The Beast and I Go West

This past week, I ran very, very little, not on purpose, but because I decided to take a hiking vacation, which meant that my “runs” were actually walks at higher than normal elevations with much steeper inclines than I am used to.

The Beast and I took our first adult vacation out west together with a packed agenda. We left on Saturday and started in Las Vegas, where we spent one night, and decided that scene wasn’t really for us. Apparently we don’t like big cities (not such a huge shocker). Then we headed out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I really cannot put into words how amazing the view was. It left me speechless. I will let pictures do most of the talking for this post.

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On Monday, we had our first real adventure: hiking into the Grand Canyon. We decided that since it takes twice as long to come up as it does going down that we would go down for 2 hours and see how we felt after that. In the 2 hours we made it a little over three miles, and while I was trying to convince the Beast that we could keep going for thirty more minutes, I am glad he convinced me to turn back then. The ascent up may have almost killed me. I never realized what living at sea level does to you, but trying to hiking up 2000 feet in 3 miles from 7000 to 9000 feet was killer. Although I am sad that we didn’t make it to the bottom, I am glad we made it out.

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Also, we passed a woman who was running from the South Rim to North Rim to South Rim…in one day. She may have been insane.

From there we headed out to the Sequoias in California. Needless to say, we had an entire day of driving.

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On Wednesday, we explored the forest. We hiked up Moro Rock, walked around the huge trees (General Sherman and General Grant), and walked some more. Not as strenuous as the canyon, but still a good bit of hiking for a total of somewhere between 3-4 miles.

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Thursday, we had a little bit of light hiking in Yosemite, probably around 2 miles, so nothing too crazy.

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Friday, we decided to hike to a waterfall, which was 1000 feet of elevation in a little over a mile. Then we did some more hiking, for about 7 miles of hiking total that day. The waterfall below is Bridalveil Falls…not the long march uphill to see Vernal waterfall.

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Saturday, I was supposed to do my long run. I had planned to wake up early in San Francisco and get on the treadmill (Beast worries about me exploring a new city by myself in the dark running, which is a valid point). However, I got on the treadmill and could barely run for the 2 miles I completed. Maybe it was the exhaustion or the sheer boredom of staring at myself for 2.5 hours ahead. I abandoned the treadmill for some more cuddle time in bed because it was a vacation and I needed that more.

After a redeye back to the east coast, I contemplated trying to do my long run. However, my body rejected that thought and all the elevation and hiking and soreness caught up to me. I was exhausted after barely sleeping through the night and week of extreme hiking for me.

Yes, the Richmond half marathon is not that far away and my longest run has only been 11 miles, but I have time to complete two more long (11-12 mile) runs before I need to taper, and sometimes you have to listen to your body and rest.

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Begin Anew

Time to turn over a new leaf. I am headed on my first vacation in over a year this Saturday and while part of me is tempted to push back my serious training until after vacation that would mean missing two weeks of serious running and not being really ready for the Richmond Half Marathon in mid-November. So the serious running starts tomorrow. I know, it should start today, but I accidentally scheduled a dinner with friends for this evening and my legs are surprisingly sore from yesterday’s sprint triathlon that I did not go that fast in.

I have noticed a pattern over my last two triathlon seasons. I start the season strong, ready to race after a winter of training and not racing, then summer and warmer weather comes and it gets harder to fit everything in, so I begin to slack off and by the end of the season you can really see it in my race results. Then I get frustrated. I get upset with myself, and then the cycle starts all over again.

The Beast and I are both a little fed up to put it mildly. He’s put on some weight, I’ve been maintaining an weight I want to shed, and so we are embarking on that. We are starting to clean up our diet reasonably and get more days in the gym.

As we shift into fall/winter training I am planning on focusing on running and lifting with a little bit of swimming and biking thrown in. I need to improve my run and my bike the most, but I really want to focus on my running for the time being and then get to biking later. I notice those are the two places I get passed the most, with the run being the biggest place.

I’ve got big plans for next year and a lot of things I want to accomplish, but most of all I want to finally get to a place with my body where I am really truly happy and where I am pushing myself running and in triathlons. I am ready to set PRs all over the place and be a little faster and stronger.

So here goes nothing.

Return from the Grave

It’s been awhile.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been at a low point of my life with exercise and food. I’ve been searching for motivation and coming up empty handed.

The mental part of my training is lacking and seriously affecting my physical training.

But I figured the best way to get back to it would be to blog about it. To be held accountable again, to learn to love myself and my body again, to throw myself back into my training, to stop eating so much junk food.

I have one last triathlon this weekend, just a sprint, and a couple weeks ago I did my first Olympic distance triathlon. I promise I will post about it soon!

