Thursday, July 26, 2012

Being a Triathlete Reminds Me of Something...

The stuff.  Oh my goodness, the stuff you accumulate as a triathlete.  Getting ready for the race I'm doing this weekend, well, you know what it reminds me of?  Having a baby.  No, not the actual laboring of having a baby, but all the stuff you "have to have" when a baby comes along and you have to go somewhere with said baby.  You spend an hour preparing and packing for it.  Here are my comparisons:

The Toys:
Sure, you can get the uber-expensive, top-of-the-line goodies, but what fun is that?  The bouncer, the excer-saucer, the fancy stroller, swing, teething toys, books, etc.  They practically take care of the baby themselves!  When it comes to triathlons, you have to have a bike.  The baby stuff may be optional (but  don't tell any "good" parent that!), but a bike is mandatory.  I experience bike-envy quite often, just as I would experience stroller-envy back in the day.  But Silver, my bike, does the job for me just like my little Graco stroller did the job for my kids.

So, here is Silver, ready to go this weekend.  Also necessary are the towels for the swim-to-bike transition, and the pump.  Reminds me of the burp clothes and other pump I would take with me in the diaper bag....

The Bag:  (aka: The Diaper Bag vs. The Tri Bag)
Every parent knows the sickening feeling when you forget to restock the diaper bag; whether it be the diapers, the wipes, the spare outfit, snacks, bottles, formula...the list goes on and on.  I used to have a doosey of a diaper bag.  I thought it better to over-prepare than to get stuck without something, so I had all sorts of stuff in there.  I even had snacks for myself in there.  And depending on how long we would be from home, I might even throw in an extra shirt for me (c'mon...if you've ever nursed or had a baby with a runny nose, you know...). 
Triathlons really aren't that different.  Fortunately my brother bought a very nice Tri-specific bag for me, full of special pockets and zippers.  It totally reminds me of a grown-up's diaper bag.  Because let's face it, triathletes can be really big babies sometimes.

The Food:
As a mother, I learned to never be without food or drink for my baby and/or toddler.  In particular were those outings when we would actually have to be around people and I wanted them all to think I had the most angelic child ever, and that I was a super mom.  Ok, that sounds awful, but honest.  I would have goldfish, graham crackers, those special little fluffy toddler snacks; as babies there would always be a spare bottle and formula; sippy cups with water and/or juice.  Nowadays I have scaled back to just a water bottle for short trips, because I am pretty sure everyone knows my children are as angelic as their mother is.  Which is, not very.
I was having flashbacks to the baby/toddler days as I was getting my "fuel" together.  This is just the stuff for during the race:

This is what is being packed for race-day breakfast:  (The PopTarts are for Ken, honest!)
And yes, I am bringing my own toaster!!!

You better believe I wouldn't forget the BOTTLES:

So, there you have it.  And in case you were in doubt as to whether or not I was a bag-toting mama, here is a flashback of me with my two oldest kids on an outing ten years ago.  They are now 13 and 11 years old!

Thank you for reading my snarky commentary. ;)  I'll be sure to let you know how the race goes, and if I forgot anything!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week in Review 7/16-7/22

I almost didn't even do this week's review.  I didn't write down what I did along the way, and it's, well, a bit boring!  I am slightly tapering for Barb's, but trying not to too much. 

Monday- Swim practice; The arms felt super tired afterwards, so I knew it was a good one.  I fit in two sets of the workout and still had time to cool down.  (2200m)

Tuesday- Run: 2 miles warm up, 3 miles at 7:30/average mile pace, 1 mile cool down.

Wednesday- Short, fast ride; 24 miles.

Run: Track workout: 5 x 1000m, 400m rest in between
Swim: Open lake swim with the Matts; a great mile of swimming!

Friday- Rest day, but rode my bike with the kids to run an errand.

Ride on Auberry Road to 168 and back to Pat's house (42 miles); then a quick 3 mile run.  Felt tired until the run, and then I felt better.  Hopefully the run will be the saving leg at Barb's, too!

Easy 8 mile run, felt great!

Swim- 2.25 miles
Bike- 67 miles
Run- 23.5 miles

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Week in Review 7/9 - 7/15

Counting down to Barb's...the half ironman/long course triathlon on July 28th.  I'm excited, I'm nervous, I'm feeling ready!  Except for this week.  No bueno.

Monday-  Swim: Started doing a 100, 200, 300, 400 and back down ladder, but Rich stopped me halfway during my second 300.  He told me to get out and follow him.  Dang, I felt like I was being sent to the Principal's office!  He walked me to a lane that had mirrors placed on the bottom.  I was supposed to swim and watch myself and see how I am still bringing my hands too far in on entry.  It was really enjoyable, really; the mirrors were like the kind at the circus where they make you look tall and thin.  I wanted someone to take a picture so I could show everyone, I looked great!  hahaha
Total: About 2200m; I lost track once I moved to the other lane, but I think that's close!

