Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Like Being In Charge

We have had the most stunningly beautiful weather here lately. Just sunshine and blue skies and fairly light (for us) winds... 75-80 degrees... If it makes you feel any better, I'm not taking it for granted and I'm outside a lot lately soaking it all up!

Yesterday I went riding with one of my athletes... I always thought that I liked riding alone but what I really like is being in charge (Ha! We can laugh at this but if I'm honest this is true! And I currently have my DREAM job telling other people what to do every day! Lol)... and I'm not typically in charge of group rides which means I'm at the mercy of the pace that everyone else wants too ride... which I swear is nearly always either too fast or too slow... BUT I have three local guys that I coach who are all just a bit faster than me (ie I can hang on their wheels as long as we're not on a long climb) so the ideal scenario is that I rotate through them and we do their workouts together! Good for me because I get to spend time with, get to know better, watch, and advise (Get in your aero bars! Eat now! Pick it up! Back off! What's your HR? Etc.) while also getting great training in and they get to have a super solid workout that gets done exactly as it was intended. Win-win! Yesterday Armando was my project and given that it was his first day riding with his new power meter it was a super opportunity for us both... because not only now do I have a graph to look at of his data from the ride, but I also had his face to look at after 4+ hours to see what kind of toll the prescribed effort was taking. He did great too... Though at one point coming home I told him to pick it up for a bit at 240-250W... he weighs more than me so of course when I had to start swearing out loud gritting my teeth to hang on and saw that I was at 250+W on his wheel I totally started barking at him to back off (something along the lines of I'm at 250W so I KNOW you are at 300!) There is no fooling me when I am also looking at my power numbers. Lol.

Anyway, in good news we got through the ride and he did not fire me* so it's all good. :)

Patrick, you're up next weekend! :)

Speaking of being in charge, last night we had an episode of Super Nanny here at home. At 3 years old, Moana is testing the boundaries of how far she can go with us... maybe she's picked up some bad habits at school (ie whine and end up getting what she wants?) but here at home she does not ever get what she wants when she screams/whines. I've told her that since before she even understood sentences so this is nothing new (and consequently I think she screams/whines less than many 3 year olds) but last night she was fiercely protesting bedtime (which she pretty much never does?) She just kept saying NO I DON'T WANT TO GO TO BED and she just wasn't listening... So I followed Super nanny's instructions and got down at her level and explained to her that she was not to talk to me like that and that it was bedtime, etc and put her in bed... then for 45' we went through he just WAILING SCREAMING IN PROTEST... And then she would get out of bed and I would go put her back in bed without saying a word... more WAILING AND SCREAMING... I can't believe our neighbors didn't call CPS. It was definitely hard to listen to all that but I heard somewhere a quote about parenting that went something like "Choose your battles wisely, but when you engage, win at all costs." So we held our own and won that one last night. And wouldn't you know it... nap time came today and she just happily grabbed her blanket and went to bed. Phew.

*He later told me he survived the ride (and didn't fire me) because he has suffered a particular type of hearing loss that involves voices. Ha! That totally made me laugh!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Yesterday afternoon I took Moana to gymnastics... we were there a few minutes early so we were just watching some of the older girls training. I am always so impressed watching girls aged 12-16 working so diligently like that. They were doing elite level combination moves on the beam and just practicing the same thing over and over and over... If they fell off, they'd get right back up and try again. And if they nailed it, they'd get right back up and do it again. They were striving for perfection but clearly not just once. They wanted to be perfect every time. I just love that work ethic.

Some of the girls were taking time to stretch... Moana assumed that meant they were tired, which sort of made me laugh. Sometimes while she is playing in the bath tub in the evenings she knows that Mommy is tired so Mommy spends time on her bedroom floor stretching... so of course upon seeing one of those girls stretching she asked me, "Mommy is she tired?" Lol.

I was just on the living room floor stretching which made me think of that scene from yesterday. I am fairly sore today- mostly calves and glutes. Calves don't surprise me- my calves get tight and sore sometimes so I tend to micromanage them to avoid actually hurting myself- but the glutes thing was new. Interestingly Nalani commented this morning at swimming that her glutes were sore too so it must have been the run we did together yesterday morning. I actually didn't know short steep hill repeats could make glutes sore like this? It's not a 'bad' sore... just a normal muscular reaction to a new workload, and evenly spread to both sides. In all honesty I sort of like the feeling because it shows me that I have stretched myself beyond where I have gone before. Amazing how we can do that to ourselves with a grand total of 6' of actual work!

