Friday, November 27, 2009

10k...Thanksgiving...and all the dressings

i've been in the category of 'endurance' athlete for about 6 years now. 2003 being my first sprint distance triathlon. Since then I have had a lot of firsts at many distances: some 5k's, a few10k's, a handful of half mary's, lots of sprint triathlons, multiple olympic distance triathlons, and my first half ironman. What I have discovered (moreso after moving to San Diego) is that I have developed a case of 'endurance arrogance' and many people around here also seem to have this.

I didn't want to do a 5K because...well...they hurt...a lot. My friend didn't want to do the 5K because: why would you want to get up that early to just run 3.1 miles?

Yep...give me 6 miles of hurting, but a different kind of hurt... i'll take that any day. I find it much easier to race at my LT than the constant edge between my LT/AT range required for a 5K. Maybe i'm just a wuss.

That thought process made me realize...that is kinda nuts compared to the standard population. Yes...i'd much rather race for 6 miles than 3? And back in Aug when I was bemoaning the fact I had signed up for AFC half marathon and a friend of mine said: oh it's just a 2 hour workout. We endurance athletes really need to get our heads checked!

The race went well...i achieved the three goals I had set out for myself: negative the two loop course, focus on footfalls/min >90 (weirdly leg turn over was more sluggish than normal) and swing my arms. I even managed to PR at the race with a time of 52:22! My previous 10K PR was off the end of Malibu Oly tri in Sept around 54:11. Not bad considering while i'm MUCH improved from the flu...i can tell i'm not 100% yet.

This is what got me to thinking more about endurance arrogance....i came home and pondered WHY i was tired. I thought it strange that I NEEDED a nap i was ONLY 6.2 miles...and then this morning was almost confused as to why my hamstrings were tight. This morning, I pretty much had forgotten that I had raced 6.2 miles yesterday....ahem...endurance arrogance. pull it back to reality...for thanksgiving I am thankful for being ABLE to wake up and run around like a turkey with her head cut off for 6.2 miles. That's pretty cool in itself and sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

Thanksgiving also reminded me of the fact: i don't like to cook. I had also re-realized this earlier in the week when I attempted some other cooking. I usually 'assemble' my dinner. Minimal 'real' cooking involved and NOTHING that requires a recipe. I may have been in 4-H as a kid and even won a gold ribbon a time or two for my cooking at the State fair (don't laugh too hard)...but as an adult...not a fan.

What a mess...and I was just making ONE side dish for dinner. Oh well. Thanksgiving was a chaotic assembly of a lot of random people but a good time...even punctuated with a big dance party at the end. No better way to burn off that pumpkin pie than with a dance party.

Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful...and i am of many, many things.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


<--ummm...a little holiday cheer to help with the writing...maybe a lot of 'cheer' in there too. ;-)

Things around these parts could be better but alas...that is how life is sometimes. Sometimes it is mountain tops that you feel on top of and other times there are valleys. I'm in a bit of a valley and trying to figure out the next best step...but alas it is what it is and i am trying to make the best of it in the meantime.

For my friend Max!! I know he's got to be on a mountain top He just finished IMAZ, his first IM and did amazing. Watching his training and race unfold makes me all the more excited for mine next year. Awesome job Max! has been interesting. Post swine flu episode I have been just trying to get back into the groove. The cough is almost gone and my energy is falling back into place. I only started back on the 'training' bandwagon a little over a week ago and it was a bit like this: do 20 minutes and if i had more energy do some more...if I didn't have enough energy 20 minutes was good enough. The goal: get back into consistency. Get back in the groove.

I had some good days and would finish the whole workout and other days where i'd rather sleep and call it good after 20mins. But I haven't pushed...and have just waited. All in all its coming along.

The big thing I have been focused on the past month or so is...technique. Swimming technique and running technique. About a month ago my coach had a group swim meeting where he taped our strokes and gave us just a couple of things to work on. I had three things to focus on: head position, arms WIDE (hence my hug a bear motto) and hand entry. I swim 4x a week and 2 of those workouts are what we call: endless 25y's. The other two are lots of 50y's so plenty of time still to focus on technique.

Grab a pull bouy...a set of XXS paddles and swim very focused for 25y. Rest for a very long time (20 seconds) and repeat...over...and over...and over. Throw in an all out sprint every 4th 25y...but you get the picture. Rep-i-tition. My violin teacher in undergrad would be proud of the montra. I have found I actually do very well with such a singular focus. Sure in the middle of a 72x25y...i get a little distracted and i'll admit a little bored, but over all i'm soaking it up.

So I constantly focus on perfect form. Over-and-over-and-over. When we were doing the group swim session a month ago my coach had said: just trust me with the endless 25y's this winter.

so...i am..

