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Monday, April 30, 2007

Hermes 10-miler

Mother nature wasn't kind to us 10-miler racers on Saturday. I was convinced that it wouldn't rain, but wow, was I wrong. It wasn't too bad during the race, but after, I shivered all the way to the car (and I was running).

Well, I actually set a new 10-mile PR by almost a minute. My chip time was 1:31:58 (finished 38 out of 78 in my age group). Last year, I ran it in 1:34:32 and the year before in 1:32:56 (my prior PR).

I tried to stick to my coach's assigned plan, but my HR was out of control almost the whole time. Nutrition was solid and pace was even (even split the first and second halves). I felt fabulous heading out on Marginal, but should have known there would be a headwind heading back. Oh well, that is the way it is on almost all of my training runs on Marginal. Hill climbing was solid too which I attribute to all of those hill repeats Angela makes me do. I'm sick and actually like the varying terrain. : )

After I finished, I headed back out to find my co-worker. It was not only her first 10-mile race, but also the first time she'd ever gone 10 miles. She's training for the Cleveland half-marathon and is a very new runner. While she did have to walk a bit on the last mile, she finished strong and was well under her goal time. Pretty cool!

After grabbing a slice of pizza and some water, I ran back to my car. It was so freaking cold and wet, but I'm glad that I could still run. My hamstring is super tight, but I did make it through my 3-hour ride and 40-minute run yesterday. I'm hopeful that it is just sore and not injured again. Keep your fingers crossed!

Should I be offended by this?

This was the cartoon in the paper yesterday.

Should I be offended that the kid doesn't want to grow up to be an actuary? : )

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Redefining what is "normal"

I had this recent conversation with a co-worker:

Co-worker: "Did you get to ride your bike last night?"
Me: "Yes, thanks for asking. It was a nice night to be out."
Co-worker: "How far did you go?"
Me: "I rode about 90 minutes for about 25 miles total - it was a hilly course."
Co-worker: "Seriously? If I had known, I would have had you take me home."

I've had similar conversations for my swims and runs.

Being in this lifestyle makes you lose the sense of what is "normal". I think it is nice to reminisce about the first days of being a triathlete to "keep it real". Last night, my husband and I did such a thing. I regaled him with stories of my early days.

Like the day I rode 20 miles on my hybrid bike for the first time. I was dreading the ride, but when I finished I felt like a champ (albeit a spent champ) and tentatively ready for the downtown triathlon's 16-mile course. Now, 20 miles is just part of a regular weekday ride.

Or, when I used to "swim" in my club's 20-yard pool. I would alternate between side stroke, breast stroke and back stroke. When I made it to .75 miles one day, I thought I was hot stuff. Now, every swim is 2 miles or more (and I no longer feel like hot stuff - LOL).

You get the picture. I think it is good to remember those days to realize how far you've come, especially on the days when you doubt your ability, when you are scared witless about a 140.6 mile race looming in the future, when you experience training setbacks, etc.

I did ask Matt if he remembered his first days. He said he does often. Of course, his very first 5-mile running race, he averaged around 9 minute miles, a feat that took me years to accomplish (and I'm not sure I could do it today with all this LSD training). See, even he redefines "normal" for this endurance athlete wife.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Angela's girls

Wow, it has been awhile since I last posted. Work and life have been crazy busy, but it is a good kind of busy.

So, who enjoyed the fabulous weather this past weekend?! Good stuff!

On Saturday, I got the pleasure to not only ride with my wonderful coach, but also with a few of the other gals she coaches. We had a beautiful ride and it was nice to spend time with each of them.

On Sunday, I ran with a few more of Angela's girls. They allowed me to drag them out of the valley on the carriage trail and then Jodi and I hit the Brecksville reservation for some hill climbing fun. Unlike my marathon partners last year, Jodi didn't complain about the long, steep hill climbs even though she was trashed from the long workout she did the day before. She's got 2 months left to IM CDA and looks rock solid! I really appreciated the company on my 2-hour run and she pushed me to run faster than I would have done alone.

I am grateful for my coach and for the wonderful ladies that she coaches. We may be training for different races, but we share the same dedication. We and Angela will get us there in terrific shape for our chosen race. Thanks Angela and thanks gals!

Friday, April 13, 2007

99 days!

I've got a ton to do at work today, but I couldn't let the day pass without commenting that I've got only 99 days left till Ironman Lake Placid! Holy crap, the time is flying!

I checked training peaks and here are my YTD stats since January 1:

142,465 yards swum
1,391 miles biked (most on trainer)
248 miles run

Not too shabby! It'll be interesting to see how much larger that gets in the next 3+ months!

Oh, and thanks for all the nice comments from my last post!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Truly a runner?

Last night as I was taking the elevator down to leave work, a lady gets on at one floor. She is pretty, thin, stylishly dressed, wearing make-up and these really cool high heels (the skinny kind). She says "I love your running clothes!" I say "Thanks", but am thinking "Wow, I am never put together like that even when I try" (which I don't all that often these days - I'm lucky to be clean).

As I follow her to the garage, I watch her impeccable high heel walking style. Due to feet issues from running, I haven't worn real high heels in years. She turns around and says "How far are you running tonight?" I say, "7-8 miles". She then tells me that she recently went on a low-carb, low refined sugar, high protein diet coupled with running with the result of losing 48 POUNDS IN 7 WEEKS. Holy crap! Now, while I wouldn't recommend losing weight so fast, that is awfully impressive. Maybe that is why she wears all the fun clothes and high heels. Why wouldn't you if you'd had such an accomplishment?

