Thursday, July 28, 2016

It’s 2016. Can we please get over getting “chicked”?

It was already in the 90s by the time I hit the running trail Tuesday, but I had my Gatorade and a plan to and stop in the shade and drink every 1.5 miles. I was just going out for an easy run to get some miles in the legs, anyway, not set any records or do any speed work.

Things were going hot but fine as I came to the traffic stop at about mile 4.5. There was a guy walking ahead of me, and I recognized him as a runner I see now and again on the trail. He saw me coming and did the "runner's nod."

As we came up to the red light, he launched into an explanation of how hot it was and how he was finding it difficult to run. I'm not sure if he thought he needed to justify his walking, or if he felt like I needed to know I wouldn't be running by him on a regular day. I was too hot and tired for a feminist rant, so I just smiled and said "Good luck!" as I ran on.

This isn't the first time this has happened, by a long shot. Usually a guy will look over his shoulder, see me, and speed up. Sometimes I mess with their heads. But since I run alone and don't need any trouble, usually I just let it go.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it. But if you're a man, and I run by you, I assure you I really don't care and you shouldn't either. Get out there and live your life and stop worrying about being "chicked."

Monday, July 25, 2016

Week in review July 18-24: The one where I’m a slug

That's ... not a lot.
Last week was bad for training.

I forgot my swimsuit on a trip to the pool, and was so mad at myself about it I could only do some yoga later. I had a doctor’s appointment and a friend’s going-away party one night. Other friends were in town for dinner another night. I had some financial stuff to take care of another night. And did I mention it’s been in the high 90s all week?

Yeah. So. I didn’t do much.

I did take care of myself in other ways, though. I got A LOT of sleep this weekend. I spent a decent amount of time grocery shopping and prepping healthy food, and even made some Paleo banana bread. I saw “The Secret Life of Pets” with my husband and parents in a nice, cool theater on Saturday and laughed my butt off. I rubbed my mutts’ bellies. I worked in the garden. I lingered over an iced latte in a hipster coffee shop. I got to spend time with friends and wrap up that financial stuff, as inconvenient for training as it was.

Training-wise, it came out to:

Run: Twice, both on the road, for 10 miles total in about 1:35. This included one hot and slow run after work, and one short and surprisingly speedy run at dusk another night. It was just too hot for a long run over the weekend (and too humid when it wasn’t too hot) and I couldn’t stomach double digits on the treadmill.

Yoga: Once, some self-guided runner-focused moves, for about 15 minutes. I felt like I needed to do SOMETHING after my aborted swim and this was all I had the energy left for.

Total: Three sessions in just less than 2 hours. My lightest week in a long time.

I had a lot going on last week and it seemed like external forces weren’t working in my favor. But I DID run twice and had some fun, so not all is lost. There’s not much else I can do except move on and tackle this coming week head-on.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The temperature is too damn high

Guys, I am just not going to make myself go train when the heat index is 101 degrees.

I didn't get out of work early enough to go to the outdoor pool before it got too busy. I'm not riding at the state park where there will be a zillion people driving like maniacs to get to the beach. And I feel like as soon as I put on my running shoes, I will burst into flames.

I'm going to stay in and be a bum in the air conditioning this weekend. I might try to get in an early-morning run once or twice, and maybe some time on the bike trainer, but I can't see myself doing much else. This weekend is all about self-preservation. And maybe Netflix.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Race report: Pure Detroit 5K

A+ swag.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I did a 5K – I think it was at the end of my last sprint tri three years ago. It’s not because I’m a snob about them. I’m like a barbecue, low and slow, so my talent lies in outlasting all the people who start out too fast and fade, rather than running fast and staying fast.

But my husband has started to run again a few times per week and wanted something to show for his efforts, so we signed up for the Pure Detroit 5K a few weeks ago. It was cheap, it was for a good cause, it had cool swag, and it was right down the street from us. Win!

