Coin Toss

Sometimes I suffer from the inability to make decisions. Where to grab dinner? What to wear? Swim or run? Often times, for little things, I just don’t care. And secretly hope someone else will choose for me. Take racing for example. I’m not super excited about racing. I like pushing myself, and races are a great venue for this. Also it is fun to race with friends. Shared experiences and all that. But I rarely think to myself: ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome freeze my ass off in a wetsuit and then get passed a bunch on the bike?’ That said, why do I spend spend a good part of my evenings working out if I’m not going to race ever? Sadly, there are races in my area almost every single weekend. Too many choices leads to a lot of indecision.

With a few hard races on my calendar – Tahoe Relay (June – 10.6 mile run) and Donner Lake Triathlon (July – Olympic Distance Tri with lots of hill climbing) – I need to start training. Last month would have been preferable, but there is no time like the present right? I could find a training plan online (too much effort and not enough swimming) or I test my current fitness level with a race. Conveniently there is a race this Saturday. It is called the Ice Breaker and there is both a sprint triathlon and a duathlon. Decisions, decisions.

I attempted to make the decision making process easier by weighing the pros and cons of each race.

DU – Pros
Short bike –> likely that I’ll be more competitive as it is my weakest sport.
No swim –> the name ‘Ice Breaker’ says it all.
Try out a new race distance.

DU – Cons
I do not have proper bike shoes.
8am race start.

TRI – Pros
9am race start. Lots of time to breakfast and drive to race start.
Test out my new wetsuit.
Four other people from tri team racing. Nice to have company.

TRI – Cons
Swimming –> definitely not my favorite.
Brick and bike training is severely lacking –> the race might hurt.

After going back and forth between the two races for quite some time with no clear winner (read waste of time), I decided to leave the decision up to chance. I flipped a coin. No joke. I flipped a coin and then signed up within five minutes before I had a chance to think about it anymore.

So I’m doing a triathlon on Saturday. Hopefully this will be the wake up call I need to start biking in preparation for Summer racing. Wish me luck!

21 minute 5K?

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.05.37 PMLast Summer I was all about training for a 22 minute 5K. This came about because of a bet over homemade quiche and I went with it because winning is fun. And quiche is delicious. I exceeded my expectations and ran 21:35 in August. And still have the scars to prove it. Unfortunately there are no pictures of the quiche. But it was worth it. So I got to thinking. What if I tried to break 21 minutes this year?

I asked my friend what he could incentivize me with. “I’ll bake something of your choice.” Excellent….! Sadly, a 21 minute 5K is a rather ambitious as it will require me to shave 40 seconds off somewhere. That sounds hard if not impossible. But August (or September) is half a year away. And beside being sad a lot, I’m otherwise healthy and in decent shape all things considered.

To test this theory, I decided to attempt a GVH speed workout at my desired 5K pace (6:40 min/mile) instead of my actual one (6:55 min/mile).

The speed workout of the week was:
1.5 mile warm-up
4 X 1200m at 5K pace with recovery equal to interval time
1.5 mile cool-down

How did I do?

Warm-up 9:09
Intervals 6:38
Cool-down 8:13

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 8.05.22 PMYay!!!! Pretty much nailed it (for actual distance/times see stats below). So what does this mean for a 21 minute 5K? I’m not really sure… Clearly I can run 6:40 for 0.75 miles. However, 4:30 mins is a lot of recovery time that I will not have in a race. On the other hand, if I keep this up for a few months I may not need as much recovery time. Being that I am struggling with motivation right now I am not entirely sure I should get hopes up. So right now I think there is about a 40% chance I can do it.

What is my training plan? Attend more speed workouts and avoid sandbagging. Sleep enough. Drink lots of water. The only problem is I don’t feel like running. At all.

On an related tangent, some people thought it was funny (odd?) that I was carrying around a bag of lemon drops and peach rings before and after the workout.

