Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Training Notes

We just got our first personalized training schedules from Maramarc. I'm a bit intimidated! Our January calendars and our December ones are exactly the same, only totally different.

Of course we are building on our cycling base, thanks to Ed. The biggest change, however, is the inclusion of personal time goals for our runs. At the beginning of December we each participated in a timed one-mile run, upon which our goal times are based. We ran said one-miler after a "warmup" that totally wore me out! Thank goodness, because I'm scared to death of my so-called tempo pace for next month.

Based on a 7:45 mile, my 1/2 mile speedwork splits should be 3:45, my tempo run pace is 8:50 miles, and my easy, recovery pace is a 10:35 mile.

While apprehensive, I am also eagerly anticipating working on actually running at different speeds, as opposed to doing all my runs somewhere between nine and ten minute miles.

Time to get a new watch!

The Other Season

I've written quite a bit about my training during the tri season, and I've posted about the off season, as well. Much of my thinking right now doesn't have a whole lot to do with triathlon, though. So, this post is a bookmark for myself. Forgive the self-indulgence.

Tis the season. The holiday season. A time to spend with family and friends, perhaps relax (or get stressed out,) and, of course, reflect on the ending year and the beginning one.

This year, for the first time in a long while, my brother and sister-in-law hauled their three kids back to Virginia to spend Christmas with our side of the family. That has been the best part of the season.

Anticipation. I had a tough time wrapping up my school semester and prepping for the holidays. I was finishing up my school responsibilities just as the restaurant was full swing in the busiest month of the year, so I was really pulled in a lot of different directions. Two major events took place over the Christmas weekend, too, that have put me back into an introspective mood and in a place for reassessment of my life.

Fortune. I am so fortunate to have the family and friends that I do. I can't imagine where I would be today without them. I'm also fortunate to have my health, and of course to have a home, a job, a car, more than enough food, etc.

Sometimes I put all of this to the test.

I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions because they are often pithy and almost always soon forgotten. Changes need to be made daily and usually in small starts. I'll use a training metaphor...

Of course I couldn't complete the Ironman tomorrow. But I will in November 2007. Each week I will do something to increase my strength and endurance.

In my life I will make the same plans, avoiding the use of "always" or "never" or "diet."

However, I have an outline of areas of my life that are important and will be included in my weekly plans. I'm trying to be more aware of my relationships with the aforementioned, primarily family and friends, but also with my own body, my spirituality, and, again, even my job. Sometimes I take these all for granted.

If I want to maintain positive relationships with all of these people and things, I need to put in the time and effort necessary and be thankful for them every day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bike Crash

It was inevitable that I would be the first (if not only) participant in Ed's indoor cycling class to fall off my bike.

While it was on the trainer.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The "Off-Season," Huh, What??!!

After meeting for some tried-and-true calisthenics and a timed one-mile run Saturday morning, those TRIgirls and Maramarc affiliates who are preparing for Eagleman, Coeur d'Alene, or Florida this year were each issued a personalized workout schedule for the month of December. Each month we will run our mile and get a new schedule. Sounds simple.

Which, actually, is the best thing about having great coaches. I take my mind out of the equation and just do what I'm told. If Grandison told me to jump off a bridge, yes, yes, I absolutely would. Well, okay, sometimes I may or may not cheat just a little bit. But two of my favorite mantras are, "You're only cheating yourself," and, "It's MY workout!" Paradoxical, yes, but aren't most important things?

Having said that, my weekly training consists right now, in this so-called off-season, of ten workouts.

Ten.

Workouts.

I guess that's what happens when you roll three sports into one and work on strength building to boot.

Monday 6 am--Ed's Shenanigans, formerly known as Strength Training
Tuesday 7 am--run with TRIgirls
Tuesday 7 pm--cycling with Ed
Wednesday 6 am--Ed's Shenanigans
Wednesday at-a-time-I-can-fit-it-in-if-possible--swim
Thursday 6 or 7 am--run with TRIgirls
Thursday 7 pm--cycling with Ed
Friday--REST DAY!!!! Much needed and well-deserved
Saturday 7 am--cycling with Ed
Sunday am--run with TRIgirls
Sunday 5 pm--swim with Som

I guess I will have to start considering Monday and Saturday to be rest days since I will exercise only once. My life is very different from what is was three years ago...

Monday, December 04, 2006

End of Season/Semester Blues


I have read much about the experience of triathletes going into the taper before a big race and not knowing quite what to do with themselves.

I have this feeling of extra time and a bit of awkward uselessness at the end of each school semester.

I guess right now these two are kind of coinciding. Although, as I pointed out to myself this morning, my "off season" does include ten workouts a week right now.

This is the last week of classes at both UR and VCU. I really did overextend myself this semester with the four classes, four to five shifts at the restaurant, and eight to ten workouts with the TRIgirls EVERY WEEK. So, right now, I'm having that last-week-of-school panic. And while I know that everything will get done, I'm already worrying about the next thing. How much am I going to have to work at the restaurant over break? How much time am I going to need to devote to my three classes next semester? When can I get the new textbook I'll be using for English 111? Will I need to extend my work schedule in January and February to make up for teaching one class fewer?

And I guess the answer to all of these questions comes down to balance. That, and the fact that our inboxes are rarely empty, nor do they necessarily need to be. Part of the end-of-semester panic comes with the WhatAmIGoingToDoNow feeling of too much time on my hands when that inbox really is empty. For the first time since August.

That last race of the season? Skipped it.

This week I start my indoor cycling for the off season. Weekends are filled with holiday parties and get-togethers with out-of-town friends and family.

Goals for December:
1. Maintain weight.
2. Get into off-season training routine.
3. Relax my mind.

The hectic schedule will begin again all too soon.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Turkey Trot, Etc.

...and what a great Thanksgiving Break it was!

You may be wondering, "What in the world has Carmen been doing since the TRIgirl excursion to the Outer Banks?!" Or, you may be wondering, "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?!" Well, I can't answer that second question, but...

I took my workouts down a notch or several post-marathon. Keep in mind that I had already eliminated swimming and biking from my diet since October 15, the date of the last triathlon on the East Coast, aka the Richmond Sprint Tri, in which I, along with many other TRIgirls, participated. (How's that for a complex sentence?)

I participated in Ed's Shenanigan's (formerly known as strength training) a couple of times, and I ran two miles twice and three miles once.

Really, I may or may not have exhibited some behavior consistent with the end of bothe the semester and the triathlon season. Even though the semester isn't quite over...

So... Thursday, more specifically the fourth Thursday in November, I completed the Turkey Trot which starts and finishes at University of Richmond. One of my UR students asked me today, "So, what is that, like, eight miles?" To which I replied, "Yes, yes it is like eight miles." Because it is one darn hilly 10K. Although my training the day before consisted of some wine and perhaps a cigarette or maybe more than one, I was very, very pleased with my time of 58 minutes and some change. I was also pleased to cross that line just ahead of my dad--I am now officially competing with the Masters Men category.

Did a bit of tailgating with the TRIgirls afterwards--Deannas, Sharon, Mary, and Kate O--but unfortunately the weather was not tailgate-appropriate. Where was the cold rain when I was running the marathon a couple of weeks ago? I tell you what--some people will complain either way, won't they?

The Turkey Trot really did get me back on track for my training, though. It's easy to let it all fade away post-marathon--take a week off, which turns into two, into three... you know the drill. This is where the TRIgirl play an integral part in my "off-season" workouts.

Friday was beautiful! Went for a 20+ mile bike ride with SanDee, Gregg, Bobby, Lynn, Susie, and LB3. LB3 introduced us to a pretty ride back of Capital One--relatively no traffic, but a change from our mindless circles. I was really glad that I had procrastinated on taking my bike over to Maramarc for winter storage.

Saturday, Lynn and I met at Performance for the Early Bird specials. I am now the proud owner of bike underwear, something I would never have believed existed a year or so ago. We the sped on down to the Vita Course to meet SanDee, Theresa, and surprise guest Maureen for a run. I wasn't really sure what I was setting out to do, and the first couple of miles were pretty tough, but I ended up running five and feeling pretty good about it. Susie joined our posse for coffee afterwards, and then I met Not-Trigirl-Yet Ashley for lunch. See! I still have a non-trigirl-life! Okay, even if I feel compelled to add the "yet" to her name...

Later that afternoon, I went over to SanDee and Gregg's so that Gregg could so graciously install my new... TA DA!!! aerobars and bike computer, both purchased earlier at the aforementioned sale. So exciting!!!!!

Sunday, we took my new components for a test drive. I actually rode my fancy bike over to Stratford Hills, where I met SanDee, Gregg, and Lynn for a 20-mile loop down Cherokee and Old Gun. It really was such a beautiful weekend for running and riding. I felt really comfortable using my aerobars, even though I was fairly conservative about it on the Old Gun stretch--lots of hills, curves, and cars. The computer is such a great tool, too. Now maybe I'll even consider wearing a watch to run! I rode back home to round out my excursion to an even 30 miles.

Today, it's back to the old grind.

Monday, November 13, 2006

TRIgirls Rock the OBX


After Grandison, Lynn, and I finished the Richmond Marathon and showered, we piled in Susie Q's ride and headed south. There were TRIgirls representing at the Outer Banks Half Marathon, and we had a cheerleading favor to return!

We arrived at High Tide, SanDee and Gregg's oceanfront property to a party in progress. I didn't know TRIgirls were supposed to drink that much wine the night before their race! They aren't, really, so we reluctantly took over that job...

Susie and I modeled our Lucky jeans for everyone--I think soon they are going to have to become an official TRIgirl sponsor. Grandison was crowned queen (although SanDee and others vied for the tiara...) and I ate another million slices of pizza. And cookies. Mmmmmm... cookies. I wish I could say more about the evening, but I ran a marathon and drank a bunch of wine. That's all she wrote.

Lynn, Susie, and I (Lynn--note the use of the Oxford comma there) ended our evening by soaking in the hot tub and posing for pictures in the king size bed.

We were up early the next morning, although not as early as Grandison! Or the runners, of course. Teresa chauffeured us down the point-to-point course to Manteo High School, where we cheered Mary Jo, Deanna B, SanDee, Twila, Aimee, Deanna L, Kathleen, and Katherine to a strong, if rainy, finish.

That MHS link is for Molly, who directed us everywhere in Manteo except really nowhere at all.

Since the number of races I am allowed to enter next year has been severely restricted, I've been looking forward to being a cheerleader. Now, I'm not going to say that everything we said on the sidelines at OBX was totally helpful (e.g., "Cold wet towels just ahead!" in the chilly downpour,) but at least we kept the runner's minds off their miles and aching muscles. Cheering on racers is the perfect opportunity to apply the Golden Rule. I know I like to know what's coming up next, but most importantly, I need the energy from the crowd. Other than the focused elites, it seems as though the relationship between runners and crowd is like that of band and audience--we were more likely to cheer for the runners who smiled or waved back at us or those who picked up their pace when we cheered them on. Note to self: Remember to wear your name on you somewhere! People use it and it helps.

Much of the weekend was a blur--I always get a little stupid after a marathon. Apparently, so does Lynn, and so does my UR student Mike Kirn. She made up a song about SpongeLynn and he labeled his Christmas list "Halloween."

As much as I would like to thank SanDee and Gregg for their generous hospitality in Nags Head, I want to thank Gregg even more for the Udder Balm.

That's the kind of vacation I need to recover from!

Peace out, TRIgirls.

Richmond Marathon--Race Report


Holy guacamole! What a terribly hot day! I guess the headline news for the Richmond Marathon this year was the temperature. While many of the spectators commented on how spectacular the weather was for watching the race, it was not so comfortable out there on the course. And, yes, a few cheerleaders did complain about how hot they were out there watching. I ignored them so that we might remain friends...

The Race
I started in wave three (of four) accompanied by Lynn and Kate O. I intended to run with the 4:30 pace group, but somehow lost them right at the start line. TRIgirls make great company, anyway. I was already sweaty by mile 2, where the first water stop was. I took a cup of water and one of Powerade. Repeated at the second stop at mile 4, where the highlight was some very special cheerleading. Grandison's husband Mark was out with Matthew and Lily, and I just might have to give Matthew the Cheerleader of the Race award--clapping and jumping up and down--we'll have to get a read on this kid's vertical. Grandison attributes much of his enthusiasm to the fact that he has now completed two races himself. Runners make for great support. I remembered this at OBX the next day...

We had to get Twila's attention as we ran through her hood down on Riverside... right about mile 8 is also where we caught Kate T and Anna. Goota love the five-TRIgirl posse cruising through Southside. We make a great photo op!

At this point I was getting two waters and two Powerades at each water stop. The temperature was rising, and Kate O was in charge of shade direction. I ran ahead of the girls from the stop at mile 12, I think. Was looking for some pink around the halfway mark, but I ended up with some more tangible aid. First, a woman handed me a bottle of water, which I finished over the course of about a hundred yards. Then... Part of the reason I was searching for a teammate was to get a call made ahead for some additional course support. Although I had liberally Body-Glided (new official verb) before the race, I sensed chafing. Then, a miracle occurred. As I ran past the Forest Hill fire station, there sat a guy (firefighter?) holding out a handful of bandaids and little tubes of vaseline. Well, kids, the back pockets of a TRIgirl jersey hold more than just chicken legs and Snickers bars! I don't want to think about the alternate ending to my race without that little tube.

Carrie and Mary (former TRIgirls) were on bike patrol throughout these miles, so it was nice to see them a couple of times in the middle of the race. Jonah caught me on her bike at about mile 15 and rode me across the Lee Bridge. It was perfect timing because not only was that sixteenth mile tough, but the sun was really beating down on the bridge, and at about 11:00 the temperature was well into the mid-seventies. I don't remember what we talked about, but I was thankful to listen to her!

I bypassed the junk food stops (as usual.) Grandison and SanDee are new converts to the gummi principle, but I still have an aversion to chewing while running. I had actually acquired some shot blocks at the expo, but went with the Nothing New On Race Day mantra and left them at home. No Coke or beer for this TRIgirl on course, either.

Mile 17 brought a cold wet towel, a quick pit stop, and another mystery woman with a bonus bottle of water. The long trek up the Boulevard hill brought a Party Stop featuring Ashley, Lauren, and Kay--some more cheerleader awards need to be presented here. Ashley had broken 40 on the 8K, and Lauren had also run--her first race ever!

Just before Mile 20, I was starting to feel a little dizzy and nauseous. I had chill bumps on my arms and legs, usually a sign of dehydration. I powered up the rest of the hill, telling myself at Mile 20 I would eat a third GU, drink some more fluids, and allow myself to walk. So, walking I was, when I passed the TRIgirl party stop. I princess-waved at Beebie, SanDee, Teresa, Mooly, Derik, and the rest of the support squad. Really, I wasn't feeling so hot, so it was hard to focus on the group. I was devoting more energy to not throwing up. But as I learned from Naylor's Beach, even if you don't feel good, make sure you look good!

The next three miles were rough. I walked most of them. Highlight was seeing Cyndi and the kids for the THIRD time--what great support!

Mile 23 brough a sweet, sweet ray of sunshine. There in her miniskirt was Susie Q. She was accompanied by LB3, but more importantly, she was equipped with GU and Gatorade. I actually stood there and talked to them for about a minute, which really shows how delirious I must have been. I GUed up and took off with my bottle of Purple Rain. Ahhh! I could feel it going through my body.

Felt lilke walking some more, but was encouraged by three women who were running. They decided to walk for a minute at 24, but by then I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Two more miles! They went by faster than I thought they would.

Saw Grandison cheering in the final yards, and I had a strong finish. That's my other every-race goal! I got a bottle of water, joined Grandison, and cheered in the rest of the TRIgirls... what a great celebration! Congratulations especially to first-timers Sharon, Kate, and Kate. More cheers for Mary, Anna, and Lynn on their PRs. G--a special race for you!

Nutrition/Hydration
Prerace: 24 oz. water, 24 oz. coffee, almond butter and banana sandwich.
Race:
One Dixie cup of water and one Dixie cup of Powerade at Miles 2, 4, and 6. Two cups of water and two of Powerade at Miles 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24.
Bonus 16 oz. bottle of water at Mile 13.
Bonus 20 oz. botle of water at Mile 17.
Special TRIgirl bottle of Gatorade "brought to you by Susie Q" at Mile 23.
One GU each at Miles 8, 14, 20, and 23.
Postrace: two 16 oz. bottles of water, one bottle of Powerade, one million slices of pizza.

Race Goals and Statistics
My original goal was to finish in 4:30. I amended that to a new PR (under 4:37:13). Then i changed THAT to under 4:45. I didn't quite make that one, either...

26.2 finish--4:45:57
20 mile--3:36:27
13.1--2:21:27

I finished 110 out of 200 in my age group.
588 out of 1112 women.
1866 out of 2917 finishers.

Stat of the Day
I passed 21 people in the final two-tenths of a mile!

Marathon Motto
Look good even if you don't feel good. Finish strong.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Post-Registration; Pre-Marathon

So, I had a little post-registration letdown Sunday afternoon. I honestly worried more about registering for Ironman than I think I will about the actual race (although of course that feeling is subject to change, specifically in about 51 weeks.)

Although I am still in a serious relationship with Windows 98, I managed to register in the first half hour. i had to read the paper while I was doing it so I wouldn't freak out too badly in the minutes it took for each page to load, but everything worked out okay. The only tragic event of the day was that Grandison did not make it through registration in time, but we're working on a couple of alternative entry strategies (how's that for corporate lingo?) so our head Tgirl can race with us. Other TRIgirls on board are Susie, Lynn, Deanna B, Kate T, Anna, and Cyndi. Coaches Som and Blake will also be racing with us, and Kate O is considering said alternative entry strategies.

I am absolutely beside myself about the whole thing. Not only is there the excitement of the actual challenge, but I am thrilled to be training for and participating in my (first?) Ironman with the girls and boys in Pink. Also, now that I am registered, I don't ever have to think again. I just have to do exactly what Grandison, Blake, and Som say. Oh yeah, and Ed. I will always do exactly whatever Ed says, too.

Maybe all that not thinking for a year will make me a less freaky swimmer, as well. Let's hope.

Meanwhile, back in 2006... four days til the Richmond Marathon (America's Friendliest!) I've done my training. I'm looking foward to making posters, watching What It Takes at Deanna B's, carbo loading at Kate O's, representin' at Packet Pickup, and getting my cheer on at SanDee's in the OBX all as part of the TRIgirl race weekend. Hope the five pounds I put on in pizza and Halloween candy this week don't slow me down too much!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ironman Florida

Following today; registering tomorrow.

My last tri of the season was three weeks ago. I have neither swum nor biked, but I've been doing lots of other stuff!

Today SanDee and I ran a very cold six miles for our taper. Next Saturday is the Richmond Marathon (me) and Sunday brings the OBX half (her.) We didn't hit the road until about ten am, which was a welcome reprieve from the early runs. Not that I've been to a Thursday group run recently, but it still felt nice to sleep in a bit.

Feeling tired today and avoiding grading essays--nothing new there, either.

Focusing on hydration and nutrition for this week.

Much more nervous about something going wrong with tomorrow's registration process than anything disastrous happening during the marathon...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Time Out

Well, we're officially tapering pre-marathon now. I love this time of year; it's Halloween, Daylight Savings Time just ended, and the temperature is in the seventies. All the leaves have turned, and they've about halfway finished falling. I'm glad the kids won't have to wear coats over their Halloween costumes.

Every three months or so, I drop off the face of the earth for a couple of days, and this past weekend was it for me. I stayed up way past my bedtime Friday night with a friend who moved to Nashville yesterday, so I missed my Saturday long run, the last before the marathon. Initially I was going to skip the whole going-away festivities--if he moves, he can't be mad at me--but I'm glad I didn't. It was raining really hard Saturday morning, anyway.

Saturday was also the five-year anniversary of my home ownership. I absolutely love my house and yard and everything about it. Now that Mom hooked up the landscape, it's even more fabulous.

So I pretty much stayed in all weekend, alternating between the sofa and the bed. I ordered Chinese, watched a movie, and read Motherless Brooklyn for Lynn's book club. At one point I almost felt slothful, but not quite. I needed the break. I answered the phone only twice.

Of course, I had to make up my long run yesterday. When I trained for my first marathon, Richmond 2004, I put in every single mile by myself. It was cathartic then, but now I've gotten spoiled by always having a trigirl or several with whom to run. Monday I split my fifteen into thirds--out to VCU and back, out to UR and back, and out to VCU and back. I even stopped off at my morning classes. After the first five, I changed into lighter clothes and my new shoes. After the second five I relaced my shoes with my Yanks. I was sorry about all the squats, lunges, and step-ups I had done that morning with Ed.

Ran six, well, five, well, maybe four and a half with Susie this morning. Met SanDee and Lynn for TRIgirl coffee, which, we are all staring to agree, is the most important part of the workout.

I still haven't biked or swum in over two weeks. Not feeling guilty, either.

Thinking a lot about job prospects for the next year. Not acting on them, so much. Just thinking. A lot. Doing a lot of thinking.

Drinking a Post Road Pumpkin Ale.
Dressed as myself.
Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Update on Training & Things I Don't Have Time For

Or, Things For Which I Don't Have Time

Every now and then I get a little busy. When I first started this blog, I was on "summer vacation," meaning I was waiting tables about seven or eight shifts a week and training for an Olympic-distance triathlon, but not teaching any classes. Therefore, I posted more frequently. Now that I'm working four to five shifts a week, teaching four classes, and training for the marathon, I have less time.

However, if Lynn is going to be a loyal blog reader, I owe it to her to post at least once a week. So here are some of my thoughts on several aspects of my schedule...

Seems like those activities have squeezed out a lot of other things I used to do. My mom came over Friday and Saturday to help my in my yard. I used to really enjoy a little gardening, but haven't had much time. My yard has turned into a bit of a jungle over the past couple of rainy seasons (that's the term we use here in tropical Richmond.) So Mom came by with tools and snacks, and we have been working on "creating a palette" for the next planting season. In fact, Mom was out at the house working in my yard this morning while I was teaching at VCU. What a terrific lady!

We ran 20 miles yesterday and I felt great. By "we," I mean me, Lynn, Kate O, Sharon, Mary, Kate T, Anna, and Grandison. By "great," I mean Lynn and I managed to walk around the outlet malls all afternoon with Not-Trigirls-Yet Kay and Sherri. While forty degrees is far from ideal for triathlon, I don't mind it a bit for a long run.

I worked a bar shift Saturday night and wore three-inch heels for eight hours. Never sacrifice fashion for marathon training. Well, okay, sometimes.

Ironman Florida 2007 registration is on November 5. That is two weeks from today.

I absolutely love teaching college writing classes. I also enjoy working in the restaurant. That being said, I have been thinking recently, and a lot this week, about applying again with public high schools. There's something appealing about benefits and retirement.

I went to two Team in Training (they say TNT, bnut we know what the acronym really is) fundraisers last week. What a great organization. Congratulations to Susie on her Olympic distance tri, and best wishes to Ashley in her marathon. I won't say good luck because she doesn't need luck. The girl is FAST.

