Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I wasn't sure how my run would go today. I sort of had an unintentional week off. And by off, I mean laying around sleeping and drinking ginger ale. Good times.
My rockin' new Coach Emily had me go for a walk last night just to get moving again. I took Mugsy the Wonder Pug for a nice walk since it was pretty chilly for a run with JayZ. Today, she had me at a 50 minute run. Matt has class tonight, so I knew if I was going to get it in at all, it would be with JayZ in the stroller.
Hmmmm. Pushing a 21 pounder in the stroller might not make for a good comeback run after a week off. I was a little nervous.
It is sunny and beautiful, but a little chilly at 50 degrees or so, so I bundled up JayZ a bit. We headed out. I decided to actually wear my heart rate monitor. I don't think I've worn the thing since Ironman--seriously. I am not a huge fan of HR training but I know it can be beneficial for data's sake, so I reluctantly put it on. I'm surprised the battery even worked!
Despite a little wind, it was a fantabulous run. I felt GREAT. Not even great, FANTASTIC! I was really shocked.
And especially shocked to see an average pace WAYYYYYYYYYYYY faster than I thought I'd have--especially since I was pushing JayZ. I usually don't take my watch on runs with him because I figure I'll be slow and it's nice to just run with my little guy without splits, you know? But I was pleasantly surprised--no, elated is a better word--to see what (for me) is a pretty good clip with an average HR of 157.
The grand experiment which is the Cleveland Half Marathon is going to be really interesting. My mileage is nowhere NEAR what I wanted it to be, but things still seem to be clicking for me...knock on wood. We'll see what happens this weekend, as I have a 14 miler with my last few at race pace.
I also have a few peeps to give shout-outs to--My NUTTER girls!* First, congratulations to Cerveza and her hubby Dave, who both ran their first half marathons in Columbus 2 weeks ago and ROCKED IT! I am so proud of both of them!
Next, I have to give BIG SHOUT OUTS to my other NUTTER girls racing this weekend--Hedda, who is doing her first half marathon EVAH! I am sooooo proud of her--she's a new mommy who's managing to balance a little guy, a job, and training for her first half! WAY TO GO HEDDA--if I was there I'd throw a tart in your general direction ;) And to Lush and her hubby Tyson, who will also be tackling the Mini for I think the 4th time this year? They ROCK and I smell HUUUUUUGGGGEEEE PRs for both of them! Lushious has been running so strong and I can't wait to see her kick butt! And to my girl Jacks, who will be taking on the Flying Pig this weekend--go get 'em, girl! :) She's become quite the tri-chick, too--can't wait to head to ChiTown to hang with her and then go to WIBA in about 2 months!
Last but not least, best of luck to Coach Emily who will be heading to St. Croix for the 70.3 this weekend! I might be a LITTLE jealous of her on the beach. But not of her climbing that hill. Holy cow! GOOOOOO Coach Emily!
Gotta go cut some of my tulips--we might have frost tonight so I want to cut a few for our kitchen and for my classroom!
Spring's here and I'm soooooooooooooooooooo excited to be racing! I might have a big race announcement soon...it involves me traveling rather far and totally violating my "I only race if I can drive there" policy, but this would be SO fun that I can't pass it up. I'll keep ya posted!
*NUTTERS are my chicas that I lived with senior year of college...AGD girls, and since our mascot was a squirrel...(yeah, seriously a squirrel)...we named our house "The Nuthouse." Oh, and everyone at Miami names their houses. It's just what you do. Some are quite dirrrrty, actually, and ours was pretty tame. So that's how we came up with NUTTERS. I won't tell you what happened when the guys next door stole our sign. You don't want to know.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Man. Whatever the heck this bug was that I caught was ROTTEN. I guess it could have been worse--I wasn't throwing up--but it reminded me of when I got Mono freshman year of college, and my throat was so swollen that I was snoring so loudly that poor DaisyDuc had to carry her mattress into another room to sleep in one night.
