Friday, December 17, 2010

Run though the Lights

Runs this week have taken place after work in the dark, but it's been fun exploring the city and checking out all the holiday lights & decorations.  I managed runs on Monday night and Wednesday night as scheduled and even followed up the Wednesday night run with an hour on the trainer.  Even made it to early morning spin class on Tuesday and Thursday (we'll see if I'm able to make that happen again next week with the holidays!).
Going to call today a rest day because of dinner plans.  Plan to run tomorrow morning before diving into holiday cookie and candy making (then I won't feel so bad about 'trying' everything!).

Sunday is going to be our 3rd Annual Run through the Lights in Carthage.  At the campus of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix there is a great 'drive through lights' display that we run through as well as around the square before heading back to our starting point at the YMCA for cocoa and cookies.  Rounds out to be a 6 mile run (or you can head straight back after the lights and it's 3 miles).  It's usually lots of fun and most of the CRC (Carthage Running Club) will be out there as well as some of the SWAT (Southwest area triathletes) and members of RUFUS racing.
It's held on 12/19/2010, meet at Carthage YMCA at 5:45pm, run at 6pm for anyone interested in joining us!  :-)
No fees for the run (you can bring a small donation for the lights if you wish), everyone welcome - just dress warm.  There will be some people walking and some biking along with us as well.

Just for a second I want to go back to the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix.  I wanted to make sure I had the name right for this post so I did some minor research.  We call the place Chi Dòng Đồng Công as it states on the sign (in our English accent, I wouldn't have a clue how you actually say this).  Basically I had worked under the assumption that it is a school for monks - Vietnamese Roman Catholic monks.  I think it's fairly accurate.  It sounds like it is a monastery for mostly Vietnamese monks and I do believe they have a school there.  But, the Chi Dòng Đồng Công part I was still unsure of.  Wikipedia has a link to Chi Dòng Đồng Công Hoa Kỳ and Google translates this to say "The current expenditure of the United States".  Guessing it's a rough translation at best.  Based on Wiki I think the Dòng Đồng Công part is Vietnamese for the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix.  Chi translates to "expenses", but synonyms for expenses are obligation, sacrifice, etc.  Pretty sure Hoa Kỳ is the United States (although I don't remember seeing this on their sign, but I will be looking Sunday).  Overall I think it's the name for the US branch of this religious order.
I do wonder how many people in Carthage know what really goes on there besides the annual Marion Days (and how many people understand what Marion Days celebrates).  I'm glad to know a little bit more about it and hope to continue to learn.  What I do know is they have some pretty amazing gardens within the complex.  We run through them regularly to add 1-1/4 mile onto our run.

Hope to see everyone Sunday - till next time...
Run on!

Forgot the gloves

For some reason I had in my head while I was getting ready that it wasn't as cold out today as it has been.  Turns out that was not an accurate assessment on my part.  It was around 25 degrees when I left the house with only a pair of, let's say normal weight gloves.  Not the barrier gloves I've been wearing.  Big mistake.  My fingers were frozen by the time I got to work (remember only 1 mile so it didn't take long).  Note to self - check the weather - don't go on gut feel alone!

On a happier note, I have been eying this wool trench coat from Express for a week or so.  A couple of days ago they finally put it on sale and I thought about it, but still decided I didn't need it.  Then yesterday they had a coupon for $30 off of $75 purchase - I thought SCORE.  But, the coat was back to original price.  :-(
Today I got the best of both worlds plus free shipping so I indulged.  Now, I have this coming in the mail for me for Christmas:

I think it will be the perfect length to not get caught up in the bike and keep me nice and toasty and looking pretty cute to boot.  :-)

Happy commuting!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Still running, still cold

The weather hasn't completely sidelined me...yet.  I'm still sans a treadmill run on the season (although it's been tempting a few days).  With work travel, fun travel, holidays, family, life, etc. running has been hit and miss.  I'm back on a pretty regular schedule of Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays.  Spinning is Tuesday and Thursday and I've also added yoga a few days a week and the occasional bike ride (or trainer ride if weather is temperamental).  So, feeling pretty good on the exercise front most days.
No big races on the calendar, but there are a couple 5K's:

January 1, 2011 - Chilly 5K Challenge 2011 - it is in Joplin, MO and goes from the Downtown YMCA to the South YMCA.  It doesn't start till 11am so you can still stay up to ring in the new year.  There is a chili cook-off directly after at the South facility (luckily not before).  Should be fun.

January 2, 2011 - 20th Annual Erick's Run - held in Carthage, MO, starting at the Fair Acres Family YMCA at 2pm.  It's a great event that usually has a good turnout if the weather is above freezing.  I think last year it had to be postponed a week because of ice but it was still a great event.

Hope to see everyone out.  Run on.

Staying warm

The weather in SW MO has been colder than normal.  I understand it is winter and all, but 7 degrees and feels like 0 is not conducive riding weather!  So, I admit I did skip a commute day.  I told myself it was due to fighting a head cold, but it was really because it was just plain cold.  The temps were up today - a balmy 21 degrees when it was time to leave for work so I wore my warm boots, long trench coat, PI barrier gloves, and a balaclava (not to be confused with baklava - so, yummy) and rode on in.  It really was not too bad.  I guess the body is finally adjusting to the cold temps.  NOTE:  I know people ride in a lot colder weather, but it's all relative and for me this is cold!  ;-)

Baretraps boots - mine are very similar to these (just a bit older):
They survived hiking all over Ireland and kept my feet toasty and warm.  I bought 1/2 size up so I could still fit in some heavy wool socks for extra cold days.  

To keep the lower face warm and not wind burnt I either use a balaclava (face mask) like this: 
Or, I also will wrap a Buff around my neck and pull up around my mouth as needed.  It mostly depends on what is clean, but the face mask is a little warmer and stays in place a little better.  

Wherever you are, stay warm and keep riding!  :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Warm feet, happy feet

  Part of commuting for me is riding to and from spin class.  Spin class is at 5:15am in SW MO so it gets a little cold this time of year (it's been mid-20's this week at that time).  I hate my feet being cold and it seems like it takes nothing for this to happen.  In addition I like to wear my Keen Commuter clipless sandals during spin class so it makes sense to just wear them there, but they are definitely not warm.  Even when I completely dork them up and wear socks with them.
NOTE:  I know I said (on a budget) in the title and these are a little pricey regular, but I found this color in my size for 50% off at Sunshine Bike Shop in Springfield, MO so I had to have them.  :-)
They also carry Vibram Five Fingers and have lots of colors and styles in stock.

So, I found another 'on sale' item last summer that has really helped out.  Pearl Izumi Barrier MTB shoe covers.  They are the bomb though.  Maybe not highly attractive, but you're feet stay nice and warm.  Pair them with the Pearl Izumi Barrier gloves and your extremities stay pretty toasty.
My suggestion on all of the cold weather gear is too buy it in the summer.  My gloves aren't as cute as this pic because they are a couple years old, but I got them really reasonable.

