Friday, August 24, 2012

Slowly Getting in the Groove

Now that the first full week of school is behind us (well, my kids anyway) - I'm slowly finding my groove.  There still is some lingering procrastination.  I'm certainly not cranking out monster workouts and workloads, but doing better.  Tuesday and Wednesday were "rest days" though I should have drug my butt out for a walk or something.  Way too much couch time in there. 

Thursday I met Susan pretty early for a nice long (slowish) run on the Katy Trail with a lot of walking/chatting mixed in.  We did over 7 miles and it really didn't feel like it.  I had a little soreness on the outside of my left knee.  The morning was relatively cool and there is a ton of shade on that part of the trail even as the sun started to warm things up.  I also took my Nathan handheld with me so I could sip on that.  I finished it and then drank another bottle that I left in the car on the way home.

This morning I headed up to the surveyor's office and got some sewer plans ready to submit only to realize I left the briefcase with my rubber stamp seal at home.  Ooops.  So I worked on some other projects.  Felt like a lot of stuff was hurry up and wait.  I puttered around until after three and then swung by Walts Bike Shop as I had an email that they had a back-to-school sale.  I only found one item that I almost bought, but decided against it. 

Then headed to the ARC to finally get in a little pool time.  I've been a major pool slacker so I was prepared for the workout to suck.  I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't too much.  I only did 30 minutes and I can feel it in my arms and shoulders so that was probably just about right.  I'm guessing 800-1000 yards though I didn't keep count. 

Still doing a lot of waffling about another triathlon in September.  I'm starting to lean towards wimping out.  I almost registered tonight for one in Kirksville in two weeks, but my husband kind of talked me out of it because it is pretty long (about half way between a sprint and olympic - 0.75/18/5).  It is a small race and somewhat close to me (about 2 hours drive - though probably just far enough to need to rent a room so I didn't have to leave middle of the night).  I think that adds to the hubbie's desire for me to bag this option.  I'd probably come in close to last looking at last year's times.  Maybe I just need to focus on improving my awful running and do some 5k/10k stuff this fall and work towards getting my act in gear for some longer races next year. 

Tomorrow morning is the Heart 5K again.  I convinced my daughter to do the walk with grandma instead of dragging her on the 5K this year.  She really didn't slow me down that much last year as the hilly course was doing just fine kicking my ass, but it will be interesting to see how much better I can do.  Better get to bed.  Need to get up on the early side.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to school/work/training

Kind of let things go off the rails this summer.  It was my first summer with having both kids home and let's just say that I didn't maintain much focus on just about all fronts.  Work was kind of hit or miss for this self-employed chick.  So were workouts (as you have read).  But worst of all, I didn't even manage to spend that much quality time with the kids when I was skipping out on other resposibilities.  No real excuse - just fighting a bit of a mental slump/funk I suppose.  But it is time to do a bit of a "reset" now that they have headed back to school.  Kind of like New Year's in August.

Stacy and I got in a run last week one evening (Tue I think).  Just around the neighborhood.  Later in the week was really busy with school starting.  Then Saturday we took the kids on a float trip down the Gasconade River.  The drought made this more of a "paddle" trip than a "float" trip.  Thankfully, my son was able to hold up his end of the paddling in our canoe while my husband got my daughter down the river in his.  We were all pretty tired of paddling by the end.  It was also unseasonably cool (low 80s - cooler in the morning as we started out).  The sun was warm and the cold water didn't seem to deter the kids, but I didn't swim. 

Then yesterday, I went with a group Walter pulled together for a long ride through Callaway County.  We started in Holts Summit (at the plaza) and headed up through New Bloomfield, Guthrie and stopped at the convenience store near the water tower in Fulton for Gatorade.  Then looped back down the Hwy 54 outer road (east side) back to New Bloomfield and then west to some other back roads to Holts Summit.  The first few and last few miles were the only "repeats".  The good and bad news is that it was pretty breezy as we started and the temps were again mild for this time of year (low 80's).  It was good because I never really got that hot.  It was bad because we rode into the wind for nearly 2 hours to get to Fulton.  There were some pretty wicked hills in there too, but only a couple that induced outright cussing.  Walter had said this was a "35 mile ride".  Kelly's Garmin Edge put it at 38.9 miles.  Umm...note to self...Walter tends to underestimate.  Regardless, this was my longest ride ever. 

