Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No MTB race, Briar's first road ride, T-30, and a Slowwwww Run

Ok, well, I didn't make it to the mtb race Sunday. First of all, my legs were toast after the trail run. I guess it's been so long since I've made them race they forgot how to handle it. Plus, the front of my ankles and shins were complaining about the steep climbs...not injury, though, just soreness. But I was going to go on anyways, until I accidently woke Bo up while getting up and around and he begged me to stay home. How could I say no? So I decided 2nd place AG in the trail run was enough excitement for the weekend anyways. We all got up and went to church and enjoyed the beautiful day. And to make it all worth staying home, I finally got Briar out on his road bike. We rode to Green's Market, where he went in and bought a bag full of Snickers and a bottle of water...we ate a few, then stuffed the rest in his Camelbak, and headed home. Briar even climbed the hill behind Cracker Barrell!!! I could not believe it. First of all, he still can't get clipped in his pedals. I just don't know what the deal is there, but he can't figure it out. He's wearing mtb shoes, though, and they had enough tread to allow to ride without being clipped in. Without being clipped in, though, I figured there was no way he'd make it up the hill, and I told him to just get off and push if it got too hard on him.

Note: It's not like me to say something like that to him...but I have recently come to the conclusion that I have pushed the little fellow too hard in the past. I'm always pushing him to get stronger, run faster, hit the ball farther, throw the ball harder, etc. As a result, I think he sometimes gets discouraged and would just rather not run/ride/practice ball with me if he has to return home with his tongue hanging out in exhaustion. I haven't done this intentionally, but I think perhaps I might have, a time or two, crossed the fine line between instilling a good, healthy work ethic into a child and just plum pushing the child too hard. That's a little tough to admit, but I can take the flack for it...it's a fine line, butI intend to stay on the right side of it from now on.

So I tell him I'll see him at the top of hill. I get to the top and turn around, and he's still coming - he made it all the way to the top! Case in point - I backed off of him a little, and he stepped up and climbed the hill. And for the right reason, too - because he wanted to accomplish that, not because Mom wanted him to. ~sigh~ Parenting...it's hard, but I'm learning. Anyways, we rode 12 miles in about an hour and he really enjoyed it.

Monday Michele and I went to swim class and we did our T-30. After a 400 warmup, we swam for 30 minutes solid trying to get as many laps as we could. I did 30 and a quarter, which is basically 1500 yards. That was my goal, so I am pleased. One thing I'm going to have to do is to push myself a little harder in the pool. I am always afraid I can't make the distance, and I think I start out too easy. The guy counting my laps said I sped up a lot the last 500 yards. Michele did awesome as usual and got 1650 yards.

This morning I got up at 5:30 and set out for 1 hour run, in which I only got 6.01 miles. My legs are still sore, but I think the run worked some of it out. Hopefully a lunchtime bike ride will get the rest out.

We've got T-ball practice this afternoon, and the week just continues to get busier. Opening day is Saturday, and have GOT to squeeze in some shopping this weekend, as I have nothing left to wear for spring/summer that doesn't look pathetic. Gotta quit buying so many triathlon/training clothes and get something I can wear in my other life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Chickasaw Trace 15k Trail Run

5 a.m. Saturday morning came early for me, but I drug myself out of bed and got ready for the 15k trail run/race at Chickasaw Trace – the same trail I had rode on my mtn bike the weekend before. I had found out Friday that my friend Leslie was going as well, and was happy about that. At least I would know somebody there! I thought I could get H to go with me, but as it turned out, she had to work. I went a different route this time, and it only took 65 minutes to get there, so I had plenty of time of time to get ready, visit the port-a-potty and chat with Leslie beforehand. The race wasn’t very crowded, and that was expected since this was the first year for it. At 8:00, we lined up and took off. I stayed with Leslie for the first mile, and then realized she was going a little harder than I had planned to go, so I backed off a little. At least I thought I did, but when I looked back at my Garmin I found that my 2nd mile was actually faster than the first…I guess it was easier terrain. I felt pretty good running the trails, and wasn’t really getting passed by anyone much. Then somewhere around mile 2 a couple of men flew by me, and I wondered if I had been holding them up. The trail is fairly narrow single-track, and it wasn’t very easy to pass someone unless you picked out a good spot and took advantage of it. I found those 2 men again between miles 5 and 6 on the “Trail of Tears”, and I coasted along behind them for a while, and then I passed them just before heading up a steep hill. The same steep hill I never was able to conquer on my bike the week before. As I went by them, I thought:

“Okay big girl – you just passed them back – you better kick it up these hills and not be holding them up.”

