2012 Training Plan

First of all, yes, I’m still doing P90X… week 2 is well underway!! I’m still eating clean (or clean enough for me) and logging my food and exercise. You’ve got to love progress!!! I get so inspired when my training plan works! With that in mind, I realized that I needed to sort out my plans for the rest of the year. Yep, I said YEAR! See, I’ve committed to run in the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon in November with my nieces AND I have the St. Augustine Marathon, which also falls in November. YIKES! So, it was time for me to organize my training schedule. My biggest fear was that these races would fall on the same weekend. But, alas, Disney posted the date for the half and it’s November 10th!!! YAY!! This is a week before the marathon… Pheeww!! Ideally, I should be tapering the week before the marathon, but I’ll just make it work.

So, when figuring out a training schedule, I work backwards. I start on M-Day (Marathon day) and work in the reverse to figure out when to start my training. BUT, I’m also trying to work in the P90X workouts. Yeah, go ahead and say it… OVERACHIEVER!!! I’m thinking that this combination will give me that added strength to succeed at my marathon challenge. I found a plan I like somewhere on the internet. It was a pdf of a Nike Running plan and had beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. So last night I painstakingly entered this plan into my iCal, working in the reverse. I was so proud when I finally finished and my iCal looked all full and busy-like. Then, I went web surfing this morning and found the Nike Running Training site, which allows you to enter the date of your race and it will calculate your plan for you!!! UGH! AND… it will import it into your calendar!!! REALLYY?!?! I couldn’t have found this BEFORE I wasted an hour or so of my life?

Anyway, I officially start training for my marathon in the beginning of May, which happens to be my birthday week! How perfectly appropriate!!! So from now until May, I will continue with P90X, round 1, which will end April 15th. And I may try my own workout from then until May. Or, if I can stand it, I’ll do P90X, round 2! Stay tuned!!!

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The Nike GPS App

I’ve been an avid user of the Nike Plus system since I found out about it waaaayyyy back when. I bought the iPod Nano, the Nike + shoes with the little hole in the sole for the chip, the chip and transmitter and tons of music from iTunes! Yeah, there was a lot of overhead, but I used it on every run, and even on those rare walks. OK, I admit it… I even used it for my dog’s walks. Hey, don’t laugh at me, a dog’s got know how far and fast she’s moving, too!! Needless to say, I thought it was just the coolest thing ever!!! But… now there’s an even cooler way! It’s Nike GPS!!!

Are you asking “What the heck is Nike GPS?” Well, let me tell you… it’s like the Nike +, but you don’t need the nano, the shoes, the chip or the transmitter!!!! You just need to download the app from iTunes app store for a mere $1.99, and that’s it!! It uses the GPS in your iPhone to track your run and measure your pace. Your runs can then be synced up with your Nike account. Are you running indoors on the treadmill? No worries it can keep track of your treadmill miles too! Just make sure you set for an indoor run before you start! Oh… it even allows you to play tag with your fellow runners!! I KNOW… IT’S SO COOL!!!

Hot and Humid Running…UGHH!

So as you know, I’ve been a little lazy about running lately! OK REALLY lazy! But… I’m trying!  I did run a 5K charity race on Saturday after NO training! And frankly, IT SUCKED!!! Not the race itself, but my performance! It was SO hot and humid! I know, I know… I live in FLA, I should be used to it. But to run in the sun is just not fun! Now I sound like Dr. Suess… great! Anyway, I had my iPhone with me and had the Nike + app running, but for some reason it didn’t register my pace or distance only my time. FRUSTRATING!!! So at 1 mile there was a sign, and at 1.5 miles there was a water station. But the entire rest of the race was unmarked. I was convinced at about mile 2.5 that we had run at least 5 miles. That’s what I get for not training! I did finish, even though my time wasn’t good! YAY ME!

Now I’m back on my schedule of 1 charity race a month. I figure it’s the only way I can keep myself motivated. I’m actually hoping to do a couple of half marathons in the fall! Notice I didn’t say FULL! Yes… I still have it in my head to someday run a full marathon, but for now I’ll stick with my halfs. I just want to keep my knees healthy and after my training injury, I decided to take it really slow! Really, really slow! So, I’m starting with an easy 3 days a week 4 miles a day schedule. This should get me through to summer. Then I’ll kick it up a little and add some extra miles! Because I love to run in 120ºF temps! 🙂 The sun beating down, and the sweat stinging your eyes… you’ve got to LOVE it!!!

