Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Whistler Ironman 70.3 DNF

Welp, I had my first DNF (did not finish).  This was for the Whistler Ironman 70.3 (a half iron to be clear).  I still plan to do a half as soon as I can get my swim to be not so thrashy.  I had planned to do the race with a friend who is a complete athlete star - she's an amazing cyclist, swimmer, and a weekend runner.  And she's a mom and exec at Amazon to boot.  Our families went up together and stayed in Whistler Village.  It was nice being together to get through jitters; my jitters unfortunately spun up more at the starting line and in the water.

The day before the race, Munira and I went to set up our transition stations.  The bike transition was T1 right next to the lake.  The run transition was T2 at the end of the bike loop.  It was nice having gear set up ahead of time as that took a bit of pressure off the morning.

The punchline - lining up at the water I knew I wasn't super ready for the swim.  I'd been doing mile workouts in the pool and lakes the past couple weeks, but my lake swims were minimal.  I lined up with the 45-50min group (I swim a 46min mile) which was in the back 50% of the pack of total athletes.  When our wave came up for go time, I sprinted in behind all the other athletes.  Immediately I was overwhelmed - legs and arms were in the air and I kept getting kicked in the face.  After 100 meters I still wasn't out of the thrash and started choking on water.  I held on to a kayak (fair in the race) to catch my breath, and then kept going.  At 300 meters the same thing happened again.  Same kayak, same breath catching, but fear was rising.  At 500 meters I had somehow gotten myself so worked up I was hyperventilating, coughing, and crying because I didn't want the race to be over, but I was scared.  A boat pulled up and the driver said "well, what do you want to do?"  I looked at my watch - I had only gone 500 meters in 25min.  I wouldn't make it in the 1hr10min cutoff if I kept going.  I started crying more and then breathing less.  In the end, I was pulled out. 

DNF'ing sucks.  I felt like a total failure.  My kids kept asking "what happened mommy," and then hugging me because they felt bad.  Cole completely internalized the sadness, so I tried to overcome it and be a big girl.  My kids also brought full joy at what would have been the finish line.  They hugged me, literally patted my head which I found amusing, and asked for FULL details.  "
What did it feel like?  How come you couldn't breathe?  Who kicked your face?  Why didn't you kick back?"  Chin up - onward.

Now, a couple weeks later, I'm swimming more frequently but not quite so far still.  I WILL do a half iron someday.  I'll do a couple sprints first. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

The art of the swim

With my bum toe, I've been itchy to move.  Thus far, all I could do was situps, weights, and swim.  Because of my impending tri the swim is a necessity.  Here are a couple of my findings...
  1. I heart salt water pools!  In CO, I had the joy of swimming in a salt water pool.  Not sure if it was the salt water, the perfect temperature, the candles lit around the pool (seriously), the music playing around the pool, or what, but I loved it!
  2. Small lakes are yucky.  I've swum in Green Lake a couple times, and in Moron lake in Orcas Island and the tiny fish and seaweed give me the heebies.  
  3. Big lakes are awesome.  Lake Washington is amazing to swim in.  The cold water is a bit jolting at the start, but that's what wet-suits + pee are for.  Kidding.  Maybe.  
  4. Goggles that look like you just had an eye dr. appointment are key.  I've tried the small Phelps lookalike goggles and hands down the best are giant tinted UV goggles that make sure (a) no water gets in, and (b) I have more peripheral vision to see the fish, etc. jaunting around me.
  5. There is no beauty in the pool.  When the goggles come off, the eye wrinkles are magnified.  Also, everything from hair to smell to the jiggles are there for everyone to see.  Oh well.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Sprained toe - oh no!

