Thursday, August 30, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Jet Lagged: Although I returned to the East Coast on Monday morning, I haven't been able to shake being on West Coast time. Usually, I am falling asleep on the couch around 9 p.m., but all this week I have been forcing myself into bed well after midnight. And when my kids are begging to get up in the morning, I find myself bribing them to stay in bed. (Note: I am no better once I get out of bed. I end up walking around like a zombie.)

Needless to say, we can't keep functioning like this. I mean, school starts on Tuesday and those 6:45 a.m. alarms are going to be a rude wake up call.

Half Debut: Since moving to my house in April, I have turned my little sister into a runner (although, she still tries to say that she's not). For a while now, we have been contemplating running a half marathon together. Initially, we were going to go for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, but finances and logistics got in the way.

Then, I tried to convince her that the Richmond Half Marathon would be a suitable alternative. But, that was a no go. She said that the November date was too soon, so instead, we registered for the 8K (my favorite race of all time).

I figured that the chances of getting her to commit to a half before the middle of 2013 was slim to none. Then this morning, this happened ...

Yup. I got her.

We are headed back to our hometown for her first half marathon in SEVEN WEEKS. And she said November was too soon ...

Off-Season: I'm overcooked. Done. Over it.

It occurred to me the other day that with the exception of the three weeks I took off immediately after Dilly was born, I have never taken more than 3 days in a row off from training. Not even after any of my six marathons. That's just insane.

The past five years of non-stop training has kicked my butt and I need some time to recover. So, that's what I have decided to do. After Patriots Sprint next weekend, I am going off the training plan. Yes, I will still run, bike and swim, but I am cutting my workout volume by about half from 10-16 hours per week to 5-8 hours per week. I am confident that my body needs to reset itself, and I know this will do it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hood to Coast: AfterNUUN Delight - Team Noon

Location: Mt. Hood, OR to Seaside, OR (202 miles - there was a detour this year)
Date: 8/24/12-8/25/12
Temperature: variable (my coldest leg was 49 degrees and my hottest was 78 degrees)
Official Time: 28:17:58 (average pace of 8:29 per mile)
Place in Division: 2/28 (Womens Open)
Overall Place: 261/1070

I've been thinking (even prior to racing) about how I was going to summarize this experience. And what I keep coming back to is, I can't. There is nothing I can say that will accurately depict how amazing it is to run Hood to Coast with a group of like-minded running bloggers, supported and cared for by the amazing people at Nuun Hydration.

Plain and simple, there is nothing else like it.

If you are ever given the opportunity to experience it, I guarantee, it will change you in some way. I know that it changed me.

The Good:

Nuun Hydration: Not that I expected anything less, but the people at Nuun were as amazing as always. In addition to sponsoring three teams (Team Morning, Team Noon and Team Night), they handled race logistics, pre-race activities, post-race festivities and everything in between. I cannot express how much I love these people. They welcomed us with open arms and we couldn't have asked for more.

The Mountain of SWAG: In addition to being sponsored by Nuun, we had numerous other companies supply us with gear, food and pretty much everything else you could possibly need during a relay. Talk about feeling like a kid on Christmas. I am extremely appreciative of their support and it would be totally worth your while to check these fine companies out.
My favorite swag - Custom Tough Chik Arm Warmers

The Course: I've said it before and I'll say it again - The views on this course are epically beautiful. Van 1 starts atop Mt. Hood while Van 2 starts roughly 40 miles down the road in Sandy, OR. Both vans make their way through the woods, down into the valley, back up over the mountains and to the sea. It's simply amazing.

My favorite part came a third of the way through my first leg. The sun was setting and I turned a corner and ran towards Mt. Hood in the distance. It was breathtaking.

as the sunset during my first leg ...

My Nuun-mates: These women (and men) are awesome. I love them to pieces and am so grateful to have them in my life.

Post-race festivities ..
Reunited: 2011 Nuun Platuun Van 2
Love my van-mate, Kim
Ready to roll ...
Me and HLove ...
Team Noon, Van 2 ...
Pre-Race Activities: Unlike last year, we were asked to come into town early for team bonding. I loved this mainly because the lack of interaction between teams in 2011 was my main criticism of the experience.

Over the course of the two days prior to the race, we went to a Mariners game ...

had a scavenger hunt (my team won!),
Ricole, Vanessa, Marjorie, Harmony, me and Stephanie
visited Oiselle Headquarters,

and created a million memories and new friends that I will cherish forever.

My Legs (#7, #19, #31): I won't lie. Heading into the race this year, I was beyond terrified of my legs. I just remembered watching Jess run them last year and thinking how happy I was that I didn't have to climb those mountains.

As the race approached, I realized that I was less scared about the terrain of the course than I was of my ability to run them strong. At some point (probably about a mile into my first leg), I decided that the hills had nothing on me. I was just going to run to the best of my ability at that very moment.

And I did.

Yes, the climbs were challenging. And yes, I had moments where I longed for it to be over. But, I also tried to relish every single step I took and I tried to reclaim my run love with each stride. I finished feeling powerful and strong, something that has eluded me lately.

Our Van Song - If you want to get an idea of the feel of my van, then look no further than our official van song: "You Can Leave Your Hat On", by Tom Jones. If you haven't heard it before, you need to. Trust me, you're missing out.

