Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Last Sunday was Bloomsday. We stayed at a hotel about .8 mile from our starting area. The Hubs was in the starting group behind mine. It's okay to move back, but not forward. If you start before your color group starts, you will not be timed. I'd been warned that the crowd is so thick I'd walk the first mile, so I figured I'd start with The Hubs.
I planned to walk to the start. The Hubs went back & forth about walking or taking the bus. Ultimately, he agree to walk. The bus would have required almost as much walking. With 45,000 people on the course and thousands of spectators, Spokane gets really crowded on Bloomsday.
We stood around in the staging area for nearly an hour, but our group got the "Go" sign pretty close to the targeted start time. Twenty minutes later, we were at the start line. About a half-mile later, I kissed The Hubs and we proceeded to run our own events.
I'd been warned that running Bloomsday - which is a 12K - means running at least 15 km because you're constantly running around people. I believe it! I gave up on any kind of "plan." Whether I ran or walked was dictated by the crowd and my heart rate. People were pretty polite though: Often, when I ran through a gap between two people and accidentally bumped one of them, the person I bumped would apologize. As if it was their fault I bumped them, even though they clearly have the right-of-way.
I ran up the first hill, which isn't much of a hill. But then came Doomsday Hill. I used to hate riding my bike up this hill. It's three-quarters of a mile, 6.5% grade. I only ran to get around people. There was a giant vulture decoration at the top of the hill and lots of "Congratulations!" banners. At the top of the hill, there's less than two miles to go, and no more hills. At this point, the course is through the West Central and Felony Flats neighborhoods. There's a real celebratory and party atmosphere along the course from this point on. (There were two dozen musical acts along the course, in addition to folks blaring stereos and providing other "entertainment.") I missed the folks handing out paper cups of beer in Felony Flats.
I was really feelin' it by this time. At the start, there was tightness in my upper outer quads. No idea why, other than the 19+ mile bike ride home several days before. There was no reason for my legs to be tired. Once I started running, that feeling dissipated. Unfortunately, I felt it every time I walked. It got to the point where I didn't want to walk because my legs hurt, but I didn't want to run because my legs hurt. Obviously, I pushed through it.
Past the courthouse, the course makes a final turn to the south, down the hill and to the finish line. I knew there would be photographers at the finish, so I did my damnedest to look happy. In fact, I was delighted to see that finish line! There's a video of me approaching the finish line, high-fiving everyone along the course. The joy on my face is genuine. I earned my finisher's t-shirt.
My final time was 1:43. I'd estimated I'd finish in 1:45, so I was glad I met that. (That's how the organizers sort the start groups.) The Hubs finished about forty minutes behind me. I stood near the finish line, doing dynamic stretches and moving constantly. I saw him approaching the finish line, prepped my cell phone to take a picture, and completely missed the opportunity to take a picture of him. Fortunately, the event photographers got a couple of good shots of him.
We headed back to the car. That may have been the longest mile I've ever walked. Both of us agreed we were really at our limit. We refueled at Dick's Hamburgers. (If you're from Seattle, Dick's is a treasured cultural icon. There's one Dick's in Spokane, and while it's been there forever, I never got the impression Spokies love Dick's the way Seattlites do.) I asked that we stop every hour or so on the way home so that I could walk around a little bit. The Hubs agreed. I put on compression socks, and put my feet up on the car's dashboard. I never do that, because it's incredibly dangerous. In this case, I decided the benefit of elevating my feet outweighed the infinitesimally small risk of catastrophic soft tissue damage if we were in an accident on the interstate. My legs are still a little stiff, especially if I sit for too long. I managed a pretty good time (14 mph) on my ride home last night, though.
My bib number is up on the wall in my office. We're planning to do this again next year, but we're going to splurge a bit and stay at the Davenport, which is right next to the course. My goal for next year is to be twenty pounds lighter and twenty minutes faster. But I'll still go to Dick's afterwards. www.ddir.com/
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Last Sunday, two women at church asked me if I'd lost weight. I have, but more importantly, I was wearing pants that didn't give me a muffin top. But what struck me was that one of them, a woman about my age and shape, said, "I'm jealous."
Jealous? It's not as if I've done something that she isn't capable of. She's on my FB friend feed, so I'm sure she's seen how many workout-related status updates I've posted. Kim is at Tri-City Court Club. Kim ran. Kim rode her bike. Kim hiked Badger. Kim swam laps.
I know a lot of us get this kind of feedback from people: we somehow have discovered some miraculous truth and accomplished something the uninitiated cannot. Hardly. Ask what I ate yesterday - I can tell you. Ask me how many times I've run, swam, ridden, hiked, stretched, or strength trained this month - I can tell you.
