Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - It's Official

After two good workouts (and a little enabling), I made it official and joined the Capital Area Runners this morning.

This means that my original Philly training plan is going to change significantly, but I could not be more excited!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 4

Monday August 22
Run 7.0 mi
This run was a struggle.  I drove back from North Carolina in the morning and I decided to do my medium-long run for the week since I had plenty of time, rather than waiting until the next morning.  I headed out to run around noon and although it was a nice day I was pretty hot by the end. I felt good at the beginning and started way too fast so I crashed hard.  By the end I was just glad I to finish.

Tuesday August 23
Run 3.0 mi
After Monday's poor run, I decided to take it slow on this run.  I also realized over the last week that I have been doing almost all of my runs at the same pace, which I know isn't the best idea.  So I really focused on keeping this run at a recovery pace.

Wednesday August 24
Run 3.05 mi
In keeping with my new decision not to run all of my runs at the same pace, I threw in 3 pickups during the last mile of this run.  It felt good to run faster, even though it was only for short stretches.

Thursday August 25

Friday August 26
Run 7.1 mi
Another run commute day!

Saturday August 27
Run 16.0 mi
I had 14 on the schedule and joined the Capital Area Runners for the first time.  The planned route was announced as 14.7, which I figured was close enough to my goal. Once we got started, I discovered that everyone running my pace was going 16 or more.  They were all planning on tacking on the miles in the middle of the run, rather than the end.  Since I didn't really want to run the last 7 or so by myself and I figured I was basically already running 15, I decided to go ahead and do 16.  It seemed like a good idea in the middle of the run, but not as great at mile 14 when I was still 2 miles away from my car.  I ended up doing the whole run with Thom, Katie's husband, who runs a similar pace and is also doing the Philadelphia Marathon.  I think this bodes well for future long runs (and the race)! :)

Sunday August 28
Elliptical 40 min
My left knee had felt a bit tight on Saturday night, but I really noticed it when I finally was able to leave my apartment post-Irene and had to go down stairs.  I decided to take it easy on the elliptical in the hopes that it would loosen everything up.  I also took extra time stretching and foam rolling afterwards and iced it.  It still feels a bit off, but a lot better.  I'm going to keep up the icing for the next few days and back off if needed.

Week 4 (miles planned/ran) - 34/36.15
Thanks to Saturday's long run, I ended up with a bit more than planned this week.  It was a pretty good week for me despite the rough start and craziness from Mother Nature (earthquake and a hurricane)!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1. I used to hate when my parents bought ginger snaps when I was growing up. Now they may be my favorite cookie.

4. I know almost no card games.

3. I got glasses in 3rd grade. I sometimes wish I knew what it was like to wake up and see clearly.

4. I'm glad that Target now sells SunDrop.

5. I would eat sushi every day if it wasn't so expensive.

6. I hate Settlers of Catan.

7. I don't like talking on the phone.  Working in a call center would be my worst nightmare.

8. Pearls Before Swine always makes me laugh.

9. When I was on the track team in high school, I used to love practice and hate meets. I would much rather hang out and watch everyone else race.  I was never like this with any other sport.  With swimming and team sports, I always preferred meets/games.

10. I'm glad the NFL is back.  Even if my team is going to have another bad year.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Beer

I found my new favorite beer this weekend.  Unfortunately, it's only available in North Carolina.  I guess I'll be visiting a lot!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 3

Monday August 15
Run 3.0 mi

Tuesday August 16
Run 6.0 mi
The length of my Tuesday run is going to slowly start creeping up and I think I will most likely be making this a run commute day to avoid getting up super early.

Wednesday August 17
Run 3.0 mi

Thursday August 18
Run 6.23 mi (marathon pace run)
My first run commute was a great success.  I got to sleep in a bit later than I normally would and manage to do a slightly better job of sticking to MP.  I was still a bit too fast on some of the early miles, but I ended with a 10:02 average pace (which just manages to squeeze into the 10-10:15 range).

