Monday, September 24, 2012

So now what?

The air is cooler, the mornings and afternoons are darker, and it's slowly turning into fall around here. Yes, I often complain that fall starts way too late in California. This weekend it was 81 and sunny, still a little hot for the perfect running temperature imho. A perfect fall run would be more like 65 and sunny, with some crunchy leaves beneath my feet. But, yeah, why am I complaining about great weather? 

Running is pretty much all I've been up to lately in preparation for the San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon. I've taken a couple of spin classes but haven't been on a real bike or in the pool for over two weeks. So, what else have I been up to?

1) Spending less money. There are no more expensive events, hotel rooms, or new gear I will be needing for a few months. Running races are cheaper, and a pair of shoes will put me out $100. Yahooooo!

2) Crosstraining. One thing I learned about endurance sports - they don't make you skinny. Yep, I'm the same weight I was at Christmas last year, but I can do squats and lunges like a motha'. Unfortunately all of that muscle is still covered by a layer of chub. This chub can only be eliminated by, you guessed it, weights. Seems counterintutive but it's true.

3) Eating salads and Kashi Crunch cereal. I need to eat less, but I'm still hungry all. the. time. This means, trying to order salads (dressing on the side) for lunch. Concurrently, I'm trying a 2-week Kashi-for-breakfast diet to see if it makes a difference. On day three I had a breakfast burrito. Bad monkey!

4) Socializing unrelated to training. A trip to the Chabot Space Center, a lecture by Amy Tan, a Giants game, drinks, dinners . . .Yes, it seems I still have a life. Thank you, friends for understanding. I hope I didn't miss too many birthday parties while I was away.

5) Stereotyping people who put political stickers on their cars. A new and amusing hobby unrelated to training, but pretty fun. I commute 30 minutes each way, and I have to entertain myself somehow. Like seriously, have you ever seen a Prius with a Romney/Ryan bumpersticker? Doubt it.

6) Digging out fall clothing. My midwestern upbringing tells me, even though I've lived in California for more than 12 years, that flip flops are unacceptable in the "colder" months. I feel the same about running tanks and short shorts. It's time to break out the pants and layers.

7) Making lists of events I should do next. I'm already thinking about 2013. There may be a marathon in my future.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hanging up my wetsuit. . .

After The Triathlon at Pacific Grove on Saturday, I had to transition once more from triathlon gear into formal attire for a wedding the same afternoon. Pretty sure my transition time was about 30 minutes. Not bad. . .

Anyway, during the reception the groom professed his sincerest love for the bride, and the bride wrote some promises to her new husband including, "I promise not to stand in front of the TV during college football." It's just not a good idea to get in the way of your partner's athletic pursuits - whether your partner a sport participant or fervent fan. In the spirit of love and the end of triathlon season, I would like to make some promises to my love. These will probably only last a few months, but I would like my loved-one to know that I appreciate him putting up with my training, and the gear that has taken up our condo for the past few months. Love you, baby!

I promise to remove my stinky neoprene wetsuit from the shower for the next few months.
I promise to do less laundry for the next few months, and save some water.

I promise to remove my sport bottles from the kitchen drying rack and put them away.

I promise to return the bike rack I borrowed from a friend so we can have guests sleep in our guest bedroom again.

I promise to keep nutritional supplements in cabinets instead of on the countertops.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sub-3:00, you know, like 2:50-something. . .

This weekend was The Triathlon At Pacific Grove, and my last triathlon for the year. The 2011 triathlon was my first triathlon, so this is the first time I've done a tri twice. I had to go back and do it one more time just to prove to myself that I'm better than I was last year.
Last year, I finished the Olympic distance in just under 3:06. After the race, I looked through the online results to compare my swim, bike run, to other women my age and discovered that my swim time was at least 5-6 minutes slower than other women who bike and run at about my same pace. I decided that swimming was going to be my biggest challenge for 2012. I remember telling a friend, "If I really work on my swimming, maybe I could be under 3 hours next year, just by improving my swim!" (Clearly I was hopped up on endorphins. She probably thought I was nuts.)
Triathlon at Pacific Grove time 2012: 2:58:5. That's right. Just under 3 hours, you know, like 2:50-something. . . . Notice, this time is not according to the Paul Ryan Time Calculator. This time is the real deal according to official results!  
After spending the last 12 months agonizing over swimming: after jumping in the pool in a 40 degree drizzle last winter, the 75-minute swim workouts for Barb's race, 3 Splash and Dash events (nemesis), 1 Dip and Dash, and oh did I mention the freakin' Trans Tahoe Relay . . .I only managed to take 2 tiny minutes off of my swim? Really?
The most noticeable difference was in my transition from swim to bike (- ~2 minutes), and my run time (- ~3 minutes). So, after complaining about spending too much time in the pool and the bike, and not running as much as I would have liked; turns out I learned how to strip off a wetsuit, and my running improved.
Who da thunk it?
That run really sucked, by the way. I've never had leg cramps like that before in my life. I knew they would subside eventually but damn - I need to eat more bananas before my next race. I could see the race clock on each loop. After loop 1 of 3, I knew I was behind, loop 2 I picked it up (and the pain started to go away), loop 3 of 3 was do or die time.
Looking ahead to 2013, I am really scared. There is no way I could have a more epic year than the past 12 months. Seriously? It would be unfair if it got any better. It's not just the tiny time improvements at Pacific Grove that have me feeling so epic either. This year my life has improved pretty much overall - from meeting life-long friends, to visiting new places with old friends, to taking on a new job, and finding a new gym. Geez.
Now what do I do?