Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday: Race Day Tips & Tricks

Today I'm linking back up with Courtney at The Tri Girl Chronicles, Phaedra at Blisters and Black Toenails and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?!for Tri Talk Tuesday. This week's topic: Race Day Tips & Tricks

Pre-Race - Quelling the jitters

Race day can be super stressful. Depending on the race, your morning-of jitters can be anywhere from 'eh' to 'AHH!'. Pre-race jitters are normal, and they're good in many ways. It's what gets you amped up and ready to compete. But if you're stressing so much that you aren't enjoying the race, well, that's just miserable. Here are some tried and true ways I have reduced my anxiety pre-race

1. Set that Alarm EARLY

Not a Great Example b/c this race started @ 11:00 a.m.

I know, this one sucks. Most triathlons start at zero-dark-thirty as is, and getting up early isn't everyone's strong suit. If you're one of those people who can wake up and roll out the door (i.e. Hubz, hate him) then just ignore this one. But if you're like me, my brain and body take forever to warm up and get going in the morning. I have to be awake at least 30 minutes before I can be trusted to actually do anything. I set the alarm about 2 hours before my planned departure time. This isn't just so that I can mentally get woken up - it's so I can eat! I like to take care of business (if you get my meaning) before I leave the house so as to avoid leaving the uncomfortable bathroom business to the nasty start line port-a-potties. At Muncie I woke up at like 4 a.m. and just laid in bed watching Netflix while I drank my gatorade and chowed down my bagel. It wasn't rocket since. But it DID give me an opportunity to actually be awake by the time we left. It also leaves you with plenty of time to make sure you have all of the odds and ends so you're ready to leave on time....

2. Plan Out a Schedule

I may be too type A for some people, but hey, it works for me! I HATE being rushed in the morning. Hate.It. Hubz likes to roll out of bed, get in the car, show up 2 seconds before the gun goes off and do his thing. This makes my skin itch and belly ache just thinking about it. The day  before a race - while  I'm packing my Transition bag and going through my gear - I plot out a schedule for race morning. This requires knowing a lot of things: what time does transition close? Is there a pre-race meeting? Is it Mandatory? How far away will we have to park? Figure out these variables, then work backwards:

2015 Race the Bridge Olympic
8:15 a.m. Race Start
7:50 Meet mom & Dad outside of transition
7:45 Transition Closes
7:00 Hubz drops me off @ Eva Bandman Park
6:50 Leave for Eva Bandman Park
5:00 Wake up for race day! Drink 2 bottles - 1 H2O, 1 Gatorade. Eat Bagel. Mix iced coffee

Now you've got a schedule, just reverse the order and voila!. It takes all of the guess work out of race morning and you really don't even have to think about anything.

3. Tell Your Sherpa & Support Crew How They Can Help

This is one I often struggle with. Friends and Family want to be at the race to support you. Great! They want to be there before you start. Um. Hmm. After so many years of competitive swimming I'm pretty used to being on my own at the start. In fact, I prefer it that way. With so many people around I get self conscious, 'Are they having a good time?' 'Am I ignoring them?'. It sounds selfish, but I need race morning to be about me. Sound like you? Tell your crew! My mom is always looking for ways to help me at races and I had to just be blunt with her: You can help me out on the course by cheering for me, smiling at me, and giving me positive feedback. Right now, I need to be in the zone. She totally gets it. Before we discussed that...it was awkward! Be kind, be thankful and be appreciative, but be honest.

4. Set a playlist

I always have a pre-race pump up playlist. We usually listen to it in the car on the way to the race. Sometimes I'll just put my earbuds in while I"m setting up in transition. It helps me get focused and get my mind right before the race.

Post-Race Tips & Tricks

1. Pack Post-Race Clothes

Seems like a no-brainer, but add this to your transition to-pack list. I always pack a comfy dark colored shirt (because no one needs to see your boob sweat at brunch), flip flops, and some shower wipes. Nathan makes a great body wipe that I keep in my bag, but baby wipes will work too. Nothing feels better than getting that salt and sweat off of your face. Also - flip flops! Make sure you pack a comfy pair for your worn out feet. For longer races or if we're traveling far I pack my compression socks. Whatever it takes to be comfy!

