Saturday, July 24, 2010

Race Day

Race Day started bright and early. I woke up three times in the middle of the night, without my phone alarm going off. I was glad I woke up the third time, because fumbling around with my phone the second time, I had somehow killed the battery. I set another alarm, and then I was up at 5 a.m. sharp. I got ready, ate my banana dog (wheat hot dog bun, smear of peanut butter, and banana), made my electrolyte drink bottles (with my by now partially frozen water), packed up the car, dropped the hotel key in the little mailbox outside the manager’s office, and bade farewell to the Bates motel.

I parked at the Target parking lot and got on a shuttle over to the race site. I drank up a large diet coke on the way over, since I can’t get along without caffeine. It was a pretty warm morning, and muggy. I checked on my bike, took the plastic bag off my bike seat, and set up my transition area. I made a huge tactical error at this point. In my first 2 tris, I had simply brushed the sand off my feet after my swim and then put on socks and shoes for the bike. While preparing for this race, I had been advised a couple of times to use a squirt bottle of water to rinse the sand off my feet, and I set one of those up as well on race morning.

So, my transition area looked like this: scrap of towel flat on the ground under my bike, with running shoes and dry socks inside, and baseball cap with race belt with number laid across the running shoes. Toward the front of the towel I had my clippie bike shoes, with bike helmet (race number sticker on it already) upside down on top of the shoes, dry socks, sunglasses and rubber bands inside the helmet, and bike shorts on top of that. Then there was the squirt bottle of water in front of the whole setup. I also put my two water bottles full of electrolyte drink into the cages on my bike. I left my bag by the bike’s front tire, and I headed off to get my number re-written on one arm and written for the first time on the other arm. I had my swim cap with me, and I had one earplug. The other earplug never did turn up - perhaps the cleaning staff at the motel made good use of it.

I walked around the lake to the swim start, and started getting nervous. The race organizers had arranged to have two extremely perky women do a zumba demonstration while we all waited for 7 a.m. to arrive. Not my bag, but it did take my mind off my nerves. Finally, the elite wave went off, and then the trek women team wave went. And then it was time for the third wave - survivors and some of the older age groups. I bumped into one of my mom’s friends who does several tris each summer (!) in the wave start, and I heard her name announced later in the day as one of the top finishers in her category.

I wore my heart rate monitor and kept an eye on my time as I swam. I felt pretty good during the swim, but I went slower than the previous time. This was disappointing, and I did not really get over the disappointment until well into the bike leg. The lake felt good and cool during the swim, and I was able to go straight, mostly doing the breaststroke, since I had so many cramping issues every time I did the crawl while I was training.

I trotted through the transition area and got to my bike. I used the squirt bottle to get sand off my feet, pulled on the bike shorts and put on my socks and clippie bike shoes. I put my bike helmet on, pulled the bike out from under the rack and walked it over out of the transition area. I got on my bike and started pedaling. There were way more hills than I had planned for during training, because the bike route had changed the week before the race. I started out slow, and had a difficult time when I was going up the hills, for all of the ride. I was able to get some good momentum, but at the bottom of at last two hills, we had to turn, and I had to brake so as not to go through the corner too fast. Boo for wasted momentum! About a third of the way through the bike course, I started feeling better, and I cranked through the rest of the course, doing my best to stick with it going up hill and to try to be aerodynamic whenever I was going downhill. My right foot fell asleep during the bike, and it didn’t wake up until almost the end of the run.

Finally, I was back at the transition area, and I got off the bike without falling over, got it back to the transition area and pulled off my bike shoes. I decided not to change socks again, got my running shoes on, put on my cap, chugged the remainder of my electrolyte drink and walked over to the start of the run. I started out running fairly slowly, and then I saw DH and my son. I was overwhelmed when I saw them. I gave them a high five as I went by. Partway into my first mile, I started to walk. My feet were hurting lots (I ended up with several blisters from putting the socks onto wet feet after the swim), and I needed to stop a few times to adjust my chip strap, which was digging painfully into my swollen ankle (swollen from the heat, not any sort of injury).

I met a very nice woman who walked with me for about a mile and a half. We did pick it up to a jog for the photographers, but otherwise, we walked briskly. Her coach came and ran with her for the last half mile or so of the race, and I started running again soon after they took off. I was never so happy to see Sally Edwards as when I rounded the curve to the finish line. I skipped over the finish line and gave her a double high five as I went past her.

DH and my son found me soon after I crossed the finish line. I had some cherries and water they had brought with them, and then I sat while DH went and hunted down my flip flops from the tree I had left them under near the swim start. I counted up my blisters, and when DH arrived with my flip flops, I realized one of the blisters was from the flip flop. Hobbling ensued.

We took a bunch of team photos, and then I went and got my car keys from my race bag. We took more team photos, and DH left. I took our son with me for the rest of the day, because I had missed him an awful lot. Not long after, we decided to go back to get my car, so we waited for a while in line for a shuttle bus, rode back to the car, and then I drove it to the race site, so I could put my bike on my bike rack and head home.

My overall time was 16 seconds different than the last time I did this race. My swim was slower, my bike was faster, and my run was slower. My transitions were slightly better. And now I have not done a lick of exercise (other than playing some volleyball) since the race.

I am glad I did the tri, and I want to do it again. But I am feeling ambivalent about my "progress." I guess I saw such a drastic improvement between my first and second race, and I really wanted to see similar improvement again. Perhaps I should just start working on aerobic fitness/running, and then develop a training schedule I actually stick to next year.

Photos/links are in process.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


The run-up to the race was great. I had a bike workout scheduled for July 7, which would have been the last team workout after work. However, we had a thunderstorm, with lightning and everything. So, I skipped the final bike and had delicious sweet potato frites at one of our sponsors. Not exactly brilliant training, but the frites were delicious!

On Thursday, I was entered into the annual Storm the Bastille 5k run, which started at 9 p.m. this year. I had never done the run before, and I was really surprised by how crowded it was. It was pretty impractical to run for the first 5 minutes or so, and after that I could either run with the folks doing 10 minute miles, or I could do broken-field maneuvers around the folks doing the fun walk. I tried walking briskly, after I noticed my heart rate was way too high when I was running. Ultimately, I took the course turn for the walkers, which meant I did a mile and a half in about 25 minutes. It was crazy hot and humid, even at that hour, so I was happy to call it a night when I did.

The next day my friend wore her team jersey when she biked to the office, and I became fixated on getting my jersey so I could wear it around and try getting it wet, etc. I stopped by my teammate's house around 7 p.m. and picked up my jersey and proceeded to wear it until I went to bed.

Packet pick-up day started bright and early at 6:30 a.m. I packed up all the gear and my bike and toddled off to the survivors' breakfast. This year, in contrast to the one I wandered into late in 2008, did not have its program start until 8:30 or so. Then Cathy Daldin, Maggie Sullivan and Sally Edwards all talked to us about the triathlon experience and team survivor. I sat with the wonderfully welcoming team from Madison. I did not cry this year, although I did tear up any number of times.

Then we headed over to the RecPlex and stood in line until I was at the front of the line to get my race packet. I noted that I had been assigned to wave 10, which I later determined was not that far from the last wave. The first year I did the race, I was one of the last waves to set off, and I ended up being the last one to finish (if you don't count Sally Edwards, who was doing her gig as the final finisher and so ran across the finish line with me). I started a slow panic, which I ultimately defused by getting my start wave switched so that I could start with the survivors. Wave 3, baby! I had my bike's tire pressure checked, and then I attached my race number to my bike frame and racked my bike. By now it was about 11:45 a.m.

