30 January 2010

Snowy Saturday

Today NoVa got a decent amount of snow (for Virginia). Mark and I missed the last significant snowfall - the biggest snowfall this area has gotten since 1996 - because we were out in SoCal for Christmas, so I am pretty happy to be in town for this snow event. It's been snowing for a good 15 hours, although now it's starting to taper off. I'd estimate we've gotten close to six inches. Where is a sled when you need one?!

I headed out the door this morning to do my run LT test. Decent warm-up, then thirty minutes hard - ick. When I left the house, it had just started to snow, there was a light dusting on the sidewalk and bike trail. Then the snow started coming down harder. Hard enough that the trail was covered with a decent amount by the time I was thirty minutes into the run. The snow proved to be a nice distraction during the unpleasant fast part of my run - it made the time pass quickly and before I knew it, it was time to cool down - yessssss. The rest of the day was spent indoors, watching the snow fall, and taking an inordinate amount of time to rearrange the furniture in our upstairs living room. Some poor schmucks were brave enough to take our old (and ugly) couch, so it was finally time to see how the room would look with the furniture it was supposed to have. We purchased two oversized (enormous) chairs at the Restoration Hardware outlet a few weeks ago - we both agree that our eyes were a little bigger than our house when we made this purchasing decision. But the chairs are super comfy and the way we've arranged them, they don't look terribly disproportionate and out-of-place in the living room. We also bought a bench, supplemental seating, for the living room since we just had these two chairs. We also had to figure out where to put the tall and narrow wine bar and our china cabinet. We moved every piece of furniture around at least three times before we finally found the most appropriate set-up. I'm really happy with the final result and I think it's growing on Mark. Now we just need to add some color to the room. Reds and purples?

Two pictures were hung up in the guest room and we put one up in the kitchen/dining area. Having just a little color from those pictures on the walls really goes a long way. The house is really becoming a grown-up house, hoorrrayyyy!

I also tried my hand at being domestic this evening. There's just something about snow that makes you want to bake chocolate chip cookies. Partway into the baking process, I realized I was totally out of all-purpose flour. So, I substituted in wheat flour, thinking "hey, what's the difference - I just made the cookies a little more nutritious. I just won't tell Mark." Well, he noticed, but managed to choke down a few cookies anyways, good sport.

Tomorrow is the last day of my recovery week and then it's back to more hours of training!

27 January 2010

Bike TT

Today's workout - a 30 minute all-out time-trial on the bike. Fortunately, I got to do this one on the trainer so I didn't have to worry about the dark, falling off my bike, avoiding joggers, avoiding cars, stop signs, and the like... And I did a fabulous job at procrastinating, jumping onto my bike after 9pm - awesome. And, truthfully, like the swim, this TT was less painful than I had been anticipating, both physically and mentally. It wasn't easy, by any stretch, and a few swear words slipped out (nobody was home), but I didn't hate the workout, I was only counting down the minutes a little bit, and it went by relatively quickly. And boy did I get my heart rate up higher than I ever remember getting it - it was in my running zone 4!

During my procrastination stint, I browsed through Dan Hicok's photo gallery from IM Florida - not all of the pictures are up yet, but most of the pre-race and night-before-dinner are up. I found myself getting a little nostalgic about the night before pictures. It was such a great feeling that night - anticipation, excitement, a tiny bit of anxiety and nervousness, and feeling tired yet ready. It was also a beautiful night and the team dinner was at a restaurant right on the water and we had a great view of the sunset. I'm already super excited for IM Wisconsin. And EXACTLY five months from today is IM France!!! I'm so ready for it to be here!

Unfortunately, no good metro stories today. But for your amusement, you should check out this blog - sleeptalkinman.blogspot.com. Somewhat inappropriate material, but it's comical because he's asleep when saying all this inappropriate stuff. "Monkey Power - Straight from the Jungle!"

26 January 2010

Swim test

This morning I didn't go to Masters swim... I went to the local high school pool to do my timed swim test - 10x100yds with exactly ten seconds in between. At a pace that was almost all out but yet something I could manage for all 10 intervals without falling apart. I did a leisurely warm up, in absolutely no hurry to get to the main set. I actually brought a watch with me to the pool (because I had to) and, to tell you the truth, I was a bit curious what my swim time would average out to be for the 100s. I held things together for intervals 1-9, doing flip turns and everything (I don't know how I used to swim and NOT do flip turns), and on the tenth interval, the wheels were starting to come off. I was so glad to be done. But, overall it really wasn't that bad and I found that I was mentally in the game as well, just focusing on the interval at hand and not counting down the moments until I would be finished. I think that made it easier to do all ten AND it actually went by pretty quickly.

The final result - a 1:38 average for all 10. I know my split for the first one was 1:35 but after that I just stopped trying to figure it out. And even though 1:38 isn't fast by most standards, I'm pretty pleased with it - not too long ago I couldn't have kept that pace for 50 yards to save my life. I'm a runner, not a swimmer. But slowly I've started to become a runner who swims, and I've noticed that when I go to the local pool, I'm not the slowest one there. I think that sometimes (on the good days) I could even be mistaken for a swimmer! Let's just put it this way, in my very first triathlon back in 2005 (a disaster in itself in terms of the swimming and biking) it took me 34:47 to do a 1200m swim. At Savageman this year, I did a 2000m swim in about the same amount of time. It pays not to dog paddle!

So, a good day in terms of the swim. AND Mark comes home tonight - I pick him up in just a few hours from the airport! Yaaaaaay!

25 January 2010

Living the College Life

My husband has been out of town for the past two weeks, causing me to somewhat revert back to some old college habits - mac and cheese for dinner multiple times a week (no fun when cooking for one), going to happy hour, going out to bars until 2am on the weekends, and letting house get, ummmm, a bit messy.

So even though I've really missed Mark and this house has felt FAR too big and lonely these past two weeks, I did have a good time catching up with friends, having a girls-only weekend with my college roomie Melissa, and eating mac and cheese whenever I wanted. But I'm exhausted (how DID I live through 4 years of college in one piece?) and more than ready for Mark to be home and get back into being domestic (well, my definition of domestic, which I suppose wouldn't be much by other peoples' standards :).

Fortunately for me, he will be home in just a little more than 24 hours! I can't wait!

Training has been going well, even with my late nights out on the town. The bike ride on the trainer on Saturday had me swearing under my breath, in a good way I suppose. And I guess it really wasn't under my breath... good thing Melissa was two floors above me! Alternating between high RPMs and pushing the big gear, I couldn't decide which one I hated more. But I felt good in the end and was glad I did it, as always. Sunday I went running with Brian - we ran 11 miles at about an 8:37 pace, staying mostly in Zones 2 and 3 (okay, so maybe I spent a bit more time in zone 3 than zone 2). According to Brian, this was the first time he'd run more than 10 miles since high school. He's a fast runner and now that he knows he can do it without blowing up, I'm sure he's going to leave me in the dust next time around :) He's doing his first 1/2 ironman at Lake Anna in May and I'm sure it will go just fine for him. My swim yesterday was really good - I love swimming again, absolutely love it. Although, I don't know how much I will love it tomorrow morning when I have my swim threshold test. I suppose now would be a good time to locate my waterproof watch so I can catch my splits :)

Cross my fingers for not drowning in the pool tomorrow!

Oh, and I've decided to add a new feature to my blog every now and then. Let's call it "Things Witnessed on Metro and MetroBus"
- On metro going home: two out-of-shape middle-aged men stripping down to their t-shirts and flexing their biceps for comparison. Ugh.

20 January 2010

I'm still here!

I've just been lazy blog-wise. Mark has been out of town and I've been left to fend for myself - cooking and neatening up the house DO take a bit of time. In exciting news, I just bought a Dyson - the actual vacuum, not a pet (whatever animal we get next will likely get that name, keeping in tune with our current Hoover and Bissell). Unfortunately, the vacuum and I didn't have a pleasant first meeting yesterday when I tried to give it a whirl around the living room. (Stupidly) I was lifting up the bottom half of the vacuum just to make sure it was actually sucking (I really don't know what possessed me to do this, probably just because our other one never seemed to suck) and my finger got caught up in the whirling brushes. Fortunately, no major damage appears to have resulted from my foray into stupidity, but I did lost a chunk of skin near the nail and it did bleed. Gross. Mark received a meltdown phone call from me and I spent the rest of the night wondering how I managed to live on my own from 18-25 and make it through in one piece. Oh, and I'm tired of mac and cheese.

In other news, training is going fine, I'm enjoying it. We've gotten a warm spell in terms of the weather and running outside can only be described as splendid!

To bed so I can swim tomorrow.

12 January 2010

3 Miles to the Pentagon

So last night I met up with a few co-workers for happy hour. I can't even remember the last time I went to happy hour. It was great to catch up with everyone, but in the midst of catching up, I somehow managed to down four drinks... ooops. Double oops because I'm a lightweight and four drinks is more than sufficient to send me on my way. Triple ooops because I had swim practice the next morning. I did manage to get to swim practice on time, feeling just fine, but I think that will be the last Monday night happy hour where I actually drink alcohol in any amount.

