Friday, August 31, 2012

Amino Acids & sciencey #junk like that

Every time I hear polypeptide amino acids I think about Star Trek. I was a geek growing up.  I embraced it.  I still do.

But, as I evolved into a student, the Amino Acids I encountered became interesting for different reasons.  And then, as I morphed into an athlete, they became something else.

So let me tell you a story about my MOJO, a hot (read: SMOKING HOT) Ironguy, and a little miracle I'm going to call "Amino Acids".

Something about lack of good sense and going too hard all the time lead to my over training.... Anyway, with the *gentle guidance of my coaches I took about 5 days off and eased back into my plan just in time for the taper. (*"Chill the feck out or I will take your bike away")

In the mean time I met this souper sexy triathlete Ironguy right around the time I lost my appetite, which along with loss of sleep, is one of my hallmark signs of over training.  He knows a lot more about Triathlon than I do, and seems to enjoy sharing his scope of knowledge with me.
So... I went from being cranky and famished to being cranky and

That's kind of a fail when you're running 12 miles at 5 a.m. on any given Tuesday and riding 30 miles at 6 p.m. of the same day, and running 15 - 20 minutes at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the ride... (really, why was I so shocked I spiraled into an over training cycle? oh yeah, lack of good sense)

Anyway, Ironguy is obsessed with chocolate milk immediately post workout.  


We've all heard the studies, but how many of us think it doesn't apply because we're (lactose intolerant, trying to manage our weight, not working out at that level, unsure how much/when to drink, forgetful and don't bring it with us, don't know if it could actually work).  <-- pick your poison.

We've done a little bit of running together in the last 3ish weeks, and he's kind of a milk pusher.  So I accepted the crack and moved on.  ~sure, whatever... I'm not hungry (see above about over training) but I'll drink the chocolate milk if it makes you happy~ and guess what?

Even after smaller workouts (as little as an hour or so) I saw a huge difference in my muscle recovery.  And I started to hear the whisper of my MOJO again.

Oh. snap.  Science rears it's head... adding amino acids = muscle repair.

AND I discovered a lactose free chocolate milk that tastes like crack might taste if crack came in chocolate milk form, which as far as I know, it doesn't and even if it did I shouldn't share that information.

Thursday I had a solid little hour long ride.  I struggled to get in the groove, but finished on strong legs... so it all evened out.  And after the ride, I went for a short run with my Tri Wife.

"Oh HEY!  I'm a runner!"

I don't know if it was the rest after the over training incident, or the muscles are feeling good a few days into the taper, the soup in my diet, or the copious amounts of strategically timed chocolate milk, or WHAT but Holy Carp, that run felt like... running.  My pace was my old pace.  My legs were my old legs.  My MOJO was definitely... yeah.

And yeah, my MOJO and I totally finished the workout sharing some delicious chocolate milk on the drive home.

I suppose I ought to tell Ironguy he was "right".... or, maybe I'll skip it.

I'm sure he already knows.

~savor the run~

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Taper Tantrum in Threes

I'm about 10 days away from my Half Iron distance event.

If taper for a marathon is crazy ... a 4 hour event that's just running.... imagine how epic my tantrum for a Half Iron will be?  There are three events and it'll take me... oh.  How long will it take me?

I ~um~ spent a little time on Athlinks in the last few days ~taper~.  I have no business being there.  This is supposed to be fun, not competitive with self or others.  I am good at fun, but suck at the "not" stuff. so.....

I went for a quick swim today after class, before going home, and got a lot of thinking done.  For one thing it became clear pretty early in the swim that it was a good swim day for me.  If race day swim was that good I'd have about a 38 minutes swim.  But I set my goal up at 45 minutes.  I don't want to feel rushed on the swim, worried about if I am "going" fast enough, water conditions, panic attacks, etc.

45 min.

