Monday, October 27, 2008

Definitely an Indoor Weekend

The weather turned out to be pretty much as predicted--cold, windy and wet, with just a touch of sun here and there. So I did pretty much as planned.

Saturday I slept in (7:30) and did stuff around the house before dropping my daughter off at gymnastic practice. I then had about 7 hours to kill. I headed for a long workout at Lifetime.

I was hoping to do a good strength workout and then hop on the treadmill for 2.5 hours. The weight workout went great, although my stomach wasn't feeling great. When the weather changes as it did this weekend, it can cause a flare in my RA. This results in joint pain, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. For me, it usually means my neck and shoulders get pretty sore, and I can feel pretty nauseous. I get used to it as the winter progresses, but it takes a while after feeling "normal" during the summer.

The first 5-7 miles of the run were good--I worked in some fast intervals and recovery time. I was trying a new "drink". It didn't go so well. I think it was a combination of already feeling yucky and maybe the new formula. In any case, I ended up in the bathroom several times. After 7 miles, I really felt bad. I was going to stop, but decided I would at least walk for a while. The next five miles were a combination of walking, jogging and slow running. Total time was 2:36 and about 12.25 miles.

I felt too tired to swim after, so I didn't. Sat in the hot tub and steam and took a relaxing shower. Felt much better after I ate. All in all, a good workout.

My husband has finally decided we need a new bed. We have a water bed (the kind that sits on top of a box spring) that is over 20 years old. I can't sleep on it anymore because it really hurts my back. He found a great sale through his work (Sears) and we are getting a new, KING SIZED bed in November. YEAH!

I was really tired Saturday night. I had originally planned to swim early and ride on my trainer in the afternoon. But I decided no ride on Sunday. I realized that I usually take two days between runs when I plan a long one. Since I had run hard on Thursday, I didn't have the normal amount of rest, and I felt it. Sunday would be a swim/recovery day.

Sunday I dropped my son off at church and headed to Lifetime in Burr Ridge. This is not my "home" gym, but I spent a lot of time there in the summer, and do now on the weekends. Usually when I swim it's later in the morning. Yesterday, I was there by 8:30. When I started there was only one other lady in the pool. I took the lane next to her, next to the wall. Bad idea!

I was tired and struggling with my swim. After 30 minutes, two guys and one girl got in the pool. The two guys were sharing a lane next to mine; the girl was in the lane next to them on the other side. I am not a fast swimmer. I consider myself to be pretty average speed-wise. I think I have OK technique--I've been swimming pretty regularly since I was 4 years old. I had my stroke analyzed several times and have seen videos. Of course there are things I can improve on--nobody's perfect--but I do OK. I will never be lightning fast, but I think I look like I know how to swim.

These guys next to me were big--not fat, but tall and fit. They looked like swimmers turned triathletes maybe. They FLEW through the water. Lots of muscle, splashing, body movement, head movement, and they both looked really ANGRY! It could just be that they were working hard and were really concentrating, but every time we made eye contact, I felt like they were going to yell or scream at me. They didn't look like they were having fun, but I'm sure they were.

Did I mention there was a lot of splashing and big wave-making? Since I was swimming against the wall, well, you know what that means. I was being bantered about in my lane. I am not a small person (OK, so I'm short, but not little, if you get my drift), and was flying around in the lane. It was like swimming in Lake Michigan on a really choppy day. OK, so maybe not that bad, but it was really wavy for an indoor pool. I wanted to quit early, but I stuck it out for the full one hour plus. Did my 2500 meters and got out of there ASAP. They were still swimming when I was in the hot tub.

I love watching people swim--their technique, what they do with their head and feet, how many strokes they take, etc. Since this is a 25 METER pool, I think 20 strokes is a good amount for most people. These guys were both taking 18 strokes--not bad, but for being as tall and as big as they were, could have been better. I usually average about 24-26 strokes, 22 if I REALLY concentrate, more if I get lazy. I've seen really good swimmers take 12-14 strokes in that size pool--I can tell who they are even before I start counting.

