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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Why is it usually about the swim with me?

As I look back at my posts over the last few months, I see a trend towards talking most about my swimming progress.

I don't know why for sure. Maybe it is because I didn't know how to swim until the end of 2002, when I had already entered my 30s. Maybe it is because I'm proud of how far I've come (and swum). Maybe it is because I spend so much time doing it. Maybe it is because I'm truly afraid of swimming with 2000+ people at once. Whatever the case, I do swear that I'm doing more for this Ironman than just swimming. : )

In fact, the run and bike are coming along nicely. Last night, I led (or maybe followed is the right word) a group from my triathlon club on the bridle trails. E-speed truly led us on a hilly 4.5 mile route. The result: me running faster than I thought possible - true, it was a recovery run for E, but sufficed quite well as a tempo run for me. After finishing the loop, she kept me company for another mile or two. Thanks buddy!

The weather is improving slowly here and I hope to make my second bike ride outside this Saturday morning. I have a 3-hour ride and 40-minute brick run on the schedule. I also have a baby shower at 1 PM, so time management will be crucial. Hey, life isn't all about triathlon, so you gots to fit it in.

In the meantime, I'll be going to Yoga,lifting some weights and yes, swimming some more. Good times!

Here's your moment of zen (Matt told me to look fierce):

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New format and header!

I'm sure you've noticed some radical changes in my format and header. Well, Mallie deserves the entire credit. All I had to do was donate $25 to her fundraising campaign and she hooked me up with this SWEET header and format!

Seriously, I would have donated regardless, but using one's skills in trade is a great way to raise money. You all should check Mallie's website out. Also, here are the links to her two fundraising campaigns: PedalingForAPurpose and 24HoursofBooty. They are great causes. I donated to the Booty one, because of course, it said Booty! LOL!

On a related note, this blogger community is way cool. I never thought I'd be checking in daily on people across the country (Shannon, Mallie, etc.) and world (Kate), while they train for similar activities. We've never met, but somehow we are becoming friends. As McDonald's says "I'm loving it!"

A huge thanks to Mallie for my awesome header and format!!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

More Pictures - Florida

My hubby did a great job of summarizing our Florida vacation at his blog, so I'm just going to post some pictures.

Matt in his new board shorts - neither of us thought to bring a swimming suit to just hang out in, so he bought one to use to play in the waves

This is the view from the condo balcony.

Matt boogying with the boogie board

In-laws at dinner

Matt and me at dinner

Matt after running on the beach

Matt in his new hat

Me in my new sweatshirt - I've caught the St. Patrick's Day spirit

Matt and me on the beach

In-laws on the balcony

Pictures - Cats and Bike!


Molly - visiting for the month while my in-laws are in Florida; she likes sitting on my lap

Jack - my barfing yet lovable and ornery kitty

Shadow - sitting at the table thinking, "Where's the Food?"

Bike - this one's for Lance - unfortunately, the race wheels aren't on it

Friday, March 23, 2007

Less than 4 months!

Ironman LP is 4 months from yesterday. I'm getting excited! Knock on wood, but the training is coming along well, including the running. I had a great hill repeat run workout with E and a few of the other CTC members on Wednesday night. We did this hill in the Flats that we used to do last year. All 6 of the repeats were faster than any I did last year. Sweet!

In other news, I swam my farthest yet, 3800 yards, this morning. I think my coach thought that I didn't want to go past 3500 yards, because when she'd say 3500-4000, I'd only do 3500. The truth is I simply was having trouble getting the yardage in during the masters workout. So, she assigned the following workout, which I did in my gym's 20-yard pool:

800 warm-up
2 x 400 pull (breathe 3,5,7,9 by 100)
4 x 200 negative split
8 x 100 race effort with 15 seconds in-between each
400 hard race effort
200 cool down

Her comment was "do this on your own and get psyched about going long". I did do it on my own and I am psyched about going long! It took me exactly 90 minutes to do the workout including the rest breaks and for the laps I timed, I was fairly consistent at a 2:05-2:10 per 100 pace. Of course, that was in a 20-yard pool, but I'm still happy with it. If I could maintain that pace at Ironman, I would be around my goal time of 90 minutes. I've still got 4 months left to build that speed/endurance.

I contemplated doing the swim at masters, but I didn't want to screw anybody else's workout up by not doing the posted workout. It turns out that it was a good plan, because they switched the CSU pool back to 50 meters. Now, I like the longer lanes, but because they have to reserve 2 of the lanes for CSU staff/students, it compresses me into the lane with much faster people, which stresses me out. It would be nice if the coach actually assigned lanes by people's swim speed instead of having people seed themselves. I'm not sure what he does other than write on the chalkboard. Oh well, I'll be outside in the lake or outdoor pool soon enough and I'm sure the pressure from the faster swimmers will be beneficial.

