Sunday, December 30, 2012

Over the River and through the Woods...

I am loving your comments on the Swim Bike Mom book giveaway!  Inspirational and hilarious!  Don't you worry, I have a pretty awesome (errr, not so awesome) moment I will share with you when I draw the winner for the book.  If you haven't entered yet, go to the post HERE and add your two cents.  I will be picking the winner on Wednesday.

In other news, this morning I hit the trails!  I don't know why but every time someone has mentioned trails to me in the past I had almost no interest.  Maybe I just didn't want to get my running shoes dirty...

I met my training group this morning bright and early at Stone Mountain and hit the trail.  The funny thing is I run almost exclusively at Stone Mountain and have for about five years now.  I see the trails when I run past the entrances on the pavement but have never ventured off-road.  We finally got a blast of winter weather this weekend.  It was maybe upper 20s when we headed out and there were patches of ice on the rocks from the rain yesterday.

I had heard that your pace in trail running is generally a good bit slower than on the road and I immediately found this to be true.  Lots of roots to step around as well as rocks, trees and other things on the trail.  Maybe it was because it was my first time running trails but I felt like I was constantly looking down trying not to trip and fall.  Apparently I wasn't looking good enough because I tripped and fell within the first mile.  It was one of those moments where you think you can save it but the next thing you know you are down.  I hopped back up quickly and kept going hoping no one noticed.  The lesson learned there is you really need to pick your feet up a bit more on the trails - shuffling your feet will lead to a face plant in the dirt  :)  After that I felt like I got warmed up and really started to enjoy the run.  Almost like falling the first time on the bike while you are still clipped in.  Once it happens, you are over it and don't fear it so much anymore.

We went up and down hills, across rocks and streams.  A couple of  sections where you go up and across part of the mountain had quite a few icy patches.  (Stone Mountain is just a big exposed granite mountain -  ice + granite = slippery).  We tried to head up but were having trouble finding sections that weren't iced over so ended up heading down another trail as a Plan B.  We eventually made our way back to the wooded part of the trail and to the cars after almost 90 minutes for a total of 5.5 miles.

I really loved that run and can't wait to do it again!  I definitely see more trail running in my future.  The best part is that it is practically in my own backyard so I can do it any time.  I am only sad that I did not venture out of my comfort zone and try it a little sooner.                          

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Triathlon for the Every Woman...

You might find this hard to believe since my blog is not the standard of English, grammar and otherwise riveting reading but....  I have friends who actually can write and write well!  Have you heard of Swim Bike Mom?  If you haven't, you must hop over and check her out.  SBM is a one woman triathlon cheer leading squad.  She is encouraging, she is working on becoming an Iron(wo)man at CDA this year and above all she is REAL.  She has up days and down days just like the rest of us and puts it ALL out there on the interwebs for the world to see.

Meredith's book, Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can be a Triathlete. Yes. You., just hit Amazon this week.  It probably was written with beginners in mind as a way to get them into the sport but I think even someone who has some triathlons to their credit will also enjoy it.  I mean, Bree Wee wrote the preface for goodness sake and she loved it!

I was lucky (?) enough to go over to Meredith's house one day last week and help her box up all of the pre-orders for shipping.  (I think there were roughly 1 billion...ha)  It was my first glimpse at the book and I have to say I was impressed.  This book is legit!  It contains 400ish pages of everything you wanted to know about triathlon but didn't know who to ask.

Meredith has pulled together contributors to cover all areas from nutrition, mental focus and transitions to swimming, biking and running and interspersed them among her personal stories of how she got off the couch and started her triathlon journey.  If you love her blog, you will love this book.  Lots of humor, personal stories and useful information.

I am lucky enough to have a copy of the book to give away!  Just leave me a comment with either your most embarrassing triathlon moment or your proudest moment.  If you aren't into triathlons (yet...), tell me what you are waiting for!   I will draw a winner at random on Wednesday, January 2nd.  Ready, go.....

If you just can't wait to win a copy, go to Amazon HERE and get yourself a copy.  You won't be disappointed!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Have yourselves a Merry little Christmas...

