Saturday, December 30, 2006

Really? Really...Really?

Really? Really...really? That was my thought this morning when I went for a 6 mile run. I'm visiting my parents in Idaho at the moment...and well let me just say an additional 3,000 ft of elevation can put a damper on that whole running with a lower heart rate thing. I've give up caring that I have a high HR up here, if I were living here I know my body would eventually adjust, But i've managed. Since I've been home I've been hanging at the gym, running on the treadmill...not really 'feeling' it as far as speed. I feel like i'm a slow poke on the treadmill when I can *see* that speed right in front of me. It's weird, I run faster outside than on a treadmill (only use 1-2% incline so it's not *that* hilly by far).

Anyway, decided i would give six miles a go outside...and just see how the running felt. I was running on a bike path that had every 1/10 of a mile marked out. It was flat...and ended up being really fast too. It was a six mile out and back sort of deal.

Mile 1 was a warm up in 9:52 Avg HR 153. It was a nice warm up...felt good.

Mile 2 the purpose was to run and see where it goes 8:17 Avg HR 167 . My thought: was that 'mile' short??

Mile 3 the purpose was to keep pushing a little, just see how I felt. Time 8:45 Avg HR 174. I started to feel a little on the 'out of breath and uncomfortable'. So since it was my run, i thought i'd just take mile 4 down a notch.

Mile 4 the purpose was to bring the HR in the 160s and back it off as I had plans to PUSH mile five. 9:34 Avg HR168 Lower HR accomplished, felt rather conversational.

Mile 5 The purpose of this mile was to RUN...enjoy and push... but nothing crazy. I was thinking that it should be on the limits of the still sorta 'talking' end of running.

Final time: 7:29 Avg HR176

My thoughts: WHAT????? That mile must be short or something! But this was the mile I ran in 8:17 before, so even if it was 'short' i still ran it 45 seconds faster than before. I was sorta trying to push, but i REALLY wasn't going for a crazy fast edge, that wasn't my focus. I wasn't focused on 'RUN AS FAST AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE' I was focused on...kick a little harder, breath a little harder, enjoy. My enjoying thought was that WHAT IF that mile wasn't short...I *wonder* what my stand alone mile is??? (smile)

Back in Sept my stand alone mile (really 1600m...not quite a mile) was 7:24 with an avg HR of 184. HOLY SMOKES...i'm 5 seconds off while at 3,000 ft higher AND not focused on running crazy fast. Really, the goal for that mile was kick, push, enjoy. WOW.

Mile 6 was a cool down where I saw someone I knew and stopped to chat for a sec, so it came in more like 12:50.

I am always floored when I run fast because it hasn't been since i was in 6th grade that i remotely considered myself as such. This will give me a smile all day.

I think I see 2007 being an interesting year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

so nice to be away really has been nice to be away from the ol' grind. It's amazing...and in the past few days I've accomplished some training, some family time, some shopping, seeing some friends, it's really REALLY, been great.

I was super SUPER lucky on my way across the country when I flew on Wednesday and didn't have any issues since I wasn't flying through CO as Wed was the day of the BIG snow storm in Denver, CO that shut the airport down for two days. Sometimes I do fly through that way, but I was fortunate and didn't have any problems.

As far as training, I got my run on over the past two days, 3.5 miles today and 2.5 miles yesterday with some Core work yesterday. Um...can we say WEAK core. It hurt to move today, it hurt to laugh and I knew that I might encounter such pain with the Core work so I kept it to a minimum. Some crunches, V-ball lifts, arm holds, I can't do push-ups off the fit ball to save my life so I skipped that after one attempt (OK it hurt my lower back so I decided to just keep to push-ups on the ground), fit-ball roll outs, ect. Anyhow...i did what I could. Tomorrow I'll either go downhill skiing with my dad or get my yoga moves on and then fight the whole shopping thing. Why did I wait so long to do this whole Christmas shopping thing this year? My whole family seems the same way, although there has been much going on with the fam recently so it is understandable.

I've had some time to reflect too on how things are, just around me in general. And it's amazing to realize how difficult parts of my life have been this year emotionally, yet how incredibly FULL and beautiful it is at the same time. I love my family and their nutti-ness and I have been able to see them a few times this year even with a sister with some small kids living overseas and the rest of the fam on the other side of the country from me. I have amazing housemates that can deal with my insanity with grad school and are willing to give me hugs when all I have are tears and all I want to do with my life is anything other than grad school. I've made great new friends and developed more in-depth friendships this year and managed to maintain many other friendships that mean so much to me. I have an amazing church that is my other family that are so close to my heart that come the day I have to move (which should be in the next 12 months) will be so hard to say goodbye. Sometimes when parts of my life aren't so hot, it is really hard to take in and breath in the beauty that is the rest of my life. I am so blessed and as I head towards 2007, I hope to remind myself more frequently of such blessings.

It's a little nutty being home, so I don't know if I will post in the next few days. So if I don't.... MERRY CHIRSTMAS!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

times ahead

Yea...going to see the fam for a bit come Wednesday. Just two days of work and then i will be FREEEEEE....for a little bit. Is it just super weird that I get all excited to go see my parents because I get to use their Gold's Gym which is psycho nice and I will end up planning my day around when i get to go to the gym. (OK that's not the only reason why i'm excited to see the fam...but the gym does have it's perks. My parents think i'm sorta a crazy girl for my love of their gym, but they support it at the same time) Going to their gym is like a trip to the spa...OK not as super fancy and all that as a real spa...but it's soooooo nice....not that the Gold's I go to here isn't nice, because it's doing alright. But it.

Yes, and I figured out that my parents live 3.5 miles from the gym. I have planned out that I can first run to the gym, go to a yoga class/spin class/something/bla bla bla and either my mom can pick me up or I can just run home. Don't mind that mile 7% grade of a hill that my parents live on that's at the end of the run. That is actually NOT an exaggeration. Hill work...I'll just pretend my whole vacation is hill work and all will be well. (giggle). Have I officially entered the funny farm? Is that just weird? Some days...I am just confirming that totally out of my mind.

I think i might run a wickedly hilly 10K next saturday...shall see...shall see. Who knows, maybe i'll just run trails with my brother-in-law. That might be fun.

And NOW i'm really just feeling the urge to ramble. OK i'll stop, or I might get all introspective and well considering the weight of past week and a half. Not the best idea.

Anyway...i AM looking forward to being with the fam for Christmas. So nice. Fun times ahead.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

fingers crossed

shhhh...i think i'm out of experimental purgatory. I can't say this too loud our I might be shoved back there on some new task. For a brief second it appears my simple and stupid freshman chemistry issue is over after 3.5 weeks of purgatory...not sure totally...but....shhhhh....maybe. Will know more soon. And by the way, the 'answer' to the problem...very bizarre for such a seemingly simple problem.

Friday, December 15, 2006

One-O-One...point oh six???

(Disclaimer: This is my mildly goofy, silly, rant…don’t take it too seriously…I think the race is funny…distance-wise… and therefore feel the need to pick on it. That's just me)

101.06…apparently this is the new distance that is: “Taking the Triathlon scene by storm”. Maybe it’s just me…but the triathlon sky is pretty clear, no storming here…um…not seeing people gush over this ‘new’ distance: 1.86 mile swim, 80.6 mile bike, and 18.6 mile run. Personally it is sorta bizarre distance if you ask me, but so far from what I've read (which isn't much) no one else shares my sentiment…so now I’m blogging about it ;-) Maybe this new distance is hot topic everywhere else in cyber-tri-space...I generally live in my own little world. It's nice...fluffy couches...crazy cats...oh typing on blog...oops...err...focus...come'on...focus.

This new tri-distance is being called One-O-One…as in one hundred and one miles but in reality it should be called: One-O-One point oh-six.

The problem I am having is that six-hundredth of a mile part seems sorta silly anyway to include in the tri if you are just going to call it One-O-One at the end of the day. Why not just cut out 0.06 from the 1.86 mile swim?

My thought is that they decided not to cut the 0.06 miles out… because then it doesn’t come out roundly on the ‘metric’ side of things. The race is 3K, 130K, 18K totaling…

Whaaa laaa:One hundred and fifty one kilometers.

An Ironman is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run and as many are aware totals: 140.6 miles…which means it is 3.86 Km swim, 180.2 Km bike and 42.2 Km run. Which is 226.26 kilometers…lots of decimal places and no nice round numbers at all, metric or imperial.

First of all, I guess I find it sorta funny…silly and a bit weird to call a name of a tri something like one-o-one…yet it isn’t really one hundred and one miles. We should call it one-o-one point oh-six if we are going to call it by it’s mileage. I mean…for starters…we don’t generally refer to tri’s by their mileage anyway.

“I’m racing in a 140.6 mile tri this weekend” or a “This weekend is the big 51.1Km tri.” or a “You training for that 70.3 mile tri in the summer?” No…it's just not how triathletes refer to their races…it’s an ironman, an international, a ½ ironman, bla, bla,bla…or something like that. You might have a little sticker on your car that has the mileage…but in common tri-geek discussion tri's are not generally referred to by their mileage.

And here is my mini rant about rounding out the metric side of things to be all nice and round numbers...

