Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pet Peeve

I went to a pretty good continuing education seminar at the fancy schmancy Cool River Cafe- very nice food, though set up buffet style, which took way too long, even though they brought the salad out to the tables. Not well thought out logistically. The topic was tick borne diseases- Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. All these diseases cause fever, swollen joints, decreased platelet counts, inflammation, bleeding, and occasionally, if not treated, death, and all three are zoonotic, which means they are transmissible to humans. It is treatable with antibiotics though, and most animals can expect a complete recovery with early treatment. Texas has the ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis, but Lyme disease is endemic in only a few small focal areas in the Northeast (Lyme, Connecticut is where it was first recognized), upper Midwest, and California/Oregon border. Interestingly, the reason why only those small areas is that the tick has to feed on an intermediate host and in those areas it is a specific mouse species. In Texas and the southwest, we have the tick, but the intermediate host is a lizard, so no Lyme disease. So the only cases of Lyme disease in dogs and people are ones that have a travel history to the endemic areas. Which means unless your dog is going to go to an endemic area, you don't need the vaccine (take that corporate practices!)

Anyway, the reason I'm posting this is because there is a very irritating thing about Lyme disease, in that a number of people, including veterinarians, call it Lyme's disease. It is not Lyme's disease and you are showing your ignorance by saying that, especially after the expert parasitologist answers your question pronouncing it correctly. Believe the expert when she says Lyme disease! Now you can say rabies, with an S but it would sound just as stupid if you said "here's your rabie certificate." So drop the S on the Lyme disease! Okay, pet peeve over.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


So my dog went in for his annual dental and they found a pea sized tumor on the back of his tongue. That's bad. Tumors in the mouth are usually aggressive and quickly become incompatible with life. They removed the mass and sent it off for histopathology and identified it as a melanoma, well differentiated so most likely slow growing, and completely excised. That's good. If it was completely removed, there is a much better prognosis. But there was still the possibility that it had already spread to the lymph nodes draining the tongue and/or on to the lungs. That's bad.

So I made an appointment with the oncologist in Austin, who I had on rotation as a fourth year student. I must say, all my veterinary knowledge drains out of my head when it's my own animals, my dog in particular who has been with me for 13 years. And my dog does not do well in clinics- he shakes and sheds and is generally terrified. We did aspirates of the lymph nodes which are small. That's good. And though only a few lymph node cells were found, no melanoma cells were found. That's good. And after three rounds of taking radiographs because the machine was being finicky, it looks like the chest is clear, though they will submit them to the radiologist for confirmation. That's good. There is one other set of lymph nodes, the retropharyngeal, which have to be found with ultrasound, that we're going to aspirate with the radiologist later.

So at this point, it's considered a Stage I melanoma, with no lymph node involvement and no distant metastasis. That is the best possible way to have melanoma. And there is now a vaccine. It is still under investigation, but is on conditional licensure for oncologists. It is a human DNA product that causes the dog's immune system to attack the melanoma cells. So they did the first dose today, with three more to follow at two week intervals. Here is a link with more information:

I know my dog is 13 and I have started preparing myself. He is not going to live forever. But I am not ready yet. And melanoma may get him in the end, or he may go on to die of something completely different. In the meantime, I can appreciate him and enjoy the days that we have had before, and the days we have left.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Post PR Pppfffffs

So after the excitement of Sunday, and then a visit from my dad here on business which entailed much good food, I'm still eating like I just ran a big race. I can totally go for the immediate post race food- a big breakfast or burger and fries or whatever- "I deserve it, right!" But now it's Wednesday, and I'm eating pizza, brownies, and frito pie (with homemade chili, be impressed!) though not all at the same meal- talk about indigestion!

And I'm still a little sore and stiff, even after a massage and daily stretching and rollering. It really throws me off to not have regular workouts, though I tried to run with Dad on Tuesday morning and there was no movement faster than a shuffle. My left hamstring in particular said no. So that's not a winning combination- more food and less exercise. I need to get back on track, though with more work, a ski trip, and other stuff going on, it doesn't look too smooth for the next couple of weeks. But all I can do is all I can do, and that has to be good enough for now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Half marathon PR!

So my plan to just run the 3M Half Marathon as a training run failed. It was a good morning to run and so I did! And the whole 3M race was excellent- organized, plenty of parking, good support, and there was food left at the end! I was a little worried because work Saturday was especially long, with an emergency amputation at 3pm, so not a good way to take it easy and taper. My mid back, which always gets tight after a long day of surgery, was screaming, but I stretched Saturday night and then went to bed early.

Sunday morning, got up and dressed, and then drove out to the starting area around 6:15- plenty of time and no traffic. Went to the bathroom twice, jogged a little, and found a good side street to wait on so that I could get across the start line only two minutes after the race started. I was a little worried about the parking shuttle at the end, which the race info warned that the last bus would leave at 11 am. Considering I was planning on taking 3:30 to finish, I wanted to get started as early as possible. It was 38 degrees at the start, but I was comfortable in shorts, technical T and cotton long sleeve, with cotton throwaway gloves.

I started out comfortably and found a rhythm. I saw a couple T3ers which was nice and an old TNT triathlete from the Captex 2008 training. I feel like there is a community of athletes in Austin and that I'm a part of it, and I like that. My wonderful cousin, F, told me she would be cheering on Mesa, and I tried to give her an approximate time when I would pass by- I feel bad that they're waiting on me, especially when it's so cold. And not only did she come with her cowbell, she brought the whole family! It really was a boost to see them so I'm glad they braved the weather to come out.

I passed the relay station feeling strong, so no question that I would continue on to finish the whole thing. I alternated between keeping the long sleeve on and taking it off, and taking the gloves on and off. The sun came out briefly, but then it clouded back over and was chilly. I was taking water at each stop which were every two miles, and I took the Gu I brought at mile 6. The only gatorade stop was at mile 12, which seemed a little late, but I didn't really it need it, so it didn't matter. I was trucking along, going around 15 minutes per mile, and feeling pretty good. The downhills were very nice, and when I would see an uphill ahead, I would think "maybe I'll take a walk break on the uphill" but when I would get there, would chug up just fine without too much extra effort. I was looking ahead and picking out people to run towards to break it up, and I was also keeping the mile splits on my watch, which I've never done in a race, but helps to pass the time and also keep me aware of where I was in the miles as well.

There were a couple of people that did the thing I hate most about races- walk/runners who obviously set a goal to run past me, but immediately after doing so, stop and walk. And it's worst when the road gets narrow, so that they stop directly ahead of me and I have to swerve around to pass them. And since I'm doing the steady jog, I usually will catch up to the them and pass them, which causes them to start jogging to get ahead of me. Repeat ad nauseum. Today, there was a group of three women that were doing this, so that when they stopped in my path, it was very annoying to go around them. From mile 9 or so, we hopscotched back and forth, and it became very obvious that they were waiting until I caught up with them to start running again.

But I was sticking with my steady pace and game plan. I had picked it up after mile 10, knowing the end was coming and that I was feeling strong. A little after mile 12, I looked at my watch and saw that it was 3:07. If I could finish in 15 minutes, I would have a PR- my best result was my first half at the 2006 Freescale in 3:22:50. So I picked it up a little more. Now the group of three women had become two, as one had decided to run the last mile to finish ahead of them. The other two were still alternating walking and running, and would start running as soon as they could hear me coming up behind them. I'm not all that competitive, and I know that running faster than someone else does not make you better than them. I am a firm believer in that because I'm usually the slower person. But this was pissing me off, and I was feeling strong and was really close to beating my PR. So at about 150 yards from the finish, I pretended like it was just another ramp up sprint at practice, where you start slow, and accelerate to 95% of your maximum pace. I did that from about 10 feet behind the annoying twins, and just could feel I was putting it into another gear, stretching out my legs, and moving fast. And I zoomed past them and across the finish line in 3:20:12!

Of course, afterwards I felt like I was going to pass out- light headed and wobbly, but I tried to keep walking and keep upright. Got a bottle of water and my medal, and then one of the annoying twins came up behind me and said "that was some kick you put in there at the finish" sounding a little annoyed, like they had it all planned to keep ahead with their walk/jog, and to which I weezed "and now I'm about to die!" But really, I was thinking "Ha, you nitwits, I beat you- sometimes the turtle can get a move on!" But again, beating them does not make me a better person, but maybe they will realize that their little strategy can backfire.

I slowly was able to breathe again, and I went to the finisher's area which was already starting to pack up some tents. I got a couple of breakfast tacos and a gatorade, and sat down gratefully. After that and a little stretch, I looked for the T3 tent- I thought they were going to have a tent and their personal massage therapist (a great perk of training with them!) but either they didn't come or they'd already packed up to leave. The general massage tent had a big crowd, and I could see the extra buses were already being sent away so I went ahead and headed back. And of course, sitting makes you stiffen up and my left hamstring was the worst. I did have a little pain during the race on my right foot- the Morton's neuroma pain in the middle of the metatarsal bones, but was able to stretch and move my foot around in my shoe to help relieve that. I probably need to retire these shoes as the padding is probably going. I got home, stretched and foam rollered, showered, and took a nap watching tennis (Jelena Dokic got through to the semifinals- yay!) And now, I think I'm going to just go back on the couch for the rest of the day.

