Saturday, December 26, 2009

Marathon Training Update = 10 Miles Solo!

This has been a great week of running milestones. On Tuesday and Thursday, I ran 5 miles without any walk breaks in just over 1 hour. This morning, I ran 10 miles by myself -- the most I had ever run without a group was 7 miles. I feel great knowing that I could easily train for a future half marathon on my own now.

After this morning's run, I've run 20 miles this week, which is a lot for a week when I don't have a really long run. I've run 79 miles in December so far, the most ever, and still have 2 more runs before the end of the year. I hope to finish the year with at least 555 miles. I'll write a year in review post next week after I've done all my runs for the year, which will include 2009 stats, graphs, and goals for 2010.

In the meantime, you can read the full details of each of these milestone runs at dailymile:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Marathon Training Update = 20 Miles!

Today I ran 19.9 miles in 4:32 @ 13:40 min/mile pace.  That's 10 seconds per mile faster than the 18 miler and it felt much better.

I woke up at 3 am before the alarm went off and was out the door by 3:40 am for a 4 am start with the Galloway group. I hurt, but hooray for another distance PR!

Despite the early start, the cold and windy weather, the constant running nose, a blister on each foot, and my now achy muscles, it was a great run and better than the 18-miler. Mentally, it was a piece of cake and the time flew by. We basically ran 5 4-mile loops, and that helped break it up and made it easier for my brain to handle.

I also did a better job with nutrition. I started with a strawberry/banana gu at mile 4 (yum) and 2 gu chomps at mile 8. I ate a gu roctane at mile 12, which pumped me full of energy for the last 8 miles. I ate 2 shot blocks around mile 15 for good measure, but I probably would have made it without it. The schedule to eat something every 4 miles / 1 hour and alternate between gu and blocks worked out well, so I think I'll use that strategy for the race. It's nice to break it up and not eat the same thing the entire time. I may bring along sport beans for extra variety and a mini luna bar because after a while I crave something with more substance than a gu.

The weather was a challenge, but probably better than hot and humid. It was in the 50s and windy the entire time. I wore my race ready tight shorts with pants on top, a tech shirt with arm warmers, my pearl izumi wind breaker, headband, skull cap, baseball cap, and gloves. I never warmed up enough to take any of it off! I couldn't wait to get home, get out of the wet clothes, take a shower, and get into some comfy sweats. I then did a few yoga stretches, ate breakfast, and put my feet up against a wall for about 20 minutes. I may need a nap now.

Overall, it was a great run and I'm pleased with my pace for it. I'm ready to tackle this marathon already, but thankfully we still have 10 weeks and two more long runs of 23 and 26 miles before the big day. Next week will test my resolve as I attempt to run 10 miles on my own while on vacation -- most I've done by myself is 7. I think it may be time to bring the ipod shuffle out of retirement for this one.

Here's the schedule of long runs / races until race day:
  1. 12/26 - 10 miles on my own in South Florida
  2. 01/02 - 23 miles!
  3. 01/09 - 10 miles
  4. 01/16 - 12 miles
  5. 01/23 - 26 miles!
  6. 01/30 - 8 miles
  7. 02/06 - 6 miles or Lady Track Shack 5K
  8. 02/13 - 8 miles
  9. 02/21 - 5 or 10 miles at Breast Cancer Marathon Relay in Jacksonville
  10. 02/28 - Gasparilla Marathon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Improv Comedy

After a 4 year hiatus, I began taking improv classes at SAK again, 4 months ago. I had been so busy trying becoming an athlete, that I neglected exercising my brain. I haven't even had time to read. One day we went to see a SAK show, and I remembered how much fun I had doing improv. Shortly after I signed up for a class ti give me a reason to get out of the house that did not involve exercise :)

The funny thing is, I think that becoming an athlete made me a better improviser. One of the biggest challenges I face when doing improv, is that I think too much and thus do not take enough risks. Training for a triathlon was a huge leap of faith that required me to face my fears (swimming and open water) and take some risks. So when I started taking improv again, I jumped in with both feet and had so much fun. I still have work to do, but I've come a long way.

Monday night I graduated from SAK University and performed on the SAK stage. It was an incredible experience and I plan to continue attending their Monday night workshops to exercise my brain and continue the fun.

You can see the 15 scenes from the show in my YouTube Channel.

I'm featured in 7 of them: Blind Freeze, Categories, Do Run Run, Moving Bodies, Should've Said, Lines from a Book, & Crime Endowment


Sunday, December 13, 2009

101 Things in 1001 Days

Running for 1 hour straight is the first thing I'm checking off my 101 Things in 1001 Days List. I planned to start tackling the list in the new year, but now this means it starts today, 12/13/2009, and ends on 09/02/2012.
  • I've already completed 3 of the tasks, and you can see them and details about them by clicking the "completed" link in the box to the right of the list or view the print version here.
  • Select the checkbox to the left of any of the tasks and more details will appear in the box to the right of the list, such as tags and notes. 
  • If you click on a tag, you can see a sub-set of all items on my list related to that tag.
  • Items with an asterisk (*) are things I've done before but not in a long time or that I want to make sure to do again soon.
If you are doing this too, let me know in the comments and post a link to your list. I can't wait to read everyone's list and see your progress!

I'm a One Hour Runner!

I am in awe of myself. I created a list of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days. One of the items on that list is to Run for 1 hour without walking. I was going to start tackling the list at the beginning of the year, but I had the urge to run this morning and I did it!

I ran 4.5 miles in 1 hour @ 13:15 min/mile average pace without any walk breaks! I walked for 3 minutes at the 1 hour mark, and then I ran another 2.5 miles in 33 minutes @ 13:12 min/mile average pace without any walking!

That's a total of 7 miles of pure running bliss at an average pace under 13:30 min/mile, and I felt great! My knees were a little achy, but they are totally pain free now. The most I've ever run without walking was about 42 minutes and maybe 3 - 3.5 miles, so this is a huge accomplishment for me. I also did not think I'd be able to run it this fast (I know this is slow, but it is fast for me without walk breaks).

When I set out to run this morning, I just wanted to get in a few extra miles to make up for missed runs this week and cutting yesterday's run short. I figured running 1 hour straight without walking was a bit ambitious since I had already run 8 miles yesterday, but I was feeling good. I told myself I'd shoot for 45 or 50 minutes instead, but by then what's another 10-15 minutes? :) I started nice and slow, just under 14 min/mi, and tried to pick up the pace after 30 minutes to average at least 13:45 min/mi. Before I knew it, I was close to 13:30, so I had to try to reach that and I smashed it! I am amazed I had that much energy to push that hard at the end.

I probably could have kept running for more than 1 hour without walking, but I didn't want to press my luck. I still wanted to get in 7 miles, so I started running nice and easy for another 30 minutes after the 3MR. This was a much shorter run, and I was full of energy, so I was able to pick up the pace a tad more sooner. I'm sure I experienced the runner's high today, because I could have run forever. If my knees hadn't protested, I probably would have kept going :)

Now I'm rethinking some of the items on my list and may still tweak it a bit, but it's pretty close to final. So, what's on your 101 Things in 1001 Days list? :)

PS - I am a slacker and still need to post my race report for the OUC Half Marathon last Saturday 12/5 and yesterday's Reindeer Run 5K. In the meantime, you can read my mini reports on dailymile by clicking on the links in the previous sentence.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Race Report: Reindeer Run 5K 2009

This will be sweet and short. The Reindeer Run 5K is a christmas themed fun run, so I set out to make the most of it with bows on my shoes and a santa hat on my head. I was pleased it was warmer than last year, and I could wear shorts and no sleeves.

Marathon training schedule called for 10 miles, so Jason and I ran almost 5 miles to the race with the Galloway group using 1:1 intervals -- we planned to run 4, but got lost on the way there. Since I planned to run another 4 miles back to my car after the race, I ran the race w/o walk breaks (except for 30 seconds at the water stop) at an easy with mom. We stayed together the whole time. I was actually having a hard time keeping up with her during the first mile because I was tired from the previous 5 miles. We were both getting tired at the end, but I dug deep and encouraged mom, and we sprinted together through the finish line in just under 40 minutes. We planned to run back, but one of my toe nails cut into my other toe making it bleed and I could not find a bandaid, so we got a ride back to the car with my parents. I do not have any data for this race because my Garmin died before I started to run, but it's oddly liberating to run without it from time to time.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Race Report: OUC Half Marathon 2009

I finished my 3rd half marathon, in the rain, just 40 seconds slower than last year. Even though I did not meet my time goals or PR, I'm proud I put forth my best effort until the end and did not let the scary weather deter me from attempting this race. Most importantly, I didn't get hurt and thus I'm still on track for my target race, the Gasparilla Marathon on February 28th. I still cannot believe I've run 3 half marathons in the last 12 months, and will be running my first full marathon in less than 3 months. I can't wait! Before I delve into the full race report, below are my race stats.