One last shout out in cold feet gear that I just tried out over vacation in the Grand Canyon Thanksgiving week were Gore Bike Wear's Gore Tex® Socks.  I know they came from Terry, but I don't think they were on sale - just a great b-day present from my man who knows when my feet are warm I'm happy!  I had these socks on over a pair of SmartWool PhD Trail Running Mini socks as well as a pair of Columbia Bugaboo ski socks.  So, I was prepared, but we did hike through snow, sleet, and rain at below freezing temps.  I guess I should also give some credit to my Salomon XT wings, but they aren't waterproof and my feet stayed comfortably warm and dry for the duration.  And, after a 14 mile hike in 11 hours with 3 kids (ages 8, 9, & 11) I think that's pretty dang good.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Honey Stinger Waffles

Yep, my reason for posting right now is a new fuel.  After so many Adventure Races and runs requiring multiple fueling I've had my fill of bars and gus are getting hit and miss.  I came across Honey Stinger's latest product in the bike shop a few weeks ago - Organic Honey Waffles.  It's not a real waffle, it's flat and crisp and to me it tastes a little like crispy pie crust with honey.  That may not be a good way to describe it, but I do think it's really good.  We'll see if I stay this positive about it after eating 6 or 8 in a day, but right now I'm pretty firm.  It's kind of a solid go to like peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but not quite as messy!  ;-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Commuting Apparel

When my bike commute was 12 miles each way I opted for actual cycling gear and toted my work wear in a back pack.  With a 1 mile each way commute this task seems silly so I've started finding commute friendly work wear.  A summer time favorite is light weight pants with a dressy tank top and cardigan.  It's the layering I need for hot, hot weather.  The cardigan comes off for the ride and I stay cool.
For fall and winter I enjoy tunics and leggings with tall boots.  No leg strap needed to keep pants out of chains - just hop on the bike and go.  You can get creative by adding a skirt on top of the leggings for a fun look.
Two shops I've found nice work acceptable tunics are Terry & Columbia.

I originally thought the Columbia stuff wasn't quite my style, but throw it on over a cami, some leggings, tall boots and add an attention getting necklace it's a fun outfit for work.
The Terry stuff is sometimes lacking in the dressy category, but the quality is great and there are pieces that can work for the office if you try.
Columbia is more of an outdoorsy line of clothes, but I enjoy the following for going to the market or the occasional casual Friday wear:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Brain cover

The great helmet debate.
When I ride road or MTB I always wear my helmet, in fact I feel rather naked without it.  But then I started commuting (in this I'm including my rides to and from work, rides to the store, to visit friends, to dinner, etc.)  and it was easy to just hop on my bike with no gear and go.  It makes you feel like a kid - kind of free.  I figured as long as I was going slow, paying attention, or on trails I was OK.  I'm still not sure I disagree with this...
But a couple things happened to make me rethink whether I wear a lid or not:
First, I crashed just playing around in the park when my pedal came off (stripped thread).  Hit my noggin hard enough to break my helmet and give me a slight concussion and lot of neck pain.  I took it at face value - I was playing around, these things happen.
Second, I started a group ride to get beginners into cycling.  I found I wasn't worried about myself because I have ridden enough to be comfortable with my abilities (aside from freak mechanical issues).  I was worried about the newbies - they scared the crap out of me and I realized I needed to set an example.
Not to mention that I felt the need to set an example for all the kids out there.  It's one thing for an adult to make a decision about not wearing a helmet because we can comprehend the consequences - kids can't (and shouldn't).
Anyway, I am now a commuting, helmet wearing member of the community.  In order to help entice me to wear it I bought a fun new one from NutCase Helmets:
It's the Irish flare with "Got Luck" on the back - I love it.  It doesn't even smash my hair too bad.  ;-)

However, one of these days when I have lots of extra cash I might try rocking one of these Yakkay numbers:

They are available on The Bicycle Muse website.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Biking in boots - a commuter's tale

NOTE:  As of 9/27/11 I'm trying to combine my running and commuting blogs...

I've been thinking about doing this blog for quite some time and finally decided to just do it.  I have a blog for running, but I didn't want to clutter my thoughts on running with my thoughts on biking and mostly commuting so here we are...

A bit (more) about me (as a biker):

I've been biking for about 5 years.  In that time I won’t say I’ve gotten serious about it, but I am committed.  I love to ride.  I’m not great at any particular style (jack of all trades, master of none), but I do it frequently.  Weeks in the late spring to early fall include Monday night chill rides that I organized and lead with my man friend.  Thursday night group rides – a more serious group that works in pace lines and has goals of racing.  There is generally a long weekend ride on either Saturday, Sunday or both.  In addition (and probably the biggest reason for me feeling a need for a new blog) is commuting daily.
NOTE:  my commute is only 1 mile – with lunch 4 miles/day total to and from work.
Fall and winter change up biking because of the weather and daylight.  We do some mountain biking on Tuesday nights and cyclocross practice on alternating other days though the week as long as we can and still try to get in long rides on the weekend.  Spin class or trainer rides do filter in to maintain fitness levels when it gets super frigid. 
Another NOTE:  Since I am also a runner (See Back to Running blog), major gaps in bike training are usually due to a running race that’s slipped into the schedule.

So, moving on...
Commuting has opened up a whole different world for me in some ways.  Even though it's short it still requires more planning and thought than hoping in a car and hitting the gas.  In addition the only other people I know who commute regularly (on a chatty basis) are men and they are no help when it comes to what to wear.  So, this blog will deal with me finding my way in this arena and all kinds of other thoughts on biking in general from the female perspective.  

Notes about the title:
  • I don't always bike in boots, but I have been known to on quite a few occasions and in a small town in SW Missouri this tends to cause some stares.
  • I'm particular about my dress, but I don't spend a lot of money on it (hence the 'on a budget').  Also, I'm not a fashionista - I like fun and practical attire (at least I think - you can be the judge as the blog moves along).  :-)

So, stay tuned to hear more about my commuting, clothes that are good for it, and biking in general...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time off

I guess I hadn't realized how long I had gone without dropping at blog post...

So, I'm not going to recap all that's happened between then and now.  I'm going to fast forward to September 25 and the Berryman Adventure Race.  This is a race I did with Scott, Jamie, and Brandon.  I was ready for this one with the exception of wishing I had a little more mountain biking time on the season.  Of course we know that's normal for me.  We met at headquarters at 6am and were bussed to the start.  Race started a little after 7am.  Trekking/running first.  We hit the first few checkpoints without issue.  We ran into trouble on I think CP 4 and had to do some back tracking to CP 5 then back to 4, then on to 6.  Due to time we decided to skip 7 & 8.  :-(
Next up was a challenge (climbing and rappelling off a wall), then we ran to a couple more check points.  Then a zip line.  After that we hit the bikes for some extraordinarily grueling dirt road hills.  They seemed to go up, up, up - thanks to my one one gear and stubbornness I didn't have to walk.  This was followed by single track.  We made it thought that unscathed (although I was slower than I would have liked).  Canoe was about 13 miles followed by a short jog to the finish.  We crossed the line in 11hours and 19 minutes (still kicking ourselves for the missing checkpoints, but what can you do??).  It was a fun day overall and we finished happy and ready to go again!
NOTE:  I tried to entertain the team by singing random 80's hair metal songs on the canoe - next year I need to expand my repertoire pre-race!

