Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chunky Dunk Duathlon Race Report

I’m tired, sore and I had a headache all day yesterday. That can only mean one thing. I did a duathlon! I’m exhausted! I can only imagine what the triathlon will do to me! I might be crawling across the finish!

I chose this race back in May because of the name. We have a sign on our fridge that says, We don’t skinny dip, we chunky dunk. It is just hilarious to me. So, when I was perusing sites for 5Ks to do this summer and I came across this, I just had to sign up. Plus, who doesn’t want a t-shirt that says CHUNKY DUNK on it?

One of my triathlon-training buddies came up Friday night to stay at my place to avoid the 3 hours drive the morning of the race. We got to the race site at about 7:30am and got in line to register.

Then a lot of things happened all at once that is better explained in pictures:

Since it was a swim/run race, we had to get our numbers written on us in sharpie.
I was the 14th crazy person to sign up for the race!
I look way too excited with way too much stuff in my hands! 
Trying to figure out where to pin everything. Shirt or no shirt?
I went with a shirt. No one needs to see a shirtless me running!

This was my transition area all set up. Too much stuff?
The pride and joy of the race! I love it!

As we got everything situated and organized at our transition area, which seemed like it took forever because I kept moving things around nervously, we decided to get into the water to get a feel for the temp and do a quick warm up swim. I also needed to test out my new earplugs. I can NOT swim without earplugs. Water gets in my ears and distracts me to no end. I won’t wait until I get out of the water to shake the water out, I’ll do it with every stroke, meaning I will be picking my head out of the water every 2 seconds to prevent the water from getting in my ears. It just bugs me. Recreational swimming (i.e. lounging around in the water) is fine for me without earplugs, but swimming laps or anything of the sort, I NEED earplugs. There’s a point, to this tangent, I promise. I was afraid that I’d lose my earplugs after the swim portion as I was frantically trying to get myself dried off and ready for the run. Now I guess that’s not so much of a big deal since I wouldn’t be swimming soon thereafter the race and I could easily go buy new ones, but I wanted to be prepared ahead of time and possible have a pair that had a string holding them together to help me keep track of them. While I was in Rite-Aid the day before the race, I looked at their earplug selection and figured all I’d find were the foam ones for sleeping or concerts. But lo and behold, they had swimming earplugs AND they had strings attaching them AND it was a 2 pack! Score!

See my way cool earplugs? And how awesome do we look in our swim caps?
Testing out the water
Doing a warm up swim. Savor this; it's the only picture of me in the water, swimming. Maybe.
We got out of the water and made sure everything was ready for the transition (again) and then just milled around until the start of the race. It all kind of happened fast. I knew the start time was 8:30 and we were organizing our stuff at about 8 and testing out the water around 8:15, but it just happened so fast!  We started the race in waves. I was in wave one. I figured at least if I got a head start, I would be finishing the swim as the faster guys were just about to finish and I wouldn’t get as trampled, so I was happy about my wave assignment. Not to mention it gave me a head start so I might not be last! (HA!)

It was an in water start and we had to cross the chip mats before we entered the water. I don’t understand how they did the chip timing if we crossed the mat a full 10-15 seconds before the race actually started, but I used my trusty Garmin, G-Cube, to keep track of things for me. Yes, in the swim too. He was under my swim cap – sneaky devil!

If you look closely, I'm out there somewhere.
Probably just finished rounding the buoys at the time this picture was taken.
My exit out of the water wasn’t captured, but don’t worry, you don’t want to see that anyway. I was shocked and very happy to see that my swim time was


I have been averaging a swim time of 27-28 minutes per half mile for my open water swims, so this 4-minute reduction was exciting! I’m sure it was the adrenaline of a race that pushed me to go faster, but also I gained a lot of self-esteem by passing people. Yes, me, passing people. I know my time isn’t that fast compared to a lot of people, but swimming is my strongest area of the three triathlon sports, so to see myself get better and pass people in the swimming portion, where I actually feel good about things, was great. I don’t pass people in any of the other 2 areas, so I needed this to reassure myself. Just a personal thing. Don’t judge.

And let me add a side note here about my earplugs. They worked great, however, I need to adjust the length of the string because it kept getting caught under my arm because it was so long and I came close to yanking them out of my ears (by accident) because of this. I guess this is why we don't try new things on race day, huh?

My transition time was 3:29. I’ve never done a transition to anything before, so I’m happy with this time. I also knew I wasn’t going to run in just a bathing suit, yet I didn’t have time (or the guts) to yank it off in front of God and everybody to change clothes. So I threw on my running capris and a t-shirt. I had planned ahead and wore my sports bra underneath my bathing suit so I didn’t have to worry about that. Could you imagine seeing that in transition?

