Thursday, April 01, 2010
I'm hitting the ground running this month for sure!
1. TRI Training - be consistent with schedule. I'm finding out this week how hard that actually is when the pool is CLOSED due to flooding in RI. BUT I'm finding out that unlike running biking & swimming you kinda have to squeeze in when you have the chance...
2. LOSE 2 inches in the belly - Part of PP challenge this month is to weigh & measure youself today & then 4/30/10. Since I'm putting in more exercise & I'm trying to be consistent with my diet I would like to see a decrease in this area. Also, this will be the first time that I've ever measured myself, I know for a lot of people this is a huge motivator beyond the scale, we shall see...
3. YARD time - the weather is breaking (or so I hope), it's time I got to work on my backyard, raking, mulching, planting, etc. I did get the Upside Down Tomatoes so I'm pretty excited about that too.
4. 1 RACE this month - have to stick with this & I don't want to get too consumed with TRI training that I don't do it because I like races!
5. LEAN meats - I want to stick with mostly lean meats for most meals & maybe red meat for 1 meal per week, quite the challenge, we shall see...
6. PICS - have to get it together to mail some updated pics to my MIL in Florida, I'm really bad with this & every time I see her she always gets on me about it, DH is no better. Bonus if I send PICS to Spain to SIL & BIL...
7. Get RID OF clothes - I am a notorious packrat, I have clothes from many moons ago. It's time this month that I get rid of all the crap especially the stuff I don't even wear, then maybe it'll be time for new clothes right??
8. Get OUT OF OFFICE - at least 1 time per week. I have the luxury of being able to do this but lately with a reduced staff it has been difficult to get out to work offsite. Now that the weather's nice, no excuses, even if I feel like I'll be two steps behind I need to leave for my own wellbeing, the work will be there anyway...
That's about it, I'm going to try to make this a very happy & productive month!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Alrighty! Cannot wait for April & nicer weather (hopefully!)...March for me started out with a slow start I really didn't get into gear until sometime after the 2nd week. From there though I have to say it went pretty well! Solely to keep myself accountable because this goal setting thing really does work wonders for me, here are the scores...
1. Complete my FIRST half marathon on 3/21/10 - COMPLETED - & what a wonderful experience it was, check the blog for details but I'm still amazed that I actually RAN for 13.1 miles!
2. Biking at LEAST 1 day per week - Maybe 1/2 COMPLETED at best! Started off the month really well with this, DH hasn't really wanted to do it. Rain has been awful & then with HM & another race it was hard to fit it in. No excuses this month though because tri training requires 3 days per week.
3. Put together training schedule for SPRINT TRI - COMPLETED & oh so colorful! Basically consists of 6 days of week of training. It's doable but the weather is driving me mad because of this biking outside thing!
4. Do my taxes - COMPLETED, well they are filed anyway, of course I procrastinated until just yesterday on this but it's still done!
5. 1 more small race - COMPLETED, Blarney Stone 5K Dash, what a fun time, check the blog for details!
6. Basement Clean Up - COMPLETED, procrastinated until about mid month but in the end I put up a vision collage put up all my pictures, cleaned it all up & now my basement looks like a positive workout zone, HOORAY!
7. Cut back on sodium - 3/4 COMPLETED, only because as I mentioned above I really had a slow start to this month so for the first week or so I slacked but I've been consistently good ever since. Of course I've replaced salf with pepper but that's okay. Even when I go out to eat I haven't put salt on my food, this was way harder than I thought but I'm sticking with this one.
8. Daily Duties Defined at Work - 1/4 COMPLETED, yeah, no so hot with this one, started off the month again slow as can be, then midway through I got my spurt of energy. Have definitely put in much more effort in terms of training staff, doing outside work stuff etc. but then I let the stress get to me around week 4 & it was kind of downhill until the end. I may build upon this goal for April.
Although I would have liked to have all of these as , I'm still happy that I accomplished most of these goals & if I didn't actually write them down I probably wouldn't have gotten even this far. I know that I need to start the month off on the right foot going forward instead of procrastinating until the end...
Come April, it's on!
