Monday, December 30, 2013

Entertaining, Running, Indulging, Biking, Recovering: my last two weekends in described in gerands

If memory serves gerands is the word for words ending in -ing so there are 5 gerunds to describe my weekend.

File that under the heading of things you probably don't care about very much.

13 & 12 Weeks until the Rome Marathon, my husband's birthday and of course, Christmas
Last weekend was my first 20-mile run and also my husbands birthday ... and my husband's family was visiting for the weekend so you know that's not an potential training obstacle or anything. Sheesh.

Luckily this weekend was only 14 miles. Seems like a walk in the park these days. In between was a little thing known as Christmas.

Entertaining - 
Last weekend
Grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin arrived last Friday morning for the weekend. Friday was school party day so my kiddos went to school anyway.
Suess inspired hair at the school holiday party.

Did I mention that a crazy rash sent me to Urgent Care with my daughter Thursday night ... that didn't get in the way of anything ... really. I find out on the way that many other kids in her class have also had a rash and an administrator was even in to check it out. Oh really ... nobody shared this with the parents. What is it? A few hours, a few doctors later diagnosis probably a harmless rash causing virus but just in case it's some horrible virus have some steroids and expect a call from the health department for follow up tomorrow. Sheesh. Stress level totally low. I'm kidding here, you can see that, right? So 2 kiddo parties, two pointed discussions with school administrators that they really need to communicate when a crazy rash causing virus is moving through the classes and arriving family ... plus hydrating for a 20-mile run. What could possibly go wrong?
This was the rash ... not a lot of fun actually.

This weekend
Luckily no house guests and a much shorter run. On the complicated side my son had his first semi-serious reaction to a nut in a food on Christmas eve afternoon. He's been freaking out every time he eats since then and he's been ultra clingy.  I was so turned around by all the holiday chaos that when I got the notice for the Saturday run I was totally confused.

Running 20 miles last week and 14 miles this week
I'm up way way way too early 4:25 I think. My husband hears the alarm and says, that's your alarm. Luckily I'm out of the way before he tries to nudge me awake which when he's asleep is a solid smack from him that means turn that f-ing alarm off! Normally such an early wake up sends him to another room to sleep but the house is full so we're together.

We have a pretty large group to run 20 miles. 6 people. I've always said this is when you find out who your real training buddies are at a 5 am training run. Moreso in the rain and holiday season. Luckily we had no rain ... we had heat. We aren't having winter apparently this year so it was about 75-77 and muggy to start.

To be honest there wasn't a whole lot of pep in my step at the start even. Off we went keeping it a very moderate pace.
This isn't key biscayne ... it's my driveway. It was this morning but still pretty flipping awesome sky.

The sun came up over Key Biscayne as we topped the bridge - it was spectacular. I love that. There were also boats going in and out so their lights were twinkling. It was great. Shortly after that we hit the turn around and headed back. Shortly after that I ran totally out of gas. I stayed with my group till about 10k to go. Then I let my training buddy go on ahead. I had a stomach cramp which rarely happens. And then with about 4 miles to go I got pretty cranky. I lost my smile and everything. I was pretty overheated which I realized when I took my hat off in frustration and immediately felt the heat escape. I was also probably behind on water and calories but I had an upset stomach so it was a bad pairing. I trudged crankily on.
gratuitous photo of holiday lights. Tis the season.

With probably 2 miles to go I saw a friend who offered me a ride back. I declined. As soon as he drove off I was kicking myself. But luckily about 1/2 mile later I cheered up and just slowly jogged the rest. I felt pretty craptastic at the finish. Usually the end of a 20 mile training run is kind of euphoric because you feel pretty proud of yourself. But not for me this time. I had brought a recovery shake because I knew I would have a long day. Not surprisingly I felt much much much better when I finished that.

The 14 mile run this weekend was much less eventful. Same hot muggy weather but no bonking! Thank goodness.

So lets see cookies, birthday bbqs, dinners out, wine, beer, more cookies ... it's totally out of control.
This was a present for my husband actually but isn't it adorable. Mini chocolate bottles filled with liquor. The holiday season of indulgence all wrapped up in a box.

Quite honestly I feel like I never need to eat or drink again which is why I had mallomars for lunch. Oops.  There will be dinner and champagne on NYE but other than that I want to get clean and lean and organized.

Hey a girl can dream.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oh lawdy ... that was rough ... must swim more often

Triathlon Training Thursday -
Quick update from the pool.