So that also got me to thinking... about adaptation and how our bodies adapt so well to the stresses that we regularly put ourselves through... So for example, I can go run 15-16 miles up and down mountains and not even be slightly sore the next day. That would be because I've done that stuff so much that my body has already adapted to it. So while it sounds like a big stress, for me right now, it's not really that big of a stress. Which means that kind of workout is no longer giving my body a huge reason to adapt. Yet a grand total of 6' of power sprinting up steep hills and my body goes WTF was that? Um, that was a stimulus that I expect to adapt to! Pretty cool, huh? (Clearly my problem is not going long. It's going fast!)

I think the lesson there is that we need to find ways to be creative and shock our bodies a bit because if we keep doing the same training over and over all the time without providing new/increasing stimulus, then our bodies have no reason to adapt and change. And interestingly, that does not always look like increasing the volume. Sometimes, it means decreasing it! But then, I guess that would depend on the type of training you're used to doing (and therefore already adapted to). And then of course you must consider the type of event you're training for... though when you're fairly far away from your big races that you actually care about, there's not so much danger in doing workouts that are, say, the opposite of Ironman.

Stretch yourself!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Was That Magic?

I ran 15 miles this morning... with 5 of them in a little local 8K.

I was driving to the race in the dark this morning thinking about what a complete freakin' head case I am... coming up with all these stupid excuses about why I wasn't going to run well this morning... primarily just having flashbacks of all the shitty run races I have had over the years and that since I always run so poorly at these things today would surely be no exception... especially given that 3.5 hour brick yesterday blah blah blah. (Good mental technique, eh? You like that? Lol. Just being honest here. I already admitted I am a headcase when it comes to running races!) Truth be told, part of the reason I did that brick yesterday was to give myself a bit of an 'out' for today... you know, well of course I didn't run well because look what I did yesterday type of thing (Even if I only said that in my own mind and never outloud...). And let's face it, I tried to freshen up prior to a 5K two weeks ago and that didn't even start to work for me so I figured why waste a whole weekend of training for a dumb little 8K that no one (not even me!) cares about?? And while I *knew* I was sabotaging myself before I'd even started warming up I just sort of accepted it as my reality and well, whatever.

Maybe I lowered my own expectations too much but my goal today was just to see if I could knock off 7:30's for 5 miles. Heck, I have not done that in training lately so it would require a bit of that Race Day Magic bullshit people talk about to pull that off and honestly my confidence about even doing that was not high. BUT, I took away the I didn't get to warm up enough excuse by arriving in plenty of time to jog 4+ miles including some pick ups so at least I had that going for me. And honestly, even warming up I did not feel that brick in my legs at all so maybe these 5 miles wouldn't suck that bad after all?

Random picture of Diamond Head from Kapiolani Park... where most of our running races are around here. I did have a nice view of the sunrise over the ocean during this race so I know, I should never complain!

I set my garmin to show me only distance but it was auto-lapping every mile so it would buzz at me and flash the split if I cared to look... so I had the option... which I took the first time it buzzed and saw 7:30 on the nose. Ok I'll take it. It didn't feel that hard, but then of course mile 2 went up/over Diamond Head into a ridiculously stiff and relentless headwind and I knew from prior experience that was going to cost me at least 40" so I did not dare look at my garmin when it buzzed the second time. And the third/fourth/fifth time it buzzed I also opted for ignorance. I felt like I was running fairly well... I was working and pushing the way I think one is supposed to in a running race which honestly was rather new. Usually I just feel like such complete garbage that I can't even push and the whole thing is a struggle... but today, while it hurt, it seemed like it hurt in the appropriate way, and that sort of made me happy. :)

I finished and as soon as I caught my breath I went to the history file on the garmin to check my splits. We'll just ignore mile 2 because that one does not count... but after that I ran 7:29, 7:29, 7:24. I'll take it! To me, while I know 7:30 is not crazy blazing fast, this race was definitely a confidence boost in the right direction. It was not a PR for 8K but it was close, and given that I've been light years from my run PRs lately, being close is something I'm happy with. It feels like a step in the right direction and more reflective of some of the work I have done lately which honestly is just sort of a relief. I won my age group which I suppose is cool, but only b/c nobody fast showed up and honestly I could have placed 10th in my age group with the same splits and been just as satisfied. I hope it wasn't too rude, but rather than hanging around for awards, I went and jogged 6 more miles so I could rightfully call this a long run day. At the end of this weekend I'm feeling rather satisfied in a way that is rare in my world!

