About Me

My photo
Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bringing the Energy Back Up

I definitely think the "strain in my swagger" was a result of some allergies in the air. Plus, it was the fourth week in a row that I've increased training hours --up to 16 hours this week. All of that, combined with the cold/rainy snap provided the "perfect storm" for severe fatigue.

Thursday, however, was a great training day which reinstated the daily affirmation that I needed to get through the next few days.

Thursday AM Swim Class: Oh-My-God. I am getting so much better! I jumped in lane 2 even though there was a nice, clear, empty lane in Lane 1 that was calling my name. I'll call that, "The Ghost of Carrie's Swimming Past." Oh, it was calling to me alright, but instead of taking the easy way out, I chose the more difficult lane with others. There's always that added pressure of knowing that someone is right on your ass. Well, the resistance band work and Vasa Swim Training is starting to pay off because I was able to keep up the entire workout with the "faster girls." I held my own throughout the warm-ups and the 3 x 400 swim sets with speed-play built in. I actually led our lanes on the paddle work and have earned the nickname "Paddle Master" because I was so far ahead at one point. I actually believe I'm getting better now because the progress is showing in my effort levels.

Thursday PM Bike Ride: Because of an evening commitment and because it was sunny and 65 degrees, I decided to do my 1 hr bike ride outside yesterday. My plan was to do a couple of 8 mile South Mopac loops. Unfortunately, as I pulled my bike out of the car, I realized that I had forgotten my helmet! Poopers!!! I was in a slight quandry as I didn't have time to go home to get the helmet and ride, but I didn't want to ride without a helmet on South Mopac. Against my better judgement, I kept my ride strictly on the Veloway, which is a closed 3 mile paved loop only accessible to bikes and rollerbladers. Yes, it was boring as hell doing 6 x 3 mile loops, but I decided to make it a slight tempo workout as well. Plus, the monotony is good for patience and mental training because I have no doubt that 7 hours on a bike will also include many moments of sheer boredom and monotony. With each loop, I tried to focus on something different--pedal stroke, aero position, saddle placement, etc.

Lap 1: 11:03 16.4mph warm up
Lap 2: 9:52 18.3mph tempo
Lap 3: 10:37 17 mph recovery
Lap 4: 9: 27 19.1 mph tempo
Lap 5: 11:03 16.4 mph recovery
Lap 6: 10:40 16.9 mph cool-down

Total: 1:02: 54 17.2 mph
My goal is to eventually get the total riding time down below 1:00hr.

After the ride, I slipped on my running shoes and just went :15 minutes of easy running.

Friday AM Core/Strength and 1200m Barton Springs Swim:
Went to the T3 Strenth/Core class this morning for an hour of abs, arms and other core strengthening training. It's definitely not as intense as the Jack and Adam's Corture, but I was definitely feeling some of the exercises. After that hour-long workout, several of us headed over to Barton Springs Pool for our 1200 m open water swim.
For the first time, ALL of my laps were between 8:40-8:55 minutes. Very VERY happy to see that!

Going into the weekend feeling good, but there's still a long way to go!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Allergies, I Hope!

This time of year in Austin, there's always the longstanding debate of, "Am I getting sick or is it just allergies?" The recent cold snap combined with high counts of mold and cedar make it difficult to really tell. Either way, I've been battling some fatigue this week and trying to give myself some much-needed rest going into the Sunmart 50K (next Saturday, December 8th). For heaven's sakes, I owe myself a taper for this one, as evidenced by my recent struggles with running and recovery...not to mention the fact that we're talking about 31 miles of trail running here. I can't go out and "wing it" as I've been known to do.

On Sunday, Amy and I ran 16 miles in the cold and on/off spattering of rain pellets. At one point I even commented as we were standing at a rain-soaked crosswalk, "We're officially f*cking crazy now." You could see it in the faces of the warm dry people who were peering at us from their car windows. Yep, we were the weird ones.

What I'm having trouble shaking is the whole body fatigue this week. Higher than usual heart rates, not sleeping well, not feeling rested in the morning, weird overwhelming exhaustion at about 2pm every day, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, etc. It hasn't knocked me out, but it's definitely keeping me down. My energy level at the end of the day is nil..zilch...zero. This is kinda embarrassing, but on Tuesday afternoon, instead of going home after work, I went to the T3 Training Center before spin class and just napped in my car for about 45 minutes. I knew if I went home, I'd never come back, but I was just so damn tired before the workout. It doesn't help that it's been in the mid 30s in the morning and I'm still hitting my outdoor pool workouts. Wet hair, cold air, cold feet, cold hands = potential sickness.

On Wednesday, I got up at 5:15am ready to go to Gazelles and run 800s on the track. I even turned on the lights and started to put my clothes on when I realized just how tired I still felt. I had gone to bed at my usual 10:30ish time, but I felt like I had just laid down. In fact, I did just that. I crawled right back into bed and skipped my speed workout for the week that I was looking forward to the day before. I did finally get back up after 7am and run/jog 8 miles. Again, it was a tough run for what should've been a breeze. My breathing was labored (ok--I did do Pecos, Mt. Bonnell and Scenic), but I just had no pep in the step whatsoever. I even contemplated walking the last half mile because I was just plain worn out.

