Friday, December 9, 2011

Off Season Races

It was never my intention to go this long between posts. Life has gotten the best of me lately. Between work, home, and getting my workouts in I barely have time to look around and see what's up.

Moving on..

I did the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving with my sisters' and Phil. It was great. I did exactly what I set out to do: run my own race. We started off and I was able to stay with speed demon my sister Hannah for the first half. Once we rounded the corner (it was an out and back race) she was able to go around some folks that created a wall once she was on the other side. So, I continued to run at the current pace. I was feeling good. No pain, no issues with my breathing. Around the 2.5 mile mark I started to feel fatigued. Phil caught up with me. He kept me going. He gave me pace updates (he had an ear bud in for his phone so he could hear feedback), he kept me moving. We ran together to the end. When I saw the time on the clock when I finished I was nearly in shock. It was just under 30 minutes. I was so happy and so ecstatic when I saw that. Hannah ran it faster, Sarah ran it slower. I didn't care. I am so proud of my time! It was really awesome to finish with Phil.

I've decided to run the It's a Wonderful Run 5k in Seneca Falls this Saturday. This one should be really festive. You start running at dusk and the route is lit up with the Christmas lights from the homes and businesses on the route. Seneca Falls is the inspiration for Bedford Falls from It's a Wonderful Life. They do a festival the whole weekend. Looks like it will be a great time. Sarah is running it with me, she rocks with her running as well. She is consistently getting faster, I love it!

My eating is, well, it's not great. It's not horrible. I'm enjoying life at the moment and that includes my indoor s'mores and cheese with my tacos. At the same time I haven't gained a significant amount of weight. If anything I have stayed steady. Which means all my workouts have been a way of maintaining the weight loss. Which is great and all but I would love to drop the last 5 or so pounds that I want to lose. Perhaps after the holiday season is over I can get back on a sensible, portion controlled, diet.

My training. It's been going, well if you had asked me two days ago I would have bemoaned how horrible it's going. How I don't feel like I'm getting any better, I'm not fast enough, so many people are faster or prepare better than me. However, it hit me yesterday. I actually AM improving. Typically on my training runs I am hitting a pace of 9:30/min miles. That's a full minute and half faster from the summer and a full half minute faster than my previous 'fast pace'. My swimming? Couldn't be better. I can knock off 1000 yards in 20 minutes. I could keep going if I wanted, because I don't feel winded or tired. The fact that I'm not injured, not out of shape, improving, means that I'm doing something RIGHT. I'll be honest, I love this feeling. This feeling that I'm working towards my goal paces and getting somewhere.

I am still planning on a half marathon in January. It will probably be the Nike+ Women's virtual half, but I just caught wind of the Manhattan Half Marathon. I need to talk to Phil but I'm considering that one instead of the virtual half, it goes through Central Park and surrounding areas. Sounds nice. We'll see. After the half I may concentrate on my swimming. My swimming goal is the 2.5 mile Peaks to Portland. To make that happen I need to start swimming some distance. 2.5 miles is roughly 4400 yards. I'm pretty sure I could do that, I say that with zero confidence. I think my long term goal for race season is an Olympic distance triathlon along with my two sprints. There's time to sort out which Olympic I do, but I will do one.

Christmas is approaching. I bought Phil's gift and I cannot wait until it comes and he opens it. The only thing on my list is a, admittedly unromantic, Garmin 910XT. Comes out in January.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Moving Along

I ran this morning, a temp run. It felt great to go faster and push my body. By the last 1/2 mile of my intended 5k? My legs were toast. It felt good to exhaust my legs, to really get all the extra energy out.Turkey trot is next week, I'm excited to do a race again. I try to do a race a month, I'm going through some sort of weird withdrawal from races at the moment.

Speaking of races, I am going to participate in the Nike+ Women's Half Marathon. I figure it's a good way to keep some direction on my runs and get me motivated to get out there. Is it a 'real' race with goody bags and t-shirts? No. Honestly? That's perfectly fine with me. To run near my house, to complete 13.1 miles on MY terms. I'm good. Like I said, I just need something to keep motivated and going in the forward direction for my runs.

