Monday, June 28, 2010

This week's Monday Brain Exchange topic is a fun one and applies to all types of bloggers! Jill at Finishing is Winning hosts a new blog topic each Monday.  Visit her site to join in!

Question: What are your thoughts on give-a-ways? Do you enter them often? What entices you to enter or turns you off from entering? Have you run your own give-a-ways?

I love a good giveaway! For many of the blog giveaways that I have entered, I have discovered some new brands and products which has been great.  I generally enter those that have a prize that interests me.  I also like giveaways that aren't too difficult to enter.  If there are lots of steps to do, I usually lose interest.  Another type of giveaway that I like is one where I can gain entry by making a donation to a charity.  Fat Cyclist has hosted some great giveaways for really awesome bikes where entry is given when you donate to Livestrong. 

I have run two giveaways so far on my blog.  I would like to do more in the stay tuned!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Fun

Today I had plans to meet the girls in the afternoon for a swim/bike brick workout.  Sadly, our group of 5 somehow became just me and Kyla...but we still had lots of fun.  We met up at the outdoor pool and I let Kyla decide on the workout distance.  I already had 300m done when she got in the pool so she selected 1500m for the total distance.  Her goal was to try and catch me! Kyla is an awesome swimmer and I was definitely worried that she would get me.  I lost count on a lap and might have done an extra...either way I barely finished one lap ahead of Kyla. 

We quickly changed into bike gear so that we could head out on a ride.  We were originally going to do 25 miles but we looked to the North and West and saw ominous black clouds.  We checked the weather radar...what did we do before the iPhone! We decided we could risk it and picked a route that wouldn't take us too far away with the plan that if we made it back from that one and the weather was still okay we would add on.  The route we chose had rolling hills but wasn't necessarily easier or harder than our typical route.  We explored a new street and added on another couple miles by doing so.  The bonus of the new section was getting to see a field of goats and a couple sheep.  Quite fun!

After turning around, we realized we were going to have to race back to beat the storm.  We made it a couple miles and could see lightening off in the distance.  We kept a strong push going until hitting a massive headwind.  It was quite rough and extremely motivating to get finished! We ended up with just over 15.6 miles on the bike after our mile swim.  Not a bad way to finish off a Sunday! The rain started about 5 minutes later as I was getting onto the highway to head home. 

Earlier today, I tried out a Gluten-Free recipe for Peanut Butter cookies.  It was super easy and really tasty. 

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 C packed light brown sugar
1 C smooth peanut butter
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350.  Beat brown sugar, peanut butter, and egg until blended and smooth.  Shape dough into balls and place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly with a fork.  Bake 10-12 minutes until set.  Cool completely.  If desired, melt 1/2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Drizzle over tops of cookies. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lunch Time Laps

Our outdoor pool has long course lap swimming hours Monday - Friday from 5:30-6:30AM or 11AM - 12:30 PM.  Not being a morning person, I haven't made it to the pool at all this week for the early AM workouts.  I took today off and decided to hit the pool for the lunch time laps.

I only knew a couple of the other masters swimmers today and everyone seemed to be doing their own workouts.  I did my standard warm-up of 300m and 200m of drills.  On long course, that doesn't seem like enough of drills, but oh well! I still need to order a kick board so I only did 50m of kick.  I decided to do 8 x 100m for my main set.  My first 3 were going well but I took a little break to do an easy 100 of back/breast.  (Needed to switch over to my back horribly burnt last week swimming at lunch.)

I got back into my 100 free and then another girl joined my lane to swim.  That sort of threw me off and I just never could settle back into my workout.  I ended up with 5 x 100m and some additional laps of just messing around with drills and things.  I lost track so I don't know my official total but I suspect it was around 1500-1700m.  Not bad for a lunchtime workout. 

After the pool, I headed to the groomers to pick up Hershey.  She was there getting another shave down.  With this heat, her long hair gets very hot.  The groomers had her all dolled up for 4th of July! Pretty cute, huh? She usually gets the bows out by the end of the day, but the bandanna should last for a week or so.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Speed Work and the Heat

Monday was the first official day of Summer but Summer arrived in Northwest Arkansas a few weeks ago.  Our weekly speedwork night is not to be skipped even in the heat! We had about 30 brave souls come out for the workout with temps around 95 and a heat index around 100.  One pleasant change that we make when the temp is this hot is to move the starting line for our workouts so that people get to take their rest in the shade.  It is amazing how much of a difference the shade can make! It is a little confusing to start the repeats from the sprint starting line versus the regular start line though (we finish on the curve instead of on the straight away.) 

