Thursday, July 24, 2008

Did someone say 10.5?

As in miles ran....Heck yeah I did! In fact, I'll take that 10.5 and raise you another .2 for a grand total of 10.7 (and in less time that last week's 9.5)!!

So knowing that this weekend I would be calling yet another random hotel room in some other state my home, I decided I had to end my training week with a bang. It was run time, and I had my game face on. It was much cooler and less humid than last week's run, so I was ready to rock and roll.

I hadn't had the best day at work and all of my running buddies had bailed on me, so I was going this one alone. To be honest I had thought about calling it a night and forgoing the run but something wouldn't let me. So despite the fact I would've been perfectly content curling up in bed and watching tv, I geared up.

Usually it takes a mile or so for me to hit my stride but tonight seemed to be starting out on a high note. I have this awful tendency to start out a little faster than I should, and tonight's run was no different. My first mile, in fact, was just shy of my all time personal best (which hasn't been done since high school). While the time itself is nothing to brag about, the accomplishment felt good. And to top that great first mile off, I held that pace through the first couple of miles. In retrospect going hard at the start of the run, not my brightest idea. C'est la vie.

The first 1/2 of my run went by quickly and felt surprisingly good. I was practicing my run/walk strategy and trying to stay hydrated. Before I knew it I was at my halfway point and ready to turn around. That's when I looked up and gazed across the lake. For some, 10.5miles is no big deal. I'm not one of them. When I looked across the lake and saw where I started in correlation to where I was it hit me just how far I had gone, and how much I had accomplished.

The second half of my run went by almost as quickly as the first, that was until the last mile. That mile will get me every time I fear. By the last mile I found myself having to talk my body through each step. Yet again my body was starting to hurt something fierce. My hips ached and my legs were starting to cramp. If I slowed to walk everything would stiffen up but the impact of running was equally unpleasant. I told myself again that this is were the mental toughness comes in. This is where it's brain over brawn.

So I told myself to toughen up and push through it. After a few yards of waddling I could see my end point in sight. As best I could I kicked it into gear and made my "sprint" for the finish. As I keeled over at the corner to catch my breath, I looked around and was relieved to find my self one for a moment (in contrast to the end of last week's run where I keeled over in front of a very concerned police officer). I cooled down over my last 2 block walk to my apartment, washed my face, sprawled across my apartment floor to stretch and catch my breath, and hope to regain movement by morning

Here's hoping next week's epic run around the lake is at least as good as this weeks run.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bike 1, Katie 0

Start of Ride: 11:30am
Av. Temp: 85degrees
Time: 3hrs 42mins
Distance: 49.14miles
Av Speed: 13.27mph
Av Watts: 96Watts
Hills Walked: 2
Blisters: 1

As if those numbers don't speak for themselves, let me give you the details of the ride. Oh, what a ride it was...

So I coerced my coworker Geoff, who happens to be a pretty rockin cyclist, to ride with me on Sunday. The goal was a solid training ride, 50miles, couple hours, nothing killer. Apparently he missed the part of the description where I asked not to die on this ride.

So we decided to meet and head out on this ride at 11:30. We headed down the usual route, along the lake, down the bike path, through the arboretum, and then the hills began. I've always considered the Seminole Way hill to be the most daunting, not because of its size alone, but rather the fact that one must hit the curvy steep hill with no momentum because of traffic. But I made it up that hill, with Geoff coaching me along the way and was feeling oddly optimistic about the ride.

We head out towards Paoli, keeping (for me anyways) a pretty good pace, a little witty banter here and there, with a sprinkle of hills. While I can't even begin to keep up with Geoff on the hills (nevermind the fact he's riding abnormally slow just for me) I'm still feeling ok with my ride thus far. We get to the Paoli turn around point and Geoff asks if I feel up to going a little farther. I think the description was along the lines of "another 10 miles or so with a few more hills." Sure. I'm feeling ok still at this point, why not go a little farther?

