Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Hooray for me!
I did it -- yesterday I hit 1,000 running miles for 2014. It was an easy 6 on the treadmill because the wind chill was in the single digits, but hey -- I'll take it!

It wasn't my best mileage year; I ran two marathons last calendar year to make 1,313 with all the training. But 2014 was only the second time I've broken 1,000. Since I started running seriously and tracking my mileage, I've been in the 600-900 range for the last few years.

A thousand miles! And two years in a row! Now I need to work on bringing that average pace down a bit. =)

Monday, December 29, 2014

December goals check-in: Let's call it a Christmas break and only 10.45 miles to go

Not much to add from last week, but I'm so close!
Well, it was definitely an interesting week. I had a total of four family Christmas get-togethers, and there was definitely some slack-age when it came to running and swimming. But I had a lot of fun with family, so to me it was worth it.

I also ate WAAAAAAAAY too many cookies and sweets. But, you know what, that was pretty much worth it, too. Yum!

Let's take a look at last week:

Swim goal: Get to the pool twice weekly.
Swim actual: Got to the pool once. I just didn't feel like going through all the trouble of getting to the Y on the day after Christmas, so I got some inside work done instead.

Bike goal: Get on the trainer three times weekly.
Bike actual: Got on the trainer three times. I have now been successful at this FOUR weeks in a row! I had to do a bit of schedule finagling so I could take Christmas Day off, but I made it work.

Run goal: Hit 1,000 miles by the end of the year.
Run actual: With all the holiday craziness, I only got two runs in this week: a very easy 5K with my husband, and a comfortably speedy 5-miler by myself. But, it was still 8 additional miles toward 1,000, and now I only have 10.45 left to go. That works out to 3.5 miles today, tomorrow and New Year's Eve, and since we're getting a cold snap, 3.5 sounds about right before I die of boredom on the treadmill. Ha!

Weight lifting goal: Six times this month.
Weight lifting actual: I did do a weights video and my plyo moves, making my December total four sessions.

Pre-hab goal: Six times this month.
Pre-hab actual: Didn't happen this week, so I'm still at two total for December.

Yoga goal: Six times this month.
Yoga actual: Didn't happen this week, so I'm still at two total for December.

Weight goal: Lose three pounds.
Weight actual: I haven't weighed myself again since I remembered mid-month, and to be honest, I'm a bit scared to see what the number will be after I've been inhaling chocolate chip cookies and apple pie all week. Not so scared that I've actually stopped inhaling chocolate chip cookies and apple pie, mind you.

I knew last week would be light because of the holiday, so I'm pleased I got in as much training as I did. This week, my goal will be to finish 2014 strong and start 2015 with a bang.

Friday, December 26, 2014

December milestone mileage

Woo hoo! I passed 100 miles for December today.
Hey hey, look at that! I passed 100 running miles today on my jaunt around the neighborhood. It was a great run, too -- high 40s, sunny, trying out a new shirt I got for Christmas, and each mile was a bit faster while feeling nice and easy.

You can see that until I started seriously training for my October marathon, my running mileage was nothing to write home about. What a difference having a goal makes! I've already started thinking about goals for next year.

Hopefully I can keep this momentum going to finish off 2014 strong and start 2015 just as strong.

Monday, December 22, 2014

December goals check-in: Making progress and a Christmas-inspired stepback week

WOW, I'm almost there!
I had to sacrifice a couple of workouts for Christmas shopping, but overall it was a good week.

I'm thrilled that I'm so close to my goal of hitting 1,000 miles for the year. When I added my mileage up at the end of November and got 886, I wondered whether I should go for it or not even bother. Well, kids, this is an example of how you should set the bar high! And other inspiring messages, yadda yadda.