Swim was good, I'm really happy to be back in the pool.
Tonight I also had a run on my schedule, on hilly terrain. Fortunately, the area to where Mark and I just moved has a fair amount of hills. I decided that I would run a straight shot down the street I normally take on the bus to get to the Pentagon Metro station. And I discovered, with the help of my trusty GPS, that we literally live just three miles away. AND it took me less time to run there than it takes me to ride the stinkin bus during rush hour. I think I'll be running or biking to work when the weather is warmer and the icy patches are fewer. My favorite part of the run, however, was when I was just coming up to the top of the last hill and I got a great nighttime view of Washington - the Air Force Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Pentagon, the Capitol - it was gorgeous.

Bedtime again - I have a date with the bike trainer at an ungodly hour tomorrow morning!

11 January 2010

Just another day

Surprise, surprise, I actually got up early enough this morning to get my workout in before work. It was a trainer ride with a few leg exercises mixed in, with a run tacked onto the end - and it actually went pretty well. I wasn't really in the mood to wake up early, my cat had woken me up from a dead sleep the night before humping his toy (don't ask, I have a defective cat), but I eventually got myself out of bed and got the workout done. And I felt great!

The reason I wanted to get my workout done early was because I was meeting some old co-workers for happy hour in the evening. It was so great to see them, I miss them alot. I had fun catching up on old times and new happenings from my old office.

Tonight - early to bed so I can get up early for swim!

10 January 2010

Sunday workouts

Soooo, today's run wasn't exactly one of my best workouts. I find that I have a hard time keeping my heart rate "in zone" - I always want to go faster than I am supposed to. Sometimes the slow runs are almost more painful than the others, more physically painful and mentally painful because I have to keep paying close attention to my heart rate - I can't just run, and my stride feels short and cramped. But this is something I need to work on.

On the other hand, my swim this afternoon was great! I went to the Wakefield High School pool again, and they sun was bouncing off the water, making it feel like you are outside. The water was warm, and it was just a pleasant swim. At first, during my first 300yd repeat, I wasn't really in the mood to do the whole workout, it just felt like alot, but I got into a groove, and the workout flew by. It was great! I'm really liking this whole Sunday swim thing.

09 January 2010

Quiet Saturday

You know, I always come up with good idea for blog posts when I am nowhere near my computer or the internet. And then I forget them when I log into my blog to write. Tonight is totally one of those nights. Training today was fine, uneventful (always a good thing when there is snow and ice on the ground), I ran 8 miles which is the furthest I've run since Ironman and my legs aren't terribly sore. The plyometrics at the end kind of kicked my rear (literally - butt-kicks), but it is allllll for a good cause. And I'm just really happy and excited to be back out training.

So this weekend Mark and I managed to watch two good movies that we both really enjoyed. (500) Days of Summer and Up in the Air. There was nothing specifically spectacular about them - no major action scenes, no drool-worthy actors, but the dialogue in both were really witty, the characters were easy to identify with, they all seemed real. And both movies made you think - I really like it when movies make you think. So, in terms of movie-watching, a very successful weekend.

08 January 2010

2009 - The year in numbers

So, I'm a little behind in writing my "year in review" for 2009 - better late than never, yes? I'm late for everything and being on time is NOT one of my New Years Resolutions - because it would get broken immediately. So, rather than just do a summary of what happened in 2009 (and it was a busy year!), it would be fun to see how the numbers of 2009 stack up. In no particular order:

1 - I did one Ironman last year - Ironman Florida

13 - we closed on our house on the 13th of November - Friday the 13th, good thing we're not too superstitious!

5 - I did five half-ironmans last year - Kinetic, Black Bear, Mooseman, Calgary, and Savageman.

6:34:44 - my slowest half-ironman time (Savageman)

5:47:08 - my fastest half-ironman time (Mooseman)

11:43:42 - my time at Ironman Florida

2 - I visited two countries outside of the US in 2009: Nepal and Canada - technically three countries if you count the overnight spent in Qatar on the way back from Nepal.

10 - I went to my 10 year high school reunion in 2009.

643.5 - the number of miles I raced in 2009, including all triathlons and road races.

23 - the 23rd day of September was when my best friend Erin had her first baby, Reagan, who also happens to be my goddaughter!

4 - there were four of us at my parent's house for Thanksgiving - myself, Mark, my mom and my dad. Five if you count the dog.

7 - there were seven of us at at the Lauver Lair in California for Christmas - myself, Mark, Allie, Jackie, Stephanie, and my mom-in-law and dad-in-law.

102 - the number of pages I wrote for my two final papers for my graduate degree.