The workout was a distance medley relay which didn't appeal to me and my running partner.  We decided to do our own workout and decided on an interval of 400m at 5K, 200m shuffle jog, 400m at 5K, 200m shuffle jog.  We did two sets of this and had 400 times from right at 2 min to 2:11.  We were aiming for 2:15 on the 400's which would put us at a 9 min 5K pace so it was kind of fun to beat that time even in the heat.  We take turns setting the pace during the workout and sometimes get pulled up when faster people pass us. 

As we finished our second set, the rest of the group was starting some 200m repeats.  We gave it a go but after the first one I told my running partner I was switching back to the 400m distance.  We ended up compromising and did a 400m, 300m, and then 200m.  I guess I needed to work my way down into the speed.  Our last 200m felt really form was all over the place and extremely sloppy. 

We walked a little to get cooled down and then started our cooldown jog.  Both of us skipped the plyometric drills.  I am feeling a lot of soreness in my legs from volunteering on Sunday at the Ozark Valley Triathlon.  Body marking 100 triathletes turns into a lot of squats!

I'm looking forward to Thursday when we are forecast to have a slight cooldown with a high temp of 89 instead of mid-90's! It is definitely going to be a hot summer!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tour de Fun Recap

Today was the Tour de Fun event which included several bike rides and even a 5K run/walk.  I was able to talk my friend Kelly into doing the 25 mile bike ride with me.  The ride started at 7:30 AM and it was already well into the upper 70's and humid at the start.  This is a non-competitive event so we just planned to have fun and get in a good workout.  We were running a little late and rode through the parking lot just as the riders were rolling out.  It was perfect timing and we just merged right in with them.  The course meanders through some neighborhood streets and country highways and is just an out and back. 

Kelly filling up on water at the rest stop

There were quite a few funny moments during the ride...
  1. Pink Patrol - somehow we both managed to wear pink tops and black bike shorts...great minds think alike! 
  2. Cheering Fans - probably not the kind you would expect.  As we passed a small family farm, there were cow pens right next to the road.  I, always being friendly, called out a good morning to the cows.  They returned the cheer with lots of mooing and a few tail flips too.  My friend Kelly reassured them that we were not stopping for any milk stops and we cycled on by!
  3. Rest Stops? - being a non-competitive, supported, charity ride we both expected to see rest stops along the way.  We hit 10 miles before seeing one and just assumed that surely they would have one at the turn around.  I had gotten a voicemail while we were riding and stopped at the turnaround to check the message.  They had one, lone volunteer working the turnaround.  Kelly bummed the only bottle of water that he had.  Very strange to not have a stop at the turn and others must have thought so too because about 5 other people stopped there too.
  4. Rest Stops part two - we headed back and planned to stop at the actual rest stop to refill our bottles.  All the rest stop had was water and some Gatorade...nothing for nutrition.  One girl that stopped after us was in need of calories...her hands were pretty I offered her some of my PowerBar Energy Chews.  I just love those!
  5. Me enjoying the rest!
  6. Friendly Competition- as we started the ride there were a couple of people that we passed.  We weren't rude or anything just going slightly faster and so we passed on the outside.  One guy, we'll call him blue shorts, didn't seem to like that and we played leap frog throughout the course.  We gave blue shorts a big head start from the rest stop and took our time riding back.  About 4 miles out, I started setting targets for us to pass (for motivation).  Kelly told me to go ahead, she would hold down the fort while I passed people.  I told her to stay on my wheel and let's have some fun.  Blue Shorts was about 1/4 mile ahead of us and we were going to catch him at the start of another set of rolling hills.  We passed on the hill and then hit a busier road with a stop light.  Mr. Blue Shorts buzzed past all of us who had  stopped at a red light.  Oh well, guess he wanted to win pretty badly.
  7. After Party - we finished up the race and were treated to quite the after party.  They had awesome hamburgers and hot dogs and even Popsicles.  There was a band playing and a silent auction.  I won something in the silent auction that I'm going to use as a gift. 
Overall, it was a fun event and 25 miles was the perfect distance for today.  I could have probably gone a little further but 50 would have been too much.  The course was pretty and full of rolling should probably be called the Tour de Hills instead of the Tour de Fun!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Giveaway Winner

Last week I hosted a giveaway of the new book by CEO Tony Hsieh called Delivering Happiness ~ A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.  I used to determine the winner.

