Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We had a wonderful holiday weather weekend--for once. It was a good weekend then to kick off my 1/2 IM training program, even if it didn't start out the way I would have hoped.

Saturday, I had planned to do a 15k run. There is a race coming up at the end of June, a 5k and a 10k, so I thought a good route would be to do both race routes. They only overlap for about 2 miles, so I figured it would be a good way to keep from getting bored. The weather was nice enough, although not particularly warm, only about 48 when I headed out. It was cool enough too to get my nose running full force, so starting out I was really having a problem breathing. My downfall in this kind of weather is nasal congestion and sinus dripping, so unless I remember to take something at night (when it is not a problem), I end up blowing my nose constantly for about 2 hours. And that's pretty much what happened.

The first 5k went okay. My head didn't feel particularly great, but my legs seemed to be working okay. I started wishing though by the time I reached the 3 mile mark, that I had some water. The decongestants were drying my throat out enough that I felt dry and thirsty, and that meant either returning to my car sooner than planned or continuing on. Instead, on a whim, I decided to back track, first so I could get more miles in without stopping and second so I could grab the water sooner too. But by the time I got to my car, I was mentally wiped out. I was fatigued from the head/nasal congestion so stopping at the car pretty much killed the rest of the run. I ended up with only 4.5 miles, only half of what was planned.

Of course I had to beat myself up over this, telling myself I was never going to be able to do the 1/2 IM wimping out on just a run! I finally convinced myself to just forget about it and move on to the next day.

I did go to the gym after, however, and did a weight workout, then changed and went to my daughter's to help plant some flowers. I was pretty much tired out enough that I let her do all the work and just gave instructions. I was glad Don had planted our flowers the day before!

Then Don called and said to have the kids come over because he was planning on grilling, so I had to go shop for the extras. I dragged myself through the store and couldn't wait to get home and crash! But of course here too I had company coming so I had to busy myself with getting ready for that.

I decided that even though Memorial Day was early this year that it would be okay to start bringing my plants out to the porch, but then decided to just bring out a few at a time. Its a turning point each year in weather when the plants go out and then come back in, and with over a dozen large house plants, it becomes a process!

The rest of the day, we lounged around and ate, and I left the main cooking to Don.

Sunday, Don and I planned to bike. I was hoping for 25 miles, but we actually ended up going 30. I was still very tired out, not just from Saturday. My tiredness had built up all week, so I think that was also a part of the bad Saturday run.

It was a perfect day, and by 10 am, the temperature had heated up to almost 70 with very little wind. We were going to the White Pine Traill, which actually is considered a state park. It starts along the river, near downtown Grand Rapids, and, if taken all the way to the end (a part of which is a snow mobile trail only), it goes to Cadillac, about 94 miles. We started about 6 miles from the trailhead and rode north. Part of this route is very busy and popular, with another park and ride area about 4 miles from where we started. Its an area where if you don't get there early, you might not get a parking spot. Today, it was only about half full, so I was happy to see that we would only have about half the numbers out there with us. About another 4 miles from here, we go through Rockford, a town I lived in for 20 years, so I'm fairly familiar with the area. I just wish this trail had been there when I lived there--paved that is. Every time I go through that area, I am reminded of all my training runs on what was back then an unpaved railroad bed, just the beginning of what is now the beautiful trail.

The trail used to go about 15.5 miles and then turn into unpaved. Last year, the trail was extended another almost 15 miles. We hadn't been on the new part yet, and decided to go another 7 miles before turning back. North of Rockford, the trail actually becomes a false flat, with enough of an upgrade so you feel the difference in speed. Up to this part, I had been trying mostly successfully the whole ride to stay above 80 rpms, but once we hit this, it was impossible for me to do that without going to the smaller ring and downshifting besides. I am not good on hills, and this again proved my weakness. Don would ride ahead, and then coast for a while so I could catch up.

What really mystified me about the cadence thing was if I added gears to go faster, my cadence immediately dropped from the 80s to the upper 60s, no matter what I did. I'm just not sure how beneficial this is overall, but they say the easier spinning is better for building base, so I guess I'll stay with it for now.

