Friday, July 30, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do...especially w/ your couch.

Do you ever find yourself feeling like this before you are supposed to go out and run/bike/swim/hula hoop, etc?

Tonight, both Coach and I did. My mysterious illness is getting better, but my ribs still hurt and tonight my head was POUNDING! Not a single bone of mine really wanted to go running. Then I looked over at my comfy couch and it started beckoning to me. As soon as it started plumping itself,  the ice cream in the freezer began calling my name, and the Stevie the TV reminded me of all the Losing it w/ Jillians I had recorded (nothing like watching others work out when you don't feel like it.) I could tell by the way Coach was rubbing his eyes, he was off his game and sinking further into couchland, and visions of a night off for both of us were looking very realistic. But I knew my sister was coming to run with me. Dang sister! No, not really. She was the push I needed to go change. I informed Coach that we had to go run, Erica was here.

In my head, I told myself that the important thing was to get out there and move. Speed did not matter. If I had to walk the whole thing, who cared? Whatever my body could handle is what I would do. With a last longing glance at my beige comfort zone, I told it this was nothing personal, that in fact this was for both of us. Didn't he want a break? A lighter companion? He whimpered one last time, then I was out the door.

I made sure to take my time warming up (meaning I walked the first .2 of the loop) before I took off running. Luckily, the mp3 player had some new tunes, so I used that as both a distraction and motivation for the first bit. Almost immediately my ribs seized up and my head started to pulsate from all the bouncing, but I kept going. It seems to happen that way a lot, you totally don't feel like running, but then your run goes great or at least better than expected. This run was not my great, but I made it the first 1+ before I turned around to get my sister. Hey, it wasn't that long ago that I couldn't run a mile without stopping so this is still big for me! While we walked, my body froze up and I never could get it back in gear. My options were to sprint or walk. Jogging was too bouncy. We finished the run out, got passed by coach, and I dragged myself inside to stretch and drink some choc. milk. Though my head is still hurtin, I am glad I ran. Partly so I don't have to do it another night, but also because it feels good when you push through the pain and laziness and do more than you thought you could.    

As for the rest of my training, last night I did the always fun plyos and abs. Actually, to be exact I did flippers and reverse flippers, and yes I was pretty sore today! The night before I did intervals to work on my speed  for 1.8 miles. So that is 3 nights in a row! Yay, 3 nights in a row of training. Hopefully, I am back for good because I need to make some real strides if I am going to keep up with all the other runners and my own personal goals.

What gets you to separate butt from couch/bed when it feels like you can't? Do you have a running buddy you want to give a shout out to? 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Weekly Exercise #2

Flippers and Reverse Flippers

It's time for my second entry in the workout for the week. This week we are going to work on a very important part of a runners body... your core. This workout is for anybody who wants a good workout for their core, but doesn't have a lot of time for working on it.

First will be flippers, to do this, lay on your back with your hands under your hips. Alternate your legs like you are swimming on your back. Do this as fast as you can for 45 seconds for 3 sets, alternating between flippers and reverse flippers. Easy enough right? Ok here's where we really get a good workout... To make this workout very effective, lift up your head and shoulders off the ground as high as you can, the goal is to have only your lower back and hips touching the ground while you do your flippers. This will engage your entire abdominal plate and really hammer on that tough to get to lower abs.

If 45 seconds is too easy for you (I doubt it will be to start) increase by 5 seconds until you hit the point where you can really feel it.

Next we are going to do reverse flippers, you guessed it, reverse flippers are just like regular flippers on your stomach. My track kids like to call these Hasselhoffs (yes, after "The Hoff."  The explanation is long and involves motorboats and Spongebob Squarepants, please reply if you'd like more details).

 After doing your first set of flippers, flip over to your stomach and put your hands under your hips again, this time we are working a very often neglected part of a runner and triathlete's body, the lower back. Lift your legs and again alternate legs like you are swimming. Lift your head and shoulders as high as you possibly can, the higher the better. Do these for 3 sets of 30 seconds.

You will also feel the reverse flippers in your hamstrings and backside (bonus!).

Flippers and reverse flippers should be done 3 days a week. As you get used to them and start to gain strength in your core, feel free to increase the duration of the exercise by 5 seconds each (usually per week).

Let me know how they work for you, I like to hear how people are able to adapt their workouts to fit their needs. Try it... You'll like it.

