Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Workout Won't Eat my Relationship

At the beginning of February, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled A Workout Ate My Marriage. The article discusses how endurance sports, such as Ironman training, have a negative effect on relationships because while one person is training, the other half is left out and begins to feel resentment. Divorce rates for endurance athletes are increasing and lawyers are dubbing it "divorce by triathlon".
I can certainly see how one would be upset if he or she never got to spend any quality time with his/her significant other because they were too busy riding their bike or going on long runs. Ironman training takes more then just a few hours a week. My training is not even crazy yet and I already am turning down week night happy hours or all-night drink fests on weekends because I am either tired or have an early morning workout.

But what about the situation that Phil and I are in- where BOTH of us are training for the same events. I think there are both positives and negatives to being in a serious relationship with another hard-core athlete. More positives for sure, though!

climbing together
The positives are that Phil understands what it is like to not want to go out on Friday evenings due to a long run/ride on Saturday morning. He also can help me tune my bike. He doesn't get mad when I have 8 loads of laundry to do and it is all work out clothes. He finds me attractive (I hope!) even though I rarely blow dry my hair and I wear spandex often. He just gets it.

cherry blossom 10 miler 2010
There are also a few negatives. Sometimes I don't want to talk about triathlon and it seems as though we cant get away from it. I also have a hard time taking advice from Phil sometimes because it seems too coach-y to be coming from a boyfriend. We also don't train together because our speeds/paces are too different (ie he would have to go at a snails pace for me to be able to keep up with him!).

New Years Eve 2009
Some of the ways we balance training/racing and being in a normal healthy relationship is by making sure to have non triathlon related dates- like last Friday's date night. We also go on long bike rides together sometimes- if Phil wants to sprint, he will sprint ahead of me and then I will catch up with him so that we both are getting good workouts (He also will stay in the small ring to get a good workout while we are going at a slower speed then his natural pace). We also go to the pool together sometimes and even though we swim in different lanes, we drive to and from the pool together and eat dinner together when we get home.

Disney World Summer 2009
Some people have asked me if it upsets me that Phil and I are doing all of the same races and therefor Phil is never there to just be my cheerleader. No, it doesn't. His wave (30-34 year old men...Phil is 30 in triathlon years!) starts ahead of mine so Phil will be at the finish line in time to cheer me through the finish. And as far as Ironman Cozumel goes since everyone starts at the same time- I'm sure I'll see Phil out on the course since it is 3 bike loops and 3 run loops and we will scream some encouragement to the other maybe even get in a high five. And I know he will be at the finish line cheering me in. Also, knowing that he is out there on the course dealing with the same high winds, or hot sunshine is comforting.

Photobooth on the boardwalk summer 2009
I am really excited to share all of my ups and downs this season with Phil and I think the fact that we both are first-timers training for this huge race will bring us closer together. The thought of us both being on the other side of the IM finish line with our medals on makes me smile. There is no one in the world I would rather share that with.

Any advice for us as we train for Ironman on how to keep things fun and still maintain our awesome relationship?
How does training affect your relationship? If single, would you want to date an athlete like yourself?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back in the Game!

I CAN RUN!      I CAN RUN!      I CAN RUN!

My PT said I can go for a jog this weekend...for twenty minutes. It's not alot but its somthin' and I'll take it!

and if my ankle is not sore after running, I can do it again early next week for thirty minutes. WOO HOO!

It has been over 5 weeks since I have gone for a run and I have been itching to hit the pavement with music blasting in my ears.

Yay for a Saturday "long" run of 20 minutes!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend Recap!

Booo Sunday evenings! I hate the Sunday night blues...especially when you know that work is going to be super busy. Blah.

I did have a very fun weekend though! Here is a recap:

Friday night Phil and I had dinner at Zengo- a latin/asian fusion restaurant in DC. We enjoyed duck tacos, sushi, braised short ribs, dessert, and a few several cocktails.

