Friday Five: Five Fitness Goals

This is my first time linking up with some fellow DC ladies for their Five Friday post, and I am excited to finally do it! Make sure you check out CourtneyCynthia, and Mar.

So, what do I want to accomplish for the rest of this year?

1. Run a 2:15 half marathon. While I am not quite ready to do a sub 2 (which would be an ultimate goal for me), I think that this is obtainable for me to do this year. Sub 2, I am coming for you next year.

2. Embrace the hills (on the bike). What really killed me in the first sprint triathlon of this year was the hills. I had been practicing a lot indoors and my favorite course outside is pretty damn flat. I am challenging myself to tackle more hills and to go for them instead of avoiding them. Here’s to new bike courses and adventures!

3. Do strength training twice a week. When I first started my weight loss journey, I was doing a lot more strength training than cardio, and I loved the muscles I was building. Unfortunately, I have slacked off, but I want to tone my body and make it stronger and more able to endure all the miles that I put on it swimming, biking, and running.

4. Be confident in myself. I don’t want to keep holding myself back. I think that I am slow and that means that I can’t go any faster. But I can. I am able. And I need to push myself. I can do more.

5. Improve my triathlon abilities. This is a couple of things. I want to improve my sprint time because I know I can. And I am ready to tackle the Olympic distance now. I am scared and excited, but I know that I can do it. 

What are your fitness goals for this season?

My First (Almost) Running Accident

Yesterday I went on a ten mile run. I was eager. I got home early. The day was beautiful and perfect weather for a long run. I filled up a water bottle and got a Gu. I was ready to go.

I decided to run the first five miles at a comfortable pace around 11:15-11:30. They were going along about on schedule. For some reason my legs were a little more tired than I think they should have been.

Then around mile 3 I got a weird feeling in my stomach. I decided to brush it off. Every now and then my stomach rumbles when I run so I thought it will be okay.

The next two miles went well. Then mile five hit and I turned around. And then my stomach convulsed. Oh no. How was I going to go five more miles when I was afraid I might shit myself? Two miles away were porter potties. I told myself that if I could just make it there I would be fine.

I surged on and had to stop a couple of times to let my stomach calm down. But I finally made it to the toilets. I was worried about whether or not they would have toilet paper. That was the least of my worries. In all five porter potties, not one had toilet paper and each of them was in a vile condition, almost filled to the brim. One even looked like someone shit on the seat. What the hell?

This disgusting state of toilets gave me new resolve. I would rather run three more miles and shit on myself than in those toilets.

My new attitude made the next three miles fly by (with a few stops to quiet my tummy) and soon I was almost home. My second half I was posting much better times and pushing myself harder despite my stomach. I was so pleased and I made it to 10 miles at 1:49.

A quarter of a mile from my apartment it struck. I had intended on slowly jogging the last bit but my stomach had different plans. It seized up and I came to an abrupt halt. I had to ever so slowly walk home the last bit. It took all my strength to not just let it go. I finally made it to my apartment and I have never felt more relieved.

I have no idea what I will do if I can’t hold it next time. There were so many people outside and I was wearing bright colors so that I was noticeable. Unfortunately this made it hard to duck into what little cover there was.

Have you get had bathroom issues while on a run?

Let’s Get Down To Business

Race season is starting to kick into high gear and with a half marathon in a couple of weeks and then triathlon season really starting up it’s time to get serious.

I have let small doubts creep into my mind as I gear up for my races. I know that I put a lot of hours into during the winter. But was it enough? Did I run bike and swim enough? Was it okay that I skipped a few workouts or didn’t do two a days often enough? I keep questioning more and more. And the doubt cloud is getting bigger and bigger.

So before my next race I am focusing on my mental state. I am resting and getting quality workouts in. I am trying to lessen my stress.

Another thing that I know I could have done more during the winter training season is focus on my eating habits. The last two weeks I have been reigning in my sweets habit by focusing on more natural sugars. I am already feeling better and my workouts are going better. I can already tell a huge difference.

So as triathlon season starts I have plenty more of races later in the season that more hard work now and eating better will pay off for.

Also anyone with a sweet tooth, I highly recommend Yasso sea salt caramel frozen yogurt bars. They are delicious and nutritious!

Chasing Chicken Race Recap

I’m sorry for disappearing for so long! The race last weekend really took it out of me but I’m here with the race recap.

My mom and cousin Allison joined me for the race this past Sunday, which was a reverse format triathlon – run, bike, swim. I was apprehensive but race morning I was so happy not to be swimming first.

