Saturday, August 31, 2013

A week's rest

Just taking a week off from running can really mess with your head. Partly it was the way I felt about running this past week: I couldn't fathom enjoying it, and it made me start sweating just thinking about it. Or maybe that was the fever breaking. I took 2 days completely off from exercise other than the usual Hunter chasing and lifting and playing, started back swimming, then rode, and took another day off. During that time, I would forget that it was the sickness talking when I worried that I was headed back toward 2009-10 shape (which was sickly and pitiful).

I'm planning another sweltering bike ride for today, but with plenty of water, and I may get up before dawn tomorrow to attempt the run (who am I kidding? 8am will be good for me). So I'm one week down in my half marathon training, with zero miles to show for it. Better now than race week. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The fast track to mastitis

Need to get sick in a hurry with fever, chills and body aches? And a boob that looks land feels like it has golf balls (plural) inside it? Maybe it's an event you're dreading or an awful meeting at work. Can you get out jury duty with this excuse? Whatever the case may be, dehydrate yourself as completely as possible over two consecutive days by running in the late August heat, then fail to adequately rehydrate, but still nurse your large 17-month-old as usual. When you wake up to a lopsided chest that reminds you of something from aliens, don't wait to take some ibuprofen like I did. It WILL start hurting. A simple plugged duct (or several) is one thing, even if it consists of half the available ducts on that side, but this case of mastitis is a whole different ballgame. I tried pumping, nursing, hot compresses, a soapy wide toothed comb (doesn't hurt as badly as you'd think), and massage (hurts worse than you'd think), all to no avail. I was so tired that I fell asleep with Hunter for his nap and woke up to fever. Redness + fever + wanting to cry picking toddler up = husband bringing home antibiotics and supper. This case is a booger, but at least it got me out of my 14x400m workout.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fall running goals

Since I was less than motivated to do my last sprint triathlon, I decided to let Jeremy take the last ones nearby. He's actually been riding, and well, and he has started running just in time for his half Ironman. And his swimming ability, especially for how much he swims, is just as ridiculous as always (meaning fast). It's the giant hands, surely. So anyway, he gets to race the Toad Suck Olympic distance and the Hebert Springs race if he wants. I'm done. But it's hard not to think about running this time of year since its typically the start of cross country and fall marathon training. So Jenny and I found us a really close half marathon that is 9 weeks from now, and decided on a training plan as well.

My first weekend of following the plan, which really isn't that much different than what I'd normally do just for general fitness maintenance, didn't go so well. Instead of just running 6 miles with 4 at marathon pace on Saturday, I rode 2 hours and ran 5 at about marathon pace+90 sec per mile. That's what I get for starting at 12:30 after having run out of water. It's not that I intentionally set out to run that slow. It just happened. 

Apparently I didn't adequately recover Saturday because Sunday's run, which was supposed to be 10 easy, turned into a slogging 9. I was super thankful that I hadn't charged the Garmin and it died at mile 3. That way when I walked up hills more times that I'd like to admit, I didn't feel so guilty. There's no record of it, therefore it never happened (just like that Phoenix marathon debacle).

I realized that for an entire decade of my life I trained for an October or November Ironman, and late August is prime time for tough training. I have actually never done a fall flat out half marathon (or flat out full for that matter), but I love how you train for Ironmans really hard in the hot summer, then gradually it gets cool and crisp and running speed just magically appears. I'm looking forward to that happening before the October 26th race. 

Jenny and I don't have the same goal pace since I've run probably two dozen more half marathons than that one she did (on a whim, untrained, last minute, under Jeremy's name when he hurt his knee right before). But we are planning some intervals together, whether it's with strollers up hills like last week's runs or super early mornings. Just kidding on that last part. We aren't that crazy.

Hill repeats. Come on slow poke Mommy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Degray Lake Sprint

Jeremy and I split up the Tri Arkansas challenge races. He took the Olympic distance that took place on hot humid Saturday morning, and I got the cooler, shorter sprint on Sunday. Sucka! :) But he's doing a half next month, so he needs the longer racing. We stayed half an hour away from Degray Lake, in Hot Springs, for the weekend. Right on Lake Hamilton was our condo, but we managed to stay out of the algae filled, but otherwise clear water, despite Hunter's attempts to run right off the end of the dock. To his credit, that algae was thick enough it looked like you could walk on it.

If Jeremy actually wrote anymore I'd let him cover his race, but since he doesn't, I'll sum it up with this: he was 8th overall, 1st in his age group. The swim was long, and he rides much faster than I do now. My race started at 8, which gave me plenty of time to get over there, set up transition, change the sex on my registration from male to female, and get my spot stolen while I was out riding a warmup. What part of a giant pink transition bag under a speed suit hanging on the rack screams "put your stuff here!"?

Does anybody even wear a speed suit anymore? Well I do. And I love the thing. And yes it probably takes me as long to get it off as it saves me in my swim split, but I'm going to keep wearing it when it's legal. It's like rubber confidence. I actually got on a girl's feet and drafted the last half of the swim! I think the last time I did so well drafting was in this same lake about 6 years ago. I haven't raced there since 2008, and I've only done the half Ironman, which ceased to exist a couple years ago, much to my dismay (yes even after the little hyponatremia incident I will miss it). It was nice to know how much less distance I would have to race this time. It went by rather quickly. 