During dinner Phil challenged me to a ski ball tournament at a bar a few doors down. I obviously accepted because ski ball is the ONE THING I can beat Phil at. We have had a few different ski ball challenges and I always walk away the champion....until Friday night. Phil whooped my butt and he won't let me live it down. I think he got me drunk on purpose so that I wouldn't be able to throw the ski ball straight. I challenge a rematch, Phil!  I want my ski ball champion title back.

Saturday consisted of cheering on the marathoners who were running the National Marathon and then a short ride around Hains Point. It was short because there were a crap ton of tourists who have no idea what to do when they see a in, they push their baby carriage towards it. So I opted to go home and hit the elliptical for a long "run". (I cannot wait to be able to run again...I hate the damn elliptical).

Saturday night Whitney and I went cupcake tasting! It sounds much more glamorous then it actually was. It was hot and so crowded that we were not able to talk to any of the bakers or carefully choose the cupcakes we wanted to try. We did get to meet Bobbie and Ray (aka DC Rainmaker)- two of my favorite area triathlete bloggers. It was nice to meet them in person since they live only a few miles away from me and I read both of their blogs! Bobbie was competing in the cupcake challenge as well as the cake challenge. Hop over to her blog to see her awesome work!

The cupcakes had to be cocktail themed. Our top favorites were a mojito cupcake, lemon drop shot cupcake and mudslide cupcake.

There was also an awesome cake in honor of the DC cherry blossoms!

After sleeping off the cupcakes, this morning I headed to the Multisport World Expo because I was part of the Team Z relay. The relay had 4 people running a 5k, then 4 people doing a 10k time trial on a fancy shmancy Computrainer (indoor bike trainer...that costs like thousands of dollars) and then 4 people swimming a 1600 yd relay (so 400 yds each). I was one of the swimmers!

Since I was first of the four, I had the option to dive into the pool off the starting blocks. Eventhough I dove for my school team in college, I had no experience doing a shallow dive off the swim blocks. One and three meter spring board diving is way different then a swim start dive! I tried...twice...and it didnt go too well. I kept losing my goggles!

attempt number!
Soooo I stuck with an in water start! I swam really well and actually broke my only other 400yd timed swim (from the Richmond Sprint Tri) by 1 minute and 38 seconds. SWEET! Its not that big of a deal but it shows me how far I have come with my swimming even since this past summer.

I think its time to hook Pink Lady up to the indoor trainer and watch a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress while Phil is out of the apartment :)

Happy Sunday evening everyone!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Five things Friday!

It is going to be an awesome weekend! Here are 5 things I am excited for:
  1. Hot date with Phil tonight at Zengo. nom nom nom.
  2. Cheering on the National Marathon runners (go Kate!!!) on Saturday morning followed by a long bike ride.
  3. Being a cupcake taster and judge at the National Cake Competition on Saturday evening!!!
  4. The Multi Sport World Expo on Sunday morning where I am part of a 12 person relay team. I am competing in the 400 yd swim.
  5. Another bike ride (this time on Pink Lady) on Sunday afternoon
  6. Hearing all about Phil's second bike race that he is competing in on Sunday. This time it is a road race meaning that it is not just going around a one mile loop a few is a 30 mile race!
I knowwww I listed 6 things instead of 5. Its ok, I am excited about alot this weekend :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Whitney's Shamrock Marathon Race Report and Lauren's Weekend Spectator Fun!

Whitney's Race Report:

Back in 2009, before I ran my first marathon, I was told that the first marathon that you run, you should just be concerned with finishing. Forget about everything else, and just run the darn thing. That is exactly what I did. I trained with Team In Training, raised a ton of money for cancer research and completed my first marathon (MCM 2009) in 4:36:50. Before running my second marathon (MCM 2010), I was told to enjoy the experience. Yeah right- who really enjoys running 26.2 miles??? But I did it- I ran the marathon and took in the awesome spectators and the energy of the event. I finished in 4:17:09.

