Sunday, June 28, 2009

Race Report: Baldwin Park Duathlon (1:56:57)

Baldwin Park Duathlon

I did it! I finished my first duathlon in under 2 hours and met all my race goals! I placed 3rd in my age group (only because the 4th girl didn't finish, but I'll take it!). This was a really humbling experience, as I finished in the very back of the pack, but I am in awe that I ran over 5 miles and biked over 13 all in a span of 2 hours.

Official Duathlon Results:
  • Total Female Finishers = 24 + 2 DNF
  • Total Finishers = 65 + 5 DNF
  • Leg -- Time -- Gender Place -- Overall Place
    • Run1 = 0:27:42.951 -- 21 -- 61 (11 min/mile)
    • T1 = 0:01:35.581 -- 13 -- 37
    • Bike = 0:51:43.290 -- 19 -- 57 (15.5 mph)
    • T2 = 0:01:47.649 -- 14 -- 45
    • Run 2 = 0:34:07.580 -- 22 -- 62 (13:20 min/mile)
    • Total = 1:56:57.051 -- 21 -- 61

Baldwin Park Duathlon

Run #1

The first run went well, even though it was already hot as hell. I tried to take it easy, but still managed to average 11 min/mile. I ran most of this and only stopped to walk for less than a minute at the 2 water stops. I was 2nd to last for most of the run, but passed a few people at the end to finish 5th from last. I was trying to hold back to save something for the bike and 2nd run and because the heat was quickly zapping my energy. The hill we had to climb into transition was cruel.

Baldwin Park Duathlon


This was pretty easy. I already had my cycling gloves on, so I yanked off my hat and put on my bike helmet, switched running shoes for cycling shoes, put on the camelbak, unracked the bike and was gone. I had trouble clipping in at the mount line, but I was on my way pretty quickly.


As I was finishing the first run, all I could think of was how I was going to bike 13+ miles when I was already feeling tired. I took in plenty of fluids and pushed really hard on the bike and was pleased to maintain a consistent average of 15.5 mph (20.6 mph max!) and 83 rpm (110 rpm max!). I tried to take it easy for the first few laps and vowed to give it all I had during the last lap, but I didn't have much left by then. I passed quite a few people, but I also got passed by a ton of ridiculously fast people. I was really glad when I got to the 5th loop because by then all the speed demons were running :) Of course, I got a wicked headwind as I finished the last lap when I was exhausted. At one point I feared I had a flat tire and stop to check, but it was all in my head. This cost me since I then had to negotiate getting back into the flow of bike traffic.

Baldwin Park Duathlon


This was a tad slower because I was exhausted. I got off my bike and slowly walked to rack my bike as I tried caught my breath. As I sat down to switch my shoes, I wondered if that was such a good idea and if I'd be able to get back up *LOL*

Baldwin Park Duathlon

Run #2

The 2nd run SUCKED. I was hot and could not catch my breath. I had a side stitch for about a mile and was cramping up. I walked a great deal, hence my pace, but I was not about to risk heat exhaustion for a race I wasn't going to win anyway =P I was disappointed I had to walk so much, but the heat was insane and I had pushed really hard on the bike. I knew I'd make it under 2 hours, so I didn't care about anything else. The finish was a bit anti-climatic because I felt defeated and that I hadn't pushed hard enough to justify the final sprint. I'm still very proud that I did this and will be sure to do more brick workouts for the next one :)

Baldwin Park Duathlon

Now What?

This was incredibly difficult (in big part because of the heat), but I am hooked! I'm already looking for the next one and more dedicated than ever to get over my fear of swimming because a du may actually be harder than a tri since I had to constantly use my legs for 2 straight hours. I think I'm going to register for the Lake Louisa Super Sprint Triathlon next month.

View more photos on flickr.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Duathlon Race Goals & Mental Dress Rehearsal

I picked up my bib this afternoon, got body marked, and took the guided course tour, which really helped put my mind at ease of where I need be when. With one less thing to think about, its time to make some predictions and do a mental rehearsal of the transitions.
Race Goals
  • Finish! - Since this is my first duathlon (and multi-sport event) my main goal is to just get through it.
  • Have fun and finish with a smile on my face! :)
  • Finish strong and sprint across the finish line - this may be a bit harder than in the half marathon as I'll be exhausted from the bike and I don't feel I've had enough brick training, but I'll do my best.
  • Finish in sub-2:15 - By all my conservative calculations, this is more than doable but I have no idea how long the transitions will truly take, or how much the heat will affect me.
  • Finish in sub-2 hours - I would be thrilled if I can finish in under 2 hours. This also seems very doable if I can push as much as I intended to on the bike and my 2nd run doesn't suffer too much as a result of the exertion on the bike and the insane heat at 9 am, when I anticipate starting the 2nd run.
  • Place in my Age Group - there are currently only 4 women registered in my age group, so it would be nice to at least beat one of them and place, but I am not holding my breath. This is my first multi-sport event after all.