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I needed a quick afternoon snack and it seemed to do the trick. I’ve eaten lemon heads during bike centuries and they are amazing to suck on during hard climbs. Why not have two before a run? And just in case you are curious, candy tastes about 1000x better than Gu chomps. Just saying. ;)

Split Time Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss Avg Pace
1 09:34.9 1 9:35
2 03:58.7 0.46 7 8:43
3 05:11.3 0.76 6:47
4 03:32.5 0.05 0
5 05:00.4 0.77 6:30
6 04:33.7 0.09 49:57:00
7 04:56.6 0.75 6:34
8 04:48.6 0.16 29:21:00
9 05:06.5 0.76 2 6:43
10 01:47.4 0.03 51:41:00
11 08:01.5 1 8 8:02
12 03:26.6 0.41 8:24
Summary 59:59.0 6.25 8 9 9:31

 

Baby Steps

photo 1Last week I went to the dentist and was reprimanded for my bad dental hygiene. You see, I hadn’t flossed in about three months. Now this may be standard for some people, but I used to be one of those people who actually flossed daily. It seems silly to drop habit that is so simple and so short. But I let it go along with meal planning. Oh, and I gained 5lbs, probably from a combination of snacking and not working out as much. Cue freak out.

There has been plenty of that going around recently. But I had to take a step back and remind myself that I cannot do everything at once. So I made a relatively small goal for myself this past week: floss once a day. The meal planning and becoming more toned can wait for another week or month. And you know what, I actually made good progress as I only skipped one day!

As for progress in other areas of my life, I’ve done some workout wardrobe decluttering. (As an aside, check out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up which advocates step-by-step decluttering for more peace and calm in the home.) While I love clothes, I enjoy being able to see what I have and also avoid guilt over unworn pieces. Where did I start? Race shirts!

photo 2I’ve collected a fair amount of race tech tees. This is not my entire collection. Still, yikes. While they are good remembrances of past race, I actually don’t wear them all that often as they are not as cute as some of my tanks and way too warm for Davis Summer running. Anyway, I donated:
#1 Ragnar 2011. Gray is too dull and I need some color in my life right now.
#2 Tennis Club Shirt. I picked this up at a race and while I love the fabric, I feel weird advertising an organization I know nothing about and will never be part of.
#3 Turkey Trot. Trashed it. It was stained and smelly.

So that is a small step toward Spring cleaning. Remind me not to pick up anymore race shirts.

Now onto workouts of the week.

Monday – Swimming. Sprints. <3

Tuesday Circuit training. It was St. Patty’s Day and I was crunched for time due to dinner party preparations. I did a really simple and quick circuit in my backyard:
4 min warm-up (2 min jumping rope; 2 mins butt kicks)
5 X [10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 squats, 25 yard ‘sprint’]  <— 1:17-1:40
5 min cool-down (jogging)
The inspiration was Google. ;) Seriously though, this took me less than 14 minutes and I was sore for days. No joke. Apparently I have no muscles.

Wednesday – 1.9 mile run; 45 minute K/P set.

Thursday – 4.3 mile running. I used to have a weekly AM run date, but it hasn’t been happening for the past few months. We started up again (though I am not sure one running date constitutes a trend) and it was painful.Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.57.04 PM

Very proud of my splits though. And hope it keeps up as I don’t push myself otherwise.

Friday – N/A.

Saturday - Hill run and 1hr beach walk. Walking on sand (and chasing down dogs) is hard! As for the hill…I was so so slow (11min/mile on the climb). Hopefully GVHers who are looking for Tahoe Relays teammates do not read this as I will definitely be picked last. Love running hills though.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.58.41 PM

Sunday - N/A. Remember how I said I’ve been freaking out a bit? Well, kind of had meltdown on Saturday and went out for girls night to calm myself down. More than my fair share of cocktails later (not constructive I know), I bailed on my Sunday run date (still feeling awful for this) and instead spent a lot of the morning sleeping. I got it together later and got my chores done. I still couldn’t bring myself to do yoga or buy food…

In summary, I didn’t workout all that much. But it is all about focusing on little changes and hopefully things will come together later.