Off to the races!
I headed off for a 5K through the woods along the Cotton Valley Rail Trail, yes the very same path that I bike most weekends when I’m up here in New Hampshire. I was very familiar with it having ridden it several times and having completed the Dog Days of Summer on it a few weekends ago. My complaint about it last time was the amount of tiny pebbles and rocks that I got into my shoes while running. Luckily this time, it rained the night before. And by rain, I mean torrential downpour. It kept the path wet enough so that there wasn’t much dust to fly around and get caught in the sneakers. There were a few puddles along the way that took up the entire path and caused runners to either run through them or step off the path completely to go around them. I went around them. I was wet enough from the swim and my bathing suit soaking my pants and t-shirt. I didn’t need my feet wet too!

I tried something new with this race, and it might be why I’m still sore a day later. It’s no secret that I’m struggling with running. The last time I complained talked about it someone commented and mentioned that she just kept going with the running and didn’t take walk breaks. I scoffed at that idea, because it’s impossible for me to not take walk breaks while running. In fact, it’s mostly walking, and bits of running here and there. Someone else had mentioned the same thing to me earlier this year. She said she did a shuffle-jog thing and although it was kind of the same pace as her running/walking intervals, she felt that it allowed her body to think she was running and she was able to get that shuffle-jog to a faster pace and it was easier for her than doing the running/walking interval workouts. I decided to try it, because lord knows I need all the help I can get in the running department.

Guess what. I ran the entire 5K. Let me explain. The word “run” here means a shuffle-jog, but it was a huge milestone. Because I did the entire race like that. A few times where I checked my pace and saw that my “running” was starting to get close to my regular walking pace, I’d walk for a little but to give those muscles a rest, then start the running again. It worked! I am sore in areas that I didn’t know had the capability to be sore. I’m guessing that means those are the runner’s muscles. Because I sure haven’t used those things before!

Overall my pace was about the same as my run/walk interval time, but I maintained that pace the entire time instead of having a slow walking pace and then and minimal and only slightly faster running pace.

The 5K was an out and back so I was able to see a lot of people coming back as I was still going out. Almost every single one of them had a positive thing to say to me. I’m sure I looked like a hot mess out there doing my shuffle-jog, but I was doing it. And I was proud of myself for doing it, the entire time. I’ve heard people say that they don’t like the “encouragement” or “good job, you’re almost there” from other people during a race, but I love it. It keeps me motivated and makes me feel like we are all in this together. Even though I might be last or close to last, I greet every passerby (yes, even if they are ahead of me) with a huge smile when they say “Good job”, and I always say “Thanks”. Because I mean it. One day (hopefully) I’ll be on the other end of that and I hope I can give someone else encouragement too.

But, on a more serious note, don’t say, “you’re almost there” if it’s not true. I heard “almost there” about 57 times and I was most certainly not “almost there”. Liars.

Coming into the home stretch: when I really was "almost there".
Crossing the finish line, so happy.
I finished the 5K in a time of 51:36 (according to my Garmin, because the race results only show my swim & transition times).

My goal was to finish this race in 1:30.

Race time total: 1:18:59. That’s an 11-minute goal buster.

High Five. And I'm not gonna lie, I teared up a little bit. This was a big thing for me! I did it and I did it better than I thought I would. That's cause for happy tears.

I also had to share my finish picture zoomed out because what I love about it is the volunteer with her hands up in the air, just like mine. She was just as excited for me as I was for me!

That's the kind of support I'm talking about!!
And my favorite support system: my mom. She drove us to the race, guarded our things in the transition area, took pictures and hooped and hollered when I was coming out of the water and coming back in from the 5K. I couldn’t ask for a better supporter.

Thanks mom!
This race was the first annual and it was very well organized. This is the second event (in one month, no less!) that I've attended that has been hosted by The Nick. The organizers were great, the location was great, the volunteers were amazing. The sponsors were great too. We got this bag of swag. 

Coupons galore!
It was an overall fun, happy, and encouraging atmosphere. I will most definitely do this race again next year. Who's with me??

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Today, I biked. And you’re never gonna guess where, so I’m going to tell you. I biked through Creepyville. And I survived!

I know I said I would never, ever, ever bike there again, but it looked fairly safe today with lots of activity going on, so I went for it.

I guess the rail trail club rides the tracks during the week. I had to hop off the trail to let them pass at one point.

I knew I wanted to do more than 6 miles and I didn’t feel like going into town and back twice. I thought Creepyville was 6 or 8 miles one way, but it was only 3, so I went the other way into town as well. Once I got there I decided to get myself an ice cream. Actually, I won’t lie, I stopped to get money out of my car as I passed it, so it was a premeditated ice cream stop.

My mom pouted at me when I told her about my ice cream stop.
You snooze you lose, sister!!
I sat along the docks and enjoyed this view as I ate my ice cream.
Even though I survived Creepyville, I was still uneasy the whole time. The second I set foot (technically wheels, HA!) on my usual route, I was more relaxed and actually enjoyed it. There are more sites and pretty things to look at on the route into town.

2. I decided along this bike ride that I do not like Nuun. Actually I had decided it twice before, but I tried it again today. I’ve given it the good ‘ol college try and I just can’t do it. It reminds me of Airborne or Emergen-C. The effervescent fizz is what gets me. It’s not carbonated, there’s just some fizz left over from the alka-seltzer-like creation that makes me gag. I’ve tried letting it sit out to get all the fizz out and throwing it in the fridge to make it super cold. I just can’t do it. So I have half a tube of Pink Lemonade and an unopened tube of Lemon Tea. If anyone wants it, please let me know.

