Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Adieu Cervelo P2

A few months ago I sold my Cervelo P2 tri bike.  It's kind of weird and uncomfortable parting with something you have spent so much time with.  If you think about it, when I was riding 15 hours per week, it's not unlikely that I was spending more 1 on 1 time with my bike than anyone or anything else!  So now I'm down to 2 bikes.  One is my Bianchi road bike, which is the first real bike I ever owned.  I raced a little on this bike in college and don't think I could ever part with it because it holds such high sentimental value.  The other is an older Trek mountain bike gifted to me by a great friend!  Here in Wilmington, that bike has now taken on the main function of a beach cruiser.

But, my P2 has not been completely outta sight/outta mind.  I have thought about it and wondered what it's new life is like...

Dear P2,
How are you?
Have you thought about me?
Do you miss me too?

What roads have you been on
Since you've been gone?
How 'bout your new owner,
Do you get along?

Are you collecting dust?
Starting to rust?
Or kept in fine tune
In your own special room?

And oh!
Mr. Adamo, 
I have to ask,
Are you making her fast
Or are you just chaffing someone else's ass?

We rode together for more than 3 years
Through cheers
Through tears
A little blood, lots of sweat, and all of your gears

Though you may actually have been one size too small
With handling like I was always about to fall,
I do miss our long days together
In sun, wind, and rain; warm and cold weather
On flats, mountains, descents, and rollers
Country roads, country stores, moon pies, & RC-Colas!

We had our good days
We had our bad
And letting you go,
I couldn't help but feel sad

But you're made for speed,
You're meant to race!
You'd be a waste
In a parking space at 0 m.p.h.!

Though I wonder if we were finally starting to gel,
Only time would tell.
Oh well.
I fare thee well.
You were a tough sell.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Should I Eat For Breakfast?

Getting up early in the morning to get ready for work is never easy.  Like many other people out there I've realized that if I skip breakfast I can sleep in an extra 15 minutes.  This is a good trade off, right?  WRONG.  Skipping breakfast is one of the worst things you can do, especially if you are an athlete and ESPECIALLY if you are an athlete doing multiple workouts per day. 

One solution that I have come up with and become quite fond of is going through the drive through at coffee shops and picking up a soy latte and an oatmeal.  So many places are starting to sell oatmeal, which is amazing because it's so much healthier than eating a meat/cheese/egg/biscuit or a donut!  I've tried a few different places so far and here are my conclusions:

Port City Java
PCJ sells Umpqua brand old-fashioned oatmeal in 4 different flavors:

1.  Kickstart - Blueberries, cranberries, sunflower seeds, & more.
     297 calories, 6 g fat, 54 g carbs, 8 g protein

2.  Jackpot - Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, & pecans.
     270 calories, 5 g fat, 50 g carbs, 7 g protein

3.  RU Nuts - Walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, & flax.
     273 calories, 6 g fat, 48 g carbs, 8 g protein

4.  Not Guilty - Blueberries, apples, flax, & chia.  No added salt or sugar.
     224 calories, 6 g fat, 36 g carbs, 8 g protein

I've tried all of these oatmeals and I think they're all really good!  My favorite flavors are the Kickstart and the Jackpot; they are also the ones with the most carbs, which is good for me because I'm back to my high-carb, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet :)  The baristas prepare the oatmeal for you by adding hot water and letting it steep for about 5 minutes.  All the fruit & nut goodies are already inside the container. 

Not to be outdone, Starbucks offers 2 different varieties of steel-cut oatmeal:

1.  Classic - brown sugar, fruit medley, walnuts
     400 calories, 12.5 g fat, 66 g carbs, 8 g protein

2.  Hearty Blueberry - agave syrup, fresh blueberries, fruit/nut medley
     280 calories, 8.5 g fat, 50 g carbs, 7 g protein

I've only tried the Classic flavor of this oatmeal and I will say it was delicious!  It has a thicker texture than the Port City oatmeal, which is more similar to a hot muesli.  For preparation, Starbucks adds water to the container & lets it steep for 5 minutes.  Then, it's up to you to add the toppings yourself, which, maybe I'm lazy but I'd rather not have to do that. 

Dunkin' Donuts
I was initially impressed that DD offered oatmeal and I tried it one day when I picked up 3 dozen donuts to take do a doctor's office.  There is only 1 flavor:

1.  Brown Sugar Flavored Oatmeal - dried fruit topping
oatmeal     300 calories, 4 g fat, 61 g carbs, 7 g protein

This oatmeal was a huge let-down!  As soon as I tasted it I could tell there was milk in it.  I immediately called DD and asked how they prepare their oatmeal and they said, "hot water with a splash of milk."  Needless to say this did not align with my tastebuds.  Not only that, it's potentially dangerous for anyone with a milk or dairy allergy.  However, if you find yourself at Dunkin,' the oatmeal is certainly a healthier option than their namesake.

I've never tried McDonald's oatmeal and I can't say that I plan to.  But, for the sake of comparison:

1.  Fruit & Maple Oatmeal - "We take two full servings of 100% natural whole-grain oats and add a touch of cream..."  Enough said.
     290 calories, 4 g fat, 58 g carbs, 5 g protein

Footnote:  For athletes who need to consume a lot of calories and carbohydrates per day to maintain energy levels for training, I'd also suggest adding any or all of the following to your breakfast:  100% OJ or other 100% fruit juice, banana or other whole fruit, Naked Smoothie, Cliff Bar, water.  These are all usually things that coffee shops tend to offer as a la carte items and are easy to grab and go when you've decided to sleep in that extra 15 minutes :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Elixir

How do you know when it's time to buy new running shoes?  The correct answer is to keep track of your mileage and once you reach the known life of your shoes, replace them.  I have not been following this protocol.  I usually run my shoes into the ground with reckless abandon.  Once I start to feel any sort of pain (usually in my knees) I know it's time to get new shoes.  This is a dicey strategy because while I have been able to get a lot more miles out of my shoes than prescribed, I have to replace them immediately upon feeling the ache or pain, otherwise face risk of serious injury and time off of running.  A few days ago I started feeling some foot pain after a run.  Stupidly, I ran 11 miles the next day and 9 miles the day after that.  The pain worsened, I had to take a day off of running, and I knew it was time to spend money on new shoes. 