So, I spent yesterday downing tea, Emergen-C and Zicam to ward off any demons that might be lurking. I feel much better today, minus a little sinus pressure that can either be traced to swimming or allergies. Who knows?! All I know is that I've got a big weekend of training scheduled including 60 miles in the saddle, an open water swim and a 13 mile run. (not to mention a big party to prepare for on Saturday night!)

All in all, it's 16 hours of mental and physical training including 3 swims, 3 bikes, 4 runs and 2 core workouts.

I'm going with allergies...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Character vs. Accomplishments

Last month, we celebrated hubby's birthday by going to a wine bar (shocking, I know) and having a private tasting for about 20 or so people. Well, at Cork and Co., they have those "life questions" lying around on the tables that are meant to stir up interesting table conversations, and, I suspect, arguments as well.

By the end of the night, the wine had flowed quite nicely and the nipple clips had been passed around (don't ask) when the line of questioning started. Hubby's Mom asked me one of the questions and, by this point, there was an audience listening. And for those of you that don't know me, I love an audience.

"Are you more proud of your accomplishments or your character?"

Trick question! Damn it... That's a toughie from my Mom-In-law! There's no easy way to answer this one! After stumbling and hearing more than enough, "oooh...good one," I think my answer went something like this:

"I'm very proud of my accomplishments. Hell, I blog about them for the world to see! Of course, I'm proud of them. But, I suppose the right thing to say is that I'm most proud of my character--determination, strong work ethic, dedication, good sense of humor-blah, blah, blah... Because having a strong character has led to my accomplishments."

So there, I wussed out. I played it safe and gave the "right" answer so that people wouldn't think I was shallow. What I really wanted to say was, "Why should I be most proud of my character? When did having a good character become such an "accomplishment?" Shouldn't good character just be a given?

So, I'm officially taking back my previous answer.

I'm most proud of my accomplishments in life that have come as a result of the character that my parents bestowed on me.

So there.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Lot to be Thankful for..

A year ago, if you would've told me that sushi and crab legs would ever be on the same buffet line as turkey and stuffing, I would've laughed in your face. However, the Four Seasons Thanksgiving Brunch proved me wrong and had the above combinations, plus soups, salads, potatoes, seafood and other enticing traditional AND non-traditional dishes!  I certainly hope everyone stuffed themselves as much as I did (thereby alleviating some guilt that accompanied my post meal coma).
I've really pushed and tested myself physically this week and really felt the strain of a lot of hard workouts back to back. A quick recap:

Monday 11/19:  17 mile grueling trail run at Bastrop State Park

Tuesday 11/20:  Swim Class AM/ Core :30/Trainer Spin Class PM (all coached by T3)
My legs and glutes were pretty sore from the run the day before so all of these workouts were incredibly challenging and I really felt like I was pushing myself harder than I should have. During one moment during the spin class, a girl got off her bike to take a break and I remember feeling so jealous! I met Shawn for sushi afterwards and my hair was literally drenched. I would've taken a shower, but I was running late. Ironically, he thought I DID take a shower, but didn't dry my hair.

Wednesday 11/21: Here's the workout I regret. Skud and I went to Gazelles for 400m repeats on the track. My body was beat up and incredibly tight from the previous days training. From the get go, my heart rate was elevated, which is one sign of fatigue and over-training.  Our times were nothing I haven't nailed before with a little less effort.  (1:34-1:36 range) The goal was 20 repeats with 1:00 rest in between. We got to 10 and I just had to call it a day. There is absolutely no way I had 10 more repeats in my legs. No way sirreee... pretty demoralizing since it's not supposed to be the kind of workout to wipe you out completely.  In hindsight, I should've just made it a recovery run day, but I'm bound and determined to get to Gazelles at least once a week.

Thursday, 11/22: Turkey Trot!!  Wow...what a difference a year makes. The weather was cold and windy this year, but the crowds were as excited as ever about this annual tradition.  I did spend about 10 minutes leading stretches and marches with the crowd, but as always, only about the first two rows of people were even paying attention. I felt like a flight attendant giving the old seat belt/passenger safety lecture! It was fun just being a part of the crowd for the first time in several years. I didn't have to worry about the weather, the port-a-potties, not having enough tshirts and the huge accident on I-35 that kept several hundred people from making it to the race.
I treated this day as another long training run of 11 miles, so I ran from home down to the start line, for 3 miles of warm up on this cool day. Then, I ran the race for fun without a timing chip (this event gives you a choice of being timed or untimed) and finished the day with the 3 mile cool-down back to the house. While I wasn't out to race or win, I was pleased with how I paced the race:
Mile 1: 8:44
Mile 2: 7:39
Mile 3: 7:27
Mile 4: 7:11
Mile 5: 7:04
I definitely could've gone faster from the get-go, but my body was sending signals that were loud and clear.  Of course, the 11 mile run made the Thanksgiving Day feast a little more bearable.

