About Me

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Accountant, Writer, Triathlete, Baker, Blogger, Cupcake Aficionado

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Quick note about SHOES

In the last few weeks, I've learned a valuable lesson about the "heel to toe drop" in shoes... specifically running shoes. H-T drop is how low your toes are in comparison to your heel. I am a heel-striker, so I do better in shoes with a higher drop because I'm used to absorbing more of the shock in my bones. If you are a mid-foot striker, a lower drop is better because you absorb most of the shock in the muscle. For reference, barefoot = zero drop. Got it?

I have been running in the Asics GT-2000s and absolutely love them. I was bad & ran well over 300 miles in them before switching, but still never experienced a problem. I decided on the Asics Gel Lyte 33s for my next pair, because to me, Asics = Asics.


The GT-2000s have a 10-12mm drop and the Gel Lytes have a 4mm drop. I was about 60 miles in on the Gels and started having really bad calf pain and shin splints. I couldn't figure out if this was happening because of the increased mileage or continuous training, but when my coach found out about my shoe change, he told me the reason for all the pain was because the two shoes were so different. The lower drop was causing more strain on my achilles and calf muscles.

I wish I would've known about this before I invested in a new pair of running shoes. If you are not an avid runner, I don't think that this would make a huge difference. However.... if you are doing track/speed work and running 25+ miles/week, changing to very different shoes is a great way to get injured and frustrated. It is possible to change your stride and the way you run, but I don't recommend it when you're training for a big race... like an Ironman.  :)

I'm now back in the GT-2000s and there is a bit of residual pain (because shin splints take for freakin ever to go away), but my legs are so much happier with a bigger drop and my running is almost back to normal. So relieving and frustrating to know that shoes were the culprit. I've very happy that there isn't a bigger underlying issue and that I don't have to ice & stretch like a maniac every time I go for a run now.

Lesson learned: know your shoes before you buy them and/or stick with what you know and what works for you!

Happy Running!

PS - still working on getting my new site up & running in all my "free time"

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I have an announcement!

Usually people wait until 3 months in to make a public announcement, but I can’t wait that long. *ahem* In exactly nine months from now (11.16.14), I will get to meet Ironman Arizona for the first time.

NO, NO, and N-O. Just expecting the race of my life (sorry mom), plus so many other people have been making big announcements lately & I’m feeling a little left out, okay?

Now that we've all suffered mini heart attacks & I have your attention, I can talk about current training issues like “does NormaTec have a payment plan option?” and “It’s possible to chafe… where??”
I won’t go into that either. I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg anyway of new “fun” issues that arise during IM training. Instead I’d like to focus on my current level of motivation and inspiration. Somewhere along the line, I have learned to enjoy (at least parts of) swim practices, long runs and climbing hills on my bike. My coach would probably be happy to hear this… but don’t tell him I said it!

I have to be honest… my new Garmin + uploading everything to Strava has definitely been a great tool for a data junkie like me. I have more to analyze and together they keep me & my workouts honest! It’s also fun to see grand totals of swim/bike/run mileage J. “Well according to Strava I've biked like, 500 miles, so I can totally eat this cupcake right now.”

But seriously. That will happen… and possibly has happened already.
For the next 9 months my new normal will be soreness and hunger. Some days will be better… a LOT better… than others, but all of that will get me to the finish line and I will feel proud knowing that I've earned the right to be called an Ironman. I've been deeply inspired by this quote from Marianne Willamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Right away I associated this with Ironman training. I know there are many other facets in life to become powerful & shiny in, but I suppose since training has become such a huge focus for me I can’t help but relate everything to a race or workout. My take away from this quote is that IM is definitely an opportunity for me to shine, to find power, to inspire and grow (in more ways than one). The biggest Pro and Con is that I’m fairly new to the sport. My first triathlon was 2.5 years ago, so I’m still able to consistently see big progress in all 3 sports, but it’s definitely a bit intimidating and frustrating to not be as good as a REAL Ironman. Sometimes I feel like such a faker & that I’m way out of my league (this might be true, but don’t tell me if it is), but other times… most times… I just feel really awesome that every single week I can honestly say “this is the most fit I've been in my life”.
The feeling of this progress and constantly breaking down the mental barriers of “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough”, and maybe a little Avenged Sevenfold in the ear buds, carries me through the hard runs & steep bike rides. The determination provides reprieve when I see “EVERYONE” on Facebook having “SO MUCH FUN ALL THE TIME” and provides energy at 5:30am to get my butt in the pool.

