Friday, July 31, 2009

Psyching Up For the Weekend

Trying to get myself figured out for the next year has been great as far as re-motivating me. Also, reading "Going Long" has really got me thinking very hard about Ironman and all of the stuff that I want to do with triathlon in the coming years. I really love that while the book has a lot of beginner level stuff, it also has advice on training as an elite/age grouper.

I keep seeing old friends of mine, from high school through early college, on Facebook (lame, I know) and lately it seems like more and more are getting engaged, married, moving in with respective significant others, having kids, having cats, etc. And it feels weird. Especially when some of the people are ex-boyfriends. It's strange to realize that when I stopped hanging out with certain people, their lives didn't freeze at the point in time where I left them, they've grown up as much as I have. And being in this very transition-y point in our lives, it makes sense that so many people are really starting to have that kind of change happen. It's funny, I've lived with Robbie for a year, and we've had our own place for a couple of months now, but I don't feel particularly grown up. But when I see another friend moving in with his girlfriend, I think that he's getting to be a "big kid." All I know is that Facebook has made life a lot stranger because we see all of our friends transitioning into different things- in particular, I was a little punk kid back in the day:
Now, my friends are mainly Robbie, his brother, my sister, my parents, and other athletes. And a lot (not all, thank God!) of my old punk friends are slowly turning into relatively mature adults. Of course, some of them still are getting more and more tattoos and piercings, living in show houses, and touring with their respective punk bands, but for the most part, a lot of us grew up. It was a very very good thing for me, but it's strange to realize that everyone else changed too.

Anyway, end of yet another pointless nostalgic rant. I think finishing with undergrad college has taken a huge toll on me and I'm just freaked out about being an adult that has to pay rent and worry about health insurance.

So, back to triathlon... this weekend I'm hoping to get in some solid training before yet another tapering week- I'm planning on doing a 24 mile bike ride that will cover part of the time trial I'll be doing next Saturday, followed by a 6 mile run on the path next to the Delaware river, potentially with a stop at Dilly's afterwards for a veggie burger and fries... Hopefully Sunday I can convince Dad to scope out the Steelman course with me, but maybe not. We may save that for next weekend and go on Saturday after my TT, since the TT is actually nearly halfway there. Plus that way we can do packet pickup- I hate race moring pickup, especially since my morning tends to consist of: get in bathroom line, use bathroom, get in bathroom line, use bathroom, repeat...

I admit, I really like having races so close together- it's nice to have a second chance and fix all the mistakes I made last week while they're fresh in my mind. Besides, racing is just fun! Now that the open water swim doesn't freak me out, it's actually not too nerve-wracking. Then again, maybe I should get a bit more freaked out- I was too comfortable last week and ended up with a slow time!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2 Days, 2 Storms = Unhappy Molly

This weather sucks. I can handle rain, I can handle training inside because of thunderstorms, but what drives me nuts that the the past two days have ended the same: mid run/ride, it starts pouring and thundering like crazy and I'm convinced that I'm going to get struck by lightning any second. Yesterday, I was riding to the gym to use the treadmill for speedwork and then swim. I got there and found out that all of the treadmills were reserved for the next two hours. It's frustrating when all of the treadmills have people walking on them at 3 mph, when all I want to do is hop on and go crazy. Then, found out the pool had just closed because of lightning. No problem, I thought, I'll just bike back to the other Rutgers gym and use a treadmill there. 5 minutes into my bike ride back, the skies opened. Thunder so loud it made me jump, followed by streak lighting. New Brunswick roads turned into flash floods and I ended up with a flat tire by the time I got back to the house, penalty for riding through calf deep puddles. Yuck.

So I made the most of the night, hit the stationary trainer and did some Iron Yoga. Robbie andI vegged out and watched cartoons, made pasta with fake sausage, and generally had a relaxing evening. I started planning my marathon prep for the fall and reading Joe Friel's "Going Long" book.

I really need to stop doing dumb things like buying donuts and cookies when at Target with Robbie though- my nutrition is ok at meatimes, but we rarely keep healthy snacks on hand- partially because we go to our parent's houses so often in the summer, and partially because we hate spending money.

Anyway, today was a little better. Between tutoring sessions, I ran 6 miles in 48 minutes (slow because of crazy stomach issues, again.) It was hot out!! Then, 45 minutes of weights at the gym. Maybe some spinning tonight, but it depends. I'm going to Sports People in Far Hills tonight in hopes of getting the Profile Design AeroDrink system. Fingers crossed that they still have it in stock! Otherwise, I might be in trouble.

