Saturday, April 30, 2011

Run Therapy and Brick/Duathlon Workout

I set my alarm last night to get up this morning in time to run at 6 am with the Galloway group, but I woke up at 4:30 am so I shuffled out of bed, got ready and met the group at 5 am instead. I'm so glad I did because it was a gorgeous morning with brisk cool weather and I would not have wanted to miss any of it. I was a bundle of energy this morning and managed to do my own little 3 hour duathlon. It was an amazing workout and I felt really strong the entire time! Bring on this duathlon! :)

9 Mile LSD Run
As I mentioned earlier, this has been a crazy busy week, so I was really looking forward to a long slow run  with great company. We started with 4 miles, then returned to GMS where I ate 2 shot blocks and drank some water before heading back out for another 2 with Carol and Christine. I was a bundle of energy and felt fantastic, so I went out for another 3 on my own. I ran a total of 9 miles @ 11:58 m/m pace using 2:1 intervals. Splits:

I had a 30 minute break after the 9 mile run while I drove home, refueled and changed. I was going to ride in my running clothes, but I was afraid I'd freeze because my clothes were soaking wet and it was still cool out, so I quickly changed clothes and rode out before I lost the momentum and endorphins I earned on the run.

18 Mile Bike w/6 Hill Repeats
I rode from my apartment to the Cady Way trail then to the bridge and back including 6 hill repeats on Mt Cady. I pushed really hard on the trail and let loose on the down hills to make up for slowing down on the up hills. Mt Cady doesn't begin to compare to the Clermont hills, but it was a great hill workout. I had a ton of energy and didn't even need to downshift going up the bridge a few times. I'm thrilled I averaged 15.5 mph for the 18 miles, including those 6 hill repeats, and I seemed to get even faster during the 2nd half of the ride. Splits:

I took 2 minutes to transition off the bike, changes shoes, eat 2 shot blocks and chug some water, then I was off on run #2. 

5k Run
When I first started running, I everything hurt, but that didn't last. I originally planned to run 2 miles just to get the feel for the brick, specially since I had already run 9 in the morning, but I was feeling really good and the pain stops after a mile so I pushed to a full 5K. I even added a few small hills to the mix! I ran with 2/1 intervals the whole time, and I still felt like I could keep running forever. I'm very pleased that I averaged 11:30 m/m, specially after having already run 9 miles this morning and biked 18 miles. Splits:

Cool Down
Since I throughly abused my body this morning, I wanted to make sure I stretched well. I did about 13 minutes of yoga with a tiny bit of core and upper body strength mixed in. I've really been neglecting yoga and core work lately, but I need to make it a priority again to stay injury free if I'm going to keep abusing my body like this :) 

I showered and had an epic homemade breakfast of eggs, homestyle fries, veggie bacon and toast. I still had lots of residual energy and talked Jason's ear off. Now I'm doing some laundry and fatigue is finally starting to set in. I see a nap in my future after I finish the laundry to recharge before going to a party tonight. 

This was just the workout I needed to release some stress and build my confidence for this duathlon. I can't wait for the race! =)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Let's Du It!

I finally took the plunge and registered for my 2nd duathlon tonight. My first duathlon was 2 years ago in Baldwin Park. That course sucked because it had no shade, I had to run 2.5 miles before and after the bike, and the bike was 13+ miles over 5 loops. I was also not in as good a shape for cycling. After I finished I determined that duathlons were not easier than triathlons and learned to swim. I went on to complete 5 triathlons, but I've always wanted to try a duathlon again with better training.

This duathlon, the 1st in the Central Florida Duathlon Series, will be in Clermont in just 2 weeks on May 14th. The first run is only 1 mile, which will be a great warm up :) The bike is only 10 miles, but it includes some nasty hills during the last 2 miles. The 2nd run is a 5K that is mostly flat with 2 small hills at the start. I'm not too worried about the run, as I've run the 5K there before and I'm a much stronger runner now than I was in 2009. The heat on the other hand may still be a problem, but nothing a little skirt and proper hydration can't handle =P

The hills on the bike worry me a bit, but I've done the course before when I did the triathlon last year, and we rode it last week. I'm also a better cyclist now than I was then, even though I still don't ride for speed much. Riding 15 miles each way to work with the bike bus is a great training ride, so I'm not too worried about finishing the 10 mile course.  However, the hills will still kick my ass because I just suck at climbing hills. I plan to push hard for the rest of the course until then since I know I'll slow at the end because of the hills. Tomorrow we'll either drive to Clermont to practice again on the course, or do hill repeats at Mt Cady :)

I'm getting excited to mix things up again and have some fun before marathon training starts in June. I wanted to do the entire series (there are 5 races in all, with a tri, du and 5K each day -- Jason is doing all 5 triathlons) but I'll be leading a running group and don't want to miss out on 5 long runs. Depending on how the groups line up, I'll probably have a co-leader that can cover for me so I may do another if this one goes well, and maybe even a tri if I ever get my ass back in the pool.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Today was a great day. I was still busy as hell, but I made running a priority before starting my workday and it really set the tone for the rest of the day. I initially planned to run home from the bus, but I knew that it would be hot (or raining) after work, so I changed into running clothes as soon as I got to work and took advantage of the cool(er) morning. It felt great! I'm really glad I didn't bike to work and ran instead, because I really needed a run. It was like a mental reset and recharged my batteries to continue dealing with the busyness at work.

A ton of projects are converging at work, which is why I've been so busy keeping all the balls in the air for my team, but I honestly prefer this because it makes the time at work fly. It does take a mental toll, but I'll get to sleep in this weekend and tomorrow is a rest day so it's ok. I'm actually working on a project with Jason, which is rare. Even though we've worked in the same department for over a decade, long before we became a couple, we rarely interact professionally at work unless I need tech support for my mac. He is a software developer and the mac sys admin, while I'm a project manager and instructional designer/developer. Our paths rarely cross, except for when I use one of the products he's developed, but I'm now the project manager in one of his development projects. I will be developing some documentation for it, and will be doing a presentation to faculty with him. It's a nice change to collaborate on a project, and I'm really excited to see it launch.

