Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three Things Thursday

I’ve seen several of my running/tri-ing/blogging friends do a Three Things Thursday post, and while normally it’s not my thing, today it is. And luckily, it’s Thursday.

1. I cannot believe tomorrow is July 1st. I signed up for a 50 mile running challenge in July via dailymile. I know some of the bloggers that I read regularly average 50 miles in a week, but for me 50 miles in a month is a challenge! Hence the name, I guess. Two people calculated the work it would take. Here are my options: 1.6/miles a day; 16 plus 3 mile runs; 4 miles 3 times a week or 3 miles 4 times a week, plus a little extra. Whichever I choose, I need to make sure I average around 12.5 miles a week to make sure I don’t end up with too many miles to get done during the last week. I also need to remind myself that it’s a challenge, not a life or death situation. I will try, but if I don’t finish the full 50 miles, I will not beat myself up about it. (That was more of a message to me, than to you!) Also, please join me in the challenge if you’re interested!

2. This weekend, I will be doing my first open water swim for my training. I grew up swimming in lakes and oceans and I was even certified as a lifeguard while solely swimming in a lake. So I’m not nervous at all. I’m excited to figure out how much my time differs from lap swimming. I just need to find some poor soul to kayak next to me while I swim in case I get a foot cramp (which happens often) and need to hang onto something to work it out. I seriously cannot wait to get into that lake!

My anticipated training route from one beach to another.
About the same distance as my triathlon.

3. I went to EMS in Marlborough today. I wanted to check out their selection of bike shorts. I also decided to get a new helmet once I spotted a pretty blue one. My bike helmet is over 15 years old and is missing a tabby thing inside. So it wasn’t just an impulse buy. I needed a new one eventually. Why not now? I perused the cycling area looking for a few other things I needed, like a pump that I can take with me on rides, replacement tubes in case I get a flat tire (even though I have no idea how to change one!) and an all in one tool thingy that does fancy stuff. I talked with a very helpful salesman named Stephen who explained how to change a flat tire and how to use all the fancy stuff on my all in one tool thingy. We talked for a long time and he gave me some great tips on biking and eased my mind about a lot of things. I also sought out some cool water shoes/sandals by Keen, which I tried on but didn’t buy because I didn’t like the colors they had in the store (black), but I might buy online.

I discovered this shoe when one of my 3 year olds wore it to school.
I wish they made a lot more "kids" shoes in adult sizes. Thank you Keen!

Then I talked to the manager, Caroline, about the differences between gels and bars and chomps and gummies and all that stuff. She knew a lot about them and was able to help me make an educated guess as to what I might and might not like. I definitely feel more confident about all that energy stuff than I have in the past. As I was checking out, I was mentioning who helped me in the store and realized that I had gotten help from every single clerk in the store. Go me! They were all awesome and if you’re in the area, you should think of EMS for all your sports needs.

I spent 2 hours in the store. I have a weakness for sports items
and office supplies. The day they ever combine a store to
carry both sports gear and office supplies, I'm screwed.

Me and my sassy new helmet. I'm a dork, I know.

I’m so excited for the long weekend! Lots of training mixed with lots of relaxation!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I biked to New Hampshire today.

I biked to New Hampshire today. No, not in New Hampshire. To New Hampshire. From Massachusetts. I know.

I biked a total of 25 miles. This is my farthest bike ride to date. My previous ride had been 14 miles. I’m tired.

I did the Nashua River Rail Trail with a cycling group. I’ve done a few rides with this group, but people usually break off into smaller groups and ride at their own pace. Normally I bike in the 8-10 mph group. Today? The 15mph group. WHAT! I most definitely pushed myself to keep up with them and it was good. I felt strong and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, the desire I had to keep up and not fall back (i.e.: failure) kept me pushing to make sure I was with the group the whole time. Granted there was a slight decline on the way out to Nashua that made a 15mph pace not bad at all, but wouldn’t you know it, on the way back that slight decline became a slight incline. If people can walk to school in the snow-barefoot-uphill-both ways, why can’t I bike downhill both ways??

