Thursday, 02 February 2012 14:29

What Happens On My Run

[caption id="attachment_5213" align="alignright" width="270" caption="You Can Forget All Your Worries Out On A Run"]running_mentality_thouhgts[/caption] While filing away papers this weekend - I found a card i have kept stashed away for years. I cant seem to throw it away.. In 1994 - Ronald Reagan announced he had Alzheimer’s.  I read it in the newspaper, and decided I should send a letter. I sent a letter to Ronald Reagan. I told him I was sorry that this was happening to him, and my grandfather also was diagnosed with this. I also told him I would pray for him, and any time he was in Texas - he and his wife were welcome to come visit my family for dinner. Thinking back on this part makes me laugh, because that was unlikely. I was 26 years old.  A month or so later, my mom called and said I might want to stop by, as I received a card from the White House. I arrived at my parents house, and I received a envelope with the presidential seal on it and inside was a pre-printed thank you card from Ronald Reagan. I knew nothing about politics. I did know Alzheimer’s. My Grandfather had Alzheimer’s.  My Grandfather and I used to run together when I was a was a teenager. My Grandparents took me for a month long road trip in an RV and we ran a lot during this trip - in fact we ran in Canada.  When he was diagnosed, it seemed to happen so quick. Maybe this was because I was young. I remember eventually he did not know who I was and it scared me. I would avoid going over when he was there.  The last time I saw him - his eyes were empty. He was not there anymore. He was not with us. He was in his own world. You see Alzheimer’s is not painful, unless you are a family member. Fast Forward 2012 - Today my mom is living with Alzheimer’s. This disease is hereditary - and she was the unlucky one between her and her brother. Years ago - she felt like she was slipping, and snuck out and bought a gameboy with educational games and tried to keep her mind fresh to avoid this. Today, she cannot count money or tell time. Not a day goes, and I want to call her and tell her something or bitch about something - but I have to decide whether this will make her anxious, and make her condition worse. When I was going through my divorce in my first marriage, I lived with my parents for a few months, and although it was tough living with my parents again, I could talk to her or cry and she was there.  She often would try to hug me, and I was so angry from the marriage failing, I would pull away. Today she is slipping away - slowly. Part of me wants to avoid, like I did with my grandfather. The other part of me just wants to hold her hand. I want to tell her its ok - I will fix your remote control again, and I will tell you what a DVD player is, and show you how it works, again. My mom is in perfect health (other than this)  She likes to take walks. She LOVES to play with my son.  Everyday - I miss talking to her more about anything. I miss her lectures on how I need to go to church, or how to raise my son, or deal with my ex-husband, or be nicer to Jason. I know at some point her mind will be gone. She wont be in pain. She will eventually need assistance with eating and normal daily activities and will no longer know who I am. This is on my mind daily. Its possible I might be the one out of four sisters that gets diagnosed someday, and I hope for a cure for this disease, and the pain it causes so many families like mine. Once a week - I do try to do a longer run of 9-11 miles.  Most of the time I go out to the lake.  This is 25 minutes away. I could walk out my front door and run in the neighborhood. I could drive 10 minutes up the road to a park. My long runs are at the lake. I usually go with a friend. We talk for a few miles. After that - the Ipod goes on. I ran 11 miles Sunday, and tried to remember what I was thinking on my run. I was not thinking about ANYTHING. My mind goes blank. I am one with the lake. My problems are gone during these runs. Peace. Solitude. I run because I love to run, but I also run to set my mind free. For a few hours during the run - I am not hurting inside. My time. Free mind. I know eventually I have to stop and come back to reality but this time is mine for a few hours to forget on purpose.

What Happens To You On Your Run?

Published in Race
Monday, 23 January 2012 11:44

Excuses Are Like A**holes....

[caption id="attachment_5149" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Naps are ok, but not in place of working out."]lazy_man_excuses[/caption] The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse.  ~Author Unknown I am the BEST person to give excuses. When I am running, if I see a sign ahead, I think it must be a stop sign, I need to stop. If a runner in front of me stops, I think ‘oh I better stop too..‘ The list of excuses goes on.. its raining, snowing, windy - I have a cold,  sinus infection, headache..  ANY excuse usually worked with me. Not anymore. Recently my passion for running and working out has rubbed off on others - and they want to jump on the fitness bandwagon.  The problem is, no commitment - just excuses.  Starting something new is always scary but when you have someone offering to do it with you, and test the waters - don’t think of reasons not to do it. First of all - I take this personally when you cancel and give me some silly excuse. Second - REALLY?  That excuse sucked. The general rule - if its above the neck - Think: Sneezing, runny nose, scratchy throat. You most likely have a cold or something similar, and running actually can help you recover fast. If your symptoms are below the neck - Think: Chills, fever, upset stomach, flu - stay home and get better. If your excuse is something such as.. I am tired, lazy, its raining, its cold, its hot...please stop.  Don’t act interested in changing your life, and go back and sit down on the couch with your crunch and munch or doritos, or both. I enjoy running... in the rain, in the snow, in 100 degree temps (carrying a frozen water bottle) and I enjoy the way I feel after finishing a run. Some days I don’t have a lot of time to do much, but I get out and get something done. Its better than nothing at all.  This weekend, I have had a pinched nerve in my back, and I cant move my neck or look to the right at all. Did this stop me from moving? I ran a total of 19 miles this weekend and did a hour long bootcamp. How do I feel? Well other than not being able to look to the right and see Jason sitting next to me, I feel great. I feel like I have accomplished something. I ate red velvet pancakes with zero guilt. [caption id="attachment_5150" align="alignright" width="273" caption="Do you know anybody that would do this?"]excuses_running_exercise[/caption] I talked to one of my friends the other day and she is working on getting in shape, and she walked a little over two miles in 50 minutes. I was thrilled.  Who cares how fast you went. JUST MOVE and keep moving!  Take care of your body now. I have another friend who walks half marathons. Awesome. She is not sitting on the couch - she is moving. You have all weekend to go do something - go to the park, rent a bike and explore, keep moving and enjoy the world. Stop with the excuses. Today I am still good at excuses. Just different ones. “Jason my back hurts will you make me some popcorn”, I need to re-lace my sneakers and I always mess up, can you do it?”  The other excuses with running are gone. I tackle hills, pass the stopped runners and I keep moving.

