Sunday, May 26, 2013

Here Turkey, Turkey, Turkey

It's been an interesting week.  There were workouts. There were Garmin issues. There were turkeys!

Monday, May 20th:
85 degrees and more humid than a steam room when I leave work? No. Just no.  Since I didn't go for my planned run, I decided to be proactive about preparing for Tuesday's Pedal Stroke Analysis clinic, so Mr. R&R and I dug out our bike rack and managed to get it anchored to the car so all I had to do in the morning was load up my bike before I left for work.  Not 5 minutes after we got inside, I got an email saying that the clinic had been canceled.  Grrrr. Back outside to remove the rack.

Tuesday, May 21st:
So...I looked at a calendar today and realized that the South Shore Duathlon is just over 3 weeks away and although I've been running and riding a lot, I haven't done a single brick workout since August.  Unlike last year, I know what to expect at this race and I figured I should probably a) remind myself what the "jelly legs" off the bike feel like and b) figure out how to deal with that feeling, so I set myself up for a little brick workout: 1 Mile Run/5 Miles Bike/.5 Mile Run. I'm still not quite willing to take my bike outside, so I knew that I'd be doing that part on the trainer.  The first run was ah-mah-zing.  Who am I? Where is this coming from?
T1 consisted of running down the basement stairs, changing into my cycling shoes, and flipping my Garmin from GPS to Indoor Mode.  Of course, this is when my Garmin decided to be super-flaky and shut itself down!  Not cool.  I wasn't really planning on having to buy a new one, but if this problem continues, a new one will be purchased post haste.

Once I got my Garmin back up and running, I hit the bike hard for 5 miles and it hurt so good.  My quads were screaming and I'm pretty sure that small puddle formed under the trainer from how much I was sweating!
After that, it was back into my running shoes, up the basement stairs (stairs + jelly legs = interesting) and back out to the road for a 0.5 mile run.  I made it about 0.25 miles  before my legs started cramping up. I gritted my teeth and pushed through the remaining 0.25 miles before flopping down into a lawn chair in my back yard because it was the nearest place to plant my butt!

Wednesday, May 22nd:
It rained cats and dogs all day, and then on the way home I saw the craziest thing:
 It's not the best picture, but a freaking turkey ran across the road in front of my car, through some people's yards, and in the direction of a very busy street!  Turkeys in suburbia are not normal!

Later in the evening, I hopped on the trainer and busted out 10 miles. My speed was abysmal, but I wasn't too upset by it since I could still feel Tuesday night's workout in my legs.

My view from the trainer
Per the Iron Cheerleader's instructions, I rode the first 5 miles at an easy pace and then focused on riding the second 5 miles faster.

Thursday, May 23rd:
I think I fell into some sort of alternate universe today.  I did a quick change in my office and pointed my car toward the pool - in rush hour traffic.  Given what traffic is normally like, it should have taken me at least 40 minutes to drive to the pool. I made it in 30.  Once I got there everyone I encountered was incredibly polite. We're talking southern manners polite. An older gentleman told me he'd be "more than happy" to share a lane with me. A child receiving swim lessons in the next lane over apologized for splashing me when I was resting against the wall - and I have no problem getting splashed since I'm at a pool. After a fairly uneventful 250 yards, the desk clerk wished me "a lovely evening" when I left. I'm not complaining, but...this. is. not. normal. Then, as I was driving home, I passed an open field between a golf course and a big building and out of the corner of my eye I spied two turkeys! When I looked closer, there was a whole freaking flock of turkeys in that field. The pool is in a much farther flung suburb, so it's not as surprising to see them out that way, but I still think I'll be laying off the turkey sandwiches for a while!

Friday, May 24th:
Oh summer hours, how I do love thee. I got out of work early enough today to go shopping for a much needed new swimsuit. After an hour of trying on swimsuits (in a tiny dressing room. with a fun house mirror. under harsh fluorescent lights.) I found one that I really loved and one that was tolerable. Of course the one I really loved was $80 and the tolerable one was $40.  I settled for the $40 suit and headed to the pool.  I love quiet afternoons at the pool. I had a lane all to myself, the sun was shining in through the windows, and the 300 yards felt really good. Even better? No turkey sightings on the way home!
New Swimsuit
Saturday, May 25th:
I was going to run this morning, but I succumbed to the gravitational pull of the couch. My great accomplishments for the day were petting bunnies (whose super soft summer coats have come in), eating a bunch of cheese, and drinking a glass of Shiraz.  It was exactly what I needed. Remember, I said less beer/wine/cheese, not none!

