Oops….I PR’ed.

This past weekend was a fun last build to IMAZ for a couple reasons. First and foremost, Team That’s What She Said had 10 people running the NYC Marathon weekend. My roommate, Carly, was one of them so there was no way I was going to miss this event. Seeing as my older sister lives in NYC, it would be the perfect chance to also pay her a visit!

But before getting to NY , Ryan and I made a quick overnight stop in NJ. This allowed us to have somewhere that was not Central Park for our Saturday long ride (I did that once this year and once was enough!), and Ryan also wanted to make it to a cross country race being held in Holmdel Park – the site where he ran for a good bit of his youth. I was on the fence about running this myself. A 5k? Cross country? Yikes. Both immediately strike fear in me. And I was clearly out of my element as the rest of the runners showed up on Saturday with spikes and flats and the college girl uniforms complete with ribbons in their hair! Oh, to be young again…haha.

In the end, I did end up running, and was I happy I did! I had heard Ryan and others discussing how tough this course was – and after seeing the first mile in the warm up I knew they weren’t kidding. My first priority was to try to run a smart race and remain in control. This was just a freebie workout on the day – I still had my “real” workout ahead. I was a little more at ease though with the cross country culture than I am with a road race. $5 for a no-frills event and looking ahead to some trails to run on makes my heart happy. We lined up behind a white chalk line in a field and started the race. I hit the first mile in 7:10 and it felt okay despite having been entirely uphill. I knew there was one more big hill of note so I settled in with 2 other girls as we swung around “the bowl.”

“Settled in with 2 other girls” —-what?! I know, this seems crazy. I have to say, that after the past few weeks where I have put myself into situations running with faster people, I am finally starting to “get it.” My mind is slowly starting to understand pacing, and running fast, and the benefits of running with a little group while racing.

That being said, the real reason I did this was because CC girls are crazy! They make ultrarunners look like saints! Every time I tried to pass someone (on the left, as it should be) elbows were flying and ponytails were in my face! I was getting boxed out like….something that gets boxed out. Sheesh. So, before I got myself any more worked up and started hurdling these girls (I was probably like 2 feet taller than most girls there….it was weird) I just settled in. They were, after all, at the end of a CC season in college and were probably more aware of what they were doing and *how* to race a 5K.

This turned out to be true. After hitting the second mile with a 6:50 split and I still felt good, I let myself push the last mile in. I crossed the line in 21:00, a 57 second PR for the 5k! Granted, I have only raced a handful of 5k’s before (previous PR was set in August of last year), but I’ll take it. It almost makes me want to find a road 5K next month to see what I could do there. Note: almost.

BUT the real neat part of all of this  is that I am in no way shape or form training for a 5k. To see that much improvement without meaning too is really neat. It felt good to accidentally stumble into something like that. What did not feel so good was then having to finish the weekend workouts on tired legs 🙂

After wrapping up the workouts for the day we headed into NYC to meet my sister and her husband for dinner. Sunday was going to be another long day – but it had more great results! More on that later!

This little piggy stayed home

I need to have a few words with whoever scheduled Halloween this year. October 31st? Seriously? Don’t you know that’s like peak training time before IMAZ? Jeez. What was wrong with October 3rd? 10th? Or better yet, perhaps mid-February so all the Valentine’s Day naysayers can avoid annoying  holiday lamenting and occupy themselves. Ha – #occupythis should be a movement.

But, I digress.

I did not make it out for Halloween this year, despite the fact that Baltimore is very fun on this night. I even had a costume in mind! Why didn’t I go out? Well, since you asked, I was feeling like my bicycle on Halloween. You know – two-tired?

Haha. Man, I’m pretty funny today.  (Okay, I admit it, pretty much all my jokes are shamelessly stolen from someone/something.)

But yeah, this little shorty was tired and in bed by 9:30 on Halloween. It’s “about that time” in the training cycle. That means the following things are deemed big: workouts, hunger, tiredness. The following are small: spare time, daylight, and my patience. You can see from my extensive vocabulary choices here my energy management skills are in full effect and I have no extra energy to fancy up this post!

