Month: April 2011

Say it

I have written before about how much support I have gotten from social networking (Twitter, Dailymile, Facebook, etc…).  This week was yet another case of that.  I am thinking about taking my running to a new place; off the road and onto the trails.  And thanks to finding someone local that has a passion for trail running I am considering doing an ultra distance event on the trails.

I have met some awesome people/athletes through Twitter and the Dailymile that have experience with doing ultras.  I tweeted them this week to say I was thinking about doing a 50K and I got a reply that really helped me commit to it. “Which one? & what’s this “might” stuff? Go for it!! See it, say it, Make it Happen!!” was the reply.  It was the “say it” part that got me charged up.  Once you “say it” in one of these social environments, your support group (crew) immediately grows; as does the accountability level.  Having those people to lean on for support and watch over you as you train will help keep me honest in my training.  It motivates me in a way I never knew possible!

I am so lucky to have connected with people that share this passion.  What will you all help me do next? I’m gonna need you big time for my first full Ironman in 2012!

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March 2011 Training Report

Training Summary

  • Running – 88 miles
  • Swimming – 10 miles
  • Biking – 304 miles
  • Total Distance – 402 miles
  • Total Time : 37:17

Races

Desert Triathlon in La Quinta, CA International Distance:  really happy with first triathlon of the season.  I think I could have swam harder, but I was thrilled with my bike and run.  Raced with a lot of my P5 teammates which was great! (race results)

Notes on Month

This was my last push towards training for my first 70.3 coming up in April.  I got a little derailed one weekend by an overzealous birthday celebration.  Then the next weekend had terrible weather (LA Marathon weekend) so I ended up up doing a lot of indoor bike training.  I really wanted to get one more long outdoor ride in before going to Oceanside.

Out of My Comfort Zone, and On To the Trail

I have been running for about 5 years.  I have completed a bunch of half marathons, several marathons, and now I am on to triathlons.  But when it comes to running I have stayed on the road.  The road is predictable. The road is flat.  I find the road to be safe.  I have tried the trails a little.  Many talk about preferring running trails because it is a softer surface and more forgiving than the pavement.  I have said that I prefer the predictable nature of pavement over the ankle turning nature of trails.

Enter Stuart (@Quadrathon).  I was lucky enough to find Stuart through some combination of Twitter and the Dailymile and Foursquare (not sure which one first). We connected via the interwebs but we actually live quite close.  We had been saying for some time that we should run together and this past week we finally made it happen.  We did a couple early morning runs around town which were great.  I am always happy to find someone to run early in the morning.  So then he proposed some trail running this weekend. Something I am not strong at.  Lately I have seen a lot of improvement in my running with regards to pace.  The thought of running on trails meant I would see a decrease in my speed for sure.  But I knew that this might be the time to branch out my running style.  I was hoping that running in a new environment would translate to better running overall.

So this morning we set off to an open space near by, Chesboro Canyon.  The weather was kind of gloomy.  Very foggy and practically drizzling.  It had rained a lot this winter so there is a lot of fresh growth in the canyon.  We set off for 10 miles as I laughed at my choice of socks, bright white knee-high compression socks (not the best idea with the current conditions).  The running was awesome!  Now that I am a stronger runner I was so much more comfortable with the quick changes in elevation and surface type.  It was so nice to be away form the cars, and roads.  The combination of terrain and company made for a great run.  I ran significantly slower than usual and had to do some walking up some of the hills (favorite quote of the day, “it gets worse after this!”).  But overall I was pleased with how I did.  Possibly to Stuart’s dismay I was able to hold a conversation for most (if not all) of the run.  I may have been muddy, and wet, and cold by the end but the increase in confidence I felt left me beaming!

I can’t say how thankful I am that Stuart helped get me out of my running rut and on to the trails.  Training can get tedious, repetitive, and boring if you never change things up.  I needed a little nudge to move me on to something new.  I am already looking for my first trail half marathon… ready to run Boney Mountain with me Stuart?

Photo above: here I am trying to gracefully (ha ha) navigate my way up the trail. (photo by @Quadrathon)

The grass was so wet! But the views were beautiful! (photo by @Quadrathon)

I wish I had a photographer for every run! This is my favorite picture. (photo by @Quadrathon)

Garmin Details for the run.

Another view of the day…

The Value of Training With Others

Today I was lucky enough to go for an ocean swim today with my triathlon team (P5 Racing).  It was the first open water swim we have done as team training.  The day was beautiful.  We met around 6:30 AM and drove out to Zuma Beach.  Everyone got their wetsuits on and we headed into the water.  The beakers were pretty big but once we made our way out it ocean was lovely.  The water was really clear which was nice.  We were going to try swimming in line and practice drafting off the person in front.  We quickly realized that we were all swimming at very different speeds.  It is harder to modify your pace when swimming in a group as opposed to cycling or running, so staying together is very difficult.  As a result we broke up into two groups.  I went off with one other woman and the other 4 swam behind us (this is one of the few things I can do better than many of my teammates).  My friend/teammate led and I followed.  She is a stronger swimmer than I so the purpose of my swim was to just stay on her heels.

While I swam I thought about how important training with others is.  Because she is stronger than I she would wait for me; and when I would catch up she would take off again.  Thus, I was never allowed to rest.  This is common when I train with the team.  They are all stronger riders than I.  When they stop to regroup I am commonly the last one to show up.  I thought I would find this discouraging but I have grown to appreciate it.  When I train with the team I am extra motivated to keep up.  This helps push me harder and harder.  I want to be as good as my teammates.  I want to ride and run like them.  Being with them on a regular basis helps me push myself to a different level.  The last 6 months training with this team has been amazing.  I have made more progress than I ever thought I could!

Selfish

One of the things I struggle with in my training is figuring out how much time I can devote to it.  If I had it my way this would be my full time job (if you want to hire me just let me know). But it can’t be.  There is a mortgage to pay. There are children to love.  There is husband to be with.  There are things that I cannot neglect.  As a result, there are days when I feel like my training is a very selfish thing to do.  The other things in my life need my attention but all I want to do is run or bike.  This is something I am greatly conflicted about.  How much time can I take for ME? Yes, the training makes me a happier/healthier person so it does benefit my family; but it is still a little selfish in a way.  I do all I can to train at times that don’t affect my family.  I get up during the week very early so I can be home by 6:00 AM.  But there is no way to avoid long workout hours on the weekend if you have dreams of doing a full Ironman.

Not only is it a drain on time (something I have very little), but it is a drain financially as well.  Those of you that do triathlons know that it is a very expensive hobby.  And when you train a lot you want to do as many events as you can.  This all costs money.  So I often feel very selfish for using our money for something that is mostly for my benefit.  My husband doesn’t do half the stuff I do when it comes to this. Not because he can’t, but because he is letting me do it.  And for this I feel selfish.

I also feel selfish because for the first time in my life I am doing well in something I never thought I could do!  And I want it all to myself!  I don’t want to share.  (I know that sounds terrible) Not only that, but this is the ONE part of my life I am in control of.  If it is taken away from me I would be devastated.

I don’t know what the answer is or what the proper compromise will be.  I guess we will just figure it out as we go along.  I just hope my selfishness doesn’t hurt those I love.

7:08

There was a point in my life where I never thought I would be able to run a marathon. The concept of running for 26.2 miles just seemed absurd! I was not an athlete and only an athlete could do that.  But then I started running.  Little by little the things I couldn’t do became things I could do.  Running up the hill out of my neighborhood, running continuously for 3 miles, running continuously for 5 miles, running up the hill back into my neighborhood, etc… All of these things got easier.  Eventually I was doing things I never thought I could have done before. Enter my first half marathon.  Not only did I do it, but I never walked, and I finished so much earlier than I expected my friends missed the finish!  I did something I thought I would never do AND I beat my expectation of how well I thought I would do.

Sooo lately (last 20 months) as I have been training a lot. And as a result I have become more aware of what my body can handle/do.  I thought that I would stop exceeding my goals when racing because I am pretty in tune with what I can do; what pace I can run/ride/swim.  But I haven’t! Last marathon I beat my goal by 8 minutes.  Last half marathon I beat my goal by 8 minutes. For my first half Ironman I met my ultimate time goal of under 6 hours (by 19 seconds)!

Last night I did a duathlon with the local Triathlon Club (Rincon Tri Club).  A 2 mile run, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run.  My goal was to do both of the runs in a sub 8 min mile pace.  I did the opening one with  a 7:31 overall pace. Really happy with that!  I went out did the bike and got back to do the second run.  I felt a little sluggish off the bike but just wanted to get my pace under 8. I pushed myself as hard as I could for the last mile; trying to pass as many people as I could (those who passed me on the bike).  To my astonishment I ran the last mile of this sprint duathlon in 7:08!  I have NEVER run a mile that fast…EVER!!!!

It was an awesome night! I can’t wait to see what expectation I exceed  next!

It takes a village (or at least 344 followers and 183 friends)

WARNING!!!! The sappy-factor maybe a little high in this post.

One of the things I had found missing in my training was people who understood me.  Up until very recently it was common for many of the people in my life to ask me “why?” Why do you want to run? Why do you get up so early? Why would you do a marathon? Why would you want to do an Ironman? I didn’t have enough people that understood why I was was running or training.  I had a few people I trained with who got it but I still felt like I needed more support.  Specifically support from people who understood what I was going through.

Enter social networking.  I had been active on Facebook  for awhile but that was mostly to keep in touch with those in my life that I no longer could see or talk to on a regular basis.  But I needed contact with people like me; not just people from my past/present.  So someone told me about Dailymile.  I joined and started logging my workouts.  Loved it! But once I finally started twitter it all came together.  I am now surrounded by a community (a village, if you will) of people “like me”.  People who understand why I get sad after a big race is over.  People who understand why taking a day or two off from training can feel like the end of the world.  People who get excited when you sign up for an even bigger challenge than the last.  With the use of  sites, geography doesn’t matter!  You can connect with anyone almost anywhere.

So I am thankful for the people I have met and those I haven’t yet.  It is because of you that I will accomplish things that I never thought I would.

*Picture was taken by one of my village people (@Quadrathon) of @bfrein , me, and my husband on a ride.

You get up at what time?

So I have a tight schedule. I work a full time job as does my husband. We have two kids in Elementary school as well. So almost the only time I have during the week to workout is in the morning before the kids are up and the husband has left. This mean I have to be home by 6:00 AM.  As a result I get up between 4:00 and 4:30 AM 4-5 days a week.  Many people think this is crazy.  For me it is the best.  I love getting the workouts over before going to work.  It was hard at first but I adjusted to it in a couple weeks and now if I don’t workout I feel off all day.  Some tips to make it work for me are:

  • Put everything out the night before (shoes, socks, bra, headlamp, etc…). You don’t want to be fumbling around in the dark trying to find your water bottle.
  • Set your alarm (I don’t really need it but every once in awhile it comes in handy).
  • Remember that you will feel better after you workout. When it is time to get up it is easy to think that staying in bed will make you feel better.  Don’t fall for this trap!
  • Have a plan at the beginning of the week what you will be doing each day.
  • Try to prep the items you need for the rest of your morning the night before. For me this is packing lunches and getting backpacks ready for the kids. Maybe someday I will even layout my clothes (I doubt it!)
  • And most recently I have been using Twitter and Dailymile to connect with people who are also up when you are working out. Knowing that others are up and exercising when you are seems to help me!

I have found that when I make working out a priority, the rest of my day goes much better.

**Update to this post (4/25/2011)

There are two more things I wanted to add to this regarding successful early morning running/training.

The first one is kind of gross.  Make sure you give your self enough time to properly use the restroom before you workout (wink wink, I don’t just mean pee).  This might not be your normal routine but I swear once you get used to it your body will continue to be on a  nice “regular” schedule if you catch my drift:)

Second, get a programmable coffee pot.  There is nothing better after a cold early morning run to come in the house to a warm cup of coffee.

Also, check out this post on Cook Train Eat Race.