Sunday, April 29, 2012

What to do? What to do?

I know I said I wasn't going to sign up for a marathon this year, but here's the thing.  I really want to do one and totally kick a$$!  My running is going a lot better than I thought it was going to be and now I really want to requalify for Boston.  Thing is, I'm a little hesitant to pull the trigger because, well, do I really want to train and run a marathon?  Ugh!  For the one I want to do, I have two days to decide before the price goes up.  What to do?  What to do???!!?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Speaking of Treadmills...

The "Run Less, Run Faster" plan is no joke. Sure there are only three workouts a week, but they are tough and seem way harder than the actual goal. With vacation last week, I kind of fell off the wagon, but this week I've committed to get back on track. I started on Monday by planning on doing a long run on the treadmill, but I just wasn't feeling it and couldn't increase the pace so I stopped at 4.58 miles. After reviewing my training plans I saw I actually had an easy 6 miler this week. Crap! I should have just kept going. Son of a...I decided to move that easy 6 miler to the weekend when my friends were running together and having a breakfast cookout afterwards (in 30 degree weather!). So the workouts I had left were a 10 miler at an 8:00 pace and a track workout of 3 X 1600 at 6:40 pace. The track wasn't earlier this week. I opted to do the 10 miler in the middle of the week.

Per usual, when I got home from work yesterday I took a nap. Yes, I'm an infant and I still take naps. Shut it! When I woke up my nap is was raining. Of course. I was going to have to do this run on the treadmill. I grabbed my water and gels and headed to the basement. My plan was to see how many miles I could actually do at the 8:00 pace (which, I kid you not, is faster on a treadmill than it is on the roads). The first mile was a warm up that I did right around a 10:00 pace. Then I did 2 miles at an 8:00. The next mile was around a 9:00 pace so I could take my gel. Three more miles at an 8:00, another mile at a 9:00 for more nutrition, and the last two miles at 8:00. Over all I did 10 miles in 1:25:22, for an 8:32 pace. For a treadmill run I think that's pretty quick.

But, it was hot in the basement and I got sweaty and I got chafed. Speaking of chafing...

A few weeks ago I bought myself a pair of racing shorts, aka bum huggers, aka boy shorts. This is the pair I bought, and they are a lot shorter on me than those. Mine hit me just under the buns and wear more like a pair of volleyball shorts. I have been too embarrassed to run with them in public just in practice so I've been trying them out on the treadmill in the basement. I've worn them twice, both times sans underwear, and I've got to say, they ride my lady parts. I don't like that. But am I supposed to wear them with underwear? I mean, seriously, my underwear are basically the same size as these. And that sweaty run caused my thighs rub together and chafe. I thought the whole thing about wearing these tiny shorts is supposed to help with chub rub. I'm just not sure about them yet. 

What's the longest run you've ever done on a treadmil?
What's the fastest you've ever run on a treadmill for a sustained period of time?
Do you wear tiny shorts for racing?  Do you wear undies with them?  Do you like them?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Operation: New Treadmill

We have a workout room, a pain cave if you will, in our basement.  It's stripped down and basic with no walls, lots of dust, and is poorly lit.  In it we have exercise equipment: TRX, weight bench, bikes and trainers, and a treadmill.  We also have an old TV with a TiVO and DVD player.  Our treadmill we bought off of a friend for $75.  It's ummm...old and beyond it's life, really.  It has lost it's ability to incline.  It doesn't have buttons, only sliders that get you close to a speed.  The belt of the treadmill is all stretched out too, so now matter what speed you choose, as long as you take tiny steps, you're always going faster.  Sure, it's got its flaws, but it has worked for us.  Here's a picture of the screen of it from the crazy 20 miler I did on it last year.  Notice the toggle for the incline.

As my time as a triathlete (at least for now) has come to a close I've made some decisions. (1) I've gone back to running and only running and have absolutely loved it. I've been surprised to see my times dropped and I love not having a racing schedule or a big race to focus on, at least for now. (2) I have completely lost any interest in biking or swimming.  I have not put on a swimsuit, swim cap, or goggles since October and definitely do not want to.  (3) I have decided to quit my gym, Lifetime, after being a member there since 2004.

Where does this lead?

I want a new treadmill.