My swim draftee came out of the water right ahead of me, then ran quite fast to T1. I had the 7th fastest swim, and I was only a few seconds behind 5th and 6th! She got out on the bike just ahead of me and I could see her working rather hard up the first little hills. But just like everyone else, she descended faster and I found any distance I'd gained on her was lost on the downhills. After the turnaround, which my computer had clocked as almost a mile too long, I slowly brought her back to me. I realized late in the bike that as much as I told myself that THIS IS A RACE, I couldn't make myself work very hard. I just hung around with her in sight until the final downhill. Shortly before dismounting, while checking my time, it dawned on me that after changing my computer battery we didn't reset it to 650cc wheels. So I was actually riding much slower than I'd thought. And the course turned out to be only 0.4mi long. Shoot! I knew the speed felt a little easy! But I did have the fastest bike split by a few seconds over the girl I was following.

How's my compact descending position? Not so good? 

I flew into T2 and put on my racing flats, and the left insole bunched uncomfortably under my foot. So I took it off and tried again. And again. And about 8 times before I got it smooth. I would not be winning transition splits this day. 

The run went uphill in the direction that the old half IM course went, which was my favorite direction. I started slowly but made sure the girl in front of me wasn't going faster. I was so concerned with her run speed, which I assumed to be fast given that T1 run, that I really didn't give much consideration to the girl ahead of us both. When I caught the girl at around 2/3 mi, she gave me a great encouragement to catch first place.

So I set my sights ahead...on the men I could see. I didn't get a glimpse of the 1st place girl until the turnaround, where she was about a minute ahead. The way back was mostly downhill, and is it stupid to say that I like downhills? Does everybody? Aren't there some people out there who gain time on big monster hills in scalding, oppressive heat? Anyway, I realized just after the turnaround that there was a girl about a minute behind me who looked really strong. I should've been more concerned about her catching me than getting to first place, but either way, we all held our positions and I finished 2nd. I was about 1:20 behind first, who ran a little faster than I did, and only :20 ahead of 3rd who ran almost 3 minutes faster than I did for a (definitely short) 3.4 miles; I had the 3rd fastest run. She outran all of the men as well.

Both girls around me were in their early twenties, and I also noticed that their hair looked perfect at the finish line. Actually, every girl's hair did. Am I the only one that gets dreadlocks, even if I've tried to secure every strand in a braid? Those days that I just wear a ponytail I spend 20 minutes brushing out my tangles afterward. I remember a spectator telling me at the end of Ironman one year to take off my hat for my finish picture. Um, I'd been wearing a head covering for many many hours and there's no way I want a record of that rat's nest. No thank you. So what's the secret? Straight hair?

I'm obviously so fast that the photographer couldn't get a clear picture of me from the front. But at least you can see the dreads forming. 

Overall, I think I didn't work hard enough. It's almost as if I don't really remember how to hurt or go fast anymore. I feel like I should've been able to win the race if I'd had a little umph. I think practice could help. Maybe a 5k?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Baby signing, opinions, and stroller news

In case you are in need of a song in your head while going to sleep, to be continued upon waking, let me recommend the "Baby Signing Time" series. We started showing Hunter these videos many months ago when he was unhappy in the car. He's now asking to watch them using, obviously, sign language. My favorite thing he's signed was "cold" when we got in the cold pool water one afternoon. I love that he is now sharing descriptive words! (Of course I suppose when he spits food out, the descriptive word he is sharing with his facial expression is "yucky.") I can't count how many signs he uses because there are so many!

Sunday night he mopped the kitchen floor, then finished with the sign "clean"! :)

This is "cat." Please ignore the busted eye! A very sad accident on the front steps.

 And what color is this?

We don't know the official sign for "run," but I told him to run one day and he clenched his little fists and pumped his arms back and forth as he ran! His runner mama died of happiness. He already knows "bike," and we have just dug up a video about our favorite sport being basketball. Just for daddy.

Of course, his opinion of things is not hard to figure out most of the time, so we don't really need signs for that. I thought strong opinions were for the two and over set. Am I wrong? With this one I am, and wrong about a lot if things. I'm learning what I am and am not allowed to do.

Now that I'm forgetting things so easily (thanks mommy-brain), i have someone to help me out. I was wondering out loud where the dustpan was after sweeping up a pile. I couldn't remember the word for it immediately (I know!), but as soon as I got the word out he ran across the room and found it for me. He's very helpful with sweeping and throwing things away, unloading the dishwasher and starting the washing machine for me. He would love nothing more than for Jeremy to give him a woodworking task so that he can use his new tiny (but very real) electric screwdriver.

We have had Mom and Dad come visit and bring us a piano of my aunt's and some furniture of my grandmother's, and then Megan and 2.5 year old Annie came to spend a few days playing.

 Duet + nursing = musical trio?

They could almost be twins, except for the obvious disparities in hair curliness and things like vocabulary  :)

Lastly, for the exciting news: We have a newfound interest in the stroller (!! I never thought this day would come), maybe partly thanks to a baby signing song, so we are strollin' through the summer days, enjoying the sun.