Friday, February 29, 2008

Busy, Busy, Times!!!

I hate going almost a week without updating, but it's been busy around here.

Sunday afternoon, I took my tri bike out for a 30 mile ride. There was no way I was getting back on my road bike and risking another flat. I looked at the tires and they are definitely in need of replacing. Plus I like my tri bike, so it was fun.

Monday I had a board meeting and my legs were a little sluggish from riding 60 miles over the weekend, so I ran 4 miles and then went to the meeting. The weather was BEAUTIFUL, so I headed outside for my run. Tuesday was yoga. Wednesday was another rushed day and my husband was out of town on business and wouldn't be home until late, so I hit the treadmill for another 4 miles. Thursday the cycle team was having a nutrition clinic with a nutritionist. I was interested to hear what she had to say. I barely had time to get in a 4 mile run and then I was off. Today my daughter has a choir festival at the school. We'll be leaving in just a bit, but I wanted to update.

Tomorrows ride is supposed to be somewhere between 35 and 45 miles. I haven't ridden in the area where we will be riding, so I'm not sure how far I'll be going yet. The good news is that I did get a new road bike this week. I've spent my lunch hour the past two days getting it fit to me, so tomorrow will be the first time I test it out. I already know I need to replace the seat. It was uncomfy during the fitting, so I know the long ride will be hard on it, but I'm anxious to test it out. My husband will inherit the old bike - as soon as we put new tires on it. Tomorrow should be fun.

After the ride, I'm off to watch my son's first soccer game of the season and then tomorrow night is the spring fling at his school. Sunday is busy, too, but somehow I'll get through it all.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

&*%#@#& Flats!

So I kind of took this week easy since I did the marathon on Sunday. I didn't do anything on Monday. I did my yoga on Tuesday. I did a 45 minute trainer ride Wednesday and an hour and 15 minute trainer ride on Thursday. Friday night we had a meeting we needed to be at, so Friday was another off day for me.

With all of that, I was looking forward to today's group ride. We were meeting in a small country town not far from where I live and I was guessing we would do 25-35 miles. I was really looking forward to getting out for a good ride. And after my last flat a couple of weeks ago, I had even gone to the bike store during lunch one day to get new tubes and CO2 cartridges.

This morning, the mentors and captains met at a little restaurant to go over how the season is going so far. Then we headed over to where we would meet the team and unloaded our bikes. When my bike got a flat two weeks ago, the tube I had was a short stemmed tube. I couldn't really get the tire aired up to the proper PSI today, so they said they would use my bike as the example bike when they showed everyone how to change a flat. Perfect. I'd get them to put in one of my new long stemmed tubes and I'd be set to go. The coach was amazing at changing my tire. He didn't even need tools and he did it in record time. Soon my tire was back on my bike and we were off.

We were suppose to be in 3 different pace groups. I had planned on going with the middle group but actually ended up with the fast group. Because of that, I ended up at the back of the pack trying to hold on. I wanted to do the longer route, so I figured I really needed to keep up or I might get lost. After the section of big hills, I began to fade. There were a couple of others who did the same, so we formed our own little pack. As we were getting close to our turnaround point I felt the bumpity bump. #@^&*@! I had a flat.

One of the girls riding with me is also a captain for the team. She pulled over with me and we took the tire off. We got the new tube in and were trying to put the tire back on and it wouldn't go. The assistant coach had to stop and help. It was just being too stubborn. I am so frustrated with the flats I've had lately. I've had this bike for 3 years. I rode over a year without a flat. Then I had one flat during the spring 2006 tri season. And I haven't had anymore until this season. And now I've had two in three weeks. I think it's time for new tires. Although I'm so frustrated, I think it's time for a new bike.

I ended up with 26.98 miles today. It felt good to get in the mileage, but hopefully next week it will be without the flat.

Monday, February 18, 2008

AT&T Austin Marathon Race Report

Well, going into the weekend, I was still unsure if I was going to run this marathon or not. I didn't know if I would be needed as a coach or not. Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

Saturday morning the spring teams of Team in Training were meeting together for the "honored hero mile". This is where all teams meet and do a silent mile in honor of all the hereos we are training for. My daughter had a meeting at 9:00, so she had to go with me. Since she has been sick I wanted her to stay in the car and this meant I would not be riding. And I have to admit I was kind of glad. The weather was in the low 40s and there was a heavy mist in the air. It was nasty. The cycle team was suppose to do a cornering clinic, but that got cancelled real quick. They did the silent mile and when they came back, they were all frozen. And then the coach took them out for some smaller loops. They ended up riding over an hour.