So I'm huffing and puffing along trying to stay in sight of Geoff who is clearly in much better shape than I am. We're headed up another hill and Geoff says take the next left. I'm thinking to myself "heck yeah I'll take the next left" as it will cut off the steeper half of the hill we are currently climbing....until I turn left. Great Googly Moogly!! What a hill!! Geoff is kind enough to inform me that it's not that bad, a couple of false flats, little painful, but it'll be over before I know it, and then he takes off. Riiiiight. So I start chugging up the hill. I quickly run out of gears and begin to feel that death and or a heart attack is imminent. About half way up the hill my speed and cadence has dropped so low I am literally tipping side to side with each attempted pedal stroke....and then it was oh crap! unclip or tip. And unclip I did. I pathetically dismount my bike and proceed to make my walk of shame up the hill with my head hanging low (I think it was a mix of embarrassment and sheer exhaustion). To add insult to injury, Geoff now turns around to ride down to me to see how I'm doing and ride up the hill next to me (while I walk). That would be hill #1 I walked...

The ride continues. It has to be going on 2 or so at this point and it is hot and steamy out. We've down a pretty nice downhill (see hill description above) and few small rollers, but nothing too bad. Geoff keeps asking how I'm doing, and while I am sure I was radioactive red in the face and gasping for breath, I didn't want to outright say how I felt. So I kept saying "I'm hanging in there" or "doing ok" or "I'll make it there." Secretly I think I am dying and just don't want to admit it (here's hoping Geoff doesn't read my blog...). That's when we get to yet another never-ending hill. I am almost out of water now and half way up the hill my calves start to cramp. My unclipping is very flail like and I am using every profanity I know. I stop to stretch my calves before I start another walk of shame the rest of the way up the hill. This would be hill #2 I walked. My calves were on fire now, and walking up hill in bike shoes did not help the matter.

Top of the hill, back on the bike, over half way done. I'm hangning in there for a few more rolling hills. I'm told there is gas station up the way where we can stop for cold water, at which point I finish off what I have and give myself a lil pep talk. A few more hilly miles down the rode I can see the gas station come into sight. HALLELUJAH!! With the exception of a rode trip or two in college, I don't think I have ever in my life been so happy to see a gas station. I'd like to take a moment to extend my complete gratitude to the kind people at at the Verona BP for allowing me to traipse in spandex clad and water up. Talk about some wonderful and friendly folks.

From the gas station it was probably another 15 or so miles home. I had little or no energy left, the heat and hills and sucked that out of me miles ago, but I had water and was determined to "git'r done." Those last miles were slow, but I made it.

Geoff and I parted ways about 1/2 mile from my house. I made a quick stop at the convenience store near my house to load up on the junk foods I had been craving on my ride: Snickers, Sour Cream and Onion Chips, and a Coke (which I proceeded to eat while taking a cool bath when I got home).

After a bath, a shower, and a nap I felt almost human again (except for the awful blood blister I acquired on the ride that I won't go into details on...let's just say a new saddle is in order).

Major kudos to Geoff for riding with me, being a patient and supportive cheerleader, and helping me get ready for my big race.

(PS-That's so not my bike in the picture, just the one I lust after....)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Murphy's Law Strikes Again

It really is no surprise that my mom nicknamed me Murphy at a very young age. Seriously though, I have spent my entire life proving Murphy's Law.

So I found out this morning that something went awry with my Pigman Registration (from months ago) and somehow I am now on the wait list. The "if someone cancels we'll try to squeeze you in" list. Great. Just friggin GREAT! So what do I do now??

Well at this point I plan to continue to train and hope like hell it all works out in my favor. But do I also register for another race just in case/potentially in addition? There's Lake Geneva....but it happens to be the Saturday before IM WI which I had planned to be at to support my friends and teammates. Grrr-umbe!!

That's right, it could go wrong, and it did.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

9miles or BUST

So last night's goal was to break the 9mile mark running (assuming you can call what I do running). And I am happy to say that not only did I meet my goal, I surpassed it! 9.34miles! WOO WOO! I never thought it would be humanly possible for me to run much more than 3miles, but here's how it all rolled out...

After work I met Ryan downtown for some dinner and Jamba Juice (my fav), followed by a nap for me. (I have to give a MAJOR shout out to my boy Ryan for yet again making the drive to train with me and keep me motivated on my long run of the week.) Ryan was given strict instructions to wake me up after 1hr, and make me go run, no matter how much I protested. I had decided pre-nap to change into my running clothes so that I would feel extra guilty if I blew off running to keep napping. When my hour was up I really did not want to get up. I was just tired, and the heat of the day did nothing to motivate me out of bed. But after enough prodding I was up and getting ready to go. Well, almost. Then there was trying to find my water bottle...and my light....oh and where are my keys. A few profanities and 15minutes later we are headed out the door.