2. Plan What You're Going to Eat

It's important to eat for recovery after a race. Also, FOOD. Some races I'm not that interested in food but some, whew boy, give me a buffet. Especially if you're out of town figure out where you're going to fuel after the race. I like having that already planned out (and often have a reservation in place) so that I'm not plagued with "where do you want to eat?" by my support crew immediately after the race. People, I just did a sprint/olympic/10k/13.1 - I don't want to decide things!!

3. Move around throughout the day

It can be tempting after an especially hard race to go home and become one with the sofa. Don't let it happen! Get up every so often and walk around. Stretch! Also keep drinking fluids (I think beer does count, in moderation) to help get the lactic acid flushed out. The more you move around post-race the easier it will be to move around the next day. Trust me on this one. 

Above all - enjoy every moment! Take every opportunity before and after the race to realize that you're doing something FUN! Whenever you start getting anxious just remember: plenty of people will never get the chance to do these things. Enjoy every minute. Be thankful

Happy Running!

What did I miss?!
Waking up early - hate it or love it? 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What Just Happened? - A Weekly Recap

While I'm writing my recap I'm watching Desert Runners. It's insane. If you haven't seen if you need to get yourself in front of a Netflix Machine right now and watch it. It follows several runners attempting the "Grand Slam" of the 4 Desert Series (Atacama, Gobi, Sahara, Antarctic - one calendar year). This quote from the filmmaker stuck with me:

"Why is it that some people look at something and say 
'that's impossible' and another person says its not?"

Think on that. 

Anyway, here's my week:

See those two big gaping holes in a row?? That hasn't happened since March 18th & 19th. See that Blank for Saturday? Yeah. Hasn't happened since March either. So...what just happened?

This week is one of "the best weeks" for my job because all of the prosecutors go out of town for a conference. Court basically shuts down and we get three days to breathe. Also, my husband (a prosecutor) goes to said conference. My buddy Rania was hoping to take the conference days off for a little staycation time with her awesome family so we moved our Wednesday run to Monday. Hubz had softball so I brought Ellie with me to run. I felt bad because Ellie didn't let us run very much and I know Rania wanted to move. She nicely stayed with me while we power walked almost 4 miles. I love just chatting and spending time with her. She's so fierce. I took Ellie home and we zonked out until bedtime. 

I"m not really sure what happened here. I think there may have been weather? Or was it that I stayed late at work? I really can't remember. What I remember is that by the time I got home there was enough time to go out for a ride and...I bailed. I just wasn't feeling it at all. It's the first time in a long time I actually thought, "I don't really want to do this." So I didn't. 
I also walked to court in Teva's. Wishful thinking

I don't think that was the right call because...

I was in a terrible funk. First day without court since Christmas, I think. I thought I'd get all this crap done and I stalled and bonked. Stressful client meetings back to back to back. I was in a crappy mood, I was sad, I was angry, and I just wasn't having a good day. Hubz had left for the conference earlier in the day so as soon as I thought it was practicable (i.e. "I won't get fired") I high tailed it out of work. I got home and took a nap on the couch with Ellie. By the time I woke up the last thing I wanted to do was bike or run. I thought I remembered taking Ellie for a walk but...apparently not. We ate some dinner and then got in bed around 9. I hate to say it but I think I just needed to wallow. 

After a solid 9 1/2 hour sleep I woke up ready to tackle Thursday. Another long day at work without court. While I got a lot done, I realized how dependent I am on the hustle and bustle of court. After being a PD I think I'd find an office job as boring as mud. Anyway, I headed home early again and took Ellie out for a nice long walk. I knew I'd be gone playing volleyball for awhile and didn't want to neglect her. We got in three solid miles before she was begging to go home. I headed to volleyball and played pretty well. At this point my knee was really bothering me. The dreaded grapefruit knee. It was swollen and sore and, to be honest, super painful. But what in the hell did I do to aggravate it? I certainly hadn't done any physical activity! I iced it and took some aleve, hoping it would go away. 