Sunday, May 26th:
My favorite part of a holiday weekend, besides the whole 'not having to go to work on Monday' thing? Sales. Really, really good sales.  Remember how I was complaining about how my Garmin was acting up the other day?  As it turns out, the one I was thinking about buying as a replacement, should it become necessary, was on sale for 25% off at REI this weekend and I unearthed a $100 gift card that I'd been hoarding since my birthday back in February.  I took it as a sign that I was meant to have Garmin's latest and greatest multisport GPS watch, so I bought it.  Meet the 910XT.

It does all the things my Garmin 305 did (record speed, distance, route, etc. on the bike and run), and it's 100% waterproof and can calculate my swim speed, number of strokes, and swim efficiency in both open water and indoor pools!  Talk about the complete package. This means no waiting for my watch to lock onto satellites before beginning the bike leg of my upcoming triathlon since it will already be on my wrist and recording swim data.  Now I just have to read through the manual and figure out how to use all the features!

Once it was all charged up, I took it out for a short run and so far I'm loving it.  It's quite a bit lighter and lower profile than my old Garmin and the display is much sharper.  Another nice feature is that it beeps and vibrates at each mile. The other one only beeped - which was sometimes difficult to hear over my iPod.

There were a few issues when I went to upload all the data, but fortunately Mr. R&R was able to sort them out for me. I'm really excited to get it paired up with the sensors on my bike and to test it out in the pool!

Week 4 Totals:
Swim: 500 yards
Bike:  15.01 miles
Run: 4.51 miles
Total Hours: 2 hours, 50 minutes

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cuddly Bunnies

Week 3 is over? Already? Time just seems to be flying by.  Then again, what else is new?

Monday, May 13th:
Oh Monday, you frustrate me so.  Work was the usual circus, followed by the grocery store. I know, I know...but I ran out of time to go grocery shopping over the weekend, and it was either shop or eat condiments instead of actual food.  After a quick dinner of 'cheater chicken', a baked potato (totally microwaved that sucker) and some broccoli, I hit the trainer for 45 minutes and then proceeded to have a minor tantrum when what I had thought was a really good ride turned out to be slower than my last two rides.  I feel like I'm putting in the effort, but not seeing results. It's frustrating the hell out of me.

Tuesday, May 14th:
I came home today and my mind and body were both completely out of gas. There was no way I was going for the run I had planned unless I wanted to faceplant in the middle of the sidewalk.

It's going to be rough squeezing in all my workouts this week, but I think I can still get them all in. Famous last words?  Oh, and I made this official tonight too!

Wednesday, May 15th:
Walter had an appointment with Dr. Beast tonight (don't worry...he's fine), so we corralled the boys in their carrier and made the drive, with two freaked out bunnies, to her office.  Once we were there, Walter was perfectly happy and content especially when his favorite vet tech was holding him!  Spot, on the other hand was a shaking mess and the only thing that happened to him at the vet's office was Dr. Beast petting him and saying hello!  He hates being held, but the only thing that calmed him was cuddles from Mr. R&R!

We finally made it home around 7:30 and between the late hour and the fact that I. was. starving. there was no workout.

Thursday, May 16th:
I met up with the Newbies at a local parkway for a hill workout on one of the two nastiest hills in town. This sucker is on one of my regular running routes and I make it a point to always run down it! If you've been hanging around here for a while, you know I despise running up hill and usually end up walking at least part of every major hill I come upon.  That needs to stop, so I figured this group workout would be a good first step in fixing the problem.

The five of us and the Iron Cheerleader set off on a short warm up run (just under a mile).  Once we were warmed up, the Iron Cheerleader gathered us at the bottom of a small hill, gave us a few tips how to run hills more efficiently, and sent us off on our first out and back - or should I say up and down?

Um...that's way faster than I normally run.  The group dynamic motivated me well out of my comfort zone so  I think I may need to train with others more often.  After the little hill it was time to take on the big hill...times 3.  It was definitely tough, but I controlled my breathing, focused on taking the hill one step at a time, and I made it up without walking all three times and then enjoyed the controlled chaos that is running downhill, followed by a nice easy jog back to my car.  I also talked to the Iron Cheerleader about my inability to clock a decent speed on the bike lately and he had a few suggestions.  Hopefully they help because something's gotta give.

Holy $#!%
Friday, May 17th:
I should have gone to the pool after work to make up for Tuesday's missed swim workout and then followed it with some time on the trainer.  By the time I left work, I realized I'd forgotten to eat lunch (insane day) so the pool was out, but I did put in half an hour on the trainer.  I reset my bike in the trainer (one of the suggestions from yesterday), changed the position of my climbing block, hopped on, pedaled my butt off, and was rewarded with an average speed about 1 mile/hour faster than I've been riding!  Hopefully this is the start of an upswing in speed.