Do you have excuses?

Published in Race
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 11:44

Ironman Texas Training - Week #3 VLOG

So it is Tuesday which means it is Day #2 of Week #4 of training.  Right now all my faculties are in place and I have yet to hit Zombie land like this fellow triathlete and blogger [Click Here].  Secretly and not so secretly I hope to never have that Zombie look but I also am realistic to know that the day is going to come when nothing goes right and the body wants to crap out on me and I will need to have some superior mental strength to get through it all. One thing I know for sure is that on my aero runs I am going to be treating them like the half-marathon in the race and run the first couple of miles at a slightly slower pace than my goal pace, then hit my goal pace for the middle miles and then pick up the pace.  I want to do this for a few reasons.
  1. I want to practice not going out to hard and blowing up on the run.  I know what my goal is and at 70.3 Cali and 70.3 Austin I have yet to hit that goal and I am going to do my best to get there at 70.3 Puerto Rico and pacing is going to be the key.
  2. I want to teach my body to pull on its reserves and run harder when it's tired.  I need to be able to embrace the suck as those miles pile up and still be able to hold/maintain a pace.
  3. I know how I want to treat the marathon of Ironman Texas and practicing the pacing and nutrition will allow me to not be surprised come marathon time in mid-May in The Woodlands where temps can be high and the humidity even higher.  I have been running with 3-4 shirts on plus a sweatshirt to mimic the sweat rate loss that I am likely to face and thus practicing pacing and nutrition simultaneously.
Thank you for watching.  Recommendations for the next head-gear are welcomed and I'm starting to feel like Lee Corso a little bit.
Published in CTER TV
Sunday, 08 January 2012 11:44

