Saturday, August 30, 2014

First week of classes!

Thought after the first week of class:

1) I am so glad I already decided to take the Fall off!
Despite the best laid plans, the only scheduled work out I made this week was a yoga class on Wednesday morning, and that almost made me fall asleep. Six hours of classes spread throughout the day on both Tuesday and Thursday, plus a three hour block on Friday, does not lend itself to any workouts on those days. After this last race in a week (Nation's Tri!), I'll be thrilled to have zero pressure to make workouts, and the chance to just do the fun stuff as I want.

2) My circa 2006 laptop IS SO OLD!
I finally have a shiny new HP Sleekbook, and, in the four hours I've had it, it has already changed my outlook on computers! My shiny new machine has TOUCHSCREEN, a FULL KEYBOARD, and more storage than I know what to do with. I almost can't wait to actually do work on it! (Good thing, too, with a journal note due this semester...)

3) I am dubbing the next month SLIM DOWN SEPTEMBER!
I haven't actually finished my whole plan, but this new "challenge" will cover cleaning up my eating (and cutting down on carbs due to less training), unpacking all the boxes from moving, cleaning out my closet, and streamlining whatever I can. Sort of a defrag for my life! (Not that my new laptop needs a defrag, it's so fast!!)

Also, K and I went to the Ohio State v. Navy football game today, and it was awesome! (Disclaimer: this is not a general acceptance of all football related activities)

Is anyone else excited for September?!?!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summertime Gear!!

Summertime calls for some special training gear! Every year I try to update my gear to make it more efficient, and here are some things I use almost every day:

Oakley Race Day Tank: I have literally ten of these tank tops in four different colors, and I wear them for every activity (except swimming). They are very light, super wicking, have a built in bra (though I still double up for runs), and it's long enough to cover my back during bike rides. I literally have tan lines exclusively because of this tank.

SkirtSports Redemption Run Shorts: These are the perfect length to cover everything, without being tight, but are really easy to run in. I love the back pocket for my ipod. I have them in black, blue, and oasis. Trust me, they're even better than Speed shorts or even Oiselle Rogas.

Asics shoes: I've worn Asics shoes since high school, and I've pretty much hated any other kind I've tried. I'm currently rotating between these gorgeous Asics GEL DS-Trainers, which I wore for Iron Girl, but also a pair of GT-2000s and Kayanos.

Oakley duffel: I've been carrying all my gym supplies in this awesome Oaley duffel, wich I acquired from my dear husband at the beginning of the summer. It has an awesome wet pocket for my shoes or swimsuit, a front and side pockets for goggles and a lock, and plenty of room inside for everything else. I just wish someone made petite sized duffels so they don't bang my knees.....

Sun protection:
Neutrogena Sunblock Spray: This sprays on very easily, doesn't run even if it gets on your face and you start sweating, and does't smell terrible. I like it.
Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion: I put this on every morning and after I shower in the afternoon. It soaks in very quickly, and won't affect any makeup you put on after. It also doesn't drip or irritate my eyes at all.
Oakley Visor: I don't really remember why, but I hated visors until last year. Now I won't run outside without one. I got white so I can also use it for my occasional (barely ever) golf and tennis outings.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Set Shampoo/conditioner: This is a little less training-focused, but I added this to my shower bag because it smells like a day at the beach, leaves my hair super soft, and I can spray in the surf spray after my hair has been in a bun all day, and I still look like a mermaid. Perfect.

One piece Tyr suit: Whenever I find one of these  in black and pink on sale, I snatch it up. I think I've been through two or three a year, and I only use them for laps. In school, I had to wear a "conservative black one-piece," which started with my first reversible pink and black one. Now that it's just me, though, I might splurge this year on a crazy one! (Or this ADORABLE Team Betty one!)
Vacation suit: When I'm going on vacation and I know I might have time for some laps, I always pack an awesome Kovey Swell top and simple bottoms. I love the wave or currents prints, and I love that it stays in place whether I'm swimming or playing volleyball!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tri Talk Tuesday: Getting Over Burnout

I'm not going to lie, I spend too much time trolling through other blogs and reading race reviews for races I've already done, races I want to do, and to get great training tips. This week, I finally decided to link up with You Signed Up For WHAT?!The Cupcake Triathlete, and The TriGirl Chronicles for Tri Talk Tuesdays! 

