Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week #8. snow and work and packing

Mon 2/16. Easy bike 1:00. Flew home in the morning, still a little sore from the half marathon yesterday.

Tues 2/17. Snow day! packing and working

Wed 2/18. nothing

Thurs 2/19. nothing. Good-bye work happy hour!

Fri 2/20. nothing. Last day of work!

Sat 2/21. Big ass snowstorm #2! Snow shoveling and snowman building.

Sun 2/22. ran 5 miles easy on the treadmill = :45

Total hours: biked 1:00 and ran :45 (5 miles) = Less than 2 hours of training :( Does snow shoveling and snowman building count???

This was a weak sauce week. It was my last week of work at MCOP, which interestingly enough, got cut down to only 3 working days as Monday was a holiday and Tuesday we got a snow day. But with tying up all the loose ends at work and trying to pack up all our stuff at the condo, let's just call it a "recovery week" from the half marathon, eh?

So instead, you can have some snowman photos:

I admit I am not actually good at building snowmans. The snow was very light and fluffy and I've never been taught the proper way to build a large-size snowman. Kevin was too busy being all manly and shoveling out our cars to show me proper snowman-building technique. It looks so easy in cartoons!

And, also in lieu of training photos, you can have some gems that were unearthed during the packing/moving process:

I used to put up collages of my super fast Ironman champion teamTBB teammates (all the chicks, of course) on the wall for motivation. Along with my 2011 goal Ironman splits...still attainable, perhaps? On a fast course like Ironman Maryland?? Before I turn 35??? Hey, ya never know!

2011 was a difficult year. It was the last year I raced professionally. I was hoping to hit those goal splits by the end of the year, maybe at Ironman Cozumel, and instead here is the program for Ironman Korea, where I was a featured pro athlete:

I'm pretty sure I could've gotten top 5. The prize money? A whopping $1,000 for 5th! woohoo! On top of the appearance money (yeah, I got appearance money!) that they actually still gave me even though I didn't finish the race...

Anyway, let's not dwell on the past and work on moving forward. Literally moving! I am trying to get in some reasonable exercise this week while we continue to pack everything up. The U-Haul truck goes back to Delaware Saturday. The moving process always sucks but I'll be happy to get settled back into our next place and into a nice training groove...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Austin Half Marathon race report

If you have been a longtime follower of this blog (or any of my previous blogs), you may be familiar with my annual adventures with my best friend Amy. Together we are #TeamFatKidz, dubbed by Kevin who was our one-man support crew during our first ultra. I think we started doing these after I retired from being a pro. In August 2012 we did Ironman Louisville (my first as a post-pro age grouper), March 2013 was the Graveyard 100k ultramarathon, and last spring, April 2014, we did the Gulf Coast Interstate Relay 200+ mile bike ride. In the solo division but together. (We DNF'ed at mile 180-something.)

Well, we kept pushing the envelope on stupid ultra-long adventures (GCI I feel was her way of exacting revenge since Graveyard was MY idea), and I realized that it wasn't fair to sign up for these early season adventures (meant to "motivate me to train" over winter...yeah right) when I lived in the chilly Northeast (Mid-Atlantic, close enough), and she lives in "winter? what's that?" Texas. Inevitably, I'd show up fat and undertrained, get my ass kicked and then be motivated for the rest of the year.

This year would be no different! It was my idea to go visit her for the Austin Half Marathon. Mid-February, no big deal. It would be WARM! (Race day temps were actually 55-59*F compared to single digits and snowing back home.) And only a 13.1-mile run, way less than 60 miles of running or 200-ish miles of cycling, right?!

So in the good ol' Bucket of Excuses, I had the usual suspects: the cold DC winter, hibernating like a bear, etc., and also got to throw in the "switching jobs, about to move" stress of the last 2 months. Sometimes I think I really gotta train more during winter, but on the other hand, I've really taken to the "hey! I'm not a pro anymore, so I can stop taking myself so seriously!" mentality of off-season. I just know to adjust my expectations and remind myself to see the forest for the trees--my goal is to be fit for summer and fall racing. A slow start to the year is ok!

Hanging on to Amy, whew.
And hey, slow it was! I aimed to start the run with Amy and hang on as long as I could. She had just run a 1:35 at 3M (another Austin half marathon just 3 weeks prior), which is flat and net downhill, so her plan was to run the first half with the 1:40 pace group and then negative split for a 1:38 or faster, since this course is known to be tough and hillier.

