Monday, November 2, 2015

Monster "Splash" Half Marathon

Truth be told, after some encouragement from a friend and a few Moscow mules, I signed up for three half marathons and a duathlon on New Year's Eve. Now that these events are over, I can admit that I did not train sufficiently for the half marathon distance. My longest training run was eight miles, and not surprisingly the suffer fest started around mile nine during every single race. I never struggled with my cardiovascular fitness; however, my screaming hamstrings, quadricep and calf muscles communicated my poor conditioning quite vociferously.

I undertrained. That is on me. I missed too many run workouts especially the long ones that were crucial to building endurance. I pushed my physical limits this year, and these half marathons changed my mindset. Mentally, a 5K and 10K seem easier, and I'm more determined to achieve a faster pace and compete at a reasonable body weight.

2014-15 Half Marathon Results
10/31/15         Team Ortho Monster Dash                   2:49:23 chip finish/12:56 per mile
8/28/2015       Team Ortho Women Rock                   2:49:10 chip finish/12:55 per mile
5/31/2015       Team Ortho Minneapolis Marathon     2:48:59 chip finish/12:54 per mile
10/25/2014     Team Ortho Monster Dash                   2:42:10 chip finish/12:23 per mile

Monster Dash Half Marathon 2015 - Erika, Angela and Ironman Theresa
Last Saturday, I ran the Monster Dash Half Marathon. I carpooled with a couple of friends that I train with at Tri Fitness. Because it was raining steadily, I wore my waterproof bike jacket. I knew it would be miserable waiting for the gun to go off especially if I was soaked to the skin. As we waited, I used my extra body fat to keep Theresa warm. Having recently finished 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running during Ironman Louisville, 13.1 miles of just running would be a nice change of pace for her. Theresa continually inspires me with her dedication and commitment to her training. Her improved race times and fitness over the past season prove that hard work is the key to success. 

Bang! We were off. At mile two, I wondered how I missed the first mile marker. Hmm... maybe there wasn't a marker at mile one. At any rate, I was glad it was mile two otherwise that was the slowest mile of my life. My friend Erika was having a great race, and we ran next to each other off and on. I really don't like to run with other people because I either feel like I am working too hard to keep up or not hard enough. Although I am finding that Erika is a good running partner because we are close in pace and give each other the freedom to separate.

By mile six, I began to question why I run. I was not having cardio issues, but my legs were starting to hurt. I thought about my training schedule and how I skipped runs, and by mile eight I promised myself I would trust Coach Jeremy and truly commit myself to the personalized training plan he writes for me every week from now on. By mile ten, I fell into run/walk mode. I began with three minutes of running and one minute of walking.

Erika veered off minutes prior and crossed the finish line for her ten miler and hit a PR. She deserves it after fighting injuries during the past couple seasons. Dang it! I should have signed up for ten not 13.1. What was I thinking? Why didn't I train harder? Should I quit? That's stupid. I can just walk the last three miles. It's a 5K. I can do a 5K.

At mile 11, I cursed all the hyperextensions and hamstring curls I did that week during training for WABDL Worlds in November. At least my legs were now numb and the burn had subsided. By the time I hit mile 12, I wondered if my trainer Jason, who agreed to do Muncie 70.3 in July with me, would unfriend me after all the running and biking ahead of us. A half marathon is hard! How am I ever going to build up to a full marathon? Do I even want to do a marathon? I hit the lap button on my Garmin so I could get an accurate time for the last 1.1 miles and picked up the pace. I crossed the finish line just :13 seconds longer than the Women Rock Half Marathon I did in August. I may be the slowest runner on the planet, but at least I'm consistent.

So, yeah... I made it. I am not happy or satisfied with my performance. Honestly, it pretty much sucked. Theresa and Erika were waiting for me at the finish line. Both agreed my stride looked great. I love them for always being so supportive! I am still mad at myself for not training harder, worried about the half marathon of Ironman 70.3 Muncie next July and frustrated with my stalled weight loss.