Tuesday- Easy run: Really, really, easy, but it didn't feel easy.  I knew I was going slow, but I was so tired, probably from the long weekend with early mornings (and no naps either day!  What?!).  I averaged 8:48 mile pace for the 5 miles.  Really, really easy run!

Wednesday- Nada.  Just couldn't fit it in with the other duties.  Need I mention I was really cranky by nightfall?  Yep.  Poor Kenny.

Run:  Track workout of 3x: 1200m, 200m RI, 600m, 400m RI.  We started later than usual, and it was a scorcher kind of day!  But we did it, and flew, too!  Maybe it was from all the "rest" from the previous day (wink, wink).
Swim:  Open water swim with a few friends (Matt B., Jennifer and Stormy) at the lake.  We did three loops where we decided was the safest place to stay away from boats.  The only problem was feeling like a total slow-poke the entire time.  It was too hot to wear a wet suit.  By the third loop I was finally feeling strong and steady with strokes and breathing.  I decided that is a good thing for the race I have in two weeks, where the swim will be 1.2 miles!

Friday- Ride to make up for Wednesday.  Went 25 miles with all WOMEN...yes, you read that right!  I very rarely get to train with any chicas, but this day I was with three other fabulous females: Jennifer, Stormy and Tammy.  Stormy is my new swim group friend!  It was a fun ride!
Saturday- 50 mile ride.  It was supposed to be 58 miles that started/ended from my house, with some rollers.  But a family emergency cut the ride short and our riding group rushed back to my house.  The good news is my husband was bringing the kids to SAG (Support And Gear...basically provide an aid station for us in the middle of nowhere).  The bad news is our dog died in the process.  Kind of a long story.  I pulled up with the friends I was riding with (Pat, Jennifer and Tammy), to a yard of crying kids and husband.  It was a very sad day.

Sunday- 11.5 mile run; felt very tired and slow.  Not a good weekend, nor a good way to end a low week.  But I guess I can chalk it up as a kind of taper, right?  ;)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Any Given Laundry Day

Long, long ago, in a land far, far away, I was in high school.  I was given a locker to store my running clothes as part of being on the cross country and track teams.  There were a few options for changing shirts, shorts, sports bras, and socks.  One pair of trusty running shoes, a hairbrush and an extra rubber band for my hair.  Did I have deodorant?  I don't remember.  We girls could not comprehend how boys could shower in their locker room after every practice.  Girls are scared of other girls.  So there was no shower-taking in the girl's locker room.  (Scared as in intimidated to be naked in front of each other, not fearful of our safety)  Ok.  Have I made you all uncomfortable now?  So sorry.  I just had to properly set the stage.

I can clearly remember not bringing my clothes home very often to clean them.  I can also very clearly remember putting on dry, crusty socks.  Whoa!  That's gross, I know!  How did I do that?  These days I don't reuse any item of clothing.  After it's used, it goes straight to the hamper.  I try not to stink, whether or not I'm meeting anyone for a workout.  I try to do my part to make the world a better smelling place, honest! 

Which brings me to the picture I am sharing with you.  It is a typical laundry day.  More often than not, there are a couple of loads worth of my smelling training clothes.  Being the cheap-skate I am, I hang them to dry.  I have to take care of the clothes so I don't have to replace them, and I'm saving energy by not using the dryer.  So, there!

This is just half of what was in the laundry this morning (training clothes, that is).

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week in Review 7/2 - 7/8

I have my sights set on the Barb's Race, July 28th!  I am tweeking some of our manual's workouts to be sure to be ready for it.  It has some hills and heat; and the swim is making me nervous.

Run: 10 miles with Pat @ 8:04 average mile pace.  Nice and flat, but got a little warm by the end...even at 8am!
Swim:  The fun continues!  Tonight Rich had us do 4 x 100m and remember what our time was from start to finish for the total 400m.  Then we did a 400m straight through and we were supposed to do it faster.  Then do the same with 3 x 100m/300m; 2 x 100m/200m.
4 x 100m = 8:00 (I tried to keep my rests in between the 100's at 10-12 seconds)
400m = 7:08
3 x 100 = 5:45
300m= 5:20
2 x 100 = 3:45
200m = 3:30
With warm-up and cool-down, total= 2100m.

