Monday, April 30, 2012

Caribbean Sunspree

Ahhh, back to reality.  The car had a fine film of frost on it this morning.  My favorite work pants were wrinkled.  I had to wear shoes that covered my toes.  And a jacket.  Traffic Jam on 441.
Vacation is over.
And that's okay.  While I'm not one to run toward mundane day to day, I am ready to be home.  The right kind of vacation should leave you rested, rejuvenated, and ready to dive back in.  To what?  More on that one tomorrow.  Lest I make you wait ANOTHER day, I'd like to talk about my experience with Holiday Inn Sunspree report-7 days of paradise....or was it?
In order to have the review make more sense, I've broken it into six sections, each rated out of a 5 point being the worst, five the best.  Keep in mind, even though this was a "Holiday Inn", it was all the hubster and I paid one price for the airfare, transfers, food, drink, non motorized sports, room, etc.  We paid a grand total of $50 out of pocket after the booking fees, and that was for extra sunscreen, sunglasses (hubster forgot his), and a few souvenirs. The rest...all included.  Here goes...

 Venue (4.5) - The resort was located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, about 7 miles from the airport.  Even though it was pretty close, the hubster and I opted to pay $40 for airport transport (both ways, so $20 each RT) because taxis are pretty darn expensive.  The actual resort was a strip along the beach, about a half mile long, comprised of 7 "room" buildings, one main hall with buffet and two restaurants upstairs, 3 snack huts, a gym, a separate seafood restaurant, two pools, and an "adult only" area with a whirlpool, swim up bar, pool, and stretch of "adult only" beach.  We stayed in building 5, which was far enough away from the main area and kiddos to have some privacy.  The main area also included a circular pool, whirlpool, springs, stage, and swim out island (man made).  Beach chairs aplenty.

Seafood Jambalaya-yes I ordered this!

Food and Drink (4)- All inclusive = if you go hungry, you're an idiot.  The main buffet was open basically from 7am-2:30pm for breakfast and lunch, 6:30-10om for dinner.  Snack huts featured soft serve, jerk pork and chicken, nachos, popcorn, hots, hams, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, etc. and were open from noon-2am.  There were 3 separate, reservation only restaurants- Italian, Jamaican and Seafood-we hit up all 3, and they were pretty darn decent.  The food wasn't 5 star, but it was good, varied, and catered to any taste.  Breakfast was awesome-fresh fruit, cereal, pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage, omelet station, etc etc, and lunch and dinner always had a salad, fruit and dessert bar, pizza, plenty of meat and veggie choices, a few starches and a pasta bar.  Each a la carte restaurant had a prixe fixe menu-you chose one appetizer, one main, and a dessert.  We enjoyed all 3-I would rate them somewhere around an upscale Olive Garden.  No tipping allowed.  The drinks were great (AND STRONG!)  The bartenders mixed up whatever you asked, and weren't shy about suggesting something new.  We got Pina Coladas, Dirty Bananas, Rum Punch, Red Stripe, Bob Marley shots, and my new fave-Shark Bite!  And, of course, rum and coke.  Mmm, Jamaican Rum.  They also brought you a drink upon check in-sweet.
Activities (3.5)- All non motorized water sports-kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boats, etc. were included.  The pool was only "open" form 10am-6pm, but that was basically referring to Lifeguard manned-they could care less if you swam after hours.  There was a gym (yes I went to it a few times) with free weights, Nautilus, treadmills, bikes and ellipticals.  A mini golf section.  A tennis court.  A basketball court.  And a beach volleyball set up.  Aqua aerobics every morning in the main pool.  The Hubster and I partook in everything but the tennis courts-it was all run really well, with the exception of the water sports-the guys that manned that section were a bit temperamental, but you can't have it all, can ya? :-)  Each night, they had a different type of entertainment-karaoke, dancing, bands, etc.  There was separate kiddo and adult entertainment, and the hubster and I really got a kick out of watching the kiddos during the day and at dinner.  We participated in the evening activities most nights-the hubster even sang me a love song a la karaoke.  Awww.  The hotel also provided free transport to the Jamaican nightlife, but we decided not to "club" it.  The resort was fun enough.  Plus, we are 80 year olds early risers and like our sleep.

No, this was not our room :-P
Room (3.5)- As I said, we chose a room in building 5, which was in a private spot.  We got a room in the top floor, which was done really well.  It featured 14 foot ceilings, two double beds (we had the option of a king but decided we wanted a bed to throw crap on), a balcony, and the obvious amenities (bathroom, TV, etc.)  Free wifi in the rooms.  The room was done really well...the bed was not the most comfortable thing in the world, but I have a preference for really soft beds, so I sucked it up.  Excellent cleaning service-the maids didn't clean till the afternoon, but they were excellent.
Service (4.5) - Overall, really impressed.  Check in time was 3pm.  Our flight got in at 11:30, so we were at the hotel by 1pm.  Our room wasn't ready, so they checked our bags in a secure area, showed us a room with showers and a lounge area, and sent us along to lunch (which was awesome!).  Same with checkout-check out time was 11am, but we got to store our luggage, play on the beach, and eat lunch before our 3pm flight.  The wait staff was excellent, the bartenders hilarious, and every staff member had a smile for us (with the exception of the water sports guys).  Was it the Hilton?  Nah.  But if you were patient (and hello, who rushes in Jamaica?) You were served well.  The resort also had ample security, and if you left the grounds, they checked you out and in.  Loved this-Jamaica is not that safe of a place!
Overall Value (4) - If you want extreme luxury, go to Sandals, or Couples.  If you are laid back and want a fun trip that won't break the bank or cost you a dime beyond initial booking, this is the place to go.  After my entire review, I'll lay it out in terms of cash.  The hubster and I flew from Rochester, NY to Montego Bay, stayed 7 nights all inclusive, including transport to and from the hotel....for $1950.  Total.  Not per person.  Add on the extra $50 we spent in cash during the week for a cool $2000 trip.  Not too shabby for a week in paradise.