At the other end of the spectrum, there was a lady really struggling in the first lane. I counted her strokes for two lengths--58! Oh my, she was wasting so much energy, it hurt me to watch. I really feel bad for people who swim this way. Regardless of the reason they're in the pool, it would benefit them so much to have a couple lessons on technique. We all know that swimming is a sport that's all about technique. Yes, I see people at races (and pools) who are able to swim really fast by muscling their way through the water, but they are wasting so much energy and could be so much faster. They sure do kick my butt and a lot of others though, so maybe it doesn't really matter?! Off my swimming soap box for now!

Went to church after the swim, picked up my son, came home and crashed the rest of the day. I was really wiped. As I said, this weather is really tough on my body. It was actually hailing yesterday afternoon, and the wind was strong enough to push our grill around the patio. One of our chairs was on our lawn this morning. It's still windy, cold (the wind chill was in the 20's), and I'm so glad I rode on my trainer this a.m. I would never ride outside in this kind of weather at this point in my life.

When we had our Husky dogs, they LOVED this weather. The colder the better. They even liked the wind, and the snow was the BEST! I used to ride my bike with them in every kind of weather--even snow if the road wasn't too icy. They basically pulled me when they were young, but when our last one got older, I had to slow down for her. They both did lots of runs with me. I still miss them a lot in the winter, because it reminds me how much they would have liked the colder weather.

Well, all in all a good weekend; I can't really complain about too much. Read some very interesting blogs. Sometimes I think I shouldn't read those written by the "pro's" or "elite" triathletes. Makes me feel even slower and weaker than I already am. Oh well, I must remember that many things in life are relative. I'm just happy to be able to do what I can do.

Speaking of what I can do, here are my numbers for the week:

Swim: 5x for 10,100 meters
Bike: 3x for 97.5 miles (on trainer)
Run: 3x for 25 miles (on treadmill)
Strength: 3x for 233 minutes
Total time: 20 hours, 36 minutes
Total calories: 8,400

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Stay warm and dry!

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Indoor Weekend?

Continuing the "too cold" theme, looks like an indoor workout weekend. I know that many of you love this cold weather to run in--and good for you. I loved running outside when I was in my 30's and even up to my mid 40's. But now--just not fun. And when you get to be my age, you are supposed to be "older and wiser". So, because I don't like to run in the damp, cold, cloudy, wet weather, I will PROBABLY run inside tomorrow. If it's sunny and dry, count on me to be outside. I would love to run two plus hours, so outside is much more fun. But, if the weather man is right (ha ha), then I will be inside.

I have several kid responsibilities tomorrow, so my schedule will revolve around that. I plan to sleep in a little, and run later in the a.m. Get in a strength/weight/core workout and an easy swim. According to my HRM, I have exercised over 15 hours so far this week.

Sunday, the weather looks even worse, so a long ride on the trainer. I love riding in the afternoon, after church, especially when the Bears aren't playing. Put on some fun DVD's, maybe a short Spinerval workout, and enjoy the warmth of my basement and my trainer. I know, many of you think I'm crazy, but it sure beats bundling up and riding outside in wind, rain/snow, and cold! Glad to have the option. Although, my best option would be to live in a warm climate where I could run/ride outside all year. Now that, to me, would be heaven on earth!

Yesterday was October 23rd. If my parents had not divorced when I was 30, they would have celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary. I always remember it, maybe because it's so close to my own (10/16). Divorce is tough, and while I always knew it was tough on young kids, it's no easier on adult children. Their divorce pretty much split up my brothers and sisters and me. It's really hard not to "take sides", and while we all did the best we could, we are, after all, human.

Met a woman at the pool today who is doing Ironman Florida next week. Her first ironman race. Spoke to my good friend today who is also doing Ironman Florida--her first ironman race. Saw another friend at the fitness center, also doing Florida and her first ironman race. All three are really nervous. Boy, can I relate. I tried to be as encouraging as possible to. I really envy them. They will all have great races. I told them what so many people told me before my race--HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE. They all know my story--at least the short version. It's getting much easier to share.

After reading a couple posts last night, I have a question: what kind of distances do you swim when training for an ironman? I did several 4000 meter swims. The race is about 3800 meters, so my long swims never called for more than 4000 meters. I have read where people swim multiple 5000, 6000, even 7000 meter/yard swims. What the.....? Why so much? I don't know many people whose longest bike ride is much longer than 100-112 miles, and the longest run is usually about 20 miles (or an equivalent time). So why so much more swimming? Because it's "easier" on our bodies and easier to recover from a long swim? Maybe a coach or more experienced ironman has a good answer for me!

