Monday, March 19, 2018

Playing Catch-up - As Usual

I have brought my iPad along with me more times than I can count to try to get an update written and posted, and here I am a full month and a half after my last post and I’m just getting to it.

Several races, some good, some a trip on the struggle bus, but all finished still standing - so that’s a win. Races since 2/6/18 -

2/17/18 - Sweetheart Run 10K (2nd race towards the 100K Challenge) - was originally scheduled for 2/10/18, but had to be postponed a week because of a severe weather threat (that turned out to be all for nothing). Turns out the weather on the morning of the 17th was colder and wetter than what the original date would have been (rescheduled because of the city, not because of the race director). It was rainy, windy, and cold when I arrived early to pick up my packet - but thankfully the rain stopped or had at least backed off to just a drizzle when the race started. This was a 2 loop race - which I typically do not enjoy because you get tortured by having to run past the finish line just to head out for the second lap. Definitely was not my best 10K time, but I did beat my Groundhog Run time, which was interesting considering this route was not exactly flat (and the weather was less than desirable).

3/3/18 - Liberty Hospital Half Marathon - my first race actually running WITH my sister Jennifer - both of us woefully underprepared for the distance. My longest run prior to this race was 8 miles, and that had been more than 2 weeks before race day. The weather was remarkably blessed and beautiful - just a bit of wind, but wonderfully overcast where needed, but warm and sunny at times were also welcome. The aid stations at this race, and the overall support were phenomenal especially considering this was just the 2nd year of this race. I started with my pace set at an 11 minute mile knowing full well I’d be luck to be able to sustain a 12 minute mile, but I thought if I set my pace music there my mind would want to go even slower. I set my intervals at 45/15, and didn’t back the intervals down to 30/15 until well into the second half of the race. As much as I was not a fan of the mile long uphill at mile 12, I am already a huge fan of this race and will probably be back next year (they’ve already said a completely different route next year.) My legs were unhappy with me after this race, but thankfully I was able to literally lay down as soon as I got home, and slept and slept and slept - and rested my legs. Sadly I had not left much wiggle room after this race before the next one.

3/10/18 - Big 12K Run - more hills, but bright sunny weather. I enjoy running around and through downtown Kansas City, so the route - while hilly - was enjoyable to me. The last uphill again felt torturously long, but there was a fantastic 1/3 mile downhill to the finish, so that was FANTASTIC. I’ve never done this race or this distance so technically it’s a PR for me, right? I thought I had my pace set at an 11 minute mile - with intervals set at 45/15 - but at about mile 5 I decided I needed to drop my intervals back to 30/15 - only to discover that I was already on 30/15 - talk about a soul crusher LOL.

That brings me to yesterday - 3/18/18 - my third race towards the 100K Challenge - the Great Plains 10K Kansas City. I LOVE this race - there’s nothing particularly special except that it’s a nice size, not too crowded, not too small, I love the route, and I usually love the medal. The weather was once again cold and windy with a hint of dampness in the air. I was thrilled to be running another race with my BRF Karen - and we did technically start the race together. I loosely had planned to try for at least a 12 minute mile (still feeling sluggish legs and over-all fat from the past 2 races) with intervals set at 45/15. I knew I went out too fast, and several times I forced myself to slow down so as to save enough energy to not totally give out at the end - and managed to get a race PR by 14:40 - much better than I had hoped for. Not a 10K PR, but a big confidence boost with my 3rd race in as many weekends.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Recap of the Week - Some Ups and Downs

This week felt like there were some ups and downs. Positive news, marginal workouts, insanely cold race, and stressful drama at work ... so here are the ‘highlights’ and dare I say lowlights?

Somehow I missed hitting my step target by a stupid few steps so that it reset my Step goal streak ... totally torqued me off, something so simple and yet it sticks in my head. I remember getting home from Big Spin and seeing how close I was to the target - and I remember thinking it would be no problem hitting the target just through normal walking around the house before bed. And yet I forgot to check when I actually went to bed - and missed it by fewer than 300 steps. GRRRRRRR.... so - Step Target Streak restarted 1/31/18. I’ve taken to using the Elliptical that is parked in our living room in the evenings to get my steps in - much more entertaining than walking circles in my basement.

