11.23.2009

:)

Yesterday was a smiley day. My MIL had DS for the morning, so hubby and I got out on our bikes for my first "long" ride. It was awesome! We rode 30 miles (in about 2.5 hours and averaging about 13mph for the entire ride, which included quite a few stops at cross-streets)...I had only planned to go 26.2 in honor of my friends who ran a brutal marathon in TN, but we would have been close to 28 miles with our noodling around, so DH talked me into an extra couple. It was fabulous! Next time we'll have to get a photo in color...our little point-n-shoot was set on the wrong color balance mode for outdoor shooting and no amount of Photoshopping could fix it. When in doubt, switch to grayscale!

We had one longish stop at a friend's house near the end of our ride and for some reason my Garmin decided to toss the mapping data for the entire ride before that. Bummer. I really wanted to see what it recorded. But I also forgot to have it calculate the lap info. at each mile (I did have it set to beep at the miles, which was fun...takes a LOT longer to hit those alarms while running!). I think I have the settings better customized for rides, now. I also have the auto-pause set to activate any time I go below 3mph. While were standing in my friend's driveway the autopause kept starting and stopping, which I'm guessing was the cause of the data loss from the earlier part of our ride.

That day itself was gorgeous. We were a bit overdressed for temps in the low-to-mid 50s. It's just difficult to comprehend weather like this in November--especially after the past couple of years. My new saddle is definitely a better fit than the narrower, squishier stock saddle that came on my bike. My butt is only a teeny bit annoyed with me today. Clipping in and out of my pedals was no problem and I'm getting better at shifting and keeping my cadence high(er). Having the cadence sensor on my Garmin really helps with that. My Forerunner 305 has definitely paid for itself over the past 2 years. It works perfectly as a running and cycling computer.

Today I ran a peppy 4 miles. I really didn't expect much from my legs after a stretch of workouts that included a 17 mile ride, 10 mile run, and 30 mile ride. Tomorrow I'm planning to do 7-8 miles to make up for the sluggish day of sitting in the car on Weds. If we feel up to waking early, my brother and I may bust out a 5k turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day.

I'm REALLY going to miss my bike in the coming week. With the holiday it's going to be keeping the cats company. We'll be back Sunday in time for hubby to do his first cyclocross race. Next week it's likely that any rides I do will be on the trainer. But the hubs has next Friday off, so if the weather is good I predict another nice roll through the countryside while the rugrat is in school. Woot!

11.20.2009

That was nice

17 miles on the bike with hubby and my MIL. My butt didn't even complain too much, which really surprised me. I'm still going to be happy to have a wider, firmer seat, but my stock one will work in a pinch or maybe someone along the way will like it. Always good to keep stuff like that around.

Our ride went better than I had expected. I was a little nervous about the shoes and pedals. It has been years since I used clipless pedals and that was only briefly before I became "with child." Plus my old SPD pedals were really low-end and never worked very well. They didn't engage well and were tough to adjust...hence one fall when I was completely stopped and couldn't get my shoes to unclip. Today I clipped and unclipped with no issue. Last night I adjusted the pedals to their loosest setting, but they still held my cleats well...just not TOO well.

Running has really made me aerobically fit, too. My quads are going to take time to strengthen (so the speed is not quite there, yet), but our 17 miles was probably 5-10 less than I would have been comfortable doing today. We were crunched for time and I have a 10 mile run on the agenda for tomorrow, so 17 was just right, considering. In 2 days DH and I are planning to ride again (weather forecast continues to look fabulous!), so then maybe we can do 20-25. As long as my butt doesn't complain too much I am game. My right foot was much happier today without my Superfeet insoles, so they were probably overkill in the arch support department.

This cycling thing is way too fun. It's nice to have some variety in my workouts. I don't see myself ever completely ditching running, though. There are few things more fun than racing to really test fitness and it's still a far more efficient workout than cycling in terms of the time requirement. And trail racing...I have no interest in mountain biking (trees come at ya' WAY too fast), but give me a run in the woods on a trail...ahhh...heaven. Plus it's something I can enjoy with my closest friends who don't enjoy cycling. It's a good excuse to get out of the house and then enjoy post run/race beers. Don't forget those trail relays that take all day and end with a smelly, dirty, happy team of 6 runners in a big SUV and nearly 80 miles logged on-foot. I wouldn't give that up for anything.