(Disclaimer: I love metric…I have nothing against metric…I wish the US used metric…I use metric all the time as I do science all the time…I’ve lived places where they use metric (and loved it)...but I’m all for JUST metric in things…I’m SO against this weird mixture of metric/imperial and other stuff...mixing = bad…just think Mars probe crash…if you do science it should be metric…and well…I think the rest of life should be metric too. I’m a weird-o…I am already aware of this…OK...moving on now)

So…now that I have cleared the air as far as my personal position on my love of metric…here’s the thing:

Here in the good’ ol US of A…we don’t use metric. Fact. It's a big Ugly fact…but fact.

And well…the plain fact of the matter is they are advertising it as one hundred and one miles. SO WHY OH WHY do they add the stuuuuuupid point oh-six miles ONLY so that the metric comes out even. WHY can’t the MILES come out even to 101????? If you are going to call it that…then the MILES should be the even bits…not the Kilometers!! Well…unless…the race originated somewhere metric….BUT EVEN THEN we should call it One-fifty-one.

Whew…where did that come from?

OK, I admit it… I like things that are rounded out it's cleaner somehow and I also like things to be what they are advertised. They are advertising a triathlon that is 101 miles…and that’s its name…therefore I would assume such mileage. NOOOO point oh-six

And you know that point oh-six mile of the swim really…would…be...the killer part of the whole race. Maybe while they are at it they can add in the run to transistion from the swim :-)


One-O-One point oh's going to get that sticker?? I do hope you'll get it with the point oh six on it.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

mystery solved

Ever since monday when I succeeded in actually lifting weights, i've been battling weird twingy legs, specifically my left hamstring. I've had a lot of dull pain around the knee, and the hamstring. The fact I spend a lot of time on my feet has sorta exacerbated the problem a little, but it never really hurt that bad...enough to make me sorta freak out, but no sharp pain. I figured i had over lifted with my hamstrings, which i sorta knew...and thought that the pain would subside with time. Things didn't get better or worse as the week went on and by Friday I started wondering what was happening.

Today as I was massaging my quad and hamstring and I discovered a rather large, inflamed trigger point on my IT band. Yowsa. So i managed to inflect a fair amount of pressure and pain on the trigger point, to try to get the muscles to relax enough and cause some really nice bruises...they sure are purdy. This helped alleviate some of the tightness in the muscles. I also decided a run might help the situation out as running helps warm the muscles and then get some good stretching in afterwards would help the silly IT band. So I got a nice easy 6 mile run in that...let's be honest...probably wouldn't have happened had I not talked to my friend JM. So it was a good day.

I think i need to find an acupressure/trigger point massage person in my area to try to deal with this ridiculous IT band issue. What's crazy is that when I was running more in the fall, i kept an especially close watch on my trigger points on my IT bands and they were fine...and now i'm running less, attempting to left weights, definitely NOT in a huge volume part of my training and my leg is freaking out. Bodies are sometimes so weird.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

You KNOW is grad school is getting to you when…

1) You see crumbs in the passenger seat of your car and since you can’t immediately remember eating anything that would cause such crumbs you IMMEDIATELY assume that most ILLOGICAL means of acquiring all those crumbs. Such as, a squirrel has broken into your car and eaten a nut in the passenger seat. It takes you a solid 10 minutes before you remember that YOU actually had a granola bar wrapper in the seat and that is truly what caused the crumbs. (it’s true…I did think that this morning)

2) Meaningless and simple experiments won’t even work. You are now convinced that the Universe is out to get you…or that if being a grad school laboratory researcher somehow involved re-incarnation…you MUST have done something REALLY bad like explode the lab in a previous life.

3) Coffee is now it’s own food group and it has become a verb: “Shall we coffee ourselves?”

4) Dressing like a 5 year old is now the norm. (As in…wearing pig tails, and lots of glitter to lab)

5) You have to park your car in the relative same place everyday, or you will lose it because your short term memory is totally gone.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The year of the Runner....2007

Recently a friend of mine has accused me of having a running “problem”...whatever that means. ;-)

Now, 6 months ago if you told me that I would develop a running problem I would tell you “only if you mean some sort of injury” as in ‘problem’. I’m good that that…ITBS, piriformis issues, wickedly tight hamstrings and hips…those are typically my running 'problems'. But, now I’m realizing that I really might have the type of running 'problem' that I’ve been accused of having.

I will always be a triathlete in my mind, but this fall training for Hartford I realized that I also have very much a runner persona too. So, both triathlete and runner…and as I started to plan out this next year…I think that runner persona will come to light a little more.

My overall thoughts on triathlon are that this year will be a running focus and next year I will hopefully be in a place where I have the time and the location to be more ‘cycling’ focused and join a bike club or more ideally a tri-club. That’s my thinking any how.

And as I start to plan out my year I’ve discovered that this running “problem” has definitely come to light. As of this moment...I am planning on running a my first marathon in the fall. (Did I just write that?) Since I don’t know where I will be living in the fall…I haven’t completely picked one out. But I do have two that I am debating about. So with that as a major goal this year, I have started to plan out little bits and pieces here.

So…this is what I think I know so far in terms of running:

March, I’m running a ½ marathon. This will be a good way to tune up and focus on my base and aerobic building over the winter and not be a slacker.

March-June will be a speed work focus so that I will be ready for my tri-season.

June-July…I will definitely do one Oly, and hopefully one other tri.

July-Aug…try not to go crazy from dissertation writing. Plan a little down time…and begin a fluid marathon schedule that will have been built into other parts of my year.

Oct-Nov…somewhere in there I will run a marathon.

So…since the over all goal of the year will be the marathon….I think I will break my blocks of training into: 1st block, base building increase mileage and volume, 2nd block reduce some volume and add some speed work, 3rd block focus on the marathon.

Although all that being said, even though I say that 2008 will be a focus on cycling since 2007 will be a focus on running, I’m already recognizing that I’m in complete denial about the severity of my running “problem”. (smile)So as I pretend that this year is all about running focus and next year will be about cycling focus...really...honestly...I think I’m kidding myself. (giggle) Because with all that said, I’m already thinking about 2008 running races as I would really like to do this ½ marathon and I am currently i might be able to swing the time to do this in 2008. Between now and then, I just have to learn to love both the up and the down of hills. (I’ve been told that the hardest part about this race isn’t running UP the hill, but it’s the coming DOWN).

Running "problem" or not...I do love being a triathlete. More and more, I'm amazed and excited how I will probably be a life-long athlete. It's really great.

What a great 5K

Saturday I ran a 5K. And it was truly one of the most rewarding 5K's for me.

About 3 months ago ago I was chatting to my friend C from church about running and preparing for my half marathon. We got chatting about training and running. She had all her doubts about her running any race and inquiring why do people run. But I could sense that she wanted to do a race and I knew this 5K that was coming up. So I encouraged her to check out the website and have a look at the couch to 5K plan. She seemed encouraged to try it out, but had her doubts about sticking to the plan and going through with it all. I encouraged her to go and get some good running shoes from an awesome running store in the area and that I would help encourage her along and check in with her to see how she was doing. I explained the couch to 5K plan was only a 6 week plan, 3 days a week and at that time she had almost 10 weeks to be prepared. She got excited about it and went to the running store the next day.

She then convinced her 3 other housemates to train with her for the race (although two backed out for various reasons) and we had all four of them training together for the 5K. Through our discussions with other people at church we managed to convince 2 other friends to train for the race and then we had another 2 just join us on race day...(although, those two were already more runner-y/have trained for stuff types.) Our race day turn-out of friends was 7 of us racing and some other friends showing up to be our cheering section. It was great!

During her training things happened, she got really sick at one point and stopped her training a little...but stuck to a good deal of the training. A week before the race we were chatting and she said that she was uncertain if she would be able to run the whole race as she was only up 20 minutes at a time at that point. I told her she would be great and that I thought she could really run the whole thing if she wanted to and how race day was just different in so many ways. With lots of people it's just different than going out and running just to run. She seemed uncertain, but I knew she could run the whole thing.

Encouraging people in your life to try something new like a 5K or challenge themselves with things that they think they can't do, but you can see that they definitely can achieve it is so rewarding. It was fun to encourage her through her training and it was even more fun to run the 5K with her and one of her housemates J and encourage them along as they journeyed toward their first 5K. The three of us finished together in 33:49. It was a really awesome day.

I may have even convinced her to keep running and go for a 10K in January. :-) It is so much fun to share he things in your own life that you love with the people in your life. It was an AWESOME 5K.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thoughts on 2007

I know it is only December 1…but I’ve been thinking about next season, well, since I finished Hartford back in Oct. So before I start breaking down the year into smaller pieces, I thought I would put forth my top 4 triathlon training goals.

1) To graduate. Preferably in Aug, but if not by Aug, then DEFINITELY by Dec.

2) New running pace goal for a ½ marathon. Although I have to admit, I’m not sure if this will happen in 2007. I’d more like to work towards during 2007.

3) Race weight goal. This will help the previous goal.

4) During prep/base season to swim 1 day a week. During training focus of the season, 2 times a week. Sounds a little weak I know, but I need to start small. Last season I realized I missed more swimming workouts than I achieved. Yikes. So I thought that being consistent first would be a great place to start.