Lucky Run

DSC_0798Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day! I had wanted to get this post up days ago. But I didn’t. Blogging fail.

Almost two weeks ago I participated in the Lucky Run. It’s a St. Patty’s Day themed half marathon. As I mentioned earlier, I was co-pacing the 2:15 group and didn’t exactly train for the race. Not only had I not run more than 11 miles in months (and that was broken into two runs), I had no idea what 10:18 pace felt like. This led to a bit of pre-race anxiety. Would I be able to finish the race? Would I be able to maintain an unfamiliar pace?

20150307_101808Race day started early. I decided to organize the Golden Valley Harriers booth (above) to give our running club some publicity and also have a place for pacers to meet/store things. I got there around 645am and with the help of two others from the club (if you are reading this, thanks!), got our tent up in no time. Then I hung out for the next hour. Other pacers started to arrive and pick up their signs, and I got to meet the person I was pacing with. The weather was perfect – sunny, high 40s, and no wind.

I got to the race start about five minutes before the race and found a spot behind the 10:00min/mile sign. I started chatting with my co-pacers, fellow GVHers, and some people who thought they might want to do 2:15. One woman was rather nervous as it was her first half marathon and we tried to give her some race advice like not going out too fast. My co-pacer had written our mile splits on his arm and I had my Garmin to check up on times. The ‘gun’ went off and I started my watch. We pace by gun and not chip time. For a smaller race like this, there is not too much of a difference.

The first few miles flew by. I mostly chatted with my co-pacer and tried to maintain correct pace. The course is rather boring (sorry ACOP) as the first seven (?) miles are along a highway so I focused more on talking (lots of fun!) and less on looking at things around me. We had a good group of about six people at this point. Everyone seemed in good spirits. It was also motivating see cars pass by and honk. No one tried to run us off the road either (ahem, Napa Ragnar).

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 12.44.37 PMI made sure to stop at every water stop as I was not carrying water. From past half marathons I’ve learned that I have to drink or else I get super dehydrated.

Somewhere between mile six and seven we lost one of the runners in our group to a side stitch. This was sad because after an hour of running, I’d grown a bit attached to the runners in our group. As it was her first half I was hoping that she’d stay strong the whole way. I knew she would not be able to catch back up to us so I ran back and explained that I could not stay with her, but wished her luck. A group of guys made some snarky comments that I was trying to show off (because I was running backward on the course). I will not comment on this.

After we left the freeway, the course wound around North Davis greenbelt and surrounding neighborhoods. While I love running on the greenbelt, I kind of wanted to cut through the neighborhoods and be done with the race. ;) I’m not a big fan on looping back near paths I’ve already been on. The upside of this is that I could see a lot of other pacers at different points in the course and had fun cheering for them. We also still had a good group of people with us so it made the time pass more quickly. Around this time we also started discussing sweeping the course, running back from the finish to find people we’d dropped along the way.

Too often I fall apart during the last mile of a race. I’ve been known to watch and / or tell people I’m running with that I’m dying. Maybe because of the slower pace or because I felt that I had to stay strong for those around me I did not have the desire to walk and felt relatively cheery despite tired legs. A friend and fellow GVHer / unofficial club photographer was on the course around mile 12 to document the race. It was nice to see a familiar face when close to the end of the race. Oh look, I’m still running.
DSC_0805

Love my socks. Next year I will get a tutu to match.

The last mile went by quickly. Yet another friend was cheering near the finishing shoot. Wow, I have amazing friends. ;) We crossed the finish line a bit before 2:15. The official race stats were:

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 8.43.11 AM

From my Garmin (not including 0.7 mile cool-down/course sweeping):

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 8.24.53 AM

I might left my watch running as I snacked on a banana at the GVH tent before heading out on the course again. I ran back about 4/10ths of a mile from the finish and spotted the first-time half marathoner. She was clearly struggling and crying a bit. I held her hand and tried to encourage her (not my forte) up until the finish. I am super proud that she made it, but sad that it was a struggle. Her family took photos of us. I’m not going to post them because I did not track her down to ask her permission. But I am happy that I went back to find her.

