Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two week Triathlon Training Plan…

Don’t be fooled there really isn’t such a thing as a two week plan. Well, not a recommended one anyhow... I was challenged to enter a triathlon in the not too distant future as part of an exercise I am doing to work on the mental aspect of the sport. The perspective I am changing is not necessarily just applicable to triathlon but it could translate to tennis or really just life in general. Sort of removing the little voices inside your head that make you doubt your abilities and in the end hold you back from everything you are capable of achieving. You can check it out HERE. If anything was possible and there were no barriers what would you choose to do?

Given that my training for Ironman Augusta kicks off on about 3 weeks and I have committed most weekends to my training partner, I knew that I needed to sign up for something in early May if I was going to do it. Ideally, I was looking for a sprint tri but since my dates were so limited, there wasn’t a lot to choose from in the ATL. I eyeballed a couple of triathlons with a pool swim but really wanted to do one that had the entire experience, right down to the kicking, scratching and pushing aspect of an open water swim. I settled on a tri May 7th in south Georgia. It is slightly longer than a sprint tri with a 1000y swim, 18 mile bike and 4.3 mile trail run but had great reviews. From what I can tell, it seems to be a small event that is held in some kind of neighborhood with a “crystal clear” lake (so the benefits of the pool – only missing a black line to follow). All participants are invited to spend the day at their clubhouse and pool after the event. Love that! Now if only I can make sure CR is off work that day…

Normally, I wouldn’t sign up for a race that only gives me 2 weeks to prep but I feel that I have been doing a decent amount of swimming, biking and running leading into it so am going to work on tying up the loose ends together in the next week. Basically it involves incorporating a couple of SPIN classes and a couple of extra short runs into my existing workouts. Tonight, I inserted a 3 mile run before I caoched my swim group. For spin, well, I think the worst part is just getting up 15 minutes earlier to go to SPIN class. You wouldn’t think 15 minutes would make a difference in the scheme of things but I can really tell a difference in my ability to keep my eyes open later in the day.

Overall, I am looking forward to the race. I need to try and find out if it will be a wetsuite race. Being in south GA, it is possible the water is warm enough but you never know. I will probably bring at least one just in case. I have both a full and a sleeveless wetsuit (holdovers from my jetski days). I am thinking the sleeveless might be more comfortable. I will have to check it out this weekend - I would hate for it to crumble into pieces on me after sitting unused for so long. (much like the waterproof boots I wore to the New Year's Resolution Run earlier this year). ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

I choose ME…

I am a chronic people pleaser. I am not sure when it started, maybe it is that middle child syndrome, maybe somewhere along the way I perceived that people liked me more when I did things for them. It only took me 40 years to see the light on this subject. In the past year or so I have become more aware of the people who are in my life seemingly because they need something.

"You need me to make cupcakes, by tomorrow morning? 8 dozen? No problem! I am pretty sure Kroger is open 24 hours."

Luckily, I only have a couple of people in my life that I would say take advantage of me. One is kind of a classic scenario. I do various marketing materials for them. They only call me when they need something. If I am in ever in need of anything from them, they are impossible to reach. Whenever I get a call from this person, I KNOW they are calling so I will do something for them. I politely engage in the small talk waiting for the shoe to drop. It has become comical because it is so predictable.

The other person is a little bit more of a sticky situation as it is a close family member who can be difficult to deal with at best. The problem with this family member is that other family members tend to get involved and call me wanting me to do something to help this person, knowing that I cannot do any more than they could themselves.

In case number one, that is sort of a no brainer. I just need to learn to say no. I actually had a conversation with this person over the weekend about it. I am not sure they took me seriously so we’ll see. It may just become a situation where I selectively answer the phone.

In case number two, there is some amount of guilt involved since it is a family member. I have tried to help this person for a number of years now and they really aren’t receptive to the help so I feel like I have done all I can in that regard.

