Thursday, January 29, 2015

100 Things About Me

Reading these from my blog friends has been fun. :) So here's goes... my turn!

1. I grew up in the mid-west.

2. I have lived in Hawaii for 10+ years now and can't picture myself moving away back to that mainland.

3. I have an iPhone 4 and feel behind the times, but really it functions just fine for me.

4. I've never been one to care about brand names, though now that I'm an adult I do enjoy good quality clothing.

5. I rarely choose to spend my money on high quality clothing.

6. I work from home so lot of days I just wear training clothes or pajamas.

7. I drink at least 3 servings of coffee each day.

8. If I skip coffee I can still function just fine (no headaches).

9. I procrastinate training a lot, but rarely if ever actually skip a workout.

10. My training is better all around when I have a coach and just do what she says. :)

11. I love running in the rain.

12. I don't like biking in the rain but I do it anyway.

13. I have a set of rollers that I ride sometimes but I don't own a real bike trainer.

14. I am procrastinating swimming right now by writing this blog.

15. I think I eat too much peanut butter. I mix it with honey and Osmo Recovery powder and OMG so good.

16. Sometimes I melt chocolate chips into the above and it tastes like fudge.

17. I think Roka Sim shorts are the best invention ever for swimmers. I am wearing mine right now as I type this (see #14).

18. I knew nothing about chickens before I got a few last spring.

19. Now I know quite a lot about chickens, thanks to the Backyard Chickens Facebook page.

20. I check Facebook too much.

21. I don't know most of my Facebook friends. I hide a ton from my feed b/c it's all just too much.

22. When I was 16 I spent a summer in Australia with a group called "Sports For Understanding". We swam with different swim teams there and it was awesome.

23. I went back to Australia after my 2nd year in college and spent 3 weeks being drunk or hungover.

24. Since I'm on an international travel theme now... I went to the Barcelona Olympics with my dad in 1992. We saw some events live but honestly I enjoyed watching them on TV better b/c of the close-ups and slow motion.

25. In 1999 I raced Wildflower 1/2IM with a swollen lymph node thinking maybe I had mono.

26. Four days later I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

27. I spent the rest of that year being sick and got really skinny because I never wanted to eat.

28. I'm now 15 years cancer free!

29. Because of the chemo, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to have kids.

30. I didn't mean to get pregnant and was pretty freaked out when I found out.

31. that said, having Moana was the best thing I've ever done.

32. I know moms tend to beat themselves up thinking they're never doing it right, but I think I'm a pretty good mom. I don't stress myself out about being perfect in this regard.

33. I was a teacher for 5 years. I taught 3rd, 4th, and 6th grades.

34. I think teachers are underpaid.

35. I also worked for Big Pharma where I worked half as much but tripled my income. I kinda felt guilty about that.

36. I love my job as a coach right now. I think it's exactly what I'm meant to do and I think I'm good at it.

37. I hate shopping at Costco but do it every other week anyway.

38. If I have to drive more than 10 minute to get somewhere, it seems really far away to me.

39. I have 2 cats and I admit I love one more than the other.

40. I was a gymnast growing up and spent 15-20 hours/week in the gym as a ten year old.

41. I was a springboard diver in college and won the Big West Championships (on 1-meter) my freshman year.

42. I'm still pretty flexible.

43. I subscribe to MWOD and watch those mobility videos almost every day.

44. I have pretty much every ball or soft tissue 'tool' you could possibly imagine. And I use most of them almost every day.

45. The Supernova ball from Rogue Fitness is my favorite one.

46. This might come as a surprise to some, but if I had to chose only one sport to do for the rest of my life, it would be running.

47. If I ever stop doing triathlon, I could see myself getting into weight lifting.

48. My gym sessions are my favorite sessions of the week right now.

49. I'm excited to race this year, more so than years past I think.

50. When I'm alone I like to turn on a podcast (loudly) and clean my house from top to bottom.

51. Cleaning on Fridays is a waste of time b/c my husband and daughter are home all weekend so the cleanliness doesn't last.