Like Riding a Bike, Huh?

That's a stupid saying. It should die. Well, it probably has. From laughter. At me.

Me and the sinister, yet innocent looking, new bike before it tried to put my face to concrete! 
Track Coach finally got his bike and loves it. I will let him tell you more about that and his maiden journey in a sec, but back to the how it almost killed me first. Do you sense I am over dramatizing, that doesn't sound like me... So anyways, since our legs our similar lengths (yes, poor coach, but imagine those puppies in little track shorts and knee high socks, oh too much, sorry!) I thought maybe I could ride the bike a little till I found one for me. Plus, all this fancy riding with its high tech gear shifting and all was making me nervous and I didn't want to look like a doof when I went to try out a bike so I was hoping to get some practice in. Things did not go as plan.

The pictures speak for themselves, as do the blaring white legs, but I also added commentary because I can. I just have to say that this bike is too big for me, and I did not have the confidence to just hop on and go, hence the falling over! There was even a point where I almost forgot how to use the breaks, it was like go-karting all over again (I pushed the gas right into a wall instead of the break, I looked cool, I mean everybody was checking me out.) Needless to say, I never got to the shifting part of the lesson. Maybe when the training wheels show up. Now I really need to find ME a bike.
Oh and I'm down!

Trying to get up on the bike...
But with a push from my 3 yr old (how embarrassing!)...
I was finally able to ride.  And if I could have gotten my feet in those dang straps I would have looked like a pro, too! Guess I really do need my own bike so my feet can reach the pedals.

Track Coach- On the Clock- So yes, here's my bike... shiney and used. I've been wanting, nay, dreaming of a bike since last year's Chelanman when I had to rent a bike to compete. That was the first time I had ever ridden a bike that didn't have large knobby tires and I fell madly in love. It was like a breath of fresh air, like beating young children at board games, like your first kiss with your true love... ok so maybe not all those things, but I did like it and reeeaally wanted to get one. However, I'm not rich so it had to be put on the back burner. But we recently came into a windfall (thanks to my wealthly uncle Sam and his first time homebuyers credit) so I had just enough to get a nice bike off craigslist.

I was able to take it out for my first real ride today and it was better than I had expected. I rode up around my house and was able to make it up some fairly gruesome looking hills without dying. Almost dying mind you, but not dying. But the nice thing about gruesome hills is you usually get to go down and the hill I happened to pick had a nice 8% grade on the back end so I got to see how fast I could really go. That bike can really move... So after my test of the sound barrier, I finished up my ride going to the neighboring town and turning around and riding back along the highway. I suppose this will show how new I am to biking, but my brother had told me that you should pull up on the back end of the stroke in addition to just pushing down on the pedals. I tried this on the second half of my ride and I couldn't believe how much faster I was able to go. Well I think this biking thing is here to stay, I think I might need to find some buddies in the area to ride with; mostly because I don't know what I'm doing and secondly because I can imagine it can get lonely out there on the open road.

BTW: We also scored a sweet trailer for the boys to ride in so when adorable wife is able to find her bike we can go on family rides. (feel free to "ahh") 
Track Coach, next to his new love in life. I am now second. See that child wandering in the background, he couldn't care less about him! (that's not true)
Of course, he doesn't fall off or look like a fool riding it! Nope, coach is a bum numbing pro! (also not true)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mission Ironman Entry #1

Track Coach on the clock. I believe I have officially been bitten by the triathlon bug. After competing in a couple sprint triathlons, I am starting to feel like this is something that I can actually do. So, I have decided to try to complete an Ironman Triathlon. I have always admired those guys who gut it out in Kona and in the back of my mind have always wanted to do something like that, but until now I have been too gutless to try. So grab your padded shorts, hammer gel, and here we go.

Obviously, getting 103rd in a sprint triathlon is a far cry from completing an Ironman. I know the journey is going to be long and is going to take a lot of hard work. With adorable wife's blessing, I have decided to try for an Ironman Triathlon three years from now. The plan will be to work this year to get to the point where I can run a marathon and an Olympic Triathlon next year, a half Iron the following, and finally the full monty the year after that.

I just read back through this post and man... it's boring. I guess it's hard for me to be clever and witty when I think about the three years of training I have in front of me. Well, here's to staying on track and injury free! Well yay me... let's Suit Up!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I Wanna Tri!

