Friday, June 22, 2012

Project 333

33 pieces of clothing and accessories...for three months?   No doubt it's true that the fewer items you have to clean, put away, manage and choose from will save time.  But can I downsize my closet to 33 items for the next three months?  I was initially intrigued by this idea, wanting to take the plunge, but also feared the challenge and procrastinated.  Infact, you could say that I'm procrastinating now, as I write this.

For the past year I've had an intense desire to purge and decrease the unnecessary clutter.  As we get ready for the kitchen cabinets to be refaced, I'm hopeful that when I clear out all the cabinets and drawers, I will be successful in getting rid of the stuff we no longer need.  It's weighing me down!

Be gone clutter, I'm ready for simple!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Back at it

Cadel just turned 10 weeks old this past weekend, oh how time flies!  It's funny how I thought I was going to be back at training (cardio and weight lifting) a couple of weeks after giving birth...what was I thinking?  I am now getting back into it, though it's a bit more difficult than I anticipated.  It's incredibly tough for me to even jog for a mile without a walk break, but I know that it will get better with time.  I didn't realize just how much my pelvic bones had shifted, and how off-set they still seem to be, but running certainly does remind me of that fact.

The San Francisco marathon is just 88 days away, just a little over 12 weeks, and I've managed to get two 6.5 mile walk/jogs in, and will build off that.  This won't be a way...but it will allow me to get back into the swing of things and have some sense of "normalcy" and no doubt a sense of achievement.

It's all a balance. Due to breastfeeding, I'm up against the following:

  1. Hormones are playing a part in my joint and ligaments and I have to be cautious to avoid injury  
  2. I also need to be aware that too much exercise will effect my milk production
  3. Too little exercise will make for a miserable marathon experience
  4. Wearing double sports bras to properly "manage the girls"
  5. Nurse/pump immediately before going out on a long run
I read an article in Runners World magazine this month about moms and running.  There was one mother (a serious competitor in her age group) who runs ultra distance marathons and manages to pump at aid stations and sometimes even nurses her baby right there next to the gatorade!  Yes, you read that right...are you freaking kidding me?  The thought did occur to me though that if the San Fran marathon takes me much longer than 4.5 hours, I'm going to be in a world of hurt, if you catch my drift.  By no means am I suggesting that I'll have my Medela pump on the ready at mile 20, but I'm sure I'll be feeling it by then.  Yikes!

Yesterday I started doing the math in my head..with only 12 weeks to train for this puppy, that means I need to bump my long run mileage up by about 1-2 miles every week.  In the past, that wasn't a problem, infact that was a common way for me to train during my last 5-10 marathons.  

I am also contending with an extra 10 pounds on my body in comparison to last year's Seattle marathon (when I was 5 weeks pregnant) so I'm hoping that the final 10 pounds will come off with this training (in addition to breastfeeding).  I'd also like to start back to some resistance training, and work on my abdominal muscles again.  One step at a time, I know...

With four more weeks of maternity leave, I feel the pressure to get a couple two-a-days in each week, to make use of this time "off" and kickstart my training.  Again, I know I can do it, it's just finding the balance and not overdoing it.  So, here goes.  Tick tock!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

5.5 weeks

There\'s no better time than the present to just get back to blogging, especially at 2:30 am after just feeding the baby...I guess it gives true flavor to my post, as this is my new life. Time to update my profile and in addition to being a daughter, wife, Ironman, marathoner, jewelry artist...I am a mom. Say what?

I was putting off writing the first post as a mom because I had so many things I wanted to say, and in certain order, but as you see, procrastination has gotten me nowhere.

So I\'ll begin, now.

Still trying to keep up with my 30 Days of Lists and have failed miserably. I will keep at it, because I do believe there\'s value in journaling my new days as a mom, even if brief.

How\'s the training going? Well I\'ve managed to get out for some good 30 minute walks, but my running needs to kick in. I ran for 15 minutes one week ago...felt pretty decent, all things considered.

Baby boy is 5.5 weeks old. Sometimes I think I have it figured out, and then I realize I don\'t. Each day is new and different, but the same.

I need to get my training plan nailed out and commit! That\'s the goal for this week. Next weeks goal is to start working on daycare.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

7 more days

It's hard to imagine, really, that we have 7 days (if all goes according to plan) of being D-I-N-Ks.  Granted, I don't know all the details for sure, but come Monday (ha, which happens to be our wedding song) I will know whether we're scheduling induction for February 19th.  And that being said, I'm assuming he won't show up before then...though I'd be secretly happy if he does.