So in light of Goal number one, I realize that my tri season is going to be a little on the short side of things. At the moment I’m planning on at least one Oly in June. If I had things my way, I would do two Oly’s and a sprint between june and mid july, but I tend to be a little on the conservative end of things when my dissertation comes into play. I get the feeling 3 races in 6 weeks might be too much as I should be in dissertation writing mode by that point. I think I’m going to pick out the other two races that I’d like to do during June and July and leave those as race day sign ups for them. I haven’t picked out my Oly as of yet, but I’m debating between a couple of them.

And as I’ve made these goals and sit and think about how my tri season might be shorter than I’d like, I’ve started thinking that I might fill in some those gaps with a little more on the running focus. I think 2007 will be the year of the Runner for me.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sleepless in Massachusetts

Why is it that when I'm insomniatic (which is usually rare...although i fear might become more frequent in the coming months) that all night I toss and turn and can't sleep, yet when my alarm goes off I instantly fall asleep and then can sleep between snooze button pushes?? That is rather unhelpful with the whole need to get up to work out routine that I've found rather difficult to do anyway, but workouts in the AM are about 100X more likely to be achieved than workouts in the PM.

Stress is fun. (dish that up with a cup of sarcasm please :-) ) We won't get into what KIND of day I had yesterday. It was unpleasant, that's for sure.

Oyi...i'm not sure if i'm OK with lack of sleep. It makes me a little slow and rather loopy that no amount of coffee can counter act. But rather funny to laugh at.

So even after a restless night, I did attempt a 40min ride on the trainer. Um...let's just say that I cannot multitask while riding my trainer. No...checking my email and trying to do things on my computer does not mix very well with trying to keep my HR up and focus. Not a very effective workout. But now I know. Due to the late start to my morning, i didn't get my weights workout in that I had planned. I'm still fiddling with my schedule to try to see what day I can put the dreaded weights workout in where I will ACTUALLY do the workout. So far, no success in achieving that weight workout.

So...better luck tomorrow. And hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

all good things

I did an 8 mile run this morning and during and after my run my initial reaction was disappointment. My min/mile were 9:45-10:00 min/miles. And as my inner self wanted to dwell on it as it wasn't as quick as I'd like, I came to my senses and realized...THAT'S GREAT. I went out and ran 8 miles...that is great!! No my time wasn't fabulous compared to what I was peaking at this season. No it wasn't what I wanted to see...but I get to run. I got to run. I will run AGAIN next week.

I run. I am a runner. I am a triathlete.

I do stuff.

I am active.

It is great.

Even days that I wish I were going faster or know I have the ability to be is still great. Because I'm doing something good for my health and myself. And that is good.

I got all 'techy' today too and put on a powermeter-y thing that goes with my indoor trainer. It's not a fancy-smancy Powertap thinger that costs a billion dollars, but one that is supposedly calibrated to my trainer (so only will correctly calculate power while on the trainer...i'm suspicious of how it calculates power...but I will just blindly pretend that the numbers mean something) and will give me relative power output. OK I admit it...I like numbers, I like data...yes...I am a scientist and data can be fun (and evil...all at the same time).

And on other good things...I managed to lose a pound this week by employing the 'tricks' from the book "Mindless Eating" that I mentioned earlier. Sweet...and it is Thanksgiving week...i don't know how that happened...mindlessly. :-) I also realized my weight is down from when I raced Hartford. did I over look that one. So that's great.

It's good.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Move along...

Got 'Zilla all packed up and sent her on her way...snif. :-( It's always hard to watch friends move away.

Recently I've had a hard time with the thought that I'm going to be living somewhere else this time next year. It is unfortunate that there really aren't job opportunities for me in the specific area I live after I graduate, because i'm pretty happy here. (aside from that whole grad school thing and if I were graduated, everything else in my life I'm fairly happy about). Sigh. Some chapters in our lives come to a close whether we write the end of the chapter or they just get written for us. Sigh. Well in all truth I'll be doing a lot of writing at the end of this chapter as it will be ending with a dissertation...literally. But with graduation comes a new place to people to work places to triathlons...make new friends...find a new places to get lost city to explore...I'm trying to be more excited about it...but it's hard...sigh.


move along...

Chillin out

So...this is what happens when I start to figure things out...i start to tinker. So I've done a little bit of formatting. I'm starting to get the hang of what to do with all this code and stuff. It only took me 5 months to figure out up from down on this blog thingy. But now that I kinda figured out how to change the formatting, I now can't figure out the workout tracker I've put in the side bar (giggle). It won't let me put multiple workouts up there. Why? I'll either figure it out or give up and then have to take off the workout tracker from the blog because that would be a worthless piece of sidebar space.

I did manage a 33 minute run. I had planned on further, but I didn't get up earlier even though I woke up before my alarm. Sigh...I wish I just BOUND out of bed when I woke up in the AM. It is too bad it is such a chore for me. That gets old.

Tomorrow I'm planning an 8 miler or a trainer ride or I could take my bike off the trainer and GO for a ride. There's a thought.

Thanksgiving was great. The right amount of people, conversation and yummy food. It was a fun time of hanging out with people you make family when you aren't with your own family.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This...and that

I just realized today that I have a 5K that i'm racing in less than two weeks...and I've been running...err..not tons lately. Maybe I or something. I'm not really 'racing' this one as I convinced about 6 of my friends to run the 5K (most of them it's their first) i'll be chillin/running with them for the race. I'm excited for them. One of them commented the other day that she never thought she'd ever like running and she's beginning to. That's fun to hear.

I am planning on actually running tomorrow in the sub 30 degree weather in the AM...brrrr. NEW ENGLAND....arg...yea, yea...i'm from Idaho and I'm supposedly supposed to be OK with coldness...OK...i admit it... i'm just a whiner when it comes to being cold. I know that. Maybe i'll get over it one day. This will be my 5th NE winter and counting...hmmm, donno if it'll happen this winter. I can't say i'm going to move somewhere with milder winters because Minnesota showed up on my radar as far as job prospects. And Massachusetts has potential too, but so does sunny California (and then there is the potential of overseas...we shall see). But...nothing is being offered, nothing has official interviews and at this moment...i still have a billion hours til I graduate and that doesn't look the most promising at the moment. Blech

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Finished the book

Yesterday, I finished the book Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think. by Brian Wansink. I loved the experiments that they conducted. (I wonder if this guy needs a post-doc that is trained TOTALLY out of his field :-) ) Truly amazing and fascinating. What I also love about the book is that there isn't an emphasis on people needing to overhaul their lives to stop the progression of continual weight gain, they just need to change a few habits first. Baby steps. His main point is to figure out where we are accruing 100-200 calories through mindless eating and figure out what habits need to change to reverse or modify around those calories. His suggestion is to tackle just three habits for 28 days (as that's how long it takes to reverse a habit or make a habit) and check it off each night as you accomplished the habit.

Here are the three habits i'm going to focus on for the next 28 days
1) Snacks must got in a bowl or plate.
2) minmum 8 glasses of water (he doesn't talk about this too much, but I'm totally lazy about it and it's important)
3) Try to follow the 1/2 plate rule as much as possible...1/2 the plate are non-starchy veggies and the other half is divided into quarters....meat and starch. And if i'm in a situation where I'm not able to follow this idea then try the 20% rule...go for 20% less of heavy calorie sorts of food.

Even if you aren't actively looking to lose weight but you find that your weight at times will gradually creep up on you, this book is really good at explaining where some sneaky calories are creeping in when you aren't considering them as fully as you might think you are.

Check out this guy's website: it talks about some of their findings and stuff. Granted I'm totally facinated by all the experiments which is why I think this book is the coolest.

Friday, November 17, 2006

AMAZING book!!

I had read a review of this book in the nytimes the other day and after reading about a billion other book reviews I decided I wanted to have a 'look' at the book in person to see if I really wanted it. And when I went to the store today and started to read it...i knew i just had to have it. The book: Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think. By Brian Wansink.

Through a bunch of different experiments explained in this book, the author shows how we all mindless eat in different situations and shows how our environment or what we think we are eating is more of an influence on how much we actually eat. All the little food decisions we have to make sometimes will lead us to believe we are eating a lot less than we actually are and in the end we end up overeating.

OK I will admit this...I am a scientist (giggle), therefore I like ACTUAL experiments and ACTUAL data and percents that tell me HOW people are prone to overeat in certain situations. I think i've discovered that these kind of experiments would be really fun. (way more fun than my lame experiments that's for sure).

One experiment they gave people going to a movie theatre popcorn. Half the population got a BIG bag, and the other half got a medium bag. Now the 'trick' was that the popcorn was 5 days old. Someone afterwards described the popcorn as if they were eating styrofoam peanuts...basically it was really gross yet people still ate it. Two people actually forgot that they didn't buy the popcorn and tried to get a refund for the popcorn. The point being, the popcorn was gross. Yet even when the popcorn was gross people who had the BIG bag still ate more popcorn. They tested this in different cities, with fresh and stale popcorn and the verdict was the same. People ate more if they had more.