And not just any treadmill.  I want one of those new, awesome ones that not only inclines but DECLINES and is WiFi enabled where you can put in specific routes and the treadmill will adjust for the route (like a bike computrainer).  I've researched and found that these fancy treadmills are about $1200.  No small amount of change!  So, I'm keeping track of my savings and will be using the savings from my gym membership to add to this.  And notice that I've added my new savings widget on the side.

Operation: New Treadmill, commence!

Monday, April 23, 2012


My adventure pick for vacation week was trapeze school.  Dave's pick was stand-up paddle boarding (SUP).  The weather was rough the day we had signed up with big winds, rockin' seas, and we even saw two funnel clouds and a water spout.  We headed straight into the wind for most of the hour plus lesson and made it all of about 100 yards.

Our lesson was very brief where we were basically told "if you're gonna fall, jump into the water."  Good enough.  And then it was time to head out into the water.  Listen to that howling wind!

As it turns out, I was a natural at SUP.  I guess eight years of gymnastics I guess gave me quite a bit of balance.  :)  One of our instructors switched me boards to her windsurfing board which gave me more of a balance challenge but also proved to be really fast.

I loved stand-up paddle boarding.  I am so excited because I already have a windsurfing board and there is a local SUP club here in Columbus.  All I need is a paddle and I'm good to go.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Life List - Fly on a Trapeze

There are three things I am deathly scared of: bridges, roller coasters, and heights.  I did not realize that flying on a trapeze would be like combining all of these into one hot mess.

This week we're on vacation in Venice, FL.  This is a spot I have been coming to as a kid as my parents love it here and plan on retiring here.  It's kind of an old-fashioned beach town where residents are retirement age and storefronts close at 6:30pm.  Dave and I feel really young here, but are still enjoying ourselves.  While my parents enjoy sitting on the beach and lounging, Dave and I like our vacations with a little dose of excitement and adventure.  So, as we were researching our trip we each picked an adventure.  Mine was going to trapeze school.

Our class was a mixture of young and old, newbies and experienced fliers.  And then there was me...wanting to check something off my Life List.  Needless to say, I was the only one who was scared.  SCARED!!!  With very little instructions we were strapped into a harness, put on a lower bar, and taught a few tricks.  I should mention, I don't even like to swing on a swing set.  It makes me a little sick to my stomach.

And then it was time to move to the real deal.  This is when I started to lose it.  There was a young girl who kinda kept taunting me.  She would say things like, "it's gonna make you want to cry" or "it's gonna make you breathe really heavy."  Because I couldn't be mean and I didn't know this chick, I would just laugh it off.  Humor is my defense mechanism for being scared (or if you know me really well, for just about anything).  Dave went first of the two of us.  You had to climb a metal extension ladder to the top and then wind your way around onto the platform where they hooked you in and then you do your thing. Dave was a natural, of course, and did all the tricks and even got to do a back flip off the trapeze and landed in the net.  Then it was my turn.  I was half way up the ladder and I started to freak out.  I mean, FREAK OUT!!!  I would take one step and pause.  Another step and pause.  Finally I got to the top and somehow made it onto the platform.  Honestly I don't remember anything from the time I made it to the top of the ladder until I grabbed the trapeze.  I needed a lot of convincing and was scared out of my mind the entire time I was flying.  I didn't do any of the tricks and basically just swung.  But I did it and that's all that counts.  When it was over I cried and cried and cried.  Silly, I know.  It was completely involuntary, though.  In the end, I only flew once.  It was enough.  Here's video evidence...(and yes that was my dad saying, "I don't think she's gonna make it up the ladder.")

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What Lies Beneath

The other day I went underwear shopping.  Let me clarify what that actually means.  That means I went to Meijer (like a Target but cheaper-for those who don't have one) and picked up a 6 pack of Hanes underwear.  With my tiny hiney, the smallest size I can get is a 5, which translates to a small.  I picked up bikinis which are cut to be tiny but not ride up the butt.

Got the picture yet.

Okay, so I picked up my 6 pack, checked out, went home, and opened the package.  To my surprise, they looked a little bit like this:


So the next day I headed back to Meijer to try again.  This time I perused the children's department while Dave kept the look out for Chris Hansen and Dateline's "To Catch a Predator."  From the back off the box, I deduced that my size would be a children's 16: 27" inch waist, 108-117 pounds.  I bought this paid, went out to the car, opened the box and got this:

Holy big underwear, Batman!  What child can fit into those?

