About Me

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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1) Holy Batman was that an Earthquake? Apparently we had an earthquake today in Northwest Arkansas.  From the online news reports, it appears that the 2.5 mag earthquake was centered about 3 miles from my house.  I saw lots of postings on Facebook and Twitter around lunchtime and did a little research to determine that it wasn't a random end of April Fool's Day joke! I got home and noticed nothing astray in my house.  It looks like some of my outdoor table chairs are askew but that could easily be from the stray cat that I sometimes catch sunning itself on the deck.  Who knows! Either way, I never thought we would have an earthquake here. 

2) Today was my follow up visit to Dr. Dan in Fayetteville.  He did a little customizing to the shoe inserts that I bought and proclaimed that I should be good to go now! Oh how I hope that is the case.  I'm tired of my toes falling asleep during runs.  I'm going to try some short runs with the inserts until my foot gets used to it.  I'll keep you posted on the progress.  Now tell me, am I crazy to like my podiatrist even more because he has treated one of my running idols...Deena Kastor?  (She used to run for the Univ. of Arkansas and Dr. Dan treats a lot of the Razorback athletes.)



3) Losing It...no not my mind but hopefully some of the extra pounds I've got! I've started keeping track of my food intake via the Lose It App on my iPhone.  I have found that journalling is one of the only ways to get me to modify my eating habits.  I'm only on day 4 but I'm doing much better at reducing my snacks at work.  My motivation is my first triathlon for the year in June.  I got my new triathlon gear a week ago and the top, while it fits, will look better when I get back to my racing weight!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Unintentionally Anti-Social...Oops!

Wednesday is our group's easy run that starts at a local trail at 6PM.  Sometimes I head straight to the group runs from the office.  It saves me from driving home to change and leave 10 minutes later and retrace part of my steps back to where we meet! The only problem is that on those days my dog Hershey ends up having a long day.  Hershey is an inside dog and I hate to make her go more than 12 hours between potty opportunities.

Today I took my gear to work and planned to head straight to the run from work.  Our meeting location is in a valley and I knew that I could have options to do a short run in the 30 minutes prior to the start.  One of my co-workers and fellow Rush Runners told me she was thinking of running to the trail from her house.  She inspired me to do the same thing...run to the trail head and then do a point-to-point run from the trail.  I didn't think about the fact that it would inadvertently make me be anti-social with the group. 

I parked at the downtown square (it is a small town square that is super cute!) and took a route that was approx. 2 1/2 miles to the trail head.  My Garmin wouldn't sync up for the first 1/2 mile which was really annoying.  About 1 mile from the trail head I heard some "Go Whitney" cheers and looked to my left to see my co-worker and her husband driving next to me.  She had gotten home too late to run to the trail! I made it to the trail right at 6 as the group was discussing routes, distances, and other such stuff.  I planned a return trip to the square that would be approx. 4 1/2 miles and would include next weekend's 5K route.  I ended up with exactly 7 miles on my Garmin so I got 7 1/2 miles in for the night. 

If I were better at iPhone self portraits, I would have shared my salty glow after the run.  My face was covered in salty deposits and the temp was only 69 degrees.  Also, I wore my SPI belt and included my iPhone and I think I should probably put it in a small baggy to protect it from sweat.  I really liked the belt and hardly noticed it.  I got home and realized how much I missed out tonight by not finishing with the group...like the random conversations that happen as we stretch after the runs. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday Brain Exchange

Jill over at One Little Tri Girl posts a new series of questions each week called the Monday Brain Exchange.  As a newbie blogger, this is a fun way to start conversation for me each week.  Here is this week's question:
Do your family and friends know about your blog? If so, what do they think of it? If not, why haven’t you told them?

Some of my friends and family know about my blog but I haven't made any public announcements about blogging yet.  I just started blogging two months ago and am still learning the ropes!  I'm sometimes pretty shy and I actually haven't figured out how to tell people about my blog. I've been thinking about posting it on my Facebook but just haven't done it yet. I started the blog because I found that almost all of my Facebook status updates were about recent runs or workouts.  I would run into friends and they frequently would tell me how I wear them out by my running status updates.  I decided I should try to be more balanced in what I put on Facebook and have a blog to talk about running and triathlon training in more detail.  For the friends and family that follow and the new friends that I'm making through blogging...thanks for sharing in this journey with me!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Komen Ozark Race for the Cure Race Recap

Today was the Komen Ozark Race for the Cure 5K and mother nature was not very cooperative! I woke up to the soft, relaxing sound of rainfall on the roof.  I sleep with my iPhone next to the bed so after turning off my alarm I quickly switched to my weather app to see what the weather radar looked like.  Not a good sign...we were definitely going to get wet with this race!