I also thought about it and determined 6 minutes on T1 makes sense.   No one was doing it much less than 5:30, and many people were taking more like 8 minutes.  So 6 on the first...

6 min + 45 min....

The bike is actually 2 extra miles.  58, not 56.  That'll add a few minutes to the ride.  I'm thinking just over 3 hours... let's just go with something odd like 3:09.

3:09 hours + 45 min + 6 min

Then T2 looks like 3 - 4 minutes average...  all this is going through my head while I'm swimming, by the way.  The math, the reminder that this is fun, the math...

3 min + 3:09 hours + 6 min + 45 min....

and "around" a 2 hour half marathon.  2 will be a stretch.  It's a good goal as I've run plenty of sub 2 13's in my recent life... but it's VA and it's probably going to be hot, and frankly, I'm not exactly rolling in on fresh legs.  Still.  Let's just say about 2 hours.


6:03ish....  ok, sure.  Why not.  It's possible that I could be doing this in about 6 hours.

And why all this?  Well.  The ultimate thing that occurred to me on my swim today was, "who in their right mind would think that doing anything for 6 hours in September in the heat of the day was going to be fun?"


Taper Madness.... 10 days and counting.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where's Waldo?

Do you all remember the X-Files?  Loved that show... I even had a key ring that my little brother gave me for Christmas that read:

Trust No One ~ Fox Mulder

No one, Fox?  No one at all?  Not your mother?  Your Father?  Your BFF Bart Yasso?  Your AP English Teacher?  Your Running Coach?  

Huh.  Serious Trust Issues there.  I wonder if Fox had MOJO issues too...

About a week ago I went out and ran 13.1 miles for my friend in honor of her brother.  I wasn’t even sure that I could cover the distance.  It’s not like I've been running that much.   I did it though.  Easily, in fact, when you compare it to the 14 miler I did a few days later.  Perspective, now you have it.

I didn’t know it then, but by the time I hit 8 miles of that 13.1, I was already on the path to finding my mojo.  And the answer came to me when I was rereading Mere’s blog post.  Where’s Waldo?

Oh, the Waldo I'm thinking of is probably 50 Shades of tied up in the red room of pain, also known as High School English class...

Self-trust is the first secret of success. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson is really right. 
Hard to accept that a dead guy knows more about running than I do.
But he does.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust? 

I think a lot about trust these days.  I have a hard time with it.  Not in a romantic light.  No, this is much more personal than that.  Much more.

This is about my running.  

And here's what I realized.  At the same time I lost my running MOJO, I lost trust in the one person I always believed I could believe in.  So why have I suddenly lost faith in myself?

And it's not just me.  It seems to be a summer epidemic around here.  My friends have lost their MOJO's too.

We’ve looked around in some crazy places from Sports Backers MTT runs to 5Ks.  Even went looking in some mojitos, and all that seemed to provide was a temporary sense of Cuban rhythm that was completely unfounded. 

At first I thought maybe the loss of MOJO was spreading like negative energy...  and then I realized the common theme I’m hearing comes down to one word.


My friends don’t trust they can run fast anymore.  And everytime I lace on my new Mizuno Wave Riders I don't believe I can either.  I'm sad when I look at my Garmin splits after almost every run.  I'm questioning my hunger, doubting that I should be eating *this much*, not trusting the voice in my head that tells me to eat more.  I'm doing all this training toward a race that I might not be prepared for because... well, I suck at triathlons.  I don't trust my GBA** Super Powers to get me to the finish line in the (goal time) that I want to finish it in.

Am I the worlds worst triathlete?
Am I going to finish?
Am I going to fail?
Am I training all these miles for nothing?
Am I over training?  Under training?
Am I, AM I?

And with every Am I question we collectively ask ourselves, we chip away at our core, peppering our self trust with pock marks and dents until it’s an unrecognizable lump that’s susceptible to rust and decay.

IF you don’t trust yourself, who will you trust?
No one.
And if Waldo is right, we must have self trust in order to succeed at any of this running nonsense.