I started off the morning at 530 so I could shave and get ready. Yes I shave before races and wake up early to do so. I don’t think it makes me faster but it makes me feel good and starts the morning off right. I ate my two pieces of bread with peanut butter and washed it down with water. Then the Beast and I drove about 30 minutes to the race location, jamming in the car the whole way.

We ended up arriving at the same time as mom and Allison so we headed to setup together. Setting up transition took about 15 minutes then we just had to wait for the start at 8. I used the bathroom approximately three times and kept going until the start pretty much.

The men started first then at 8:10 Allison and I went off. Mom was after us for the final wave. I wasn’t sure how to pace the run with two disciplines afterwards but I just did what was comfortable. The course has some nice steady inclines but I just kept going and chugging along. I ended up doing the 5k close to my PR at 29:54.

Transition one was such a flurry of limbs and putting on bike shoes and going I didn’t notice it.

Then began the bike. I was worried about the first half because it’s kind of a windy back road. I shouldn’t have been worried about that part. I cruised through the first six miles and was doing amazing. I didn’t even feel cold although my red thighs told me it was pretty chilly.

The second half was miserable. I knew there were rolling hills but I wasn’t prepared for this. I know they always say what goes up must come down. But not this course. For every bit of up then was much less of a down so it felt like it was just up up up. And unfortunately I wasn’t prepared for it so my right hip flexor started tensing up and the last two miles I was almost in tears. I just kept going because I knew I could do it.

On the way I also passed this man who is a Richmond legend, Gene White, who at 81 years old still competes in triathlons. A car had blown through two cop cars at an intersection to hit his back tire. Luckily he ended up only bruised with no broken bones. I have never been so relieved in my life.

I finally finished the uphill battle of the bike in 53:51. I know I can do better next time, just need more hill practice.

Transition two was even more a flurry. So much so that I didn’t take off my socks. Yep. I wore them down to the pool. Oh and I wore them in the pool.

The swim was easily the worst. I could only think of breathing. There was nothing else to think of. There were also two people who were behind me and then I let go ahead because they were chomping at my heels. But once I let them go past they lost their speed. One girl even stopped in the middle of the pool. I was furious. So my swim time was much slower than I expected and I want to crush it next race. 8:13.

I rolled onto the finish mat and completed the first triathlon of the season. I felt relieved and anxious and thrilled. I knew it wasn’t my A goals but I did do much better than last year and so I am very pleased. I looked forward to seeing my final time and ranking.

Then the drama started.

I found Allison’s time (second in her age group!) and my moms. I knew I was somewhere in between but I couldn’t find my number. Then the panic set in. My mom is friends with the race director so we went to talk to her. She talked to the timing guys and I heard over the walkie talkie “she didn’t cross the finishing mat”. I was crushed. She sent me down to the pool to see them.

I walked out of the building to go find them and couldn’t hold back the tears. I tried so hard and I was so proud of myself so I wanted an official finish. This wasn’t even something I thought could happen. Mom, the Beast, and I hurried down to the pool and fished my disposable timing chip out of the trash (thankfully sitting at the top). We found the guy and thank goodness the Beast took a photo of me and the clock as I finished (even though he almost didn’t because his camera was fogging up so much). The timing guy used the picture to verify my time and then I had officially finished.

I have never been so relieved to be 7th in my age group.

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Ukrop’s Monument 10K – Richmond, VA

Four days later and my perspective on this 10k has only improved every single day.

This race is the race anyone who has ever lived in Richmond and considered running has done. And this was my first year ever doing it. I know I suck but technically last year was the first year I started running more than three times a year. My mom did her first in 2005.

This race is huge. I’m talking 36,000 people huge. It’s kind of a big deal. And there are people of all shapes and sizes who do it. And people dress up. And the crowd is amazing.

The weather that day called for rain and much warmer weather than we have been experiencing. Fun fact: Out of the four races I did last year it rained at tree of them. I have extremely bad luck. I decided that due to the rain I would wear a rain jacket to keep comfortable. This was mistake number one. The weather was WARM! Like upper 60s and for someone who considered 40s long tshirt running weather wearing a jacket was stupid.

But I was swept up in the moment and I was so excited and nervous for the race to start. My mom and I started out together but she quickly left me behind.

The first two miles were great. I was going a little too fast (mistake number two). As in 20-30 seconds per mile faster than I should have been doing to start. And I was getting hot fast. But I was determined to keep my jacket on. (mistake three)

I started overheating and my face was getting way too warm. My saving grace was that my iPod band slipped off my arm around mile 2 and since that was off I decided the jacket could come off now. I whipped it off as quickly as I could.