The race had a “brunch start” of 10 a.m. which was much appreciated. Yes, it was probably a bit warmer at 10 a.m. compared to 7 a.m., but much of the morning humidity had burned off by then. I had time to take the mutts out and make a mini-breakfast and coffee before we headed out to the site about 45 minutes before the race. (We had an “in” for a parking spot already planned out, so no worries there.) Packet pickup was quick and easy and we had plenty of time to drop off our goodies back at the car, people watch, and stretch and walk a bit to warm up.

The route started at one of Detroit’s landmarks, the Fisher Building, and headed north up Second Avenue for a bit before taking a short jog on Chicago Avenue and heading back the way we came. Chicago Avenue is in Detroit’s historic Boston-Edison neighborhood, which boasts gorgeous mansions, and it was kind of a bummer we didn’t get to see more of them. We cheered for the leaders as they passed us and all the other random people we passed and who passed us. It was a warm morning – the sun was out in full force – but we felt good. My husband only stopped to walk once at about mile 2, and it was only for a block or so.

Really, my only complaint was that the course was a bit short. They had plenty of water, bagels and granola bars at the finish, we had a police escort, the shirts were nice, the pint glass was a nice touch. It was a fun way to kick off the morning. I’d definitely do it again and really hope this was the “first annual,” as it was marketed.

Later that day, because all runners are at least a little crazy, I went out for another 9.1 miles in the heat of the day. Gotta get my long run in, even if it is in two parts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The road to the pool is paved with good intentions, part 2

Me yesterday. (Source.)
(Part 1 here)

Yesterday was just A DAY. Storms came through at about 4 a.m., and although my scaredy-dog didn’t climb into bed and try to bury her head in the pillows, she still paced around our bedroom enough that her nails clicking on the hardwood kept me awake for a while. I was definitely NOT ready to get out of bed when my alarm went off a few hours later.

I had to drop my car off at the dealership early and take the shuttle to work, so I didn’t get to drink quite as much coffee as usual before I left the house. Plus, I burned the heck out of the roof of my mouth Saturday, so I was crabbier and more irritable than usual all day. And it hurts to eat on that side of my mouth. Ugh.

I was seriously debating skipping my recovery swim and going home for a nap after work, but it was a beautiful day and I knew a swim would do me good. Even my husband, who tends to lean toward suggesting rest over pushing through a workout, was telling me to suck it up and go get a quick swim done. FINE. I headed to the pool instead of home, fighting through rush hour traffic. I headed to the locker room bathroom and started going through my bag.

And then it hit me. Did I put my swimsuit in my bag?

I searched. No swimsuit. I shook out my towels. No swimsuit. I called my husband and made him check the bathroom and bedroom. Sure as you-know-what, he reported back that I had one swimsuit hanging up in the bathroom and one on the floor of my closet. Which means that I had zero left in my bag.


More than anything, I was furious with myself. I had driven all the way out to the pool for nothing when I was having a crabby day to begin with. But there was nothing I could do except head home. In protest, I curled up on the couch with the mutts and read for a while before starting dinner. I did do a bit of stretching later, but I was NOT in a good mental space for any kind of real workout.

I put both swimsuits in my bag so this won’t happen next time. Ugh! What a way to end a Monday.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week in review July 11-17: Some decent running and something new

Nothing too out of the ordinary.
It was a satisfactory week last week. The weather was pretty hot, so my runs were slow and/or after dark. I got in the pool once and did a new-to-me barre class, which was super fun.

I left work early Friday to visit my friend and her new baby, so that took precedence over, oh, everything. He is such a cutie! I debated doing a 12-miler Saturday and then a 5K with my husband Sunday, or combining the two runs into a double day, or just doing the 5K and being a lazy slug the rest of the day. As it turns out, I slept later than I wanted to on Saturday (story of my life) and then went out of town for the day, so that solved the Saturday/Sunday problem for me. Oh well – it was a much-deserved rest day and it was good to see family. I did end up rallying later in the day Sunday to do another 9 miles, which made me feel like a badass.

By sport, it was:

Swim: Once, in the pool, for 2400 meters in just longer than an hour. Nothing special there. I wasn’t feeling great by the end so I was happy to finish.

