Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wed Eve Spin Class

Last week there was the lack of motivation going down; this week was the discovery why -- lack of jammin tunes! Spinervals was the training tool, with some good coaching; but the tunes weren't exactly energetic. Tonight, I opted for the tunes and skipped the spinervals and holy crap it made a difference! Here were the tunes of choice to motivate:
Chemical Romance The lyrics are dark and depressing (the Black parade CD is about cancer), but the beat is good.
Super Nova - Yup, I like them! Its the 80's washed up Rock Stars of a couple different bands trying to make a come back as a new band.
Some sort of Techno my step-daughter gave me
And of course, THE man: OZZY

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Next Step: Figuring Out How to Run Faster

A running friend told me one time, "if you want to run faster, enter a couple 5Ks." Have you priced a 5K lately? Isn't $15-20 a little excessive for a 25-30 minute run? Or worse yet, if you're fast, a 15-20 minute run? Although, in most cases the runs are put on to benefit a good cause, so I guess(?) it's ok to drop some bucks to go faster. In the meantime, along with my swimming, I'm finding ways to improve my running. Runnersworld has a nice variety of training articles which led me to TEMPO running, a proven method of improving run speed. I've read about Tempo runs earlier in the training season and have been doing one tempo run per week for the past month or so. In the above article, it talks about exactly what to expect, and they are right on the money...the first two runs will be a struggle, and suddenly, you'll actually start to feel faster with each run -- to the point you'll have to hold yourself back. Well I'm not at that point yet, but today was the first I really felt good running. I normally plod along like I have a load of crap in my pants, but today was a little spirited for a change and it was a nice change. (AND, I might add, that was AFTER I sat my butt on the trainer for two hours for a semi-hard workout) - ha!). I still won't light the world on fire with my running, but its truly faster than in the past.

More Inspiration and Motiviation

Kathryn and Ari, the environmentalist and her very cool dog from Maine commented on my site, which led me to hers, which led me to some other cool sites. This site on Trail Running/Dog Sledding really caught my eye, even though I don't own a dog (but talk about it, but Ricky reminds of the traveling part and how many places don't allow dogs, etc). Made me wanna go out and run like hell. And Kathryn's Green Sites are the best - her doggy sites follow; they are pretty darn good too if you luv doggy woggys:
Animal Inventory
Diary of a Dandelion Diva
Eco Earth Info
Farm Dreams
Goat Philosophy 101
If only, if only. . .
Life in the Sticks
On The Way To Critter Farm
Planetary: Teaching the Environmental Humanities
Raise a Green Dog
Shifting Baselines: The Truth About Ocean Decline
Stayton Daily
Sustainability at Unity College
Triona Trog's Blog

On-line Dog Pals (and a cat or two)
A Husky's Life
Adventures of Two Huskies and Their Cat
Bikejoring Blog
The Daily Echo
Dogging It
Dogs of Jackman Ave.
Dogs with Blogs
El Diario De Lorenza
Gus the Blue Heeler
J.B.'s Big World
Jan's Funny Farm
The Heeler
Holly's House
Khyra's Khorner
Majchy's Universe
Maverick the Pirate
Meeshka's World
My Dog's Daze
Opy, The Original Gruff Puppy
Orion, Count Drulzelot
Pippa the Dog
Powder Puff
Sam I Am
Snow Runner
Togo The Dog
World of Turbo

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Found: Some Motiviation

This week was lackluster to say the least in the training department. Its possible subliminally I wasn't allowing myself to get motiviated cause of it being rest week. But today the tables turned a little. First, the swim was so-so because it was open house at the YMCA, so there must have been 4000 kids in the pool. But then I started to feel some motivation sparking as they handed me my "pay" of $100.00 for racing the Rivertown Race Series last year. Today was the awards ceremony and I managed to win my age group (as did my bud Chrissy, and her sissy Sheena), which paid a hundred smackaroos. The organizer of the race series proceeded to talk about the upcoming season -- it helped! I actually felt like going home and training. The highlight the Rivertown Race Series this year is going to be his 2-day adventure race. But I think its going to be WAY out of my league. He's planning it to be about 150 to 200 miles in the traditional plot-your-coordinates and find your way adventure race. And he's doing teams too, he thinks. Lots of details to be worked out, but it sounds like I can cross that one off (I had it as a tentative). Then I felt a little tingle to actually workout when I got home. So I warmed up to some music for a change (rather than the Spinervals), and this guy rocked and rolled and made me wanna pedal like hell! So ultimately I have to thank Ozzy for a little mojo.
So later this year the Rivertown Race Series season starts again. I had a bunch of these races on my schedule, took them off, and now I'm thinking about putting them back on. They really have a diverse cut of multi sports races -- tris with kayaking, traditional tris, runs, bike races of all kinds, etc. Good stuff. And you get paid to race if you win your age group! And that ain't hard to do at all. He said 1 race, and you're in the mix and eligible for CASH. Maybe I'll do tour de tykes again. Do you think I'll get spit on if I do sport?

