Dear Humidity…

…you must go away.  Now. Right now.

Seriously!!  Nothing ruins a beautiful 77degree day like 96% humidity!!! UGH!

Despite the disgusting weather, I headed out last night for a short run.  It was a two-a-day for me as I had gone to spin class yesterday morning.  I like two-a-days because they usually serve to free up an extra rest day which is exactly what I need this week.  As for the run…it was okay.  I at least waited until the sun went down but it was still gross at 7pm and I was a mess by the end of only a few short miles.  I was thankful that it was a short run because of the heat but also because my hamstring was still bothering me from Sunday.  After my run I took a nice cold shower and iced my hamstring while watching the Phillies until I fell asleep.  I hate when the Phillies play out west because I can never stay awake for the whole game!

Not much else to say about training…I am taking tonight and tomorrow off and then running/swimming Friday.  As mentioned previously, I have a race Sunday so I will also be using Saturday as a rest day.  The race is a Sprint Tri at Belmar beach.  It is an ocean swim which has me a little nervous.  I have only been in the ocean a handful of times in the last 10 years and when I do go in it is usually only up to my knees.  On the rare occasions that I go out further I usually get freaked out and come back in on the beach.  So while I am a good swimmer and I usually depend on it for my races as a head start on the competition, I am really concerned that in this race it will be what holds me back.  Which is of course the whole reason I chose this race in the first place- I like to challenge myself.  I figure, it’s only 400meters…I can do anything for 400meters….right??? 

I have so many wonderful plans for the next five days that work is going at the pace of a snail….soooooo slowwwwww………I can’t believe it is only lunch time!!!  Here’s hoping the afternoon goes faster than this morning did and that we get a little break in the heat/humidity.

I haven’t posted any pictures lately so I’ll leave you with a photo of my favorite phillies ❤

SPORTS BBN-METS-PHILLIES 3 PHTaken during the World Series 2008

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My Sore, Sore Legs…

No I didn’t go on a long bike ride or have a long run this week.  I didn’t race either. 

But my legs are sore, sore, sore today!

Why?

I volunteered 7.5 hours at the NJState Race yesterday, 5.5 hours of those hours were at the finish line handing out water to each finisher.  This is the equivalent of doing squats for 5.5 hours.   Ouch.

As for the rest of my week, like the entire summer, it flew by.  I wanted to write a Week in Review last night but by the time I got in I was exhausted.  Writing while that tired would have resulted in a drunk-like post that probably would have made sense to only myself, or someone equally as tired (or drunk).

So now you get list format- my fav 🙂

  • I first want to thank Morgan and dfalv38 for their kind words on my last post.   Even though my big decision is still weighing on me a bit, like I said before, I am at peace with it and really feel it was for the best.  At the very least, I have my summer back!  As for you Jamoosh, I knew snacks could be life altering as soon as I found Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims. Totally addicting.
  • I also want to give a shout out to FairWeatherRunner; she is collecting old running shoes to send to organizations that send them around the world to the needy.  My Tri team does this and I can tell you first hand what a wonderful thing this is that she is doing.  So basically, she is awesome.  So if you have old sneaks, stop over and let her know.  She will fill you in on the details. 

Ok…let’s talk tri/running since that is what this blog is really about. 

