11/28/08

Outback classic half marathon report

I had my doubts on Wednesday. After feeling super heavy during my 4 mile warm-up run on the treadmill at the Y, I went to Karel in the weight room and told him that I felt a little strange. I wasn't too concerned because I knew what was coming. Let's just say that mother nature gave me a little surprise, 5 days late and 1 day before my race. I don't mind admitting it because well, I am a women and it is part of life. All the women out there live with it and well, I think it is just one more challenge for us women to overcome as we are training. Unfortunatly, after leaving my microbiology class on Wed I was feeling super horrible. My body was all crampy, my stomach hurt and I was just feeling awful...absolutely awful. I just wanted to go home and sleep.
I had some errands to run and I tried to keep my mind off how miserable I felt. When I got home, Campy and I went for a long walk and as usual, he cheers me up. Later that afternoon we did our daily 1.2-there and back walk to the Trek store and Karel cheered me up with a new Giordana winter jacket and gloves. :)
So, the day went on, I had an early dinner of eggs and toast because I had no apetite all day and while watching TV with Karel last night, I just wondered how I would be able to race on Thursday.
Having said all that, I do not make excuses. Although I was feeling super crappy, I had not convinced myself that I would have a crappy race. I told Karel my body was ready to race. I tapered, I rested and I was excited to run. My body may have felt lousy but I was in the mood to race. So, when Thursday came I just put away any negative thoughts and convinced myself that I could run fast today.
It was kinda strange because the race was 1.2 miles down the road at Outback and because of that, I didn't need to drive there. After waking up at 6am, eating my toast w/ PB and banana slices and getting dressed I had so much extra time. It was only 7am so I decided to take Campy for a walk. I could hear the race music going on and I was even more excited to leave. I was dressed in my zoot long sleeve shirt and I decided on my hammmer tri shorts because they compressed on my legs, rather than wearing loose running shorts. It was a bit cold (mid 40's) in the morning but I knew that would bring fast running.
I made my 9 min run up to the start and at 7:45 I was just standing around, waiting for the start. At 8am the race was off.....
The best part about this race was that I had run on all the roads, except for the last 2 miles. I knew every turn, every slight incline and decline (there were only a few of them and very small) and all the nice houses I could look at.
The first 3 miles were fast. Almost too fast. I was running under my goal pace of 1:25 and I found myself around 7:15 and under for the first few miles. Rather than slowing myself down I told myself that if I could keep that pace up, I would have some built in time (around a minute) if I needed to slow down the last few miles. I had a new race strategy today if I wanted to reach my goal time of 1:38.
If I don't slow down, I will run fast enough to get my goal time.
I know, I'm a genius.
In all seriousness, I really really really wanted to slow down. Especially around mile 6, my legs started to not coroporate. There was only water at the aid stations and I only had 1 gel with me (Hammer vanilla). I wanted to use 1/2 of that gel at mile 8 and then again at mile 10 but I was beginning to feel super tired by mile 7. Luckily, an aid station with powerade came at mile 7 and when I grabbed that drink, it was like I was getting a shot of sugar. Oh, did I love it.
I kept on running with the same group of guys and although I was slowing down a bit I was still on pace to reach my goal time. After taking 1/2 mile gel at 8 and then again at 10, I was feeling like I was going to run a bit faster than my goal time. However, I got a super sharp pain/cramp in my right side just before mile 11 and I was hurting so bad. I had to slow down a bit but there was no walking for me. I tried everything, pushing in my side, making sure i was inhaling and exhaling on my left foot and I tried breathing deeper. Finally, I decided to do my hillary biscay run (I call it that because I feel like I run like her when I do that and I just think she is great!). I kinda lowered myself to the ground, lowered my arms to my hips and kinda shuffled my legs fast for a few minutes. Although it didn't do the trick completely, it did enough to allow me to pick up my pace again.
I had 1.5 miles to go and I saw Karel's coach in front of me. As I passed him up he told me to "go get 'em girl!" That really cheered me up to power it out as much as I could on the last mile.
*On a side note, Karel's coach, Shawn Burke, just did Kona (for fun), raced IMFL a few weeks later and placed 8th in his AG to re-qualify for Kona (to race) next year. What an awesome athlete/coach. He was just cruising during the half marathon and I don't blame him.
The last mile came and although I didn't spill the beans during this race report, I knew I was way ahead of my goal time during the entire race. When I saw the clock as I made the turn to the finish line shute, I was in shock. Absolute shock.
1:36.30

I just can't believe it.
5th in my age group
32nd overall female.
I still can't believe it but my body is reminding me this morning, that I pushed really hard to get that time.

