Tag Archives: swimming

That Time I Did Two Races in One Weekend

25 Feb

Last week, I did something crazy.

Every winter, there is a local “Winter Series” of races held in Barboursville Park: a 3 mile, 4 mile and a 5 mile race. I’ve never signed up for the full series (but I’d like to next year), but one of the races always seems to catch my eye. Last week, I noticed that the weather was supposed to be perfect over the weekend, the 5 mile race was happening on Sunday and it just so happened that my long run in half-marathon training was 5 miles exactly. After hitting up my fellow trainees on Facebook, I got a partner and paid the $15 for the race registration.

5 miler


It may seem crazy to pay $15 to run a scheduled training run, but I find the race atmosphere to be considerably motivating. I knew if I paid money, I would run and I would try hard!

Then, something kind of crazy happened. My friend Sarah posted on Facebook about signing up for the Marshall Recreation Center’s Indoor Triathlon, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, and despite the fact that I hadn’t been in a pool or on a bike in over a year, I immediately signed up. Pretty much right after doing so, I had a bit of a panic attack — a triathlon one day and a five mile race the next, on top of the fact that we had planned a surprise party (at my house!) for my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and I had a few other things on my to-do list!? I knew it was a lot, but after I paid good money I wasn’t about to back out. I pretty much put it out of my mind until later in the week. On the days leading up to the race(s), I took a couple of back-to-back rest days and just tried to relax. Then, on Friday I realized that I had no idea where my goggles were and I didn’t know if my TYR swimsuit even would still fit, considering I purchased it when I was twenty pounds lighter. I went to pick up my packet for the tri, and realized that the little equipment shop at the gym didn’t sell goggles. Uh oh.

I woke up bright and early on Saturday on a mission to get everything ready. I went to Wal Mart and found goggles, a swim cap and some fuel (energy jelly beans!), pulled out my old TYR suit (still fit, sort of) and packed my bag as best as I could.

photo 1 (6)

The triathlon, luckily, was a very short distance: 300 m swim, 8 mile bike (on the spin bike) and 2 mile run (on the treadmill) and the transitions would not be timed. I knew I would be able to finish everything, so I went into it just wanting to finish and have fun. When I signed up for the race, they asked me to estimate my swim time in order to set up heats. Since I hadn’t been in the pool for ages, I had no idea what to estimate, so I over-estimated — by a lot. That meant that everybody I knew was in a lower heat than me. I waited around for nearly two hours to get in the pool. Luckily, that meant I got to watch everybody else and got some good pointers.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

Sarah rocking the 300 m swim.

One thing I noticed was that a lot of people went out very fast and ended up having to switch to breast stroke or back stroke to catch their breath. I knew I would have to do this eventually (breathing while swimming isn’t a strength), but I knew to rein it in a little at the start to not wear myself out too quickly. When it came time for my swim, I had just downed my energy jelly beans (those things are great!) and I was ready to go! I ended up swimming a lot faster than I expected with a finish time of 6:09! I was very happy with that time.

Next up was the bike. Since transitions weren’t timed, I should have taken a bit more time between skills. I was so amped up that I rushed up to the bike and hopped on immediately. I ended up finishing the bike in a decent time — 14:26, but when I got off the bike I had a side stitch. Again, I should have taken some time to breathe, but I was in a hurry to finish so I hopped right on the treadmill.

tri finish

I ended up running the two miles slightly slower than I had hoped, and ended with a total time of 40:53. I was very proud of this because I didn’t train at all, and this is my very first time attempting a three-sport race, or even doing three different sports in one workout! I definitely want to do this again. I’m hesitant to say that I’ll try a triathlon, because the gear needed is pricey, but I will definitely sign up for the indoor event again. It was very fun!

After the triathlon, I was busy, busy. Zach and I had to run some errands, I had a workshop to attend, and I had to do some straightening up since we were hosting a party that evening. Needless to say, I didn’t make through much of the party before heading to bed — I was so tired! Not to mention, I had  a five mile race the next day….

I woke up on Sunday not feeling so hot. So, I made waffles and vegged on the couch. I could see out my big front window that the weather was getting nicer and nicer, so I texted my friend Shannon to make sure she was still in for the race. She was, and though I thought of backing out, I pulled on some running clothes and headed out the door. The weather was perfect. It was like we were meant to run that day, because about an hour after we finished the rain started and then it turned to snow.

