Monday, February 23, 2009

Gotta Eat & WIN!

Continuing to improve slowly but I should be wearing this sign when doing bike and run interval workouts.

Because that's when my nose decides to let loose the mucous and cause enormous amounts of coughing and spitting.

Otherwise, I'm fine. Well, except when I do stupid things like forgetting to eat after a late night 9-mile run on my treadmill and then neglecting to bring any food for a 50-mile bike ride the next morning. Doh! By themselves, neither of those workouts should have been a big deal but within 12 hours of each other and not having replenished during or after the run, the second half of the bike ride turned into a bonkfest (thanks also to horrible headwinds nearly the entire way home).

Luckily, we went by a minimart at mile 41 so I could get some sugar into me before I fell over. Managed to make it home safe, ate a quick lunch then crashed for 2 hours. Later for dinner I gobbled down a couple pieces of DiGiorno self-rising crust Spicy Chicken pizza with added spinach on top. Dare I say I'm now a fan of pizza?

Anyway, it wasn't necessarily pretty but week three is in the books:

3 full-body strength workouts (added more variety and resistance to some exercises)
1 swim (2250 yards - a dreadfully slow swim on my own)
2 runs (15.88 mi - one speed/snot workout and one steady pace run)
2 bike rides (73.2 mi - one speed/snot workout and one long, tough, windy ride)

In other news, I am giving WIN Sport Detergent a 5 out of 5 star rating. As some of you may know, laundry is Dave's job and being that he's usually only home on weekends, that's when it usually gets done. It's not at all uncommon that our sweaty workout clothes sit in the washer or in plastic hotel laundry bags for a few days until they get washed. And more than once my poor workout clothes have come out of the wash smelling WORSE than when they went in :-( One red shirt of Dave's, in particular, had been washed many times but stank immediately upon him wearing and sweating in it again, as if the previous sweat and bacteria had just been temporarily masked but not really removed. And for him to notice it must have been quite offensive!

But the WIN sport detergent worked like a charm. Not only did everything come out of the wash smelling fresh, they did NOT stink again as soon as they were worn and worked out in again. This has NEVER happened before with our regular laundry detergent or with samples of Penguin SportWash we'd tried before. And this is the closest that red shirt has gotten to my nose in years.

Each bottle of WIN is good for 14 loads so a 4-pack at $21.99 (plus $8.95 shipping)* will keep us stink-free for a year and for less than the cost of a pair of bike shorts. Great for frugal folks like us who don't like to buy new workout clothes unless they either fall apart or smell so bad we can't stand to wear them any more.

Thanks WIN!!!

*WIN offers a risk-free guarantee. If you are not happy with the product, they'll refund you the purchase price less shipping charges.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Anchors Away

Well, I may have spoken too soon. By Monday I only had a residual cough and some post nasal drip so I happily emailed Coach Bill that I was recovering well and ready to resume my normal routine.

Perhaps no big deal for someone whose routine is to just sit around most of the time. But for someone who was thinking she'd just bounce back to doing her workouts full force, there was still something definitely amiss!

Like who attached a big fat anchor to me so that swimming 100 yards in 2:00 would all of a sudden seem like such a chore? Who's messing with the weights at the gym making them feel heavier? Why do I sound and feel like an 800# gorilla when I run?


Luckily, there's someone stopping me from trying to make up sucky workouts, esp. that swim, which was my only scheduled swim workout this week and really shook my confidence. How could I have gotten so slow in just a week?

But I'm gonna stick to the plan and keep moving ahead. Thou shalt not obsess about performance so early in the game and particularly following an illness, right?

There is one thing I do feel good about so far this week, however, and that's my stretching. As you can see below, I used to be quite flexible (that's me doing the splits!).

But after a few years of not stretching regularly, my hip flexors and hammies had gotten so frickin tight I could barely touch my toes. Not good! So I started diligently stretching after lifting weights (3 times/week) and it has already seemed to make a difference. The first time I did some speed work a couple weeks ago, my right (previously injured) hammy started complaining after doing a few fast intervals of running. Today, I didn't hear a peep from it and I pushed my pace a little harder. Woohoo!

Now if I can just get rid of this darn lingering illness crap!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

No Race, No Worries

Thank you, everyone, for your well wishes! Except for some occasional coughing and post-nasal drip, I'm pretty much back to normal. YAY!

As for the half marathon yesterday, I decided against doing it, although I'm confident that I could have run it easy and finished. Why did I opt to take my first-ever DNS (Did Not Start)?

Because some things are more important than a race, especially one that was "C priority."

I signed up for the 26.2/13.1 Run with Donna (aka National Marathon to Fight Breast Cancer) nearly a year ago to run it with some friends. Being three hours away and on Valentine's Day weekend, I thought it would make a nice weekend getaway with my husband too. But Friday night, Dave came home from the west coast sick with the same flu bug I had this week. It hit him the same time but he'd not had the luxury to rest as much as me while on travel and he desperately needed to recuperate before heading out on his next business trip Monday (today).

So rather than drag him to the race sick or spend the weekend without him, I chose to stay home and make sure both of us got some extra rest. There was no day-of-race packet pickup available anyway even if I'd gotten the urge to drive 6 hours roundtrip and run the race spur of the moment.

Instead, we shared some soup, snuggles and sniffles. Then the next day we were feeling well enough to go out so we did something we've never done before. We both dressed in pink, headed over to Costco and ransacked the food sampling stations (OK, just the first one we'd never done before :-)

Exercise-wise, I still managed to do all my assigned workouts this week, albeit some were at a lower resistance/intensity level:

3 full-body strength workouts (starting to notice some adaptations!)
2 swims (4950 yards - one group swim, one on my own with 500 yds kicking -- bleah)
2 runs (14 mi - one easy run and one semi-speed workout)
1 bike ride (41 mi - easy, optional ride)

Week two down and hopefully no more illnesses for the rest of the year!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Three Letter Workout

WOWEE! I've sweated more than I have running a marathon. My whole body ached as if I'd just done a maximal strength workout 50 times. My heart rate stayed elevated for two days and I lost 2 pounds.

So what was this amazing workout I did? Was it CrossFit, Kettlebells or some other latest killer functional workout?

Yeah, I wish.

Unfortunately, it was the darn FLU. The little cough I had Monday night morphed into something much more evil after my Tuesday morning swim. I spent much of the day and all day Wednesday in bed.

Today I'm feeling much better. Did one strength workout today and I'm clearly not 100%, but even 50% is far better than before. This Sunday I have a half marathon in Jacksonville (a couple hours away) that I had been planning to run with some friends and Coach Bill says to use my judgement. It's one thing to make a dumb mistake on your own when no one's looking but another when someone is watching. Hopefully the answer will become more apparent by Sunday.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

This week's lessons: sit, lay down, roll over.

Previously I've done things mostly my way when it came to exercise. Having been a fitness instructor, read a lot of books about triathlon & running training and attended a running coach certification course, many friends have often asked me for exercise/training advice and I'd tell them what I thought was best.

But do I always follow my own advice?

Are all doctors and nurses the picture of perfect health? Do parents always do what they tell their kids to do? NOOO!!!

In many ways, I am my own worst enemy. A former workaholic, I'm still very driven and competitive at heart (does that ever really change?). I take for granted things I can do well. The other things I think I can do too if I just work hard enough and keep at it. In either case, often I overdo things (shocking, I know!) and don't get the results I want.

That's why I need a coach. To save me from myself, so to speak, and especially this year with two iron tris on tap. What, doing full iron distance workouts a couple times a month is not a good idea?

And the first task Coach Bill has me doing is building a solid muscular base, which I've really never done before for triathlons (I just went straight to doing all the fun endurance stuff!). This means cutting back on my swimming, biking and running mileages (GAH!!) and doing more strength workouts. But, really, could I expect to build any strength at all while breaking down my body with all the cardio I like to do?

Here's a summary of this week's key workouts:

3 full-body strength workouts (easy resistance - just get back into regular strength training)
2 swims (3900 yards - one group swim, one on my own)
2 runs (13.25 mi - one easy run and one track workout; clearly obvious I've not done any speed work in a while)
1 bike ride (38.5 mi - easy, optional ride; mandatory for my mental health!)

