Monday, January 25, 2016

Confidence Booster

Although I haven't done all my workouts this month (still trying), I've been pretty consistent.  It's stupid-cold outside but I've still gotten my butt to the pool.  And I've even gotten outside to do at least half of my runs (the other half are on the treadmill).  I've been feeling fit and was somewhat excited to do my run test yesterday.

Dave too had a run test, so we got my mom to watch the kiddo and we were able to head to the track together.  Our workouts weren't exactly the same but close enough that we could do them together.  We started with an easy warmup, built pace for a few minutes, and did some quick pickups/sprints.  Then, it was go time!

My workout was 2 miles as hard as I could go.  Dave's was 20 minutes all out.  We started together but didn't stay together.  I was in my head; he was doing his thing.  With my new Garmin 225 and it's wrist-based heart rate and the fact it was only 20 degrees outside, I kept the watch buried unable to see how well or poorly I was doing.  All I knew is that it was hard and that's what I was supposed to be doing.  When the watch beeped at one mile I looked down and saw a 6:40.  Holy shit!  I haven't hit those kind of paces in a long time.  I tucked the watch back into my sleeve and kept on trucking.  I was suffering but making things work.  I was counting down the 100s.  I was counting numbers.  I was singing songs.  I was doing anything to keep the suckiness out of my head.  Finally I hit the two mile mark - 6:50 for the second mile.  Hot damn!  All this hard work is paying off!

I was quite pleased with the way my test went and I think coach was too.  We set new heart rate zones and she gave me specific paces I will use in future workouts.  My next race is coming up in a few weeks and I'm hoping it's a big PR party.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Broke Man's Winter Warmup 7 Miler

I ran a race.  Finally.  Remember back in the day when I used to run 12-18 races a year?  Me too.  I miss that.  I asked Coach a while ago if I could run a race and she agreed.  Yahoo!!!  So I signed up for the Broke Man's Winter Warmup.  Broke Man's is a new racing company in town that touts no-frills races - no shirt, no timing chips, and a cheap price.  Dude, I'm down for that.

This is only the second race put on by this group and there are certainly some organizational things that need sorted out.  I got there a good 40-45 minutes before the start of the race and was surprised to find a very long line for packet pickup.  I was confused.  If this is a no-frills race why is there even a packet?  Shouldn't I just be picking up a number.  Once I got closer to the start of the line I figured it out.  There were no numbers.  You were given a wristband with a number on it and then you had to sign in with your number.  Are those wristbands any cheaper than non-race-specific numbers?  I'll come back to this in a bit.

The race started at COSI (center of science and industry), which allowed us to have indoor bathrooms.  Problem is, the line was literally like 70 people deep for those toilets.  I sacrificed my hiney in the 25 degree temperatures and used the port-a-johns outside.  A short warmup was done and we were lined up to start. 

The race had three different distances - 3.5 miles, 7 miles, and half marathon.  I opted for the 7 miler.  I'm not quite where I want to be for a "sprint" like a 3.5 miler and it was too cold to get moving that fast.  The course was a 3.5 mile loop.  We did the loop twice.  The half marathoners also did the loop twice with a spur on the second loop (more on that in a bit too).

I started off a bit quick and immediately my chest was burning with reflux (there's been a lot of stress in my world - more on that in a few days).  I wasn't feeling good but I was right behind some high school girls so I felt like I was doing okay.  I got a new Garmin - the 225 - which has wrist-based heart rate, so my Garmin was buried under a layer of clothes.  I was running this race by feel; exactly what I'd prefer.  At one point I got a little ahead of the high school girls but they quickly took over going up a hill and I never got hold of them again.  For the first few miles I was not enjoying myself.  My head even told me, "self, just stop at the end of the first loop".  But when I got to the end of the first loop I was feeling good and confident.  I kept going.  I had some people to chase and I could feel my competition behind me catching me.

Late in the race I got hot and was able to take my mittens off.  I glanced at my watch and saw I was running a very even pace, although not as quickly as I had hoped.  It was surprising to me, then, that in the 6th mile I was caught by at least four women.  But here's where things got weird.  At one point there was a hard right turn.  At that turn there were two signs - one said first loop, the other said second loop with two arrows, one for the 7 miler and one for the half marathon.  The half marathon was to go straight to the spur and the 7 miler was to turn right back to the start/finish line.  I had already hit 6 miles on my garmin.  It made sense to me to turn right and finish the race.  So I was shocked to see so many people go straight who I knew were in the 7 miler.  The girl who was right in front of me turned to me and said, "you're doing the 7 miler, right" and I said yes and we both took the turn.  Personally, I didn't think it was confusing but after reading all the comments on Facebook this week, I guess it was.  Frankly, a volunteer costs nothing.  There should have been a volunteer there.