They've done TONS of different types of experiments showing how our decision making about food is largely influenced by how much we perceive we are eating which is has a lot to do with the environment we create while we are eating. He advocates that you can use the findings from this study to your advantage to pile in the good stuff and also use the information to limit the bad stuff.

I'm only 4 chapters into the are a few tidbits that he's broken down from these studies.

Think 20% more or less.
Dish out 20% less than what you think you want when you are going for probably won't miss it. But try to increase your veggie content by 20% more.

See all you eat
Put everything you think you want to eat on a plate before you start eating. Pre-plate your food.
Keep visual score of what you've eaten to remind yourself of what you've eaten. Dinners, snacks, everything.

Put your mega sized boxes of food in smaller boxes to dish stuff out of (like cereal) and pour into smaller bowls. Dish up your plates on smaller plates because it will seem like you are eating more.

The studies are really fascinating. And if you were to cut out 200 calories a day just by mindlessly avoiding them, that translates into 20lbs in a year. The book shows the subtle ways we "convince "ourselves to eat more bad stuff, but also shows how we can create "good" cues to eat the healthy stuff too.

I really am loving this book and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

trainer F-U-N

I like the i really like the trainer. This evening it was fun...I set myself up to catch up on some good 'ol 'Grey's Anatomy' because you can watch it online (and well...we don't have cable and can't watch any sort of TV and yes I am addicted to that silly soap opera...sigh.) Anyway it's GREAT I can set myself up with whatever I want to watch and just keep an eye on my HR and WRRRRRRRRRRRR. Since i'm sorta in off season...base building...sorta whatever season, i'm just looking for some time with aerobic building. I do have some more dedicated trainer DVDs i'll use also, but I'm beginning to think that I may be able to balance FUN DVD aerobic training and more focused stuff with spinning DVDs and good tunes pumping. I think the combination will make trainer time, fun...interesting...or something like that. This evening I managed to get an hour in.

And since it seems that life...well...will continue to and is proving to be a bit on the more emotionally draining side of things for awhile, I am thinking that I'm going to need to move to a more structured training schedule. Hmmmm...OK i won't speak too soon on that one. :-)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

back to running

I got a 4 mile run in this morning despite some areas still hurting some from my fall 3.5 weeks ago. Yeesh. But, the run had to happen more for my emotional sanity than anything else. And it didn’t hurt that bad, just some discomfort.

Life is well…life. There are times when everyone goes through things, we struggle with the realities and truths that are part of our life and it’s just one of those times for me. A small part, yet important part of how I handle my life situations involves exercise.

This morning, the only thing I NEEDED was a RUN. Nothing else was really going to substitute. Tthis morning, pounding the pavement was really the only thing that would start to make a dent in my emotional state. (If I had had my act together a little bit more, and I wasn’t still trying to let my body heal…. what would have really helped would have been a track workout…hmmm…)

Anywho…I got it done.


Mile 1: 10:08 Avg HR 154

Mile 2: 9:19 Avg HR 163

Mile 3: 9:18 Avg HR 166

Mile 4: 10:50 Avg HR 152

The good news with all this ‘offseason’/falling down the stairs/going back home/not working out as much as I should/could/whathaveyou is my weight is not up. Granted it’s not down (which is a goal of mine)…but considering how things have been over the past month…that’s OK. It is how it is.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

birthday chaos fun was the theme much of last week. Not much training happening, but I was back in my hometown out in Idaho with the fam, celebrating birthday's, celebrating family, and hanging out for a few days trying to take a little break from the ol' lab. My birthday was last week and we celebrated my mom's 60th birthday as we managed to get the WHOLE family together. That can be quite a feat as I live cross country and I have a sis overseas with her two kiddos (5months and almost 2 years old). Met the 5 month old for the first time on the trip (she's quite the cutie with an amazing smile). The two year old...he's great. Lots of fun when he's not cranky (but really...who is fun when they are cranky?). And got to see my other two nieces who live in my home town with my other sis. They are both roughly 3...five months apart...figure that one out ;-) (OK, OK one of them is adopted). The older one is quite the drama queen and wears a Dorthy outfit from the wizard of Oz...a gingham dress with the ruby red slippers. She will also emphatically tells people that her name is Ariel (She went through a Belle phase last year). Really, if you met her, you wouldn't question it. And the other niece is a real sweet kid.

It was a great weekend. My sisters and I had to go through all the heritage 'stuff' that my mom saved for us. The old books (we all fought over), certain pieces of clothing from child hood that well...are hard to part with...and the RANDOM stuff too that you just laugh at, take pictures of...and give it to Good Will!

We found this in the pile of stuff...and I can't seem to part with it.'s just a cake box and a paint stick, you'd think I could get over it. But it was my first 'violin'. I learned with the Suzuki method and you first have to prove that you can hold the violin before you actually get to 'play' a real violin. I was pretty young (5 years old)...when I started. You can start kids as young as 3 with the Suzuki method. .

So...speaking of birthday's...I received my Kurt Kinetic trainer while I was gone and assembled it last night. It's in my room. It gives me the giggles that my BIKE is in the middle of my room. It also keeps me pretty accountable when it is STARING at me and begging me to come and ride it. Anyway, i tried out the trainer tonight and had a great time. 50mins...used part of the 30min Spinerval video that came with it and had fun.

Tomorrow the plan is weights and then swimming. I hope I don't sink.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

all of 58 seconds

58 seconds...that is all I ran this morning before I thought ", this hurts too much". So a whole 10 calories burn...whoohoo...lots there.

But the beauty of being a have two other disciplines to pick from when one isn't cooperating. So...being a beautiful day...a little cold...i hopped on my bike for 50 mins. Nothing serious. But it was nice to be out. Weird to bike with it is cold because you are equally cold and warm at the same time.

Saw a small flurry of snow today...winter is a come'in

So..i think this next week will be some swimming, biking and yoga. Running won't happen til some of the bruising stops hurting. Maybe next week.

Friday, November 03, 2006

and I swam

I even swam this morning. 1500y

First 500 warm up

next 250 higher effort
5x50 with 10-15 sec between

500 cool down.

Total fiasco: 32 minutes. On my high reps I saw between 52-55 sec per 50. High HR...but i'm not exactly in super swim shape at the moment and i'm trying not to be too hard on myself with workouts this week. That whole tumbling action and pain all in my back sorta put a hamper on my plans. So i'm rolling with it.

Areas of affected soreness...did alright. I might attempt to run tomorrow. That might be funny.

Oh...and I've been told the bike trainer is venturing my way!! My birthday just a week away. Fun with bikes.


I have a confession…


…I did not become a triathlete 3 years ago.

I became a triathlete 10 years ago…gasp.

This is taking the definition that once you have done a triathlon (no matter the length), you are therefore a triathlete.

I did my first triathlon 10 years ago…it was a super-sprint (as I’d call it)…so maybe it doesn’t really count as being a triathlon…but I swam, I biked and I ran. I only swam ¼ a mile, biked 6 and ran 2 miles…but it was a triathlon…body marking and all. I even took second in my category the next year. Ohhh, I had two ‘seasons’ back to back.


It’s not like I trained for either event…in fact the second year I got locked out of my house and ended up running in pseudo-sneaker/running shoes that you’d wear around, not run in. I didn’t even know I got second til they mailed me my ribbon.

Again…does it count to say you placed when…ahem…there were only two of you in the category (giggle).

Anyway…I’ve been thinking recently HOW I got into this nutty sport. And as I think back I realize that the seed that was planted of even knowing what a triathlon WAS happened in 8th grade. It was after some boy I had a crush on in one of my classes signed my year book and wrote across one of his pictures: IronMan (including the M-dot)…and I just thought…WHAT? I’m not sure if it was that year that I figured out what an Ironman was, but the memory still sits with me.

It’s funny because after those first two ‘seasons’ I didn’t think about triathlons for another…errr…4-5 years. The thoughts of triathlons surfaced again when I was working in New Zealand and one of my colleagues was training for IMNZ. Before his training, he had never done a triathlon…and he just decided he wanted to do an ironman. My initial reaction: OK Mr. Wack-o

But somewhere along the way, I thought I wanted to do a triathlon, but not of the iron variety. But something triathlon-esque. It wasn't summer at the time when I decided to try this out...So I started with a duathlon…

and I discovered….um…the biking part…not so hot. I was the slowest biker on the course. But I did manage to pass a couple of people on the run and not come in last. Mildly demoralizing…but I’m still here…so obviously not too scarring.

And I wasn’t too traumatized because I still thought I’d do a triathlon. I thought an Olympic would be a good place to start…um…yea…not so much. I got through about 5 weeks of the training, and then ended up moving back to the US, moved cross country and my thoughts of triathlons faded for another 1.5 years.

And then…I did my first sprint in 2004

And then I did 3 sprints in 2005

And then I got a new bike

And then I was REALLY hooked

And then I did two “Oly’s”, and two sprints in 2006

And now…I’m starting to think that I will be a triathlete for as long as I can.

