Sunday, June 29, 2014

Big Sister is a B@tch

I'll explain the title to the un-indoctrinated shortly...

What a weekend! Saturday, Sarah and I met up for an eight mile run. We used to run together all the time but then I went out and finished graduate school and got a job. I know, unfair! I picked a tougher route than usual as I felt my running needs to get more challenging. After we finished our run we grabbed some breakfast and she mentioned taking her kids up to Red Top Mountain for a hike and maybe a swim. I told her I'd join her. A not-so-quick stop at the outlets and we were off.

I have never swam at Red Top before and it was wonderful! I can't wait for a chance to go up there, swim a little, hike or run and just hang out. After a quick swim I was back in the car headed to watch my nephew play baseball and visit with my folks who came in for the game.

I'm thoroughly enjoying my new car. It makes it much easier to do complete wardrobe changes in parking lots. It also holds my bike just fine until I can get the bike rack I want.

Sunday was another early wake up as some how it was determined that I would do my first BIG group ride by participating in the GA 400 Highway Bike Ride. There were about 1300 riders. The beginning seems much like waiting in a corral to start a running race except I was trying not to fall off my bike.

Surprisingly, I wasn't that anxious about the event. I was completely out of my element and comfort zone: I've never ridden the route and while I knew people who were going to be there, I wasn't riding with anyone. I have a fear of getting lost riding new routes. Made friends in the parking lot getting these 2 guys to help me with my bike. I shifted the derailer and it was right against the chain. While I was making a panic call to a friend I had seen at check-in, the guys fixed it.

The route is unique in that they close the GA 400 Hwy and we ride one exit south and get back off the highway. Riding 400 was just like driving it...lots of people in lanes they shouldn't be in!

The ride went well. Spoke to coach about it and he asked me who I rode with. I laughed. I said I was riding in a group, who did I ride with? No one! I am a gap rider. I often had someone in sight, but many times I rode alone. No one right behind me, no one right in front of me. It's how I roll (or ride or swim).

Thankfully, I got to meet someone from my tri club that I had chatted with on line. He and he friends kept half an eye out for me.

So about that blog title... I participated in the Metric Century (62 miles). This included riding the Three Sisters. These are hills in one of the neighborhoods. The first, The Big Sister, is a BITCH! Scorecard: Big Sister:1, Shawna:0. I had to walk it. I can't even begin to guess how far up it I went, but it was not to the top. The Middle Sister was trying but I was able to duck into a cul-de-sac, get my stride back, and finish up the hill. The Little Sister was tough, but doable. Oh, and you don't get to meet the sisters until about mile 40 of your 62 mile ride.

Today's elevation chart
My average speed was good enough for me considering how much climbing I did and my cadence was okay. Between the climbing and the congested course in the beginning, I still could have spun more.

And in case we weren't spent enough, there was one last climb at the very end. I really wanted to walk it. So damn cruel! But I stayed on my bike. I finished and even managed a 10 minute brick (run right after the bike) on shaky legs.

The good news: I'm so ready for the Augusta Bike course. Compared to what I've been ain't nothin'!
I had a good ride. Made some friends and then took a 2 hour nap this afternoon. That's a jammed pack weekend.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Probably Not Going to Leave a Mark....

I fell yesterday. I didn't fall like two of my friends who had extensive dates with gravity recently. I just fell off the food wagon. Or maybe I jumped. I knew what I was doing. I knew I shouldn't. But I did anyway. It tasted good. It was in the house.

I am almost OCD about my training, but not about my food. Want to celebrate? Let's eat! You're sad? Let's eat! Feel good? Let's eat! Bad day? Let's eat! I'm having the hardest time rewiring my head to view food as fuel to do my training and sustain life and nothing else.

Hell, I am this person:

Sunday night I cook. I prep. I store. Everything I need to eat through Friday is prepped and just needs to be opened or heated. I am prepared to have a successful week with my food. Every week, I'm prepared.

I stalk Training Peaks on Sunday nights to see what my workouts are going to be so I can arrange my life around them (perk of being single, no kids, no dog). I PRIORITIZE my workouts. If it isn't on my schedule, I don't do it.

What is my issue with if it isn't on my meal plan, don't eat it?

