Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pass the Baton, Please

What a fun track practice yesterday!!

First of all, it was fun because my foot has been feeling better, so I can actually run again. YAY for running! (Altough it is a little bit sore today..but I'm hoping some ice and some rolling will get it squared away.)

Secondly, the fun format! There were quite a few folks, so I was really digging the team atmosphere. After the warmup, the first set was to partner up with someone who was about your pace. This seemed a little daunting at first, being new to the group and not really having run much at all.....but I think people had a good feel for others paces from previous experiences and watching strideouts maybe.

I was thinking I'd pair up with Liz, but she had already paired up with someone else. Then a nice young lady came over and said that she thought we would be a good pair, so I said sure!

Then I asked her what her name was. She replied, Celine. OF COURSE. I knew we'd make a great team: Celine Dionn. It was fate.

So the format was the first was to run one lap, then on the next lap, the second person joined in for the lap. The next lap, the first person dropped off for a lap, while the second person ran her second lap alone. The next lap, the first person a lap alone, then picked up the second person -- the two of them running together for a lap. First person drops off, second person runs a lap on their own. Get it? So each person does two laps ON, one lap OFF -- offset from each other so you end up running one with your partner and one by yourself. The idea being that your partner will help push you and keep pace. Fun group was to do two sets (a set being two laps on, one lap off) and the Fast group 3.

It seemed like a good idea....until I checked our pace (on my handy dandy Garmin 405) on our first lap together and we were running 6:30s. 6:30S?!?!?!?!?!? OMG. I don't think I've EVER run any pace for any distance that began with a 6!!! This is going to be a long workout. But we kept pushing each other and hanging in there and managed to do all three sets holding that pace. YAY!!

The next round was a similar sort of thing, except in groups of 3. We picked up a nice looking young man to join in our melee. It began by setting person 2 a half a lap away, so with just person 1 and 3 at the start. It was basically a relay. Person 1 runs FLAT OUT to person 2 who runs FLAT OUT to person 3 who runs FLAT OUT to Person 1....etc., etc. You get the idea...basically half a lap sprint followed by a rest while your teammates complete their two halves. Fun group -- each individual completes 2 whole laps. Fast group -- 3.

And we're off! Let me tell you, Celine has got some SERIOUS WHEELS people!! I did my best interpretation of an adolescent giraffe and just let it fly. We managed to keep a :30 pace, which meant a 1:00 recovery...and towards the end, I kept wishing Celine would slow down..but she never did. Wow!

And a great time was had by all!! My calves were talking to me saying something like "What the hell's with all the sprinting??" But after some stretching and recovery, they seemed to back down from their threat of seizing up into a giant cramp...and I was thankful.

YAY for RUNNING!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Solo Monday

The schedule called for a 60-mile ride Saturday morning. The schedule ALSO called for a team HH Friday evening....



Well, there are some folks who know when to say when, and then there are others, who...well...don't.

Needless to say, I did not make the ride early Saturday morning.....sigh...

Yes....I did get an appropriate amount of chastising about my absence. And it was duly noted that closing down bars and then opening practice the next morning would be HFC...no showing is not.


I think I lost my HFC card. Dang.





As punishment, I rode today...for three hours...alone...in the heat...alone...in the hills....alone. Here's how it looked from Garmin:

It was only 50 (vs 60) but Coach Pain said it was ok given the route. (so there. hmpf.) The route was north on 620 from 2222, down Anderson Mill (looked for my favorite speed trap), flip a U, head south on 620, sneak across the new Bee Caves Parkway (so you don't have to go on 71!) to Bee Caves, East on Bee Caves to the Shell station, flip a U and back up 620 to 2222.

This route has tons of hills and I kinda like having the big hill from Steiner Ranch up to 2222 as it feels like a good approximation of Quadzilla from Danskin/Couples/Longhorn in both pitch and where it comes during the ride...at the end. Fun stuff I tell ya.

