Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Totals

I saw a few social media posts today regarding running totals in January - 160+, 180+ miles, etc.  How the hell are you running all those miles, people?  I let coach know I wanted to run more miles this year.  That was, of course, before I found out I qualified for the triathlon age group nationals but I still feel like I've been working out a lot and running quite a few miles.  I fell short of a 100 miles this month (caught a massive cold at the end of this week), but I have to admit I'm angry/jealous/wondering how the heck I can get my mileage up to that level?

And yet, at the same time, I know I don't need to be running all those miles.  When I run massive miles, I get injured.  I also set my PR back in 2009 with one of the lowest mileage training sessions I've ever done.  The longest run I did was 18 miles and the biggest week I had was 42 miles. 

Patience, Mer.  It's only January.

Here's what went down in January.

Swimming - 14,000 yards
This is approximately 8 miles of swimming.  I don't swim masters and I haven't had a swim test (yet) but I feel like I'm swimming pretty well.  I love swimming and I'm glad it is part of my training again.

Biking - 101.39 miles
I had two bike tests this month - one at the beginning of the month and one just yesterday.  I'll post about that in a few days.  I've been learning about training with power, about threshold workouts, about my actual limits on the bike (still yet to be found).  I still don't love the bike, but I have high hopes that this year will be different - that I will have a breakout year on the bike.

Running - 96.82 miles
Gosh darn it!  So close to 100!  I only got in 5 miles (thusfar) this week as I caught a stupid cold and it hurts my head to run.  The weather has sucked this month but any time I could get outside I would.  I've had some TOUGH, quality runs this month - the longest being just shy of 14 miles.  I'm really happy with where my running is right now for the season.

Strength - 3.25 hours
Strength training is so easy to skip and I have to admit, some of the core routines I have blown off.  But I've really tried to combine these workouts into my training.  I've not been lifting the biggest weights, but the workouts have been well-rounded.  Arms, abs, back, legs, you name it, I've been working it.  I don't look like some of those pro chicks (yet) but I'm really happy with my body development and how the strength has been helping me with my other workouts.

Y Visits - 24
Gosh, we visited a lot this month!!!  Lots of swimming!

Cost per visit - $3.56
This kind of cost per visit makes me feel like this is money well spent.  I'm such a nerd.

I ran one 5k race in January and finished 3rd overall.  I have one race on the schedule in February and I'm sure yet another bike test or more.  See you next month.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Last Friday I finally finished reading "Unbroken".  Then on Saturday I went and saw the movie.  It was a great movie but the book was so much more complete.  I spent nearly 20 minutes after the movie filling in the details for Dave who did not read the book before seeing the movie.

I kind of have an obsession with reading the book before seeing the movie.  Like, right now I'm reading "American Sniper" before I go and see it.  No, this does not ruin the movie for me.  Sometimes it enhances the movie because you know the whole story ("Unbroken", "The Help").  Sometimes you find out the book was WAY better (pretty much all other books/movies besides the ones mentioned above).

What is your favorite book/movie combination and why?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014 Totals

I just realized I forgot to do a year totals count of all the miles run, yards swam, bike biked, and all those super-heavy pounds I lifted.

Swim - 36,950 yards
This is equivalent to approximately 21 miles.  I didn't really do any swimming for training in 2014 so all of this was kind of disorganized.  2015 will be completely different.  I have about 1/3 of that total already in 2015.

Bike - 173.56 miles
Again, these were miles that I just pedaled basically for spinning sake.  I did one triathlon in 2014 so there might have been a little training, but really only two rides outside.  I am not quite comfortable riding outside now that I have a little one.  I want to wear a sign for oncoming motorists that says, "Be careful!  I'm someone's mother!!!"

Run - 920.58 miles
I really wanted to hit 1000 miles last year.  Shoot, I wanted to do more than that.  But I really screwed around in the first part of the year basically hoping to get through my first half marathon.  I started getting more serious as I headed into my fall marathon.  Only now am I fully serious about all my training. 

