Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hot Brick

The weather has finally turned. In typical Minnesota fashion we rocketed from spring to SUMMER. It's been warm and slightly humid since Friday. Today, we're in the 90's. The perfect weather conditions for me to do my first official T2 brick workout.

For all you non-tri-jargon savvy folks, that is a workout where you combine two disciplines. T1 brick is a swim/bike workout; T2 is a bike/run workout. "T", by the by, stands for transition. Transition includes all the activities that get you from one activity to another: pulling off a wet suit, goggles and swim cap; switching any clothes; getting your race number on; helmut; eating or drinking; whatever you do.

Today I rode my bike for 10 miles. As per usual, we slept in late. Hubby and I had a nice date night last night. We had dinner out and saw the 9:15 showing of "The DaVinci Code". It was a perfectly fine summer movie, despite all the goofy hype.

Anyway, we elected to sleep in late which meant I started my workout about 1:00 pm. Smack dab in the middle of our hot, sunny, windy day.

I rode around Lake Harriet and then along Minneahaha Parkway to Cedar Avenue -- five miles out in 25 minutes. Turned around and came back the same way. The second half of the ride was more in the wind than the first and I had to go slightly longer around Harriet, still and all, got back to the house in 26 plus minutes. Not too bad.

I didn't time my transition (which I know I should have). I had to "trick" myself to do the brick. It was hot, I was tired and I kept telling myself -- "just run to the corner" -- "just run to the lake" - "just run to the water pump". Eventually, the heat caught up to me and I walked a lot -- but I got it done. My run took much longer than either leg of my ride: 31:43, for only about 3 miles. Still and all, I'm did it.

I need to get more in. There is a definite transition in muscle use from bike to run. My quads get tight; I feel like I'm moving like a slug. Practice, practice, practice.

Tomorrow, the plan is to do an open water swim workout with a few of my girlfriends. I'm SO looking forward to putting on my wetsuit in 90 degree weather only to swim in a 59 degree lake!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Swim Master

Doesn't that title just sound powerful?

S W I M M A S T E R.....(dum dum dahhhhhhh). Of course, this has nothing to do with my powerful command of the water or my mermaid-like ability to streak, stealth-like, under the deep blue sea.

No, it simply refers to the new swim group I swam with last night. The group is actually the Minnesota Tri Masters group, which is part of the Minnesota Triathlon Club.

I joined the club about a week ago and last night's swim was my first "official" event with the group.

My swim coach, Dave, oversees (or shall I say "overseas") the MnTriMasters group. They meet several times per week to do this Masters Swim thing. Basically, he runs us through a series of warm ups and drills, which focus on techniques or speed or both.

Last night, there were about 15 of us or so in the pool. I was the only newbie and I was also the slowest fish in the pond -- a very familiar place for me to be. I shared a lane with two other people, a man and a woman a bit older then me who are both training for the Florida IronMan.

The session was quite the experience. I did interval drills; something called "3:00 o'clock"; some goofy thing that related to my pace per mile and more.

I did my best to keep up, but, much like it was for me in the beginning of my running career, I basically have two swim speeds: slow and very slow.

Still, it was fun and challenging. I swam about 1800 yards, or a touch over a mile. That was a lot for me.

Couple of things for me to note and capture from a training perspective:

The good news is that I did the mileage. The swim portion for my "big" tri this summer is 0.9 miles. I went over a mile last night, so I know I can do the distance AND I still have about 7 weeks of training to go.

The not-so-good news is the longer I was out there, the more ragged my technique was. I'm sure it will improve over time as I do more of these distances, but it was interesting for me to "feel" my stroke deteriorate.

My coach gave me a few points, but it was not a private lesson night for me. I'm sure I'll hear more from him next week when I see him one on one.

I rode my bike to and from the session, so I got a bit of a brick workout in, which was good.

I'm also planning on meeting a couple of my friends on Memorial Day for our first official open-water swim of the season.

That should further distinguish the master from the thrasher!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Adopt A Highway

Not a very catchy title, but it's how I spent my morning today.

My good friend Amy P had adopted a highway near her home in surburban Minneapolis. She organized an Earth Day event and invited a number of her friends to pitch in.

The weekend we were supposed to go was rainy and cold so she moved the date to today. Fortunately, the weather gods smiled upon us, bestowing us with mild temps and partly sunny skies.

She and her husband had the helpers meet at their home for breakfast. There were five of us in total. We ate, geared up and figured out "the rules" -- walk one side of the freeway, facing oncoming traffic (just like the running rules!); don't collapse cans (they may have syringes or other items in there that we don't want to "disturb"); watch out for items used to produce Meth.

Yes, Meth.

The city actually provided a handout to Amy to show us that described what to avoid. It even included pictures of the dangerous items, just in case we were confused.

Fortunately, we didn't not find any Meth or Meth making supplies, but we did find bucket seats torn out from a vehicle and heaped to the side of the highway -- lots of cans and plastic bottles; candy wrappers; a plastic shovel; lots of paper and foil; wires, cigarrette boxes and receipts. I found a receipt from a local convenience store. Someone had charged a Gordita Burrito and a Hawaiian Punch. Total $2.00. About a quarter of a mile from that spot, Lisa, another worker bee, found a receipt for the exact same thing. Very strange.

Also very strange to me that people think it is totally okay to throw all this crap out the windows of their cars. Are we really so "above it all" that we can't be accountable for our own garbage? Apparently so.

Hubby sometimes teases me because I keep a bag in my car where I lob all my empty water cans and coffee cups. I wait until the bag is full and then it hits our recycle pile. I'm not sure why that is so strange. I'd rather muck up my own car than muck up the planet.