Congratulations to P at Adventures of An Average Athlete on winning my book giveaway.  Send me your mailing address at whitneygsutherland at gmail dot com and I'll get your book in the mail to you. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Brain Exchange

It's another fabulous day for the Monday Brain Exchange hosted by Jill over at Finishing is Winning.  This week's topic is best answered in bullet form.  Feel free to add your own answers in the comments section.

What are some of your favorite motivational quotes/sayings? Do you have any personal mantras you use while dealing with tough times on the race course?

Here are just a couple of my favorites:
  • Shut Up and Run
  • Up the hill we go we go, Up the hill we go! (My hill song, yep I wrote the lyrics myself!)
  • Just keep pedaling (always gets me up a big hill on the bike.)
  • Finish stronger than you started.
  • You've run a mile hundreds of times, one more won't hurt you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Arkansas Masters Swim Meet Recap

Today was my first swim meet since probably the age of 10! I remember being in the summer swim league when my dad lived in Albany, NY but I don't remember doing any organized swimming after that.  I did take a swimming class in college for HPER credit and vaguely remember doing a mile swim in around 45 minutes as the class final. 

The forecast today was for a HOT, HOT, HOT, Day! I was pleasantly surprised to see overcast skies when I got up and headed to the pool.  It stayed overcast for at least the first half of the meet.  I didn't really know what to expect for the meet.  My friend and coworker Lori was the meet director and this is the 2nd Masters swimming event that she has "conned" me into.  Truthfully I like swimming and am enjoying getting back into it. 

Memorial Park Pool
I had pre-registered for the 50 back, 50 free, 100 free, and 1500 free.  The pool is a 50 m pool with 8 lanes and diving blocks at each end.  I wasn't comfortable doing dive starts so I just started from the wall which probably cost me a little time in the sprints.  My first event was the 100 free followed immediately by the 50 back.  Note for the future...Not a good choice to have two events so close together. 

My 100 free went really well and my time was around 1:33sec.  I got out of the pool and started to walk to the opposite end for the 50 back sprint.  My legs felt super tired from the first race and I knew I might have made a bad choice.  My 50 back was around 53 sec which made me happy since I really haven't swam anything other than the freestyle stroke in so many years.  My 50 free came in at just under 42 sec and that included a very slow start.  I think I could have easily broken 40 sec with a dive start...something to work on for the next one.  The final event was the 1500 free which I was treating as a workout.  I wanted to get in a good solid section of swimming and find out what my time would be.  I ended with 32:35 and finished with a good pace for the last 50 m of the swim.  I don't know where the extra burst came from...maybe I just wanted to be done.

Arkansas Masters Swim Meet 2010

There are a few more Masters swim meets this summer so I'll keep you posted on whether I plan to swim in those too.  I have really found Masters swimmers to be a nice bunch of people.  Our club has a lot of triathletes who swim so that makes it seem less intimidating to me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway

Today was the launch of the new book Delivering Happiness A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh the CEO of  I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book to read and review.  I have heard about the culture for years and seen on the Fortune list of Top 100 companies to work for so I was quite interested in learning more about how this company got started and has developed such a strong corporate culture. 

The book is broken out into three sections: I - Profits, II - Profits and Passion, III - Profits, Passion, and Purpose. The book follows a chronological review of Tony Hsieh's career from being a young entrepreneur to financing start-ups and ultimately his involvement in turning into $1 Billion company in 10 years. 