Race Stats:
  • Clock - 2:41:08 (2:41:49 in 2008)
  • Chip - 2:39:36 (2:38:56 in 2008)
  • AG - 160/182
  • Gender - 881/1011
  • Overall- 1900/2093
  • Garmin - 13.25 miles in 2:39:40 @ 12:02
A lot of people I know also ran this race, including my Dad and Jason (this was Jason's first half marathon), and mom ran the 5k. Many of them met at our place since we live 2 blocks from the start. Because of the crappy weather, we stayed in my apartment until the last possible moment. Luckily, I was still able to find Carlie and Penny before the gun went off.

The weather turned out to be just about perfect for running. It was overcast, but warm enough for shorts. We got sporadic light drizzling starting around mile 3, but by then we were nice and warm so it was welcomed. Carlie and I were making good time and having a blast. We got to the halfway point in 1:15, on pace to meet my goal of a 2:30 finish, but it all went downhill from there.

I didn't bring my own water and my mouth felt really dry, so I ended up drinking way too much water at the mile 6 water stop as I washed down a gu. I had started out too fast, and I started to slow down and could not recover. I simply could not get my legs to go any faster and then I got a side stitch that lasted for 2 miles.

The side stitch eventually went away, but then it came back with a vengeance on the other side for the last mile. I tried to run through it, but it was so painful that I just wanted to curl up into a ball. I still kept running as much as possible, and would have finished in 2:35 were it not for the stitch. I still held hope that I could dig deep for a final sprint and at least PR by a few seconds. However, as I turned the corner for the home stretch, my calves and hamstrings cramped up and I could not speed up. I kept running as best I could and finally crossed the finish line completely spent. I still feel I ran a good race, and got a 10K PR, but will work hard after the marathon to improve my speed and run a sub-2:30 half marathon in 2010.

Mile Splits

mile 1 - 11:37
mile 2 - 11:49
mile 3 - 10:58
5k - 35:41 
mile 4 - 11:17
mile 5 - 11:20
mile 6 - 11:05
10K- 1:10:31 (this is 5 minutes faster than my 10K PR!)
Half Way - 1:15:09
mile 7 - 12:11
mile 8 - 11:40
mile 9 - 13:26
mile 10 - 12:35
mile 11 - 12:24
mile 12 - 13:15
mile 13 - 13:08
finish - 11:17 (.25 in 2:45)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Race Report: Turkey Trot 5K 2009

This was a truly non-stop 5K -- I didn't even stop for water -- but it took a lot out of me. I was beat by the time I finished, and I barely had anything for a final kick. As soon as I stopped, I felt ill. It's so weird how I get this cramp in my lower abdomen whenever I exert myself too much. I had to keep walking and eventually the cramping went away and I felt much better.

While the race was crowded (we saw bibs as high as 4800), that was never a problem -- nothing will ever compare to the 11,000+ runners at the Corporate 5K. It was a bit cold this morning, but with pants and long sleeve tech shirt, it felt comfortable for a 5k race.

Splits (pace):

9:47 (.11 miles)

I clearly started too fast and faded at the end resulting in positive splits (a rare thing for me), but I accomplished my goal of running the whole thing. I finished in 35:13 by my watch. I still prefer to at least take a small walk break at each mile. That usually is enough to re-energize me and net me a faster overall race time. I can't wait to have this marathon behind me so I can work on speed! :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Marathon Training Update = 18 Miles!

Today I ran 18 miles in 4 hrs and 9 minutes at 13:50 min/mile avg pace. This was a challenging run, both physically and mentally, but I made it and have another distance PR by 2 miles!

Unlike the 16 miler 2 weeks ago, which flew by, this run seemed to take forever. I struggled mentally to get through the first half, and it wasn't until mile 10 that I felt I had made some progress. I seemed to get a second wind after that, at least mentally, but then my legs started getting tired and achy. The last 5 miles (or maybe 8 miles -- everything is kind running together in my head) were outright painful. Not a "I'm hurt and should stop" kind of painful, just general muscle fatigue. At least the knees behaved and the new shorts kept the chafing away. I finished this run out of cheer will to stay on schedule, and felt great when I was done. I don't hurt as bad any more, but I'm still a bit sore -- especially my feet and when I flex them.

I ate a GU Roctane before starting, then 2 others during the run and about 3 shot blocks. I tried the Chocolate Mint GU today and I'm in love! I tolerate most flavors (read I swallow without tasting for fuel), and other flavors are not bad (I don't mind eating these slower), but I actually enjoyed this one. I could eat it all day long! It's a seasonal flavor, so I'm going to need to stock up now to have enough for the marathon in February.

The great news is that I don't have to up the millage for another 4 weeks! This was my last long run as I begin my taper for the OUC 1/2 Marathon. I was able to reschedule the 20 miler so I can have a week to recover from the half marathon and do another 5K.

Here's what my schedule of long run and races looks like for the rest of the year:

  • 11/26 - Turkey Trot 5k - I plan to run the whole thing (no walking) with mom and just have fun
  • 11/28 - 6 miles - I will be in South Florida visiting Jason's mom, so we'll need to find a route and make sure we don't slack off on this. Thankfully, 6 miles is now short enough to run by myself. =)
  • 12/05 - OUC Half Marathon - I'm hoping I can push it a little bit and finish in 2:30.
  • 12/12 - Reindeer Run 5K  - I'm scheduled for 10 this weekend (was 20 but switched to next week), so I may run a short 6 miles on Sun or just add some miles before/after the race. 
  • 12/19 - 20 miles!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Horrible Hundred (35)

On Sunday, Nov 15th, I did a 35 mile ride as part of the Horrible Hundred event in Clermont. What makes it so horrible? The damn hills! The ride itself was actually beautiful and the weather was perfect, if a little cold (I wore my arm warmers most of the time). I had a pretty good pace going, averaging 16 mph for the first 7 miles, and was still going strong @ ~15.7 mph until I hit the first big hill at mile 9 and never recovered.

I saw several people walking up the hill and thought that was a brilliant idea, so I followed suit. It was almost as bad walking up it, as it made my calves ache, but at least it didn't feel like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. My total active time was 2:38, which includes my "speed" walking up 3-4 of the hills, so I'm pleased I still managed to average 13+ mph. Whenever I was not climbing or walking up a hill, I was consistently averaging at least 14-15 mph.

The event itself was really well organized. The rest stop was well stocked with oreos, trail mix, PB&J sandwiches, fruit, and even nutella! After the ride, we feasted on lunch (included in the entry fee) of grilled fish, burgers, and brats along with yummy sides. I clearly need more hill practice, but I'll probably do this again next year. One thing is for certain, this will make the 8 mile ride in the tris this spring seem like a walk in the park :) I can't wait!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Marathon Training Update = 16 Miles!

Wow! I can't believe I have not posted anything in over a month! (I still need to post my race report from the UCF 5 Miler, but since it didn't go so well I've not been in a hurry. You can read the recap at dailymile).

Marathon training has been a bit frustrating because my knee has been acting up, making me doubt whether I'll be able to make it to the start line without injury. I keep forgetting that training for marathon is more than a physical challenge and it takes a toll emotionally as well. I had a small break down yesterday because of my knee issues, but this morning's 16.1 miles run lifted my spirits and renewed my confidence that I can complete a marathon.

