Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oshkosh Half Marathon Recap

I was so excited to finally get out there and race on Sunday!! The last one I actually ran was the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5 miler. Since I didn't have my mileage up high enough to complete the half marathon I was happy to learn they had a relay option for the half so I found a friend to do it as a 2-person relay. I've never done a relay and was excited to run a race as a team. I was going to doing the 2nd half of the race so I struggled a little with my morning planning since I was actually going to start running until 8 but still had to get there a little after 6am!

We had a blogger meetup before the race, it was fun meeting my fitness buddies.

JenniferKimRachel, Jess, me, Michelle(relay partner), Sarah
 A few minutes before the race was set to start we parted ways, Kim and I were both running the second leg of the relay so we began the 1.5 mile trek to get to our exchange and everyone else headed to the starting line. I ditched my long sleeve shirt so after we hit the exchange point I proceeded to get colder....and colder....and colder.....potty break....sooo cold....getting anxious....time to start, oh wait that was some other chick that looked like Michelle.....freaking out.....and there she is!! We only had 1 bib between us so I had to attempt to pin this thing on while running, I am not sacrificing any time just to put that on! We had decided to only use 2 pins to make it easier for the switch.

I was so excited to finally get going I had to mentally tell myself to just keep a good easy pace at the start. I was passing people right away and I was really worried I would lose my energy and slow down, but I looked at my garmin after the first mile and I was right about where I wanted to be at 9:30ish so I just kept it going. I continued to pass about 10-15 people every mile and was wondering when I would actually stop doing that and hit the pace I was running, but that never happened. Finally hit the last turn and I can see the bridge so I stepped it up even more as I still felt like I had plenty left in the tank. As I'm cruising a hear a girl say "How did she get so fast?" and I felt awesome. I think that gave me the extra burst of energy I was looking for.

The last part was running over a bridge and then a quick straightaway to the finish. We only had the sidewalk to run on and I hear a runner yelling at people to move over so she can pass by. I kicked it up another gear because I was not going to let her pass me...and she never did! I continued to pass people all the way up to the finish line and then thought I was going to hurl.

Why do I always look so weird in the race pictures?? Although it looks like I have awesome arm muscles in the first one, I saved you the even weirder looking ones.

Finishing off toget101639-104-009

This race was the best experience ever for me. I didn't feel tired or labored breathing at all and I was having fun with the spectators along the way. I cannot wait to do another race by myself as I'm basically guaranteed a PR due to how speedy I have become lately. I just wish there was a half marathon around here that I could do in the next month. I'm not paying the $80 to race the Green Bay Half and there aren't any other flat ones close. I don't have many hills on my run and don't think it would be a great idea to run a super hilly half when I'm not trained for that one.

Next race up is the Soleburner 5K in 2.5 weeks and I can't wait to see how I can do!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm a swim machine

I am really starting to get the hang of this swimming thing and I'm really starting to love it. I don't know what it is, but I've always loved being in the water. As a kid my parents could not get me out of the water even when I was freezing and had blue lips. I think the only thing that worked was when they told me it was lunch or dinner.

I've never been one for classes and told my parents that swimming lessons were lame when I was a kid so they pulled me out. I never actually learned how to do any of the strokes correctly but that never stopped me. I can tread water and float around all day if I need to. When I became injured in January and was told that I would not be able to run for about a month, I really didn't know what I was going to do. I needed something to keep me sane and also not gain back all the weight I've been pushing so hard to lose.

Thankfully Kim pushed me to try out swimming as that was her relief when the injury bug hit her and she really got me thinking about a triathlon. I thought, why not I've always enjoyed biking and swimming leisurely and when I can finally run should be no problem. I found a friend with swimming experience and met up with her the first 2 times at the gym to get some pointers on what I'm doing right and wrong. Which when I started there was alot of items to fix. I kept getting in the pool twice a week and now I can't believe how far I've come.

When I started this journey, I could only go 25 meters and I was completely gassed. It took me about 20 minutes just to do 400 meters. Now I'm upto doing 800 meters in about 23 minutes and I can go 100 meters before I need a little break. I began kicking furiously and as I've learned more about swimming it really is all about the arms and now I can swim better if I don't even kick at all. I just have to figure in how to keep my kicking small to match and I think I'm golden.