The last part of the race had two 180 degree turns up a hill to the last sprint.  I was able to catch one of the girls who had passed me late in the race, but go smoked by another one. 

But it really didn't matter.   Remember how I said we had no numbers.  At the finish they gave you a homemade medal (that's okay with me) and then nothing.  There were no timing chips and no one took your name and number so therefore, there was no placement.  I don't know if I won, finished last, or what my age group looked like.  Frankly, this was a paid training run. 

I have two things I'd like to see improved with this race.  One, I'd like to see placement.  That's what makes it a RACE!  Even if we only have wristbands for numbers, get our number and name at the finish line and actually put together a document with finish results.  You already have the website; it's not costing you anything to add a document to it.  Secondly, I know to keep costs down this is not a certified course.  And I'm cool with that.  However, from my own race and others' accounts on Facebook, the distance was off, WAY off.  I got 7.39 miles and I didn't screw up the turn.  The trail wasn't that wide; I could not have screwed up the tangents that badly.

The price was right but it wasn't a race.  I was pleased with my performance, but I hope to get a lot faster in the next couple of months.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Mini Vacation

At the beginning of December we took a long weekend down to Myrtle Beach for a little R&R.  We weren't expecting amazing weather and sitting on the beach, but just a little time away from reality.  It was a whirlwind trip - getting down there super late on Saturday, spending pretty much all day Sunday getting checked into the timeshare, Monday it rained all day, and Tuesday we left for home.  We did enjoy lots of rest, a little beach time, good food, and a fun time at the Atlanta airport.  Here's a few pictures.

Anderson was so tired after we arrived that he fell asleep on our bed just like this - all his clothes and shoes on too.

On our way home, we had a long layover in Atlanta.  We had a cranky toddler on our hands and needed a way to keep him occupied.  So we headed down to the basement of the airport and rode the train back and forth, back and forth.  We would walk from end to end and then catch the train again.  It was boring as hell for me, but to Anderson it was the best thing ever.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Books Read in 2015

I don't know where I found the time or maybe I was just reading easy books, but I sure read a lot of books last year.  Here's what I read and what I thought about them.

1. "Unbroken" by Lauren Hillenbrand
Such a fantastic book.  Detailed.  Long.  But after seeing the movie, I was glad I read the book.  It filled in all the details that the movie left out.  Highly recommend.

2. "MWF Seeking BFF" by Rachel Bertsche
Honestly, I don't love reading non-fiction.  Funny, since the first two books on this list are non-fiction.  This book was about a married woman who moves to a new town and needs/wants to make new friends.  She sets out on a quest to go on a new friend date once a week for a year.  As a stay-at-home mom I should probably take some advice from this book and try harder to make friends.  I'll think about it.

3.  "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle
Ugh.  I know everyone was high on this book and movie but I have to admit, I really disliked it.  It was technical; it was stream of conscious; and it felt unintelligent.  I skipped the movie after reading the book.  (Number three of non-fiction on this list.)

4.  "Yes Please" by Amy Poehler
Ooooh, Amy's raunchy!   Funny, fast read.  (Number four non-fiction.  Maybe I should take back my statement that I don't like reading non-fiction.)

5.  "Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng
Oh man.  This book was fantastic.  Go read it.  You won't be disappointed.  It's about a girl who dies (in the first couple of pages - not giving anything anyway) and figuring out what happened to her.  Fan-flipping-tastic.

6.  "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker
It's important to read the classics, or at least what Oprah deems a classic, right?  Wish I had skipped this.  I did not like it.

7.  "Mosquitoland" by David Arnold
I do love a good teenage book.  This was good.  I don't remember exactly what it was about, but it was good.

8.  "Once a Runner" by John L. Parker, Jr.
I read a lot of books about running.  This was fiction.  It was alright.  Not my favorite but it didn't completely suck like some on this list either.

9.  "The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances" by The Oatmeal
Quick read.  Not really a book.  More of a comic strip book.  Laugh out loud funny if you're a runner and you totally get what he's talking about. 

10.  "Girls in White Dresses" by Jennifer Close
I should really write a blurb about each book after reading them.  I have ZERO recollection of this book - something about a married friend, an engaged friend, a dating friend, and a single friend?  Obviously it wasn't great if I can't remember anything about it.

11.  "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin
A cute little book about an angry windowed man who takes on the responsibility of being a parent after a child is left in his book store.  There's a little bit of mystery to this book too.  I liked this one.

12.  "Paper Towns" by John Greene

13.  "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova
I like to read books that have been made into movies.  This was fantastic although scared the shit out of me.  I am such a hypochondriac.  I hope I never get Alzheimer's.

