Monday, July 29, 2013

Listen To Your Body

This weekend, Daniel gave me the biggest compliment.  He said, "You are really good at listening to your body."  It came up as we were doing speed work at the track.  I was killing it, and he noticed.  I was running faster than the pace he set for me on my repeat 800s which almost never happens.  I told him that I was feeling really good that day, so I was pushing myself.

Rewind 24 hours to Friday and I felt terrible.  Everything in my body ached.  My glutes were sore, my foot hurt, my calves were tight...the list went on.  There was a swim on my workout schedule, but I decided to take the afternoon and get a massage instead.  I went to Texas Sports Massage where the owner worked on my lower body.  Then she stretched my lower back which resulted in a loud "pop" and then everything felt better again.  She explained that because my back was misaligned, my glutes were compensating.  If I had kept working out, it may have taken much longer to feel better.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I base a lot of my workouts on how I feel that day, and I credit that to staying injury-free.  I'm not saying I give into my body when it wants to sit on the couch instead of going to the gym, but once I get going I push myself just hard enough that I won't need to take a day off the next day.

Last Wednesday I had a 50 minute run scheduled.  I laced up and took off at a very early time in the morning.  My pace after mile 1 was just over 11 min/mile.  This wasn't the pace I wanted, but I also knew I didn't want to quit my run early.  I continued jogging along at my slower than normal pace and finished that 50 minute run (my longest run in over 2 months).  Afterwards I felt like I'd given a good effort level, and I knew that my next long run would be even faster.

Do you listen to your body and take care of it to prevent injury?

My goal for injury prevention this next month is more stretching.  I don't do enough to cooldown and recover post-workout.

Monday, July 22, 2013

My First Brick Workout: Thoughts

Sunday was my first Brick Workout for my triathlon training.  In case you don't know what a brick workout is, I rode my bike for 1 hour and then immediately hopped off and started running for 10 minutes.  It helps triathletes get used to a transition between 2 different sports where your muscles are used in different ways.

Before I started, I figured this would not be a big deal.  My legs may be a little tired from the bike ride, but running would come naturally.  Boy was I wrong!!

I parked my bike in the garage after 13.28 miles, took off my helmet, and headed out for a run.  It was my first time running in biking shorts, so I felt a little funny, but hey! no chafing...I'm a fan.

As I left out of my garage my legs felt so heavy and every step felt like it was the loudest, hardest footfall of my running career.  My legs felt like Jell-O and I was positive I was moving in slow motion.  Plus, by this time in the morning it was getting hot!  I thought of cutting my run short, but told myself to keep moving.

Around the half mile mark, my stride started to feel more comfortable.  At that point, I was running from shade tree to shade tree for some relief from the heat.  I don't think it was my best running form, but we can't win them all.  I glanced down at my watch and was pleasantly surprised that I was under 10:00 pace.  I wrapped my run up and was so happy.  I could not stop smiling and bragging for hours about my awesome workout.

I actually started at a faster pace than I finished.

Post-brick thoughts: I'm really glad I still have 6 weeks of training left.  After my experience Sunday, I think the triathlon is going to be more challenging than I originally thought.  I definitely want to do more brick workouts and also practice the swim to bike transition.

And a bonus.  One of my race pictures from last weekend.  I haven't ordered it yet, but Glover Sports Photography posted proofs.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Too Hot to Handle Race Recap

Yesterday was Run Project’s Too Hot To Handle race at White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX.  They offer 15k and 5k race distances.  As a little background on this race, Too Hot to Handle 2012 was my first competitive 5k that inspired the next year of my training.  Before this race last year, I had trained for two half marathons and one 10k, but my boyfriend convinced me it was time to get faster.  And I have!

Back to this year… I registered on-line about a month before the 5k race. Packet pick-up was across the metroplex at a local running chain called Run On!  Multiple packet pick-up locations made it really convenient to get my race bib.  I was able to stop by on my way home from work and collect two race packets for my boyfriend and me without waiting in line.  I was a little surprised that my race packet only included a bib, a hat, and a Chipotle BOGO coupon.  I asked the volunteer who was distributing packets and he explained that this year the t-shirts would be given out after the race. Incentive to finish!

On race morning we left extra early because I was worried about parking.  I drove myself, Daniel, my friend Melissa, and her cousin.  Yay carpooling!  We got to Norbuck Park at 6:30 am -- an hour before the scheduled race start.  I ended up parking on the shoulder of Buckner Road, and I’m pretty sure we walked less than 100 yards to the starting line.  It was a pretty awesome parking spot.  Way closer than last year.

It was still pretty dark when we got to the race and I assumed it was because the sun wasn’t out yet.  I applied sunscreen, visited the port-o-potties, and ran around the nearby baseball fields for warm-up.  During my warm-up jog, I began to realize why it was so dark.  It was raining!!  Something I never expected at “Too Hot To Handle” was temperatures below 80 degrees, cloud cover, and a light rain.  It was all wonderful, and there wasn’t enough rain to make you too wet.  Perfect!

