Octoberfest – Crazy Runners With Beer Steins Invade Puyallup

Why do so many of my blog posts of late involve crazy people invading a town/area and running (or cycling) amok in the streets?

As part of the Octoberfest celebration at the Puyallup Fairgrounds, the TCMA (Tacoma City Marathon Association) organized the first annual Stein Dash.

The dash was a 5K that started and ended near the beer garden (root beer was available for those who are too young or for other reasons chose not to imbibe_

One caveat for this race was that you had to carry your beer stein during the entire race. Luckily, they were lightweight plastic.

I was meeting Carmel, as well as Eric and Rhiannon from Tacoma Runners there. I wanted to get there early enough to pick up my packet, get stuff I didn’t need (like the long sleeve shirt I left the house in) back to the truck and not be rushed.

It’s a good thing I didn’t try to get there too early as I hear that packet pickup opened way late. I’m not sure what was up with this race, TCMA is normally super organized when it comes to this sort of thing, but this one was just chaos. Once you got through the long line into the packet pickup area there were no signs to tell you which way to go (to the left for registration/packet pickup/shirts and to the left for the beer stein. The registration/packet pickup table wasn’t signed either, so we had no idea what line to be in. I guess everyone is entitled to one bad day when they are usually super organized. (yes, they advised people to pick up their packet a day early, but some of us work on Saturdays and/or have no desire to waste fuel/time to drive to another town the day before an event)

I was bound and determined to run easy and according to how I felt rather than try to beat a specific time. I was recovering from back to back half marathons I wasn’t fully trained up for and needed to crank up my long run distance for the Seattle Marathon and didn’t need to aggravate or create any injuries.

I hit my lap button at mile one and discovered that I was on pace to finish this in under 30 minutes (a goal I had on this long road to come back) with a 9-something time for the first mile. All common sense then flew out the window and I decided to keep that pace even though I was pretty sure I’d gone out too fast.

We looped through the ride area of the fairgrounds and then hit the streets of Puyallup. What a sight we must have been to the residents, all of us carrying beer steins. Some wearing beer hats, others wearing lederhosen and dirndl (note to self, acquire dirndl before next year)

It was unseasonably warm and I was beginning to feel it (also, this race started later than most, 11:30 PM, versus many 7-8:00am starts) Did the organizers really think runners had any compunction regarding morning beer consumption? Someone was also burning wood which wasn’t fun on the lungs sinuses, so I slowed down a bit on the second mile.

I stretched it out in the last mile, with just enough left for a sprint at the finish…

Why yes… I am carrying a beer stein and I am happy to see you


Even though I had told myself time didn’t matter on this one (half marathon recovery so that I could get through my marathon training is my primary goal right now) I was so disappointed when the clock had just ticked past 30 minute as I crossed the finish line.

But wait! That was clock time, not chip time and it had taken me a while to get to get to and cross the starting mat. My Garmin (and the official results) said that I did it under 30 minutes (just barely, but I’ll take it)

Here’s the Garmin track.

The official results show that I averaged a 9:40 pace (not bad for a woman recovering from surgery who couldn’t even take her trash out to the back alley 8 months ago) and that I was 7th out of 32 in my age group, 95th out of 296 females, and 210th out of 520 overall. At 29:57, I was well ahead of the average finish time of 35:04.

I may not be back to where I was, but I’m making marked improvement and that makes me happy.

I cheered Carmel across the line for her 5K PR and then we met Eric and Rhiannon (who also rocked it and PRd her 5K) in the beer garden.

I had a (yes, only ONE, I was a good girl) Snoqualmie Falls Harvest Moon Ale which was quite tasty. I might have had another if I hadn’t been so overscheduled that day.


I can’t wait to do this one next year. In costume!

Here’s a pretty hilarious video of the event… (I want the sheep that gal is riding)


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Iron Girl (and the Green Lake Takeover of the Men’s Bathroom)

This morning Carmel and I headed up to Green Lake bright and early to do the Seattle Iron Girl Race.

We got up there early enough to get parking within two blocks of the event, picked up our goodie bags and went back to the car to stay warm (it was butt cold out there which was a very rapid weather change from yesterday’s summer heat)

We found Linda easily (she was only a block from the car when she called) but we never managed to find Caroline.

Here we are getting ready to head back over to the race start.

ready to run Iron Girl

When we got back, we discovered that the port-a-potty situation was beyond dire. The website claimed to have “plenty of port-a-potties… Uh, No you didn’t.

Seriously people… Women, many of us over 40, many more nervous and all of us swilling coffee like Pacific Northwesterners NEED adequate bathroom facilities at these race starts.

