Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marathon Monday - 10 weeks and counting

It's Tuesday - I know, I know. I have no excuse. Well, I could have lots of excuses but none of them are good excuses.

Training Recap
Amazingly I still have not broken 30 miles in a week. I ran 29.57 miles this week. One of my runs was cancelled due to an Irene rain out. That is why I missed the mileage target. That and my 6 mile loop turned out to only be 5 miles. Oops.

My long run was 15 miles. It went well. I started with running buddy Melissa. I don't want to run alone in the dark. I did break out my reflectavest for the start of the run. This is major run geek apparel but it beats getting hit by a car. At 10 miles I broke away and ran in myself. There was no major chaffing and also no barfing. Woot Woot!

However, the long run made up too high a percentage of my total mileage. I think that's an equation for injury so it worries me. Good news - I wasn't very sore the next day. That was awesome. I volunteered at the Miami Speed Triathlon which was a great learning experience watching the other athletes do their thing. I did not wish I was racing. It was hot and the course looked ... icky.

So I had 2 sessions on the bike trainer including one where I watched a Sufferfest video. Those are killer. I couldn't really even do the whole thing. I was supposed to recover on a scale of 3/10 and what I did instead was rest ... effort 0/10 and then pick it up with the next interval. Humbling.

Looking ahead
My kids are both in school this week. Yippee!

There are 39 miles on the schedule today. I did 6 of them today already. If I don't break the 30 mile barrier this week - something has gone terribly wrong. My long run is scheduled for 16 miles. Sheesh that's a lot. I'm actually going to pick up a hat with a light on it today because as much as I might not want to I may be solo for this long run at the start since I think I'll be running longer than my buddies and also it's a holiday weekend.

Until tomorrow! A

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Batten down the hatches

Luckily in Miami we are not having a visit from Hurricane Irene. Hurricane's in my opinion are pretty much a hassle.

I've lived in Miami since 1996 but I've only ever been through a category 1 storm. But even that category 1 storm caused enough damage to make me take these things seriously. After that storm we were without power for 14 days. Such a pain.

This morning I was watching the Today Show trying to see a live picture of the storm. But instead it was a segment on preparing for the storm. It didn't give bad advice - water, batteries. But here are some other things that are very helpful to have.

  • ice - when the power goes out everything gets hot. If you put ice into a cooler before the storm it will last a couple of days and keep things cold or cool at least.  That is helpful. In fact down here before a storm we freeze everything we can in advance. It also helps keep your freezer colder longer. Then we fill all our coolers with ice and put drinks and stuff we want in there. Your fridge will stay cold for 24 -48 hours if you don't open it so this way we open and close the coolers and leave the fridge shut.
  • Baby wipes. So, here's a fun fact. When the power goes out eventually the water stops flowing if you live in an apartment building or if you have a well. Even if you live in a house - if you have an electric water heater you'll only have cold water. And also it's hot so everybody is sweating. So, baby wipes are handy.
  • Car chargers. Wireless devices go dead fast when the cell towers go out. They just search and search and search. If you have a car and a car charger you can recharge them. Also, cooling off in your car's ac can feel really nice.
  • a land phone. We have one phone plugged in to an old fashioned wall jack. This is because they work when the cell towers go wonky and get overloaded. 
  • Rum. You can pick your beverage of choice but when the power goes out it's pretty boring and a little rum makes the time pass more enjoyably. After each storm I've been through I've gotten to know a lot of my neighbors as we worked together to clean up and also have the required post storm bbq before the meat all spoils. Rum also makes this more fun.
  • Lastly, this is not a supply but having a way to cook food without electricity is great. I have cooked everything from pasta to french fries and muffins on an outdoor grill when we had no power. It feels funny but it works. 
I'll be thinking of all the people I know this week and weekend as the storm moves up the east coast and hoping for the best. This storm looks like it could be a bear when it hits land.