I quickly decided to go with capri tights instead of shorts even though the temp was around 60.  Better to be a little warm and not suffer chafing problems in a wet race! I got out of the house and on my way to the race pretty close to my original timeline.  Usually unpleasant weather turns into a massive motivation challenge for me to even leave the house.  Just as I pulled into the parking lot at Pinnacle Promenade I saw my friend Kyla's car.  I pulled into the spot next to her and we huddled in my car for a few minutes to discuss the situation.  We both decided that our racing tank tops would be the way to go versus wearing jackets or long sleeves.  We started a jog to the food court and dry restrooms at 7:10 with race time at 7:30.  We made it to the restrooms and there wasn't too long of a line which was great.  We ran into a few other Rush Runners inside the food court and all hung out trying to stay as warm as possible. Eventually we heard an announcement that the race would be postponed to an 8:00 start time.

We made our way to the race start and the rain wasn't super heavy but the streets were full of puddles.  A lot of people were wearing jackets and ponchos which I was surprised by.  We were in the start corral for just a few minutes before they started the race.  This is one of the largest races in our area and it is so much fun to watch the string of runners spread out at the start.  It's an awesome sight! (side note...I would have taken photos but with the rain didn't want to carry my phone.)

The race is on wide streets with lots of police support and volunteers along the way.  There are quite a few hills through out the race including a couple longer inclines.  My goal for the race was to just establish my baseline for the year.  I haven't done a 5K since last fall and I knew that my training was not where it should be.  I had hoped to finish around 30 min and I got in that range.  My chip time is probably around 30:57 or so.  My Garmin time (which subtracts two stops for retying my shoe) was around 30:27.  My PR time from last year was around 27:47 so for the start of the season...I'm not disappointed.  Last year this race was around 32:20...so I showed improvement for the course and that is always a good feeling.

Post-race I met up with Kyla again to do a cool-down lap of the mall.  Even though this race doesn't do age group awards, it more than makes up for it with post-race swag! There is a definite advantage to living in the same area as the home office for the world's largest retailer! Kyla and I loaded up on the goodies and made sure we stopped at the Skinny Cow booth for a much-deserved ice cream bar.

All of the goodies that I collected!
Overall, a good race day even though it was soggy.  I know that I have some hard work ahead of me to get ready for the summer season but I'm excited to get back to where I know I can be! 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Gear

Some new gear that I ordered from Sierra Trading Post arrived today. I ordered some triathlon clothing and most of what I ordered seems like it will work quite well. I got two tri tops both of which are tank style shirts which should look a lot better than my swim suit and sports bra combo from last year. I'm really excited about the Descente tri shorts that I got. I had previously ordered a pair and have really liked them. They work well for short bike rides in general too!

I had one total fail in my order. I don't know how I didn't notice the craziness of the pattern on this swimsuit on the website. I thought it looked like a fun pattern but it actually like an 80's leotard gone bad. It is definitely going to be returned! Even for a $15 training suit I have to maintain some style standards! I think you would agree...it is pretty bad.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Woohoo Wednesday

Today I came home to find an UPS envelope by the door. I wasn't expecting a delivery so what was in this package...my very first item to review and giveaway! I'm super excited to be reviewing the new book by Tony Hsieh the CEO of Zappos.com. The book comes out in early June so stay tuned for my book review and giveaway. Zappos.com is known for their corporate culture and I'm looking forward to reading the book. I think this is totally deserving of a WooHoo!!!

In running news, I met up with the group tonight and got a nice 6 mile run in. I ran with my iPod and just tried to work through having tired legs. I managed to pick up the pace for my final mile which is also deserving of a WooHoo! I think I'll take it easy for a few days to get ready for the Komen Race for the Cure on Saturday. I haven't run a 5K in so long so I'm hoping I remember how to run fast.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Three Things Tuesday

Actually...Three Sports Tuesday! Today I swam at lunch for 30 min, rode about 21 miles on my bike after work followed by a short run. Yep, I did my own version of a triathlon today.