The only down side of doing today's swim at my gym was the attire of the grumpy dude in the lane next to mine. Not only did his Speedo droop, but when he sat down, his entire butt was on display through the threadbare material. I think I shall be scarred for life.

This weekend, there is no swimming on the schedule, but I do have a 3-hour trainer ride (LP course) on Saturday followed by a 45-minute brick run and a 1:40 run on Sunday. There will be no sleeping in for me unfortunately, but hopefully, I can catch a nap here and there. My brother and I are going to see "The 300" on Saturday afternoon after my brick and I pray I don't fall asleep during the movie. I hear it is a good one.

Okay, must get back to doing what I get paid to do. Florida pictures and such should be posted this weekend. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wheel P*rn

As promised, here is a picture of my new race wheels.

My tri bike was overhauled last week while I was in Florida. I got new cables, shifters, bar tape, tune-up, etc. My wonderful husband not only picked it up for me on Monday, but he also paid for it. Then, he set up the new race wheels on my bike for my viewing pleasure when I got home. He rocks! The bike looks fast - I just hope the engine I'm building can keep up with her.

I rode it last night for 1.5 hours on the trainer and it is smooth. I can't wait to get it outside! I have to wait a little while though even with the weather improving, because my coach wants me to do a 3-hour trainer ride/45 minute run to compare to my performance last time to gauge fitness. It is the Lake Placid course, which kicks my butt, but I'm curious to see if there is improvement too.

Once I get my Florida pictures downloaded from my camera, I'll post them and my trip synopsis to the blog. I've just been so busy (sorry for not getting those pictures to you yet Mallie - I plan to find them this weekend) and I may be heading out of town on Sunday for a three-day work trip to D.C. Good times!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


March in Cleveland is a total crap shoot weather-wise. One day, we'll have 5 inches of snow and the next it will be 71 degrees and sunny. Of course, you have to take advantage of the great days.

Last night, I finally got to ride my bike OUTSIDE - first time since late November. I overdressed, because I wasn't sure how I'd feel on the bike, but I wasn't too warm to be uncomfortable. The schedule called for a 90-minute easy to moderate ride. Lots of people came out to the park, so I took my time meandering through the walkers, joggers, etc. heading out of the park onto the road.

There was a guy about 1/4 mile in front of me and I didn't really pay much attention to him. Normally, I'd want to catch him and pass him if I could, but that wasn't on the agenda. However, I did catch up to him quickly on the first real incline. I verbally warned him that I was behind him, so he wouldn't be startled. I suppose I should have passed him then, but I didn't feel like rushing through my bike. I think I made him nervous though or maybe he didn't want to be passed by a chick, because he sped up dramatically after that.

About 25 minutes into my ride, I saw Matt coming the other way. He did a u-turn and caught up with me. On the next big hill, we had to finally pass the dude because he was going so slowly. I'm ashamed to admit that I kind of enjoyed the look of disbelief on his face when this chick quickly and easily passed him going up the hill. I guess all of the bike training on the trainer is really paying off, because the hills weren't tough at all.

A few minutes later, Matt's chain went ka-chunk and it bent his derailleur. He managed to get it working again, but we didn't feel comfortable continuing on, so we went back. My planned ride was cut short by 18 minutes, but that is totally cool. I'm just so psyched to have ridden outside again!

The weather is turning cold again tomorrow, but luckily, we are headed to Florida tomorrow morning to visit Matt's parents. I'm going to rent one of those tourist bikes and cruise around like a tourist. Good times! I do have a little training on the schedule, but the rest of the week is mostly for rest. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Shamrock 15k race recap

I definitely have to say I was surprised at my performance at this race. I went into it with no expectations, although I did have a race plan provided by my coach. Given my slow recovery from the IT injury and slow pace on any distance run, I was just hoping to average at least a 10:30 minute mile.

The first part of the run is mostly downhill. My plan called for aerobic pace for the first three miles. Check! Around mile 4, there is a steep ascent as you start heading out of the Cuyahoga Valley and from there it is rolling hilly with an upward trend. Second three miles, I was allowed to go higher in heart rate, but was supposed to recover on the downs. They weren't long enough though, so I never made it back to aerobic again. The last three miles, I was allowed to let go and see what I could do. My HR was in zone 4 the entire way for this part, but I felt pretty good. We started passing people and that was cool, especially the ones who had passed us early on.

