Thursday, January 27, 2011

An Incredible Machine

After an awesome training day like today I can't help but be amazed by what the human body and spirit are capable of. Just like a well oiled and finely tuned machine I awoke at 6:15 for more morning workout - despite the ThunderSnow of the previous evening here in DC. I got dressed with the faith that I would be able to put my 3 miles in outside instead of the treadmill before peering out the window. Oh, how I love DC! The streets were clear, the sidewalks were mostly clear and the temperature was in the 30's! I set out as a lone ranger in the dark of morning. The city was calm and quiet compared to other weekday mornings at 6:30am thanks to the snow. My run went very well I hit my pace and kept at it, around the white house and up Virgina Ave. to the gym.

The pool was calm with only 1 other swimmer. I was able to jump in and pound away 3x500m repeats. Awesome I PRed on my first one and kept the speed up on my 2nd and 3rd! Unlike other days the locker room was empty and calm. After a quick change I ran home so I could indulge in obnoxious amounts of Special K Red Berries! Offer me anything for breakfast, but if Special K Red Berries is on menu I'll take it! Humans are creatures of habit, maybe I am more so than others but I like what I do and it works for me. My college soccer coach used to include this quote with every summer workout book she gave us - "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."-Aristotle.

As habits and excellence become intertwined and as I push on towards excellence some may begin to call me crazy. At 3:00(an hour early than usual) I laced up my running shoes for workout #2 - Long Run Thursday! Sometimes I dread this day, other times I look forward to it all week long, but no matter what I love it once the long run is over. The afternoon weather was beautiful and my legs carried me 11 great miles - along the water, past the monuments, on a secluded Hains Point with wonderful wildlife and past the museums and White House. The hardest moments for me are when I have to stop due to traffic and my legs just want to keep going and going. Like a machine that has not finished it's job.

I am used to people calling me "crazy" - classmates, friends, family, strangers, little kids, everyone pretty much! Yes, I train 2x/day most days of the week. Yes I run a total of 14 miles on Thursday and swim 1 mile. I love every second of it and I am amazed every week at how my body becomes more efficient and adapts to the challenges I throw at it. Keeping the machine running well also comes with sacrifices. I have learned through trial and error, if that's what you want to call it, that I can't perform if I stay up late, drink, eat bad food, or don't train at all. Throw all of those into the mix at the same time and it takes a full week for me to rebound back to pre-latenightalcoholjunkfoodlaziness. As I set my sights high focus my desires on the goals I have set for myself I must be willing to make the sacrifices that keep the machine running.

Another part of my training that I am working on has to do with Team FCA-Endurance. I was active with FCA throughout college, as well as other campus ministries. When I got to DC I didn't have that fellowship and I started looking into options. I joined Team FCA-Endurance with hopes to join up with a local huddle, meet new people with similar passions and maybe find a training partner. Well great idea, but DC doesn't have a huddle. So I began setting out quiet time on my own and following Team FCA-E online. Last night I received an Email from a fellow FCA-E member with information about helping to start a huddle in DC. I can't wait to see how the Lord works with Endurance athletes in DC!

To achieve something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done. Tri something new today, who cares if anyone calls you crazy!

I do not boast in my own abilities or believe in my own strength. I rely solely on the power of God. (taken from the Competitor's Creed

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Culpeper Sprint Triathlon

Continuing on writing about my Triathlon experiences thus far I am back tracking to August 1, 2010. Ryan and I packed up our Swim, Bike, Run gear and drove out to the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Culpeper Sprint Triathlon. It was a nice get-a-way from the city with a quaint small town and my dear mother even met us there to support us and cheer us on all the way! After making the couple hour drive out there Ryan and I checked into out simple hotel room, got Subway for lunch and met up with my mom in the small quaint town of Culpeper. I must add I have been wanting to do Culpeper for a couple years until this point. Culpeper was my first triathlon experience ever in 2008 - I cheered my brother on a couple days before my last preseason of college soccer. Ever since seeing him and all the others swim, bike, run I knew I had found something I could and wanted to do when soccer came to an end! I am so blessed to have fallen in love with everything about multi-sport.
We spent a wonderful afternoon with my mom - she even drove us to the race site and drove the bike course and the run course for us. Before checking out the race course we went to packet pickup at the local bike shop, which is worth checking out if you are ever in town. This was our first experience checking the course out intentionally before race day. It's a good thing we did and I definitely recommend scoping out the race course if it is was one you are unfamiliar with. We hadn't realized it until the drive but it was a very hilly course-duh it was in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

We all retired early so we could wake and arrive at the race site with plenty of time to prepare ourselves! Morning came and we enjoyed some good continental breakfast ( a la my own Special K Red Berries) before heading to the race site. To our surprise crazy triathletes on a tight budget had popped tents in the parking area! The transition area was clearly marked and set-up so the morning went smoothly.

After setting up our transition areas we got in our race spandex and headed to the lake for a warm-up swim and the National Anthem. We were happily surprised by my mom shortly after our warm-up, with her camera in hand of course! As the usual Ryan's wave was before mine so I was able to cheer him on at the beginning! Soon enough it was my turn, lined up in the water waiting for the GO. Alas, we were off, I chose to start near the bouy and in the front, may have been a mistake, but it worked! I was able to find some toes and draft another swimmer-allowing me to stay on course and improve my swim time by 3:10! I must admit some of this also has to do with the previous open water experience and the training I had been doing.

I ran out of the water and up to my transition area. I had a smooth transition and was off on the bike in no time. The bike course was hilly! There were enough people that you were most often near or in sight of another racer which was nice, and fed my competitive fire to catch people from behind. I took my PowerGel toward the end of the bike to get my energy back up for the run.

When I came in to dismount my bike there was mom right at the corner with the camera cheering me on! Another smooth transition and I was off on the 5k run! The run was hilly as well-it was an out back with 2 little out and back off-shoots down side roads. I saw Ryan on his way back on the first off-shoot and I never looked back! I pushed myself the whole run just trying to catch him. At each aide station I took 2 waters-one to drink and one to dump over myself. I read this in a Runner's World I believe and I do love the tactic. I was about 2.9 miles into it and headed around the big turn with all the fans and racers back to the finish shoot! I got such a boost when I got near the finish line-I started running as fast as I could while licking my chops and trying to catch anyone in front of me!

An awesome finish, with Ryan and my mom to greet me! Needless to say, I never actually caught Ryan. The finish line offered us pizza, pretzels, fruit, sports drink, water, etc. Nothing too special tho. We enjoyed the fresh air while basking in our accomplishment and waiting for the results and rewards. The results were posted and my first words out of my mouth to Ryan were "My name's above yours! I beat you!" I couldn't contain my excitement but he did great and I only beat him by 30s or so. We stayed around to see the awards-which in themselves were disappointing as they were folding blue camping chairs. I guess Models or Dicks had a sale.

Overall, Culpeper was a great race with great company. Challenging for the sprint distance due to the hills. I would recommend this race if you have never done it but I may be looking to try a different one this year during that time frame. The finish line festivities and awards were sub-par compared to what I had seen 2 years previously.

Final Culpeper Results:

750m Swim: 14:50
16 mile Bike: 56:58
5k Run: 24:46

Finish Time: 1:40:18 ( Good enough for 6th in the age group)

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Week in the Life

Building strength and building endurance are the keys to my training right now. I have been using The Triathlete's Training Bible to help me organize my workouts and schedule based around the races I would like to peak for. Recently I have read a lot about using longer training periods such as 10, 14, or 20-day training periods instead of the commonly used 7-day training period. I considered adjusting my schedule to a longer format but decided that in the spirit of consistency I would stick with the 1week plan. I have been on a "1 week plan" ever since I started playing college soccer so I have grown quite accustomed to it.

I keep my training log on my computer in an excel document and I am also trying to become comfortable using The nice thing about the 1 week plan with similar workouts based on the day is that it makes tracking progress and improvements pretty easy. I can also see how much I have added from one week the to next or if my performance is deteriorating. I had some issues inserting the piece of the training log, so it is not the best quality but I'll work on the technique.
What type of training plan do you use? Do you use a base, build, and peak method or do you train spontaneously?

As I have decided to compete in my first 1/2 Ironman this Fall training on the bike will become a much larger part of my weekly training plan as the weather gets nicer. I have never cycled farther than about 32 miles so 56 miles will definitely be a new adventure for me. In the past I have worried most about being able to keep a decent pace on the swim distance, but as the swim distance of a 1/2 IM isn't too much farther than Olympic Distance the focus must switch to the bike and the run as well.

I am also toying with the idea of tackling a new distance on the run this fall - the marathon! I have until mid February to make a decision on this as the marathon I would complete is the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30. Have you completed a marathon? What was your first marathon?

Monday, January 10, 2011


Back into the swing of things, and it feels great! Morning workouts followed by a huge bowl of Special K Red Berries and off to school! 2.5 weeks of relaxation and restoration at home was amazing and it feels great to come back with energy and enthusiasm to train hard and work hard (school wise too). The toughest thing about taking such amounts of time off (and I did do at least 30 min of aerobic activity 5-6 days of the week) is the overwhelming thought that I am losing all my fitness. In actuality I knew I wasn't going to lose all of it but heading out for a run after 5 straight days on the indoor bike trainer isn't the most uplifting and energizing running experience. After just one week of returning to training hard I feel great, some of my runs have been a little slower but that's expected and I tend to run slower when its only 30 degrees outside. My legs just get too cold.

Next weekend I am heading up to a mountain ski chalet in Davis, WV with a group of friends for a ski weekend. It should be a great weekend and I know my legs will get some good strength workouts with all the snowboarding I'll be doing but I would love to get some running in as well. Of course that also depends on the conditions of the mountain roads in town and the weather to an extent but I hope I can make it happen.

Over the past week I patiently contemplated my one word for this year. This word appeared a few times while reading throughout the week and I think it really sums up a little of everything I want to focus on throughout the year. "For where your treasure lies, there your heart will be also..." - the word I have chosen is DESIRE. Desire to train hard, eat right, live well, be happy, have fun, follow my heart, and achieve my goals. As long as I treasure what is most important my desire can help me achieve that which I set forth to do.

I have also been thinking about and planning my racing calendar for the year. With a few races set - the most important one has yet to be decided upon - a half-ironman! For awhile I was thinking Providence 70.3 but more recently I am leaning more toward the Augusta 70.3 due to the late season date and location. Though this is only 2 weeks after The Nation's Tri I think if I plan it out I can get a good peak for both of them.

I am well into The Triathletes Training Bible and have began playing around with I have yet to sit and write out an annual training plan but I know basically what it will look like and what things in my workout schema I can change or adapt. I do love the book and all the training/racing tips and advice it has to offer. Do you use any software for creating a training plan or do you do it old school and use a notebook?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

rUnCommitted. rUnFocused. rUnHappy.

I've been saying I would post a tentative 2011 Race schedule, so it can be found at the bottom of this post. The first race listed, the New Year's Resolution Run was run this morning in great and unseasonably warm weather for MI on January 1st! It was great to see some usual Lake Orion faces and old teachers out for a good run! I finished a little slower then I would have liked, but did place 2nd for my age group! Nice way to start out the new year!

One thing I have noticed is that I run faster and it seems much easier to run after biking such as during triathlons or during my brick workouts. I am hoping as I set a training schedule and use my great Christmas present, The Triathletes Training Bible I can continue to improve my run times. I am looking forward to really planning out my training and rest periods to help achieve peak performance for the half-ironman as well as some of the other races on my schedule. I am debating about joining the DC Triathlon Club - as it seems they have some good group workouts but fitting them into my busy school schedule may prove to be difficult.

I have got some work to do on my bike as Christmas was great and I've now got some new tires and lights, as well as my first pair of riding gloves. Hopefully they'll make the rides a little more comfortable. I've got some new running gear as well so I should be good to go full throttle with training starting on Monday. I am also in the process of selecting a one word motto for this year/training and racing season that really sums up what I am all about this year. I got this idea from an FCA Newsletter you can check out team FCA-Endurance at I am really looking forward to pushing myself in training and racing and improving in all 3 disciplines. This year will bring some big changes come June as I transition from student life to somewhat career life as the internship phase of school starts and classroom phase comes to an end. I may have to adjust my training at that time but hopefully not too drastically. What are some of the struggles or barriers you face with training? Is there anything you do to get through tough days or workouts?

I have also applied to 3 Disciplines, an event company that runs triathlons in MI and surrounding areas, to be a sponsored athlete for the 2011 season. I should find out around January 12th, fingers crossed that I am one of ten selected! It would be such a great opportunity and allow me to race in more races and such without such a hefty price attached. For anyone in the MI area you should check them out at! What are you looking forward to in 2011, any big races, life changes, trying something new?

New Year's Resolution Run, Lake Orion MI (1/1/11): 2nd place F 20-29, 24:52

National Half Marathon, Washington DC or ATL Half-marathon (3/26/11): Tentative

Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-miler, Washington DC (4/3/11): Confirmed

Tri the Parks, John Tanner SP, GA (4/30/11): Tentative

Gateway Triathlon or other 3D Event in May: Tentative

Tri Latta Sprint Triathlon, Huntersville NC (6/11/11): Tentative

DC Triathlon - International Distance (6/19/11): Tentative

Stumpy Creek International Triathlon (7/16/11): Tentative

International Sprint Distance Tri in August

The Nation's Triathlon, Washington DC (9/11/11): Confirmed

Providence or Augusta 70.3: Tentative

America's Thanksgiving Day Parade 10k, Detroit MI

Jingle All the Way 10k, Washington DC