Saturday, April 30, 2011

Getting Better!

(Saturday's post)

Today was Coach's attempt to get me back on a long run schedule. It was 15/20/5/15 - or 15 minutes of power walking, 20 minute run, 5 minute PW, 15 minute run. Exciting!!

So, after an amazing Guster concert last night, and some much needed sleep, I dragged my personal cook with me for a PW/R. With one hitch... my Garmin died just as we were about to start. Not good when everything I was doing was based on time. Luckily, my PC had a working watch to use. But there was another catch, he kept it and wouldn't tell me the time. NOT FAIR! MY WORKOUT!

But I have to say, I think it helped. I wasn't focused on how much time I had left or how much time had been PW or R'ing. My PC is much faster than I am, but he isn't training for a race and wants to help, and help by more than just cooking (which I will always enjoy!). It was a great PW/R and was actually nice to have someone to do the workout with. Talking is a great distraction, and good heart rate check!

Since my Garmin died, I did a quick map my run, and was very surprised/happy with the results. Oh, and yet again, no knee pain! (Knock on wood).

Friday, April 29, 2011


(Friday's post)

My ability to swim.

Have you seen it? Reward offered!!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Powerband Fail!

Yes, that's right. I said it. The Power Balance Band failed me today. And you are luck that this 3 posts in a day! Well, sort of, I started it on Thursday, but it will be published on Friday...

Anyway, I met up with Sandy and off we went to do hills. During the ride, Lindsey showed up for hill repeats too. And fun was had by all!! Actually, I did much better than last time. Not faster, but my lungs didn't burn and I didn't hate myself as much as I did the last time. But the pollen was awful! Things kept flowing into my eyes, even with sunglasses... It was horrible! However, I was happy with the ride, and happier to be done.

I clipped out, chatted with Sandy, and we were ready to head back for dinner. We were on a slight incline, Sandy peddled off without a problem, I was not so lucky. I did get my left foot clipped in fast enough, my right leg floundered, and down I went - into the middle of the road. In front of a turning car.
(This photo is a reenactment. People, cars, and names have been changed to protect those involved).
I got up and out of the road and Sandy came back to make sure I was okay. Once we realized I was okay, and Blain was okay, she said "Can I laugh now" and she burst into hysterical laughter. I laughed a bit too, especially as she yelled "Power Band Fail!"

We made it back to the car in one piece and had to decide on more important details. Where to go to dinner. But first, we had to do our reenactment photo - displayed on the left. See, it was so believable that an older gentleman in a gold Camery pulled over to see if I was okay. Sandy tried to explain, through giggles, that it was just a bad joke. We quickly snapped the picture, put the bike in the car, and went to dinner.

Lesson learned, a piece of plastic will not (always) keep me from falling.

Really? REALLY!?!

As I said in my last post, I did my first PW/R on The Mall today. At first I felt stupid PW'ing, but by the end, I was pretty happy with myself. I won't say I had endorphins, I will just say I was happy with the workout.

Well, I decided to ice my knee, not because it hurts right now, but because I am trying to keep it from hurting. On the way back from the office freezer with my ice pack in hand, a coworker and I have the following conversation.

Coworker - Were you running on the mall today?
Me - Yes, just a quick jog in between rain storms.
Coworker - And now you are using an ice pack?
Me - Yeah, I've had a few issues
Coworker - Aren't you training for a marathon or something
Me - An Ironman. (I told him the distances)
Coworker - Well if you have to use an ice pack after a run, maybe you shouldn't be doing those.
Me - Um, thanks???

Really? REALLY!?!? I was just so surprised someone said that to me, I was at a loss for better words than "Um thanks". I don't see the point in this persons comments and I really don't appreciate them.

How do I become more quick witted to respond better???

A Few Days, A Few Workouts

After my cooking storm on Monday, I was set to get started with a good workout on Tuesday. And I did. I was clipped in my 6:20, and passed by the super fast club guys around 6:45 (they started at 6:30). It is always fun to get shout outs by people who have the ability to fly by me as if I were standing still (and I was going like 17 mph!). I did my 2 x 10 minutes hard with 5 minutes easy and that really helps break up the boringness of Hains Point. Oh, and the wind really picked up at the end. Not surprising, but it has been awhile since I biked into a headwind... I was just really happy to see the results on the Garmin when I got home. The only real drops in speed were stop signs, turn arounds, and wind.

At lunch I headed to the gym for my power walk/run (PW/R). I started with 10 minutes of power walking, and when I stared the 15 minute run, I knew I was in trouble. My legs were TIRED! Luckily Scott was on the bike next to me and he distracted me with random stories for the last 10 minutes. It was a good double day, but I was starting to feel it in my legs.