Bold In The Cold 15K Race Report

[caption id="attachment_4991" align="alignright" width="223" caption="Thank You To Sponsor Boundless Nutrition For Their Support"]boundless_nutrition_protein_cookie[/caption] Yesterday Karen and I ran in the Bold In The Cold race in Grapevine, Texas.  Karen ran the half-marathon and I ran the 15K.  Last year at this event I finished in 3rd place in my Age Group and 41st overall with a time of 1:09:26.  My goal going into the race this year was to be at that time and to negative split the race per coach's instructions.  I went back and did some math that if I ran 7:30/mile for the first 4 miles and then 7:15/mile for the final 5.3 miles I would finish at around 1:08:30 and that would be an extremely successful day. When the alarm clock went off this morning I drank a smoothie and ate a bowl of granola along with a cup of coffee.  2 hours later and 2 trips to the bathroom afterwards we were in the car on the way to the race site.  When we got out of the car we could feel a chill in the air as this race takes place right on Lake Grapevine.  We walked and picked up our chips and before we knew it we were walking to the start line and ran into Allison. Standing at the start line I could feel my heart rate starting to climb and I knew it was race day.  I had taken First Endurance Pre-Race approximately 30 minutes before the gun was to go off at 8am and as I was doing dynamic warm-ups my heart rate went up and it felt great.  I knew I would be able to get out of the gate fast without that feeling of 'what the f*ck is going on here' rise to your heart. When the gun went off so did I.  I started about 5 rows back and on the left so I had to maneuver my way to the middle a bit to cross the timing mat.  As I did that I went back left and ran off road for about a mile and I felt great.  My breathing wasn't labored and my turnover felt strong.  I passed a whole host of people when I came up  on a woman who was scooting along pretty well.  I fell in lock step with her and was so close to her that I could hear her racing bib whipping in the wind and her breathing.  When the first mile came up on us and my watch beeped I looked down and saw a split of 6:53.  Two thoughts occurred right then and there:
  1. Keep running as hard as you can and hang on for dear life because you will most likely not negative split this race now.
  2. Slow down back to a 7:30/mi pace and then negative split the race.
I decided to just keep running and bring it back down if I could.  I would not consciously pull back but if I slowed I would be OK.  I was hanging with the woman on what is a flat part of the course.  As we neared the Mile 2 marker and what is a turn back toward the start I heard one of the race officials tell the woman next to me that she was the second overall female.  Then the thought kicked in that I will run with her for as long as I could as I assumed that she would be very fast and would pull me in. In between Mile 2 and Mile 3 you are on a trail that borders the runners heading toward Mile 2.  I looked for Karen feverishly but never saw her and kept right on chugging along staying with Miss Female #2.  Mile 2 to 3 has an uphill climb that I remembered from last year taking me some time to climb but this year I focused on form and made sure to keep my chin up, elbows back and relaxed shoulders and hands.  I climbed that hill and passed two runners along the way.  Once you get over the hill you immediately go down hill and when I hit the Mile 3 marker I saw my split as 7:30.  I added that to the 7:12 for Mile 2 and the 6:53 for Mile 1 and realized I was at a 7:12/mi pace and told myself to forget the negative split and just hang on for dear life as best I can. Mile 4 heads into another covered area and flattens out but only after you have a small climb.  I suddenly felt my breathing begin to labor and a slight burn in my left quad.  A burn not of injury but of 'you are running very fast.'  When I got to Mile 4 and my watch went off I saw the split of 7:24 and a total time of 28+ minutes.  I did some math and figured that at Mile 8 I should be at 56 minutes and that would leave me with 13 minutes to run 1.3 miles and I would beat the 1:09:26 from 2011. Mile 4 to Mile 5 you run toward the lake and all of a sudden there is wind that is holding you up.  You run a loop and head back up from where you came and then make a left turn down another hill.  When I got to Mile 5 I smiled knowing that I was more than halfway done and I just needed to keep pushing and pushing to get the next 4.3 miles done.  The split at Mile 5 showed 7:26/mile. Mile 5 to Mile 6 and I heard that heavy breathing again.  Miss Overall #2 was right behind me and all the sudden passed me.  I fell in behind her and let her pull me along.  If I could stay one step off her I would be conserving energy and moving pretty quickly and ensuring that I would beat my pace from last year.  We kept going and her breathing got more rapid and I thought that she is going to slow down and not make it the rest of the way.  My plan was that when I hit MIle 6 I would pick it up for the final 3.3 miles and pass her.  At Mile 6 my watch showed 7:32/mi and 44 minutes.  