Friday, 11/23: Ahhh...sleeping in. What a concept. It felt great letting my body just rest for however long it wanted to. However, because of the rainy and cold weather forecast this weekend, I committed to doing my long ride on Friday with Katy. I can't deny that I had NO DESIRE to do this ride. It meant wearing tights, 3 shirts, 2 pairs of socks, gloves and ear warmers in the cold and wind. We had several "What the hell are we doing" moments and the weather wasn't even that bad. Yes, it was cold and yes, it was windy, but it wasn't horrendous. My performance, however, was.  The lack of energy finally caught up with my legs and I struggled through most of the ride. Fortunately for me, a couple of the other riders were also riding my pace so I didn't totally feel like I was holding the group back. However, the other 3 cut their ride off at 30 miles, which meant Katy and I still had 20 more to go...ugh...I know if she would've said, "let's quit," I would've totally said, "OK." However, we're both in this Ironman Training Hell together and we've vowed to support each other through the ups and downs. She wasn't quitting so neither was I. It was rough, but we finished and hi-fived each other for our efforts.  I could barely move after the ride mostly because my toes and feet were numb from the cold. Mental note: buy shoe covers for my cleats. It's going to be a long winter.

Saturday, 11/24: My plan was to go to T3 Swim class, but it was pouring down rain when my alarm sounded at 6:15am. I was set to go to the gym instead, but the rain subsided slightly so I decided to go to workout. Not surprisingly, I was one of only about 6 people who showed up. Too bad it doesn't count for any extra credit!  We got about 45 minutes of swimming in when Chrissie pulled us because of lightening. I took that as a sign from above to give it a break today.

I'm planning a longer run on Sunday again with Amy so we'll see how the weather holds up for us. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Fitness Revolutionaries

Our generation has had a plethora of fitness revolutionaries who encouraged us to:

"Get Physical"

"Get Buns of Steel"

and even get "Sweatin' to the Oldies."

Now... I introduce you to the the latest fitness revolutionary who will encourage you to
"Shake a Leg!!"

Yep, yours truly will be warming up the crowd of 10,000+ runners at the Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot tomorrow in Austin. I'll be leading everyone in some light stretches just prior to the start, so get there early! Also, stay warm because it's supposed to be coooolllllllddddd! (Well, like 40 degrees, but that's Austin cold!)

Happy Thanksgiving to All and let the new fitness Revolution Begin!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Trail Running is Hard

Let me just say that a 17 mile trail run is NOT the same as a 17 mile road run. I knew it was a little more challenging, but...WOW.

I headed out to Bastrop State Park with Skud and three other people who are also doing Sunmart. She and I are the certified "Sunmart Virgins" and profess to only be doing this race because they have great cookies! Neither one of us really do any real trail running on a regular basis, which became very obvious when we tried to compare ourselves and hang with these hardcore trail runners. Did I mention that one of the people was 3rd overall female last year?

The trail is an 8.5 mile loop with hill climbs and a challenging mixture of rocks, tree roots and gorgeous pine trees in every direction. It's impossible to deny the utter beauty of being on this trail. From the first loop, Amy and I fell slightly behind and were definitely content bringing up the rear. I was trying to be aggressive and hang with the others at first, but after three miles, I knew it wouldn't last if I actually wanted to complete two loops. My legs were pretty sore from my bike ride on Sunday so I was definitely using mind over matter to ignore the "lead legs." By mile five, I was starting to feel pretty weak and slightly dehydrated. I didn't carry any water or nutrition with me, knowing that we were taking a break after the first loop. I should've known that 8.5 miles is a long way to go with no water! I couldn't wait to be finished with that first loop knowing that Gatorade, Gu and 1/2 a turkey sandwich were waiting for me. I was relieved to hear that we were all feeling a little "challenged" by this run.

The second loop started well and it was great to get a lift and nutrition boost. The other three had started and were out of sight at this point. Amy and I hung close together to make sure that neither of us wandered off trail. We did ok, except for one brief moment where we lost our way. I'm sure we looked silly, but we eventually found the right path again and managed to forge ahead. Once again, the four mile point proved to be the start of the energy depletion. Amy was really struggling so I continued to hang back to make sure were were always in sight of each other. Instead of thinking about the pain and exhaustion, I began a mantra of, "Thank You Legs" over and over again. It really lifted me through a couple of hill climbs.

By the last two miles, I was really in need of some water again and couldn't wait to finish. I was finishing strong, but definitely a little humbled by the entire experience. I gotta admit, I'm very nervous now about Sunmart knowing that I struggled through 17 miles. Um hello...the race is 32 miles. Big difference...