A situation out of my control kept me from my workout yesterday. I will always choose someone who needs help over my workouts. Always.

AND, I think that gave my legs a nice little rest for my PW/R, as I got to jump up 5 more minutes for the run! Woo-HOO! So that's 20/20 now! I decided that once I hit 40 minutes total, I would go back outside. Of course, Mother Nature is wearing her crazy hat and really screwing up training. I didn't care, there was a break in the rain, so outside I went.

I have to say, I felt pretty stupid power walking that first 10 minutes. And it's hard not to run downhill, and across streets when I see the red flashing of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Run, don't run and wait at the corner, try to PW faster.... BAH! It's hard. Okay, not that hard, but still, when you only have 40 minutes, you need to make them count!

In about 10 minutes I was on The Mall, running into the wind. In the humidity. Have I mentioned Mother Nature isn't happy??? But it felt pretty good to be 'running' outside again. I had on my Garmin to help with my consistency for speed. It started to rain, which actually felt nice. When I finished my 20 minute run, I was back on sidewalks heading towards the office and no longer felt stupid with my PW.

After some good stretching (because stretching is important SWC!) I headed back to the office to rest my legs before hill repeats on the tonight with Sandy.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Day Off Put To Great Use!

And it wasn't used for sleeping! Or drinking! Or catching up with friends. Okay, that would have also been a great use of time.

Anyway, I did do par of that last one. Jess and I need to catch up, but I needed to go to the grocery store. Instead of having a drink, we walked to the store, she helped me shop, and we went our separate ways.

On my way home, I planned the order of my cooking tasks and got to work. After I put in 3 loads of laundry. Now, I have spent the past 3 hours doing laundry (2 loads of workout clothes - don't ask what that smelled like, and a load of towels) and cooking for the rest of the week.

See, that is where my personal cook and I differ. I find something that I can cook, and is eatable and I make it again and again. So that's what I did tonight. I made things I have made before. Look how good that looks! Steak and chicken kebabs with an avocado shrimp slaw. YUM! So I made it again for the week. And cut up some strawberries for a snack. I know, I know - I am so healthy :-)

Now I must go prep my (now clean) bike stuff so I can go to bed, get up at 5:45, and ride in the morning.

(Please note the sarcasms on the "Yay". I will never say "Yay" about getting up at 5:45 am)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hello Spring!

(Sunday's post)

You know that feeling that it is spring? Kind of smells like rain? With a smidge of humidity? And growing grass/trees/flowers? And all the pollen EVERYWHERE??? Yes, that was today.

And it was AWESOME!

I got a bit of a late start for my 2.5 hour ride, but was clipped in around 10. It was 77 degrees. Remember last week when I had to wear toe warmers on my shoes, a long sleeved jersey, and a vest? And full fingered gloves? Well today I had to put on my SPF 50.

I headed out on MacArthur and immediately heard my name yelled by someone. Not even 10 minutes later, I heard it again. I was riding solo and have come to terms with the fact that I will be doing a lot of training on my own this year. Hopefully a bunch of us can head to the same locations, ride similar routes, and all meet up for lunch - but my worries and whining about how everyone is faster than me is a story for another post.

Back to my AWESOME ride. I made it up the hill at Old Anglers and felt much better than the previous 2 weeks. I decided instead of doing loops, I would to head down the hilly River Road. And you know what, I saw even more people. It was AWESOME! Even though I was riding on my own, but I wasn't. And I loved it. I am pretty noticeable on Blain with his yellow glory, green bar tape (pic on the left in case you forgot what he looks like), and my knee braces and DC Tri jersey - but still, it's great. Every time I saw someone, I picked up my cadence, checked my form, and put on a smile. Thanks Andrea, Katie, Lindsey, Alejandro, Courtney, Jenny, Joe, AJ, Chris, Josh, and everyone else.

The only scary part to the ride - (Mom and Dad, you may want to skip this part!) was on my way back I was flying downhill and hit a max speed around 38.4 mph. As I was going down, a truck passed me and kicked up a rock that smacked right into my helmet. I was happy I wasn't in aero because even holding onto my breaks, it hit hard enough to knock my balance and make me pretty wobbly. I am also pretty luck it wasn't lower into my sunglasses/face or chest. It was one of those situations that has not happened to me before, I can't control, and that frightens me about biking. But, helmets are AWESOME.

