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It has been a while…..

19 Sep

The prodigal blogger is returning.   This week I actually debated giving up the blog – it was a brief debate, with not much banter, just me muttering to myself about not having any time…  And the winner was………building suspense……..the blog.  Actually, the real winner is myself.   The blog is me being accountable so I must come back into the fold [inserting myself into fold here].          

So what happened last week that derailed me? 

Last week started out well – ran 8 miles last Sunday (see the last blog post) and lost a pound.    I think my first mistake was not posting a workout schedule.    This left me “open” – free to create (or not create) my schedule.  I ended up working out only 3 times this week.   However, what killed 2 workouts for me was my husband and the painful process of buying a new car.    I was getting phonecalls at work – “we need to go to XXXX dealership to see blah, blah”  and “come during your lunch hour to test drive XYZ”.       Purchasing a new car, ultimately a mini-van, was horribly stressful.   I won’t bore you with all of the details here – but I am the now the owner of:

 I am now an offical, card-carrying soccer mom.   Seriously.

The other big perk to buying an mini-van, beyond the status and space, is that I am able to cart my bike around easily.  So hopefully this will translate into group bike rides which I desperately need.    One of the other issues hurting my workouts is simply the sun is going down so darn early.      Moving on to other topics I need to share with you….

I am slightly freaking out about Miami Man and annoyed.    Last night I visited their website to get a better feel for last year’s race times to see what I should be shooting for (intimidating website – visit).  In the process I checked out other Athena women (I thought we could virtually bond over chaffing and jiggling).   Now, for those of you who don’t know,  Athena and Clydesdales (fun names…) are the classes for “big” people.   Big is simply defined in tri world for woman as 150 and above – so you could be 6 feet tall and 150 pounds and you are still Athena (I feel like I need to pound my chest when I say ATHENA).    Most women (from what I understand) who are not “big” – even if they are above 150 pick their age class.    So when I clicked on the pictures of the Athena women I stupidly expected to see larger women like me.  Ah, no….. Yes, they weren’t stick thin – yet only about 2-3 were overweight.     

What have I done?   I am going to stick out like a red wine on a wedding dress.   Not pretty and obviously not fitting in…

Yet – I am not totally freaking out about this still.  For some reason (despite my weight, slow times, and not having done a tri in a year) I somehow think it will be ok and I will come out with ok times.    I really don’t quite get where this optimism is coming from.  And I am so absurdly optimistic I am signing up for the NYC Nautica Triathlon in November (actually I am signing up for the lottery – God will decide that one for me).      My husband just shakes his head at me and asks “Are you having fun?”   I pause and think, “Am I?”  

Why yes, I AM HAVING FUN!   

And actually one big reason why I have been in a little of a funk this week is because I couldn’t work out.  

Today, as if I needed more proof that I would be the ultimate outlier in this triathlon of the TPs (thin and pretties) was purchasing a wetsuit and trisuit today.   God help you if you weigh more than 150.  To illustrate, if you weight more than 185 you can’t get a women’s wet suit (you have to order a men’s size).    My wetsuit (an XL of course) will be very very snug (if it fits at all).   Tri suits were also horrendous – most brands didn’t even make a size for me.   I found an XL or XXL on the Danskin website.      

My apologies for checking out – lets hope this is the last round of me neglecting blogging and myself.   Frankly, I also missed you all.    And thought of many of you this week.    So, here’s to a great week of training and life!

8 Miles…..and no, I am not talking about Eminem!

12 Sep

Yep.  I did it.  8 whole miles running without stopping (ok there was a potty break after mile 1 but that doesn’t count – yes, I used the word potty – I have a 3 year old…)

I am proud and surprised with myself.  And while my pace was a little under 11 minute miles – I still did it.   I think I am most proud of the fact that I simply accomplished what I said I would today.   Lately, none of my plans seem to play out; Work related projects get pushed out, buying new running shoes (they have to be ordered – ten days wait), trying to find a venue for my son’s birthday fail, even getting my nails done today didn’t happen – but this did.  Happy day. Happy Day.    I even think I had another half mile or mile left in me.   Let’s see how I will wake up tomorrow.  I should put a poll on this thing:   

Will I be able to walk tomorrow?   Yes              No  

Tune in…..