But the good news in all of this is I feel good and my workouts are strong! I can sense the taper is near…..

Time

On a day when Kim Kardashian’s marriage is ending after a mere 72 days, I began thinking about time today. Psyche, I was planning this post before I even found out about that, but now it seems especially fitting.

My life revolves around time. 45 hours of work a week. Thirty-five minutes commuting each way – 40 if I’m going to/from the pool.  Ten minutes of walking back and forth from my car to my house with my groceries since I got home after 5:30 and had to park far away. Then I get to fit in my workouts – this is where it gets especially interesting. Some days I end up with barely a minute to sit and decompress before I am in my bed drifting off to sleep. And by drifting off, I mean I’m usually asleep before my head hits the pillow.

Somewhere along the line I developed a fairly unique way to rationalize the time of my training – TV shows. I don’t know when I began doing it, or what prompted it, but at some point I began to measure my workouts in the unit of “episodes of Friends.” I figure at this point it was probably 2002 and Joey was dating Rachel for a bit before Rachel had a baby, so really those were the highlights of my days.

Apparently, not much else has changed. When I have been on the trainer for an hour and have 30 minutes left, I actually think to myself “you can do it, it’s only one episode of Friends.”  As my workouts have grown in length though, I have had to become a little creative and sometimes my swims are 2 episodes of the OC (without commercial – DVD Box version!). Or on the longer days, I’m on the bike for the length of the Titanic….twice.

Hillary and I use Workout Log to track my workouts and they make this neat little graph.  It’s weird – they measure things in TV episode and movie time units too…..


Changing it up

The past couple days I had some challenges on my plate. In addition to my usual daily battles of “how to not be hungry all. the. time” and “how not to attempt to fulfill that hunger with twizzlers and chocolate,” the challenges were:

-A BIG week of training

-One that must be completed while travelling to Huntsville, Alabama for work

-A quasi-unknown schedule due to work travel

I am not done the first one – in fact, I’ve just begun to scrape the surface because I have some long hours to put in this weekend.  But, I am on my return trip from Huntsville where the last two days were surprisingly productive thanks to Andrew who gave me all the info I needed on the Brahan Spring Natatorium.

Wednesday afternoon I was able to get to the pool right at 4:30 when public lap swimming became available. I even had a whole lane to myself for my long pull set before I headed out to the streets of Huntsville for a run. Andrew also pointed me in the right direction here – literally. He said to run East from the pool. I had a moment of disorientation though and ended up running West at first….but I soon realized my mistake as I began to notice the “questionable” landscape around me. While sidewalks were a little scarce at some points, running East was much more fruitful. I then met Andrew and his friends at Jason’s Deli for their weekly dinner – naturally all of his friends are badass athletes themselves!

This morning Andrew was a trooper and met me at the pool earlier than he probably would have otherwise since my work schedule was calling for an early day. Not open to the public in the morning, he took me in to the Master’s practice time where I had my own lane once again and was able to knock out my 30 x 100 set! The downside was I was swimming in yards (usually I swim in meters) so I felt slightly off; nonetheless I was able to get the job done before 6:30 am! Win.

While I am definitely someone who likes their routine – my pool with the schedule I know, my running routes, etc – these days of travel ended up being a good change of pace and allowed me to change it up a little. It was fun to swim with Andrew too – I think the last time we were in a pool together was the spring of ’08 so it has definitely been awhile! And I know I wasn’t knocking out 4300 meter days back then 🙂

Science Project

For the past couple months I’ve been drinking a lot of Nuun at work. Since I had been watering my plant from my cup, and I am apparently too lazy to refill the cup with plain water first, the plant was also drinking a lot of Nuun.

Recently we realized that my plant had grown a mutant limb!

Now if only I can get Amelia to drink some Nuun for experiment #2…..

Sometimes….

Your saddle comes loose when you’re leading a half-ironman with 20 miles left to ride….so you just stand for the last 20 miles.

-Your girlfriend brings you compression socks instead of arm warmers by accident and you have no choice but to ride 3+ hours in the cold with bare arms (oops….I am so sorry about this one!)