Anyway, towards the end of the ride I saw a few more people, tried to stick with them, and push myself a bit more. I felt good - so I figured why not? By the time Jill and Kevin came by, I was ready to go. Then I looked at my heart rate. WAY to high 2 hours+ into the ride with a one more hill and a 15 minute power walk (or my first real brick of the season) to go. So I slowed down, off they went, and I still felt good.

When I finished the ride, I was at 39.2 miles, so I rode around until I hit 40 miles. WOOT!! I then put on my running shoes and started my power walk.

Now, that was the first time I didn't feel great. What a wakeup call! But it was 88 degrees out, my first time trying to brick, so I have to be happy with 15 minutes - it was a start. I will continue to choose to go minute by minute, mile by mile, even if I must walk 26.2 miles. And today's workout helped me believe that even more.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Week Fail

(Friday's Post)

Okay, maybe fail isn't the right word. But definitely not a win. My workouts haven't been great, and they haven't taken priority. For some reason, drinks with a co-work and drinks at a fundraiser won out over workouts. You already know sleep won over workouts.
Also this week, eating out has won over cooking.

Don't get me wrong, I am only down 2 workouts, but I really shouldn't be down any because the choices I made weren't good ones.

But the weekend is almost here and hopefully I can do better. And do better starting Monday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sleep Won

Even thought I had a great ride yesterday, and was happy I got up to ride Hains Point, and the thunderstorms didn't come as the weather people predicted so HP wasn't flooded, and I said I would meet Mary Elizabeth there, and if I didn't ride in the morning that would mean I have to ride on the trainer tonight (after a fundraiser happy hour), sleep still won.

I managed to go to bed around 10, got really good sleep, but the alarm went off at 5:45 and there was no way I was getting up. Even when the second alarm went off at 5:50, nope. I texted an apology to Mary Elizabeth, rolled over, and slept another 2 hours.

You know what, so worth it. It was needed. It was the right choice. I'll get my workouts in, and will do better next week.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thanks Karen!

(Wednesday's post. I had a post started for Tuesday, but really don't remember what I was going to say, so I will just finish yesterday morning's post.)

Karen, I mean that in the best way!!
See, it keeps raining here. I mean, it's better than snow, but still. I had to cancel a hill lesson. Not confirm any plans in case it doesn't rain and I could ride in the morning, and NOT be on the trainer. When I mentioned this to Coach, he just said he was getting nailed in St. Louise, and it was headed my way. Great...

Hains Point, the best place to do morning, mid-week rides, was flooded. And apparently, they put a cop at the gate. Not something I want to mess with. So after I had Monday off (a scheduled day off!!), and yesterday was a PW/R and swim day - I had to figure out the bike. I figured the trainer it was, but Karen posted on the facebook late last night (10-ish when I saw it) that HP was full of junk, but not under water. So I quickly got ready for bed so I could get up at 5:45 and ride.

And when the alarm went off at 5:45, I rolled over and turned it off. But then my second alarm went off at 5:50 and I got up. And I was quickly reminded that 55 degrees at 6:15 is cold, not warm.
But the sunrise was amazing. And the clouds were remarkable. In a way, they almost looked like jelly fish - this picture doesn't do it justice, but it really was beautiful.

I saw Katie and Erica. And Janie. And Karen too. One of the gates was locked, but not both, and there were no cops, so around in weird circles we all went. Just as I finished my 3rd set of 5 minutes hard, Karen caught up with me. I didn't tell her I was riding because, see, Karen is also very fast now. But we both had about 30 minutes left so we stuck together. I pushed a bit harder. She said she wouldn't be going much faster on an easy/long ride day. I just made sure to ask her a lot of questions so I didn't have to talk.

But it was a great way to start the morning. Even if I was a tad late to work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


(Sunday's post)

That is all I have to say about today's ride.

It was windy. When I woke up, I was glad I didn't ride by any cliffs, as it was that windy. But, there were no cliffs, therefore I didn't blow off. But it was very windy. I think you get my point.

Last night was Taste of the South, or as I like to call it, DC Tri Club prom. A bunch of us went last year, and we were able to go again, thanks to Karen. It's always so fun to see everyone all dressed up, not in spandex. This year was a much earlier night for most, as about half the people in the picture (a great picture taken by my personal cook, thank you sir! That is if you have started to read this blog...) are training for an Ironman this year. Last year we shut the place down, this year was a bit tamer. Don't get me wrong, there was PLENTY of food and drink and caramel cake had by all, but we did call it quits much earlier.

