Friday, April 29, 2011

mantra compilation + giveaway winner!

I think my favorite thing about this giveaway is the huge stack of mantras that I have collected.  Just thinking through them all should get me through any race.  Some favorites:

Amy says, "Fatigue Is A Choice."  This weekend Amy is running the Eugene Marathon, and I know this one will be on her mind in those last miles.  (She's headed out there with Beth - these two ladies are primed and ready to crush this race.  Go wish them luck!)

Several people said their mantra is "HTFU."  Could someone please tell me what that means?  I know, I'm old and not with it.

Sarah with an H is trying to like, "Be Bold" as her mantra.  I actually kind of love this one!

ohmmommy is coming back after an injury and has two: "Strong glutes, little steps" (this one rings particularly true to my weak ass) and "Embrace the pace."  

Ultrarunnergirl writes that her mantra is "Relentless Forward Progress."  I actually thought of this one a few times this morning on my long ride!

Rachel would put "UNSTOPPABLE" as her mantra.  I like it because it's simple but meaningful.

The comments on this one were fabulous, and I wish I could make a giant list of all of them, but seriously, go read them - you might find one you love!  Between the comments and twitter entries, there were a total of 73 entries.  I let pull the winner...
Heather at Dietitian on the Run!  Please email me and I'll give you the code.  To everyone else, I have a $1 off discount code good for 20 people - drop me a note in the comments if you'd like it.  A huge thanks to Scott at Outside PR for sponsoring this giveaway.  Thanks to everyone for leaving all of the strong and awesome mantras!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

three things thursday

1. This is the strangest training cycle I have ever been in.  It basically goes like this: "What did I do yesterday?  How do I feel today?"  Honestly.  Sometimes it goes further into "Did I swim yesterday?  Did I ride?  Hard or easy?  What did I lift, top or bottom?  Okay, do the other thing today." but in general I'm not even thinking that much about it.  I'm not mapping out workouts at the beginning of the week like I usually do.  I make some dates with friends for rides/swims/runs, and then kind of fit everything else around it.  I've been alternating hard rides with recovery rides for the most part, and I'm trying not to swim two days in a row if I don't have to.  I'm allowed to run every other day, but that's essentially the only guide I have.  I'm listening hard to my body.  And surprisingly enough, I feel like I'm getting in the quality workouts I need and (generally) the recovery time I need.  Who knew I could live without the giant colored spreadsheet?  

It's also pretty great because focusing on one day at a time is doing a LOT to prevent me from feeling panicky about being massively under-trained for my 70.3 - in particular, the 13.1 leg.  I am doing literally everything I can do to show up prepared but not overtrained, and while I'm looking forward to starting to taper, I'm not counting the days and workouts backwards from the race because my plan doesn't extend that far.  I wake up, evaluate how I feel, and go from there.  I've already had to reevaluate my goals for this race based on being restricted in training for the past 6 weeks, but my biggest goal has got to be to finish.  That alone would be a huge achievement so close to a ridiculously debilitating injury.  If I decide I like the distance, I've got my whole life to go back and crush each leg of it.  

2. I've been starting to wean myself off of doing workouts with music.  I don't always work out with music, but I plug in for longer/easier workouts.  But there are no pink iPod shuffles allowed in a 70.3.  So starting May 1, I'm going cold turkey on the music for all workouts.  Who's available May 14 to tell me knock-knock jokes for 70 miles?  My 310XT came without that feature.  LAME.

3. I noticed yesterday that I can tell the difference between two of my quad muscles for the first time, and I'm starting to get my scary cyclist calves back.  When did I become this person?  Also, do not google image "scary cyclist calf" unless you want to have nightmares.  

Don't forget to go enter my Road ID giveaway (yeah, you forgot about it, go, enter!).  Not a lot of bonus entries from twitter so far...!  I'll pick a winner tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

wordless wednesday

It's that time of the year again.

Trying to convince Graham to go in deeper than his ankles and the car smells like swampy dog time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

house projects: bathroom

Right now I'm halfway through a serious block of high volume training, and I just can't talk about running, biking, or swimming any more because it's all I'm doing.  I think I've even gotten past the point where I'm hungry all the time and moved into permanently exhausted.  8 more days until taper!

So, if you remember the first house project post, when we moved in, the house was a complete mess.  The family that had lived here before it stood empty had done quite a bit of DIY themselves, extremely poorly.  There are almost no straight lines in my house.  The floors are uneven, the walls aren't straight, and nothing matches up evenly.  The bathrooms all had similar fixtures and the tile was in okay shape, but in general it was all just a little beat up.

There was no door on the bathroom.
Oh, and it was also rocking this hot mess:
I spent about a month painting almost every weekend, just to get rid of the nasty white walls.  I picked out a very pale blue for the bathroom, as well as some new fixtures.  The blue turned out more purple on the walls, but I was happy with it.
My dad very kindly hung a door for me as well - so long, peepers across the street!
And the grate disaster got fixed when the molding was replaced.
One of the biggest problems in this house is the lack of storage space.  That's actually pretty common in older houses in this area, but it drives me crazy.  There is a half-closet in the master bedroom and a small closet in the basement bedroom, and that's it.  Two small closets in the entire house.  No coat closet, no hall closet, no linen closet.  But on top of that, the bathrooms all had pedestal sinks, so no under-sink storage either.  We've made do with lots of cabinets everywhere, and we've thought about closing in some spaces as closets, but I hate to give up room space for that.  With that in mind, we decided to hang a cabinet over the toilet and buy a larger medicine cabinet.  We picked up new light fixtures to replace the old rusted one above the sink as well.
I love it. (Ignore the fact that I haven't touched up the paint yet, and that I still have Christmas soap out).  The old cabinet was hung so high that I could only see myself from the neck up, and the wood frame was rotting.  This mirror is huge, and there are mirrors inside the cabinet as well.  
It was hard to hang the cabinet because the toilet is really off-center, but I think it look all right.  And now we finally can store all of our bathroom-type things (medicines, q-tips, shampoo, etc) inside the bathroom, instead of in a cabinet in the bedroom.  

So that's one room, complete!  Until we decide to tear it all out and renovate, but that is years away.  I never realized that when I owned a house I'd become completely addicted to DIY, but I am.  I read almost as many house repair blogs as I do athletic blogs.  Good thing we plan on never moving...

Happy Tuesday!  Send some healing thoughts to my quads, please!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crystal City 5K: the race that wasn't

It all started Thursday morning, when I got back in the pool for my first pool run in a few weeks.  Everything felt fine, and I had an amazing swim afterwards.  Later in the afternoon I noticed that my hip flexor and psoas on the bad side were tight, and my back was hurting.  I measured myself and my SI joint was out of alignment.  It took two tries to get it back in alignment, and it ached the rest of the day.  I stretched and released my psoas, but it still felt tight.

Friday morning I took it very easy - just a short ride - but my back was still aching.  I measured myself again after the ride, and I was out of alignment again.  Over the past 5 weeks, I've been measuring myself often.  At first I was out every day.  Then every other day, then every few days, and I've gotten down to only having to adjust myself every week or so as my body has gotten better at holding things in place.  So to be out 3 times in 24 hours was perplexing. I adjusted myself back in and went about my day, still planning to lightly jog the 5K that night.  But as the day went on, I started to have pain right in the SI joint, and it wasn't getting better.  About an hour before the race, I measured and I was WAY out of alignment, again.  I adjusted myself back in, but that plus the torrential downpour made me nix the race.  Jogging a 5K isn't a huge goal of mine right now, but being able to complete my 70.3 is, and it was an easy decision.

On Saturday, I did a long easy ride and then a short run afterwards.  I still have the ache in my back when I run, but my SI wasn't hurting, and when I got home and measured, I was still in alignment.  My theory (I have a lot of theories) is that pool running irritated my hip flexors, and in turn, my TFL/glute got tight and pulled everything out of whack (this is a very scientific theory).  So despite the fact that I actually love pool running as a supplement to land running, I think I'm going to leave it out for a few more weeks.  Right now it feels like I have no idea how to run. I'm pretty sure my body is both trying to run the "old" way (glutes not working, hip flexors doing twice as much work) and the "new" way (things working properly) at the same time, which is why things feel so weird, and trying to teach it how to pool run properly on top of this isn't what my body needs right now.  If I didn't have a 70.3 in a few weeks, I'd actually lay off the running entirely until my glutes were stronger and my muscle memory had improved, but I don't think I'm hurting anything with my 2-3 mile easy runs right now (and they are officially sanctioned by my PT).  It's just going to take a while for my body to learn new muscle patterns and how to use the right muscles at the right time.

And speaking of a long ride...  
You know the feeling you get, when you get new shoes and go run in them, and you realize how crappy and worn out your old shoes were because your feet feel so happy and bouncy and amazing?  That happened to my crotch this weekend.  I've been wearing (and washing!) one pair of bike shorts over and over this month, and I finally bought a second pair last week.  I wore them for the first time on Saturday, and holy happy crotchtown!  

And finally, a 30 days of biking update.  It's been a while!  I missed two days while in Boston, but I've had lots of double days this month and even a few triple days, so it doesn't count, according to me.

Day 15: 5.3 miles to the local bike shop and back.
Day 18: 3.5 miles on a pretty junky stationary bike.
Day 19: 22.1 awesome tempo miles on a flooded Haines Point.
Day 20: 13 bike commute miles to & from work, the "from" miles particularly hot.
Day 21: 5.3 recovery miles on tired brick'd legs.
Day 22: 7.7 more recovery miles on still wiped-out legs, but a beautiful sunrise.
Day 23: 45 miles with the happiest of hooters!
Day 24: 10 easy recovery miles on a gorgeous DC morning.
How was your weekend?  Is your crotch fat and happy like mine?  Are you excited for 30 days of biking to be over so I stop talking about my crotch (unlikely)?

Don't forget to enter my Road ID giveaway this week!  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Road ID giveaway!

I was lucky enough to be able to be asked to review a Road ID.  I got to pick one out and design it.  I chose the FIXX ID, which is actually the first style of Road ID ever made.  It's an engraved tag on a chain that looks a lot like the military dog tag.  I chose the "triathlete" design for the front and put my name, emergency contact information, and mantra on the back.  Faith, not fear.

I love it.  I chose it instead of the bracelet or shoe tag because I can also wear it while cycling and I don't have something else next to my Garmin on my wrist.  I also ride with an ID but I'm pretty bad about running with one, and it's easy to put this on when I'm heading out the door.

Luckily, I also get to give away a Road ID of your choice!  I'm going to make this simple - you need to be a follower & leave one comment.  Tell me what mantra you would put on your Road ID.  That's it.

For a bonus entry, you can tweet about it, but do not leave a comment for this one.  Just make sure to include @thisamazingday in your tweet and I will add those myself.  I'll choose a winner next Friday, 4/29!  Good luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

three things thursday

1. I did my first brick of the season yesterday.  Spoiler, this means I ran!  I rode home from work, changed into my running clothes and headed right back out.  The last time I ran in Virginia it was 40º out.  Yesterday here it was 90º out, and there isn't a lot of shade around my house.  My body was in shock, which made me kind of pouty.
I did have some aching in my glute while I was running, but I was concentrating really hard on trying to activate the right things and my overall gait.  No pain after, so I'd say I'm firmly on the path to healing! That said, I rode 6.5 miles and ran 3 and my heart almost exploded.  Feeling pretty uneasy about riding 56 and running 13.1 in 3.5 weeks, but there isn't much I can do about it so I might as well put it right out of my head.  Sparkly things!  Puppies!
2. I'll be jogging the Crystal City 5K on Friday night (Me!  Running!  I'll be running!  No, the novelty has not worn off yet), so let me know if you are planning on being there!  I'm hoping to take a minute off of last week's time and Molly might make a guest-spectating appearance....

3. Yesterday I got at least 3 of my 15 minutes of fame.  I was interviewed last week for an article that came out yesterday about allergies as related to mood for CNN and the author was kind enough to quote me about wanting to stab myself in the eyeballs and then link to my blog.  At least any new readers I have already know to expect that I'm pretty cranky!  Hi, new friends!  Please note that the article says I am showering much more often than usual.  I'll go back to my usual twice-a-week rinse once the all the flower fornicating dies down.  

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

wordless wednesday

This is where Molly sits most of the day.  She watches cars drive by and barks at most of them.
Sometimes I help her.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

my kind of crazy, my kind of awesome

If I took the time to write a post detailing everything I did this weekend, it would 728435 pages long and you should probably just go and read some recaps from people who actually ran the race.  So I'll just hit the good stuff.

I spent a LOT of quality time with my favorite running redhead:
and my new other favorite running redhead:
Actually, Boston was basically just redheads on parade.
I ran a 5K with some fabulous girls.  I WAS RUNNING THAT WAS ME!!!
I ate and drank my way through a great deal of Boston (shocker).

 Yes, there is icing on all 10 of my fingers and chocolate in my teeth.

I met tons of kickass ladies in real life that I've spent many months texting, emailing, twittering and chatting with - and they were far more fabulous than any words could do them credit.

And I stood on the sideline and watched thousands of runners run the last steps of their Boston Marathon, their victory lap, their A race, their no-one-understands-why-we-do-it race.  Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher ran by, and that was cool, but even better was yelling and screaming and clanking my bell for people I actually knew, both people I've been pulling for through every step of their training and people I've only recently met.  And some of them have really powerful stories, and some of them were just plain old trying to kick ass for the sole purpose of laying it down on the road.  Either way, it was motivating and emotional and amazing to stand on the sidelines and watch all these runners drive it home.  It reminds me why I do what I do, and why it's worth it to keep fighting.  All these people are my kind of crazy, this awesome kind of crazy, and I'm so thankful that I was there in this weekend to get my athlete batteries recharged.  Now go read race recaps!

Monday, April 18, 2011

B.A.A. 5K - race report

With one - no, two - exceptions, I haven't run in over a month.  Way back in early March, I signed up for the B.A.A. 5K, thrilled to be signing up for a race where I could get to run with a ton of awesome friends. I also had thoughts about trying to PR the 5K after the emotional roller coaster of my current 5K PR.  Then I got injured, and I didn't really think about this 5K until after the National Half, but was hoping to be able to run it - slowly - by the time it came around.  After last week's ridiculously bad test run, I decided I would just walk, and started trying to convince everyone else to walk with me.  Power-walking capri-wearing trash-talking runners in disguise!  Who wouldn't want to do that?

The last good run I had was actually with one of my favorite running redheads, so it seemed appropriate that she was the first one I was able to talk into walking the 5K.  I also figured that since I had never walked a 5K, this would be an automatic PR.  Everyone wins!  I've been slowly but steadily healing, but I'm far more concerned about getting to the starting line of the 70.3 that is looming than having a set-back because of trying to run a 5K.

When I arrived in Boston on Saturday morning, I started to think that I might be able to run a little bit of it.  I mean, honestly, I don't like walking, walking sucks, and the only reason I do it at all is because I don't have any of those cool shoes with wheels in the soles.  Plus the weather looked pretty cranky, and the thought of being out in the rain/wind/cold for 40+ minutes was not appealing.  But then we spent most of Saturday on our feet, and by the time we sat down for dinner I was tired and my back/butt/whatever hurt more than it has in a while.  So I changed my mind - again - and decided I would walk, and Lauren would get up early and run before the 5K and then walk with me.

When she woke up on Sunday morning, though, it was rainy and windy and she didn't want to be soaked for the race, so she didn't go for a run.  I put on 358 layers, figuring I would be much colder walking than I would be running, and we headed to the race.  We met up with a whole stack of friends who were also running the race.
In a 5K, it always seems like waiting for the race to start while standing in a clump at the finish line takes longer than the race itself.  The race started and no one around us moved.  After a few minutes, we started the slow lurch towards the start line, and finally crossed, power-walking our little butts off.  We walked a few hundred yards, and I realized how incredibly long the race was going to be.  So I said, "Let's run a bit!" and we started to - incredibly gently - jog a little bit.  We were being passed by everyone, old, young, water melting, rain falling, erosion of the planet, everything.  And the thing that's been pulling on my butt since December started pulling, but only the smallest, faintest hint of a pull.  Nothing like last week.  So we jogged a bit, and I felt a pang, so we walked a bit.  Then we decided to jog again, pretty slowly, but we were chatting and I wasn't noticing anything and suddenly we were at the mile 1 sign and I was still jogging.

What we've kind of decided in PT is that one of the many problems with me is that my glutes don't activate when I run.  Part of my PT has been doing glute strengthening exercises and trying to figure out how to activate those suckers and it's pretty difficult.  I mean, I've never used this muscle before, and last week in PT it took 15 minutes and 2 different people for me to figure out how to turn it on.  And I know that, long term, I'm going to need to figure out how to run using these muscles, but I'm not there just yet in PT.  But this morning, all I knew is using my glutes would help me stay balanced (and thus, hopefully pain-free), so the whole time we were running, I was trying desperately to activate my glutes.  Which meant I ran a 5K basically feeling like I was trying to not poop my pants the entire way.
I'm not sure if it worked or not, but I seemed to be doing okay.  Although wearing 2 technical shirts and a winter-weight running jacket turned out to be the worst idea ever, as the temperature hiked up just before the start and I was sweating my tits off by the time we'd run a full mile.  We went past the 2 mile mark and sped up a tiny bit, still chatting and playing a heavy game of people-dodging, and it was still all right.  Lauren started accusing me of speeding up around 2.5M (a total lie) so I just tried to keep it easy.  We took some self-portraits at this point in the race which I think are some of the best race photos I've ever had.  
And then we turned the corner and the famous fabulous Boston finish line was ahead of us, and I tried to convince Lauren to man up and pick off some people in the last stretch but she was having none of it.  We crossed the finish line at 35-something, but I figured we'd probably run a 32-something based on how far back we are.  
I walked around for the next 25 minutes saying, "I was running!  Me!  Running!  I was running!" to anyone that would listen.
Neither of us wore a Garmin, but there were clocks at each mile.  I walked in the first mile a couple of times, but then not again.  From what I can tell, my splits were roughly 12:00, 10:00, 9:00, and then whatever is left is the .1.  Race execution gets a serious A+ for the massive negative split.  Our official time was 32:13, which is actually not a personal worst on the 5K for me (this is both exciting and extremely depressing).  I do not actually give a single ass of a rat about my time, but there it is.  
I was so excited about running at all, however, that I put my shirt on backwards.
And later?  My legs, of course, felt like nothing happened.  My psoas is tight, and that thing deep in my butt hurts a tiny bit (it gets a 2 on the 1-10 pain scale), but otherwise I feel all right.  It feels like I made a step in the right direction towards healing.  I won't run again for a few days, and it probably won't be this long the next time I do, but I'm glad that I did.  Part of the reason I was so depressed when I had IT band problems last year and in the week before the National Half was because I felt like I was making no progress towards healing.  My pain was deep and sharp and relentless and every day I woke up and felt just as bad as I did the night before.  But these past few weeks, with a few exceptions, the steps I've been making have been huge, and I think this is why I'm so calm about not being able to run right now.  I am in significantly less pain every day, and I can see the day, not too far off, where I'll be able to step out the front door and run a few miles in the sunshine.  Today all I can do is be thankful.  I ran.  The time doesn't matter, what I was wearing and what I ate and the distance I actually covered doesn't matter.  What matters is I got to do something I love, in a city full of people who love running the way I love running, and to cross the Boston finish line in celebration of running.  Finding a way to be thankful for most this amazing day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

random friday facts

1. My allergies are so bad right now, I would happily claw my eyeballs out with toothpicks to make that feeling go away.  Oh, and I'd like my voice back, Darth, but it was fun to trade for a while.

2. The sound of a ringing cell phone annoys me.  Especially if it's my own.

3. If you are over 300lbs and your midriff is showing at the gym, I'm going to judge you.  I mean, I'm pumped that you are motivated, but I'm still going to judge you every time.

4. When I lived in Boston for a year, I did not go watch the marathon.  

5. I still don't know how to correctly chop an onion.

6. I listen to music while I ride my bike.  I KNOW.

7. I didn't like beer until a few years ago.

8. I have cellulite on the backs of my legs.  It's why I never wear shorts or skirts.  I spend most summers in capris.

9. I was really excited to change my last name when I got married.

10. I am unable to blow my nose without making a really loud noise.

11. I still eat ice cream every night before I go to bed.

12. My Dyson has been broken for a week and it's ruining my life.  My house is basically a big pile of dog hair.

13. I love really big sunglasses.

14. I can tell my dogs apart by their smell.

15. When I'm waiting between sets at the gym, I pick at my fingernails.

16. Sometimes I wish someone would steal my car so I could get the insurance money.

17: I dislike going to: the bank, the post office, the gas station, the doctor, the grocery store.  Pretty much anywhere, actually; people are annoying.

18. I think I would be a terrible mother.

19. I sleep on my stomach.

Day 14: 23.2 solid miles.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

three things thursday

1. Hi y'all!  First of all, the blog.  If you added the new address ( to your RSS/Google reader yesterday, you WILL get an error saying nothing exists there.  That's because the blog is still here, at blogspot.  (Pause for everyone to say, "OoOOOHHHH!")  So you'll have 2 RTAD links in your reader for the next week or so until I get it moved, and then I'll let you know when you can remove the link from your reader.  Sound good?  Okay, good.  For now, keep both, because I'm going to Boston (!!!!) this weekend and I'm not entirely sure when I'll get around to moving it, but I want to make sure I don't lose anyone in the process!  Stay with me, friends!

2. Injury update.  Still unable to run, but making progress and things are healing.  The current troublemaker is the glute med, which apparently hasn't been working for quite some time now.  So I'm working on strengthening that, along with my glutes and my core and my everything else that has been a pain in the (actual) butt.  I do feel like things are healing, I'm just not ready to be running yet.  Hopefully I'll be able to run at least once before my 70.3 or it might be a serious race of swim-T1-bike-T2-walk.  I've never walked 13.1 miles but I feel like it would not be the most fun thing ever but I'll do it because it's better than a DNF.  I'm signed up for the BAA 5K on Sunday which I am still planning on doing, just walking.  I'm hoping to convince Lauren to walk with me so we can be two cackling grannies at the back huffing and puffing through our power-walk.

3. The cycling team I test-rode with on Monday has, against their better judgement, decided to allow me to join their team.  I have zero plans on racing at the moment but I'm pretty pumped to try and suck off the wheels of really strong cyclists.  Imagine how much more ice cream I can eat!

Day 12: 8 sad miles on the trainer.
Day 13: 3 rides totaling 24 miles, including a seriously excellent 10 or so at tempo pace, despite awful cross- and head-wind.
 That's a big calf, boys and girls.
 Happy because I'm flying!

Happy Thursday, everyone!  Who will I see in Boston??