Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the final countdown...

I think I have decided to run with a pace group. Running "with" them might not be an accurate term as I envision myself as more of a stalker. I will be someone who runs on the periphery, trying to keep the pace sign in sight at all times. Based on the running calculator on the marathon guide, I should be able to finish in the 4:10 to 4:20 range so I might scope out the 4:20 pace group and see how it goes. Looking forward to the race, the weather forecast has gone from rain to sunshine so that is a big improvement! Four days to the pig!

Rick announced today that flying was like sitting in an aluminum germ tube for two hours and thought I should consider driving. Yeah, sitting in my car for 8-10 hours on the drive home after running 26 miles. I think I will risk the pig flu, thanks. Oh wait, I did that after Disney only this ride would be further. Still no, thanks.

Headed to boot camp in the morning instead of swimming. One last chance to get a good run in, I can't believe it is already Thursday. I have to do my ritual house cleaning tomorrow night. I HATE coming home to a pig-sty. (had to say it... those pig references never get old...). Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It was a masters kind of day....

Today was the first day of the masters program at Lifetime. We had 5 people show up and it is a smallish pool so that was a good beginning! The coach pretty much just wrote the workout down and then watched us swim. I think she might have been trying to assess our levels to customize it a bit more next time. She had written a set that would have taken 90 minutes for me to do so I think she might have overestimated my ability somewhat. All in all I got in 2300 meters and a workout that I didn't good bored with so gold stars on both accounts. Now I will just have to find that part time job as a tester for eye creams that reduce the puffiness from the goggle marks... I promise you, I have tried everything on the market. Some work better than others but none of them put much of a dent in a good goggle mark. If you get old school goggles with the foam edges, that will help but if you swim the morning, you are destined to look like a raccoon until lunchtime. Oh well, at least this raccoon won't die of a heart attack from all the cardio.

Related note, as it turns out I have bradycardia (sp?). Anyhow, fancy word for a heart that is super strong. A normal resting heart is between 60 and 100. Mine is 56. The nurse doing my EKG during my physical the other day said it just means my heart is so strong that it doesn't have to beat that often. Apparently, elite athletes are in the 40s. All this exercise is paying off after all!

Also on the "masters" front, the results from the Sunday triathlon were posted today. I managed to win the 40 and over (masters) division!!! Go figure. Yeah, there were only 9 in the division. Yeah, they could have been 60 for all I know. I am not sure I saw any of them. It was a close division as it turns out - I tied for 3rd in the swim, came in 5th in the bike and won the run segment which put me over the top by 2 points. WOO HOO! Nemo, well she did pretty good too. Thankfully, she was under 40. She came in 4th in her division.

Off to take a quick nap... I have a tennis match at 8:00 tonight (not my idea but sometimes it is hard to reach a consensus on the times in these leagues). Hopefully it will be a quick match so I can get home before 11:00!

Monday, April 27, 2009

So with all this talk about the swine flu...

Should I be worried about running in a marathon that is named after pigs? hmmmm.... Not to worry, I will avoid touching my eyes, nose and mouth. I also plan to wash my hands frequently and might even run with a mask (or not). My Dad has advised for years that pork should be well done so in case there is pork on the menu at the pasta party or after event, I will make sure it is well done this weekend!

An interesting story on why the race is named the flying pig...


If there is one question asked more often than others about the Flying Pig Marathon, it's "Why a Flying Pig?" Even Greater Cincinnatians who cherish the pig, may not know it's storied past in the history of the Queen City.

In the 1800s, when riverboats plied the Ohio River, Cincinnati was a center of Western commerce. Since agriculture was a prime source of revenue in this area, boats filled with livestock and produce would dock in Cincinnati to sell their wares. Hogs were a major source of income for farmers here, as well, so pigs that were brought in by boat, or herded into town from area farms, were marched through the streets of Cincinnati to the processing plants. So many, in fact, that Cincinnati came to be known as "Porkopolis."

