New to Triathlons, New to Shropshire. An Orthotist tracks her training with a love of spreadsheets, graphs, photos and prose.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My kind of Weather

This morning when i woke up, it was raining windy and what appeared to be cold.  There was a haze over the town.  This is what Americans think our weather is like all the time.  Regardless of what mother nature does, i still have to run but was not looking forward to it.  As i sat eating my breakfast looking out on a typical autumn day i had to remind myself that when i started running it was in the freezing temperatures of Wisconsin's winter.  I believe i ran when it was negative10C (15F) so a meek little blustery English autumn day should be nothing. 

I donned my running tights, running skirt, a tech T, wool beanie and my windbreaker and headed out.  It was LOVELY.  The dampness in the air was nice, the wind cool but not cold.  I took my hat off after 5 minutes.  As i climbed Olivers Mount my view was restricted to maybe 100feet on the road.  It felt really good to be running.  The air smelled sweet and fresh and felt i was running on clouds. It didn't even bother my that Sally died after .98miles.  I ran my usual 3 so didn't really need her anyway.

In general i prefer autumn and winter clothes.  I always have.  I like to wrap up. Love leather gloves and woolly hats.  I've never been a scarf person, but I'm slowly changing that. I have missed wearing my down body warmer, i love the cozy pockets and that i can carry things without a bag. Its great to run in, i can carry a phone and camera and not even notice it.  I am truly looking forward to Autumn in the UK for the first time in 7 years.

Bring on running tights, chunky warming soup and leather gloves.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Done. Now lets move on to Tri'ing

So it occur ed to me last night, when i realised that i had missed the cut off date for the cheaper entry fee for the Birmingham HM that i have achieved that goal.  On my run today, i convinced myself that it was okay to not enter said HM as i have done what i set out to do.  And you see above, where it says 'My journey to becoming a Triathlete' well that is my actual goal.  The reasons that i chose to do the HM were the relatively high cost of tri training- not having a job and being skint and pool fees being steep, and that it was the thing that inspired me to maintain exercise in the first place. 

Well on September 12th i achieved that goal.  And i did so with a better time than i had thought i could.  When i entered the Great North Run i predicted my finish time to be 2:20 - 2:40 so my 2:10:44 kicks that. 

From the looks of my training log the past few weeks i fell of the wagon a touch.  I know i have been super busy, renovating, catching up with friends and trying to find somewhere to live and buying a car and stuff, but i didn't run for a whole week.  It make me realise that i am not one of those people that just can't stand it when they don't exercise.  I am one of those that feels it is very important. That gets that buzz after a hard work out. Feels good for the rest of the day if i get 5 miles in before noon.  But i am no exercise fiend.  Its easy to slip.

So with that in mind, and my goal actually wanting to be a triathlete, i have no shame in not entering the Birmingham HM. I've done it. I can move on to tri training. I just don't have the gusto to train for two things and I want to TRI.

Until i get settled i am not having a training schedule. I will aspire to go to the pool twice a week, keep up running and get on my bike every week.  Build up that base.  I have a few short running races i will be entering but my main goal is to get in to the swing of three sport training.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A swift kick up the butt...

...should get me back on track 

Seriously, i need one.  

This week has been a poor excuse for a training week. I left my recovery run until Tuesday and then copped out at 2.1 miles due to my lack of trail finding and a bit of a time crunch.  And Thursday is my only other run and that was a quick 2.5 miler.  I have done more drinking than running which is not very normal and i'm not too happy about it.  And as i added my runs to my running log today i realised that i need to do a long run this week and its not going to happen.  I may get to it on Tuesday.  

I was at the Packers - Bills game today, so there will be no running.  Tomorrow i need to pack and i fly home.  I may get a few miles in in the morning, if i get up early. I would like to, but i would also like to lie in bed with my hubby who i won't see for another 6 weeks or so.
Running has taken a back seat to renovations and friends this week.  I suppose that's okay. Sometimes that will happen and given i won't see these friends again for ages, its the best choice. I have no regrets, it just feels weird.  After not having anything to do but run in England, to come here and have so much to do, it feels a bit weird.  But i will soon be back to running being one of few time fillers. That and my new job of course.