That category 1 storm I went through - it was Katrina. It then zipped out to the gulf turned into a cat3 and slammed into New Orleans. I remember feeling sorry for myself for being hot and then watching that and feeling very selfish. Being without power is annoying but sometimes these storms cause true wreckage. So, batten down the hatches and be safe if you are in the path.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I have made a decision - Miami Speed Triathlon

I am not racing the Miami Speed Triathlon.

If you read the blog - and somebody out there must - then you may have seen that since I could not race the latest Trilogy Triathlon I was planning to race this event as my August race.

But - I don't want to and so I'm not going to. There are three reasons.

  1. I am undertrained. I haven't been swimming. Going into a race undertrained gives me swim anxiety which is not fun at all. Not to mention I don't really want to swim in this location. 
  2. I have a personal policy of not participating in first-time races and this is a first-time race. My policy comes from personal bad experiences so while I was considering breaking my personal policy I'm not gonna.
  3. I would just do this race to cross it off the monthly list and I think that's not the best reason to run a race which is a long way of saying: I don't want to do it.
I was feeling personal pressure to do this race since I set a goal of a race every month this year. So, I've made a deal with myself. First, I did two races in the spring before my brother moved so I've actually got an extra race under my belt so I am going to give myself credit for that towards this month. Also, I do want to see the race so I'm planning to volunteer for the race instead of racing. So, I'll be out there participating and giving back to the tri community just not racing.

So there it is - my decision.

You can now return to your normal daily programming.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Marathon Monday - 11 weeks and counting

More important than marathon training - today is our first day back to school. My daughter started second grade. I made a cake. It got off to a great start. Thanks for asking :-)
I should actually say I iced a cake because under all this frosting are two store bought pound cakes.

Now down to business.

Last Week's Summary
I missed two days of training last week due to my husband's travels. One was a run and one the group cycle. Not gonna sweat it. That's just the way I roll. So I didn't break 30 miles this week and my long run makes up too much of my mileage. That's okay. I did do my longest mid-week training run so far of 7 miles and it was a bridge run. Yowzer that's a workout. On that run I saw a spectacular sunset. Didn't take a photo - you'll have to trust me. I also did not swim this week. Ahem ... I am a slacker. I did do the group ride with the hammies. That was great as always. Beginner group with my friend Katie. It was good to be in the beginner group for only one reason and that is that I am now more confident that I am not a total beginner anymore.

I ran 28.5 miles this week. I biked 32.

The long run
The long run this week was 13 miles. I was on my own from mile 5 which was fine with me.

I love my training group but it is a die hard galloway walk-break taking group. I have done my first three marathons walk breaking all the way. But I am a very slow walker and therefore I want to walk less this marathon. I would say I don't want to walk at all but I continue to be unable to swallow water while running so ... I'll be walking to hydrate at a minimum.  

So, the break from the group allows me to run straight which is good practice for me. I had also put out my own cooler of ice water. I did stop and refill all my water bottles with ice water. That was great but I may have had too much water toward the end of the run because at the very end I felt icky. Just after stopping still feeling crapalicious I adjourned from the social park bench to behind the nearby bushes where I promptly upchucked my watery stomach contents.

Gross - I know. Sorry about that. I promise to probably never talk about poop on the blog because I hate reading about it on other blogs. But apparently sweat and vomit are not on my to be avoided list.

To be honest my only other vomitious events after exercising have all been after races so I am thinking it was just too much water in a jiggly stomach. I felt much better immediately.  My running buddy Max made me sit for a lot more minutes to make sure I was okay. He then also called me twice to be sure I was still okay. This is also the reason that it's good to be with a group. He was pretty sure it was heat related and he was concerned. Its good to have people around who are concerned when you feel icky.

Overall I'm glad that it happened now because I can work on my hydration plan between now and the race with this in mind.

Chaffing is something that happens during endurance sports. It sucks. I hate it. Last week I got some chaffing and I didn't like it. So I stocked up on the Body Glide to prevent it. But I apparently missed a spot as I got ready Saturday morning.
Ouch! I took a photo in the car to see what on earth had happened because it hurt already and I couldn't really see it in the car mirror.
This was cause for a trip to the running store. Where I was politely informed that I missed a spot with my body glide. Oh okay - really, ya think? I kept wanting them to tell me I needed different shirts. When possible I like problems I can shop my way out of.