Reuse, refuse, recycle!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Where the H%$@ is the Sun?

It's been over a week since we've had any thing like reasonable weather. Rain, cold tem;s; more rain, more cold temps. Not particularly inspiring for training outside.

We finally are having a sunny morning, but the weather guys say it will cloud up this afternoon and, you guessed it -- rain.

I woke up at 6:00 am this morning fully expecting to get to the gym for my swim practice. It was sunny out; comfy in bed with Hubby and the cats. Back in to bed I went. My training schedule calls for a 3.5 mile run today and a 500 yard swim. Nothing too taxing. I'll get them in this afternoon or early evening.

We live near a chain of lakes and every day as I drive or run by them, I stare out at the water. It still looks plenty cold and choppy. I'm not so thrilled about getting in the open water for some practice sessions. I did buy a wet suit, so I know I'd be mostly protected, but mine is sleeveless so there is the "freezing arms/freezing face" hurdle to get over.

My new Tri Club is already doing some open water swims (or so I hear). They will go out again tomorrow. I may brave it -- or wait one more week.

I got a run and a 10 mile bike ride in last weekend. Both went well.

The one nice thing about the weather being uncooperative is that the lakes are not very crowded. When the weather is nice during the early weekends of the summer, the lakes get so jammed with people, runners, roller bladers, bikers and other human and furry creatures, that getting any training in during peak time is pretty tough. I pretty much had the paths to myself when I was out there.

Hopefully this patch of weather will move on soon so we can enjoy a bit of spring while training!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This One's for Dori!

I'm breaking one of my "rules" right now and actually posting while at work. Well, it's sort of "work" as it is after 5:00 pm and I'm only hanging around here because Hubby, who works for the same company, is on a teleconference and, since we carpooled today, I'm stuck here waiting for him to finish before we can head home.

I've owed a post for a while. My good friend Dori and I ran the Wells Fargo 1/2 marathon together last Sunday. She has posted a well written, thoughtful, detailed account of our 13.1 mile journey on her blog. I, on the other hand, have been sort of slug-like with my postings. Not because I'm not interested in running, but more because time seems to be just FLYING by...

Anyway, here are my unremarkable remarks about the race: I really wasn't so sure I was even going to run the dang thing. I have not really been putting much heart, soul or mileage in. But, I decided to give it a try.

Dori and I have trained together but have not run a race together. She has always been a very methodical, disciplined runner. She may not agree, but anyone who knows her or reads her blog can tell you. It takes a lot of discipline to put in miles BEFORE you meet up with your training group for your LSD run!

The day was really beautiful -- clear, cool, sunny and breezy. I've run the race twice before and was familiar with the somewhat hilly course. I also knew from experience that the field of 1,000 runners is typically very fast. I remember the first year I ran Wells, I was with some other marathon friends who were slow-pokes like me. We got to the startline and I looked around at the crowd. Pretty much the entire field -- less about 25 of us -- were all lean, lithe runner-types. That year, like every other year, I got dusted in less then the first mile. (sigh).

The good news is that I sort of like it when the field quiets down. Less pressure; more room on the road to see the pavement, run the tangents and see the scenery. Dori and I were doing a run/walk split of 9/1 and that worked out great. We bumped in to a few other runners at the start doing a variation of the run/walk thing. Chatted with them a bit, but mostly we just talked with each other.

The course is very pretty. You can see water (lake and marshes); country fields; HUGE McMansion type houses; tiny cottage-houses from years past, and more.

The miles came "quickly" -- our conversation helped move the miles along.

About mile 10, I took a gel and then had to walk a bit more. My last long run before the race had been a 8-miler and that was several weeks before race day. The mileage was starting to take its toll on me.

Dori went on her way -- looking strong and happy to to be out there. I pulled back a bit and then about mile 11 or so, a running group of three women and one man were gaining on me. One woman in particular was quite peppy and coaching on her running mates. "You can do this. Looking awesome".

Then she said the magic words: "Okay, now we're going to run for three minutes and walk for two".

BINGO. "That," I thought to myself, "sounds like a mighty fine plan". I asked them if I could join them and they said "Why not!", so off we went.

Turns out the "Coach" was a sister to both one of the women in the group and the man. She had run a number of marathons, but the rest of her group were participating in their first 1/2. They were GREAT to run with and really helped keep me going those last couple of miles.

I got to that last 400 meter stretch -- I could see Dori at the finish, cheering me on, and I just kept moving forward till I crossed the line. Not my best "time" (clock-wise)but certainly one of my very best times (fun-wise.

Dori and I had a much appreciated coffee together afterwards, which was the perfect way to end that event.

I owe her a big THANKS for helping pull me through and giving me a kick in the training pants.

Monday, May 1, 2006

GIG update / Tri Training starts TODAY!

Get in Gear got my time published...33.35 which equates to 10:49/mile.

I'm not the speediest creature on the planet, but still feel pretty good about the fact that I ran the whole dang thing.

Training for LifeTime Tri starts today. I have to get a swim and a run in today. That, plus golf lessons start. I'll be Ms. Athletic today.

I set my alarm for 5:30 to get to the gym by 6:00 am for my swim... hit the snooze about a zillion times and will have to work in the swim later today.

Also have to start my "I want to be a Sleek Triathlete" program today too. I'm doing LifeTime as an Athena, which means I have to weigh more than 150 lbs. No problem there. I just want to weigh much CLOSER to 150 than I currently do today. So, I'm back on Weight Watchers .

Should be an interesting twelve weeks or so.