Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A.K.A The post where I learned that Adirondack is another way to say "exquisite"

Training with a view to envy

I used to write a motivational blog about how to get it done. Of course, that was when I was training to be a Half Ironman or a Marathoner. Now a days I am training to get healthy and live a full well rounded life.

What a strange thought... do we actually train for that? Or is that something that happy people just do?

I’m not sure.

Regardless, I’m happiest when I’m training, and so I figure I’m training for health. This means that when I’m on vacation, I still have to fit in my workouts.

This past weekend I went to the Adirondacks to visit some family and to spectate Lake Placid Ironman on Sunday.

I had a swim, ride and run on my schedule.
Adirondack State Park is exquisite ... there are no words. 

None. If you’ve never been, put it on your list of places to go. The views were so amazing that I couldn't wait to see them from the bike. I was up at 6:30 on day one of my vacation, and shortly after that The Good Dr and I were on the road. 

ok, shortly after I changed a flat we were on the road. I did. Changed it all by myself. With no help. I had 5 spectators & 2 broken nails though... Still, be impressed. I know I was...

mental recovery
On a 20 mile bike ride I saw scenery that looked straight out of a Sierra Club Calendar, a porcupine that was the size of a shetland pony *or dog, whichever*, and very few cars. Route 3 was completely set up as a bike route, with a 8 ft bike lane on both sides of the road. We saw 3 other cyclists, and about 8 cars... and maybe because I knew I was planning to eat well on vacation, we hammered the second ½ of the ride. #mojo

The rest of our morning in Cranberry Lake was spent boating, relaxing, and watching people swim in frigid water. I was completely lazy.

After lunch, however, my beautiful hostess invited me to go kayak with her.

I have nooooo skills in a Kayak anymore. I'm too much of a weakling, but she did, so we made it work.

It was amazing. Except for the collisions, but she seemed pretty patient, and I only ran into her boat a few times.

As I said, I had a swim, ride and run on my schedule. But I've always viewed a training plan like total health. This is a holistic entity. You have many levels. And being flexible is one element of that entity.

So while a good training plan encompasses Nutrition, Hydration, Recovery, Mental Training, Sleep, etc. it also must include Relaxing, Lazing, Kayaking, Unwinding and Smiling.

And this weekend, I definitely got all the elements of training into my days.

With the exception of "sleep", at any rate.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lake Placid Ironman SPECTATOR recap

One of my best GBA girlfriends is amazing. Last year she texted me, "I signed up for Lake Placid". As the weeks of training passed, I realized that I really really wanted to be there for her. I mean, not that I could actually *do* anything for her, but I wanted to be there anyway. So I verbalized my wish to the universe...
and the most amazing series of events occurred...
and the next thing I knew...

I went to Lake Placid to watch Pixie Green take on an Ironman. 

 A few random thoughts from the day. It was a long day, but it was worth every minute. Also, I'm exhausted, so this is a bit "blunt", rather than poetic.

1)   Your swimmer will have the swim of their life. Plan for them to be finished 10 minutes faster than they say, and position yourself accordingly.
2)   Ok, so they’re off onto the bike... you’re going to be here a while. There’s a coffee shop up the hill that is locally owned. Avoid the Chain (even though I love it) and grab some local coffee instead.
3)   The cell service is spotty at best. Plan to be out of contact with the “world” for much of the day.
4)   Ironman splits are VERY slow to load. Don’t count on using them to track your IronPeep.
5)   Speaking of splits... The first Lake Placid bike split is blisteringly fast compared to the second half of the loop. The cyclist you love could average 18.9 mph on the first split, and 14 mph on the second. Don’t panic. They’re fine.
6)   The “hot Corner” is a hairpin turn on Cummings Road through the town of Placid. GREAT place to watch the cyclists. They have to slow down to make the turn, so you can see them as they roll through.
7)   There’s a sandwich shop that is down on Main Street called Big Mountain Deli & Crepery – they boast 46 sandwiches and crepes. Deliciousness. The line will be long. It will be worth it.
8)   Wear good shoes.
lunch break
9)   The finish-line...  We got right down on top of the finishline. People say it can't be done. It can. It just takes patience and pre-planning. I recommend sitting on the hill and watching people finish until you think your person is getting close. Then look somewhere on the fence where the crowd is only 1 deep. We moved down to the chute to spectate our finishers and after a little time, we were able to get right up on the fence-line by crossing the “track” and going to the inside. Once we were there, we were perfectly positioned to spectate folks as they finished, in live action, and on the “jumbo-tron”.
10)   I had a sign for my finisher, Pixie.... The sign was better seen out on the course.  By the time the crowds press you into the fencing, the signs are a bit hard to wrangle.

