Monday, May 30, 2011

A Mighty Wind Blows

It's as if Oklahoma wind has come to visit Arkansas the last few days.  We have had serious wind gusts going on!

Yesterday I headed out for a bike ride with Britt.  We were going to do the tower route from Britt's house which meant that we began the ride heading South straight into the wind.  There were moments where it felt like we weren't moving at all.  We prayed that the return trip would be easier with a tailwind.  We got to our turn and discovered that the bridge was closed and we couldn't proceed on our route.  We decided to be adventurers and see where the road we were on would take us.  We ended up crossing the highway and taking a nice 4 lane road with wide shoulders that let us add on some mileage.  The beauty was that it took us East/West without the wind bothering us too much.  Our average pace for the 30 miles was a lot slower than normal but that makes sense with a 20mph wind as our constant companion. 

After the bike ride, I headed out for a short brick run.  Britt lives in a little valley so no matter what direction I went I had to go uphill.  It wasn't a pretty run but I got in 1.5 miles and probably half of that was uphill. 

Today I had my long run on deck and my goal was an easy 8 miles.  I have let my long runs slip over the last month and I'm feeling the pain of having to rebuild that base.  It was warm and humid out when I started at 8:45 but the wind was again blowing.  Today I was enjoying the wind because it was helping to cool me down and keep the sweat from dripping in my eyes.  It is definitely time to start taking a sweat rag with me during my runs! I know the pace was slower than it should be but given my lack of long runs and the heat I'm happy with it.  I took walk breaks when I needed to and fought the urge to shorten my run.  Oh yes, by mile 1 I was contemplating making it just a 3 mile run, then thinking of places where I could cut back to my car and shorten the mileage! It was a good mental exercise to keep going even though I didn't want to. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Reverse Tri Saturday

Yesterday I got a little bit over-zealous for the great summer weather and went ahead and got in a run, bike, and swim.  My day started with the Elm Tree Wildcat Rumble 5K race.  Race report to follow in the next few days.  It was a hot and humid race and I was happy with my performance given the conditions.

I had made arrangements in advance with my friend Kyla to do a bike ride after the race.  We were getting our bikes situated when some of the guys that we ride with rode up.  They had started earlier and were completing the first leg of their ride.  They waited a few minutes for us to finish and then we all headed out together.  We were only going out 10 miles for a 20 mile ride and the guys were going another 8-10 miles past our turn-around point so that they were getting more mileage.  Some of them were doing 65 miles...kind of made our 20 seem puny but we had just raced a 5k!

Unfortunately at one point in the ride Kyla and I got exhaust bombed:( A pickup truck revved his engine as he passed us and blew out a huge mess of exhaust as he passed.  It was disgusting and awful.  We just tucked our heads down until it was safe to breathe again.  That awful moment was quickly forgotten as we spotted lots of reptile life on our ride.  We saw 4 turtles (2 alive, 2 dead and 2 of them were giant turtles.) We also spotted a large lizard just lounging on the shoulder.  We also saw nearly 150 motorcycles riding out on the country highway we were on.  There must have been an organized ride going on for Memorial Day.

After the ride, I headed to farmers market to pick up some veggies.  I rushed home to shower and then headed to my haircut.  While sitting in the chair at the salon I got super warm and got the inkling that I might have messed up with the sunscreen again.  Yep, another unfortunate burn.  I got my arms covered with sunscreen but forgot the racerback area of my shoulders and back.  I was going to change shirts into one that had more shoulder coverage but changed my mind at the last minute.  Big oops!

From there, I headed to lunch and an errand and then went to the pool.  The outdoor pool was open Friday-Sunday for a kids swim meet.  Lucky for me and Kyla, our friend Brent is on the swim team board and he let us in to swim at the end of the meet.  It's been a long time since I swam long course but the water and sunshine felt awesome. 

At the end of it all, I was worn out...Completely exhausted and famished.  I downed some Nuun and got to work on eating and getting rehydrated.  I was in bed early and slept well!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday Night Brick and Thinking of Joplin

Sorry I was off the blog radar for the last week.  I was travelling for work and didn't get much time for workouts and blogging.  I had a great trip though and got to present a giant check to the winner of a fishing tournament.  I won't know for a month or so if I make it into the TV episode that recaps the tournament!

