Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Are Those Suits You're Wearing?

This morning I met Laura for a wetsuit swim at one of our least favorite pools in the city, the McBurney Y. I actually think the pool itself is pretty nice, but it's always really crowded and people are bad at seeding themselves properly into the correct lanes. We also tend to wear our wetsuits there as the pool is a little on the cooler side and I always end up getting yelled at by the woman in the locker room about having too much water dripping by my locker. The good news is that today was our last swim there for 2010!

I cut all my fingernails off in anticipation of this wetsuit swim. That always makes me a little bit sad. I was also a little bit bummed that we were doing this swim today since I did order a new wetsuit for Alcatraz (I need one with sleeves instead of the sleeveless one that I have) and it won't be here until Friday. This is what my new suit will look like (source):
However, I probably won't have my hair all done when I am actually wearing the wetsuit, unlike the model here. When we were putting our wetsuits on, a woman in the locker room started chatting us up and asked us what kind of suits we were wearing. Then she asked us all sorts of other questions. I seem to be a magnet for people chatting with me recently.

When we were all suited up, we headed out to the pool deck. I think I spent five minutes just staring at the pool trying to figure out what lane to put myself into. I got fooled because when I got there it was just before 7:00 AM and the Master's Swim Group wasn't in the pool yet, but when I got out to the pool they were swimming and taking up two lanes of the pool. That made it harder for me to find a spot.

There were two lanes circle swimming and the rest of the available lanes were being split by people, so there wasn't room for me there. I decided to get in the Medium lane that was circle swimming. I did 100 before I got super annoyed at everyone in the lane. After that, I just stood at the end of the lane trying to figure out my options. I must have had a homicidal maniac look on my face because the lifeguard yelled out to me that I could move over and split one of the slow lanes so that I'd have space to myself.

I did about 300 total in warm-up and then did the same thing that we did on Sunday at Terrier. I did 100s but did them fast/easy/easy/fast. I think I was averaging about 1:40 for the 100s. Then I'd give myself 20-25 seconds rest and do another one.

At some point, I was interrupted by a weird guy in a red swim cap and boxer shorts. He had been in the Water Walkers lane and I noticed him because he was mostly just swimming around underwater, not doing any "real" swimming. All of a sudden, he jumped into my lane and forced us to start circle swimming. I wasn't really having any of that. I just watched him swim underwater and then do some really slow breaststroke. I must have given him the stink-eye because he only did that one 50 and then moved over to Laura's lane (sorry, Laura) to cause some more trouble.

After he left, I went back to my same routine. A couple minutes after 8:00, a woman came to the edge of my lane and asked if we would start circle swimming. At that same time, Laura was at the end of her lane and said that she was ready whenever I was. I just wasn't in the mood for circle-swimming with slow people, so we got out and hit the showers.

I have to say that the pool at NYSC isn't anything great and it's really short (only 18 yards), but there is something to be said for knowing that you have 30 minutes of uninterrupted swimming while sharing a lane with someone else. You can do your own thing and not have to worry what anyone else is doing, which I like.

Today's wetsuit swim was a lot better than a couple weeks ago. Last time I felt like every time I kicked, my feet were above water and today I really concentrated on having a solid kick and trying not to be quite so buoyant!

My time today while swimming isn't so great, but that's because I time everything, including me being upset while just standing at the end of the pool and all the rest times. I never really worry about that. Somehow I never really remember to start and stop my watch all those times and the truth of the matter is that swimming pace really isn't as interesting to me as running or bike pacing is.

Time: 36:48
Distance: 1200 yards (0.68 miles)
Pace: 54:06/mile
Calories: 318
Maximum HR: 161
Average HR: 146

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Same Workout, Different Venue

Last night I set my alarm to get up and go to the Terrier run this morning. Except Drew worked really late last night (I actually don't even know when he got home, but it was definitely today). I woke up when he got home and talked to him for a bit and then he passed out in about 10 minutes flat and I was still awake. I tossed and turned for a while. And then when it was time to wake up at 5:30, it was a rainy disaster outside. So, I decided to skip the Terrier workout. Which is probably lame given the fact that most of my races seem to be in the rain, but I hate rain. Hate it.

So, instead, I packed a bag so that I could hit the gym after work since it was supposed to be raining all day (and I think it actually did). When I left work today I was stuffed full from lunch and my afternoon snack. I hurried to the gym and when I was standing on the treadmill 32 minutes later, my stomach was rumbling really loudly. I figured that wasn't a good sign and I was glad that today's workout was going to be pretty quick (and speedy).

I had written down the Terrier workout today, so this was what we were supposed to do (after doing a warm-up jog):

220 yards (0.125 miles) / Recover 1:00
440 yards (0.25 miles) / Recover 1:30
660 yards (0.375 miles) / Recover 1:30
880 yards (0.50 miles) / Recover 2:00
880 yards (0.50 miles) / Recover 2:00
660 yards (0.375 miles ) / Recover 1:30
440 yards (0.25 miles) / Recover 1:30
220 yards (0.125 miles) Recover 1:00

My actual workout was modified slightly. I did 1.75 miles as a warm-up and then got into the workout. I did all the running at 7.1 speed (8:27/mile pace) and walked at 4.0 as a recovery. I didn't feel bad about walking because I knew if I was at the actual workout, I would have just stood still instead of even walking. I had to modify the actual workout slightly since the treadmills at my gym only go to the hundredths instead of thousandths, so I did 0.38 and 0.37 instead of 0.375. In all, the total distance was still 2.50 miles.

It was definitely not easy to do the 0.50 segments at the faster pace, but I tried to distract myself as much as I could and not watch the clock tick the seconds by. After I finished the running, I did a quick cool-down and then did some stretching. As I was stretching, I found myself spacing out and realized that I should get home and eat something. When I got into the elevator in my building, I realized that I was starving and was about ready to gnaw my arm off. I quickly got into my apartment and had a big glass of chocolate soy milk and then worried about the rest of dinner. Of course, as I type this now, an hour and a half later, I'm still hungry! Must be time for a snack and then bed. I'm supposed to meet Laura for a wetsuit swim tomorrow morning.

Time: 49:07
Distance: 4.92 miles
Pace: 9:58/mile
Calories: 551
Maximum HR: 183
Average HR: 169

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Swimming Is For The Dogs

After my run this morning, I knew that I should go to the Terrier swim, but I didn't really want to go. Drew told me that I really had to go - that he was worried about Alcatraz. I knew he was right, but it still didn't make me want to go. I have to say that I really didn't want to go when I was woken up from my nap and then went I went outside to walk to practice I discovered it was raining.

But, I went anyway. It actually ended up being a fairly small practice - I think there were only 8 of us there. I started out in the slow lane because I wanted to just work on concentrating on my form and not be too worried about speed today. However, after the warm-up, Sarah made me move over one lane to the slightly faster lane.

This was today's workout:

150 Swim
150 Drill (I did one armed drills)
150 Kick (with board)
150 Swim

Main Set
10 x 50 Swim on the 1:05
Odds were fast/easy
Evens were easy/fast

5 x 100 Pull (RI 0:15)

500 Swim at Race Pace

8 x 25 For Breath Control

1 x 50

The 50s that we did, I completed each one in about 45 seconds. I really concentrated on making the easy part easy and the fast part faster. The pulling was pretty boring. I just concentrated on making sure to finish my stroke each time. Then came the hard part - the 500 at race pace. Since I wouldn't even know what my race pace was and it's impossible to duplicate in a pool, I tried to pick a maintainable speed. I didn't want to be dying at the end and I also didn't want my form to go to hell while swimming too fast. I think I finished in about 8:20, which is 1:49/100 pace.

Then Sarah told us that we had all finished the workout so fast that she was going to add some additional stuff on for us (lucky us!). That was when we did the 8 x 25. We did two sets of four. The first 25 we could breathe three times, the second 25 two times, the third 25 once and the fourth zero times. I have to say that I cheated on the first set and breathed once on the zero. But, I felt like I made up for it because on the second set, I only took two breaths on the 25 where we could take three. I actually think that it took me that long to figure out how to adjust my breathing/exhaling. The last 25 I did without taking a breath at all. I asked if I could do it by swimming underwater, but Sarah said no. It's a lot easier to do it that way!

Then we did a quick 50 cool-down and showered and headed home. I am really glad I went today, as I always am. It's just such a struggle to force myself to go. I know that for the next couple of weeks I really can't slack off on this as I need to get myself in the water more and work on my swimming fitness for the race!

