Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Holidazzle Run

This was the 5th year of my annual Holidazzle run. Part of this tradition includes an annual Christmas mixed CD that I also post on this blog. I threw in some oldies this year and was really happy with how it turned out. Until next year, Christmas tunes and Holiday runs!
Bar stop at the Park Pub on Phinney Ridge - picture from their FB page
Party Hard – Zach Gill
Silver Bells – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
Jingle Bells – Sammy Davis, Jr.
Little Drummer Boy – Pentatonix
Merry Christmas, Baby – Otis Redding
Something in the Air – Grayson Sanders & Jono Feat. Lauriana Mae
The Christmas Song – Gavin DeGraw
December 25 – Francesca Battistelli
Baby It’s Cold Outside – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
Love Is Christmas – Sara Bareilles
Wonderful Christmastime – Demi Lovato
Christmas Must Be Tonight – Bahamas
I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Frank Sinatra
What Christmas Means to Me – Cee Lo Green
Go Tell It On the Mountain – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear – Norah Jones
Silent Night – Sarah McLachlan
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Christina Perri
Winter Wonderland – Kate Havnevik
Christmas Time Is Here (Charlie Brown Theme Vocal) – Vince Guaraldi Trio
Auld Lang Syne – Colbie Caillat

As far as Christmas cookies, I made a lot of my favorites and tried one new recipe. There were way too many leftover sweets!

Jimmy’s Pink Cookies
Chocolate Ganache Macaroons
Monster Cookies
Chocolate Mint Patties
Peanut Butter Kisses
New Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook: peanut butter and chocolate fondant

I also cooked up two types of chili, this chicken tortilla soup, and a few salads. Plus, there was the usual drinks, appetizers, and other Christmas party food (homemade Chex mix). I once again had a great time with my close friends, running through my neighborhood, seeing the holiday lights, and cheers-ing the season! Happy Holidazzle!


Kojak totally stole the show with her costume.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Goals

There are only a few more days before we turn over the calendars and dream new dreams in a new year. Whatever is left undone can, of course, be carried over to 2014. Or you can scrap the resolutions and tasks of 2013 and move on to the even better things ahead. But before we change out our calendars, I wanted to reflect on 2013, give some thanks, and put a little closure on the 2013 edition of my public Internet diary (aka – my blog).

2013 Starbucks wrapper goals
In January I wrote about the bucket list my friend Jenn and I dreamt up and wrote down on the back of a Starbucks wrapper in 2006. Also in February I wrote down some athletic goals for 2013. The list above was pinned up at my work desk, as a daily reminder. I nailed some and came a bit short on others. In no particular order, here they are:
  • Half Marathon PR – YES, a 1:26:05 at Lake Sammamish Half Marathon 
  • Ironman PR – no, I was 46 seconds shy of my 2011 PR at CdA this year
  • Ironman swim PR – sub 1:06 – yes to the PR, no to the 1:06, I swam 1:07:07 at CdA
  • Ironman Run PR – sub 3:30 – no, I ran 3:35 at CdA
  • Sub 19:00 5k – YES, an 18:44 5k at the Mustache Dache and the female win!
  • Hood to Coast Awesomeness – YES of course, this goal was perhaps some low hanging fruit. We always have fun!
  • USAT All-American – TBD on this one. I’ll have to wait until 2014 to find out.
  • Half-Ironman PR – YES, 4:48 at Austin 70.3
  • Half-Ironman sub 1:30 run – no, 1:33 at Oceanside, 1:37 at Black Diamond, and 1:35 at Austin this year. Last year I ran 1:32:01 at Oceanside...
  • Sub 31:00 8k – no, but I think if I could have added 3 more kilometers to the Mustache Dache or Turkey Trot, I could have made it. Seafair was not the race for me to try it.
  • Run a XC Race – YES, and I loved it. More XC in 2014 I hope!

In 2009, when I first started getting serious about triathlon and figured things out with help from a coach, PRs came easily (the bar was set low, apparently). From 2009-2011, I broke my PRs every year at every distance (sprint, half Ironman, Ironman, half marathon, marathon). I can’t say I took this improvement for granted, but I know I didn’t appreciate it the way I do now. In 2012, I had a bit of an off year. Nothing was horrible, but there was a lot of fatigue and flatness in my races. In retrospect, that year taught me even more about fully appreciating small improvements.