I know this is a short post but more is coming soon. Because I need to be accountable, particularly to myself.

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Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 7

Woof. That was this week. Just when I feel like I might be in a mentally good place I mess it up and just let it go. I am the queen of self sabotage. It’s a mental game and I am just scraping by with a C average right now. I am weak when it comes to resistance and weak when it comes to pushing myself.

Monday: Weights Chest, back, and abs. Need some more good weight lifting time to round out all the triathlon cardio.

Tuesday: Swim 2000m and Bike 60 minutes The swim went well despite all the kicking that I had to do. The bike was inside and on the trainer because see above: lazy.

Wednesday: 4 mile easy run The Beast joined me for an easy run on the trails near us. It was hot and humid and gross.

Thursday: Accidental day off The Beast and I attempted to go do speed work on a track only to find a high school football game going on. After an hour of driving around to other schools in search of a track we were fed up and angry and the Beast was sick from not working out but taking preworkout.

Friday: 60 minute spin class and weights – arms I love this spin instructor. She’s amazing and motivating and I was sweating balls. Then I followed up the class with some arm weights.

Saturday: BRICK 2 hour bike + 15 minute run I started the bike out on a hilly trail aways away from me and ended up going on a plethora of other little trails nearby before heading to the Mount Vernon trail to finish out and then back to the hills for the ultimate finish. The run was hard and hilly but I was proud to have done it.

Sunday: Rest Yes, this is supposed to be a long run day. I didn’t want to and I wasn’t feeling it and sleeping felt so good. But excuses are made for the weak.

This week will be better. I promise myself.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Training Week 5 & 6

Finally reporting on how the past two weeks of training have gone and I am planning on putting the race report from this past weekend up once I have some photos to share with you all. I also have a few pieces of news to share with you all very shortly, but I don’t want to give anything away yet!

Monday: 2000m swim; chest/back weights This was the last time I really got weights in for awhile…because well, I slacked off and was focusing on cardio and I will forever struggle to get everything I want into a week without a few extra hours each week.

Tuesday: 60 minute bike; 30 minute easy run

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 1800m swim

Friday: Lazy day off

Saturday: 90 minute bike

Sunday: 8 mile run These are getting a little easier to do, but still rough.

Monday: 90 minute easy bike

Tuesday: 30 minute easy run; 2000m swim

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 60 minute spin class

Friday/Saturday: Off/Rest

Sunday: Pink Power Sprint Triathlon

I apologize that this recap was so short and so boring, but there isn’t much to say about training right now. I have my Olympic distance triathlon coming up shortly and I am getting nervous as hell to do it. But then I have some more interesting stuff in the works that I am trying to do. Just you wait. I promise more soon.

Building Back Up to Speed

Don’t worry, I will post last week’s training recap with this week’s on Sunday (post race, ah!), but I thought instead this week I would offer a treat of a real post.

After my last triathlon in May, my hip was bothering me and the coming month of June meant moving the Beast and me from two separate apartments into one and some long days at work that meant working out would be minimal if it happened at all. I decided to take the month of June off/very easy, so that I could tackle July and my training with renewed vigor and with a healed hip.

The good news is that my hip is feeling infinitely better. It gets sore when I run long distance, but I have figured out how to fix it on my bike (the Beast noticed while on my trainer that my knees flare out a little bit, so I have to consciously think about drawing them in and keeping them tight to the bike).

The bad news…all my gains running faster went out the window. Just like that. Running under a 10 minute/mile pace for my 5k, well, we will see if I can pull it off on Sunday, but I honestly don’t think I can or it will be a serious struggle. The frustration with being slower has made me reluctant to run again and if I skip a workout it is almost always running.

I went back and looked at my training log at the beginning of the year and I was consistently doing 20+ mile running weeks, and right now I am not even close to that, but I am trying to exercise patience. I am learning again that I need to push myself a little to get the faster results, that running shouldn’t always be easy to do (unless I am doing my long run or an easy/recovery run). I can push myself and I should. So today, after my swim, I clocked a negative split run with a very hilly run, and even though it was slow, I was pushing myself. I could feel again what it was to hit a 10:30 pace, but try as I might, I couldn’t get the pace to go under 10 minutes. Apparently that is now reserved for speed training.

Running faster again is going to take time and diligence, and I am going to have to concentrate on it a little bit more. It is now my weakest sport when before it was a toss up with my bike, though my run was improving.

But I have plans on Sunday to see what this body can do. More on that later this week.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 4

Most training programs have you taking a rest week or a scaled back week about every four weeks or so and I guess my body decided to make this week one whether I wanted to or not.