Strength - 15-1/2 hours
If there was anything I was dropping from the schedule, it was going to be a strength routine.  That's why these hours kind of suck.  Not this year.  Everything is important including the strength routines.  I will be strong.  I will be ripped. 

YMCA Visits - 142
This includes visits by all three of us since our membership is a family membership.  I certainly utilized the childcare while doing treadmill runs and some swims.  It enables me to workout and it's good for Anderson to interact with other kids and get to play.  Sometimes I feel guilty about doing it, but I know it is best for both of us.

YMCA Cost Per Visit -$7.21
After all those visits, our annual cost per visit was calculated to be under $10 a visit.  I'm cool with that.  I know it seems silly to track this, but I like to know that my money is being USED and not wasted.

I'm off to a way better start to these numbers in 2015.  I love to track these things.  I use a 12 tab spreadsheet to keep track of it.  The engineering nerd in me totally geeks out over it.  What a dork I am!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Week in Review

This was the first week of the month where I just couldn't get it all done.  I was so darn tired this week!  The husband took the week off work and we did what we could to the renovations in the bathroom.  (I swear I will blog about this soon.)  On top of the renovations life was still lived: kid activities, trips to the grocery, and lots of working out.  There were not enough hours in the day and at some point my body and mind said enough.  Coach even told me to take a little time off.  I still got a lot done.  Here's the highlights.

There was only swim on the schedule.  I got the husband to join me.  The workout included longer sets.  For the first set Dave swam side-by-side with me.  It pissed me off!  I have been in the pool twice a week for the last 8 weeks.  He's been in the pool zero times since his race in August.  How is he keeping up?!  Finally, I had to stop at the wall and let him go and do my own workout. 

Totals: 2350 yards

I had three bikes this week.  One was an threshold ride that did not feel as tough as the previous one.  Another was a steady state ride that went really well.  The last one was just a spin. 

Totals: 31.71 miles

The run is where I sort of fell apart this week.  I did many short runs but missed a tough run off the bike (the kid threw up everywhere and obviously being a mom comes first) and didn't do a tough tempo run.  I did have a great long run and you can read about it here.

Totals: 22.48 miles

One basic strength; one butt/hip strength; didn't do all the core work.  I weighed in recently and didn't like what I saw, but the body is getting tighter and I guess that's better, right??

Totals: 0.83 hours

And now it's rest week which means lots of swimming, a little running, and a bike test at the end of the week.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Long Run

When the 2015 season began I shared with coach some pretty lofty goals.  She didn't tell me they were not obtainable, but let me know she was going to push me hard this year.

She was not kidding.

Today I did a long run.  I guess you could call it a progressive run.  It started with an hour "warmup", where I got comfortable, worked on my hydration and nutrition, and began dropping the pace.  Then it was a short build phase.  Frankly, I was already building pace.  It was now raining and I was getting cold.  The next part of the run was just crazy town.  For a half hour I was to drop the pace from "hmm, that's fast" to "are you NUTS!!!".  Let's put it this way.  That pace a year ago was about a 5K pace and now I was including it as part of my long run.  The rain was turning to snow.  I fought hard and dropped that pace.  I wasn't comfortable but I was doing it.  Finally, I reached the cool down and finished the run perfectly inside our neighborhood.

I logged my run and let coach know I thought she was out of her mind.  Here's her response.

This made me smile.  I know it's not much but this response is worth the hard work.  I'm doing it.  I'm putting in the hard work and it's going to pay off. 

Now on to rest week.  Thank goodness.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Things I Love: My Nathan Hydration Belt

I'm pretty OCD when it comes to hydration during my runs.  I only drink water and I drink on specific intervals.  On the treadmill I take a swig every 2-1/2 minutes.  On the roads I drink every mile on the mile.  This, obviously, requires me to bring water with me.  Now, I know there are a lot of yous out there who love your handhelds.  I have one.  It's cool.  But I cannot carry that sucker more than 6 miles.  It hurts my arm, it hurts my hand, and it just gets in the way.  Therefore, I carry my Nathan Hydration Belt...