Time: 58:46
Distance: 2350 yards (1.33 miles)
Pace: 44:00/mile
Calories: 529
Maximum HR: 168
Average HR: 149

Running For Colon Cancer

This morning was the New York Road Runners Colon Cancer Challenge 4 mile run (there was also a 15K run as well as 1.7 mile walk, but I decided 4 miles sounded best). I didn't have a chance last week to pick up my race number, t-shirt and D-tag, so I had to do that this morning. The weather was about 40 degrees for the race and I wore tights, a long sleeved shirt and a wind breaker.

I decided just to walk to the packet pick-up so that I wouldn't get myself too hot and then be freezing while waiting for the race to start. I was definitely chilly walking to the race. I picked up my number and t-shirt without any problems. I pinned my number to my shirt and went over to wait in the corrals. While I was waiting, the girl next to me started chatting with me. Apparently, I seem to be a magnet recently for talking in the race corral!

We talked about the weather and our running experience. We were both in the 10:00/mile corral and she told me that she had really been working on speed recently and was more of a 9:00 miler. Then we talked about how we never seem to have good times at these New York Road Runner races. I haven't had good luck recently, but I did notice that this morning there seemed to be fewer people out than in the past races.

I definitely wasn't going into this race with any expectations. I know from past experience that's just a bad idea. I figured I would just run my race as best I could given the race conditions. I also knew that I couldn't do much worse than my last attempt at a 4 mile race in Central Park.

Since it was a Colon Cancer fund-raiser run, there were several groups there wearing t-shirts in honor or in memory of someone, but there was one group with funny "Don't be a chump. Check your rump" t-shirts. I thought those were much better than our plain and boring race t-shirts. But, a free t-shirt is a free t-shirt and I won't complain too much.

I started out the race pretty well. I ran the first mile in about 9:30, I think. That seemed like a pretty decent pace and I should just try to keep going. I was thinking while running that it's both good and bad to know the Park so well now. It's frustrating to know every single hill and to anticipate (and slightly dread) all the uphills, but it's good to know that you can just run to X spot (sign, lamp post, tree, etc.) and then it will be downhill from there.

I didn't stop at any of the water stations, I just ran the whole race (also different from last time). As a result of all of this, I ran 0:59 per mile faster than last time! I can't believe I shaved almost 4:00 off my time. It's funny because now that the half-marathon is done and over with, I've actually been liking running more. I think part of that has to do with the fact that the pressure is off a little bit now and I can focus on something other than only running and get back to triathlon training.

No matter what, I'm really proud of myself for today's effort at the run. I can't believe how much better today was than a month ago!

Time: 37:11
Distance: 4.00 miles
Pace: 9:17/mile
Calories: 447
Maximum HR: 192
Average HR: 175

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where's Your Sweat?

I was really hoping the weather forecasters were just going to be wrong with today's forecast. When we woke up this morning, it was 29 degrees. I know that I'm supposed to be training for this triathlon in San Francisco regardless of the weather, but below freezing sounded too cold for a bike ride. So, instead I went to the gym and spun my little heart out on the spin bike.

I used the computerized spin bike so I could have a program to do and not just fumble around on my own. For my first ride (I wanted to ride more than an hour and to do that, I'd have to do two separate rides), I chose the "Interval" program, Level 8.

I think that I spent about 80% of the time out of the saddle. The hardest part was actually when we switched from all the time out of the saddle to a seated climb on hard resistance. I took a photo of the fellow who gives you your instructions - he actually looks like someone I know, which is a little bit weird:

The screen is all red in this shot because as a result of my picture taking, I let my cadence slip a little bit. It's pretty good at telling you what cadence you should have and yelling at you (okay, there isn't really any yelling, but there is a lot of flashing red) when you don't keep up with what they expect.

These were the stats for my first ride:

After I was done with my first ride, I stared up the bike again, but this time chose Endurance, Level 10. Drew had just hopped on the bike next to me when I was finishing up the first ride and starting the second one. I had been dripping sweat like crazy during the first ride, but there is a cool-down and a warm-up on each ride, so I had cooled off and wasn't sweating as much when he was there.

He was pretty sweaty and was dripping sweat all over the floor. Apparently I wasn't sweaty enough for him and he asked me where all my sweat was. The truth was that I did work up a sweat again on the Endurance ride, but not as much as on the Interval ride. I'm okay with that. Since part of this is learning how to get my rear end reacquainted with the bike saddle, I needed to spend some time sitting down.

Here are my stats for the second ride:

The computer spin bikes at our gym are located next to a machine called a "Cardio Wave". This is what it looks like:

I have no idea what this machine does or if it's any good or not, but apparently it only requires you to work out for about 15 minutes (or less) and not get sweaty at all, because several people came over and worked out on it for a very short period of time while I was biking away.

When I was done with the bike and was stretching, Drew came over and said that he was going to run a mile really quickly on the treadmill. I said I would do that too. Well, technically, I said I didn't know about all that running fast business, but I'd go ahead and do some running. We both started off doing some walking (I did 0.25 miles and he did 0.20). He told me that he was going to run 1.50 miles, but I knew that I should just stick with the initial plan of one mile.

I started at 6.0 and just kept bumping up the speed little by little, until at the end I was running at 9.5 speed. It wasn't easy, but knowing that it was only one mile definitely helped! Drew actually only ended up doing one mile too. He was faster than I was. We finished up with some stretching and then headed home. I had been thinking about not renewing my gym membership, but the past two days have pretty much shown that even though I might not go there all the time, it's definitely a good investment to have it available when I want/need it!

I don't have any fancy heart rate stats today since I let Drew wear my heart rate monitor and watch since he accidentally left his watch at work on Friday!

Bike #1
Time: 51:53
Distance: 18.70 miles
Pace: 21.63 MPH
Calories: 719 (from machine)

Bike #2
Time: 41:54
Distance: 15.60 miles
Pace: 22.34 MPH
Calories: 504 (from machine)

Time: 8:46
Distance: 1.00 mile
Pace: 8:46/mile

Friday, March 26, 2010

iPhone v. Treadmill

I stayed up late again last night - mainly because I didn't get home until 9:30 and still had to eat dinner and just wasn't quite ready for bed early. All my own fault, I know. That meant that I didn't feel like getting up early this morning to workout. So, instead, I had the gym looming over my head all day long. Not the most fun thing to look forward to on a Friday night.

I had made a really fun playlist a while ago, but somehow my iPhone decided to eat that playlist. So, I made another (very similar) one today before going to the gym. Even though some of the songs are pretty embarrassing, I thought I'd post it here (just in case my phone decides to eat the list again!)

There were 21 songs on the list and I figured I'd run today until the treadmill gave out (after 60 minutes) or I ran out of songs to listen to. Whichever came first. I was definitely "that girl" on the treadmill today since I was mouthing along (not singing!) to my songs.

I was running along (quite happily -- which almost never ever happens at the gym) at 6.0 when I decided that maybe I should try to do a 5K in under 30:00. Except I didn't think about this plan until a bit too late. I think that if I had decided about 30 seconds earlier that was going to be my plan, I would have been perfect. So, instead I finished in 30:07. Still super awesomely happy with that time.

Then because I was running at 9.5 to try to finish in time, I took a bit of a walking break for 0.25 miles. I still had plenty of time left on the treadmill, so I figured I should keep on running. I ended up being able to do 2.5 more miles running. I also picked up the speed at the end of that run too. I figure that's fairly race-like.

Then I went for a swim. I had brought along a workout to do, but I kind-of knew I wouldn't do it. For one thing, the pool there is only 18 feet long and I'm really bad at math so trying to convert in my head is a disaster. I had figured out before I went to the pool that 1800 yards (so 100 lengths of the pool) is 1.02 miles.

I ended up doing 50 lengths (0.51 miles) and after seeing my time, which I thought was fine, I decided to see if I could negative split the next 0.51 miles. The first half-mile was so nice and easy, I really never felt like I was working. The second half-mile was also pretty easy, although I will admit that for the last 4 lengths (72 yards), I did pick it up a tiny bit, but I never was pushing it to the max or anywhere close to that. Definitely have to say that knowing I can swim a mile (it's in the pool, I know) nice and easy in about 32 minutes really makes me more confident about Alcatraz. You have an hour to swim 1.5 miles and I know the current is crazy, but I think I can do it.

After the running, I did some stretching and I even did some quite neglected core work. I did two sets of 25 crunches and also did plank for 1:00. I don't even know if that's good or not, but I figure that it wasn't going to hurt me and every little bit helps. Had some Gatorade while running and a mini Lara bar (thanks Atlanta expo!) after. I also had some Muscle Milk before and most after the swim.

