Friday, March 30, 2007

My intense running

I don't know what's up with me and running, but I was dreading today's run, too. I even went to bed super-early so I'd be extra rested. And still, when I woke up on my own, before my alarm, I debated not going.

But I did. I got my behind out of bed (what finally did it: remembering the ice cream I ate last night) and hit the gym. I felt sore and tight when I was in bed; getting up and moving made me feel better.

It was my intense running day, and I wanted to get it done before hot yoga so I'd be less dehydrated. Here's what I did:

Intervals: 2 minutes on at 8.5 mph (7:03 minutes/mile); 2 minutes off at 5.5 mph (10:54 minutes/mile)
Total: 30 minutes, 3.47 miles - average speed 8:41/mile

Ladder: Every minute, up by .5 on the treadmill until I can't stand it. Then down by 1.0.
So: starting at 6.0, going to 6.5, 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, 8.0, 7.0, 6.0.
Total: 1.2 miles - average speed 8:13/mile

(Note to Steven: When I was up to 9.0, I hit the button on the treadmill to tell me what the minutes per mile would be - 6:40, it said. I totally thought of you - you do that all the time! It inspired me to keep going for the full minute, even though that's a really hard speed for me to do. But only for now...I'll get faster!)

So not bad. Not bad at all, considering it's been a big week and I've added hot yoga sessions to my life. (Which is great for me in general, but it does take something out of me, too - it's not easy, and muscles can still get sore from it!)

Then hot yoga was wonderful as always. The more I go, the more I want to go. I'm thinking during the training season, twice a week is the best I can do most of the time. But in the off-season - yeah, I'm already thinking about that - I'll be able to go three times a week, at least!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dreading my run...but it was fun!

I don't know why, but I was scared last night of this morning's run.

It was my longest yet in this training cycle - 1 hour, 45 minutes. And I was running it just with Danielle, just from home. So there was no reason to be scared.

But I slept poorly and was anxious in the morning. Danielle was supposed to run to my house from hers (1.4 miles the quickest way), then we'd run the rest together. I was so hopped up that I couldn't wait and I had to start running towards her, but because I didn't call to tell her, she ran a different, slightly longer but definitely safer route to my house, and I had to run back to meet her. (Fortunately we both carried our cell phones - I was halfway to her house when I realized she'd have to be crawling not to meet me by then - or not coming that route).

Anyway, the run was fine! And fun! We didn't see any scary people (and we ran with her Husky Tasha anyway, so we had protection), and the humongous hill at the end of the run didn't come close to killing me - in fact, my heart rate didn't rise above 168, and this is a really steep hill. And long - I think it's 3/4 of a mile of a 10% grade, or something like that. Anyway, yeah. Big hill, decent heart rate. Good run!

It was also nice to come home and shower at my own house for once. And I noticed my kids looked kind of dirty, so I made them take a bath while I showered. It felt productive. And I got to make sure they didn't eat donuts for breakfast. I'm getting concerned about my daughter's weight...she's still baby-chubby, and I think she should be thinning out by now. I'm not putting her on a diet or anything, but I am watching her junk-food intake.

Then I managed to get away at lunch time to do hot yoga. I love hot yoga. I don't even feel hot anymore when I do it - I feel wet. But only the parts of my body not covered with clothing - the clothes pull the sweat away from my body, which is great, but my face and arms are soaked within 15 minutes. Afterwards, though, I just feel so wonderful head to toe, inside and out.

But now I have to work! Blah!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Zoomed today - plus, the joys of hot yoga

I hate when I have two things to write about! Then I don't know how to title my post. Anyway.

So today I had my intense swim on the schedule, but after yesterday's yuckiness - I just don't know why I felt so unhappy - I decided I needed a dose of hot yoga. Since hot yoga is at 6:30 a.m., that prevented me from going to my swim class at 7. So I went to the pool at 5 to swim for 45-50 minutes before hot yoga.

I followed a workout plan they had posted on a wall - it basically called for a long warmup, then a main set of 5 100's of swimming and 5 pulling, faster each time.

So for my swim 100's, I decided to wear my Z2 Zoomer fins. At first I was wearing them for the kick part of my workout, but I kept them on because I liked their feel. I know I swim faster in open water - you can look at any of my race times and see that outside, I swim better than in the pool. I think there are two reasons for this: No turning, and also my wetsuit. I'm not about to be a zillion degrees and wear my wetsuit in the pool, so I was thinking the fins would give me the little extra speed that I get from wearing a full wetsuit outside.

Plus, I wanted the speed because I have been feeling slightly bad about my (lack of) speed. I mean, there is a cutoff for the Ironman swim - and I have to know I can make it! So it just made sense to use a device that might simulate my real speed in open water (I'll test that in May when I start swimming outdoors).

Okay, I'm totally justifying. But only because my 100 times rocked! Here they are:

1: 1:44
2: 1:39
3: 1:33
4: 1:30
5: 1:30

So, I did what the directions said - get faster each time - except for the last time. And that was because that was the point at which I started to panic. I broke form, started splashing around, only breathed on one side, and pretty much freaked out. It's happened before when I race; I need to learn to control that. But I'm pretty happy it took until the last half of the last length of the last 100 to make it happen.

I didn't time my pulls, because there were too many numbers to keep straight in my head. But I did them fast. And without the fins.

Then I got to treat myself to hot yoga. I hadn't taken a class with this instructor before, and like the others that I do know, she was amazing. I liked how her class differed from the others' classes; it wasn't hugely dissimilar, but different enough that I got to do different poses in different orders, and it felt amazing. I was able to stay with the entire class, although my Wheel pose wasn't great today. I did manage to do a good job on the balancing poses - where you're only on one leg, like Airplane and Warrior 3. I really like those.

