Monday, January 28, 2013

I am still alive...

CR informed me today that my blog needed updating. I believe he and my Dad make up most of my readership. Maybe I should make more of an effort to communicate with them :)

Disney was great - there was no PR but I had scratched that idea before I got there so wasn't too upset by it. My time was 4:30. I was hoping for somewhere closer to 4:00 or 4:15 but my training was off leading up to the race and the temps were pretty warm that day. I'll take it...

I enjoyed most of the new course Disney created. Running through ESPN was probably my low point. It felt like that section was a never ending series of turns - I began to wonder if I would ever get out of ESPN! All in all, I enjoyed Disney as much as always - how could you not? :)

I ended up taking two weeks off training after Disney. Partially because CR and I went on a work related trip and partially because I just needed a break. I came away from Disney thinking that I might not want to do any more marathons. I have been running 5 years and have been training non stop for one thing or another the whole time - 10 marathons, 15 or so half marys, 2 iron distances, 2 half iron distances and a bunch of other races add up to not a lot of time "off plan".

I really enjoyed my two weeks and am ready to jump back in. I decided to scratch the Asheville Marathon on Match 3rd as I just don't have it in me mentally right now. In its place I am loading up on some tennis and doing a little more skeet shooting with CR.

In the beginning, I was doing all these races as a way to challenge myself. Now I feel like I have proven to myself that I can do it so it is time to sit back and be a little more selective about what I do now that IM training isn't eating up all my time. Looking forward to a more relaxed 2013!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Two things Tuesday...

Who am I kidding, two seems so restrictive...

1.  We have a (new) winner!  THE SIXTH SISTER, come on down you are the next winner of SBM's Book.  I hope you didn't rush out and buy it on Amazon yet  - because you totally could...  right HERE ...  but you don't have to because if you email me, I know a certain someone who would love to send you a copy!  hit me up at kwhitlock (at) bellsouth (dot) net.

2.  Google marks.  No cure found yet but...  I read something on slowtwitch the other day that was supposed to help get rid of them.  The google marks drive me nuts!  Mine seem to stay with me for at least 12 hours after I swim and as someone in her 40s, I am not a fan of making myself look older.  After my swim today, I sat in the steam room for about 5 minutes.  It did not make the marks go away but it reduced them quite a bit.  I might have to make this a ritual for those days when I swim at the gym.  When I swim elsewhere, I guess I will just have to be proud and eye-baggy :)  

2 a.  (told ya....)  I think I told you I was trying out a group training format this year for my triathlons.  So far it has been really good.  We did a trainer session together on Saturday, a swim clinic on Sunday and I have to say I have been enjoying having all my workouts planned for me in training peaks.  One less thing to worry about.

2 b.  Soooooo excited for the Disney Marathon this weekend!  It will be my 10th full marathon (if you count the two I did as part of IMs - and I do...).  It is also the 5th anniversary of my first marathon which was at Disney on my 40th birthday.  The Disney marathon holds a special place in my heart, I love rounding that corner where the choir is singing, hearing the crowd and knowing you are just a few steps from the finish line!

I remember having a conversation with my Dad either right before or after the first marathon.  Something to the effect of "I am only going to do one, I can't imagine doing all this training more than once in a lifetime".  LOL.  Famous last words.  I am pretty sure I uttered the same thing about Beach 2 Battleship.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A few of my favorite things (the swim edition)...

First things first.....  Mamajo, mamajo wherefore art thou Mamajo?  I have a book with your name on it from SBM.  Send me an email to kwhitlock (at) bellsouth (dot) net by Monday.  If I don't hear from Mamajo, we will pick another winner.  Stay tuned SBM fans!

Now on to the topic at hand  ....

You would think that swimming in the winter would not be high on anyone's list but the indoor pool at Lifetime has been hopping this week!  I see a lot more triathlete types this time of year.  I suppose they swim somewhere else in the summer and use the gym as their backup plan for the winter.

Given that there seem to be more people in the pool lately, I thought I would put together a list of my favorite swim products, tools and tips.  I know they make my swimming easier so I thought I would share... (I have not been compensated for any of these listings so just know they are truly things I love)


1.  Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream.  If you spend any time in chlorine, your cuticles will get pretty dry and ragged.  Look no further.  This is a miracle cure.  Your nails will look better INSTANTLY.