I'm super excited about my swimming. My pace was spot on for the full 1500yds on Monday. It felt great to push myself those extra 500yds that I've been slacking on as I get back into the pool. My plan is Mondays will be all about endurance, getting up to 2000-2500yds and Fridays will be intervals.

My eating? Well, my eating, has been not so great. Not terrible just not what I should be doing. My weight hasn't changed, in fact it's gone down, so I'm not really getting pushed or motivated to change my habits. Except that Phil is still pushing towards his goal and eating properly and eating the right portions. His example is going to help me get back on the healthy eating bandwagon.

I'm going to leave you with an awesome Halloween picture of my girls. They had a great Halloween and loved going from house to house. Kirsten wanted to go home after the first house so she could eat her 'pink candy' that she got. I had to keep reminding her that she would still get to eat it whenever we got home. We hit about 12 houses and called it a night. It was fun.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Life Goes On

The good news is, I don't have a lot going on. Work is still kicking my ass at times. Lindsey continues to wow me with her adorableness. Kirsten is really showing off her knowledge these days of 'potty words', and her adorableness.

I feel like I may be getting sick. Sore throat, stuffy head, etc. I've been drinking lots of water, trying to eat better (really hard to do with all the Halloween candy floating around). Feeling sick makes me even less motivated to get out there and get moving.

Which is why, after emailing with Karen, I have decided: hell with it. I'm going to go and run my 4 miles tonight. I'll take it easy, enjoy the scenery and relax. This run will help keep my blood flowing, clear my head, and give me a release of some of the tension I'm carrying around with me at the moment.

I plan on going swimming tomorrow and taking it easy with that as well. Just swim until 1500yds and enjoy the time in the water. I honestly don't imagine I'll feel very well tomorrow morning, but we'll see. Stranger things have happened.

That's it at the moment! All signed up for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and looking for a race to do in December.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wow, Busy Has Happened

I really did not mean to go so long without posting. Life ramped up into overdrive for a bit there.

Work got crazy, kids stopped sleeping, weather got cold. I did get out there a few times and man, it felt GREAT to get active.

Tomorrow I plan on running 5mi. We'll see how easy I take the pace. I've been pushing myself a bit lately. I have to admit, I love it. I love the feeling of going faster, hitting small little PR's on my training runs. It really does help keep me going.

Lindsey has had a hard time the last few nights with sleeping. Thursday night being the worst. Phil and I had no idea what her problem was. Finally, after falling asleep in my arms in the recliner I got it: eczema. All over the back of her thighs, butt, and knees. Put some Benadryl cream on, and she finally went to sleep. At 3am. Ugh. Friday night wasn't so bad and I'm hoping tonight will go even better.

I've had candy tempting me at work all week. I have to say, I have eaten more than I should have. It's hard to walk by bowls of candy bars over and over, and NOT pick one up. Still, I like to think I had less than I normally would have.

Starting to seriously consider doing an Olympic distance tri next summer. It's constantly in the back of my mind.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

THIS is Why I Started a Blog

Saturday was the Run for Hospice in Greece, NY. The race itself was pretty much hell for me. However, Phil and my sisters nailed it. They all did great at their own paces and I was really happy to be out there running with them. I won't go into a detailed race report because, frankly, my run sucked. It threw me into a tail spin of self doubt and a 100% pure pity party. After talking with Phil, I rallied and now have new plans in place to get me where I want to be with regards to my fitness level. Also, as my wonderful friend Karen pointed out: You had a horrible race because you ran everyone else's race but your own!

Truer words have never been spoken.

Kirsten did her 1/2 mile kids fun run. She smiled the entire run, excited to be out there running her race. She was the youngest kid who did the 1/2 mile (there was a 1/4 mile where most of the kids her age ran). She came in last but got a high five from one of the volunteers and she got to break the tape. She did fantastic. SHE ran her own race. I should take a lesson or two from her.

I haven't done anything since Saturday. Sunday is a rest day for me, so nothing was planned that day anyway. Although, I did wheelbarrow one Lindsey with 8 pumpkins at the pumpkin patch so I should count that. Monday I was scheduled to swim. I dragged myself out of bed (after getting home late from my mom's), got my suit on and went to the pool. Only to find 6 others waiting to get in, the lifeguard was not there yet.