After another good night's sleep I woke up at my own pace and went for a run. I'm usually super early to work but really reveled in not having a deadline to get there. It was cool and almost crisp when I headed out to the park and I truly enjoyed the run. I was so fast! And I didn't have to walk at all, which is incredible. I've really enjoyed listening to the Rich Roll Podcast while I run. That's how I found out about Desert Runners, in fact. Anyway, it was a great way to start the day off. Plus I'd already gotten my workout in so I could hang out with Hubz upon his return from the Conference. 

Why is it that waking up early to go ride/run an ungodly distance isn't too bad but waking up early to go to work is so hard? I had to work arraignment court so I had to drag my cookies into the jail at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday. Vomit. I was rewarded though because we were done by 10:30. Rather than get some work done in the office I got my grocery shopping done and spend the day hanging out with Hubz (who has a cold, "bless his heart", and was down for the count all weekend).

Today totally made up for the rest of the craptastic week. Earlier in the week when I was really struggling I'd texted a new friend, Jen, about riding this weekend. Jessie out of town and most of the landsharks were doing ridiculous distances. Jen - who is amazing - reached out to me awhile back about riding/running together and this seemed like a perfect time. We arranged to meet up near her place in Corydon Indiana. Might as well have been Kansas to me. Beautiful place though, lots of farm land and lazy roads and small hills. Jen took me on a local bike route for about 26 miles and it was really nice. I was so lucky to have such a knowledgeable tour guide and strong rider with me. I really hope we get to ride together more in the future. 

  This ride was exactly what I meant when I talked about wanting to work on just being content a few weeks ago. Was I breaking new speed records? No. Was I setting new distance records? No. But I was riding in a beautiful place with a lovely new friend and burning calories in the process. I let myself be in the moment and just enjoy the ride.

After the ride I picked up an awesome Chopshop Salad for lunch and gobbled it down before meeting Emily to walk in the park. I hitched up Ellie and we headed to Tom Sawyer for some trails. Emily really knows her way around these parks from her participation in a local orienteering club. I really love the effect it has had on her. I can tell she's so much happier because she really does enjoy it. She's also lost a ton of weight. I happen to love her a lot. More than just being my friend, she inspires me. 
Ellie loves her too. 

All in all it was kind of a bummer week. But i'm glad to be starting this week off on the right foot. I randomly have tomorrow off and I'm looking for exciting ways to spend it. I have a date with my favorite second grader tomorrow night so I think i'm going to go for a long run somewhere during the day. Time to get back out there and find my contentment. 

Happy Running!

Do you have a buddy you ride/run with?
Do you like trails? I'm learning to!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Ghost is Fixed! and a Recap of the Week

Thank God the repairs to my beloved ghost were not intense or costly. The bike shop called Thursday afternoon to tell me she was finished. Of course, I wanted to know if there was something specific that caused the problem (since this is the second time in like 3 months). Joe, the bike mechanic and guru, explained that the derailleur limits were out of whack and the chain had been rubbing against the spokes. When I asked how that happened he said, "some people feel the need to tinker with things they shouldn't". Well excuse me Mr. Bossy, I didn't tinker with shit. That's what you get paid for. Anyway, she's back and I had a good week.
So close to breaking 100!
Went to body pump, per usual. Added some weight on a couple of lifts and boy oh boy did I feel it Tuesday (and Wednesday...and Thursday). I'm really liking this Monday night routine. I don't really have to think about it at all. Just get my butt there and the workout does itself.

I've already gone into detail about Tuesday's ride so I'll spare you this time. I'm still miffed.

Went to Cherokee with Rania and had a great little walk/run. We set out to run but...some days you're just not feeling it. We walked most of it but we walked almost 5 miles so I'm not sweating it. It was hot - and sweaty - and the walk felt good. I love our little weekly run and vent sessions.