I tried to check into the hotel I thought I had a reservation at, but the rooms were not ready at noon. More on this later. Since I couldn't get into the hotel, and I was scheduled to meet the team at 1:30 p.m. at the RecPlex, I darted to the grocery store and picked up diet coke, hot dog buns, peanut butter, bananas and some bottles of water. Then I headed back to the RecPlex and sat through the end of the course talk and then saw Sally Edwards talk. It was a lot of fun, and it was very nice to see the team.

Three team members were staying at a different hotel, and the rest were driving from home on race day. I talked with the Madison team survivor coordinator, and the four of us who were staying in the area were welcome to join them at dinner at an Italian restaurant. Then we split up to go check into our hotels.

I went back to the Super 8, where I had stayed in 2008, and they could not find my reservation. I dug out the letter I had written, with my credit card number, (weird reservation system, but it had worked in 08) and, lo and behold, I had made a reservation at a different hotel this year. Oopsie-doodles. I drove about 10 minutes or so, and then I saw my hotel. The sign by the side of the road said "MOTEL" in big, block letters. The registration desk/manager's office smelled like curry, and there was a sign posted regarding the weekly room rate. Suh-weet.

I lugged my stuff up to the second floor room in three trips, cranked the A/C up to high and super cold, and plugged in the mini-fridge. Thereby changing the swampy, hot, stale smoke smell to a somewhat cooler version of the same. Then I tried to get online to update my blog, but could not hook into the wireless. I found out after dinner that this was because the wireless was based in the "office," which was too far away from my room to allow me to connect. This caused my tardiness in the blog update, which I regret.

Dinner was a lot of fun. The team from Madison was very friendly and nice, and it was excellent to spend a little more time with my highland honeys team. The portions of food were huge, and the pasta alone could have been my dinner. We had the outdoor patio all to ourselves, and the serious rain held off until we were done!

I headed back to my lovely sleeping quarters, and gave myself a bumble bee pedicure, packed my race day bag, put drinks in the now cold refrigerator, packed up all of my stuff into as few bags as possible, talked to DH on the phone, and turned off the lights by 9:30 p.m. I woke up in a panic about three times, convinced I had overslept. The third time was the charm - I had done something to my phone (which was serving as my alarm) the second time that killed the battery, which would have left me without an alarm. Luckily, I was able to reset the hotel's alarm clock, which then went off right on schedule. Race day will be a separate post, hopefully later tonight.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Finally, a great brick, and a breakfast invitation

I received an email invitation today for the survivors breakfast the morning of the expo. It starts at 8, and based on a prior year's breakfast, I believe there is an actual program that starts then. Boy was my face red when I wandered into the first breakfast late - I thought it was more along the lines of an open house reception, as opposed to a fancy sit-down deal. They were very nice about my late appearance, but I don't plan to be late like that again.

July 5th workout

I wanted to do a 30 minute swim (I'm in the "taper" week!), but on this day there was a pretty good wind, and waves that slapped me with a mouthful of water every other breath or so. The current was also pretty strong against me as I swam out. I turned around much earlier than I had originally planned, and the current pushed me home rather easily. All told, I was probably in the water for about 25 minutes. I was winded when I was done though, and I can't imagine facing tougher conditions in the sweet little lake where the race will take place.

I'm feeling pretty good about the swim leg on Sunday. I just haven't quite committed to what I'll wear to swim in. I've got a comfy swim skirt bottom thingie, and I've been swimming in the lake in a jogbra and sleeveless tank. Then I've been pulling on bike pants and changing my wet sleeveless tank for two dry sleeveless tanks for the bike and run legs. The team top may or may not arrive in time for the race, and I'm feeling ambivalent about wearing something I haven't had a chance to practice in. It may come down to how comfortable and cute it is.

July 3rd workout

I had a bike-run brick scheduled for this workout, and it was awesome! I took the bike out on a new route I had not ridden before. There were hills, and for 3 or 4 miles, it was a "rustic road." It was beautiful, and the time just flew by. I may have gotten a little lost, but I just kept turning toward the direction I *thought* home would be, and eventually, I got there. My 45 minute bike turned into a 55 minute ride, but I was very happy with the results.

I did a speedy transition and set off on the run. I was scheduled to go 45 minutes, but I ended up going for more like 35 minutes, to keep on schedule, and to keep from restraining my hip. The run was good, and by the end, I was really psyched up for the race next weekend. I went without the music, which was good practice for race day as well.

I was very happy with how this workout went!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Injuries not allowed

July 1st workout

Today I was scheduled to do a 55 minute run, with 20 minutes of intervals. My hip is mostly better, thanks to gentle stretching and rest. It is not 100% though, and so I changed the task ahead of me a bit. I did not do intervals. I did run for about 50 minutes. The only way to fit this run in was to do it while I was at work, and then stay late while the kid listened to an audiobook on my iPod. Loving the temporary gig DH picked up here lately. Luckily, the plan worked as designed. I walked to warm up and cool down for 3 minutes on either end of the workout, and I jogged the rest of it. I focused on my form, and did not push my leg, because I didn't want any setbacks this close to the race. Going uphill did not hurt much, but downhill was still pretty sore. I plan to keep up the stretching tonight and tomorrow, which is scheduled as a rest day. Then I'll be doing some sort of workout on Saturday morning. Either the scheduled bike-run brick, or I may cram a mini-tri in on Saturday. We shall see.

June 29th workout

I had a 45 minute swim, followed by a 45 minute run on my schedule for this workout. I rearranged DH and the kid's schedules to make this work. Unfortunately, I seem to have strained my right hip flexor on Monday, and I was not able to do all of the workout. I stretched for about half an hour before I started the swim. The lake was nice and cool, and it felt good once I got used to it. I swam for about 35 minutes, with DH monitoring my progress, because he was worried about the sore hip. Then I went on the run, which I capped at 20 minutes. It hurt a lot going uphill, and it was excruciating going downhill. I gave my muscles the idea of the brick, and then I gave them a break.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cute little bricklet

Today was supposed to be a heavy-duty, serious brick. But life got in the way. I forgot to wear my watch to our 10 a.m. play date, and by the time it occurred to me to check the hosts' kitchen clock, it was quarter past 1! Here's hoping we get invited back. I had a whee of a time visiting with the parents, and the kids played without conflict the whole time.

So, I was able to start my brick around 3:15, and I had to be done by 4:30. I biked for only 30 minutes, but I knew I had a time limit, so I pedaled in a low gear, whipping the pedals around as quickly as I could manage for the time I had to ride. I threw the bike back on the car rack, locked it up tight, traded clippie shoes for running shoes and took off for my run. It went surprisingly well. It was hot and humid and I was tired, but it felt really good to run today. Slow but steady finishes the race, as they say. I do want to finish out the schedule as planned so I can actually enjoy race day.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Making lemonade

June 26th swim

Things are getting hectic with the schedule this summer! I went to a meeting at 7 a.m., and then scooted straight over to the high school pool, so I could swim. I swam for 45 minutes, which tracked the schedule for a change. It was just not fun, at least not as fun as swimming at the lake. I tried to focus on form, and I did try varying my speed. Again, I hesitate to call it sprinting, but I went slow and steady, then sped up, then back to slow and steady, to try to increase my speed. I am just glad to get in a workout per the plan. I'm hoping to do the same with tomorrow's brick.

June 25th activity

I was scheduled to do a bike-run brick which required me to get out to the lake, so my mom could watch the kid. I was late leaving work, and by the time I got into bike shorts, it was 20 after 6. Here is where I got lemons.