I'm planning on doing 2 small, local sprint triathlons and I'm really eager to get out there and do one. I have the distances essentially down in all the areas so I just need to keep pushing myself and getting stronger. Throughout all of this I've actually been losing alot of inches from my frame and a few more pounds. I only have 7 more pounds until my goal weight!!!

Now if only I could have this in my backyard.....that would be the life.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scatterbrain Sunday

Ok, so this is more like a list of random things going through my head today and a little ranting that I wanted to share.

  • Gotta love the Wisco weather for the next few days...looked at the weather prediction and we have thunderstorms in store tonight; it was about 70 and humid today, tomorrow evening possible SNOW showers!! Ugh, seriously....I really thought we were in the clear on this one, I know we usually get a snow in April but was not expecting it. We will see how tomorrow's scheduled run ends up as it looks to be a cold & wet one.
  • Sucked it up and went to the gym for a sweaty 10 mile bike (which turned into 12 because I was rocking it with my time) and 800 meter swim. I really am starting to feel so much more comfortable in the water and did 100 meters and then took a quick rest break and started again. First 400 were all freestyle and the next 300 I mixed in a few breaststoke laps and ended with 50 kicking drills and 50 arm drills. Felt good and realized that when I did 5 strokes instead of 3 before breathing I actually calmed myself down and was breathing more consistently and felt less gassed at the end...who would of thought breathing less would make it easier when I've always stuggled with breathing and 3 strokes felt like an eternity!
  • I think I may have a stalker at the gym. Everytime I go there this really annoying chick is there and always happens to be in the locker room when I am or in the same area as me. Today she was in the pool by me and did about 6 laps and sat in the whirlpool until shortly after I was done. And to top it all off, she is super annoying. She has to talk to everybody (or to herself) at ALL TIMES, she was even doing it between her few laps that she actually did in the pool and trying to talk to me in the whirlpool, good thing I really couldn't hear a thing she was saying due the jets and I did not look at her the entire time!
  • Pool etiquette is seriously lacking at my gym. I was super annoyed today and started to forget to push my lap button between intervals so my distance got screwed up. As I was waiting for a lane I sat in the whirlpool and this family walks in with their 2 young boys and just starts going into the pool (which is a very small lap pool w/ 3 lanes) while all laps are being used. This was also after the "Family Hours" time at the pool was over so they really should not have even been in there with them. They just hopped right in and took over one lane while me and annoying chick mentioned abover were waiting for a lane. I realize the kids probably did not want to wait but at least ask first. So during my entire swim I had to listen to 2 loud boys yelling in the pool that I could not even hear myself think.
  • I was craving a salad...wait say that one again....I was craving a salad on my way home and picked up the missing ingredients I needed after the gym. I've never in my life craved a salad but it tasted delicious and I plan on having one every day this week! I really don't know what has gotten into me.
  • Why do I keep procrastinating designing my wedding invitations? Every weekend I tell myself I will figure it out, but just find other things to fill my time instead. I have the style I want to do, just need to figure out the easiest way to cut the paper and correct size paper to order. I need to mail out invitations in about 2 months so I really need to get my butt in gear. Hopefully during the week I will actually attempt to do this and get it checked off the list.
Am I really going crazy or are these things truly normal? Feel like someone put something in my water over here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

April W1 Training Recap

I thought I would share this with everyone as I got a kick out of this. On my email from daily mile for my training recap it said:

Hey Alicia, Gnarly training last week!

Seriously have not seen or heard the word gnarly used for awhile, but it made me giggle. I had an awesome training week and thought that I would recap it since this is the most distance I've done probably...EVER!!

Mon: Biked 6.75 miles, dog walk 1 mile
Tue: Jelly Bean 5K race in 27:47
Wed: Rest
Thur: Rest
Fri: 2 mile treadmill run & 1.25 mile walking followed by 550 m swimming (400m freestyle, 150m drills)
Sat: 10 mile bike followed immediately by 4.14 mile run (tested out my new Garmin)
Sun: Rest

I had 1 more rest day in the schedule than planned but it felt good to reach 29 miles in only 1 week. I'm not following any actual triathlon training prep in getting myself ready for a sprint triathlon so if anyone knows of one please let me know.