Belief in ones self is the foundation for the belief in others.  

So let's just step back for a minute and identify what weapons we are using on ourselves this summer.  The Garmin, the Doubt, and any other ways that we lie to ourselves when we utter the words, "I suck".  Those are the weapons of MOJO mass destruction... so let's now determine how we can repair the damage.

And let's see how we can prevent a re-injury.

Because we don't suck.
I mean seriously.  We couldn't.
It's GBA** rule #2 subsection b.

~savor the run~

45 seconds to INSPIRED

Friday, August 10, 2012

MOJO Running Loose

I lost my mojo. Again.

It’s happened before, so I know I will find it.  Eventually.  The thing is, it’s never really where I found it last time.  Once I found it in a book.  One time I found it in a pair of shoes.  Oh, then there was that time that I found it in the e-mail that read, “Sportsbackers Marathon Training Team Registration Confirmation”.

SO I’m out here pounding the pavement, looking and looking.  Barely hanging on in some respects because without mojo, you have to do a lot of mental work to keep forward momentum. 

I kept thinking that this time I’m going to find it in my Brooks, on my bike as I'm out riding with The Ladies of the Lanes, or in a blank Word document.  Odd how Word has the ability to wipe my mind completely clean of all inspiration and thought...

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to find it in my SPEEDO, because even though SPEEDO and MOJO look a lot alike in the ‘words that make sense to no one’ department, most people would agree that finding extra anything in a speedo is kind of difficult, or even disappointing, for the average swimmer.  And then there’s the point that I’m certainly not looking at anyone else’s speedo for my mojo... there’s a fail just waiting to happen....

I thought I MIGHT have found my MOJO a few weeks ago running loose on the streets of Richmond.  It was an early morning MTT run, and we passed a woman in platform stiletto heels on the corner saying, “Here ‘tis.  Here ‘tis!”.  Upon closer inspection of the situation I determined it wasn’t my mojo she was advertising.

So, I kept pushing on without it.  And Tuesday night, I had a breakthrough.  A  development that is making me wonder if this time I will find it in my grocery store.
True story. 

See, I had a glimmer of my mojo the other night on a hard effort bike ride.  There’s a hill on the route we took that freaking scares me.  Not the down part.  I mean, yes its steep but I’m not afraid of the drop.  That I can control.  I can choose my speed of descent.  My rate, my pace, and my position are my choice. 

No... what scares me on that hill is the climb.  What if I fail?

So, on Tuesday I dropped to the back of the pack and was patient.  And then when I felt the balance was right, I took a risk and attacked the hill.  I realized on the way up that I was riding completely free of fear.  I trusted my bike, my legs, and my ability to handle myself... 

Aha!  MOJO!

And the only thing I really changed on Tuesday was that I ate a calorie dense high protein high carb meal around midday with Biolabud.  It was a ridiculous amount of food, but I was starving.  And I felt great afterwards.  The midday beer might have helped my mood too.

Huh.  I have to wonder...

What if I went back to eating like an elite athlete, instead of eating like a girl-scout cookie ingredient list?  
Could my mojo be found in a proper amount of protein?  
Possibly my mojo is searching for a better carb balance?  

Regardless, the MOJO is gone again.  

I know because I was wimpy, whining, complaining and somewhat b*tchy by the end of my Wednesday morning ride.  It’ll come back eventually.  I’ll find it.

In the mean time, I’m off to the grocery store for some eggs, whole grains and produce.  Because even if the MOJO isn’t in the food, I’m still ravished and need to find a way to fuel myself responsibly.  Like the athlete I am.

~savor the Mojo~

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Supernatural Peanut Butter thief

I need to report a crime.

Someone stole my blueberry crisp Clif bar. 