But it was a good day, and a good motivator. Sometimes it seems like nothing will change, or if it does, it changes so slow to be almost imperceptible. Some days it feels like I'm running in sludge, and that it's one step forward and then two steps back. But today was evidence of my hard work at practice and improved nutrition. The scale may not be moving all that quickly, but I am certainly moving faster than I have before!

Friday, January 23, 2009

3M Half Marathon

I picked up my packet for the half marathon on Sunday- great goodie bag as expected, but zero expo aside from a rack of Brooks shoes. This race is going to be interesting because it is supposed to be just a training run with support, and my A race is the Austin Half Marathon in four weeks. But I keep hearing about how 3M is so great for PRs because it's a downhill course, and to plan on going 30 seconds faster per mile, easy. So should I try to go fast on this course, just to see what I can do? And it's so weird to actually try to go fast. Though really in my case it is to try to go less slow. My goal for running has always been just to participate and finish. That it doesn't matter my time as long as I'm out there doing it. If I now start to believe that I can finish, and that time is important, and that I want to improve my time, then I have to take into account the fact that I am SLOW. If time matters, then I'm way down at the bottom of the barrel. And that kind of sucks.

So I was playing with the marathon calulator here and if I do go 30 seconds faster than my last half marathon in November, then my time would be 3:30. Though, I can also improve my time from November by not taking two bathroom breaks during the race, and by not getting stuck behind a gazillion walkers. My A goal for the Austin Half is to go 3:15, which would be a 14:53 pace. To break 3 hours, I would have to go 13:44 per mile. And that just seems impossible for me. And yet I want to do it, I have to get faster if I want to accomplish the goals I've set out. But it's hard to imagine putting forth more effort to run than I already do. And that makes me depressed.

However, I can tell I've made some progress with the hill and track workouts, but that's hard to judge when I'm still so far behind everyone else. So maybe this race will be a good marker- to see how I've improved from November, and then also, with another month of training, to see what I can do at the Austin Half.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Windy bike ride

Went out from my house to the Mopac loop- not too bad. I did get honked at on the part of Slaughter that does not have a bike lane. I am trying to interpret this honk as a "way to go" honk as opposed to a "get off the road" honk because they honked after they passed me. Maybe I'm just hoping that not every car wants to kill cyclists, especially other cyclists driving their cars- I was cut off by a SUV with a bike on the back. WTF?

But it was super windy. I spent almost 15 minutes in aero because it was so windy, so that was good practice, but I did feel a couple times out of control being pushed around by the wind, and then also the big trucks whoosing by on Mopac. I cut the Mopac loop short and headed back, trying a new route done Davis/Dittmar, which is a fine road except for the two killer hills and no visibility for passing. So I think I'll have to stick to Slaughter.

And Roddick, Blake, Federer, and the Williams are all still in the Australian Open! Yay!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good run!

I actually felt good at the hill workout tonight. It's been a while that my legs haven't felt like lead when I've tried to run on them. We did mile repeats on a figure eight course of tough hills near O'Henry school and I did 2.5 of them. I was supposed to do three, but I have instituted a new policy that I will run until the other last runner finishes. Luckily the IMCDAers usually go quite a bit longer than me training for a half marathon, so when they're finishing, I'll be close. And with core, warmup and cooldown, it was 1 hour 45 minutes long, and that's plenty.

What also helped was getting a massage and adjusted today before the workout- that always feels good and I think we're finally getting the middle of my back to get in line. And I always feel so tall and long afterwards- so perfect to run on and pound it back down! Plus I had a good day with my nutrition- I'm finally figuring out what I have to eat to have the energy to do the workout, without having GI issues or bonking. But I'm also learning that I need longer to recover than the T3 training plan says, and I'm going to honor that, especially at this point in the season, instead of forcing workouts that are half hearted and a struggle to get through without injury. So as much as I want to do spin tomorrow, with work I can't do the evening workout, and there's just not enough time to refresh my legs before tomorrow morning. So no spin tomorrow, but I will do track on Wed, and spin on Thursday, and if the weather stays nice, swim on Friday, off Saturday, and 3M Sunday. That's the plan!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I heart the Australian Open

And Andy Roddick in particular! Drool! Of course, I like him because he's a local too, and he eats at the Einstein's on Lamar.

The big story this year is that he has a new coach and has dropped 15 lbs, and the sports press are still not giving him a chance to win it. I'm not sure if he can win it either, but I bet he'll at least make the semis. And I would love it if it was Roddick vs Federer in the final. And as much as I love Federer, I would have to root for Roddick on that one- he only has one title and Federer has 13!