Have a great weekend. And to those of you in warm climates--I AM SO JEALOUS!

Until next time--God bless!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Too Cold Already!

When I woke up this morning, my outdoor thermometer read 38 degrees. YIKES! I know it is the middle of October, but that is really cold considering the last time I biked outside (about 12 days ago) it was in the 80's. Oh well, that's what I get for growing up/always living in the Midwest. I keep telling my husband that I DO NOT want to die in this part of the country. Take me somewhere warmer, please!

Oh well, survived the plumbing disaster of Sunday. No more leaky faucets in the Moy household. YEAH! The last three days have been relatively uneventful. I woke up Monday a.m. feeling and looking every bit of my 53 years. Maybe because I "took the day off" on Sunday, but I don't really think so. The change of weather really effects me negatively--really tough on the RA. Did a 2.5 hour ride on my trainer and swam for a little over an hour. Still didn't feel great, but at least I had a good workout.

Been having trouble falling asleep off and on lately. Very unusual for me. I usually fall asleep quickly but wake up often. But once I get to sleep, I've been sleeping well, so that's the good news.

I decided on Monday that until I'm through with this whole menopause thing, I have very little control over my body--at least the parts that are controlled by hormones. I've struggled enormously with my weight the last two years. I've decided to just do the best I can and not beat myself up too much about those 10-15 pounds I really want to lose. I guess they'll disappear when they're ready! (Hopefully!)

So Tuesday I ran into a casual friend I know through the fitness center. I was excited to see him, because he ran a marathon on Sunday. He's a good age group triathlete (just a couple years younger than me). He's been to Kona several times. This was his first "marathon only" in 15 years. To say he was disappointed in his race/time is an understatement. He had trouble around mile 21 and had to walk/jog the last five miles or so. We talked a little bit, and I shared that nutrition may have been a factor. For such an accomplished athlete, he didn't seem to know much about nutrition for endurance. I recommended a book I like, hopefully he will learn some things he doesn't know that will help him in the future.

BTW, he mentioned that he was "old school"--once did an entire ironman on ONE BANANA! You're kidding me! Well, times and practices have surely changed in endurance racing. I remember when marathoners would barely even drink water in the hottest of conditions. It's a miracle more of them didn't collapse and suffer permanent injury.

I have decided that I'm going to change my off-season training a bit. Instead of lots of steady, long distance, I'm going to do a couple days of hard intervals on the bike and run. It's a lot easier for me to do this on my trainer and the treadmill. So yesterday after a long, hard weight session, I spend 1:18 on the treadmill with intervals. I like it--it breaks up the workout and makes the time go faster! I'm really hoping this will help make me fitter and faster (if anything at all can actually make me a faster runner)!

This a.m. I did a long ride on the trainer--almost three hours. It was nice to be warm and toasty in my basement--it's still quite chilly outside. Plan to go for an easy swim a little later.

I have a tentative race schedule for 2009: 2 local sprint races; a half iron distance race in WI in June; a nearby olympic race in July; Steelhead 70.3 in August; an olympic race in Niles, MI labor day weekend; and the Half Max Age Group Championship (half iron distance) at Redman Triathlon in OKC in September. Like I said, tentative. A lot depends on money and time!

Less than two weeks to IMFL; about 4 or so to IMAZ. I only wish I was going to one of those races because it will be warm there! Happy tapering, final training weeks to all participants.

Have a great week and stay warm if you're in the Midwest.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

After bashing my toe on Friday, Saturday went OK. I wasn't able to ride outside, but I did put in about 1:40 on the trainer. I slept in a little bit (it really felt good--I had a great sleep). I dropped Peanut off at the gym and headed to Lifetime. Spent about 1:20 on strength training, core and stretching. Then swam a good 2300 meters. Had a relaxing evening and a great sleep.