A couple of lessons from today's run:

1.) Taper before the race and don't run on tired legs
2.) Eat more before the run begins
3.) Take advantage of every rest stop--eat and drink generously
4.) Wear thick socks to avoid blistering
5.) Never go 8.5 miles without water!
6.) Remember that you are human

Wow...if the trail is, in fact, 8.5 miles like it says--here were my splits for the two loops:

Loop 1: 8:49 pace 1hr 15 min
Loop 2: 9:10 pace 1hr 18 min

Not bad at all!!


I juggled a bunch of workouts this weekend because my priority was watching the Ohio State vs. Michigan game on Saturday morning! I know, I know...football is not life, but when you're originally from Columbus, Ohio...IT IS. (especially when you're playing that crappy team up North). I just couldn't bear the thought of being on my bike during the game. Fortunately, Ohio State won capping off a busy weekend that also included 3 different birthday parties and an audition.

Here's how it broke down:

Friday: 14 Mile Run, 8:54 overall pace
Saturday: T3 Swim Class at 7:00am (before football)
Sunday: 50 Mile Bike ride with Shawn. Thank Goodness he was up for it because I didn't want to do it by myself!!

This Monday morning, I'm heading off to Bastrop State Park for a morning 16-Mile Trail Run in preparation for the Sunmart 50k.

The best news? This week is the Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot and, for the first time in four years, I'm NOT directing it!!! I can't tell you what a relief that has been this year.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Must Race!

This is just too cool! If you are in Austin the day after Christmas, you must run this 5k.
If you've ever run a race in Austin (or Dallas, Houston, etc), chances are you've been timed by local chip-timing company called Run Far. I'm convinced chip timing is the best invention ever! (aside from Kashi, Guru bikes and my swim parka) My friend Raul started this company a few years back with basically one timing mat, some timing chips and a desk in the corner of Runtex. Now, he's sporting an entire fleet of trucks, crews, timing machines, computers, office space and one hell of a fiance!
Raul and Tracy are getting married this December and you would think the LAST thing on their minds would be producing a damn race! They have worked literally hundred (thousands) of races supporting every cause and disease known to humans. Instead of taking a few days off before their nuptials to chill out and decompress, they're putting on their own sanctioned race for a cause that is very close to their heart.
The sole purpose of the KIMbia Foundation is to use its position in the world of athletics to support education in Kenya. Due to the high cost of education - roughly US$500 per year in school fees and related costs - many children are unable to attend high school. With this race, Raul and Tracy hope to raise enough profit to send at least two students to high school for a year.
So please, if you're in the Austin area on December 26th, please come out and support this great 5k. It's only $10 and you get a cool race t-shirt! Plus, I've never done a Run-Far produced event where there hasn't been food or beer afterwards :-) If you're not in town, you can certainly still donate.

This is just one more reason why the Austin running community is so wonderful and generous. For event details and registration, click on the logo above. I'll also be including it in my sidebar!!

(P.S. And the guys who did the on-line registration aren't so bad either) ;-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tempo Run Benchmark

Hell--to the--yes!!

Gazelle Workout: 4 Mile Temp run

It's been months...My goal? A sub 28:00

I thought it was a bad sign that I was feeling slightly woozy and dehydrated just doing the 2 mile warm up and drills. I haven't been diligent at all about my hydration the last few days and they've been doozies...the 50 mile bike ride on Saturday, the 20 mile run on Sunday, the 5 mile run/core class on Monday, hour swim and hour spin class on Tuesday...I should be drinking water like a horse at a troth, but instead I've been more "camel-esque." (That is so NOT a word.)

Gilbert was so excited about today, which only serves to make people even more nervous about the tempo run. In no time at all, we were off to the races. Fortunately, the sun was coming up, making the trail more visible than it usually is during the tempo runs. Dan and another dude immediately shot out first, followed by myself, Phil, Alicia and none other than Mr. Over-Achiever Topper Balls of Steel Runner Guy. (see post from a few days ago) Actually, the guy's name is Larry and he's an amazing runner! My whole post about him was a complete joke and meant to be in good taste so I hope he doesn't get offended if he ever reads it and says, "Wait--that's me!" I just thought it was funny that the guy I wrote about last week was now my rabbit for the tempo.

I confided to Rachel that I really wanted to "negative split" this run today. Usually, I end up going out too fast and just hanging on for dear life. Needless to say, I was a little nervous when my watch beeped at Mile 1 and we were running a 7:02. Honestly, that effort didn't feel so horrible, but I wasn't sure what the next three miles would be like, especially since I was running on some tired legs.

The crowds started breaking up at the turnaround point and the lead group started to separate. I was still neck and neck with Larry and continued to try to use him as my pacer. Mile 2: 7:04 Still a great pace, but now I was in the hole for trying to go sub 7:00s.

