Posts Tagged Shoes

What Works for Me

A recent blog post (sorry no link, can’t remember where it was!) started me thinking about the latest trends in fitness culture. From minimalist shoes and barefoot running to Paleo/Primal nutrition to Crossfit and more, it has become almost a rite of passage for fitness fanatics to try and in some cases cling to these fads. I freely admit reading Born to Run and promptly transitioning to a minimalist shoe. I even tried on some Vibram FiveFingers, and still think about going back to buy them. I’ve mentioned that I’ve recently made a foray into the world of Paleo/Primal eating, and the main reason I haven’t tried Crossfit yet is the expense.

Sometimes I find it hard to remember that just because these things are trendy doesn’t mean they’re what works for me.

Thus far, I’ve been pretty lucky. Knock wood, I am not injury prone. My IT band used to act up occasionally, but a little extra attention with the foam roller and I am good to go. Minimalist shoes were no big deal to transition to wearing. I already preferred lighter weight shoes. I’m a very neutral runner with minimal pronation and I naturally mid-foot strike pretty consistently. Minimalist shoes were practically made for me! Are they for everyone? Heck no! But they do work for me.

Let’s talk paleo/primal.

It started as something Curtis mentioned, then I grabbed onto and ran away with it. The transition was easy for me – I had to trade my morning oatmeal for eggs and veggies and my dinners of rice- or pasta-based dishes for more meat and veggies- but as long as I had time to plan and shop it was no big deal. I didn’t experience the first few days of headaches or strange symptoms that I’ve heard are common, and the only unexpected side effect I had was increased thirst over the first few days. My dear hubby, on the other hand, felt like crap the first few days. He bounced back over the next week, but after struggling with the very restrictive plan while out of town and eating at other peoples’ homes, he has opted out of this style of eating. It didn’t work for him.

Does it work for me? Yes and no. I feel no different eating in the primal style than I did before, with the notable exception that I no longer feel hungry all the time. I can actually eat a meal and feel satisfied for more than 20 minutes afterward! I love that about it. But…I still love pasta, bread, rice and all the other “no-nos” that are not consistent with primal. Because of this, primal isn’t going to work for me. I’ll complete my 30 day challenge in just 6 more days. After that, I plan to stick with some primal tenets for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, but if I want to have some grains with dinner or eat dessert, I will with no guilt about it. They don’t give me overwhelming inflammation, nor do they sap my energy.

Will a strictly primal or paleo nutrition plan work for you? Try it and see. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, keep the parts you like and get rid of the rest.

There are no hard and fast rules to fitness and nutrition! What works for me won’t always work for you. I may fall for each passing trend in running faster, eating better, or being healthier, and that’s ok, as long as I remember to listen to my own body and pay attention to what works for me without trapping myself into what works for everybody else.

Have you tried any fitness trends? What works or doesn’t work for you?



Today’s Training:

4.66 mile run


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8K Race Report

After a very laid back training period, this morning was the 8K race in Arlington.  Curtis and I woke up at 5:15 AM to get ready.  I let the dog out, had an English muffin with peanut butter for breakfast, fed both the cat and dog, and got dressed to leave at 6:15 AM.  We arrived nice and early, found a parking spot on the street and went to pick up our race numbers, chips and t-shirts.  I must admit, I didn’t really prepare for this race mentally.  After doing mostly tris, it’s been hard for me to get into a race mindset before a running race.  I think the hustle and bustle of setting up transition, pumping bicycle tires and quietly rehearsing the day in my brain is much more preparative than just showing up on race morning, shoes and number on and ready to go.  I can’t quite explain exactly what it is, but there’s just something about the morning of a tri that fills me with anticipation and readiness that I don’t get out of running race morning.

The start was scheduled for 8:00 AM, and we had quite a bit of time to kill before then, so we headed back to the car to sit in the heat since it was a bit chilly in the low 50s this morning.  Around 7:30, we headed back to the race start to use the porta-potty, meet up with our friends who were doing the race, C, J and D, and do a quick warm-up.  I also had to finagle a method of attaching the timing chip to my shoe.  Please understand, the timing chip was shaped like a small card with four holes punched out.  It was perfect for attaching to shoelaces, if you were actually wearing shoelaces.  I was not.  I had my elastic speed laces in my shoes that had taken many runs to get adjusted exactly right.  I don’t even know how many times it took me to try and find a way to attach that stupid timing chip without driving me crazy from it bouncing against my ankle or messing up my perfectly adjusted laces.  I couldn’t even use safety pins because the holes were to far into the center of the chip for them to fit through!  Finally, though I did get it attached and adjusted so that it didn’t drive me crazy.