Weights: Once, a barre class, for about an hour.

Run: Four times, all on the road, for 22 miles in 3 hours, 41 minutes. This worked out to be an easy run that got cut a bit short and slow because of the heat, another easy run done at dusk to avoid the heat, a 5K at my husband’s pace, and a 9-miler later that day to make a “long run” of 12 miles in two parts, suffering in the day’s heat.

Total: Six sessions in about 5 hours, 44 minutes.

This is the third week in a row I’ve gotten in six sessions, so it seems to be working for me. I did more time overall last weekend when I got some training in both Saturday and Sunday, and I didn’t bike at all this week. But, all things considered, I got in some decent running mileage and two “other” sessions – not too shabby.

It’s supposed to be high 90s/100s later this week so who knows what lies ahead! There might be more indoor-and-air-conditioned workouts than usual in the works. We’ll see.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A triathlete walks into a barre

Something new!
While I’m regrouping to focus on running (race report from this morning's 5K coming soon!) and strength-training for a while, I decided I want to try something new for strength-training this week. So, I hit up my first class at Detroit Barre.

I’ve been to various barre classes in the past, mostly when I was traveling for work or visiting friends in cities big and trendy enough to have a studio. I have a couple Bar Method videos, but they fell out of the rotation. So what better time than to give it another go?

And it was fun! I remembered to bring socks and wear capris. There as a lot of tucking and a lot of "seat work" (butt exercises), and my legs were definitely shaking before long. I liked that there were people of all sizes there; it wasn't just willowy women in Lululemon from head to toe. I kind of wish we had done more ab and arm work, and I thought about doing my pull-ups when I got home, but... I didn't.

I don't know if this is going to help my running in the long-term, but if changing up weight-lifting routines helps keep me interested and focused allowing me to get stronger, then I am all for it. Plus, I enjoy trying new things and supporting local businesses. Win-win!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Week in review July 4-10: A training regroup and adapting my running plans

Lots of running and overall not bad.
I felt like I needed to take a break and do some self-evaluation following my DNF and DNS last weekend. After some thinking, I decided I want to focus on running every-other-day-ish and lifting weights for the time being, with swimming and biking as cross-training and recovery, and see what happens. If I realize I really miss being in the pool or in the saddle, there’s nothing stopping me from getting back out there.

I took the 4th of July completely off anything except reading, working in the garden, walking the dogs and barbecuing with friends. It was nice to relax and get the tomato plants back under control for the time being. I took an extra PTO day on the 5th and had big plans to go for a run, but my husband’s truck broke down and we spent a chunk of the day waiting at the dealership for my mom to come rescue us. And because he had to chauffeur me to work to use my car during the day, that limited the training I could do after work. I managed one quick run before it got too dark on Wednesday (my first running adaptation of the week).

I ran errands after work Friday and set out to do a few miles before dinner. The weather channel said the rain would not start until later but it started sprinkling at about mile 1.5. I don’t mind rain, but shortly after the sprinkles started the thunder and lightning followed, and I decided to play it safe and run back home. I was resigned to doing another 3 or so on the treadmill but it started clearing up so… I went back out there. I ended up doing 6 quick miles in two parts (my second running adaptation of the week).

Since I’m trying to be good about only running every other day for now, I decided Saturday would be a bike trainer and heavy weights day. Spending the day indoors allowed me to catch up on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and give lots of between-sets belly rubs to the mutts.

I knew getting up early Sunday to crank out 11 miles would be asking a lot so instead I slept in and headed out in the afternoon. It was already getting pretty hot, but I had my Gatorade and a plan to run in an area with shade and water fountains. Except… I couldn’t find parking. Like, anywhere. So, Plan B: I headed out to the city’s island park which, coincidentally, is 5.5 miles around, perfect for an 11-mile run. (Running adaptation of the week No. 3.) There is very little shade and there were a zillion cars and bikes out, but I focused on running at a consistent pace and drinking every 2 miles, and finished strong. I’m sure I was a sight to see drenched in sweat with my Pain Face on.