This is where it gets frustrating. I swim at the local HS pool. The lifeguard is all of 17 years old. She's also new. MY workout depends on her showing up on time. I waited 15 minutes before calling it a bust. I wasn't happy because this means no swim until Friday (remember, new schedule with Lindsey going to daycare). It also meant I had to do something after work.

I wanted to do something after work. However, I had work to do after work. Once dinner was done, Lindsey had a bath, kids were in bed, work kept me busy until 11:30pm. I didn't hit the pillow until almost midnight. My alarm went off at 4:40am and my body said, "HELL NO". Tonight, I run.

These set backs, these life set backs are why I started a blog. I'm a real person, with real responsibilities trying to fit it all in. I need to schedule and adjust that schedule to carve out the time needed to do the things I want, not just what I need. It's not always easy, but worth all the effort.

*Also for some real motivation check out the Kona Ironman race reports by Ange and Michelle. Links are to the left. They totally inspire me to keep going.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What a Week

I'm just going to let this week go. Life got in the way of training this week. It happens, I just can't let it happen over and over.

Next week Lindsey starts daycare Tuesday-Thursday. My plan for the weeks are as follows:
Sunday- Off
Monday- Swim
Tuesday- Run
Wednesday- Off
Thursday- Bike (weather permitting) or Run
Friday- Swim
Saturday- Brick or long run (bike)

Once I set this schedule it will be easy to stick to as my family will know my expectations. This way should one of the girls wake up early (like Lindsey did again this morning, difference was she wouldn't go back to sleep), Phil knows what time I'm trying to get out of the house. A bike or run I can leave at 5:15 and still get in a decent work out. For a swim I have to be out of the house by 5:15 to get to the pool by 5:30. If I don't get to the pool at 5:30 my work out is cut significantly short.

Scheduling is the only way I know to keep the training motivation together during these weeks. If I get a plan, I will do my best to stick to it.

Very excited about the race tomorrow, should be a ton of fun.

*In some admin news for this little blog, I have changed the settings so that anybody can comment. You don't need a Gmail account or anything. Just choose the anonymous option and leave your name in the comment, or not. Would love to see if anyone is really reading. So, don't be shy! Thanks!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Snapshots in Time

I'm on a training run. It's within the first few miles so it's been a struggle. A struggle between breathing and moving my legs. I start to give myself little motivations: Get to the top of the hill, then you can walk for a minute. Keep going, when you hit mile 2, you can take a break. Then I make it to that milestone. That moment, is when I feel awesome. When I reach the goal, but keep going.

I'm finishing a race. I've got almost nothing left. I see my family, I see the finish line, I get excited. I sprint to the finish. I may not have won, I may not have even come close, but I finished strong. I smile.

It's early, 5am. I'm laying in bed contemplating getting out of bed to do my work out. I hear the door open down the hall and then footsteps. Soft, small footsteps. Lindsey. Sure enough, 5 seconds later I see Lindsey looking at me, stuffed frog tucked under her arm. "Mommy" she says in a groggy voice. My rule is (and this will be news to Phil, I'm sure) if it's after 5am they can get in bed with us and snuggle. We all get up at 6am anyway. I put her next me. "Blankie mommy". I pull the sheet over her little body up to her chin. I put my head down on the pillow and look at her, she turns to face me. At that moment she looks at me, smiles, touches my cheek with her little toddler hand. I look again and her eyes are closed. She's snoring. The house is quiet as I look at her little cheeks up against the pillow, her mouth open, slow inhales and exhales. Her hand is still resting on my cheek.

I think to myself, I'll run tonight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rest Day?

When you're a parent, there is no such thing as a true rest day. I love my girls more than anything but I would love it more if they slept in past 6am every once in awhile.

Today is a rest day from training for me. Perfect timing actually as we had a dinner guest last night and we stayed up late talking (11pm, on a school night? That's late folks). I woke up, on my own, at 5:45am. As predicted, at 6am almost to the second, I heard the bedroom door open and was face to face with Kirsten. 2 minutes later her little sister, Lindsey, joined her.

