Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Package in THE MAIL!!!

After a long day of work and training, I came home, opened the mail box and found a surprise! Inside the mailbox was a small package addressed to me. This was the moment I had been thinking about for months.... and just in time for the Oceanside race this weekend!

I opened the package and unwrapped the most magnificent gray, dry-wicking tshirt ever. What is more, this tshirt is emblazoned with the logo of the DC Triathlon Club. Purse, being the generous and thoughtful athlete that she is, was kind enough to provide me with this awesome hand-me-down product for training and racing. Below is her thoughtful card.

I tried it on and it fits perfectly. It will be great for those cool and crisp California mornings when it it too cold to wear sleeveless shirts. This will also be perfect for wearing to and from training camps - a great replacement for my Princeton sweatshirt which Paulo deems "elitist." When feeling particularly east coasty, I could even don this shirt for a race!!!

Thanks for your support Lindsey/Purse!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

President's Motorcade Sighting on Run!

Yesterday Obama's motorcade passed me while on my run. It's only a matter of time before I'm in the inner-circle as I sometimes split a lane with Rahm at the pool super early in the morning. Yesterday's events are retold in the following chat with Lauren:

me: the prez drove past me on my run

Lauren: slobama?!?!? woot

me: yesssss

Lauren: awesome!

me: constitution ave was shut down so he drove past as i approached the lincoln memorial. i was running in the direction the motorcade was driving but it was RIGHT next to me. I looked over my shoulder as his car passed DID NOT STOP TO GAWK figured if he was looking out the window

Lauren: haha he would roll down and say "GTWD"!

me: he would be impressed that I WAS GTWD and not STOPPING HAHAHAH EXACTLY

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

National Half Marathon

On Saturday, Mar. 21 I raced the National Half Marathon with a CHIP time of
1:23:19 and GUN time of 1:26:46 (yes, big difference). I finished 11th for the women, 65th including the men and 1st in my age group... which is almost exactly how I placed in these respective groups last year (11,63,1), but with a faster time. Bank-robbing, midriff showing pics of me are available HERE.

The morning of the race, I unintentionally woke up at 3:30 and figured I’d get started on breakfast so ate peanut butter with half of the free bagel I secured at work the previous day, returned to bed, then rose to my alarm 1 hr later to finish the bagel with a banana, yogurt and coffee (I drank gatorade the rest of the morning and had a gel 15 min before race time). I left my apt for the metro at the planned departure time of 5:40 and arrived at RFK stadium at 6:20 to meet my pacer, Ryan. 40 minutes was NOT enough time for multiple porta-john visits, warm up and standing in the bag drop-off line with enough time to start in corral 1. At least with triathlons, bathroom lines aren’t an issue since you start in the water or close enough.

So – the gun sounded and the runners were off! At the time, I was nearing the front of a LONG bathroom line. Ryan and I crossed the start line after a few minutes—with 8,000 runners, it takes a while for everyone to filter through. Missing the start was a HUGE mistake since we planned to open up with a 6:25ish mile and were mixed in with a slower group—bad for everyone. There’s a good pic of the congestion at the start in Ryan’s photos (#2838). We weaved through the runners and parked cars and took to the sidewalk at times. When Ryan couldn’t get around people, I slowed my momentum by pressing my hand into his back, although he called them “blows to the back.” Energy was wasted and we only had a 6:50 opening mile to show for it. Get to the race early—lesson learned.

To communicate pacing with Ryan, I used a combination of verbal and nonverbal cues. As confirmed by our watches, miles 2 and 3 were a touch fast, so I told him, “I’m slowing down--this is too hard.” Ryan pulled back the pace. Since I was running behind him, and his pace slowed too much, I clipped his feet, nearly sending him to the ground. However, we were on the same wavelength—he knew this meant speed up a bit. The abuse continued as I elbowed him a few times and at one point, knocked his right elbow forward on an upswing, lurching his right arm to a full extension and throwing off his stride. I guess be careful if you are my pacer… plus I will run the pace I feel like anyway.

This was my second open half-marathon—I did this race last year—and have included my splits below. The inconsistency in the mile pacing has more to do with the terrain as I try to hold a steady effort… until the downhill section at mile marker 9 where I apparently like to turn it on… this is where Ryan and I "lost touch" (btw, he ran a 1:16 on this course last year when he was doing his own race). The 9 miles of pacer beat-down racing tactics weighed heavy on him and he got dropped when I threw down a sub-6 min mile.

