Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week #4: introducing Rose Physical Therapy, exclusive sponsor of Wongstar 2.0!

Mon 1/19. MLK holiday. Biked 1:30 on trainer while watching Frozen. :D
Tues 1/20. Nothing. Meh!
Wed 1/21. Nothing. Worked late and had to miss the RWB run :(
Thurs 1/22. Nothing. Meh!
Fri 1/23. A lame (but better than nothing) 30mins on the trainer before work.
Sat 1/24. A lame 4-mile walk/run.
Sun 1/25. Redemption! Ran 13.1 miles solo on the C&O trail in under 1:50. First half at 8:30-8:45 pace, second half at 7:45-8:10 pace. Negative splits, yeah!

Totals: 0 swimming, 2:00 biking, 2:30 running-ish (17.1 miles) = 4:30 hours total.

This week was mentally stressful and de-motivating due to what we shall call "life stuff". Unfortunately I let what goes on in between my ears affect my ability to "JFT" (you know, just effing get out the door and train). And I know I'll feel better if I get my workouts in, but sometimes you just get into that soul-crushing, vicious cycle of "I feel bad and don't want to train, so I won't and will thus perpetuate this feeling of yuckiness." Kind of brain-foggy.

I forced myself out the door on Saturday afternoon and could only run a mile before feeling really yucky. Still, I forced myself to at least keep walking for another 3 miles. I felt so lame! But not so lame as just turning around. So that's something.

Luckily, nothing shakes you out of a funk like getting a brand new, exclusive sponsor...and seeing monster trucks!

Saturday evening, I was invited to join Rose Physical Therapy Group for some gumbo and bonding with their other sponsored athletes. It was like assembling the athletic version of the Avengers in the Washington DC area! There were other triathletes, crossfitters, and marathoners. Everyone is very accomplished and also a community leader.

Claire and Damon (seated in front of me at the bottom right of the photo) are the owners of Rose PT, which is an amazing physical therapy practice located right in downtown DC, by the Farragut metro stations. They are all about quality patient care (which is what I'm all about too!) and have one-on-one sessions with patients for a full hour. As a prosthetist that works alongside PT's in various settings, I have seen too many therapists that try to juggle multiple patients at once or pass them to their assistants.

Damon had reached out to me over a year ago as a self-professed "longtime Wongstar fan" regarding potential sponsorship. We're talking at least 5 or 6 years back, when I was racing for teamTBB! It's amazing how many people connected with me over my TBB blog. Of course, due to the whole email/fanmail debacle, I didn't actually get this email until last November. OOPS. I was very flattered, and as it turns out, the timing worked out very well--I wasn't actually racing much over a year ago as I was still bumbling around trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my old athletic self off the ground.

This year will be much better, as I have a much clearer idea and better support system with Kevin and now my exclusive sponsor, Rose PT! I definitely appreciate the help, and have to giggle, as I am not and have not been actively seeking sponsorship since stepping down from the professional ranks. So this was a very pleasant surprise, because as anyone trying to seek sponsors knows, you ask so many companies for sponsorship (usually unsuccessfully) and it's hardly the other way around. So now we both feel special!

I have to admit that I felt like a super slacker as we were going around the table talking about what races we have on tap this year. All I have (for sure) is the half marathon in Austin next month and the Challenge AC Half in June, then the wedding (whoop whoop!) in September, and potentially a late season half IM. Sure I am thinking of putting in a couple other tris, but most of the other trigeeks had at least 6 races they were already committed to (including championship stuff, and some Ironman stuff, whew). I guess "Wongstar 2.0" is also "Wongstar Lite"! Gone are my days of racing 6-8 Ironmans in one year, but if I were to ever race that much again (unlikely!), at least I know I have the physical therapists at Rose PT to pick up the pieces of my mangled body week after week.

After the meeting, I met up with my beloved Kevin-star for "redneck date night" = MONSTER TRUCK JAM! It was two metro stops away at the Verizon center. I have never gone before, and as I make Kevin do Asian things every now and then, I also enjoy doing redneck things with him every now and then. (Actually I have wanted to see MONSTER TRUCKS since we first started dating. And yes, MONSTER TRUCKS must be in ALL CAPS, because MONSTER TRUCKS!!!)

My favorites were the CRUSH-STATION, which looked like a LOBSTER, because who doesn't love an awful pun? I mean, awfully amazing pun! ...and the GRAVE DIGGER, which we had passed by when we were at the Outer Banks a couple years ago when me and Amy did our first ultramarathon.

So Saturday night was very relaxing and I was also pretty pumped up after meeting the other fast athletes and such a supportive sponsor. I think that helped me get into a better "head space" and I rocked my long run today. 13.1 miles is definitely the longest I've done since October, so it's nice to know I can still go the distance (no water or nutrition either). Now I just have to get in some speedier stuff in the next 3 weeks so I can at least keep up with Amy! And I'm reminding myself what the big picture is for 2015...I want to be able to run 1:35 off the bike, so I should be able to do that on "fresh legs"! Time to get it this week!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week #3. Run quota finally met! and a story about hills...

