Friday, August 15, 2014

"Some science thing"

I woke up with a massive headache this morning. And by this morning, I mean 2 AM. I took Advil, went back to sleep, and woke up at 4:30 AM in order to get to the pool. I fought my way through an ugly  swim, headache still raging, and went home to sleep for another hour in hopes that it would finally subside. Unfortunately, it did not and I think it's going to be one of those days. Sigh.
Since the universe knew I was in need of a laugh, it graciously worked through a friend. I just opened this gem of an email from the Redhead's (bestie) husband (bestie-by-marriage). Thanks James. I needed this. 
From: James F.
To: Beth, Jen, Emmalee, Riki, Harold
Look, I found a rare Ironman Chattanooga picture.  How nice of the main sponsor, Little Debbie, to leave all those Swiss Rolls in the water for the swimmers.  A real first class event! Everyone knows Swiss Rolls typically float—or at least initially float.  Something about the buoyancy or some science thing like that.  I don’t care, they are delicious. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hoka One One Non-Sponsored Shoe Review

Before I begin my shoe review, I'd like to remind you all that I have discount codes for three of the four Best Damn Race locales. Best Damn Race just announced Jacksonville but my $5 off code isn't working for that one as of yet. I'll let you know when it is. Best Damn Race is a series located in four different areas in Florida. Don't feel like dropping big bucks on the Mouse but want a runcation in Florida? Well, this is the series for you. In case you forgot, my code is: UNICORN.
I'm a whiz with Paint.
Ok, on to the shoe review.
I guess I should point out that I'm not a "gusher." I don't know if I particularly rave about things that aren't edible in general. I like a lot of things but I don't typically shout about stuff from the rooftops. I'd also like to mention that I am not a brand loyal shoe wearer. I've worn Brooks, Mizuno, Nike, Saucony, New Balance, and Asics. I switch depending on where I am in a training cycle. I go with what feels good when I'm trying stuff on. I typically wear a moderate stability shoe with a good amount of cushion. I've always been a fan of what I call "foot pillows." No minimalist shoe action for this girl. I go with what works for me.
I was running in the Saucony Guide 7's and they were ready to head to that big shoe store in the sky. Or wherever beat to hell running shoes actually end up if you donate them. I had zero issues with these shoes. I just started feeling that more cushion may be the way to go for my current state of being beat to shit during ironman training. And I know a long list of speedy folks who are die hard Hoka fans. I figured I'd give them a try.
I tried on the Hoka One One Conquests and proceeded to run around the parking circle in front of the store. My sister was in town and was grabbing a coffee and came up as I was running. She paused and said something to the effect of, "Whoa. What are those!?"
These shoes are definitely not the best looking shoes I've ever worn. I look a bit like Frankenstein's bride in them. My size ten foot certainly isn't doing them any favors. I do care how my running shoes look, but not enough to prevent me from wearing something that works. Even if I do get some double takes.
These shoes are not cheap. A friend pointed out how running is an inclusive sport and such an expensive shoe isn't making her a fan. I can understand that, but if they last me longer than other less expensive shoes it may make it wash. Only time will tell on that.
I wore the Conquests for the first time on an early morning tempo run. I was actually nervous I'd bust my butt in them running in the dark because in my head I was imagining running in platforms. Fortunately, this was not the case and they felt fine. They are definitely "foot pillows" and I didn't feel that they were too heavy, even though they are on the heavier side of running shoes. Hoka doesn't make different stability in their shoes. Whatever they did with the Conquest is working with me on that issue. They felt springy and didn't have any effect on my speed.
Since that first tempo, I've worn them on two short brick runs off the bike, a twenty mile long run, and another tempo this morning. Guess what? My twenty mile run felt like a twenty mile run. Haha. I sort of expected less soreness but I was about the same level sore I usually am after running twenty miles. I think they are a little more comfortable on all the sidewalk running that I do so I'll call that a win. I don't love the tongue on the shoe as I think it's a little on the hard side, but my socks help with that. They also seemed to retain a lot of sweat because Meghan actually asked me if the sloshing noise was my shoes. It was.
Final Verdict
I'll wear these for the ironman and may try other models but I'm not 100% hooked. I am in no way saying these aren't good shoes, but I am still searching for my perfect shoe. It may not exist, but I sure do like the hunt.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mega Miles Weekend