I can guarantee you that hundreds of women were still in line needing to use the bathroom long after the race started.


We headed over to the park bathrooms and found an almost equally scary line.

One gal wondered out loud what the line looked like over on the men’s side.

“Let’s go find out!” I said and lead the charge over to the other side. (this wasn’t my “first rodeo” in that regard); it was that or risk a ticket for public urination.

Some poor kid was cleaning the bathrooms and couldn’t let us in while he still had a bunch of water on the floor needing to be squeegeed.. I explained to him that we were desperate and then pointed out the growing line of highly agitated women with angry bladders. Not wanting to see a riot, nor be crushed by a stampeding herd, He hustled.

We let the two men who needed to use it go in first, explaining the need for them to hurry (I can neither confirm nor deny that I stood IN the doorway and muttered loud enough to be heard, “What is he doing in there? taking an epic dump?”) Once the now frightened men exited the bathroom the hordes of women descended.

My apologies if you area male who needed to use the bathroom a bit before 8:00 AM.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of the Green Lake Men’s Bathroom Takeover of 2012.

We got to the start line with about five minutes to spare and started out in the 11:00 min mile pace area which was silly because people in Seattle don’t read the pace signs or self sort and we still got stuck behind a bunch of walkers. I have GOT to start farther forward in these events.

There were over 2,200 of us and it took us over eight minutes to get to the start line after the gun went off (thank goodness for chip timing) There was quite the bottleneck getting out onto Greenlake Boulevard so it took a while to get to where we could actually run.


I get twitchy having to run packed tight like sardines so I do a lot of zigging, zagging and jumping around to get some clear space in which to run. I pulled out an average 10 minute mile pace for the first 1.3 miles (which means a lot of it was way faster than that to make up for the walk/shuffle start, and was way too fast for me to sustain over 6.2 miles right now, so I backed off to an 11 min mile pace.

We ran around the lake (with varying exits off and entrances back on the trail) twice for those of us who were doing the 10K.

Just before the three mile mark, Linda flew past me. She was on fire and set for an excellent 5K finish time (it was her first race in 20 years and she ROCKED it)

I was trying to keep my pace reasonable as I am under trained, had another loop to make, needed to finish uninjured as I have to pull out a ten mile long run tomorrow and then taper for the You Girl half Marathon.

I did kick it up to a ten minute mile place for the last mile and kicked it up even faster for the last .2 miles into the finish. My Garmin said that at some point I was running at a 5:15 mile pace.

I averaged 74% of my max heart rate (144 beats per minute) throughout the race, with a short peak at 104% (193 beats per minute) when I was kicking into overdrive at the end)

Carmel, who ran the entire 5K this time was there to cheer me on at the finish line.

I crossed the finish line at 1:06 which really isn’t terrible considering I’ve had so little time to train due to recovering from surgeries.

I came in at 340 overall, out of 546 women running the 10K so I was solidly in the middle of the pack. I was 40th in my age group of 62 (not as impressive but a big pack of us ran in to the finish all at the same time so I was still in with a good grouping)

The medals were big and shiny.

1:06 - not horrible

Here we are at the finish showing off our shiny things.


I was a super naughty monkey at the expo.

Normally I don’t buy expo stuff, but there was this awesome tech fabric Athleta dress that I fell in love with, which I can actually run or bike in if I want to. I like having dresses to put on after triathlons and this one will fill the bill, although honestly, I think I’ll also wear it for evenings out. It’s super comfortable and I love the color.

I’ve been working my butt off (literally) and decided that I had earned a treat.


I came home and took a 2+ hour nap. I’ll also be going to bed early and NOT setting an alarm.

I need to get a very slow and easy ten miles in tomorrow so that I can call that a long run and taper for the half marathon next weekend.


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The Return of Hammer Butt

Rites of passage… (is it it repassage?)

One of the very last things I need to do to consider myself “fully recovered” (more important, to really feel like myself again) from the year and a half of hemorrhaging followed by recovering from two surgeries was to sign up to do another triathlon which I haven’t done in well over two years. I’ve coached and been a “swim angel” for Danskin and a “swim sister” for Trek, but haven’t competed myself in far too long.

Since I only just got back to running and did my first 5K since it all began two weeks ago, haven’t logged any serious mileage on my bike because I’ve only been commuting back and forth to downtown and Proctor on the beast of a commuter bike, and haven’t done an open water swim since volunteering as a swim angel at Danskin two years ago, I was hoping to find one that took place in late September or maybe even early October to give me enough time to, oh you know… actually get trained up

After I posted my intent to do a triathlon on my accountability group, I went online to sign up for one of the races I was certain would be in September. Sadly, there were no Bob Green races (my first ever tri) on the calender, No Trek Women’s Tri that I can find this year, the Subaru Tri (my first USAT sanctioned race) is now the Toyota Tri and happened early this year. My last hope, the Black Diamond Triathlon is on Saturday this year, and I work Saturdays.