Tailgating. I was a bit chilly in the morning.

But it got warm and i bought a new cap.
 I don't really wear caps apart from running in.
And all my caps are Packer caps.
Pretty cool helmet.

Me and ma Hubby.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Race photos.

The official photos are out.  I don't like some but here are a few i do like.  About a mile to the end i hoped the crowds would be big and cheering so i took off my ipod in the hopes that someone would shout 'well done Stephanie' or 'good going Stephanie' but i didn't hear my name.  The crowds were crap and i almost wish i had been wearing my ipod to the finish line.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A quickie in the dark

oooerrr missus ;)

I got my run in. 2.5 miles in my new shoes.  I took a bit of a random path, didn't have a plan you see.  It was weird. Running at 7.15 and its dark already.  I have gotten so used to it being light until 10pm in England.  It really makes the day shorter. I know, it sounds silly as the 'day-light' is shorter but really, having the sun set later extends the day so much.  I slow down later, i get more stuff done when the sun is up. I am way more active in the summer, and more importantly more active later in the day.  That is something i missed when living in Milwaukee.  But in just a few days i will be back in the UK and living it up all evening. Running later, cycling later enjoying the long evenings. Even though they are getting shorter every day i will still feel they are long.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I SO need to run

On Tuesday i went to Doctors park to get a little trail running in.  I wanted soft ground and fun, like that last recovery run i did with the running club.  But it was not to be. I have only been there once before i and i parked in a different place to avoid paying the $4 it cost to actually use the park.  So i set off but couldn't really find the trails.  I went off path but ended up running on a river bed which was soggy and pebbly. I was no where near as much fun running in the woods on your own.  I look forward to having a group to run trails with when i get home.

My new Puma Haraka XC

And i will be using my new trail running shoes.  I wore then once before my HM and just for two miles. I ran in the park on the grass.  They are very minimal and i could feel the ground really well.  Its a much different feel to the cushioned shoes i wear normally.  But i'd like to get in to this minimal foot wear trend. It all makes so much sense to me.  I didn't wear them Tuesday as i was planning on running 5 miles and i know i have to ease in to them. Unfortunately i only ended up running 2 miles. I got all disappointed at he lack of fun and needed to get home to call my sister too.

So now its been since Tuesday that i have run. I have been busy renovating but i hope to get out today to run away some annoyance. I cut two fingers today, broke a pain of glass of a window i was re-glazing, and stood on my camera and broke the lens in/out function so its f**ked.  Not too thrilled about that at all.  It shouldn't have even still been open/on as i hadn't used it in at least 5 minutes and it normally shuts its self off.  Grrrrr

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicago Half Marathon Race Report

Wow!  It feels great to finally finish a half marathon.  If you remember it was spontaneously signing up for the Great North Run that got me started running in the first place.  Now, even though i don't get to run that race, i have a HM under my belt.  A little earlier than my training plan had me ready for, but running 11.5 miles 2 weeks ago made me believe i could run the distance.  I didn't believe though, that i would be able to run it as fast as i did.  I had high hopes of hitting the 2:15 mark so when i came across the pace tattoos in the race expo i grabbed four: the 2:05 - for my Birmingham race, the 2:10, 2:15 and 2:20 as i didn't know what i was going to aim for.

The night before i decided by elimination.  2:05 was my Birmingham time.  2:20 wasn't a high enough aim.  2:10 and 2:15 were what i thought achievable so i went with 2:15 so that if anything, i would hopefully better my goals, rather then fail them.

Pace tattoo on my forearm.

I had a big steak and jacked potato the night before and as i had a little hangover belly i allowed myself two ciders. But i did make myself drink a ton of water too.  I didn't want to take this race too seriously, i was seeing friends who i see rarely and won't see for ages so just went with the flow.  I was in bed by 10pm though.

Everything prep'd for the next day.

Overly large 'medium' shirt.