Mental Dress Rehearsal

Pre race
  • Wake up at 5 am and eat breakfast: banana, bagel with peanut butter.
  • Lube feet and other hot stops, and get dressed (don't forget heart rate monitor).
  • Check tire pressure and contents of saddle bag, then load bikes on roof of car.
  • Recheck pre-packed bags and checklist, then load bags and buckets into car.
  • Drive to race no later than 6 am.
Setup Transition
  • Rack bike, place water bottles on bike cages, and place helmet on bike seat.
  • Place big bright towel next to bike w/bike shoes, camelbak, and snacks (and maybe a bucket to sit on).
  • Verify watch is configured to use multi-sport mode and relevant alerts.
  • Put on sunscreen and run gear: headband, hat, watch, spibelt w/BIB (and maybe sports means and phone), bike gloves (so I don't have to put them on during T1), sunglasses, wrist sweatband
  • Grab 8 oz water bottle w/sweatband and bag of sport beans, turn on watch, then head to pre-race meeting.
Run 1
  • Meet at start line at 7:15 am for pre-race announcements and eat a few sport beans with some water.
  • Start watch when I start to run.
  • Start slow and listen to my body: either run using 5:1 or just walk at the water stops (every mile).
  • Eat some sport beans with water at each water stop.
  • Try to average an 11-12 min/mile pace.
  • Press lap button as I enter transition, and switch watch to the bike mount.
  • Put on helmet on top of hat, change shoes, and put on camelbak.
  • Eat some sport beans or granola bar w/water as I walk bike to mount line.
  • Press lap button as I leave transition and enter bike course.
  • Push as hard as I can on the bike and try to maintain at least 14-15 mph average.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout ride and listen to my body.
  • Press lap button as I enter transition, and switch watch to the wrist mount.
  • Rack bike THEN remove helmet and camelbak.
  • Change shoes and eat some sport beans w/water as I head out of transition.
Run 2
  • Press lap button as I leave transition and enter run course.
  • Start slow and try to run the whole thing, but take walk breaks as needed (either 5:1 or at each water stop).
  • Eat sport beans w/water at each water stop or as needed.
  • Try to average an 11-12 min/mile pace.
  • Sprint to the finish!
I think I'm ready! Any last minute tips?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Duathlon Pre Race Checklist

Less than 36 hours until my first duathlon! Time to put together the pre race checklists. Multi-sport events sure require more prep ;)

Night Before:
  • fill water bottles and freeze: 8 oz, 20 oz, & 24 oz.
  • charge Garmin watch, iPhone and camera
  • configure Garmin watch
  • pack pre-race bag (inside transition bag)
  • pack transition bag
  • pack post race bag
  • lay out race clothes/gear: 
    • tri shorts
    • sports bra
    • cycling jersey
    • socks
    • running shoes w/yanks
    • body glide / chamois butt'r
Pre Race Bag:
  • headband/sweatband
  • hat
  • bike gloves
  • sunglasses / safety glasses (in case it rains instead)
  • garmin watch
  • spibelt w/BIB attached
  • wallet w/ID, money & USAT card 
  • iphone
  • camera
  • sunscreen
  • chapstick
Transition Bag:
  • towel
  • bike shoes
  • helmet
  • water bottles
  • food: sport beans, luna moons, granola bars
  • extra socks
  • camelbak
  • floor pump
Post Race Bag:
  • crocs
  • sports bra
  • race t-shirt / tank top
  • shorts / pants
  • jacket
What am I missing?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

T-7 Days to 1st Duathlon

One week from today, I'll be doing my first duathlon. Yikes! I'm a little worried because my brick workouts have been few and not gone so well. I've only managed to run for 1 mile after biking (regardless of the ride distance), but at least I have tried it and know what to expect. My running has suffered a bit lately (in terms of frequency) due to all the biking and the weather, but I only have to run at most 5k at a time. My biking has been great, both in terms of endurance and speed, so I plan to push as hard as I can on the bike to make up for lost time on the runs, and I'll make it through the runs with my trusty run/walk method :)  That is unless I melt away in the relentless heat! Whose idea was it to do my first duathlon in the heat of summer? =P