I snuck out of work early to go get Ghost and head out for a ride. I couldn't remember what I had on tap for the night so I tried to go for an hour and a half. To my surprise I banged out 21 miles! I can remember when 21 was my long ride. When I picked up Ghost I bought some new cycling shorts so I tried those out. The difference between cycling shorts & Tri shorts is insane! Sooo much more padding

After work Hubz and I hit the Tennis court. I was playing pretty good but man, Hubz was on fire. I lost in a tiebreak for the first time this season. Oh well. If we'd played another set I would've won ;)

I've been riding on the weekend with my friend Jessie who is training for IMLou. She and a group training for another century were headed out to do the infamous "Pancake Ride". Earlier in the season the Tri Team had done the ride and I'd been told it was a little too advanced for where I was on the bike. Well, I'd definitely improved on the bike since May so it was time to give it a shot. They call it the Pancake ride because there's a little diner called the Chat and Nibble about halfway that folks stop and get pancakes at. Jessie had a big brick to get done so she wasn't stopping so, neither was I.

We headed out from Tom Sawyer a little after 8 a.m., which felt late to me. Also it was a little crisp to start, which was nice. I had on my new cycling shorts and stocked up my new Tube Bag.
The last time we'd done any serious mileage I'd totally bonked on nutrition so I was determined to bring the whole grocery store with me today. The first few miles were through a little city that was absolutely beautiful. The first 15 miles, actually, were lovely. We went through a lot of rollers, but the kind that follow right after the downhill of the previous one so they hardly feel like hills. By the time we hit 25 I was starting to feel 'over it'. I was in a pretty negative headspace so I just tried to talk my way out of it, which mostly worked. Luckily we were close to the turnaround at that point. We pulled into a gas station across from the Chat and Nibble and had bathroom and water breaks. This was clutch. I really needed to pee, first off, but what I needed more than anything was a break from the bike. My new cycling shorts were super padded, which was nice, but the chafing was still an issue. Good god, how can something be that uncomfortable? Oh well, nothing to do about it. Proceed on!
Before we took off I asked Jessie, "I think based on the elevation chart the back half is easier, right?" She nodded and said she thought she remembered that. Boy were we wrong. I can't find them on the elevation map but there were a few serious damn hills on the back route. Some grown men hills. Not cool. Around mile 40 I was fed up. We were going along at a pretty quick clip though and had some good downhill segments so I just decided to break it up into 5 mile chunks. Before I knew it we were heading back into the park, 57 miles in the books! We averaged over 13.8 mph which is incredible to me. Im stoked.
Today I knew I wanted to take Ellie for a walk. Hubz went early this morning and when he got back it seemed too hot. By the time I was ready to take her, I  wanted to run. I laced up and headed out not knowing what to expect. Oddly enough, it felt good! It felt good to be running. I did whatever felt right, which included walk breaks every 4 minutes, and came back after 2.5 Then Ellie and I did another loop of the park. Perfect recovery from Saturday's ride.

All in all I'm super happy with the week. I'm getting stronger and stronger on the bike which is exciting. I still don't know if I'm actually doing the OKHT Century in September. It's the same day as the firs home football game, so we'll see. If anything, I'm still riding and that's nice. Im happy to be on the bike and, quite frankly, happy to be following Jessie along on her goal to become an Ironman. Who knows what adventures are in store. I'll just keep peddling away.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hump Day Happenings

Well we made it guys - Hump Day!
How many times have I posted that photo? Not enough. 

I'm stuck in court this morning listening to a competency hearing so I thought I'd fill you in on all the happenings. 
I had lots of good eats Tuesday, including the cutest little package of gummy bears 
And my first ever experience with overnight oats. Jury's still out on these, but I'm gonna keep trying different combos. 

Last night I rushed home after work to go for a ride. Tuesday nights look to be 75 minute rides for awhile. Traffic is craptastic between 5 and 6 so I put dinner together (tacos, yum!) and picked up around the house. 

Once traffic let up a bit I checked my tire pressure with my fancy new pump and headed out. I'm trying to track hydration better so I filled up my bottle with exactly 18oz of good 'ole H2O for my 75 minute ride. 