Hope you all have a great Christmas. Thanks for following my journey this year, looking forward to more fun in 2013!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

The wheels on the plan go round and round...

Round and round, round and round...   The wheels on the 5k a day challenge and my general training plan fell off the cart this week.  Kind of unusual because I can't remember ever having a time where I went off plan and did nothing for more than a day.  This week has been INSANE at the store meaning I worked 12+ hour days all week.  As you might recall since I quit my full time job in May, I have been blessed with a part time work schedule so I really can't complain about the hours around Christmas (it has actually been kind of fun).  It sure did put a dent in my ability to get any kind of workouts done much less laundry or any other household chores.  Not overly stressed about it as I can't change anything so am just going to roll with it and hope for the best.  It probably means that the Disney Marathon will become less of a chance at a PR and more of a fun run since I missed a key long run this weekend but if you are going to do a run for the sake of running it might as well be at Disney :)    Work-wise I think we have one more week of crowds and then should be back to normal!

With all that said, shall we talk about what I *did* do this week (besides work...)?  Last Saturday, my team had a run clinic with Kyle O'Day from Continuum Sport Solutions.  He showed us some pre-run drills and then had us practice running form after giving us a few tips.  He was only able to sort of hit a few basics in the time alotted but it was enough to get us started and make us want to beg him to come back for more at another time.  I have never had any sort of coaching so it was nice to have someone watch me run and give a few pointers.

Some basics from the day...

1.  Warm up drills.  We were given a series of warm up drills such as walking lunges, high knees, knee hugs and that sort of thing.  He said that the long stretches where you hold a pose for several seconds don't really serve a purpose before a run but are more for afterwards as part of your cool down.

2.  Running form!  Who doesn't need help with this one?  His main point was that you should try and run tall. If you are working on form, make sure your core is right first and then you can progress to looking at arms and legs to tweak your form.  By running tall, it is sort of the same thing you might hear in a yoga class.  Imagine a string coming out of the top of your head and someone pulling you up by it).  Don't lean forward or backward, just keep your core straight.

Head - Keep it up and eyes looking straight ahead 20 or so feet into the distance.  If you need to look where you are stepping, just glance down with your eyes without moving your head.
Arms - Should be bent and should swing between your heart and your hip bone (up and down, not across your body).  Hands should be in a loose fist with thumbs on top.  (not only does this make it easy to give the photographer a thumbs up but also will help you avoid shoulder issues).  I read a quote from Chrissie Wellington this week that you should imagine yourself carrying an egg in your hand as you run.
Feet - Your foot motion should be sort of an oval and you should focus on the front part of the revolution.  If you find yourself shuffling your feet, think about bringing your knee up higher for a better foot strike (not like a crazy high stepper but just an inch or so as if you were stepping over a bar).  You don't need to worry about kicking your foot back behind you as the more important part of the revolution is in the front.  

Now go and be a faster runner!  :)    Let's be real, that is a lot of focus on but if you focus on it for a few minutes during your run, it will be habit before you know it!

In other random news of the week, we had a Christmas party on Tuesday followed by people bringing us random snacks all week so I am pretty much cookie-d out.  I threw out a variety of sweets and treats last night.  

Have you all heard of PV Body?  I had seen a few bloggers post about it and it seemed like a pretty sweet deal.  $39.95 for a new running outfit each month (I think it is has now gone up to $49.95).  Seemed pretty sweet so I thought I would give it a try for a month.  Admittedly, I was skeptical of what I might receive.  Some of the posters who had received products in advance had received lululemon products so I was expecting something of that quality.  For those who know me, I typically wear a lot of black to workout in.  The occasional colored top but mostly black and subdued.  It is just easier and apparently I like to blend into the background.  The survey they had me fill out wasn't all that in depth although I think it has since changed.  I was concerned.  It took over a month to get my outfit.  Here is what I got.  L.O.L.  Yeah, so not me.... unless I take up Zumba.  Until then, it is going back.  :)



Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Mental Game...