Well, after my getting so psyched on running from camp this weekend, I sprained my toe 😦 It happened in the last mile of my last run yesterday - I tripped on a root and fell like a pancake.  I thought I could shake it off, but with a bluish foot this morning I thought I should get it checked out.  No fracture - cool!  But a sprain - not cool!  And a sprain and fracture have the same healing; namely RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).  When I was at the doctor's, I asked about 15 different ways how I can work out.  "Wait 3 days," she kept saying, "then you can swim and bike.  No running for 3 weeks minimum."  I'm already antsy to hit a trail or road!  Oof.  Will be thinking of creative ways to workout - core and arms, here I come!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Running Camp! Eleven Salomon Experience

My friend Milah and I have been ramping up the mileage around Seattle.  She's getting ready for the NY Marathon in November, and I somehow lost my brain and signed up for the Whistler Half Ironman.  I signed up for Oiselle Volee recently and they had a couple running camps but nothing that worked with schedules.  Milah and I researched more camps and found some from Runner's World, and then her husband found Eleven Salomon Running.  After looking through the pictures and at the athlete profiles, Eleven was a no brainer.  The cost is not awesome, but it's completely worth it!

Here are the highlights... Milah and I flew to Denver then drove to Crested Butte.  At Crested Butte, we're staying in the hands down nicest lodge I've ever been in complete with in-room oxygen, a salt water pool, coconut water everywhere I turn, and more. 

Upon checking in, we hit a nearby trail for a 6mi run to acclimate with Stevie Kremer.  Then we enjoyed an AMAZING meal with salad, grilled veg, chicken, and dessert.  Then, straight to bed. 

This morning, we kicked off the day with 7am yoga.  Then a beautiful fresh made breakfast with eggs to order, fruit, home made muffins and more.  #breakfastwithchampions!

Then we drove up the mountain for a 10mi run where we were met with a picnic of sushi, veg, and cookies at the end of the run.  Seriously, nothing could be better!  After lunch, Stevie, Milah, and I went out for another 5mi run.  Then I came back to get in a 1.2mi swim (tri training!).  Post swim, an orthopedic doctor came for gate analysis and stretching advice.  Turns out I'm one of the tightest people he's ever met :/ not tight in the cool 80s way.

I wrapped the day evaluating my trophy war wounds including a giant blister, a swollen leg from a tree who got in my way, and more nastys.

All in, a perfect day.  I can't wait for a long run tomorrow.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Race Report: New York Marathon 2016

I finally did it!  I ran the New York Marathon.  I have gotten in 4 times, two of which were qualifying entries.  The first time I was about to launch a new business at work.  The second time was Hurricane Sandy.  The third time Matt got cancer so I cancelled.  FINALLY, this time I got in on a lotto and decided to do it even though my mom thinks the course is cursed.  The race was on Nov 6th, the day after my 11th anniversary.  I went alone but Matt and the boys were in my heart.  I lucked out and my co-worker let me stay in her apartment in Chelsea as she was out of town.  I loved everything about the weekend - the apartment, walking around the city, and of course the race.

I got in Friday mid-evening and took the train from the airport to Penn Station.  From the train I walked into Chelsea and stopped at Whole Foods for a healthy dinner.  I had planned to go running in the evening, but decided to just walk instead.  Friday I couldn't sleep as I just wanted to be at the starting line.  Saturday came after a fretful night, and I rose to head out to the expo.  The expo was PACKED!  That was a prelude for the weekend.  Fast forward a day and walking way too much, and it was finally race day. 

Sunday I rose at 5am and started the routine of getting ready.  I got dressed, made coffee, checked and double checked my bib, and then went down to find a taxi.  I quickly got a ride and hopped in to get to Staten Island Ferry.  About 3/4 of the way there, I thought I had left the water boiling (stress jitters) and had the cab go back, only to find I left everything perfectly fine, so I went back to the Ferry.  At the Ferry were more lines, more nerves.  The Ferry was about 30min and the most beautiful sunrise.  From the Ferry we got in a line only to get on a bus, then in another line, and then to the waiting zone for the race.  I was coral 1B meaning I was at the start. 

Finally, GO time!  My race started out OK.  It wasn't too fast or too slow - I started in the 7s.  I did my first half at a 1:36 and then immediately started to feel the wall.  I pushed through at first, and at mile 18 really was feeling mentally drained.  I was hungry, spinny, and a bit overwhelmed with the masses of people watching.  Other people were getting tons of energy from the spectators and I can't figure out why I wasn't.  Maybe my energy comes from dirt, trees, and birdsong. 