Oh! And one other thing! I got a new pair of yoga pants from Lululemon. I'd link to them, but they're not online. Anyway, when I was shopping, I'd gone to a different store and tried on pants, and left thinking I was hugely fat and should give up on exercise and just eat ice cream all day. Then I went to Lululemon. Their pants do something magic where they hide the lumps and bumps on my thighs and bottom. I looked in the mirror and actually liked what I saw! And today, in hot yoga, I could look at my legs and behind in the mirror and not want to puke!

I know that's totally shallow, but I can't help it. I care what I look like. And it's nice when I think I look okay.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


So yesterday I did the following:

- Ran nearly six miles: 1 hour
- Swam 3100 yards: included drills, but little stopping - 1 hour 15 minutes)
- Did my intense bike: 21 miles of hills, 1 hour 30 minutes

Then I went to work. (Actually, I did the bike at noon, but still.)

And I felt great! All day! And I ate a lot, but healthy good things!

So today, all I had on my schedule was a one-hour run and strength training for 30 minutes. I did exactly that.

And I feel like a slug and I want to eat everything in sight - especially the unhealthy stuff.

UGH. I'm so unbalanced. And unfocused. Today. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Or maybe I just love endorphins too much and I need to work out more?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Week 2 Wrap-Up

I don't know where Sundays go, but pretty much one second it's noon and the next it's 10 p.m. and I need to get ready for the week ahead! So here's my recap of last week's training, a day late.

Nutrition: I definitely got things in a better place last week. I added a few servings per day of good carbs - oatmeal, whole grain rice, and bread, and I remembered to carry water and GU on my long run. The weekend was a bit messy, I have to healthy eating sort of fell apart for no apparent reason. Ugh. I hate when I undo all my good work in one day.

Swim: I was short on swim time, as I needed to sleep in during one planned swim workout, and my makeup was a private lesson. However, I know it was worth it already just based on today's swim (which wasn't part of last week so I'll save that for another post). I was in the pool for 1 hour, 45 minutes, but I only counted 2000 yards because so much of my swimming was re-learning my stroke.

Bike: I biked just over 5.5 hours, covering 77 miles (plus another hour and 15 minutes with my kid, covering 11 miles). I'm excited that all my biking was outdoors - I know indoor cycling can be a more consistent workout, but bike handling skills are really important, plus it's just so much more enjoyable. And yes, that is despite the pouring rain I endured for 4.5 of those 5.5 hours. Oh let the summer come soon!

Run: I haven't yet met my goal of running seven days a week, but I am running more and under different conditions, so that's good. I did almost four and a half hours of running, covering about 24 miles.

Overall: In general, I'm feeling strong and happy. I want to do hot yoga more, as I really enjoy it and it's a great complement to my strength training. Plus, it calms my brain. And everyone knows I need that!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

We train in the rain

But oh my goodness, what a start to the season.

I know - I live in the Pacific Northwest. I'm supposed to not recognize the sun when it makes a rare appearance. (We actually say things like "the mountain is out today" when we can see Mount Rainier - because, frankly, for most of the winter, it's so gray that you can't see it at all. And it's HUGE!)

But seriously, today was like rain that happens in other parts of the U.S. - not here. And I know I've said that a lot lately. It was steady all day long; once in a while it let up a little (but never fully stopped) and once in a while it rained a little harder, but it was always present.

We were soaked through probably two miles away from my house. The plan had been approximately 50 miles - I shortened it a bit because it was just so nasty out, and we ended up riding 43.

You know it's pouring rain when you can't even muster the energy to get angry at a car that sends a wave of water over your side as it passes you. It doesn't matter anyway, because you couldn't have been any wetter.

When I went to bed last night, I prayed we'd have decent weather. I woke up multiple times in the night and still heard rain on the windows and the skylight; each time my heart sank just a little more.

So in the morning, my prayer switched to, "Well, if it's going to pour, please keep all of us safe." And I'm glad to report we all were.

It was actually a nice ride other than being water-logged. The route included a few decent climbs, fun descents, and about 8 miles of flat, fast trail. Plus, we got to go to the Black Diamond Bakery, which has yummy pastries and decent coffee. It's not bad for breakfast, either, but we weren't in a state to enter a restaurant. I think they had to get towels and dry off all of our chairs after we left - man, we were soaked. You could wring out my gloves, socks, booties, jacket, pants, and everything else - even the money in my shirt pocket - UNDER my alleged waterproof coat - was soaked. Everything everything everything. And my hair was one massive dreadlock.

Okay, how many times can I talk about how wet I was? Time to stop. Except for one more thing: you know what is the best thing in the world after a ride like that? The hot shower you take the minute you get home. Isn't that weird? The entire last part of the ride, I just kept thinking about how great that shower would be. Even though being in the shower implies I'm still soaking wet.

I know these rides are advance payment for the fun I'm going to have when the weather is nice and I'm so strong and fast on the bike. And I do like feeling hard-core (I imagined every car that drove by us was thinking, "These people are IDIOTS! And with the weather today, they didn't get caught in the rain - they LEFT THEIR HOUSES in this rain!"). But...I could definitely go for a drier ride sometime soon, just so I don't forget how to ride when rainwater isn't quenching my thirst so I don't even have to drink from my water bottles. Yeah, seriously.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Private lesson, hot yoga, sabotage, running fast, and Britney

Today I have lots to say!

First, I got up early for a private swim lesson with Eric Preston, who teaches the triathlon workshops and classes at the Pro Club. I've been trying all these drills in the class I've been taking, but I had a feeling that I wasn't doing them quite right - and therefore wasn't seeing the benefit.

By the time I finished a half-hour with Eric, I could already feel a difference in how I glide through the water. I'm not sure whether I'm going to do more 1:1 lessons - they're not cheap - but now I've got something new to work with. It wasn't much of a workout, so I'm definitely low on swimming this week, but I'm not worried about it. I just can't make it a habit!

