Wednesday, July 29, 2009


With Dave usually on travel during the week, there is no one in my house but my fish to witness what I do. And they do have a way of tattling on me. But I've been sneaking around them.

What have I been doing?

Well, anyone who knows me well knows I'm an over-doer by nature. I can do the right or wrong things to the point it doesn't really matter which I've done. In particular, I think I maybe overdoing this heat training stuff. At home, not even going outside, LOL.

The main part of our house is set to 82 degs and this is primarily so that I don't kill any more aquarium fish (they don't seem to like it when their water temps get above 84-86). The rest of the house, however, can get much hotter, especially upstairs where our home gym is located. Ahhh ... If I'm working, working out or sleeping in a room for a while, I usually set the thermostat for that zone to 85 (if Dave were around, usually the temp would be 77-82). Last night, though, I did a weight workout upstairs and the thermostat read 99(!). Bah, why turn on the A/C? I can handle the heat now, plus I'll be saving on our electric bill.

Well, I think I paid for it this morning in the pool. Just felt tired and unable to stay as focused. It was only a 2000 yd workout and I even skipped a 50, I later found out when recording the yardages and paces from my watch. Couldn't even count to 4!

At first I thought it was just lifting too much too late but Dave reminded me that I'd also done a very hot workout. Oh yeah, forgot about that part. And did I drink much while I was dripping and leaving puddles all over the place? NO (maybe 12 oz). Or afterwards? Noooo, too tired. DOH!

Another one of those stupid fathead things I do from time to time. In my zeal to HTFU and JUST DO IT, I just don't think sometimes.

Anyway, gotta go outside and do my yard now. Anyone ever try attaching a bike aero bottle to their mower?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tag About Threes

Saw this fun tag on Wendy's blog. I am not going to tag anyone either but if you want to do it, consider yourself tagged!

Three names I go by:
1. Shirley
2. ShirleyPerly
3. Muffin (Dave's nickname for me)

Three jobs I have had in my life:
1. Computer consultant (now)
2. Oceanographer/Computer Scientist (out of college)
3. Waitress (first-ever job)

Three places I have lived:
1. Orlando, FL (where I am most of the time)
2. La Jolla, CA (where I attended grad school)
3. Richmond, CA (where I grew up)

Three favorite drinks:
1. Coffee (usually only in the mornings)
2. Diet cola (not picky about brand)
3. POM Wonderful pomegranate juice*

Three TV shows that I watch right now:
NONE - I don't have time to watch TV! (no cable either)

Three places I have been recently:
1. Kailua Kona, HI (June-July)
2. San Diego, CA (June)
3. Fargo, ND (May)

Three people who e-mail me regularly:
1. Hubby Dave
2. Coach Bill
3. Karen (work associate)

Three of my favorite foods:
1. Grilled salmon (a rare treat, maybe 2-3 times a year)
2. Strawberries (an occasional treat a few times a year)
3. Jalapeno bagels (when I fly through Chicago-ORD)

Three things I'm looking forward to:
1. Moving to Hawaii full-time
2. Being able to swim 100 yards in 1:30
3. Doing a race with my grandkids (when I have some and they're old enough)

*I got some samples of POM Wonderful recently -- WOW! I really like the taste of it (kind of a tart grape-cranberry flavor to me) and it's loaded with anti-oxidants, great for me because even though I eat a lot of fruits & veggies, I know I don't eat much foods high in antioxidants. And I know I should but I'm a LAZY eater who's content to eat the same ol' foods unless a change is obviously needed (say, I'm getting sick or feeling weak). This makes it easy, though. Thanks POM!


Workout-wise, another tough weekend but I nailed my nutrition and all went well:

Fri - 3000 yd swim (3x1000, new 1000 yd swim PR of 19:41) + strength training
Sat - 12 mi run (11am, 91-93 deg HI, 9:46 pace, neg split, AHR 151 - low Z2)
Sun - 70 mi bike (17.5 mph, 81-96 deg HI, flat course, low wind, neg split, AHR 140 - hi Z1)
      + 8 mi run (noon, 96-94 deg HI, 9:16 pace**, neg split, AHR 157 - Z2)
**About 30 sec faster than my iron marathon goal pace (see blue box to the right) but felt great and was trying to beat a thunderstorm that was moving in.

I'm not sure why Coach scheduled this week's long brick workout the day after the long run but it was a nice change and I'm not gonna complain :-)  I will talk more about my nutrition in an upcoming post. That and dealing with the heat are probably the two biggest challenges in my iron quest this year.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chain Condom???

No, it's not something kinky. It's something bikey! Helps keep bike chain grease from getting all over the place: in your car, in rental cars, in suitcases, in hotel rooms, in your house and even in your bed! (Dave steps on it barefoot, it goes where he goes). Warning: If you ship it to work, you might get questions from nosey co-workers who see the package.

Yippee! I got my invite, based on my finish at the RnR Man Half Iron. But I won't be doing it, unfortunately. I'm doing another half iron the weekend after and that one will be an important test of how I handle the heat at The Great Floridian. Still, nice to have made the cut!

The stock market the last couple days? No, it's my HR during my Tues run. 5 miles, no problemo -- HA! It was evil at 6pm in temps that still felt like 90+ degs and totally obvious I haven't done much hard effort running recently ... UGH.

Mile 1 warm-up (9:09, AHR 146) - Plenty warm after just 10 steps.
Mile 2 hard (6:56, AHR 165, max 182) - ouch, Ouch, OUCH!!
Mile 3 easy (11:43, AHR 149) - Gasp, I'm dying :-(
Mile 4 hard (7:07, AHR 169, max 183) - Oh no, not again!!!
Mile 5 cool-down (9:28, AHR 157) - I'm too old for this stuff.
Lesson learned: Mornings or 7pm would be better for speed work.

My Garmin FR 305 arrives tomorrow! Been using Dave's old Garmin Edge 305 for biking & running but it has no wristband so I've been carrying it in a Fuel Belt pocket, not ideal when needing to monitor pace and HR often (running by feel is unreliable for me in the heat, as you can see from the splits above). Why not the new Garmin 310XT? Too expensive, plus it seems to have bugs that need working out. (Update 7/25: Kevin has figured out how to get the 310 working!)

Drats! And no spare swim cap with me, of course. But I could still wear it so I decided to go ahead with my swim today and fiddle with it as needed (I have a LOT of hair and can't swim without a cap). 6x500, 1 min rest in between, easy-med-fast-med-easy-fast. Swam a new fastest 500yd time of 9:21 (1:52/100yd) -- Whoohoo!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fight the Pudge

Well, I'm back in Orlando now and the first couple workouts here have gone well. But this was sort of a recovery week and Mother Nature foiled my plans to run 8 miles in the heat of the day by brewing up a thunderstorm. It was 91 degs (heat index 99) when I started out and it dropped down to 82 degs (HI 87) by the time I got done -- Heavenly!

But I know I won't always be so lucky so I must continue to fight the pudge. Pudge?

Yes, for me, this is mainly excess adipose tissue in between my ears that causes me to want to be lazy and take the easy way out, or seek comfort in doing only the things I want to work on, which are not usually the things I need to work on. It has also been known to lead to FS (Fathead Syndrome) whereby I think I can pull a rabbit out of a hat without having either a rabbit or a hat.

Like here at my first-ever tri.

What idiot thinks you really don't need to be comfortable in water to swim 400m?

But this year, I'm committed to fighting the pudge, specifically, training hard but also training smart. The Great Floridian, the first of my two iron tris, is notoriously hot and hilly (for FL). Only the swim will probably be in sub-80 deg temps.

So I've been compiling a list of things to help me stay motivated out in the heat whilst most folks I know near me are doing their best to avoid it. FWIW, here's what I got:

- Make sure to stay well hydrated. This is an obvious one but one that I still struggle with as I hate to stop to pee during a bike ride or run. It's getting better, though. I'm planning my routes more carefully to go by places to refill my fluid bottles and make pit stops, as well as giving my body more time to do its business before heading out. One good thing about "wanting" to train in the heat is I don't have to leave super early and can go whenever I feel ready.

- Prepare for the worst. Coach says there's nothing like training in heat - painful sometimes but it will really help you get your nutrition down and be ready for anything on race day. Nuff said.

- Bring a little of Hawaii with you. This may not apply to everyone but wearing one of several colorful items I bought there makes the heat seem more tolerable. I remember the island's beauty and am also reminded that someday I hope to qualify for a certain Kona race and that racing well in heat is a must for that.

- Log weather conditions and HR too. Like logging food or weight, numbers only make sense if you know their context and what's right for you. Faster is not better if you're working way outside your target HR zone and progress can be seen even if you don't go any faster in the same conditions but are able to do so at a lower HR. Weather numbers will also be useful for the next item.

- Use the Daniels Running Calculator. Seeing what your equivalent running times/paces would likely be in cooler temps will make you feel better about running slower in heat. My recent Kona half marathon time of 1:40:26, for instance, is equivalent to a 1:37:33 in 60 degrees or less. Only 26 seconds off my half mary PR!

- Compare your performance relative to others'. Just because a PR is unlikely at a hot race doesn't mean you can't still race well. More often than not when it's hot, I find that I move up in the AG and overall standings, which is always nice. Bring on global warming! JK ;-)

- Remember that training in heat will make you stronger. It's a hardship that your body and mind can adapt to and will become stronger from. I should be taking advantage of all that I have right outside my door. Do athletes who live in Colorado avoid training on hills or at altitude?

- Cool your body down ASAP when you're done. Dipping in a cool pool or sitting in an ice water bath while sipping a cold recovery drink feels soooo good after a hot long workout. They are also great for short term memory loss so I can get out there and do it again.