So…I’ve started thinking…interesting and entertaining thoughts. Who knows what the future holds. ;-)

So yes, I confess…

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Or as they say out here on the east coast: I-D-er

Which ever way you chose to say it…I HAVE AN IDEA!! Idea, idea, idea, idea…I’m doing the “I have an idea dance” and no one can stop that dance. :-P

One of those Ph.D. ‘milestones’ is to come up with an original research idea and propose it…write it up in a specific format…and defend it to your thesis committee. I’ve thought about/prayed about/hemmed and hawed about/dreamed about/screamed about/been depressed about coming up with an original idea that was scientifically relevant for the past…err…2.5 years. And well…I HAVE AN I-D-EA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s still in its beginning formation…but I think no one has done it yet. AND I’m pretty sure it’s fundamental research-ish enough to fly. SWEET.

Get’er done.

Idea…idea…idea…idea…I HAVE and idea…idea…idea…idea.

OK you get the point, but you don’t really understand how excited I am to finally have something to start with.

Funny thing is…it just ‘happened’ yesterday in the lab when I was doing an experiment…out of no where, the thought just came to me. SOOOOOO…stinkin… cool.

Doing the ‘idea dance’…idea…idea…idea.

feeling better

Well overall I am starting to feel a little better. Fortunately I didn't feel worse on Wed than I did on Tuesday or I would have ended up lying around on the couch all day long, because i wasn't moving very fast on Tuesday. The bruising is definitely Black, Purple and Blue. I definitely won't be able to lie down on my right side for a long time, but I'm OK...and feeling better.

Went and did some 'gentle' yoga this morning. I'm going to attempt to swim tomorrow. I may even venture and try to do a short run on the weekend. Although since running takes a fair amount of stability through your back, I'm not sure if my back is actually up for it. We shall see. Next week may be a lot of swimming and yoga. This is not what I had in mind when I thought i needed more yoga in my off season. But it is what it is. I'm grateful nothing is broken and I didn't receive a concussion from the fall.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

officially OK

After a discussion with my Dad (who's a physician) he encouraged me to get officially checked out, as even though I didn't have any numbness in my legs and nothing 'seemed' broken I still could have cracked a vertebrae in the fall.

So...3 x-rays, 4 visits with the nurse, a test to make sure my kidneys are OK, and 4 hours at Heath Services later...I'm officially OK. I hurt a lot...and will for awhile, but nothing seems to be broken or severely damaged. Hopefully nothing starts tingling or not working properly and I will be fine. My back is going to be one big bruise, but I am OK. I actually feel pretty bad today pain wise and feeling weird in general. Everyone keeps telling me I'll probably feel worse tomorrow. Not looking forward to that.

OK'd to do whatever I'd like as long as it doesn't hurt too bad. At the moment I'm just going to lay low until it doesn't severely hurt to find a comfortable position to sit in.

So my advice: Wear your slippers...please.

down the stairs all at once


Last night I fell down the stairs.

Fortuantely it was the short part of the stair case that only had 4 stairs. I stepped on the top one...and suddenly I was flying down them. My world came suddenly crashing down in just an instant.

And then the pain came.

And then the fear that I broke something came.

And then the realization I was OK, but I was going to be in HURT'N...a lot....for awhile.

Socks and wood not go together. I don't usually wear socks on the wood floors around my house, I usually have slippers or shoes, but not last night. The crazy thing was, what really saved me from cracking my head open or breaking my wrist was the fact I was headed downstairs to deposit half a teapot full of cold tea and a mug 1/2 full of cold tea. In the process of falling I began to be worried about breaking the tea pot and mug and it forced me upright which prevented me from hitting my head on the stairs and I hung onto them tightly which kept me from trying to use my arms to brace my fall. If it hadn't been for the teapot and mug I really think I would have ended up with a concussion and a broken wrist I fell so hard.

Instead, I have a 10-12 inch bruise across my butt. Right where my piriformis is...nice. Also will have a good bruise on my spine and shoulder. But no broken ribs, no broken bones. Totally freaky fall. But I am fortunate. It could have been a LOT worse and I do realize that.

Running...doesn't look like it's going to happen so much until this bruise stops hurting. I'm not sure if I can endure a spin class due to my lower back...and swimming might be a problem too due to the pain in my shoulder and the bruise on my butt. Yoga is even a little touch and go possibly...but I will attempt spinning and swimming and yoga and see how it goes.

Don't wear just socks in the house. It's dangerous.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Mission accomplished

I swam 1500y in 31:00 minutes...not exactly speedy, but whatever. I have to start somewhere. AND this week I made progress towards all four of my main tri goals...sweet. No, i haven't talked about those four goals...maybe in a later post...maybe.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

So many feelings

The gamut of feelings I have gone through this week is AMAZING. Truly, it's been a crazy week. Monday, I was totally in the dumps with grad-student blues called "will i ever graduate?". Tuesday was some good feelings due to an interview that went swimmingly (I even think I might get an on-site interview...gasp). Wednesday I was super happy as I got LOTS done in the 'ol lab. And Today...I think I could have peeled myself off the ceiling due to all the excitement because I SOLVED a measly old problem.

WHY oh WHY am I SOOOOOOO happy today with the troubleshooting?I have no idea. I think I'll just savor the wonderful feeling of actually feeling like I know something. Too many days in grad school I feel like I, nothing...that the days when it seems that I actually know SOMETHING useful, I feel like it should be declared a holiday or something. No, no actual results...but I SOLVED a problem. Suddenly I feel like I'm 'clever' :-) As I said...I need to celebrate this momentous occasion when I actually know something.

As far as training...or off season...or whatever you want to call right now, my conclusion is: I'm bored. Two weeks post 1/2 marathon, and into my off season and I'm totally unmotivated and bored. Great. At least I figured this out so soon...I need to figure out how to quell the damage and focus on something that will get me going to the gym, and DOING something.


It seems that when I'm focused, I'm there...I'm all there, and when I'm not focused...I become my alter-ego "SLACKER-TRI GIRL"...she's no fun. I'm not a fan.

So tomorrow: I will swim. 1500yards. There I said it.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Trainer delimma

So, I am a part of a gym that has spin classes...but over the past two seasons when I've been going to spin class and then I hop on my bike come spring I find the spin classes sorta helped my endurance but I feel that the geometry of the spin bike compromises my leg strength in some ways. And I really miss how comfortable my bike is compared to a spin bike. I can never get comfortable.

I do like the group-ness of a spin class, but the other day I got to the gym at 5:53am for a 6:00am class only to find out it was full. (and you can't call ahead of time to reserve a bike) I'm not good at mentally shifting my workout at that early of an hour. I'm still not awake and I ususally don't have my other stuff with me. So when my family asked me what I wanted for my birthday coming up, I knew the answer, An indoor trainer. They are super encouraging with my tri-geekiness, even though they don't understand the WHY I do it (and they think i'm sorta crazy for it)but they do encourage my endeavors of fitness. I am grateful for their support.

So...I'll post my dilemma...which trainer? The 1upUSA fluid trainer, the cylo-ops 2 fluid, or Kurt Kinetic ? I've been reading all the road bike reviews of them...and I have no idea which way to go. Although I like the design of the Kurt Kinetic as the fluid part has no shaft seals and they say it won't ever leak. Kurt Kinetic's reasons of why the other fluid trainers will eventually leak due to the o-ring giving out, makes sense so i'm leaning toward the Kinetic due to this design. Most reviewers of 1upusa who have had to call them, praise the customer that's a bonus. Anyway...i'll continue to mull over it.

Just Run

That was the goal today...just run. I did have a distance in mind of two loops of 4.6mi as that was near my house and just go from there. Since my race last week all i've done is yoga...and not even much of that. But I haven't really felt up to much. My 'allergies' i thought I had last week were really a cold, fortunately nothing horrendous and most mornings the gym or a run just didn't happen. Which was fine.

It's great running weather cold and clear. I could have done without all the wind, but I didn't really care...JUST RUN was on the docket.

And I did. The first mile was a nice warm up and then I just RAN...and the next few miles were at a fast clip...slightly under 9mpm. My HR was acting weirdly high but I didn't feel out of breath so I just went with it. But then my body just said...We are slowing down...i'm not sure about you.

So, since it is now not training focused part of the season I just let the run happen. I let my hamstrings tell me a story about how they ran a 1/2 marathon last week and ran as fast as I wanted them to and really weren't very excited that I was running far today. I let them complain because most of the rest of the season their complaints are completely ignored. (unless it is truly important...and most of the time they are just cranky, and nothing to worry about)

The run sorta just got slower and slower...and I was happy to just be running. Goal accomplished.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Race Report

OK....OK...i admit I am still a little slow at figuring out this whole BLOG posting business. I started my Hartford race report...saved it, wrote the prologue, published that and then went back and worked on my RR only to discover that your blog will show up as being posted in the order you saved it, not in the order you posted it.

So it looks bizarre-o in a way as it is posted backwards.

one day I will be technology savvy. That day is just not today...and probably not tomorrow.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday the 13th...Prologue

I am not a superstitious person, but Friday WAS Friday the 13th...and well everything pre-race day seemed to go poorly. Me and my friend JM were headed down to Hartford that evening, to pick up our race packets, eat a sensible dinner and ideally take in an early night.

Last year me, JM, and 'zilla were racing and instead of heading down early, picking up our packets then getting dinner...we got dinner and then had to race against time in a torrential downpour to get our race packets. We got our packets 2 mins before they closed. This year JM and I decided to get down to Hartford, pick up the packets then head to dinner...minimize the running against the clock.

