Sunday, January 15, 2012

First half of January Recap

My fancy new Garmin 310XT tells me that so far this year, I've logged:
  • 14 activities
  • covered 94.73 miles
  • spent 13hrs 16 mins 35 secs swimming, biking and running
  • Have an average speed of 7.1 mph (yay for biking speeding up my average!) and HR of 147 bpm (is that good?)
  • and have burned 4,401 calories (How many Christmas cookies and glasses of wine is that?)
January 1: Say hello to my little friend, Pablo
Bike/Run Brick: 10 mile/40 minute spin with my cyber buddy Pablo. He has a great Latin accent. I love the way he says "maintain". He scolds at me through my laptop, "Man-tain your speed! Man-tain your cadence! Don't give up!" I wasn't! Sheesh, Pablo, give me a little credit! He also sings along to Lady Gaga and Beyonce which is kind of cute. Pablo wears coordinating yellow cycling shorts, jersey, cycling hat. This always leads me to ask the question, does one really need to wear a cycling jersey while on a trainer or spin bike? It's not like you need to pack a pump or patch kit. Wouldn't a tank top suffice? Just sayin'.

Once Pablo was done with me, I ran from my house to the pool to remember what it feels like to run after riding and to determine distance and time. One mile round trip. My first brick of the year! My hope was to splurge and treat myself once a week to a swim at my bigger, more luxurious neighborhood pool for my long swims. My gym pool is claustrophobic and overrun by swimmers who flail about and make me feel sorry not only for myself, but for the water they are molesting.

January 2: Taking advantage of a sunny day
Bike! It was a beautiful sunny day. These are rare in the Pacific Northwest, so my new biking schedule is to bike outside any time I possibly could. Do not cross go, do not collect $200, just get the heck out there and ride! I had a magnificent 14 mile/1hr 5 min ride. I am feeling pretty comfy on my bike these days. I just mind my own business, stay along the median strip or my bike lane. I have nothing more than a helmet protecting my head. I'm taking it all in and feeling one with nature. Then a big ass truck farting noxious fumes, guns his engine, honks and passes me as close as he can get without hitting me. This leaves me in a panic. I could have died! I am a mom of two children! Was that really necessary? My heart pounding, I pedaled on a little shaken and a lot pissed off.  I was ready to hunt down the a-hole and shove my bike pump up his aforementioned a-hole.  It took me a while to calm down. The rest of the vehicles, most of whom were quiet, economical cars, went out of their way to slow down and steer into the other lane as they cautiously passed me. THANK YOU drivers who see and look out for us vulnerable cyclists! We love you for it!

Get a load outta that sky! How I love wide open spaces.

January 3: Back to the salt mines
5 am wake up call, begrudingly suited up, headed out into the darkness for my 6 mile tempo run. According to McMillan I should be running these at a pace that seemed ridiculously quick (7:48-8:20). I warmed up for a mile and half before kicking it up to 8:20 pace for the next three miles. I hung on for dear life. If it weren't for my Garmin spying on me, I would have totally cheated and cut it short or slowed down to a more humane speed. "You're STRONG!" I told myself between gasps for air. Didn't feel so good while doing it, but I felt like a million bucks afterwards when I was all hot and sweaty. YEAH! I reported to work for a fun, informative teacher in-service and got to show off my hula hoop and cup stacking skills at the PE portion. Yee haw!

January 4: "To teach is to learn twice over." Josephy Joubert
Resume my teaching job after 18 days of winter vacation bliss, daily naps, no clocks or schedules. Took a rest day to help ease the transition back into the real world.

January 5: MILE PR!
I worked out at the track with the speed group. I was stepping outside my comfort zone again. This was not only a new group to me, but tonight would be a timed mile.  I hadn't run a timed mile since I was 16! I ran it in 7:15 and was dang proud of my non-runner self who usually opted to walk the mile to prove a passive aggressive point. How fast could I go? I had no idea, but I wanted my 40 year old self to kick my 16 year old self's ass!  

I was surprised to find myself closer to the front of the pack than the back of the pack. WTF? Me?! Slow, short legged me? Surely I had gone out to fast. I was going to DIE! Coach called out our times. What?! That's WAY too fast! Three more laps? Are you kidding me?! With a wing and a prayer, I put every ounce of strength, mostly mental and finished up my mile. 6:45! Sub 7 minute mile! I almost cried I was so proud of myself. I have always said that I'm a slow runner. I would need to work this out of my mind and speech. I'm as fast as I want to be. Yippy!