Highlights from today's run:
  • Stats:
    • 16.1 in 3:39:31 @ 13:38 min/mile pace! 
    • I was expecting to average closer to 14 or 14:30 or even 15, so I'm thrilled with this pace -- especially since we ran using 1:1 intervals!
    • Distance PR by 3 miles! 
    • The best part of marathon training is that every 2-3 runs is the furthest/longest run of my life! =)
  • Weather: 
    • The cool weather helped a ton. 
    • I wore my arm warmers for the first 8 miles and was a bit cold when I took them off after that, but the temp was comfortable throughout. 
  • Nutrition: 
    • I tried a Vanilla/Orange GU Roctane Gel before starting, a Plain GU after the first 8 miles, and ate some shotblocks, sports beans, and fruit snacks throughout. I seemed to be always be starving.
    • I still don't love the gels, but they are tolerable and seem to really help fuel these long runs. 
  • Pain: 
    • The knee behaved for the most part. I wore a compression sleeve over it, and that offered enough support to keep it from hurting. 
    • I had a bit of a scare at mile 9ish when I stepped wrong causing a shooting pain on my knee. I immediately stopped and walked, and it seemed to disappear by the next run interval. 
    • The knee was a little achy/sore for the last 4-6 miles, but obviously not a show stopper. 
    • I'm a little sore all over now, but nothing major. On the other hand, the chafing in unusual places sucks!
  • Route:
    • We ran to Brandywines and back for 8 miles, then returned to the school.
    • We then ran 2 miles to Cady Way, 2 miles on the trail, and 2 miles back to the school for a total of 14 miles.
    • I was the only one running 16, so I did an extra loop from the school to the lake and back.
I'm glad next Saturday is low millage so I can recover a bit, but I'm exited for the 18 miler in 2 weeks!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Race Report: U Can Finish 5 Miler

I had some lofty goals for this race, and I didn't even come close to reaching them :( I was hoping to average an 11 min/mile pace and finish in 55 minutes; if not, at least I wanted a PR and beat last year's time of 57:24; towards the end of the race, I was just hoping for a sub-1 hour and that I wasn't seriously injured.

I was hoping the cold weather (50s!) would help me reach my first goal, but I think it may have actually hindered me because I have not run in cold weather in months. I started slow, around 11:30, and tried to pick it up after mile 2. I succeeded for a bit and mile 3 was my fastest at 11:09, but I just could not push my legs to go any faster after that. During the last mile, my left knee and lower leg (shin?) started hurting and I got a wicked side stich, causing me to slow down considerably and take additional walk breaks. I couldn't even sprint to the finish because anything more than a jog hurt. Since I knew my goals were already out of reach, there was no sense in pushing myself and risking a major injury.

Oh well, at least I'm still standing and the knee probably just needs rest. I don't think I will race again until the OUC Half Marathon so I can focus on marathon training and avoid injury. I must keep my eye on the prize and not jeopardize my chance of making it to the start of my first marathon.

  • 11:44 
  • 12:00 
  • 11:09 
  • 12:17 
  • 13:08

  • Garmin =  5.13 mi in 01:02 @ 12:04 pace
  • Clock Time = 1:02:17
  • Chip Time = 1:01:33
  • Overall place = 852 / 918
  • Female place = 395 / 438
  • AG place = 52 / 60

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Race Report: Miracle Miles 15K

I've been such a slacker about posting race reports lately, but I guess is better late than never :) I think I lack the motivation to blog about races because running has become such a routine that it feels like every race report is the same thing and I nothing special. But I'm still making progress by leaps and bounds, so I don't want to quit documenting it. So onto the race report! There are no photos of this race because Jason ran it too and there were no official photographers :(

Last Saturday, 9/26, I ran my first 15K race, and had a great time despite the heat and humidity that accosted us towards the end of the race. I had a couple of goals for this race, the main one being a sub-12 min/mile pace, because I wasn't sure I had being training for long distances enough to push it more. Secretly, I wanted to finish in 1:45 - 1:50 with a sub-11:45 min/mile avg pace. I pretty much met all my goals. If I pushed a tad more at the end, I probably would have come in under 1:45, but I am very pleased with my effort.

The race start was a little over 2 miles from our apartment, so we biked there. This is always a great way to warm up, and it helped us beat the traffic. I found a few people from the Galloway group at the start line and ran with them for a bit using 2:1. We were averaging 12 min/mi from the beginning, which had me worried I had started out too fast, but I was able to keep improving the pace for most of the race. One of the girls, Carlie, and I eventually ran ahead of the group and finished together. We took an extra walk break just before mile 8 then pushed it to the end. I was glad to have enough left for a nice sprint at the finish, and grateful for a running buddy to help me push through the rough patches. I wore my fuel belt with two bottles so I could drink whenever I wanted. There was plenty of water on the course, but I'm glad I had it so I could eat and drink on my schedule. I also brought some gels and shot blocks, and I can sure tell the difference when I take those. I think that's what got me through the last 5K.

According to the Garmin, I ran 9.42 miles in 1:49:50 @ 11:39 min/mi avg pace. This increases my confidence that with a little more training and speed work, I'll be able to run a sub-2:30 half marathon in December. I can't wait!

Mile Splits (pace) according to Garmin

10:21 (.42 in 4:19)

Official Stats

  • overall place = 1000 / 1260
  • age group place = 77 / 107
  • gender place = 488 / 676
  • clock time = 1:50:48
  • chip time = 1:49:50

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Welcome Runner's Lounge - Yoga for Runners

I'm today's host for Take it and Run Thursday over at the Runner's Lounge blog, and want to extend a huge welcome to everyone at the Lounge reading this. Before we get today's topic, here's a little about me.

About Me
I started running a year and a half ago after I finished a 2 mile race that I mostly walked. I sprinted to the finish, and crossing that finish line changed me. I decided then that I wanted to be able to run more than just a final sprint, so I started C25K. Since then, I've lost almost 30 lbs and finished over two dozen races: countless 5Ks, 2 10Ks, 2 half marathons, a duathlon, and a few triathlons. (You can read all about these experiences in my race reports.) I am now training for my first full marathon at the end of February 2010. I've been lucky to have a boyfriend and parents that not only support me, but run along with me :) We'll be doing a marathon relay in February.

For more details of my running journey, read My Evolution as a Runner. And check out the slideshow of my running milestones below, from my first race, to running with my parents, to my first half marathon, to my first duathlon and triathlon. You can also view the photos on flickr with commentary.

Today's Topic: Yoga and Running

I find yoga to be an excellent companion to my running to avoid injury, improve flexibility, and help relieve sore muscles after a hard workout or race. Tell us about your experience with yoga as it relates to running. If you have not tried it, why not? If you have, did it help? How often do you feature yoga in your weekly workout regime? What are your favorite yoga poses and routines? Pass on your recommendations for your favorite yoga DVDs, instructors, podcasts, online resources, etc.

I've written about this topic before, but I am curious about other's take on it. I try to do yoga whenever I can, at least once a week, on my rest day, but I often follow most hard workouts with a short yoga session, or whenever something aches I try to target it with yoga. I find it helps me recover faster.

I've been mostly doing Chaz's podcast from and I love them. They are easy to follow, only 20-25 minutes, and targeted for specific needs -- such as yoga for runners, for knees, etc. You can download the last 20-25 for free from iTunes, or purchase older episodes from the archives for $1.99. I highly recommend them.

Rodney Yee
In addition to these, I still also use Rodney Yee's Yoga Conditioning for Athletes. This DVD includes a 1 hour practice geared towards athletes with pose modifications for all levels. It also has several sport specific mini workouts (cycling, running, golf, swimming, and tennis), about 5-7 mins each, that can be used as a pre/post run stretch. I also own several of his other DVDs, and I've yet to find any I did not like.

Below is a list of some of my favorite yoga poses for runners (I'm sure I am forgetting many). Most of these are featured in the YOGAmazing for runners podcast. For details on these and other poses, check out This site is a great source for yoga poses, sequences, and specific yoga needs. Be sure to check out their Yoga for Runners section.
  • child's pose - this is a great pose of surrender and a nice back stretch. Chaz starts most podcasts with this to focus on breathing
  • downward dog - a great full body pose, and it feels great to stretch the legs and back
  • pidgeon - great pose for runners, and especially the hips
  • thread the needle - great twisting pose
  • runner's lunge - the name says it all :) There is a variation that is also a great hip opener
  • butterfly - another hip opener
  • cat-cow - great to stretch out the back
What's yours favorite pose?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Race Report: OUC Downtown Orlando Triathlon Relay (1:47:43)

On yet another whim, I signed up for a triathlon relay this past weekend with my girls and had SO much fun! It was just what I needed to get out of the funk after the Trek didn't go as planned. This is the relay we were going to do initially, but we thought it'd be too soon after the trek. We were wrong! I'm now also addicted to triathlon relays :) Here we are, "MK^2 Impulse," before the start of the race. Can you guess who did which leg? ;)

Team MK^2 Impulse - Guess who did which leg? ;)

Also at the race:

 Kyle (owner of Kyly'e Bike Shop) and Kristi
It was his first tri and her 2nd

Kyle and Kristi Markel

Jason and David aka "Spontaneous Combustion"
doing a 2-man relay, who placed 2nd in their division!