Would I go back?  If you could plop this place down anywhere else, yes.  The only drawback was that you were pretty much confined to the hotel-as I said, you don't want to go exploring in Jamaica.  It felt so wrong not putting on my running shoes and checking out the lay of the land (and running on a treadmill instead of the beach!) but if you don't get all antsy in your pantsy, that's not a problem.  Full relaxation....awesome food and drinks...plenty of married time (lol) and friendly people.  Win win.
Oh and did I mention I actually lost 2 pounds while I was there?  What freak of nature am I? No clue how that happened-just an added bonus!  If you have any questions, feel free to email me or comment-I would highly recommend Sunspree!  (We booked through, btw)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Jamaica, Mon!

What an awesome week!  The hubster and I got home last night...err...this morning about 1 a.m. after a wild and crazy ride that included loss of power at the airport, humorous customs declarations, and the possibility of a DC overnight (which we decided not to partake in).  After 8 hours of sleep, I've tackled 4 loads of laundry, cleaned the house, rode my 40 miles, and made my shopping list for tomorrow.  I'm beat.  But so glad to be home.
Since I have a ridiculous amount to say about the trip, I'm gonna save the recap for tomorrow....I want to do it justice.  In the meantime, enjoy some of my favorites from the week....
Welcome to Sunspree!
Resort "Island" cool to swim out to.
View from our room (so awesome to wake up to!)
My "long course" pool.  75ish meters of OWS in the sea...yes please!
Jerk Chicken, Take #1.  (yes, I'm red as a lobster)
"Our" gazebo.  Hung out here a few times a day, just enjoying the breeze and view.
Beach legs!  (Check out Kenny Rogers in the background)
All you can drink on the beach :-P
My new fave..."Shark Bite"-Blue Curacao, Grenadine, pineapple juice, rum and vodka.  Wowzas.
Gorgeous sunsets.

Perfect week.  Too bad you have to come back to reality, right? :-)

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Minimalist Triathlete

Happy Friday!  How was your week?  I'll be back to share my adventures in Montego Bay on Sunday, so enjoy this little ramble for the end of the week....hope you have a great weekend and I'll catch up with you soon!  (Don't worry, I'm gonna try to bring back some nice weather :-))
Today, I'd like to talk about training.  Shocker, yes.  But a different side of training. 
The "stuff" part.  Before I became a triathlete in 2005, I was pretty active.  Not a runner, cyclist or swimmer, but I danced in college, did kickboxing, Salsa/Zumba, Step, and pretty much anything else that seemed fun to get in some exercise, aside from organized sports.
What did I need?  Sneakers, a sports bra, maybe a watch, and some comfy sweat clothing.
Then, I did a tri.  The hubster, as you know, introduced me to this debauchery...and I've never looked back.  What did I get for my first tri?  A $50 target bike, $30 running shoes, a swimsuit, a $15 helmet, and $20 worth of spandex from walmart.  Yup, the bare minimum.  I did two tri's on that, then once I realized I was hooked, I invested.
Now?  7 years later, I have a tri bike (bought for a super steal online), running shoes that I've had my stride tested to fit me, a tri suit (or two), a slightly more expensive helmet and sunglasses, and my own wetsuit (that was incidentally free.. I won it a few years ago at a local race-but retails for about $500).  Training toys?  A treadmill, gym membership, and computrainer (the hubster got it for a mad steal at $900 5 years ago-it's friggin awesome). A garmin.  A bike computer (small cat eye).  A transition bag.  And I'm probably forgetting a million small my hydro sipper, my bento box, my race belt etc. etc.
Not a minimalist sport.  And I'm quite tame!  I don't train with power....have a power meter...a garmin for my bike (usually, I train with my $30 timex and the hubster uses the garmin).  I don't buy new stuff.  I'm happy to use what I have till it's un-usable, and don't lust after the new "toys".  Something a bit off?  Eh, I need to get my bike in.  I'll deal with it later.  Can't find my watch?  Who cares-I'm out the door....I know a 5 mile route and will gauge by pace.  Bike computer dead?  Oh wells.
I think there's something wrong with me as a triathlete :-)  I love the sport, but I'm not so much into the toys that go with it....the carbon frames, aero helmets, swim skins, power meters, etc etc.
Basically, a minimalist triathlete.  Does such a thing exist, or should I really reconsider and take up marathons and ultras?  All you need there are shoes, good clothes, a watch and food/hydration packs.  Hmm.  Something to consider.  After all, when you do a running race, you can charge your mp3 player (hangs head in shame...I'm a music head), tie your shoes, slip a gu in your back pocket, and go.  No transition.  No bike box, bottles, computer, helmet, two pairs of shoes, socks, wetsuit, goggles, swim cap etc etc...(well, you've seen my tri packing list...and I'm a lightweight!)
Food for thought.  Along with rest, I plan to do some thinking about my fitness bucket list over vacation.  What do I want to accomplish fitness wise, now that I've raced my 140.6 (twice)?  Is this a long term thing...solely training for tri's...or do I want to expand?  Maybe something with less "toys"?  An ultra? Perhaps a 100 miler...or Mind the Ducks?  (Which oddly, I lust over every year).  Trail running?
Food for thought.
Are you a minimalist triathlete/athlete, or do you love the "toys"?  Do they motivate you?  Help your training/speed? 

How many "toys" do you need for training?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

HIM Training Week six-squash em!

This post was written a bit early...chalk it up to jamming a 7 day training week into a five day week!  Since the hubster and I took off Saturday-Saturday, I had to get all my workouts in in 5 (ish) days....Monday-Friday.  Yep, that's 3 runs, 3 bikes, 3 swims, and 2 total body workouts....yeesh.  How'd I do?  I turned my 8 mile long run to a 6 mile run and my 2 hour ride to a 90 minute tempo ride, but I'm pretty satisfied overall, as I have a hard time fitting in two a days that last more than an hour a pop on a weekday....I know, I know, HTFU :-P  Maybe when they pay me to do this stuff, but for now, it's all fun and games!
Without further adieu.....I give you week 6! 
The Stats
Swim:  7100 yards (3 swims)
Bike:  76 miles (3 bikes)
Run: 19.5 miles (3 runs)
Strength:  2 full body, 3 abs-sweet!
Week low:  swimming fast continues to allude me.  I did a one mile time trial this week....sucked big time.  Like, 2 minutes off my time last year.  Am I tired?  yes.  Stressed?  Yes.  But I need to do something to improve this....right now I'm a front of the pack runner (ish), middle of the pack biker, and back of the pack swimmer.  Now, I wouldn't give my running skills away for anything, but it would be awesome not to have to play catch up for the rest of a tri after exiting the water!  I think it's drill time!  (Or I'll just steal Victoria's skills and call it a day :-P)
Week high:  8 mile tempo run.  4 seconds off goal pace (8:19) but I felt friggin awesome.  This makes me feel pretty good about a strong half next month-anything can happen, but I'm slowly getting back to where I was last year pre-Ironman.  I totally could have run 5 more miles at that pace. Sweet.