I packaged those bad boys back up and marched myself back into Meijer to try one last time.  Dave was so embarrassed.  This time I started opening those damn packets and holding them up to myself.  Finally, I found ones that look like they fit.  A freakin' size 12 in kids.  Tiny buns!  But I've got to tell you...I love them.  They fit so well and no wedgies!  I am going back today to buy some more as long as Chris Hensen doesn't have me arrested...

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Bunny Hop 5K 2012

On Wednesday I wrote on my Facebook status:

"I'm debating signing up for a 5K this weekend.  Price sucks ($30) and I kinda hate the 5K.  Yes or no?  Discuss..."

That sounds like someone who has absolutely no desire to do a 5K.  Truth be told, I don't like the 5K.  It doesn't suit my racing style very well.  I'm not very good about being fast out of the gate.  I like to work my way into races and pretty much negative split every race and run that I do.  I also cannot stand the price of these races.  $10 per mile!?  You've got to be kidding me.  Nevertheless, I know that racing shorter and faster will make me a better distance runner, so I signed up.

Saturday morning we arrived at the race site and just about as I'm heading out to do my warmup (as I can hear Elizabeth in my head saying, "the shorter the race, the longer the warm up"), I realize I left my watch at home.  Since I've stopped working with a coach for the time being, I've stopped wearing my watch or heart rate monitor or Garmin.  I go by feel and turnaround wherever I want to.  I only wear a Garmin or watch if I have a specific workout I'm trying to hit.  Anyway, I realized I would be racing blind and figured that would be a good thing.  I did a little warmup, went to the bathroom for the hundredth time and headed to the start line.

This race was small.  I sized up my competition and actually lined up towards the front - a very rare move for me.  The horn sounded and we were off, crowding from a parking lot onto a narrow pathway and right into a strong 90 degree turn.  I found my place and took off.  The entire run was done on a bike path (nice!), but was tough as it had at least four 90 degree turns and a 180 degree turnaround.

I was immediately the fourth place female, running with two other guys with no one in front and no one behind us.  At the turn around point I wasn't terribly behind the third place female but was far enough back that no matter how fast I was going to go I wasn't going to catch her.  I was amazed, however, at my fitness level as I felt myself getting faster after the two mile mark and continuing to pick it up as the finish came nearer.  Finally, I turned the last 90 degree turn to the finish and was amazed to see the clock at a 21:20 something.  Holy cow!  I was going to PR.  My final time was 21:33.  The official results had me 11th overall and third place female, however, there was no 8th place person in the final results and that 8th place person was a female.

Is that really how Gordon is spelled?

When I established my "12 for 2012" this year and wrote that I wanted a new PR, I was expecting to get a PR by doing something like running a new distance like an aquathlon and getting a PR by default.  I had no idea that I would get a "real" PR and surely didn't think it would be in a 5K.  And, my favorite part of all this, this was the first race I have averaged under a 7:00 minute/mile pace in a race - 6:56.  This has been an unspoken/unwritten goal of mine for a long time.  The scary part?  I don't think I gave the race all I had.  I didn't feel tired at the end.  I never reached puke-stage.  I felt like I held back at the beginning.  Maybe there are more PRs in the future...

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Meredith Gordon, The Girl on Fire!

I have had a great week of running so far.

Yesterday I was tweeting back and forth with a local runner girl and I happen to go out to her blog and saw that she was racing a 5K this coming weekend.  I have been looking to do a race in April, but since I'm going to be on vacation for two of the five weekends of this month, it's been hard to find a race.  I had wanted to do the Athens half marathon last weekend, but I was waiting on some medical tests to come back before I made the commitment and I didn't have the answers in time.  So that left me without a race this month.  And since it's my goal to do at least 12 races this year, I really wanted to find one this month.

As I've mentioned before I'm following the "Train Less, Run Faster" plan for my half marathon in June.  If I wanted to run a 5K this weekend, I was going to need to do my long run midweek.  The plan was for 13 miles at half marathon pace plus 30 seconds per mile.  I have decided that my race pace will be around a 7:50 for a 1:42ish half marathon.  That would mean that this 13 miles would be at an 8:20 pace.  Yikes!  That's only a few seconds slower than I averaged in my last half marathon.

