Monday, June 29, 2015

Weeks #18-26. the last NINE weeks...!

Whoops, life got the better of me since the last "weekly" update (week #17, ending April 26), which ironically was when I was finally starting to feel like a real triathlete. Suddenly it's the day after my half IM at Challenge Atlantic City and I've missed nine weeks of blog updates, many of those weeks not feeling like such a real triathlete!

Spoiler alert: I did pretty good yesterday considering my mediocre training and got on the AG podium despite the first drafting penalty in my 16 years of triathlon racing. I was happy to feel strong throughout most of the race but know there's more work to do if I ever want to get a PR!

But before there's a race report, I'll do a little catch up while we wait for official photos, watermarks and all.

Week #18 (9:00 training). I went with some coworkers to the Challenged Athletes Foundation/Ă–ssur running and mobility clinic for amputees in DC, featuring Paralympic track superstar Scout who has gotten crazy fast since I met her a few years back! World record holder in the 400m and American record holder in the 200m! #madeinChina

Week #19 (7:50 training). Towards the end of this week I sprained my foot running very steep hill repeats. So I didn't run for a couple weeks, but it was like my body knew that we were about to have some huge wedding-planning drama! :(

Week #20-21 (very negligible). A few days after the foot thing, we found out our original wedding venue was having some construction issues (with just over 4 months to go). AUGHHHH. Commence 2 weeks of very frantic wedding re-planning, venue hunting, phone calls and emails, family conferencing, BLEAH. We did in 2 weeks what we had been working on for the previous 12 months! And close to ZERO training for me (which didn't help with the stress).

When all was said and done, we found a great (and affordable!) new venue in a gorgeous location (Dewey Beach!) but had to push the date back by one week. There were some guest list casualties with the changes, but it is what it is. It's hard to please everybody when you are trying to plan such a big event on short notice.

As I write this, we are less than 3 months to go but now more excited about the new venue than the old one! There still seems like so much to do, but I'm not racing in July so we should get more done. (My first dress fitting is tomorrow, 2 days after racing a half, YES! Calories burnt!) Training-wise, let's just pretend these two weeks didn't really exist. Blank pages in the ole training log can get torn out. :)

Week #22 (10:05 training). Of course that left me with a week to go for my season opener at Rock Hall International tri, which was not pretty, but a solid training day for me and fellow RWB Eagle Lindsay, who would also be racing Challenge AC.

My time (2:38 and 5th AG) was almost 10 minutes slower than last year, mostly in the swim (non-wetsuit) and run (very low run fitness and pretty bad head space). I don't think my swim fitness was that terrible, but most of us went off course into the sun, skipping buoy #3, and I had enough of a conscience to turn back and make sure I went around the buoy. UGH.

As the Sufferfest videos say "We have to look away now. Not pretty. Not pretty."

At least my transitions were faster, and my bike split was close (with no race wheels on Marty). I was too disgruntled to do a race report.

Week #23 (10:45 training). Post-race I only had 4 more weeks until the CAC half ironman and not quite freaking out yet, until I had the worst run EVER on Saturday morning. Then the panic set in hard and fast (3 weeks to go, ACK!!!). I decided at the last minute to do the course preview ride in NJ the next day, as I was seriously considering not starting the race.

I'm really glad I did it, because I got to meet Jaime (fellow RWB chick who I've been FB friends with for a while) and we did a 60-mile bike/6-mile run brick together. It was motivating to be around other people training for the same race who were really excited about it. Also, I guess I train solo so much that I forget I am a pretty solid triathlete even when I think I'm super crappy.

Week #24 (12:15 training). My biggest week yet! Even with a mini trip to DC thrown in the middle of the week. During my bike leg at Rock Hall, I realized my quad/hamstring was complaining quite a bit when I biked super hard because I have unresolved issues from the bike crash/car crash at Ironman Korea from 2011.

I visited the amazing Claire at Rose Physical Therapy to take advantage of our awesome partnership. She took advantage of me (heh heh!) with some dry needling and Graston-like manipulation to get all the nasty scar tissue straightened out. I will elaborate more in another post, but my quad/hamstring has been feeling much better and I got through the bike yesterday without the legs complaining!

I also totally rigged it so I would make it to...Wednesday night run club in Bethesda! It's amazing how gigantic the group has gotten (big enough a panoramic shot is needed).

I then got a very solid weekend with my longest run (13.6 miles) and longest bike (65 miles) this year, both in 90* heat to cap off a 12-hour week. Now if I could only string together 10 weeks like this (or even 10 weeks of 10-hour weeks), I'd feel much better going into a half ironman!