I went out for my workout Monday night and as I steadily got slower and slower during my speed workout, I chalked it up to not having done speedwork in awhile. And when I felt like I was going to throw up, well I just figured I was too hot and had overheated. I drove straight home and hopped in the shower to cool off. However, even that didn’t work and I came out of the shower still hot and still feeling terrible. I couldn’t even imagine drinking water or trying to eat something. About 30 minutes later, I found out why. I spent the next 6 hours or so getting up every 15-30 minutes to throw up all the contents of my stomach and then some.

GROSS WARNING: Fun fact, when I throw up, I headbutt my hand, resulting in this lovely bruise

GROSS WARNING: Fun fact, when I throw up, I headbutt my hand, resulting in this lovely bruise

Tuesday came and even though I didn’t throw up during the day, I felt delirious and like I was on a different planet. That evening, the Beast told me I had a raging fever, which is something I almost never have. I laid in bed for most of the day Wednesday too, trying to recover. Thursday, I thought things might have been better, but I still felt weak and couldn’t stay awake for very long. Friday, I slept in until the afternoon, which is something I haven’t done since I was a teenager.

However, once I awoke from my coma, I felt so much better. The Beast and I headed to our gyms that night since I figured that working out with a ton of people around me was the best idea in case things went south really quick, but besides being tired, I felt fine. And my legs were beginning to get antsy from laying around for four days.

So, overall this week was a very odd training week, but now, I am rested and ready to dive back into training again.

Monday: 4 mile speedwork I did a half mile warmup and then 12×400 repeats trying to get faster, but as I mentioned this plan didn’t work out very well and I got slower and slower as time went on. I hit my marks for the most part for the first 6/7 but the last ones were not great. At the time I was proud of myself for pushing through when all I wanted to do was quit, but now I realize, maybe that wasn’t the best option. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20.

After my speed workout, I managed to snap this photo.

After my speed workout, I managed to snap this photo.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Sick This consisted of chicken and stars, popsicles, rice, and gatorade.

My cousin got me this adorable running socks, which I am obsessed with

My cousin got me this adorable running socks, which I am obsessed with

Thursday: Recovery

Friday: 40 minute bike; 1 mile run; weights – chest/triceps I pushed it a little bit, but I just wanted my body to move. I dropped my weights down a little bit from where I normally am , but just wanted to get my arms moving as much as my legs were able to. The brick was pretty miserable, which was a combination of recovering from sickness, not running as much, and being on the terrible treadmill without wifi (I had planned to watch a show while running and biking).

The dreaded indoor bike

The dreaded indoor bike

Saturday: 90 minutes bike outside I went out a little later than I planned at around 11:20am, but the ride was amazing and felt so good to push it. Also, I almost did an even split on the bike even though the first five miles are all downhill and the last five are all uphill, so I felt really good about this bike ride. My only problem is finding a good bike route that either has good hills and is not super flat (like Mount Vernon trail) but also doesn’t require you to stop for traffic/road crossing ever mile or so (W&OD Trail). The quest continues as I try to push myself out of my comfort zone and into exploring more.

Ready to go on a bike ride in my American jersey, courtesy of the Beast

Ready to go on a bike ride in my American jersey, courtesy of the Beast

Sunday: 8 mile run I was dreading this run all day. I haven’t run 8 miles since the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in April. Yes, I have been slacking on my long distance runs, but I just was tired of spending so much time running. Then I started running and the course I plotted out wasn’t as long as I thought so it required taking on an additional 3 miles in another direction, but I did it. It was slow, but not too painful, and I actually feel somewhat decent sitting here typing. It is only a start, but I am ready to get back to it.

The meadow I pass on my run that is always filled with deer

The meadow I pass on my run that is always filled with deer


Just a little sweaty after my long 8 mile run.

Just a little sweaty after my long 8 mile run.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Training – Week 3

I apologize that last week’s update has been a little late, but I have been under the weather. And by that I mean that I have been puking my guts out and barely able to move or eat. In fact, I had my first almost full meal for lunch today for the first time since lunch on Monday. I am thinking it was some sort of stomach virus that I caught, but more on that later and how it has affected my training (once I am actually able to get back to my training).

This week was also the week of irritating small injuries from my iPod band rubbing my arm and giving me a rash to my shorts doing the same thing right under my butt.

Monday: OFF A nice pounding headache to start off last week that went into Tuesday morning. I am really the epitome of health lately.

Tuesday: Bike/Run/Weights – shoulders/legs This legs workout didn’t kill me nearly as much as the one the week before, but my legs were definitely crying for a couple of days afterwards. This run was also brutal, mainly because a torrential downpour started about 5 minutes into my 30 minutes run and persisted the entire time. It also almost killed my iPhone, but luckily, I stuck it in a container of rice and it is good as new now. I wish I could say more about how this run went, but it was just meh, trying to get back into it. The bike was done on the trainer because of the downpour, and lately I have really been digging riding my trainer while the Beast decompresses from his workout on the couch. It’s time together while I can still get a workout in.