The ride started great. I was really feeling comfortable and relaxed in the saddle. My hamstrings were (& still are) pretty tight from Body Pump but I just focused on good form and easy spinning. Traffic was still heavy but not aggressive, so things were good. This week I rode from home up to Cherokee Park and around the loop. I was flying! The hills in the park were challenging but in a good way. I also felt like I was handling really well on the downhills. 

Once out of the park I headed back to the Seneca loop for the next half hour of the ride. This was, hands down, the best ride I've ever had. The weather was great - slightly overcast, low humidity, warm but not hot - and my legs felt great. I even charged up the massive hill to the start of the loop. 

So I jump on the loop and I'm crusing along when *SNAP*. I stopped immediately, recognizing the sound of a broken spoke. But the damage was done. My wheel was too wobbly to ride. Even with the breaks up the wheel was too untrue to rotate. What a crappy way to end such a beautiful ride! 

I was super frustrated about how it ended (still am, in fact). But I guess it's better to have a good ride spoiled than no ride at all. Also, Hubz pointed out (after he came to pick me up) that it could've been a lot worse, I could've been out in the boonies somewhere or in a race. C'est la vie. 

Tonight I'm hoping to get in a run with my work buddy. Super excited to get out and run again. Shaping up to be a good day! 

Happy running!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tri Talk Tuesday: Triathlon Favorites

Today I'm linking back up with Courtney at The Tri Girl Chronicles, Phaedra at Blisters and Black Toenails and Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?!for Tri Talk Tuesday. This week's topic: Triathlon favorites

Boy oh boy, there are a lot of things I love about triathlons. Picking my favorites seems impossible. Also, an incredibly broad category. Still, I think I've managed to nail it down to a few salient points. 

Favorite Nutrition
Honey stinger waffles. What the hell did I do before I found these things? They're so light and fluffy but have such a great taste. I typically eat them before races, having one about 30 to an hour before the gun. I've started chomping them down before rides too. I like that, unlike bonk breakers or cliff bars, they fit so nicely in my back pockets. 

Favorite Kit
I love my sugoi Landsharks kit, but my heart belongs to Coeur (Get it, that was a pun). 
I definitely have to say for a bigger girl they can be pretty form fitting. The kit really didn't fit me until I'd lost a couple pounds, but by Muncie it fit great! I love the style and it's SO comfortable. I wear the shorts just to run in. Years of volleyball have me married to spandex. #SorryNotSorry

Favorite Workout Tunes
My workout playlist is constantly changing. Working out without music was one of the hardest things about training for Muncie. BUT, I did give in occasionally and these were the tunes that are almost always on my playlist:

  • Kanye West, "Power"
  • Matchbox 20, "Lets see How far we've come"
  • Tom Petty, "You Wreck Me"

Favorite "Overall" Gear
Sunglasses. Couldn't do anything without them. Couldn't drive to the lake for OWS, couldn't bike, couldn't run. I got some C9 glasses from Target a few years back and LOVE them. They're light weight, don't fog up, and you almost forget you're wearing them. Also they've taken a lot of abuse.

Favorite Triathlon Moment (so far)
The start of Muncie 70.3. I know, "the start? not the finish?".  Every night before I go to bed I go back to the start of that race. The DJ playing "Single Ladies" when our wave hit the water. The cannon going off. The feel of those first few splashes in the water before finally pushing off and moving forward. The perfect, effortless touch of my arms in the water in those first few strokes. That's how I fall asleep. Rotating side to side, gliding through the reservoir. That moment was perfect to me. The finish was good, but the start was something amazing. So much was unknown. I truly felt like I was jumping off of a cliff. And it was magical. I may see finish lines again, but I'll never start my first ever again.

Happy Running!

What are your triathlon favorites? Favorite race? Favorite gear? 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hello there, August

Can you believe we've knocked out the first week of August? It seems like just yesterday we were ushering in June and now here we are saying goodbye to Summer. I'm not ready.

Pretty good week of training I think as I embark on my quest to do a century.

Monday -
Body Pump! I'm really liking that this is part of my schedule. I'd really like to focus on getting leaner and stronger. I upped my weights this week so I'm now basically lifting a chihuahua. Slow and steady, right?