Anyhow, on to the new shoes!  I first tried on the Brooks Pure Connect, Saucony Kinvara, and Nike Free 3.0.  I've tried on the Connect and Kinvara before and I immediately noticed the same thing I have noticed before about these shoes.  For me, there is too much material underneath the arch of the foot.  I'd say I have a medium arch, but I really don't like anything to be built up under there.  My take is that the natural function of the arch is to support your foot and help absorb the impact of your steps and I DO NOT like anything underneath it messing with the natural mechanics of that mechanism.  In addition, I found the Kinvara too wide, especially in the toe box; I have a narrower foot.  The Nike Free 3.0's felt decent, but there was not much cushion at all.  They didn't feel like they'd have the gusto to last muchos miles.

I then went to Trysports at Mayfaire (where I should have gone from the start and am embarrassed to say that I did not) and tried on the Mizuno Wave Elixir.  As soon as I slipped my foot into this shoe it felt fantastic!  I was pretty much sold before I even went outside and gave them a test spin.  Sometimes you just know when the shoe fits.  And when I did go outside and run in them, they still felt great.  My foot didn't even hurt one bit!  They felt like a minimalist shoe with just the right amount of cushioning to hold up over long runs and increasing training mileage.  I wanted to buy them right then and there. 

However, I obliged the helpful sales guy and proceeded to try on the Brooks Pure Flow, Brooks T7 Racer, & Mizuno Wave Sayonara.  The Flow actually felt decent, but didn't fit as snugly on my foot as the Elixir.  I've always thought the T7 Racer looks really cool and have wanted to try that shoe for a while now.  It felt like I could run a really fast 5K in those shoes!  They were super light and would be perfect for racing or speed training, but maybe not so ideal for marathon training.  The Sayonara's just felt awkward across the top of my foot and I didn't care for them.

So, of course I went with the Elixir.  I had my first run in them today and was super pleased.  They were lightweight, comfortable, and provided just enough cushioning.  I'm a very neutral runner and they allowed me to maintain my mid-foot strike.  I had no foot pain whatsoever and no blisters or hotspots.  I did a total of 10 miles at about 7:15 pace and felt awesome.  These shoes remind me a lot of the old Mizuno Musha that I used to run in and really liked.  They are also similar to the Pearl Izumi Isotransition, which were a dream come true shoe for me.  Definitely a solid shoe for anyone looking for a lightweight, minimalist, training shoe on which you can rack up some marathon miles.  Mizuno got this one right when they pegged the Elixir as "a performance shoe with just enough support that also delivers on longer training runs."  And as for looks, they may not be the prettiest shoes I've ever seen, but they do have a certain attitude about them, and I like that.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Runner's High

Wikipedia defines Runner's High as a "publicized putative release of endorphins in response to strenuous, continuous workouts of moderate to high intensity, corresponding to prolonged physical stress.  The release of endorphins presumably mitigates pain sensation by negatively regulating pain-carrying signals from neurons in the spinal cord."

One of the many amusing definitions from Urban Dictionary is "A supposed 'high' attained by release of endorphins during and after high amounts of aerobic activity, possibly developed in the 1960's as a way to get the drug addicts of the class to exercise."

Here's my personal take, written of course while on a Runner's High :)

I feel your rush
You flood my brain
I'm so deliriously insane
I can't deny
Riding your high
Is when I feel the most alive
You take me to another place
Outside my mind
A sweet escape
The gain is proportional to pain
You start to wane
I start again
So choose your pleasure, choose your poison
Raise your cup and pour it in
Don't even wanna try to kick this addiction to endorphins

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

I was going to title this blog with the cliche line of "Practice Makes Perfect," but then I realized I couldn't in good conscience do that because it was drilled into me at an early age that practice does not make perfect.  Instead, perfect practice makes perfect.  When learning any skill, whether it be how to shoot a basketball, kick a soccer ball, or 'catch' the water while swimming, it's imperative to use correct technique.  Otherwise you are simply training your body with the wrong mechanics, which will in time lead to incorrect muscle memory, which will never result in perfect technique no matter how many times you repeat the process.  So yes, I subscribe to "Perfect Practice Makes Perfect." 

Anyhow, I wanted to talk about how I've started going to Without Limits team practices and I really like it.  My first appearance was at the track.  We did 10 min @ 6:20 pace, 2 min break, 10 min @ 6:20 pace, 2 min break, 5 min at 6:20 pace.  This nearly killed me.  My second rendezvous w/ the team was for a tempo workout.  I did 2 x 2.5 mi at 7:00 pace with 2 min rest in between.  This got tiring b/c it was super humid that day, but was not as painful as the track.  Today was my third team practice and I ran 2 x [1000 @ 10K pace, 400 @ 5K pace, 200 @ FAST pace.]  At least that is what the pacing was supposed to be.  As one team member put it, "Are we doing heart attack pace or stroke pace today?"  Haha.  This workout almost killed me as well.

So here's what I like about being on the team and going to team practices so far:

1.  The coach, Mr. Tom Clifford, is there, usually yelling out splits like a maniac and I find this both helpful and humorous at the same time.

2.  The people on the team are quality peeps - all real friendly, funny, and genuinely nice folk.  Can't wait to get to know them better!

3.  The people on the team are freakin' fast!!!  When I run with them they make me push myself harder than I ever would if I were running alone.  Thanks guys! 

4.  Practices also include stretching and strength work, two things that I usually always neglect and I know are good for me so it's good that someone else is forcing me to do them.  (However, I do have a theory that stretching leads to injury so we'll see what happens with that...)

5.  Interaction with the coach - whether it be critique of your form, how your legs are feeling from the previous workout, or discussion about your training plan it's nice to have face time w/ your coach as opposed to digital long-distance communication.

6.  Camaraderie.  It's nice to be part of a team and it's really cool that so many people are training for the same races.  LOVING having training partners galore :)

Looking forward to lots more painful practices.  It'll make me faster, right?

Oh!  I almost forgot to mention that last Friday I got a call from the radio station and I ended up winning the $50 gift card to Massage Envy!  How cool is that!!??  It was certainly not a bad way to start the weekend :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


A couple weeks ago I posted about winning something off the radio for the first time in my life.  Well the craziest thing happened - I won again today!  It came as a nice surprise b/c I was not expecting to win anything in the near future considering that I broke a mirror a couple days ago and was preparing for 7 years of bad luck.  (And no it didn't break b/c I looked into it; I dropped it on the ground.) 

Today's radio winnings came with a little bit more effort than last time.  I had to answer this trivia question:

What do 1/3 of office workers list as their top reason to go to work?

Money?  No.
Get out of the house?  No.
Enjoy their job?  No.

Answer:  To gossip with their coworkers. 

How did the answer come into my brain?  Well, I thought about one of the things that I like most about my job and that is I'm lucky enough to have really nice coworkers that are fun to talk to.  From my experiences, how well you like and get along with your coworkers can make or break a job.  Maybe they should start implementing some sort of type of software program during the hiring process, haha!

Anyhow, I won a gift certificate to a local shopping area - perfect b/c I haven't bought a single Christmas gift yet and Christmas is creeping up WAY to quickly!  In addition, I'm also entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Massage Envy on Friday.  If I won that it'd be a tough decision whether to give it as a gift or use it for myself ;)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Marathon Training

Well, it's official!  I'm decidedly in marathon training now.  How did that happen?  Pretty easily actually, haha.  I've been wanting to get a coach for a little while now and finally decided to bite the bullet.  I've had a coach in the past and always enjoyed having someone other than myself in charge of and responsible for planning and periodizing my training.  Plus I like the accountability of having a coach and knowing that someone else is invested in your efforts.

So, upon return from FL I signed up with a local coach whose specialty is running --> Tom Clifford of Without Limits.  We discussed whether to train for an early season full or half and in the end the full won out.  For me this was mainly due to the fact that I know I want to eventually get to the full distance so why not just jump right into it?  And, a lot of the awesome training buddies I've met will be training for the full so it makes sense since we'll be on similar schedules.  And, if I eventually get as fast as I'd like to I'll beat my half PR in the full anyways (yeah, keep dreaming ;)

I'm excited about working with a coach and what's really cool is that he has practices each week where all his athletes show up and share in the pain of mile repeats, track workouts, tempo runs, or whatever the punishment may be!  I think I'm really going to like the camaraderie that I envision these team practices will afford.  Most coaches can write you a training plan, but do they get to see you, actually coach you, and provide in-person feedback to you each and every week?  For me, it's a new dimension to the coach/athlete relationship and I cant wait for the first practice on Tuesday!!!

Lastly to put this out there right from the start, my goal is to run a sub 3 hour marathon in March.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Three For Three

I've been in FL for the past week on business.  It's made it a little bit more difficult to run because I've been so worn out from working, but I still got in at least 40 miles this past week.  I found a great path which parallels a freeway that traverses Tampa Bay.  In case you are wondering how pretty it is:

During one of my work breaks towards the end of last week I started googling local races on my phone.  I thought it might be fun to sign up for a half marathon for my long run on Sunday to switch things up a bit and give me some company.  The greatness of this idea was confirmed when I found out that the XTERRA Wild Horse Trail 1/2 Marathon was to be held a mere 45 minutes from my hotel!  What luck!

XTERRA races are fantastic because you really never know what they're going to throw at you.  They are also perfect "train-through" races because you can't become preoccupied with or focused on your time - each course is so different that comparing times from course to course is impossible.  My goal for this race was to get in a long training run, have fun, and if possible get the win. 

I signed up on race day and it was a small venue but well organized.  I lined up at the start behind a fast-looking woman (same MO as my previous trail race) and ran behind her for about a half a mile.  Her pace was a little uncomfortably slow for me, so I took the lead at that point and ran at my own decent but comfortable pace. 

Within the first mile things started getting crazy!  There was a steep downhill (don't ask me why this race had so many hills in it for being in FL - I still haven't figured that one out for myself) that led straight into a river.  Yup, there was no way around it.  I watched the guy in front of me plunge in with reckless abandon.  He tripped and was up to his neck in water, which prompted a volunteer to shout out, "Be careful, it gets a little deep in the middle!"  I took things a little more cautiously, but still found myself chest-high in water.  So much for not getting my shoes wet or dirty.  It had rained all day the previous day so actually the trails were very muddy and slippery.  There was one insanely technical section that lasted for about a mile where I was essentially walk/hiking because otherwise I would have 100% for sure hurt myself.  At this point, I modified my goals; not getting injured became top priority!

I tried to make up for my slowness on that section on the flats.  However, the flats weren't all that easy either because being in FL, they were mainly composed of soft sand!  There was another section of "trail" which was basically a swamp with 10 old tires through it.  I thought it was way too likely for me to slip off a tire if I tried to run across them so I just trudged through the swamp.  This worked out pretty well, though I almost lost a shoe!  There were some sections of "trail" in which there was literally no trail.  They called these "off road" sections and I'm pretty sure they just handed someone orange flags and had them set them up randomly in the woods.  Needless to say it made for slow goings at times. 

After two laps of this craziness I finally made it back to the river crossing.  The cold water felt kinda good on my legs the second time around.  The same volunteer as before yelled out, "Great job!  Only about a mile left and only a few more surprises left for you!"  The surprises were more "off road" sections and a crazy hill that was so steep you could not run up it.  Instead they had tied a rope to a tree at the top and you had to pull yourself up the hill with your upper body while running to get to the summit.  I laughed out loud when I saw it and thought it was fitting that they put that in the last half mile of the race! 

No woman passed me throughout the race so I knew I had won as I ran down the finish chute.  I was pretty happy because it was a fun, outside the box, enjoyable 13.1, and I got the W!  The funny thing is that this is third trail 1/2 marathon I've ever run and the third one that I've won.  So I'm 3 for 3 in trail 1/2 marathons and I guess I can say undefeated :)  Pretty cool!  As I was accepting my award for top female they told me I was only 3 seconds off the course record!  Dang it!  I so could have gone 3 seconds faster.  I had no idea what the course record was or that I was close to breaking it!  Well, I suppose it gives me a reason to come back next year...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Better Safe Than Sorry!