Larry and the two guys up front were quickly running out of my reach and I could hear Alicia's feet right behind me, which motivated me to not slow down even though I really wanted to. Of course, the trail was also pretty crowded at this point (about 7am) and I actually heard two walkers say, "Now, that's hauling it" as our Gazelle stampede came trampling by. I also saw Gazelle Alex who shouted some words of encouragement. The watched beeped for Mile 3: 6:59

Damn, was hoping it was faster. OK--time to drop the bomb. My heart rate was up there and I know my breathing was akin to a freight train--with asthma. I know the tempo runs really aren't supposed to be this brutal, but it's fun to push it with all of your might every now and again. I can say that since my heart rate is now back to normal. One last little hill and then I rounded the corner by the Stevie Ray Vaughn Statue...This is the last little stretch to kick it. I saw the three finishers up ahead bending over and catching their breath and couldn't wait to be one of them! I crossed the line and hit my watch. Mile 4: 6:37


Total time : 27:42

A new and very unexpected personal best for me. Hopefully, that means I could've done even better on some fresh legs. Unfortunately, I won't know what that feels like for a long, long time!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And we're moving on up!!!

Fish don't fry in the kitchen;

Beans don't burn on the grill.

Took a whole lotta tryin' Just to get up that hill.

Now we're up in the big leagues

Gettin' our turn at bat.

As long as we live, it's you and me baby

There ain't nothin wrong with that.

I was in lane 2 today for swim class and didn't fall too far behind!! I made it to freaking lane 2 and actually swam a couple of 2:05 100s!! Seriously, my average has been 2:15-2:20s.
And I'm moving on up!!
Yay for the inch by inch progress!
2800m of sheer joy (and pain, thanks to last night's corture class at Jack and Adams!)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

So, any big plans for the weekend?

That was the question from one of my young co-workers as we left a meeting on Friday. She knows I'm a runner/triathlete, but she's also like most average people when you tell them you're running a marathon and they ask, "How long is that one?" She also likes to call me Grandma. Yes, this broad has the nerve to call my 34-year-old ass Grandma. (She's a whopping 26)

As we're in my car, that she made very clear smelled like a locker room, she asked me if I had any BIG plans for the weekend. (I suspect she was wondering if I was going to go out and get hammered)

"Yes," I said, "But I guarantee that my big plans have little interest to you."

"Oh Yeah? What are you doing?"

"Well, I'm doing a 50-Mile Bike Ride on Saturday and a 20-Mile Run on Sunday. In between, I'll watch some football and go to a dinner party on Saturday night."

"You are not going to do those distances. You're Lying!! Shut up!! Have you ever biked 50 miles before?"


"And you've run 20 miles before?"

"Remember that Marathon in Columbus I ran a couple of weeks ago? That was 26.2 miles. So, yeah, I can run 20 miles."

"Wow...You're crazy."

"And I love it. Now you know why this Grandma's car smells like a locker room."


So, that's what my weekend looked like.

On Friday morning, I went to the T3 Strength and Conditioning class and followed that up with a 1200 meter swim at Barton Springs. Gotta love that open water practice. Unfortunately, my arms were still so damn sore from the Vasa Trainer that it wasn't a very smooth swim.

Saturday AM: Shawn, Katy and I met for the T3 50-Mile group bike ride. We did the Bee Caves Loop followed by 2 South Mopac Loops for a little over 3 hours of cycling. It certainly was our first taste of some serious wind gusts which slowed us down and tested our mental reserve. We also hit a patch of rain on 71, which also slowed us down for a bit. My glutes were sooooo sore from the T3 workout from the day before so I was really struggling up some of the final hills. Fortunately, the conversation was good (and deep), which made the last 16 miles cruise by quickly. While I know we can go faster, it was good to just hang in the saddle for a while.

Sunday AM: Today was an interesting day. I really wanted to get 20 miles today in preparation for my Sunmart 50K which is looming in 4-weeks. I had also signed up for the "Run For the Water 10 miler" benefiting the Gazelle Foundation. So, with special thanks to Thon, I concocted a scheme to run about 10 miles before the 7am race start. I ended up running a little late, parked at the finish line and ran from there to Thon's apartment for about 2.5 miles. We started our "warm up" run and in between port-a-pottie stops, water breaks and saying "hi" to people, we got an additional 5 miles down. So, as the race start gun was firing, I was beginning phase two of my training run with 7.5 miles already under my feet. My goal was to just take it nice and easy, especially through the hilly portion. I've got two goals right now: run a smart 50K and race a strong Ironman. Everything else is secondary to me. EVERYTHING, including speed. It's very hard to contain the urge to try to "race," especially when I know that I have it in me. I just can't risk injury or burnout right now. It also takes a humble ego to be able to slow it down and keep the lid on the effort. That's tough for me, especially when I see other age groupers that motivate me to run fast (i.e. people I like to try to beat). Plus, I just like to challenge myself, but this is not the time for that. Anyways, Thon helped me simmer through the first few miles. My legs were feeling beat up from yesterday's bike ride and I could definitely feel the early pre-race miles that I had already laid down. Mile 3 went right by our house and sweet hubby was right there ready to jump in and run with us for a bit. Even he made a joke about "how far back we were." Well, his fresh legs served as a motivator because we started picking it up through the Pecos and Scenic hills. I was really proud of Shawn because hills are not his thing, but he was hammering right up them, definitely a confidence booster for his training. We broke away at the corner of Exposition and Lake Austin so with one final kiss goodbye, I was on my way for the last few miles. I decided to "drop the bomb" or let's just say, "Light a Match." It wasn't blazing, but my last three miles hovered around 7:30s. I was still very cognisant of the fact that I had 2.5 more miles to run AFTER I crossed the finish line, but I was feeling damn good for someone who had a couple days worth of mileage on their toes.