I had originally planned to get up early and swim before taking my son and daughter to church. But late last night, I decided to take the morning off and sleep in. I haven't had a day off since right after Louisville, and my body really could use the rest. Plus my toe is still pretty sore and ugly. I thought I might ride this afternoon on my trainer, and/or go for a short swim. hubby decided to try and fix our leaky shower before he had to head off to work after church. What he thought would be a 20 minute job......HA, HA, HA, LOL! He fixed the kid's tub last Sunday--it had been leaking for, oh maybe two or three YEARS!!!! Since that one went pretty well, he figured ours would be just as easy--NOT! Through no fault of his own, he ended up breaking the pipe. So now we have no water, he's late for work which he can't get out of, and I'm not a happy camper.

Thank God he has a good friend who is great at all kinds of stuff. He was able to come over, and right now is in the process of fixing it. Of course, it's been one problem after the other, so it may take a while. He had to run to Menard's just now to get some more "parts". So I sit here waiting, hubby's at work and I'm keeping him in the loop through the cell phones, my bathroom closet has a big hole in the wall, I'm miserable because my toe still hurts, and it looks like I will have a forced "rest" day after all. Oh, well, at least the Bears managed not to lose their game today! To tell you the truth, it would have been more rest to do a swim/bike and skip all this faucet-fixing stuff!

I must say though that things could have been much worse. If our friend couldn't have come, we would have had to pay a plumber to come and that would have cost a fortune since it would be considered an "emergency" after regular hours. PTL! And I guess one day off will do my body good. I'm even planning to eat some pizza later for dinner.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fast Friday

I know, lame title, but right now I can't think of anything at all clever.

It's been a fast week--can't believe it's Friday p.m. already. Stayed really busy every day. Between my daughter's homeschool and gymnastic practices, my son's bowling, and my workouts/housework/chores/shopping/paying bills, blah, blah, it's easy to be overwhelmed as a "stay-at-home".

Just read a post of a lady in my age group training for her second IM this year. She commented there will be no more "only 2 IM's per year". Too life consuming. Seems like the half distance will be enough for her also. Even with grown kids and retired, she still feels the effects. I've heard a lot of that lately. Also, read about a young man who just competed in Kona. According to someone close to him (wife), that will be the last time he EVER does an iron distance race. She noted that not everyone is cut out for that distance. Hmmmmm.....Well, I think I should at least finish ONE before I decide to NEVER try again. Although before Louisville, I told my husband that if I completed that race, it would be my ONE AND ONLY! We'll see....

Speaking of Kona, I was at the fitness center for a swim today, not my "regular" location. When I was finished swimming, there was an "older" gentleman waiting to get into the pool. I thought I knew him, and asked him if he was Bob Scott. Yes, I am. Ha! For those who live in the Chicagoland area, Bob is a triathlon legend. He just won his age division at Kona (he's 77 years young) again--I don't know how many times he's competed there--a lot! He is a class act, a very nice man, and very well known and loved. It was great to see him!

Have you ever had a "freak accident"? Today after I rode on my trainer, I was kind of in a hurry to get my daughter to her homeschool coop and head over for my swim. I was trying to stretch my quads standing in the kitchen. The dishwasher was open. A fun song came on the radio and I started to dance--bad idea. I dropped my leg and banged my foot on the corner of the stainless steel dishwasher. OUCH BIG TIME! My toe is a mess (I guess you would call it the "ring" toe--next to the baby toe.) I've been hobbling around all day. It hurt like crazy, but I still managed to do my 2600 meter swim. It's swollen, purple, red, blue and really ugly. AND IT STILL HURTS!

The good thing is it gives me a good reason not to ride outside tomorrow. It will probably still be sore, and it's going to be in the 40's and 50's when I usually ride. I have to ride early because I have kid obligations, so back to the trainer it will be. Hopefully, my toe will be able to take an indoor ride!

Has anyone out there been reading about how bad all this "cardio" work we do is, and how we would be much better off doing more "weight training"? I saw another article in a local running magazine that interviewed a local trainer who insists that cardio work doesn't do anymore for the cardiovascular system than weight training. Huh? I've read about five articles about this theory, and I don't think I buy it. Yes, we all agree that strength training is essential for what we do, actually, for any physical activity, but skip the cardio because it doesn't help? I don't think so

I've talked to several trainers about it, and they tend to agree with what I've learned over the past 40 plus years. What do you think/know? I'd love to hear if anyone else has read about this.

Enough rambling. Need to go pick up peanut at the gym. It's raining, dark, cold, and I hate driving in these conditions--plus MY TOE REALLY HURTS!