But let's take a look at the whole picture:

Swim goal: Get to the pool twice weekly.
Swim actual: Got to the pool once. I made a conscious decision to skip a swim and go shopping with my mom on my other planned swim day. Could I have gotten up at the buttcrack of dawn and made it to the pool earlier that day? Sure, but that wasn't a priority. I'm writing this one off as life getting in the way. (And I don't regret it, either -- our power shopping got the vast majority of our gifts bought.)

Bike goal: Get on the trainer three times weekly.
Bike actual: Got on the trainer three times. Hooray! I have now been successful at this three weeks in a row.

Run goal: Hit 1,000 miles by the end of the year.
Run actual: I'm calling it a stepback week, but really, an off-season 27.75 miles isn't too shabby. This included one speedy run with my hyper dog (she only pulls for the first 5 or 6 miles) and a bunch of runs on the treadmill. One day I absolutely could not put my foot in front of the other any longer and called it at 3. The next day I felt great and did an extra mile of speed work while watching Christmas movies. I guess it just goes to show you how that we all have "off" days and "on" days.

My overall yearly running total is now at 981.44 miles, which works out to a 4-miler every other day through the end of the year. I have at least four family gatherings between now and next Sunday, so while my schedule will be tricky, I am confident I can do it!

Weight lifting goal: Six times this month.
Weight lifting actual: I did get in one full round of heavy and body weight lifting and my plyo moves, making my December total three sessions.

Pre-hab goal: Six times this month.
Pre-hab actual: I got in one round this week, making two total for December.

Yoga goal: Six times this month.
Yoga actual: I got in one session this week, making two total for December.

Weight goal: Lose three pounds.
Weight actual: I actually did remember to weigh myself earlier in the week, and I was down two total pounds. HOWEVER, I am sure that number will fluctuate before the end of the year, as I plan on enjoying plenty of Christmas treats. Still, two pounds down is a good start. I'm sure my 1,000-mile running goal is helping keep those chocolate chip cookies from staying around too long. =)

Overall, I'm very pleased. This week will be much busier, but if I can ride the momentum and knock out my key workouts, I'll be happy. Christmas only comes once a year and I plan on enjoying myself and taking it easy.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My thoughts swimming in a full pool

It was like this, but in a pool.
I've been lucky swimming during the day and only finding a few other people -- and sometimes no other people -- in the pool while I'm there.

Here's what was on my mind when I got to the pool the other day and every lane was already taken:

Oh, dang. Someone in every lane already. Darn it! That's what I get for trying to swim at lunchtime. OK, let's see -- any other women? Yep, that one on the end -- wait, no, that's a guy in a tri suit. In the pool in December? To each his own, I guess. I'll give tri suit guy a break. Hmmm, that guy is pretty slow, I better leave him alone. That guy is taking very wide flip turns, I'll leave him alone, too. OK, that guy is stopping. "Mind if I jump in?" OK, cool. Wait a minute -- dang it! He's doing the backstroke wearing fins! Oh well, too late now.

OK, swim, swim, swim. Do de do. He's actually staying on his side pretty well for doing the back stroke. I can't swim that straight on my back. Do de do, swim swim swim. Wait, did tri suit guy get out? Let me take a look... yep. Maybe I'll sneak into his lane... WHOA, where did that splash come from? Did that dude just jump into that lane? OK then... I guess I'm staying here.

Is that new guy wearing board shorts? Dang, he's faster than me and he's wearing board shorts. Ugh, I'm so slow, why do I bother? Well, he has to take more breaks than me... I guess I've got him on stamina. Oh, he wants to race, huh? Yay, I beat board shorts guy back to the wall! Do de do, swim swim swim.

Did my lane mate get out? Cool, I'll swim in the middle for a while. Swim swim swim. Hmmm, there's a guy waiting for a lane, I'll be nice since the other guy let me in without a fight. "Hop in, I'll scoot over." OK, back to my side. Do de do. Did board shorts guy get out already? What time is it? OK, one more set and then my cool down. Wait... where is everyone? Am I the only one left in the pool?