A good rule of thumb:  If you notice something strange/new/different about your body (like a mole, freckle, bump, etc) and it doesn't go away on it's own within 2 weeks, get it checked out by a doctor.

I have been adhering to this strategy for a while now and haven't had reason to get anything checked out by a doctor until last week.  A few weeks ago I noticed a small, very dark spot that looked like a freckle with uneven edges on one of my girl parts down there.  I assumed that maybe it was some sort of burst capillary from running or being active.  But it didnt go away after 2 weeks so I had to do the part of the above rule of thumb that I hate to do - go to the doctor.  I especially didnt want to go because who enjoys a trip to the OBGYN?  But better safe than sorry so I made an appointment.

After checking height, weight, BP, doing a finger prick for iron levels, and peeing into a cup for a urinalysis I got to get into the comfortable position with the stirrups and have the doc take a look-see.   It was nice to hear that she didnt think the spot looked suspicious or concerning.  She said my options were to continue to watch it for changes or to do a biopsy right then and there.  Again, as one to be safe rather than sorry I opted for the biopsy.

I immediately starting questioning my decision as I was laying there with my most sensitive areas exposed and the doc started throwing around words like "scissors" and phrases like "do we have anything sharper?"  The first step was to numb the area and holy shit this was so painful!  She used a needle to inject lidocaine into the tissue where the biopsy was to be taken, similar to how they will numb your gums before filling a cavity.  However this was so much more painful than a cavity!!!  They (the MD & RN) said to relax but I was pretty much gritting my teeth and white-knuckling the sides of the exam table until they were done with the anesthetic.  Next she took a round punch biopsy from the area.  This actually didnt hurt at all because it was completely numb.

That was it. She said I didn't need stitches, it would heal on its own, I could run later that evening if I wanted, but may want to abstain from sexual activities for the next 3 days.  So I went back to work (had this lovely procedure done on my lunch break) and thought I was good to go.

About 1-2 hours later it started getting uncomfortable down there.  Then it went from discomfort to pain to OMG I feel nauseous, dizzy, & sick and I need to lay down on the floor in my office!  The lidocaine was wearing off and it was really really hurting!  Probably should have expected that one!  I took a couple Aleve and all I could do was lay on the floor in my office for the next 30 min trying not to move or throw up until the pills kicked in. Thank God my boss was out!!!

About 45 min later I was feeling a little better, still had pain but was able to manage for the rest of the day,  I had to cancel my planned run with a friend though which really bummed me out! The following day I did a short n easy 2.5 mi test drive, and then a full 15 on the next day.  I won't say I didn't notice it, but I got the miles in!

So its been a week since the biopsy and things are pretty much back to normal, both in terms of healing and my running.  Additionally the biopsy was negative so of course I'm psyched about that! :) My point is not that I went through all that unnecessarily. My point is if you have something that concerns you get it checked out; its always better to know than to wonder.  And, if they are going to do a biopsy, especially on a super sensitive area with millions of nerve endings, ask for a topical numbing gel prior to the local anesthetic!!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

16 miles at 6 am

Ah, Saturday...a glorious day for sleeping in.  Not so for the runners of the world.  Honestly, why runners feel the need to get up at the crack of dawn, even on the weekends, to run is beyond me.  But if you want to run with other runners, then you'd better get your a$$ out of bed!

Saturday morning I met a small group of people for a long run.  We met at 6 am and it was not even close to being light outside.  The only good thing about this is that it's a legitimate excuse to geek out in my headlamp.  The four of us ran 6 miles at a decent clip and I was kinda feeling it b/c the humidity was literally 98%.  We circled back to the parking lot after the first 6 and met up with a larger group of runners for the final 10.  As the miles wore on, the group thinned out and some people peeled off as they felt fit (or should I say unfit).  By the final 5 miles or so there were only 4 of us left.  I felt like I was in a pretty elite pack, especially considering one was a former olympic marathon trialist and another was in training for NYC with a seed time of 2 hrs 34 min.  The plan from the get-go was to do a progression run, starting out at around 8 min miles and dropping to 7ish by the end.  We stuck true to plan and finished out the last mile in 7:02.  Average for the entire run was about 7:30. 

Can't remember the last time I ran that far that fast.  Actually I can't remember the last time I ran that far period.  In my previous training my longest long run usually topped out at about 15 miles so it's quite possible that I haven't run 16 miles in one stretch since the last time I was marathon training.  But, it felt good and I feel pretty excited that I have a decent running fitness base right now. 

My current plan is to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving to get a base time and then to start training under a coach for an early season half or full marathon (still haven't decided yet; there are merits to both).  In the meantime, I have been trying to run 5-6 days per week with one long run on the weekends and one speed/tempo day during the weeks.  I'm traveling for the next 10 days so we'll see how well I can keep that up...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Free Movie Friday!

Something happened to me today that's never happened before...I won something on the radio!  Cool!  No, I didn't have to answer any trivia questions or battle someone else in a game, I just had to be caller #14 and I was!  Ha, I just realized that it's kind of funny b/c 14's always been sort of a lucky number for me.  Interesting.  Anyhow I won 2 tickets to the movies to see the new Tom Hanks movie, "Captain Phillips." I was pretty excited about it and tried to convey that while on air b/c I hate it when people win things on the radio and they show no enthusiasm whatsoever.  It was cool too b/c after I got off the phone w/ them they played a couple more songs then I heard myself on the radio!  Too funny.  I wonder if anyone that I know heard me and recognized it was me!?  So, looking foward to a free movie night in the near future :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Is Here

It's getting colder now and I don't like it.  I've had to start wearing long sleeved shirts on my runs which means tights are not that far around the corner.  I've also noticed fewer runners out and about now that the seasons are changing.  Where have you all gone my fair weather friends?  As much as I don't like running in the cold, I know I'll suck it up and do it.  And while running into a brisk headwind coming off the water last week this poem came into my mind...