So I signed up for the Meridian Lake triathlon, Which is… August 26th.

I am in NO way trained up or ready for this. (at least I was smart enough to sign up for just the sprint distance and didn’t try to get right back to Olympic distance)

I hopped on Diva, my carbon fiber triathlon bike that has not left the basement for over two years, for a quick spin around the Scott Pierson Trail to see just how out of bike shape I am.

First Sunny Ride of 2010 - Febraury Insanity 001

I almost crashed within the first block because being a full carbon bike, it weighs next to nothing and felt super squirrelly, especially with the areobars.

I’ve been riding on the platfrom side of my combo pedals on the commuter bike wearing flipflops, so I’m also not used to being clipped to the pedals; having to come to a fast stop and not getting stuck and crashing is a concern at this point.

I managed an 11 mile ride (need to get up to 15 for the tri) and managed not to crash . I’ll be fitting longer rides in wherever I can for the next two weeks. I’ll start commuting to work on my road bike and taking the long way home as well.

Yesterday was the big day.

I headed out to Steele Lake for a solo open water swim.

I couldn’t find parking in my usual spot down by the boat ramp, so I had to put on my wetsuit the in main parking area. I’m sure it was a source of entertainment for a lot of folks. I’m thankful that we start out suited up, and that putting the suit on is not counted in transition time.

It wasn’t pretty. It was slow, clumsy, executed with very poor technique and it was pianfully apparent that I am extremely out of shape swimming wise, as I had to stop to catch my breath a lot and was a bit “wheezy” (common for me to not expand my lungs fully when they are compressed by the wetsuit)

The first mishap was forgetting to put my nose clips on. The first time I put my face in the water a huge rush of burning lake water rushed into my sinuses. In addition to the fact that it is painful because it’s the wrong pH, I got my first ever sinus infection a few years ago training in this lake (which being surrounded by houses/yards/septic tanks/dogs/fertilizers/etc…) is not what you want to have up your nose.

After a few stops to blow the water out of my nose I started getting into my rhythm. I’m still doing OK breathing bilaterally, but my sighting is off and I need to really work on that so that I don’t get off course during the tri.

I made it just shy of a mile.

I chose to swim off the beach rather than the boat ramp so that I could get someone to watch my shoes for me (and perhaps call 911 if I disappeared under water, in which case the lifeguard can would be a good marker as to where to find the carcass) and because the last time I swam off the boat ramp (where a lot of people fish) I stepped on a fish hook which embedded into the neoprene socks I was (thankfully) wearing at the time because the water was super cold.

What I didn’t realize is that there is freaking MILFOIL in the beach area. I didn’t notice it going out, but coming back, the first time I tried to put my feet on the bottom, I stepped in a big matt of it, and almost squealed like a girl. Being completely squigged out by the stuff, I flipped over onto my back and swam the rest of the way in that way until there was sand underneath.

The whole thing, start to finish was undignified, including realizing that I have completely lost the skill of getting out of the wetsuit quickly meaning my T1 transition time is going to suck.

But any open water swim (especially solo) you can walk away from right?

I also managed to get my run mileage back up to five miles, as I had to start over from ground zero after having my innards poked, prodded, cut, scraped and burned. It used to be that I never bothered to go on a run that was less than five miles, it has since become a goal. Life is weird.

I headed out to Pt Defiance and had a lovely run around Five Mile Drive. I took it very easy since increasing my long run distance or overall mileage too quickly will put me at risk for another round of illiotibal band injury, but I ran the whole loop (in the reverse direction going up the vomit worthy hill by the zoo and again between Camp 6 and Fort Nisqually) and I felt good afterward.

I did finally achieve one of my major goals this week, and that was to dump the 25 (yes TWENTY FIVE) pounds I gained whilst dealing with all the stress, medical, surgical crap and not being able to work out. (and of course, hanging out with those who regularly ate and drank to excess over the holidays which I will not be doing again)

I forget how much it is because all I can see is how much work I still have to do to fix my body composition fat/muscle ratio (and then there’s that whole, pushing 50 body changing stuff that goes on as well) so I only realize it when others who haven’t seen me for a while comment.

Several folks have asked how I did it.

The answer is, “There is no quick fix, there is no magic pill and there is no substitute for discipline and hard work.”