I did not want to have the kid up super late due to an eagerly anticipated birthday party on the 26th. So, I made lemonade. The kid has just learned to ride his bike without training wheels, and he loves practicing the skill. I rode with him over to a nearby park, and we rode around for about half an hour, until he got going so fast he popped the chain off his bike. I didn't have a phillips head screwdriver with me, which I needed to access the front gear on his little bike. So, he walked his bike back, while I practiced balancing and cruising very slowly, to save the clippie shoes. I really need to bring spare shoes when I ride with my clippie shoes. It always seems to come back to them.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Firefly running

I bagged the chalk talk about the swim last night in favor of a dinner celebrating the return of DH and the kid. I did go out for a late run tonight, after tuck-in. The team did a stair workout today, but tonight was our last family dinner until the local music festival (and DH's summer job) ends in 11 days, so I enjoyed dinner and put the workout off until a bit later.

It was hot and humid, and my joints were pretty achy. But, I persevered. I ran for a total of 39 minutes, and I spent about half the time running at an increased pace (it would be a stretch to call it sprinting, so I won't), from one tree to the next, jog, run, jog, repeat. I hope that the increased effort will pay off on the big day. I felt pretty tired at the end of it all. The best part of the run was all of the fireflies. Crazy numbers, glowing all over. They make me happy, and so in spite of a being a big, sweaty mess now, I feel pretty good.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Swimming before the sirens

Today was a weird one, weather wise. It was much warmer than predicted, and I was happy to get into the cold lake for my swim after work. There was a decent wind, which made just enough chop that I got a lungful of water any time I let my thoughts wander. I focused on my stroke, and kept an eye on the skies as well. The forecast had called for thunderstorms, but the clouds weren't really the right sort. The sky had that weird color it gets when a big storm is coming, but then the sun kept breaking through the clouds. I swam for about 3o minutes, and by that time I was back to the dock.

I did a quick transition, and then I headed off on the bike. I did not like how the skies were looking after about 20 minutes, so I turned around and rode back the way I had come. The rain held off, but I was really glad to be almost home within 40 minutes of starting the ride, because I got a flat in my rear tire. I walked the last little bit of my route, and got my bike to the shop just in time to get the tire replaced.

I drove home with the bike on the rack and pulled into the garage just as big, fat raindrops started plopping on my windshield. Within another hour, I was listening to tornado sirens and having my tv watching interrupted by constant weather reporting. It sounds like there may have been a touchdown about 15 miles south of where I was working out, and they are saying 20,000 people are without power!

I have to admit that I am a little bummed that I had to cut the workouts short, but in the grand scheme of things, I'll count today as a good, lucky day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swimming and biking

I got a bit of a later start than I had hoped on Saturday. My mid-morning workout turned into a late afternoon workout, thanks to super procrastination. Once I got started, it was a good workout out, though.

I swam for 40 minutes. It was a great day for a swim. It had been hot and humid all day, so it felt awesome to get into the cold lake water. I swam all breaststroke, and I was sighting fine. The water was pretty clear today, so I was watching fish again. I saw a perfect crawfish skeleton on the bottom of the lake, looking like it had been assembled from a kit. I got past two Canadian geese who were splashing around at each other, and just as I was turning around to swim back the way I came, I saw a family of swans - 2 adults and 4 or 5 little ones bobbing along behind.

I did a quick transition, and then hopped on the bike for a 50 minute ride. It was hillier than the other day, and the map my ride site says I went 8.89 miles today. I have a dickens of a time when I'm going uphill, and as soon as I get the gears right, I'm coasting downhill and I can't get my legs caught up to the pedals. I feel like I'm shifting all the time, and I'm not just pedaling and in a groove. But the good bike and my clippie shoes make it loads easier to ride than in past years, so I'm just going to keep practicing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More group running

I fully intended to do interval training at the squishy track I've heard so much about for my run workout tonight. Unfortunately, the field in the center of the track was full of lacrosse players, and I found that daunting on two counts: 1) I do not relish the thought of being conked in the head by an errant lacrosse ball, and 2) I do not like making a spectacle of myself, and the team(s?) were running drills. As I recall drills, they inevitably leave some number of players standing and waiting for their turn to go, and while the players wait, attention wanders, and the next thing you know, people are speculating about whether to offer emergency assistance to the purple faced 40-year-old woman who is dry heaving over on the track.

So I opted to go on the group run, which ironically had the potential to be a bit more private. I did not go the full three miles, but I did do some interval work, using lightposts as my visual cues. That worked about for about three intervals (sprint one, walk one, sprint two, walk two, sprint three, walk three), and then I started feeling pretty queasy. I jogged the normal pace then, and finally turned around and ran through some thicker grass just to change up how I was using my muscles during the jog. The group started filing past where I was, and then they were all past me. I felt good, and cooled down with a few minutes of walking at the end. We stretched for a bit after, and discussed the weekend's workouts.

I had been planning on doing two swim brick workouts this weekend, and I may still stick with that plan, since I won't be very likely to do any swimming during the week next week. The team is sticking with a brick of biking and running, starting early on Saturday morning. I don't think I'll be able to do the brick and get to my weight watchers meeting (I can choose 7, 8:30 or 10 for the meeting), and I don't want to skip that source of support and ideas. The start time and location of the team brick makes it impossible for me to do both.

To my chagrin, I have been gaining weight through all this training. It's not the muscle weighing more than fat thing. It's the "I worked out, so I am now entitled to eat an entire can of Pringles" thing. Ugh. Anyway, I can use all the help I can get with keeping my eating under control, so I think I'll have to stick with the meeting in the morning, and a workout of swimming around 10:30, followed by a bike. Then on Sunday I can swim and run, with any team members who care to join me. At least that's the plan tonight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Impromptu group run

June 14th workout

My tri team added an impromptu run into our training schedule on Monday. About 8 of us ran for 3 miles on a route that was new to me. I was dead last in the group, but I ran the whole way. It took me almost an hour, which is what I was dreading. The 20 minute mile. I do believe that the average person can walk a mile in less time. I am happy that I can run the whole distance, but I want to improve my pace.

Our next scheduled group workout is Wednesday night, and it too is scheduled to be a run. We are meeting at a newly refurbished track, and I think I will try some interval work on the track, if it's available for public use, rather than holding the group up during their run. I suppose I could do time limited intervals, as opposed to distance intervals, but I picture myself doing ladders like we did in track in the late 80's. Now if I could just find my black and neon yellow Umbro shorts, I'd be good to go....

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I got out on the bike this morning. I took a friend's advice and put the bike on the car rack and drove to an area I wanted to ride through. I looked on a bike-friendly route map of the general area and mentally planned my general route in advance. I decided that I wanted to go for about an hour, and I did ride just a bit more than an hour.

I enjoyed the ride - it was sunny and breezy, and there were tons of other cyclists out riding in the same area. I still don't really have the hang of shifting too well - I end up pumping really hard or whipping around when the terrain changes. I keep trying to learn this bike, but it may be more fancy than I can handle. I also almost fell off my bike at a stop sign. I was riding up to it, slowing down to a crawl, just so I wouldn't have to come to a complete stop, unclip my right foot, regain my balance, start pedaling and reclip my right foot. There was a car sitting at the stop sign, and it would not start going until I dismounted from the d*** bike. The driver's window was open, so I kept my choice opinions to myself, but I was awfully grouchy, once I got my right foot down and averted disaster.

I also noted that my rear tire was a bit more mashed down than I thought it should be, so I stopped and got the tire re-filled at a bike shop. I also stopped part-way through and sucked down a gel. I am highly skeptical that it is necessary to use these things at the distances I am training for. But at the tri meeting I went to, the teacher stressed the importance of nutrition, so I am trying out a bunch of different products to see if: 1) there are any that aren't really gross tasting (today was a fail on that count) and 2) they make a difference in how I feel or how far I can go. I was refreshed and encouraged to extend my ride after I ate the gel stuff, but I also downed a ton of crystal light exercise stuff, so I'm not sure who to give the props to.