Over the summer I definitely experienced a little running burnout. Any run over 3 miles seemed just painful, and I even started cutting short any track workouts I did. I was bored, it seemed painful, and, even though I had a goal in mind and did two races in June, it seemed pointless. The swimming and biking, though, were going great! Here's how I've been dealing with it:

  • Take a break: I cut out any "unnecessary" runs for a few weeks, and only had one short run a week with an optional run on my calendar for the weekends. I focused on speed, with some very short track sessions, and did them mostly so I'd maintain some semblance of a tan more than anything else. After just two weeks of short runs, though, I started pulling out of the funk.
  • Try something new: Maybe you just need a new perspective! I've been dying to try out Surfset classes, and add more yoga. While I didn't get around to more yoga (darn you, traffic!) replacing running with something I saw as more "fun" took my mind off the "guilt" of not running.
  • Focus on some other aspect of training: While I was HATING running, swimming was going great! I slowly added laps every week, mixed in different paces, and really felt like I improved. You could also focus more on eating healthier, trying new recipes, practicing transitions, or improving your bike mechanic skills.
  • Don't lose sight of your goals: I have two triathlons in August/September, so, as much as I didn't want to, I knew I couldn't cut out running entirely. One thing I knew I needed specifically was brick workouts. I did cut down the distance, maybe doing only a mile or two off the bike on weekends, but with the goals I had, this was just one thing I had to push through. 
Maybe training through a burnout is just one more mental hump to get you ready for race day. This is also where my Army-training "bounce, don't break" resiliency comes in, and I try not to let it ruin my outlook on the rest of my life at the time. A little bit of burnout isn't the end of the world; maybe it's just a sign that you need to shake things up a little bit. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Some wedding pictures!

Oh, also.....I finally got all my wedding pictures back, and have been going through them to order albums for the family! Here's some of my favorites:

First Look at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma

My favorite people

We wrote our own ceremony...and printed it off and put it in K's pocket

Obligatory first beer picture at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens - Liberty Station

Iron Girl Columbia: Race Recap

Iron Girl Columbia 2014 is complete! I definitely was planning on going hard for this race, and I learned a few things: I can't control everything, and I shouldn't plan on going hard for my first triathlon of the season.

Saturday: Packet Pickup/Expo/Bike Racking
After doing a first layout Saturday morning, we headed out to the expo in Columbia and arrived around noon, just in time for the course talk. Even though I felt decently familiar with the course, since it's pretty similar to the Half Full course, I wanted to go just in case there was something new. I breezed through to pick up my packet and t shirt, then we walked around the expo area. It was pretty small, and also pretty crowded. Parking was kind of a mess, so I'm glad we opted to park in the park and walk across the street to where the expo was; it made bike drop off easier.

Bike racking was pretty easy, but there was a little bit of a line to get bikes inspected. Everyone needed a sticker from the local bike shop to rack, but they had people there at the park inspecting. They were also really nice about helping apply the race stickers, and even trimmed down them down so you could put just the numbers on the side, rather than have a flappy number underneath. "Bike valets" were also on hand to walk you to your assigned slot on the racks. I really appreciated how they had the numbers on the racks, so you knew exactly where your stuff belonged.
The night before, I woke up several times during the night with a lot of pain in my hip flexors, so I was pretty nervous walking around during the day. By the time we got to the expo, despite foam rolling in the morning, my hip flexors hurt all the way around to my lower back, with some pretty gnarly knots back there. I popped some naproxen, foam rolled pretty much every hour, and applied some herbal cream throughout the day. While I usually have pretty tight hip flexors (don't we all?!) I thought I'd done a good job all summer stretching them out, not sitting at my desk too much, and haven't had any big problems like this all year. Ugh.
Afterwards, we ran a few errands, got some pizza for lunch, and then headed home for some more foam rolling.