For those of you that asked about the logistics of my run commute, I do have access to a shower at work (with towels) and I took in my clothes the day before.  When I started bike commuting occasionally earlier in the summer, I took in set of all of the necessary toiletries, so I don't have to worry about carrying any of that stuff back and forth either.

Friday August 19
Run 8.0 mi
I was leaving Friday afternoon visit my friend Jennifer for the weekend so I shifted my schedule around a bit to have my rest days on the weekend and get in my long run before I left.  Fortunately it was a step back week so I only had 8 on the schedule.

Saturday August 20
An afternoon at the Mother Earth brewery drinking on the patio.  Great way to spend a gorgeous Saturday.  And the Weeping Willow Wit may be my new favorite beer. :)

Sunday August 21
Sunday is my scheduled cross training day, but I decided it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to fit something in while I was out of town.  I'd much rather spend time with a friend who I only see a few times a year!  Pool time, a little shopping and movie night made for a very relaxing Sunday. 

Week 3 (miles planned/ran) - 26/26.23
This will be the last time I'll be seeing totals in the 20s for a while.  Things are going to start ramping up quickly!  Only 13 weeks until race day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Random Friday Facts

1. It drives me crazy when people say "liberry."  I don't work in a fruit!

2.  I don't like cottage cheese.  For some reason I feel like I should so I try it every few months, only to find out that I still don't like it.

3. I have to open programs on my work computer in a certain order so that they line up the "right" way along the bottom.  I need Outlook first, then my library software program, then anything else that I don't use as regularly.  This isn't as much an issue with Windows 7, but with XP I if I had to restart Outlook for any reason, I would need to close all of the other windows and reopen them.

4. I held off getting a smart phone for a long time because I didn't see why I needed it.  Now I can't really imagine what I would do without it.

5. I wish I had played lacrosse when I was younger.  It looks like it would have been fun.

6. I didn't join the summer swim team until I was 11 and didn't swim year round until my junior year of high school.  I sometimes wonder if I would have been better if I had started at 6 or if I would have burned out by high school.  I lean towards burnout.

7. I wish I had an interest in working in a medical field because I would love to wear scrubs to work.

8. I love Target (Archer Farms) trail mixes.

9. I always set my alarm so that I can hit snooze twice.  I know I should just sleep until the time I am planning to get up, but I need the gradual wake up.

10. I wear dresses to work as much as possible in the spring and summer because I don't have to worry about picking out a matching outfit.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  I ran to work this morning.  It was great.  I got to sleep in almost an hour later than I would if I had run and gotten ready at home, yet I still had plenty of time for my run and wasn't late to work.  I'm not sure why I didn't start doing this earlier!  This is definitely going to become a part of my regular routine - especially on days that I need to get in a weekday medium-long run.

I also think I need to re-evaluate my morning routine.  Why is it taking me so long to leave the house? I got ready in significantly less time at the office.

Some of the sights along the way:

2. The jury is still out on the Asics 2160, but after two runs I am leaning towards a favorable review.  There has certainly not been an immediate "ugh, I hate these!" reaction.  I also have not immediately fallen in love, but that's not necessarily a problem.  Basically, I haven't really thought about them or noticed anything while running and really, that's probably what I should be looking for in a shoe.  Also, most importantly, I love the lime green laces. 

3. Last night was the second (of what will hopefully be many) Monthly DC Blogger Meetup. There was an initial discussion of having dinner at Graffiato, but the craziness of Restaurant Week got in the way and we ended up at the Front Page for happy hour.  It was fun to meet some new bloggers and catch up with some familiar faces.  And someday we may actually have dinner at Graffiato!  Please join us next month if you are in the DC area. :)


Photos by Gretchen (who didn't make it into any photos because she was the only one with a camera).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 2

Monday August 8
3.0 mi
I love the early days of marathon training when there are still 3 mile runs on the schedule!
Tuesday August 9
6.0 mi

Wednesday August 10
Swim 3150 yds
Since I'm easing back into this all running schedule, and I'm probably swimming a 5k in a few weeks, I decided to replace Wednesday's 3 mile run with a swim.

