Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I saw on twitter yesterday that the Jeff Galloway training plans for the Disney marathon were available and decided to read through them out of curiosity.  It's not something that I am planning to use, but I always like seeing the different training options.  First of all, these are 28 week plans, which is a long time to be training for a race!  Of course, then when I saw that they started this week I realized that in 28 weeks I will be running a half marathon and marathon in the same week!  Maybe I do, in fact, need 28 weeks to prepare myself. :)

I was surprised to see that the plan for experienced runners had a 29 mile long run!  I realize it's a long training plan, but it seems to me that most plans I’ve read peak at 20 miles (or maybe get up to 22-23).  I certainly did know that any of them went that far over the distance.  I’m not sure how my body would handle that, though given that I’ll be doing 39.3 in a weekend, maybe a 29 mile run is exactly what I need!

2. I’ve been feeling a bit unmotivated recently.  I think the bike crash contributed to it (I know, I’ll stop talking about it soon!), but it was building before then.  I see a few other bloggers commenting about taking some time off today, so maybe it’s just the time of year, or the heat and humidity or something all together unrelated.  As both Katie and Emily said, a few days off aren’t going to derail a training cycle or race and they may just be what the body needs to train even harder until the big day.  And if it's true for them, it's true for me since I'm not even training for anything nearly as long as they are!  The only race I have on my calendar in July is a sprint tri on the 31st.  I know I could complete that race even if I did nothing for the next month.  My bigger concern is that I have to start marathon training right at the beginning of August.  So I'd like to have a decent running base going into that, but at the same time I don't want to start out training feeling like I need a break!

I’m going to the beach in a little over a week.  I hadn't really decided how I was going to approach training, but I think I’ll take this as my opportunity to back off a bit.  I’ll fit in a few runs and maybe attempt a bit of ocean swimming if I feel brave (for some reason lakes and rivers don’t bother me at all, but I get the heebie jeebies about sharks in the ocean).  Hopefully I will come back mentally and physically refreshed!

3.  On that unmotivated note, I have decided to let the universe decide if I will exercise today.  I have tentative plans to meet a friend after work for dinner but she has a late afternoon meeting that has the potential to run late and require her to cancel our plans.  I debated heading to the pool this morning, but decided last night that I’d really prefer to sleep in.  If she cancels, I'll work out.  If not, today is a rest day.  I’m leaving my fate to the workout gods.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

CSA Week 1

As part of my office's healthy living initiative, the HR department arranged to have a weekly CSA delivery to our building.  I've been interested in trying a CSA for a while, but they always seemed to expensive, or inconvenient to pick up, or like there would be too much food for one person.  This farm offers a half share, the price was reasonable, and it couldn't be easier to pick up, so I decided to commit myself for the summer.

I can follow a recipe but I wouldn't say I'm a good cook and I'm definitely not very creative.  I've figured out a few meals I can make relatively easily and I stick with those basics.  I'm hoping that this will force me to try new things and branch out of my normal kitchen comfort zone.  And I feel like by sharing it on the blog, I will be even more accountable since I know that none of you want to hear about salad week after week.

Here's what I got in the first delivery last week:

Lettuce, kale, onions, yellow squash, cucumber

I've read about kale chips on various blogs, so I decided that they would be the perfect use of the kale I received.  I read a bunch of recipes, but ended up following the one by Smitten Kitchen.

Lettuce and Cucumber
This is where I was pretty boring.  I made a few salads and also took sliced cucumbers with my lunch.

Yellow Squash
I searched around for squash recipes and ended up following some general concepts I had seen, but not a specific recipe.  I cut up the squash and one of the onions and covered it with a mixture of bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Then I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes.

All in all, I'm pleased with how I did this week.  I managed to use everything (except for a few onions, but I'll get to them this week) and tried two new recipes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Week in Review - 6/19-6/25

Sunday June 19

Monday June 20

Tuesday June 21
Run 3.06 mi
I gave myself two complete rest days after last Saturday's bike crash.  I figure there was no sense in pushing it and I might as well give my body some time to heal.  By Monday night I was feeling pretty good so I decided to test things out with an easy morning run on Tuesday.  Fortunately there were no weird aches or pains and it felt good to be exercising again!

Wednesday June 22
Bike - 19 mi (AM), 5 mi (PM)
I was nervous to get back on the bike, as I discussed more than once last week (here and here), but I made myself do it and, of course, nothing horrible happened.  It ended up being a nice morning ride. 

Thursday June 23
Run 5.07 mi
It was really humid and I never felt good during this run.  It was so soupy that I felt like I could have been swimming!  However, I got it done and that's all that really matters.

