Archive | February 2014

Curse of Heels

On Sunday, I broke out my cowboy boots and wore them for around 8 or so hours. They looked great. Well, they always look great, and they are comfy. However, something I hadn’t thought about was that I have worn flats for small periods of times and then the rest of the time I wear tennis shoes. This means awesome support most of the time.

Boots have a slight heel, one that I am not used to. Do not wear something new and expect everything to be the same in running and training. My legs hurt a little bit that night, but nothing unbearable. The next day however, it hurt. My calves were tight and my ankle/right muscle connecting my ankle and calf hurt. I have a weird tendency to roll my ankles out to the side, particularly when I wear my boots. So I took Monday off.

Tuesday, I decided to test it out and did a speed workout followed by a swim. My legs felt okay on the run, but I chalked it up to not working out since Saturday. The pool felt amazing, particularly how cool it was on my sweaty, hot body.

Wednesday, I woke up and my legs hurt. They were beyond sore and the weird muscle between my ankle and calf was killing me. Plus, I had a slight twinge in my lower left back, which I chalk up to compensating for a hurting leg while running. I decided to take another day off and use less exercise time for a lot more sleep time. I slept for 9.5 hours.

Thursday, I decided to take off to give my legs/back another day to relax, particularly because my back is something I do not mess around with. I tend to baby it a little bit actually.

So here I am, having only worked out 1 out of the last five days, and it hurts. Mentally, I am struggling and feeling like I am losing every last inch of my fitness. I feel like tomorrow when I go out, I will be significantly slower and worse at everything. Physically, I feel worse. I miss the endorphins. I miss feeling good about my body. Right now I feel like a slug.

Taking off so many days of working out also doesn’t help my plateau with my weight that I’ve been going through. I know that once I am able to get back on the workout train, I need to crack down on snacking/food so that way I can be in the best shape possible for my upcoming race season.

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Surprises are the Best

I teased last week that I had a surprise coming up, and that surprise happened on Sunday!

My mom had signed up a couple of months ago for a half marathon, and unfortunately a few things prevented me from being able to do it. One of which is the fact that last week was my first ten mile run since the half marathon, and my first ten mile training run ever. As such, I knew I wasn’t going to be going home and wouldn’t be able to see her race.

Then I got a crazy idea a few weeks ago. What if I did decide to go see her race? I shared my plan with the Beast and we plotted out some logistics. As luck would have it the race was extremely convenient to his apartment in Richmond.

So Sunday morning after a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon and pancakes with the Beast, we headed out to somewhere between mile 7 and 8 to wait for my mom. I made some cool signs for spectating, and the Beast brought his new baby, a Nikon D610, out to play.

We waited for about 20 minutes before I saw her coming across the bridge and rounding the corner. At first she smiled and waved as she recognized us (probably instinct after many years of us watching her races), then she realized we weren’t supposed to be there. She immediately jumped in the air and screamed and had a big smile across her face.

The Beast and I then headed out to the finish line. After watching someone spectacularly vomit about 50m from the finish and continue to the finish line, with a nice incident right in front of me, my mom finished with her best half marathon yet. Oh and finished fourth in her age group, so not a bad race at all.

She then went to go enjoy the wine festival associated with the race while the Beast and I went to a Brew party with his friends. For those interested, this brew party consisted of one of the Beast’s friends brewing beer in a backyard while we all sat around drinking previous batches of beer he had brewed.

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Woof

Oh man, what a week. The first half went really well with training. In the second half I think I started to get really tired and run down.

Sunday: Long bike ride. I honestly cannot even remember what I watched while I biked. Last Sunday seems like an eternity ago. I was able to make it for two hours though. Lately trying to get back up to 2.5 hours just seems impossible.

Monday: sprint workout, steady swim. This was a great workout day. I was very very pleased with both of my workouts. I rocked it on my sprint workout, pushing myself to reach much better times than I have been getting lately. My in between recovery portions I have been splitting up with a one minute walk then one minute slow jog before doing the next portion of my intervals. After a nice sweat poring session on the treadmill I headed to the pool and got in a very solid 2100 meter swim, which I think may be my first ever swim over 2000 meters. It felt steady and after this double workout I felt absolutely amazing.

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: Brick workout. Since I hadn’t gone out on the trail since the snow storm, I had no idea what the trails looked like even though the weather seemed nice. So…I biked inside on my trainer. It was also a weird biking session because I biked for about 50 minutes then had a skype date with one of my good friends in Texas for an hour and a half. Afterwards I jumped back on for another 30 minutes then got ready for my four mile run. When I headed out for my run, I decided to push it. I have been getting nervous as to whether I can run my 10k at the end of March in under an hour (I would be happy with 59:59). I figured if I could hold a pace for 4 miles, I could do it for 2.2 more. I managed to do four miles in 39 minutes for an average 9:41/mile pace. This puts be just at an hour if I hold if for the next 2.2. So fingers crossed that with another month of dedicated training I can do it. And hopefully this bodes good things for the upcoming triathlon season and Nike Women’s Half Marathon at the end of April.