Thursday August 11
6.0 mi pace
My current marathon PR is a 10:43 average pace.  When I use the McMillan running calculator, my times in shorter races predict that I can run a significantly faster marathon.  Even my half marathon PR says I can run almost 30 minutes faster.  While I'm definitely shooting for a PR in Philadelphia, I don't really think that big of a time drop is realistic.  I know myself and I know that I need to force myself start conservatively and then pick up the pace in the second half if I feel good.  The point of all this is that I am targeting a 10:00-10:15 pace on these pace runs.  Unfortunately, in this run I went a bit too fast and most of the miles were in the 9:45-9:50 range.  While it's always exciting to go faster than a goal, I need to do a better job of teaching myself to run the "right" pace.  It's not going to do me any good to run the pace runs at a sub-10 pace when starting a marathon that way will result in a painful crash and burn.
Friday August 12

Saturday August 13
12.0 mi
My friend left town mid-day on Saturday and I knew it was supposed to rain a lot on Sunday, so I decided to head out for an afternoon long run.  I was a bit nervous about how my stomach would handle it (I've had problems in the past), but that didn't turn out to be a problem.  However, the run was not easy and my left knee felt a bit off.  I had 12-13 on the schedule so I decided to stop right when I got to 12.  Then on the way home I stopped at CVS to pick up a bag of ice for my first ever ice bath.  Bea was pretty curious about the whole process and I was a bit concerned that I was going to end up with a cold, wet, very unhappy cat.

Sunday August 14
Swim 4000 yds
I figured it was time to up the distance in the pool from my regular 3000ish yards.  I even forced myself to do a semi-long set of 8x200 (I think 4-5 is a good number of repeats so 8 was an achievement).  It was a good day in the pool though I could definitely feel the extra distance in my upper body later in the afternoon.

Week 2 (miles planned/ran): 30-31/27 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I would still like to do one of the races at HarborFest this Sunday, but I'm not sure it's going to happen.  One of my friends from college is coming to town tonight and staying through sometime Saturday afternoon.  I already did my first "long" run of the weekend this morning so I could take tomorrow off, but I probably won't be able get in my second long run until Sunday morning.  I suppose I could get up at 4am to run and then go to the swim, but I don't think I'm that crazy (or committed?).  Depending on when she leaves on Saturday I may try to run that afternoon, but the weather would also have to cooperate.  I'm not heading out to run 13 miles when it's 90 degrees.

2.  Last week I got a pair of Asics 2160s to test out.  You may remember that I hated the 2150, but then kind of liked it again.  I figured the 2160s were worth a try, especially since they are so pretty!
I also had a coupon to Road Runner Sports, so I got a good deal.  And the store policy says that you can run in shoes for 60 days and return them, no questions asked, if you decide you don't like them.  Has anyone ever tested this out?  I definitely want to get a number of runs in these before I decide for sure.  Will they really take them back after I've put significant miles on them?  I hope so!  Actually, I really hope that I like them (since I loved the 2140s), but I'm not overly confident.

3. This is the time of year that I really start getting excited for fall temperatures, but sad that the days are getting shorter.  It was so pleasant when I stepped outside this morning a little before 6, but also just starting to get light.  Can't I have both?  Early sunrise and temperatures in the 60s?  That's how things would be if I were Mother Nature.  But since I'm not, I'd pick running in the dark in cooler temperatures.  And there is something nice about starting your run in the dark and watching the sun come up!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CSA Week 7

Corn, eggplant, green peppers, onion, cucumber

I decided to make a modified version of eggplant parmesan.  First I cut the eggplant into slices, brushed it with olive oil and roasted it on a cookie sheet in the oven (400 degrees, 8 minutes on each side).  Then I layered it in a baking dish with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked that for about 25 minutes at 350.

