S.A.D

09/26/2011

My co-worker/friend and I were chatting today about how we both have this overwhelming feeling of “sadness” that has come upon us since the weather has been so crappy.  Nothing is wrong….not one thing at all, but I just feel so BLAH!  My training has been par, but what is missing is my usual itch to race.  This has turned into a desperate feeling of wanting to get these races OVER with….not actually race them!  What on earth!?  So I spent a little time with my friend Google tonight….maybe I’m not so crazy after all.  

“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depressionwinter bluessummer depressionsummer blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer, spring or autumn year after year.  SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is “a specifier of major depression”.

“Some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed.”

There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy with sunlight or bright lights, antidepressant medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ionized-air administration, and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.”

In addition to one additional unnamed factor, this about nails it:  “They sleep too much, they have little energy, and  may also feel depressed”.  I laid in bed until after 2pm yesterday and I had to drink a cup of tea (real caffeinated tea!) before my swim.  I felt like a total slug!  Well by golly, seems like I’m just SAD.

What am I gonna do about it?  Nothing.  I’m pretty sure I don’t need ionized-air administration, 100 watt lightbulbs in my bathroom or any sort of medication to snap out of it.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to go on with my daily life understanding its just the weather, but I sure am ready for it to pass!  Having today totally “off” from working out has helped in one regard because I finally feel rested, but as we’ve discussed, days off usually leave me a little “tightly strung” otherwise, and today is not much different.  A 7-mile run and a 30 min recovery swim bright and early should have me back on track in the morning. And maybe a little…

So, if you’re also feeling SAD…don’t feel too BAD….just don’t make me MAD or I might have to hurt you.  🙂  haha.  


Doesn’t Get More Rewarding

09/25/2011

I had to post this from one of my athletes.  It’s words like these that keep me going when life is crazy busy, situations get sticky and I start to question if I can continue to manage it all….

“Thank you so much for being my coach. You have whipped me into shape and gotten me focused. Your plan for me is definitely working! 🙂 I certainly wouldn’t have had a good day today without you. My husband even got a little teary at the finish line, he was so proud! It really was an awesome day!”

Like her husband, I may have gotten a little teary reading her words.  I am so proud of everyone who raced and rode this weekend:

Devon:  MS Ride – 200

Amanda: Ramblin Rose triathlon

April: Belews Lake sprint

Craig:  Augusta Ironman 70.3

Dana:  Augusta Ironman 70.3

Like a huge dork I spent most of today tracking results of all the Charlotte peeps racing Augusta 70.3.  It was bittersweet not being out there since I’ve done that race for the last several years.  But after seeing some very very strong athletes come unglued on the run, perhaps it was better I wasn’t down there in the muggy, humidity.  I’ll get my fun at Half Max in 2 weeks and I’m sure but knowing my luck, a cold front will blast through that weekend and it’ll be 35 degrees as I plunge into the water.  If you know me and my luck, you know I’m not just being “funny”.   

Anywho, this weekend has come to a close and you can put a fork in me.  I ran, biked and swam myself into the ground – I am officially “peaked”.   I didn’t get out of bed until 2pm today other than to graze the refrigerator a bit and, man, it felt so good.  It’s time to recover and taper for these upcoming races and then….CHILL OUT, give my muscles a little TLC (and hopefully a little definition!) and focus on my clients!!!!  🙂 

T-13 days.   


Phew…Busy Week

09/23/2011

I have been asked by two different people this week “where I’ve been” because I haven’t blogged.  I thought that was cute.  It’s been a hell of a week, both coaching/work and “socially”.

I’m happy to report I am two weeks from HalfMax Nationals and one week from Pinehurst Olympic – my last two races of this insane 2011 season.  I’ve had a blast this year which started with the Charlotte Duathlon waay back in March, and have had some awesome results (and a few not so awesome results) but overall, I am very very very (did I say very) ready for this off-season/winter.  I am excited to change up my schedule…lots of yoga, functional strength, Crossfit, pure barre….all sorts of things that don’t include swimming, biking or running….though I’m sure there will be some of that too.  I’m also excited to focus on my athletes this winter and building their bases and strength for next season, while restoring my mental game a bit.