As I mentioned, tomorrow will be a rest day unless I get up early enough to do yoga before we catch the bus to work. The weekend will be really busy, but it should be fun filled with parties, brick workouts, running, cycling, geocaching, and who knows what else :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Today has been a mixed bag.
  • I had another super busy day at work filled with meetings and an all-morning training workshop, but at least it was a very productive day. 
  • I didn't get to run again, and it's driving me crazy (it's been 4 days!). I really needed a good run today, and I'll be biking to work tomorrow, so I may not get to run again until this weekend :( and I'll have to share the run with a brick workout.
  • I walked a mile to the bus (got a ride home) and biked just under 4 miles to dinner / Cycling Savvy meeting, so I wasn't a total slug today.
  • The Cycling Savvy meeting was very productive and we came up with some awesome ideas that I cannot wait to see implemented. 
  • I did not get into the NYC Marathon :( But this opens up a lot more possibilities for my fall racing schedule, so I'm not too bummed about it. I'll probably train for the Space Coast Marathon instead, and now I can do a halloween half marathon :)
  • I didn't get to watch any Doctor Who or Torchwood tonight :( 
  • I'm writing this from my brand new Macbook Air! It's fantastic! =D

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Staying Busy

I've been crazy busy at work lately, so biking to and from work has been a nice stress reliever. However, today I was simply fried. I didn't have a minute to spare at work, and didn't even realize how late it was when Jason asked if I was ready to head home. We took the trail home and rode very leisurely. It was nice and I felt accomplished when I got home, but also very glad to be home. The rest of the week will be much of the same, so I hope I have enough energy to bike to work on Thursday and get a nice run in tomorrow. I'll also be glad when the daily blogging is over on Saturday :) I almost called it quits today, but I can't stop now that I'm so close =P

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rest Day

Other than walking to and from the bus stop, I didn't do any exercise today. I woke up late and thus had no time for yoga. I was feeling worn out and sluggish -- I'm sure the gloomy weather contributed to this -- so I skipped my run after work too. I at least was a bit productive, and then watched more Doctor Who/Torchwood. I plan to bike to work tomorrow, so it was probably for the best. And after the super active week I had last week, I needed the extra rest day. Here's what I did last week:


  • ran 9 miles
  • biked 96 miles
  • walked 4 miles
  • total 109 miles / 10.5 hours
Daily Breakdown:
  • Mon - ran 3 miles; 40m yoga
  • Tue - biked 33 miles
  • Wed - ran 5K; biked 7 miles
  • Thu - biked 32 miles
  • Fri - walked 2.5 miles
  • Sat - ran 5k race; biked 13 miles; walked 2 miles
  • Sun - biked 10 miles w/hills

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Family Portrait

We spent the afternoon at my parent's house playing with my niece and taking family photos. She is an endless bundle of energy and cuteness, and I'm now exhausted. Jason took over 200 photos and he is still sorting through them, but I just had to post one of them here.

This morning I got my ass kicked by the Clermont hills. We rode the course for the duathlon/triathlon we'll be doing there in May. I averaged 16+ mph for the first 7 miles (thanks tailwind) until the hills started, and then I had to walk up the last hill. However, I'm pleased with a 15 mph average for the 10 miles. Splits: We're going back for more next weekend, and maybe add in a short run for a brick workout.

On Sunday, we'll be leading a social bike ride to Mead Garden for geocaching and a picnic. Check out for details and join the fun!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Race Report: Run for the Trees 5K 2011

Run for the Trees 5KThis morning I ran the Run for the Trees 5K for the 4th year in a row. I love this race because it is for a great cause, it has a gorgeous and mostly shaded course, and it's within biking distance from home. I've PRed at this race every year.

  • 2008 = 0:42:57 
  • 2009 = 0:33:12 (-9:45)
  • 2010 = 0:32:10 (-1:02)
  • 2011 = 0:30:26 (-1:44)

I was chasing my elusive sub-30 5K today. I gave it all I had, but I came up 27 seconds short. However, that is still a sub-10 min/mi pace, and almost 2 minutes faster than last year's PR, so I'm really pleased.  I'm also pleasantly surprised at how well I placed compared to last year's race.

  • overall = 478 / 1215 (top 39%) 
  • ag = 34 / 103 (top 33%)
  • gender = 192 / 733 (top 26%)
  • clock = 30:58
  • chip time = 30:26
  • pace = 9:47.7

The best part was running the entire race with Jason. He helped pushed me to do this well, but I just couldn't push any harder. What's really annoying is not that my legs don't have the speed, is that I could not get my breathing under control to get rid of the side stitches that kept popping up. I simply have neglected yoga and building the core strength I need to push through when it gets tough to control my breathing.

Like last year, we biked 6.5 miles to the start at an easy pace then I ate a Gu Roctane 15 minutes before the start as we walked to line up. We ran using 4:1 intervals, and walked through the one water stop. I was going to skip the last interval, but I had to catch my breath and try to get rid of the side stitch to finish strong. I still wonder if I would have shaved off those extra 26 seconds, but I don't think so because I'd probably would have run slower because it hurt so bad.

This is what I really hate about 5Ks. I push so hard that it hurts and think that I can't possibly dig any deeper, but 5 minutes after I finish I feel fine and then I begin to doubt myself. But at least now I know that it was not a fluke when Jason and I ran sub-31 before, and I love that sub-35 is easy now.

I probably won't try to run a 5K this fast again for a while. I'm taking a break from race for now until the next Galloway session starts in June. I may do a duathlon in May, but that will probably be a last minute decision and just for a fun challenge. I'm going to run for fun and without a plan and just enjoy it. I want to add speed work and train for another marathon, then running a sub-30 5K won't be so hard.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Busy Weekend Ahead

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, so I'll make this quick so I can go lay down and try to get some sleep.