I’m attempting to stay social between my job and training, but I may only make it to events in the afternoon. The window of opportunity is slowing closing between the time I finish a workout and the time I need to be in bed! But… I really love it. For me it’s definitely a time to shine & prove to myself & others what is possible and why I choose not to play small.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I can't move my legs

Where has the time gone? Less than 300 days to go (293 days & 13 hours to be exact) & Ironman feels less real to me than ever. The excitement of signing up has worn off, & I’m stuck in this weird middle area where I’m training a lot but don’t have any end goals on my radar. Training hard six days a week prompts a lot of people to ask what I’m training for or when my next race is, and I feel discomfited saying “well, I have a race 11 months from now…”.

Training seems like a light switch: I’m either super motivated & pushing myself all week, or I’m going through a whole week grumbling & barely accomplishing what’s on my schedule. Both swimming and running have felt a lot easier and I am noticeably getting better at both. Not great, but better. The longer distances & intensity levels feel motivating now instead of exhausting. I really hope that trend continues throughout the year!

I’m only riding once a week (around 40 miles) and it feels ROUGH. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not on my bike enough, or if I’m riding the day after a long ride, or… something else? All of the above? When I’m on the bike all I can think about is how I’m going to race (not just survive) for 112 miles?? I guess my one saving grace is that I do have a good amount of time before race day to train & play around with nutrition options.

Another great thing is that I finally bit the bullet & bought a new super fancy watch (Garmin 910xt)! I haven’t worn it in the water yet, but now that I have a heart rate strap and can upload all data into Strava, I've reached a whole new level! I love having so much data to look at & analyze, not to mention the watch keeps me honest since anyone is able to see my workout detail J.

At this point I’m feeling pretty challenged & am appreciative of any days off as well as eating the right food(s). I’m still meat free and feel like my body is handling it ok… will see how I fare when my training doubles! Also hoping I can stay motivated more often than not! I'm happy I had a great and FULL weekend of training so I can fully enjoying lounging on the couch watching the Grammy's. And maybe eating some Thai food.. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So long, 2013!

I’m so busted.

People have been asking “when is your training going to start?” & I've been giving the cop-out answer of “oh I’ll start in January… after the holidays”. Welp, here we are. That means… to-mor-row:

My training hasn't really ever stopped, but it’s been fairly easy compared to what’s in store for 2014. Before I know it I’ll be on here whining about my 20+ mile run or 85+ mile bike ride & wishing to have my current schedule back. Thinking about doing a workout like that at this point seems so far-fetched, but soon it’ll be my reality. And as tired, sore and worn down as I may be from it… I’ll still secretly think of myself as a badass. I say “secretly” because I’m surrounded by so many people that are WAY more badass than I am & I’m not about to compete with that.

It still hasn't really hit me that I’m on the Ironman Journey because I've barely had time to think about what’s happening tomorrow. For example:  I’m currently not focused on IM performance, I’m only thinking about the Resolution Run tomorrow morning & wondering if I can get my 1st 2014 PR on the 1st day of the year :)

But I suppose before I even think about tomorrow, I should do some reflecting on this past year. What would a year-end blog entry be without this, right? When I think about 2013, one word comes to mind immediately: Progress. This past year has absolutely, without a doubt, been a year of progress. I started in January when Mike Swan became my triathlon coach. I still consider this to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. He is a phenomenal coach & mentor to so many people, and I couldn't ask for a better person to lead me to the Ironman Arizona finish line.

February I started a new job at a larger company with a larger job title… & definitely now have a larger network and overall understanding of accounting :). In March I ran (& finished) my very first marathon after going to physical therapy for months because of tendinitis in my left knee. In May I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon, started a relationship in June-ish, finished my first 70.3 in July, and continued to PR all over the place thereafter! And… in September had my first ever podium finish.

I, in no way expect every year to be like this. So for all you Humble Superheroes… I know that PRs aren't going to happen every time I race, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts mmkay? With Wildflower 70.3 and a full 140.6 on my schedule this upcoming year, I won’t be making too many 5k & sprint appearances. I’ll be more like Crouching Cyclist Hidden Runner with my training. You’ll come to know me by my spelunker-like head lamp flashing by you in the wee hours of the morning.

