Sunday, February 27, 2011

Warm weather comrads!

The beautiful weather today drew me out to the local park for a nice bike ride, and I wasn't the only one prowling the scenic streets. This park closes some of the roads to motor traffic on the weekends, so it becomes the perfect spot for cyclists, runners, walkers, skateboarders and rollerbladers. The majority of the traffic is cyclists and runners, and with the weather in the 60s today, there were several of us. And it looks like I'm not the only one beginning my tri training either. A few of my fellow two-wheeled companions were tucked neatly into aero positions. Some of the joggers wore t-shirts from various local tris and clubs, sucking on frothy-looking liquid from fuelbelt bottles. It was a welcome, spring feverish-start to my training season. Thank you DC area triathletes for joining me in the park today (even though I know none of you...)!

Yesterday I decided to test out my shins a little bit. I've been off running for two and a half weeks, and I had honestly planned to rest for longer, but the pain has significantly subsided and I was curious how a little jog (in my new sneakers! back story on those in a minute) might feel. So I hopped on a treadmill in my gym (softer landing than the roads, controlled pace etc.) and turned it up to 6 mph, easy 10 minute miles. I was wearing compression calf sleeves, which have really helped with my shin recovery and pain in the past. I honestly felt pretty darn good. I made myself stop after 10 minutes, and then hopped on the elliptical for another 30 minutes. I think I will be modifying my recovery plan for the next week to include a mile of running before the rest of my elliptical, then increasing the proportion of running from there until I am getting in the full distance.

But it still remains to be seen if I will race in the 5K next week. I probably still shouldn't, but of course I am more tempted now that I have run without pain...

So the new shoes story: I had been ready for a new pair for a little bit, and every year I get a little peeved when the shoe companies decide to "update" their shoe models. Every time I find a shoe I love, they go and change it, and I invariably hate whatever they change. Maybe I'm a grump, but this is how I feel. Anyway, for the past year I have been running in a pair of Nikes. I was an Aasics girl, but then they changed their model...etc. I ended up in a pair of Nike Zooms and was surprised that I loved them. But as usual, when I went to try on the new model, they just weren't quite right. Not as bad as the changes Aasic had made to my model, but just enough to feel strange. Then, sensing my plight, my running store lady (whom I now adore) said she could try find the older model of my shoe at a nearby store and...SHE DID! In my (huge!) size, and at a DISCOUNT no less. Love love love Pacers.

If you can't tell, I am very grateful.

So a few swims under my belt the last week. A few bike sessions, working on some transition skills like getting in and out of my shoes while under way, plus a small breakthrough in my running injuries. All and all an excellent week gone by, and now it's time for my training season to begin!

Oh and off to Disney in a few days!!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pre-training and Inspiration

First, a nice little vid about Matt Lieto: An Unexpected Journey. It's inspiring, and I definitely relate:

This is the last week before my official tri training schedule begins. For a few reasons, it won't be a massive leap to go into training. The first is that I'm still in my recovery plan for my shins. They don't hurt as much as they did, but I have to be sure not to give into the temptation to run yet. I need to keep off of the pavement and the impact, and keep up with the (gosh darn annoying) elliptical. So, next week I won't be ready to start running yet. I'm still up in the air about whether or not I'll run in the 5K I'm signed up for in a week and a half.
Another reason the jump into training won't be a huge leap is that I haven't been sitting around resting... he he. I spent the last week making sure that I can accomplish the swim and bike workouts scheduled for the first week of my training plan. In addition to all this, I am actually going to be in Disney for the first week of my training plan. There is a gym, so I'll be doing most of my stuff indoors. This is good cause its there, but bad cause I won't have my bike. There is a pool, but it looks like it's a strange shape, and I am not really sure about lap swimming. What I may end up doing is starting the real schedule when I get back.

SO all of that said, I've been to the pool a bunch this week, trying to get a jump start since I won't really be swimming enough in Disney. I got a nice ride in to test out my new clips the other day (they're cheap and they act like it). Then it snowed again, so I'm stuck indoors again. I've been busting my ass on the elliptical, and lifting with my hockey player. I'm ready to get into my schedule!! oh and to get some followers...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Intervals and STUPID SHINS!

So recently my shins have really been acting up. I'm pretty pissed about it, honestly. I had shin splints last year near the end of my training for my half marathon. I taped up, got through, and then took several weeks off of running. Since I started up running again I've been very slow adding mileage with the hope that I wouldn't have problems again. Unfortunately, I had a bit of pain on a run, and then did some plyometrics with my wife, and suddenly they were bad again.

To say I am frustrated is definitely an understatement. I have several races coming up, including a 5k in a few weeks. It wasn't too expensive and running a 5k is no big deal, the only thing really at stake is my pride. I wanted to set a new PR. My decision now is to try very hard to take it easy so as not to jeopardize my shin health for the longer, more exciting, and more expensive triathlons for which I've already signed up this summer.

All of this means? Well my actual training programs start in the last week of February. It's a 16 week program with a sprint in the middle and an olympic at the end. My plan is to do non impact workouts for the next week and a half, and then once my training program starts to use the eliptical for the first two or three weeks instead of running (and swim and bike as usual). This of course is NOT ideal, but at least I'll be working similar muscle groups and keeping up my aerobic fitness. Taking out 2 weeks of running from a 16 week program leaves me with 14 weeks, which isn't a bad training program honestly. I don't like the idea (at all) but I have to turn off the crazy triathlete in my brain off, and do what is best for my health...because there is a high likelihood that if I don't I won't be able to do my triathlons at all.

So that's the plan. The intervals part? HR intervals on a stationary bike. Thank god it's getting warmer out, I can't wait to be outside on my bike again, especially since I won't be outside running for a while. sigh.

Monday, February 14, 2011

home town athletic solidarity

I think that most triathletes (and runners, and cyclists) will agree, that there is something really uplifting about the solidarity we share with other athletes we pass out on the roads. There are different greetings, from the small hand raise, to the grunted hello, to the head nod of understanding, but they all mean the same thing: I know what you're going through right now, and I respect you for enjoying it as much as I do.

Today I was out running around the back roads near my parents farm. It was unseasonably warm
today, and I was almost overdressed in capri running tights and a very light longsleeve performance top. The snow is still on the ground up here around my parents, and the melt was washing over the roads. It's very strange to see this much snow while sweating so profusely. Anyway, I wasn't the only one taking advantage of the beautiful weather. As I ran I was passed by several road cyclists. Every single one gave me a greeting of some sort, and I responded in kind. I am trying to remember, I think it was mostly a combination nod and hand raise...thing...

Anyway, love my fellow athletes and loved the weather and the beauty of my home town and family farm. Even more exciting was spending some time with my dog, who still lives with my parents. Teddy!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fast forward

A few good training days have passed since my last post. A couple of days of spinning indoors, a nice 4 mile progression run, a day of circuits and polymetrics with my wife, a heart rate interval workout on the stationary bike yesterday...I need to get out on the roads with my bike soon, but it's only just starting to really thaw out. Next weekend I think I'll join my tri club for a group ride in the park near my place. I have to install my new pedals before then, and I am also thinking about installing new tri's up in the air as of right now.

Anyway, I took the day off today, mostly because of logistics. Partied a bit too hard for a friend's birthday last night, and today was needed for recovery. Plus, my right shin has really been bugging me. I am not sure if I am getting shin splints again, but I really want to think that's not happening. I dealt with them in December and it really just plain sucked. Tomorrow I'm gonna run on soft surfaces near my parent's house in PA and see how that goes. I brought tape in case, but I would really like for this to have been a false alarm. Injury succckkksss.

Happy Valentines day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Avoid falling into rivers

For the past two days a wonderful and fun childhood friend of mine is visiting. She was here to help me create our glorious (and awesomely healthy) Super Bowl feast. The menu consisted of: Venison Roast (all the good parts of red meat with considerably less of the bad), Root Veggies Au Gratin (made with vitamin and mineral rich sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips and low fat cheese and milk) and green beans with turkey bacon and roasted garlic (steamed). Healthy and super yummy. We topped it off with a low butter, low sugar dark chocolate hazelnut torte that my friend made in little cupcake sized morsels. We may have eaten quite a few of those however...

Luckily my friend also likes to run, so yesterday we took a loop through the park. We tried to make it a trail run, but quickly learned that although it was warmer outside than it has been in quite some time, the shady trails by the river are still very icy. After nearly slipping into the creek several times, we cut back over a bridge onto the roadways (still in the park) and made a nice long run on the relative safety of the pavement. There are a few paved paths that cut through the woods, and we took those whenever possible to amp up the level of scenery enjoyment. All in all it went well. Today we are doing strength work and I am taking it easy on the cardio because my first real track workout is tomorrow evening (eep!)

According to my online running log, my running shoes now have 274 miles on them. The rule of thumb seems to be 300 or more miles = new shoes, and I will be hitting that very soon. Plus my feet and lower legs are starting to get achy in ways that indicate a need for a change in footwear. I used to wear Asics, but the newest version of the shoes I once had hurt my feet, so this last pair has been (gasp) Nike. And I have been so pleasantly surprised with them! I thought they only made crap shoes for a few years, but they seemed to have upped their game. I think I will be buying another pair! I always get fitted, my feet and stride seem to change regularly enough that I can't just walk in and buy a pair off the shelf (and shoes are never the same year to year in my experience). So we'll see. Now to get the money together for a new pair. Ugh. Being a student has its perks but none of them are monetary....

Anyway, off to continue my day. Upper body and core circuits this evening. Wooo!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Running and Feasting

I love watching my wife play hockey. She's so fluid and relaxed on the ice, and the games are intense. Her team is super competitive and it's a exciting and fun to watch. And damn she's good.

Anyway, just thought I would rant a bit about an unrelated sport! It's still off season for another week or so, but I am also still trying to get some easy base training in. That means I'm heading out for a run in a few minutes. I have a 5K in a month, and although covering the distance is no biggie, it would be nice to cover it sort of fast! Running fast is not my specialty so much as tenacity... In order to aid in that I am going to start joining my local tri club in track workouts on Wednesdays. More on that after it happens. I have to admit I've never really done a real track workout before and I am a bit intimidated.

But today is a "long run" day, which won't be long at all. It is beautiful outside however, much less brisk than it was earlier this week. I am hoping my usual running route isn't a skating rink as it was the last few times I went out. Earlier this week I had to break down and use a treadmill...ick! Progression running is easier on the treadmill because you know exactly how fast you're going, but it doesn't make it any less boring!!

So I'll hit up the streets and hope for pavement under my feet, maybe even test out a trail nearby. Then it's back here to shower and shop. A friend of mine and I are cooking a feast while my wife and the boys watch the Super Bowl. Don't get me wrong, I like football, I just don't care about the teams playing this year and I would rather roast venison and make delicious veggie side-dishes. Culinary skills will be put to the test!

To the streets I go! Hills and Miles and then FOOD ahead!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed???

Good freakin' morning. I hate morning work outs. But I have to travel today, go back to my hometown for some work and to see old friends. One of them is getting married and (ta da!) I'm a bridesmaid. So all of this said, I'm up this morning to run. I always always have trouble getting through morning work outs. I probably just psych myself out about them, but I really have trouble getting myself going and motivated when its the AM. ugh.

So I'm caffeinated, fueled, and hoping to get through. Now I have to gear up cause it's freakin' cold out there.

Last night I skipped my swim workout to go to a happy hour. I know, I know, does not sound like a tri-geek idea, but there was a catch. It was my new tri club's happy hour. New for me, not for them. They've been around for a whiiile and they're one of the biggest and best. I'm a newbie there, so I'm excited to meet some new training partner and friends.

Anyway, I would write more, but I have to get out there for this run. (ugh mornings...)


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Mountains and Blisters

So last weekend my lovely wife and I took three boys (engineers no less) with us out to Colorado to visit an old friend of mine and to hit the slopes. Two solid days of snowboarding = serious cross training. I came back sore but happy. I did some running and some strength work this week, followed by a spin class yesterday. There was a new woman running the class and let me tell you, she kicked my tush. Besides the blister I got from the strap holding my sneakered foot to the pedal (I invested my money in tri-specific bike shoes rather than spin shoes...) it was an awesome class. Blister = huge. Didn't know it was possible to get one the way I did. Maybe because I spin on my old sneakers and they're just too worn out? Maybe because the strap on the cage on that left pedal on that bike was vicious? (haha on on on, makes me think of On On, makes me think of Hashing...anyway...)

So today I am taking a rest day, mostly because my legs are pretty sore. I think. I am debating hitting up the pool and focusing on pulling and form and just resting the kick drills today. We'll see.

I may have found myself a new training partner. The forums on my tri club website turned up a newbie in my area who's willing to give it a go with me. We'll see if we're at a close enough level to enjoy training together. I would love to find someone to push me, but not someone so far ahead of me that I hold them back. We have about the same level of experience, so...fingers crossed! He's not ready to start training till early March though cause he's coming off of an injury. That's ok really, my training shouldn't start hard until the last week of February anyway.

Now I've guilted myself into swimming this afternoon. I'll post my workout later, but it will be relatively easy. Time to get some lunch and hit up that foam roller. Right glute, here I come!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2011 Race Schedule

May 1st - Sprint Triathlon in Bivalve MD
June 19 - Washington DC Triathlon - Olympic Distance
August - Another Sprint, probably DE
September - My first half ironman!!
October - The mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder

Ok more specifics later, but I had to get my goals out there!


Sympathy for the Devil

Welcome one and all, let me introduce myself! My name is Jo, and I am a Tri-Geek (In unison now: Hi Jo.)

I was not always a Tri-Geek. No no. Back in the day of high school cliques I was the girl who floated between groups. A bit of a nerd (yes I studied hard), a bit of a jock (I was the goalie on the varsity field hockey team) and a music dork (leads in my school's musicals). I worked hard at everything, but I was never really the best at anything. Oh and did I mention that I am an asthmatic? Serious issues with the ol' lungs since I was a wee tyke. And some heart trouble too in there. Not really the type you expect to become an endurance athlete. I wasn't really planning on it. My only in to triathlon was that as a kid they always told me that swimming was the best exercise for people with asthma, and I was a damn good swimmer. I swam and snorkeled before I could walk. The fact that I became an avid scuba diver and marine science lover was no surprise.

Skip forward to graduate school. I took a bit of a round about way through college, transferring once, studying several different things including marine biology, environmental science, geography and art. I sang in an a musical and in an a cappella group (Vocal Point! Luv u 4 eva!) Then I met the love of my life. She happens to be a woman. Oops folks, I'm queer! I stayed at my alma mater for grad school to be near to her. Jumped into an awesome program called Marine Policy and met some nifty people who did these nifty things called triathlons. Long story short, I decided to do the swim leg of a relay with two other girls I know. (We had a team name. Elemental Energy. I made us T Shirts. We each had elements. Water, Wind, Earth....) ANYWAY! One morning in the triathlon lifestyle and I WAS HOOKED! SERIOUSLY ADDICTED! I did my first sprint triathlon that same season.

Fast forward again to today. I'm 26. I'm married to that girl I fell in love with in college. We're fast approaching my third season of triathlons. When I first started I couldn't run more than 2 miles. I finished my first half marathon this past December. When I first started I hadn't ridden a bike in more years that I could remember. My last "international" length triathlon was a super technical 28 mile course with huge hills and sharp the POURING RAIN...

Triathlon has changed this lil' singing, asthmatic, ocean-lover's life. I have muscles in my legs I've never seen before. I weigh 30 lbs less than I did 4 years ago. I can endure pain, I can overcome obstacles, I can be happy and conquer the world (all with an inhaler in my back pocket). I've got two second place age group finishes under my belt now as well.

Oh and at my last two races I sang the national anthem. Best part about it? How many people remembered my number and said nice things to me about it out on the course. Gotta love the tri community.

Anyway there's my background. Pleased to meet you. Welcome to my blog. Mostly this will cover my life as a triathlete, I am sure with some other anecdotes added. Right now it is almost 10 pm and my wife, a serious ice hockey player, hasn't come home from practice. And I am nursing a blister on my foot from spin class (weird!!). Yes I know that's not the best tri training possible, but its off-season (for at least a week or so) and there is snow on the ground and I am too poor for an indoor trainer.

Pity party. Now accepting donations. :)

- Jo