With 2 marathons under my belt, running a marathon was no longer scary for me. I knew I would somehow manage to survive the 26.2 miles, and I would finish the race on Sunday. However finishing was not enough for me anymore. I wanted to race! And most importantly I wanted to break 4 hours. Oh and if I was having an awesome day, I wanted to break 3:50. Yes- I know this sounds absolutely crazy, seeing how I ran a 4:17 marathon less than 6 months prior.


The week leading up to marathon I was a mess. I was having dreams about running. I was printing out the pace bands and obsessively checking the weather for race day. I knew I had put in the work, but I was afraid of letting myself down. On top of that- I didn’t want to make my parents and Lauren drive all the way down to VA Beach to watch me have a lousy race. The week dragged on, and I was so excited when it was over. Finally on Saturday, Lauren and I packed up, and headed south. The trip was nice. Lauren and I always have plenty to talk about  and traffic wasn’t TOO bad. Driving on 95 South is always an experience. Once we got to VA Beach, we headed straight to the race expo. Overall I thought the expo was well run and served its purpose, but it is definitely not like the MCM expo. I was able to find the pace group table and talked to the 2 of the pacers for the race. My plan was to start with the 3:50 pace group and if I needed to fall back to the 4:00 group I would. After the expo, I was able to meet up with my Mom and Step-Dad, who I call Fuzzy, and we figured out where they were going to be on race day. Mom and Fuzzy always have a way of putting me at ease, and that is exactly what I needed. I was able to relax, refocus and rest for the big day. Lauren and I went to the Team Z dinner later that night, and ate like CHAMPIONS! Geez- I think we both consumed enough pasta for 6 people. Post dinner- we went back to the hotel, met up with Lauren’s good friends for a little bit and then called it a night.


I woke up from a good night’s sleep and was ready to go- slightly nervous, but a good nervous. I met up with Mom and Fuzzy for my pre-race hugs, and about 45 minutes later the gun went off. Marathon #3 had started. I ran the first 10 miles with the 3:50 pace group. I felt great! The wind was lousy, but I guess that is what I should have expected when running along the ocean. I highly suggest running with a pace group. It takes all the pressure off of you, and you feel like you are doing a training run. At mile 11, I decided that I was feeling strong enough to break away from the pace group. I turned up my music and took off. I crossed the half marathon point at 1:54.08- still on pace to break 3:50. From mile 11 to mile 18, I felt very strong. I was passing people- this definitely was a confidence booster! My 18 mile split was 02:36.31, again on pace to break 3:50. At this point, I knew that I would definitely break 4 hours; however, I was starting to tighten up and wasn’t 100% sure I was going to be able to reach my goal of breaking 3:50. Miles 19 to 23 were awful! No fan support. No shelter from the wind or the sun. And I had already run 18 plus miles. Yuck! I still pushed on. Seven miles later I crossed the finish line at 03:49:19. SUCCESS!!!  A huge thanks goes out to Mom, Fuzzy and Lauren! They were awesome cheerleaders, and I know I would not have been able to do it without them.

Overall results:

7 Mile Split: 01:01:02

13.1 Mile Split: 01:54:08

18 Mile Split: 02:36:31

Finishing Time: 03:49:19

Division Place: 18

Gender Place: 180

Overall place: 747

Lauren's Weekend Highlights:


and of course cheering on Whitney as she kicked ass.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ankle update!

After being diagnosed with posterial tibial tendonitis in my right ankle, I knew I had to go to a physical therapist to get me back in the game as quicky as possible.

I decided to go Fast Track Physical Therapy since it is owned and operated by triathletes on Team Z and I knew they would be able to understand my desire/need to get back to running as soon as possible as well as how to properly treat my issue so that my tri season is as injury free as possible.