Feel free to leave your tips on embracing the heat or fighting pudge in general!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Iron Mumbo Jumbo

Sorry, no new photos from the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce today. This is just an update on my iron training. I'm now 5 months into it with only 4 to go!

And this weekend was a biggie, the first one clearly beyond my half iron comfort zone. Poor Dave missed out (he had to return to the mainland last weekend) so it was just me and training partners myself and I. We psyched ourselves up by first reviewing the IM time goals that Coach and I discussed last month following the Rock 'n Roll Half Iron:

Swim 1.2 mi - 1:30 (2:07/100y) with a wetsuit
Bike 112 mi - 6:30-6:45 (16.6-17.23 mph)
Run 26.2 mi - 4:15-4:30 (9:44-10:18 pace)
Total race time - sub-13 hours.

Note: I know better than to think that everything will go according to plan on race day so these numbers are just to act like a hot poker stick for me in training. Although I have yet to complete an iron distance tri, this go-around I want to give myself the chance to do more than just try to make the cut-offs because, one, I think I can and, two, I'm no longer content with squeaking by, not by choice anyway. Gotta keep things fun and interesting!

Then off we went to do the workouts:

Friday - Swam 3500 yds: 7x500 with 1:00 min rest @ 2:04/100 avg pace. As directed, I practiced sighting, breathing every 5 strokes to build lung capacity (I prefer breathing every 3 or 4) and did some "fast" and endurance paced 500s (1:55-2:02/100). This was my longest swim since 2006 and a far cry from where I used to be back then, indeed, even at the start of this year when just one 500 was not all that easy for me, really. Check plus.

Saturday - Rode 75 mi: Total avg speed 16.6 mph, the lower end of my IM bike goal pace range, but ~70 mi were on the legendary Queen K highway @ 16.9 mph (the rest through town & traffic). Only in the last 15 miles when pushing pretty hard against the usual headwind (and watching my average speed drop lower and lower) did I feel lonely and want someone to commiserate with, not draft. Honest! Afterwards, a 45 min brick run: 4.7 miles @ 9:34 pace in 85 degs (89 heat index). A bit faster than my IM run goal pace but it felt comfortable so hopefully that means my bike nutrition and pacing were good. Check.

Sunday - Ran 13 mi: 9:47 avg pace in 85-86 degs (89-90 heat index). Waited till the hottest part of the day and selected a nice rolling, fairly shadeless route with plenty of heat radiating back from the black pavement too but there turned to be a nice breeze. Darn ;-) Actually ran the first 4 miles at an 11:05 pace(!) which meant needing a big negative split to get back into my goal pace range (you can do the math). Lesson learned: Need to wear my Garmin where I can see it more readily, as opposed to in my back pocket. It's quite possible for me to take running easy too far on tired legs. Check minus.

So, overall, a good weekend of workouts. The real test, however, will be how I do back in Orlando where it's generally hotter & stickier. But that won't be for another few days :-)

Hope everyone's week goes well!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rewarding Yourself

This is something I'm not very good at, really. Rather than give myself a break or some treat for achieving something, I'm more likely to simply raise the bar higher and jump right into my next challenge.

It's nothing new for me. I never attended or celebrated my college graduations either, opting instead to go straight into grad school and then a full-time job after that. Most of my "rewards" in endurance sports, come to think of it, have been signing up for new races, getting new equipment to replace or augment old ones, seeking out better ways to train, etc. -- all stuff that could lead me to do more, more, MORE!

And while that may sound good, it can also be like supplying heroin to a drug addict. So I've been practicing rewarding myself differently while here in Kona, just to mix things up. Here's some proof of my recent debauchery:

I bought a new kit from Bike Works (top only shown here). I really didn't need one and it's not going to make me go any faster but it was just so darn cute. Total splurge!

Before the race award ceremony, we chilled and just gazed upon some tranquil tide pools. After several minutes, we realized that some of the rocks in the water were actually sea turtles! Nice not to always be in a hurry. (Click for a closer look at one)

And this one sunbathing seemed to be sending me a message. Hmm ... (Clickable)

Just for grins, we tried out a nearby surfer's snack shop despite having a fridge full of much healthier options back in the condo. Gorgeous view and great company.

My first whole hot dog in something like 30 years and Dave's second-ever Loco Moco plate dish (white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy). No fear! No regrets!

Saw some 4th of July fireworks, another first in years. Usually we don't do much besides ride our bikes on holidays but this only involved stepping out onto the lanai. It's a start!

How do you reward yourself?

Big congrats to everyone who raced last weekend, in particular, Cliff and Leana, who both completed half iron tris, and RunningGeezer262 who ran as a first-time guide for a blind runner in a 5K event and the guy also happens to be training for an Ironman. Click here for RG262's great read!

This past week's workouts:
Swimming (3) 7450 yds
Cycling (3) 125.66 mi
Running (2) 13.36 mi