A Running Experiment

03/25/2012

Today called for a long aerobic run but I didn’t know how far or how fast I planned to run…so I decided to have a little fun with myself.  About 3 years ago, I did a run where I just put on heart rate monitor and ran.  I didn’t look at anything other than heart rate, in fact, I put tape over the timer on my state-of-the-art-Polar.  I just ran until I felt like being done running; I ended up with 8 miles at about an 8:18/mile pace.

I did the same today.  Strapped on my Garmin and took off the displays except for heart rate.  No time, no distance, no mile-notifications displayed out the the hundredth of a second, no average pace.  My goal was to keep my HR below 160 (which is top of zone 1) and just run…for however long or not long I chose.   Moreover, today’s goal was to find my love for running again and remind myself to appreciate that I can just go out and run xyz miles on a whim.

I brought along one eGel just in case I was feeling good and decided to run long-ish, and I’m glad I did.  A while in to my run (no clue what time or distance it was) I decided to take my eGel and keep running; it was feeling effortless today.  I ran a different route than any other I usually run, all over the beautiful streets of Charlotte, enjoying the slightly cooler and less-pollen filled air today due to the storms we’ve been having.

It was honestly one of the best, most stress free, enjoyable runs I’ve ever had.  When I got home, I kind of wished I had kept running.  I just felt good today.  When I downloaded and checked my Garmin stats, I ended up with 11.28 miles in 1:27 or an average pace of ~7:55/mile.  What I found interesting was every mile ranged from 7:53-8:02, which is a pretty small window given the ups and downs I was running.  My average HR was 155 on the nose with max of 166 (as I ran up East Blvd).

What I found more interesting is that I stopped at ~11.25 miles.  I specifically remember looking at my watch at Quintiles last weekend and seeing 11.26 or something thereabouts and thinking, “I’m ready to be done with this.”  I thought that was a funny coincidence, if nothing else.  Too bad there are no 68.45 mile races, instead of 70.3’s.

I hope everyone had a good weekend also.  I’m sitting at my computer for what feels like the first time I’ve sat down all day!  I’ll rest when I’m dead.

Though I realize every run can’t be lolligagging around Charlotte in HR zone 1 if I want to keep getting faster, but I sure did enjoy today!  I needed the reminder than I AM getting faster.  No, I’m not yet setting any world records, nor will I ever set any world records, but I’m improving year after year and that’s all I can hope for.


Injury Prevention with Dr. Kahn

03/25/2012

Post ride today, several of my athletes and I met at the JC Smith track to meet with Dr. Kahn from Greenapple Sports and Wellness and go over some ways to prevent injury in runners and triathletes.  It was so awesome of Dr. Kahn to offer up his time to meet with us.

Devon, CK, Dr. Kahn, Amanda, Nicole, Kendra

We had originally scheduled this for back in February and cancelled because the weather was calling for storms.  It ended up being beautiful that day.  The same thing almost happened again this weekend, but thankfully we decided to keep it scheduled.

Dr. Kahn and my cousin Kristen, who works at Greenapple’s office, took us through a series of 5 progressive exercises to help improve our core, quad, glute strength, both forward and laterally.  As triathletes and runners, we’re constantly moving front to back…very rarely side to side.  Because of this, athletes so often end up out of balance and susceptible to injury.  I had done many of the exercises in my functional assessment with Dr. Greenapple and Dr. Kahn last summer but it was great to go through some new ones and refresh on the old ones.

The progression went something like 10 tuck jumps with a pause in between in the first phase, to 10 double tuck jumps with a pause in between, and by the fifth round, we were doing 10 seconds of double tuck jumps consecutively.  Another example was lateral hops on one foot with a pause in round one and by the fifth phase we progressed to hopping back and forth for 10 seconds without pausing.  It was really great to be there doing the tests/exercises with my athletes for me as an athlete, but also as a coach so I could also see where they need to focus.

Right leg hop, left leg hop, plant.

Dr. Kahn in action.

Between the weather and the company, we really did have a good time and worked pretty hard by the end.  I’ve been receiving “I’m so sore” text messages all day 🙂  Thank you again Dr. Kahn and Kristen for your time yesterday!  If anyone would like to meet to go through some of the movements, please let me know.


The Long Awaited Day

03/24/2012

As I’m sure most of my friends and followers are aware, the new, long awaited bike arrived Friday morning at Uptown Cycles.  Long awaited doesn’t even begin to describe this bike.