At 5am my alarm went off, though i was already awake 10 minutes prior.  I got up, dressed and ate a small bowl of oats and yoghurt and drank a tall glass of water.  I mixed one of those hotel instant coffee sachets in to a couple of ounces of cold water and downed it.  Thankfully my wonderful husband offered to drive me down-town to the train that they had put on for the runners.  He dropped me off with the mobs of sports clad early risers.  I was getting really excited now.

I realised on the train that i forgot my shades and that really pissed me off. I rarely go outside in the sun without them, never mind run for 2 hours.  But i didn't let it spoil my mood.  I spent 30 minutes in line to use the porta-jon , ate my banana and by that time it was 6.45am.  The race started at 7am.

I ran a little to warm up and got in line in the 2:15 pace area.  I chatted to a couple of people, one guy had only ran a 5k before and when i saw him at mile 7 he said that that was the longest he had run ever - that's crazy! I hope he made it.

It took ten minutes to get to the start.  I forced myself to keep a slow pace, running over a ten minute mile.  I really wanted to run the race properly. A slow start, conserve the energy and have a faster second half than the first.  What actually happened was that there was barely 3 minutes between the first and second half split.  The that's just fine with me.  When i was hurting i was still running just a bit faster than the first half.

I had one packet of organic pomegranate chews and planned on drinking water at every station.  I ended up taking gatoraide 3 times and water 3 times and doubling up once.  It was warm out but with no shade and salt from the drying sweat it felt harshly hot.  I ran through a mister once and that was divine.

It was tough keeping pace. The adrenaline made me want to run faster, the crowds were spacious but everyone was running different paces so i just never settled in to a pace.  I checked my watch a ton. At the 8 mile mark i decided to push it a bit more.  I believe looking at my split stats that this just kept me on goal.

As i neared the end i really picked it up. I wanted to finish strong, knowing i was close got the adrenaline pumping again which gave me a boost.  The crowds were SUCKIE!!  Yes there were folks there, but they were't supportive.  They waited until their friends or family passed and ignored the rest of us.  I was very disappointed, and glad that the excitement of finishing my first HM was enough to turn on the adrenaline pump.  As you can see from the numbers i really tried hard at the end, and i passed a load of folks,  Only a few of us were really pushing for a strong finish. Everyone else just kept on moving.  I prefer my finish technique.  I may not be fast the previous 12.5 miles but i sure as shit will try to look it for the last .6 mile of the race.

And then it was over.  A bottle of water, a finishers medal, a dropped cookie which i grabbed for Jeff but then didn't want in my race picture, a granola bar also for Jeff tucked in my skirt out of sight, photo, banana, and then trying to find Jeff in the heat and blinding sun with sore legs.

What a fantastic morning!!!

I loved it.  

13.1 miles 2:10:44  (or Sally says 13.2 in 2:10:42)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Forgotten Run

Last week i ran a decent amount, even forgot about one run i did on Friday and it was 5 miles!  I totalled 23 miles which is really good for me.  But this week, this bathroom and kitchen renovation has really been getting in the way.  Monday i ran for an hour at 7am before the toil started.  I was intentially taking Tuesday off and planning on running yesterday.  That did not happen.  We were working till 10.30pm on the house.  I insisted Jeff get the bathroom walls finished so i can tile today.

Have you ever tiled a bathroom?  Well i can tell you that its no easy work.  There is a lot of crouching to standing to sitting to crouching to standing.  Up down up down like a yo-yo.  I remember when i did Jeffs bathroom, the next day i could hardly walk!! Its like slow strength training ALL DAY LONG.  

Admittedly this time i am in better shape and i know where i went wrong. Having the tile cutter on the floor was a mistake. Today i'm having it on a small table so i don't necessarily have to  get out of the bath to cut each tile.  I hope this will save my legs. I really don't want to run 13.1 miles on Sunday with dead aching legs from tiling.

So there will be no running today, but i will go tomorrow for an easy 4 miles i think.  And today i will stretch out after i finish, nice loooooong stretches.

On a good note, the kitchen is almost complete.  I did my first kitchen sink instillation yesterday (on my own) and it went fine.  I always learn something from doing a job the first time, and i did, but nothing that was so terrible.  I'd say the next one will be perfect. The tile back splash looks AMAZING i just can't wait to see the final look.  That will come monday or tuesday and i'll post pictures.