This isn't the exact belt I have, but similar.

Each bottle holds 10 ounces of water which can get me through about a half marathon.  When I'm out training I will stop at my parents' house or the library and refill my bottles when I need more water during a long run.  In my last marathon, because the water stops were every other mile, I wore the belt and had Dave meet me at the half way point and hand off full bottles to me.

The belt also has a pouch that can hold quite a bit.  I have fit 7 gels in there, which is plenty for a marathon.  Mine also has a small compartment on the front flap that I will put my house key or some chapstick.

One thing I love about the Nathan pack as opposed to other packs I've tried is that it fits and does not bounce around.  I love this!  Despite the weight that is on my hips, I don't notice it, it doesn't get in the way while I'm running, and it doesn't seem to affect my pace or gait either while I'm running.

Do you have a favorite piece of running "equipment"?  What is your go-to hydration system?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week in Review

I have been on a workout rampage this month.  I have missed two core workouts and that's it.  THAT'S IT!!!  My body is crazy screaming in soreness, yet I'm nailing each workout.  I have been a swimming, biking, running, and strength training fool.  Here's some of what last week entailed:

Two swims - one was hard, the other was harder.  There were lots of pool toys.  I might have looked like I was drowning a time or two.
Totals - 4200 yards

I think coach might be trying to kill me on the bike.  That or she's trying to make me a better biker and runner.  Probably the latter.  I've been training with power and learning all about that.  One of the workouts this week had me maxing out power and pouring out sweat.  The other workout was all about cadence.  I don't really know what I'm doing or how it all goes together but coach continues to tell me the workouts are "perfect."  I believe there's another bike test coming up soon so we'll see how perfect those workouts actually were.
Totals - 24.58 miles

I can't even count the number of runs I did last week.  It was probably five or six but it felt like 9 million.  There wasn't a single easy run.  I did hills, I did speed, I did tempo, I did intervals, there was a long run, and a partridge in a pear tree.  I'm getting faster, though.  I actually saw some pace numbers that started with sixes.  Yeah, sixes.
Totals - 30.38 miles

I missed a core workout, but still did a good basic strength routine and another routine that was mostly a butt routine.  I also did a lot of work to the bathroom remodel which should totally count as a strength routine.  (More on the bathroom remodel this week.)
Totals - 0.83 hours

I have never worked so hard.  I have never been so tired.  I have never drank so much recovery drink.  Hopefully this all pays off.  Either that or I'm going down in an epic ball of flames!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

There are so many movies out right now that I'd like to see.  Of course, that's a total pipe dream.  I have a nearly-two year old.  I don't get to go to the movies.  Plus, all the movies I want to see were all nominated for Oscars this morning which means they'd totally suck anyway.  Seriously, Dave and I do not have a very good track record of actually liking the movies that were nominated for Oscars.  Two of the worst movies I have ever seen - American Beauty (what the hell was that about???) and Across the Sky.  Every time a Beatles song comes on the radio that was used in that movie Dave and I just laugh and then say, "remember how horrible that movie was?"  So, even though I'd like to see "The Imitation Game" and "The Theory of Everything" and "American Sniper" and "Unbroken", I think I'll stay home and save my money and time.

What was the worst movie you've ever seen?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

What a Weekend!!!

Do you ever look forward to Monday just so life can return to normal?  Sometimes I do.  Today was definitely that kind of Monday.

Actually, the whole last week was kind of crazy.  We have begun the renovation on our master bathroom.  It's basically a total gut job.  The ONLY things we are keeping in there are our closets, the shower (which looked pretty new), and the toilet which we bought when we moved into the house. 

This is after day one of the destruction:

We have removed the wall paper, stripped the paint off the cabinet and sanded it, we're taking out the soffits, and getting rid of the awful vinyl floor.  This past weekend I removed the lights and finished up the floor.  Next steps are to completely remove the soffits, take out the countertops and sinks, and begin wiring for the new lights.  Unfortunately, that was the plan for the weekend but we got behind.  Hopefully we can catch up.  Dave has the week off next week and we hope to get the floor laid.  We bought beautiful tile that's going to make it look like a spa!