And for my next swim I resolve to come a bit before or after the lunchtime pool party. Although I must say the company was entertaining, at least.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

If you're going to go down...

Get in mah belly.
... go down in a blaze of glory, my mother says.

I spent a good part of the day Christmas shopping and another good part of the day stressing out over the holidays. So, yep, I turned to ice cream, guac and chips. (However, I also had some real food for dinner.)

Unnecessary? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely yes.

Oh, well. Back on the wagon tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December goals check-in: Adding in some "other"

I'm getting closer and closer.
Hey hey. Not a bad little week over in my corner of the world. Let's check in to where I wanted to be by the end of December:

Swim goal: Get to the pool twice weekly.
Swim actual: Got to the pool twice. Hooray! I was successful at this two weeks in a row.

Bike goal: Get on the trainer three times weekly.
Bike actual: Got on the trainer three times. Hooray! I was successful at this two weeks in a row.

Run goal: Hit 1,000 miles by the end of the year.
Run actual: I logged a solid 35 miles this week, which bumps out last week as my best week since the marathon. That included a "track practice" which turned out to be a couple of women who happened to be running around a nearby dark track (oops -- but, I made it work) and two other runs outside. I have to take advantage of these relatively mild Michigan December temperatures because we'll be under three feet of snow before too long.

My overall yearly running total is now at 953.69 miles, which means that if I average 2.75 miles daily (thanks to yesterday's 12-miler), I'll hit 1,000 miles by Dec. 31. Hooray! I'm on my way.

Weight lifting goal: Six times this month.
Weight lifting actual: This is where I saw the most marked improvement from last week. I actually got in two sessions this week: one round using heavy weights and body weight, and one video. I followed both with some plyo exercises, which are my favorite exercises to hate. So my December total is, um, two.

Pre-hab goal: Six times this month.
Pre-hab actual: I got in one round this week, making one total for December.

Yoga goal: Six times this month.
Yoga actual: I got in one session this week, making one total for December.

Weight goal: Lose three pounds.
Weight actual: Not sure where I am with this, as I haven't hit the scale since my initial weigh-in. I never seem to remember in the morning before I eat breakfast. However, my crappy eating habits have waned a bit in the last few weeks and I've been training consistently, so my (hopeful) guess is that I'm down a little.

So, there you have it -- after a good start I was able to build a bit of momentum. I don't expect the next few weeks to be any easier with the holidays and related craziness, but I'm hoping that this solid start helps me to stay on track. Let's see what else I can accomplish in the next two and a half weeks.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December goals check-in: A+ in swim/bike/run, F- in everything else

One week of December down, and I think I'm off to a pretty good start.

First, the good news:

Swim goal: Get to the pool twice weekly.
Swim actual: Got to the pool twice. Hooray!

Bike goal: Get on the trainer three times weekly.
Bike actual: Got on the trainer three times. Hooray!

Run goal: Hit 1,000 miles by the end of the year.
Run actual: I logged 32.5 miles this week, which is my best week since the marathon. Considering I'm not officially training for anything other than life, it's a pretty darn good total. Hooray!

OK. Now the bad news:

Weight lifting goal: Six times this month.
Weight lifting actual: Nothing yet. Boo.

Pre-hab goal: Six times this month.
Pre-hab actual: Nothing yet.  Boo.

Yoga goal: Six times this month.
Yoga actual: Nothing yet. Boo.

Weight goal: Lose three pounds.
Weight actual: Well, I remembered to weigh myself. It wasn't pretty. But now I have a starting point, right? We'll see where I am after another week or so.

So, where to from here? Keep going with my base in swim/bike/run, and build on what I have. And somehow, somewhere, try to fit in everything else when I can. Story of my life!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

It's not too late for some December goals

Can I make it to 1,000?
It's only Dec. 2, so I don't think it's too late to throw some goals out there.

I've been taking it easy after my October marathon, and have really only started biking and lifting weights in the past few weeks. I did make it to the pool yesterday for the second time since my last tri in August, so that's something.