I originally planned to come home Sunday night but would have left around 6PM with a 6 1/2 hour drive.  Yuck! I ended up extending my hotel stay and driving home on Monday.  It was a good thing I changed my plans because home went through some horrible weather on Sunday night.  Joplin, MO, is just 45 minutes north of my house and had a deadly tornado strike the city.  I was actually planning a trip to Joplin for Wednesday to do store checks on some of the stores that were destroyed Sunday.  It is crazy to see all of the devastation but it is so uplifting to see our community coming together to support our neighbors. 

Tonight we are expecting equal if not worse storms to come through the area again.  As I write this, Joplin is under another tornado warning and the storms are moving into the area.  The weather forecasters have been calling for the storms since yesterday.  The corporate headquarters of Walmart began encouraging employees to get home to safety early this afternoon which is a very rare occurrence.  I decided given this situation it would probably be best to do an indoor trainer ride.  I did some interval work but mainly focused on high cadence spinning. 

After I got off the bike, I checked the radar and saw that the storms were moving more slowly than they initially expected.  I laced up my running shoes and headed out for a very short run so that I could count tonight's effort as a brick run.  I headed to the street across from mine which has a hilly loop that is short and fun.  I only needed to do a mile so it didn't take too long and I got two hill repeats in! It was so eerie out because there were no cars out on the road.  I have never seen the road so deserted but everyone is taking cover tonight given Sunday's damaging tornado. 

My thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Joplin especially fellow bloggers Brooke and Chanti who live in that area.  I'm also thinking of Ruth Sawkins and her Rufus Racing team and hoping that all are safe. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Last week the weather impacted my training in a way that let me feel like a "Hoss" for a day or two because I ended up with a two-day Hillapalooza!!!

Elevation graphs of my two days of hill repeats!
 I wanted to get a bike ride in on Thursday since I am trying to up my bike mileage to get ready for triathlon season.  I sent out a note to my friends to see if anyone else was up for a ride.  There was a 30% chance of rain forecasted but my friend Kyla said she would join me.  We talked about in the event of the weather looking rough I should bring my trainer and we could ride the trainers together but my post-work brain didn't think to pack the trainer in the car.

I got to Kyla's house to start the ride and you could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance.  We checked the radar on our phones and figured that we had a small window of opportunity to ride before the storms arrived.  Kyla suggested that we do hill repeats which would keep us fairly close to her house in the event that the weather picked up speed.  Reluctantly I agreed...hills are not my strong suit which is why I should be doing hill repeats!
Sneaky Kyla getting me to work on my weaknesses and try to build my confidence.

We started out with an up and over of the hill and then decided to just do the front side of the hill instead of doing more up and overs.  Our running coach has always stressed that hill repeats should be done in even increments so we had to do an even number and yes we counted our final hill climb at the end of the ride as one of our repeats. Throughout the ride there was thunder and even a little lightning but nothing too dangerous.  We were so close to having perfect timing...we had just finished our final hill climb on our way back to Kyla's house with maybe 1 mile to go.  The rain started as an intense downpour and a few big wind gusts to accompany the rain.  That is definitely a tough way to end the workout and for an added bonus our running coach happened to drive by right then and saw us.  He told me I look terrified which is true mostly because he saw us at a spot where a truck had parked in the street and he was slowing to pass them.  We were coming from the opposite direction and were waiting for him to pass so that we could pass the parked truck.  Well, he was taking his time in passing and I was praying that I wouldn't have to unclip in the downpour since I'm still getting used to my new pedals!

Our Motley hill crew: Matt, Jon, Nikki, Me, Robert, and Carolyn
Friday is our hill repeat night for Rush Running and every week we head to a different hill for the workout.  This week, Mike selected a hill in the neighborhood of Avignon.  It is a really nice neighborhood with really pretty houses but when doing hill repeats you don't seem to notice your surroundings.  The group was small with just six of us but we still had fun cheering each other on.  The hill was really steep as you can see from the elevation chart above but not too long.  Each repeat was about 1/3 mile for total distance up and down. The prescribed workout was do to 8-10 repeats.  I had to step down a little and shorten the hill for half of my repeats.  Mike tricked me into doing a distance of 2/3 of the hill versus the 1/2 of the hill I was agreeing to do.  Sneaky Mike!

