last set was with the aid of 50 pounds.

Today's workout is going to be hilarious. Today's workout involves handstand pushups. Dave says to me last night, "I can't even get up to a handstand!" He's going to modify them off the ball. I fortunately/unfortunately can do a handstand. There are also toes-to-bar, which is the same thing as I have in my 12 for 2012 goals: hanging V-ups. We will probably be modifying them since neither of us are even close to being able to touch our toes while hanging from the bar. We are supposed to do 75 push presses at 75 pounds. Um, we have a 35 pound bar, so we'll go with that. And finally 150 double-unders, otherwise known as jump roping. I'll be buying us some jump ropes after work.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Last Chance Half Marathon 2012

For like the gazillionth year in a row, I decided to run in circles at the Last Chance race. Dave and I had initially decided to do the marathon relay, but since we've both been really sick and Dave has recovered a little slower from the stomach bug than me, I decided to do the half marathon instead. I signed up on Friday. Way to wait until the last minute!

The weather patterns in Columbus for this winter have been warm during the week and cold on the weekend. And keeping with that tradition, it was about 20 degrees at the start of this race. Don't I look like I'm cold?

I'm the little one in the blue-ish jacket looking REALLY cold.

A friend said something on Facebook regarding the format of this race and not needing to wear a fancy watch to be able to track your pace. She's right. But here's a little nugget of information to know about me and my running....I don't wear a Garmin in a running race. Nope. Just a regular watch. Why? I think I would run SLOWER if I wore it because I would always come back to a pace where I SHOULD be and not what I'm actually capable of.

So where am I going with this?

The race starts 0.1 or 0.2 (depending on what race distance you're doing) before the start/finish line of the one mile loop. I started my watch with the gun but forgot to hit the split when I came through the line. I hit the first 1.1 miles in about 9:00. Woah! That was a lot faster than I've been starting my recent races. I knew I needed to slow down. And if I had been wearing a Garmin I totally would, but instead I started turning miles of 8:11, 8:10, 8:08s. Things were going okay.

Since I have only been running 3-4 miles at a time, when I got around to 4 miles in this race I started to doubt my abilities to run a half marathon and especially to run a half marathon at the pace I was doing. But because this course is so well designed for my psyche, I just had to talk myself into one mile and then another mile. Around mile 5 I got hot and took off my jacket. That helped me refocus my head.

By the time I got to mile 9 I was starting to feel my lack of endurance. My legs were heavy. Not only that, but my stomach was also starting to bother me. The pace started to slow - 8:20, 8:28, 8:38. Once I reached mile 11 my stomach was a mess and I needed a bathroom pronto. I wasn't sure I could make it two more miles and not crap myself (yeah I said it), but I was having such a good race that I didn't want to stop either. I kid you not, mile 12 I ran clinching my butt cheeks. Come on Mer! One more mile. As I came through mile 12 I yelled at Dave, "go get my backpack". It was gonna be a close one. That last mile I just got through. I ran through the finish line, grabbed that medal, smiled for the camera and hit that bathroom. Thank goodness, everything turned out all right. My dignity and running clothes lived to see another day. ;)

My final time was 1:48:48. Much better than Houston but still far off where I was and where I want to be. In mile 12 I got passed by some women who were finishing the race - women I used to beat - women who drive me batty. Looking at the results, another girl I used to be in contention with walloped me good - 1:34. Watch out ladies, this race and this month of running have got me hungry. I'm already eyeing my next race...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week In Review

After the terrible, terrible stomach bug last weekend, it took me several days to feel like myself again. And therefore, I didn't run until Saturday. All month my achilles was hurting me and I would have thought a week off would have done it a lot of good, but no. One short run on Saturday and it was hurting again. Regardless, I raced a half marathon on Sunday - race report to come tomorrow.