I went to the pool were I floundered for an hour. There were words like "descending" and "fast"used to describe parts of the set ... I interpreted it all as "survive" and "just keep swimming." My ankles are locked into runner position and the coach did tell me to have floppy feet - like the hokey pokey. It took me 100 yards to sing enough of the hokey pokey to realize he meant "shake it all about."
This is not my kid. My kids never wore these silly things. But I might need them in my next race.
It is imperative that I swim more often than once every other week.

That is all.
Now, back to your regular programming or gift wrapping. I for one am on the hunt for holiday pjs that my kids want and I meant to order weeks ago...weeks. I think holiday pjs are silly. Or perhaps I have a case of the holiday bah humbugs.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Live Ultimate Half-Marathon race report

Saturday morning I ran a half-marathon. The Live Ultimate half-marathon. What ... I didn't tell you? Don't take it personally turns out I didn't tell my husband or kids either. I came home with the medal and they were like, "What you ran a race today? We had no idea!"

I didn't do a race preview because it was really just a catered training run for us. In fact on my schedule the coach had put 2:20 for the time so I wasn't really taking it seriously at all as a race. So this report is more about the event than my performance.

The run was on South Beach and that's a great place for a running event. It was a different course than the other half marathon I've run on South Beach (13.1 Rock and Roll). There were no bridges but lots of turns and about 2 miles on the sand (yuck ... more on that later).

There were lots of events happening all at the same time. A half-marathon, a 10k, a 5k and a kids run all on the same morning. I actually had several mommy-friends running the half and the 10k which was really fun. I had registered with a coupon a while back so my registration wasn't too expensive which is always nice.

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was available either in Davie or at the National Hotel on south Beach depending on which pre-event information you read. They weren't really consistant or clear with pre-race info. It's a first time half but I do think they had the 10k last year. I elected to pick up my packet before the race because it wasn't worth a trip to either Davie or South Beach which would take quite a lot of time. In my opinion the only time it's good to drive from the burbs to South Beach is before 9:30 am otherwise the traffic and parking stink :-)

When we got to the race site it was super windy. Windy enough that it felt like it was lightly raining but it was actually spray off the nearby ocean. I was pretty happy we weren't supposed to be swimming. Packet Pickup was a little delayed but otherwise uneventful. The shirt is cute. It's a t-shirt not a tech shirt which is nice and they have girl shirts - also nice.

The race
Shortly before the race I cleared up that I was allowed to run ... I didn't need to hit 2:20 but I knew I wasn't going to hit a pr or anything. I hadn't hydrated nearly enough and I had brought nutrition for a training run - not a race. I take in more calories at a higher effort.

This race was a good size. There were a few hundred people for the half. Nice and small. We lined up and it was 1.2.3 go. Nicole and Carl scooted off right away. I stayed with Benji for a few minutes because he was adjusting his tunes and then he motored off too. I held a comfortably fast pace for me for a few miles which was kind of surprising in a nice way actually. Then the 2 hour pacer pulled away. It was sad to see him go but I knew I wasn't ready for a 2hr effort today.

The course was marked but not all that well. The mile 2 marker said mile 4 ... oops. They could have used some more signs. But I had no trouble following the group ahead of me. There was only water on the course and also no nutrition. That's probably not the best thing for a longer race but I had brought my own gu so I was fine.

Around Mile 8 the course goes onto the beach for about a mile. That totally stunk. It was soft sand and running in soft sand is really hard. I was pretty tired so I was okay with slowing down though. Then it comes back onto the path and up past the lifeguard office and down to Monty's on Alton Road that was nice. Then back around and back onto the sand ... stinks even more the second time. Heading back onto the sand a bunch of people went the wrong way because it wasn't well marked at all. And I have a friend who made a wrong turn and only ended up with 10 miles.

I walked a bunch on the sand because it's just not worth the effort (or the turned ankle). I had slowed down a bunch and actually was fairly nauseated at this point which was kindof weird. I was ready to be finished. So we got back onto the path and I just gutted out the last third of a mile. I didn't go fast or anything but I jogged when I wanted to walk ... or stop.  At this point we were all mixed in with 10kers and maybe even 5kers all walkers really ... that's always a challenge but the race was small so it wasn't a big deal. If it grows that will be a thing having to dodge walkers in the second half but I didn't have an issue.