It was next to me on the passenger seat of the JEEP.  I remember opening the wrapper at the intersection about halfway between the YMCA and my residence.  I had maybe a bite or two.  Or Three but I took NO MORE than three bites, of that I’m sure.  

And then I reached across and encountered an empty wrapper.  I know I couldn’t have possibly eaten the whole thing because my stomach was still as empty as the blueberry scented brown clif bar packaging between my fingers.

I worry it's the start of an epidemic.
No, I'm quite serious.

This whole thing follows a very disturbing PB&J incident that had an eerily similar pattern.  I reached for the last bite of peanut butter and jelly sandwich and... the plate was empty.  I was chewing at the time, but again, I was still SOoooo hungry that there's no way that I ate it.

No way.
This was definitely a case of stolen food.

The suspect is likely a blueberry lover, with a known history of Peanut Butter and Jelly thievery.  Suspect is capable of traveling at speeds up to 35 mph.  
And invisible.
but real, before you all start thinking I'm losing it...  I'm not losing it.  I have the empty wrapper and empty stomach to prove...

Just look at the evidence.

The only alternatives to blatant thievery is that I’m so hungry from all this Training that I’ve lost any semblance of sanity regarding food.

But I'd prefer to think that I’m being stalked by an invisible supernatural being who enjoys Clif products and Natural Peanut Butter on whole wheat..

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

aka the one where I realize I'm probably the worst triathlete ever...

I *kinda* suck at the whole training for a triathlon ~thing~.

True story.

Oh, I'm doing it.  I knocked out over 130 miles last week, and if this week goes down as I'd like, it might just be epic.

But, I still suck.

Every week since July-ish I've done the same things.
I ride a bike, I run some miles, and splash about in the pool and don't drown.
the not drowning is really the key to that bit there.

"What's your training schedule this week?"
What's my... what, what?

Nah, no schedule.  I'm just out there logging miles, not drowning.  I'm not actually following a plan any more.  At some point I realized the plan was making me neurotic, and if there's one thing I'm not it's... okay if there's ... regarding training...

Okay let's just move ahead here before we're severely off topic...

I had a bad moment in July where I was NOT having fun.  At All.  And I wanted to quit.  Usually I'm TONS OF FUN.  Like, wicked fun.  And also, I'm not really a fan of quitting.  So the whole no fun and quitting thing was way out of character.

And that's when I kicked my training plan to the curb.

You know what happened as soon as I made the decision to cut it loose?

I stopped sucking and I started having fun.  But not the wicked kind... okay wait, maybe a little bit.

Because, unless you're getting paid to race, what's the point of any of this IF YOU AREN'T HAVING FUN? or at least getting high, but we can revisit my heroin addiction later.

I caught myself giggling uncontrollably on the ride on Saturday.  It wasn't my fault, Lady Lamb made me.  Oh sure, sure, it's not all laughing and snot rockets on on the roads with the Ladies of the Lanes.  I had a low moment out there too.  But the low moment wasn't when I was being invited to share a coffee or beer (seriously, I love these guys) at mile 50something of my ride.  And the low moment wasn't when The Gentleman Leader evoked a smile from me as he gently apologized when we made the turn onto the (effing hilliest effing road you will ever effing find anywhere outside the San Francisco City limits. SERIOUSLY, I hate these guys) road that he knew might test my Ladylike resolve to stop cussing like a sailor.  The truth is that I fell apart at mile 61 and had to be pulled home and it was still fun because the people with me made it fun.

Sunday I had pretty much THE WORST PACED RUN OF 2012... only if you asked me to qualify it, I would rank it as one of my BEST 14 miles EVER.  The fun did not elude us, and neither did Illusive Dave, and the giggling, and the hot soup references.. what?  the weather was soupy, ask anyone in the posse running 4 across down the middle of the street respecting the MTT rules of 2 across at most.  Gummy Bear DOWN!  