Anyway, here's what I'll be working toward this month:

Swim: Get in the pool twice a week, and try at least one pool that's not my usual.

Bike: Get on the trainer three times per week.

Run: Hit 1,000 by Dec. 31. With the 5.5 I already did today, that leaves just more than 108. That works out to an average of 3.75 miles per day.

Weights: Lift six times this month, a combination of videos and my body weight/heavy weights routine.

Pre-hab: Get through my rotation of hip, ankle and foot strengthening exercises six times.

Yoga: Do six sessions of this, too.

(Six just seems like a nice number -- once a week might not be often enough, but I don't want to commit to twice a week, either.)

Weight: Lose three pounds. I keep forgetting to weigh myself in the morning, so I still don't know what this exact number will be. And while I'd like to lose more, I think this is a reasonable goal considering the holidays and all the eating I WILL be doing.

I'm off to a decent start already, and am looking forward to continuing to build my base this month. Yay training!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Food coma fun

No, sir! I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!
I love reading blogs of fellow smart-ass runners and triathletes, and that includes Shut Up + Run. She recently did a "four things about me" survey, so I figured: What better time to blather on about myself than when I'm recovering from a Thanksgiving food coma slash sugar high?

Four names that people call me other than my real name:
1. Babe, by my husband.
2. Killer K, by my former beer league softball team members. I can't field, catch, or throw, but I've always been able to hit the snot out of the ball.
3. K.L., by my former coworkers.
4. Crazy Lady, by the people driving by as I'm running or biking.

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Dog walker, feeder, and cleaner upper at a boarding kennel
2. Frozen yogurt server (luckily I only worked there for a semester because I gained about 10 pounds)
3. Library book re-shelver
4. Newspaper reporter

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1. Spaceballs -- greatest movie ever.
2. The Indiana Jones trilogy -- my husband and I are complete Indiana Jones nerds. We saw the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the theater on our honeymoon.
3. A Christmas Story -- I usually have this on repeat Christmas Eve to Christmas Day.
4. Ever After -- the only chick flick I'll admit to liking.

Four books I’d recommend:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond
3. Anything by Bill Bryson
4. Anything by the monks of New Skete -- they have fabulous dog training methods.

Four places I’ve lived:
1. Ann Arbor, Mich., home of the Hash Bash, the University of Michigan, and Andrew W.K.
2. Granada, Spain. I'd move back in a heartbeat if I could.
3. Chicago, but just for a college internship.
4. Detroit

Four places I’ve visited:
1. Jamaica
2. Athens, Greece
3. San Francisco, several times since my sister-in-law moved out there.
4. When I lived in Spain I traveled a lot, so I've been to Sevilla, Toledo, Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao, Salamanca, Nerja, Ronda, Pamplona, Gibraltar, and probably many more. It was worth every penny.

Four things I prefer not to eat:
1. Olives  
2. Shredded coconut
3. Raisins 
4. Nuts IN baked goods. Nuts are great, and baked goods are great, but the two don't go together.

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Lasagna
2. My mom's taco salad 
3. Poutine from this Canadian breakfast joint here in Detroit. (Actually, most breakfasts out.)
4. The caramel crunch made with Chocolate Chex mix

Four TV shows I watch
1. Game of Thrones
2. Chopped
3. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
4. Silicon Valley

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
1. Hopefully, advancing in my career
2. Also hopefully, PR'ing my Olympic and 70.3-distance tris and, hopefully hopefully, the marathon
3. Paying down some debt
4. Expanding my garden -- tomatoes everywhere!

Four things I’m always saying:
1. "The dishwasher is RIGHT THERE."
2. "Quit barking!"
3. "Oh my god, I'm late!"
4. "I'm hungry."

Your turn!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Big ol' training day today

Hours and hours of Ironman coverage, hooray!
I'm not really tracking training hours right now, but today was a good day.

