MIA

Yeah, so I haven’t written since Wednesday.  I don’t think I ever went more than 3 days without writing. 

Before I forget–> THANK YOU all so much for your great feedback on my last post.  As always I appreciate all comments and feedback 🙂

I actually have quite a bit I want to talk about, but unfortunately my week in review posts for now will have to wait.  I am going through some personal crap that is in the midst of (possibly) turning my life upside down.  I can’t elaborate right now (you just never know who is [secretly] reading) but hopefully I will have some answers soon.  Good or bad, it’s better than the unknown.  This is on top of what has already been one of the most stressful periods in my life, so needless to say, my brain is mush. 

I feel all chaotic and stressed and every time I try to write a post it comes across just as chaotic.  I think I just need to finish my glass of wine and put myself to bed early. I don’t know how much I will be blogging this week but I will definitely be keeping up with all your blogs.  For now, all I ask is for some good and positive vibes…I’ll take as many as I can get so keep them coming!

My (lack of) Training

I struggle with sticking to a training schedule.  If you follow my blog you know this already; if you are new to my blog you can read about my struggles here or here

I have yet to figure out why sticking to a training schedule is such a problem for me.  In all other aspects of my life I live and die by a schedule.  I like to know exactly what I am going to be doing at all times.  I hate when I don’t have a plan for my day/week…etc.  I really hate when my day is planned but then doesn’t go as planned.  The whole obsesssion with time is a little type-A I know; that is what makes it so confusing- why is it different with training? I have no idea. None. But I better get with the program. Literally.

Up until now I have been solely focused on running.  I took a few spin classes and put in some time on the stationary bike but I just took my first outside bike ride this past week and I have hardly swam at all in the last two months.  With only 6weeks left until my first tri of the season, I really need to get it together. 

In an attempt to save myself from a complete training FAIL, I have devised a new plan.  This combines both the need to train all three disciplines along with a bit of flexibility.  I am going to continue to use the run-focused olympic tri schedule that I began with earlier this year, but I am not going to designatate specific workouts to specific days.  Instead, I am going to focus on just getting the work-outs done each week.  2 bikes, 2 swims and 3 runs a week + strength training 2-3 times a week.  Maybe this will be better than being tied to specific workouts each day.  At least I hope so because if this doesn’t work I don’t know what will.   So it better friggin work!

 

Does anyone else struggle with their workouts/schedule?

Shortest Post Ever.

List format for quickness 🙂

-My 3.5 day long weekend was still not long enough.

-I took my new bike for its first ride.  I was happy as a clam and can’t wait to ride it again.  It just might be possible that I will learn to like the bike!

-I am currently taking a break from writing my LAST paper of the semester.  I had an extension and STILL waited until the last minute.  So here I am, the night before, with one page left to go.  Plus editing. My goal is to be done before 11pm. 

-I am very behind on my Google Reader…after tonight I will catch up.  Sorry for my lack of comments.

-Tomorrow I am going to Great Adventure….as a chaperone with 60+ seventh graders…in rain.  It is going to be a lonnnnng day!

-I have about 30 other things I want to write about but unfortunately this paper must get done.

-Thank you to those who serve for our country.   Thank you for sleeping in tents, away from your families, in the extreme heat…fighting so I can sleep peacefully at night.  I wish for all soldiers a safe return home and an end to this war.  I am grateful to each and every one of you for your service. 

-I especially want to thank my friend Shawn who is currently on his 3rd tour and also remember my grandfather Warren whose life was lost in WWII. 

 

Have a great week everyone 🙂

Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

I found this quote a long time ago (author unknown) and I have yet to find a better way to sum up volunteerism.

I love to volunteer.  I am serious.  Volunteering has always been a part of my life.  As a kid I gave time to neighborhood cleanups, worked at carnivals and helped at school events.  In high school I was a key member of Interact Rotary Group and spent many weekends in nursing homes or hospitals.  At Christmas we Adopted Families (14 my senior year!) and every Easter we participated in Service to Suffering in Trenton, NJ.  The summer after I graduated I spent time in Beattysville, KY working on two different houses for Habitat for Humanity.  After I graduated I would do little things here and there but really didn’t volunteer as much as I would have liked.  It was something I missed greatly in my life; knowing I am making life a little easier for someone else is a great feeling.  Volunteering always rewarded me in ways money could never.  So when I joined my Tri-Sports team I was more than willing to volunteer races.  I thought I would just be helping out, making things a little easier…and of course I was, but I had NO idea how much volunteering races would also help me as an athlete.