It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in my life. I am looking forward to going back to spectate again, or even, partake in 140.6 of my own.

finish-line! So proud of you Pixie!!!!
 also, I fully admit...

I was glad to be there for you Pixie.
I cried when I saw this posted on my facebook page with the caption “Found this morning, soaked from the early morning down pour! My pixie twin was here in full force!” 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A "little" RnR

I'm on vacation. Again.

Yes, it looks a lot like I'm just vacationing instead of working and in some respects, that's what I am doing. For about 6 weeks of this summer I have had to work 1 day every other week... so the rest of the days I have been playing with my children.

This morning I got up and went for a run. Then we hit church and ate breakfast. I was looking forward to some well deserved RnR on the beach, and gazed longingly at my book from over my coffee cup. Yep, I was going to sit down and chill.

"Mom, can we go for a MTB ride?"

Yep, just let me change.

"Mom, can you swim with me?"

Sure, I just need to put on sun screen.

"Mom, let's build a castle."

All over that like white on rice.

"Mom? What's on the other side of that sand dune?"

Only one way to find out.

I had a thought this week about how vacation isn't about rest and relaxation for the adults. It's about the kids getting unlimited mom-time, and holy exhaustion. It's almost 9pm and all I can think about is that I'm going to go pretend to read until I fall asleep with... uh, hang on...

my kids want to know if we can go star gazing with D'Dad.

Sure kids, seems like a great night for it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DietRun, with lime and Dragon.

I miss running. Now that I'm running a little, I miss it a lot.

I miss logging miles upon miles of hot sweaty fun pounding out on the roads with the other RVA runners on the Marathon Training Team. I am up to an almost 4 mile walk/run, or when I'm pressed for time like today, I can string 2.5 miles together without the walk breaks and call it a workout.

So, right. There's no MTT for me this year. I can't build from 0 to 26.2 in time for the race.

So here I am, a marathoner who used to log 30-50 miles a week and I have managed to successfully log 6 miles of running last week.  ~sigh~ I know, lately this blog has been less about #running and more about #everythingelseintheentireworld.

And now that I have it back, it's not even like REAL run. It's more like DietRun.

Over ice.
Lime squeezed in is optional.
But Dragons seem like a good idea.

I know, you're all like - What did you just say?

I said Dragons.

In the hopes that I'm bada** enough to get from 0 - 13.1, I applied for the Central Virginia Endurance/ Lululemon Running Team. They'll coach you to the Richmond Half Marathon in November. I thought having a coach would be a safe way to get me to race day, YOGA is something that I think would benefit my lack of flexibility and strength, and most of all, I've been digging the CVE program ever since I watched a few of my pals train for a few Ironman-type events over the last year.

I sent in a killer application with a hilarious yet pointed essay in the hopes that I could make "Coach Bob" aware of my plight, and mostly to convince them that I can be badass again with coaching.

And that I'm funny and fun, and everyone would enjoy having me on the team.

Also, I'm a hard worker. I appreciate results and love competition. The Friendly Kind, of course.

Ok, so upon review of this rambling blog post, the essay probably wasn't pointed... maybe it was just hilarious. Or possibly not funny at all, but that seems unlikely...

Regardless, Feel free to comment here or Tweet to CVE (@CentralVAEndure) about how great I am (@gba_gf), or FB on my page and tag CVE with 101 Reasons I ought to be chosen for the CVE Team. Or Facebook CVE directly... basically, yeah...

Game on.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MTB OBX style

Yes, it's true.  Tall socks are
a MTB uniform requirement

Today was fab.

Remember that time my son rode his MTB down a flight of stairs?

uh huh. 
True Story.

No pictures though, because I was coaching, but Hellz to the YEAH!

I’m proud of this kid.

Then we hit the trails around Buxton, N.C. which have sand patches in them that will shut you down in a hot second. BOOM. 

We rocked them.

We crashed through homes, leaving a trail of destruction in our wake that could only be rivaled by a 1950's Godzilla movie. Or, at least, that's how the spiders tell it.

With our faces and helmets coated in sticky thread, we burst out of the woods in the shadow of a giant, and we dropped into the Cape Hatteras Light House Welcome Center for a water refill.

A whopping 8.35 miles on the Kona I got from Richmond Bicycle Studio. Love this bike. And love how it gives me such an opportunity to spend time with my klingon.