(Seriously. Poor Daisy couldn't sleep a wink and didn't want to wake me up. I woke up and looked down to see my bunk mate gone--mattress and all!)
My throat is much better and I'm feeling a lot more like me, but I won't be doing any training today. Or, tomorrow. That will be almost a whole week off. Which led me to my previous post's ruminations.
From what I have been discussing with those who know this stuff, it seems that (big surprise here) I'm freaking out a bit for not much reason. I need to remember the consistent work I've done since January. The speedwork, tempo runs, and various long runs in the 10-12 mile range as well as a 13 and 14 mile run already. And this weekend, provided I continue to feel better, I'll do 12-14 again. So that will mean I will have ALREADY RAN THREE HALF MARATHONS. I have covered this distance three times. Each time having a successful negative split.
My mileage has been lower than I'd like, but I've also been swimming and cycling a teensy bit, so that should help a bit. I've seen lots of my triathlon friends greatly improve their race times from adding cycling to their routine, so I'm not going to worry about it for now.
I also have a history of my head being my biggest enemy on race day. I know I am capable of doing well on the 18th, and I think I need to make mental training just as high of a priority as I will my next two weeks of runs.
So here's the plan:
A Goal: run a 1:50 half. Follow pacers for first 11 miles, then dig deep for the last 2 on my own when they turn off on the marathon course. Then grill out and drink beer with TriShannon.
B Goal: Stick with pacers for first few miles, and run the rest on my own. Go 1:54 or less. Then grill out and drink beer with TriShannon.
C Goal: Stick with pacers for first few miles, run the rest on my own and decided just to finish, high-fiving as many people as I can along the way. Finish. Then grill out and drink beer with TriShannon.
If I don't give it a shot, I'll kick myself. I've put in a great deal of time and consistent training for a while now, as well as sort of already running "three half marathons" in training. I need to go for this. I can go for this.
First task: get 100% better.
Next task: kick butt.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Fever is gone after 2 days, but still not 100%. HAVE to go to school today and sludge through. Ugh. Am visiting doc later.
May have to reasses my half mary goals. Ugh. I hate to do that, but I'm going to miss my 14 miles with 6 at race pace this weekend, and I don't know if I can squeeze it in next week after school with these AP tests looming over my head. And I missed my splits last weekend, although I know it's probably because I was starting to get this nastiness.
To top it all off, work is nuts. Next week, I'll most likely be going in early, working through lunch with kids, and staying later.
Maybe instead of a 5 minute PR, I just shoot for a PR.
It just is frustrating because I feel like I was trucking along and doing SO well. Maybe my body will surprise me here, but I don't know. This is supposed to be fun, and I want it to be fun. TriShannon will be here and that's fun. Maybe I shouldn't try to do too much here. A small PR's just as good as a big one, and there's always half mary's I can try later.
This week rots.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
If you read his post here, it will explain who Ellen is and why Ed gives her his finisher's medal.
This is truly what it's all about.
Monday, April 21, 2008
1. Cars in the park where I cycle are STILL A BUNCH OF BUTT MUNCHES. I forgot what it's like to hear, "GET ON THE BIKE PATH," "F-YOU," and the sound of rapid car horns while riding. And this is in a PARK where there are signs every mile or so saying, "Share the Road." Oh well. They are probably miserable people, anyway.
2. I PROBABLY should not try to hang with a group that is going about 20 miles an hour.
3. By hanging with said group for the first 5 miles, then realizing just how fast they were going, it made for a looooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnngggggggg and rather lonely 20 more miles. Story of group rides for me. Group rides usually turn into solo rides where I beat myself up about how slow I am.
4. I have a lot of work to do.
Things that HAVE changed since 2006:
1. If this was '06, I probably would have cried on the car ride home in frustration, since that was pretty much my standard operating procedure. But I came home, kissed my boys, and laughed about how I just got my butt whooped. I laughed. Huh?