Then I went to hot yoga, which was wonderful as usual. I was in a different part of the room today, closer to the door, and I didn't love that. Isn't that weird? Closer to the door is cooler; the teacher opens the door when the room seems too hot. But I wanted to stay hot! Wendy and Regan joined me, and I hope they liked it as much as I did. I actually found myself looking forward to certain poses that I find difficult, so I could challenge myself! And of course, I walked out of there feeling light, limber, and happy.

When I got to work, there was a doughnut on a plate by my keyboard - apparently a gift from my friend Jeff, who knows my love of all food with holes in the center (because the calories escape through that hole). This doughnut was organic and vegan and very yummy! And organic and vegan mean healthy, right? (Okay, this is the sabotage I refer to in my post title.)

However, I was kind of dreading the last part of my workout today. I needed to get my intense run done, and I had decided to do a flat 5K, as fast as I can. I thought I could do 22 to 23 minutes.

Well, not quite. I was on track for 2.1 miles, and then I just couldn't go any more. I am not sure if it was mind or body that gave out; I kept trying to tell myself I could push a little more, but honestly at some point my brain just turned off, and though I knew I was hitting the "cool down" button to stop, it was barely a conscious choice at that point.

However, my heart rate never rose above 185, so I'm sure I have some room to go there. I just need to remind my heart what it's like to pump faster than that, as it hasn't had to in months!

Since I had decided to run 5K, I didn't let myself off the hook entirely. After I recovered for a couple of minutes, I decided I'd finish the last mile in intervals - and every time I took a break, I had to come back and run even faster for the next interval. So here's what I ended up doing:

2.1 miles - 15:49 - 7:31/mile - 8.0 mph
.5 miles - 3:32- 7:03/mile - 8.5 mph
.3 miles - 2:01 - 6:48/mile - 8.8 mph
.1 miles - 0:40 - 6:38/mile - 9.0 mph (no break here - just pushed it up for the end)
.1 miles - 0:38 - 6:21/mile - 9.5 mph

Total running time:

So I do think I can do a 22 or 23 minute flat 5K; I just need to work up to it, and in my second week of running speed work after months and months of none, it probably was too ambitious of a goal.

Or maybe I don't push myself hard enough. Either way, I know I will do it in the near future.

Then I took the THIRD shower of the day (one after my swim, one after yoga, and now one after running). That's when I realized: The reason Britney shaved her head was because she wants to be a triathlete, and hair is just annoying and in the way when you do multiple workouts a day and sweat so much you need to shower! Am I right?

One other thing to mention: No more wearing my pink camo GymGirl for running speed work. When I run fast, my mp3 player, which is attached via a clip to my waistband, pulls my skirt down and shows my underwear. NOT COOL. I'm not sure anyone noticed...but then again, probably someone I work with is posting pictures on the Internet right now. Oh well!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Better today

Not so tired. Yay!

Wendy, Jodi, Nancy and I ran this morning, long and slow (90 minutes). Then Wendy and I lifted together - which is just so much more pleasant than lifting alone! It rained slightly, but not much, and we discovered that a route that's usually too dark to run at this time of the morning (which it still was) has a new sidewalk! So that's happy for us. And because I've done a better job in general of eating good carbs, I didn't feel crashy and yucky during the run. (Why is it that I can recite all day long the rules of endurance exercise, but I forget to follow them myself?)

Um, not too much to say. It was harder today than usual to eat properly. I managed it for the most part - some chocolate did sneak in - but I'm at 1800 calories eaten for the day and I burned close to 1000 in my workout.

Anyway, just in case anyone needs a new read: Check on my friend Regan. She's making an effort to be more accountable with regard to her diet and exercise, and I know she can use all the support everyone can offer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm listening to my body...

and it told me not to go to swim class this morning. So I didn't.

I slept in - I actually slept until past 7, and I did go to bed at 10:30. I think, though, that two things contributed to my need for sleep:

1) Yesterday was a nutty day, where I was "on" from 4:30 a.m. until past 9;
2) I had a really strong coffee from a cafe I hadn't been to before around 7 p.m., and it got me completely wired, so I didn't really sleep well until very, very late (or early, depending on your perspective)

So now I've got to see if I can make up my missed swim session, but I actually feel okay about doing it because I feel better tonight.

I did do the Cascade bike club ride today; I was the leader, and we did a moderate pace. It was so nice not to pound! It was also a gorgeous day - cold, but sunny and beautiful.

And at the boy's baseball practice tonight, I convinced Camille to "run" with me around a 1/4 mile track. She ran about half of it and walked the rest, in intervals. I'm thinking for a 3-year-old, that's not bad! I ran a full mile just to get my "run every day" thing in, but I did it in my work clothes (jeans, sweater, snowboard jacket) and running shoes. I know I looked ridiculous, but it totally served the purpose: I ran at a different time of day than usual, in different clothes, with a different amount of food in my stomach. With goals like those, who cares what I look like?

Monday, March 19, 2007

One big energetic day

It was an interesting morning!

I had forgotten I said I'd meet Wendy and Su for a run at 6 a.m. At 5:25, I was 15 miles away from the meeting point, thinking about staying in bed a little longer.

But then I remembered, and somehow I made it to them on time! Well, I know how. I drove really fast, and I didn't stop to get my coffee. And fortunately, I had clean outside running clothes in a location I could get to without disturbing the hubby too much. By the time I got to the girls, I was wide awake and feeling good.

So we ran easy for 45 minutes. Then I went to my swim class, and we worked primarily on drills. So in an hour, I did just 2000 yards - but I do think my stroke is improving, so it's worth it.

The morning was dry, but by mid-day, it was pretty much pouring rain with no sign of stopping. But I had my intense bike scheduled for today, and I really didn't want to go to spin class.