I am surprised by how good (not deathly) I felt in the last 5k since my longest run in months has been 6.5 miles. I land run around a 8 min/high 7 min pace so all hard run efforts are done in the pool. The fatigue I felt in my legs during this half was similar to how my legs tire while aqua running—pretty convincing to me that it’s doing some good. Plus, pro runners water run when coming back from an injury.

and look, no hard feelings... me and Ryan AFTER the race:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Days 3 through what seems like 3 trillion of Tucson Posse Camp

I'm currently sitting in the lovely Phoenix Sky Harbor airport after rudely being bumped from the last seat on the earlier plane to San Jose. Seriously, I was ripped out of the plane by the flight attendant as the incredibly late golfing-type guy wearing an argyle sweater and sporting short shorts on his overly tanned legs finally claimed his rightful seat on the oversold plane. I busted out my best "I am a woman in distress and NEED to be on this flight" look, but he failed to help a girl out. Perhaps I need to work on that. Anyway, now I have plenty of time to recap the rest of Posse Camp Spring 2009.

After escaping the wild javelinas and rattlesnakes on Wednesday we headed to the U of A on Friday to tag along with Simon Whitfield and some young development kids from the Canadian national team on their long group ride. Seeing that I don't do group rides, this was quite the mental exercise for me. We must have stopped at 300 stoplights and you would think that this was my first attempt at using clipless pedals by the number of times I failed to get my shoe clipped in properly....performance anxiety at its finest. After this mental exercise, we ate and slept and headed to the pool for a crazy pool workout and easy run that felt like death. Then (yes, you guessed it) we ate and slept and did some internet stalking all in preparation for the coming cycling extravaganza.

Saturday we woke up and did a short 1.5 hr easy ride before heading up Mt. Lemmon for 28 lovely miles of ascension. Yes, these Tucson people do not lie about the climb. It really lasts 28 miles. As usual, I failed to bring adequate nutrition. Usually Matt brings along an extra cliff bar and shoves it in my mouth when I get ornery. This time, however, there was no fabulous sherpa-husband Matt to pick up the pieces. I didn't think John Fell would appreciate me bumming the remaining ounces of his water or food, seeing that we've only just become FACEBOOK friends this week. By the time I got to mile 15 I was raving mad and by the time I made it to the top, I was unsuitable for human contact. Thankfully I had 28 miles of descent to 1) digest a huge load of cliff bloks with caffeine and 2) contemplate my bad attitude. By the time I got back to the house, I threw on the running clothes and finished out the day on a high note with a strong transition run.

Today we had more fun in the pool as well as a bonus death run on the black track at noon in the Tucson heat, which brings me back to my current position....sitting in the Phoenix airport enjoying the free wireless. Off to catch a plane...finally!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Don't Let Your Teammates Pick Your Run Route

Today (now yesterday) was my first day of Posse camp in Tucson. Due to work obligations, I showed up fashionably late, so this was day 5 for everyone else. Paulo and MarkyV picked me and my 100 pounds of luggage up at the airport (yes, I must have brought my prom dress and makeup). I opened the front door to the house and was met by a scene of death and destruction....people were passed out all over the place. Ahhh...it must be camp!!!

We woke up and did a short 45 minute run and then a short ride up part of this infamous Mt. Lemmon climb that triathlon people are always talking about. After consuming more food and water, we made our way to the Catalina pool for fun times in the pool. Despite the angry, non lane-sharing pool creature wearing a snorkel and, oddly enough, an ironman cap, we managed to do a nice 5k swim and then headed home to lie on the floor for a couple of hours before our longer run...which is where all the problems began....

MarkyV had this great idea for us to do our long run in Saguaro Canyon something-bomber national park. After driving for what seemed like 2 hours we made it to the park. Paulo informed us that we actually had 3x10 zone 4 intervals mixed into our 1.5 hour run. More good times. After getting lost just by reading the park map, we embarked upon our desert run safari into the desolate wilderness. We made it about 11 minutes before our first encounter with wildlife - the rattlesnake. Will was running ahead (as usual) and came to a screeching stop, yelled there was a snake on the trail and immediately turned around and booked it for the road (a brilliant strategy, I might add). MarkyV was all over picking up a rock and stoning the poor rattlesnake, while Danny - who hails from NM, the land of snakes - suggested we wait till the rattlesnake moves on. Danny continued on the trail and the rest of us hightailed it back to the road, with someone mumbling something about us being "city folk."