1/3 of the way there.....and it's rest week time!  When you read this post, I'll be laying on a beach, sipping rum punch and trying not to fry myself.  No formal workouts next week, but I know for a fact I'll be staying active-the resort has a gym, I'm bringing my goggles and cap (hey, who wouldn't OWS in Caribbean Waters??) and planning on tennis, golf, and anything else fun that comes my way :-)  Formal tri training to resume on Monday, April 30.  Here's to a week of relaxing to get my mojo back and come back stronger!
How do you handle rest weeks?  Although (sadly) I can't jet off to a foreign country every rest week (I WISH!) I try to stay active but take a rest from timed swimming, biking and running.  It's not the smartest thing, but I hate being inactive, so I cross train (lightly).
Have a great week!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My new Long Course "Pool"

 2400 yards with drills, kicking and 1 mile EZ swim......

That is all, Mon.:-) 
Love this place!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saving dinero-checking baggage

Good morning and welcome to the weekend!  As you read this over your cup of coffee, I am somewhere over the Atlantic right now, on my way to Jamaica.  Let's hope the hubster still has feeling in his hands when we land...I'm not the best flyer!  Something about not having control over the plane and being confined in a small space = freaked out Rae.  I tried to talk him into driving to Jamaica, but there was that little pond in the way....darn ocean!  S'ok, though.  5 hours of flights to get to vacation?  I'll deal!
Even though the flying thing kinda sucks, it's not my least favorite part of traveling. Nah, I'll save that one for the airport.  You all have heard about my debacle with TSA last month (no, I did not pack Nature's Seasonings or my runner's stick this time!) but what I hate MOST?  Baggage policies.
$20-$30 to check one bag.  Times two.  Times two flights.  $120 to fly my luggage?  Seriously?  That's half the cost of a people ticket!  No thank you.
I'll pack my carry on.  According to airline policy, you can have one carry on bag and one personal item.  One Ziploc quart baggie with liquids, not to exceed 3oz for each liquid.
Deep breaths.  How does one pack for 8 days with such small confines?  With a little bit of ingenuity, planning, and sharing.  Here's how I get around the airline policies and save that dinero for souvenirs and fun outings on vacation!
Cats-can't check those guys :-(
1.  Know the airline policies-  check them out online before even packing.  Usually you can have a standard carry on piece of luggage and a personal item (laptop, purse, backpack, etc.)  The hubster and I each pack a carry on sized 'case and a backpack.  You get the most bang for your buck that way!  One word of caution-make sure you don't over stuff the suitcase-it has to fit in the overhead bin or people will give you the stink eye for being THAT person.
2.  Call/Email/Facebook the hotel-What do they offer for free toiletries?  If you aren't too picky, you should never have to pack shampoo, conditioner, body soap, or lotion.  Don't waste your valuable space on what you'll get for staying there!  (Of course, the hubster really worries about the shampoo  It would make packing so much easier if I was bald, too!)
2.  Check out freebie sites! - Have some time before your trip?  (2 months or more).  Check out  I know I've touted this before, but it is awesome.  You can get free samples quite often, and if you visit once a week for about 6 months, you get quite a variety!  The result?  Free face wash, deodorant, sunscreen, cologne, laundry detergent and a first aid kit (to name a few).  Into the suitcase, no messing around with finding mini's at the store.
3.  The Dollar store is your friend-  As much as I like to play the free game, I haven't found aloe vera, face lotion, styling creme, or a few other things for free.  So I bought a 7 piece travel set from the dollar store and poured some of my big bottles into smaller ones.  Bonus-it came with a pill bottle for vitamins, Ibuprofen, Tums and melatonin.  I'm gonna look like one rockin' senior with my pills.  Hubster, can you add some Metamucil to my cocktail, please?
5.  Work together-  2 people = two suitcases and two backpacks.  Do you need two of everything?  Nope!  The hubster and I share contact solution, deodorant (get over it, we're married), toothpaste, sunscreen and a few other things.  Whoever has space, packs it.  Don't worry, I made him pack his own toothbrush :-)
6.  Pack smartly-  This is hands down where my S.O. is a genius.  He packs like no one I've ever seen-the car, the grocery cart, a suitcase.  No complaints!  Put the bulkiest in the bottom and work your way up.  Belts fit in shoes, underwear and socks fill in crevices.  Roll up dress pants and skirts so they don't wrinkle.  And put all your liquids in a baggie in your backpack-they make you take them out, so if you have to do the whole sit on a suitcase thing so it closes, this is helpful for your sanity :-P
7.  Be creative!  As I noted in #1, we both pack a suitcase and backpack.  Backpack is for kindle, netbook, magazines, snacks, liquids, wallet, camera, etc....but wait, what about my purse?  Well, I carry a little Vera Bradley.  I'm not wasting my personal item on a bitty purse when I have a backpack!  So I empty the purse, fold it up, and stick it in the front compartment of my carry on.  Take that, airlines!
8 days.  7 nights.  2 carry ons (with a bit of room for souvenirs!) and two backpacks.  And yes, I have an Ironman backpack.  I have no shame.
Jamaica, here we come! Do you have any cool packing techniques?  Or am I completely ridiculous?  (Don't answer that one).  See ya from paradise!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Checkin' it twice!