3. Tomorrow I have big plans to bring a huge-ass iced coffee down to the beach early in the morning. Drink it while drinking in the beauty of the lake (see what I did there?) and enjoy the peace and quiet of the beach before all the families arrive for the day. Then I’ll go for a swim, dry off, maybe get some sun, get back up to the house and shower all before noon (hopefully). Then I’ll spend the afternoon at the outlets! And possibly a pedicure.  That’s my idea of a rest day before my Chunky Dunk Duathlon on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My first track workout

I almost died.

I know by now you think I exaggerate when I blog. But I don’t. I almost died. Ok, maybe not, but I could have!

This was by far the hardest running workout I’ve done. Now, maybe a few months ago when I was complaining about not being able to run for 3 minutes straight, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Now it’s this.

I've decided to use track workouts as a tool to get me used to running outside. I’ve had problems with shin pain while running on pavement and none whatsoever while running on the treadmill. I figured I’d just build up my endurance on the treadmill and then slowly switch to outside running.

After today’s track run, I think I’m going to have to re-evaluate my run training. Again.

My plan was to do a warm up lap, then run a lap - walk a lap 6x, then do a cool down lap for a total of 2 miles. I figured this was do-able for me.

When I got to the track I was reminded of how large the track actually was. I mean, a lap is only .25 mi, but looking at it is quite daunting. And although I’ve been running close to .25 on the treadmill when I do my intervals, I doubted myself. Now that I sit and think about it, I should have pushed myself and made myself complete a lap, running.

What really happened:

I started my warm up lap and half way through, my left knee started hurting and my right mid-foot was hurting. All mental, I told myself, suck it up. During my first lap I refigured my lap running and decided to run on the straight-a-ways and walk on the curved parts of the track. That way I was running half the lap, but with breaks in between. I though if I could do that easily for a lap or 2, I’d try a full lap and see how that went.

As I finished my first lap, I just couldn’t bring myself to start running. It had nothing to do with pain, or discomfort or not thinking I could do it. It had to do with the fact that 2 boys were playing football in the middle of the field and they could see me. Now, granted these boys looked like they’re in high school and probably half my age, so I definitely wasn’t trying to impress them with my "running skillz", but I could feel their judgment. In reality they weren’t even paying attention to me. They were playing football. But I kept walking for lap 2 pretending I meant to do it. I pep talked myself all the way around the track and prepared for my first run interval.

I ran down the first straight-a-way and was tired, but figured it wasn’t too bad and maybe I could run a straight & curve together on the next lap. But my walk breaks didn’t slow my heart rate down quick enough and made my runs harder and harder each time I got to a straight-a-way.

I think a lot of things contributed to this malfunction of a workout. I went into it self conscious of people around me. I hadn’t run in a week. I didn’t workout for 3 days straight last week, and although I know rest days happen and need to happen for proper recovery, the mental anguish of it was weighing on me. So naturally, I couldn’t push myself harder. I had already made up my mind that I couldn’t do it.

I kept track with my Garmin, G-cube (Yes, I named him), and my running intervals were about 30 seconds each. At least I was consistent.

This totally squashed my bubble about my progress of Couch 2 5K. On the treadmill, I’m on week 4. According to today’s workout, I’m at week negative 1. I’m going to start doing track runs regularly so I can re-build up my endurance. I need it to re-gain my running confidence.

This 'after' picture is way better than the
first one I took seconds after finishing.
Trust me.
In the meantime I’m going to spend the rest of my vacation (oh yeah, I’m on a 5 day vacation now and can relax & train a LOT!) cycling and swimming and I suppose running. Blech. Oh and somewhere in there I’m doing a duathlon consisting of swimming and running.

It’s called the Chunky Dunk. I’m not kidding. And I’m so excited for it!

Honestly, I just want the T-shirt.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Travel, no workouts, one gross hotel, extreme temps and an a cappella sensation.

Put all that in a bag and shake it up. You've got my weekend:

This weekend I took a very mini vaca to Atlantic City. The day before I left I wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to take a rest day. I knew I probably wouldn’t get a chance to work out the rest of the weekend but if I could, I would. Even so, I didn’t want that rest day on Friday, because it meant having 3 days in a row of no training. However, it was just one of those things that happened and I had to deal with it.

I hadn’t been to Atlantic City in at least 8 years so I was excited to visit the love child of Reno and Vegas. As we were driving down to AC on Saturday, we noticed the temperature in my car climbing rapidly. I wanted to be able to walk my way around AC or try a run if the fitness center at the hotel wasn’t up to par. But seeing the ridiculous temps while driving pretty much told me that it wasn’t going to happen.

This was 10 seconds after hitting 105.
We arrived at our hotel to find that our room was one of the few that had working air conditioning. Score. That alone was the selling point given that our view was of dumpsters outside the building, the ice machine on our floor wasn’t working, 2 of my pillows had something blackish on them and there was a curious looking stain resembling blood on the carpet that we covered with the ice bucket to ensure we wouldn’t step on it by accident. Whatever, it was one night and I had my own pillow with me.