This saved me. Unfortunately I was already super hot. I poured water over my head, was only wearing a tank top, and it was raining. And it wasn’t enough. I didn’t recover until sometime after mile 4. My mile times suffered a lot between 2 and 4 and then I was able to pick it up a little bit for the last two miles but my legs and lungs were already spent.

However, since I knew it was going to be miserable I decided to focus on everything around me. I found encouragement in the people around me fighting their own personal battles. I laughed at the costumes. I reveled in the crowds and cheers and happiness around me. One particular favorite was a sign saying “our beer makes you faster” and an older gentleman running over and shot gunning a beer.

I crossed the finish line and my legs hurt more than they ever have before on six miles since the first time I was able to run that far. I knew I had given it my all.

I accomplished my B goal running at a 10:30 pace and finishing in 1:04.

I know now I need to keep up with my speed work and hills because they are paying off. This time for 6.2 miles last year would have been impossible. Slowly but surely my workouts are paying off.

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Just a small portion of my 36,000 friends and I running a 10K

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Mom and I getting ready for the race to start

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My reward: strawberry rhubarb pie with creamy Bev’s vanilla ice cream

Rough Training Week

Well that 14 miler last Sunday knocked me flat on my ass. This is going to be an abbreviated post because last week was just rough.

Monday: 5 mile walk/run I decided that a shakeout run was needed. I took it as easy as I possibly could and I walked whenever I needed to. It was slow and painful but I think it was good to get my legs out there and doing something. Maybe five miles was a bit much but I did it.

Tuesday: 60 minute bike I had planned on doing two hours but my legs would not cooperate. They just flat out said fuck you.

Wednesday: REST I couldn’t move and I was beginning to worry about my 10k on Saturday. By the end of the day my calves felt about a million times better.

Thursday: 1 mile swim Since I was still worried about my legs I swam and it felt amazing. I just kept pushing and pushing. I warmed up with 200m then did 4x50m at increasing speed followed by 1000m in zone 3. Finally I capped it off with a 200m cooldown.

Friday: REST

Saturday: Ukrop’s Monument 10k in Richmond Race review coming hopefully tomorrow!

Sunday: REST although it did include a piece of fabulously delicious strawberry rhubarb pie from Proper Pie in Richmond.

I told you a very boring week since my legs would not cooperate. This week is already starting off better though

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Race Week

Race week is in full force. I have been taking it easier in my workouts and trying to eat as healthy as possible. I feel really good and the cravings aren’t terrible. However they are still there. Particularly tonight as I give my calves am extra rest day this week to recover from my 14 mile run on Sunday. My calves have been really right and a run just wasn’t going to happen tonight especially since I got home at 7 and I’m sick of the cold weather.

So here I am bundled up on the couch watching Are You The One? on MTV with my roommate. This show is the epitome of crappy TV. I am trying not eat everything. Luckily there is no junk food here for this week, on purpose.

I am thinking about what I am going to wear and what to eat and freaking out. I will probably pack everything I own. And I am still debating on my dinner the night before.

Then there are the butterflies. This may be just a test run and fun race but my winter legs are ready to break out. I am anxious and hopeful.

Last year before races I had no strategy. I didn’t think about what I ate the night before or even the morning of. I didn’t test out nutrition. So this year holds a whole lot of new opportunities.

Do you have a race this weekend?

What is your pre race routine?

Crank It Up

My couch feels amazing after my run today. I am cuddled up under blankets having taken a shower and eaten some spaghetti and I’m watching Scandal. Nothing better to recover from a long run.

But before I get into today’s run let’s go through the rest of the workouts from the week.

Monday: REST I took full advantage of the snow day by sitting on my couch and relaxing. I highly recommend some serious couch time on rest days.

Tuesday: 135 minute bike Another day on the trainer. The snow was melting but I wasn’t sure what the trails would look like. I’ve also found the perfect two hours of shows for my bike ride – The Walking Dead and Once Upon A Time. They make for good biking. However only two more weeks of Walking Dead…so I will have to find something else to occupy me.

Wednesday: 75 minute bike I may have done another day on the trainer. I’ve been taking naps right after work because of killer headaches. Hopefully I figure out the headaches soon so I can workout earlier. I biked to The Office, I was rewatching some episodes. Who doesn’t love a good lighthearted show?

Thursday: two part 5.5 mile run I went to the gym in the morning as was running a little late so I only had 40 minutes to run. I was supposed to do a speed workout but I just couldn’t run. I kept a slow steady pace at 11:19 for 3.5 miles, stretched, and felt like crap. My legs just wouldn’t move. So I resolved to run 2 more miles when I got home that evening. These two miles went a little better but my legs still wouldn’t move.