Tuesday -
1.25 hours on the menu for after work. In all my Muncie training I hadn't done that long of a ride on a week night. I set out on the Seneca Bike loop around 6, hoping to miss the brunt of the traffic. I figured I'd ride the loop 3 or 4 times and see where I was. The loop itself starts from a park and residential area and goes around a small airport, then through a golf course. All in all I think it's about 3.5 miles. The first hill getting up to the loop is a bear though. It curves around near the top and I can't do anything but just spin in a low low gear. I beat it though, three times. Felt proud of that. There's a hill at the end too that's short but super steep. Definitely not reflected on my elevation map!

When I finished the third loop I decided to head home - the sky was looking pretty crazy. Sure enough, about 5 seconds after I got ghost in the door the sky just opened up and it was pouring. Perfect timing!

Wednesdays - 
I plan on running on Wednesdays, but this particular Wednesday it was a no go. I felt so crappy. My legs hurt, my body ached, I was tired. I think it was just the ravages of PMS (which are real, boys. Boy are they real), but it took a super hard toll. I worked a little later and then came home and totally crashed.

Thursday -
Thursday called for a 1.5 hour ride. I'm a little unsure of how I'm going to get these in, considering Thursday is also volleyball night. I decided to get on the trainer in the morning and do as much as I could, then hopefully get some more in later. I set the trainer up before I went to bed and stuck my water bottle in the fridge. I can't do it any other way. When my alarm went off at 5:45 I let the dog out and then got on the trainer basically in my sleep. I'm re-watching Homeland from the beginning. It's my "trainer thing" i guess. I love it. Turns out volleyball was smack in the middle of the evening so I never got the second half in. C'est la vie. Felt like I got in a good workout and some of the Wednesday Ick was gone.

Friday -
One thing I missed during Muncie training was Tennis! Hubz and I used to play several days a week but in the last year or two haven't played as much. Definitely during Muncie "Tennis" wasn't listed anywhere on my schedule so, we never played. Now we're hoping to play Friday afternoons. It's a lot of fun to come home and start the weekend off that way. I had a date with my mom at 7 so we only got to play a few games (of which I won, 4-2) but we still had a good time.
Painting Cards with my mom
Saturday - 
Luckily my friend and inspiration Jessie had an 'easy' 35 miler planned so I hopped on and did the Iroqouis special with her. For the first time, though, I met her at the starting point on Melwood about 4 miles from my house. This meant riding from my house to the start point alone. Eek. As you've noticed I"m not much of a solo rider due to my intense fear of flats/cars/potholes/LowSpeedFalls/etc. When I woke up it was super foggy. I wish I'd taken a pic - it was incredible! I clipped on my rear blinky light and set off into the fog! It wasn't bad at all really. It was a route I knew and it was dead quiet at 7:30 a.m.. I met up with Jessie and some of the speedier Landsharks and off we went. The fist 17 miles were a breeze. For the first time Jessie and I chatted and just pedaled away. I didn't even realize we'd gone that far! Overall it was a super speedy ride - only one 5 mile segment under 13 mph and that was the uphill in Iroquois. I was definitely sore after but it was super worth it.
Iroquois Park w/ my buddy Alex last week
Nothing feels better after a long effort than chocolate milk

Sunday - 
Today I was still a little sore so I decided to take it easy. Also, grapefruit knee has returned. I was wondering how long that would take given my uptake in cycling. Oh well. After a few hours at work I met my friend Emily and we took the beagle girls for a walk. An easy 2 miles (she'd already walked like 10!! Holy crap, she's amazing). It was a really great little walk. I love going on walks with her, especially with the beagles. It's my happy place.

The schedule for this week looks just about the same. Upping the biking mileage again. Also, why is fall so busy? Between football and work it's like every waking minute is spoken for. Gotta keep planning, waiting, and moving ahead. Eyes forward!

Happy Running!

How was your week?
Any recurring aches and pains? Can't get rid of this grapefruit knee for me. Ugh