2.  TriSwim Lotion.  Reduces the chlorine smell that seems to cling to your skin for days.

3.  Take the Day Off Makeup Remover by Clinique.  Normally I swim in the morning so removing makeup is not an issue before I get in the pool; however, when I go at noon or after work it is a fight to get off the waterproof mascara.  (yes, it is called waterproof but trust me when I tell you it is not...).  Goggle marks are bad enough, no one wants raccoon eyes in the pool, am I right?  One cotton ball, a quick swipe of the eyes, all traces of makeup are gone and it doesn't leave that oily feeling around your eyes that you get from other removers.  Amazing!  I am only sad I just discovered this a few weeks ago.

4.    TYR Dura fast suits.  When I am on my training schedule, I swim at least 3 to 4 times a week.  When I was wearing traditional lycra suits, I would go through a suit about once every two months before it started deteriorating.  I got EIGHT months out of my last dura fast suit and truth be told I could have worn it longer I just wanted a new design.  The fabric is slightly different as it is made of polyester which is what makes them last so long.  The suits cost a little more but if you calculate how many lycra suits you go through in eight months compared to one dura fast well....


5.  50 swim workouts.  This website is workout GOLD.  Two options are given for each of the 50 workouts - one around 2400m and the other around 3400m.  I prefer to do a mix of strokes in my workouts and this provides a good variety of all four strokes.  Check it out HERE

6.  Swim Smooth.  Videos showing swim technique.  Not sure how to turn your head to breathe?  There is a video for that!  Need help with the catch or body roll - or maybe you don't even know what that is?  Look no further....  Check it out HERE.  There are sections for beginner, intermediate and advanced.

7.  Look for a Masters program.  I swam in masters groups for years and really enjoyed the extra push I got from being in the group.  Check out USMS for a list of groups in your area.  This is also a great resource if you are traveling.  Many groups will let you drop in for a workout.  There may be other groups in your area that aren't official USMS groups.  In the Atlanta area, Blue Iron is a good example.  They have workouts on Tues and Thurs mornings at Agnes Scott.  You could also check with your gym or local tri club for referrals to a group.  


8.  Hair color.  Ladies, here is another one for you.  It seems to work for me, you be the judge for yourself.  Chlorine is not a friend to those expensive highlights.  You can help keep your hair color from fading by wetting your hair with regular water before you get in the pool.  If I am not making a mad dash to snag the last available lane, I also put a tiny amount of conditioner on the ends for extra measure.  The fresh water absorbs into your hair and keeps the chlorine from being absorbed (so I am told...).

9.  Sharing Lanes.  Trust me, I enjoy swimming in a lane of mine own as much as anyone but sometimes it is just not possible.  *Most* people will not mind sharing a lane with you if you follow a little lane courtesy.

     a.  Check out the situation.  At my gym, most swimmers get out after 10-15 minutes.  You could just wait it out.  While you are waiting for a lane, check out the other swimmers and find one that looks like they might  be a similar speed.  

     b.  DO NOT just jump in un-announced.  No one likes unexpected guests either at their home or in their lane.  Wait until they get to the end of their set and ask them if you can share their lane.  They will USUALLY either be cool with sharing or they might tell you they are almost done.  Either way, win/win.

     c.  They may ask you if you would rather SPLIT lanes or CIRCLE swim.  uh, whatever does that mean????  (If they don't ask you, make sure you ask them to avoid a head on collision which will quickly end your new friendship).  Splitting lanes means that you swim on one side and your lane-mate swims on the other.  Circle swimming is normally done when there are more than two people in the lane like in a masters or other group situation.  Basically, you just  swim down one side of the lane and back the other side (the lane line will always be on your right).

     Not everyone is good at sharing so if you are having trouble, just wait it out and move to another lane as soon as it opens up.  The folks at my gym tend not to be sharers.  The lanes in our pool aren't the standard width so it makes it a little more difficult.  Maybe that is why?  I dunno.  Just as well, we have a lot of pool walkers and people that only swim a few laps so I usually just wait them out.

10.  Put your workouts in a ziploc bag.  Keeps them from getting wet at the end of the lane.  I see a lot of people with a wet piece of paper plastered on a kick board.  If you put the workout in a bag, you can keep the workout and use it again.  I have a ziploc bag with several workouts in it just in case I want to change it up when I get to the pool.