We had an agenda for visiting AC other than suffocating weather and terrifying hotel rooms. We had tickets to see Straight No Chaser during their residency at Harrah’s Casino. And I love blackjack. We left our ghetto fabulous hotel and went over to Harrah’s for the night.

We had dinner at one of the restaurants near the concert venue (which ironically was named “The Concert Venue”. They’re original.) and I noticed our waitress had on a button that said “Ask Me about Straight No Chaser”. So I asked. Then I asked her about her button and she took it off and gave it to me.

And then I put it on.
I have seen Straight No Chaser in concert more than a few times. I love, love, love a cappella and these guys are amazing. Like, amazing times 100. Each and every one of them is filled to the brim with talent. And ladies, they aren’t bad to look at either!

You’ve probably even heard of these guys and didn’t even know it. Around Christmas time their famous 12 Days of Christmas song is on the radio all the time.

Since I just received my Run Around Sara bracelets I figured I could put them to good use and share a few with these guys. I may or may not have fired a bracelet up on stage during the show. You’ll have to ask them if it’s true or not, but as I talked to them after the show they were more than willing to show their support.

My previous blog post talked about why I got these bracelets in the first place and I’m glad these guys were happy to model them for me.

One of the guys spotted my button and asked me about it. I said that they were some group of guys that could sing. He asked me if they were any good and I said “Eh, they’re okay”. I don’t think he knew I was joking, because he didn’t seem too impressed with my answer.  What I should have said was this right here:

Because they are all that and a bag of chips!
Check them out if you can. You won't be disappointed.
After all that excitement, we blew some money in the slots and decided that people watching was a lot more fun than the slots and we played a little game I like to call “Who needs a mirror?”.  There were a LOT of contestants.

We went back to our hotel to suffer through one night of gross. (Comfort Inn, I’m looking at you here.)  The next day brought us the same crazy temperatures so after a lackluster continental breakfast (though I’m not was free!!) we decided to check out the fitness center. If it had a/c we were gonna do it, since there wasn’t a pool on the premises and it was still in the triple digits outside. I asked at the front desk where it was located and was told that it was on the 4th floor, but it was undergoing renovations and we couldn’t use it. But it was there! Hey, thanks.

So we packed up and left. Three days, people. Three days of no working out. I’m guessing I’m going to have to hurt myself at the gym tomorrow to make up for this. I can’t wait.

I support my you?

My co-worker and close friend, Alyson, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma last summer right around this time. She fought her battle in about 5 months of intense chemotherapy and is now cancer free. (!!!) She is walking in the Light the Night evening walk in October and I am lucky enough to part of her team.

“Light The Night Walk is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's evening walk and fundraising event. It is the nation's night to pay tribute and bring hope to thousands of people battling blood cancers and to commemorate loved ones lost.” (source)

If you can, please visit my fundraising page and make a donation to support my participation in the Light The Night Walk and help save lives!

If you’re the type to need motivation, I’ve got just the thing. Alyson has bracelets that she is selling for $5 and the money is going straight to our Light the Night fundraising. In fact, you can just go straight to my fundraising page and donate there. Once you’ve donated, please let me know via e-mail (runaroundsara [at] gmail {dot} com) and I will get your info to send you a bracelet.

In support of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
After I saw these bracelets and wore mine for about a week, I decided I wanted bracelets of my own. I know, monkey see, monkey do. It’s common for me.

In support of...well...running :)
The text says "I run you?"
Same deal. Donate $5 you get one of these bracelets. Just donate to my fundraising page and let me know by e-mail and I will send you a bracelet. For every $5 you donate, you get a bracelet. You can choose the bracelet that you’d like.

Any donation amount is accepted. If you don’t want a bracelet, or only want to donate $1, we will take it! Every little bit helps!

If you want to join us in walking the Light the Night walk to support and raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society please do! The walk is in Boston, MA at the Boston Common on October 13th at 7:00pm. You can click on the link “Walk With Us” at the top of my fundraising page to become part of the team.

Alyson’s life was saved by the amazing doctors and nurses at Mass General Hospital in Boston. It is the walks like these that raise money in support of various types of cancer that helped her and her family learn more about her Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and helped her make an informed decision about her treatment options.

Please support this cause if you can.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday the nick of time too!

And now I’ve apparently made this a regular thing. Whatevs.

1. Is it wrong to have a smoothie for breakfast and a smoothie for lunch? I don’t mean a protein smoothie either. I mean frozen fruit and milk and a spoonful of peanut butter. And by spoonful I mean large quantity of peanut butter, because that's how I roll. There’s protein in that right? Right. Yesterday, I was not hungry for anything except for smoothies. I knew I should up the ante and add some protein, but I didn’t have any and I don’t know what kind to get and honestly, I feel like protein shakes and/or smoothies are things that only body builders drink. Am I wrong? Apparently I am. After my day of “smoothie” meals, I attempted a run. I was shaky and could barely finish it. I apparently hadn’t fueled well. I mean besides the smoothies, I had a small wrap with romaine lettuce and a small amount of chicken in it. I barely ate anything all day and expected to be able to perform the same as I have before. I kind of answered my own question there. Don't worry, today was National Junk Food Day. I totally made up for my lack of food intake yesterday! 