Fast forward to 1988, when Cincinnati celebrated its Bicentennial. To mark the occasion, the city decided to renovate its riverfront area to include a "Bicentennial Commons" park. Noted designer Andrew Leicester, was commissioned to design the commons, which was to reflect the city's past. When he submitted his plans, one signature feature caught everyone's attention: The entrance to Bicentennial Commons would be four smokestacks, for the city's riverboat heritage, with four flying pigs on top, reflecting, according to Leicester, the spirits of the pigs who gave their lives so that the city could grow.

After much outcry in City Council, who donned pig noses to debate whether the swine symbols would make the city the laughing stock of the country, the project was approved and the pigs became the signature sculpture of the new Cincinnati Riverfront.

In the mid-1990s, when a group of avid Cincinnati runners discussed starting a local marathon, the names "Queen City Marathon" and "River City Marathon" were discussed. But in the end, the only fitting name seemed to be one that continued to honor those popular pigs that once were ridiculed and now are celebrated. The "Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon" logo, bags and distinctive medals are prized possessions for runners around the country and, indeed around the world, leading Runner's World Magazine to call it the 'best named' marathon in the country!

So now you know! Tomorrow, I have my first masters swim group at Lifetime and a tennis match tomorrow night. Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The indoor tri...

Probably my favorite of all tris just because you don't have to lug all your gear with you. This tri takes place in a gym. You swim as fast as you can for 10 minutes, bike for 30 minutes and run for 20 minutes. Since there are limits on how many people can swim in the pool at one time, you are assigned a wave and you do the swim, bike and run as part of that wave. The downside is you don't know how you placed in your age group until a few days later when they post the results. The indoor tri is extremely low-key, mostly beginners but an excellent way to do a trial run.

My wave was at 8:00. I go to the gym about 7:30, checked in ,grabbed my t-shirt and got marked up. After setting my things out for the first transition I headed to the pool to watch the prior wave of swimmers. It turns out Kevin and his wife were in the 7:40 wave so I got the watch them swim. They were looking pretty strong!

My wave was next so I headed over and picked a lane. There are 5 lines and 10 people per heat so you split a lane for the race. Normally, I am one of the faster swimmers. Today that was not the case. As luck would have it, for good or bad, it turns out that I shared my lane with some sort of swimming phenom. Let's just call her Nemo. I think I was lapped 3 times. After the swim, throughout the bike and run leg, the race volunteers kept commenting on her speed. Needless to say, I felt like my performance was sub par during the swim. Once I got on the bike and analyzed it, (there is a lot of time for thinking on those stationary bikes), I realized that I beat my pace from last year so what was I worried about. My goal was to give it everything I had and see where I ended up. So... Swim: 500m (last year was 475m). Nemo: 700m (insanely fast)

Headed to the bike. Initially, I grabbed a bike with cleats only then moved to one with cages. I didn't want to mess with changing shoes before the run. The bikes are set up in the spin room and all have mileage counters and resistance set at the same level so you can't alter it. My plan was to just pedal as fast as I could for 30 minutes. My pace ended up being between 28 and 30 MPH. I was a little nervous about the run when I got off the bike as my legs were a little gelatinous. Bike... 14.5 miles (last year 11.9) Nemo: not sure, I was told we were all about the same

On to the run. Twenty minutes on the treadmill. As fast as you want to go. I knew I could easily hold a 6 mph pace but was trying to make up time on Nemo who had told me she was a bad runner so the competition was on! When I started 6 mph, it felt pretty good so I went ahead and notched up to 7 mph and held it for 15 of the 20 minutes. At around 15 minutes, I nothced up to 7.5 mph and held that until the end. I was definitely glad to see that 20 minute mark! Run... 2.35 miles (last year 2.15). Nemo: 1.88 miles

All in all, I improved across the board. I can't wait to see where I fell in the overall standings. Normally, it wouldn't even be worth looking but there were no seasoned racers in this field and I do excel among beginners :) Oh and this was my first race in the "masters - over 40" category. I am pretty sure Nemo was in her mid-30s but it was fun to try and keep up with her when I could.

Off to tennis - it is a beautiful day, can't wait to get some sunshine!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A little Boot Camp Therapy...

This morning I made it to boot camp! Hooray for me for actually rolling out of bed. I was at the point where I knew if I didn't go I was going to be in a fitness rut and didn't want to undo all the work I had put in over the past several months. That and I have a mini-triathlon over the weekend....