The new part of the trail is so smooth, it was just like butter! It was great, and no "traffic" on it. Eventually, we want to do the whole new paved part, but the little over 30 miles we did was enough for me. Coming back to town, however, you do have those nice long downgrades, so I was able to keep the cadence up between 85 and 90 without much effort. And by the time we finished, the temperature was almost 80, warmer than expected.

We had a late afternoon party to go to, but I felt like I needed to not only eat as soon as we got done but lie down for a while. I did eat, but never did lie down. Since this was to be an outside party, and since my nose was still dripping quite a bit, especially after the ride, I decided--for once--to take the preventative antihistamine and hope I didn't fall asleep talking with someone.

The gathering was an annual holiday party that has been going on for many years, attended by mainly runners or triathletes and their spouses/significant others. This year was also a dual birthday celebration for two of the runners who had reached milestone birthdays, so their families were also in attendance. When we arrived, almost the last ones, the number count was 49.

There were several people there who had run Bayshore the day before, a couple whom had qualified for Boston again. If you are close to qualifying and need a good qualifying race, this would be a good one to consider.

I also ran into a couple from Ann Arbor whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years since they had moved away from GR. When I mentioned I would be there next weekend for the half marathon, they both indicated they would be volunteering. Elyssa said she would be at the finish line, so I told her her job would be done when I crossed the line!

The party started breaking up early. That's the thing about runner/triathlete parties: everyone leaves early. We were home before dark actually, and I was glad to be able to go to bed soon after.

Monday the plan was to get up for a short run, and then I was going to swim after. We expected the weather to be bad, but as it turned out, we only had an early morning shower and then it cleared after that, getting extremely humid and warm. By the time we went out to run a little after 8 am, it was about 70% humidity, and the temperature was in the upper 60s. After about 5 minutes, you were soaked through with sweat from the humidity. The wind was picking up though, and running back into the wind was actually refreshing.

At 30 minutes, Don decided to turn back, but I was actually feeling so good I went on for another 20 minutes before heading back home. My legs felt good, and with the warmer air, my nose was not dripping for once so I felt much less fatigued.

After, he had some things to do with his mom and I was heading to the pool. My "scheduled" swim was only supposed to be 1000 yards, but I went on to even it out to 1200. Next week, the swimming distance starts increasing quite a bit, so I figured doing another 200 was a good way to start the buildup early. I'm okay with my swimming, but I definitely want to get a little faster by race day just to give me more of a cushion on the bike and run.

I always seem to get into these think tank moments when swimming and started thinking maybe I should do an Olympic distance race at the end of June. I've done it before, with varying degrees of success, but I couldn't help think of two years before and how bad that time was. Am I kidding myself, thinking I can really do these triathlons? Of course those thoughts swirled in my mind with each lap. And then I start doing the math: if I do xx on the swim, xx on the bike, and xx on the run, that would beat my time from 2 years ago. But was that really possible?? The bike course is not particularly easy (for me at least), and since that's where my weakness is, what are the chances...?? Anyway, I'm on the fence about that race right now.

The rest of the day was spent doing family stuff. So that wraps up the weekend pretty much. Tonight is another bike ride, and of course the weather has turned cold again, with the mention of frost tonight, so I brought a jacket, tights, long sleeves, earband, and gloves. Good old summer riding!


Flo said...

Sounds like a great weekend.

chia said...

I'm tired just thinking about all that running, biking, and swimming :-). You're a better woman than I!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Good workouts this weekend.

I am not so good on the hills either, Husband always beats me to the top, but I'm starting to hold my own on the flats. Too bad none of my races are flat!!!

If you want to do an oly end of June, go for it. Don't get so stressed out over your time. Just do it. And have fun.

Anonymous said...

All kinds of thoughts swirl around in my head when I'm swimming, too. Funny, I also do lots of calculating and figuring out of times.

Nice workouts...you're doing great!

Sunshine said...

What a weekend!!
I appreciated the places my mind goes when I'm running. Sometimes interesting... sometimes I get stuff figured out.
Isn't it great to be done with snow!

bill carter said...

Hi Vickie

That was some kind of a busy weekend. I don't know if you have done Bayshore (half or full), but it is a really nice race. I don't know if it works into your schedule, but it well run and as I am sure you know quite scenic. Best of luck with the training and glad to hear you are enjoying running again.