Today I got my new orange bar tape put on my bike. It looks just like that. My bike is truly garish, but no one could ever claim that they didn't see me, which is good from a safety standpoint. I tend to wear a lot of bright colors when I run, for the same reason. It kind of steams me that so many Winter running apparel items are navy or black, when they should be red, orange, yellow...the end of the spectrum that the human eye most readily detects and what our brains associate with things that require attention. There is good reason that fire engines and stop signs are red and school busses are yellow. It's both physiological and psychological.

In addition to the bar tape I had a Garmin candence/speed sensor installed and a mounting bracket. The cadence/speed sensor is the awesomest thing ever. It allows me to use my Garmin Forerunner 305 as effectively as a cycling tool as it has been for running since I first got it 2 years ago. It makes a cycling computer obsolete. It will track and display speed, distance, cadence, HR, maps, elevations profiles...way more than a typical cycling computer.

The shop ordered the wrong sort of bracket, but it's no biggie. The type they ordered requires that the pins and straps be removed from the Garmin. It would work well if I wanted to use the velcro straps for wearing on my wrist and the quick-release base, then I could pop it off to put on my bike. But velcro against my skin is icky. And the way that sucker would reek after a few sweaty runs would be even ickier. At right is the bike mount I will instead order. It essentially turns the handlebar into a wrist, so I can take my Garmin off and attach it to the handlebars using the traditional watch-band style clasp. This will be really nice during my duathlon next Summer. I can switch the Forerunner from my wrist, to the bike, and back to my wrist for the 3 portions of the race.

11.17.2009

Feeling a little blue (heh)

Yeah, I gots me some real shoes! Garish, ain't they (I thought I would be getting boring black shoes, but apparently this is what Sidi is doing with their female-specific models...who am I to argue with that)? I played around a bit on the trainer yesterday with the new shoes and pedals. The outer edge of my right foot was really sore...kind of in the peroneal tendon area, which is a region that has been bothersome to me over the years with running, too. I had DH move my cleats back a bit, which may help. I also need to make sure that I am not over-tightening the velcro straps across the forefoot and midfoot area, which could be compressing my duck feet too much and putting pressure on nerves and constricting blood flow and movement. The Superfeet insoles may be a bit of overkill in the support department, too. It's going to take some experiment to get everything comfy, I'm sure. My feet are accustomed to relatively flexible lightweight running shoes and high range-of-motion, so being forced into a motion-free, inflexible position may simply be something that will require strengthening some new muscles.

Note these are MTB shoes, not dedicated road shoes. These will allow me the ability to do a limited amount of walking from bike to ice cream stand to port-a-john, etc. Priorities, you know...

My next challenge is determining if my seat is wide enough. It's a pretty narrow seat and from the rough sit-bone measurements we've attempted it appears that my sit bones are 130-140mm apart. The "cheek zone" at the widest part of my saddle (Cannondale Raven that came with the bike from the factory--I am suspicious that it's a unisex saddle and no different from men's bikes to women's bikes) looks to be more in the range of 120-130mm according to my tape measure...so I feel like I have to slide from side-to-side to keep a single sit-bone on the seat, rather than being able to keep both 'tocks on the seat. And without both sit-bones balanced on the saddle I'm looking at some very painful and numbing longer rides in the future. If my sit bones aren't bearing my weight, then my girly bits will be. Um, no thanks.

Between my sore foot and ass I could only tolerate the trainer ride for 30 minutes yesterday. Can't point to a low tolerance for pain, either...3 marathons, nearly 1700 miles on-foot since the first of the year, and over 2 decades of endometriosis cramps would suggest the opposite.

Better late than never...

Guess I should post some sort of race report from the Run With A Cougar trail race 3 days ago.

Heather and I arrived at Hoffmaster State Park to find that there were a lot more people running this year than last...and a long line for pre-registered runners to pick up their race packets. On the bright side, us procrastinators were able to walk right up and register.

Due to the large # of runners they delayed the start 15 minutes. No biggie...it was gorgeous, around 50 degrees, and full sun. Gave me a chance to chat with the guy parked next to us who had a car that was virtually identical to mine...color, year, features, body-style, manual transmission, sunroof, etc. (my car is not at all common around here, so it was kinda freaky--and I've seen his car before...I recognized his running-related custom plate). Though his was much cleaner than mine, heh. He was an older guy with no messy kids and probably doesn't park his car under a tree, either.