Friday June 24
Bike - 22 mi (AM), 5.3 mi (PM)
Another Friday morning ride with Sarah.  I ended up having my highest average pace for a ride so far (14.2 mph, first time in the 14s!), so I was excited about that.  I've decided I really like riding on Friday mornings, it's a great way to get the last day of the work week off on the right foot. 

Saturday June 25
Run 10 mi
I was excited to finally get in a weekend long run since it had been a few weeks.  I had hoped to run long last Sunday, but my crash on Saturday negated those plans.  I felt really good on this run until about mile 8 and then the last two miles were tough.  When I got home and checked my training log, I realized that the last time I ran 10 miles was the Broad Street Run on May 1!  My longest runs since then have only been 8 or 9 miles.  So it's no surprise that this run got difficult at the very end.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Five

1. As I said in my post on Wednesday, I got back on my bike.  It was hard.  My physical injuries were relatively minor, but the mental damage was pretty significant.  As I said back in my first post about my thoughts on biking, I came into this with a great fear of falling.  Once I started riding more I started feeling much more comfortable and in the last few weeks I finally was confident enough to make the switch to clipless pedals.  I had two newbie shoe/pedal related falls and those did not trigger my anxiety.  I think I knew that they were inevitable, and since both happened when I was essentially stopped they weren't too painful.  Saturday's crash was completely different.  It was at a decent speed and doing something that already made me nervous (picking up speed on a downhill).   So, as a result, all of my original scared feelings came back to the surface.  I felt much better after Wednesday morning's ride, but was extra nervous for my commute home and again when I went out this morning.  I know it's just something that I have to accept and that over time I'll feel less and less nervous (until I fall again, haha).

2. I'm participating in a CSA for the first time, through my office (so convenient!), and this week was my first delivery.  I'm not much of a foodie (and my skills in the kitchen are extremely limited), but will probably try to do a weekly post about what I received and what I managed to make.  I signed up because I wanted to motivate myself to try cooking new things and push myself out of my cooking comfort zone.  I'm hoping that by sharing it here, I'll be even more motivated to try new things since no one is going to want to hear about how I made a ton of salads.

3. Look what came in the mail yesterday!

I feel like I should put a little piece of tape on it to correct 10k to 5k. Or I could just let people be really impressed when I tell them my time for the "10k."

4.  I don't talk about it much on this blog, but I am a sports junkie.  I'll watch pretty much any major sport (excluding NASCAR) on TV or in person, as well as all of the minor ones that fall in what I would call the "Olympic" category.  Having grown up in the area, I'm a big fan of all the DC teams.  I've been happily following the Nationals' recent success, so I was shocked yesterday afternoon when news popped up on Twitter that manager Jim Riggleman had resigned.  Only in DC would a manager leave (over a contract dispute) when the team had just won 11 of 12 games.  Clearly the universe doesn't like any departure from mediocrity!

5. And to end on a happy note, here are some cute cat pictures!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back on the Bike

I was going to wait until the weekend to get back on my bike, but the more I thought about it, the more nervous I was, so I knew I couldn't wait that long (or my nerves would get the best of me).  It seemed like a lot of other bloggers were heading down to Hains Point this morning, so I decided to go.

Not surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I was imagining and, of course, I survived!  I did learn that my bike needs some work post-crash (couldn't shift the front gear to the big ring), so I'll be heading to the bike shop tonight.

My elbow is still kind of gross and scabby and I was worried about riding with it exposed so I wore one arm warmer (rolled up slightly because it's hot) to create a cover.  Not that it would have really protected my elbow from injury had I fallen again, but it made me feel better.  And, obviously, looked awesome!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Week in Review - 6/12-6/18

Sunday June 12
Bike 30.57 mi
This was my longest bike ride to date!  I headed out early on Sunday morning to avoid the crowds on the trails and was somewhat successful.  By the time I was close to home things were picking up.  I wore my new bike jersey for the first time and realized it is very nice to have so many pockets.  I did the return trip about five minutes faster than the way out, so I was quite happy with that.  I also felt a lot more comfortable getting in and out of my pedals.

Monday June 13
Run 6.2 mi
I feel like despite my best intentions and plans, my running mileage has been rather low recently.  I decided to start the week with six miles to get off on the right foot.

Tuesday June 14
Bike - 25.7 mi (AM), 4.6 mi (PM)
This was another successful morning ride at Hains Point with Sarah.  I still get passed by almost everyone, but I feel like my pace is improving every so slightly.

I realized in the evening that I am probably going to have to avoid bike commuting on Tuesdays.  I go past Arlington Cemetery and Iwo Jima on my way home and on Tuesday nights the Marine Corps band has a summer concert series.   There were a ton of tour buses parked along 110 and herds of tourists on the bike path along 110 and Iwo Jima.  Despite the fact that I kept yelling "passing on your left" and "excuse me" and "coming behind you on a bike," people really didn't move out of the way.  I feel lucky that I didn't fall over or hit anyone.

