2.24.2010

Murphy's Law

I just got new running shoes (Mizuno Wave Elixir 5)...I already prefer the overall fit and features to the Elixir 4s. Several of the silly traction dots on the forefoot of the 4s were worn completely flat after only 125 miles or so. And they were always just a hair firm. The update is a bit softer (at least according to Mizuno and early reviewers) and the forefoot tread is no longer comprised of those fragile little rubber dots.

The Murphy's Law part...the roads are kinda crappy, again. I don't know that I want to wear brand new shoes in that garbage. I like to keep my new shoes new-looking for maybe the first 50 miles. After that point I'm not so careful about weather/road conditions. But I would like to get one shorter "break-in" run in before my 11 miler on Sat. Always nice to make sure a shoe doesn't have any trouble areas, like weird seams or overlays--at least when it's a brand new model.

Winter can go bye-bye any time, now. Not only is tomorrow supposed to be cold, but we are also predicted to have sustained 25mph winds with 36mph gusts. Add that to temps just below freezing and the wind-chills end up pretty bitter. Gross. My planned 7 miler in that is going to be rough, especially since it's an interval workout. I will definitely be making certain that the intervals portion is with the wind at my back after my initial warm-up miles.

Today I logged 14 miles on the nowhere bike with 4 rounds of one-legs. Those are tough. I much prefer pedaling with BOTH legs. I do think they make me stronger, though, so I will keep doing them.

2.21.2010

$45k of FUN!

So yesterday was the big 24 hour Ultimate Cycle Challenge, of which I covered 2 hours for our JDRF West MI team. The entire event raised that big dollar amount in the title above--all going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Wow. I'm not really sure exactly how many people participated in the event, but at any given time there appeared to be 40-50 people pedaling.

I went into this with some trepidation. This was to be my longest indoor ride and I knew I'd likely have my bike mounted on the same fluid trainer model my hubby has, which provides markedly more resistance than the old magnetic trainer I use. I figured I would have to really ease-up on the gearing and that I'd be lucky to crank out 20 miles in that 2 hours.

Turns out the trainer I was on had noticeably less resistance than mine and that Derek must simply have his tension set higher. So in 1:57 I easily managed 30 miles. Yay, me! That trainer was so much smoother than my own, too. I think next Winter I will have to replace the ancient magnetic trainer for a newer, smoother fluid trainer.

I had so much fun...I think I could have gone a 3rd hour without much trouble. Next year I am definitely in for 3-4 hours! I'd like to be there at night when they have the DJs and videos. I missed some great 80s pop. Hubby also rode 2 hours and our son was really a trooper. He read and refilled water bottles and brought us snacks as we pedaled. I think next year he may have his own bike on a trainer and be able to pedal for at least an hour, too. That would be really fun to have him alongside one of us.

Today I dragged my butt through 5 running miles. I'm still dealing with some sort of weird low-grade cold that I am suspicious may actually be allergies--all these above-freezing days almost certainly have encouraged some mold growth. I've also not slept well the last few nights and yesterday was a long day--went to bed too late Fri. night, up to early yesterday, the UCC ride, then restless sleep last night. I'm wiped-out! Luckily I have a rest day in the works either tomorrow or Tues.

2.19.2010

Ultimate Cycle Challenge

In about 13 hours my bike will be right where that foreground bike is sitting...and my butt will be on the saddle for the following 3 hours. Ack! My longest indoor ride, ever. I have ridden 2.5 outdoors, but that's a lot kinder to the girly-bits and the brain. And it's likely to be hot in there. I'm gonna be a sweaty mess by the end of things, I think.

Already our team has had a cyclist pedaling for nearly 2 hours. For 24 hours we will have someone pedaling--most of us in 2 hour blocks. We have raised a paltry $10 as a team (not including the registration fees, which help support the Lance Armstrong Foundation, as well). If you'd like to financially help our JDRF West Michigan team we'd greatly appreciate the support.

Fashion focus: I plan to wear an orange sleeveless jersey and orange wicking do-rag thingy...to match my flashy handlebar tape. A girl's gotta look put-together when she is sweating like a horse!

2.18.2010

I'm IN!

For the 2010 Las Vegas Half Marathon on Dec. 5! Running with me will be 20-30 of my best running girlfriends. Some will do the full, but most of us are there for the half. I don't expect to PR with that crowd or all of the revelry in the days and nights prior to the race.

Last night I booked my flights, hotel, and registered for the race...most expensive race, ever. Sheesh. Both the full and half marathon distances are $135. I think the most I've ever paid for a race prior to this was maybe $85, and that was for a full marathon. That race registration is going to cost more than my share of the hotel room for 4 nights...really.

