30 September 2009

Speedwork time!

I'll admit it, I haven't been great at getting to the track to do my speedwork. I try to do a tempo run each week, usually on Mondays, but there are alot of Wednesdays where I come up with excuses to miss my speedwork. I can't quite explain how I feel about speedwork - sure it's fun to go fast and see what your limits are, but it is kind of uncomfortable at the same time. And it can get old running around in a quarter-mile circle. But last year I found that speedwork really helped with, well, my overall speed, even in endurance events. I posted a PR at the Army Ten Miler, despite my (harrowing) 110 mile bike ride the day before out Route 50 (dumbest idea ever to bike on Route 50) and my run times in triathlons were faster than I had ever expected.

So all day today I was dreading the speedwork. I overslept so I had to do it in the afternoon, which meant I got to think about it all day at work. 3x2 miles repeats in zone 4, with a 1x1600 repeat thrown in to top it off, also in zone 4. Seven miles total. Ugh. Earlier this month, my pace in zone 4 was rather sloth-like - in the low 7:00's. So I didn't have high expectations for today's workout. But I surprised myself. The average overall pace of my first two miles was 6:38, the average overall pace dropped in my second two-mile interval to 6:34 and held steady at that pace for my third two-mile interval. And then I brought my average overall pace down to 6:31 with my final one-mile repeat. And I rarely strayed higher than zone 4, I didn't feel like I was dying, and my legs don't feel like jello. Success!

While I still don't have super high expectation's for Sunday's Army Ten-Miler, I do feel a little more excited about it.

Time for bed because I HAVE TO go to swim in the morning. Thursday mornings are speedwork in the pool - even better than the track - ha!

29 September 2009

Last Big Build before the Big Race

October is almost here. I'm a little more than one month out from Ironman Florida. Now that Savageman is over, I don't have to bike another hill again until next year if I so choose! I've actually heard that trainer rides aren't going to be detrimental in terms of training for Florida because that race is so flat. I know alot of people hate the trainer, but I actually rather enjoy it - I think I've done more long rides on my trainer than outdoors this summer. There's less likelihood of me falling off my bike on the trainer (a fear of mine out on the open road - I'm rather good at falling off my bike, especially at inopportune times), I get to watch tv guilt-free, and food, bathrooms, and water are always just a few steps away - there's alot less preparation that goes into a trainer ride than an outdoor ride.

So, speaking of trainers, I rode mine for an hour tonight, in Zone 2, and felt pretty good. I really struggled on Sunday to make myself stay on the trainer for 45 minutes on Sunday, mentally I just wasn't in the mood to ride at all on Sunday; fortunately today was much better and went by much faster. I even managed to get up for swim practice this morning - AMAZING! I actually enjoyed what we did, no speedwork (yay, love Tuesdays!), and good people in my lane. Swam a total of 2650 yards during the hour practice. I love the feeling when I am done swimming - your shoulders and back are sore (in a good way), you're hungry like you really deserve a good meal, and with the days getting shorter, by the time I leave the gym it's still dark out so I feel like I really got a jump on the day.

With less than 40 days between me and Ironman Florida, the last big workouts will be in the next couple of weeks and then it's taper time! Some days I feel like I'm in better shape than last year, some days hmmmmmm, not so much. Savageman this year - 20 minutes faster than last year - I think my biking has really improved. Army Ten Miler this coming Sunday - I dont' feel nearly as quick on my feet this year as I did last year. I haven't been doing as much speedwork as I should - I took it easy with running these past few weeks because of a cold and because I pulled a calf muscle (from dancing at a wedding, of all things!). I don't think I have a bat's chance in hell of breaking my best time of last year. Add to that the fact that I have a 100+ mile bike ride and a nice run the day before the race, I think the Army Ten Miler is going to be just another training day for me. But to spice it up and add some fun, my best friend from high school, Katie, and her boyfriend Kevin, are coming down to do the race and stay with us! I'm so excited to see them (and not so excited to clean the house, but that's also something that has to be done anyway and what better kick in the butt than not wanting your friends to know you live in a pigsty!)

In other fun news, Mark and I now have a contract on a townhouse near Columbia Pike and 4 Mile Run, literally a stone's throw from the bike path. We will become the proud owners on 13 November - literally five years and one day after Mark and I had our first date, AWWWW!