  • I took a much needed rest day today, and it was wonderful :) I slept in and did not do any exercise except for walking to and from the bus. I feel well rested.
  • This has been a crazy busy week at work, but very productive. I'm glad it's Friday, but next week holds much of the same.
  • Tomorrow Jason will be running with me as I attempt a 5K PR and *fingers crossed* sub-30. I'm super nervous, but I'm just going to dig deep and hope for the best.
  • Immediately after the race -- after we bike home, shower and refuel -- we'll be running the Bike Valet during the Earth Day celebration at Lake Eola. So come one out, ride your bike, and let us watch it while you enjoy the festivities.
  • Sunday I'll be sleeping in and then spending some quality time with the family in the afternoon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TTT: Exercises this Week

1) Cycling - I've biked 72 miles so far this week. They've been really enjoyable rides, but I'm really glad that tomorrow is a rest day :)

2) Running - I've only run 6 miles this week, but that's actually pretty normal mid-week millage for me. They have not been great runs, but maybe I'm just saving it all for Saturday :) My pre-race jitters are getting worse, as doubt continues to creep in. Jason's doing his best to keep my hope alive. Let's hope I can listen to him on Saturday and let him push me to my goal.

3) Yoga/Core/Strength - I did 30 minutes of yoga on Monday morning, focusing on the core, and another 10 minutes after my run in the afternoon, but I've neglected it the rest of the week. With all this cycling, I should have done more, but I've just not have the time/energy. My priority for tomorrow is to sleep in, but will do yoga if I wake up in time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Odds and Ends

Today was a really long day at work, so you get a bullet point post :)

  • Ran 5k before work in the brisk morning air -- my last run before Saturday's race. It would have been great were it not for the stupid side stitch I had for most of it.
  • Drove to work because we had to take the car in for it's yearly transmission check up. 
  • We brought our bikes and road the 3.5 miles from the shop to UCF. I've no idea how we managed to average 15+ mph.
  • Had a very long day of meetings, so the afternoon ride to the shop was a great stress reliever.
  • Stopped by Track Shack to pick up the race packets for Saturday's race. Is it Saturday yet? :)
  • After dinner and homemade ice cream, we finished season 1 of Doctor Who. I'm very relieved Captain Jack is not dead =P 
  • Oh yeah, I bought a Macbook Air because my Macbook died. =) I'm using Jason's old powerbook to write this. This thing is ancient. We should probably donate it to a museum =P 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Lovely Commute

Today was a great day of cycling. I rode over 33 miles to and from work without incident -- unless we count mother nature :)

morning commute
Morning Ride
The morning ride was a thing of beauty. The air was brisk but comfortable enough to ride in shorts. We had 5 cyclists and I drove the bus when we got to University. I usually stay in the back (so I can draft and not have to lead) but Jason rode in the back so he could capture unobstructed video behind his bike. I was amazed that I managed to average 14 mph while riding in front.

Jason took this photo on University Blvd between Goldenrod and Hall. Notice how few cars there are on the road. It is not because it's not busy during this time of the day; it is because the platoon of cars passes us after the intersection, then we get the road to ourselves for at least a minute or two before the next platoon is released. Traffic usually builds up at Dean and at Rouse, and even we have to wait through a cycle or two at those red lights. Traffic was particularly thick near Rouse today for some reason, so we pulled off at the gas station to let the platoon pass and then get the road to ourselves again until we got to UCF. This costs us 30 seconds at most, but it's a more pleasant experience for us and the motorists alike.

Lunch Ride
My main office is in Research Park, about 2 miles from UCF, but I was on campus for meetings in the morning. After lunch, I rode the 2 miles to my office. It was certainly warmer and windy by then but it's a short enough ride to still be pleasant.

Afternoon Ride

riding in the rain
When I left my office, it was overcast and the air felt like rain was coming. I rode the 2 miles to campus, successfully negotiating my way out of the bike line at the intersection with a new strategy. We debated for a while what to do about the impending rain (we could hear thunder and see lightning in the distance), but finally decided to head out to meet our 4th cyclist at Rouse. As we approached the Wendy's, we could see the wall of rain approaching so we decided to take the trail as it looked like the rain was heading in a different direction. We waited at the intersection to cross onto Rouse and saw the rain inching ever closer and finally drenching us. By the time we got to Blanchard Park, it had slowed but it didn't fully let up until after we were past the park. It actually made for a very pleasant ride as the trail was empty.

Once we got to Hanging Moss, a 2-lane road, we employed the control and release technique to keep ourselves safe and still let motorists pass when it was safe to do so. It worked beautifully and I felt like a super hero every time I out my hand out to keep motorists from passing us onto oncoming traffic and then wave them through when it was clear. It's really empowering to ride on a road like this using this technique properly. Even on a road that's barely wide enough to share, I do not mind slinking away to the right to let a motorist past because they've now slowed to my speed while waiting for me to wave them through so the passing clearance needed is greatly reduced. We then turned left onto Semoran and controlled the right lane until we turned right onto Baldwin Park. We had the road to ourselves the entire time.

Leading the Dance
Driving your bike on the road truly is like leading a dance (this is a great article on the Cycling Savvy site with video demonstrating how easy it is to ride in traffic and negotiate your right of way with motorists). It is all about timing and communication. When I ride assertively, make my intensions known with clear communication, take advantage of gaps in traffic, and have confidence in those choices, my ride is exponentially more enjoyable. My stress and anxiety levels today were nonexistent. It wasn't too long ago when the thought of riding on University Blvd terrified me, let alone riding on the outside of the lane (where I am more exposed to traffic) or on the front of the bus. But today I felt at ease and on top of the world. Even when I realized I forgot my hair products, I didn't let it phase me. I made do with what I had. I simply felt in control of everything that transpired today and that's a wonderful feeling.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Unreasonable Doubt

After having a great run on Saturday, I've been looking forward to when I'd get to run again today. I woke up early before my alarm and did 30 minutes of yoga for core strength. That was a great start to my day, but it seemed to degrade from there.