My initial consultation was a full hour long and my PT, Eli, did a full strength analysis of everything from my waist down even though I was in there for an ankle injury. Eli told me not only do I have weak toes (didnt know toes could be weak!) and ankles, but I also have weak hip flexors and a weak gluteus medius.   He gave me a strength plan that incorporates all of these weaknesses so that I will be nice and strong in a few weeks. Strengthening all of these mucsles, along with custom orthotics for my sneakers, and going to Team Z track practices so that coach can watch my posture,  will lower my chances of more running injuries.

weak gluteus medius!
I will be going back to Fast Track twice this week and a few more times in the upcoming weeks just to make sure I am good to go for the first tri of the season in mid April. By the time Eli is finished with me I'll have the strongest toes, ankles, hip flexors, and butt in the DC area :)

I was in VA beach this past weekend cheering on Whitney and other teammates as they ran the Shamrock Marathon. (Whit will be guest posting her race report here soon, and I have a few highlights of the trip that Ill post about next.) It was great to cheer everyone on but I certainly was (very) bummed that I was not out there on the course running my first marathon. When I talked to coach about not being an official marathoner (I did do 20 and 22 miles in training) before training for an Ironman he had this to say:

"BUT NO WORRIES AT ALL.  Seriously.  Seriously. Seriously.  The most important thing is getting to the start line healthy (and being in excellent biking and swimming shape).  Even if you only did 10-12 mile runs all summer long - you get there healthy and nail the swim and the bike and you will be fine.  JUST GET STRONG AND STAY INJURY FREE.  That is the single most important thing. "

So here's to building my swim and bike fitness while this damn ankle heals and gets stronger!

happy Monday :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Over protective

This morning I rode my tri bike to work. I got several weird looks as I was stopped at stop lights in downtown DC on a black and hot pink bike with crazy handlebars. I am assuming the average Joe doesn't understand what a tri bike is...I didnt until last year!

Anyways- I locked Pink Lady down in the parking garage and went on with my day. This morning, during a 4 hour training session I kept thinking about her down there in the garage all by herself. She was the prettiest bike on the rack with the nicest compoments. I kept having images in my head of a passerby taking off my pink petals, stealing my pink bento box, or attempting to steal Pink Lady.

As soon as the training was over, I quickly went down to the dark garage and brought her to a much safer place... my office area :)

I can now work the rest of the day without the fear of Pink Lady being stolen!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Phil's Delaware Cycling Race Report

Report by Phil. Pictures and captions by Lauren.
Last year I raced two triathlons, the Culpepper Sprint and the Nations Triathlon. Overall I was happy with my results. After viewing the results I completed some shallow analysis of my results from the Nations Triathlon:

175/4420 Swim

432/4420 Bicycle

309/4420 Run

186/4420 Overall

175/2853 Overall Division

Compared to the rest of the field I was the worst at the bicycle portion. Based on this I decided to join a cycling team to become more educated and improve! I decided to join the National Capitol Velo Club, with the main factor being that my climbing partner, Karl, was already a member. NCVC has been great! They host something called Cabrucer clinics for all the new members. These clinics focus on developing race and riding skills. I unfortunately missed all of these except one due to illness and travel! Fortunately Karl and other team members assisted in developing my skills and answering any and all questions.

After months of training in the cold weather with NCVC I competed in my first race in the Delaware Training Series this past Saturday. I was excited and very apprehensive leading up to the first race. I am a category 5 rider. This is the beginner class for cycling races; essentially anyone could compete in this category. Grandma would just need a USA cycling membership, a huffy, and a helmet to jump right on in. Everyone in the cycling world says you want to get out of Cat5 ASAP and move to Cat4 due to the abundance of novice cyclists and the increased risk of crashes due to such diversity in skills, abilities, and experiences.
Overall, I was worried I would either be left in the dust, crash, or just completely screw up. I am not usually vocal about my insecurities for races, but I was legitimately nervous.

Phil's nervous face

We got to the race about an hour early. I signed my waiver and got a number. I got all suited up and started taking some warm up laps. The course was just under a mile long with three 90 degree turns. The course was shielded from wind except for a 100 yard section one turn off the start line that had a strong headwind. During warm ups a couple guys were spinning pretty fast and nearly everyone had carbon bikes with a race wheelset. I was on my stock aluminum frame Cannondale Six 5 C. I was feeling sluggish, but tried to stay positive.

I developed my strategy during the warm ups. I would stay in the pack drafting for the first 9 laps, then on the long back straight away sprint ahead so I could take the final two 90 degree corners solo to avoid being forced into a specific line by the pack.