Green peppers and onions
I sliced and sauteed the peppers and onions and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I toasted a baguette and brie and topped with the peppers and onions.  It was a modified version one of my favorite sandwiches, The Cowgirl, at the Lost Dog Cafe.  They also include chicken, but I didn't feel like taking the time to cook that. :)

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of corn I've received recently, so if you have any recipe suggestions, please share them.  I cooked up the ears I got this week and took the corn off the cob, but other than that I haven't figured out what to do with it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Centennial Lake 1 mile swim race report

On Sunday I raced in the inaugural Centennial Lake 1 mile swim hosted by the Central Maryland Y Masters team.  All summer I had wanted to do an open water swim, but couldn't see to find one that was close enough or fit my schedule.  When I came across this race I was excited because it was just what I wanted.

The registration form asked for a seed time from a 1650 yd/1500 m pool swim.  Obviously I haven't done one of those in a while, but with the help of Victoria, I guesstimated my time.  I didn't want to just double my time from the swim portion of my tri (750 m) because I figured that it would be significantly slower than my pool time.  When I got the seeding for Sunday's race and was near the top, I realized that most people must have guessed at their open water time, rather than using a pool time.  I was pretty sure I was going to get passed - a lot.

Sunday morning I made the easy drive up to Centennial Lake.  Since the race didn't start until 8:45, I didn't have to leave my apartment until 7.  It almost felt like sleeping in. :)  I had heard that this lake is where the Columbia Tri is held, and it was obvious as soon as I got to the parking lot that the lake and surrounding park are a mecca for triathletes.  The lot was packed with cars with bike racks and people unloading their bikes, and the path down to the pavilion was packed with runners.

This was a small race (60 swimmers) so I was able to get my packet and be body marked in about 3 minutes.  I was lucky number 13!  Then I had plenty of time to warm up/check out the course and lake.  The water felt much better than Mountain Lake in Culpeper (turns out it was 82) and, like that lake, I could see absolutely nothing in the water.  Fortunately, that doesn't bother me in non-ocean situations because the only thing that freaks me out is sharks.  I suppose that if I swam in Florida I would also be worried about alligators, but that wasn't a concern here!

The race used a time trial start, which meant that 2 people started every 15 seconds.  I wasn't familiar with this type of wave system, but it was nice because there was no jostling or fighting for position at the beginning.  The woman I started with had pulled ahead before we got to the first buoy and I knew that my suspicions about being seeded too high were probably correct.  The course went out to the buoy you can see in the picture above and then we swam in a large triangle in the larger portion of the lake before coming back between that buoy and the island (on the right) and then straight in to the finish.

I settled into a decent rhythm early on and tried to sight on a semi-regular basis to make sure I was staying in a somewhat straight line.  I got passed by a number of people early on, along the first side of the triangle.  Other than that I felt like I was more or less out there on my own.  When I started on the third side I had been alone for a while and made it my goal not to get passed anymore.  Unfortunately, one more guy passed me in the middle of that side and then as I got back towards the last turn buoy I noticed that there was someone 10-15 yards behind me.  At that point I was very determined not to be passed another time and tried to pick up the pace.  I didn't pull away, but did manage to stay ahead of him to the finish.  Since he started behind me I'm sure he actually beat my gun time, but I got the satisfaction of crossing the line first! (you can kind of see his head/splashes in the photos below)

Apparently I have better running form when barefoot!

My final time was 28:12.  I had been hoping to be in the high 26-low 27 range, though I really had no basis for that goal and I couldn't tell you why or how I came up with it.  This time is pretty much in line with my 750m meter time/pace from the tri (13:52) so I can't be disappointed.

I ended up second in my age group and walked away with a sweet ribbon that reminded me of summer league swim meets!  Small races are the best.  The winner was actually the woman who had started with me.  She only ended up about a minute ahead of me which I think is pretty good considering that she pulled away so early on.