Now before you all go cray-cray on me about everything I've accomplished and I should cut myself some slack....last night was my worst tumble... but I step off more then I should.

 These crackers live in my office. They aren't mine, but I know I can have whenever I want.
I am my own worst enemy. I am my own road block to success.
You would think after seeing pictures of myself from my race on Saturday in my tri-kit (the top and bottom I wear to race) I would want to buckle down this week.

It seems like everything I do that's social involves food. We swim Monday nights and go out for dinner after. I play trivia with friends on Wednesdays at a restaurant. Tomorrow, I'm seeing friends I haven't seen in forever and yes...for dinner. I know I have choices. I know I can choose a salad with the dressing on the side over a sandwich and fries. For some reason I EASILY make the decision to set my alarm clock for 4:30am to get up and get my work out in but can't say no to dessert. And some days I'm better than others. I just wish I could put the same discipline to my food as I do to my training.

I have the tools. I have the support. I just can't keep that damn fork out of my mouth. I'm the only one that can fix this.

Today is a new day.... while it is only 3:00 in the afternoon, I still have not had a cracker. I'm chalking that up to a win.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Do These Goggles Make my Butt Look Fast.....

Today was my first triathlon of the season, the Blalock Lakes Intermediate. Before I forget, if you hear me talking about doing this race next year, remind I said I'd only do the Aqua-Bike.

I met up with Elizabeth and a friend of hers so early that Starbucks wasn't even open yet. We chatted our way down and arrived with plenty of time to do the usual: get marked, pick premium rack space, socialize, use the bathroom 4 times, and warm up in the lake. Elizabeth and I were even able to set up next to each other.

Plenty of time to hang out with North Georgia Tri Club friends
There is nothing flattering about tri kits unless you are given the chance to strike your pose and suck it in.
Representing NGTC

I was very pleased with my swim. I didn't panic before getting in. I didn't let other swimmers bumping into me freak me out and I kept my stroke steady the whole time.

Ben got this great picture of my coming out of the water, but no time to pose and suck it in.
Next came the ride. It was my tri bike's first race! I have finally decided that I can climb. This was very useful today as the bike course had a couple hills that had me exclaiming WTF as I approached them. I think the real reason I like to climb is I like the descent!

Baby boy needs a name!
I caught up to Elizabeth at the very end of the ride and was able to wish her well on the run. She's crazy fast and I knew this was where she would definitively kick my butt. She did! Because of the course, we were able to cheer each other on multiple times throughout.

I felt great about my swim, great about T1, great about my ride, great about T2.... but I still had to run. About the run....There was a women on a bike with a vuvuzela blowing it and cheering everyone on. She found out my name and rode with me in to the finish line. The volunteers were great. They were happy, supportive, friendly. That is about the only think I can say about the run that's positive. By mile two I was thinking I needed to go to the bathroom. I had talked to Coach last night about aiming for a 10mm. He told me by the time I got to the run, he didn't care what I ran. Good thing. I ended up averaging an 11 minute mile. I don't remember the last time I ran a race that slow. I was telling someone my run sucked and he replied, "No, the course did." I said my splits got progressively slower and Elizabeth reminded me the course got progressively harder. Positive takeaways from the run: I NEVER felt like quitting. I didn't get over heated. I smiled almost the whole time and I encouraged others not to waste the downhill by walking.

My absolute favorite part of the race was getting back in the lake afterwards. It felt sooooo good.

I got to really spend some time with Karen today....she's freakin' awesome!
Results have been posted and I finished 8/11 in my age group and 196/237. I almost didn't share this data because it doesn't make me feel very awesome. But I am awesome. I finished 3-5 minutes faster than a similar distance tri last season (run was MUCH easier on the one last year) and I finished.

Yes, I did run in my pink tiara hat. If you can't run fast, you can run cute.
Tri the Parks put on a great event. I have no complaints and would recommend this race to anyone who enjoys running hills. It had a great small town feel. Every time I turned around, there was someone I knew who was either cheering me on or I was able to cheer them on.

Other news of the week: I got chunk dunked again. I am down 2% body fat from March and up 2 pounds of lean mass. Slow and steady will get me to the finish line of IMFL!