ONE DAY ONE DAY ONE DAY ONE DAY!  Yep, you saw that one coming.  Tomorrow at this time, I will be Oceanside with a nice lil drinkie poo by my side, not a care in the world.  I CANNOT WAIT.  The hubster and I have never taken a vacation like this-scratch that.  I've never taken a vacation like this!  Never been to the Caribbean, never been to an all inclusive....just can't wait :-)  And to answer your next  I will not be blogging!  I have a few pre-written posts and may pop up one day with a picture post, but I'm actually taking a vacation :-)  Check back next week for some fun tri-food-blogging controversy posts and I'll be back with you on the 29th.  Double promise.
Let's talk about the days before a big trip, though.  If you've seen my packing list for a know I'm a bit ridiculous when it comes to organization (I prefer forward thinking in lieu of anal retentive, thankyouverymuch).
 You know what, though?  It really helps the stress of a trip!  I tend to make packing lists a week or so in advance, then add things on as I think of them-separated into clothes, toiletries, and the good ole "Etc" category.  Add in a handy dandy to do list and you can check check check your way to having everything done and onto your vacation.  Call me crazy, but it makes pre-vacation week so much simpler!
Let's take a peek at this list....
1.  Clothes-  duh.  But I'm(of course) a little more ridiculous, so I break it out into normal clothes and workout clothes (yes, people, I will be working out during this vacation.  NOT training.  There's a difference.  I'll get to it.  Promise).  We're going for 7 days, so in order to be a cheapskate (check back tomorrow for saving pennies while traveling!) I pack 4 base outfits and accessorize.  Four pairs of shorts/capris, 4-5 tops, and a few dresses for the upscale reservation restaurants.  Two pairs of sandals in brown and black-goes with everything!  I'll wear the bulkier items on the plane-jean capris, sneakers and a hoodie (just in case). And the rest?  Cover ups, bathing suits and beach clothes!
2.  Workout clothes-  I had to laugh when I saw the hubster's suitcase....we very nicely packed our lounging suits and beach ware...and then a pair of goggles, speedo, swim cap, and running shorts.  Hey, to each his own, right?  I figure while in the beautiful Caribbean waters, why not get a nice open water swim in?  Will I be timing myself?  HECK NO.  But I love it, so logic follows that I will want to expand that hobby while on vacation.  Same thing with a run.  Running sneakers and tights-check.  You better believe I'm running on the beach!  I packed two sets of workout wear-will rewash or hand wash if need be.
3.  Toiletries-I'll talk more about this tomorrow, but the hubster and I usually share most toiletries and each pack a bit.  I just have to remember...this guy knows that I look like at my worst (Ironman finish line!)   I need what makes me comfortable, not the height of fashion!
4.  Etc.-the catch all "fun" list.  Kindle, camera, netbook, magazines, cash, passport...etc. 
Am I too over the top?  Maybe so.  But I'll tell ya, when readying a house for vacation, shopping for last minute essentials, trying to wrap up a week at work and getting in double workout days to prep for next weeks (well anticipated!) rest week for kept me sane.  Well, at least until I realized that I forgot to put underwear on my list.  (face palm).  Hey, that's why we do it in advance :-)  One last tip?  When you think you've packed everything, have your travel buddy list off 5 "essentials" randomly and check them.  Toothbrush?  Socks?  MP3 player?  License? Sunscreen? 
Check x 5.
If I forgot anything, screw it.  I can live for a week!
How do you pack for a trip?  Throw it all in a suitcase and say stuff it?  Or are you over the top like me?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reintroducing Iron

In less than 48 hours, I will be relaxing on a beach, sipping a Mai tai.  Ahhh. Just had to put that out there.  Sorry.  I'll move all know tomorrow I'm going to be ridiculous about it, no sense in ruining spending two posts about it!
So...let's talk.  About Iron.  No, not the distance (though I wouldn't blame you if you thought I was signing up for another 140.6....I kinda wish I was.  But nope, it's my year off from 140.6 and I promise(d the hubster) that there will be no Ironman nonsense...till 2013 :-P
Anyhow....Iron.  As in, weights. Lately I've been focusing on getting in 2-3 full body strength workouts in addition to my HIM training-I am so a cardio queen but have noticed my tummy getting a bit soft and would like some overall definition that a 15 mile run just won't give me.
But....I hate weight training.  It's boring (to me) and I hate using precious gym time doing it (that's why I will opt any day to swim or do speed work during lunch!)  Still...gotta get it in and not hate it, right?  Right. 
Because he has these tiny arms!!!
Well, I'll admit this...I'm not beating down Crossfit's door to shell out the big bucks for a membership, but I'm sort of in love with their WOD structure.  It makes sense, it's quick n dirty, and you work your effin tush off.  I've made up some cardio/weight WODs, but I have a new routine I've been doing, adding rounds and bumping up weight for the last month.  And yesterday, I reached a hundred.  10 x 10.  It hurt so good.  But I only needed (12lb) dumbbells and a DVRed episode of Fringe to complete it (sub in any entertainment and you're good to go).  Rocket science?  Nope.  But super effective and kind of fun to see how fast you can get it done (without compromising form, of course!) Check it out!
The Hundred Workout
Warm up- 5 -10 minutes cardio (bike, run, jumping jacks, etc.)
Main Set (10 of each exercise)
1. Bicep curls
2. Tricep dips
3. Bent over Rows
4. Squats
5. Dead Lifts
6. Reverse Lunges (10 each side)
7. Side crunches (hold both weights in one hand, lean to side-awesome oblique workout!  10 each side)
8. push ups
9. sit ups
10. Frog crunches with long lever (bottoms of feet together, arms straight up-crunch!)

Repeat 10 times.  You can curse me out, it's okay.  The workout seems pretty easy at first, until it's set #6 and your arms and legs feel like jello!  Best part?  45 minutes including warm up for a full body workout.  Not too shabby!  And stick -to-it-able for someone who hates strength.  Let's see if I notice a difference in a month-they say it takes 6-8 weeks to change your body with ST!  Right now I'm doing this once a week, along with a 30 minute kettle bell Jillian Michaels workout.  Baby steps, right?
How do you strength train?  Are you a hardcore gymmie, wing it like I do, or just say stuff it? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tunes of the Times

