Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So Tired

I am tired. Last week we did a BRUTAL hill workout. Six repeats of a quarter mile hill with a slow incline of a over 100 ft. We start out at 545 ft and end at 658 ft., and it is hell. By the 4th repeat I was feeling a little queasy. By the 6th I was working hard not to puke over the side of the railing. I know hills make you stronger, but damn, they suck.

The next day was to be a 6 mile run. I did 4. Thursday was to be a 9 mile run. I barely squeaked out 6. And it was a tough...tough 6. Saturday I taught yoga and Sunday was to be a 2 hour run. And I swear, I had EVERY intention of going. Had everything ready to go and was about to walk out the door when it started raining. Looked at the radar and it wasn't going to be a light drizzle, but pouring rain. Decided I would go later in the afternoon. Yeah, well, that didn't work out.

Yesterday was a tempo run. My assigned time was to keep an 8:44-8:50 pace for 4 miles. When my coach told me my pace zone my reaction was -- "Are you fucking crazy? I can't keep that pace." And he said, "you wanted to do a 4:15 marathon." Shit. There was a lot more bitching, but I decided I would try and slow my pace down if I didn't think I could sustain it.

We did a mile warm-up or what we like to call "slog.' Hit the Garmin and kicked it up. The first mile, I really felt it in my legs, but managed to keep the pace at 8:47. Mile 2 wasn't any better and actually saw a friend of mine walking her dog. All I could do was offer a feeble wave, and she asked me today if I was pissed at her because the look on my face was a death stare. Yeah, I wanted to kill someone, but that someone was me. However, mile 2 was 8:42. At this point, I am thinking slow down, bitch, take it a little slower. But I fought the urge and decided to just try to keep it -- mile 3 was 8:40. The last mile was clearly the horse-to-the-stall syndrome. I just wanted it done and thought if I just kept going at this pace the sooner I would be done. Then I could walk. I wanted to walk SO bad and that was my carrot. Mile 4 was 8:38. Mile 4 on the dot, I walked. Walked for quarter mile and slogged it back to the start.

Today, my legs are feeling it. Went out for a 4 mile run (was supposed to be 6) and barely managed an 11 minute pace. Tomorrow I am meeting my friend after work for 8 miles and then I have to sub a yoga class right after.

This isn't going to be pretty. I may get into dog down and not be able to come out and let's not even discuss piegon. What I can predict is there will be some groaning from the instructor.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fantasy Island

I am dating myself, but I used to love the show Fantasy Island. A place where your special fantasy comes true. Here are few of my ongoing running fantasies:

I am new to town and show up at a group run. As the faster men start out, one makes eye contact...oh wait, wrong fantasy. ooops. It is THIS one.

I am right with them. At one point they get quiet because they picked up the pace to try and shake me, but I keep up. Easily. As they start to struggle, I pass them. Humming a tune to whatever is on my iPod. Look at my watch and I am running a conversational 6 minute pace.


Same fantasy, except this time, I start out and they can't catch up to me. I am always JUST a little further of them, but they can't catch me. Again. 6 minute pace.

The above two are always a group of men. Never women. Maybe it is the fantasy of a woman being faster and making a guy question his masculinity. Yep. That's it.

Zen running. No watch. No pressure. Feel an all cosmic feeling while running at a 6 minute pace. In my fantasies it is always a 6 minute pace.

Crossing the finish line and breaking the tape. Typically, the fantasy on this one is winning the NYCM. A no name that comes out of no where. The announcers go crazy.


All my running fantasies have me running a comfortable 6 minute pace, with a tempo being in the 5:00's. Yes. They are that specific. That is what makes them a fantasy.

Besides the fact that I clearly need therapy is that I would love to know the feeling of running fast. REALLY fast for more than 10 seconds.

*sigh* back to my fantasies.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Newest member!

Guess who is now on the Board of the CNY Tri Club? MEEEE!!!