Well have a great weekend everyone.  I'll see you after i have PB'd my first HM!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Renovation progress

We have go to the point in the bathroom where we are building up as opposed to tearing out.  Jeff is getting the walls done so we can put in the bath and get the plumbing finished off.  Then Jeff will finish the walls and i can start prettifying - aka, tiling.  I hit the Depot today and bought subway tiles in snow white; i'm totally stoked to use these, i love them and they are pretty timeless and en vogue right now and i got some lovely mixed grey mosaic glass tile for a bit of pizazz and the grout and adhesive etc.  Its gonna be one schweet bathroom when i'm done!

On my second trip to home depot to buy the backer-board (this is the proper board to tile on in a bathroom, not just green board or standard drywall) i spotted some gorgeous glass mosaic tile that will be lovely in the kitchen. I wasn't going to go quite that fancy in the kitchen, it is a rental after all, but it was only $5 a sq foot, i only need 11 sq feet and it will give the kitchen a wow factor that is worth way more than $55!  I also lucked out on the counter top, they sell it in 10 foot lengths (just what i needed to then cut up, 8' being too small) and the one i have chosen is really pretty nice, for laminate.  When i got home i noticed that the paint i had found in my basement called Ginger, which is a creamy yellow, which i had considered painting the kitchen with was absolutely perfect to compliment the tile, almost matching one of the mosaic colours, and the cabinets match one of the other colours of tile too.  Superb!

Me and ma homies - Amanda, Scott, Me and Anne
My dinner last night. Seafood Paella at Craw Daddy's.  It was as good as it looks.

So even with a stinking hangover, i have had a productive day of shopping and painting woodwork in one of the bedrooms.

As for running, i did my recovery run, but it wasn't as nice as the one i did with the club. Mostly as that one was SO much fun, running trails with a group of fun folks.  Also, this one was hard on my legs as i was running on the pavement.  I ended up doing only 1.87 miles.

But yesterday i did a 5 miler before we went out to dinner and drinks which was really good, avg pace 9.04 min/mile  so i could almost call that my speed work for the week.  I really want to get back to my schedule, but i have heard the best kind of training plan is a flexible one, so as long as i keep the mileage up, do a long run a week and keep pushing myself, i think i should be okay till i get back to England.

I'm planning a 8-10 miler tomorrow as i want to get a long run in, but the Chicago HM is on Sunday coming so don't want to overdo it.  Also, i will be doing a lot of renovation work tomorrow too.  Thankfully Jeff is off work as its a bank holiday this weekend.  I just want to get this house DONE.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Giddy about my Future

I can't tell you how excited i am about moving to Oswestry.  Every time i think of something to search for in the area i get an answer that is better than i had hopes for.

A few things i have looked up

  • Kayaking
  • White water kayaking
  • Trails and hiking
  • Triathlon clubs and events
  • Bowling (the ten pin variety)
  • Swimming
  • Fishing (for Jeff)
  • Houses
  • Markets
  • Cycling 
It has it all I tell you!!  There are 3 markets a week and a farmers market every month.  I love market towns and Oswestry fits the bill nicely.  The population is about 15,000 which feels just right for what we were looking for. A town feel but so close to all the activities that living in the great British countryside brings.  We are 15 minutes from the white water rafting in Wales.  I can take my kayak out on the rivers around us. Jeff can fish on the rivers and on lakes just 15 minutes away.  I can cycle to Wales!!  Snowdonia is an hour away with great hiking, and camping.  Running trails will be easy, i my not even have to get in a car to do so.  If we live 'in' Oswestry, then the farthest away my work will be is 3 miles, so i can cycle in to work, or even walk depending!   Houses are reasonable and we will definitely be able to afford one with a big garden so we can grow veggies.

I think the thing i'm most excited about is the Tri club, the reasonably priced swimming pool, the running in the countryside and on trails and the kayaking, oh yeah and cycling.  Hmm so all the outdoor activity stuff then.  

And, of course the most amazing potential for photography.

I can't wait!!!