I also said good my to my Mazda 3. He was good to me. I had him for over 8 years and 145k miles. I know he had more life in him, but my hobbies need more space. Maybe I'm having a delayed reaction to 40, but I finally wanted more car. The Mazda CX5 behind it is my new ride.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Could It Get Any Better....

On Wednesday I shared with you how great my week was going. I was very confident that the week would finish well and it did!

Thursday was a good day with another 30 minute session of picking up heavy objects and putting them back down. I think most call this strength training. I even managed to pack before I went to bed.

It's so much easier to pack when I'm 'just' running.

Friday morning, after successfully setting my alarm for AM not PM, I woke up at 4:15 to run a 10K (6.2 miles) with the Running Husband. At 4:30 or so I got a text from him that he was not going to make it. Gotta love a man who wakes up at an unseemly hour only to realize, he's not going to be able to run. I hope he got some more sleep.

Me....I'm up to run! Coach assigned a 10K asking me to see how close to 55min I could get. My race PR for a 10k is 55:03. Mind you, I've never really raced any 10ks, I just usually run them because something bigger is on the horizon, but still....Original plan with RH was to run a 1 mile warm up and then reset watches and go from there. I was left to my own thoughts and started running my warm-up. My warm-up mile ended up being 9:08. I was sure I could drop that to an 8:51 avg (what I needed for a 55min 10k) so I just kept going. End result....BOOM! 54:08.

For the first time, I had faith I could pull this off.
I didn't get to leave work as early as I would have liked to on Friday, so my 2.5-3 hour trip to Augusta took about 4. It was miserable! Luckily, the drive out was the only miserable part of the trip.

Saturday morning I was swimming in the Inaugural Gatorfest Augusta swim. It was 1.2 miles down the river. It was a small group of 32 doing this distance (there was also a 5k option). I finished 7/32 and first in age group. I can only imagine what the second place person was thinking as I only beat her by 3 seconds! Even better though, I got to reconnect with Millie who I hadn't seen in about a year and meet Jeff for the first time.

Me, Millie, and Jeff

I also got to meet Lisa and her friends who would prove to be heroes later on in the day.

Lisa, me

After waiting around for the awards ceremony, Millie and I made a mad dash to the hotel to get our bikes and then came back to ride the Half Ironman Augusta bike route.

It was noon by the time we rolled out and you could feel the heat coming off the road. Discussion was started about only going out 16 and back for a total of 32. At the turn around point, one of our tour guides, Mike, asked who wanted to go on. Everyone said they were happy to turn back. I have never ridden the course and really wanted to see it, so I said I'd like to keep going.

Me and Mike only a few miles away from the end.
It ended up being 4 of us in total finishing the loop. We paired off and regrouped along the way. Just a few miles out, Mike got a bad leg cramp. He thought he could push through, but on my urging, we stopped so he could get off his bike and stretch. A minute later an SUV with 3 bikes on the back pulled over. We figured it was a random cyclist (or three) who were checking to make sure we were okay as it wasn't really a great place to take a break. It was the TRI MOMS to the rescue. One of them had salt tablets and Mike took one and kept the extras for later. More proof that moms are always prepared: they drove to my car and lent me an extra towel so I could jump in the river after our ride.

Some of the most awesome Tri moms I've met! Hope to train some with them!
There is truly no better way to recover from a very hot ride then an ice bath...and since I can't stand an ice bath, an icy river will have to do!

Dinner with new friends at Nacho Mama' was everything I'd hoped it would be.... a milkshake from Farmhaus.... and then I was on the ride home.

We earned these!
Thanks again to Marci and the Riverkeepers for a great event and to the folks from TriAugusta who are always amazing hosts!

Today, I may be taking my assignment of rest day a little too literal. I'll get out of bed eventually, just not yet!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Good Stuff Just Keeps Comin'......

My last post was about my no good horrible rotten very bad run. I knew it was my turn to have a bad training session, but it still sucked.

That was Friday. Today is Wednesday. Let's talk about everything that is right with the world:

Saturday: Lacrosse tournament. No issues, no screaming coaches, no crazy parents. Well, one team was a little snitty, but I stopped that quickly. I unfortunately didn't get to meet up with some friends from Nashville, but I did get an herb garden planted!