I knew that if I could run a 23 minute 5k that I would get to the finish line at 1:07, but of course forgot that a 5k is 3.1 miles and not 3.3 miles. On the way to Mile 7 you run along the lake and the picture is gorgeous but it started to feel like it was taking forever.  I wanted so bad to see Mile 7 and make the turn back toward the finish line.  I started to really struggle as the stretch is a series of up and down climbs that are never really steep but also never stop.  It was last year at Mile 7 that I was passed by a guy in a yellow Marine Corps shirt and I vowed not to have this happen to me again.  When I hit the Mile 7 marker there was a guy in front of me but no guys behind me.  Mile 7 and the watch beeped and showed 7:52.  Of course it felt like forever because it was compared to the previous 6 miles. [caption id="attachment_4992" align="alignright" width="225" caption="The Bahas Flashing Their Bling"]bold_in_the_cold_15k_grapevine_texas_race[/caption] I made up my mind to run faster and so I did.  I had the benefit of a long downhill section at this point and I allowed my legs to turnover and once I hit the flat I saw the runners coming at me and I wanted to make sure to look strong and fast.  I did not want to hit that flat section and slow down but instead keep that momentum.  At mile 7.5 you make a left turn through a gravel parking lot and the volunteer is yelling to run toward the path.  As I'm doing that I don't see an opening and he yells 'to the left, to the left' and I have to make a quick turn left and get through the opening and then a quick right.  You are going slightly downhill just before you turn right and I had to grab a street sign pole to help me make that turn otherwise I would have taken out a group of runners heading toward the Mile 7 marker.  When I hit the Mile 8 marker and knew I only had 1.3 miles to go my watch showed 7:39 and a smile came across my face because I knew I was going faster.  Mile 8 also showed 59:31 and I had approximately 10 minutes to run those 1.3 miles and figured with a 7:30 mile that would give me 3 minutes to run the last 0.3 which I thought was plenty. As you emerge from the covered trail you are supposed to turn left or at least that is what I remember from last year, but I suddenly saw runners running left.  My mind immediately said to me 'where are they going and where does this trail end?'  I was ready to step it up and get moving but those runners through me off.  As I neared the turning point the volunteers pointed us to the left and I realized that those runners were just out for their Saturday morning run.  Last year at this point I saw a neighbor who is a tremendous runner and I used her as my carrot to get to the finish line.  This year I had nothing but the guy running the half-marathon next to me.  I was determined to keep pace with him. Mile 8 to Mile 9 is a steep climb followed by a long drawn out down hill and ends in one of the steepest climbs on the entire course.  When I got to the steep portion of the course I kept my cadence high and pushed through it to the Mile 9 marker and saw a split of 7:40 and a time of 1:07.  Uh-oh......I better step on it for the last 0.3 miles if I want to be anywhere near that 1:09.  I pushed the legs and immediately felt my mind separate from my body and just ignore all the lactic acid.  I truly had no thoughts going on in my head regarding the burn in my legs or lungs, and in writing this post I realize now that I did not hear my breathing either but did hear Miss Female Overall #2 breathing and I vowed to not allow her to beat me no matter what. I came around the corner and looked for the finishers clock but couldn't find it for a few seconds.  I kept looking and finally saw it and saw a 1:08 and change but could not make out the final seconds.  I knew it was going to be close but I just said 'screw it' and ran as hard as I could.  When I crossed the finish line I pressed the stop button on my watch and doubled over and knew that I had just run as hard as I could but did not execute the race I wanted. I am not very happy with the poor execution.  This entire Winter/Spring training is all about Ironman Texas and learning to keep a pace and not go out to hard.  It is about executing a plan and sticking to it.  It is about pacing myself and making sure to eat/drink every 15 minutes.  On this day I failed to execute the plan and I am not happy about that.  Part of me is telling myself that I did adjust on the fly and that is important as well because Ironman will not go exactly as planned. Splits 2011 versus 2012:
2012 2011 Difference
Mile 1 6:53 7:15 -22.0
Mile 2 7:12 7:25 -13.0
Mile 3 7:30 7:32 -2.0
Mile 4 7:24 7:25 -1.0
Mile 5 7:26 7:22 4.0
Mile 6 7:32 7:31 1.0
Mile 7 7:52 7:33 19.0
Mile 8 7:39 7:19 20.0
Mile 9 7:40 7:14 26.0
Mile 0.3 pace 7:34 7:06 28.0
  When the announcer was giving out the 15k awards I kept an ear toward him and my eyes on the course to see when Karen would finish.  As he said 'M35-39' I immediately paid closer attention and when he said in 3rd place with a time of 1:09:07 Jason Bahamundi a smile came across my face.  I had run a poorly executed race and yet PR'd by 19 seconds and finished in 3rd in my Age Group again. I have already made up my mind that I will be back next year and am determined to execute a race plan that will land me in the Top 2 of my Age Group as it will be my last year in the M35-39 category.  