There were rights around 20 people in the race, with half the pack consisting of individuals from two teams. I was the only NCVC rider present. The race started with a rolling start. The start was my first major concern. I was happy to hear it was a rolling start and not from a dead standstill. The group took one lap and then at the start line to the race was off! The first five laps were mainly uneventful. I was between five to six people back in the pack. One guy was leading the pack the first five laps and everyone else was getting a good draft. On lap two we passed one guy that had dropped out carrying his bicycle over one should and his front wheel in the other hand. What the hell happened?!?

What happened on your first lap buddy?

On lap six during the last 90 degree turn I felt contact on my right hip. I stayed calm as contact is part of cycling. I then felt my back wheel get hit a bit and heard a bike go down. I kept my cool and stayed upright. I felt bad, but I had done nothing wrong.

just kidding :) this bike was taken off google images! Phil did not mess someone up this badly.

On lap seven two guys attacked (which means sprinted ahead of the pack). The rest of the pack and I let them go. I decided that on lap eight I would bridge the gap on the long back section. I did exactly that without much effort and pulled a couple of guys up with me. On the last lap I was in great position. I was four people back and ready to attack. One guy attacked early and pulled ahead about 12 bike lengths. I attacked as planned on the back section and bridged the gap to around 8 lengths before the final turn. I looked back and had a huge gap between me and the rest of the field. I looked ahead and stood up for the sprint. I did not think there was any way I could bridge the huge gap, but somehow I was gaining quickly! I could tell he was tired. My legs felt like rubber, I pushed it hard, but not hard enough. I finished half a wheel behind the leader and finished my first cycling race in second place!

photo finish! Thanks to the amazing photographer for this picture. *ahem*

I was very excited to just be alive and not to have wrecked, but even more excited to place in the top 3!

Phil is the tallest one, like always :)
 Lauren: Congrats on a great race Phil! more cowbell!

Weekend Recap and a little humor

Weekend Recap:

This weekend was jammed packed!

Saturday morning Phil and I left for Wilmington, DE at 6am because Phil had his very first cycling race at 9am! It was really exciting to watch- more exciting than I triathlon I think (gasp!!). The guys had to do 10 laps on about a 1 mile course. The last lap was the most exciting because the officials ring a cow bell and all the guys scream "last lap!! last lap!!". Phil will be writing his own race report that I will post here in a few days. Hopefully it will be longer than his Marine Corps Marathon Race Report and shorter than his Nations Tri Race Report. He did well though...but I'll him tell you that :)

The rest of Saturday was spent in Philly visiting the fam. I was really tired from waking up so early for the bike race that I fell asleep in my sister's living room for a while. After a yummy family dinner, Phil and I hit the road back to DC so we could get a long bike ride in on Sunday morning.

With the long day on Saturday and the time change due to daylight savings, I was one sleepy lady on Sunday morning. It took Phil a few attempts to wake me up. Once I was finally up and moving we hit the road for the longest bike ride of my life to date. He is on a cycling team that does long group rides every week, so he took me on one of those routes. I think it was my favorite ride so far! It had hills, flats, descents, rolling hills, and awesome scenery of the mansions in Great Falls MD. It had a few more stop lights (read: having to unclip and re clip into my pedals) then I would have liked but it was still a really great ride with amazing weather. We went 52 miles. 52! What was a huge confidence booster was that I felt like I could have kept going for a while long as there were no more hill climbs. :) What I can't imagine is doubling that distance and then running a marathon immediately following it.

Some Humor:

When I log into my blog to write a new post, I have an option to see different "stats" about my blog. This allows me to see how many views my blog has had, and how people come to find my blog. Most people click on my blog link via Facebook, but some people Google things and find my blog. Below is a list of really funny things people have Googled and it lead them here...and some of them I have no idea why.