Jason needed to take his bike to the shop for repairs, so we drove to work. I find that my stress levels are higher when we drive, even if it means I get to sleep later and get home earlier. Work was frustrating, so I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I left work. It was hot by the time I got home, so I waited until the sun went down a bit to start my run around 7 p.m. This meant a very late dinner, and I don't like eating this close to bed. I don't run as well in the afternoons as in the mornings, but it never occurred to me to run before work since I don't usually have time to when I take the bus to work. D'oh! The run was rough, even though I ran mostly in the shade to avoid the heat, but it was still pretty humid. I struggled to average just under 11 min/mi pace, and it shattered my confidence about Saturday's 5K a bit.

I know the conditions will (hopefully) be way different -- cooler temp, race day adrenaline, good warm up (we'll bike 6.5 mi to start), gu roctane w/caffeine before the start, Jason pacing me -- but I can't help but doubt myself. I keep going back and forth about whether to try to run the whole thing minus the water stops, just walk after every mile (and water stops), or do some other kind of interval. I think I'm going to use 4:1 intervals since that's the closest to what I did when Jason and I had that speedy run and I think anything else will really mess with my head and I'll defeat myself mentally before I can give it my all.

I know I'm being ridiculous and putting undue stress on myself for nothing, but if I can't be irrational on my blog on race week, where can I? :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Doctor Who

Today was another lazy Sunday, and I really needed it. It seems like every weekend has been packed full with teaching or racing or something. I slept in, but don't recall how late (probably 7:30 lol) and then lounged around the apartment all day. I did get the laundry done, so that was productive, but the rest of the day I caught up on some TV.

First we watched some episodes of Chopped. I'm obsessed with this show and how creative these chefs can be with some crazy combination of ingredients. I think it's helped me take a few risks when cooking, but I still have a long way to go.

We've recently started watching Doctor Who, the new series with the 9th Doctor. It's a strange show, but rather addicting. We just finished watching episodes 9 and 10, and Jason was quite freaked out by this creepy episode. Now that we've met Captain Jack, I want to see Torchwood =P

I know this is a rather random post, but I really wanted to get something up before going to bed. I've also been thinking all day about next weekend's 5K and is driving me a little crazy thinking of whether I can pull it off or not. I can't wait to run tomorrow! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Magic Mile in 8:58

I started the morning with a great workout, and spent the rest of the day recovering from it :) I woke up and realized I forgot to wear my night splint and my foot was a bit achy. I got up and got ready anyway and headed to the track early to warm up well before attempting a timed mile. I ran an easy mile, then walked a bit trying to decide if I should go for it. I finally started and almost gave up during the first lap because I wasn't feeling it. I told myself to suck it up and get it done, and I finished in 8:58. That's 6 seconds faster than last June. I know I held back a bit at the beginning, so I can probably run it a little faster, but progress is progress and I'm happy to finally have run it in under 9 minutes.

After the magic mile, we ran 2 mile repeats using 3/1 intervals with a 3 min rest between each repeat: Mile 1 in 10:51 - Mile 2 in 10:36. I finished the workout with a 1 mile cool down around the track for a total of 5 miles. Although the air was cool, the humidity was absurd and I was absolutely drenched when I was done. It felt great though and gave me a bit more confident about a 5K PR next weekend. After I got home, showered, and ate, I took a long nap then we ran some errands. I've spent the rest of the day being lazy on the couch lol

Based on my 8:58 mile, this is what the Galloway predictor formula says I should be able to run under optimal conditions:
  • 5K Race Pace - 9:31 min/mile (29:30)
  • 10K Race Pace - 10:19 min/mile (1:03:56)
  • Half Marathon Race Pace - 10:46 min/mile (2:20:57)
  • Half Marathon Training Pace - 12:39 min/mile (2:45:48)
  • Marathon Race Pace - 11:39 min/mile (5:05:24)
  • Marathon Training Pace - 13:39 min/mile (5:57:48)
Let's hope we have optimal conditions next Saturday :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Savvy Cyclist

Today turned out to be an eventful day. After going to bed late due to the Corporate 5K festivities, the last thing I wanted to do this morning was bike 15+ miles to work. We had a photo/video shoot scheduled with FDOT, which is the main reason I didn't back out of the ride. It turned out to be a gorgeous and cool morning and we had a great ride, until we got pulled over about a mile away from UCF and cited for impeding traffic.

I am not going to go into details, because this post is not about what happened, but how I handled it. I remembered how terrified and anxious I was the first time we rode alone down University Blvd; I almost had a nervous breakdown. I have been lucky until this point to not be with Jason the other times he got pulled over, and I thought I would be super anxious and scared if we ever got pulled over when I was with them. I didn't think I would know what to do or how to act, but I was wrong.

Not only was I really calm and not at all anxious, but I took part in the conversation with the officer instead of slinking away in the background and letting Jason handle it. I was confident that we were operating safely within the law and was not afraid to stand up for our rights. I'm sure I could have articulated some things better, but I feel I did the best I could under the circumstances at explaining our position and not backing down when it meant compromising our group's safety.

I've come a long way from the terrified gutter bunny who would not dare ride on the rode without Jason buffering me from traffic. I am a lot more confident now about my place on the rode, how to drive my bike safely with or without Jason :) I have Cycling Savvy to thank for empowering me to drive my bike on the road, but becoming a Cycling Savvy Instructor was the last puzzle piece that I was missing and why things went so well today. Not only am I a savvy cyclist, but having to teach others to do the same further empowers me and gives me the confidence to handle situations like this.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Race Report: Corporate 5K 2011

I love this race! With over 14,000 runners and walkers, it's amazing to be running in a constant sea of runners and be part of something so huge. Our team this year had 29 registered and 25 made it to the start and finish line tonight! I'm so very proud of all of them.

I finished the race in 33:42 @ 10:47 pace. This is a course PR and a much better finish time than I expected considering my foot was bothering me while standing at the start and my legs felt really tight for the first mile. I was struggling a bit during the first mile, but I guess that's because I was running faster than I thought =P It  was very crowded and hot, but I found my groove and ran the whole thing minus 2 brief water breaks. I'm shocked I finished only ~1.5 minutes slower than my 5K PR and a course PR by over a minute. Splits: 11:09 - 10:53 - 10:18 /mile. 