Speaking of trouble, I also realized that during my insane thunderstorm run from hell, I cut the back of my foot with a rock that got sandwiched in my shoe- I was so focused on the rain and my stomach that I completely ignored the foot pain. I looked at my finally dry shoes today and the back on the one was just red from blood. Oops! My digestive system seems to also be having some trouble recovering from racing. I think the heat and humidity screw me up, so I'm hoping that a weekend in air conditioning at the parent's house should help a little. I hope. It's frustrating feeling limited by how my stomach acts sometimes. At least it's fairly under control these days.

Anyway, back to reading... making big training plans that start after the race on the 9th. I realized that a big problem I've had that may be hindering my performance is my lack of a real training plan. I've been attacking races this summer pretty haphazardly, and even during the year, while I had a training schedule, it wasn't really a "plan." No more!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I need to order pictures from the tri and download the ones my parents took, but for now, check out what brightroom has to offer:

I'm very pleased with them- for once I look fairly decent and kinda fast in most of them! (Also the one of me finishing the race looks like I'm holding a banner in my arms. Awesome.)

Anyway, today I went on a 6 mile run in an attempt to get used to the distance and get speedier. At the halfway point, I was somewhere between 21-22 minutes, and feeling great. Then, it started pouring and my stomach went haywire. I made a mad dash for bathrooms, but they were locked and an alarm was going off in them. WTF? So, the mad dash ended up being for the woods instead. Classy, I know. Two "bathroom breaks" later, I was still not feeling great, it was pouring and thundering like crazy and I was just trying to get home. A few blocks from my house, the roads were 6 inches deep in water- stupid new paving was done so badly that now the streets are basically rivers. My stomach rebelled again, and walking became the name of the game- I was dying to just get home! Even with all of that- about 3 min of walking, a good 4 min spent in the woods- I still made the 6+ miles in 48 minutes. So I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that I can get my time down at Steelman.

I realized that a lot of my problems with my slow run on Sunday stemmed from psychological issues- I knew I was comfortably in 3rd in my age group and there was no way I was catchin the two ahead of me, and I knew I had lost any shot at overall, so I think I just stopped really pushing the pace. That and feeling like I was going to throw up, anyway. But still, I'm annoyed at myself.

Today I bought a new Timex Ironman watch to wear- now I just need to figure out how to work it. Also, I order a new Splish suit for Steelman- I realized that my awesome Flash swimsuit was a little too big- it fit ok, but a little baggy once it got wet. I think I dropped a couple of pounds recently, and I know I was wearing the suit before it a size too big as well. I tend to order stuff too big because I'm afraid of getting it and realizing that it's too small.

Just need to get googles and the Profile Design system and I'll be good to go!

Dad called me today (gasp!) to ask if my splits were posted yet. He's such a coach, I swear. I told him what I remembered, and I got lectured about how I can do much better. He was happy about my transitions andmy bike time though, which was nice. He's going to be bummed when he finds out that Pete and I aren't racing our 5k this weekend- Pete's band is leaving early for tour, so he can't make it, and I'm not up for driving to Neptune to race alone on Saturday morning. Besides, with all the gear I've had to get recently, including a new Rutgers kit, I just don't want to spend the money on small races like that right now. Fortunately, I just got a sweet babysitting job for a lot of next week, which will easily cover all of this race stuff.

Anyway, off to the gym for round 2 of the night.

I really can't wait to have a more defined schedule once the school year starts so I can figure out a better training program. Summer is definitely bad for keeping a routine!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Unaware

Finally, the NJ State Tri is a thing of the past. I'm sort of happy with the outcome, sort of mad at myself, and all over relieved that the first Olympic of the season (my second one ever) is finally over with so I can focus on what I need to fix for the next race, Steelman, in 2 weeks.

Overall, I was 3rd in my age group and in the top 20 women overall, with a time of 2:29. Am I pleased with that? Not really. I made some dumb mistakes, which I'll list, but considering a year ago my time was 2:47:50, I've come a long way. And since I haven't raced an Olympic race in a year, I guess my expectations were a little too high. But not next time!

My biggest mistakes:
Swim (29 min)
1. Wearing really old gross goggles because I lost my great new ones, and not realizing how crusted over they were. So my sighting was less than stellar. I ended up way off course a few times, but the biggest thing was that I couldn't see people around me very well, and it was almost impossible to keep up because of that.
2. Feeling TOO good on the swim: I couldn't sight well, and the people I did notice had been in the two waves ahead of me, and I wasn't seeing any of the caps from my wave. So I figured I was doing well and was pretty out in front. Not the case.
3. Not going hard enough in the beginning. I definitely screwed myself there- I was nervous about running out of steam, since I haven't raced that distance in a long time, and I wasn't giving it my all.
Fix: I need a new pair of goggles and a watch I can wear in the water so if I can't see people in my wave, I can kind of check my time. Also, I need to start stronger and really push! The swim rarely tired me out like the bike or run does, so I really need to focus on going all out for it.