Thursday - So, it's taken me three weeks to get through one week on this silly 100 push-up challenge. Week 4 was HARD! I repeated it and then still needed to do a push-up test to see where I would start for week 5. Today I did the test and maxed out at 55 push-ups at once. Technically there are two more weeks to go in the challenge before the actual 100 push-up test.

Saturday - Easy 3 miles on treadmill. Just making sure those legs still work.

Sunday - Half marathon - 1:48:48. Happy stuff! Race report coming soon.

I'm thinking of trying the run streak again in March. We'll see...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Going Around in Circles

My favorite race of the year is this weekend and I'm still debating if I'm going to run it. How can a race in February in lovely, wintry Central Ohio be my most favorite race? The race, "Last Chance for Boston", was started as a way to - well let's face it, deperately - find a way to get into Boston. The race was initially held the day before the Boston registration cut off. The course is unique and designed to easily qualify you to Boston. And if you qualified you would fill out your registration on the spot and the race director would hand deliver it to the post office for you. Well, as Boston has become bigger and bigger this race, obviously, doesn't have the same meaning but still keeps the name and is still a crazy unique and fast race.

So what makes this race unique? It's a one mile loop.

Yep, it's a one mile loop that is severally flat and pretty boring as it's around a parking lot. But it's insanely fast, the water stops are always in the same place and your cheering section, if they're willing to brave the cold, are available every mile. And because it's one loop there are a variety of races available: 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, and relays. I have done the 5K, 10K, half marathon and a marathon relay of this race.

This race suits me perfectly. I'm not one of those people who needs scenery in a race. Honestly even if it's there I don't see it. Mentally I know how to break a race down into separate sections, but still the full distance of it is still daunting. But having a race that is physically broken down into smaller sections helps me mentally. I like knowing exactly where my water stops are going to be. I don't know, there's just something about this race. I love it!

My former teammate Kacie is taking on a double ironman this weekend. Oh my stars! OH MY STARS!!! While I have no desire to do a double ironman, I do have a desire to finish the damn ironman. And the format of her race is exactly how I'd like to do an ironman. I wish there were ironmans out there like this (and if there are, please, please, please let me know about them). Here's what she's going to be doing: 4.8 mile swim in a 50m pool, 224 miles of biking (my lady bits hurt just thinking about this) on a 6.8 mile loop, and 52.4 miles of running on a 1.7 mile loop. I have to say I'm intrigued by the format. It's right up my alley. Good luck Kacie! I can't wait to track you this weekend.

What type of race suits you best? Would running around in loops drive you insane?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

All Good Things Must Come To An End...

...and so did the "Run Streak."

Sunday was supposed to be my long run day. I was planning on 12-16 miles. But Sunday I woke up and my stomach felt very crampy. I'm not talking about PMS cramps either. More like severe gas pains all over my stomach from my chest bone to my pelvis. Dave and I had some breakfast and I crawled back into bed.

I woke up a few hours later and didn't feel any better and minutes later I was in the bathroom losing my breakfast. And unfortunately, it didn't end for hours. Finally I couldn't take anymore and Dave took me down to the Urgent Care (thank goodness there's one in our neighborhood). They gave me a shot of anti-nausea medicine and gave me a prescription. I went home and went to bed (for literally the next 24 hours), while Dave went to the pharmacy and grocery to get me some things. Unfortunately for him, he got sick during this time too. Poor us! All throughout Sunday and Monday we just laid around in our pajamas trying to just function. Monday night we finally got some food in us although personally, I didn't feel much better.

It's now Tuesday. Dave went back to work today and I'm working from home. I haven't run since Saturday and I don't think today will be the day I return. It's too bad. I really enjoyed the Run Streak.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

I tweeted the other day (follow me @meredithjgordon) that besides my shoes, the piece of running equipment I use most often is my reflective vest. Seriously, I probably use it 3-4 times per week. It was probably the best $20 I've spent on running equipment. (You can read about the best money I ever spent on triathlon here.)