Summer is gone
Days forlorn
Sink into the fall
Embrace the long haul

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


The original version of this song by Awolnation is hard to beat, but this remix is pretty dope:

I liked this song from the very first time I heard it, but have always wondered what the lyrics mean:
This is how I show my love
I made it in my mind because
I blame it on my ADD baby
This is how an angel dies
I blame it on my own sick pride
Blame it on my ADD baby
Sail!  Sail!  Sail!  Sail!  Sail!
Maybe I should cry for help
Maybe I should kill myself
Blame it on my ADD baby
Maybe I'm a different breed
Maybe I'm not listening
So blame it on my ADD baby

Sail!  Sail!  Sail!  Sail!  Sail!
La la la la la, la la la la la, oh! 
La la la la la, la la la la la, oh!
La la la la, la la la la
Sail!  Sail!  Sail!  Sail!  Sail!
Sail with me into the dark
Sail with me into the dark
Sail with me into the dark
Sail with me
Sail with me
I've heard these lyrics explained in a few different ways including 1) someone is struggling to fit into society who, for whatever reason, is somewhat of an outcast; this song is a tongue-in-cheek way of telling the norm and everyone who follows it to go screw themselves, 2) more literally in that someone is struggling with ADD or other mental issue and may be having real issues with it but also may choose to skirt responsibility and blame everything on the disease; they may try to laugh off their problems without facing them head on, 3) someone struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction who is in a dark place and kind of ok with it; they are content to sail away on the next high, and 4) the destruction of a relationship in which the person realizes they have contributed to the demise of the relationship and perhaps even the other person but they can't and/or won't try to fix things even though ultimately they still want to be with that person. 
I'm still not sure which interpretation I think is the most accurate or if there is another interpretation out there which offers a better explanation.  I'm certainly interested to hear what other people think!  However, regardless of the writer's intended meaning, the song is simply excellent!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

First Race Back: Triple Lakes Trail Race

Yesterday I raced for the first time in quite a while and it went....well.  Surprisingly well.  Especially for being a half marathon, on technical trail, & full of hills!  Before the race started I scoped out the competition and picked out a few women who I thought could be in it to win it.  I lined up at the start right behind them and figured I'd take it out at their pace and see how long I could hang on. 

There was just under a mile of paved road before the single-track trails started and one woman got off to a pretty swift start.  So I followed her b/c I thought, "Hmm, this could be the race right here."  My Garmin is still broken so I really have no idea how fast we were going.  We got onto the trails and I stayed behind her, probably about 30 sec back.  However, after a while I felt like I was going a little too hard and decided to back off around 2.5 miles and settled into my own pace b/c I was getting a side cramp - not a good thing that early in the race (or ever really). 

At 3.5 miles the trail broke onto more pavement for about a quarter mile and I could see that I really hadn't lost much ground.  This was encouraging and as we got back onto the trails I noticed I was gaining on her.  Of course this was exciting!  It took me until about mile 8 to fully close the gap and I ran right behind her for a mile or so.  Then the trail broke into a wider grassy section and she motioned for me to go ahead of her.  I really didn't want to b/c I was tired and content to just run at her pace.  I wanted to stick behind her for a while then race the last 1-2 miles.  However, she wasn't having any of that, so I made the pass with about 4 miles to go.  I kept an honest pace for the next mile and we passed 1 guy and caught another who tagged onto us.  My legs were hurting but I could tell she was breathing harder than I was so I was pretty sure I could pull out the victory. 

We got to an aid station before starting the last trail section and I took a swig of water.  I had planned on eating a gel every 30 minutes but my stomach wasn't up for it.  I am not used to working at such a high intensity and I felt like I was going to vom from miles 11-13.  Anyhow, after the aid station, the woman behind me slowed and the guy and I put a bit of a gap on her.  I let the guy take a turn leading, though his draft smelled terrible, and finally when I noticed that the other woman was creeping back up, I re-passed him. 

By mile 12 I was very fatigued!  I must have hit a root or something b/c I took a pretty hard fall.  The guy behind me was like "Whoa!  Are you ok???"  I got up as quickly as I could b/c I didn't want to concede any time to 2nd place.  Thankfully I only had some superficial scrapes on my knee & elbow. 

Now, before the race started, the race director informed us that the half marathon was a little long, more like 13.5 miles rather than 13.1.  I got to mile 13 in 1 hr 28 minutes and was so thankful to know that at absolute max I probably only had 4 more minutes of running!  However 4 minutes went by and the trail kept going.  I was like, "OK, 2 more minutes max."  Two minutes later, no end in sight...  Finally, a full 11 minutes later I reached the finish line!!!!  Craziness!  I felt completely beat and the volunteers at the finish said "You don't look very good."  Gee thanks.  Actually, the volunteers were very helpful - they cleaned up all my cuts and filled my hands with pretzels, bananas, water, & soda, which was all much appreciated!

All in all, I was happy with this race considering my state of fitness and level of training leading into it.  I had fun, got to run a race I've always wanted to do, and even came away with the win and a respectable time.  It definitely motivates me to train more and I'm already trying to decide what race I'm going to do next.  It's gonna be another 1/2 marathon for sure, probably November time frame.  I kind of like the idea of running a race on Thanksgiving morning so I can spend the rest of the day feeling completely justified in pigging out!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I have a new addiction to Fireballs.  Haha, yes the hard, red, spicy-yet-sweet candies!  Well maybe it's not so new.  I've always enjoyed eating Fireballs and would purchase them on road trips.  I'd eat one or two and put the rest of the bag in the glove compartment or center console and forget about it.  Then the next time I happened upon the bag I'd be insanely happy about it!  Kind of like finding money in the back pocket of a pair of jeans you haven't worn in a while.  Anyhow, now that I do a considerable amount of driving for my job, I've started purchasing bags of the little red balls regularly and keeping them stocked in driver's side door. 

One day recently I asked myself why I liked them so much and came up with a few answers:

1.  Every time you eat one it's a challenge to see if you can keep it in your mouth the entire time.

2.  Once you get past the firey portion, there's the sweet portion.  At this point it becomes a question of how long do you have to wait before you can bite down on it with your teeth and break it in half.  This is a bit more precarious than #1 because it's inevitable that you will try to bite the ball too early and thus there is an omnipresent risk that you will break a tooth.