Here are the splits:
7:12
7:06
7:12
7:20
7:11
7:40
7:12
7:23
7:29
7:22
7:33
7:27
8:16 (last 1.1 mile)
Total: 1:36.30

11/26/08

Do's and Don'ts of Thanksgiving



In no particular order....
-DO eat breakfast. Rather than going for the daily bowl of oatmeal, cereal, toast or bagel, think protein. Egg white omelet, whey protein shake, yogurt or lean/veggie meat. Although turkey is high in protein, there are is abundance of carbs on Thanksgiving and there is nothing worse than starting off your day with fluctuating blood sugar levels and feeling extremely starved when your thanksgiving meal is served. If your thanksgiving meal is before 4pm, aim for a decent sized breakfast (around 400-500 calories). If your thanksgiving dinner is after 4pm, stick to protein foods, at around 350-400 calories.
-Do not go long hours without eating. Again, stick to foods which will stabilize your blood sugar and will not digest too quickly. Choose foods such as deli meat, cheese, string cheese, nuts, PB, carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, pears, yogurt or egg whites (hard boiled). Stick with snacks around 100-150 calories, every 2-3 hours.
-Do not go into the thanksgiving meal starving. Hungry, yes. Starving, no. Go for a small snack of your slow digesting foods around 1 hour -45 minutes before the meal. Pass on the heavy appetizers which can add 300-500 extra calories to your daily diet, before the meal is even served. Although I do not suggest this on a daily basis, a good choice before the meal would be a carbonated beverage such as a flavored water or seltzer. Even a 12 ounce diet soda will help to curb any cravings you are feeling as you are anxiously awaiting the meal. Especially if your meal is in the afternoon (ex. around 2 or 3) or in the late afternoon (4 or 5), a few sips of your carbonated beverage will keep your tummy from feeling empty.
-Do not use excuses. Just because it is Thanksgiving, you only have the day to enjoy a variety of foods you normally wouldn't prepare. Yes, the portions may be a bit bigger, but 200-30 extra calories is no big deal. However, giving yourself the excuse that you can eat however much you want will leave you feeling extremely full after the meal. Stay focused with your portions and try to overestimate your calories for each serving that you put on your plate. You'd be surprised that you could easily eat 1000 calories at a meal from just 3 oversized portions of the green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole and a piece of pie.
-Do use strategy when serving yourself (yes-please serve yourself). Use big plates for any type of vegetable or salad and meat. Use smaller plates for deserts and side dishes. Or let your brain think you are eating a lot by using one plate for your meal and use 60% of the plate for the turkey, greens and veggies and then choose a little of whatever you want to make up the rest of the plate.
-Do exercise on Thurs morning. See this day just like any other day. Although your table may have a few more table settings and the fridge is packed with food, make sure you are portioning your calories during the day in order to eat a little bit more come the "real" meal. Having said that, give yourself some extra room to eat a variety of food. Burn those calories in the morning! Remember, it is the off-season and you don't have to train. It is ok to work out for a few hours (or be active for a few hours) and not have to worry about properly replenishing or reaching x-heart rate. Get in a good sweat even if it is just for an hour on the treadmill or a 90 min spin on your trainer. And, if you are choosing a protein-filled breakfast, you won't have to worry about feeling sore and lethargic all day.
-Do plan a workout for Friday morning. Plan ahead (like today) and know that you will do something active on Friday morning. You can sleep in and go for a 45 min or 60 min run on friday morning or wake up before your family gets up and go for a long bike ride (or a ride on your trainer or treadmill). Ever eat too much on the night before a race, sleep horribly the night before a race and then wake up on race day morning regretting that you had too much to eat? Thanksgiving is kinda like that. You feel great when you are eating but when the meal is over, you tell yourself you will never do that again. If you know ahead of time that you will exercise on Friday morning, you will be less likely to eat until you are stuffed (rather than satisified). You probably won't need to have a pre-exercise snack on Friday morning but just getting yourself out the door on Friday will help you burn those extra calories that you enjoyed on Thursday.
-Do not think all is ruined. Maybe you didn't lose the weight you wanted to this past season/year. Maybe you are "feeling" fat at the moment. Maybe you are dreading all the "unhealthy" foods that are going to presented to you at your meal. Although this is Thanksgiving, this is just another day. You still need to use all the wisdom, knowledge and education that you have to make good choices on Thanksgiving.
-Do have a go-to food. This is something I believe in for all events and functions. If you are holding Thanksgiving at your home, it is easy to plan what you will prepare, what you will eat and how much food you have to choose from. However, when attending Thanksgiving at a neighbors house, family members house or a friend of a friend's house, it is very hard to maintain your healthy eating plan if nothing healthy is available. And believe me, even though a bunch of athletes are reading this blog there are plenty of people who go to houses where everything is soaked in oil, fat or butter and there is absolutely nothing under 400 calories a serving and less than 10g saturated fat. No matter where you go for Thanksgiving, always have a go-to food/side item for you to feel good about. And, if you find that your go-to food is the only healthy food, be sure that you use your dish to help make up that 60% of your plate of veggies, greens and turkey. Maybe you choose to make your own healthy version of a sweet potato or green bean casserole or maybe you want to bring your own steamed veggies or a bowl of chopped hard boiled eggs and fresh chopped celery. Regardless of whatever you bring, you will have nothing to fear when platting your plate of a variety of foods (unhealthy and healthy).
-Do give thanks. I know it sounds cliche but it is a great holiday to give thanks to the people who you choose to be with in order to celebrate the holiday. Furthermore, we all have people around us that we should probably thank more. Specifically all the half ironman and ironman athletes out there....LOTS of thanks is given to the friends and families who put up with us and our long training sessions. Rather than thinking about all the food you will eat, take the time to email, call or visit those who have played an important part in your life. I am sad because this is only the 2nd Thanksgiving I have not spent with my parents (the first was because I was cramming my brain with info before my exit exams in grad school in Dec. 2005). Karel and I are thankful that we have great friends here in JAX to spend Thanksgiving with and we also look forward to meeting new people tomorrow.