Ed Talks in Two weeks

Work and play normally don't mix, but for this post I'm diverting a little and talking about work. We used to call them "Freaky" Fridays, and yesterday held up to its name. Contrary to popular belief that stateworkers don't work, my state job was incredibly busy and exciting yesterday. Yes, I said exciting. SO exciting I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it, then couldn't get back to sleep. The Governor is giving his annual Budget address in two weeks, and because of this week's economy craziness, he decided he wants to help "spur" the economy in Pennsylvania. Since I'm in the Department responsible for the spurring (Department of Community and Economic Development) I helped play a small part in pulling together a proposal. It was a very small part, but the excitement was the same for me as it was for big-wigs that captain the ship. Here's how the week panned out: The top dogs gathered on Tuesday to brainstorm and come up with a plan - my boss is one of the top dogs. One of my co-workers in my Division came up with some incredible ideas. The ideas went "across the street" (the governor's office) on Wednesday and by Thursday evening they were back with our Top Dogs. Early Friday AM was a conference call confirming the content of the finalized proposal and I was abosolutely honored to take the stab at the first draft. Actually, it was quite easy... the basics were already there, I just formalized them into a really nice proposal. After 14 edits (isn't that the norm?), it made it back to the Governor's Office by 5:15 Friday evening for printing this weekend into the final Budget Document/presentation. So the state Government Budget Season has begun. From now until the Budget passes in June, my days will be filled with unexpected rush-jobs, unanticipated potential stay-a-little-late nights (poor Rick was sitting in the car about 1.5 hours on friday!) and days filled with excitement of new initiatives and old changing initiatives.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Motivate Me

The boring winter training doldrums have set in and I feel like I'm not insprired to do much of late. Work is incredibly busy, thus fewer posts 'cause I'm spending my extra time in the early AM when I get in early, trying to actually get work done! And when I get home, I feel exhausted and my workouts are suffering. Indoor cycling is a great workout, but fresh air is nice every now and then too. But its just too cold (for my easy-to-freeze fingers and toes) to ride right now. I need at least 40 degrees to go for a ride. The forecast looks promising for the 1st weekend in Feb to do some mountain biking. I'm enjoying the free weekends, and sorta feel like maybe I have too much on schedule this the continuing saga of changing the schedule continues as I think about wanting to have more free time this summer.'s yet another paired down and less expensive tentative schedule. These are races only...there's some fun stuff on the off-race weekends like tons of kayaking and fun rides with the bike club and buds):

April 20 - Savage Adventure Race - $70
May 18 - Xterra King of the Hill New Jersey - $70
June 29 - Xterra RB Winter - $70
July 5 - Off road Duathlon at the FARM - $50
July 13 - Xterra Rocky Gap MD - $200 (weekend trip)
July 27 - Nottingham Off road Duathlon ($70)
Sep 20 - Cap City Adventure Race 9 ($120; maybe sponsored)

Total cost? About $650...that's nearly half of the other schedule! I may do this and just have fun on the weekends for a change. We'll see...tomorrow I may change my mind again!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Donna's Birthday Ride

WAY too much fun in Meeshow on Sunday, January 13 celebrating Donna Weiser's 29th (shhhhh - if you don't tell anyone, I won't tell ). Here's the group from left to right: Fast boy Don Pagano, Chris Houston, Endo King Zach Adams, Missy Chrissy Bohensky, Chili, Birthday Girl Donna, her hubby Brettster, and Markie Laser.