Anyway - let me just say that if Body Glide is a public company - you should invest. Because I'm gonna bathe in the stuff before next weeks long run and the run after. Chaffing is not fun.
Also, I would like to say thank you to Aquafor for all those little samples in race bags over the years. I used them all this weekend protecting my super sore skin from contact with ... anything.

Looking Ahead
I have 36 miles on the schedule for this week. 15 of those are the long run. The goals in the long run are no chaffing, and no puking. I also plan to get back to the pool this week. Really, I do. And 2 cycles if possible.

The only thing that could get in my way is Hurricane Irene. Let's just all hope she stays out in the ocean because if  a category 3 hurricane hits my house ... I'm gonna be sad. Sad and wet and probably hot because the power will be out. I will possibly also be grouchy. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How do "you" wash your Heart Rate Monitor Strap?

Confession is good for you - or me
I'll start by admitting that until very recently I didn't wash my heart rate monitor strap. I didn't wear it all that often until a few months ago and I honestly didn't realize I was supposed to wash it.

How I learned was that my FR60 went kaput. The strap broke and it was still under warranty so my Local Running Store (LRS?) took it back and gave me a new one. When I brought my old stuff in to exchange the helpful clerk pointed to the puckering HRM strap and said, "you should wash this more often."

It's a good thing I don't embarrass easily because that could have been embarrassing.  It's also a good thing that I had delivered to him this icky unwashed strap in a ziplock bag so he didn't have to touch it since it was so obviously unwashed. That might have been even more awkward.

He suggested I just wear it into the shower. That was a good idea however that resulted in me leaving it in the shower for days and days at a time where it did me no good. That ended when my cleaning lady hung my HRM strap in the closet with my husband's belts (I know, what was she thinking?) and put my RoadID with my daughters play jewelry. It took me a good while to find them because ... well, it just did.

Later I got a different suggestion from a Garmin rep. which was to just rinse it in the sink. Aha, we have a winner!

Summertime is Stinkytime
Armed with this knowledge that I should be washing my HRM strap I headed into summer training time. Good thing I had learned about washing this thing because during the summer ... and this is gross but after a sweaty run I am a stinky mess.

I expected my clothes to stink but was a little surprised (although I don't know why) that both my HRM Strap and even my Road ID both stink. I know, I know EWWWWW. I know it's not very girlie and not sweet and nice but it's true. Gross or not it's the way it is.

So in the interest of saving other atheletes from embarrasing LRS situations like mine I'm going to share with you how I wash my stuff. I'm sure there are other methods but this is how I do it.
This is the way we wash our Heart Rate Monitor Strap: repeat 

First step: go to the sink :-)

I remove the little gizmo in the center ... I'm not sure that's necessary but it feels like the right thing to do.

Close the drain, add water.

Add soap, I use my hand soap. Lavender scented from Whole Foods if you're curious.

Swish, Swish, Swish

Hang on the spigot to drip dry for tomorrows sweat fest.

And that's it - No more stinky HRM strap or Road ID.

Later -A

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mine mine mine

For Mothers Day I got an iPad2.

It's one of my kid's favorite things. They play(ed) on it everyday. But last week "it" happened. "it" was probably unavoidable albeit still unpleasant. They dropped the beloved iPad onto the tile floor and the screen cracked.

I was not there at the time. It happened to be date night and my husband and I were in the first minutes of Crazy Stupid Love. My phone buzzed. Of course it was on. No parent turns their phone completely off during a movie, sheesh.

I hustled out of the theater to hear a frantic and hyperventilating daughter on the phone saying, "please come home". We calmed her down over the phone and then went home. Sidebar: Did you know that at least at our AMC theater they very generously gave us vouchers to come back when we told them what happened? Apparently we werent the first parents pulled out of a movie by a call from home.