By the numbers, it was:

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 20.5 miles in about 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Bike: Once on the trainer for 1:30.

Weights: One circuit of heavy/bodyweight lifting for about 1:15.

Yoga: One 15-minute session of mostly bends, pigeons, twists, etc.

Total: 6 sessions in about 6 hours, 15 minutes.

Overall, not bad, considering I lost a few evenings. If I can get in some decent running mileage this week, I’ll be happy. If I can do some lifting and cross training, even better.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Non-race report: My first DNF and DNS at the open-water mile and Aquathlon

I'm not out there. =(
I really wanted to forget that these non-races ever happened, hence the late post. I’ve been trying to think of the right emotion to describe how I feel about them – I’m not mad or disappointed in myself, because I feel like I made the right call for that day, but I am discouraged and frustrated.

I got myself worked up about these races, I admit. I had another hyperventilating fit in the pool a few weeks ago and it didn’t sit right with me. I told myself, if you’re not doing fast 100 repeats, you won’t hyperventilate, so there’s nothing to worry about. I had one mild panic attack during my first lake swim of the season, but that’s not out of the ordinary, and the second one went fine. I also told myself, you’ve swum in a lake twice already this season and have done this race three times before, so there’s nothing to worry about.

The night before and morning of were both relatively uneventful. Gathering all my stuff was fine, getting up early to make coffee and eat a sweet potato was fine, the drive was fine. I was a bit nervous but not more than usual before a race. My husband came with me and we chit-chatted on the way there. At the race setup, we ran into a friend and shared gossip as we got body marked.

I got into the water to warm up and I just. Could. Not. Get. Comfortable. I had anxiety through the roof. I freaked out whenever I swam out to deep water, and had to immediately swim back. I couldn’t get my face wet. I couldn’t get into a breathing rhythm. I was gasping for air. “WHAT IS GOING ON?” I thought. I got out of the water and tried to take deep breaths. It wasn’t working.

The horn went off and everyone started swimming. I waited a few seconds for the water to clear and started after the group. I was terrified and the waves splashing in my face made things worse. I started gasping for breath again. I got maybe 200 yards out and waved for a paddleboarder. A guy came over and started talking to me as I hung on for dear life. He tried to ask me questions about myself to get me to calm down, and it did make me feel better. I was frustrated and embarrassed, and told him I've done the race before, hoping he wouldn't think I was just some newb who was in over her head (literally). I rested a bit and tried swimming again, but as soon as I got splashed in the face my breath left me again. I rested on the paddleboard for a few more seconds before deciding to call it. The boarder tried to cheer me up by telling me my stroke looked good and that at least I had come out to give it a shot. I thanked him but headed in, defeated.

My husband was surprised to see me. I was sure everyone on shore would have realized I was heading in and giving each other knowing looks — "That girl obviously couldn't hack it." I sat down and composed myself for a bit and my husband tried to reassure me. As soon as I calmed down, I felt surprisingly fine. Disappointed, but fine. I felt like it just wasn't my day. I gathered my stuff and put on a shirt on, mostly to cover my race numbers. We considered leaving, but our friend was doing the Aquathlon after the mile, and we decided to stay and cheer. I could have tried to do the second race, but I decided I didn't want to tempt fate twice in one day, and took the DNS. But cheering on the racers as they ran, swam, and ran again put me in better spirits.

My mood has been all over the place these last four days. I'm mad because I feel I've wasted all this time swim training. I'm frustrated because I KNOW I can do the race — I've done it three times! I'm concerned that I have some kind of underlying health or anxiety issue that is just now manifesting as swim panic. But, part of me is at peace — if I was going to DNF/DNS a race, this was the one. It was cheap, and the money went to a good cause. And overall, it was still an enjoyable morning and we had fun catching up with and cheering on an old friend. So it wasn't a total loss.

I don't know if I want to get back in the pool any time soon. I'm also reconsidering doing a tri later this season. Maybe if I did a race with a wetsuit swim I wouldn't have the same anxiety... but I don't know if I want to take that chance just to DNF again. So I think I'm going to take a break for a while and concentrate on running and strength training. I'm still going to swim and bike, but I think I'm going to think of them as cross-training for a while.