How did the pacing go? From a time standpoint, we were about 15 seconds off goal time. As an aside, this might not seem like much, but it was nowhere close to the excellent timing of a lot of the other pacers. ;) The mile splits tell an “interesting” story. Here are the stats for the first 8 miles.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 8.38.19 AMYikes, we were kind of all over the place. The 7 mile split is a bit misleading because that is when I ran back on the course to check in on the woman we lost. But the other spits are pretty spot-on. We managed to slow down a bit over the last five miles to get closer to our goal time. But I think if I were a runner, I would be a bit cranky with the 10 min miles thrown in there. Lucky for us, no one voiced this opinion.

Thoughts from the race.

#1 It is really hard to maintain 10:18. As soon as I stopped looking at my watch I naturally picked up the pace. I feel that I spent the entire race trying to hold back. I’m sure with experience (and practice!) this will become easier. I definitely want to try to pace 2:15 again to see if I can improve on this.

#2 Pacing is a lot of fun! I had a great time chatting with my co-pacer and hearing inspirational stories of runners we met on the course. A family member of a runner was going to steal milk because they were starving and then kind person bought them all their groceries that day. A woman PR’d and another finished their first half. Amazing.

#3 Next time I’ll train better for half marathon. I felt fine during the race, but could do without being sore the next day.

With that in mind, I’m officially in triathlon training mode and did my first brick last Sunday (more on this in a upcoming post, I hope).

 

Lately

I’ve been away for over two months. During this period there have been a lot of big life changes. J moved out and I am having a really hard time adjusting. So many things I miss… I won’t list them, but life pretty much sucks. I’ve tried to keep up with the training, but it hasn’t been happening. Blogging hasn’t happened either. Getting out of bed is hard. My March calendar is looking sad so far.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.28.47 PM

While I know I should give myself credit for even running (or something like that), I definitely gotten off track. I’ve dropped at least one run and swim each week. Yoga and biking are mostly non-existent. Even worse, I’m signed up to pace a half marathon on Saturday. I am kind of scared. Every other half has been preceded by strict training plan. Twelve mile training runs done. Healthy diet? Yes. Did I mention that I rarely ever run over 9 miles anymore and have no idea what a 10:20 min/mile feels like? At least my goal finish time is 20+ mins slower than my slowest half. And I have cute socks to wear.

You can buy them here or on Amazon.

In other news, it seems to be Spring in Davis. This means cleaning and gardening. To this effect, I threw away some of my race medals.

2015-02-28 10.09.46

 

Here they are prior to the purge. I have completed more races than this, but do not always end up collecting medals. While they are a nice reminder of my achievement, it seems a bit wasteful and they take up space on my jewelry rack. That said, the Ragnar medal is a bottle opener and a friend was actually using it at a party I attended this week. Awesome!

As for the garden, my mom is amazing and bought me a bunch of flowers. Excited to put them in after the race this weekend. And to have some color in the yard. Also, thankful to have her there as gardening was a favorite activity that J and I did together…so I’ll probably be sad, especially if I do it alone.

DSC_1356

 

Lastly, still loving my pups.2015-02-25 22.38.43They’ve been accompanying me on almost every run (except for ‘long’ runs). This is a bit of a pain for me (juggling two dogs is hard!), but they seem to really enjoy it. I came across two dog-centered races today so maybe there will be a doggie dash in the future.

Happy Holidays

2014-12-21 12.47.32Gave up on blogging for a month because life got in the way. Not sure if I’ll be back to blogging again, but I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!2014-12-13 14.40.47

Despite my internet silence, I’ve got big plans for triathlons in 2015. I even got myself a new pair of shoes and fun pink lock laces to help with training. 2014-12-25 11.07.30My last pair of Adidas Energy Boosts have served me well.

2014-12-21 10.21.46

As for New Year’s resolutions, I haven’t really made many. I need to keep hydrated (no joke).

Bye 2014. It’s been an interesting year.

XO

 

 

Swim workout: KICKING/PULLING + Brr!!!

2014-11-26 18.12.57Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I could be prepping for the festivities tomorrow, but instead I’m chilling on the couch, sipping tea, and recovering from my first swim workout in two weeks.

First off, what is with this inflatable turkey? It was on the pool deck at practice today so of course I had to take a picture…

2014-11-26 19.22.54

Other than the decoration, the swim set was pretty uneventful. The pool felt cold (like outdoor pools in Fall often are). I felt way better than I expected considering I’ve been out of the pool for a bit. I excelled at kicking and kept up for the pulling. Not much has changed.

Not that anyone remembers back to a year ago, but one of my fitness goals for 2014 was to move up to lane 5. Looks like it is not going to happen. Looking back, for this to have happened, I probably would have had to add another swim day during the week. Or upped my intensity significantly. Or worked on my swim technique. In any case, just swimming 2-3 days a week was not enough (no surprise there). I’m not that sad because I rather like my lanemates (for the most part). And I just don’t really feel that I have the time to put into training given the other things I am doing. Maybe next year!

And to wrap up my Thanksgiving post…

Things I am thankful for:
-Family, friends, and puppies. Companionship makes life worth living.
-Yummy food and my talent for cooking it.
-A stable job that I love with a boss who is not crazy.
-Injury free and probably more fit than I’ve ever been, including a -1:30 minute 5K PR this Summer.
-GVH, DAM, and Mad Cows. Working out with friends is so much more fun.
-Living in Davis. I am truly lucky to live in a safe town where I can bike to work or downtown in 10 minutes or less.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

What are you thankful for?

Workout week (in review): Sick Edition

This is going to be a super easy post. Why? Because I barely got any exercise in! I’m always on the fence about whether to workout while sick. Well, this week there was no question I needed rest. I’ve been a bit of an emotional wreck recently. And on top of that (or as a result?), my body kind of shut down. I worked for 12+ hours on Monday, did a short run on Tuesday AM, and by the time I got into work, I had just enough energy to bike home and crawl into bed. I took 2.5 days off work and laid on the couch sleeping and binging on TV. I didn’t even walk the dogs… Yikes. After I felt a bit better I started cooking myself healthy meals to hopefully speed up the recovery process. Unfortunately I’m not better yet (maybe the race did me in?), but I got a lot of food pictures out of it…

Kale chips.

2014-11-17 20.00.19Pumpkin seeds.
2014-11-19 13.56.19 Spinach Salad with Feta, Pomegranate, Celery, and Tomatoes. 2014-11-19 19.21.40Here is to hoping I won’t get sick again anytime soon!

Monday – N/A.

Tuesday – Run 1.5 miles with the dogs.

Wednesday – N/A.

Thursday – N/A.

Friday – N/A.

Saturday – 10K race. It wasn’t pretty, but I managed to run 6.2 miles. ;)

Sunday – Run 3.5 miles + core.

Davis Turkey Trot 2014

…and how I did not PR my 10K again.

The Turkey Trot was my first 10K. And I didn’t do it under my name. Ssh, don’t tell anyone! A friend got injured and there wasn’t time for a bib transfer. I went to keep her husband company. We ran it in 51 something. The weather was beautiful and sunny, and with good company, the time flew by.318578_620320431170_602739264_nFlash forward a few years and another friend got injured and now has to take a few months off running. ;( Very sad. I was originally going to run it with her to keep her company, but because I had not signed up yet, I bought her bib. Unfortunately I got a cold a week before the race and was far from better the day of. I decided to run it anyway because… Yeah, I’m not really sure what I was thinking.