Adorable Wife here. I thought a 5k or 10k,would be my limit, maybe always. My goal was to just get fast at the sprint distances;
A- Because I didn't know if I could ever push myself further than that,
B- Because then running would seem more action packed like the sports I knew, and
C- Because I may just get too bored running any further.

However, while I watched coach dive into the water with hundreds of people, and their splashing sent tiny waves to the beach, I felt I rush of excitement I hadn't had at any other race. I thought about how fun it would be to jostle for position, get kicked in the face, and push through. Physical contact. That was missing from running. As he emerged from the water, though, in the middle of the pack, I wondered if this was something I could really handle, I mean I was still struggling to run a 5k.

Too many doubts started to fill my head about being able to complete it in a decent time or at all. I have never really biked or swam before, I could totally embarrass myself. Once Jesse crossed the finish line, he was exhausted and I was proud of his time, but he wasn't satisfied.

Well, if he has trouble, how can I do it?

I had started to push this short lived dream away when I looked out to the water and saw heads bobbing up and down. It was some of the Try a Tri participants, still out there in the water, still making their way to the transition. I had seem some of these competitors before hand and a lot were not in top physical condition, but here they were, giving it their all and accomplishing their goals.

Why then am I so afraid to try things I feel I won't be good at? Why can't I do things that just make me feel good and proud, even if I'm not the best at it?

If I feel I can't succeed or I may embarrass myself at something, I tend not to try it at all. It is one of my worst qualities. Running has been helping me with that, but now I just need to not be afraid to push to the next level. So as we were driving away from the Chelan Man and I saw a group of women walking the 5k portion of the "try a tri" and looking like they were having a blast doing so, I turned to coach and said "I wanna do one!"

Now I have found my first baby Triathlon to do. It has short distances of everything, even shorter then a sprint, which is good, since I don't have a whole lot of time to train. It is the Cottage Lake Tri and Tri Again in Woodinville, WA on Sept 11th. I am a little sad because I haven't found anyone crazy enough to do it with me yet and I have never done a race alone. I think I may fall in love with triathlon. They seem a step closer to the sports I love, but I am still reaching for my goal of a quick 5k, too. Now I just need to find a decent enough bike on craigslist so I can train, but have no idea what to do about swimming since a gym membership is out of the financial question! Luckily the fun of it will just be going out there and saying I did it. I TRIed! Who cares if I have to doggy paddle and walk?

Any new or experienced triathletes out there with good tips for quick training? And possibly training w/o a pool? The distances are 400 yd swim, 9 mile bike, 1.5 mile run.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Weekly Excercise #1

Our oldest Little Track Star expertly demonstrating this weeks move! 
This is where I, Track Coach, (though I am adorable too) will be posting a weekly exercise or stretch meant to help improve your running or training. Each one may not apply to everyone, but if something sounds good to you, give it a whirl. Then let me know if it helped or if you have already tried something similar and what the results were. Plus if just have some awesome training tips, feel free to comment with those here too. I am always looking for new great ways to make my highschooler's cry, I mean, better.

So for our first week of exercises I figured we could start out nice and light. We can wait to get into the real heavy stuff in the weeks to come. I have had ankle troubles all my life with multiple breaks and strains on each ankle. Because the amount of rehab I have had to go through with my ankles, I have had to find quick simple ways to strengthen my ankles without spending endless amounts of time with bands and such. So if you have ever had ankle problems or feel you could you a little more balance (which everybody could use), this exercise is for you.  Notice my lovely assistant below, adorable wife, just fresh from a run (she wanted me to put that!) as she will be demonstrating today's moves.

One legged standing- So grab yourself a pillow and throw it on the floor. Stand on said pillow with one foot on the pillow and the other in the air... For the first 30 seconds of this exercise, you are going to look straight ahead. if you have trouble balancing on one ankle or the other, this is where you will stay for a while until you are able to balance continually for 30 seconds on each ankle. Don't fret if this takes you a few weeks to get down, sometimes if you are new to these types of exercises or have had a recent ankle injury, this could take time.
 Once you have mastered the one legged standing while looking straight ahead, it is time to kick it up a notch. This time, look straight up in the air. Again, you need to practice this one until you are able to balance continually for 30 seconds on each foot. (You will certainly feel the exercise working with the small corrections that your foot makes while you try to keep your balance.)