Planned Workouts for Taper Week:

  • Monday
    • am - 14.5 mile easy bike commute to work
    • pm - 14.5 mile easy bike commute to pool/home (weather permitting)
    • pm - swim w/Trek Tri Meetup at College Park Pool (weather permitting)
  • Tuesday
    • am - easy 2-3 mile run
    • pm - swim at Cady Way Pool if Mon gets rained out OR Yoga
  • Wednesday
    • am - 14.5 mile easy bike commute to work
    • pm - 14.5 mile easy bike commute home (weather permitting) / Yoga
    • pm - Race Webinar
  • Thursday
    • am - easy 2-3 mile run
    • pm - swim w/Andy's Meetup at Cady Way Pool
  • Friday
    • am - Yoga
    • pm - Critical Mass (super easy bike ride - more like a parade)
  • Saturday
    • am - Sleep In/Yoga
    • pm - Packet Pickup/Expo
  • Sunday - Race Day!
  • Monday - Sleep ALL DAY & Recover 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Swim Meetup Workout #2: 1050 yards!

Kelly and I attended our second swim workout with Andy's tri meetup group tonight and had an amazing time. I swam a total of 1050 yards! This is twice as many yards as I swam last week and with a much better stroke! While most of this was not consecutive, I did much better at maintaining a proper stroke/breathing rhythm for longer and needed less rest between laps/lengths. Is there such a thing as swimmer's high? If so, I got it! I was so pump that I could not shut up on the ride home and at the dinner.

The workout:
  • warm up: 350 = 7 x 50
    we were at the pool about 30 minutes before everyone else (because we did not run due to the weather), so we did most of these on our own at an easy pace and with plenty of rest
  • drill set: 200 = 4 sets of 2 x 25
    each set was a different drill to work on technique
  • main set: 350 = 4 sets of 2 x 25 + 50
    the 50s were supposed to be a consistent medium to fast pace, while the 2 x 25 were supposed to get increasingly faster with each set. I have no sense of pace while I swim (and there was no lap clock) so I just focused on surviving each lap. Kelly and I skipped a set of 2 x 25 to recover.
  • sprint relay: 100 = 4 x 25
    There were 6 of us, so we had 2 relay teams of 3. One person started at one of the pool and the other 2 at the other end. We swam 25 yards hard when the other person reached our end. The faster we swam, the less rest that person had. lol. I actually enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
  • cool down: 50
    I was too exhausted to do anything else.
  • pull buoy - I swam with a pull buoy the whole time. This really helps me focus on improving my stroke without worrying about my legs and keeping my body up. Without the pull buoy, my butt dips too far down and its a struggle to stay afloat. I need to add the legs and work on my kick eventually, but one thing at a time :)
  • nose plug - My main problem with swimming with my head in the water is that I almost always end up with water up my nose when I put my head back in the water after coming up for air. That sends me into a mini panic and completely throws off my rhythm. I still panic every so often and flail about, but with the nose plug I don't inhale water, which minimizes these episodes. I am sure I look like a total dork, but it is totally worth it.
  • keep my head down - I used to swim with my head completely above the water, because I didn't know how to breath otherwise, which wasted a lot of energy. I didn't realize how much until I started swimming with my head in the water. That simple change has made all the difference, and I can really feel myself gliding through the water.
  • exhale under water - While I get this breathing thing down, I tried holding my breath for as many strokes as I could while blowing air through my mouth under water (I think I was practically swimming with my mouth open most of the time lol). Somehow this helps me keep a good rhythm and make it easier to get air when I came up to breath. At first I could go 2-3 (or more) strokes but eventually I had to breath every other streak.
I am sure there are other things, but I am too tired to remember. My left shoulder is hurting a bit. I hope I don't have a repeat of the shoulder issues I had before because I am really starting to get the hang of this.

Swimming with Kelly and this group is very motivating. Had I been doing this on my own, I would have probably quit after 200 yards. Andy, the meet up organizer and couch, is awesome. He does a great job adjusting the workouts to our different skill levels, yet I still feel part of the group.

I can't wait for next week's workout! Kelly and I are going to swim on our on Tuesdays and do a repeat of his Thursday workouts from the previous week. The possibility of me doing a real triathlon, specifically the Trek Women Triathlon on September 6, is looking better and better :)

PS: We did some bad math and thought we swam 1550 at one point, but that was just wishful thinking in our delirious swimmer's high state. As Kelly put it, "swimming and doing math is like drinking and driving" lol. This is why I like training with Andy and doing drills, because I can just go home and recall the drills to figure out how far we swam.