I almost never like going to the gym, but somehow everything was really nice and easy today. Oh, and by the way, the iPhone totally won. I listened to 18.5 songs (out of the 21).

Run #1
Time: 30:07
Distance: 3.10 miles
Pace: 9:42/mile
Calories: 366
Maximum HR: 191
Average HR: 171

Run #2
Time: 24:07
Distance: 2.50 miles
Pace: 9:38/mile
Calories: 298
Maximum HR: 182
Average HR: 172

Swim #1
Time: 16:23
Distance: 0.51 miles (900 yards)
Pace: 32:07/mile
Calories: 161
Maximum HR: 158
Average HR: 151

Swim #2
Time: 15:52
Distance: 0.51 miles (900 yards)
Pace: 31:06/mile
Calories: 173
Maximum HR: 169
Average HR: 161

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Brick of 2010!

And I was excited about it? Crazy as it sounds, yes, I was. I got everything all laid out last night so that all I'd have to do this morning was eat and put on my clothes. I wore the same thing that I wore yesterday evening bike riding - tights, tri shorts, two long-sleeved shirts. I brought along my gloves, just in case, but ended up not needing them. We have to be there at 5:30 in the morning, so I tried to get to bed early last night!

When I got to the Park, I was tiny bit surprised to see how many people were there today. I guess lots of people were looking for the practice. Before he gave us the workout, Robert asked how many people were on their first ride of the year and a couple people raised their hands. I felt like I didn't have to since I went last night, even though that's technically probably cheating.

Of course, my rear end definitely noticed the fact that I went riding last night and this morning! Oof. I noticed it the second I sat down on my bike this morning. So, um, yeah. It wasn't my most comfortable ride ever. But, I managed to get through it. I definitely got up out of the saddle a couple times, just to coast, which didn't help my times any.

The workout for today was to ride for about an hour and then run for about 20 minutes. I ended up doing two loops of the Park, plus a little bit before heading back to put on my running shoes. The biking today was fine - other than my rear - but I will say that I did notice my legs were a tiny bit tired from yesterday. I knew I wasn't going as fast today as I did yesterday, but I'm okay with that.

After putting on my running shoes, I decided to just run the Lower Loop of the Park. I didn't think it would take me 20 minutes, but I knew it'd be pretty close. I didn't have that jelly-leg feeling, instead my legs felt like lead. I really felt like I was running with a ball and chain. Even though it doesn't sound that great, it actually wasn't too bad. I even passed some people while I was running, which doesn't happen very often. Probably because even though my legs were leaden, I was running faster than usual!

When I got back to my bike, I noticed that everyone else was grabbing their bikes and doing a half-mile loop running with the bike. I was hoping I could sneak out of that part, but as soon as I got back, Robert spotted me and said "Grab your bike!". Hard to argue with that. So, I didn't start my watch, but it was about 5 minutes more running.

I actually really liked today's workout. I always liked the bricks last year and I'm hoping that this year isn't any different. Robert said that once it starts getting lighter earlier in the day we'll do more transition practice during the bricks, but for now we'll do longer rides and runs. After reading some of the detailed information on Alcatraz, I'm now realizing that there are lots of transitions, so the extra practice could be helpful!

Time: 57:33
Distance: 12.99 miles
Pace: 13.54 MPH
Calories: 616
Maximum HR: 175
Average HR: 158
Total Bike Mileage: 16.54 miles

Running #1
Time: 16:18
Distance: 1.82 miles
Pace: 8:57/mile
Calories: 202
Maximum HR: 184
Average HR: 173

Running #2
Time: 5:00
Distance: 0.49 miles
Pace: 10:12/mile

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Test Drive

I ended up taking yesterday off. I figured that was my free pass at a day off and I should cash in on it. I think it ended up being the right decision. My legs were still pretty tired yesterday after the half-marathon and they feel back to normal today. I was supposed to get up early this morning and go for a test drive on my bike.

However, I just couldn't do it. Drew often leaves for the gym and says, "Don't forget to wake up!" It's not that I forget exactly, it's usually that once it gets later in the morning, I don't see the point of getting up since I then won't be able to squeeze in the workout that I want to do. The truth is that I love to press snooze and I do it really well. It's my #1 talent. I'm going to have to put my alarm on the other side of the room, I think, so that I can ensure I am ready for Alcatraz!

Since I didn't get up this morning, I hurried home after work in order to sneak a bike ride in before the sun went down. I wasn't sure if I should ride in the Park or the Westside Bike Path, but I figured that I should get in every single hill that I can, so I opted for the Park. The weather was about 58 degrees when I left the apartment. I had no idea what to wear, but I guessed and wore tights, tri shorts, and two long-sleeved shirts. It ended up being just about perfect! I'm guessing that I could have worn less, but it was pretty windy out there and I was never hot.

The biking was fairly uneventful, which seems like a fantastic thing to report! My biggest accomplishment was the fact that both times I went up the Harlem Hill I stayed in the middle ring instead of switching to my granny gear. That seems like a good indication that I haven't lost too much bike fitness over the past few months. The other thing that seemed like a good indicator is that it pretty much took me the exact same amount of time that it was taking last fall to get around the loop. I wonder if all that running kept my legs strong?

Pretty much the only thing that wasn't perfect was that even though my legs felt fine, my rear end was another story. I think it'll only take a little while to get used to sitting in the saddle again, but I have to say that today wasn't 100% comfortable, which I definitely expected. Maybe I should have worn my bike shorts instead of tri shorts. Except that I like to keep my bike shorts for those horrid bikes at the gym and I think I'll just wear tri shorts to get myself used to it. I'll be spending a lot of time in the saddle from now on, so I might have to invest in another pair of shorts!

Total Time: 1:06:23
Total Distance: 13.53 miles
Total Pace: 12.23 MPH (average)

Park Biking Time: 50:00
Park Biking Distance: 12.10 miles
Park Biking Pace: 14.52 MPH (average)

Calories: 493
Maximum HR: 171
Average HR: 154
Maximum Speed: 22.5

More Race Photos From The Atlanta Half-Marathon

Here are some more photos from the Atlanta Half-Marathon!

Running through Piedmont Park:

Pretty sure I look like a deer in the headlights here:

Nearing the Finish Line:

At the finish (it's much more crowded looking that I remembered):

Showing off my finisher's medal:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Big Announcement

Well, I've been waiting to announce this until I had officially registered, but I've signed up for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco on May 2! It's probably crazy that I signed up for this race since I haven't ridden my actual bicycle in months, but the registration fee has been paid and now I've got to get my butt on my bike and start riding. And start riding mostly uphill!

This is the bike course elevation map (source). I have to say that it looks a little bit scary, especially the hill starting around Mile 12! I have no idea what I'm getting myself into, but I think that this will be a really great experience for me and I intend to have fun no matter what.

I had been feeling like I needed something else to round out my triathlon season and while this might be a bit sooner than I anticipated, I think it's just what I was looking for. We've already booked our hotel and flights, so now I just have to worry about the training, how to get my bike there (or if I should/can rent one), and I probably have to get/rent a full-sleeved wetsuit. But, of course, I'm really excited about it!

Since I've already planned out my half-Ironman training, I think I'll just stick with that plan for the time being. It should be more than enough training for Alcatraz. I'll just try to stick in a few extra hills on the bike. And maybe even try to sneak in at least one open-water swim before the race? Should be an interesting experience!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My First Half-Marathon

I was right about not exercising again until the race. Friday morning I was about to get up to go for a quick run, but Drew told me that he wasn't getting up to exercise and was going to take a long weekend off, so I figured that I had just better follow that plan as well. We flew down to Atlanta Friday night and got here without any delays (is it just me, or do airlines seem to be getting better?).

Yesterday I spent the day with my family going to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and then my cousin's first baseball game. Of course, the weather was beautiful and made me with that the forecast for tomorrow was looking a little better. My aunt made us dinner and then I was off to bed pretty early. Oh, and by the way, we had Indian for dinner. It was delicious and not an issue at all as most people tend to think. My stomach is pretty tough, though. As long as I stear clear of the foods it hates (bananas and almonds), I can pretty much eat anything and still go running.

This morning I got up about 5:15 and had some Muscle Milk and a Clif Bar. We headed off to the Start line and Drew dropped me off around 6:15. I walked around a little bit. I didn't have a bag to check, so I just stood in line for the bathrooms (port-a-potties, of course) before heading over to my corral. I was in corral I, which was about in the middle of the total number of corrals. While I was waiting for the race to start, two different guys started chatting with me - about my running hat and then triathlons. I guess all that chatting was a really good distraction because all of a sudden, someone was singing the National Anthem.