Now, fast forward to 10-10-2010 - the Mother Road Marathon in Joplin, MO.  I trained right.  Going in to race day I felt good.  I did an Adventure Race 2 weeks prior, but I still felt rested.  I had intentions of breaking a PR (4:09).  Race day started out great.  My 13.1 time was 1:55:01.  Up until about that point I had felt good.  I did go out to fast - my first six miles were all 8:30 pace or faster.  I finally got slowed down to race pace.  A little after mile 13 my stomach started cramping up and made it terrible to try to eat anything.  Brady was on his bike with me and he tried forcing me to eat, drink and take walk breaks.  By mile 15 it had gotten hot and I quit sweating.  Bad sign.  I was able to finish - poorly.  Final time was 4:24:08.  Argh.
I'm ready to try that one again already.  Unfortunately my toes haven't been the same since race day.  I guess it's Morton's neuroma, but it boils down to electrical like nerve pain that shoots up through my 3rd and 4th toes mostly when I run or go down stairs bare foot.  I've been diagnosed before and had cortisone shots, but it's been under control for the last couple years.  I took 2 full weeks off of running (still biking) but it was still there when I started running again last week.  I'm looking at new shoes, doing lots of stretching, icing, not wearing high heels and taking ibuprofin as needed for the time being.  A fast 1.5 miles in the 5 fingers yesterday was tolerable.  Planning to try again in the morning - we shall see.  Advice is welcomed.

Till next time run on!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cycle a Century

Last week did not work out for biking - at least through the week.  Running was OK, but even it was put off because of rain (storm) one morning.  Here's how last week played out:

Monday - off (did a little climbing, but still a little sore from the 23 mile run on Saturday)
Tuesday - 2.5 mile warm-up then hills & speed work
Wednesday - 6.5 miles (mountain biking cancelled due to weather)
Thursday - running & biking cancelled due to weather  :-(
Friday - 6 miles
Saturday - 100 miles biking (plus 3 miles walking)
Sunday - 45 miles biking

So, not a great week overall, but two important things happened.

1.  My first Century Bike Ride.  Brady asked when I finished how it felt to ride 100.  I didn't really feel like it was that big of a deal.  I had gone 82 miles before so 100 didn't seem so insurmountable - a challenge yes, but insurmountable no.  Now, having done it I feel the same - as long as it's at my pace.  This was not the case on Saturday, I was pushed.  The part I'm happy with is not so much that I rode 100 miles in a day, but that I rode at a decent pace for those miles with riders that are stronger than me - 3 dudes even.  ;-)
I'm also happy I was able to recover and ride 45 the next morning without too much grief.

2.  New shoes.  We went to the Run Around in Joplin, MO Thursday after work and spent a good hour trying on and trying out shoes.  I had pretty much decided on the Mizuno Wave Rider 13 when Brady talked me into trying on the Saucony Kinvara.  Normally, I would not have looked into these because I thought it was more of a short distance or minimalist shoe and I'm training for a marathon.  Then I remembered I do love my Vibram Fivefingers Sprint so I humored him.  I tried them on and they felt good.  Ran in them and they still felt good.  Chatted about the wear on my prior shoes and agreed they just might work for me.  Tried one of each on (one Wave Rider and one Kinvara) and ran, then rotated and I still picked the Kinvaras.  I have only done one 6 miler in them since purchase and they did start to hurt my toes a bit.  Time will tell, but for now my opinion is still highly favorable.  So, until I can run more than 3 miles in my Fivefingers without blisters these will be my go to shoe.

Till next time - run on!  :-)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I can run for miles and miles...

While the week before last was all about the speed and PR's, last week was about keeping a slight injury in check and still putting in the miles.

Here's how it broke down:

Monday - 5.5 mile run morning, 16 mile ride after work (easy)

Tuesday - speed work 
Wednesday - planned mountain biking, but rain side-lined us (so, unintentional off day)
Thursday - 23 miles ride after work (hard)
Friday - climbing
Saturday - 23 mile run, climbing, disc golf, swimming, hiking
Sunday - climbing

The guess to the injury name is metatarsalgia.  Basically it feels like I'm running with a small rock under the ball of my foot.  Aggravating mostly.  I've been icing and cross training and that seems to help.  Looking to get new shoes (just in case) pretty soon.  

So, my new plan is still on track.  I ran 23 miles Saturday.  The first 3-1/2 on my own, the next 10 with Brooke, the next 4 on my own, the next 5 with my niece and nephew with me on bikes, and the last 1/2 mile with Brady.  So nice to have distractions - he-he!  The foot held out, the calves on the other hand were toasted when we were done.  I hobbled around until I had my shower, but after getting out and doing some climbing with the kids I was back to semi-normal although fatigued.  So, long run accomplished!!  Whoohoo!  Now, just have to make it through the 150 mile bike ride this weekend, Adventure Race in two weeks, and I'll be ready to marathon it up.  

Monday, August 30, 2010

Speedwork & PRs

Last week:
Monday - 6 miles running morning, 16 miles riding after work (easy ride)
Tuesday - 6 miles running morning, speed work after work (1 min 27 sec - new fast time for 400m)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 6 miles running morning, 23 miles riding after work (hard ride)
Friday - rest

Friday night I was still discussing the plan for Saturday.  Should I do a long run, or go test out speedwork and do a 5K??  Knowing that I have an Adventure Race (Sept. 25) and a marathon (Oct. 10) I should probably go with the long run, but...sometimes you have a need to see your speed.  I decided I would rearrange my long runs completely:
Aug. 28th - Lamar 5K race and bike ride
Sept. 4th - 23 miles +
Sept. 11th - MS 150 bike ride Columbia
Sept. 18th - 14 - 16 miles
Sept. 25th - Berryman Adventure Race
Oct. 2nd - 10-12 miles
Oct. 10th - Mother Road Marathon

We shall see how long this schedule lasts before I feel the need to modify it again.

So, back to this weekend.  Brady dropped my bike and I off at the Lamar 5K/10K.  I signed up for the 5K to see if speed work has really sped me up at this distance.  He headed back home to get his bike and ride back (30 miles).  We started a bit late at 7:45am.  My legs felt tired and sluggish to begin with and my hopes of a PR were dwindling till I hit the 1 mile marker and heard the 7:45 called out.  That meant I could still beat my 24:24 PR time.  I'm not sure what my other splits were, but my official finish time was 23:40.  This is exciting enough, but my Garmin has me at 3.1 miles and 23:25.  Regardless, my new PR is 23:40 and I'm very happy about it.  I think Brady's already thinking of me breaking 23, but right now I just want to enjoy this new PR.  :-)
After the awards (1st place in my age division and either 3rd or 4th overall female) I put on bike shorts and met Brady for the ride home. 
We did the proper biker thing and stopped by Cooky's for lunch - yummy.  With that slight detour it was 44 miles home.  So, 5K + 44 miles bike - that should make up for some sort of long run right??  ;-)

Putting in my time if not distance

So, I was supposed to do 20 mile run pre-lake weekend.  Staying up a little late combined with fatigue caused me to rethink this.  I did my research and found some trails by Lake of the Ozarks that I could get a Saturday run in.  Got up around 7:00am on Saturday, geared up and Brady took me to the trail head.  I'd found a 16.5 mile loop that I planned to hit.  Although my goal was to run for 3 hours and 20 minutes.  I didn't have Garmin with me and trails are a little harder than roads so I decided to go with a time goal.  Shortly after Brady left I realized that the trail I was on was not going to cut it (there wasn't much of a trail and it was flooded).  I tried two other off shoots of the same trail with basically the same results.  I decided to hit roads for a bit and to find some other trails.  The hills were crazy, but I plodded up and down until I found Fawn's Ridge Trail - and wow, what a good name.  I saw no less than 10 deer. 
 It was a nice gravel trail that was easy running.  It was only a couple miles long, but at the end there was the start to another trail - the Lakeview.  
Again, the name said it all.  It was a dirt and rock trail, but in decent shape.  Some areas were a little hard to run because they were narrow and it was a steep ledge, but I just slowed down a bit and enjoyed it.  This trail was around 5 miles long.  Once I finished it I decided I better head back to the first trail head to meet up with Brady for the last 30 minutes of my run.  So, roads again.  By this time it was a little hotter, but I plodded on.  He was there waiting for me and had found one more off shoot of the initial trail that we headed down.  I let him lead the way to take a break from the cobwebs!!  We basically went out and back 10 minutes and called it good.  
Can you see the full cobweb???
We went straight back to the condo, put on swim suits and took a dip - it felt great, although a little cold to my fatigued body.  Sunday became a must needed rest day!  :-)  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Faster, faster, faster