2. Yeah, this whole "not getting my proverbial panties up in a bunch" over a ride in April where I was embarrassingly slow is new. I think I like it. Because I just kinda know I'm fine, and I have time to do the work that needs to be done to get where I need to be.
3. I think it's because since 2006, I've survived Ironman and childbirth, and not a whole lot fazes me. I don't mean that in a cocky way, but more just at peace with myself I think. I know I'll probably never break any land-speed records, but I'm amazed at what my body has done in the past year and a half, and I have a new respect for it.
So I guess some things never change. And some things have been changed forever.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I was supposed to run 10, with 3 warm-up, 4 at race pace, and 3 cool down. It was a lot warmer and more humid than I like or expected, and I ran out of fluids at mile 6. Great. I really dislike running in any weather above about 72 degrees, and in my perfect little world every run would be in a nice overcast 55 degrees. :)
I also had a hard time hitting my paces and decided to just do 3 at race pace-ish (but slower--boo) and 4 cool down. My average pace was fine for the whole run, but I beat myself up about missing the pace for the 4. I guess they all can't be good, right?
Ah, still got the 10 in. I guess that's good. Next week I have "13-16 with a negative split." I'm shooting for at least 14. We'll see how I feel.
For now, my concern lies with little JayZ. He has his first fever and it's just tearing me up. I just wish I could make it BETTER RIGHT NOW. Sigh. We think it broke this evening, so hopefully he'll be my smiley little guy again tomorrow. Poor little bug!
I'm hoping I'll be able to do a brick tomorrow with some buddies in the evening, but it will depend on how my little man feels. Plus, my body might be telling me to take it easy. I feel pretty sore today, so we'll see how things go.
I talked to my new coach, Emily, yesterday, and she rocks! I am so pumped up for this season! Looking at my countdown clock, I really don't have too long until Cleveland Half Marathon...gulp! I'm just pumped to run with my buddy TriShannon. That'll be the best part of the day!
Friday, April 18, 2008
They were Sudanese "Lost Boys."
JayZ sat quietly on my lap, staring and occasionally sighing. He gripped my fingers. I sat and listened to the stories of these two guys--just a few years younger than me--and tears welled up in my eyes. I squeezed JayZ's hand. A lot.
You know what? Even when you've had a rough day and you think life stinks, it doesn't. It's wonderful.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
For the first time (according to my Garmin, which I'm pretty sure is right) since September 30, 2006.
(Yes, that's a SIX at the end.)
I was pretty nervous. I wondered just how bad I'd be, as, after all, I really really have not worked on my limiter much. Bleh.
So I knew it would be my own stupid fault if I totally snailed it.
Light winds, blue skies, 75 degrees. That makes for a challenging day in the classroom (as the proportion of kids acting up increases exponentially with every degree the temperature rises) but, as it turns out, a perfect day for a ride.
So I started out on my old familiar route. I figured I'd go to my normal turnaround for a total of about 16.5 miles. And then it happened.
I forgot about sucking. I forgot about being slow.
And I had a blast.
The first mile or two I was a little apprehensive, but then it just started to click. I felt like I had never left.
I got home with a big smile on my face. And you know the best part?
I blew my expectations out of the water. I managed to average 18 miles per hour.
That, for me, is pretty good. Especially considering my year and a half hiatus. The crazy pregnancy-blood-doping theory holds true again! Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Watch out, pre-baby TriSaraTops. I have a feeling post-baby TriSaraTops is going to kick your butt.
Here's what's going through my head. You can hear my actual interview on the website, but I was rambling rambling rambling and so nervous I was shaking and I have a horrible Cleveland accent (think Aflac Duck), so I'd rather just write. :) (TacBoy and The.Bigun also caught me off guard so my rambling and bad accent is also on their latest rockin' podcast! ha ha)
Goal: I want to focus on getting young people (middle and high school age) into triathlons.