Finally, when you have mastered looking straight up in the air and you are feeling like this simple looking up in the air is child's play, it's time to really kick it into gear. Now while you are balancing on one foot, look straight up into the air and close your eyes. This will take away all your visual references and you will need to completely rely on your balance. (Adorable wife was having trouble with this one!)

This is also a good exercise to test yourself to see how good you are with your balance. Try it with friends or your spouse and make a contest out of it! Let me know who wins!!!

Did I Shave My Legs For This? (Chelan Man Sprint Tri Report)

Last year my brother Casey got me started on Triathlons. We signed up for the Chelanman Sprint triathlon several months before the race only to not train and go for it anyway. This year I dragged my brother along kicking and screaming (actually more whining). I really did try to train more for this one.

Me and Adorable Wife, enjoying a kid less moment as we arrived at our campsite and looked forward to the weekend.
Our campsite. Something looks off you say? Oh, where's the tent? That's right we didn't have one. The wife and I both blame this on each other and ended up sleeping next to the car under the stars. Besides the blustery wind and loud neighbors, it was a wonderful nights sleep. Well, for me at least, but who cares about the wife. She didn't have to race!

More camp side moments. The first picture is my brother Casey, his girlfriend Liz, and son Blake. And the second one is me and the Mrs.
Riding the bus to race, a little nervous, like a bunch of school kids.
Getting all G'd up before the race. I have only ever tried Gatorade's new prime stuff. I should be in a commercial.
Wifey had a hard time finding me for this shot, but how can you not have the swim cap shot. So here I am in all my glory! It is just too bad there is no speedo involved!
The start was done by ages, not sex, this year, but it was still a huge cluster of people just diving into the water. Luckily I didn't get kicked once this time!

I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but it was very windy and ended up being quite choppy. Being the superb swimmer that I am (not) I was able to power right through (again...not. By the time I got around the second bouy, my head was spinning and I couldn't see straight. The people in the boats had to keep telling me which way to go because I would start to swim in the wrong direction!)

Coming in from the swim. This was the best picture the wife had because she kept thinking other people were me, and then of course completely missed me.
And then this attractive fella proceeded to block all of her shots of me getting ready for the bike, so enjoy that! What a hunk of manflesh!

As you can see, I survived the swim (21:41 swim time) and was starting to get amped up for the bike. Another fun tidbit. I forgot my shoes and had to borrow my brother's shoes for the race... oops. The bike was fairly uneventful. I went faster than the year before, but for some reason it seemed slower. I was a little disheartened at the beginning as I was passed by many people that were actually good at biking. I liked to give encouragement to those who whizzed by me (especially those with the cool pointy helmets and fancy bikes). I did try to keep up with one girl that passed me, but she dropped me like a bad habit after about 2 miles of following her. (bike time 36:49)

Since they had Blake, the wife and Liz couldn't really run around and get pics, so here I am walking my bike into the transition after I had finished that portion.
Just starting out on the 5k.

Starting out the 5k I kept thinking "Hmmm, I think I might have gone too hard on the bike," as my calves started cramping and it was about all I could do to pick em up and put em down. I did however get to see the first place finisher as I started my 5K. It was quite impressive, and even moreso that he was only 17!

After about the first mile, things started to get better. My legs started to feel like they were back on the ground and I even found something like a rythm. I even got a guy headed in the other direction to give me a good game pat. His friend was running about 20 meters ahead of me and he gave a very enthusiastic high five and good game pat. Not wanting to be left out I said "Hey, I want one too!" He was happy enough to ablige and I went along my way with an enthusiastic pat on the rump from a total stranger... Nothing beats a good game pat from a complete stranger.

My final run time was 28:09 and with transitions my final time was 1:30:26. It was over a two minute PR over last year... Not exactly what I was looking for, but a PR is a PR right?

Coming in for the finish to the roar of the crowd and a few special fans!
Casey coming to the finish line, a great PR for him, but not as far behind me as I would have liked!
Exhausted, and slightly dissapointed with my time, yet still exhilarated! These medals were pretty awesome, all made by hand!
THE Chelan Men! Me, Casey, and the future, Blake!

