Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Marathon Training Plan

Here's my training plan! The week day runs are flexible - I do not stick to them rigidly; they are a goal. Sometimes life happens and I miss one, or turn an 8 mile run into a 5 mile run, depending on how I feel. The long Sunday runs are a different story. Those, I am religious about. I never miss a one, or cheat myself on the distance. When I write it in my planner, it happens. Even if I am out of state. Even if it's raining, I'm tired, or not feeling it and even if I begin dreading it two days prior (usually the case for runs over 15 miles). This actually works well with the running I was planning to do anyway for my 1/2 Ironman training!



DATE
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Sun
3/13
cross3 m run5 m run3 m runrestcross
mile run
3/20
cross3 m run5 m run3 m runrestcross
mile run
3/27
cross3 m run5 m run3 m runrestcross
mile run
4/3
cross3 m run6 m run3 m runrestcross
11 mile run
4/10
cross3 m run6 m run3 m runrestcross
12 mile run
4/17
cross3 m run5 m run3 m runrestcross
mile run
4/24
cross4 m run7 m run4 m runrestcross
14 mile run
**5/1**
Week of 1/2 Ironman
cross4 m run7 m run4 m runrestcross
15 mile run
5/8
cross4 m run5 m run4 m runrestcross
11 mile run
5/15
cross4 m run8 m run4 m runrestcross
17 mile run
5/22
cross5 m run8 m run5 m runrestcross
18 mile run
5/29
cross5 m run5 m run5 m runrestcross
13 mile run
6/5
cross5 m run8 m run5 m runrestcross
20 mile run
6/12
cross5 m run5 m run5 m runrestcross
12 mile run
6/19
cross5 m run8 m run5 m runrestcross
22 mile run
6/26
cross5 m run6 m run5 m runrestcross
12 mile run
7/3
cross4 m run5 m run4 m runrestcross
mile run
7/10
cross3 m run4 m runrestrestrest/expo
Missoula, Montana Marathon!
26.2 miles Whoop!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rain Ride

I sent this text before heading out:
Will I be okay if it rains on me??? :(

And received this response when I got back, three hours later:
Yep :) Have a good ride. I have ridden in the pouring rain and it is cold and hard to see but fine. Just be careful on painted surfaces...slippery.

Well, she was right. I was okay, but it was laughably hard at some points. I'm signed up for my first official ride, 55 miles on 2/12/11 in the Tour de Palm Springs, so I needed to get in a 40 miler this weekend, weather forecast be damned. I headed out from Newport Beach/PCH in my tank jersey, a bit envious of people in their light-weight, technical rain gear but thinking I would be fine. The weather channel said it wouldn't rain until 3pm and since I started at 11am I thought I would be fine. What did they need that stuff for anyway?

There's a public restroom around mile 15, just past Angel Stadium and The Honda Center. I stopped there and, as always, took my bike in with me and locked the door. Different groups of homeless people were huddled together around tables and since I was alone, my mind started wandering. I did a mental tally of how much my bike, iPod and gear were worth and thought of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Sure, my bike doesn't have a carbon-only frame but they don't know that! I didn't even refill my water bottle and headed off, eating my shock blocks on the way. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between an overactive imagination and intuition, and I'm sure it was was the former, but there wasn't anything to be gained by sticking around to find out.

Around mile 17 it started raining. It felt good and I kept plugging along, happy to almost be at my 1/2 way point. Before I turned around in Yorba Linda, I wiped my sunglasses off and put my iPod in my light-weight, technical rain gear: a plastic bag. The rain wouldn't last long.

One of the drawbacks to being an optimist is that you're always surprised when it does get worse. It kept on raining, and around mile 25 I had to take my sunglasses off and put them in my jersey pocket. And then it really started to come down. This is what they mean by driving rain I thought. I mean, those little bastard raindrops actually hurt! No longer protected by my sunglasses that I couldn't see out of anyway, those lil' droplets were hitting my eyeballs with force! It continued to pour, and right about the time I became aware that my socks were soaking wet I looked down at my arms. They were some weird shade of pink and covered in goosebumps. So I pedaled faster, trying to warm myself up.