Getting out of town took longer than we thought, but we weren't too far off schedule. Get to Hartford, go to check into our hotel only to realize that the hotel we *thought* we were booked into which was within walking distance of the race start, was NOT the hotel we were staying at. Same chain...but the reservation got bumped to another branch 5 miles away from the race start. We decided that if bad things are going to happen, the day before the race is when they should we rolled with it.

Head to packet pickup. We get lost...park...walk around forever...realize we are not close to where we need to be, have to then navigate our way to where we are going amongst traffic and parking issues due to a professional hockey game going on. Fun times. Again...we remind ourselves if this is the worst...all will be well.

By the time we grab our packets, we are pretty much starving. We had decided on a standard chain sort of restaurant as it is a known entity and most likely will have food that won't harm us for the race the next day. We call ahead to the restaurant...45mins-1 hour. Yikes...that's not going to happen. So we figure that since most stretches of the interstates in this country are LINED with chain restaurants, CT would be the same. No such luck. We hop on the highway end up driving another 30mins, getting on and off the highway at places that say 'food' yet we can't find anything that looks familiar to us and by this point are super cranky.

We pick a place that seems as innocuous as we could, even though it didn't fit the 'chain' restaurant status. By now it is 815 and we could have just gotten into the other place...sigh. We both find the most boring food on the menu...meaning something that would be the least likely to upset one's stomach for running the next day as I was doing the half and JM was running the full marathon. Finally success.

During our enjoyment of the lovely, very boring food, I realize I have forgotten my tooth brush, toothpaste, anti-teeth grinding mouth guard, contact case, and contact solution. Also my little 'non-sickness' allergy thing has decided that I will start coughing for no apparent reason. We first call it fake coughing as there is no reason for it...and then it starts to irritate my lungs then giving my body a reason to cough. We then added cough drops to the list. Everything except the teeth grinding issue can be addressed at Walmart down the street from our boring dinner (which we love, because it did no harm), and we finally head back to the hotel.

It was a fiasco but we reminded ourselves, that if something bad was going to happen, it was THEN it should happen as race day we were hoping would go smoothly for both of us.

Tune in later for the RR...hopefully tomorrow. :-)

Hartford Race Report

Well to start, i'm sure this will be long, because it seems I can rarely make any post very hang in there with me. :-)

As I said in the Prologue, things on Friday had not gone well. I had just reserved that Friday would be the day for things to be bad and move on from there. For starters on Saturday the weather looked almost like almost perfect running weather. It was sunny, and cold with a starting temp at 8am of 37degrees. My only dilemma was what to wear...I even purchased a set of small gloves and a knit hat that I could throw away. But alas at 7am I sorted myself out in a thin long sleeve shirt, shorts and the hat I always wear. It turned into pretty much the most perfect thing to wear. I never was too cold (except before the start and then I got to sport a lovely garbage bag...i wish I had pictures of that, as that would be choice race pictures.) and only a few times during the 1/2 did I feel I was a little warm, but just a little. So, first dilemma of clothing worked out great in the end.

Now back at the end of tri season I started thinking a little about this 1/2 and what I might be able to dream of achieving. And the thought became "So maybe just maybe I can run the 1/2 in...errr"...under two hours. I didn't really know HOW to do this sort of training and graciously Joe B offered to lend his running expertise. Little did I know what I was getting into :-) He allowed me to still be a triathlete who didn't want to budge from her 3 days of running a week, with some swimming and biking routine.

He did change up the number of miles I ran per week, how I ran my long runs, and included much hill work and speed work. It was a different approach to running and the first few weeks hurt a lot, but I quickly started seeing what I thought were amazing improvements. Jumps in my speed week by week. It was really amazing to me to watch how my body responded to the training. But there was a point about halfway through the training that I really began to wonder if my goal of less than two hours was going to happen at Hartford. And through much discussion I realized that it would happen sometime if I kept at it and I made peace with that fact. I began to understand the beauty of having a goal and working at it, digging at it, and chasing after it. But I also started to understand that some goals will just happen over time as long as I chose to pursue it. For me I needed to have the goal of wanting to run a 1/2 marathon in under two hours and leave out the part that it was required to happen at Hartford this year. That resolve brought back much joy to my efforts.

So back to the's a big one. Marathoners and 1/2 marathoners make up about 3000 people on the course at one time for the first 4 miles. There was a 5K also running that day but they start in a different area, thankfully, otherwise that would really be utter chaos. I weaseled my way about 1/2 way to 1/3 of the way toward the start, the star spangle banner was sung, a prayer was given (as well me saying my own for a safe, fun, race), and the horn was blown. And we were off.

Joe B and I had discussed my strategy for running last week...first 5 miles in 45:xx mins....second 5 miles in 45:xx mins, last 5K GOOOOO! At that discussion for my strategy for running I realized that under two was in sight. It might be possible if all no disaster took place. It was an exciting edge to be leaning on.

The first mile was of a little concern. I tend to go out a little too fast at the beginning although having a billion other runners around I found my concern became not weaving too much and not going too slow. I did catch myself at points wanting to run really too fast, but caught it early on and told myself to try to save it for the last 5K. Effort to not go too fast paid off:
mile 1: 9:23 Avg HR: 164

Cold fingers didn't quite get the split function the first time, but I did see 9:23 as it wasn't until 11 mins that I realized no split was done. So I figured I'd just be 'cleaver' and hit it again at two and do math. It's still early, my brain was still sorta functioning. Although at the two mile mark, I almost didn't see it as they were small signs on the side of the road.
Mile 2: 9:03 (18:26) Avg HR: 166

Mild panic at the 5K mark, because I didn't calculate how long it takes to run 0.1 miles so I thought I was slow....but then again, i didn't calculate how much time would be taking off my mile when I got to mile 4 as that was only 0.9 miles. Finally realized the two combined was 18:35...still which meant I need to pick up the pace just a wee little bit to be closer to 9mpm.
5K 10:04 Avg HR:167
mile 4: 8:31 (0.9 mile)Avg HR: 166

I hit mile 5 at 9:05 Avg HR:169, with a total for the 5 miles: 46:08.

Since my goal for the first 5 miles was really means I can be close to 46 mins and still be on target. So at this point I knew I was pretty spot on with 'the plan'. The next five miles I knew might be 'trouble' as it's during these miles I can lose my focus. So I tried to be vigilant with my focus. Mile 6 I actually thought I was going really slow, yet turned up this:
mile 6: 8:32 Avg HR:170

Things get a little blurry from this point on. It felt like my world got turned into an early color movie where it is sorta like black and white with some colors thrown in here and there. It was a little eerie. I hit mile 7 at:
mile 7: 9:04 Avg HR: 168

Decided this would be my 'gel' time, and prepared my gel for the next water station. Mile 8 was a little weird and I remember getting confused last year because the course has aspects of it that you run both out and back on there are a couple of places where you actually get two water stops one mile. I tried to not let it confuse me (although it still sorta did) and I kept moving. The course had lots of DJ's and bands on it in different places along the way. As I was coming down the hill the DJ was playing "Eye of the Tiger"...made me think of 'Zilla and some of the race CD mixes she's made in that past for races we've gone to. The thought helped me dig in a little more.
Mile 8: 8:59 Avg HR: 169

This is where I start to fight with my focus. I'm drifting mentally, and I also realize that HR drift is definitely in place and I now need to play the 169-172 bpm game. I'd tune out and tune in...and found mile 9 at:
mile 9: 9:16 Avg HR: 170

And suddenly I was at the blessed mile 10 in:
mile 10: 9:06 Avg HR: 170

Total time for the ten miles: 1:31:07. SPOT ON!! Come on girl let's rock and roll for this 5K.

Due to the episodes of coughing I had started to endure on friday I found that my throat was really irritated and not in a great place at this point. It became a difficult battle to wage when I'm also starting to be short of breath just because I'm pushing hard yet my throat is really irritated. But I focused on holding my edge as much as I could at this point and pushed on. Now this was a cheezy thought that came into my head at the time, but it did help my focus. I thought of a quote from the "Prefontaine" movie I had watched a few weeks ago when Pre was asked why he liked the two miler...he said because it's a guts battle. Whoever has the most guts wins. So I started to dig into those guts because knew I had some and as predicted it began to hurt...a lot. I was lucky to see the mile 11 marker.
Mile 11: 8:54 Avg HR: 174

We all dig into different depths in our lives when things are put on us...whether we are just competing with ourselves or life in general is laying things on us. I was reminded of a song I love "For the Cross" by Matt Redman. And with the song...I was reminded my perspective.
mile 12: 8:22 Avg HR: 175

Of course a nice hill is thrown in right about here. I'm really thrilled (um...not so much). I start to see the park where the finishers line is...and i'm in the last stretch before it turns into the finishers chute and look at my watch and I see that it is 1:57:something. In my delirium I am unsure if I will be able to run this last short stretch (it was short) in 3 minutes. But I usually get a little goofy in races by the end. I turn the corner and into the finishing chute. There are quite a few of us clustered in the chute at this time as we head towards the finish line. I look up and see that time clock for the gun time says: 1:59:30ish...the announcer is telling the audience that we all are almost at the 2hour mark and starts getting the crowd to start CHEERING for us. The crowd goes NUTS!! It was electric. You could feel the energy in the air. I realized I was even going to beat the gun time clock under two hours!