2. Last night I also had dinner at a co-workers house. Her daughter worked in my classroom last year, but she’s moved on to be a Wellness Counselor with Herbalife. She and her team did an assessment for me and showed me things that I was interested in (such as protein powders) and suggested some things that might help me out with my training. They have meal replacement smoothies, protein powder, energy drinks, protein bars, meal bars, etc. Whatever meets your needs as an athlete, they probably have. But the difference between Herbalife and other products out there is that Herbalife is all-natural and doesn’t have the added sugars that other products on the market have. Or so they say. I ordered Formula 1, which is a meal replacement shake and Personalized Protein which is just more protein to add to smoothies or the Formula 1.  The idea is to have 2 meal replacement shakes and a “colorful meal”. Not kidding, that’s what they called it. Given my experience yesterday with 2 smoothies before running, providing me with NO fuel, I’m hesitant. Plus, I’m not looking to replace meals. I’m looking to add protein to my morning smoothies or maybe after a hard workout. I might only replace one meal. Or I might replace breakfast and dinner and have my “colorful” meal for lunch to fuel up. I don’t know yet. I’ll see how it goes once I get my order. If you are interested or have any questions regarding the product, contact Brittany on her Facebook page.

3. Today I did my first training swim at Hopkinton State Park where my triathlon in September is being held. It was well over 90 degrees today and I just couldn’t fathom going to the gym to swim in an overcrowded pool. When I got to the park, I found the area where the swim starts. It starts with next to the boat docks, behind the boathouse. There was a huge sign that said “No Swimming”. Awesome. I asked someone at the boathouse if I could swim the triathlon route or if it was only allowed on race days. The girl I spoke to was about as helpful as a box of rocks. She said, “Oh, I’m not sure, I’m not with the park, I’m with the boat house”. I asked “You do realize where this boat house is located right?” I got a blank stare. I think she lost a few more brain cells just trying to figure it out. After asking around a little bit I was told that swimming was allowed in the swimming areas.  Well that’s good. Since I couldn’t seem to get a straight answer, I just went for it. It was really windy and the water was really choppy. I was tempted to not swim, but it was so warm out and I was already there, and I wanted to get in and just swim! I swam over to the beach in just about 10 minutes. I had to switch my breathing side because the waves were coming at me from the right and I kept breathing in water. On the way back from the beach, the wind picked up and I felt like I was fighting bears and going nowhere in the water. The waves were crazy! It took me 16 minutes to get back. Let’s hope there’s no wind on race day!  When I got home and out of my bathing suit, I saw that it was brown on the inside. It was white when I bought it. It was white after my pool swims. It was white after my lake swims. It was white when I put it on today. A 26-minute swim at Hopkinton State Park and it’s brown.  I think I’ll be saving my open water swims for the lake in NH.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dog Days of Summer 5K Race Report

My family has had a house in Wolfeboro, NH since I was 6 years old. So, naturally when I saw this race being held in Wolfeboro, I signed right up. A weekend at the beach and a 10-minute drive to the race start in the morning was definitely an incentive.

The Dog Days of Summer 5K was sponsored by the Lakes Region Humane Society and they are a very lovely group of people! I don’t know if all of the volunteers were from the Humane Society, but everyone was very nice. I saw one guy with a volunteer shirt on taking pictures of people milling around the registration area, and then later taking pictures of the racers. He got a swell one of me nearing the finish line. I can’t wait to see that gem.

The race started at “The Nick”; otherwise know as The Nicholas J. Pernokas Recreation Park. The course went around the track once, through outer perimeter of the parking lot, down the street, ACROSS Route 28, down another street and onto the Cotton Valley Rail Trail. It was an out and back, so it was the exact opposite for the last half of the race. Running on the track was like running on the moon. I need to find me a track to run on it was magical. Maybe it can be a stepping-stone for me to transition to outside running (on pavement).

This was the second time that I’ve done a race on a trail. And it’s the second time that I got tiny rocks in my shoes. During the last race it was on a true trail through the woods, and it was packed dirt. I only got one small rock in my shoe, but it was big enough to rub the entire race and I got a blister from it. This race along the Cotton Valley Rail Trail was on packed gravel. This meant WAY MORE tiny rocks. Luckily I didn’t get any blisters, but it was annoying enough that it made me not want to run as much. And I didn’t want to stop and dump the rocks out because I had already done that before the start of the race, and I knew more rocks would get in, so it was pointless. I also had to pee. The bouncing didn’t help.

My mom and my friend Alyson did the race with me.