So for this week I'm hoping to really only get 1 rest day....maybe 2 and ramp up the mileage even more. Running 3 days, biking 2 days and swim 2 days, core work and overall fitness. It sounds like alot but I can do this since I will have less distractions this week.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Age of Technology

I have finally entered the age of technology.....I'm the proud owner of the Garmin Forerunner910XT. I've been running for about 4 years now and have only ever used a cheap stopwatch and Mapmyrun to figure out my distances...until now!!!

Garmin Forerunner 910XT Series

I was finally able to get this anticipated purchase on Friday and it was the last one left in the case at Fleet Feet! Yesterday was the first time using it and I really loved it. I didn't need the manual much to figure it out and is really user friendly. I set it up on the multi-sport mode and I was able to track the transition time between my bike and run.

I managed to get in 10 miles (thanks to the train that detoured me and added an extra 2 miles on my trip) and then my 4 mile run. I have not run longer than 3.25 miles since my injury and felt great to be able to run that long again. I went with an easy pace (10 min. mile...still have to pinch myself when I say that since that used to be an impossible pace for me) since I've never biked before a run and wanted to make sure I had the energy; I ate 2 shot blocks when I started the run and that was plenty to get me through.

I feel like a triathlon is definitely doable now since this bike/run combo went well and felt great in the pool on Friday during my swim. I was even complimented by a beginning swimmer that I looked really good. Feels amazing hearing that since I was struggling on my swimming not that long ago myself. I've come along way and I'm really not feeling afraid of doing one. I will look like a newbie when I go out there since I will be using my mountain bike and probably be wearing all the wrong gear but who cares. Really anxious to get my feet wet and try one out. I think I'm going to do 2, both look to be small races and the first is a sprint distance (1/4 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3.1 mile run) and the second is just a little shorter of a distance. The first one though I will be the youngest in the age group since it starts at 29, not that I really expect to compete at my first one, but who knows maybe there won't be many in my age group for that race.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed the weather and time with their families. Back to the 5-day work week grind again!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy PR to me!!

Happy PR to me, happy PR to me.....that is what you are supposed to sing on your birthday right? GOOD, cause that is exactly what I did yesterday!! I decided it was a great day to do the Jelly Bean Virtual 5K race that is being hosted by Run with Jess since I knew I couldn't let myself down on such a special day. I pushed myself hard and really tried to get a great time and I nailed it!!
It was an I LOVE RUNNING day!!!

I surpised myself be averaging just under 9 minute miles for a total of 27:47. I just still am having a hard time wrapping my head around this as my current 5K PR is 32:16 which was just this past July. I really don't know how I've gotten that fast in just 9 months as I've shaved essentially 2 minutes off my per mile pace.

I really think this injury has helped me become stronger both physically and mentally! I've quit running with my mp3 player to try and help me focus on my surroundings and I've really been in tune with my breathing and keeping the correct form. All tools that will help me out in the long run in being a better runner.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Summer Sanctuary

I can't wait for summer to arrive and Memorial Day Weekend is now only 2 months away!!  Just turning onto the sand road off the main roads is just such a peaceful moment and I can't wait to get some swims and runs in up here!!

Here are the serene views of the lake standing on the dock (which is a supsended dock with cables holding it up so we don't have to take it in and out each year): 

View to the right

View to the left

And our course the way up the lovely cottage from the water. My grandpa built this place when I was only a few years old so I have many fond memories of being here and a number of my extended family on several weekends throughout the summer. The cottage itself is not very large so it was like a huge sleepover party and all of our cots lined up across the living room and the furniture pushed aside. It's a 3 bedroom and 2 pull out couches so it sleeps quite a few at least.

Yesterday we had an our annual leaf (& pine needles) raking day at my Grandma's cottage to start the yearly prep work (note the leaf piles in this picture). The kids had fun jumping in the larger piles as I remember doing as a kid. We had 3 trailer loads of bags sent to the dump and the last pile got dumped across the street in the woods since we ran out and some of the kids got wheel barrow rides. It helped to keep the leaves from flying out on the way there at least :)

I just can't wait to be able to relax in peace this summer and spend as many nice days up here as I can. Cell phones only work if you are outside and depending on the day it only works on the dock so it's nice to get away from the daily grind. The good thing is it's only a 45 minute drive from my house so day trips are easy enough to fit in. I envision some morning swim/run workouts and then relaxing in my floaty chair with a nice cold beverage in the cup holder.