The morning of the race was wet, but not cold (54F). I was certain of my wardrobe (long sleeves and shorts), but went back and forth on gloves. For at least 15 minutes. Okay, there might have been some jogging up and down the street to test out comfortable paces as well. As a result, I didn’t make it out the door until 15 minutes before the race start. Luckily the race start was less than a mile from my house and I made it in plenty of time to watch a friend finish the 5K and find my way to start line.

I had a pre-sickness goal based on recent half marathon and 5K times, but decided to try for slower pace (7:45) = my 10K PR, set 2.5 years ago. The race started and I ran at about 7:40 for 6 minutes or so and then had to stop for a bit. Yes, I started walking 6 minutes into a 10K… And my hat fell off. Fabulous.Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.28.47 PM

 

I have a history of falling apart in races and walking. Too soon you might ask? Never.

I managed to collect myself and run at an even pace until a little past 5K foot pad. You see I had decided to try to pick it up a bit, but my stomach started cramping immediately. And my pace tanked from there. Physical? Mental? Probably a combination of the two. Yikes.Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 10.44.47 PMI finished in 49:30, 11 seconds faster last years race (49:41 and also sick). I know I can do better than 7:59 mins/mile, but I did not have it in me. I am proud that I managed to get six miles in after a really tough week.

Forced smile…
2014-11-22 21.20.17

Congrats to everyone who ran today!!!!

 

Sick Day and Survey Post

I’ve been sick with a nasty cold all week. I could blog about how I haven’t been able to exercise since Sunday or how I’m supposed to race tomorrow and will either a) run very slowly or b) skip the race altogether. Instead, I decided to answer some questions I borrowed from the Running Bun blog. Keeps me distracted for a bit. Fitness can wait until I’m better! ;)

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Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  1. Dee Dee. Thanks Gordon lab! Don’t ever say on first day of work that you don’t care what they call you. It might stick, eight years later.
  2. Di.
  3. D. Most common (and preferred) nickname used by friends and coworkers.
  4. Babe (just my husband).

Four jobs I have had (not counting any current jobs):

  1. Mystery spot tour guide.
  2. Plant waterer at UCSC Plant Conservatory and Arboretum.
  3. Student assistant and waterer at UCD Plant Conservatory. Do we see a pattern here?
  4. File clerk at a dentist office.

Four movies I’ve watched more than once

  1. Gosford Park.
  2. Empire Records. Oh high school… I’m pretty sure this was a monthly occurrence.
  3. Night at the Opera.
  4. GATTACA.

Four books I’d recommend

  1. Fauna and Family.
  2. Me Talk Pretty One Day.
  3. Hokkaido Highway Blues.
  4. Harpo Speaks.

Four places I have lived 

  1. California (Santa Cruz).
  2. California (Davis).
  3. California (San Diego).
  4. California (Davis)…

Four places I have been (outside of US)

  1. Mexico
  2. Austria
  3. New Zealand
  4. Ecuador

Four places I’d rather be right now

  1. Anywhere but here.
  2. Hawaii, on a beach somewhere.
  3. Yoga retreat.
  4. Tahoe in a cabin with fire place.

Four things I don’t eat

  1. Licorice.
  2. Beer.
  3. Artificial sweeteners.
  4. What I consider to be weird animal parts – feet, eyes, etc.

Four of my favorite foods

  1. Pomegranates.
  2. Peanut butter.
  3. Avocado inari.
  4. Wine.

Four TV shows that I watch

  1. Hinterland. Finished entire series this week…
  2. Sherlock.
  3. Supernatural.
  4. HIMYM.

Four things I am looking forward to this year (in the next 12 months)

  1. Snowboarding. I hope there is snow!
  2. Taking Millie to see snow for the first time (see #1).
  3. Baking treats to give away at Christmas.
  4. Doing an olympic distance triathlon next Summer.

Four things I’m always saying

  1. “Coffee?” (Except I really mean tea break b/c I don’t drink coffee.)
  2. “Like”. Ug, trying to kick this habit.
  3. “I’m dying” (during workouts).
  4. “I didn’t get any sleep.”
  5. “Bitches!”

Your turn.