So the ride leader agreed to ride in the rain, and we did 21 miles of hills in an hour and a half. I was soaked by, oh, half a mile in - but it was a joyful soaking. The only issue was that it was so wet and the roads were so slick that I had to be careful on the downhills - well, more careful than usual. But better to be careful than hit by a car, or slid sideways on the ground.

Despite the nearly four hours of activity, I didn't feel hungrier than usual. I'm ending the day with around 1800 calories consumed - and I burned 1800 from exercise. But I figure as long as I'm not feeling hungry - and I'm eating plenty of carbs with each meal - I'm okay. I need to listen to my body more (except when it tells me I need fudge brownies, of course!).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Week 1 wrap-up

My Ironman training weeks will usually end on Saturdays; Sundays are planned as family and recovery days. However, this weekend since the kids were out of town, I planned my long ride for today.

We did just 40 miles in three hours; it was a hilly route, and we stuck to a comfortable pace. It was just Danielle, John, and me today, and I have to say, John kicked some butt! He wasn't sure he could hang with us - and frankly, I wasn't sure either - but we had pre-planned meeting points every 10 miles or so. Fortunately, we pretty much arrived at each all together. I admit John had to work harder; Danielle and I were chatty and comfy the entire time, and he is sore and tired tonight and I'm not (I'm sure Danielle isn't either). But the fact that we didn't have to drop him tells me he can train and come up to our level soon enough, and that will be so awesome for me!

So Danielle and I did the bike, then went out for a quick jog around the neighborhood - just about 15-20 minutes or so. The post-ride run will become longer and more serious as the season moves along.

And that wraps it up! Here's what I learned this week:

-- I need more carbs in my diet in order to function well at the end of the week.

-- I've come a long way since last year on the bike. When I was riding solo on Friday, I kept thinking about how this time last year, I was getting advice from BettyBetty on cadence and was terrified of aero bars. Now, I'm riding happily at 90-100 cadence and in the aeros as much as possible (and thank you very much, BettyBetty! I always want to hear more of your advice)

-- I need to drink a lot more water. I couldn't perform well in hot yoga yesterday, and I think it's because I wasn't recovered from Friday's hot yoga.

In all, it was a good week!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Taking the heat

I went to hot yoga this morning. It was the first time I took a class that wasn't the first class of the day in the studio.

Whew! It was hotter and more humid than I have gotten used to - that is, if you ever get used to 110 degrees (I found out that is how hot it gets).

I needed to take more breaks than usual, but it was fine. I walked in after waking up crabby, I walked out calm and relaxed, with a tingly, awake-feeling body.

However, I've been hoping hot yoga would help with my Reynaud's Syndrome, but here it is full-on right now. I'm typing with four numb fingers (and six regular ones). Annoying.

Anyway, my kids are out of town with their grandparents this weekend, so John and I are chilling out together instead of me doing my weekly long bike ride. I'm going to do that tomorrow instead. It's so nice to have a Saturday with nothing to do - I know this won't be the case again for like six months!

Friday, March 16, 2007

My new blog!

I've waited it seems like forever to be able to talk about this!

I'm blogging for Disney, on their new web site They asked me to write about diet, fitness, exercise, and fitting it all in with having a family. So I'm super-excited!

I plan to keep this blog, Fat Girl to Triathlete, more triathlon and Ironman focused, and post on the new one more about my adventures with the kids and how I balance living a healthy, active lifestyle with the demands of being a mother with a full-time job.

So if you want to check it out, it's at!

In my workout news, I felt better today, but not fabulous. I did increase the amount of carbs I'm eating, but it's so hard to work in healthy carbs! I feel like whole-grains and good carbs other than fruit and vegetables are the hardest to find - I'm so much better at doing high protein.

I did hot yoga this morning, then did a solo bike ride on a flat trail this afternoon. I averaged 17.7 for the first half of my ride; then I somehow made my speed sensor stop working, and honestly it dragged me down - so I took it easy on the way back. I got SO BORED without my computer! I kept wishing for my phone to ring, just so I could listen to 20 seconds of ringtone. Yeah, seriously. In my defense, I do have good songs for my ringtones, and I have a unique ringtone for each of my friends or family members that calls me most often.

And then tonight we played poker at my house, and I managed to not eat a single potato chip, and only one Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie crossed my lips. I didn't win, hence the blogging at 11:30 at night, but I didn't eat unhealthy stuff, which is a better victory than any other I could have had tonight.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oops. Dieting caught up with me

I knew my dramatic weight drop was too good to be true.

Monday morning, the scale read 143. This morning, 138.6. Excellent, right? I've eaten between 1300 and 1400 good calories each day this week, and burned over a thousand in exercise each day.

So...we go out for our "long" run - not too long yet, just 75-90 minutes. And even on the downhill, I was just feeling draggy.

It was me, Danielle, and Nancy. Danielle asked me about what I'd been eating...and she gave me the stern reminder that "Eat to Compete" isn't the same thing as "Eat to Lose Weight."

"Eat to Compete" should actually be 20 to 25% calories from fat, 50 to 60% from carbs, and 15 to 30% from protein - so much lower in protein than I've been doing, and much higher in carbs.

That's going to be so hard for me! But I'm positive that my lack of performance this morning has to do with depleting my muscles of glycogen and not giving my body the carbohydrates it needs to replenish.

The thing is, carbs are a slippery slope. It's just too easy to go from a bagel to a brownie. And I have been eating carbs - English muffin, brown rice (and lots of fruit and veggies, but they don't have the same effect on your body) - but just not enough. And I've been quelling hunger with protein, which is so very effective.

Danielle said it's okay for me to try to lose a few pounds, but by staying closer to 1500 calories per day and increasing my carbs. It will mean my weight loss is much slower - but it was going to slow down anyway (I always lose 3-4 lbs immediately when I cut out sugar.) So here goes. I'm going to try it.

