7/5/08

4th of July


What a great 3-day weekend...so far. One more day to go but with my parents gone and school work to be done, boo for sunday.

My parents came in on thurs and it was so good to see them. However, they brought their cats so we had an angry house. Princess Smudla (hence the pink collar) was not very happy but she did very well with the two boys (midnight and rugby) in the house.


Friday morning Karel and I met the Open Road group ride and rode with them for 30 miles. It was a quick 30-miles as we averaged around 24-25 mph. I found myself making my way to the front in a single file line and with 3 guys to go, Karel rode up and told me we had to turn around. Phew...relief. I knew I couldn't keep that pace and I was just surprised I was staying on a wheel. On the way home, Karel pulled me in headwind and my legs never stopped pedaling. One of the downsides to riding on flats all the time. The roads were clear of cars which was great and I was really amazed that i could keep up with Karel. We were averaging around 20-21mph in headwind and I couldn't believe that Karel was not slowing down and still pulling me. I was really proud of myself for my ride on tired running legs and the blueberry pancakes w/ raisins I made tasted soooo good. We were back with 57 miles before 9:30am.
After we had our breakfast we got ready and headed to the movies. Something Karel and I NEVER do but we had a great time watching Get Smart. I love laughing so with Steve Carrell in a movie (from my favorite show The Office) Karel, my parents and I had a great time. Funny movie.
After the movie, time for lunch. Karel took a mini nap and I spent time with my mom talking wedding stuff. My dad enjoyed watching the fish.
We headed to San Marco which is a bridge away from Jacksonville and just 10 miles from our place. We had a yummy dinner at a Bistro restaurant and I had a great veggie wood-fired pizza. This was more like a salad on bread (two of my favorite things). The pizza had sweet onions, pesto, spinach, tomatoes and I substituted mushrooms for the shrimp that came with the pizza. YUMMM.
After dinner we headed to the water to watch fireworks. It was hard just waiting for the fireworks but we occupied ourselves by playing UNO. Karel and I got a little competitive but we were good sports. I think I won but we finished with both Karel and I winning a round. The fireworks were AWESOME at the Jacksonville Landing and it was worth the wait. We left at 10pm and I was in bed as soon as I got home.
This morning I ran for 1:28. My music kept me in a zone which was thinking about lots of stuff. Nothing serious, just thoughts of Marni.
I ran for 11.8 miles which gave me a super fast pace of around 7:30 min/miles which makes me feel great about the upcoming marathon in Dec. I wanted to call it a morning after the run when I walked in the door super hot and super sweaty but I do what I always do after a long run...spin my legs. Oh, it feels so good when I am finally finished with my morning of training.
After I cleaned myself up my mom, dad and I ran some errands looking at wedding stuff and then visited Karel at work. My parents loved the Trek store and my dad was picking up all the Treks and Cervelos trying to find the lightest bike. Of course, my dad thinks every bike needs a kick stand but I guess a light bike with a kick stand is important :) After my parents left at 3pm I headed to the Trek store to work for two hours. I almost sold a few bikes but I guess people weren't ready to spend the money yet. Oh well, hopefully they will come back.
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July.
Good luck to anyone racing tomorrow.....Kate kick some butt at Lake stevens!!!
Karel and I are enjoying the Tour which is already proving to be exciting.