There were lots of people at the finish but they weren't cheering for anyone. That was odd. But there were two dolphin cheerleaders there too they cheered... that was more odd but in a sweet way. Time 2:11. Not a pr but I'll take it.

The medal is good. They were handing out electrolyte water and chocolate zico coconut water at the finish. I like coconut water but not chocolate and it wasn't cold so that was a bummer.

Once all of our group had finished and we had sufficiently complained about running on the sand we stumbled off to find some food. Then I learned that Ultimate Live is a drink company. They make tea drinks. I dutifully sampled each of these and I'll say they are pretty delicious. My favorites were the Blood orange flavor, the lemon and the mint.

It might sound strange but I find sweetened tea to be a pretty good fit for endurance exercise. It's very calm on the stomach and the sugar is always good. They had other food from whole foods but it had a long line so I skipped it and headed home.

I would only do this race again if they removed the part of the course that's on the sand. Beautiful but not really any fun.

More practical stuff I learned during the race
So I didn't do a race nutrition plan for this. I was super casual about hydration before and only brought two gus. I did notice that and I am looking forward to seeing if I can hold a quicker pace longer in February with a better plan. Also I need a new hand held bottle for during the race. The one I have leaks constantly and I'm totally over it.

In other news there are 14 weeks until the Rome Marathon. 
For anyone who cares ... that's nobody... this is the Marathon Monday post it's just a day late. Yesterday was delayed with a visit to the post office to mail gifts. I can just about work the words "Rome Marathon" into every conversation which is pretty fun. Training is going well. I am either running 18 or 20 miles this weekend. Yikes! And I'm totally overwhelmed with the whole get ready for Christmas thing!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sporty girls how often do you wash your hair?

Unofficially this is the triathlon training thursday post but quite honestly I'm just squeezing in minimal training between holiday cookie baking and attending holiday parties. I'm officially at my "winter weight" and sporting "fat pants." It's a tad depressing but soon these parties have to end and I'll be back to business in no time.

In the meantime let's talk about hair.
For my 40th birthday I put a little purple in my otherwise simple hair. That was fun. Especially funny my husband (Mr. Observant) didn't notice for days. Days...multiple days.

I'll admit that periodically I spend a kings ransom having my hair colored at a local salon. It's idiocy at it's best because when I'm training I'm in the pool 2-3 times a week which rapidly destroys my hair. But that's not the point. It's not my idiocy that I want to talk about.

I saw Hunger Games Monday night with some girlfriends and the subject of hair washing came up. My stylist always tells me I should be washing my hair every other day and I patiently explain, no can do compadre because I'm a sweat hog ... plus there's the whole swimming pool thing that she wishes I didn't do (so we rarely mention it). But clearly after chlorine the hair needs washing.

Back to the convo with the girlfriends. All very sporty girls. Turns out we were split between those who wash daily and those who don't.  I was shocked that some actually can pull off the whole skip a day of hair washing even with a workout. I was impressed. I should add these girls always look better than me.

So I tried it one day this week. The upside is that I was suuuuuper excited the next day to wash my hair because I felt like a pig. That is the only upside. I was feeling slimy and itchy the second day. I have no idea how folks do it. Perhaps there is a trick I don't know?

So, how often do you wash your hair if you're working out every day? Inquiring minds want to know. (those would be me ... the inquiring minds).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My holiday shopping list

So I'm not sure why I'll put this here. But I guess I was inspired by reading the RunnersWorld 30 gifts under $30 that had only one thing I'd want on it. Seriously who comes up with these things.

So here's a list of things that I might want for the winter holidays. It's a little funny to put here because my predominant gift buyer (read:husband) doesn't read my blog. It's okay I'll print this one out for him.

So here goes things Amy wants:

1. Bike box by Alan I have of course been known to travel with my bike. I use a borrowed bike Thule box from my triathlon club. It works great and is only $10 to rent each time. But when last in Europe for Ironman France (why yes I can still work that into every conversation, thx) this was the box all over the place and it's much better. Why? Because it just is. In fact my kids actually wanted me to buy one before we came home. If they were sold at the expo my husband (chief box lugger) would have probably bought one. Actually mostly because it rolls on 4 wheels standing up so it's not heavy to deal with. Also you can open it without taking the whole thing apart which is handy if you are freaking out in the airport trying to remember if you packed your cycling shoes or whatever. However, it's a fortune and so I don't own one. And I'll admit since I use one twice a year ... it's not worth the expense. Still it's pretty awesome. I'll take pink.