In other news, after our run we went to Victor's for coffee. It really is the most delicious coffee in the universe. It has ruined me for all other coffee, except maybe the hazelnut-flavored drip at Noah's Bagels. And an ounce of half-and-half is the most delicious 39 calories of my day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Weird Wednesday

So today, I have some big meetings at work with people from outside the company. They want to know about our next software release.

Unfortunately, the word from on high is: The first rule of is, you don't talk about .

So it was interesting to try to talk for 90 minutes about "the future" without defining what's in the future or when the future will be the present. :-) But on a positive note, I had a reason to wear a cute skirt and pearls to work! And makeup!

Of course, everyone who doesn't know I'm doing these presentations asks, "Are you interviewing today?" (That's pretty much the only time people in the software development side of this company wear nice clothes.)

Anyway, the point of discussing work,which I rarely do here, is to explain that today was a little messed up because I couldn't go out for my normal Wednesday noon bike ride or spin class.

Instead, I did my run (per my run-every-day rule) on the treadmill early this morning (5:15 a.m. to be exact). I did half a mile easy, then one mile in 7:50, then another half a mile easy to cool down. Good enough.

I really want to run a 6-minute mile. Just one of them - I don't even need to do a 5K at that pace (at least that's not my goal today - we'll see whether I change my mind in the future). I also want to run 1.5 miles in 10 minutes.

Then I went to spin class, but only for 48 minutes. (48 instead of 45 because I track my time spent in each sport based on decimals, and 48 minutes = .80. I know 45 = .75, and that's easy, but I wanted to do 50 minutes but that's not a number you can get exact at two decimal places. Yes, I am a total freak with my data logging.) I couldn't stay until the end because I had to get to swim class!

Swimming was okay; I wasn't really into it, but since I took it fairly easy Monday, I wanted to push harder today. We did a 500-yard time trial (among other exercises), and I did it in 10:55. UGH. The first two laps were two minutes even, then I just kept watching as my speed diminished. I know I was doing what I can, though, because my HR was pretty high (like, 165 - which is high for in the pool).

But hey, I've got 23.5 more weeks to get faster. And anyway, I'm always faster in open water for some reason. Plus, even at my slow speed now, I won't miss the cutoff for the swim on my Ironman.

In other good news, dieting is still perfect! But tonight is a dinner with those people from outside the company. I'm thinking I'm not going to eat with them, but instead bring my own food and eat my healthy stuff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pushing up the pace

There was nothing special about today's workout - in fact, it was exactly the same workout I've been doing every Tuesday. 6 mile run, followed by strength training.

But today, a friend of Nancy's came with us, and from the moment she started running, I knew we were in for it.

It wasn't a much faster pace - but it was faster. And none of us wanted to say "slow down" - nobody wants to be the one holding the group back.

Kathy and Sarah had both raced on Sunday - both getting personal records! - so they weren't fully recovered. Nancy - who knows about her, I think she's transformed herself into such a strong runner she probably didn't even notice the faster pace. And I felt like I could sustain the new person's pace, but I didn't really want to.

Which, of course, is exactly the reason I should - and for the most part, did.

I'm so happy to be training!

So, some other random thoughts:
-- My bike shoes were absolutely saturated from Sunday's ride - so I brought them to work and put them right up next to one of my computers that happens to run really hot. That worked really well. But isn't that ridiculous?

-- The latest porn mag I subscribe to - otherwise known as Triathlete magazine - arrived yesterday. It features my bike on a page full of pink gear for the female triathlete. There are also pink speedplay pedals that are pretty enough to make me want to switch. Look, which I use, has girly pedals, but they're baby blue.

-- Last night at my son's baseball practice, Camille, my 3-year-old princess, saw the boys running the bases and asked me if we could run together. So I'm in cute black flats (at least they weren't heels, right), but how can I possibly say no? She was wearing a pink dress and tights, as usual, but I insist that every day she wear solid play shoes, so she also had on Disney Princess sneakers. We did short intervals on the long-jump track, and she was running a 10 or 11 minute mile! For just these little distances, though - but it gave me some ideas about track workouts I could do with short sprinty intervals with the kids. And I just loved seeing her flushed little cheeks.

-- There are boys on my son's baseball team who weigh as much as I do. SERIOUSLY - one of the boy's mom told me. My boy is almost 7; the team goes from age 7 to 9 (because of his upcoming birthday, he is in the "correct" league, but still! Obese 9-year-olds are huge!). And of course, my boy's huge attitude and massive amount of confidence served him just fine with the bigger boys and he had a great time. Plus he can run faster than most of them.

-- Yesterday's "Eat to Compete" mentality served me well. I ended the day around 1360 calories - a little low, but I wasn't hungry, and I did have more than 40% of my calories from carbs, so I'm not depriving myself of carbs at a time my body needs them most. I know it's early, but I'm feeling good about the diet.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy New Year!

Oh yeah, it's the new training season, and I'm excited.

So here's how the training plan works. I'm doing my own thing, and I like it.

It's a periodized schedule broken into six four-week periods. Each period, the workouts build in intensity and volume for the first three weeks, then the fourth week backs off a ton and focuses more on rest.

In each week, there are six key workouts that cannot be missed: one "intense" session in each sport, and one "distance" session. If I do an "intense" session in one sport, I can't do an "intense" in another on the same day - but I could do a "distance."

All other workouts are about volume. Pace, distance, intensity, etc will be somewhere between my distance and intense workouts.

Plus, I'm going to run daily, for minimum 15 minutes. This is per Gordo's advice.