I read "Sentimental Journeys" with my UR students last week. I love Joan Didion. I don't read as much as I'd like while school is in session, either. I'm looking forward to joining Lynn's book club for their November meeting, although I haven't gotten very far into Motherless Brooklyn yet.

I'm also going to go to Lynn's wine club meeting and Deanna's tri movie screening. The TRIgirls took over my mornings a long time ago, but now my evenings are pinked in, too.

I'm trying to plan out 2007 training, gently, and in my head. Need to focus on "nutrition" in the winter months. Looking into duct tape as a possible solution to limiting my added fats, sugars, and alcohol.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Richmond Sprint Tri Race Report

Thirty-eight degrees!

In a sport where we pay a lot of attention to a lot of numbers, 38 was the number several of us were focused on last week after Meteorologist SanDee reported the forcasted temperature for the morning of the race. So, yeah, it was cold. Reportedly, this is the last tri of the season on the East Coast.

Two other numbers I thought were exciting:
50--the percentage of female competitors
40--the percentage of first-time triathletes
I like to think that TRIgirl plays a significant role in increasing these numbers. I also think there is such a high percentage of first-timers because then most people know better than to do such a chilly race again!

And, finally, 12.
That's the number of minutes I took off my time from last year!

The pool deck was a sea of pink as TRIgirls gathered for the time trial start. Thank goodness for the pool swim this time of year. My goal was to swim 300 of the 400 meters freestyle, since I rely so heavily on breaststroke in race situations. I din't quite make it, but I was pretty happy with my percentage. I swam the first 50 and the last 25 completely freestyle, and the rest of them time was probably evenly split between breast and free. The best part of the swim--Lynn handing me my towel as I got out. Grandison was so smart to tinitiate the TRIgirl towel station! Swim time: 8:29. Including the breaststroke and the long-ass run back to transition, a pleasing time for me!

Although Triboi Bobby was disappointed that he didn't catch me sooner than he did on the bike, I felt like my ride was pretty uneventful. The first couple of miles I concentrated on the searing pain from the little daggers being thrust over and over again into my thighs. Then I realized it was just the cold air. I had by far my longest T1 time ever, but I thought it was worth the extra couple of minutes to try to make myself more comfortable out there. If there's a next time in this kind of weather, I will probably wear even more clothing. I hadn't ridden the course since the race last year, and while the hill was still long, I felt much better prepared to tackle it.

You know it's a cold day when SanDee says she's looking forward to the run as the "best part" of the race. As I started out, I looked at my feet--no lie--three times to make sure I had changed from my bike shoes to my running shoes. I hadn't realized how cold and stiff those dogs had gotten on the ride!

As always, TRIgirls were representing at the finish line. A couple more numbers here...
18 TRIgirl competitors!
4 TRIgirl volunteers!
More TRIgirl cheerleaders at the finish line.

If you want all the numbers, check out the results page.
http://richmondsprint.richmondmultisports.com/results.php

Monday, October 09, 2006

I think I just did another race...

Since Grandison has challenged me to limit my schedule to five races in 2007, I keep packing them in this year. I mean, I have two and a half more months.
Seriously, there is no way I am going to limit myself that severely next year, either.
Yesterday was the Richmond Road Runners Club's trail runs out at Pocahontas State Park. The ridiculous amount of rain we've gotten over the past few days did not leave the trails in tiptop condition, but we had a few shining moments, anyway.
Mary Jo won the 10K for all females! Grandison came in second for her age group for the 30 K, even though she forgot to leave a trail of breadcrumbs and actually ran about 35K. I really appreciate a coach who goes above and beyond...
Kate and kept a steady pace over the river and through the wood and sometimes through the river. I'm not a huge fan of running with wet feet. As Kate put it, we really didn't need them to feel any heavier than they already did on that third loop.
It was really nice to do a "training run" that offered not only water stops, but even gels and snacks. While I didn't take advantage of the pretzels and cookies during the run, I was grateful for them afterwards.
Sharon and Mary also did the 30K, and Twila and Aimee represented in the 20K. I was glad to see Blake out there, but disappointed that he wasn't sporting his TRIgirl pink with the rest of us.
I'm pretty sure I made the better decision by doing this trail run instead of the Big Nut (formerly known as the Giant Acorn.) Susie reported that she, SanDee, the Deannas, and Cyndi braved a really rough swim. She also had to cover up her pink with a jacket for a chilly, bumpy ride.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rain & Rest Days

Sometimes it's hard to take a rest day. I find it easier when I absolutely wear myself out, or when it's pouring down rain outside.

This Wednesday, I was up at 5:30, strength trained with Ed & Lynn for an hour, had Trigirl coffee with Lynn, showered, changed, and headed to school. Taught two classes at VCU, graded two class sets of Reader Responses, had a student conference, posted a week's worth of assignments on Blackboard, moved my car to avoid a ticket, and finally headed to University of Richmond three hours afater my VCU arrival. At UR, taught two classes, chatted with Trigirl/UR professor Susie, had two student conferences, read several drafts, met with a guy who also adjuncts at both VCU and UR and is in my VCU portfolio group. Breathe. Changed clothes in the Jepson basement bathroom, got back in the car, and headed out to West Creek to meet SanDee and Susie for a bike ride. Post-bike, headed to Mom & Dad's for a quick shower and snack, and made it to work at Hondo's minutes before my six o'clock shift. Worked until 12:30.

When my alarm went off the next morning at 5:30, I had no guilt whatsoever about resetting it for a couple of hours later and skipping my run.

I have actually learned from experience that I have much better runs/races if I take a few days off beforehand--it's just hard to make myself skip a workout. Unless I skip say, two months worth. Then it's hard to get restarted!

Thursday night I got a last-minute invitation to see Umphrey's McGee at the 9:30 Club in DC. Totally worth it! As I've learned from Shannon's "Flexible Schedule," sometimes there are better things to do than workout or even... grade papers.

It started raining while I was in DC and it hasn't stopped yet. In fact, my heart just jumped out of my body in response to a clap of thunder a few minutes ago. I'm not sure "clap" is the right word--my entire neighborhood shook, and it knocked SanDee out of the shower.

I thought the rain would keep me inside and encourage me to grade the portfolios I've been neglecting, but now a ride up to the "Big Nut" with SanDee, Susie, and both Deannas sounds more appealing. We all may be rethinking our race commitments for tomorrow--they are doing the Giant Acorn Sprint Triathlon, and I am running a 30K trail run at Pocahontas State Park with several other Trigirls--but this rain has got to stop sometime! In the meantime, I think three rest days is exactly what my inner coach called for.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Maymont Race Report, or My Favorite Race Ever!

What a fabulous run!

Someone asked me recently what my favorite race was. Actually, it was TRIgirl Sharon. We had a lot to talk about over the course of eighteen miles last Sunday. Hmmm, I thought. That's kind of like asking me about my favorite food, color, or anything else. I might prefer one color for the outside of my house, but quite another for a new shirt or a fall sunrise. Or for my favorite food, for that matter.

So, first my favorite race was the James River Scramble--an off-road 10K. Then I thought, well, maybe it's the Richmond Marathon, America's Friendliest, and my first. The Monument Avenue 10K is not my favorite race to run (too crowded and flat,) but it was my first race ever. The Sandman, because it's challenging and exhilarating. Then I remembered the Maymont XCountry Festival Half Marathon. Loved that. My list started and ended with a trail run.

I ran the Maymont Half in 2004, its inaugural year. Completely different from the Rock-N-Roll Half, which had been my first half ever less than a month before. RnR was crowded, Maymont was lonely. RnR was riotous, Maymont was serene. RnR was flat, Maymont was hilly. And off-road. I loved it, and I was faster.

I missed the Maymont Half last year because it was inconveniently scheduled for the same weekend as Sandman. Don't think I didn't consider running it on Saturday, then heading down to the beach for the tri the next day. And if you do think it, don't tell Grandison!