Maureen, Karen and Barry
Me. Obviously.
Trying to pretend this shot isn't set up
We lost Sue (not pictured) a few miles in due to a knee injury and then Maureen about 10 miles in due to a flat tire. Which reminds me, I really need to take a class and learn how to change a tire. I also need to get a tire kit, because if I had gotten a flat today, I would have been screwed. I have nothing with me to fix a flat. My tire pump is an old school pump that is too big to carry along on a ride. I don’t have a replacement tube in case it actually gets punctured and doesn’t just lose air. Going on these long bike rides without supplies to fix flats is just plain dumb. You can bet your Aunt Jemima I’d have been livid if I had to walk my bike back to my car 10+ miles! Luckily Maureen was able to fix her flat with the extra tube she had and was able to make it back to her car!

Welcome to New Hampshire! 
Clever little pit stop in someones
back yard along the trail
After we reached Nashua, Karen and Barry let me lead and set the pace. I actually did pretty well. I kept us at about 14mph for the first few miles. As we got closer back to our starting point, the incline was more obvious and I was fatigued from riding that far so we dropped to about 10-11 mph, which is still pretty good. With about 3 miles left to go, we did our own thing and went at our own pace. Karen took off and left us in the dust. She was very hungry and kept talking about her peanut butter crackers that she had in the car. I think she just wanted to get to them faster! I managed to hold onto her for at least a mile at around 14 mph, then I dropped back down to around 12 mph. I had a sweet mantra going on in my head “The faster you go, the sooner you’ll be done”. I was seriously hurting by this point. I won’t go into detail like I did the last time, but I need to invest in some bike shorts, WITH PADDING. Or a women’s bike seat. Either one. Or both. Shorter rides haven’t bothered me, but for these long rides, more padding is a must.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gels and energy bars and sports drinks, OH MY!

What’s the difference between Enhanced water and sports drinks. Enhanced water has vitamins; sports drinks have electrolytes. What does that even mean? I found this web page that talks about what is in sports drinks and why people need them but it started talking about ingredients and using words I can’t pronounce, let alone try to remember as I’m reading a label, so how am I supposed to know what’s good for me and what’s just extra unneeded calories. I mean at this point most calories in my life are unnecessary. Sports drinks will only add to that right?

I’ve seen a lot of talk about sodium and salt tablets too. I realize that sweat will release a lot of salt and just drinking water can be dangerous if salt levels get too low, but as an overweight person, I find it odd that adding more salt to my body will keep me on track for training. Right now in the training process, I’m not trying to lose weight. I know it will most likely happen, since I’m actually moving my body and not lazing around. But up until now I really haven’t seen a change in my weight.

Well, that’s a lie. Technically since January, I’ve lost about 30 pounds. It doesn’t seem significant to me though, because I haven’t seen huge leaps and bounds. I’ve been within the same 5 pounds for 2 or 3 months. I guess it’s slowly slipping down the scale without me really noticing though, because I was seeing the same 5 pounds back and forth 30 pounds ago. It’s a lose 5 then gain 4 type of game. Seeing the same numbers over and over, you don’t think you’re losing anything. It’s just back and forth.

Back to training: I’m trying to get to the point where I can race in my upcoming triathlon and not die not come in last finish. Somewhere in the back of my mind though, I’m always thinking about how professional athletes and people who run and are already stick figures would definitely need to replace sodium and carbohydrates and the other stuff you lose while swimming/biking/running. I don’t need that right? I have enough of that stuff and I could stand to lose a bit of it, right? I don’t get this stuff. Should I use it? How will it help me? And don’t even get me started on Gels. WHAT ARE THEY!! Is it like a meal in gel form? Do the astronauts eat it? What does it taste like? Will I gag? I don’t like gagging. Especially while trying to race. I have enough trouble staying upright and going in a forward motion. I don’t need to be gagging on something that’s not a liquid, yet not a solid. That freaks me out a little bit. Can’t I just eat a Kit Kat? I like Kit Kats. They've got sugar, salt and crispy stuff. It probably has enough extra things to keep me going in a race, should I lose anything (salt, electrolytes, carbs) in the process, and I won’t gag. It’s chocolate. No way can you gag on chocolate!

