Monday, March 31, 2014

Week in review 24-30 March -- Murphy's Law week of training

You get an extra chart this week just to illustrate how lame my totals are:

(The total on the left is minutes, not hours. Ha!)

There's not much to say about this week since there wasn't much training. Not sleeping, lifeguard truancy, being sick and then going out of town made for a frustrating week training-wise.

Swim: Nothing.

Bike: One 75-minute ride on the trainer.

Run: One 3-mile easy run on the treadmill.

Other: I DID do my mid-week weights video. And I'm totally counting a 40-minute dog walk last night just because I have nothing else.

Overall: About 3 and a half hours. Blah. However, I'll take three lessons away from this week: 1. Take care of yourself when you're not feeling well, 2. Don't skimp on sleep... or you'll have to deal with number 1, and 3. Once in a while, things just don't work out. Let it go and move on.

On to next week.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: My first marathon

I ran my first marathon, the Detroit Free Press Marathon, Oct. 17, 2010 in 4:43:51.

Here's the race report, originally posted at (although the old forums are no longer).

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who posted in the "Golden words for the first marathon" thread. There were four things I picked out and really focused on: watch your pace at the beginning; run the first 10 with your head, the second 10 with your legs, and the last 6.2 with your heart; thank the volunteers; and slap the little kids' hands. I figured if I could remember those four things, I'd be good.

Friday morning I went out for my very last run -- a very easy 3-miler to loosen my legs. I also started carb-loading that day, making spaghetti for lunch and dinner. Since Detroit is an international event, runners have to  pick up their packets with their passports ahead of time, and I went to the expo Friday afternoon. My number had been randomly tagged for a Border Patrol screening! My first thought was OH NO, this is a bad sign! I've been to Canada in the last few months so I wasn't expecting a problem but it was still a relief when the agent checked my passport and info and gave me the all-clear. Whew!

Saturday my husband and I had a wedding to attend which, in retrospect, was great for my nerves because I had something to distract me. I actually ate my last spaghetti meal out of tupperware in the parking lot of the park where the wedding was -- lol! I didn't drink at the reception except for the champagne toast and we headed home on the early side. But I could NOT go to sleep! I'd had some coffee for the drive home and combined with nerves, I tossed and turned until at least 2 a.m., and kept waking up once I did fall asleep. I maybe got 2.5 hours of sleep and was worried that would affect the race. 

I didn't know what to expect the day of, so I got up at 5 a.m. for my typical peanut butter and banana bagel, suited up, used the bathroom, etc. We live about a mile and a half from the race start, so I had my husband drive me as close as he could get (he came down and parked later). Looking back, I should have left later and used the bathroom one more time at home, but now I know for next time. I waited around for a good 45 minutes, used the port-o-potty, and tried to stay warm. We all filed into our corrals just before 7 a.m. (I was in I -- 4:45 finish time) and I tell you, when they sang Canada's and USA's national anthems, and I could look up and see the starting line -- I had goosebumps, it was so amazing! "This is what an athlete feels like," I thought. And then we were off! It took me about 15-20 minutes to cross the start line. It was frustrating that we had to slow down to cross the bridge into Canada -- I probably lost 5 minutes to walking or even standing and waiting. But once we were on the bridge, watching the sun rise from the bridge was very cool.

I tried to keep as steady of a 10:30 pace as I could, and I was doing well taking a water and then Gatorade at every aid station and taking two shot blocks every 5 miles or so. Canada was very nice -- my favorite parts were the giant inflatable Mountie police officer and beaver stationed on the course. Coming back through the tunnel was stale and hot, just like I'd expected, but some of the runners got a chant going between the rival Michigan universities (it *is* football season) so that was funny, at least. My husband was supposed to meet me as I exited the tunnel to trade my regular glasses for my sunglasses, but I didn't see him. We ran through the eastern edge of Mexicantown and back downtown and the half runners turned off. And there was my husband! We traded glasses and I gave him a sticky sweat-and-Gatorade kiss and I was off again. I also saw some very funny signs -- my favorite was "Chafe now, brag forever" followed closely by "Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much ass!".

This next part was probably the most boring, so I just turned my music up and tried to zone out. We ran through one of the historic east side neighborhoods, which was nice to see the houses, but there were very few spectators. Miles 20-22 or so were on Belle Isle (city island park), which some people hate, but since I live so close I do a lot of my training runs there -- so to me it felt like a home field advantage. Once I hit mile 21 I knew I could pick up my pace. I started skipping every other aid station and turned up my music louder. It was awesome passing the 22-mile sign -- that had been my longest training run. Miles 22 and 23 I picked it up a little more and actually started passing people! I kept telling myself, only five miles left, that's your regular morning run... three miles left, come on, that's a lap around your neighborhood... and it was working. I started to get emotional when I saw the 24 and 25 mile signs but I told myself, pull it together, you can't be crying in your official photo! Lol. Down the river and into downtown, and the final turn with the finish line up ahead! I ran as hard as I could, saw my husband and waved for a picture, and crossed the finish line strong with my arms up!!! My official time was 4:43:51.