What a gorgeous, sunshiny Wednesday here in New York!  A bit chilly, sure, but we've been awfully spoiled here with 70 degree days, so 50 in April, which is normal, seems weird.  No biggie-put on a sweater.  Or go for a run.  50 degrees= perfect running weather.  Which is good,because I had a (gulp) tempo 8 miler on tap.  8 miles-goal pace 8:10-8:15.  I had a feeling this was going to tell me quite a bit about what to expect for my upcoming race (target half pace-8:18).  I decided on a two loop course-5 miles for loop one and 3 for loop two.  Boing.
It felt pretty good (in a hurts so good way, of course!).  Tempo runs are never easy.  And the fact that I was just shy of my goal made me feel pretty good, seeing as I have 6 weeks till go time!
The Workout
Distance:  8.41 miles
Time:  1:10:09
Pace:  8:20
Best part?  As I was hitting a wicked hill at mile 4, I heard a song that made me giggle.  (I had a random mix uploaded).  Muse fades and the new song comes on....the Sccooooobbby Dooooby Dooo! Theme song!  What?  Yup, you got it.  Well, it made the hill fly by like woah, and set the tone for the next 4 miles.  I find that when I have something to think about, the run flies by, and I spent the next half hour crusin' down memory lane.  I used to love Scooby Doo when I was a kid...Scrappy Doo and Shaggy cracked me up, and I would watch it all the time.  Incidentally, Anna Nalick came on at mile 7, which, oddly, was the song that ran through my head when I was doing my first tri back in 2005 (Breathe...just fitting!)
I cruised in that last mile with a smile on my face, in a sea of good thoughts.  Do songs ever do that to you?  Transport you to another time that (to be frank) you are glad you're past, but gives you pause and a laugh, remembering the good times.  I immediately came back, stretched, and headed toward my computer to look up some good ole memory songs and put them on a play list for tomorrow's workout.  Wanna laugh (or possibly a stroll down memory lane yourself?)  Check out my middle school/high school/college love play list!

1. Montell Jordan "This is how we Do it" (8th grade formal-girls vs. boys)
2. Oasis "Champagne Supernova" (9th grade boy related madness)
3.  Poison "Fallen Angel" (10th grade boy)
4. Monty Python "I bet you they won't play this song on the radio" (Spamish lore)
5. Green Day "Good Riddance" (High School inspiration song-so Ironic)
6. Baz Luhrmann "Everyone's Free" (high school joie de vivre)
7. Berlin "Take my Breath Away" (high school prom)
8. Aerosmith "Crazy"  (Oswego going out song)
9. Neil Diamond "Sweet Caroline" (Geneseo Bar song)
10. Bon Jovi "Livin' on a Prayer" (Geneseo going out song)
11. Semisonic  "Closing Time" (Geneseo senior year tribute for dance)
12. Beyonce "Naughty Girl (Club 9 theme song)
13. Travis Tritt "Hunk o Burnin' love" (Roost!)
14. Tori Amos "Butterflies"  (Meeting the hubster)
15. Keith Urban "Somebody Like You" (Road trips with my honey!)
16. Rascal Flatts "Stand" (first Half Ironman)
17. Snow "Informer" (first marathon-got stuck on repeat for 3 miles on my mp3 player.  I friggin hate that song, still.)
18. Rascal Flatts "God Blessed the Broken Road" (wedding song)
19. Europe "The Final Countdown" (Ironman Lake Placid)
20. Eminem "Till I Collapse" (Ironman #2)

Ahh, such good memories :-)  And even though I wouldn't go back to any of those days ( I like to think I'm a bit older and (hah!) wiser-the memories are pretty sweet, still.  Funny how music can transport you to a different time and remember things so clearly.
Do you have any songs that bring you back to a time in the past?  Do they make you smile or just roll your eyes and move on?  I like to smile about the past, but live in the present.  Both have their place in my life, and it works for me.
Whew, how's that for waxing poetic about an 8 mile run?  So it is!  Little wonder I'm an endurance athlete....clearly, I am easily amused!
Have a good night, friends!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Athenas and Clydes-the great debate

Nah, I don't want to talk about goddesses and horses (although that would be a fun post!)  Shockingly, this is another triathlon post.  Yep, I know. What can I say?  I kinda like the sport.
Quick and dirty-double workout today = speed work (6 x 400) and a 2 hour ride.  My legs hurt and so does my tush.  I'm hoping the hubster will address one of those later.  Preferably legs, but hey, who's gonna be picky?
Now, onto weightier matters (I jest, I jest).  Kinda.  If you're new to to the sport of triathlon, it's similar to road races in many ways in terms of "divisions".  Obviously, there are male and female divisions, as well as age divisions (usually in 5 year increments: 25-29, 30-34, etc.).  One difference is that your age for triathlon is what your age is at the end of the year (so, this year, I am aged up to the 30-34, even though I don't turn 30 until October-thank you USAT) whereas with running, your age is what it is on the day of the run. 

The power of Clydes

Another difference in divisions?  Weight.  Certain races allow for "Athena" and "Clydesdale" divisions-for women over 150 pounds and men over 200 pounds, respectively.  Athletes compete in this division in lieu of age groups-Athena is one group and Clydesdale's as one group.  Therefore, you might see a 205 pound 60 year old man competing against a 230 pound 30 year old. 
The rationale?  It takes more energy to carry more weight, therefore, these athletes should be in a different class.  Before I get into my take on this, let's talk about ch-ch-changes.
As of January 2013, USAT will be changing the weight classes-Athena's will now be women 165 pounds and above, and Clydes will be men 220 pounds and above.  According to USAT minutes from March 8th:
Athena/Clydesdale Weight Limit Proposed Change-

XXX presented the committee with a draft of a resolution he had prepared for the Board that would raise the weight minimum for Athena athletes from 150 to 165 pounds and for Clydesdale athletes from 200 to 220 pounds. XXX stated that this increase in no way is being proposed in a derogatory context, but that athletes today are bigger and stronger (and consequently heavier) than they werein the past. In discussion, XXX also indicated that the RDC has already signed off on this proposal.  XXX indicated that he had no objection to the change, however, for clarity he had suggested that the terms “Clydesdale” and “Athena” be changed in the rule book to “Weight Classification Athletes”. This in no way would impact a race directors desire to continue to use the former terms at their events. XXX stated that the RDC did not oppose the proposal and they believed that the current weight minimums are on the light side. They did stipulate that the weight increase be proportionate for men and women rather than a flat amount of weight. XXX forwarded by email to the committee an article appearing in the LA Times on November 28, 2011 that discussed the weight gain of the average American over the past 20 years, indicating that the average “self reported” weight for men and women was 196 pounds and 160 pounds, respectively; an increase of about 20 pounds in both sexes.\In discussion, the committee was concerned about the timing of this proposal going into effect and XXX resubmitted the proposed policy with a January 1, 2013 effective date. 
Following discussion, the following motion was made: That the proposed minimum weight changes included in the draft resolution submitted by XXX be endorsed by this committee at 165 pounds for women and 220 pounds for men and that this change take effect on January 1, 2013.