To help with these situations, I have been reading up on how to stop being a people pleaser. One of the steps involves figuring out what you are afraid of that causes you to never say no. Are you afraid people won’t like you? If they don’t like the ‘new you’ that isn’t a pushover, you should ask yourself if they were worth having in your life to begin with? Another step is to stop basing your self worth on how much you do for other people. The greatest acts of kindness aren’t done out of guilt or fear, they are done by choice. If you are doing things for others because you would feel bad if you didn’t, is your action genuine? Lastly, learn how to say no. You don’t need to make up excuses. Tell the truth. If going to a particular concert or party isn’t your thing, just say so. Simply but politely.

I can’t say that I am 100% there; I am probably not even 50% there. I definitely struggle with being a people pleaser. I guess that is the beauty of getting older, you start to worry less about what people think. I am starting to make strides so that is a great start. Recognizing the problem is half the battle, right?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Diaper Cakes and Updates...

How do people manage to update their blog every single day? It seems like just yesterday I posted about my bike ride and in looking at it now, I realize that was four days ago. What has been going on you ask? Well... tennis and swimming. No surprise there. I did head out to track night yesterday to work on my speed. I was unable to locate my group (there was a Lacrosse game going on at the high school) so I missed the work out. Oh well, next time! Tonight, if the weather holds out, I am going on a group bike ride.

In other news, I added a triathlon to the schedule. It is not quite an olympic tri but a little bit longer than a sprint with a 1000 yard swim, 18 mile bike and 4.8 mile trail run. The triathlon is in 2 weeks so obviously it was a last minute decision. It isn't a huge event so am expecting it will be low key which is perfect at this early stage in my training season. I am really looking forward to it!

We have a baby shower at work tomorrow. I have a feeling it will be the last one unless someone adopts as we are all getting past that age. Most everyone at my company has been there 10+ years so we have kind of gone through the weddings, milestone birthdays and baby showers together. Somehow, I always get nominated to decorate. I am quite certain it is my ability to blow up ridiculous numbers of balloons without passing out. Well, either that or no one else wants the job. For years, when we had a budget for Christmas parties, I was in charge of the planning and I think it just carried over.

This time, I decided to make my gift for the Mom-to-be part of the decoration and made a diaper cake. Yes, a cake made out of diapers. No oven required, just A LOT of diapers.

I have seen diaper cakes before but I never thought about making one. Once I decided I would try it, I just googled the directions and off we went. Incredibly easy. If you want to give a useful and cute gift sure to garner oohs and ahs, you should give it a try.

You will need:

- a box of diapers (75 or so)
- small rubber bands (about 75)
- large rubber bands (3)
- ribbon (about 15 feet)
- small decorations for accents
- posterboard cut into a cake circle for the bottom (about 2 feet in diameter)
- two bottles (one 8 oz, one 4 oz)

The first step is to get to rolling the diapers. Start with the folded end, roll up and secure with a rubber band. Repeat, repeat, repeat until they you are sick of doing it or have 75 rolled diapers.

Place 9 diapers around the 8 oz bottle and secure with a rubber band. This can be tricky unless you have three hands. I do not have extra hands so I put the rubber band around the bottle and two of the rolled diapers then put the other seven diapers in the rubber band.

Arrange a second circle of diapers around the first using about 15 diapers. Secure with a rubber band. Repeat the process for a third ring using 22 diapers. This is your bottom "cake" layer. Tie approximately 5.5 feet of ribbon around this tier.

For your middle tier, place 8 diapers around the bottle, secure with a rubber band. Place 14 diapers to create a second ring and and secure with a rubber band. Tie a 5 foot piece of ribbon around this layer.

For the top tier, insert the 4 oz baby bottle in the center and arrange about 7 diapers around it. Secure with a rubber band and tie ribbon around this layer. Place a few accents to personalize and you are done!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Out for a Sunday Ride...

I think I have mentioned my odd mental issues about the bike leg of triathlons. Today I broke down the wall. I wasn't expecting it but it happened. Now you may all breathe a sigh of relief. WHEW. Trust me when I tell you that I KNOW so many of the things that hold me back in life go back to self doubt or a general lack of confidence. There usually aren't legitimate reasons for me to feel like I can't do something, it is typically some crazy notion I have put in my own mind. Today I didn't let that crazy notion hold me back.