Wednesday: Swim 1800m/Weights – chest/triceps/abs I seem to have a mental block on my swim about halfway through. I want to stop around then and just say well that is good enough for now, but if I am going to do an Olympic distance, it really isn’t anymore. It will definitely be enough for my sprint coming up in a few weeks (gulp!) but I need to keep putting in the meters here to get it done.

Thursday: Hilly bike I wish I could fully explain how hilly this bike ride was. I was not expecting it to be quite so bad whenever I set off, but instead of doing the trail I decided to do my neighborhood and explore a little bit more. This required some planning finesse on my part, and I apparently planned the entire ride to either be going down or uphill. There was almost no flat part, which is great for killing my legs and really kicking it into high gear. (Okay, the bike was only an elevation gain of 660 ft but for me and this DC area, that is fantastic).

Friday: Swim 1600m/Weights – back/biceps/abs My swim is really starting to improve and I am starting to feel more like a fish. The back and forth in the pool just requires me to empty my mind and not think at all because otherwise it starts to get really monotonous really fast.

Saturday: Bike/Run/Bike/Run Brick I roped my mom into doing this brick workout with me that consisted of 20 minutes of biking, 20 minutes of running, then repeat. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to post a negative split, but we altered our bike and run route a little bit each time to include different hills. My legs were burning by the end but I managed a slight sprint.

This next week of training will be significantly subdued because of my illness, which scares me just two weeks before a sprint distance triathlon. Luckily, there is still plenty of time before my 10k tune up race at the end of August and Olympic distance triathlon in September!

Olympic Distance Training – Week 2

This week started off really well before completely descending by the weekend, which I will blame completely on my birthday and having far too much fun with family and friends.

Monday: 60 minute bike trainer; weights – shoulders/legs Doing legs at the beginning of the week proved to be quite the rookie mistake but I’m doing pretty well getting my weight workouts in.

Tuesday: weights – chest/triceps/abs Like I said my legs hurt too bad to do anything else, so I just did weights.

Wednesday: 5 mile run; 1500m swim Finally a good workout day. The run was hard and hot but I did it and my speed wasn’t too bad considering the heat (11:11/mile). The swim went pretty well and it felt good to just be swimming again.

Thursday: 90 minute bike and 1700m swim Another strong training day that I pushed myself through. The bike ride on the trainer was rough but I kept pushing and kept going despite protests from my rear. The swim had a 1000m pull that tested me mentally. I kept wanting to stop but I knew I would regret t.

Friday: 75 minute bike trainer and weights – back/biceps/abs I had intended on biking outside after my quick oil change. Then the oil changed turned into a surprise you need four new tires and this will take awhile. I had errands to do for my birthday dinner party tonight but managed to still get in the ride and make everything and have a great party. However this was the beginning of the diet and exercise decline.

Saturday: blackberry picking While not very strenuous, I was sweating profusely for the hour we were picking blackberries.

Sunday doesn’t even bear mentioning. Overall a strong start with a lousy finish but I am getting there.

I don’t know which of these desserts were better. The salted caramel cheesecake with a caramel sauce and chocolate ganache with an Oreo cookie crust made by the Beast or the super chocolatey chocolate cake made by my mom. Hands down the best birthday I’ve had in a very long time and well worth the lost workouts and extra calories.

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Olympic Distance Training – Week 1

Well if I had to rate this past week I would give my workouts and my eating habits a C. There were some good days and some bad on both counts but overall they were average and I gave an average effort if I am being honest. Just means there is only room upwards to go after this week and sitting here on the couch resisting making cookie dough is a good start.

Monday: 4.5 mile run I woke up early to get this run in and it was still hot and humid at 5:45am. But I did it and that’s what counts. Plus it went much better than my first run back.

Tuesday: 60 minute trainer bike; chest/triceps/abs I ended up biking on my trainer because I went out with some friends post work, which meant I didn’t want to bike in the dark.

Wednesday/Thursday: off Yes I slacked off. End of story.

Friday: hilly 5k run I had planned to do a 5 mile hilly run but my morning milk and cereal was not sitting well and it was all I could do to make it that far. At least I learned a good lesson to not have dairy! Good to know for races.

Saturday: 21 mile bike and back/biceps/abs This long bike ride went really well. My hip slightly twinged but it felt much better. The weights workout after felt good but I was spent by the end of it all.

Sunday: Pool day

Watching the World Cup – USA vs. Belgium

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Pool side with a vintage bomb pop

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Homemade falling off the bone ribs

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