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!

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Possible 2009 Race Schedule -- am I nuts?

    Below is a list of the races I am considering for the rest of the year. Some of these may be too close together and will get scraped (or swapped for others), but I really want to do a 2nd duathlon and my 3rd half marathon before year's end. Am I crazy to try to do 3 multi-sport events with only 1 week between them?


    This is not set in stone at all, so if you have a recommendation for a better race, I may swap :)

    • 7/18 - Lake Louisa Sub-Sprint Tri (registered)
    • 8/8 - Faces of Courage Reverse Sprint Tri (registered)
    • 8/22 - Sprint Du at Moss Park (Fall Tri Festival)
    • 9/6 - Trek Women Tri (contingent of the results of Sat's OWS)
    • 9/26 - Miracle Miles 15k
    • 10/18 - UCF Distance Dare (5 + 2 miler)
    • 10/24 - Women Tri or Du at Moss Park (doubtful)
    • 11/14 - Orlando Urban Dare
    • 11/15 - Founder's Day Distance Dare (10K + 5K)
    • 11/26 - Turkey Trot 5k
    • 11/29 - Space Coast Half Marathon
    • 12/13 - Reindeer Run 5k

    Sunday, July 12, 2009

    Mock Tri Turned Aquabike

    I think I overdid it this week, and I am paying dearly for it now. Ow! :( Let's recap:
    • Sun - biked 45 mile to Wekiva
    • Mon - are you kidding? NOTHING!
      • Actually, that's not true, swam 100 m and biked 1.7 miles -- see, nothing ;)
    • Tue - swam 500 yds + ran/walked 3 miles (easy)
    • Wed - 30 min kickboxing
    • Thu - 6 workout madness: run, swim, bike, swim, bike, yoga
    • Fri - are you kidding? NOTHING! For real this time!
    • Sat - ran 5 miles + played kickball for 1 hour
    • Sun - swam 500 yds + biked 5.45 miles
    I'm dead now! *thunk*

    So today I planned to do a mock tri in preparation for my first (sub)spring triathlon next Saturday at Lake Louisa: 1/4 mile swim, 7 mile bike (on hills), 1.5 mile run. Things did not go quite as planned. I failed miserable at swimming 9 consecutive laps. Ok, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I kept loosing my rhythm and messing up my breathing. I had to pause at the wall a few times and several times I stopped mid-length to tread water or get on my back and catch my breath. I think I can do better when I am not so tired and don't have the wall there as a crutch, but I will probably freak out at being in a lake and surrounded by all those people instead =P 

    After the swim, MaryLynn and I went for what was supposed to be a 7 mile bike ride. I was hurting from the beginning. Let it be known that I shall never again underestimate the exhaustive power of childhood sports (kickball). We rode from Cady Way park and turned around at the end of the trail (before you cross the street to go to Cross Seminole Trail) for a total of 5.45 miles. MaryLynn forgot one of her running shoes, so that was a good enough excuse for me to skip the run too ;) I was really beat and now everything hurts and my skin is burning/radiating heat. 

    Needless to say, tomorrow WILL be a rest day :) 

    Below is my plan for the rest of the week. All workouts should be done at an easy pace OR optional ;)
    • Mon - REST! And possibly some relaxing yoga
    • Tue - Run/Swim at Cady Way before work
    • Wed - Bike - to/from work or on trail after work
    • Thu - Lucky's Lake to get the freaking out over with AND/OR run/swim after work (maybe) OR REST/YOGA
    • Fri - REST! YOGA!
    • Sat - RACE DAY!!
    Whose idea was it for me to do a triathlon in the first place? And whose idea was it to do it next weekend? Ack! =)

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    Today's Madness: Run, Swim, Bike, Swim, Bike, Yoga

    Yup, I did 6 workouts today. I have no idea where I summoned the energy from, but I somehow still had some left when I got home so I threw in some yoga for good measure. Before the details, here is a summary.

    • Morning
      • run: 2.5 miles in 28:08 @ 11:15 min/mile
      • swim: 300 meters (long course)
      • work: 8 hours
    • Afternoon
      • bike: 6.4 miles in 32 minutes @ 12 mph (ride to pool for meetup)
      • swim: 900 yards
      • bike: 6.44 miles in 42 minutes @ 9 mph (ride home after swimming)
      • yoga: 25 minutes - YOGAmazing for triathletes

    AM Run
    I got up early to meet Kelly and the Trek meet up at Cady Way park for a morning run and swim at 6:30 am. We ran out and back on the trail (away from the scary bridge) and I did not walk once! I started at an easy pace and threw in a few farklets on the way out, then slowly sped up on the way back with a few more farklets. We ran out for 15 minutes, then turned around and ran back to the park. I stopped at 2.5 miles, just short of 30 minutes, because I like nice even distances :) We had a light sprinkle for the first few minutes of the run, but that didn't last. It got a little humid, but not too bad since most of the run was under trees. This was a great change of pace from my usual Lake Eola loops.