This week has been a struggle as far as workouts go.  I feel like I have been playing mental games all week.  You might be familiar with it.  The conversation you have with yourself to get out the door and headed to your workout.  The internal debate you have when the alarm goes off and you reallllllly don't want to get up and go to the pool but you KNOW if you don't do it early, you will either not make it to the pool at all or you might have to beg a person to share a lane with you later in the day when the pool is crowded.

This week has been all about the mental battle.  Right now I am about 50/50 on making workouts.  Dentist appointments, rain, planning a Christmas party for the store had me all off schedule this week.  On top of that, I always am kind of blah around Christmas anyhow.  Dysfunctional family.  Long story.  Weird because I love the decorations  the lights, baking Christmas treats and the meaning behind Christmas.  It is just the family stuff that makes it hard.  So anyhow...  toss that in with the rest and this week has been mentally challenging.

The funny thing about the challenge is once I get out there and actually do the workout I ALWAYS feel better.  ALWAYS.  So why is it so hard to talk myself into getting out the door sometimes?  I annoy myself :)

So. very. true.

Tuesday's swim workout was a perfect example of how the tiniest things can make a huge difference in my mental game.  The workout involved 6 x 150s, 200, 6 x 150s and a final 200 for 2200 meters.  I loved that workout.  For me, it was perfect.  I like small chunks like that.  Had it been 2 x 450s, 200, 2 x 450s, and a 200 for the same 2200 - I think I would have had a hard time getting excited about it.  I would have done it but the snooze button might have been hit a few more times....

Yesterday, sleeping in, flu shots, a Christmas open house in a beautiful venue with yummy cupcakes and boxing up books to ship for my favorite Swim Bike Mom won out over my workout.

Today, it was a similar thing.  I got a late start.  I should have gotten my workout done in the morning.  I didn't.  I had some errands on the way home and sat in some ridiculous construction traffic.  By the time I got home, it was not easy to get back out the door.  (side note, I KNOW I need to workout in the AM for this very reason - once the day gets out of control it is hard to stay motivated).  On tap today was hill repeats.  I can't say that I have ever done them before.  Prior to this marathon training plan, I pretty much had just been running straight mileage without worrying about any kind of speed workouts.  I came *this close* to scratching the day.  I finally got myself together and back in the car to head towards Stone Mountain.  I did a little over a mile warmup then hit the hills for 7 two minute stretches.  It felt so good.  The weather was cool and December like today and the park was not crowded.  It may be a sickness (in which case I blame the flu shot I got yesterday) but I loved that workout.  I am going to try and work that in more often!

Tomorrow I am back at it with a run in the morning followed by some outlet shopping with an IronDiva!  I won't hit the snooze, I won't hit the snooze, I won't hit the snooze....  


Monday, December 10, 2012

Here we go, here we go now...

December 1st basically kicked off my triathlon training for 2013.  I know...  it is still 2012.  How about taking a break?  In the words of KC, ironman waits for no (wo)man.  I also love that I started training without even knowing what races I might do in 2013.

Up until this week, I was still kicking around the idea of another full IM next year.  I can't even remember how it came about but last week I got the idea in my head that I might want to do IM Louisville.  I was already considering Rev3 Cedar Point or maybe B2B again and now IM Louisville had entered the thought process.

Let me back up a bit...   A few weeks ago I decided to join Team Blue Iron for the 2013 season.  I have done most of my training on my own schedule for the past two years and after having such a great time with them in PCB over the summer, I decided to give group training a go.  As a team, we are training for four races this year. You aren't required to do all four but in my mind if I want to get the most out of the group experience I want to participate in as much as possible.  The four races are a sprint, an olympic and two 70.3s.

Team Blue Iron

In 2012, somehow I managed to qualify for Long Course Nationals both at Augusta and B2B.  I feel like I might have told you this already.  I also feel like, if *I* qualified, they might want to raise their standards.  LOL.  Seriously though I was super excited to find out that nationals are at Rev3 Anderson this year which is a 90 minute drive from home for me.  Score!  Unfortunately, that race is right before B2B which put it out of the picture.  It was then down to Cedar Point and IM Louisville.