Sunday: Race Day!
Sunday started bright and early, as every race day does. I was up at 5 and was itching to go, but I had also signed up K to volunteer as flat tire patrol on the bike course. This means I had to drag him out of bed, wait for him to find his socks while I made him a sandwich for breakfast, then pack his helmet and bike on the car, then wait in park halfway down the block while he ran back upstairs to get his map.
We finally got to the park area around 6, and I ran down to transition while K found a parking spot and went to join the other volunteers. I dropped my transition bag, and ran my bike over to the bike volunteers to get my tires checked. I'm always a little paranoid that I'm going to underinflate, or overinflate, or somehow ruin my tires, and I always do a full check on my bike in transition. This time, however, I should've just trusted myself....the bike mechanic volunteer over inflated my front tube and popped it right there. Thankfully they were nice enough to completely replace it and put everything back together right there, so I knew my bike was as fresh as it ever would be for a race. By this point, though, I had about ten minutes left until transition closed, and was about ready to throw up. While my hip flexors weren't painful, my lower back still had two huge knots and running was probably going to be incredibly painful. Also, the water was just over 76 degrees, but I didn't bring my wetsuit. Oh well....
I grabbed my buddy, who was doing her first triathlon, and we headed to the swim start to wait for our wave. There were about 15 waves for 1800ish athletes, and we were in wave 9. The swim start in Centennial Park is pretty nice, since it's always time trial start, going two by two about every five seconds. It went pretty fast, and before I knew it we were in the water. I had two goals: don't freak out, and finish under 30 minutes. At least I got one goal. I definitely felt a lot stronger and calmer than I did in the past year, but not very fast. I think I finished at about 33 minutes.
After getting out of the water, I ran to transition and hit the bike. For some reason, I seemed to forget two things: one, there are a lot of hills, and two, there are 1800 other people on the bike course. I was hoping to finish under 50 minutes, but with the sheer number of people (/newbies) on the course, there was no way I could pass people enough to keep a good pace. Maybe the course brief should be mandatory for everyone; no matter how many times I yelled "STAY TO YOUR RIGHT!!!" there was always someone riding the double yellow line. Very frustrating. Also, no flats. None. Not even a little.
I felt like I breezed through the bike, so I was determined to at least race the 5k portion. I've been running an easy 8:30 in training for the past few weeks, so I was hoping for an easy sub-30:00 for the 5K (actually, 3.4 miles). The first half mile or so of the course is pretty flat, so I was feeling pretty good, until I hit the first downhill portion. Pain shot through my lower back, and almost took my breath away. Thankfully, this seemed to be mostly just on the downhill portions, and there is a HUGE uphill before that became a big problem. I hit mile one around 8:35, right on pace, but slowed down significantly on "Gatorade hill," one of the longest multi-hills in the park. I hit mile 2 at about 20:00, so I knew I had slowed down. Heading back down gatorade hill was THE WORST. I tried everything, from tiny little steps to even side stepping to stop the pain, but eventually fell into a fast walk-run pace for most of the downhill. As if that weren't enough, right at mile 3, my right quad cramped up something awful, and I HAD to stop and try to stretch it out a little bit. I hobbled across the finish line with about a 37:20, which was very disappointing, but exciting at the same time!
BTW, probably my new favorite race shirt!
I kind of hate finishing a race feeling like I could have done better, but with all the people out there, plus the pain, the only thing I could've done better on was the swim. I've already been swimming about three days a week, so I guess it's time to add more sprints!
I met up with my buddy, who finished just a minute before I did despite having a knee injury herself, and we chugged down some chocolate milk before wandering back to transition to get some of my pain medicine. We were actually looking for the food tent, but it's on the OTHER hill. We finally ended up there, and I finished half a bagel with PB and some more water. I considered waiting in line for the wellness tent, with physical therapists and massage therapists, but then K called to say the last rider was in. We grabbed our stuff out of transition, and headed to the car. Which didn't start. That's always a great sound at the end of a race. Thankfully we got someone to jump the battery, and it was all ok. Until K decided to stop and get the oil changed and recharge the battery before I could take a shower.

We didn't get home until after 1, but did get some Chipotle on the way home. I ran in and picked it up while K was in the car, so the guy behind me in line got a full race recap. Sorry.
Even though I know I should stretch, or foam roll, or anything, I launched straight into my post-race tradition of shower, then wear my new race shirt while I sit on the couch and eat chipotle until I fall asleep. What a great Sunday afternoon.
Now, though, I'm definitely chugging water (weather was great, but a little humid!), stretching, putting heat cream on my bag, and foam rolling everything. I'll give my back a few more days to loosen up before I freak out and call in the acupuncturists! Hopefully this calms down on its own.

Overall, I'd have to say that this a really great race for beginners, is a lot of fun, but not great for getting a great time. If this had been my first race of the season (which it pretty much was), I probably wouldn't have been so disappointed at the end about my time. If you plan on doing this race, plan for the hills!

Now I just can't wait for Nation's Tri in three weeks! (and for school to start!)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Getting ready to go back to school: Backpack Pouch

This week I've been gathering everything up to get ready to go back to class (also, continuing to unpack the bazillion boxes that are a result of moving). While I love getting new binders, developing new systems to adapt to each new schedule, and buying hundreds of dollars of case books (not), I am also cleaning out the old from last year and settling on the new. Here's my updated pouch that I carry in my backpack with me:

  • Lilly Pulitzer pick me up pouch - I got this to match my carded ID wristlet, which I also carry to school/everywhere. This pouch is big enough to hold all my highlighters, but small enough so it's not bulky. 
  • Spare lip gloss/Bare minerals mineral veil - I carry this just in case I forget to pack a lip gloss, or need some extra shine control. I rarely have to pull it out though.
  • Hot pink duct tape - I started carrying this around with me when I was in the Army since it's so useful to put things back together/mark things. I still carry it around with me in case I get a blister from new shoes, or need to pull a prank in the library.
  • Sticky notes and post-it note tabs - because law school, obvi. I use the sticky notes to write notes to myself in my planner or on the top of my notebooks, or to leave notes on people's lockers. The tabs are for marking pages in a book or notebooks. 
  • Caffeine - I have narrowed my caffeine down to the normally acceptable methods of a tea bag and instant coffee (I used to carry around caffeine pills, but apparently that is "extreme")
  • ALL the highlighters - because law school. I have tried several different highlighting techniques for different classes and projects, so now I usually just try to use one highlighter for a particular class, and use three to five different colors for research projects/legal writing. I also have colored pens in the same colors as highlighters, so my notes match.
  • Pens/pencils - I use BIC Cristal pens, which last a long time and I've never had a problem with them. I also keep a mechanical pencil or two just in case. 
All of this goes in the front pouch of my backpack, where it's easy to grab at the start of each class. I also usually have a small pill pouch for extra allergy medication and advil. 

Am I missing anything?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

College....5 years later!

Over the past weekend, on my way to Hot Springs, I stopped by Staunton, Virginia, and visited Mary Baldwin College, my alma mater. I literally cannot believe it's been over FIVE YEARS since I graduated!! My five year college reunion was last spring, and I didn't go, but I have been talking more to some other classmates!

If it's been five years since you graduated, here's five things to think about doing!

  • Make a donation! If you haven't already, start making a donation to your school! Even if it's just the amount of your class year ($20.09), it's something to remind you to give back every year. 
  • Write an email to a professor who really affected you. If it's your academic advisor, that one women's study professor who changed your life, or a French professor who didn't fail you, take the time to track them down and drop a note to say you are doing alright!
  • Do something with those t shirts! I'm sure you have a pile of tattered shirts left over from great events (for us Baldwin girls, that's Apple Day, Junior Dads Ball, or VWIL platoon shirts) that, while comfy, have definitely seen better days. Plus, they probably make you seem really young ("Oh honey, what year are you in college?" "I graduated....five years ago..."). Turn them into a nice quilt, frame one into a piece of "art," or really, just anything so you don't wear them outside the house.
  • Get your diploma framed! I know, some people did this right after graduation, but I didn't. Well, I framed it myself in a scrapbook-style frame with pictures and mementos, but now that I have a "real" office and a "real" job (as a law student/Army officer), maybe it's time to invest in some professional framing.
  • Reconnect with someone you haven't talked to since graduation. I know, you only keep the friends you really deserve (shoutout to KLH, my roommate/soulmate/MOH/first call when anything happens in my life way before my husband), but maybe it's not a bad idea to network with a classmate who has a sweet job now (or a sweet baby) and just say hi. Attending a school networking event might count. 

Catching up!

What a summer! I can't even lie, not writing all summer long was actually a little nice. Just a few things I've been up to:
  • Definitely working. I've been at the OSJA at Fort Meade (check out a few blog posts at my other blog). The traffic from Baltimore to Fort Meade every day has been so much fun....but taking time at lunch every day to work out has been nice! 
  • Traveled to NYC for a friend's wedding and got to see Cinderella on Broadway! I would have liked to do the Oakley Women's 10K that weekend, but it sold out pretty fast (at least, faster than I planned)
  • Ran the Baltimore Women's Classic 5K on June 22. While I didn't do great, this was a really great race in downtown Baltimore! I got a medal (for a 5K!) and a great shirt!
  • Visited Mount Vernon for a fun afternoon. What a great afternoon trip! I hear the path from DC to there is pretty nice too. 
  • Moved to a new apartment, now that K is finally here permanently. I just love moving so much. We signed a 24 month lease, though, so I fully committed and even painted some of the rooms! We're going for a California Modern vibe (think Mad Men surf shack?) so it's been an interesting mix of "I love this blue!" delight and "why can't I just find a nice midcentury modern credenza to display my china?!" frustration. 
  • Traveled to San Diego for Comic Con!
  • After my last day of work, went to the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, VA, for a night to relax and spend a day in The Spa (it rained). 
  • Training for two late-summer triathlons - I'm doing the Iron Girl Columbia this coming Sunday, and Nation's Tri. 
You can check out some more of my adventures on my Instagram!

School is ramping up just next week, so soon I'll be back in the swing of things. I have purposely refrained from planning any major races in the fall until I know what my schedule will be like. I have a lot on my plate this year (16 credit hours, plus Maryland Journal of International Law, Peer Advisor, and MIPSA treasurer) but hopefully I'll still find time to write every now and then! 

Has anyone else had a great summer?