Before I knew it, I was crossing the Start line! I had thought that it could take quite a while to reach the start line, but I crossed it at 7:05. New York Road Runner races generally take a lot longer than that, so I was really impressed with how quickly they got us started. It was still dark for the first few miles of the race. I tried on some outfits last night and settled on wearing capris, a long-sleeved shirt and my Terrier Tri top over it all. I think that it was about 50 degrees the whole time. When I was standing in the corral, I was a little bit chilly. The first mile or so, I was a bit too hot. Then it started sprinkling and I was perfect. I felt a little bit like Goldilocks.

During the first mile, a girl fell down right in front of me. It was actually pretty scary, as I wasn't quite sure that I wasn't going to step on top of her, but I managed to miss her. I also couldn't believe that she fell, as the hole that she fell into was huge and I'm not sure how she wasn't able to see it. She did get up pretty quickly and say that she was okay, so I hope that she really was and finished the race. I can't imagine how bummed I'd be to fall in the first mile of a race and hurt myself!

Drew's plan was to try to see me around Mile 2 and Mile 3 and then again at the finish. The first time I saw him, I yelled out to him (since he was still walking to the meeting spot), but luckily we saw each other and he snapped these photos (I'm Bib # 10006):

I'm not really saying "I'm #1" here! I was trying to tell him a place to meet me and I said, "Bag Check #1". I realized as soon as I put my finger up the air that it'd make for a funny picture later on! I guess these photos show how dark it was at the start.

I saw him again around Mile 3. He then sent a text to my aunt, so that she could try to see me around Mile 8. I have to say that it was really great knowing that I had something to look forward to after the half-way point. I ran the first mile in about 10:05. And then I ran the second mile in 9:10. I don't know what happened there. As soon as I realized what had happened, I knew that there was no way that I could sustain that pace, so I told myself that I had to slow down if I wanted to finish this race. These are from when I saw Drew around Mile 3:

I know it sounds crazy, but I didn't really have a plan for this race. My whole goal was to finish. I didn't have a time goal - except to say that I'd like to finish in under 3 hours. I really was just looking at this as mental preparation for Timberman in August. Just to know that I can go the distance is a really big deal for me, so that was my whole plan for today.

There were a couple of funny moments throughout the race. The first one happened just after Mile 6. I passed a girl talking on her cell phone (really?) and she was saying that she had just passed Mile 6 and was already dying. I couldn't help but laugh a little to myself that she was on the phone. I hope she made it okay. The other funny moment was around Mile 8. Two guys were running behind me and they were talking about how one of the guys had put his arm around a girl and how it would be interpreted - friendly or something more. I turned around and told them that I didn't believe that guys really talked about stuff like this. They told me that they were really trying to be good guys. I'm guessing that after running for over an hour, maybe they had just run out of other things to talk about?

I saw my aunt and my cousin just before Mile 8. I knew the corner that I was supposed to look for them and when I got there, I was running really slowly trying to look through the crowd of people there. I was thinking that there was a chance that they might not be there since the weather was sort-of icky with the rain, but then I heard my aunt yell out and we all waved. It was just so great to have so much support out on the race!

I have to say that the running itself was fairly uneventful. I definitely took some walking breaks through the aid stations, even if I didn't always get a cup of water or Gatorade. I also walked up a couple of hills. I have to say that the course was pretty hilly. I knew that going into it, but I think I was expecting just a couple of big hills and instead it was roller after roller after roller. I really enjoyed looking at all the houses along the route!

I think it was somewhere between Miles 8 and 10 that I saw the 2:15 pace team. I really thought about joining them. Mainly because I thought that all of those pace teams were far in front of me and I couldn't believe that they were catching up to me. I am 99% sure I could have done it, but I decided just to run my own race and see how things worked out.

Around Mile 10, I got a huge surprise! Drew was there! I thought I wouldn't see him again until the finish, but somehow he managed to surprise me! That was really pretty awesome. Here I am:

After that, the marathon winner ran by us. Nothing like knowing someone else can run a full marathon faster than you can run a half-marathon to make you feel good about yourself! The course is designed so that the first several miles are shared by half and full marathoners. Then we split, only to come back together for the last few miles. However, they had barricades up so that the marathoners had a separate lane for finishing. In addition to seeing the first and second place winners run by, we were also able to see the mile markers for the end of the marathon. The girl next to me commented that we got to Mile 24 in record time. I told her that I think we had just qualified for Boston we were so speedy!

The rest of the race went by pretty quickly. I have to say that the whole thing wasn't too bad. My biggest complaint of the day was that immediately after I passed Mile 13, spectators kept yelling out "Just a half-mile more!". I was kind-of annoyed by that, because I was hoping to sprint towards the finish and I thought I could keep up that fast pace for a while, but probably not a whole mile and if I had known where the half-mile mark to the finish was, I think it would have been perfect, but I ended up sprinting to the finish once I could actually see it, so it all worked out okay in the end.

Me in my red hat heading to the finish:

Immediately after finishing, they put a medal on us and I got lots of snacks: apple, yogurt, pretzels, granola bar, and two bottles of water. Drew and I made our way back to his parking spot and headed back to my aunt's house. We got a tiny bit lost on the way back and then we got stuck in some traffic near her house, so we left our car and walked the rest of the way back to their house. We actually ran part of the way, which was a little bit funny to me.

After taking a nice long hot shower, we all went out and I celebrated my run by eating a hamburger and onion rings! It was definitely a great ending to a really great race. I was so happy and proud of my time and all the training that I did to get there.

Time: 2:22:32
Distance: 13.10 Miles
Pace: 10:48/mile
Calories: 1670
Maximum HR: 194
Average HR: 164

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gimme Back My Park!

Last night I could not fall asleep. I think I was up past 1:00, which is way too late for me. This morning when the alarm went off, I was about to get up and Drew said, "I think that you need your rest." I listened to the voice of reason and went back to sleep. That meant that I would need to get in my quick run this evening instead. I actually don't really like working out in the evening. I normally eat pretty well during the day, but I find when I work out in the evening, I feel a lot more pressure to watch what I eat to make sure I'm properly fueled for my evening work out.

I also tend to be starving when I get home from work, so it takes a bit more planning than usual to work out at night. Since Krista just did a post about food and was wondering what other people ate, I thought I'd run down my eats from yesterday:

Breakfast: Homemade smoothie (pineapple, pineapple juice, jackfruit, frozen blueberries, ice, protein powder) - 225 calories
Morning Snack: Grapes - 60 calories
Lunch: Homemade salad (romaine, grilled chicken breast, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, Brianna's Santa Fe dressing) - 300 calories
Orange - 107 calories
Light String Cheese - 50 calories
Afternoon Snack: Progresso Light Vegetable & Noodle Soup - 120 calories
2 of Drew's mom's cookies - 245 calories
Pre-Running Snack: 2 bites of stale Clif bar - 35 calories

So, pre-running, I had about 1,150 calories (in case you're wondering, I input this into Daily Burn and that's where I got my totals). I was originally supposed to have the soup and salad as lunch, but I ended up eating outside since the weather is so nice here (more on this later) but it's very hard to heat up soup when outside, so I ate the orange and cheese instead. I actually think it worked out pretty well, since I ate the soup around 4:00 and then wasn't starving when I got home from work.

The weather here for the past couple days has just been amazing. I wish it would just stay like this from now on and never rain again - or get cold - but that's probably all a dream. I actually got to wear shorts when running today! I wore shorts, a short-sleeved shirt and a thin long-sleeved shirt. I probably could have done without the long-sleeved shirt, but I was a bit too chicken to go without it. Plus, my run was so short, it didn't really matter. Even if I got hot, it wouldn't be for an extended period of time.

Walking home from work and then running to the park, there were tons of people out and about. It was like they all thought, "oh, it's nice outside, I should go out." Which meant that there were lots of people to dodge while I was running to the park. And I couldn't believe how many people there were when I actually got to the park. Two weeks ago when I was running on a Thursday after work, I didn't see anyone on the Reservoir Path! And now people were out in droves. I guess the good old days are over. This is probably all just reason to make sure I get to bed on time and can wake up in the morning for workouts.

Today's workout was so short and easy, I'm not really sure I even broke a sweat. I ran to the park, then ran North along the Lower Loop to the 72nd Street Transverse. Then I ran South along the Mall and got back onto the Loop and headed home. Let me tell you, there were people everywhere. I guess all it takes is the weather to warm up and then New Yorkers and tourists head to the Park!