But...being the curious person i am i decided this week to 'see' if all of this insanity was making any difference. So I timed my warmup. You know...the slow 50y's. The one's where it is supposed to be easy peasy? And then...I timed the cooldown 100s...and focused on making them...easy peasy. And I was SHOCKED with the result.

over and 50y's turned up 55sec.

my 100y's...mind you at an EASY PEASY pace...1:50

again...and again...and again...

no this is not terribly fast...but for me these times meant: i just took 5 seconds off of my 50 and 10 seconds off of my 100y. TEN SECONDS.

How long can i hold that? not sure yet...but i am very encouraged. Very very encouraged. I might just be a fish by the end of this crazy endeavor!

And as for running technique i currently hold a cadence of about 90-92 footfalls/min...goal: 96ff/min. Which i can get to if i'm focused...but the idea being that if i can make 96 'natural'...then in the middle of a long race i'll probably be more like 90. Few other tidbits working on with running technique mainly around the fact i apparently don't swing my arms. Weird. And a few other things...but it is all coming along.

Interesting bits coming together for sure, but technique can make a huge difference. It is amazing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

HAPPY have the swine flu! is my birthday today. Kinda a cool year too...11/10/09. I like it. But what I DON'T like is that I came down with the ohhhhhhhhh so lovely flu yesterday evening. Fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, skin creepy crawly, lethargic. This morning i thought i was superwoman in that my fever had broken and I thought: yea...take that stupid flu...until an hour later i was over 100 again and got worse as the day wore on. I've had some amazing wacky dreams. (Fevers do that to me) and came up with the BEST idea ever. (keep in mind....i AM little delirious at the moment) but I think that creating 'Fever' Pajamas would be the best thing EVER. Maybe call them HOT pajamas? (where is that little circle for copy right? ;-))

My thought is to take what would be winter running/biking material. It is supposed to wick the sweat away but keep you warm too. When i have a fever at night i get all sweaty but chilled (i have never understood the chilling part to a fever...why am i so dang cold?) but waking up to damp cotton pj's is not nice. So what about something that could wick the sweat away? So that's my invention for the day. Pretty prodcutive day considering i've been sleeping all day.

Yes part of me really wants to throw a little bit of a pity party today, but the reality is that aside from feeling yucky i have no complaints on my birthday. I am very blessed. I got to talk to my sister and her crazy little kids. My parents. I've received texts wishing me well...and emails of happy birthday: get better. Sure i would rather be going out for sushi with some friends as orginally planned but when I know I can (and did) call them and say: can you bring me some nyquil and cough drops that they were over in a flash. Knowing I have true friends is really the best present there is. Maybe it did take me getting the swine flu to truly appreciate that.

Friday, November 06, 2009 this thing on?

This week has been interesting on the training front. I had a great swim stroke analysis from my coach last saturday which has lead to: endless 25y's and me tucking my head down and saying to myself: hug a bear.

yes...hug a bear

WHY hug a bear? Well...i do what many swimmers do...the dreaded crossing of the arms at the beginning of the stroke. So my coach wanted me to swim as WIDE as i could as he said: you won't ever swim too me. So my motto all week has been: hug a bear.

On a fun training front i had a fantastic meet up with a fellow blogger this week...LG...somehow convinced her some hot yoga would be fun. And it was as well as hanging out with her and discovering that while we do very different things in life we have much training outlooks that are similar. That is always a fun find because sometimes that is hard TO find.

But overall...
i know i have been a little awol on the bloggy front. I've been reading many of your blogs out there, but my comments have been few and my writing over here has been...well...sparse. I'll create only about a 1/10 of a post and that will be all i can muster mainly because i am...exhausted...bone tired. And not the good kind either...the good kind is the kind where you are tired because the training is hard and things may take a ton of energy and time but it's positive and feels good to dump all the energy into those tasks.'s that draining kind...the kind where you just wonder: am i at the bottom of this yet?

And the answer is always: no

and to make matters worse: i over think.

and an understatement

so when we all go through transition or points of change or just junk it gets all that much more emotionally exhausting for me because i MULL...i THINK...i think and i think. But weirdly...i will get in this mental churn and because i'll get tired of my internal churn i will make a decision just to DO something. Just to stop the churn and I sometimes tend to disregard some of the realities.

that is me...churn and then act but weirdly act slightly impulsively just to get the mental churning to stop. because acting gets me 'unstuck'. But patience is sometimes a better plan, unfortunately...i'm not so patient...mainly how can you be patient when you can't get the churn to stop without acting?

But stuff is in motion therefor so am i

And then there is some job job...that job...that other job...that potential job...that dream you can't do THAT in your job...but you MUST do THIS in your want the ability to DO your job? just want you to deliver anyway on the impossible project...take all the time out of your actual job and do it now....really...sooooo not kidding

this makes me...frustrated

and slightly impulsive

there is a laundry list i could go on and on about to...but i don't want to encourage the churn. So i will leave it here. i'm alive...i wish things would settle down a little bit...i wish i knew the best answer for the question(s) in front of me...oh and...sleeping would also be nice.