The group of women I'll be spending the weekend with in Vegas are all planning to wear plaid running skirts and white compression socks/sleeves...when in Vegas dressing as naughty school girls seems appropriate (plus the RunningSkirts.com skirts are super comfy. I've worn one of these skirts for 2 of my 3 marathons and for literally thousands of miles of training over the past 4 years).

Yesterday I had one of those "oh shit" moments that briefly had me mentally canceling my running/cycling goals for the next few months. Hidden under the slush was a rock or hunk of ice that laid in wait for my left foot. I landed on the evil object, felt blinding pain shoot up the lower quarter of my leg and ankle, hobbled for a few steps, then was forced to stop to catch my breath and assess the damage. It hurt, but nothing felt broken or seriously injured. I walked for a couple of minutes, until the pain subsided. Once I was certain there was no serious damage I finished up my run, though I did cut it short a mile, just to be safe. Thank goodness for my sturdy cankles! I've never once broken or sprained either ankle. *knocks on wood* I am certain having stocky leg and ankle bones is an asset when it comes to durability.

My ankle continued to be a bit tender and stiff for the rest of the day and into this morning, but no swelling or serious damage seemed to be present, so I pressed-on with my planned 7 miler today (I just had to--it was gorgeous and sunny...these days are few and far between, this time of the year. Gotta take advantage of that source of vitamin D!). Ankle felt great while I was running, but is still a little "off" while at rest, so I'll definitely be keeping an eye on things for the next few days.

2.16.2010

Pączki Fever!!!

I said I wasn't going to do it, but I just had to have a pączki...after all, there is really just this one day every year when they are required eating--kind of like turkey on Thanksgiving, only a little less healthy.

But this year I was "good." There have been years when I've eaten 3 entire pączkis (I know...sometimes I think it's a wonder that I'm not battling more than 20#s). Having just one was enough to keep me from feeling like I'm missing out, but not so much that I feel bloated and nauseous and stuffed and disgusted and guilty. And somehow I actually LOST a pound in the past week...a week of utter birthday gluttony. I don't get that at all. I can eat like a bird for a week and gain, then eat like a hog for a few days and lose. Makes no sense.

Today I ran 6 miles...one of those runs where I could have maybe benefitted from Yaktrax, but much of the new snow was just sticky enough that my regular trail shoes were adequate. The areas that were bad were where the plow had been through and smoothed the snow down into a hard, flat, texture-less surface. I wish they would scrape down deeper when it's like this.

It was still a pretty decent run. Yesterday was a well-needed rest day and my legs definitely felt stronger today. Tomorrow I will bike for an hour, then run another 3-4 miles...run on Thurs. and Fri., and then my 2 hour share of the 24 hour Ultimate Cycling Challenge fundraising ride (team JDRF West MI) on Sat.

I'm kind of liking that I don't have a long run on the schedule this week. It's taking more and more mental effort to get myself out the door, now. Today I saw some sun, which was very welcome. Even when it's not particularly cold/snowy/windy it's tough to find the mojo when it's so gloomy. Winters are so long in MI, and so much of what makes them feel endless is the minimal sun for so many months. I need my vitamin D!

2.14.2010

Many Mouthfuls of Regret

Ugh, I SO do not want to step on the scale for weigh-in tomorrow. This weekend has been BAD, calorically. Cake, frosting...frosting without cake, beer, wine, pizza, Chinese take-out... I'm like the poster child for efficient weight GAIN!

Yesterday while I was out on an 11 miler with my local running friend my guys made our "family birthday cake." Seeing as how all 3 Humans in this house have February birthdays we thought it made the most sense to make one cake for all of us and pick a weekend midway between them all to celebrate with simple carbohydrates subsequent to singing "Happy Birthday to US."

Originally we had planned to go watch a roller derby match last night, but after that miserable long run (it's not just Heather and I who had bad runs...seems to be affecting friends far-flung, too. F you, Old Man Winter) and DS dropping a book on his foot we just weren't all that eager to venture out into the cold. Instead we donned PJs, made pizza, and rented a couple of movies. 9 was very good, as was Inglourious Basterds. I am still convinced that there are few things I enjoy more than Brad Pitt doing crazy. I think we might need to rent 12 Monkeys again, very soon.

While we watched movies we ate cake. Then again for breakfast we had cake. I kinda wanna hurl, now. In a little while the 2 eldest cake eaters in the house will ride our nowhere bikes...you know, to make room for that last 3rd of the cake that remains. We will watch the Olympics while we ride...to add more guilt. Those young athletes didn't get where they are by sitting around eating cake for the better part of a weekend. At least the leftover pizza and Chinese are gone...I might have to go binge on salad, now.

