Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Need a Nap

I am exhausted and my whole body aches.  I am understanding that this is par for the course in IM training, if so then I am right on track. . .  I am in my last full week of training prior to the taper and I can feel every minute of it.  It isn't just physical exhaustion but also mental exhaustion.  For one thing, most of my friends are done with their training and have done "their big race" for the year and are now in recovery.  A second part is that a tiny little voice in my head is questioning if I have done enough training.  At this point there is not really much I can do about it though except finish this tough week of training without getting hurt and take care of myself during the taper.   I am almost there and can feel it - 27 days and counting to IMAZ!! 

The Taper or for some, the "dreaded taper" will start in just under a week for me.  I am really looking forward to it, mostly because I will have more time for myself and to be able to do some things that I have neglected through the past few months. 

So far, I have come up with a list of things I would like to do during the taper (with some suggestions also added in by CT):
1) Catch up with friends (and a boyfriend)  that I haven't seen in months.
2) Clean and organize the kitchen (including the refrigerator) - basically this means going through and pitching food that I bought months ago and forgot about and won't be using, then wiping down and cleaning all the shelves, etc. 
3) Clean and organize the front closet and my junk drawer (see above, same idea but with bills, mail, and coats/boots).
4) Clean and organize my room (see above but with old clothes and running shoes).
5) Decide which organization I can donate all the above mentioned cleaned out things to so I don't feel bad "pitching" everything.
6) Try some new recipes (maybe inspired by cleaning up the kitchen).
7) Catch up on movies that I missed this summer - including The Hangover and Harry Potter.
8) Sleep more! 

This is kind of how I feel right now . . .

Stats for Last Week:
Mon:  hour ride in the wind
Tues:  3500 swim, 70 minute run
Wed: 30 mile bike, 20 minute run
Thurs:  3500 swim, 75 minute run
Fri: rest
Sat: 2:45 hour run (16+ miles)
Sun: 100 mile bike, 15 minute transtion run

Monday, October 19, 2009

Columbus Marathon Weekend

First off I want to thank one of my friends to being very dedicated and helping Aimee, Matt, and I out with our ride this weekend.  As the last 3 of the FIT team still training for their IM races, we are all trying to get long rides in for a few weeks.   Saturday started out in the mid 30's and was looking to be a high of maybe 48.   Very cold for a long bike ride.  So, our friend Natalie (and Matt's sister-n-law)  offered to drive us out 75 miles so that we could at least have a tailwind back for most of our ride.   After checking the weather online several times, it looked that the wind was going to be from a NNW direction, changing to a N direction by afternoon.  So after plotting out a course we headed out to Roundhead, OH (by Indian Lake) to get dropped off as this route would take us mostly West and then South by afternoon this way.  Fortunately the sun was out so this helped to warm us up a bit.  Unfortunately Mother Nature decided to not listen to the internet and we had sort of a strange cross/headwind for the majority of out ride.   By the end of the ride all Matt wanted to do was "turn right"  because everytime we did, we had a nice tailwind!  Eventually we made it, but it ended up being a bit more work then I think all of us really wanted!  

Sunday morning started out in the low 30's but was clear and forecast was to be up in the 50's by the end of the day.  Perfect conditions for a marathon!  The MIT group met at one of the local hotels downtown where there were bathrooms and warmth prior to heading down to the start line. 

Jenny is gearing up for her first 1/2 marathon since having daughter, Claire.  Rob is a good friend of the MIT folk and also the winner of the 2007 Columbus Marathon.

My plan for this race was to do the 1/2 as part of a training run and then go back out and find as many of the "10's" as I could and help them through the last mile toward the finish. My time goal for this race was to help Coach Kristen pace the runners at a 10 minute/mile pace for the first half of the race. Kristen was a very good coach and even put together a wand of balloons so that all the MIT 10's could easily find us. Unfortunately we had a lot of runners asking us what pace group we were, which prompted the phrase of the day "unofficially 10 minutes" to be said, many times throughout the morning! I am happy to say that my finishing time was 2:10:36 which comes out to be a 9:59 pace. Nice work, if I must say so myself!  CT also did the half and got a very nice PR at 1:23:07!!  I am still amazed at this time, but not at all surprised.   I knew that his fast legs and hard work would pay off with a very nice time. 

Myself, Keith, Wanda, and Michael - just a few of the MIT half finishers.

After finding a moving van to  change clothes in, I headed back out to Front Street (location of the last mile of the Columbus Marathon)  to cheer on the Marathon Finishers.  It was a blast!  I love the energy of the marathon - watching the fans and the runners alike coming down that last stretch.    For those that are trying to finish the marathon for a first time, this is the best feeling - when you know you have done it!  When I did my first marathon in 2007, it was the most emotional part of the race because I finally realized that all of the hard work had paid off and my dream for all those months was finally becoming a reality.   I knew at this point that I would finish.   For others this is a bittersweet place - for those trying for a time goal or a BQ (Boston Qualifier) this is when most people are looking at their watches and trying to figure out if they are going to make it.   You can really see the pain on the faces, in the gait, in the postures of these runners.   That last frantic effort to make it down the chute to get that desired time.  In the fans, you can feel all of that energy and support.  It is almost so loud with cheering that it is hard to hear the person next to you speaking. 