I'm also starting my "Eat to Compete" diet. It's incredibly boring. But I think it will be very effective. Here it is:

5 a.m.: 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup fruit (usually frozen blueberries); 2 oz whole milk in my coffee

8:30 a.m.: English muffin, 3 ounces very lean meat, 1 Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge; 2 oz 2% milk in coffee; 1/2 cup fruit

noon: 6 ounces very lean meat; 2 cups vegetables; 1/2 cup fruit

3 p.m.: Cascade Fresh non-fat yogurt

6 p.m.: 1 cup veggies (right when I get home, to munch on while I cook dinner); 6 ounces very lean or lean protein; 1 cup veggies with dinner; 1 serving of whole grains (rice, ww pasta, and if I'm feeling splurgy, maybe a potato)

Once a week, I'm going to have a treat. My treat will be decadent and probably around 500 calories. I will eat it very slowly and savor it.

See, the thing is, I feel gross when I eat poorly. But I just love the sweets and unhealthy food so much in the moment. This diet is to get me off the sweets and bad stuff, but give me a little treat each week. And I will have earned it with the workouts I've got planned!

Today's workout: Swim workout class (1 hour or however long it takes me to do the 2600 yards of drills - today 1:10, including rest) and 30 minute "intense" run session. For my run session, I did 1 minute on, 1 minute off intervals. The low interval was at 6.0 mph on the treadmill; the high interval was a ladder - beginning at 6.2 and going up by .2 each high interval (so ending at 9.0). I was tingling when I finished it. The last ten minutes certainly met the definition of "intense!"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Upon us all a little rain must fall *

John and I fought yesterday over whether we'd ride today. It was supposed to rain.

I said, "Dude! You're a native Seattleite! How can a little rain scare you?"

He replied with all the reasons we shouldn't ride bikes in the rain - slippery roads, cars can't see you as well, and it's just no fun.

I said, "Too bad. We train in the rain." I was especially annoyed because he had asked that this ride be just the two of us - so if he bagged on me, I'd be out of a riding partner and likely out of a ride, because he hates it when I ride alone.

He gave in, and around 12:30 p.m. we set out on a 25-mile route I had mapped. The starting point was a few miles from our house, so we could avoid a nasty hill and some roads without good bike lanes.

When we arrived at the start, so did the rain. First it came down just in a mist, then it got heavier and heavier. It was never "pouring," but it was definitely showering. Consistently showering.

The saturation point of my pink jacket, Terry pants and booties and shoes was only about five miles today. So much water was coming down my face from my glasses and helmet that I had no need to drink from my water bottle; my mouth was full of rainwater. I hope it's not toxic.

I realized 8 or 9 miles in that this really was the sort of rain for which even I would cancel a ride. However, it was warm - about 60 degrees - so I just told John he was probably right about the rain, but since we had another 17 or so miles to go, we should just find the joy in being out here. We have legs! We're strong! We own bicycles! We live in a place where it's warm in March! Lots of joy. Sopping wet with joy. Uh, yeah.

"Maybe it's not raining in Seattle," I suggest to John. The sky says otherwise, but we're headed into town regardless.

We're on the bike trail that parallels I-90 - and then for two miles, we actually have to go on the I-90 bridge. I knew something was wrong when I saw the cars getting on the bridge from Mercer Island. For my out-of-Seattle readers, the I-90 bridge literally floats on top of the water, so it kind of moves with wind and waves. I don't think I ever noticed it in a car, but it was obvious that the cars on the bridge today did, because they were all slowing down and putting on their brakes.

We get on the bridge. You start by heading downhill to very close to the water level, then the bridge rises again at the end. Immediately I feel strong wind pushing me to the left. My speed is in the mid-20s - I hit the brakes gently and slow down to 18-19 mph. "John!" I yell. "I'm being pushed all over the place! This is really dangerous!"

John looks at me like I'm nuts. "Huh? What are you talking about?"

"I can't ride! It's too windy! I need to slow down!"

He still doesn't believe me. Well, his bike is probably five pounds heavier than mine (at least), and his body is about 60 pounds heavier. So maybe he really wasn't getting blown around. But I felt like my bike was not perpendicular to the ground - instead it was leaning over, and it was all I could do to keep pedaling.

The bridge is nearly two miles long. When I got down to the flat part, I slowed enough to lose all my momentum. That improved the terrifying feeling, but not by a lot.

14.6 mph. That's the speed I could go on the flat. I prayed to God to keep us safe, and I yelled to John to go ahead and ride - I needed to do my own thing.

I could barely see. The rain was coming sideways, pushing me closer to the traffic. A jersey barrier separates the bikes from the cars, but I didn't want to hit it. Then again, on the other side, just three metal bars separate me from Lake Washington.

Push down, pull up. Push down, pull up. Just keep spinning. I watched as John rode further and further away, and the hill at the end of the bridge got closer and closer.

I expected to feel less wind as I started climbing the hill. Instead, the wind and rain shifted, coming from the left and pushing me right. I slowed to 8 mph to finish the climb, then pushed my way up away from the freeway and onto city streets. There's a really short, really steep climb right when you get off I-90; I stood and my legs found resistance, pushing their way to the top.

181 - that's what my heart rate was when I finally stopped at the very top of the hill.

And the rain had stopped.

But it started again a minute or so later.

The rest of our ride was much less eventful; we argued a little bit, mostly because we just haven't ridden together enough to know each other's rhythms. But that will come. Hopefully I didn't drown John's desire to ride his bike more today!

* Post title courtesy of Led Zeppelin

Friday, March 09, 2007

The excitement is building!

This is week zero.

The first week of January was week -8; now, nine weeks into the year, I'm nearly at week 1.

That is, week 1 of my 24-week training and countdown to Ironman Canada.

And I am so excited! I'm just itching to get started, to do long bike rides followed by runs, to swim in open water, to feel the sun on my face and, hopefully, the wind at my back. Even to feel the burn in my quads when I'm climbing a hill on my bike, or in my calves when I'm running up a hill so steep I'm on my tip-toes.