My chip time for the 10-miler was 1:24:25 for an overall pace of 8:26
The first 5 miles averaged 8:56 per mile and the second 5 miles averaged 7:57 per mile.
Nice negative split.

I waited for Thon at the Finish knowing he was only a minute or two back, but never saw him. I was being chatty with Frank, Rachel and other Gazelles who raced and volunteered for this awesome race. Our plan was to run back to his apartment and then I would either run back to my car or he would drive me. Unfortunately, our lines crossed and after about 15 minutes, I knew I had to get moving before the muscle atrophe kicked in. So, this is the funny part that I have to download here on the blog. I just basically started doing random loops around the downtown area like I was in some cycling criterium. Down 6th Street to Whole Foods, back to Republic Square Park and down to Congress Avenue where the Veterans Day parade was beginning. Run down to 1st Street and loop back up. GO back down to Whole Foods and run around the block where my car was parked. I felt like a little video game avatar bouncing around just looking to get those extra 2.5 miles without venturing too far. Of course, I was getting funny remarks from other runners. "The race is over girlfriend. You can stop!" "You're not supposed to have this much energy," "The race is THAT way. You're going the wrong way!" I actually was one of those people I hate who keep running after the race is complete. Well...after a silly nonsensical route, my Garmin finally beeped at 20 miles for a spectacular energy-filled 3:00 hour run. I could've easily kept going if I had to, which helped my confidence level of knowing that I can complete 31 steady miles in a month. I really think all of my long runs should have a sanctioned race built in the middle as it does make the time and miles just fly by!!!

So tomorrow when my co-worker asks me if I did all of these workouts this weeked, I'll just reply, "Hell Yeah. Not bad for a Grandma, eh??

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bud Light Presents...Real Men of Genius

We all know one of these people...They're everywhere. They're the type of person that tops everything that you do no matter what you say! If you ran a marathon, they ran a 100 miler (in the same time that you ran a marathon). If you dropped a cabinet on your toe, they ran smack dab into a fire hydrant at full speed and kept going. If you were in the army, they were in the super-secret special forces CIA-Mafia gang. Apparently, this super-dude exists and I got to hear all about him during my run on Wednesday morning.

So today, I salute you...Mr. Over-Achiver Topper Balls of Steel Runner Guy.

Big Voice Guy: Bud Light Presents…Real Men of Genius

(singer) “Real Men of Genius”

Big Voice Guy: We salute you, “Mr. Over-Achiever Topper Balls of Steel Runner Guy”

(singer) “Mr. Over-Achiever Topper Balls of Steel Runner Guy”

Big Voice Guy: In the darkness of night, you bound like a gazelle and run smack dab into a fire hydrant at full speed and still vow to finish your training run even though your voice now sounds like a 5-year-old boy.

(singer) “Ouch-My Jewels”

Big Voice Guy: And in the midst of pain, shortness of breath and the usual bouts of nausea that follow getting your boys racked, you drudge forward and will not be stopped.

(singer)” Just call me Hercules”

Big Voice Guy: Days later you are in the midst of a 100-mile running race -because you can- only to stop half-way through because you don’t want to overtrain for your next Marathon. No wonder why people say you’re “nuts.”

(singer) “100 miles is a long way to run even for a badass like me”

Big Voice Guy: And then, in order not to become bored with your mediocre humanity, you jet off on some secret mission in the dessert to learn how to fight terrorists for the U-S-of-A.

(singer) “This is all Bush’s fault.”

Big Voice Guy: So crack open a Bud light Oh Master of Steel Kahunas and Superior Being overall all normalcy because you just gave new meaning to the term IRON MAN. We Salute You,

(singer) Mr. Over-Achiever Topper Balls of Steel Runner Guy

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I received a plethora of blogging inspiration this morning courtesy of our Gazelle Fartlek workout! "Brian's Group" consisted of Brian (duh...), Alicia, Rachel, Dan, Mike, myself and a few other guys I haven't really trained with yet. I've yet to formulate the humorous piece that will emerge from this morning's run, but suffice to say, I will!!

The actual fartlek run was entertaining enough after Gilbert's pep talk of "running happy" this morning! He's definitely on a "high" being that this is the week of the "Run for the Water 10 Miler" benefiting his foundation. He made it clear that it's our week to shine as Gazelles. I've been so caught up in so much of my own stuff that I really forgot about this event. It was 5:45am, but I was inspired to sign up to do this event and wear my Gazelle-gear with pride. Hopefully, I can get Shawn to run it with me and just do it for fun.

