Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Birthday Weekend...

This weekend started off with a BANG... literally, my birthday was on Friday & Allen & the girls woke me up with a surprise party, party poppers and all!  After getting the girls off to school, Allen joined me for a 6mi tempo run.  It was a beautiful morning with my favorite jack rabbit!  In the afternoon, I got in my 2600yd swim.  I'm growing to love swimming, especially because I've been going during aqua therapy time & I really enjoy watching them underwater :-)  Later that night we had dinner at Paloma Blanca with a few of my closet friends.  It was so nice to be able to get everyone together... not wearing lycra!  But the BEST present I could ever receive came via text: "I walked I walked!!!"  My friend Monica had taken her first steps in the parallel bars at PT!!!  Wishes do come true!!!

On Saturday, Kris, Linda, Kelly, Alphonso & I headed out for an 80mi. training ride, Tri-Sition Area to Castroville.  It started out as most ride have in the past few weeks... cold & rainy!  Oh, well, it is what it is... pedal on!  20mi in Shelly met us at the Exxon and cruised with us to Haby's for a birthday donut.  But before I could enjoy my donut, the Iron-gods had to make sure I earned it... FLAT TIRE, 5 mi from donut!!!  It was just Linda & I, no Brian Loftin ;-(  I was a little nervous at first, but what else was I going to do but fix it!  I started to take the wheel off & remembered I didn't have a spare tube (used it last time I flatted!) & Linda only had a 650 on her, not a 700.  Yikes!  Luckily, another cyclist stopped to check on us & gave me his spare.  I knew he was good people when I noticed his Tri-Sition Area shorts!  The rest of the ride went well & the sun was even generous enough to peek through just as we were finishing.  After putting 75mi in the books & showering, I headed to the hospital because... I was oncall.

Sunday, Herothon 13.1!  The icing on my birthday cake weekend!  Kris, Shelly, Orissa, Linda & I were Team Captain America!!!  No, not Ms. Texas or Ms. Puerto Rico or even Wonder Woman... Captain America!!!  I learned from the last 13.1 that pacing was key!  I started out at a comfortable pace & kept finding myself creeping faster.  Whoa, girl... slow it down!  I saw a lot of friends along the course cheering, which is always like a boost of adrenaline!  Robert, Brian, Lexa, Jaime, Laura & Brody were all out there, fueling my fire!  When I saw Brody, Laura's 9 year old son who runs a 7:30 mile, I gave him a big sweaty hug hoping to channel his speed.  It worked, because next time I looked at my Garmin I had to pull on the reigns again... Whoa, Nelly!!!  The plan was to kick it in for the last 3mi, like we did last weekend on our long run... that didn't happen!  I was content with just keeping the same pace at that point.  Right before the homestretch, I turned the corner and my worst fears came true!  The bridge!!!  We DID have to go back over it :-(  Ok, time to find another speed!  I beasted it up the incline and right when I got to the top, there was Brody!  "Run Faster!"... OK!  I guess he didn't just see me run up the hill, but I couldn't say no to Brody!  He ran me down the other side & at the bottom, right before the final shoot, there was Laura!  " Don't let him beat you... KICK!"... OK!  I threw it into high gear and so did the guy in the orange shirt (I did end up beating him!)!  I finished unofficial 1:51... tied my PR!  On 75mi. legs... I'll take it!

All in all, I will say I had a wonderful & exhausting birthday weekend filled with lots of love & happiness surrounded by fabulous family & friends!  Thank you to all who were a part of it near & far!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Attacking Hills...

Since Friday morning I woke up looking forward to this weekends training ride and run.  This was going to be the first weekend of base build one and mark the first time I had ridden more than 60 miles.  Fri afternoon started out with a great 2800yd swim, which included my fave, PBB :-)  I find it so relaxing.  Then I quickly drove home in order to get a run outdoor before picking up the girls.  I was a beautiful perfect "winter" day.  Allen was home, so he joined me on a 6mi tempo run.  It was a fun, fast, sunny run... perfect!  After working up an appetite we headed out for date night, dinner (food!!!) and a movie.
Sat. morning we met at Target on Blanco to ride north and ride some hills.  Kris, Linda, & I had "70mi zone 2 ride, add some hills & attack" on our plan, and Brian was along for the ride... pun intended :-P  We headed up Blanco and it was a little cold, but nothing like the last time Linda & I had rode up!  By Specht Rd. the sun had started to peak out and you could tell it was going to be the start of a beautiful day.  Attack the hills... Blanco was the first of many!  I put in my best effort and attacked, feeling good!  I'm not sure of our route, I'm usually not leading the pack ;-) but we had some pretty nice rollers... and from what Kris saved until the end to inform me, we had done it in the harder direction!  We stopped twice and each time we started back up again I wasn't sure I "had enough"legs" to go up one more hill.  My attack weakened as the miles added up, but I did realize that every hill has it's upside AND a downside, and BOTH sides can be attacked.  That was the fun part!  Cruising downhill and pedaling strong into it, at least I still "had legs" to do that... whhheeeeee!!!!  By our last stop we had 25mi to go and my only reprieve was the tailwind that would take us back home down Blanco.  Headwind!  That's just great!  All in all, I will say my 1st 71miler was challenging and strengthening.