3.  They last a long time and only have ~20 calories per ball.

4.  They leave you with a nice, pleasant, cinnamony breath.

Moral of this story - buy a bag of Fireballs.  You'll enjoy them.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Race On The Horizon!

I'm kind of excited b/c I signed up for a race today!  I suppose it was somewhat impulsive, but when I realized that there's a 1/2 marathon on Saturday that I've always wanted to do (Triple Lakes Trail 1/2 Marathon) and that I don't have to work this Saturday I couldn't help myself.  Plus, I haven't raced in over 3 months and have missed the thrill of competition!  Not that I will be all that training has continued to be sub-par as per my standards.  This past week I probably ran somewhere in the viscinity of 35 miles.  I'm not totally sure b/c my Garmin has been broken for a while now and I have just been using a regular old Timex watch for my runs.  Sometimes this is nice because I can't look down and see how slow I'm going ;)  I had planned to run 6/7 days, but ended up skipping one day, for 5/7. 

I'll probably see similar mileage this week, as I don't want to kill myself before Saturday.  I'd much rather go in rested and undertrained than unrested and overtrained!  However, I do want to start upping the mileage soon like I mentioned in my last blog. 

Lastly, one very cool thing about my "training" this past week was that I got to run with a seriously fast runner.  I met up with a friend for a run and she brought a friend.  Over the course of the run, I found out that this woman ran in the Olympic Marathon Trials a couple years ago!  How cool is that!!??  Definitely very inspiring and I'm pretty psyched to have met such a bad ass training partner.  Now all I have to do is get my ass in gear!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Out of Shape

It's been a few months since I stopped training and I feel so out of shape these days.  Still, most people would probably look at me and think I'm in great shape, and if I told my coworkers I wanted to drop a few pounds they'd probably laugh at me. 

I also used to eat really healthfully.  Like super healthfully.  But when I stopped working out I stopped caring about what I put into my body.  I still probably eat better than 90% of Americans and if I mentioned to my coworkers that I thought I needed to start eating better they would definitely scoff at me.

But, I can feel the difference.  Before I was like a finely tuned machine, everything oiled and running smoother than Roger Federer's shiny hand-crafted Swiss timepieces.  My cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems worked effortlessly and harmoniously in tandem, fueled by plants and water.  Training was hard, but easy at the same time if that makes any sense.  Now I just feel rusty.  I can't find a rhythm, my body feels tired, and I'm afraid I'm always one mis-step away from injury.  I feel like I'm physically 10 years older than I really am and I can't stand it!  I want to feel the silky feeling of fluidity again. 

At this point, I'm transitioning into running with a goal of getting up to 70-80 miles per week, a PR half marathon, and a sub 3 hour marathon in 2014.  I've decided to continue my blog and write about the process, as well as other musings that pop into my mind and the day to day minutiae of my life.  Plus, I realized that I really do enjoy writing and blogging.  Like health, fitness, and nutrition, it has become one of my hobbies. 


I wrote the above post a few months ago and before publicly publishing my blog again wanted to succinctly add this.  I've been going through a really tough time personally over the past 6 months, which is why I've taken a hiatus from triathlon & social media.  I've had to take a hard look at myself and my decisions and how they affect others.  Sometimes its not fun to look in the mirror and see where we fall short of our ideals.  As someone wiser than myself put it, "introspection isn't for the faint of heart".  At the same time, I do believe that life's lessons are the impetus for positive change, as they provide opportunity to grown and to learn more about ourselves.  And one thing I know for sure is that even if it's not all sunshine and rainbows, there is no facet of my life in which I ever want to stop learning. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Race Report: Over The Mountain 2013

Over The Mountain (OTM) was not a race that was originally on my schedule. However, since Knoxville was such a bust, my coach & I decided I should do another "tune-up" race before Rev3 Williamsburg. After perusing the local race listings, OTM seemed to fit the bill. I've always liked the course and it holds a special place in my heart because it was my first triathlon 5 years ago! OMG I've been doing this for 5 years now; hard to believe! 

4:30 am on Saturday morning came around real quick and we made it to the race site by 5:55 to do packet pickup and set up transitions (it's a point to point race, so there's a bit more logistics involved than normal). As the sun rose, the sky looked clear and it held promise that the day would turn out to be really nice - unlike the scattered thundershowers that the forecast called for. We even chatted to a USAT ref who said something along the lines of, "Yeah, so we've had real bad weather here the past few days, but it looks like today is going to be perfect weather for the race." I had no reason to doubt his statement, especially because I was issued my lucky number 14! Apparently however, things were not meant to be. Literally as soon as I started putting on my wetsuit it started raining. Oh no, here we go again...

The Swim - 1500m - 24:42 (1:30/100 yds) 
Water temp was 72 degrees which felt downright warm compared to what I've been swimming in thus far this season. I started out at the back of the open field, my plan being to draft off of faster swimmers. This ended up working out perfectly and I drafted off of the same guy for the entire race. I felt a little bad about this b/c I hit his feet enough times to be annoying. A few times he kicked really hard, which I think was a signal to me to get off his feet. But I didn't. Actually, I did try to pass him once or twice, but when I realized I wasn't going any faster than he was, I just settled back into the draft zone. I felt comfortable on the swim and I think I owe this to all the open water training I've been doing w/ Jordan at Belew's Lake! As I was swimming into the finish, I looked at the surface of the water and I could tell it was still raining. 

T1 - 1:52 
OTM has a great T1 - its a fairly long run straight up a ginormous hill! Usually this hill is lined with people cheering you on, but the fan crowd was a little sparse due to the poor weather conditions. As I ran up the hill I started mentally preparing myself for the bike. Because this race is a point-to-point you have to stuff all your things into a bag in T1. I made the blunder of accidentally putting all my gear into someone else's bag. Sorry #18, I hope I didn't confuse you!