- it is great for overall fitness
- it complements all other sports and is fantastic cross training
- it gives kids "something to do" that is healthy and NOT illegal or unproductive
- it can bring families together to train and set goals
- triathlon helps you realize how strong you are and what you are capable of--young people, like all of us, can sometimes use a reminder of this in the face of stresses they are dealing with
- Create a website/blog called "The Tri Zone" geared toward young triathletes. This can be a place to share information, training suggestions, race reports, etc. I'm pretty technologically stupid, so it might just be a blogspot thing for this year.
- Ultimately, I want this to be the foundation for a local club that any community can set up. Sometime in the near future I envision this being a "club in a box" that I can send to anyone interested in setting up their own TriZone locally. It's a relatively easy, local, grassroots-style club that I want to be easy for any parent to administer. Parents have enough going on already, so I don't want people to be intimidated by boatloads of work to get this going. Hopefully, the club can sort of "run itself" if the foundation is strong, and that's what I'd like to work toward.
- Pilot this in my community (Northeastern Ohio) this summer. See what works, and what needs improvement. Tweak it, and spread it to other communities next summer.
- I have picked a few races that we will focus on here: The CVAC Tin Man Sprint Triathlon, the Greater Cleveland Youth Triathlon, and the Huntington Beach Sprint Triathlon.
- Implement a "Battle of the Schools" to get area kids interested in competing in a triathlon, meeting other people, and pushing themselves to be their best while challenging themselves
What I've done so far:
- I am still in the planning stages here, but am getting some great support and help from my friends in my tri club!
- I am starting to contact area Athletic Directors and Principals about setting up some kind of an informal group to try the Battle of the Schools. Another friend on the Board of CTC with me is helping contact some east side schools (Kenston and Chagrin) and I'm going to work on three west side schools (Rocky River, Bay Village, and Fairview).
- I will contact all track and field, cross-country, and swim coaches in all 5 districts to drum up some of the obvious candidates, but I also want to open this to all kids because, as many of you out there know, quite a few people get into triathlon who NEVER did ANY of these sports in high school! (myself included--I never swam on my high school team--only club summer teams)
- The focus of the East Side Battle will be the CVAC Tin Man, the West Side Battle will be the Huntington Sprint, and the Greater Cleveland Youth Triathlon will be the culminating triathlon of the summers for all five schools.
- I'd also like to have some kind of picnic/recognition after the Greater Cleveland Triathlon is done to reward the kids for their hard work and celebrate with their families.
- I'm trying to figure out how to handle a weekly training session on the east side (far, far away from where I live) but know that it will be no problem for me to lead one on the west side.
- I need to also consider the EXTREMELY IMPORTANT logistics of safety and liability, so I plan on getting this in order ASAP.
- I need to consider the eligibility rules of the Ohio High School Athletic Association for any fall athletes who compete in these local races. The last thing I want to do is have a kid be ineligible to compete in a fall sport because they did a "formal" race after such and such date!
- My tri club just "stumbled upon" a local young triathlete who is doing her senior project on area triathlon clubs AND is on the JUNIOR NATIONAL TEAM for USAT. Yeah. I plan on talking to her. A LOT.
- My awesome former Coach also has a contact at USAT who is on the committee for Youth in triathlon, so I'm planning on picking her brain a bit, too.
So that's what I've been up to! Oh, and getting ready for this AP test. And trying to train as much as I can. That's pretty much sucking up most of my life at the moment. And, of course, spending as much time as I can with this guy:
I'll keep you posted on the progress of this! I am really excited!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I need to really start acting like a triathlete. No excuses.
It's been hard to get in anything but running lately. Partly because I feel like, calorie-wise, it's the best bang for the buck. I can sneak in a 5 miler without too much time, and the only gear I need is my shoes (and perhaps the jogging stroller if JayZ is coming with me). Setting up the trainer, pumping the tires, checking the chains, or driving to the pool just takes more time. And it hasn't been happening.
Like, at all.
I hadn't swam since March 23rd until Sunday. I was pretty nervous to see what Rob had in store for us at our Oberlin swim clinic. I thought about wussing out and not going. I mean, what business do I have trying to keep up at a tough swim practice? Sheesh. I was kind of disgusted with myself.