Sunday: Hill repeats. I picked a road I knew I could ride, because I had ridden it last year a few times. I drove over to area and bumped into two local FAST guys. Both are accomplished Ironmen and shorter distance triathletes. It's always fun to get to chat with them for a few minutes. Off I rolled. I felt GREAT the entire ride. I was supposed to ride up and down for an hour. I got 5 repeats in.

On my cool down I stopped at a light and did not fall. It was a close one as I was trying to slow down but also signal to the cars I was moving over. Chatting with the guy who rode up behind me, I offered to let him go first. He said he's not too swift on the flats, but he loves the down hills. I told him I agree...big girls LOVE the down hill. He immediately responded, but you aren't big. I wasn't fishing for a compliment. Compared to most of the women I ride with, I'm pretty solid. Also on Sunday Captain Wonderful finally came and got his bike. I am very happy to end that chapter and move on to the next.

Monday night is my usual OWS (open water swim). This week there was a group doing 2 laps. Apparently, I was part of this group. On the first out and back I was about a minute and a half faster than I was 3 weeks ago (no wetsuit swim). Doubling the distance only caused my overall pace to slow by 20 seconds. On the second out and back, I purposefully slowed down and I felt like I could swim all day. This set a new PR (personal record) for swimming distance.

Tuesday was a rest day. However, I'm implementing a new piece to my workouts: strength training. Aaron constructed 2 very simple workouts for me. I went over to LA Fitness after work and after getting harassed by the staff because I was actually coming in to do weights, I got it done. It was fun! Quick, simple, done.

Today is Wednesday. It's my cut-back/recovery week so I only had a 60 minute spin. This did allow me to get another Orange is the New Black episode watched. Usually I play trivia with a group of friends Wednesday nights, but we didn't meet up tonight. I had time on my hands. Such a bad idea....there is a reason I stay busy. I needed a new sports bra for under my North Georgia Tri Kit. I headed to the mall to go to Lululemon. I found one that will work (I hope) and I may have also stopped by LuckyBrand jeans and Victoria Secret. Both were having big sales.

Drumroll please...................................
I bought TWO pairs of LuckyBrand size SIX jeans!

To find out what's in the Victoria Secret bag...that may just cost you dinner (an application process will be required).

Tomorrow will be a good day and Friday will be great as I'm going to have a fantastic run in the morning then after work I am heading to Augusta (if I ever get packed) to swim Gatorfest Augusta.  It will be my first river swim. After swimming, I'm going to get to hang out with a bunch of folks I have only chatted with on Facebook while we cruise around the HIM (Half Ironman) Augusta bike course. A perfect weekend merging my training, friends and getting a way for a bit. Rumor has it I'm get to experience Nacho Mama's Saturday night.

Hope your week has been just as great as mine!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like This.....

Today was no different than any other day. My alarm went off at 4:30 so I could wake up, take my synthroid and hit the snooze 2 more times. Up and out of bed, I ate breakfast, got ready and headed out the door to meet up with good friends for a 10 mile run.

This was going to be a GREAT run. No pace goals...just go enjoy the run! Awesome...I can do that, I'm running with good friends, what is not to enjoy?

5:45 launch time, my friends are as crazy as I am!
I picked the route. there is some elevation, but nothing horrible. And the run started off fine. Normal warm up for me. First mile about a 10, second mile a little faster. Then the brain started churning.

Brain thought I should go run. My legs thought I was flippin' nuts. Brain said run. Legs said screw you.

I couldn't turn my legs over!

At about 5.5 we stopped to stretch and my heart rate was waaaaay too high for the run we were doing. Walked around, stretched some all in an attempt to bring down my HR.

Lisa stuck with Adam (The Running Husband) and me for about another mile and then she had to peel off and start her day. RH and I are weirdly in sync. He was not having a good day either so he was more than willing to keep the last 5 flat.

At about mile 8, I was having back issues so I dropped my hand-held water bottle hoping that would help some. I Picked it back up around 8.5 (should have dropped it sooner). Just a little further up, RH offered to walk a minute to try and recover and get some legs under us. I took him up on it. But I could not catch my breath! My lounges got heavier. I was starting to hyperventilate. I was trying so hard to figure out what was going on. I ate well the past 2 days. I was asleep by 10 last night. Why am I having such a craptastic run? And then. And then the tears came. There may be no crying in baseball, but there sure as hell is crying in Ironman training.

