Monday, April 30, 2012

Oh Crap Times Infinity

Well, since TN, I've been hiding a little secret.

My left achilles has been a little wonky.  Not serious, just a little strange.  A slight dull ache.

Now it's definitely barking at me.  And I know a lot is due to my inability to ever stretch or sit down, pretty much ever, in my current life stage.  But I also know that 5 1/2 hours of riding hills and climbing a mountain in 36 hours was NOT. SMART.  Very fun, but not smart.  At all.  And I knew it the week I got back, but I was pretending it was fine.

Now Coach E says she's not sure I can race, since this is nothing to mess with.

To say I am bummed is an understatement.

Made an emergency call to Dr. Zak for some ART and am currently alternating between resting, icing, swearing, and crying.

So any positive vibes would be greatly appreciated.  I'm running better than I ever have in my entire life.  And to think I might not be able to race, about adding insult to injury.  That's more like adding a punch in my face to injury.

Sending up some good-ankle-y prayers,


Sunday, April 29, 2012

In case you were wondering

Walking around and chasing two sprinting kids at the Zoo and then calling lunch a Clif Bar before your long run does not make for a happy last 3.5 miles.

I felt SO! AWESOME! for the first 9 miles and then DIEDIEDIE the last 3.5 or so were rather humbling.  I collapsed in a heap on the floor and was too tired to move or even protest the 467,406,195th episode of Diego playing.

But--the good news is that I managed 12.5 miles with an average pace of 8:46.  I was pretty consistent in the laps, too, even though the last few really sucked.  So if we're trying to do those 45-60 seconds slower than race pace, we're good.  I really felt like I was going easy, too, which is pretty awesome.

I am curious to see where I am on the scale because I can definitely tell my clothes are looser.  I'm wondering if I'm down to "fighting weight" yet.  I might check this week if I'm feeling really daring.

Speaking of daring, our school is doing a fundraiser for the superawesome charity, Girls With Sole.  It's founded by an amazingly inspiring woman named Liz who is pretty much the most positive person I've met.  So when our school signed up to do a class fundraiser contest, I was all, HECK YEAH!  But the trouble is that our kids have been donated-to-death this year with several contests and donations were slow.  So, a colleague of mine decided to up the ante:  if a class can raise at least $100, then she will wear her old skool prom dress ALL DAY.

Of course, my kids came to me asking--nay, DEMANDING--that I participate, too.  Um.  Yeah.  I guess so.  Even though I love calling attention to myself about as much as I enjoy country music and gouging my eyes out with spoons.

So, of course, one class has already hit $50!  Which is great.  Except that it means that I might actually have to do this.

In case you're wondering, it was 1995, blue sequins, ridiculously tacky, and according to Jackson, makes me look like a mermaid.

The bright side?  All these intervals and race pace runs have--wait for it--made this dress TOO BIG. It's seriously too freaking big!  Which is beyond awesome, because it's supposed to be tight and if I had to wear it as intended there ain't no way I was going to do this.

So, it looks like I'll be the 1995 tacky mermaid in room 221 sometime soon.  All in the name of a good charity, at least!

Less than 3 weeks until race day--gulp!  Giddyup.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Evotri Team Camp, Chattanooga, 2012

...was so awesome that I have so much to say about it.

And absolutely no time to say it.  None.  I give up.

So I'm going to defer to the team site and to JP's site for some awesome recaps.  Me Circa 2006 never would do that.  But me circa 2012 needs to.  How did I blog almost every day for 2 years?  Oh yeah...I actually had some spare time...someday, I'm sure I will again, too.

But for now I'm surviving until May 11th when I get to come up for air a bit.

So check out their amazing reports full of tons of pictures and great stuff!  Let's just say it was WAY better than any race, hands down. I wuvz my teammates!  They are all amazing.  Sure wish they could meet me for a ride or run more than once a year!

Gonna keep training as hard as I can--will post when I can!

Heading to the light at the end of the tunnel,


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mother Nature is a Snide, Conniving (W)itch

...YET, I think she might know a little something, because if I can pull that off today, then I can definitely pull it off come race day.