In two weeks I have an option of 10K or 5K. I would WAY rather run the 10K, which makes me think I should probably suffer through that damn 5K again.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I'm in LOVE.

I could go on and on about how awesome my husband is (seriously I am fairly certain he should win some sort of award for Most Patient/Understanding Man On The Planet) or about how incredibly awesome my little 3yo is (she seems so grown up these days and is the sweetest, smartest, most enthusiastic kid around- she just picked a flower and brought it to me and said Congratulations! I don't know what I did to deserve that but I'll take it!)... but since this is mostly a Triathlon Blog, I'll focus on my newest love, my Power Meter. :)

I went out playing with it again this morning (I've never named my bikes- just never got into that- but seems like maybe I should name this Power Meter? Maybe I'll call her Oia'i'o? That's the Hawaiian word for truth. There you go. I just decided that. Now Oia'i'o is not an "it", she is a "she".... ta-dah!) Anyway, Oia'i'o is teaching me a lot about myself... like that I should ease up/slow down more when warming up... and that when I stop focusing I tend to ease up and relax... but when I want to focus I can indeed create some watts and hold onto them!

I didn't have a solid plan starting out this morning. In all honesty I was just a bit on the hungover side (hot date with my hot husband last night and a fairly significant amount of wine will do that to a girl but you should have seen my hot new dress!) so I wasn't sure how the ride would go... consequently I didn't want to ride with anyone (Oia'i'o has replaced my desire for any riding partners, at least temporarily) and figured I'd just play it by ear and ride how I felt.

Fairly early on I saw a rider on the side of the road changing a flat... turns out it was one of my athletes so I stopped to help him... while on the side I saw a trio of roadies ride by... 2 gals who I've raced against for years being pulled by a strong guy... a few minutes later I was back on the road doing my thing and 20' later I had caught that trio. Crap. Obviously they were riding really easy if I caught them but you know how roadies are... My fear was that if I passed them I'd end up with some passengers and then involved in some sort of cat-n-mouse chase game... but sitting 25 meters behind them stalking watching I could see my power was way lower than I wanted it to be (I didn't want to go *that* easy today) so I had no choice but to pass and hope that they would stick to their own plan and not jump on. I was afraid that the fact that I was wearing my I Drop Boys kit that Julie gave me might not help my cause...

Now is as good a time as any to see what a longish interval of ~220W feels like I rationalized... So I made the pass and waved hello and then just hung on in the hopes that it would stick... several minutes later I glanced behind me and the road was clear so phew, I settled back into my steady effort/pace and continued on my merry way. Turns out, I sort of enjoyed that harder effort so I threw in another interval like that prior to turning around... then coming home I had a wicked headwind the nice opportunity to increase my avg power so I did a couple of 30' intervals w/ 3' rest that were 20-30W higher than what I was doing on that same stretch of road last week (to be fair this ride was only maybe 60% of that ride distance, but still, that was fun!)

It's interesting to watch HR and how that correlates with power... last week I put myself through a bit of an overload week and I could 'see' the fatigue I'd created in the form of HR numbers that were a bit depressed earlier this week... no real cause for alarm there as long as you back off a bit and allow a couple easy days for it to bounce back to normal. This morning my HR was responsive and I felt fairly strong which was a sign that I was good to go so this is why I was unafraid to give it a little push today. (Lesson there is that it's key to know what is 'normal' for your own HR numbers so you can tell when they are elevated or depressed and alter your training accordingly.)

So there you go. Oia'i'o and I are starting a wonderful new relationship! I love knowing the truth.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Thursday Thing

Got up in the dark this morning to go for a social jog with Nalani. We haven't run together as much lately which, as a result, means that all of our swims start with 30' of sitting on the pool deck and catching up on everything. So for today I scheduled us a 10 mile social run through the Botanical Gardens near where we live.

It was pretty much the most perfect morning we've had in I-can't-remember-how-long... It started in the dark under a little sliver of a moon and then as we got closer to the gardens the sky started to get orangish and the birds started chirping and there I was just jogging along and talking girl talk with one of my best friends and then we turned around and saw these giant sheer mountains that were lit up orange by the dawn light and.... ahhh..... Stunning. Just stunning.

Nalani commented that we should come back at lunch and do our TRX workout there. Sounded like a good idea to me! So after spending a few hours working mid-morning, I packed up my car with my bosu ball, jump rope, resistance bands, TRX, and yoga mat (all my fun toys!) and drove by her work to pick her up... we found this spot that seemed like it would work.

It does seem like a bit of a crime that we have not done this before... I can promise you we'll do it again. Maybe we'll make it a Thursday Thing?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

HELP! I Am Addicted To Graphs.

You know what's funny? I went for a long run today and did not want to be tempted into 'racing' myself at all... last year (last week!) in this situation I would have just not started my watch... but now... NOW I have this garmin that I've figured out how to upload to my computer so I can see all these graphs with all the details of every workout and I was thinking how nice it would be to be able to see the graph after I was done... SO I strapped that damn garmin on my wrist and hit 'start' as I started running. I did set it to show me only the distance I was running- in an effort to avoid racing myself (and that worked) but still... too funny to me that in like 3 days I've become this graph-ADDICT. But isn't this a pretty picture? Elevation profile from today's run.

You know what else? I've started collecting vertical feet. Yes... Now my route planning takes into consideration where I can find the most/biggest hills. It's a good time of year to build strength, I tell myself. So I got either 1900 or 2000ft of vertical gain, depending on which computer program you use and whether or not I hit the 'elevation correction' button. Anyway, now you can see why I did not want to race myself today. Racing this course might have sent me to the hospital! Lol.

So what's the cure for this type of addiction?? And if my garmin stops working will I just quit running? Will runs no longer count if I don't have a graph to prove it got done? GAH. I need to free myself...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Power Meters Don't Lie

I'm feeling a little more like a data geek now. I swear I won't turn into a full on data seeking whore but after my ride today I can see 100% how riding with power can make a cyclist stronger/faster.

So I woke up this morning and it was not raining and it wasn't even very windy... so I packed enough fuel with me for a 5 hour ride just in case I felt like going that far... (I could choose at ~2 hours whether I wanted to go 4 or 5). Ok I should just be honest... after I got my garmin to talk to my power meter last night (power meter detected! yay!) I got it in my head that I was doing the longer loop today so I don't know who I'm kidding suggesting that I might have turned around early. I was not going to turn around early. Duh. I mentally prepped myself to ride for several hours longer than I've ridden since early October and got going as soon as it was light enough to see.

I set my garmin to show me 3 second power, avg power/lap, and HR. I didn't need distance or time b/c I know this route so well and honestly it didn't matter today. My plan was to ride as I normally do- same HR range, and just watch power to get a feel for how it works and what it does. Interesting that the 3" power numbers really do jump around all over the place even when your PE/HR stays totally constant. But the lap avg power was a great feature and one that I will continue to look at probably just about every ride. I hit the lap button every ~30' and my goal was just to try to keep it steady and try to repeat the same avg power for each segment of the ride... which didn't happen when I was climbing or descending of course.

How's this for a sexy looking graph of my ride profile today?

I actually felt fairly good for the first 4.5 hours of the ride. My power numbers were lower than I hoped anticipated they would be but I really had nothing to compare them to so maybe I was just unrealistic in my expectations? What?!? I can't hold 200W for 5 hours??  My ride time and avg HR were about the same as I was doing last February (data geek alert... I checked my log from last year to compare!) so fitness wise I'm not that far off... but power numbers for (most) women who are 130lbs are not big sexy numbers. Well, not yet anyway. :) Interestingly, in the last 30' of the ride today I felt like I was just dying a slow death and that was 100% confirmed by the little numbers on the garmin that were just going down down down. Lol. I'm not sure I needed concrete proof of my lack of muscular endurance, but I got it! In good news it will be super fun to watch those numbers come up over the next few months.

So my overall first impressions:

~Power data keeps you from slacking. I really did stay more focused (and normally I'd say I'm pretty good at focusing for long periods but today especially) b/c I kept checking that avg lap data and trying to get it to display the number I wanted. Lose focus for a little while or start coasting and that number goes down which is the opposite of what you want!

~Hills and headwind are now more appealing b/c they provide an opportunity to raise your avg power. Hills are my friends!