Monday, March 29, 2010
Ah, the places that racing takes you! I've been to towns/cities in neighboring states that I would never have bothered to go to if it weren't for road races. This race was located in Willimantic, CT a place I would never think to go to but this race & event turned out to be such a blast I may consider traveling there again, someday...
So for this race my biggest cheerleader decided that she wanted to come along for the event...my MOM! She lives in CT but this race was pretty far from her (2 hours!) as well as from my home (1 hr!) but this was the only race that I could find on this particular Saturday that was relatively close & after my half last week I knew a 5K was about all I could handle.
Last week I sent my mom the link to the website about the race. This race was an Irish themed event which immediately confused my mom as we are NOT Irish so she wasn't sure why I had picked this kind of race. Then it said on the flyer that there was a prize for best costume. That was all she needed to hear! You see, if you think I'm mad about costumes I get it from my mother...no one loves a costume & of course a competition more than her! So she nominated herself to be the official costume maker. The big problem with this of course is that St. Patty's Day was the week before so not a lot of places were still selling stuff...
The night before the race my mother "Official Costume Designer" called me to let me know about her progress in the costume department. She was pretty excited. It was at this point that she realized just how far she was going to have to drive in the morning to make it to this event. & then in the middle of the conversation she said in a very serious tone to me..."Crystal, I NEED you to run fast tomorrow okay." I had to laugh at this, she is soooo competitive! I assured her that I would try my best but it was kind of funny that she was taking all of this so seriously, I mean I was running it & I wasn't, it's just a 5K, purely for fun...BUT my mom is all business! I think she missed her coaching calling really...
So the day of the race I woke up early & it was COLD! What the heck happened to that nice Spring time weather from last week?? But that was okay...the drive up to the race was rather peaceful since I was by myself. I traveled through so many rural towns & I'm a city girl so for me I was just amazed that these towns even existed & the fact that I was traveling through all of this for a silly race was just crazy to me, but in a good way...
When I got to the race I checked in at the middle school. I was an hour early & the race wasn't too crowded at all. I signed in at the front with the nice ladies from the Irish Club & found out that this was their first race it was kind of obvious though because they weren't too sure who should give me my number & who should hand me a T-shirt, etc, etc, but it was kind of cute that they were getting so excited about actually signing someone in for a race & then of course they reminded me about the post race sandwiches which they were sooooo proud of (I think that they made them).
Anyhow, I had to wait around for quite some time until my mom arrived. More people started to shuffle in, a lot of teenagers. You can tell that this race was heavily promoted as a fundraising community event for the school, by no means were there other weirdo runners traveling from out of state for this event! My mom showed up about 20 minutes before the race & we went straight to the bathroom to put on my costume, check it out...
So this lovely costume consisted of: Guiness St. Patty's Day boxers, a green tank that my mother adorned with a felt shamrock on the front, accented with glitter glue around it.
On the back it reads Kiss My Blarney Stone in foam letters affixed with a hot glue gun (it runs in the family!). Note the colorful decor of the foam letters...stunning indeed!
A foam visor - because nothing says classy like a foam visor! - with foam letters reading St. Paddy's Day on it.
As an added bonus she brought washable paints & painted two shamrocks on my cheeks, boy was I a sight to be seen!
The race started at 10AM & for the most part started on time. This was a really small race only about 60 people & since I had it in the back of my mind my mom's words of wisdom, I had made up my mind that I was going to place in my age/gender category no matter what! The race started & I took off as fast as could be! This was not a closed course so it was a bit scary with the cars but there were cones indicating when to turn. The high schoolers in front of me we going super fast but it was quite clear that they've run this course before. I was feeling pretty good, except there was this one tiny woman in front of me, maybe only a car distance away from me but consistently faster than me! This was driving me mad because I wanted to be the first woman in my age group & I wasn't sure of her age but she looked like she may be around my age.
For the entire 3.1 miles I pushed it when I could. Except, d@mn it if there weren't hills YET again on this course too! C'mon New England, seriously!! They were gradual hills too which I find always worse because it feels like you are taking forever to conquer them. At one point in the race I looked over my right shoulder & saw what looked like pink clothing coming up from behind me. Frantically I sprinted as fast as I could...oh, no way was another woman potentially going to take my spot! BUT that ONE woman that was ahead of me the entire time kept on beating me, she made it look effortless, I knew that she had to be from the area since she knew every twist & turn. Every time a hill came my distance became further apart from her. This woman was good!