Hope everyone had a good week and have a great weekend!

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day....and other stuff

I did something last night that I knew I shouldn't do even before I did it: I had a Portillo's cheeseburger, fries and onion rings for dinner--at 9:00. I KNOW, what was I thinking? I really wanted a hamburger after the long ride on Saturday, but I didn't have the money or energy to go buy one. Since I only eat 3 or 4 per year, I don't have the ingredients at home. As a family, we eat very little red meat at home. Mostly turkey and chicken. When I make things that require ground beef, I always use ground turkey.

Anyway, my husband was going to pick up my son from a meeting about 8:30 last night, and none of us had eaten dinner, and my daughter wanted Portillos, so.....

VERY BAD IDEA! I knew when I was eating that I would pay the price. Couldn't fall asleep, and when I did, I had really weird dreams. Finally dragged myself out of bed about 7:30--that is really late for me.

I didn't want to eat, but knowing I was planning to run for two hours, I did eat a bowl of oatmeal. Drove to Waterfall Glen for the typical one loop plus run. It was a great day--the weather was perfect for running--about 70 degrees, cloudy, no wind to speak of. Perfect.

Other good things about the run: the outhouses had just been cleaned! WOW, was that nice. I guess Monday at 8:45 is a good time to go and use them when they are actually clean.

I think I saw four other runners the entire time. Maybe two dozen "recreational" (i.e. not riding as fast as they can taking up the whole path trying to run me over) bicyclists. Several people walking, a couple families with small kids. It was really nice!

Question: Why is it that horses can leave their 3 to 5 pounds of "stuff" on the path, and the riders/owners are not obligated to pick it up? But if a dog does a small little couple pieces on the path, holy cow that cannot happen? I'm not saying dogs should be allowed to go on the path where people are riding/biking, but why is it OK for the horses? Probably because the riders would have to carry a shovel and giant sack to pick it up and move it. Oh well, just one of the "unfair" things about life.

Question: Are you a tidy triathlete? Do you clean your bike, shoes, equipment on a regular basis? I must admit, I am crazy about keeping my stuff clean. If I don't clean my bike every time I ride it, my husband does. There's nothing that bugs him more than going to a race, seeing really expensive decked out bikes that are FILTHY! What the.......? He really doesn't understand that. I guess because I sweat so much, I almost ALWAYS clean off my bike each time I ride. Also, because I run mostly on paths, I always clean my running shoes when I'm done. Also, my helmet is usually covered with salt/white stuff, so that gets cleaned too. Am I nuts, or does anyone else out there identify?

Since my Louisville debacle, I've read several blogs about others who have completed ironman races. Seems like a lot of people had "coaches/family/friends" out there "encouraging" them during the race. For many, that meant being screamed at and told "you did not come all this way to not finish. Do you want to carry that with you for the rest of your life?" I'm sure that works for many of you, but I don't think I would want a coach that did a lot of screaming at me. My dad was like that when I was a kid, and believe me, it didn't motivate me AT ALL! What motivates you?

Question: Is it mandatory to complete an Ironman (copyright) race to be considered an iron man? In other words, if I completed an iron distance race that did not cost $525, did not require me to register a year in advance, did not allow me to withdraw or refund my money, but consisted of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, would I still be an official iron finisher? I understand that the m-dot would not be an appropriate tattoo, but what is the difference, really? I'm having this "debate" with my husband. He is very against me doing a "smaller, less expensive" race because it is not officially "ironman". What do YOU think?

(You may have seen the argument in one of the triathlon publications that an official iron man is only someone who completes the Hawaii race. Personally, I think that's a bunch of hog wash. First of all, not everyone capable of competing at that race does, and while I understand that it is the "king" of all races, I believe there are other courses that are difficult in their own ways.)

BTW, Ironman Louisville is STILL "Accepting Applications" as of 8:00 this a.m. Any idea why this race doesn't sell out in five minutes like the rest of the U.S. "Ironman" races. I have several ideas!

Congratulations to all Chicago Marathon participants. It was another tough day for many--hotter than ideal for running a marathon. I heard on the news last night there were about 10,000 DNS--largest in the 30 years of the race. I think maybe people just didn't want to deal with the heat! Not sure how many DNF--probably quite a few.