My hamstring did get tight towards the end, but my IT band was fine. I wore my orthotics too and other than a hot spot on my left foot, I got no blisters. My finish time was 1:28:11 (a 9:28 per mile pace) with an average HR of 169 (high zone 3). I felt tired afterwards, but still good.

My pals, Carie and Sam J. joined me for this race. Although they are faster, they stuck with me the whole time citing they were there just to support me. How cool is that?! Poor Sam had some major knee pain in the last few miles, but she stuck it out and finished with us. Here are some pictures I took of them before the race. Aren't they pretty?

After the race ended, we ran into Charlie from the CTC. He ran an amazing race at his goal pace. Great job Charlie!

I looked up the results later that day and believe it or not, no one finished over a 10-minute mile pace (unlike previous years). I was dead last in my age group, but fairly close in time to the three women above me.

Who cares though?! I had a successful race at a pace I didn't think possible anymore that was relatively pain free with good friends on a beautiful, sunny day. Ah, good times!

On an unrelated note, that night, I decided to buy a gently used set of Zipp 404 wheels from a CTC member. He'd only ridden 74 miles on them and was asking a deeply discounted price for not only the wheels (which retail for $1300), but also for the tires and some spare tubes. I'll post some wheel porn later! I'm totally psyched! I got them today and they are very sleek/cool!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Frustrating swim

I swam a workout assigned by my coach at masters today instead of the one the rest of the group was doing. It worked out fine, because no one else was in the slow lane today. Heck, even when they are there, most show up late and it wouldn't matter because we wouldn't be at the same point in the workout anyway.

So, here was the workout:
600 warm-up
4 x 100 build each one
3 x 800 (#1 - easy pace, #2 - moderate pace with HR 120-150, #3 - hard pace with HR > 150) - she wanted time for each 800
100 cooldown

The warm-up went fine. It is hard for it not to go fine though. I knew I was in for a slow go today though when on the 100s, I was doing them in 2:05 and could not go any faster. I guess given that, I shouldn't be surprised by my 800 times.

The last time I did this workout, I did it in the 20-yard pool at my gym. I didn't think those extra 5 yards per length would make that big of a time difference, but they did. Last time, my first 800 was 16:40 and the last was 16:24 (about 2:05 pace per 100). This time, my first 800 was 17:56, 2nd 17:50 and 3rd 17:48 (about 2:14 pace per 100). When you break it out on a per 100 basis, it doesn't seem that bad and as I said, I knew the 25-yard pool would make me slower (fewer times pushing off the wall will do that for you).

My question though is, "what is the point of kicking your own butt on the last 800 to only make an 8 second difference over 800 yards?" For an Ironman swim, I'd only come out about 40 seconds slower than if I swam at "kick butt" pace and I'd feel better after. Wouldn't I be better off going at a slow, aerobic pace and concentrating on form? Maybe that was the point of the exercise. Or, maybe it was to teach my body what faster means and then try to get to the point where that arm turnover feels easy. I guess I should ask my coach.

Yes, it was a frustrating swim, but I made it through it. I always say that I'd rather have a boat load of frustrating, bad training days than 1 frustrating, bad race day. Don't worry. Game is still on and attitude is still positive!

Hope you all have a great weekend! I have my first race of the year on tap this weekend - a super hilly 15k run that my coach recommended as great training for Lake Placid. My pals, Sam J. and Carie are running it with me. Good times!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Power of positive thought

I haven't read "The Secret", but from what I gather, it tells you that the secret to getting what you want is positive thinking. Now, I don't know if that applies to things like winning the lottery, but I do believe that you can affect what happens to you on a personal (i.e., within yourself) level.

On the other hand, I think negative thinking can make bad things happen. Ever think "I haven't had a cold in awhile"? I swear it is bound to bring on a cold the next day. Maybe subconsciously you can feel the cold coming on which triggers the thought. What do I know?! I do know that every time I think that I get sick.

However, if I do feel a cold is coming on, I think "I'm not going to let this get me. I don't have time for this." Usually, it works. I keep working out and keep moving. It works for me. Resting usually makes it worse for me, although I know many people are the quite the opposite. My mom (a nurse) usually says to keep working out as long as there is 1) no fever, 2) no stomach issues or 3) no chest congestion.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, I'm trying to positive think my way out of a cold right now. So far, so good. Wish me luck!

Details and pictures of my trip to Hell and back this past weekend will be posted soon.