They did a great job organizing the start this year with runners lined up on Central and the walkers lined up perpendicular on Eola drive and starting after all the runners. This helped ease some of the congestion and ensure the walkers didn't get trampled by the speedy runners.  I also loved this year's course. It was a nice rectangle and most of it was on paved roads and very little bricks. My group started in the front of the 25+ min runners, so we were essentially in the middle of the pack, and it was an awesome sight when I turned onto Robinson and could see the wall of people in front of me. The weather cooperated too with a nice breeze, but it was still very humid because of all the people and during parts of the course when houses blocked all the wind. 

But the best part was the after party at my place where we hung out, ate yummy food (and we still have way too many cookies leftover) and shared race stories. It's always great to hear the enthusiasm of all the new runners who finished their first 5k tonight and had a great time! Yay! Thanks CDL for another great year!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Race Report: Iron Girl Half Marathon

Medaled! :) I had low expectations for my performance going into this race, because my foot had been bothering me and I took a week off from running prior to the race, so my main goal was to have fun. I accomplished that and surprised myself a bit considering the course and weather I had to deal with.

Pre-Race: The race was in Clearwater, about 2 hours away, so we stayed with a friend at Land O' Lakes, which is only 1 hour away from the race start.  I woke up at 4 am and went about my pre-race routine. It was going to be a hot and humid day, and I was running in a sleeveless shirt, so I generously applied bodyglide everywhere. I also redid some of the KT tape on my right foot. Grabbed a banana to eat later, packed the car, and were on the road by 5 am.

The Outfit: For my race outfit, I wore the team sparkle traveling skirt, with Skirt Sports shorties underneath, a C9 black tech tank top and run love bondi band. I skipped the knee high socks because I knew I'd get too hot, and I'm really glad I did. I wore my Amphipod hydration belt to carry my iPhone, which got really hot after a while. I opted not to bring any of the water bottles since the course had plenty of water stops, but I wish I had because it was so hot. The skirt is adorable, but the tag kept scratching me until it finally dawned on me to flip the elastic band over. I'm not sure if I'd wear one of these again, but it was perfect for this race and it got a ton of compliments from volunteers, spectators, and fellow racers.

Parking/Race Start: The race started at 7 am, but I had to take a shuttle from Downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach no later than 6:15 am. We arrived at one of the parking lots at 5:50. Jason dropped me off to get in line for the shuttle while he parked the car and unloaded his bike; he biked the course and took photos while I ran. The line was super long, but I made onto the shuttle before 6:15 and arrived at the start line with plenty of time. I ate my banana while I waited for the shuttle, and when I got to the beach got in line for the potty. There were plenty of them, but still long lines. I made it out and onto the start line with 2 minutes to spare.

bridge #2 Course: The course was very scenic with 3 bridge crossings and rolling hills throughout. You can see the course and my splits at I ran into Kathy and Martha at the start, and we ran together enjoying the gorgeous scenery and music for the first 4 miles but I was feeling really good and pulled ahead around mile 5. Not wanting to overdo it and make my foot worse, I ran with 2/1 intervals for the first half of the race, and walked up every bridge / significant hill and through the water stops. I saw Jason around mile 3, then he disappeared for a while when he decided to return to the car to get the real camera because the iPhone wasn't cutting it. The water stops were frequent and well stocked with water, gatorade, granola bars, and fruit snacks! They also had powerbar gels at mile 8; I brought my own, but took some for later use just in case.

The heat and the hills made this race really tough, and my knee started hurting along with my foot. I don't think they appreciated the bridges/hills and I really should have run in new shoes but didn't have the time to break them in before the race. Despite the pain in my foot and knee, I was feeling really strong but the stop and go from the run/walk made it worse, so around mile 8 I abandoned my run intervals and just ran as much as I could only walking for a few minutes at every mile marker or water stop (every 1/2 - 1 mile) and up the last bridge.

bridge #3 Geocaching: Since I knew I wasn't going to PR at this race, I wanted to make the most fun out of it. I saw that there were several Geocaches along the course route, so I told Jason to find one and lead me in the right direction so I could find it during the race and continue my streak. I noticed his bike helmet bobbing up and down behind some bushes before mile marker 10, but he had not found it yet, so I kept going. He gave up and biked ahead in search of another one.

At the top of the last bridge, just before mile marker 12, I saw Jason with his camera straddling the concrete wall that separated the sidewalk from the road. Some runners were running on the road while others were on the sidewalk. Luckily I had chosen to walk up the bridge on the sidewalk because unbeknownst to me Jason had posted for me to get on the sidewalk because he found a cache on the bridge. As I passed him, he mentioned it and pointed in it's general direction. I stopped, quickly found it and it totally made my day! I handed it to him to sign for me while I finished the race, gave him a kiss, and ran the rest of the way to the final water stop and then onto the finish line. I really wish I had thought of having him taking a pic of me with it, but I was focused on finishing the race and getting out of the hot sun as quickly as possible.

Then I was like ... Finish and Post Race: As I neared the finish line, I saw Jason taking pictures and cheering me on. I was hurting, but I gave it my all and sprinted as best I could across the finish line as the announcer called out my name -- LOVE THAT!

I was in a bit of a daze, but got my chip removed, grabbed some water and my medal, then found Jason. We waited to see Penny finish and then headed to get some food and put my name on the wait list for a massage. The list was super long, so we pulled some chairs in the shade and ate our food. The food was just ok.

Since it would be a while before my name was called for a massage, I found the medical tent to get some ice for my knee. I was so tired and hot that was about ready to give up on the massage, so Jason offered to bike back to the car and come pick us up so we would not have to wait in line for the shuttle. This turned out to be a blessing as the lines were super long and with no shade. While Jason got the car, they called our names for the massage and it was wonderful! The lady finished with my massage (legs and feet!) just as Jason pulled up to pick us up. We all piled onto my car and got real cozy, then had a little photo shoot when we got back to the parking lot. See all the crazy photos.