When we got  home we learned that the panic attack had been set off by the iPad droppage event.

First my husband and I had some trouble getting the true story out of the kiddos of what happened. But after a few minutes employing advanced interrogation techniques the truth came out. Disclosure, no children were harmed during the interrogation :-) There had been a squabble over who's turn it was to play Spongebob Marbles and the tug of war resulted in the iPad hitting the floor.

A bitter pill to swallow
I'll admit I was really upset. I know it was just an accident but this accident ended with "my" iPad breaking. I always tell my kids that when you share you have to be ready for your things to break and not be upset. I tell my kids if something is too important for you to not get upset you need to put it away and not share it. I have told them this since they were tiny. Now this was a dose of my own medicine for me. It's not always easy McGee.

I then enforced a truly unreasonable amount of consequences. I removed privileges and said I was canceling play dates for the week. I may have also suggested that the kiddos pay for the repair out of their piggy banks. My husband, in a moment of clarity did not tell me I was being too harsh. I probably would have grounded him too if he spoke up. The kids went to sleep and opened a cold beer and I googled cracked iPad screen.

What do you know? There is a place right down the street that would fix it. It is even called UBreakIfix. I felt lucky.

Things are almost always better in the morning
The next morning the kids and I had a heart-to-heart conversation about how important it is to take care of things, especially when they aren't your own things. This last point was a bit of a challenge for them until I clarified that the iPad was mine not theirs. They didn't want that to be true. I guess since I was being liberal letting them play with it they got the wrong idea. During this part of the conversation my husband may or may not have been looking at me with "I told you so" in his eyes. Then I removed some of the unreasonable consequences I had sentenced them to the night before. Basically they lost all "screen time" for a week. No iPad, iPhone, wii, tv or computer. They were bummed. But I think it was a reasonable punishment that would keep the event in their minds. But I didn't cancel their play dates and I didn't make them pay for the repair.

After dropping my daughter off for gym, my son and I went to go get the screen fixed. And now it's back. My kids have resumed their screens except the iPad until it has a protective case.

We live - we learn.
What have I learned from this episode? Well, clearly no good can come of Spongebob. Just kidding. Lots of things. I keep the iPad now in a spot where they have to ask permission.  If I can't take it if somebody else breaks it - I shouldn't share it. Also, it's not really made for kids and it's not a toy, really - well partly I mean what else does it do, email, Facebook? Okay maybe it's a toy but for adults who can pay for it. Also, I'm lucky to have an iPad. A broken iPad is a good problem to have. Things could be much worse.  Oh, and I ordered a case. Because I like to share my things with my kids and I know that they are going to forget to ask to play with it sometimes and I'm going to forget to enforce it. So, in the idea of better safe than sorry I will swath the iPad with hard plastic and try to remember to enforce the rules and hope for the best.

Later - A

Monday, August 15, 2011

Marathon Monday - 12 weeks and counting

Suddenly the NYC Marathon seems like it's right around the corner. It's 12 weeks away.

My training is going well. Lots of running. Not so much swimming and biking but I can live with that for the moment. It's a little bit of a cop out but truthfully it is more of a challenge to find time to train with the kids out of camp and school. What makes that okay is that I always want to put family first so I'm okay with skipping a few workouts to play with my kids. Not the runs at the moment.

Last week's recap and Training Peaks
The training program I got from Runners World is in Training Peaks. I had heard of training peaks from reading race reports and blogs online. I was pretty excited to try something new.

Perhaps I have ridiculous expectations for software. They are: it should work as advertised, it should make sense to the user, and finally it should not annoy me.

First annoying thing was that I could not print out the program to review on say - one concise piece of paper or even a calendar print out.

Since the start of the training program (16 weeks so four weeks ago) I have been manually inputing my training data because I wasn't able to figure out how to upload the data from my watch.