Week #25 (9:00 training). More solid training capped off by our first Team RWB Mid-Atlantic Triathlon & Leadership Camp in Richmond! I'm the volunteer regional triathlon coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic and was on hand to help with the newbies as a "camp counselor". The Richmond contingent did an impressive amount of legwork to get this off the ground and I was proud to be part of it.

Week #26 (8:35 including the race). The usual race week shenanigans, eating more ice cream and having a beer every day while working out a little bit less. ;)

And getting Marty equipped with new stickers and stuff for... RACE TIME!

Wongstar decals from and the other flag is my "dual citizenship" for Sufferlandria. #IWBMATTKT = "I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow!"

Monday, May 4, 2015

Ode to My MoCo Eagles, a North Face relay report

So this isn't really a "race report" as I don't think any of us considered it a real race. I personally have a bad track record in staying upright during trail races (#klutz) so I try not to go too fast or I trip over myself. In the week leading up to the race, Chris mentioned something about a bum foot, and the day before supercouple Team Lim mentioned that Kerry had been really sick, and Steve had 3/4 of an ankle (what does that even mean?!).

To me and Kevin, this event was like an RWB DC "family reunion" as it was the first time we went back to visit DC since moving back to Delaware 2 months ago. We both got much more involved with the DC chapter once the Montgomery County (MoCo!) sub-chapter/community got more organized in October 2013. (RWB was unavoidable as the Wednesday night runs were based out of the Lululemon just 2 blocks down the street from our first studio.)

Aside from several runs I skipped during the butt-cold freezing weeks of winter, Wednesday night runs were a staple with my crew, and we even shared pretty big milestones together (literally and figuratively!). These were the first ladies who heard the news when Kevin proposed (with wedding planning discussed during runs). Kerry ran each week until 2 weeks before she popped out Steve Junior, and we threw a post-run baby shower for Steve and Kerry (she broke the news to me during a run, of course). Chris made it through his first 10-miler, and then his second! Like all amazing running groups and running buddies, we were always there to tell each other about jobs, dating, family...first. Of course they were not happy when we broke the news about moving away, but wished us well and helped us pack up and celebrate new opportunities!

The night before the relay, we were hosted by our friends across the river, Justin and Keri in Alexandria (more Eagle love!), who sent us on our way Saturday morning after feeding us bacon and egg sandwiches (breakfast of champions!). We soon got to the park where we linked up with the rest of "Team RWB MoCo Eagles". Because of the various illness and ailments, Kerry nicknamed us "Team Sh*tshow", while I thought of us as the "MoCo MoFos"). Our decided order was that Kerry go first (she was sick and on a very specific breast-pumping schedule), I'd go second, Steve would go 3rd, and Chris would be our anchor (in case his foot wasn't cooperating, he didn't want the runner after him to wait too long).

Clean shoes pre-race :(
Within 30 minutes of seeing how bad Kerry was feeling, I decided I would run the first leg with her--she insisted on running her 6.5 miles despite being sick, but was not very enthusiastic about the whole thing. I figured it would be helpful if I ran with her, like it was one of our Wednesday night runs! What was the purpose of a running relay reunion if we didn't get to chat and catch up while running? Obviously I hadn't been around for a couple months, and me and Kerry kept missing each other on alternating Wednesdays due to our moving craziness and their new baby schedule. I had also planned to get in at least a good 90 minutes of running, so I was more than happy to run both the first and second legs for a nice 13.1 miles.

Well, off we went and while the weather was amazing and gorgeous (it would hit the mid-70's), patches of the trail were GROSS AND MUDDY! This was a travesty, as I was dumb enough to wear some fairly new shoes. Ugh...trail rookie.

We went at a pretty good clip while chatting most of the way, I think we managed a sub-10 pace even with a small bit of walking, and me tripping over myself... Yeah, I got way too excited cheering for our fastest RWB relay team (they got 7th out of almost 100 teams!) coming the other way and fell into a bush. #klutz

the fastest RWB team!

just a small scrape! #RosePT

6.5 miles with Kerry went by quick, then it was time for the relay exchange! Kerry swapped the timing chip from her ankle to mine (she insisted that feeling up my leg would make her day), and off I went, squishing through the muddy areas again.

POOR SHOES! I felt amazing at first, which only lasted 2 miles, then I thought "crap, why didnt I let Steve go second?!"

It was motivating as usual to have other RWB Eagles on the course, and I made it my goal to catch up to as many people as possible, including one of the girls we know, Katrine. I got her with a couple miles to spare and gave her the regular "caught-you-butt-spank" that everybody loves. (Just kidding, but wouldn't it be hilarious if you spanked everybody you passed?)