I hope this all helps!
Happy Thanksgiving!

11/25/08

Somewhere around #20, my arms fell off

"Earn your turkey Tuesday" or for me, "Earn my sweet potatoes"

This morning at swimming we had a change in our typical workout regime. Rather than doing sets, our coach Lindsey decided that we would do 100's all practice long. The practice started at 6am and ended whenever we needed (or wanted) to get out. I normally stay in until 7:15 (depending on the set).
Lindsey had us pick an interval and then it was time to repeat 100's.
I picked the 1:30 cycle, but in order to change things up, I did:
3 x 100's on 1:30
3 x 100's on 1:40.
This broke up the monotony of swimming and swimming and swimming...like nemo would say.
After 2 sets of my 6x100's, I was ready for a break. However, I found it hard to stop. I kept telling myself just to get in 3 more fast ones. But then when I finished the 1:30 cycle I wanted to do the 3x100's on 1:40 to relax a bit. Finally, at #20 I took a "social" break and did a 100 kick. Then back to the 100's.
By 7am most people had gotten out of the pool but I was determined to get to #40.
When I got to #28 I kept telling myself that I only had 2 more sets to go. After 6 more, I had no more arms and my shoulders were struggling to reach and roll. I kept thinking about my form since the cycle wasn't very hard, but after swimming continuously for over an hour, I was ready to get the last 6 over with! 3 more, 2 more, 1 more. FINISHED!
But...
I didn't want to stop at #40. I wanted to do more, even though my arms did not.
I ended up doing 5 more by alternating kick, backstroke, kick, backstroke, kick, swim/cool-down.
I ended up doing 45x100's in 1 hour and 15 min. I only stopped for 1 minute after #21 and then the last 5 were on no cycle. I just gave myself a few seconds rest. The 4500 went by pretty fast but then again, it must be the Ironman mentality. Lindsey told me that many people found the set really, really, really boring. Not me! :)

After the swim I walked on the treadmill for a few miles (for the second day in a row) to rest my legs. I am taking my race on Thursday really seriously and attempting to taper my legs as much as possible. Tomorrow I will do some intervals on the treadmill to warm myself up.

I wanted to post these pics....
Campy is just the luckiest dog in the world. We love him so much! Karel thought Campy was cold so he bundled him up when we were watching a movie the other night :)






And this is our Chiclet fish. She has never done this before! We woke up on monday morning and although the fish were still sleeping, the timer on the tank came on and we found Chiclet resting in her "bed". We've never had a fish sleep on a shell before. *No, she isn't dead.