I started out running two miles around the neighborhood and had worked my pace down to an 8:18.  It was fast and felt hard and I was wondering how I would hold that for a full 13 miles.  Dave joined me for the next three miles and we got the pace down to an 8:16 average.  Note, I like to set my Garmin for an overall pace for the full 13 miles.  I like to work my way into a run and usually pick up the pace as I go along.  But because it seems 9 miles seems to be my breaking point right now, I thought I would bag a little time in case I slipped off the pace later in the run.

For the last eight miles Dave joined me on his bike and I was able to run without a water pack.  I love that.  It's always around 6-7 miles that things start feeling good to me and I get in the zone.  And I did.  And before I knew it my watch was beeping at me to slow down (I had set it to be between 8:15 and 8:30 average).  As I headed into the cold wind, I kept picking up pace.  At the turn around, four miles left to run, I was down around an 8:10 or 8:11.  Now with the wind at my back I was flying.  With just over two miles to go I was at an 8:06 average and still feeling really good.  I guess that month of running every day sure was good base training!

The last mile is uphill in our neighborhood.  (I use the term uphill lightly.  We don't live anywhere with true hills.)  I was moving.  By the time I finished, I had dropped the overall pace to 8:04.  13 miles in 1:44:55.  BAM!

So it makes me wonder, could there really be a possibility at a half marathon PR this year?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Races, Races, and More Races

Saturday afternoon I said to Dave, "You know, it wouldn't take much convincing to get me to do the Rev3 Cedar Point half ironman", a sentiment he had stated earlier in the week. By the end of the day I had talked myself into a full ironman and by Sunday morning I had talked Dave into it doing it with me. Over breakfast I was a mess. I was crying and already doubting my abilities to finish the race. Still I found myself later in the day cleaning my bike and preparing to ride.

Sunday evening I came to my senses. I don't want to do an ironman. I want to run!!! And run FAST!!!

One of my former athletes (now, a law student) asked me to join her for a half marathon. She lives in Virginia so we decided to meet in the middle and do a half in West Virginia (a state I haven't raced in). Immediately Dave and I were in and plans have started. Training plans have started too. This is a pretty small race so I decided it was time to actually race this year and get on a solid training plan to do so. With only 9 weeks until the race, I am jumping into the "Train Less, Run Faster" plan right in the middle, but with a full month of base training last month, I am ready.

So, yesterday was Day 1 and I asked Dave to join me on the track. He hasn't been doing a whole lot of running since Houston, but was game. He was not excited, however, when I told him was the workout would be.

In case you can't read that it's: 
1 mile warmup 1 mile @ 6:49 
400m rest interval
2 miles @ 7:22 pace
800m rest interval 
2 X 800m @ 3:16 
400m rest interval in between
1 mile cool down 

Dude, we nailed it. Our 1600 was 6:43. Our 2 mile was 7:16 and 7:11. And our 800s were both 3:12s.

It's on. It's so on.

Monday, April 02, 2012

12 for 2012 - Run Streak for One Month

And on the 32nd day, she rested. I had no idea when I decided to run streak for one month that it would be so tough. Luckily, I had built up a pretty good base by trying to do this in February, so the first couple weeks of the month went great, including a week totaling 40 miles. But by the middle of the fourth week (and of course I had to choose a month that had 5 weeks), I had had enough. I fell into a pattern of coming home from work, taking a nap, watching TV, waiting until Dave got home, moping around the house, and finally heading up around 6:00pm or later to do a measly three miles. Regardless, I got the task done. Check, check.
In the end, I finished the month with 134.49 miles. Funny enough, this isn't even my biggest month ever. I remember having a month around 165 miles when I was training for Boston in 2008 or 2005. In other training this month... Bike - 7.53 miles which came to a total savings of $1.51 (including Dave's bike miles). Sure, it doesn't even pay for a gallon of gas this month, but as the weather improves there will be a lot more bike riding. Other - 1.5 hours of CrossFit. I am enjoying doing some weight training. I hope it turns me into a bodybuilder. :) Pushups - 1195. I finished the pushup challenge (check out the video here). This week I did another test to see how many "regular" push ups I could do. The answer was 20 and then I went and did another 30 in sets of ten. Start the challenge over? What's next for April?