Big Spin 1/31/18 was a Bike/Run night, and felt pretty good overall. The bike workout seemed almost too easy, but it was a guest leader - and I gather the goal was to work on consistent power/effort output. The run off the bike was working on negative splits, and it felt good to be working on speed again.

Wednesday is my work at home day, and I took advantage of being able to multi-task while queries are running and got in a little over 30 miles on the bike trainer in a couple of Zwift rides. Zwift and my Kickr Snap smart bike trainer have changed the game quite literally for me when it comes to time in the bike saddle and winter training. Truth be told, I could see myself doing the majority of my riding on the trainer, even as weather improves, purely because it’s safer - no danger of a car killing me when I’m on the bike trainer.

Thursday was a 4 mile easy-pace treadmill run - I’m juggling Garmin training plans, both for half marathons but with different target dates - BUT - to complicate training even further, my Olympic Distance Triathlon training plan officially started Monday 2/5/17 - I’ll recap how THAT is going in a future blog post.

Friday - another fabulous day off - still burning up PTO from work - I got in more Zwift bike trainer miles - around 20 miles in the morning, and another easy paced treadmill run - just 2.5 miles this time. After the treadmill run I was hankering for some more Zwift miles so I did another group ride, this time getting about 24 miles in.

Saturday was an ‘off’ day in that the pool at Henley was closed (apparently all weekend) and I didn’t feel like going to the JCC - and had a long run/race the following morning. Just did a few Elliptical workouts to get my ‘steps’ target met.

Sunday - another race day - this time just a 5K. I only registered for this one because I wanted to beat last year’s time at this same race - The Kickoff 5K. But... training plan called for a run around 80 minutes total - and I knew I wouldn’t want to do more miles AFTER the race - so I drug my but out of bed and made it to Sunday Runday with KC Running Company in Leawood - and did a 5K before the 5K. The temp was crazy cold - pretty sure the coldest race I’ve ever run, or at the least the coldest I can remember - but I did beat my time from last year by 2 minutes and 18 seconds.... which was a bigger margain than I expected, so a pleasant surprise. I was thoroughly frozen by the end of the race and plotted a fabulous vegetable soup as warm-up food when I got home. Strangely enough I wanted some more bike miles - and need up with around 25 total between 2 Zwift group rides.

Weight - well, the boomerang I expected happened - and I’m back above my end of January goal - but trying not to get too discouraged by it - still working on meeting my end of February goal.

Onward and forward - the next blog post shares the nice surprise and honor I received in the mail just  today. I truly am blessed.

Keep on trucking ... everyone out there in the blogosphere on the interwebs ....

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Official Skirt Sports Ambassador!

It is with great pride that I announce that I was chosen as a Skirt Sports Ambassador again this year. This isn’t just a brand, it’s a community of women from all walks of life supporting each other and working to build up women in their communities. I wear the clothing because I love the styles and variety, but also because I believe in the message. I look forward to sharing my escapades ... and a discount code! with allll of you! Check out the #Realwomenmove challenge for inspiration, support, and fun! #SkirtSports #SkirtAmbassador Use Discount Code 105Broo for 15% off!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Race Report and Recap of the Week

First race of 2018 - my #FiftyOnderful year was the Groundhog Run 10K - a race that I have never wanted to do and still never really want to do again but it was part of the 100K Challenge that I signed up for so I needed to get it done. The Groundhog Run is a pretty big event here in Kansas City, and it is for a great cause, BUT - it’s run in the Hunt Midwest Underground - aka a cave.

For 90% of the race it’s hot and stuffy - not really muggy, just stale, stagnant, warm air that is incredibly uncomfortable to run in (in my opinion). Only very briefly do you run past some passages where there is air moving, cool air, coming from outside (one is a kinda creepy dark tunnel with railroad tracks that I really just wanted to run past as fast as possible). I’ve spectated at this race before, and I’ve run a different race in a different cave here in KC so I knew what to expect - but that doesn’t always help. Amazingly I’m able to overcome any fear of massive cave collapse or claustrophobia (but it does cross my mind) but I absolutely hate running in these caves. The running in the cave thing is part of the draw for the Groundhog theme, and Hunt Midwest does a great job making it a clean-ish, safe environment - and it’s usually bitter cold outside so you’d be grateful for a temperate place to run in January - but it was in the 50’s outside on race day, making being inside in a cave to run even more frustrating.

