Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Worst waker-upper EVER!

I have said it before and I will say it again. Morning work outs suck. I have an extremely hard time getting my ass out of bed before the sun has risen. It is just so warm and cozy under the covers!

Last week I managed to get up at 5:20am and meet Kate (another Team Z'er) outside of my apartment at 5:45 to be at track practice at 6am. I really enjoyed the work out and it was awesome to get feedback from the coaches on my running stride. After such a great work out I told myself that waking up before the sun is not so bad and promised myself that I would do it more often.

maybe 530am is not so bad

I had all intentions of making it to the 530am swim practice this morning. I know that my swimming is the weakest of the 3 triathlon sports. Going to a group practice to get feedback from a coach other than my boyfriend would be good for me. I have my first tri in a month. I should swim as often as possible. Those previous few sentences are what I told myself as I crawled in to bed at 9:30pm last night- I was trying to convince myself that waking up at 4:45am to be in the pool by 5:30am was not so bad. I even packed my swim bag so that I could just grab it and go in the morning.

4:45 am came and went. I woke up at around 3:30am by chance and turned my alarm off so that it would not even wake me up an hour later. So much for morning swim practice.

I will get out of bed to make it to track practice tomorrow AND swim practice on Thursday. There, I said it on my blog for all of you to read, so now I am obligated.

Even my dog Brizzy is tired from thinking about me waking up at an ungodly hour!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Running Toys!

In the last week I got two new gadgets to run with. Let me introduce you.

This is my Garmin Forerunner 305 with heart rate monitor.

This is a GPS watch that tracks your distance, pace, heart rate, and duration of your run. It stores all of your runs and you can even compete against yourself using your previous workouts! The heart rate monitor is much more comfortable than I was expecting- it sits snugly right on your breast bone...so for me, being a woman, that means it goes right under my boobs. I ran 8 miles with it last weekend and I forgot that it was there but it was awesome to look at my watch and see that my heart rate was staying around 150 beats per minute. The watch itself is kind of big and clunky but so far I love it!

This is my dorky fuel belt. It helps me stay hydrated on long runs :)

Yes yes I know it is dorky. I probably look like a real goof running on the trail with my GPS watch and this sucker strapped around my hips. Staying hydrated during long runs is important though and I cannot rely on finding a water fountain and I don't want to carry a bottle in my hand. Hydration is especially important for me because I get an awful upset stomach at the end of my run if I did not take in enough liquid...and I am not fun to be around when I am curled in a ball on the living room floor for hours with an upset tummy. So I would rather look like a dork while running then be out of commission for a whole afternoon after a run. The only complaint I have about this contraption is the bruise it has left on my lower back! Whitney warned me that it would give me a "slut bruise" (right where a tramp stamp tattoo would be) the first few times I wore it, but holy cow! The bruise is not visible but it hurts!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Team Z Kickoff

Yesterday I had the kickoff meeting for Team Z- an Arlington based triathlon team- I talked about them a few posts ago. But just to recap- they make triathlon a team sport. They are a supportive group of 400 triathletes that work out together, and cheer each other on at races. The team comes up with "team races" for the season and for those races they set up tents and a trailer and tailgate while they cheer people into the finish. It is like you have your own personal cheering section! AND they have burgers and beer for team members and their friends and family. So when I drag my parents to the races, they can at least hang out in a shaded tent and drink beer while I am racing.

...back to the kickoff meeting...

Coach Ed, the owner/head of the team, talked to us about where we currently stand athletically and what our triathlon goals are going forward. There are people on the team of every athletic ability. From what we said, he suggested which "track" of training we should follow.

There are three tracks:
1. Under 70.3 for those who want to only compete in shorter distance triathlons
2. 70.3 for those who want to compete in half Ironmans
3. 140.6 for those who want to cross the finish line at a full Ironman race

I told Ed that I can already bike several miles, run several miles, yet could barely swim the distance of 3 pool lengths. I also told him I wanted to compete in a half Ironman in 2011 and then maybe a full Ironman in 2012. His response was "You could easily be ready for an Ironman next year. We will have you do a marathon during the off season, you can do half ironman races in the summer, and hit your training peak next November for the Ironman that the team is racing together"

A FULL IRONMAN. 2.4 mile swim. 112 mile bike ride. 26.2 mile run. It is a race that can last anywhere from 10 to 17 hours. I told him I would think about it.

So I am thinking about it.  I think I may do it.

The team picked Iroman Cozumel as their goal race in 2011. At least the race would be in a location where after the race my family and I can spend the next 7 days laying in the sunshine sipping mojitos. Emphasis on laying...because I probably would not be able to walk after a 140.6 mile race.

I'll let you know if I decide to take on the challenge. Do you think I should? leave a comment!

