Friday, October 12, 2018

(Drunken) Cow and (Angry) Cat pose: the art of form (and why I lack it)


It's all fun and games till the taper starts.  Fact of life.  After the last two months of running 50-60 miles per week on the Hanson plan (I'll spare you my crap singing), the big day is right around the corner - Sunday is the Green Mountain Marathon, state #10 and marathon who the heck knows what. 

If you know me at all, you know the concept of taper brings out my evil, evil side.  Last week I got to run 40 miles, this week I've racked up a big 20.  WTF.

WHAT THE HELL DO I DO WITH MY TIME.  I could clean the house (BAH.  Greg and I did start a kitchen remodel, but it's more in the knocking shit down stage and less in the bleach and a rag stage, thank goodness.).  I could spend more time with family and friends (which I have been doing - my kids even remember my name now when they want something #winning). 

I could also be whiny brat about how I can't run and make an attempt at doing some cross training.  Well, you know where this is going.  Last week  decided to try something I haven't done since pre Ironman training and I took a yoga class.  Background story - I used to dance for years and legitimately could lift my leg over my head....15 years ago.  Running, biking and swimming might do wonders for your cardio life and fitting into your jeans, but stretching is embarrassingly low on my agenda and my downward dog consists of playing on the ground with my sitter's canine (I'll be here all week, thankyouverymuch).  So with some trepidation, I took part in a class called "Active Yoga" which sort of seemed obvious to me, but then again, I'm sort of a snob about all things not running, biking or swimming clueless. 

The verdict?  I can still do a mean sun salutation, but apparently my flow has flown out the window with regards to yogic form.  My sun salutations are jerky, my cobra is more of a sleeping snake, and my cow needs to go home....it's drunk.  Regardless of the fact that I probably need to do more at the Y than enjoy the hot tub swim and play in the adventure center, I really did enjoy the class and expect to work on my vinyasa post marathon.  Then again, I say that every time.

In our second installment of taper adventures, I've decided that if I won't get on my bike, I may as well get some more swimming in, so I've actually swam three times a week the last two weeks.  I know what you are thinking, and no, no one stole my blog account, it's me.  My idea of swimming is really to throw some crappy 90s music on my play list and leisurely do laps till I hit anywhere between 2400m and 3200m, equalling a nice 45-60 min swim. 

That sounds nice.  Lately, no one seems willing to let me do this.  Apparently, my form resembles that of an angry cat (and probably the grace of the drunken cow I left back in yoga class).  In the past 4 months, I have been told by not one, not two, but four people, that my swim form kind of blows.  Greg has told me this kindly for years, but taking training tips from your husband rarely works in my books, as he will give me some very obvious analogy that makes absolutely no sense to me.  We excel at moving furniture and understand expensive bike purchase and/or 6 hour training rides, so in my books, I'll let the coaching dogs lie. 

This year, I swam at the Gananda pool for months and a woman who is pretty well known around here asked me one morning post swim if I knew how truly terrible my form was.  Well....yes, thanks.  She did follow it up with an offer to coach, so aside from being kind of abrupt, I gave her a pass and gratefully accepted.  Then they closed the pool, so we joined the Y.  Crap.  A few weeks back, Greg and I were doing laps and one of our tri buddies stood next to him at the end of our lane and asked Greg if I ever took lessons, because I probably should.  As I finished my 2400m set, I joined them and probably surprised him by making fun of my own form.  Then we compared Ironman swim splits and he laughed at himself, as my shitty form netted a faster Ironman swim than his.  Most recently, another fellow triathlete who seems to swim the same time I do has been nice enough to give me a few pointers - seeing as he was a swimmer in college and has done a sub 1 hour IM swim split, I guess I can't make fun of him too terribly yet.  He told me my hands look like a pissed off cat and that if I focused on hand entry, I would probably improve, and suggested the fingertip drill.  After I bit back my inner 12 year old "that's what she said" comments thanked him,I took his advice gratefully and will continue to try not to resemble my Bengal cat after I withhold chicken for dinner.   With that being said, I still think I will probably wait a bit before attempting to circle swim with him and the all world triathlete he hangs out with.  Maybe next year, when Santa brings me my new swim jet.

 To add insult to injury, I decided to take the taper to a new level by attempting to rake surf tripping on a rake at a party on Wednesday, and after landing knee first holding Biz on the rake handle, my right knee is swollen, black and blue, and SUPER AMPED to do 26.2 miles.

Bottom line, I got no game form.