I need to somehow turn this seemingly impossible journey to POSSIBLE.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie

I did it! I signed up to compete in my first Ironman branded triathlon on Saturday, July 9th, 2016 in Muncie, Indiana. It's a half Iron distance or 70.3 miles. That's 1.2 miles of swimming in Prairie Creek Reservoir, 56 miles of cycling along flat rural Indiana highways and 13.1 miles of running over rolling country roads along the reservoir.

I completed my first local sprint Triathlon (swim .5 mile, bike 14 miles and run 3 miles) in 2012. Two years later in Stillwater, I finished the 2014 Square Lake Triathlon long course (swim 1.2 miles, bike 54 miles and run 13 miles) in 7:12:07.

Saturday, July 9th, 2015

The breakout of my times for the 2014 Square Lake Triathlon long course:

Swim - 40:55/2:17 per 100 yards average
Transition 1 - 4:55
Bike - 3:15:49/16.5 miles per hour average
Transition 2 - 6:03
Run - 184:26/14:12 minutes per mile average
Total Time - 7:12:07

My goal is to complete Muncie in less time than Square even though the mileage is slightly more. Can I finish in 6.5 hours? That is the average finishing time for female athletes in the 45-49 age bracket.

The Square Lake bike course is notoriously challenging with rolling hills and some great climbs. Muncie is flat. Right off the bat, I can expect a faster bike time. I love to cycle, and I am determined to increase my speed and efficiency over longer distances in the coming months.

The run at Square Lake was brutal. There was no escape from the beating hot sun on that shadeless course. I was woefully unprepared due to a strained calf muscle earlier in the season. I was forced to quit running for five weeks. I continued to cylce and swim. Those activities didn't seem to bother my calf. Ultimately, I was unable to build up to a half marathon running distance. My farthest training run prior to the Square Lake Triathlon was nine miles. Additionally, I didn't fuel properly on the bike so my energy on the run was in the pits. I definitely need to run faster at Muncie if I want to improve my overall time. That means staying true to a workout schedule and not skipping the runs which admittedly happens way too often.

I joined a local triclub sponsored by Tri Fitness in White Bear Lake offering one coached swim, bike and run per week. In addition, I have a coach that plans my workouts, posts them to Training Peaks and meets with me on a regular basis to train and evaluate my progress. I continue to workout regularly at Bodies By Burgoon in Minneapolis with a personal trainer where I am improving my strength and cardio. There is no doubt in my mind that my training at Bodies By Burgoon is essential to my success. In fact, owner and personal trainer Jason Burgoon signed up to do Muncie, too!

I am actively working to shed more body weight. My race weight goal is somewhere between 150 and 170 pounds. My weight loss stalled a couple years ago, but I remained relatively fit. Then, after my husband's death I managed to gain 20 pounds. Yikes! It definitely showed in my race times this past summer.

It's now time to lose my luggage and get to the finish line at a decent time.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Starting Over

It's been nearly two years since I last posted an entry on this blog. I began writing it because I thought it would help me stay motivated to lose weight and get fit. Well, a lot has happened in my life since my last entry. I've lost my mom to alcoholism and my husband to heart disease. Raising two kids alone was not part of my life plan. Logging back into this blog I realize that perhaps this could be a good outlet. It's time to figure out how to play the hand I've been dealt and cope with whatever life decides to throw at me next. I'm good at ducking, but it's time to start dealing.
My beloved husband Ric died on Oct. 15, 2014 at the age of 50.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Birthday Carrot Juice Versus Cake

Last weekend I celebrated my 42nd birthday. Well, I love carrot cake with walnuts and cream cheese frosting. Hold the raisins, please. I've never been a big fan of raisins in carrot cake. My grandmother always made it that way, and I picked them out.
I told my daughter that I'd like a giant piece of carrot cake for my birthday. Lately, she's exhibited some genuine enthusiasm in regards to my weight loss, nutritional goals and training schedule. "Mom, I think we should make some fresh carrot juice instead of baking a cake for your birthday. It'll be a lot healthier," she suggested. I couldn't believe my ears!

Okay... Yes!
I was a teeny, TINY bit disappointed that I wouldn't be indulging in a rich, luscious, sweet slice of heaven, but at least the carrot juice wouldn't sink my caloric battleship.