Here's one annoying thing. It has a spot for actual trainning time HH:MM:SS (hours, minutes, seconds) but if you highlight the space and just type in 34:26 guess what - it interprets that as 34 hours: 26 minutes. it's not intuitive to know that it would be minutes not hours. Silly silly. This to me is a sign that the developers are just engineers and don't actually use the product. Also it says that they probably don't do much quality assurance testing because I found this bug pretty quickly. I suspect this bug might be related to my choice of operating system and browser (mac:firefox) still annoying.

I did finally figure out how to upload the Garmin data direct to the program. Interestingly when you click this button shown below it doesn't clue you in to what should happen. You have to find your own way to the help files and decode the cryptic instructions. It required the download of a third-party app. Honestly, what percentage of their atheletes use Garmin - it's gotta be a lot, maybe 50 percent maybe more? Shouldn't it be incorporated?  I'm only using the free version but my instinct tells me that the pay for version wouldn't be a whole not more intuitive.

Last annoying tidbit - Training Peaks only summarizes my data into total hours. I cannot find how to get it to display total miles by activity. This seems very bizarre. So bizarre in fact that I assume this is something I just don't have set up correctly. Even though I assume this is my own user error it is annoying.

Rant over.  But - in summary: Training Peaks = fail in my opinion. I will not at this point continue to use it after this training program ends.

Nonetheless according to Training Peaks I trained for 5:46:15 this week. That's a lot of time, right? That breaks down into 26 miles. 10 of those were the long run. During the long run I got new chaffing. Ouch. It was surprising because it was a shorter run and it was  new places where I had previously not chaffed before. And I do not want to chaffe there again.  1 of those was a one mile time trial. I did the one mile time trial in the neighborhood not at a track. That was fun. 8:13 if anybody is interested. I did not swim this week and my biking was limited to 10 minutes on the trainer.

Proof of Trainer
Speaking of the trainer - that was a goal this week. Here's proof that I set it up.

I was on the trainer for almost exactly 10 minutes. Those would be 10 of the longest and most boring minutes strung together consecutively that I've experienced recently. And that includes the time I've spent watching the Smurfs with my kids. To be honest, I tend to nap through the Smurfs so that might make it more tolerable.
I wasn't sure she'd taken the picture. That should explain the lunatic looking face. Ignore my cotton shirt and the "garage mess" surrounding me.

My daughter took this picture of me on the trainer. She also expressed that what I was doing, "looked boring." She was right.

Self portrait on the trainer
I was so bored I took a photo of myself. I did plan entertainment - see my little ear buds? I'm listening to a podcast to occupy my mind. Shortly after this my son came in and was inspired by my being on the trainer so that he wanted to ride his bike. Okay, workout over. Didn't take me much convincing to be honest. But I'll give it a more honest effort later this week.

Now for the upcoming week. This week has 32 scheduled miles with a 13 mile long run. Also for fun this week we have strides for the first time and a run with a portion at marathon pace. This means it's goal setting time. I will, of course, have several goals. A likely easy finish time, a more aggressive target time and a super secret hopeful if I'm lucky time. Also this week I will do my strength training and also one session on the trainer and one group ride Sunday. Busy week but I should sleep well at night.

Later - A

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just Call Me Auntie

The most exciting news of the week. My newest niece has joined the family.

Yippee! No detailed info or pictures. You have to know her parents directly to get those kind of delicious goodies - sorry, but it is the Internet (pronounced innernet for those of you who were curious). So this morning my kiddos are busy picking halloween costumes out of a catalog for their cousins including their newest niece. Good times.

In training - racing news. I ran the bridge last night. This is my favorite course here in So Fla.

Water water everywhere. The views are great. The drive to and fro - not so much. But it's a small price to pay.

Also, I have decided I will not race the Trilogy 3 this weekend. My husband is traveling Sunday and it's too much pressure that I might be late for his departure and screw up his trip. I might volunteer. Then I will probably race the Speed Tri for my August race. I had sworn up and down I wouldn't do this race. First the swim course is a little icky (yum motor oil - although they swear it's safe) and also it's a first time race and I avoid those. More proof that I should never say never.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Marathon Monday or Tuesday - 13 weeks and counting

Running Late ... Late late for a very important date blog posting.