Had a great time at boot camp and even got out in time to grab some Starbucks & oatmeal with my gift card I was given for being an awesome boss :) On top of all that I wheeled in to work by 8:00. Perfect! Shortly after arriving at work, I had a mini phone therapy session with my very lovely and sweet soon-to-be stepmother and am feeling back to normal.

Today was a long day at work, ending with a phone call with a client we have in Guam. I only mention it because it was 8:00 AM for them and 6:00 PM for me. They sounded like they were right next door (ain't modern technology great?) but unfortunately were in no hurry to get down to business since they were just starting the day. There is talk of someone going out there for training. If it is me, I hope I don't gt a middle seat in coach for that flight!

At the flying pig, they are doing some kind of cross promotion with a local gym called a Pump N Run. I am not certain what the entire deal is but basically you enter this contest and see how many bench presses you can do and then they combine that with your race time to come up with a winner. It is charity thing so am thinking of doing it. For my age group, I have to bench press 50% of my weight (with an option to add on 30% of my weight in curls after the bench press). For a gold medal, you have to do 30, silver is 20 and a bronze is 10. All this take places at the expo pre-race. Sounds kind of fun or least challenging to see how much I can do.

On tap for tomorrow... I am hitting the pool in the AM. I can't remember the last time I did a lap workout so am going to give it a go tomorrow to make sure I still know how to swim after so long out of the pool. The mini tri on Sunday is around a 500 (you swim as far as you can in 10 minutes) so shouldn't be a big deal. In the evening I have a doubles tennis match with my friend Joan. The first match of our new T2 league season.

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Swimming my way out of a funk...

This one is a good news / bad news sort of post. I am trying to focus on the good news for reasons which you will see when I get to the bad news. Before I became completely addicted to Lifetime Fitness, I swam with a masters swim group every morning at 5:45 for several years. It was my original life changing, fitness inducing experience after graduate school. I love everything about the pool: the smell of chlorine when you walk in, the forced sets that included butterfly, the goggle marks that stay with you for hours after you take them off and the way your skin smells like chlorine the rest of the day. I love swimming, still do! It was the first time I could see results from exercise and became completely addicted. The only downside was getting ready for work in the locker room at the pool. It really wasn't a huge downside but this girl has wavy hair that does not behave in high humidity and lets just say it was pretty humid in that locker room. Oh - and they only had ONE electrical outlet in the locker room. Imagine more than 1 or 2 ladies fighting over a single outlet each day.

Once I took the tour at Lifetime Fitness and walked through the luxury of a climate controlled locker room with MULTIPLE outlets, I made the choice to trade my masters group for the all around fitness experience of Lifetime. I have been completely happy but have missed group swims. It is so much easier to stay motivated while swimming 3500 yards if you are among friends. It is easy enough to find swim workouts on the web but quite another thing to motivate yourself to do them by yourself.

I got a call today that they FINALLY got enough people to commit to having a masters group at Lifetime! YAY YAY YAY! Isn't it perfect time that it is just in time for me to kick my ironman training into gear? I am so excited! A little sad that I will miss boot camp 2 days a week but thrilled to get back in the pool.

So the bad news. I wouldn't really call it bad news as much as just the reason I am in need to swim myself out of a funk. I think I mentioned that I was in a funk a week or so. I am still working through it. The most reason event started about six weeks ago. My Mother, who lived with her aunt in Mississippi, was in the hospital. She has had a lifetime issue of prescription drug use that is problematic. Without going into too much detail, I have sort of become her guardian of sorts as of late. I put her into an assisted living facility a few weeks back and she hates it. Everyone who has dealt with this in their own famiies told me to expect that reaction. She is having a hard time adapting, does a lot of complaining when I talk to her and I just no longer really know how to help. My mother and I are not really that close so it makes this process even more difficult. I am mostly handling the situation out of a sense of obligation. I would hope that if I ever were in this situation that someone cvould forgive the past and help me out.

