Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Brick Work

Today was a great brick workout for me. The weather was mid-90's with wind coming out of the south.  We picked a bike route that would take us into the wind for only about 5 miles of the 24 mile route. We hit a stopping point just after mile 16 and I was surprised to see that we were under the 1 hour mark meaning our average speed was above 16.  It certainly didn't feel like we were doing that well when we were heading into the headwind. 

The ride was pretty uneventful...we got just under 24 miles in and averaged right at 17.0 mph.  As we passed through the last neighborhood on the route, we got to pass by a police speed limit sign.  It had a radar gun in it that listed out your speed versus the posted speed limit.  It was so much fun to speed up and see how fast I could sprint in for that sign...I managed to hit 25 mph!

We finished up the ride and I headed out on a short run.  I took a quick potty stop at Chick-Fil-A and then continued on for about 2 miles total.  The run didn't feel that awesome until probably 3/4 mile had passed by but once my legs switched over things weren't so bad.  I averaged just under 10 min miles which would be awesome for me to do in a race.  I've struggled with my runs during triathlons so I hope at my next one on September 12th I'll be able to remember today's training day pace and try to go a little faster.  If you don't follow Bree Wee, she is a pro-triathlete that just placed 3rd at Ironman Kentucky on Sunday.  Her racing plan for that race was to view the race as a training day only slightly faster.  Her blog is so open and honest and it is great that she had such an awesome race this weekend.

After I got home, I decided to try out an ice bath.  I loaded up the tub and then emptied my ice maker into the tub.  I tried to get in without disturbing the water too much since it seemed colder when it was in motion.  I had on a polar fleece jacket to help ward off the chill and my new issue of Fitness magazine to keep me entertained.  A lesson I learned was that I need to make more ice for the future.  The water stayed cool but didn't stay as icy as I suspect it should be.  I also forgot to put a clock nearby so I wasn't sure how much time had passed.  Hopefully my legs will be thankful for the ice bath tomorrow!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do I have a problem?

Tonight I did some cleaning and discovered:

By the back door: 5 pairs of old running shoes (one with disposable timing chip from a late April race still attached) I do use one pair for lawn mowing but the rest just sit there in the shoe rack by the door.

Between the back door and the closet: 4 pairs of running shoes (two that are near retirement and two new ones that I'm trying out.) One of the new pairs is just cute, for fun and not running! These have all been relocated to the closet where they belong.

In the closet: 2 pairs of old running shoes.

At the running store: 1 pair of Brooks Adrenaline on hold!!!

I'm sure I'm not the only one with a crazy collection of running shoes.  I am pretty loyal to my Brooks Adrenalines though.  Now I'm moving on to putting laundry away...and yes I'll admit to having a problem with workout clothes too.  I have so many colors of the Under Armour simple tank top.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend Recap

This weekend included some craziness and plenty of fun.  The craziness began Saturday morning at 3:00AM when my alarm went off.  I had signed on to run with my running partner for part of her 18 mile long run.  I've been struggling with long runs this summer...choosing to sleep in or waste time until it is too hot to run.  I figured that if I was meeting Anne that I would actually get the run in!

Anne had to work on Saturday and was starting so early in order to get the distance in and beat the heat.  Unfortunately, we were only able to accomplish one of those.  The weather wasn't so forgiving...it was 83 degrees at 3:30 am! There was a slight breeze throughout the run which helped but it was warm.  There was also a ton of lightning off in the distance.  We stopped at her house around mile 3 to check the radar but it looked like the storm was over 20 miles away so we kept on going.  I got 8 miles in with Anne and was headed back home before the sun was even up. 