Out came the juicer and a ten pound bag of organic carrots purchased at Costco. Four large carrots make one cup of juice containing 94 calories and lots of vitamin A. My birthday carrot juice was so delicious and GUILT FREE!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Michelin Man No Longer

I took a couple digital pictures when I weighed 289 pounds from the front, back and side. This week I opened the "before" shots up on my computer. I needed a little positive reinforcement. Needless-to-say, those pictures provided all the encouragement I needed to keep going.

What did I see? I saw three rolls of back fat, a giant gut and Michelin Man like arms and legs. I can't believe I looked like that, and I never want to go back.

I had a really good week burning 4383 calories and dropping 3.4 pounds. I am planning to enter a couple duathlons and triathlons this summer. I'm hoping that losing an additional 42.8 pounds will help me run, bike and swim farther and faster.

I've started a new blog. As many of you know, I am a vegetarian. My family loves to cook so I thought I'd publish a few of our favorite recipes. Many of them are simple and contain basic ingredients. Check it out at Vegging Out in My Kitchen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tai Chi Chih®

I had my first experience with T'ai Chi Chih® this week. My husband suggested we sign up for an introductory class through our local community education program. Honestly, I had no preconceived notions going into the class because I didn't know anything about it. I like spending time with my hubby sans kids, and this class seemed like a golden opportunity, especially since it was HIS idea.

Before class, I went for a four and half mile run. I tried a new route sticking to city streets and avoiding sidewalks and walking paths due to snow and ice coverage. After my run, I removed all my torso layers since they were drenched in sweat. If I delay changing after a winter run I get chilled. I felt a little stiff in my lower back and right hip from my run. In the back of my head, I was thinking that maybe it wasn't such a great idea to run before going to T'ai Chi Chih®.

It was a small class of seven including my husband and I. A woman in her mid-sixties is the accredited instructor. She spoke about her personal battle with rheumatoid arthritis. A doctor warned her that due to the severity of her disease she would eventually end up in a wheelchair. She testified that T'ai Chi Chih® postponed "the inevitable" and maybe even saved her from it. Time will tell.

My husband was a bit disappointed because it wasn't the form of T'ai Chi he wanted to learn. He explained that this version was developed in the 1970's. T'ai Chi Chih® is more of the hippie version of T'ai Chi that's often used in hospitals and with the elderly. The instructor did address this. She studied T'ai Chi Qi Gong for many years and moved to Tai Chi Chih® because it was more accessible and easier to master.

This was all thoroughly confusing so I did some Googling only to discover T'ai Chi has numerous forms and styles. Two examples are T'ai Chi Ch'uan, originally a fighting system designed to maim and kill, and  T'ai Chi Qi Gong, derived from traditional Chinese medicine theories focusing on healing and longevity. All variations differ in terms of performance speed and pace also in the method of posing.

T'ai Chi is believed to delay aging, prolong life, increase flexibility and strengthen muscles and tendons. It can improve heart function, blood pressure, arthritis, depression and other illnesses. T'ai Chi is the proverbial silver bullet!

T'ai Chi Chih®, the form I'm studying, consists of nineteen movements and one pose. It's a soft, flowing, moving mediation that circulates and balances essential energy. According to its founder Justin Stone, "Nothing is more important than knowing how to circulate and balance the Intrinsic Energy, the Vital Force of the body, known as Chi in Chinese. The rewards in good health, wisdom, serenity, and longevity are great for the one who learns the ancient principles and applies them in a modern way."

That sounds pretty good to me, Mr. Stone. I guess I'm willing to give T'ai Chi the good old college try even if I'm only dabbling in the Westernized version for now. Oh, and no lie... my lower back and hip felt better after class. There just might be something to this. Now, if I can only commit to memory all nineteen movements.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Skinny Person in a Fat Body

Kids say the darnedest things!

My astute teenage son recently advised me to stop losing weight. He guilelessly reasoned, "If you lose any more weight you'll just look like a skinny person in a fat body."

"There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of rough truth." - Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton