Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sugoi Verve Short Review

Running shorts a big deal to me. Outside of my shoes, I'd say they are probably the next most important piece of gear. Well...actually they may be tied with the sports bra. Either way, when you're running long distance, you gotta have a pair of shorts that feel good. I've experimented with several different types of shorts in my running life, and not just any will do. There are several factors that play into whether or not I like them: fit, comfort, flattery, and performance. I am normally a die-hard Nike Tempo Track shorts girl, but I recently gave the Sugoi Verve Short a try, and here's what I think about it...

Fit: These shorts fit me really well. I got a medium, which is what I normally wear, and it fit great. The length is actually a little longer than my normal Nike Tempos, and I liked something a bit longer for a change. They have a drawstring in the waist to make sure they are snug, and a liner that felt perfect. I haven't tried to run in my undergarments in many moons, so that liner is crucial. For fit, I give them 5 stars.

Comfort: Very comfortable shorts. The material is very thin and airy, and as I mentioned before, the liner on the inside is perfect. These shorts never offered to ride up, and that's a big deal. I have yet to experience any chaffing with them, although I normally apply some Body Glide as precaution. For comfort, 5 stars.

Flattery: This probably depends more on your body type than anything. I was pleased with how I looked in these shorts, although I think when I am thinner and in better shape I like the cut of my Nike's better. These did a very good job of covering up some of my problem spots, though, so that was nice. They were a very cute "coral" color also, that went with several running shirts I have. For flattery, I'll give them 3 1/2 stars.

Performance: These shorts have a small key pocket in the front, plus two pockets near the back that are perfect for a gel or two. This is one area these shorts definitely kill the Nike Tempos. Being able to tote along some gel is crucial for marathoning. They also have some reflective strips which come in handy for my 4 a.m. runs in the dark. Last but certainly not least, they did a good job of keeping moisture off my skin with the wicking material and the breathability of the mesh panels on the side. Performance gets 5 stars.

Overall, I highly recommend these running shorts. The only thing that tripped me up a little was the fact that the retail price is $45; that's a bit higher than my $28 Nike Tempo Track shorts. I guess you get what you pay for, though. If $45 doesn't hurt your recession budget too bad, give them a try.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A quote that is close to my heart...

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

There's not a whole lot I can add to that. Eleanor says it all.

"Making The Cut" is coming along. I've lost 3lbs, my clothes are starting to fit differently, and I'm almost to the point where I can go through each circuit twice...last night I did 4 out of 5 of them twice. I'm sure I'm getting laughed at in the weight room at the gym when I'm doing jumping squats and lunges till muscle failure, but oh well. Bonnaroo was this past weekend, so I did have to jump ship from the diet for a days, but I'm back on track now. I still have a long ways to go, but at least we are headed in the right direction.

I'm still looking to do the Lock 4 Xterra, then the Music City Triathlon in downtown Nashville (an Oly). The following week J.T., the boys and I are going visit 4 MLB ballparks in 5 days. In the Prius. It's our recession-proof family vacation. We are driving to Cincinnatti to watch the Reds, then to Chicago for the Cubs and White Sox, then back down to St. Louis to visit my cousin Megan and to watch the Cardinals. Marine Corp Marathon training starts July 5th. I'm going with the FIRST plan this time, so I can keep riding my bike and getting in shape for the MS Jack N Back ride at the beginning of October. I followed this plan for the Las Vegas marathon a couple of years ago.

I'll leave you with some Bonnaroo pics:

and last but not least....

Monday, June 08, 2009

Mach Triathlon 2009

The Mach Tenn Triathlon was my first triathlon EVER...5 years ago. When I think back to that scary day 5 years ago, I almost get emotional. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had been running for about a year and a half, and I had just purchased my bike off of Ebay 2 months prior to that race. As far as swimming, I thought I was hitting the pool hard...but it was hard because I simply didn't really know how to swim very well, so I was not exactly efficient in the water, and a mere 500 yds was hard. I was going through a discovery period in my life. I was finding out, all by myself, that I was no longer limited by my preconceived notions, my critics, or my environment. William James said "Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake..." and I was realizing this on a small scale. Running had first tipped me off to this idea, and I was all about pushing some limits to see what was really possible. It was liberating, and the early morning sunrise workouts just plain made me feel good. So old basketball teammate, Leslie, told me about the Mach Tenn Triathlon and suggested I make it my first. Leslie was the only person I knew who had ever competed in a triathlon. To make a long story short, I worked really hard to get to a place where I thought I could finish that thing, and I did finish it, but I would never call that experience easy. I was terrified. The dinner I had eaten the night before was long gone in our septic tank by 3 a.m., and I didn't sleep a wink. The swim was what I was most afraid of, and for good reason, because to this day I am surprised I actually made it out alive. I was very happy not to crash on the bike, and my legs were pretty much in shock the entire run because the race itself was my first ever BRICK. I finished and was ecstatic. My parents thought I had turned into Super Woman, and my friends thought I was crazy. That day led to countless other sprints and olys, and eventually a half iron and a full Ironman - Ironman Florida. The many other lessons in life and in toughness it led too, though, are countless. Not to mention the relationships and friendships I have been blessed with in this sport.