Summer Gear and Tips!

This week's topic for Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge Blog is Summer Gear and Tips! 

I started running in March of last year, so I had to adapt to the heat pretty quickly or give up running. I wasn't about to let that happen this time, so I adapted. It wasn't long before the cold weather came and I forgot all about running in the heat, but it quickly came back to me as summer arrived in Florida much too soon. Here is a list what helped me get through it, and a few new things I'm trying this year.
  • run in the early morning: 
    • thankfully, the beginning of summer (or end of spring in FL) also means an earlier sunrise. This makes it easier to run before work but not have to do it in the dark. The humidity level is usually still high even at 6:30 am, but at least I don't have to deal with the blazing sun beating down on me. 
  • running clothes tips:
    • I never run in cotton even in the winter, but it's even more important to run in wicking clothes during the summer as sweat accumulates quickly. 
    • While I have bought a few pricier running shorts at Race Ready (mostly for the awesome pockets), I find most of my tops for pretty cheap ($10-15) at Target (C9 by Champion is good enough and affordable) or Ross. So there is no need to break the bank to run comfortably. 
    • I run exclusively in tank tops or short sleeve shirts and shorts during the summer. I even bought a black bra in case I am ever brave enough to run without a shirt. I have a feeling the weather will soon win out over modesty =P
    • I find that clothing closer to my body do a better job at transferring moisture away from the skin and keep me from feeling icky. However, I also like mesh like materials and those don't have to be as skin tight to work well.
    • I found a running skirt that seems to work ok for running. I am not a big fan and prefer to run in biking-style shorts, but with this increasing heat I may have to give it a try more often. 
    • I read this great tip somewhere: soak your hair and shirt in cold water before a run in the heat to help keep you cool. I've yet to try this, but it should work great. Even better: soak your shirt (and maybe your hat or sports bra), ring it out, then put it in the freezer for a few minutes before you put it on just before heading out for your run. 
  • body glide: 
    • I use it mostly on long runs to avoid blisters on my feet, but the hotter it is, the sooner I need it.
  • head gear: 
    • I used to wear the regular terry cloth sweat bands, but I've since upgraded to a bondi band or halo head band to keep sweat from dripping down my face. 
    • I wear a wicking hat on top of the headband to keep the sun out of my eyes--and my freezy  hair under control. 
    • I still use the terry cloth sweat bands for my wrist so I can wipe the sweat off my face while I run.
  • water:
    • staying hydrated is even more important when is hot and humid out. 
    • I am not a big fan of holding anything while I run, but for shorter runs of less than 3 miles, I can get away with the 12 oz Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Lite Water Bottle
    • I recently purchased the Amphipod RunLite Snapflask 4 Hydration Belt for longer runs. While I've yet to actually try it out, the 8oz bottles that come with it are the perfect size to carry in my hand. 
    • I like to add ice to the water bottle, which makes the bottle sweat, so I put a wrist sweat band around it to keep it from slipping off my hand while I run.
  • sunscreen: 
    • yeah it takes time, and its easy to forget, but you gotta do it.
PS: I just saw this very relevant article tweeted today: 3 Ways to Stay Cool on the Run.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Morning Brick Workout

I woke up at 6 am this morning and did a short brick workout instead of my usual Tuesday morning run. My first duathlon is in less than 2 weeks and I still don't have the bike-run transition down. My running has suffered since I upped my bike millage because I can't seem to find the time (or sometimes the energy) to fit in the long runs, but I usually manage to get 2 mid-week runs in of 2-3 miles. I will definitely have to shift gears and reduce my bike millage in September if I want to run a half marathon this fall.

The Bike - 5 miles in 19:36 @ 15.3 mph

I rode my usual 5 mile loop: Livingston to Maguire/Crystal Lake to South to Robinson and back. I hate this loop! Just when I get up to speed, I come up to a red light, which turns green as soon as I finish stopping. It completely throws off my rhythm. Then about 1.5 miles in, I came upon a huge group of runners on the bike lane 3-4 abreast. They got out of my way before I hit them, but not before I had to slow down considerably.