Then it was time to pass my chip over to Steve, and I realized this was my longest run in a while (I hadn't run a half marathon since Beach2Battleship in October), and managed a huge negative split with a 7:24 average (sub 1:52 for the 13 miles). Go Steve go!

And it was off to the beer garden which was managed by Kevin and Adam, with RWB bartenders!

In between beers and eating, we got up to cheer for our final relay exchange, Steve passing to Chris, then back to the beer garden while Chris went out to get his shoes muddy.

He had his phone and messaged our team at one point "Passing the aid station 2nd time. I'm hurting so slow and steady" and everyone insisted I run over to check on him. Steve: "Doing great Chris! Reinforcement inbound to you!" The joke was that I would end up having to run the entire marathon by myself since everybody was injured or ill. Ha! I yelled "I've only had 2 beers!" while struggling to put my muddy shoes back on, and only had to run about half a mile before I saw Chris on his way back, looking fairly strong.

He even had enough for a finishing kick! I let him go that last 100 meters because he was too fast for me. :)

All in all, it was an awesome day filled with running, friends, mud, and beer.

We got to see both Joanna (queen of the donuts) and Brennan (our fearless leader) finish the 50k race before we went back on the road to Delaware...

And of course, there was the requisite podium shots!

Carrying Kerry :)

Thanks RWB family, let's do this again soon!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Week #16 & 17: pre- and post-North Face

It would appear I'm a week behind in my updates, so I shall lump them together! These are the week leading up to the North Face trail marathon relay with my old MoCo Eagle peeps, and the week following, but not the actual race report itself. Way too much fun to cram all into one post!

Week #16:
Mon 4/13. ran :40 long hills, felt like crap :(
Tues 4/14. biked 1:00 moderately on trainer
Weds 4/15. swam :30 (25's fast) before work and ran 1:00 on trails after work--first local RWB run with Erin!

Thurs 4/16. rest day. must've felt pooped from my first double workout work day!
Fri 4/17. swam :45 (100's p/pb/b). second swim and actually felt decent, whoa!
Sat 4/18. ran 2:00 (14 miles). North Face relay! I actually ran the first two legs, first 6.5 @ 9min pace with Kerry, second 6.5 @ 7:24 pace solo, then a "bonus mile" at the end to help bring in our anchor, Chris. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRIS!!!)
Sun 4/19. biked 2:40 and had a glimmer of my old self. The legs just felt "right" for the first time in ages.

Totals: swam 1:15, biked 3:40, ran 3:40 = 8:35.

Notables for week #16:

  • I finally swam more than once! WHOOP WHOOP!
  • First double workout day on a work day!
  • The biking legs are DEFINITELY coming back. YAY!
  • First local RWB run! We are assembling like the Avengers! #EagleFire
  • Longest run, by far, since probably my Beach2Battleship half in October. (And that was only 13.1!)

Next up, week #17:
Mon 4/20. nothing! Nice rest day! (Longer work day too. Good balance.)
Tues 4/21. swam :40 before work, ran :40 after work with Erin from Team RWB again. Easy run by downtown/Brandywine creek.
Weds 4/22. biked 1:00 easy while catching up on Once Upon a Time in the morning, then dropped off the bike for new cockpit assembly at Trolley Bikes (the bike shop formerly known as the "TBB" in "teamTBB"). 
Thurs 4/23. swam :40... 15x100's p/pb/b. Picked up bike afterwards! My favorite bike mechanic, John, is the best! (Always bring him cookies or brownies if you want primo service!)
Fri 4/24. biked 1:30 HARD on the trainer--Sufferfest "Local Hero"
Sat 4/25. swam 1:30 with my old friends, the Tri-Dawgs. Epic and tiring...but recovered enough to get on the bike and ride 2:30. The legs felt pretty smashed, from that nice hard ride the previous day.

New base bar swapped out, felt great, now to figure out
how to make a more aerodynamic Hello Panda holster?
Sun 4/26. ran 1:30 on trails rather pathetically. The legs felt dead and I actually tripped twice, falling once. (I should just stop running trails for my own health and safety! I tripped during the North Face race on a very non-technical part too!)

Totals: swam 2:50 (WHOA), biked 5:00, ran 2:40 = 10:00 total. Nice!

Notables for week #17:
  • including, first "squad" swim in a very long time...and LONGEST swim in a very long time
  • first Sufferfest session on the trainer in a very long time
  • first 10-hour training week!
  • morning workouts on 4 out of 5 weekday mornings!
  • Actually started feeling like a REAL TRIATHLETE again last weekend! (I feel like Pinocchio saying "I'm a real boy!")