Wednesday June 15
Swim 2800 yds
This was another good morning swim.  I actually forced myself to push the pace a bit with a set of 100s and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting.  I definitely feel like I should be able to do them on a faster interval, but it was a decent start.  I know I can't expect too much when I'm only swimming 1 or 2 times a week.

Thursday June 16
Run 5.25 mi
Another decent morning run at a steady pace.  I know I need to start fitting in at least one speed or tempo session a week, but for now I'll take these even paced runs. 

After work I went to the Nationals game and blogger meetup organized by Amanda.  Unfortunately I didn't plan very well and forgot my camera so I don't have any photos.  It was a lot of fun and great to meet some DC bloggers in person (and get introduced to some new blogs).
Friday June 17

Saturday June 18
Bike 21 mi
I had plans for a 35 mile ride and short run (30ish minutes) for my first brick workout in several weeks, but that all got derailed when I crashed shortly after hitting the halfway point of my ride. 

Monday, June 20, 2011


I had my first major bike crash on Saturday morning and while it (fortunately) did not end with serious injuries, it was still pretty scary!

I was planning on a 35ish mile ride and had just turned around to head back home.  I was down near Mount Vernon where the trail is relatively hilly and the path is pretty curvy.  I'm already nervous about downhills and the curvy narrow downhills make me extra nervous.  I'm not sure if this contributed to my wipeout, but I'm sure it's possible.  The paths were also still pretty wet from the rain the night before because there are a ton of trees that block the sun.  I headed down one of the hills and was trying to avoid riding on my brakes, but was pumping them to keep myself from going to fast.  I came around a curve and my wheel went out from under me and I went skidding across the trail.  I'm not sure if I just took the curve at the wrong angle or hit an extra slick patch, but I had no time to think before I was on the ground.  I do know that even if I hadn't been clipped in there would have been nothing I could do to stop it.  My elbow took the brunt on the fall and was really cut up.  I quickly determined that nothing appeared to be broken, but I had a lot of cuts and bruises.  I was really shaken up and wasn't sure I could make it the 15+ miles home.  I walked my bike back up the hill because I knew there was an open grassy area where I could sit down and I was pretty shaky on that short walk.  I ended up calling my mother who said she could come and get me.  Once I had been sitting for a few minutes I felt much better and we decided to meet closer to Old Town because it would be easier for her to pull off the GW Parkway and because it was probably going to take her at least 30 minutes to get to me (so I might as well head back towards her).  I managed to put my chain back on and rode the 4-5 miles to meet her.  Once I started riding again, I realized that I wasn't all that bad off (and probably could have made it all the way home), but I was still glad for the ride.

I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed by the response of other cyclists and runners.  When I still extricating myself from my bike and accessing the damage, a guy rode by up the hill and didn't even slow down.  While I don't know how much help I really needed, it certainly would have been nice for him to at least check!  Multiple people went by when I was sitting by the side of the path in the grassy area, but I was on the phone, so I think it's more understandable that they kept going (though I think I still looked bloody!).  It was not until I walked my bike back down the hill (I knew I could get back on, but I wasn't about to do that hill again) that an older guy stopped and asked if I was okay.  At first when I said I had wiped out he kind of laughed and said "yeah, it's slick out here, I've gone down least twice today," but when he noticed I was pretty shaken up he stayed and made sure that I had my chain back on and was back on my bike before he rode off.

When I got home and got in the shower, I noticed my clothing had covered road rash on my shoulder and thigh and the back of my hand (ripped my gloves, unfortunately) on my right side.  I also had significant bruises the inside of my right knee and left shin (both of which I assume slammed into the bike).  My poor Garmin also took a bit of a beating, but fortunately still appears to be working fine!
a little blurry, but you can see the buttons are scratched up

I am feeling a lot better today, though the big cuts on my elbow are early on in the healing process (and the whole area is still swollen) and my shoulder is sore when I lift my arm.  I did learn that apparently I am not one to get big colorful bruises.  The "bruised" areas on my legs hurt when I touch them, but are not noticeable when I look at them. 

I know that I am very lucky that this wasn't more serious and I would bet a lot of you have been through a lot worse.  I'm not sure exactly when I will get back on my bike, but I know I shouldn't wait too long or I'll start playing too many mental games with myself.  It certainly seems like I will have more mental repercussions from this fall than physical ones.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Three Things Thursday - Running

This is supposed to be a blog about running and I feel like all I've been talking about recently is cycling.  So to get back on track, here are three running related things!