It's Thursday and I'm 3 runs in this week.  Monday 4 miles with Brooke, Tuesday 6.5 miles with Brooke and Debbie and yesterday speedwork with Brady, Stevie, & Beth - awesome to have great running friends!!  :-)

So, the first two were great because the weather was cooler and I got to catch up with my CRC groupies.  ;-)

Speedwork was great because we all survived.  10 X 200 - let me just say a big collective OUCH.  I managed to stay rather consistent even though a tiny bit slower than I felt I should be.  My times looked something like this:  39sec, 40sec, 40sec, 41sec, 41sec, 40sec, 40sec, 41sec, 40sec, 40sec.  I think that's around a 5:30min/mile pace, but don't quote me on that.  We did walk a 200 in between each one, and even a 400 between a couple.  It wasn't terribly hot, but still hot enough to make my knees sweat.  I felt pretty good until we got to the last 2 or 3 then I had a serious burning in my chest, but I worked through it - as did my other compadres.  Overall, it was a good night.  The only fault was being too tired to cook so we went out to dinner!  ;-)

Tonight is the Thursday night road ride.  Then tomorrow I am taking off work so that I can get my 20 mile run in before we go to the lake this weekend.  I'm hoping both go well.  :-O

Monday, August 16, 2010

Running - England and back

Well, not literally I guess.  I ran here, then in England, and now back here.  It was not my best showing for a business trip exercise regiment, nor was it my worst.  My daily runs were few and far between.  I blame jet lag, working long days, standing/walking all day, and just a little lazy for the sparseness of my runs.  But, the area I usually falter the most on my work travel that extends over weekends, the LONG run, I rocked.  Luckily there was a great area of trails right behind our hotel and I got Saturday off.
We went to bed at a decent hour on Friday night, up at 8am and headed out.  One of the guys traveling with me was due for a 12 miler so we sat out together.  He wanted to end up back at the hotel at 6 miles, but I ignored him and plowed into new territory until we hit the 5 mile mark then wound our way back to the hotel at mile 9 for a quick drink and for me an orange (my only substance of the day - I was ill-prepared at best since I didn't really think I'd get a long run in).  We did a quick 1-1/2 mile out and back to get him to 12 then I took off into some more new territory to finish up at 16.5.  It was great.  The weather (in the high 50's) was so nice compared to the heat of MO this summer.  The trails were gravel and windy with views of lakes, birds, horses, people walking dogs, and all kinds of interesting foliage.  After I finished up I showered and we headed out to find food - this was about a 3 mile walk so we were ravenous when we got there.  Luckily they were still serving food.  We had a pint while we waited (of Banks) which was very tasty and even a little filling.  Then she brought out the main courses - I had cajun chicken breast with salad and vegetables (which our waitress said was weird - b/c I didn't get a starch).  Regardless it was a dynamite meal.  Just what I needed, about 2 hours after I needed it, but it worked!

I returned to the US on Saturday afternoon and took Sunday off from jet lag, etc.  This morning I got up and ran with Brooke - was a great visit and enjoyable run.  We plan to do it again tomorrow.  I miss the trails, but it's still really nice to be home.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Start August off Right

Thursday's ride went well for me.  We worked as a group on the way out then it's every man for himself on Reinmiller and I was able to keep up the pace and felt really good.  I felt so good in fact I was able to be convinced to eat at Casa Montez with the Lowden's post-ride in all my sweaty, spandexy glory!  :-O

Friday, I had a good run with Brooke.  Looking back now I can't remember for sure how far I went - thinking it was a 5 miler, but I need to verify.  Friday night was wine tasting and Saturday was a semi day off.  We did do some climbing, but since I can only do it for 15 or 20 minutes before my arms feel like falling off I can't really count that yet.

Sunday I wanted to get a long run in, but I was tired and slept in a bit.  I still got in 9 (4 with Brooke - yeah!!), but was hoping for 12.  I think the 70 mile ride we did directly following the run made up for it!!!   Just found out that we went a little slow on the way out (27.16 miles @ 13.7 mph).  But, on the way back we kicked it up (43.03 miles @ 21.05mph).  Total of 70.2 miles @ average of 17.43mph.  Pretty sweet.   The increase was because we had a slower rider on the way out and we are a no person left behind kind of groupy.  ;-)
Also, the bomb-diggity food we had at Cookie's in Golden City (that was the 27.16 mile mark).  However, note to self - coconut cream pie and upper 90 temps while riding do not sit well on the belly!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wobbly Wednesdays

I think this will be my new name for speedwork.  Dang it's hot out and my legs start to revolt after going too fast for too long.  Regardless, we all pushed through.  It was down to only the die hards for our weekly punishment - the man, Beth, and myself.
We've been running mostly 400's, throwing in the occasional 200 just for fun, but we decided to switch it up.  Coach Brady had us do 1 X 1600m, 1 X 800m, 1 X 400m, & 2 X 200m with walk breaks in between.  My new 5K goal is 23:00 minutes.  I've been stuck on 24:00 min. for a couple years.  Based on this he sat my 1600m goal between 7:00 & 7:30 min/mile (pace) - I exceeded my expectations when I was able to bring it in at 7:03.  Most likely the fastest mile I have ever run (but that could be because I was quite the little slacker in HS track).
I ran the 800m in 3:23 (6:46 min/mile pace) - not bad, but a little slower than I wanted to be.  The 400m was closer to target at 1:36 (6:24 min/mile pace).  The 200m, where I usually struggle the most, was run at 40 sec (5:20 min/mile pace) - whoohooo.  My 2nd one, where I thought I slowed down immensely was 41 sec (5:28 min/mile pace).  Overall, given the heat and the fact I wasn't feeling great it was a great workout.  Thanks to Coach Brady for pushing me through it.

After speed, we went back to the house and played on the climbing wall for a bit - just to make sure my arms were as fatigued as my legs I guess.  We only made it about 15 minutes before my arms were crying for me to stop, but it was fun.

Tonight is Thursday night group ride - the time where I have to push myself to keep up and then finish strong on Reinmiller - one hilly dang road.

Also, looking forward to running in the morning with Brooke tomorrow.  Hopefully fitting in a long run Saturday and a 50 mile bike Sunday.  *Fingers crossed!!*

Run on, ride on!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dusk till Dawn 2010

The Thirsty Turtletinas have come back to reclaim their title for 2010.  :-)
OK, so this year there were only 2 all female teams registered and the other team didn't even bother to show up!!  We still won - right??  Per the race directors - we sure did and we have the swag to prove it (new Columbia pack - whoohoo).
Anyway, 12 hour Adventure Races are about more than winning - they are about mental and physical stamina, teamwork, and seeing what you're made of.  When said 12 hour Adventure Race begins at 8pm and ends somewhere in the morning hours of the following day - these tests are greater.  It just makes it that much more rewarding.