Mile 13.1 9:53 Avg HR: 176

Gun time was around 1:59:40something
Final net time 1:58:14

IT WAS UNDER TWO HOURS!!! I was ecstatic! (i still am). I've never made a goal like that...a time goal I mean...set out and put what I had into training and then so tangibly see the work pay off. It was really, really, really, AWESOME. I don't really know how to describe it coherently....

I wrapped myself in the handy, dandy Mylar blankets which are so amazingly warm for such little food...went to the massage tent (wonderful)...changed...and waited for my friend JM to finish her marathon. She sported an awesome finish just under 5 hours. I'm so proud of her, her journey to this point, from the first mile she ever ran just a few years ago, to that finish yesterday is so awesome.

This race ends my full training season and what a sweet way to end it. I've been enjoying the essence of the race and savoring each part of it which is why I took you all on a mile by mile account. It was a sweet victory for me.

This tri (and running) season has been full of so many things, my first (sorta) olympic distance races, entrance into blog land, I've watched friendships grow, gained new friends and discovered so MUCH about myself. It's been really amazing.

There are about a billion thank-you's but I will touch on a few. I was reminded once again on the course just how AWESOME spectators are...especially for long races. They make it fun, they are encouragement, they are really just great.

This season 'Zilla and JM have been mucho encouragement from training, to traveling to races, to days when the lab sucks, to life in general. I am always grateful for their friendships.

I am really grateful for Joe's willingness to coach and train me for this goal. I wouldn't have made it to this goal so quickly without his help.

I am also reminded and grateful for God's grace, hope and strength that he constantly gives me.

Well made it to the END!

THE END!! :-)

Friday, October 13, 2006

It's race time!

Tomorrow is my 1/2 marathon in Hartford! I'm excited...a little nervous...but mainly excited. This week has been more of a freak out because I worried I was getting sick. Fortunately everyone was right when they all said "You are not sick". I am having random allergies. I'm almost to feeling a 100%, but still a little off.

Last year I ran Hartford in 2:14:45. I have trained for it to be be faster. There is a goal in mind, so we shall see what happens. Race day is a mystery that unpacks itself.

Weather looks cold and sunny. But that is better than the torrential warm downpour that was last year. My dilemma is attire. It's distracting me...which I think is what i need right now. :-)

And hey this guy is going to be doing the marathon:

Anyway, off to have fun and race as best as I can.

Have a great weekend.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

This just about sums it up

Too much busy stuff and stress this week. And this just about sums up how i'm feeling about it all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Woooh there! I just got a new first run with it was on Monday. The plan was to do 6 miles of 'easy' running. My plan...keep my HR in the mid to lower me that's running, but not super focused running. I warm up for a mile, and I hit the UBER cool split function to see how fast it was, 10:30. Cool HR 150 or so (um, i didn't write all this down and I just realized I deleted the important info...oops). Next mile 9:15, HR mid 150s, next mile 9:14, HR mid 150s, next mile 9:16 HR mid 150s, next mile 9:20 HR mid 150s, last mile 11 minutes with a 140ish avg HR.

It took me until the afternoon to realize just how COOL that improvement in my times were. When I started my focused training for my 1/2 right after tri season, I was running 10 min miles with my HR above 160, and Monday I ran 915 miles, consecutively, with my HR below 160.

Woooh there, that's crazy.


new toy!! I just bought a new HRM, the Polar RS 100. Can I say sweeeeet?? Volunteering for multiple science experiements were I was the test subject finally paid off (literally). The things poor grad students who are triathletes do to fund their endevours.

I previously had the Polar A3...simple, basic, avg HR, time run, time of day...that's about this. This watch does splits...i'm so amazed what this watch can do. I'm still trying to figure it out. I feel like a kid at Christmas.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

My longest run...ever

Some days...I just shake my head and wonder how I even get through most days. I can be a bit slow in the ol' brain at times and that causes interesting (or down right stupid) things to happen.

The plan today was to run 14 miles total...with 8 miles at HR 160 or so and the other 6 as part of my warm up and cool down. That's what I thought about and that's what I set out to do.

Last week I felt a bit ill...pretty far from home on my 12 mile run so, I decided that I'd work off of a loop that is close to my house. I knew the loop was 4-5 miles or so...i didn't know *exactly* how far but I thought it was a good loop that I could do 2 or less loops of it for 8 miles. I drove it. It was 4.6 miles in total for the loop. Cool...I do a three mile warm up, and then run less than 2 loops and have part of the 2nd loop be my cool down with some more mileage tacked on.

Problem was...i wasn't thinking when I was driving or contemplating exactly this loopyness. So...what do I do? I mark out how far 4 miles on my loop is...and only drive it one time. Therefore...I've set myself up to run 8.6 miles. First loop 4.6 miles...and I get to the second loop.. all i know is where the 4 mile bailout point is. Basically, not thinking clearly about the total distance when I drove it to begin with.

This miscalculation actually doesn't hit me until i'm at mile 7.6 (slow in the brain this A.M.)...and I start to think about where the supposed 'end' of my 8 miles is. I've been monitoring my watch and have realized that i'm running rather fast for me (so cool) when I start to think about what time it should be about at the end of 8 miles if i'm doing roughly 9 min/miles (or less)...I realize that i only have 3 minutes to get to the end of 8 miles...yet the 'end' of my marked out route is...wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy farther than 3 minutess away.

My thought to myself:

"What is going on?, uh oh...silly didn't think through this whole one loop being 4.6 miles thing did ya and then you only marked out the next 4 miles...therefore you are set up to do 8.6 miles...doh!"

So here's the conversation in my head :

"Well I could just 'guess' where the end at 8 miles don't really want to run 8.6 miles do ya? We can just drive it after and figure out total distance and time."

My other thought :

"Just run the silly extra 0.6 miles...and do the math with your watch when you are done...suck it up...ya goofed, it's not the end of the world and when you run the 1/2 marathon you will be running further than 8 just deal with it, you can adjust your cool down from 3 total miles to 2.6 miles, but that's all you can compromise "

The second thought won.

So for the 8.6 miles I ran it in 1:17:05 avg HR 161

Do a little math (correctly this time)...that's 8:58 min/miles on average!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it's actually sub that, as I know my first two miles were 9:10's....wooohooo!! So exciting to me!

In the end i ran a total of 14.2 miles...the farthest I've ever run. :-D

I felt really good...actually great until the cool down...and then the lactic acid decided to talk to well as my feet. Yowch. Took one gel around mile 6...seemed alright on the stomach. And considering I ate dinner at 11pm last night...and ate frightening food...a turkey ruben and fries(i love sauerkraut...but I wasn't sure if my running stomach would like that the next day)...i'm amazed that I didn't feel yucky running. I've learned that the night before long run dinners can be fine or not fine...and there is no rhyme or reason that I've found so far with things settling or not settling down the next day. So strange.

Just two weeks til Hartford! Exciting.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

hills and schtuff

The focus at the moment is running workouts as the last race of my season is a 1/2 marathon. I'm constantly amazed at what each running day brings, as it is new and something new is learned. I've discovered I like running a heck of a lot more than I did before, not just because I am seeing improvement(but that is really fun), but I'm discovering what 'training' is more about. Focus is a good thing.

My 6 x 0.25mile hill repeats went well. It took 37 minutes, 12:20 min/miles for the hills....some funny math on my end of things made it look like the last time I did these repeats it 'supposedly' took me an extra 10 minutes...and then I realized, I wrote something down wrong. I still saw some great improvement...34 seconds per mile of improvement, not 3 minutes per mile of gave me a laugh at either the mistake or improvement...not sure which at the moment (but i'm beginning to think i didn't have a 3 minute/mile improvement.).

Well off to sleep...trying to shift my schedule earlier more with the hope that one day I might actually graduate. The earlier wake up time is making me constantly tired...I'm still in the phase where i'm stumbling around all afternoon and in desperate need for coffee all day long. It'll pass with time. Must press on.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good Stuff

It's been a long, great week. I somehow convinced my thesis adviser that sending me to DC for a training thing would help me graduate in a sane fashion (well as sanely as a grad student can graduate in). I think I can now use a computer program to solve any worries in this dissertation and if it won't solve those problems, I can make it look like it can solve my problems. :-)

Before I left I researched ways I could get my running and any cross training in. I looked up on the website (the international health racket and sports club association) health clubs that were near my hotel so I could get a spin class in or a swim and some running. IHRSA is supposed to be a way to look up places to work out that are part of a community of other health clubs. Ummm...let's just say that even though MY home club and health clubs near my hotel were listed on these things AND I called places in advance...i got the run around like no body's business. No one knew what I was talking about, and most were really rude to me in the process. Sigh...oh well. I did get 3 days of running in, a ridiculous amount of walking in...and in the end got the running mileage I needed OUTSIDE in the beautifully warm (compared to the NorthEast) weather. So I think I was happier anyway doing things that way.