Just a few things I thought about during my workout time today. Hope everyone who had the day off had a good one.

Until next time--God bless!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Too Much Time

I think that at times it is possible to have too much free time! Case in point: Yesterday, I had a free day--I didn't have home, husband or child responsibilities until after dinner. The weather was amazing, so I planned on a good bike ride. I would start out with several friends who are training for IM Arizona. See how I felt, how far I would ride.

The group we started with were planning on 30-35 miles. My friends were planning on a six hour ride. I thought maybe 3 to 4 hours. The group started faster than I was comfortable with. I knew that if I wanted to ride 60+ miles, I needed to take it easy. I trained hard during the week, and rode on my trainer hard Friday for 1.5 hours, and also did a hard 2500 meter swim. (Remember, I am not in training now, but I believe I am as fit as I've been all year!)

Iron Snoopy and I rode together for the whole ride. It was a beautiful day. A little windy, but it's always windy out in the corn fields, no matter which direction you're going. Actually, we did have a tail wind for a while on the way back, which really helped. Oh, did I mention that I decided to go the whole ride? It was such a beautiful day, and I knew I'd have great company with Iron Snoopy, and I did. Not many more weekends left like this, and I ride alone 98% of the time. Ended up riding 87 miles.

It was a good ride, but I learned several things about myself: I swim, bike and run because I really enjoy it. One of the group, as she sped past me, pointed out that I was crazy to be out here when I didn't have to be. Well, I WANTED to be. The last 15 miles or so were a little hard, but nothing I couldn't handle. I felt great when I finished. (Although I made the decision on the ride that I would postpone my Sunday long run until Monday. The kids are off school, so my schedule is very flexible. Did my Monday swim on Sunday instead!)

I also realized that I will probably never be able to ride a 6 hour iron distance bike course. I pretty much realized that in Louisville, but it was pretty much confirmed yesterday. My ride time for 87 miles yesterday was 5:28. True, I wasn't racing, but I was pushing a little harder than if I'd been riding myself. Seven hours or better is probably much more realistic. My average time for a half is about 2:45. One thing I learned, however: an ironman is much more than twice a half.

I also realized that I don't have to be as "fast" as people 15 to 20 years younger than me. Hey, they really SHOULD BE FASTER! I may have a little more experience, but they have age way in their favor. Not only that, but I don't HAVE TO BE AS GOOD AS ANYONE! I just need to be myself. I am so blessed to be able to do what I can, I have no reason to feel that I NEED to be better. Would I like to be faster, stronger, leaner? Of course, who wouldn't. But we all work with what we have. I am not a professional or elite triathlete and never plan to be. I repeat: I DO THIS BECAUSE I LIKE IT AND IT IS FUN. When it stops being fun, goodbye!

Another lesson: I still feel REALLY BAD about my DNF at Louisville. Kona was yesterday. I have several friends competing at Florida and Arizona. I'm so glad for all who had great races and who will have great races. I'm not going to be ashamed of my performance because I had a bad day. I did the best I could at the time. There will be other races, and my goal now is to complete an iron distance race in 2010, Lord willing. (I'll be 55 and in a new age group!) Next year will be the year of the half.

Today was the Chicago marathon. It was a little warm, but not dangerously so. Don't know how everyone did yet. Congratulations to all who raced!

Decided to post my weekly numbers. Not bad for "not training":

Swim: 7x for 12,000 meters
Bike: 2x on trainer: 51 miles; 1x outside: 87 miles
Run: 2x for 11 miles
Strength/Core/Stretch: 4 sessions for 176 minutes
Total time: 19 hours, 17 minutes
Total calories: 9,085

Hope everyone had a great weekend--have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cold Vs. Hot (Is there really a winner here?)

I rode outside on Saturday, and ran outside on Sunday. IT'S NOT SUMMER ANYMORE!

As you may know if you know me or have been following my blog, I DON'T LIKE THE COLD! And since cold and hot are relative terms, I will define them in terms of my biking and running.

Any temperature under 50 degrees, without sun, and with wind is cold for me on the bike. When I left home on Saturday, the temperature in my car was 46 degrees. The sun was out, and it didn't feel too windy, so I drove to Lifetime thinking a 50-60 mile ride would be really nice.