1.  I discovered after I signed up for the Philly marathon that it was going to be one of the 2011 Runner’s World Challenge races.  In the last few weeks I started been thinking that it might be fun to take advantage of that.  Not only do you get a training plan and online support from other participants, but you also get special race treatment like VIP porta potties.  I did a little more research and found out that the Runner's World Challenge registration is packaged with the race fee.  When I contacted them, they said that I can’t just pay for the training package (which I was hoping would be an option).  Instead, they would have to contact Philly marathon officials to have my registration cancelled and then I could re-register through them.  While this isn’t all that complicated, now I’m leaning towards not taking this step for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it’s not cheap ($250) and I would essentially lose the discount that I got on the race registration by signing up at the National Half expo.  While I don’t think the price is ridiculous, it is more than the free plan I was going to use.  I also started looking at hotels for the Goofy Challenge weekend at Disney and realized that I should probably cuts costs where I can! Second, speaking of Disney it’s only 7 weeks post-Philly.  I’m thinking that I may do a shorter taper for Philly so building back up is a bit easier.  I also have a feeling that it might work better for me in general, though that is currently unproven.  I also like that the Hal Higdon plans (what I'll probably use) have double long runs on weekends, which I need to get ready for Goofy.  If I pay for the Runner's World training package then I want to follow as closely as possible and I'm not sure this is the ideal time to do that. Finally, I'm lazy and all those steps to de-register and then re-register might be too much for me.  But if you've had an amazing experience with the Runner's World Challenge, please let me know!

2. I'm excited because I realized this week that now that I've figured out the shower situation at work (for bike commuting), with a little pre-planning (bringing in clothes the day before) I can run to work too.  I've run home before a number of times, but without an option to shower, I never ran in.  What this really means is that I can fit in longer mid-week runs during marathon training without having to get up at a really ridiculous hour!  When I get ready at home, I need to be done with my run by 7-7:15 in order to get to work on time.  If I shower at work, I could finish my run at 8:15 instead!  I'm planning on following a training plan that will get me to higher weekly mileage this time around, so having that extra time to work with for a mid-week medium-long run is really going to come in handy.

3. I just got my race photos from Lawyers Have Heart.  I look okay in the first one, but the second one is pure misery.  That about sums up how I felt about the race by the end!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Clean bike

Dirty bike:

Clean bike:

You probably can't really tell the difference from these pictures (and I'll admit, I can't either!), but I got a whole lot of black gunk off!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Week in Review - 6/5-6/11

Sunday June 5
Swim 3000m, Pool run 40 min/4 miles
I met up with Amy to swim at Wilson for the first time. I was excited when she suggested it because I haven't swum long course in years.  It's definitely a different experience and I really enjoyed it.  There's something nice about that longer stretch of swimming.  I also finally got myself up to 3000m after spending weeks doing workouts in the 2600-2800 range.  After swimming, I joined Amy for some pool running (another first for me).  I know that a lot of you all swear by pool running and I'll have to see if it is something that I can work into my workout schedule more often.

Monday June 6
Run 4.1 mi
Bike 10.2 mi (commute)
I was hoping to get in a 5-6 mile run but I just couldn't get myself out of bed in time.  By the time I got going I could only fit in 4 miles.  I decided during the run that I should also bike commute when I determined that it was probably one of the better days of the week to do so.  I was too nervous to use my new shoes so I just wore sneakers and rode on the platform side of the pedals.  On the way home I tested a new route (across the 14th St. bridge) which ended up being longer but more comfortable because I could stick to bike lanes/paths.

Tuesday June 7
Run 4.21 mi
This was a bit of a tempo run and I tried to run my anticipated pace for Saturday's 10k during the middle two miles.  I once again felt sluggish at the start, but was able to stay in my goal range during the tempo portion.

Wednesday June 8
Bike - 22.67 mi (AM), 4.5 mi (PM)
This was my first "real" ride with my new shoes.  I rode with only one foot clipped in until I got to Hains Point, at which point I felt safe enough to try clipping in both feet.  I was hoping to meet up with Katie, so she could share some of her cycling magic with me, but somehow we never managed to connect on any of our loops.  There was a biker down after what appeared to be a nasty crash, one that may have been caused by a runner. :( When I went by the first time another biker was yelling at a female runner.  I don't know what happened but she must have changed direction or stopped suddenly in front of them.

On the way home in the evening I had my first fall, and also tested another route, which I think may be my favorite.