2. Zensah compression socks.  Honestly, who wouldn't be faster in a pair of pink argyle socks, right? Interesting Zensah fact. This company is based in Miami and yet I don't think any store by me stocks these socks. Weird, right?

3. Splish Suit. Okay so you have to know somebody really well to know what size swim suit they wear but these are really cute. I'm buying one for myself for the holidays because they are too cute.

4. Coeur Sports Triathlon Suit I really wish triathlon apparel weren't so stinkin expensive. But it is and this stuff is super cute. So I should have more of it in my closet.

5. Nike running hats. This is the only thing that Nike makes that I wear without issue. I go through these things like water. Also I cannot have too many of them.

6. Re-string it. This is genius I think. It was the one thing I found on the runnersworld list. This gizmo is much improved from my method of safety pin and the pinch and pull method. These guys deserve to make all the millions.

7. A car with a built in shower? The rav4 is too small for my family but if you haven't seen this car well ... it's cool in a funny kind of way. I think an RV is more my speed. We recently had a "smell incident" in the family car which means we're sort of in the market for a car. Sort of. But the Rav4 isn't on the list.

8. New Camera. I'm in the market for a new camera. Which is good news because I like to shop for cameras. I'm super picky about cameras so it would actually be a really tough gift but it's on my list.

9. This shirt. Seriously I think funny gifts are great. This would also be a pretty funny coffee cup.

10.  Or this mug. I probably wouldn't wear this on a shirt because it's kind of mean to those who are proud of what they've done and running is hard work at any distance. But honestly as somebody who's done the Ironman it's kind of funny. So coffee cup or shirt to wear to an expo (maybe if I was feeling churlish).

Oh and the ultimate stocking stuffer? I'm thinking of getting this for my husband but I'm not sure if he'll think I'm giving him a hard time. I just think it's funny. I found it on cafe press (of course).

And that's all. I'm super lucky that I get gifts and I'm really thankful everything in my life so please know that this list is really just for fun since it's the gifting time of year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marathon Monday - 15 weeks until Maratona di Roma

This week of training was fairly uneventful.

It was a recovery week so the mileage was pretty normal. My runs have shifted from HR 1 to trying to hit a pace most of the time which can be a little stressful for me. It's mental. Once I decide I'm going to do it ... it's usually okay but I get nervous before I'm started.

Let me be clear these are not fast paces just fast for me. For example I had 7 miles at 10:35 pace. Not fast but I still get nervous beforehand.

New Stuff
I got new shoes. I loved my old shoes - Adidas Adizero. So it's been updated with their new boost technology. Ahhh why do shoe companies go and do this? You fall in love with a shoe and then they change it. Boo.

I resisted ... hopeful that my regular shoe would appear back in the store. Eventually I finally admitted to myself it probably wasn't going to happen and I embraced the change and bought the new shoe. I do love the colors.
These are the adizero boost running. Apparently they have the adizero plain according to the website but it wasn't at my store.

The other change is that the toe box is a little wider. Which should be a good thing except I did get a blister from my run on Saturday. It's on the toe next to my pinky toe ... weird, right. So, we'll see if I fall in love with these like the older ones.

Packing on the holiday pounds (gasp!)
I am pretty lucky that I can usually eat whatever I want without much adverse effects. This is of course because I am pretty active. I did battle with losing weight after I had both my kids but once they started sleeping through the night and my training came back the weight came off.

On the other hand ... I am vertically challenged (read: short) so it doesn't take many pounds to make a big difference in how my clothes fit.

And as much as I hate to admit it ... I'm getting older and everyone says this makes it harder to keep the weight off.

So, last week I noticed that my clothes were tighter than they should be. And my least favorite muffin top was appearing on top of my running shorts. I think I have added about 5 extra pounds. Grrrr. That is so un-fun!

I started watching what I was eating. Not surprising I was eating lots of treats, too much sweets which are just all over this time of year and too much bread and pasta, eating out way way way too much and probably too much of everything. So I'm committed to trying to eat clean this week. :-)

Recipe to share

I made carrot soup. Yummy and easy. Find the recipe here.

Race news
You need a medical certificate to run in the Rome Marathon. It has to be stamped by the doctor so I've been back and forth with the guys in Rome and my doctor to get a version that works. I hope that this latest form works. So annoying but unavoidable.