Everyone that knows the situation tells me I am doing the right thing, this is what she needs, don't feel bad. I have such mixed feelings. On one hand, I wish there were more I could do, I wish she could be closer to her friends (the facility is several hours from where she was living). When she needs things like diet cokes or makeup, normally family would bring it to the residents but she has no one nearby. On the other hand, and I feel guilty for saying this, I wish I didn't have to deal with this. Those of you with close family ties probably think I am awful but to go from hardly speaking to your mother to being responsible for paying her bills and her care and well being even from a distance is really taking its toll on me. (I know, it is worse for her...that is partly why I feel guilty). I did great the first several weeks before she actualy moved in to the facility but now that she is there, I just feel like I was tossed into a situation that I am not emotionally equipped to handle. I don't want to call her because she is so unhappy and complains so much and I know I can't do anything about it but I know I need to call her. I have not been able to drag myself to the gym for almost a week now. I took a few days off last week from work because I couldn't get anything done. I would sit at my desk on the verge of tears. I just don't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am truly not looking for a sympathy, just putting this out there as some form of therapy for myself, I guess. I am hoping the swimming will kick start me and get me back to my happy self before I turn into one of those people who never leave the house. :) Tomorrow is another day and Tuesday I will swim!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It is getting closer...

Yikes! I just got the first of a series of e-mails from the event organizers for the Ironman 70.3 in September. It forced me to assess how close this race actually is from today. Five months. Whew... I better get on the training program after the Flying Pig!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

So 22 miles was just a theory...

I had a great run today. It was the last long run of the schedule before I conquer the pig the first weekend in May. Nothing but tapering ahead! My plan was to go for 22 miles even though every plan you ever see tops out at 20 before a marathon. My theory was it would help me mentally. Yeah, well. I ran at Stone Mountain today which is incredibly hilly so what I lacked in distance I made up for in difficulty. (that would be the new theory...).

As I headed out the door, I was a little worried about the run. I had an insane number of tennis matches last week, topped off with two yesterday which all amount to quads that don't want to run much more. I knew the run might be tough if I felt the need to biofreeze my quads before heading out!

As it turned out, it wasn't bad at all. I decided to just put it on cruise control and finish the mileage instead of trying to stick with a particular pace. I didn't even bring the heart rate monitor or watch so there was no temptation to start looking at the times. I felt strong even to the end. On previous long runs at the mountain, I typically have to negotiate with myself to tackle the hills. You know, make it to the next light pole then you can walk to the next light pole - that kind of thing. Today, I just kept a steady pace and chugged up the hills. I did have a different hydration strategy today which helped. I had been stopping every 5 miles at the car for GU Gels and water and relying on the water fountains in between. On the last run, the water fountains were not all working so there were longer stretches than I would have liked without water. Today, I didn't wear the fuel belt but carried one of the small bottles with me for the final 10 miles so I could drink up as needed. It was a brilliant plan as the bottle was completely empty by the time I got to the car each lap. I probably should have just worn the fuel belt but it is uncomfortable to me (yeah, it might not be if I wore it more than once, I know...)

All in all, a great run by my standards. I saw one of my buddies from Tri Your Best out there riding his bike around. He slowed down to chat which was nice. I fully intend to get back to their shop for some group rides after I finish THE PIG. It is literally a mile from my house so I feel terribly guilty that I don't stop by often especially since I see them at the mountain almost every week. Maybe I will go pick up a new riding shirt this week :)

Speaking of "Tri'ing Your Best", as I was running I further developed my training plan for my 70.3. I managed to go from being intimidated by it to thinking it was totally doable during my 20-mile trek today. I won't be breaking records, but will finish and that is all I want to accomplish! Looking forward to getting started o n the training... How is that for a successful run? Not only did I log the miles but mentally set up my training plan for my 70.3 Ironman!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Weekend Update

I have been off work for the past day and a half or so taking a mental break. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time off but haven't accomplished nearly as much as I had envisioned. Of course, I caught up on almost all my Tivo (which, let's face it - priority one...). I did loads of laundry and cleaned up the guest room which serves as my closet. To be honest, the only reason I tackled the "closet" was that I had lost my favorite necklace and *had* to find it. Not only did I find the necklace shoved into the pocket of a duffle bag but also ran across a new pair of adidas tennis shoes (still in the box) that I had forgotten about. GOLD MINE, considering I was thinking it was almost time for a new pair since the tread was beginning to wear. I love finding forgotten about treasures!