My training has been going well this week, but I can’t lie the weather has put a bit of a damper on my motivation and, unfortunately, my “ability” to get workouts done as originally anticipated.  I originally planned to run long Thursday after teaching spin class, but was honestly so very sleepy, it was pouring rain, and I was pretty sore from a Functional Movement Screen I had on Tuesday night (more on that later) so I decided to postpone for one day.  I got it done today but ended up having to break it in to two runs (6 and 7.3-ish) because of the weather.  When I woke up to do the full 13 at 6:30, it was raining.  I discussed with Stacey and she suggested breaking it into two treadmill sessions, 6 this morning, 7 at night.  The rain broke about 7:45 this morning though so ventured outside to get my first 6 done.  A little over 3 miles in, I was at the furthest point from where I started (started Uptown, was at Queens Road West near East Blvd)…when it started to torrential downpour.  I’m talking downpour.  By the time I was headed up Morehead, my shoes were 2 lbs heavier each (not exaggerating) and the streets were like river rapids.  Heading up Morehead with the water flowing down while practically wearing ankle weights was, needless to say, not that fun.  I had my Ipod on too…which clearly doesn’t like to be drenched.  Expensive run!

At around 2 today the weather actually got really really nice.  I found a break in my workday and finished up a little over 7 miles.  I was so thankful to not have to run on the hamster mill.  I ran 13.3 in just over 1:40 and was happy with that, particularly given how slow my last two miles of the torrential rain run were and how hilly the routes I ran were too.  My goal is to run sub 1:40 at Halfmax and so long as my fueling has gone well, I think is feasible on the flat terrain.  My 1/2 IM PR off my bike is 1:41 and change in 2009 at Augusta, and I wasn’t running as well as I am now.  We’ll see in 2 weeks!

As I mentioned earlier, I had a very detailed Functional Movement Screen on Tuesday after work at Dr. Greenapple’s office with both Dr. G and Dr. Kahn.  It was exactly what I needed. I am now able to hone in my weaknesses this off season in terms of strength and flexibility.  Dr. Kahn video taped the whole assessment also so I can review and provide to Stacey for complete analysis.  There are 7 standard functional movements that are scored in order to benchmark each athlete, but Dr. G had me do 8-10 additional exercises testing various more triathlon-specific movement.  I scored pretty to very well on most all of the movements and I now know exactly what I need to work on.  Thank you very much Dr. G and Dr. Kahn for taking your valuable time out to help me!!

Tomorrow involves a 3 hour ride at more or less 1/2 IM racepace and a 45 min run thereafter.  I’m riding with a great group of guys so I’m excited to get out there and have some fun.  This will be my last super long workout before Pinehurst next Saturday and then recovery/taper begins!

I have three athletes that will be in Pinehurst racing too so the weekend will be a blast!! Good luck to all my athletes racing and covering new distances this weekend in Augusta, at Ramblin’ Roads and the MS 200!  You guys have put in so much time and energy into your training and I have no doubts you will reap the rewards!

“Ride it like you stole it and run like who you stole it from is catching you!”

~ Coach Kim


Things This Weekend Included That I Needed Very Bad

09/18/2011

Despite it being Sunday night, not having worked out for going on 48 hours and having eaten 3-straight days of stupidly unhealthy food starting with 2 enormous pieces of cake at work Thursday, I realize how badly I needed this weekend and how much healthier my mind is upon return.

Emily, Scott and I road-tripped to Atlanta Friday night after work.  Post college, 4 of our girlfriends moved to Atlanta, so Emily and I spent many many weekends trekking down there…for visits much different than what our weekends now entail.  We had some of the most fun times down there for 4 or 5 years after college having partied enough to fill 10-years worth of time!  But, I can’t say I miss the Sunday car rides home “not feeling so well” (to put it mildly), nor can I say I’m sad that our weekend antics aren’t quite as rowdy as they once were.  It was certainly fun at the time though.  Given Emily is 5 months pregnant and Kristen and Pippin have a 5-week old baby, this trip was definitely very different, but also still really fun at the same time…and so very needed for my sanity.