Only, there wasn't a 1:40 pace group. The race was held in conjunction with the full Austin Marathon, and there was a 3:25 pace group. Only also, it didn't matter that there any pace groups, because we both needed to do the morning poo thing and couldn't find the race Porta Potties. We ended up lining up for 2 of them (which obviously weren't race-issued as they were DISGUSTING), and missed the gun start. But no biggie, we figured it was chip timed anyway... (I was unsuccessful with the #2 execution. It was too gross in there. I just couldn't! Boo!)

If I look constipated, you know why!
So we ended up jumping into the super crowded race and crossed over the start line about 4 minutes after the actual start. Man, what a mess. We were weaving around all the slower runners and it was really difficult to get going. Our first two miles were 8:13, 8:10--oh, you know what? That's according to my Garmin watch...and we were weaving around people so much, the watch would chirp before we hit the official mile marks, which meant we were actually going slower than that!

It was a huge race (I think 4,000-5,000 marathoners and 9,000 or more half-marathoners), and the marathoners didn't split off til after mile 10. So it was fairly crowded the entire way. We hit a nice downhill stretch and finally got under 8-minute pace. After mile 4, I told Amy to go ahead, as I was already feeling winded. We were already clocking sub-7:30's and I could tell she could go even quicker, while I didn't think I could go any faster without blowing up the next 9 miles.

I decided to wear my Camelbak the night before for easy hydration, and was glad I didn't have to fight the crowds to grab some water. Miles 3-7 felt fairly steady and strong (7:47, 7:27, 7:12, 7:21, 7:36), and miles 8-11 were kind of UGH (7:56, 9:04, 8:30, 8:19). I had an Espresso-flavored GU gel in my pocket that I decided I should eat at mile 9 since I was feeling crappy anyway.

There were a lot of fun and motivational signs, making fun of the Seahawks, channeling Christopher Walken, and the #besomebody campaign was really cool too.

49er fans will love this one!

I also saw lots of Team RWB runners from local Texas chapters, so it was very cool running in the same uniform and cheering each other along the way.

with the Austin chapter at their finish line tent
Miles 12 and 13 (7:24 and 7:47), I managed to kick it in some, even with the evil hills on the back end of the course, and even though I felt like the second half of my pacing sucked, somehow I still was making negative splits according to my official results. ?!?

Actually, no, I just realized I did NOT negative split...because the only splits in the official results are at 5k, 10 miles, 12 miles, and the finish. D'oh! Boo, crap.

Anyway, I was happy Amy and her boy both had great races, both 1:38-ish even though we started 4 minutes apart. Of course I would've liked to go faster, but if I remind myself where I was a year ago, I wasn't even running much, and my first race would be a 10k in 3 months' time (the St. Michael's 10k in mid-May).

We got a medal that I believe functions as a bottle opener as well!

And let's not forget the other reason for this trip! Doing some wedding planning (at home we've just been so busy with work and moving, so it has been procrastinated on)...

Tiaras FTW!
And in true #TeamFatKidz fashion, Amy was sure to fatten me up extra as we had an all-weekend eating extravaganza... Whole Foods, Thai, all-you-can-eat brunch buffet with mimosas (!!!).

Bacon! Hash browns! Jambalaya!
I was super pumped (haha, pun intended) to stay with a couple of uber trigeeks, as Mike let me try out his Normatec space boots for recovery...

I also got the chance to catch up with a lot of my old triathlete friends who knew me when we were all blogging on LiveJournal and from "before I was famous"--the travel sponsor Mark, my buddies the Weathershenkers--and also the Paks (Bliss and Minsok), who I had met when they were living in Singapore and huge supporters of TBB. I met their daughter Hanna back when she was 8 and I had hot pink hair, and now she is 14 and about to learn to drive. WHOA!

Rookie Triathlon 2007

Florida 70.3, 2009

Ironman China, 2009
Overall, a great weekend with old friends. They always have a way of reminding me of who I was way back when, and what I'm capable of doing if only I put my mind to it. So super motivated in February already! It was a nice early season fitness test to remind me that it is time to stop hibernating, even though I flew back in time for a snowstorm!