2.12.2010

It's my party...

...and I'll bike if I want to...

Today I am 37. I have been eagerly awaiting this day for several years...entirely due to this little movie clip:


What a gorgeous day. I woke to sunshine...which disappeared for a bit, a few snowflakes fell, then the clouds parted and left not a trace. Blue skies and sunshine are such a welcome gift.

Hubby and I rode our nowhere bikes for an hour while watching Sin City. He also made me bacon for breakfast. In a bit he's heading out to pick up Chinese for dinner (mmm...beef & broccoli and crab rangoons for me!). Tonite we will enjoy the Olympics opening ceremonies with a bottle of wine.

Oh, and I downloaded the most recent The Swell Season "CD." Wow...3 hours of music and live concert audio--that will keep me entertained on many a run. Glen Hansard is pretty droll, too. I think the concert recording was done at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, which is kind of cool. That is a very nice venue. I was there at least once in high school for a play.

Tomorrow I will meet with my local running buddy for 11 miles. I will need that after all the food and wine tonite. And DH and DS are planning to make a cake tomorrow, so I need to pre-emptively burn some calories, too.

2.11.2010

Chamois lammy ding dong...

Last night I wore my new Pearl Izumi Sympony Cut shorts for the first time...and I LOVED them! So much that I immediately ordered a second pair (this time with the white mesh sides, instead of the black). Again I got a good deal, as I just recently opened an Amazon Visa card. In the past week we've been through a nightmare with my Bank of America CC TWICE withdrawing payment from the wrong checking account and screwing things up with our local bank. The second time they withdrew AFTER we had paid the card off with the account that we had originally intended for the payment to draw from, so I ended up with a credit on my credit card...idiots.

The new shorts are fabulous. The rear padding is under my sit bones--instead of behind them--I'm not sitting on seams (hello, chafing--ow!) in weird places, and there isn't too much padding where I don't need it. I think my issues with numb and painful "girly bits" had a lot to do with too much bulky chamois between me and the seat. With all of the other shorts I'd tried there was at least one issue that became increasingly bothersome the longer I'd ride--which would almost certainly put a damper on rides of more than an hour. Last night I rode for an hour and the only thing that hurt was my legs while doing some one-leg reps.

I also think the little pocket on the backside is the best thing ever. I can stick a house key in there, or a gel, or lip balm. And that front panel without elastic is SO comfy. My hubby prefers bib shorts, since he's not dealing with a waistband cutting into his gut. This seems to achieve the same end, without the inconvenience of having to strip my shirt off every time I need to use the loo.

Oh, and those meshy areas on the sides...almost like wearing a bit of sexy lingerie while I ride my bike. Should make for some interesting tan lines this Summer. As if the bra/tank combo and Garmin didn't already mark me as someone whose tan is not from merely lounging on the beach.

Today I ran 7 miles...I was supposed to do some intervals, but the roads aren't really ideal for any speed work, unfortunately. I started off wearing my Yaktrax, but decided about 2/3 of a mile in that the roads weren't quite bad enough to warrant them and a mile here and a mile there would be semi-clear. Just enough to slow me down, but not enough to benefit from the traction devices. It was a decent enough run and not bitterly cold, but it was that sort of dreary, damp cold...just a few degrees below freezing, but with light winds that really made the cold penetrate. I am SO ready for Spring!

2.09.2010

...

That pretty well sums-up how I feel today. We aren't getting socked with the sort of snow that was predicted last night (at least not yet)...right now it kind of looks like the frozen equivalent of drizzle. Just as dreary, but colder.

I have a 6 miler on the agenda, but I have no motivation to get out there and do it. The angel on one shoulder is in a battle with the devil on the other. Angel is sappily chirping about how accomplished I will feel after completing the workout, especially on such a cold and dreary day with snow-covered roads (roads that are still relatively clear, compared to what they are dealing with out East). While the little demon is pointing-out how comfy I am sitting at the computer in my wool socks and reminding me of all of the laundry that this single run will produce. Hmmm....

And my abs hurt from yesterday's Cathe core workout (I did workout #2, which uses a stability ball and is apparently more effective than workout #1, given how stiff and sore my midsection is today). And I am tired from 21 miles on the nowhere bike last night.

Here I am just a couple of days into my 11 week duathlon schedule and already I am tired of working out and want to be lazy. Though I really don't think it's the workouts that have me so unmotivated, as much as the lack of sleep (I need to start going to bed earlier, even on the weekends) and lack of sun (yay, seasonal affective disorder!).