I'm ready...we're we'll ever be.  There's a certain comfort in knowing that there's a finish line ahead...and ironically at that point, there's a whole new big start line of the ultimate endurance event - parenthood.

So maybe early March will be the start of my training to get back out there.  Oh, I'm sure those first few miles will be rough, but I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A new year, and a BIG one at that!

It's hard to believe that my last post on this blog was back in April...9 months ago??? Really?  Well, ironically, that 9 months has been filled with so many events that it would take me days to write about.  Back then, my mind was on finishing my fifth half Ironman race and gearing up for my 15th marathon.

Little did I know that I was about one month away from some magnificent cell multiplication that would become a baby boy.  Say what?  Wait...what?

And three days after finding out I was about 5 weeks pregnant, I crossed the finish line of the Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon, one minute slower than my PR.  Two weeks after that, I ran a half marathon, and then threw in the towel shortly after, with the intention that I would get back to running after the baby arrived.  That's still the plan.

And so begins the next chapter of our lives, with baby in tow, and an attempt to continue doing all the things we love:
Marathons, ultras, and more triathlons (for me)
Creating jewelry, and growing SwirlyTwirlyGirl
Drinking wine...lots of it
Reading books
Maintaining the social life and friends that we so adore

Can it be done? Time will tell...and so will this blog.

With three weeks until my due date, I'm just trying to get things as situated as possible.  I kind of equate this upcoming experience to the time when I signed up for my first Ironman race.  It's going to be a challenge, I really don't know what I'm in for (honestly), there will be some grueling times in addition to some amazingly good times, but in the end, the payoff will be radtastic.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ready, set....GO? ...and my California 70.3 race recap

First and foremost, what's on my mind is tomorrow...Friday, April 15th, at 9am PT to be exact.  No, it has nothing to do with taxes...but it does have to do with TAXING your body for 140.6 miles across the Kona lava fields in October!

For the sixth year in a row, I've applied for the Kona Ironman World Championship Lottery.  Basically where about 7,000 or more apply to try and get one of 200 lottery slots.  By my calculations that's less than a 3% chance of getting in.

Of course there is a long-standing debate about how worthy a lottery slot is versus actually qualifying for a spot to toe that magnificent start line...but I'm not going there today...maybe some other time.

In past years, I have queued up the internet on and waited for the clock to tick over to 9:00, desperately scan the list about three times for my name (even looking at the bottom of the list...which makes no sense, given they list the names alphabetically!) and hang my head in disappointment.  I'll be honest, the first few times I was bummed, one year I was more relieved than sad, and last year I cried.  That is what tells me in my gut that I am ready.

So, with that, I'll dive into the latest race.  The California 70.3 in Oceanside was just a little less than two weeks ago.  It was my fourth time of doing the race and I went into it not really knowing exactly what I was capable of.  I had a shoulder injury that took me out of swimming for nearly a year and a half, I hadn't been on my bike much these past two years, and to top it off, my one and only road-ride was three weeks before the race!  I was relying solely on my running, three months of swimming Masters, some resistance training, and weekly pilates reformer classes.

The swim in this race is my weak spot...mainly due to the wave start and getting pummeled by 30 - 40 year old competitive (and aggressive!) male swimmers that are in the waves after me...but also due to the fact that I tend to zig-zag in the water without a nice solid black line below me that I can follow.  In true-Brenda-consistent-form, I finished that swim in 50 minutes.  Same as 2009, same as 2008, and same as 2007.  I really do feel as though I'm a much stronger swimmer these days, but clearly I need to work on my open-water swimming and learn to be more aggressive myself in order to keep my pace and not get hung up and interrupted by others.

I had a theory that though I didn't do much bike work (hardly any!) that all the consistent running will play a successful part in the biking; and I was right!  I won't go on too long about it, but there were a couple 9-10% hills that initially I doubted whether I was going to be able to handle...but I did!  Awesome!  The last 10 miles coming in had a very strong headwind, that's usually where most people slow down and have a hard time.  I was on my big ring and my little rear cog and POWERED it in, huffing and puffing (you should have heard me, it was really quite ridiculous!)  I ended up coming in off the bike in 3 hours 40 minutes (only 4 minutes shy of my time two years ago, when I actually did train pretty hard on the bike!)