Tuesday: This was a tricky day.  I could not get both a ride and a run in due to...drum roll please... being a mom.  I took the kids to the water park, had to get gas for the van and some groceries.  Ken took our youngest daughter to the movies, so I took the remaining two boys to the track with me to get my run in.  My oldest two kids that I use for babysitting their siblings while I do the short rides/runs during the week are at my parents' house for the week.  Which totally messes with my training schedule.  But I'm trying to make the best of it!  At least I got my run in!
1.25 mile warm-up; 1.5 mile @ 6:50/mile pace; 3/4 mile rest; 1.5 mile @ 7:20/mile pace; 1.25 mile cool-down.  Total= 6.25

Wednesday:  Fun Friend Ride!  Rode to Sheri's with Ron, his friends Denny and Brian, my friend Jennifer and her friend Tammy.  It was a great hop up the hill!
Total: 26 miles
*No swim today.  There is no practice due to being a national holiday. :( 

Run: Track workout! 3 x 2000m with 400 RI.  We totally rocked those laps!  The first one was the usual cobweb-dusting of the legs, but the next two were nice and comfortably faster.  A great confidence booster!
Bike: Rode on the trainer for about 45 minutes; just an easy spin for the legs.

Designated rest day.  By nightfall on Fridays I always feel like I'm getting sick.  It's just the withdrawal of endorphins, I believe!

A fabulous swim-bike brick with a few friends!  Ray, a former FPU cross country/track teammate (AKA Bird brother!), Jennifer, Pat and I headed to Millerton for some open water training.  We went out and back to a buoy two times.  After the first time I had to take off my wetsuit; I was getting too hot in the super suit!  I need more time in the lake to feel more comfortable, as the others felt for themselves, too. 
The bike course we went on gave us some challenging hills.  It was a total of 53 miles, and 3700+ feet elevation gain.  We tackled Sky Harbor, then made our way back to the back side of Millerton.  It took a lot longer (because of stops) then we wanted.  We could totally use a sag wagon.  It would be cheaper and more time efficient to have someone be around with an ice chest of cold water and Gatorade!  Anyone? Anyone?

I am beginning to associate weekend trainings with masochism- self-inflicted pain that ends up feeling so great that I can't believe I've lived this long with out it.  Weird?  Probably.  That's part of the fun, though!
Run: 9.46 miles @ 8:23 average pace.  It took me a few miles to work out the kinks from yesterday's ride, but by the end I was getting low eight-minute miles.
Bike:  Easy spin for the legs, 12 miles.

Weekly Totals:
Swim: About 3400m
Bike: 91 miles + 45 min. on trainer (maybe 103 miles?)
Run: 32 miles

Recipe: Vegan IronMan Cookies

These are my new favorite go-to food!  They work great to eat before long training sessions and to take on long rides.  I add a few tablespoons of chia seeds, a natural source for antioxidants, electrolytes and an anti-inflammatory.  I'm not a vegan, just wanted something that didn't have butter in it.

Vegan Iron Man Cookies
(Makes about 45 cookies with my scoop)

3/4 cup peanut butter
1 banana- smashed
1 cup brown sugar (if being vegan doesn't matter to you can do 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup honey)
2/3 cup soy milk (I always use regular cow's milk)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds-toasted (optional- I've never put them in)
1/2 cup dried fruit (I use blueberries)
*I also add 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  They melt when I take them on rides, but it just makes them taste like they're fresh out of the oven, and I enjoy that.  Do what you like!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In Large mixing bowl combine peanut butter, banana, brown sugar, soy milk, and vanilla extract.  Ina separate bow mix together cinnamon, baking soda, flour, salt, and oats.  Add the dry mixture to the wet and flax seeds, almonds, and cherries.  When well combined, spoon heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, leaving some space in between.  Bake about 12 minutes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Running the Race of Life

I have been a runner for a long time- almost two-thirds of my life.  In that time I have learned many cognitive skills and spiritual implications of how running is like life.  The Bible has several running/training metaphors:

 "...Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.  And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us." Hebrews 12:2
Not everyone has the same struggles, strengths, opportunities, obstacles, etc.  We are unique in our talents, gifts and abilities, all of which are God-given.  My race is not your race; it is not the same as my children's, or any one else's.  Consequences (good and bad) for decisions I have made have affected the course I am on.  They make it easier or more difficult.  The importance is to live it with endurance...and to live your own life, not try to duplicate someone else's. 
I find this particulary interesting in comparing the spiritual and physical.  Spiritually, I have envied other people's talents and abilities.  Physically, I try to copy what has worked in training for other people.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Stay focused, and never, ever, ever give up!