Some info about the race:  held at Perry Lake State Park near Lawrence, KS, course was changed due to rain, technical biking was cancelled, optional checkpoints were added, teams getting all checkpoints would be ranked above teams missing checkpoints regardless of time, additional biking and trekking was added to compensate for the missing tech bike section, there was a bike drop, and we were bussed to the start.

So, still don't know the official results - other than first All Female, but it doesn't matter we had a great race.  It began with trekking on single track.  We opted for the safe path on checkpoints 1-3 (staying on the trail vs. bushwacking).  It worked well.  Maybe to 5 as well (without the map my brain is already a little foggy on some details - lol).  Pretty sure we bushwacked between 5 & 4 (they didn't have to be in order).  Then went on to find 6 - this was an issue - it was a long loop and we trekked the whole dang thing and didn't see the punch - must have been an oversight.  Determined not to let it set us back we continued on and hit 7.  By now it was raining hard and we were on already wet and slick trails, we continued on to the trail 8 was on, but decided to skip it for fear of missing our time cut-off at checkpoint 9 (now called 16 b/c of elimination of technical biking) of midnight.  It was the right decision - we got there with only minutes to spare.  So, after stage 1 we were missing 2 optional checkpoints and down about 1-1/2 hours from our friends team (the only real gage we had on where we were).

Stage 2 was biking on mostly dirt roads.  We hit CP 17, then opted to skip optional 18 to make up time.  We hit CP 19, 20, 21, optional A & B, then 22.  It was fairly uneventful except for a road closing on our way to CP 22 that required biking through standing water or backtracking and going a different way.  We backtracked to be safe.

Stage 3 was canoeing.  When we arrived we were told no one had found 23 and that 25 was optional.  Again, in the interest of time we went straight to 24 and found it without much effort.  It was necessary to get out of the canoe into the flooded lake and wade too it.  Just a little creepy, but I got it done!
We then decided 25 would slow us down too much and headed back to 26.  I will note our volunteers told us later they were impressed with our transition speed.  We may not be the fastest, but we keep right on plugging along!!

Stage 4 was more biking.  We found out we were going back to CP 17, 20, then HQ (they would now be called CP 27, 28, & 29 though).  The most scary part of the trip came around this time.  In between 26 & 27 we are cruising down a dirt road lined with corn fields.  It's pitch dark except for a little moon, our bike lights and headlamps.  We approach what looks to be a couple of faces on the side of the road (and remember it's around 4:00am).  I think it looks like a couple of scary clowns.  When we get up next too them, we realize it's two white-faced, black cows standing there.  Right on the side of the road, not fenced in. It caught us both by surprise!!  After that we spooked a little more easily.  Butterflies turned into bats, etc., etc.
This was the stage where we got to see the sun rise come up - talk about beautiful and refreshing!
We did make it back to HQ without issue and were given our last mission.

Stage 5 was more trekking - the out in the woods kind - not on single track.  We went right out and clicked off one and two, found three with very little effort, and found four with slightly more effort, but quickly.  We were so excited we ran back into HQ (ahead of our friends team that had started that section before us). Whoohoo.  We were done and happy!!   :-)

We showered up and cheered the rest of the teams in before eating breakfast and awards.  By the time we left I was feeling the fatigue, but I was able to stay awake until we got to KC and met up with a friend of the man's for lunch.  Then I crashed for the 2 hour drive home and an additional 3 hours at the house.  It was such good sleep.  I'm not sure I'm recovered from the loss of sleep, but the body feels good (minus some itching from poison ivy that always seems to make it's on me no matter what prevention is used!!).

I have an awesome teammate who did a great job of orienteering!  I wish it wasn't so long till we could do it again!  We have too much fun!

I was able to get back to it post race with a 23 mile (slow) bike ride yesterday that ended in the rain, and followed that up with a 4.25 mile run this morning (thanks Brooke).  Tomorrow is back to speedwork, bike ride on Thursday, run on Friday & maybe Saturday, then bike 50 on Sunday.  Looking to be a good week, maybe not as much recovery as anticipated, but more fun!  :-)

Run on, ride on, adventure on!

PS - hopefully I'll have pics to add soon!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Half Year Stats

Short story - my running stats are pretty sucky this year.
I've logged 357 miles in 6 months.
Figures out to about 60 miles a month, 15 miles a week.  Not exactly where I'd planned to be, but that's back to that whole life happening thing which lead to basically no running from mid-April to mid-May.  I can't beat myself up for it - just have to keep getting back out there and pounding pavement.
I have to admit, the stats don't look nearly so bad if you figure in my biking - I've kept up with it better so that makes me a little bit happier.

And, another gold star - I've continued to commute to work.  I know, it's only a mile, but I do it four times a day.  Still, that's only 4 miles, but it's 4 miles (20 minutes) that my car sits and my body moves and that makes me feel good.

Now, I'm off for my first speedwork session in months - dreading it, but at least it's going to be a group effort so there will be others to share in my pain.  ;-)

Till next time...

Five fingers

From yesterday - I forgot to actually hit "publish post"...

Well, I made the purchase of a pair of Vibram Five Fingers a couple months ago after reading 'Born to Run'.  I figured I like to run barefoot and I already run on my toes so they should be a good fit for me.  I decided on the Sprint style.

I've ran a mile or two here or there since then with the longest run of 3 miles (with a couple walk breaks) at the YMCA on a treadmill up until yesterday.  Monday's I've been trying to get up before work and run 4 miles.  Yesterday I just couldn't make myself do it.  Anyway, I told myself I'd do it after work and before our 5:45pm group bike ride.  So, by the time I was ready to run I knew I only had time for 3 miles - great time to break out the Five Fingers again and give them a try on the road.  I should mention on the treadmill I had issues after a mile or so of blisters on my heals and at about 2-1/2 miles blisters on the bottoms of my big toes.  Fast forward to yesterday - I started my run at 5pm in the heat and not really sure what to expect.  It feels funny walking outside to run wearing these odd looking shoes.  The first mile was awesome (still hot, but awesome).  I felt like I could bound up hills without effort.  As I ran I kept analyzing how I was feeling.  By about mile 1-1/2 I started feel a rub on the bottom of my big toes, by 2-1/2 they were really starting to feel like blisters.  I finished up with my 3, but my toes were hurting.  I took off my shoes to assess the damage before the ride.  There are the beginnings of blisters, but they are below my calluses so they are kind of deep and hurt a bit.  I also realized my little toes felt bruised on the toe nail.  Nothing so bad that I kept from running today, but I didn't run in them again.  I went back to my Mizunos.  I'll give it a few days and try it again.  I think I may just need to develop better calluses and I'll be fine.  I hope anyway!  Overall I really like them and I like to run in them - I just don't like the pain.  I'm still waiting for the calf pain that I've heard others complain of - I guess I haven't run far enough to experience that yet.  

Anyone have any experience with them?  Wondering if these problems are normal and will go away with time?

So, still made it for a close to 20 mile group chill ride after the run.  Again in the Five Fingers since we were rocking the tandem (it doesn't have clipless pedals).   That was a workout just to keep my feet on the pedals and put enough force to keep us cruising uphill.  Overall it was fun though.  Since I stayed on my toes my calves did hurt after the ride, but in a good way.  

