Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I had forgotten...

 - just how much I don't like bundling up and wearing tights and having cold feet for a run.
 - that I eventually warm up. even when it's only 20 degrees outside.
 - that sometimes, delaying a run is the best way to get myself out the door.
 - how nice it is to run without music; to hear myself breathe, listen to my footfalls and let my mind wander.
 - how beautiful the sky looks as the sun is rising.
 - just how quiet it is outside in the early morning in the winter in the Midwest.
 - how great it feels to go at a nice easy pace. even up hill.
 - that sometimes, when I feel tired, a run will wake me up.
 - that hot coffee tastes amazing after a chilly run.
 - how quickly I can get ready for work when I'm crunched for time.
 - that sleeping in is over rated :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

train, eat, sleep...and the ability to do it at all

That's pretty much what the weekend entailed. A long ride with the boys, a swim with a buddy, and a long, brutal, two hour run, for which I was entirely unprepared, mentally. In between those sessions, I ate, slept, and watched old episodes of Lost (because I have two more seasons to try and review before the premier February 2nd).

I actually completed every workout on the training plan coach set out for me this past week. I actually did some extra. Masters practices are ALWAYS more than he'd prescribe. And we rode almost 4 hours when only 2.5 was what was on the agenda...

And, yes, I'm tired. And my legs are feeling a little heavy. And there was no real pep in my step for the last couple days.

But one things is for sure...I'm really, really glad I get to do any of it at all.

I know there are days when the body (and mind) need a break from swim-bike-run. And I know it's not good to always push through when I'm feeling exhausted...but I also know the flip side. I know wanting to be able to do it all and not having that ability. I know just wanting the mental and physical release you get from a run and being too sick to go out and do it. I know watching my friends race and just sitting on the sidelines. And it sucks. So, I try my best not to whine and complain about fatigue and tired muscles. Because I'd take that over the heartache of not being able to do it anyday.

There were a few little whines...or maybe we should call them "moans" this morning at swim practice, but all in all, it was a nice base building workout (36x25, first round with fins, second round just swim). Tonight is another brick. And I'm going to push through it because I know what awaits in just a few days...


And recovery.

And a visit from Boulder :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

10 Things

Thanks to a fellow rock star at Rock Star Tri, you get to read (and see) ten things that make me happy....

1 - Meeting new people and being spontaneous.

2 - Running in the rain

3 - The gift of friendship.

4 - Long training rides with amazing people.

5 - Racing and putting all that hard work to the test.

6 - The best family a girl could ask for.

7 - My little tiny Clubby.

8- The beach. The ocean. Forests. Trees. Lakes. Sunsets. Sunrises. Mountains. umm...Nature.
9 - Looking and acting like an an aboslute fool. And laughing about it.

10 - Making new memories

There are a million more, like hearing a favorite song on the radio and getting busted by another driver singing along at the top of your lungs. Or dancing naked in the living room. And rollercoasters. Or little notes from friends just saying hi. Hearing those three little words that mean so much. A nice, soft, firm, genuine hug. Kids laughing uncontrollably. Seeing an elderly couple that still walks down the street holding hands. Doing something even I feared was impossible. Helping someone else out, even if it's just by listening.

And I think it's a healthy thing to write a gratitude list every now and then, just as a reminder of all the great things in life.

Speaking of great things and 10s, I've swam 10k so far this week...and another swim awaits on Saturday. I've also only run about 10 miles. But that is soon to change as there will be another five or six tonight and about 15 on Sunday. I won't even start with the bike...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Ok, admittedly, I HATE planning! Mostly because, from my experience, nothing really ever goes the way it's planned. I've learned that I am better off having a "soft" plan and rolling with the punches rather than having a hard, definite plan and getting bent out of shape when things don't go as I expected.
That said, the race plan for this year is still kinda up in the air. I may or may not do Great Floridian. I have every intention of doing TTT, Leadville Silver Rush 50 Trail Run and Long Course AG Nationals.
I did just registered for the Cabin Fever ROGAINE. It's a 6 hour foot race. It's my first of this kind, but I'm looking forward to it. I just hope it isn't like 5 degrees outside that day.
Following the swim yesterday, I hung with mom and my niece, which is always fun and before I knew it, I was lying in bed reading. And then dragging myself out of bed to get to the pool again.
And this morning's swim was,
It started out just fine.
A warm-up and then lots of 50s - 22 of them. 
Then came the monster main set: 5x500.
I tried to weasle my way over to the next lane that was doing a shorter version. Not so much. Coach Aaron made me stay.
The worst part wasn't just the length.
It was that they were on 1:30 pace. Which isn't hard when you're doing a 100. Or even one 500. or two? But five? Five 500s?!?
Ugh. My lats were definitely feeling that work.
Tonight is a quick brick. The ride will be inside. Those weather guys don't know what they're talking about. After yesterday disappointed and never reached the above freezing mark after a predicted high of 46, they changed the forecast for the entire rest of the week! Still grey and dreary. And cold. I'm glad I didn't bank on riding outside this week.
Like I said before, I try not to have plans so it's easier to adjust when the unexpected this craptastic weather.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I have a dirty bike.

Yes, that's right. It's dirty. Because i got to ride outside on Saturday!!! Itwas about 45 degrees and a little cloudy, but it was outside. On real hills. With some training buddy friends. And it was amazing!

I've already lost some comfort riding downhill. That was partly due to knowingly having a bald back tire (thank you trainer! and yes, I realize I could have swapped it out or taken my tri bike, but...well, I didn't) and wet roads. Plus, I didn't know the area. Or what lie at the bottom of those hills. It was fun al the while.

And that ride was followed up with an easy 30 min run. And by easy, I mean keeping the HR low. Not necessarily slow. I think we avg a 7:50 pace. But the legs felt like they were moving kinda slow. My feet were like ice blocks until, of course, the very last 1/4 mile.

I went home and plowed some veggies and chicken to prep for the long run the next morning.

Again, warm-ish. 40 degrees. Good enough for shorts! And three more training buddies to run with. I met some new people too! (hi Corky!) It was dreary, but the rain held off until the end of the run. We finished with 13 miles, about 3 of those toward the end were upbeat. I got an extra mile with the run to and from my apartment to the meeting spot.

I rested and refueled and hit up Pilates in the afternoon. I love this life. I love training. I love the weekends.

I also love resting/recovering. That's what today is designed for. It's now Monday morning, MLK Day. No work. And I was up at 5am, naturally. I've already done the dishes, cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed, mopped the kitchen floor and had breakfast. I'm swimming at noon. Today is a recovery day, so that means getting chores done! Next, laundry. Then making meals for the week...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

 - I'm getting back into training mode. I am regularly in bed by 9pm and waking just minutes before the alarm. Today it was 4:28. Alarm sounds at 4:30.
 - Masters practice consistently consists of at least 3200. Today, it was 3500. Main set was 10x200. Seriously. Aaron is loving the 200s and 250s these days. They just hurt. Particularly when they are pull. With very little rest.
 - And later I have a hill run. It's supposed to top out at 42 degrees today. I'm hoping it sticks til 5:30pm so I can wear shorts.
 - Trying to convince myself that I'm capable of doing Leadville Silver Rush 50 trail run. I'm terrified of the elevation issue. But Boulder would be doing the 50 mile mtb race the day before. So this could be fun :)
 - I was talking to Judi the other day. She said "This is gonna be a huge year!...for both of us. Seriously. It's gonna be so great!" And thinking about how she said it and what possibility lies in those words still gives me chills.
 - I have come to love getting on the trainer. I blame Spinervals. I look forward to them. Is that sick? Maybe ask me in a couple months whether I'm loving the trainer.
 - We do have an outdoor ride scheduled for this weekend. SOOO looking forward to this.
 - Like a few others have stated, I feel like I was fitter a year ago at this same time.
 - I'm not stressing it though. So many things were different. And I really like where I am right now. And regaining fitness and seeing little improvements.
 - I'm really grateful for the people in my life - my training partners, my family, my friends, and even the men that have shown (and continue to show) me what I don't want in a man.
 - If I could leave today and go to Haiti and help those people, I would. I hate seeing people suffer. And I may not be a doctor, but I could help somehow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

There's a warm up coming!

Seriously. It's supposed to break freezing temps this week! For now, it's still damn cold. The above picture is from the Dirt Dawg 8 mile trail run on Saturday morning. It was take AFTER the race. I have a cup of agua in my hands. I think you can see my breath. Or steam floating off my body. It was all of 14 degrees. And we had about five inches of snow to run (read:slip and slide) on those hills. It was fun though.

I won again! We started out at a faster pace than the last race...or so it seemed. I caught Missy (pictured above - left. that's me on the right) in the first mile and stayed with her as we approached another female runner (FR). Missy made a move and passed her. FR made no move in response. So, I followed suit and passed her as well. Then, she got a fire up her ass and passed us both back up.

I laughed. Out. Loud. And took off after her as Missy yelled "Have fun!" I quickly passed her and did the mental fake out of keeping up the pace until she could no longer see me. I didn't see FR the rest of the race, partially out of fear she'd get another flame lit and run me down.

Honestly, that race hurt. I haven't hurt like that in a race in a while. I just wanted it to be done! I think I was pleading with God to provide some sort of traction around mile 5. With every foot strike, there was a slight slip. I was wishing I had yak trax or screws in my shoes or something, anything, to give me some footing. The hills were the kind that couldn't be run down or you'd end up on your ass. They were the kind where you took a little hop and skid down on the soles of your shoes, holding onto trees and not resisting the pull of gravity.

I was so so glad I brought dry warm clothes to change into after the race! And then I went home and made a vat of chilli, half of which is in the freezer now. I'll be eating chilli the next 5 days even so. Quick nap and into the gym for some upper body weights and core work. Lots of core work. The kind of core work that made my abs hurt for Pilates class yesterday.