Did You Race This Weekend?  Did You Execute Your Race Plan?

Published in Race Reports
Monday, 26 December 2011 12:22

Ironman Texas Training - Week #1 VLOG

The first week of Ironman Texas training is in the books and it was a successful week overall.  Watch the video to see and hear what happened in the first week, what Week #2 is shaping up to look like and a few shout outs to some helpful folks.
  Week #1 Stats: Swim:  5500 yards (3.125 mi); 1.9 hours Bike: 106.8 miles; 5.5 hours Run: 26.57 miles; 3.7 hours Strength/Core:  1x   Thank you for reading and watching.
Published in Train
Friday, 23 December 2011 11:44

Planning and Executing The Ironman

ironman_texas_triathlonIronman Texas is a total of 21 weeks away and being a planner I am starting to think about how to race that day.  It may seem early to be thinking about that but the reason I am thinking about it is because I train the way that I race.  If I can eliminate as many surprises for that day as I can the more successful I will be.  This is why I will be practicing my nutrition and hydration now so there are no GI issues later.  Planning is what I do and then going out and executing that plan to the best of my ability lets me know if it was a successful day or not. I have asked a few questions of myself like:
  • Where do you position yourself for a swim you've never done before?
  • How fast do you go on the bike?
  • Do you eat in the first 3 hours and then all liquid in the last 3 hours of the bike assuming you maintain ~18mph?
  • What type of strategy do you implore for the run portion of the marathon?
I have also emailed a handful of friends who have completed the distance recently to gain some insight from them, kinda like rubbing a babies head to get younger.  I want to learn all that I can from this group of people so I will keep asking questions until I feel comfortable with my strategy for that day which will most likely be finalized sometime between today and 7am on Saturday, May 19th.  Of course I will consult with my coach about her thoughts on how to attack this race.
I also have the fortune of having friends like Jen of From Fat To Finish and KC of 140 point 6 miles of Awesome.  Both recently sent me articles from Endurance Nation about how to attack the swim and the run.  Both are great pieces but the swim made 100% sense to me and maybe because it is the first portion of the race and my biggest concern is with blowing up on the run.  I know that all Ironman are created different, just like a finger print but there are certain rules of thumb that one should follow.  I emailed that group of 140.6 finishers to get their thoughts on the article and they were all helpful.
I am now going to open up the conversation to all of you.  What are your thoughts on the swimming and running portions of an Ironman as pointed out in these tips.
Where to Line Up We’ve learned that a lot of fast people position themselves right on the buoy line. Many more people position themselves as far as possible away from these people, as far from the buoy line as they can get. As a consequence, the middle of the start line is often less crowded than you would expect.
Only Swim as Fast as Your Ability to Maintain Form The net difference between you swimming “hard” and swimming “easy” is usually only about 2-4 minutes in an 11-17 hour day. It’s just not worth it to try to make something happen. Instead, focus on swimming as smoothly and efficiently as you know how. Swim with your best possible form and only swim fast enough as your ability to maintain your form. Keep Your Head Inside the Box Maintain your focus by keeping your head inside The Box of what you can control:
  • In the Box: Head position, breathing, body rotation, catch, pull, etc. All of your form cues. These are things you CAN control, focus on these.
  • Out of the Box: Any contact you experience, the pacing of other athletes, etc. Basically anything that takes your focus away your form.
Keep Head-Lift to a Minimum We typically lift our heads to keep feet in sight as we draft (a little), or to sight on navigation buoys (a lot!). Every time you lift your head…you drop your feet/hips…and you compromise your form a bit. Here’s what to do. Running: It's Not About Pace, It's About Not Slowing Down Instead, a great Ironman marathon is simply about not slowing down. If you look at the detailed results of any Ironman event, you'll see that the splits for the majority of the field over the second half of the race are significantly slower than the first half. Usually a minute or more slower per mile. Your goal when racing isn't to find new speed, but to find a sustainable speed that you can hold across your entire day while the competition takes off too fast…and then blows up as you run steadily by. Incorporate Walking as a Strategy, Not as Failure If anyone tells you that they aren't going to walk a single step in an Ironman they are either Criag Alexander (so fit!) or a total newbie (so unaware!). Based on our experience coaching thousands of Ironman finishers through Endurance Nation, we have learned that walking is actually an important part of your overall strategy. We encourage our athletes to walk 30-45 steps at every single aid station, which is roughly once a mile. Six Miles of Conservative Pacing Is the Key to a Strong Finish In other words, if you want to have a great race, your job is to focus on slowing down over the first six miles. We recommend you aim for a target pace of approximately 30″ slower per mile for these first six miles. After that point, you can bump it up to your target run pace and go from there. Since 2008 thousands of Endurance Nation athletes have applied this 30 second per mile strategy to dozens of Ironman PR marathons. It works! Just give us three minutes (30 seconds x 6 miles) and we'll make your day. Your last 10k will thank us for sure! Have Three Physical Running Cues for Your Day Instead of following a pace into a brick wall, identify three running form cues that will allow you to maintain good form and proper pace. My personal favorites are Chin Up to promote good posture; Elbows Back to keep my stride open and Loose Fingers to reduce tension in hands, arms, shoulders and the neck area. Build A Repeatable Nutrition Schedule by Mile Marker Having a food plan is better than not having one. Just because there's a ton of free food on the course doesn't mean that your body will be able to process it all. Instead of relying on a plan based on time (i.e., a gel every 30 minutes) build these into the existing support structure on the course. Since aid stations on the run are located about every mile, use your calculator to do some fancy math. If you plan on running 8:00/miles and you need a gel around 30 minutes, then you are eating at miles 4, 8, 12, and so on. You can then fill in the other miles with water and sports drink. Be Equal Parts Mentally and Physically Ready While many Ironman competitors have hit the "wall" when running a stand alone marathon, that struggle pales in comparison to what happens at the end of the Ironman. With your body pushed beyond its limits, running on fumes of gels and sports drink, you have to find a way to will yourself to the finish line despite the pain and/or discomfort you are experiencing.

What Are Your Experiences With The Swim and Bike at the 140.6 Mile Race?

==================== And KC is not just about sending me articles to get prepared for the race, she was also my secret santa.  In addition to that she is one of the angels on my shoulder I have come to rely on during my racing.  Check out the gift that she got me and just know that I have not wiped the smile from my face yet. [caption id="attachment_4893" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Thank You KC. I am more excited about the race because of these great gifts."]secret_santa_ironman_gift[/caption]
Published in Train
Thursday, 15 December 2011 18:27

Seeing The Country One Step At A Time

I am in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting my mother for a few days so my posts may be sporadic as I'm trying to take in as much time with her, her boyfriend, my sister, and my nephew.  It's been nearly 2 years since I have been here and I am cherishing every moment I have with them. This morning I set out on a one hour run and from the first step to the last it was as if I had never seen this part of where she lives.  I have run here before, but because it has been so long none of it looked familiar and I enjoyed it all.  The smell of pine trees (we don't have any near my house), the feel of asphalt (our roads are concrete), the cold damp wet weather that would get warm when you ran past the tree line and into the sun.  It was an experience. While on the run I thought about where running and triathlon have taken me and where they will be taking me.  I also thought of a post I had written a while back about seeing the sunrise while out on the run.  All of these thoughts told me that running/triathlon has opened up a world that I never would have experienced if not for these sports.  I have run in New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Charlotte, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, Boulder, and Maui.  Next year I will be traveling to Maine, Arizona and Puerto Rico for sure but who knows where else. One step at a time I will see the United States and the best part it will be at a speed at which I can comprehend my surroundings.  Ask people who drive at 65 mph what they saw and they can't give you an idea.  Ask a runner what they saw while out for 1 or 2 hours and you will get a full description of everything.  The ability to do that is special and I cherish it.  Training and racing is important to me for a number of reasons, but when you add in the ability to see our great country then the importance goes off the charts.

Where have you run and/or raced?  Which city/area was most memorable?