Our encounters with wildlife did not end there. On our 11 minute run back to the road, we also managed to run across two javelinas (wild boar). Having grown up in Texass, I do know a bit about these creatures...enough to know they are not nice. I was told that it was ridiculous to worry about such things and that AZ javelinas are much nicer. I googled this animal later and came across the following site: http://www.javelinahunter.com/javelina_attacks.htm. Enough said. We managed to survive the rest of the run and made it back to the road for zone 4 intervals. 

Today I woke up and felt like death...just in time to do zone 4 intervals on Lemmon and get my butt kicked, followed by yet another swim and run.....all washed down by many luna bars and water. I'm really enjoying my time here and love training with these guys and girl (Danny, Will, John, Mark, Paulo, and Jacqui who is ON FIRE and ready for IM South Africa). Off to go eat or stretch or something of that nature...

Below are a few pics of the wildlife I have encountered at camp so far. I'll post more pics later after I find some energy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Irondog: An Ode to the 109th Congress of 2005

While I typically have nothing nice to say about the US Congress from 2000-2006 and this will never make up for all the other crap they passed or failed to pass, I must give them a shout out for passing one piece of legislation near and dear to my heart: extended daylight savings!!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been doing most of my training indoors this winter due to not enjoying riding over 20mph in the darkness. I was therefore quite ecstatic when I learned last week that my days in the dungeon were drawing to a close. I love daylight. I crave daylight. I actual chose my wedding day to be the longest day of the year because of this daylight fetish (or perhaps that was because my mother forced that day upon me.) Anyway, today the only thing that got me out the door for my z4 fun run was knowing that I wouldn't have to play frogger at dusk with distracted SUV-drivers in a hurry to get home to CSI:insert glamorous city here. They really tend to get in the way of my intervals.

In honor of daylight savings I would like to bid adieu to my days in the garage by allowing you to screen this short film Matt put together about my indoor training with my west coast training partner, Ronin, who happens to be named after the most hardcore tv character known to humanity. I am training Ronin to run 6 minute miles in his sleep.....a rabbit for my overly competitive mind. Currently he is about 6 seconds per revolution of tail chase, but with my training philosophy of LSD running, powercranks, maximum heart rate calculations, FTP and TSS (yes I use a powermeter and don't understand these acronyms), GPS stalking devices, only training one's strength, accessing one's inner fat stores for fuel, and compression sock utilization, Ronin will endeavor to become an AG all american. Perhaps his mother will be prescient enough to force him to do swim team so that he can even go ITU and wear swedes. (I apologize to my non-triathlete friends for these sentences. Just erase them from your memory. If you do have kids, however, please make them join swim team at an early age.)

Happy Daylight Savings!!! Get out of the Garage!!!

PS: I don't advocate running with stick in mouth.

10k Race Report, Moving, MEN

On Saturday I ran an open 10k in 37:11. I'm quite happy with my time and more importantly, the effort, and shaved 43 seconds off my PR from December. The race was an out and back on a portion of the Capital Crescent Trail, a hiker-biker trail which connects Bethesda to Georgetown. The race was organized by the Georgetown Running Company, the running team I socialize with... I don't really train with them--when I do the group runs, it's usually right after I swim, and since the women are faster than me to begin with, a heart-attack sets in after a few minutes. I typically drop back and run on my own until we rejoin for breakfast.

Back to the race--I took it out hard. I checked my watch at 13:40 just to see where I was time-wise and knew that my pace was too labored at that point. Aided by a false flat--DOWNHILL--for the first 5k, I reached the turnaround in 17:40. When I saw the time I thought, "Wow, that's wrong. This course is short." It wasn't, so I set myself up for a nice mental toughness exercise for the last half. The men who I ran with on the way out finished 45-60 seconds ahead of me, to give you some perspective of the hill grade & my sufferfest. Excluding the masses of non-racers taking in Saturday's nice weather & shouting encouraging words, I was pretty much on my own for the return trip. I finished first and about 5 sec in front of the second woman. In the final minutes I had a inkling that I was 1) dying and 2) getting caught by the woman I saw near the turn-around, so I stuck with it as best I could to the finish. I want to be under 37 minutes and will give it another shot next month. Results for the race are available at: http://results.active.com/pages/displayNonGru.jsp?rsID=75529&orgID=234639&pubID=2

I don't have any pics from the race, but I DO have a shot of me with my roommate, Angie, looking out of the back entrance to our new apt, or as we lovingly call it, the cage. Following the 10k, I moved into an English basement in the U-street corridor, hence the safety bars on all windows/doors. My dad came into town to help and gets the photo credit for the following action shot.