1. "how do i train for a spartan race"
2. "how to run with flat feet"
3. "trashbag shoes"
4. "140.6 tattoo"
5. "i think she likes me t shirt"
6. "swim bike run lauren luge"
7. "triathlon boobs" (I dont think I have ever once said the word boobs on here...but now I have said it twice)
8. "team Z blogs"
9. "fat pug pictures" (come on, Brizzy is not that fat!)
10. "lauren riley phil kealy triathletes" (slightly stalker-ish)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sitting on the Bench

Remember that pesky ankle that I thought I sprained during my last long training run? Turns out it was more than sprained. It is injured enough to put me on the bench for the marathon. sigh.

After a few days of icing and rest, the pain didn't seem to go away so I went to the orthopedic to see if it was a stress fracture. I thought it may have been a stress fracture (which is a slight fracture in the bone due to overuse) because I could walk on it but my medial malleolus (inner ankle bone) hurt to the touch.

After a doctors visit and a negative xray the doctor told me I had Posterior Tibial Tendonitis. I know, it's a tongue twister! In a nut shell my Posterior Tibial Tendon is inflamed.

This was most likely caused by my extremely flat feet and pronation when I run. The course of action is to rest it for a few weeks until the inflammation subsides while going to physical therapy to strengthen my ankles (and my whole lower half) and have custom orthotics made so I don't have this issue going forward.

So the marathon I was supposed to run in 2 weeks is a no go. I deferred my registration to next year. If the marathon was the only race in my near future I would push through it, but I think it is a better idea to fix this problem now so it is not an issue as Ironman draws closer.

I plan to pool jog to keep my running fitness up while my tendon calms down. I also plan to really vamp up my cycling since it took a back seat to marathon training. After all, being a strong cyclist is the most important element of a long distance triathlon!

Now don't for a second think that I was not upset about all of this. Poor Phil had to deal with a crying girlfriend for a few days. It took me a few days to really grasp the fact that it was a bad idea for me to run through the pain and make things worse when I have a much more important race to train for. I am disappointed I wont be running the marathon in 2 weeks, but I am still going to go and cheer on Whitney and other Team Zers. And Ill have my chance to do a the end of the Ironman ;)

Have you ever been injured and had to sit on the bench for a race? How did you handle it? Words of wisdom and encouragement are welcomed!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Runners. Yea, we're different.

In 1999 and 2000 Adidas ran a few ad campaigns geared towards runners. I remember being 13 or so and seeing the ads in magazines and not really understanding them or thinking the runners in the ads were gross and/or crazy.

Last week I came across a blog that talked about these ads, so I googled them only to find that not only do I completely understand them...I AM the crazy/gross person. See below :)

Ok, so I have never stripped down bare ass in public to change, but Whitney and I did run 20 miles in the rain. And during Ironman, I plan to change into and out of bike anyone in/around the changing tent will get an eyeful.

This ad is hilarious and oh-so-true. During the American Odyssey Relay last year (the 200+ mile relay from Gettysburg to DC) I think every girl on the team, at least once, had to find a tree or bush to ya know, take care of business. When you gotta go, you gotta go. And being a female makes the logistics a little more difficult.

Now this move is for advanced runners. I cant do it yet...but Whitney, oh man, she is the snot rocket queen. I am still a complete novice and have to blow my nose on my shirt and run the rest of the time with a snot-filled shirt. Whitney tried to teach me how to snot rocket like a real pro, but I failed and ended up with snot on my face. I have manners, I swear. Just not when I am running and need to blow my nose :)

Now this one is totally me. I stretch my legs wherever I go. First off, I always wear sneakers...even when I am in my work clothes. I am THAT girl. Its ok. My legs hurt and my feet need support. I wear heels when I have to go to meetings and things, but 98% of the time, I am in my running shoes. I absolutely do what this guy is doing and lift my leg onto objects to stretch...or I bend over to stretch. I don't think anything of it, but I bet the people around me are wondering why the hell I am bending over trying to touch my toes while standing in a line of people.

This one is the future me (like 6 years from now). I hope my babies enjoy long rides in their stroller, because they are coming with mommy for her long Saturday morning runs.

Runners are gross :)