Legs felt good at the end even. I wasn't tired and I stuck to my hydration and nutrition plan which (knock on wood) seems to work...that is whenever I actually do it. (Focus, focus D!!)

All in all, a nice outing. Yay Monday! :)

Sunday in the 'hood


I love summer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why I Train - Wordled


How fun is this!! There's this cool new widget at www.wordle.net that takes a set of text you can enter (or point it to your blog!) and it turns it into these cool word art thingies. (Yes..that's a technical term.) Thank you Kerry for the fun diversion!
I entered my blog post from Why do you train? and this was one of the ones I got. It is interesting to see the ones that pop: like, feel, love, want, train. Peppered in amongst the negatives such as: hmpf, nemesis, hard, problems, suffering, regret --- I see their polar opposites: strength, fortitude, family, endorphins, kids, precious, heart.
And some of the ones that I strive for: qualifying, Boston, ironman, triathlon team.
What does your wordle say?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back at the track...

After a grueling Tuesday night spin at the T3 Compound, and a brutual kick-set filled Courtyard swim on Wednesday day, it was off to the track for Wednesday night run workout.

Now you know I've only just gotten back into running. (The foot is feeling much better. THANK GOODNESS!!) So, I was definitely nervous about getting out there and doing some real work. But only one way to get back into it and that's just to start putting one foot in front of the other, right?

We warmed up a couple laps and did some drills to get the blood flowing...and all that felt pretty good. The last drill was to do some stride outs. The T3 folks do it Straights and Curves style. Stride out on the straights...recover on the curves...couple laps of that.

I felt like blowing out the pipes a little bit...they seemed rusty from all the non-running. So when I ended up lined up behind David Kahn (up and coming TOP amateur), I thought...eh, let's see how close I can keep him...why not?

Sure, he's on a recovery week. Yes, he just got back from New York triathlon. And yes, he was taking it easy. BUT....for all the strideouts I was able to keep pace with him stride for stride!!!! I stayed back about 10 yards, so as not to crowd him or anything and just matched my stride and footfalls to his. It was really, really FUN!

Of course, I was totally huffing and puffing at the end of each 100 meters and he looked relaxed as all hell...BUT I was keeping up!

Now there's no way in hell I could've last for much longer at that pace...but it was fun while it lasted!

The workout was a ladder: 1600, 1200, 800, 400, 800. E and I were surprised that it didn't go all the way back up to the 1600...but since I've just started up again, I was more than pleased to get through to the last 800. My paces were respectable, I think as I just tried to dial into a comfortable pace:

1600: 7:21/M (was a little excited)
1200: 7:41/M
800: 7:38/M
400: 7:39/M
800: 7:38/M

I'm pleased with that.

This morning, dragged my ass to the 6:00am spin. (And you know what kind of morning person I am....ugh.) Cranked out 25 miles. We did some fun intervals today...even did a couple sets of 130RPM...that was crazy!! Can you say, spin???

Good times, though.

Tired legs. I hope we don't do a lot of kicking at today's swim. Maybe I should pray for rain instead...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You know you want some...

It's been almost 5 years. Can you believe it? I KNOW!
Who would have thought, me...in a drought since 2002!
Especially someone in my position...how is that possible?? I'm surrounded by it all day, all night, and yet I have resisted...until now.

That's right, I'm pulling the trigger on a brand-spanking new laptop!



I mean...IT'S PINK!!! HELLO!!!


Here are some of the configs:

- XPS M1530, Intel Core 2 Duo T5850(2.16GHz, 667Mhz, 2M L2 Cache)

- 3GB, DDR2, 667Mhz 2 Dimm

- 15.4 inch wide screen WXGA+ TureLife LCD with 2.0MP Camera

- 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive

Very Nice, Yes? Me likey.


The Long Road Back...

The good news is that I'm running again! YAY!!!!

While it isn't completely pain free...it is tolerable. (Some say I should still stay off it, but I just can't stand it anymore)

The bad news is that I haven't been running in almost 6 weeks (save a race here and there) and holy cow, can I tell. Oye.