My lunch swim was pretty laid back. I did some drills and tried to do some butterfly practice drills to try and find that dolphin rhythm that I seem to be lacking. After that I couldn't seem to commit to a workout so I just did some basic laps. I finished up my workout with a horrible headache. I think I just got too hungry since I ended up getting to the workout about 30 min. later than I had intended.

After I work I joined my friend Kelly for her group ride. We had a group of 10 or so on the ride and we had a route selected that was around 20 miles. I didn't know too many of the group and I'm still not that comfortable riding with strangers in a group. I just get really nervous around other riders that I don't know and tend to just ride off the back of the group in these situations. The weather was beautiful and it was perfect for a ride. I did experience something tonight that never has happened before...attacking and charging on the ride. One of the other riders kept sprinting past and then slowing down. I have no problem riding at the back of a group so I just kept my cadence steady and played leap frog until the last big hill where I was able to get ahead of him.

After the ride, Kelly and I both laced up our running shoes to do a mini-run. Both of us are trying to break in some new orthotic inserts and you have to build up your mileage. We only did 6/10th of a mile but for my first brick run it wasn't too bad. My legs were tired from the ride and I could definitely feel a difference with the inserts. I'm hoping to get used to them and really hoping that they'll help my foot feel better. I'll be building up my miles on the inserts over the next few weeks. The bulk of my runs will still be in the shoes with the normal inserts.

I'm officially worn out! I rewarded myself with some Strawberry Shortcake tonight. It was super yummy and got me into the Summer Spirit!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Brain Exchange

This week Jill from http://onelittletrigirl.wordpress.com/ has posted her weekly question and it's all about Boston! Question: Do you get excited about the Boston Marathon? Have you ever ran or do you hope to one day run in the race? Will you watch today and if so will it be watching in person, on TV, on the computer? Do you have anyone special running this year? Any great Boston stories to tell?

I definitely get excited about the Boston Marathon but it isn't a goal of mine. I'm not sure that full marathons are ever going to appeal to me. What can I say...I love half marathons! Anyway, several team members run Boston each year. I get excited for them...the hard work that they do to qualify for the race and then all the hard work to prep for the actual race. I watched the race via the online tracker today. (Major fail on the AT&T alert system!) We had a large group running from our team. It is so much fun to watch your friends accomplish their goals and realize their dreams. Congrats to all the Rush Running crew...Mike and Ali Rush, Ryan Holler, Dave Kelly, Dave Wilgus, Tony Matthews, Jeff Genova, Mark Valentine, Keith Barber, and Tom who all had great races today! I also had fun watching the race updates via Twitter today...amazing race by Ryan Hall.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Swim

My friend Kyla invited me to go swimming today. Kyla is a really good swimmer and is helping me improve my swimming. We met up with Kyla's friend Brent at 9AM at the Fitness Center (a local corporate gym.) I wish this was open to the public but it is worth the $8 guest pass to go and swim with such great swimmers. We did an easy warmup and then some drills and kicking. The main set of the workout was 200's (150's for me) and 75's. The workout concluded with 8 x25m sprints doing all strokes twice. We even jumped out in the deep end to do dive starts for those sprints! My total was around 2500m for the day.

The big lesson for the day...I don't have the rhythm! Even though I'm primarily doing swim training for triathlons I am doing all strokes in workouts. I joined the Arkansas Masters swimming club this year and intend to take part in all of the groups events including a swim meet on June 12th. I haven't done any organized swimming since grade school and a semester of swimming in college. Last year my tri training was to just swim freestyle so I'm essentially relearning all the strokes. Today I asked for help on the butterfly because I was struggling to get my arms out of the water. Brent and Kyla reviewed my stroke and we determined that I don't have the dolphin rhythm. We talked about some drill options that will help me work on this and when I tried them out I did get a glimpse of what it should be.

I'm so lucky to have such great friends and training partners. Thanks Kyla!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1) Foot Relief - so last weekend I had intense pain in the ball of my foot. I was sure that I had a stress fracture at the toe joint. Lucky for me, I already knew who to call! The Rush Running Team highly recommends Dr. Dan and so off I went. My appointment was Tuesday and I'm happy to report that I do NOT have a stress fracture. I just have irritation and inflammation of the joint caused by having a longer second toe. Dr. Dan sent me to buy some new shoes inserts and over the next two weeks I'll be breaking them in. In two weeks, I'll go back to see Dr. Dan and he'll do some customizing to better distribute the force in my foot so that hopefully the pain will be resolved. I've had minor issues in this foot before and always just thought it was the pain of breaking in new shoes. I'll keep you posted on the new inserts!