Thursday June 9
Swim 3000 yds
Now that I've hit the 3k mark for swim workouts, I'm hoping I can force myself to stay there.  I was a little nervous that I wouldn't get this swim in, since thunderstorms were predicted, but fortunately the weather cooperated.  I got some paddles from my sister and this was the first chance I had to test them out.  I was reminded immediately that pulling with paddles is one of my favorite things. :)

Friday June 10

Saturday June 11
Lawyers Have Heart 5k
This race ended up being switched from a 10k to a 5k because of the weather.  You can read my full race report here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lawyers Have Heart 5k Race Report

On Saturday I woke up to an email that the Lawyers Have Heart 10k had been changed to a 5k because of the weather.  I was pretty surprised, given that this is a pretty well established race (this was 21st year) that has always been run in June.  I just couldn't imagine that this was the worst weather on race day, especially since when I ran it last year for the first time it was REALLY hot.  The temperatures at race time were projected to be in the upper 70s-low 80s, though the humidity was high (75%).  I suppose this is why I'm not a race director, I don't know when to make these kind of decisions. (I did see on Elizabeth's blog that she talked to the race director who said the call was made by city officials concerned about heat, humidity and smog)

While I can't say that I was feeling particularly trained for this race, I had spent some time this week thinking about how to approach the race and pace myself.  I knew that with the heat and humidity, and my recent focus on tri training, I needed to make sure that I didn't start out too fast (a common problem of mine).  So I had this all sorted out for a 10k, but was a bit thrown off by the switch to 5k.  I was pretty confident that I couldn't run my PR pace (7:35), but wasn't really sure what to shoot for.  I decided that right around 8:00, hopefully just under, was probably reasonable.

I only live about 2 miles from the start, so I decided to run over as my warmup.  It felt warm and sticky when I stepped outside, but I really didn't think it was all that bad on my way over.  I did notice, though, that my legs felt sort of "blah."  Not sore or noticeably tired, just lacking in energy.

I got there about 10 minutes before the race started, which worked out well.  I made the decision to start with the first wave, which was for 8:00 minute pace or faster.  The start was crowded, but I felt like I was moving well initially.  However once we got up onto the Whitehurst Freeway, I could tell that it was not going to be an easy race.  I didn't feel all that bad, but my legs just didn't want to go and the air felt thick and soupy.  I was somewhat surprised that I was still holding a sub-8 pace because I didn't feel like I was moving all that well. I hit mile 1 in 7:48 and that was the last I would see of that pace.  Mile 2 was a brief out and back along Canal Road (shortened version of the 10k course) and I was feeling less and less like racing.  I skipped the water stop on the way out, but probably should have tried to grab one of the cold sponges.  Normally getting to a turnaround point gives me some extra motivation and I'm able to pick it up a bit, but that was not the case here.  My pace continued to drift upward and I finished mile 2 in 8:18. Even when I knew I had only a mile to go I just couldn't get moving.  My pace was up in the 8:50s and my only goal switched to staying sub 9:00.  My stomach felt kind of off and my legs just had nothing.  I was honestly tempted to walk, but I told myself that walking was completely unacceptable in a 5k.  During the second half of the race people just kept passing me and I had absolutely no response.  Even when we made the final turn and headed back under the freeway to the finish I had none of the finishing kick that I can usually manage.  My Garmin says I did mile 3 in 9:11, though I think it may have been thrown off when we went back under the Whitehurst Freeway since it had the final race distance as 3.02.  Assuming the course was accurate (and I suppose since it was changed at the last minute it's possible the distance was slightly off), then I ran the last 1.1 in 9:33 or about an 8:40 pace.
Final time - 25:38

As bad as I felt, I can't really complain about the time.  It's actually my 2nd fastest 5k ever and a time I would have been thrilled with last year.  I guess in many ways, it's a good thing that my expectations have changed!  What's a bit disappointing is that it is only about 10 seconds faster than my 5k split from my tri two weeks ago.  However, that was a much better day, weather-wise.

I think that this race was a struggle for a number of reasons.  First, there was the weather.  Even if though it wasn't the worst day of the week, it was pretty warm and really humid and I'm still in the process of adjusting.  Second, I haven't been running as much recently because I've been trying to fit in time on the bike and in the pool.  I know that need to make a better effort to raise my weekly mileage and get my base back up.  It can only help me in my tri on July 30 and I need my body to be ready for marathon training in August.  Finally, it probably just wasn't my day.  We all have off days and I think this was just one for me.  I should have felt well rested since I gave my legs two days off (swam on Thursday and took Friday off completely), but instead I just felt sluggish.