Two days of hill repeats equals one tired girl.  My legs took 4 miles to get warmed up on Saturday for my long run where I may have repaid the favor to Kyla and tricked her into accompanying me for 8 miles instead of the 6 miles we had agreed to.  Oopsy! It was great to feel like a "Hoss" for two days but my lesson learned was that it's important to give the legs some rest which I did on Sunday with a total rest day. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sometimes You Need a Little Bit of Help

It's Monday which means another fun session of Rush Hour speed work!!! Today our fearless coach Mike was out sick with strep throat so he sent his amazingly talented wife Ali to coach the workout.  Ali is a former Razorback runner who qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 10K.  She is a speed demon and makes it look effortless. 

The workout for tonight was a ladder up with a surprise ending. The prescribed rest interval was 30 seconds after each step of the ladder. 
200 at blazing speed
400 at faster than mile
600 at mile
800 at faster than 5k
1000 at 5k
1200 at faster than 10k
800 at fast effort (surprise this is really hard!!!)

I think my longer intervals were maybe a little slower than they should have been but for the most part I was happy with the bulk of the ladder.  My running partner is coming back from a week off due to illness so we were only running the first 200m of each ladder rung together.  I got to the final fast 800 and knew that I needed some help to get on pace.  I started the 800 from the 200m mark of the track and most of the crew was at the starting line.  As I ran up the straight away I motioned to Ali to run with me and then proceeded to ask her to help me hit an 8:00 pace for the last 600m of my repeat.  It was super hard but I had Ali next to me coaching me along. 

There was a woman running just ahead of me and Ali was coaching me to reel her in which we did for 400m and then she finished her workout.  We had the final 200m to do with no rabbit ahead to chase but somehow Ali kept me going.  I don't normally ask someone to help pace me but sometimes it really can make a huge difference in your workout.  I know I wouldn't have hit that pace by myself and it was really rewarding to hit that at the end of the workout.  The other thing was that I knew that my fast pace wouldn't be a challenge for Ali since an 8:00 pace is slower than her easy pace.  It pays to have friends at a wide range of paces for moments like these when you need a helping hand!

This workout was around a 5K in total...I don't have my exact splits by ladder rung but I think my time was around 28:23 or thereabouts which isn't too far off my 5K PR time.  Not bad since I haven't been feeling very confident about my fitness lately.  I owe Ali a huge Thank You for helping me finish fast and helping rebuild some of my confidence.  I won't lie though...I had to walk a lap after that fast 800m just to get back to normal breathing! Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We Interrupt this Broadcast for Commercial Intervals!

I belong to the Junior League and tonight was our final meeting for the league year.  Unfortunately this meant that I couldn't go to the Tuesday night group bike ride.  Booo! It was a lot of fun to see all my league friends but it meant that I had to make up my bike ride with a trainer workout. 

I got on the trainer without a plan.  I had the TV turned on and was watching Chopped on the Food Network.  I started with an easy warmup and figured things out as I went along.  The first commercial break came up and so I decided to take things up a notch and do intervals.  I got into a harder gear and originally started out with doing several commercials at the top and then coming down a bit for the next 2-3 commercials.  When the show started back up, I returned to my easy gear and just had an easy spin with a good cadence.  The next round of commercials I just stayed in the hard gear for as long as I could. 

It was a good set with most of the commercial breaks lasting about 3-4 minutes and then 6 minutes of the show.  I got a total workout of one hour and felt like I could have kept going.  I only wish I could have started earlier so that I could have done a short run after to get a brick workout in but The Voice was on by the time I finished.  If you are watching The Voice, whose team are you rooting for? They are all so different and so far I'm really liking the show!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Big Ride Kickoff

Bike Bentonville
Today was the kickoff for The Big Ride which is a weekly group ride hosted by one of the local cycling clubs and my favorite bike shop.  The ride began on the downtown square and was supposed to start with a ceremonial tour of the downtown area with the mayor.  My friend Mandy and I decided to sneak out of the group before that and headed out on our own.  We were meeting another friend to ride at a stop along the route and didn't want her to have to wait too long for us. 

Pauline, Mandy, and Me
We picked up Pauline and then headed out for the ride.  Mandy is just coming back from a knee surgery so she was only taking a one way ride while Pauline and I were in for the round trip.  We had parked Mandy's car at the turn around point and did she luck out with a nice downhill finish.  It was a gorgeous day and the three of us enjoyed the company and had a nice pleasant ride. 

I ended up with 36 miles which was a little more than I was hoping for the day.  I also ended up with a little after effect from the ride.  My first sunburn of the season:( I completely forgot to put on sunscreen this morning and ended up with crisp burn lines from my jersey and my bike shorts.  Whoops!  