This race was a lot of fun and I can see myself signing up again next year.  I did learn that a mile in open water feels longer than I was expecting.  The 5k in a few weeks should be interesting.  I have no worry that I won't be able to finish it, but I will definitely have to slow down my pace.  Also, I'm guessing that my shoulders aren't going to be all that happy with me by the end!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Philadelphia Marathon Training - Week 1

Last week marked the start of training for the Philadelphia marathon on November 20.  I'm going with a 16 week plan this time (mainly because it worked with the timing of my last triathlon) and more or less following the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 schedule.  I've made a few changes based on my weekend travel plans, work and social obligations, etc. but the idea is generally the same.  This plan peaks at 50 mile/week which will be the most that I have ever done.  Last year I got up to the mid 40s.  I think this will be beneficial (why I'm trying it), but I am going to be paying close attention to see how my body responds and, if there are any issues, will be quick to replace a running day with cross training.  The other thing I like is that it calls for double long runs.  The first day is about half the mileage of the second day and the first day is often done at marathon pace.  While my focus now is Philadelphia, I'll be doing the Goofy Challenge only 7 weeks after that so I want my body to be prepared.  For this reason I am also considering a shorter taper. 

Monday August 1
All of the best training plans start with a rest day, right?  I decided to give myself the day off after the Culpeper triathlon and jump back into running on Tuesday.

Tuesday August 2
5.0 mi

Wednesday August 3
3.0 mi

Thursday August 4
Thursdays are going to be my standard rest day, ahead of the double long run weekend.

Friday August 5
5.0 mi
The plan is set up for double long run weekends, but I really like to have Sundays as a day to sleep in and not have to use an alarm.  I'm going to attempt to do the Friday/Saturday combo most weekends.

Saturday August 6
11.0 mi
Sarah joined me for the first 8 miles and it definitely made them fly by.  I should probably try to convince her to run with me more often as I ended up with my best average pace for a long run since the spring (before the heat and humidity slowed me down).  I tacked on an extra 3 by myself at the end to hit 11 for the day.
Sunday August 7
1 mile swim
I drove up to Ellicott City, Maryland on Sunday morning for the inaugural Centennial Lake 1 mile swim.  Full race report tomorrow!

Week 1 (miles planned/ran) - 26-27/24*

*I realized after posting this that I did some wonky math.  Monday had a 3 mile run on the schedule, but I decided to give myself a post-tri rest day instead.

Friday, August 5, 2011

CSA Week 6

This week wasn't quite as exciting since I didn't end up getting any "new to me" vegetables in my CSA delivery.

Green peppers, corn, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, onion 

I cut this up and took it in my lunch.

Corn, Green pepper, onion, yellow squash
All of these became part of veggie burrito filling that I make on a semi-regular basis.  I also added black beans, tomato and green chiles to the mix.  I love this because it is relatively quick and easy to make and leaves me with a bunch of leftovers.  It also reheats well.

I was most creative with the zucchini this week.  I made two loaves of zucchini bread using a recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook.  It is also available online.

 Despite the fact that I made this on two separate nights, I forgot to take a picture of the full loaf both times.

I also made a quick and tasty pasta dish based on a recipe created by Heather over at Dietitian on the Run.  I didn't have purple onions or basil so I left those out, but otherwise I followed her instructions.  It was really tasty and I never would have thought to mix Greek yogurt into my pasta sauce!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Well, my empty race calendar in August didn't last too long.  Last week I discovered that there was a 1 mile open water swim at Centennial Lake in Ellicott City, MD on Sunday (August 7) and yesterday I officially registered.  I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do and not having to bike or run afterwards!

2. As a prelude to the race registration, I also finally registered with US Masters Swimming (rather than paying for a one day license).  Now that I've handed over my money, I figure I better take advantage of my membership and do more races.  I think that designating August as my month of open water swimming sounds like a great idea.  I've got my eye on HarborFest at the National Harbor on August 14 (either the 1500 or the big one - 2.4 mi IronSwim) and Chantelle's 5k Swim Challenge on August 28.  Anyone want to join me? 