In more exciting news, I ended up as the 3rd law librarian!  Gotta love the special categories.  I missed out on 2nd by about 20 seconds and unfortunately I was 30 seconds ahead of this woman at the halfway point.  Need to work on my extreme positive splits...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. On Tuesday night I went to a very useful class on Roadside Bike Maintenance at Spokes, Etc. in Alexandria.  After my pre-triathlon bike drama, I did a little Internet searching to see if I could find a class that would teach me the basics of bike repair/maintenance.  It turns out that Spokes offers this free class once and month and I got lucky because it was this week!  The instructor went over removing the back wheel, changing a flat, changing the tension in the cables, cleanin,g and what to carry with you when you are out riding.  I knew I needed to clean my bike, but I didn't really know what to do.  So now that I do, I will definitely be cleaning it this weekend!  In general, I thought it was a great class and most definitely worth my time.  If you are just as clueless as I was, I'd recommend heading over there for the July class.

2. I survived my first ride with my new clipless pedals and shoes yesterday morning, but on the way home I had my first fall.  I was actually coming to a stop with my right foot unclipped and I put it down, but somehow ended up leaning just a little too far to the left.  I could feel myself tipping, but I couldn't recover and before I knew it I was on the ground.  I only ended up with a few cuts on my elbow, so it really wasn't that bad.  Fortunately, there were plenty of witnesses since I was in the bike lane on Pennsylvania Ave, including another biker who didn't seem to believe me when I said I was fine.

I figured that falling was somewhat inevitable, so I'm almost glad that I got the first one out of the way.  Hopefully there won't be too many more!  This did make me realize that I have been leaning too much on my left foot when stopping, even though I always put my right foot down first.  This wasn't an issue with platform pedals (or even the toe clips because my foot came out more easily) because my left foot could slip off and join my right foot on the ground.  I noticed I was doing this later in my ride home and because I was more aware I could correct it in time.  I definitely need to remember to focus on keeping my weight to the right.

3. On Saturday I'm running the Lawyers Have Heart 10k. I don't have a lot of expectations for this race and I'm not really planning on setting any goals.  Back at the beginning of May I had high hopes that I would do weekly speedwork, but I ended up spending more time biking and swimming and never actually made it to the track.  And I've only done one or two tempo runs since the Broad Street Run on May 1.  It's probably all for the best since the heat would make chasing my PR pretty difficult. So I'm just going to show up and see what happens.  I'd like to beat my time from last year, 57:22, which I think should be should be possible.  My office has a team and a post-race breakfast planned, so it should be a fun time regardless of how the actual running goes.

I must admit that my favorite part of this race is that there is a special category for law librarians!  Hopefully I can manage to place in the top three of this "special category."  It's quite possible that there may be only three of us in the race, but that doesn't matter to me!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Week in Review - 5/29-6/4

Sunday May 29
BRATS Salute to the Military Sprint Triathlon (300m swim, 12 mi bike, 5k run)
I completed my first sprint triathlon and had a great experience.  You can read my full race report here.

Monday May 30
Run 8.0 mi
I felt fine after Sunday's race, so my plan was to head out for an easy long run.  I feel like I have been so focused on getting time on the bike and in the pool that my running has lost out.  With the holiday, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to get in some easy miles.  Unfortunately, it was ridiculously hot and humid.  I started too late (7:45am) and the whole run was a struggle.  I ended up walking a significant portion of the last two miles.  My body was definitely not ready for that type of weather!

Tuesday May 31
Bike 15.7 mi

Wednesday June 1
Swim 2850 yds
I forgot that Wednesday was National Running Day when planning out my tentative schedule for the week, so I ended up swimming instead.  I had plans to meet a friend to see Bridesmaids after work (excellent movie, by the way) so I couldn't even squeeze in a short post-work run.

Thursday June 2

Friday June 3
Bike 27 mi (AM - 22, PM - 5)

I met Sarah again for some early morning laps around Hains Point and then continued on in to work.  That's right, I completed my very first bike commute!  The 22 miles that morning was also my longest ride to date!  I had no problems with the route I chose to get into the office, but when I tried to reverse it to head home it just didn't work out all that well.  I think a slightly longer route will work better with the flow of traffic and various one-way streets.  I imagine it will take a few trips before I have it all sorted out.  By the time I got home, I was exhausted.  I lay on the couch for a long time before I realized that I would probably feel better if I forced myself to get up and eat something.

Saturday June 4
Run 9.5 mi
After how tired I was on Friday night, I was not surprised that I didn't have much energy for this run.  I can't even blame the weather (it ended up being pretty nice), I think my legs just didn't have it in them to go at my normal long run pace.  After the run I was going to go out and do a bunch of errands, but ended up taking an unplanned two hour nap on my couch. :)

Then later on Saturday afternoon I went and purchased bike shoes and had clipless pedals put on my bike!  Hopefully I won't have too many falling stories over the next few weeks...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Five

1.  I BIKED TO WORK TODAY!!!!  Sorry, just a little bit excited about the fact that I actually finally did it (made it here in one piece).  I don't think it's something I'm going to do every day, but hopefully I can ride a few days a week.  It definitely makes sense if I go down to Hains before work to ride.  Why head back out of DC to get changed and then come back in for work on Metro?