All of the hate of caves aside, it’s still an extremely well done event. Very well organized, a lot of care taken to make the experience as pleasant as possible for runners, gear check, great shuttle service to/from parking at the Ameristar Casino across the highway, a nice assortment of food goodies after the race (and yes, there was still a great selection of food even for the last runners to finish which is rather unusual), an abundance of ports-potties, even on the race route at the aid stations, an appropriate number of water stations, and course guides (they might need a few more of these spaced out purely for medical issues - you should be able to see a volunteer at every corner, not any part of the course unseen by a volunteer with some sort of communication ... cell phones do not work in the cave... to get medical assistance down to runners if need be - asthma attacks are not uncommon in these races because of the air quality.) The finish bling is cute and nice, different sizes for the 5K and 10K finishers, and age group award winners won a very nice tech jacket this year - a nice bonus in place of the usual plaque or additional medal.

So - my race ‘plan’ was to just do the best I could without feeling crappy or hurting myself. I hadn’t run more than 4 miles at any one time since the Longview Half Marathon in early November last year, so I did not have any expectation of a stellar performance. I felt pretty good during my 4 mile run last week, but it was not a speed record then either. I set my Galloway app intervals for an 11 minute mile pace (pretty sure I was going to be around a 12 minute mile but I wanted the music faster to push me along) - with a 0:45/0:15 interval. So - mile one felt LONG but pretty good physically (all of the miles feel incredibly long - but for me that’s another hazard of the cave running - nothing but white walls to look at, and lots of turns). Mile 2-4 felt, well, normal. I wasn’t enjoying the run, but it had nothing to do with effort. My body was fine, it was my head that was ready to be done out of pure boredom. Mile 5 the evidence of my lack of longer runs immediately began to manifest - I actually felt like my blood sugar was dropping much lower than it had in a long time - and I took a short ride on the Struggle Bus - I opted to drop my intervals back to a 0:30/0:15 which helped a bit. I found a bit of a second mental wind for the final 1.2 miles so I jumped off the Struggle Bus pity party and wrapped it up back around the pace I had been at for miles 1-4.

Mile Splits:
     1 - 12:08
     2 - 12:02
     3 - 11:58
     4 - 12:21
     5 - 13:10
     6 - 12:15
     Final 0.2 distance @ 10:43/mile

I should mention I was already hungry before the race started even though I had eaten my signature breakfast bar (Belvita store brand from Aldo) but it clearly did not carry me to the late race start time. I don’t think that had a huge impact on my overall pace, but didn’t help with my mile 5 struggle.

I was tired when I got home but that was mostly from just staying up much later than normal for me the night before. Tim took me to 54th Street Grill and Bar for some lunch, and I gobbled it all up - and took a tiny catnap when we got home. I was a bit stiff after my short nap, but moving around doing normal weekend house work took care of that.

Overall a pretty decent start to my 2018 races - lots of room to improve, nothing to be ashamed about.

Non-race recap - I hit my January weight goal Friday morning, but I won’t lie it will be a bit of struggle to hold that through the end of the month - after my post-race eating frenzy.

I didn’t make it to TriKC Big Spin this week (week 4) out of pure laziness I suppose. Tim had a doctor appointment in the afternoon so I had had enough of driving all over creation by the time we got home. I did, however, still get a run and swim in that day, so the day wasn’t a total wash. Week 5 Big Spin will be a Bike/Run brick again.

Next race: Kickoff 5K - last year’s time to beat 37:25 (12:02 pace)

I feel like I’m finding a smudge on of the focus I’ve been missing - Oly Tri training plan also kicks off next week - so the year is ramping up!

So You Wanna Be A Triathlete? (Reshare - from

** A fellow Triathlete friend shared this today on her FB page - and I wanted to share it here because it is so true and appropriate. I'll update in a bit about the past week and the first race of 2018, my #FiftyOnederful year - but for now ....