I put in just over an hour and a half on the bike. Then I did a full-body weights routine. Then I ran for four miles on the treadmill. And to wrap things up, I did some plyo exercises.

I THOUGHT I had set the DVR to record the replay of the Ironman World Championships, but when I went looking for it today it wasn't there. Nooooo! Luckily, I was able to find a multi-part broadcast on YouTube. I got two hours into it today and I haven't even finished the first video yet. And now I have inspiration to put in some time in the saddle.

I'm still not getting to the pool regularly... yet... but I'm starting to get back into a routine for pretty much everything else. Run and bike, lift weights from time to time, occasionally do yoga and my prehab.

I really want to get a good base before the holidays and the holiday eating schedule. Oh, don't worry -- I'll still eat all my cheese and sweets and wine. But I'll feel less guilty about it if I'm also riding and running.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The ankle is better; the weather is atrocious

The modern day hamster wheel.
Good news: After taking a couple days off running, the ankle is feeling a lot better. I did 5.5 miles yesterday with no problems.

Bad news:
It's cold.
Air temperatures in the teens and 20s, and a wind chill that got down to -3 early this morning.

No, thanks.

Of course, living in Michigan, cold temps in winter is something I've dealt with my whole life. But the -3 wind chills usually don't come around until January. Dealing with temps this cold this early in the season is an anomaly.

I draw the line at running outside in wind chills below zero and have been, and plan on continuing, using my trusty treadmill.

At least until the next warm front comes through. It's supposed to be in the 50s by Sunday. Ah, Michigan weather.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Twisted (ankle) sister

The do-hickey that connects to the thing-a-ma-bob.
Welp, I've gone and done it.

Out walking the mutts yesterday, I stepped on a stick and turned my ankle pretty badly. You know how some times you turn your ankle and after a few steps it feels fine? Yeah. That didn't happen this time.

The pain is under the outside of my ankle so whatever ligament that is. I can stand and walk, but going down steps is painful. I'm sure swimming is OK, and I haven't tried biking yet, but it's safe to say that running is off the table for a bit.

What really sucks about this whole thing is I was going to shoot for 1,000 running miles for the year, and it's looking less possible being out of commission for a few days.

Sad face.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pool party

Back in the water
It's been months -- not an exaggeration -- since I last hopped in the pool. Yesterday, the stars aligned, and I was able to spend some time splashing around.

It was nothing to write home about: Slow, slow, slow. But, everything felt good, and I have a lot of room for improvement this winter.

I'll probably never be a good swimmer. I took basic lessons as a kid and the required semester of swimming for gym class in high school, but really had to start over a few years ago when I decided to give triathlons a try. But never, never in my life did I think I would look forward to getting back in the pool after some time off!

It felt good. And I hope I can settle back into a pool routine so I can start making that progress

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A brief, belated October in review

Not a lot of miles and that's okay.
I can probably sum up October in three words: taper, marathon, recover.

I had a few medium-distance runs (12.25, 10 miles) on the weekend and shorter runs during the week leading up to the marathon. I took it easy the week of and then took some time off afterward. By the end of the month, I was just starting to ease back into some regular miles. I've also done a few yoga workouts and walked the dogs a bunch to help recover.

Overall, I ran 105 miles and didn't do any swimming or biking. And yes, I ran up and down my street like an idiot on my last run of the month to get an even number.

I'm starting to get the itch to get back into the pool and on my bike to do some base-building. I've been running here and there, but probably won't do too many runs of longer than an hour, an hour and half for a while yet. And I'm looking forward to lifting some weights again.

October was all about final marathon prep. November and December will be all about that base. Ha!

Monday, November 3, 2014

I'm not dead yet

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I haven't been here a lot lately because I haven't had much to say.

I've only run three times since the marathon two weeks ago. Instead, I've been doing a lot of sleeping in and eating stuff I'll probably regret at my next doctor's visit. I have done some stretching and dog walking, so not all is lost.