My legs felt surprisingly well during today's 7 mile run that featured 2 miles of warm up, followed by 12 x 1:00 fast/slow repeats followed by a 2 mile cool down. I think a lot of it had to do with my T3 Spin Class from last night. We did a lot of high cadence work and only "light" hill climbing. I was glad to see my T3 IMAZ partner-in-crime Katy show up as well. She's always good for a laugh especially when it pertains to saddle positioning! There's just nothing comfy about it, especially when a bulk of the workout is done in the aero position, putting even more pressure on "those parts" (AKA, "the big flapper")-- :-)
The most exciting event of the evening for me was the fact that T3 finally picked up their Vasa Swim Trainer from Austin Tricyclist. I've been bugging Coach Maurice for a few weeks now to get it in their training center as I've read so many wonderful things about how this machine helps you achieve the proper stroke position, builds the correct muscles and is just an overall good way to do some dry land training when you can't get to the pool.

Well, I must've done something right because my lat and tricep muscles hurt like a bee-otch today!! While some of the crew was doing core work, I was strokin' away on the Vasa looking like a geek and loving every minute of it. I figured since I bugged them so much to get it, it's only right that I monopolize it! Others were intrigued with this new toy, and I was surprised that so many people had no idea what it was. I guess I'm the only dork out there researching ways to improve my swim stroke.

Now, if only I could find something to strengthen "those parts" so that it doesn't hurt so much on the saddle!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Apology to Kashi

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Kashi,
I'm so very sorry. I'm one of your biggest fans and yet, I've done you a huge disservice. You see, in an effort to live a healthy life full of whole grains, protein and natural ingredients, I went a little overboard. I purchased every double box of GO LEAN Crunch at my local Costco. Yes--COSTCO! I know, I know. I've prohibited many others from sampling the goodness of the Crunch, but I promise to continue to spread the word...and I'll never buy every box ever again. (I won't have to since I'm pretty much set for life). Thank God we have a large pantry. Unfortunately, we can't fit anything else in it.
Thanks and I apologize for bringing home EVERY box. Make sure you let your distributors know that there is an Austin Costco in need of some new pallets of Kashi Go Lean Crunch. And, if and when I enter Kashi Toxicity, I'll pass it along to others.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Workout Recap Week of 10/29! (Kinda Long)

Congratulations to NYC Marathon and Ironman Florida Finishers! Your hard work and dedication continues to inspire me. Special shout-outs to Shannon for nailing a 3:15 in NYC! Never have I been witness to someone working so hard and ignoring the raised eyebrows of doubt from others to just go out and kick some serious butt. I also need to give a serious "shake and bake" to my running partner Skud for busting a 3:27 NYC Marathon. Like me, she was using this as a "training run" for the Sunmart 50k. Someday, I want to breeze through a sub-3:30 marathon and consider it a "training run!" Several other Gazelles also had great races and should be incredibly proud.

While I didn't complete any official races this weekend, I did complete my first full week of OFFICIAL Ironman training. I packed a few more hours than I should, but most of it came in the form of my long run today and an extra swim class. God knows I can't get enough of those!

Here is a recap of the week:

Monday, 10/29:
I just woke up and did a quick jog up Exposition to 35th and back. This is a great training road for hills and it's also part of the Marathon course (not to mention that it's right outside the front door). I didn't have any real goals for this "recovery" run, but I did 16-something minutes towards 35th and did a conscious negative split on the way back for 14-something minutes.

I made my trimuphant return to Jack and Adams Corture class and it felt as if I had never been! Pushups were especially hard, but I was happy to be back. I can't believe how crowded this class has become. I showed up one minute late and was pretty much in the middle of the parking lot. The class is held right outside the door and has grown into an almost "cultish" existence. It's very inspiring that people like me actually show up for an hour of crunches, leg lifts, pushups, plank and other torturous moves.

Tuesday, 10/30
Went to 5:45am Swim Class and continued to try to reinvent my stroke with every arm movement. I get through the 2800m workout, but seem to be stuck with this mental block for now. My frustration with swimming continues...

Tuesday night rocked though as the gang headed out for some serious activity at the Peter Pan Mini-Golf in honor of Hava and Shawn's birthdays! I'm not sure a whole lot of calories were burned with my putting stroke, but a great time was had nonetheless. This mini-golf course is BYOB so it was pretty hilarious seeing a bunch of 30-somethings drinking out of a paper bag. Hava was a step above and enjoyed her wine straight from the bottle! Classy baby!!!

Wednesday, 10/31
It was another "first day of Gazelles" again since I hadn't been in weeks with any regularity. As always, it's great to see everyone and I received many wonderful comments about the Columbus Marathon. Wednesday's workout was 1200m repeats on the track with 2 min rest in between. Gilbert wanted everyone to do 6, but I stayed with 5 since I was still less than two weeks after a marathon. I ran with a very consistent group that included Frank, Brian, Denis and others who are now a blur and it went well. According to the McMillan Running Calculator, if my goal was a 3:20 marathon, I should be running 1200s between a 4:49-5:04. Aside from the warmup, I was right in there.

