Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ice bath desperation

Today I actually broke in to my own home in my frantic hurry to take an ice bath. 

But let's back up and talk about last night. 

If you ever come to Baltimore because you can't wait to visit me, you need to have crabs, and an orange crush.

Last night, Casi, Carolyn, John, Deidre, Eric and I met for happy hour at an actual orange crush bar, which had all sorts of fruit options. It was also outside. The actual temperature was 104 degrees. I usually don't type out the names of my friends, since I figured most blog readers don't know them and don't care. Thoughts?
 See how those chairs and tables were made of metal? Ya, sitting down wasn't feeling too good. And I nearly got third degree burns from touching the bar. But the drinks were delicious, and how cute was Casi's dress?
 After a delicious dinner at a Mexican place that I wolfed down, we went to the best frozen yogurt place ever. We don't have a Yogurtland, so I can't compare.
  And I was pretty freakin' excited about this new flavor.
It was all I hoped for and more. Perfect end to the night.

I've gone on and on about how much I love my running buddies and don't know how I could ever train without them. But it's true.

If you ever are considering joining a running group, here's yet another reason too. You might meet really nice awesome runners that live close to good frozen yogurt places AND close to the place you are running, so instead of going home in between, you can just crash on their super comfy guest bed.

My friend Jackie declined the frozen yogurt invitation but still let me sleep over, and was even nice enough to stay up extra late to let me in.

Since the temperatures were ridiculous, we met  up with our friends Mike and Jill at 6am, with the goal of doing 16 miles before 10am when it was supposed to hit 90 degrees. 

4 hours sounds like a long time for 16 miles, but when you factor in bathroom breaks, stretching at the start, water breaks, etc etc, the long runs take a pretty long time. We started at 6:18 and finished around a quarter to ten.

Even at 6am it was over 80 degrees, and the humidity made it feel like we were breathing underwater. Some of the run was shaded, but some was in that brutal sunlight. We decided to ignore pace and just get the miles in. As always, we chatted the whole way and for being hot, the run was really fun and flew by. I accidentally forgot to restart my Garmin at one point, so I don't have a time, which I am not-so-secretly happy about.

You know it's hot when:
  • You drain your camelbak at least 1.5 times, drink two bottles of water, and half a bottle of chocolate milk, and still don't have to pee.
  • Jackie has to wring out her skirt multiple times....not the shorts underneath, the actual skirt part.
 But check out those hot legs!
  •  You sit down to stretch and leave a stain like this, go get your camera to take a picture of it, get back 30 seconds later and it's already dry. (This is not my stain).
  •  Jill can't even stretch without blocking the sun with a towel.
  •  You look like this after the run.
 After dropping Jackie off, I headed home. I picked up two bags of ice on the way. I had been encouraging Jackie to try out an ice bath on the run, and I said the only way was to rush to the bathtub as soon as you get home. If you get distracted checking facebook or getting food, you'll lose all determination and fail.

So  by the time I got two bags of ice, my overnight bag, and my coffee that I bought for the ice bath (because clearly I need hot coffee during, and iced coffee after, and I can't make both at the same time) up three flights of stairs to our apartment, I was more than ready to get it over with. 

I unlocked the door, and discovered Eric had put the chain on. Which now that I read it, doesn't make him sound too good. But remember, I had slept at Jackie's, and he had worked at the bar until late. So he had obviously gotten home at some crazy hour like 4:30am, and just did it automatically. 

But the problem was, as we've all seen, Eric sleeps like the dead, and I knew waking him up, especially after work, would be nearly impossible. Luckily though, whenever I'm not there, he ALWAYS falls asleep on the couch, which is right inside the door. 

Apparently this was the one time he made it to the bed. 

I knocked on the door. 


I called him.


I started knocking really loud. I thought if I rattled the door, he might hear that. So I started rattling it, and apparently I don't know my own strength, because the chain busted right off.
So I essentially broke in to my own apartment.

Now let's imagine it from Eric's perspective. You get home super late from working a hot night at your second job, probably finally fall asleep around 6am, and are woken up several hours later by a crazy lady screaming your name and the sound of someone breaking in.

Oops. Wife of the year, right here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm a real runner now!

Once again I haven't posted for several days, so I'll catch up on the week with a long post with very few pictures. Yesterday was my last day of summer class, so I've been mainly working on finishing my project. I was going to tell you guys to just imagine me sitting at a computer, but then I took an awesome self timer picture of me about to write this post, that cuts off my head. You're welcome.

Since last weekend's half marathon and duathlon, I've official begun following my training plan for the Baltimore Marathon. So here's what that's looked like:

Monday - I had planned on taking a rest day. Logic keeps telling me that when my legs are tired from racing, a rest day can technically include upper body work, but I keep ignoring it, because I hate upper body work. I compromised with Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred Level 2, it has lunges and squats and cardio, but my legs actually felt fine so I went for it. It had me cursing and yelling at the TV, because my arms are weak. I went to yoga after, but they wouldn't let me in, because the class was full. So I surprised myself by going home, changing to sneakers, and doing 40 minutes on the elliptical.

Tuesday - I am making a vague attempt to go through Jillian Michael's 6 Weeks to 6 Pack abs again. And maybe actually sticking with some ab work when it's done. So, I did that, then headed to the track to meet with my running group. Instead of track work, we did a 1.5 mile loop around the campus, just under 3 miles on a trail, and another campus loop. The loop is mainly uphill with some random parts where you are supposed to speed up, conveniently located at the bottom of hills.  The first one I got caught up chatting and then realized I was running way too slow. Oops. I did the trail miles with some fast friends who weren't in to walking up hills, so I ran the whole thing at a quick pace, then tried to push it for the last campus loop.  The last .6 mile was at a 7:47 speed!

Wednesday - Training plan called for an easy 6 mile run, but I replaced it with a hard - because - I - felt - like - crap hard 5 mile run. It was only 10 hrs after I'd finished the track workout. Here's how tired I was. My mom gave me a copy of her Book of Mormon CD, and I was all excited to listen to it on my ipod.
The book of Mormon is a Broadway play.

Somehow, when I transferred it, I accidentally transferred Eric's Insane Clown Posse playlist instead.
ICP is these weirdo white rappers from the 90s, who are apparently still going strong, according to google.

So, you would think expecting to hear Broadway showtunes, and getting creepy white rappers would immediately elicit a "something's wrong" response. Nope. I ran for a quarter mile before catching on. The really sad part was I had listened to the CD on my way to the track the night before. So I kept thinking "hmm, this sounds different than last night. when are they going to start talking about the book?". I think when I run at 5:30 for at least the first mile I am sleep running.

Later in the day I did 6W26P (I'm not typing 6 weeks to 6 Pack abs every time - I might just start saying 6). 

Thursday - Woke up at 4:50 am and drove to Lily's house to do a tempo run. Personally, I find it really hard to push myself for those. We did 4 tempo miles with a warmup and cooldown, for a total of 6. There was a little hill, but it was waaaay flatter than my neighborhood. Tempo miles were 8:51, 8:32, 8:43, 8:14. Can you tell which one the hills were? 

I'm possibly doing 6W26P again and heading to Bikram later. We'll see.

Other news: 
1. Eric said he wanted to try to eat more colorful veggies (he's been watching Dr. Oz a lot on his time off), so I made this salad, from my new favorite recipe blog. I used homemade french bread too, so it was really good.
I highly recommend checking it out. I love how all the recipes come with a little story about why the blogger (The Crouton Queen) made them, and they are easy to follow without 500 unnecessary pictures so it takes forever to get to the recipe. Supposedly The Crouton Queen hates salads, but loves this, so I was curious to see if Eric would have the same reaction.
You can see the greens dangling down.


Going back for another bite while he's still chewing

I'm not one to be filled up by salads, and this did the trick. You should all make it.

2. After 5 half marathons, 2 marathons, and 2 ultramarathons, I finally have a black toenail. WARNING! Picture to follow.
Am I a real runner yet?
3. Kara's doing a raffle on her blog to win awesome prizes (but you can't have the one I want), and the proceeds benefit a great charity. Go give tons of money!! Or at least skip tomorrow's latte and give $5.

Monday, July 25, 2011

We wore our running shoes during the swim

Saturday night, after further carbo – loading with some amazing cheesecake (I learned my love of baking from my mom, but I can never be as talented as she is), it was time for bed to rest up for our first triathlon.
 Lily and I woke up at 6am, dressed, ate, and I french braided our hair.
We loaded our bikes on to the car, and arrived at the race just before 7:30. The race started at 8:15, and was pretty small, so that gave us plenty of time to get our packets and set up our transition area. On the way there, I actually had butterflies in my stomach, I was pretty nervous!
 My bandaged chafing wounds.

We were next in line to get our bibs when an announcement came on informing us that the swim had been canceled. 

We had spent all that time talking, texting, gchatting, and occasionally panicking, planning for our first triathlon, we had traveled 400 miles, and now it wasn’t happening. In 30 minutes, we’d be beginning our first DUathlon.

We were disappointed, but there wasn’t much we could do. The water did look pretty scary, and neither of us was terribly interested in being swept out to sea. The race director said if we were really upset, we could wear our swim caps while we ran.
Compared to a road race, a triathlon is a HUGE challenge before it even starts – just packing all the necessary equipment, choosing your outfit, and setting up the transition area is SO much to think about. 
Now we had to rethink all that in half an hour to prepare for the run, bike, run. Lily had to change out of her bathing suit, which luckily gave me time to change my facebook status. I was wearing biking shorts and a tight, thin tank top that was almost like a bathing suit, and it was all I had, so I stuck with it.