Friday, May 6, 2011

A New Do!

Sorry, I can't get the picture to rotate:(

I just picked up my bike from the shop for a much overdue tune-up.  Doesn't she look pretty with the new handlebar wrap I picked out?!?!?  Yep, that is a two-tone wrap job that my bike shop has started to do.  I don't think they enjoy doing it but isn't it worth it for such a fun look! I can't wait to try out the new pedals with our big bike ride tomorrow.  Off to run a 5K tonight. 


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Have you tried Hot Yoga?

I'm not sure that Hot Yoga is a very accurate description for this type of class... I think something like Dripping Buckets of Sweat Yoga is a much better description!

I went for a little cross training today since my bike is in the shop for a tune up this week.  There is a small yoga studio in our downtown square and I have wanted to try it out for a few months.  One of my friends has been going regularly and that gave me the encouragement to try it out. 

The studio follows the Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa method. The class was called Power Flow which was described by the studio's website:

“Power Vinyasa Yoga is an ultimate experience for people who are ready to tap both their physical and spiritual power. The practice is a combination of different traditions of yoga that combine for a dynamic mix of sweat and spirit. It will tone your body and electrify your mind. It is a flow that has many different levels which allow for beginners, intermediate and advanced students to be challenged in the same class.  The classes are taught in a heated room to help cleanse the body and warm the muscles. This flow will torch calories, tone your body, and relax your mind.” Baron Baptiste

I got to the studio and completed a new student form and then found a spot to layout my mat.  The studio is very small and the class was full.  I had a towel with me and a bottle of water that I stashed at the end of my mat.  We started out with some ab work poses and within just a few minutes I was working up a sweat.  It wasn't long before I had to spread the towel out over my mat because I was losing traction for my hands and feet during the flow series.  By the end of class I was completely drenched as was my towel.  The sweat was pouring off of me during downward dog and other bent poses.  I was so spent that I couldn't even take my bridge into a backbend.  I was shaking during Warrior III poses and had to pause and regroup a couple times in some of the poses.  It was definitely tougher than the yoga classes I have done before.  The heat just adds another element to the class. 

Overall, I enjoyed the experience but was overwhelmed with the heat and sweat at times.  Some of the poses were a little challenging for me since I am not a regular student of yoga.  I think I'll give it the class a few more tries before I make a final decision.  It was definitely one of the sweatiest workouts that I have had that didn't involve any cardio. 

One thing I liked was the teacher's initial start to the class to get us to leave behind the outside world and focus.  She made a comment that we are in charge of our emotions and how "loud" we let our emotions get.  She told us to think of a volume dial and turn the volume down and make the choice to be in the now in the class.  Coming off a rough day yesterday it was a great reminder that I choose how I let my surroundings and other people affect me.  Besides the good stretch and workout, this was a great thing to take away from the class!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Mental Game

Today I had a crappy day. I struggled to find a single positive moment in my entire work day. And lo and behold that same crappy feeling carried over into my run too.  The weather all day has been dreary with light drizzles.  It settled down some before the run but I still went to the run wearing an older pair of shoes.  I have this strange belief that once shoes get super wet from running in the rain they lose their bounce.  I know it isn't true but it just feels that way to me.

Anyway, I wore the shoes that have been bothering me for the last month. I was smart and packed my new shoes and I changed into them after one mile and my toes starting to fall asleep in the others.  The shoes immediately made a difference but my legs still didn't want to play.  I plodded along as best as I could and thanked my running partner for keeping me going. I told her I would be happy to get in just 3 miles but she kept me going to 5 miles. 

The workout tonight called for a one mile time trial. Well, I can't say that I put in a time trial effort but I did complete the workout even if my paces were off! The actual workout was pretty short: 2 x 200 at a fast pace to get the legs ready. 60 seconds rest after each. 1 mile time trial (due to the cooler, wet weather we had ideal conditions for running a fast mile...unfortunately my head and heart weren't into it today.) The workout concluded with 2x800 at 5K pace with 30 seconds rest. 

It's not often that we get such a short workout so I'm bummed that I didn't have my mental game together today. I couldn't put aside the issues with my feet and legs and the rough workday to focus on the workout.  Tomorrow's another day and I'm going to make it a better one! I'm going to have an easy run and then maybe try out a hot yoga class.