It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

April 27, 2012

Slowly Making it

I haven't posted in awhile, and that's because life has been one crazy thing after another.  I have not had an extra second to spare.  I have been working like crazy.  Going in early, staying late, and working through lunch and on weekends.  It seems like every time I turn around there's something new coming at me.  I've had a hail storm of Murphy's Law dumped right over my head this whole month in addition to the crazy schedule. 

Somehow in the midst of all the madness I've been able to "mostly" maintain my half ironman training.  I came very, very close to making the decision to quit training about a week ago.  But I decided to somehow try to keep going and re access in a few weeks and see if I was still on track.  I'm not on track, but I don't feel too far behind.  I am managing to get my long workouts in - and I think those are the most important.  I haven't been able to get in all of my shorter weekly workouts but I'm doing the best I can.  At this point in my training I'm supposed to get in 3 workouts of each activity and I've been averaging at least 2.  This week I should be able to get in 3 bikes and 3 runs, but only 1 swim.  I haven't been able to get in more than 2 swims a week for the last several weeks and that is the thing I'm most concerned about right now.  My shoulder is still weak and I haven't been pushing myself very hard, but I'm still working toward the goal.  I am afraid that I won't be prepared for the swim - espeically for my Olympic distance race in 3 weeks.

I am pretty happy about where I am right now on the bike and the run.  My running times are certainly improving, and I can comfortably run a half marathon.  Last weekend I did a 50 mile ride and while it was tough, I made it through.  This weekend I will do 50 miles again and as a matter of fact - after tomorrow I will have ridden 150 miles in 6 days!!  That's more than I've ever done.  My speed on the bike is slow, and I'm still really slow on hills, but at least I'm getting in the mileage.  I really need to start focusing on the swim alot more.  It's just the more difficult workout to find the time for since I have no choice but to go to the gym and the gym hours haven't always worked so well with my schedule.

I should hopefully only have about 2 more crazy weeks at work til things settle down to a more manageable level.  I just need to make it through mid May.  Somehow just make it through Mid May.

Next weekend is the Flying Pig half marathon and the BEST part about it is that I will get to hang out and run with my good friend Coy of First in Philly!  I can't wait.  It will be a much needed break from the craziness too.

Sorry I've been missing out on reading every one's blogs.  Hopefully I can get caught back up soon.

April 16, 2012

I Freaking Rocked the Parkway - New Half PR!!!

Well if you read my last post you know I had a kind of sucky Birthday, but that all went out the window on Saturday!

Jim and I were doing the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon in lovely Kansas City, MO.  It's a great race that runs along Ward Parkway in Kansas City where there are many beautiful old historic homes.   The streets are tree lined, there's a beautiful park.  It's really just a nice run.  Most people call the course flat....which it's really not.  It's actually pretty hilly, but the hills are fairly short, but they are numerous.  I don't think there's anything in KC that could truly be considered flat.

The World Famous Pre-race Dance Pics:

After having a few stressful weeks at work and eating myself to death, I was feeling a little icky on Saturday morning.  I didn't dare weigh myself, but I'm pretty sure my weight was up 5 to 6 pounds - because that's about where I was on Friday (in a week's time).  I was just feeling bloated and sluggish.  I was really hoping to run a 2:25, but I just wasn't sure it was going to happen.

My friend Kristi and I were going to run together, so we picked her up on the way and headed to the race.  The weather forecast was calling for rain and it looked like it could rain anytime but it never did.  But man it was HUMID.  It was about 65 degrees at race start with 90% humidity.  It could have been worse, but it certainly wasn't pleasant running conditions.  At about mile one, I was sweating pretty profusely.

Kristi and I set our sites on the 2:25 pace group, but within the first mile we were ahead of them.  We were probably going a bit too fast to start, but we hadn't passed the 2:20 group, so I was feeling ok with that.  I thought as long as I stayed between the 2 groups I should be fine.