Off to bed, let's see if I can get up in time to run at the track - ha!

27 September 2009

Oh 90's Memories!

First of all, I have to say congratulations to Erin and Ashley on the birth of their beautiful daughter (and my beautiful goddaughter!) Reagan Kylene on Wednesday 23 September 2009! Seven pounds, five ounces, and cute as anything! I can't wait to meet her and spoil her rotten!

I'm in the midst of writing my final papers for my Masters degree. True to form, I've been procrastinating on doing the research and the writing. I spent this evening, a Saturday evening to be exact, doing research. And surfing iTunes. iTunes puts together these mixes of songs that were popular in 1999, 2003, etc. Well, tonight was my lucky night and I came across an iTunes mix entitled "High School Crush: The 90s." AWESOME! I had forgotten that half of these songs even existed! Listening to the music on there has TOTALLY brought me back to middle school, and even parts of high school and college, but mostly middle school. Honestly, I hated the majority of middle school, but for whatever reason, listening to these songs brings back only happy memories, so I guess it couldn't have been that bad. Here's a little selection of songs/memories, in no particular order...

- "Baby, I Love Your Way" by Big Mountain: 5th/6th grade field trips

- "The Freshmen" by the Verve Pipe: sophomore year spring track with Megan and Rachel who were actually freshmen at the time

- "Swear it Again" by Westlife: freshman/sophomore years of college, living in the 400s with Erin and Lynn, talking about our sucky love lives.

- "Stay (I Missed You)" by Lisa Loeb: school dances freshman year of high school and HOPING someone would ask me to dance. I think that happened maybe once.

- "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston: sixth grade and going to my first birthday party where BOYS were actually invited, including one I had a total crush on - I think I told my mom that after the fact and she was NOT happy. And I think we sang this song on Karaoke over and over and over at the party.

- "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole: summer after sophomore year of high school and going biking out in Gloucester with my very first boyfriend ever. I felt so grown up! Unfortunately, I didn't have my mad, crazy bike mechanical skills that I currently possess today (ha) and when I got a flat tire halfway through and didn't know how to fix it, my very first boyfriend ever had to bike all the way back to his truck and drive back to pick me up.

- "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Savage Garden: winter of my junior year of high school, I think my boyfriend and I had just broken up so this song was just depressing.

- "On Bended Knee" by Boyz II Men: Heather's 13th birthday party she got the Boys II Men CD - as well as practically every single middle school dance during 8th grade

- "Only Wanna Be With You" by Hootie and the Blowfish: eighth grade, going to church youth groups not because of God but because I had a crush on a certain boy in that youth group.

- "Step By Step" by NKOTB: ALL of late elementary/early middle school. I was super cool in my acid washed jean jacket covered in b NKOTB buttons, worn over my NKOTB t-shirt, accessorized with my NKOTB baseball hat (with a few NKOTB buttons pinned on, of course!)

- "Can't Help Falling in Love" UB40: cross-country meets in eighth grade. Why? I have no idea.

I get a kick out of what memories music can instantly bring to mind, even if you haven't heard/thought about a song in years! And I always used to think my mom was a dork when she'd hear an old disco song on the radio and say "Ohh, Earth, Wind, and Fire, 1975, I was in high school....yada yada yada..." And now I totally understand...

21 September 2009

2009 Savageman 1/2 Ironman Race Report


I have a love/hate relationship with the Savageman Triathlon. By the middle of the race, I am cursing the hills and just wanting to be done with the bike. By the second pass up the hilly fire hill on the run, I wonder why I am doing this. But when I am finished and all of the other 364 days of the year, I love the race. The scenery is gorgeous, the race comes with some serious bragging rights, the crowd support is awesome (especially on the Wall and on Killer Miller), it's extremely well run, and it's always a fun weekend with friends - triathletes totally take over the town for the weekend. So I do love the race, even when I hate it.

We stayed in a house with Karen and John, Melody and Iwan, Tim and his girlfriend Erin, and Kathryn. Loved the house, loved the company. There were alot of other Team Z houses in the same area. Saturday morning, Mel, Kathryn, and I did a late-morning pre-race brick. We all felt good, and it was nice to get that in the bank. Kathryn and I then cleaned our bikes before bringing them over to transition to drop them off, pick up our packets (arm warmers instead of t-shirts: AWESOME!), and listen to the pre-race briefing. They moved the start/finish/transition areas to a different part of the park and this year's location was much better than last years. I went on a brief search for powerbars and got home around 3ish in the afternoon, so I didn't spend my whole day getting ready for the race. Karen cooked pasta for dinner, and then everyone headed to bed.