After our ride we headed straight to Willie's for some FOOD!  Our table looked like a fried frenzy: chicken fried steak, fried shrimp sandwich, fried chicken sandwich, hamburger; amongst a few milkshakes and iced teas; followed by a peach cobbler & apple sizzler!  Heaven!  By the end of our late lunch we decided we need to sleep in tomorrow for our long run, 9am Tri-Sition Area.
9am came sooner than I wished, but I was ready for our 13miler.  I finally had a chance to wear my new Lululemon skirt and long sleeve, which I had bought to wear last weekend for the Houston 1/2 marathon until the weather put a damper on my plans.  The whole team showed up with a look good, feel good attitude (even though 3 out of 4 of us were spent from yesterday's ride).  Kris was dazzling in green with a white Lulu skirt, Linda was the envy off the group in her pink Lulu skirt, and Team Loftin showed up in matching orange outfits... Let's do this :-)  The first 1/2 hour Orissa & Brian ran with us & then turned around, while Kris, Linda & I continued on.  The first 10miles seemed like a long warm up for the last 3mile efforts we were about to throw down.  Around mile 8 I reminded the girls where the last 3miles were going to be... hills!  Oh well, we were no strangers to hills... Let's GO!  We picked up the pace and beasted one hill after another along 1604... Attack!!!  By the last hill I found my "other gear" and threw it all down!  That felt... awesome!

Phew... I survived my weekend of training... and this is only the beginning :-)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

You gotta know when to...

The last few weeks can best be summarized by Kenny Rogers, The Gambler:  
You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
Before the holidays, training was going great.  I was back into the routine of things and my swim, bike, and run were all starting to feel stronger.  We had planned on going to Puerto Vallarta for Christmas, so I knew training was going to take a back seat.  I went in with the best intentions of swimming & running, but I knew I wouldn't be able to bike.  In summary, I did one run!  The pool wasn't the length I expected it to be, much shorter, and colder!  And the streets were like a runner's war zone between the cracks in the sidewalk, the one foot curbs, the car exhaust, etc.  I felt I would be putting myself in danger of derailing any future training by twisting an ankle or getting hit by a car.  So, I decided to be Zen and enjoy my time with my family... that is what Christmas is all about anyway!  And we had a wonderful time!!!... Know when to run :-)
The first day back was New Year's Eve, back to work & back in the pool.  No harm done.  I felt great in the pool & was hitting all of my intervals.  The next day Dawn had planned a 3:30hr New Year's Day ride, awesome!  I was excited to see my Iron-Twinkie's & get back in the saddle with all of them.  Unfortunately, New Year's Eve was cold & rainy, which didn't leave the streets in the best condition.  Before we all even showed up Orissa pulled out because of the weather, Kris pulled out because she was sick, & Shelly was out of town... that left Linda, Herbito, & I!  No worries, I was still positive, I would be cool to ride with some new riders... although, it was COLD!  We headed up Blanco Rd. into a bitter headwind & by 5miles in we started dropping like flies!  We planned to re-group at Specht Rd & that was when Linda rode up looking like someone killed her dog!  For once, it was my turn to be the voice of reason... "Come on, we can do this!  Let's just hang in there and cruise!"  That was also when we found out Herbito got a flat, his first!  Dawn rode back to help him out & pull him back up & the rest of the crew rode on.  Wow, it's COLD... and it kept getting colder!  A few more miles out, the next flat tire in our group!  That's when Linda & I had a pow-wow and decided if someone responds to our SOS txt, we are outta here!  Allen to the rescue!!!  We asked him to pick us up at a Starbucks 4miles down the rode, 20miles from where he was.  We got to Starbucks & initiated our defrost.  Then came the dreaded call... Coachie!!!  BUSTED!!!  "Did you guys call for a ride?... You need to HTFU!... You can't call for a ride in May at IMTX!"  We know, we know... but it wasn't going to happen today.  Long story short, we bailed!... Know when to fold 'em :-)
I tried to make the best of the situation & tell myself the New Year can only get better... and so far so good!  I had a great training week, redeemed myself on our long ride & even willingly choose to ride the hills of 211 that once almost made me cry!  
Today we participated in Monica's Mile, a swimathon fundraiser for my friend Monica who is recovering from spinal cord injury after being hit by a car while training for IMAZ.  The triathlon community never ceases to amaze me!  There was a huge turnout for the event, which included a one mile swim or a one hour swim.  Coachie never gave us a choice... we were swimming for an hour!  I implemented a strategy I learned while doing base training, entertain your mind!  Next thing I knew it was the two minute mark and everyone was yelling and cheering us on, including Monica!  I started to tear up a little in my googles & then heard Kris in my head, "Are you crying? Stop crying!"  I completed 2mi in the hour to my surprise & felt GREAT!  Then of course, we followed it up with our Sunday long run, 9mi in McAllister Park.  I know for a fact & I frequently tell my patients at work... "There will be good days and bad days... You just have to make sure there are more good than bad!" :-)