And the way, way too much fun with the always present shits and giggles when Chrissy's around. teeeehheeeeteeehhhhe

And of course, our queen of the day, Mrs. Brett Weiser, Donna. She was not only birthday queen for the day, but the always-queen of MASTER FEMALE ADVENTURE RACING! You rock girl.... and ride like hell, too!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Revised 2008 Schedule - the Cost Saver

Yet again, we have another schedule -- subject to change of course! After looking at costs, I decided to stay closer to home and as of today, only have one weekend event scheduled since the weekend trips ran into the most costs. So here it is, minus the RICHMOND Regional Championship XTERRA which, my bud Chrissy is right, since we really aren't chasing National or Worlds qualifier points, why spend the money to go. There were a couple low-cost 5Ks thrown in for training purposes. Oh, and my kayak trips are in here too. Lots of them! Rick's paying for the costs for those though. Yeh!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Swim Critique from the Coaches

The pics are my quazi-coaches for swimming, Trever and Brandyn Roark Gray from Sandpoint Idaho. Last night I received my phone critique from these two fishies. Trever was 10th out of the water at Xterra Worlds and Brandyn was 50th - both in front of Pros. Brandyn was precise and well-versed in his explanation of swim instruction. I could tell this guy knows what he's talking about. I think I got about 5 minutes of free instruction which was worth probably about 3 years worth of my slugging around in the pool. Here's the abbreviated version of the 5 minutes phone call:
  • Hand Entry- Out front, fingers-wrist-then-elbow in a line like putting my hand in a tube in the water. More air time, less drag, so enter as far out as possible. The hand and the elbow almost go in in tandem, but not quite. Stretch.
  • Pull - hand is neutral, position arm like reaching over a big barrel straight out in front - pull back
  • rotation - not bad (my only ok movement in the water!).
  • Kick - not bad to start, but my ankle in my upkick on the breathing side is not flexing enough. Using flippers to work on that.
  • Breathing - bilateral only. Work on it.
  • Head - not rotating enough to breath - I'm lifting it (I knew this).
  • breath timing - as soon as my opposing hand enters the water, start rotating my head to breath - and turn, don't lift it.
  • stroke rythym - 2-4 kick to each stroke.
  • Workouts: catch-ups, fists, work on each area above, one at a time when I go to the pool. Using flippers and paddles to train. Can work on some speed, but that's not super-important. Should spend 20-25% of my swim time on kicking with board and flippers. Flippers help get flexibility.
  • I think I have some work to do

Friday, January 11, 2008

Race Season Costs

Little did I know the big picture of exact costs of racing until my dear money-miser hubby decided this is the year to crack down and get ourselves lined up for retirement in 3 years. We now have a budget. Actually, we've always had a loose budget, but now its strict and I'm on allowance. So when I had to budget my allowance, I came up with a race expense chart and whoa-nelly! Racin' ain't cheap! So of course the old wheels are turning on cutting race costs and the answer is actually quite easy - support local races, limit overnight trips, seek out CASH prizes and sponsorships. Supporting local races is good for mommy nature too. There are SO many local races to choose from that it really isn't hard to stay within a 2 hour drive of home and keep costs low. We are fortunate to have so many choices here in Central PA.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Swim Critique from Professionals

Let me start off by reminding folks I'm not a experience with swimming was my mom and dad throwing me in Harvey's Lake when I was 4 and making me puppy paddle. I loved it, but it was hardly swimming! Smalltown USA didn't have pools - we had ponds. So we splished and splashed on innertubes not doing a whole lot of "real" swimming - let alone competing. Soo...when I decided to figure out this swim thang 5 years ago, it was quite an undertaking. Now, I'm attempting to get a little more serious and its making my head swim - literally! I just received my video critique and here's what they had to say:
We instantly found about 4 major critiques on your stroke:
1) need higher elbow, hip rotation
2) you enter near your head, no reaching (you want maximum reach)
3) you are pushing the water "down" not "back"
4) your kick is good at the start and then your foot actually extends back too much causing drag.

So now there's a little more to think about in that 2 second stroke. The coaches are also going to call and talk to me, along with possibly send some video of drills to work on. They SO rock. There's some really, really good people on this good earth. Well...back to the pool!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

SIMBREE Company - an Organic Energy Food

Simbree Company is my new favorite energy food -- I think even more than CLIF and Rick and I buy Clif bars by the case. From their website:

Simbree makes snacks with the very best ingredients: organic whole grains, organic brown sugar, seeds, nuts and wild blackberry honey from the Pacific Northwest.
Not only is Simbree good for you, it is good tasting too!
At Simbree we believe in
simple nutrition, great tasting snacks and wholehearted service. Take a tour through our website to see the many ways you can bring Simbree to your table, whether it is for biking, breakfast, lunch, snacks or on the trail.
Simply Simbree!