~HR doesn't show the whole picture of the ride. Notice the flatline here that doesn't show at all how I was completely falling apart at the end...

~It's going to be fun to start planning interval rides now that I'll have some concrete way of measuring the work. Ok maybe 'fun' isn't the right word- I anticipate there will be times this year that I will HATE that damn power meter, but in the end it's going to be really good.

~I think that this ability to play with a new toy on the bike is going to keep my bike training more fresh and interesting this year. You know, I think this is my 17th year of riding(?) and I pretty much do the same couple of routes all the time and that can get *old*... but adding this new element of something concrete to measure will keep it more exciting for me I think.

~As a coach, I would LOVE IT if all my athletes had power (no pressure!)... Because although I could subjectively say "I felt tired" or "I felt great" while riding (both of which are important assessments), being able to say that my power dropped ~10W in the last 30' of the ride is concrete and measurable. Objective evidence combined with subjective assessment makes for a really clear picture of what is happening fitness-wise.

~Overall I give it a thumbs up. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Graphing It Out

So this may come as a surprise to some of you... and rightfully so given that I spend my days staring at garmin power files on the computer... BUT I had my first personal encounter with Garmin Connect and Garmin Ant+ Agent today. I guess I can say that now I know why I waited so long. What a PITA.

Lucho and I were on the phone yesterday laughing talking about how some athletes come home from workouts and spend hours online pouring over all their data... I mean, data is important to some degree of course but honestly if I had an extra 90' each day I would rather be out riding my bike than staring at my computer agonizing over every heart beat and watt I produced during the ride that was cut short so I could do that. And honestly I look at enough data coming from my athletes that well, I just haven't felt the need to do that for myself. And now I will promptly contradict myself by saying that since my power meter is coming tomorrow I decided that I should figure out how to get those graphs to show up on my computer screen just like my geeky smart athletes have done. (Just kidding I love you guys! Geeky and all! :)

You might ask how in the world I have managed to get this far in my athletic career without uploading data??? Lol. I will tell you that my post-workout notes on Training Peaks are as detailed as they need to be (minus the graphs) as I input not only the objective data like pace/HR/distance/time but also how I felt (awesome, sluggish, heavy, relaxed, motivated etc) and I pay more attention to the way I feel than the data numbers. I also look for trends to try to figure out when I feel good vs when I feel sluggish/tired and see if I can figure out how to replicate the good days more often. I'm pretty sure I don't need a TSS score to tell me when I should be tired or when I should feel great. I'll be able to tell that for myself by paying attention to the signals my body is telling me. #itdoesnthavetoberocketscience

But I digress. Back to the data!

Can I just tell you that I spent 90'+ downloading software (GAH! Shoot me in the head!) and then immediately updating that same software then finding out that that wasn't the right software so eventually (after bitching about it on FB and Twitter) I googled phrases like 'why won't my computer recognize my garmin 310XT?'. Funny that new users have to google that stuff instead of the folks behind the Garmin site making it, well, user-friendly and easy. Crazy. I finally found some answers on some random chat site and after rebooting and hard booting and force quitting and reinstalling and restarting eventually the data from my ride today magically showed up on my computer screen. On a graph! Ta dah! Check this out. Fun ride today.

Next week when I do that ride again I'll have wattage numbers to look at too so that should be interesting. Actually, the only thing I really wanted to know about today's ride was total elevation gain. I knew my HR and time and speed and distance and how I felt while I was pedaling. So I don't need to look at lines on my computer to tell me that. But Lucho's always talking about 4K ft of climbing and 6K ft of climbing and none of those numbers make sense to me b/c a) I normally ride rather flat routes and b) I've just never paid attention to elevation gain. Anyway, now I have a concept of what nearly 5K ft of climbing looks/feels like. It's only hard if you, well, go hard. :)

So anyway, all that time that felt rather wasted but maybe I'll gain a bit of insight into my own strengths and weaknesses this year if I dedicate a little time to staring at my own graphs. But I will NOT spend 90'/day doing so. Staring at graphs will never get you as fit as riding your bike.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Some Things I Know For Sure

I've had so much I've wanted to blog lately but just, well, have not sat down to do it. I was going to post one last night but I spilled something on my keyboard and the only letter it wanted to type was 'm'. So had I posted last night it would have been really interesting I'm sure... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. That also would have made it really hard to play Words With Friends. Good thing for iPads. Phew.