The home stretch came which I was soooo happy about except guess what?? You got it, it ended on a HILL!! So my speed definitely slowed on this part. I saw that ONE woman that was beating me rounding the corner. As soon as I hit that same corner I took off & sprinted (again Speedwork is an awesome thing) into the finish line. I took off my timing chip & handed it to one of the volunteers. I saw my mom right after that & she said that I did very well & ran really fast. She said that only one girl passed me but maybe she was in her 20s. She was holding onto hope that I had placed first, to me I was happy that I did it...
We went inside until the finishing ceremony & waited for the scores. The scores came out & it turned out I completed it in 26 minutes, WOOHOO beat my PR by 5 second & with hills too, that was big for me! Turned out the one girl that beat me was 32 years old, sooooooo I placed 2nd for my age/gender which is still great in my book! I even got a MEDAL, yah!! To even place when a year ago I only did my first 5K was huge to me!
BUT, my mom was the real winner this day...guess what??
I - correction: MY MOM won best costume!!
The great part about this was that I got a gift certificate for $20 to a local restaurant. This was great because that meant that now we had an excuse to go out to a nice Italian restaurant for lunch. What a great feeling!!
ON A SIDE NOTE: Later on that day while I was still feeling the euphoria of my fantastic finish & free gift certicate & all. My mom & I were talking about the girl that placed first. I explained to my mom that it wasn't a huge deal, she only beat me by about 30 seconds. My mom, being the ridiculous competitve spirit that she is actually said "then why didn't you sprint really fast & beat her right near the end??" So I did my best to explain to her that the problem was that the final mile had a long hill & that when you run on a hill your legs hurt, your heart beats out of your chest, you head hurts, you feel as though you might faint. So I explained to her that I simply couldn't push it to beat this girl because I may have fainted or something. Do you know what she actually said to me??!! She said that she would have been there to call the AMBULANCE if I had fainted!!! Do you believe that?!
All & all this race was truly a blast!
ON ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: my younger sister called me yesterday afternoon & she was excited because she just completed the first workout for the C25K program! She thought she was going to pass out...ahhhhh, the memories! I was soooo proud of her! Maybe I'll have some race company soon!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Now that my half marathon is finished & I have been able to check that goal off the list it's now time to refocus my energy on...TRI TRAINING!
On one hand I'm thrilled about this new challenge but on the other hand it's totally throwing me out of whack. See, HM training was fairly easy, each week you simply run & increase mileage, towards the end you taper. I have done some research about tri training & the fact of the matter is it's MORE training. Mainly because you are adding more sports into the mix. So I've determined that at a bare minimum I will need to bike for 3 hours per week, swim for 2 hours per week & run only every other day for 4 times at MOST. Since running is the easiest for me I hate cutting it out & I want to stick with it. Also, it's racing season & even if it's small distances I do not want to miss out on my road races either. So, due to my unwillingness to compromise on that it looks like I'm going to be really busy. I've mapped out a plan that will not make getting this done too disruptive for my life but that does mean that I need to get my butt to bed fairly early to wake up & get the ball rolling in the morning on most days & I HATE mornings, if only there were more hours in the day!
This training will honestly be a true test of my strength, I'm not even sure endurance or physical strength wise just the sheer will power of sticking with something for the next 13 weeks (!!) & doing things that I'm not the best at doing or most comfortable with (that would be the biking & swimming!)...
Wish me luck I'll need it!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Before I get into the race report for my FIRST half marathon, I have to acknowledge something that has been on my mind all this weekend. Last year, during this exact same weekend, I did my very first race, a 5K, the St. Pat's 5K in Downtown Providence. I am thoroughly amazed at the progress that I have made in running & racing in just one year! You see, I never thought I would ever be a runner, I wasn't a runner in school & until 5 years ago I smoked cigarettes like a champ so I never for one second thought that it was even in the cards for me. Now look, in one year I've added 10 miles to that first 5K!