-------------------- Here is the sunrise post in case you did not have the chance to read it before or if you are dreading that early morning run on Saturday/Sunday: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Early Runner"]running_early_morning_sunrise[/caption] As a runner we are often asked: 'Why do you run?' and 'Why do you run so early?' For me the answer is very simple.  I run because it is my time.  It is my time to getaway from the everyday.  It is my time to let my creative juices flow.  It is my time to examine who I am and how I want to be better.  It is my time to dig down deep and push myself to the next level.  It is my time. And during that time I have seen some of the most amazing sunrises.  I have run pre-dawn in cities like New York, Maui, Dallas, Jackson MS, Cozumel, Miami, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Austin, Healdsburg CA, and Charlotte to name a few.  It is the same sun everywhere I have been but it is a different and amazing feeling because each city, town, village is different. I have seen my breath in Jackson MS in October on a 16 mile run.  I didn't have any idea where I was but as the sun started to rise and my feet met the pavement a warm sensation came over me that can never be replicated.  I felt free at that time.  I had a 7 hour drive back to Dallas ahead of me and at that time it didn't matter.  I was alone with the world and at the same time I was one with the world. I have had sweat pouring off my forehead in Cozumel while running side by side with my wife.  We didn't talk, we just ran.  We didn't have to talk as we knew what the other was feeling.  The sun was beating down on us but to our right was crystal blue waters.  A sight like no other.  Yes, the water in Maui was crystal blue as well but in Maui I had beaches before that water.  I had the smell of pineapple in the air.  Fresh sushi was on tap for lunch and well Maui was different from Cozumel. This is the beauty of running.  The ability to see the world from a different perspective.  Have you ever seen the sun rise?  Have you ever seen the sun rise while running?  How about seeing your city?  You drive through it everyday but have you ever run through it and seen it  from a different perspective?  Have you truly opened up your eyes to your environment. For me this is what running is all about.  It is the Social Studies class they never taught in school.  They can tell you about the capital of Texas being Austin, but they can't tell you how it feels to run down Congress Ave with the capital building ahead of you and the hundreds of people going to their many destinations. I love running and it is my lifestyle.  It brings me joy and happiness.  It brings out my creative problem solving skills.  It bring out the best in me.

Have you ever seen the sun rise?

Published in Race
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:13

Blogger Gift Exchange

Are you part of the Run With Jill Blogger Gift Exchange?  I was a part of this last year and had a blast with it.  I was fortunate enough to draw Aimee of I Tri To Be Me, who was one of the first blogs I followed and continue to follow to this day because she has great recipes (maybe today we will get a Humpastry Day recipe.) This year I was very fortunate to draw, oh you didn't think I would let the cat out of the bag did you?  I have been diving into this person's blog head first to figure out what would work for them and trying to match up gifts for them.  It hasn't been easy and I've been going to all sorts of triathlon and running sites to find some inspiration.  There have been a few things that I wanted to get but I also want to make sure that they are personal. I started thinking that I'm not the only one in this predicament, even if you are not part of the blogger gift exchange you may have friends that are triathletes and runners that you need to get gifts for and can't come up with anything.  Here are a few items to consider: [caption id="attachment_4867" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Garmin Forerunn 610"]garmin_forerunner_610_gps_watch[/caption] GPS Watch: Some amazing new technology has come in recent years for GPS watches. Garmin, one of the more well-known auto GPS companies, has a touch screen offering in the Garmin 610. Nike has a GPS watch that is great for people who want to keep things simple and powered by TomTom. Things to look for in buying a GPS watch: fast GPS signal, full array of stats and an accurate heart rate zones. Cold Weather Gear: Winter and cold weather leggings are perfect for both men and women this holiday season. The leggings will keep their legs both warm and the compression is great for keeping their muscles tight. Since it seems everyone these days has a touch screen phone there is plenty of gloves that are ‘touch screen capable’ meaning you can still use your iPhone and keep your gloves on just what runners need! The gloves and leggings won’t set you back too much, just around $40. Sunglasses: Nothing is worse than hitting a long stretch of road and having the glaring sun into your eyes. Most sunglasses don’t cut the mustard, so to speak, but check out these Oakley Fast Jacket shades. They cost around $200, but come with several different color lenses for all types lights during your runs. The sweet thing about the Fast Jackets is that they have a ‘quick release’ for a quick change of the different lenses for all sorts of running conditions. iPod Nano: Runners don’t like to be bogged down with excess weight and the Nano weighs in at not even ¾ of an ounce. An all touch screen interface, 24 hours of audio playback and it has the Nike+ built-in making this the perfect running companion. The iPod comes in a handful of colors, and can hold thousands of songs that will stay with you even on your longest runs. The Nano has a built-in clip to it can latch right on to your shorts, shirt or pretty much anything else you can think of. It even has watch faces, and there are plenty of Nano watchbands so you can use your handy iPod/Nike+ device as your daily watch. The iPod Nano starts at $129, comes in 7 colors and you can even get custom engraving for your favorite runner. If this list didn't help solve your runner holiday shopping wows, check out the top fitness gifts of 2010. There are gifts from this 2010 list that are still great this holiday season and will still be a hit with your family. I also found this article that gives the lowdown on As Seen on TV busts, since you can't seem to get away from informericals this time of year.