3. A few weeks ago I talked about my dinner out with some other DC bloggers.  Planning has already started for the next one (potentially August 17 @ Graffiato).  If you're in the DC area and interested in coming, please let me know and I can have you added to the email.  Or feel free to contact Jess who is handling the reservation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Culpeper Sprint Tri Race Report

My brother and I drove down to Culpeper on Saturday afternoon and got to the packet pickup around 4.  There weren't a lot of people there, so we were able to get our stuff quickly.  I was slightly annoyed because they only had large women's shirts left.  I understand that these things are never perfect, but I was surprised that they were already out of small and medium women's shirts.  Yes, the international race had been that morning (and had the same shirt), but that race had only about 200 people in it compared to the almost 500 in the sprint.  We arrived about halfway through the afternoon packet pickup and there were huge lines at the race day pickup on Sunday morning.  So it seems like they ran out of the smaller sizes pretty early on.  Fortunately it's pretty small for a large so it's still wearable, though not my preferred fit.

Race shirt logo. Notice anything wrong?*

The pickup was held at a local bike shop so we both took advantage of this to purchase bigger, insulated water bottles.  Given the temperature predictions for Sunday, we decided it couldn't hurt to carry more water with us on the bike leg.

Pretty new bottle!

We left packet pickup and made the short drive to Mountain Lake State Park to check out the lake, transition area and course.  On the drive in it quickly became apparent how hilly the area was.  We got there, put our feet in the lake to see exactly what 85 degrees feels like (answer - hot) and located our rack in the transition area.  Numbers appeared to have been assigned alphabetically so we were on the same rack.  We were much closer to the bike exit and entrance than we were to the swim entrance and run exit, which we decided was a good thing.  The less running we had to do with our bikes, the better.  Since the transition was in a grassy area near the lake, it required a pretty long run up a grassy hill to the mount/dismount line on the road.

We then got back in the car and drove the 16 mile bike course.  The farther along we got, the more nervous I became.  It was all hills with hardly a flat stretch to be found.  To be honest, I was more nervous about the downhills and tight turns than I was about the uphills.  I'm still not confident enough on my bike at higher speeds and when I crashed it was on a curve that I didn't handle properly.  I was most nervous about one very steep downhill around mile 8 and then the finish.  To get back into the park, there was a tight right-hand turn at the bottom of a fairly steep hill.  On the way back to our hotel we also drove the majority of the run course which was not quite as hilly, but still had its fair share.

We had dinner at a local Italian restaurant that had been taken over by triathletes (we decided it had to be one of their best weekends of the year) and were back at our hotel and in bed relatively early.  The hotel was less than 10 minutes away from the park so we avoided a super early alarm.  We got up at 5:45, ate breakfast and were out the door by about 6:20.  We had a little over an hour to get set up before the transition area closed.  We added air to our tires and I discovered that my chain had somehow been pushed off the big front ring and onto the small one during transport, and I was fortunately able to fix that ahead of time (and get myself covered in grease in the process).  We were set up in plenty of time and had a chance to warm up in the lake.  This swim only confirmed what we had learned the day before, it was hot.

Since it was a relatively small race, there were only 5 swim waves.  My brother was in wave 1 with the 39 & under men and I was in wave 3 with the 39 & under women.  His wave started right at 8:00 and then I was off six minutes later (wave 2 was the 40 & over men).  The course was a triangle that we swam in a counterclockwise direction.  It took me a little while to figure out the best ratio of breathing to sighting, but I  feel like I managed to avoid too much weaving.  I could see a number of women in my wave ahead of me, but I felt like I was moving pretty well. By the time I finished the first side of the triangle and got to the turn buoy I had caught up to the back end of the white caps (wave 2).  It was along the second side of the triangle that I started noticing how hot it was in the water, but I tried to keep a good pace and pass white caps and a few red ones (my wave).  It was never so crowded that I couldn't get around people and I never got kicked or punched in the face.  When I came in towards the finish I tried to swim as long as possible since I had noticed on the way in that the bottom was somewhat rocky and I wanted to avoid hurting my feet.  Then I was out and running towards transition hoping that my lack of practice wouldn't hurt me too much!
Swim time - 13:52
Women - 30/152
Age group - 10/38
Not quite my goal but I'll take it given the heat and my total lack of open water practice.