Team Spontaneous Combustion

and Giles, who helped me get the confidence in my swimming to give this crazy sport a try.

Giles @ swim start


The race start was at Lake Underhill Park, 3.2 miles from our apartment. Since I'm training for a marathon at the end of February, and the training plan called for 10 miles that day, we ran to the race start at an easy pace to get some extra miles. Combined with the race distance and a 1 mile walk home, I got in a total of 8 miles.

We got body marked and I found the girls. The relay wave was last, starting at 8 am, so we had a lot of time to kill. When we registered on Thursday, we all put shirt sizes that were too big because we kept thinking how small the shirts we got at the Trek were. But we forgot that the Trek was a women's race with women specific shirts, and these tech shirts were probably unisex. We were bummed that they were so big, but we brought them with us in hopes of exchanging them for smaller ones if they had any leftover. They DID! And that made my day because I love this race's logo and wanted to be able to wear the shirt. I was more excited about this race than the Trek :) (Maybe because I didn't have to swim =P)

The Race is On!

We headed to the start and watched the other waves take off, then finally Kelly and Jason were on their way. Since I did the run, I was able to take pictures of everyone during the swim and see them finish. Between legs, the other relay members were herded to a tent to wait for our turn. This amused me, but it gave us a great vantage point to watch the other triathletes and cheer them on. Jason and I were both doing the run leg, so it was cool we got to hang out in the tent for a bit while David came back from the bike.

Our cyclists in the relay cage Runners waiting for cyclists at relay cage

My Turn to Shine! 
Run = 3.86 mi in 41:29 @ 10:44 pace

The run felt amazing! My left calf and hamstring were a little tight while I waited for MaryLynn to finish the bike leg, but I took off like a bat out of hell after we did the hand off. The first 2 minutes was at a 8:46 min/mile pace. I clearly started too fast, and I ended up with positive splits, but I pushed myself hard and far exceeding my expectations (I figured I'd average at best 11:30 min/mile).

I ran using 2:1 intervals, but pushed hard during the running segments, running most of them at a 9-10 min/mile pace. During the 2nd half, the intervals turned into run 2 minutes hard, walk 30 seconds, jog 30 seconds, then push hard for 2 minutes, then repeat. It certainly helped that it was overcast the entire time, even if it was still pretty humid. I also hydrated well and ate a gel during the run. I think that helped keep me going.

As I ran past the 3 mile mark near the Howard MS track at Summerlin, I saw the girls walking to the finish line and cheering me on. That brought a smile to my face and gave me the extra motivation I needed to push hard to the finish. They ran with me for a few seconds, and then I took off. As I rounded the last corner before the one to the finish line, I started to pick up the pace a bit more as I saw Jason cheering me on and running with me on the side walk. Alicia and Giles were at the last corner, and I dug deep, even deeper than at the Trek, and finished with an amazing sprint.

They held the tape for me to "break" as I finished. That was a really nice touch. I felt really strong and very pleased with my performance.  My official time was 40:47 @ 10:28 min / mile -- not sure how that makes sense, but I'll take it. Maybe the course was long. I started my watch after the hand off while still in transition. This is close to the pace of my 5K PR, so that's impressive. I finished 414 / 507 overall and 13 / 15 in our division.

Official Team Results
  • rank = 460 / 507 overall; 12 / 15 in division
  • time: 1:47:43
  • swim rank = 482 / 507 overall ;14 / 15 in division
  • swim time = 16:13
  • t1 = 1:11
  • bike rank = 485 / 507 overall ;11 / 15 in division
  • bike time = 48:36 @ 14.4 mph
  • t2 = 0:58
  • run rank = 414 / 507 overall; 13 / 15 in division
  • run time = 40:47 @ 10:28 min/mil
Final Thoughts

I'm really impressed with this race and plan to do it again next year, either by myself or as a relay. Relays are awesome because you get to compete while still cheering on all your friends, and you can push yourself a little bit harder when you focus on one sport and because you don't want to let your team down. It's truly the best of both worlds. The impulsiveness of signing up for this at the last minute also added to the excitement and took the pressure off. We just wanted to have fun, and that we sure did! I can't wait for the next one in October -- unless we find another sooner ;) Great job team MK^2!

PS - While waiting for Kelly to finish the swim, MaryLynn said someone recognized me and told her she followed my blog. That's so neat! If it was you, comment and let me know. I'd love to know which one of my readers was also at this Tri!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Race Report: Trek Women's Spring Tri (2:13:40)

I finished my first full sprint triathlon on Sunday, 9.6.09 in 2:13:40, and I'm a little underwhelmed, but I had a blast with all the girls before, during, and after. I finished 796 / 936 overall and 84 / 96 in my age group. Here's the recap.

Saturday: Kids Run, Expo, and Pre-Race Dinner

We drove to Disney's Ft. Wilderness early Saturday morning to see Isa run her first race: 100 yard dash. She was adorable! We killed some time after the kid's race at the playground, then went to the expo to get our race packets, race shirt, and shop! Sports Beans was one of the sponsors, so I got many samples of my favorite running nutrition in their new resealable package. I bought a new tri top and got the girls matching bondi bands that say "tri like a girl" for us to wear at our triathlon relay.

Terrific Trio @ Trek Expo

After the expo, we checked into our cabin, I racked my bike, then went to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch with Lisa and Joe. We chilled in our cabin for a bit after lunch until dinner time. I also had to do a bit of laundry because I put some hershey kisses in my goodie bag that melted while we were at lunch covering the entire contents in gooey chocolate, including my race shirt and new tri top. Chris and David finally got back to the cabin from working the expo all day, then we headed to Giordanno's for the pre-race dinner. We had a blast catching up with friends and eating yummy food, and of course posting for quirky photos =P

Pre-race dinner at Giordano's Pre-race dinner at Giordano's

Race Morning

Jason and I caught the shuttle to transition area and found MaryLynn on the bus. We got to the transition area just as Kelly was getting there, and got to work. After we setup our areas, we finished body marking each other and headed to the beach.

We quickly found Jason and Joe, and eventually saw the rest of the girls. I was not nervous about this race all week, or even this weekend, until we got to the beach and I saw the buoys. It looked SO LONG! We took some pre-race shots at the dock, where our camera men were stationed, then headed to the beach.  While waiting at the beach, my mom and grandma found me and we took some more pics. It was great to see them there and helped calmed my nerves a bit, but not much. I was still freaking out about how far the swim looked.

Swim = 1/2 mile (880 yds) in 35:00 - 877 / 936

I didn't drown! :)The swim took a little longer than I predicted, but I made it in one piece! I was freaking out while waiting for our wave to start, but once I got in the water I was fine and just kept swimming. I stopped a lot to tread water and see where I was going, switching to breast stroke and side stroke from time to time, but I never stopped completely to hold onto a swim noodle or kayak. It was a little humbling to see everyone I knew in the next wave past me, and before long I was swimming in a sea of blue and purple caps (my wave was orange), but I didn't care. Now I have an official time of 35:36 to beat next time :)

T1 - 00:04:16

We had a long run to the transition area after the swim, and I probably spent too much time putting on socks, shoes, and gloves. I was also a bit flustered and tired from the swim.

Bike = 12.13 mi in 52:00 @ 14.1 mph - 773 / 936

Bike finish I'm really disappointed in my bike performance. This is my slowest pace in a race. I seem to get slower on the bike with every race I do. I intended to push hard on the bike to make up for the swim, but no matter what I could no go any faster and the hills didn't help. I'd like to blame this on the crowded field, or that I was too tired from the swim and maybe I kicked too much, but the truth is that I did not train properly on the bike the last few months. I commuted to work on my explorer bike, but didn't push myself and rarely did any speed work. I'm going to train specifically for the distance next time and do some drills to improve my speed/power. I'll probably also start wearing the camelbak for longer races as I think I'm wasting too much time reaching down for the water bottle. I think I use it as an excuse to take a break and it makes me lose momentum and takes a little time to get back up to speed. My official bike time  was 53:15, but  that includes 1/4 mile or more run to mount line.