Spartan Race

Last weekend I was in NYC with my best friends from college. On Sunday we did the "Spartan Race"...which was a 5k with added obstacles and Marine's screaming at us to run faster, jump higher, ect. These obstacles included a mud crawl under real barbed wire, traversing a rock climbing wall (I nailed that one!!!) and my favorite- running up a greased board.

look at my guns!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Triathlon: a team sport

Sorry it has been almost a week since I have updated! I haven't been training much...I spent the weekend in NYC with my best girlfriends and stayed up way too late, ate way too much, and drank beer. It was not a healthy weekend, but it was fun and I needed some girl time.

Last night I went to an information session for Team Z- a triathlon training group based out of Arlington. Basically they make the sport of triathlon into a team thing. They train together, compete in most of the same races, support each other and tailgate. Emphasis on tailgate. They bring grills and tents to the races and provide beer and burgers for the family and friends of racers as well as for the racers when they cross the finish line. SWEET.

They offer several group workouts a week as well as a long group run on Saturday and long group ride on Sunday. They have athletes that range from Ironman world champions, to those who did not even own a pair of running shoes when they started. The group slogan is " a social organization with a major triathlon problem". Sounds like my type of group!

Kickoff is this Saturday, so I will keep you posted on how it goes!  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Girl Power!

One of the things that I really like about the sport of Triathlon is that it is not sexist. Men and women alike swim, bike, and run the same distance no matter who gets to the finish line first. Ironman was forever changed in 1982 when college student Julie Moss crawled her way to the finish line. If you need some serious inspiration, watch the video below.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So if I jumped off a bridge, you would too?

Whitney would!!! 

I am very excited to say that my friend and co-worker, Whitney, decided to join me on this crazy adventure.

This is us crunching numbers about training times and pace. Because we are accountants and that is what we do.

ok fine, you're right, this picture is completely posed. But don't be surprised if in a few months we have fancy excel spreadsheets documenting our training and progress. Accountants love excel spreadsheets.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New running shoes!!

This weekend I went to Pacer's looking for new running shoes. This weekend the store was offering tax free shopping as well as sale items. I had to go. What can I say? I am my mother's daughter.

My opening dialog with the Pacer's employee went like this:

Chris (Pacer's manager): Hi! What can I help you with?
Lauren: I need to be fit for new running shoes. These have a few hundred miles on them already
Chris: ok! Any injuries, or feet problems I should know about?
Lauren: Yes. I am flat-footed, have IT band problems in both legs and I tore my right ACL.
Chris: (looking confused) and you still run? are you training for anything in particular or do you just need these for the occasional jog around the neighborhood?

At first I thought Chris thought I was crazy...until he told me he has had surgery a few times on both knees...and he runs marathons. He is the crazy one.

Chris brought me out running shoes called Somnios. They are a little more expensive, but completely customizable. For example, my left foot needs a stiffer sole, my right needs more arch support, my left foot over-pronates while my right under-pronates, ect. He took over an hour analyzing my run stride and walk to make sure he got all of the components of the shoes correct. He said this will help with my knee aches and IT band problems

I only did two miles on the treadmill last night, but those shoes feel great!!!! My stride feels guided, but I am pretty sure that is the point of the shoe.

If you want more information on these sweet custom shoes go here!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The never ending battle with ITBS

ITBS = Iliotibial Band Syndrome, a common injury of the knee often caused by running.

Once I was able to run again and my knee was holding up pretty well, I started getting pains on the sides of my knees in both legs. After a visit back to the orthopedic he told me I had IT band syndrome. Plenty of runners get it and it is due to the muscle rubbing and causing inflammation which then causes pain. 


"Some people are more prone to IT band problems than others. Those people include women, those who have had knee ligament replacements, those with flat feet, and runners who tend to over or under pronate while running." -Runners World

.....really? REALLY?! Give me a break...

I am a woman with completely flat feet who had ligaments replaced in her knee who over-pronates when she runs. Damn.

And when I say I have flat feet...I mean flat...like a pancake..or like Kansas...or any other really flat thing. See below...and ignore the fact that I need a pedicure very badly. :) 

I also over-pronate. Which means I run on the outside most part of my foot. I have to wear motion control running shoes to help me run at a neutral angle. 

There is no cure for ITBS...just ways to control and ease the pain. This is mostly just stretches and exercises. However, today I was introduced to something called "The Stick". It is a massage device that you use to roll up and down your thigh to loosen the IT band. It works wonders! I also use it for my shoulders, calves, and back.

Since I fit every description of someone prone to having IT band problems the least I can do is be armed with The Stick!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Extra money in my FSA + Buy one get one free Osteo Bi-Flex at CVS = WIN!