Running With My iPhone…Yikes

So I finally talked my hubs into buying me the new 3GS iPhone with the Nike App built in. I’ve been bugging him relentlessly, so I wouldn’t have to keep carrying my iPhone and my Nano on my daily runs. I even tried the whole “I’m getting carpal tunnel syndrome and stress in my shoulders” and he would just laugh it off. Arrgghhhh! But with the help of my kids… mostly my daughter who ended up adopting my old iPhone… he relented on Valentines’ Day!

I absolutely LOVE my new iPhone!!! But I’m a little nervous about taking it on my runs. You see, in my head I have a vision of me running down the street, without a care in the world, when all of the sudden something happens… a snake jumps me… or gigantic Blue Heron pecks me… or a raccoon startles me… (Funny that these things have all happened!) and my precious iPhone goes flying from my hand … in slow mo… and lands in pieces on the pavement. NOOOOOO!!!! This would be a TRAGEDY!!!! A MAJOR TRAGEDY!!!

You see, I’m not a strap lover, because I prefer to see my screen while I’m running. I tried the armband, but found it was itchy and I got a bruise on my arm from tugging it to look at the screen constantly!  I tried the waist belt, but it bounced around so much that I was afraid it would break something inside. So, I bought a rubbery case that I can grip, and I’m hoping it works!!! Stay tuned!!!

By the way…do you think the iPad is too big to run with? I get separation anxiety when I’m without mine!

I TRI-ED!!

Yep...that's me!

Yep...that's me! The one with the cap and goggles!

It’s official…I’m a TRIATHLETE! I am no longer a “newbie” or “tri virgin”! I know, I can’t believe it either! I completed my first triathlon Sunday, Mother’s Day and my 44th birthday,  with 1688 or so other women! Way to go ladies!!!! It’s true…She swims…She bikes…She runs…She Rox!!!! Wooohoooo!

I experienced every emotion during this 3 leg race. From terror as I entered Bay Lake (yeah, swimming’s not really my thing!) … to exuberance as  I sprinted to the finish line with the crowd cheering me on! (Thank you to said crowd for powering me through!) My results were better than I expected, but then again, I really didn’t expect to make it out of the lake! My personal goal was to finish in under 2 hours and I did that! In fact, I finished in 1:48:59!  Not bad, for a first timer! 600th out of 1688 women! Yes I’m bragging just a little! Can you blame me? I’m still wearing my medal proudly!!

Here’s a brief run down of the race…after a night of pasta loading, an annual jammie (as in PJ’s) trip on the monorail, and a brief stint of homelessness due to being locked out of our cabin, we finally went to bed at 11:00P.M., only to wake up before the alarm at 4:30AM. Yeah, sleep was not a big priority for me. We had coffee and tried to eat, but evidently food wasn’t high on my priority list either! We suited up, piled on the golf carts and headed to the transition area. Nerves were jumping off all over the place! I set up my little transition area (complete with a birthday balloon that sings) and then wandered over to the lake to see exactly what a ½ mile swim looks like. By this time I think I was in shock, so I couldn’t tell you if I thought it was farther than I expected or not. I was comforted by the number of lifeguards and swim angels (people treading water with swim noodles for those of us who need a little help) strategically placed every 50-100 feet on both sides of the course. Surely, they would fish me out (no pun intended) when I start flailing about!

My loving family found me on the beach by the lake, and I nervously chatted with them while awaiting the start of the 1st wave.  You see there were 22 waves, each 3 minutes apart and each with a different color swim cap. I was in wave 6, yellow caps (not a good color for me), scheduled to start at 7:15A.M, just after the survivor wave, pink caps, my friend Suzi’s wave.  As I hugged my husband, mother and children and accepted their good luck wishes, I felt the nervous tension bubbling up and tears popped into my eyes. Who knew that I would get so emotional? Why? I am a strong woman about to spend the next 2 hours proving exactly how strong I am. Starting this adventure with tears is not what I expected!

So they call our wave into the staging area as the pink capped survivors walk into water. This wave gets an amazing cheer from the crowd! They are all women who have had or currently have cancer. When you think of what they’ve been through, you can’t help but get a little choked up! They are my heroes!  And here come the tears again! What is going on?

Swim?...check!!

Swim?...check!

So, here I am, standing in the sand, tears running down my face, watching my heroes paddling their way through the course, when I hear the announcer call the yellow wave into the water. Hey, that’s me! Before I knew it, I was in the water, and then I was swimming.  Again, I think I was in shock, so I can’t really tell you what my emotions were, but I was crawling along. It was crowded and people were everywhere, with arms and legs splashing about! I think I went into a slight trance, because the next thing I knew I was watching the ladies beside me stand up and walk out of the water. And sure enough when I reached my foot for the bottom it was there! I had done it! And I didn’t even need to noodle swim! WOOOHOOO! My swim split was 22:52…not bad for a scrappy swimmer.