"I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." Philippians 3:13-14
Have you ever run a race?  It really doesn't matter the distance, because if you're doing it right then you're giving it all you've got, digging deep to give the rest, and completely relieved when it's over!  It has taken the longer distances to make me so very grateful for a finish line.  I long for it; I countdown to it; I make sure my cheering squad (if I have one) is there waiting for me.  That is how I want my life to be.  I don't want to be afraid of death, but to look forward to being done in order to see my Jesus.  I want to hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21)

"Even youths will be come exhausted, and young men will give up.  But those who wait on the LORD will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint."  Isaiah 40:30-31
One of my favorite scenes in "Chariots of Fire" is when Eric Liddle reads chapter 40.  Here you go, it just might give you goose bumps!

"Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize.  You also must run in such a way that you will win.  All athletes practice strict self-control.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.  I am not like a boxer who misses his punches.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.  Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."
1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Despite what you may or may not have experienced in church, there are no ribbons, medals, trophies or plaques for being a Christian.  I am still called to live a life to try to "win" the race set before me (see the Hebrews notes above)- and I fail miserably all the time.  Am I loving others unconditionally?  Am I standing up for what is right, or keeping quiet?  Am I doing all things for His glory, or trying to get a little for myself too?  I totally get these verses.  Training of the body takes discipline that involves what I eat, how much I sleep, how much of each component I work on.  Training of the soul takes discipline, too.  It takes time to read the Word, praying- praising God, confessing my sins to Him, and make right my relationship with others.  It takes living a spirit-filled life that reflects the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfullness and self-control.  Like running a race, it takes everything I have in me to try to win..."with purpose in every step."  Don't waste your time off the course.  Don't waste your time living a life loving the world.

This is what I have by my kitchen sink.  I see it multiple times a day.  I think of my friend Meredith who gave it to me, and I remember the calling the Lord has given to all who believe. ("Run in such a way as to get the prize" 1 Cor. 9:24)
 This scene from "Chariots of Fire" sums up how Life is Like Running a Race to me (the part of him speaking to the crowd in the rain):

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Week in Review 6/25 - 7/1


Monday: Unintentional day off.  I was supposed to do a one hour swim workout, but I had my in-laws over for dinner.  We were supposed to eat at 5:30 so I could sneak off at 7 to go the pool.  Well, it turned out to be 6:30 and I couldn't, in good conscience, skate out on everyone.  That conscience....

Brick: Bike= 22 miles @ 18mph average; Run= 3.5 miles @ 7:42/mile average.  Felt great, just started a little late in the morning.  It was getting hot!

Bike= 21 miles @ 18mph average.  I would love to average 20 miles an hour if the wind would ever cooperate!

Swim= 1800m (Including warm-up)
In the spirit of the Olympic Trials the coach had us do some distance:
2 x 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m.  He had showed up a little late, so by the time we were done with the 800m we only had enough time to do a cool-down.  It was during the said 800m, that I began to really wonder what in the world I am thinking...that is about 1/5 of the way as the Ironman. 

Most of the way I was thinking: "Why do I think this is fun again?"  "What am I doing?"  "Who do I think I am, a swimmer?!"  "I am just a runner who does swimming and cycling...why don't I just stick with running?"  "How did I think I was getting better at this?"  "Good grief. I think I need an open swim."  "I hope these pathetic questions are normal and they'll go away."  "Whatever I do, I cannot include negative thoughts in my blog.  Someone might think this whole thing was a mistake."  Then I was on my last 100m of it and the sunshine and rainbows came back out and all I could think was "I am totally going to do this.  Just watch me." And I did.  And I will again and again until I get those pesky pessamistic thoughts out of my head!

Run- Track workout with Matt H. and Pat; 10 x 400m.  It was great!  We aimed for 95 second quarters, but ended up doing them in 91.  It just felt better that way. 

Friday:  Designated day off!

Brick: Bike= 51 miles @ 16.5mph average; Run= 5 miles @ 8:23/mile average.  Pat and I rode to Prather and back to get some hills in on my behalf.  The run reminded me to be generous to myself and give my legs a mile before I start questioning what is wrong.  Nothing is wrong...I am just asking an obscene amount of mileage out of them, and they're not used to it...YET.  You'll get there, legs, you'll get there.  And I'll be asking twice as much of you.

Normally I do my long runs in the morning, but I will do it tomorrow morning with Pat instead.  He needs some pushing on the long runs, and I am more than happy to comply.
Bike= 15 miles @ 18.3 mph average.  Just a lovely little Sunday-something!

I ordered and received the parking pass to go swim at Millerton with Pat and the Matts...hopefully next week!

Weekly Totals:
Swim: 1800m (so sad)
Bike: 99 miles (doah!  If I had known that today, I would have gone one more mile to round it to 100!)
Run: 14.5 miles