The fun started after I took my first nap of the day...the inaugural Tri to Remember for the Alzheimer's Association was being hosted at the end of my street.  I took Hershey and walked down to the park to cheer on my triathlete friends.  One of my coworkers was participating on a relay team doing the bike leg too.  The course was challenging with a very hilly 15 mile bike  course.  The run also included some challenging uphills.  The overall winner had a time around 1hr 8 min which was blazing fast.  Hershey was extremely tuckered out from all the fun...cutest thing was a little girl came over to pet Hersh and wanted to know what tricks she could do.  Hershey isn't that talented in the tricks department, she knows how to shake and high five and that's about it. 

The Jr. Livestock Auction at the Benton County Fair
After another nap, came the Benton County Fair. My friend Kyla was dying to see the livestock.  I discovered that a county fair pales in comparison to the Iowa State Fair which was the main fair that I went to growing up.  We toured the livestock barns and talked to the kids about their animals that they were showing.  My favorite was a girl who had put glitter all over her pig so that it's muscles would be more pronounced when she showed it.  The girl had glitter to match as well! There was also Lucky Norman the 6 month old cow who was trying to sneak some Dr. Pepper! We saw lots of big belt buckles and on the girls rhinestone belts galore! We continued our tour of the best of Benton County with a trip to Glasgows restaurant. 

Sunday was laid back and started with a 5 mile run with my brother-in-law Scott and his friend Matt.  They are training for a 10K on Labor Day and this was their farthest run so far in their training.  They wanted some help with new places to run so I took them on a tour of Bentonville.  The weather was cooler but extremely humid.  The guys were pleasantly surprised when I told them we were at the 5 mile mark and that they were done.  Both said they felt they could have gone further which is great for their race coming up.  It wasn't the easiest route too...there was a mix of hills and they did awesome. 

Brent, Kyla, me, and Cole enjoying the shade during our bike ride.
Later in the afternoon, I met up with friends for a bike ride.  I had requested to do at least 30 miles on Friday but wanted to change my request because it was so hot. The good thing about friends is that they push you when you want to chicken out!  The temp was 97 degrees and it was super sunny.  Brent and Kyla were in charge of the route and we changed things up with some new roads and doing some old roads in reverse direction than we normally do.  Cole had raced in the triathlon and didn't seem to mind keeping Kyla and I company on the ride while his dad, Brent, picked up the pace in some sections.  We took a break around mile 22 at a gas station to refill our water bottles.  It was hard to leave the gas station...the air conditioning felt awesome! We ended up with 34.5 miles and averaged 16mph over a course with some rolling hills.  Not a bad finish to the weekend, but I'm tuckered out!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1) The never-ending stitch! So I developed a horrible side stitch during my 5K race on Monday night.  The past few days I would make random movements and still could feel tenderness in the area where the stitch was.  I really did push hard through the stitch during the race but I didn't think I would be enjoying it for so long! I ran tonight and the stitch reappeared around mile 4 of 6 but I drank some water and that seemed to help. 

2) Race Decisions...I'm stuck with some triathlon race decisions.  I know for sure that I will be doing the Tie Dye Sprint Triathlon on 9/26.  There are two other triathlons that I am considering...one this weekend and one the weekend of 9/11.  I was planning to skip the race this weekend and do the sprint race on 9/12...except I just found out that we are having a family dinner on the night of the 11th and I can't do both since the race is 3 hours away.  There is an Olympic distance race on the morning of the 11th that I could do and make it back home in time for the family dinner...however I don't know if my training has been sufficient for an Olympic.  Honestly, I'm a little scared of the Olympic distance and actually running a 10k after a swim and bike.  What to do??? I could treat the race as a workout, just something to get experience with the longer distance triathlon but is it silly to sign up for a race knowing you aren't fully trained to race that distance?