  • This past week was the first week of official Marathon Training.  I hate to say this, because I know it is going to get much more difficult in the upcoming weeks, but it was too easy.  I knew this was going to be the case when I started but still, it kinda sucked.  The thing is, I want to do this right. And by right, I mean injury free.  When I met recently with my doctor (who is a runner, so she understands) we talked at decent length about this race; about my past injuries and how if I am not careful I could easily re-injure myself.   We talked about how it would be best for me to use a longer plan even if it meant starting out with slow, very easy runs.  So basically, the first few weeks of mileage is low and at a slow pace (even slow for me!!) but will allow for an injury free build up to race day.  And in the end, that is the most important thing, to stay healthy and injury free.  The upside of the low mileage is that it allows for me to work in my bike, swim and strength training with quite a bit of ease. 
  • I am happy to report that I have been faithfully keeping up with my commitment to morning workouts.  I am spinning every Tuesday and going every Thursday morning for either another spin class or to put in laps at the pool.  Thursdays usually depends what my plans for the rest of the week are and on how much I have already swam that week.  I am also getting up on Friday and either Saturday or Sunday mornings (not as early because I have off, but still early) to put in my runs.  The more used to this I get, the more I like it.  It is a great way to start my day and I love not having to worry about getting to the gym or running in the heat after work.  I really hope I can keep this up during the school year; it is definitely one of my goals. 
  • Back to my aching legs…they are still aching.  I have a feeling tomorrow’s run will be a little bit brutal.  But seriously, I love volunteering, especially for great RD’s.  They even gave me $50 to TriSports.com for all my hard work- Bonus!!!!
  • While I am on the topic…I want to reiterate once again, as I have mentioned in many past posts, how wonderful CGI Racing is and again recommend them to anyone looking for a well put together and fun race.  As I have said before, they hold races in NJ, PA and MD.  They offer everything from Sprint to Olympic to Half Ironman distance races.  People come from all over to race these races (yesterday there were a handful from the West Coast and many from all up and down the East Coast) and they sell out super fast.  Their 2010 registration opens October 1st.  You can read about their races here .  Trust me, I would not wake up before 4am, drive an hour and stand for 5.5 hours at a finish line for a race I didn’t believe in!  The only reason I won’t be doing that next year is because I will be racing it myself! 

As for this week…I have lots going on–> dinner with a friend from work tonight, drinks with my friend Sarah (who I haven’t seen in over 1.5 years!!) on Wednesday, a concert in the park (DMB cover band) on Thursday and my cousins college graduation party on Saturday. Oh…and a race on Sunday.  It is an ocean swim…which I am really nervous about…but that is a whole nother post for another day!

Hope Monday is treating everyone well 🙂

Big Decisions….

It seems like as an adult, every decision I make has the potential to be life-altering.  Sometimes I would really love to just be six again when my biggest concern was what I was eating for snack that day. 

Yesterday I made a huge decision.  There really was no right or wrong or even good choice…but under the circumstances I really believe I made the right one. 

But let’s back up….

All my life, from the time I was in elementary school, Mathwas a subject I struggled with intensely.  I spent time in basic skills classes, summer school and with tutors.  My mom bought me those books from the store to practice with and I had flashcards for all things math.  I usually managed to get through the classes; extra credit saved my butt!  As I got into middle school I was already behind in the math department and this was only made (much) worse by the fact that in 7th grade, the math teacher (who I actually felt like I could learn from) retired and they hired a replacement that was about as knowledgeable as a rat.  Seriously, I knew more about math then she did. Not kidding. So my year of pre-algebra in the 8th grade was a year of playing Oregon Trail and doing worksheets. Great. 

Obviously, I was in no way prepared for high school.  So there I was at fourteen, in an Algebra class…working with letters as numbers when I hadn’t even mastered numbers as numbers!  It was hell. I have no idea how I passed with a C. I also have no idea how I passed Geometry my sophomore year with C. Junior year I took a Business Math and because it had very little to do with actual math I did pretty well. Then the best thing ever happened- I was a senior and didn’t need a Math.  It was awesome!!!

Then I went to college….