The Bike - 45k - 1:23:26 (20.1 mph)
Starting out on the bike I had a few flashbacks of Knoxville, but forced them out of my brain. I was determined to beat the bad weather! I knew that at this point I was in second place and I could not afford to be a baby on the bike or I would lose too much time to the woman ahead of me who is a strong cyclist. I channeled my motor pacing practice and got into the aero and powered away. I felt a little nervous at first, but this went away as the course went on and I did a really good job of attacking the course given the weather conditions. The only problem was that my legs were dead! I was cursing my coach for that lactate threshold bike ride on Wed & that track workout on Thursday! Yes, Sharon, you were the object of my un-affection! Normally on this course I make up some good time on people on the climbs, but my legs were burning on every single one of them. I knew I was probably not gaining on the uphills, so I figured I had to crush the downhills. I've never looked forward to descending in the rain as much as I did on this course. Despite my hurting quads, I really enjoyed the bike - I think it's one of the funnest & prettiest courses in the NCTS!

T2 - 0:43
T2 was pretty quick - ditch the bike & put on the running shoes, Rev3 visor, & Garmin. Heading out on to the run Kurt told me I was about 1:30-1:45 back on the leader. I felt pretty confident that I could close that gap. 

The Run - 10k - 39:21 (6:20/mi)
Just like on the bike, my legs felt so heavy on the run. The first two miles were especially un-pleasureable. I'd describe the run course at OTM as undulating - there really aren't any flat areas, it's either you're going up or you are going down. It winds through a bunch of quaint neighborhoods and had a ton of turns. At each turn I kept hoping I would see the woman ahead of me, but I kept turning and turning and she was nowhere to be found! Finally about 2.5 miles into the run I turned the corner and there she was! I felt a little bit of relief. However, she was running really strong and it took me until about 3.5 miles to catch up to her. At this point I drafted off her for about a quarter to a half a mile before picking up my pace again and bringing home the win. To my amazing surprise I got a new 10K PR out there! Pretty happy about that :)

Total Time - 2:30:02 (1st overall female)
It felt good to cross the finish line in 1st! It felt even better to know that I had conquered the rain and beat the bad weather conditions. It was the moment when I knew I could truly put Knoxville behind me. I am so glad that I decided to sign up for this race and it was just icing on the cake that it happened to be my 5th anniversary of my first triathlon, which as I said before was at the exact same race. Just for kicks I looked back at my time from 5 years ago:

Swim - 28:58
T1 - 3:12
Bike - 1:34:55
T2 - 2:19
Run - 48:23
Total Time - 2:57:55 

I suppose a lot has changed since then ;-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Race Report: White Lake Half 2013

After the last time I raced White Lake Half I said I'd never do it again. Well, 3 years went by, I forgot the pain, and I signed up yet again. I wanted to race a half prior to Rev3 Williamsburg in June since the first half I do each season tends to be less than stellar and this race fit well into my training schedule. Plus they moved it up a month so I knew it wouldn't be blazing hot on the run like usual. 

The Jester, Kurt,& TriGuy also signed up for this race as a relay team, their goal being to beat moi. The Jester, always one for a gentleman's bet, bet our friend Jeff that he would beat me in the swim. Jeff backed me and accepted with the agreement that the loser had to take 3 shots of the winner's picking with 1 minute in between each. Justin also orchestrated another bet with Jeff that Kurt would beat me on the bike with a handicap of 7 minutes. Jeff backed me again, putting a total of 6 shots on the line and some pressure on me to beat each leg of "2 Bananas & an Egg Yolk." 

Swim - 37:46 (1:47/100 yds)
Conditions for the swim were rough to say the least. Water temperature was about 54 degrees! Easily the coldest water I've ever swam in. I spent a good half hour the night before the race searching the Internet for tips on how to best deal with swimming in cold water. I did all of the following and they worked pretty well, as I didn't feel that cold while in the water. 

*Wear the appropriate gear: BlueSeventy Helix full sleeve wetsuit, BlueSeventy neoprene cap, & BlueSeventy neoprene booties

*Wear earplugs

*Rub petroleum jelly on any exposed skin, especially your face

*Before getting in the water splash the water onto your face for 10-15 seconds

*When you submerge your head under the water blow bubbles to help prevent the hyperventilation reflex

*Warm up for 10-15 minutes

Aside from the extreme cold, the other challenging aspect of the swim was the chop. It felt like I was swimming in the ocean over top of waves! It was the worst swimming out to the first buoy and after I made the first turn I just tried to stay on the feet of two other red capped swimmers. I could tell one of them was sighting pretty well and I followed her because I was having trouble seeing the buoys over the swells and was doing breaststroke to get my bearings. I knew the swim would be slow for everyone, so even though I had the slowest swim I've had in a while, I'm not reading too much into it. I was in 4th place at this point. 

T1 - 2:37
Even though I didn't feel that cold while swimming, maybe it was because I was numb. When I got out of the water it hurt to run b/c my feet were frozen and I fumbled around in transition forever because my fingers were void of dexterity. 

Bike - 2:42:15 (20.7 mph)
The bike felt like one huge headwind with plenty of cross winds in the mix. I did a much better job of staying in the aero position, but I'm not used to riding on flat ground, for that long, at that effort, using the same muscles. I tried to switch positions and get out of the saddle some, but it got pretty uncomfortable! The worst was the last 25 miles which were on a road with a poor surface (understatement). There was literally a crack in the road every meter of the way. Riding in the aero over this ground was so painful I just couldn't do it anymore. I'm sure this cost me time, but there wasn't much else I could do. After the bike I was still in 4th place, though some passing and getting passed occurred on course. 

T2 - 1:10
After a successful flying dismount of the bike, I was in and out of T2 pretty quick. 

Run - 1:27:10 (6:39/mi)
I was interested to see how I'd feel heading out onto the run after such a draining swim/bike. To my delight, my legs felt pretty good! I moved into 3rd place within the first mile. Even though the next two were pretty far ahead, I kept it moving and focused on running smoothly and efficiently. I dropped my pace a little bit once I was over half way and soon after moved into 2nd place. I knew the person in first was pretty far ahead, but I also knew from racing at White Lake in the past that anything could happen. Plus I knew from my mile splits that I was finally going to break 1:30 off the bike and this had me excited! I saw TriGuy and The Shannon around mile 10 and they gave me a boost to pick it up, which I did, but in the end I would have needed a few more miles to reel in the last one. 