Such a cute little family

After traffic and a late start Friday, we didn’t get in till after 10.  Kris and Shannon had the most delicious cupcakes from Gigi’s and champagne for my birthday waiting – which was such a great surprise.  The cupcakes, um, let’s just say I had several throughout the weekend.  If you know me, you know my love for cake.

 

We spent most of the day Saturday drinking, sitting outside and finished up the day with some absolutely hysterical rounds of Catch Phrase.  That game is always one of my favorites – people say the funniest stuff!  My abs are a little sore from laughing today, so perhaps I can’t say I totally took the day off from training.

I’ve said this for years, but the best dynamic about our group of friends is that everyone’s husband’s / fiance’s are all very close too.  No, they didn’t go to college together and don’t necessarily have the history my girlfriends and I have, but they’ve all become a really tight knit group of guys on their own and it’s super cool!  Most people wouldn’t want to take a weekend trip to spend with 3 “couples” and a new born baby as a “wild single girl” (hahah – kidding).  But, given the dynamic of the group, it honestly doesn’t even phase me or cross my mind, nor do I feel like I’m there with couples for one second during the weekend.  I’m “wife #2” to Scott and being Emily is pregnant, my job this weekend was to fill her (very big) shoes and drink / party in true-Emily fashion.  As you may have guessed, I failed miserably, but I believe Scott has forgiven me.  We definitely missed Aubrey and Jason and Lindsay and Adam though and its just never quite the same without everyone.

We spent lots of time on the couch and various beds and chairs relaxing with Sydney  🙂  Any of my friends will tell you, I am beyond drawn to babies.  I love love love them and have no “issues” admitting I absolutely cannot wait to have a couple of my own some day….when that time is right!  Having Emily pregnant, Kris and Pip with 5-week old Syd, having just seen Lindsay and Adam’s 6 month old and 2-year old over labor day, and having another friend (not sure if this friend is public at this point) just starting the “journey” of getting pregnant, babies are ALL around me.  Everywhere you turn, women are pregnant!

 

I mean, is there anything more adorable than a 5-week old baby??

LOOK at that pout!

Despite my desires for children, I am not “bitter” or “resentful” of my friends for being at this place in their lives.  I am elated to be an Aunt to all these little babies and am excited to watch them grow up and be a part of their lives.  I am excited to teach them about all the crazy races and stuff I do and would love to see, perhaps, one budding triathlete or cyclist among them.  I am in awe at seeing my friends – girls who I’ve known for 12/13/14 years now and their husbands who I am equally as close with – turn into loving and caring parents.  It is really amazing to see how people change and adapt so quickly.

Though eating like crap makes me want to go for a run or do something active, having had an amazing long run Friday before I left, my mind was “at peace” with having Saturday off.  Its nice to “free the mind” and fortunately (sometimes unfortunately) my mind is one that is freed once my training is complete.  Though I can’t obviously be taking drink-all-day-each-like-shit-and-not-workout weekend trips very often, I know I have to in order to stay human.

Seeing my friends just reminds me that even though there are things “missing” in my near-perfect life, I am so very lucky to have them.  Ideally, we would all be in the same city, but given the fact that we’re not, we still do a very very good job at getting together quite often and I have no doubts that will never change. Congrats Kris and Pip, Sydney could not be any more adorable – she will make a great babysitter for my little nuggest some day. 😉  Thank you girls for keeping me sane….even if you don’t realize you’re doing it.

So so sweet to have such a tiny little human

asleep in your arms


It’s Official

09/13/2011

I’m going to New Zealand!  I just submitted my registration and it’s such a great feeling!  The race is 13 months from yesterday….I’m sure I have ample time to prepare!

The race is in Auckland – all the way up on the top left!

My awesome sister and I are gonna make the journey together and stay for at least 2 weeks and probably a bit longer.  We may even hop on over to Australia for a few days as it will likely be the only time in our lives we’ll have the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world and we plan to take full advantage of it!

Needless to say, we’re excited!


Insightful

09/12/2011

A friend of mine’s husband posted this quote on FB this morning and I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to share with my blog friends:  

“Most people never get there.  They’re afraid or unwilling to demand enough of themselves and a take the easy road, the path of least resistance.  But struggling and suffering, as I now saw it, were the essence of life worth living.  If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not constantly demanding more from yourself – expanding and learning as you go – you’re choosing a numb existence.  You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.”

~Dean Karnazes 

(Dean Karnazes, if you don’t know, is probably the most famous ultra-endurance runner most known for running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days in 2006.  The NYC marathon was the last one of the 50/50/50 which he turned in a 3:30.  UNREAL!  Even more unreal, after the 50/50/50, he decided to RUN home to LA from NYC.  I don’t think he made it the whole way but ran to like Missouri or something but regardless, talk about a guy who knows a bit about “suffering.”  He wrote the book Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All Night Runner – read it!!)

Also, my athletes:  think about this quote and this guy the next time you decide that that interval is just too hard, that you’re just not feeling up to your run or that you think you can’t do it.   Think about this quote in your day to day journey though life!  I know I will.  

(Thanks Butch Holt for posting this quote – I loved it and I know you, of all people, know how to suffer with the best of them!)


Bike Racing is REALLY Hard

09/11/2011

This weekend was a double race weekend for me and Marianne and many of the Pain Pathways girls.  It was great to be out there with a team sporting my new gear, even though I’m not technically official till next year!!

Yesterday, we headed to Winston Salem for a race I honestly don’t even know the name of.  From here on out, it will be known as Crit from Hell.  We arrived, Marianne-style, with several hours before the race.  It’s good for me to have someone like her with me cause if it were up to me, I’d roll in 30 minutes before the race started.  We pre-rode the course and I wanted to cry.  The course was about 1/2 a mile long.  From the start/finish line, we took off on on a gradual uphill with a quick left turn, a pretty steep, short, downhill (what goes down, must come back up), a wide left at the bottom of the hill,  a long flat wide (fun) backstretch, another left turn, and then hell.  After the left, we headed back up a hill similar to the short steep one we came down on the other side, followed by a long, 3-4% incline front stretch.  The front straightaway included potholes, broken pavement, cobblestones, cracks, bumps, you name it, in addition to its just-steep-enough-to-hurt-incline.  Considering the course was so short, we were climbing up the hill and grinding up the crappy road about once a minute, literally.

The gun went off and my entire race strategy went to hell.  I wasn’t ready for the whistle and it caught me off guard.  The girls jumped, and they jumped hard.  It took me a solid 3 minutes of hard work to get myself worked back into the group and be in somewhat of a position I wanted to be in.  In a 30 minute race, working hard from the get go is not the best strategy.  As Marianne warned me and as I have now experienced, 30 minute races are all out….balls to the wall….go for broke for the full 30 minutes.  Well, I did what I could to hang on to the lead pack and at some point, on the long straight grinder, I fell off.  I rode the last 10 minutes on my own which felt like an eternity, still riding hard, and working hard to catch the girls in front of me, which I knew would be near impossible.  With about 4 to go I caught the 3’s and 4’s who had dropped off the back much earlier on, in which two of my teammates were a part of.  It worked out great to have caught them as I jumped on the front and worked for 2 or so laps and sprinted my teammate to a 2nd place cat 4 finish behind me.  Though this race was included cat’s 1-4, we were all scored separately.  So, despite having fallen off the lead group, I still won the cat 4 race by quite a bit which was great.  However, I’m not sure 30 minutes in Hell was worth my saddle bag and frame pump prize.

Today’s race was the Carolina Cup, a circuit race that has been going on for almost 40 years in Greensboro.  My parents were so awesome to come and support and it was great to have them there.  Given my dad’s car racing background, I think he loved the idea of watching his daughter, somewhat, fulfill his “racing dreams”.  He had his stopwatch to time laps and all, so he was in hog heaven, which I loved to see.