After the photo shoot, I changed out of my sweaty clothes, put on my calf sleeves, and got ready for our 2 hour drive home. We stopped at Perkins to refuel, then took a nap when we got home before meeting my parents for dinner to celebrate my Dad's birthday. After dinner, we all visited my sister to get some baby squeezing time. :) Bella is just about the most adorable baby girl, even though she is so grown up. They put some music on and she was just spinning and falling over saying "woah" Too hilarious!

Final Thoughts: Despite the challenges I faced during this race, I really enjoyed it. There is something a little bit magical about running an all women's race. Everyone is there to have fun and the enthusiasm is contagious. I would certainly consider doing this race again, but I really wish they would change the date to March when is not as scolding hot and I'd need to train better for the hills :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Race Recovery & Geocaching Streak

#1 - Race Recovery: I woke up feeling like I got run over by a bus, so I stayed home from work. I slept until 10:30 am! That is unheard of for me and I've no idea when was the last time I slept past 7 am, but it was just want my body needed because I feel much better now. I didn't do yoga like I wanted to because of sleeping in, but I did ride about 4 miles to run a few errands. The easy spin may have actually helped. It sure was hot though and very windy. The foot and knee are feeling much better, but the foot is still giving me a little trouble. I don't plan to run again until the Corporate 5K on Thursday and will play it by ear until the Run for the Trees 5K on the 23rd. I do need to run a magic mile sometime this month, but I want to wait until I'm in the best possible shape to give it my all.

#2 - Geocaching Streak:  I was going to stop my geocaching streak at 10 days, mainly because finding a cache daily will become harder the longer I do this unless I have time to drive/ride to a new area. However, since I was home and already out running some errands, I decided to go find a nearby cache that was only available on weekdays during business hours at the Downtown Orlando visitor's center. I never knew this building was there and it's a great idea for a cache. So that makes 11 days in a row. Now I feel like I have to make it to 2 weeks. lol I think I'm a little obsessed :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

It has been a long day and I'm exhausted, so this will be a quick bulleted post.
  • I took the day off from work to recover from yesterday's race, but didn't really get to rest as I hoped.
  • I slept in a little, but I had a hard time sleeping soundly last night because I was so sore.
  • My right knee and foot felt a lot better this morning, but being out all day cycling and walking didn't help.
  • We rode to Winter Park this morning to attend a Complete Streets Workshop. This was a very eye opening and somewhat frustrating experience.
  • After the workshop, we rode to Big Frog to pick up the Corporate 5k team shirts, then had dinner with Keri at Ethos Vegan Kitchen.
  • We found a geocache across the street from Ethos at Gaston Edwards Park, thus completing my 10 day streak
  • We finished our day's adventures with a stop at the Audubon Farmer's Market for some eggs before riding home, for a total of 13 miles ridden today.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Iron Girl Half Marathon Highlights

I don't have the mental energy to write a full race report, so here are the highlights (the good parts) of my 9th half marathon. I'll try to get the full report posted tomorrow.
  • Gorgeous course w/music near the water stops every 1.5 - 2 miles
  • Running with friends and hanging out after the race
  • Fruit snacks at water stops! Yum! :)
  • Continued my geocaching streak -- Yes, I found a cache DURING the race LOL! (with Jason's help)
  • Jason is the best support crew/paparazzi =) 
  • Hearing my name over the speaker as I crossed the finish line strong 
  • Free post-race massage
  • It wasn't a personal worse! :) Official Stats = 2:42:16 @12:23 m/m; 1131 / 1628 overall; 209/279 in age group 
  • Post race photo shoot =) (click photo to enlarge)
Post Race Photo Shoot

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Iron Girl HM Pre-Race Musings

Despite my best attempts at sleeping in, I was awake by 7 am. I quickly put some granola in the oven to bake while I did an hour of yoga. It was a little tough because my muscles were really tight, so I'm really glad I got up early enough to do it. After yoga, I had some breakfast and packed while Jason ran 6 miles. We were on the road by 11 am headed to Clearwater Beach for the Iron Girl Half Marathon Expo.

After picking up my race packet, browsing around the Expo and catching up with Penny, we had lunch at Cafe' 421. It's a small restaurant with a big menu. I ordered the Caribbean Wrap - spring mix, mango salsa, gouda cheese, nuts and strawberry dressing - with coleslaw (which also had some mango salsa and a poppyseed dressing instead of mayo, giving it a sweet taste). Jason ordered the mushroom burger with sweet potato fries. The service was quick and the food really tasty. We were really impressed and highly recommend it.

Jason approved lunch Geocaching in Clearwater Beach, FL

We went for a short walk around Clearwater Beach after lunch to find a geocaching and continue my streak. The cache lead us to this gorgeous spot with a great backdrop. This race should be a really nice run with beautiful scenery, but I'm a little worried it will be too warm. Then we drove another hour to Land O' Lakes to spend the night hanging out with our friend Sean. While out getting some last minute supplies for dinner, we found 2 other caches. Now we're chilling while dinner finishes cooking: Greek Pasta with warm italian multigrain bread. Yum!

As for my goals for tomorrow, to have fun! :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Busy Day

It's been a really long day, and I'm exhausted, so I'll make this quick and it bullet form so I can go to bed :)

  • Drove to work so we got home in time for a quick bite before heading to teach Cycling Savvy, which meant I got to sleep in. 
  • I should have gotten up a little earlier and done yoga, but I laid in bed until the last possible second instead.
  • Went for a short walk before lunch in search of a geocache; I couldn't find it and all I got was sweaty.
  • Found a quick park and grab geocaching on our way home, and thus continuing my 7 day streak; I think I'll go for 10 days now :)
  • We taught our first classroom session of Cycling Savvy tonight. It was exhausted but very rewarding. It's awesome to see that transformation in the students when it clicks for them.
  • Hung out with Keri and Mighk afterwards for a quick snack, debrief, and good conversation. 
  • Now it's time for bed, but I get to sleep in tomorrow then head over to Clearwater for the race expo. Hopefully I don't sleep in too much and I have time for yoga in the morning then finish figuring out my race outfit =P
  • Good night! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Three Things Thursday: Health

#1) Dentist - On top of an upset stomach and headache, I was having a bit of a toothache and pain along my jawline that I kept ignoring. (Deja vu anyone?) So I went to the dentist this morning to have it checked out and he redid 2 of my fillings. Apparently it's normal to need them replaced every 7 years or so. He also readjusted the bite on my crown once again because it is still super sensitive to cold. These were the probable cause of the dull headache I've had the past few days and possibly even my upset stomach. He had to use quite a bit of novocaine so I had a numb mouth through mid-afternoon and was barely able to eat anything for lunch except some bread.