7/3/08

Busy day

I stayed up a bit late last night (10pm) to finish some homework for my Food Service course. I am really excited about this course as well as community nutrition. I was enjoying my time off from no school work but I guess it is back to life.
This morning I woke up at 6:30am, put on the running outfit and chatted with Karel as he got ready for his bike. Another tough workout for him with power intervals. I went for an hour and three minute run which came to about 8.3 miles. I must have been running fast because I could barely make it home. I work out on an empty stomach (aside from my coffee) but today I think I had nothing left in the tank. I bagged the bike after the run and called it a day. I wasn't sore or extremely tired after the run but I just didn't feel like doing anything else. No worries, too much to do today.
I made my smoothie and watched a little tv. Since I don't stay up at night I like to record everything and have my "free time" in the morning before I start my studying or work. After I caught up on an hour of tv I started my homework for school. Then, after laundry, cleaning and a little grocery shopping I rode my bike to the shop so that Karel could put a new saddle (Selle Italia) on seduza. I will post pics later. It is a nice white tri-specific saddle..I just love it!
After hanging out at the shop in my bike gear for a while I decided to head home to eat. I met the owner of the Native Sun at the bike shop while he was buying a Trek carbon 4.7 madone. Totally cool guy and you gotta like a guy who speaks organic, no perservatives, natural EVERYTHING!!
After a quick meal I headed out to speak to the Team n Training club. What great people! I spoke about weight loss and how to time your nutrition with your training. I spoke specifically about pre, during and post training nutrition for 60 min or less and 90 min. or more workouts. They asked great questions and I can't wait to hear updates in a few weeks from new nutrition.
Well my parents are here now!!! They drove up from new port richey and I'm super excited to show them our new place!!
Happy 4th everyone. Karel and I are heading out for some of a century ride. Not sure how long we will ride but what a great way to start the morning tomorrow :)

7/2/08

Wednesday morning w/ Karel

Lucky me....Karel and I rode together.
I took out Blue since I don't have another Tri until the end of Aug. I just love riding my road bike, especially if I am not riding alone. Karel and I headed out at 7am and I couldn't wait until our normal 26 mile route. Karel had a super hard power workout yesterday which was based on his power testing that he did on sat. Karel's coach, Shawn Burke from Velocity Multisport has been awesome for Karel. Although Karel comes home from the workouts with shaky legs and a death look in his face, I think he is enjoying seeing himself getting stronger and faster. So, I guess this morning's workout was easy for him since he knew I had to stay on his wheel. We went on our normal roads for 11 miles and when we should have made a right we kept going straight. I didn't say anything because I thought we just bypassed the 2 mile stretch before making a left. Well, we kept going straight. Hummmm, where is he taking me. I didn't ask any questions but I feared the long stretch where we headed with memories of our getting lost ride. Over two bridges, one being the interstate!!! Well, we finally made a left and I was in heaven on a quite road with a bike lane. Just drafting away and we had already done 25 miles. I kept up with Karel for most of the workout except for the turns which I am no where as good as Karel. We finally made it home with a little over 35 miles and my legs were a bit tired. Luckily, my heart is feeling good so I think I just need to work more on those bike muscles. As Karel was grabbing his whey protein I grabbed my visor and put on my running shoes. Off I went for a 18 min. run. In 2.5 miles I was back home and ready for my smoothie. What a good workout and to be finished by 9:30am was a relief. I had grocery shopping, nutrition, coaching and school to get started with but to know I had a good workout was a great way to start the day.

7/1/08

Iron Girl race recap





As usual, I loved my Iron Girl experience. This was my first IG triathlon but I have had the opportunity to race the Iron Girl 10K in clearwater for the past 3 years.