I ate and drank less and exercised more.

I dumped foods out of my diet that where empty calories and focused on nutrient dense healthier foods.

The very hard part was changing who I spent a majority of my time with.

When one is making any big changes in their life (even if it’s just getting back to who you used to be) you do have to be conscious about who you are spending your time with

If you hang out with people who regularly drink to excess and base their social life around alcohol and usually too much food; it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to be healthy. Some will want to be supportive, but it’s just a bad environment, and others will actually (be it intentionally or unintentionally) sabotage your efforts by telling you that you’re “no fun anymore”, “loosen up, just this once; it won’t hurt” or by filling up your glass when you aren’t paying attention or shoveling more unhealthy food onto your plate.

I’ve actually had morbidly obese friends tell me that I’m “too skinny” and “look anorexic” (uh, hello, I just barely got under 150 which is right in the middle of the healthy weight range for my height) When I was running marathons, I was down to my high school track running weight of 135.

Trust me, it’s much easier to be healthy (and happy) when you’re around other people who have the same goal. (as an added bonus, it tends to put you in a much more drama free environment)

All of these scenarios have happened to me at the hands of well meaning friends, despite the fact that my blood pressure had risen to a level where I could have had a heart attack or stroke at any time and had to have my second surgery postponed because they were afraid I’d stroke on the operating table.

None of this is about vanity (as has been asserted by one or two of my less than supportive “friends”) it has been about not just regaining but literally saving my life.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t ever hang out with your “party friends” just that it’s best to limit that time and when you do see them, try to do so in a more controlled environment.

I cut out most alcohol. When I do indulge, maybe twice a week, it’s normally only one beverage; maybe two if it was after a good workout like in the beer garden at the Great Kilted Run. I did have three glasses of wine over the course of a long night at a long awaited reunion with friends, and I made sure to work my butt off before I headed over there so that I had the extra calories to burn for both the wine and the wonderful desert that included ice cream and drank plenty of water. And of course, these are friends who would have totally supported my stopping at one glass (or not having any) had I so chosen.

I do still treat myself (I had Anthony’s Salmon and Chips and a beer just the other night) but do so on days that I’ve burned enough calories to allow it.

A tool that I have found incredibly useful is myfitnesspal.com

It works on a computer/tablet and there is an Android app (I’m assuming it’s available for iPhone as well)

Your program your personal information, height, weight, goals (how many pounds a week to lose) and it tells you how many calories you should eat/drink each day to achieve that goal (to lose a pound a week you need a 500 calorie a day defecit, 500 X 7 = 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat)

Once that is done, you log everything you eat and drink into the program and it keeps a running tally of how many more calories (and other variables you want to track such as carbs, protien, fat, iron, etc…

If you want to “earn” more calories, you have to exercise (which you should do anyway) you just enter the type of exercise you did, how long you did it and the program calculates and adjusts how many more calories you can consume that day and still meet your goals.

It holds you accountable and teaches (or re-teaches) you to think of food as fuel (which is what it is)

I have lost 25 pounds without depriving myself (which just leads to binging) While I try to eat mostly healthy foods, I have enjoyed pizza, beer, ice cream, mexican food, the occasional margarita, fish & chips, real cream in my coffee and real butter on my baked goods.

The other tool that my friend Christina told me about is the FitBit

It’s super tiny and I just wear it clipped onto my bra.

While I’ve never been a fan of pedometers, this thing is a “pedometer on steroids” has a great computer interface and integrates with many other programs including MyFitnessPal.

It not only measures steps taken, but floors climbed (there’s some motivation to take the stairs) calories burned, etc… I’ve found that it’s pretty darn accurate.

I syncs with your computer and keeps a running tally of your steps, miles, floors, calories burned and active score.

You enter your information, set goals and it tells you what you have achieved each day.

For me, that number on my desktop goads me into doing a bit more before the day is over.

One of the really cool things it does, is measure your sleep; how long it takes you to go to sleep, how many times you wake up at night and calculates your sleep efficiency. Lack of sleep contributes to weight gain, so this is actually important to know.

I do not have it synced to MyFitnessPal, because not everything I do is recorded by the FitBit (cylcing/swimming) and while you can manually enter it, I like using it as a separate tool which I can double check against.

I still have a LOT of work to do (at a few weeks away from turning 50 it’s not as easy as it used to be) but…

Hammer Butt is back… (I’ll be taking an updated Hammer Butt photo before the tri…)


~ L

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Back in the Running

The final (and most physically painful) stage of recovering from the hemorrhaging and surgeries is getting back to running after having been off serious training over two years.