But I was now facing a strong head-wind, and I had to switch to an easier gear, resulting in a slower ride. Gusts of wind came and actually blew my bike a little to the side and still, I did not warm up. This is when I actually had to laugh. I couldn't see! Water was dripping off my face and helmet and all I could think of was falling over. I cautiously breaked on the downhill when I went under freeways. I remembered how my neighbor told me to call her if I wanted to be picked up and how I would do that if I could. But I didn't bring my phone.

The rain finally stopped around mile 34. I eased up on the death grip I had on my handlebars and looked around at something other than the next 2 feet of road for the first time in at least 10 miles. To my right was a parking lot of seagulls. Really, there must've been about 100 of them evenly spaced out in the shallow water, ruffling their feathers every so often. I was still freezing and if willing myself home and into a hot shower was possible it would have happened. But, I was also almost done.

My optimism crept back in and I realized how the difficulty that went along with the weather made it more of an experience. With only 2 miles left, 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' came on my playlist and I turned it up, singing without fear of anyone hearing me since there wasn't anyone around to hear me. Then the cliché thought 'I really feel alive. Here in this moment, I feel alive' popped in my head. Except that it wasn't a cliché. It was actually how I felt.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Breakthrough!

So, today I had a breakthrough!!! I've been super concerned about the pain in my arms. And in the beginning, today was no different. Even on my 1st lap, in spite of the 500mg. of ibuprofen I took before leaving the house, my arms hurt. And because they hurt, my technique was even worse, sloppy and tentative.


Kieth watched me, and noticed that I was not keeping my elbow up as I raised my left arm. And my hands were not entering the water correctly. Your elbow should always be the highest point, like this:



Also, once my arms were in the water I was not bending my arms back at the elbow....I was pushing them straight down. This is all probably common knowledge to someone who swims, and so basic it's like trying to tell someone how to ride a bike or skate. You just...well, do it!

He told me to look over a few lanes, at a guy who was swimming with good form. I watched him for a few seconds and attempted to replicate what I saw. Voilà! Not only did I experience less pain, but I was moving through the water! I was sliding my hands into the water, but with force. I was rotating my body more and reaching. I'm going to check out a few videos on technique this weekend, similar to this one:


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Missolua, Montana Marathon!

Today I signed up for my 14th marathon: 
the Missolua Montana Marathon on July 10th!
Pictured above: me running over a big-ass mountain, or maybe even a glacier. 

I can't tell you just how much I was looking forward to keeping my distance low and focusing on the 1/2 ironman running distance of 13.1 miles. For that, I would only need to run up to 12 miles in my training. But since the triathlon is on April 30th and the marathon is on July 10th my longer runs will need to start a little earlier...but I think it will work out well. Once I finish with the triathlon, I'll ramp up my mileage and already have a good running base. 

Tomorrow I'll work out exactly what the running portion of my training will look like but I'm looking at officially starting the marathon training mid-March; giving myself a full 18 weeks.

I'll have altitude (3,200 feet) to contend with...but, I'll worry about that later.

Very excited to build a trip around this, similar to when I went to Alaska, Big Sur, Napa or Chicago just for the marathon and stayed on to explore. Destination marathons are the perfect vacation, with a mix of exercise, relaxation, new experiences and discovery. Honestly, the idea of going on vacation and just laying around/not working out sounds like torture to me. Vacation is when you have more time to work out, not less! 

I've never been to Montana, and Missoula looks amazing! We're planning to road trip it and take two weeks. So excited!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Swimming Injury!?

Workout:
Swim: 1200 yards, 45 min.
Run: 3 miles, 26min., 30sec.

Bike: 12 miles, 51min., 30sec.


Swimming is supposed to be what you do when your injured...you're not supposed to get injured while swimming! Getting injured from swimming is something that I never expected, and it has been more mentally defeating than anything. I took all of last week off from swimming because the week prior, after only 3 days of swimming, I could not move my arms in certain ways. For example, with my arm extended I could not raise it straight up and behind me without pain all the way down to my elbow. My left arm was worse than my right, and every morning when I woke up, they both ached.