So, this year, I was super-glad to see that the Maymont Half was a couple of weeks later, and it fit in perfectly with our maraathon training schedule. I'd had my eye on it for a while, but was reluctant to register. The girls have been giving me a hard time about my over-enthusiasm, aka signing up for every race. Funny how, within a week after I posted about it, seven other TRIgirls joined me. Sometime I'll write a little something about peer pressure.

The Course
The Maymont Half takes place just outside Maymont Park on the James River. The course actually crosses the river four times, or as Sharon put it, "a lot." We spent a little time on the Buttermilk Trail, ran around Belle Isle, finished at Maymont. We even started with a lap around the vita course in Byrd Park, the TRIgirls' Thursday morning hangout. (I mean BEFORE Starbucks.) Perfect.

The Weather
The last day of September in Richmond. While I briefly missed having a transition area in which to leave my super-cute hoodie, I braved the early morning chill in my TRIgirl tank. The temperature started out around fifty degrees and got up to about sixty. Sllight breeze, humidity not bad, even for Richmond. Perfect.

The Outfits
With TRIgirls sporting pink, we got more than one (actually, more than twenty) comments on the course. I think there were about twenty people out on the course watching. So, if you think the jersey looks good by itself, check it out in a pack.

The Company
I ran the entire race with TRIgirls. Okay, except I didn't talk to anyone for the last mile. Working too hard. I generally enjoy running at least part of my long races alone because after a week filled with students and restaurant clientele, I need a little Carmen time. But today, I enjoyed the company the first part of the race, and I used the energy and the push for the rest of it. Lynn, Sharon , and Kate O were my buddies for the first three miles or so, which are very tough for me. I have a really hard time warming up, especially when I literally have to warm up. I ran the bulk of the miles with Susie, Anna, and Kate T. Anna kept us abreast of all things mathematical with one of those things, you know, on your wrist, that tells everything but the time. Well, I think hers even tells the time. I'm terrible at pacing myself, so it was great to have someone (the voice of reason?) saying, "8:30--Slow Down!" and it was even better to actually slow down. I told them at about mile 9 that I was on track for my PR, and they all kept me on the pace the rest of the way.

The Times
I had a PR of 2:08:06. My previous Half PR was at this race in 2004, 2:11:20. Did I mention I love this race?! Four other TRIgirls had PRs today, and Grandison finished second in her age group, which is also my age group. I was 23 out of 49, and top half always makes me happy! Our amazing swim coach Som finished first in his age group.

The TRIgirl Post Party and Aftermath
Starbucks, of course. I couldn't risk going anywhere bloody marys were served because then I wouldn't have accomplished ANYTHING this afternoon. Since I forewent the alcohol, I managed to accomplish a three-hour nap. Hmmm. Now I have forty-five minutes before I meet the girls out for TRIgirls Gone Not So Wild, then tomorrow we ride bikes, have coffee, and swim, and then Monday morning is strength training, and so it goes. The life of a TRIgirl...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Theory of Relativity

One of many things Sharon and I talked about during the course of our 18-mile run yesterday is the relativity of athleticism, goals, etc. I was feeling a bit of a slacker since I skipped the Thursday morning TRIgirl run and then missed the Saturday bike ride. (I could write a few pages about the utter delight of sleeping in, however!)
One way I justified missing the ride is that it was *only* 18 miles, nothing compared to the 40-mile rides we'd done in preparation for Naylor's. Plus, the only tri I have left this season is a sprint with a 12-mile ride. I find myself thinking, "Cake."
Someone told me a couple of days ago that I'm more athletic than most people. I was mid-denial when I realized that he was probably right. I'm not as athletic as Ironman finishers or Olympic gymnasts or even others on my team. In the course of missing those two TRIgirl workouts, I took three rest days in a row. I felt a little bad about that until I realized my totals for the week included 27 miles of running, 14 miles of biking, over 5000 yards of swimming, and two hours of strength training.
For someone who couldn't run a mile three years ago, that's not half bad!

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed in the last week with schoolwork--teaching a new class, reading & commenting on endless stacks of student writing. I read Iron Wil's blog comments about the new course plans she developed, the degrees she completed, etc., and I thought wow, she does all this AND trained for Ironman. Kate and Anna are ready to sign up for Florida in 2007. Not me.

But I did register for Eagleman 70.3, TRIgirls' "official" half-Iron distance for next year. And I did show up for three workouts in the last two days. And I did teach my classes. And I did spend time with friends. And I might even grade a portfolio or two, just don't pressure me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sandman Triathlon, Virginia Beach

The Sandman is like a sprint triathlon. Often when my students say something is like something, I reply that not only is it LIKE something, it actually IS that thing. However, when my swim and run times are about equal, I don't quite consider the race to be a sprint.

Having done Sandman last year, I wasn't experiencing any pre-race anxiety. I had already accepted the fact that freestyle would not play a part in my swim. When my three trigirl-to-be friends and I hit the beach Saturday afternoon, however, I started thinking that my weekend might be better spent drinking margaritas and cracking crab legs than planning for and participating in the race. The four of us bravely sat on the beach, wearing hoods and wrapped in beach towels, trying to read our books and magazines without letting the wind turn the pages for us. As many of my friends are aware, sun worship is my part-time job, although pay is not a premium. Me voluntarily walking off the beach is a good indication that the weather is not friendly. That being said, it really wasn't so bad. I think I was mostly afraid I'd be cold, which makes me kind of laugh out loud now.

Race morning, I got up earlier than I thought I would. Since I'd organized all my stuff the night before (highly unusual for me, but I was being thoughtful for the sake of my hotel roommates,) I really didn't have much to do. Brushed my teeth, drank some water, and ate a bar. There's even a real live bathroom in the transition area for this race! I went down to transition, three blocks away from my hotel, and joined Jonah in line for bike inspection. Set up my transition area fairly quickly, and headed to the Seven Eleven for coffee. This was part of the plan all along. I've gotten too familiar with triathlon's hurry-up-and-wait. Mary Jo finally made it through the now-long inspection line and into transition. I have to give her props for an anxiety level about one percent of that she had at Naylor's!

Mary Jo and I walked down to 32nd Strret, where the swim would start. I tested the water (and may or may not have peed.) The temperature was great! I started actually looking forward to the swim. The water was still choppy, but not entirely covered with whitecaps as it had been the day before.

Watching the first wave of open registration, I was glad to have the advantage of learning from someone else's mistakes. The current was pretty strong, and many of the swimmers were getting carried past the first buoy, having to fight the current to go back around it the right direction. Knowing that I'd rather add to my time by swimming a little extra than struggle against the waves themselves, I positioned myself REALLY FAR down the beach. Thank goodness. While I still swam primarily breaststroke, I did incorporate some backstroke as well as a little "LA Combo" (thanks, Som!) into my repertoire. The most notable thing about the swim was not the number of times I was kicked or got my butt grabbed, but the number of times someone said, "Sorry!" All-female wave explains some of it, but I guess these swimmers were just nicer and/or less competitive than those I "ran into" (or vice-versa) at Naylor's.

I got out of the water to cheers from Mary Jo's crowd, and ran--okay, walked--up to the transition area.

On the bike, I pretty much just chilled. It's a flat course, and I was pretty beaten down from the swim. I was worried towards the beginning that I got a draft penalty. Some dude on a yellow bike passed me, then immediately slowed down. This method was repeated by several other cyclists during the 14-mile ride, and I finally just pulled over and got off my bike each time it happened. Just kidding. But most of my bike thoughts revolved around the USAT rules and how I owuld prevent an official from penalizing me unless I actually benefitted from a draft! Anyway, I neither drafted nor was penalized. So much for my bike thinking.