I have a fun 12 mile run tomorrow...and I'm a mere 3 weeks away from my half marathon. Good stuff.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Race Day Fear that Came TRUE

The power went out the NIGHT before my race on Saturday morning!!!!

My alarm (that is plugged into the wall, mind you)was set for 4:55. But what saved me was my laundry. Yes, my laundry. Our dryer has a nasty habit of sometimes not drying things fully. That evening, I was doing my laundry, and had a few items I needed for my race going in the dryer. I thought to myself "if I should wake up in the middle of the night (which is something I rarely do), but if I should, I will get up and check to make sure my clothes are dry."

It was 12: something. I'm having a retarded dream that keeps going in circles and I'm trying to wake myself up and stop it anyway. My printer starts making noise like it's printing something and I wake up...disoriented, wondering why in the world it would be making such a noise. I made up some bizarre reason why the printer is making weird noises because I just wanted to roll back over and go back to sleep. Ummm...i love sleep. And then I remember the promise I made myself..."if I should happen to wake up I would check on my laundry".

I do the internal debate "The laundry is most likely fine, why would I even want to get out of bed?" But I am struck by the thought "But the sense of irony if everything isn't dry tomorrow at 5am and you had a chance to get the laundry will be sad you didn't check on it". So I trapes to the basement and in doing so discover the blinking clocks in the kitchen...ohhhh it was the printer turning ON that woke me up. Laundry is fine, and disaster averted.

Now because i'm slightly neurotic and having the power go out is a fear of mine I would have actually been fine, because I had set a second alarm on my phone which wasn't connected to wall power. And all would have been well because I have super cool housemates and one was up reading at the time when the power went out and got up and made sure I was up re-setting my alarm as she was worried about my alarm not going off for the race. The whole thing was not the best pre-race night, but sometimes that's how it goes.

So the race was a 5miler, but in reality it was a creative long run. I was slated to get there early so I could do a 4 mile warm up run, then run 5 miles at high racing intensity, and then a 3 mile cool down run. When my friend J and I got there, the volunteers had just shown up and were beginning to set up. She took a nap in the car as I did my warm up run. The area of the race was pretty rural and sometimes I have to laugh at running in the country as the mile markers are things like "big red barn on the left" or "set of cows that are eating on the right" or "tractor on the right". Since I live in the country, I do enjoy running in the country. The morning sunrise was beautiful, misty, and almost dreamy.

The race was a 5K and a 5miler. Basically you ran with the 5Kers for your first 3 miles and then split off watching them finish while you ran on. Someone was trying to make chit-chat with me at mile 2 with the comment "are we almost there"...trying to be funny. I'm thinking, no...i'm not at the 1/2 way point. I just reply that “it depends on what you are racing". She replies making it sound like there is no way she’d ever run the 5 miler and implies that people who do are crazy. I nod and smile, and keep on moving. If she only knew…

Being in the middle of a 5K for most of the race was pretty fun because there were lots of kids about enjoying the race. I saw one kid who I think will be a future Ironman. He had a Fuel Belt with two bottles filled with gatorade. I don't know where else he was also running that day, but he was PREPARED.

The race itself went pretty well for me aside from some side stitches and the fact my diaphragm was cramping and not letting me breathe very well. The goal was to race with a HR in the 170s. I had an AVG HR of 173, and a final time of 43:44, 8:44 min/mile pace. I was pretty stoked about that.

After the race I had my 3 mile cool down. As I came in after my cool down I realized was the last racer in the area (aside from my friend in the car)and the volunteers were packing up everything. The thought came to me “I'm one of those people.” I just did a 4 mile warm up and a 3 mile cool downs and then RACED on top of it. I know the further goal is a 1/2 marathon and the purpose of the race was for racing and times, but it did not destroy the fact that I'm one of those people. I don't know when I became one of those people but i am. Triathlons do crazy things to a person I guess.

It was a good day that even though a race day fear of mine came true all was well in the end.

In the future, I will always set two alarms and never feel silly about it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Somers Great Escape

Well tomorrow I'm running the Somers, CT Great Escape 5miler. Admittedly, i'm a little nervous and concerned because my knee decided to make a HUGE fuss yesterday during my 6 x 0.25 mile hill repeats. Sharp pain...but only while running...

I've been stretching and icing and icing and stretching and taking naproxin sodium and hoping and praying my knee will be fine both tomorrow and in 4 weeks for the Hartford 1/2 marathon. More concerned about the 1/2, but I would really like the 5 miler go well too.

So I'm off to bed...and hoping this whole icing scheme works. :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Wall

I didn't see it coming.

I wasn't prepared for what it held.

It came out of nowhere.

There is indeed a wall on that track I run...

The plan on Tuesday was for a 4x800 track workout. The goal to run each 800 under 3:40 and retain my focus.

1st 800: 3:28 (those fast thoughts did seem to pay off)
2nd 800: 3:33 (going well, must retain focus for 3rd set)

Next 400...focus on letting go of thoughts. My body is telling me it hurts, I acknowledge how it feels but don't let stopping be an option. Breathing hard I know I have it in me. No negative self talk. Trying to lose my thoughts.

I'm on the last 50 and something 'happens'. It's not a matter of my mind/body saying it 'can't finish this' because it's merely is as if a wall has been placed in front of me and there is no argument about it...I am done.

I stop, admittedly, slightly confused I try to figure out what's just happened and emotionally/physically/mentally I am broken down. It's like hidden emotions come spilling out...onto the track. I take inventory and realize there is no way this workout is going to be finished. I cool down and try to piece myself together.

It was so strange, and being the forever analyzer I attempted to figure myself out. But there was no figuring out what 'happened' just did. It's those hidden emotions, ever wonder where they go? Well now I know that they can show up when you aren't expecting them. But i'm learning to let go of the experience and of what it held. Sometimes we can’t always ‘figure out’ what is going on underneath, we must more acknowledge that it is happening, accept that it is what it is, not judge the event and most importantly move on. It took a little evaluation, acknowledged what happened and in the meantime I’ve learned I must keep moving.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mark it done

So saturday I had a case of the "pizza was a bad choice for dinner on friday" and felt ill all Saturday. I was slightly worried that the run would not get pulled off the next day ...but all was not lost on Sunday. I got up early, and was on the ground running by 630, not bad for a weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect for running. Mildly chilly the first half mile, and then just perfect for the rest of the run.

The plan was two miles of warm up, run 6 at high effort, two miles of cool down. Warm up went as planned, had a 10 year old girl join my run for a bit. She should keep with it...although I should have mentioned that running in jeans isn't exactly the best way to do it. She looked like she was having fun.

Then the 6 miles...goal as usual keep my HR up...above 160...and just run. The first 3 miles flew by, mile 4 completely disappeared...i sware I was so surpised to hit mile 5 and so quickly! I was in a zone...and was still running at a good clip. I was running 9ish miles from what I could tell. I was pretty excited about that. Mile 5 went really slow though. Not time wise running, but time seemed to stand still. It was a little surreal. I would think I was running really slow, but then I realized that very little time had passed and I was doing fine. I had that happen to me in the 1/2 marathon last year at mile 9. Although last year it was an issue of losing focus and slowing down, and this time it was more an issue of time just suddenly not moving. Weird

It went well with a final time for the 6 miles being 55:21, avg HR 162. Improvement from last week as the six miles had a time of 59:41 avg HR 159. Nice.

The rest of the day sorta seemed to go down hill for me though. Somedays you can only have one thing at a time go well. At least it was the running. Ended up breaking a string on my violin at church (and had 4 other extra strings, but not the right one), spilled coffee and food on myself, jabbed a stick into my foot, and locked myself out of the house. It got to the point where I just had to laugh otherwise I was going to cry. Although it was kinda funny...and true of me, slightly scatterbrained and clumsy.

Today was swimming and yoga. WHY in the world I couldn't drag my sorry butt to the pool this morning so I could do a pre-work swim...i don't know. Therefore I then required a lunch time swim. Sometimes that's obnoxious to me, but I am greatful that the pool is right across the street from my building. So I guess I shouldn't complain. It went well aside from my shoulder now hurting, very weirdly.

As for yoga, some days I love yoga, and some days I hate it. As in get-me-out-of-this-stupid-pose-before-I-kill-you-you-pschyo-yoga-teacher...kind of hate. Today was an I-LOVE-YOGA day. I don't know why, everything was stiff from running and usually that then makes a pretty painful class, but I felt strong and the stiffness didn't bother me for some reason.

Tomorrow track workout: 4x800s again...each set to be under 3:40. Hmmm...i'm interested to see how that goes. This type of training is so new to me that sometimes I just think..."how does one do that?" Looking at my times, I know, physically I can do it...but it's that mental aspect of how does one mentally tell one's body:

"OK we are now going to run 3:40 or less for an got that?".

It's just weird. Do I just think 'fast thoughts' and my body will run as fast as it should? I'm learning as I go, so I'm interested to see how I'm going to pull this one off and how I end up thinking about it. At the moment, i'm just visualizing fast times, and hoping that helps somehow. The whole mind-body connection with athletics is so strange, but truly fascinating. Planning for it to be fast as it should's got to be...I don't think I have another choice :-)