On January 13th I went for a massage appointment at my chiropractor's office and she explained that my muscles were putting pressure on a nerve. She told me that I needed a break of at least a week and while I didn't want to take a break, I understood that to not do so could cause more of a problem.

Since then I have gotten in a few good rides: 25 miles on January 15th (immediately followed by a 5 mile run), 12 miles on January 22nd and 20 miles on January 23rd (followed by 3 mile run). I also kept up with my running, but was anxious to get back in the pool, knowing that is my weakest area of the three.

Today was my first day back in the pool since January 13th. My first thought, during my first lap, was that I won't be able to complete the swim portion of the 1/2 ironman. 'I just can't do it, it's too far and I'm not a swimmer.' My breathing was off; I swam too far without taking a breath and then spent the rest of the lap a bit breathless. But, I had resting on the wall to look forward to. Anytime I wanted, I could stop and hang out on the wall for a bit! 'In a lake, there are no walls! You're going to loose your breath and you won't be able to catch it!' my skeptical voice told me. And my mind went back to the awful experience of swimming a 1/2 mile in the Long Beach bay; how a lifeguard had to come over and let me hang out on his board to catch my breath...on three separate occasions! How I panicked, and how I thought 'It would be so easy to just slip under without anyone even noticing.' And that was just a half of a mile...this is 1.2 miles.

I had similar doubts while training for my first marathon back in 2002...but, if you can't keep going when you're running, the worst that's going to happen is that you'll fall. More likely, you'll just sit down on the curb and some nice, friendly race official will ensure that you get a cold Gatorade and comfy ride back to the finish. Sure, you won't get your medal...but, at least you won't drown! At least you won't die! It sounds a bit overly-dramatic to write this, but this is honestly what I was thinking today during my swim. 'What have you gotten yourself into? Why did you sign up for this?'

I spent the rest of my 1200 yards trying to counter my skeptical voice. Telling myself that I still have a lot of training left, and that when race day rolls around, I will be prepared. That I can slow down and breathe every three strokes, or even every two stokes if necessary. That I am an athlete, and I do have what it takes. But my doubting self was not convinced, and right now my that annoying voice remains stronger and louder. Especially because by 800 yards my shoulder started hurting again. This time, my right one. 'See! It's too much too soon! You've bitten off more than you can chew and you know it.'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Booked it!

Training has been going well. Here's what I've done since my last entry:
Saturday, 1/8: Biked 20; ran 3
Tuesday, 1/11: Swam 1,100; Biked 11; ran 1 (get it? 1-11-11)
Wednesday, 1/12: Swam 1,000
Thursday, 1/12: Swam 1,200; ran 3

At 26 miles long and 3 miles wide, Lake Berryessa is one of California's largest manmade lakes. At capacity, Lake Berryessa stores 1.6 million acre feet of water and is one of the largest bodies of fresh water in California. Lake Berryessa offers 165 miles of shoreline for year-round recreation. That's more shoreline miles than Lake Tahoe.


And today, I booked my accommodations! My 1/2 Ironman, The Napa Valley Vintage Triathlon, only lists one place that is close to Lake Berryessa where I will start with the 1.2 mile swim According to the site, "Your second closest option is to stay at a hotel in Napa proper which is about a 45-60 minute drive from Oak Shores Recreation (start) Area." Dealing with a drive like that both before and after the race doesn't sound like fun! Especially since it will probably take me 7-8 hours to complete! I was worried that because it was the only close spot it would be booked. But I called today and was able to reserve a cabin with a double bed and three single beds at Pleasure Cove Marina! It's all coming together, and feeling more real each day!
Booked a 4 Person Cabin at Pleasure Cove Marina.


Friday, January 7, 2011

BMR

So, no matter how much you work out, it still comes down to that basic equation of calories in vs. calories out.