We are a colorful bunch
They decided to walk and I was going to do my walk/run thing. Even though the race was on a trail and soft enough that I didn’t have any shin pain (YAY!), I still had trouble running the longer intervals that I can do on the treadmill. It’s like a huge mental block that I can’t see to get over. I got over my 3-minute interval block, why can’t I get over this? I’m determined though. It’s ridiculous and I will do it. I have to! I don’t know of any races that are held on a treadmill. But hot damn, I’d sign up if I found one!!

I finished with a time of 52:02. Not my best time, but I definitely did more walking that I wanted to. I had big plans to go to the beach and spend the day there after the race, so my mantra became The sooner I’m done, the sooner I swim! It made me go faster. I had a faster walk pace than I usually do, so that’s some improvement right there.

I had planned to walk back and finish the race with my mom and Alyson, so after I went to the bathroom and chatted with a few people I knew, I grabbed a couple of cold water bottles and headed back out on the course. I was halfway down to the parking lot when I heard someone yell my name. It was my mom. I was shocked that I hadn’t seen her come in. And I felt bad because I had promised that I was going to go back to meet her and I hadn’t done it. She told me that around the 2-mile marker a race volunteer told her she looked really flushed and offered her a ride back to The Nick. I always tell her to drink more water, but she just doesn’t listen!! She accepted the ride and cooled off in the shade of the pavilion. She said that Alyson was still out on the course and I went back out to walk with her. As I got to the parking lot, Alyson was right there and we walked the final lap around the track to the finish line.

We grabbed some bananas and more water, and then met up with some more people I knew by our cars. Of course, like every 5K gathering, we took pictures.

Yes, I'm using a banana as a phone. Because, that's why.
Then we headed home to spend the rest of the day at the beach. I’m not gonna lie, I definitely fell asleep on the beach and I loved every minute of it. That place is so relaxing and I can’t wait to spend 5 days back at my place in Wolfeboro in a week and a half as I relax and (maybe) do some training before the Chunky Dunk Duathlon on July 30th. Honestly, I only signed up for that one for the t-shirt. It’s gonna be great!

After we got back from the beach, I checked the race results online and realized that they hadn’t recorded them correctly. They had me listed as finishing at 49:45. My Garmin and their display clock at the race said differently. Alyson’s time was off by almost 20 minutes! I e-mailed the guys at 3C Race Productions (because we are on such good terms – they gave me bubbles!!) to let them know about it. I got a response within a few hours thanking me and saying that they had problems with their system and they were working on fixing it. Last I checked they had fixed my time and a few of those that had finished around me (I’m nosy, I keep tabs on people), but Alyson’s was still off by a good 10 minutes. It’s things like this that make me glad I got my Garmin. Even if things go wrong with timing at a race (such as: no chip timing, or equipment failure) I still know how I did.

I believe they are doing the timing for the Chunky Dunk Duathlon as well (since it is advertised on their site), so I’m wondering how they are going to do that without a chip timing system. I guess I’ll find out, eh?

Overall it was a good race. I overheard people complaining about the course, saying there wasn’t enough room and they had a hard time running past or by people, but it wasn’t too bad. I only had one time where a guy was running by me and I went to the side to make room, but he didn’t. He kept running down the middle of the trail. He almost sweat on me, the bastard. Some people never learn manners, and that’s not the race’s fault. I say it was a good job by the Lakes Region Humane Society, and it was for a good cause too!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Three Things Thursday

So I know I said previously that I don’t usually do these things, but here it is, my second one. Maybe it will become a semi regular thing. Honestly I just have random things to say and it happens to be Thursday. Lucky me.

1. Yesterday I completed week 4 day 1 of the Couch 2 5K program. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it is:

3 minutes of running
1.5 minutes of walking
5 minutes of running
2.5 minutes of walking
3 minutes of running
1.5 minutes of walking
5 minutes of running.

I did it on my first try. 

I had a hard time with Week 3 in the program. I couldn’t seem to get over the 3 minutes running hurdle. It was completely mental for me. I had decided that I couldn’t do it. So I couldn’t.  Finally, last weekend, I decided that I wasn’t going to get off the treadmill until I ran 3 full minutes. I had plans later that night so there was my motivation. I did it on the first try. Later that week as I did it again, I thought to myself. If I can do 3 minutes, I’ll be able to do 5 minutes. That set the stage for me. I was tired towards the end of the second 5 minutes, but I kept going. I’m proud of myself. I haven’t been able to get past week 3 in any of the times I’ve tried to do C25K previously, so this is a big deal for me. I’m still having problems with running outside, so I’m continuing on the treadmill until I can build up my endurance, then I’ll slowly start to switch to outside running, and hope that it works! Having the confidence in knowing that I can do this on the treadmill is what is keeping me going. I have a 5K this weekend in New Hampshire. I’m going to see how long I can run at a time. I need to get over this outside running hurdle and hopefully I’ll feel better about this running business. 

2. One of my co-workers had an amazing looking salad the other day and she filled me in on a little secret. Her salad dressing wasn’t dressing at all; It was lemon juice. I’m not kidding. It’s true. Lemon juice. One of my favorite salads is a family recipe for Caesar Salad and one of the ingredients for the dressing is lemon juice. But I had never thought of JUST using lemon juice. I made a salad tonight and I put lemon juice on it. I didn’t realize how much I would love this.