I had a really nice time running tonight, even if I was a bit annoyed at all the people in the Park. It was nice to just get out there and not have to worry about running for a long time or hitting a certain distance. All I had to do was get out there and stretch my legs.

And in case you're curious, I picked up Chipotle for dinner. I'm lazy and it's right across the street from our apartment. My burrito bowl and chips was 1125 calories (Yes, I get the chips. I really like them and I had almost no fat earlier in the day. It's always worth it because it just tastes that much better.). That gave me a daily total of 2,275, which according to Daily Burn, is actually under my goal calories for the day (goal of 2,371 to 2,621). As a complete aside, I stopped counting calories on a daily basis a while ago. I do periodically put them in Daily Burn just to see how I'm doing. And I'm almost always right on track. Which means that I probably don't need to count them at all. Except sometimes I get curious about calories in versus calories out (from exercise), which is why I bother at all.

So, I think I might be done exercising now before the half-marathon on Sunday. I'm not entirely sure about my plans for tomorrow, but I'm thinking that the next time I run, it'll be in Atlanta. The chance of rain just keeps going up and now we're at 70%, but I'm just hoping it won't be too bad. I'm packing every available option for clothing, so at least I'll be prepared!

Time: 26:48
Distance: 2.60 miles
Pace: 10:18/mile
Calories: 299
Maximum HR: 178
Average HR: 162

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A St. Patty's Day Pinch

I spent last night finishing my half-Ironman plan. I've decided that I'll post the plan each week at the beginning of the week and then at the end of the week I'll post what I actually did so that I can keep myself accountable. But that's not for another couple weeks, so my plan for this morning was to get up early and go for a short bike ride. That's kind-of what I did.

Drew and I got up around 6, which is a bit on the later side. He asked if I wanted to go to the gym with him and after seeing that it was in the low 40s, I decided I'd be a lot happier if I went and rode the spin bike instead of riding my real bike. I just don't know if I'm tough enough to go biking in those temperatures. I suspect that I probably am and if I do it once that'll be enough. But maybe next week ...

We got dressed to go to the gym and I was wearing a green shirt in honor of St. Patrick's Day. I came downstairs and saw Drew's gym outfit (he'll probably object to the fact that I used the word outfit to describe what he was wearing). He was not wearing green, so I pinched him. Twice, I think. That's what happens when you don't wear green! Apparently, he'd never heard that before. He went back upstairs and I thought he was brushing his teeth, but he came back down with a green shirt on. And then he had the nerve to pinch me even though I was already wearing green!

So, off to the gym we went. Frankly, I was hoping I'd remember how to clip in and out of the pedals. It's been a month and a half since I rode the spin bike. I don't even want to talk about how long it's been since I've ridden my actual bicycle. I got to the gym, put my (bike) shoes on, adjusted the seat and started riding. It only took one other tiny adjustment before I settled in for my ride. I chose the "endurance" ride because I didn't really feel like getting out of the saddle a whole lot. I think there were two standing flats on the program I chose. I did Level 5 (out of 10) so that I wouldn't burn out my legs too much.

Yesterday at the Terrier run, Spencer had us do some side and diagonal lunges and I sort-of cheated on them because I knew if I did them for real I'd be in a world of hurt today and that seemed like a bad idea before the half-marathon. Instead, my inner thighs are a little tired today. I can handle that. About half-way through my ride today, I realized that biking uses some different muscles than running! My legs noticed the difference!

I wouldn't say that today was particularly hard, but it felt good to get back on the bike (even if it wasn't a real bike). We definitely were not the only people at the gym wearing green shirts - there were lots and lots of them. I am really glad that I went and biked today. I even went really far, see:

I think the guy on the bike next to me thought I was a little bit crazy when I was taking this picture with my phone, but that's okay. I came home and capped off my green gym going experience with a green monster. And I fully intend on wearing a green sweater to work. Oh, and did I mention that I'm not even Irish and the fact that all those tourists from the parade that inevitably end up in my neighborhood make me irritated? But I'll wish you a Happy St. Patrick's Day nonetheless!

Time: 51:52
Distance: 18.10 miles
Pace: 20.94 MPH
Calories: 410
Maximum HR: 150
Average HR: 133

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who Turned Out The Lights?

Sunday night I really did myself in. I generally hate the time change and since it didn't feel as late as it was, I stayed up past my regular bedtime. Monday morning meant that I just didn't feel like getting out of bed. I had thought about going to the gym after work, but when I got home from work yesterday I was starving and after making and eating dinner, I just didn't feel like going to the gym too. So, instead, I fell asleep on the couch around 7:30. Which was great until Drew called at 10. Then I went upstairs to sleep and he got home from work sometime after 11, which woke me up again.

But, since I had started this sleeping at 7:30 last night, it really wasn't a problem to get myself up at 5:20 this morning to go to the Terrier run. I was hoping to get in my last long run - hopefully around 8 miles or so - this morning. It was 42 this morning and I wore tights, shorts, long sleeved shirt and my jacket along with a (running) baseball hat. I'm hoping that the days of gloves and winter running hats are over!

I ran to the normal meeting spot in the dark, which is normal. We did our normal drills and strides (0.50 miles) and then Coach Spencer told us that we would be doing a tempo run today. Which meant that I wouldn't be getting my 8 miles in. We did our tempo run around the Lower Loop of the Park, which was fine by me. I have to say that I cheated a little bit. Instead of doing what the workout was, instead I just ran faster when I was running by Spencer. But he's tricky and kept moving, so I had to keep a lookout for him! I think I saw him 4 times in my two loops, so I guess I did 4 intervals instead of the 7 that we were supposed to have done.

The really weird thing about the run is that it was dark almost the entire time I was running! This time change thing is really no fun at all! I liked it a lot more when it was light at 6/6:15 instead of waiting until 7. There are so many people out in the Park that it never feels scary or anything, it just was a lot nicer mentally to be running in daylight instead of the dark. Our weekly brick practices start next week (and they start at 5:30) which is a long time to be riding in the dark.

I ended up doing two loops plus a little bit during my 40 minute tempo run. In total, with the strides today, I ended up running just under 6.5 miles (6.45 to be exact). I just have to be okay with that total at this point. My plan now is to definitely get in one quick run Thursday morning and perhaps one on Friday and then just try to rest up for the race on Sunday!

Run To Meeting Point
Time: 12:50
Distance: 1.30 miles
Pace: 9:52/mile
Calories: 149
Maximum HR: 177
Average HR: 166

Time: 41:09
Distance: 4.20 miles
Pace: 9:47/mile
Calories: 552
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 179

Run Home
Time: 5:05
Distance: 0.45 miles
Pace: 11:17/mile
Calories: 57
Maximum HR: 175
Average HR: 164

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Different Kind Of Preparation

This morning we woke up, had breakfast, packed up the car and my dad & step-mom drove us back into the City. We spent yesterday afternoon doing a ridiculous amount of shopping and buying all kinds of cheap stuff. It's not that often that I really recognize how much we are really paying for groceries in NYC, but it was nice to stock up on some essentials. Once we got home, we unloaded everything and I plopped myself down on the couch.

I ate a bar and drank some Gatorade and watched some TV. Drew did the same and then got up and ready to go to the gym. I should have done the same, but was feeling really unmotivated. He told me that I had to be at the gym by 3:00 (it was currently 1:30), so I took my sweet time while he went off and exercised. I actually did manage to get myself to the gym before 2:30. I debated for a long time if I wanted to chance the weather outside (raining on and off) or if I should just go to the gym and run my miles there.

Today was supposed to be my last long run before the race, except I knew I wouldn't have it in me to do anything that long at the gym. I pretty much hate it there now. At least for running. The treadmill is just so awful. I also noticed on Friday morning how hot the gym is. And today was more of the same. I was wearing shorts and a short-sleeved tech shirt and I think I ran one mile and was drenched with sweat.

I figured that since it's supposed to be warmer in Atlanta this coming weekend, it might be good practice to run in warmer weather indoors. As of right now, it says 40% chance of rain for Sunday. Of course, I'm obsessively checking all the time to see if it changes. Of course, it doesn't seem to want to change to suit my needs.

The run at the gym today was rather boring, as most treadmill runs are. I listened to my iPod, which worked out almost perfectly as the playlist I was listening to was just as long as the warm-up, running and cool-down! (I normally walk for 5-7 minutes before and after the run). I guess my plan now is to not worry about having a shorter than planned run today and make Tuesday my last long run - probably about 8 miles? I think it will all work out just fine.

