Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wrapping up February

February turned out to be a pretty good month for me.

I added 165.6 total training miles to my yearly total, which is now at 248.8 total yearly miles.
I also got my half marathon time under the 2:30 mark that I have been chasing for over 2 years. While I missed my weight loss goal, I still managed to lose a couple pounds during the month (actually 1.6 lbs for the month and 2.6 lbs for the year to date).

On non-training matters: I enjoyed last Saturday evening sampling BBQ at the cook-off competition. I had both some ordinary and some extraordinary BBQ, including what might have been the best ribs ever.
I also enjoyed watching many of the Olympic events over the last two weeks and am inspired by watching competition at those levels, whatever the sport.
Probably most important of all, I got a clean bill of health from my doctor on my annual checkup, with particular note made to the items that have improved over the last few years such as weight, fitness level, cholesterol, blood pressure,....

Now as I look forward to March it is time to take the training up a level to get ready for my late April Half Ironman.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Run WIld Half Marathon

The weather forecast for Sunday was up and down all week and although I wasn't ever worried about the weather, I was not prepared for a warm and muggy, humid morning...but you take what you get in weather. Since my last 3 races all started in the 20s and 30s (2 with rain!), I wasn't about to complain about the weather.

The course is one I have run twice before, and if I remember correctly I set a new PR each time. The course is run on roads starting on the west side of downtown Houston with an out and back 3 loop course. The course also ends up having a fair number of small hills as you go down 12 underpasses and back up again not counting a couple small inclines on the roadways.

I went out faster than normal and made myself hold back a bit, for which I would be grateful later. I had two main problems during the race, starting near mile 4 my right thigh felt as if it were on the verge of cramping up when I ran fast enough and my stomach started felling unsettled around mile 6. I fought off the cramping by following my training and trying to run a consistent pace that my leg would tolerate (miles 2 - 13 each fell within a 50 second pacing range range as I ran a consistent 9/1 run/walk) and I fought off the stomach issues by drinking more water and less Gatorade than normal.

In the end the consistent pacing worked well for me, and I was able to maintain the pace even though I was tiring over the last few miles. For the last 2 years I have been trying to get under 2:30 in the half marathon and never quite getting there having a PR of 2:31:24 from last December, but today's run finally yielded a different result as I finished in 2:26:45.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Gazing

Once again I find myself enthralled with watching events at the Olympic Games that would never normally hold my attention. I would never normally find biathlon (cross country skiing and rifle shooting), snowboarding and downhill skiing exciting enough to watch on the television, but for some reason I'll sit there and take it all in. Hey, I have even been watching curling events--and I don't even completely understand it!

I'm guessing my interest is piqued by the competitive level, drive and determination of the athletes.

All of this is a bit of a welcome diversion as this is also my busiest work week of the month at work, while I also take an easier workout week before another I take on the Run Wild Half Marathon in Houston this coming weekend.

On a side note, I currently have 179.8 combined training miles so far for the year--3.6 miles swimming, 79.9 miles biking and 96.3 miles running. This is more shewed towards running than I would normally want, but that's mostly due to the half and full marathon I did in January. Fortunately, I have been getting the swim and bike numbers higher over the last few weeks as each of those two took a back seat to my vacation, marathon and recovery during the first 3 weeks of January.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Movin’ Right Along…

This month seems to be just moving along at warp speed to me. It’s already the 6th week of the year and time keeps flying by. I don’t really have an organized topic to write on today, so I’ll just throw out a few varied items today.

I’m back into pushing my triathlon training. The Lone Star 70.3 is 11 weeks away and now is the time for me to kick up the training. I haven’t be really going any long distances while swimming since October, but I have been maintaining my distances swam and have picked up some speed since then, so I will be working on some increasingly longer swims coming up. I rode my longest bike ride (25.2 miles) since Thanksgiving this past weekend, and need to keep pushing this upward over through March. My running has been my most consistent training lately—thanks mostly to the Goofy Challenge races—and I have kept up my training distances to a decent length since then, too. This weekend’s run felt particularly good for me—it was one of those runs where I felt loose and comfortable pretty much the whole run, plus I ran more than a minute/mile faster than my average long run. However most of all, for a few scattered moments during this run, I felt that I had just slightly recaptured the feeling of running that I had when I was in my 20’s and could have run a solid pace all day.

This weekend I registered for the Run Wild Half Marathon in Houston on February 21st, with good weather that day I’ll be trying to push for a PR that day.

I have signed up for a day of volunteer service under Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program so I can earn a free park ticket for my Labor Day Half Marathon trip to Disneyland.

I am looking forward to tonight’s meeting of the Houston Racing and Triathlon Club where the race directors from various races will talk about many of the local triathlons. Hopefully, I will even be lucky enough to save a few dollars by winning a free race entry. (Actually, I did win a free race entry; as Murphy's Law would have it I won an entry to the Clear Lake Olympic Triathlon in August, which was the site of a complete debacle of a triathlon for me.On the plus side for this race, the RD announced that the road that caused my two flat tires will be removed from this year's route!)

I had to skip today’s swim workout due to demands of both my full-time job and my volunteer “job”. The downside is that the stress of these really made me want to get that workout done, but it will not be happening today. Tomorrow will unfortunately be more stressful, so I will try to get in an early morning workout to work off some of this stress.

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for winning the Superbowl last night. I’m not really much of a Saints fan, but after all the history that team has endured it’s nice to see them succeed for once.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January's ups and down....

January was full of ups and downs for me.

The ups were really good. First, I got to spend 10 days in Walt Disney World. Second, I had the most fantastic experience running the Goofy Challenge. Third, my total running miles for the month of January were the most I have had for any month since 2007. Finally, my weight hit its lowest point over something like the last 10 years.

However, there are still some downs along with these ups. First, my weight didn’t stay at that low point and went back up several pounds after the middle of the month. In fairness I did end the month down 1.1 pounds (from 211.5 to 210.4) and even with this month being below expectations I am at least still on the downward track from a high of 263 early in this weight loss process. Second, I decided to sit out the Austin Marathon. After coming off of doing a Half Ironman, 2 marathons and 2 half marathons in a 77 day period, I am uncharacteristically taking some well timed rest before pursuing half marathon and Half Ironman PRs later this Spring. Third, I came back home from Disney World, of course this is not really a “down” but it’s just hard to stay up after coming home from Disney World. Fourth, it has taken me a couple weeks to get back into training mode following the Disney races. I’m not sure if this was for lack of having a registered race on the schedule or because I just needed the mental and physical break, but I have at least regained that motivation to move forward again. Finally, and the hardest hitting down is that my youngest daughter is making serious talk about moving out soon. While I can’t agree with her motivation right now, she obviously (at 19) has every right to make that decision, and it’s a tougher emotional blow than I would have expected it to be (Maybe when I feel a little better about it I will realize that I should then have more money available for my running and racing!).

In addition to my other goals, my special goal for February will be to just feel like I am getting back on track for the rest of 2010, and for a return to the Disney races in early 2011.