Dave spent all of Wednesday night running around town with my dad, renting a truck and bringing home drywall, the tile, and all the accessories that go with it. 

Then on Thursday we had to head to Best Buy to replace our broken TV.  We bought a new TV in April that we had professionally mounted above the fireplace.  A month or so ago the screen just went blank.  The Geek Squad sent out someone to look at it and he basically said, "yep, it's broken."  Well no shit!   They ordered a part for it and said they could fix it January 2nd.  Then the part got back ordered and they said they would fix it January 9th.  Good grief.  They called again this week and said, "yeah, the parts still back ordered so we're just going to replace your TV."  That's what they should have done in the first place!!!  We get to customer service and they have NO IDEA what we're talking about.  They've never had a replacement code given to them for an in-home repair.  After speaking to a bunch of people we finally spoke with a manager who took our old TV and just did the replacement.  He didn't care if there was a code.  Plus, because the new TV was $20 more, he just waved that fee.  Good job.  Dave was up until after midnight putting in the new TV. 

So what took all our time this weekend that I'm so happy it is Monday already? 

As I mentioned a while ago, we've been having problems with our water.  A week ago Dave ordered a new water softener from a wholesale company here in Ohio.  It was more than half the cost Culligan had quoted us, however, unfortunately, we were going to have to do the ENTIRE installation ourselves.  The new water softener arrived in two different shipments last week.  It was massive - two resin tanks and a separate brine tank in addition to five bags of resin and all the mechanical stuff.  Saturday morning we went to Home Depot to pick up all the plumbing stuff Dave would need.  The day started off well-ish.  It took two of us to put the resin in the tanks.  Dave would hold it and pour it, while I stood on a stool trying to get in through the funnel.  It was like wet, slippery sand.  And if it got on the floor, which it did A LOT, it was like ice.  We were literally skating around our basement.  After the resin, Dave started doing the plumbing to hook it up to our water pipes.  Around 8:30pm, just as we were putting the baby to bed, Dave had to head out to Lowe's.  The piping was a different size than he thought and he needed a different kind of connector.  I should mention our water had been turned off now for a while.  I was peeing without flushing and washing my hands with baby wipes.

Dave got back from Lowe's, we ate dinner at 10:00pm and then he headed back downstairs to finish the installation.  No lie, 12:00am he finished it up and we turned on the water.  Everything seemed to be going well until it wasn't.  We noticed a drip between the new water softener and the connection to the pipes.  Shit!  We turned the water back off, packed our bags, woke the baby up and headed to my parents' house to spend the night.  We would try again on Sunday. 

I slept horribly at my parents'.  Their dog kept barking, the baby was tossing and turning, Dave was snoring, and I couldn't get comfortable.  I probably got less than five hours of sleep.  I was in a great mood on Sunday when we had to start over again.

We returned to our house with no water and Anderson and I napped while Dave began again.  I was awoken some time later with the sound of a flushing toilet.  Was our water working???  Dave hooked up the brine tank and then it was time to figure it all out.  We had to flush the water through the pipes and through the new tanks.  It probably took 10 minutes to run the water and clean it all out.  That was some gross water coming out of those faucets!

Finally, we poured some water and checked it out.  It appeared to be much much better.  Check it out:

The water on the left is before we installed the water softener.  Yep, that is straight out of our faucet.  Yuck!  The water on the right is after the new water softener was turned on.  We even taste-tested it.  Although I could tell the difference between bottled water and the new faucet water, it was much much better.  MUCH BETTER!  It will take a few days until the hot/warm water gets clear (because there is already some in the hot water tank), it looks like maybe our water problems might be solved.