So, when I was woken up by the wind, I was not excited to ride. But I did. I made it up the hill at Old Anglers on MacArthur blvd, twice. AND I didn't have to stop to calm myself down. It was a much slower ride than last week, but I went over the 30 mile mark, was out for over 2 hours, and for the most part, I was pain free. AND, when I got back, I had this nice little note. The support I have from everyone is just remarkable.

The day finished up waiting in line for a very long time to watch the Brewers/Nats double header (I told you there was a lot of rain yesterday!) to eventually give up and find food. My Garmin told me I burned closed to 2500 calories and I was saving it for stadium food, but a beautiful day and double header = long lines and a cranky Amanda. Besides, the bar was also playing the Caps game so it was basically a win-win for everyone.
Except the Brewers who lost... twice...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rain Rain

Yup, it's raining. Again. I can't wait to see those May flowers!

Yes, rain is annoying. As was the pool being closed yesterday. So, if you see where I am going with this -

Pool closed on Friday + rainy Saturday morning = very crowded pool.

But I got in my swim workout. Well, at least the yardage. I thought the masters started at 10:30, but it was 10, and therefore they took over half the pool and the very crowded pool became even more crowded, but in 4 50 meter lanes. So I gave up on the sets and just swam straight. Which I actually like better. My stroke feels better, my body position feels better, I am able to get into a rhythm - even if I do have to pass multiple people doing breaststroke in the medium lane!

Hopefully tomorrow will be clear and I can get in my ride before I take off to see my team play!

Friday, April 15, 2011


What lesson did I learn today? I don't know. You tell me. Really.

I was hoping to have plans this evening, and when they were confirmed, I was happy. Then they changed and it didn't work out. I was disappointed, but not mad. I went to plan b - which was to swim. I got to Wilson to swim, and the pool was closed. Happy Emancipation Day DC!

Now I was really frustrated. I decided to switch to my run, because tomorrow it's supposed to rain (AGAIN!) and I have to do my bike on Sunday. There is no flat area close so I figured I would just go to the treadmill in the gym in the basement. The mph doesn't work very well so I tried to just go off my HR, but the machine wouldn't pick up my HR. 40 minutes later, after my 25 minutes of power walking and 15 minute of running, I decided to relax on the roof deck with a glass of wine and my book (inspiration from Mary Elizabeth), but the door was LOCKED! BAH! Nothing has seemed to work out for me since about 2 pm this afternoon.

Wah. Boo. Hiss.

As most of you know, I am a planner, so when things don't go as planned, I get very frustrated. This was one of those moments. Now I am in my apartment, very whiny.

So okay, maybe that is the lesson, I need to learn to roll with the punches better. None of this is the end of world. Tomorrow I will (hopefully) swim. Sunday I will bike. Soon my roof deck will be open.


I need to start to love them. Or as Coach said when riding hills during the week is challenging for me, "Any hills, find them, ride them, embrace them, love them :)" Is the fact that he used a :) supposed to help change my attitude about hills?

Anyway, I took a few hours early from work to go home, pack up the car and head to Arlington to meet Sandy for some hill repeats on Military road. I would like to say it was fun. But I don't think "fun" is the right word. I won't say that I embraced the hills. Or that I loved the hills. But I found hills and I road hills. 2 out of 4 isn't bad, right?

My bike computer still isn't reading speed correctly (I think I need a new magnet) but it does read cadence. This was probably for the best as I tried so hard to keep a high cadence, and didn't worry about my average speed. This lasted maybe for the first 2 hills. Then my legs were shot. And I just did all I could to get up each hill. Again and again and again. I had some shifting issues, but the magic of the power balance band kept me up right, TWICE. And after some debate, I wanted to head back, but Sandy needed to do another loop, we compromised and I went out again with her. Half way through, I dropped my water bottle (which I NEVER do), took it as a sign that I was done, or at least mentally checked out, and I should head back.

Sandy was great, both in her ability to support, and kick a$$ on the hills. After a quick stop at Contes, oh sorry - Fresh Bikes (I really wish they asked my opinion on the new name...) we met Alejandro for a healthy dinner at Sweet Green. This wasn't enough, so off for ice cream we went. Is that not the largest small you have ever seen! I haven't had ice cream in a long time, so needless to say, I was unable to finish and the rest is in my freezer. But it was a nice treat (thanks Alejandro!!) and as Sandy said "all hill rides should end with ice cream."

It's no surprise that I didn't magically get better at hills. But I am in a better place with hills than last year. And I think a better place than 3 years ago. It was a good starting point and things can only get better from here (knock on wood).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do You Know What "Mirrors" Are?

Here is the deal. It was a BEAUTIFUL day outside today. I would have LOVED to go for a run outside. But, since I am still power walking with a smidge of running, its best I do it on a treadmill so I don't have to worry about stop lights, cars, or stupid tourists getting in my way. I can go at 4.1-4.2 mph for the full 20-25 minutes, then run at 5.1-5.2 mph for 10, without any problems. And I can use the mirrors to make sure my knees are facing forward, it's easier to count my cadence, and if something hurts, I could hit the stop button.

So I just described why a mirror in the gym is helpful. What is not helpful is having the creepy guy in the office blatantly stare at me via the mirrors. I first got that "someone is looking at me" feeling. I then used the mirrors to confirm my suspicion. He is just GROSS. Eww. Gross. Nasty. Not cool. And it went on and on for at least half of my workout. BLAH! My knee needs to get better ASAP so I can get back outside and not have to deal with creepy old guys and mirrors!

And tonight is hill night with Sandy! Lindsey should be out there too. Wish us (really, me) luck!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back At Work

Monday's Post

In terms of my workouts AND my real job. See, I am one of those government workers who was really hoping for a shut down. I could have done so much with a day or two off!! Sleep, laundry, clean my bathroom.... oh, and of course bike and power walk/run. Not swim, DC pools would have been closed with the shut down, but the biking I could have done!!

This weekend was pretty busy but I managed to get in all I need to. That included my first trip back to MacArthur Blvd. and up the hill at Old Anglers. I was allowed to do 1 hill, about 6%, which was perfect. I was on my own, and probably best that I did my first ride at my pace and not having to worry about holding anyone up. I spent the first part of the ride really concentrating on my cadence - nothing below 80. It was work on my legs, but in the good way. I saw Adam S, Alejandro, and apparently Travis saw me. Even when I am biking on my own, it's nice to know so many other people are out there!

Anyway, I started to get to the big hill and remembered all the little things I am supposed to do while going up a hill - mainly pull up on the legs, and keep a high cadence (nothing below 70). It was nice to have something to think of during the never ending hill. The hill that I always forget how long it is the first few times I ride up. And how much it sucks. And how bad it was after working on my cadence for the first part of the ride. And how I really didn't want to be doing the hill any more.

Once I reached the top, I needed a break. I stopped the watch. Stopped the Garmin and just took a few deep breaths. I lowered my heart rate. Had a snack. And kept going.

It was hard not to feel defeated. I know it was my first ride with a hill, but it just made me feel all the work I did over the winter, on the trainer and spin class, didn't do a thing. Unfortunately, that is about all I focused on for the next hour of the ride. Oh, and Jetties. Jetties got me though. They have really good sandwiches.

After a facebook post with supportive comments and a call from Alejandro, I felt much better about the ride. I just need more time in the saddle. And the race is 5 months away.

Sunday was the GW 10 miler and Carolina (and NINJA!) and I met up to cheer on our friends. I am usually pretty good, but just stunk that day. Missed a lot of photo opportunites (sorry all!)And I also realized my friends are now ridiculously fast. Not one had an avg. pace with a double digit (in fact, I think most were 8 something). Nice work everyone!

It was weekends like that which continue to remind me of my good fortune. I have the time to and ability to train, and cheer friends and celebrate their accomplishments (and birthdays) makes me happy.

Monday, April 4, 2011



I don't know how many times I am going to hit the reset button, but I just hit it again. I am 159 days away from Ironman Wisconsin. That's a tad over 5 months away. I am kind of freaking out a bit, but trying very hard not to. I would like to be in a different place in terms of training right now, but due to my limitations from my body, I am doing all that I can. I need to adjust my expectations and just do the best I can.

So, I am not going to dwell and give a recap of the past two weeks. There has been some swimming. Some biking - both inside and out, but mostly inside. Some power walking. Some running (for 5 minutes). Some water jogging. And a few days off here and there.

There have been dinners made by my personal cook. A wedding (no, NOT MINE!). Cheering for a 10 mile race (again, not my race!). Great conversations with people who are training for IM Moo. Or Lake Placid. Or who just understand. Some quick chats with my family who continue to be more than supportive of my decisions and remind me of how lucky I am. Oh, and of course - my full time job which has included countless hours in meetings (okay, I could actually count them - but I think that would make me cry).

I have to remind myself that this is my choice. I chose to do this race again. That for the next 5+ months it will be my number 1 focus. And I will continue to hope it will work out the way I have it planned. But I also have to remember that if it doesn't - it's just one day. A glorious 20 hour day from wake up to bed time - but just one day.