Thursday: 10 miles easy. What’s better than a kickass workout? Two days in a row of kickass workouts. My legs were semi sore when I woke up from the previous day’s workout. I knew I wouldn’t be pushing it and that the run would probably feel good. However, I also haven’t run more than 8 miles since the Richmond Half Marathon…in November. The run felt so good that I contemplated seeing what I could do in 3.1 more miles, but decided to stick to the training plan.

Friday: Short bike. After two killer workouts, I really wanted to take it easy. I hoped on the bike for a quick workout just under an hour. Felt good to shake my legs out.

Saturday: 4ish mile run. I had planned on doing a fast run/slow run. I wanted to do 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes slow. However, just before three miles my mom called and I decided to answer since I hadn’t talked to her in awhile. I walked for a little bit since I was on a time crunch then realized I could use my handy dandy headphones to talk and run. It wasn’t fast, as obviously I was trying to keep a conversational pace.

Big things are coming today. I can’t wait to fill you all in on it.

Do It For The Kids

I read so many amazing blogs about women and mothers who are kicking ass and taking names and accomplishing some amazing fitness goals. Some of these moms may face criticism for devoting so much time to fitness. Or their own worst enemy may be the guilt they face because they want to go workout and escape from their children.

Today I am going to write from the POV of one of these children.

My mom does triathlons. She runs half marathons. She’s pretty damn amazing. For most of my childhood we didn’t really do fitness. I rode horses and my sisters danced and that was enough for us. My parents didn’t really exercise or nothing that really sticks out to me.

That is until 2007 when my crazy mom suddenly decided to do triathlons. I don’t know why she decided to do it. But I think she found solace in the hours on the bike and running and swimming. She was in the midst of starting her own business, which then failed. And I think this was her getaway from slaving away and trying to make her business work.

It kinda sunk in for me in high school that fitness was something that I should incorporate into my life, but it didn’t stick. However, what did stick was supporting my mom in her athletic endeavors. The Beast and I went to cheer her in at triathlons and even did a weekend away with her one weekend for a triathlon. It became harder when I went off to college, but I continued to try to go to her competitions.

When I decided that I wanted to change my life and start my road to getting healthy, my mom and I signed up for a sprint triathlon together. Now that I’m older I see why my mom found her solace in this type of exercise. I know why she needed to leave the house sometimes to do these workouts. I understand why she’d be gone for hours.

At the time I kind of understood. I knew my mom needed to do her own thing and it made her happy. But I had no idea how much. I know that now. I have experienced it.

She is a role model for me and me starting triathlons helped jump start my mom back into it after taking off a couple of years. I hope that I can do for her what she did for me. Now we compete together, we cheer each other on, we share workout successes and failures. We run together.

I hope all the moms (and dads of course) out there read this and know, hey it’s okay for me to workout because you are finding your sanity and you re setting an example. And maybe one day your child and you can share your love of a sport together.

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Let It Go

So I know that I have been missing the last few days. I honestly don’t know where the time went. Time is zooming by right now and it’s almost March! This week I will spare you a recap of my weekly workouts, but I promise to bore you to tears next week. If you’re really interested you can go check me out at daily mile: http://www.dailymile.com/people/MaddisonW

Instead today’s post will be a Trade ‘Em Up Tuesday!

I would trade my lack of motivation. Even though I have somehow been getting in my workouts and they have been really good, it has taken me hours to get up motivation to actually move. For some reason (probably the cold weather) my bed and couch covered in warm blankets have been much more enticing than leaving my apartment to brave the cold outdoors. Once I’m there it’s all good but it’s the process that takes a lot.

I would NOT trade an upcoming surprise. I have something special planned for Sunday that I can’t wait to share with you all. No its not a giveaway. Or really an exciting news. But it is something I have been planning for almost a month. Let’s just hope it goes off without a hitch.

I would NOT trade the amazingness of Gilmore Girls. Need I say more, really? My mom uncovered all the seasons my sister left behind. This may be contributing to my lack of motivation.

I would NOT trade finally seeing Frozen! I went to a movie last night, by myself. The Beast said that was sad and he would go with me, but I really wanted to see it and I thought I would spare him from a Disney princess movie. I really enjoyed the movie and the songs. It was nice to see family/sisterly love as a main theme. They also pointed out that you can’t marry someone you just met, which was hilarious. However, let us not forget other princesses who don’t marry someone they just met. Jasmine: it took her THREE movies to marry Aladdin. Nala: yes, I am including lion royalty, but they were life long friends. Belle: okay maybe she had a little bit of Stockholm syndrome, but they did grow to love each other!

