Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Anyone Seen My Triathlon Training Around Here?

So, I went and hired myself a swim coach, and she's awesome. We meet at 6:00 a.m. Monday mornings, and for 45 minutes she tells me stuff like: press your "T", rotate from your hips, watch your breathing, don't cross the midline, TRY KICKING EVERY NOW AND THEN, and? Move the water! "Can you FEEEEL the water??," she asks. "You need to FEEEEEL the water!" It takes every bit of control to resist saying, "I'm in a POOL."

I crack myself up.

My second swim lesson was yesterday morning, and I don't know what I was doing all last year, but I'm pretty sure I was not swimming because holy mother of god, I'm getting introduced to muscles I have never met before.

Apparently I've never kicked before in my life. Apparently all those books that say triathletes should not worry about kicking? I took them a leetle too seriously.

And? I don't pull. At all.

So yesterday I learned to kick. And pull.

I was sore afterwards but in a good way.

I could NOT wait to get in the pool today to try my first HIPster*TM pool workout using my newly acquired skills. Not only had I learned new skills, I had also learned how to read a workout. It's like a foreign language:

Workout 2B, 1400 yds
Warm up: 500 choice

50 swim
100 negative split
150 swim/drill/swim by 50
100 negative split
150 swim/drill/swim by 50
100 negative split
50 swim
Rest :30

100 pull, DPS
100 kick, build each 50

Cool down

The best part is I know what everything means!

Just for kicks I timed my 100s and they were all in the 2:30 range which is quite thrilling (if still sucky) since just 2 weeks ago they were in the 3:30+ range.

Afterwards I went to work and ate a bunch of crap because I was so proud of myself. (Way to reward yourself, Jeanne.)

But today is Tuesday and that stands for track with a capital T and that stands for Trouble.

After my awesome swim in the a.m. and my awesome (if screwy) race on Saturday, I had completely convinced myself that I deserved to take tonight off. But the fear factor kicked in just in time. I came home and before I could think about it changed into running duds and off I went.

6x800 at interval pace = 5:00; plus 2x200 at race pace = 1:05.


I ran with two girls who slipped away from me because their recovery and threshold paces were the same. I was honestly going to throw in the towel, if not throw up, just because I deserved to, when another chick, Jenn, came alongside me and said she was doing 6 repeats and well, that was that. It takes so little to talk me into things. Don't ever offer me drugs, k?

GOAL: 800 @ 5:00

1) 4:46
2) 4:56
3) 5:00
4) 4:57
5) 5:13
6) 4:47

200: 1:05
200: 1:05

Tomorrow is spin class. Too cold to ride outside at 6 a.m. Although eventually I will have to actually get on a bike again. I'm guessing.

P.S. D.C. Spinster (aka Peter) was just elected president of the DCRR club! Read his speech here, and leave him some comment love.

*D.C. Tri Half Ironman Program (HIP)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Three PRs in One

National Half Marathon Race Report

Things started last night with a bloggy meetup dinner to celebrate the arrival in town of the very scientific (and, it turns out, hilarious) Danielle in Iowa.

L-R: Danielle, Adam, Rebecca, Joe, Audrey, Jeanne, Ray, and Peter.

I got a private tutorial strategery session from the 26-year-old enfant terrible DCRainmaker.

The plan was to bring it home in 2:22 (I can dream, y'all). DCR suggested I try to hit 6 miles by 1:06 (my PR, until this morning), and 10 miles by 1:50 (I think that's what he said. We were boozing it up so who remembers?). Sadly, he forgot to prescribe miles 11, 12, 13 and .1. And all the other ones.

I tried hard to convince him that the way to run this thing was all out hell's bells until you can't and then you slow down. He thought that was odd.

After I got home last night, I fired up this clever little pace calculator with FADE tool, and set it for 2:22, with a 60 second fade after mile 5. (See Ray? I'm not the only one who thinks this way!)