L-R: Eric, Brie, me, Dennis, Kelly, Walter and Bruce
I felt pretty good going out - even with the wind and hills.  But my middle toes on my right foot started throbbing at Fulton - not really sure why.  They pretty much stopped after I got my bike shoes off.  Then, I got a side stitch/stomach cramp about New Bloomfield and I pedaled hard to get back to Holts Summit to get the damned ride over.  Not sure if it was this faster ending pace or just the total miles, but when I got home my thighs were screaming.  So I did some ibuprofen and biofreeze before bed.  I didn't feel too awful when I got up this morning.  We'll see how tomorrow morning feels.

MMNW was up again (165.2 - highest all summer!).  Not sure what is up with that other than I ate my dinner pretty late since I didn't get home until after seven.  Grr.. 

Busy day today so no workouts planned, but then Stacy talked me into some "active recovery" jogging/walking in my neighborhood this evening.  Weather this evening was gorgeous (though I'm bummed it gets dark earlier now). 

Still haven't committed (as in registered) for another tri.  I need to really shit or get off the pot on this.  Part of me feels like the training isn't really there for anything long-ish (long sprint or Oly) and that same part is feeling dumb to travel 2-4 hours to do a 2 hour sprint race.  Will try to think through my options and figure it out or just call the tri season "over" and figure out some other fun events to do.  Better get showered and head off to bed.  Tomorrow is my husband's first day of teaching and the kids have to head out to school and I've got work to finish that clients are clamoring for.  Busy day for all.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kicks in the Sticks Race Report

I had a great weekend.  The weather finally gave us a break from the triple digits.  We spent time with friends watching a movie outdoors.  I celebrated my 39th birthday and 17th wedding anniversary (Sat and Sun respectively).  And I got to do my first ever trail run (oh, and it was at a race).  And I fueled the afternoon of the race with my husband's fantastic smoked ribs (and plenty of birthday Oreos - they turned 100 this year!).

The Jefferson City Rotoract (group of young professionals) hosted the inaugeral "Kicks in the Sticks" as a fundraiser for the Halo Network and the Buddy Pack program.  The Halo Network does outreach to at risk youth locally and also raises money to fund an orphanage in Uganda.  The Buddy Pack program through our area food pantry helps kids during school breaks and weekends that may not be getting much to eat.  Always nice when your race fee goes to a good cause.  The race managed to get a good lineup of sponsors and was pretty well put together all around.  As a new event in a relatively small city, it was a small race.  There were distance options (1.2, 3.5, 7.5) and I figured I'd get the most bang for my buck by signing up for the long one.  It also meant that there were only about 35-40 people doing that length! 

I conned my friend Susan into doing it with me (though truthfully she had wanted to do the 3.5 mile route).  I told her this was my birthday present so we should go all out and do the 7.5 miles.  We could always walk.  This wasn't about speed - it was about having a great time in a beautiful place.  Binder Park was a fantastic setting.  The only other trail I've ever run is the Katy Trail which is wide and graveled and flat (an old railroad bed) so not really a "trail run".  Binder's woods stretch most of the way around Binder Lake and are full of mountain bike/running dirt trails with a ton of shade.  We did the blue and green trails as part of this race (Trail Map Link).

Before the race, I had picked up Susan and we went to the park.  It is on the opposite side of town, but that means it took about 15 minutes to get there - Jeff City is small.  I grew up on Binder Lake as it was one of my dad's favorite fishing holes.  He had the place competely mapped (including depth information) and could tell you where to catch any type of fish, on any type of bait, at any time of the year.  I thought about him a lot and the time we spent out there on this run. 