Coming up I'll be running the Ultimate Live Half marathon this weekend. Just as a training run not a race but still it should be fun.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Triathlon Training Thursday

The big news is I am back in the pool as of today.

I have not swum regularly I think in about 8 weeks. I could go back and check in training peaks but I really am afraid to know that it was actually more weeks. It's been a very long time. It started because I was sick for 3-weeks and continued because I am a lazy slacker enjoying the off-season.

Many people can take a long time off from swimming and come back without much issue. Those people are not me. For me coming back to swimming can be super unpleasant. If I'm not properly conditioned I get nauseated in the pool. And since barfing on the pool deck makes one an unpopular lane mate I really try to avoid it. 

I also hate not being able to do the regular set with the group. Well dislike is a better description.

Today I was a few seconds late to practice because it took me forever to get ready since I haven't been in lightyears. And traffic was a mess which is saying a lot since its a whopping two minute drive from my house. Plus there is construction by the pool and so I had to park farther away. No big deal because it meant I did my own super relaxed warm up. Didn't drown.

Then - of course - it's an IM set. Why why why do I always come back on these days? I am not an advanced swimmer - butterfly is not in my bag of tricks. So IM sets are hard for me and I feel like the ugly step-kid who forgot her homework. But today I just did my own thing during this part and it was fine. Then we did some sprinting stuff which was hard but okay and I even did a few sprints off the blocks which I think is fun. I cut it short after an hour (about 2000 yards perhaps less I didn't count) and felt pretty good. Next week I'll do the whole set :-) promise.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Marathon Monday - 16 weeks until Maratona di Roma

I'm running the Rome Marathon - Maratona di Roma in March. I think it's 16 weeks away. So we're back to a countdown!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to one and all.
We run the Tropical Park Turkey Trot 5k as a family every year. We've done it together for probably 4 years. It's officially a tradition. This year my daughter ran the whole thing with me. She actually did the whole thing last year too but with my husband. This year we went a little faster. It was Stone girls versus Stone Boys. Since it was a race - of course - Jack took off light a lightening bolt at the start.

Stone Girls ... the winners. That's my husband photo bombing in the background.
He's small so he's able to get through the crowd easily. He didn't even slow down to high-five the turkey! So Dylan and I followed him and then at about a mile we made him wait for his dad. He was bummed he kept saying, "he's too slow!!" I'm sure my husband loved that (not!) Either way my daughter and I went on and finished the race in 36 minutes which I thought was pretty good for a 10 year old. She walked some but not much. I would encourage her to run again after about 10 seconds but she set the pace and whenever she wanted to walk we walked. She didn't probably love me pushing her a little bit during the race but she beat all her girlfriends which she was very excited about and in the end she was glad I did gently push her. 
He loves the kids trot. He said after, "there were a lot of really fast kids!"

The boys cheated and cut the course. Stinkers. Jack went on to do the Kids trot which he loves. It was a good morning.

Marathon Training
To get ready for the marathon I ran 16 miles on Saturday. I was a little nervous to go so long since my 14 mile treadmill run had been somewhat short. No idea how much since i was clueless for the distance. Plus with the travel and Thanksgiving stuff. I didn't have what I consider enough miles during the week. I'm a fan of the Daniels formula of your long run should only be 1/3 of your total mileage so if you run 16 miles in your long run your weekly total should be at least 48 miles. My total was 35.5.
It was a beautiful morning run. Cool the whole way. This was halfway.

Oh and I went to a masters swimming holiday party. They let me in although I haven't been swimming in weeks, weeks (enough weeks that I think I could say months ... eeek). No pictures of that.

I wore my France jersey which I love. I may wear it for every ride until it wears out. Except the shorts they are sugoi and the seam digs into my sit bones. Ouch. But looking cute can sometimes be painful as fashionable girls like me know. hee hee I'm not fashionable at all.
Then Sunday I did a 50 mile bike ride. After 16 mile run it's supposed to be an easy ride. Well some was easy and then some was not so easy. We got caught up in a speedy group on the way back and I held on for a while and then not so much. But it was a beautiful day and I had a great time. Don't worry my group did wait for me and we regrouped and came home together. All was good.

Lastly I leave you with a photo that came across my twitter of a triathlete with a pretty good sense of humor seen on the IMCozumel course this weekend. 
I don't know who he is but I think it's pretty funny. Also I love that you can see where the suit sleeves end because of his tattoo sleeves on his actual arms.
Have a great week? If you trotted with your family share your story here in the comments for fun!