Success is not an accident. While my bout of gastroenteritis two months ago gets some credit, the reason I didn't immediately regain the weight is that I made reasonable, healthy food choices instead of saying "I lost five pounds! Bring on the pizza and ice cream!" I still eat too much, but for the most part, I make good choices and keep my calories within a reasonable range. Some nights, I watch an hour of two of television; occasionally I splurge and watch three or four. But those nights are rare because I chose to do something different.
I give myself permission to skip workouts, but I don't do that very often, and I have to have a well-described reason for doing so (such as, I desperately need that extra thirty minutes of sleep, and that sleep will benefit me more than the run will). I've pushed through workouts I did not enjoy. I've ridden in 35-mph cross winds more than I care to describe. I've stared at the pool and wanted to cry because it was beating me. But day after day, I push myself. I work a little harder. I sacrifice the temporary comfort for long-term benefits (and big-assed bragging rights).
But here's what gets me: this woman is educated. Clearly she doesn't think she got her professional certification because she was lucky. Surely she's aware that it took hard work to get where she is today.
I wouldn't say any of this her, because that would be mean. But it saddens me that so many people continue to think there's some magic pill, some quick-fix, that will make them fit and healthy. There isn't. We all deserve to be healthy and fit, regardless of our shape and size. And that "secret" is already in us.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I'm riding home tonight. I had a meeting last night, so I didn't ride home. And because of the meeting, I didn't get quite enough sleep last night. I've been a little draggy all day, but I took myself to the gym at lunch for a quick swim.
This morning, I decided I would do a brick workout tonight instead of going to the gym for strength training. I've been slacking on the strength training, but at this point I think I need to spend more time on the activities. The ride will be easy. The swim and the run will not.
Next Sunday is Bloomsday, a 12K. Two weeks after that I'm doing a duathlon 5K/30K/5K. Between these two events, I'll know how ready my legs are for the triathon the first weekend in June. But I think I've only done one brick this year, so it's time to shock my legs back to reality.
But I'm really looking forward to this. It's 72°F outside with a barely-perceptible wind from the ENE. The ride home should be amazing. I'll run into the house, switch shoes, and then take off running. I'll be miserable at first, but after about a half-mile, I'll be glad I'm out there, running.
Oh, and that banana cream pie in the refrigerator? Yup, it's dinner.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
I ran a 5K this morning. It's sponsored by my gym, the Tri-Cities Court Club. I signed up a while back because it's right here in town, the entry fee was only $6, and I'd been slacking in training for the run portion of my upcoming triathlon. I was hopeful signing up for an event would re-instill some urgency to my training.
And then I forgot about it.
A few weeks ago, I saw it on the calendar and my eyes got big. It certainly did create a sense of urgency.
The route was a local multi-use path. It's relatively narrow (12', tops), so getting out of the start required some near ballet-like moves. I was quickly passed by the stroller-pushers. One of them got a mechanical soon after passing me; the other stroller-pusher left them for dead.
I ran for four straight minutes at first. I usually run between 2-3 minutes, then walk for :45-1:00. But given I'd just passed someone, I didn't want to immediately drop back to walking and make them pass me. It worked out, though. Several times I ran for three or more minutes, and cut my walk to :30-:45.
I finished in 33:50, which is better than my previous 5K. The best part about the event was my self-talk. My Inner Coach kept catching me slouching: Head up! Shoulders back! Hips under your shoulders! It's amazing what a difference good posture makes in how I feel when I run. Thank you, Inner Coach!
I took third place in my age group. Maybe there were only three women in my age group. Doesn't matter: there isn't an asterisk on the ribbon, and I am keeping it. DLF beats DNF, DNF beats DNS, and DNS sure as heck beats Never Got off The Couch!
Thursday, April 24, 2014
When I took my swim lesson, the coach told me to not roll and breath with every stroke. The thing is, my heart rate really goes up when I start using my arms. I can go more than a few breaths before I'm gasping for air. And then it hit me: it's okay to ignore Coach Kathy.
It's more efficient to breath every third stroke. But if your heart rate is so high that you cannot breath, it's unrealistic to do so. As my fitness level improves, then I can work on the number of strokes I can take before rolling up for a breath.
I'm comfortable breathing on either side, so I'm confident that I will be able to get to the point where I breath every third stroke. But it will take time.
Now, if only I could find a tri that will allow me to use fins and a kickboard during the swim...
I've been sneezy all more morning. This happened last week, too. I clearly need to remember to take a benadryl before a swim work out. (At least I hope that fixes it!)
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