I was out today for an "easy" run of 4 little bitty miles and the whole time I was thinking: How the hell did I ever do a marathon? A Boston Qualifier??? Yea, right. Let's see if I can get sub-8 for one mile. ugh.

I feel like...well, like I haven't run in over a month.

Please tell me that the "get back" curve is shorter than the "getting there" curve was...

SO FRUSTRATING!!!

But then again, I saw a young gal out running with one of those super bionic knee braces on and a wicked looking scar that I could see from a ways away and thought about me complaining about a little foot injury.

And then I think about the memorial ride we did this weekend for the Rogue Coach Mike Argall who was killed while riding his bicycle a few weeks back and I am thankful that even though it may take awhile for me to get back...I'm fortunate enough to have the while to take.

I'll drink for whining.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad Girls...Bad Girls...Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

#@$%#!&*^%$@#$#@!#!@#$%%$#^#@&*%^$#$!!!!!!!!

You know how they've finally finished construction on Anderson Mill Road? It is so smooth and clean. No bumps. No traffic barriers. No one lane each way. Just nice big two-lanes on each side, brand spanking new asphalt.

If you aren't paying close attention, before you know it, you can have your smooth ride kicking along and a pretty good clip.

51 mph...apparently.

Oh, did I mention the speed limit there is 35?

#@$%#!&*^%$@#$#@!#!@#$%%$#^#@&*%^$#$!!!!!!!!

It was profiling, I swear!!!!! Anyone doing greater than 35 got pulled over...where is the justice in that?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

...sigh...

I'm a bad citizen...again.

Dang.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why do you train?

It is the age old question that often pops up several times a season..... in the beginning when you are trying to set goals.....in the middle when you've hit a slump and just can't seem to get past sub-XX....or in the end during your goal race when you've come face to face with the wall.

At last night's HH, during the dwindling hours, this topic again came up. A fellow runner-ette who recently switched to a more challenging group was pondering said question. We all agreed that clearly there was some new motivation or unmet need that enticed her to switch groups. Yet she was still searching for the reason to specifically, not walk during any part of the long runs.

It was interesting to hear everyone's opinions and ideas. And naturally, it made me think of my own reasons for training and racing.

For me, it isn't just one thing. Some days, some reasons are stronger than others...but they are all in there, swirling around together, providing the impetus to keep moving, move faster, or to try harder.

In no particular order here are some of my reasons:

- I like how training makes my body look and feel. I feel strong. I feel healthy. Weirdly, it makes me feel like in the event of some sort of natural disaster, I'd be able to take care of my kids, my family....you know, like Katrina or something. I'd be able to haul my kids to the roof, or climb the tallest tree and hold them tight for hours and hours, or pull them in raft for miles. That kind of thing. Some weird darwinistic episode where only the strongest survive. (I read a lot of fiction... The Stand, by Stephen King..one of my all time favs)

- I train hard because I feel like my family makes tradeoffs for me so that I can spend the hours that I do away from them. So, if I'm going to be away from them, it better be for a worthwhile cause, you know? If I'm doing Mesa hill repeats instead of playing Twister with the boys, I'd better be going hard..the whole time...otherwise I feel like I've devalued their time which is, of course, very precious to me. (I'm sure that is a lot of Catholic guilt rolling around in there...but it is what it is...)

- I don't want to disappoint my coaches or my teammates. Even though running and triathlon are individual sports, I whole heartedly embrace the team elements of it all. I LOVE being a part of a team. And yes, I want my coach to be proud of me. I know I shouldn't need external validation...blah, blah, blah..but I do. SO THERE.

- I train hard because I can. More and more I hear about people my age, friends, family members being diagnosed with cancer, suffering from heart conditions, kidney problems, back problems that prohibit them from running again, etc. Who knows how long I'm going to be able to do what I do? I want to take advantage of every day that I get...you just never know. Pessimistic view? maybe....but I don't want to regret not doing it when I had the chance...