Final Stats
Bike- 36:49
T2- 1:05
Run- 28:09
Overall- 1:30:26
PLACE- 103

Intro to...

Track Coach-
With long hair not unlike Samsonite, I ruled the high school track world. Ok, so I did pretty well in Washington State B school track and Field... Anyways, I was a hurdler/pole-vaulter in high school turned decathlete for a season in college before tradgedy struck. Actually it was less tradgedy and more stupidity. (I tore my hamstring from lack of stretching several times, the last of which took me out of track for good). But enough with the sad stuff. I think it's time to get happy.

Like the old wise men say "Once you go track, you never go back," I am back in Track, this time as a high school coach. I have been coaching for three years now and I love every minute of it. I coach my kids in hurdles and sprints... Hurdles being my speciality. I enjoy it the most when I can take a kid that doesn't necessarily know they have talent in one area and give them the tools and training they need to succeed. I love to see my kids go on to state and win medals and all that. It definately brings it all back to me, except instead of just getting to enjoy the medals one time by myself, I get to enjoy the medals six or seven times with all the kids.

So now you've heard the back story of coach, which brings us to the present. I have decided that while it is awesome to help other people achieve their goals, I think I need to have some goals of my own. With that in mind, I have decided to train for the ultimate goal of running an IRONMAN triathlon. Wowza, that's a little scary to say, up to now my athletic career has consisted of sprinting and the occasional longer run. I have never even run farther than a 10K. Notwithstanding my crappy endurance and my extra 30 pounds, I have decided to take on this challenge anyway... and with a little encouragement from adorable wife and hopefully a few friends, I think anything is possible.

So here we go, along the way, I will post my progress in training and race results. I will also post excercises that have helped me in the past or ones that I am currently using to beat up my kids (and myself). I would love to hear from other would be triathletes and runners as well as experienced athletes and runners if you have words of encouragement, like what you see ;) or happen to try some of the exercises you see on here and your reviews of them.

Adorable Wife-
My story is more common. A three sport athlete in high school (volleyball, basketball, and softball), I was completely wrapped up in my athletic life. Each dive for a ball filled me with joy. Each battle scar was a war wound worthy of a trophy shelf. And each time I got to go out and play a game, I was in sweaty heaven. We were good, I was competitive. It was a perfect fit. Then school ended. A shoulder injury kept me from going further and suddenly my most prized title, athlete, was stripped from me. From then my story was still great if not routine. First comes love (coach), then comes marriage (March 26, 2005), then comes the babIES in the baby carriage (Peyton and Brady.)

I was living out the second phase of my dream life, stay at mom, yet I did not feel like me. This wife and mom wasn't complete. As I watched coach get invited to play softball and other friends cross finish lines at races, I knew I wanted to reignite my internal athletic flame. Our area is so small that rec sports for women (especially competitive ones) are few and far between, so I was quickly realizing that running may be my only option. I tried it. I still hated it. There were no balls, no other players to interact with, no constant action. I was bored. A big part of me didn't know if I could do it, but man did I want to. True accomplishment and pushing through the tough (if labor doesn't count) had been a missing friend in my life. What I needed was a "game" to push towards, so I signed up for my first 5k in June of 2010 and with no way out, completed it. Planning for the races is possibly TOO much fun, training for them, however, that I am still working on. I have only done two races to date and my times were SLOW. Sports always came very naturally to me, and I am struggling a bit with sucking at something. I may never be great, but coach says I have a good build and with his help maybe I can be. Right now, I just know that training and resurrecting the former athlete in me has made me happier than I have been in years and I don't want to lose that, so if I have to RUN to maintain it then, pavement here I come!

We have been blog hopping for a while and so many of you have been inspiring us, and helping to keep the wife, especially, running, and for that we thank you. Now as we start our scary journey into blog land we ask for your support, input, tips, and hilarious stories and hope that you may also gain from us. If nothing else, this will help keep us accountable because we know you all will be out there wagging your fingers at us if we aren't keeping up with our training. Both of us are pretty new to this whole racing world and don't know much about it's associated products so could definitely use your vast knowledge there. The poor wife doesn't even have a good pair of running shoes, she is just using some Nike's that bruise her feet (my poor baby!)It will be great to see you around bloggy world and even cooler when we get to cross paths with some of you more local runners in the REAL world!

In the words of Barney Stinson, "[track]SUIT UP!"