Friday, I took a vacation from boot camp in anticipation of a full weekend of tennis and running. I had two matches today which I am proud to say I won. The first was singles and was a long three setter. I pulled it out in the end in a tie break but would have been happy even if I had lost since it was such a close match.

Tomorrow is the dreaded gleefully anticipated long run. Actually, it just occured to me that this is my last long run before my marathon on the 3rd so I need to make the most of it! If the fact that this is my last long run doesn't make it exciting, I don't know what would. The weather is going to be great so I just need to figure out where I want to log my 20ish miles. According to my mentor who does not know that I exist, Hal Higdon, I only have to do 20 but in my head I feel that plan failed me at Disney. I am thinking that by logging 22 it will give me a little more of a mental edge. At least then I would know that I have at least run 22 miles prior to my marathon so I will only be doing those last 4 miles on the "momentum of the day" as all the training plans like to call it. Just a theory...

Speaking of things to get me through the marathon, my nutrition plan has been pitifully out of control the past 2 weeks. Ever heard of stress eating? right... Well, I have been doing PLENTY of that. I have a weird addiction to chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream right now. I think I have shaken it or should I say eaten so much of it that I don't care to see any more chocloate chip cookie dough ice cream for a looong time. Prior to this, there were a few days there were there was some over consumption of frozen dairy products in my house and lets just say Rick has not been home so I can't blame him! Monday, I am getting back on the food log as that can only help the whole marathon plan. I am determined not to bonk at mile 20 like I did at Disney!

Have a great Easter! I will be celebrating by churning out some miles. Hmm, I wonder if I have someone hide some easter eggs every mile or so if that would help me with my run? At least it might keep me interested! :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Getting back into the groove...

Last week was amazing in that I did not step foot inside Lifetime Fitness one single time. I had intentions, they were just poorly executed. This week is all about getting my mojo back. Or my groove. Or whatever term you might you for grabbing yourself up by the bootstraps and kicking those lazy feelings to the curb. THAT is what this week is all about! and it will be one busy week too....

I DID manage to get up and off to boot camp this morning. Give me a gold star! I loved it. I missed it. I don't know I would ever not want to go. What was I thinking last week? Truly, I have issues to deep for this blog. ;)

Have I mentioned I started tennis up again? It turns out I reallllly missed it when the weather started getting nicer. I missed it so much I immediately signed up for 2 singles leagues and a team. Not so bad in and of itself but in one of the leagues I was a late season replacement which is GREAT because they are so desperate to find someone to replace the player who dropped out that you play for free. It is not always so great if you join so late in the season that there are only a couple week left and you have a full season of matches to play. So far I have managed to work it all in despite to torrential downpours we have had here over the past week. Tonight, I played match number 6 and have one match to go in that league before playoffs. Whew...

Remember that I mentioned the spring cleaning? Well, the cleaning that actually took place was not what I had in mind. I did go for a run around my mountain. (it is mine. don't even think about claiming it.) I came home and washed my car. By hand. Myself. It was punishment for only running 5 miles instead of the 10 I through I should have run. I am a hard taskmaster. Although the car was not part of the plan, that was not the unexpected cleaning.

Friday night, I kept getting these pop up messages about a virus on my PC. How this is possible, I have no idea. I rarely open anything, am crazy vigilant about it, etc. I guess my PC has been getting around PCs that are from the wrong side of the tracks. I'm just sayin... word on the street is my infection came from Canada and it was a doozy. The Windows Virus Care couldn't clean it. Saturday morning, I spent an hour on the phone with Ravi from India while he tried to clean it. I amused myself eating doritos and giving myself a facial while I watched him remotely try to fix my PC. His parting chat words to me were "go ahead and restart your PC". Had I known that was the last I would talk to him, I would have said something more meaningful than "OK". Sadly, I restarted and my PC crashed. Ravi never even bothered to call me back at the alternate number I provided "in case we get disconnected". I should have known he was just using me for my PC. Good bye Ravi. We were never meant to be.