Till next time - run on!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Start from here

Sometimes life gets in the way.  That's how I'm summing it up.  Some good life, some not so good life, but still life just the same.  Mostly I just haven't made the time or had the motivation to post.  BUT, I'm going to try to change that.  I am trying to get back to having some semblance of a routine - and part of that routine includes having written documentation of what I'm doing with my running, biking, adventure racing life to keep me honest.  

So, I do have plans and goals coming up.  Nothing crazy, just some fun stuff.  

There is the Dusk 2 Dawn Adventure Race up around Lawrence, KS that I will doing with my Thirsty Turtletina teammate for the 3rd year in a row.  We have decided this is our year to rock this race!!  

Running wise I think I'm doing alright with training.  I was a pacer for the Boomtown 1/2 marathon in Joplin, MO a couple weeks ago. (Side note:  I did the 2:15 pace group, it was a little slow for me, but it worked since I spent so much energy chatting it up and trying to motivate my group - I would love to do it again someday!)  So, I can run 13.1 miles which should easily cover my running need for the race.  Mostly from here I need to hit the trails and keep up my mileage.

Cycling wise I have been doing road rides fairly regularly - rides of 20-30 miles.  I plan to keep those up as long as I'm in town.  My downfall here is mountain biking - I need to hit the trails.  I did do my first mountain bike race this year and I do have a new mountain bike so I think those two things will help, but more bouncy seat time is going to be critical.  Yesterday I did a road ride to Joplin at 4:30am (I volunteered to help coordinate the biking section of a triathlon).  It was good to use my bike lights and practice a little night riding - and I remembered why safety glasses are basically a necessity at dawn (bugs, bugs, bugs).  

Paddling - I have canoe/float trips planned the next two weekends.  It won't exactly be race day conditions, but at least I'll be able to go through the motions.  

Regarding orienteering, I feel better about it than I ever have before.  I learned a lot from doing a race back in May - mostly what not to do, but sometimes that's the best way to learn.  

I'm also tentatively planning for the Berryman Adventure Race in September with some guys from the Rufus Racing team.  Hopefully training will continue after the Dusk 2 Dawn and I won't have any issues there.

As far as running races, I plan to do the Mother Road Marathon on 10-10-10.  The course runs from Commerce, OK to Joplin, MO on Route 66.  It's the first year for this local race and I want to support it.  I started training this weekend.  I have plenty of time to work up the mileage so it should be fun.  

So, goals are set - just have to stick to the training schedule.  Planning for 4 miles running, weight lifting and a chill 12-16 mile group ride tonight - that should be enough for one day.  :-)

Till next time - run on!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

6AM is too early to bite the big one

OK - it's a terrible title, but what it should really say is anytime before lets say 9AM is too early.

It seemed there was a new phenomenon this morning while out running with Brooke.  People swerving towards us rather than away from us.  They would just be cruising along then all of a sudden they were coming right at us.  Then there was the guy pulling a boat making a right turn onto the road we were running on.  He never even looked right (shouldn't you look right - just in case??) and came right on out.  Brooke tucked in behind so he wouldn't hit us, but didn't notice I had come to a halt to keep his boat and trailer from taking us out.  It was another near miss, but she looked up just in time.  Maybe it shouldn't have, but it induced giggles from us on our early morning 6 miler.
So, back to the swervers - what causes this?  It's still dark - they still have lights on.  Are they just seeing us, looking our way and naturally going that direction?  Do we just notice it more because of their lights?  Not really sure, but it's something to keep an eye on anyway.  Think about it when you're driving.  Does your gawking cause you to veer towards the object of your gawk?

One more little rant.  Do people not understand that cyclists have the same rights as operators of automobiles?  Well, I know the answer to that is no in a lot of cases.  It happens more and more that I come to a stop sign and people on the through street will come to a stop and wave me on.  I understand in most cases it is to be polite, but it is more than that.  It is unsafe, illegal (I assume), and frustrating.  Unsafe because they are stopping on a road where traffic doesn't expect them too unless they are turning (and then they should have on a signal) and they may not be able to see what else is coming and direct you into harms way.  Illegal because they have the right of way, but it's not theirs to give away.  Frustrating because I have already taken the time to stop.  Once you stop it takes time to get going.  You don't go at the simple wave of a hand, so by the time you end up going (if you choose to do so) it's taken much more time than if they would have kept going and let you go when it was safe and convenient for you.  The same applies to 4-way stops.  Then there's the whole other issue of just not seeing cyclists, but that can wait, I'm all out of venting for this afternoon.  ;-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Going slow

Life has been going fast - training has been going slow.  The never ending battle right?
I had decided to run St. Louis marathon a few months back and have been trying to keep up with training.  With work travel and just general 'life' it's been hit and miss at best.  I'm pretty sure I can do it regardless, it's just going to hurt and be slow.  Because of that and a prior commitment the night before in Carthage (meaning drive all night and not get a good nights sleep the night before the race) I decided - just do the half!!  Great idea, EXCEPT it was already closed.  :-(
So, back to the original plan - eek my way through the rest of the training.
Game plan as of today - run today (4-6), maybe bike a little Friday, St. Patty's Urban Adventure Race Saturday, and 20 mile run on Sunday (LSSD - that is long, SUPER slow distance - hehe).
Next week I'll do normal weekly runs - 4-6 miles on at least 3 days, then follow that up with a 23 mile run on Saturday.
I'll leave town that Sunday for Salt Lake City for work - hopefully get in runs on Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday.  Thursday I fly to Portland, OR after work and meet Brady.  We plan to do a lot of biking and one long hike on Friday to take the place of my run and allow a little recovery.  The Muse concert is Saturday, then we head home Sunday.  There will be more biking, hiking, walking on both of those days.
Chilling out will be on the agenda for the week of the 5th - probably 3 runs of 3-4 miles.
Saturday night drive to St. Louis - hopefully sleep for at least 5 hours, get up and run 26.2!  :-)

Maybe not the best plan, but it's the one I'm going with until I change it!  ;-)

Friday, March 5, 2010


I know I've talked about it before, but I truly believe that giving blood takes it's toll on my running (biking, exercise) performance for at least a week.  This week I gave blood on Tuesday afternoon.  They started to take it out of my left arm and the blood started coming out - about 3-4 inches worth then it stopped, not to a trickle - just stopped.  The 'nurse' fiddled with it - moving the needle around in my arm (ouch!) - to no avail.  She had her supervisor come over who did the same thing until it looked like a little gum ball was developing under my skin and decided it best to pull out.  Since I was already there I offered up my right arm, which I found out she was only able to do because I had rounded up and said I weighed 120.  I guess if they take 35cc of blood out of you they can't start over if you weigh l19 or less.  So, we flip the chair around and start again - this time with success.  I felt fine upon completion.  I got up and had a sugar cookie, some grapes and a diet caffeine free Pepsi before heading back to work for the last 30 minutes of the day.  I started feeling a little light headed and decided it best not to work out.  Once I got home I took off the bandages they gave me and saw how mangled both my arms looked.  They both had knots and bruising - I am a lovely druggie - lol!  Even after three days I am still rocking some purple/green/yellow patches the size of quarters.
So, like I said, no running Tuesday.  Wednesday just ended up being too busy (painting - blah!).  Yesterday I got myself ready and headed out - only to get 2 miles in and feel like passing out.  I decided this was not a good thing to happen while I was running alone at dusk so I headed home.  I maybe made it 3 miles (out of the 6 I had intended).  I think it's just something I need to accept if I want to continue to give?!?  I've done all I know to do - drank lots of water before and after and just not pushed myself too much.  *Sigh* - to do the right thing; the generous, caring, helpful thing or to be selfish and keep my runs at full throttle...
We know that I will continue to give, and to complain when I can't knock out the mileage or the speed post drainage and that's OK.