As soon as I started riding, I WAS COLD! I wanted to turn around and go back to the club and skip the ride, but I REALLY wanted to get a ride in. I only rode once during the week on my trainer, and planned to run outside on Sunday. I also knew that Saturday looked like the better day of the two days.

One of the MANY things I hate about riding/running in the cold is dressing in layers. I totally understand why we do this, but here is my big problem: by the time I warm up enough to take off the top layer(s), the next layers are wet from sweating (I really sweat a lot!). So when I try to take the outside layer off, I really can't because I get cold because my clothes are wet. This is really bad when I'm riding. I end up leaving everything on and getting a little overheated. Plus, you can only carry so much stuff when you're on the bike--food, drink, AND extra clothes?

Even with socks and gloves on, my feet usually stay cold. I should have put my toe covers on--I forgot--and I need to get a new pair of cycling gloves that cover the whole hand. I have a pair I bought for the Apple Cider Century in 1989. Yeah, they are really old!

In spite of all of the above, I had a pretty good ride. Although I was wondering why I didn't see anyone else riding. Usually I see at least 20-30 riders at this time on this route. That day--I saw 3. Actually, I saw several of my friends when I was about 10 miles from home. They were just starting out--they were smart because they were able to wait until it warmed up a little before starting. I had to be done by a certain time--had to pick up Peanut from practice.

I think the cold did make the ride harder though--I rode the same route, same distance (52 miles) as last Saturday, but I had to work a lot harder, and my speed was about 1 mph slower. My heart rate was in zones 4 and 5. I usually ride in zone 3.

The hot tub, steam and warm shower felt really good afterwards.

Sunday, I couldn't decide if I wanted to run in or out. I decided to go out to Waterfall Glen. Running in the cold is a lot easier for me than cycling in the cold. My feet stay warm, and the layer thing works better. I still felt cold, but had a really good 11 mile run. Good speed, good heart rate, and the drizzle didn't start until I was done and got in the car. Even though I was sweating and my core was warm, I felt really chilled by the time I got out of the car at the fitness center. I had planned to swim, but the lap pool just felt too cold. I played around in the leisure pool for a few minutes, but spent most of my time in the sauna and hot tub.

According to the weatherman (Tom Skilling), next weekend could be a major washout--lots of rain and cooler. I know if that's the case I'll be on my trainer and the treadmill. I hope it doesn't affect the Chicago Marathon. Personally, I'd rather not run in the rain, but I guess it's better than running in the heat. I don't mind the heat if it's not extreme--anything over 90 degrees I consider extreme.

If I have to make a choice between hot and cold, I will ALMOST always choose hot, especially on the bike. Running, a bit different. Although I DO NOT RUN in extreme cold. The cold is really hard on my joints, the hard ground is hard on my joints, the cold air is hard on my respiratory system, I hate wearing three layers of clothes, two hats, gloves, extra socks.......I mean, you have even more laundry to do than in the summer! I just find it much easier staying inside. Don't get me wrong--I WOULD MUCH RATHER BE OUTSIDE--but it sure beats being outside in the cold or just not riding or running at all. That would be the WORST!

One good thing about the cold is that fluid stays cold. It's nice drinking cold water or whatever. But have you noticed how hard it is to eat a cold Powerbar, or gel that's really cold? One year I trained for an April marathon. My gel actually froze when I was on one of my long runs!

When I was younger (up to my early 40's) I ran outside in almost any weather. I ran at 4:30 in the morning, in the dark, in the cold, snow, rain, 10 degrees and below wind chill, with my Siberian Husky dogs. They loved it, and I felt really safe with them. NO ONE bothered me when they were with me. Today, I wouldn't even THINK about doing such a thing! Thank God for fitness centers, bike trainers and treadmills!

So that's my story. All I could think about when I was riding on Saturday was how long it will be before April comes. Until then, I'll be on my trainer and the treadmill, watching movies, TV, Spinnerval DVD's, and listening to my IPOD. Oh, and swimming INSIDE.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Have a great week.

Until next time--God bless!

Friday, October 3, 2008

'Sup'? (aka 'What's Up?')

So it's been a few days since the last post. Lots of things happening, but nothing that seems that exciting to me.

1) My workouts have been OK. I'm still feeling tired at times, and not always sleeping well. The stupid headaches come and go. The night sweats and hot flashes really S***! Getting old(er) in general S****, but as my dad always says, it's better than the alternative.