I know from past experience that once I get out there and complete a mile or two that I will enjoy it and the remaining miles will pass rather pleasantly. My head knows this...but my body is very adept at trying to convince it otherwise.

2.07.2010

9 years ago...

...I weighed 225#s when I woke up and was at least 7.5#s lighter when I went to bed. I have this kid at right to thank for that rapid weight loss (but, OMG...how do I have a child who is halfway to adulthood? That is both shocking and sort of sad...it's all gone by so fast. 9 years passed in a flash).

Of course, I have myself to thank for the other 60#s (20 regained) I lost once I shrunk back down to my pre-pregnancy 185#s.

Today we celebrated by surprising Dane with a trip to the Grand Rapids Auto Show. He has been a car nut since he was about a year old and it's been a few years since we made it to the show, so he was really thrilled that we planned this family outing. We were both pretty tickled by that "Transformers Package" Camaro that he is squatting alongside. It has Autobots badging all over and is painted to look just like Bumblebee. Yes, we ARE geeks!

I was really bummed that they didn't have a Mazdaspeed 3 or RX-8...the last time we were there they did have those models, which were fun to ogle. I talked to the Subaru guy, who was miffed that he was not supplied with a WRX...seriously, why would these manufacturers only display their daily drivers and not the FUN stuff? DH lovingly caressed and sat inside the Honda Fit. There is little doubt that if he had to buy a new car today that the Fit would be it. Amazing how much room is in that diminutive, fuel-efficient, cute compact car.

We were all pretty tired today. DH and I attended a wine-and-pig-out party at the home of friends of ours about an hour away and didn't arrive home until nearly 3AM (this was after I ran 11 chilly miles in the middle of the day). Dane stayed at my local running friend's house and had a Wii tournament with her kids. Then he was up most (all?) of the night wrassling with her young kitten. We all have luggage under our eyes. I almost feel like I'm coming down with a cold, too...but maybe it's just run-of-the-mill exhaustion from too much weekend. I'm also maybe too overstuffed from birthday supper at Chili's. Our nearest location was donating 10% of sales to the JDRF, so we had 2 reasons to have a meal there, not that our bellies needed yet another gorging in a single weekend.

2.04.2010

"Lubricious"

How can I NOT purchase a product (even at $24/4oz.) that uses the word 'lubricious' in its description?

Elite cyclist Dave Zubriskie's dznutz chamois cream is generally pretty well regarded, from everything I have heard and read, though not cheap. I am currently pretty happy with the Chamois Butt'r that I use, but will try just about anything at least once.

Mostly I am sold on the description, though. I am a marketer's dream. If a product's description makes me laugh I am bound to try it (though Pearl Izumi's moderately offensive running shoe ads haven't turned me off to their products, either--in the end performance speaks louder than words).

Here is the copy from the dznuts bliss page:
Ladies you have spoken and dznuts has answered. This elegant pro grade chamois cream for women provides the comfort and lubricious saddle glide required for top level training and racing. It is scientifically formulated for women's sensitive skin. (4oz. tube)

anti-bacterial: pre/probiotics complex reduces the chance of infection and encourages beneficial skin flora growth.

anti-inflamatory: decreases itching, prickling and discomfort.

wound-healing: strengthens natural biological skin defenses and promotes healing in previously damaged skin.

anti-chaffing [sic]: moisture absorbing polymers isolate excess moisture, protecting delicate skin against the chamois.

no tingling: same pro-level protection as dznuts pro chamois cream,without the tingling sensation.


Note: chaffing≠chafing. Chaffing would relate to wheat...or something. Chafing is what happens to my butt in the presence of ill-placed seams and repetitive motion.

2.03.2010

Pearl Izumi donating 20% of sales to Red Cross

To benefit Haiti--effective through 2/4.

I happened to notice this as I was researching cycling shorts. I have had a heck of a time finding a chamois that doesn't sit a good inch too far back on my crotch/rear...yeah, I have a weird butt. I am very sway-backed and am suspicious that this is the problem. As a result my sit bones usually end up on the front edge of the chamois, instead of on the padded butt area. The chamois protects my tailbone...um, not supposed to work that way. I've also had issues with other seams lining up even with the edge of my saddle and that spot where my butt and back of my thigh meet. Doesn't take long before I start developing a hot spot. So I need to find a better short BEFORE my rides are over 90 minutes (I'm already AT that time and it takes a ton of chamois butter on seams to help minimize things).

Of all of the shorts I have tried, the PI Sugar short probably has the best fitting chamois, but it is very thick and poofy. It's sort of an entry-level short for spinning and feels like a diaper. I'll be hitting 2 hours for my long ride in just a few weeks, so it's time to get this shorts thing figured out now...not after I develop a saddle sore.