At 8:00AM, we all lined up together, despite the fact that I knew that was a mistake for me!  I do not like being lined up quite so close to the front of the pack and everyone else was aiming for faster paces than me (D’s goal was 7min/miles, Curtis was aiming for 8 something, J for 8:30, C for under 9 and me for 9:30).  I just hate that initial rush when everyone surges past me at the beginning of a race.  I’ve made that mistake before and gone out way too fast only to regret the move later.  I’m also not used to all the chatting going on before running races.  I much prefer the quiet or silent reflection of tris for mental prep before the race.  Plus, I couldn’t hear any of the pre-race announcements, so I had no idea what was going on.  Then, all of a sudden, everyone started moving forward (I think I might have heard someone yell, Go!), so I started my watch and took off.

As all my friends pulled ahead of me, I didn’t try to keep up as I knew they were all shooting for faster times than I was.  When I reached the first mile marker, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at my watch and saw 8:35.  What?!  I was either going out way too fast or the course was marked poorly.  When I reached the second mile marker in 17 something, I realized that it must have been the former.  By this time it was too late to make any changes and I had to just keep pushing.  My heart rate was consistently in the 180s, but I was ok with that for such a short race (relatively).  Soon after the 2 mile marker, I started seeing our friends run by on the way back to the finish- first D, then Curtis, J and I wasn’t too far behind C.  Unfortunately, the turnaround also marked a change from a gently sloping downhill to a gently sloping uphill.  While it wasn’t too bad and no worse than anything I train on, I had gone out much harder than normal and those hills really felt like work.  Mile three came and went and I knew I had slowed down significantly.  I tried to pick it up when I hit the 4 mile marker, but I just didn’t have a whole lot left to give.  When I finally rounded the last corner to the straightaway to the finish, Curtis and D were there to cheer me in and I managed to “sprint” to the finish line, passing a few people in the process.  My chip time was 46:49.9, which is about a 9:25 min/mile pace.

I should be ecstatic about my results.  Though I’ve never raced this distance before, it’s definitely a PR for pace at any distance (including 5K!) and ahead of my goal pace at 9:30.  Unfortunately, I’ve just had a bad attitude about this race and kind of disappointed that I haven’t managed to increase my speed more over the last year.  I hated being the slowest of our group today and felt really terrible afterward.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a race before when I haven’t felt good about finishing, today was the first and it was and is a horrible feeling.  I wish I could just be happy about it.

Sorry for the downer post, just trying to be honest here.

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Ironman 70.3 Timberman Race Report

I did it!! I finished my first 70.3 Ironman.  🙂  I’m just a little behind in posting my race report…

Curtis and I left for New Hampshire on Friday morning before the race around 8:20AM.  I had for some reason convinced myself it was only an 8 hour drive, but really it would have been about 10 hours without traffic and ended up being about 11 hours total.  Traffic around NYC was pretty terrible, but other than that things weren’t too bad.  We arrived and checked into the hotel, but not without checking out the competition on the way in.   We were surrounded by triathletes and fancy bikes.  After my ogling, we unpacked the car and headed up to our room, which turned out to be quite nice – we had a nice big room with a king-sized bed.  We took some time to settle in a bit and then went to find dinner at Uno’s, where I had a delicious chicken and pasta dish (carb loading!).  After dinner we went back to the hotel and thought about going down to the hot tub, but we were both exhausted after the long day in the car and decided to go to bed and we would try to relax a bit in the hot tub on Saturday.

Saturday ended up being a surprisingly long and busy day.  We slept in until almost 9AM, and when we finally got up, we ran downstairs to take part in the continental breakfast that ended at 10AM.  I grabbed a bagel and some peanut butter and a banana plus an extra bagel and peanut butter for eating before the race.  I felt like a huge slacker when all the triathletes around were dressed in their workout clothes looking like they had just gotten back from a ride or a run.  I had planned to do a very short swim and/or run but nothing major, and I was going to try and fit it in after driving the bike course, which was my number one priority for the day, besides the mandatory meetings, check-in and bike check-in.  So after breakfast and a few errands to the grocery store and Wal-Mart, we headed up toward Ellacoya state park and found the bike course.  We didn’t start from the very beginning because the Sprint tri was that morning and we didn’t want to get stuck in the traffic.  I’d say we started about 2-3 miles in.  We did go off course a little in two places, but for the most part we got it right.  It started with hills and ended with hills.  The middle was slightly less hilly, but it wasn’t flat either- it was more of a gentle sloping.  I was not feeling prepared, especially after we started seeing all the triathletes out riding the course.  Were they crazy??  I wasn’t even considering trying to ride the course the day before!  After becoming sufficiently nervous about my preparation for the climbs, we finally finished driving the 56 miles.

