Friday, July 27, 2007

Back

Back from my week of working with high school students at a Mennonite summer camp. It was exhausting. And I'm extremely glad to be back in my house with a normal shower and bed. I'm also glad to be away from the delicious but deadly German food which I enjoyed all week (enjoyed far too much, in fact). Also, with all that meat, bread, and cheese, I'm looking forward to pooping again.

Although running around with a bunch of teenagers all week did keep me pretty active (and I was also driving back and forth between Cheney and Wichita to teach fitness classes all week), I didn't get as much training in as I would have liked. One of the other counselors (who's running for Friends University starting this fall) and I planned to run in the mornings, but we were so bushed that we never did. Probably a good thing; I'm sure it would have been difficult for me to keep up with her, no matter how slowly she ran. I did get out for one 2.5 mile run on Thursday morning, but it wasn't particularly useful; I was so mentally tired that I couldn't keep my legs moving. I wasn't fatigued or out of breath; I just didn't want to run.

And I find that my training once again lacks motivation; I enjoy swimming, biking, running, lifting, climbing, yoga, and whatever else I can find to do, but it seems pretty aimless right now. But I guess I felt the same way before my first race; I was working out a lot, but I didn't really have any concept of what was required. I guess it makes sense that the same would be true for the time leading up to my first half marathon. I'll probably finish super slowly, feel inspired to be better next time, and train my little heart out for my next long run. 'Tis the way of things.

By6 t5he3 w2ay6, my6 ke3y6bo9ar4d i8s act5i8ng u7p0.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Too Much

Now wouldn't it be ridiculous if I got all overtrained when I'm not even (technically) training for anything?

This morning, I commuted by bike for the first time. It's a 17 or 18 mile bike ride from my house to Genesis, which I didn't think was too bad. And I gave myself an hour and a half to get there, so I knew I didn't have to rush.

But I really should have thought better than to commute by bike to teach a spinning class.

As a result, I felt like the energy was way down for my class; this is the first time ever that I have not wanted to really push it in my spinning class, and I think it was hard for my students to go as far as they could have as a result. Besides which, I think the workout I planned was just too hard. Last week's was really difficult, too (but difficult in a way that was much more fun). So I think that next week I'll try to make my class more fun. Still intense, but more fun. Today felt like work, and I don't want it to be a place where clients enjoy being.

I guess I need to recognize that I'm not going to be perfect at this teaching thing (even though I think I'm pretty naturally suited for it). Some days, I'm going to mess up. And hopefully I don't chase a bunch of my regulars off. But maybe the small failures are worthwhile if I learn from them.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Recipe: Creamy Garbanzo Bean Soup

Found this recipe today, and just had to try it. I made half a batch ('cause it's just me tonight) using a can of Trader Joe's garbanzo beans, about a sixth of an onion, a full clove of garlic, and a quarter cup of cream. The soup is easy to make and delicious to eat. I recommend skipping the cumin oil unless you have real cumin seeds; all I had was ground cumin, and I definitely didn't make the oil swirled on top look as appealing as the recipe's creator. Besides which, the oil adds so much fat and so many calories, you're better off without (then you don't have to feel so guilty about the cream); just add about a teaspoon of cumin directly into the soup, or else sprinkle it on top. I'm eating my soup with a slice of whole grain bread, because that's all I have. But I bet it would be excellent with some crusty baguette, or maybe sourdough bread.

Eat a cup of it for 480 calories, 50 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, and 27 g fat.

So What's Next

My triathlon season is officially over, now (although I've seriously considered looking for another race in the next few months). I've been racing since February, and have done something like half a dozen races here and there. And I feel like, for my first season, that's not bad. Now I have a new set of goals and ambitions that I'm hoping to accomplish, and I'm even looking ahead to next season to see what might be possible.

First up, I have a few more events on the horizon. The MS 150 is a two-day tour I'll be doing with my dad (whom I'm hoping to draw into triathlon this year) for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. By the way, if you'd like to check out my info and/or donate to my ride, you can visit my participant page. That's in September. After that, I'll be gearing up for my first-ever half marathon, which will be the longest distance I've ever run (I'm also doing that with my dad, unless he bails at the last minute; I don't think he believes that I really expect him to do it).

But besides the next races, I have a long list of off-season goals, the first of which is to build my aerobic base (hence the long races). I just can't compete with the folks who have been doing endurance sports for the last 10 years. I know that building that kind of aerobic base takes time and hard work more than anything else, but I want to do as much as I can in the next year to make sure that I have a solid base to start from. Core strength is another goal of mine; I'm so lazy when it comes to doing crunches. I'm already starting to do a lot of swimming and running drills, so that I can improve my form and be able to compete with better efficiency next year; I'm hoping that will set me up for some big leaps forward in my swim and run pacing.

I want to dial in my nutrition, so that I have that reliable habit of eating consistently well, and so that I can lose some weight and seriously reduce my body fat percentage (which my scale says is the same as last year at this time, and I have no idea how that is possible; I think the scale is inaccurate). At any rate, to that end, I've been keeping track of my nutrition fastidiously: Counting calories, fat, protein, and carbs, as well as various vitamins and minerals. Know what I've found? I get pretty close to my target consumption (1700/day), but in the wrong way. I haven't been able to get enough protein. Granted, I've only been paying attention to protein for 3 days now, but I've been far enough off (like 50 g off target every day, going by the 40-30-30 rule) that I suspect I lack protein in my diet. Which strikes me as odd; I've read that most Americans get roughly 300% the protein they need every day. Maybe that's not true, or maybe I'm not a very average American. At any rate, I need to get some more protein!

I've been trying to drink more milk and eat more cheese, and I've been eating more quinoa (although I discovered today that the glycemic index is a little higher than I might like for it). I guess I'm going to have to start doing the broiled chicken breast thing, too. It probably wouldn't hurt to cut back on my carbohydrate consumption, either, especially now that I'm not training as vigorously.

Anyway, training and diet aside, starting in September I'm going to be running the west side multisport club at the gym at which I'm working, and I'm very excited about that. I don't think I could possibly have as much fun with this team as I had with my wonderful USC team, but it will be excellent to train and race with other tri crazies again. Not to mention, I'll be getting paid for it. Not enough to pay the bills, but hopefully that will be worked out when I get my NSCA certification.

So that's what I have coming up during this offseason. Without the training, perhaps I'll have more time to post workouts and recipes.

Look!

Photos, courtesy of my dad and my new (awesome) camera!

Pre-race

Reppin' USC!


Swim

I've never seen a close-up picture of myself swimming. It makes me aware that I need to work on my recovery.


T1

Man, I wish I hadn't run so hard coming out of the water. That hurt.


Bike

I swear there was more uphill than downhill on this course. I don't know how that's possible on a circular loop, but I swear it's true.




T2

Totally rocking transition


I'd like to mention that my race number ripped off my belt in transition, which is why it's on crooked here.


Run



Oh, so much pain . . .


Hanging with Sarah Reinersten!

Who is a USC grad, by the way.


Please, do not expect me to do anything for the next five or six hours

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Race Report: Shawnee Mission

Honestly, I haven't wanted to do this. My race didn't exactly go as well as I wanted it to. Well, in a way it did. Right after the race, I felt okay about it. I knew that I had given what I had to give. I knew (from my heart rate monitor) that I worked as hard as was reasonable for most of the race (and sometimes harder).

But upon reviewing my results, I've been supremely disappointed. That's not how I trained. Those speeds are not what I was prepared to race. And I keep telling myself that I've still improved by leaps and bounds over last year's performance. And that I've only been doing this for a year, and that I can't possibly compete against people who have been building an aerobic base for the last 10 to 20 years. And that I gave all that I had.

But I wish I had more to give.

Swim
Last year: 24:18
This year: 23:04
I have to say, I was very pleased with my swim. Standing in the water, waiting for the start, I was confident, excited, and calm. I think that, in terms of race preparation and mental state, this was my strongest start ever. I knew that, even though I'm a fairly slow swimmer (2:18/100? My goal would be 1:45/100), I can be a lot more competitive as a swimmer in Kansas, as opposed to California (where everyone, at some point, was on a swim, water polo, or synchronized swim team). So I stood in the front, and figured if anyone wanted to go around me, I'd rather they have to swim around me than I have to swim around them. But this swim was the first one where I'd really felt the infamous aggression of triathlon open swim starts. I was hitting someone or being hit (but more of the former, sorry fellow competitors!) for most of the 1000 meters. It was actually kind of fun, but a little frustrating while trying to swim around (sometimes over) someone else. I tried not to be too mean; I know how I would feel if I got mauled and passed in the space of a minute. Anyway, long story short, I had the 41st fastest swim (out of 57).

T1
Last year: 3:48
This year: 1:02
7th fastest.

Bike
Last year: 93:50 (11.5 MPH)
This year: 65:02 (16.6 MPH)
The day before (as I drove the course), I realized that I may have made a misjudgment of the course. Because I was so slow and undertrained last year, I built this idea that the course wasn't that hard; it was just my perception. Besides, when you're averaging 11.5 MPH, the smallest hills become mountains. But there are some sizable, very intimidating hills on that course. And I had to do each of them 4 times. And I simply wasn't in climbing shape. To be fair, there is absolutely no way to train hills around Wichita; we don't have any! But that wasn't very comforting when my speed dropped to 5 MPH on the Dam Hill (which lives in infamy for all Shawnee Mission Triathletes!). At any rate, my 40 MPH downhill speed and 26 MPH cruising speed (which I was able to sustain for the 1 mile of flat road at the end and 1/2 mile at the beginning of each loop) couldn't make up for my embarassingly slow ascents. 36th fastest time. But at least I wasn't the last one on the course this year!