Remember, it takes creating a deficit of 3,500 calories to even loose one pound. Many people overestimate the amount of calories they burn, while underestimating the amount of calories they consume. I fell victim to this for years while training for marathons. I would eat more the day before a long run because I was going to be running, eat extra the day of the long run because I had run and then eat extra the day after (in the name of recovery, of course). That explains why I actually ran 10 marathons (each included four months of training!) without loosing even one pound!


So, how many calories do you need each day? First, you need to find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is dependant on your height, age, gender, weight. Here's the actual formula:


Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )


Instead of calculating, try the easy BMR calculator found HERE.

I have a BMR of 1358.55. Once your BMR is known, you just need to multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
3. If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

So, I'm somewhere between number 4 and 3, depending on my training week.

1358.55 X 1.725 = 2,344 calories (if I'm a 4)
1358.55 x 1.55   = 2,105 calories (if I'm a 3)

This means that I need to consume between 2,344 and 2,105 calories each day to maintain my current weight. But, if I want to loose one pound a week (I plan to lose 10 more) I need to cut that number by 500 calories every day, consuming somewhere between 1,844 and 1,605 (if it is a lighter day/week of workouts).


Of course I need to eat enough to aid in my recovery and the rebuilding of my (hopefully new) muscles. Creating a calorie deficit of 250 per day and consuming instead between 2,094 and 1,855 is a little more realistic given my training and will still result in a 1/2 pound per week loss. I learned that my calories were a little too low the day I worked out three times, but that day was certainly atypical. Usually, I'm lucky to get in a double workout. Tomorrow, I plan to ride and then run! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Victuals

Workout:
Swam 1400 yards in 1 hour

Ran 3 miles
Biked 13.75 in 1 hour, 4 min.


So, what the heck am I eating while training? Well, I'm trying to find a nice balance between being satiated and having enough energy to perform, yet not overeating; using the fact I'm working out as an excuse to overindulge as I have in the past. 

Yesterday I was able to get in three workouts: a 5:15AM swim of 1,400 yards, a 3 mile run (27:30min.) on my lunch break, and a bike ride of 13.75 miles (1:04) after work. When I start my day with a swim I seem to be constantly hungry. Sometimes, I even notice my stomach growling while I'm swimming! For this reason, I may add a small snack or protein shake prior to my swim, or have a bigger breakfast. Looking at what I consumed yesterday, the majority of my calories are after 12pm, which isn't optimal.

Breakfast
  • Egg on toast (160)
  • Black coffee and juice (50)
Snack
  • Balance bar (200)
  • Banana sm. (70)
  • Almonds, 1/2 individual serving bag (100)
Lunch
  • Salad w/ red quinoa, mango & chicken on spinach w/ coconut chili dressing (240)
  • DiGornio 200 calorie portion pizza (200) 
Snack
  • Popcorn, 3/4 of 94% fat free individual bag (100)
  • Broccoli, raw 1/2 c. w/ 4tbs. hummus (180)
Dinner
  • Cabbage & carrots, raw & shredded w/ a few peanuts & 1tbs. spicy peanut vinaigrette dressing (105)
  • Pomegranate juice, 4oz. (75)
  • TJ's spicy jalapeno chicken sausage, two (200)
_________________________________________________________________
                              1,680 total calories

This seems like a lot of food, but I am trying to keep my calories above 1,600 and under 2,000.  I'll explain why in my next blog entry!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Year in Review

Here are my workout totals for 2010:

Activity          Distance               Time                Pace/Speed

Bike              258 miles               22:12:56 min      12.8 mi/hr
Run               867 miles              134:37:07 min     10:07 min/miles
Weights                                    20:50:00 min      
Swim             15,850 yards         12:35:00 min       

Compared to my workout totals for 2009:

Activity          Distance               Time                Pace/Speed

Bike                          
Run               683 miles              107:32:16 min     10:26 min/miles
Weights                                    20:06:00 min      
Swim            


I was happy to discover that in addition to running almost 200 miles extra this past year, I also increased my average pace per mile by 20 seconds!