Bike (1:07)
1. Not pushing as hard as I could have- I wish I had gunned it more in the middle
2. Not having a good way of timing- I need that watch! And I need to set my odometer.
3. Not being in aero as much as possible. And it was windy!!
Fix: watch, once again. Also, get a Profile Design aerobar water bottle- since the bike is my strong point, I'd like to be able to stay aero most of the time.

Run (0:49)
1. Running out of steam- I was feeling pretty complacent, since I knew my chances for overall were shot unless I ran sub 5 min miles, which will never happen. I also was in the first female wave, and I was already 3rd in my age group, and other than that, only about 3 women were ahead of me or passed me (from waves behind mine) so there weren't many people to run down... and given my poor swim, I wasn't catching any of the girls in my age group easily. I tried to keep a brisk pace though.
2. I hadn't done a 6 mile run in months- I've been running super short or 5 mile runs with Pete, so that extra mile was tough.
Fix: more 6 mile runs in the next week.

I had some of the fastest times in the bunch, and beat my old ones by quite a bit. I'm 100% psyched about them!

I needed to take in more calories before the race- my stomach growled right before the start and I knew that was a bad sign. I had half a bagel and some Gatorade pre-race but it wasn't enough.

In general, it went ok. I just wish it hadn't gotten off to such a bad start- nothing worse than coming out of the swim 5 minutes slower than you expected to your dad shouting that you need an amazing bike ride to do well. No pressure, right? Him yelling really did boost my bike though- I almost want him to lie to me from nwo on and always say that! I just never expected to have such a bad swim, and I think if I had been able to see better, I would have fought my way up- like I said, I felt really good and relaxed, so I think I could have pulled it off.

Anyway, back to training for August 9th- the pressure is sort of more "on" but also having the first longer race under my belt as a legitimate competitor is pretty relaxing. And even if I didn't do as well as I wanted, considering it's only my 5th triathlon and 2nd Olympic distance ever, I think I did well- and I learned a lot about what I am capable of.

Best of all, the awesome men on the run- so many guys I passed were so encouraging and nice and they just made the whole race better. And the volunteers were awesome! After the finish line, there was this amazing cool down tent that sprayed water, and while I was in it, this one guy came in and said how amazing I was on the bike. That felt great!

Next year, I seriously want to do the Uberman- it looked like so much fun, and I'm usually pretty good at short bike time trials. That's one race that really was won on the bike, which means that it is certainly my kind of race!

Steelman Goals:
23 min swim (1500 meters)
1:07 bike (24.3 miles)
46 run (6 miles)
I think I can do it, knowing what I need nutrition, training, and gear-wise.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Whining about Tapering

Tapering ruins my temperament. It's hot in New Brunswick, our apartment is a million degrees, and frankly, I'm antsy and irritable and snippy for no reason. I blame tapering.

It's hard going from 3 hrs of fairly intense workouts to doing really relaxed hour and a half- two hour workouts. Yesterday, I ran with Stephanie as she pushed a baby jogger, walked, and biked to the gym to swim for half an hour. Vlad was in the lane next to me, and he's a fast swimmer. But, he was doing a much longer set than me so was swimming a bit slower than normal, so I just focused on swimming 30 minutes and going faster than him, or at least on par. No problem- I had so much pent up energy I was flying through the water for parts of it. I was psyched- the last 200 yards were at 1:05 and 1:10, probably my fastest times ever.

I also felt super awesome when the two older guys in the next lane who often swim the same time as me (they're uber intense crazy fast swimmers) turned when I was getting out and said, "done already?" Ha! I think they were sort of kidding, since I had been going like crazy for half an hour. But I told them I was tapering and we chatted a while. I guess that means I'm officially a pool regular now. Funny how good that made me feel.

Robbie and I decided we wanted to get ice cream after dinner, so we decided to vacate our stuffy apartment and go to Polar Cub near his parent's house and stay there overnight. Since we don't have cable or internet in New Brunswick, it was nice to be able to go watch Top Chef, check email and relax in an air conditioned environment. Also, they have a super comfy guest bedroom!

Today, it was pouring rain when I headed to tutoring on my bike and I was soaked when I got here- really authoritative looking, right? It's Robbie's brother's birthday tonight, so I'm planning on hitting the stationary trainer for an hour after tutoring, but that's it. The race is sneaking up on me now, and I want to be in top shape. While a couple days off might seem like a smart idea, my muscle cramps won't agree- I need some activity or I run an even higher risk for cramps. Fingers crossed it won't be an issue.

