Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reflecting on 2009

The year is almost over and since Beginner Triathlete keeps track of these things for me, I have some data from 2009. These numbers will be my baseline for future years of fitness.

Here's what I did in '09:
Running - 531 miles
Biking - 650 miles
Swimming - 25, 500 yards
Weight Loss - 10 pounds
Races - 11 (one duathlon, five 5K's, one 5 mile road race, one half marathon, three sprint triathlons)
Smiles - too many to count

Every day I am thankful that I can move, see, and hear. All of my family is healthy and we have a warm place to live. 2009 was a good year! I hope that you had a good year, too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Fool for a Client?

I am a self-coached athlete for several reasons. The most obvious is that I'm a beginner, an amatuer, and have little to no talent for the sport. For another reason, check my occupation. However, I still take planning my training and racing very seriously. Last year I used two books: Total Heartrate Training and The Triathlete's Training Bible both by Joe Friel.

This fall I used a training plan from Runner's World Smart Coach to train for my half-marathon. I liked the way that running plan was structured, so I am using a similar one for my base period running training. I combined that plan with what I used last year to come up with a plan for this year. The Runner's World plan had me doing a longish tempo run mid-week which does not work for me when darkness comes right when I get home from work. I kept the Sunday long run, but spread the weekly miles out more evenly. I don't plan on doing another half marathon until the fall, so the longish run seemed unnecessary. Also, all my triathlons this year will be sprint distance, so the tempo run was traded for shorter intervals.

Who knows how this will all work out. Personally, I think that at my level, just getting out there and running, biking, and swimming will show improvement. I'm just ready to tri it again this season!

Monday, December 14, 2009

First Week Back

Training for traithlon season 2010 is under way in rural LA! I was apprehensive after taking two weeks off, but no worries. I had a five mile run, a seven mile run, and a two mile run that all felt good. I rode the bike trainer twice and lifted weights. I won't start swimming until Feb. or March because the pool is so far away. My 7 mile run was faster than my last 7 miler in October, so that is encouraging. Maybe you can teach old legs a new speed. If not, I'm okay with that too. Any day that I am not in a hospital bed is a good day for me. I am signed up for a 10 mile trail run at the end of January. It still blows my mind that I can even sign up for a race like that. That just proves that with dedication and a little faith, anyone can be fit.

On a totally unrelated note, the picture above shows what the inside of my heart looks like!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Break's Over

It's time to start training for the 2010 triathlon season. Two weeks off was fun, but I'm ready to start running, biking, and swimming. I'll ease back into it for a couple of weeks and see what those easy weeks did to my fitness. I'm a little scared to find out. My cousin took a week off after her half marathon and said her first 4 mile run was hard. This is all still new to me, so everything I do is an experiment. I have some easy runs and bikes, a tempo run, and a 7 mile long run scheduled for this week. We'll see how that goes.

Please check out If you are looking for a charity to donate to this holiday season, this is a worthy one.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Two Weeks Off

Thanksgiving break was the perfect week to begin a nice recovery. I got to relax, visit family, eat great food, and read lots of books. I was sore for about two days after the half marathon and then I felt good again. However, I know that I need some rest before I begin training for the 2010 triathlon season, even if it is just a mental break.
Of course, my training plan for December is already made up (in pencil) and I have races scheduled for early 2010. I can't sit around for too long! On January 2nd there is a short, fun duathlon that my sister MAY compete in with me. February is fun run time with local running club, including a 20K that I am looking forward to. In March, I hope to convince my husband to run his first 5K with me. (When I say with me, I actually mean in front of me, he is too fast for this slowpoke)
Until then, I'll keep reading books, doing a little yoga, and looking forward to hitting the pavement again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Am Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! My heart is full of gratitude this week, so I just thought I would make a list of SOME of the things I am thankful for. There is no way that I could list all of the good things in my life.

1. My husband and son
2. Good heath for my family and me
3. Living in a free country
4. Hot running water
5. My great job
6. Outside (the place, not the magazine)
7. My extended family and friends
8. A warm house
9. Never going hungry
10. Washable crayons and markers!

I hope that you have a great Thanksgiving day with your family and friends.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

YMCA Half Marathon

Philipians 4:13 has been personified! Just a year ago there was no way that I would have guessed that I could finish a half marathon, but yesterday I did. There is no doubt in my mind the real power behind this accomplishment, it's God. I'm not sure what the purpose is, maybe just to make me a stronger person, but I'm thrilled with the result.
The weather was perfect: low 50's and overcast. The rain held off until I was driving home. I felt great the whole time. I started off slow (that's really my only speed) and just focused on getting to mile 2. The course was interesting, we ran on a jogging trail along side the Red River. We ran through two tunnels, over bridges, under bridges, a loop by a boat launch, and then out and back along the trail. After mile 2, I thought about getting to mile 5. After mile 5, I focused on getting to the turn-around point. Once we turned around I just took it mile by mile. At about mile 9, I started to feel really good and sped up a little. I kept that good feeling all the way to the finish line and beyond.
My watch time was 2:28. Official times are not posted yet. My primary goal was just to finish, my secondary goal was to come in under 2:30. I am so thankful to be able to run. I appreciate my husband for always watching our son when I run and for being so supportive. This is the end of my first real triathlon season and I consider it a success. The next two weeks will be for relaxing and then work begins for next year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Five Mile Road Race - At Night!

Saturday night was a blast! Our son stayed at "Nana's" house and my husband and I went to the Riverside Five. I got a PR by almost 4 minutes and felt great. Afterwards we ate some Indian food. It's amazing how little it takes to make me content. I ended up being 4 out of 9 in my age group, which was considerably better than how I ranked at this race last year. The next day, I did an 11 mile run that was neither fast nor pretty. Half marathon is a week and a half away. My only job now is to rest up and not gain back those 10 pounds I lost!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Getting Excited

The YMCA Half Marathon is two weeks away. My last long run will be on Sunday. I have to squeeze it in between church and my nephew's birthday party. I love to run early Sunday mornings but with deer season in full swing, that is not a smart idea. Tapering seems like a good idea right about now because I am getting tired. My goal for this race is just to finish since it is my first half marathon. Luckily, it is right across the street from a great children's Science museum so my husband and son will have something to do for two hours+. Tomorrow night I will run the Riverside V, a very fun 5 mile road race at night. I am hoping to beat my time from last year, a very slow 52 minutes. Last year at this time my longest run was 7 miles and my average run was about 4 miles. This year my volume has increased, but I am not doing very much speedwork. So, we'll see...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sorry for absence!

Yikes, it has been a month since I have posted. I blame my cousins and in-laws. Every child in our family seems to have an October birthday. We have been to parties every weekend for 4 weeks straight with another one next week! Also, work has been busy and my husband's grandmother broke her hip. She is doing much better and things should calm down a little now on all fronts.

The 10 in 10 challenge is over and I lost 10 pounds. Many thanks to Athleteintraining for putting the challenge together, it was fun. I'm hoping to keep it up and lose about 8 more pounds. I'll keep you posted.