All that said, Saturday was a celebration of all that. It was an "I-love-this-sport-so-even-though-I've-taken-a-break-and-am-not-trained-very-well, I'm-still-going-out-there-and-gonna-have-fun-with-my-friends-doing-the-sport-we-love" kinda attitude. And boy was it a lot of fun. And as it turns it out, maybe I'm not in as bad of shape as I thought. My times were only only seconds off of last years, and I even placed first in my age group! The fact that my friends Larkin and Leslie (who are also in my age group) took Overall 1st and 2nd certainly helped my cause, but I will certainly take it.

I went as hard as I could in the swim, and managed to come out with an 18:09 (0.6 miles) even though I got into a fight with an old man out there. He didn't appreciate my bumping into him as I squeezed in between him and another swimmer, so he decided to jerk my arm under water. I called him a not so nice name and we yelled at each for a moment then went on with the swim. I must admit that's never happened to me before, but it's all good. I don't hold a grudge...I said my peace, he said his, and we were back off swimming. Get 394 competitors in a lake's gonna happen sometimes I guess.

I hit the bike hard. I knew that my only shot to do well in this race was to give 100% on the bike, and that's what I did. I ended up with a 46:16 for the 16 miles, which is just a few seconds slower than last year. And the crazy thing about this is that I found myself battling back and forth with the same guy, aka "Mr. Lightspeed", that I was battling back an forth with last year in this race! We both recognized each other, and pushed each other to the end again!

The run is a different story. I haven't been running enough lately, and I knew that. It hurt, pretty much the whole way. I went as hard as I thought I could...but if I am honest with myself, I know that I didn't really give it my all. Boo. I had more to give on this run, I wasn't even sore the rest of the weekend. Either way, I actually beat my run time from last year with a 31:59 for the 4 miles. My one promise for this race was that I would cross the line smiling, and that I did! With a total time of 1:39:03.

I SO loved seeing all my peeps and racing hard with them. And it was a total blast to see my sister finish her 1st ever triathlon here - 5 years after it was my first! She even snagged 3rd place in our Age Group!!
Next up, Lock 4 first ever Xterra off-road tri...let's hit the trails!

Friday, June 05, 2009

My Mach Tenn Limerick

Tomorrow is the Mach Tenn Tri.

I hope to finish and not die.

I plan on having lots of fun,

Hurting like hell on the run,

And cross the finish smiling, will I!

Good luck to Holly - it's her first ever triathlon!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Making The Cut

I've been whining around about not being in shape for a few months now. Not in shape, as compared to being in Ironman shape, which is supposed to be really great shape...right?

I'm not so sure, anymore.

I was walking through Target the other day and caught a glimpse of this:
It said "Drop the last stubborn 10 - 20lbs once in for all."

I was a bit skeptical, as this 10 - 20lbs has certainly taken it's toll on me lately. It drains me of my motivation and my confidence, regardless of how many miles I can swim/bike/run. Whether that's a body image problem or not, it really doesn't matter if it's the reality. I've carried an extra 10 - 20lbs with me along in marathons, half iron triathlons, and all the way to the finish line at Ironman Florida. And I'm still dragging it around. So I figured "WTH, I'll see what the drill sergeant has to say...maybe she'll say something to motivate me." I bought the book.

The fact of the matter is that I looked better before I started running long distance. When I was taking classes at the gym and running only 3-4 miles at a time, I looked good. I stood in front of that mirror at the gym and liked what I saw. Before I picked up a piece of bread or a piece of chocolate, I thought about that mirror, and how the extra calories really weren't worth it. Enter marathon and triathlon training, on top of a pretty hectic schedule to begin with, and it gets a bit more complicated. You IM parents know what I mean, right? Sure, you'd rather have grilled salmon for dinner, but you're stuck at the ball park for the next 5 hours where you can only get a burger or a hot dog...and you've got that long run coming up in the morning.

To make a long story short, the philosophies I've been using to shed my unwanted 15lbs haven't been working. I haven't stayed motivated for long enough at a time to make any progress.


I read Making The Cut and did the first workout Monday, and I am a believer. It's circuit training, the same kind I used to do at the gym...except somewhere over the last 4.5 years, I have lost all that strength I used to have...regardless of how many miles I can swim, bike, and run, I am not strong anymore. I faced that reality when I trembled while trying to finish up a set of planks, and when I put J.T. on stand-by for rushing me to the E.R. because my heart rate was so out of control I couldn't catch my breath. All of the sudden ice cream didn't sound so good and chocolate was the last thing I wanted.

I am on Day 4 of the 30 day plan. I'm following her menu and workout plan, and adding my swimming, biking and running as extra cardio. She expects you to survive on your I have given myself a bit of allowance there, depending on how much cardio I get in. But I have a whole new perspective on the kind of shape I'm really in. These workouts are kicking my butt, but I need them. I want to be strong from the core, and I want an acceptable body composition. I can already tell a difference, so I'll be posting regularly my progress.

The Mach Tenn Triathlon is this Saturday. It was my first ever triathlon, and one of the most fun tri's around. I am gonna get my ass whipped, but I'm going out there anyway. I have always improved my time from year to year in this event, but that's about to come to an end. I'm just not nearly as strong this year. I'll do the best I can, and enjoy the day with my awesome triathlon peeps! I'll let you know how it goes.