    Before we headed to the pool for the swim part of our morning workout,  our meetup organizer Chris gave us all awesome goodie bags. They had some very informative booklets, a gu sample, a water bottle, and a multi-tool! Thanks Chris!

    AM Swim
    I hurried to the pool since I had to get back to get ready for work. I swam the long course, 50 meters, and it was wonderful. It was really crowded, but the right lane is really wide so we just swam in a row staying to the right on the way out and in the middle on the way back. I took it nice and slow, and I really focus on my stroke and breathing. I was able to make it the entire 50m length all but once, with only a short break before heading back. The one time I couldn't make it all the way was only because I inhaled water,  not because I was tired. I like the long course better because I can get a good rhythm going and it forces me to pace myself. In a 25 yds lane, I tend to stop at the wall just because is there.

    These two morning workouts were a great, with a great group of ladies, and gave me tons of energy for the rest of the day. Kelly and I plan to make this a regular workout so we can swim the long course at least once a week.

    PM Bike
    The weather cleared up just in time for Kelly and I to bike ride to the afternoon meetup for another swim :) We've been going to this meetup for a couple of weeks now and love it. Kelly still needs to buy her bike, so she rode my Jamis while I rode my road bike. We made pretty good time and kept a 12 mph pace on the way there, which is the fasted she's ever ridden. Yay! Go Kelly! On the way back though, we were pretty spent from the swim so we took it easy. Kelly was such a trooper even though she was exhausted, and I even got her to throw in a sprint at the end.

    PM Swim
    After the bike ride, the water felt amazing! I somehow still had tons of energy and I was just dying to swim. The morning swim was just a little teaser, but I couldn't do more because I had to go to work. I think since my stroke is improving, swimming has become so much easier and I'm actually having fun. We did a combined 12 laps, and we only stopped between laps instead of lengths. Yay! We tried to do drills with some of the group, for we were too tired so just focused on laps at our own pace. Giles took another look at my stroke and video taped me. Once I get the video, I'll post the before and after so you can hopefully see my improvement. He said I've made huge improvements and now I just need to fine tune it. My biggest improvement, of course, is swimming without the nose plugs and learning to breath so I don't inhale water every stroke. It still happens occasionally, but it is the exception and not the rule.

    I still had an abundance of energy when I got home, so I thought I'd do some yoga to mellow me out and get me ready for bed. I've been neglecting yoga lately, but I really needed it today after all I put my body through. It felt amazing and did the trick. (My eyes are getting heavy as I finish typing this.)

    So that's my ridiculous active day -- oh yeah and I worked 8 hours between the AM and PM workouts :)

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    The Joy of Running in the Rain

    I read a lot of running blogs and occasionally come across a post where someone is raving about how much fun they had running in the rain and splashing through puddles. I always thought they were a little crazy--aren't all runners a little crazy? I gave them props for running through it, but thought "that'll never be me."I also thought I'd never be a runner, and we all know how that turned out. :) (I should never say never.)

    Today I had an epiphany that changed everything. The thing about running is that you have to learn everything the hard way. (I guess this is true of most things in life.) We read and hear all sorts of things from runners more experienced than us, but we never truly believe it until we experience it ourselves.

    I met Kelly and Jessica at the Cady Way pool, we swam 500 yards, then rushed over to Baldwin Park to meet a running group. A storm brewed in the horizon, but we thought we'd finished before it materialized. We started our run/walk around the lake, and immediately felt the humidity begin to drench us. We almost begged for rain to cool us off. As we trekked along the 2.5 mile loop, our silent wish was granted near the halfway point. It started as a light sprinkle, but it quickly turned into a downpour.

    It was still warm out, so the rain felt really good--it was refreshing, not chilling. We couldn't stop our run because we still had to make it back to the car, so I figured I might as well make the best of it. At first, I dreaded when it was time to walk; I figured that the faster I ran the sooner I'd be back at my car and out of the wet clothes.