Do you have any gifts that made your runner friend or family member jump with joy or run with rejoice? If so please share below in the comments!

Published in Product Reviews
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 12:46

Las Vegas More Than A Marathon Race Report

Viva Las Vegas by Karen Bahamundi I decided to write a race recap about my events in Vegas, but then decided to share my life events leading up to Vegas instead - so reversing back to one year ago.... I had run my first marathon on 12/4/2010- not a great time, but it was done, and the WHOLE time my face hurt.  My awesome trainer (Claudia Spooner) was surprised this is what hurt but turns out I had a sinus infection and double ear infection. After this event.. I kept getting sick over and over during the new year but pushed through and kept running and running and running, until one day after a race, I couldn't walk. It appeared either an elephant stepped on my foot or I was injured. The next day - got X-rays and a brand new boot to wear for a minimum of 6 weeks. AWESOME.  Depression sets in. I deal with stress by running, and when this is taken away, I am angry, hungry, and depressed.  I joined boot camp - yes with a boot on, but also didn't get that feeling you get after running and was in a bad place. Seems my world was crashing around me.. I gained ALOT of weight, I couldn't look in the mirror without thinking - UGLY, I couldn't fit in my clothes,  I didn't want to leave the house and be social, and the worst part of it all - I am dealing with my mother losing her memory day by day, as she is slipping away from me with Alzheimer's.  Downward spiral. I kept going to boot camp, and trying to keep moving to survive, but nothing worked and I still continued to feel crappy.  I finally went to the ENT Dr and was told I had over 5 issues including a deviated septum and other various things that kept making me sick and this was the reason why I couldn't breath thru my left nostril and was constantly congested. I opted to go for the surgery over 4 meds daily, and see if I could stop the meds completely.  Surgery was scheduled a few days after I got my boot off, and the recovery was a b*tch, but when I started to feel better, I was shocked that I could smell grass, toothpaste, EVERYTHING! Now I had no more excuses since I was released to run and the surgery to fix my sinus issue was done.. I needed a HUGE goal  Mid-summer, Jason and I decided to sign up for the RNR - Vegas as a birthday get away for both of us, and the journey of me began. I took the first step at boot camp getting weighed and measured and was shocked not by my weight (because I had been weighing daily) but my body fat content was 35%. Holy SH*T!!!  I was beyond shocked and knew at that moment something had to change.  I HAD to lose weight. My goal to lose all the weight was Vegas 12/5. I would not be the wife of an endurance athlete in super-sized clothes. I was ashamed of myself, my look and my appearance, and I didn't want to be the overweight wife that was with Jason when we met up with all the other athletes in Vegas. I wanted to walk in the room with Jason as a couple that reflects good health. It was time, and I had a HARD goal. Rather than bore you with all the logistics of how I did this - I will give bullet points of some ways I achieved my goal:
  • Ramping up running as much as I can
  • Boot camp - 2-3 x a week - loving it
  • No more snacks that were bad - my new snack is ONLY veggies or popcorn - this was tough with a 5-year-old that loves to share his goodies!
  • Drinking meal replacement shakes to help cut calories back.
  • Water - lots of it
  • No sweets - OMG - this is hard since my office peeps love food
I was working out 6 days a week and finally the weight was coming off - first a few lbs here, and then before too long, my energy level was UP and I was working out harder, and running faster and felt good. Clothes were slipping off of me, and I saw a change and wanted to keep moving, and would not stop. I had a goal weight for Vegas and I wanted to achieve it. 12/5/2011  Race day. I am 2 lbs away from my goal weight and wondering if it was the  3 beers I had the nite before at the blogger meetup - (meeting Beal - WPS - awesome) or the 5 pumpkin pancakes I ate race morning (They were small and I was hungry!) but I was close enough to my goal weight and I knew I was ready.  I was not planning on a PR - just to finish and feel good about it. I grabbed Jason’s hand prior to the race and made him sit in silence while I prayed for a good race for him and threw a little something in for me as well. Overall the race itself was a cluster. (I could go into details - but just go to the Facebook page and read away, I am done talking about the chaos) When my corral was released I put on music and just told myself - “YES YOU CAN” I would not stop for anything and repeated this mantra over and over - and my body and mind cooperated. I fueled well - while running, grabbed small sips of water at only a few stations, and maneuvered thru the bottleneck keeping a good pace. My legs started aching near the end, but I refused to rest until it was done. I saw the Mandalay Bay and I was on the home stretch. I pushed hard and crossed the line at 1.57.00 and was thrilled, until I realized Jason was not in yet, so I waited in his chute, and met him at the end. It was a bittersweet ending for him as he did PR but didn't qualify for Boston, and I hugged him as hard as I could and told him how much I loved him, and kept my victory silent until he had time to process not qualifying, but instead pushing forward to be an Ironman full force. By the time you read this - I will be celebrating my 43rd birthday, wearing my favorite jeans I wore over six years ago prior to giving birth to my son, and feeling awesome. Was it easy? NO.  I pull out all my smaller clothes and try them on weekly to gauge my progress, and skip the bagels, and numerous birthday cakes at work, and stand far away so I can't smell the icing. I have trained myself to NOT look at the bad stuff.. I come home from work tired, and push myself to workout regardless. I plan my lunches and snacks during the day. I do eat pizza, but I also plan a long run to compensate for this. This is now a lifestyle change for me.  I still have my bad days, dealing with depression because of the Alzheimer's, and other life events, but I maintain my stress better, because I am healthier. Will I have cake today - maybe a little piece but nothing more. I am thankful we went to Vegas.  I got to finally meet Beth who makes me laugh all the time (breaking the barrier) and Beal (I will read your blog someday IF it is titled WPS) and missed EMZ, but we have BIG future plans for 4x times the fun. I met several other cool peeps too - you know who you are!  Jason and I had a getaway, which just is good for us to get away sometimes. My sister and her hubby raced for the first time ever in the half marathon. AND... I lost nearly 30 pounds prior to my 43rd birthday and ran the best race in my life (to date).  I no longer believe in excuses because I am living proof you can do it - and I will keep believing that I can.
Published in Train
Thursday, 08 December 2011 14:52