I won’t go into much detail about the race, just that Shannon and I both just treated it as a training race. We both ran with our music on low and talked the whole time, running just under an 11 minute mile pretty much the whole time. The course was great, and it was a change of pace from our usual long run courses, so that was helpful. We ended up finishing in just over 55 minutes, which was confusing to us because our GPS was telling us we were running under an 11 minute mile the whole time. Then, when we both looked at our devices after the race, they both said that we ran about 5 and a quarter miles. So I don’t know if our GPS devices were off or if the race course was long. At any rate, we finished and felt great. Plus, pizza!

5 mile run


I think all races should have pizza at the finish line!

So, I finished two races in two days and I lived to tell the tale. I’m glad I did it, but by Sunday night I had trouble keeping my eyes open.

Question of the Day:
Have you ever done a triathlon? Did you love it? 


Half Marathon Training and Can women’s world records catch up with men’s?

8 Aug

Did I tell you that I broke my coffee pot this weekend? I know, I’m pretty upset about it too. I was in a cleaning frenzy and just…knocked it off the counter. Yep, I haven’t had coffee all week. Even Monday morning, after I didn’t sleep at all, I went coffee-less. I have no idea how I did it, but right now, this is happening:


Yes, I broke down and bought a coffee. I’m going to have to buy a new coffee pot ASAP, because buying coffee is too expensive.

This week marks week 1 of my half-marathon training:

I’m following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan found here. The one and only time I’ve ever run a half marathon, I didn’t really follow a training schedule, other than running outside a bunch and making sure I did long runs once a week. I knew the magic number was 10 miles, so I ran a 10 mile long run exactly one week before the half marathon. My final time was 2:13:45, which isn’t too bad for my first half, but this time I hope to do much better with a proper training schedule.

As anyone who has trained for a race knows, training schedules rarely go as planned. I’ve already had to do some significant juggling, and it’s only Wednesday of week 1! Again, I didn’t sleep well Sunday night so I took Monday as a rest day. Instead of a three mile run, I did a nice and sweaty speed work session on the treadmill yesterday evening:

6.8 mph = about 8:50/mile which is my 5k pace. This morning I woke up and went to my Cardio Fusion class, and when I got there our instructor had us get out all kinds of equipment: a short circular resistance band, a body bar, a step, a mat, dumbbells (I got 8lb and 6 lb, but I stuck with the 8lb weights for most of the class), and a Bosu. We definitely used all of that equipment too. My arms and butt feel like jelly. So, I’ve got my speed work and one strength session in for the week. I plan on doing a three mile run after work and I should be caught up to the training schedule above. Even if life happens and I don’t get in a run this evening, I still have that Friday rest day that I can do something if I need to. So the first week of training is going well, albeit not according to plan.

Now, let me share with you this amazing article I read yesterday from The Atlantic:

The ‘Golden’ Ratio: The One Number that Describes how Men’s World Records Compare with Women’s

For the first time ever this year, there was no country that marched with only male athletes. With the introduction of female boxing to the Summer Games, there are no longer any male-only sports. Ye Shiwen, a Chinese female swimmer, shocked Olympic judges by swimming a faster 50 m split than Ryan Lochte. Of course, no female can out-perform a man without automatically being suspected of using illegal substances.

The Atlantic article above shows that perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised, because according to World Record data since the early 1900’s (using running and swimming as the model), women may start to consistently out perform men in this century. Over time, women’s records have improved at a much greater frequency than men’s have, so it stands to reason that eventually, women will ‘catch up’ with men. If you extrapolate the data found in these articles, you will see eventually the men’s and women’s data will converge. How cool is that?

Question of the day:
What is the most interesting article you have read lately? 

Extra Sleep = Extra Exercise

2 Aug

I get up at 5:15 in the morning, Monday through Friday, even on rest days. I’m a firm believer that if you wake up at the exact same time every morning, you’ll never have trouble getting out of bed and to the gym.

Yesterday, I broke my rule. I just did not want to get out of bed! I woke up with my alarm, but I just laid there, reading on my Kindle and drifting in and out of sleep for two hours!

I guess I just needed the extra sleep, but when I don’t get up and work out or at least get some housework done, I feel…blah for the rest of the day. So when I got home from work, I was determined to do something productive. So, I put on my workout clothes and went to the gym. I got on the treadmill and did a really hardcore HIIT run for about 20 minutes:

*Typically, my warm up speed starts at 4.0 and goes up from there until I get to about 6.0

I’m telling you what, I was out of breath and very sweaty when I was done with this. I hope you’ll try it! If you do, let me know in the comments below.