Last week I did run 30 miles. Seems like a lot. Highlights included 5 miles on the bridge and a 12 mile long run on Saturday. On Saturday I put out my own cooler (because I'm cool like that) and that was helpful. I do love ice water on the run. Also I discovered that my hr monitor caused a little chaffing. OUCH. I ran the last 8 miles by myself and I didn't walk much. I was all excited to see my results on Garmin but as it turns out they are having a wee bit of trouble this week at Garmin Connect so I don't have good data.. In fact on Saturday Garmin Connect was speaking to me in Swedish.

I'm happy to not be on their customer service team this week because it's probably not fun right now to have that job.  Today Garmin Connect tells me my elevation gain is 2608 feet. Um ... sorry not in Florida I think :-)

I did not swim. I am a slacker. I have a variety of excuses - none of them worth anything. MUST SWIM MORE.
I have a new goal - to not look like this in any more photos. What face am I making?

I did do my long bike ride. It was fun and it felt easier than the week before. My average was 17.5 which is way speedy for me. At the end a bird poo'd on me. Yuck. Also I managed to get a parking ticket on Saturday and a Speeding ticket on Sunday. WHAT?!?!

Actually the speeding ticket was just a warning as the overly polite Pinecrest Policeman observed that the family truck had never been pulled over for speeding before in its 8 years and we had a brief discussion that it's not a car known for speed (Ford Expedition).

As for the parking ticket - well I'm just a loser. I forgot to pay with the pay by phone thing. I'm blaming this on oxygen deprivation after the run.

This week my plan calls for 24 miles including a one mile time trial. EEEK. Actually not eeek I'm looking forward to it. I have to find an open track. Strangely tracks are not at every high school here in South Florida. I am lowering my swim expectations to one swim workout and an open water swim. I do still want to do my abs workout and I want to put my bike on the trainer now that I have the correct skewer.

Also Trilogy #3 is this Sunday. Go ME!
Lastly, now that my kiddos are off the training wheels I am looking for a kids tri for my daughter. :-)
Really Really Lastly  - today I hope to be an Auntie Again and I'm SOOOO EXCITED.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marathon Monday - 14 weeks to go

This past week was a light week. So let's start with something more fun - the monthly total.

In July I cycled 64 miles, swam 6600 yards and ran 104.9 miles. Hmmm... Had I known it was .9 I would have hustled out one more.1 but it's still a good total.

It was weird to have such a light week but it was out of my control so I didn't worry about it. I just enjoyed being with my kiddos and relaxing.

I did log 2 evening runs and a long run of 11 miles on Saturday plus a 36 mile bike ride yesterday. I been stepped up to the faster group and didn't get dropped... Well a little at the end but not much.

In fact there is all kinds of biking news this week. Both my kids dropped their training wheels this weekend. That's huge! So I spent most of my weekend walking up and down my block giving pushes and otherwise being the support crew for my younger cyclists.

The other progress this week was all about hydration. It's really hot here in South Florida - 24 hours a day hot and humid. How hot - well hot enough that my pool is about 93 degrees which in case you were wondering is not refreshing. In fact while it's okay for a few minutes after that you just want out. My husband has suggested that we search for a company to dump a gazillion ice cubes in to cool it off. Now that's funny.

Because I have a great training partner she picked up a cooler this week so we put out extra ice water during the long run. It worked so well that I'm going to pick up another cooler and we'll do that twice this coming Saturday. Even with all that water making sure I got enough water to rehydrate before the biking Sunday was a project. Then this morning I woke up with dry eyes and mouth and was glad it was a recovery day because I can concentrate on water water water all day and be ready to start up again tomorrow.

Goals for this week: 30 miles running with a long run of 12 miles, 2 swim workouts, 3 strength sessions and a cycle on Sunday. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Have a good week everyone.