Thankfully, RH has been through this with me before and he knows it won't last long. I do quickly recover. I don't know why I started crying, nothing hurt, just nothing would work either. I wasn't upset with the pace we were running. I was upset at how the pace felt. I know I just blogged about people whining about being slow. I'm not whining about being slower than my usual, I'm whining about how horrible EVERY.DAMN.STEP felt. I even said to him, it's only 10 miles! I go out and run 10s for fun! This should not be hard!

As what usually happens, I quickly recovered and we got the last 1.5 miles done. It sucked. The entire run sucked. The only thing good about the run was the company.

Me and RH faking it at Mile 10
I guess it was my turn. My training has been awesome. I've completed every workout, I'm meeting or exceeding Coach's expectations. I was due for a rough one. I hope Sunday's ride feels better despite being a really tough workout.

Takeaways: I finished. RH offered to get the car and I said no. It'll be a process, but I'm finishing this run. My internal drive was strong when my body was weak. Hopefully the mind and body will come to an agreement to be strong together come race day.

Major kudos RH who was having a similarly tough day yet went out and ran 2 more to hit his training goal of 12 for the day.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Stop It. Please.....

I keep hearing this from others and I often hear it in my own head and out of my own mouth:

 I'm not fast.

You. Yes you! Stop it. Stop negating your accomplishments.

For the record let's define the word 'fast' according to


1 [fast, fahst]  adjective, fast·er, fast·est.
1. moving or able to move, operate, function, or take effect quickly; quick; swift; rapid: a fast horse; a fast pain reliever; a fast thinker. 
2. done in comparatively little time; taking a comparatively short time: a fast race; fast work. 
3. a.indicating a time in advance of the correct time, as of a clock.
b. noting or according to daylight-saving time.
4. adapted to, allowing, productive of, or imparting rapid movement: a hull with fast lines; one of the fastest pitchers in baseball. 
5. characterized by unrestrained conduct or lack of moral conventions, especially in sexual relations; wanton; loose: Some young people in that era were considered fast, if not downright promiscuous.
Since this post is about swimming, biking, running; we can ignore 5.... we can revisit that definition if I ever decide to date again.

And let's use the same source to define 'slow'


[sloh]  adjective, slow·er, slow·est.
1. moving or proceeding with little or less than usual speed or velocity: a slow train. 
2. characterized by lack of speed: a slow pace. 
3. taking or requiring a comparatively long time for completion: a slow meal; a slow trip. 
4. requiring or taking a long time for growing, changing, or occurring; gradual: a plant of slow growth. 
5. sluggish in nature, disposition, or function.
I'm wondering if anyone noticed that neither definition has a definitive time that demarcates what is fast and what is slow? I have more years of formal education than I'm willing to admit and it gave me a good basis for basic reading comprehension: Both definitions require a COMPARISON.

So what are we comparing?

If I compare myself to the Age Groupers (amateurs who come in the top of their age group) I know and I know a lot of them....I'm SLOW! I mean "turtle crawling through a puddle of molasses" slow. We won't discuss how I compare to the Pros. Let's just put it this way: the pros are getting off their bike as I'm getting done with my swim....

If I compare myself to Mid-packers (those who finish the race towards the middle of the group) I'm pretty solid (with my run being on the faster side).

If I compare myself to me three years ago....I'm AH-MAZE-ING!

What is fast? I could randomly throw out some numbers but they would be arbitrary. My idea of fast and yours may be different. I'm sure they are different. I'm totally stoked when I run an 8:12 mile and you might think that's a great pace for a warm-up.

I can only speak for me when I say I am about as over hearing people lament about being slow as I am seeing the dollar sign after the number: 4$....nails on chalkboard, it is $4.

I digress.

With running...what is so special about a 10mm mile that I've heard people who run slower than this say they aren't real runners? Really? Did you not put on shoes with the intent to go for a run?

Can we all just celebrate that we are getting up and moving?

If you have read this far I want to thank those Age-Groupers and Podium seekers I know who are always encouraging and never condescending. Taking the time to encourage me with my training and talk about my goals and accomplishments is like being invited by the cool kids to join them for lunch.

5 months till Ironman Florida.......