T2 - 00:02:27

Not much to say here. I ran my bike to the back of the transition area, raked it, took off helmet, switched shoes, then grabbed hat and racing belt as I ran out of the transition area. I almost forgot to switch my watch from the bike to my wrist.

Run =  3.15 mi in  38 @ 12:03 min/mile - 620 / 936

Cheryl bringing me home witha strong finish. Thanks Cheryl! The run went much better than I expected. I fumbled with my watch and never set up the intervals, but that worked out in my favor. I started running using 3:1 for maybe the first mile, but I felt good and reduced the walk breaks to every half mile or less -- usually just at the water stops. After the last water stop, I pushed it to catch up to Kelly and I seemed to find my stride so ran it all the way to the finish line trying to get to a sub-12 min/mile avg pace. Cheryl was there at the 3 mile mark and ran with me to end pushing me to dig deep for a strong finish. Thanks Cheryl!!

My Negative Splits pace:

mile 1 - 12:56
mile 2 - 12:23
mile 3 - 11:21
finish (.15) - 8:42!! 

Final Thoughts

So it wasn't the race I was hoping for, and I was a little down about it on Monday, but I need to remind myself that a few months ago I thought a triathlon wasn't even an option for me. I could barely swim and the thought of even getting in a lake terrified me. Being able to complete this was a huge accomplishment, and it certainly will not be the last one. I'm completely addicted! The best part is that I got to share it with a great group of women, and I've met new friends along the way. Here is just a few of them. Thanks ladies and Jason for all your support, and for believing in me. I could not have done it with each and every one of you.

Strong Women!

View more race photos

Magic Mile in 9:15

I ran a 1 mile timed trial at the track last Tuesday in 9 minutes and 15 seconds! That's insane and over 1 minute faster than last year. This means that a sub-30 5K is closer than I thought, and I'm going to do my best to make that happen by the end of the year. I'm adding speed work to my running this year, so I hope to run my next half marathon a little faster. I'd by so happy with a sub-2:30 half marathon.

Below are my target race paces according to Jeff Galloway's predictor calculator based on my 1 mile time:
  • 5K = 9:48 min/mile (30:23)
  • 10K = 10:38 min/mile (1:05:57)
  • Half Marathon = 11:06 min/mile (2:25:25)
  • Marathon = 12:02 min/mile (5:15:03)

August in Review

August July June May
run distance 31.64 miles 33.65 miles 21.16 miles 43.64 miles
longest run 6 miles 6 miles 3.75 miles 5.5 miles
avg run pace 12:49 min/mile 12:54 min/mile 12:05 min/mile 11:56 min/mile
bike distance 250.41 miles 190 miles 228.17 miles 161.86 miles
longest ride 30 miles 45.45 miles 50 miles 21.2 miles
avg bike speed 12.7 mph 12.1 mph 12.2 mph 13.6 mph
swim sessions 14 13 5 0
swim distance  6.63 miles 5.14 miles 1.7 miles 0

Accomplishments in August
Goals for September

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Marathon Training Begins

Today I officially started training for the Gasparilla Marathon on February 28. This will be the last year to run this marathon (they are replacing it with a 10k next year), so I hope I'm ready. I want to do this particular marathon as my first because 1) it is pirate themed and 2) they have a Marathon Maiden Voyage option:
Those taking their Marathon Maiden Voyage in Tampa will be issued a Special Marathon Maiden Voyage Race Number, and at the Gasparilla Marathon Finish Line, pirates will be waiting to present a Marathon Maiden Voyage Finisher’s Medal and ring the ship's bell to commemorate the crossing.
How cool is that!? And how cool is this medal?

I went for an amazing run this morning with the Galloway group--my first in months. We did 6 easy miles using 2:1 and I felt great. Next week it's the Trek Tri and that will suffice for my run, but the following week I run 10 miles. I haven't run that in a long time, so I'll take it slow and maybe drop down to 1:1 to ease back into it. I plan to continue biking and swimming for cross training, but will need to make running my focus to be ready for the marathon. My weekly training will probably consist of 2 bike to work days, 1 swim, 2 mid-week runs of 3-6 miles, and 1 long-run on Saturdays. I'll sprinkle other races in the mix to keep me motivated (and hopefully run a sub-30 5K), but I will have to hold back some in order to prepare for and recover from the long runs properly.

Here's my racing schedule (subject to change) until the Marathon:

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Race Report: Central Florida Sprint Tri #3 (1:29:01)

I signed up for this race on a whim this morning. Jason registered last week, and Friday morning I began considering joining him, but wanted to wait to see how I felt this morning before committing. I decided to go for it to get some experience swimming in a lake in a race environment. I took some pressure off myself by treating it as just another brick workout -- a very expensive one -- and I think that made the race much more enjoyable. I'm thrilled that I finished in under 1:30.

Official Stats:
  • swim = 12:19 - 15/16 in AG
  • T1 = 3:09 - 8/16 in AG
  • bike = 33:47 - 14/16 in AG
  • T2 = 1:55 - 14/16 in AG
  • run = 37:53 - 15/16 in AG
  • total time = 1:29:01
  • gender place: 124 / 149
  • age group place = 16 / 16
The times and distances listed below are from my Garmin since the official results are based on the advertised distanced (instead of the actual distances I ran/biked) and include mounting and dismounting.

Since I did same day registration, I got last month's shirt. It's a shame that they only had a medium because I really love the design. I think I'm going to finally use my sewing machine to make it shorter so I can wear it. The goodie bag also included a cool license plate cover that we've already put to use. I'll post pics later. After registering, I began my typical pre-race freak out and questioning what the hell I was doing. I got all my gear and headed to the transition area to find I had a great spot at the end of the rack and right in front of the entrance. They were really serious about the rules in this race, down to where and in which direction you racked your bike. We got a rules sheet in our packet describing all the penalties, and race officials were circling the transition area checking bike racks and that the bar ends were plugged. It was a little intimidating to say the least. While setting up my transition area, I met another member of the Trek Tri Meetup group. Registering for the Trek Tri is the best decision I've made, because I've met so many great ladies.

Swim = 400 yards in 12:19
This was my first real lake swim in a race environment, and I did not freak out like I thought I would. I did get tired pretty quickly, which makes me a little nervous about having to swim twice this much at the Trek in just 3 short weeks. I stayed in the back and avoided getting kicked, slapped or run over -- others were not so fortune -- and was 3rd to last out of the water in my wave. Several from the next wave caught up to me before I was done, but I'm ok with that. The swim for me is all about survival. I only turned over on my back 2-3 times, and my time was pretty close to what I predicted.

T1 = 3:09
We had to run a bit from the beach to the transition area, so I think that's where most of this time is coming from. I decided to try not rinsing out my feet and just wiping them on the towel. It worked ok, but I'm not sure I'll do that again. The transition area was on grass, so I had blades of grass and some sand stuck to my feet. The more I do this, the less stuff I bring. This time I decided not to wear cycling gloves and that worked out ok.

Bike = 8.10 miles in 32:49 @ 14.8 mph
The timing mat was at the exit of the transition area before we were allowed to mount. I started my Garmin after I mounted and began riding, so that's why the time from the official results is longer. We had to tackle a big hill at the very start of the bike course, and I saw several people off their bikes walking up the hill. Even though I was taking it easy in this race, I wanted to push on the bike and at least average 15 mph. The hills were not as bad as I expected, nor as frequent, but they were certainly a challenge. I tried to make up whatever time I could on the downhills and flat portions. At the end of the first 7 miles, I had an average of 15.3 mph, but then we had to climb one huge hill. I didn't have enough left to tackle it and my average plummeted. I passed at least 5 people, maybe more, but I lost track. 

T2 = 1:55
I racked my bike and quickly switched shoes, took off my helmet, then grab my hat and racing belt as I began to exist the transition area. 