2. Happy National Donut Day!  I hope you all are able to celebrate.  I did, by starting my day with this:

3.  I was glad to hear that I am not the only person who has no idea how to do anything with their bike other than ride it (and I don't even do that all that well sometimes)!  Thanks for all of your supportive comments on my post, I feel a little less embarrassed about my panic attack on Saturday night!  I did go buy a basic book on bike maintenance and repair (what can I say, I'm a librarian) and will be keeping my eye out for some kind of class I could attend.

4. I have a feeling I'll be trying on bike shoes somewhere this weekend.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  As with all things bike related, I have no idea what I should be looking for and I find all the options somewhat overwhelming!

5.  My hated (and sometimes loved) Asics 2150s finally have enough miles to be retired!  It's always fun debuting a new pair, especially when they are Carolina blue! :)  For now I'll just be using two pairs of the NB 760s, but I have been debating getting a pair of 2160s to switch things up.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

May Recap

Miles: 83.29

X-Training: 14 (Bike - 8, Swim - 4, Elliptical - 2)
Biking Miles: 133.65 

Rest Days: 3

Race(s): Broad Street Run - 1:28:17 (new 10m PR!), BRATS Salute to the Military Sprint Tri - 1:21:07

New gear: Bike gloves 

Workout goals: 
Swim once a week - More or less achieved.  I swam 4 times, though I missed the first week and doubled up another one.  I also managed to start swimming in the mornings, which I feel is a bigger achievement!

Bike more than four times - I doubled up this goal and got out on the bike 8 times!

Get back to the track/speedwork to prep for a 10k in June - This didn't happen at all.  It took me longer than I expected for my legs to feel back to normal after Broad Street and I cut back on my running days as I tried to fit in biking and swimming

Similar running mileage to April, even though I have no longer races anytime soon - I was 10 miles short here and and ended up with my lowest mileage month of the year.  However, I think it was probably good for me to get more time in the pool and on the bike.  My body could probably use a bit of a break before I have to start marathon training in July.

Non-workout goal: Weed out and donate those winter clothes that I don't really wear and get the rest of them put away for the summer. Done, though I need to actually take the clothes I weeded out and donate them.

Ice cream flavor of the month: Black Cherry Vanilla

May was a good month for triathlon training.  My running mileage was the lowest of the year, but I greatly increased my time (and distance) on the bike and maintained my swimming frequency.  I think it's for the best since I will have to pick up the running intensity and volume again in late July when I start training for the Philly marathon.  I'm really happy about the progress I made on the bike in May.  At the beginning of the month I was really feeling frustrated and not sure I wanted to stick with the tri training.  Once I realized that I just needed more practice and committed to riding more frequently, I had a real mental breakthrough and am feeling much more comfortable on my bike.  Hopefully this progress continues in June!

June Preview

Workout goals:   
Keep up the biking and swimming
New PDR on the bike - Currently at 20.5 miles, so perfectly achievable
Make a decision about bike shoes/pedals - if I'm going to make the switch this summer I'd like to do it soon so I have plenty of time to practice before my next race
Get back over 90 miles running for the month

Races: Lawyers Have Heart 10k (June 11)

Non-workout goal: Try some new recipes.  I'm stuck in a rut, so it's time to add some new things to my regular rotation.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

BRATS Salute to the Military Sprint Tri Race Report

Despite all of the bike drama from the night before, I was up at 4:00 on Sunday and ready to race.  When I got directions to the race on Google maps, it said it would take me 55 minutes.  Being the paranoid person I am, I decided that I should leave myself a little extra time so that I could get there right at 6:00 when packet pickup started.  I hadn't really considered the fact that at 5:00am on Sunday there are no cars on 66 (unlike all other times of the week).  So I arrived at the race site super early and hung out in my car for a bit until other people started arriving.

I got marked and had my transition area set up relatively quickly so I decided to head over to the pool and see the set up.  I was excited to see that the pool was open for warm up (I had assumed it wouldn't be), so I hopped in and swam for a few minutes.  I was surprised how few other people took advantage of this.  It always takes me some time to get my body warmed up and I hate starting a race "cold."  I also wanted to see what it was like to swim in my triathlon outfit since I hadn't had a chance to test it out before.

