The Dream Star's Corner

Dare to Dream...and DO!
walk. run. fly.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer is My Off Season...Sort of.

Last year, I didn't have an off season. Actually, I didn't know what it meant to have an off season but now that I had a successful Spring filled with ups, downs, and major successes, I feel like I did what I set out to do. And I guess, I naturally felt like taking a break. Highlights from this Spring:

  • Marathon training
  • INJURY from marathon training
  • Recovery and the discovery of swimming and biking
  • Triumphant return to running
  • Half marathon PR (2:17:00 YEAH BABY!)
  • Half Fanatic Membership! (WOOOOO!)
  • Learned to swim
So there it is... a successful Spring and I turned 30! Everything kind of came to a close around my birthday so I thought I would take a break from any major workouts. I did some walking, a little running, and attended swim class but cut out any scheduled activity. 

I still have 5 to 6 weeks left before I have to start training for the triathlon in September and the full marathon at the end of October so I guess it's time to put down the cupcakes and hit the weight room. I spent some time setting up a rigorous maintenance and strength training schedule that includes 6 days a week full of running, spin, swimming, outdoor biking, and weight training. Much of which will be accomplished through two-a-day workouts to get my body used to waking up early for those grueling marathon training runs through the summer. 

The plan is to workout hard to build my tolerance and endurance without killing my body with repetitive movements - hence the variety. The weight training workout I chose to go with includes some work with free weights and on the exercise ball, and a meeeeean MMA abs workout that I found in Men's Men's Fitness. I know... I'm a woman, but I really like this routine. It gets away from the typical sit ups, crunches, bicycles, and other movements I've been doing for YEEEARS. 

My bike is scheduled to arrive in about a week! I decided to go with.....*drumroll*....

2011 Jamis Ventura Comp Femme

I've been a busy bee as I gear up for this summer. I'm currently struggling with what races I want to include in my training schedule. Sometimes, I like to register for races to help me train and get the real experience and in some cases, if I'm scheduled to run 13 miles, I figure "why not earn a medal for it?" So now it's time to figure it all out. I'm waiting to hear back from my triathlon club and about the training schedule that will be provided to us. Perhaps that can help me make some final race registration decisions. But for now, I need to figure out what helmet to buy and what kind of shorts are best for me to wear with this awesome bike! 

So do you have a running/riding/tri season and off season? Or do you register and participate in races when the mood hits you? 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

10 Things About Me On My 30th Birthday

I turned 30 years old today.

I'm not the kind of person who's really into throwing big parties or celebrating in some costly way...

When I was younger, I thought of my birthday as a holiday. I thought everyone should stop what they were doing to celebrate me and do as I ask. haha! But now, I look at my birthday as a very personal day and a moment for me to give myself my undivided attention. Many people fear looking inwardly to see where they can improve on the way they treat the world, others, and how they are viewed. I am not. I was always taught to evaluate yourself and look for ways to be a better person so that others could see the good in you.

Each day leading up to my 30th birthday felt like it was moving in slow motion... not the minutia of the day, so to speak, but the interpretations, reactions, major emotional/life altering events, etc. For instance, my injury (though it was a small one) revealed something in me. It revealed that being an athlete is actually very important to me so it hurt when I was told that I couldn't run. But I learned how strong I was mentally and it reassured me of my discipline to do what was best for my body so I could have a future as an athlete in years to come. I also learned to listen to my body - a crucial lesson for anyone who is athletic, or aging in general.

Another huge event that's happened since the beginning of the year was the end of my relationship. I have a couple of posts on my blog about my now ex-boyfriend. We lived together and started planning a future together but then he changed his mind. I was forced to move on and that's okay. I've done it before... maybe not so gracefully in the past. This time, I believe I'm really executing the closure process well. I'm grateful for the experience and what we had. I matured immensely and I'm sure of who I am.  More than ever, I feel sure of myself.