And it told me...well, what I thought it told me was:

Pre-fade pace: 10:50 Post-fade pace: 11:13

so that's what I wrote on the back of my hand.

Too bad what it actually said was this:
Overall pace: 10:50 Pre-fade pace: 10:13 Post-fade pace: 11:13

So I thought as long as I ran anything better than 10:50 for the first 5 miles, I was golden. What it actually said of course, was I that I HAD to do 10:13s for the first 5 miles.

Reading the chart: FAIL.

But National Half Mary: PASS!

I woke up at 4:30 and all was right with the world, except for a little stomach upset. I met up with my Speed Dev partner, B., and Nancy Toby and Danielle and we waited FOREVER to cross the start (eight minutes). I love this course because it goes through so much of the city. I hate this course because it has hills. Did the earth shift since last year? Cuz I'm pretty sure D.C. has spouted more hills. The size of the field also doubled this year (I heard 8,000) and there were tons more spectators. Last year's spectators were mostly drunk people who hadn't made it home yet and some homeless guys. Last year I was alone for most of the race, behind two guys running together with their heads stuck through the top of a box. When the sag wagon decided to tail me. That was fun. This year: loads of people around me, and no sagging.

As usual, everyone annoys me when I'm racing. People breathing, CELLPHONES—can we forget the no headphones rule and please deal with cellphones?? Why do you need a cellphone in a race? WHY???—keys jangling, talking. (Unless I'm the one talking. Then of course, it annoys me if you don't talk back. It's hard being me.) This year I yelled at what I think was a D.C. Councilman for leaving his car idling. "Turn that car off! Polluter!" Then some poor soul had the nerve to yell "only 1 mile left" at 11.5 miles. That's just criminal. Arrest her.

On the good side, the cops were fun, the spectators were great. The Howard U (I think?) kids all stood in a line, blasting a boombox, and high fiving as we flew down the hill around mile 8.

As you can see, my pacing is pretty much exactly the same as it is during my training long runs: Everything and then some. I don't want any pace to ever feel left out. I am an equal opportunity pacer!

mile 1: 10:25
mile 2: 10:20
mile 3: 9:48 (30:11 at 3 miles)
mile 4: 11:09 (mile marker misplaced so this was long)
mile 5: 9:20 (which means mile 5 was short :)
mile 6: 10:50
mile 6.2 3:01 (1:04:36 10K PR)
mile .8: 11:00
mile 8: 11:38
mile 9: 12:30
mile 10: 10:22 (1:50: 10 mile PR)
mile 11: 12:01
mile 12: 13:22
mile 13: 10:56
mile .1: 1:06

National Half 3/21/2009:
58/71 2040/2281 10K: 1:04:40 10:25 Finish: 2:27:36 11:16 52 F

National Half 3/29/2008:
48/53 2:31:57 11:36 51 F

(Previous PR: Blue Gray Half Mary, Fredericksburg, VA, Dec 14, 2008:
2:28:43 11:21 min./mile (10/10 grrrrr)

Because there's a National Marathon as well as a National Half Marathon, that meant that the finish FOR ONCE wasn't totally dismantled by the time I got there, which also meant that for the Very First Time, I got a free massage at the end. It was an Active Release massage which involved lots of moaning on my part. Although it's entirely possible that the masseuse also moaned.

There was also loads of food and drink, but long lines. You all know how I feel about long lines. My feet hurt. I only needed Powerade. So I did what any normal person would do and cut in line to grab one. (Yes, I am that woman.) Then it was off to the Hawk and Dove for a DC Tri brunch. French toast, and lots of it.

Here I am at mile 13,000: My legs! I can't feel my legs! Or see them! Photo courtesy DC Rainmaker

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Many Benefits of Ignorance

Running: Track again tonight. If you recall, your heroine skipped last week's track session because of a pulled calf muscle, putting her seriously behind the eight ball.

And if you recall, the National Half Marathon is this coming Saturday (I think I've mentioned this in every post since January, so I don't know how you could not recall), so I wasn't sure if I should run track tonight or not.

But then I read D.C. Rainmaker. And he said HE was doing a track workout tonight, so of course that meant I had to. (Ray, you should really be more careful with your posts!) Because I have to keep up with a 28-year-old.

On tonight's menu was 4 x 1600 @ Interval pace with 400 recovery. For those keeping track at home, 1600=1 mile. With 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cooldown.

And away we go...

Except I had no idea what my interval pace was because I forgot to check. And as usual, there was no one there from my pace group, so I hung with B. who is in a faster pace group and said she was aiming for 9:10s. I figured I'd aim for 9:40s. I checked when I got home and it turns out...I should have been aiming for 10:15s. Ah, ignorance.

1st 1600: 9:25
2nd 1600: 9:45
3rd 1600: 9:55
4th 1600: 9:58

You might notice, as I did, that these times are going in the wrong direction. I'm pretty sure the goal is to get faster with each repeat. Sigh. This is week 10,000 of the Speed Development Program, and I would like to register an official complaint: I do not feel any faster. The other thing I don't feel are my legs. They had turned into jello by mile 4.

Who doesn't like jello??

I told my coach tonight if I didn't PR on Saturday I was gonna demand a refund. He laughed.

I'm hilarious.

The good news is 1) I went faster than I should have (I think that is good?), and b) I said at the start that I would only do 3 repeats because I could not possibly do 4 and yet? I did 4 anyway. I totally rule.

Swimming, the forgotten sport:
In other news: I hired myself a swim coach. We didn't meet Sunday night, because of massive communication fail, so I got all dolled up in my speedo and ambled over to the pool for nothing, but then we DID meet Monday morning at the ass crack of dawn, and it was great!! I'd become so discouraged after all my swim clinic-ing last fall, which added 1 solid minute to my 100s, that I pretty much quit swimming. So she took a look, and guess what? It turns out that when I'm swimming? I'm not actually USING MY ARMS TO MOVE THE WATER. (I'm sure that part of the swim has a name—I just don't know what it is.) So when I swim, my form is terrific (she said), I just have no power.

Who knew? So she had me work on a bunch of stuff until my head was about to explode. You work on one thing and the other 75 parts of swimming fall to pieces. Sigh.

I told her my goal is to join the masters class/team/whatever at my YMCA. She said most masters programs want you to be able to "do 100 on the 2:00" (why must swimmers speak this way?? Why not just say "Swim 100 meters in 2 minutes"?? WHY?)

So I went swimming again this morning, by myself, and I did a gazillion drills and then swam a few 100s and I was at least under 3 minutes. Which totally sucks, but sucks a lot less than the last time I timed myself.

Germany: So...You might remember, that way back in January, our heroine hired a life coach who coached her to set some ambitious goals. And one of them was to live overseas. And Number One Daughter's BF finally got sick of hearing me say this (yes I'm writing in several voices, sue me) so he challenged me to SET A DATE and develop a plan and EXECUTE. And reminded me that I have ONE skill that many Europeans lack, that I might possibly use to earn a living: I speak English. AND, he suggested that this skill might possibly come in very handy in a country in which the main language is NOT English. Well, this led to that, and he sent me a bunch of links about living/working overseas and blah blah yada, the next thing I knew I was applying for a job as a copy editor in Germany.

P.S. I fired my life coach cuz I have NOD's BF for free.

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's All Good

I skipped track for the first time this week. And immediately felt like I had just tossed the previous 8 weeks of SOLID track workouts into the can.

But I went to spin on Tuesday (with wimpy spin instructor) and again on Wednesday (with kick-ass spin instructor), AND my calf slowly felt better. I took all your advice and marched back to the shoe store where I bought the evil Saucony Triumphs, prepared for a fight. Showed the guy behind the counter my old NB 1023s, told him my tale, and he said, "Oh no problem. We don't want you to keep something that's not working."

Exsqueeze me??

Come again???

He went to the back of the store and pulled out:

NikeNew BALANCE 1023s, Women's, size 11

Say what????

Yep, he had two pairs of 1023s, size 5 and size 11.

I took 'em and ran.

Shout out to Gotta Run, Pentagon Row in Arlington!

In fact, I ran 5 (ish) miles on the treadmill the next morning, and all was well.

I really like running at the Y on Thursday mornings, cuz the treadmills have televisions, you don't get kicked off after 30 minutes, and I get to flip back and forth between Joe and Mika on MSNBC and American Morning on CNN, which is thrilling cuz I never ever watch TV news other than the great NewsHour. So it's quite a treat, for instance, to see the entire American media industry all camped out in front of Bernie Madoff's apartment, waiting with bated breath, to film a CAR MOVING SLOWLY OUT OF A DRIVEWAY.

I miss a lot, I know, because of my crazy addiction to public television.

Thursdays are usually threshold runs, so the schedule says "6 miles, 2 x 15 at threshold," and I like those because I like talking like a runner. OK, I never actually get up to six miles because I run too slow to get it in AND get to work at a reasonable hour, but still.

Thursdays I always also run into fellow D.C. Tri-club-er, L, who is training for Ceour d'Alene Ironman on June 21, and is already running when I get there at 6 and still there after I leave. Plus, she runs at the speed of light. You go girl.

Thursdays are good.

So the calf is good. Maybe one day it will grow up to be a cow.

Meanwhile, 14 miles is on the schedule, YET AGAIN. I'm sick of seeing that number. Plus, the National Half is apparently next SATURDAY. Who knew?? So I'm thinking I should be tapering.


If you're running the National Half and want to meet the great and very scientific Danielle, gimme a shout. (I don't really answer the phone. E-mail.) We're setting up dinner.

Finally, in other news, I'm thinking of moving to Germany. Hi Jack! And in the great tradition of cliffhangers, I'll save details for another post.


Monday, March 09, 2009

14 Miles, Sore Calf, & H.I.P.

Saturday's 14 miles was not fun. It wasn't even hard, because hard doesn't come close to describing it. It was gruesome. Have I ever run 14 miles before? Really? You lie.

I've been breaking in some new shoes. Saucony's Triumph 5 (the same kind of car I want!) because the kid at the running store told me they don't make my beloved New Balance 1023s anymore, so to try these, 2-week money-back guarantee if I only wore them on the treadmill. Which I did, for two 5-mile sessions.

So I thought I was good to go.

Although I have noticed my achilles has been sort of sore.

And yeah, my calves have been kind of tight.

But who pays attention to that crap? C'mon. If I paid attention everytime something hurt, I'd never get out of bed! HTFU already.

So off I went in my pretty new Sauc's. Our coach decided at the last minute to send us 7 miles north, into the wilds of Maryland, instead of South, into the civilization of D.C.

We were running along the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail, a part of Rock Creek Park I had never seen before. A beautiful paved trail that runs right through the middle of a woods, alongside a stream. Birds were singing, the skies were blue, there was an ululating symphony of frogs (no really, there was). Temps were in the 60s, and would be 70F before we stopped.

All was right with the world.

So my calf hurt. And I ignored it. What, was I gonna go home without even trying??? Not likely. I started running with two other girls. And we went up hills and down hills. Past woodland creatures and human creatures. It was all good. Until mile 5 when I stopped. Because ouch. It hurt. Like for reals. Like an am-I-gonna-make-it? kinda hurt.

My running buddies were great, stopping with me. I cursed myself for not bringing my customary $10 for a cab...until I realized—no cabs in the woods. I have never (knock wood) not finished a training run. Ever. So I wasn't too eager for today to be my first.

I stopped, stretched, massaged, gritted my teeth, examined my options— a loooooooong 5-mile-walk-or-run back, or run onward 2 miles to the turnaround. Of course, it was ONWARD!