Once we got parked, we got our race numbers, shirts and swag (Parks and Rec had some cool water bottles and backpacks).  Then headed back to the car to drop it all off.  I texted SuperKate and she was sitting on the back deck of the bait shop so we hung out with her for a few minutes while we waited for everything to start (borrowing her bug spray which we had forgotten - thanks!).  Also met the other Team Virtus rep - Bob Jenkins - who I felt like I knew from all his blog posts on the Team Virtus site.  We took a couple pre-race photos and listened to the band that was playing.  I was pumped to get started. 
With Susan - a Super Friend!

With SuperKate
The 7.5 milers lined up behind the strip of duct tape in the park road that served as the starting line and within a couple of minutes, it was time to go.  Since I knew the road would be the easiest we would have it all evening, I decided to keep up with the back of the pack until we hit the woods.  That was like 0.1 of a mile.  Once in the woods, I tried to stay out of folks' way as they passed me (which I was towards the back so that wasn't a lot).  Susan had a rough first mile.  I think we went out too fast for her taste and she was having a bit of a moment of being overwhelmed by the distance in front of us.  I cheered her along and said I didn't care how long it took us and that I knew we could do this.  After the first mile (give or take), she shook off the mental issue and settled in enjoying the beautiful scenery and stayed more in the moment.  We actually ran a bit more than I thought we would, though the pace was comparatively slow with having to constantly watch your feet and pay attention to where they were landing (rocks, roots, etc).

There were good water stations along the way - seemingly just where I was needing them most.  We were very happy that towards the end they left the water out for us slowpokes.  The weather was warm, but not insanely hot.  We lost the breeze in the trees, but the shade and setting sun helped.  The course has a lot of terrain changes, but was a lot of fun.  As we hit the portion of the trail where I could see we were turning back and the mile markers indicated we were over half way, we both were feeling pretty good about how it was going.  We got some more water and I could tell exactly where we were because I could see the lake and knew that part of the lake relative to the course.  We continued cruising along and I fell once (not hard) after a minor ankle roll.  Had some other close calls, but always managed to catch myself after feeling my toe trip over a rock or root. 

We hit the 7 mile marker and I was thrilled to know we'd be done soon.  My feet were starting to hurt (maybe I should've worn my newer shoes?) and the tendon on the outside of my right knee was nagging me a bit.  My shoulders felt a bit tight from all the looking down at my feet and I was just feeling like it was time to be done.  Unfortunately, the course markings left something to be desired.  because about 0.25 mile later we popped out of the woods into an open section of the trail and I could see the lake and I knew where we were and we were a long damn way from the finish line.  UGH! 

I mentally lost it there.  I started walking a lot as Susan tried to cheer me along so sure that the finish line was coming right up (she didn't know the lake like I did).  She really had to drag me in.  I kept thinking, "Well maybe the trail is straighter through this section so it really isn't as far as I think".  But then we popped out of another section and I could see we were still a ways out.  She kept talking me through trying to run more and walk less, but I was feeling pretty defeated.  The sun was setting and she wanted to be done before dark.  That is a lot sooner this time of year than in June!
Stole this pic from Kate's FB - thankfully she isn't close enough to see me NOT enjoying this last long uphill.
Finally, we came out of the woods for the last time and the orange painted arrows on the grass pointed up the hill (what a cruel way to end a race) to the cool finish line.  We ran it up as Kate and friends cheered us in.  God bless them!  I think our final time was right around 2:02 - for over 16 min/mile average pace.  But it wasn't about the time, right? 