Last year I volunteered numerous races- each one was a different experience.  What I learned most was what to look for in a race and the serious importance of race volunteers.  From being on-site at races, in different areas (I have volunteered at swim, the transitions, the dismount area and the finish line) and from racing events myself, I know that races cannot safely and efficiently be coordinated without volunteers.  I also know from being there what to look for in a race.  I have chosen my races this year based on last year.  If the water was gross or the bike/run course was bad, I passed…but if it got good feedback then I thought about it for this year.  All three definite tri’s I have planned for this year are ones I volunteered at last year, as are the ones on my “maybe list”.  Furthermore, volunteering has given me an up close look at the mechanics of racing.  I carefully watch people, especially in transition, so see what I can do to make my racing experiences a little easier.    

 

Today I volunteered my first race of the season, a small sprint tri that is part of a series of tri’s throughout the summer.  I have volunteered for these directors before and I generally like their races. (There was a small issue today that really agitated me but that’s another day and another entry).  Many of my teammates either participate in their races or volunteer for them so we always have a big presence there.  Today was a small turnout, not shocking for this early in the season, but like with every race volunteers were definitely needed.   Today I helped at the Bike In/Out and here are just a few things that would have happened if I wasn’t there: three people would have went out without a helmet, one guy would have continued on with his helmet on backward, five people would have missed the bike entrance completely, three would have missed the chip mat and four people would have ran out the bike out and been totally off course.  I know I made a difference in those people’s races.

The helping out is great and knowing I made a difference is obviously awesome, but what I love most is being able to be someone’s cheerleader.  Sure it is exciting to cheer on the leaders but it’s so important to me that every person feels like a winner so I cheer every person on. Even the last one.  All too often people are still finishing the bike (and have to run still) while the leaders are already done and leaving for the day.  That can really do a number mentally to a person, so for every person that comes through that mat I make sure to clap and give them support.  I have been a part of races where there is a lot of support and it makes such a huge difference from the races where no one is cheering you along. 

Without volunteers there are no day-of registrations, there are no water stations and no road markings.  There is no one to keep you on course and there isn’t any food at the end of the race.  Most of all, there is no one along the way to cheer on those of us in the back of the pack and there is no one to help out the rookies.

If I could give any advice, I would recommend to anyone who races, to also volunteer a race at some point.  And if you don’t volunteer, I just ask that you recognize and thank those of us who do.  Volunteers get up earlier than racers, do a lot of work behind the scenes and really make the events possible.  Yeah we get to eat the free food and it is nice when they let you take home some free swag or even better get a free race entry, but honestly, the best payment is a thank-you.

 

Happy Volunteering 🙂

Food for Thought

This weeks TiaRT theme is:  Runners version of Eat This Not That…..what foods you have cut out or reduced? And even better, tell us what “good” foods you substitute for the “bad” ones.

There are two things you need to know before reading this post:

  1. I love food.
  2. I love to eat.

I really can’t think of any foods I have cut out completely but I do (try to) avoid anything high-fructose or that includes hydrogenated oils and/or sugar alcohols.  I also realize that I cannot always be in control of foods that are available (some restaurants, work functions, BBQ’s…etc).  So while I cut them out of my everyday life and I don’t keep them in my home, sometimes they do sneak into what I am eating.  Crap happens.

In terms of reducing foods, the best thing I did was reduce my consumption.  I started this journey on the WW program and by measuring what I was eating, I really began to see what I was eating.  In terms of serving sizes I was clueless.  Being educated on how much I was eating has meant a lot in terms of being healthier.  Often times I cut things in half, ask for to-go boxes before I start eating or I share with someone.  So it isn’t so much that I reduced what I was eating but rather how much I was eating.  I still enjoy most of the foods I have always loved, just in smaller portions.

Overall, the biggest changes to my eating habits were all the new foods I began eating and substitutions I began to make.  Not too many years ago my diet consisted of mainly chicken fingers and grilled cheeses.  I was not adventurous in trying new foods and had no desire to broaden my horizons.  As I got older though, I started eating different foods and finding out how much I was missing!  These days I eat everything from Mexican to Thai to Japanese and I am open to new foods as well.  I also realized that for every food or drink item there were a myriad of choices available.  Everything really could be healthier.  I traded JIF for BetterNPeanut Butter, LightNFit for Oiskos, Iceberg for Spinach and Soda for Flavored Water just to name a few.  Each trip to Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods is another chance to find something new.

As far as food in relation to my training, my training plays a huge part in my healthy eating and my healthy eating plays a huge part in my training.  They go hand and hand.  Food is my friend and it always will be.  I will always love to eat.  The only differences are that I eat less of the bad and more of the good and I focus on what is going to fuel me instead of just fill me.  And lastly, I always remember to treat myself when necessary. 🙂

Delaware Half-Marathon Race Report

You only get one first race- yesterday was my first half-marathon and as it turns out, it was also one year ago exactly that I ran my first 5k.  What a difference a year makes!  My first 5k I ran in 39:35…a 12:47/mile for only 3.2 miles.  Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles at 11:14/mile!!!

