Monday, February 22, 2016

The Long Game

My motto is always "I'm here to complete, not to compete." That said, of course I crave the podium. And I've got a plan for sports immortality.

My current time for a 50 Free in short course meters (SCM) is a 28.10. The US Master Swimming record for 50 Free SCM for men, 85-89 is a 36.26. If I can maintain my time for roughly the next 45 years, I might have a shot at breaking that record.

*fingers crossed*

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Winja's LA Marathon Recap

Normally, I hinge my workouts on how good I feel. Sometimes a 4 mile workout can turn into 11 miles if I feel up for it. Other times, a 6 mile workout turns into 2 because I just... can't.

Two weeks ago, I signed up for the LA marathon. I don't know what compelled me to - I think it was part FOMO and part... just not having anything planned for Valentine's Day. Either way, everyone who knows me knows that I am impulsive, and that if I put my mind to something, it happens. So with that said...

Last Sunday, I did the LA Marathon. Alice and I woke up at the crack of dawn. We dressed in anticipation for warm weather because the weather predicted it, but the morning was bone-chilling cold for this SoCal girl. We drove to Santa Monica to drop off the car, then shuttled back over to the starting line.

25,000 people crammed themselves into Dodger Stadium, and around 7am, we were off! 

Lesson #1: Find a corral. It appears that if you don't get into a corral, you're stuck with the masses. And the masses? They are people of all different paces who don't mind if their first mile is 14 minutes or 30. I weaved in hopes of getting away from the glob of people, but I think that probably tired me out more. Nonetheless, my first 5 miles were solid at sub-10 each mile. I felt great!

Lesson #2: Hydrate. I didn't think I needed water at every station, but in retrospect, I probably should have taken in a little more every time I did stop. I don't usually drink water during my 13-mile runs, so stopping for water meant actually reminding myself that water was necessary. 

Lesson #3: Sunblock. Seriously, the sun does damage. I have a racerback tan that will probably be on my back for the next 6 months. I applied sunblock before we started, but prolonged exposure and fatigue (and probably laziness and eagerness to finish) meant that I didn't reapply and I ended up burning anyway. 

I'm sure there are more lessons, but this post is getting too long. All in all, the marathon was great. Despite a lack of training, I did better than I thought I would. I didn't hit a wall at mile 18 - running through DTLA was gorgeous. Hollywood was searing hot, WeHo was the best in terms of cheer sections, Century City brought back memories of when I used to work at FOX, and Santa Monica - Santa Monica was a huge sigh of relief. 

I hit that wall at mile 22. I felt like I had run enough, and I felt like no amount of water would hydrate me. I was irritated, my thighs were tight, and my right arm had fallen asleep (does that happen to anyone else?) - I just wanted to be done. 

But then! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the DTLA Running Group. Cutie pie Abel Bourbois rubbed Tiger Balm on my thighs, blew me a kiss, and I was on my way after a few of the other peeps at the tent gave me a pep talk and a handful of ice. 4 more miles to freedom. 

A miraculous thing happens when you run the same marathon course twice: you think about the way you feel at certain points on the course. As I ran the last stretch to finish line, I remembered how I felt the year prior - so relieved to be done and so proud of myself for attempting a feat even my doctor said I wouldn't be able to handle.

As you know by now, I finished!

In 2005, it took me over 8 hours to do my first marathon. I sprained my ankle at mile 5 and was determined to finish, so I walked 21 miles until I did. Last year, in 2015, I did the marathon despite Doctor's orders not to. It took me a little over 6 hours to finish. This year, I didn't train, but my body was able to keep up and I finished (unofficially) in 4:41:25. Alice says I'm doing a sub-4 next year. Keep dreaming, Alice =P

Stephane's only challenge to me was to finish before noon, and with a finish time of 11:45 am, I'm still smiling ear to ear. To many more marathons!

Trail running is hard.

Winnie's and my road to a full ironman in November goes through Vineman 70.3 in July. Last year Vineman was each of our first 70.3s ever, and my run was awful (which didn't help my Eeyore attitude about running). I wasn't ready for how hilly the course was and probably walked a good quarter of it.