The Bad:

Van Food: I think the thing that messes with you during a relay the most is the lack of real food. We ate lunch on the way to the first exchange on Friday afternoon and didn't have another real meal until after 8 p.m. on Saturday. The 30 hours in between were filled with trail mix, KIND Bars, Nuun, brownies, M&Ms, cheese stick, gummy bears and Chobani. And while it tasted good at the time, it was a digestive nightmare for me. It didn't take long for me to be carrying around a "food baby."

Late Start: All three of the Nuun teams started after 2 p.m. this year. While that made for a relaxed morning, it left us running on a rather empty race course. Road kills weren't nearly as prevalent as last year and we were often getting run down by the elite teams (think, Nike). The late start also meant that we finished late and arrived at the beach after much of the festivities had occurred.

The Ugly:

The stench: From the 24th through the morning of the 27th, I took 1 shower and ran 16+ miles. Enough said ...

Monday, August 20, 2012

overwhelmed ...

This summer has thrown me for a loop.

I headed into it knowing that we'd be busy, but I never expected things to play out like they have.

We've been thrown curve balls that have changed our plans, disrupted our flow and emptied our wallets.

First, my car was sideswiped in a hit and run.

Three days later a tornado came through and a rogue branch caused $2400 of damage to our other car. J and I spent the entire next month sharing one vehicle. Needless to say, the girls and I didn't leave the house very much and it tested my patience.

A few days after the tornado, during a monster heat wave, our AC stopped working and the technician failed to show. It was epic.

Then, while on vacation last week, Dilly attempted to be a daredevil and broke her elbow.

6 hours and 25 x-rays later ...
Add that to the fact that between July 25th and August 26th, I will have spent a total of 10 nights in my own bed AND I am training for a 70.3 during the same time, and you just might get why I feel that despite my best efforts to manage it all, I am coming up short.

I am overwhelmed. Mentally and physically.

So, I quit.

I quit trying to do it all.
I quit pretending that I was excited to race a 70.3 on what felt like less than stellar training.
I quit blogging.
I quit pretty much everything that I didn't ABSOLUTELY have to do.

And I feel really good about.

I officially dropped out of the Half Ironman and switched to the Sprint.
I focused on my family and we had a blast traveling during the last month (broken arm aside).
I reassessed my goals and my timeline for them, realizing my support system is just as an important factor in planning as my own desires are.

I think I am getting my mojo back. And I am confident that running the Mother of All Relays with 35 other amazing women this weekend is going to re-inspire me.

And if not, well then I'll just put on my big girl pants and fight my way back ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July Rewind ...

Run Miles Ran: 68.25 miles

Bike Miles Rode: 225.5 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 14350 or 8.92 miles

Rest Days Taken: 12 - Vacation will do that to you

Highest Run Mileage Week: 7/9-7/15: 28 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 7/9/7/15: 83.1 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 7/16-7/23: 5300 meters

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 1

Current Book: I was a reading machine again this month. Something about finally getting a library card at the age of 30 will do that to a person. Also, the cutback in computer time freed me up to spend my free time elsewhere. I read and loved all of these books ...

  • When Parents Text, Kaelin and Fraioli
  • Because I Said So, Dawn Meehan
  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk, David Sedaris
  • Holidays on Ice, David Sedaris
  • Normal Gets You Nowhere, Kelly Cutrone
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: All things Disney. Including the following ...

Current Colors: Orange and Pink 

Current Drink: Grape, Banana, Lemon-Lime and Strawberry Lemonade Nuun. Can't get enough of that stuff ...

Current Song: Titanium - David Guetta

Current Triumph: I survived July, which was a cluster of a month.

Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day.

Current Blessing:
Generally, I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful for that. I don't take anything for granted. Not even for a second.

Current Excitement: HOOD TO COAST! The race is just 23 days from now. Also, I am traveling pretty much this entire month. It promises to be a hectic few weeks ...

2012 To Do List Update:

  • Take 70.3 training day by day. Don't get caught up in what is coming, but rather focus on what is. Trust that it will get you where you want to be. - CHECK
  • Find the strength to NOT add races to your schedule during 70.3 training. That is your focus, don't screw with that because of FOMO (fear of missing out). - CHECK
  • Cross the finish line of your first 70.3 in less than 6:57:59. - CHECK. Goal crushed. 6:39:39.
  • Maintain at least one day of cycling and one day of swimming per week, post 70.3. Give J some proof that a new road bike would be a good investment. - CHECK. I'm crushing this one.
  • Log 4,000 miles, swim, bike and run combined. - As of August 1, 3014.1 miles completed
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06 (or 1:56:18, if the half split from the NYC Marathon counts).
  • Race a Fall Sprint Triathlon. Actually train for the event, unlike in years past. - FAIL. That sprint turned into another 70.3.
  • Add strength training to the routine. - CHECK. 41 strength sessions in the last four months.
  • Eat like an athlete. Be mindful of the nutritional value of your food. - I've been killing this. But, apparently my scale doesn't care.
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from either Shyndigz or Two Sweet Cupcakes (approximately 1 dessert/3 weeks) - As of August 1, 15 desserts consumed. I need to just face the facts with this one.
  • Cut out snacking on the girl's leftovers. Just because they don't eat it, doesn't mean you have to. - CHECK
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. - CHECK
  • Throw away the credit cards. Stop repeating history. - CHECK
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - CHECK
  • Declutter and Organize using this calendar. - CHECK
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work. - CHECK
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life. - CHECK
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. - CHECK