Friday, March 20, 2015

50K Training So Far

I officially started training for my 50K back on January 12th (really the 13th because Monday is always an off day) and I am currently on my 10th week of training for Pineland Farms. That means that I only have 9 weeks to go until race day!

As far as training is concerned, it has felt a lot more haphazard than normal. And, I don't like that. This winter was (and still is, even though it's technically spring now) a bit rough. There were so many times that I couldn't get the distance that I wanted and there were a few weeks when almost all of my runs were done on the indoor track. It is nice that I have that as an option, but it definitely does not match the conditions of my race.

 Luckily, most of this is gone now. So much snow this year!

Mike and I are also almost one month into training for the first of two 70.3s that we will be doing this summer. I feel guilty when I can't get in all of the swimming and cycling workouts that I have planned every week. I have felt pretty tired and defeated some weeks, and I often questioned whether I should even be trying to do this 50K or not.

Luckily, I am feeling a bit better with how my training is going. Last week, I was able to get all of my planned runs done and ran a little over 39 miles. I also swam once (missed one swim workout) and biked three times (but did less mileage). I had a total of 92ish miles for the week, a number I haven't seen in months.

While part of me knows that I am strong enough to finish anything that I put my mind to, I am looking forward to when I am training more consistently. This week, I took an extra unplanned off day because my legs were really sore from my long runs last weekend. Since I am injury-prone, I don't want to do anything that will jeopardize my entire racing season. I guess I am figuring out a balance.

 Didn't you know I'm the Flash?

Next weekend should be a good test on how I am doing. Mike and I (and our friend, Greg) have a race next Sunday. It is a 25K on trails, hopefully without snow on them, and I am going to use it to gauge how training is going.

Then the following week, I will be running the furthest I have ever run in my life - 27-28 miles (depending on exact distances). I'll be running the entire length (out and back) of the Seneca Trail. Luckily, friends and Mike will be joining me for part of the run so I won't be doing it all alone!

Overall, while I am not 100% pleased with how training is going, I know that I am capable of anything that I put my mind to and that I WILL have an amazing 50K victory lap in May.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Decluttering our House

Mike and I are messy people. As a type-A person, this bothers me a lot. However, I am "organized" in a messy-fashion and can find anything that I need to find with relative ease (except for Mike's birth certificate and social security card that we JUST found after being lost for almost 4 years, whoops).

I found this "40 bags in 40 days" challenge for Lent and I was intrigued. I don't celebrate Lent, but I do have a yearly goal to get rid of 10 things in our house (by either throwing away, donating or selling) that we no longer use. I also have this grand idea of deep cleaning our house and getting rid of everything that we don't need anymore.

Lots of magazines!

The first thing I did was go through a lot of magazines and recycle them. I don't need years of Runner's World magazines (though, I should have gone through them to take out any workouts or recipes that I might use in the future, oh well).

Some of these clothes are 11+ years old

This morning, Mike and I went through some of our clothes and got rid of one small bag of stuff that we threw away and three big bags of clothes that we are going to donate. We both need to buy a few new items of clothing (especially considering I haven't bought any "real" clothes in a few years), but we won't completely replace everything that we are purging.

My goal over the next few months (because, let's be realistic, with training, work and life in general this is going to take awhile), is to go through every room/space in our house and get rid of what we don't need anymore and organize what we do want.

I am often embarrassed of our house. Granted, this is a "starter" house that we have been living in for almost 6 years now. I don't want to be here for 10 years. A new opportunity in our life will make it a lot easier for us to buy our "forever" home in the next few years, which is a good thing.  Even still, I would like to be able to have our friends and family over without feeling like we are being judged for how we live.

Will we ever be extremely neat people? Probably not. But, when I envision how I would like my house to look, I think of my parents' house. My mom doesn't do clutter. Everything has a purpose and is put away in an organized-fashion.

I want to be more like that.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Next 140.6

I am an endurance athlete, through and through. I truly do not like the 5K distance, mainly because it hurts but also because I usually need a few miles to get into my groove. I thought about "retiring" from the 5K distance, but we have a race that we do every year that I actually enjoy.