Danielle, Nancy and I did hot yoga this morning, and it was wonderful again. I woke up sore and stiff and left the class limber and flexible. It actually was harder because I really was sore - too many squats yesterday in circuit training - and I even had to sit down and rest a few times when I got dizzy. But it was great nonetheless.

When we left hot yoga, the sun appeared to be peeking through the clouds. So I asked Danielle if she was available to meet me at noon for a bike ride. Yay! She was, so we did 25 miles around Lake Sammamish at a moderate pace, chatting and just enjoying being outside on our bikes. I did something stupid at a stoplight and fell off my bike (it took FOREVER for me to fall, too - I was clipped in on one side, but the bike was falling towards the side on which I was clipped in. I kept trying to swing the bike over to the unclipped side, but all that my actions did was keep the bike totally upright, with me knowing I was going to fall and being unsure how to prevent it. Eventually I swung the bike too hard to the unclipped side and I landed on my right hip, thigh, and knee. Ouch!), but other than that it was a nice ride.

Later on, a couple of guys in a pickup truck pulled up alongside us to say, "We like your bikes!" However, we were both on our road bikes - hers is the Terry Fast Woman and mine is the Specialized Ruby. We interpreted "We like your bikes" to really mean "We like your butts," because we're quite sure these guys wouldn't know cool bikes from not-so-cool. But they weren't trying to run us off the road, so we were happy. I'm thinking that when we both ride our tri bikes - and we both wear our Terry fleece-lined cycling tights that hold everything yucky in just right and our gorgeous pink Cannondale jackets - that we're in for quite a few more comments. (I love these pants and jacket so much I'll be a little bit sorry when it's time to wear shorts and tank tops outside. But even today, which probably had a high of 60 degrees while we were riding, it was too warm for the jackets.)

And you know what? If it keeps them from running me off the road or doing other stupid things in the car, I'm totally cool with that!

So this is my last weekend without formal training - I plan to snowboard tomorrow morning, then ride my bike with John Sunday afternoon. Both will likely be in the rain - but whatever. If you don't train in the rain, you don't train - and when you train in the rain, you get used to playing in the rain, too.

(As an aside, when it's raining and I'm running, one of my favorite things to do is sing songs that have a lyric that mentions "rain." Try it sometime, especially with friends - it makes you feel a lot better about being cold and wet!)

Thursday, March 08, 2007


It's true that it rains a lot in Seattle in the winter.

However, in the year and a half that I've been running outdoors at least twice a week, it's been quite rare that I've had to run in the rain. Often, like this morning, I drive to the Pro Club in the rain, walk into the club in the rain, then exit the club with my girlfriends to surprise dry weather.

We run just before dawn, when the day is still deciding what it's going to be. Sometimes, like today, it sprinkles for a couple of minutes while we wait on a street corner for the light to change. Then it stops. Sometimes the sun begins to rise and the overcast skies break up and let light through.

Other days it stays dark, and we return to the club, shower, dress, and leave again in a downpour. We run to our cars with jackets over our clean, dry hair.

We run in the window between night and day. My daughter has been waking up at 4:45 when I leave the house. She comes downstairs and asks me to cuddle her. I tell her I need to leave, but she should go back to bed. I almost say, "It's still night-time," but I don't want to explain why I'm eating breakfast and making coffee in the middle of the night.

This morning the girls and I filled the window with more than 8 miles of running, chatting, and camraderie, like we do most Tuesday and Thursday mornings. For me, it was a fabulous, solid run - at one point, with a little over a mile to go, I felt like I could just keep going and run a marathon today.

There were five of us together, and at one point, when I was slightly behind the others, I was just struck with how lucky I am.

Not only that I have a rain-free window most Tuesday and Thursday mornings. And not only that I'm able to take that window between night and day and use it for my health and fitness.

But primarily because running gives me a window into other people's lives - my friends and running partners. We're really quite a diverse group of women, brought together just because we're women runners; initially we had no idea if we had anything else in common. We find friendship and support while we seek well-lit pavement. So to my friends: I don't say it enough. Thank you for waking up and being there and sharing the windows with me. I appreciate you more than you know.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Since Monday's swim workout class, I've been fearing Wednesday morning. I didn't even sleep well last night because of it!

The reason I was so freaked out was that I didn't want to do the 100-yard swim test the coach had scheduled. I knew approximately where I was, but I didn't really want to face it.

Part of it is that it's just a fact: I'm a slow swimmer. I don't really know why; I know I could improve my stroke mechanics, but since I have so much swim endurance, I guess I just don't really want to. I want to focus on getting faster on the bike and run.

And I was also worried about being the slowest in the class.

Well, I was pretty close to the slowest, I think. That said, I was faster than I thought I'd be.

I thought I'd come in around 2 minutes; instead, I was 1:48, 1:53, and 1:55 (you do the 100 yards three times, with about 15 seconds of rest in between). So that's an average of 1:52.

I'm actually fairly happy with that; I know it's slow, but it's a decent place from where I can improve.

What I was less happy about was that I completely lost my ability to bilaterally breathe when I got tired, and I almost panicked on one of the runs. I expected to slow down each time, I just didn't know how bad it would be.

But it's great to have a baseline - and people who have taken this class before say they have improved over time. So I can work at it too and hopefully get better.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Oh, one other thing...

Fat is a state of mind.

Here's how I know: I didn't have a great eating weekend (though I did exercise a lot) and yesterday could have been better. As a result, my weight was 142 this morning. (It will go down some on its own in a day or so - it's always higher for a couple of days if I have more carbs than usual.)

BUT - while running and swimming and biking the last few days, I feel so light and limber! Seriously! So, whatever. I still should lose some weight. But I really like this feeling anyway.