T2
Last year: 1:39
This year: 0:50
Fifth fastest time!

Run
Last year: 55:26 (12:21/mile)
This year: 52:48 (11:54/mile)
When I looked up my results the other night, this was my biggest disappointment. I haven't run so slowly since Cal Poly, in March. Since then, I've broken my 10:00/mile a couple of times. And I've run most of my training runs closer to 9:20. Even on my brick workouts, I've been running 10:00 or 10:30, but never 11:54. Again, the course was harder than I remembered. Harder and hotter. Last year, I was just focused on keeping my legs moving, so much so that I never noticed the hills (we had to run up the Dam Hill, as well). And last year it was raining, so I never knew that most of the course is exposed to the sun at 10:00 a.m. The heat was just miserable. For the first time, I really, really wished that I had a fuel belt or a water bottle along on the run. I think if I had been better hydrated, I would have been better able to keep my heartrate down. My heart rate, by the way, stayed right around 181. Which makes me think that I've probably trained my lactate threshold higher. Because it was at around 184, but I stayed right below that for almost an hour. I was pretty excited thinking about that during the run. The course ended on a decent-sized hill. So that was fun, to run up that at the end. My HR climbed to 194, which (I'm pretty sure) is the highest it's ever been. I wanted to die, after that. I thought I was going to fall down and then throw up and then fall down some more.

But you know, writing it all out again, reliving it in my mind, I feel pretty good about it. Yes, I didn't achieve my goal of reaching the podium, or of being in the top 10 women . . . I didn't even meet my goal time. But I did go out there and I worked as hard as I could. Yes, I wish that could have been harder; I wish my body would have had a little more to give. But I gave what I had. I performed my best on Sunday. So I'm pretty proud of that.

Final
Last year: 2:59:10
This year: 2:22:44
Overall, I've seen a lot of improvement. I still have room to grow. And I keep remembering what one of my tri buddies said after UCLA's reverse sprint. We were looking at the results and he told me, "You know, out of everyone on the team, I think you're the one who's improved the most. And in a couple of years, you're going to be a really competitive age grouper." So yeah. I'm still improving. I took more than half an hour off my time from last year. I got to the start confident, calm, and collected. I rocked my transitions. I finished strong. These things have come with experience, practice, and hard work. So I'm going to keep working and racing, and I'm going to be back next year stronger and faster.

I am no longer a tri neophyte.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

T Minus 1

I'm off to Shawnee Mission for my priority race and final triathlon of the season. My muscles feel packed with glycogen, I've gone over my race checklist (twice!), and I've tuned, oiled, and tightened my bike. I'm feeling a little tight, especially in my legs (maybe I went too hard on my "easy" run yesterday). But I'll stretch it all out before we get in the car, and then again after we check into our hotel.

Race report forthcoming. See you then.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

T Minus 4

Rest yesterday, rest today. Easy run tomorrow with short, intense intervals (just to remind my legs what to do). And packing! Because on Saturday I get to go to Shawnee Mission!

In other news, I got a call from the Multisport director at Genesis, today. We'll be meeting on Monday to discuss the possibility of me taking over the West Central Multisport Club. Which would be awesome.

I don't know what I'm going to do for spinning class on Monday; I doubt I'm going to be able to maintain the level of intensity I would expect from my students. Maybe a climbing workout is the way to go. With lots of climbing, my heart rate won't climb as high as if we do a lot of speedwork. I'm sure my heart rate will still be much higher than normal, but I hope it won't be so high that I can't set an example for intensity for my class.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

T-minus 6

Today was my first official day of taper.  Besides teaching an ass-kicking spinning session (podcast will be available later this week), I did a low volume, high intensity session on the treadmill.

I wanted to keep it below 2 miles, so I did 1.5 in 15 minutes.

But I did the first mile at 8:40 pace.  Which is about a minute faster than my usual race pace.  It's about 40 seconds faster than my 80% effortst at the track.  And it's way, way faster than the pace at which I run my tempo sessions.  I won't even tell you how much faster.

Thing is, after that first hard mile, and then running some 1-2 minute intervals with walk breaks between, I felt great.  I didn't want to stop.  And, frankly, it's pretty unusual for me not to want to stop running; it's not my favorite thing to do.

What does this tell me?  It tells me that I could--and should--be working a lot harder, because I could be running much faster.  Have to keep that in mind as I get into my half marathon training in the next month or two.  I was planning to hit a 10:00/mile pace for the half.  But I think I should shoot for 9:30; I think to do less would be to underestimate my potential.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

One Week

T-minus 7 days and counting.