T1 time - 2:03
Women - 76/152
Age group - 15/38
Given that I did absolutely no transition practice, I'll take the top 50%.

The timing pad was right at the transition exit so the long run up the grassy hill was included in the bike time. Immediately after the line was a short, steep downhill and I managed to get feet clipped in as I rolled down, before turning out onto the main road and heading uphill.  The course was hill after hill and I feel like I did a pretty good job of shifting gears so that I could maintain a good cadence and avoid standing up.  Not surprisingly people started passing me almost immediately and kept it up the whole time.  I forced myself to drink on any stretch that was even close to flat and just worked on keeping a steady pace.  I made it through the tight turns early on though I realized that I have no idea what I'm doing.  I'm sure a lot of it is practice, but I also need to read up on how to approach turns and what type of line to take.  The steep downhill I was nervous about in the middle turned out to be not nearly as bad as I was expecting and was actually kind of fun!  By around mile 10 or so I found myself consistently around the same people.  I would catch up to them on the uphill portions and they would go flying out ahead on the downhills.  So I clearly have the strength to get myself up, but totally lack the technique to get down quickly.  More to practice!  At the top of one of the last big hills I even joked with the woman I kept trading places with that we really should combine into one person.  I'm not sure how much she agreed with me.  And perhaps the fact that I could talk at the top of the hill means I wasn't working hard enough?  About 2/3 of the way through I thought I might be able to finish in under an hour, but I think my math was slightly off and I wasn't quite accounting for how much the later hills would slow me down.  I was surprised that I remembered most of the course from our preview drive and I was happy when I made the last turn onto the road that would take me back to the park entrance.  As I approached the downhill to the last turn I was a little nervous about slowing down enough to handle it (or turning at a higher speed).  They had even spray painted "SLOW DOWN" on the road.  I tried feathering the brakes on the way down because I didn't want to ride them too much, but didn't slow down as much as I wanted.  At the last minute I felt like I couldn't make the turn and went past it instead.  Could I have actually made it? I'm not sure, but I didn't want to crash into the gate or guardrail so I didn't attempt it.  I had a flashback to my bad fall and couldn't do it.  So I had to stop, turn my bike around and head back in.  As I came back by the volunteer directing traffic she said that there had been a  earlier crash and she was glad I had avoided a wipeout.  The unfortunate part to this (besides the embarrassment) was that I had no momentum heading into the short steep uphill before the dismount line.  Then I was flustered about that and trying not to cross the dismount line on my bike and almost wiped out.  I got my foot out in time to not actually fall over, but I ended up in a squat with my bike more or less on the ground.  It was noticeable enough that multiple people asked if I was okay.  A glorious way to end the ride.

Time - 1:05:49
Women - 102/152
Age group - 23/38
I didn't quite hit my desired goal of faster than 15mph in my overall time, but I think that I did actually do that when I was riding.  If I could take out the cross country run with my bike and the minute or so it took me to get back on course, I think my riding time was definitely less than 1:04.  Clearly, though, this is by far my weakest leg and I have a lot of work to do if I want to be competitive

T2 Time - 1:25
Women - 46/152
Age group - 10/38

The first portion of the run was on grass so I just tried to settle into a decent rhythm.  Since I knew I probably wouldn't be able hydrate well enough on the bike, I decided to run with my handheld even though it was only a 5k.  I think it was the right call and I started drinking immediately.  My legs felt pretty trashed from the bike so I did my best to keep my pace sub-9.  I was able to pass a few people, but I definitely wasn't making a huge surge like I would have hoped.  The course was an out and back so I kept trying to keep an eye out for my brother who I knew was somewhere on the course ahead of me.  He was not quite as far ahead as I had thought he would be, which made me wonder if I had missed him (there was a short out and back on a side street early in the course so I thought I could have been on that tangent when he was heading back on the main road).  Fortunately I had not and it gave me a bit of boost to see a familiar face.  Soon the race was almost over and I was back on the grass.  I didn't want to try to kick it in until the very end since I was pretty sure I didn't have many reserves.  Another women tried to pass me about 200 yards before the finish.  I decided to go for it at that point and fortunately managed to stay head of her to the end!