I'm actually just starting to get the itch back to get into training again. I downloaded my gym's new pool schedule, have been scouring Craigslist for a new bike trainer, and suffered through one Jillian Michaels weights video. Now, to make the jump and start with a consistent schedule again.

The sad news is winter is bearing down on us. We had a chilly snap over the weekend and I immediately caught a head cold. The weather and my sinuses are looking a lot better, but the weather won't be nice for too much longer. I know I need to get my butt out the door and enjoy some runs outside before I put myself at a risk for frostbite. There's snow in the forecast for this weekend! Puke.

Let's get this party pre-season going! The sooner I can get training, the sooner I can see results.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Post-marathon thoughts: Running without my Garmin

Faithful for training, takes a nap on race day.
I talked in my race report for the recent Detroit Free Press Marathon that my Garmin crashed, lost its charge, and died less than 1.5 miles into the race. How did that affect my race overall?

My Garmin and I are pretty faithful to each other in training. I like to use it to keep myself at a steady pace, both when I need to pick it up a bit and when I need to take it down a notch. Of course I also try to take feel into account, but sometimes if you're feeling overly lousy or amazing, your biofeedback might be a bit off.

I know I started the race a bit slower than I would have liked, but I attributed that to getting into a groove and dodging discarded sweatshirts. I did try to stay in between the 4:15 and 4:20 finishing time pace groups, but with the start of the race being dark and hectic, I lost them pretty early on.

As I looked back at my official results, I hit the 5-mile marker at a pace of 10:21, about 30 seconds per mile slower than I was hoping for. Yech. But, at the time that felt like a sustainable pace. If I'd had my Garmin, would I have pushed myself harder than I could have sustained?

Of course, there's no way to tell, other than running a bunch of marathons and switching off using my Garmin or not — ha! I also have no way to tell how consistent I was able to keep my mile splits, but my 5-mile splits from the results suggest I started out steadily, slowed down a lot in the mile-20-ish range, and then picked it back up for the finish. I could have told them that.

I don't think not having my Garmin caused me to run too slowly. If that were the case, the wheels wouldn't have fallen off around mile 18. And looking at my splits from the results, I don't think not having it caused me to run too quickly, as the paces registered were still below my goal.

Lesson learned? Double-check that you don't need a hard start on race day, I guess, and be OK with the feedback your body is giving you... just in case.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Post-marathon thoughts: Training

Miles, miles and more miles.
In case you missed it, I finished the Detroit Free Press Marathon on Sunday. It's always something of a feat to run 26.2 miles, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little disappointed I didn't finish with a better time.

But, let's be honest: My training just didn't support a faster marathon. Even the Yasso 800s I ran a few months ago suggested a 4:30 finish time. When it came down to it, the mileage and speed just wasn't there.

So, what happened?

First off, the Freep wasn't this year's "A" race, believe it or not. My main goal was my first 70.3, Michigan Titanium in August. Some of that extra time that could have gone to running went to swimming or biking instead. And when I was tired at the end of the day, it was most likely my run that got skipped.

I did do a tri last August, and it was only a week earlier in the year than my 70.3. But the difference in time spent on the bike on Saturdays was significant. A regular day for me last year was three laps of the park in about 2.5 hours; this year, I regularly did four and five laps and spent close to 4 hours on the bike. I'm sure this didn't help my energy levels.

My swimming volume was about the same this year compared to last year, and my run volume was a little less this year. I nailed all my long runs, but, like I said above, if I were to skip a workout it was most likely the run.

So, what to take away? If the marathon is my A race, I need to prioritize running miles and speed work. If it's not, and I'm still OK with a 4:30 marathon, then what I did worked perfectly fine. I would have liked to run faster, but I only have so many hours in the day. And the 70.3 was my first priority.

My race reflected my training, and I'm OK with both. I feel like I did the best with what I had at the time. And in the end, that makes for a successful marathon in my book.