>If you had to clean your goldfish…

>

how would you do it? Due to a recent lack of attention to Mr. and Mrs. Sippi and their living environment, they have developed an interesting black tone to their scales (poss mold?!). They would not let us get hold of them to scrub them with a toothbrush. That was our only idea. Can you help us?

>Swagger of a college kid

>It never ceases to amaze me how slow and fat I can feel and seven days later feel awesome and fit. I love the realization that even though I feel like I haven’t put in any quality workouts in awhile, after a few hard sessions I have my legs back and I’m ready to go. This past week I ran 49 miles, spent 3.5 hours on the bike (plus 2 more spinning), and swam 9500. Granted, that includes a day off work when I was able to complete an entire triathlon as a workout, as well as a weekend training trip to Charlottesville, but my Thursday/friday were pretty light so I’m happy with the results.

Charlottesville was exactly what I needed. A quality coaching sesh laid out some plans for WS training. More importantly than planning out a few big training weekends though, was the mental checkup that it provided me. It got me thinking about what exactly I wanted out of this race and what I absolutely didn’t want involved in the preparation for racing as well as the race itself. One of the great things that came out of this is my decision to not attend the training weekend for WS over memorial day weekend. Instead, I am going to travel out to Cali the first weekend in May and run the same distances, but with Frannie and Gill instead of 700 strangers. My reasons for this are:
1. it will be less expensive and I will not have to sleep in a car and
2. I will not have to deal with a bajillion other douchebaggy ultrarunners who want to know how many miles I have run since whatever day and how many races I have run and won.
The last thing I will need a month out from this race is a million different people trying to give me advice on how to run when they hear it’s my first 100. This way, I am still just an anonymous runner when I toe the starting line in June. I have no one watching me except for myself, and I will be able to quietly prepare without having anyone freak me out with a million questions or horror stories. I’d rather have the people out West wondering who the hell I am when I’m a contender after 60 miles, than to have people anticipating a great race from me before I’ve even started 🙂

When I was down in C-ville, Francesca and Gill also showed me the trailer for a reality TV show that will feature them, “Run for your Life.” I am in the trailer – awes – and you can go here to watch it.

This week will be more of the same. Swimming this morning finally felt good again, I’m pretty pumped to be on my bike and riding well, and I’m picking my mileage back up again without problems. yay me.

>Lists

>5 things I would enjoy seeing/hearing more of in 2009:
-Reruns of Ally McBeal
-Reruns of Mad About You
-The song Betty Davis Eyes
-New seasons of Real World/Road Rules challenges
-Hot trainer at the gym

5 things I would enjoy seeing/hearing less of in 2009:
-a certain roommate
-“you need to come into work early”
-“you need to stay late at work”
-“Sorry…Dan finished your gallon of milk last night”
-Red lights on Fleet Street

Moral of this story: I really like TV. I really dislike work, stopping at red lights on my way to/from work, one roommate, and one roommate’s boyfriend.

>Getting a coach

>Last night in the car the subject of getting a coach and how beneficial it can be to your training came up in conversation. If you know me at all, you already know I am a huge proponent of hiring a coach, or at least seeking out a mentor of some sorts to help you with your training. This was my first year working with Frannie to help me improve my running. The time commitment was pretty minimal. We meet 3-6 months out from a goal race and plan out my training. She gives me 3 key workouts to do during each week, and the other ones are loosely defined to give me the ability to do what I want and keep things interesting. About once a week we touch base with a phone call or e-mails depending on how much time I have, and we go through what is working and what isn’t. She then amends my training plan according to these discussions to fine tune it for the race.

A lot of people are quick to say that with their training logs and their own knowledge of the sport they don’t need a coach. If you’re getting faster on your own what’s the point, right? Well I was getting faster on my own too. But there is something about having a coach who cares about your training when you don’t want to…who asks you the questions that you don’t think about when you’re done with a training run or a race…who believes that you can be better than you are now, and is always pushing you to the next step. Or, who is there to listen when things are frustrating because of an injury or just being super tired. I respect Frannie not only as a runner, but as a person as well, and I would put forth my best effort into any training plan she expected me to do. I never slack off on her expectations for training like I may allow myself to do with my own.