After my daughter's meeting, I took her back home, ate a quick lunch and then headed to the expo to pick up my packet. I hung around there for a bit checking out the merchandise. It's funny that when I travel to a destination marathon, I have no problem spending money on race merchandise, but for a hometown race, I just can't fork out the dough. The only thing I bought was a headband with the 20th anniversary TNT logo on it. Cost = $7.

At 3:00 I headed over to the coaches meeting to find out if I would be racing or coaching. It turned out that they were fine on the coaching. I would be running.

We left the coaches meeting and started decorating for the pasta party. We had the north Texas and south Texas teams who would be joining us for the evening. As always, the food was good, but the speaker was fantastic. She was just diagnosed last year with lymphoma and self named herself "chemo queen". She even wore a tiara.

After the pasta party, I went home to lay everything out and get in bed. My only dilema was to decide what I would be wearing. After Saturday's wet and cold day, I was still chilled to the bone and the thought of wearing shorts gave me chills. However, the weather forecast said the morning temps would be in the 40s and they would rise all day as the sun came out. If it was accurate, temps would be in the low 60s by the time I would finish.

Sunday morning I woke up at 4am. I got dressed in my shorts, but did put on my long sleeve under armour under my singlet. I then put some sweats on to keep me warm until right before the race when I checked my bag. I ate my oatmeal breakfast, grabbed my stuff and headed for downtown. I got parked easily and headed for the hotel lobby where the team would meet. I hit the bathroom here and loaded my race ready shorts with my gels and chapstick. I took of the sweats and put them in my bag. Off we went to check them in.

The next thing I knew, it was 5 minutes until race start. Then the cannon went off and the fireworks exploded. It was time to race.

Last year I got a PR at this race, but I went out way too fast and paid for it in the end. This year I wanted to start out slower and see if I could maintain the pace all the way through. I had lined up between the 4:45 and 5:00 pacers since my PR is 4:44. I figured that was the right spot. I stayed just behind the 4:45 pacers until about mile 3 or 4. I then passed them and thought if I stayed in front of them I would be doing good. And that's just what I did for most of the race. My splits showed that I slowed down a little on some of the hillier parts of the course. I was feeling great. At one point, one of the coaches saw me and he commented that I looked like I was just out for a Sunday afternoon run.

I ran straight through for 19 miles. And then I had to go to the bathroom. If I had not had to stop, I might have kept the pace going, but once I got back out and took off, my legs revolted. I had one more decent mile in me and then the legs wanted to stop. I took some walk breaks and tried to run as much as I could. At that point I knew there would be no PR for me as I was passed by the 4:45 pacers. And at mile 25 when I was passed by the 5:00 pacers, I figured why push. I was almost done and it wouldn't be my worst marathon, so I just enjoyed the remaining mile. All of the coaches and one of the mentors tagged team me in through the last mile until I turned onto Congress for the final stretch. I was able to "run" in that last stretch and cross the finish line with a smile.

Final Official Results:
Chip Time: 5:02:22
Overall: 3552/5134
Gender: 1230/2041
Division: 210
Mile 5 time: 58:24 10:26 pace
Mile 10 time: 1:44:59 10:18 pace
Mile 15 time: 2:39:07 10:28 pace
Mile 20 time: 3:40:13 10:54 pace
Final: 5:02:22 11:27 overall pace

Splits according to my Garmin:

Mile 1: 10:41
Mile 2: 10:33
Mile 3: 10:22
Mile 4: 9:58
Mile 5: 10:13
Mile 6: 10:31
Mile 7: 10:25
Mile 8: 10:52
Mile 9: 10:41
Mile 10: 10:40
Mile 11: 10:42
Mile 12: 11:03
Mile 13: 10:46
Mile 14: 10:39
Mile 15: 10:53
Mile 16: 11:22
Mile 17: 11:20
Mile 18: 11:42
Mile 19: 12:10
Mile 20: 14:32 (potty break)
Mile 21: 11:50
Mile 22: 13:03
Mile 23: 13:03
Mile 24: 13:45
Mile 25: 13:58
Mile 26 and .2: 16:30

Considering that I don't remember when my last real long run was and considering I didn't really know if I was going to run or not until the day before, I think I did pretty good. Based on my recent half marathon time, though, I do think I have it in me to run a 4:30 marathon if not better. I just need to focus more and get in more long runs if I'm going to go for that. But for now, I'm switching gears. I'll still run some as I'd like to run over 1,000 miles this year and I need to keep up my running for the triathlons I will do this summer. But for now, my main focus will be on cycling.