    As I came to terms with my predicament, all those blog posts of people splashing through puddles while running in the rain filled my head, and I almost got giddy. I started to spin around with my hands above my head and just enjoying the moment. Then I realized that my shoes were soaked anyway, so I might as well see what the fuss is all about with the puddle splashing. I splashed through a few and found that I was having fun, so I started seeking them out and splashing through everyone I came across. I was practically skipping! I got the girls to join me in my quest and it made the time fly. I was almost disappointed when the rain stopped, and the puddles became scarce.

    So I guess I am a convert, and I now like running in the rain. I think I didn't like the idea of running in the rain because I always associated rain with being cold and wet. However, on a hot summer day, you might as well be cool and wet from the rain than hot and wet from the heat/humidity.

    Sunday, July 5, 2009

    45.5 Miles Ride to Wekiva Springs

    We (Jason, Tim, Lisa, Joe, James, and I) rode our bikes to Wekiva Springs State Park, where we met our saner friends (Chas, Jessica, Lori, and Karl) who drove there with our gear and food. If we were to drive to Wekiva from downtown Orlando, it would be a 30 minute or 16-mile drive. But that's just too easy. Oh no, we took the LOOOOONG way there and biked 3 times as far and 7.5 as long via the Cady Way to Cross Seminole to Seminole Wekiva trail in 3.75 hours.

    First 24.5 Miles - Cady Way to Oviedo to Soldier's Field
    Jason, Tim, and I started the trek from our apartment in downtown Orlando. We got a late start and left closer to 7:15 am, which meant we had to ride a little faster to meet the rest of our crew (Lisa, Joe and James) in Oviedo by 8:20. We made up some time and averaged 13.5 mph for the first 15.5 miles, arriving in Oviedo only about 5 minutes late, but before 8:30 am. Unfortunately (or fortunately for the 3 of us), Lisa's bike had technical difficulties so we had a nice 25 minute break until they arrived. My pace drop a bit, but I still maintained a combined average of 13 mph for the first 24.5 miles with some sprints thrown in here and there to catch up to the boys.

    Last 20 Miles - Long Stretch to the Springs
    Lisa, Joe, and I took a 15 minute break at Soldier's Field while Jason, Tim, and James played in the dirt trail (I rode my road bike). My pace went downhill after this break for the remainder 20 miles. It slowly declined as the temperature rose and exhaustion set in. I'm still impressed we averaged a pace above 12 mph for this distance -- last time for this distance we averaged 11.7 mph with a breakfast break before the last 15. We also had a lost more hills, or bridge crossings, this time.

    At Wekiva Springs State Park
    When we got to the park, about 1 hour later than planned, we went to the springs but they were COLD! So I didn't make it in past my chest and opted for food instead. We grilled hot dogs and burgers, and ate them with chips and yummy pasta salad. I haven't eaten a hot dog in over a year and it tasted SO good after such a long ride. Any food is so awesome after biking that long. We had lofty goals of doing all kinds of things at the park, but we were all too tired by then, so we drove back shortly after lunch. Jason and I planned to ride back, but I don't think my butt would have been too happy with me and we didn't wanted to eat up the rest of our Sunday.

    I really wanted to ride an extra 5 miles to make this my longest ride in one day, but it was still an awesome ride and the longest I've ridden at once. I'm already scheming a trip to the West Orange Trail for more punishment ;)

    • distance: 45.5 miles
    • active time: 3:43:51
    • speed: 12.2 / 22 mph -- 55 minutes @ 14+ mph
    • cadence: 76 / 111 rpm
    • heart rate: 134 / 168 bpm
    • total time from departure: 5:02:18 -- this is 1 hour and 15 minutes of downtime, but I can only account for 50 minutes. I guess the other 25 is a combination of all the street crossings and such.

    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    June in Review

    As you can see from the stats below, compared to last month, I almost doubled my cycling. This resulted in me running half as much. I guess this makes sense since biking is substantially more prominent in triathlons than running, but I still need to find a better balance between the two. I need to begin building and maintain  a base of at least 1 6-mile long run per week in preparation for when I begin half marathon training in September. I also swam 5 times and I am starting to get more comfortable with swimming. So much so in fact, that I may try a triathlon with a 1/4 mile open water swim next month.

    June May
    run distance 21.16 miles 43.64 miles
    longest run 3.75 miles 5.5 miles
    avg run pace 12:05 min/mile 11:56 min/mile
    bike distance 228.17 miles 161.86 miles
    longest ride 50 miles 21.2 miles
    avg bike speed 12.2 mph 13.6 mph
    swim distance 2992 yds (1.7 mi) 0

    Accomplishments in June
    Goals for July
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