This weekend was exhausting.  Unfortunately, our weekends look like this for the next several weeks.  But, the Cats and Brass house is starting to come together.  More pictures to come!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Thursday Thoughts

Garth Brooks was on the Today Show this morning.  Two things I love together in one!!!  It got me thinking...When I was in high school (maybe college) I got to see Garth Brooks in concert sitting tenth row at what is now Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.  It was AMAZEBALLS!!!  He played four notes of "Friends in Low Places" and the place went insane.  Four more notes, more insanity.  He ran from side to side of the stage.  He floated out over the crowd.  It was, hands down, the coolest and greatest concert I've ever been to.  For years I was hoping to go to Vegas (never been) to see him in concert there, but now he's going to start touring again.  And I will pay big money to see him if he comes to Columbus or anywhere near.

So, what is the best, most awesome, concert you've ever seen?

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Week In Review

Oh my gosh!  It's a holiday miracle!  I did every single one of my workouts this week!!!!  That never happens.  In fact, I don't know if it has EVER happened.  I'm feeling motivated.  I'm feeling powerful. 

Here's the run down:

Swim: I had two swims this week.  One was a super hard, lots of sprinting that had me timing 25s.  If I didn't hit a certain time I had to do a easier 50 and then get back it.  Yeah, I had to do an extra 150 yards to hit all of the 25s I was assigned to do.  The second swim was WAY easier and short.  And I'm glad because it was done the day after the Buckeye game and I was tired and sluggish.

Swim Totals - 3850 yards

Bike: Two bikes this week.  Every workout is a lesson in using my new power meter.  One workout had me using different muscles to increase the power; the other workout had me changing cadence. 

Bike Totals - 18.04 miles

Run: Lots of short runs this week.  I did run a 5K race as a run test and walked away with a fun little 3rd place female.  I also had a sprint workout on the treadmill.  Treadmill paces always feel so much faster than on the road.

Run Totals - 19.74 miles

Strength: Core, arms, and other strength.  My body is starting to look muscular again.

Strength Totals - 0.75 hours

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Commitment Day 5K 2015

What a better way to kick off the new year than running a race.  Actually, I had a run test on the schedule and I knew I would struggle by myself on the treadmill or on the track so I knew a race would be a much better option.  Although I am not a fan of the race organization putting on this race, this was the cheapest option at less than $30 and I will always take the cheapest race.

Gosh it was cold this morning - something like 20 degree with a "real feel" temperature of 8.  Plus it was windy.  I got to the race site plenty early and took a long warm up on the course.  The course was on a trail that seemed to go incline with the wind for the first half and then against the wind on the way back.  The course included having to up and down several curbs, through the grass, a little bit of ice, lots of turns, and even some gravel.  So, not exactly a PR course.  As we lined up for the race, it was clear it was small and perhaps not as competitive as other races I've run.  There were more women, including myself, lined up on the start line than men. 

The gun went off and one of these women and her son were in my way.  The shouldn't have been in the front.  Instinctively, I laid a hand on her hip and gently moved her out of the way.  Sorry.  I started out a little too fast but I was trying to position myself well and not fall behind in the overall competition.  By the one mile mark I was solidly the third place woman and that's how I would remain.  For the next mile there was a man and the 2nd place woman in front of me within reaching distance, but I just couldn't get myself moving the way I had hoped.  I might be in shape, but I'm not sure I'm in racing shape quite yet.

The 5K is so difficult.  Well, for me anyway.  It's so fast and so hard and yet long enough that you feel like you might die.  I am better at the longer distances as I can warm up and work my way into a pace.  I feel like in the 5K you've got to start out fast and hold on.  I haven't figured out how to do that yet.  Nor, have I figured out how to start medium-fast and get faster.  I don't love the 5K but I know it's making me a better runner so I'll keep trying it.

In the end, I was the third overall female and sixth place overall.  I even got some hardware.

I wish I could have run faster but I can't complain with a third place.  The year has started off right and inline with my goals.  I've seen my training for the next couple of weeks.  It's massive and frankly, scares me, but I know if I continue to put in the work and effort great things are going to happen this year.

Happy New Year!