Luckily this morning it was all dried out so I did not have to go get a new keyboard. That would have been a bit of an emergency b/c let's face it, I live on this computer!

I think blogging is harder when you do it less often b/c there's so much to write about... I become like a victim of over choice... like hmmm, what do they want to read about?? I ran a shitty 5K yesterday. Is that interesting? Not really. But I bet you wanna read about it, huh? For the sake of working through it in my own mind I'll write about it... I was bummed for sure and have yet to decide if I ran shitty because I overslept and didn't get in a decent warm up or just because I am a shitty runner. I am trying not to think it is the latter (training has been going so well!) but given that I am frustrated pretty much 100% of the time at the finish line of these damn running races it's hard to push that thought aside. Or maybe my goals are just unrealistic at these races? Maybe, except that yesterday I didn't even run my old 10K pace. For a 5K. Yet last week Wednesday I did a tune-up workout that consisted of 3 x 1000's @ 6:40 pace and nailed those so why I can't even come close to that when it (sort of) matters is beyond me. Maybe I'm a head case? I'd really like to think I'm not a head case but I very well might be when it comes to these running races. I swear I was not overly tired as I did next to nothing for the 2 days prior to the race so that was not it. Sometimes I wish I was one of those athletes that gets some sort of magic boost from wearing a timing chip but one thing I know for sure is that timing chips are not magic propellers for me. If I can't hold a pace on a Tuesday morning when I am by myself with my garmin then I'm not going to be able to do it on Sunday morning just because there are some other people around and I'm wearing a black velcro strap around my ankle. So there you go. I'll try again in a few weeks at another 5K. I must be a glutton for punishment or something but I swear there's nothing more motivating to me than failing to achieve a goal. Next time though I might actually train in the days leading up to it because while it goes against all conventional wisdom, my best days tend to be when I should be ass tired. So I think it would be fun to test that in a local 5K. It seriously can't go any worse than yesterday, so why not?

Moving on. Let's talk about something more fun, shall we? Last week I booked a plane ticket to Arizona! I'm going in March first to attend Hillary Biscay's SMASHFEST Training Camp in Tucson. (Any of you wanna join me there? Anyone? Anyone?) I am seriously looking forward to that! I better start swimming more b/c 100x100's is on tap (another thing I know for sure- scy is going to drive me batty for that set! Flipflipflipflipflip) and climbing Mt Lemmon (which I have never done) should be super fun (ok maybe not quite so sure about that one?) Afterward I'll hang out in Scottsdale for the week and then that following weekend I'm going to be working with some of my own athletes... several who live there and several who will be flying in (some of whom I have never met!) So March is going to be a very FUN month. I graduated from Arizona State and lived in Tempe/Scottsdale until I moved here 7+ years ago so that area feels a bit like my 2nd home. There's some awesome riding there too that I miss very much! Krista is going to get initiated to that Bartlett Lake climb, that's another thing I know for sure. It will be my little Thank You gift to her for letting me crash at her house for the week. :)

Let's see... what else? My Powertap should arrive this week... so I will look forward to that. Quantifying my suffering! Lol. Perfect.

That's all I know for sure tonight.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Something Has Clicked

As soon as I started off running today I took note of the fact that I felt awesome, again, and it occurred to me that this is a feeling I have been having more and more often lately. Like pretty much every run I've done in the last 4 days (all 6 of them) have felt really good. Whether or not I'm trying to go 'fast' (fast is relative of course), I just feel like my feet are turning over quicker and it all feels super relaxed and easy and light natural. There's been less and less of that I feel like an elephant feeling when I'm pounding the pavement. Yay! (I'm not a big fan of feeling like an elephant.)

Something has clicked (and it's about damn time!)

Of course in times like these it is important to take note of what has been going on so as to make this a repeatable thing. Maybe it was the 360+ miles I ran in Nov-Dec. Or maybe the culmination of an entire year of rather consistent easy aerobic base running, coupled with some speedier intervals lately. Maybe it's the increased frequency of my runs? I'm fairly certain that for me, frequency is playing a bigger part than overall volume. Or maybe it's just that I am starting to see myself as a runner?

I swam this morning for the first time in a week or so... Let's just say swimming frequency has been indirectly proportional to running frequency lately and, um, it's obvious. Oh well.