I was number 47, so I got to watch a number of other swimmers snake through the pool and see how hard it would be to pass (the course went down and back in each lane, so there wasn't a lot of room).  The officials recommended tapping feet and passing at the wall.  I think these types of swims are tough because people don't always seed themselves correctly.  It quickly became clear that although #1 and #2 were strong swimmers, #3 was way too far at the front.  And thus the back-up/traffic jam began.  As we were waiting, the guy behind me confessed that he had only been swimming for about four months.  I was somewhat relieved to hear this because I figured that it would be unlikely that he would be trying to pass me.  Eventually it was my turn to start.  I was okay for the first 75 or so, but then I started coming up on people ahead of me.  I ended up passing several people during the remainder of the swim, including one mid-lane (when I had to squeeze past a guy coming the other way).  I would have almost had to stop (or swim over the person), so the pass seemed worth the risk.  Time - 5:12 (1:44/100m)

The run from the pool to the transition area was relatively long and I got passed by one guy there.  I probably could have run faster, but I was nervous about landing funny on a loose pebble.  I definitely could use improvement in this first transition as another girl I passed in the pool came to our rack after me and was out on her bike much faster than I was.

I thought I had pre-set my Garmin to multi sport mode and I put it on during the first transition.  I have the 305, which isn't waterproof, so I couldn't wear it during the swim.  I figured it was worth the seconds in transition since I like to know my pace.  Unfortunately, I somehow messed up the setup and when I hit start the watch was in run mode.  There was no way I was going to fix it while on my bike, so I just left it as it was and figured seeing my mile pace (as opposed to speed) was better than nothing.

I felt pretty good on the bike leg, even though to me it seemed hilly.  I don't think it was really all that severe (probably accurately described as rolling), but for someone like me who has spent most of her time at Hains Point, it felt like a lot of hills.  I got passed by a number of people on the bike, but I wasn't surprised.  I did manage to pass a few teenagers (who were clearly swimmers who had started at the front) which was exciting for me.  There was also one woman who passed me and never pulled that far ahead.  I noticed that I would pull closer going uphill and then she would pull back ahead on the downhills.  I've always felt like I am a better uphill runner than downhill runner and clearly the same thing applies on the bike!  I'm also pretty sure that I could still be taking better advantage of the gears and may still be riding in the wrong one.  I pretty much stuck in one gear for flat and downhill and another one for uphill.  I also made a third switch for the steepest hills.  I know there's probably a lot more I could be doing.  I could tell throughout the ride that I was doing better than my goal speed of 12mph.  I just tried to keep pushing and counted down the miles.  As I mentioned in my goals post, I had seen two different distances for the course, 11.75 and 12.4.  My Garmin clocked it as slightly over 12.4, so it appears the longer distance was correct.  Around mile 10 I started thinking that maybe I could finish under 45 minutes, but with the longer course that wasn't possible.  Time - 47:04 (Avg. speed - 15mph)

I did better in the second transition since I didn't have to switch shoes.  I just racked my bike, took off my helmet, grabbed my visor and race belt and headed out.  After being passed by a number of people on the bike leg I was hoping that I could catch at least a few of them on the run. 

I probably started out a bit too fast, passed one or two women, and hit the first mile in 8:06.  My legs started feeling less jello-y during mile 2 but my pace also slowed. 8:40  During the third mile I was feeling good knowing that I was almost done.  I set my sights on a guy a bit ahead of me and worked to try to catch up to him.  I got past him just before we came back near the start.  Then we had to run around the bathhouse and pool and across a field to the finish.  I hit mile three in 8:25 and then tried to gun it to the finish.  I wasn't sure how far behind the guy was that I had passed (or anyone else) and I really didn't want to get passed in that final stretch. Time - 25:51 (Avg. pace - 8:20)

My final time ended up being a 1:21:07, which well exceeded my pre-race goal of a 1:35.  I was also able to beat all of my goals for the three legs.  I was most surprised (and happy) with my bike time.  I was hoping to be at 12mph or better based on my training times, so I was thrilled when my average speed ended up being 15mph!  Not surprisingly, compared to the rest of the field, this is also where I still have the most work to do.  But I knew that going in, so I think that this was a great first effort.

The stats:
Overall - 70/152
Gender - 19/67 (8th in the swim, 32nd on the bike, 15th in the run)
Age Group - 4/11

The 4th place age group finish is a bit frustrating (since they gave awards to the top 3), but not worth dwelling on.  It was, not surprisingly, the bike leg that put me in that position.  The first place woman had an average speed on the bike around 17mph and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers were around 16mph.  The few minutes they gained there put them ahead of me.

I'm very glad that I decided to sign up for this race!  It gives me a great idea of where I am right now and makes me excited to keep training.  I even signed up for tri #2, which will be the Culpeper Sprint on July 31!