First thing's first, check out the shirt I made for the big day...
Note to self: Those iron on letters that you buy from the craft store do NOT stay put, you must use a hot glue gun for reinforcement
Also, posing with the kids before the race
I can characterize the New Bedford Half Marathon with a few words: crowded beyond belief, hilly, well organized & LOOOOONNNNNGGGG! As you can see from the pics it really was a nice day for a race! First time since 2010 that I was able to break out the shorts & short sleeve shirt. Right away I was in good spirits. Added bonus was this race started at a normal time 11AM. Very doable & reasonable to my standards. The fam & I (yes I course I brought my usual entourage with me!) piled into the car for 9AM. On the way to the race, in order to get my mind in the right place I bugged DH about coming up with 13 things for me to think about for each mile during the race. This idea was given to me by my swim coach Cheryl & I thought it would be a good way to pass the time & try to get into a positive zone. Added bonus for DH I'm sure was when I started to read motivational running quotes that were supposed to be funny aloud in the car. He didn't necessarily see the humor in the them but he smiled politely because I think he knew that I was trying to do something with my nervous energy...
When we got to the YMCA where I was supposed to get my number it was already insane! I kinda knew it would be as this race was pretty well publicized but GEESH! I hopped out of the car & had to wait in a line outside the Y to get in to then get into another line that wrapped around just to get my number. I'm not gonna lie, definitely a BIG disappointment with the swag bag situation for this race. I'm spoiled & I expect goodies!! Nothing, just vendors peddling energy drinks & lemonade, who wants that! What happened to the Cabot cheese like my last race or better yet the migraine medicine from my CVS race! To make matters worse, we were told online that the first 1500 registrants get a long sleeve race t-shirt. Yah, so when I went up to get mine I was informed that they ran out of small & medium, URGH, not that that's a huge deal but I'm weird like that & I look forward to this kind of stuff, so I took my stinkin' short sleeve shirt & headed on my merry way. Then it was time to wait in yet another ridiculous line, you know which one...the bathroom line of course! BUT, at least there was an actual bathroom as well as portojohns so I can't argue with that! Added bonus, one of the nice YMCA workers actually came into the bathroom to do a check to see if the ladies room needed any more TP, really it's the little things that you appreciate & this was one of them!
After what seemed like forever I met up with my family outside & headed off down the street to the start line. I've never seen a start line like this, they have you separated by how fast you can run one mile. How efficient right?! Anyhow, I got to my respective spot. Didn't know which one I should do 10 or 9 so I stuck with 9 but more so in the back. I knew I wasn't going to be able to maintain any speed near the 8 mile area, maybe for a 5K but no way for a half. Looking around at all the runners at this race, there were sooooo many people & so many types of people! Many definitely looked like they had done this race before & others looked like this was also something new to them. All of this made me feel better so I wasn't too bad or too good just kinda average, blendable. There were over 2000 people there so even if you wanted to be nervous you really couldn't because it was so crowded you really weren't on display or anything. It kind of made for an exciting feel!
Anyhow the gun went off, although it was so loud I didn't even hear it! We all slowly marched to the starting line, no worries though, D-Tag is a wonderful thing, what did they do before this thing?? At the start I maintained a very solid pace & just tried to get my mind off the excitement. There was a lot of excitement going on, all kinds of people yelling, cheering with signs & noise makers! Cruising through in the beginning was a piece of cake, I was able to see a lot of the sights of New Bedford which unfortunately translated into a Family Dollar, KFC, McDonalds, Price Rite, yah, not much for sights at this point. As time went on it got hot really quickly. I opted out of wearing the water bottle for my fuel belt because I only have one & it was awkward. Luckily just about every mile had a water station, hooray! These volunteers were incredible because there were tons of people!
I was good for the very beginning until shortly after mile 3. The race website had warned me of a "major hill" at this point. Well as soon as I passed mile 3 I went over a hill. When I scaled it I thought, they call this major?? Again, piece of cake mentality all the way! Anyhow, shortly thereafter I discover that that was NOT the major hill, there was another hill. I did say oh s@#% outloud as I set forth to climb this massive hill. But luckily this was mile 3 so I had it in me at this point.