Run time - 27:10
Women - 68/152
Age group - 17/38
I was hoping to place a little bit better here, but I knew that based on my recent runs I probably wouldn't be able to go as fast as I had in my first race.  I am glad that I managed to finish with an average pace under 9:00.

Final time - 1:50:17

Other than my issues at the end of the bike course, I'm pleased with how this race went.  It was a lot of fun to do a race with my brother and it was a beautiful (though challenging) course.  The race was well run and small enough to never feel overly crowded.  I'm not sure how I would manage in a tri with 1000s of people!  I think I did well considering that I did very little hill training.  I certainly have a long way to go on the bike, but I know I did improve this summer (even if this race doesn't necessary reflect that time wise).  I also need to figure out how to keep up my running speed while adding in biking and swimming workouts.

*This race was in Virginia! Oops!
I guess they used the same template for the Maryland Tri Series races and
someone forgot to make all of the necessary changes?

Monday, August 1, 2011

July Recap

Miles: 60.94

X-Training: 11 (7 bike, 4 swim)
Biking Miles: 182.11

Rest Days: 9

Race(s): Culpeper Sprint Tri on July 31 (race recap coming soon!)

New gear: I made a trip to some local outlets over the July 4 holiday weekend when there were some great sales and came home with two new tops.  The only unfortunate thing is that they are both long sleeve (super cheap!) and I probably won't be able to wear them for a while.  Come on fall!  All things considered I was proud of myself for my relative restraint.  There was plenty more that caught my eye, but I stuck to the really good deals. :)

Workout goals: 
Increase my running mileage over June - This didn't happen, but I also hadn't planned on a full week off from running.  I had hoped to do a few runs on my vacation, but when I was experiencing some heel pain I decided the smartest thing to do was take a full week off from running.  It seems to have paid off as I have had no pain.

Take some extra rest days (marathon training is coming and I should take a break now) - I had planned to make sure that I had two complete rest days a week and I achieved this and then some! 

End July motivated and ready to train for Philly - I had some motivation lows during the month (particularly when it came to the bike), but I am excited to start this marathon training cycle.

Non-workout goal: More new recipes.  The first two CSA deliveries have really motivated me to try new things in the kitchen and I want to keep it up once the new, excited feeling has worn off.  I tapered off a bit at the end of the month, but I did manage to try a couple of new things.

Ice cream flavor of the month: Red Velvet Cake

July was an interesting month.  I started off feeling somewhat unmotivated and pledged to take extra rest days.  I struggled on the bike, but finally broke through with a great ride the weekend before my tri.  I didn't manage to run as much as I had hoped, but some heel pain led me to take some extra days off, just as a precaution.  I'm hoping that the extra rest, along with all of the cycling and swimming as a part of tri training, have put me in a good position to tackle marathon training.  I think I definitely needed the last 2-3 months away from intense running, both mentally and physically.

August Preview

Workout goals: 
Be smart as I start my marathon training plan - I was hoping to have a few more miles under my belt in June and July than I actually managed.  I don't want to ramp up too quickly, so I may swap out the 5th running day for cross training for the first few weeks to ease myself out of tri training and back to running.  I know that being smart now will help me avoid injury.

Keep swimming in the rotation - I have really enjoyed getting back in the pool this summer and I don't want to abandon it completely when my focus shifts back to running.  I have Sunday as a cross training day so my goal is to making this a swimming day as often as I can.

Plank a day - I keep saying that I want to be/should be doing more core work.  Since I currently do absolutely nothing, I figure a good way to get started is to commit to a plank a day in August.  I know I won't last long at the beginning, but hopefully I see some improvement in 31 days!

Races: Right now I have nothing on the schedule.  We'll see if I actually make it through the month race-free.

Non-workout goal: New recipes. For some reason I had a hard time coming up with a goal for August so I'm going to stick with a cooking related one.  I dropped off a bit last month, but I'd like to get back to trying at least one new recipe a week using my CSA produce.