Saturday, May 18th:
My day started with a double swim workout since I didn't go to the pool on Friday.  Workout #1 was a 50 yard warm up, 2x50 main set, and a 50 yard cool down. Since I was going to be going straight into a second workout, I did 50 yards with a kick board instead of cooling down. Workout #2 was a 50 yard warm up, 4x25 main set, and a 50 yard cool down.  I felt pretty good, but I seem to always get tired in the deep end of the pool rather than at the shallow end.  It's annoying!  Once I got home, Mr. R&R and I hit the back yard to do some much needed weeding and clean up. It was hot, sweaty work but the section we did looks much better now.  We're hoping to do more, and put some plants in, next weekend.  I also got a little snuggle from Walter.  He's not usually much for snuggling with the humans, but he laid on me for a good 2 minutes before he wanted down!

Sunday, May 19th:
I was supposed to be at a Proper Running Form clinic at 10:00 this morning, but by the time I woke up that just wasn't going to happen.  Mr. R&R and I decided to do a few easy miles together instead.  The first mile felt good despite the heat and an humidity.  The second mile was ugly.  I actually had to stop at the top of a hill because I was so dizzy.  We ran/walked the rest of the way home while reminding ourselves that there's a reason you do not run in heat and humidity without at least bringing a water bottle along.  Our slog (slow jog) was followed by a late breakfast, showers, and a nap.  Later in the day my dad came by to help us move our old dryer over to my mom's house since hers decided to commit suicide mid-load of towels - and he brought along a friend to "help".

Meet Spooky: 92lbs of gentle giant
When I got home, my Week 4 training schedule was waiting in my inbox.  The distances are definitely longer, the schedule is definitely busier, and somewhere in there I really need to go find a new swimsuit before my old one gives out and I end up flashing the entire pool. Fortunately my office is switching to the 'summer schedule' this week so hopefully I'll be able to duck out in the early afternoon every other Friday, which should help with the time-crunched feeling a little.  8 weeks until race day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Swim, Bike, Guacamole?

This week definitely gave me a hard reality check of what my life is going to be for the next few months: time-crunched, hungry, and seriously in love with sleep!

Monday, May 6th:
I definitely felt the after-effects of yesterday's five miler today, just not where I expected to! Usually I feel long runs in my legs, glutes, and abs, but this one decided to rear its head as a really ugly achy spot in my back that hurt every time I moved the wrong way in my chair today.  There was no way I was running tonight, so I swapped today's run with tomorrow night's trainer ride.
My cadence is right where I want it, but my speed just isn't improving. Grrr... Looks like I need more time on the trainer. Maybe I can beat myself into going faster?

Tuesday, May 7th:
I think yesterday's trainer ride was just what I needed, because today's 3 miler felt pretty damn good - especially the first 2 miles.  I wasn't really paying attention to my pace, I just ran what felt good.  The third mile...well, that's another story.  I definitely paid for running too fast in the first 2 miles.
Damn you, Mile 3!
Somewhere just past Mile 1 I started to think that the kindergarten teachers of America have failed today's youth.  Part of my route involves running past a small, private college and I came up on three guys walking slow moving pack and taking up the whole sidewalk.  I called out 'Passing on your left' which would have given them the chance to move to their right a little (see red arrow) so I wouldn't have to run on the muddy grass on either side of said sidewalk.  Apparently 2 of the three were completely oblivious or they need to go back to kindergarten and learn the difference between their left and right since they moved to their left (see yellow arrow).  Fortunately their more advanced friend managed to drag them out of the way - while making fun of them for not knowing the difference between left and right! Maybe there's hope for some of them?
I am NOT an artist!
Wednesday, May 8th:
Today was my first official event with my fellow wannabe triathletes - a swim stroke analysis clinic.  I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but the team's swim coach (who is currently pursuing her 5th Ironman finish) and the Iron Cheerleader (who's working on his 4th Ironman) put us through our paces and offered suggestions on how to improve form, efficiency, etc. At one point they even filmed us, after swearing that the video wouldn't end up on YouTube, so we could see what we were doing wrong.  Hint: In your mind, you look like Michael Phelps when you swim. In reality, you probably look like a thrashing, splashing mess!  My big things to work on are: learning to breathe bilaterally, not popping my head up so far when I breathe, and changing where my hands enter the water.  After an hour in the pool, I was exhausted!  Don't ask me how, but somehow I managed to get caught up in some ugly construction traffic on the way home, and didn't roll in the door until after 9pm. I inhaled my dinner (made by the nice guy up at Qdoba), cleaned up Walter and Spot's condo, and I'm pretty sure I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Thursday, May 9th: 
I was so happy that today was a rest day. I randomly woke up at 3:30am and tossed and turned for over an hour before falling back asleep, my arms and shoulders were still burning from last night's swim workout and I had an appointment with The Mane Wrangler.
Fueled By 'Bou
 It took nearly 3 hours, an inordinate amount of foil, and an assortment of chemicals, but I finally look normal again!  Of course a 3 hour trip to the Mane Wrangler meant that I didn't get home until after 9:00pm - again.