Aside from the hot mess that I clearly am, I'm still excited to take on Vermont and check off another state, enjoy some fall foliage, adult time with my equally crazy cousin (who has hiked the PCT twice, woot!) and get back to my running game.  Which clearly, I have found myself with.

(Mad props to Greg's skillz)

And that's why running, in the end, is clearly the superior sport.  Am I right??

Monday, October 1, 2018

Mmm Hop: My Hanson Review

So sue me.  Every time I think about my marathon training plan, I revert to the Hanson Brothers insult of to the music industry from the 90's. Yes, I know, I need my head examined.  You also already knew that.

But DID YOU KNOW....that aside from the musical stylings of Mmm Bop and the original Tay Tay's boyish good looks, that the Hanson trio brought us more than just "epic" tunage?  Yep.  They brought us Hops.  Or, in case you still think my post title is not only lame but a typo, I didn't stutter.


Nothin' like livening up shitty 90's music that sucked twenty years ago like a drinking game.  You're welcome.

Well, aside from time hopping everyone back twenty years (see what I did there), I really am here to talk about a different set of Hanson brothers, who might not be as famous as the three that should have quit while they were ahead , but are arguably more influential to those of us that are stupid enough to run fifty plus miles a week.

As many of you faithful readers know (all 6 of you), I've followed quite a few marathon training methods in the last ten years - all in a quest to break 4 hours.  I finally found success back in 2016 on the 3rd try to break the 3:xx tape- after ditching "Less is More" and adding in an extra hour easy run; I found four runs a week while NOT trying to train for a triathlon or ultra marathon at the same time brought success.  Sounds simple....because it is.  So why improve upon success?

Well, I'm glad you asked.  I've run a few marathons since my epic breaking of the 4 - one attached to an Ironman, so we won't count that one, and one where I ended up running an extra mile due to the fact that I'm a moron I liked Northern Ohio so much I decided to tour the town and extend the original course.  Clearly, neither of these guys were PR setting events, so its about time I redeem my damn season and shoot for the marathon time I know I am capable of doing.  Combined with the fact that my bike and I are still in the  "its complicated" stage of our relationship. I figured ditching multi sport and running 6 days a week seemed like a wise terrible way to start tri off season. Enter my super speedy runner friend Amanda and the plan that got her to a legit fast marathon - The Hanson method.

The basic premise of the plan is to run 6 days a week - 3 runs are super easy relaxed pace and 3 are "SOS" runs, or, "something of substance".  Each week you do a strength set, which is speed work for us slow twitch runners - repeats ranging from 1200 to 3 miles; one tempo run ranging from 5 to 10 miles, and a long run that builds to 16 miles.  It was appealing because all I want to do is run....and I never have 3 hours to do a long run now that they sort of expect me to...work at work.  The nerve.

Even though it freaks me out that my longest run is 10 miles shy of a marathon distance, I am loving this plan.  I jumped into the last 9 weeks of the 16 week plan figuring Ironman gave me some sort of base (I know, I'm wild like that) and have only missed one run to date.  I'm running anywhere between 50 and 60 miles a week, which is a huge jump from any past marathon.  I struggle to keep the "recovery pace", as its about 90 seconds per mile slower than cruising speed, and have had a few issues keeping pace with long run speed, which is, for me, 8:45-9 mm. My first 16 miler was done at 90 degrees and we took that at face value, but I held it nicely for the second. The whole idea is that for 90% of the runs, you enter into it tired, but able to build up the running legs to handle the volume and pace - basically, you are training to run miles 10-26.2, not 1-16.  I can get behind that.

Overall, no injuries to speak of (Rae, you idiot, shut up), other than some tightness on my hip which I believe is due to road camber (there are some wicked slants on my main route) so I've been trying to mix the route up and have been doing the speed work on the 'mill, which seems to help.  Overall, I'm pleased with the process, and have never hit the Awww crap, I HAVE to run today mode.  Rather, I get pissy on my "off" day and can't wait to get back out there, which has made the post IM blues much more tolerable. 

The results?  Well, we shall see in 13 days!  State #10, Vermont, is my next Target - Green Mountain Marathon, which, despite it's name, is not that hilly, and run entirely on the island of South Hero Vt.  I am super amped and hope the weather gods got out all their aggravation up in the Adirondacks and in Geneseo and that we have some great fall mary weather! 

And if not?  Welp, at least I know post race I have options.  So there's still that. Though god knows, if I end up chugging shitty beer post race in Winooski, VT,  I will not be held responsible for any social media, blogging, or texts that may ensue.  And that means two beers, in case you had any doubts that I am anything but a lightweight. 