Moving on, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! So here's the list of things that I've come up with about myself:

1. I am a planner. I know that tomorrow is not promised and it's important to stay in your present moment but I love to plan the details of an activity. I love troubleshooting any potential problems that may pop up before the activity is complete.

2. I am a homebody. I have plenty of friends - many of which are sprawled all over Maryland and the country in general, but I love being at home. There's a difference between a hermit and a homebody. I love the company of others, I love holding conversations, etc but I also love my home. I like getting all cozy and watching a movie or reading a book or just listening to records (yes, I said records haha!)

3. I'm old school. Back to the records - you would think I was raised in the 60s or something. I enjoy just about any R&B or rock and roll song created in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I'm really into the Beatles, Muddy Waters (40s and 50s, I know - but still rock and roll!) Grateful Dead, Black Sabbath, Janice Joplin, etc.

4. I love learning... I listen to podcasts about the history of economics, language, philosophy. I have a degree in engineering and an MBA but I found my core or behavioral science classes (like sociology, women's studies, philosophy) to be MUCH more interesting. If I won the mega millions, I would probably go back to school as a permanent student, just learning as much as possible about history, religion, literature, etc. I'm a sponge for this stuff!

5. I love sports. Of course, you know that already... but honestly, it's something I didn't know about myself until 3 years ago. My father played football for years and still plays with an auxiliary league. My mom ran track in high school and played field hockey too (or lacrosse) but I never felt like I was good at anything that required me to breathe hard or sweat lol... but then I started running and training and swimming and biking...and I see that I love this stuff! On top of that, I love playing golf. Between all of the training, I don't get a chance to get out there much, but I do love the sport. :)

6. My favorite color is blue. Something about it is so calming and clean.

7. My favorite love song is "If This World Were Mine" by Luther Vandross and Cheryl's so beautifully written and I just love the vocals :)

8. I got stuck in Berlin during the Eyjafjallaj√∂kull eruption (the Icelandic volcano that no one can pronounce). It was interesting "living" in Berlin for an additional 7 days beyond my departure date knowing little to no German. No matter what anyone says, YOU NEED TO KNOW SOME GERMAN IF YOU GO TO BERLIN!

9. I meditate. It keeps me sane. I connect with myself and ground myself in my awareness. 

10. I hate bridges and roller coasters. If I'm driving across a bridge, I fix my eyes on the license plate in front of me and white-knuckle it all the way across. I will not get on a roller coaster - I don't care what you call me, it's not gonna happen. It's funny because I know how they are built given my engineering knowledge but I guess that's what scares me the most - the physics. 0_0

So there you have it. This is me...or a small part of me. What was your 30th birthday like? Do you like having birthday parties? Did you have one?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Frederick Half Marathon Race Recap

I set my alarm clock for 4:30 a.m. and headed to bed around 9 p.m.... on CINCO DE MAYO! That was so hard for me to do...

I already planned to carpool with two ladies from BGR! Baltimore so I had to be on time for our meet up at the Park & Ride. Before bed, I enjoyed some spinach and cheese linguine with shrimp and marinara sauce. Yum! By morning, I was up and ready to go! No nervous energy...just wanted to complete the Titanium Girl challenge. The twitter and breakfast ritual followed the tapping of the alarm clock, I fed the animals, got dressed and headed out the door...

...then I felt the drizzle. So I ran back inside, grabbed my water-proof jacket and ran back out. I met up with the other ladies at the Park & Ride as they were already waiting for me and we were off. There were plenty of other people speeding up Interstate 70 West toward Frederick in a mad dash to get there by 6 a.m. The race was scheduled to start at 7 but the organizers asked people to start piling into the small town around 6 to give us enough time to park and make it to the start line. Everything worked like clockwork, and we were parked and walking by 6:40 a.m. The other two ladies talked about their goals for the day. Two of us PR'd last week in the IronGirl Half Marathon. One of the ladies wanted to see if she could top her goal and pull out with a sub-2 hr finish time... Me? I just wanted to run a 2:20:00. I know my body... After running hard last week and training hard weeks before, I knew that I didn't have the freshness needed to finish with a new PR, especially on a course that I didn't know much about.