The timeline goes something like this:  I started thinking about a new bike about last October/November.  I had been riding my Kuota for 3 years and given that I’m stepping up my race schedule this year, I figured it was time to step up my bike too.  As I’d posted before, I had my heart set on the Giant Trinity.  Thankfully Chris at Uptown Cycles was able to get one to the shop prior to purchasing it, and ironically, Stu from Parvilla in MD was in town the same weekend.  Stu took some detailed stack and reach measurements and was able to determine that even the Trinity in a Small frame size would be waaaaay to big.

Like the Shiv and many of the new non-UCI legal TT bikes that have recently been released, the Trinity is built with an integrated stem and front end leaving little room for adjustment.  The reach was about 3″ too long for me!   As I continued to get to know and work with Stu throughout the day at Uptown Cycles, I realized just how knowledgeable he was about bikes, bike fit , and specifically traithlon bikes.  After about 6 hours together, we decided a custom bike would be best for me.

BUT, with my crazy schedule, I couldn’t get to MD until early February to get fit on the ReTUL machine.  After that, it took an additional 6 full weeks to make, build and ship.  Which brings us till now, and why waiting nearly 4-5 months for a bike has felt like an eternity.

There she is! Pictures really don't do her beauty justice. 🙂

When I knew I was going to do a custom bike, I knew I’d need to up my budget quite a bit.  I generally decided I would no longer have bike envy, of any sort, when I decided to go custom.  I wanted to “do it right”.  I have said about 50 times, and I’m now putting it here in writing:

This is the LAST time trial bike I will ever buy.

That said, the things I’ve forever been drooling over that I just went ahead and got on my bike include:  1) a power meter, and more recently, the Quarq.  I’ve been wanting to train with power, but have been hesitant of buying a power meter in the wheel feeling like that is too heavy.   2.) For over a year, I’ve coveted Di2 electric components.  It’s so smooth, and I have a feeling in not that long, most bikes will end up having it, so I decided to get ahead of the 8-ball.  3.) Zipp 808’s, well because they’re fast and very sexy 🙂

After picking her up at about 3:00 on Friday, I headed to a quick appointment at 4:00.  By the time I got home, it was pouring rain and I wasn’t able to get my first ride in on her.  The anticipation continued.

MAIDEN VOYAGE:

So Saturday, despite the rain, I was bound and determined to get out on my new Black Beauty.  My teammate Marianne and I decided to do a 3 hour ride and include some lactic threshold intervals.  The first hour being on the new bike I felt a little nervous (didn’t help that it was raining) and just kind of clumsy.  The front end is much less stiff than my Kuota and adjusting to the Di2 took a little time.  I basically just traded in a Honda for a Maserati and I’d imagine in the car world, it would take some adjusting as well.  Marianne and I rode easy out to where we planned to do our intervals, which thankfully also gave me time to get a little more comfortable on my speed demon (and for the roads to dry out a bit).  By the time I started my intervals, I was feeling like I had been riding my bike for years…except for when descending on a bumpy road.    It will take a few weeks to readjust to that.

The ride was great!  It ended up being beautiful weather for the last 45 minutes or so and I just love riding with Marianne so overall it was a perfect day.  I didn’t feel one ache or pain during the ride and had zero thoughts of “I wish….(my seat was lower, my bars were further, etc)”.  I’m beyond excited to get more and more comfortable on it and look forward to posting some pretty “fast” (it’s all relative) run splits afterwards!  Thanks Marianne for joining me today!


My 24-Hour Hip Injury

03/20/2012

I have absolutely no idea what happened to my hip for the last 24 hours but it’s crazy!?!   Only me….

Here’s the background.  I raced Sunday, quads somewhat sore after race, but nothing bad.  Drove home Sunday, all good.  Wake up Monday a little stiff but actually feeling pretty good.  Quads still a little sore from the flat terrain that I’m not used to running but again, manageable.  Swim Monday morning, all good.  Walk 5-6 miles to Birkdale, up and down terrain and given my tight quads I was definitely walking kind of “weird”.  Thinking the walk, though, will be great to get rid of any lingering soreness in my quads.

Get in car to drive home about 5pm and am totally a-okay walking to the car.  Arrive at Trader Joe’s 25 minutes later, get out of car, and literally can hardly stand up my right hip hurts so bad.  Confused, thinking it’ll be gone in a few minutes and maybe its just stiff, I basically hop on one foot through the parking deck, get a cart, lean all my weight on it and do some quick grocery shopping.  I can hardly get my bags into my car because I cannot apply pressure to my right leg.  The pain was so bad it was honestly almost bringing me to tears.  When was the last time you were in pain as an adult that you cried!?!?