And I think I was so worried that they’d catch back up with me I pretty much sprinted up the hill and continued to run strong for as long as I possibly could. Then when I could no longer see them, I tried to get back to a reasonable pace and get my HR under control. I knew I had another steep climb coming up, and went up it fairly strong, but I had forgotten that once you made it to the top, you had to continue to climb for probably another 300 yards. I think I was getting pretty tired by then, and stumbled across a root in the trail and took a spill. It didn’t hurt, though, just skinned my knee a little and got me all dusty. I jumped back up and took off, and then walked through the next water stop catching my breath. The volunteers at the water stops were great. They were all so nice. This one guy said “Carry the cup as far as you need to – I’ll come pick it up!!”

So I made my way back to the starting point, and then did another little loop at the start of the trail as instructed. We then had to cross the road, and run up the grassy hill to see the finish line. At this point I thought I was closer to done than I really was, and I was running out of gas fast. I continued on, though, and crossed the finish line in 1:19:46 (official time). My Garmin must have lost signal several times on the trails, because it registered a little less than 9 miles – but I am pretty sure the distance was correct. My pace ended up being 9:07 according to my Garmin, but when you calculate it with the correct distance, it is 8:33. I am VERY, VERY pleased with this. I have to admit, when I signed up for this race, not being trained for it, I just wanted to it in less than 2 hours. The last time I ran on the trails at the base my pace was 2min/mile slower than my road pace. This trail wasn’t as twisty as the base though, and definitely cleaner…so it was easier to keep a good stride. I felt good the entire race, though, and even felt stronger in the later miles. The garmin says my average HR was just 152, but when I looked at the lap totals and saw that it was 119 and 122 for miles 6 and 7, I tend to think there was a malfunction there. About halfway through the race the strap kept falling down, so I'd say it didn't work so well during that time. Anyways, all this was good enough to get me 2nd place in the 30-39 yr age group. First place was Leslie – who ran it in 1:15 and change. There haven’t been any pictures or official results posted on their website yet, but I’ll share them when they are. Here is the data from Garmin:

Lap Totals

Heart Rate and Elevation

Immediately after the awards ceremony, I was going to a charity benefit for one of my best friend’s sister who is battling cancer. There was no shower facility here, so I had to crawl into the woods with 3 water bottles and a bar of soap. As I was “showering” I washed a tick off my leg! It’s amazing how far I’ve come – if you had asked me 4 years ago if I’d ever be trying to take a shower in the woods with water bottles and soap, and washing ticks off my legs, I would’ve said you were crazy. And actually, I just thought I had gotten rid of the ticks…I was sitting down at the charity benefit and felt something crawling on my arm…and it was another tick!! I must not have good tastin’ blood for them, though, as none of them ever bit me. Come to think of it, I’ve never been bitten by a tick in my life.

So, I got home around 5 p.m., and we grilled out and practiced baseball until dark. I’ll go ahead tell you that I didn’t do the MTB race the next day, but more on that later…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Two Chicks and a Chickasaw Trace

Let me back track a few days first. Bo and I were sick this past weekend. I think we caught some form of the flu from Briar, or something. Briar had the flu last week, and we thought we had escaped, but Bo started getting sick last Tuesday. I didn't feel too awfully bad over the weekend, other than a really bad sore throat, but it turned Saturday's "what should have been easy 5 mile run" into an "OMG I'm going to die before I get home and I have only been running 30 minutes" type of deal. Whew...gotta hate those days. With the lack of motivation I've been suffering from lately, I don't need too many more of those. I need the "Wow, what a beautiful sunrise. I've run 10 miles and feel like I could run 10 more with no problem. It's good to be alive!" type of runs. But anyways, I guess you play the hand your dealt as best you can and hope for a better one the next time.

So I changed the game on Sunday. H, K, and I traveled 2 hours to Chickasaw Trace MTB Park to check out the 9 miles of trails. K is an experienced rider here, he has even won his class at the race before, so H and I were happy to have his expert help. While K was still getting his bike ready, I rode a little loop of the very beginning of the trail, and got nervous right off the bat. So I went back and got H and took her to ride it, and she got nervous too. But we got over it before we took off with K! We had a blast riding the 9 miles of trails at Chickasaw Trace. Check out the pics:
I got passed by this guy

H checking out a steep descent. There was a sign posted here that said "Danger: Dismount Recommended"

But did we dismount?

No! Here is K showing us how it's done

And H coming on down

Note: I came down , too, we just didn't get a picture of it ;)

I tried this hill 3 times and never made it to the top.

H climbing

...and we both went down

Grinding it out...

Up a hill and over a rock!