So this begs the question, what's the item you use the most, love the most, best money you've spent on running or triathlon equipment? Leave me a message!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week In Review

The February Run Streak challenge is not exactly shaping up to be what I thought it would. Secretly, I was hoping to build my miles and perhaps use them to rock a half marathon or even manage a full marathon in the spring. What I didn't think would happen is that I would have a niggling injury and that I would be fighting one of the worst colds I've had in years. Nevertheless, I found a way to continue to do at least one freakin' mile each day as needed.

Monday - I mentioned this in an earlier post, I was HURTING after my long run last weekend. So I BARELY managed to get in one mile today. It was more of a run/walk, but regardless, I got it done.

Tuesday - By Tuesday, though, my achilles was feeling much better so I did a quick little 2.29 mile run followed by 1 hour of yoga at the gym.

Wednesday - Today I was smart and instead of dreading all the pushups I needed to be doing, I did them as soon as I got home from work, before I headed out on my run. Week 4/day 3 (I know I'm all over the place) = 160 pushups. When Dave and I got home from work, we headed out for a 5 mile run that turned into a tempo run. I don't know what pace we were running as neither of us were wearing a watch, but we were moving quick enough that neither of us was talking.

After the run on Wednesday, however, I started to feel a little tingle in my throat...

Thursday - Sure enough, I had caught a cold. I had only intended on doing about one or two miles, but I stayed on the treadmill for 3 miles until Dave got done with his workout.

Friday - Despite the head cold, I had a fantastic two mile run in the neighborhood, flying through my miles - 8:57, 8:13. I think running every day is starting to put a little pep in my step again. After struggling through week 4 of the pushup challenge, I decided to start week 4 over. Week 4/day 1 = 120 pushups.

Friday night, however, I started feeling really bad. The cold turned into a bad, bad sinus infection.

Saturday - I managed one freakin' mile on the treadmill. Is this worth it?

Sunday - I was supposed to run the Columbus Winter Run 15 Miler today, a race I had already signed up for and paid for. I was so sick, however, I didn't even get out of my pajamas all day. I did do one stupid mile on the treadmill to keep this run streak alive. I was not happy, however, that I didn't get to race.

Weekly Totals:
Run - 15.29 miles (that's not very many considering I ran 7 days)
Other - 1 hour yoga
Pushups - 280

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Why Pretend?

I accidentally stumbled upon the XTerra triathlon this weekend on TV. I found it fascinating and interesting and a tiny bit inspiring. But you know what else I discovered? I have absolutely no interest in doing triathlon again (at least in the near future).

For years I have been trying to do triathlon with the thought that I would be decent at it since I don't suck at running. Unfortunately it hasn't really worked out that way, although that's kind of a ridiculous excuse as I know I've placed in my age group several times and have even won a race. But despite all that, I don't really like triathlon. I keep trying, hoping I will like it, and I just don't.

I'm reading a book right now called "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. The book follows a woman's year long journey month-by-month on exploring happiness. In May she remarked that she wanted to go off the path and explore "unexpected thoughts, unfamiliar scenes, new people, and unconventional juxtaposition" which may be sources of happiness. What she found, however, is that she didn't like trying to make herself like things. She wanted to spend more time with the things she already liked.

Point taken.

I haven't gotten on my bike since October. Heck it is hanging up with the race wheels still on. And my new swimsuits I bought in October still have the tags on them. Although I do love to swim, I have absolutely no desire to dip my toes in the pool any time soon.

I have run every day now for 8 days and I've got to say, I've been loving it. I would say I'm getting a "little pinch of fire" back. I am a runner. I am a good runner. And someday I'm gonna be fast again. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tag, You're It

My former teammate and awesome friend, Jamie, tagged me.

Here is how we play the game.

1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post (I guess I’ve gotta do this twice for both Carole and Laura’s questions…)
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Random Things About Myself:

1. I listen to country music all day long. My favorites include Brad Paisley, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, and Keith Urban.