#2) Doctor - I finally found a new Primary Care Physician so I can stop going to the urgent care clinic. I've been wanting to get a full physical and blood work done to make sure my new meatless diet is giving me all the nutrients I need. I already adore my new doctor. She is very animated and thorough. We talked at length about my medical history and she congratulated me on my healthy lifestyle, then ordered all kinds of blood work. I narrowly avoided getting a tetanus shot -- I need one because it's been over 10 years since my last one (I actually don't think I've ever had one). Apparently it can cause lingering muscle soreness for up to a week, so I asked to do it next time as I didn't want another thing to deal with during Sunday's race. Next time I wont be so lucky.

#3) Misc - On my way home form the doctor, I found a geocache in the area and thus continued my streak (6 days so far). I stopped at Track Shack to pick up my team's race numbers and shirts for the Corporate 5K. We have 29 registered for our team, so it's a pretty big box. It was pretty late by the time I got home, so I chilled for a bit before I started dinner of Vegetarian Korma with perfect brown rice and warm naan. I timed it perfectly and it was ready just as Jason got out of the shower after biking home. Now we're prepping for teaching tomorrow's Cycling Savvy classroom session. Just one more day and we head to Clearwater for the expo and race. I'm getting excited! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Frustrations this Week

So here is what inspired yesterday's post:

On Friday, I woke up with painfully tight calves and the PF on my right foot was really bothering me. After being on my feet at Relay for Life for a while, I couldn't take it anymore and went home to deal with it. I soaked in a warm epson bath, massaged them with the stick, and then by hand with some biofreeze. I went to bed hoping I'd be able to run the next day.

I woke up on Saturday in time to meet my running group, but opted for extra rest and ran on my own later so I could run at my own pace and cut it short if I needed to. I ran 5 easy miles without incident with the support of some KT Tape and my calves sleeves. I thought I was good to go. I walked a bit on Sunday and it was bothering me towards the end of the day, but nothing major.

When I woke up on Monday, my foot was still hurting so I skipped my run because I know I'm ready for Sunday's race and nothing I do this week will really help my performance, but it could certainly hurt it if I make things worse with the foot. We went to Sports Authority that night to get a roll of KT Tape in hopes that I could run on Tuesday. Jason taped my foot and I slept with it and my night splint.

The foot felt better Tuesday morning, but I did not. I've been focusing on core and doing lots of yoga/stretching instead, and my foot and calves feel back to normal, but I still have not been able to run because I've been battling tummy issues. Needless to say, running and having my stomach bounce around was out of the question.

So I'm really frustrated that I have not been able to run this week and I have a race on Sunday, but I know that I will be fine. I ran a half marathon in October after not running at all for 2 whole weeks. So I think I'll be fine since I ran a half marathon a month ago, 10 miles 2 weeks ago, a 10K last weekend, and 5 miles this weekend (plus 2-3 additional mid-week runs each week). I hate that I've already settled for not having the best race. Of course I'll still give it my all, but I will be content with just finishing pain free (although deep down I hope I do better than that lol).

”team My Hot Pink Team Sparkle Traveling Skirt arrived today. It's super short! and very cheer and very pink lol I have shorts I can wear underneath, but I am still struggling with what top to wear. I have a tight fitting black shirt that really makes the skirt pop, but I feel like that's so boring and really long for the tiny skirt. If I'm not going to race hard I want to at least have ridiculous fun! I had bought some knee high socks, but they don't really match as well as I thought. I could wear black ones, but again that's no fun. Though I may run in my calve sleeves just in case, so that would solve it. So I'm still finalizing my outfit and I may have to break the #1 cardinal rule of running and try something new on race day *gasp* Any suggestions for what to wear with a hot pink and any other accessories to make this the funnest outfit ever? :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In the Raw

This blog started as a chronicle of my journey to lose weight by eating right and exercising. It was an honest account of the challenges I faced along my chosen path -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- to keep me accountable, document my progress, and inspire others to do the same. It eventually morphed into a lifestyle change blog (including fitness, green living, healthy cooking), but it tends to deteriorate from time to time (more often than not lately) into a running blog that mostly contains race reports and the occasional recipe post.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped posting the bad and the ugly, only celebrating my successes and ignoring my failures -- or at least downplaying them.  Part of me attributes this to my increase use of Dailymile, Facebook (and sometimes livejournal) where I post about the day to day struggles,  which seem too trivial for a whole blog post, so by the time I go write a blog post it's old news (to me) and I feel like I've already written it. The same happens when I started daily journaling about weight loss elsewhere; I got burnt out of blogging and thus had no mental energy to write anything here.

But another part of me feels like posting about it here is just whining and no one wants to read an entire post of that =P But you know what, this is my blog and I am still my primary audience; how can I learn from my mistakes if I don't write about them and reflect on them? Posting a one sentence status on Facebook or a line within a dailymile workout description gets buried quickly never to be found again. But here, I can search for it, relive it, reflect on it, and learn from it. How can I help inspire others with my journey when they don't get the whole picture? Reading about my successes may inspire others to strive for the same, but it doesn't help them relate when they struggle to get there and can't understand why it's so hard when I make it look so easy.

Well guess what: it's hard for me too! Real hard! Having a healthy lifestyle is a constant battle with myself and I have many meltdowns over it -- just ask Jason! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with making all the right food choices, or finding a new recipe to cook, or dealing with a running injury, or just plain being sick like normal people =P  People who follow me on Facebook joke that I am super woman because I'm always posting about running or biking or cooking something healthy ... but I'm not. I am a mere mortal just like you just trying to make sense of this crazy world and my place in it. Sometimes I joke that things were so much easier before I lost all the weight and became a runner/cyclist/fitness enthusiast -- before I knew better -- because, you know,  ignorance is bliss. When you know better and you make a bad choice it comes with a side of guilt. But is it worth it? Hell yes! I would not give up this lifestyle and go back to my old self ever!

