Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where Have I Been?

Wow a week goes by quickly!  Things are busy as usual between training and work and volleyball two nights a week so the time to update hasn't come up.  I can't imagine how people with kids do it.  Well that's not true, I watch Sydney juggle all of the same things with two young girls.  It strikes me that this is HALF Ironman training.  Full would be craziness!

The last week has been pretty good training wise.  I had a big win in the pool last Saturday.  Those of you who are actually swimmers will probably laugh hysterically at this but humour me anyway.  I broke 1 minute for 50 metres!  I was really excited.  I've been averaging 1:12 and 1:13 for 50 m and had on Saturday had 2 x 50m hard near the end of the workout.  For shits and giggles I decided to time myself and I was shocked when I did the first one in 1:04.  After a 30 second rest I took off for the second and was really trying to meet that 1:04 again.  When I came up at 59 seconds I couldn't believe it!  I was really excited and got high fives from Sydney and Paul.

The weather since my last post has turned to resemble more winter than spring again.  Big boo on that.  In fact, I didn't get out for my run on Wednesday because it was freezing rain in the morning.  That in itself doesn't usually bother me but normally I run with Sydney and since she's been sick this week and wasn't running I wasn't sure it was safe to head out into the freezing rain by myself at 6 in the morning.  I couldn't get it done after work because of volleyball but luckily I was able to tweak the week's schedule a bit with Coach Mary and I'll get it done tomorrow morning.  Not sure what the weather's supposed to be like - I'm a little afraid to look - but it's tomorrow morning or bust.  With the half marathon coming up on April 17th I am loathe to miss a run so it will get done.

Volleyball is coming to an end soon - thank God.  Two nights a week plus the training is starting to wear on me.  I play Monday nights in a women's league and it's good volleyball (I love a women's height net) but it runs REALLY late every week.  I don't get home until almost 10 p.m. and since Tuesday is an early morning swim it's really tough.  Wednesday's I play with Sydney and Andy in a co-ed league and although I have alot of fun with my team it's just another night that I can't get other stuff done.  I'm also the setter on both teams (5' tall power hitters are rare) which means ALOT of hustling.  My legs don't get an opportunity to rest and some weeks the toll on them is really something.  They feel trashed almost ALL the time.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to the end of the season when I'll have two additional free nights - unless of course Coach just assigns more workouts!

That's my update.  I have a sleepover planned with my neice Friday night which is always alot of fun.  She has alot of stuff scheduled for Friday night and Saturday during the day so I'll be busy.  I plan to get up really early and get my long bike workout in before she's up so I don't have to worry about it.  I'm learning a little of what Sydney goes through! 

I hope you all have great weekends!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Glorious Sun!

It was 58 degrees here yesterday as I drove home from work (jumpy claps!!).  Having felt not great in the morning I had a one hour run to do after work.  This turned out to be really lucky because the morning had been cold and rainy and with the time change on the weekend it's so damn DARK again at 6 a.m.  As I drove home from work and the sun was out and it felt suspiciously like springtime I was really excited about getting to run in the fantastic weather.  I was a little perplexed however trying to decide on what to wear.  It's been so many months of multiple layers that it seemed impossible that I might just need running tights and a shirt.  Would I still need my polar fleece headband?  Gloves?  No and no!

The plan was to warm up easy for 20 minutes then do 6 x 2 minutes HARD with 3 minutes of easy jogging in between.  The remainder was an easy jog to cool down.  I was a little concerned about how this would go because I had not had a stellar eating day and still wasn't feeling so hot.  I needed to get this run in though and I WAS NOT wasting this weather.  So, I headed out in my compression tights and long sleeve running shirt and hoped for the best.  Within the first ten minutes of the warm up I could feel pain in my left shin and right calf - hmmm, wonky gait much?  Fortunately, by the end of the warm up that had worked itself out and I was feeling pretty good. 

Once the warm up was over it was time to do the first 2 minute interval.  2 minutes is a long frickin time when you're running hard.  I had programmed the workout into my watch because I didn't want to have to keep looking at it.  This meant that the beeps were my cues.  I have to admit that about 90 seconds into the first interval I had to look because I seriously thought I had boobed something up and not set it properly.  Nope, it was counting down.  Turned out that 2 minutes is just really long when you're running hard.  This was followed by the 3 minutes of recovery which I was happy to see was way more than enough time.  I'm recovering way faster from the hard efforts.  Interestingly these 3 minute rest intervals went by way faster. 