I suppose I could be really upset about my slow run.  Or that I'm not much of a cyclist.  Or that my swimming is only just fine... except... I'm not really upset by any of those things because I'm really high off all the endorphins floating around in my veins.

So I guess I should apologize.

This is supposed to be some kind of inspirational journal of a blog that's here to impart wisdom and stuff and help you train smarter and be faster and improve, and sadly all I have to offer you all is something that reads a bit like:

How to suck at Triathlon training in a few easy steps.
Step 1 - ditch your plan.

But also, I think there's another lesson there, and it has something to do with souped up running and giggling and cycling on hills and not taking one's self too seriously.  And giggling.

Unless of course you're getting paid to do this stuff, in which case you might want to find a more serious blog to read.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Heroin Use in General

I admit it.

I got high today.  Big time.  like, ~whew~, cracked out junkie high.

It was a real surprise, and at the same time, not really.  I mean, I get high off a 7 mile run under the right circumstances, surely this is a sign that it's not that hard to get me stoned.  I like my Heroin Use in General...  Especially if the effect is the result of hard running effort on a crisp morning.

So, if Running is Heroin, what does that make Cycling?

I'm worried my running shoes are going to stage an INTERVENTION.

Because if running 6 or 7 miles gets me high, you can only imagine what I look like after a 65 mile ride through the country with 10-20 of my BFF's. ain't pretty.  That's for darned sure.

It's hot.

But that's mostly because it's hot in VA.

I met a new friend today.  A gorgeous Lady.  She has beautiful legs.  But, she's also pretty funny.  We were teasing each other about shared misery versus "fun" today.

"Admit it, you love this."

ok.ok.  I admit.

*in a barely audible whisper* I ~maybe~ get why people like riding bikes in giant groups on winding hilly roads dodging cars and giggling.

It's fun to bust the speed limit on a bike.  And when the speed limit is 45 mph, it's still fun.
Shh.  Don't tell my mom.

But more importantly than going fast, is just going with the knowledge that you're putting in everything you've got and enjoying the results (to a point).

I did a little soul searching today, and I don't know 100% that I'm in this for the fun.

Because sometimes this hurts, and is pain really that fun?  No...  not really.  I mean, marathoners are experts on pain.  And fun, for that matter... but that's not really why I run marathons.

And certainly cycling is fun, but...



upon evaluation of the cataclysmic HIGH that washed over me at some point today as my entire system was flooded with endorphins, I think I should be honest with myself... I'm clearly not in this for the "fun".

It's obvious.

I'm in this for the "heroin".

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Three Across

I'm not a huge fan of looking back for the sake of hurting.  But I seem to be excessively good at it.

A year ago today I learned that my friend's brother had gone to heaven.  We knew it was coming, I just... I guess I'll just say that no matter how prepared you are for the event, you can't ever really be prepared.  The right words wouldn't come in the days after.  Or, in the days leading up for that matter.

So I did the best I could.

I dedicated a mile of my run in San Francisco on 7/31/2011 to Mere's brother, Chris.  I didn't know what else to do, but I figured that thinking of someone for the mile it takes to cross the Golden Gate bridge makes sense to a runner.

Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles on 7/31.  I dedicated the 13.1 miles of that run to Chris.  The sad truth is, running for him doesn't bring him back to her.  Or his wife.  Or his children.

I never met him.

But I ran 13.1 miles for him anyway.  We have a connection I cannot ignore.

My first few miles were self absorbed pity-fest.  But by mile 8 he was all I was thinking about.  By mile 10 I knew Mere was by my side too.  A few tears sneaked out.  We were 3000 miles away from each other.  We were separated by time and space.

We were running together, three across, down Shady Grove Road.

It wasn't the best run ever.  It wasn't the worst.  It was humid, and hot, and sunny, and there was a moment where I really wanted to quit.  But then I thought about Chris and Mere, by my side, and knew I could run just a bit longer.

Just a bit longer.

"A few tears sneaked out"
~Savor the Run~