I ran in to several people I knew during the race.  After just a couple of miles, I ran into my friend Christa who did Brew to Brew with me a few weeks ago.  She had recently pulled a hamstring, so she was hurting, but she was also running with a friend to help pace her to a new PR.  Christa would normally have been far in front of me.  Later in the race I found another friend, who unfortunately was walking and looked like she was in alot of pain.  I found out later she thinks she has a stress fracture in her foot and ended up having to be transported to the end by ambulance at mile 8.  NO fun at all!!  One of the highlights of the race though was seeing my friend Susan at about mile 11 or so I think.  Susan is an amazing woman and great athlete.  She was supposed to run the race, but recently discovered some pretty severe heart problems.  She just had a heart procedure done on Monday!!  But there she was cheering the runners on and looking for her friends.  I gave her a high five and it totally boosted my spirits for the rest of the race.

Anyway, back to the race.  After about the first 2 miles, I kind of settled in to my pace and found it rather comfortable to run in the uppers 10s.  My overall times have been getting faster and I think I am finally realizing that I've just flat out not been pushing myself hard enough.  I can run faster and it doesn't kill me.  The heat was pretty brutal.  At about mile 8 my friend Kristi had to go to the bathroom, so I decided to head on without her.  She changed her mind and ended up running to try to catch back up to me, but that was probably a bad about 8.5 her heart rate was high and she was starting to feel "cold" which wasn't good.  She decided to stop and walk so I said goodbye and kept going.  We had already talked at the beginning of the race that either of us could go ahead if the other one wasn't feeling it. I still felt kind of bad, but I didn't want to stop running.

Me & a few of my friends after the race
The last 4 miles of the race were kind of scary.  I have never seen so many people in ambulances or just lying on the ground on the side.  I saw several people stopped trying to recover and 3 people being put into stretchers.  I guess it was mainly the heat, as people aren't quite used to this humidity yet.  My last few races and training runs I've been able to push really hard for the last couple of miles, but I wasn't quite able to do that this time.  The heat was definitely getting to me.  But I did manage to keep a pretty steady pace for most of the race and I did still run my fastest mile at mile 13 so I was super happy with that.

In the end I crossed the finish line at 2:23:23!!  A 10:57 pace!!!  I have never posted a 10 anything in any race including a 5K.  I took off 6 minutes from my recent PR in Little Rock in March.  I couldn't have been happier or more excited.  And the great thing is I felt great, and think I could have even been faster if the weather had been a little nicer.  This slow runner, is still slow by most standards, but I'm getting faster!

A very nice half marathon medal
Jim finds me at the finish line and asks how I did.  He was so proud and happy for me.  He was hoping for a PR himself and was extremely disappointed with his race, but he still let me have my happy moment.  I was upset for him though, because we all know we are only racing against ourselves and when we don't perform like we want it, well it just plain sucks.

The race was great.  I love the medal.  And I had an awesome experience.  I would definitely do this race again.

April 13, 2012

Birthdays Do Not Counteract Friday the 13th

So, as I mentioned in my last post my life is just crazy right now.  I have been beyond stressed out.  I have seriously been stressed to the ultimate limits.  For Christmas, I had purchased Jim tickets to the Kansas City Royals Home opener, which just happened to be on my Birthday.  I thought it would be fun to take a vacation day on my Birthday, go to the game and have a nice long weekend.  Well, work was just a bit too crazy for that so the best I could do was a 1/2 day vacation - luckily the game didn't start until 3pm.

Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling a little less stressed.  It was my Birthday and I had a fun day planned.  I got up, and as I usually do, I got online for a little while before actually getting out of bed and waking up.  Today was pay day, so I went to check my bank account to make sure my check cleared ok.  What happens next starts a whole list of things that happened throughout the day.  Here they are in order:

1.  I open my checking account to find a major negative balance - as in a 5 digit negative balance!  I immediately thought my account had been hacked, but no, idiot me, in my stressful state had added an extra zero to the end of my mortgage payment.  Nice way to start the day at 5:30 am.

2.  I pull out of the garage and it's pouring rain.....I back into the trash can. 

3.  I get to work and try to enter the building and realize I'm missing my security badge which grants me access.  I knew I had it with me.  I went back to my car and search for where to be found.  Then it dawns on me.  I bet I threw it away when I threw away my coffee cup.  I go to the trashcan and sure enough I can see it at the bottom.  So I have to sift through trash and dig my badge out.