Oh god, and then there are the bars. Balance, CLIF, Power, Lara etc, etc, etc. What do THEY do? Meal replacement? Give energy? Do I eat a bar or gag on a gel, or is it the time for a sports drink, or should I just go with water?

See there are way too many things to keep track of and do I really need any of it? Can I just drink water and stop thinking about all these things? I need to hunt someone down who has done a lot of crazy races and knows what they are talking about with this stuff and take them out to dinner or something to I can pick their brain. (Don’t worry, the meal will be real food, not gels and bars). All this talk right here proves that even though I’ve been training for a triathlon for 6 months already and have done four 5Ks with another one coming up in a few weeks, I’m still a complete newbie at this stuff. Is there a hotline for people like me?

I'm going on a fairly long bike ride tomorrow. I'm filling my hydration pack with water. I'm going to buy Gatorade to put in my water bottle (or is Gatorade too 1980? what's the new sports drink these days?) and I'm bringing a CLIF bar. It has chocolate in it, so we're good there. Even if I have no idea what I'm doing, I can fake it until I make it. Booyah.

And now that I’ve said it out loud and actually realized it, somebody give me a bleeping high five for losing 30 pounds in 6 months. It may not be a  “lot”, but it’s a pretty damn good number for someone who’s not really trying. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do you need some inspiration?

This is my inspiration for today.

Thumbs up for Rock and Roll

One of these days I'm going to ride my bike to and from work, and make it a regular thing. One of these days. This kid believes in me, so I can DO IT!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Learning my left from my right

This is my first blog post at my new blog name, so it’s most definitely cause to celebrate. Let’s start by celebrating the fact that I have mastered the art of the Grab, Gulp & Return. Okay, maybe mastered is a little hasty. But I did it and I figured out why I wasn’t able to do it without possible death on previous attempts. I’m right handed. My initial reaction was to grab for the water bottle with my right hand to make sure I had everything under control. However, this put my left hand in control of the bike. The non-dominant hand that can barely hold a fork correctly was controlling the two-wheeled man powered vehicle. Wicked smart, eh?

A while back, I talked about getting a hydration pack to use while biking so I didn’t have to risk my life for a sip of water. Well, I got one. Technically, I just got a reservoir and it fits inside a small backpack I have. It’s two liters and is good for about 2 hours of biking. Or the way I drink, about 30 minutes. Even though this contraption straps to my back and has a straw-like object that comes over my shoulder and attaches by magnet, it still requires me to reach up and detach it from the magnet and bring it to my mouth. Only once have I dropped it from my mouth and it attached itself to the magnet. All other times, it dangled by my side until I lined it up with the magnet to attach it. What I’m trying to say here is, I still need to let go of the handlebars with one hand to get a drink. It’s not as extreme as leaning over to grab a water bottle, but it’s still letting go! While using this, I learned that it is much safer, and less wobbly if I use my left hand for all my drinking needs and use my right hand to keep my life safe.

I discovered a new bike trail on Sunday. It’s about 2.5 miles long so I don’t need to worry about carrying a lot with me. I decided to leave the hydration pack at home and just bring water bottles. I figured the trail was short enough that I could just stop at either end and get a drink. It was quite a fun trail. It was hilly enough to give me a good workout, and the hills were spaced far enough apart to give me a slight break every once in a while. At one point I decided to test out my left-handed grab theory and I was able to grab the water bottle, drink from it and put it back cleanly. On the first try. High five. Of course I was only going 10 mph and would never try it on a downhill going 20+ mph. But I’m making progress.  Baby steps.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

House-warming party right here!

Still the same journey to becoming a triathlete, brand new name. Stay tuned for more.