I enjoyed all of the stories that the book contained.  It was easy to make comparisons to my own experiences with online retailers.  I love the simplicity of the Zappos brand promise: Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world.  Zappos employees strive to deliver a WOW experience for their customers and this unmatched level of customer service has served as a competitive advantage and differentiation in the world of online retail.  Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed were the short quotes and tweets such as "You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf," by Jon Kabat-Zinn and "Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself," by George Bernard Shaw.  Overall, this book was a great read and much more light-hearted than traditional business books.  The book gave me ideas to think about in how to make sure that I incorporate passion and purpose in my work. 

You can purchase this book from but you could win a free copy by entering my giveaway!  One winner will receive a free copy of the book.  The giveaway will run through Friday, June 11th at midnight CST and the winner will be announced over the weekend.  Good luck to all!!!

To enter:
1) Leave a comment listing your best customer service experience. 
2) Gain additional entries by posting on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter. (leave a comment for each)

*Full Disclosure: I received free advanced copies of the book, and these statements are my honest opinions of the book.

Monday Brain Exchange

Every week Jill over at Finishing is Winning posts a topic for blog discussion. Here is this week's topic: With the warmer weather brings BBQ’s, vacations and summer holiday fun…how do you manage a balance between training and fun?

I don't have any big vacation plans for this summer...but do like to have lots of relaxing fun over the summer with time at the lake or pool with family and friends.  I'm really lucky to have summer hours at work which means I get out early on Friday afternoons.  That becomes my main outdoor swimming day for a good lap swimming workout. I traveled this past weekend for a race which meant that I got to visit family and race at the same time.  Due to the general heat of summer, I usually try to fit my workouts in early in the day and that leaves plenty of time for fun.  A lot of my friends also run and train for triathlons so that means I get to hang out with friends while training which is awesome!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Route 66 Sprint Triathlon Race Recap in Photos

Heading into transition as the sun rises.

Setting up Transition

Lake El Reno...quite muddy!

See that little speck of turquoise blue to the lower edge of the pack...that's me!

So happy to be done with the swim.

Yep, my race twin and I finished near the same time for the swim.

Finishing up the bike.

Getting ready to run...should have grabbed some sport beans:(

Thankful to be in the last 200 yds of the run!

Yeah, I'm Done!

Hanging out by the playground with my cheering section, Lindsey and Tim.

1st Place in the Athena Division!!!

Route 66 Sprint Triathlon Race Recap (Long Post)

I have to start this recap with Whoo Hoo!!! As I posted yesterday, I won the Athena Division of the Route 66 Sprint distance triathlon in El Reno, OK yesterday.  The race site was about 45 minutes away from my sister's house and we were up and headed to the race early.  I was wearing my new tri outfit and was a little disappointed to see another girl there with the same top...she became my race twin for the day! I'm still working on growing out my hair so I went with pigtails because you can't not have a good time when you have pigtails in!

The weather was low humidity and a slight breeze before the start.  Sadly, the temps quickly warmed up and it was probably low 80's by the time that I finished.  The transition was unique with assigned spots...unfortunately someone had claimed my spot.  The head ref was standing nearby and I asked about it and he grabbed the race director to move the bike and stuff.  I proceeded to setup my spot and make sure everything was organized.  There was a pre-race meeting at 7 AM and the race directors gave instructions on the course and the head ref also covered penalties. 

The swim had a triangle shape with the men starting first followed by the women's wave 3 minutes later.  I started on the outside of the group thinking I could cut over but I ended up in water that was too shallow so I couldn't ever get situated.  Once I hit the first buoy, I was a little disoriented because the depth went from really shallow to deep water quickly.  I was able to get a little more relaxed after I made that turn but for a little while I thought I might have to make a grab for one of the kayaks.  As I made the 2nd turn, I noticed a lot of people cutting the swim short and not swimming to the final buoy.  I made the final turn and ran into the problem of not being able to tell when to begin the run out of the water.  The swim exit was on a boat ramp which made a run out nearly impossible with very slippery concrete in the water.  I got up to the edge and a nice volunteer gave me a hand up onto the carpet and then I could start my run into transition.

The bike course was broken up into several 2 1/2 mile sections with a couple small inclines.  I was surprised to not see the lead males until I was about 5 miles into the race.  The length of the bike course was 13 miles and it was fairly flat and included time on Route 66 and the old Route 66.  The bike felt great...I got passed a few times and I did some passing of my own. 