To train for the hills of Windsor, CA this year, Winnie and I signed up for Fleet Feet Burbank's Trail Series. If I can handle trail running, I can handle a hilly road course. Today was the first run and - although mostly flat and only about 4.5 miles - it was way tougher than running the same distance on the road.  I have a whole new respect for cross country runners now.

Some things I've learned:
  1. My pace will need to be about a minute slower than road running.  I went out way too fast initially - probably fast for even a road run - and blew up around mile 2.
  2. I really need to work on my core strength. I've ignored it to-date, probably eeking by on what I have from swimming. Trail running requires a much tighter core because you're maintaining your balance over uneven terrain.
  3. I have to adjust expectations. Because of #1 and #2 above, trail running is much more of an overall workout. That means "5-miles-is-no-biggie" might work for road running, but 5-miles-on-the-trail is a whole different beast.
Fleet Feet has a great group doing the series and it's going to be a lot of fun. Again, just a different beast.

That's it for now. I'll post next week when we hit up Fleet Feet's Trail Series Run #2. #IMAZorBonk

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pushing to New Limits: Palm Springs

Last month, a few of us thought it would be a good idea to do the Palm Springs Century: a 100-mile bike ride with scenic views and thousands of cyclists from all over the country. New Balance offered a "Brick" to those that did a bike ride on Saturday and one of their sponsored runs on Sunday. Sweet deal.
(Thanks, Bryant!)

The ride itself wasn't too challenging, but it was long and mentally draining. Kevin, Abel, and I managed to stick in some sort of close distance, so we met up at every rest stop before continuing.

100 Miles. 

Lisa, Bryant, and Jarrett also finished the 100 miles! We dipped our feet into the hot tub before planning out the next day's events.

I left a little earlier than everyone else on Sunday morning because I was stupid brave enough to sign up for the half-marathon. Abel, Jarrett, Lisa (and Mia, that cutie pie!) all signed up for the 5k and were running it a little later.

I swear, this kid makes my heart melt. 

Guys. If you don't train for a half marathon, DON'T RUN IT. I've been running on and off for the last 15 years - to me, a half marathon is challenging, but considered a long run....

I trudged along. Literally - my hat flew off because it was windy and I considered leaving it because I was going so slow and didn't want to lose any more time. I knew it would take more effort to run back for it, bend down, grab it, and try to regain that momentum that I had lost. Bye, hat.

But then! This nice gentleman stooped down, picked it up, jogged a little faster, and returned my hat to me! I was both grateful and spiteful because he made it look so easy. Then he continued to breeze by me. I'm sure he finished his half significantly faster than I did. I'm squinting my eyes at him right now. -__-. Thanks nonetheless! =P

The good news is that I finished! Lisa and Mia were so great and waited for me!

Obviously we celebrated with our bricks. That second picture of me and Lisa? We were both on one of those spring-horse things. You know, the one I'm on in the first picture. But the two of us. We stopped laughing long enough to snap a picture of our bricks.

Great weekend, great accomplishment. Next stop? The LA Marathon tomorrow!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Yeah, I hate running, but I'm pretty bad at swimming too.

This is how I train for an Ironman. I only go to the pool once a month, and only when the coach notices I'm missing and texts me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Where We Are Today.

I can't say that ironman training has officially started yet, but when you're in the vicious cycle (heh) of triathlons, you never really start or stop training.

I've been collecting pictures. Partially because I tend to take tons of pictures anyway, and partially because I've been meaning to chronicle this journey that Patrick happens to be a part of. Patrick HATES running. So much so that he refuses to run unless I warn him at least a few days in advance so he has time to mentally prep. 

Thus far, it's been fun. We've done swim meets, gone running with Fleet Feet in Burbank, and have spun with SoulCycle! I'm summarizing, but only because I can't wait to share all the other things I've been doing to train - you know, sans Patrick. Stay tuned!

Iron Fit, Iron Fat, Iron Lost, Iron Clad.

Last year after our first half-ironman, Patrick and I had the crazy idea to sign up for an ironman. At the time, it was a joke, but the more we talked about it, the more it became a reality. I mean, who doesn't want to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112, and then run 26.2  just to be called an IRONMAN?

We're crazy. We know. November 13th rolled around, and we set it in stone.

So now we're on this journey. We don't know where we're headed but it's definitely toward the goal of learning how to iron. What are we ironing anyway? =P