Neat finish line!
We got a finish line photo and headed to get some drinks.  They had free beer, but I passed (not a beer drinker) and took a Sprite that tasted so good.  Susan had one - I think because it was free and sounds cool to say you had a beer after a race.  Neither of us was really up for the food yet (though everyone said it was great).  We sat and listened to the bands play and visited with another mom from our school who did the 3.5 miles with her girls.  Shortly thereafter, they did the awards.  Even though we came in last, Susan "won" 2nd in the "Female over 40" age group receiving one of the handmade (by the Halo kids) "medals".  Gotta love a small race! 

We got a chips/salsa snack and visited with Kate and the gang a little more.  Susan's boys were calling to see if she'd be home to tuck them in so we didn't hang out too long. I grabbed another Coke and we took off.   Should have taken a pic of the dirt/dust "tan" line I had at my socks, but was too eager to get in the hot shower.  I cleaned up and enjoyed the peace and quiet.  My daughter was with grandma and the boys went to the tractor/truck pull in Westphalia so I had plenty of time to myself to read and relax before shutting off the light and nodding off.   All in all, a pretty good birthday!

I didn't feel too bad when I got up on Sunday.  Only noticed any soreness as I took the stairs at the school open house after mass.  Had a pretty chill day and enjoyed dinner and movie with my husband.  We talked a little about me trying to fit in one more tri this season and the need to get registered for it.  Next weekend we are doing a family float trip on the Gasconade River.  The following weekend there are a couple of options for races, but I'll probably do the Heart 5K like I did last year.  It is local and a charity that I have supported for a long time.  The next weekend is the Epic Mud Run with my husband and another couple we conned into going with us.  So that leave three weekends in September that each have race options.  Just always seems silly to travel a long ways for a sprint race.  And I just don't think I have it in me to do the Oly this year.  I'm a little bummed I didn't push harder to get to where I could do it.  But I need to shit or get off the pot and decide or I won't have a choice.  So watch for the decision in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blogging Catchup Bullets

Sometimes you just need the quick and dirty bullets to document life when blogging has been on the back burner:
  • Last Thursday Susan came over for a "run".  She was pretty upset having found out that morning that her mom was going for a biopsy on a breast lump.  Many prayers sent for the results.  No word yet.  We did a lot of walking so we could talk, but still covered 3.1 miles.
  • Friday I took the kids to the pool.  Our pools close ridiculously early and this was the last week for the pool on our side of town.  Daughter took a friend so I swam the length of the pool regularly to check on them and son (who was most often in the deep end).  After friend was picked up, knocked out 150 yds really quickly so I could sort of call it a workout.  I felt it a little the next day so I guess I will add it to the "better than nothing" category.
  • Sunday, Walter and two other of his bike friends (Bree and Eric) met at my house at 6:30 AM to do our Wardsville out and back (with Shamrock HILLS).  It was a bit of a sufferfest on the hills though mostly overcast skies so not too insanely hot.  Sun came out just as we got home.  Bree and Walter are much stronger bikers than me so I fought not to get dropped.  Not sure if Eric was hanging back out of courtesy or if we are a closer match in skill.  I am guessing chivalry though he struggled with some of the late climbs like I did.  He is a former co-worker of mine from several years ago though I didn't really get a chance to catch up on much gossip in between gasping for air on the ride.  We covered 26.25 miles.
  • Monday Morning Naked Weight (MMNW) = 162.0 (have bounced between 160-163 most of the summer with one brief glimpse on a non-Monday at 159.something)
  • Monday night, I saw a missed call from Stacy about 8:45, but bailed on calling her back for a late run.
  • I spent most of Tuesday (tonight) evening catching up reading other blogs and commenting.  Realized I owed a quick blog post though nothing much to chat about.  Still kind of trying to figure out the rest of the tri season (if there will even be another tri this year).  Would really like to find one more tri to do.  Better get on it!
  • I'm in the home stretch of summer - kids go back to school on 8/16.  I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I didn't do as many fun things with them as I would have liked.  Also ashamed to admit how little work I actually got done this summer.  I'm going to have to slightly rethink next summer accordingly, but the older the kids get - the less this will be an issue.  I have quite the backlog of stuff to work on that clients have been patiently waiting for.  I've assured more than one that I'll "get right on it" when the kids are back to school.  Next Thur can't come soon enough (and never mind that I totally am getting a cut/color at 8:00 after dropping off the kids).
  • In other exciting news, my husband starts a new job on Monday.  After 11 years as an electrician, he is going to teach Industrial Electricity at Linn State Technical College.  This will be a whole new world and I'm cautiously optimistic that it will be a welcome change (though still a bit scary).  Many quality of life items will hopefully improve though the money isn't quite what he made as a journeyman.  Given the layoffs of recent years, it will be more steady though.  It is an 11 month position so he'll be off next June where he might see about going out on a short call for one of the union contractors for some extra cash.  Or maybe he'll just enjoy some time off with the kiddos!
That's it for now.  Looking forward to Kicks in the Sticks this weekend!  What a way to bring in the last year of my 30's!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Walk, Run, Tag, Walk, Topo Survey

