Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bike Fit

I have lately been begging for some bike fit help, which has been a disaster since I changed saddles in 2013 (same saddle type but new....hard to put a new saddle on without some issues).   I couldn't really find help- people have moved, changed shops, etc.  My favorite fitter in Tucson, Brian Grasky, knew I couldn't get out to him and offered to fly here to help me.  How awesome is that?  This sport is full of awesome people.  But, as he has a baby on the way, that didn't make much since for us to make this grand plan for him to travel (although he was willing!), and I just can't make a good trip to Tucson right now. 

Funny how when you are serious about getting stuff done, doors open for you.  Help came to me in the form of....

Super friend who seriously just happened to be driving through Memphis on his way home from Florida brought his fitting equipment and totally took care of me.  There is nothing like having one of your friends trained and certified in so many areas of bike fit:  Cobb, Retul, cleat positioning, etc, etc....
So let's see how it goes this weekend on the road.  Bike fitting comes down to millimeters when you have ridden for a while.  When you first start riding, the bike fit can just be "good enough."  But over time, little changes can really maximize your effort on the bike.  I have a much better feel for optimal positioning for me now, so when something is not is just not right.  I can notice either physically, such as in my back, or I notice when I am riding hills or surging, and my body just can't seem to move correctly.  And for me, my body has changed since having Isla, so that is something else that had to be considered with my fit.  So in the end, we made a few little tweaks, and I am going to ride and race on it and see if we moved things in the right direction. 
Wattie Ink #OGs!
I am seriously grateful for this friend.  Nacho also happens to be my wingman on the party scene (along with Sue).  So, our friendship extends beyond triathlon to some very memorable Las Vegas action involving expresso flavored Patron and a tranny. 

Thanks NACHO!!! Whoo hoo!!!!

Monday, March 23, 2015


This weekend I finally breathed a sigh of relief.  I have put in a few weeks of consistent, solid training.  I rode my first real group ride since Isla was born (oh, only 20 months later...) and had a decent day.  I wasn't my old self and I am not at my pre-baby cycling level yet, but I was encouraged.  It wasn't any one session that gave me hope, it was just this feeling that I finally could race and would not embarrass myself.  I am going to be able to get out there and push it and love it.  Finally! 
I am really looking forward to this season as a "redo" of how I wanted last year to be.  I honestly don't know how I even got to the start line last year.  It all seems crazy to me now as I think about showing up completely sleep deprived, with intense back pain, out of shape, and on a broken bike to races.  Yes, I finally got my bike fixed...just last week.  I never found the time to fix my bike.  Unreal, but very symbolic of where I was in life that I chose to just ride a bike with a broken rear brake mechanism than to make the time to get it fixed. 
20 months later, I can think of three significant changes.  1.  I only get up for Isla 1-2 night now.
2.  Dave is on board.  He helps me at night.  He knows how to help me with so much more.  3.  I don't plan a year of racing.   I plan 2 months of racing, followed by a long break to give back to my family, followed by more racing if I wish.  It is no longer a never ending cycle of training and racing.  Races don't really require a 6 month focus, but it takes confidence to train for an actual race instead of trying to stay race ready all year round. 
My little buddy is growing up so quickly.  I don't even know where to start.  It is amazing how observant kids are.  She knows that the foam rollers are for "rolling," and she instructs me on how to do it.  She is also very aware that mommy runs and rides a bicycle, and she points out every runner/cyclist to me when we are in the car.  It blows me away to think that what she sees me do now will have some sort of impact on her future life.  Love that nugget!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Step Forward: Little Rock Half Marathon

In my journey of 2 steps forward and 10,000 steps back, I finally starting moving forward again with my half marathon this weekend in Little Rock.  Yay!

Prior to this weekend, I was doing nothing but going backwards.  My last race, although done when I was sick, was still a poor enough showing that I started to feel sad.  I knew the run was not an indicator of where I was in building back my run....or was it?  Truth be told, I just didn't know.  Well, I thought I knew.  I thought that once again, I had managed to make zero progress in my fact, I had even gone backwards and was slower.  (cue world's smallest violin)

And the Little Rock half marathon was here, and I wasn't ready...again.  What do you mean you weren't ready...sandbagger!  Don't you hate it when people say that?  No, for real.  I wasn't ready.  All signs, including the weekly run mileage average of only 23 miles for the past 6 weeks (and even less the 6 weeks before that),  only 2 longer runs of 11 and 13 miles (not even long), and zero tempo pointed to another sub par race.  That is just not the way to prep for a half marathon in which you want to do well.  I was really sad and stressed about it.