Nonetheless, arrive home, maneuver the groceries in the house and put away the bare minimum frozen and refrigerated stuff and leave the rest.  Cannot bear to stand on my leg for one more minute.  Pack an ice bag, take some Advil and hit my bed to avoid any movement for the rest of the night.

Wake up Tuesday morning, 30% improvement.  Still really painful.  Head to the pool to try to “work it out” swimming.  Get out of pool, 50% improvement from Monday, but again, still a 5 pain on a 10 scale.  Not comfortable.  Hobble around work in heals all day, in pretty bad pain.  About 3pm, head down to the YMCA to foam roll and see if I can work it out.  Roll for about 15 minutes, 85% improvement.  Complete a quick upper body band/strength workout and head back to work.

Arrive home about 6, jump on my bike for a quick ride to again, stretch my legs and try to work out the lingering pain.  Arrive home from bike ride about 7:15…95% pain free. 🙂

NO CLUE what I could have tweaked or pulled or aggravated but the good news is I’m about back to normal….24 hours later.  If only all injuries were as quick as stomach bugs!  Thanks everyone for your texts and emails!  It seems I’m gonna pull through.  🙂

 


A Day Off!

03/19/2012

Given the race this weekend, I decided I needed a day off work.  In addition, I got a call a few weeks ago from my friend Karen (who I used to nanny for back when I got out of college) asking me if I could stay with the kids last night as they were going out of town overnight.  The kids are 15, 13 and 11 now (they were 6, 4 and 2 when I was their nanny!)  and are totally fine on their own during the day, she just doesn’t love them to stay alone overnight.  Given I love to hang out with those kids, their amazingly beautiful, luxurious house on Lake Norman, their adorably cute doggie, my decision to take Monday off was confirmed.

I drove home from the race Sunday afternoon.  Got home about 4:30, re-packed, had a come to Jesus with Dawn, and headed to the lake.  We decided to go out to dinner and made a last minute decision to go to Taco Mac.  Delicious blackened fish tacos!  As expected, I was the first one to hit the sack not long after 9pm, the kids looked at me like I had 3 heads when I turned in so early, but it felt amazing to sleep until after 8!  Boy I needed that. 🙂

Knowing my legs would probably be a little sore, I brought my stuff with me to the lake and planned to do a recovery swim at the Huntersville Aquatic Center first thing.  I arrived about 9:15 and ended up running into Leigh-Ann, who I just recently met on our ride up Brushy Mountain!  She was just about to hop in with a coached group session and asked me to join!  I’m so glad I did.  We had a fun, hard swim (little more than a “recovery” but I survived) and I actually felt half decent in the water.  I love changing things up sometimes and the coach didn’t berate my swim technique, to my surprise!  🙂

After swimming I made my way back to Karen’s house, checked in on the kids, showered and headed out to meet up with Emily and Braxton for the rest of the day!   When I planned my day off I couldn’t think of anything more I wanted to do if I was already going to be up at the lake then spend the day hanging with the sweetest little nugget!  Emily and I walked 2 – 3 miles to Birkdale and I made good use of the Moby wrap.  I loved holding him in there, he was so close and snuggly, though it did get warm in the 80+ degree temps.

I think Brax got his first little sun-kiss today.

We sat outside in the shade at Red Rocks, enjoyed some salads and Blue Moons, chatted about life and everything in between.  We had such a nice day and I would do anything to be able to press pause on my life and do it more often.  Its days like today that  1. make me wish I didn’t have a corporate job.  2. make me realize how much I really do love little Brax (and he’s not even mine!)  3.  remind me how lucky I am to have Emily as my greatest friend knowing she will be the Aunt to my kids one day  4.  reiterates how much I want to be a mom.

Tonight, I feel rejuvenated and appreciative of the life I have, the family I have, the friends I have, the dogs that love me, the opportunities I have, for my financial freedom and for my ability to run a 1:36 half marathon…even if it is 1 minute shy of my goal.  Putting things in perspective is a beautiful thing.


Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon

03/19/2012

As my blog readers are aware, I ventured to Wrightsville Beach this weekend for my first “a-race” of the season.  Though it was “only”  a half marathon, I had a lofty goal (for me) shooting for a ~4 minute PR (over 1:37:30 at Corporate Cup in 2011).

The race wasn’t until Sunday morning so I decided to stay in Charlotte Friday night to do some catching up on life.  I got a ton done and felt so ready to head to the beach Saturday.  I woke up early and spent some Q.T. with my pups before hitting the road just before 9am.   It was an absolute gorgeous day for a road trip and the weather was really motivating me to run hard.  You also know you’ve tapered properly when you’re jumping out of your skin to race!