…and the Math issues continued.  Of course I made a complete mess of the placement test and was put in the lowest possible (non-credit) math.  I worked my way through bothof the lower (non-credit) maths and pulled a C in Statistics.  Thank god for participation points!!!  So okay…I graduated with my Associates at community college…math done for life, right??? Not right….not even close.  I had taken a few years off from from school after community college (got my cosmetology license…worked and made lots of money…lived the good life for a while) but eventually decided to go back and get my Bachelors.  I applied to Rutgers and got accepted. Yeah!!! But then they made me take a placement test….WHAT….excuse me….I am done with Math. No. No I wasn’t. Because Rutgers decided that I had been out of school for too long and they weren’t going to take my Math from community.  And worse, because I once again made a mess of the placement test, they were going to make me start at the lowest math again.  Two more non-credit maths.  It was enough to make me not go back to school.  But I figured, I made it through once, I can do it again.  Not true. I did okay in the first class but the second one…yeah, failed it once and dropped it once. Thank god non-credit courses have no bearing on a G.P.A!!!  Anyway…coming into this year (2009-2010) I only need three classes to graduate. One of them is math…but I haven’t even passed the placement class yet.  So I begged (read:groveled) my advisor to override the non-credit class and let me take the summer credit Math.  I really thought I would be able to do it- summer classes, while acclerated, are usually a little more lax and the class was said to be directed to students “who struggle with math concepts.”  My advisor agreed and I was in the class.

I started the class Monday.  It took me all of 45 minutes to figure out that my struggles with Math concepts are signifcantly below other students struggles. And worse…my Professor had no plans to take a lax approach to the class.  We would be covering one chapter a night.  The grade was going to be based on four tests.  Each of the first three tests would be on five chapters and the final would be cummulative. WHAT!!!!!!!!! Yeah, I knew right then, I was probably going to die fail.  Great. F’ing great!  Still, I went to the second night of class…I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.  But night two was worse than night one…and I could see a pattern developing. And it was not a good pattern.

It was decision time.

I had two options:

-try to finish the class and chance failing; and the chances were high that I wouldn’t pass.  Failing would take my 3.5 G.P.A on a downhill spiral and I would still have to retake it.  And yeah, I would be out my money for the class as an added bonus.

-drop the class, take a W which does not affect my G.P.A and get half of my money refunded.

Number two sounds like a no-brainer. But the problem lied in the fact that both decisions would mean that come Spring I would be three Math credits short.  No graduation. No diploma. Nothing to show for my hard work.  Three years of working full time and going to school and being on the Dean’s List….and I’ll be the girl who left college with three credits to go.  

I still chose option two. 

I feel like a loser. I feel like a failure. I feel like I wasted a lot of time and money.  I feel stupid; not because I dropped, but because I am 28 years old and I can’t pass Math.  Still, with all that said…I am at peace with my decision. 

There is one small glimmer of hope; I am going to work on drafting a letter chronicling my life-long struggles and high-lighting my succeess (awards, dean’s list…etc) and hope that there is something…anything…that can be done to help me get through all this.  I cannot possibly be the first person to ever struggle with a subject.  So while it seems like I am at a dead end…all is not hopeless.  I am still going to attend school this fall and finish my other credits and while I am not going to get my hopes up, I am going to be a bulldozer when it comes to finding an avenue to get out of this mess.  All I need is for one person to understand. 

 

Ok…rant/whining session over.  Sorry for the non tri/running post but I just had to get this all out.

Better Late Then Never

Back on July 9 (which happened to be my birthday 🙂 ) Morgan gave me this award:

award

THANKS MORGAN!!!!

To accept this award, I have to list seven traits about myself and then tag seven other bloggers who deserve recognition for the personality they share through their blog.  Here’s mine:

1.  I am a creature of habit.  I like things the way I like them and it takes me a while to get used to change.  I am working on being more flexible.

2. I get easily frustrated over little things but usually handle big things really well. 

3. I come across as a major extrovert because I am always blabbering and socializing, but inside I feel very much like an introvert and sometimes think all the blabbering and socializing is just my way of disguising the social anxiety I have in most situations.

4. If I have to prepare to speak…for example, an interview, presentation or serious conversation with someone, I always rehearse out loud whether I am in my house, in the car, or walking down the street.  For the hours leading up to said situation, I am in a constant state of talking to myself.