52. A dirty/messy kitchen is a pet peeve of mine.

53. I hate doing laundry.

54. I love the ocean, though I think I like the ocean in Hawaii better than anywhere else b/c it's so swimmable (visibility and temp).

55. I used to hate choppy ocean swim conditions and it took me exposing myself to them all the time for like a year before I finally figured out how to swim through it. Now I go in search of choppy conditions.

56. I hate skiing. Like, can't do it at all and don't even want to try again to learn.

57. At one point I thought it would be cool to be a bad-ass mountain biker chick, but that never worked out.

58. I enjoyed trail running when I lived on the mainland, but Hawaii trails are often wet, muddy, rocky, roots, and straight up/down. So I don't trail run here.

59. My favorite race is Honu. This year is going to be my 9th time racing there!

60. I have to go swim now or else I'm not going to have time to finish my workout before the pool closes.

61. Right now I feel a bit nauseous, which is common after a long/hard swim.

62. I just made 10x400's @6:00 (long course meters, with paddles). First time ever even attempted that send-off for that many. My eyes were closed for most of the last one.

63. I pride myself on being a workhorse.

64. We eat out maybe once a month. I cook all the other nights, and that gets old.

65. We eat a lot of vegetables, and both Scott and I genuinely like them. Not surprisingly then, Moana likes them too.

66. My desk is a mess.

67. I suck at paperwork.

68. And taxes. OMG don't even get me started.

69. I graduated from Arizona State University.

70. I still love Arizona and if there's one place I could see myself living on the mainland, Arizona would be it.

71. When I was done with college I followed a guy to Northern California. That relationship lasted ~3 months and then I was stuck in Northern California without any real friends.

72. I've found that making real friends as an adult is way harder than making friends when I was in school.

73. When I was 26 I spent a year teaching 3rd grade in Jakarta, Indonesia. I learned more that year than any other year of my life and am so glad I did that.

74. That year I traveled a lot around Southeast Asia by myself. Ignorance is bliss maybe but I was rarely afraid of anything.

75. My house is still decorated with lots of stuff I brought back from Indonesia.

76. I love this house/neighborhood we are living in now and can see us living here for a very long time.

77. I don't skip meals. Like, not ever. I don't understand how or why other people skip meals? I love eating.

78. I have had my Cervelo P3 for years and love it so much that I don't even get bike envy when I see other people get new bikes.

79. The Hoka Cliftons are now hands down my favorite running shoe.

80. I reach for my Coeur Sport tri shorts more often than any other because they are simply more comfortable when I'm riding.

81. I don't use chamois cream.

82. I hardly ever wear make up or earrings.

83. On the rare occasion I do, Moana loves it and always comments about how pretty I look. ;)

84. I don't know how I ended up with such a girlie princess for a daughter?

85. She is seriously such a sweet kid though, and I'm not just saying that because she's mine and I'm biased (though both of those are true).

86. I met my husband on True story!

87. We got married less than a year later in the Botanical Gardens down the road from where we live now.

88. I run through those gardens quite often and always think about our wedding day when I do.

89. At 40 (almost 41!) I am more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been.

90. I started blogging when I was pregnant b/c I saw it as a way to keep my family and friends in the loop with how it was all going.

91. I had no idea at the time how blogging would change my whole world (in a good way!)

92. I like social media, but I have some fears about what it will be like for Moana when she's a teenager and involved in it all. Girls can be so mean.

93. I am actually excited that Grey's Anatomy is finally coming back on tonight. :)

94. I get most of my news via The Daily Show. And Twitter.

95. I don't ever watch daytime television, unless I'm on the treadmill at the gym and it's on.

96. I actually like running on the treadmill sometimes. It reminds me of swimming in the way that it is so controlled with pace and intervals and rest, etc.