The main reason we made this trip is because there are some events going on there this coming weekend that I'm going to give a try. First of all, there is 15k trail run this Saturday on the these trails that I have signed up for. It will be my first time to enter a trail race, so that's going to be fun. I haven't really been training specifically for it or anything, so it's pretty much going to be a good, hard training run. I hope to gain some trail experience and have fun. The next day, there is a mountain bike race - the same course we rode here Sunday. I have waivered back and forth as to whether or not I was going to race it, and I have about decided to just dive in. I asked my cycling friend, Chip, about it, and he said the water's fine. K seems to think so, too. Besides, I'm about sick of being a coward. I don't like being timid and scared of everything unknown, and I have a tendency to be that way sometimes. I know I'm not going to be competitive at all - since I've only actually been mountain biking 3 times in my life - but hey - why not? What's there to lose? (besides an arm or a leg, right?) haha - just kidding. I'm going to start in the back and take it easy...just get a feel for what MTB racing is like.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Excellence can be attained if you Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible. "
- Author Unknown

My mother sent me that this morning. I love it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

There are some things in life you just can't have...


I am blogging for therapy right now, so bear with me. Or just don't read this post.

Problem: I had a Hardee's Hand Scooped Strawberry milkshake for lunch yesterday. I've been wanting to try one since they came out forever ago, but have always resisted the urge. It sounded good, but it just didn't compare with Sonic's Oreo Blast. So when I treated myself, I always chose the Blast. But for some reason yesterday, I decided I'd try that shake for lunch. One sip, and I swear there was a vaccum strong enough to drain Lake Michigan created in that straw. Oh.Dear. I knew this was trouble at the time, but I enjoyed that dang shake so much I didn't care. I won't tell you about the massive mound of whip cream on top.

Anyways...guess what I want today? Yep, you got it. A Hardee's Hand Scooped Strawberry milkshake. But I've already had lunch. So I can't use the "well, I am substituting this for a meal" excuse. Everything I look at turns pink. I finally decided to look up the Hardee's nutrition info online. I thought, 'if it's not too bad, maybe I'll just get another one today and eat a very light dinner.' Result of research: 700 calories, 33 fat grams, 68 carbs. No such luck. Little did I know yesterday that I should have substituted that thing for lunch AND breakfast. I pondered on it. 700 calories. I looked down at my belly....'perhaps I could run a few extra miles'...then came back to my senses. That would be like 8 extra miles. Not gonna happen. Shake and bigger belly or no shake and same belly. Which one? I went back and forth, and then I remembered my saving grace. My Athleta, Title 9, and Terry catalogs that I carry in my purse. I put them in there for a reason a couple days ago. I want some new clothes, but I want to look good in them. So I promised myself that when I wanted to indulge in terrible food choices, that I would look at the magazines, and that should take care of it. And you know what, it worked! I still want that milkshake, but not bad enough to go up a size. I hope this works the next time too.

The Necessary Evil

5:10 a.m.: Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! (Alarm)

SMACK!!!(My handing smacking the snooze button)

5:17 a.m.: Repeat…

5:24 a.m.: Repeat…

5:31 a.m.: J.T.: “Lana, get on up, and go swim. You know you’ll feel better afterwards.” (My husband’s politically correct way of saying ‘Please go swim – if you don’t you’re going to be an old grouch all day’)

Lana: “You’re right, I’m going.”

…15 minutes later, sitting on the side of the pool

Water: “Don’t look at me like that. I haven’t done anything to you.”

Lana: “Yeah, whatever. Are you gonna be nice to me like you were Monday or what?”

Water: “I’m the same every day. It’s you that has the problem. Don’t be blaming it on me.”

Lana: “Touche! Simmer down now. I’m here, ya know. Not in bed where I want to be. I’d just like to go away feeling somewhere between okay and good. Not discouraged.”

Water: “Well, sitting there staring at me isn’t doing you any good.”

I get in and start swimming. I don’t feel that great, and near then end of my 500 yd warmup Michele reminds me that my head is down too much. I fix it, and it feels much easier. Then I do 500 yds with fins, slowly, focusing on gliding and breathing every third stroke. Then 5 x 200s freestyle.

The first one – 3:50.

Lana: “Hmmm, that’s not bad. I probably can’t do it again, but not bad.”

Second one – 3:50.

“I’ll take it.”

Third one – 3:50 again.


Fourth one – 3:50.

“Whew..one more. Hold this pace once more.”

Fifth one – 3:45.

“Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout,” getting out of the pool with no outward expression but jumping up and down on the inside.

Water: “Yeah, well, come and see me more often and maybe we can get a long a little better, huh?”

Lana: “Alright, maybe…but don’t even think we’re friends. Just because I had two pretty good days in a row doesn’t mean I feel any friend-like affection to you, dude. You are necessary to get me to the bike; therefore, I have to put up with you. Now…you start getting me to my bike in a position where I’m not chasing the rest of the pack the entire race, and we’ll talk about friendship.”