3. I went for a bike ride today through Northborough. About 2 miles in, I wanted to turn around and go home. My butt was hurting. Not bike seat wise, but my outer hip/glute area. It felt fatigued, and the muscles were burning. I don’t know if it’s still tired from the monster hill bike ride I did last weekend, or if my body was just tired from yesterday’s 5 minute intervals of running. Either way. I started thinking that I should have taken a rest day, or I shouldn’t be pushing my body this much, and I have a 5K this weekend, I don’t need to be making myself more tired, etc. Many random quitting thoughts kept flowing through my mind. Even though I remembered that the beginning part of the route was pretty much uphill, and after I hit the 3 mile mark it would switch to flat and downhill for the rest of the way of the loop, I still wanted to turn around and go home. I finally convinced myself that it was okay for me to cut my bike ride short, just as soon as I hit the top of the hill I was on. Then I’d turn around and go back. For some reason I kept going. I had even slowed and pulled slightly over onto a side street. But I just let myself keep rolling. It was downhill at that point and happened to be the area of the loop where it descended to the end. By the time I got to the bottom of that one hill, I told myself that if I wanted to turn around now, I’d have to go right back up that hill I came down.  I kept going. The rest of the ride was fine and my legs seemed to finally warm up a bit. I was still tired and I didn’t push myself at all, but I was thinking about the last time I did the loop and I tried to remember my time. I figured after a few more months of training, I’d have improved a bit. I was excited to see what the results were. I was a full minute slower than I was when I did this loop back in May. I should be getting better, not worse! Even though I finished it, I don’t feel good about it. I guess we all have our off days.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Allergic reactions?

I had an amazing experience with vanilla Oikos greek yogurt and peanut butter a while back, and I continue to enjoy it on a fairly regular basis.  Recently I discovered that my throat itches slightly after eating said combination. I thought it was the yogurt, until last night.

I was starving, and obviously was close to wasting away to nothing. A sandwich was made and I got my hands on half of it. It was peanut butter and fluff. I wasn't really in the mood for it. I would have actually preferred a nice healthy dose of cottage cheese, but I had eaten the last of it for lunch. But the sandwich was made and it was looking at me. Plus, did I mention there was fluff?

I could eat fluff by the spoonful. I don't, but I could. Well, except for that one time, but that was an emergency. What? Only 40 calories and no fat!! If it were socially acceptable, I'd bring a jar of it for lunch.

Moving on.

After eating the peanut butter and fluff, I noticed that my throat felt slightly the way it does after I've eaten my yogurt with peanut butter in it. My first thought was that I might be having an allergic reaction to peanut butter since my itchy throat has occurred in two instances when I've eaten peanut butter. But when I eat peanut butter by itself (my spoon seems to like to jump in the jar for a swim a lot), I don't have any adverse reactions at all. Veddy veddy curious.

It can't be the fluff. Marshmallow is just sugar and air. Since I consume both of those on a fairly regular basis, there is no way I'm allergic to either of those. 

Today I decided to be proactive and I did an experiment. I ate a spoonful of peanut butter. No reaction. I ate my yogurt plain. No reaction. Peanut butter & fluff sandwich. Reaction.

Somewhere along the lines of combining peanut butter with both vanilla Oikos greek yogurt or Fluff makes me react like this. What is the ingredient in these two things that brings out this reaction? It's so strange!

Maybe Web MD has the answers.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hell on Wheels. Literally.

I biked the mother of all hills this past weekend. I also almost died. You’re lucky I didn’t, otherwise I wouldn’t be here to warn you about it. Also, thank the lord I had my bike shorts. I find that going uphill hurts the lady parts more than flat or downhill. But that’s not what you want to hear about right now, I’m sure.  A few weeks ago, I biked the triathlon bike route in Hopkinton in preparation for my triathlon in September. After completing it in 1:12, I figured I needed more hill training, since it is pretty hilly. I can now say that I’d rather bike that route in Hopkinton 50 times in a row than to ever do what I did on Sunday ever again. In addition to almost dying, I almost puked. In fact, the entire way up the hills, I was trying to decide whether I had to puke, or if I was going to die. And if you think I’m kidding or exaggerating, you are sorely mistaken. It’s all true.

I planned to bike 6 miles from my house to a beach-y area with a grocery store across the street called 19 Mile Bay. I drove the route over the July 4th weekend and saw just how hilly it was and was even commenting at the time that I probably wouldn’t do it because the hills seemed extreme. It was all downhill (minus one big uphill) on the way to 19 Mile Bay and all uphill (minus that one down) on the way back.

For some reason, this weekend I decided to “Git R Done”. Only because I like Larry the Cable Guy.

Upon leaving my driveway, I had the option to go downhill then turn left for a very short flat area, then turn right and meet an uphill; Or, I could go uphill for a short period, then turn right downhill, then another right and go downhill until I met the uphill. I figured I’d get more momentum into the uphill if I started out doing the latter. So I turned left and went uphill to start. Do you know how hard it is to start out on a steep incline? Your heart rate shoots up and your legs cramp up with no appropriate warm up. A.) Not smart. B.) Legs hurt. C.) Lungs burn. D.) Never doing that again.