The run, also was fairly uneventful. Out-and-back on the boardwalk. Concrete. Headwind on the way back. Saw Mary Jo and Jonah sporting their pink. Heard loud cheering from my friend LA and her husband Douglas, as well as from my girls, Mary JO's girls, and Jonah's family. I decided the best thing about this entire race experience was that I had more personal cheerleaders than I'd ever had before. It was so great! I also must say that I had a fabulous last .2 miles. I always like to have a fast finish, and I think I passed about ten people then. Jonah had a great fast finish, too, fighting off some potential passers. Mary Jo, she just looked scary! I wouldn't even have tried to pass her!

Among the seven girls who traveled with me and Mary Jo, I'm hoping at least a few caught the spirit (Ashley said it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement!) but even if none tri next year, at least Lauren and Tracy are set to be the cheerleaders. We've got some pink for them...

Oh yeah... my times:
Overall 1:52:43
1000m ocean swim 27:02
T1 1:50
14 mile bike 52:32
T2 1:28
5K run 29:49
I finished 20th out of 33 in my age group, and I took about 12 minutes off my time from last year!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Taking Care of Me

No, not taking care of myself! You can read about that in any women's magazine. Sometimes I appreciate others taking care of me. Yesterday, SanDee picked me up at 6:30 for our bike ride. I finally put my front wheel back on my bike--I actually touched my bike--for the first time since Naylor's Beach. I do believe in magic, as well as the power of ignoring things until they go away. Unfortunately, when we got to West Creek, my bike had not fixed itself, nor was I any closer to fixing it. The brake was still rubbing the front wheel, just as it had been throughout my entire race two weeks ago.
SanDee took me back to her house, via Starbucks, and her husband Gregg worked the magic. Not only is he a tennis pro, but he also finished his first tri this summer, and he is spectacular with the bike--as both rider and mechanic.
After my bike was back in shape, SanDee loaded both it and me back in the car, and took us back to West Creek. Although SanDee had already ridden one loop earlier, she rode two more with me. I never thought a bike ride could feel so smooth. After doing 40-milers and riding 26 on the brake, 16 miles with no brake felt like I was flying.
We dropped by our homes to grab bathing suits and non trigirl clothes, and headed over to Westwood to watch Gregg show some tennis skills.
Back at SanDee's, she made me a sandwich, served it up with some chips (our shared weakness) and watermelon, and we spent the rest of the afternoon lounging by the pool. Did I mention that she even cut my sandwich in half? A few other trigirls joined us. Gregg kept us hydrated and in cookies, and SanDee made sure each guest had beer when needed.
I'm so fortunate to be part of this family!

More Flexible Schedule


When I discussed, or rather, poked fun at, Shannon's flexible schedule, I got a lot of feedback, most of which was serious. The girls really think both schedules and flexibility are important. In the past two weeks, I've made many adaptations to my own schedule, some intentional and some not.

With the cooler weather comes the new school year, and this semester I am teaching four classes on two different campuses. One of the courses is completely new to me, which of course means some extra planning time, as well. I've cut my work schedule at the restaurant back to *only* four shifts a week, but there are some things that have to get cut out of the schedule. Sleep and my social life are usually the first to go, but they have a way of creeping back in here and there. I did just mow my lawn this morning, as a cooldown from our 16-mile run, but I told my neighbor that just because I mowed my lawn didn't mean he could expect me to wash my car, clean my gutters, or weed the flower beds. I can't be a trigirl AND a gardener!

Life is all about choices. Hmmm, you've heard that before? Well, yesterday I decided to hang out at SanDee's pool rather than clean my house. On Wednesday night, I decided to go out for beers with my coworkers rather than get some sleep before an early morning run. Thursday morning, I decided not to make that early morning run in favor of sleeping in. Some days it's easier to follow tapering and recovery schedules than others.

Right now, i really want to go outside and take a walk. It's beautiful. However, since I'm between a 16-mile run and an hour swim workout, maybe I'd be better off sitting outside grading papers. Then i can decide to go to Legend for beer and bluegrass with Mary Jo later on. I'll keep you posted on the final decision!

TRIgirls Gone Wild, Part Two

I will dedicate this post to Rose, who should be checking out the TRIgirl website for registration information just about now. Rose recognized me at a charity wine and beer event the other night, where I was enjoying a Legend Brown Ale or several with trigirls Susie, Mary Jo, Deanna L, and honorary trigirl Lee. Lee is really good at partying with the girls; we just need to get her to the workouts!
Apparently Rose remembered meeting me one time three or so years ago when several teachers from James River and Monacan met for happy hour together. Wow. Even more impressive than her memory was Rose's receptiveness to Susie's and mine totally no-pressure insistence that she, as well as every other woman in the Richmond metropolitan area, should be a trigirl. So, Rose, pony up!

Although Lynn and SanDee were unable (or unwilling?) to join us for the second venture out on the town in two weeks, I can assure them that the TRIgirls were well-represented. There will just be no documentation since SanDee is the staff photographer.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon Weekend Update


Here it is, Labor Day, and I am sitting at school in between classes. I had forgotten since my stint here as an undergrad, but the folks in charge of holidays never sent the memo to the University of Richmond. So, instead of lollygagging in Virginia Beach for another day, my sister and I cruised down 64 West this morning. Trip highlight: gas at Wawa for $2.32 a gallon!

Yesterday's Half seems like ages ago, until I stand up or sit down. Then my quads remind me. With such a flat course, I'm surprised that's where I'm feeling it.

This was my third annual Virginia beach Rock-N-Roll Half. I ran in 2004 (first half ever) with my friend Mary Catherine. Last year, I convinced my mom, dad, brother, and sister to join me, and we have now started a family vacation tradition. This year, in addition to my family, the TRIgirls were representing! Post-race, we met at T, of course. Grandison, Lynn, Deanna, Teresa, Monica, Anna, Kate, and I posed for pictures, but Shannon had already hit the beach with a beer.

I guess this isn't a very complete race report, since I have yet to look up my time! We weren't really sure what to expect for race conditions, since Hurricane Ernesto blew through on Friday, and some of weren't even sure we would make it to the beach. Sunday turned out to be beautiful, however, although halfway through the race the temperature felt more appropriate for hanging out at the beach than for running next to it!

I had a great first 10K--ran that in a "negative split," and was feeling better with each mile. Just after Mile 8, I was looking forward to my GU, tucked into the back of my TRIgirl top, as I'd heard a nasty rumor that the race was not providing gels as they have in the past. I had the GU in my hand, ready for the next water stop... waiting... got to Mile 9, and officially started my attitude problem. Although I'd hydrated well that morning and the day before, I was THIRSTY, and decided to walk to the next water stop, which finally appeared after Mile 10. Wow. I remember remembering that the same sort of thing happened last year--the Mystery of the Missing Water Stop, so post-race I encouraged runners I know to contact the powers that be with a request for more stops in the future. This is a race that I really enjoy, and it's a shame that only eight stops were provided over 13 miles, especially with the growing number of participants who take a longer time to finish. After all this is late summer in Virginia!

I ran by myself the whole time, which I frequently really enjoy. I'm a very social being, so every now and then, I think I need the solitude one can only find among 20,000 others! Dad and Dyron passed me on my mile-plus walk, and Lynn's husband Derik gave me a shout-out, and other than that, I had to get to that T for familiar faces.

After participating in so many triathlons the past two seasons, it's somewhat refreshing to run a race. I keep thinking I must be forgetting something. All I have to do is show up at the starting line! Nothing to carry, nothing to set up--it's a light, strange feeling.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Naylor's Beach Race Report


Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Resting peacefully this week, kind of.

As for most of the TRIgirls participating, Naylor's was my first ever Olympic distance triathlon. Going into the race, I'd swum father than 1500 meters, biked farther than 26 miles, and run farther than a 10K. But never all in a row.