You take a wrong turn and lose the lead. But you still push to try to get it back.

You just want to wear a tiny pink leopard print dress.

Just a little Friday reminder that people are out there doing what they do and getting the work done even when it’s not easy! Happy training this weekend 🙂

Monday Monday

Last week started off pretty slow. Taking it day by day due to my groin left me time early in the week to distract myself so I didn’t get worked up over not being able to run yet. Some of these distractions included:

-Tweeting at the Baltimore Run Festival. It was brought to my attention that anything tweeted with the pound tag of “baltrunfest” would be displayed on the Baltimore Sun website as they came in. Naturally, I had to tweet….and wait…and watch….and then screenshot it when I saw it pop up. Yes, distracting myself is this easy.

-Reading Kona Race reports from some friends on the blogosphere. The next best thing to getting to go out to Kona myself is getting to enjoy the day by tracking some ladies who I compete against and respect! It’s not easy to find girls who manage it all – work, life, and training – and these girls do it while being super fast. Check out their Kona reports here: Haley, Libby, and Katie.

-Wondering things like “how is it that I always try to pull the keys out of the ignition before putting the car in park?” and “how do I always forget if the URL addresses use the “” or “//”?”

Before I knew it, Friday hit and I was able to run a little and get back on track. I am coming off the weekend feeling like I got hit by a bus (a training bus of course, driven by the one and only Hillary B.) and am looking forward to my massage tonight; though I don’t think that will cure the windburn on my face from the weekend ride!

Running Group Love – a Oiselle Contest!

In 2008 I graduated from the University of Virginia and moved to Baltimore. One of my first orders of business was to find some friends to run with. After some extensive googling and blog stalking, I ended up at the blog for Team That’s What She Said.  They meet on Monday nights at 6:30 in Federal Hill, Baltimore. I still remember that first night I showed up — I think I barely said more than two sentences to anyone and was just the creepy girl running alongside the 8 minute pace group!

But I did notice that these girls were clearly good friends and had bonded through running and beyond, and I wanted to be a part of it. So I kept going to that run, week after week. I even showed up to the track workout on Tuesdays and attempted that a few times! I can’t put my finger on the moment when it happened, but it did, and eventually I was part of the group. (Actually, it was probably the moment I wow-ed them all with my extensive abbreviation vocabulary and they were all super jeal and obvi wanted to learn some abbrevs.)

When I started thinking about one particular story I could tell about the running group, I wasn’t sure if I should tell about the Hubs of Fury outings (our biking-bar hopping extravaganzas) or Awards night (annual event in December). Or there is always Club Challenge (the yearly 10 mile race that we make into the most competitive event. of. the. year.) or the fact that the group has helped to stimulate the economy by eating their weight in Chipotle burritos after Tuesday Night Track.

But then I realized that it’s not one particular day or story that stands out. Instead, what does stand out is the consistency. The dedication. The devotion to one single thing: running. The fact that if nothing else, we understand that about each other and will be there for each other. Every single week. One single person or event doesn’t make this group so special – rather it’s the cumulative miles, of all of the people who come and go, that makes it special. I admit that this year I have been at this Monday night run less than ever due to my own training schedule, but it’s still nice to know it’s there.

I know you’re wondering by now where the contest part of this post is? Well, allow me to show you the money. And by money, I mean your chance to get a Oiselle Start Line Tee for everyone in your group! Click on that link (note: contest starts at 10am PST 10/12/2011 so the link will be live then!) to the Oiselle blog for more information, but in the meantime here are the details:

Oiselle wants to honor the running groups that keep us all going by meeting them and then randomly drawing one group to win Start Line tees for everyone in the group! To enter, post the following on Oiselle’s Facebook (or if you’re Facebook Free like me just e-mail the info to info@oiselle.com):

1. Running group (name or description)

2. Where are you?

3. Tell us about it! (Do you meet for speed, long run, are you all training for the same race, etc)

4. What’s your favorite post run activity?

5. Anything else you want to share.

I’m looking forward to hearing all about your running groups! Entries can be submitted until Monday. Good luck!