14.  "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling
I love Mindy Kaling.  She is so funny.  I could hear her voice in every sentence of this book.  Fun, short read.

15.  "Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running From Madness" by Suzy Favor Hamilton
I totally remember when the story broke that Suzy Favor Hamilton was working as a high priced call girl in Vegas.  And I remember thinking, what the hell would make her do that?  This books gives me the answers.  Although I have to admit, I felt gross reading this book.  It was a little bit like reading porn.  Ick!  It's not exactly well written, but an interesting book that sucks you in.

And that's it.  What did you read in 2015 that I should pick up this year?

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Week in Review

Last week was a pretty good week.  I got in all my swims and all my runs, but missed a few strength workouts.  Each week I'm getting closer and closer to putting it all together.  Will next week be the one?

Swimming - 9600 yards ~ 5.5 miles
I would have loved to have gotten in one more swim to get in over 10,000 yards.  It wasn't on the calendar and there wasn't time.  I did do one epic swim.  You can read about it here

Running - 22.7 miles
I've gotten soft in my old age.  I used to love running outside in the cold.  Now I'd rather just suck it up on the treadmill.  I did four runs last week and only one was outside.  And it was not my long run.  I also have limited child care options and don't love to run in the dark so the treadmill is my best option to do my runs anyway.

Strength Training - 0.25 hours
I think I had four workouts on the schedule and only did one.  This one was important though as there was some hip strength to it.  I'm still working on recovering from my injury.

Picture of the Day:

Saturday, January 02, 2016

2015 Totals

2015 wasn't exactly the year I thought I'd have.  I thought there were be a new marathon PR and Boston qualifier.  I thought I would get to race triathlon age group nationals in Milwaukee.  But an major injury took out months and months of training and racing and everything changed.  That's okay.  Things happen for a reason.  I'm moving on and experiencing new things, like LOTS and LOTS of swimming.

Let's review 2015!

Swimming - 215,550 yards ~ 122.50 miles
I swam all year long, but I didn't begin a lot of swimming until I broke my hip.  Now I'm swimming nearly 10,000 yards a week and loving it. 

Biking - 473.85 miles
In preparation for nationals, I was really spending quality time on my bike and learning about power, etc.  When I broke my hip I stopped riding completely.  I don't envision myself riding for training any time in 2016.  There will be no triathlons this year.  I SWEAR!

Running - 710.72 miles
You know, for having to miss over three months of running, this is a pretty good number.  It's been a long time since I've had a year of 1000 miles.  Hopefully 2016 will be that year.  No injuries, please!!!!

Strength Training - 14.17 hours
Gosh, I wish this was a bigger number.  As I get older and can't put in the mileage I once did, I should really be getting stronger to hold everything together.  Maybe this should be a goal in 2016.

YMCA Visits - 184
Cost Per Visit - $4.53
I really used my Y membership this year.  Now that I work there, I'm starting to feel like I live there.  They should probably just stick a cot for me in a back room.

Races - 6
My races ranged from 5ks to the marathon to an aquathlon.  I love to race and would love to race all the time.  Coach doesn't love that idea so 2016 will probably be a little more strategic.  2016 will be a fast year.  I have nothing planned over the 10k-ish distance.  And maybe I'll do a swim meet.  Maybe.

Picture of the Day!!
Once of my goals for 2016 is to take more pictures.  I would love to say I'm going to do it every day in 2016, but let's be realistic.  Life is busy and is quite boring in the winter.  How may pictures of my kid sleeping do you need?

We got a babysitter this evening and went to see Star Wars 3D.  Dave had already seen it but I wanted to see it too.  It was really good.  But, I love the Star Wars franchise.  I'm not hard to please.

Friday, January 01, 2016

New Year's Swim

Why not start the new year off with something epic?  Usually I race a 5K, but this year I wanted to do an epic swim.  Originally I had hatched a plan with my coworkers for 100x100.  After a conversation with coach and my coworkers, we decided none of us were ready for that.  I've been training A LOT, but not enough for that.  So we decided on 50x100. 

I suck at GoPro selfies.  2016 goal.

I did mine earlier than my friends as I had to work while they were swimming theirs.  I did mine in sets of five with every fifth one as either backstroke or kick.  Then every other set I used toys - pull with paddles or swim with fins.  The first 25 seemed to take forever.  Twenty-five to 40 weren't so bad.  The last 10 hurt.  My arms were on FIRE!  
I still want to do 100x100 sometime.  I'll keep training and keep my coworkers swimming too and then maybe we'll tackle it again in a few months.  

Did you do anything epic to kick off 2016?