With the hard part done, I was on my way to the biking portion.  But first I had to run (barefooted, mind you) through sand, across pavement, grass and even mulch to the transition area which was quite a ways away. The women in front of me decided that running was over rated, so we walked. When I finally got to my transition area, I quickly pulled on my socks and shoes, clicked my helmet into place and pulled my bike from the rack.

I think now is a good time to tell you about the bikes that the women use in this race. Most experienced triathletes have invested hundreds and some even thousands of dollars on the latest, greatest and lightest bikes, with teeny weeny tires, that threatened to break the speed of light, and clip in pedals, which seems like being hand…well…foot-cuffed to your bike. Even some newbies rented these super light, super fast bikes. But for some of us, we just used what we had and for me that was a clunky, heavy mountain bike with thick tires and a hint of rust. Oh, and did I mention that the brakes rub? Yeah, that means I have to push harder to travel the same distance.  But it’s a bike… and it’s my bike!

Bike? Check!

Bike? Check!

So, we had to walk the bike out of the transition area and down the bike path until we reached the pink “mount line”. But, most women stopped as soon as they saw the line, and tried to hop on their bike, only to be reprimanded and told to mount after the pink line. So it was a bit of a traffic jam, but cleared quickly. We rode out the bike path and onto the service roads throughout Disney. Now, living in Florida, there are a couple things that are certain…it’s usually hot… sunny with a chance of rain… and flat…as in no hills. So, how then, did the organizers of the bike portion of this race find not just one, but multiple hills to torture us with? Don’t they know that there are no hills for us to train on around here? And the hills weren’t placed at the beginning of the ride…no…it was towards the middle and end, when our legs were already rubber. As if that weren’t bad enough, the course required us to make U-turns, really tight U-turns, which are tough when you’re on a bike and surrounded by bikes…not to mention doing this while being foot-cuffed to your bike! But after about 49 minutes, I was done with the second leg of this adventure!

After returning to the transition area, I racked my bike, took off my helmet and quickly covered my matted hair with a hat (bad hair day doesn’t even begin to cover it), downed some Gatorade and headed out… music free…for my favorite event…the run. OK, so let me fill you in on my running experience. I love to run! I love to run to my music! I run to the beat of the music that is playing in my ear. But, I was told that if I was caught with an ipod, I would be disqualified, and all my hard work would be for nothing! So, I made the decision to run naked, yeah, that’s what I feel like when I run without music. But, I set off strong, using my breathing as my beat. I passed up the first water table and just kept my pace and breathing steady. I felt good and strong as I ran down the bike path. After what seemed like 3 miles, I heard a volunteer tell a runner that was already on there way back from the out and back course that they were halfway there. WHAT?!?! I was still on my way out and I felt like I should be done! Where’s my music?!?!?! I need some Green Day and Bon Jovi!!

Run? Check!

Run? Check!

As I came around the first of two U-turns, I saw a woman with an Ipod! Wait…what…she has music? How could this be? I had to hold myself back from tackling her and taking her Ipod! Son of a …..arggghhhhhh! So, I swallowed my anger and frustration and picked up the pace. I needed to get this over with! Then, I saw Suzi up ahead, walking, due to a knee injury, and I picked up my pace to catch her! As I caught up to her, we turned onto the final ¼ mile! Only a couple more minutes and we would be finished with this whole #$%^^$ adventure!  We could hear the crowd in the distance and the cheers were getting closer with every step! Suzi was running through the pain…you go girl! Before I knew it, I was in the shoot with hundreds of people lining either side, cheering loudly! The adrenalin kicked in and I took off at a sprint to the finish line! I don’t know if it was the desire to finish the race or the desire to get away from all the eyes starring at me, but I turned it on and I was DONE!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!

After taking a moment to turn in my timing chip, collect a flower and a medal, I hugged my mentor-friend-survivor, Suzi, and the tears were rolling again! The emotions were unexpected and uncontrollable! I found my family and hugged all of them tightly, relieved to see them again and not from a stretcher! We made our way over to the food pavilion and waited an hour or so until the transition area opened for us to claim our bikes. The adrenalin fizzled and the lack of sleep started to make itself known! I was tired, not physically, like I thought, but emotionally.  Warning…this race really zaps the emotions!

