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!