Amazing highlight of 2013 - winning the amateur title at Ironman CdA
That’s part of the reason there was a new freshness to my triathlon season this year. I appreciated the small steps along the way, even if there were times or races when I came up short. I broke some new barriers, but the goals were reasonable and manageable, and if I didn’t reach them, I improved other things, or had fun, or spent time with friends, or did (blank important thing) while trying. People get so wrapped up into times and placing, and qualifying for World Championships or Olympic Trials, that I think they lose sight of the incremental improvements that may be necessary to reach that new level or a new time barrier. And they also might lose sight of the reason they’re dedicated to their sport in the first place – if you’re like me, it’s because you freaking love it. So maybe next year I’ll include goals like, “laugh ten times during an Ironman,” or “run a race in costume” just to keep the happiness factor way up. Or I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, and surround myself with supportive training partners and friends, as I enjoy this crazy ride.
Annual GAMBIT - Gerry A. Marvin Birthday Invitational Triathlon, a fun Olympic distance
race with our friends in Chelan! G and I won the male and female divisions.

There are so many people to thank this year - friends, family, teammates, sponsors, co-workers, and blog readers. In no particular order:

Part of my Run Family - Oiselle Sisters in Sport Thanksgiving morning
Oiselle and the women who make up my Run Family - thank you for inspiring me on a daily basis with your kick-ass talent, hard work, dedication, creativity, and passion for sport!
Sydnie, my best friend and training partner – thank you for the early morning runs and swims, living across the hall, and the occasional dinner together or fro-yo stop. Congratulations on your new PRs. I can’t wait to see what next year brings for you!

Gerry, the BF – you’ve cooked me too many breakfasts to count, trained with me, been patient with my schedule, helped fix my bike, and supported me at many of my races. Thank you for having broad shoulders for me to lean on.

Kainoa, Jake, and Hallie – three of the coaches of PauoleSport who have supported me both on and off “the field.” More importantly, thank you for leading such a fantastic group of athletes reach their goals.

Hood to Coast Awesomeness!
And of course this annual review would not be complete without a thank you to my family and my parents who have supported me since day 1. My dad continues to fight cancer and we are all thankful that he was admitted into a clinical trial this month administered by Bristol Meyers Squibb. He’s receiving treatment every two weeks for Nivolumab the PD1 Inhibitor immune therapy. The control group of the study receives chemotherapy, so he was thankful to test the new drug instead. In his words, “Basically the theory goes that cancer cells resist the body's defenses by covering themselves with an antibody called PD1.  The new drug inhibits the PD1 covering and thus allows the white blood cells to fight the cancer successfully.” In my mom’s words, “your dad just seems really happy these days!” In my words, “we’re all lucky to have him a phone call away.” I’m flying home on Saturday and looking forward to some Minnesota family time.

It's been a very Lucky '13!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Club Cross 2013

The 2013 Club Cross Country Championships in Bend, OR lived up to all my expectations in terms of fun, fast running, and Flotrack/RunnerSpace nerd stuff. I drove down to Bend on Thursday with part of our Oiselle team (we had over 20 women racing in the Masters and Open race) and settled in to the Little Wing house with our sweet hosts Mel, Christine, and Betsy. Friday was spent checking out the race course, doing an easy run workout led by Lauren (Fleshman – yup), a team meeting, attending an athlete panel, and good eats in Bend.

My nerves and expectations for this race were relatively low. Cross country is new to me and although, I’ve been running for years, I still have a lot to learn when it comes to this type of training and racing. But that’s part of the reason it was SO cool that I was even AT Club Cross! Oiselle gave me the opportunity to line up against the country’s best teams and top runners and wear our team colors, even if I couldn’t capitalize on my best talents.

Start of the Women's Open Race
Hilarious pic from Runnerspace - rough course
Race morning had a fun vibe. I got there early enough to watch the Masters race and saw my role models like Sally, Kristin, Lesko, Regina, and Allie pump up and down the unrelenting section of hills on the back half of the course. They were so smooth and strong; it made me dream of my 40th birthday and the day I can run “faster as a master.” After a warm up, some drills, and a quick change into my spikes, I made my way to the start line for a few strides and a cheer with my Washington teammates. The gun went off and I held back for the first loop, tried to pick it up the second loop, and ran with anything I had left on the third loop. The course was TOUGH! And I say that not just because I’m new to Cross Country and my time wasn’t great, but because everyone was saying how hard it was. There were hills upon hills, winding descents, and hay bales to hurdle. Regina Joyce (former Olympic marathoner and Oiselle teammate) told me she’s been running cross country for over 40 years and that was definitely the hardest.

KMet, Sally, Gwen Lapham (women's Masters winner from Seattle!)