3) Long run craziness...I met my running partner Anne tonight for a run.  Usually we just do speed work together but she is in marathon training and is liking company for midweek longer runs.  We've done a couple 6 milers together during the week and it is so nice to have the company.  I've been struggling all summer with doing long runs.  Anne has an 18 miler on tap for Saturday except she is starting the run at 3:30AM.  I'm actually fairly sure that I'm going to get up and join her on the run this week.  I would like to get in 8 miles though not the full 18! There is a triathlon just down the street from my house and  I'm want to get in both a long run and also go and cheer on all my friends competing in the tri.   I can always take a nap after cheering on all the triathletes!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Heritage War Eagles Twilight 5K Race Recap

Monday was the 2nd Annual Heritage War Eagles Twilight 5K in Rogers.  This was a nerve-wracking race for me because it is my current 5K PR course from the race in 2009.  I wasn't super confident in my speed ability going into the race so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to run as fast as I wanted.

The weather was a huge improvement over the past few weeks with a cold front that dropped the temps into the 80's-90's versus highs in the 100 degree mark.  The race starts at 7:30 PM and is held to raise funds for the high school's cross country team. Race registration was super easy and the Rush Running team was out in full force for the race.  It was a pretty cool sight to watch the team head out together for a warm-up...the R jerseys just look so cool when we're all together!
Check out all the R jerseys! The Rush Running team represents!
The race has a downhill start and finish with a few minor inclines throughout.  There are some turns on the course but lots of long straightaways too.  I made an effort to not watch my mile splits and instead just try to hold on to my pace as long as possible.  I developed a side-stitch just after the first mile but was able to mostly ignore it until the very end.  I took walk breaks as I went through the water stops just to get the water in and take deep breaths...sadly it didn't help the stitch dissipate.

Just passing mile 1 1/2
The race has a great finish with a lap on the high school track.  The track is one of the nicest tracks, super bouncy and soft! I hit the track just behind my brother-in-law and had great motivation to pick up my speed and try to catch up to him.  Heading into the final turn I shouted out to him that I was getting close.  As we came off that last turn, we were together and working hard to finish.  I didn't notice the race clock on the scoreboard and had no clue of my time until coming out of that final turn.  The clock was still in the 27 minute range and I realized my time would be a lot better than I expected. 

Sprinting to the finish...Scott my brother-in-law in blue, his friend Matt, and me.
We sprinted to the finish and ended up with a time of 27:58 versus my PR from last year of 27:47.  Not bad for how I felt leading up to the race.  It was so much fun to hit the track and hear so many friends and teammates yelling out encouragement to me.  My sister had cheered to catch the boys (her husband and his friend!) Altogether another fun race and I'm really proud of myself. I'm also super proud of Scott and his friend Matt.  They are training for a 10K on Labor Day and improved their 5K time by several minutes from a few weeks ago. 

Post race and happy to be done!
Last year this race was super memorable...for my PR performances as well as the weather delay.  The original date of the race had crazy storms.  Because it is a school sponsored event, they had to postpone it a week due to lightning and storms.  The Rush Running team didn't get to enjoy the delay...we still had to put in a workout.  Mike had us do a 2 mile time trial in the rain and lightning with the aroma of the Tyson chicken plant keeping us company.  It was one of those workouts that you look back on and ask yourself what were you thinking! Then a week later, we returned to the school and I ended up with my PR performance.  I was really glad that we didn't have to contend with crazy weather or extra time trials this year!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Punishment for Sleeping In

Well, this morning my alarm went off and I just couldn't make myself actually get up.  It was dark outside at 5:15 and I just wasn't feeling it.  The group run was messed up since some were starting at 5:15, some possibly at 6, and others at 7am.  I think I knew I would be running on my own anyway so I took advantage of this and went back to sleep.

I finally got up and moving around 8am but stayed in bed reading a book.  I was regretting skipping my run and eventually convinced myself to just run from my house.  I live in a very hilly area that has two-lane roads with very little shoulders.  I usually avoid running from my house for safety but I do have a loop that seems to keep me on less-traveled roads.  I chugged a glass of water and ate some fruit snacks and got ready to head out.  I thought about doing my four-mile loop and then coming back to the house for more water but decided to carry water anyway so I could play it by ear.  I took a Camelbak podium bottle with me and figured that would be enough if I didn't gulp on water!