Race day morning started at 4:50am. Kate and I both slept great after falling asleep to our 2nd showing of the Wedding Crashers on TBS. First things first, time for coffee. After we made coffee, a cup for each of us, I took out the coffee beans so that I could heat some water for our oatmeal. Who needs a microwave when you have a coffee maker! We ate our oatmeal out of paper coffee cups the first day we were at the hotel and after a trip to Publix we had nice red and green plastic bowls to go with our plastic spoons.
After we each had a packet of apple and cinnamon low sugar oatmeal, a few raisins and a little banana we were ready to get dressed in our racing gear. I sipped on my aminos and water starting after breakfast until the race start. I checked the weather before we left so we could have an idea of where the wind was coming from. After riding the course on fri, Kate and I looked forward to a long stretch of road with a slight incline and we wanted to see where the wind was coming from so we could power it out on the bike.
We parked across from transition and it was great to just arrive with our great zoot bags and NO bike. Oh the luxury of checking-in your bike the day before a race. Kate and I both set-up our transition area which took all of a few minutes. Again, another luxury of racing a sprint race. I compulsively checked my brake pads and wheels as usual and after several pics we were ready to head to the swim start.
We had a 10-min walk to the swim start and we got to walk down the lovely steep climb that we would be running up after the swim. Kate and I both took in a gel at 15-minutes before our waves. The race started at 7 a.m. and I only saw a few familiar faces. Some excited ladies from the nutrition clinic said hi to us and also our great new friend who raced at the young age of 67. Kate went off at 7:15 and my wave followed at 7:20am.
We started chest high in the water and when our 20-29 year old wave went off I quickly got to the front of the group with the other fast swimmers. Because i was following the fast girls i noticed that we were swimming a little off course and away from the shore. I decided that swimming on course is a better strategy than drafting. I was hoping for a 9-10 min swim and when I came in at 9:17 I was happy. It was a little tough getting out of the water in the sandy/muddy shore but I was anxious to climb the big hill. I was seriously running on my tippy toes to push myself up this steep hill. What a climb! Luckily it was steep and short. I was trying to squeeze by a bunch of walkers and I don't blame those ladies for taking their time. I knew what the bike course was like and having tight calves to start the bike was a big ouch for all the climbing on the 18-mile bike course.
I started the bike course going downhill since the transition area was on the top of a hill and I continued flying down the road for around 3 miles. I saw a bunch of ladies walking their bikes up a hill and I just felt so bad for the many more hills to come. However, I knew when these ladies finished the bike and then the run, they would all be Iron Girls. The best thing about a challening course is feeling so accomplished when you finish. I was passed by one girl on the bike and when I took a look at her calf and noticed she was 22 I felt good about my age group placement. I wasn't sure how far ahead or behind I was from the other 25-29 girls but after googling some of the participants and seeing previous racing times I knew I had some competition. I was thinking of Kate blowing up the bike course so I tried to do the same. For me, a 56.03 bike time for 18 miles was just fine. I had a few slow moments when I was passing girls and trying to weave my way through girls going 35-40mph down hill but I was sure to give positive remarks to people as we were making our way to the end of the bike. The course was super hilly so this was a tough race for me. I can't really train for hills in flat jacksonville but I did the best i could and made sure I was smart about changing my gears to keep a steady cadence.
After climbing the transition hill to get off bike I knew the run was going to be a challenge. Judy had told Kate and I that the run course was 1.5 miles up and 1.5 miles down. I saw the fast girls finishing the run as I made my way to mile 1 and i could see them flying down the hill. I wasn't sure what was worse, the ups or downs, but the course seems challenging for all 3 miles. I was huffing and puffing. I took a cup of water at the first and second aid stations but barely got a sip. It was more for cooling. I had my unflavored heed and aminos in a bottle on the bike so I felt hydrated. I was only passed by one girl on the run and to my surprise, she was 16!! She flew by me and I knew she was a HS runner. Oh well. I saw kate when I was running the opposite direction and that was a great surprise. I couldn't wait to get to the finish.I ran 21.46 for 3 miles and with the hills I was just fine with that time. Kate was at the finish line and I sprinted my way to the line to reach my goal time of 1:30.20.

Kate and I took some more pics, talked about the race, cheered for some deserving Iron Girl finishers and first timers and texted our fans. Kate updated Craig and I told Karel and my mom and dad that I thought I was going to puke.
Lastly, Kate and I couldn't believe that we went 9th and 10th for the overall rankings. getting beat is no fun, depending on how you look at it. I always want to enjoy myself and I try my hardest during the race but to be beat by Kate I couldn't have been more happy for her!

This was a great race and I'm ready for another one! This morning I had a great 6.7 mile run on the treadmill for interval tuesday. Not as much fun without my swimfit buddies but I did get in 8 x 2 min (1:30 at 8.6 mph, 30 sec at 9 mph) with 1 min recovery at 8mph and then 5 x 50 sec at 9.5 mph. I was super sweaty after that one. I lifted weights for a little bit and jumped in the pool for a hard 2000 meter swim. 4 x 200 on 2:55 and then 4 x 125 on 1:50.

6/30/08

Ironman and Healthy Eating

Kate and I had plenty of time to chat over the past 4 days. With Kate doing a 70.3 next weekend in Lake Stevens and then IMKY in August, I was entertaining her with plenty of nutrition strategy's for her races. I know she will do great despite the hot weather in Kentucky and based on this past weekend, she will rock the 70.3 bike course. I told her I'd give her 100 meters of my swim skills if she would give me 3 min. on a sprint bike course. It was a deal :)

Well, after talking Ironman for at least 2 hours on sunday I knew that something has been missing in my life. I wasn't missing IM after I was learning how to walk again after Kona but ever since I've been able to run and feel strong during a race, I have been getting the IM vibe. Obviously, school is my number one concern right now. Not only is it taking a lot of time but also money. Karel always reminds me that our sports are part of our lives and that is what we do. We aren't professionals by any means but we love punishing our bodies and calling it "training". We also love the process of training and seeing it all come together at a race. Not all races are perfect but we keep coming back for more training so that we can get stronger and faster.
After thinking about the possible IM races that I can afford (meaning, minimal travel) I thought that I could give a try at IMKY next August. Of course being in my homestate of Kentucky and living 21 years in lexington, it would be great to see all my old friends and see some familiar roads. I am 80% sure I am going to sign up for IMKY in hopes of racing the best I can and having a fun race.

After making my 80% decision to sign up for IMKY I told Karel as Kate, Karel and I were eating dinner last night. I didn't come right out and say "Karel, I'm going to sign up for IMKY" but rather, I said "karel, I am thinking about signing up for IMKY. What do you think?"

For anyone who has done an IM or has known someone who has done an IM, it is not an individual race. Although there are many months of lonely training rides, runs and swims there must be support of friends and family. The decision of an IM is one that is made among many people and everyone must be on board. Your children, your parents, your wives/husbands, your boyfriends/girlfriends, your close friends, your siblings, your employees, your boss, your teachers and/or your coach. Today, I called my mom and told her about my 80% decision. Both my mom and Karel were on board with my decision but just like IM #1 (IMFL) and IM #2 (Kona) an Ironman takes a lot of time and energy. Your loved ones must support you when you are heading out for a 6 hour workout, encourage you when you think you can't make it until taper and most of all, understand (and put up with) all the emotions that come with training for an IM.

The decision for an IM is much like jumping into a new nutrition plan.
This weekend Kate had the chance to observe a weekend of eating like Marni...and she survived!!! Seriously, I'm totally normal and I even eat white bread, ice cream and sports bars and I snack after 8pm. Although I think some of my food choices and eating habits are weird, I think we are all weird in some way. However, Kate and I shopped at Publix together for yummy food (PB, raisins, bananas, nuts, yogurt, pita bread and oatmeal) and we ate out together. Sometimes kate would be hungry and I would be fine and other times I would be snacking on nuts and Kate would be napping. We eat different amounts but we both enjoyed eating and being together. We both have different eating habits but we had healthy food at all times.

Kate brought up a great point this weekend. She said that she ate so clean all weekend and didn't really crave the typical foods she eats around a race like a coke or greasy foods after a race. Of course we all love a nice piece of pizza or something sweet after a race but Kate admitted that she felt so good going into the race eating so well. She wasn't stuffed from eating too much and we were both surprised that we didn't really eat a lot. Just enough to stay satisfied and we didn't really "snack mindlessly" or overeat.

This got me thinking that an Ironman and healthy eating are much alike. Do you ever start a new nutrition plan and not tell anyone? I guess it seems silly that you would tell everyone you know that you are cleaning up your diet and attempting to lose weight or just eat more health. You are ready to make the new changes to clean up the diet but friends and family provide food which you probably shouldn't eat on a daily basis. And even if you know it is 2pm and you just ate lunch, available foods should not be left uneaten in the house or at work. It isn't your problem that if food is around, you WILL eat it. Discipline and will-power only work so long until the brain chemicals in the body begin to overpower any sense of your inner strength to avoid chips, sodas, sweets, etc....or for me...BREAD!