I’ve been seeing all these great Tacoma Runners events, but I didn’t want to be limping around behind everyone.

I joined a friend’s “accountability” group on Facebook and set up another one for some girlfriends and I who wanted to train for a 5K. Yeah, pretty weird for a woman who has run several full marathons and olympic distance triathlons to need to “work up to” a 5K, but that’s how it is.

I’ve been starting out slowly so as not to end up fighting piriformus or illio-tibial band syndrome (both injures I’m prone to, when I over train, over race or increase my mileage too quickly due to my previously fractured spine and pelvis)

I started out running 2-3 miles at a shot, 2-3 days a week. I’ve slowly increased that to four with Friday being the day that I will do my “long” run (which at this stage has only been 3.5 miles. I’m also going to try to get off the local concrete and on to trails more often.

My right hip, piriformus and the top of my hamstring has been giving me a heck of a time and I’ve been in a lot of pain.

I’ve always known that I can never live a sedentary life, for to so so would allow the scar tissue and arthritis to set in. This is obviously what has happened and it’s been a challenge to know when the running is breaking things loose or creating an injury, and when I should suck it up or rest.

The first race I chose to run is a very low key, super fun event called the “Great Kilted Run”. Back in the day, it was in Ballard, but now it’s moved to Magnuson Park in Seattle

I was a bit concerned about my hip as it was bugging me just walking to the packet pickup area, which is when I decided that although my shoes did not have too many miles on them, they were two years old and had lost their mojo and needed to be retired… Luckily there was no concrete on the course and there was quite a bit of grass and gravel.

My friend Carmel signed up with me, and this was a really big deal because it was her first ever 5K.


Here we are engaging in a wee bit of kilt flipping…


The start was hilarious… Rather than the narrow streets of Seattle start that so many of us are used to, it was a wide start which headed up Kite Hill.

I’m sure we were quite the sight to anyone who didn’t know what was going on. As all of us crazy kilted folks raced up the hill the guy next to me raised his fist in the air and yelled “FREEDOM!!!” and a bunch of us started to cheer and roar. It was an amusing Braveheart Moment. It appears that we were too far down the hill for the video camera to catch it, but it was pretty awesome and a sight to see as is evidenced by the following video.

Of course, we were out running a race with an uphill start and another climb up the side of the same hill so that we could run down to the finish wearing wool kilts on a day that broke the standing 35 year record for heat in the Seattle area, so it was not easy, and we were all feeling the strain. Hey, any race you can walk away from right?

I started out WAY too fast. My Garmin tells me that at some point I was running a 7:22 minute mile pace. I was going to pass out from heat, pain and being out of shape if I kept that up. That hill at the start got me all hyped up; I’m sure that was part of the problem as was trying to jockey for position on narrow parts of the trail. I needed to get out of the dust that was getting kicked up on the gravel portion as quickly as possible.

By the one mile mark, I slowed way down.

By the two mile mark, I realized that I had not slowed down enough and that the heat was making me queasy.

On the out and back portion of the race near the end, I was sure that 3.1 miles would never come. At this point I was starting to get dizzy, nauseated and to see spots.

Finally, we made that last climb up the side of Kite Hill for the downhill finish.

As I descended the hill, I actually got a chill and broke out in goosebumps which was not a good sign considering how hot it was. The last time I had one of these, “Wow, this is the race where I’m finally going to vomit at the finish line” moments was at the Bolder Boulder back in 2003 when a registration screw up caused me to have to start in a much later wave (without my friend who I went out there to run the race with) when the temps and humidity were both in the 90’s and I was so frustrated and mad that I ran my 10K PR. I was able to keep my breakfast down and stay upright in both instances, so it’s all good.


They had coconut water at the finish line, which is GREAT for hydration and is less likely to trigger vomiting than ice cold water, so I slowly downed one of those while I waited for Carmel to finish.

It didn’t matter how crappy I felt, it was her first time and I needed to be there yelling my head off and cheering for her (with the obligatory high five as well) at the finish. (you always remember your first 😉

She came in with a great first 5K time.

My time was 33:54 which was a bit disappointing, but considering I had only logged in 38 training miles, was in a lot of pain and the heat was killer, is not all that bad.

This actually put me in 13th place in my division (out of 45) 47th out of 153 women and comfortably above the average finish time of 35:39, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

We met up with Caroline and wandered over to the beer garden for some cold, tasty Scottish Ale and enjoyed music, comraderie, and flybys from the SeaFair jets.