I was pleasantly surprised by how much shade I encountered along the route.  This helped a lot but I still had to face my Triple H Punishment...Heat, Humidity, and HILLS!!! It was about 9:45 when I started and the temps were definitely warm.  The air was sticky with only an occasional breeze.  The hills, well they were everywhere that I went! I got to the 2 mile point and had a choice to make...turn back to home or continue on and force myself to get the mileage in.  You see, I had a sneaking suspicion that if I returned home I wouldn't actually go do the second loop. 

I chose to go out another mile or so before turning back.  This put me on a shaded, non-paved road...the only problem was that it was a mile of pretty much downhill grade meaning I would have to run back uphill! I ended up taking a couple walk breaks on the uphill return but overall managed pretty well by just slowing down and focusing on getting the distance in rather than hitting a certain pace.  As I got closer to home, I added on a short loop to get my mileage just under 7 miles for the run.  The pace was slower than I would have liked but it was more important for me to get the distance done and to learn that I can survive heat, humidity, and hills!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dedicated or Crazy?

The high temp today was right around 100 degrees in Northwest Arkansas.  This means that the temp was still hovering near 100 at 6PM for Rush Hour speed workout on the track.  I'm sure the heat on the track was actually higher! Rush Hour is a free, weekly track workout hosted by Mike Rush of Rush Running.  Below is a group picture of us before the start of tonight's workout.  Can you believe that we actually had people show up tonight for their very first Rush Hour? I was really impressed with the turnout and definitely found strength in everyone doing the workout in the heat tonight. 

Due to the heat, we altered the starting point on the track so that we could be near shade for the rest periods and also so that Mike could hook up a hose to spray people off as they circled the track.  This meant we finished coming off the curve versus ending after the straightaway.  The workout was condensed slightly due to the heat but it still included 2 1/2 miles of speed intervals.  We did 3 x 400 then 800 and did two sets.  We took short rest breaks between each interval and before the second set.  The goal was to sustain 5K pace for the entire workout and to strive towards even splits.

I'm happy to report that I was able to stay within 2 seconds on my splits.  Even better, my splits were closer to an 8:30 pace and my 5K goal pace is usually a 9:00 pace.  I'm not sure how I managed these times since my running partner Anne was late to the workout and wasn't able to run with me tonight.  I suspect I just wanted to get it done!

Centerton Fire Run 5K Race Recap

On Saturday, I participated in the Centerton Fire Run 5K.  This is a smaller 5K that supports the Centerton Volunteer Fire Department.  This was my second year running in the race.  It takes place in a neighborhood and includes several small hills during the race.  The race is also entirely devoid of shade which isn't exactly pleasant when the temps are warm and humid.

Me at the race start (in the R jersey towards the left of center)
Race time was 7:45 AM and the temps were high 70's and high humidity at that time.  About 120 people took part in the 5K and more took part in the mile fun run.  I didn't have very big goals for this race...my goal was just to get back into something more quick than my recent 5K's at the end of sprint triathlons.  I started out with a 9:08 pace for the first mile and while really good for me, I didn't have the confidence to sustain that in both the heat and hilly conditions.  I ended the race with a time of 29:52 which was 2 min. slower than last year but anything under 30 min. is a good 5K for me!  The best part of the race was the downhill finish that included going under a sprinkler (quite a big sprinkler since it was a fire truck!) After the race they turned the hose on full force so AJ dragged me to run through it. 

Here's a shot of the downhill finish and the fire truck sprinkler!

AJ and I running through the downpour!
After the race and awards, AJ and I headed out for an easy bike ride.  AJ had just completed 2 days of RAGBRAI and still kicked my butt on the bike! It was 10AM by the time we started and really hot.  The lesson of the day was to avoid stopping because that is when the heat was most unbearable.
Getting ready to head out on our bikes.