By now my will (which was weak to begin with) was pretty much shot. I was hanging on, helped by healthy doses of stretching, massaging, and lots of moaning. (Always a pleasure to run with me!) I made it to 7 miles and then? I had to run back.

Time to HTFU, again.

It took 3:06. A blistering 13-minute-mile pace.

Take that Miss Fancypants Speed Development!!

My poor running mates. They were such good sports. I can only hope that I'd be as kind confronted with a gimpy running mate.

So here it is Monday.

My calf is still sore, but I'm pretty sure (after much consultation with Dr. Google) that I didn't tear anything. I've been massaging it like mad. But what to do with Tuesday night's speed session (that would be TOMORROW night), Internet People?! Do I go? Or no go? And what to do with Saturday's 14-miler??

And more importantly, what to do about those $@!$ shoes?

Back to the shoe store? Run/no run?

(You really have to wonder how I get dressed by myself in the morning. Well, the answer is: I don't. Number One Daughter consults. Daily. It's frightening.)

I've got the National half coming on March 21. I really really wanted to kick Danielle's ass! Or Ray's. (Hi Danielle & Ray! Just kidding! Ha ha!)


In other news:

1. Call has been made to upstairs landlord about possibly DRAINING THE LAKE that's inside his apartment; and


(Thanks Neal, and the rest of you. You know who you are.)

Although I have no desire, and I will not, under any circumstances, actually enter, or even pretend to enter, or remotely consider entering, a half-ironman.


Friday, March 06, 2009

14 Miles in the A.M.

We are really ramping up the miles over here at NBTR headquarters, with 14 miles on the schedule tomorrow. I am NOT looking forward to it (really? no kidding?) as last week's 12 miles was horrifying. Luckily I ran with two women who would NOT allow me to stop. Of course I was bleeding to death last week (TMI? Sorry!) so it's possible things will go better, but if I didn't expect the worst, then, well, I dunno what might happen! The world might stop spinning.

Meanwhile, let's drop in on what I've charmingly dubbed:

When we last visited, our heroine was avoiding numerous mundane and stultifyingly boring or exciting, but scary, tasks. Let's see how much progress she's made:

Kitchen: None.

Taxes: Um, nada.

Match.com: Wrote to a few people, no reply.

Pick a tri, ANY TRI: Uh, try try again. (heh)

Submit bills to insurance: Nope! Although I did put them in a pile.

Write upstairs landlord about falling-in bathroom ceiling: Did. Nothing.

Start writing short story for contest, deadline of March 16: I did actually open Word. I wrote one sentence tonight, then decided I needed to blog.

Swim coach: Posted query on D.C. Tri forum, contacted one coach. YAY!!! I ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING! WHEEE!!!

Let's add another item to Team Inaction!: All my New (old) Tri Program peeps have signed up for DC Tri's Half-Ironman Training program. It's only $50. I have no desire to do a half-ironman, and I think the training would be too much for me. So what's the problem, you ask? I have no plan, and I think it would be fun training with these people. SO, you ask, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

The problem is I seem utterly unable to make any decisions.


In other exciting news, I saw the President today. His motorcade went right by my office. His daughter goes to school just up the street from where I work, and he and Mrs. O. attended a parent-teacher conference. (Seriously, can you imagine? "So, your daughter is having a tough time fitting in. Anything going on at home we should know about?") So they closed the street (not an easy feat), there were about 200 cops, motorcycles, PLUS a helicopter, and everyone came out and watched and waved. It was exciting.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

So Not a Good Idea

For a decaffeinated vegetarian who gave up sugar for Lent... to do a hard 6-mile track workout after work, during which I consumed one Gu (Expresso with 2x CAFFEINE!), only to drive directly to the grocery store afterwards to buy fried chicken (I have no idea! I had a craving!), a Coke (the Real Thing. First one in years!), and 10,000 malted milk balls.