I admit that I have been lucky to find Frannie, and to have become a good friend of hers along the way. Not everyone has a coach who is so committed to them, or who would think of inviting their client to their house for a training weekend like the one I have coming up. However, not everyone may want to be that close to someone who will be putting them through some hellish workouts. You have to find the balance that works for you. All I know is that after working with Frannie for 3 months I won GEER against several women who have always beaten me considerably in the past, and 2 months after that I had an excellent race at JFK as well. I am confident that her guidance will lead me to a great race at Western States as well.

I have also recently been fortunate enough to have begun working with someone who I consider to be a coach in a different aspect of my life – diet & nutrition. Melissa Bosslet, of EB Nutrition, recently sat down with me to take a look at what I am eating now and how I can make some changes to be more beneficial for not only my overall health but also for the training I am putting in. I can honestly say in the first 3 days of changing some simple things with my diet I am already noticing some benefits, and I’m looking forward to what is to come with it. I will give it a couple weeks before I give it a complete writeup on how it’s going.

>Disco Stick Tri (aka Day 1)

>Maybe it was watching Bob win Survivor last night. Maybe it was waking up to a day of 66 degree weather. Maybe it was getting some new sweet gear for my bike this morning. Either way, when I got going for my workout today to kick off day 1 of training, I was feeling inspired. Thus, I kicked off the day with a workout that I will probably feel all week. I started out with a 45 minute swim, which felt just awful. I could certainly tell that I have only been in the pool once since October, and I’m looking forward to a feel weeks from now when my rhythm in the water is back. After that horribleness, I took a short break to get my bike ready for a ride. Mid-60s, it was a perfect day for a ride and I spent about 1.5 hours out there. I felt fine in terms of my legs, but it is definitely a goal of mine to get more comfortable on the bike again. All the hours of stationary spinning left me forgetting what it feels like with wind and sharp turns. After the ride, I headed out for a 45 minute run. I hit alternate 7:45/8’s pretty easily, and felt good. It was also nice to be out there in shorts and a t-shirt to work up a sweat, and I think that helped me mentally. I have named this workout the Disco Stick Triathlon (inspired by the lyrics of lovegame by Lady GaGa).

>Sometimes I impress myself

>This is one of those times.

*another time I impressed myself today: Getting my team to guess Apocalypto in charades in under 1 minute.

>Things that are weird

>1. The fact that my hotel room has 6 ESPN channels and not MTV.
2. The more dry/less dry knob on the clothes dryer machine. Who the f wants their wet clothes less dry?
3. The fact that a certain one of my roommates refuses to put dishes in the dishwasher.
4. The fact that there are still ducks living in Buffalo. They are stupid for not going South by now.
5. The fact that there are still people living in Buffalo. They are stupid for not getting the f out by now.
6. Michael Phelp’s wingspan.
7. The fact that the Hyatt in Buffalo still has not heard of wireless internet.
8. This post on craigslist.

>Dream Scheme

>

So after a weekend of partying like slash with rockstars in the Jers, I am back to blogging. Woop woop. First things first – if you are looking for a 2009 calendar, consider this one. The proceeds go to the Washington Trails Associate and it has some pretty sick pictures of the places where some races I hope to do someday are held. It also has a dece collection of race dates already put on the calendar for you!

Two – I just saw that Flight of the Conchords is in fact returning for another season January 18th (I actually think I had been told this, and forgot it. So re-remembering it today was just as fulfilling). This makes me happy, and so I’ll give you a short little FOTC quote to make you laugh and get pumped as well:
Dave: Hot bod. Gross face. I get it. Just hit that shit from behind.

Three – The Dream Scheme. In all of my planning and scheming for races this year, it has become obvious to me that I will not be able do more than 2 travel races per year, unless I want to live off of Cheerios and Ramen for the rest of my life. Or at least until I marry rich or win the lottery that is. Until then, the constraints of budgeting both time and money will have to keep me somewhat local for the majority of the racing season. Since I am running WS well ahead of my anticipated schedule, this got me looking at some of my other goal races/runs:
Canadian Death Race: I mostly want to do this because of the name, I won’t lie. Still, it looks like a pretty legit race in a part of Canada I definitely want to spend some time in, and the competition is usually pretty sparse on the woman’s side so I could have a dece shot at a good place.
St Croix 70.3: Interestingly enough, my bike has already riden this course with it’s previous owner. In fact, it was the only race on that bike before I owned it.
Comrades Marathon: I will have to catch this race on an “up” year, but probably not for the next 5 years.
Rim2Rim2Rim at the Grand Canyon: Hopefully I’ll get out there for this in the next 1-2 years. A group usually “races” it in October, but it seems simple enough to coordinate on your own.
Desert RATS: I am actually contemplating this for 2010. After this year I feel like I’m definitely in the shape I want to be in where I could attempt a multi-day race. My recoveries after both GEER and JFK were really good, and I don’t think it’s out of the question to race successive long runs if I train properly.
Badwater: I don’t even actually want to do this one. It’s just something that has to be done.
-A thru run of the Appalachian Trail: Yes, I realize that this one seems a little outlandish and excessive. Nonetheless, in a dream world I would find the time to do it. I feel like in the short term, the only possibility I would have of finding the time for it would be if I decide to go full-time to a grad school program, and leave my job well before the start of the school year to do this before the year started. Unlikely, but still an idea that sits in the back of my head.