Mon 1/12. Easy spin on trainer, 1hr.
Tues 1/13. slept in, NOTHING!
Weds 1/14. 3.5 miles easy with Team RWB MoCo
Thurs 1/15. 6 miles after work, 10x Strathmore hill repeats
Fri 1/16. nothing!
Sat 1/17. easy 3 miles shake-out run.
Sun 1/18. longer 10-miler @ 8:30 pace

Totals: ZERO swimming, 1:00 biking, 3:30 running (22.5 miles) = 4:30 total

Hmm, overall my total volume is still looking fairly lame, BUT I got in another 5 out of 7 days. Not too terrible. However, no swimming and no morning workouts (at all, not even on the weekend). Motivationally, things were pretty bleak this week and I sent Amy a "help, I suck!" text so she could give me some tough love. She told me to go run some hills (I do love me some hill repeats), so I actually mustered the cajones to go get some, my only solo after-work in-the-dark session. Well, not completely in the dark--I like to run the hill up by the side of "The Strathmore", which is a fancy schmancy music center a mile from our place, well lit at night as the musicians are rehearsing or performing at all hours.

I also ran the Team RWB MoCo Wednesday night run for the first time all year, and first since the week before Christmas. We had cancelled the Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve runs, and then I wussed out the next week, because it was under 20 degrees (screw that!). As always, good to catch up with the run buddies; it is always amazing how close-knit you can get with your running group and they are always the first to share life events with!

We meet at the Lululemon on Bethesda Row every Wednesday at 6:30pm, and I have resisted buying any of their super cute (and super expensive) clothes for over a year now. I'm not going to "break the seal"! Besides, I have super cute Team RWB and "retro" Ironman gear:

That beanie is from my second Ironman ever, IM Florida in 2003, which I did in 13:50. (6 years later, I would take almost 4 hours off that time, which is insane and still my PR.) Not quite a dozen years old, but old enough to be considered retro in Ironman years, right?? I think it was a Team USA hat because this was during the lead-up to the Athens summer Olympics in 2004. I am sure this was way back when Ironmans "only" cost $375. HAHA!

Then today I did my second 10-miler of the year, second Sunday in a row, and actually averaged 8:30 miles (not like 10 minute miles from last weekend in the snow). So! I feel like less of a chubster. Anyway, I am happy that I finally broke the 19.5 miles/week running quota for me and Amy to hit 2015 by the end of the year. You can throw my 3 extra miles toward my previous weeks when I was short. :)

Anyway, running hill repeats always makes me think of "this one time, at TBB training camp" and maybe one day I'll write my tell-all book about what really happened at training camp. Or I could start a blog series here, "teamTBB, the untold stories". Suffice it to say, it was kind of like Mean Girls and I was the slow, fat kid that they picked on. During my second camp at Subic Bay in February of 2009 (it was my first one with the fast people, as the previous camp was all rookies while the fast ones were in Kona), there was one workout that I'll never forget.

We had to run hill repeats, and after the first few, Brett made a bunch of the fast girls run them with me (they weren't allowed to pass me), as they kept running the downhill recoveries too fast, while I was doing my own thing as the slow, fat one. Since I had been schooled by Coach DiMaggio in my high school years (see the cross country report) running all kinds of hill repeats on campus, on the sand dunes by the beach, and all over the super hilly suburbs outside of super hilly San Francisco, I knew how to "attack the hill", especially the second half of it, "crest the hill", and then take the downhills as a super easy recovery so you don't throw up (like I once did at the sand dunes) and can keep attacking the next hill rep.

Well, the "Plastics" thought this was such a joke that they had to run their hill repeats with me. "Regina George" (names are protected because she is a very well-known and successful pro triathlete) was the Queen Bee and especially nasty to me, and I could hear them laughing about the whole situation as they ran up the hill right behind me. This really pissed me off. They kept chattering as we ascended the hill, as if "Wongstar pace" was the same as "conversational pace". I paid no mind to the Mean Girls and focused on my own workout. I ran the first half of the uphill hard, and the second half even harder. I then slowed the heck down as I caught my breath on the downhill.

By the second hill repeat, there was only silence behind me. I was running the hills too hard for them to conversate. (They don't call me #Quadzilla for nothing.) The Queen Bee had the nerve to say something to the extent of "Wow, Wongstar, you're actually quite strong on the hills!" By the fourth repeat (out of 8-10), Brett dismissed them from the hill and had them finish their run elsewhere as a group. Later he said it was because they couldn't keep up and he didn't want to embarrass them.

There were some other instances of this Mean Girls behavior, but I survived. It gets better, right? They weren't all like that, and eventually I won most of my teammates' respect. But it was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. And in hindsight, it has shaped the person I've become.

Looking back, it's easy for me to see that everyone was just so insecure at training camp. You throw a bunch of Ironman champions together and I think they were just glad to have someone like me as the figurative punching bag, because it was nice to know that they were definitely faster than somebody.