Yup, it's the end of April and after some speed bumps during our rough (and forever long) winter, including the move back to Delaware, I actually feel like I'm getting back in the groove of things. I haven't felt like a real triathlete in a while. Triathlon isn't everything but it sure makes me a happier and more balanced person--I am extra annoyingly cheerful at work on the mornings I get my training done! Kevin's work schedule has switched over to 7am shifts, so it's actually helpful for me to both be up and awake by 5:30.

Spoiler alert after the dead legs weekend, it's Tuesday right now and my run legs are feeling fantastic again. The lung thing I was/am feeling seems to coincide with spring allergies, so I'm monitoring that sensation for the time being. Next up will be a little marathon relay race report, and it's less than 5 weeks til Rock Hall Olympic, 9 weeks til Challenge AC half. 10+ hour weeks and 3 swims a week from here on out!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week #15: Bike legs returning, running lungs not so much

Mon 4/6. biked 1:00. ez spin on trainer after work
Tues 4/7. swam :45
Wed 4/8. off
Thurs 4/9. ran :45 trails! Nixon park in Kennett Square
Fri 4/10. biked :45. ez spin on trainer after work
Sat 4/11. ran 1:15 trails!
Sun 4/12.  biked 2:45. loop around Lum's Pond & Veterans memorial cemetery

Totals: swam :45, biked 4:30, ran 2:00 (14 miles) = 7:15.

I tried to do more this week, while juggling a 2-day work seminar on Thursday & Friday. Alas, it was not to happen as I BROKE THE STREAK (NO!!!) on Wednesday, staying late to get my work done before the seminar days. But I jumped right back on the horse, finding a park to run trails in while driving home from the first day of our workshop on Thursday.

Yup--trails, trails, trails! I will be meeting up with my old MoCo RWB Eagles to do the North Face Endurance Challenge marathon relay this weekend, just outside of DC. It's all on trails and will be our first time back in the DC area since we moved. So! It should be a good time. My running lungs don't seem to be responding well to my training though. I'm getting some flashbacks to the summer I had costochondritis and feeling apprehensive and annoyed at myself. (Because it means I let myself get out of shape and being an inconsistent athlete caused it. Argh.) We shall be semi-conservative with running, as it is a self-limiting condition anyway, but we have 7 weeks to go until Rock Hall!

On the bright side, my second outdoor bike ride of the year went fairly well. I've finally dialed in my ISM saddle and found the sweet spot on Marty McFly. Yay! Do you know how awesome it feels when your girl bits are happy on a long ride?? Now I just need to get the American Flag one...

The cockpit still needs some adjusting (I'm hating the basebar that came stock with the bike), but that should be fairly easy. The plan is to spend more time in the saddle...and well, the pool (I'll go twice this week! that's the plan!!), and that way I'll be less tired starting the run. The running fitness can come later.

Stay tuned for more exciting shenanigans! (Because this update wasn't THAT exciting...)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week #14: introducing Marty McFly, my TimeMachine TM01!

Mon. 3/29. biked :45 easy spin on trainer
Tues 3/30. ran 1:00 after work, in the rain, long hill repeats! BOOM!
Wed 4/1. biked 1:00 moderate on the trainer. After happy hour. ha!
Thur 4/2. swam :30 before work.
Fri 4/3. ran :45 on trails at Judge Morris Estate.
Sat 4/4. biked :30 outside, too windy, so ran 1:15 on trails at White Clay Creek
Sun 4/5. biked 2:15. 38-ish miles outdoors. YAY!

Totals: swam :30, biked 4:30, ran 3:00 (20 miles) = 8:00 total

Hooray! This was the week, I got in a little bit of training each day and hit my minimum 8 hours. I'm trying to build up to 10 hours per week (and perhaps a whopping 12 when I get more half-IM-specific) and still need to add another swim or two. DON'T BREAK THE STREAK!

Notable this week was that the weather was finally nice enough to ride the bike outside (over 55*F for this California girl). Not just any bike, the new bike!!!

I actually got my BMC timemachine TM01 last November for a birthday/Christmas/wedding combo at the bike shop formerly known as The Bike Boutique (now Trolley Bikes in Trolley Square). It was actually snowing that day. Then, it would snow on and off for several months... (ARGHHHH...)

Of course, I had to try it out right away! The cold ninja photo above is from November, when it was still butt cold. I layered it up, but my hands and feet still froze and I only lasted an hour outside.

So me and Marty McFly (because...time machine! get it?!) have been getting acquainted on the trainer. Which we all know is great, but not the same as real world outdoor conditions. I attempted to go for my long ride yesterday, but it was a blustery day to begin with, and by the time I located where my helmet had been packed away and figured out what route I wanted to ride, the winds were gusting at nearly 30mph.