Earlier this year I put a nice chunk of change in my Flex Spending Account (FSA) to pay for Invisalign. Turns out my insurance covered way more of the braces then I thought they would. Meaning, I have extra money in my FSA. All money in this account has to be used by the end of the year or else you lose it.

Well man, oh man, did I use it. Osteo Bi-Flex is a supplement for joint comfort. I used it throughout the time I was doing physical therapy for my knee. It is this fantastic, magical lubricant for your joints. I never thought about using it while training, but after reading an article on vitamins last night I decided to go get some. Buy one get one free at CVS! hell yea. I stocked up....for the next 2 years.

ignore my messy desk...

I am pretty excited.

This picture has nothing to do with anything Osteo Bi-Flex or FSA related, but it sure is cute!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morning workouts suck!

This morning I woke up early, rolled out of bed, put on my running shoes and hit the pavement. It sucked. During the beginning of my run (with Lady Gaga pounding in my ears) I was thinking to myself "Why the hell am I doing this". I am going to have to get used to early morning work outs and days where I am doing one sport in the morning and then another when I get home from work. Again, it is going to suck.

And then suddenly I get this image in my head- and I start to run faster and my whole outlook changes. I see the finish line of the Eagleman 70.3 and I see my parents there cheering me on as well as a few friends and Phil...because obviously Phil is going to beat me to the finish line. Now in my thoughts I am running to the finish line feeling great with a smile on my face...in reality I may be crawling to the finish line on the brink of passing out. But that image kept me running for a few miles this morning.

My parents are my biggest supporters- they have seen me do a lot of things and they have not skipped a beat. They have seen me speed down a luge course, play volleyball, compete in a modeling competition, break my ankle during gymnastics practice, compete in diving competitions in college, and win the science fair in 7th grade. So other then my dad's comment of "You know you can't wear a life jacket during a triathlon, right Laur?!" they are supportive of this as well and I am sure they will be screaming at the finish line like they have been all my life.

This is me and the family in Disney world last year:

And then there is Phil. He is going to be training along side me and pushing me every step of the way. He balances me out pretty well- he tells me when I am acting like a brat, and offers encouragement when I am feeling frustrated. He was with me when I hurt my knee and he has been at the finish line (because he beats me every time) cheering me on once I was able to run again.

This is me and Phil after I pulled a huge boulder off the crag while rock climbing and it hit me in the leg last summer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

it's official!

Today I shelled out the wopping $265 for the Eagleman 70.3 triathlon in Columbia MD on June 12, 2011. I paid a ton of money to kick my own ass for months on end. This is not a cheap sport!

on a funny note: Phil and I went for a bike ride last night to test out the new Cateye Wireless bike computer he got me (2 year anniversary present!). Well Phil went off the trail a little bit and fell...and I was so close so him that he took me down too. We are both ok but I am sure it looked goofy....but the few people who saw us hit the pavement didn't even ask if we were ok! Jerks!

This is the bike computer. It does all sorts of nifty things like keep my distance and pace, my max pace, and how long I have been riding. My max speed as of right now is 25.2 mph. Speed racer! (not).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Plan

On June 12, 2011 I am going to participate in a Half Ironman triathlon. That means I will be swimming 1.4 miles, biking 56 miles and then running 13.1 miles. One right after the other! I know what you are thinking- "Why would anyone put themselves through that?!". Well...I'm not sure either.

This will most certainly be a challenge. Let me put it in perspective-
1. I have never ever done a triathlon before (my first one is in October!)
2. Right now I cannot swim more than 250 meters without almost drowning
3. I can bike about 50 miles...but my legs burn like hell and I cannot even imagine dismounting my bike and running a half marathon
4. I have ran some races and am running my first half marathon in September but I have knee aches and pains due to my ACL surgery in March 2009 in which the doctor took out my meniscus, stapled my MCL and replaced my ACL. My sister Nikki thinks they gave me an Olympians ACL because the surgery has not slowed me down. I swear they gave me a 90 year old woman's (no offense grandma!) because I can tell if a thunderstorm is coming based on how my knee feels.It is pretty impressive.

So needless to say- this winter will be filled with training! Follow me on this blog through all of my ups, down, successes and failures as I prepare for the Eagleman Half Ironman on June 12, 2011.

To make it more worthwhile!

Besides just challenging myself physically, I also plan to raise money in my last few months of training for the Susan G Koman foundation. This foundation researches causes, treatments and cures for breast cancer. This cause is extremely close to both Phil (my wonderful boyfriend!) and myself because our immediate family has been affected by breastcancer. Phil's mom is a breast cancer survivor (Hi Nancy!) and both my aunt and my grandmother lost their lives to the disease. My employer also offers a 100% contribution match- so whatever I raise, they will double! :)