4.  I finally make it home and Jim and I are grabbing a quick lunch before the game.  I had ordered a coke zero.  I set it in my cup holder and when I pick it up it has coke streaming out the bottom of it.  I realize I had a pair of earrings in my cup holder, which have punctured the cup and it is leaking like crazy.  We have to stop on the side of the road to pour it out.

5.  We head to the Royals game, and while nothing happens to me there (thank goodness), the Indians score 7 runs in the 1st inning!!!! 7 runs.  They go on to win 8 to 3.  I am certain I caused the Royals loss.

6.  We have dinner at a new little sub place we hadn't eaten at before.  They also serve crepes.  We both order one.  Apparently one of them breaks while we are there and they take forever to make, and we get them one at a time so I was totally done eating mine by the time Jim got his.

Well, that's about it.....I really hope tomorrow is better.  Oh, and are you wondering about the mortgage payment??  Well it was in pending status, so guess what that means, they can't do anything about it until Monday.  So Jim and I have no access to our bank account all weekend.....awesomeness.  I'm not generally superstitious, but I can't help but think I was struck by the Friday the 13th curse.  And Birthday or no Birthday, I got it just the same.

Tomorrow is the Rock the Parkway Half Marathon.  We are supposed to have some severe weather.  I so hope it doesn't effect the race.  But I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Tomorrow will be a new day, a better day.  I hope :)

April 10, 2012

Knock Out!

Well, after a winning week in the Weight Loss Battle with Jim, I got knocked out last week.  Actually we both "gained" so it's hard to determine a winner really, but technically he gained less weight than me so he won.

Knocked out cold!

So here's the deal.  I'm having my busiest time at work in over a year.  Things are just crazy.  I'm working early, late, and through lunch....and I even put in 4 hours on Easter Sunday, and I'm barely keeping my head above water.  When I get stressed like this, I eat.  And I eat total crap!!  So it wasn't suprising when I weighed in Sunday and gained .8 pounds - well actually it was a little suprising because I expected it to be more.  Worst part is things are still crazy, and it's Tuesday night and things haven't improved.  If I keep on this path I will gain this week too :(  I don't know why I can't get my eating under control when I'm stressed, but I just can't seem to.  I eat sugar by the gallon! 

I'm still "trying" to keep my 70.3 training going, but I did miss 3 workouts last week - 1 bike and 2 swims.  I'm hopeful this week will be better, but we shall see.  I missed my swim workout tonight, but I'm hopeful I can make it up tomorrow night.  I'm starting to have a few doubts about whether I'm going to be able to make the Half Ironman work.  I want to, and I haven't given up yet, but I know my job is going to continue to be pretty crazy at least through the end of May and I just don't know if I can keep up the amount of training I need to get in and work 60+ hours a week.  And at the end of the day the job is the most important - it pays the bills.

Feeling a little down right now.  But, on a positive note I have a fun filled weekend planned.  Birthday Friday, Royals Home Opener Friday, and Half marathon Sat. Plus other Birthday celebrations with friends.....and some more work...but let's not think about that right now.

April 03, 2012

Brew to Brew Recap

The Brew to Brew Race is a 44 mile point to point race from Boulevard Brewery in downtown Kansas City, MO to Free State Brewery in Lawrence, KS.  It consists of 10 different legs and you can do it solo or as a team with up to 10 runners.  It’s a pretty longstanding race in Kansas City dating back to 1995.  The majority of people, of course, do it as a relay race, but there are several solo runners.  The legs vary from highway running to almost adventure type running where you have to climb levees or go across the river in a paddle boat.

A while back, when I expected April weather to be, well, April weather, I signed up for the relay with a group of friends.  We were initially supposed to have a team of about 7 or 8, but we ended up with a team of 6 – 5 girls and 1 guy.  We had no idea it would be so HOT on April 1.