I imported all posts/comments from my old blog to this one. Please follow me here as I will not be using anymore. 
Um, I also plan sprucing this place up a bit eventually. Need a new look fo-sho.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Running is the devil. It hurts people.

As I sit here with ice on my shins, I’m reflecting back to the past few months. I’ve been so emotionally drained because I’m pushing myself physically and yet, still, I cannot run for 3 minutes straight. I’ve been doing this since January. Swimming, biking and trying to run. I’ve surpassed my swimming and biking goals easily. Yet I’m stuck on running. I’ve tried the Couch to 5K program in the past and haven’t been able to move past week 3 because I can’t get up to running for 3 minutes straight. So in beginning this triathlon journey I decided to follow a triathlon plan and work on the running that way. It didn’t work. So I switched to other running plans. I tried running drills, I tried short intervals for longer periods of time, I tried everything I could think of, but I just couldn’t get this running thing done. Finally I decided to give Couch to 5K another chance. I worked my way up through week 2 and I felt strong and confident that maybe I could do this. I had been building up endurance and strength in other areas since January, and now I needed to work on the running. Finally, I hit week 3 and even though I knew I hadn’t been able to do it in the past, I felt confident. Until I tried it again. I’ve tried Week 3, day 1 three times now. I told myself I wasn’t going to go past a day that I couldn’t complete and go about it at my own pace, but that I’d keep to the schedule so that I didn’t do too much too fast and get hurt.

Well guess what. I’m hurt. Last night I went for a walk with my mom and dogs, but decided to do a few running intervals up and down the side streets of our complex. I started having shin pain and had to walk most of the time. Tonight, I tried Week 3 day 1 again and couldn’t run for more than 45 seconds before I had to walk due to the pain in my shins. First, I had a hissy-fit and flailed my arms, stomped my foot (which made my shin hurt more) then cried "Why the hell can't I just DO this?". Finn looked at me curiously, probably wondering if I was talking to him or myself. Then I re-grouped, because now I was crying in public and I tried doing a speed-walker shuffle/pee-pee dance run-walk thing. That alleviated the pain and I was going faster than my normal walking, but it’s still not running. And I’m sure I looked wicked cool. Seriously, just try and picture it.

I started thinking about why I’m having shin pain now, after 6 months of trying this running stuff and I think I’ve found the culprit. Pavement. I’ve done almost all of my training up until now on the treadmill. Besides my 5K races, I haven’t been outside at all before Week 2 day 3 of Couch to 5K. Even though I’m completely discouraged, and pissed off that I can’t do this, I’m not a quitter and I will complete this.

I have two options right now. I can continue my training on the treadmill and finish the couch to 5K program on the treadmill and then transition to pavement after I know I can run for 30+ minutes straight. Or, I can start over. Week 1, Day 1 on the pavement and build up that way. I'm seriously torn between the two. Both have pros and cons. Your thoughts?

Either way right now I need to take a few days off of running so my shins can stop hurting. I also need to be stretching more. Maybe take a few yoga classes like I keep talking about to get myself more limber. 

But no matter what I decide, I will never quit. Quitting is a weakness and I’m way too proud for that bullshit.

By the way, don’t forget to check out my “What’s in a Name” contest. It ends on Friday night. Hurry up and enter, because as it stands, Jenn and Richelle are winning by default as they have the only entries! And really with so few entries your odds of winning are huge! 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's in a name?

I've been thinking about the name of my blog and I want to change it. I think. 

More specifically, the address. Right now it's Since this is a blog about my mission to a triathlon and what I'm doing to train, I'd like it to be something about that and not "sariah8" which is really a username more than anything. And because I'm also planning on a half marathon after the triathlon, I guess I'm in this for the long haul and don't know if I just want it to be all about the tri. But, I'm indecisive. And I also can't think of a name. So I need your help.

Any ideas? I was thinking of making this a contest/giveaway, but I'm new at this and don't really have anything to give away. Um, a pair of socks? YES. A special fun, funky pair of socks. Who doesn't like socks? And I'll choose the socks based on the winner's personality. So they'll definitely be fun, funky & cool! Really, this is a win-win situation for all of us!