My latest 5K race…BLAH!

9 Sep

Beware:  The following post is a little whiney and winey (I have two glasses in me….the shame…)

Today I ran……poorly.  Ok, so in all honesty my performance 33.45 (5K) is pretty much what I have always done at a 5K race, tri, etc.  Yet,  what concerns me is that it was hard.  It was only 3 miles – this is below my base run – however, it seemed to be a struggle.  To be frank, I also felt like a loser (I despise that word and hate thinking of others this way – yet it is the only thing that applies to me today).    Everyone was faster than me.   The race was advertised as a run/walk – yet where were the walkers to boost my self esteem?   I am really not that shallow – but seriously, I didn’t think I would be at the complete back of the pack.   I signed on for a reality check on my training and a reality check is certainly what I got.   For some reason I think I got cocky training – and elevated myself to the land of pretty, thin people that are able to get fast times of 8 and 9 minute miles.  I forget that I am still pretty overweight and a rather large person in this race – I still hold onto what I looked like a decade ago….What have I gotten myself into?  Why did I sign up for a full tri? I have such a long way to go.   To date, I have only concentrated on whether I could do it – could I do 22 miles on a bike (yes), 6.6 miles running (yes) – Speed, combining these components is not something I have spent a lot of time on – and I need to.  

Besides desperately needing to work on speed my other confession is I just started swimming this week (less than a month before my sprint tri) and two months before the full tri.     I live on a lake – directly on water – yet I couldn’t seem to get myself into the water.   I didn’t get in my lake water in July besides my dr. didn’t want me to – my c-section scar was healing and the lake is not a clean place.   And in August – it just seemed too “icky”.    After swimming twice this week (in the clean chlorinated pool at work)  – I realized – wow this is harder than I thought/remembered.   Which is the theme for the week I fear – it is harder than I thought.  

Enough of this pity party.   Tomorrow and here on out I will work on speed.   My new running partner will help with speed and my brick workouts will assist in endurance.   I hope:)

On another front – sorry I haven’t visited many of your blogs.  I am really struggling with going back to work, finding time to breathe, workout, feed my children and showering.    Yea, not pretty.   I even haven’t had time to respond to a fabulous award that mostly fit mom gave me.   That is on tomorrow’s to do list. 

Good night.

An hour run…..and finding hope:)

22 Aug

This is a short tale about finding hope.

Despite my best intentions, this blog really hasn’t spent much time documenting my efforts training for the full international length triathlon (Miami Man) that I have on November 14th.    Much of this I can attribute to my lack of consistent and positive workouts.  I simply haven’t been that serious about training.  And while some of this I can blame on procrastination, personal demons, and the allure of the BRAVO channel  – much of it I blame on circumstance and my personal situation.   My husband simply hasn’t been home to watch the kids and it has been hard getting a babysitter.   On a positive note – the tides are FINALLY changing.  My husband is on his last out-of-town trip and then, he is taking paternity leave.  Yes, he is staying home and taking care of the baby.   Besides (and most importantly) having great care for my newborn this also means that I will be able to train consistently and also make plans (his trips always change making planning for anything very hard). 

Lets get back to hope.  Lately, I have really questioned whether I could do the international tri.  The weight isn’t coming off quickly (not that I thought it would but a girl could  dream).  I also was (am) really struggling with running and biking (I haven’t even started to train for swimming).  To illustrate, I had gone, pre-pregnancy, from a slow ten minute a mile snail pace to a 11:20 minute earthworm pace; from running well over an hour to barely finishing thirty minutes.  My biking average has dropped from almost 20 miles an hour to 14.  Grim, Grim.  And then hope appeared unexpectedly at my doorstep today in the form of a glorious, wet run. 