Run = 2.95 miles in 37:53 @ 12:50 min/mile
I had a pain-free run on Thursday, but I was not taking any chances of re-injuring the foot, so I ran/walked using 2:1 intervals. This worked out well because 2 minutes was about all I could run without running out of breath or feeling exhausted. The run began with a hill, which I walked then ran downhill. The course had 2 out and back portions, and cruelly passed by the finish line just after mile 1. I think I drank too much water because I felt a bit sluggish, but I kept drinking every chance I got since it was so hot. I was hoping to average closer to 12, but I didn't feel like pushing myself more. I just wanted to enjoy this race and take it all in. I began cutting the walk breaks short after the 2 mile mark, and substituting 30s of walking with a slow jog, then I ran the last 1/2 mile to the finish line. 
This was another race with a great post-race spread: bananas, chips, cookies, soda, and hot dogs. I really wish I had done the other 2 races in this series so I had something to compare it to, but I was just not ready then. I'll probably do the entire series next year. I am totally hooked on tris! :)

Race Report: Faces of Courage Reverse Triathlon (1:33:12)


This is the first triathlon for which I registered. I was lured in by the pool swim, and at the time I thought this would be the closest I'd ever get to doing a tri because of my fear of swimming in open water. This is the same reason why I tried a duathlon. I've quickly come to realized that it's easier to get used to swimming in open water and doing a real triathlon, because the easy way out in trying to avoid it (reverse tri with pool swim or duathlon) were not so easy after all.

Official Stats:
  • run = 36:34 - 9/10 in AG
  • T1 = 1:46 - 4/10 in AG
  • bike = 43:47 - 7/10 in AG
  • run + bike total = 1:22:07 - 7/10 in AG
  • T2 = 5:14 - 9/10 in AG
  • swim = 5:53 - 8/10 in AG
  • total time = 1:33:12
  • overall place = 141/159
  • age group place = 7/10
The times and distances listed below are from my Garmin since the official results are based on the advertised distanced (instead of the actual distances I ran/biked) and include mounting and dismounting.

Run = 3.14 miles in 36:35 @ 11:39 min/mile
I took it easy on the run and ran/walked using 2:1 intervals in hopes to keep the foot pain at bay. It still reared is ugly head, but the walking helped. Almost everyone in my wave passed me during the run, as well as most of the next wave (women over 40 are fast!), but I wasn't going to risk further injury to the foot. The course was beautiful, winding through a nearby neighborhood. Not surprisingly, I finished the run 9 of 10 in my age group.

Run Start

T1 = 1:46
As you can see from the photo above, I already had my cycling gloves on during the run, so I just had to swap my hat for my helmet, switch shoes, then grab my bike and go. I had the 4th fastest transition in my age group.

Bike = 10.5 miles in 43:12 @ 14.6 mph
The bike was rough, and I am sad I didn't even average 15 mph, let alone maintain my previous race pace. For some reason, I had trouble catching my breath for the first few miles. I think the run took a lot out of me since I had not been able to run more than 1-2 miles in the past few weeks due to the foot pain. As I struggled to get through it, I remembered MaryLynn's goal of passing 5 people, so I set out to do that just for her :) I passed 7, including 1 guy! =D The bike course was also through a nearby neighborhood (a different one) and mostly flat. Even with the slow pace, I made up some time on the bike and climbed to 7th in my age group.

T2 = 5:14
It makes me laugh that my transition from the bike to swim took me almost as long as the swim itself. I was pretty tired when I finished the bike so I was moving a bit slowly. That still would have netted me a fairly fast transition though, were it not for the fact that I started running towards the pool the wrong way.  Silly me, I ran towards the pool, but they wanted us to exit transition the same way we exited for the bike and run all the way around. I would estimate it was about 1/4 mile.

Swim = 200 yards in 05:53
I was exhausted when I got in the pool, but the water felt so good. I even passed one other swimmer! The pool was at most 5 feet deep, so I could stand up whenever I wanted, and I did a few times but not many. I didn't care for the course -- swimming down one lane, then up the next for a total of 8 lengths. Getting under that rope to switch lanes every length really disrupted my rhythm. Now I have an official baseline for my swimming, but I am sure I can do this a little faster when I don't spend 1 hr and 22 min running and biking. I finished the swim 8th out of 10 in my age group, but still hanged onto my 7th overall age group place.

Swim Start Swim Finish Getting my metal :) I really did this?

Post Race
The post-race spread was the best I've seen yet: grilled burgers and hot dogs! I was feeling a bit ill when I got out of the water, so I didn't take full advantage. I felt better once I ate and we were in the car waiting to get out of the parking lot, but it was too late. After we checked out of the hotel, we feasted on lunch at Applebee's and I had a well-earned huge mudslide :) Even though I think this may be more difficult than a real triathlon, I'll probably do this race again next year. It's a nice change from the normal triathlons and I enjoyed the course.

Monday, August 3, 2009

July in Review

July was a great month. I managed to up my run millage a little bit. I was on track to run more than 40 miles, but then I hurt my foot and have not been able to run much (1-2 miles at a time) for the past 2 weeks. My cycling has been hindered a bit due to Florida fall weather, but I am finally getting back to commuting to work.

My swimming has exploded! I swam 13 times in July, compared to 5 in June, and almost 3 times the distance! I am getting more confident in the water, and I always look forward to my swim workouts. I'm swimming 3-4 times a week now, and loving every minute of it. After completing a sub-sprint tri, and conquering my fear of the open water at Lucky's Lake, I finally signed up for my first full sprint triathlon. I am already hooked :)

July June May
run distance 33.65 miles 21.16 miles 43.64 miles
longest run 6 miles 3.75 miles 5.5 miles
avg run pace 12:54 min/mile 12:05 min/mile 11:56 min/mile
bike distance 190 miles 228.17 miles 161.86 miles
longest ride 45.45 miles 50 miles 21.2 miles
avg bike speed 12.1 mph 12.2 mph 13.6 mph
swim sessions 13 5 0
swim distance 9046 yards (5.14 mi) 2992 yds (1.7 mi) 0

Accomplishments in July
Goals for August

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Evolution as a Runner

When new runners tell me they are having trouble running long enough or far enough, I often advice them to slow down and focus on covering the distance, and that the speed will come with time. I am sure they compare my current 11-12 min/mile pace to their 14-15 min/mile pace and think, "yeah that's because you are much faster than me," even though I am still slow compared to more experience runners. I assure them I started just as slow and this improved paced did not happen overnight, but words don't mean much when you are frustrated with your progress. So, now I have proof!

Being the huge geek that I am, I created a spreadsheet charting each and every one of my milestone runs, including all 27 C25K sessions, and every new distance and race PR that led to me completing my first 2 half marathons. This allows you to see how my pace improved over time and how I sometimes had to run slower to run longer before I got faster.

Notable Observations:
  • It took me longer than 9 weeks to complete C25K and hence run 3.1 without walking
  • I soon returned to run/walking as I trained for the 2 half marathons using the Galloway method.
  • My pace fluctuated a lot, and as I began running longer without walking, it slowed even more as I focused on covering the distance regardless of speed. Once I was comfortable with the distance, I then was able to push myself and improve my speed.
  • I rarely train at racing speed and save most of it for race day. However, I do push myself sometimes and do a few tempos here and there to get my body used to what it feels to run fast.
  • For even more insight into how I progressed and the decisions I made along the way, read my C25K Posts and Race Reports.


Yesterday was an interesting evening. The short version: After biking 14.4 miles home, I locked myself out of the apartment (forgot to bring keys), so I could not go swimming, and had to find a way to kill 3 hours until Jason got home.

The long version, where things go from bad to worse, but I'm still in high spirits and laughing at myself the whole time:

Commute and Realization Sets In
I biked to work in my Jamis Explorer 2.0. It went better than expected (read ride report) and I wasn't as slow as I feared. Biking home was a bit taxing because the heat zaps all my energy. I felt like I was pushing much harder than in the morning, but my pace was 11.8 compared to 12.3 during the morning commute. Nonetheless, I was determined to pause at home just long enough to grab a quick bite, my swim gear, and head to the pool. Yeah, that didn't happen because when I got home I realized I didn't have my house key. doh!