Week #7: race week Austin

Monday 2/9. nothing

Tuesday 2/10. nothing

Weds 2/11. Ran 7.5 miles on the treadmill, descending. ~1:00. 7mph to 8.5mph. My first speed workout of the year, probably! I really should do this more often. Do not fear the "dreadmill"!

Thurs 2/12. Travel day.

Fri 2/13. Walked a lot! Almost 5 miles, being car-less and doing errands and meeting friends. Not feeling well, but hoping to turn it around by Sunday.

Sat 2/14. Easy pre-race run :35 (almost 4 miles)

Sun 2/15. Austin half marathon + warm-up jog = 14 miles, ~1:50 total

Yup, that's us, post-race! I'll write up a race report later, if I can figure out how to download my splits from the Garmin again...

Totals: no swims, no bikes, 3 runs (25.5 miles) = 3:25 running, another 1:30 or so of walking...

Just the early season ass-kicking and motivation I needed to start off the year!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week #6. 50 Shades of Legos, T-rex poop and hibernating bears

Mon 2/2. Easy bike :45 on trainer...while reading Fifty Shades of Grey on the Kindle. ;)

Tues 2/3. nothing!

Wed 2/4. Ran 9 miles total @ 9:00-9:30 pace, 4.5 miles to get to Team RWB run club and then ran the 4.5-mile NIH loop with them. It was 52* and shorts weather! Always a huge turnout when it's warmer, me included!

Thurs 2/5. Biked 1:00 on the trainer, finishing the Fifty Shades trilogy. Yes, it can be quite awkward biking while ready such a steamy book. Eh heh heh! I have no doubt the movie version (rated R) is going to be WAY tamer, because the book isn't even NC-17, it's more like XXX! But I'm kind of glad they made it a toned-down version, because I don't imagine it would be comfortable watching a total porno in a movie theater with 200+ other people. Right? Unless you're into that kind of thing...

Speaking of which, have you seen the Lego version of the trailer yet? Everything is awesome about it!

Fri 2/6. Ran 5 miles down Sligo Creek trail after work. My legs felt tired-ish, or maybe it's feeling the emotional effects of the last week.

Sat 2/7. I took a day off just for kicks. There's been a lot to do as we are planning our move, so we ended up heading into DC and later Arlington to enjoy the sights, chill out and visit my favorite dinosaurs one last time! (I love dinosaurs, can you tell? I'm really excited about the new Jurassic Park movie coming out this summer too!)

dinosaur POOP!

Sun 2/8. Ran 11.5 miles @ 8:45-9:00 pace on Rock Creek Trail going north into Rockville. It was actually 63 degrees, so another shorts and t-shirt run in February!! I guess this is my last long run before the Austin half marathon next Sunday. I'm as ready as I'll ever be... and feel smart enough to acknowledge that it's ok I'm not in peak shape in mid-February.

I really like this old race weight/nutrition article that Macca wrote as he does a great job explaining how it is actually detrimental to be at "race weight" all year round. (He also mentions training briefly under my old coach Brett and his weight philosophies, which I can definitely add my 2 cents to in a separate post one day...TBB untold stories!) Some quotes I like:

"In my off-season I would always try to add about 7 percent to my optimal racing weight. We believed that carrying weight was actually healthy, and that the body needed a rest from the aggressive “fighting” weight. We decided in the summer of 2005 to add about 8 percent body weight and have a long off-season, a bit like a hibernating bear. Boxers have been doing this for years."

"Skinny does not always mean faster. We all have an optimal race weight, and we all have to find that. You can feel it, and you know when you are there. Be attentive to your training and record things when you’re feeling good. Do not get caught up in the mind-set that lighter is always better."

And this is why I ate this deliciousness last night...! Because #offseason! #hibernatingbear!

Chicken & Waffles :D
Weekly totals: Bike 1:45, ran 4:00 (25.5 miles!) = 5:45 hours total. Yay!

So yes, I am being like Macca: having a long off-season, putting on some weight like a hibernating bear, and not stressing out about it. But once we get done with our move, I'll be happy to get some more volume in (and more consistency), because right now I get really wiped out just from running 10-13 miles on Sundays. Not so ideal when I need to be able to run that fast, at the end of a swim AND bike for a half ironman!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Back to the First State! The Wongstar takes on STAR campus ;)

Well, the cat is out of the bag! We are moving back to Delaware.