Anyway, so I tell her that she looks fabulous and I really meant it. Her reply was "Thanks, but I wish I looked like you. You can really tell that you are a runner." Now, I laughed at that. Sure, I was dressed the part, but I don't really consider myself a runner. An athlete? Sure A triathlete? Most of the time. But not a runner. Unlike TriSara and E-Speed, I don't heart running. I think it is because of this stupid leg. Regardless, it was a very nice thing of her to say.

When I went to run with Tim and E-speed last night, I told them this story. They both said they think of me as a runner and commented on how much I've improved in the last year. That is high praise from two very talented athletes. So, I guess I'll call myself a runner from now on. I just hope the leg holds out, so I can back it up with actual running.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Thanks for all of the well wishes. The cold is on its way out without too much damage in its path. I seem to have contracted allergies now. How is this possible with over a foot of snow on the ground? I'm blaming the Easter Lilly at my mom's house. : )

My leg is better too. My wonderful LMT and the D.C. she works for hooked me up with some massage, ultrasound, electro-stimulation, creative knee taping and ART on Friday night. I skipped my Friday night run with my coach's blessing.

When I woke up on Saturday, my IT and hamstring were still sore, but felt better. I was kind of dreading the 2.5 hour trainer ride and 40-minute run. However, I did a good 20-minute warm-up ride before riding the LP course for 2:10 and I rode it better than ever before. No pain at all. My hamstring tightened up a few times on the run, but it wasn't too bad. Maggie, I'm thinking warm, stretchy thoughts. I'm glad there are no creepy worms here.

Yesterday's run was totally bizarre. I met up with Stacy at N. Chagrin reservation. The snow was deep in the parking lot, but the plows were going by on the road. So, we take off with some tag-along random dude onto the roads of N. Chagrin instead of the path or trail. The snow was falling so fast that it quickly covered up the path the snow plow made and visibility was very poor. While I was feeling okay leg-wise, we didn't think it was wise to keep running on that surface dodging the snow plow while covered like snowmen, so we quit after 53 minutes.

When Matt and I went down to my mom's house in Canton, there was absolutely no snow on the ground. I'll have to keep that in mind if this freaky snow storm happens on Easter weekend next year. I can always travel out of the snow belt and get ready down there.

Hope you all had a nice Easter. Matt (er the Easter Bunny) surprised me with a basket yesterday morning. I'll post some pics of it later. His Easter Bunny got him nothing. Bad Easter Bunny!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Moving along just fine and then wham!

For the last month or so, I've been flirting with getting a cold. My throat will get sore, I'll keep working out and it will go away with no further effects until now. The cold finally settled in for a visit. I am hopeful that it will go away quickly and in the meantime, I am still able to get my workouts in except...

My IT band and hamstring hurt again, almost as bad as they did back in the beginning of December. I don't know what happened. I was clicking along just fine with little to no pain the last month or two. My 1:50 run on Sunday was tiring, but not painful.

Then, I got on the trainer on Tuesday night and that all changed. My IT band was a little irritated, but it was manageable. That happens sometimes, so I didn't give it much thought. On Wednesday, E-speed and I were planning to run some hills in downtown Cleveland, but the cold, blustery weather drove us onto the treadmill. For the most part the run was fine, but my hamstring got tight towards the end. Again, irritating, but not painful. Yesterday's 90-minute bike ride was fine, so I thought it was all good. Then, prior to my weights session and Yoga last night, my hamstring was really tight. Today, it is tight and my IT band really hurts at my knee.

Is it just the sudden 30 degree, snowy weather? Am I back at square one? I hope not. Just to be sure, I scheduled an appointment for this afternoon with the ART guy. If he gives me the go ahead for tonight's run, I'll probably run on the dreadmill just in case. I don't know what to do if he doesn't give me the go ahead. I'm not going to think about it right now. I'm willing to scrap tonight's run if I have to do so, but what about tomorrow's brick and Sunday's long run? Must think positive, healing thoughts. I've been here before and have gotten through it. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Fool's on Myself

Yesterday, I had a 1:50 hilly run on my schedule. I had enough of city sidewalks, all-purpose trails and even bridle trails, so I headed out for a real trail run - the dirty, muddy, wet kind.

I thought I knew the trails at N. Chagrin reservation fairly well, but I managed to get myself lost. I found this way cool trail that I hadn't been on before, but when I needed to head back to the car, didn't know which way to go. I noticed Squire's castle way below my position on the hill, so I headed down there. It had a map of all the trails, but no point of reference for which way was north. Luckily, a friendly couple helped me figure out the best way to go.

So, I headed off in the direction we decided was best. The problem was there were no trail markers and at one point the trail is completely gone. No problem, I think. I know the general direction I need to go. So, I start heading down this hill completely off trail that would have been great in the "Romancing the Stone sliding down the muddy hill scene". I fell down on my butt, but luckily didn't slide down to the bottom like Kathleen Turner and Mike Douglas did. Finally, I found the trail again and eventually discovered familiar paths.

I was proud of myself for not panicking. It would have been easy to do. Was I foolish for attempting these paths on my own? Maybe, but luckily it worked out for the best. And, while I was slowed down by the trail conditions (mud, trees fallen over the path, etc.), steep hills (both ascents and descents), it was a great run and I'm happy with my performance. Oh, and I was absolutely filthy when I finished. Game on!