Wednesday, July 29, 2015

All I do is run, run, run no matter what, what what...

My training peaks account was pulled out of the cobwebs a month ago and I have to say it feels so good to be working towards a goal again. First up is the Chickamauga Marathon on November 14th followed by Rocket City in December. I ran Chickamauga in 2010, it is one of my favorites due to the small size and the lovely course through the Chickamauga Battlefield (so much history!). It was not my best marathon performance and this feels like a bit of a do-over for me. I had some kind of hip issue right after the half marathoners split off the course and basically just hobbled from there to the finish line. Obviously, I am hoping for a better outcome this time.  No hobbling!

I am working with a coach this time around. Not because I think I need a coach to finish a marathon as such but my motivation has been so on again off again this year that I felt like I needed someone to be accountable to this time around. (and who knows, maybe I will get a little faster in the process - fingers crossed!).  The accountability thing has definitely worked.  There have been a couple of times where I thought "this is normally where I take a little walk break" but didn't because I didn't want that to show up on my training peaks log when I uploaded the file from my watch. So I keep running. Accountability for the win. #holla

I have run pretty much every day for the last three weeks. A lot of zone 1 & 2 with some speed work and hills mixed in for good measure. Honestly, besides accountability that is another reason a coach is good for me because every other marathon I have just built up mileage without regard for the "fancy" workouts.  I actually enjoy the speed work. It is kind of fun to run fast even if it is only for a few minutes at a time.

Up until Sunday, I started to wonder if my coach had a thing against rest days. I know I personally enjoy a day off once in a while.  :)  Just when I was wondering if I had someone been signed up for one of those Runner's World Run Streaks, I saw this magical sign on my log for this week. It feels a little like spring break up in here!

4 weeks down, 15 weeks to go!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Still getting it all together...

So it has been 3+ months since we last talked. (it feels obligatory to acknowledge the absence). I suppose I haven't really had much to say. I have said it before and I will say it again, it is quite the life changer to go from working out 15-20+ hours a week down to maybe 5 hours a week (on a good week). Seriously 5 hours a week. The crazy part is 5 hours is what most people would consider "normal" but in my warped endurance mind it feels like I have basically been doing nothing.

I needed a break, I truly did. For the most part over the past seven months (!) since B2B I have been doing a little bootcamp type training, a very small amount of running and a fair amount of tennis.  I had given up tennis when I dove into triathlon and have really enjoyed adding it back into my life again. Of course, I can't do anything on a reasonable level - my first season back and I am on FIVE teams. Insanity. I will scale it back after this season. For real.

Several weeks ago, I started getting the itch to race again. I decided to sign up for the Battlefield Marathon in November and Rocket City in December. (You see that they endurance insanity is hard to shake - that is the only kind of person who signs up for back to back marathons.).  I have done Battlefield once before. I loved the course but didn't have a great race so am looking forward to have a do-over on this course. I promise not to cut the course and claim the first place prize like the "winner" last year.   As for Rocket City, it just looked like a good race. I think I was in "sign up for every race" mode that day as I signed up for both races in the same day.

I started training on Monday and have to say it feels really good to be working on a plan. In the past several months, it has become clear to me that I do best when there is a goal of some sort. I like structure and the idea of going to the gym just because fitness is good for you is not enough of a motivator for me.  So there you go. This girl now has goal(s).

Let's do it!

Monday, March 16, 2015

I am convinced there is a connection...

It has been 16 days since I have had a Diet Dr. Pepper.  You have no idea how huge this is to me. When I say I was raised on Diet Coke, I mean that in every sense of the word.  As early as I can remember, we had a supply of Tab in the house.  I also remember going to the grocery store and picking out our flavors of Diet Shasta for the week.  There was nothing much more exciting than loading up an empty box with various flavors of Shasta. ...or maybe our life was just boring.  LOL.  So my Diet Coke addiction is legit and I come by it honestly. The addiction has been with me for 40ish years at this point.  Just so we are clear, I live in the south where all diet "sodas" are referred to as Diet Coke.  Diet Dr. Pepper, Tab, Diet Shasta, Diet Coke - it is all Diet Coke.  Except Coke Zero.  That is gross and is called Coke Zero.

The funny thing is I never really thought of it as a bad thing until the past few years.  Mostly when I tried to start eating more cleanly. It didn't make much sense to eat clean only to throw 4+ cans of Diet Dr. Pepper into my system every day.  I tried a few times to give it up but never made it past the first week.  I am not naive enough to think I have kicked the habit but am quite proud to have made it this far.  In all honesty, I haven't even wanted one all that much.  

Over the past year or so I have read articles linking a craving for sweets with drinking diet coke. Something about the taste of the diet soda triggering your body to prepare to digest sugar.  When the body doesn't get the sugar, it starts craving it.  You are kind of faking out your system.  This article explains it pretty well.

I always wondered if that were true because I do love me some sweets. Or should I say I did. Ever since I stopped drinking Diet Coke, I haven't really wanted anything sweet. Weird, right? Sweets for me were pretty much a daily occurrence, cookie, cupcake, ice cream, whatever it was I usually had something along those lines every day. I walked down the ice cream aisle the other day at the store and had ZERO desire to check anything out.  Very strange.  Not complaining, trust me I needed the help...  at this point I find it kind of fascinating.  I am pretty sure all those studies are real.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why hello there progress...

Not even a repeat performance of the turkish get ups on Thursday could keep me down! Seriously, I don't know why we had to do them two sessions in a row.  I think that is some kind of sick trainer joke.  ...or maybe I should actually conquer them and then we wouldn't have to do them as much.  Hmmm.....

Y'all this clean eating thing is sticking with me this time.  Whew...  so much relief.  I can see a difference and the jeans don't have to stretch as far right now.  I really think this is the longest I have gone without Diet Coke since birth so that is the real miracle right there.  Seriously.

So last week I did a 5k to support one of my friend's charities.  The start time was 2:00 pm which is pretty awesome.  I can get behind a race that doesn't require you to set an alarm clock.  The 5k was an out and back and decently hilly so we'll call it a good challenge.  The last 1/2 mile or so I pass this 8 year old on a hill.  He is quick to pass me back.  For the record, I did not chase him down for the purpose of passing him but he ran out of steam in the last 1/8 of a mile or so.  As I go past him I give a little "good job, let's go buddy" and he just looks at me.  He finished right behind me and I see him again walking up the stairs to where they were handing out awards.  I congratulated him and asked him if it was his first 5k.  He says it was his 11th and he wasn't too happy with his time (we were around 25 minutes).  "My fastest time is 17 minutes".  Wow.   I guess he was a little off that day :)    

The good news is we both took home first in our age groups and a sweet hand painted award.

No Diet Dr. Pepper in 14 days.  Now that deserves an award.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday Turkish get ups and dead butts...

Is it a full moon?  I have been crazy all day long.  This morning I posted this little inspiration meme (is it a meme or just a post, I dunno.  I feel like I might need a definition of a meme...  this doesn't have an angry cat or ironic picture so maybe it is just a post).  Anyhow,  I posted this on Facebook right before I went in the gym.

Inspirational, right? Let's take on the day, friends!

I head up to my class and the trainer is showing us how to do turkish get ups with a 16lb kettle bell.  Dear Lord that is difficult.  On my right side, easy enough but reverse all that and do it on the left side.  A mess.  So we move on to the next thing.  The main set was as many dead lifts and dumbbell thrusters as you could do in 20 minutes.  We had done this the previous week so we kind of had a number we wanted to beat.  I had done 196 last Tuesday (a fact which bothered my OCD side - so close to 200).  This time, I knew I wanted to beat 200.  Timer starts.  I start busting out the task at hand.  Trainer says, I am going to send you an email, you need to work on your glutes.  What every lady likes to hear...  I like dead butts and I cannot lie... Mind you, it isn't both glutes, just one.  So I left class with half of a dead butt, a sad attempt at a turkish get up and feeling like maybe I needed a do over on the day.  Whomp, whomp.  Stupid, right?

I got out of the car on top of the world and got back in feeling less than great.  Then I thought about my post.  Here I am posting something so it might be inspirational to someone else and it turns out I was the one that needed to hear that today.  My trainer emailed me the video to cure my dead butt and I was telling him I felt like I needed the do-over on the day.  Of course, he had no idea what I was talking about...  "You did fine.  You were learning something for the first time so of course it was hard.  By the way, you did two more rounds of the deadlifts and thrusters than you did last week." Aren't we always harder on ourselves than we need to be?  I chose to focus on my half-ass ass and unrecognizable get up when I should have been proud that I met my goal of hitting 200 and exceeded it with 211 reps.  Boom y'all.  Lesson learned (again).  Glass half full.  If you need me, I will be the one with an exercise band around her knees trying to revive her dead glute.

Day 10:  No Diet Dr. Pepper.  What is this world coming to?  I am pretty sure their stock must have dropped in value by now.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

The funny thing about not working out 20 hours a week is... don't need to eat as much food!  #duh   I mean, really what self respecting endurance athlete doesn't know how to calculate your nutritional needs to some extent?  I could tell you exactly how many salt tabs, gels, bonk breaker bars, and bottles of water I need to get through a race but for some reason fail to be able to apply that same consistency to my daily life.  What is up with that?

Since I broke up with triathlon, I have steadily been gaining a pound here and a pound there until the stretch in my stretch jeans has reached its limits.  When I grab a pair of jeans to put in my gym bag in the morning, I just pray they still fit when I go to put them on. I don't eat junk 24/7 but lately there had been a pretty consistent intake of junky snacks on a daily basis. I am really bad about rewarding myself for this or that with food.  Run 6 miles today? Let's have some Doritos AND a cupcake!  I am not sure why but I have had some kind of mental block about getting it together and dropping all the extra junk food.