Ok. That got too deep. I will try to get in at least one speedwork session this week! Let's make it a morning one. :) And more hill repeats. Because I can run hills, dammit.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Week #2. First snow!

Mon 1/5. Biked 1hr on the trainer
Tues 1/6. SNOW DAY! Ran 7.2 miles on the treadmill.
Weds 1/7. BUTT COLD! Biked 1hr on the trainer
Thurs 1/8. Slept in... rest day
Fri 1/9. Slept in...itching to run after work, but happy hour instead :)
Sat 1/10. Biked 75mins on the trainer
Sun 1/11. Ran 10 miles @10min pace in the snow

Total hours: biked 3:15; ran 2:45 (17.2 miles); TOTAL 6:00

I made it through the first full week of 2015! Hooray! Some milestones:

  • Worked out 4 days in a row (if you include the Sunday before)
  • Worked out 5 out of 7 days, for at least an hour each!
  • First treadmill run in a while, it's mental more than anything
  • First run with the GPS watch in a while
On the downside...I think the only day I worked out first thing in the morning was Monday. The rest of the week I couldn't get up early. There's something to be said for less daylight and Mother Nature wanting you to sleep in and get fat during winter. :) Who I am to argue against human nature??

I also hadn't run with the GPS watch in a while (I avoid it because I don't like to see how slow I'm going, but hey, time to face reality and get my butt in gear). My plan was to hold 9-min miles for my long run, but when I realized how snowy it was (see photo above! interspersed with hopscotching between patches of ice), I changed to a trail running mentality. You know, "don't worry about speed, just don't slip and fall!"

My first snow angel ever, last Tuesday
In the meantime, I had promised to write up some 2015 triathlon goals:
  • Better work/life(triathlon) balance 
  • Update this blog every Sunday! (2 for 2 so far!)
  • PR in the half ironman! I even wrote down my goal splits on Post-Its...

The first one is a bit abstract, I know. As for the PR goal, I'm trying to take over 5 minutes off my PR. My splits are all attainable, it will be a matter of getting some consistent training in (see work/life balance...) and nailing the long sessions. I'm building that endurance back up! My first workout over 90mins today in the cold and snow really wore me out. I'm POOPED!

This coming week, I need to hit the swimming pool at least ONCE...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hello, 2015! Week #1.

So I had seen Facebook friends posting up this "Run 2,015 miles in 2015!" Challenge, and was intrigued, although not intrigued enough when I realized this meant running almost 39 miles per week. 39 miles per week is really not that much (elite marathoners are always shooting for that magical 100 miles per week, or more), but this would be every single week, even when I want to sit on my fat butt when it's winter and snuggle up in my fleece penguin PJ pants. I also remembered that one week, last year, when I thought I'd be a marathon runner and ran every single day for a whopping 46.8 miles, only to realize (yet again) that my body was happier with mixing it up as a triathlete.

So. There was also a "partner up!" option, and who do I always call when there is a partner in crime needed in the endurance world? Yes, Amy F-ing Chow, as we know her, my fearless maid of honor. We only need to each run 19.4 miles per week, and I did a whopping 7-mile run today... for this week ending today... for a total of 7 miles for the week. (No, I didn't bike or swim either. What a turd!)

Of course, Amy is an overachiever and already did 18.75 miles in 4 days. Good thing I have her to pick up the slack! Anyway, we aren't doing it for the medal or t-shirt, since we have plenty of those, and we are keeping each other accountable. So we're not going to pony up $25 each just to "register" for this virtual event.

Instead, I'm actually going to run with my GPS watch more, which always makes me go faster because it shames me into realizing how slow I run when nobody's watching. And I will actually recap my training miles each Sunday on this blog. Because, why not. I never used to put my training logs online because I thought it was the most boring thing ever (we all know the bloggers that do), but then I realized I am not good at logging my training anywhere (not even the hand-drawn calendars I like to make). So if I just pop it on the interwebs each Sunday, at least it will force me to document it somewhere, anywhere, before it disappears out of my head. And I know there are you voyeurs out there who still stalk me and wonder "What kind of training does the Wongstar actually do these days?"

So here's Week #1:

Thurs 1/1. nothing! Happy new year!
Fri 1/2. nothing! Happy new year!
Sat 1/3. nothing! Happy new year!
Sun 1/4. ran 7 miles. 1-hour-ish

For the blog fans, this will also force me to update my blog much more often. Only 18 entries for 2014, how pathetic! And you know I have trouble just writing down a mini entry. I'm an over-sharer!

In other news, wow, teamTBB has officially shut down after about 8 years. (See Post by teamTBB on Facebook.) I'm so happy I got the opportunity to travel the world, get fast enough to race as a pro on the Ironman circuit, and see how prosthetics were made (and even help make them!) in Thailand and the Philippines. I've been reassured by our team manager, Alex, that the Wongstar teamTBB blog shall live on in cyberspace!

Well that's enough for a week #1 update! I wanted to get into my 2015 goals and race schedule, but that's enough fodder for next week's update. HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2015 be your best year ever. :)