In all honesty, let me say that I had dusted off my bike for a ride on Thursday after work. About the time I pulled into the lot I found out my friend was not coming. I do not know anyone at this ride. (Temptation to leave creeping in). I talked to two guys who were there for the ride. They were warming up. I asked them about the ride, how far it was, that sort of thing. The first thing both mentioned was that the ride was "super fast" and a "barn burner". (Temptation to leave further taking hold). The starting point for this ride is easily 45 minutes from home. I don't know the local roads, I become worried that this might not be a "no drop" ride. I pack up my bike and leave. FAIL.

Today was a completely different story. I met a small group of my friends at Lake Lanier for a ride on the course that Iron Girl will be using in about a month. I am intimately familiar with the course as it is essentially the course for every triathlon I have done to date. There are lots of rolling hills and a couple of steep hills that can force less experienced riders to walk. Last time I rode the course, I dropped a chain and did the slo-mo "I am still clipped to my pedals" crash. It is a classic. I do not recommend it. At that time, I did manage to get the chain back on and finish the race. All in all, there are probably three hills on the course that made me nervous going into today.

We set out to ride into the park and to the transition area. Transition area contained hill of fear #1. Not a huge hill but the last time I was on it, I wasn't in the right gear and had hard time getting up it. Today, it was no problem. Go figure...

We circle around in what will be the transition area and head out on the course. About a mile in we are at hill of intimidation #2. This is the hill where I dropped my chain and crashed. Odd, I remembered it being so much steeper. ;) I trucked up that hill no problem.

About 14 miles in we get to hill of walking #3. This hill really is no joke. I saw easily 60% of the racers walk this hill last time. It kind of goes from a flat to a steep incline. I definitely walked it last time. Today, I chug a lugged up that hill. It wasn't fast and my quads were burning but I did it! WOO HOO - that alone was worth a victory dance!

A few small rollers, a long slow incline and we were back to our cars after 19.3 miles. Done and done. I am so thankful for this ride today. It was just the confidence boost I needed. I KNOW I can do this! Don't you love it when you get over yourself and things that seemed so hard suddenly become easier than you thought? I know I still need to work on learning to use the gears in a more effective way but for today, it worked. Basically, I just kept it in the middle ring up front and played with the ring in the back to go up or down hills. I'll add the fancier gearing tricks later :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Swim Coaching Week Two...

Last night was the second week of my new endeavor as swim coach for my running/triathlon club. No one needed to be rescued from drowning which is always good :)

The group is mainly comprised of beginning swimmers. They have learned to swim within the last year or two for the purpose of competing in triathlons. I feel very fortunate that I learned to swim when I was young. I am certainly no Dara Torres but I definitely feel very comfortable in the water. Even as a experienced swimmer, the mass of people at a triathlon start with the kicking and people swimming over you can be unnerving. I can’t imagine the added stress it must be for someone who is new to swimming. I have nothing but respect for someone who learns to swim later in life – it is never too late!

The coaching gig is a little tricky in that we don’t have reserved lanes at the pool so I get there as early as possible and snag a lane. I wasn’t sure how busy the pool would be so I got there 30 minutes early and swam laps until my group arrived. There were quite a few swim lessons going on around me but thankfully not a lot of lap swimmers. Around 7:00 the water aerobic contingent arrived. I am always amazed at how many people attend those classes. At my gym, the classes are always packed and the same was true for this pool. Tons of people getting their aerobic splash on.

I had two workouts written for my group last night, one was 500 meters and one was 1000. Mostly 25s and 50s in an effort to get them used to swimming since they had taken off swimming over the winter. I am kind of trying to figure out how much everyone can handle which is tricky. I am proud to say the group rocked out the 1000 last night! At the end, they didn’t seem overly tired so I think maybe I could have pushed them a bit more with the interval times. Not sure. It took them about 45 minutes to get through the workout. I don’t want it to be too easy but I don’t want it to be so hard they don’t enjoy it either. As time goes on, I am sure it will become easier to assess and I will find that happy medium. All in all, they got their laps in and are that much closer to triathlon success, right?

Friday, April 8, 2011

One Lazy Friday...