- I train because it is cheaper than therapy. Seriously. Sometimes a good long run can do wonders for your state of mind. Clear your head. Give you an opportunity to think about things. Give you some space to blow off some frustration..productively. This is my 5th triathlon season and my 6th serious running season. During this time, I've had 6...yes, SIX miscarriages. Many, many a day I would've just stayed in bed, wallowing in the inability of my body to do something it is supposedly designed to do....but instead got up and embraced what it COULD do. Pounding my frustration into the ground one step at a time, sweating and crying out feelings....all the while making room for hope, renewal, strength, fortitude.

- I'm a competitor. At the end of the day, I love to compete. I like to compete against myself and I like to compete against others who I feel share the same drive and desire to excel. I LOVE having a nemesis. I want to be able to beat my nemesis on her best day. I like seeing the numbers and surpasing them. I want to go faster. I want to go longer. I love that there are common goals that are like standards in our sports -- like qualifying for Boston or completing an Ironman. It reminds me of educational standards...bachelors..masters degrees, etc. When you say you have a Masters, people know what it takes to accomplish that and appreciate what you've done. Again, I know I shouldn't need external validation...but I like it. so there. call me shallow or whatever, but it is what it is. hmpf.

- I love the racing high. It is a great drug. There is nothing like the rush of lining up at the start, feeling your heart pounding and getting ready to go out there and give it your all. Runner's high? I totally get it. I love it. Can't get enough of it. I guess it's the endorphins?? Whatever it is.....I absolutely love the feeling it gives me. I want it. Need it. Must...have...it.... :)

As usual, more than you probably wanted to know...but there you have it.

So, why do you train?

Monday, July 14, 2008

2 + T3 = 3 (aka the Couples Race Report)

I couldn't resist. You know I love that damn course. Plantars BE DAMNED! I'm racing!
And am I SO glad I did! WHAT A FREAKIN' BLAST!

(is it coincidence that I usually have fun on this course and that's what keeps me racing on it, or is that I love the course so it is fun to race on it? self-fulfilling prophecy?)

What a great way to break in the new team experience than with a team race, right??? This was to be my first offical race under the new colors of T3. Here we are in a team pic before the race:

I was excited about the race and as usual a little nervous. But nervous for different reasons this time. I really wanted to do well for my new coaches and teammates. Is that silly or what? And not only that, the Couples tri format meant that mine and Erin's (by super sweet partner in crime) would be added together to determine our final race time...so, if I screwed up, it would hurt her time too. The pressure...THE PRESSURE! (I love it....ssshhh, don't tell.)

E and I were one of the few teams in the FRIENDS-FEMALE division since we had actually registered for the race before we joined T3. The rest of the T3ers were FRIENDS-MIXED. So we got to start in the wave ahead of the rest of the team.
So that meant we had a 4 minute head start on the likes of the defending champions Chrissy and Scott H., Coach Mo and the rest of the super fast T3ers.My goal was to hold them off as long as I could. I knew that they would pass me, it was just a matter of when. The swim was short enough (800M) that even though they are super speedy in the water (former UT swimmers), I should be able to make it out before them given the 4 minute head start. I thought I could get to Mile 6 on the bike before they hawked me down though.
I had a good swim despite what the split says (later we found out from Mo that the swim was closer to 900M...bouy float issues...but works for me!!). Couldn't keep up with Esther, who apparently has gills, and got passed by at least 2 T3 fast swimmer boys...but not Chrissy or Mo. Game still on.

Hobbled up the 200m transition from swim to T1, barefoot...with Plantars...not fun. Hopped onto my super steed and took off. And wow, immediately felt the 40-mile Fitzhugh hill ride from the day before. (The plan from our coaches was to "train through" the race. So we did our regular 13.5 hours of training during the week moving the long run to Friday and doing our long ride on Saturday.) But I kept thinking, here they come, here they come...push, push, push!

I felt like I was moving along at a good clip, but because I was in the second swim wave there wasn't that many folks out on the road, so there were many times that I was out there almost alone with just a few rabbits to try and hawk down. My odometer stopped working at mile 1.98 (which I didn't realize until I came upon the Mile 6 sign!), but I was trying to focus on my cadence anyway and just going hard so I really didn't pay much attention to the numbers. Also, because my ears were highly tuned for the whoosh-whoosh-whoosing of the T3ers coming to get me from behind I wasn't that focused on the bike computer.
But I did make it to Mile 6 without them passing me! And mile 7....and mile 8! Then mile 9,10,11 and into T2! WOOT!!!!! I was so fired up!!
I knew the run was going to be crap since I haven't run in about a month (save the attempt on Tuesday where after 2 miles on the treadmill I stopped because my foot had burst into flames). But I had decided to just do whatever I could to knock out the three miles. I set out of T2 and just picked them up and put them down. The pain was there, but surprisingly tolerable. (Could've been the tylenol I'd taken that morning?) And as I was running, it wasn't the pain in my foot that was holding me back, it felt like it was my running endurance.....but I was excited that the pain was manageable! YAY!!!
Got to Mile 1 in the run before Mo came charging by. DANG. His comment, "Hurt foot my ass! Nice work!" I responded, "Damn..eating into the handicap!" (All the T3 teams were given a handicap so at the end of the race, the club championship would be decided by the team score with the handicap. E and I had 30 minutes on defending champs Chrissy and Scott H. I think Mo's team had 5 minutes maybe...)

I kept slogging along, just trying to keep a decent pace. NOT stopping at water stops, but simply grabbing some water, taking a quick sip and throwing the rest on me. Mile 2, Chrissy and an entourage of T3 boys trying not to get "chicked" TOO badly by Chrissy (although if you are going to get chicked...I think you'd be ok if it is her) went by. As she passes she says, "Looking good Dionn, one more mile." She didn't even look like she was breaking a sweat. Me, on the other hand...drenched. But I was encouraged by the fact that I kept them off until then.... 4 minutes plus a one mile run....not too shabby!!

That damn crazy hill at the end called to me to just walk, but I knew that Erin was right on my heels somewhere and so were a bunch of other teammates and I'm sure I would never hear the end of it if they saw me walking, so I kept up the chug and crested that bad boy. Ugh. (Plus, Ms. Lord was racing and I KNEW she wouldn't walk it..so I must...go...on.....).

Poured on whatever I had left and came through the finish with the speedy T3ers already on the sidelines cheering me in. "Look at that stride!" I heard Mo exclaim. I giggled to myself...since I haven't run with the program yet, they haven't had the pleasurable experience of witnessing the adolescent giraffe in full stride. I'm sure they were like....what the hell is THAT! Coach Logan has some work to do....
E also had a great race! This is the first time I've ever seen her actually ENJOYING herself from beginning to end. When I saw her on the switch back on the run, she was running strong and smooth. More efficient in her running style than I've ever seen her. She looked AWESOME! I knew then she was going to have a great time as well.
Ended up with a great time, although the splits look a little off, like the swim was long and the bike was short or something, but here's the digits:
Swim: 17:41 (2:13/M) (see that seems off....I swear I was going faster than that...)

Bike: 36:35 (23mph)

Run: 25:52 (8:21/M)

Total Time: 1:23:16

Division Place: 3rd!!!!!!! YAY!!
E was in the bathroom changing when I went to check the results posting. When I saw that we had placed third, I let out an excited squeal and hustled off to find her. I told her we placed and she got super excited too! Here we are after we found out:

Just for giggles, I checked the times for my age group to see how I would've done had it not been a couples format. Turns out I was 4th in my AG...missing the podium by something ridiculous like 23 seconds. Good grief, the sub 1 minute misses are KILLING ME. But, I don't mind today. I had a really awesome time with the new team on my favorite course. It was a great, great day. (Oh...and beat Ms. Lord by over 3 minutes!)


Thanks E. Thanks T3. Thanks Austin.


Oh...and before I get a nasty note from Mike..here's a pic of me in the hardware post race: