Monthly Archives: October 2013

Write It Down, Do It Up – Weeks of Oct. 20 and 27

Happy Sunday, friends!  Did you have a good weekend?  Saturday at the store flew by; tons of soon-to-be marathoners stopped in and stocked up on nutrition, got last-minute apparel (think hats and gloves), and talked about their nervousness and excitement.  A lot of these runners are regulars, so it’s been neat to check in with them during various points of their training.  T-minus one week until race day!

jackrabbit-bunny-suit-nyc-marathon

Shameless plug for the official JackRabbit Cheer Zone.  If you have family or friends watching you race, or if you’re coming to the city to spectate, then swing by our headquarters at the East End Bar and Grill on 1st Avenue between 86th and 87th Streets.  It’s right on the course, and we’ll hand out free tech tees, host a poster-making contest … and there will be $3 drafts all day.

Anyway, I’m playing catch up with workouts, so here’s what I did (or more accurately, didn’t do) during Sloth Week:

Monday – off

Tuesday – off

Wednesday – off

Thursday – off

Friday – indoor cycling class at Revolve

I attended Christianne’s ride, and boy, did she kick my butt!  Technically, this was for work, and I’m excited to where this partnership goes.

Saturday – ~50-minute run

Can we talk about how liberating it is to run without a watch?  I set out, ran as fast as I wanted (aka didn’t worry about pace), and turned around when I felt like it.

Sunday – co-led a group run, plus strength training

OMG, it felt so good to return to the weight room.  In preparation for Nationals in August, I backed off the lifting—and haven’t touched a weight since.

Overall, Operation: Sloth Week seemed like a success.  I did manage to do nothing for four days, and I definitely needed the mental and physical break.  That being said, though, I was itching to return to semi-normal exercise.  This week I followed Victoria’s “do whatever” plan, aka run all the miles.

Monday – run and strength train

Tuesday – run and strength train

Wednesday – off

Thursday – swim

During this off-season, I hope to learn how to use paddles correctly, so I spent a lot of time pulling and flailing around awkwardly in the water.  On a related note, if anyone wants to teach me how to flip turn, then that would be awesome.

Friday – run

My trusty gloves, tights, and Craft base layer made their first appearances of the season—fall is here!  I ran about 50 minutes before stretching and doing some core work.

Saturday – yoga

I know—who am I?  As training picked up during the season, yoga fell out of the picture.  Plus, since we (er, the store) host free classes on Saturday mornings, I figured it would be good to get my om on.  This was a restorative class, so it wasn’t challenging, but it felt good to stretch out.  Oh, and the instructor asked if I was a dancer, so I guess I looked legit–ha!

Sunday – co-led a group run

Yeah, so zero saddle time, but you win some and lose others, right?  A few teammates have been riding on Tuesdays, so I’ll link up with them this week.  And the Syracuse Orange have their season opener this coming Friday, which means trainer time.  I also did some research on neighborhood CompuTrainer classes, so once it gets too cold to ride outside, I’ll start doing those once each week.

And looking forward to this week, I don’t have a concrete Write It Down, Do It Up plan.  Here’s what I hope to accomplish:

2-3 swim workouts

2-3 bike workouts

3-4 run workouts

2-3 strength training workouts

1 yoga/Pilates session

Who raced this weekend/is racing next weekend?

 

I Just Like To Run

Since Sloth Week ended, I’ve done basically nothing except run.  And run.  And run.

Yes, there’s been some strength training sprinkled in, but what can I say—running’s my favorite!

buddy-the-elf-i-just-like-to-run

During the triathlon season, swimming and biking and running comprised my workout schedule, so I was basically cross training for nine-plus months.  I obviously ran frequently, and each outing had a purpose:  paces to hit, intervals to complete, and distance to cover.  But since transitioning to the off-season, I’ve been doing whatever I want—which is not only running, but also running how I want. (Which also means logging runs sans Garmin.)

This week, I’ve hit the pavement three times and the pool zero and the saddle zero, and can we talk about how liberating it is to run however you want?  When I feel good, I increase the pace and do some fartleks; when I feel tired, I ease off the gas and simply cruise.  When I feel strong, I keep going; when I feel bored, I head home.  Talk about freedom!

As my coach said via email this week, January is right around the corner, and the new year marks the return of structure (and intensity).  So until then, I’ll be SBR-ing whenever and however I want—or don’t want.  Clearly, running’s the current favorite, but once the Syracuse Orange start playing in November, I’ll need something to do during games.  On that note, I need to dust off my trusty indoor bike trainer …

How often do you run with/without a watch?  Do you go through fitness phases with certain workouts?

Operation: Sloth Week

Hey, friends—how’s it going?  First, thanks for your kind comments on my previous post.  Although that half-marathon went from really good to really bad in a matter of seconds, I probably spoke too soon when I swore off the distance.

3rd-annual-fall-foliage-half-marathon-finish

Shout out to my mom for the picture.  Even though my stomach was down for the count, it looks like my form is somewhat decent, ha.

I will not let 13.1 miles get the best of me!  But before I make a rash decision and sign up for another race, I’ve been taking advantage of some much needed downtime—which I’ve deemed Operation: Sloth Week.

The premise is simple: no training, no exercising, and eating whatever I want.

Let’s start with eating because that’s easy.  My dad is visiting this week, so we’ve been enjoying meals out.  As you saw on Sunday, we hit up Madison Square Eats, and on Monday, we went to a neighborhood favorite, Markt, a Belgian restaurant.

red-snapper-dinner-markt-nyc

Boo for poor lighting.

This meal isn’t incredibly slothy: red snapper with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Unpictured, however, are two glasses of wine and coffee heath bar ice cream.

Tuesday evening, we went to see Kinky Boots on Broadway.

kinky-boots-musical-broadway

It won the 2013 Tony for Best Musical, and it was a great show!  Plus, how can any form of entertainment that centers on shoes (shoes, shoes, shoes, OMG, shoes) be a bad thing?  We grabbed some pizza after, and I inhaled it so quickly that I forgot “proper blogger technique” and didn’t take a picture.

It’s also highly possible I had pizza for lunch yesterday.

We also had a store meeting last night, and since I’m working on being a real person, the 8:30 p.m. start time didn’t phase me as much as it would’ve last week.  And no swimming at 5:45 a.m. this morning meant I could actually have a beer.  I know—I’m going crazy.

So yeah, the food has been great, but honestly, not working out has been challenging.  I relished in doing absolutely nothing Monday and Tuesday, but I really wanted to run yesterday.  And today. (Victoria, you were so right; it’s Thursday, and I’m dying to do something!) On the bright side, I have an outreach “meeting” tomorrow morning at a cycling studio, and the instructor invited me to try out her class. (Have I mentioned how much I love my job?) So slothing—in terms of not exercising—will end shortly.

One aspect of Sloth Week I didn’t anticipate included how going from regular training to absolutely nothing would affect me mentally.  Monday was OK because it seemed like a normal rest day, but by Tuesday, I felt ancy; I didn’t have as much energy, I didn’t feel sharp mentally, and I basically didn’t feel like myself.  And I’ve also felt like a poser this week at the store.  I mean, when customers ask how often you run, what do you say?  ‘Usually four times a week except when I’m being a sloth’ doesn’t sound legit.

Anyway, yes, I’ve taken advantage of this unstructured downtime, but I’m definitely ready to start sprinkling in some swimming, biking, running, and strength training again.

How often to you take a break from training and/or exercising?  How does working out affect you mentally?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of October 13

Greetings!  So, let’s start with the good news:  I survived that half-marathon yesterday.

3rd-annual-fall-foliage-half-marathon-t-shirt

The bad news:  I suffered from some major GI issues that started at mile eight. (TMI?  We’re on that level now, right?) Not sure if I’ll write an official recap; it would most likely be filled with details you won’t want to hear, ha.  Long story short, it was not that race I wanted, and I have sworn off the distance (again) for the time being.

10:13-3rd-annual-fall-foliage-half-marathon

On a bittersweet note, my 2013 racing season has officially ended, and in an effort to transform from triathlete to real person, I celebrated with a glass of sangria and a lobster BLT from The Red Hook Lobster Pound at Madison Square Eats.

10:13-madison-square-eats-red-hook-lobster-pound

And I slept in until 7 a.m. this morning–progress.

Before the season ended, though, I did log some quality training last week.

Monday – a.m. swim and run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Light 3,000-yard swim, plus a five-mile easy run.  In preparation for the half-marathon, my coach instructed me hold a certain pace, and then proceeded to test me by telling other teammates to speed up and see if I would bite.  I didn’t.

Tuesday – off

I originally planned to bike, but my coach suggested sleeping in and taking the day off to ensure my legs were fresh for Sunday.  If you twist my arm …

Wednesday – a.m. run

Easy 3.5 miles in Central Park.

Thursday – a.m. swim with FTE

Another easy 3,000-yard swim in the long course pool.

Friday – a.m. easy shake-out run

No Garmin, no electronics.  Just an easy two-ish miler.

Saturday – off

Sunday3rd Annual Fall Foliage Half-Marathon

So, I hesitate to call this next part Write It Down, Do It Up.  Since I’ve been getting after it since January, the week I plan to do nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  Let Operation:  Sloth Week begin.

Who raced this weekend—how did it go?  How do you bounce back from a tough event?

Would You Rather Running Style

Hey, friends—happy Tuesday!  Did Monday fly by for you too?  Even though it was a slow day at work—the combination of Monday and tons of rain kept people from shopping—I channeled my not-so-secret party warlord and spent some time finalizing details for our store’s New York City Marathon Cheer Zone.  If you’re doing the race on Nov. 3, then keep your eyes peeled for us on 1st Avenue between 86th and 87th, which is right on the course.  And if you’re planning to spectate, then come join us for music, balloons, and a poster-making contest.  And all-day $3 drafts.

jackrabbit-bunny-suit-nyc-marathon

Obviously, the bunny suit will make an appearance and no expense will be spared.

Speaking of running, this survey appeared on Cori’s blog a few weeks ago, and since it’s been a while since my last one, I figured I’d play along.

Would you rather … run with one of your ancestors or your role models?

Definitely run with an ancestor.  I’m extremely blessed because I grew up with both sets of grandparents, plus a bunch of great aunts and uncles, but I’d love to run with their parents or grandparents.  Long runs serve as opportunities for great conversations; they allow people to let their guard down, open up, and be honest.  Not to mention my grandparents, especially my grandfathers, were pretty athletic back in the day, so I’m sure the run would be a great workout too.

Would you rather …  run a race that is a few hour drive but in a beautiful location or in your city with a short drive?

It depends on the race (road race or triathlon), distance of said race (5- or 10-K, sprint, Olympic, etc.), and time of year.  In April, for example, traveling to Florida for the Nautica South Beach Triathlon proved to be an involved process, but it was worth it because one, it was longer than a sprint, and two, there weren’t any local races.  That being said, though, one of the main selling points for Stamford included its proximity to New York City; it was a day-trip, so no overnight in a hotel required.

Would you rather … take an ice bath for a half hour or foam roll for a half hour?

Ice bath, end of discussion.  Yes, I own a (nice) foam roller.  Yes, I know it’s an important recovery tool.  No, I don’t use it as much as I should.  But I also don’t take ice baths on a regular basis so …

Would you rather … have a black toe nail pulled off or have your entire back chaffed from running and be forced to shower for a hour straight?

Cori, what kind of question is this?!  Ha!  Luckily, I’ve never experienced black toenails (make sure you’re wearing sneakers that fit, friends!), and I’ve been fortunate in terms of chaffing too. (BodyGlide saves lives.  That is all.) Both would totally stink, but I think the black toenail wouldn’t be as bad; at least you could yank it off, call it a day, and wait for it to grow back, right?  Showering with a chaffed back sounds like cruel and unusual punishment.

Would you rather … spend an extra $100 a month given to you on running/fitness or save it?

Save it—for a tri bike.

Would you rather … be known for running the fastest marathon or running the longest distance at one time?

To run the fastest marathon, you’d need speed and stamina, aka the best of both worlds.  Sign me up for that plan!

Would you rather … have your medal handed to you by Kara Goucher or Shalane Flanagan?

Option three:  Chrissie Wellington.  Which actually happened at USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

Would you rather … lick someone else’s armpit after a marathon or lick their foot after a marathon?

Cori, you’re killing me—ha!  I’ll pass on this one.

Feel free to play along in the comments!  Are you running the ING New York City Marathon?

Write It Down, Do It Up – Week of October 6

Hiya, friends—happy Sunday!  I planned to pop in earlier this week because I have some 2014 racing updates to share.  First, on a whim, I threw my name into the lottery for Escape From Alcatraz—and got in!

escape-from-alcatraz-triathlon-2014-lottery

Held in San Francisco, this event is one of my bucketlist races that consists of a 1.5-mile swim (from Alcatraz Island to the shoreline—how sweet is that?!), 18-mile bike, and 8-mile trail run.  I told myself not to hold my breath since it’s a popular race, but I kept my fingers crossed.  Now, I just need to figure out if there’s room in my travel budget … because I have another out-of-state race on the horizon.

usa-triathlon-age-group-national-championships-2014

Let the road back to Milwaukee begin!  I qualified for the 2014 Age Group National Championships at Darien; it’s nice to have that ticket punched before the 2014 season officially starts.

And speaking of races, it’s race week!

fall-foliage-half-marathon

Hopefully by this time next Sunday, I will have successfully completed my second half-marathon.  I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to truly “race” it; most likely, it will be a game-time decision, and even then, I’ll probably just chill out for the first eight or nine miles and see how I feel.  Last week’s workouts went pretty well, so I’m looking forward to next weekend.  Here’s what I did:

Monday – a.m. swim and run with Full Throttle Endurance (FTE)

Light 2,500-yard swim with plenty of tech work followed by an eight-mile run with three miles of intervals (aka serious negative splitting).

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE

No more tris this season means no more bike-run bricks.  I wrote about how the bike workouts have been challenging, and this one was no exception.  Somehow, I got sucked in to the fast group and basically chased the guys up hills for 18 miles. (Although they did slow down, soft pedal, and wait for me on the flats.  Thanks, guys!)

Wednesday – a.m. run with FTE

Like last Wednesday’s run, we did a little more than eight miles along the Bridle Path and Reservoir in Central Park.

Thursday – a.m. swim and run with FTE

Another easy 2,500-yard swim in the long course pool with hypoxic sets.  The workout schedule also included speedwork, but I ended up cleaning and mostly napping instead.  Hey, a 4 a.m. wakeup call will do that to you.

Friday – a.m. bike with FTE

Three easy loops in Central Park to flush out the legs.

Saturday – a.m. long run

This 10 miler served as my last “long” run before next Sunday’s race.

Sunday – off

Since a bunch of my teammates are doing the Hartford Half-Marathon this coming Saturday, we’ll be tapering this week.  Here’s my workout docket.  Let’s Write It Down, Do It Up!

(If you’re new to WIDDIU, here’s how it works:  Every Sunday, I post my workout schedule for the week, and I invite you to do the same.  This way, we can motivate each other and hold ourselves accountable.  Sounds like a win-win, right?)

Monday – a.m. swim and run with FTE

Tuesday – a.m. bike with FTE

Wednesday – a.m. run with FTE

Thursday – a.m. swim with FTE

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. shake-out run

Sunday3rd Annual Fall Foliage Half-Marathon

Did you have a good week of workouts?  When’s your next race?

Humble Pie

Hey, hey—happy October!  Yikes, September sure flew by.  Even though this means no more triathlons until 2014,  I am doing a half-marathon soon (in less than two weeks!); and aside from running, I’ve been logging lots of swimming and biking time too, which is a direct result of getting “called up” to the racing team. (This group trains five days each week.) Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve experienced a new level of training intensity—and I love it.

But it isn’t without its frustrations and growing pains.

Sometimes, I can hang—like during last Thursday’s long-course pool swim.  Sometimes, I fail to execute the workout properly and crash—like during last Thursday’s speedwork.  And sometimes, I push, get dropped, but fight my way back—like during last Friday’s bike ride in Central Park. (Actually, the same series of events happened this morning too.) Basically, this is the hardest I’ve ever trained.  And it needless to say, it’s been one reality check after another.  But since food metaphors are irrefutably better, let’s say there have been several servings of humble pie. (And that’s also the phrase my coach used, so I’m accurately reporting the details, ha!)

humble-pie

[source]

My first serving of humble pie was consumed on Thursday when a few teammates and I made the drive from New York City to Stamford, CT for a swim workout in the long-course pool at Chelsea Piers Connecticut.  Even though my swim is at a good spot now, I’ve noticed improvements thanks to new-to-me drills this training group does regularly. (For the swimmers and those curious, we’ve been doing a lot of sculling and hypoxic breathing sets.) And during this workout, I tried to “punk out” of a hypoxic nine breathing set (or breathing once every nine stroke).  My coach called me out, yelled at me a bit, and said there’s no reason I couldn’t do it.  So I womaned up and did it.  Sweet!

However, after a quick rinse and gear change, a few teammates went out to do some speedwork on the Darien Triathlon run course, and I royally blew up.  The game plan was to do a 10-minute warm-up, then alternate between two minutes at lactate threshold and one minute off for five miles.  Long story short, I took the first three intervals too fast, then crashed and paid the price during the remaining sets.  It was frustrating because I knew the pace that I should hit, but I pushed too hard in an effort to keep up with the fast people.  Train and learn, right?

And last Friday’s ride in Central Park was solid, yet mildly frustrating as well.  When it became my turn to pull (or take the lead) the paceline, I struggled to maintain the speed, which usually isn’t an issue.  Later, I fell behind the group as we climbed Harlem Hill, but I somehow fought back and regained contact with the pack. (Shout out to the friendly cyclist who gave me gearing and climbing tips!)

When my coach asked me how I felt after the ride, I simply said frustrated.  And he put things into perspective:  Triathletes in this training group have been doing the sport longer than I’ve been alive.  Triathletes in this training group continually win their age groups—and win races overall.  Triathletes in this training group went to London for the World Championships.  Overall, the triathletes in this training group will make me better, but they will push, challenge, and humble me first.

Let the feast begin.

How do you deal with adversity?