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.