2. I hate almost all things about being short and small including my feet never hitting the floor while sitting in a chair and that I struggle to find a pair of pants that don't need tailored.

3. But, there are some advantages like being able to buy kids clothing.

4. At nearly 34 years old, I am the second oldest person in my department at work. The average age is probably closer to 24 or 25. The whole company is run by a bunch of 20-somethings.

5. And because they're so young and we're all outfitted in the apparel we pimp and because the lighting is so horrible in the bathroom at work, I go home most days feeling like I look like shit!

6. I work customer service emails in my job and let me tell you, people are LIARS!!

7. After mulling over all my choices, I was prescribed an anti-depressant to deal with my depression and anxiety. And of course, my OBGYN said absolutely not. So here I sit with a prescription I haven't and (it seems) cannot take. Awesome. But I have been taking some vitamin supplements the last couple of weeks and have been feeling a little better.

8. My grandmother might be the only person I have ever trusted.

9. When I cut all my hair off in July, I cried. I then went through a phase where I hated it and wanted to grow it back out. But now, I absolutely love it. Not only is it super-easy, I still think it's feminine and works well with my tiny head and big personality.

10. Although, I still miss my pony tail swishing when I run.

11. I don't like to eat cereal for breakfast. The milk is too cold that early in the morning. It hurts my teeth. I'd much rather eat cereal for a snack in the afternoon.

11 Questions Jamie Asked:

1. What is your proudest accomplishment?

Making it through and graduating from The Ohio State University with my degree in engineering. Qualifying and running Boston ranks right up there too.

2. What is your biggest regret?

Not finishing ironman.

3. What was your biggest fear as a child?

I am scared to death of bridges.

4. What is your biggest fear as an adult?

I'm still scared to death of bridges, but add roller coasters to that mix too.

5. Your most embarrassing triathlon story, using exactly 11 words.

I tend to finish DFL in the bike portion. It sucks.

6. What is the one piece of advice you’d give the 10 year old version of yourself.

Calm the f@ck down. Heck, I'm still trying to give myself that advice.

7. What is the best meal that you’ve ever made yourself?

Dave and I make a really mean pork tenderloin with potatoes and acorn squash.

8. In or out?

Belly button? It's just there - neither goes in or out.

9. What is your dream car?

I really love the Range Rover, but (a) I'll never be able to afford that, (b) it's not a hybrid, and (c) even if it was a hybrid it still wouldn't get great gas mileage.

10. What is the fastest you’ve ever gone on a bike?

I saw over 30mph going down a hill at both IM Louisville and Rev3 Knoxville. Luckily (I guess) because I don't weigh very much, I don't get the speed down the hills that most people get. Going that fast scares me.

11. What is your least favorite part of triathlon training/racing?

Biking. Gosh, I really wish you didn't have to bike in triathlon. :)

11 Question Asked By Me:

1. What is your favorite children's book?

2. Pepsi or Coke?

3. What is your favorite board or card game to play?

4. What is one thing you're really looking forward to in 2012?

5. If you stumbled upon a magic genie lamp, and she asked you for your three wishes, what would you wish for? (And don't give me that world peace bull!)

6. If you could have any job in the world, what would you choose to do?

7. If you had a bazillion dollars, what would be the first thing you'd spend with that money?

8. If you could be awesome at one thing and one thing only, what would that be?

9. What is your favorite color and why?

10. If you could be reincarnated into anything, what or who would you want to be?

11. What's for dinner tonight?

Okay, I know I'm a little behind the times in getting this done. It feels like everyone and their brother have already been tagged by this game. So, if you haven't and want to participate, please do so. Also please let me know in the comments if you answered my questions on your own blog. Or if you don't want to play on your own blog and want to answer my questions (because they're awesome), please answer in the comments below. Should be fun!