Womp Womp

I DNF’d the Army 10 mile this weekend. Certainly not the highlight of my racing career, that’s for sure. My morning was off to a rough start from the beginning as I lolly-gagged before getting on the metro and missed the first set of trains. That put me at the Pentagon approximately 13 minutes before the start of the race, having to still drop my bag (note: you do this outside of the security line; I wasn’t aware and lost about 10 minutes going through that line twice) and go to the bathroom before getting to the start. For a race with a bajillion people you think they’d have close to a bajillion bathrooms, but that was not the case. This pre-race gathering area was one of the biggest clusters I’ve ever seen, and the line for the bathroom didn’t move in the 2 minutes I opted to wait in an attempt to give it a chance. So, I pooped on the side of the road. Literally. I ran down the road, away from the start, found a patch of high grass, and did my business approximately right here:

Needless to say while it is slightly humorous now, it wasn’t at the time.

After that I had to warm-up en route to the start line, and heading up there I actually felt pretty good and proud of accomplishing everything in time for me to start with my corral. About 11 minutes after the gun, my wave started and I took off running down the left hand side of the road  to keep a 7 minute pace. My goal of 1:10 seemed reasonable to me given my training lately. From the start I felt a twinge in my groin and knew it wasn’t good. I tried to compensate for the loss of power a little with my right leg, but by the 4th mile I was falling off pace pretty hard and a 7:30 was feeling like a 200% effort. At mile 7 the pain was too much to really run or walk at all, and I made it to where Ryan was spectating and made the call to take the metro to the finish.

I am still in my 48 hours of sulking period I have allowed myself, but I don’t really want to elaborate on this any more than I have. I think I made the right call by stopping, and Hillary and I are not worried that a few days off will impact any plans for AZ whatsoever. Yes, it stinks. But, I’ll live.

In other news, some awesome things did happen this weekend. Ryan got his first win in a triathlon at the Waterman’s Half! It was really neat to be out there and I was able to catch him go by around mile 45 of the ride, then several places on the run. A W is always a neat thing, but the first triathlon W is even sweeter!

I also went 5/5 in my football picks this week. I played MDG through Bankrupt Bookie last year and managed to pull off a decent enough season to win some $$ in the final weeks. This year I was off to a rough start but maybe that’s turning around. My team name is AIOGTWMDGTY.

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle

I need to give myself a shameless public high five. Last week, I swam 19,800 meters.  According to Walter (I decided my Workout Log has a name) that is 21,653.54 yards. And this week I am on my way to swimming even more. In these two weeks I will pretty much swim more than I did in all of 2009 and 2010 combined!

So…how does it feel? Well, Ryan caught me at the pool as he was leaving and I was just arriving for my second swim of the day. Feel free to leave your own caption in the comments, but I think this pic says “but mom, I don’t wanna go to swim camp anymore!”

Seriously though, I can see how it’s a popular belief that swimming more is the key. I do feel myself getting stronger in the water, and I feel like a Transformer with my huge arms these days. I bulldoze through the water, and it is pretty sweet. By the way, in case you didn’t hear, bulldozers are really fast. They’re practically dolphins.

In other news, Oiselle RUNDIES have arrived!Such a great idea – what runner doesn’t like cute undies? With Christmas right around the corner, these are a great gift for that female runner in your life! Unless of course she’s your coworker or a co-ed friend in the training group or something. Then it might be weird to give her underwear. But sisters, girl friends, and daughters are all fair game….and don’t forget some for yourself!!  Thanks to Oiselle for the photo – I’m so jealous of the fun these ladies seem to constantly be having in the office. I will not confirm nor deny whose beautiful bum is in the picture, but check out Sarah’s latest blog post with her perspective on being one of the Oiselle models! Love it.

UPDATE 10/7/2011: I received my Rundies in the mail and in case you are wondering about sizing for your own order, I am a size medium. I am generally a size 6 for normal clothes, and for Oiselle I am a medium for shorts and tops for the most part, so they are true to size!

Oh, and while you’re on the Oiselle site check out one of their sale items – the base runner tee. I have both colors and these tees are SO SOFT and comfy and will match just about anything!