You are looking at the new Membership Director. I will be handling all the registrations, answering questions, and helping out. I am really excited about the opportunity to get more involved with the club. They really are a gem of a resource for anyone training for a Tri. They offer some nice perks for being a member. They even have their own Winter Training Facility (WTF). I would really like to make some t-shirts with the WTF acronym.

The gentleman that was handling it before wanted to move to another board position so the membership position came up. I was approached by a woman involved in the club about if I would be interested and I said yes, because I think it is important to give back.

What I am even MORE excited about is this will (hopefully) keep me motivated to keep training over the winter months. Which I need all the help I can get. My M.O. is to go into total hibernation mode after my fall marathon.

I am also excited about breaking the perception of being labeled in one of the two camps. You know the "you are a triathlete" or "you are a marathoner." I do believe (and I know one personally) there are people who think you can't be both, which is stupid. I hate labels, BUT, I will take one proudly. It is the label of being an athlete.

Damn

Non running post.

This is John. JetRocket John is his racing name. He is 12 years and 3 months. Out of the 8 greyhounds we have been blessed to own, he has lived to be the oldest. Sally was just shy of being twelve when we had to let her go.


We just can't seem to get a hound to make it past twelve and it breaks my heart to say this, but John will not be the exception.

John is having major issues. He has had problems with his neck & spine. But we have managed to get him past the "episodes" with medication. This time the medication isn't working. There is a lot more going on and I am so sad.

He is limping badly on his front leg. His back end seems to be weakening more and more. He can't go down the back stairs to the yard. We have to take him out the front door and around to the backyard.

Sigh.

Looking at him, I realize how much I am going to miss him. I love all my hounds, but John. He is my special boy.

John goes to the vet on Thursday. We are going to get x-rays, but I am almost 99% sure it is cancer. If it is. This will be hound #4. Damn.

As if this isn't enough. Our other hound, Rim Fire goes in for extensive dental surgery next Monday. He is 11 and will be turning 12 on Christmas.

The next couple weeks are going to be tough.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mind Games

Empire is 8 weeks away. The mind games I play with myself have started. I do this every freaking year and give myself mini panic attacks because I am positive I need more time to train. I still have TWO months of training so why is this freaking me out so much?! It just does.

The pressure that I put on myself is what screws me over. For this marathon I am putting a lot of pressure on myself. I want to improve. By a lot. And I am scared.

Scared if I don't.

Scared if I do.

I am fighting with myself to not play this race safe. And I really want to play it safe.

See, I want to shave 16 minutes off my time. Which is an INSANE amount of time. And I know it. My goal is a 4:15 marathon. Last year, I did a 4:31. What the fuck is wrong with me?!

There is something I can't explain that is holding me back to go for it. No, I can explain it. It is fear of failure, self doubt and the inability to let go.

To make it happen I will have to hurt, push myself mentally and physically like I have never pushed myself before and believe I can do it. I don't know if I can.

*slap* *slap*

I am back. This is what I am going to do. I am going to train like I am going for a 4:15 and be happy with anything less than 4:31, even if it is a 4:30:59.

Can't wait to read this post again in 9 weeks.

****I've changed my mind. After last night's run, my new goal is a 4:25. I think I was smoking crack thinking about a 4:15 this year. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

This isn't Disneyland!

I am feeling very conflicted about if I will do the Iron Girl next year. Although the race was extremely well run and I had a great time, the overall *feel* of the race bothers me.

It isn't just the Iron Girl either, but races like the IG that are marketing machines. In my humble opinion I feel these races are taking advantage of the sport(s) to manipulate the masses to "experience" a triathlon or marathon. Corporations put on these races to sell the sport as if people were going to Disneyland.

The selling of the experience of the sport(s) is my biggest pet peeve. A marathon and/or triathlon is *not a ride in the park. It is a SPORT. Plain and simple. It is a sport you work hard training for so you are mentally and physically prepared to experience the sport as it was intended; a test of endurance for the mind and the soul.