This is my fourth dwelling since the start of the year and am relieved to be settled. I didn't have access to a TV in my Feb. sublet and convinced Angie of the obvious improvements to life without basic cable.

To fill the TV void and in a matter of self-improvement, I'm playing the piano daily. Angie has a keyboard (with weighted keys!) and several times since our move, she or I have played while the other has bfast/dinner. It's wonderful listening to Angie play and since she blocks out the occasional "son of a b****" that slips out when I mess up, she enjoys my playing, too. I established a daily goal of practicing at least 10 min and plan to learn/memorize La Valse d'Amelie (from the movie, Amelie) by Easter. In April, I'm heading to the West coast for 9-days to watch LAHP race Oceanside 70.3, attend Timex camp and spend the Easter weekend with LAHP and Matt where I will perform in the inaugural "Getting the Work Done" piano recital. She and I will play a duet--something non-chopsticks.

IMPORTANT: Today, LAHP shared with me a short article titled, The 6 Men You Shouldn't Date. Ladies, file this away in your memory bank and include a hard copy in your edition of the dating bible (He's Just Not That Into You). Through education, salvation CAN be yours.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I just got a text from Purse (lindsey) re: save the running path 10k race. She was first female overall with a time of 37:15, with much of her recent running being IN THE POOL. Yes, there is hope for all you people sidelined to the pool for that most tedious of activities -  aqua running. Impressive, Purse! I'm sure she'll post a race report someday after she completes her 10th apartment move in less than a year.  

Friday, March 6, 2009

Meet & Greet

LAHP (Lauren A-something Harrison Pataky) and I are already witnessing our blog's impact on the triathlon world--err, family and friends--seeing as last Saturday, our coach, Paulo, purchased a membership at Costco. This is a great first step, but to fully capitalize on the benefits of membership, one must know how to pack and plan ahead. Never again should you be forced to pay $4.64 for THREE kitchen sponges at CVS nor buy the egregiously priced dried fruit/nut snack from SBUX to curb emergency hunger. I'll save Part II on our Big Box Store Series for another day, or rather, month, and instead, chat about how LAHP and I met and decided to share a blog.

Around this time last year I was getting ready for a 9-day "vacation" in Las Cruces, NM, my introduction to Paulo and the posse. Lauren and I were paired as roommates. Naturally, before arriving at training camp, I googled the hell out of her name with "results" or "triathlon" in the search field. My sleuthing told me she was the top amateur at Escape from Alcatraz the prior year--impressive. I didn't have much racing under my belt, but was excited with my biking and running improvements and thought I could try to hang with her.

Seeing as LAHP arrived five days into camp, it was a struggle holding her pace. I watched in disbelief as she easily ascended the stairs to our third floor hotel room between workouts. Eventually, broken down and tired, LAHP came clean on HER stalkerish tendencies and rattled off my best times from swimming. I looked at her blankly.

Anyway, after suffering and triumphing together for several days (which is roughly 1 zillion workouts), we bonded and have supported each other since then--updating each other on races, how workouts are coming along, the # of days that have passed without me needing to snack in the middle of the night, the # of animal crackers I ate with my morning coffee, etc. We feel these mind-numbing stories are truly gems and must be shared with the world.

UNRELATED: Tomorrow morning I'm running the No Rail on the Trail 10k. Sadly, the Capital Crescent Trail can NOT be saved as METRO is moving forward with plans to build a new rail line that follows the route of this beloved path. The race participants will stubbornly run out and back in a last-ditch effort to save it... some how... some way...

RELATED: Race results for a 10k I am running tomorrow will be available online for all to see within a few days at: http://www.therunningcompany.net/norailonthetrail10k.html.