We got to talking about trunk-mounted bike racks, which was useful, as it can be difficult to fit a rack to a hatchback without a trailer hitch mount. It appears that there are a couple of Thule models that may work well. I can fit my bike in the back of my car with the larger portion of the split-fold rear seats down, but then we can't fit any luggage in the car if we were to go somewhere with DS along. With a rear rack we could take my car on trips without having to deal with a roof rack (and no one has to mess up their back getting the bikes up there, either).

Back to the race. I PRd by almost 1:30, but I swear it felt tougher this year. My right ear plugged-up maybe a mile in (and didn't resolve until at least a half hour after finishing...weird), so I spent much of the race swallowing and yawning trying to get that to clear. Ever notice how the sound of one's own breathing is amplified with plugged ears? Yeah, that sucks during a race.

The last mile or so of the race is on the beach. So one has the choice of running in dry sand, which is REALLY hard, or running on the wet area down by the surf...easier, but with the high probability of wet feet as waves wash up. Yep, my feet got soaked. And I forgot how heavy shoes and socks are when wet--whoa! Wow, that last mile was TOUGH! I have never come so close to puking at the finish of any race. Took me maybe a minute after crossing the line before the nausea abated. Ick.

There was one annoying tool of a guy who was attired in Under Armor beefcake compression wear with a Camelbak (yeah, for a 4.3 mile race in cool temps...moron) and a headcam. At the top of each hill he would stop, turn around, and videotape the people behind him slogging up the hills. Jackass must have done this on at least 3 hills. I think I eventually lost him. Thank gawd. What a creep. If I find that shit on YouTube I'm going to leave some not-so-friendly comments.

I finished 14/17 in my age group (165/222 finishers--14 people DNFd, which seems pretty high for a relatively small race)...which burns me, since there were THREE women who finished just seconds ahead of me. Ack, if only I had known. I'm sure if I'd have realized we were in the same AG I would have put on more gas and gotten around them. I am relatively sure I know which group of women this was and I was behind them for the entire race...I could have sprinted around them at a wider section of the trail, but didn't feel driven to do so...which I would have done had I known they were my direct competition. Ack. The older gentleman we talked to before and after the race said he likes racing tris for that reason--competitors have their age written on their calves, so each person KNOWS who they are directly up against.

3 days out and my calves have finally stopped feeling so sore and stiff. Man, running on sand for so long really does a number on a body.

11.12.2009

Shiny!

I know that's how the crew of Serenity would describe my new toy (ignore all the crap in the background)...

Today we took Oby/Oberon for her maiden voyage. It was a nice, slow, easy ride for just shy of 11 miles on flat rail trail. Gorgeous, sunny day and a perfect opportunity for me to mess with the shifting mechanism. The paddle shifters are a bit different than the grip shifters I was accustomed to on my ancient POS tank of a mountain bike.

After today it's pretty clear that my past super sore butt and instantly-numb-and-painful "hoo ha" was more the result of a poorly fit bike than any specific seat issues. My backside was a little sore after today's ride, but nothing like what I had experienced in the past. I've always been suspicious that my mountain bike was a bit too big, forcing me to lean too far forward and rest my weight on parts where weight shouldn't be rested, resulting in cycling misery after less than a mile. Today I rode on the stock seat and was much comfier--even with a seat that doesn't have an "anatomically-placed" hole. We may still want to mess with the position a bit, since I sometimes felt like I was sliding forward a little bit and had to scoot my butt back in the saddle, but not enough to bother me a whole lot.

Oby is still waiting for her flashy orange bar tape and will have the triple-crank gearing swapped with a compact double set-up. That should provide smoother shifting and I don't really NEED 30 speeds where we live...our hills are relatively few and far between. On Saturday I will hopefully be picking up my shoes so that we can put the clipless pedals on the bike. Today it was good to use the cheesy toe clips, though. It's been a while since I used clipless pedals and even then I didn't use them all that much before I ended up "with child" and not able to safely bike.

Tomorrow I have one easy 3-4 mile run before Saturday's trail race. It has been months since I ran on a trail, so I hope my legs and feet will be strong on race day. I have a feeling I will be extra sore Saturday evening at the big JDRF end-of-season party. Thank goodness there will be plenty of adult beverages to soothe my aches and pains!

11.08.2009

They should have checked with me before making plans...