>Things my mom said

>When I told her about WS:
1. Ummm…no you’re not.
2. Oh great, so you want to kill yourself.
3. Me: mom, there’s a really good medical staff there.
Mom: okay what’s his number?
Me: Why?
Mom: So I can call him.
Me: What? When?
Mom: Right now. And tell him to pull you out at 20 miles.
4. Me: Frannie and Gill are running it too! They said they know I can do it!
Mom: Oh great, I’m glad I taught you so much about peer pressure growing up.
5. These are the things that give me sleepless nights, Alyssa. Leah doesn’t do this to me.
6. Are you really my daughter?

>Taking time

>As I sat down today to map out my next six months of training, I realized that before I do that I should take some time to look at this past year and appreciate what I have already accomplished. In 2008, I had 11 individual races in which I entered competitively. The mileage of these races totals about 275 miles, plus several triathlons. I had one win and six top-ten finishes, as well as 4 PR’s. All of this was accomplished in the midst of graduating from college, moving to Baltimore, and starting my first job. This just shows me that no matter what else is going on, if i make the time to train, it will pay off. It also shows me that I have moved to a place with some pretty great friends. I have no doubt that TWSS has played an integral part in my athletic success in the past 6 months, and for that I’m thankful.

That being said, it’s clear to me that I’m in a pretty good place moving into 2009. As my coach/mentor/good friend Francesca Conte pointed out, an entry to WS could not have come at a better time for me. Finishing GEER – and finishing well – gives me the confidence to spring to a 100 miler despite my previous plans for one being in 2010. Although my race plans have changed a handful of times in the past month, now that my name is officially on the WS100 entrants list, I can confirm that my racing priorities for 2009 lie with WSER and IM Louisville. Western States is only about 200 days away, hence why I am already sitting down to look at training, seeing as it will be another couple weeks before I have an official coaching session. I still prefer to do my training plans and logs the old school way on paper, so there won’t be too many deets on here. The jist of the plan, however, is to take the rest of December relatively easy before getting into it seriously in January. Each month will then consist of week-long training blocks: build1, build2, Peak, and recovery. There is certainly debate on how long the building to peak phases should be, but I trained like this for GEER, and although I was tired, I think it’s what needs to be done to get your body in shape for endurance races. By April I will be running 30ish mile long runs weekly with the exception of the recovery weeks. This means that yes, Boston will most likely have to include a 10 mile run beforehand. It also means that I will probably be racing a 50K 5 days later (that doesn’t make me too nervous – in ’07 I raced Boston and 5 days later PRed at Collegiate Triathlon Nationals). In May I will boost the mileage a little bit more. There is a 24 hour race I plan to use as a way to get in about 60 miles, and I will be heading to Squaw Valley over Memorial Day weekend for the WS training run which includes about 70 miles in 3 days. I have not quite figured out my taper yet, but I will include a mini one before Eagleman, and then really rest for those last 2 weeks.

The real fun lies in balancing the time I will spend doing all that running with the time I need to spend on my bike and in the pool for the IM. For one thing, every recovery week will include a lot of both of those. On the other weeks, my long runs will have to be followed up the next day with a long ride. And I already swim often in the mornings, so that shouldn’t be too hard to keep up anyway. My track workouts will probably become more frequent hill workouts, because that is where I know I have the most improvement to make.

All in all, it will be nice to take the next month to chose my own workouts and not have to do a time consuming long run every weekend. But I still am looking forward to getting ’09 started and seeing what happens.