I have this feeling that I am going to love running my 50K (as long as there isn't snow on the ground, of course). Yes, it will hurt. Yes, I will probably swear to (not AT) Isaac (who is pacing me). But I know me, and I know when I cross the finish line I am going to want more. It may be another 50K or it may be that potential 50 miler I am thinking about doing in November.

So as much fun as training for a few 70.3s and doing SOS Triathlon is going to be this year, I am already thinking about which "Ironman" we are going to do in 2016.

The top contenders so far are:  

Challenge (formerly Rev3) Cedar Point 140.6

While this race isn't an Ironman event, I believe that Challenge provides almost the same, if not the same, amount of support at their events for a third or half of the cost of an Ironman event. Another bonus is that our friend, Eric, may do this race with us as well!

The one con with this race is its timing. Fall isn't the best time for me to miss a few days of work, but I would figure something out!

Ironman Muskoka

This is a new race this year, but the distance from our house is driveable and it looks like the location is really pretty. It is a "tough" course, but what Ironman isn't tough? We've done tough before and we can do it again!

Other than it being more expensive, the only other con for this race is again the date for me because of my work schedule.

Ironman Mont Tremblant

We are going to spectate this race this year, so after seeing it in action we may just want to take the plunge and do this race! Again, it isn't too far of a drive for us and the location is really pretty. Also, of the three this one's date works the best for me and work.

So there you have it, those are the three top contenders right now. I may completely change my mind though, who knows!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being My Best

Even though I am an Ironman, there are times when I doubt myself.

 This photo isn't related to this post, but today is the 2 year anniversary of this moment

I have these high expectations and when little things "get in the way" of those, it starts to tear me down.

This past weekend, after a few weeks off from the trails, Mike and I ventured out to Mendon Ponds for some trail running. I had done my two other runs during the week on the indoor track, so I knew that it was going to be tough regardless of anything else. I was excited about the change in scenery and the "warm" weather (since when is 10 degrees warm?)

We met up with some other runners, friends and new friends, and hit the trails. The next 2.5 hours of training were some of the hardest that I have done so far. The snow was really deep in spots and the uneven terrain made footing almost impossible. I got behind the rest of the group because I had 16 miles planned and needed to go slower, luckily, Mike stayed with me.

I was disappointed in myself for only getting 10 miles in when I was supposed to do 16 miles. My pace was above 14 minutes per mile, and even though I know it was because of the snow, I felt like a failure. I said to Mike that I just want to make him proud, and even though he told me that I always make him proud regardless of the outcome, I was still extremely frustrated with how that run went.

I wanted redemption, so the next day we went back to Mendon Ponds for more trail miles. Since I didn't do as many miles as I wanted on Saturday, I went out there with the idea that I would aim for 10 miles (but I would be happy with anything between 7-13 miles).

The snow was better in some spots, but waist deep in others. We had to hike in lots of spots because the snow was so deep that even if I tried to run I would take two steps and fall through the snow immediately.

I mentally gave up.

I have this idea of what I am capable of and even in the most ridiculous conditions, I can't cut myself some slack. Most other people would laugh it off and just get in what they could (which in the end is what I did, at least I got in 7.5 more miles in tough conditions).

 Obviously not from this past weekend, but the same place and another time my mental toughness was tested

Both days I kept saying that I am not going to be able to finish a 50K, and Mike kept telling me that other people finish that distance after training a lot less than I will. Being self-coached, I don't give myself the "easy" way out. I don't do the least amount of distance, the easiest brick sets or give myself many opportunities to cut out workouts. I push myself - hard and to the limits.

I have to remind myself that I have only been doing this since April 2011, we are only coming up on our four year running anniversary. We started this journey with the Couch-to-5K and we have done so much in such a short amount of time.

 This seems so long ago, maybe because it was

I need to let go of "letting people down". I do this for me - to test my limits, set goals and achieve them. I know I am capable of so much more than a 50K, and potentially even more than an Ironman. As long as I am being my best in the moment, regardless of the outcome, that's all that matters.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Surviving Winter

I guess you could say that I'm still hanging in there. I am not one to wish my life away, but I am counting down the days until winter is over.

 -6 degrees this morning, yuck. That's why the four of us are planning a warm getaway next winter!