Having cased the river several weeks prior to the race, I knew to expect the murky brown water, although I still never saw "all the fish" that had freaked my sister out. No surprise that I breaststroked almost the entire swim. That's my race MO. The first time I considered quitting the race was after passing the second buoy, turning to approach the shore. The next 50 meters took as long to swim as the previous 1000 or so had. I felt as if I were doing the treading water portion of a lifeguard exam. I finally made it close enough in that I could touch bottom, and swam/walked the rest of the way in. It was refreshing to see several pink suits just ahead of me--Shannon, Cyndi, and Grandison. I even got to run up to transition with Grandison, and after 1500 meters of exhausting solitude, it was absolutely exhilarating to see (and even get to talk to!) a teammate.

I was really excited to get on the bike, knowing that at least I wouldn't drown. The first couple of miles were okay; we'd ridden the course before, and I knew what to expect. However, when we turned off before the second hill of our prerace ride, my relief shifted to "huh?" as we weren't actually avoiding the second hill, just climbing a different one. I pedaled past a few people who had hopped off their bikes and were walking them up the hill, until I became aware of a harsh, almost squeaking, whirr. I could see that my front brake was rubbing my tire, and I pulled it off a bit while still riding. The same thing kept happening. and I remembered Mary Jo telling me she had ridden the brake throughout the Shady Grove race. I stopped, got off my bike, turned it upside down, and attempted a quick surgery. At first I hated the thought of losing time, but I hoped I'd be much more comfortable if I could get it fixed. Unfortunately, I wasn't very successful, and I spent the rest of the bike ride in a lightly braked position. For this reason, I was looking forward to the run even more than I had looked forward to the bike after the swim!

I came into the run with the attitude that it was "only a 10K," but that, too, quickly changed. After the first couple of miles, I gave myself permission to walk for a bit, then for a bit more. I told myself that if Dyron walked the last three miles of his half iron, then I could certainly walk three miles here. I thought about him describing his last race as humbling, and I knew exactly what he meant. I almost gave myself permission to quit the race, but realized that must just be the heatstroke talking! Thank goodness sweet SanDee was so encouraging at the water stop, although I did then give myself permission to cry (just a little bit!) Bless her heart, Deanna B appeared like an angel out of nowhere and we finished together. That was the redeeming factor of the run.

Overall on the course, I cried once (almost twice,) threw up none (almost twice,) cursed another racer once, cursed in general twice (out loud, anyway,) and FINISHED (almost quit twice!)

The rumors you've all been hearing, however, are true. The TRIgirls most definitely won Best Dressed (I'm not sure why this has not been made into an official category YET...) while sporting our new trigear. And, as always, the TRIgirls win for most supportive, most fun, most fabulous tri-women ever. Can't wait til the next race!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Prerace party?

In anticipation of our Olympic tri on Sunday, several enthusiastic trigirls headed out on the town Friday night. Folowing the false assumption that the earlier I go out, the earlier I come home and go to bed, I met Lynn at the Bank at 5:30. Susie joined us shortly thereafter, then SanDee was escorted in by her chauffeur/husband in time to meet up with us as well as attend a bachelor party. Can this girl kill two birds with one stone, or what?!

The party made a brief stop at Sine before heading for Three Monkeys, where we caught the tail end of Jeannie's prerace party, and were later met by Mary Jo and Deanna L. The only way we could have drawn more positive attention would have bee if we were sporting our new trigirl gear! I was reminded of how much fun the evening was when I saw SanDee and Gregg's slideshow presentation the next afternoon...
what a terrific way to settle those prerace jitters!

I guess this is yet another post emphasizing the trigirl camaraderie outside of training as well as during.

In a tamer version, I joined SanDee and some of her friends at the pool for hydration and carbo-loading Saturday afternoon, and continued with more of the same when Anna and Kate T. joined me at home for pasta dinner that evening.

With my transition bag (aka backpack) full and sitting by the door, I made it to bed in time for more than six hours of sleep. I had only one tri-nightmare, when my handlebars went missing, followed by my pedals and shoes. That's another reason I need all the girls around!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Team Spirit

Today at the run, Grandison delivered our new team jerseys. As she said, we don't have to worry about visibility on the bike! Some of the shades of pink are quite blinding. The tops are really superfabulous, and it's one more way to show that we are part of a team. I can't wait to try the tops out at the race this weekend.

Another note on that camaraderie...
Many people I talk to about the trigirls really want to be part of our group without actually doing a tri (or undergoing a sex change!) I realize how much more pervasive (invasive?) the girls are in my life when not only do we work out together, but we also walk together, go for coffee together, drink wine together, hit the beach together, volunteer together, and enjoy our membership at the Gammon Family Pool together.

What a wonderful group of fun, supportive women.

Tapering and Staying Busy

This is actually a good week for me to taper because it is also the week that I am gearing up for fall classes to start. My two classes at VCU start tomorrow, and my two at UR start on Monday. Teaching paired with my restaurant job will keep me very busy this fall!

I had big plans for light workouts yesterday, but ended up lying around most of the day, snacking here and there while catching up on three days of newspapers. In retrospect, it was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. I did actually get up around 5:00 pm, put my contacts in, and shower before work!

Today I met the trigirls for our Thursday run. Two miles?! No wonder I still have so much energy...

We do have a long swim planned for tomorrow, and I think Susie and I are finally going to get to check out the UR pool, which has been closed for renovations. Not only will I get my swim workout in, but this also will be the motivation I need to get on campus and finish writing my syllabus!

Monday, August 21, 2006

one of THOSE days

Yesterday, I had one of those days. I worked both nights this weekend, and stayed up WAY past my bedtime on Saturday. If Anna hadn't called me Sunday morning to see if I wanted a ride out to our 14-miler, I don't think I would have made it. Thanks, Anna! She and Kate picked me up, waiting patiently while I scrambled to get myself together. In my haste, I forgot to grab a bar or any other nutrition, although I did grab a Gatorade and a bottle of water. Not until we met the girls did I realize it was the bottle I had refilled and lost the top to... then corked! I guess that exemplifies the morning I was having! Grandison generously shared an extra GU, so on Gatorade, GU, and about two hours of sleep, I completed my longest run since last November's marathon.

I really wasn't feeling so hot after all that, so, although I rode out to Naylor's with Shannon, Anna, and Susie, I didn't even get in for the open-water swim practice. Shannon reported too-close encounters with fish, and Grandison hoped that her kids weren't drinking too much gasoline from the jetskis we shared space with (G--sorry to include your name in a sentence that ends with a preposition...)

All in all, I feel as though I am prepared for both the Naylor's Olympic tri and the Rock-N-Roll Half, so one disastrous training day actually makes me feel okay. If I made fourteen miles under those conditions, these races should feel great!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Starbucks Discount

We should get one, that is.

Sometimes the trigirls spend more time at Starbucks after the workout than we spend actually doing the workout. We tapered our bike ride down to twenty miles today in preparation for Naylor's next week. Several of us had mechanical issues, which I really hope are not repeated in the race. I was, however, very pleased with myself for properly adjusting my barrel adjuster after riding with a self-shifting chain for the first eight miles.

Enjoyed coffee with Theresa, Lynn, Katherine, Kate T, Molly, Heilbron, and Deanna L. At least, I think we were at Starbucks. Our conversation may have been more appropriate for the locker room. What is it with these female athletes?!

Flexible Schedule

My sister Shannon, who I consider to be very OCD, showed me her schedule for the school year yesterday, written down on the first page of a journal, complete with pockets full of other important information. This schedule is proudly titled "Flexible Schedule" as a reminder to herself that she can indeed be, and may sometimes need to be, flexible.

Shannon, also known as Beeber, or the Beebs, acompanied me to the pool yesterday for a swim practice originally scheduled for Wednesday. Later, she left our mom's pool early (due to excessive cloud cover, something for which we were once encouraged to blow the emergency whistle, but now for which we are reminded NOT to) and went home to clean the house. That's flexibility!