5.  I stare at people even when I don’t intend to.  Remember when you were little and someone would say “What do you have, a staring problem?”  Well, I do.   I think it is rude and every time I catch myself doing it I get annoyed with myself. 

6. I will never compromise who I am to appease anyone else.  I would prefer people like me; but if they don’t, I am okay with that too.  I am who I am without apology. 

7. I think I am a really funny person.  I know that sounds a bit narcissistic, but it is true.  I think my sense of humor is one of my best qualities.  However, I don’t think my humor translates much in my blog writing because I tend to be more serious about tri/running stuff. 

Okay….my seven lovlies….

Shut Up and Run

AC version 3.0

Fat Girl to Fit Girl

Jill Will Run

Miss AllyCat

Just Running for Fun

Shaped By Running

I look forward to reading. 

Now back my regular scheduled Monday. Bleh.

Where Does the Time Go?

I just realized that I haven’t actually “updated” in over a week…all my posts have been about last week’s Philly Womens Tri.  Which by the way, I cannot believe was a whole week ago.  Time flies!!  I wanted to write a week in review but I feel like this post is going to end up being a bit of a melting pot. 

Coming off the race, especially it being a duathlon, I figured I would need a few recovery days.  My legs, mostly my knees, usually bother me for one or two days after a regular road race so I wasn’t sure what to expect after Sunday.  I took an ice bath Sunday night but was still fairly sore on Monday.  Nothing I couldn’t deal with but I was moving pretty gingerly throughout my day.  Given how sore I was still Monday night, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself feeling back to normal by Tuesday morning.  A little knee pain was lingering so I kept my workouts in the pool, but the pain was all gone by Wednesday and by Thursday I was back on the bike and Friday I went for a run.  I also went for a run this morning.  The weather has been AMAZING lately and today was the perfect morning run weather.

In other news…

…da da da da…

…my marathon training plan begins this week!

I feel like it was just yesterday that I was beginning my half-marathon training, or for that matter my triathlon training.  I honestly never thought I would be training for a full marathon.  Ever. But I am.  In four months and three days I will be at the start line getting ready to run 26.2 miles. For right now, I am excited about training because the runs are generally short for the first few weeks and it fits really nicely into my tri training.  Luckily, the way it works out (and it really is luck, I didn’t plan it this way) my last tri is the week before the longer runs begin.  This really couldn’t have worked out any more perfect; this way I can take a break from tri training (although I will probably still spin and swim one day a week to keep it up) and focus a lot more on my running.  It also works out nicely that within my training schedule I have two half marathons (PDR and Baltimore) that fall almost perfectly into place as far as the schedule is concerned.  Like always, where schedules are concerned, I don’t have a specific plan…just a number of miles that need to be done each week.  I did decide that Saturday would be my long run day; I usually stay in on Friday nights anyway, so it just made sense to make the long run day a Saturday.  Of course, I am smart enough and have been training long enough to know that I need to be flexible and if needed I can change my runs to Sunday.  Do you prefer Saturday or Sunday long runs?

If anything is going to test my flexibility and my ability to balance my time, it will be the next three weeks.  My summer class begins Monday and it is an accelerated course.  And it is Math, which is my very worst subject.  And by worst, I mean I am on the same math level as say a third grader.  Math has always held me back and made me feel less than smart, so I am not looking forward to it at all.  In addition, there is so much pressure to pass because without it, I will be backed up a whole semester and have to wait until next year to graduate.  I already started a dual program with my Masters so if I don’t pass, and graduate this year, I will have to re-apply to the Master program.   This will obviously be the suckiest (yes, suckiest) thing ever, therefore it is imperative that I pass this class.  So starting Monday…for three nights a week for four hours a night for the next three weeks I will be in Math class.  And when I am not in Math class or work or working out, I will be doing all things Math.  All Math all the time. UGH.  I really hope the next three weeks go fast.  I know it is summer and I shouldn’t rush it, but just these three weeks.