I talked it over with my newly acquired coach.  (look at that -  this team thing is paying off already...).  She gave me some pros and cons of each race not really pushing me one way or the other but just giving me some things to think about.  I mulled them over during one of my runs last week and had one of those light bulb moments.  If the point of joining a team was to have people to train with why would I immediately start off by tacking on a huge race that would require me to do a bunch of training on my own?  It really just didn't make sense.

So with that moment of clarity, I came to decide that 2013 will be the year of 70.3s for me..... and I feel pretty darn good about it!    

Spinning this weekend.  I love how all the guys look like they are praying for mercy.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friday Night Lights...

Did I mention I was doing the 5k a day challenge in December?  Did I also mention that it is actually harder than it might seem?  I am guessing you wise people already knew that.  So far this week, I have hit every day.  It took some adjustments to the schedule but I am proud to say I got it done!

Friday night after I left our store, I headed to Stone Mountain for my run. Stone Mountain used to have light displays up all around the mountain and families would drive through in their cars to look at the lights but that changed last year.  I learned this after I came up with the idea to have some friends meet me for a run through the lights last year.  #fail.  They had a few lights up but nothing like in previous years.

Now have created this little Christmas village and you have to pay $28 per person to go inside.  I am tempted.  I really want to but....  it is $28 so it better be pretty awesome up in there.  There are some Christmas shows, train rides, a parade and Santa so, if I had kids, I probably would go in and check it out.  Maybe I will do it before Christmas.  For now, I will be satisfied to enjoy the lights from the outside :)

Crossroads Village in the shadow of Stone Mountain

Moving the star a little to the left (perhaps I could have caught the show for free through the slats in the fence...)

The lights really are pretty amazing.

I hear there is kettle corn inside.  Totally worth $28. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Challenges...

Why Hello December!  How did you get here so quickly?  Here we are firmly planted in the holiday season...  cookies, sweets and treats and also a variety of workout challenges to try and counter-balance the situation.   As I had my spoon firmly planted in 10 gallons of banana pudding, KC roped me into a December running challenge.  The challenge is to run every day in December.  A mile, 3 miles, 10 miles, whatever.  Just run.  About the same time, Michael gave a shout out for her 5k a day in December challenge.  Always the over achiever, I am doing that cheating since I am still only running once a day?  I am in the middle of marathon training so a little nervous about taking off running every single day but am planning to mix in some slower leisurely walk/runs so it won't be like I am doing sprints every day.  (I can see my coach shaking her head right about now...  don't you worry it will be all bizness when January 1 rolls around!)

Speaking of challenges, if you haven't been following Frayed Laces' Trainer Tuesday workouts, they are pretty awesome.  Check them out get to spinning!  You can do it as a group at 5:30 EST via twitter or do it on your own at a different time, either way you are guaranteed to get your sweat on.

This weekend included an awesome strength training workout Saturday afternoon with Kacie, Susan and a few others.  It was a fundraiser for Kacie who is training for RAAM next year.  She is doing it as a two person team which blows my mind - all part of life for her though as she has already done it part of a larger team last year and has done an double ironman.  WOW.  Our trainer was Kate who kicked us around for about 90 minutes before we crawled out of the gym praying that our legs will still function later this week.  I kid...  It was so much fun.  It turns out while the rest in the group excel at double ironmans, Kona, and just generally being cool people, my hidden talent involves crawling across the floor in a plank position with my feet on wheels.  Not nearly as many cool points as a double ironman but definitely fun :)  

If you are in the Atlanta area, check out Kacie's team blog for info on the Crowie Alexander meet and greet/group run at All 3 Sports this weekend!

While I was out crawling across the gym on wheels, CR was out reliving his go-kart racing days.  He went out there just to look around and some guy let him take a kart out and run some laps.  Way too generous...  He had a blast racing around a local track on four wheels.  When he got home he had a smile from ear to ear that just wouldn't go away.  So glad he got to get out and do something fun.  He works a ridiculous number of hours a week which makes him not want to do much more than rest on his days off.  He had been looking up information on this track for over a week so it was pretty awesome that he got to take off early today and check it out.  Go Speed Racer!

Tri training gets back into swing next week.  I see a ton of workouts in training peaks waiting for me :)  Guess play time is over and time to get back on a schedule!  Hope you guys have a great week!