To be completely honest, I did chose a huge race for my first marathon because I wanted to be in with thousands of runners and have tons of crowd support. I fell for the marketing. I wanted to experience a huge race. I did and I saw first hand what these races were really about. At the Philly expo they filter people through the Philly store before you could get to the rest of the vendors. They wanted to get you in their gift shop first. At that moment I knew this was a money making machine and I was the cog that kept it going, but I was okay with it. Just like the other thousands of people, I plunked my money down on merchandise.

So, this is why I am conflicted. I do like the idea of big races getting people, especially, women out there to exercise and learn the sport(s). The marketing..cough..manipulation..cough..will get women to sign-up. It is chance for women to discover their potential in the sport(s) and to realize how good it feels to get fit, but more importantly get rewarded for hard work by finishing. There are women who do this race and get it. They love it because they put in a lot effort into their training and get to feel that great sense of accomplishment of finishing. With that being said, it is the *other* participants that make me nuts. They want entrance into the park and nothing more. They get on their scooters and eat turkey legs all day long. And they come in droves.

Why does this bother me so much? Why do I let it bother me? But it does. It makes me angry and I get really offended when I hear women talk about how they haven't trained. A friend told me that women just want to experience a tri when I was going off on how if I hear one more person tell me they didn't really train for the IG I was going to go bat shit crazy. What pisses me off is that they are not taking the sport(s) seriously and I feel it is extremely disrespectful to the other participants who did train and work hard to cross the finish line. IT IS A SPORT, NOT A TEA PARTY. Yet. They get the medal too. But I can't put all the blame on them because they did drank the IG kool-aid: anyone can do a triathlon.

Yes. Anyone can do a sprint triathlon or a marathon without much training or any training. But isn't' the point of training to prepare the body to do the best you can do physically and mentally? When people tell me they haven't trained, I want to ask them if they would have their child join a sport without practice? Gee, Jimmy, you don't need football practice, just get out there and play. What? Jimmy doesn't want to play anymore because it was too hard or he got hurt?

The hard truth is that tri's and marathons are **dangerous. People need to wipe the fairy dust from their face and come to grips that training is an important element so you don't get hurt. Take it seriously. Get yourself prepared and I guarantee the feeling of crossing the finish line will be much sweeter. Also, if you don't take the sport seriously and haven't trained then may I suggest you keep your mouth shut. For us who put in a lot of time, sweat and tears to get ready to push ourselves, we do not appreciate hearing how you didn't train, but will finish and get a medal.

So do I do the IG again knowing this? And knowing it will be worse next year because they are upping the field to 1800 instead of 1200. Should I pay my money to an organization that I do have some issues with? Am I am going to let the attitude of the non-serious participants drive me to not doing the race, when really, I should be focused on my performance and not those of others?

Again. Conflicted.

Thoughts appreciated.

*Well, maybe the kind that makes you want to poop your pants.
**When I say dangerous, I mean it can be dangerous when you don't know what you are doing. You are putting yourself and others at risk.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Iron Girl 2011 Race Report

This was my 2nd sprint Tri. The first was back in 2006 and it took me five years to do another one.

Saturday, I headed to Oneida Shores to get my packet and rack my bike. Wanted to get a good spot. I got there when they opened at 11 a.m. and the line waiting to check-in was a thousand miles long. Apparently, everyone else had the same idea. Seems I am not the genius I thought I was. I get my bike out of the car and get in line. Low and behold there was a woman from my beginner running class from two years ago. Very sweet, but likes to talk. The majority of the time was her telling me how she hasn't trained, blah, blah, but she will do okay, hasn't trained, blah, blah. Finally, the filter between my head and mouth broke and I told her she had to stop telling me she hasn't trained because it was ticking me off. It worked because she stopped talking about it.

Finally, I made it up to the registration desk and got my wrist band. Next was my packet and chip. Final stop was the transition area. Holy shit. This is when reality set in because it was HUGE. My jaw hit the ground and I thought to myself, how the hell was I going to find my bike! Going down my designed rack line, I found an area on the pavement that had two white lines that crossed each other. I parked my wheels right on the lines. All I had to remember was six racks down at the white T. See, I am a genius!