The short:  I made it--kind of.  Last push I dug as deep as I could but couldn't get below 8.  I'm not going to dwell, though, because it's still 50 minutes at (or near) race pace and given the conditions, it was a huge mental boost for me.

The long:

Got up early and worried about the run. (Standard)

Made myself a new playlist heavy on the hip-hop/rap, and lots of old stuff.  Tupac, Biggie, Dre, etc.  Basically all the things I listened to growing up as a suburban kid on the streetz.

Started:  20 minutes easy, averaged 9:00 for each one.

Oh boy.

#1:  Holy crap, it's WARM!  Warmwarmwarm!  I'm dying.  (It was about 42 degrees, BTW).  WHYdo I do this?!  I know I'm a sweat monster and ball of nastiness when I run hard.  LEARN for race day--UNDERDRESS.  I MUST go home and change.  But what if I wake up the kids?  Accckkkkkk that will be DEFCON 1 as Matt will then have to deal with them yelling for me not to go.  The guilt, or an appropriately-dressed outfit?! (Yes, all these things ran through my head during push #1)

I ran past the house.  Dashed in and silently changed into shorts and a light long-sleeved T.

Aahhhhhh.  Much better.

Pace :  7:59 (squeaked in!)

2 minute recovery:  ahhhhh.

#2:  Okay, this isn't so bad!  Glad I changed.  Definitely needed to change.  Hope they are all still asleep....

Pace:  7:56 (nice!)

2 minute recovery

#3:  Hmmm.  It's getting colder, but I still feel okay in this.  Kinda wishing I had taken the Claritin though.  Must do that on race day.  Starting to hurt a little, but doable.

Pace:  7:58

Took a GU here.  Noticed I was tired when I stopped to get it from my belt.

Turned around....into SERIOUS wind.  Hmm.  Okay, now it's definitely on.

2 minute recovery

#4:  Ouch.  This hurts.  This is farther than I went before when I did 4 miles with Laura.  Ouch.  Ouchouchouchouch.  I'd like to be done now, please.

Pace:  7:56

2 minute recovery

#5:  That was my last Cherry Roctane Gu so I'd better make this push worth it.  Is this push worth $2?  Because that's what one of those damn things costs.  So I'd better not wuss out and make this push worth AT LEAST TWO DOLLARS.

What the--is that freezing rain?!  YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.  I can't see in front of me, sleet is hitting my face, and I'm running into what feels like a wall of wind.  Yeah, it's the last one allright!  Grow a pair and RUN, NOW!

Ouch.  Ouchouchouch I'm cold and it's wet and this hurts.  I'm digging as deep as I can but I just don't feel like I'm moving.  I put my head down and just counted steps and blasted some Eminem.

Pace:  8:09  Ugh.  I swear that's all I had.  But that concludes 50 minutes at (or a teensy bit above) race pace.  Boo-yah.  I should also add that I killed some intervals earlier this week, so this was a good week of pushing it on the run.

Cooled down for 20 minutes and had to (of course) make it an even 12 miles (because I'm OCD like that) and ended up with 12 miles in 1:43.14.  Average pace of 8:36/mile.  YEEEEE-AH.

Walked in the door to find that Matt had made chocolate chip strawberry pancakes, done a load of laundry, and loaded/turned on the dishwasher.  He's kind of the best husband ever.

As soon as I get my hands on some pics from Chattanoooooooga, I'm going to post 'em!  For now--I am going to drink some tasteeee coffee.

And try to warm up.  Nice try, Mother Nature.  You gotz nuthin' on me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I have a run tomorrow.

It will be hard.

Like, really hard.

Like, one of those ones that make me gulp, "Is she serious?"

And this week has been pretty hard, too.  So I've got a lot of pent-up energy ready to go.

Here's what I'll be doing:

20 minutes warm-up
5X10 minutes at RP with 2 minutes EZ in between
Cool down for a total of 1:40



That's hard.

But I'm strangely excited.  Bring it.