After this weekend's MEGA workouts I am feeling fairly beat up and tired. I've got a wide variety of ouchies from chafing on my hiney (random) to sore legs, back, and neck, plus a scratchy eye (even more random).
I am less than 50 days out from my first full ironman and I'm working on keeping those crazy doubts at bay. I've been riding hills as much as possible and enjoying the time spent with training buddies and those who have given me sage advice on how to get through this journey.
Saturday's twenty mile run went pretty damn well. Meghan and I met up at 4:30 IN THE MORNING to start because we're playing a little game I like to call "Fuck Off Sun." Pardon my French. We decided to tackle the bridge loop that includes three large bridges and a big hill for the first 12 miles. We then added on an out and back that included one of those bridges as a final reminder that our race will have hills and they will suck. That last climb on the way back in really hurt but we didn't stop and our longs runs are getting a tiny bit faster every week. Running twenty miles in Florida in August ain't pretty. *Pats self on back* (I do owe you guys a shoe review. I should have it ready by tomorrow.)
Sunday's 100 mile ride was not exactly what I'd call a great ride but it was completed and with lots of climbing. We headed to our favorite hill ride area, San Antonio, Florida. I say it wasn't a great ride because I had some very serious bonking for about 30 miles. I don't think I ate enough on the front end so just as soon as we hit mile 40 I started fading. I had the standard "I hate cycling" and "I'm throwing this bike away" thoughts and couldn't pedal faster than 14 MPH. It was sad. I forced myself to eat a Bonk Breaker and after a little while I felt "right" again. I suppose I needed that reminder to eat early and often.
We did get rained on for about 10 miles or so and it was actually quite refreshing. Plus, as Meghan pointed out, it helped take my mind off anything else. I think I got something in my eye at this point during the ride. Hence, the scratchiness. This was my second 100 miler for this training and I'm looking forward to riding the next one even stronger.
Some people have asked why we ran on Saturday and rode on Sunday and there's a bit of debate on this. I like to try to mix it up and switch long run days and long ride days, although I have been doing more run Saturday, ride Sunday trainings. If you want more information on the training theory read HERE and HERE. You can also find articles that say the exact opposite, I'm sure. Ultimately, I do what my coach says and I trust him. There's a ton of different opinions out there and everyone has to do what works best for them.
Anyone race this weekend? Is it hot as balls where you are too?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The History of Farts

It's been quiet on the blog this week and it's because I really don't have a lot to write about. I genuinely love writing so I'm a bit blue that I can't think of some good stuff for you all to read, and selfishly, for myself to write. I was so desperate that I went to a blog topic generator. It asks you to type in three fields "preferably with nouns" and then voila - a blog topic. I typed in "farts" because I find them funny, and blank spaces to me mean Mad Libs.
In lieu of an actual topic I'll just fill you all in on how ironman training goes. (I doubt I could fill an entire page on the history of farts, much to my chagrin.)
I've really been feeling in the groove with swimming lately. I've typically been hitting two swims per week of about 3,000-3,500 yards or meters depending on the day. I am trying very hard to make that third swim this month since it seems that the swim is the activity that I end up cutting when I need a rest day. My rotator cuff has been feeling achy so I'm keeping close "feels" on it. I've never had pain there before and I know it's because I'm swimming a lot more than I have in a very long time. The master's group I swim with has been a big help and Tori and Meghan have been coming with me. I currently still enjoy swimming and foresee it being something I want to do forever. I'm hopeful that I can be like the Golden Girl at my master's group who says "anything less than 1,200 isn't worth getting out of bed for." She gives zero you-know-what's.
Cycling remains the same. It's not my favorite, but damn if I'm not trying my hardest. I'm trying to hit at least 100 miles per week, which hasn't been difficult considering how long my weekend rides have gotten. Sunday marked the first very big cut back I took on purpose because I was just so tired. I had 80 miles on my plan but then we got back to ours cars at 54 miles and I just couldn't go back out. I'm chalking that up to a fairly intense week and the fact that we've been riding the big hills almost every weekend. Yes, Florida has hills. They aren't Tour de France level, but there are quite few with grades of 10-12% and we can gain anywhere from 900 to 2,000 feet of climbing, depending on the route we take. I'm very hopeful that this will prepare me for Chattanooga. It helped a ton for Augusta and as we all know, I'm not planning on winning the damn thing.
Fortunately, running has turned around for the better in that last few weeks. I'm running at least 30-35 miles per week. I was really struggling with those first few long runs and I reminded myself that those first really longs ones of every marathon cycle seem to get me. Starting earlier and running with friends has been a HUGE help. I've completed two 18 miles runs and hope to get in two 20 milers. I got a new pair of shoes that garnered a lot of talk on facebook and requests for a review. I'll get one up after a few more wears. Hint: I look like Frankenstein in them.
Everyone has a different opinion on how much to swim, bike, and run for the ironman. I'm just doing what my coach says and going from there. I have faith in him and I know what tends to work best for my body with longer workouts. To each training, their own.
And there you have it. The History of Farts. Have a great hump day.