But that’s okay because then I went to see Divergent at 8pm aka the new midnight showing, which this old lady is all about. I went with a couple of college friends including the lovely lady Alex at The Run Within

The movie was beyond words. I’ve read all the movies and was really happy with the film. Also Four exceeded all my expectations. He was beautiful. The Beast isn’t very happy about my latest obsession.

Friday: 10k hill run After Thursday’s run I was blown away by how awesome this hill run was. The hills were tough and my legs burned on the ways up but I kept going and kept pushing.

Saturday: BRICK workout I did a run to bike workout. I set out for a 4 mile run (which ended up being a little short unfortunately) with a pit stop to pick up a movie from Redbox. Unfortunately the machine was broken. I was not happy. And I was sweating profusely. The poor people around me. Then I came back and did a 70 minute trainer bike ride (okay, yes I have been doing a lot of indoor rides, but I am slightly terrified to go outside again) to Scandal, my new obsession.

Sunday: 14 mile run This was a bitch. It took me three hours which is slow even for me. However this is the longest run I have EVER done so that may have contributed.

The first six miles I ran into 20 mph winds. I wanted to give up during the first mile but I kept chugging plus I knew that the good thing about an out and back run was that the fastest way to get home was to run.

At mile 6 I decided to try a run on the trails nearby for the first time ever. The trail I was running on disappeared and the muddiness and picking through the brambles made this a super duper slow mile averaging 15 minute pace. There were a lot of logs to jump over and I had to duck a lot. Then on my way back after deciding that I had definitely lost the trail and I was ambling about, I hit my head super hard on a low hanging thick tree branch. I stopped and checked my head. I stood there for about five minutes to make sure I was okay. While it hurt, it was just a bump so I decided to keep going. I had my phone on me (as I always do) and texted the Beast so he knew what happened. I was ready to call a friend or cab to pick me up just in case. Luckily in about half a mile the pain dissipated.

The next 3.5 miles went okay. But then it started to get cold and I was getting tired.

The last 3 miles felt like torture and I just kept thinking one foot in front of the other. Just keep going. Think how amazing this is going to feel. Think of the accomplishment. And I did it.

Reassessing Goals

Sometimes it’s hard to be realistic with race times and paces when you’ve been training all winter with no real idea how fast you can go.

Race season for me starts next Saturday and I have been trying to plot out my A, B, and C goals. Of course I would love to go under an hour in the 10k but I think it’s not very realistic and I don’t want to push myself too hard in the first half to maintain an unsustainable pace.

Instead I am opting to set a more realistic pace for myself because this isn’t my goal race and there is no reason to kill myself in my first race of the season that’s supposed to be fun! And well as someone from Richmond a race that I should have done a long time ago. Literally everyone in Richmond runs this race.

So here it is:
A – 10:15 pace
Realistically I should be able to hit this and maybe a little faster but I want to be conservative.
B – 10:30 pace
If I am feeling a little off this is generally the pace I have been settling into.
C – 11:00 pace
If worse comes to worse I think I could do this no matter what.

All my races this season I hope to just do better and improve. I’ve come so far from where I was last year. As a matter of fact my 3.75 mile run today at 37 minutes was faster than my 5k time last year, which started at 38 minutes or so.

It’s a process. It’s a journey. And it’s about how I feel about myself.

P.S. I went to the TriMania triathlon expo in Bethesda, MD today and will be writing up all the cool things I did there in a couple of days.

Where did you go sun?

I thought with daylight savings I would see more sun which would mean more evening runs and make it easier to workout.

False.

It snowed on Sunday/Monday. Now it’s raining. And it wasn’t just a light drizzle, it was a nice downpour. Had it been lighter I was all about running.

I’m not normally a fair weather runner/exerciser but lately I have been. I am unmotivated. I don’t want to go outside in the cold anymore. I don’t want anymore snow. I want warmer weather and sunshine. I want to find my motivation.

However these are all just excuses for me. I can go outside or do my workouts inside. Right now I’m writing from my bike trainer, legs spinning away. I think that as the race season looms closer and I have all these goals for myself, I get more and more terrified.

I am scared of letting myself down. Of not achieving my goals. Of my hard winter training to not pay off. Of disappointing. I am terrified.

And therefore I am sabotaging myself. I’ve let my diet slip and workouts slide. Because all of these things give me an excuse to fail, something to blame beside myself.

And while I probably can’t blame myself on race day. I can blame myself right now. I can make myself accountable right now. I can do better.

The next couple of weeks are just the first of the season. And while maybe they are already out of reach that doesn’t mean the whole season is. I can still do it.

Each day is a new day.

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