Half marathon training is in full swing. I just finished a 10 mile run, an unheard of distance for me last year. This Saturday I will do a fun 5 mile race and then it is just two weeks until the half marathon. I am finding that I really enjoy running those 8, 9, and 10 mile runs. I intend to take a two week break after the half-marathon and then slowly begin my traithlon training for the 2010 season.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ladies, Check Your Calves

I had a dermatologist appointment today to get an itchy mole examined. It's fine, but I did learn something interesting. The doctor said that many melanomas in women are on the skin of the calf. The calf of my leg is not a hot spot for me when it comes to smearing on sunscreen. The neck, ears, lips, face, back, shoulders, you know the routine. I guess I will pay a little more attention to protecting my lower legs from sun exposure. So, check you calves for moles. And when you get back from the cow pasture, check you lower legs, too. (That's just a little rural humor for ya!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Race for the Cure

Saturday was our local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. My mom is a three year breast cancer survivor, so we went to honor her. My sister and I did the 5K together. We have not run together since October of last year. She has a two year old and not much free time. We ran a little, walked a little, and talked the whole way. I think our mom enjoyed having all of us there with her. We certainly enjoyed having her there with us.
There was a ceremony to recognize the survivors, lots of booths, and lots of friends. When my mom crossed the finish line of the 1 mile walk, they announced that she was a survivor. She was delighted. It was also my sister's first time to go through a finish chute and she got a kick out of that. (I'll make her into a triathlete, yet...) We were very silly all day, but underneath that we were a little teary-eyed with gratitude that we still have our mom. Here's to all the survivors out there!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Long Run Plus Speed Work

I am following my half-marathon training plan and yesterday called for a seven mile run with three one mile repeats at a 9 minute per mile pace. Yeah, right. I haven't run at a 9 minute pace since the spring. I ran the 7 miles and gave a hard effort on three of those miles with a half mile easy jog in between. All of these long runs and easy runs at 11 minute per mile pace are making it very hard to run at a faster pace. Oh, well. My main goal for this first half marathon is to finish. I would love to do it in under 2.5 hours, but that would be icing on the cake. We'll see how tomorrow's Race for the Cure 5K goes. I am running with my sister at her pace, but I have no idea what her pace will be. I'll keep you posted...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Half-Marathon Training

This week begins my fifth week of my 14 week half marathon training plan. The last few weeks have been full of firsts for me. My first 15 mile running week. My first attempt at mile repeats (not pretty) and my first 8 mile run is coming up on Sunday. I am really enjoying running longer distances.
There are two special, running-related events this week. On Friday, Sept. 18th it is National Run@Work Day sponsored by the Road Runners Club of America. Saturday is my local Komen Race for the Cure. I run it in honor of my mom, a three year survivor! This year my mom, sister, and I are going together. My sister and I are running the 5K together with matching shirts and socks (too cute). There will be pictures, so check back on Sunday for a full report. I am not sure how I expect to run 3 miles Saturday and then turn around and run 8 on Sunday. I'll let you know...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

10 in 10 update

I have lost 3 pounds in 3 weeks during the 10 in 10 challenge. For some reason, putting your actual weight on a website keeps me very honest. I think that is the case for the other participants as well, because everyone seems to be on track. Check it out at

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More Than One Gear

Last summer when I started running regularly again with the idea of participating in races, every run was done at the same speed. Think of the person running just in front of the sag wagon in the last mile of a marathon. That was about my speed and probably what my form looked like. More of a lumber than a run.
While I have not gained much actual quickness in the last year or so, I have developed the ability to run at different paces for different types of runs. The first to develop was the "sprint" for speed work of 200 - 400 meters, with walk breaks in between. This is where I learned that you can pick your feet up off the ground while running.
Lately, I have been doing longer tempo style runs and have found a third gear. I can go a little faster than my long run lumber, but not as fast as my "sprint". I have found a middle speed. Incredible. This is another reason that I love triathlon, and running specifically. You are always finding something new within yourself. I wonder what else is in there?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Triathlon is to Teaching...

School has started again for me and as I am preparing for my students, I keep thinking about all the similarities between triathlon and the teaching profession. For example, in both cases skill level is assessed and a plan is designed to advance to a higher level of skill. Along the way more assessments are made to make sure that the plan is working.
As there is bio-individuality in athletes, there are different learning styles and background knowledge that make different people respond at different rates to training. Just like the athlete may try a wide variety of training foods until the idea combination is found, a teacher must try many approaches with students until they are successful.
All athletes cannot win first place at every race. Neither will all students make straight A's or understand a concept quickly and easily. But that does not mean that the effort of the competitor or student are worth any less, usually they work harder and should be honored for their achievements.

Monday, August 17, 2009

10 in 10 Challenge

Yahoo! The 10 in 10 Challenge started today. We are all trying to lose at least one pound per week for 10 weeks. Follow our progress at and on twitter by following 10in10challenge. There are lots of cool peolple trying to lose a little weight, join us!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This and That

First of all, thanks to all the people who have been reading this crazy thing! I can see that I have been getting hits, much to my surprise.
I did not lose any weight last week, BUT the official 10 in 10 challenge starts Monday. I will put the link up and other information when I have it.
My neck and upper back have been stiff and sore off and on for a few months now. I think that my bike fits me poorly and the handlebars are probably too low for me. The problem is, I have them raised as far as they will go. I will look into buying a new stem or new handlebars. I wish I could get a whole new bike but in the current economic climate, that ain't gonna happen, Cap'n. I used my first Icy/Hot patch this week and felt so old! I have been icing the sore spot and just generally babying it. It seems to be getting better and less inflamed. My plan is to ride my bike on the trainer so that I can sit a bit more upright until I can get new parts. In the grand scheme of things, it's not a serious injury and I'm grateful for that. I don't however, want to make it worse. In that vein I have not been carrying my huge son around (he's really too old for that anyway). I wish I could say that I can't do housework, but it's just not that big of a deal. So, I better go clean something now...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My New Toy!

I think that I have mentioned previously that I am cheap. Maybe thrifty or a good steward of resources would sound better. Either way, I wanted to know my running pace as I was running and not just at each mile but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. You know, because I'm cheap. I ended up buying a Garmin Forerunner 50 with a foot pod from Amazon at a really good price. I like to pretend I bought something with a foot pod and not GPS technology because most of my run route is covered over by trees (it really is) and I was afraid that the GPS could not get a consistent signal. But really, I just didn't want to pay that much for what would be for ME, essentially a toy.
I have only used it twice as it just came this week, but I already love it. I'm such a numbers type of girl, I get so excited seeing my pace and watching it change as the terrain changes or as I get tired. I can't wait to see the average speed that I run to all the songs on my iPod and arrange them for a great 5K race. I can't wait to see my heart rate at different running paces. Today I confirmed my suspicion that the neighbors' house is more than a half mile away. I knew it always took me longer to run a mile in that direction! Here's hoping that this will make me a better runner, and not just better at using a fancy watch...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

6 Week Challenge Results - and a new plan...

My 6 Week Challenge to myself to watch my portion sizes had mixed results. I did really well for 4 weeks out of 6, then had a couple of weeks where I fell off the wagon. I did not lose any weight, but according to my body fat scale (inaccurate, I know) I did lose 1.3% body fat. Since I will start my half-marathon training plan next week for a November race, I want better results than that. I am at a healthy body weight right now, but on the upper end. I figure if I can move toward the mid-range it will be easier on my knees and maybe I will run a little faster, too.
My new plan is to aim for losing a pound a week by following the guidelines given to me by a sports nutritionist. I know that the plan is healthy, specific to my needs, takes my training into consideration, and works. I just have to follow it! So, every Saturday I will report each week's results here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Tri Runner - Guest Post

Today's post is by George, The Tri Runner ( Please consider helping out his worthy cause!

Over the past few years I began to learn about the need for Bible translation. I didn’t know that there were 2,000 language groups around the world who don’t have the Bible in their own language. These groups represent approximately 196 million people. I’m also a triathlete. When I learned about the great need for translation, I wanted to find a way to spread the gospel and do it through triathlons. I learned about One Verse (, an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators ( at a Passion Conference. From there I found out about Team OneVerse ( It is a group of runners and triathletes who are running to help out the cause. We are all training for different races to help raise money for One Verse.
One Verse works specifically with national speakers who begin or complete the translation process for their own people group. Guided by a team of translators around the world, the Bible is steadily being translated into every language. Team OneVerse takes the preparation, determination, and energy to run a marathon & triathlons and infuses it with the ability to raise funds and awareness for this translation process.
How does it work? Right now I’m running the Ironman 70.3 Augusta in September to raise money and awareness for the cause. During my training, my goal is to raise $1500, which is over 55 verses translated into a previously un-reached language for $26 each (the average cost of translation as calculated by One Verse).
How can you help? You can sponsor me as I run the Augusta 70.3 in September. By doing this you will help spread God’s word to people who have never read the Bible in their own language. To sponsor me just click here:
Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Monday, August 3, 2009

River Cities Sprint Triathlon

August 2nd was the 29th anniversary of the River Cities Triathlon in Shreveport, LA. I am so grateful that I got to be a part of this very cool race. My friend R and her sister M came into town to race with me. R and I did our first triathlon together 10 years ago, so I was very glad to have her with me for this race.

On Saturday we picked up our packets (bag, beach towel, tech shirt, T-shirt, socks, sunglasses, gel) and drove out to Cypress Black Bayou park to check out the race course. We were pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the venue was. The lake looked very clean, the roads were in great condition, and the run course was through the forested park. We drove the bike course and kept saying how gentle the hills were (we didn't realized that they are not so gentle from a bike). We were driving in a huge rainstorm and were a little worried about the condition of the roads for the race, R and M had relatively new bikes and weren't sure how they would handle on very slick roads.

We needn't have worried because Sunday was a perfect day. We woke up at 4:00 to get loaded up and drive to the park by 6:30. Our families followed at a more sane hour. There were about 1200 participants in this triathlon and we were surprised at how efficiently we were parked. The transition area was ready when we got there and we found our bike slots and got our transition areas ready. A quick trip to the bathroom and we got body marked, then hit the beach to test the lake temperature. I was very happy to be able to see my hands go into the water as I was swimming, that meant that I would be able to see bubbles and feet as I approached another swimmer. We found our families right before the elite wave went off at 8:00. (don't worry, we weren't in THAT wave)

M's wave was in pink swim caps and they went off 4 minutes before our wave of yellow caps. There were 130 ladies in my wave, by far the largest swim start that I have ever been in. Actually, this was only my second open water swim triathlon and for the first 200 yards or so I wasted a lot of time trying to get clear of other swimmers. I found out that the swimmers in front of me were not a problem, what bothered me was having people so close to either side of me. They were harder to see and I had a brief thought of "Why did I want to do this again?" before I decided to just get to the first buoy. After that mental slap in the face, I put my head down and just swam. "Oh yeah, I know how to do this", I thought. I had forgotten to start my watch when our cannon went off, so I started it at the middle buoy. I knew I would negative split the swim since I wasted about 2-3 minutes getting my head right at the start. Before I passed the next buoy, I passed up some pink caps from the wave before me, so I knew that I was back on track. The rest of the swim went well and I ran up the beach and into T1.

Our families were there and I spent a little time waving and chatting with them while I was getting my bike stuff on. It was about 400 yards from my bike rack to the bike mount line and I walked as quickly as I could in my cleats, but I was getting passed by people running in theirs. I have got to practice running in my bike shoes, they are so slippery! I mounted my bike and took off. The bike route was on great roads and wound through a very pretty landscape. It had lots of rolling hills that were not big, but constant. On the flats I could get up to 21.5 mph, but on the hills had to drop down to about 10. I am usually by myself for most of the bike because my bike is heavy and I am not the best cyclist, but this race was so big that I had company the whole way. At times I could not go any faster because there was a line of people and I didn't know how to pass when everyone was spaced out like that without getting a drafting penalty. (Other times I couldn't go any faster because I just don't have great bike skills yet!)

I finished the bike and again had to walk my bike through the transition area. No family this time so I quickly switched shoes, put on my race belt, swapped my helmet for my visor and I was off. I usually have a stitch in my side for the first half mile or so after getting off the bike, so I just breathe and take it easy because I know it will pass. I started feeling good soon enough and it wasn't too hot. I have never been to any run with more water stops and volunteers handing out cool towels. There were even two sprinkler stations to run past and get wet. This race has tremendous volunteer support! I made a point to thank them for being there. People were calling out my number, "Go 297!" It was very encouraging. The run was loopy enough that I got to see M finishing up and cheer for her. I looked for R, but missed her, even though I knew she was in front of me by about 15 minutes. By my watch I ran the first mile in 10 minutes and the second in 9 minutes. By then I knew that I would not get a 5K PR. The bike course took too much out of my legs. About a quarter mile of the course was on a trail and that was my favorite part of the whole race. I was feeling good on the run, but something changed when I entered that trail. I felt even better, I'd go as far as to say I felt joyous on that dirt (mud) trail. I will have to look into trail running in the near future. I went into the finish feeling strong, despite the blisters that were forming on my right foot (so much for my no sock idea). I ran through an archway and stepped onto a mat. The announcer said my name and that was beyond cool! I thought I was done so I slowed down and even stared to walk until people yelled to GO, GO! Then I realized that the actual finish was about 5 yards ahead of me. Apparently that first mat was to scan you chip for your name and the final mat was your finish time. I was still too excited to hear my name called out to care that I started walking before I actually finished the race!

Here are my official results:

800 meter swim - 20:28
18.2 mile bike - 1:07 (16.5 mph average)
5K run - 30:15 (9:44 pace)
Total time - 2:03

*I decided that since it took me longer, I had more fun!

I highly recommend this race. It is beautiful, very well organized, has a goody bag like you wouldn't believe, and is full of friendly people.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Half Marathon Plans

I'm a planner, I can't help it. Even before I have finished my summer A race (see below), I am making plans for the winter's A race. I have fast 5K wishes and half marathon dreams. The longest road race that I have ever done is a 5 mile race. Last February I was planning to do a 20K race, but in late December my knees were too sore. I think that this was from not changing my shoes often enough (see below for foot weirdness) and hopefully that will not be factor this time as I gradually increase my mileage.

I have been working on my cycling for about a year (it's still terrible) and I feel like running is the boyfriend that I have been cheating on. I will still continue to cycle as cross-training, but I won't be putting such an emphasis on speed, cadence, etc. I will really be working on my running, my first love of the three sports of triathlon. I only swim seasonally because I live so far away from the pool. One hour each way is too far to commute for year round swimming, even though I enjoy it.

In November, I will hopefully run the YMCA Half Marathon in Shreveport, LA. My goal will just be to finish, since it's my first half marathon. I am using a training plan from the Runner's World Smart Coach ( that should get me there without getting hurt. I am not entirely sure that my knees will allow me to go the distance, but I'll never know if I don't try. If there is anything that triathlon training has taught me it is that your body is capable of more than you think. I'll keep you posted!

I'll have a race report from the River Cities Triathlon on Monday (with pictures) and the final results from my 6 Week Challenge on Tuesday.

P.S. I put a hit counter on here and it seems like people are reading this blog! I'm always shocked when I see clicks that aren't mine. Thanks for reading and for coming back.

Friday, July 24, 2009

6 Week Challenge Week 5

Week 5 of the 6 Week Challenge was like a break from the challenge. I won't say that I ate terribly, I just did not pay strict attention to portions and did drink lots of sweetened Chai tea. I don't have a really good reason for this, other than complacency.

So, I am pretty motivated now to have a great Week 6. I have a race coming up next weekend, so I really want to have good nutrition all week to be in peak form for my race.

On a bright note, my legs are more human leg shaped now instead of turkey leg shaped. Small steps...

*turkey leg clip art from

Thursday, July 23, 2009

All About Feet

I seem to wear out running shoes quickly. The rule of thumb seems to be that you need new shoes every 300 or so miles, depending on how and where you run, your weight and size, and your sign of the zodiac. I'm not sure why, (maybe because I'm a Pisces) but about every 200 miles I need new shoes. I can usually tell this because my knees start to ache. I check my log and sure enough, it's been about 200 miles. Before you get too excited about all the mileage that I'm doing, realize that I only need shoes about twice a year. My new Saucony Hurricanes came in this week and that got me thinking about feet.

When I was born I had no arches and I had to wear corrective shoes until I was about ten years old. I was also told to walk on my toes when not wearing the shoes to help put an arch in my feet. This led to some teasing... One boy in second grade told me that my corrective shoes (saddle oxfords, I'm afraid) looked like Dolly Parton's first sweater. Every once and awhile my husband and I try to figure out what that means, but we're stumped. I'm pretty sure it was NOT a compliment. In high school my bounding gait during track practice led to my nickname: Hoppy, short for Hop Along Cassidy. Last year when I read Chi Running by Danny Dryer ( I realized that I naturally strike the ground midfoot/ forefoot first. So, thanks Mom for all the years of corrective shoes.

Just for kicks, I pulled the insoles out of my old shoes and compared them with the insoles from my new shoes. Same type of shoe, so it's a fair comparison. I could not believe how cushy the new insole felt compared to the old one! I must stomp the you-know-what out of the ground whenever I run!

Last week I wrote about testing out my racing shoes with no socks and I was so pleased that I was able to run sock-less with no blisters. Well, today I opened up the cabinet where I keep all my running/ biking stuff and was quickly reminded of another advantage of socks. They keep the STINK of your feet out of your shoes! Needless to say, the cabinet needs some airing out.

I did have a pretty good run today in my new shoes. I have been doing lots of "speed work" to get ready for my race next weekend. I'll keep you posted...

P.S. Speaking of Feet: I am LOVING the 4 Feet Running podcast with Nik and Dan. (

Monday, July 20, 2009

River Cities Tri in 2 weeks!

A year of training has led up to this, I am two weeks out from my "A" priority triathlon of the season. That does not mean that I'm going to put up a stellar performance, but it does mean that I will have a great day NO MATTER WHAT.

I have two friends coming in to town to race with me and somehow that relieves a lot of self imposed pressure to perform. Now it seems more like a social event than a race. I'm excited to see my friends and share the experience with them, not just to see what I can do.

Here are my projected times for the race:
800 m swim - 20 minutes
18 mile bike - a little over an hour
3 mile run - under 30 minutes, how much under depends on temperature

I had a really great brick workout on Saturday and ran very well off the bike. I tried running without socks to see how it felt. No blisters, so that means no socks for my race. That means about 30 seconds faster in transition.

This is my first real taper of the year and I am very curious to see how well I can swim, bike, run being rested. Everything else I have done this year I have trained through. That is one thing I love about triathlon, it is like a laboratory where you can study yourself. The experiment continues, I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Track Workout

I live in a rural area and it's hard to find a training partner. After weeks of cajoling, I finally got someone (and a track coach, no less) to meet me at a local High School track for a workout. I foolishly chose 4:30 pm as the time because that is when we both had babysitters. It was about 105*F with the heat index and no shade. So, you can imagine what happened next...

Coach was in charge and we did a warm up and stretching. Then we decided to 4 laps, 3 laps, and 2 laps of speed work, at about a 9 mile pace. The first mile whipped my fanny and I really thought I was going to pass out. We walked a lap to cool down. Although, cool did not really happen. We were short on time, so we decided to do just 2 laps and wrap it up. I barely finished the first lap and had to tell him that I was DONE! I almost threw up again and was very embarrassed. So, after my less than 2 mile track workout, we called it a day. We agreed to meet again at a more sane time of day. I'm already ready to try it again!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

6 Week Challenge - Week 3

It's been three weeks since I challenged myself to eat as well as possible. According to my home scale, I have lost 1% body fat. I know those things are very accurate, but it seems to be pretty reliable, in that I get consistent numbers. So, even if the number is not accurate, the % change should still be pretty close. Anyway, I'm encouraged. I have also lost about an inch each off my waist and hips. A more significant change is that I have cut out all sugar and most starchy calories. I am getting most of my carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. I did make some bread with my gluten free baking mix to try it out and after I ate some for breakfast, I could tell a difference in the way I felt versus when I have fruit and yogurt or something else light for breakfast.

The only setback was last week when I went to a three day training and we sat all day at tables that were covered with candy and there were ice chests full of sodas. I know that they were put there as a courtesy, but it just made me think about our food culture. If I had whipped out a bag of baby carrots or an apple to snack on during that meeting, it would have been disrespectful to the speaker, but eating candy is acceptable. Weird! I did drink a soda because I was feeling sleepy (the speaker was excellent, it is just hard to sit for 6 hours!). I have to go back next week for 2 more days, but I'm coming with a plan. I'll bring some green tea in a thermos and quiet healthy snacks like raisins.

My training has been going well! I just had a very easy week and I am only 3 weeks out from the River Cities Triathlon in Shreveport, LA. It will be my first "peak" of the year and I am curious to see how I race when I am really rested. Everything else I have done this year has been treated as just another workout. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Firecracker 5K

I hope that everyone had a happy and safe July 4th! I celebrated my freedom by running our local July 4th run. It was hot so I knew that I would not PR, but I wanted to run it in under 30 minutes. Over 3,000 people started the race to the cannons in the 1812 overture. I had to weave in and out of folks for awhile, but once I got some clear road, I felt really good. I was sure that I was going out too fast until I passed the first mile marker and the clock read 10:30! My first thought was "too slow", but being the optimist that I am, my second thought was "all right, I"ll definitely have a negative split!" I started to pick up the pace a little and was so busy running into the sprinklers that people had put on the race course, trying to get hit by kids throwing water balloons, thanking the police officers who were directing traffic, and putting a flag in my ponytail, that I missed the second mile marker. The heat started to get to me by the third mile and I just wanted to finish. I thought cool thoughts and that seemed to help carry me through. The final stretch was up a hill and I had no kick left (could be because of the six mile run a few days before). I crossed the finish line in 29:59 with a smile on my face. God Bless America!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

6 Week Challenge - Week 1

Week 1 of my 6 Week Challenge is over. My diet was already full of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and low fat dairy. I am allergic to wheat, so that already cuts out most junk food. I was putting honey in my tea and I cut that out this week. Also, I really watched my portions and made sure no extra sweets snuck in there. I had a little heavier than regular training week (about 8.5 hours this week), but felt pretty good.

I also read a couple of nutrition books from the library, but no surprise, I am already doing most of what I am supposed to do. I think patience and persistence are going to give me as good of results as I can genetically get. And I will be happy with that. As long as I know that I am doing the right things for my body, I am satisfied with the results.

Some uplifting things from the week were: I have completely stopped having sugar cravings after meals. My sister told me today that I look thin, then she called me a bad name, so I think she meant it. I got a new outfit for work that is very flattering and that makes me feel great. If JLo thinks she has the market cornered on curvy triathletes, she better think again!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Runniversary!

It's been a year since I started running regularly again, so I'm celebrating my first runniversary. Last June I met a friend to do a 5K and could not finish without walking. I was very humbled and even a little angry at myself. I was only 31 and it scared me a little that I couldn't run 3 miles without stopping anymore. So, I stopped "working out" and started training. I only like to race about once a month, but racing motivates me to continually strive to improve myself. Here are some "high lights" of the year:

June: 40 minute 5K
August: 38:53 5K
September: 32:00 5K
October: 29:58 5K (first sub 10 min. mile split)
November: 52:42 5 mile road race
January: duathon, first 9:22 pace
February: Simply Stu Worldwide Triathlon with son (see below)
March: 27:11 5K (PR) first sub 9 min. mile split
May: first organized triathlon in 10 years
June: 2nd tri of season

I've learned a lot, met lots of cool people, and gained some fitness. I can't wait to find out what the next year of running holds for me!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

6 Week Challenge!

Summer is the time of year that I start to really focus on things that I let slide during the school year when I am really busy. Last year I scrapbooked every picture in the house and painted some wall art for our dining room. The year before I made myself a weekly cleaning schedule after reading several housekeeping books and sewed curtains for the dining room. After a month of not working, I get a little stir crazy. I'm kind of at that point this summer. My training is coming along great, I'm not speedy but I am fit and can easily handle the distances that I want to go. However, since I have time and energy to focus on one area of my life, this summer I am picking nutrition. I have said in past posts that I would like to do a little better in that area. The foods that I eat are good, healthy foods, but maybe too much and not at good times... I KNOW what to do, I just don't always do it because I have family or work as a handy excuse.

Hence, THE 6 WEEK CHALLENGE, yes all capital letters! For 6 weeks I will do my best to have perfect nutrition in the hopes that once school starts again, I will have ingrained those habits and it will be easier to keep up. They say it only takes 21 days to make a habit and I have 6 weeks until my next triathlon, so why not??? This will be an experiment of 1 to see how much my nutrition plays a role in my training and results. It should be interesting and I will post weekly updates, so come back often to see how it's going!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunrise Triathlon #3 Race Report

When I woke up this morning at 5 am, I was sick. Not from nerves, just sick to my stomach. I don't know if I ate something with wheat it in or just something I shouldn't have, but I felt bad. I made myself eat breakfast, load up my gear, and get going.

When I arrived at the swim club, I felt a little better, but was kind of dizzy. I set up and got in the pool to warm up. I took it very easy and decided that I would be okay.

The swim is a time trial start and we started out with more time in between athletes so the pool was not as crowded as it was 3 weeks ago. I swam by myself the whole way, taking it easy.

I made a quick transition and hopped on my bike (not the cool way, just the "I've only had clip-less pedals for about 6 months" way) and I was off. I have really been working on my biking for the last 3 weeks and I was disappointed to see 14.5 mph on my bike computer for the first few miles. I decided that this race would just be good practice with racing and being mentally tough. (BTW, when you are not fast, EVERY race is practice being mentally tough, just being there) It was an out and back course with the turn around at the top of a little hill. Once I started down the hill, I had a little break and from then on I started moving. I felt better and the wind was at my back and I started to see those numbers go up. I ended up increasing my average mph from 15.8 3 weeks ago to 16.0. Not much of an increase, but I'll take it! I even passed two people and it felt like not as many people passed me this time.

When I came into T2 I heard the sweetest sound in the world, "Hey, Mama!" There was my family and it lit me up to see them. I made a quick switch to running shoes and decided NOT to go to the potty even though I needed to.

I was feeling better, but decided not to push the run since I had to pee. I had fun talking to the volunteers, other athletes, and people walking their dogs on the sidewalk. When I got to the two mile mark, I saw that I was not making terrible time and I started to have even more fun. I finished strong and had a big smile on my face for the photographer.

Here are the results...

450 yard swim - 9:47 4/7 in AG

T1 - 1:45

15 mile bike - 56:20 (16 mph avg.) 7/7 in AG, of course

T2 - :48

5K run - 28:55 (9:33 pace) 4/7 in age group

I have about 7 weeks until my next triathlon, but I will run the July 4th 5K and try to PR, even though it is hilly and HOT!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Race Predictions for Sunday

Okay, I have a couple of posts that are in my head and need to be written. One is about the Open Water Swim Clinic that I attended a couple of weeks ago. I want to put up my underwater video, but I don't have a copy yet. Another is my one year Runniversary coming up soon. Look for both of those in the next week or so.

This Sunday, June 14th is the Sunrise Triathlon #3 (450 yd swim, 15 mile bike, 5K run). Here are my predictions for my performance.

450 yd swim: 9:20
15 mile bike: 55 minutes
5K run: 28 minutes

These are conservative estimates, hopefully I can do a little bit better. My main goal is to get my average mph on the bike up to 16 or 16.5. That would be a BIG improvement. I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunrise Series Triathlon #2 (or My Big Fat Reality Check)

Today was my first triathlon against other people in about 11 years. (See below for Simply Stu Worldwide Tri results from Feb.) It was a sprint distance (450 y swim, 13 mile bike, 2.6 mile run) and I was ready. I knew I could do the swim in about 9:30 and run about 9 minute miles off the bike. What I didn't really know was how I would do on the bike leg. I ride alone on rough roads so it is hard to gauge my progress on the bike. I did know that in my training log I see lots of "Easy Bike" entries and no "Bike Interval" entries and my longest ride in about 5 weeks was the race distance. Somehow, I was hoping that my general fitness and race day adrenaline would help me to pull 17 or 18 mph out of the bike.

Weather conditions were good, the air temp was about 64*F and the water temp was about 75*F. I warmed up in the pool a little bit, just to make sure the water was not too cold. We lined up by our estimated times, I got in the 9 minute pack and they started us one at a time in the pool. I took it easy, got passed by a few people, got sandwiched in between people with no where to go, but generally felt great and didn't want the swim to end. I took my time in T1 (2 minutes) to make sure I didn't forget anything and just to savor the moment.

I got on my bike in a light drizzle and started out. I was hoping to hold about 17 mph for the 13 mile bike leg. I started out well, but a little past the turn around, I started to fade. I had one gel with me and had planned on taking it at mile 10. I took it at mile 9 when my speed fell to about 14 mph. It helped a little bit, but I was just under trained on the bike. I finished with an average of 15.8 mph.

T2 was a little bit faster (1:19) because I practice that one a lot when I do bike/ run workouts. When I started running I was a little winded (just from excitement, I think) so I took it easy until my breath evened out. Then I ran as hard as I could until the finish. The only thing that threw me off a little bit was that there were no mile markers. I had no idea how fast I was going or how far I had gone. I was able to guess by how much time had gone by, but that was just a guess. Overall, I had a load of fun and can't wait for the next one.

Here are my results
450 yard swim: 9:28 5/8 in age group
13 mile bike: 49:28 8/8 in age group
2.6 mile run: 23:24 5/8 in age group
Total Time: 1:25 5/8 in age group

The harsh reality: I have not really been training on my bike. I have been using the bike as active recovery for my runs! I need some long ride and intervals in my bike plan. I also think that I could have used 2 gels in the bike instead of 1. We shall see on June 14th!

For pictures of the race go to

I am # 324 in page 36, #475 on page 53, #1008 on page 112, #1010 on page 113, and #1150 on page 128.

Sorry this took so long to get up, but I have still been working even though school is out!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Love you, Mom!

As part of my preparation for my sprint tri tomorrow, I was visualizing each part of the race. When I got to the run part, I realized that if I was doing it right, it would hurt or at least be uncomfortable. So, as I was mentally rehearsing running through discomfort and what I would say to myself and what I would ignore, etc. I thought of my mom. She is a breast cancer survivor who endured two surgeries, chemo, and radiation as part of her treatment. Not to mention the fear, uncertainty, and constant monitoring that go along with a cancer diagnosis. So I called her and told her that I was running for her and that if she could go through all that with grace, then I could hurt for 2.6 miles. Since she IS my mother, her only concern was "But I don't want you to hurt". What a lady!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Slow Down to Speed Up

I was at an educational conference a few weeks ago and the speaker was talking about "Slow Down to Speed Up" in terms of instruction. You know, slow down to make sure all students master the skill before continuing on. This saves you time in that you don't have to reteach the skill later. I was thinking, this also applies to triathlon. Slow down to speed up. Slow down, improve your form. Slow down, plan your workouts with purpose. Slow down, listen to your body. Slow down, cook and eat healthy, balanced meals. Slow down, reflect on your training and be grateful. Slow down to speed up.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tri it AGAIN this weekend!

The last two weeks of training have been nice and solid and I feel ready to have a great time at the second Sunrise Triathlon next weekend. The first was rained out, so this one will be my first official triathlon in 10 years!

The race will be a 450 yard pool swim, a 13 mile bike, and a 2.5 mile run. My plan is to have fun, go as hard as I can, and be thankful whatever the result. I'll keep you posted. Speaking of posted, summer is coming soon and I will be updating the blog much more frequently. So keep coming back, and bring a friend!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Catch Up Time!

Okay, so much has been going on that I have not written anything in weeks! Work has been really busy. I was out of town for a conference and we are winding up a great school year which means lots of little chores. We have also been going to lots of family things for birthdays and Mother's Day, etc. which keeps us running. AND of course, tri season has started!

My first sprint of the season was scheduled for May 3rd, but we got lightning, thunder, and rained out. It was a bit disappointing, but who wants to swim in a thunderstorm? It was good practice for packing up my gear, etc. and the pre-race clinic was very informative.

I has said last post that my swimming seemed to be improving and my last swim was also good. I had put down that I could do 400 yards in 10 minutes on my race application (it's a time trial start in a pool) and last swim, we swam 10 minutes for time. I was going really easy and I did 375 yards, so I know I can do 400 in a race in less than 10 minutes. So that got my swimming confidence up a bit.

Last weekend my sister, my friend Hope, and I did a tiny 5K in a small, nearby town. It was Hope's first 5K and my sister's first in a while. I was hoping to beat 27 minutes, but I had a bad race. It was very hot and I am not acclimated yet. However, it was good training in mental toughness and I had a great time with my sis and friend. I usually either go by myself to races or my husband and son come to watch, but don't run. It was a lot of fun to have friends in the race. I also won second place female overall due to the smallness of the race, so that was a nice perk, even though it was not my best race.

My next sprint will be on May 24th and it is 450 yard swim, 13 mile bike (I think) and 2.5 mile run. I am looking forward to that, but have downgraded my running and biking expectations until I get used to the hot weather we are having right now. I am so grateful to be healthy and have a supportive family that indulges my crazy triathlon hobby! Just getting to race is a joy for me this season, if I do better than I expect it will be icing on the cake.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Aha" Week

This week has been about having those "aha" moments during training that really show how inexperienced I am. Wednesday when I was swimming I was concentrating on correct head position, breathing on both sides, hand entry, and that was ALL I could think about at one time. Then I looked at the coach and she made a pulling motion and I tried to add that in, too. For some reason, everything worked together and I felt my hands "catch" the water, really catch it for the first time. Oh, so that's what she's been telling me to do for the last 6 weeks! I get it now. Hopefully the next time I swim, I will still get it.

Another "aha" I had this week happened after I took my bike to the bike shop for new tires. The old ones were just too cracked to ride on anymore, even for me. Bike Shop Guy told me that the tired on there were really more like hybrid tires and asked if I wanted true road tires. Heck yeah, I said. I want to go fast! I tried them out and I can totally feel a difference. I got about 1 mph faster just by getting "real" tires on my bike. It's not even a "real" bike! (More on that later). Hopefully, they will help me do well in my first sprint tri of the season next Sunday.

A few days ago I wrote about really committing to my nutrition plan and I have STUCK to that commitment. I had a really great week nutrition-wise and plan to continue that and see what happens!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Caught Between Two Snakes

It's that time of year again, boys and girls... Snake season and I had my first encounter today with a snake on the road. It was warm today and I decided I would do a sweat test on my run. I ran up the road, around the church, past the neighbor's and was going back home when the neighbor's little puppy started following me. I kept shooing it back home, but it stayed stuck to my heels the whole mile back to my mailbox. About 200 yards from my driveway I spotted what I'm pretty sure was a copperhead snake stretched out in the road. It was about 2 feet long and had its head up, but was not moving. I moved over and ran on past since it was not being aggressive. The puppy, however did not have as much sense and practically stepped on the snake's head. I was sure I was going to see that little puppy get bitten by that snake, but the snake just stayed still until the puppy passed by.

We ran on until we got to my drive and my husband was coming from the other direction. I told him about the snake in the road (the first live one I've seen this year) and he said HE had just seen a live copperhead in the road in that direction. That direction just happens to be a good flat section of road where I do my speed work.

You don't live in the piney woods of Louisiana without having a healthy respect for poisonous snakes. According to the book "Snakes of the Southeast" by Whit Gibbons and Mike Dorcas Louisiana has every kind of venomous snake found in the southeast. (Oh, Goody!) My sweat glands were in overdrive, so much for the test! It is very rare to see one snake on the road, much less two in the same hour! I did the middle portion of my run in the middle between the two snake spottings, just to be sure. If I'm jogging I can see everything, but if I'm sprinting I don't want to come upon a snake in the road. During my cool down, I went back to see if my snake was still there to take a picture, but it was gone. Probably home to tell its family the horrifying tale of seeing a woman and a clumsy puppy.

Since I didn't get a photo, here is a picture that my son drew. The label says "cottontail" which he has confused with Cottonmouth (some people call it a water moccasin), but it looks more like a Copperhead.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Restfull (Slothful?) Week

Today is the last day of my lovely Spring Break and my rest week. I had a great swim on Monday, then took Tuesday completely off. On Wednesday I had a 4 mile run with some speed work thrown in and on Thursday I lifted weights. Friday was another off day which was great because we saw some friends. Saturday it rained ALL day so I rode the bike trainer and today I did a brick workout.

I have two weeks until my first triathlon of the season. I feel well rested and ready to train hard this week.

The back tire on my bike has a big cracked spot, so I will take it in tomorrow for a full tune-up and new tires and tubes. I needed to anyway before my race, this was just the extra kick in the pants I needed to get it up there. It's hard to do errands like that when you live an hour (one way) away from any stores.

On a work note, our school will be on the local news tonight because of a grant we received. They interviewed me and filmed my class doing a science demonstration. We are a small town, and it doesn't take much to get us excited!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nature Walk

Today is such a beautiful day! I keep seeing this huge, gorgeous blue and black butterfly on my runs. I have looked it up and think that it is either an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or a Pipevine Swallowtail. Both live around here. Click links for pictures of each.,_Black_Form_Female_5891c.jpg

My son and I took a walk with two purposes in mind: 1) find that blue and black butterfly that I keep seeing and 2) collect some cool leaves for his leaf book. We did not see that certain butterfly but we did see this one and lots of others. We also found some great leaves for his collection. But more than that, we had a good discussion about the plants and animals that live around here, the litter that we saw, and life in general. I hope that growing up in the country will give him an appreciation of the natural world.

"The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value." Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm really serious now...

Okay, I have a great personalized plan to get leaner while training. The last month or so I have only given that plan half of my attention because work was so busy and now I have my first sprint tri of the season in about two weeks!

BUT, here's the deal...There will always be something that will come up and I just have to deal with it and fuel my body appropriately. My weakness is eating too much when I get tired. My reason is, it's hard to just rest when you have a young child to take care of. But, I can be more mindful of when I am tired and go to bed earlier instead of reading blogs and twittering! (although, I learn a lot reading blogs and on twitter)

Starting right now, I am very serious about sticking to my plan and paying attention to my portions. I want my workouts to count, so I have to nail my nutrition. I have come too far to slack off in such an important area. SO, I will be accountable to you, dear reader and will keep you posted of my efforts, struggles, and successes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Training Adjustment

Hello, folks! I am on Spring Break this week so I should get this blog nice and updated. For now, just a quick note about my training. I am using Joe Friel's Triathlete's Training Bible (of course!) to create my training plan and it is basically set up for three weeks that build up in time and then one week that cuts way back on training time per cycle. For me, this is too many long weeks in a row. I have found that after two long weeks, I need a short week.

This week will be my easy week at the end of Base 2 and I have a plan for Base 3... I will do a long week, a medium week, another hard week, and then my easy week. We'll see how that goes. I may not get all of my workouts in because I am traveling again for work with a big group in a couple of weeks right when I come back, I am keeping my niece while my sister goes out of town for work. My first official tri of the season is on May 3rd. It is a really short sprint with 400 m swim, 11 mile bike and 2 mile run.

Here are my predictions (read wishes...) for that event. I want to swim 400 meters in about 8 minutes, but I will be happy with under 10 because I am not aggressive in a crowd. I would like to average 18 mph on the bike and run under 9 minute miles on the run. This will put me in about the middle of the pack based on older race results. For my first year back in the sport, I would be pretty happy with middle of the pack. I'll keep you posted!

P.S. Orlerr, I am working on an updated picture. I am usually the one behind the camera...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tri it on the cheap!

The economy is bad right now, but I'm cheap so I have been living below my means for quite a while now. This is hard to do when you love triathlon because it can be a very expensive sport. Here are some deals that I have found and ways that I try to keep costs down as I train.

Clothing - I have several things from the Champion line at Target that I really like. Their long tights are good and comfy with zippers on the bottom so you can get your shoes on. I just bought this running skirt for about $20 and it fits well and the shorties don't ride up. I shop at my local running store when the seasons change to get really good deals on clothing. I got a Nike running skirt there for $10, and a Skirt Sports race belt shirt there that I REALLY like for $10 also.

Races - I joined my local tri club to get a discount on races and a discount at my local running store. This also gets me free training sessions and clinics, pretty cool! I only race locally so I have no travel costs other than gas to races. (Also, as a beginner local races are a great place to start and LEARN).

Bike - I have a crappy bike that I don't really maintain. This is pretty cost effective, but I wouldn't recommend it. (I will take it in for a tune-up/safety check before I race, don't worry)
I'm hoping someone will give me a nice bike, but it turns out that you have to ride well to get a bike... Plan B is to save up for one.

Gadgets - I don't have a lot of tri gadgets, even though I think they are VERY cool. I have a basic heart rate monitor from Nike and a simple bike computer. I would love a Garmin, but see above for the reason no one is giving me one. Plan B on that one, too.

Shoes - This is one area that I will not skimp on. I love my Saucony's for training and I HEART my Newton Stability Racers for racing and fast workouts. Good shoes are more than worth the money!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This and That

Hello, you! Thanks for reading... Work has been really busy, but I notice that I am not as dog tired this year as I usually get. (could it beeeeeee.... Fitness?) I had a really great time at swimming last night and a few times I felt like I was really swimming, everything was easy and working correctly together. If I can string a few more of those moments together, then I'll be on to something. I really love swimming and wish I lived closer to the pool :( There is an open water swim clinic at the end of May that I am looking forward to. This is my big learning year, so I am taking advantage of all the tips I can.

I don't really love biking because I don't know much about it, but I think I will come to love it as I get more confident on the bike. The roads around here are rough and my bike is not nice, but I just think of all that as strength training. When I ride on good roads, I should fly, right? (crossing fingers)

Unrelated to triathlon, I got a saucy new haircut (think Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago OR the German woman who worked with Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies).

GOOD LUCK to all New Orleans 70.3ers!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

New 5K PR!

I wrote a few weeks ago about chasing my PR from 10 years ago and the wisdom (or lack thereof) of trying to beat old times. Well, today I ran in a small, local 5K and had the race of my life! It was cold (40*F is cold for LA in April) with 15-17 mph winds that made it even colder. I warmed up for about 10 minutes and then we were off. My first mile time was 8:48 which is fast for me and that made me feel really confident because I still felt really good. There were lots of hills in the second and third mile that slowed me down a little bit. I also dropped my fuel belt bottle twice for some reason. There was no marker for mile 2, but when I turned into the last section, I knew the finish line was close and that I had my time beat. I crossed the line in 27:11, my fastest 5K ever! I could not believe it. I praised the Lord for having two working legs to run on and a supportive family who indulges my training habit.

The race was sponsored by a local company and many of their employees were there participating. I met lots of nice people, as always, and saw some friends. The race support was great for a small race and everyone had lots of fun. There were photographers all over the course, which I didn't expect for such a small race. I'm sure they got some great pictures of my wiping my nose!

This was my first race ever to place overall (second female). I knew that speed work make people faster, but I did not really believe it would make ME faster. If I can continue to improve my running, there's hope for anyone! If you are thinking about trying a 5K, I highly recommend a small, local race to get your feet wet.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Easy Week in the Big Easy

This week was an easy week for me and it came at a good time. I was lucky enough to get to attend a national conference for Science teachers in New Orleans. That meant four days of travel and eating GREAT food. Our hotel had a small gym so I was able to have a short run one day and to do my strength training one day. Other than that, I just enjoyed the conference. I got lots of great ideas to use in my classroom and am very excited about the rest of the school year. (But, I am always excited about school, that's why I'm a teacher...)

I had three dinners in NOLA and here is a quick review. (I am not a restaurant critic or chef, I just like good food.)

MULATES This is cajun food, live zydeco band, cajun dancing, very good crab cakes.