11/24/08

At least I'm consistent

Yesterday was another early morning ride with the guys. After watching a movie with Karel on Saturday evening, we were asleep by 9:30 and the morning came really fast. We set the alarm at 5:20 so that we could be out the door by 6:20. Campy was in no mood to get up (as usual) but once we told him we would go Outside he was fully of energy. It is just too cute how he gets so excited to go outside, even at 6 in the morning. Campy and I walked outside, after I bundled myself up with a sweatshirt and pants. After my normal pre-ride breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, I started layering for the ride. It was around 41-degrees out and I was trying to stay positive that I would eventually get warm. The one thing I hate to be when training is cold. In the pool, while running or on the bike...if I am cold, I am miserable. But, I've learned that layering on the bike (in Karel's winter clothes, since I don't have my own yet) helps a lot.
After dressing in my leg warmers, shorts, t-shirt, jersey, arm warmers, jacket and socks we headed out the door to drive to the beach. Needless to say, I still wasn't warm in the car. After arriving at the ABC store on the beach, I put on Karel's cycling shoes, Jacket, booties and gloves and finally I was somewhat warm. Karel, Jeff and I were on our bikes by 7am and off we went for our ride.
Jeff had a plan to take Karel and I to the "mountains" of jacksonville. I just kept smiling because I thought we were just going to ride over bridges (the florida version of mountains). However, after about 20 miles of riding rolling streets and going over 1 bridge, Jeff was not kidding. We were climbing neighborhood streets which were named "mount" or "pleasent hilll" and these roads were steep! They were all short but I had to get into my smallest gear, get out of my saddle and swerve back and forth to get up these hills that were at least 14% grade. They kind of scared me cause it has been a long time since i climbed something that steep (I think the last time was in 2007 when we went to watch the Tour de Georgia in Dahlonega). Nevertheless, I was a trooper and I did the climbs.
After a few more miles, we got to a neighborhood, made a left and started climbing again. There were two climbs on a road that made a big loop so Karel and Jeff did their own thing by riding the loop 4 times. I couldn't keep up with them but instead of waiting for them, I decided to ride alone and do the loop (with the two hills) alone. We eventually started heading back to the shop with 30 miles of rolling hills and a few steep climbs and I knew our ride was not overwith. I got dropped on the way back on the bridge but I pushed hard to catch back up. Although the sunday ride is long, it is a tempo ride so the pace isn't incredibly fast. Needless to say, it is still tough with the wind that never goes away here in jacksonville.
I didn't want to complain but a few times I wanted to yell to Karel and Jeff to wait up for me. However, I knew they wouldn't be too happy about waiting for me every time I couldn't keep up. So, I would push push push to get back on their wheel and then we were all back together again.
When we got back to the beach, Karel told me they would do another hour and a half and I could go to the car and get some breakfast if I didn't want to go with them. I wasn't ready to stop so I told Karel I would join them. The pace picked up a bit to about 23 mph and with a little tailwind, it was a bit easier to stay on their wheels. However, I was looking at all the huge and beautiful houses along the beach and I found myself drifting back. After about 12 miles, we made a potty stop and I thought we would turn around to give us 30 more miles. Well, Karel and Jeff had a few more miles to go until the reached another steep bridge and then they would turn around. Karel said I could start heading back and with the headwind, we would probably all get back together eventually. However, I was in no mood to try to ride by myself in straight (and I mean STRAIGHT, in your face) headwind, so I joined them for another climb over another bridge. I stayed on their wheel for the first climb but I got dropped on the way back on the bridge. However, I powered my way back to the guys and with burning legs, it was time to face the wind.
The way back was ridiculously hard. The guys were holding around 19mph but I have no idea how they did that. If I even moved to the side of a wheel (they were rotating every mile) by just 1 foot I would be popped off and there would be no more drafting for me. I was grinding my teeth and pedaling for dear life and before I knew it the guys switched into their small chain ring and it was time to cool down.
Karel was impressed and so was Jeff. I was also impressed that I didn't complain. I am trying really hard to just suck it up and get through these workouts. However, even though they are crazy hard for me, I absolutely love riding with Karel and I get an extra boost of confidence when he sees me "hanging on" during these rides. I think everyone needs a confidence booster in their life, whether it is a coach, friend, family member, child or teammate. That person just makes the workout so much better and when you feel like death after a workout, the person reminds you that you aren't the only one that is suffering. We all suffer in different ways and if it wasn't for the suffering, we would never get stronger or faster.
The rest of Sunday was kinda pathetic. Karel had to work from 12-4 after our 60 mile ride and I did thank you notes, finished up a microbiology concept map and took Campy for a SLOW walk. After Karel came home, we had dinner and watched IMKY (taped on the DVR) and watched a movie. By 9:30 we were ready for bed.
Now I am at school, I just got out of Microbiology and I'm waiting for my next class to take an exam in microeconomics. Thank goodness this is a short week...I can't wait until Thursday!