The insane heat continues, but I have tried to suck it up and get out in it a little bit.  Monday morning, my son and I went for a walk before the heat got too insane.  Then Monday night, Stacy and I did the Walmart 5K loop after the sun was mostly set though the humidity was still stifling.  Then I went for another hot walk with my boy Tuesday morning.  Today I spent a day surveying in the crazy heat - my first day doing field work in like a decade.  I'm a total office wuss now.  Gotta hit it again on Monday.  Ugh.

Somewhere in there, I noticed that Keith over at Keith's Odyssey to Planet Fitness tagged me for the "Very Inspiring Blogger" award.  I appreciate it because I find Keith's "odyssey" to be very inspiring.  I can't even wrap my head around the next triathlon distance up and he's already finished an Ironman.

I went back to the Blonde who tagged Keith and saw that there are rules ot this thing:
* display the award logo somewhere on your blog
* link back to the blog of the person who nominated you
* state 7 things about yourself
* nominate 15 (or less - uh, I'm always going to choose less if there is an option) other bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs
* notify those bloggers that they have been nominated and of the award’s requirements

7 Things About Me!

1.  Keith seemed to be hung up on his tagee's heights - so for the record I am about 5'7".  I say "about" because I actually got a smidge shorter after a compression fracture of my T6 from a car accident when I was 18.  I've been this height since I was 13.  At that age, at 95 lbs, I was very underweight.  I fit right in my my "bunhead" friends though.  In January 2011, at 213 lbs, I was very overweight.  So I have seen both ends of the spectrum.  The funny thing about my height is that I am on the upper side of wearing "normal" or "average" clothes and on the verge of wearing clothes cut "tall".  It makes buying pants a bit of a challenge.  I wish women's clothes came in more than 3 inseam lengths - increments like mens pants.

2. Keith also mentioned that he knows a lot of engineer jokes.  I don't know many, but would be totally fine with him sharing them with me.  Dilbert totally makes me laugh though I know some engineers find him offensive.  I totally giggled when he mentioned that he like the "Engineer's Guide to Cats".  It made me think of a web site another engineer friend told me about "Cooking for Engineers" - my friend recommends the oven-fried onion rings.  I totally need to try those.

3. As referred to above, I was at one time a die hard "bunhead".  From somewhere in my preschool years until early high school, I spent as much time in a dance studio as was feasible.  I took ballet, tap, and jazz and spent a few years in pointe shoes with feet that had bloody blisters.  Good times.  I definitely know how to embrace pain.  Did a recital on a broken toe once.  I spent a summer studying with the State Ballet of Missouri/Dance St. Louis at a "camp" (for lack of a better term) hosted at Webster University in St. Louis.  It was my first time living away from home which was pretty exciting.  But I was in the "B" group - the girls that were good enough to get accepted to the program, but never going to make a living as a dancer.  It was a bit of a wakeup call to watch the girls in the "A" group.  One of  my suite-mates and I stayed in contact for years including her years with several professional ballet companies.   I used to be very flexible, but after bedrest from the car accident at 18 and then again when pregnant with my son, I have lost most of it. 