Water: “Like I said, come back and see me more often. Relationships take work, ya know.”

I won’t even go into why I was swimming this morning instead of swim class last night. I’m sure Michele will explain, so check her blog to find out. I’m supposed to do a 40 minute run today w/ a 30 minute time trial. Now I’m not so sure I have my heart monitor with me.

Baseball news:
Briar got a 2 RBI single last night! He plays (scrimmages) again tonight. No T-Ball practice for Bo until Friday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

H is on the road

H has a road bike! Look out duathlon world - you have new competition!

I got my bike ride in today, for the first time ever, with my sister. She did great! We rode, during my lunch break, down Hwy 130 on most of the Staggerwing Duathlon course. I plan to do the Staggerwing Du this year, and I'm sure she will too.

Now, if I can just convince her to get in the pool...ofcourse the way I've been whining about it myself, that won't be easy. Tonight is swim class again. I think we're supposed to do some kind of time trial or something to get our "T-30" pace???? I don't know what "T-30" pace is.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Keeping my head above water...

Barely. Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted here. The last couple of weeks I've barely had enough time to get the essentials done, and I just couldn’t justify blogging with so much else to do. Let me explain.

First of all(drum roll, please), sing it with me, now:

Well, beat the drum and hold the phone - the sun came out today!
We're born again, there's new grass on the field.
A-roundin' third, and headed for home, it's a brown-eyed handsome man;
Anyone can understand the way I feel.

Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today;
Look at me, I can be Centerfield.

I love it. So much so that I signed up to be the manager of Bo’s T-Ball team because he looked up at me with those big blue eyes and said “Momma, I want YOU to coach my T-Ball team.” So, being the manager of a T-Ball team, the biggest fan of Briar’s Little League team, and being somewhat OCD about practicing and winning – things just got very busy at my house.

And, as Murphy’s Law would have it, I got completely covered up at work about the same time. Making time for my husband, kids, my teams, and my job required me to scale back my workouts a little, and to obviously rule out a Half Ironman during this time. But that’s okay.

Right now, I’m following an Olympic Distance plan by Mike Ricci that I got from BeginnerTriathlete.com. I have set the conclusion of the plan to the date of the Memphis In May Olympic distance tri (May 20th). I can’t say for sure that I’m doing that one yet, but I’m hoping to. At least I have a plan and something to look forward to.

Speaking of “keeping my head above water”, my swim is a whole ‘nuther topic for discussion. I have been awfully discouraged with it. I had followed the 8 week swim focused plan back in January and February, and started going to a triathlete swim class as well. This was exciting, but the fact that I was struggling to keep up in the class was discouraging. I was doing mostly drills (the “catch up” or “touch & pull” drill) to correct my bad swimming technique, and I felt like I was losing all my endurance. I could barely do 200 yards without having to stop and catch my breath. About 3 weeks ago, though, Coach Ashley, found that I needed to correct my head position(it was way down under water), keep my head still(I was turning it with every stroke, barreling through the water), keep my arm extended while I glide (I tend to drop them), and try breathing every third stroke(unheard of for me). I have been working on those things by swimming with fins only. I must confess, though, I haven’t exactly been gung-ho about it all. Trying to swim the way she has shown me had made me feel like I’m starting all over in the pool; like I felt the first time I got in the pool after deciding I was interested in triathlon. I’ve been having an ever so subtle pity party about it, too:

~sigh~ I can’t swim. I’m never going to be good in the water….

~sigh~ I don’t know if I can do any triathlons this summer since I can’t swim…

~sigh~ I don’t want to go to the pool today. It’s just going to discourage me.

Pretty pathetic, I know. Not exactly the kind of attitude that “Competitive Lana” likes to see. So this morning I was supposed to do a 1000 yd time trial after a 500 yd warmup, according to the plan, which actually had to be modified because I couldn’t get into the pool until 5:50 (I waited for 20 minutes at that time of morning!). I did the warm up with fins, but never really felt comfortable breathing every third stroke. I decided to do the time trial, breathing every other stoke instead, because I was really concerned about just being able to complete 1000 yards without stopping.

I started my watch and took off, focusing on my head position, arms, and my glide. 10 laps, and I felt fine. Cool, just 10 more. The next 10 I almost felt like I was getting into some kind of foreign-feeling groove, and finished with no problem, in 19:42. I was very, very pleased with this time. No, it's not "TriSaraTops fast". And no, it's not going to keep up with Michele, but it's improvement. I looked back at my log and found that the last time I did this, which was in early January, my time was 20:34. And I really think I might could have done that just a little faster, too, if I had been more confident from the beginning. So – cheers for improvement and some confidence regained...and ofcourse, to doing away with the pity party – it will eat you alive, man.