Race morning came quickly. Ate my usual pre-race food, made sure my stuff was packed, and then hitched a ride to the race site with Karen and John. Set up transition, hung out at the Team Z tent, and got my wetsuit on with plenty of time to spare - a first! I got in the water a few minutes before the start (we were the first wave, which I was happy about - no waiting around). Karen, Melody and I found each other in the water right before they shot off the airhorn. I was disliking my pink goggles on the swim out because it was directly into the sun and I was basically blind. Fortunately, I was in a scrum of other swimmers so I just followed the pack. Around the turtle we went, and the swim back was more pleasant - sun at my back and everyone was more spread out. Around the swan boat and it was almost the finish. I actually felt really good during the whole swim, I felt like I was moving along quickly (for me) and when I got out of the water, the clock said 35:35 - I've never broken 36 in a half iron swim so I was thrilled! I fought with my wetsuit in transition, eventually won, and was semi-successful of getting my arm warmers on over my wet arms. Karen came into transition shortly after me (another first-she is always out of the water before me), and I jumped on the bike.
Official Swim Time: 35:38 for 1.2 miles

The first 18 miles of the ride were pretty good - mostly downhill, chilly from the wind, and beautiful. I had new brakes put on my rear wheel and the descent into Westernport was a *great* way to break them in - I sounded like a freaking trumpeter swan. But, besides being loud, they did work and actually slowed me down when I needed to be slowed down. Karen caught me on the downhill, and I then kept my Savageman tradition alive by peeing on my bike and blowing snot rockets on that descent. Get rid of as much excess weight before attempting the Wall, right? I was nervous going up the Wall, I just didn't feel mentally prepared and I really didn't know how it would go. I was behind Karen by about 1/4 mile and saw her make it up, and then I put my head down and pedaled. Someone dressed as a devil chased me up and everyone was just yelling and screaming, but I really didn't pay any attention because I was trying to go forward, not backward. I let out a scream when I successfully made it up the Wall - I was just so happy. And then seven more miles of climbing commenced. It took me 48 minutes and 32 seconds to climb Big Savage Mountain - a lighting fast speed of 8.8 mph - ha! I kept Karen in my sights all the way to the top of Big Savage Mountain and then lost sight of her. She is a fantastic biker, and extremely good at the hills. The next hour was hills, hills, and more freaking hills. I was in good company though - everyone was really friendly and encouraging. I again sounded like a trumpeter swan on the descent down the other side of Big Savage Mountain. And then there was the steady not-so-false flat up to McAndrews Hill. John and Fabrice blew by me up McAndrews like I was sitting still. Like alot of the hills on this course, you can't see the top from the bottom. Probably better that way. Then it was a nice descent to the Otter Road hill. Up that hill we went and were rewarded with a scary, scary (probably my least favorite) descent - my bike handling skills are less than stellar, so I might've gone down the hill slower than I went up it, there were so many twists and turns. Made it to the bottom of... KILLER MILLER. And up Killer Miller we went. I enjoyed reading the signs that people put up along this hill. I think it's less than a mile long although it feels like forever. It's almost as bad as the Wall - there were definitely points in time that I just wanted to get off my bike and throw it down the hill. But I refrained. The crowd support at Miller this year was awesome - there was a total party at the top. There was music blaring and as I crested the hill, I heard Journey screaming "Don't Stop Believin.... Hold on to that Feeeeeeellliiiinngggg" and I pushed it up the final yards of the hill with a burst of sudden energy. Thank goodness for Journey! Then it was a few more hills, the descent down the other side of Miller, and I came to the last crappy hill - the no-name hill, it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. It's like a kick in the face. But knowing it was the last big hill, made it a bit easier. At this point, I also realized I was behind in my nutrition. So I ate my entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich in three bites - no more calorie deficit with that 250 calorie bomb! I drank some more water with Nuun - I didn't drink much water at all during the ride, but I also didn't feel super thirsty. I just don't drink as much as other people - I've tried to drink more and it never seems to work well for me. As Karen says, I am a cactus. Anyway, the rest of the bike was uneventful, after mile 45 there were no more major hills, and I was pushing it hard to reach my goal of a sub-4 hour bike. I coasted into transition at and got ready to run.
Official Bike Time: 3:56:33 for 56 miles - a pace of 14.1 mph