4.  In high school, I liked wearing skirts - usually slightly on the short side though nothing like what I see girls wearing these days.  I felt like my legs were one of my better attributes (see #3 - dancer legs!).  When I went to college, skirts were inconvenient and I just stopped wearing them.  Never got back in the habit and still rarely put them on.  Maybe if I get that fit body back, I'll want to wear them again.  But I'll keep the hem line a little lower - I am closing in on forty after all.

5. I don't remember reading any books for fun after high school until just a year or so ago.  This is part of why it seems crazy that I've started reading like a fiend this last year.  A lot of my friends in engineering school joked that they were in our degree program so they wouldn't have to read so much.  Definitely nice to work practice problems as opposed to reading dry text. 

6.  My dad and mom divorced when I was in 7th grade.  I was actually pretty happy about it because I didn't think they had been happy for a long time.  I was annoyed when he didn't take me with him.  He started dating my stepmother shortly after the divorce and married her that next summer.  It took me another year to get up the courage to ask to move in with them.  Then it took another year for it to become permanent in court.  Lived with them for most of high school.  When I moved out, they made it clear that I wasn't to come back home.  They helped me move into a mobile home at college with the idea it was now my "home" - not their house.  I moved back after my car accident for a couple months of bedrest, but moved back to the trailer as soon as I was able and never did "live" at home again.

7. For a good portion of my life, I was very driven by my "plan" - get degree, get married, buy house, get P.E. (engineering license), have baby, have another baby, etc.  I think one thing that appealed to me about triathlon is that I was feeling like I didn't know what was "next".  It has opened a whole new world of "goals" that can be set and achieved even when "don't come in last" is a goal.  :)

I'm inspired by so many of the bloggers out there.  Here are just a sampling and folks I'd love to learn more random things about:

Mike from Mike's Triathlon Journey - I absolutely love that last year he hosted his own private half ironman followed by a bbq.  If he hosts any kind of race (with post-race food) again, I'm totally driving across the state line to go!

Jen from Running with the Girls - Jen is just too cute for words and is married to a super duper runner (which she is as well).  I love that she tries to regularly make time to run with her running friends which allows what every mom needs most: exercise and "girl" time.  I dream of having such a great group of friends!

Kate of Superkate and Team Virtus fame - Kate is the only blogger buddy I have actually met.  We rode that crazy gravel ride this spring.  She inspires me (and so many others) by her crazy ability to jump in with both feet to adventure racing, mountain biking, trail running and all other sorts of crazy fun.  Oh, and a private half ironman mentioned above too!

The Iron Diva herself: Colleen - though I haven't met her, I did meet her super sweet husband Tom when the Team Type 1 guys ran across America (and through Missouri) last fall.  She is a stud triathlete who is graceful in accepting the ups and downs of life and how it affects her training/racing.  And said husband is a crazy impressive athlete on a crazy impressive team that I hold close to my heart.

Amanda aka Miss Zippy - Amanda came back from injury to do the Boston Marathon and all other sorts of fun running and is jumping back into triathlon as we speak.  I loved her recent post on mellowing and taking her running as it comes and just enjoying it.

Kepa the Tri-N-Hawaiian - This guy has "been there and done that" in just about every aspect of his life.  He's served his country, raised a family (still working on the last one) and ventured into the crazy sport of triathlon.  One of the few triathletes that prefers open water (ocean) to the pool.  I have to admit that he mostly inspires me to save up for a trip to his home island with all the gorgeous pics he posts of his training grounds.

I could go on and on about the other folks in blogland that I read regularly.  These are some that I know read my blog too and won't be like "who the f*ck is that" tagging me.  LOL  Thank you to all the bloggers out there that continue to inspire me not to file this lifestyle change I've gone through over the last year+ in the "Things I Once Did" folder.  God bless you all!