Just a sampling of some of the MIT supporters and fans - Jeanette, Angie, Kristen, Matt, Rocco, and Susan.   Also in the pictures in the background was Brenda and Teri.  This group was awesome with their signs, yelling, and cow bells.   More than one runner commented on this and appreciated it very much!

I am happy to say that all of the MIT runners that started the race were able to finish.  Coach Kristen even got a PR!  Way to go runners!! 

Wanda, myself, Chad, Chris, Brenda, Michele, and Carolyn; all of us were very happy to be done! 

Coach Kristen and I showing off our bling and celebrating with a much deserved beer at the post marathon celebration! 

My stats for last week:
Monday: rest
Tuesday:  3500 swim, 70 minute run
Wed: 1:45 on the trainer, 30 minute stretch/strength
Thursday: 70 minute run, 30 minutes stretech/strength
Friday: rest
Saturday:  72 mile ride
Sunday:  1/2 marathon (2:10:36) plus 2-3 miles extra helping to run in friends.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nutrition for Triathletes

The above picture shows the majority of my tried and true nutrition choices for my rides and runs. 

Besides all of the working out, another part of becoming a long distance triathlete is experimenting with hydration and nutrition.  Being a runner first, I pretty much have this down almost to a science.  I have a handheld bottle that holds 12 oz. and I carry this with me on any run over 30 minutes in length.  I have found through the years that I do much better continuously sipping vs. stopping and gulping water/gatorade.  Most runners will also find that over a certain distance they will also start to need more calories and so will switch from plain old water to gatorade or some sports drink, eventually having to add in gu, sports beans, etc. to get additional calories.  Each athlete is different - in size, shape, muscle balance, metabolism, and even GI compatibility.  So it truely is a science trying to figure out what works for you.  For instance, while I don't especially like the consistency of gu, it seems to work the best for me on any longer distance run.  I have found that while I like the taste of the sports beans/blocks better, I cannot chew and run at the same time (Obviously I can't do 2 things at once)! 

Being on the bike for long distances is an entirely different ball game.  For one, you are out there alot longer.  For me it is one thing to eat a few gels for a couple hours of running, but I cannot do this the full time on the bike -  I have found I like the blocks better as they are less messy!  I think part of it is boredom with the same foods, but I also find I get hungrier and need actual food vs. gels, blocks, etc.  It is interesting seeing what people will eat on a long bike ride.  Here are just a few things I have witnessed or partaked in myself:  fig newtons, power bars, granola bars, donuts, pretzels, potato chips, m&ms (peanut and plain),  a sub sandwich, a hot dog, Pb&J sandwhich, lentil soup, homemade cookies, orange slices, bananas, and finally pop tarts!  It is also not uncommon to see coke and mountain dew consumed later in a ride.  I think part of the reason for all of these different types of food is that many times we stop at gas stations for breaks.  Unfortunately the food choices at these places are slim, the other part of the food is what is offered on the bike tours.  By mile 80 you are generally hungry enough that you will eat almost anything!  So, I haven't quite figured out what I am going to do for the IM so far, but I am pretty sure I will have a peaunt butter sandwhich in my special needs bag.  Incidentally, one of my favorite stories is from CT who witnessed someone taking a McDonald's Hamburger out of the back pocket of his jersey and eating it midway through the ride for the Lake Placid IM this past summer.   Now that is something I won't be doing! 

Another thing you have to start to consider is post workout nutrition.  There is alot of info/advice out there.  But generally, it is recognized that for any distance over 90 minutes, it is important to get about 200 calories  (4:1 ratio carbs to protein) within the first 30 minutes to help with recovery.  I find that I cannot normally stomach solid food right after a work out so I tend to rely on liquid sources for my recovery.  Below are two different ones that I can tolerate for recovery:

Of course, once I can tolerate food, I normally prefer something like this:

Ultimately, in the words of Tim Gunn, you will "make it work!" 

Stats for last week:
Monday:  Hour ride
Tuesday: 70 minute run, 30 minute strength
Wed:  hour and a half on trainer
Thursday: 3500 swim, 70 minute run, 30 min strength/stretch
Friday:  rest
Saturday:  14.5 mile run
Sunday: 100 mile bike, 30 minute run

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Race Weekend

Big race weekend for many of my friends.  For those doing Columbus, it is the last taper before their big day next weekend.   For those doing Chicago and Towpath Marathons, tomorrow is the big day!  I wanted to wish all of my friends best wishes as they run their races:  Teri, Matt, Jeanette, Susan, Brenda, and the rest of the MIT folk in Chicago - have fun and I hope you get your PR's!  Also, to Heather who is running Towpath - enjoy the run! 