I also went old-school today and didn't wear my heart rate monitor. My strap was in my bag from my dad's house and I gave a half-hearted look in the bag and then decided I didn't really care. I was more worried about just doing some running than anything else. I kept the pace fairly steady the whole time I was running and it worked out pretty well, I think.

Time: 55:00
Distance: 5.50 miles
Pace: 10:00/mile

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Practice Run

After spending yesterday bulking up again on Vitamin C, Drew and I took the train out to New Jersey to spend the weekend at my dad's house. It was raining yesterday and when we woke up this morning, it looked wet outside, but we thought that it wasn't raining. We quickly had a protein bar, changed into running clothes and went downstairs to see what we thought about running outside. When we got downstairs it was easier to see that the rain was coming down sideways, but it didn't look like it was coming down all that hard - more like a heavy mist - so we decided to chance it.

I had used Gmap Pedometer to find a route the other day that was about 5.5 miles, but today we decided to cut that a little bit short since the weather was iffy. Instead we mapped out a run that was about 4 miles. We started out and the weather really wasn't all that bad once we got going. I figured that this was pretty good practice since it now seems quite likely that it'll be raining in Atlanta next Sunday for the half-marathon.

The thing about our run was that we weren't really 100% sure where we were going. We were supposed to run through a subdivision and it turns out that we ran through the wrong subdivision, so we didn't make it on our planned route exactly right. It didn't really matter since I was having a nice time running with Drew and looking at all the houses.

Except even though I was really glad that Drew was there, I always feel like such a slow-poke compared to him. Even though I know that he doesn't think this about me and I have no reason to think that it's rational, I sometimes think that when we run together he must wonder how I'll ever complete a half-marathon with my slow speed. It was kind-of depressing when I was thinking it while we were running, but it seems even more depressing when I actually write it down. Even if I am slow, I have no doubt that I will finish the half-marathon and Drew will be there cheering for me!

The running today went a bit better than it did on Friday morning. It was definitely still hard to breathe at times, but I ran through it. Because we realized that we ended up running through the wrong subdivision, we didn't do the route we had planned. I tried to figure out the route we did take, but I think it ended up being just about 4 miles even though we didn't do the planned route.

I think that we got our run in at just about the perfect time. On our way back to my dad's, it definitely started raining harder and the wind picked up (which made me feel like I was running in place, even though I kept moving my legs). On our way back to his house, Drew wanted to do some speed work, so I'd tell him when to go and when to stop (mainly from one mailbox or street sign to another). I decided to forgo the speed work and it ended up that we finished at just about the same time even though he did his sprints and I kept a steady pace.

I'm really glad that we got in this little practice run. I'm thinking that I'll try to do one more longer run before the half-marathon and then take it easy on the running for the rest of next week. Hopefully that'll be enough rest before the big day and my legs will be nice and happy! I'm currently trying to figure out what to wear. It's hard to remember what 60 degrees feels like!

Time: 39:24
Distance: ~ 4.00 miles
Pace: 9:54
Calories: 504
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 175

Friday, March 12, 2010

Quit Playing Games With My Heart

So, the plan I'm supposed to be following this week? You can go ahead and throw that out the window. From the very outset, I thought that it seemed slightly running intensive for the week before the race, but I figured I'd knock off a mile or two here or there and be all ready and raring to go. Until I woke up with a scratchy throat three days in a row. Which got me thinking that I'm probably fighting off a bit of a cold.

In that spirit, I decided to sleep in yesterday morning instead of getting up to go running. I got home from work yesterday (after bulking up on lots of Vitamin C) and changed clothes to go to the gym and pretty much passed out on the couch. In my workout clothes. That seemed like a good sign that I should stay home and forgo the workout.

This morning I managed to drag myself out of bed. I figured if the plan said that I was supposed to run 6 today, I'd be happy if I could do 4. So, I headed off to the gym (rain in the forecast and it was misty and gross this morning) to do some running. I haven't been to the gym in a while and I sort-of forgot how much I hate the treadmills. Turns out I still hate them. But I think today might have been worse than usual.

I ran 1.20 miles before having to get off for a Kleenex emergency. The running up to that point wasn't pretty. All my sickness is pretty much from the neck up and I know that "they" say that you can still work out, but you just have to take it easy. They're not kidding. Running at 5.5 literally felt like I was sprinting.

My heart really felt out of control during this run. I normally don't have any issues being in the high 170s/low 180s while running, but today it was like my heart just decided to drop that number and every time I got up to 171, I'd have to jump to the side of the treadmill for a couple of seconds and wait for it to go back down. Needless to say, this did not make for the most efficient running.

After running 2 miles total, I thought I might have to quit. My chest was hurting a bit under my heart (and, okay, I totally thought that maybe I was having a heart attack, but I recognized it was just my hypochondria at work) and I thought that was going to be it for me. I also didn't want to do too much and make everything worse for myself. I decided to just do some walking and see how things went. After walking for several minutes I started to feel better and talked myself into running one more mile. Somehow, going in with a plan of 4 miles and leaving with 3 seemed a lot better than leaving with only 2 under my belt.

So, I ran one last mile. It was not pretty or easy. And I still had a weird pain in my ribs near my heart. And I kept getting a side-stitch, which I almost never ever get. But I came out on the other side still alive. I felt like I was one of those people that everyone else in the gym looks at and thinks, "wow, she's going really slowly and still isn't running very well ... she must be really out of shape."

My plan for the rest of the week is to just do as much as I can without pushing myself too hard. At this point I know that I can run the distance of the race and I really do not have any sort of time goals (although I will say that if it's over three hours I think I'll be disappointed) and I might as well rest up and feel better for next weekend. Oh, and did I mention that the weather forecast is currently calling for rain next Sunday? This seems rather typical of my luck with weather, so I'm not that surprised. I'm just going to hope that it's not too cold to go along with the rain. I probably better buy another emergency poncho for Drew!

(As a complete aside, now that I've given this title to the post, I absolutely cannot get the song out of my head).

Time: 32:25
Distance: 3.00 miles
Pace: 10:51/mile
Calories: 366
Maximum HR: 181
Average HR: 164

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Do I Even Like Swimming?

Last night I spent a good amount of time working on my half-Ironman training plan. I was going back and forth on how I wanted to keep track of my workout and I finally decided that I would put everything into Ontri manually (I already log all of my other workouts there) and then I would also be able to keep track of what I actually do. So, the plan and the actuals will be in one place. I only mapped out the first 9 weeks so far (of a 20 week plan). Here's what Week 1 looks like:

The only complaint I have is that Ontri uses a Sunday through Saturday week and my plan is a Tuesday through Sunday week, so it's a little bit off, but once I get started it won't make a difference. What I've realized is that this is a lot of time that I'll be spending swimming, biking and running. Especially biking. The good thing about finally getting organized on this is that I realized that I don't have to start "really" training until April, which gives me two weeks after the half-marathon to ease into things for triathlon training. I thought I was going to have to start the day after the half-marathon, so I feel a lot better now.

This morning Laura somehow conned me into going swimming with her in our wetsuits. We met at the horrible 14th Street Y and donned our suits. As we were getting into them another woman in the locker room asked us if they were as hard to get off as they are to get on. I actually thought that we got them on pretty quickly all things considered.

And then we walked out to the pool. On the way out I asked Laura if she had a plan for today's swim and she said no. That made me feel better about not having a plan either. Even though I had one in my bag plus I had practically memorized several options last night from the half-IM training plan, I just didn't feel like being organized about my swimming.

Part of the problem with this pool is that it is always really crowded. Today was no exception. I couldn't figure out if I should swim in the fast lane or not. I decided just to take my chances. It turned out okay. The swimming mainly went like this: I'd swim 100. Stop. Be annoyed at how many people were in my lane. Stand there and wait for people to do their flip turns. Swim 100. Stop. Be annoyed at how many people were in my lane. Repeat 12 more times.

At some point after only swimming 200 or 300 yards, I realized that I'm not even sure I still like swimming. After all this running I've been doing, it's hard to switch to other sports. I think part of it this morning was the whole wetsuit thing. Running is so simple and doesn't involve a lot of gear, but this morning was a sharp contrast to that. And even if you have to share the road with bikers and other runners, it's not quite the same as sharing a lane at the pool. I'm pretty sure I do still like swimming, it just took me a while to remember that I did.

I will say that I completely forgot how floaty wetsuits are. I felt like my feet were out of the water when I tried to kick, so I'm not sure how effective kicking was in general. Luckily I've got months before I really have to wear a wetsuit so there is plenty of time to try this again and work on my kick. Hopefully somewhere when it's not so crowded.