I don't like PowerBars.  But I do like the message they've got here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I swear I'll tell you ASAP!

So last weekend I went to Chattanooga, TN, with my superawesome Evotri teammates.  And it was AMAZING.  Seriously--I had so, so SO much fun with the team and our fabulous sponsors, Quintana Roo and HUB Endurance.  I pretty much was either laughing, eating, riding ridiculous amounts of hills, or eating s'mores the entire weekend.

So I promise I'll tell you all about it as soon as I get a second--and some good pictures!--cuz this week was NUTS.  It involved two Emergency Room trips, thankfully both ending well, plus one dose of stomach flu in my house.  Awesome.  And the countdown is on my blackboard:  16 school days until the AP exam.   Can you say, "TST-hasn't-slept-more-than-4-hours-all-week?"  Yeah, because that's about it.  I am basically operating on newborn-status haze.

Anyway, I'll leave you with this awesomeness that I heart for three reasons:

1.  It fuels my love of all things Summer Olympics

2.  It reminds me of all those swim meets, all those softball games, and all those practices my parents drove to and watched me in from age 3 until age nights, early morning, on the weekends, in the boonies, sometimes losing 42-3 (no joke) and sometimes with me bringing home the blue ribbons.  Thanks, Mom and Dad. :)

3.  It reminds me how awesome the mommy journey is

Well-played, P&G.  Well-played.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The TST Playlist, 11/100

I would like to thank this song for having all my "5K pace pushes" today be under 7:00/mile pace.  A girl can dream, right?

So I totally do not condone most of the things Rihanna is doing in this video, but this song kind of makes me feel like I'm one of Bug's toy trains that he has to pull back and you hear the click-click-click of the wheels and then when he lets it go WHOOOOOOOOSH, off it goes!

Yeah, that was me tonight.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Race Pace Beast

So I'm normally not too afraid of workouts.  I like a good hard track workout most of the time, or some tough intervals in the pool or on the bike.  But I tell you workout that gets in my head, pretty much every time I see it on the log?

The long run with race pace.


Now, I also know that this is the MOST IMPORTANT run I can do, since I am an admitted head case on race day.  Practicing race pace, and in the middle of a long run to boot, is something that I seriously benefit from.  However, when I see it looming on the horizon, the wimpy TST on my shoulder starts messing with me.  All week.

Last year, I remember doing some race pace miles in the middle of long runs and thinking the world might end.  And they were definitely tough, but I was able to hit most of them.

This year, I already said I'm going big.  So that means that race pace miles are going to have to be, like, fast and stuff.


Prior to December 2011, my 5K PR had me holding no better than 7:42/miles.  That was my PR for 9 freaking years.  Now, part of that is because I suck at pacing myself.  Big time.  But nonetheless, when I saw 40 minutes at race pace--sub 8!-- in the middle of a 1:40 run, I kind of freaked out.

And that was before I got sick.

Yes, I got sick about Tuesday, which I tried vehemently to convince myself was JUST! ALLERGIES! but alas, it was not.  I got some kind of a secondary infection that was in my chest and just ROTTEN.  I probably should have stayed home from school on Wednesday, but I was hoping to just soldier through.  Well, that backfired because at about 1am Thursday morning I knew there was NO way on God's green earth I could function at school and I had to take a sick day the day before vacation.  Also known as Indians Home Opener, or a National Holiday in Cleveland.  Which finally made me look like the shadiest character alive, but there IS A PAPER TRAIL to the doctor's office which DID INVOLVE a Z-pack so I swear on my life I was seriously sick.

Now, how on earth was I going to do this run?  On antibiotics?  Coughing up a lung?

The TST Wimp kept appearing and whispering in my ear.  You can't.  You can't.  You CAN'T seriously hold a pace that is not much off your old 5K pace for 40 minutes.  No way, phlegm-filled sloth.  Nowaynowaynowaaaaayyyy.

So of course I freaked out.  Emailed Coach Emily and asked her if I have any business going for this goal right now...I mean, I've kind of got a lot going on....maybe I should not try something this aggressive?