Maybe I'll go a week, realize I'm being ridiculous, and get back in the pool. Maybe I'll decide I never want to do another tri. I don't know. What I do know is that this is a hobby and hobbies should be fun. Panic attacks in the water aren't fun. So it's time to regroup, think about what I want, and move on from there.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week in review June 27-July 3: Ending on a down note

I'm late, I know. It's been a lousy couple of days. My races Sunday were a disaster (more to come on that later), I was a lazy bum yesterday, and my husband's truck broke down today. UGH! The only good thing about this past week is that I took some PTO to have 5 days off in a row, which has been wonderful. I'm not even going to put in writing how late I slept in today. And, I finally watched season 4 of House of Cards.

I skipped biking this past week and only swam twice. I ran three times but that included a 2-miler and a 1.5-miler with my dog, so it wasn't exactly serious mileage. And I lost Saturday to errands and meeting with friends, which admittedly was a good time.

Anyway, it was:

Swim: Twice, both in the pool, for 4000 meters total in about 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Run: Three times, all on the road, for 9.5 miles in just longer than 1.5 hours. This only included one "real" run of 6 miles to end June with an even 60; the other two were shorter runs for the sole purpose of tiring out my crazy dog.

Yoga: Once, on my own, for 40 minutes.

Total: Six sessions in a bit less than 4 hours.

I'm trying to think of something good to take away from last week. My swimming time trial was blah, running was blah, and I didn't even get on the bike or do any weights or pre-hab. I guess the good is that it's over and I can start fresh with this week.

Friday, July 1, 2016

June in review: An even spread among swim, bike and run

A pretty even spread with time descending by swim, bike and run.
Overall, June wasn't bad. Knowing my next race is swim and run only, I didn't get on the bike a whole lot. And although I've had higher swimming yardage in the past, this may have been the first-ever month I've spent more time swimming than anything else.
The last few months of swimming.
Swim: 10 times, 8 in the pool and 2 in the lake for 24,000 meters (I couldn't do that again if I tried) + 1750 yards, which works out to about 16 miles, in just longer than 11 hours.

Compared to May: I hardly got in the pool at all in May, so this is a significant increase.

Compared to last June: I also did two lake swims last June, but I did more pool swims this year, making this a not-so-significant-but-still-nice increase.
I was good about biking outside once per week this June.
Bike: 6 times, 4 on the road for 143.25 road miles and 2 additional rides on the trainer, for a total of 10 hours, 23 minutes in the saddle.

Compared to May: This is half the trainer rides but 4 times the road rides, so I'd say an overall success.

Compared to last June: I got on the trainer twice as often last year but didn't do as many road rides. Can we call this a push even though my saddle time was almost half?
A slow and steady increase.
Run: 11 times, all on the road, for an even 60 miles in about 9.5 hours.

Compared to May: An increase of 3 additional runs and 20 additional miles in 3 additional hours.

Compared to last June: This is another apples-to-penguins analogy since I'm still building back up this year, but I only ran 4 fewer times this June. The catch is I ran less than half of the mileage. Last year I was doing significant mid-week mileage and much longer long runs, so it added up.

Other: My weights, pre-hab, and yoga is about the same across the board, meaning sporadically and not often enough. I did a little bit of everything here and there.

2016 vs 2015: Not really a fair comparison, but I'm down from where I was in everything at this time last year. I'm not THAT far behind in swimming, not that far behind in cycling road miles but way behind in overall time in the saddle, and way far behind in running (to be expected). I'm also not training for a 70.3 this summer, so there's that.

A few things of note: For my yearly totals, I surpassed 100,000 meters swimming, hit 50 total bike rides and, eerily, my total running time for the year is 32:32:32. SPOOKY!

Not a great month, but a solid month. I did some hard work, did some easy runs, took it easy here and there, enjoyed some fresh air, and, hopefully, got just a bit better.