We were all lined up by 6:45 a.m. but I promised to go back to the 2:40:00 pace group to say hello to the amazing Geico Pacer who helped me get through my post-injury race in DC (Rock n' Roll USA/DC Half Marathon). Also, my Thursday night running buddy (who I also ran with in DC) was planning to run with the same pace leader and I wanted to wish them both good luck before the gun went off. After a quick 'hi and bye', I scrambled back to the 2:20:00 pace group, enjoyed the National Anthem, and then we were off! The course wasn't much to write home about. It kinda reminded me of the Iron Girl course - quiet suburban stretches of road. So to spare you any boring details about the course, I'll get right to the relevant parts.

Everything felt great so I moved along and ahead of the pace group. I was cruising until mile 6. I had my first run in with tummy issues. I didn't have to make any pit stops but the discomfort became almost unbearable. I literally just felt like stopping and giving up...but I was running in a RACE! I had to complete the CHALLENGE! After all, it was a CHALLENGE - and if it was easy, everyone would do it! These were the words I kept repeating to myself. So I fought. Running as much as possible... trying to figure it out. I stopped taking in Gatorade and only took in water to stay hydrated. I started questioning my hydration, wondering if I was struggling with dehydration. It was a cloudy day, but not hot... but not cool. It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure it was fairly humid... which would explain the unexpected mist in the air that morning. I fought and fought, running, then walking... then running... walking... finally running slowly, I fought until the 2:20:00 pace group came into view around mile 9.5. I told myself that if I wasn't dying, I would suck it up and do EVERYTHING in my power to stay with them until the finish. I just knew that if I let go of staying with them, I would end up walking the rest of the race.

So I fought... I grunted, cursed, whatever I needed to do to tell myself to get my a** to the finish line! Well, I made it... I finished in 2:20:08. It wasn't easy and I was so glad it was over when I crossed. I stumbled forward to grab my medal, and met up with one of my carpooling buddies who was sitting in the grass with her shoes off and eating a banana. My first comment to her was "my a** hurts and I'm glad it's over." I guess you can say that this Titanium Girl Challenge literally kicked my butt! haha

We waited for our third and picked up our additional medal and took a cool photo. It's over and I can say I'm not only an Iron Girl but I'm a Titanium Girl as well.

Apparently, there were others who struggled with cramping, nausea, and other tummy nastiness... no one can really identify what happened. At first, I thought it was the pasta, or maybe something extra I added to my oatmeal... I've never had that happen before. But I learned to fight through it. What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stuck Between Two Half Marathons: Train or Rest?

I gave it some thought before I arrived in this week of training limbo.  I insisted I would take it really easy, but not too easy. I considered running hard then swimming for recovery. I mean, it is something to think about - how do you train between two half marathons?

Technically, I'm not out of the danger zone yet with this metatarsal stress fracture injury. I shouldn't be able to run the way I've been running but I guess my cross training, balance within my running workouts, and daily intake of calcium and vitamin D have allowed me to do so. I PR'd and did a phenomenal job at the Iron Girl Half Marathon and I wonder what will happen on Sunday.

I don't have any goals but the strategy is to run comfortably and finish and I want to go in with fresh legs. I know that most people would run 6 to 9 miles this week but I think that is still too much for me between two races of such distance. So far this week, I've walked a few times (with the dog), got in 500 yds at the pool to loosen up my muscles, and got in a pretty intense spin session. I plan to run 2 to 3 miles to simply shake out my legs sometime tomorrow and I'm hoping to meet up with my high school buddy to get in a nice walk.

She and I have been meeting every week to walk, run, talk, socialize... It's been quite nice to have someone to run easy with every now and again. Looking forward to finishing strong at Frederick and coming home with not only one medal but TWO as a part of the Titanium Girl challenge. I may or may not join my wonderful pace leaders who led me through the finish line at the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon but at least I know I will be among friends.