The team - Pre-race
Our start time was 8 am, so we all met bright and early at 6:45 am.  We knew it would pretty much be an all day event, but I swear we all packed for a week.  We had coolers full of water, Gatorade, and beer.  Lunch meat, snacks, sunscreen, extra clothes, you name it we had it.  The car was jammed packed with us and our stuff.

Boulevard Brewery was handing out 2 free beers per participant prior to the race.  A couple of our runners decided to partake, but I just had to say no to beer at 8 am.  We snapped a pre-race group pic and it was time for our first runner – Michelle to take off.  Michelle was doing the first 2 legs of the race, which was about 9 miles.  It was already getting hot.  It was about 70 degrees with about 85% humidity when she started. 

Jamie and Michelle practicing the baton pass.

We all jumped in the car and headed to the 3rd exchange point.  After we had been driving for what seemed like forever, we finally realized we were supposed to be heading toward exchange point #2, not #3…….oops.  So we were already back tracking and we had only just begun.  I just knew it was going to be an interesting day.

We make it to the exchange point and we are all on the side of the road waiting for our first runner.  At this point there is some cloud cover and we actually get a little chilly and huddle under a towel together.  Michelle comes running in just drenched in sweat talking about how hot it was.  It’s easy to forget about the humidity until you are running in it.  Michelle is also parched – apparently there were no water stops during the first 2 legs – huh???  No water for 9 miles!!  But she was done, and Kristi was off next.  Kristi was “officially” going to complete leg # 3, which was 6 miles, but then she planned to run leg # 4 & 5 with me to get a few extra miles in.  Once we get to leg 3, it’s really starting to get hot.  We were all getting very hot, just waiting for Kristi to come in.  Once she got there she said, I’ll try to run leg 4 with you, but no way I can do leg 5.  We started running, and within about a minute Kristi said go ahead without me, I can’t keep up.  Kristi said she ended up walking several times during the 2nd leg.  The heat was BRUTAL.  I had originally planned on running legs 4,5 & 6, but with the heat, we had already decided that I would only run 4 & 5 – which was just over 7 miles.  I started about 11:30.  The sun was intense.  Not a cloud in the sky.  My leg was 100% on the highway.  Just a straight boring, hot highway for 7.3 miles.  There was not a tree in site or any shade whatsoever.  I started out ok, and ran my first mile at a 10:30, but as each mile passed I got slower and slower.  After my first short 2.6 mile leg, I was hoping someone would say you can stop, we'll take it from here. Instead they gave me a drink of water and wished me luck.  Those last 4.7 miles I swear were pure agony.  There was no water the entire time and the heat was just beating me up.  My time slowed and slowed and I continued to walk more and more.  I finished my leg with a 12:30 pace, and I started out at 10:30 - I even had a 14:30 mile in there toward the end.  But I finished.  That's what matters.  It was hot, but I got it done.  I finally passed the virtual baton on to my next team mate and got some water and tried to cool down.

My other team mates had even hotter legs as heat continued to build during the day.  They all did better than I did.  I'm just a terrible "heat" runner.  We finally made it to the finish.  We had a few snags toward the end and didn't exactly know where some of our runners were going to end up and when, but we finally all made it to Free State Brewery where cold beer and Gumbo or Lentil Soup awaited us.  HUH????  Did anyone tell them it was 90 degrees outside??  Actually after a long, long day of running and sun it was better than I thought it would be, however, I do think I would still have preferred a cold sandwich. 

Post race - gee we don't even look tired.

Overall it was a super fun day.  The weather was hot, but we had a blast and at the end of the day we got it done!  Our total time for the 44 miles was 7 hours and 38 minutes a 10:24 pace not too bad really!!  It was my first relay.  I learned alot, but would definitely do it again!

April 02, 2012

Winner Winner....Chicken Dinner

If you saw my post last week, you know that Jim and I are having a little weight loss competition.  Our first weigh in was Sunday and oddly enough we lost the exact same amount of weight 4.4 pounds each.  Luckily we are going on percentage of weight loss vs. total pounds loss, so I won Round 1 with a total % of weight loss of 3.01% compared to his 2.41%.  Now to kick his booty in Round 2!!

Yes, this is exactly what I look like after that 4.4 pound loss.