2) People are still asking my if I'm recovered from Louisville. I have to tell you all something: because the race was such a disaster for me, I realized the other day that I didn't think I DESERVED a recovery period. I know that's crazy, because I did all the training, and was out on the course for over 14 hours that day. But because I didn't finish, somehow my warped sense of right and wrong tells me that I just didn't deserve a rest/recovery time. So basically, I've continued my workouts as if it was base training. Maybe even a little more than your average "normal" triathlete. Another reason I wish I could afford a coach.

3) Speaking of "affording"--things are really tight financially in our household. Normally I sign up ASAP for the races I want to do next year, but I'm going to have to hold off for now. I know this means I probably will miss the early bird sign up discounts, but, what can you do? No new bike toys for next year. I'll just have to get stronger and faster on my own!

4) Yesterday was my son's and husband's birthdays. Yeah I know, but we really didn't plan it that way, just how it worked out. In some ways it seems like yesterday that I was in the hospital with my first newborn, and in other ways it feels like the 15 years it has been. There are some things I would do different, but in general, it's all good!

5) Speaking of my son, last night was parent/teacher conferences at the high school. I knew exactly what to expect. To a teacher, this is what we heard: Ryan is a great kid and student. He's doing amazing. He participates, always has fun/interesting things to contribute to the class. He's polite, good with the other kids, and I wish I had 50-150 more kids just like him. It's a testament to your parenting that he is the way he is!

I shouldn't have been surprised--this is what we've heard about him since he was in kindergarten. I know he's a good kid. And at 15, I don't expect him to change a whole lot (Lord willing). He's going on an overnight with his church group tonight, and he is really excited.

6) When my son was about six months old, I stopped working outside the home. It was something we had always planned on doing. I was 38 when I had him, and had been working pretty much since I was 16. I spent one year in college, and even then I lived at home and worked part-time. Things were so different in the early 70's. It wasn't a given that everyone graduated from a four year college. Anyway, my point is that while it has been a HUGE FINANCIAL SACRIFICE for me to be home, and I know our lives would be very different if I had continued to work, I wouldn't trade the time I've had with my kids for anything. This was a choice we made, and for better or worse, we are living with the consequences. Last night at the conferences, I once again realized that we made the right choice. PTL!

7) Talk about a small world! There is a very talented local triathlete who teaches at the high school my son attends. We happened to walk by his classroom while we were at the school last night. This is a very large school--the chances of that happening? Not so good. So when we were finished with our conferences, we went back and introduced ourselves. He wasn't busy, so we chatted for a little bit. This guy was about 3 years old when I did my first tri. HA! He routinely goes under 10 hours in an ironman race (even Kona). He was at Louisville, and did amazing.

8) When we were at the very first high school meeting when we met the teachers, there was a PE teacher that looked really familiar to me. He was built like a triathlete, and I wondered if that's how I knew him. When we were talking to the ironman teacher, he mentioned that this guy completed the iron distance race I'm thinking about doing in southern Illinois. AHA! So he is a triathlete, and that's probably how I know him. I saw him at the conferences yesterday, and we were both kind of looking at each other, but I didn't talk to him. Unusual for me, and now I'm really wishing I had. Seems like everywhere I go, triathlon follows me in one way or another.

9) October 16th will be our 26th wedding anniversary! What more can I say?

Last night I was wiped when I went to bed. I had originally planned to ride for a couple hours on my trainer early and swim later, but I felt so lousy I decided to skip the ride. I did have a pretty good 2500 meter swim. I'm hoping to do a long(er) ride outside tomorrow. The weather is a little cooler than I like for biking (50's), but tomorrow is supposed to be the warmer of the two weekend days. Sunday should be a good day for an outside run.

Once October comes along, I know my outside workouts are winding down. I really hate the beginning of fall and winter. I keep telling my husband I don't want to die here--in other words, I want to move somewhere warm sometime before I die, and while I can still swim/bike/run. We'll see--doesn't look to good, but you never know!?

Hope everyone has a great weekend. One more week until the Chicago marathon. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend.

And to those of you lucky enough to be heading to Kona--have a safe trip and good pre-race preparation. I envy the weather you will have.

Until next time--God bless!