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 floors...do 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 know...um, 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 service...so 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. ARG...technology.

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 happen...so 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 short...so 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 race...it'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 45:xx...it 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 stuff...got 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 congratulations...you 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: http://www.endurance50.com/

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!

So...as I just got a new HRM...my 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 150s...to 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...new toy...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.