It appears that DH's out-of-state 20th HS class reunion is the same weekend as the first duathlon I had hoped to "du," so '10 will likely be a one-duathlon year for me, unfortunately. I was really looking forward to using that first race as sort of a trial-run, then applying lessons-learned to training for the 2nd one 2 months later. Ah, well, such is life. The other nice thing about that first race is that it takes place close to home and on familiar roads, which would have been nice. Guess I can save that for the following year--hopefully my own 20th in '11 won't end up on that weekend, too.

Today the hubby is on the "Chilly Chili" ride. It's not particularly chilly, though. I think it's in the mid-60s. Pretty toasty for early November in these parts. Perhaps they should have planned on ice cream after the ride, instead of a Chili cook-off party. I am uber-jealous of the riders, today. My bike should be ready any day. Today would have been a great day for a ride and I'm sure 30 miles would have been totally doable for me, too. Instead I think I will go purge my closet some and tackle the monster mountain of clean laundry that needs to be put away. Wow, that's almost as much fun as cycling and chili-eating, right?

Yesterday I managed my first double-digit mileage run since the marathon 3 weeks ago. Sheesh, it's kinda crazy how out-of-shape I feel. That 10 was somewhat challenging and just felt so L-O-N-G (but with the gorgeous weather I couldn't not go the distance...it was perfect running weather and who knows how much longer we'll be treated with this). Granted, I am still not 100% recovered from the race. But my lungs also made the run a bit challenging. Unfortunately it's likely only a matter of time before I am back on steroidal asthma meds. Ugh. Hopefully I can try a form of metered dose inhaler with a spacer, rather than the inhaled powder type. The powdered form is reported to make a user much more prone to thrush issues than are the liquid mist MDI units with a spacer chamber device, which gets more med into the lungs and less coating the throat and mouth surfaces.

11.07.2009

Blogging: just another form of procrastination

Here I sit, feeling obligated to type out some randomness, even though there's not much excitement to note at the moment. I really should be gearing-up for a nice run outside. We're supposed to hit ~60º today...YES! It's a full week into November, so anything above the 40s is greatly appreciated. My MIL called last night to report that they had hit 74 in Central IL, yesterday. Wow!

Tomorrow we are predicted to hit the mid-60s, but DH has a cycling event in the afternoon and I doubt I will get motivated enough to run before he leaves at noon, so today will be my day to run. I'm planning to do 8-10...first "long" run since the marathon.

The truly nutso thing is that 10 miles feels so daunting to me at the moment. Seriously, what is up with that? Less than 3 weeks ago I ran 26.2 in a single run...while training for that race a 10 miler was a relatively short run. This weird phenomenon has afflicted me after all 3 of my marathons. Within the span of a couple of weeks I go from 10 miles = easy peasy to 10 miles = LONG. Running really is a mental sport...I think we are all insane.

This glorious weather makes me REALLY wish that my new bike were already here. The scheduled ship date from Cannondale was a few days ago, so I expect that the shop might have it...so the wait now is for them to get my pedals, Garmin Forerunner mounting kit, cadence sensor, and handlebars and tape on. Once ready I will get to go in and have everything adjusted to fit me perfectly. I still need shoes, though. I have ridiculously hard-to-fit duck feet and they were out of the shoes I'd want (a Sidi mountain bike shoe so that I can do a little bit of walking if necessary) in the size I need. Hopefully in the right length they will fit well in width and the heels, otherwise I will have to order something online...and wait some more and still not be sure of fit.

If the shoe issues are not an issue, then I will potentially be ready to roll THIS week...wow! And the forecast looks fairly decent...several days with sun and temps around 50. That's not half-bad. I will still have to bundle-up, some, but I have just enough gear that I can do some cooler weather rides...chamois shorts under wind-blocker tights, a warm cycling jacket, lots of running baselayer stuff, full-fingered cycling gloves, Smartwool running socks, etc.

In a week I am planning to do a favorite little trail race in one of the local state parks. Last year it was my first trail race and I had a blast. I think my legs will be very strong and recovered for this event, assuming I avoid Swine Flu or any other sickies in the meantime. I'm planning to register on race morning, just to be safe.