January 6: Accidental rest day
Oops. I'm human. I will not beat myself up, but dangit!

January 7th: Sunny day, chasing the clouds away
1600 meter morning swim at the "good" pool. Found my form and fell into a rhythm again. I love me a good swim! Followed that up with some family time. When I discovered it was sunny and dry out I suited up and headed out for a bike ride.  Running speed is coming along nicely. Now it's time to build up my cycling speed. I seem stuck in the 14-15 mph zone regardless of where/when I bike. Must work on that. Picked up my RPMs and set off for an 18 mile tempo bike ride.

January 8:  No road is long with good company.  ~Turkish Proverb
Met a group of local runners, carpooled out to one of my favorite trails in Lane County. Ran 11 glorious, quickish miles with four or five fellow trail junkies.  This was great training for February's 25K. Thoroughly enjoyed the company and seeing fellow runner out on the same trail. It was a marvelously chilly, sunny day on the trails. I look forward to doing some open water swim/run bricks out there in the spring and summer
Halfway point. Time to turn around. Where's the damn dam?

I adore the water crossings at this trail along Lookout Point Reservoir
Artsy Hipstamatic picture of the venue

January 9th: Slacker alert
Stayed up too late working the night before that I blew off my morning pre-work swim/lift session. I had the best of intentions to squeeze in a run after work but talked myself out of it. My training season hadn't officially kicked off. Why knock myself out if I didn't have to?!

January 10th: Put the pedal to the metal
Met up with a new running buddy. Muscled my way through a 6 mile 8:15 min/mi average tempo run.  Next week I'll try to do 8 miles.

January 11th: How do you spell "rain free day"? B-I-K-E!
1 hr/14 mile ride around the river in arctic conditions. I will need better cycling gear if I am to cycle outdoors year round.

January 12: Another brick in the wall
1600 meter swim in the wee hours of the morning. Workout was cut short by the stinkin' swim team who took over all the lanes.

Hill sprints with speed group. I was dreading this workout. Hills in the cold darkness was one thing but SPRINTING up them at 5K speed?! She's gotta be kidding! Was pleased as punch to find a few friends in the dark with their headlamps aglow. Misery loves company. Suddenly I was jazzed about tackling up those hills. It was fun having folks to cheer on and to encourage me. Three miles worth of 12 quarter mile ups and downs made me feel tough! 
Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. My training shake-ups were proving that perhaps I wasn't insane after all. I was turning my old comfy habits and routines on their ear!

January 13: Friday the 13th
Again, I had the best of intentions of working out. Fridays are technically my half days at work. I had carefully packed my swim stuff, gym stuff and cold weather running stuff. Did I use any? NO! I opted to spend five hours in my classroom working my tail feathers off. Working out on Friday the 13th is bad luck, right? Might be dangerous. Besides my buttocks were sore from the previous night's workouts. Coach said I shouldn't rely on my little leg muscles but my big butt muscle. Excuse me?! I was to image my butt cheeks squeezing a piece of paper. Alrighty, then. Managed to avoid mental paper cuts to my ass with my imaginary paper thong, but yowsers could I feel the effects of that hill workout the next day.

January 14: Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming
Dang, I was digging this pool thing. Went to my gym and was thrilled to have the entire lap section of the pool to myself for the first 1200 meters. I totally got into my swimming groove and felt at one with the water. Swam a mile before toweling off and heading to the gym for a quick run on the treadmill and weight lifting session. Chafed myself with my swim suit for the first time but LOVE my new Moving Comfort sports bras!

January 15: SNOWY DAY
I took a leap of faith that I'd be able to safely drive to my favorite local Ridgeline Trail and get in a 12-14 miler in the snow. It was well worth my effort and initial fretting before getting out the door.  I had an amazing 13 mile run along the gorgeous snow dusted trails. It deserves a post all of it's own. What a gift! I love the trails! Two more weeks and it'll all be roads, speed and distance practice as I do all my runs with the Performance Half Marathon group.  Miss those trails already but looking forward to new opportunities.
One of my favorite sections of the trail. I refer to it as "The Chapel" This magical place never fails to move me.
My own private winter wonderland
Even with those unplanned rest days, it was a pretty darn good two weeks of training. I'm hoping to keep that momentum and energy. I now have a speed/cadence sensor for my Garmin. I'm hoping that will help me build more cycling strength, speed and endurance.  Other reflections and wishes after these two weeks: get to the weight room at least twice a week and do yoga at least once a week.

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