So, riding to work this week and the weather today is SUPER!   Get out there and RIDE!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Run With the Wind 2010

I need to back up before going directly into race day recap.  I was able to finish out my week of travel with a fairly good run schedule.  Monday 4.25, Tuesday 6.2, Wednesday 4, Thursday 1 - wait, is that right??  1 mile?  Yeah, my silly chest cold kicked back on Thursday - I tried to run, but the lungs were having none of it.  I opted for a total body weight routine.  It wore me out too, but it was better than running.  Overall given the way I felt I thought my exercise for the week was pretty stellar.  I decided to take Friday off (travel day's are always hard to get in a workout).  We flew into Northwest Arkansas, the man friend met me and we went to PF Changs in Rogers to eat with his brother & brother's gf, quick browse through Williams-Sonoma (since we were there), and then a not so quick browse through Lewis & Clark Outfitters.  We decided to do a little bike shopping - the man is under the impression I need a new mountain bike and after riding a few new ones (with shocks that actually work) I am starting to buy it.  (More on the bike shopping later.)  We got home around 9pm and I decided I would do the race the next day so I got ready and went to bed.

So.....Run With the Wind 25K??  Unlike last year's 'Run INTO the Wind' this year really was a 'Run With the Wind'.  It was pretty chilly to start (high 20's/low 30's) but once we got going it felt pretty nice.  The wind wasn't so strong that I felt it propelling me forward, but the two times we turned into it I could definitely feel it was there!  The race is either solo or a team event.  I was running solo, but I had friends that were running as teams.  It was nice - I first hooked up with Linda (her and her hubby/teammate were each doing a little over 10 with 5 mile overlap in the middle) and we ran till around 5 miles.  At that point Scott E. joined in and before long Scott M. (and Cloe the dog) caught up to us.  We all ran together for a bit then Scott M., Cloe and I took off a little faster until we got to the next transition point - mile 10.  At that point Amy took over for Scott M., Linda finished up, and Scott E. hustled to catch up to us again.  The three of us pounded along the eastbound rolling hills that lead into Sarcoxie.  After a couple miles Scott E. checked up a bit and Amy and I continued on.  She gave me the go ahead with around 2 miles left - lol - maybe she thought I had something left in reserve, but I really didn't.  I was able to speed up just a little until my mom happened to drive by and thought that she would cruise along and chat with me for a bit (that's hard to do when you are 13 miles in).  I was able to get some momentum back after she drove on.  Brady caught me shortly after on the bike and helped me get to the turn in point (about 1/2 mile shy of the finish) before he took off so he could have warm clothes waiting on me at the finish.  I had Scott M. and some of their friends and other runners to cheer me on and a 9-10 year old boy ran it in with me for some extra support to finish in 2:24 something.  I was so glad to be done.  It hadn't hurt as bad as anticipated, but that was before the coughing started.  I must say running is more fun with others.  Next year I will have Brooke back so watch out wind!!  ;-)

Side notes - the t-shirt was pretty awesome this year - short sleeve tech t-shirt vs. the long sleeve cotton last year (that was complete with the prior years date).  I was even able to snag a small - love it!  Support was also great this year - plenty of water/gatorade and the finish line bagels, oranges and banana's hit the spot.  It's a great race that I hope continues to grow in size!

Till next time - run on, bike on!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Travel Mileage - Exercise Personalities

It's only Tuesday, but so far so good for a travel week.  We flew in Sunday (which was a scheduled off-day), went to the YMCA Monday morning and did a 4.25 mile jog on the treadmill followed by an arm workout (they are sore now).  Today we went to the Y again and I ran for 6.2 miles.  It was rough, I'm starting to get a crappy chest cold so I can't breath well, but I made it through it.  If I can keep it up for the next two days I'll be happy to take off Friday and give the 'Run with the Wind' a go on Saturday.  Even though I'm not prepared to set any time goals it will be good to do a timed run just to see where I stand.  The only bad part is I will miss my running friend being with me this year - it will be lonely!  :-(

So, visiting other YMCA's and/or gyms gives you a chance to see different people and analyze their workout habits a bit - get a feel for the different 'gym personalities' if you will.
I guess for the most part I'm used to the 'grunters' at our gym.  There are a few that are just over the top with their heavy breathing, dropping seriously heavy weights from their waist to the ground, etc., but most just are just your basic grunters.  You know, the guys who focus almost solely on their arms - sometimes they even have huge guts, a lot of the time they have skinny legs, but their arms are buff and they like to admire them.  This particular gym has a guy that I think the term howler more accurately describes.  He looks a little like Paul Sr. off of American Choppers, same gut, same arms, just shorter and wears some sort of spandex waist thing - I'm guessing modern day version of the corset?  Wow, the dude lets out a loud howl/scream when he's lifting.  I was in the middle of my run with headphones blaring and I hear it - loud enough in the next room above the buzz of the treadmill motors to startle me.  I thought he was injured until I heard it again.  Seriously, what's that all about??

I have thoughts on all the different 'gym personalities' - maybe some day I will put them into writing, but today I am just caught up trying to think up another name for guys like this - grunters who go the extra mile.

Till next time - run on!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weather Helps

It's amazing what a couple days in the 40's and 50's can do for your running.  I hit the treadmill Monday for 4 miles and took off Tuesday to prepare for our yearly Mardi Gras celebration - which rocked.  The weather went from the teens & 20's to the 40's and 50's on Wednesday so I went for a 6.6 mile outside run.  Other than a couple people that swerved towards me & the dark it was a pretty good run.  I was a little optimistic heading out with no gloves since it dropped in the 30's when the sun went down.  My hands were cold, but it was still enjoyable and I finished in under an hour which is pretty quick for me.
Yesterday I had intended to do some sort of cross training, but it was just perfect running weather when I got off work.  I headed out on a 4 mile run that ended up being 4.5 miles in a little less than 40 minutes by the time I was done.  The only issue I had on this run was some kids driving by felt the need to open the passenger door and yell - it freaked me out - they were only going 25-30mph, wasn't sure if he opened it to try to hit me with it or to jump out and get his jog on.  He ended up not doing either - just incoherent yelling, let me tell you I was impressed!  Hindsight - maybe the windows on their clunker didn't roll down so they had to open the door??  Regardless it's stunts like that that make me a little defensive...
Feeling good about running overall right now though.

I do have a weird RunKeeper (iPhone app to track mileage/pace/time) story.  It's been doing pretty well for me - mileage has been consistent with what I map on 'MapMyRun' and the pace has been accurate - up till now.  So, I have the log for last Saturday - it shows I ran 6.61 miles (which was right, I confirmed that) in 49:20, or a 7:28min/mile - yeah, I was moving right along, but pretty sure that's a little off.  I've kept up 8min/mile pace for that distance before, but not 7:28.
When I did the exact same run Wednesday it was 6.61 miles in 57:06, or 8:40min/mile - seems more accurate, but still not sure if I believe it.  I felt like I was going about as fast on my 4.5 mile last night and my pace shows 9:15min/mile.  Probably just what you get for using a free iPhone app. instead of the trusty Garmin.  ;-)

Update on the biking - I didn't bike Monday or Tuesday this week - it really was bitter cold.  Wednesday I dressed for cold and it was OK.  Thursday I thought it was going to be nice and left the house under-dressed and froze in the 20 degree temps.  Today was awesome - sweatshirt & gloves - no coat necessary.  Of course the rain/snow is supposed to get here early afternoon, so the question will be weather to brave the wet, or drive back after lunch.  There continue to be the issues with early morning drivers - mostly parents dropping off their kiddos at school - they just can't seem to see cyclists.  My understanding for why kids don't  walk or bike to school has grown - right around schools is the most dangerous place to be in the mornings.