Me over the hay bales, me toward the finish, some fast guys (photo cred on first 2 pictures: Sarah Boone of Oiselle)

After crossing the finish line, I buckled over, took a giant breath in my oxygen deprived state, and let out a pair of snot rockets. When I looked up my teammate Lauren Fleshman was there to congratulate me with a hug. She and all the Oiselle women were so freaking supportive throughout the whole weekend. Read about the Lesko's journey here and KMet's thoughts here. From the long drives back and forth, the pre-race festivities, hanging out with Little Wing and the PickyBars/Oiselle party (for all you running nerds, Evan Jager was there), even the Sunday hangover, it was all unforgettable. I’m still laughing from all the wonderful memories and thankful for the time spent getting to know my teammates. I can’t say that I ran to my full potential (I know I have faster cross country races in me), but that’s a risk I took in trying something new. I’d love to enter more races next fall and find ways to enhance my running. Club Cross is coming to California in 2015 and I’m hoping to sport the Oiselle bird again there. To all my run family, thank you for a wonderful trip and being part of this wonderful life!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Offseason Post #2 (The Training Post)

View from a trail run a 15 minute warm-up
jog from my house. Part of "do whatever
workouts sound fun" plan.
In my last post I blogged about what I’ve been up to during my offseason. I tried not to go into too much detail about the workouts, or rather lack of workouts, I’ve been doing, because I didn’t want it to overshadow the wine tasting and cooking classes and other things I’ve been doing for fun. But the truth is in order to set myself up for success in 2014 I still have to take note of my health and fitness.

I’ve learned from my past experiences. Ever since I’ve been a semi-serious triathlete (i.e. working with a coach, trying to climb podiums, making it a lifestyle, etc.), there has been a dedicated “off-season.” After 2010 I hit it  [rest] hard, because I was pretty burnt out after my first trip to Kona. I allowed myself only one run and one bike per week and light swimming and yoga when I could get myself out of bed. It paid great dividends and set me up for an excellent 2011 season. After 2011, I think I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t need much of a break. I had one month without coaching after Kona, then I ran NYC marathon, and then I started training for my 2012 season. During my month off, I fell mountain biking, f-ed up my shoulder, and couldn’t swim for 2 months. Looking back, it’s no wonder 2012 didn’t go great; I went into the season not fully rested and a little injured. After 2012, I didn’t really have a plan, but my off-season was rather long (September – December) and I followed the “whatever workouts sound fun” training method. It’s a great method, but it doesn’t give you time to work on your weaknesses while you have some spare time.
There are some good articles out there about how to spend your off-season. I liked this one by Matt Lieto and his advice on allowing some structure for the type-As, as well as some ceilings not to allow too much. I try not to worry much about my weight this time of year, or really ever. Rather than throwing my healthy eating habits out the window, they pretty much stay consistent with the rest of the year. I bake around 8-10 batches of cookies this time of year for my annual Christmas run, so maybe it’s the behind the scenes manhandling of the sugar and butter that turns me off from eating too many sweets. I also try to sleep a lot (10 hours last night!). That has to be good for something, right?! Another great offseason post is this one by Alyssa Godesky.
As far as workouts, I’m trying to be a little smarter about working on some weaknesses and areas that need attention without overdoing it in terms of intensity or volume. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed aches and pains that have started creeping in. [If you don’t follow the Twitter handle @thisis30, you probably should. I don’t think I had these issues in the W25-29 AG.] None of the aches have kept me sidelined, but my left leg is consistently a jerk and it’d be nice to not a have a sore piriformis (pain in the ass). I made an appointment with a Sports Injury Specialist/Chiropractor who happens to sponsor my triathlon team. Dr. Rindal did an overall assessment and identified areas of weakness and inflexibility (tons). He then gave me a handful of exercises and foam rolling to do a few times a week to improve these areas. It’s hard to say just yet how this will transfer over into injury prevention over the next year, but I can already tell my hip abductors and lower abdominal muscles are stronger than they were a month ago. I’ll check in with him later this month and throughout my 2014 season. More importantly, I'm hoping I develop some good stretching and strength habits. Depending on your insurance, it can be a fairly inexpensive way to boost your athletic performance. Keep in mind that if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), this is a good way to use up the money before the 31st.
Just like training plans, there’s no perfect solution to fit everyone’s needs in an offseason. It depends on the past year and what kind of season you have ahead of you. But based on my experience, finding ways to enter the new year fully rested, injury free, with perhaps small improvements in some areas (flexibility, strength, stronger hips, etc.), will set you up for a successful season. But most importantly, take some time to relax and enjoy the holidays with your friends and family.
Best of the Season!