Pondering My Options
This was problematic because Jason wouldn't get home until at least 9:30 after biking home from class, so I had to figure out how to kill 3 hours. I considered biking to the pool anyway, but I was wearing my bike shorts instead of tri shorts, and I didn't have my lock. For a brief moment I considered biking fast to Orange Cycle before they closed at 7 pm and buying a new pair of tri shorts to swim in, but the rest of my gear -- goggles, swim cap, buoy, fins, paddles--was safely inside my apartment, and I still had no lock. To add assault to injury, my phone was nearly dead, so I couldn't even kill time surfing the web. Arg!

Dinner at Panera
I rode my bike to Panera for some food in hopes that Tim and Chas would be home when I returned and let me crash in their living room and charge my phone until Jason got home. Not wanting my bike to get stolen, I brought it inside to panera while I ordered my food. I was expecting them to kick me out at any moment, but I got my order without incident and went outside to eat with my bike safely by my side.

The "Surely" Impenetrable Anti-Theft Table/Chair Bike Fortress
I filled up my water bottle, but put entirely too much ice in it. As I am almost done with my salad, I ran out of water. I didn't want to pack everything up and drag my bike inside of Panera again, so I built a fortress around it with the table and nearby chairs. The bike is pretty heavy, so this should at least slow down would be thieves long enough for me to get back (nevermind that I left my wallet in the basket *lol*) I rushed inside and filled the water bottle and made it back without incident.

Dead Camera Battery
Dinner did not take nearly long enough, but I rode back to the apartment to see if Tim and Chas were home yet. I decided that if they were not, I could go sit on the grass at Lake Eola and take photos with my point and shoot. I return home and they are in fact not home, so I get out my camera and snap a few shots of my bike, and the battery is nearly dead. Come on! I put it away and ponder what to do next. I turn on my phone and wonder how many calls I can make in the little bit of juice I have left.

Time for a New Plan
At this point, my neighbor comes out and asks if I am going for a bike ride. I explain the situation and he is sympathetic, but is about to head out on some errands. We try calling the landlord, but of course she does not pick up. I call MaryLynn, and she does not pick up at first, but calls me back a second later. I tell her my phone may die at any moment and ask if I can come over, explaining that I locked myself out. She of course starts laughing at me but gives me her address. I leave my bike outside while I go inside my neighbor's house to get directions to her place -- since my phone is nearly dead and I don't trust it will stay on long enough to use the map to get me there. The entire time that I am inside his apartment I am fearing that someone is stealing my bike -- because that is really the only thing left to go wrong.

MaryLynn to the Rescue
Armed with my low-tech written directions, I start biking to MaryLynn's place. Some moron beeps at me and passes me just to get to sit at a red light before I catch up to him. I determine that I am too tired to keep up any kind of decent pace on the road and deal with idiots--not to mention that I have no idea where I am going so I'm riding even slower--so I take to the sidewalk. I finally make it to MaryLynn's place, and get to meet her lovely husband and daughter. They come to the rescue with an ipod charger, so I am able to charge my phone and text Jason where I am so he can pick me up when he gets home. We have a great time catching up and telling stories about how we met our significant others, and even go to Publix so I got my grocery shopping done!

Home Sweet Home
Jason finally gets home after battling a headwind most of the way and picks me up. I am too wired from this crazy night, so I can't get to sleep right away, which of course meant I forgot to turn on the alarm and overslept this morning. I still got there just on time to run/walk 1.5 miles (foot still bothering me) and swim 700m.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What Happened to the Wagon?

At the end of January of 2008, I realized how overweight I was -- I'm 5'2" and at the time weighed 152 pounds and wore size 12/14 pants. I didn't like what years of inactivity, seating in front of a computer, and unhealthy eating habits had done to my body, so I did something about it. I lost almost 30 pounds over nine months. By November 2008, I was at my lowest weight of 122.4 pounds. Even though that did not last for more than a day, I was under 125 for almost a month before the holiday season came and I began to slip.

Over the last 6 months, I've gained over 10 of those pounds back. As I slowly saw my weight creep up, I told myself I was just gaining muscle since I was very active--training to run a half marathon, biking 15 miles to work (one way), and training for a triathlon. I believe this was true for the first few pounds, since my size 2/4 clothes still fit comfortably. However, the more active I became, the more I let my healthy eating slip. We've been eating out a LOT lately, and I've even flexed on my "no fried food" rule. It's hard to say no to any food when you've just biked 45 miles or swam 1000 meters, but that is no excuse. This week, my size 2 clothes are uncomfortable, and I've hit the 135 lbs mark that I hoped to never see again. I refuse to go up a size in clothes (I wear size 4 from time to time, but I don't want to begin wearing size 6 again), so it's time to stop being delusional and do something about this.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step, so here I am admitting to the world that I've fallen off the wagon and slipped down the slippery slope a bit. I don't plan to see what's at the end of the slope. I intend to pick myself up before I slip further down this hill, and starting today begin making my way back to the wagon. I lost 30 pounds before, so I know I can lose 10 pounds with a little dedication, and a little help from my friends :)

I'll use this blog to post my goals, progress, and accomplishments every week, and ask that you help keep me accountable.

Current Stats:

  • Height: 5'2"
  • Starting Weight: 135 lbs (2/24/09)
  • Current Weight: 135 lbs (2/24/09)
  • BMI: 24.7
  • Current Goal: 125 lbs
  • Pounds to go: 10

Before Photo:

I can't believe I am posting this, but what the heck. I know I don't look that bad, but I'm not happy with the growing belly you see here. I don't really care that much about my actual weight, I just want to lose the extra fat and inches around my waist.

Before: 135 lbs

My Action Plan:

  • Stop eating fried food -- the occasional french fry is ok, but a whole order is NOT.
  • Limit eating out and processed food -- we're going to make a better attempt to plan ahead and cook most of our meals at home from scratch, with enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
  • When I do eat out, make healthy choices -- sweet tomatoes, seafood, steamed vegetables, NO fried food, and split a meal with Jason or save 1/2 for lunch the next day.
  • Limit sweets -- I'll only eat ice cream/sweets at the end of the day IF I've eaten all my fruit and vegetable servings.
  • Eat 3 small meals a day, specially breakfast, with at least one healthy snack between meals (fruit, veggies, yogurt, nuts).
  • Go grocery shopping regularly to keep fridge and office stocked with healthy snacks.
  • Log everything I eat and my weight at TWYE and My Pyramid Plan Spreadsheet (I count servings instead of calories).
  • Do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day -- this includes walking or yoga on rest days.
  • Log all workouts at Dailymile.
  • Set weekly goals to help me stay on track. 
  • Post my progress on this blog once a week. 
Weekly Goals
  • Meatless/Seafood Meals: 50% of main 3 meals/day (11/21) 
  • Home Cooked Meals: 80% of main 3 meals/day (17/21) 
  • Fruit/Veggies: 5 servings / day (35 servings) 
  • Water: 64 oz / day (448 oz) 
  • Follow Pyramid Plan: focus on fruits and veggies this week 
  • Exercise: 30 mins / day - run 2x; bike 2x; swim 2x; yoga 2x

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    First Open Water Swim at Lucky's Lake

    Lucky's Lake
    This morning before work, I went to Lucky's Lake with Jason, Kelly, and MaryLynn, and I made the crossing! I swam 1000 meters, in a lake, and didn't drown or get eaten by a gator :)

    Wow! I still cannot believe I really did this. My intention was to get in the lake, swim 50-100 meters out to get a taste for what it'd be like, then come back to the safety of dry land, but Kelly would have none of that! She was confident we could do this and her enthusiasm was contagious--not to mention I couldn't let her sign the wall alone =P

    I had my pull buoy, so I wasn't afraid I wouldn't make it, I was just afraid I'd freak out. The turtles swimming near the shore, as cute as they were, did not help ease my nerves, but feeling that the water wasn't freezing helped calm me down a bit. I think I am more afraid of cold water than I am of the creatures that lurk below.

    The dog barked and the vets were off. We got in slowly, considered turning around for a second or two, but finally began swimming after some more encouragement from Kelly. I took it easy and didn't freak out! This was probably because no creatures touched me lol. I don't think I could have made it without the buoy, or it would have taken all eternity -- this only took half of eternity ;) Our estimate is 40 minutes roundtrip--not counting the break at the beach on the other side of the lake before turning back. I need to work up to swimming without the pull buoy, but today was about conquering my fear of the open water, and not drowning, and I did that!