The race started on-time with the 15k runners starting first.  As the 5k runners approached the start they reminded us to turn right as we passed under the first underpass.  This was a change from last year’s course.  I had seen the new course map on-line and was curious.  Last year there was a large hill at the very beginning of the race but was a mostly flat out and back course.  This year was still out and back, but I wasn’t sure what the elevation would be like.

Daniel decided to pace me for this race for which I am very thankful.  Unfortunately, that means less pictures to share.  Bear with me on this long post.  The race begins….

Mile 1 was hectic.  I had to make my way around a lot of slower joggers and walkers.  I accidentally shoved a girl…oops.  I thought I had enough room to pass on her left between her and a parked car.  Well she moved slightly and I was already starting to pass, so I pushed her.  Sorry!!!  Daniel was running behind me and told me later that I definitely didn’t have room to pass, but agreed that she wasn’t running in a straight line.  After getting past the crowd, I felt strong and Daniel was pacing me very well.

Mile 2 was a hill.  I may be exaggerating when I say I ran uphill for a whole mile, but it felt like it.  This was quite a challenge for me and my pace suffered.  I went from 8:40 to 9:06/mi.  After a quick water break after the mile 2 marker, Daniel gave me a look like “It is time to speed it up.”
Mile 3 was fast.  I sped up to keep up with Daniel.  My goal was 8:36 pace to get a new PR and I knew I blew it.  When we were about a quarter mile from the end, he said to me “You can pass at least 50 people in front of you.” So I dug in and pushed to try to pick off runners one by one.  I don’t think I passed 50 people, but I definitely passed some.  I finished mile 3 in 8:17.

Finally the finish line was in sight and I sprinted in the best I could, but of course my legs were so heavy by this point.  I was greeted at the end with an ice cold towel.  Not a bad way to end a race.  My official time was 27:00 flat.  It wasn’t a new PR, but I was happy with how I ran (and I got 4th in my age group!).  I haven’t been exactly focusing on running and my mileage is way down because of the triathlon training. I think if I had more mileage, my cardio endurance would have been better prepared for that hill.
When I reflect back to a year ago, Too Hot to Handle was the first time I had broken 30 minutes on my 5k time.  I finished in 29:58 last year, and after a year of running, I took off nearly 3 minutes from my time.  I’m so proud of myself and owe a lot of my motivation to Daniel for pushing me to be the best version of myself that I can.

After the race, I claimed my New Balance finishers sleeveless t-shirt and then found a popsicle from the RunOn booth.  I toured around and got samples from Muscle Milk, Clif bar, and TCBY.  There was no Slurpee truck this year, but the fro-yo made up for it.  I talked with some other vendors and then decided to leave before the rain picked up.

Overall, it was a well-organized race.  I was disappointed at first that the new 5k route did not go by the lake, but it was still a scenic course (I even saw horses during my run).  Supporting nearly 1500 5k runners and 1500 10k runners is not easy, but Run Project and their sponsors did a great job.  I will be returning next year (especially if they can make the weather cool again).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tri Training Month 1 Update

Happy Monday Readers!  I am happy to announce that I am done with month 1 of triathlon training.  9 more weeks to go.  I wanted to share what I've been doing and the progress I've seen.

Strength Training
This was something new that I added to my workout schedule every Monday.  The exercises I focus on are lat pulldowns, seated row, leg presses, leg extensions, crunches, and push-ups.  I feel so much stronger than when I began.  I can do multiple sets of "man push-ups" as I call them. AND I did my first chin-up ever (much to my own shock).  I'm starting to see a lot of definition in my arms and that makes me happy.

I run 3 days a week.  One EZ long run, one short Tempo Run, and then I alternate hills or a track workout.  I was a little discouraged at the beginning of June because my body was taking its sweet time getting acclimated to the Texas heat.  Since then I've had some good runs and Daniel keeps reminding me how much stronger I look when I run compared to last summer.  I'm running a 5k in 2 weeks, so the results will show then.

I swim 2 days a week.  Before my official training began, I did a baseline 300M swim that took me 6:26 to complete.  I thought by race day I'd be happy if I could get my time under 6 minutes.  Last week, I blew that goal out of the water.  I took 50 seconds off my 300M swim in a mere 6 weeks.  I was ecstatic.  I told anyone who would listen.

300M Swim Time
I practice biking twice a week - once on an indoor spin bike, and once outside.  My average speed has been around 13 MPH, but since the race is 15 miles long, I'd like to get a little quicker.  I'm hoping to go do a ride on the actual course soon to see how hilly it is.  My longest ride has been 17 miles.
Safety first - always wear a helmet
That's all for this week.  I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!!