Practicing Form In The Offseason

The offseason has now officially begun for me and that means that the focus is on form.  Form in all three disciplines will help me become more efficient and eventually faster.  I have been practicing my form in the pool for about two weeks now, ever since I was directed to Mr Smooth.  I have watched that little 3D image multiple times over and especially the night before I head to the pool in the morning.  By focusing on form I have been able to shave seconds off of my 100y times in those two weeks.  It is amazing to me how I can swim faster splits and be less fatigued. This week I also was forced to focus on form with my running.  Ever since the weekend after 70.3 Austin I have been dealing with a pain on the top of my foot right where the foot and the leg meet (that 90* angle when you are standing up.)  It has been a throbbing pain when I run but I knew that I wanted to run the Las Vegas marathon so I ignored the pain.  Two days after the marathon I tried to get a 30 minute easy run in and almost quit after a minute.  I decided to walk because I knew I needed the lactic acid out of my quads.  After walking for two minutes I started to run again but focusing on a mid-foot strike and all the sudden there was no pain.  I was conscious to make sure I wasn't compensating on my right leg and wasn't.  Yesterday I ran outside for almost 23 minutes and covered 2.76 miles at a pace of 8:18/mi with no pain.  Today I ran 3.80 miles in 35 minutes for a pace of 9:13/mi and neither time did I have pain.  I can say that I could feel it in my calf but that is to be expected with a change in landing. Yesterday I got an email from regarding the aero position and I immediately thought of two things.  The first was how I could benefit from practicing better form on the bike and how that could help save my legs for the run since both of my runs in 70.3 California and 70.3 Austin were not the best.  I also recall pictures of Craig Alexander from Kona whose rear saddle water bottle was parallel to the ground.  Most of us ride with our water bottles vertical but this was the first I had seen a water bottle be horizontal (Kona World Championships are this weekend so tune it to see the angle of Craig Alexander's water bottle.) Here are the points that Frank Bures wrote for Bicycling magazine that was re-published on 1. Cover all exposed brake and derailleur cables. "This can be difficult, but I use a lot of electrical tape and flexible cables," says Frey. "You can tell that you have done a good job if you cannot see any cables when looking straight on at the bike from the front, seeing what the wind sees." [caption id="attachment_4821" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Notice the water bottle in the vertical position"]craig_alexander_kona_aerodynamic[/caption] 2. If you buy a time-trial helmet, make sure it's tail is flat against your back when you're in the aero position. "Airflow separation between your helmet and back will negate much of the benefit of having the teardrop helmet in the first place." 3. Smooth out. "Always use a skinsuit with no wrinkles or excess fabric as well as spandex shoe covers. Do not wear gloves!" Quiet your ride: How to silence a noisy bike 4. Flatten out "Make sure your forearms are parallel to the ground and that your thumbs point forward with flat aerobar extensions, giving you leverage to pull up on the extensions when going up steep power climbs while also making a more aerodynamic shape. Always think of what you look like to the wind." 5. Shield yourself "Pedal with your knees and legs inward, so that your forearms block the wind for your legs. You want to be as low and narrow on the bike as possible while still being able to breathe and produce power. Roll your shoulders inward and keep your head as low as possible." [caption id="attachment_4822" align="alignright" width="276" caption="Notice the water bottle and the flat aero helmet on his back"]craig_alexander_kona_triathlon_2011[/caption] 6. Front first "Most important in terms of aerodynamics is the front of your bike—it is the first thing to see 'clean' wind, and this means your front wheel, fork, aerobars and helmet are the most important pieces of equipment. I think the Zipp 1080 front wheel and Zipp Tangente tubular tire make up the fastest wheelset on the planet. An Oval Concepts A900 Jetstream fork with HED aerobar give you the most important thing: adjustability so it fits you perfectly. The new Giro TT helmet is great for a person with a good TT position and flat back, and the Louis Garneau Rocket is the best for a curved back."  

What will you be focusing on in the off-season?

Published in Train
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