Monday, February 06, 2012

On Second Thought

I said last week that I would stop the run streaking if I developed serious pain. I'm struggling with this one. See, two weeks ago I did a hill run on the treadmill and then went directly to yoga from there. Since then I've developed quite a bit of achilles pain in my left foot. It's been bothering me, but not enough to stop a run or not to run. I put ice on it after each run and things seem to be okay. Not great, but okay.

Yesterday after my long run, everything was feeling not so great. So I hopped in an ice bath after the run. As the day went on my hips started to bother me and my achilles was really bothering me. Throughout the day I continued to ice my achilles.

When I woke up this morning it was like a board had been attached to my left foot and it kept slapping the floor. The mobility in my left ankle is very little, my achilles is swollen and hard as a rock. I am going to continue to ice it throughout the day, but may have to make the decision to not run today and stop the streak. I am registered for a race this weekend and a silly run streak goal I sent for myself is not worth jeopardizing a race (not that I'm in it to win it).

What do you think?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Week In Review

This week started my February Run Streak. I actually started on Tuesday so I'm officially six days into the run streak. I know I made the rules to run at least three miles on the easy day, but I didn't take into account that I was going to have a chemical peel this week and that I would not be able to get my body temperature up or sweat. So I had to have super-easy days on Friday and Saturday.

Here's how the week went...

Monday - Day 3/Week 3 Pushup Challenge - 72 pushups
I'm starting to struggle with the pushups. I can do about 30 in a row and that's where I'm maxing out. The numbers are starting to get big with this challenge. I couldn't finish the workout today. I only made it 72 pushups.

Tuesday - 4.25 miles
I had a rough day today so when Dave and I started running together, I wanted nothing to do with him. It wasn't that I was mad at him, I just wanted to run HARD and not chitchat. So I separated from him and ran hard for most of the miles. Bad news for Dave, though, is that I was carrying the key and his run was shorter than mine and it was raining. Sorry Dave.

Wednesday - 3 miles & Day 1/Week 4 Pushup Challenge - 120 pushups
Easy 3 mile run through the neighborhood averaging an 8:52 pace.

Thursday - 3 mile easy run with Dave

Friday - 2 miles
This afternoon was the day I got my chemical peel. Last time I had a chemical peel, I didn't have any restrictions, but this one was in bold letters at the top of the page, NO EXERCISE. Screw that. I ran easy and stopped as soon as I got warm.

Saturday - 1 mile
Again today, I was not allowed to exercise so I did one easy mile on the treadmill because it was raining.

Sunday - 13.15 miles
When I started out today it was 33 degrees. I bundled up in tights, a long sleeved shirt, and a jacket. I took one mile outside and I was WAY overheated. So I headed home, changed into shorts and a lighter long sleeved shirt and headed back out. This was a great run that just flew by getting easier as I went. I negative split the run with my last mile being my fastest - 8:15. Average - 8:53 pace.

Total miles for the week - 26.4
Pushups - 332

Thursday, February 02, 2012

January Totals

January was kind of a rough month. I just didn't have the motivation. And didn't care. But I continued to run every once in a while, went to yoga to boost my spirits, and began my pushup challenge.

Swim - 0 meters

Bike - 0 miles

Run - 57.92 miles

Other - 3 hours (all yoga)

Pushups - 697

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Let's Go Streaking!

For the 12 for 2012 Challenge I've created for myself, one of my goals is to run streak for one month. Now I didn't say 30 days or 31 days; I said one month. So February it is!

The goal - to run every day. I've made some rules for myself, though.
  • Run at least one mile, although I'd like to run a minimum of 3 miles each day. (Why change clothes if you're only going to run a mile?)
  • One hill run, one speed workout, one to two long runs.
  • Do not run over 50 miles in a week.
  • Stop if you are developing serious pain. It's just not worth getting injured over this.

I hope to keep a good journal and post it up here at the end of the month. Wish me luck!