In other news I want to give big HUGE props to Denise, who is running her first Ultra.  It started yesterday and will end at 10am today.  I have been following her journey for the last six months or so and I encourage you to stop over to her blog.  Denise- you amaze me and I am inspired by you.  Not enough to do my own Ultra (at least not yet) but because of your determination, will to succeed and honesty when it comes to the ups and downs in your training.  Thank you for sharing your story- I hope you keep writing and running!

Philly Women’s Race Report

Race Morning: Didn’t sleep much the night before; a mix of nerves, plus a huge storm from 12-3am kept me awake most of the night.  I was out of bed at 4am and kind of just tried to relax a little.  I ate an Arnold’s flat bread with pb and packed my bags.  I had laid everything out the night before but I am super neurotic like to pack the bag in the morning.  We were all loaded up and on the road by 5am and after a trip to wawa (neeeeeeeed caffine!) we were on our way.  I knew we would be early, but after the fiasco the day before I wanted to leave a little extra time just in case.  Plus, the earlier the better as far as I am concerned; I wanted good parking and a good spot on the bike rack and I would prefer to get there and have time to relax, rather than have to park far and then feel overwhelmed and rushed.

Pre Race: Arrive @ 545 and right away saw some of my teammates who were volunteering.  Walked down to the race site with them and got body marked and headed into transition.  Roughly 15 minutes after getting into transition they made the dreaded call: No Swim. HUGE BUMMER.  Even though it was kind of expected give the storm the night before, it being official really sucked. Seriously, it pretty much ripped my heart right out of the race.  And I wasn’t alone.  All the sudden the excited vibe went to a depressed vibe and it was all in all pretty sucky.  There were at first some tears, then anger/frustration and then you know what….we adjusted.  Some girls left and didn’t race at all; and while I had a few moments of “maybe I won’t race” they were fleeting and there was no way I was going to back out. I have to say, this is where having a team really helps; there were many women as dissapointed (if not more) than I was, including  some of my teammates.  It was great to have them to vent with and be all bummed with and then get over it and kick ass with 🙂 

Okay…so the race itself….officially a DUathlon–> 1.9 mile run, 17 mile bike, 3.1 mile run. Of course I started the race saying “I’ll just take it easy on the runs, walk if I have too”, you know…my usual speech that I never actually follow through with because at the heart of it I am a competitor and there was NO WAY I was going to just “take it easy” on the runs.  As for the bike, I just wanted to get through it without crashing or getting a flat. I set a goal of 2:15:00, however my main goal (of course) was to finish.

Run: 18:25- 9:42 avg. 634/987

They started us in heats just as they would have for the swim: we brought our caps and tossed them as we crossed the start line.  It was really nerve-racking waiting for my “wave” and I was super thankful that I only had to wait for four before me.  The run itself was really good. I felt strong and fast.  It was exactly the confidence I needed going into the race! 

What would I do differently:  Nothing. This was a great run for me.

T1: 2:43

Got into transition (I was near the bike out so I had quite a run through transition), grabbed a GU and put on my helmet.  Struggled for a few seconds getting my bike off the rack but in a matter of seconds was on my way out. 

What would I do differently: Um, not struggle with the bike?