And the run - I either love it or hate it during a triathlon. Fortunately this year, for the most part, I loved it. I went out slow, trying to keep it in Zone 2. My stomach was a little uncomfortable (probably the late-game sandwich on the bike) but I at a honey stinger every mile or two to make sure I didn't bonk. And I stopped at every other aid station and drank water - I have to walk and drink, I haven't been able to master the whole drinking on the run thing. There were some Zers ahead of me and the course looped around a bunch so we had many opportunities to shout encouragements to each other. I wasn't really paying attention to my time, I did try to keep an eye on my heart rate and I tried my best to listen to my body and run at a comfortably uncomfortable pace. I had no idea what place I was in for my age group - I knew I was on track to have a better overall time than last year, seeing as my swim was 8 minutes faster and my bike was almost 10 minutes faster - but it could all be erased if I fell apart on the run. I also couldn't tell who was on what loop of the run (there were two laps) so I just concentrating on keeping as fast a pace as I could. The first loop was just uncomfortable - hilly, my stomach hurt, and mentally it was difficult because I knew I had to run these same hills a second time. But by the beginning of the second loop, things were looking up. I crossed the halfway mark at 58 minutes. My stomach was beginning to settle down, I knew that once I ran up a hill, I never had to run up it again, so that was a huge mental boost. And I was inching closer to Karen. I caught up to her at mile 10 - eerily the same spot as last year. We stayed together stride for stride for a short while and then I pulled ahead. I told myself it was just a 5K left, one more big hill, and I thought I could hold my pace pretty good. I didn't know how far Karen was behind me, and I was sure she was hot on my heels and would pass me on the fire road hill, just like she did last year. I did stop and walk up parts of that hill, it was so steep, my walking was the same pace as my running. I paused for water at the top, and then started running again. I passed Karen going up the hill as I was going down - she was further back than I had expected, but she's a strong runner and I knew I had to keep running fast if I was going to stay ahead. Without her there, I totally would not have pushed as hard - I love racing with her because it's not a rivalry that we have - we're happy for each other when we do well - it's more of a "lets push each other" type of racing relationship. It's a game. It's fun. And we always do better in a race when the other one is there pushing the pace. I felt great the last mile and a half to the finish. The last mile was mostly flat and downhill. I passed one other woman on the way to the finish, and was soooo happy to be done.
Official Run Time: 1:55:25 for 13.1 miles, a pace of 8:48/mile.

I crossed the finish line in 6:34:44, about twenty minutes faster than my time last year. Karen finished three minutes behind me. I surprised myself and got second in my age group (hooray - I've never placed in a 1/2 before). Karen got third and we both got our second bricks in the Westernport Wall - as well as cool framed pictures for our age group prizes (I brought mine into the office today)! I was the 9th woman overall out of 38. And I was 87th overall out of 257 competitors. Hmmm, and I was 20 minutes behind Mayor Fenty. One day I will beat him in a race - this year he has already gotten a faster marathon time than me. I will have to fix that next year.

So, I loved Savageman even when I hated it. The bbq and ice cream at the finish made it all worth it though. And the bragging rights that come with a brick. Hardest. Climb. EVER. I probably won't be doing the Half next year since it's a week after IM Wisconsin - but maybe I'll do the Olympic distance race instead. It's such an awesome weekend, I would hate to miss out on a trip to Deep Creek.

And now, I get to do the rest of my training on flat ground - and I am THRILLED! I am so excited for Florida, I can't adequately express it! Less than two months away!!!

In other exciting news, my best friend Erin, who I have been best friends with for ten years, is going to become a mommy this week!! My goddaughter will come into the world on Wednesday - or hopefully sooner! I am wishing Erin a speedy and safe labor!

14 September 2009

110 mile training ride and... IM MOOOOO signup!