My husband was leaving today (after being gone for the last three days).  I, of course, slept late. This left a small window to run.  And it was raining.  A lot.  When I started to run it was lightly “spitting.” At 5 minutes in it became tropical. It never stopped.  Little creeks of water on the street became roaring rivers, water lightly circling the edge of sewer grates became large whirlpools.   And I ran.  Sweet little puddles became the diving end of a pool and it was becoming increasingly difficult not to find a stretch of the street that wasn’t a pool.  And I continued to run.   The song Footloose somehow got stuck in my head,  a white Jeep sprayed me with a tidal wave of dirty street water  (I gave them a thumbs up opposed to a deserved middle finger – My sarcastic, “wet n wild” moment for the day), and a random, burly guy getting into this truck said as I passed, “You are hard-core. ”  My response to said, random man was – “apparently”.     Then it hit me – I am more committed to this that I give myself credit for.  If I am willing to run in this kind of weather, I really do want it – so I am going to fight for it.  

Moral of the story:  After an hour of consistent, non-stop, soaking wet running –  at the snail’s pace of 11-12 minute miles – it did, in fact, become apparent to me that I am (at least a little) hard-core.  This is my year of change.   And I am in better shape then I thought I was.  Bring on Miami Man.

Picking A Race

14 Aug

It is time to pick my training races – albeit very late.  In full disclosure, I have only completed two sprints (one had a mechinical – but I finished!) and a 5K.   And before my full Tri (sigh, as she wipes sweat off her brow), I need to ideally do a 5K, Sprint and a 10K – all before November 14th.  This got me thinking as to how do we pick/go about selecting the race we compete in?  What are some things to consider?

First – you need to find race listings.  A great place to start is http://www.active.com and http://www.trifind.com/.   However, not every race is listed there.  Often a local running, bike or swim shop will have race listings/signs in their store or a pamphlet that offers listings for months (see http://www.raceforum.com – New York Metro area only).  Keep your eyes open.  You will be amazed at how many races there are – especially 5 Ks. 

Second – you need to examine the race listings and ask yourself a number of questions. 

  • Does this fit my schedule?
  • What is the race course?  Am I ready for this? (perhaps this should be the first question).   Race courses can vary dramatically.  For example, the swim could be in a pool, lake, river or ocean. The bike and run course could be flat, hilly or both?  Is it paved/trails?   If you are new to the sport/race – you should pick an easier course that is similar to what you have been training on.  I picked the Miami Man International because it is flat and the swim is in a lake (what I have trained in). 
  • How pretty/fun is the race course?  Seriously, this matters to me.   Another reason I picked the Miami Man is that I get to run through a ZOO how cool is that! 
  • What is the weather most likely going to be?  Again, think about what you will be able to tolerate.  Running in 90+ degree weather is a very different experience than 70 degrees.
  • How far away is the race?  Most tri races start early in the morning.  So, if you need to travel, chances are you need to get a hotel room and spend the night before the race.   For some folks, a race can be an excuse for a vacation.
  • Are there available hotels in the area?  Before booking a tri that is far away, make sure you have a place to stay.  You never know what other conferences/conventions might be in the area.
  • How big is the race?  How big do you want it? Some races are small and intimate, whereas others are NOT.  It is very hard to determine the size of the event by simply looking at the race listing.  However, it is always wise to see if the race has a website (a majority of small and large races are now doing this).  Often they will tell you the size of event on the site.  Better races fill quickly – so you need to sign up early.  But, chances are if the website is professional looking and there are a number of national sponsors – it is big.
  • How competitive is the race?  How competitive do you want it?  Again, something else that is hard to tell from a listing.  First – every race is competitive! However, some races do, in fact, have professionals racing.  A race website would highlight these players and give you a pretty good feel for if the race was ubber competitive.  The type of prizes ($$$ opposed to a coffee mug) also indicate this. Also – if a race fills up very, very quickly expect a higher caliber of performance (FYI and example:  The Nautica NYC Tri has a lottery system to compete and you sign up for the lottery Nov. 1-3). 
  • Swag and Prize Money – You will get at least a t-shirt at a Tri.  Most, even small, Tri’s have a bag of stuff that local vendors have given them.   Also, if you are competitive (if you are reading this you probably aren’t), the prizes are also something to consider.  However, my understanding is that coffee mugs, trophies, and small cash prizes are the norm.  
  • How expensive is the race?  This isn’t a cheap sport.   Tri fees are more expensive that 5K or 10K.  I have paid as little as $70 to as much as $129.  Please note that if you are not a member of USAT (the sports governing body – http://www.usatriathlon.org.) you will need to pay an additional amount of money at registration orrace day.   As mentioned earlier, you also need to add in the cost of the hotel, gas, plane/train fare, food, etc. in determining the full cost.
  • Is there something to entertain my kids/keep them busy during the Tri.  A sprint will take anywhere between an hour or two to complete – whereas a Full Tri could last 4.  Your kids/spouse might need some entertaining.  