There's a war going on in my stomach and I think I'm losing.

Last night's workout:

There was snow on the track, so we headed to a local neighborhood where coach had mapped out 1200 meters (first 800 downhill, final 400 up. you don't get that on a track), and a 400 recovery loop.

5x 1200, 400 recovery, 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cooldown. It was dark. I was hungry. It was 10F, and I still managed to overheat.

My target pace: 7:40

mile 1 1200 (followed by 400 recovery is what I meant to say): 7:51
mile 2 1200: 7:27
mile 3 1200: 7:41
mile 4 1200: 7:33
mile 5 1200: 7:25

I don't get how some people can talk and laugh while they're doing a track workout. At least I don't get how they can carry on while my lungs are coming out of my nose. It's most annoying.

Monday, March 02, 2009

22 Miles and a Rant

That was my run total for last week. Not too shabby. I got there doing 5 miles on the track, 5 mile tempo on the dreadmill, and 12 long bloody miles on the Capital Crescent Trail on Saturday.

I'm cranky. I'm cranky and crabby. I have too much to do. I have an endless loop in my head of crap that needs to be taken care of and it's getting on my last nerve. Maybe if I write it all (or most) down here (you lucky people!), I'll feel better.

My kitchen is a disaster. The wood floor has come up in places. One drawer completely fell apart. We stripped all the wallpaper three months ago and it's been like that ever since.

So I had to hire a guy to repair the kitchen. I found someone with good references and he came Saturday and now I'm waiting for his estimate. Except his estimate depends on all this other stuff. It's not like I have a big kitchen. It's not like I want to do anything elaborate. Why oh why can't I live in Russia where you get one kitchen and you learn to love it?!?!

But no. I get to Make Decisions on all kitchen stuff. I suck at making decisions. Like counters: laminate? or corian? I have about 3 feet of counter space. But I don't want to spend a lot because the plan is to rent this place out and move when Number One Daughter leaves. But laminate is so crappy and it doesn't hold up. But if I install Corian, am I overimproving?

Meanwhile, everyday my condo's market value drops. Sigh.

Then I have to decide about the kitchen floor: vinyl, right? and the kitchen guy says buy vinyl tiles. But what color? And what kind?

Cabinets: I have 8 cabinets in my enormous kitchen, all made out of papier-mâché and should probably be replaced. But kitchen guy gave me three options: paint, replace doors, or buy new cabinets.

How the hell do I know??! Plus I have to pick out colors. For EVERYTHING.

Most women love this stuff, right? Am I missing a gene? Am i a MAN?!?!

So last Thursday, I'm sitting on my couch, minding my own business breathlessly awaiting Top Chef finale when it starts RAINING IN MY BATHROOM. Yes, again, the upstairs neighbors have a leak in their bathroom. This is the third time. I had to clean the mess, call the condo office, then call the owner (he doesn't live there, he lets his maid and her 25 bongo- and karaoke-playing relatives live there), and schedule contractors to replace the ceiling.

Last night those same neighbors had sex. Ask me how I know this??!

Find a swim coach.

Do Something About Biking. I bought a crappy broken $30 bike trainer which I've yet to use. So I'm going to a crappy spin class. I should drag my bike to the bike store and go to a REAL spin class. But I can't get my act together.

Decide what tris I'm going to do and SIGN UP.

Do my freakin' taxes!!

Sort bills. Please please sort them out, I'm begging you.

Send dresses back to E. who sent them to me for possible use at The Ball. I have had the box at work next to my desk since JANUARY 20!

While you're at it, CLEAN YOUR DESK. PLEASE!

Submit various bills to insurance company.

Answer that guy who wrote you on match.com. You can totally do this!

Sign up for writing class. Start. Writing.

Start feeling bad now about Number One Daughter moving out in May. Why wait?

Start looking for new place to live. But put that on hold until you fix kitchen and bathroom ceiling....