I wish that people would not be afraid to eat in a "weird" way. Why do I say "weird"? Well, because that isn't how the rest of the world is eating. Yes, i know it is confusing. How simple would it be if you ate out and all the toppings and sauces were on the side and you didn't have to ask? What if the portions were smaller and you didn't have to feel stuffed after finishing your plate? What if all ice cream was frozen yogurt and the serving size was really 1/2 cup? What if the grocery store provided only healthy options at an affordable price and you didn't have to spend hours reading food labels and deciphering the healthiest, artificial flavoring-free, low sugar/calorie food? And for me, what if restaurants provided vegetarian options that we both filling and healthy....not unhealthy and loaded with cheese or the normal vegetarian option of iceberg lettuce and a few small baby tomatoes for an expensive, non-filling salad. Come on...I'm an athlete and I want to eat and be healthy!

LIfe would be so easy if we were all alone. No kids, significant others, friends or family. Just you and your own eating. You could eat when you were hungry and not be influenced by the work snack table or when your significant other (or you) got home from work. You could have only the best food in your house that you wanted to eat and not what your kids cried for because they saw it on tv (without making this blog too long, if you are avoiding that food...don't feed it to your kids!!!!). You could come home and cook whatever you wanted and only portion to your needs.

This is how I eat. Yes, Karel is hungry when I am not, he craves different foods, yet he eats everything, and Karel loves meat while i enjoy tofu. However, Karel understands the way I eat. Karel came into my life knowing that I stress healthy eating. At first it was a little weird to him that I was so healthy and I had to "special order" all my food. Finally, he realized why I was so picky. Well, #1 reason, I am a vegetarian. That right there is reason for me to have to be very focused on what I am eating and not eating. Secondly, I am an endurance athlete. Timing MY nutrition with my training helps me be a better athlete. This is the reason why Karel wanted to start changing his eating. He wanted to have better workouts, use the right fuels and drop some unnecessary weight. Lastly, Karel and I both know what it feels like to be healthy and to just eat for yourself. It feels great!

I guess my point to this blog is to stress to people that you have to be a little "weird" to eat healthy. Also, don't be afraid and don't keep it a secret. As athletes and exercise enthusiasts, we live in a world that does not cater to healthy eating. We are surrounded by unhealthy food choices and it still surprises me that food portions are getting bigger, unhealthy foods are getting cheaper and to no surprise, Americans are gaining weight.

Focus on your own nutrition and don't be afraid to eat when you are hungry, eat the foods that you know are healthy and to buy only the foods which you consider healthy and you could eat every day without feeling guilty about what you are eating. Don't be afraid to turn down a food that you are offered because you know it is unhealthy or you know you just ate and aren't really in need for food. Remember, food is fuel. Eating to much or at the wrong time may sacrifice a training session or racing performance. Don't feel tempted (I know, easier said than done) to eat more calories than you know you should be eating. Lastly, don't be afraid to eat healthy. It is ok to be a little hungry, it is ok to not feel stuffed after a meal, it is ok to not eat every time you get a craving, when you get bored or when someone else is eating. Also, don't hesitate to include others in your decision to eat healthy.

Good luck on your choice to eat healthy.....and possibly do an Ironman!!!

6/29/08

We are Iron Girls!!!





Just getting ready to hit the road.
Kate and I couldn't have planned it any better.

Kate: 9th place, 2nd age group. 1:28.22
Me: 10th place, 1st age group. 1:30.20

Too bad we were in different waves. Kate blew up the bike course and we both had fast runs. Well, fast as we could go for a sprint. Maybe if we had 10 or 23 more miles we could have gotten a rhythm. But for today, we had a challenging course, lots of hills on the bike and a really hard up and down run. Luckily, no hills on the swim. :)
It was a tough day but we were happy to have a safe and fast race.

Off we go back to Jacksonville. I'm sure Karel is missing us :)
Thanks for all the good luck wishes to Kate and I!

*Race results: http://onlineraceresults.com/event/view_event.php?event_id=2448