This ride was a great experience for him, and for me to see it through his eyes.
In a 57 minute MTB ride he became elated, discouraged, tired, frustrated, and ended with a smile high on his second wind.  He never quit though, even when his bike came to a hard stop in a pocket of sand on the trail. He kept it upright, but I could tell how much he hated starting from a dead stop on a climb.

It reminded me, when I feel discouraged as I rehab my Achilles, I need to remember that becoming frustrated is not a reason to quit the process. Like a bad patch in a race isn't a reason to quit the event, it's a reason to press forward in the hopes that there might just be a second wind in me yet. 

Moments of frustration are just part of the road of life.

Or trail.

I guess it depends on where you are at the time.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's All in a Name

"I had one of the Three Sisters once. It was in January, with Monika & Merlin. It was long and hard, but not as crazy as I feared."

And that's really why it's important to pay attention to what you are saying.
And who you are saying it to...

Cos a cyclist in Richmond would have known that the Three Sisters is a series of hills. But a friend who doesn't ride was included in that conversation, and for a minute there, the whole conversation was not what she thought it was....

This weekend it was confirmed: If you are on a bike, and a hill has a name, that is a bad thing.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Proper Hydration Should Start the Day Before

Today's lesson is a cautionary tale about a cyclist, a 50 miler, and a few important details that should never be overlooked.

"Proper hydration starts the day before, not the morning of..."
"When in doubt, drink a little more early in your activity."
"Don't change all your nutrition in one day."
"Masters swim at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 50 miler the next morning is probably not a brilliant plan unless you are going to meticulously hydrate in between." < ~ and I so didn't...
"Even if you are feeling perfect and fierce for the first 25, you probably should take it easy if the humidity is typical for a Central VA 4th of July and you're not adapted to it."

On one hand, I had the best 25 miler yesterday. I felt strong and amazing. I noticed I was sweating a freaking LOT, but the wind created on the bike is pleasant when one is sweating and it whisks the moisture away before it becomes a nuisance.

In theory.

I noticed early in my ride that my jersey was completely soaked through. This is my favorite jersey, and I don't normally notice that sort of thing. Still, I had 2 full bottles on board, and was doing well. Wait, why were they full still at mile 5?

Also, Because of the size of my bike frame, I was packing a 24 oz and a 20 oz bottle. Both were filled with the NUUN/Coconut water mixture I'm fond of drinking. However, 44 oz is probably not enough, when considering that by mile 10 I was probably already down 2 pounds (32 oz) of sweat.

Driving to the ride I realized I was missing a handful of equipment.
Typically before I leave my house I bring a 16 oz bottle of water to drink on the way over, my sunglasses, a clif bar cut in half to eat as I'm mounting the bike, and the route.
I had none of these things. I found a spare random "sampler" bar in my bag, and ate half. It was about 95 calories.
Fortunately, I have friends who had a spare pair of glasses & a handful of Bonk Breakers to bring on the bike.

Starting the ride I was down 16 oz, 35 calories.

Since my breakfast consists of 1 small banana (90ish calories), those 35 calories are fairly critical...

I felt really great though, as I said, for the first 25.
And then we turned and had a fierce climb. Followed by a long slow climb that goes a while. Followed by a few pesky climbs. And by the time we turned off the last of the climbing roads, I was dry heaving on the bike, and down to a few swigs of water.

and I wasn't sweaty.
At all.
But I clearly wasn't hot, because I was covered in gooshflesh....

At mile 42ish I had a wave of dizziness wash over me that almost took me off my bike. I could barely keep it upright. My legs, back, arms, and chest were cramping.

At mile 45 the route passes a gas station, and I pulled into the lot heaving like I'd just done a hard sprint. I'd barely been rolling at 10 mph. The Good Dr & British Gentleman were with me at the time, and I said, "I don't have 20 minutes left in me" and shocked myself when I said, "Dr, can you go get the car?"

He handed me a $5 and sent me to buy a drink while he pounded at 22mph back to the start.

I drank 32 oz before he arrived to get me.
And another 10 oz with him before I could even get in the car.

Oddly enough, or perhaps, not odd at all, I felt pretty good after rehydrating myself with about 64 oz of fluids, and my mind started wandering. I questioned whether or not I could have finished the ride.

And then I came to my senses.

No, I could not have finished the ride. I might have fallen off the bike, or worse, caused an accident in the pace line. What I needed was air conditioning, liquids, electrolytes and more liquids. More miles would have been a fail.