I took today off and will do yoga tomorrow to stretch out the muscles really well. If I feel good on Wednesday, I'll either ride an easy ride outside or I'll get on the trainer for a bit and see how the legs feel. My left hip flexor was really sore after the marathon, but today is fine. It's just those quads that scream at me when I go downstairs. Ahhhh, the joys of marathoning.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Trying to Stay Healthy

On Sunday, my daughter started running a fever. I took her to the doctor on Monday and they tested her for the flu. It came back positive. She's been home all week, and I've been trying not to get sick myself. So far, so good. Let's just hope that it stays that way.

I got in an hour on the trainer Sunday since I didn't want to leave her at home sick by herself. My husband and son were at a soccer tournament all day and came home with a 3rd place trophy.

Monday I got in a treadmill run, Tuesday was yoga, Wednesday and Thursday were treadmill runs, and I just got off the trainer today. I will be resting the rest of today and tomorrow. The marathon is Sunday and I still don't know if I'm running or coaching. It obviously won't be one of my best marathons if I end up running. We'll see what happens. The weather is suppose to get rainy and cold today and tomorrow, but it should be close to perfect on race day if predictions hold.

Have a great weekend. And thanks to those of you who have donated to my fundraising. Thank yous are on the way!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Second Cycle Practice

This morning, I headed out early to meet with the run team. Today was the last group practice before the marathon next Sunday. We met at one of the team members house and the group started out from there. Since I would be joining the cycle team later, I knew I wasn't going to run. One of the coaches is also on the cycle team, so we got our bikes and rode the course backwards so that we could check on the runners. I got in a little over 8 miles doing that. Then I headed over to be with the cycle team.

This morning we met at the veloway again. We broke into three groups again, but this time it was not based on our experience level. We just counted off and divided up. We did one lap around the veloway about 5-6 mph but staying within a foot or two of the person next to us and about one to two tire lengths behind the two people in front of us. Basically, we were practicing riding in groups.

Then we hit the "autobahn" (I'm not even sure if that's the right spelling). The "autobahn" is a stretch of highway that has large shoulders and no lights. It's about an 8 mile loop with a couple of good climbs. The goal on the first loop was to again practice riding right next to the person beside you and right behind the people in front of you. We weren't going as slow as we did on the veloway, but we didn't go real fast either. And there were parts where we had to get in a single file pace line because the shoulder would narrow or go away for a bit. It was great practice.

The second lap of the "autobahn" was kind of a time trial of sorts. The coach started each of us about 30 seconds apart from the person in front of us. We were suppose to go at a comfortable pace for us, but not an all out pace. I set out ready to see what I could do. And right off, I could feel the difference of being in a pace line vs. being on my own. The wind felt much stronger on my own. But I was doing well. I probably was at 17-18 mph mostly. Slower on the hills and faster on the downhills, but I felt pretty good. I passed a couple of people who started in front of me (and got passed by a couple of people who started behind me), made the turn around, got about halfway down the backside and flatted. That's right. I got a flat. I could just hear the air flowing out of my tire. I know how to change a tire, but I'm not very good or fast, so lucky for me one of the coaches was right behind me and changed my tire for me. After the tire was fixed, I continued on my way.

I was kind of bummed about the flat, because I really wanted to see what my average speed was for the loop. We won't be back at the veloway again for a while, so I can't "retest". Oh well. Overall, today was a really good workout. I ended up with 29.59 miles.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday Service

Today is Ash Wednesday, so tonight we went to the services at our church. The message was divided into 3 parts. During the first part, the pastor and the lay leaders were doing a reading about spiritual growth and what do you know - they compared it to a marathon. That's right, a marathon. And when you think about it, it is.

If you just "try" a marathon, you might finish, but you will be struggling and you will hurt. But if you "train" for a marathon, you will be much better prepared, and your outcome will be better. The same holds true for spiritual growth. You have to "train" yourself to really grow in your faith- you can't just "try". So true.