I skipped the Splash 'n' Dash because it just seemed like a horribly stupid idea. And coach agreed. Plus, it would've amounted to driving to Dayton two days in a row and therefore, accomplishing very little at home. So, I bagged it and rode the trainer, took Pilates, ran errands, swam, cleaned my apartment, and unsuccessfully walked the dog. It wasn't a success because she keeps refusing to go potty outside. Instead, she uses my bathroom floor. How is it that she's smart enough to know that the bathroom is where you do your duty, but not quite bright enough to realize that there is grass underneath the snow! She keeps walking and walking searching for grass....and never finds any.

So, yeah, I'm looking forward to this little warm up we're supposed to have this week. Maybe that grass will start to show again?

Friday, January 8, 2010

the white death

Every day, a friend of mine sends me an inspirational email. Some days, they make my day, they calm me, they completely relate to exactly where I am in life. Other days, I glimpse and delete. Today's was particularly poignant.

Pain is part of life. Looking back at other difficult times can give us a better perspective of the pain we feel today. All of us can recall a loss or a sudden difficult change that we never would have chosen for ourselves. Perhaps it brought us face to face with insecurities or doubts about our survival. Now, after the suffering has ended, we see how much we grew. We changed; we were strengthened and, perhaps, were liberated by what happened to us.
It makes me think...Isn't every difficult time like this? Doesn't every painful experience teach me something for which I'm eternally grateful? Why then do I get so consumed with fear? Why do I act out? Why do I push people away? Why do I not always have fortress faith that all will turn out well and good?


In other news, we got hit with the predicted white death! Yes, we got snow. Not a ton, but enough to cause some panic and delays...and school closings and early release from work. Yes, three inches of snow justified leaving work early for most. Me? I stayed and finished up some things. And then I went home to run in it. It was too difficult to resist. And it was likely the gym was closed. So, I slipped and slid on the fluffy white stuff.

And then I got up and did it again this morning. Most of downtown had been shoveled or salted, which made for easier footing. There's something about the morning, rising from a warm, cozy down comforter and stepping outside into the frozen tundra that isn't so difficult as coming home from a crazy day at work and heading out into the cold blowing snow. While I was out, I was actually able to concentrate on my form, which I haven't done in a while. It's so much easier to ignore when limbs are frozen and the only thoughts are about jumping puddles or bracing oneself from the wind. Today, I was able to think about the tuck and keeping my core tight but relaxed. Maybe it had to do with lifting my knees lest I slip in the snow?

It was when I was focusing on my form that I thought about that picture of me starting the run at IMKY, where you can see the tan line from my bike shorts peeking out my run shorts and you can see the excitement on my face, and there isn't a sign of fatigue to be found. And it all came flooding back to me, the feeling I had at that moment, the rush of adrenaline, the pure joy of being out there with a couple thousand other athletes, the reward of a long summer of training, of pain and endurance, of fun and laughter, of friends and family and sacrifice and loss. It's a feeling that, if able to evoke it, will leave one breathless. It's indescribable to those who haven't experienced. It's that feeling that brings tears to your eyes and you don't even know it's happening. It's pure gratitude, a zest for life, a reason for being out there.

And it wasn't until I got home and turned on the TV that I heard it was a mere 11 degrees outside with a windchill of below 0. Guess I was too in my head to even notice.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New year, new thoughts, new things to discover

I spent New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and several subsequent days in Boulder with the Team USA bike mechanic I'm so fond of...

I got to take Daisy (his dog) for a long run on snow packed trails before resurrecting a tent on the deck, blowing up 30 balloons, stringing lights on stairwells, concocting a playlist and cleaning boy bathroom (which I already warned will likely NEVER happen again...there's just something about wet hair that makes me gag and gives me chills. Seriously) for the NYE party he (we) hosted.

I talked with his friends, met mom, introduced to new people, ate, drank, and went to bed very, very late. Or early, depending on the perspective.

The next days consisted of sun and snow and more runs and snowshoeing (first time ever for me) and me proving that I am, in fact, a head case (ok, not first time ever for me).

And now, I'm back in Cincinnati, where the entire city is in panic and has basically shut down because we're supposed to get 3 - 5 inches of snow today. It makes me laugh after coming from a few feet of snow in the mountains and the place is thriving.

It's been nice to get back into the swing of things this week, most noteably, Masters practice this morning... main set? 10x250. And getting back on my bike. After 2.5 weeks of virtually nothing but running (due to travel to IL and CO and lack of pool and/or bike), I'm so so ready for some time away from it. But only for a few days...

This weekend there are two races. On Saturday, an 8 mile trail run and then, on sunday, what might be the stupidest idea yet - the Splash 'n' Dash - a 1000m indoor TT swim followed by an OUTDOOR 5k run. Seriously, what about our wet bits getting frost bit??? Ouch!

I don't so resolutions, but I do have some goals for the myself. And I'm not one who likes to announce them all, but one of them is to just not take myself so seriously. It's too painful. And I think we were put here to enjoy this life.