And you thought I was just here to talk about running. Or maybe I should just stick to that next time :)


Saturday, September 15, 2018

If you are not part of the solution....you are part of the problem.

I like to think in my non Ironman or Mommy moments, I'm a pretty logical thinker.  I may do some incredibly ridiculous things, like answer Greg's query about what to do for dinner with "Mmmm, I dunno, we can either go out or stay in" or when Rob asks me what he's getting for his birthday, I reply "presents".

Although, when you think about it, both are pretty darn logical.

So, when presented with my recent bike conundrum, I knew there were steps I could take to rectify the situation.  Well, really, phases if you will.

Phase 1:  Collect Underpants.
Phase 2:?
Phase 3:  Profit

Then when I understood I really wasn't an underwear gnome, I applied said phases to my bike phobia.

Phase 1:  Get back on the bike.

Last week at the gym, two fellow triathletes persuaded me to get back on the bike.  In true sense of dude-liness, dude #1 told me that it was a shame to let a kick ass bike sit in the corner while I got pissy.  Dude #2 outlined a race plan for me for next year, taking into account my level of suckiness with some excellent HTFU thrown in.

I went with their advice and promptly dusted off Jess and rode her (that's my bike, you sick people.)  On the trainer.  Cause in my mind, that's a phase.

Phase 1:  Ignore bike.  Throw fit on social media.  Vow to give up triathlon.  ealize that this is entirely ineffective and you are better than said hissy fitting.

Phase 2:  Address one part of the problem by getting back on the bike in the safest fashion possible.  What IS the problem?  Time to investigate.

For ride #1, I rode an hour on Zwift's watopia while watching some trash TV.  The ride was easy, my legs felt good, I wasn't annoyed, but I also wasn't thrilled.  Would have rather been running.

Duh.  Nobody likes the trainer.  It's a necessary evil for New York's shitty winters, shitty drivers, people who try to fit in Ironman training with two kids and a job, and for wusses like me that fear their bikes.


Fine, let's move on.

Phase 3:  Address some of the riding fears on a less scary steed.  It's Mountain bike time!

Before you roll your eyes, let me explain that I was not tree flying, bunny hopping, trickster inducing riding here.  This was a simple one hour canal ride on my non clipless pedal ride with about half of it on the open road.

The verdict?  Well, I hate non clipless pedals, which shocked the crap out of me.  My foot kept sliding off the pedal, which was super annoying, and something I take for granted on my tri bike.  I took the first half hour of the ride to assess some of the issues I was having:

1.  Mount/dismount:  I do this with the grace of a drunken pony.  There is no escaping this.  When you have clipless, you add insult to injury by trying to clip in, but I still look like a moron either way. Verdict:  Go back to the tri bike.  Learn to friggin clip in and out.

2.  Shifting:  Oh sweet mountain bike with your shifters on your handles, I love you to no end. I am no longer stuck in grind mode because I hate not steering like a grandma with my hands firmly planted on my handlebars.  Verdict:  Mountain.

3.  Nutrition:  I brought my camelbak because I don't have cages.  After getting over my fear of letting go with one hand (as I assume I will just end up about 6 feet over into the road when I do this) I realized that I move...maybe an inch in the direction I take my hand off of.  Auto correctable.  Verdict:  Tri bike.

Take off your IMLP sticker, ya dork.
4.  Weight and fit:  Don't make me laugh.  My knees and butt hurt after 12 miles.  TRI BIKE FTW.

5.  Traffic:  I encountered a few a-holes and a route that included 4 stop signs and two lights.  Yes, I had to stop.  Did I feel any safer on my mountain bike?  Nope.  As I climbed the ungodly hills on a bike easily three times the weight of my tri bike, I took my hands off the brakes realizing that if a car came at me, ummmm...I wouldn't use the anyways.  I would, ya know, GET OUT OF THE WAY.  Same thing with a branch or road debris.  Faulty thinking on my part.  Verdict:  Tri Bike.  You move faster and get out of the way of said motorists.

6.  Beauty:  After a half hour of assessing everything, I let go and appreciated the beauty around me.  The fluffy clouds.  The ducks in the canal.  The friendly hellos of people I passed (wait, I was dong the passing???) and the breeze in my face...and even better, on my back.

Verdict?  Yeah, I need to get back into this.

Phase 4:.....Getting the tri bike back out.  It's coming.  Even if it's in a damn parking lot.  Learn to clip in and out.  Learn to shift with with ease. Stay tuned!


  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Biz is 3!!