    I had to stop several times, to tread water or get on my back, but I didn't do this as often as I thought I might and I was always in motion--even when on my back. This was partially because I can't swim straight to save my life, I kept losing where the dock was, and I didn't want to swim on my back for a 100 meters in the wrong direction :) I also felt I would freak out if I stopped for too long and let it sink in that I was in the middle of a lake, with several hundred meters between me and dry land, god knows how many miles from touching the bottom, and probably inches from all kinds of creatures.

    The worse part was about 100 meters from the shore -- I think, I have no perception of distance out there -- where I could see the end so close, but it seemed that no matter how hard I tried it just wasn't getting any closer. I finally made it to the other side and felt a little queasy. We rested for a bit, then headed back. There were far less people in the water now, but Lucky's house is HUGE so it was easier to keep in my sights than the tiny boat ramp. The way back felt easier, and I seemed to find my groove faster. I guess I was warmed up by then and had more confidence now that I had already done this once.

    I finally reached the beach and was ecstatic that I had done it! We signed the wall, took some photos, then were off to work, still in awe at what we had just done. I am so glad Kelly didn't let me back out, or I would have regretted. Kelly, you are the best training buddy ever!

    Lucky's Lake

    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    6 Miler Long Run + Speed Play

    Jason and I woke up early and drove to Lake Baldwin for a long run. I'm trying to slowly build up my millage again to be ready to start half marathon training in September after the Trek Women Triathlon. I went a total of 6 miles in 1 hour 16 minutes (11:43 pace). I haven't run this far in a long time, and it felt great. 

    I took it easy for the first 2.5 mile loop to see how my body would react after yesterday's punishment: 1m run, 30s walk for most if it, then ran the last 1/4 mile to the car. I stopped for a quick break to refill the 2 water bottles on my hydration belt, then I was off for another loop. I finished this loop in 33:35 @ 13:23 avg pace.

    I changed it up for the 2nd loop to get in a bit of speed play and speed up my average pace: 
    • 1m run at an easy-med pace
    • 30s hard run
    • 30s walk
    • 30s slow jog
    • repeat (with some variations when I lost track of the intervals or needed an extra 30 seconds of rest--walk/jog).
    At the 4 mile mark, I extended the intervals and ran a 1/4 mile before walking with 30 second sprints every few minutes. I finished the 2nd loop in 30:45 @ 12:19 pace. During the last mile, I ran 1/2 mile with some 30s sprints, walked for a minute, then ran the last 1/2 mile with 30s sprints. I finished the last mile in 11:50.

    This was a great workout, but my quads are hating me a bit for doing all those sprints (and residual aches from yesterday's hilly ride). We got started at 7 am this time, so the weather was nice for most of the run. I really like changing up the pattern and throwing in the sprints after the first loop (which I use as a warm up). It really helps get my legs used to running fast, and it gives me something to focus on and distract me, so the time flies. I'm hoping to do 3 loops, 7.5 miles, next week.

    Race Report: Lake Louisa Sprint Tri (55:44)

    I did it! I completed my first sub-sprint triathlon yesterday in 55:44 and came in 83 out of 105 overall.  I didn't drown and met all my goals! w00t!

    But the best part is that I got to share this awesome experience with Kelly and MaryLynn.  I think it's awesome how take turns freaking out so there is always at least one to talk the others off the ledge :)  We make a great team, and we're considering doing a triathlon relay together real soon!

    Due to the low water level in the lake, this really should have been called a duathlon with a water run =P This was a very small, low key race; I'd say it was the tri equivalent of a fun run. We didn't even have numbers, so no bibs or body markings :( But what we did have was tons of fun and a great workout. I am already hooked and in search of my next full sprint tri!


    Jason and I woke up at 4 am, had the car loaded, and were on our way to Clermont before 5 am. As we approached the park, MaryLynn called saying it was pitch black with no one around, and she did not know where to go, so she waited for us at the guard house. We made the trek together into the park to find the transition area. It was a LONG way and very dark. We finally found them and began unloading our stuff. We got there before 6 and had our pick of bike racks, so all 3 of us had our bikes next to each other.

    Lake Louisa Sprint Triathlon #4

    Swim + T1 = 10 minutes (estimate)
    What swim? They were not kidding about the water level on the lake being low. We couldn't really swim and just walked/jogged most of the way, though I did try swimming a bit to get a taste of what it would be like swimming when there is no visibility. I am not even sure this was 1/4 mile as the marker--an inflatable alligator--was upon us before we knew it.

    Lake Louisa Sprint Triathlon #4

    Bike = 6.7 miles in 25:51 @ 15.6 mph
    I pushed hard and was making good time, even beating my average pace from last time, but then I hit the hills and I lost a lot of time. I did manage to pass quite a few people, including some men! After the last turn around, it finally dawned on me to get into a high gear and peddle on the downhills and use that momentum to go up the next hill. That worked and managed to get my average pace back up to 15.6 mph but it was too late to make up much more time. Clearly, I need to do some hill training before the next one. Overall, I'm pleased with my performance on the bike course. Here is a graph of the hills:

    Lake Louisa Tri - Bike Hills

    Run = 1.5 in 17:56 @ 11:43 min/mile
    The run went much better than at the duathlon and I ran the whole time! I was tired but determined to gut it out for the short 1.5 mile run. I took it easy for the first half and simply shuffled along and slowed my pace when I felt the need to walk. After the initial minute or so at 9-10 pace, I settled into a 12ish pace. After the turn around, I tried to pick up speed a bit and managed to average under 12, but I didn't have enough in me for much more than that.

    Lake Louisa Sprint Triathlon #4 Lake Louisa Sprint Triathlon #4 Lake Louisa Sprint Triathlon #4

    They gave us a popsicle stick with a number as we finished. That corresponded to our standing and we could match it to our official time on a piece of paper. I came in 83/105, which means I beat 22 people! We were exhausted, but thrilled at what we had accomplished. MaryLynn had to head back home, but the rest of us went to Cracker Barrel for a much deserved breakfast feast!

    Lake Louisa Sprint Triathlon #4

    View more photos on Flickr

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    1st Triathlon Predictions

    I can hardly believe that I will be participating in a triathlon tomorrow morning! Remember when I thought I wasn't a runner? Yeah, I though I was even less of a swimmer. Not only have I learned to swim with my head in the water in just 5 short weeks--and 13 swim sessions--I am actually enjoying it.

    Tomorrow I will conquer my fear of open water! I am terrified, but I think I am finally more excited than scared =) My inaugural tri race is the Lake Louisa Sprint Tri #4: 1/4 mile swim, 7 mile bike, 1.5 mile run.

    My main goals for this race are 1) don't drown :P  2) finish with a smile on my face ... in an upright position ... doing something that resembles a running motion =D I know I shouldn't have a time goal for my first tri, but it would be awesome if I could finish at or under 1 hour. This may be tight, but 1:05 - 1:10 is totally doable.

    I think I stand a chance of meeting the 1 hour time goal, or coming real close, if 1) I don't completely freak out in the water, 2) if I can push hard on the bike, 3) but not too hard that I can't run. Here is the breakdown of how I see each leg playing out:

    • swim: This is the leg that concerns me most, but I have a feeling (I'm hoping) the adrenaline will kick in, and I will surprise myself. Everyone says the lake is shallow and I can stand up, but I really want to try to swim as much as possible--even if "swimming" means doggy paddling   or rolling over on my back to catch my breath :) Once I exit the water, and the swim is behind me, I'll be on top of the world and the rest will come naturally. I'm allocating this leg 20 minutes--what I hope is a gross overestimation. 
    • bike: I averaged 15.5 mph on the bike for 13.4 miles at the duathlon (after running 2.5 miles), so I am hoping I can push it to 16-17 for these 7 miles, especially since I won't have to slow down to round a corner every 1/2 a mile. This would mean 25-28 minutes on the bike.
    • run: I'd like to run the entire 1.5 miles, but I may have to walk a bit if I push too hard on the bike. I'll just try to start slow and pick up the pace as I go. I think I can gut it out for such a short distance and just slow down instead of walking if I need to. My estimate for the run is 16-19 minutes.
    So yeah, 1 hour will be really tight, especially once we throw in an additional 5 minutes for the transitions. No matter how it turns out, I'm going to give it my all and have fun!
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