I computed the distance I rode when I got home, and it was 10.32 miles! I was surprised by the distance, because I did not feel like it was a very good ride while I was doing it, and my heart rate never really increased above 150. But I feel like the tri distance is really within my grasp - I would like to work a bit on pace next. Perhaps hills are the answer. Boo.

I will continue to experiment with the smorgasbord of stuff I bought after the tri seminar throughout the rest of training, but I will also continue to research whether the body really needs more than proper hydration at the distances I'm doing. 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike anmd 3.1 mile run, as a reminder.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Swim, run and learn

You may have noticed that I missed a few workouts here. I refer you to the post about needing a plan. That the household can get behind. Sigh.

Today was the child's last day of school, and the day ended for him at 11:15 a.m. I picked him up and headed over to watch what turned out to be DH's varsity team's last game of the season. This was an opportunity for the child to learn about perseverance in the face of crummy officiating. Bitter tears were shed.

At which point, I said we needed to go see Grammy. And so we drove out to the house on the lake. We lazed around until Grammy came home from her knitting group, and then we headed out to the dock. DH came out not too much later, and I got to the workout.

I swam for about 25 minutes. I am estimating workout times today, because I did not have my heart rate monitor or watch with me. I swam as far as I did the last time I was out at the lake. The water had a warm layer just on the top, but underneath, it was pretty cold. I tried to float in the warm inch, but my arms and legs were slicing down into murky cold every stroke. I tried to appreciate it, as I knew I would be heading to a run right after.

Which I did. I threw on my old rugby shorts, some sock and running shoes, and cranked up the podcast. I did Run 2 of Week 8. It was a nice run - I went the same distance as I routinely trained the last time, and I ended up back at the house with about 4 minutes to spare. Which has me hoping my pace is good. I want to try a practice run at a track, so I can measure how far I get in 30 minutes.

Then my mom fed me dinner (yay!) and I took off for the triathlon clinic. I feel like I should know what would be covered at a tri clinic, but I wanted a refresher. I also wanted some motivation to get back on a real schedule. I got all that, and a snazzy green tote bag. Plus some training schedule cards for each leg of the race. I'll try to implement a revised schedule in the near future.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Swim coaching

June 3rd workout

I did the first run of week 8 today after tuck-in. 5 minute warm-up walk, 28 minute run, 5 minute cool-down walk. After the thunderstorm we had yesterday, it is delightfully cool here. I got my heart rate up to about 70% of max for a good portion of the run. I was happy with how relatively easy it was to run for the entire time. I have to say that I am starting to get cranky when I miss/have to put off a run. This is a good change from being cranky just getting my shoes on to go for a run.

June 2nd workout

It was pouring rain, plus thunder and lightning after work, so I did not do a run. I did, however, get to the pool for our 8:45 p.m. swim workout. My team had found a swim coach who offered us his time and expertise for the whole 45 minutes the pool was available. I learned some drills, and I found out that if you do the crawl properly, your torso sort of rolls from side to side. Unfortunately, the crawl is not a stroke I can sustain for very long without triggering arch and calf cramps. But I did learn how to make it a much prettier stroke.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Run, then bike

I had every intention of swimming and then running today, but the fates conspired against that plan. It was hot and muggy at our house, but if I sat on my favorite couch cushion, very still, a delightful cool breeze poured in the window, over the couch, and onto the back of my neck. It took every ounce of willpower I possess to get off the couch at all. But I finally did.

So, we got the tomato plants, various seeds, and a few other plants at the garden center. Once we were back home, we then had to weed and ready the gardens. We finally put the plants in and had everything all rinsed off and put away in the garage by 3:15 p.m. This was just too late for a sensible trip to the lake.

I went for run 3 of week 7, which was good. 5 minute warm-up walk, 25 minute run, 5 minute cool down walk. Since it was the middle of the day, and a holiday to boot, it felt fine to run the route in my neighborhood I used to train in 2008 (when I had a canine running buddy for security). I went the distance I had gone in 08 in the 25 minutes allotted for this week's run. It was too hot to say it felt great, but I am glad I got it in.

Then I quickly filled a water bottle, changed shoes, slapped on my bike helmet, and headed out for a bike ride. I had thought I would do an hour long bike ride, but I was pretty dehydrated from the heat and the run and the gardening prior to all of it. When the foot cramp started I shouldn't have been surprised, probably, but I was. I cut the ride short, after I drained the water bottle, and the cramps did not completely end. I was able to complete a 30 minute ride, and I'm happy about that.

Swim, then bike

On Saturday (the 29th) I headed out to the lake again. I swam for 30 minutes without a break, and it was wonderful. I swam along the shoreline, and I never got out where the water was over my head. So, at points the weeds were scraping my legs as I swan. My goggles are awesome - I could see big panfish hanging out in the water, watching me approach. Just before I would get within arm's reach, they would dart away. The fish kept me entertained as I swam past neighbors sitting on their docks. It was early enough in the day that there were not a lot of boats out, so I wasn't swimming through too many wakes. I so prefer the lake to the pool!

Then we scooted to watch the final baseball games of DH's season. Don't get excited the way I did - apparently he'll be "supporting" the varsity team throughout the playoffs, and varsity will either have the conference title outright, or have a three-way share on Tuesday -- so he may be MIA until June 14th or so.

After lunch, I put the kid down for a nap (overnight with grandma leaves him short on sleep) and when DH got home from the game, I went out for a bike ride. I rode for an hour. It was hot, and I did not have a route planned in advance. But I did end up riding past some people handing out free juice samples to the crowd walking into the Brewers game, which made me feel like I was in a road race. I also tried riding through a park, and unfortunately came upon some steps rather abruptly. I got my shoes off the clips but then they slipped on the stone step, and I got a couple of massive bruises on my legs. They took a few days to really develop, but they are really ugly now.

One of the downsides to keeping my port in is that it needs to be flushed monthly with heparin, which means that I bruise easily. On days like this, when my legs look like someone's hit me with a sock full of wet sand, I think it's about time to have the port removed. On other days, when I've been sick for 6 weeks and I need an IV-IG transfusion, I consider the port a blessing, because it saves painful arm sticks needed to start an IV in my rolly arm veins. I've already talked myself out of asking to get the port out - ugly bruises are no match to having to have IVs started in the arm, even only a few times a year.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday running

I got another run in today after work. It was a rough week - I missed a great bike workout with the team, which I knew I would have to miss. I had planned on dashing to the pool as soon as DH got home from coaching his make-up game. Unfortunately, the MPS scheduler made a mistake with the JV baseball schedule. So, DH's team got to play under lights, and I was home with the kid until the pool closed. Oh well, it's basically open water swimming season, so I'm keeping my wits about me.

The run today was great. I am just so relieved that this program has worked for me, and that a week between runs did not set me back. Once I complete week 8 of the couch to 5k program, I'm going to have to start working on my pace. The colleague who inspired me to do the tri this year was telling me about a great new public outdoor track about 10 minutes from my house. In a few weeks, intervals, here I come. Eek!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lake Swimming

I think of myself as a lake swimmer. My favorite childhood memories are of swimming in rivers, lakes and converted quarries. So I've been looking forward to getting out into the lake water.

The temperature hit 95 degrees on Sunday, and I drove out west to the lake where my mom lives. One day of heat did not make the lake instant bath water, apparently. I got a quick 10 minutes in the water, and then I had to dash off to an event with exchange students. It was good to get a dip in the lake, and I'm looking forward to more outside swimming going forward.