So You Wanna Be a Triathlete?

By Nick Clark
Clark Endurance Training

Fact: You will not become efficient at swimming, biking or running overnight. This is NOT an easy sport.

Check your ego at the door because chances are someone fifty pounds heavier than you will lap you in the pool. Not to mention she will be ten or fifteen years older than you, too.

You will be passed on the bike many times, and you will never be the fastest runner in your town.

You will have early morning workouts. Really early.

You will plan your weekends around your swim, bike and run.

You will be up while others are sleeping.

You will be training while others are sitting.

You will discover others who also follow this blood, sweat and tears cult.

You will eventually get a flat tire...and have to change it all by yourself.

No matter what you hear, triathlon is NOT an inexpensive sport.

Warning, it is extremely addictive, hence the impulse spending on wetsuits, bikes, running shoes, aero bars, aero helmets, speed suits, power meters, GPS heart-rate monitors and many other "gotta have" items.

You will hate swimming more times than you like it for the first year.

You will suffer through road trips with whiny fellow triathletes.

You will suffer setbacks.

You may experience an injury.

You will develop a love/hate relationship with a foam roller and ice baths.

You will at some point realize you need a coach.

You will hate swimming for the first year.

You will wear tight clothing.

You will not like how this tight clothing fits or looks.

Your age will take on a whole new meaning.

You will discover a whole new meaning for tan lines.

Food will become an extremely important part of your life.

You will learn new words such as GU, cadence and brick.

You will hate swimming for the first year.

You will spend more time on your bike than on your couch.

You may lose a friend or two because you spend too much time swimming, biking and running, and they could care less about your heart rate training, foam rolling pain or 20-mile bike ride.

You will learn patience.

You will be humbled.

You will start to realize you are paying money to put yourself through pain and suffering, but for some odd reason, you LOVE it.

This sport called triathlon becomes a part of you. You start to plan your entire year around sprint, international, half iron- or full iron-distance races. Your vacations become racing, and you start to realize that this could become a life-long adventure.

Many people settle for things in life. They settle for a crappy job, marriage, friends, food, place to live and overall fitness and health. Those who desire more or those who want more out of life than a drive-thru window and boring sitcom, will choose triathlon or an activity that makes them happy—an activity that will change their life.

Triathlon will change your outlook on life, your career, your marriage, your goals, your friends and many other things you thought you had figured out. It's not just crossing a finish line or going home with a boring finisher medal. It's the countless hours that got you to that point—a moment in time that you will NEVER forget, a moment that you will discuss with your family and friends for hours if not days after the event. These discussions will most likely be about how you could have done better. At what point could you have swum faster, biked harder or ran more efficient? This is what will go through your head every day until you get the opportunity to suffer again.

So you wanna be a triathlete? Enjoy the ride and train hard!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Trying To Create Focus

The good news this week is that I’m still trying. The ‘bad’ news is that I still don’t feel like I have focus. Sometimes I feel like I’m just floating above myself, as an observer, and I have all of this wonderful advice for this person below, but she won’t listen so she keeps bouncing up against obstacles rather than easing her way through the maze. I can’t seem to scream loud enough for her to hear - but I keep trying.

And so, I keep trying to use tools and tricks and methods that worked for me last year - following a schedule, don’t beat myself up about missing a scheduled workout, at the very least do 30 minutes of activity beyond just ‘steps’ every day, hit my step goal every day, track my food, drink a lot of water - and now just typing all of that out helps me see that while all of these seem like small, simple things, thinking about all of them at once or trying to hit all of them at once seems somewhat daunting. 

I honestly believe I’m going to have to have an actual official coach, or this year will be spent floundering, and become increasing frustrating. Now to find the right coach, and the money.

This week was Week 3 of the TriKC Big Spin group workouts, a bike-run workout. The Run part of the bricks are feeling not terrible, which is encouraging. The cycling part of this week seemed crazy hard, wondering if I was a bit more fatigued than previous week because on paper it shouldn’t have been any more difficult but sure felt like it was. This coming week is a Bike-Swim workout, and sadly I haven’t been in the pool since the last bike-swim group workout.

