Monday, October 28, 2013

Excuses, Excuses

You can tell from the title of this entry that my week has been filled with self sabotage in the form of excuse, after lame excuse after lame excuse.....

Last week I mentioned having an odd pain running down the top of my right foot after a 4.5 mile trail run. After a ton of foot stretches and further research,  I chalked it up to needing new shoes and decided that it would be best to cool it on my HM training plan and spend this week on the bike instead. Fully convincing myself that I would get to the shop and pick up a new pair of Brooks Glycerin (a.m.a.z.i.n.g product) before jumping back on the road.

Guess how much time I spent on the bike? Or in the gym for that matter?


Lame? Indeed.

Instead I found every reason NOT to workout and drink as much booze and crappy food as possible. Why is it that self control and mental fortitude runs away screaming when the word "injured" comes into play? I had a lousy week at work and wanted nothing more than to come home each night, have a glass (or two...or three) of wine and veg out on the couch, mindlessly watching some football. (stupid football season and your delicious snacks) Having said, "injury", gave me just the excuse I was looking for....over stressed, tired and just plain lazy, turned into, "Oh no, I can't possible work out. Wouldn't want to further injure myself."

Needless to say, after feeling the physical effects of my bad decisions last week (cranky, bloated - you name it!), I pulled myself onto the bike last night for a good 60 minutes of spinning torture. How easily it is to forget how much better both body and mind feel after a workout. Lesson learned - glad to have put myself in check before things got too out of hand. This week is a new week, so we're letting go of the past and moving forward! Enough beating myself up - that does no one any good.

In other more pleasant news, I had a delightful weekend with P enjoying the sights, sounds and most importantly the tastes of fall. We spent our Saturday over in Hood River touring the 'Fruit Loop' - a stretch of road that consists of at least 30 fruit stands, vineyards, u-pick orchards etc. - and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Fall is my favorite time of the year and you can't beat it here in the Pac Northwest. Trying our best to soak it up as much as possible before the rain and freezing temps hit. 

If you're ever in the neighborhood make sure to check out the Loop - you won't be disappointed! And don't forget to peruse the many breweries that call Hood River home..... 

(Run! Don't walk and pick yourself up some seasonal Wassail from Full Sail Brewing)

Regardless of how crappy my week may go training wise, I never regret the time spent with loved ones in place of a run/bike/swim. It's finding the balance to be successful at both that is ALWAYS the goal.

Do you find yourself making excuses during the off season?
How do you stay focused in the colder months?


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall is in the Air

(Nothing beats running in this)

What a perfectly cool, mid-morning run I had today. Fall has definitely landed, full force, here in the Pacific Northwest. Went out for a 4.5 miler and chose to stay on a local trail - excellent decision. There is something about running alongside nature that makes it so much easier and a lot more enjoyable. I kept a pretty even 9.40 mile pace the whole time - which for me is darn good!

It was nice to finally get back on my feet. I've had an issue these past few weeks with what I think is a pinched nerve on the top of my right foot. The only thing that makes sense to me is perhaps I laced up a little too tight one day. Checked a few online resources to help justify my self diagnosis and I'm hoping we are all correct. Since it flarred up during last Sunday's 5 miler, decided to give it a rest and stuck to my trainer this past week. Felt good to get some miles in on the bike, but I hate to lose any running time.

Took off this morning and the foot felt fine - heck, even my ever bothersome hip was happy to be on the path. Around mile 4 the aching started to flare up again - aarrgghh. We'll see how tomorrow goes. Maybe time for new shoes, not sure. I only have about 350 on my Brookes now, and was hoping to get in at least another month or so. Ah, such is the life of an endurance enthuse....if it's not new shoes, it's tires, or wheels, or bike shorts, or bathing suits, or get the idea.

In other news, researching potential training plans for Boise. Crap. Little intimidated. Example of what my peak week will likely include:

6750 yards of swimming/6 hours
145 miles on the bike/7 hours
20 miles of running/5.1 hours
= 18 hours/170 miles

On their own, each discipline sounds easy – but jam 18 hours and 170 miles into 1 week? On top of a full time job, swim practice and school events for the kid and any sort of family time.…..guess you know how much “free” time I’ll be enjoying these next 6 months. I’m exhausted (terrified) just thinking about it! If this is what is required to train for a half IM – I can’t even begin to imagine what a full looks like.

"Calm down, ding dong and just stay focused on your half marathon. You'll have all sorts of time to worry about what's next when this is over." - says the rational voice in my head. (I really need to listen to her more often...but sometimes I just don't like her level headed ways)

One race at a time…..

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I Want to Be When I Grow Up

IRONMAN – 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running. Are you tired yet?

So I spent this last weekend super jazzed to be watching live coverage of the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, HI. Although a recap of the race (which is always fun to watch as they provide not only pro coverage, but amazing human interest stories of some unique age groupers) won’t be airing on TV until Nov. 16th, having an opportunity to see play by play action of the entire race via the interwebs, was mesmerizing.

There I sat glued to my iPad all day – even took it with me to the gym so I could get my run in without missing a beat. Needless to say I was inspired – always have been. Something about having the physical and mental stamina to defeat such a task is HOT!! You heard me, H.O.T! Anywhere from 9 to 17 hours of consecutive racing….oh my word, 17 HOURS! And the overall toll it takes on your body? Participants at Kona this year will have lost 3-5% of their body weight during the race. Are you kidding me? I could barely lose 2% in 8 weeks. Yikes - It truly takes something special folks….and whatever that is, I want it! I will hunt it down and make it my own…my precious………………. ;)

(Once obtained you will have to pry this from my cold, dead hands!)

All silliness aside, what I really loved most about the coverage was watching all those “regular” every day folks (amateurs) finishing well into the night. Hours and hours after the final pro was done, these amazingly fit men and women (some even in their 70s) were running, leaping and even crawling across the finish line. All to say that they completed their dream of competing in Kona – against the world’s best. Frickin awesome. Hard not to sit in front of the screen and bawl like a baby…which I did…over...and over…and over again.

Ultimate dream of mine? You better believe it! Have my sights set on 2015 – but for right now, over these next few months I will be focusing on increasing both my endurance and speed when it comes to the run. Uugghhhh, running……..currently averaging around a 10 – 10.5 minute mile, I’d really like to be down to 9 by the time Boise rolls around in June. So, in order to keep myself motivated and on track, I signed up for my first HM (half marathon) on Dec. 15th. If you don’t know by now, all desire to get off my butt and workout, jumps right out the window and tears off down the street unless I have a race to work/look forward to. We all have different motivational factors – none are better than others, they’re just different - mine just happens to be “The Next Event”. Needless to say I’ll be 90 and still racing triathlon if that’s what it takes to keep a healthy and active lifestyle!

With 10 miles being the farthest distance I have ran to date, below is the fairly conservative training plan that I am currently following to get me comfortably to 13.1 by December. Could I do more? Sure….but why risk the chance of injury. (I learned that lesson very early on..the hard way)

I’m excited to see how much of an improvement I can make on my run over these next few months – with it being my worst discipline of the three, I am hoping to gain a better appreciation and a more positive attitude towards the final leg of my race. Here is a great article I read on recently, speaking on steps towards mental toughness…..

I especially like this quote: "Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you’re probably right"

Perhaps I should tattoo this on my forehead as I begin the arduous 6 month long journey of training for Boise 70.3? Guarantee I will have this saying posted everywhere at home/work/gym/car – how else am I going to keep moving towards my ultimate goal of one day soon, hearing Mike Rilley yell,

"Rebecca Reynolds, YOU.ARE.AN.IRONMAN!!”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tri-ing The Best I Can

So here it is folks - the end result of a committed triathlete (though still in the wannabe category) who decided that what she really needed in her life was to take on the daily/weekly ritual of creating and updating her own blog. Why on God’s green Earth would I even consider such a thing given everything else I have going on - good night.  Like being a mother (and the endless list of jobs that entails), girlfriend, full time employee, student of a never ending series of required FINRA exams, and I’ll say it again, wannabe triathlete, isn’t enough?... no friends, apparently not.

So why exactly am I doing this? Many reasons, actually - unfortunately I no longer live near most of my family or close friends (amazing work peeps aside)and though many are genuinely curious about when/what my next race will be and how the training is coming along, I have realized that daily posts to Facebook may not be the best avenue to share these updates. This blog does two things to remedy that; 1.) provides a great venue for those interested, to simply check in, see what kind of nonsense I’m up to and comment or move on and 2.) helps to keep from clogging up everyone’s wall with those mundane auto-posts from MapMyRun/Training Peaks etc. Now aren’t I nice? I believe these “workout” type of updates rank in the top ten of most hated FB posts – so really I'm just saving you from that inevitable daily eye roll!

The real reason why I’ve decided to spill my guts online…..I’ve been racing in triathlons for just over a year now with 4 under my belt so far (3 sprints & 1 Olympic) – still a baby learning how to crawl. There is SO much that goes into this sport that I find it a bit hard to fully explain. And when I do try, be it usually with others who don’t participate, those poor souls have no option but to sit politely with a smile on their face and a concerned but vacant stare, all while nodding their heads as if what I'm saying is even the slightest bit interesting. “The swim start was nuts! Seaweed for the first 50 meters, totally pushing against the current. At about 5 minutes in I was finally able to find a good pace. Transition 1? Boy howdy did that not go how I had planned.….” drone, drone, drone…. Let me stop here for a moment and say that yes, I certainly DO have an outstanding support system – between P (Paul The Oak, my honey), The Kid (Seth, my 13 year-old-too-smart-for-his-own-good son) and many friends and family, there are some that genuinely like to hear about all my nonsense. But let’s be honest, how long can one person listen to the same story over and over just because this crazy lady remembered some boring-as-all-get-out detail that she hadn’t thought of before?

I really needed to find a way to not only log my training miles, but vent about how it was going, what was hurting, what nutrition plan I was trying, details on how the race went, what mental state I was in etc. All so that come my next event, I could look back on what worked and what hadn’t before, WITHOUT driving my family absolutely bonkers in the process.I guess physically writing in some sort of journal would suffice, but then I couldn’t share all my vulnerabilities with you lovely people!

That being said, here is what you can expect to see from me going forward……
* Posts from the heart - I am by no means an eloquent writer (leave that up to my expert honey) and I don't pretend to be. What you see on here is exactly how you'd expect to hear it from the horses mouth. There is no part of me that finds reworking each entry to its most perfect form even the slightest bit appealing. I am not here to impress you with my grammatical prowess, so set that portion of your expectation bar a bit lower folks.
* Training – updates on progress, obstacles, etc.
* Race reports – pics, stats and overall recap
* Lessons learned – nutrition, race day planning, life balance (how do you keep from crying over absolutely nothing on race day? Still trying to figure that one out…)
* Product reviews & advice – perspective from an average lady on a budget
* Race Travel – reviews of hotels, local restaurants and overall experience of the venue
* Mixed bag of emotions - random posts which will inevitably include some honest venting, self-praising and of course what comes easiest, self-pitty
* Personal – whether or not my family has kicked me out of the house just yet!–lol

So there you have it folks, my first official post. Here's hoping that some of you find my weekly rants either useful or at least entertaining. Hop on board this crazy train as I just keep moving forward, ‘Tri-ing The Best I Can' – ah ha, get it? GET IT?!!