Also, regarding my Ironman/next year plans- Dad is 100% on board, so Kentucky 2010 is more than likely happening. He really is awesome- it's over a year away and he's already more excited about it than I am! I don't think Ironman is really ever going to be a good race for me, but I want to do it and do it well. In all honesty, my biggest dream is to race at Kona one day- it may not be a race I'll be great at, but what an amazing thing to be able to do! So, Kona or bust for the next year... I'm hoping to do RI 70.3 and the Kentucky Ironman, since they're both qualifiers. It'll be my last couple years in the 20-24 age bracket, which is the best time to qualify, since after that, the competition gets even more intense.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Taper Week Cont'd...

Tapering is hard work! It's hard to convince myself that an hour of spinning, 30 min weight set, and 30 min run (even if the run is fast) is a decent amount of work for one day. But still...

Tomorrow will be even more relaxed as I swim and run with friends (especially when I run with a baby jogger!) I'm pretty ok with this slow pace though. I really needed to relax for a week, since my run times were actually slowing down and I think I was overdoing a bit. That's a major part of why I think I need a coach- I definitely need to get my act together and train smart instead of just long. I tend to think that anything under three hours a day, six days a week isn't really training, even though I know that's ridiculous. Then again, at the moment I actually have time for it!

I made a list of what I need to work on for next year, and what I would tell a coach:

Cyclocross season- September through November
Philly marathon- November 22
Road Cycling season- March through early May
Shamrock marathon- March
King of the Hill off road triathlon- early May
RI 70.3- July
Sprint/Olympic tris over the summer
Ironman Louisville- August (maybe? I'm trying to find a close enough one to do and this one is oddly convenient)
Skylands sprint triathlon- late September

It's a lot and it's a mix of disciplines and distances, hence the need for a little direction. I know it's scattered, but stuff like the road and cyclocross seasons are more for fitness than serious A races, as is Skylands and the two marathons (which are more to get ready for Ironman than anything else). And the off road tri is just a race that I really want to do, though it involves learning how to mountain bike. But then again, that's what cyclocross is for! Mainly next year will focus on winning sprints and Olympics, and surviving an Ironman. But I think I definitely need some professional help getting sorted out.

Also, my friend Don sent this to me a while ago, and I kept meaning to put it on here and kept forgetting:
Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

I love it! (And so did my Dad)

Now, off to Chipotle for dinner with a friend from high school. Happy training!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting in Over My Head (Again)

So I'm officially doing 2 tris in the next 3 weeks- NJ State Olympic next Sunday, and then August 9th I'll be in the Quakertown area racing at Steelman. I'm pretty psyched. There's also a 5k August 1st and then a 8 mile TT on August 8th- I would skip the time trial, but I figured I should really do at least one Team Somerset race this summer and it's close to home in an area I ride constantly. I'm pretty stoked.

I'm alsopretty nervous about this coming weekend but trying to take it easy. My training weekend at LBI ended up a bit milder than I expected it to, but I'm glad about that:
Saturday was a simple 1 hr run on the beach, and a quick swim (basically an ice bath!) afterwards. Then, a long walk with mom.
Sunday, after a ridiculous night of fire alarms, my cousin's house having what she thought was a gas leak which led to said firetrucks and screaming 3 year olds and infants in the living room and a slightly intoxicated loud cousin sharing the queen size bed with me, it was up at 5:30 to go on a 40 mile bike ride with Dad across the island. We averaged 16-17 mph, so it was pretty chill for me but a great aerobic workout that was finished with a 30 min run on the beach and a walk with mom, before another "ice bath." In the afternoon I tried swimming but it was basically a treadmill in the ocean, the current was so strong. Still, we played around in the water and sort of got a swim in... Plus, another short (3 mile) run with my cousin (ok, 9 min miles, but at least we ran!) It was fun, since that's an easy run for me and I could chat away the whole time.
In all it was a really fun family weekend, although I missed Robbie like crazy- my cousin had brought her boyfriend, so seeing them made me lonely, even if it was only 48 hours!

My legs are definitely sore today, but I'm going to get a short swim, a weight set, and a ride in before the day is done. Yeah, it's tapering...

Anyway, a far as the title of this post, I'm thinking a little ahead- I'm debating signing up for the Philly marathon in November- I'd like to do another one that's closer before the Shamrock on in VA in March. If I'm going to survive an Ironman, I need to learn how to run these fool things, so I figure the more the merrier... Right?

Then, of course, there's cyclocross season. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I'm kind of wishing that I didn't want to do it, because it really is going to be a lot of extra work for something that isn't my main goal. But it should be fun, and I'll be biking, so it's not counterproductive at all, just extraneous.

I'm also starting to think about planning farther out- already looking at next summer and what I want to do. Since Ironman is definitely one of the goals, I know how important it is to start getting a plan figured out now. It's also tough because Ironman is a goal but it isn't what I'm expecting to be great at. I'm getting good at short distance and I don't want to hurt that by doing all endurance stuff. Yeesh.