As for the women, I'm so glad Sharapova is out with an injury, mainly because I can't stand listening to her awful screech with each hit. I'd like a Williams to win, or one of the Serbians, Ivanovic or Jankovic. In any case, there is a lot of tennis to watch on the Tivo and that makes me happy!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

T3 group ride is not so group

I'm supposed to be in Florida at a vet conference, but since I didn't get the scholarship and I didn't want to spend my own money on it, I'm here in Austin. I did get Saturday covered at work and so I have a Saturday off in town! Yay! And mostly what that means is I can go on the group long bike ride. This one was from Kiker Elementary to Fitzhugh, out and back, and for my training I was supposed to do ~25 miles, though the IM people were doing 50. And for this ride, the coaches are starting pace groups to help people ride together and spend less time alone and/or waiting if they need help. So if you plan on riding 17mph or less, you go with Gamma group that leaves at 8:45. 17-18 you're Alpha and leave at 9:00. 18-19 Beta and leave at 9:07 and 20+ Zappa and leave at 9:15. First of all my average speed is well below 17 mph. Probably closer to 12-13, and even slower if there are a lot of hills. Second, when did Zappa become a Greek letter?

I get there way too early and luckily K is there- one of the genuinely friendly people that knows my name and talks to me regularly at practices. We chat and she gives me advice and then all of the sudden the Gamma group is leaving the parking lot. So before we leave the parking lot I've already been dropped by my pace group! I do have the turns printed out and find a rhythm and am surprised it takes about 30 minutes to get passed by the Alpha group. It's chilly- about 45 degrees and overcast, but I'm sweating buckets inside my cycling jacket, especially struggling up the hills, and then going downhill I get chilled. I think next time I'll leave the jacket and just wear an extra layer or two of thicker technical shirts. Close to my turnaround, I get passed by the Beta group and then two people who I assume are the only Zappas.

I'm tired and chilled, and so I cut short the turnaround by a mile and head back. It's much, much easier on the way back- I was warned about this, but aside from two large hills, I'm back to the car in 45 minutes when it took 1:05 to get out to the turnaround. Everyone else is still finishing their 50 miles, so I pack up and head on to the Farmer's Market, another thing I don't get to do when I work every Saturday.

So overall, the group ride was a good experience. I found a new route, and I pushed myself. But really it was not a group ride at all, as I spent less than 5 minutes out of almost two hours riding with any other cyclist. And that's a good lesson because I get all weirded out by having to ride by myself all the time. Really, even on group rides, I'm still going to be riding by myself. The only way to fix that is to plan rides with S more, and/or get faster so that I can keep up with the Gamma group. And really I just need to ride more in general. And now that I know more of what to wear so that I don't have the excuse "it's cold", I'm totally going to do more!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

HCO Event #3

This event was ice skating at Northcross Mall and my favorite so far! There were a total of about 12 people, mixture of men and women, and one woman brought her tweener kids, which was fine. The last time I went ice skating was in 1999, when I took an evening class on adult ice skating in Dallas. Then, the ice skates had those hard plastic shells and were very uncomfortable. The skates tonight were brown leather, so I was excited to try them out- but they were awful! Even when laced so tight my feet feel asleep instantly, I still had a hard time keep my ankles from rolling in. I did a couple of laps around the chewed up ice and thought my ice skating days are over!

Another HCOer said she had the same problem and swapped them out for hockey skates (which I've always wanted to try). And they were so much better! About 1000% better! I think the wider base and the stiffer, higher boot helped keep my ankles from rolling in, which allowed me to have better balance. I was really moving around the ice and having a good time. The rink was pretty small and was very crowded- I couldn't tell if this was a special night or if it's always this crowded, but within about 5 minutes after being Zambonied, the ice was covered in ruts and ice chip sludge. And they had a special music thing where if you brought your iPod, they would play three of your songs. So it was a little disconcerting because when I first got there, there was about 10 minutes of Indian music! Then some Beatles, then some Rihanna, then some Michael Jackson. Overall, it was a pretty good selection.

So I would totally go skating again, and am even considering looking at the pricing of hockey skates. Of course, it's not just the purchase price, but then you have a pair of skates you have to find a place for in your house. I would love to go up north and skate outdoors- I'm putting that on my life list now!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Spin & Swim

I had to go to the early spin class because of a CE meeting this evening, and after feeling great yesterday after my 10 mile run, (thanks protein shake and no nap!) this morning I was stiff and groggy. I did make it there, along with 27 other triathletes! This IM CDA thing is huge and everyone is healthy and motivated right now. I think T3 is going to have to make some adjustments to have this many people coming to workouts, such as moving the gear shelves so more people can come to spin. It's just super crowded with 28 people there!