Friday, May 10th
Can someone please explain to me how I can buy a "size x" swimsuit 8 years ago and have it fit perfectly, but when I tried on a "size x" suit from the same brand tonight, it appears to have been manufactured for a toddler?  Sigh. Back to the drawing board in the search for a new swimsuit. Just what I don't really have time for! On a happier note, Mr. R&R and I tried a new-to-us sushi place tonight.  Yum! 

Maguro, Hamachi, Sake
Saturday, May 11th:
What happens when I take two rest days instead of one? Oh yeah...I have to double up on workouts to make up for what I missed.  I woke up this morning, force-fed myself a Clif bar, and made the twenty minute drive to the pool to do the workout that the Iron Cheerleader had on the schedule for today. I hit the water and did an easy 50 yard warm-up.  The main set was 4x25 freestyle - with a focus on all the things that I was told to work on at Wednesday night's swim clinic.  I still can't breathe bilaterally, my head still comes up too far when I take a breath, but at least my hands seem to be entering the water in the right place!  After that it was an easy 50 yard cool down, out of the pool, and another twenty minutes in the car to get home.  Yes, I spent more time in the car than I did in the water!  Once I got home (after a quick coffee stop), I threw on my cycling clothes and hit the Babe Cave to make up Thursday night's missed workout.  The Iron Cheerleader had us scheduled for a 10 minutes of easy spinning for a warm up, 20 minutes at 'somewhat tougher' speed, followed by a 10 minute easy spin cool down.  I felt like going a little longer, so I extended the workout to 45 minutes and managed to bust out 10 miles.  By the time I was done, I was dripping sweat on the floor around my bike!
My shirt was glued to my back!

I scarfed down a sandwich, guzzled my reheated coffee, jumped in the shower, and made myself somewhat presentable to we could get to Nacho Nurse and Mr. Fix-It's house for a tamale-making party.  Every year they have a bunch of people over to make tamales which are then frozen and served at subsequent parties throughout the year.  It was really nice to see everyone (all of The Usual Suspects were there except for Whoo-Ha) since I've been something of a recluse lately. There was tamale-making, an incredible spread of homemade Mexican food, plenty of beer (lucky for me, Mr. Fix-It shares my taste for Bud Light), karaoke, an adorable baby, and a couple of dogs wearing sombreros!
Tamale - before being rolled and wrapped in a banana leaf

Guacamole - which I ate a ton of

Perro En El Sombrero
After all the food, fun, and  beer I think this guy and I had the exact same idea: nap time, so we hung out on the couch together watching everyone sing karaoke. 

Sunday, May 12th:
I was supposed to get up and go for a run before getting together with my mom for Mother's Day at noon.  Somehow I managed to oversleep (FAIL!) and had enough time to take a shower, slam a cup of coffee, give Walter and Spot carrots, and get my booty over to my mom's house.  She had never been to the Milwaukee Public Market, so we headed that way for lunch.  We both enjoyed baba ghanoush /falafel/veggie stuffed pitas from Aladdin and picking up some giant cookies from C. Adams Bakery we went to pick up some flowers for her garden - her gardens are absolutely amazing, whereas I kill almost every plant that I come into contact with.  I guess I didn't inherit her green thumb!

I didn't end up getting my run in, but I'm not going to stress over it. I'm sure I'll be doing plenty of running in the next few weeks!  On another note, I figured out the swimsuit sizing conundrum from Friday night. According to a little internet research, what was designated as "size x" 8 years ago is now "size y".  I guess that solves that mystery - and should save me some time when I continue my hunt for a new suit.