In the beginning for the most part I tried to keep an even pace even though it was sort of bothering me for some weird reason that I felt that some people were passing me or that I couldn't keep up. That would all change by mile 5. After mile 5 is when that consistency really starting to pay off & I just started passing those people that were running so fast, I think they may have thought it was a 10K! This started to make me feel better & made me stop thinking that I had to kill myself to go faster! After about the 10K mark I attempted to eat some gu gel & gummy bears, yuck & yuck is all I have to say. These taste like crap when you are dehydrated & out of breath! There has to be something better than this because these are not working for me at all, I'm open to ideas in this department for sure! Every mile for the most mark had time clocks which I really liked, it made it easier to know for we-non-Garmin forks if we were making good time!
There were a couple of people that I was able to pace with along the way. Girl in the long sleeve green shirt who I kept thinking "geesh she must be hot" & these two ladies who I kept beating & then they would beat me that talked the whole way to each other. I seriously do NOT know how people carry on a conversation while racing! Not only am I out of breath but I definitely couldn't keep my mind on the race either but they did it. There was another in a long sleeve gray shirt that I paced with for a while in the beginning but she dropped back near the end. All of this made for a feel of a video game seriously. I felt like we were playing like a car racing game the whole way but it also motivated me to keep it moving!
Before mile 10 had a nice beach, not sure of the name on it the right. It was really nice to see some worthwhile scenary & made me excited for summer a-coming! After mile 10 is when the fun stopped...at this point my mind was tired & over it. I know it was because I had passed a milestone & knew that this was it, the last 5K before completing a half marathon. It was really killing me & you know what else was killing me, these stupid hills! URGH, I knew that the NBHM was considered hilly but c'mon at the end! At mile 12 I saw my family cheering me on in front of the car. I waved as I went by but oddly this kinda made me more tired too, I was just thinking, man...do I wish I were waiting by the car with them & not running in the hot sun! To make matters worse, my oldest son came running up behind me at this point during the race to tell me that "dad said to meet us at McDonald's." I thanked him & kept pushing on but I was disappointed because I thought maybe he was gonna join me to the finish or something & probably mostly because I was jealous because they were getting in the nice comfy car to DRIVE to McD's while I had to still run another mile! I wanted to yell "take me too!"
When I passed the corner heading to the finish I was never so happy & my legs were screaming out in pain! Apparently the shorts that I was wearing were rubbing between my thighs & I was having some serious chafing problems (I know you all wanted to hear that!). Anyhow, as soon as I saw that big finish banner in the air I sprinted & fast...THANK YOU speedwork, I think I get it!! I passed over the finish in 2:05something non D-Tag time so I knew my time would be better but I was thrilled!!!
I grabbed the nearest water bottle at the finish & immediately demanded to know where my finisher medal was...I was directed to some teenagers that were passing them out....c'mon I mean the medal is a MAJOR deciding factor in torturing yourself for this length of time! I was smiling from ear to ear at this point at the thought that I did it, with a decent time & ran the whole way! AH, the smiling was over when I realized that I had to locate my family at the car & my legs were sore like I must have been riding a horse for hours or something. So I ventured off to find my family at McDonald's. When I found them DH told me congratulations & took some pics of me with my medal...
Must give a shout out to the people of this lovely laundry mat who allowed me to change my yucky clothes in their bathroom after the race & were the biggest cheerleaders ever!
AND the reason that I said that this race was well organized was due to New Bedford's finest, their local police who blocked off every single road making it near to impossible for anyone to disrupt this half marathon...here is a pic of one that I forced to take a picture with me. He assured me that he was not a celebrity & did not know why I wanted the pic but he obliged...
Overall I am really happy that I accomplished this goal & this is something that I never thought I would be able to do! I'm happy with my time although I do think another course would probably yield a slightly faster time or if I did it again I could push it a bit more at the end but going into something like this for the first time it's challenging! I cannot even say that this as much of a physical challenge as it is a mental one. I am sooooooo happy that my training paid off & I will definitely do another one soon for sure!
Now it's time to rest my legs...until next time!
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