Total Time - 4:50:56
I ended up finishing second overall for the women and got a PR on the run and on my half time. So even though it was a tough day on the swim & bike, I can't complain and I feel like this race served it's purpose!

So how did the bet turn out? Well, somehow my brother crushed me in the swim with a time of 33 minutes and change! With the amount of training that he's put in & the amount that I've put in, a discrepancy like that is just not fair! Kurt also beat me flat out on the bike by 3 minutes. And their relay team beat my total time by about 2 minutes. So, it was their day and each of them had a great race. Congrats to TriGuy on his 10 minute PR 1/2 marathon! Poor Jeff, I feel so bad that he's got 6 shots waiting for him next time we go out, but maybe I'll help him out with one or two of them, haha. All in all it was a fun day, though I'm saying it for the second time - I'm never racing White Lake Half again.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Race Report: Azalea Sprint Tri 2013

Saturday was my first race of the season - the Azalea Sprint Tri held at the campus of UNC-Wilmington. For some reason I thought that this race was going to be warm. It didn't register that even though the high was going to be mid-60's, I'd be racing at 8 am when it was high-30's/low 40's. It was sooo cold the morning of the race, reminiscent of Beach2Battleship weather. Here's how it all went down:

Swim (300 yds) - 4:16
This swim was in the UNCW pool, which I always enjoy swimming in. Participants are sent off 15 seconds apart and snake up and down the lanes. It's a little tricky because at one end of the pool you have to flip-turn underneath the lane ropes. I entered a seed time of 1:17 and was the 14th person to go (which, on a side note was a good omen b/c 14 was my soccer number at W&M). My swim coach, Matt Clancy of E3 Elite Human Performance, told me "not to win it in the first 25" and I took this advice to heart and it worked out really well. Instead of starting out too hard on the swim and paying for it towards the end, I maintained a good pace throughout and was able to pick it up for the last few laps. I even passed 2 people in front of me! I had my brother time me since the timing mat for the swim finish is not until you exit the pool, run down a flight of stairs, and run outside. My actual swim time was 3:50 (1:16/100 yds), pretty darn close to my seed time and 15 seconds faster than I went 2 years ago at this race. I didn't know it at this point, but the swim was going to be the most enjoyable leg of the race...

T1 - 1:44
Running from inside the warm pool area to the freezing cold outdoor air was absolutely horrible. My body kept moving forward, against the wishes of my brain to turn around! The run into transition was pretty far and during this time I started thinking that I wanted to put on my wind vest and gloves. But, then I got to T1 and I saw another woman run in, grab her bike, and go, so I decided to scrap the vest/gloves idea and just get out on the course. 

Bike (10 mi) - 24:20
The bike was pretty unpleasant because it was so damn cold. It was also windy, which prevented me from riding in my aero bars for a lot of it. I also just got the bearings on my bike replaced and the handling is so much more sensitive now than it used to be, and I'm still getting used to this. The course was completely flat with a bunch of turns and it went by fast. I didn't pay attention to my speed, just tried to make sure I was working hard. I caught myself thinking about something else one time during the bike, but quickly got my mind back into the right gear. I ended up catching one woman on the bike and no women passed me, which I was pretty psyched about!

T2 - 1:23
Coming into T2, I was totally frozen. It took me forever to undo the strap on my helmet, take off my bike shoes, and put on my running shoes because my fingers were so numb. This resulted in a painfully slow T2 and the girl I caught on the bike passed me. 

Run (5K) - 19:36
Heading out onto the run I could see the girl who had passed me and was able to pass her pretty early on. I knew there was another girl ahead of me who had started a couple minutes ahead of me on the swim and I knew there was one behind me that I had to stave off by at least 45 seconds. I felt pretty bad on the run, especially on the first 1-1.5 miles. It was like I was so cold that I was almost hyperventilating and couldn't take big full breaths; they were more like short shallow breaths. This improved a little bit as I warmed up some during the run, but I never felt great like I thought I would and my pace wasn't what I was expecting it to be. Regardless, I ended up reeling in the woman in front of me and passing her in the last mile. When I was rounding one of the final turns near the natatorium, a spectator was walking across my path. I yelled out "excuse me" but it was too late - I ran right into him at full speed and I'm not sure, but I think he might have fallen down. I felt bad about this, but was so close to the finish and the win that I didn't stop. I sprinted down the finish chute and across the final timing mat. I waited 45 seconds and then realized I had won! At the same time I felt sick. I was kind of dizzy and shaky. I got checked out by the medic and vitals were normal, but it took me a long time to stop shivering and to start feeling better. It was a really weird feeling. I'm chalking it up to being really cold, not having done much high intensity training, and not being used to "red-lining" for that long. 

Total - 51:16 (1st OA female) 
So, I ended up winning the race, which was a great way to kick of the 2013 season! Gotta say I'm pretty happy with this start!

Here are some other things that made this weekend and race super awesome:
  • Kurt & TriGuy also competed in the race, their first gladiator show down of the year. It was a nail-biter, but TriGuy edged it out on the run. Next face off will be Rev3 Williamsburg!
  • I got to see my Rev3 teammate Rachel Stephenson, AKA "Glenda the Good Witch of the North," crush her first triathlon ever! Way to go @GtGWotN!
  • My whole family came out to cheer everyone on! Thanks mom, dad, Jester & Claire!
  • I got to witness TriGuy pull the ace of spaces twice in a row in two consecutive games of High Card against my dad, brother, & Kurt, resulting in him having to drink 2 shots of whiskey!
  • We all went to a neighbor's fish fry party where the cinnamon moonshine was plentiful
  • Kurt &I rode 60 miles on Sunday and got a slight sunburn - YES!!!! Summer is coming!!!

Last but not least, the I Heart Swimming Blog Raffle Results! Congrats to Andrew Corbin winner of an SBR Sports prize pack containing TriSwim shampoo, TriSwim conditioner, TriSwim body wash, TriSwim lotion, TriSlide, & Foggle! And the winner of the funniest Chuck Norris joke is Teddy Kelsay with "There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures that Chuck Norris has allowed to live." He will receive a box of PowerBar's brand new Performance Energy Blends made from real fruit! Thanks to everyone who entered and for those who didn't, you have to play to win ;)