I tried to post this as a mobile post, but something went wrong - forgive any tense problems in this post.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sneaking in a run

May 21 workout

I had an unexpected opportunity to get a run in on Friday evening, so I grabbed it. DH's baseball game was rained out, and we had dinner at home. Then we got the little guy tucked in, and I drove over to my old running grounds. I did the first run of week seven, which is a 5 minute warm-up walk, 25 minute run, and a 5 minute walk. The remaining two runs for week 7 will be the same thing.

The weather has finally turned. It was a bit foggy during the morning, but by the time I was out for the run, it was clear and very nice. I have a nagging calf ache again, so I didn't do any sprinting. I did keep my heart rate between 40 and 60% of max. I have a difficult time getting it up in the 80% range without going uphill. I may have to find a hillier route. Eek!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

40 and fabulous!?!

May 19 workout

I woke up with yet another cold on the 16th, and then Monday was my birthday. The congestion drifted down to my lungs through Tuesday, and I was just on the mend by Wednesday afternoon. This happened to coincide with the group workout and open pool, which was good.

I did run 3 of week 6, which is a 5 minute warm-up walk, 25 minute run, and 5 minute walk at the end to cool down. It was a beautiful day, and I did the whole run as planned. There were lots of people out exercising along the same route I was using, and walking dogs. We do enjoy the heck out of the three months per year it is fit to be outside, here in Wisconsin.

I got back to the high school a few minutes too late for the visualization exercise the group had planned. So I spent the time until the pool opened trying to come up with something witty to write about myself for the other blog. So far, no go on the witty. And I'm having a difficult time finding a jpeg to go with my witty blurb. If I come up with something, I'll let you know.

Then it was time for the swim workout. 8:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. I swam a few warm-up laps with a kickboard. Then I did a few laps of crawl, and after that the bulk of the laps were butterfly. Our team leader had a camera and videotaped our strokes for anyone who wanted. I watched myself while trying to get rid of some (you guessed it) leg cramps. I didn't see anything obvious to fix, which is good. The down side: I look less like Michael Phelps than I had imagined. Oh well - in my mind, I have a powerful smooth stroke and similar kick. And most of the triathlon is mental, or so I've been reading.

Also, I finally got my hotel room for the night before the race. It's the same place I stayed at last time - the only one in the area not imposing a 2-night minimum. I was a bit rude to one of the women I spoke to while trying to find a room for one night. I pointed out that it was Kenosha. Which is probably where the woman I was speaking with lives. But she must be aware that 2 nights in Kenosha isn't really worth over $300.00, right?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finally, a bike workout

May 15 workout

This was a logistical marvel, if I do say so myself. I got to my weight watchers meeting around 7:25 a.m. (for the last 5 minutes - we got a slow start that morning) and then drove out to my mom's house (about 30 minutes west of where I live). My mom and kid visited while I rode my bike for about 45 minutes. Afterward I got freshened up, cut up a bag of oranges and went to watch the second of the 2 baseball games DH was coaching. Whew!

The bike has officially become my least favorite part of this whole affair. I'm either pumping like crazy and up around 85% of my max heart rate or coasting and trying to figure out if I really need to brake and waste any of my effort. I have been hunting around on the internet for practical, basic bike leg tips, but so far, I'm coming up empty. At least my equipment is in good shape.

May 14 workout

I went for the second run of week 6 on Friday. I drove over to the area of town where I feel safe running at dusk and had a nice run. I found that I got my heart rate up in the 80% level only when I was going up hills. Otherwise, I hang out around 60% when I'm running and 35% when I'm walking in between the running legs. The final run of week 6 is 20 minutes of running, with a 5 minute walk to warm up and cool down. I am a bit nervous about how long I can keep my pace at a decent rate, but I'm also excited to see my progress. I know when I started, running 20 minutes straight would have been out of the question, so I am feeling proud of sticking with the program.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chocolate Milk

My back recovered enough to do my scheduled work on Wednesday. I made quick mac and cheese for dinner, and got to the track at the high school, where I did the first run of week 6. The music in the podcast was awesome and kept me running rings around the track with a goofy smile for the entire time.

Our tri training team had a meeting in the lobby outside the pool, where we discussed post-workout nutrition. Chocolate milk as a restorative drink was the nugget of the day, and our after swim treat. I swam about 14 laps, which was a good workout. We stopped just at the end for a group picture, and the last lap after that was riddled with cramps, so I called it a little short of where I hoped to be. I did some laps where I sprinted half of each leg, and I also practiced alternate side breathing with a kickboard. It's most unnatural, and I feel like I'm holding my breath. I hope I can get it sorted, because it will help me go much straighter when I get into open water.

I'll try to get a run in on Friday, and then a long bike ride on Saturday. Time permitting, as usual.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Creaking Along

I did some stretches on May 10th, but no yoga. I've been icing my back three times a day, and the revised plan is for me to squeeze a run in before the swim workout tomorrow.

The team I am training with has a logo for the team shirts/jerseys we are going to have, and it is just awesome. I link here to the blog for the training team in case you want a preview of the super artwork!

Keep your fingers crossed that I wake up moving comfortably in the morning.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Woe Is Me

I am starting to suspect that I need to plan my training on a 2-day per week schedule. I had big plans, which were again foiled by how I'm feeling. On Saturday I woke up with a head cold, so I did not do a swim workout, or the scheduled run, because it was cold, gray and rainy on the 8th. My back got increasingly sore throughout the day, so I babied it, and even iced it before I went to bed.

I woke up today to a pancake breakfast in bed and a bag full of handmade gifts. Lovely way to kick off Mother's Day. I iced the back again a couple of times, but I'm still hobbling around, not able to stand up straight, or pick anything up from the ground. I am not sure when I'll pick back up on the regimen. Right now I want to try some stretching and yoga tomorrow, and then evaluate. Definitely hope to be swimming by Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last beautiful evening for a while

Tonight, I got my workout in. I picked up a sub on the way out of work, and enjoyed a quick picnic with the kid at the school playground. Then we trotted over to the Mother's Day Art Show, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then we dashed home, I passed off of the kid, and I drove over to the east side to do Run 3 of Week 5. I did it! 5 minute walk, 20 minute run, 5 minute walk. It felt great, too. The new shoes are not exactly pretty, but they felt really good. Even near the lake it was about 70, and the sun was slowly setting as I ran.

After the run I headed to the pool and swam with the training team. I warmed up with a kickboard for a few laps, and then swam 9 laps. I got brutal leg cramps every time I tried to sprint. I wanted to do some intervals, but the cramps made that imprudent. I had planned to use the kickboard to cool down as well, but I had to get out of the pool to stretch my leg.

The last thing I need to do tonight is take my measurements to see if I can find a tri suit that I could wear throughout the whole race. Last year's equipment worked, but it wasn't exactly pretty, and the team jerseys sound like they're going to be awfully cute!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Needing a Plan

I am needing a plan. That works with the people I live with. I was supposed to do a running workout today. I did not get up at 5:30 a.m., which meant that I needed to wait until DH got home. So, I tucked in the kid, changed into my running stuff and waited expectantly. Foolishly, but expectantly.

The earliest I could have left the house was 9:15 p.m. This seemed extraordinarily unsafe, to drive anywhere to go running, start after 9:30 p.m., and run until after 10 p.m. some time. AAAAAGH! I've moved the run to tomorrow, which I'll have to squeeze in after the Mother's Day Art Show at school. Which runs from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. And I need to be in the pool for my swimming workout by 8:45 p.m. This brick is completely doable. Unplanned, and unlikely to make Thursday's bike particularly enjoyable, but doable.