My first mile of the run felt pretty good, legs were not heavy and I felt like I moved right into a great pace.  I was surprised because I figured with pushing on the bike so hard, it would all come back to bite me on the run.  Well, about 6 miles in, it did bite, hard!  I was not feeling great.  I managed to walk/jog/walk/jog and bring it in the last mile at a respectable pace with a nice solid stride/sprint to the finish.  My run time was 2 hours 25 minutes (and only about 2 minutes slower than two years ago!)

All in all, a solid finish.  Not a PR (slower by 7 minutes total) but I'll take it.  As with every race, I learned something.  I think I learned to push a bit out of my comfort zone on the bike and run (a few times) and that I can keep on going.

I can't help but think about how good my times could have been if I had taken the bike training more seriously.  And did my run time suffer as a consequence of beating up my under-trained bike-legs on the bike course?

With that said, I'm sure that 2012 California 70.3 will be on my race list next year.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Elite 8

To go along with the theme of the NCAA basketball tourney, I came to think of my training over the past 8 days as stellar...or elite.

Last Saturday I went out to run about 16 miles (while knowing that I'm a few miles shy of where I should be) and ended up only pulling off 13.1 miles.  I don't know, there were a ton of emotions going on with this particular day and I just couldn't settle into the groove.  It was a beautiful day, I'll give it that.  I ran along the San Diego harbor, caught some amazing views of sailboats in the harbor with San Diego downtown and the Coronado bridge in the background.  I ran through the Cancer Survivors Park over by the airport and took a moment to snap a few pics and bring myself back to ground zero.  I was feeling sorry for myself, wondering why I couldn't just bang out a solid 16 miles with little to no walking.  And then I came upon the park, and it grounded me.  How can I not be inspired by those that have fought an immense uphill battle against cancer, and who am I to whine about this run not being as awesome as I'd hoped, when here I am in beautiful, sunny San Diego, in good health, with so many blessings that I can't even count.  Shame on me!

I won't lie, after the run on our drive back home, I did tear up a little when talking with Bryce about my frustrations as a runner at this point.  About a year ago I was about 1 and a half minutes per mile faster and I just can't stand this setback. Over winter, I got sick with whooping cough and in the past six months I've gained about 10 pounds as a result of that downtime. I can't figure out if I should cut myself some slack and go easy to build back up, or do I just need to step it up and push it hard, beyond comfortable.  Am I capable of that?  I resolved that in just a week I'll be back to doing weekly track workouts, and that, my friends, is when I'll learn to push myself again (with someone standing on the sidelines, holding a stopwatch, and holding me accountable.)  I'll get there.

With only three weeks until my half Ironman, I took Monday off work to get a solid training day in...not to mention, I needed to pull my bike down, dust it off, pump up the tires, and make sure everything was working correctly...seeing as I hadn't been on the thing for more than 15 months!  Ha!  And I have a flippin' half Ironman coming up?  Geez.

In the past 15 months I've definitely put a lot of concentration on running, so I had to wonder if that might translate and pay off on the bike.  I first went to Masters Swim and put in a solid hour of swimming (about 2600 yards).  I threw back two lattes at home and then went out for a planned 30 mile bike ride, and 20 miles in, I felt so solid that I decided to add another 10!  Sweet!  I was feeling so good that I decided to move to the big ring and really see if I could push it.  Shift, click!  And boom, it moved to the small ring.  What???  I was on the big ring to begin with and I didn't even know it! Even sweeter.  The five mile run following the bike was not anything amazing.  It was a bunch of slow jogging with many walk breaks.  But you know what?  I'll take it!  Almost four and a half hours of my own little mini-tri and I felt good.  I'm back.  Not fast, but back.

I spent the rest of the week in chilly, rainy Seattle.  One evening was spent in the hotel gym on the elliptical trainer, but the next day I braved the cold and ran along the water.  It was awesome, I felt a good pace and was very happy.

Today, on the first day of Spring, it was windy and there was a forecast for rain.  So, as a true-blue fair-weather San Diego girl, I did an indoor brick.  Two hour stationary bike followed by an hour run on the treadmill.  Felt awesome.  Could have kept going.  But I had my Cats to watch (who by the way just made it into the Sweet Sixteen by the hair of their chinny-chin-chins!)

So eight days ago, I was feeling blue and sorry for myself...not sure if I was going to suffer in a serious way on the Cal 70.3 course.  And now, here I sit, with glass of wine next to MacBook Pro, feeling as though I learned a ton about myself and got my confidence back.  That was my elite 8.