All in all, the swim ended up being fine. Not my best, but not my worst either. I'm not too worried about the time since a good portion of that was me standing around being irritated. I'm hoping at the very least it was a good recovery day for my legs!

Time: 32:13
Distance: 1400 yards (0.79 miles)
Pace: 40:28/mile
Calories: 287
Maximum HR: 171
Average HR: 142

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

5 Of Each, Please

Last night I forced myself to go upstairs to bed around 9:30. I stayed up reading for about 45 minutes, but I didn't stay up late, so that was a good start. When I woke up at 3:46 this morning, I knew that there was no way that I'd be skipping the Terrier run today. I fell back asleep and got out of bed around 5:20 in order to eat and get dressed and be on my way.

I looked at my phone and it said that it was 47 degrees outside. I decided to wear capris, long sleeved shirt and windbreaker along with my baseball running hat. I also stuck my gloves in my pockets just in case. Turns out that when I got outside, it was really more like 37 and I think it warmed up to about 42 by the time I left the park. I'm pretty sure the problem was that I didn't let my phone's weather update from the last time I looked (last night), although I did think that 47 was pretty warm for before 6 AM. It all worked out fine as I was dressed just perfectly.

The plan for today was supposed to be 3 miles / 2 x [2:00, 3:00, 4:00] AI, 2 miles, which I have to say worked out about perfectly to what I actually ended up doing. A lot of my teammates and almost all the coaches are down in Florida right now for the Spring Training Camp, so when I got there this morning we had no coach. Luckily some people had looked at the website and knew the workout, so we got started on our normal strides. We did 6 strides, 2 high knee, 2 butt kick and 2 crossover drills (0.40 miles).

While we were doing our strides, a guy that I had never seen before showed up and was standing there watching us. After we were done, he said that he was there to give us our workout and we should run over to the "S" (start) and then he'd give us the rest of the instructions. Turns out that this guy's name is Gerard and when we all arrived over at the S, he told us that we were supposed to be doing sets of 200s and 400s. The Sprint/Olympic group should do 5 of each and the Half-Ironman group should do 8. We were supposed to run hard there and then do a recovery jog back to the start.

I debated about whether or not to do 5 or 8 of each. I decided on 5. That might have been the wimpy way out, but my legs were still pretty tired from this past weekend and I reasoned that I'm not officially training for my half-Ironman yet, so doing the shorter workout should be okay. The workout itself was fine and really tied into my actual workout pretty well of doing intervals, since essentially that's what I was doing. I don't really have anything exciting to report other than I ran back and forth 10 times!

All the mileage ended up being 7.20 miles with the strides (which I didn't time), so I think in all, it was a good idea to do the shorter workout. Even without the strides, it was still 6.80 miles, which would have still been okay according to the plan, I think. I'm currently trying to figure out what to do about the rest of this week. I'm thinking that I'll stick to the plan on Thursday, but maybe cut the long run a bit shorter this weekend. 9-10 miles the week before the race sounds like an awful lot, so maybe 7-8 is more realistic. It's also supposed to be raining this weekend, so if I'm going to have to run indoors, I'm not sure if I can take anything too long after having been outside so much recently!

Run To Meeting Point
Time: 12:59
Distance: 1.30 miles
Pace: 9:59/mile
Calories: 151
Maximum HR: 180
Average HR: 168

Run To S
Time: 10:45
Distance: 1.25 miles
Pace: 8:35/mile
Calories: 146
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 181

5 x 220
Time: 12:54
Distance: 1.25 miles
Pace: 10:19/mile
Calories: 171
Maximum HR: 187
Average HR: 178

5 x 440
Time: 24:57
Distance: 2.50 miles
Pace: 9:58/mile
Calories: 328
Maximum HR: 186
Average HR: 178

Run Home
Time: 5:30
Distance: 0.50 miles
Pace: 11:00/mile
Calories: 60
Maximum HR: 173
Average HR: 165

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This Is Not A Race

This morning I was signed up for the NYRR Coogan's Salsa, Blues & Shamrocks 5K race. I thought that it would be a really good recovery run after yesterday's 12-miler. Of course, I also know myself and I kept repeating over and over and over again that "This is not a race." The whole point of a recovery run is to, you know, recover and not run quickly.

Unlike most NYRR races, this race wasn't in Central Park. Instead it was in Washington Heights, which was just a really nice change of location. I really love that I have the Park to run in, but it was nice to get outside my usual locale and not know what the course would be like. I ended up getting there really early (just my luck that the subway would come right away and turn into an express train) so I had given myself an hour to get there, but it took more like 20 minutes.

Since I got there so early, I went to the registration to see if they had any smaller t-shirts (at packet pick-up on Thursday there were only L and XL) and that was all that was left this morning too. Bit of a bummer, but I'll survive. It's only a t-shirt. After that, I pretty much stood around inside my corral:

Immediately after taking this picture, I dropped my phone on the ground and it seems to have suffered some minor damage. I mean, there are only about 4 buttons on the iPhone and I manage to break one of them. Luckily, it's the least important one. Oh well.

After waiting around for quite some time (I did try to stand in the sun so I didn't freeze). It was 37 for the race and I wore tights, long sleeved shirt, wind breaker, baseball running hat and took along my gloves. I only wore my gloves while I was waiting around and then took them off for the race. But I was glad I had them.

It was an out and back course, so when we started running all the runners were taking up the entire road. All of a sudden (about 8 minutes into my run) a cop car came by saying that the leaders were on their way back. Depressing to think that they'd be done in about 15 minutes and I'd still be running along. Anyway, I figured I'd try to get some pictures of the leaders and this is what I got:

I actually think that little guy on the left is the leader. Then I thought I'd try to take a picture of the trailing pack and this is what happened:

I took a picture of some parked cars. Oops. And apparently the person next to me. I guess I'm not all that great at running photo taking. In truth, I was trying to take photos and just be relaxed while running in order to try to avoid racing. I have to tell you that it's really hard not to race when there are 5,000 other people out there who actually are racing!

I did the first mile in about 10:02, which was both good and bad. Good because I think it's a decent time, but bad because this was supposed to be a recovery run, not a run where I was posting good times! In an effort to try to slow myself down, I took another picture of the "regular" runners coming back in towards the finish:

Except that the photo taking tactic was useless. By the time I got to the mile marker for Mile 2, I was running even faster (I think it was about 19:30). So, in an effort to try to slow myself down more, I stopped at the water station between miles 2 and 3 to get a drink of water and walk for a couple seconds. I didn't really need the water, but I could tell that my legs were exhausted and I was trying to do them a favor.

By the time I could see the mile marker for Mile 3, I was ready to sprint and be done with the race. Which isn't to say that I wasn't having a good time. That was the problem - it was a great race! There were bands/bagpipers/marching bands every couple of blocks playing tunes and it was a fairly hilly course, but it was all just so much fun. I think it really was hitting home how nice it is to get out and run somewhere new where you don't know every single little hill (like I do in the Park now).

I made myself wait until after I passed the 3 Mile mark and then a couple more stop lights before I started sprinting. I was really surprised at how much I wanted to sprint at the end - so, finally I did and it felt great to sprint to the finish. I know that this was the exact opposite of a recovery run and I'm guessing that my legs are going to be exhausted as a result, but it was nice to just have fun while running - as a stark contrast to yesterday.

The best part of the race? The weird green bagels they were handing out at the end:

I had a great time at this race and I'm really glad that I went all the way uptown for it. Even though I was trying not to race, I still ended up with a really good time (for me) since it's under 10 minutes a mile. I think that because I was having so much fun with the bands and the course and taking pictures that I just forgot that I was supposed to be doing a recovery run. I'm hoping that I don't pay the cost too dearly. I plan on doing lots of leg compressing today to try to speed along the recovery that I didn't really do today. Hopefully that will be the magic trick!

Time: 30:23
Distance: 3.10 miles
Pace: 9:48/mile
Calories: 387
Maximum HR: 187
Average HR: 175

Saturday, March 6, 2010

1-2-3-4-5 Again And Again And Again

Today was my big attempt to do 12 miles before the half-marathon. And things did not go so well. It turns out that I made some mistakes this morning before going running (all of them stupid and they won't be repeated before the actual race).

Just as a reminder to myself for the future, you probably shouldn't go out drinking and staying up late the night before. Then, when you wake up and eat, you should go running a bit closer to the time that you ate instead of watching 3 hours of really bad TV. Then, after realizing that you're hungry and about to run 12 miles, you should eat more than a couple of handfuls of trail mix stuffed in your mouth quickly while heading out the door. I would think that I would know better than all of this, but apparently, sometimes I'm just not that smart.