I would trade the fact that race season starts in less than six weeks for me. Cue me slightly freaking out. Let’s hope all this training will pay off. I just need to remember that the place to push myself is definitely in a race. Speaking of which I need to update the races section!

What would you trade or not trade this week?

Loving a Triathlete

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single or attached, I hope that everyone enjoys today. If not a romantic dinner/date/etc then rejoice that tomorrow morning, lots of candy and chocolate will be marked 50-75% off for your consumption pleasures.

As someone who is dating a nontraditional romantic man, I’ve learned that romance doesn’t always come with a dozen red roses and your traditional style of romance that is seen in movies. You know what is romantic: caring about what I care about, supporting me, doing little things, showing me love in the ways that count. For me, that obviously means supporting me in my racing endeavors. The Beast has been absolutely amazing. Sure, we have had our bumps along the way in races and training, but that’s normal.

For today, I have compiled some things that the Beast and I have been through with me becoming a triathlete/runner.

1. Naming my bike and referring to it by that name. My bike’s name is Beyonce. We like to listen to Single Ladies a lot.

2. Going to bed super early for a long run/bike ride the next morning. Luckily, the Beast is totally down with this one. He loves sleeping and relaxing. I just have to make sure I don’t wake him up in the morning then I have to pay for it.

3. Going to all the races I sign up for. Now this isn’t a requirement, but it is definitely something that is greatly appreciated.

4. Caveat – never sign up for a race on an important date. This year I signed up for a race on my birthday, but that’s my day to spend however I want. The Beast’s birthday, that’s off limits. His day to spend how he wants.

5. Presents = new gear. The Beast has really gotten the hang of this. He understands that there is always something new and cool or something that I need. He’s gotten into researching the gear and has been a tremendous help. My Garmin watch was the best piece of jewelry I’ve ever received.

6. I’m still learning, which means there is still a lot of frustration. This came out last weekend whenever I recruited him to help me change a tire and well, it was a disaster. We fought over this damn tire for over an hour, cursing and being angry in general. In the end though, covered in grease, we both said we were sorry, and put the tire incident behind us.

7. You push each other. Even though the Beast doesn’t like to race, he pushes me for my competitions, and I push him in the gym. He even recently said he may take up running more seriously (but never a race!).

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!

The C Word

Cancer. We all know someone who has been affected, whether close or distant. My Poppy, my mom’s dad, died of cancer when I was young. I have vague memories of him and his suffering. My aunt had breast cancer and just recently has been cleared of it. None of it hit me as hard as the news I received this past week.

Last Monday, my Nanny, my mom’s mom, went in for minor surgery to check on something that had been going wrong. She ended up having a hysterectomy after the doctor found a small grape sized tumor in her uterus with stage II cancer. My mom called me that day to tell me the news. She told me that a biopsy was being done on the tissue and lymph nodes to get a better picture of what was going on.

I decided to go home for my days off, to be with family, to hang out. I knew there was nothing I could do, but I needed to be there. Nanny has always been strong. My family has always said how fortunate we are that she has been so strong, so healthy at 73. I enjoyed watching the Olympics with the family and hanging out around the house, not doing much, but just being there.

On Tuesday, we got the results back. Final diagnosis, stage III cancer. Aggressive. Requires radiation. But no chemotherapy.

My heart hurts. My brain hurts. I stayed strong while at home, but on the drive back up north, I let it go. I let the tears I had been holding back flow freely. I let the fears I had been holding in go. I cried for the times we had together, for the plans we had made, for the unknown.

I am still processing what this means. Nanny has to recover from her surgery before the radiation will start. Her next checkup is in early March.

The Beast has been amazing and supportive. We are hoping and praying and in the meantime, being strong and taking it one day at a time. There is no reason to dwell on the bad when there is so much good, in the past, present, and future.

It gives me get another reason to celebrate the healthiness of my body and keep striving to make it healthier.

Keep It In The Family

Do you ever have one of those workouts where you feel like you could keep going on and on forever? Well that was yesterday for me. Following the terrible heart rate training session from last year, I set out to do it again. Another 8 miles at an incredibly slow speed. This time though I had my mom and our family dog to keep me company, which really made all the difference.

However, my mom’s experience was similar to mine last week and she struggled to keep her heart rate down. I think it may just be a fist time you try it out thing. This time during my run I was able to keep my heart rate in the middle of my zone 2 range instead of at the upper end. Oh and I was running faster, not much faster, but definitely faster. It felt amazing to just run and run and run.

Our family dog and mom are always good running company. And to think a year ago I would not let my mom accompany me. I was just too scared at how slow I was and didn’t want her to judge me. This time though we talked and ran, which is something I have never done. We talked about everything you could think of and had a nice life chat while running. It took my mind off my legs and just let them do their own thing. The first two miles zoomed by. And then suddenly we were at five miles. Then what?! We are home already.

