Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nice week...

I spent most of the week in Charlotte, delivering a bunch of training to Team Members there. The weather was lovely -- sunny and warm during the day, cool and comfortable during the evenings.

I looked online to see if I could find a running group to run during my stay, but the group that I found meets in the suburbs and I was staying "Uptown". The group does do a 3-mile loop in the Uptown area on Monday evenings, but I looked this up on TUESDAY, so it was a no-go for the group.

However, I mapped out their route on the map provided to me by Conrad Hilton and ran the course on my own twice. Once looping the route twice, for a little over 6 miles; the second time looping once, for a touch over 3.

The course was nice and pretty quiet, looping from Uptown to South End, over to the BofA stadium, then up some long hill and back in to the Uptown area.

I also had the chance to swim once at the Y. Covered about 1400 yards, including a ladder set of 50-100-200-100-50 with 15 seconds in-between each ladder.

I got home yesterday to much colder weather, but the leaves are still on the trees and are now displaying peak colors.

I ran this morning with Nat -- we did a 5 mile run with some pickups. I love running with her because she really helps me challenge my pace and my limits. We are both very excited about all aspects Ironman right now: the training; the event; the process.

Thanks to BETH for posting the really cool link to on her website. You can go there, plug in the name of your blog and the system will generate a word count "map" of your common themes and words that appear on your blog. WAAAY cool!

Off to get my hair cut and colored.....also WAAY cool...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Economic Stimulus

I am personally trying to help the economy as much as I possibly can by buying "stuff" to help me train for Ironman Wisconsin.

Only sort of kidding.

Over the course of the last couple of weeks:

I've upgraded my watch, moving from a Polar Heart Rate Monitor to a Garmin FR60 because the Garmin has a running pace feature. (The coaching group that Nat and I are using want us to train by pace, not just HRM).


Today, I bought a bike trainer so I can wile away the winter hours riding my bike in my house while watching TV. All in all, a much better proposition than wiling away the hours riding my bike OUTSIDE during the winter.


I'm not complaining because these tools are going to be very useful -- and I already really like the Garmin. It's taken me a little time to get used to the features, but I like the pace feature and find that little Virtual Partner of mine annoying (in a good way).

I am also not complaining because I'm fortunate to have a steady job in this economy, which means I can help spend money at some of our local business places (as opposed to mega stores).

I may be done with some of the economic outflow for a bit. (I'll buy Nat's old aerobars soon, but that really might be it until 2010).

Other news for the week: we had more snow and rain and cold temps over the last week, but the sun made a very welcome appearance yesterday and today, heralding in this year's version of Indian Summer.

I ran yesterday morning with Gary and Mary. It was a great run on a beautiful crisp morning. The air was brisk; the leaves on the trees brilliant and spending time with them was wonderful.

Later in the afternoon, Hubby and I went golfing with our golfing friends. The boys played together and the girls played together. The two other women are very fun and we all have a blast. The six of us went out to dinner at Kona Grill, a new restaurant here in the cities.

Today, the weather was even nicer. After buying the bike trainer, I met Mary and her sister for coffee and then took one last spin OUTSIDE on my bike. It was GREAT!

Coming up:

I travel to Charlotte tomorrow and will be there for the week. I'll train at the local Y and outdoors and will hopefully be able to enjoy a little warmer weather.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Moving from hot to cold

I spent the majority of last week in Tempe delivering 10 training sessions to people that work in our business line.

I facilitated 3 classes on Tuesday; 4 on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday and one on Friday. Phew.

I also had a chance to enjoy some nice, warm weather. The temps were "cool" for Tempe -- 50s and 60s in the morning, rising up to the mid 80s during the day.

The weather people were warning people to wear a jacket or grab an extra blanket.

I slept with my hotel windows wide open and said "boo hoo" to all the Tempe weather wimps.

I also got one run in (wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt) and two swims. One indoor and one OUTDOOR!

The outdoor swim was wonderful! Sure wish we had an outdoor lap pool here that wasn't overrun by kids. We do have the Richfield long course (50 meters), which we can use in July at night, but I'm not familar with an outdoor pool option that can be used for lapswims during the day.

I really loved feeling the warm sun on my back and the cool water flowing around me. Plus it was cool to see my shadow on the bottom of the pool.

I came home Friday and you know what? You want COLD?

Try SNOW on October 10th. OUR weather people tell US that it was the earliest snow in Minnesota in over 24 years.

Fortunately, it melted pretty quick. Unfortunately, it is cold. Normal highs are in the 60s. Today, it was barely freezing when I woke up. So, I elected to turn over, get some more zzzz's and get my run in later in the day.

By the time I went out (dressed in long running tights, warm socks, long sleeved shirt, jacket, mittens and headband), the sun had peaked out from the clouds making the view pretty, but the temps were still cold.

People were hauling the last of the sailboats out of Lake Calhoun; there were significantly less people walking or running the lake, but the leaves on the trees were pretty and the water was still open.

It was a nice run.

After my run, I visited a local running store and bought a new HRM/pace watch. My coach for IM WI wants me to train using pace, not heart rate. It will be pretty depressing to actually see my pace, but hopefully it will help me in the long run. (ha ha).

