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!