I can’t tell you the last time I’ve traveled to a race alone.  Though I had 3 clients meeting me down here, it was odd to be alone for packet pickup, getting settled in the condo, etc.  It was so nice of my friend Win and his family to let me use his condo for the 4th time now!  The condo is huge, beautiful, right on the water, and fully equipped with anything you’d need for a weekend.  Though I missed my usual support crowd, it was relaxing to be alone.  I read for a while on the patio listening to the waves and took a 2 hour nap later than afternoon – clearly I was more tired than I thought.

My clients all came over for dinner on Saturday night as we prepped for the race.  I made a huge (I mean, HUGE) baked ziti on Friday night, and big salad and homemade whole wheat bread.  I truly enjoyed the evening with awesome friends.  Company left about 8:30 and we were off to bed.  Given my 2 hour  nap, it took me 40 minutes or so to fall asleep and I was up 2 minutes before my alarm, just the way I like it!  I felt great that morning and was ready to run.

The race site is < 2 miles from the condo, so we made our way over and began our warm ups.  The weather was absolutely perfect…about 60 degrees and almost “misting” (looking back, it might have actually just been really muggy?)  I was so happy to be in shorts and a tank top and not tights, hats, gloves, ear warmers….

The gun went off and I was about 5th row back.  I had planned to take the first 2 miles a few seconds below goal pace, then settle in at goal pace around mile 3.  Plan executed.  My first two miles were 6:56 and 7:05 with goal pace right around 7:15.  Mile 3 I was still feeling good and maintained a 7:05 pace before I decided I needed to back it down, for real this time.  Miles 4-9 were all flat between 7:14 and 7:18 pace and I was feeling awesome.  My HR was extremely high, but that’s nothing normal for me at such pace.  I hit the 10k point at 46:05, which was probably a minute faster than I should have been, but I still felt good and thought I’d be able to hang on.

By mile 9, I needed some good water so I walked 5 steps through the aid station to be sure I got down sufficient fluids.  I find it very very hard to drink while running and rarely ever even get any fluids in my actual mouth when I attempt.  I have many-a-shirts soaked in Gatorade!  Despite the walk, mile 9 was just slightly above goal pace around 7:23.  Come mile 10 I could feel I was nearing my edge.  Mentally I pulled every trick in the book to press forward.  Mile 10 ticked off right around 7:29 and I was disappointed that despite the effort, the pace was slower than I expected.  Just a few seconds after mile 10, I heard a large group of people running up behind me and I knew instantly what it was…the 3:10 marathon pace group.  I stuck with them for a while, but I knew almost instantly I wouldn’t hit my goal when they slowly started taking off.  Mile 11 was also just above goal pace as I was able to push with the pace group around, but mile 11 and 12 were both 7:38 and I could feel my goal slipping away.  I pushed hard to the finish in the mid 6:30 range, but it wasn’t enough.

I hit the mat at 1:36 and change and I instantly wanted a mulligan!  I felt so deflated and disappointed.  I wanted sub 1:35 so badly but it just wasn’t my day.  I gave it what I had for that day and that was the best I could do.  (I will insert than my watch did say 13.28 miles at the finish, for what it’s worth.)

I sat down on the curb after received my medal.  I was approached within 5 minutes by 2 women and 1 man congratulating me on a great race and “how strong I looked” and “how they tried so hard to catch you but just couldn’t”.  And I’m sitting on the curb sulking.  I decided to get my head out of my ass, stop feeling sorry for myself and hold my head high, despite the pit in my stomach.  I do not like to “fail”; however, I realize failure is all relative.  I finished the race.  I PR’d by over 2 minutes in this distance.  I finished in the top 1.8% of females in 21st of 1162.  I trained hard.  I stayed mentally tough when all I wanted to do was walk at mile 12.  I achieved a lot, even if I didn’t achieve my goal.

Though I’m disappointed, I leave this race with even more drive.  I will run a 1:35 half marathon and I’ll run a sub 1:35 half marathon, its just a matter of time and patience.  During a “come to Jesus” chat with my sister, she constantly reminds me that speed work wasn’t even in my vocabulary 14 months ago, which I so quickly and easily forget as I beat myself up.  I have always been focused on distance….getting to the finish line of an Ironman.  I hadn’t stepped foot on a track until about July of this year.  I hadn’t focused on getting faster and lord knows it doesn’t come natural to me.  I wasn’t born a runner (or a swimmer obviously)…I have worked hard for every bit of speed I developed.  Three years ago, running one mile in 7:18 wasn’t possible for me, nonetheless 13.1.  I have to be proud of that.  I will continue to keep working hard and I can’t wait to get started again…of course, that will have to wait until after I can walk like a normal human again!