It was closing in on 1:00PM quickly and I wanted to get to the Gunstock Mountain Resort and Timberman festival to register and attend meetings.  There was a 2:00PM first-timers meeting and 3:00PM mandatory race meeting, so we figured I could register and get to both meetings before heading back to the hotel to get my bike and head over to transition.  I picked up my numbers, timing chip and goody bag, signed my life away and grabbed some food just in time for the first-timers meeting to start.  I was surprised by the number of people who were doing their first 70.3 and even more surprised by the several people who raised their hands to say that this was their first triathlon at all!  Wow!  That’s ambitious!  There were some helpful tips, including the mechanics of a bottle hand-off at an aid station on a bike and how to use the wetsuit strippers.  🙂  Afterward was the mandatory pre-race meeting for everyone where they went over the rules and other logistical details.  Not too different from any other triathlon.

I picked up a Fuel Belt bento box for my bike at the festival, and then we hurried back to the hotel to grab my bike and drop it at transition.  Unfortunately, we got stuck in horrendous traffic due to a nearby concert, and it ended up taking a lot longer than planned.  We finally got to Ellacoya state park, I racked my bike and covered my saddle with a plastic bag to cover for the impending rain and we took a quick run (~15 minutes) as my only workout of the day.  We ran a tiny portion of the run loop (although we didn’t know it at the time) before quickly changing in the car and going to get dinner.  Luckily, we managed to find an alternate route away from the park and avoided the traffic on the way out.

Curtis had found some reviews on yelp for a great little Italian place called Ciao Pasta, so we headed there.  They make their own fresh pasta and you can “create your own meal” by choosing a pasta (one of theirs or another), a sauce and any extra protein or veggies.  I had a fresh cracked pepper fettuccine with a pomodoro sauce and grilled chicken, plus tons of fresh warm bread.  It was a delicious meal, especially considering I tried to choose one of the more “bland” options.  I was a little worried that too much cheese or tomato might upset my stomach, but luckily I had no issues.  It turned out to be the perfect pre-race meal- not too heavy, but enough carbs and protein to prepare me for the next day.

Once back at the hotel, I gathered all my gear together and laid it out for the early morning.  We went to bed right at 9:00PM, but I didn’t fall asleep for quite awhile afterward.  I really didn’t sleep very well at all  and I think I woke up several times throughout the night.

3:15AM, the alarm blaring in my ear signaled the start of the single longest day of my life.  I dragged myself out of bed, brushed my teeth, got dressed and filled my water bottles.  I grabbed the last few items that I hadn’t packed yet and we left for the race site.  It was surprising to see that most of the cars were still in the hotel parking lot and we seemed to be the first ones to be out and about.  On the way to Ellacoya, I ate my bagel and peanut butter that I had grabbed from the hotel on the previous morning.  Soon, we arrived at the park, and as it turned out, we were one of the first cars into the parking lot and got a prime spot very close to transition and right next to the finish chute.  It was right around 4AM, and we hung out in the car till transition opened at 5AM.  We found some hot water at the local firefighters’ stand, so I had my green tea that I had brought from home while we were waiting.

Finally, transition opened.  I stopped to get body-marked on the way – 2212 on my left arm, left hand, left quad and my age on my left calf.  I think the mark on my quad was still a bit visible three days later, despite scrubbing but all the others were gone by the end of the race.  Weird.  I’m really glad I brought a bright pink beach towel to use as my transition mat, it turned out being really easy to find amidst the sea of bicycles.  After I had everything arranged exactly as I wanted it, I pumped my front tire.  Then I went around and pumped my rear tire.  Both looked pretty good, but I managed to convince myself that the rear tire needed just a few more pumps of air.  As I removed the bike, I heard the valve break. Doh!  I didn’t really want to frustrate myself by changing the tire on race morning and it seemed to be holding air so I decided to leave it for the time being.  A half hour later, I would check the tire and if it didn’t have air in it or seemed to be leaking, I would change it.

I took all my nervous energy back to the car and tried to sit and relax with Curtis for a bit.  The time went by pretty fast, and soon enough it was time to check my tire again and use the bathroom for about the 4th time of the morning.  I ran into transition and found both tires still full of air and ready to go.  I decided I’d leave well enough alone and ran back to join Curtis in the Porta-potty line.  We wandered around to check out the swim exit and before we knew it they were clearing transition and calling for people to head to the swim start.  We joined the throngs to watch the pros (including Chrissie Wellington!!) start at 7:00AM.

Pro men went off first, followed by Pro women, then another hour before my swim wave would start at 8:05.  I got my wetsuit on around 7:15 and joined the line to the corral around 7:45.  It was an in-water start, but only about 2 feet deep and we waded in as soon as the previous wave left at 8:00AM.  I got my watch ready and my goggles on as the announcer gave us warnings every 30 seconds.  Finally, we were off!

I started the swim running into the water and got a few dolphin dives in.  I had lined up in the middle, but at the back so it was difficult to find clear water for dolphin dives.  I did stop a few times right at the beginning because my goggles were being uncooperative, but luckily I fixed them quickly and they gave me no trouble for the next 1.2 miles.  I was surprised at how mentally strong I felt in the water.  If anything suffered during training, it was my swimming and I was expecting my mindset to reflect that.  I guess I have had enough open water experience to relax and do what I know.  I was pretty sure I was dead-smack in the middle of my wave for the most part.  When I reached the first turn buoy, I started seeing white caps from the previous wave.  Shortly after, a few yellow caps started swimming over me (literally!).  Also around this time, the water got pretty choppy.  I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as churning as it was, there were moments when I actually thought I might be sick from the motion!  The next turn came quickly and then it was just the homestretch left.  I did peak at my watch at both turn buoys, so I had an idea of how long I’d been in the water (15 minutes and 24ish minutes) and knew I was on track.  My private goal for the swim was to finish in under 45 minutes, and I crossed the timing mats at 40:06!!

I had my wetsuit stripped and ran into transition to retrieve my bike and I was on my way.  About 3 miles in, I started to get paranoid about my tire.  I actually convinced myself that it was flat, so I pulled over and checked it.  It was completely full.  Silly me!  I was pretty quick and only 2 or 3 people passed me while I was stopped and I quickly passed one of them again.  I was still a bit paranoid about the tire for the rest of the ride, but I planned to ditch one water bottle at the first stop for Gatorade and alternate water and Gatorade for the whole ride.  The roads out of the park were not bad, but pretty soon the hills started.  I think I saw Chrissie Wellington leading the women before the first aid stop.  Around mile 10 was the biggest hill of the race, Marsh Hill and it was steep and it was long.  I just took it in my granny gears. We did see two pro women wipe out coming down the other side, so I knew it would be a fast and probably technical bit of riding. Soon, but not soon enough, I reached Route 106, which was the bulk of the course.  It was a long, straight and gradually sloping road that made for somewhat boring riding.  I got a kick out of the aid stations with some very over-the-top volunteers all dressed up in crazy outfits.  We even got to see Santa and his Elves at the North Pole!  Pretty soon we were climbing again.  This time, my bike got stuck in the big ring so I had to take it really slow and easy in order to not destroy my legs.  It was hard work!  Coming back down Marsh Hill was a blast, I’m not sure what my top speed was, but it was definitely fast.  Finally, the park was in sight and I realized that I was going to finish much faster than my expected time of 4 hours.  I saw Curtis cheering on the bike in chute, dismounted and ran into transition.  I finished the bike in 3:32:55.

After ditching my bike and changing shoes, I decided I would step into the porta-potty at the end of transition.  The volunteers standing there tried to convince me to continue on to the run and stop on the run course, but I knew it would be in my best interest to stop then.  My transition time turned out to be only 4:08, so I’m glad I made the decision to go then.  Curtis was there to cheer me on as I started my run.  It was two loops, so I would get to see him again at least once before I finished.  I ate one package of Clif shot blocks as soon as I started the run, and I had another package that I decided I would take at the beginning of the second loop.

I knew the run was going to be the hardest part of the day.  The biggest issue I had been having during my bricks in training was that my back hurt when I ran after biking for the 50+ mile distances.  The one difference in the race from my typical bricks was that I put on my fuel belt.  I’m really glad I did because it ended up having a stabilizing effect on my back and completely eliminated any pain in my back.  It did not, however, do anything for the pain in my feet and legs.  I had not accounted for the amount of swelling in my feet after more than 4 hours of constant exercise and my shoes felt tight on my feet from the moment I started the run.  They went numb quickly despite my best efforts at wiggling my toes to keep the blood flowing.  My right knee gave me trouble throughout the bike and didn’t get any better on the run.  I just kept repeating to myself, “It can’t hurt any more than it already does.”  So I kept running, it was just four 5Ks.  I could do four 5Ks.

The run course was pretty challenging with one pretty significant hill.  It was no worse than training runs at home, though.  The first loop was pretty crowded, but by the time I started my second loop, many of the rest of the athletes had finished and I spent a lot of time alone.  It was a treat to get to each aid station, with all the very enthusiastic volunteers.  The turnaround point for the first loop was decked out in patriot decorations and bubbles and there was a stereo blaring “Yankee Doodle” when I passed through on the first loop.  I was still running when I reached the teaser end of the first loop, which shared part of the route with the finish chute.  I kept running the whole second loop.  In fact, I am very proud to say that with the exception of walking through the aid stations when I got something to drink, I ran the entire 13.1 miles!  When I reached mile 12, I realized that if I picked up the pace and got in a strong 10 minute mile I would be able to finish in under 7 hours.  I summoned all the energy and strength I had left and picked up the pace.  When I could finally see the finish chute, I knew I had to push just a little harder, so I ran as hard as I could at that moment (which wasn’t very hard!).  I passed two men who were walking in the chute and ran across the finish line!

I cannot even express the overwhelming feeling of that moment- never before have I felt such a desire to cry and jump for joy at the same time, but be so mentally and physically exhausted that I was incapable of either.  I got my finisher’s medal and a hat and a blanket and hobbled out of the chute.  I did it!

My total time was 6:58:39.

1.2 mile Swim: 40:06

Transition 1: 3:39

56 mile Bike: 3:32:55

Transition 2: 4:08

13.1 mile Run: 2:37:51

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Heat Wave!!!

I ended up taking yesterday (Wednesday) off from working out/training.  Even though I had a half-day of work, I was busy in the morning taking down Christmas decorations and getting the house cleaned, which it desperately needed!  In the evening, my friend from high school came by to hang out.  I hadn’t seen her in a few months, and she is expecting her first baby in March, so it was really fun to see her “baby bump” and catch up.  I figure I can move my weight-lifting that was scheduled to Friday and skip my day off.  I don’t have to work on Fridays anymore, so I should have time for it, although I do have a lot of other things planned for the day as well.  I’m going to get my school books and parking pass and student ID taken care of and have to get Suli, my cat, to the vet for a check-up.  Tara will probably come along for the ride too.

Today, I took Tara for a run before going to work, it was supposed to be 5-6 miles, including 4x 1:30 aerobic intervals and 6 gentle pickups.  I did 5.1 miles, including 4x 1:30 aerobic intervals and only 4 gentle pickups because I forgot to double check the workout before I left and couldn’t remember how many pickups to do.  I should mention that I’ve been doing the pickups as part of the total mileage if there is an “including”, but I’m not sure whether that’s right.  I think they might be additional after the 5-6 miles.  Anyone know? (Amy?)  Regardless, it was a good run and the weather was fantastic today.  My phone said it was only 20 degrees when I started, but I’m pretty sure it was warmer than that.  I wore my Nike running pants, a light long-sleeved jersey-type shirt and a light shell over that and was very comfortable.  Oh, and I wore running gloves and my headband as well.  I’m expecting to run outside for my weekend runs, as it’s supposed to get up to 50 degrees!  It’s a heat wave!

Heart Rate Stats:

Duration – 1:06:17

Maximum Heart Rate – 193

Average Heart Rate – 154

Calories – 613

My time was pretty slow for the distance, but that always happens when I take Tara.  We usually have to make a couple of stops for her in the first mile or so.  Then this time also included walking recoveries between the pickups, so that adds time too.

By the way, I am LOVING my new Mizuno running shoes.  I have had zero problems with my arches whatsoever, and they are very light and comfortable for long runs.  Today, I realized I passed the 3 mile mark and my feet didn’t hurt, and it was fantastic!  The fitting at the local running store really paid off.  They actually have a treadmill setup with a video camera filming your feet from behind.  You can view your gait while you’re actually on the treadmill and see where you fall as far as pronation vs. supination.  I actually slightly overpronate when I walk, but when I run my gait self-corrects and the overpronation disappears.  It was pretty cool to see and I was happy because the woman doing my fitting commented that I have a “really nice gait”.  She determined that I should try a shoe with light stability, but I probably didn’t need too much extra cushioning.  I tried on several pairs of shoes and walked/ran around the store and on the treadmill with them.  It came down to the Mizunos and a pair of Nikes.  There really was no competition though, I knew from the beginning the Mizunos were right for me.  I love the lightness of them and they just fit my feet really well.  So far, with 20+ miles on them already, I think they’re a winner.  And I am very pleased with the expertise and helpfulness of the folks at the running store.  I will be returning!  Sorry if some of this is a repeat of earlier post, but I just really love my new shoes!

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It is bitter cold outside!  I think all the east-coasters are getting hit with this cold snap and sub-freezing temperatures plus massive wind chill.  It’s pretty miserable-even just a few minutes outside requires bundling.  The dog has major cabin fever because I’ve been bad about getting her outside and exercised.  We went for a walk today and it was frigid.

We did take some time today to get out to the store and get fitted for new running shoes!  They did video gait analysis of my walking and running gaits and helped me find some new shoes.  When I walk, I overpronate slightly, but the woman at the store said I had a really nice running gait and the pronation went away with the increase in speed.  So, I went with a Mizuno shoe with light support and no extra cushioning.  I love the light-weight feel of these shoes, and they already held up well on today’s treadmill run.  I have 2 weeks to try them out indoor and if they don’t work out, to return them.  So far, so good though.  I also picked up a hydration belt that holds one water bottle and some new elastic laces.  These are a different type of laces than the once I’ve used before, but they look promising.  I’ll probably try them out later this week.

As I mentioned, I ran at the gym today on the treadmill.  The plan called for 7-8 miles, and I did the full 8 miles!  I felt fantastic!  The foot pain that I’ve been experiencing with my old shoes was significantly decreased, but not completely gone.  The problem is no longer with my arches though, which I think is a good sign.  The pain is more of a light soreness in my ankles; it almost feels as though they’re just weak and need to be strengthened.  I kept this run slow and easy with just slight changes in pace and incline to keep it interesting.

0-1 mile @ 1% incline – 5.0  mph

1-2 mile @ 1% incline – 5.5 mph

2-3 mile @ 1% incline – 6.0 mph

3-4 mile @ .5% incline – 6.0 mph

4-5 mile @ 0% incline – 6.0 mph

5-6 mile @ 0% incline – 5.8 mph

6-7 mile @ 0% incline – 5.5 mph

7-8 mile @ 0% incline – 5.2 mph

I was a bit annoyed with the treadmill I used because it had a maximum time of 60 minutes, so I had to restart at around the 5.6 mile mark and continue in a “new workout”.  The gym has some treadmills that are limited to 60 minutes and some that are 90 minutes, so I’ll have to remember for future long runs to seek out the 90 minute maximum time treadmills.

I do have heart rate stats today:

Duration – 1:26:16

Maximum Heart Rate – 184

Average Heart Rate – 164

Calories – 893

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100th Post!

Happy 100th Post-day to my blog!  I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to 100!  It has been a great experience joining the blogging community.  There are so many amazing and inspiring people out there and I love to read your stories in your blogs.  I’m hoping to really be better about blogging this year than I have been in the last few months.  Now that I’m going to be getting back into the swing of training and I have set some real concrete goals for the year, I’ll be trying to keep up with recording my progress.  Right now, I’m working on refining my training schedule for the year.  I’ll be updating the training plan tab as I go.  Right now, it’s somewhat bare-bones and mostly taken from the training plan by Matt Lieto found here. I’m working from the Triathlete’s Training Bible to determine specific workouts and focus on my weaknesses in my plan.  For now, my plan is to focus mainly on running with weight training and minimal cross-training of cycling and swimming through April when I do my half-marathon.  For that, I’ve merged the Runner’s World half-marathon and marathon training plans to come up with a hybrid training plan.

Today was my first run of the new year.  The plan called for a 3-4 mile run, so Curtis and I headed to the gym this afternoon since it is frigid and windy outside here.  I did 3.25 miles running in about 35:30 in the following intervals:

0-.25 miles – 5.0 mph

.25-.5 miles – 5.2 mph

.5-.75 miles – 5.4 mph

.75-1.0 miles – 5.6 mph

1.0-1.25 miles – 5.8 mph

1.25-1.5 miles – 6.0 mph

1.5-1.75 miles -6.2 mph

1.75-2.0 miles -6.0 mph

2.0-2.25 miles – 5.8 mph

2.25-2.5 miles – 5.6 mph

2.5-2.75 miles – 5.4 mph

2.75-3.0 miles – 5.2 mph

3.0-3.2 miles – 5.0 mph

Heart rate stats (started and ended a little bit late):

Duration – 36:35

Average Heart Rate – 155

Maximum Heart Rate – 226 (I think this is a fluke – the numbers went all haywire at one point and I’m positive I did not even pass 180 as a max)

Calories – 342

After my run, I did a little bit of core work (true sit-ups and Russian twists with 12 lbs medicine ball), stretched out and called it a day.  It was nice to have this easy recovery day for a change.

Tomorrow is new shoe day and a 7-8 mile planned run.  I think I’ll go get fitted for new shoes in the morning and wear them for the run, but bring my old shoes in case there are any problems in that long of a run.  It will be on the treadmill, so at least I won’t risk ending up several miles from home with sore feet from new shoes.  Of course, I’m hoping that the shoe change helps me to avoid any sore feet problems during running now!

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Long, Hot Run

I’m a little behind in my blogging!  Here’s a quick recap- Thursday I took the day off completely.  I had some friends over for dinner, so I decided that it should be my rest day and that I would do a workout on Friday instead.  So, after work on Friday, I took a short bike ride then went to the pool for my short swim of the week.  I must say, my bike ride was not very effective.  The first leg out was decent, but the second leg back home was pretty worthless.  I think I was so preoccupied with getting back to go swimming that I just couldn’t focus on the ride or enjoy it.  Swimming was a bit better, Curtis came with me, but unfortunately we couldn’t get in the same lane.  I scoped out the lane situation and there were spaces in three lanes, one with a woman swimming who was very much a “flailer” and kept stopping to walk across the lane, and two with moderately decent men swimming.  Swimming with the flailer was out of the question for me.  I get really frustrated in the pool when I have to swim with someone who’s all over the place.  I should have more patience, because I know that you have to start somewhere, but it’s hard for me to focus on my workout when I’m always worrying about being run into.  I ended up in a lane with a guy who was a pretty decent swimmer, but let me tell you what- he did not want me swimming in his lane.  I tried to be courteous and waited on the side for a couple laps to make sure he saw me so he would move over and share the lane.  (Circle swimming isn’t really encouraged or desirable for most people at this pool).  Finally, I gave up trying to be nice and just got in and started swimming.  Thankfully, he moved over to one side at that point.  Circle swimming wouldn’t have been too bad though, we were about the same speed.  I did about 1700-1900 yards.  I don’t now what the exact amount was, but it was a subset of a workout.  My swim was marginally better than my mediocre bike ride.  Oh well, tomorrow’s my chance to make it up.  I’m thinking tomorrow’s going to be a brick with an hour and a half ride followed by a short 2-3 mile run.

I’m not sure how my legs are going to hold up tomorrow, though.  I ran 7.2 miles today and it was extremely hot and sunny.  I didn’t get out of bed this morning till 8:30, which is quite late for me, and didn’t get out for my run till 10.  Curtis and I ran the same course, although he finished significantly faster than I did.  I managed to run the whole thing without any stops or walks other than at stop lights.  Neither my legs nor my lungs ever seemed to get tired, but I do have some very sore feet now.  I readjusted the laces not too long ago, and think I tightened them a bit too much.  I need to loosen them up a bit before my brick tomorrow.  By the time I got back, all I wanted was a big glass of ice water and a smoothie.  Lucky for me Curtis had a big glass of ice water and was starting a smoothie when I got back! 🙂  He’s so good to me!  He told me when he got back he took his temperature out of curiosity because he had been so hot, and it was 100 F!  He immediately jumped in a cold shower in an attempt to cool off.  I wasn’t nearly as hot when I got back, but I definitely was dehydrated.  I should have brought some water with me.  Not smart on my part.  I’m considering getting a camelbak or water belt or something of the sort for my long runs.  I’m not sure what I’d like though- I’m afraid I would like having the camelbak on my back all the time, but I’m not sure.

What type of system do you use for hydration during long runs?

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I must be crazy

After my workout (which I’ll get to in a bit) I stopped by the running store and Trader Joe’s.  I decided to break the rule of “not introducing anything new during race week”, and I bought elastic shoelaces.  I haven’t definitely decided to use them yet, I’ll try them out tomorrow to see how they feel.  I don’t really want to have to worry about tying my shoes on Saturday, so if things go smoothly, I’m probably going to go for it.  My other exciting purchase of the day was Luna bars from Trader Joe’s.  They sell them for only $.99 per bar!  And they let you buy them by the box at that price.  I haven’t found anywhere else where they are less than $1.25 per bar.  I bought a box of S’mores (my favorite) and a box of Chocolate Peppermint Stick.  Yay for good deals!

For training tonight, I made up my own swim workout because I forgot to generate a workout on swimplan before I left for the pool.  I decided to do a 2000 yard workout instead of swimming for the set time of 60 minutes.  I tried to really focus on making sure my breathing was even and I didn’t get out of breath at any time.  My biggest problem with breathing is that I turn my head too far out of the water, so I lose a little time with every breath.  Since I breath every third stroke, this adds up.  I’ve gotten a lot better this season, but it’s something I need to continue to improve.  I also wanted to do some sighting drills to prepare for the race and to test out my plan to sight every 6 strokes.  What I came up with was this:


200yd Freestyle

Main Set:

2 x 200yd Freestyle with fins (0:15 RI)

2 x 200yd Freestyle with pull buoy (0:15 RI)

8 x 50yd (2 x (Butterfly, Backstroke, Breastroke, Freestyle)) (0:15 RI)

4 x 100yd (2 x Sighting every 6th stroke) (0:15 RI)

Cool Down:

200yd Freestyle SLOW

You can probably tell that I LOVE swimming other strokes.  In high school, I swam butterfly and the 500m freestyle.  Part of the reason I first decided to compete in triathlon was that I missed swimming competitively, but I didn’t really know how to get back into it.  Now, I’m obsessed with triathlon and I’ve gotten this crazy idea in my head.

