Once again, back to reality

A weird old timey slide.

I found this slide while out on my run. It looks like it belongs in 1985.

This weekend, it was back to reality.  First weekend of normal training since Augusta 70.3.  At first, I thought I had a 12 mile run on the calendar, but was delighted to discover that it was only 8.  Of course, those 12s are coming up soon, with Space Coast on the horizon.  While that’s rarely a goal race for me just because the early morning humidity usually kicks my ass, I think this year, I’d like to really push it, see how strong I can run.  Of course, that means training.

I also decided to see what this Pokemon Go addiction is all about, so I had the app on while I ran.  I think I get it.  Collecting virtual creatures is strange, but also kind of fun.  And hey, if it motivates people to get out and get moving, I’m all for it.

I also had an almost two hour trainer ride on my schedule.  Yes, for the off-season.  I know that the place where I have the most room for improvement is on the bike, and so my goal is to pick up at least 1 mph on my average pace.  It helps that I really enjoy structured trainer rides, at least for now.  I can turn on the tv or listen to an audiobook or a podcast and just focus in on my workout.

This week, I’m back to normal Monday night choir rehearsals.  I didn’t sing our last concert because too many rehearsals conflicted with big 70.3 training days and I knew that I had to prioritize or I was going to burn out.  I’m definitely excited to go back, but I’m wondering how I’m going to make this all fit.  I leave for work at around 7am (usually a little earlier, as traffic has gotten heavier everywhere with all the construction on Metro) and on Monday nights, I won’t be getting home til about 10:30.  Tuesday nights are team swim (moved recently from Thursday), which means another late night where I’m out til about 9:30.  The big priorities are going to be making sure I get as much sleep as possible and don’t let my exhaustion mean I’m eating a bunch of junk.  For whatever reason, when I’m exhausted, I just want unhealthy snacks, which we all know aren’t going to help the tiredness.

How was everyone else’s weekend?

Motivation, or Why I Race

While my race season certainly isn’t over for the year (I still have Space Coast in November), my triathlon season certainly is.  And already, I’m feeling my motivation wane.

This is a big part of why I race.  Don’t get me wrong – I love racing.  I love the sense of accomplishment.  Augusta 70.3 was so incredibly hard and yet so incredibly worth it for me.  I’m proud of what I accomplished and I’m looking forward to improving on that accomplishment in the year to come.

But really, I schedule races throughout the year so that I have something I’m training for.  If I don’t have a goal on the schedule, something I’m determined to succeed at (or at least not fail at), I’m hard pressed for motivation.

Yes, I know exercise is good for me.  Yes, I know it will help me lose the weight I’m perpetually trying to drop.  But some days, I just don’t want to.  Not for any particular reason, just because I’m feeling lazy.  And if I don’t have a race I’m working towards, I have that much less incentive to actually do the workout.

Over the summer, I stuck hard to my training schedule and it paid off.  I did miss workouts when I wasn’t feeling well, but those were few and far between, and they were when skipping the workout was the smartest thing to do.  But now, my next triathlon is months and months away.  Do I really need to go to the pool?  No.  But I should go anyway.  It’s good for me and I actually enjoy it once I’m there.

So this is a big part of why I race.  I need the added motivation.  I wish I could be one of those people who exercise every day because they love how it makes them feel.  Nope.  I just don’t want to embarrass myself at my next race.

Hey, whatever works.

Wednesday Workout Recap

My diet needs to look a whole lot more like this. Except my home will never be this fancy. jill111 / Pixabay

Well, it’s back to real life.  Back to training, and possibly more importantly, back to eating like a normal person, not like a person who is training for a 70.3.

Monday – Rest Day.  This was actually a big day.  The repair work in my office finally got done, so now I can paint and then maybe I can finally get all the junk out of my living room and back where it belongs.

Tuesday – Team Fight Swim.  Tough as always, but a lot of fun.  It’s hard to convince myself to swim when it’s cold, but I need to keep showing up.

Wednesday – Trainer ride followed by a weights workout.  Yes, I’m finally getting back to strength work.  This has been my biggest failing and I need to step it up over the winter.

Thursday – Ab work.  Apparently, my core is stupidly weak.  This is terrible all around.

Friday – Trainer ride

Saturday – Rest Day

Sunday – Army Ten Miler!