With my PC now completely lifeless, I pick up the phone and reached a customer service rep. She helped me get the PC going again but didn't know what to do about the virus issue. Hmmm.... Well, at least the PC is working. All I could think was - here's hoping this isn't one of the viruses that sends weird e-mails to everyone in my address book! Left to my own devices, I found a service online to seek and destroy the little worm/trojan/hantavirus thing. The service must have scanned 20 times over the weekend and kept coming up with new issues every time that needed to be cleaned. Finally, I started deleting files on my own every time they provided a list since the cleaning wasn't working. After 8 or 10 more tries I think my PC is ready to interact with the world again. She has learned her lesson. No more fraternizing with PCs of questionable origin. So, not the spring cleaning I had in mind but cleaning nonetheless!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Be afraid of the Tri!

Apparently, it can kill you quicker than a marathon. OK, the chances are slight but you would think it was an epidemic based on this article. Good luck all you tri-bies, I hope you survive the swim :)

Thanks for the encouragement. I am feeling back on track today. It is amazing what a night of sleep that does not end in the buzzing of an alarm clock will do for you! I am headed out for my weekly long run in a few and actually looking forward to getting out there. What else am I looking forward to? Believe it or not, coming home and cleaning the house! I know... what drugs am I on? Seriously, Rick is out of town for the next two weeks doing some training and it is the perfect time to spring clean this house! I have no idea why but I find it impossible to get things organized when he is here. it is a sickness I have, perhaps some weird case of spring fever but my house thanks me. This cleaning project is long overdue....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Motivation is such a funny thing...

(warning depressing post ahead proceed with caution!) :)

Motivation is so here today, gone tomorrow. It is funny how things in your life around you impact it. Last week, I couldn't imagine not wanting to get up to go to boot camp. This week, I haven't been one day as you might be able to tell by the lack of activity in my workout sidebar. OK, technically I was out of town for 2 of the 4 days but you think I would have been excited to get back into the groove especially after such a great race on Sunday.

I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I moved my mother into assisted living this past weekend (the reason I was unable to get to boot camp 2 of my 4 days). The extremely short version of the story is that the reasons for getting her into assisted living are things my sisters and I have lived with as long as we can remember and really just kind of came to a boil about 6 weeks ago. My Grandmother used to take care of my Mom and then my Great Aunt. About 6 weeks ago it got to the point that my Aunt no longer was able to help and called me to come in and "do something". I can't blame her, my aunt did more than anyone could have asked. She is 86 and was ready for some of her own time. The move to assisted living did not go particularly well. When I left my mother at the facility on Monday night, she was extremely agitated and disoriented. Tuesday I was told she "flipped out" and had to go back to the hospital.

I was kind of proud of myself over the past 6 weeks for dealing with this without really feeling any emotional effects myself. It was something I knew was coming eventually and now it was time to step up and deal with it. All that seemed to change Tuesday. My alarm went off for boot camp Wednesday AM and I just couldn't get up to go. It wasn't the usual, "I'm just so tired I can't bear the thought of getting up at 4:44" but more of a just feeling unable to do it. Thursday was the same way. My bag has been packed for boot camp for 2 days now. Big Sigh :) I *know* I would actually feel better if I could just get out the door and go. Maybe today is the day!

As if all that wasn't enough, I was robbed TWICE yesterday in Mafia Wars on Facebook. You just can't trust the mafia.... I went to work and when I came home, my apartment complex and valu-mart had been looted. I promptly added those two guys to the hitlist!

In all seriousness, I am excited it is Friday and it is supposed to be a nice weekend. (All this rain we have been getting is probably not helping things either!). I have a tennis match tonight, a long run on the schedule for Saturday and two more matches on Sunday. I am pretty sure as long as I can get to boot camp this morning, I can get over this speedbump! Wish me luck :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Check out my cool new bag...

Pardon the craptastic quality of the photos (darn energy saving light bulbs!). The bag is from Mile 22 Bags. I ran into them at the Disney Princess Expo. Basically they take your race momentos and make a bag out of it. You can send them as little as a heat sheet and a race number or a t-shirt, multiple race numbers, whatever. If you had a special race and wanted to do something with the momentos, this is a cute idea. Love my new bag!