Overall this ended up being a fantastic run for me.  The weather was awesome - I was actually a little warm in my long sleeve top, and I had a great run.  By the end of the hour my legs were feeling pretty tired and my knees were a little sore but it was that good kind of tired that reminds you of the great work you've done.  I ran 8.96km for an average pace of 6:47/km.  That is really good for me!  I have to admit, had I been keeping an eye on my watch I probably would have tried to bust it out a bit quicker during the cool down to hit that 9k.  Not sure that's the point though!  In any event this made me so excited for the nicer weather.  Bring it on sun!

Gatorade G Series Giveaway

Hey everyone!  Check out Ann at Sole Sisters.  She's training for her first HIM with her husband and has a great blog.  She's also giving away some Gatorade G Series products that she and her husband gave really good reviews about.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The A,B,C's of trilikemary

And finally, because I know you're all dying to get to know me better.....

Age:  38 (When did that happen?)

Bed size:  Queen.  Paul wants to get a King but I suspect he would still sleep on top of me so why waste the money?

Chore you dislike:  I HATE cleaning toilets.  Not only for the obvious reasons but because I have a bit of a phobia about toilets.  Don't ask.

Dogs:  Lola the German Shepherd.

Essential start to your day:  A hot bath.  Every day after my workout.  I only take a shower if I'm VERY pressed for time.

Favorite color:  Grey.  Gunmetal, charcoal, dove, every shade.

Gold or silver:  Silver, platinum, or white gold mostly but I do appreciate a nice piece of yellow gold.

Height:  5'

Instruments you play:  Does the guitar in Guitar Hero count?

Job title:  Currently I'm a Labour Relations Advisor.  April 01 I'll be Team Leader - Administration.

Kids:  None of my own.  I'm a pretty awesome Aunt though.

Live:  Windsor, Ontario

Mom's name:  Ana

Nickname:  Andy calls me Marence but he's the only one that has any kind of nickname for me.

Overnight hospital stay:  None (I'm knocking on wood as I type this).

Pet peeves:  Being late and people that are rude and inconsiderate. 

Quote from a movie: "You eat like a baby dinosaur."

Righty or lefty:  Righty

Siblings:  3 younger sisters.

Time you wake up:  Depends on the workout situation.  Normally 5:30 but when I get to sleep in it's 7:30.

Underwear:  Whenever I'm not in some kind of workout gear.

Vegetables you don't like:  Mushrooms because I'm allergic.  Raw tomatoes.

What makes you run late:  Paul.  He's the original Pokey McSlowerson.

Xrays you've had:  Teeth, ankle.

Yummy food you make:  Baked eggplant parmesan, black bean enchiladas.  I'm actually a pretty decent cook and have knife skills like a ninja. :-)

Zoo animal favorites:  Elephants, giraffes, and polar bears.  Come to think of it, I love pretty much all of them except for the primates.  Primates freak me out!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

De Soto Bike Shorts Product Review

I got a pair of the De Soto 400-Mile Bike Shorts from Paul for Christmas.  After having been able to wear them for the last couple of months on my trainer rides I thought I'd give them a shout out on here as I LOVE them.

You can find these shorts on the De Soto Sport website and they come in black/white stitching.  At $128 they're a little pricier than alot of cycling shorts but after using them I can honestly say they are so worth the extra money.

First Impressions - The first thing I noticed about these shorts was the fabric.  Made of 63% nylon and 37% spandex they have a really interesting feel compared to my other cycling shorts (that are 84% nylon and 26% spandex by the way).  They feel alot lighter and almost papery if that makes any sense.  I also really love how the stitching on them looks.  De Soto describes these shorts as having "Curvilinear-TM seamlines".  I describe them as really flattering and slimming.  Finally, the pad on these shorts seemed really thin compared to some of the other cycling shorts that I have.  I was a little worried about this because the one pair of cycling shorts that I do have with a thinner pad are pure torture to wear.  The thin pad chafes in very unfortunate places and there is no protection to speak of in the most important areas of the lady business.  Overall, my first impressions were mostly good albeit I was a little skeptical of the padding.

I must think these look slimming to put a picture of me wearing cycling shorts on the Internet.
Please don't burst my bubble if you don't think I look good in them!

Fit - The size small that Paul bought for me fit perfectly.  As that's normally the size that I wear in exercise gear I can say that they run true to size.  The small has a 7" inseam (medium is 7.5" and large is 8") and I find them to be the perfect length.  The padding feels really comfortable and needs no monkeying around to make things feel comfortable and in place.  Finally, I really like that these don't have those annoying grippers around the thighs that I'm always having to roll up to keep from cutting off my circulation (and frankly because a binding around the meaty part of your thigh does nobody a favour).

Function - The true test of these shorts would of course be how they held up while on the bike.  As good as a pair of shorts may make me think I look it's not worth it to be suffering at the end of a ride.  These shorts did not disappoint!  The interesting fabric feels significantly cooler against your skin than a regular cycling short and helps cut down on the sweat factor.  The compression fit helps to keep things in place and the shorts always feel like they're moving with you.  I also discovered that these shorts have a handy little pocket at the back that is great for gels or even a cell phone (my iPhone fits perfectly).  This is exciting because on those longs rides I tend to have alot of stuff with me and the more pockets the merrier I say - especially when they're discreet and barely noticeable.  I did have Paul take a picture of the rear view showing the pocket but I'm not brave enough to post it.  Trust me though - it's cool (the pocket, not the picture of my rear).  And finally, the most important test was the padding.  As I said, I was dubious at the outset that this thin of a pad would cut it.  The verdict?  They are awesome!  It moves with you as a thicker pad does without the whole diaper feeling.  Also, because it moves with you so well there aren't any sharp edges chafing against your skin like some other thin padded cycling and triathlon shorts do. 

If you're looking for a really good pair of cycling shorts and don't mind spending a little bit extra for really good quality I would highly recommend you get yourself a pair of these.  Paul has ordered from De Soto online not only these shorts but also a bikini for me (see post about that here).  He has only good things to say about the ordering experience and the customer service.  He needed to exchange one of the bikini pieces and they were really helpful and quick about the exchange.  This is important to know because I'm frankly always a little bit nervous about ordering products online.

Note:  I (well okay, Paul) purchased these shorts and I was therefore not influenced in any way to write a review that was not entirely my honest opinion

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Thaw 5K Race Report

The Running Factory's Spring Thaw 5k was my first ever race in 2008.  My time in 2008 was 34:58 and I had blown away my goal of 36 minutes.  I had been running since January of that year. The Holy Grail of running a 5k for me since then has been to do it in 30:00.  It eluded me until last October when I ran just under 30 minutes for the first 5k of a 17k training run with Andy. 

This year I was approaching this race differently.  I was actually supposed to RACE it instead of the usual show up and basically run it like a normal morning run.  Coach Mary had given me detailed instructions that included a warm up!  I'd never warm up for a race before!  I was excited and really hopeful that I could finally hit that 30 minute goal in a race.

Saturday evening saw the weather take a turn for the crappy.  The snow started and the temperature plummeted.  Ugh.  The weather for this race is always such a crap shoot as it's so early in the season.  Last year it was sunny and gorgeous and the year before saw freezing rain the entire morning.  At least they've backed the start time to 10:15 to allow the sun to come out for a bit.  By Sunday morning there was a couple inches of snow but at least it had stopped coming down. 

Sunday morning I choked down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast and we headed out.  It was cold and I was uncertain of how much to wear.  I tend to overdress and that gets me in trouble as I feel really crappy running when I'm overheated.  Paul and I grabbed our race kits and had a good laugh because our race numbers were 1 and 2.  Like the nerd that I am I signed up really early for this race (it never sells out) and was the first one on the list.  The problem with this was that all of the kids signed up for the Kid's Dash and the Kid's Kilometer races were given number 1.  Add this to the fact that I'm a little on the small side and I think some people thought I was in the wrong race when I lined up for the 5k. :-)

Sadly, this did not foreshadow how we'd finish...

The Swag - Race kits, at least for the races I've participated in, are generally not that great.  I can't imagine how difficult it must be to organize these events and I understand that the point is to raise money for charity but I would in a heartbeat forgo the unisex cotton t-shirt (that even in small will never fit me) in bright green that will go right to the donate pile.  Funnel the money that it cost to produce that directly to the charity.  Or reduce my entry fee by $5.  Anyhow, I digress...  In addition to the shirt there was a Running Factory water bottle and you can never have too many water bottles.  Thankfully there was only one pamphlet about the upcoming race series and not a pile of paper advertisements, etc.  

The Warm Up - After putting our stuff in the car we were able to catch up with some of our Windsor Tri Club friends before heading up for the warm up.  It seems that alot of us are being coached this year as there are alot of us doing our first Half-Iron this summer.  As a result, there were alot of of people going out for warm up runs which I either never noticed before (entirely possible) or never happened before.  We needed to do 2 miles easy with 3 x 20 second pick ups to get the legs moving.  We headed out and within minutes I knew that I was overdressed.  I took my neck warmer off and that helped but I knew that I would have to ditch the jacket.  If anything the warmup was awesome for this reason.  There's no way I would be able to hold a high heartrate, zone 4 run while I was that warm.  We finished up the two miles in time to hit the potty one last time, ditch my jacket behind the chip timing board, and take a gel.  After cheering on the kids to their finish it was time to line up.