You're the most colorful thing that I've seen

My February blues are completely gone! Even people at work - which is BUSY and I'm behind on deadlines - are remarking on my happy attitude.

THANK GOODNESS. I don't like living with myself when I'm down, and I'm sure no one else does either!

Mmm. On my mp3 player right now, connected to my computer's speakers in my office: "Colorful" by Rocco Deluca. I'm totally in love with this song. It makes me happy. :-)

Yesterday I didn't find time to blog, but I did find time to exercise. A lot of time! Like, Nancy and I ran at 5:15 for an hour on a new route - with big hills! Then I did my first swim workout class, so I swam for an hour. The instructor/coach or whatever he should be called gave me some pointers that already have improved my swimming. But I was tired and hungry when I finished that session.

Then I rode my bike at lunchtime - it was probably in the 50s, with sun! A real Spring day. Which is great, because my official training starts next week, so I'm ready for winter to leave.

So this morning I also ran, and did the same route, but with other friends. I lifted weights after running and didn't have a partner for that part of my workout, but it was okay because I have all this new music I downloaded last night and I'm super excited about listening to it. I listen to really random stuff! Here's what I bought last night:

Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces
Green Day - Holiday
Fall Out Boy - This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race
Joss Stone - Tell Me 'Bout It
Jack Johnson - Flake
Pink - U + Ur Hand
and of course the Rocco Deluca song.

I also wanted Rob Thomas's and Daughtry's new songs, but Napster didn't have them.

I didn't download any hip-hop yesterday, but Akon's "Smack That" and Diddy featuring Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls ("Come to Me") are in heavy rotation on my mp3 player too.

Are other people this random? I guess I wonder because I used to listen to pretty much one thing: angry chick music (Sarah McLachlan, etc) and NOTHING else. For a while I don't think I had an album by a guy. And now I'll listen to teenybopper pop right next to hip-hop right next to rock. But I still love angry chick music too. :-)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Weekend Update

Friday was a busy day, so I didn't have time to write. I did have time to go to hot yoga in the morning, then spinning at noon and I ran for 15 minutes right afterwards. So it was a solid workout day.

Yesterday was a ski day, although the conditions were good enough to snowboard. In the morning, I brought The Girl (age 3 1/2) up to the mountain. She was really happy on the magic carpet, but not excited about the lift. We went up a beginner lift four times - she got off successfully with my help the first three, but the last one she decided to squeeze her arms as tight as she could around the pole in the center (it was a double chair), so I had to pry her off to get off the lift and in doing so, we both fell but I was able to hold her on top of me so I broke the fall.

Skiing with her was a ton of work, too - I had to ski in a deep squat and basically keep her upright. So my legs were BURNING after those four runs.

Then we went back to the magic carpet, where she decided she could ski independently and went down the (much more shallow) grade by herself. After watching both of my kids learn to ski, I've decided less is more when it comes to instruction. I like to stand below them and just say "Ski to me!" and they figure out intuitively how to turn. When it comes to stopping, in the beginning I just let them slam into me, and that way I can give them hugs and kisses before they continue down. Eventually, I use the "pizza" and "french fries" analogies.

My mother-in-law picked her up at noon - after she scarfed down half of a HUGE cheeseburger - and John and I skied together until Gabriel's afternoon snowboard lesson was over, then we skied with the Boy a bit (he just got new skis, so he had to get used to 20 centimeters more!).

Then, as it was the first weekend of the month, it was time to walk all over the Microsoft campus and put flyers on all the kitchen bulletin boards for my husband's business. It's incredibly effective, and it only costs us color copies and five hours of our lives each month. I wore my heart rate monitor just to see how many calories I'd burn - it was around 800 for the four hours, 4o minutes we were going (199 flyers, 46 buildings). But man, I was EXHAUSTED by the time we were done!

I woke up really stiff and sore this morning, so I'm dreaming of hot yoga, but it's not meant to be. Instead I attached a trailer to my aluminum hybrid bike, put the Girl in it, and took the Boy and his best friend for a 9 mile ride on a trail. It wasn't a ton of work for me to pull the Girl, but more work than just cruising. Gabriel can go around 12 mph pretty comfortably, but his friend is a little slower, so we ended up staying around 10 or so. Which is fabulous for a couple of six-year-olds, no?

The last thing I did before I crashed was clean the garage. It was SO DISGUSTING - and in cleaning it, we found all kinds of useful things, like John's cycling gloves and two unused bicycle tubes. But now John and I are disagreeing about what belongs in a garage. He says cars belong there. I want a bike rack, the kind you see outside stores or offices. I want to have easy access this summer to any of the three bikes I'll be riding (Mommy bike, road bike, tri bike). He thinks the bikes should go on the ceiling or something - but then I won't be able to easily reach them. Don't I make much more sense? :-)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Curious about what I do when I'm not exercising?

Answering questions from users isn't actually my job - developing software is. But talking to users is actually pretty fun!

Slushy run

This morning the girls and I planned to do a new route - and our first longer weekday run in a while, 8 miles.

Well, when I woke up I saw a tiny bit of snow on my neighbor's roof, but none of it had stuck to the ground, and the road wasn't slippery.

That was until I was about four miles from home. Then - on a two-lane each-direction major road - there was snow three or four inches high. And very few cars had gone through before me, so there wasn't even a clear path I could follow.

Fortunately, I got through it safely in my ridiculous rear-wheel drive car, but up by the Pro Club, the sidewalks were one of three things: slushy, slippery, or just wet. So we decided to stick to routes we were used to, but still make the run longer.

We went almost 9 miles in 1:40 (including stops for lights, etc), so that was good - a pretty typical pace for us, despite some slower steps to make sure we all stayed upright!

I'm actively working on making myself feel better by telling myself I feel better and it's March, not February, and everything is good. The power of positive thinking?