And there we have it.  Not only do we have a couple of school aged kids, we also now have a 3 YEAR OLD IN THE HOUSE!  Biz turned 3 yesterday, and it was the pink pancake, Y swimming, Happy Meal, cookie cake hot dog party of a day that every 3 year old dreams of (well, at least mine does!)

It's funny -every year I am so amazed at how you grow....from being a tiny little taco to a big 3 year old - the days are long but oh man, the years are short!  I know that time flies so I do my best to just hang on and enjoy the ride...and what a ride it's been, my Bizzie girl!  Let's see what you're up to now.... 

Size - 31 pounds.  You still have the best appetite on the planet - you love your eggs, cheese, ronis (pasta) and GOLDFISHIES!!  Love seeing my girl with the big appetite.

Likes: You are obsessed with Trolls (Obviously).  You love the color pink, "sprinkles" on your nails (polish), your "girlfriends" (dolls) and the videos done by Blippi on youtube.  You also love hanging out with Rob and his friends, playing play doh, swimming at the Y (Its OPEN!) and painting, and dancing!  

Dislikes: Going to bed.  Going poop (Hey, it had to be said).  Brushing your hair.  Going inside when you want to swing! And being told No.  So, basically, you are pretty normal as little girls go....and boy do you have an opinion about things!! 

Sleep: Still on the struggle bus with this one sometimes.  You generally go to bed pretty well but find your way into ours almsost every night at some point.  We are tired parents but the snuggles are worth it, little one.  Every night I remind myself that I am so lucky to have such an amazing kid.  Keep being awesome!!

Eating: See above.  You love food so much!  I swear you eat more than I do sometimes - its really neat to watch.  Your favorites are goldfishies, cheese and french fries. 

Milestones/Firsts:
No more diapers!  You only wear a pull up to bed and are full on potty trained.  You get so proud of the fact that you put on your big girl panties and love waving bye to pee pee as you flush (No one said you were normal....
Riding a bike - You love zooming around on your bike - its the best!
Swimming - You LOVE going to the Y and your swim lessons....you jump off the deck with no fear and love doing kick kicks!!
ABCs/Colors/Shapes- You know them cold.  Genius! Preschool is gonna be a blast!
School!  You started preschool on Tuesday and you love it already.  Oh be still, my heart.

Best Moment: It's still the little things.  When you look at me and say "I love you, Mommy" or, "Mommy, let's dance!" Or when I listen to you and Rob belly laugh over a ridiculous poop joke.  You guys have the same amazing laugh and it melts my heart every time I hear it.  You and Rob can fight like cats and dogs but at the end of the day you love each other and it shows....the two of you are really the best gift anyone could have and I am the luckiest to be your Mommy!!

Looking Forward to: Hearing all about preschool, dance lessons, your first riding lessons next month - so many fun things!  This year you and Rob really both "get" the holidays - your birthday, Halloween, and Christmas!  Our life is made up of small great things - every day with you and Rob and your Daddy is such a precious gift and I love it all.  Here's to the best year a 3 year old could have!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

PRESCHOOL TIME!

How is she even almost 3?  My baby started school today!!  GAHH!!

She's off to a great start and is so so so excited!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Disco Inferno - Oak Tree 2018

Well, how about that.  I raced merely 8 days ago and am blogging about it already.  I must be bored dedicated.  Seriously, where's my cookie?

Well, spoiler alert.  I did not PR at Oak Tree.  I set my sights on those measly 4 seconds I missed out on last year - well- really - set my sites on a 1:48, which was totally doable, as my tempo runs up to 9 miles are easily averaging 8:15 min mile, which is super awesome toward my super secret yet to be revealed 3:45 marathon goal.  Or.....not so secret goal.  Anyways, I figured a great half time would give me the boost I needed mid training cycle.  Oak Tree is a race I've done before (2017, 2011) and it was situated at the perfect time.

Famous last words.

Spoiler alert about this course - it ain't easy.  It starts out nice and flat with a few rollers, then changes to dirt with a screaming down hill at mile 3, which you spend the next 3 miles making up for on dirt/pebble roads.  You then descend again at mile 8 and do a few more rollers until you meet that b*tch of a hill you went down at mile 3 and Newton's Law of Motion goes into effect...and you go up....at mile 11...for over a mile.  On dirt.  Last year it rained and this was miserable, and I left the course with 4 seconds to go under 1:50.

So, in a nutshell, I had a bone to pick with this course.

Race morning dawned with no rain at all in the forecast.  Sweet.  It also was 75 degrees by 7am.  Efffff.  I made the solo trip to Geneseo (also my alma mater), enjoying the peace and quiet that I never get in the car.  (I also did not listen to the Wheels on the Bus.  Swearsies).