Another race with no goals?  Another training day?  No, please no.  Now I have no problem just getting out there no matter how slow or out of shape I might be.  I love to run, and that is not dependent on speed.  But, I think all of us as runners need some races where we accomplish something objective....something more than just having fun.  Of course I always have fun!  But, I also like the feeling of seeing progress or pay off for my work.  I had planned this race with the intention of being race ready, but once again I wasn't ready to answer the call.

The Little Rock Half Marathon is my favorite, though, so I stuck with the plan to run it.  AND, I had the opportunity to run as an ambassador for my favorite bra sponsor, Enell.  I was challenged again to keep a positive attitude about my current race fitness, and I also challenged myself to race the races on my schedule regardless of where my training might be.   
 The best running bras for C cups and higher AND nursing mamas! :) 
I met up with my other favorite mother and friend, Joy.  My morning was a little less chaotic without a toddler around, but it wouldn't be a classic mom day if something wasn't a little challenging, like the fact that my breast pump didn't work.  Thankfully Joy had one and I didn't have to feel completely miserable on my run.  (and thank goodness I run in Enell bras and don't have to worry about anything moving in that area). Once at the race, we did a sub par warm up, put on our garbage bags to shield the rain and cold, and then tried to sneak into the same corrals but got busted.  :) How could the race officials say no to these two friendly girls that just wanted to run together.  Come on! :)
The race started, and I told myself over and over to go slowly and pace very moderately.  If there is one thing that I consider my strength, it is pacing.  I was guessing I would be lucky if I was anywhere near 1:45 or even slower.  I was thinking an 8 to 8:15 min pace would be reasonable.  I kept looking at my garmin and the numbers coming back to me were "too fast."  I kept forcing myself to slow down.  Every mile kept feeling easy....too easy, honestly.  I thought for sure they must be downhill with a tailwind, and once I hit the inclines my "real lack of fitness" would show.  And then I hit the inclines after the 10k mark and my pace was continually getting faster.  Finally, at mile 8 or so, I realized I was running an appropriate pace, as shocking as it was to see 7:30s and 7:20s on my screen.  The hills weren't slowing me down, and I wasn't dying.
Someone under-dressed for their spectating duties...LOVE my baby cousin Anna :)
I saw my family around mile 10 or 11, gave them a big smile, and just kept cruising.  I realized I would hit a post baby PR if I just kept it going, so I really focused on form and turnover the last few miles.  Well, I did until I hit the 10,000 walkers from the 10k that merged onto our course.  Then I spent the last 2 miles dodging people, politely asking them to make room, and accidentally knocking into a one or two.  And while my last 2 miles were my fastest, I couldn't quite get into that place where I really pushed my pace due to the crowd. 
(thanks for the pictures, Aunt Kathy!)  This one is my favorite :)
 I finished in 1:38:49 for a new post baby PR.  (Last post baby PRs were in Nov with a 1:42:22, and 1:42:21).  I negative split each section of the race and felt great.  And as Isla likes to say:  AMEN!

Why in the world was I able to hold a 7:26 pace (according to Garmin as I ran a long course- official pace 7:32)?  2 weeks ago I could barely run a 4 miler at 7:35 pace and I was dying!  I think there are a few reasons.  1.  I was healthy for this race- no sickness in family.  2.  Joy and Jeremy fed me a ton of food the night before, and I slept a full night (1st one of 2015, I think).   3.  I have a lot of fitness to draw from pre-baby, and that is still in there somewhere  4.  I am just a consistent training block or more away from breaking through  5.  I keep getting out there and trying, and I don't let my lack of results keep me from starting  6.  It was just my day to feel good.  Race day luck :)

Nothing till Nola 70.3 besides mom, work, train, house hunt, keep current house from falling apart, and....staying positive and working HARD!  Now we are going to focus on real PRs!

Thank you for the support for this race- you guys are the very best:  Super dad and Spreaglet, The Harwood family, Enell, Breakaway Running, Powerbar, Los Locos, Wattie Ink,