I joined a 90 day challenge at Lifetime Fitness in an effort to give myself a little push.  The challenge started at the beginning of February.  I did good for TWO days and then did a flying leap off of the wagon.  In my mind, I had not given up on the challenge but had more of an attitude of that I had NINETY DAYS to get it together.  No harm, no foul if the first 30 days were a mess, right?  It was sort of like cramming for an exam at the last minute.  I kept thinking I would get it together in the last 60 days.  Right.

A week or so ago, I stepped on the scale in the changing room and saw a number I had not seen in a while.  Scared straight.  I know, a number is just a number and shouldn't make or break you, it is how your clothes fit and how you feel, blah blah blah but let's be real.  Whether it is right or wrong, most ladies (and maybe men too) have a number in their head - more likely, two numbers.  One number is your happy weight and the other is the upper limit you are willing to reach before things start getting serious.  If you see the happy weight, you will immediately break out into a snoopy dance.  The other one, not so much... To be clear, the number I saw was not the happy weight number.  

I am not sure how I bumped into it but later that day I found the Advocare 24 Day Challenge.  Yes, I just felt some of the whole food purists cringe.  My habit of diet cokes from sun up to sun down wasn't exactly healthful living so this feels like a good compromise for me. (Stick with me, I promise it won't be an infomercial).  I liked the structure and that there was an emphasis on clean eating during the program so it wasn't just "drink our shakes and then you are on your own".  They were quick about shipment which I also liked...  once you get used to Amazon Prime everything else seems slow in comparison. It is like they know you are going to order before you do.  Weird.

I started the program 8 days ago.  I cannot tell a lie, it has been exactly what I needed.  The perfect amount of structure combined with flexibility to choose your own foods.  I have gotten back to my Sunday afternoon meal prepping which is the biggest help in sticking with the plan.  I feel 100% better than I did two weeks ago AND I have not had a diet coke in 8 days.  Let me tell you, as someone who was quite literally raised on Diet Coke (or back then Tab), to not even crave one at this point really is a miracle.  I used to easily drink 4+ cans a day.  No joke.  If nothing else, that was worth the price of admission.  I know it is early in the game but after several months of feeling kind of lost with fitness and nutrition, it feels good to be back on the path again.  Rick is sold on it too and is going to give it a go next week!  I know it will help him a lot so I am excited to see his results.

Could I have done this on my own?  Yes.  Did I?  No.  Sometimes you just need someone to lay out a plan for you...  onward and upward!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quitting the thing that defines you...

The next several weeks if you go to the grocery store in my area (and probably any area in the USA), you have to run the girl scout gauntlet.  Lord knows I love their cookies.  Lord also knows I don't need their cookies.  Today was the first day I had seen them outside the grocery store so I stepped up to get a box of Samoas.  I happened to have on my Ironman Louisville ski cap.  The Mom in charge asks me if I had done an Ironman to which I said yes.  She said "well you DESERVE these cookies".  They still cost me $4 so apparently I didn't deserve them for free...  ha ha.

It is funny what kind of admiration that race gets you and in the most unusual places.  I have never been one of those people who wore that accomplishment on my sleeve.  (Granted, today I had it on my head but normally I keep it on the down-low).  I could talk to you for hours about my hobbies and never mention it.  As much as I don't like to put my accomplishment out there in the course of conversation, until recently it was very much a part of my every day life.      

"What I learned quitting the thing that defined me" was the title of the article I saw on Hey Eleanor yesterday.  It kind of describes where I am at perfectly.  The thing that defined me.  In many ways after five years of 24/7 triathlon, specifically Ironman, it defined me.  It was I did in most of my waking (non-working) moments.  It was a part time job; twice a day and all weekend long for most weekends.  When I wasn't swimming, biking or running I was thinking about swimming, biking or running or packing my gear for my next workout (which I suppose still counts as thinking about SBR...)

...and 100% happy with it!

Back in December when I decided that burnout had gotten the best of me it felt very freeing.  Lately it feels like a weird place to be in.  It isn't that I haven't moved on and managed to fill every waking minute with other things but it is still a transition.  For years, when Rick would talk about his friends they were always "skydiving friends" or "motorcycle friends" or...  you get the idea.  As your hobbies change, your group of friends sort of change as well.  The thing that makes it harder to not feel like a quitter is that your entire facebook feed is filled with these groups of people.  People you used to have things in common with, people who are still doing the thing that you stepped away from.

Don't get me wrong, I have been filling my time with some awesome 'crossfit-like' workouts at the gym (AKA crossfit but they can't call it that because of branding. You still get the same hand callouses).  So there is that.  I also played a little tennis this winter.  I have been running here and there.  I had a great 10k race yesterday.  My goggle marks have *finally* gone away.  LOL.  All in all, it has been a great break from triathlon and I don't regret my decision to quit.  I have been able to take classes and do things I never would have had time to do in the past and that is worth so much more to me than any medal at this point in my life.  For now, I will enjoy my transition time and cheer on my triathlon friends from the sidelines.  :)