Once I turned onto South St, just after 2 miles, I hit very few lights and really got moving. I was spinning fast and at a high cadence. I reached a max speed of 22.3 with a 95 cadence, and that was NOT downhill (but maybe I had a tailwind?). I'm so excited! I didn't maintain this for too long, but I was consistently riding 16+ mph w/a cadence of 85+ rpm unless I had to slow down for a light or coast for a quick break. Even though this was a short ride, I gave it all I had.

full stats:
  • cadence: 85 / 105 rpm
  • speed: 15.3 / 22.3 mph
  • hear rate: 158 / 178 bpm
  • mile splits (mph): 13.4 - 14.5 - 17.9 - 17.4 - 14.5
Transition - 2:19

I got off the back across the street from my apartment and walked it in just as I will in the race. I quickly removed my camelbak (I plan to wear it for the ride since I am not coordinated enough to grab my water bottle and replace it the cage without slowing down considerably or swerving), exchanges my helmet for my hat, switched shoes, took a zip of water and was off. I quickly learned that I can't run with my iphone in the back pockets of the cycling jersey, so I had to hold it the entire run. At least I learned this now and not on race day :)

The Run - 1 mile in 11:28

The run was rough as always and I only managed a mile. I walked for a few second after 1/2 a mile in hopes of running at least 1.5 miles, but I was exhausted and drenched from the humidity and exertion on the bike. My biggest problem transitioning from bike to run is not the legs; I just have a heard time catching my breath and getting into a good breathing rhythm. It's also uncomfortable because you are suddenly covered in sweat that the wind during the bike kept at bay.

I pushed really hard on the bike, and that was only for 5 miles with some breaks due to the lights (though these breaks may have worked against me by throwing off my rhythm), so I am a bit concerned about running 2.5 miles after riding hard non-stop for 13.4 miles. I still plan to push as hard as I can during the bike portion at the race because I won't make up the time running. Even if I have to walk part of the run and average closer to a 12 min/mile pace, I won't lose as much time as if I average less than 15 mph on the bike and I may still be able to finish in under 2 hours (though that may not include transition time).

full stats:
  • pace: 11:28 / 7:44 (for about 5 seconds at the start lol)
  • hear rate: 163 / 170
  • 1/4 mile splits (pace): 10:26 - 11:38 - 12:07 - 11:33
The Swim - what swim?

I was supposed to go for a swim tonight with Kelly and Lisa, but mother nature would have none of that. A huge thunderstorm scrubbed our plans, but we shall hopefully resume on Thursday. Florida certainly doesn't make it easy to train for a tri :(

Monday, June 15, 2009

Commuting vs Training Rides

The reason we started biking to work was to save money/gas and use the car less, while getting some exercise in the process. In the excitement of getting new bikes and training for a tri/du, we kinda forgot that, and we were treating each ride as a training session. This left us exhausted and I often only rode to work once a week. We're going to start commuting to work at an easy pace so that I can do it more often, since it defeats the purpose when Jason rides and I drive. The more I do this, the faster this easy pace will be with less effort.
Today was my first ride with the cadence sensor. Jason read that a good target is 70-90. I found it fairly easy to maintain that, since I usually try to ride in the highest gear that feels comfortable without mashing the pedals. I stayed in the lowest front gear the entire ride since I was taking it easy, but I am curious what kind of cadence I can maintain when I am using higher gears and going fast. I may try that out on the ride home or tomorrow morning if I get up early enough for a short brick workout.
Stats (avg/max):
  • distance: 14.45 miles
  • time: 1:12:46
  • pace: 11.9 / 18.5 mph 
  • heart rate: 116 bpm / 151 bpm 
  • cadence: 76 rpm / 105 rpm
  • wild life count: 3 bunnies, 1 snake, 2 birds, 1 dog =)
ETA - Ride Home:
I intended to take it even easier on the ride home, but I just couldn't help myself. I find that I can ride faster when I am by myself because it helps pass the time. I averaged ~13 mph for the first 4-5 miles, then eased up a bit until the last 5. The weather was surprisingly cool and breezy, but not overly windy--like it had just rained or it was about it. I think that helped a ton. I felt great when I got home and considered going for a run, but I was hungry and wanted to save something for tomorrow. I think I need to buy new gloves because the area below my thumb on the palm of my hand is starting to blister/chafe.

Stats (avg/max):
  • distance: 14.4 miles
  • time: 01:10:05
  • pace: 12.3 / 21.3 mph 
  • heart rate: 122 / 152 bpm 
  • cadence: 76 / 102 rpm
  • wild life count: 1 squirrel, 1 bunny, and about a dozen birds (another way I help pass the time ;)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Biker's Tan & Swim Progress

I do most of my workouts in tight shorts that go to about mid-thigh. This means that I've slowly developed a biker's tan, but today it reached epic proportions. More details below, but first an account of another busy Saturday.