That is all I have for your swimming pleasure - if anyone has any tips on getting rid of goggle marks, I would love to hear them!  I have tried every kind of goggle, eye serum, etc.  Any great tricks or leads on goggles that don't leave marks for hours?  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

#winning ...

Since I asked you to share your embarrassing moments the other day, it is only fair that I put mine out there.  Some of you may have heard it before...  Step into the way back machine and travel with me to 2008.  Back when I was still afraid of my bike and those *&$% clipless pedals.

To give you a little back story, 2008 was the year I really got into fitness and a healthy lifestyle.  I had been swimming masters for 5+ years and dabbled in running (and by "dabbled" I mean sign up for a couple of 5ks or 10ks and with no training whatsoever ran them  -- it was not enjoyable that way and I do not recommend it).  In 2008, I started going to my gym on a regular basis and got talked into actually training for a 5k.  Long story short, it got me to thinking that I could do a triathlon.  I knew how to swim, I was now running and just needed to add the bike in there.

I found a $300 bike on ebay and within a week it was in my garage...

Me:  I think they forgot to ship the pedals.
CR:  Those are the pedals.  You need special shoes.
Me:  oh.    

Knowing that you either had to ride clipless pedals or toe cages for my race, I decided to suck it up and learn on the clipless.  I really don't know what I was thinking back then because it had easily been 30 years since I had been on a bicycle.  My bike back in the day had streamers, a banana seat and 3-speeds.  This was nothing like that bike.  I had to look up on the internet how to shift, which ring was for uphill, which was for down.  It really was a sad situation.  It intimidated me so much that I rode it just enough to figure out how to shift and hoped for the best come race day.  (No joke, I think I logged *maybe* 6 miles on it prior to race day).

Despite that, somehow my first triathlon was a huge success, 2nd in my AG - WOOT!  Miraculously there were no issues on the bike.  I still remember rolling up to the dismount line hyperventilating because I was choking up with tears of happiness from completing that leg of the race.

Race number one went so well, it gave me a lot of confidence for my second sprint race 3 weeks later.  This one was a little bigger - Iron Girl.  It is known for its challenging bike course.  Again, I don't know what I was thinking back then because I did not ride my bike ONE TIME between triathlon #1 and triathlon #2.  I take that back, I do know what I was thinking - I was scared of those clipless pedals.  Oh the stress of that darn bike leg!

Fast forward to iron girl...  I had a great swim, I ran up the hill to transition and got my bike gear on - check, check....  run with the bike to the mount line.  Gosh it is crowded up in here....  Clip in way too early, lose control of my bike before I have even gone 5 feet and crash into a parked motorcycle while still clipped in. Oy.  All I could think was this guy was not going to be too happy.  I didn't know what to do...  Oh the embarrassment.  As someone who HATES to be the center of attention, I was truly mortified.  I stood there for a minute and then heard people yelling "keep going, keep going".  You don't have to tell me twice.  I wanted out of that embarrassing situation fast!  The rest of the ride was uneventful and I finished the race.  I hung up my triathlon shoes after that race.  It was my own fault.  I didn't train I wasn't comfortable on the bike, I was just hoping for the best.

It was three years from that first sprint triathlon before I did any real riding on the bike.  In all honesty, once I started riding regularly on the road it only took 3 to 4 short rides to really get comfortable with clipping in and out.  I see a lot of comments on facebook and blogs about getting used to clipless pedals.  Yeah, it is weird and not the easiest thing at first but don't let it hold you back.  I feel kind of stupid that I dropped out of tris for three years because I was intimidated by the bicycle.  In the end, I was glad I got past it and gave it another try.  (...and this is how my crazy mind works - the reason I picked up the bike again in 2011 was because I wanted to do a 70.3.  I could barely even ride a bike but I signed up for a 70.3.  So not normal....)  It is true what they say, if you believe it, you can achieve it :)  

....and on that note, I have a winner for Swim Bike Mom's book!  Drum roll....   The winner drawn at random is Mamajo!  Please contact me by Monday with your address so we can get your book to you.  My email is kwhitlock (at) bellsouth (dot) net.  

Thanks for all who entered and shared your great stories with me!