#1 5:13
#2 5:00
#3 4:57
#4 4:58
#4 4:58

On Wednesday evening, I got home from work and hopped on the bike trainer for an 1:00. I did 45 minutes of a Spinervals DVD and then just rode the last 15 minutes while watching the PBS special called "Marathon." It was an interesting documentary where they took 12 sedentary people and trained them to run Boston. It was pretty fascinating, but let's face it, you can't cover a whole lot in one hour. Definitely worth the viewing, especially from someone who also used to be sedentary herself. And now, I'm watching a show about running while I'm riding on my indoor trainer. sweet.

Thursday, 11/1
Went to T3 5:45am Swim class and witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises ever. I'm also in love with my very warm and snuggly swim parka. That makes jumping into the outdoor pool so worth it!

I did my Bike ride on Wednesday because I actually played 9 holes of golf on Thursday evening with Shawn! We had a freaking blast and I actually didn't play that bad considering it's been about 4 years since I picked up my clubs.

Friday, 11/2
Went to T3 Core/Strength class in the morning which was pretty awesome. It's an hour of core work, as well as resistance band training for our upper body. My arms and shoulders were killing me on Saturday morning which just proves that I need the work!

I followed that class by immediately heading to Barton Springs for 1200 meters in the open water. It's always a mental challenge to hop in the water, but well worth it once you get going. I must've talked myself in and out of it a dozen times before I was finally able to beat the quiet voice, get the wetsuit on and hop in. I had a good swim so I left thrilled and had a great rest of the day!

Saturday, 11/3
For the 3rd year in a row, I rode in the Tour De Gruene 36 mile bike ride with Shawn and his Dad. We always have a good time on this ride, which becomes more of Father/Son bonding. I usually ride a little ahead while they catch up on the very thrilling conversations of cars, home improvements, etc. :-) The ride felt great and I picked it up considerably on the way back just to work on some pacing for a while. We didn't hang around Gruene too long because we had to get back to Austin to watch the Buckeyes slaughter Wisconsin!

Sunday, 11/2
Today was a mixture of ups and downs. I went to the 8am T3 Swim Class because I was coming off such a high from my Barton Springs swim. I knew I had felt what I supposed to feel when I swim. I could feel the resistance in my arms. Today, not so much. The balloon had popped (and my arms were still sore from Friday's strength class). This is no joke. At one point, Chrissie stopped me and said, "Do you realize it took you 38 strokes to get to the other side?" I'm not talking a full lap. I'm talking one length of the pool. I'm just not getting a catch and I'm working hard and spinning my wheels. From that moment on, we started completely over (for the millionth time it seems). The rest of the class had nothing to do with speed. I basically spent the rest of class doing the slow catch-up drill. My coach calls it the "TPR" drill...Touch-Pull-Roll. My recovery arm reaches over my head and touches my extended arm. That arm then begins the pull which then initiates my body roll. Immediately, I got my stroke count down to the mid 20s. I wasn't going faster, but I'm sure it wasn't that much slower either. She told me not to even look at my watch. Just count strokes. I put the paddles on...Got my stroke count down to 18-19 per length (down from 38). Later, we used the fins and I was down to 12-13 strokes per length. I know it's there and I can't wait to type with joy and gratitude that I'm knocking off consistent 2:00 100s. That's all I want to be able to say. And I will.

So, after that mental frustration, I wasn't really looking forward to my long run of 18-20 miles. It was a warm morning and I wasn't starting my run until 10:30am. Normally, I'm done and have binged on breakfast tacos by 10:30am and today I was just getting started. While it's not something I'm used to, I better get used to it since the Marathon portion of the Ironman will also be later in the day. Fortunately, my knight in shining armour came in the form of Thon today. The night before, he had sent a text and volunteered to run a portion of it with me. I had originally planned on running alone since I didn't want to subject anyone to the heat. He came through in such a generous way. It also became humorous because as our run progressed, he just kept bargaining with me. " I'll keep running with you, but if I have to stop, you promise that you just keep going." I wasn't going to turn that down! I was enjoying the company, conversation and the time was flying by. We ended up doing one of our favorites...Shoal Creek Trail to Shoal Creek Road...Cross over at Far West...Far West to Greystone and Back for a total of 17+ miles. Up hill out and down hill back. We were at a 9:15 on the way out and our final avg. pace was an 8:52. Nice, negative split. My original goal was to run 18-20, but it was getting really hot and we were both pretty dehydrated. I had only taken one gu so I was running on fumes. He gave me some endurox back at his house and it only took a second for me to just end the run with a very healthy and satisfying 17.2 miles. I definitely could've continued, but it would've been more harmful than helpful. Plus, I was curious to see NYC Marathon results!

So that's the week:

4 Swims
3 Runs
2 Bikes
2 Core/Strength

(1 18-hole round of mini-golf)
(1 9-hole round of real golf)

14.75 hours total