We did cover 1000 yards straight. Tomorrow, the trigirls head out to Naylor's for one last open water swim before next week's race.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Speed Work

Today was our first "official" speed workout at the vita course. The nice man on the radio told me it was only sixty-six degrees when I left my house at about six a.m. Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying the preview of autumn in Richmond? After a mile warm-up, we ran three one-mile repeats. This is the type of workout I would NEVER do on my own--yet another reason I am so grateful for the TRIgirls!

We did a timed one-miler back in April, and I finished in 7:42, my PR. Today, I ran the first mile in 7:40, the second in 7:42, and the third in 7:42. No one can accuse me of inconsistency! Of course, then I start thinking on my run about high school science class, and the difference between accuracy and precision... just another example of a runner's brain at work.

Had post-workout coffee with Susie, Lynn, and Deanna. (Nice to have Lynn back in town!) After Lynn and Deanna reluctantly left for work, some guy approached the table: "Did I hear you all talking about triathlons?" I'm sure Susie and I gave him WAY more information than he wanted, needed, or could ever use. Unfortunately, he was ineligible for TRIgirl, but I think the Richmond Tri Club will have a new member by the end of the day.

Yesterday was also a gorgeous pre-fall day. I rode with Sandee on the Riverside-Cherokee-Old Gun route, which I had never done before. Quite a hill experience. I din't notice how long we had been riding uphill until we were coming back, and I think I exceeded the posted speed limit for the first time ever on the bike! This is a 20-miler that I will definitely put on my list of rides to repeat, especially if the company and weather are so lovely.

smokin'

I wish I were referring only to my speed here, but rather I am addressing a very bad habit. I often joke that there should be another category in triathlon, similar to Athena or Clydesdale, if you will, because I am confident that I would win in the Smokers group.

After afew party cigarettes in high school, I became a full-time smoker in college. Over the past ten years or so, I have actually tapered the habit, lighting up only when drinking or stressing. I'll go for a week with no smokes, then fire through half a pack in one sitting.

I'm trying right now to deal with the one-day-at-a-time, or perhaps, one-race-at-a-time approach. Two weeks out from Naylor's I told myself no cigarettes until after the race, at which point I plan on telling myself, now, not until after the Rock-n-Roll, etc.

Haven't had one since last Friday.

I might even start that nasty gum-chewing habit!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

girls on the hills

Tuesday morning meant hills once again. Since we had a fall weather preview this weekend, several of us went ahead and moved our run time back to seven a.m. instead of six. Wow! What a difference that extra hour of sleep makes. It was also nice to wake up when it was actually light outside. Sandee, Susie, Anna, Deanna B, and I did our requisite hills, but Susie and I were the only ones that attended the essential Starbucks meeting afterwards.

I am looking forward to getting into my fall schedule. Even though I know I will stay enormously busy, I always like the fresh start of a new school year. I even felt that way the couple of years in my life when I was neither teaching nor taking classes. Perhaps the cooler weather is the refreshment needed! Long runs are much easier to look forward to on a breezy fall morning than during the oppressive summer heat and humidity. Hmmm.

We are less than two weeks away from Naylor's, and less than three away from the Rock 'N' Roll Half. I must admit I am ready to scale back a bit, and will have no trouble committing to a taper week or two!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Weekend Training

As much as I like to tell my non-TriGIRL friends how I "win" the attendance prize for training sessions, even I have to skip one here and there. I picked up a hostess shift for one of the teenagers at work Friday night, and ended up going out with some of my coworkers afterwards. When my alarm went off at 6:15 Saturday morning, I decided that three hours of sleep was NOT enough to ride forty miles on.
I got up, got a 32 oz Gatorade and the morning paper, and got back in bed. When I finally rose from the dead around noon, I was ecstatic to find it was only about 83 degrees outside. I hopped on my bike and rode out to my parents' house and back, stopping briefly there to hydrate and sample a little homemade peach cobbler. Total mileage about 23.

One of the other trigirls, Sandy, and her boyfriend had a big party last night. I went out with Sandee and her husband for a while. We did lots of carb-loading, solid and liquid, but I still made it home before nine. My compliments on the spinach lasagne! We did play a couple of games of ping-pong, so I figure that should at least equal the 17 miles I didn't bike.

This morning I woke up to another beautiful day. Of course we are all commenting on the "lovely fall weather," but we really aren't fooled. We haven't seen the last of the mid-ninties here in Richmond. I met Liz, Sandee, Susie, Grandison, and Amy at the vita course. We ran eight miles out-and-back across the five-nickel bridge and down Riverside Drive. Very hilly, but barely noticeable when the temperature is hovering around eighty, the course is shady, and I've gotten a decent night's sleep.
Good to see Amy, who is not a trigirl, but actually went to high school with me. She just finished her first Ironman. It made me start thinking about how in the world she got into triathlon, which in turn made me start wondering what other people think when they find out that I've gotten into triathlon. Hmmm. That, of course, is the best part about our team--everyone is a motivating factor or inspiration of one type or another.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Midweek Training Time

I tend to schedule my workouts and be very particular about keeping these appointments; otherwise, training seems to be the first thing to get squeezed out of a busy schedule. Since I am between semesters for teaching, I am pulling a lot of shifts at the restaurant. I just got home from my sixth shift in a row and am looking forward to an evening off before I go back in tomorrow morning.

Although I have never thought of myself as an early riser, I find that the wee hours are indeed the best time to schedule training--at least I know it is done for the day!

Yesterday I went to my strength training class at 6 am. I love having the class because, particularly as a teacher, I have guilt over absences. Last year, after I cut my personal trainer out of my budget, I think I lifted weights once in six months. Sigh.

We had a beautiful day--first day in weeks that the temperature didn't go above ninety. Sandee and I went on a fairly easy bike through the neighborhoods and relaxed at Starbucks before I had to head in for my double shift.

Today it was dark when I woke up. Just as I was heading out the door to meet the girls for our Thursday run, the rain started. I have to admit that I was kind of excited--I'll take rain over 94 degrees any day! Any change in the weather makes a change in training. I generally don't wear a watch, but I felt good today, and I think I ran pretty fast. Four mile negative split.

The rain was also a good excuse for a nap. I cam e home and slept until I had to get ready for work at about 10:30. My girls at work are just impressed that I get up early enough to take a nap before eleven!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

tuesday morning hills

That has become a regular post on our training forum. Three of our workouts (one run, one bike, one swim) we do together, with a coach. The other posted workouts most of try to fit in during the week with a sort of buddy system. Back in April, I got together with a couple of the girls for a run on Tuesday morning, and the meeting time and place have become a bit of an institution. Of course, last week, when attendance was at an all-time high, I slept in.

I have missed only four scheduled workouts this year--some say that's obsessive, others call it over-achieving. I find that it keeps me grounded. I'm not likely to make up a missed run by doing it myself in the hundred-degree damp of a Richmond summer.

This morning Kate, Anna, Sandee, and I met at the vita course promptly at 6:03 or 6:04. When my alarm was going off around 5:30, I could hear the day's forecast. Current temperature seventy-nine degrees. Before we even got off the trail and across the road to that special place we do hill repeats, drops of sweat were stinging the corners of my eyes.

I felt better about halfway through the workout. It takes me forever to get my rhythm some days, and especially in the heat. That's why I prefer a marathon over a 5K, and perhaps why I'm eagerly anticipating Naylor's Beach on August 27--my first Olympic distance tri.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Rest Day

Mondays are usually rest days. I attend my biweekly strength training class but steer clear from swimming, biking, and running. This first day of the week is a good opportunity to reflect on the weekend's training and prepare for the upcoming week--posting on our team training site, registering for races, etc. Today I finally joined the Richmond Tri Club. Having accomplished that, I decided to make the jump into Blogspot.