I want to do a half-Ironman. Next year.

Crazy, right?  I haven’t even gotten through the Sprint this weekend or the Oly this fall and I’m already thinking about the next big thing.  I won’t have to make a decision for awhile, but the idea is planted in my brain.  The distances are 1.2 mile (1.9 km) Swim, 56 mile (90 km) Bike, and 13.1  mile (21 km) Run.  I know I can do the swim distance, and I would choose one in the fall of 2010, which I think would give me plenty of time to double my current bike and run endurance.  Hmm..sounds feasible.  It would be a huge step and I’d really have to work hard to get to it, but I think I can do it.  I want to do it.

Eek!  It makes me all jittery to think about it!

Oh, and there’s 4 more days till the Sprint!

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Yet another WINDY April day

And now for my regularly scheduled post…

I left work fairly early today, around 4:15 and decided to rush home and go for a bike ride outside before weight training.  I was supposed to ride for a full hour, but only got in about 40 minutes.  Overall the ride was decent, it was pretty windy (15mph average with gusts up to 28 mph) on the return trip, but the ride out had a nice tail wind to give me a little extra speed.  Oh!  I almost forgot, this was my first time riding on the trail with my cycling shoes and pedals!  I was extra-cautious because there are a number of places where the trail crosses roads and I didn’t want to get stuck and fall.  I’m still getting used to balancing when I’m trying to unclip and stop at the same time, so for now I’ve been unclipping VERY early.  The only time I had any real trouble was on the way back home, I got stuck at an intersection and unclipped both feet so that I could reach the crosswalk button.  The “WALK” symbol lit almost immediately and I was going to cross, but I couldn’t get my feet clipped back in!  I ended up hopping off my bike and walking across instead of risking falling in the middle of the road.  Luckily the traffic will be extremely light or non-existant during the tri, so no need to worry about stopping during the race.  As long as I make it through the transitions, I’ll be ok.  Otherwise, riding clipless today was awesome!  I am really making an effort to keep my pedal strokes as smooth as possible to be efficient and “pull up” as well as pushing.  I can tell a big difference on how quickly my climbs went today.  I think once I get a bit more comfortable and some more practice I’m going to see some pretty good gains.  Now, I just wish I had a trainer so I could do some drills!  Adding it to my tri-gear wish list!  (I may have to add a whole page dedicated to my “wants”).

After my ride, I headed over to the gym for my weight training.  I was a little late, so I missed a core set of V-ups.  I’ll have to make it up by doing some more ab work tomorrow.  The rest of the workout was:

Core (2 sets):

While doing a side plank, lower and raise your hips throughout the set.

Leg circles

Main sets (2 sets of each):

Inclined sit-ups with a twist

Reverse row with a bungee

Dead lift + upright row

Rotator cuffs while standing on the bosu ball

Bench dips

Shoulder press

Row with bungee

One-armed row

Arnold press

Wide-grip pull-down

Legs (1 set after 2 of Main)

3 sets of jump lunges

1 set of pump lunges

2 sets of bench lunges

3 sets reverse lunges (half on right leg, half on left leg)

That’s all for today.  Tomorrow’s going to be a running outside day (hopefully).  The weather should be nice and mostly sunny with a high of 63° F.  This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous! And hot – mid 80s.  I’m looking forward to my brick on Saturday.

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I have a little secret.  I’ve never used a clipless pedal system on a bike, but I have been itching to learn.  A couple weekends ago, I bought cycling shoes, but didn’t get the pedals because the bike store didn’t have the ones that I wanted.  So, today I finally went back and purchased a brand new set of Speedplay pedals.  I also exchanged the shoes (which didn’t fit very well) for a pair of LG Triathlon shoes.  I’m ecstatic about them and I can’t wait to try them out on my bike.  I need to install the pedals, which hopefully I can do tomorrow or Saturday morning at the lake!  I’m going to take a spin around the course for the sprint tri while I’m there.  This is going to be a great Easter weekend!

After the bike shop, I had to take advantage of the BEAUTIFUL weather and take an easy ride on the nearby bike trail.  I did an easy one hour ride, and was amazed at how much more ground I covered today without having to constantly battle the wind.  I also took out my new heart rate monitor to play around with it.  I’m kind of annoyed with myself for not noticing this, but the HRM doesn’t have a feature to calculate average or max heart rate.  So for now, all it’s really good for is tracking in real time and alerting me if I’m outside of my set zone for the particular workout.  It’ll still be useful, but it’s not going to give me the quantitative data to record that I was anticipating.  For now, I’m going to stick with this one but I’ll probably upgrade in the future.

I doubt I’ll have Internet this weekend, so look for a long post on Monday with an update on my ride at the lake!

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