I was reading Triathlon Plus the other day and one pro in there was quoted as saying to get to the top of the sport, there's a formula: 4x6x48x10... 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, 48 weeks a year, for ten years. I do 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, pretty much 50 weeks a year, and have been for a year... so just 9 years to go if I add more. Yeesh.

Maybe I need a coach- it's something I've been thinking about more and more lately. I don't have a lot of spare money, but I feel so freaking scattered with all of my training, races, and types of races... I do a lot of cycling stuff but also a lot of running races just for the heck of it, and I don't know if I'm doing the right thing with how I'm training. I'd hate to think it was just a matter of paying a coach for even a consultation that was keeping me from actually achieving my full potential, especially since I'm young enough and have the time and desire to do this as not a career necessarily but something pretty serious. In the past year, I went from doing my first tri to finishing every race other than collegiate cycling in roughly the top ten women overall, so I know I have improved a lot and can improve more.

Thoughts or suggestions, anyone?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thank God It's Friday

I can't remember the last time I was this happy about having a rest day. Yeesh! It has just been one tiring week, and I had to just push through it knowing that starting Monday I'll be taking it easy and getting ready for next weekend.

Wednesday I went on a run through Duke Island Park, which was really pretty but a little small for an hour long run- I kept looping, which I hate to do. Other than some minor stomach issues, I was having a great run. That was followed by a lovely Team Somerset barbeque and a relaxing night.

Thursday I was supposed to run with Pete in the morning, and for our warmup I felt pretty good. We decided to do some hill fartleks, and for the first half mile I was fine. Then, I was just totally beat. I have no idea why, I guess it was a combination of the humidity and such intense training lately but I was just done. In total, we ran about 4 miles before I got back to my house, limped upstairs and sat in a cold shower trying not to puke. It didn't help that I hadn't eaten breakfast for fear of an overactive stomach, so I managed to make some eggs and toast and force them down. After that (and about a gallon of water) I felt a lot better, so I ended up hopping on the trainer for 45 minutes, just trying to spin my legs out a little, make sure all the lactic acid flushed out. Trainer rides have been much better now that we have a TV and I can watch my Tenth Kingdom DVD (looong made for tv movie from a few years ago. It's amazing!) Or sometimes I watch Robbie play video games. The characters running are actually great to make me move faster, though Robbie gets annoyed with all of the sweating and the whirring from the trainer. Still, Blake once made a good point: if Robbie ever gets annoyed with my training, all I really need to do is point out that there's no way my butt would look this good without it!

Anyway... Robbie and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie, and I was super excited about it- I'm the biggest HP nerd ever, and the only reason we missed the midnight showing was because of work, and because if we waited we could get in free at a theater his brother works at. Honestly, the movie was a huge letdown. I actually felt bad for draggin Robbie to see it, since I knew he wasn't crazy about HP or anything. Plus, it really couldn't stand alone, so unless you had seen the most recent one in the past couple months, you were a little lost- and if, like Robbie, you'd only seen it once and hadn't paid attention, you really had no idea what was happening. Lame! All over, I give it a C-, and that's generous.

Tomorrow is off to Long Beach Island for a family weekend that will primarily be swimming, biking and running for me. Also, hoping to get at least some semblance of a tan on my pathetically white stomach. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So Many Ways to Spend (Waste) Money...

With the big race and cyclocross camp and another 5k, a trip to the beach, a couple more triathlons, a few time trials, and a potential chance to race an Xterra looming, there are a lot of things I want to spend money on. In no particular order: new Splish 'Killa' bikini ($55), DeSoto race kit ($90), cyclocross bike ($499 for a Motobecane from bikes direct), new TT bars (dad found a pair for $90), HR monitor and watch ($100 from Timex), new kits for both cycling teams (close to $250), a Profile TT bar water bottle and cage ($25), and of course, a million race entry fees (around $200). Total: $1310. I need a new job just to pay for all of the race stuff!

Yeesh. And that's just the more immediate expenses, nevermind the idea of an actual tri bike and a mountain bike for Xterra racing, as well as plenty of other odds and ends...

I'm doing fine this summer, I've saved a good chunk of money, but given the fact that tuition won't be cheap (though hopefully I can get financial aid) I'm leery about spending a lot of money. Then again, let's face it: I'm 22 and this is the one time in my life when I have few responsiblities and the real chance to have a semi-legit racing career. In a few years, I'll have to be focused on buying a house, having a mortgage, etc, and won't be able to spend as much time on this.