We'll just see how that goes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Training Updates

I think Nat and I found the company to work with for Ironman coaches: SCS Multisport. We both interviewed one of the co-owners last week and he seemed to pass all the "test" questions we had prepared. Both Nat and I had our own customized "test" question lists, based on our particular wants/needs.

My test questions were things like: "How do you feel about working with older/slower athletes?" and "How do you REALLY feel about working with older/slower athletes?" and "How comfortable are you with helping me with my goofy nutritional needs for the Ironman?"

Our guy passed with flying colors.

Training in earnest won't start until early 2010, but I will have some some base tests done measuring swim, bike and run outputs in early November.

I have one month to get ready for those tests.

Another test for me was running part of Twin Cities Marathon today. I had signed up to run the full marathon after I did not get in to New York this year.

My training went out the window for many reasons. My biggest problem was that I just was not in to running last summer.

Fortunately, my love affair with running started to get back on course at Square Lake tri. I had a really comfortable run at that event. Each time I've laced up the shoes from there on out has really been a nice experience. Hurrah.

It was too late for me to try to prepare for the full 26.2, but I thought I'd just get out on the course today and have some fun.

I ran pretty well, sticking to my 6 minute run/1 minute walk plan and just had fun. I got to mile 5 in 55 minutes and some change and then pulled out at mile 7 at 1:20:00. (I had a loooong mile time between mile five and six, where I pretty much dilly-dallied.)

The "predictor" had me coming in at a 5:07 finish, which would have been a HUGE PR and a GIANT miracle.

Other friends ran the 10-mile event. Gary, Mary, Beth, Steve and Sarah all had great races. I'm very proud of their results.

I'm also happy I enjoyed the day and did well with what I could do.

I ran another mile or so back to our house, showered and then met Nat and Cheryl at mile 21 to watch the true marathoners. The weather was perfect, so pretty much everyone we saw looked great out there on the course.

After watching the runners, I met Hubby and our golfing friends for lunch. Paul, Hubby's golf partner for tournaments, has a birthday next week, so we were able to celebrate with him today.

Next week, I travel for work but will be some where warm where I can run outside and will also have a chance to post some swim yardage and time on the bike.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Out with the short sleeves, in with the wool....

Some one must have flipped the big switch in the sky, because fall fell here in Minnesota as fast as I've ever experienced it.

A week ago, the day was lovely: sunny, warm with a hint of a breeze. We slept with the windows open. Sunday, we golfed with some friends and about the time we hit the 7th hole, the wind picked up and shifted, the temp dropped like a stone and fall was here.

By the end of the week, I had turned on our furnace; shut most of the storm windows and pulled out the down comforter.

Today was the final confirmation that the season has definitely changed: I put away my summer shirts, pulled out my sweaters and WORSE YET, switched out most of my summer running gear in exchange for my winter pants, shirts, mittens, gloves and hats.


I also find myself a little extra blue this time of year. Cold weather drags on me. I hate being cold 99% of the time; I hate waking up in the dark and leaving work in the dark. I hate feeling like I live in a hermetically sealed jar. So, inevitably, the first month or so of the season change leaves me a little melancholy.

I do have to say that I love the pretty fall leaves; the crisp fall air is usually a nice change (if we've actually had a summer with some heat and humidity); and there is some thing to be said about halloween candy :-)

Today was also fun because we got to go to the Badger/Gopher football game. The last time I was at a Badger game, I was a freshman at Wisconsin. I sat in the Student (aka Nose Bleed) section of Camp Randall stadium and spent my time drinking and participating in the "O SUCKS" chants that our section ("P", of course..) screamed over at our fellow game goers one section to our right.

Fast forward many years later when four really wonderful tickets were auctioned off as part of a fund raising event my company participates in. The tickets were offered as two sets of two tickets. We could bid on one set or both.

I was bound and determined to win all four tickets. I felt the tickets were part omen and part-homage to my year-long Madison connection since I'm doing IM WI 2010.

The tickets were for seats right on the 50-yard line, 9 rows behind the Gopher team bench. They could not be beat. I wanted to win the tickets, and then take Hubby, my sister and brother-in-law with me to the game.

There were a couple other guys from work that also bid on the tickets. The auction was open for about one week. About 30-minutes before the auction closed, I took a pile of work and my Blackberry in to our lunch room where the bidding sheets were posted and parked my self at a table next to the sheets.

The second my Blackberry hit high noon, I quickly upped the last two bids by one dollar each and won both sets of tickets.

The game was a blast. The teams were both had some really great plays and some blunders. There was enough action that we never got bored like you can if the game is a run away for one side of the other.

Of course, it didn't hurt that the Badgers won....31 to 28.

Also did not hurt that the seats were AWESOME and we could see ever thing that happened on the field.

Finally, it did not hurt that the weather "cooperated". Although the day started out a little drizzly, by the time we took our seats the rain had stopped and we all stayed dry.

It should also be dry tomorrow for the Twin Cities Marathon and 10-mile events. I had signed up to run the marathon with a couple of friends, but each one of us backed out of fully training for it. One friend switched over to the 10-miler; another will be out there cheering tomorrow and me? My current plan is that I'll line up at the start in the morning and run half of the race. I figured I paid for it, so why not? I'm not a bandit; I might as well enjoy some of the event, so...we'll see how that goes.