The run course was an out and back course that was a serpentine around the lake.  I quickly realized as I was leaving transition that I didn't take in any calories on the bike and that the run was going to be tough.  I was hungry and the temps were now hot.  I took walk breaks every 6 minutes or so.  I made up my walking ground when I went back to running never getting too far behind those that started near me.  Every one was looking hot and the water stop was a welcome relief and I was glad that they had it set up so you could go through it on both directions.  Finally, I was glad to see the finish and knew that I could suffer a few more minutes of pain.  I thought my run time would be a lot worse than it was but I know I can do better next time.

My time was 1:34:54 with the following breakdown: 12:24 swim, 1:36 T1, 46:32 bike, 1:23 T2, 32:57 run.  Overall, I'm super happy with my first triathlon for the season but I have room for improvement and will be doing a lot more brick workouts before my next triathlon. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quick Triathlon Update

I took part in the Route 66 Sprint Triathlon this morning in El Reno, OK.  My time was 1:34:54 which was good enough to win the Athena Division!!! More details to come in my race recap including pictures.  The division prizes were cool license plates instead of medals or plaques...kind of neat.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Speed Workout

Every year Mike Rush surprises our group with a special holiday workout for Memorial Day.  The week before the group votes on whether or not to switch the workout from the typical 6PM time to 8AM.  Again this year, the group voted for the 8AM start time!

Last year, the workout was a 5 minute all-out effort run to see how far you could go in that amount of time.  We weren't in for such a treat this year...our first clue should have been watching Mike place cones around the track.  I got an easy warmup in...maybe 1 1/2 miles and then took some time to do a little stretching.  The warmup finished and Mike started to tell us the workout.  To start with we would be doing plyos...approx. 50 m of each: High Knees,  Butt Kickers, Gum Check to the front, Gum Check to the back, Bounding, Lunges, Grapevine to the right, Grapevine to the left. This covered a full lap of the track.  At the conclusion of the plyo lap, head straight into a 800m at 5K pace.  REPEAT until your 800m pace falls off by more than 5 sec. 

I had super tight hamstrings and with my race on Saturday didn't want to stress myself with so much plyos.  I did the first lap with reduced lunges and then went into my 800 and was good with my pace.  From then on, I did partial plyos and then shuffled jogged to the next plyo start.  I kept up my pace and did 4 repeats of the set.  I had to take a short break to run to the car for my water bottle with ice in it before the last repeat.  It was overcast but still warm and humid and regular water just wasn't helping me.  My recovery was probably more than it should have been between each 800 but I'm okay with that.  I stayed on pace and that is a good confidence builder for me going into my first outdoor triathlon of the year this weekend!

After the track workout, I hopped on my bike for a workout on fatigued legs.  I had a couple of hills that took it out of me but on the flats I tried to hit a good cadence and maintain steady legs.  I was supposed to do a brick run after the ride but I don't think 1/3 mile really counts.  I started thinking about Chick-Fil-A towards the end of the bike and just couldn't get my head into the run.  Lesson learned!

Monday Brain Exchange - Lessons Learned

Jill over at Finishing is Winning posts a new topic for bloggers every Monday.  Feel free to join in!

This weeks question: It goes without saying that anytime you challenge yourself, you learn something. What are some of the things you have learned on your own personal journey through fitness, whether it be from triathlon, running or just simply training?

Bullet point answers seem to be working well for this topic so here are a couple of my lessons learned...
  • The mind doesn't always understand what the body is capable of accomplishing.
  • Pushing your limits is sometimes painful but well worth it!
  • A little ice cold water can improve my attitude during a hot summer run.
  • When riding up a hill, just keep pedaling! Forward motion no matter how slow is better than not moving up the hill.
  • If Mike Rush says it's going to's going to hurt.
  • When pushing through a tough spot in a workout, a little song can help.  I don't know why but a few weeks ago while doing bike intervals I just had to hum the Star Wars theme song...ended up with great times so it helps!
  • If the weather requires too much debate, it is probably best to move your workout indoors or take a rest day.
  • Splurge on good and apparel make a huge difference.
  • Use race registrations as motivation but make sure you have goal races.