Later that night I had a mini (major) meltdown because this was the first race on my own. No friends. No group. Just me. My friends were going to be there to cheer me on, but I knew I was on my own to figure things out. Where to go, how to transition, and more importantly, I had to push myself. It scared the shit out of me. I am used to being in a group. With people to turn to and share pre-dawn jitters. Knowing that it was just me on race morning freaked me out. After several panic text's to my buds, they got my head back on straight.

Sunday morning at 4 a.m., the alarm goes off. Damn, 4 a.m. is mothereffing early. Go to the bathroom and guess what? Aunt Flo came early. Really?! Really. Not a great way to start race morning. Glad the swim wasn't in the ocean or else my nickname would be shark bait. Anyway, only thing I can do is hope for the best and come up with a game plan. The game plan was if things got ugly to say I cut my leg. Yep. That would work.

Saturday night it rained so when I got to the transition everything was drenched. Who I really felt for were the people that had to set their gear up in huge puddles of water. Damn. That just sucks. Thankfully, my area was dry. Whew! Get my gear set-up and proceed to use the port-a-jon's at least 4 x's before the start.

Head to the beach to wait...and wait...and wait. Finally, it is our turn to swim. It takes me awhile to get my groove and find my breath. After I make the first turn, I am in my groove and feeling good. Then I hear and see someone to my right calling for a lifeguard. This make me pop my head out of the water and BOOM...my head hits the corner of the lifeguard's kayak. Talk about seeing stars. He was trying to cross the traffic of swimmers. I was fine, but pissed! At this point I wanted out of the water and people to get out my way. I swam my little arms off to finish. At one point, I started to eat silt. What the....?!? Because the water is so shallow and a lot of women were having problems they were standing up and walking to the shoreline. I had no choice, I had to stand up a lot sooner than I wanted because I couldn't see shit due to all the kicked up sand. I was not a happy camper. On my way to transition a friend took this shot.


I was trying to smile and failing.




Although I was hit in the head, I was REALLY happy about my swim performance. It was a million times better experience than my first tri. I felt strong and didn't freak out (besides the kayak).

Swim - 15:16.
Ranking was 131. Say what?! Uh, huh. 131 out of 1054! Slap that bitch down!

T1-4:10 This is SO slow. Have to work on this for next year. What the hell was I doing? Picking my butt?

The bike portion had me worried because I didn't get in the training I wanted too. My goal was to finish this 18 mile ride in 1:10. As I got out there I started passing people. This boosted my confidence because I managed to maintain a good mph and felt strong throughout. However, this leg was not without its drama. I was probably about a quarter mile from the finish when a wasp the size of my fist flew into my arm and stung me!!! IT HURT LIKE A SONOFABITCH. I am yelling and clutching my arm. Look down and there is blood and it is starting to swell. At this point, I am thinking why does this race hate me!? What the hell did I ever do to it!

Bike: 1:02:29 Yippy skippy!!!
Ranking: 442 Hey, I will take it!

T2 2:17 Again, SLOW. I blame this on the wasp from hell.

Get to the transition and throw some water on my bloody swollen arm. Get my shoes on and head out to the run. See my friends a long the way who took these wonderful shots.



"I WAS STUNG BY A BEE"


"I WAS HIT IN THE HEAD BY A KAYAK"

On the run, I buzz by people and keep a nice steady pace. At this point I just want it done. I've been bashed in the head, stung by a bee, and I want OUT! Screw all this women empowerment crap!

Run: 28:35 -- Very happy with this time.
Rank: 208

At the end I felt really good. Physically and mentally. I conquered this event and training on my own. And you know what deserves all the credit? Marathon's.

Marathon's have toughed up this girl both mentally and physically. Without all the grueling training and running of 26.2, I don't think I would have done half as well as I did.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Search for Nutrition

It has been four years since I started training for longer distance races. In that time I still have not found nutrition that works for me. It is like trying to find Jimmy Hoffa. You know he is out there, but you just don't know where.