The heat must have taken quite a toll on me because when I noticed that I hadn’t turned my heart rate monitor off, I saw that almost 40 minutes after the event, my heart rate was still up to 122 bpm which indicated some pretty significant stress on my system.

I spent the rest of the day drinking water and coconut water (well, after two farm visits on my way home) stretching out my angry hip and hamstring, and resting up.

Luckily, the combination of softer surfaces kept the hip aggravation to a minimum and I felt better by the time I woke up this morning.

I felt pretty good on today’s run (I found some newer shoes and wore them), so it’s all good.

Next stop…

IronGirl Seattle 10K followed by the You Go Girl Half Marathon in Tacoma.


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Kicking It Into High Gear-Getting Fit in Tacoma

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions-I do birthday/Samhain/Celtic New Year challenges at the end of October, but that’s another story all together.

January still lends its self to getting back on a schedule after the hectic holidays, and in the case of athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, getting back on track so we don’t crash/bonk/vomit/have to push our bikes up hills

I got super out of shape last summer after breaking the foot/big toe, moving, renovating, etc… Then I took the nasty fall down the attic stairs, then the holidays (a time of year in which I take entertaining and celebrating quite seriously) hit.

January is IT by golly, I was going to do it! It was perfect timing; the holidays were over, I was healed up and friends were also motivated.

Well, of course, I got sick. Not only did I get sick, but I got hit with the upper respiratory infection from hell that took out almost everyone I knew (including the uber fit and healthy).

So I started (two weeks) late, but at least I DID start.

I need to be in good shape for Chilly Hilly at the end of February. Leo and I are ride reffing again, and it’s just bad form to vomit while pushing one’s bike up the hill when you are an event volunteer and supposed to look like you know what you’re doing 😉

Chilly Hilly 2010 009

Chilly Hilly 2010 020

January is when my running group, the penguins (yes, that IS because we waddle, why do you ask?) begins our virtual trek to Frostbite Falls (if you click on the link, my friend Karen explains the challenge which anyone is welcome to join)

Since I’m a “Tri-Penguin” I usually swim, bike and run to the falls (I’ve also been known to ski and snowshoe)

Since I’ve been on the spin bikes as opposed to my real bike, it’s taking me more than 100 miles to actually get there 😉

I keep a spreadsheet with distance/mileage, time, calories burned, elevation gain… to track my progress.

My friend Francine found a great smartphone/online program (yes, there are several including RunKeeper and Nike which a lot of my friends use) called Endomondo which not only helps track, but acts as a social networking/motivating tool.

What I like about this particular program is that not only can you use your GPS enabled smart phone to track and transmit your data. It will also take Garmin uploads (my preferred fitness tool, but it’s nice to know I can use my phone in a pinch) as well as manual data. It also supports many sports/activities that other programs don’t. You can also connect it to Facebook if you want to share your workouts with your friends.

My totals thus far: (remember, I didn’t start until Jan 15th, so it’s only two weeks, not a full month)

Cycling: 90 miles, 4048 calories, 5 hours
Running: 15.33 miles, 1998 calories, 4:42
Walking: 8.97 miles, 439 calories, 2:45
Swimming: 6 miles, 2453 calories, 4:30

I also tracked 4 upper body workouts, 0 miles, 476 calories, 2 hours

run in the park

So that’s 19 hours spent exercising…
120.30 miles covered
And 9,414 extra calorie burned (yes, that should be nearly three pounds lost, but since I’m gaining muscle back which weighs more than the fat I’m losing, I’m holding steady on the device to be avoided because it tells you nothing about fitness, the scale)

It’s a start.

If you want to join Endomondo to help motivate yourself and your friends (networking with friends sure keeps one honest on getting out there and doing it) you can do so by making with the clicky clicky here.

If you’re one of my friends and looking to connect, you’ll recognize this picture from last year’s St Paddy’s Day Dash in Seattle (the back side of my shamrock shorts says “feeling lucky”

In addition to sites such as the Penguin Runners and endomondo.com there are some great local resources.

Most Notably the “Y” (YMCA) of Pierce & Kitsap Counties Did you know that swim lessons from beginner to masters are included in your membership fee and that membership fees work on a sliding scale for those whose finances might not allow them to join otherwise?

Another is the Tacoma (Beer) runners

Another is the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club

We have a local version of the penguin list; it’s not been very active lately, but a group of interested locals could change that. Puget Sound Penguins

For those interested in Triathlon, there is South Sound Triatheletes

My short term event goals are Chilly Hilly, the Tacoma St Patty’s Day run, the Seattle St Patty’s Day Dash, and the Tacoma City Half Marathon. I haven’t set my triathlon schedule yet.

See you on the trails…


It Hurts so GOOD

This morning, despite the fact that I over slept and had to hustle to eat (enough so that I wouldn’t bonk, but not so much I’d barf), drink and get geared up for Spin (OK, at the “Y” it’s called “Group Cycling” for legal reasons)

I’ve been nervous about going back to Spin class due to how out of shape I am right now (yeah, I know, no one knows what the tension is set to on your bike but you and you don’t have to do the standing work if you’re not up to it)

It was a good, hour long, hard climbing workout and I did just fine. I’m apparently not is a bad a shape as I though I was, as I was fine on the standing work and didn’t reach my target heart rate until late in the workout on the big hill sections.

It was hard, and my quads are a tiny bit cranky, but it felt GREAT!

If I keep this up, I might not make an ass out of myself on Chilly Hilly (it just doesn’t look good for a ride ref to bonk or walk a bike up one of the hills)

This has nothing to do with “resolutions” (which I don’t do), and everything to do with the fact that I look and feel GROSS.

Last year was not a good workout year. I had all the “escrow from hell” stress, packing, moving, working on the yard and house (which was at least some exercise) and broken foot/big toe. I didn’t do ANY triathlons last year. (I did volunteer as a swim angel for Danskin and Trek and did coach some women in open water swimming) By the time I had the big projects done around the house it was holiday prep time and I had that lovely fall down the attic stairs. As soon as the holidays were over, I got this nasty upper respiratory/sinus crud that totally knocked me on my butt.

When I’m not working out and in shape, I don’t sleep well, and my immune system is not what it should be.

It was NOT a good year for fitness, working out, discipline nor keeping to any sort of schedule, and I’m paying the price for it now. The only thing that saved me was some early season hiking in the spring, and a bunch of good hard hikes in the fall.

Last night, I sat down and put my workout schedule on paper (OK, pixels) because having it printed up on my fridge and at work “keeps me honest”. I’m more likely to follow through with a written plan than random neurons firing in my head.

I also log what I actually log everything I do on a spreadsheet which tracks my time spent, mileage and calories burned by activities, and provides monthly totals.

The other thing that “keeps me honest” is putting it out where OTHER people can see it.

So here it is.

workout schedule 2011

Some things to note…

Everyone needs rest days scheduled. Our bodies get stronger when we rest and they rebuild. I have seven days a week scheduled because my body doesn’t usually want/need the rest day when it is scheduled. One day I way up, feeling exhausted and my resting heart rate is higher than normal and that tells me I need to rest. Whatever day of the week my body feels burnt out, will be the rest day. (I’m going for one rest day a week)

This may look “extreme” to some, but it’s not (as a matter of fact, it will get harder later in the season when I add long runs and bricks). I’m a triathelte. One who competes in three disciplines in one event, can’t just do one type of workout a day; it’s impossible to get enough training in each event. It’s also important to do “bricks” where you transition from one event to the next to train your body to be used to it. (running, after a hard, quad burning bike ride is disorienting and painful; the first time I did it in a duathlon, I was so wobbly and disorientated, I nearly ran into a tree)

Any day that I have the option of biking OUTSIDE, or skiing or snowshoeing or hiking is a day that I won’t be doing these, mostly inside at this time of year workouts.

I am super lucky to have TWO “Y” locations in Tacoma, so I have more options/time slots for spin classes and master swim. It’s not easy to schedule workouts around work and other areas of my life.

So there it is.

It’s printed and hanging on my fridge (and will be in my cube at work) and out there for the “world” to see.


Mood: Tired


This afternoon’s fun

I tested out the Go Pro Hero waterproof video camera today on an open water swim at Steele Lake.

I strapped it to my lifeguard can and we were able to shoot some fun video of each other swimming.  Since neither one of us have seen ourselves swim before it was quite helpful (I’m dropping my left shoulder a bit and need to pay more attention to my rotation)


Mood: Amused


Triathlon report Survivor Elma or “Holy Crap! That water was cold!!!


It was a dark and stormy night afternoon…

Being seriously insane I drove down to Elma (West of Olympia heading towards the coast) to do a triathlon, uh yeah… in the rain and wind and cold…

A triathlon in mid April, in Washington State.

Where the water is butt cold until July/August.

When no sane person would go there.

The good news is, I survived and every triathlon I do after this one will be better.

The weather sucked pond water.

The water was butt cold, 51 degrees (F) at the shore, likely less than that where it was deeper.

