Friday, February 21, 2014

Olympics & winter training at its worst

Tomorrow I head to Hyannis for the Hyannis Half Marathon.  This will be my fourth appearance at this race, so I'm pretty excited to carry on the tradition for another year!  Training for it has been a bit of a challenge, but with several 10-11 mile runs under my belt at this point, I think I'll be okay.  My plan is to take it easy and treat it as a training run, and most importantly to just have fun!  I'm thrilled but skeptical to hear that the weather is actually looking promising: 40 degrees and sunny.  This breaks Hyannis tradition of reliably crappy weather, so I'm curious what rogue storm will blow in and surprise us!

Did I mention weather, and how challenging training has been?  There have been snowstorms every other day it seems, and it's really made my training a challenge.  I've missed several runs in the last couple of weeks due to weather.  I hate to seem like I'm making excuses, because I know so many other people that have still managed to get out in the dark, the cold, the ice, the snow, and yet for one reason or another I just can't do it.  At least the good news is I've gotten in a ton of snowshoeing, which is excellent cross training!  Every time I snowshoe in the deep snow I can feel it in my hip flexors and glutes, and that's exactly where I get sore after long runs.  I'm not a fan of snow, but I may as well take advantage of it while I can!

With Jackie!

Mom sporting the vintage shoes!

I'm not totally full of excuses.  I did make several attempts to get my runs in on the treadmill at the gym.  I ran into some problems here too though!  Sunday I got to the gym an hour or so before it closed, figuring I could get in 6-8 miles on the treadmill.  There's a 30 minute limit on the treadmill but I figured no one's going to be at the gym right before it closes on a Sunday.  Right?  Wrong.  While I'm running, suddenly everyone wanted a treadmill and when the line was 4 deep waiting for a machine, I finally relented and jumped off.  I only ended up getting in 4 miles.  On Monday morning I went back to the gym, swam in the pool, and then changed to run on the treadmill.  They were all taken and several people were in line waiting.  I waited as long as I could, but had an appointment and ended up having to leave without even running.  Any idea how frustrating that is?  For me, it was frustrating enough that after my appointment, I went straight to Sports Authority and bought a treadmill.  No joke.  It got delivered yesterday, and I splurged for the $70 assembly fee.  By 5PM last night, my treadmill was all set up and begging to be used!

I don't know why there's a sombrero in the corner.  Now I feel compelled to wear it.

It's super fancy too.  I didn't really need a lot of bells and whistles but they sure are nice to have!  This one has a built in fan, iPod connector, and a huge speaker.  It also has "quick speed" buttons that are very convenient, to instantly bump you to a different speed without having to continuously press the increase/decrease button.

I know everyone complains about the agonizing runs on the "dreadmill", but I couldn't be happier with my decision to buy this.  Having this treadmill just lifted a huge stress off my shoulders.  I never have to worry about it being too cold, icy, dark, early, late, or hot to run, and I don't have to stress over not getting enough time on one of the treadmills at the gym.  I finally turned the tables, and took control over something that has been getting out of my control.  I ran 4 miles last night and 3 today, and I feel spoiled running on such a nice machine!

I've really enjoyed watching the Olympics this year, despite the fact that I'm not a big fan of snow.  These athletes are amazing to watch, and it's awesome seeing all the countries competing peacefully against each other.  I love watching the back stories about the athletes, hearing about how many of them have had to overcome serious obstacles to reach their goals.  It's inspiring, seeing all the work they've put into their training throughout the year, so that on race day they make it look easy.  That translates well into marathon and triathlon training!  My favorite sports to watch are the snowboarding events.  It's so exciting seeing all their tricks, but it's a dangerous sport.  I'm not talking about for the snowboarders.  I'm talking about for me, running on a treadmill, watching the snowboarders.  I get so into it, I'm running on the treadmill, I'm dropping my shoulder, I'm tucking my elbow, I'm rotating, and before I know it I'm tripping myself and nearly corking myself right off the side of the treadmill.

And finally, in my last blog post I mentioned how I signed up for the cycling program Torture Trainer Road.  After re-doing the 8 minute test with the power meter set up, my FTP (cycling term meaning functional threshold power) was reduced from the default 200 down to 146.  I think I should have been depressed about this, but I was delighted, because it meant they would scale my workouts down accordingly!  My triathlon training program (I know, I still owe you a post on this) calls for some pretty high volume cycling each week, so I'm thrilled to have this software kicking me into gear.  I'm pretty certain there's no way I'd be completing 60-90 minute trainer rides without it!  Here's what a completed workout looks like on Trainer Road:

Tough stuff
In other completely unrelated news, I got new glasses!  I ordered them through Warby Parker.  I really like this company, because for every pair of glasses they sell, they donate another pair, and the prices are very reasonable.  They even have a home try on service, where they'll send you five frames to try on and return.  I'm a big fan!

Stay tuned for next week's blog post, where I can tell you once and for all if it's possible to train for a half marathon almost exclusively through snowshoeing and cycling!

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