Here's the deal, you can list as many blog names as you like. But put each idea/name in a different comment. And follow me too. Yes, bonus points if you're a follower. Who knows, maybe 2 pairs of socks will be given away! (Probably) Actually, yes. I will choose a winner based on the blog name choice and another winner will be chosen at random for a bonus prize.

Okay, let's get organized. First winner will be chosen based on my biased opinion and what I like for a blog name. The second winner will be chosen at random. The prize: besides the sheer satisfaction of being the winner, SOCKS.

Enter as follows (each entry needs a new comment):
  • Suggest a name for my blog (or two, or three, or seven)
  • Follow my blog (and then you'll have to re-follow my new blog once the new name is chosen, haha!!)
  • Promote this contest/giveaway on your blog, twitter, facebook, run through the streets screaming, make posters, etc.

What I'd like:
  • Something clever of course, because you know me. I'm clever.
  • Using my name is good (it's Sara in case you're new around here)
  • Anything dealing with swimming, biking, running, triathlon, racing, etc
  • Catchy is good
  • Play on words
  • What you think when you think of me (maybe I don't want that)
  • Brutal honesty

I'll end the contest on Friday of this week (6/17/11) and announce the winner on Saturday, 6/18/11. A whole week of fun!

I can't wait too see all your ideas!! And GO.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mental fatigue vs. Physical fatigue. Which is worse?

Que a serious post here:

Something’s going on with me lately. I’ve been having what I’ve been calling psychotic breaks. Or mental breakdowns. Whichever sounds scarier. I’ve diagnosed myself on WebMD, and it’s true. I’m crazy.

When training for a 5K or 10K or triathlon, or half marathon, or anything really, is the mental fatigue worse than the physical fatigue? I get it that I’m working my body harder than I have before and I’m pushing the limits. I’m getting stronger and I’m able to do much more than I could 6 months ago. But I feel like I’m losing my mind. Like I’m so mentally tired that I can’t control my emotions in a normal way. I’ll fly off the handle and get really angry and scream in a Hulk-like manner, then dissolve into tears for an undetermined time period. And then 10 minutes later, I’m fine. Back to “normal”.

A few things have happened lately that I am not proud of and I debated talking about it here to give the full picture, but decided against it because, honestly, I'm ashamed of my actions. I've done a few things in the past two months that I haven't been able to control and immediately regretted, which causes the tears and hysterical crying. Maybe it's my way of "getting it all out", but it's not cool. I need another outlet. This anger is NOT like me. I don’t know what to do. Yoga? Meditation? Massages? Will that really help? Is it worth my money?

Is the fact that I'm pushing myself physically affecting me emotionally and mentally?

I’ve been slightly more moody than usual too. But I’ve attributed that to stress. And the only stressful thing going on lately is this triathlon training. When I push myself too hard, I get stressed out and tell myself that I need to calm down and take more rest days to balance everything out. But then if I take more rest days, I panic and think that I won't be ready in time. It's a vicious cycle.

I also don't have anyone to talk to about it really. Not in person anyway. I ramble about 5Ks and training runs and bike rides and what I did last night for my workout, but no one that I come in contact with on a regular basis really cares. It's not stuff that anyone is really into, so to them it's boring. It would be like someone passionate about politics talking to me about the debate they watched on TV last night. I'd gloss over and tune them out within 30 seconds because I don't care. So I don't expect anyone to really want to hear my ramblings, especially since this has been going on for the past 6 months. I know if the situation were reversed, I'd be sick of hearing about it. I have a group of people that I'm doing this triathlon with, but we don't train together on a regular basis. We just schedule things every now and then depending on all of our schedules. So it's not like I have someone who's obsessed with this like I am who can understand where I'm coming from. Even though I'm surrounded by people doing this with me, I feel completely alone.