3 - the average number of hours of sleep I got per night for about two weeks straight when finishing said papers.

I think that about sums up the year. I wonder what sort of numbers 2010 will hold?

07 January 2010

2010 Race Schedule

I made it to swim practice this morning, I think I can say that I'm on a roll. I also didn't miss a single workout this week (I did cut a swim short and didn't do as much strength training today as I would've liked due to time constraints) and tomorrow is a recovery day! I think I can say that this first week back has been a success. It has been great to be in "training mode" once again. I fall asleep fast at night, I'm STARVING all of the time, my legs, arms, and back have the are slightly sore - but in a good way, and I think I can even say that I'm less crabby. Mark is quite pleased with that.

So, last week my coach and I discussed and set up my 2010 race schedule. I'm not doing close to as many races as I did last year, which is probably a good thing, but I still feel pangs of "Oh, but I want to do that race... and that race... and how about this race" and I think I've started to drive her a little crazy with my daily trickle of e-mails with sly suggestions of how this race might be fun and that race would be a good tune up and I-don't-care-if-I'll-be-tired-I-want-to-do-the-race excuses. No. This year is about quality NOT quantity. And I will continue repeating that to myself every time I see another race I'd like to do.

So, here is the race schedule, in all of it's glory (and subject to modification if I am obnoxiously persistent or sneaky and weasel a few more races onto it... KIDDING!)
- Shamrock 1/2 marathon (March)
- Rumpass in Bumpass Oly triathlon (April)
- Country Music 1/2 Marathon (April)
- Kinetic 1/2 Ironman (May)
- Mountains of Misery (May) (sounds fun, doesn't it??)
- Ironman FRANCE (June)
- Musselman 1/2 Ironman... er... sprint (July) (just trying to see if you're paying attention)
- Ironman WISCONSIN (September)
- Beach2Battleship 1/2 Ironman (November)

And I will sprinkle in some 5Ks, 10Ks, maybe even a 10 miler or two into this schedule. I'd also really like to throw in a marathon sometime in the fall when Ironman Wisconsin is over. If I don't do a marathon, this will be the first year since 2002 that I haven't done a marathon - A bad omen for a new decade in my book! Technically, I will have done two marathons through the Ironman, but Ironman marathons and stand-alone marathons are two totally different beasts. We'll see how the fall goes. Maybe after IM MOO I won't want to see my running shoes for a few months.

06 January 2010

Pet peeves of public transportation

For the most part, I like the fact that Mark and I only own one car and we live in an area that is conducive to using public transportation. But some days, the little things irk me.

1) The loud cell-phone talker. I do not care if your baby daddy has done you wrong, and I'm sure the rest of the bus passengers don't care either. And if I can hear you yapping above the din of my iPod, you clearly are talking far too loud.

2) Watching the bus fly by as I run to the bus stop. This happens every day. Without fail.

3) Waiting 15-20 minutes for the next bus. And watching about 5 busses go in the opposite direction during that time. It's like the busses going my way get lost in a black hole on the Columbia Pike.

4) Being a magnet for sick people. And if you cough or sneeze, at least cover your mouth. Even five-year-olds know it's bad form to blow germs all over your neighbors.

5) "Incidents" on the metro. This is a fancy way of saying "our trains have broken down again, so please add another 20 minutes to your commute" and "be prepared to pack yourself into the next train like a sardine since we're only running one train every 12 minutes during rush hour."

6) Taking an hour to commute the 4 miles into work. I think it's about time I grab my running shoes and backpack because I can run four miles in far less time than that.

Ahhhh metro.

05 January 2010

I made it, I MADE IT!!

I made it to the pool this morning. I demoted myself down a lane since it's been... ohhhhh... about two months since I last went to swim practice. I surprised myself at how well I accomplished not drowning... it actually felt... nice... nice to be back in the pool. I even managed to keep up (but perhaps my lanemates have also taken time off, and thus I really wasn't going as fast as I felt like I was going). I need to start wearing a watch to the pool so I can start to figure out how fast I am swimming. All said, I did 2000 yds in about 50 minutes.

Tonight's workout was a run. For much of the day I went back and forth between excitement about the run (it feels great to be working out) and dread about the run (it's freezing cold). I got home from work, took my sweet time in eating a snack, checking facebook, getting bundled up for the run. I think I managed to waste a good hour (sigh, if only procrastination was a career - I would definitely find myself in a league of my own). But of course, once I got out for my run, I enjoyed myself, despite the cold, the wind, and my runny nose. And even though my legs are still tingling from the cold and my rear end is still numb 30 minutes after I arrived back home and bundled up in warm pajamas, I'm still really glad I went out and ran.