This is the old sign.
I've accepted a new job offer as clinical director of Independence Prosthetics-Orthotics' new STAR campus office located at the University of Delaware. It has been an emotional last several weeks as details have been negotiated and big decisions have been made. Kevin and I had no intention of leaving DC any time soon (we are breaking our 2-year lease less than halfway through it...and who wants to plan a big move right before a wedding?!), but my previous employer threw down an offer we couldn't refuse.

I will continue to see patients as a prosthetist-orthotist (mainly prosthetics), but will also be involved in various research projects with the biomechanics, physical therapy, and engineering departments. There is talk of developing a new master's program in P&O, so there may even be some teaching involved! Finally putting to use this masters' degree that I'm still paying off! :)

The STAR campus is the new research campus on UD's property (previously where the Chrysler plant was) and stands for Science, Technology, and Advanced Research. The Health Sciences Complex is where my office will be. It's a gorgeous new building and yes, I will have my own office! I am very excited!

I am also very sad--I gave notice a week ago and all week long have been breaking the news to everybody I've been working with, colleagues and my patients. This is heart wrenching! I pride myself on developing strong relationships with the people I work with and I feel like such a heartbreaker. "It's not you, it's me!"

I'm also sad to say bye to my Team RWB DC family just as we are getting more involved. I think I only made it 2 months of being the new local triathlon co-director before we realized this move might be real. D'oh! But we will definitely stay involved--Kevin has been wanting to help develop a Team RWB Delaware chapter (there's nothing between Baltimore and Philadelphia) and heck, I may be stepping up to Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for the triathlon contingent.

So some amazing new opportunities in our old stomping grounds. I actually have a great deal of old blog posting on various "firsts in the First State" and TBB Wilmington from the TBB blog when I first landed in Delaware back in August of 2010. Man, what an adventure. Me landing in Delaware was kind of an accident. I never meant to stay, and now 4.5 years later I have left for 2 years and am heading back.

Delaware is where Kevin and his family is from, and we only started dating 2 weeks before I moved to DC. He then followed me 5 months later and proposed another 7-8 months after that. So let's call the 2-year DC experience what it really has been--an elaborate scheme for Kevin (not a city boy AT ALL) to prove his undying love for me. ;)

the new sign!

Yes Kevin, it's good to be the first guy to ever follow me anywhere!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week #5. Atlantic City preview

Mon 1/26. biked 1:00 easy on the trainer
Tues 1/27. nothing
Wed 1/28. nothing
Thurs 1/29. nothing
Fri 1/30. Ran 7 miles on the Boardwalk @ 8:30 pace
Sat 1/31. Ran 10.5 miles on the Boardwalk @8:30 down to 8:10 pace
Sun 2/1. nothing! stayed up too late (past 5am!) and later drove back to DC!

Totals: biked 1:00, ran 2:30 (17.5 miles) = a paltry 3:30 hours total

Oops, I missed a Sunday update. Two days late! It's been a bit crazy and probably will be for a few more weeks. More details soon. ;)

So last weekend we went to Atlantic City for one of Kevin's annual race car trips. (The other one is Labor Day weekend.) But really, I came to check out the Challenge Atlantic City race course! It was butt cold and windy, so of course no open water swimming or riding the bike course.

Friday wasn't too bad, temps in the mid-30's and I got my run on around sunset after we drove over and checked in. (Phone-free run, so no gorgeous sunset photos, sorry!) Saturday I actually looked at the course map and decided to go to both turnarounds. We were staying at Bally's which is near the finish line at Boardwalk Hall. Here I am at the Martindale Ave turnaround!

All the streets seem to be named after states and cities (state capitals?), and yes, it's just like playing the board game Monopoly (check out my first time in AC). It was also really freakin' chilly on Saturday, 28*F but "feels like 15*F" with the windchill. My phone actually froze shortly after I pulled it out for the above selfie; you know, when it shuts itself off for self-preservation. I'll be much happier running in weather that is above freezing in June!

Running on the boards seemed more forgiving than cement or pavement, but I was definitely feeling a little sore on Sunday. Maybe because I am currently hardly exercising, and back-to-back runs will do that to me??

Then it was off to Boardwalk Hall (where the triathlon finish line will be) for race car excitement!

These race cars are called TQ's = three-quarter midget cars. I even stayed up super late Saturday night/early Sunday morning until 5am! Pretty epic for me as I am known to fall asleep by 10:30pm whenever we go out to movies or sporting events. Teehee. All worth it to see this guy smile!