After getting up and making them their meals of Franken-Berry and Waffles with Syrup nutritious breakfast goodness I got to thinking about what really makes up a rest day.

For me, it's a day where I don't have to think about training at all. Where I can just enjoy my time with my family and slog through work without thinking about performance, hydration, speed, or length. A day where I still eat sensibly but cut back a little more because I don't have those extra calories burned.

I still have slight pain in my left foot. I'm not ignoring the pain, but it's not at the forefront of my mind either. I do stretches throughout the day and pay attention when it does hurt. I think another week of being gentle to it will solve the problem.

Next week starts a new chapter for all of us in our family. Lindsey will be going to daycare three days a week. This will allow Phil to go to doctor's appointments, make phone calls, get a rest in when needed without worrying about either of the girls (Kirsten is currently in pre-k until 1pm during the week). The daycare is in the same building I work, so I won't be able to swim on those days (that would require that I swim, go back home and get Lindsey, and then go to work: Not logical). Which is fine. I just need to remember to make the adjustment to what I'm doing and when. I'm sure Lindsey will love daycare after the initial couple of days.

For today? I will just enjoy my rest day.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I can talk myself out of almost anything. Not only can I talk myself out of it, I can spin it around so it sounds like a good thing. Should I wake up one morning and say to myself, "Ugh, I don't feel like running". I can rationalize all the 'reasons' for staying in bed. Once I have them, I can then tell myself that it's OK to miss ONE day. Then one day turns to two, and two to three, etc.

How do I break that cycle? How do I force myself out of bed, knowing that once I complete the intended workout I'll feel great? How do I make that leap?

I ask someone else to hold me accountable. I chose someone who I knew would have the guts to call me out on it if I missed a workout. Who would listen to my so called 'reasons' and call bullshit. That person is my friend Karen. She's a runner. She's in training for her first marathon. There are days where we email each other and finally get ourselves back on track with motivation. 

Today, I got up and ran because I knew that if I didn't I would get an email from Karen tomorrow asking me, "WTF?". What would I tell her?
That I was tired? Yeah, when am I NOT tired.
That I was cold? It's only fall, it's only going to get worse.
That it was foggy? There's a treadmill readily available, and I have a headlamp should I want to run outside.
I had nothing. No concrete reason to give her. So, I dragged my lazy ass out of bed and ran a 5k.

I took it easy today because I wanted to see where my HR would land if I stayed slow and even. I also took it easy because the outside of my left foot was in serious pain on Friday. It got better over the weekend, and when I ran I had zero issues. I made sure to give my Achilles and calves some nice stretches after the run.

After the run? I felt great! I did it, I got out of bed, I didn't need to worry about what I was going to say to Karen.

Now, I also started the dreaded calorie counting today. Big sigh over here. It went OK, I got frustrated with the software (I use an app on my phone). Phil showed me how to use it more efficiently (he's a pro with this software, he's been using it for almost 5 months now), how to log my foods, find my foods, etc. It did hold me accountable. I was the master of self restraint knowing that I didn't want to put any extra numbers on for the day.

By 3pm? I was starving. However, mind over matter and all that: I made it through. I ate dinner, not a lot. Sensible portions. Didn't go to crazy with the cheese (I love cheese), had less ice cream than normal for dessert. We had tacos. One very large benefit to having a spouse that is into weight loss and eating healthy? He cooks very healthy meals. He substitutes less healthy items for more sensible options. He also likes to cook. This is all very good for me and my goals. He's hitting his weight loss goals as well, it's a win/win.

I signed up for a 5k this weekend. Me, Phil, and my sisters will be running this race together. It should be a good time, it looks like a pretty course, and it's for a good cause. I also signed up my oldest daughter to run in the 1/2 mile kids fun run. She ran one last May and has been dying to do another. At 4, she's shaping up to be fitness minded. I'm pretty sure it's because she's been to enough of mommy's (and soon daddy's) races to see the fun you can have running.