Also, I am supposed to be training with 12 women for this triathlon. But they have planned many of their workouts for Saturday mornings, which is when I have previously scheduled lab appointments, weight watchers meetings and various social engagements. Not to mention child care responsibilities until DH's baseball season ends in late (LATE) May. I'm thinking about setting up the kid with a previous caregiver for Saturday mornings. But then, on the other hand, I enjoy solitude when I work out, so the effort that would require is a bit more than I'm up for at this late hour. I will reconsider when I am a bit more well-rested.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting better

I got back on the training horse today. I turned out to have an infection that took hold while I was on the antibiotics they gave me for the cheek of doom. Ironically, the cure for this is a different antibiotic. I took the week off from training so that I could get better faster. And it seems to have worked!

I went for the Week 5, Run2 workout today. I seem to be stuck on this run - but after a week off, I thought it would be pushing it to go on Run 3. The weather couldn't have been better. It was sunny but not hot, breezy but not windy. This run was two 8-minute stints, with two 5-minute recovery periods. It was absolutely beautiful. I had a moment where I was overwhelmed with joy and appreciation for the day and being able to be out running at all. I mention this because this is not how I usually feel when I'm running. But I really liked it, and I hope that it happens again soon.

I dug out the heart monitor to train with, and I just need to sort how how it works again. I also finally broke down and replaced my running shoes. I will keep a careful log of how many miles I run in them so I don't have questions about when they need replacing. The New Balance store took my old shoes and will either donate them to Soles 4 Souls or send them to be recycled into playground surface. And now I don't have to figure out what to do with the old shoes. Yay!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cranky pants

I have my cranky pants on today. A good run might have helped, or it might have left me in a weepy heap. I'll never know, because I did not do any kind of workout this weekend.

It all started yesterday, when I spent several hours at work, where there is no heat. One might not expect that to be such a problem, given that it was April 24th, but it was mid-40's, gray and rainy all day. My office might have been 50 degrees, but it was not much warmer than that. By the time I gathered my things to go home around 6:30 p.m., I was thoroughly chilled and in no mood to do my run outside. So I got on the couch, got under several blankets and drank tea in a five hours long, mostly failed attempt to get warm. I was achy and stuffy and oh so miserable.

When I woke up this morning, I had high hopes that I might feel better, after giving myself the evening off, but alas, it was not to be. I spent today trying to convince myself to get on the bike. Instead, I watched TV, played on the computer, mad a cartesian diver (from a kit) with the kid, made a menu list for the week's dinners, got groceries, made stew and cleaned up paperwork at home for an hour. My joints and muscles are still achy, and I have to admit to being relieved when it got too dark to get on the bike.

I think I need to register for the triathlon so that I can re-commit to the training schedule, and get going on the bike training I really need to focus on.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Biking after dark

Tonight's workout was slated to be a 6 mile bike ride. I'm really going to have to plan ahead if I'm going to be measuring my bike rides in miles, as opposed to time on the bike. I don't think I managed to ride for 6 miles exactly. It was about 40 degrees or so, and dusk when I started to ride. I don't have any lights on the bike, so I stuck to the sidewalk on my way to the local high school track.

I rode about 3 miles around the cement track that circles the practice field. I started out in an easy gear, then in a harder one for most of the ride. My left foot started cramping and contorting just at the end, and my legs were also freezing by the time I decided to pack it in. My flat repair kit is quickly becoming the bane of my bike riding. It was sliding around and I kept having to reattach the velcro straps. I can't for the life of my remember how it attached to my old bike - for all I know I'm strapping it to the wrong part of the bike altogether. Yet another thing to review at the road safety course....

So far, so good with this week's workouts!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Freezing cold Wednesday

April 21st workouts


I got a late start, so even though it was about 40 degrees out, and the sun had set, I went for my run between 8:10 p.m. and 8:40 p.m. I drove over to the school where the open swim hours were going to be, left my car in their lot, and took off on Week 5, Run 1. It was hard to judge exactly how far I should go in any direction, so if anyone was watching out their house windows, they probably thought I was crazy, doing laps up and down the block.


I had a great swim tonight. I did 40 lengths of the pool. I used a kickboard and practiced alternate side breathing while I worked on my kicking. Then I did some lengths where I did the crawl at full speed the whole way, and on the length back I did the breaststroke. I also did some lengths where I crawled halfway and sprinted the last half. I started getting leg and foot cramps about 2/3 of the way through the swim. Which gave me the opportunity to practice covering ground while my leg/foot is cramping. I am wiped out but very happy with how things felt tonight.

Banner Sunday

April 18th workouts


In the morning I spent 45 minutes rollerblading through a park with the 6-year-old. I have to say, his learning curve is much steeper than mine. He looked like he had no control of his legs when we first started. By the end he was gliding along so long as there wasn't too much loose gravel/stray sticks on the path. I was steadily unsteady. And I somehow skinned my knee through my wind pants without tearing them. I was so careful with safety equipment for the kid, and then all I had was my bike helmet. I'll try to learn my lesson and get some wrist guards before the next outing. That was some great exercise.


In the afternoon I was able to do a bike ride of about 45 minutes. I wound my way around about 25 blocks to the west, then 8 blocks south, then back 28 blocks east, and then I rode through the park for a while. I practiced shifting and braking, as well as getting my clippy shoes attached to and detached from the pedals quickly. And I strapped my flat repair kit to the bike, so I wouldn't get stranded again. I practiced drinking water while I rode as well. I'm a bit rusty, but there is time to brush up before the race.

I must marvel at the difference the bike makes. I am able to coast on flat road, not just when I am going downhill. I actually am more nervous about going too fast, truth be told. Once I'm more confident about stopping and getting my feet off the pedals so I can catch myself in a pinch, I'll enjoy the speed more, I'm sure.


I capped off the day with the Week 4, Run 3 from the couch to 5k program. It was lovely, and I snapped a few pictures of the gardens I saw along the way. I was pretty tired by the time I got to the running, but it felt good to get through my first brick relatively intact.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm a need a new pair of socks

April 14th workouts

I got out on the bike, and it was super easy to ride. I didn't mess much with the gears, and the brakes are a little hard to grasp, but it was delightful. I got to the park, and I got a flat tire. I ducked into the Urban Ecology Center, where a lovely young man pumped air into the tire, which promptly hissed out whatever hole I had idiotically managed to put in the tire.

I was wearing my fancy new clip shoes, and I had not moved my flat fixing kit from my old bike to my new bike. I only had $2.00 in my pocket, and bus fare is $2.25. So, I walked back to our house in little sock feet. Good times. I did manage to bring my cell phone with me, so I was able to rally my mom to go pick up my son from school, which was the only thing that kept me from sitting down on a front lawn and crying.

After dinner and tuck-in, I scooted off to go swimming. I had a nice swim with my new training team. My new goggles got a bit foggy, but only when I stopped to chat. I think that I'll give them another workout, where I just swim, before I lose my mind.

On the 14th, I slept until noon, and the rest seems to have done a world of good for the cheek of doom. There is still a little swelling, but it's mostly on the inside now. I do not expect it to interfere further in the training.

April 15th workout

I did Week 4, Run 2 for a second time tonight after tuck-in, since it had been so long since I last went on a run. My run was really nice. I got started too late to go to the indoor track, so I drove over to my old neighborhood and ran a route I remember running in high school. Not as far as I used to go, but it was rather nostalgic.