And, by the way, my voracious appetite is back. It is back with a vengeance. I brought enough food into work today to feed a small army and it STILL wasn't enough. Lord I love triathlon training!

One more thing, my best friend Erin and my best friend Katie had their significant others deploy in the past few days. Keep Ashley and Kevin in your thoughts - wishing them a safe and speedy return!

04 January 2010

Why so busy?

Even though I'm done with school, I still feel... busy... The two-a-day workouts have begun and I LOVE IT, I'm enjoying my new job alot and sometimes find myself staying significantly later than I used to stay at my old job (old job - lots of retired military, earlier risers, early start to the day. new job - lots of academics, late risers, much later end to the day). So I'm working the same number of hours, but my new office doesn't feel like a ghost town at 5pm - it seems like some people stay until 6 or 7. But, the office is pretty quiet until 9 or 9:30am. So, I'm leaving the office between 5:30 and 6, it takes anywhere between 40-60 minutes to get home (a whopping 4 miles, thank you Metro, I could run home faster than that if I wasn't a wuss about running in the cold), thus not arriving home until close to 7. Do workout 2 of the day (workout one in the morning before work), eat dinner between 8:30 and 9, catch up on e-mail, facebook, and blogs, and suddenly it's 9:30 and I really need to go to bed so I can get up and do it again in the morning.

I do not know how I did all of this, plus school, for the past two years.

To bed. I really am going to go to the pool in the morning. Honest.

03 January 2010

Too many options...

... for today's blog title, that is. We could go with "Bathing Suit Shows No Mercy: Effect of Holiday Cookies and Laziness in full bloom." Or we could go with "Oversize Furniture Buries Living Room." Finally, there is "It's Only Day Three of Training and I'm Starving." So, let's go with the first title: I ventured to the pool for a workout today for the first time in about two months. This meant wearing a bathing suit. I took one look in the mirror and it was OBVIOUS that I have fallen very far from my Ironman physique of yore. All the more reason to go to the pool! Mark and I tried out the pool at Wakefield this afternoon, and it was actually really enjoyable. The sun was shining through the wall of windows, the light playing in the water, and it almost felt like you were swimming outdoors (just much, MUCH warmer). It was a quick workout - 1000m (lack of time), but my arms and legs are feeling it (in a good way, of course). We were only at the pool for 25 minutes, as we got a late start and needed to be home for our furniture delivery, bringing us to the second title!

Yesterday Mark and I went to the Leesburg Outlets in the hopes of finding a couch or two, and maybe a chair. We totally lucked out - Restoration Hardware was having a great sale and we found an oversized couch and two oversized (and ridiculously comfortable) chairs. They were delivered today, with the big couch going in the basement with the television, and the two chairs going upstairs. The chairs are huge, and right now it looks a little crowded because we have the extra couch and papasan chair up there as well.

And finally, I'm so happy to be training again. I love the feeling of soreness in my arms and legs, and my appetite is back with a vengeance (not that I ever fully lost my appetite, but my off-season appetite is puny compared to my appetite the rest of the year - ha!).

First double workout tomorrow - run and bike! To bed early so I actually wake up early enough!

02 January 2010

Feelin' it...

My bike workout kicked my butt (or rather, my quads) today. It was 1.5 hours on the trainer, went by surprisingly fast, and even rather enjoyable. It has been chilly here, so I prefer a trainer ride to an outdoor ride on cold days like today. The workout wasn't difficult, I had no problem accomplishing it, but the fact that I'm so sore after only an hour and a half of riding shows how out-of-shape I've become since Ironman. Speaking of out-of-shape, I hate trying on clothes in the weeks following Christmas and New Years - too much rich food and too little exercise means EVERYTHING is a little too tight for comfort. Just another reason why I'm excited about training. Tomorrow: hitting the pool for the first time in AGES!

01 January 2010

New Year = Day 1 Ironman Training!

Today I officially started training for Ironman France and Ironman Wisconsin. I began working with a coach, Jen Harrison, in the hopes that I can make it through the two aforementioned Ironmans a) in one piece, and b) wanting to do even more in the future. Oh, and perhaps get faster in the process too :). I've been a lazy piece of work over the past 7 weeks - haven't gone for a good swim since Ironman, haven't ridden my bike for more than 2 hours total since Ironman, and I've barely run at all. Luckily today was an easy run - my zone 2 is DEFINITELY slow, but considering how little I've done over the past few weeks (and the fact that I have a cold), the run went quite well. And I'm looking forward to tomorrow - a bike workout, furniture shopping, and sleeping late!!