I wound up running a 3:31:31 - another Boston Qualifier!  All in, it really was amazing.  My brain is more tired than anything. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Workout report: Base Camp

Yesterday I took my first Base Camp class and I can't wait to do it again!  My muscles are still recovering from the lifting, flexing, and stretching, and it's awesome.  I took Base Camp in Burlingame, CA and wanted to sign my entire family up on the spot (they have kid's sessions for 7 years old and up - rad).

Here's an overview of the workout:
  • 1min bike
  • 1min press 
  • 1min bike
  • 1min kettle bells
  • 1min bike
  • 1min pushups
  • 1min bike
  • 1min TRX pushups 
You get the picture.  The main class was 35min of intervals and then there was a "bonus" 10min of abs at the end. I feel muscles I've never felt before and I swear I'm more toned than when I went in.  Seriously.  I've been pretty anti cross fit and other similar workouts, but I could get into this!

To top off the excellent class, the people who worked at the gym were amazing and the other class goers pretty dandy too.  I walked in with coffee and they offered me a free water bottle (at other gyms this is ~$3).  In the class I had a hard time figuring out the stations and the other class members helped readily. 

All in, can't wait to go back!  I love it so much I'd open my own franchise if I could.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

SoulCycle vs. Flywheel

I go through waves of love affair with spin then lull.  Right now I'm in the love affair wave.  I like getting a great sweat in in under an hour.  Ride 26mi in a room full of others without going anywhere, in!  Here is a quick overview and my thoughts on each.  If you want the spoiler alert, I like them both the same but in different ways (spoken like a twin mom, eh?). 

Similarities for both - considering Flywheel and SoulCycle shared a co-founder (Ruth Zukerman who started Flywheel after a split from Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice), I imagine many of the core offerings for both cycling chains came from the same luncheon chats.  Both chains have packed rooms with bikes lined up facing a stage.  On the stage is the teacher with a spotlight on the stage, and the room is typically dark or lit with a black light.  Both chains have their own gear so riders can tout the brands in skin tight attire.  Both chains have short (45min) classes to get riders in, sweaty, and out.  Both chains have nice touches like lotions, gum, and hair ties at the gyms.  Both are pricey - ranging from $25-30+. 

There are some key differences, though...

Flywheel - a little background, I am competitive.  Very competitive.  Only in sports, not life.  In Flywheel classes, when you create an account you pick a user name.  Then, you have the option to have your name on the torque board during sprints and other in-class races - I love this!  I feel like I work out harder getting to see real numbers.  Regardless of if you're on the board, you get a nice little summary of your ride on their website.  In the Flywheel classes I've taken, most of the music is new popular pop and other similar fast paced songs.  During the class, the instructor motivates to "push it," "own this moment," "make this time count," and so on.  On the bike are two weight bars to do arms mid-class.  The bars are different weights so you can pick or use both together.  The bike has a water holder on the front, and the gear changer down below - you can also look at a little screen to see torque and RPMs.

SoulCycle - there's no torque board or competition.  Also, on the bike is a dial to change resistance, but you can't see your resistance on the bike; instead you go with what feels right.  The torque-less and number-less class make it less competitive and make the class more focused on you, the rider.  The rest of the bike is very similar to that in the Flywheel class.  Differences are that on the SoulCycle bike there are two water bottle holders on either side (which was actually harder for me and I nearly dropped my water).  Also, on the back are 3lb weights (you can pick different weights before class, but only get one set).  On the stage, there are Jonathan Adler candles to give the room a comforting feel.  The room is dark for the most part, and there is a black light on occasion.  The teacher also controls other lights to give a light show kind of feel.  The teacher in my SoulCycle class said more motivational things: "this is all about you," "take time to love yourself," "taking care of your body and mind are the most important thing," and so on.  Along the wall were similarly inspiring phrases.

Completing both classes I felt the same level of awesome exhaustion and sweat.  I'd opt for either!