2) The Bon Jovi Bounce! On Tuesday night, after work, my friend Kyla and I headed over to Tulsa for the Bon Jovi concert. We had great luck and made it there just as the opening act was starting. Bon Jovi played a mix of both new and old hits. The best part of the concert had to be the Bon Jovi bounce style of dancing. It was full of energy and even included some jumping jacks at times! Kyla asked how could this be incorporated into our weekly plyometric drills during speed workouts. We'll see if I am up to this challenge! (Some day I'll take video of our group doing the drill that is now named "Whitney Skips". It is actually supposed to be called Gum Check!)

3) Pampered Ride - tonight I went on a bike ride with my friend Kelly. I headed straight to her house from the office. As I pulled up, her husband was getting his bike ready for his ride. I said hi and then headed inside to see their adorable golden retrievers Snuba and Snork! Their dogs are the funniest...did you know you could train your dog to ring a bell when it wants to go outside? Super cute! Anyway, while I was inside playing with the dogs...Kelly's husband Scott took my bike down off my car rack and then even pumped my tires with air. How nice to get such pampered treatment! He had Kelly's bike and mine ready to go and we headed off to ride. We got in a 17 mile ride and averaged just under 15mph. We took it easy and had fun except for me packing the wrong socks. My socks were just a little too thick so I kept having my toes go numb. I love that we have sunlight late and can do bike rides after work again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Brain Exchange week 3

Jill over at http://onelittletrigirl.wordpress.com/ posts a new series of questions each week. It is a fun way to share with other bloggers! Now on to this week's questions:

How do you train? Do you use a schedule, have a coach or go with the flow? Do you train alone or with group?

First off, I love training with a group and also love solo runs. I run with www.rushrunning.com several times a week. On Mondays we meet for speed workouts, Wednesday is the easy, fun run, and Friday is dedicated to hill repeats! What I love about the group is that there is such a wide range of abilities in the group and everyone is friendly, motivating, and encouraging. Even though I workout with the group, I do also get in some alone training time too just because my pace doesn't always match up with someone else for long runs or midweek easy runs.

Mike Rush is our fearless leader and he surprises us with a new workout each week for the speed session and a new, killer hill for repeats. Other than those workouts, I tend to just go with the flow. I usually have a plan for long run distances but midweek runs can be short or long depending on the day and how I feel. I will get around to a more formal plan in the next month or so and usually I have Mike review my plan versus my racing schedule to make sure I'm ready.

I haven't really gotten the hang of triathlon training down yet. Last year I tried to bike and swim at least twice a week but this year I would like to work more on these sports. There is a great group ride on Saturday mornings called The Big Ride. I'm hoping to restart for the season this weekend. For swimming, I belong to the Arkansas Masters Swim club but haven't made it to any of their workouts...5:45 a.m. start times with a 30 min drive to the pool just don't work for my non-morning person self! I'm really lucky to have friends that are talented athletes who have offered me lots of help and encouragement as I have expanded from running to triathlon training.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Arkansas Masters Swimming Clinic


This Saturday I attended my first ever swim clinic. I had the joy of getting up bright and early to make the 30 minute drive to the pool for the Masters' group freestyle swim clinic. The clinic started at 7am which means I was up and in the pool before I normally even leave the house for work!


The clinic started with an overview of what to expect during the two hour session. There was a group of 6 or so coaches that all had lots of experience from sprints to triathlons. After a brief swim assessment the coaches divided up the group into smaller groups for the actual clinic. I was a little nervous that our coach wanted to start at a very basic level with just doing bobs in the water. Some in the group were struggling with the breathing aspect of the crawl and so the coach thought it would be good practice to learn through bobbing how to exhale under water. We then moved onto learning a mixture of drills from the catch-up drill to things like the zipper.


I learned that I need to focus on my rotation on my left side and also work on my reach so that I don't enter the water too early. The drills that the coach suggested for me included one where I focus on high elbows and then trailing my fingertips along the water so that I keep extending my reach. Another drill that I liked was called something like 6's and 3's. We did a side kick for 6 counts then 3 strokes of crawl which ended on the opposite side for side kicks. It required some practice but it was probably the drill I liked the most.