It's all about accountability for me. I need to be accountable to someone else, someone who will get me out of bed and won't listen to my excuses. Accountable to myself to keep on track with my eating by watching the numbers during the day go up and up and keeping them reasonable. Accountable to my family to stay healthy and set a good example.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beginning of the Week

After the half marathon last Sunday I decided to take a week off. Mostly because a few short hours after my half, my knees were killing me and I could barely walk. I also decided to take the week off so that I could figure out where I wanted to go with my training during the first half of the 'long cold winter'.

It didn't take long for me to settle down and get comfortable. I ate what I wanted, slept in, enjoyed my time 'off'. Now, I'm facing this week of getting back into the swing of things. At the moment I don't have any 'A' races on the docket. In the next couple of months I have 5k's scheduled. That's all.

I think I may start out with just getting back in the water again. I really let my swimming go at the tail end of the season and I love it so much. I've got a training plan to help with speed. So, for now, I will concentrate on swimming and getting faster. I will supplement with some weights and core training. I loathe weight training. I find it tedious and boring. I understand the need, I just hate the thought of spending time in a gym and lifting weights. However, on those days I will add some interval training on the treadmill.

There is one race next year that I would love to get in shape for, the Peaks to Portland race in Maine. My family and I vacationed there yearly until I was in high school. My grandmother had a great house on Chebeague Island (near Peaks Island) and a cottage on the property. I would love to swim in Casco Bay.

Another race I'm seriously considering is the Pittsburgh Marathon or at least the half marathon. The company I work for is headquartered there, so I could work the Friday before hand at that office and stay with friends for the weekend. I'm still torn between the full and the half. I'm just not sure I want to dedicate so much time to marathon training when I really want to increase my triathlon distance.

Which brings me to... Which tri's to do next season. The one race that will always be on my race card is the Skinnyman in Skaneateles. My first triathlon and one that I love doing. Other than that one? I have no idea. Because I'm still not sure if I want to train for speed for the sprint distance or increase my endurance for an Olympic distance.

This coming week also brings me back to watching what I eat. I'll get back on the calorie counter bandwagon. It worked for me before, it is currently working for my husband Phil. I just hate counting every single calorie and logging it all in. It helps keep me honest and keeps my portions in control. Once I get back into it I'll start seeing the weight come off once again. Next week may see the return of stopping the consumption of sugary treats. My love of donuts knows no boundaries.

There will be more entries this week as I get back into my regular work out schedule and training. I did get seriously motivated and excited to bike tomorrow when I watched the coverage of the Ironman Kona yesterday. Nothing like seeing some serious athletes really push their limits to get you up off the couch to start your own race.

Friday, October 7, 2011


In May, 2010 I found myself overweight, unemployed, a reluctant stay at home mom to my 2 girls and generally unhappy. I decided to take some action and looked into triathlon training plans.

Why a triathlon?
Simple. One word: swimming. I love swimming, always have. However, I wasn't a strong swimmer. I couldn't even do the freestyle stroke. However, I knew I would stay with a workout plan if it had something I liked. I found a couch to sprint plan and followed it to the letter. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, I have done (4) 5k's, a 6.66 miler, a 4 miler, a 5 miler, a Warrior Dash, a relay as the cyclist, 3 sprint distance triathlons, and a half marathon.

Training is not easy for me. Every bone in my body on some days begs me to quit. To give up and forget about this whole 'staying fit' business. That I wasn't really that unhappy with my body, myself, back then. Which, honestly, is a lie. I like my body now. I like seeing the definition of my muscles. I like not getting out of breath as I play with my children. I like that I no longer feel self concious about myself in clothing or even a bathing suit.

With winter coming up the need to stay focused and keep it all going is going to be hard. As the days get shorter, the mornings get darker... my mind starts to try and tell me to stay inside. I need to get a plan together of goals for next race season. I need to stay motivated to get up at 4:40 in the AM to start running/biking/swimming.

I'm hoping this blog will help. That I can reach out to other people who are doing the same thing and need the same help. Eventually I plan on getting other regular authors for this blog so that readers can see different perspectives. People in various phases of fitness doing various things. The look of this blog will change as I get more involved.

So, hello! I'm Heather and I'm a fitness nut.