We haven't seen the ground since December or the beginning of January. It's been so long that I can't even remember. I feel like I am constantly living in a black and white film, since Rochester is typically pretty grey most of the time anyway. We've probably only had two or three days that have been above freezing, and with the windchill I bet it has only been one day.

 The Bern checking out all of the snow

The piles of snow at the end of our driveway are getting to be so high that I can't even see when I am backing out, I just hope that no one is coming when I pull into the road!

However, I am still getting in the majority of my training runs. I did "skip" my first run of this 50K training plan yesterday. It was close to -30 degrees with the windchill and Mike and I don't have appropriate gear for running in those conditions. The roads were iffy, so we decided against driving to our gym (which I think was a good decision, based on my drive into work this morning).

 30 mile ride and some strength

I ended up riding 30 miles on the trainer. Cycling and running aren't the same thing, they use muscles in different ways, but my legs still got in a good workout. I had about 82 miles between swimming, cycling and running last week - so in the end it was still a great week.

 We've been getting in a lot of snuggles on the couch

This is the last week of "just" 50K training. Starting next week, Mike and I will start training for our two 70.3 triathlons that we have in June and July. While it will be a bit more daunting for me, I'm ready to get in some more consistent swimming and cycling!

Thankfully, looking ahead to this weekend the temperatures are looking a bit better. We are going to get some more snow, which doesn't surprise me at this point, but I'm looking forward to getting in some good trail miles!

I know that training in and persevering through these conditions will benefit me when I toe the line at my 50K in May. I am working on my mental toughness this winter, that's for sure!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Evolution of this Blog

I was curious what I was up to around this time last year, and that's when I realized it was right around the time when I was coming off of my injury. I DNS'd Cast a Shadow and had started to build my mileage up, slowly, so that I could run the Half at the Hamptons.

I then took a peek at 2013 and what I was doing. I noticed that this blog has changed a lot. I had some product reviews (I don't do those anymore) and random posts just to fill up my little space on the internet.

Where else would you find something like this but my blog?

All of that is fine, but that isn't how I handle my blog anymore. 

My blog has always been for me. There were times when I was a part of Ambassador programs and I did some posts through those avenues (technically, I am still a part of these groups but I do not do anything through them anymore). Companies have stopped contacting me for product reviews, for the most part, and that's fine with me. Unless you are offering me a product that I actually use - I'm not going to review it.

 When you have nothing to say, sometimes this is all you can do

I also realized that sometimes, I just don't have anything to say. Last year with Ironman training, this blog basically became my training log. I did have a few random posts sprinkled throughout here and there, but the majority of posts were Ironman training recaps and race recaps.

This also means that I have lost some readers. That's alright too. As I said, this blog has always been for me. I still like my little space on the internet, and I hope that some of you still do too!

Evolution, or change, isn't always a bad thing. And it is a natural part of life. I'm sure glad that I am not the same person that I was 5 or 10 years ago - and I can say the same thing about this blog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mental Defeat

Where is this person? I'd like to know.

I've already mentioned how I struggle with winter, and this year it seems like my mental toughness/motivation is suffering as well. I don't even feel like that person who completed an Ironman or even the person who ran a sub-4 hour marathon. 

I know I was the person who did those things, but I'm wondering if I still am that person. 

I find myself questioning if I am still capable of running a fast marathon time, or if I am going to be able to complete my 50K in May, or if I am going to be able to finish another Ironman.

Deep down inside, I know that I am capable of doing all of those things, and more (I'm even contemplating a 50 miler in November). But for some reason, my mental toughness is severely lacking right now. 

I put off running until tomorrow and rode on the trainer tonight instead. At least I did something, I could just be skipping workouts completely. I could have gone for a run, Mike and I were planning on it, but then I got home and I just let my mind get the best of me. It wasn't even that bad outside, alright fine it was 18 degrees and wherever we ended up running would have been snow-covered but at least the sun was shining. 

Part of my lack of motivation (even though I am getting all of my run workouts, at least one swim and bike workout and two strength workouts done) is the fact that we don't have any races until March 29th. It just seems so far away and makes winter feel like it is never-ending.

The good news? I still LOVE swimming, biking and running. It is still who I am. I know that this sport, just like life, comes with ups, downs, plateaus and everything in between.