As usual, she knew exactly what to say, which was a verbal kick in the pants.  That going from 1:47 to 1:29 would be too aggressive, but 1:47 to 1:42 and change is not.  That it will be and is supposed to be hard sometimes, and that I need to roll with it and focus on what I can do in that moment.

So I did.

I linked up with some of my new running friends at the new lunch table and we set out for 12 miles.  I was able to talk one girl, Laura, into the pickups with me but given my cough was still pretty rough told her let's shoot for 4 miles instead of the 40 minutes.  That way I could still work hard but listen to my body, which was still screaming for a little respect.  Laura's pretty badass and has ran Boston and also can bust out a super fast 5K, so for her it wasn't as big of a deal.  For me?  I was going to be clinging on for dear life.

We ran 5 miles at about 9s or so, and then I said, "okay, let's go" about as un-convincing as you we took off.

You know what?

I effing killed it.

Seriously, I was in disbelief while I was running because it definitely felt tough, but doable.  Not impossible.  And this was a good confidence boost, since I was super tired, all drugged up on antibiotics and antihistamines, and just in general not in race form.  So for 4 miles we went 8:00, 7:56, 7:49, and 7:59 (slight uphill for the last 1/2 mile or so).  And then I did mad dances of joy in my head, and continued running home nice and easy with Anne, Michelle, and Laura at a pace a little over 9s for a total of 13--yes, 13!--miles in 1:53.

No big deal.

This was huge.  I still have a playlist on my iPod that is called "1:54 or bust" from when I tried to break 1:55 in the half marathon for so long.

I am pretty happy to have come such a long way in a few years, here.  Hopefully this will continue and I can keep tweaking stuff and working hard to shattering the 1:47 I have standing right now.

Bring it, yo.

Friday, April 06, 2012

"No. The answer is no."

"But can't you just do this stuff for fun?" he asks, innocently.  "I mean, it seems like it's stressing you out MORE to do these workouts."

I sit, staring at the carpet.  He's a little right, and I know that.

"Maybe you should just do these workouts for fun and not worry about times and stuff.  Or do the race for fun and not try to beat your old times."

I stare blankly back at him.


Indoor pool, North Olmsted, Ohio.  Sometime in the summer of 1985.

It was one of my first swim meets, I think.  I can't really remember much except the deafening sound of water and the blurry colors I saw whenever I took a breath.  Every 4 strokes, then.  Left side.  I saw people jumping up and down, my coaches yelling weird noises and screams that were timed up with my breath.  I couldn't see her, but I knew she must be close.  So I went as hard and fast as I possibly could, and I hit the wall.

And I beat her.  But I beat me, too.  It was my fastest 25 freestyle I'd ever clocked.

I remember holding onto the side of the pool, gasping for air, looking at my hands on the wall and smiling.


Summer, 2007.  I am huge and pregnant and have no idea what's about to happen.  All I know is that I miss racing so much, that it literally sometimes brings me to tears.  I still swim and run and stuff, "for fun," but I am hungry for the days when I can run hard and swim fast again.  When I can feel my quads burning on a hill.  When I could cross the finish line and almost puke, knowing I left it all on the course.


February, 1995.  Some old high school that's now demolished.  I remember how dull and institutional everything was, and that the cafeteria smelled like mildew.

It was my senior year solo and ensemble contest.  I picked the hardest possible pieces I could find: both Class A.  Not just any Class A.  I wanted the really tough ones.  So I picked a Brahms piece that looked as if it was black on all 4 1/2 pages.  Solid black.

I practiced and practiced that damn piece.  I started to feel the fear creep in...that I wasn't as ready as I usually was.  That this was going to be a bit of a gamble.  I was still shooting for a 1 of course, but in my mind I was ready to take a 2 on this if I needed to.  My first 2 in four years of competing in flute and piano.