Yesterday was my 110 mile training ride out by the Eastern Shore in Maryland - a flat, flat ride, mimicking what it should be like at Ironman Florida. It was a little rough getting out there on time - I got a little lost in SE and NE DC in my hunt for Route 50. But I eventually found my way, arriving in my true style of 45 minutes late. Fortunately for me, Bryan, Pete and Amanda were also arriving late so I had people to ride with. The ride was super easy in terms of directions - no turns after the first two miles, just head straight until the road ends at the water in 27 miles. Then turn around and go back to the car. And repeat one more time. Throw in a little 2 mile out-and-back and you have yourself 110 miles! I was riding basically by myself for the first 54 miles, it felt windy on the way out so I kept telling myself that the ride back would be GREAT with a tailwind. And somehow, the ride back was ALSO in the wind. But I did notice that there were times in which things felt easier and then felt tougher, so it wasn't a total headwind or tailwind either time. I was able to average 19.1 mph for the first 54 mile loop so I was pretty thrilled about that. The second loop I average about 18.5. I rode with a new Z'r, Adriana, who just joined the team last month. I'm not much of a talker when it comes to riding, I just like to put my head down and go, especially when I'm trying to keep a particular pace, but I actually really enjoyed chatting with Adriana and it made the ride go by super fast. As she was talking about the non-profit her and her husband started (High Cloud Foundation - www.highcloud.org), I felt like I had heard of it before. Turns out I had, the December 2008 issue of Runners World did a feature article on them. It's a great cause - they use sports as a means to raise awareness and funds to help battle poverty in developing nations across the world. I was really impressed with all that her and her husband had accomplished - and they are my age!

I ate my weight in food after the bike ride, I was craving fruit towards the end. I also wanted gnocchi (that was for you, Chelsea) but unfortunately Whole Foods shot down that dream by not having any in stock and I was stuck with ravioli instead.

I began putting my hope for two Ironmans in motion for 2010 today... by signing up for Ironman Wisconsin - to be held on 12 Sep 09!!! Team Z is doing it, it should be loads of fun, and I'm absolutely thrilled! I'm also tentatively planning on doing Ironman France next June. The only thing standing in the way would be financial feasibility. But I think if we save enough, it should be possible.

And now, to bed - so I can wake up for swim tomorrow.
Goodnight!

09 September 2009

Nepal


Tonight I got together with my Nepal group for the first time since we returned from out trip in July. We were giving a presentation on our experience on Alternative Break in Nepal, talking about what we saw, what we did, and how we hope to continue helping the Dalit Rights Movement gain momentum. I didn't realize until today just how much I missed everyone, I wanted to cry with joy when I saw them. The trip was a life-changing experience and going over there really made me realize how good I have it here at home in the US. I try not to slip into complaining about trivial things, but I catch myself doing it. I have to remind myself that my problems are not really that big of a deal, especially in comparison to the situations that others find themselves in.

Anyway, while we were getting ready to give the presentation on our trip, I was trying to pick out one experience that really struck a chord with me, one thing that I could say that would make others fully understand how great Nepal is, how wonderful the people are, and how much they need our help, and how amazing the whole 18 days over there were. And I realized it was impossible to pick out one experience that stood out or adequately convey the gravity of my trip. What really made the trip special was the fact that DB, our trip leader, is from Nepal and brought us to his village, used his network to get us access to organizations and leaders (including the Prime Minister, for crying out loud!) and really allowed us to see the "real" Nepal, the non-touristy version, and allowed us to build real relationships with the Nepalese people we spent time with. The picture at the top of the blog is of me and Sanu, DB's sister-in-law. She is quite possibly one of the nicest people I've ever met, and I miss her each and every day. It's amazing how much you can grow to care for somebody in just 18 short days.

The trip to Nepal has given me an amazing opportunity to do volunteer work with the International Commission for Dalit Rights (another NGO that DB has founded - he is incredible). He is likely heading back to Nepal to pursue a career in politics early next year, so he needs to turn the helm of his organization over to some of us from the trip. I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this organization and I'm looking forward to devising ways in which we can help support the Dalit Rights projects currently in Nepal, while figuring out ways to help these organizations eventually become self-sufficient. I think it would be amazing if we could eventually create a scholarship fund for a student in DB's village to come to the US and go to high school here for a year - so many people from DB's village of Laghuwa have never even left the hilly area they grew up in. In fact, many of them had never even seen a Westerner until we arrived. A trip like this would give them invaluable English skills and open their eyes to the world beyond their doorstep. DB is one of the few who has made it out of the village and traveled; it would be great to give others a similar opportunity.