The Race - The timing for this race is a gun start which means that regardless of where you are when the gun goes off your timer starts.  Couple this with the fact that there is no official start line and things get a little confusing.  The race begins on a side street and you're never really sure where the start line actually is.  Per Coach Mary's instructions we made our way as far forward as possible and waited for the gun to go off.  Once we set out I started at a really good pace.  My legs felt good and my heartrate was in a comfortable zone.  It was a little tough because the side street was still pretty snowy from the night before.  Once we turned the corner onto Riverside Drive the pavement was clear and I had a peek at my Garmin.  5:30/km!  What?  That's really fast for me.  Here is where my mental game started to fall apart a little - I know, it's still early.  I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to sustain that for the entire race and would blow up.  My instructions were to suffer in zone 4 for the entire race but I wasn't sure where my threshold was between suffering and not being able to finish.  I back off a little and thus began the tug of war in my head.  Should I speed up?  Should I hold this pace.  God, this was hard.  Should it be harder?  ALL of these thoughts were going through my mind.  To add to my misery was the 40km per hour winds that were coming in off of the lake.  I passed the first water station and kept going.  I normally run an hour or more without water so why would I need one today?  This is a change from past years as I've always taken the water.  At about the 2.5km mark I was hit with a really bad stitch on my right side and slowed my pace down a little.  I contemplated walking for a minute but refused to let myself do that - I was beating myself up enough about slowing down.  I peeked at my watch at this point and was crushed to see that it wasn't looking like I was going to make my 30 minute goal, much less my secret goal of 29 minutes.  At this point I just kept telling myself that I needed to finish strong and at least beat last year's time of 32:02.  Once I got to the corner before the last hundred meters I could hear Paul and Dave and Dawn cheering me on and this made me run just a touch faster.  Approaching the finish mat I could see the clock and it was at 29:54, 55, 56, 57...I turned it up and gave it all I could and hit the mat right at 30:00.  Sydney was waiting for me at the finish and gave me a big hug. 

Post Race - We headed over to the refreshment table to grab something to eat.  The hot chocolate was already gone (boooo!) and I can't stomach Tim Horton's coffee so I had to make do with juice and a couple of timbits and an untoasted bagel. I waited anxiously for the official times to get posted as I was worried that although it looked like I hit the mat at 30:00 it would say 30:01 or something slower than that.  Finally, the results were posted and I finished in 30:00 which was 15/26 for my age group and a PB.  I'm not going to lie though, despite it being a PB I'm disappointed.  Not necessarily in my time but in how my mental race went.  At the end, I finished with the taste of blood in the back of my throat but were there times I could have dialed it up before that?  I think there were.  That's what I'm disappointed about.

Andy did point out that this was a very competitive field.  Maybe it's because the weather is crappy and the fair weather runners don't reallly turn up for it but 1/3 of the 312 racers ran in under 25 minutes.  Either way, I was there to run my race, and compete against myself, and I'm not satisfied.  What it has done though is light a fire under me.  I WILL NOT feel like this again at the end of a race.  I guess it's good that this happened at the beginning of the season?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cool Giveaway

Check out Laurie's post at The (Mis)Adventures of A Jogging Stroller Mom.  She's giving away a very cool pair of running sleeves.  I love the skull and crossbones.  Anyone that knows me in real life knows how much I love my skulls and crossbones!

Catching Up and February In Numbers

It's been a bit since I've posted but I've been sick and writing a whiny post about being sick after a whiny post about my shoulder wasn't going to win me any friends.  So, I took a  couple of days off of work, listened to my coach and missed three days worth of workouts (!!), and am feeling much better.  I got back into the swing of things with a short run on Wednesday where my heartrate was pretty elevated despite a slow pace and a bike workout this morning where things felt relatively normal. 

The good news is that my shoulder feels great and the two swims I've had since I wrote about it have been really good.  I think the safe approach of rest and ice really saved me from a longterm pain in the neck (or shoulder as it were) injury.

Sunday brings my first race of the season.  The Spring Thaw 5k is the site of my first race ever in 2008.  This year I have a plan for racing that is very different from how I've approached any race in the past - I LOVE having a coach - and am nervous and excited about how it's going to go.  After Sunday's 5k focus will shift to the half marathon in April.  I'm really hoping that this weather breaks as longer runs are coming up and I'm really over the cold and wet and snow.
Now, more to satisfy my own curiosity than anything else, here is a summary of my training for February -

February 01, 2011 to February 28, 2011Swim - 12,300m in 7.78 hours (21.78% of total workout time).  That's -250 m from Jan.
Bike - 11.1 hours - no distance as it's all been on the trainer (31.04% of total workout time)
Run - 77.67 kms in 9.69 hours (27.11% of total workout time).  That's +19.28 km from Jan.
Strength training/yoga - 2.67 hours (7.463% of total workout time)

I'm pretty surprised/happy about the run totals.  An increase of 19 km in distance without a significant increase in time spent running is exciting.  :-)