Firefighter Challenge
I woke up early this morning to watch Jason participate in the Firefighter Challenge and Run The Rosen Stair Climb. The course: crawl through an obstacle course simulating a collapsed building, run to and drag a charged hose towards some cones, turn on the hose and knock over the cones simulating putting out a fire, drag a fire sled about 100 feet to simulate pulling a body of a burning building, then climb 14 flights of stairs. He said it was indeed very challenging, especially the stair climb.

The event started almost a half an hour late, so it threw off the rest of our morning plans a bit. When we finally made it back, we met up with Kelly and Eric for some biking and swimming. We rode from our apartment to Cady Way until the bridge, then to the pool for some laps. Since Eric's chain was acting up, Jason biked home to get the car while we swam. After the swim, he drove them home and I rode home alone in my new mountain/adventure bike. I was hoping to ride a bit faster alone, but that plan was quickly died by the headwind coupled with my diminished energy due to swimming and sun exposure. Oh yeah, in case you missed the subtle reference above, I bought yet another bike (pictured on right) for around town riding and some light off-roading: a Jamis Explore 2.0

I swam about 400 yards. This is an estimate because I was working on my stroke/breathing so sometimes I didn't make it the entire length of the pool. It is possible I actually swam more yards, but this is the laps I actually remember counting--I stopped counting when Jason showed up and helped me with my stroke.
I used a pull buoy to help me focus on my stroke and keep my body in better alignment, and that helped a lot. I am still having issues swimming with my head in the water, and thus waste so much effort unnecessarily, but I am getting better. I actually do quite well when I have my head in the water and can lift my head to come up for air, but all hell breaks loose when I try to put my head back in the water. I managed a few strokes several times, but almost every time I reverted back to my old ways mid-way through the lap.

Biker's Tan
I underestimated (as I often do) how much sun you get while swimming, and I forgot to reapply sunscreen after we biked there. I swam in my tri shorts, and now I have an absurd biker's tan and a bit of a sunburn :(
We went to Sports Authority and I bought a new swimsuit, but I'm going to look (more) ridiculous in it the next few times I go to the pool. They had this really cute one with skulls, but it was much too tight. I know they are supposed to fit tight, but how tight? So I ended up with a plain blue nike one in the same size that seem to fit more comfortably, but now I am seeing not so great reviews for it so I may return it.
Can anyone recommend a good swimsuit for doing laps and enlighten me about what kind of fit I should look for?
I stopped by Target in search for some shorter shorts to possibly swim in instead, and ended up with a second swimsuit (pictured on right--no, that's not me =P) because it was just too cute for words. Now I need to go to the beach or tubing (or maybe a water park! ooh!) so I can wear it.
So this concludes another busy Saturday. I planned to do a brick workout this morning, but that didn't pan out. I may do it tomorrow instead of the planned 5 mile run, but I'm going to play it by ear since I am so tired and a bit burned out (literally) of outdoor activities at the moment. I didn't even go to the run hash tonight. I'm never going to get my hash name :( I think I'll go draw or take a nap :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Salute to My Running Parents

This week's topic for Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge Blog is Salute to Running Dads. Since I missed the Salute to Running Moms in May, and my mom's birthday happens to be on father's day, I figured I'd expand this and do a salute to both my running parents.


My dad has been a runner my entire life. He is my inspiration, even though I did not fully appreciate it at the time. I remember going to countless races when we lived in Puerto Rico and when he ran the NYC Marathon. He even won a few age group awards. Back then I saw running as something I would never be able to do. 

When I finally discovered the joy of running, I was happy to be able to finally share this with dad and speak the same language :) He stopped running for about 7 years and started again shortly after I started running to train for the Race for the Taste 10k we all ran together. He finished about good 15 minutes before me, but waited near the end and ran with me to the finish line. I also got to share his first half marathon, even if he beat me by 30 minutes! :) As I was rounding the turn to the finish line, I saw both mom and dad there and they ran with me to the end. It was awesome! My dad has run 3 marathons (Disney + NYC 2x), 1 half marathon, and countless 5Ks and 10Ks.


Mom started walking and running after I did to lose weight, and now she is addicted to 5Ks. She recently had surgery and one of the first things she said to me when I called was about how now she wouldn't be able to run for weeks. I think she is the cutest runner ever! Don't believe me? See the video evidence. We ran the Disney Royal 5K together and hope to run many more in the future when she recovers from surgery.

Here is to many more runs with the best parents in the world! Love you mom and dad! :)

Swim Workout

or "Trying to propel myself to the other end of the pool without drowning"

I swam 550 yards today. Impressed? Not so fast =P This was in no way consecutive. I pretty much took a break after every 25 yds, and there was plenty of treading water to rest my arms as I made my way back to the other end of the pool or clutching the wall to catch my breath, but I am still shocked that I managed all this.

Kelly and I met a tri meetup group ( at the College Park pool. Since they had family swim instead of adult fitness tonight, the lane ropes were off, so we had to improvise. It basically turned into an obstacle course (not a bad thing to experience when training for a triathlon).

After some warmup laps (was supposed to be 500 yds, but I managed 150), he broke us up onto 3 groups and we did 3 different workouts for ~10 minutes each: 8 x 50 (or 100), panic sprints, 20s treading water kicks -- not sure what this is called, but you basically put your hands above your head and try to stay above water by kicking hard for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Kelly and I chose to do 50s and managed 5 of them. The other 2 in our group were so fast, or I was so slow, that they were done with their 100 before I was barely heading back to finish my 50.
  • Then it was time for the panic sprints, where we swam hard to the rope (half way across the pool) then swam back easy; we managed 6 of those. It was actually easier to swim fast, but then the turn around in the middle of the pool made us lose momentum and I had to doggy paddle for a bit to get a rhythm. Kelly tried to teach me the breast stroke, but I need lots of work :)
  • We finished with the tread water kicks, and those about killed us. It did get easier the more we did it, and I quickly learned you have to kick hard and fast. I barely managed to get my hands above the water or I'd sink. lol
Overall, it was a great workout and I had a lot of fun. My biceps are burning, but I can't wait to try it again :) A HUGE thanks to Kelly for sticking with me and trying to teach me the breast stroke. I'll definitely be back to train with this group.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

50 Mile Ride and First Bike Hash

It has been a long, very active day, and a day of firsts: first 50 mile bike ride, first bike hash, first ride in the rain (on purpose). With so many accomplishments in one day, this post is bound to be long, so hang on tight!

After a much needed long night's sleep, we started the day at 6:15 am, when we arose and started getting ready for our long ride. I ate a banana, got all my gear ready, and we were out the door by 7:10 (10 minutes later than planned). Since we always seem to forget something, Jason had the great idea of creating this visual biking checklist and taping it to the front door so we could spot check it on our way out. Below is a thumbnail of it; click on the image for a larger printable version in PDF form:

Biking Checklist
The Plan
The plan was for Jason and I to ride up Cady Way and the Cross Seminole Trail to Oviedo, pick up Lisa, Joe, and Andre at the Townhouse Restaurant, ride to Soldier's Field and back, have brunch at the Townhouse Restaurant, then head back home. We estimated we'd get there by 8:30 am, since we were taking it nice and slow because we knew we had a long trek ahead and this was more about endurance than speed. Check out this google map of Central Florida Trails for reference of where we rode.

First Leg: Cady Way-Cross Seminole Trail to Townhouse Restaurant
Even leaving 10 minutes late, we arrived just 5 minutes late, completing the first leg of our journey, 15.4 miles, in 1 hour and 15 minutes @ 12.30 mph. I had made this ride once before, but the last time was right after I got my road bike and I was miserable the whole way because of an uncomfortable seat and other ailments, so I did not take in the sights. This time I had time to really enjoy the trail and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. I want to come back, pack a picnic, and have lunch somewhere along the way.

Second Leg: Cross Seminole Trail to Soldier's Field (roundtrip)
Biking on Cross Seminole Trail
back: Jason and Andre - front: Kitzzy, Lisa, Joe

We headed out with the our little bike gang for a leisurely 18.5 miles in 1 hour and 47 minutes at 10.4 mph. This was such an enjoyable ride that I could hardly believe we had already been riding for 50 minutes when we neared the halfway point. This trail is amazing. It has nice shade and lots to look at along the way. I am really glad I got to experience it without rushing through it. Jason took Lisa and Joe to do a bit of off-roading at Soldier's Field, while Andre and I (both on road bikes) waited at the trail and took pictures. When they got back, Andre and I took off on a speedy sprint to the end of the paved trail where we had to walk our bikes, then we all headed back to Townhouse for some much needed fuel.