In retrospect, my 1st triathlon was rewarding, exhilarating, surprising, frustrating, phenomenal and inspirational!  It was so much more than I expected, and by far the best birthday gift I could have given myself! I am proud of myself, but most of all I am relieved! Relieved not only that I finished, but that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself in the process!

Next challenge…hmmmm…I think maybe the Disney Marathon in January!  What do you think? Care to join me? Come on…you’ll only regret it for a little while!

Girls’ Weekend vs 10K Race

dsc02625I guess I need to explain a couple things about myself before I ask you to weigh in on my dilemma. I am a 40-something year old wife and mother, who enjoys her family, but also loves to spend time with her girlfriends. I usually plan 2 or 3 girls-only weekends away each year. Yes, my husband is a SAINT! I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years now and have come to really enjoy my time away  with no responsibilities (ie. lunches, laundry, breakfast, laundry, grocery, laundry….)! I know it sounds great! So what’s the problem?

Well, before I get into that let me tell you about my little running group. My running partners, (we’ll call them the Nieces) and I choose one charity race a month to run together! We’ve been doing this for just over a year and have had a blast! So for March we chose a 10K, which will be our longest race to date! We’ve been working up to running this 10K for a while now, by increasing our distance and working on our times. This is an important milestone in our running program, and a stepping stone to the half marathon, a goal we hope to accomplish by the end of the year.

So,  now to the dilemma! The girls’ weekend this year has been booked for the same weekend as this 10K race. What do I do? Do I go on the girls’ weekend and blow-off the race? I mean I can run anytime, right? But is that letting The Nieces down? Do I commit to the race and forget about this relaxing weekend at the beach complete with spa treatments? But I REALLY need a vacation with my girlfriends. You see, we’ve all been so busy with our lives, that we haven’t even had time to get together for dinner or a movie lately! Do I go and leave at 5:30AM on Saturday in order to make it to the race in time? That would mean I would have to behave Friday night, which is difficult, since Friday night is the BEST night at girls’ weekend! Maybe I could just go for a 10K run at the beach and log it on my Nike+. But I wouldn’t have The Nieces with me to celebrate our victory! UGGHHHH!!! I am torn!

OK! So now you’ve heard my dilemma and I’m sure you have a solution! Right? Help!

Gizmos and Gadgets

So I usually depend on my husband to figure out the latest and greatest when it comes to technology. But I’m beginning to realize that I actually NEED technology for my training! I’ve been using the Nike+ kit and iPod combo for a couple years, now. I LOVE IT!!! I enjoy my music while I run and the fact that I can gauge how fast or slow I am going just by pushing a button is wonderful! I can’t wait to get home and transfer my run over to the Nike+ website! And when my miles get posted into all my challenges, I am in HEAVEN!!!

But what about biking and swimming? Are there gadgets available for these sports too? I realized exactly how much I needed said gadget yesterdcomputeray while on my bike ride. The training plan was to ride for 45 minutes. No problem, but how far did I go? What is my average pace? How many calories did I burn? I returned home feeling a little out of sorts not knowing my deets. So I set out to find some gadgets to help me out!

Turns out that there are these cool little bike computers, we’ll call them bike bling. You attach them to your bike and they will calculate not only mileage and speed, but calories and fat burned, too. Really? And it will even tell you when your bike needs a service! What? Where have I been? How did I miss this amazing advance in biking technology! Oh yeah, the last time I rode a bike…I was 12. So now,  my dilemma is which one should I get. How much is too much? I am not a professional cyclist, just a mom who is hoping to survive her first triathlon. I think I will start with the basics! I can always upgrade it later!

Swimming is another story! I guess my Lucky Brand bikini isn’t going to cut it when it comes to swimming laps, huh? The last time I had a Speedo, I was 6 and I put it on backwards. Come to think of it this might be why I stopped swimming! Anyway, I guess I will need to invest in the latest and greatest Speedo or Nike racing suit. But this one will have instructions on how to put it on and maybe just a little sparkly swim bling!

I also saw this little case that clips onto your goggles and holds your iPod shuffle, so you can still listen to your music while swimming! Major swim bling! Cool, but then I would have to buy the case and the shuffle, because I have an older style nano! Maybe if it kept track of my speed, distance and stroke it would be worth it! And what about the goggles? Can’t I use my cheap ones from Wal-mart? Do I need nose-plugs and ear-plugs? I guess I will find out after my first swim!

I could spend thousands of dollars on all these gizmos. But I won’t! I am a minimalist at heart! Well, a semi-minimalists…a girl has got to have her bling, right?