Here are some of the things I have tried over the years:

GU Energy gel in most of the flavors. I was able to get over the texture -- come on ladies (and some gents) we all know what texture I am referring, but it was the way it sat in my stomach. I've tried it several times. Finally, I decided it just doesn't work for me. **Can I tell you how hard it was not to put in a "I don't swallow" joke here? Wonder how many times my blog will be found now!?

Shot Blocks didn't do it for me either. Or Sport Beans. Get stuck in the teeth. Too sweet, hard to get out of the packet when running and not fun to eat when they are warm. However, I could get over all that, but what really did it for me was they make me thirsty. I would drink too much water and then feel bloated.

Red Li Hing Mui Seed. What the hell is that, you ask? Here are the ingredients: plum, sugar, salt, licorice, aspartame and coloring. This is a snack from a friend who lives in Hawaii. This is what she uses when out on a long run for nutrition. It is a plum seed that is coated in sugar and salt. You tuck the seed in the side of your mouth, like you do tobacco, except you don't spit. It is the weirdest flavor -- at first it is sweet --and you think it isn't so awful. Then it hits you. The salt. It is overpowering, but still it has that sweetness! Your mouth start watering like crazy which only intensifies the flavor! I could only keep it in my mouth (insert joke here) for about 5 minutes. It is definitely an acquired taste. If anyone would like to try, let me know. Still have two packets sitting in a drawer. Bet they have a self life of Twinkies.

Chi Seeds. A woman in my running group a few years ago would put chi seeds in her water. The seeds would get gelatinous -- that word just sounds gross, doesn't it? She said it tasted like ice tea, but the chi seeds were good for energy, blah, blah. Okay. I would try it. As you can tell by now, I will try anything (insert joke here). But I couldn't get over the texture of the gelatinous seeds. I was like drinking tapioca pudding. Didn't notice any energy boost either.

And finally, salt packets. Another runner told me she would pour a salt packet on her tongue, drink some water and she was good to go. Doesn't sound good does it? It isn't. During a long run of 17 miles, I stopped, opened the packet of salt I had from the glove department of my car, dumped it on my tongue, drank some water and nearly puked. Check this one off the list.

Next on my list is trying Stinger Waffles. I've read rave reviews about them so maybe, just maybe I've found my Jimmy Hoffa.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Redemption!

I went into Saturday's 16 miler like a soldier going into battle. During the week I made sure I ate a lot of protein and good carbs, hydrated and slept well and made a new kick ass playlist. When I pulled in the parking lot, I had my game face on.

We did a route that was out in the country and let me tell you, it got real warm, real quick out there. Oooh, boy. Even the cows were looking at us with pity with their big bovine eyes.

Shannon stashed a cooler with water at an intersection that we would hit at the 6 and 13 mile mark.

We hit our cooler at 6 and then hit a series of slow, only-found-in-the-stupid-country-hills. After the hills, we got lost. We were supposed to hop on the canal, but missed it....by a lot. After we realized we went WAY to far, we decided to turnaround and go back the way we came. Judging the distance we would get back to park at 16 on the nose. Cool.

What wasn't so cool were my hamstrings. As we were heading back, I got a cramp in the upper hamstring area..aka..by the ass. Luckily I carry Cramp 911 -- this little roll-on I bought at an expo years ago. This stuff is the bomb! I clutch the back of my leg and Shannon immediately asks if I have my stuff. I get out of my pouch and lift my shorts up. As Shannon is rolling it on an area way close to my ass a truck with two dudes drive by. Hope you enjoyed the show fellas. You could have thrown a $20 out the window.

I gimp along for a few minutes then I am all fine and dandy. Like I said -- this stuff is the bomb.

At around the 11 mile mark we polish off the rest of our water & Gatorade because we knew we would refill at the 13 mile mark. As I was about quarter mile from the 13 mile mark and I could see Shannon's hubby in the mini-van pull into the little intersection and a few minutes later pull out. Then it hit me. He took the cooler! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

All of us agreed we were not going another step until the cooler was returned. After a quick phone call, the cooler was back in about 5 minutes. We drank. Refilled and headed off.

My average pace was 10:45 and I had negative splits for the last two miles.

Ah, redemption feels good.