I picked up a packet of Simbree Bites when we were in Orlando last year and was immediately hooked. 1) their products are ORGANIC. 2) They have excellent nutritional content (9 grams protein!) with minimal additives/processing and 3) their Organic Granola has 50% iron!!! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find organic granola with 50% iron content! That's huge, and I'm hooked. And they just agreed to be a sponsor for the Rattling Creek BASH this year. Yeh baby...Simbree bites for the rides. You'll love them. Check them out and order a lot. They are a small company, so help make them a big company!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Trifecta Training Plan - Base 1

The crackdown has begun. I'm really liking the trifecta of training this year -- it really seems to workout timewise and allow some "extra" time to live a little. Not to mention I'm already feeling the physical effects of the additional swimming and running -- my clothes are fitting again! Nothing like a little lean muscle to help me squeeze back into the jeans. If you're really interested, click on the picture to see the detail. This is the "winning" Xterra training plan of 2005 - I'm tweaking it ever so slightly this time around (no leg weights - just bike work for legs, and I'm going slightly out of the end zone for no more than 1 hour a week). There's actually 5 months of these. This is Base 1 and BAse 2 and 3 will follow along with Build 1 and 2. I have to finalize Peak and Race yet. My HR zones are a little different this time around, but the basic training is the same. I really like "End" which means I can do any combination of the three sports to meet the training hours for the day; OR, I can even mix in XC skiing or other endurance sports (hiking mountains, snowshoeing) if I'd like during base. The idea is to get the HR in the zone, and keep it there - no matter the sport. It really works out well when I have a hubby that likes to do different types of sports from me (kayak rolling!).

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pro Xterra Athlete does a 22 hr bike week

Ya know, somehow when the coach tells the average weekend warrior he/she should be doing a 12-15 hr week right now to be ready for the bike race season (no weekend triathlete is doing that amount of riding right now! Maybe that amount in a trio of sports, but not all bike - sorry Mr. Bike Coach!), it really doesn't seem like enough when you read about a pro putting in a 22 hr bike week. AND, then she throws in her runs and swims to make it nearly a 30 hour week. Geez! On the other hand, they are PROS. That's means they get paid to train. They get paid to race, and they win big bucks most of the time. And just what does it take to go pro? I'm guessing 22 hour bike weeks to start :), then youth probably helps, and finally a ton of determination and natural ability to race like hell. I find it interesting that women, I've been told, do not mature athleticly until their mid to late thirties and that holds true in many women I know... including the pro I'm talking about here, Melanie McQuaid. In the local MASS circuit, Alaina Deitz is 38 whom is the dominate rider on the women's side. I also expect to run into Alaina on the multi-sport side this year too -- she a cross-country runner first, a biker 2nd, and a triathlete third. She did her first tri last year in Sunbury and was 1st woman to finish. Only after my bud, C-Bo gave her a run for her money on the bike and in the swim. But in the end, Alaina - the runner - whooped butt on the run and won. She also runs the late winter 7 mile trail run on the same trails as the Tour de Tykes. Last year she was first woman at 1:10. She's an incredible athlete, and proof of the mid-thirties athletic maturity for women. But there's a positive to racing with Alaina in multi-sport -- she's 10 years younger than me and in a different age group. That was never the case in mountain biking. Thank you multi-sport for appropriate age groups!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year - Re-Newed Determination

When the New Year rang in, so did the bells in my head to nail down this swim thang. Yesterday was the finale of my weekend swim clinic, and Rick took some final video to see if I'm (able) to improve my faults we discovered on Sunday. There's SO much to remember in about two seconds - breath, arm entry is where?, cupped hands, leg kick not to hard-yet hard enough to keep a decent pace, head down, suck in gut, stttrreeetttcchhh the arms once in they are in the water, rotate hips-shoulders will come along for the ride, don't splash, am I breathing on the 3th or 4th stroke, should keep practicing the bilateral breathing. ARGH! Yes, the arms look better, hand entry in the water is better; thus improving the arms. But its looks as if my breathing is screwing up the stroke too, so that's the next thing to work on. I found two swim instructors on the Xterra Website that provide free swim clinics to Xterra athletes. But they are in Idaho, so I emailed and asked if they'd critique a video (for free) and they said yes! So that's my next step. Ricky does an ok job of critiquing, but there's nothing like a little professional help too - especially when its free! They also will be attending some races to offer free advice- I'll be the first in line! This swim training reminds me of 7 years ago when I first took up mountain biking, I was about 20 pounds too heavy and always bringing up the rear in a social ride. So determination to "get better" led me to racing. Where could a better swim stroke lead me if I'm already racing? Time will tell, I'm sure!

Happy New Year!