Finish Time:  2:27:02 🙂

Overall: 406/518

Gender:  213/295

Age: 67/87

Pre-Race: Wakeup call was a very early 4:30am!  Once again, like Broad Street, it was a cold morning and I had to change my pre-planned race outfit to accommodate colder temperatures.  Breakfast was my standard ½ English muffin with BetterNPeanut butter; had to settle for a glass of juice because I forgot to pick up vitamin water.  Left @ 530 and picked up my friend Brian.  I had driven to DE (only a 40min drive) the night before with my mom for the expo and dinner so we already had our packets.  We got to the park and just hung out for about 30mins before the race.  Then came the rain.  And the wind. And more rain and more wind.   I had been really hoping the rain would hold off until the start but Mother Nature had different plans.  By the time the race began, it was pouring!

 Race:  As if the freezing cold rain and heavy winds weren’t enough, this was the most bizarre course I ever saw.  Now granted, it was also the first half-marathon course I ever saw, but based on other distances, this was just odd.  First we ran down a side street…then around a strip mall (??) and then on a boardwalk type terrain and then another side street.  Those were the first 3 miles and I was pacing really well and feeling great.  Then came mile 4 and the first of what would be many hills.  Mile 4 was up and down and didn’t go flat for what seemed like forever!  I had no idea Delaware was this hilly!!!!  As I came upon mile 6 I checked my watch and I was at exactly an hour- despite the rain, cold, wind, puddles and hills, I was still feeling really great.  At this point miles 7-9 kind of mesh together but I do know it was during this time the rain finally stopped.  And it was also around this time I came to a bridge.  It was SO HIGH above the water!  And it wasn’t the safest looking bridge I ever saw.  It was a wooden walking bridge in the MIDDLE of a race course!! What?!?! So here’s the thing…I am petrified of bridges.  I hate driving over them and really did not want to run across one.  It was only about 4 foot wide and there were so many people on it and it was shaking and moving and I was freaking out.  There was another girl really struggling to get across so we held hands and went across together- screaming the entire way!  Whew! Then…more hills and some trail running…and more hills.  I finally got to mile 10 and felt both good and bad.  I felt good because I was @ 1:47 which was pretty much on target with my Broad Street time and I was happy because I knew there was only about a 5k left to go.  Unfortunately, I was also starting to feel like crap too. My knee was really starting to act up (the hills were killing me) and I was losing my mental game.  I was really starting to become frustrated and began to concentrate on the pain which was (as we all know) a huge downer.  So of course I called my mom.  I was really upset bc both my knee and my foot were hurting and I thought I was going to have to walk.  My mom gave me some positive words and I realized it didn’t matter if I had to walk…I just had to keep moving.  That 11th mile was definitely the hardest one.  I really struggled.  I cried a little and was really getting mad at myself…but then I thought of my blogger friends- I thought of all of you and how hard you have all fought when you were frustrated or sad or down…and I fought.  I started a run/walk and put “Move Along” on my IPOD on repeat and just pushed on.  Just before I hit mile 12 I saw my friend Brian coming back to find me and it was the EXACT motivation I needed, especially because mile 12 was a huge UPHILL climb.  Brian knew I wanted to come in before 2:30 and we both knew it was definitely in my reach, so he just kept pushing me along up that hill.  My stomach was turning, I was freezing cold and my knee and foot were throbbing…but I saw that 13 mile marker and adrenaline completely took over.  That last .10 mile was exhilarating.   I could hardly contain myself as I came upon that finish line and saw 2:27 on the clock.  It was one of the best moments of my life.  I am still kind of in shock that I did it- I keep looking at my pictures to remind myself it wasn’t a dream!  

Post-Race: Pretty much within 5mins after finishing all I could think of was food.  I had taken a GU around mile 6 but I was STARVING.  They had the best food tent EVER.  Seriously…there was pizza, pretzels, sandwiches, chips, protein bars, ice cream sandwiches, bananas and a variety of juices.  It was amazing.  I am so used to getting the crappy scraps at the end of a race so this was a very nice treat.  I even took a sip of the free beer they offered all the finishers.  I am not a beer drinker but I had to indulge a little bit purely for experiences sake!  After my beer we went right to the car to put on some warm clothes and drive home.   My mom and I dropped off Brian and went to eat more food at the local diner.  Afterwards I came home, napped and later took an ice bath.  Ice baths are no joke!

 As I look back on it a day later I am still so amazed at myself.  Having finished despite all the elements, with a good time, is awesome.  My legs are still pretty sore and I am quite exhausted even after taking today off of work (my treat to myself) but I already can’t wait for my next race.  I will say…I am super glad my next race is flat.  I don’t want to see another hill for a very long time!!! 

I want to thank each and every one of you for all your support! 🙂

 moms photos 319

 Here is a pic of me enjoying my post-race beer!