Here is all my stuff in my transition area… I wore the wetsuit, gap & gogglese for the swim and the bike jacket , bike shoes & Recoverite mix for after the race were placed under plastic because it was raining and that water bottle was used to mix my Heed)

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I thought that maybe I’d stand a chance at a trophy since obviously, no sane person would go out on a day like that, get in water that cold, then get on a bike in a cold wet trisuit, then go run in said cold wet trisuit…

I was wrong. Well over 80 people showed up for the tri.

Getting into the water was tricky. We got into our wet suits and stared at each other waiting to see who would be first.

We got in, gasped, squealed , groaned and made lots of other strange noises, and waited as long as possible to let water into our suits to warm up. One poor woman looked horrified when I explained to her that water was supposed to go in her suit for her body to warm up when she said she was trying to keep it out. “If you were meant to stay dry in it, it would be a dry suit.” About three or four other people looked at her and said, “She’s right.” (I also advised her that she would do well to take her diamond wedding ring off in a lake that cold if she doesn’t want to lose it)

Our feet were instantly numb. The worst part was putting our hands in. There we were, hunkered down in the water (it was too cold to be in the water and too cold to be out of the water), all of us holding our hands up above it. I hope someone got a picture of that; it looked ridiculous.

Uh yeah, I thought the worst part was putting our hands in.

Until I put my head in. It wasn’t so much that my face was numb, it was the worse than an ice cream headache wrapping around our skulls that we got. Even with a neoprene cap (which admittedly was too large for me as it was Gene’s) My head pounded with a sharp blinding pain every time I took more than 4 strokes with my head in the water.

I ended up having to be creative and use some very odd strokes to keep my head above water, which means my swim time sucked pond water (and took way more energy than it should have) I looked around and discovered that pretty much everyone else was doing the same thing. It was just too cold to swim normally face down for more than a few strokes.

The combination of water that cold and my chest being compressed by the neoprene wetsuit made it difficult to relax and breathe properly. This was most definitely the worst swim I ever had… in my entire life…

At least I completed the swim. (no matter how ungainly and slow) One guy had to be pulled from the water due to hypothermia. (I heard about it after the race)

Of course, the joy of a Spring triathlon is spring weather…

According to Weather Underground the air temperature was about 50 degrees at 2:00 PM when the race started. Oh, it was windy too.

So I got on my bike already chilled, wearing a cold wet trisuit and rode 13 miles in the cold wind and rain. With wind chill from the speeds I hit, that would be 32-37 degrees (F) from just riding, not counting the wind that was blowing. (for those not from the US, 32 is freezing)

Here’s the run route. If you’re viewing this on LiveJournal (why won’t LJ allow iframe html code ?) or via RSS feed where the map and/or tracks don’t show up properly, you can just click on the button below

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

I brought along my softshell bike jacket and took the extra time to put it on. It saved my bacon.

My transition from swim to bike went well (this is a manually timed race, so I don’t have transition time) The wetsuit came off easily, the bike shoes went on quickly with the speed laces and I didn’t have to worry about drinking because I had the aero bottle. I actually made up time getting out onto the bike. I could tell because I was out before people who exited the water well ahead of me.

I didn’t put anything on my legs to cover them (Steve is going to have a fit when he hears that) but luckily I didn’t cramp up.

I averaged 16-something miles per hour on the ride, which is not too bad considering that it starts up a long steady hill (on a rough chip sealed road), how cold it was, how cold I was and the wind. I actually passed about 10 people on the bike.

I was oh so thankful for the areobars; there is a lot of wind on this course, especially when weather is blowing in. Oh, did I mention that it was raining?

My transition from bike to run went well, as I had speed laces on both the bike and running shoes ,was hydrated from sipping on the areobottle the whole way and had Cliffshots in my pocket.

That’s when the cold started to get me. My right calf started cramping up. (it was most certainly not a lack of water or electrolytes, I loaded up knowing this race would be tough because of the weather) Luckily, it loosened up and I was able to finish the run in 33 minutes. I know that’s slow, but it was cold, it was after a swim and bike; sadly, it’s faster than I have been running.

Here’s the run route. If you’re viewing this on LiveJournal (why won’t LJ allow iframe html code ?) or via RSS feed where the map and/or tracks don’t show up properly, you can just click on the “view larger map” link

View Larger Map

I came in at 1:31:02 which is not as fast as my last triathlon was at the end of last season, which was 1:28:something. But it was faster than my first triathlon last year (or ever) which was also on the same course and was 1:36:06. (oh, much later in the season and in much better weather)

It wasn’t the time I wanted, but I survived and I’m way ahead of where I was at this time last year.

Oh, and I got a shiny thing. Here it is, with the frigid lake in the background…

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Mood: holy crap I’m tired