We headed home right away, mostly because I needed a bathroom and none of the port-o-potties had paper left, lol, and I showered and ate every bite of an omelette and hash browns brunch. I took a 2.5 hour nap and it was glorious. Later we went for a barbecue dinner and I ordered a half chicken and half slab of ribs with two sides. First the guy who brought our food tried to give me my husband's sandwich, and then the guy at the table next to us said to me, "What's a little girl like you going to do with all that food?" I said, "I ran a marathon today!" I didn't eat it all but I made a good dent. I am feeling a little sore and slow today, especially up and down stairs, but nothing too bad. My knees and ankles are fine, but my hips are a bit sore, my hamstrings are tight, and I have a few random blisters on my foot, which I usually don't get.

Overall, an amazing experience. I had an absolute blast, never doubted myself once I got going, never had to walk, never regretted it, and finished strong and under my goal time. I would absolutely do another one!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When a workout cancels on YOU

Got to bed early last night.

Was up before my 5:10 alarm feeling awake and ready to go.

Had a snack. Gathered all my stuff and even my husband. Headed to the gym.

Got a bit of cocky attitude when I saw the pool wasn't open yet when I got to the doors at about 6:02. Ha! I beat the lifeguard!

Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Other swimming hopefuls gathered in the hallway. We waited. One gave up. Then another. We had a maintenance guy go in and check for us.

No lifeguard.

I figured if I was through the doors by 6:35 and in the water right after, I could still get in 1000 m or so.

So I waited until 6:36. Then I gave up, too.

Heavy sigh. Shower. Found my husband, who was already done with his workout. We headed home.

I know in the great scheme of things, having a swim cancel on you is not a big deal. There are people starving to death, suffering from preventable illness, and being victimized by wars.

But... training is a big part of my life. And when I can't get in a session because of someone else, that makes me angry and frustrated.

What's most maddening is that I could have used to the time to do a weights video or yoga.

There's nothing I can do about it now. Going to officially call this week a step-back week and try to move on with life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When do you cancel a workout? Part 2

Feeling tired and lousy for most of the day yesterday, I went to bed at a reasonable hour with my alarm set early so I could hit the bike before work if I was feeling better.

Wouldn't you know, I woke up just before my alarm feeling better in the head, but with a scratchy throat and stuffy sinuses. Ugh -- I can't win.

I laid in bed for a while, negotiating with myself. Should I take two mornings off in a row if it means I feel better in the long run? But I feel well-rested, it's just my throat that is scratchy. But I don't want to overdo it and get sicker. But I might feel better if I move around a bit.

Back and forth went the argument in my head. I finally decided to get up and do a slightly easier roller ride to try to save some energy for hopefully fighting off whatever this is.

I did my usual hour and 15, but kept it out of high gear. It did feel good to work up a bit of a sweat. And I've made it through the work day (so far) without feeling exhausted from my efforts. I'm calling it a win.

I think I made the right decision both today and yesterday. Feeling exhausted and loopy and end up sleeping for an additional two hours? Right decision. Get up anyway but take it easy and end up feeling fine? Right decision.

I want to become a better athlete, but I also need to take care of myself. I think I'm striking a good balance so far.

Monday, March 24, 2014

When do you cancel a workout?

Feeling good after a high-volume (for me) training week last week, I went to bed on the early side last night planning on an early wake-up call to hit the pool this morning. It just didn't happen.

I didn't get a great night's sleep, waking up every hour or so to look at the clock. I wasn't hot, I wasn't cold, I wasn't having bad dreams, the dogs weren't hogging the bed... I just couldn't get that solid shut-eye. When I woke up at about 4:50, I knew there was no way I was getting out of bed 20 minutes later and reset my alarm. And went back to sleep.

I usually don't feel bad about skipping a morning workout if I actually go back to sleep after I turn off my alarm. Sleeping for an additional two hours is a pretty big red flag to me that I needed the extra rest. Waking up five minutes after my early alarm and then tossing and turning... then maybe I could have gotten out of bed after all.

When I did get out of bed, I had a headache and didn't feel great. I felt a little better after my coffee. But I hadn't chugged too much extra over the weekend, so I don't think it was caffeine withdrawal.

I had put in a speed run Friday night, two and a half hours on the bike Saturday, and a 10-mile run and heavy lifting Sunday. Did I need more rest than one lousy night's sleep? I certainly did feel better after an extra two hours in bed.

It remains an experiment of one: How to get in strong training sessions and enough recovery while trying to juggle a family, full-time job and everything else? Maybe the occasional Monday morning off is the key.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week in review 17-23 March

This past week was great -- a bit of training in everything for one of my highest-volume weeks in a while.

Swim: Three times including taking advantage of a day off to hit my longest distance swim ever. Overall, about three hours 20 minutes for 7600 meters (about 4 and three quarters miles).

Bike: Three times total: An hour and 15 minutes twice before work, and a longer two hours 30 minutes on the weekend, for a total of 5 hours, all on the rollers.

Run: Three shorter runs during the week -- two easy and one speed -- and a 10-miler on the weekend. It works out to 21 miles in about 3 and a half hours.

Other: A good mix of my plyo moves, some yoga, a weights video and heavy/body weights once each during the week, and some pre-hab exercises. Overall I put in about 3 and a quarter hours.

Overall: Just over 15 hours, which is an excellent week for me. It worked out to about three and a half hours in each sport except for cycling, which was five hours.

I'll probably be out of town next weekend so I especially wanted to get in these long training blocks this weekend. I feel good about it overall and want to keep the momentum going into next week.