One more race left for the year.  I can’t believe how quickly things seem to be flying.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re busy all the time.


Race Report: Army Ten Miler

atm-2016On Sunday, I ran the 32nd annual Army Ten Miler.  This was my 8th running of the race.  Considering that I’ve only lived here 9 years, that’s a pretty good record.

What can I say about this race?  I love it.  I always enjoy the ten mile distance, and this race has exceptional atmosphere.  It’s a big race – 35,000 people – but if anyone can handle organization in a race that size, it’s the Army.

Of course, in a race like this, there is a ton of patriotism.  Lots of people running in honor of fallen soldiers.  Lots of Wounded Warriors participating in the race.  Lots of people running carrying giant flags.  It’s a really positive atmosphere.

This year was a bit more complicated since Metro isn’t opening early for races.  Shannon and I drove and got to the parking garage around 5:30.  My wave didn’t start til close to 9am, so we were definitely there earlier than we needed to be, but with the closed roads and large number of people driving in, I don’t regret the decision to get there so early.

It was actually raining in the morning as well, though it stopped before the race started.  I wonder how many people stayed away due to Metro and the weather.  Looking at the results, it looks like about 24,000 people finished.  Last year, there were 26,300, and around the same in 2014 as well.  So the numbers definitely were down.

While it didn’t rain, it was super windy.  I’m not sure how the people carrying giant flags handled the last bit of the race without blowing over.

My race turned out spectacularly.  I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, just two weeks out from Augusta.  (I have to admit, Augusta feels SO long ago at this point.  I can’t believe it’s been just over two weeks.)  My coach warned me that it was going to suck.  Surprisingly, it didn’t.

A bit part of that was that my friend Tricia and I ran into each other, so we ran the race together.  I don’t see her very often, so it was awesome to catch up and chat for those ten miles.  Made them go much faster than I expected.

Finished in 2:14ish, which I can’t be disappointed by.  I would have liked to be under 2:10, but given what I was coming off of, I think that was probably overly ambitious.  Either way, I finished, had a great time, and felt great.

Unfortunately, the next day I was super sore, likely from being so very cold before the race.  I wasn’t really warmed up when I started.  Ideally, I would have started slower, but who can manage that in a race?  I think I was more sore after this race than I was after Augusta!

Now, on to the next adventure.

Off-Season Training Plan

Peggy_Marco / Pixabay

First off, definitely thinking about everyone in the path of Hurricane Matthew.  Stay safe, everyone.

Now that my triathlon season is officially over, I’m into the off season and getting started with my off season training plan.  It’s not that I’m not racing, of course.  I’ve got a ten miler this weekend and two half marathons over the winter (both in Florida).  So there will definitely be plenty of quality time on my treadmill this winter.

But I also need to seriously focus on my biking, and more importantly my strength work and my diet.  Like a lot of runners and triathletes, as my race training really picked up, both strength work and proper meal planning really fell by the wayside.  I ate well about 75% of the time, though the meals weren’t anything exciting.  Lots of randomly throwing together protein and veggies to make a meal.  And when that’s happening, it’s so much easier to make an excuse to eat out and perhaps not make the smartest choices.

Don’t get me wrong – cookies will always have a place in my diet.  Just not as a meal.

Strength work is something that most of us forget when it comes to training.  I’m already swimming, biking, and running.  I need to find time to lift weights too?

Yes.  Yes you do.  And you don’t need a fancy gym membership to do it.  There are plenty of body weight exercises you can do, and picking up a few hand weights isn’t terribly expensive.  My weight system involves a series of hand weights I’ve picked up over the years (ranging from 5 pounds to 15 pounds, though I’d like to need something heavier by the end of the winter) and some exercise bands.

And since we live in a time of awesome technology, you can find all sorts of weight lifting videos on YouTube.  Plenty of great instructional clips out there to help you figure out what to do with those weights now that you’ve got them.

I picked up the weights Wednesday night once again (I’ve been doing some minimal stuff, but not a real quality workout) and it’s clear how much strength I’ve lost by redirecting my focus.  I figured it was possible, but didn’t realize just how hard the workout would be.  So it’s good that I’m back to regular lifting.  I need to make it a goal to continue strength workouts during the heavy training, especially core work, which will help prevent injury.

Do you include strength work in your routine?  How do you manage to fit it all in?  What are your favorite strength workouts?