Week 2 Totals:
Swim: 1,073 yards
Bike: 20.01 miles
Run: 3.0 miles
Total Hours: 3 hours, 16 minutes

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Starting Line

This week marked my return to actual  training, as opposed to the miscellaneous and sporadic activities I've been doing for the last several months.  I think I've been craving the structure and the knowledge that each workout is a small piece of a much bigger picture.  I already know that there's no way I'm going to be able to follow the plan perfectly, but I'm going to give it my best effort. That means that you'll be seeing a lot more swim/bike/run around here and a whole lot less beer/wine/cheese!  I saw this on Twitter and it sums up my feelings perfectly (at least right now):

Monday, April 29th:
I got home from work today and was actually excited to go for a run since it was absolutely perfect outside: 64 degrees, low humidity, minimal wind.  It was nice to just throw on shorts and a t-shirt and head out the door instead of having to pile on multiple layers.  I took it pretty easy (and still managed to get a couple of wicked side-stitches that required stretching out) and just let myself enjoy the run.

Tuesday, April 30th:
When the weather looks like this:

it's easy to get excited about going for a run.  I headed out the door for 3 miles and came back a sweaty, disgusting, and happy mess. By the time I got back, I had no interest whatsoever in standing anywhere near a stove, so the fine folks at the nearby Qdoba were in charge of dinner tonight.  Obviously I can't let this become a regular habit, but that pulled pork quesadilla with salsa verde really hit the spot.

Wednesday, May 1st:
Tonight was the first meeting of my tri club's 'Newbie Group', but before I went to that, I had to duck out of work early and stop at the store for the makings of a fruit platter since we're having a baby shower at the office tomorrow.

 The Newbie Group meeting was interesting. We had to go around the room and introduce ourselves (complete with our racing resumes) and I was stunned to discover that I'm one of the more experienced athletes.  That's unusual for me.  Anyway, the group leader/coach (I think I will be referring to him as The Iron Cheerleader) went through some basics (what gear you need, what's nice to have, etc.), talked about some of the group training and clinic opportunities that will be coming our way, and sent us on our way armed with the first week of a shiny new training plan. I took one look at the plan and immediately decided that I will be using it as a loose framework and adapting it to my level of fitness and goals.  I understand that this program is essentially a 'Couch to Sprint-Tri in 10 weeks' plan, but the running workouts he's prescribing (run 1 minute, walk 1 minute, etc.) are way below my level of fitness at this point and I have other goals in mind besides 'just finish a sprint tri' this season (more on that another time). The swim workouts look pretty useful though - since I'm beyond weak in that sport - and the bike workouts seem pretty manageable.  I'm really looking forward to some of the clinics too.  When a pro wants to give you advice for free, you take it.

 Thursday, May 2nd:
I was almost happy that it was cool and rainy all day today since it was a bike day - and there is no way in hell I'm taking my bike outside and through the construction zone that is my neighborhood. (Seriously, we're surrounded on 4 sides by massive, traffic snarling, bike tube destroying construction.)  After the requisite laying around and stalling, I made my way to the Babe Cave and proceeded to have a thoroughly enjoyable 45 minute ride.  My speed is still a disaster, but my cadence is improving, and I felt stronger than I've felt in a while on the bike.
Yes, there is a tent 2 inches from my back wheel. Don't ask!

Friday, May 3rd:
I had every intention of going for an easy 3 tonight, however it didn't end up happening. Between rainy weather, traffic that would not die down, and a pair of rabbits who have gone through every towel they own; I ended up spending the night cleaning up the house and doing Walter and Spot's laundry - all 3 huge loads!  I did manage to do some serious stretching and foam rolling in between chores, so it wasn't a total loss and now I'm free to do whatever I want for the rest of the weekend!
Friday Night at Casa Rabbits and Runs
Saturday, May 4th:
A day of blissful nothing-ness.  Mr. R&R and I stayed home and spent the day watching tv, playing old school video games, and reading.  We've both needed one of those kind of days for quite a while.  Although I didn't get a workout in, I did manage to finish reading my book.

Sunday, May 5th:
I slept in (didn't crawl out of bed until 11am) and then went for a 5 mile run. The first 2 miles felt good. Miles 3 and 4 were horrible. I was ready to give up and walk home, but I kept going and I'm really happy that I did, because the last mile was amazing.  It was almost as if my body finally shifted into gear or something.  I was holding a nice, fast pace and it felt almost effortless.  I don't know what caused it, but whatever it was, I hope it sticks around!
Cinco for Cinco de Mayo
After a desperately needed shower, Mr. R&R and I ran some errands (which included bumping into Little Sister at the pet store), and got home in time for Little Brother to swing by and show off his new toy.

He stuck around for dinner, which was nice since I haven't seen him in a few months. 

Overall, it was a really good week and I'm hoping next week will be even better.

Weekly Totals:
Swim: 0
Bike: 9.62 miles
Run: 11.2 miles
Total Hours: 2 hours, 36 minutes