DS had his H1N1 vaccination a couple of days ago, in the form of the nasal spray. I have been unable to get the vaccine, since all the shots in the county are earmarked for pregnant women and the mist is contraindicated for those with asthma (like me). So I am falling through the vaccination cracks, even though I am in a high risk group. As a result I have been consciously avoiding situations that involve being around large groups of people and washing my hands like I have OCD. I hope we were able to get DS vaccinated in time for him to avoid contracting the virus, too (it takes 10-14 days for the vaccination to offer full protection, so he's still not out of the woods). His best friend had it a week ago, so it's surprising that he is still healthy. Not having Dane be a carrier will cut my risk of getting sick greatly. He has an almost 9 year history of bringing viruses home to mom and dad...the gift that keeps on giving.

11.01.2009

rabbit rabbit

Happy All Saint's Day. If the rest of November is as stunningly beautiful as this first day of the month, we are in for 30 days of far better weather than October handed us. Today it is sunny with ripple-y little clouds and a gentle breeze. No gale force winds and pouring rain like we saw in the last week of Oct. Perhaps I will manage a few late Fall rides on my new bike (which could be here in the next 5 days from the sound of it)...woot! Hope my friends running the New York City Marathon are having an equally perfect day for the race, too!

Yesterday I ran with my local running buddy for 5 miles in the early afternoon. It was windy and cold, but we chose a fairly sheltered route and it wasn't too bad. I am still battling thrush and unresolved asthma issues, so that put a slight damper on an otherwise really nice run. We've not been able to arrange a run together in months due to my marathon training and her kids' crazy extra-curricular schedules earlier in the Fall.

Yeah...the thrush. It appears that my PCP/PA's office has not been prescribing the proper dose of the anti-fungal meds to treat this garbage. Instead of a single 150mg pill (the dosage for the version of thrush that women get "down there") I should be given a script for a 200mg dose the first day followed by 13 days of 100mg (this according to the literature available to medical professionals from the drug manufacturer's site). This past week I have had 2 150mg doses a few days apart and this shit is not budging. I'm really friggin' tired of weeks of my tongue both burning and feeling numb and having a distinct bitter taste in my mouth at all times (yes, it really is just as awesome as it sounds...blech). It's starting to screw with my sleep, too. So tomorrow I get to call my doc's office to tell them that they are doing it wrong. Joy. Gotta be my own advocate, though. High doses of enteric-coated probiotics aren't controlling the thrush overgrowth, so I have to go the meds route if I want any relief.

Overall I feel a bit better after discontinuing both of the steroid meds to treat my allergies and asthma. I've been more sneezy and snorky, but the neti pot helps with that. I no longer feel like I am constantly run-down and on the verge of a cold. This should greatly lessen the potential of future battles with wretched thrush, too. For the asthma I'm going to ask my doctor about the possibility of taking just the long-acting bronchodilator portion of the Advair combined medication I was on. There are greater health risks to using just the single drug (Serevent), instead of the bronchodilator/steroid combo, but the Singulair pill doesn't do much for me and I need to have this controlled (ESPECIALLY with flu bugs all around us). Uncontrolled asthma leads to lung damage, which leads to further asthma issues...it's a vicious cycle. Plus not being able to breathe isn't particularly conducive to running or biking...or sleeping, or living.

Last night's Halloween celebrations were a lot of fun. DS went from wanting to dress as Calvin (as in Calvin & Hobbes Calvin) to wanting to go as a zombie. YES! The zombie costume was a lot more fun to put together and he looked great all made up. We also were able to make good use of a ratty old race t-shirt of mine and some threadbare, outgrown pants of his. I'm particularly impressed by the effect of the blood capsules we purchased.

Too bad he's not quite old enough to watch movies like Zombieland (a bit too intense) or Shaun of the Dead (less intense, but more f-bombs). He has a lot of fun with the notion of zombies (he comes by it honestly).

After trick-or-treating Dane went over to his grandma's for the night, so DH and I went with friends to a local bar that had a live band and a costume contest. None of us felt motivated enough to go in costume, but we had a good time drinking beer, eating pizza, and checking out the costumes of the night. Our favorites were Shrek & Fiona and a really excellent Viking costume, completely with furry boots. Shrek & Fiona won. Least favorite costumes were the big, creepy clown (clowns freak me out) and the Little Bo Peep(show). At a certain age sexy costumes are less "sexy" and more skanky. When your kid is old enough to drink in the bar with you (seriously), perhaps it's time to tone it down on the boudoir-styled costumes (and, please, refrain from getting up on the stage and bending over to shake your ass at the crowd--I'm guessing you didn't check that view beforehand. Ew)...