I was not able to bike, due to the flat tire, which I have to take to the bike shop to have repaired. My flat repair kit for the old bike was not compatible with this one, so I won't be biking until Sunday at the earliest. It would be ironic if the bike turns out to be the toughest leg for me. It's supposed to be the swim, according to what I read in triathlon materials.

I have a planned rest day today, and I'll be swimming and dashing out of town on Saturday, so next post may have to wait until Sunday.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cheek of Doom

I have not done any working out since Saturday, April 10, due to what I have started calling the "Cheek of Doom." So, first, let me write about Saturday, which was delightful. I went to a local high school pool at the crack of dawn for an 8 a.m. open swim. I got about 20 minutes into my personal medley (2 laps crawl, 2 laps breaststroke, 1 lap backstroke, 1 lap sidestroke, and repeating a variety of these same strokes). Then the teenager who was lifeguarding at the end of the lane asked if I had forgotten my goggles. So now let me hold forth about my equipment for the race.

Swim equipment

Under this subheading, for me, is: swimsuit. And, because it is required in the race: swim cap. I have bought and used 3 different sets of goggles over the past two triathlons and associated training seasons. But then in each race I ended up whipping the dratted things off and swimming the race with the goggle straps looped over my arm. So I had decided that this year I would train with no goggles on. The lifeguard suggested/insisted that I try swimming with his goggles on, and because he was so nice about it, I did. The things were amazing! They fit to my face, they didn't fog up, and I could see. The whole time. When I got back to his end of the pool, I had to admit, sheepishly, that these goggles were great. He told me where the little swim shop is where I could get them, and that they only cost $17.00. Which is less than I spent on the first three sets of goggles, and which seems like quite a deal now. So now I have a suit, cap and goggles, and I consider myself all set for the swim, equipmentwise. I also have a 10-punch swim card, which I have 9 uses left on. Once the punches are used up, I'll switch to open water training at the lake at my mom's house.

Bike equipment

On Saturday morning, I also borrowed my friend's Raleigh road racing bike. It should be quite a step up from my old "comfort" bike. I took the bike straight from my friend's house to a bike shop. The bike has clips instead of pedals. After weighing the pros and cons of switching clips for pedals, and then switching then back after the race, I decided to take advantage of a sale and buy some shoes to go on the clips. I got a pump that works with the type of tube that the tires have. I also had the seat adjusted just a little bit. MUST REMEMBER TO SWITCH THAT BACK. I also plan to go to one of the shop's "Road Repair" classes they will be running later this month/during May. Must remember to keep scanning the website for info.

So, now I have a helmet, padded biking shorts, a bike all set up with two water bottle cages, gear shifts on the ends on curved-around handlebars, clip-type pedals and good tires. The two things remaining for the bike, equipment wise, are to ensure that my repair kit has the proper inner tubes in it for this bike, and to attend the road repair class so I can tend to minor issues during the race, if need be.

Run equipment

I have my running shoes and a good hat with built-in SPF. I think I'm all set. I was researching on the internet about how long I can reasonably expect running shoes to last. The estimates range from 250-500 miles. I can't figure out how many miles I've really run in the shoes I've got now. I remember that I bought them to train for the last tri I did, which was in 2008. I am thinking these shoes can last me for this race, and its training, especially with the orthotics inside them, and my new leg cramp prevention plan.

Back to the blog

The swim on Saturday morning was nice, and on Saturday evening I plotted out my training schedule until race day. On Sunday morning I woke up, and my cheek looked like I had the mumps. I spent the day (9:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.) at urgent care and then the emergency room. I have a nasty cheek abscess, and I've been waiting for the antibiotics to clear it up, before I get back to my training schedule. I stayed home from work today and slept until noon (except for getting up to take my medicine), and I woke up feeling MUCH better.

It is a beautiful day out today, and I will be doing my first outing on the bike, and then late tonight I will be doing my second swim, with the group of women with whom I'll be training. So I'll be blogging more about today's workout - either late tonight or tomorrow early evening.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Raining sideways

So I completed my April 7 and April 9 runs. On April 7 it was, indeed, raining sideways, and I could not muster myself to go for the run outside. So I got creative and headed off to the indoor running track that encircles the Olympic ice oval here in Milwaukee. At 8 p.m. They are open until 9 p.m. on weeknights, barring special events. Which leaves me with zero excuses, if I get to that time of day and I still have running on my plate to meet my training schedule. NB.

The April 9 run was outside, in the crisp 40ish air, just before sunset by the time I got home from work. My DH ran to get Chinese for dinner while I put in my time running, and it worked out perfectly. My calf still has a little nagging ache at times. But I'm trying to take it easy - no sprinting at this point. I'm running longer, and feeling good.

The most exciting news is that my doctor seems to have given me the perfect solution to my leg cramps. She suggested that it could be an electrolyte imbalance, being exacerbated by low calcium intake. So I started taking a calcium supplement and having one packet of crystal lite electrolyte stuff each day, and, voila - no cramps! I could kiss that woman.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 3 is complete!

Running on Easter was not an option, so I completed week 3 tonight after dinner. It was a great run again. We had amazing weather today - in the upper 60's. It drizzled a bit as I was driving home from work, but by the time we were done eating, I was able to run in clear weather. And now I'm listening to thunderstorms going through.

I'll do week 4's 3 runs on the following schedule: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. On Saturday I can get the bike from my friend. And next week I can focus more on how to increase my pace.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Achy calf

I did not get up in time to run before work this morning. So the run had to wait until after dinner. I toyed with the idea of waiting until tomorrow but decided the habit of running on a schedule was important enough to go after we were done eating.

I may have been downplaying the real problem with my right calf. Tuesday night, quite late, I had terrible muscle cramps in the right calf, and the muscle has been sore ever since. I took it easy and did not have any more cramping today. However, I do have an extremely sore calf now. And I can see a thin red line that's about an inch long right where my leg is sorest. Not sure what that's all about. I will keep slowly stretching and take some ibuprofen to try to walk normally tomorrow. I just don't want to limp around work and end up throwing everything else out of whack too.

It was crazy warm this afternoon, and the run went really nicely, if a bit slowly. I was able to run for the full time of each of the running stretches, and the run 2 of week 3 podcast was marvelous. I am officially giving myself advance permission to move run 3 to the next day my calf is not sore. Or Monday at the latest.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Week 3, Run #1

Tonight was my first scheduled run of week 3. I also plan to go Thursday morning before work (gasp!), and on Saturday. Today was a really beautiful day for a run after work. I live far enough from the lake that it was still 55 or so when I got home, and it was great to run on my lovely flat landscape. This couch to 5k plan is brilliant - just when I think I need a break, it's time to walk. I will need to work on pace at some point, but right now, I just want to get up to running the full 30 minutes.

As I walked up the front steps at home, I had my first calf cramp of the season. I've taken some quinine, and I chugged some diet tonic water as well. My cheek has swollen up, and I've added an antibiotic to the end of the steroid taper I started on vacation. This panoply of illness is the only side effect I envision keeping me from doing the triathlon this year. I am a bit concerned about the stress training might put on my system. I'm going to keep it to 3 training sessions per week for now, and I'll be checking in with my doctor to be sure that this is not too ambitious a plan.

On the not technically related to tri training but still relevant in my mind front: I got the veg prep and meal plan done on Sunday. I did not dig out the tri training materials, nor did I set up the bricks for the training schedule. Once my doctor says it's okay for me to go for the triathlon, I will get a training schedule together.