Holy humidity! Not even a mile into the run we are both drippy sweaty human beings. But seeing as we were pacing ourselves for the long haul and the heat, not even the sweat was going to stop us. We were cruising along slow and steady for the first 7 or so miles. I have to admit that by 7 1/2 though, I was starting to hurt. I tried to give myself the pep talk that its more mental than physical, push through it, yada yada yada. This got me through about the next mile. Then the real pain and profanity set in. By the last quarter mile I'm pretty sure I was waddling. But somehow I made it.

Home to lay on the floor for a while, shower and head to bed, hoping to feel human again by the time I woke up.

And I did in fact feel much better this morning. A little am stretching and I actually felt like in a weeks time I would be able to take on my next epic run....the 11 miler.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Everything I need to know about "Tri-ing" I learned in Rhode Island

This past weekend I spent my time in Providence RI continuing my adventures on the IM expo circuit. Flights were on time, weather was pretty nice, so on and so forth. Things were looking up. For the most part. While the weekend was relatively uneventful I did quite a bit while in the Ocean State...

1. Never believe the Internet estimated travel times. Sure I'll stay in Massachusetts, it can't be that far from Providence. 9 miles? No problem. Until the local bridge (the ONLY bridge) that takes you from Providence to MA is under construction. So suddenly Mapquest's 9m estimation isn't looking so do-able.
Side note: Don't be ashamed to pull our your GPS and admit you have no idea where you're headed. Without that handy little bugger I may still be stuck driving in circles on various RI interstates.

2. Make a list and check it twice. While I escaped the curse of the forgotten item this time, it never ceases to amaze me how may athletes arrive at a race to realize, in s state of panic of course, that they forgot that item they just can't live or race without. From gels, to goggles, to cycling shoes, they've all been forgotten. And at the very least, don't wait until you arrive at transition to first open your gear bag and double check that you have it all. If you really can't squeeze it in before you leave your home town or state, do as soon as you arrive at your race. At least that way there's a chance to replace that missing of the puzzle.

3. Pay head to the "Low Clearance" signs, they're there for a reason. I'd be lying if I said my heart didn't go out to the racer who drive his $4000 tri bike right into the cement girder of the parking ramp, but come on dude! What were you thinking...?

4. Don't wait until race weekend to fix that rub, clank, wobble, etc. That's right my friends, plan ahead. Like when the rub starts. Or you first notice that clank, why not head to your local shop then? You won't always have the rockstar tech staff of Inside Out Sports there to save the day.

5. If at all possible, partake in Friday's packet pick up. Lets do the RI math. ~1700 total participants, ~200 checked in on Friday, which leaves.....1500 participants to stand in line on Saturday. Yikes. Suddenly relaxing and staying off your feet the day before the big race is less and less of an option. And after you've stood in line for 4hrs to pick up your packet, weigh in, etc, you still have to make you way to bike check in. BUT WAIT!! Half of the interstate is closed due to an accident...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

39 Days and Counting

So I've come to the conclusion that the 2008 race/training season has pretty much been a bust. There's been a little biking, some running, few open water swims,oh and no actual races. But I've got my eye on the prize. Pigman. 39 Days to Pigman.

My POA for Pigman was to draw up my last minute training calendar. So at work today I made my calendar, wrote in my traveling and events, and then wrangled up my coworkers and friends and had them sign up for training dates with me. It went a little something like, "So, uh, Geoff, what're you up to on Sunday the 20th?.....Nothing? Well I was looking for someone to do a 50mile training ride with, I'll put your name down. You're the best!!" And so on and so forth.

I looked to my coworker and local cycling guru to help me rock some serious training rides, called my best running buddy to pencil in some runs, and coerced another coworker into commiting to open water swims at least twice a week over the next 5 weeks. I'm not afraid to public name names and dates that ya'll said you'd help out with...... And of course I'm looking to any other friends and fellow coworkers to to keep me motivated, and calm, as the countdown continues.