No doubt the hardest part for me is not doing more, a LOT more. It reminds me of when I began training in karate (about 10 years ago). The average time it took to earn one's first degree black belt was four years and during that time we spent a lot of time on fundamentals and basics, not the self defense techniques that drew me to martial arts. The term we used to stay motivated and focused was "Black Belt Spirit," even as white belts. The term I will use to do the same in my training this year is "Heart of a Champion." I may not win any races but I can still have a winning attitude that will get me where I want to go.

Week one down!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Booty Haul

Hey, who knew Christmas would come first week in February?

Two new tires for Buffy, my travel bike. She loves new shoes!

Zoom Yah Yah Indoor Marathon race medal and long sleeve t-shirt with race results printed on the back. Unknowingly, I beat the other woman in my division by only 16 secs!

Souvenirs Dave brought home from Singapore: Silk scarf and gold orchid necklace/earrings. They're actually gifts for Dave's boss and admin (I wouldn't know what to do with them).

What he brought home for me: Free slippers from the Intercontinental Hotel and United Business class slippers and snacks. These I can put to good use. In fact, I'm wearing the white slippers right now and there were originally 3 of those airline snacks :-)

Another cold spell from Mother Nature. Coach Bill cancelled the 6am group swim today because it'd be below freezing outside so I got to sleep in and then hauled my booty down to my local Y pool around 11am when it'd warmed up a little. The pool is heated now but still deserted.

WIN Sports Detergent and a stinky workout shirt of Dave's. He brought it back from Singapore all rolled up and still sweaty (Yuck!). It will continue to ferment and ripen along with our other workout clothes until laundry day, usually Sunday. Stay tuned for my WIN Detergent product review next week!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

What Super Bowl?

Usually the only way I know that the Super Bowl is on is that Dave is sitting in front of the TV playing on his laptop waiting for the commercials. I can talk to him and ask him to do something quick during the game BUT NOT DURING THE COMMERCIALS.

This year is different, however. Dave will be nowhere near a TV that will be airing it. Where is he now, you ask?

Actually, I can't say for sure but somewhere high in the sky living out one of his longtime dreams: A Trip Around the World!

This is something he's wanted to do since high school/college (25+ yrs) when his folks used to live in Saudi Arabia. He had always traveled there and back going over the Atlantic but never over the Pacific like he saw some people do.

Now you might wonder why did I not go too. For most people, it's a trip of a lifetime, something that couples usually want to do together, right?

TRUE. But let me clarify.

This trip around the world is pretty much just that. Dave has no interest in going outside of any airports to sightsee along the way except in Singapore, where he'll teach a one or two day class, the main purpose of this trip. All he really wants to do is sit on an airplane, encircle the earth and be able to say he went around the world. It'll take him 20+ hours flying time to get to Singapore (Orlando-DC-Frankfurt-Singapore) and another 20+ hours to come home (Singapore-Tokyo-Los Angeles-Orlando). He'll have 50 hours on the ground in Singapore. Total trip time including layovers: 5 days.

No thanks!

But I fully support him carrying out his dreams and better yet on someone else's dime :-) Below are a couple pictures of a happy husband on his dream trip so far. Perhaps by sharing his lunacy, I'll seem somewhat normal ...

Left: In my car headed to the airport, the first of many seats on his trip. Right: On the first leg to Washington DC. Looks to have an empty seat next to him in the exit row, which is pretty lucky!

Dulles airport as seen from the United Airlines Crown Room where he'll no doubt make good use of the free drinks and snacks.

Meanwhile, this week was pretty lax for me in terms of workouts. I wanted to make sure I began next week as mentally and physically fresh as possible. January's maintenance mode workout totals ended up being as follows:

8 runs - 74.2 mi
11 bike rides - 363.47 mi
10 swims - 24,200 yds
4 other workouts - 2:15 hrs

I'm not sure how much the training volume will change initially but looking forward to following an actual plan and having a coach. BTW, it now appears our new bikes won't be ready until end of February, later than we'd hoped but some things are better not rushed.

Hope everyone has a great Super Bowl Sunday!