When I left the apartment, the weather on my phone said it was 44. I wore capris, a short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt and a (baseball) running hat to keep the sun out of my eyes. I was actually a bit disappointed that it wasn't a little bit cooler because it's a lot easier to carry stuff around in my windbreaker than it is to stuff things in the little tiny pockets on my shirt and capris. The weather went up to the low 50s while I was out running, which is a nice change from the cold.

I walked to the park (no need to do much more than 12 miles, right?) and once I got there, I started off on my journey. So, the first mile was really bad. I was really frustrated with myself for not eating better beforehand. I actually thought that it might be hard to make it around the big loop of the park once, let alone the two loops I had planned. As a result, I took many more walking breaks than I am proud to admit. It was a really disorganized strategy of running and walking.

After about 4 miles, I decided to stop and buy and Orange Gatorade. I think it was a good idea in theory and it did make me feel a little bit better for a while, but then I felt a little bit barfy and was actually worried about getting sick. I got to the bottom of the park and completed one loop in 1:11:30 (11:43/mile pace). I'm not proud of that at all, but instead of giving up there, I pushed through. I wanted to talk myself out of it by telling myself that I could do half of it now, go and eat something and then come back and do the rest of it later. However, I talked myself back into it by rationalizing that I couldn't do that during the actual race, so even if this was horrible, I might as well get through it.

For the second loop, I recognized that there wasn't any way that I was going to be able to run the whole thing, but I needed to be more organized in running and walking than I was the first time. I devised a plan where I would run for 4 light posts and walk for 1. I spent the better part of the next hour counting 1-2-3-4-5 again and again and again. It turns out that I never really realized how many light posts there are in the park! I also definitely cheated on this once or twice, but I think the fact that I knew that I would have a walking break really helped push me on with my running portions.

I also did something that I don't normally do today - I brought along my iPod. I thought that it might get pretty boring out there for 12 miles and I figured I should bring along some sort of distraction. It actually was more annoying than anything else, even though I had downloaded a special new song to listen to. It didn't take me long to be annoyed that I even had to carry it around with me. It turns out that I rather like being alone with my thoughts while running (at least outside), which is good to know.

I had thought before I started that if I could finish this thing in less than 2:30:00, I'd be okay with everything. I am trying not to set time goals for the half-marathon, but I'd hope that I could be done in less than 3 hours at the most. Today was a really good experience for me. I learned a lot today about what not to do. I think that because I felt bad within the first mile, I thought that I might not finish, but that wasn't the case at all.

The best part is that after today, I literally will have less than a mile to go to finish the race. Even though this was not a good run for me, I still did the whole thing and I didn't give up on myself. At the race I'll know that I'm totally capable of doing the distance, even if it's not pretty at the finish!

Time: 2:29:49
Distance: 12.20 miles
Pace: 12:16/mile
Calories: 1680
Maximum HR: 189
Average HR: 162

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Hungry Caterpillar

Yesterday I got these delivered to me at work. I had ordered them about a week ago and was glad that they finally arrived. I really just wanted to try them out and give them a shot. I had been reading about the benefits of compression gear and figured that it wouldn't hurt just to try it. I also thought that they could be really good to wear on the airplane to Atlanta before the half-marathon to try to avoid some of that puffiness that comes along with flying.

So, naturally, once I got them, I pulled them on at work. Of course, I just happened to be wearing a skirt and tights yesterday, so I just wore them over my tights and kept my legs planted firmly under my desk so that I wouldn't appear too weird. I'm not sure I really noticed anything while at work, but I tried them again after work while I was just lounging around and being lazy watching TV and I will say that they improved my leg circulation by about 100%. I didn't wear them to bed (I took them off right before), but I think it was the first time that I didn't have cold feet when we went to bed. Normally I just plant them on Drew to warm them up, but that wasn't even necessary this time. I'm sure he'll be wanting me to wear these every evening!

My plan for today was pretty similar to another night not so long ago. I was going to run to the New York Road Runner (NYRR) office in order to pick up my race number and t-shirt for the 5K Race that I'm doing on Sunday. The actual plan for today was supposed to be 7 miles plus 5 GP. So, I left work, headed home and changed clothes. By this point, I was really hungry, but I knew I needed to get myself out the door as soon as possible in order to get to the NYRR office before they closed at 7:00, so I didn't take the time to eat anything. I figured that since I had a big afternoon snack (Kind bar crumbled up into Chobani yogurt) of around 350 calories, I'd be totally fine.

Tonight the weather was about 39 when I left the apartment and I wore the exact same thing that I wore on Tuesday when I went running: capris, thin long-sleeved shirt, windbreaker. Both times I ended up taking my hat and gloves along with me, just in case, and both times I ended up keeping them in my pockets. Better safe than sorry, I guess.

I had planned on taking the inserts for my shoes, but decided that I'd just tough it out with just the orthotics and my shoes and see what happens. I figured that if something went wrong, I could always walk and if I didn't have the inserts, I'd probably be less likely to want to stop and fidget with my shoes. Turns out that I was totally correct on this as my shoes were totally fine the whole time. I think I've figured out what to do with these new ones. Whew!

I ran to the NYRR office and picked up my race number and D-Tag for my shoe, but they only had L or XL t-shirts available. Since I don't know anyone who normally wears size L t-shirts, I decided to skip that part. The guy told me that I could come back tomorrow or before the race to see if they had some smalls in stock then. A bit of a bummer as it was actually a really pretty teal color. Oh well.

The bad thing was that when I was picking up my number, my tummy was really rumbling. I was starving already. I wasn't sure how in the heck I was going to make it through the route I had planned for tonight. I was thinking a lot about the book Born to Run while I was running tonight. Although I'm still not quite done, the end portion of the book is really interesting to me - about barefoot running as well as how humans were designed to run for survival and hunting. Somehow that just made me feel better about running longer distances in general. If I'm designed to do it, I must be able to do it, right?

After I left NYRR, I had planned on running around the top of the reservoir before heading back south. There was no one on the path, which was really really weird to me. Normally there are at least a handful of people. Of course, once I started running, I realized that it was probably because the path was filled with huge puddles that took up the entire path. I must have looked like a crazy person running from one side of the path to the other, jumping up on the ledge and so on in order to avoid a step in a puddle. Luckily, there was no one around to actually see me!

I decided that I could get myself to the bottom of the park, but that I just couldn't stomach the idea of going around the Lower Loop again as I had planned (in order to get my 7 miles in). When I got to the bottom of the park, I talked myself into doing the pick-ups because that would only be a small amount of running that I would have to do. When I first started, I talked myself into doing 4 pick-ups (which would be 1 mile in total). My plan was to run 1/8 mile and then walk back to where I had started as recovery. Each pick-up took about 3:00 (~1:00 running and 2:00 walking).

Once I had done three pick-ups, I talked myself into doing three more (so I'd be doing 1.50 miles instead of just 1.00). I realized that it'd only be three more minutes of actual running and I figured I could handle that. Of course, every time that I was walking back to the start, I just kept getting hungrier and hungrier. While I was running (and walking) all I could think about was what was I going to eat when I got home? Our fridge is pretty low on supplies (and even on a good day there aren't a lot of options) but I remembered that there was a little bit of cheese left and I was just totally fixated on that for the majority of my pick-ups.

When I was done, I was so excited to run home so that I could get something to eat. Normally I feel like walking home (even if I do in fact run), but today I actually wanted to run. Of course, I had some sort of curse on the way back because I think I got stuck at every single red light that there was on the way, but I made it eventually.

In all, I ended up doing 7.25 miles total and burning almost as many calories as I had eaten in the day. No wonder I was hungry! So, now I'm currently eating some cheese, drinking some muscle milk and compressing my calves. My plan for the weekend is to deviate slightly from the original plan (shocking, isn't it?) and to do my 12 mile run on Saturday and do the 5K race on Sunday. The weather is actually supposed to be decently warm this weekend and sunny too, so hopefully it'll be a great weekend for running!

Time: 25:59
Distance: 2.50 miles
Pace: 10:23/mile
Calories: 328
Maximum HR: 186
Average HR: 173

Run To S
Time: 24:53
Distance: 2.45 miles
Pace: 10:09/mile
Calories: 319
Maximum HR: 182
Average HR: 175

Time: 18:20
Distance: 1.50 miles
Pace: 12:13/mile
Calories: 202
Maximum HR: 183
Average HR: 160

Run Home
Time: 19:24
Distance: 0.80 miles
Pace: 11:24/mile
Calories: 104
Maximum HR: 176
Average HR: 162