I had picked a hilly route and was getting blown into traffic. Too much to handle! I actually didn't feel safe being on a brand new bike, as my position still needs tweaking so I can be more comfortable with handling it in the wind and hills. Add the cars to the mix and I was doing the death grip (I still have some bike-related PTSD from that run-in I had with a minivan in Korea years ago, one of the reasons I'm not always up for group rides). I cut my losses, went back home and did my long run instead. Better to be safe than sorry! (I did in fact crash on a group ride the first time I ever rode my first tri bike and Cervelo back in 2007...)

Today was a sunnier and less windy day. Plus everyone was at church for Easter, and I decided to go south to Lum's Pond instead, which is flatter. (Happy Easter!) I am definitely working different muscles with wind resistance and inclines!

I've had several workouts this week where I felt horribly out of shape, like "does this get any easier yet?" Or "why does easy pace not feel easy?" Too many! But at least I'm finally starting to get some consistency and habit back.

8 more weeks until Rock Hall International, so the fitness should come back by then! Any day now, please!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Week #13: The Phillies 5k

on the Phillies' Facebook page!
Mon 3/23. off
Tues 3/24. ran :50 on the trails.
Wed 3/25. biked 1:00 spin on the trainer.
Thurs 3/26. ran 1:00 easy (but felt hard!)
Fri 3/27. swam :30. first swim of the YEAR!
Sat 3/28. ran 22:15 @ Phillies 5k
Sun 3/29. biked 1:30, moderate spin on trainer while watching Glee on demand (series finale?! Rachel marries Jesse St. James?!)

Totals: swam :30, biked 2:30, ran 2:15 (15 miles) = 5:15 total.

I signed up for "Move It Delaware" last Tuesday, which is a free state-wide 10-week challenge to encourage people to exercise for at least 150 minutes per week. Which isn't much to a triathlete, but it is for a busy, hibernating triathlete and more volume than I've done for the last 5 weeks! That little push combined with slightly nicer weather and settling into our new routine here has helped, as I haven't missed a single day of exercising since the challenge started.

The main event of the week, of course, was the Phillies 5k! This was totally Kevin's idea for me to run it, since you get 4 game tickets (2 pre-season and 2 for opening weekend) with your entry ($50 for a long sleeve technical tee, a finisher's medal, AND the 4 game tickets!). Of course I turned the tables back on him and said if he signed up, we could get EIGHT game tickets...and he's the Phillies fan, not me!

I didn't realize how big of a 5k it was--6,000 people and it had sold out! My expectations and motivation were fairly LOW as I haven't done much in the last month and felt really crappy just running easy the past week. The chilly race morning temperature of "30-something, feels like 25" did not help. Luckily we bumped into the one other Team RWB Eagle who was running, J.R. from the Philly chapter!

starting line selfie with J.R.!
He wanted to know my time goal and I said I had done 21-ish when I was in better shape and in warmer weather, so he wanted to run together as his goal was a 22:30. Good thing J.R. was there to push me, as I really felt like doing a 30-minute jog in the cold!

It was crowded in the first mile, and I still ran a surprising 6:56 while dodging people. I didn't think I had a sub-7 in me! My lungs hurt from the burning cold, and J.R. pulled away at the end of the second mile, but I kept him in sights. Mile 2 was a slower 7:17 and I felt weird and yucky--a too hot torso from wearing a windbreaker over a base layer and singlet, but burning cold lungs, and cold butt from the thin running tights. My last 1.1 miles was just a hair over 8 minutes as I finally spied the finish line and tried to reel in J.R. in his red RWB shirt. I ended up finishing only 4 seconds behind! We went 22:11 and 22:15, which is faster than I felt like doing that cold morning. So thank you J.R. for pushing me to go harder than I wanted to!

And 18th woman out of over 3,500, not too shabby!

Kevin linked up with an old work buddy, Karen, and they walked the 5k together.

He did well for having broken his coccyx and pinkie toe while we were moving last month! We even got to go into the field afterwards...

Someone thought Kevin was proposing at the dugout. Meanwhile, under my beanie, I was a loyal SF Giants fan!

World Series Champions!
Overall I was very impressed with the race organization, the incredible swag, and most importantly, the abundant and clean Porta Potties at the starting area. Afterwards we attended our first Team RWB Philly event, the post-Run As One social, and got to meet more Eagles.

It may be a different chapter, but there's always the friendly members and camaraderie, amazing chapter captain, the selfies, and the crazy running tights. I love being a part of this team!