The shorts that fit the bill best (at least on paper) are the Women's Symphony Cut Short. I like the 6" inseam (any shorter is too short, any longer feels like knee pants on my stubby legs). I also LOVE that they have a small pocket on the back. Even though most cycling tops have pockets, one of my favorite running tops does not and I foresee that sometimes I will want to wear one of those for a ride, but still want a spot to stash a key.

It's difficult to see from the photo, but there is also a meshy area on the outer sides of the lower leg. That looks like it could add a bit of cooling effect, which will be nice in the Summer.

Today I ran 4 miles, then did 10 on the nowhere bike. These nowhere bike rides are getting easier and easier. It's really reassuring as I prepare to begin training for my first duathlon in just a few days.

Oh, and my abs are not nearly as sore as I thought they would be from yesterday's Cathe workout. I was really surprised this AM that I was able to walk upright. Perhaps I will try the next workout--with stability ball--the day after tomorrow.

2.02.2010

What doesn't kill us...

Actually, that wasn't so bad (I reserve the right to not feel this way tomorrow AM, of course). I did the 1st of the 3 workouts on the Core Max DVD and didn't find it to be too overwhelmingly beyond my abilities...well, at least until the series of planks at the end. I have NEVER been good at planks. Hopefully doing them frequently will change that.

Thus far I am very pleased with the DVD. Cathe wastes no time getting to business and making the best use of workout time. In every video of hers that I have done she consistently gives pointers, alternative moves if a particular exercise is too challenging, form correction to avoid injury, and reminders to concentrate on the movement to get the most out of each rep. I look forward to trying the workout with the stability ball and the 3rd one, which uses the stability ball and an 8# medicine ball.

Tomorrow I will run earlier in the day (probably an easy 4), then an hour on the bike trainer with the hubby.

Tonight I attempted to book the room I will be sharing with 2 friends at the Luxor in Vegas for the Marathon weekend (12/5), but their site is buggy. I couldn't get the reservation to go through via 3 browsers on this computer (Mac) or on my hubby's machine (PC). I'll try again tomorrow and contact them if it continues.

2010 is already dragging. Between wanting to get outdoors on my bike and wishing it were already time for my Vegas vacation (with 30+ of my running girlfriends) this year is going so S-L-O-W-L-Y.... Hopefully things will pick up once I start training in earnest for the duathlon. Training starts in 5 days and will continue for 11 weeks leading up to race day on 4/25. I'm still nervous about having so little actual outdoor ride time before the race. Right now I don't even have to use the brakes to stop and clipping in and out of the pedals is no biggie, since my bike is firmly mounted to the trainer. The whole transitions thing between run-bike and bike-run makes me panic a little, too.

2.01.2010

Core Max

Yeah...my belly is gonna HURT! I just got my newest workout DVD, Cathe Friedrich's Core Max, from her Hardcore series. Included on the disc are 3 20 minute workouts...one using only a mat, 1 using fitness ball, and one using fitness ball and medicine ball.

I am no stranger to Cathe's DVDs. Other workouts of hers that I have acquired include Kick Max, Muscle Max, Supersets & Push Pull, Timesaver (5 abbreviated workouts from her Bodyblast series), and Power Hour + (Maximum Intensity Strength & Body Max).

Every time I have had visible upper-body muscle tone it has been the result of doing her workouts regularly. Most of these workouts are 60-90 minutes in length and require some combo of a step, barbell & plates, hand weights, yoga ball, medicine ball, mat...pretty equipment intensive. I don't mind this--except for the fact that our living room is tiny, so stuff has to be dragged-out, then dragged-back. Our next home will definitely require a dedicated workout space...for using my Cathe DVDs, but also for our bikes on the trainers. Right now the bikes are taking up the living room, so there's no room for using any of my older Cathe workout discs.

Cathe's workouts are INTENSE (but enjoyable...she is funny and very motivating. She is exactly what I think of when I contemplate the perfect personal trainer). I find myself doing a lot of gasping and swearing. But it's a good hurt. I predict my abs are gonna hurt so good tomorrow night! I have done some shorter abs segments on other DVDs of hers and they are tough. I'm really not looking forward to pikes on the ball--I never did figure out how to do that without crashing to the floor.

I am currently working 2 ab workouts into my training schedule each week. This will allow me 1.5 weeks between repeating any workouts, so this will keep the "muscle confusion" effectively challenging my core. I will likely stick to the mat-only routine for the first couple of weeks, since adding the balls will add more difficulty than I'm certain my belly and lower back could handle, at the moment.