Travel next week - let's hope the running continues!
Run on, bike on...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Must get more mileage

I am still not hitting the mark when it comes to my running mileage.
Here's the breakdown:

January 31 - February 6
Monday - 4.25 miles
Saturday - 10 miles

February 7 - February 13
Tuesday - 4 miles
Saturday - 6.5 miles roads, 8.5 miles trails

Now, there were a few bike rides, and a handful of spin classes dispersed throughout those days, but still??
This week I have high hopes of running 4 miles tonight (Monday), 6 miles on Wednesday, and 16 miles on Saturday.  That seems a little more appropriate.  After the trails on Saturday my quads were screaming in protest.  That was the first sign I had let my running slide.  My next order of business once I get this pesky running mileage back up will be to get new running shoes.

Here's the decision:
- Stick with the Saucony Omni's I've been running in (and was fitted for after a gait analysis, but cause blisters)
- Give the Mizuno Wave's another try - they seemed to improve my form, but ended up hurting my knees after wearing down a little
- Go back to Asics - I was wearing them when I got the stress fracture, but I don't really think it was related
- Pearl Izumi streaks - I loved them, but they really don't have any support or cushion and I was told they could lead to injury
- Try something new??

Hmmm - just don't know - for now I'm going to try to get in 3 days of running and we'll go from there!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Winter riding and a little running

Things have been hectic and I've gotten off schedule yet again.  A lot of it was due to travel and working 12 hour days over the weekend while on the road (did I mention I love my job??).  The other part was due to my Grandpa passing away - it was expected and for the best, but it has still made sleeping a struggle for me, which translates into a fatigued body that doesn't want to work out.  This weekend I started to get out of my rut.  I had scheduled to do a long run on Saturday, but I didn't feel like it, especially since it would have meant hitting the treadmill to do it safely with the snow that had covered everything the night before.  Brady was a sport and we decided to head out on the cross bikes for a ride in the snow.  It was hard, but parts of it were so much fun I didn't want to quit.  We started out on snow covered roads, they were a little tricky and I had to learn to just relax and let the bike do it's thing.  Next we hit a park with 6" of snow where I learned you have to keep pedaling hard to move through that stuff.  Then there were some slushy roads with patches of ice - I learned they aren't good for anything!  ;-)  Then, we got to the real fun, we hit another park with some great downhills.  Downhills that are usually a little steep for my comfort, but once I learned how much the snow slowed me down I realized how much fun they could be - sledding on bikes - awesome.
Our bikes were so covered with snow - it was just like being in the mud - the brakes were basically useless by the time we were done.

At one point during our ride, while we were out on the road a car pulled up next too me and rolled down the window and the lady in the passenger seat tells me in broken English that I am brave while her son in the backseat films me.  Hilarious - not sure if he was waiting to see if I would fall and hoped he would win a million dollars or if he had just never seen anyone so stylishly dressed on a bike - LOL, but at least I was warm!  :-)

Sunday we opted for single track riding in the snow.  It was pretty cool.  Brady and two of his biking friends rode ahead while I made my way following the paths they had made, or my best attempt at it anyway.  It was rough.  I finally got clipped in and was able to go quite a ways without putting a foot down, but all the work of going through the snow made me hot.  I stripped off my hat, gloves and tied my jacket around my waist - things were good...then I decided (not really) it would be a good time to fall.  Lovely cold snow up my sleeves and down my back.  Maybe taking the gloves off was pushing it.  I put them back on and made it through the rest of the course with only a few more tumbles - it was OK, falling in snow doesn't really hurt - just watch out for the trees.  I guess everyone bit it at least once so I didn't feel bad.  It was my first single track in the snow and I enjoyed it.  

Monday - finally, decided to get a run in.  The roads here still aren't clear so I had to stick to main roads and even then I had to 'run gently' in a few places.  I didn't make it out till about 5:30pm so it was already getting dark and colder.  I probably looked pretty silly doing my shuffle through any wet looking spots, trying to make sure not to hit an ice patch, but it was worth it.  The run felt good - the temperature was perfect for me.  I didn't want to stop, but it really wasn't safe.  Vehicle traffic around here isn't very runner friendly on a good day, but add in snow/ice patches & dark and it goes downhill.  I called it good at 4.25 miles.

This morning we actually made it out of bed and went to spin class at the Y.  I've been talking about going for a month and finally did it today.  It felt good to have 1.25 hour workout in before even having a shower.  I felt so good I rode my bike to work (like I should have yesterday!!).  :-)

Till next time - run on, bike on in the snow...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter weather

Or not?  This 30, 40, and even the occasional 50 degree weather is just fine by me for winter weather.  I'm biking to work sans coat, running in shorts and actually able to go out for distance on the bike and not freeze my you know what off.  It's pretty rockin'.  
For example I went out to run on Saturday in shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt.  I went out for 10 and ended up running 11 (mostly because I was without my Garmin), but also because it ended up being such great weather for a winter run.  When I started it was raining - which felt cold with temps in the high 30's, but it stopped within 30-40 minutes of the run and thanks to dri-fit technology I was able to carry on and warm right back up.  I met Debbie about this time who was brave enough to come out and run even though it still looked rainy.  We ran 5, with a quick stop at Brooke's just to say Hi since she's unable to run right now :-(.  After Debbie finished I kept going and wanted to make sure I got in my full 10 so I went further then I thought I needed and a quick check on gmaps pedometer confirmed I had - I think it was 11.16.
Sunday the weather was still in the low 40's and drizzling, but we decided to bundle up for a 'gravel grumble'.  I wore thermal tights, long sleeve tech t-shirt, and biking jacket (mid-weight).  I also wore heavy biking gloves, a buff around my neck, fleece hat, and two pair of smart wool socks.  My core warmed right up - within the first 20 minutes I had my jacket unzipped.  My toes got cold and stayed cold, but I think it's more of a physical thing with me than being inappropriately dressed.  As I sit here at my desk my toes are also cold?  They have extremely bad circulation.  Other than that, I think I have dress for biking under control.  We rode gravel trails, road, and also hit a little single track on our cross bikes.  We were filthy with mud by the time we got home, but it was fun.
Yesterday temps got up to 54 I think.  I started my run at 5:30pm so it was already getting dark and cooling off.  I opted for shorts and long sleeve tech shirt again.  Without the rain the long sleeve was unnecessary, I could have made it with short sleeves - possibly a tank, but that might have been pushing it.  I was pretty warm for the first 1/2 of the run and worked my way to comfortable by the end of my 8 mile jaunt.  

This has me hopeful for a good early season.  I never feel prepared for the beginning of the season if I have been rockin' it on treadmills and spinner bikes all winter.  We shall see - who knows what the rest of winter will bring, hopefully I will be ready!  

Run on, Bike on...