Of course, puppy then decided she had plenty of energy to sprint around the yard like a crazy dog (FYI I call her puppy but she is five years old and we started with shorter runs then gradually built her up to longer distances once she was old enough to run. Her breed, Weimaraner, is also made to run, so this never strains her. We make sure she hasn’t eaten for several hours before running because dogs can have problems with this and that when we get back she drinks water and rehydrated. I’ve even made her drink out of a cup to make sure she drinks)

Then for dinner I made homemade Chipotle burritos, which were a huge hit and much cheaper to make. The key I’ve found is homemade taco seasoning and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. This really makes quite a difference. Our spread last night was huge with sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms and tomatoes and black beans and corn and guacamole and cilantro lime rice and salsa.

These are all the reasons that I love being home.

This is puppy making sure Mom was okay going to the bathroom in the woods. When you gotta go you gotta go.

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I love the Olympics

Ah, finally Sunday, and it’s a Sunday at home in Richmond which means this morning I had a nice sit down pancake breakfast and now I am watching the Olympics. It’s nonstop entertainment and inspiration.

This week was filled with a lot of ups and downs, but I made it through. Now I am ready for this next week, well after a lazy Sunday.

Sunday: Brick workout This was a solid 14 mile bike and 5k run. OUTSIDE!!!! Last Sunday’s weather was absolutely beautiful and warm and over 50 so I took full advantage. It was a nice little taste of spring.

Monday: Rest However, I did see Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It was absolutely amazing and the company of one of my close friends was even better. We went to a local theatre, Arlington Drafthouse, which has $2 Monday nights and we ordered sandwiches and drinks to enjoy in the extra comfy seats. I highly recommend this place!

Tuesday: Hill run and long bike This hill run felt strong. Even though I wasn’t going that fast, it was faster than last time so I was pleased. When I do hill repeats I get a little caught up and think I can do just one more. So six miles later I was finally done. Later in the evening I watched The Biggest Loser finale, which I have a lot of mixed feelings about. It is an entertaining show and not the healthiest way to lose weight, but it’s a game show and the contestants are there to win.

Wednesday: Bodypump and 8 mile run First long run doing heart rate training and trying to stay in zone 2. Difficult but I hoped this training will pay off in the long run. Something I must keep in mind while running. My legs definitely felt the fact that I did Bodypump first.

Thursday: Swim 1200m and weights Weights were meh but I got through. The swim felt good, nice and steady.

Friday: 4 mile sprint workout I really didn’t want to go to the gym. Really did not. But I did anyway and in the end I am glad I did. It felt good to push my body and crank it up on the treadmill.

Saturday: REST My knee was bothering me when I woke up that morning and I decided that getting some extra sleep and resting was better than going out for a run. It definitely feels better today. Plus I came down to Richmond to an early Valentine’s Day dinner with the Beast, homemade lobster risotto. So yummy and this sight didn’t hurt either.

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Racing Against Myself

Exercise is fun. Exercise is hard. Exercise is a mental/physical challenge. Exercise gives me peace of mind. Exercise is a time to dance a little.
But lately, I have been caught up in the race. The race against whom you may ask. Oh, just my fiercest competitor. Myself. Every run, every bike, every swim, every lift is a competition to see if I can beat my previous time/my previous pace.

But why?

Each of these shouldn’t be like that because each workout that I do in each discipline is meant to serve a different purpose. My 5k flat running pace is not going to be the same as my hilly run, and so many things can go wrong on the bike (pedestrians on the bike trail, a strong wind, rain, tired legs, chilliness, traffic) that it isn’t fair to compare bike rides, even on the same course.

So why do I do it? Why am I constantly racing against myself?

Partly, I think I do it to prove to myself that I am making progress. By putting in this time, I NEED to know that it is going to pay off in my races. So I push and push and push.

And it makes me so tired. It makes me tired because pushing is exhausting, and because most of the time I can’t beat every single pace I run, and because it doesn’t leave much room for enjoying exercise when you’re only thinking about going faster.

Reflecting back on the terribly slow and frustrating run I had yesterday, I realized how much time I had to think. My mind wondered all over the place, and I loved it. It is similar to my indoor bike training rides where I let my mind drift and watch movies and TV and enjoy myself. I don’t have a set speed or miles, just a set time to be on the bike, sitting there.

So, I am embracing the slow. I am embracing each part of training. The slow, the fast, and the painful. I need to remember I am not training for a Thursday midafternoon PR while out on a random run. I am training for my RACES. I am training for those set dates, and I am going to shift my mind to focusing on that aspect.

This is a journey. It is a process. And there is no way to sprint to the finish.