Back to spin- my legs felt like I had attached lead weights and there would be no easy spinning at 100 rpm today. I did get through the workout, and about 20 min in, finally felt like I'd worked out the worst of the cobwebs. Stretched, and then off to Einstein's for a nova lox bagel- yum, read the papers, and kill time until I would meet S at Barton Springs.

Now this morning, it was 36 degrees, and had warmed up to about 42 by 9 am. That's cold when you're still a little sweaty and wearing shorts! And watching the two other swimmers get out of the water- that's going to be the worst part because at least the water is 62 degrees! Maybe S wouldn't show. So I did some core exercises to keep warm and tried to find the sunniest, warmest spot. And then S did show, so there had to be some swimming.

Struggling into the wetsuit, and then wading in- a little shocking at first until the tiny water layer under the wetsuit gets warmed up. Then it was fine- warm even, compared to the air temp. I did move very slowly and only did two laps and then tried to stay as under water as possible looking for the springs- but the water level was too low, so they weren't bubbling up. But tons of fish and so many more cool things to see during the day than at night! S did one more lap, then we put off getting out as long as possible. And it was excruciating. We ran up to the changing area, though it is open air and just as cold. And it's hard to get dressed with frozen fingers! Then home for a long nap, though I could never get warm, even with all my covers, socks, and flannel pajamas on!

Monday, January 12, 2009

HCO event #2

This was an urban hike to explore the historic Clarksville neighborhood west of downtown and eat at Caffe Medici. It had a limit of 30 people, with another 15 on the waiting list. I get there, and in total there are about 15 people, which another HCOer tells me is just about average for most events- 50% no shows. So that's why I could never get into any events at the last minute when I was a member before, though now I know I could probably show up anyway.

So our leader is late because she went to the wrong place (even though she set up this event herself, hmm.) We've all been chatting in the group circle and had talked to and introduced myself to about 1/4 of the group. Though I could tell immediately there were no men of interest to me. Bummer. And about 90% of the group already knows each other. She has us say our names and then we are off. No safety talk, or instructions on how to warn the group about cars- she did suggest on the calendar to bring a flashlight and about half the group complied. This is in contrast to T3, where everyone is required to wear a reflective vest and flashing light and/or headlamp. We wander down one street, hit Mopac, turn around and go back to the cafe. Then back the same way, loop around one block, and then back to the cafe. I'm not sure if we're lost, or if this was the original plan. The houses are nice looking, but she's not giving any information about them, of the history of Clarksville. We avoid getting hit by cars, but people are all over the road and sidewalks.

I did discover the good and bad parts of hiking with a group- you naturally pair up because it is hard to walk three abreast and still be able to hear and converse. So I chatted with one guy briefly at the start, and then the rest of the time was by myself. And it just doesn't work to join in to an ongoing conversation between two people, and also no one was trying to include me. And as it went on, I kept getting more and more angry. "This sucks, I'm not talking to anyone, everyone already knows each other, we're wandering around in the dark in some random neighborhood for no reason, etc." Which I'm sure put off a good vibe for anyone thinking about approaching me, so I tried to tone it down, but probably wasn't very successful.

After about 45 minutes, the leader asks if we want to keep walking or go to the cafe. I vote cafe, but am outvoted. Another HCOer compliments the leader about how she loves her events, they're always so interesting. Okay... The leader does at that point say: "The Clarksville neighborhood began when Governor Pease gave one of his freed slaves, John Clark, a plot of land." And that's it. So I ask "how is it that this neighborhood is a predominately white, upscale neighborhood today?" And she says "I don't know." Okay...

So we loop around another block and end up back at the cafe, which it turns out DOESN'T SERVE FOOD! It's coffee only. I'm starving and annoyed and want to leave immediately and apparently half the group does, probably to go to a number of the cute looking restaurants that surround the cafe, but I must have missed that when I went to the bathroom. So I get some water and chat for about 10 minutes, then leave at the earliest opportunity.

So the point of going to one event per week is to not get hung up on one bad event and to lessen the stress associated with doing new things. All I can say is this one sucked pretty much all around.

10 mile Town Lake loop PR!

2:41:14! It's the first time I've done the loop all the way around, so it has to be a PR. I meant to do the long run Sunday afternoon, but after too much spaghetti and garlic bread at lunch, which required three hours to nap it off, I ran out of time. So this morning, got up and got it done first thing.

It was perfect weather- around 40 degrees to start and sunny, and warmed up to around 55 by the time I was done. And I discovered that the mile markers start at Congress and go clockwise, which is where I started and the direction I went- so perfect! The only problem with Town Lake is the crushed granite has a severe affinity for getting inside my shoes. I'm sure it has to do with my shuffling gait, but there is always a tiny pebble in at least one shoe at all times, even when I empty and brush them out every mile. Very irritating! I think the only solution would be gaiters, but I can't imagine those are very comfortable.

Finished and went home and made the Thundercloud Subs Chocolate Wave shake- 1 cup fat free frozen yogurt, 1 banana, 1/2 c milk, Hershey's chocolate syrup, and I add 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder. Blender it up- delicious! And I avoided the post exercise "I deserve chips and queso" so that's the best part of it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Blog List

I just learned something new and cool: if you put in your blog list, it will tell you when the bloggers have added a new post. No more clicking through all my bookmarks to see who has been active. It tells me automatically! How cool is that!? And yes, I realize that there are many people who have known about this for ages. I'm slow, and that's okay. I'm a good person and God loves me.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Barton Springs in the dark means more people to run into...

Or actually that would be swim into. I went last week and it was great- only about three swimmers and my friend and I counted laps together and challenged each other to go a full mile. And I even practiced drafting a little at the end. It was fun! Plus some diving board action with the protection of the wetsuits.

This week she is out of town, but I went tonight anyway and ran into a fellow T3er there and had a chance to talk with him. He's training for IM CDA, and it's rather curious how I'm able to vocalize my plan of IMAZ 2010. And he didn't laugh either! And now that I'm saying it, it makes it seem like it's really possible. And if it's really possible, then I have a ton of work to do!

But tonight, because the weather was so warm (80 degrees in January!) there were a bunch of people and the water was very stirred up with algae and plant leaves. And so in the dark, trying not to flip out when I swim into the long stringy leaves, and then shark like shadows cropping up everywhere, and then other people swimming into me! And I feel like the faster person has the obligation to avoid the slower people, so it's not my fault. And I am really trying to spot, but with the glare from the lights in places, but the reflections on the water, I either think there are people where there aren't, or don't see the person swimming right up in my face.

But I did get a mile in, rather comfortably, and it felt good.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Texas Tri Series

I'm officially signed up and about $400 poorer. But I'm already planning on doing Longhorn, and am hoping to get a friend to do the Rookie, so that's two out of the five right there. Why not sign up for them all right now? So that's what I did. Even if I get injured, you can still volunteer and get credit for the Tri Series, and there are refunds on the races as well.

And then I got the hotel room for Lonestar, another $230. And then I signed up for IBM half marathon- I'm not sure if I'm going to the half, or do the first part of the relay. Really, I just want the goodie bag- it's the best one ever. Really! All the 3M products like post it notes and markers. Though of course, paying $70 for post it notes is a little stupid, so it's good that the race is well organized and all downhill. The only issue is trying to get to my church class on time since it's the last class in this series. And even if I'm late, or miss it entirely, I'm going to all the other classes, so it shouldn't be too horrible. But it has taken a lot of effort to clear my Sundays for four weeks in a row, and even so, I may have to miss one.

So in one day, I've dropped about $700 on races and lodging for races, and that's on top of the other $400 I've spent on Longhorn and Lonestar. Man, triathlon is expensive!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

12:33 mile

A new PR! At track practice we did the regular warmup, then a mile time trial. I'm still sore from core and spin yesterday- the kind where your abs are painful and it hurts to breathe deeply. Not good. And I dread these because I am always last, and I was again tonight. But I did get 12:33, which is pretty damn good for me. I've had a 12-ish mile on the treadmill, but that is not the same as actually running outside.

But then we continued- a catchup drill with names and get to know you info, but of course, I couldn't keep up with the "fun group" and was just fine to do my mile by myself. But they decided to do run back to me every time I was up so that I could participate, which was really nice, and we wound up doing a little serpentine to finish about the same time as the other groups. I'm still working on names, and this did help, but I had spent all my energy on the time trial.

And then we were still not done- Coach L paired the slowest and fastest and then peeled down the line, and we did a mile relay. So I went first on my team and was very excited not to get lapped, but was still far behind, and our team, even with the two fastest guys, came in last. But at least I was not the last runner in! The winning group was the middle team- all evenly matched and reasonably fast.

And then we had to cool down, ankle exercises, and stretch. The hour runs become 90 minute workouts, just like the spin classes with core are almost two hours long. And I am even more sore and have that itchy lung from overexertion. Put a fork in me, I'm done.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Motivation

After a killer core/spin workout, I finally picked up the new T3 jersey- I had tried on a tri top last summer, but the 3X was too tight and too short. These jerseys are bike jerseys and longer, so I was hoping it would fit better. Let's just say I need to lose probably 30 lbs to fit into the 3X comfortably without looking like a sausage.

I have taken pictures, but will not post them until the next checkin, with new pictures to show the changes. But I have to race in this jersey at the Lonestar Tri in April, so it better fit by then. I have it hanging up in my bedroom and am going to print out the embarrassing pictures in very small prints to carry around with me. This is too awful!


As I mentioned previously, here are the details for the EvoMe Challenge:

Check in every three months- first one now, next 4/08. Calendar:
4/08- Austin half 2/15, Lonestar Quarter Tri 4/5
7/08- Tour de Cure, I'm sure a couple of sprint tris
10/08- Longhorn Half Iron- A race! Volunteer at IMAZ
1/09- training for marathon
4/09- Austin Marathon 2/~15; break then start IM training in 5/09
7/09- IM training
10/09- IM training
11/09 IMAZ and end of challenge

At checkins- weight, body fat, measurements, core exercise benchmarks, race results. Checkins are to keep motivation high and have small attainable goals to shoot for, instead of a two year goal. 2008 is speed, 2009 is endurance. And $10,000 prize, though it may be only $5,000 if that's all I can put aside. But it's not like I have a ton of good options for retirement stocks!

So checkin #1 today- baseline measurements taken (I don't feel like sharing the real numbers, but I will post the changes in April)
Core exercise benchmarks- core kicks my ass
Pushups- 10 modified (goal- 10 real)
Plank- 10 seconds of real plank before collapsing (45 seconds steady)
Situps- 31 crunches in 45 seconds (45 crunches)
Sprint tri- 300m/11m/2m- 1:30:28 (my first tri at Skeese Greets 5/08)
Cap tex Olympic- 1500m/24m/10k- 4:42:19 (but mechanicals, 6/08)
10k- 1:24:16 in 9/04- IBM Classic (first and fastest in the modern era)
Half marathon 3:22:50 in 2/06- Freescale Austin Half (first and fastest)
I do think there's an unsettling trend that I am slowing down after my first effort at a particular distance. That needs to end.
Tri race PRs
Swim 2:30/100m (Jack's Generic 8/08)
Bike 13.8 mph (Skeese Greets 5/08)
Run 14:34 min/mile (Skeese Greets 5/08)

And so I found the last finisher for the 2008 IMAZ- 16:55:40- a woman 30-34- I would be so pumped if that were me! Her times:
1:28:20 swim- 2:20/100m- this is doable. I would need to work on endurance to keep that pace through the entire 2.4 m swim, but shouldn't be too bad.
8:15:35 bike- 13.6 mph- I would like to average over 15 mph to have a little cushion (that would make it about 7:30 for the bike split). Again, I can do 15 mph, but only about 10 miles at a time right now, so a LOT of work to do here.
6:53:38 run- 15:48 min/mile- a lot of work here too. I can't even do a half marathon at that pace, and I've never done a full marathon. And this is where the weight is the biggest problem. I will not be able to do that kind of pace carrying an extra hundred pounds. I would like to shoot for under 15 min/mile, just for the symmetry of it.

So that's where I'm starting. I think having the checkins will be a good benchmark and motivator, even if no one is reading. There is a long way to go, but here is the first step.

HCO event #1

My mom gave me a present of a three month subscription to Hill Country Outdoors, the Austin outdoorsy and social club. I had tried them briefly when I first moved to Austin, but between my weird work schedule and doing only kayaking events, I let it lapse. When I was talking to my mom about it, she did attach a caveat in that I had to use it, and we agreed to one event per week, on average. I thought that it would help me actually get out there and go to the events. And also if I knew that there were going to be 12 events, then each one would be less important and stressful.

So here is HCO event #1- Snow Bunny Happy Hour at the Dog and Duck Pub. This was an info session about the HCO ski trip to Steamboat in Feb. I was interested in the ski trip, but wasn't sure about how it would go if I have to work the Saturday we are leaving. As I was coming in, I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to recognized the group, but luckily the leader, R, had papers and an HCO backpack, so he was easy to identify. There were a total of 12-15 people there throughout the hour long event, very informal, very friendly. We talked about the resort, the condo, etc and it seems very casual- some people barely ski at all and want to drink and shop, but then there are some serious snowboarders. I think I will continue the tradition of the lesson in the morning, and it sounds like that won't be a problem. Overall it sounds like a good trip and I'm going to sign up.

Now will it count for six events or just one?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Post exercise hunger monster, EvoMe

So the past two weeks, I've been doing mainly walking with my dog in the mornings. I have done a little training with T3, but nothing too heavy, even though I have a goal of a PR at the Austin Half Marathon in February. So this morning, I went out for a two hour run (or really a slog- slow jog) in the 35 degree and misting weather. It was actually very pleasant- used the birthday present Fuel Belt for the first time and it worked great. I went up to Mary Moore Searight and had a good time thinking, since I forgot the iPod, some about different hash trails in and around the park, my house, and the surrounding areas.

The only problem with long and strenuous exercise is the resulting hunger monster. I believe there is a physiological as well as a mental/emotional component. I did run for two hours and there are nutrients I need to replace. But there's also the "I worked really hard and deserve a treat." And man, is that treat large, and long lasting! And it is so counter productive! I basically wipe out the calorie deficit from the exercise immediately. With the hour long walks, there's not the same overwhelming need for biscuits, and any cravings are much more easily dismissed. I know what the solution is- eat more during the exercise, and have good healthy food available afterwards (another problem today as I needed to go the grocery store). But man, those Cracker Barrel biscuits were fantastic!

And also while running and thinking, I was kicking around this idea of a triathlon challenge. I have heard of the EvoTri challenge, where they pick a couple of regular people and provide them with expert training and support to see what they can achieve. So in my day dream, I was thinking about what if I got picked, and they helped me train for IMAZ 2010. But of course, they wouldn't, since that's too far away, and I have a good support system with T3, and I have to drop the weight first. But that doesn't mean I couldn't set up the challenge for myself.

So, working out the details helped pass a good part of the two hour run. I would start now, Jan 2009, have checkins every 3 months to evaluate progress. I could call it EvoMe- sort of Evolve Me/Evo Tri combo. I would have two A races- Longhorn Half Iron in Oct 2009 and then IMAZ in Nov 2010. I would spend 2009 working on speed- primarily by dropping the weight, and then 2010 working on endurance (I would also like to do a full marathon sometime before Nov 2010, plus some other B races). I would post my progress on here, plus PRs for races, and other benchmarks. And at the end, I would get a prize of $10,000 to spend on myself (though of course, I will have to save up the $10,000 myself since I don't foresee professional sponsorship any time soon, but I think that's doable!) And that prize money would have to be on fun things for me- a new bike, or a trip, and nothing practical like paying down my mortgage.

I think it's a good idea, and workable, and a way to break down the next two years into manageable chunks where I can see progress. I want to look at the timing of the components for IMAZ and make those intermediate goals, and have other benchmarks like real pushups, etc. I'm going to work out the details in the next couple of days and post them as soon as I get them together.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hash fun

Went out to the hash run, with Magically Delicious being one of four hares. This was my second hash, and a much better trail, easy to follow, plenty of markers in both chalk and flour. It started at the Statesman parking lot, down Town Lake trail, through downtown with one beer check at a bar, then a second beer check under the 35 bridge on the north side of the river, and the final on in just 500 yards away near the Fiesta Gardens park area. I actually wished it was a little longer, but it was COLD and windy with the front coming in. Really I wish the run was longer and the circle was shorter.

And I really enjoy the running and trail following aspect of hash, the drinking, swearing, pot smoking, and generally smuttiness is a little off putting. But generally, I've limited myself to one beer at the end, and haven't had anyone give me a hard time about it. And there are a bunch of guys- my preferred demographic at this point.

Then there's the nickname- I'm a little worried about it because there are some horrible and embarrassing nicknames and I really don't want one of those. For example: Father Syphilis, Pussy Hawk, He Whore, Whore on the Floor, Whoreo, C.M. Cumming, Jingle Balls, Dyke Tyson, and those are just a couple of them. And one person got named- Kitty Kitty Gang Bang. Part of me wants to stick around at least until I get a name, and if it's really horrible, I don't have to go back. But I've never had a real nickname, and I've always wanted one. Since graduation, there's Doc, and since the nieces and nephew, there's Tia, but neither are used very frequently, even though I like them both. And of course, it's totally not allowed to suggest nicknames, so I'm having a hard time keeping the nicknames I wouldn't mind to myself!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dropped 3 lbs

Since I survived Christmas and got back to Austin, I've dropped 3 lbs! (And yes, I am consciously using the new term "dropped" as opposed to "lost" because most things you lose you want back. I don't know if it will make a difference, but I am trying everything.) Though perhaps the maintaining through Christmas was pretty damn good too!

And the secret is:

There is no secret. I think the hour long walks in the morning with Kieran are good- exercise without the crazy over exertion that drives me straight to Einstein's for bagels (multiple bagels) which defeats the purpose of exercising in the first place. And I think eating in and cooking is much better than going out to restaurants all the time. And tracking on Sparkpeople is good to see the calorie counts. And more fruits and vegetables- also beneficial.

So it's every little thing, done consistently, with reasonable splurges. And that may be the most unexciting secret of all!