I remember walking into the dingy room with a piano and playing my heart out.  There were some mistakes, but they were relatively slight in comparison to the piece.  I played with a ton of musicality and a little less technique, which was usually my style.  Every once in a while, I'd miss a little note here or there but I knew I still did well, and I was proud of what I did with that piece.

I waited for the score.  I knew it wouldn't be a 1, but I thought I could still get a 2.




My heart sank and my eyes welled up.  Four was not even an option.  FOUR?  Four was what they give you if you had no business being there.  If you messed up so bad that you puked and cried and punched the judge in the face.  Four?  I was humiliated.  My piano teacher and band director were so furious, I thought they WERE going to punch the judge in the face.  Literally.

I had 35 minutes before my next performance.  If I had any hope of doing well, I'd have to move on.  I'd have to forget that this ever happened, and remember that that number was one person's judgement; that it was not indicative of who I was or of what I did in there.

I stared at the wall as hard as I could and I remember actually letting go.  I don't think I've ever been able to do that since, but I stared and breathed and said "new day, new day today" and went in and nailed my Class A flute piece.

And got a 1.


Spring, 1994.  The ballpark diamond behind the school.  A chilly but sunny day.

I ran in, breathless, after play practice and cheerleading tryouts.  I was trying to squeeze in a lot into that evening, and felt a little bit like I deserved to slack off that evening.  I was hungry.  I had already been to two different practices.  What did it matter if I didn't pitch that well tonight, right?  It's just practice.  Not a game, practice.  (Channelling my inner AI cockiness, I guess)

I remember throwing a few balls and giggling about it.  "I'm tired," I thought.  "This doesn't really matter."

My coach called timeout and came out to the mound.  I figured he'd tell me a way to use my changeup more effectively or something, or just tell me something minor.

"You come in here late.  You're laughing.  You're throwing junk right now.  I'm disappointed in you," he spat.  "I don't even think you care about this game very much."

And he walked away.

I threw nine strikes in a row.

I walked back to the dugout and slammed my glove against the fence.  And sat down.  Silently.

He smiled.  Because he knew he said exactly what you'd need to say to get me to focus.

All you need to do is tell me that I don't care about it.  That I'm not putting my heart into it.

That, to me, is the worst insult of all.  And I will die proving you wrong.


All of these moments flashed before me when Matt told me I should do this "for fun."  That maybe I should ease up on the goals.

And I know that some of what he's saying here is legit.  But the other part of me says that you don't become a competitive swimmer, a closing pitcher, or a performing musician because you are afraid of goals or pressure.  To some extent, this is just me, and I can't flip the switch.

"No," I told him.  "The answer is no.  I can't.  Because it is not the same sport if I just 'do it for fun.'"

He looked at me quizzically.  Like I had just grown another eyeball.

"It would be like you playing soccer and not keeping score.  Could you do that?"

Yes, he said.  Yes, of course he could.


And then I realized the difference between us.  He's a phenomenal athlete, and was a very good all-state football kicker who often had the whole game resting on his shoulders.  Most of the time he made it; a few times he did not.  It's not like he's a stranger to intensity.

But he can turn it off.  I can't.

For me, the fun is in chasing the goal and, from time to time, feeling the fear from knowing it's difficult.  The fun is in the silent moment I have at the end, with just me, knowing I did it. Or if I didn't do it, knowing that I tried and gave it everything I had.

I did just work out "for fun" for about two years.  It was called pregnancy and newborn.  And it was okay, and all.

But it was nothing like the fun I get from pushing just to the edge of the cliff and then taking that leap of faith.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

You know what?

I almost didn't run today.  I felt SOOOO rotten/sorry for myself/full of snotty allergy mess.  Headache, blah blah blah.

Then I read Coach Emily's report of Leadman, and how she kicked serious tail in SERIOUS wind.  With hills.  Like, both directions.

So I figured the least my pansy butt could do was to get out for 5 miles.

Clear, quiet, me and the shadow again.  iPod was dead, so no tunes.  And I realized two things.

1.  I am pretty awesome at hocking loogies.

2.  I'm getting faster.  For real.

Just in time.  This is good news.  Good news, indeed.