I'll periodically post updates on this blog about the progress of the ICDR and the Dalit Rights movement in general.

06 September 2009

Training weekend of epic proportions (for me, anyway)















As I write this, I am sprawled out on the couch, wearing my compression tights for the second day in a row, and really wanting a nap. Labor day weekend has been awesome - definitely the most training I've ever done over four days. I've calculated that I have biked 155 miles and ran 38 miles, covering a grand total of 193 miles. And I feel it. Friday was my 28th birthday and Mark and I both took the day off and drove 3 hours out to Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland so I could ride the Savageman bike course. And it was savage. The Westernport Wall was just as unforgiving as last year, but I still (barely) made it up AND took a picture of my brick and Karen's brick, forever entombed in the Wall. Awesome. That was only the beginning of a really long day on the bike with more hills than I really ever care to ride again. There's a no-name hill towards the end of the ride, nearish to mile 50, and I was cursing to myself all the way up the thing because I was so tired of hills. But I felt good on the ride overall, and felt like I could run afterwards if I had to. I was only gone a little over four hours, but it felt like much longer - in some ways you almost feel like a different person when you are finished than what you were when you started, it's very hard to adequately explain. Either way, I was GLAD to be finished and on our way back to DC for my birthday dinner!

Dinner with friends was great - it was so nice to spend time with everyone because I don't get a chance to see them all terribly often. Ha - on our way there, we walked our the front door to our apartment building and saw the bus (pictured above) sitting in the parking circle in front of our building. Apparently it hopped the curb, crashed through the brick wall by the sidewalk, and came to rest in the parking circle after mowing through the flowerbed. Fortunately nobody was hurt, that's why I didn't feel guilty taking pictures.

Saturday was a beautiful 100 mile ride out by Maryland's Western shore (I didn't even know Maryland HAD a Western shore). For some reason, I thought it would be a flat ride... I was wrong, there were actually alot of rolling hills. I did get one flat, but one of the riders was nice enough to let me use his pump, rather than wasting my CO2 cartridges. The scenery was beautiful and I especially liked riding the last few miles out by the Bay. It was my first 100 mile ride since Beach2Battleship last year and I was thrilled with how well it went. I ate a few bananas at each rest stop (and, who am I kidding, along with some cookies and brownies). I'm trying to lay off the Fritos on my rides, but I did miss them on Saturday. I figured I'd finish the ride in a little over 6 hours, but I surprised myself with a 5:55. It took me 5:45 two weeks ago to finish my 90 mile ride, so I'm really happy with Saturday's ride.
I was tired after the ride, but I made myself go on a 6 mile run when I got home. It was a slow, ugly 6 miles, but it actually got better as every mile passed. I spent the rest of the day wearing my compression tights and eating (a whole veggie quesadilla, two ears of corn, carrot cake, and Birthday Cake Remix ice cream - yum!! thank you Mark!). I was down for the count before the clock struck 10.

Sunday was the most painful 20+ mile run ever. I was planning on doing a 22 mile run, the weather was perfect, I ate a good breakfast, but my legs were SORE from the previous two days of cycling. I must've also been in a fog when I left the apartment for the run, because I only took a half-eaten bag of Honey Stingers with me (along with water, of course), and there was no way that small amount of food was going to keep me satisfied. And it didn't. And I didn't bring money with me either so i couldn't even stop at the store. I decided to ration out my last three Honey Stingers with nine miles to go - I would eat one every three miles and hope that I wouldn't have to beg a Clif bar or something off of a biker or runner on the bike path. I ended up running eight miles on roads and 14 miles on the bike trail - I was afraid if I looped back by home (as I normally do on my runs) that the temptation to cut out early would be too overwhelming. While on the bike path refilling my water bottle, I met an older guy who was out for a leisurely 80 mile bike ride. His plan was to ride to Leesburg on the bike path, stop for pizza (I was starving at that point and pizza sounded sooooo good) and then ride the canal path back to DC. He doesn't race, he just bikes for fun. I have alot of admiration for people who just get out and do long bike rides simply because they feel like it, no goal in mind. I always have a goal to work towards - and even though I enjoy my workouts, I also enjoy racing and having something to try and achieve, so I don't know if I will ever be one of those people who just works out "for fun", I don't know if I'm motivated enough without a goal. Anyway, I got a little off topic there. I did finish my run in one piece, Mark was the most awesome husband ever because when I came home, he had twenty pounds of ice, a cold gatorade, and a tub for me to take an ice bath in. AWESOME! I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (all while fending off Bissell, my thief of a cat), took a (painful-yet-exhilarating) ice bath, and sported my compression tights for the second day in a row. It was 3:17 of running with lead legs, but it felt good in the end. And I have more confidence in the bank for Ironman Florida (coincidentally, two months from today!).