Well, there ya go.  Looking for a great perspective from an Athena?  Check out SwimBikeMom-Athena athlete and proud of it.  I think her attitude is great, and makes sense.  If USAT allows for weight to be a factor, then you should go for it.  After all, I don't race in the men's category to prove a point, do I?  Nope.
Typically, though, most "Athenas" will choose to race in their respective age group categories rather than disclose the fact that they weigh 150 or 165 pounds-chalk it up to the media and America's obsession with being "model skinny".  If only the scale were banned....there are so many better ways to determine "fit" than the number on the scale! ....but that's another story. 
What about Clydes?  Well, I'd like to use the hubster as an example (he said it was okay!).  The hubster is a former football player...and is built like one.  Solid upper body, muscular legs....and would look super scary if he weighed much less.  He clocks in a 220-225, so will most likely always be a Clyde.  He wears it well, and enters the division on occasion.  Does he place?  Sometimes.  But, according to him, he has no issues being a Clyde (he's 5'11") but wonders at the fairness of the 6'5" dude who is stick skinny (built like a runner) and waxes everyone.  Is he a "Clyde"?  According to USAT, he is.  So what's fair?  Well, he's not sure.  That's why he often opts to enter the 30-34 division and call it a day.
My Take?  Well, this is hard.  I'm not an Athena, but am borderline-with the old requirements.  I weigh in at 140-145 depending on the time of the season, whether or not I am Ironman/marathon training (I tend to gain a bit) and how many cookies I ate last night.  Could I be an Athena?  Sure, if I ate a big breakfast the morning of a race and carb loaded like a least, according to the old guidelines.  But I won't.  And it has nothing to do with being afraid of weighing 150 pounds or having people look at me differently (cause really, triathletes are for the most part the most awesome, non judgemental, inclusive group I've ever met).  So why wouldn't I be an Athena?  Well, I think you have to draw the line somewhere.  I can get behind men and women competing separately-that's a pretty easy divide (unless you could transgendered athletes or those that have had a sex change, but thats a whole other ball o wax).  Age groups?  okay.  I can understand that someone who is 30 might not be on the same level as someone who is 60.  (However, people peak later in tri's-usually the late 30s, early 40s are the fastest groups).  But at what point are we splitting hairs?  Sure, you can say that someone who weighs 200 pounds will have more weight to carry when they run or bike but.....
I have more time to train and sleep than my friend Karin, who has several young kids.  Does that mean there should be a "mommy" division?  (Please say no.  She kicks my butt as it is).
My friend Rob is currently unemployed.  I work 40 hours a week, so theoretically, he has more time to train than me.  Should there be a separate division for people who have jobs?
I'm a social worker.  Lovely job, but it doesn't pay.  My friend Jay is a lawyer.  He makes serious bank, and can afford a better bike, a coach, and a power meter.  Should there be a separate division for that?  His equipment is much better than my beater bike and DIY $20 Internet plan.
Am I splitting hairs?  Probably.  Bottom line, USAT can do whatever they like-I'm still gonna play because I love the sport.  And really, I could care less who beats me or who I might sound trite, but the next time I toe the line at Ironman....I'm not going to try to beat Athenas, or Clydes (which is good, becuase WTC doesn't do those!) or my friends.  I'm going to beat 12:50, my old PR.  And that's that.

Whats your take on the whole Athena/Clyde thing?  Does it change anything for you in 2013?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Him Training Week #5: Feelin' alive!!

Holla atcha!  What?  I need some new ways to say hello :-)  Welcome to Monday!  How's your day going?  Mine...could not be better.  Not because it's
gorgeous here or the countdown to my vacation is....ohh.....5 days!! (thought hose things certainly help on a Monday!) but, MORE IMPORTANTLY, my bestest friend, Rachael, had her first baby this afternoon...a gorgeous baby girl!  (11:58 am, 6 pounds, 14oz of cuteness!)  Awaiting more details, but congrats to Rachael and Don for bringing a new ladybug into our world!

Now, onto lesser important things, but hey, I suppose thats all relative, right?  Right.  I wrapped up training week #5 yesterday, and damn, do I feel good.  Let's take a look!

Week #5:

Swim yardage: 4900(2 swims)
Bike Miles: 72 miles ( 2 rides)
Run miles: 28 ( 3 runs)
Strength: 2 full body workout, 3 stand alone abs.

Week Low: swim, maybe?  Finding it hard to hold onto the speed  I had last year, but that's obviously due to the fact that I've been slackin' on speed work and swimming LSD.  Note to self-incorporate more speed work and lay off the drugs (kidding!  LSD= long slow distance if you didn't know)
Week High(s!): 10 mile run that felt great, 30 mile tempo ride (could have gone much further but ran out of time instead of energy!) and my tempo run where I nailed it hard core!

Clearly, I feel pretty good about this week!  I'm not in Ironman or PR shape, but I didn't want to dire during any of my workouts, and that's great to me.  This week will be a challenge-I have 5 days to fit in 7 days worth of workouts, so I'm expecting some early mornings and two a days.  From Saturday (21) to Saturday (28) it's a big rest week-odd to have two weekends (almost) but for Jamaica...I guess I'll suffer :-)  I'm fully planning on activity while I'm gone, but it's most definitely a rest week.

Speaking of which....I'll have a few blog posts up while I'm gone (pre written, of course!) but if anyone has a burning desire to throw out their wisdom (please, this blog could use some class!)  shoot me an email if you'd like to write a guest post-I would be honored to share your thoughts on my blog!

One last note....need a Monday LOLz?  Check this bad guy out!  If I ever look like that at the end of a race (well, in girl form)  or....even 1 mile in....I will kiss the ground. Sorry ladies, apparently he's taken!  I sort of hate you, ridiculously photogenic guy.  But you're also sort of adorable, too! :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Baconator

Happy Sunday, folks!  I know, it's strange to see me blogging on Sunday, but, rest'll be quick.  I've got some bad TV to watch and coupons to clip, so here goes the whirlwind post :-) (such a wild woman, I know)
This post is brought to you by BACON.  No, Pam, not your favorite kind....I'm talkin another kinda meat.
Specifically, the famous kind.
Kevin Bacon!
Th hubster and I were eating brunch this morning (sadly, no bacon was involved) and reading the paper, when I stumbled upon this:
Public Service Announcement:  Make a Difference Day rocks.  And, of course, it's super cool that Kevin Bacon is getting involved in the effort.  But the best part is....the title "Six degrees of Service".  Freaking awesome journalism, hitting the 25-40 crowd right there.  Why's that, you ask?
Have you NEVER played the Kevin Bacon game?
Best road trip game, drinking game, boring, waiting in line anytime kind of game-
The six degrees of Kevin Bacon! Back in 1994, Kevin Bacon stated in an interview that he's pretty much worked with every actor/actress ever.  And, OF COURSE, we have to turn that statement into a party trick, right?  Right!
 The theory can relate any actor or actress to Kevin Bacon within six degrees.  For example...let's pick one of my hotties.
Joshua Jackson.
He was in Mighty Ducks with Emilio Estevez (1), who was in The Breakfast Club with  Molly Ringwald (2), who was in Sixteen Candles with Joan Cusack. (3), who was in Runaway Bride with Julia Roberts (4) who was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon.  (5).
After you've established the degree of Bacon involved (har har), you challenge the next person.  Awesome game.  Not gonna sugar coat it, the hubster and I play this game quite a bit....trying to fall asleep, he'll challenge some random actress like "Susan Sarandon" and I've gotta figure it out
(Susan Sarandon was in The Client with Anthony Edwards (1) who was in Top Gun with Tom Cruise (2) who was in a Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon (3).  (Actually, he just gave me that one....took me about 5 minutes to figure it out!!)
Madding.  But highly amusing.  C'mon, you know you wanna play it!
In other news, I did a 10 mile run today.  Easiest 10 miles I've ever done.  No lie.  Did I hit my goal pace?  Nah, I was a few seconds off.  But who cares?  I played in the rain for almost an hour and a half.  Life is good!
The Workout
Distance:  10.02 miles
Time:  1:28:07
Pace"  8"49/mile
Humid, but rock back sound track and a glorious run!  Mud puddles are where it's at!
And just in case you need a bit more bacon in life, check this buddy out:

Either you love me or you just had a heart attack.  Or maybe a bit of both :-)
Have a wonderful Sunday eve....enjoy what's left of the weekend.  And enjoy The Kevin Bacon game...please don't hurt me!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

New Kid on the Block

We did it!  We bought a car!!It took 5 hours and a drive about an hour out of our way, but it was super well worth it.  2012 Chevy Equinox, all the bells and whistles, On Star, Sirus, and all the bells and whistles.....4k below sticker price, complete with oil changes.
Meet Vanessa:
Of course, before we could drive off with our new baby...there was alotta paperwork!
And car instruction (blue tooth syncing, On Star installation, fancy schmancy!)
And some REALLY big check and credit card forking over (too painful for a picture, lol)
Ready to rock on!

To celebrate our newfound car payment (joy!) Dad G.  took us out to lunch.  Yummmmm.....burgers!
Of course, he played it safe and had something healthy. I hear he's watching his figure.
What, got a hot date later?
Nahhhh...just kidding (about the salad....the sly devil!)  He got a big ole burger n fries, too!
Meanwhile, I tried to feed the hubster some pickles.
Do I look like I want a pickle? (Bwahahahaha)
All in all, a successful day! I'll just try hard not to think about that car payment :-P We made it home in one piece and parked Vanessa in the garage next to Mr. Tibbs...who will hopefully be sold in a week or two (anyone want to flip a car for cheap, email me!) So strange to know we won't be driving that car anymore.....11 years and 160,000 miles-the hubsters and my first date, our first tri, when we got engaged....Mr. Tibbs played a part in all of that. Bon voyage, ole friend!

Whew, what a day!  Wrapped up with a 30 mile tempo ride and a late dinner, now it's time for some netflix and visiting with Mama TFB :-)  Busy, happy, crazy day!
How's your weekend going?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tempo Insanity

Well, today was the day...for the big challenge of the week. What big challenge?
Do the effin tempo run.
I hate tempo runs.
They aren't enjoyable (long runs-easy pace and chill).  They aren't quick speed bursts with breathing time in the middle (speed work).
They just....suck.  25-50 minutes of running at an uncomfortable speed?  Bite me.
Oh, you want a PR, Rae?
Well then you have to learn to run FASTER.
Definition of Insanity-Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.
Insanity running:  going at the same speed over and over again, expecting to get faster.
Point taken :-)
So, during lunch, I headed out into the sunshine for 4 tempo miles.
This time I tried something different.
I warmed up for a mile. 
Now, I know you think I'm silly.  If you're a runner, you would think..."No kidding, sparky, it would make sense to warm up your body to get to a quick tempo.  duh!"  If you're not a runner, you would think "Um, HELLO!  You're going to run, yes?  So why would you need to run to get ready to run?  Silly girl".
Well, let me tell you, up until today, save for speed work (where you have to warm up or you'll hurt yourself)  I was firmly in camp 2.  Why in the heck would I warm up when I planned to put my body through 4 miles of hell?
Um, because it works.  I took the first mile easy (9:15-9:30 pace) then took off for 4 miles.
I won't sugar coat it.  It was hard.  But....32:16 later (8:04 pace...planned 8:05-8:10 pace...WOOT WOOT) I finished my tempo miles.  Then I did something even weirder.
Tempo Runs-there's gotta be a better way!
I turned away from my house and went on a cool down mile!
WHAT??  Usually I just walk the rest of the way home and call it a day.  But it was gorgeous, I was riding a high, and I felt like relax running for a bit.
It. was. Awesome.
Best part, aside from nailing the tempo?
At mile two, I saw a truck coming toward me labeled "Oxygen".  Either a concerned neighbor was trying to help, or that's irony at it's best :-)
So, I learned something ( that might be freakin obvious to everyone but me).  Embrace something you laughed at before when it comes to a challenge.  Even if it seems dumb.  It just might work!
Now, warming up for a marathon or Ironman?  That's just whack...unless you're planning to BQ or KQ.  What are you, a masochist? :-P
Are you pretty much set in your ways, or are you open to trying something different that you poo pooed before?  I'm gonna keep my mind open from now on!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From Anotha Motha

Welcome to this sleety, rainy Wednesday!  Brrr.  Ehh, could be worse, right?  I just keep telling myself...11 days....11 days....till Jamaica!  Can't freakin wait. I just keep telling myself every day....just hang in there, just hang in there....(deep breaths).