So then I got there and heard we were doing a 20 minute time trial.
Prepare to have booty handed to me on a platter.
The good news is...I did the same as I did last time we did a time trial.
The bad news is....it's April, and I DID THE SAME AS I DID LAST TIME WE DID A TIME TRIAL.
I guess I can at least be happy that I could still do it, and to some extent, I can kind of "wing" the swim. But that's not why I do this sport. I don't do it to "wing it," and I certainly don't do this sport because it's easy.
It's really easy for me to go for a run or a swim, because I'm relatively good at it. I'm not breaking any land-speed records, but it comes pretty easily to me. I can wing it.
There's a big pink elephant in my room right now on a bicycle. And this year, there are no excuses. I need to get better. I have no excuse NOT to get better.
It's easy to do what you like. It takes a tougher chick to admit you are NOT good at something, and then DO IT.
So, it's time. It's time for me to get outside on my bike again. To get dropped for a while. To feel my quads burning as I churn up a hill that everyone's already at the top of, and to blink back a few tears of frustration so no one sees. To swear a little bit under my breath. To remember that yes, I can do this. I might feel worthless and like the worst cyclist in the world, but I'm not. I know in my heart I'm not.
I just have to work at it. That's all.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I have a RACE REPORT!
Not just a training report, or a report of JayZ, or some other random stuff.
I RACED! I RACED! YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
(so I'm a little excited)
Okay, so I decided to do this 5K, even though I'm usually SOOOO not a 5K fan. The school district with the most people there gets $5,000 to better their physical fitness program, and that rocks. So, I figured, I might as well. Even if I walked it, it would be good for our school, you know?
Now, I had NOOOOO idea what to expect in this race. Let's list the reasons why:
1. I haven't RACED at all since 2006.
2. I haven't RACED a 5K since November of 2006.
3. I haven't done track work or speedwork (minus a few tempo runs) since (and I'm not kidding here) JUNE of 2006.
4. I OBLITERATED my core during the year 2007. Seriously. The 55 pounds I gained are gone, but I am, uh...still a little soft and mushy all around. (Yeah, I know. Nice visual, huh?)
So, of course, in Competitive Sara's head, a PR would be nice (which is anything under a 7:39/mile) but realistically I was hoping to hold more of a tempo pace, which would be a 7:50/mile. That would still push me hard and I would call that a victory.
But really, who the heck knows what this body was going to do? I had no clue.
And I was so giddy at the start line! I felt like a kid on Christmas. My good buddy Allenjel was there and I'm so excited to see her kicking so much butt and getting super fast! I thought if I could keep her in my sight the first mile or two I'd be in good shape.
Let's set the scene: 42 degrees, light winds, and what my buddy Canada Jenn likes to describe as "piss raining." What a wonderful day to race!
The only black shorts that were clean were the shorts I wore for my first marathon when I was about 30 pounds heavier, so I think I looked a bit ridiculous. Oh well! At least they were comfortable, right?
So the gun went off and I took off. HOLY SMOKES. My body was giving me a big WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON and my mind was like, SHUT UP, DUDE, JUST GO!
I checked Garmin around the first half mile, and was running at a 6:28 pace.
Miss Six is back! But I really have no business seeing her today. I knew I was in for it later!
(I swear, a year and a half off racing and I make the same freakin' pacing mistakes. Some things never change!)
So I tried to slow way down....tempo run, self...tempo run...Their Mile 1 marker was a little short so I tried to go more by my Garmin. I hit the first mile in somewhere about 7:20, so that was good.
Mile 2 I felt a little slower. I tried to just remember that I can do this, and there's no reason for me NOT to be able to hold a tempo pace today. When I finished mile 2, my average had gone to around 7:38. (And that's when a teensy voice in my head said, "Hmmmmmm....PR, perhaps?") But I knew differently! That last mile always seems to kill me.