This just proves that even the most thoughtful athlete, educated and practiced in the ways of hydration, can have a day that reminds of them of their mortality. Happy 4th of July weekend, and be safe out there in summer heat.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Puzzle Pieces

I couldn’t ride my bike this morning.

Stupid rain.

I couldn’t swim this morning either. I mean, I guess I could have, but because I swam so hard last night, I definitely woke up having one of those “Princess Bride” mornings. Not the kind of morning where you’re kidnapped and rescued “asyouwish” by a handsome blond pirate with 4 white horses, but the other kind.

I guess I need to
The one where you say to yourself, “Why won’t my arms move?”

So, in the interest of not drowning, a swim was really out of the question today.

Interestingly, that really only left a few options. One of which is the 3rd piece of the Triathlon Puzzle... and it’s a puzzle I’m struggling to work these days.

The bike is my favorite way to get sweaty and hot.

The swim is an illusive siren that tempts me to do things I might otherwise avoid... Should I? Shouldn't I?

The run is... completely non-existent.

Many of you might not realize, but 2 weeks ago I was cleared to begin a walk run program. 

Yes, that’s what I said. It’s been 2 weeks since I was given permission to run... and yet, I didn’t bolt out the door to run right away.

2 weeks.

In 2 weeks I have done no running. I skipped with my 6 year old... does that count for anything? Probably not much.

Today I got dressed to run. And then... I did exactly nothing else except watch the temperature’s increase. I confessed this crime to The Good Dr, and after a gentle, #suckitupButtercup, I decided to stop procrastinating.

The humidity at 1 pm was a bit much... so I violated RULE #1 of GBA Running, and went out without a shirt in just a bra.

 And then...

The Good Dr showed up with a smile. Dressed to run.

He had 6 miles.
I had 20 minutes of walk/run.

It was fun, albeit stressful. 

Yes, stressful.

Whatifithurts? WhatifIhurtitagain? WhatifIsuck?

I survived.
1.8 miles, 20 minutes, walk 2/run 3.

And at the end I was sweaty and rained on and smiling.

I'm icing it, per The Witch Dr's instruction, and planning my next run.

~savor the run~

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lame Lane Swimming

Last night I broke down and went to Master’s Swim.

"Forgive me Coach... It has been 24 years since my last group swim practice..."

Though I've been toying with the idea for a long time, I never have had the guts to go. I just always assumed I didn't belong there. Masters Swim is for epic swimmers like my Qualifying Aunt, or Ranked Mother. or my friend Alex who breaks NC Records, right?

I'm not that. 
I always feel like a poser at the pool.
I'm a good swimmer, but I don't have it

There is no magic when I slide into the pool, pinned between lane lines, sloshing through my strokes as the other swimmers glide effortlessly through the water.

To say this adventure was outside of my comfort zone would be a severe understatement.

Besides, swimming is a solitary sport. Why bother going to a class where you are likely going to be exposed as a not awesome swimmer poser?

Um. Because...

Holy Freaking Fun, Batman!

Yes. It was Fun. And freakisly hard.

Y Coach - "Ok, swim 300m warm up, then 4 X 100 swim/FTD/swim/Kick, 400 descending, 4x 50 descending, then 10 X 100 descending with 4 @ 2:05, 3 @ 2:00, 2 @ 1:55, and 1 @ 1:50...  Go."

Me - empty stare.

Y Coach - "Go ahead."

Me - "Can you repeat that, in english please? This is only my first day."

Y Coach - "What!?" He shook his head in disbelief.

I nodded and said, "First day. For real. Please explain." 

Y Coach - "You don't swim like it's your first day.... " But he did explain what it all meant.

I wasn't terrible.
But I wasn’t awesome, even in my Awesome-girl swim wear. 

Halfway through Masters Swim I was sucking wind (or water, but air is better, FYI. I would know, I've checked both). At a lot of points I struggled, trying to keep up with the people in my lane. They have a lot of endurance. I have a little speed on them, with no endurance what so ever. It's not an ideal combination.

It’s an interesting feeling, swimming in a circle pattern with a group. I always feel hunted in the water until I start to see my lane mates ahead of me. Then, I become the hunter.

And Y Coach said to me at the end of the night, in a where in the heckfireandshoot did you come from kind of way, "So... You've been swimming alone? All this time?"


He smiled, and I recognized a kindred spirit. "If you come back, you will get faster... So.... see you next week."

It was not a question.

And he might just see me next week.
After all... if we know one thing about me, it's that I am addicted to speed.