Congrats to Nicole on finishing her first half marathon and Kendra, her 2nd!  So proud of you girls….and Jip, just for being fast 🙂

Jip, Kendra, Kim, Nicole and Kaiya - post race

 


Still All Over the Place

03/15/2012

I’ve been avoiding blogging the past couple days simply because there is so much going on I don’t even know how to condense my thoughts and whereabouts into one appropriate blog post.  I reread my last post and I have never read anything more random.  I don’t think this one will prove to be any more focused.

Since my last post, here is an update on the items I’ve received the most questions about:

My new bike was delayed just slightly.  As the build was coming to completion last Thursday, there was a Di2 part  being installed and it turns out it was faulty.  Stu was on the phone getting part replaced and it promptly arrived at his shop in MD the following day.  Unfortunately for me though, Stu had a week long trip to Spain planned leaving Friday morning.  Given Stu is the best of the best at bike fit and high end builds, I agreed to wait for him to return to put his final touches on everything.  I believe I will have my bike no later than next Tuesday…and I’m hoping Monday!  For real this time.

I got to see one of my best friends, and website extraordinaire, again on Tuesday night (I just saw her in February when I I went to MD to get my bike)!  Aubrey is a teacher and had this week off for Spring break.  Since she hadn’t yet had a chance to meet Braxton, so she hopped in the car last minute on Tuesday and spent the day with Emily while I worked.  The three of us met for dinner Tuesday night and ended up being the last people out of the restaurant at 11:30!  Always so fun to be with Emily and Aubrey at one time – two of my very favorite people in this world.  I was hoping to leave work early Wednesday to get to see her one more time before she left on Thursday but just didn’t work out.

As everyone knows, the weather has been so wonderful here and we were able to sit outside at Vapiano’s and kick back after a very stressful few weeks in the office. After the last white wine debacle, I obviously have decided to forego consumption going forward.  I opted old faithful – vodka, cranberry, splash of soda, and a lime (our favorite Jordan!).   I had two very small drinks, and called it a night by about 7:45.   By 8:30, my feet and fingers were swollen to twice their normal size and my feet were bright red and itchy.  Aside from the swelling in my hands, feet, and legs, I felt fine.  Fortunately, I didn’t end up getting sick like the last few times, but there’s certainly something going on that I’ve got to figure out.  I’m not a big drinker by any stretch of the imagination, however, I really can’t imagine my life as a “non-drinker”.  I definitely look forward to a cocktail or two (and sometimes 3 or 4) on occasion and love nothing more than a drink with a friend over dinner.  I don’t drink every night, nor can I really remember the last time I was truly drunk, but I still enjoy drinks a lot!  I don’t want to give them up!  More to come on that.

As I’ve said, I have my first real race of the season on Sunday.  I’m feeling really good this week and despite slightly lower volume trying to rest my legs for the race, I have had some pretty solid workouts.  I did 4-miles of speedwork on Tuesday and though I could feel lingering fatigue in my legs from the weekend I still held a 6:50 pace which I feel good about (on the hilliest course ever).  For me, 6:50 is well below race pace and I’m hoping race pace feels comfortable given some rested legs.  Getting faster is such hard work!

Other fun stuff on the horizon is my first trip to Nashville the last week of March!  One of my great friends Shannon is getting married in April and we’re headed down for her Bachellorette weekend.  Emily and I talked about taking a trip to Nashville since we moved to Charlotte 10 years ago!  We both love our country music and have heard such great things about Nashville; it will be Emily’s first weekend away from Braxton and I’m certain the old Emily will be out in full force.  Most all of my other great friends will be there too and I can’t wait…I’m certain Monday will not be very fun.

On the New Zealand front, Dawn has done a great job planning out our itinerary and it’s starting to feel more real.  We’ve got plans to visit 5 different cities between NZ and Australia!  We have tons of adventures planned, and also some time to chill out.  It’s going to be the trip of a lifetime and I’m beyond appreciative Dawn is coming, most importantly, and also that has spent the time to work out the details!  A HUGE weight off my shoulders.

Going forward, my plan is to not make blogs about 100 different topics.  I try to stay a bit more focused but that hasn’t seemed possible lately.  Be patient with me blogger friends!

Hope everyone has been enjoying this weather as much as I have.  It was ALL I could do to drag myself to work today with the 75 degree temperatures as I headed out my front door.  And it was all I could do to get myself into the pool tonight when all I wanted to do was run.  Must rest!  Hoping this beautiful weather sticks around for race day!