Bike: 1:15:57- 13.4 avg. 923/987

Coming out of T1 there was a lot of congestion and that made me nervous right off the bat.  I decided to walk my bike up and out the way of the crowd and mount there.  This was a good idea as I was able to get myself together.  Before the race had started, my teammate Shauna gave me a little pep talk basically telling me that I would be fine and that when I felt unsteady or nervous to just tell myself over and over that I am okay.  As silly as it sounds, hearing that really helped.  I felt really unsteady through the first few miles but I just kept telling myself I was okay and I was doing fine.  There were a few times I felt panicked so I simply pulled over and got my bearings together.  I was also having a hard time drinking and riding so I pulled over a few times to drink.  The first loop was sketchy and I was definitely being cautious, but at some point towards the end of the first loop I got a surge of confidence and decided to just pedal my heart out.  Once I put aside the fears completely I was able to actually enjoy the bike ride.  I was actually comfortable and happy on the bike. 🙂 I even passed a few people!! It was great.  The bike itself was a nice course… few (very small) inclines and at one point major wind, but other than that (oh, and a duck crossing!!!) it was  great.  My second loop was awesome; much better than the first.  I only stopped one time on the second loop and even managed to drink and ride!  I felt like a little kid- this was a HUGE step for me. 

What would I do differently:  Be as confident on the first loop as I was the second. I rode the second loop 13 minutes faster than the first. 

T2: 2:39

I was so hot and so sweaty and so hungrywhen I came into transition that all I could think about was eating my clif bar and pouring water on my head.  I racked my bike and tore into my bar.  I wanted to be quick so I washed it down with some water and poured what was left on my head.

What would I do differently: bring something to eat on the bike.  This was my plan but I forgot to grab it on the way out. Next time I will not forget.

Run: 35:06- 11:20 avg. 697/987

I started out really (read: really really really) slow because my legs were dead.  Holy cow they were not liking the whole run-bike-run thing.  Oh, and at this point…it was really hot in the sun.  I continued on fairly slow for the first mile and then picked up the pace once I saw the water/ice rag/heed stop- it was WONDERFUL.  Seriously, the ice rag was amazing!  The last two miles were great…I ran great and my legs were even feeling pretty good.  As I came into the finish shoot I heard all my teammates screaming for me and someone yelled out “age-grouper” ahead so I gunned it down the finish line. 

What would I do differently: I have to put in more time for brick workouts.  My legs were really dead in the beginning and it cost me quite a bit of time since I had to move so slow.  Other than that, nothing different.

Overall: 2:14:49. 841/987

I made my goal time by 11 seconds!!! SCORE! Overall the race was great, even despite the swim cancellation.  I felt so empowered being out on that course with all the women.  With the exception of one woman (who clearly didn’t get the message that this is a fun event) who was not very nice on the bike course, all the women were so supportive of one another.  When I was pulled over of the bike, women would ask if I was okay and when women were walking on the run, others were cheering them on to keep on going. It really was just something that can’t be explained in words.  In addition to all the wonderful women were the great volunteers–> shout out to my TT bowtie guys :).  Having them on the race course was so encouraging.  Every time I would pass them, on the run or the bike, they would be there cheering me on and keeping me going.  The other thing that really kept me going was my mom- she made a sign and everytime I saw it, it just made me smile.  I see signs often for people and it was just really cool to have one for me!  I know I keep repeating myself but the whole event is just amazing.  I was really stressed about doing a DU but I am so glad I went through with it.  It isn’t something I would choose, but at least now I know that if it happens again, I can do it.  I am a DUathlete 🙂

Post Race: After the race I caught up with my mom (who got stung by a wasp!!) and my teammates.  Everyone hung out for a while in the tent…ate A LOT of food, drank some champagne (we always have champagne!) and chatted about the race.  After the awards, and pictures and more food, we headed back home and I pretty much didn’t leave my bed for the rest of the day/night!

I said it a million times already and I am going to say it again: CGI puts on a great race. I would highly recommened this for an woman and I recommend it even more so to those of you looking for a good first race.  People travel from all over to participate in this race and it is no surprise to me that they do.  Having volunteered it last year and race it this year, I can vouch that this is a race to race.

Here are some pictures from race day- Enjoy 🙂

du9Some TT Babes before the “wave” start of the 1st run. 

du10Chatting it up with my teammate Bill, one of many Bowtie Guy volunteers from my team,just before the race.

du11

After the race, posing on the new ride 🙂

I already can’t wait until next year…and while I know I can DU it, I hope I get to TRI it!