97. I have a hard time getting back to sleep if I wake up in the middle of the night.

98. Commonly I don't fight it and just get up and start working. I'm most productive from 3-6AM.

99. I'm in bed (latest) every night by 9PM.

100. I used to love reading books, but read much less often now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

On Posture and Cadence...

So I just watched this little video clip of Pete Jacobs talking about what he focused on when he was trying to teach himself to run more efficiently. And while I'm no Pete Jacobs, I can nevertheless100% relate to what he's talking about in that video b/c they are the exact same things I've been discovering for myself these past few months!

When Marilyn was here last month she could see right away that my posture and my cadence were holding me back from progressing with my running. So the first thing she did was try to make me move my feet quicker. As I've noted here before, this was awkward and uncomfortable b/c in order to do that I had to take itty bitty short little steps. And I had to be reminded every 15" to keep my hands up! At one point she even took her shoelaces out of her shoes and made me hold them around my neck which forced me to keep my hands up so I wouldn't rub my neck raw.

It only took me ~2 focused weeks to make that cadence/hands thing a habit. Those 2 things alone did not result in me running any faster, but it did seem to make my running more efficient, and for an endurance athlete, that seemed like a worthwhile achievement.

Then I discovered the new Curve treadmill at our gym. I was just sort of curious so I hopped on it. And WOW! Um, Awkward! To be completely honest, I sucked at it! I really couldn't get my balance right at all... step too far forward on that thing and the belt speeds up way too fast and you lose control... Lean back at all and the belt just completely stops. I spent my whole first session (~30') pretty much just oscillating between that belt whirling out of control or just coming to an abrupt halt.

So. Given how much that sucked, seemed like something maybe I should try to work on right?!? I left the gym that day pretty convinced that if I kept trying, I'd learn how to run on that treadmill... This month Marilyn gave us all the green light to go ahead and add 10-20' of relaxed jogging each day if we wanted and/or could fit it in... so I've been using some of these bonus sessions to teach myself how to run on the Curve. I did some research about how to best use the machine, and it seems it's meant for short interval type work for neuromuscular coordination... so that's pretty much how I've been using it. I'll jog for 30-90" at a time (form focus) then walk ~30" then repeat. When I do it that way, seems I'm better able to really focus on posture and foot placement, which seem to be the 2 key elements that allow you to run on that thing while feeling balanced and in control. And balance and foot placement were the things that, even though I'd upped my cadence and could keep my hands high, I still didn't have right.

The most interesting thing has been how I've felt the changes that this Curve mill forces while I'm out running on the road. I'm actually running faster now! But not harder! DING DING DING! So it turns out, if I can get that forward lean, I move forward at a faster rate without working so hard. I feel a bit like a moron that it has taken me what, like 20 years?! to figure this out but hey, at least I finally got it! Or am getting it is probably how I should write that... I'm certainly not a master BUT it is coming. Yesterday I was on a regular TM at my gym and doing some 'quickness intervals' Marilyn likes me to do and I could tell by how easily I was able to run faster than 5k pace (a lot faster!) that the forward balance thing was becoming habit. And now if my weight shifts back at all I can feel it right away which also seems like a giant leap forward.

So, I'm a swimmer, which means that most of the time I am thinking like a swimmer, and relating all sporting things back to swimming... and I had this little A-HA about how swimming faster and running faster are not really altogether different endeavors. To swim fast, you need to be efficient with your stroke... Reduce drag from your lower body by staying 'on top of it'... It's about achieving balance on top of the water and keeping your turn-over UP. I feel this a lot when I'm doing repeat race effort 50's... The Roka Sim Shorts help a ton with this as well... Just putting you in a body position where your balance is better on top of the water so you are set up to execute a stronger catch/pull... Then it turns out, running is the same damn thing you guys! It's about staying on top of it and keeping cadence UP. Too bad there isn't a company making the equivalent of a Roka Sim Short for running...

So there you go... Posture and Cadence. Keys to swimming and running faster and more efficiently!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015... The Process

Happy New Year!