Progress has been evident in all facets of my life this year. Of course I hope that this is happening EVERY year, but I think that 2013 this word shines above the rest. I haven’t written out my goals/resolutions/manifestations for 2014 yet, but I hope that I will continue to progress in all areas and to practice staying PRESENT.

With that said… I better go enjoy the rest of this day! Wishing you a safe, fun night full of sequins and bubbly :). Happy New Years Eve everyone!

Monday, December 2, 2013

IM Journal: Log #5

It’s December?? I had no idea December came right after August this year. Where did all the time go??

Yesterday was one of those days where I was thankful during my workout. Sometimes I’m thinking about other things, hating it or viewing a workout as more of a social hour… but other times I can be present, focused and thankful (possible mantra?  :)  ).

I’m only on my bike once a week at this point, & yesterday was the first morning I had a longer & more difficult route. I’ve been doing a pretty easy 20 mile workout the past few months but Coach is starting to increase the load a bit & I’m more than ok with that!

Famous last words.

I was back on the SB tri course hills (Gob, Toro) and covered a little over 37 miles on this beautiful December morning. East coasters are battling snow & freezing temperatures while I’m worried about getting a tan line from my bike jersey! I prefer to do my rides with other people, but if I have headphones (one ear only. Safety first.) I can have a pretty enjoyable time out there on my own if the mileage is under 50. Maybe it was the caffeine, but my ride felt great and, like I do during most workouts, I imagined myself to be in the Ironman race.

I don’t think all emotions/reasoning of signing up for the race have quite reached my Cerebrum because I still think of Ironman as some far off fantasy. It is neither. It’s 348 days away but I know that is going to fly by SO fast and soon enough my 80+ mile bike days will remind me the whole dang time that this is now my reality. It’s starting to become a little real to me with having 12-13 mile runs every week & seeing “lake loop” on my schedule. (SB people… you know what that means.)

I’ve had a lot of different reactions from everyone since signing up, top reactions include: blank stare/zero level of interest, “WHY”, “I’m impressed!”, and “I’m never going to see you”.  All reactions are followed up with the same question: “when does your training start?”. Um… it started 2 years ago? I’m not really sure how to answer that question because there’s not a specific date/time when workouts get crazy. I’m currently “maintaining” then will slowly ramp up for a half Ironman in May (Wildflower) & continue piling it on after that until November.

It’s going to be a long, worthwhile (most of the time) road to race in Arizona… and I know that. It will also require a lot more mental prep, strength training & higher food bills than I’ve ever had to deal with in the past, but I’m looking forward to seeing my own mental/emotional/physical growth and continuing to prove all the “doubters” wrong.  :)

I think another goal of mine should be to revisit the bigger picture of what I’m doing at/around the first of every month. After this entry I’ll only have to do this 11 more times anyway! Yikes. I’ve made a few (fitness) goals for December alone… we’ll see if they last and if I choose to make them rollover goals. I would like to really concentrate on strength & foundation training, going to yoga at least once a week, and staying committed to not eating meat (except maybe some fish). The reason being is that my body feels better without it, just not sure how that will factor in with my training!

We’re still a GO on Christmas cookies though...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

IM Journal: LOG #4

Ok, this daily log isn't’ so “daily”, but in my defense there isn't too much activity happening on my side yet.

Since my last log I have been running/biking/swimming/yoga-ing per usual but have been able to get in a few high altitude runs up in Mammoth (approx 8,500ft) and have recorded a few vital stats & pictures. Since I currently live at an altitude of about 50ft I definitely could feel a huge difference running at altitude! I may have to spend more time up there to work on natural blood doping.  :)  

I’m not sure that I really want to share any of my “before” pictures, measurements or weight on a public forum, but just know that I do have the info recorded! Maybe if my “after” pictures & stats are a lot better I can add in the old ones for comparison. After seeing so many models in magazines, social media, etc it makes me scrutinize my body way more than I should (even though I know that I’m seeing the result of good Photoshop jobs & know the models aren't training for any races). Yay for body image issues.

Currently I am just maintaining a base level of fitness and trying to find a balance between getting my workouts in & having an off season! I’m not sure if it’s because of the fast-approaching holiday season, but all I want to do is sit on my butt & relax!! :)