On the upgraded bike equipment front: I will probably be able to borrow the bike from from my friend at work on April 10th. I will need to get bike riding shoes, or else swap the clips for pedals. If I understood what she was saying. I'll just bring my bike rack on the car, and take a look at it when I get there. That's the beauty of the plan - if I get the bike on a Saturday, I can go straight to a bike store and get the proper shoes to be able to ride it/pedals so I can ride it with running shoes.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week 2, complete

This program sure does work! I finished the run today feeling really good. I got out earlier in the afternoon than I've been doing my runs, and I definitely prefer running on an emptyish stomach. So, at the end of week 2, the run is a brisk 5 minute walk, then alternating 90 seconds running with 2 minutes walking, until you get to 20 minutes, and then cool down with a 5 minute walk. I took a different route than yesterday, and signs of spring are everywhere. Tulips, crocuses, hostas - they're all bravely sprouting up. And its just going to get better: by the end of the week, we're predicted to be mid-70's. Yay crazy Wisconsin weather!

I am going to spend tomorrow prepping veggies and cooking chicken so that dinners can go together more smoothly next week. Dinner is my main excuse for not working out, which is why I'm blogging about dinner in my exercise blog. There are a couple of meals that are not a colossal pain to make, and I can delegate those, but I am trying to eat more meals with fresh vegetables. Which take chopping, peeling, etc. But, I can take Sunday and get the big stuff - broccoli, fennel, carrots, celery - washed, chopped, peeled and labeled. That should cut down on the chaos in the kitchen after I pick up the little guy at school. I also found one crockpot meal which should give me time after work one day for a run.

That said, I've looked at my schedule every way possible, and I have concluded that the morning is going to have to work for at least one workout each week. I came to this conclusion after looking at the meal schedule I wrote out, balancing it with what seems reasonable to ask my husband to cook for dinner, and not wanting to load 2 workouts into the weekend. So then I started trying to brainstorm solutions and changes I could make to get out of the box I've thought myself into.

I was listening to a podcast that included an interview with a woman who's doing something called "The Hapiness Project." When asked for one nugget that guarantees happiness, she said "Get enough sleep." Ugh. I am really not up for this change. But the more she talked, the more sense it made. Maybe if I give up facebook? Just kidding. Maybe. I'm not sure how realistic it is to change everything all at once. But this exercise piece has to get put into the puzzle some time. So, I'm considering heading to sleep by 9:30 on the nights before morning workouts. I can't imagine doing that every day, but maybe it'll feel so good I'll start doing it every day.

So, along with the veg prep, tomorrow I'll be plotting out a tentative training schedule for the tri. As I recall, weather became a real factor last time for my training, so it'll have to be flexible. I also need to scope out some pool access - my swim is clearly my weakest leg, and I'd really like to improve my performance there.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Home, flat, home

I did the second run of week 2 (just one day behind - I'll catch up tomorrow!) tonight between dinner and bath time. I have never been so glad to run my regular route. It was sweetly flat, which felt really easy. It was also pretty cold (30s), but I had my cold weather running gear, so I was all set. Tonight's podcast included "It's Raining Men," so I was chortling to myself as I huffed and puffed along.

I was thinking as I ran as well as laughing. It is practically April, which was when I wanted to start the brick training schedule. My current scheme is that on Sunday I'll be able to plan out a few weeks of training, along with a dinner schedule. The two things are interconnected in my mind, because they are where I have the biggest mental hurdle making time for my training.

Getting up early is a concept I have toyed with for many years, but I have had to face facts. I am simply not a morning person. I can get up early in spurts, but I am trying to find a training program that I can make a routine, that I can stick with forever, basically. So I am going to try this planning thing I've been reading so much about. I'll include the outlines of my plan as I go, since I see it as an integral part of this whole process. Besides, I'll be writing it all down anyway - if it's in my blog I can access it from my phone via the internet any time I need to.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Week 2, Run 1

This post will be rather like the run - nothing fancy, but it will get the job done. Again, I snuck the run in after dinner and tuck-in. The podcast is just so distracting, in a good way. I was surprised when the little helium voices cheered that I was all done. The back of my left knee/upper calf feels a bit wonky, but not enough to justify skipping a workout or anything. I did take it easy, so as to avoid injury. I'm prouder than is reasonable to be 1/3 of the way done with week 2, and I don't want to have to start over. Especially since, if I recall correctly, I'll need to start scheduling out bricks in April, and they require some sustained running capacity. That's all for now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

After dinner run

I needed to squeeze in my third workout of the week. But the day was a wonderful vacation day, spent with my son and sister, and my niece and nephew. In the morning we tromped around the zoo, to the tune of a 3 mile walk, per my sister's pedometer. Then we spent the afternoon with naps and Legos, and then we had dinner. Again, a lovely vacation day, but no time for a run that worked with the rest of my day.

So, after I helped wrangle the kids into bed, I changed clothes, put on running shoes and flipped on a podcast. I had a fairly decent workout today. The sun was setting as I started, and I finished in the dark. I probably looked pretty funny - I am listening to various podcasts, timed to the couch to 5k plan. Tonight's selection included Girlfriend in a Coma, I think by The Smiths. Definitely sounded like something I listened to in the 80's when I was in high school. I kept laughing as I was running - another song's lyrics told me I had 10 minutes to go, and that was at the point where I literally had 10 minutes of running left. It was a great compilation, and trying to guess what might come next kept me entertained.

My feet are feeling better as I go. I am also remembering the genius of the running plan, and savoring the easy beginning week one. On to week two - it's in my sights. I ran mostly along a local lake tonight, which meant much flatter terrain, along with the peace that comes from being near water. That route is definitely worth repeating.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mobile blogging test

I am trying out the new mobile blogging feature - I imagine if I see a particularly great sunrise/sunset while running I might snap a picture to share the upside to the new (redux) training regimen. We shall see if I can master the next function - it took me about 6 tries to get my blackberry linked up without incurring text charges. But I think we are set to go now!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I did my second workout of week one this evening, with my sister. It was lovely to have someone to go with, even though her trainer has in good enough shape that she was mostly just jogging in front of me during the jogging segment. We did a brisk 5 minute warm-up walk, then 60 seconds of jogging, alternating with 90 seconds of walking for 15 minutes. Sort of.

The main point of this entry is - Holy Hills! I had no idea that this area around Seattle was basically cut out of the face of a cliff. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but just barely. So right around 15 minutes, we were going up a verrrry steep hill, and we walked for about 3 minutes, before resuming the pattern. But we did it.

2 workouts out of 3 for the first week. And while on vacation. Thank goodness for having set the clocks back -- we were able to go out for our "run" after tucking the kids in. I had pretty terrific arch cramps after about 15 minutes, and I am so looking forward to getting the orthotics when I get back home. But that won't be until next week, and in the meantime, I am going to keep going with the insoles I have.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Moving On

I am moving on with my workouts, and I am moving my blog from its old host to "blogger." So, I copied and pasted a batch of my old blog's entries below my March 13 entry. I was going to try to "import" the blog, but I couldn't sort out how to do it, so I went to the Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V method that never fails. Next step will be to migrate the photos over. I may tap my techie sister to help on that score.

This was not an official workout day on my 5k plan, so I used the hour or so while my husband and son were at the park to try out a walking DVD I bought about a year ago at a used book store. It reminded me of aerobics classes of yore. The bright side was that the patter seems to have evolved from relentless cheer to new-age affirmations. I think I'm going to have to turn the volume down once I get a handle on the routine and substitute my own music, just to maintain my sanity. The workout was fun, and I can imagine doing it for a 30 minute jumpstart to my day. Just need to lose the Stuart Smalley stuff. I can't believe I let the disc sit there for a year!

It felt good to get the sore muscles and achy joints moving a bit. I still have killer arch cramps, but I am waiting for some orthotics and hope they will help at least reduce the cramps. I look forward to the next run.
March 13, 2010

Wash, rinse, repeat