I love the athlete I have become;
I love cooking my own meals from scratch;
I love knowing where my food comes from;
I love trying new things;
I love the simpler lifestyle I have adopted.

So there you have it. Kitzzy in the raw. Maybe this random stream of consciousness will help someone else cut themselves a little slack, or maybe no one will read it. But it sure feels good to put it out there.

PS - Wow, if you read all that, kudos to you! I guess this is why I take on this exercise of daily blogging from time to time, because it forces me to take a hard look at myself and reflect. This was supposed to be an entirely different post, but I like what came out when I started writing instead. I guess I'll write the other tomorrow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

MBE: Fitting in Training

Monday Brain Exchange is brought to you by Jill.

This Weeks Question: Regardless of the distance you train for, or whether it be road racing or triathlon, training is time consuming. What are your tricks for fitting all your training into your schedule? How do you balance family, friends, work and training?

Fitting in training for a half marathon or triathlon is hard enough, but the challenge is compounded when you opt to live without a car (mosts of the time) and bike or bus everywhere. While I love this lifestyle change, it does cut into my training time, so I have to get creative:

  • I do my long runs on the weekends, usually Saturday mornings, when I can get up early to run with my group and still have time to have a life afterwards. 
  • For my mid-week runs, I usually get off the bus early on my way to work or home and run the rest of the way. 
  • I bike 15 miles to work (each way) 1-2 times a week, so those double as cross training or even a long ride if I am training for a sprint triathlon. 
  • I get up super early most days during the week to do other cross training before heading out to work, such as yoga and core/strength using fitdecks
  • On days when I take the bus to work, I walk a total of 2-3 miles to and from the bus stop, so I'm always active. While waiting for the bus, I take the chance to sneak in some stretching and have even been known to do yoga on the bus :) 
  • I also sneak in stretches while waiting for my lunch to heat up.
As far as balance, it helps that Jason trains just as hard as me, and that my parents also run, so we understand when the other is busy or tired. We still try to make time for each other to have some fun outside of training, and sometime we can combine the too :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lazy Sunday

Today was a chill day. While Jason was out riding his bike and doing hill repeats on Mt Cady, I started my day with 20 minutes of yoga followed by a 30 minute fitdeck workout for core and upper body strength, with a bit of cardio. It was a great way to start the day. Jason returned home shortly after I finished my breakfast, and after I showered and he had his breakfast, we went for a walk around Lake Eola to check out the Art Festival and buy fresh produce at the Farmer's Market. I spent the rest of the afternoon cooking chili and a batch of homemade granola (the chewy kind). We had a gathering with friends at 6 pm, but we left a little earlier to find a few nearby caches on the way. I think I'm finally going to buy the iPhone geocaching app and we're going to plan a Geocaching group ride through downtown Orlando real soon! I'm excited!

Week 13 Recap:

  • Mon - ran 3 miles; walked 1.25 miles (bus)
  • Tue - biked 8 miles (food truck bazaar) 
  • Wed - ran 3 miles
  • Thu - 33m yoga
  • Fri - 17m yoga; walked 1.5 miles (relay for life)
  • Sat - ran 5 miles; 15 min yoga; biked 6 miles; 1hr massage; walked 2.6 miles
  • Sun - 18m yoga; 30m fitdeck; walked 1.5 mi; biked 4 miles 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Amazing Saturday

Today was a lovely day. I slept in instead of meeting my Galloway group and ran 5 miles (details on Dailymile) on my own around 9 am. My PF was acting up yesterday, and my calves were painfully tight, so I wanted to run my own pace and close to home in case I had to cut it short. I soaked in a warm epson salt bath last night, massaged them with the stick and then by hand with Biofreeze, and they felt better this morning. I taped the foot, put on my calves sleeves, and was on my way. Overall, it was a good and uneventful last long run before Sunday's Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater.

After showering and eating some brunch, I did some laundry then biked 2.5 miles to Massage Envy at SODO for a sports massage. It was amazing and just what I needed. I think I'll be asking for this masseuse by name next time. I stopped by Target before heading back and got some pink arguile knee high socks to complete my race outfit. I'll post a pic when my hot pink team sparkle traveling skirt arrives. 

By the time I got back, it was close to dinner time, so Jason and I cooked yummy zucchini pasta bake and watched Doctor Who while we ate dinner and homemade ice cream. Not wanting to waste this amazing weather inside, we went for a 2.6 mile walk around downtown Orlando. We made a few stops along the day to find a few nearby geocaches and get some froyo at Mochi. We spent the rest of the evening watching more Doctor Who episodes. 

Last night was UCF's Relay for Life. This year's theme was "Cruising for a Cure" and each site was a  ports of call. Our department, always thinking outside the box, chose the moon. Our wonderful graphic artist Victor drew amazing artwork resembling a postcard from the moon, and we cut holes in 4 of the faces for people to put their head through and have their photo taken. It was a big hit! We also sold moon pies. Our team's creativity and talent never ceases to amaze me. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

March 2011 Recap

March was a pretty good month, with two great races, and April is shaping up to be even better. I've been slacking on blogging, so I'm going to blog everyday this month to kickstart my creativity. With 4 races in the schedule, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Below are my March stats.

Goals/Races for April
March Accomplishments
March Stats
  • walk = 32 miles
  • run = 54 miles
  • longest run = 13.1 miles
  • # of runs = 12
  • bike = 45 miles
  • total = 131 miles / 16.5 hrs (avg .5 hrs/day)
  • home-cooked meals = 89% (goal 90%)
2011 Goals Progress
To be on track, percentages should be around 25%
  • Run/walk 
    • 275 / 1100 (25%)
    • 92/mo
    • 23/wk
    • 3/day
  • Bike 
    • 318 / 2000 (16%)
    • 106/mo
    • 27/wk
    • 4/day
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