What do you do when you have moments like these and don't know which end is up?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

April vs. May: The ultimate showdown on National Running Day

April totals
Swim: 1.45 miles
Bike: 42.16 miles
Run: 18.5 miles
Rest days: 12
Yoga: 20 mins

May totals
Swim: 2.62 miles
Bike: 25.27 miles
Run: 18.03 miles
Rest days: 15

Compared to April, May sucked. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, but my running was less, my biking was almost half, and I had more rest days. I need to work on that hardcore. Swimming looked pretty good though! I really felt like I did more in May. And seeing the numbers puts me in my place. So I need to cut it out and stop with so many rest days. I mean, I know I need to rest my body, and I think I really only took rest days when I was in pain, sick or utterly exhausted (or unless I hadn’t taken a rest day that week and it was scheduled). Except for last weekend. Two of those rest days were complete laziness. But 2 out of 15 isn’t too bad. Should I really be putting myself down for this? Or is it normal? I feel like I should have done better.

I’m stepping up my game in June. I swear. Maybe.

I started that enthusiasm with a run this afternoon. I had a vet appointment for my mom’s cat at 6pm. I get out of work at 5pm, So, I planned to run after I got home from the vet at around 6:30 or 7pm. Instead, I got out of work early around 3:15 and called my vet to get an earlier appointment. They didn’t have one for the cat doctor, but I needed to take my dog, Snickers, in for her yearly exam anyway and scheduled a 4pm with the dog doctor.

Meanwhile, a huge storm front was moving through.

The white X is where I live. On the outskirts of the storm.
By huge, I mean severe thunderstorms and tornado watches. Since it was only sprinkling when I left the vet’s office for the first time, I decided to get my run in before my second vet appointment. I took my other dog, Finn, with me. He’s 7 months old and not a good leash dog, but I figured, practice makes perfect, right? So we set out. It was barely sprinkling as we started and figured I wasn’t going to melt so why not? Well, after about 3/4 mile, it started downpouring. That’s why not. One of my neighbors saw me go by and opened her door and yelled out to me “We’re under a tornado watch! You should get inside!” I replied “Yes, I know, thank you!” and continued on my way.

See those 3 blue spirals? Yup, tornado touchdowns.

Finn actually did quite well on the leash.
New running partner!
Completely soaked.
What was I thinking? I have to admit, I was more concerned with getting hit by lightening that I was with a tornado. I was counting the seconds between lightening and thunder to make sure I was safe. All of a sudden, I saw lightening and counted to ONE, before the thunder snapped all around me. Finn was jogging slightly behind me at this point and he hightailed it up to me and tried to go between my legs, almost toppling me in the process. I was already soaked, I didn’t need to fall into a puddle, thankyouverymuch.

I took that as a sign to turn around and go home. After vet appointment number two, the sun came out. My timing is amazing.

But about the actually running. I re-did Couch to 5K week 2 day 3, since I hadn’t run in a week, but I felt like it was easy. I mean, not easy, but I probably could have done week 3 day 1 which goes from a 1:30 running intervals to 3 minute intervals. And, this was outside and not on my treadmill where I’ve been doing the C25K program. I thought it was going to be harder. I was pleasantly surprised. However, my biggest critic (myself) had been analyzing everything. Either my biking last weekend really helped strengthen my legs and made my running stronger, or, I was running a lot slower than I do on the treadmill. My pace on my Garmin says that I was running slower. WAY slower. Yet my average times are right on point, even faster, than what I was doing on the treadmill. Whatever, who knows. Blame it on the rain. And really, isn’t the point to keep running for longer periods of time, and work on the speed later? Right, I thought so.

I guess it was only fitting that today is National Running Day

I found that out tonight after my run. No, that’s a lie, I heard about it earlier today on twitter, but I forgot about it until I saw people talking about it, and showing off their badges, when I was reading blogs tonight. So of course, I got my very own badge. I mean, really, If I’m gonna do it, I want a medal badge for it.

Uh, not really. I run because I have to. Because it's part of the triathlon. It doesn't feel great. Whoever tells you that is lying. It hurts.
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