We brought our bikes over to transition to set up. Lily rode hers through the parking lot to the bike racks – less than a tenth of a mile. A volunteer came over and warned her that she could actually be disqualified for riding her bike before the race! Triathlons are NO JOKE, they are way strict.

My fabulous cheering section arrived right after that. My dad, Eric, mom, and Vince got up at the crack of dawn to come cheer us on, and all four of them were devoted to getting good pictures of us. Having them there totally calmed me down and made the whole thing so much more exciting.
 Half the cheering section - the other two were busy behind the cameras!

We were so excited to take pictures with our two working Garmins! Too bad something else very important is missing from this picture.

As we started the swim portion, aka the first run, I noticed that everyone else had chips around their ankle. 
 Yup, everyone you see is wearing a chip.

Luckily Vince snapped some pictures of us as this revelation hit me.

Apparently we had been supposed to pick up a chip, but no one had told us. I had vague recollections of an email telling me that, but with all the confusion, I had completely forgotten. So, now not only were we no longer running our first triathlon, but we weren’t even officially competing in the Duathlon! Not much to do about it at that point except keep running and make sure we didn’t screw up our Garmins.

The race was supposed to be a half mile swim, 15.7 mile ride, and 4 mile run. When the swim was canceled , it became a 2 mile run, 15.7 mile ride, and 2 mile run. I wish they had replaced the swim instead of just eliminating it, but they hadn’t asked for my opinion. Of course, since we weren’t even officially in it, we could really run or bike whatever the hell we wanted. Actually, we could have added the swim back in if we wanted to.

 Patiently waiting at transition!

Unlike the previous day’s race, it was 70 and cloudy, so we felt great running and finished 1.91 miles in 16:50, average pace 8:49. The transition area was super exciting since we felt like celebrities with all our paparazzi members popping out from all angles snapping pictures of us.
You can really tell the pictures where we saw the photographer from the ones where we didn’t.

Since we were dry, T1 (1:59) was a super easy change from running shoes to biking shoes, throwing on the helmet, and heading out.

My biggest fear was getting lost or falling on the bike, but the race was extremely well organized with volunteers posted at any spot where there may have been the slightest doubt about which was to go. It’s one of the oldest triathlons in the US!

For my first bike race, I couldn’t have asked for a better course. It wasn’t closed to traffic, but there were few cars. It was mainly flat, and the roads were nice and smooth. Not having the sun beating down on me was a wonderful change. The wind was out of control though. At one point, my bike wobbled and I wasn’t sure why, when I was going straight on a perfectly smooth road, when I realized the wind was doing it! It really felt like going (slightly) uphill the whole time we were on the flat course. I may have bemoaned my half marathon time on Saturday, but on that bike I was thrilled with it. My legs were pretty tired as it was, I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I’d pushed it for 13.1 miles the day before.

This is a bit of a tangent (I know, shocking on my blog) but I really feel that runners put too much pressure on ourselves. Marathon training tends to distort perception of what a “normal” workout is, and a ten mile run becomes a “short” run. I find myself thinking things like “I can’t believe my legs are sore after only a slow half marathon, I feel like such a wimp, I don’t want to complain and sound like I’m out of shape”, when in reality, 13.1 miles is a LONG way to run, regardless of the speed, and completing a sprint triathlon – turned Duathlon the day after a half marathon is hard. And you have to be in good shape to do it. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that way?

Anyway, the bike portion was 15.7 miles, and my average speed was 15.7 mph, so I finished in 1:00:12! That’s fast for me so I was pretty happy with it. I did feel like I could have pushed it more, but with no idea how to pace myself on the bike, or how I’d feel on run #2, I took it fairly easy, especially at the beginning.

I need to make learning to drink on the bike my #1 goal. Getting dehydrated because I can’t balance enough to pull my water bottle out is not cool.

T2 (2:33) – chug water, change shoes again, remove helmet (thanks, Perry), run the wrong way, run back to our bikes, then restart the run the right way.

Running the actual run portion was a bit rough at first. 
 Especially with Lily nearly choking to death.
 Nope, she's cool.

My legs felt like they were made of lead. They loosened up after about a mile, but since the whole run was less than two miles, that wasn’t terribly helpful. I took not one, not two, but THREE wrong turns. That’s not counting trying to leave the transition area going the wrong direction. 3 wrong turns in under 2 miles. Special. 1.89 miles, 17:14, 9:06 average pace.

We finished and this is as official of a time as we are going to get!

Checking the Garmin - as usual.

 No timing chips on these ankles.

I repeated my new favorite post - race snack.
 I learned the hard way that Lily doesn't share watermelon.