Anyway, enough about that. Yesterday, did a really solid weight set, and while I was doing it, noticed that I was working out next to a guy who I'm pretty sure I passed during the Hammonton tri in May. Fantastic. Then, Pete and I went on a run- my legs felt like they weighed a million pounds, and I was really having a rough time keeping up. So once we sprinted home, I decided there would be no bike ride that night. Instead, ate black beans with avacado and salsa for dinner, had a serious stomachache, and drank a lot of chocolate milk to calm it down. Lately my stomach has been screwy- I think in large part because I stopped taking all of the stuff I was taking for IBS a month ago and my system is finally out of it and trying to figure out how to manage on it's own. I was worried I was destroying my intestines, so now I'm learning to live without it. It's just a hassle getting used to it, but oh well.

It was a good decision, not riding the bike, and when I woke up this morning, I felt a lot better. Off to the gym for a fast 45 min swim with a hard push at the end, then just threw shorts on over my suit and rode as fast as I could on the mountain bike home, had my trainer set up to go, hopped on that, and pushed it for 30 minutes. It felt really solid, so I was happy to be feeling springy again.

Hopefully I'll make it out on another run with Pete tomorrow, then one more on Monday before I start tapering. I know the tri is only an Olympic but I want to be super rested for it- it's the one I've been focusing on all summer and I don't want to disappoint myself with my performance.

Now, off to Duke Island Park for a run before a Team Somerset picnic meeting. Whoot!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nostalgic Again: maybe it's the weather.

Sprintin' Clinton has come and gone, and I have one more trophy mug to add to my growing collection of beer-related race memorabilia. For whatever reason, Hunterdon County races usually have beer steins as the trophies, as well as the featured sale item at their parades. I'm not complaining- better a useful mug than a puny trophy.

Anyway, how did the race actually go? 20:59 for the 5k, which I was happy about- I wanted to do sub-20 but I hadn't counted on hills. By the end of the summer though! It was a really great race, lots of legit competition, including a bunch of very young track kids who were on my heels most of the race. I was the 5th woman, and only about 30 seconds off of 2nd place. I was first in my age group, so I was psyched about that. I couldn't have done it without Dad screaming at me to "go like hell" though!

Next year, watch out, I'll be back for the trophy!

I sprinted so freaking hard for the last 15 seconds when I could see the clock and realized it would be down to the wire to make it under 21. When I ran past it, it was at 20:59, but since there wasn't a chip or anything, they were writing it by hand and I think they might have added a second or two. Either way, I know how I did. I got down the finishing chute and heard someone calling my name. It was Matt, a kid I lived with for four years, til this June. He was there playing basketball with a few of my old friends, and saw me come in, so he was there cheering and gave me a huge sweaty hug. I forgot how much I miss him, even if I wasn't around that much when we lived together. It's been a weekend of old friends- I went to see my sister's play and realized that a younger member in the cast was an exboyfriend's younger sister- I hadn't seen her since she was five!

Anyway, after awards at the race we got a couple slices of pizza and I waited for my high school best friend Rob to pick me up to see Transformers 2 at 10 pm. I was exhausted, but he leaves for Europe tomorrow so I didn't want to miss him. It was an awesome movie and hanging out with him is always great- we hadn't gone to a movie together in a good 7 years or so, not since our moms used to have to drive us. We were goofing around, but luckily it was just us in the theater, since we were so darn loud the whole time. I forgot how much fun we used to have, and it made me feel like a kid again. I've been pretty forgetful about that, which leads me to my mini-rant:

Ever get nostalgic for things and people that you never realized that you'd miss? I've been getting that a lot lately, and I blame facebook, the fact that it's summer, and seeing a couple of old friends to remind me what I miss. Don't get me wrong, I'm super happy with how things turned out, it's just that I forgot how much fun I used to have too. For a couple years, it was easy to remember the crappy college/right before college years, and forget what came before and after them. Two semi-crappy years with a lot of shattered disillusionment and a few really dumb heartbreaks (yeah, just part of growing up) and all of a sudden, I was happy to forget everything.

Anyway, I realized that there are still some people I want to stay in touch with. There are a lot of moments I wish I could relive, but unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever talk to a lot of those people again. Is this maturity?

Well, my tired legs and I are going to get on the bike and head for the gym, I suppose. Then, home to fake chicken soup mom made Robbie and I, even though it's a million degrees in our apartment. I'm beat from yesterday but it's my last week before a taper and I don't want to miss anything.

Friday, July 10, 2009

2 Weeks to Go!

I've been sort of hyper-focused on the NJ State Tri lately, obviously, and now that it's only a couple weeks away, I am definitely getting nervous. It's not the distances themselves that intimidate me, it's living up to my own (and my dad's) expectations about how I should do. Same deal with the 5k this weekend- will this be the race I can finally break 20 min? I really hope so, with all the training I've been doing with Pete, both he and I think that I should be able to.