What things do you consider when signing up for a race?  Is there anything that you would like to add to my list?

Alas… It is time to put up or shut up.

9 Aug

So, my weight took a turn for the worse at the end of the week and so did my eating.  Although I don’t think I ate enough to gain the two pounds that I lost – the digits say otherwise.  This is leading me to rethink my ” no food journal” approach.  Originally, I had planned on having the same thing everyday for breakfast and lunch. Dinner would be meat and veggies. And while I still want to do this – I need to recognize that there is more variety and my snacking needs to get under control.   I need to get under control.  This also includes working out.  I managed to fit in something most days.  However, it is not enough. I need to start brick workouts (two a day – biking and running, swimming and running).  I only have 3 months until the full triathlon.    If I was a betting woman, the odds aren’t good that I am going to make it.    And the overweight man on his mountain bike who passed me (overweight woman on my coolio Giant racing bike)  would agree.   Yea, that was painful.

Looking ahead for the week:   I will..

keep a food journal, not eat processed food, stop eating at 8, limit my carbs, start some brick workouts, and no alcohol.

My weight goal is simply to see the digit 191.  It can be 191.9 and I will be a happy camper.   Ideally, I would love, love, love to see 180 something by the end of the month (please god, please god).     Maternity leave is soon up – and I will be going back to work full time.  I really wanted to be (at least) at my pre-pregnancy weight by then.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.  Sigh.

Mourning my ipod and Nike+

3 Aug

I just finished my run and it was my longest to date – 30 minutes (yea – insert happy dance).  However, my pace and how long I ran will remain a mystery.  Why, you ask? – well,  my iPod and with it, Nike+ is no more.  Yes, my iPod is sick.   I can see the songs – yet it won’t play and the images for the song aren’t there.    Why god, why…..  Looking at the silver lining – I realize that this was a nice wake up call/change of pace.  First, I can’t compete with an iPod so at some point I would need to train without it. Secondly, you forgot how nice it is to simply run with your thoughts and be more aware of the surroundings. You know, more conscious of the little children on bikes that you are scaring with your heavy breathing and blood-red face.  I kid (kinda) but it is nice to pay more attention to your surroundings and (in all seriousness) – a little safer.  That said – I need my iPod for training!  Help!

Getting back to the positive – I ran 30 minutes.  According to Runner’s World you shouldn’t increase your time more than 10%  a week.  So – lets see if I am on track.

Week 2: 33 min. Week 3: 36.5 Week 4: 40 Week 5: 44 Week 6: 48.5 Week 7:  53.5 Week 8: 59 Week 9: 65 Week 10: 71.5 Week 11: 78.5 Week 11: 86…

Ok, I’ll be good for MiamiMan.