Arrived at 7:15, took care o bidness, and found some of my crazy running friends who also thought that running through an inferno sounded like a good idea.  We crazy.  I actually had a hand held, which is something I never do during a race, but figured water every two miles when it was so damn hot was a bad plan.  Race gun sounded at 8am, and we were off!

Miles 1-3 were pretty uneventful - I held a 7:50-8:00 pace which is perfect, since this is a race where a little time in the bank is essential for mile 11.  I got passed by a few speedy friends, and settled into about the top quarter of the pack - this race attracts some seriously good runners, so I had no illusions other than to end in a 1:4x:xx.  Game on.

At mile 3, one of my Roc Running Co friends caught up to me, and we played leap frog for a few miles...she is usually about 5 minutes faster in a half than I am, so I felt pretty good about my speed....until mile 5, when the wheels came off.  Did I mention at mile 1 in town there was a clock with the time and the temperature...and it was already 83 degrees and humid at 8:05.  Yeah.  That.  And 40 minutes into the race, it caught me.  I just couldn't breathe.  My 8 minute miles became 8:30s, and then a few 9...9:30s in, simply because I had to stop to breathe. 

Crap.  It's hot AF out here.  (Tip - do not google hot AF images and expect good things to come up.  Well....they might be good.  But don't ever do it on a work computer.  Just saying.)

At mile 7 my garmin read 59:49 and I knew for all intents and purposes a PR was not in the books for the day.  So I held on.  My Speedy Roc Runner friend leapfrogged again and I decided to try to see how long I could hold her off.  Until mile 8 when I saw her ahead of me and I started to feel a bit delusional....when did she pass me??  Wow.  Mile 9, 10...in 1:24...and then....screw you, mile 11.  I employed a power walk strategy (thank you, Lake Placid hills) and the gods that run the race handed out mini water bottles to us trudging warriors in the 85 degree mess.  I remembered fondly the mud and cold from last year at this point and wondered why on earth I thought this was a reason to complain....Rae, you are a moron.  Mile 11= 10:53, and 1:46 on the clock as we hit mile 12.  As soon as the hill was behind me I hit the gas, speeding by people with a force I didn't know I had (which tells me clearly my legs were not the problem!)  I hit the track at 12.75, sailing it in for a 1:54 finish, a good 6 minutes slower than I was hoping for, and totally shot.

Then out of nowhere came Speedy Roc Runner (SRR) friend.  What??  She congratulated me and I realized we had twinning Roc runners who fooled me at my mirage of mile 8.  Whoops.  And I decided to embrace the suckiness of the day - SRR told us she finished 8 minutes slower than usual, and the speed demon friend that passed me at mile 1 finished in 1:48, 11 minutes slower than last year.  So I guess Oak Tree = 3, Rae = 0, but in the field I'll take it.  I ended up with an age group award (as the winner was first overall) and 13th out of 137 women, which in a race like this, I will take all day.

Placid redemption?  Not yet.  But I gave it all I had, and managed a nice speed session the day after the race, which means my legs are ready for Green Mountain, and it just better not be 90 damn degrees.

In other news, I finally reconciled with my bike, and it looks like we might not be splitsville after all.  She's still a pain in my ass, but at the end of the day, like most relationships, I love her.  But that's a different story for a different day. 

Oak Tree...we are not finished.  I'll be baaaaack (My Schwarzenegger sucks).



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Schoolhouse Rock!

Well, today was one of those milestone days at casa Glaser.  One of those...hey, I'm pregnant.....our baby is born....he is walking....and talking!....and going to preschool....and now...

IT'S KINDERGARTEN!
Today was Rob's first day of Kindergarten!  Inour school district, they have a neat way to introduce the kids to school - one day one, we get to ride the bus with them (an hour later than normal), have a snack, meet their classmates, have a bus drill, then go home.  Rob was so excited for the bus and to go to big kid school!!



Riding with Mommy!
 At school, he quickly got into the swing of things and found some old and new friends, and made himself at home at his new seat!



 Before we knew it, it was time to head home....

Just call him Casanova.....
 Al in all, a great day - Greg and I were so thrilled to be part of it, and we are so amped for Rob for Kindergarten!  Tomorrow he goes a half day all by himself and Thursday starts full days.  Which, let's be real, calls for some parent first day celebration......
And there you have it.  BACK TO SCHOOL 2018 a huge success!!! Next week Biz starts preschool....what happened to my babies?!???