I got in a footrace at the end with a girl who was, like, 11. I sort of felt a little bad trying to beat her and let her have the last step or two. (She's 11! She deserves it more than me. Seriously.) I patted her on the back and told her "Nice kick!" Man, when I was 11, I thought running around the BLOCK was far. I love seeing kids race!
So here's the exciting part.
I didn't PR, which, of course, I really shouldn't be surprised about.
But my average pace (according to my Garmin) was 7:49!
For 3.1 miles.
With no speedwork.
And no racing in a year and a half.
And a mushy midsection.
Which, my friends, means I was only 10 seconds or so per mile off my PR that I set back in 2003!
So, that's what I call a victory. :)
Hopefully my school district will win 5 G's. That would rock! I also got to see Bloggister and Rootsrunner at the end, and Allenjel kicked major butt and placed in our age group! So all around, a wonderful day for a race.
Now, bring on the long course stuff! But maybe another 5K sometime...now, Competitive Sara is just getting curious about what she can really do. :)
They posted the race results...turns out they had me at a 24:02, which is a 7:45/mile pace. I'll take it! I forgot to hit my Garmin at the end (typical) so I like theirs better. :) They also had the most interesting slaughtering of my last name I think I've ever seen....almost as good as the "Sara Avacado" swim ribbon I have from 4th grade. I love it! What I don't love, however, is the fact that I missed 3rd in my age group by FIVE SECONDS! Boooooo! Poop sandwich. Oh well--that's what I get for not catching her! :)
Here's me and allenjel chillin' with some random eagle dude.....huh?
We almost jumped in the big inflated jumpy thing they had for the kids, but it was cold and we were tired so we opted against it. Maybe next time!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
It's Wednesday, and I'm as tired as I am on Fridays.
DBQs will do that to you...but they are done (yay!) and my students have really improved so much. I am excited and nervous for them as they enter the home stretch before the AP test. All I can do is prepare them the best I can, I guess. The rest is up to them.
Went for a 4 mile run Monday and a 5 mile run yesterday with JayZ. He goes out cold every time. Yesterday I did an out and back and felt like I was flying along for the first 2.5. And then, at the turnaround, the wind hit. Man, when that wind picks up...whew. Let's just call it one long hill repeat, 'cause that's pretty much how it felt. The kickin' stroller is not very aerodynamic, and especially when you add a 20.25 pound six month old boy.
So I missed my tempo run, but oh well. I haven't really missed anything yet, which I am quite proud of, so this one time I'll chill about it. Flexible, flexible....right?
And this weekend I'll have a little 5K action that I'm going to try and treat like a tempo run, so I'll get some speedwork in there. I'm not holding my breath to race this one well, but hey, I'm just so excited to put a number on again! Yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
So my boy Bubba will be doing his first 100 MILE RACE this weekend. Bubba, you CRAZY! But that's why we love him! Best of luck to you! He also had a six-word memoir on his blog, which I heard about on NPR and thought they were really cool. In six words, try to sum up your life. It's hard, huh? I think I've settled on mine:
"What do you mean, slow down?"--TriSaraTops
What's your six words?
Monday, April 07, 2008
2. Try to grade it in a weekend....
3. While still eating, sleeping, and attempting to have some kind of life.
Not my smartest moment!
Thank goodness for a KICKIN' 10 mile run yesterday to help me keep my sanity--6 hill repeats and still a negative split! Yahoooooooooooooo
Now if I can just find the time this week to enjoy the weather and finally go for a ride outside!
But for now...back to my DBQ dungeon.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I am honored to be the newest member of EvoTri, and thank my family and friends for supporting me! I am so pumped to join the team, and even more excited to continue forward with the work I've already started to get young people involved in triathlon. This is going to be a jam-packed, exciting season as I combine two things I am extremely passionate about: triathlon and working with kids. I'll be outlining my plans as soon as I get the time here to jot them down...right now, JayZ is attempting to crawl, so I kinda want to check that out. :)
Thanks to my family and friends (and new teammates) for believing in me! I am so excited to begin this new adventure!