In the past week, I've also been super anxious about money stuff, especially when it comes to training. Now I need a cyclocross bike, a new kit, a new Rutgers Cycling kit, a mountain bike, plus a few more race fees before summer is over. But on the other hand, there's rent, school, utilities, and general 'real life' expenses that need to come first. And even with money saved up, I can't help but be worried about spending it. This whole "working a bunch of part time jobs" thing kinda sucks in that respect, but on the other hand, it allows me to use the next couple of years to focus on training and school. Really, if not now, then when? If this summer continues to improve race-wise, it'll be time to start thinking about what to do next with racing, I suppose. It would be awesome to have even a small-scale sponsor, so that's the new goal.

Anyway, in other news... I started "interning" at Kim's Bike Shop, which is run by the parent's of one of my teammates, Dave. Hung out with the mechanics and basically observed and asked a million questions. I'm hoping that I can learn enough to be a semi-proficient mechanic, and be relatively well versed in "bike stuff."

Other than that, it was a pretty relaxing day- lots of tutoring, and I was exhausted from a tough training week, so I just did an hour on the trainer with single leg drills, then hit the gym for a 45 min trainer "hill climb" session as a prelude to a fairly brutal 45 min weight set. I've been riding around on Robbie's bike the past two days,a fter my mountain bike got a flat en route home fromthe gym Tuesday night. I have no clue how that happened. I was waiting until tomorrow to fix it, since I was planning on replacing my Cannondale's tires as well and figured I'd dot hem both at once, but I needed to get around. Never mind that Robbie is 6'2" and has a frame significantly bigger than mine with a seat that wouldn't lower. Ouch! Luckily I haven't had far to go in the past couple days.

I was so psyched when, at work today, one of the women actually told me how TAN I look. I have never in my life been called tan, and now with all of the hours of outdoor training, I finally have some color- except for right where my sports bra lines are, which is right over one of my tattoos, so it looks almost like I purposely left the Pan- the tattoo is a young version of the half goat half human Greek god- untanned. Looks like I need more dresses with racerbacks so no one will notice!

I miss the beach and I miss surfing- I wish I had more time to just bum around and hang out at the beach, but I'm busy with training a lot and Robbie isn't overly fond of the beach. Plus, we would only be free to go for a whole day on weekends, which are always too crowded, beacuse weekdays our work schedules just don't mesh at all. But August 15 we'll be down in VA with the family at the beach, thank God- and I can start some longer distance 70.3 training at that point!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gotta show off sometime!

Pause for a moment to show off "the guns":
(I had to take a sample shot for a thing I'm working on for Triathlete and sports bras, so here it is for your viewing pleasure.)

Anyway, Monday was a brutal hill run with Pete at Holmdel- watching those cross country kids there, it was amazing how effortless they looked. It was a crazy course, but we had a lot of fun. My stomach held out for the actual run but on the cool down 2 miles it went nuts, but at least it was fine during the hard part. It made me feel a lot more confident about the 5k on Sunday, and that's the main thing.

Here's Pete and I after the run before driving home. (His hair is sooo much longer than mine, and I joke that chasing him is easy because his ponytail lets me pretend I'm chasing a girl in my age group!) The park itself was gorgeous- I can't wait to go back again next week!

Tuesday was a pretty slow day- some steady long riding on the trainer, with some single leg intervals, then a weight set and a really solid 45 min swim at the gym. Basically though, I was saving myself for today, and the course down in Mercer.

Got up super early so I could get there before I met up with Stephanie and her kids at eleven. I was pretty psyched about getting out on the road, but unhappy when I realized I'd hit Quakerbridge road at rush hour. Ugh.

However, despite setbacks with traffic, I finished the course comfortably in 1:03, easily under last weeks 1:08 (sore legs then) and last year's race (1:15), so I was really excited about that. Then, a less speedy (~24 min) 5k through half of the course. I met Stephanie's kids and gave them two books: Froggy Rides a Bike and Froggy Learns to Swim- Stephanie had told them I was an "expert" biker and swimmer, and Ella was fascinated that I swim with fish! They were adorbale, and I'll be babysitting them pretty regularly during the school year. Thank god for weight lifting- lifting Nathaniel is tough work and he loves being held!

I may run tonight but I'm trying to not burn myself out too much. Sometimes I get in the "3 hour a day or else!" zone and it's really hard for me to get away from that. I'm trying to emphasize quality over quantity, but sometimes it's hard, especially since I have more free time right now. It's such a nice day that I'll probably do a short run with Pete or play in the park- we need a frisbee or soccer ball!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I've Gotten Bad At Posting...

You would think that during the summer I would be posting nearly constantly, but the past couple weeks, I've just been awful. So I'll attempt to remedy that...