CR's schedule at work is that of a person in retail. His days off tend to be some random day in the middle of the week and rarely weekends. I am gone well before he gets up during the week, he gets home as I am going to bed. The alternative was when he didn't have a job for a little over a year and was home all the time so I guess being ships that pass in the night will have to do. When he gets his schedule in advance, I try to rearrange my plans where I can to be at home when he is off work. This week, I decided to take a vacation day so we could spend the day together.

We have no real plans. So far, it has consisted of me making him breakfast (or maybe it was brunch). His request? Burgers and fries. A little odd but if that is what he wants... I passed on the burgers for a more normal breakfast of grits and eggs. :)

We are headed to see The King's Speech later this afternoon. Yes, we are behind the times. I have been dying to see this for a while now. I got a living social or groupon deal (can't remember which) a little while ago. The deal was 2 tickets for $9 so off we go (as soon as I locate that email with the coupon...).

Sometime today, I am also going to spend my leisure time browsing the 4all site. I have been asked to pick an outfit from the New Orleans or London collection. Help me out... which one do you like?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Improving 10k times...

Have you seen this article from Greg Mcmillan? You may have heard of the McMillan Pace Calculator. This is from the same guy... It is though he KNEW I was working on my 10k time for the Peachtree Road Race! :)

This is straight from his email blast (lest you thought I had the know how to come up with this on my own). For more specfics and other articles you can check our the McMillan treasure trove of knowledge HERE.

If you can perform three 2-mile repeats at your goal 10K pace in the last one to two weeks before your race, you will achieve your goal time. Period. It's a simple workout but oh-so-hard to accomplish. As such, you must build up to it, and this buildup of workouts turns out to be some of the best training you can do to run a fast 10K.

Eight weeks out from your 10K, run six 1-mile repeats at your goal 10K pace, taking 3 to 4 minutes recovery jog between each. Don't be surprised if you struggle in this workout. Many athletes become worried that their goal is out of reach, but trust me: You just need to complete the workout sequence and you'll be ready. One thing I find helps is to just focus on goal 10K pace, not faster. Some runners try to "beat the workout" by running faster but that isn't the goal. Start at goal pace and simply hang on.

Six weeks out from your 10K, advance to the following workout: Run a 2-mile repeat at your goal 10K pace then take a 5-minute recovery jog. Next, run four 1-mile repeats at goal 10K pace, taking 3 to 4 minutes recovery jog between each. As with Workout No. 1, you will get in 6 miles of running at your goal pace.

Four weeks out from the race, the workout advances yet again. This time, run two 2-mile repeats at goal 10K pace. Again, take a 5-minute recovery jog after each 2-mile repeat. Then, perform two 1-mile repeats at goal pace, taking 3 minutes recovery between each. By now, you should be feeling much more ready to attack your goal time. Your body is becoming calloused to the mental and physical stress of 10K pace. If, however, you're struggling to hit your goal pace even on the first 2-mile repeat, then your proposed goal pace is too aggressive and you should re-evaluate.

After this buildup of workouts, you're ready to attack the ultimate 10K workout. I suggest you perform this workout nine to 12 days before your race to allow enough time to recover before the event. Start with your usual warm-up (which you should perform for each workout described in this article), then run three 2-mile repeats at your goal 10K pace. Take a 5-minute recovery jog between each repeat. Prepare for this intense workout like you will your race -- be well-recovered, properly hydrated and fueled, use the equipment you'll use in the race, run at the time of day that you'll be racing.

While the 10K buildup workouts occur every other week, the in-between weeks provide a great opportunity to perform other important 5K and 10K workouts. I like 200m and 400m repeats performed at 5K effort. I find that running slightly faster repeats on the in-between weeks makes 10K race pace feel easier. You may even perform a 5K race in preparation for your 10K. I also recommend at least one tempo run during this buildup. The pace will be slightly slower than 10K pace but will build your stamina for the goal event.


Week 1:
6 x 1M (3-minute jog between 1M repeats)

Week 2:
10-12 x 400m (Run the 400m repeats at 5K race pace; 200m jog between)

Week 3:
2M + 4 x 1M (5-minute jog between 2M repeats, 3-minute jog between 1M (repeats)

Week 4:
3M Tempo Run or 5K Race (One simple prediction method is to double your 5K time & add 1 minute to get your 10K time. Are you on track for your goal 10K time?)