Third Leg: Ride Home
After a yummy brunch at Townhouse Restaurant, Jason and I hurried back and tried to beat the rain home. We heard thunder the entire way and the sky threatened to pour, but it never rained. However, the threat of rain was enough motivation to yield us a whopping 13.2 mph average for the 16 miles home. I have no idea where I found the strength to ride this fast after riding 34 miles. As we neared the apartment, I was really close to an even 50 miles, so I rode to the end of the street and back. I was not really as tired as I thought I'd be when I got home, but I was filthy and chafed all over.

Summary of what we did this morning:
  • total distance: 50 miles
  • moving time: 4h 15m 18s
  • total time out: 6h 17m 15s (including brunch at Townhouse, street crossings, etc)
  • departure/return time: 7:10 am - 1:30 pm
  • average speed: 11.75 mph
  • max speed: 21.15 (probably downhill)
  • splits:
    • 15.4 in 1:15 @ 12:30 mph
    • 18.55 in 1:46:58 @ 10.4 mph
    • 16.06 in 1:13:16 @ 13.16 mph
We had such a great time that we are already planning a longer ride to Wekiva/Rock Springs where we plan to spend the day tubing before heading back.

Bike Hash
Because 50 miles was obviously not enough, we decided to attend our first bike hash today, and it was a blast! We rode our mountain bikes a little over a mile to the start and watched as the sky opened up and it started to drizzle while we waited for the hare to leave. Despite the rain, they had a huge turn out. Since it wasn't raining that hard, we pressed on and I wasn't miserable riding for almost 6.5 miles in the rain. Because of the rain, most of the trail got washed out and we lost it. We never did find it, but someone knew where the hare lived and guessed correctly that it was the end point. We eventually gave up and headed there. After the usual circle shenanigans, we enjoyed some yummy food: pasta, pizza, and bagels. I will absolutely be doing this again. I think I liked it better than the run hash because despite how tired I am, I can do a better job keeping up on the bike than on foot -- plus I think they always have food at the end :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

May in Review

I post all my workouts as they happen at, which means that I hardly update this blog except for race reports. I want to keep this blog active because I think it helps keep me accountable, so I'm going to try posting a summary every month. This will also help me reflect on the previous month and keep track of any challenges I encountered and lessons learned for the following month. Let's see how long this lasts ;)

  • total distance = 43.64 miles
  • longest run: 5.5 miles
  • avg run pace: 11:56 min/mile
  • total distance = 161.86 miles
  • longest ride: 21.2 miles
  • avg cycle pace: 13.6 mph
Goals for June

Thursday, June 4, 2009

TIART: Relays, Ultras, and Tris

This week's topic for Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge Blog is Relays, Ultras, and Tris - Oh My!

It absolutely amazes me that I am even taking part in this topic when a little over a year ago I thought I'd never run a mile. Now I can run 3 miles in a row, or 13 with some walking breaks. Likewise with biking: I remember when 2 miles seemed like hell, and now I regularly ride 15+ miles with little trouble (damn you headwinds!). Now swimming, that is a whole other story, but I'll get there eventually.

When I started running, I found that biking was a great way to cross train and keep knee pain at bay. Now that I commute 15 miles each way to work 1-2 times a week, I figured I should put all that biking to some good use and venture into the world of multisport events. I've signed up for my first Sprint Duathlon on June 28 at Baldwin Park. I am excited, and a little terrified, but I know I can do this. The distances, 5K run - 13.4 mile bike - 2.5 mile run, are all distances I know I can complete. It is just a matter of how fast, but my main goal is just to finish.

Jason completed his first triathlon in March and I think it has really changed him (for the better). Now he wants to do an olympic and eventually a Half Ironman. Doing these 3 sports regularly is a great way to stay fit, and I want to train for one even if only for that benefit. I am not a strong swimmer (I can't even swim with my head in the water), and I am terrified of open water, but I really want to give this a try. So I found the perfect first triathlon for me and registered. On August 8th, I will compete in the Faces of Courage Reverse Sprint Triathlon: 5k run - 10.5 mile bike - 200 yards swim.

I was going to run the Gasparilla Marathon Relay with mom, dad, and Jason this year, but it sold out before we were able to register. It was for the best as the weather that day was awful, but it was disappointing since we were all really looking forward to doing this as a family. We'll try again in 2010, but I now also have my sights set on the Ragnar Relay. This one is a bit more ambitious than a marathon relay and I need a 12-person team, but I've had lots of interest and plan to put a team together for the Miami to Key West Relay in February once the info is up on the site. I think it will be an incredible challenge and great way to bond with some fellow runners.

Who knew that my little journey a year ago to get healthy and lose some weight would lead to all this? I am excited and eager to see what's beyond the next turn in my journey :)
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