Last Wednesday I went to Mercer to ride the NJ State Tri course. My legs were killing me from the run with Pete the day before, but I didn't want to miss a workout. My time at last year's race was 1:15.27 and with very painful legs and having to stop at corners and stoplights, I still managed 1:08 without being tired by the end. I think I can easily bring it down by a few minutes by the 26th. Then, met Stephanie and we ran the 10k course. She had hurt her knee so we weren't going too fast, but we still finished in only 2 min over my race time last year. I mean, that was pretty sad (56 min) compared to my normal times nowadays, but I was chatting, breathing through my nose, and thinking about how slow I felt like we were going. So that's pretty awesome. I'm going back again this week to ride it, and planning on getting my time down considerably.

Other than that, pretty calm rest of the week. Thursday I ended up having an awesome swim with Don, probably my fastest 30 min swim to date. Did a weight set, hit the trainer, and then got a visit from an old friend from Westchester! He made fun of me for "selling out" from my old punk lifestyle, but I couldn't even pretend to be bummed about it. I'm happy about where I am now.

Friday I went to SBR and saw Blake, got some awesome new running shoes, and spent the rest of the night relaxing. We saw an old car cruise night in Somerville, perused a record store, comic book shop, and weird consignment shop. Then, Saturday was biking to a parade with Dad, pushing the highest gears on the bike so I got a good leg workout even though Dad wasn't going super fast. I was planning on a run but I figured a national holiday was an excuse to take it easy.

Sunday though, I woke up and rode the Spruce Run course and finished in my new best time of 44 min and feeling relaxed- right on par with some of the female winners. I added an extra 14 miles to that ride so I could get a longer ride in, then followed up with a 40 min brick to break in my new racing flats. Owww! I have huge blisters, but that's par for the course- my feet get super torn up no matter what shoes I get. Worth it though. Ice bath followed, and with the hot weather, I didn't mind sitting in my awesome outdoor tub and throwing the frisbee for my dog while I chilled my legs.

My legs were a little cramp-y but not too bad. Then, family picnic and Robbie and I headed back to New Brunswick for another fun filled week.

Holmdel tonight for some serious track workouts! I'm nervous, Pete's planning a pretty intense workout.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Field Trip Week!

The weekend was full of family functions: a baby shower and a christening for two different babies from different sides of the family. Poor Robbie was a champ for coming to both parties!
(Us at my cousin's christening afterparty at the country club. Fancy!)

Did some training, of course- an open water swim cut short due to too many people in the lake, a couple of my old loop, done 5 minutes faster than 4 months ago followed by a super speedy 5k brick, a 40 mile ride with Dad along for 20 miles of it, keeping the pace up- 19 to 20 mph a lot of the time. Go Dad! I swear, he never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday started the fun part of the week- I woke up at 7 with no obligations until 6 at night when I had tutoring, so Vlad and I made plans to meet at Point Pleasant to do an open water ocean swim. Yay!

I got there early to run barefoot on the beach, my favorite pastime, and then met up with Vlad. He showed up with a full sleeveless wetsuit, swim cap, and fancy goggles. I had my bikini and my old goggles. The water was chilly, but once I got in, it wasn't bad. Before this, I had never done a legit open water ocean swim- I swim in the ocean, but not like I'm actually racing. So it was a whole new experience. Fun though! I freaked out when I swam over a school of tiny fish, and Vlad soothed (not!) me by saying "well, they usually only swim when something big is behind them." Thanks! I didn't let it worry me, and we swam for about an hour, taking rest breaks as we navigated across the shoreline trying to avoid getting yelled at by lifeguards. By the time we stopped, the tide was coming in and the water was getting rough, making it harder to swim without swallowing tons of salt water. Afterwards, we got to hang out on the beach for a bit and talk about our favorite subject- triathlon- for a while before I headed back to meet Robbie when he got off work so he, Ad and I could do my other favorite thing- Panera for lunch!

Later, Pete and I went on another crazy 5 mile run. I'm still getting used to these 7-7:30 min miles, but Pete just goes along like it's nothing! No fair... I am getting better at it though. Or at least I was until mile 3, when all of a sudden, I got a crazy cramp under my rib cage and couldn't breathe deep without it killing me. It was the only time I've ever actually stopped mid-run for a minute. I started up again though, and I was ok. So I have no idea what caused it. Weird...

At night, my stomach started killing me and my legs got really tight- a cross between running on a beach and running fast later, I guess. I think my stomach may have hurt from drinking in so much salt water at the beach.

Felt better but not great this morning, and eating is still kind of weird.

But today I'm heading down to Mercer County Park, home of the NJ State Tri, where I can ride and run the course (running with Stephanie!), so I'm excited about that. And tomorrow, Pete and I are going to Holmdel to do a super sprint workout on the cross country track there. Friday, going to SBR for new shoes! I'm just all over the place this week...