CAFE DEGAS This was the best meal I had there. My cousin is a local and took us there. French food, moderate prices, neighborhood feel. I have been to France and I don't remember the food being as good as it was here.

ROCK-N-SAKE I love sushi and my friend had never tried it. She is a convert now! The sushi was good and the atmosphere is great. It's casual and the art is interesting.

Hopefully, my body took this break to build itself back a little stronger because I will be running a 5K next Saturday and I hope to PR. I feel pretty confident because on the treadmill at the hotel, I was doing intervals at around 8:30 pace and to beat my college time of 28:22, I don't need to run quite that fast. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Base 1 Training - Week 3

First of all, I am no expert and nothing I say should be paid any attention to. Consult your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Consult your mother when you want a babysitter. Consult your sister when you need someone to tell you if your butt looks big. Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, here is how my training is going...

Monday - This was an easy day - 30 minutes of strength training
Tuesday - 45 minutes of running speed work Just in case your forgot who you're dealing with here, speed is a relative term. For me it means sub-10 minute miles. 45 minutes easy spin on bike trainer.
Wednesday - 1 hour masters swim. People still nice. Felt smoother in the water this week.
Thursday - This is my really late day at work, so 1 hour strength training
Friday - Took off because it was raining and I had a date with my husband, who is lovely!
Saturday - I got up and ran 5 miles this morning and plan on a two hour bike ride this afternoon.
Sunday - The plan is 30 minutes of speed work and an hour of biking.

This is a heavy training week for me, but I feel really good. Next week will be an easy week, which is good because I am going out of town for work. At some point I need to build some quality miles on the bike on a good road, but I am not comfortable being on the highway by myself and live in a rural area where I have no bike buddies. Until then, I'll stick close to home on my little blacktop road.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Things I've Learned Recently

I have always thought it was sad that people spend their entire lives acquiring wisdom (hopefully) and then each generation has to learn it all over again, the hard way. Books help, but some things you just have to learn by experience, especially if you are a little headstrong. Here are some things that I have learned in the last two weeks, that you probably already knew.

1. Rest when you are tired. I knew this on an intellectual level, but on a personal level I never want to scrap a workout or put off some school work to go to bed early, but a few weeks ago life hit me like a ton of bricks (get it, it's a pun!) and I had to take it easy for a few days. Guess what, I felt great the next week. Lesson learned.

2. There is more to life than carbs. I am working with a sports nutritionist to get a little leaner and be as healthy as I can be. I don't love meat and knew I was not getting enough protein. I am allergic to wheat so I don't eat much junk food, but I really love carbs. Since working with her, my diet is much more balanced and I am recovering so much faster from hard workouts. Maybe I won't need lesson #1 so much anymore.

3. People at Master's Swimming are nice. I went for the first time on Monday. I had not been swimming with a group since college. I was nervous. The coach was nice, the other swimmers were nice, the cashier at Target was even nice when I went there with wet hair afterwards.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

History - Part 2

Okay, I know that you are not supposed to try and beat your times from when you were younger.... BUT when I was 21 I did not do long runs, I did not do speedwork, I did not have a nutritional plan, and I did not have an iPod or Newtons. I was just 21 and ran 3 miles a few times a week.

So I am gunning for beating this time, my best time ever in a 5K. March 28th I will run a local 5K. I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

History Lesson

Me in 1999 at T1, check out sweet mountian bike!

It had been 10 years between triathlons for me. That is a long time, so I'll fill in some of the background. I ran track in High School (800 m), but mostly just worried about looking cute in my short shorts. I didn't realize until I got to college that all those FAST girls were running on the weekends and not just half-heartedly jogging through practice talking about boys with their friends. You had to practice to be good at sports! I really didn't know that...

SO, I really started to love running in college and I had some friends who ran, too. One day I was in a bookstore and bought a book from the dollar bin. It was called The Triathletes and was about Julie Moss, Paula Newby-Fraser, and Jan Ripple. I don't know why I bought it, except for the fact that it was $1 and I'm a sucker for a bargain, but it changed my life. I thought what they were doing was the coolest thing ever, so hard core, so TOUGH! So, I got a mountain bike for Christmas and did a couple of sprint triathlons. My first was put on by my college and was in reverse order with the swimming in the pool. THEN I started Masters swimming and did a run, swim, run event and another sprint. I really loved it, was NOT good at it, but that did not stop me. What DID stop me was graduating, going to grad school, getting married, getting a job, changing careers, and having a baby. I never stopped exercising, just racing.

A couple of summers ago it got a little easier to have some time to myself and I began to run again. I stopped when the time changed in the winter, but started back last summer with a humbling 5K that I could not finish without walking. That flipped a switch for me and I have been on fire ever since. I called my friend R and asked her if she wanted to do some triathlons again like we did in college. She never really stopped racing, despite doing all those things that stopped me. And she has great hair, too. She is amazing. So, we made big plans and got all excited and now we are training and waiting for summer!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Simply Stu Worldwide Triathlon Race Report

This was my first year to participate in the Simply Stu Worldwide Triathlon. (If you don't know about Simply Stu, check out his website and podcast You do the triathlon where ever you can and choose your distance. My four year old son also participated. This was, of course, his first triathlon, and he was pretty excited. We drove to the health club and he stayed in the day care while I swam my 400 yards, then I got him and he "swam" 50 yards. Then we drove home and he rode his bike .5 mile and ran .25 mile. The kid's running site that I checked for appropriate distances on ( said that a four year old could run/ walk .25 mile, but he just wanted to run. Then he partied with dad while I biked 12 miles and ran 3.1.

This was my first triathlon in 10 years, more on that later this week, and it was special because it was a family event. It also gives me a good baseline for my fitness for later races this year. I am grateful to Stu and all who helped with the event, it was a blast.

You probably are curious about times, and in the interest of encouraging the beginner, I believe in full disclosure.

400 yard swim - 8:33
12 mile bike - 1:01
5K run: right at 30 minutes

This encourages me because I cut way back for about 6 weeks after my duathlon in January because my knees were hurting and these times about about what I was doing before, so I don't feel like I lost any fitness. My next race is a local 5K in March, I'm trying to beat a 10 year PR!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost! Speed and Water Bottles

First of all, THANKS to the two people who read this and commented. That is all the motivation I need to keep writing! (I am easily encouraged...)

I rode outside today, it was 77*F and gorgeous. About 20 minutes into my ride, I wanted a drink and looked down to find my water bottled had fallen off. The cage on my bike is so funky that a regular bottle will not fit. (What is the sound of one hand clapping? What is the water bottle cage that will not hold a water bottle? I am not existential enough to answer these questions.) SO... I stuff two Fuel Belt bottles in there and go. It works on the trainer, but not so well outside. I spent most of the rest of my ride looking for them.

According to my bike computer, which is a little off, but not THAT off, I went about 10 miles in an hour. Apparently, the speed (this is a relative term) that I had built up in early January fell off my bike, too. Maybe I should keep looking for it on the side of the road.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Life In The Slow Lane

Hi, all. Thanks for stopping by. I am a very slow runner, biker, and swimmer who LOVES to be outside running, biking, and swimming. I am chronicling my adventures to encourage all of the back-of-the packers or anyone who wants to go a little faster.

I did a few triathlons in college and then life intervened. Now I am getting back into racing shape to have my first season in 10 years. If you have never done a triathlon, maybe this will be the push you need to "tri" one. I am no expert, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.