Today’s race was 45 minutes on a 2+ mile course that took place through paved trails in Greensboro State Park.  The course was absolutely beautiful and perfectly suited for my riding style.  Long flat stretches, a few good climbs, some decent turns and a long flat/downhill finish.  Perfect.  Or so I thought. I was prepared for the gun today and was off the line in a jiffy.  Thanks to Marianne, this race took off like lightening.  There was an immediate left followed by a pretty short, moderately steep climb thereafter.  The first half of a lap the group stuck together for the most part.  At some point during one of the climbs, one of the stronger riders attacked.  Seeing Marianne had gotten on her wheel, I was ready to sit back and let my teammate have the break.  But, as I started to sit back, 2-3 other girls headed for the break too so I decided to get on.  I figured if it was a break of 4 or 5, it’d be better for Marianne to have her teammate in the mix with her to help her work.  So the 5 of us girls took off and never saw the rest of the pack again.

In the break, we were flying.  I signaled to everyone that we should try to work together and for the most part, we did.  However, about 25 minutes into the race we were still working really hard, almost the same effort we used to get off the front of the pack!  To be honest, by this point I was confused why were continuing to work so hard, getting tired, and in desperate need of a short recovery.  Not so much.  We continued to nail it and I continued to feel confused why everyone would continue to hit it so hard when we had over a minute and a 1/2 gap on the rest of the field.  However, I continued to hang on and take my turns pulling through the pace line, though I could feel the fatigue setting in.  With about 6 laps to go, I took my turn pulling up a decently long uphill stretch.  As I pulled off the front to rotate out, the strongest rider in the group was on my wheel.  She got up front and hit it hard.  I’m not sure if it was an actual “attack”, but it certainly was an increased effort.  Perhaps she wanted me out of the group, perhaps she didn’t realize what she did, perhaps it wasn’t much of an increased effort at all and I was just cooked….whatever the case, as I rotated through to catch the back of the pace line, I just couldn’t get on.  So I rode the remainder of the 6 laps by myself, which is almost harder than crushing it in the pack.

I finished 6th on the day as the group behind me never caught me and only cat 1’s, 2’s and 3’s finished ahead of me, so a good day overall, I guess.

As I discussed with Marianne on the way home though, this weekend was “not good” in my eyes.  Despite a 1st place and a 6th place finish, I didn’t finish with the lead group either day and that is “failure” in my books.  However, I am not one to make excuses, but I do need to remind myself of several things as I beat myself for getting dropped in both races this weekend.

1.  I don’t train for crit racing – or bike racing really at all.  At this point, I hardly even ride my bike anymore, nonetheless, train for 30-45 minutes of all out, threshold efforts.  These races are “C” races on my schedule and are used more for training and so I need to keep that in mind.

2.  I am not rested leading up to these races.  I taught spin class Thursday morning, followed by an hour and a 1/2 run, a 4000 swim on Friday, and a 3000 swim on Saturday morning…all within 48 hours before the race.  Though swimming isn’t leg-focused, I have to believe it zapped at least a little of my energy, if nothing else. It also takes more than 48 hours to recover from a long run and I can’t expect to have full “pep” in my legs for an intense bike racing following such an effort.  It’s just not possible.

3.  I also need to remember these lead riders have all been racing 3, 4, 5, 12 years (in Marianne’s case) and this is my 5th bike race!  Crit racing is very technical and very hard and it takes time to find your way with that.

4.  I think I slept 4 hours last night.  Can’t imagine that doesn’t contribute to lack of pep.

So in a nutshell, you can now see how my crazy brain works.  I can’t expect to not train for this type of race, come in not-rested, and race girls with 8x’s more experienced than me and think I can compete…but I want to!  I can’t help it!

These will be my last two bike races until after Ironman 70.3 in Panama in February so I have some time to recover from Crit from Hell on Saturday, thank god.  Off to hopefully get more sleep tonight than I did last night!  That shouldn’t be hard.