We were given a sheet of paper with three sections on it. For the first one, we had to mark what spiritual disciplines we were going to commit to during Lent (regular worship attendance, praying daily, partaking in communion as much as we can, etc). The second lesson and section of the sheet was on forgiveness. Who will we focus on forgiving and/or asking forgiveness from? The third lesson/section was on giving. We were suppose to write down what charity or cause we would commit to giving time and/or money to. My daughter leaned over and said, "that's an easy one for you". And it is right now since I am training and raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society once again. I am also mentoring, so I am giving of my time to help others succeed in the program.

However, Lent is not about being easy. The tradition of Lent is that we are suppose to give up something that is a sacrifice for us. My daughter decided to give up Coke. She doesn't really drink a lot anyway, but she also isn't really suppose to have any now that she has braces, so that was a good choice. I asked my son what he would give up. I think he's still thinking about it. He said he could give up something (I forgot what it was), but that it would be hard. I told him that was the point. He really wants to give up vegetables, but I told him he couldn't do that.

As for me, I find it hard to figure out what to give up as well. In the past I've given up Coke, chocolate and Dorritos. Now I rarely have those things. And I suppose that's the point. I guess I'm still thinking, too.

On the training side of things, I did get out on my tri bike Sunday for about an hour. It was really windy, so it made the ride feel really hard. I went back out today for about 40 minutes and it was windy still. I also got cold today as I rode as the sun was going down and I had shorts on today (it was in the 60s). I don't think my body has warmed up yet. I'm such a weenie when it comes to cold. I'm definitely going to have to layer when I go to Tahoe.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

First Cycle Practice

This morning was the first group practice with the Team in Training group who will be going to Tahoe for the century ride. Down south is a 3.3 mile concrete loop (called the veloway) for cyclists and rollerbladers and that is where we met. We broke into three different groups - beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I decided to go with the intermediate group since I haven't been on my bike in a couple of months and since I didn't know the skill level of those that immediately went to the "advanced" group.

After we split up, we went to three different stations and did lots of drills. The first station was to ride the short loop of the veloway working on single leg drills. This meant we only used one foot to pedal. We would pedal with one foot for about 15-20 seconds and then switch. When you have clipless pedals (like I do) and your foot is attached to the pedal at all times, the single leg drill really lets you know if you have an efficient stroke or not. I found that my right foot was much smoother than my left.

At the second station we worked on breaking skills and on looking over our shoulders. That one was not as easy as one might think. We would have to look over our shoulder to see which hand the coach had raised and then raise that hand ourself. The whole time we were suppose to stay in a straight line and keep pedaling. Most people either went way off course or stopped pedaling. Some did both. I felt like I went fairly straight and did fairly well, but I wasn't watching myself, so I have no idea how I did.

At the last station, we worked on going in circles while grabbing our water bottles and taking a drink. This was to work on controlling the bike with one hand. Then he had us reach down on our leg as far as we could and keep our hand there - all while still going in a circle. The last thing he had us do was a "slowest person race". We all started at one line. The goal was to be the last person to cross the finish line. The whole point of this exercise was to be able to balance on your bike while at a complete (or almost complete) standstill. This was the hardest exercise of all.

After we were done with the drills we hit the veloway for some laps. We went fairly slow but tried to keep everyone focused on proper cadence. We ended up doing 3 laps. I didn't time anything today since we were focusing so much on drills and since we were all focused on staying with someone who is just starting out in cycling. For the most part, everyone did well for the first practice.

When I got home, I decided I needed to wash my car. This afternoon was absolutely gorgeous here. It got up into the 70s and the sun was shining. My car is now clean and has no trash in it. Wahoo!

And then I decided it was so pretty I needed to run. Outside. I put on shorts and a tank top and took off through my neighborhood. There was a slight breeze blowing and it was perfect. I ended up with 5 miles.

Tomorrow is supposed to be just as warm. There is a slight chance of showers, but hopefully very slight as I want to get out on my tri bike tomorrow for a ride. And of course tomorrow night is the Super Bowl. I've got my Doritos and Coke ready to go! Yum.....

January Totals

This year I've been logging my workouts on so that I can have an online record of what I'm doing. It adds up the month's totals as you go. Here are my totals for January.

Bike: 3.55 miles
Run: 92.16 miles 17 hours 42 minutes 12 seconds
Strength training: 2 hours 13 minutes
Bike Trainer: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yoga: 2 hours 45 minutes