Once I hit the first uphill, I realized that I had made a huge mistake, but I was only 5 minutes in and I knew I couldn’t just quit. I’m not a quitter and I knew I’d do more damage to my own mental state by quitting. So I kept going. I hated myself at that moment, but I kept going.

Then I looked up and saw the view. It was gorgeous. Biking in the mountains has one perk and one perk only. During the downhill parts, you get some crazy nice views.
Okay, so you see more pavement than anything.
But there is a view there, and where the road disappears...
that's a HUGE downhill right there.
The rest of the way out was downhill and my max speed was 30mph. Funny how I wasn’t contemplating death while hurdling myself down a mountain at 30mph on a bike. Trust me, going up was worse. It took me 0:33 to get to 19 Mile Bay. It was close to 6 miles. The return time? Yeah, that was 1:08. That’s how bad it was.

On the way back, the gradual inclines were doable. I could spin in a lower gear and maintain about 8-10 mph. It was the steep hills that were torture. For those I was in the lowest gear possible and during one hill (coming back up that hill in the picture that you can't really see, but it's there!), I had to stop at every telephone pole on the way up. But I Did. Not. Walk. With each pedal I had a mantra going on in my head:  “Walking isn’t an option. Walking isn’t an option.” It worked. After the one downhill on the way back, I hit the hill I had busted out my 30 mph on. I realized then why I was able to hit 30 mph on it. It was almost as steep as my mantra hill. This time, though, I didn’t have anything left in me. I stopped at the bottom of it to text my mom and let her know that I was still alive since I was running behind schedule and didn’t want her to panic. She has a thing for panicking. My text read: Almost home. Still alive. Barely. Might puke.

This is what a near death experience looks like.
I made it 3/4 up the final hill and just didn’t have anything left in me. So I walked. Once back on even ground, I got back on and rode the final few feet of downhill. At this point I wanted to get off the bike so bad, I was cursing the downhill for being so steep that I had to ride my brakes. I didn’t want to ride my brakes because that meant I was slowing down and I wanted to be off the bike FAST.

I was greeted with cheers from the house of “Yay! You did it!”, “You survived it!” and “Congrats!”. It took all I had in me to not reply “Bite me”. But I’m mature. Kinda.

I can now add this to the list of things I’m never doing again.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

June Totals and Weekend Update

June totals
Swim: 1.36 miles 
Bike: 70.38 miles
Run: 6.65 miles
Walk: 3.61
Elliptical: 7.32 miles
Yoga: 20 mins
Pilates: 30 mins
Rest days: 15

Yikes on the running numbers in June. I did not do well. But I was also having trouble with my shins and as you can see the walking and elliptical were added and have a few miles on them. Not an amazing number, but at least I was moving!  This month (July) I’m joined a running challenge (again, Yikes!). The challenge is to run 50 miles in the month of July. Of course it’s not going to be 100% running, but I’m going to count my running workouts towards it. Maybe when I can run consistently I’ll re-try the challenge to actually run 50 miles in a month. But for now, I’m doing it this way because it’s the only way I can do it and at least I’m doing something! 

This weekend has been a plethora of training and I loved it. I finally got to get in the lake and swim! I’m so tired of swimming in the pool, it’s boring and annoying to fight for a lane or get pushed into another lane in the middle of my swim because of swimming lessons or they are changing the lap lanes, or something else ridiculous. I might start heading down to Hopkinton State park and swimming there during the week. I don’t know how much more of lap swimming I’ll be able to handle now that I’ve been in the lake this summer!  And as a preview for July’s totals, I’ve already swam more this weekend than I did in all of June. Oh yeah!

I bought bike shorts last week and got to test them out this weekend on the Cotton Valley Trail. I did NOT bike toward SpookyVille, but I did go into town and back on the trail twice, because once just wasn’t enough.

 Although the bike shorts do cut into my legs a little bit, the comfort in the seat area definitely outweighs that issue. Why didn’t I own bike shorts before now? I did 13 miles on Sunday and I felt no discomfort at all.

I almost didn’t get to ride my bike this weekend. I packed the bikes up on Friday night, locked them to the car, and took off. Once I got to my place in NH, I realized that I had thrown the bike lock keys on the back bumper of the car and forgot about them. So I had to find a bike store in town and have them cut off my cable.

I have an extra key at home for the lock so I can use the lock again if I get a new cable, but it wasn’t doing me any good at home. I bought a new cable with a combo lock built in so I don’t have to worry about keys again. Because this isn’t the first time I’ve left something on the bumper of my car and took off. It was the 3rd. And probably won’t be the last. I’m smart, I know.

Although I know I should probably get another run in tonight to up my totals for my 50-mile run challenge, I’m letting myself have a rest day today. I’m exhausted from this weekend. And Bruno Mars just says it best:

I love this song, but this is the first time I've seen this video and I'm torn between being hysterical or horrified. Maybe both.
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