Week 5:
2 x 2M + 2 x 1M (5-minute jog between 2M repeats, 3-minute jog between 1M repeats)

Week 6:
20-24 x 200m (Run the 200m repeats at 5K race pace; 200m jog between)

Week 7:
3 x 2M (Run the 200m repeats at 5K race pace; 200m jog between)

Week 8:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Double Dippin'...

I penciled in the training schedule for the 70.3 in my calendar yesterday. I came to several conclusions after seeing it all on paper:

1. I am going to be very tired for most of August and September.

2. I am likely also going to have lost some of my charm during August and September due to reasons listed in bullet number one.

3. It will totally be worth it to do an Ironman 70.3.

Seriously. the schedule calls for more than a few two-a-day workouts. There are also several weeks that go by without a day off from a workout of some sort. I have a mix of excitement and nervousness about it. I know I can do the workouts. It is going to require so much organization to get it all in before and after work. Not so much organization in the workout but with food for the day since I will be leaving early in the morning and coming home later on workdays. I am used to some of that with tennis but not for an extended period of time. Bring on the challenge!

I have had two days in a row of two-a-day workouts thus far as a test. So far so good :) Today was swim with masters in the AM. A weird workout of butterfly and speed sets. Our coach is a sick, sick person. The second workout today was the workout I am coaching for my tri club at the pool. Normally, I wouldn't do swim workouts a day but that is just the way my masters group and my tri group collide so I will make it work.

Tonight, I went to the local county pool just to see what the crowd was like at the time we do our session. We aren't really starting coaching for another 2 weeks but he wanted to work out so I was glad to see him. We talked about his goals for the tri season and how much (or as it turns out how little) he had been working out and then we hit the pool. I would say he is pretty typical of our group. Mostly beginning swimmers. They can swim a few laps just fine but need help with technique. Can't wait to get the rest of the group together! The pool has a nice 1.5 mile running trail right outside so we can do some brick workouts after our Tuesday swims. Double the fun, right? Bring on Augusta!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend Update…

Atlanta was sunny, warm and pollen coated this weekend! The weekend kicked off Friday night with USTA mixed tennis league. The thing with mixed tennis is there is an unspoken code of sorts. If the guy on the opponent’s side, wails the ball at the woman on your side, it is game on. I had more than a couple of line drives at my head that resulted in me making some matrix like moves to avoid permanent injury. Sadly, despite my matrix like talent or perhaps because of it, we lost that match in three sets.

Saturday morning was the kick off session for my run/triathlon club so was up bright and early for a meet and greet followed by a 2 mile training run. We have sub-groups within the club based on paces so we used the training run to give people a chance to figure out if they were in the right pace group for the season and get a feel for how a group run goes in general since more than a few didn’t run on a regular basis. The route we took had some big climbs so I was huffing and puffing through some of it. Lesson of the day: don't let the small runs fool you!, they can hurt!

Post-kick off, I dashed an hour across town for a playoff tennis match in one of my singles tennis leagues. The match ended up being the longest match I have played ever. In the end it was four hours from start to finish. My opponent was absolutely the nicest person I have played in a long time and I truly enjoyed the match. I play so many people who are extremely intense when it comes to the game that not having to deal with all the mind games they play was a nice break. I came out the winner in that one so am on to round two! The downside is that it pretty much ruined my legs for my planned 10 miler the next day. I was participating in The Happy Runner’s virtual half so I guess that makes me a virtual DNF. :( The race was one of those where you could break up the mileage so I thought surely I could do it Sunday but it was not to be.

Which brings us to Sunday, guess what? More tennis…. Another sunny day in the 80s. My ladies team plays on Sundays @ 1:00 and this was the first Sunday that had fantastic weather since the season started a few weeks ago. We were soaking it up! The team came away with a 5-0 win which made it even better. I was so dead tired last night, I went to be at 8:30 just a 2nd grader and it was awesome!

This week I am swinging back into training mode, hope I survive! Mostly swimming and some running. I think I am going to use a heart rate training program I used a year or so ago that helped me build some speed and then do a track workout mid-week. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Hope you all had a nice weekend!