After the gym, I made the most delicious dinner: Morrocan Chicken and a simple salad with cucumbers (homegrown, thanks to my friends Shane and Susie), tomatoes, kale, green leaf lettuce and sunflower seeds. I poured Sriracha all over the chicken and Pomegranate Vinaigrette on the salad. It was so good! The sauce for the chicken was so delicious I wanted to drink it.

Not my photo! Photo credit: Whole Living Magazine

I used this recipe  for the chicken. I made a few changes, however: I didn’t use raisins because I’m not really a fan, I didn’t have any white wine so I used cooking sherry, I served it over rice rather than quinoa (because I’m out of quinoa) and I added garam masala because it’s my favorite spice blend. This was a keeper for sure! You should try it. That photo above isn’t mine. I forgot my phone at home today, so my photos are MIA for now. But mine looked quite like that, except the whole dutch oven thing. I really need a dutch oven. I had to cook mine in my cast-iron skillet with aluminum foil covering it.

Keeping up the momentum, this morning I was ready to go when my alarm went off. I decided to hit the pool this morning, for the first time in almost 2 years! I really have slacked off on my swimming workouts, but I think after this morning’s great swim, I’m going to try to add it in instead of a run once a week. Here is what I did:

*The typical pool is 25 meters in length. Olympic sized pools are 50 meters in length.

I swam 900 meters, which is roughly equal to one half of a mile:

Gotta love Google conversions

There is a poster on the wall in the pool area of my gym that says swimming 1/4 of a mile is equal to running one mile. I wonder what that means? Calorie burn? Time? I’m not really sure. I guess I’ll Google it when I’m done with this post and let you know tomorrow!

After I changed out of my suit, I hit the weight room for a few sets of chest and arm exercises (bench press, incline bench press, push ups, barbell tricep extension and hammer curls). I’d say that the little bit of extra sleep I got yesterday morning went a long way!

Question for the day:
How do you know if you need some extra sleep? 

What’s your favorite Olympic sport?

27 Jul

I’m having a little trouble concentrating this morning, and it’s not because the local coffee shop was giving away free Red Bull smoothies and now I’m bouncing off the walls in a sugar and caffeine-induced frenzy.

It’s because today is the day:

I seriously can barely contain myself.

The real excitement starts tomorrow, when the events begin, but the Opening Ceremonies are tonight. Typically, I watch about an hour of the Opening Ceremony before I get bored, haha. Let’s talk about the different events I’m excited for:

Track & Field
Obviously, as a runner, I like to watch the running! The event I’m most excited about in this category is the Women’s Marathon (Sunday, August 5th). Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher have apparently trained together every step of the way. Although Shalane won the trials, I know Kara says she is feeling really strong, so it will be interesting to see how these two ladies do.

Does this photo bring tears to anyone else’s eyes? How inspiring.

Women’s Gymnastics
I’ll be sexist here and say that I’m much more interested in women’s gymnastics than the men’s version. Do you remember the 1996 Women’s Gymnastic team? I will never forget the scene of Kerri Strug being carried off the floor by her coach, after she nailed a perfect vault with a broken ankle. Ok, I know, performing while injured isn’t the best idea, but you have to admit that was inspiring. How about Dominique Dawes? Do you remember her floor routines? She would do a tumbling pass and then just bounce in the opposite direction. Crazy.

One of the best Olympic moments of all time.

I’m excited to watch this year’s women perform. I don’t know if they will live up to the glory the team had in 1996, but I sure hope they do!

Men’s and Women’s Swimming
I’ve saved the best for last. I adore the swimming events. I can guarantee that I will be glued to my television set, watching Michael Phleps, Ryan Lochte, Kara Lynn Joyce and then rest of the team do their thing, but the lady I really want to talk about is Dara Torres.


Dara has been on the Summer Olympic team in 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2008 and now in 2012. Yes, she will be making her 6th Olympic Appearance (her Olympic career has spanned 28 years), at the age of 44. Dara is a true inspiration. She has won a total of 12 Olympic medals, she is the first women in the history of the US Olympics whose Olympic career has spanned past the age of forty. In 2000 Olympics (age 40), she was the oldest member of the US Olympic team, but won 5 more medals than anyone else.

Uh, yeah. Inspiring. Dara has recently had reconstructive knee surgery, so I’m really rooting for her to perform well this year. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on her.

I’ll leave you with this adorable video of the US Olympic Swimming Team doing their version of the infectious hit “Call Me Maybe”

Call Me Maybe, US Olympic Swim Team version

How adorable is that!? You can have your Kardashians or what have you, I’ve got hero worship for these amazing athletes.

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite Olympic event?