Jan 1... Started the year with a group run on the most amazing route. I'm seriously spoiled as this route is one I can run right from my front door. It's all hills back there in the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens but the scenery is so gorgeous, you forget how hard it is to run. :)

Starting the year with a solid run felt like the right thing to do, though in all honesty the effort there was probably harder than generally appropriate for a January run. I don't do stuff like this that often so I think it was fine. I will say though, I don't think running like that all the time is the way to reach big goals... I'm really learning and every year more and more I am grasping the concept of The Process... and building as we go... That not every training session is a test and most sessions shouldn't be raced and it isn't best to always be judging ourselves based on our pace/power week in and week out... While seeing glimpses of progress is good, going about The Process of training in such a way as to be at your peak when it matters is better... This is where I think athletes get into trouble when they do all their training as part of group sessions. Or at least, I would get myself into trouble this way!

I find myself feeling exceptionally motivated at the moment. It's not really just this moment though... I've been feeling this way for several months now... Just mentally and emotionally and physically ready to tackle training in a way that sets me up to keep building toward my goals this year. Such a difference from where I was at last year at this time.

I get motivated when I sense a real possibility of 'success', however one might define that. I think for me, success this year will be about pushing through to a new level on my run. Just reaching or maintaining my past levels of swim/bike would be satisfying for me (Funny, I'm not convinced I have a ton of room to grow with swim/bike? Maybe I'll prove myself wrong? That would be super...) but with the run I feel like there's and I have been focused in a way I have never been before on doing things correctly with my running... I know some believe that focusing on changing run form is a waste of energy and doesn't lead to better/faster running, but I'm not in that camp (anymore). Every run I do now I am focused on my posture, my cadence and how/where my arms are swinging... It was so awkward at first to change and I thought I just wasn't the kind of runner who could run with a cadence of 90 and still be aerobic... But it turns out that I just needed to take a few more steps backward before I could move forward again. So I did that. In fact, I took the smallest little steps you could possibly imagine trying to combine high cadence with low HR. Turns out, it is possible! And if you go all the way back to the beginning teaching yourself this, you'll get it! Trust me if- after 20 years of running with a cadence of 80- I can change, anyone can! I will say though, it requires some patience. Ok, a lot of patience. BUT, I'm seeing glimpses now of the type of runner I hope to become and as the weeks go by and I see it more and more, my confidence grows... And that, I think, is the key for an old dog athlete like me.

I've been spending a fair amount of time in the weight room recently as well. Really enjoying the lifting and I can feel that I'm a ton stronger already. I actually just bought a 45b bar to have here at my house and as time goes by I will likely start adding bumper plates to my collection so I can do weighted squats and lunges and deadlifts right here at home. That's how much I like this stuff. One thing I really like is the feeling I have when finishing up a heavy weights session. Not just the mental/emotional feeling but the actual physical feeling. I think there's a shift in hormones going on b/c the pumped up "high" is super cool.

Speaking of shifts in hormones, holy cow you guys I think I've discovered how to control that PMS roller coaster I've been riding every month for the last 5+ years... 3 months in a row now I've had ZERO issues in this area... and after months where I had such horrible lows right before my period would come (hot flashes, no power on the bike, frustrations at everything from red lights while driving to being out of peanut butter to the sound of my daughter's voice, crying at the tip of a hat for no reason whatsoever, feeling like an elephant while running, not wanting to get out of bed, I could go on and on...) This is such a giant relief I don't even know where to start?!? It's just crazy to me to have days and days of good solid training sessions and then all of a sudden get my period?! Usually I know it's coming b/c everything SUCKS for like 5 days prior... but not anymore. Phew! My gut says I've got my hormonal balance back and this is just essential to feeling good.

Speaking of feeling good, doesn't this picture make you feel good? :)

OK- I need to get going to the pool. I'm less motivated than normal to swim right now b/c the heater in our pool has been broken and the water temp has been hovering around 72 degrees. I've never done this before, but I'm actually packing my wetsuit today and I just might cave and wear it in the pool.

Cheers to 2015!!