At the end of the clinic, one of the coaches led an optional session on starts. When I joined the Masters Swimming group in January I decided I would try to do as many of their events as possible. The group is putting on a swim meet in June so I thought the practice would be good since I haven't done anything like a swim meet since maybe 6th grade. We started out by doing dive starts from the pool deck and then worked our way up to the actual starting block. I kept my goggles on for all of the dives and only managed to do a quasi-bellyflop twice! It was a fun way to start the day and I just might try to make it to at least one early morning workout a week. If you haven't looked into your local Masters Swimming club you should give it a try.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beth's Insane Giveaway


Beth is running a giveaway for a cute running skirt and tanktop. Here is my photo submission for my "best" running outfit that I wouldn't be caught dead wearing. Speed Kelley would totally disapprove of my mismatched colors! I had to borrow my sister's new orange hat by HeadSweats to top off the outfit! I'll keep you posted on whether my outfits makes it to the finals and reader voting.


Monday's Belated Brain Exchange

Jill over at http://onelittletrigirl.wordpress.com/ posts a series of questions each Monday for her followers to answer during the week. Question: Name your top 3 favorite events to date. When were they and why are they your favorite?

To answer this question I went back to my running scrapbooks and log. The memories were fun to look over! I've run over the last 10 years with two different groups...the Washington RunHers when I lived in Washington, DC and now Rush Runners. I have done races with these clubs and also with my family and friends from outside the groups.

The Rush Running Racing Team at the 2009 Run for a Child


1) Run for a Child - I've run this race for most if not all of the years that I have lived in Northwest Arkansas. It is a fun 5K event and the course changed a few years ago which improved the course substantially. This race is held every year on Labor Day which means it is going to be hot and humid. The race has lots of great sponsors so there is usually a really good swag bag (either a backpack or duffle bag in the past) full of samples and goodies. The post-race festivities include lots of food and fun for the whole family with inflatables. It is a race that I use to keep track of my fitness from year to year since it is a consistent, accurate course. And since it is Labor Day, it works to show me how all the hard speedwork during the summer paid off!

My sister and I after the 2009 Tulsa Route 66 1/2 Marathon!


2) Tulsa Route 66 1/2 Marathon - I have done this race for the last three years and every year I swear I won't do it again! This is a challenging course with lots of rolling hills. I love the race because I learn each year what I am made of. This year I set a new half marathon PR on the course and had the most awesome first half of any half that I have ever done. The second half of the race only suffered due to me overthinking and questioning my abilities. The course is really scenic and includes an out and back along Riverside in Tulsa. The course is closed to traffic and you are never running alone yet the streets are open and wide so you don't feel cramped. The race happens in November and gives me a great transition from 5K training in the summer to longer distance in the fall. It is fun because so many from Rush Running run in the half and full marathons. This year we had about 30 participate and we took over part of a restaurant for our own pre-race pasta party.


3) Rock n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach - How could I not love and honor the race that got me started on running. Just after graduating college in 2000 I saw an ad for a training program with the RnR Half as the goal race. I signed up for the fundraising program and began my training. My sister loves to tell people that up until this time I was that girl who didn't like to sweat! I got to train with my sister for the race and I learned that running long distances is hard work! My time included lots of walking but the race got me hooked on running and helped me discover a running group and so much more.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I will relax, I will relax, I will relax!

Today is Monday which means another fun night of speedwork at Rush Hour. We had a group of about 60-70 tonight at the track and had a workout full of variety. We did a 400,600,800,1000 at 5K pace then a 1200 all out. Little problem though...I didn't do the full workout.

The last few weeks as soon as the workout starts I start suffering from stomach distress and end up jumping off the track and having a mini-meltdown. As soon as my (super understanding) running partner makes it back around the track, I jump back into the workout. I think I'm just stressed because my fitness isn't quite where I want it to be and I am making the fatal mistake of comparing myself to others. I need to relax because I won't be able to get my fitness back to where I want it to be unless I do so. All together I ended up with just over 6 miles for the night.

To try and fix this issue I'm going to throw in some speedplay and pickups into my mid-week runs to try and rebuild my confidence with faster paces and be more comfortable at track night. 5K and Triathlon season is just around the corner so I've got to get a handle on this!