In other news, did you know today is National Siblings Day?  I'm an only child (biologically speaking), but have always wanted siblings. 
And, as luck would have it, I have the best "big brother" in the world that I've known since I was 12.  Bonuses-I didn't have to share a bathroom with him, he's always been there for me, gives the best hugs/back cracks, and is the best (though truly infuriating in a loving way) Euchre partner. 
Drawbacks-He lives 6 hours away.  Boo.  Lucky for me, I've gotten to see him 3 times in the past 6 months (score!) and we manage to stay in touch via technology.  Love ya bro.

But a girl really needs a sister, too, right?  Well, luckily enough, I married a man with a great older sister.  She threw me a sweet bridal shower before I even made it into the family, and has loaded me up with great advice based on her life experiences-including a big cache of baby supplies that is just chillin' in our spare room, waiting for the hubster and I to find our parent gene (someday!).
Along with an awesome sister, I got another brother, Jeff.  What can I say about Jeff?  Well, technically, out of all of my "siblings", he is the oldest....ha.  Yeah, I couldn't say that with a straight face.  Jeff is the quintessential "big kid"....rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, dirt biking, basically anything that works up a sweat and is a challenge. 
And yep, you guessed it....Jeff gets credit for implanting the "Iron" seed into my brain.  You see, in 2005, he did Ironman Lake Placid-which put a bug in the hubster's head bout a triathlon....enter Sodus Point Sprint 3 weeks later....and now, 7 years down the road and two Ironman's later....thanks alot, Jeff :-)  No, really.  What's next?  Well, we both like running, and Jeff's got a little bucket list going...with the Leadville 100 on it.
I am so in. 
2013?  2014?  Whatcha think, Jeff? :-)
A big shout out to all my siblings.  You guys rock, and I am so lucky to have you in my life!

Do you have any biological siblings?  In laws?  "From anotha motha" siblings?  Take a few minutes today to give them a giant hug!  (real or virtual!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

HIM Training week 4: Stuck in a box

It's that time of week again! day late, but I plead chocolate bunnies and wacky families as an excuse....sound good?  Good.
4 weeks down, holy crap.  Does it still feel like the off season to anyone else?  I suppose I need to get my a$$ in 3 short months....14 weeks...I'll be dipping a toe (and then much more) into Seneca Lake.  Yikes.  Truth be told, I know I could finish this race tomorrow if I needed to.  Not overly fast, but I could complete it.
Easily Amused.
I want to compete.  And my training really has been a bit "blah" lately.  One speed runs, one speed bike, and one speed (slow as F%$) swims.
Kinda feel...trapped in a box.
Hardee Har har. 
Let's talk numbers, shall we?

Week #4:
Swim yardage: 5100(2 swims)

Bike Miles: 110 miles ( 4 rides)
Run miles: 21( 3 runs)
Strength: 1 full body workout, 2 stand alone abs.
Week Low: Tempo run turned easy run.  Why am I so afraid of tempo runs?  Cause they're hard?  Nah.  Probably because I'm afraid I cant hold an 8:10 pace for 6 miles anymore :-(
Week High: 45 mile ride-longest so far this year, held steady 18.5-19.0 mph pace on a rolling course.  This is my bike year.  I know it!

Some thoughts for week #4:
Do not skip thy tempo run.  Speed play is fine, but how else are you gonna try for that sub 1:50 if you don;t get used to running fast (er)?  NOTE TO SELF.
Getting much better on the bike-feeling better in aero in general, which will help for musselman. 
I'm feeling stronger from my strength workouts (wow, such a deep concept, lol) but it's time to stop phoning it in with the abs.  I'm feeling a bit "fluffy" and I don't like it.

Week #5 goals:
3 15 minute ab sessions.  No bullsnot.  I'll be kickin my OWN .....abs.
Legit tempo run.  4 miles.  No excuses.
10 minutes of stretching, at least 3 times (seeing as I'm writing this on Tuesday and have not stretched yet :-P)  I know this will help me feel better.

Today's session:
warm up half mile @ 9:00
3 x 1 mile repeats @ 7:25 pace (2' recovery)
1 mile easy jog
Time:  45 minutes
Distance: 5.18 miles

Rawr.  Maybe I should go make good on my goal and stretch now :-D
Got any fun goals for the week? Ready, set, go!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Indecent Tattoos, used tires, and a pickle

What in the heck do any of those things have to do with Easter, you might ask?
First of all, don't ask :-)
I didn't expect that one would work...heh.  Well, apparently, in my wonderful blended family, they all constitute great dinner conversation. 
Backing up....
The huz and I started Easter with some basket love ...
 6 30 minute massages/foot rubs/hair brushing...yes, please!!
We then headed out to my cousin's for our traditional Polish Easter Brunch.

Times 2.  Plus a piece of kuchen, of course.  Yum yum.
Post brunch, we hit the cardio button to empty our tummies out for round two.  Greg-long run.  Me-long ride.
Then, round Aunt Diana's house!

 Dinner time!  (Plus, of course, some second helpings)
And of course....the usual shenanigans.....
 Stick a (spoon) in it?
Well, I didn't know it was that scary :-P
Dinner conversation:  Tattoos on sensitive parts, soup that tasted like used tires, and gifting unwanted pickles.
Say what?
Yup, you got it. My family-strange.  Greg's family-strange.
A perfect blend :-)
How was your Easter?  Eat too much chocolate?  (You bet I did.)  Have any family get togethers?