Sunday night, Mark and I put on our dancing shoes, and celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary (which is technically on the 8th) with a dinner cruise down the Potomac. The food was good, the sunset was beautiful, and we had a wonderful evening together. The music was cheesy, and it tested my knowledge of 70s/80s smarmy love songs. Mark and I had a field day with that.

Today I slept in as much as possible, considering I had a cat licking my face starting at 6am. I swear, sometimes Bissell forgets he is a cat and thinks he's a dog. He drools, he licks me, he steals food and breaks into cabinets and closets. He and Hoover have been in cahoots and dragged a 15 pound bag of cat food off the shelf in the pantry, ripped it open, and had a buffet. Again, I've gone a little off topic. I only had a 10 mile run to do today, but I was so tired I REALLY didn't want to do it. I finally summoned the motivation (after bribing myself with 5 new iTunes purchases) to get out the door by 11:30. And the run felt pretty good about halfway through. I ran down to Arlington Cemetery and over the Memorial Bridge, back through Georgetown and over the Key Bridge before heading up Wilson Blvd to get home. We had Gnocchi for dinner tonight (AWESOME!) and we're still working our way through my birthday carrot cake.

The pool is open again tomorrow after being closed for a week for annual cleaning. I'm really excited to get back in, I LOVE swimming in a pool that's just been cleaned! Now I just need to go to bed so I actually wake up... though I'm sure Bissell will help me by drooling in my eye and licking my ear...


02 September 2009

Hitting my stride?

Today did not start off great. I overslept and I blame our *lovely* neighbors who were fighting for a good hour and a half this morning - from 2am until 3:30. And they were fighting pretty loud because they woke me up and I sleep like I'm dead. I think there was some slapping going on and throwing of objects too, judging from the noises I heard. Fortunately, Mark and I are in the market to buy a house so hopefully we will leave this roach-infested, frat-boy inhabited, full of inconsiderate neighbors apartment complex behind.
By the end of the day, I was SOOOO ready to hit the track. I was fired up and determined to have a good workout, both mentally and physically. There are some days where I am not in the game mentally, my mind just takes a vacation and forgets to make my body push itself. But I feel like I've started to really pull it together these past few weeks, both the mental and the physical, and I'm really excited to see where it could take me in terms of my training and racing.
This was week one of my three week build cycle (culminating in Savageman - how perfect!). Wednesday is speedwork. I decided I would do two 2 mile repeats and then two 1 mile repeats for a total of six miles, all keeping my heart rate in Zone 4. I managed to keep a consistent pace of about 6:45/mile for each set, even dropping my overall average pace down in the last mile and ending my workout in 40 minutes and 21 seconds, with an overall average pace of 6:43/mile. I was tired, but still had enough energy to jog home. I felt good that I accomplished what I set out to do in this workout and it is money/confidence in the bank for upcoming races.
Tomorrow night is the Jimmy Buffet concert - I am a Jimmy Buffet concert virgin so I am rather excited about the concert. I still have to make oreo balls for this momentous occasion.

And then the next day is my 28th birthday. Mark asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and he said I could do anything I wanted. So we are getting up early Friday morning, driving out to Deep Creek Lake in Maryland and I am going to ride the Savageman bike course while he sags for me. He is an awesome husband. I'm going to take a picture of my brick in the Westernport Wall too, since I plan on being too busy to stop and stare on race day. I just need to do this prep ride so I feel confident about Savageman.

Even though today started out on the wrong foot, my good workout made me feel much better. Though, when I got home I went on a bit of a cleaning streak (incredible, I know) and while I was vacuuming I accidentally sucked up Bissell's toy mouse (ha, ironic, I sucked up Bissell's toy with my Hoover vacuum). I felt like bad pet mom - he had just been playing with that mouse a few minutes earlier and now it is gone (I am no going into the vacuum bag to fish it out, sorry Biss).