I have yet to do an official introduction on the Skirt University Facebook group page, mostly because I feel so terribly inadequate and out of my league. I know that’s mostly irrational, but will likely be a lifelong struggle for me. 

A week from today will be race #1 for 2018, my #FiftyOnederful Year (boy I hope I can do that hashtag justice) and the first race in the KC Running Company 100K (10 10K’s) Challenge - the Groundhog Run 10K. It’s run in the Hunt Midwest underground caves, so it’s hot, noisy, and insanely boring, but has to be done for the challenge. A mere 6 days after that is the second race of the year - the Kickoff 5K - not crazy about the route but I’m looking forward to beating my time from last year on that one.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Year, New Goals, Same Frustrations?

It’s 2018. 9 years ago I ran (well, mostly walked, but that’s not an important distinction) my first ever 5K. I wasn’t happy with my performance, but it mostly fueled my desire to continue to make changes to try to improve. It’s been a twisty, rocky, roller-coaster of a journey. I’d like to be able to tell you I’ve got this fitness thing all figured out, but I can’t - because I don’t. BUT- I’m better, healthier, and happier than I was 9 years ago.

Minor update: I completed the Runner’s World Winter Run Streak - while not being terribly obsessive about it, and tried to be smart about listening to my body, and I was happy with how it at least kept me thinking about staying active through the holidays.

I’ve started this year feeling quite unfocused, just shy of lost. It’s not that I don’t have goals, because I do - but - I don’t feel like I have a clear path to get to those goals. My beloved coach from last year I believe has stopped doing individual coaching as she has moved up in her career path with a corporate fitness company and juggling those new responsibilities with her growing family - and I’m not sure whether I want to try to find the money or spend the time to find another coach, this time one more specifically geared towards triathlon/duathlon. I have my training plan (thank you Triathlon Taren) for my Olympic Tri goal at St. Louis in May - but I don’t know that I can work my way through this plan on my own.

Money is still tight, and I feel like I’ve spent what I can realistically afford upgrading gear (sadly, not a new bike, but it’s on the wish list and I want to prove to myself that I can make some significant progress in my triathlon performance before looking at spending thousands of dollars on a big bike upgrade) - so that’s another thing holding me back from seaking out a coach right now.

I’m likely going to try to keep following the canned Garmin training plan for my 10K’s and Half Marathons this Spring, and try to weave that into the Oly Tri training plan that technically would kick off in February - possibly even pulling on some of the run workouts written by coach from last year for run speed/endurance training.

So weight - yeah, well - I’ve got a goal to work on loosing 10 pounds a month by May - and so far I’m not making great progress towards that goal for January. I’ve got to return to my dedication of tracking intake through my Weight Watchers app - returning to what has worked so well for me in the past. I know my weaknesses, and I’ve got to do a better job avoiding the things I know I have a big problem walking away from. I’m not pleased with the weight gain through the fall/winter, and I have no one but myself to blame - but blame doesn’t do me much good either. Admit it, face it, deal with it, and fix it (or re-learn it?).

Wonderful news/development - I’ve been invited back to be a Skirt Sports Ambassador again - and I’m truly very honored, as I was last year when I was first selected. I am honored and humbled to be a part of such a phoenominal community of women. All backgrounds, abilities, ages, etc - This group of amazing women was such an inspiration to me last year, and I intend to work to be worthy of the honor of being an Ambassador - AND - lean on these fabulous women for inspiration and motivation again.

One process that has been working for me lately - which isn’t a new concept - is pretty much ‘Fake it Till you Make It’. I’m not motivated, I’m not terribly successful working on my goals right now, and I’m not oozing with happiness and personal satisfaction - BUT - I’m still trying to put on a positive front and work on finding my mojo, my motivation, my piece of happiness and contentment.

To be continued...

For now - some pics of race medals that have finally been put up in the ‘new’ house (we moved in here a year ago - I’m slow) - and Christmas Eve dinner with my beloved at The Bristol - totally unrelated subjects, but that’s how I roll. Work with me.