It is also IM Kona raceday.  I think I may actually be one of the few tri dorks who is home on a Saturday night watching/listening to "Ironman Live"  on the internet.  These athletes are awesome.  It is now 22 miles into the marathon portion of the race and the lead man (Craig Alexander) has been racing a total of 8 hours and 8 minutes.  The second place female is running a 6:32 pace at 10 miles into the run.  Seriously, don't these athletes realize they have already done a 2.4 mile swim and a 114 mile bike ride!  LOL!  Anyway, I am trying to stay awake to watch the men and women finish, but my bed beckons me - it is about 9pm. 

There are 2 American IM's left this year.  It is actually pretty neat to watch as the pro's do the race, then to watch the common folk come across the finish and hear the words "you are an Ironman!"   IM Florida is Nov. 7 and IM Arizona is Nov. 22.  Go to:  http://www.ironmanlive.com/ to watch the finish line live or to track an athlete. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

MIT Banquet

"MIT"  in Columbus, Ohio stands for "Marathon in Training", not to be confused with MIT - that technical school in Boston.  When it first started it was with the idea that new runners could join a group to help them prepare for running their first 1/2 or full marathon.  The great thing about it is that there are training programs available online to help follow and they include different levels of experience.  There is also have a place to meet 2 days a week with a set route and hydration set up along the way.  On Saturdays, when we do our long runs, we are split up into different pace groups.  There is everything from a walking pace group to an 8+ (meaning faster) pace group.  They even added 2 new programs this year for a walk/run group and a "No Boundaries" group to help very new runners train for their first 5k.  Wednesdays, there is an option for speed work at a track or another group run.  Other benefits are educational talks/seminars provided each week prior to the runs on various topics, including, but not limited to:  hydration/food needs, planning for the race, injury prevention, heart rate training, etc. and we get discounts to many races and the Fleet Feet running store.   Through the years, this "group" has grown from just over 20 people to 500+ this year. 

Although the group originally started to help with a "first race" many people who join continue to come back each year.  This is what happened to me, I have been with the group a little over 4 years.  I joined because I wanted to continue to train for 1/2 marathons and didn't want to do it by myself.  For me, it is really motivating to have other people to talk to, laugh with, and just run with in general to make the time pass by.  It wasn't until after I joined the group that I even thought a full marathon was possible.  This group not only helped me to complete my marathon, but made it a fun experience as well.  Last year I was asked to help coach and at first this seemed very daunting to me because I don't think of myself as being qualified enough to coach, but somehow I was talked into it and glad that I was.  I helped the 1/2 marathon group train for the spring race and for the fall I helped coach my first marathon group.  It has been just as much fun for me to see other people new to running or restarting again, go through their "firsts" and realizing all that they can do! 

Each year towards the end of the season there is a banquet hosted for all the members to attend.  It is fun to get dressed up and actually see people in regular clothes and eat/drink food other than gu's, blocks, gatorade, and water.  It is amazing how different people look when they have on regular clothes and their hair is done!  It is also a chance for the coaches to get stressed out and pick out awards for their group and to have to get up and make a speech.  This was especially challenging task this year because the "10 minute group" that I help to coach has grown from one of the smaller groups to one of the biggest with just over 60 people!  However, after a few discussions we were able to come up with 2 very deserving people for these awards.  

Christopher Neihoff (second from right) recieved the Most Improved Award and Wanda Vansickle (far right) recieved the Spirit Award.

The Happy Coaches (Brenda, Myself, Kristen), we are done with the speech - of course Kristen talked the whole time, so Brenda and I just had to stand up there with her!  These two gals have great and I have really been blessed to be able to run with them these past few years! 

Best wishes to anyone that is running a race in the next few weeks.  I know there are many, but the ones I know of are Chicago and Columbus! 

For more info on a local running club in Columbus, check out MIT  and for the Phoenix area check out 1st Marathon

Happy Running, my friends!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Skipped a Workout, and I Liked It!

This past weekend we entertained CT's friend Mike (Feebs).  Mike used to live in Ohio a long time ago, but now lives in Phoenix.  This has been the first time he has been to Columbus since 1990, so CT wanted to show him a really good time.  Mike is also training for IMAZ so we tried to include a mixture of social and training fun!  Saturday started with the typical MIT run for me and an 18 mile run for CT (Feebs joined him for about 1/2 the run which is amazing since he was up late for a wedding the night before).  I followed up my run by meeting Aimee for a swim.  I was thinking a quick 30 minute swim but somehow Aimee talked me into 3200??  After this I went home and put together a crockpot full of chilli, baked homemade granola, baked cookies, and got ready for the OSU game.  While both of the boys managed a nap, I somehow didnot!  CT invited a few friends over for the OSU game, which was alot of fun, but I stayed up later than  normal!  LOL!  Sunday consisted of a great ride with CT, Feebs, and Aimee.  We left Muirfield with about 51 degree temps and a fierce headwind for the first 36 miles.  This bought us to our turn around point at Cork Screw Hill, CT and Feebs won the sprint for this!   Fortunately we had a tailwind on the way back, because my legs were shot after this little climb!  I somehow managed to run 30 minutes after this but I was a zombie the rest of the evening and managed 10 hours of sleep Sunday night!  Great to have company for the weekend, but somehow I slacked on sleep. 

I am still wiped out from this weekend.  Sleep seems like it is more important to me than all of my work outs right now.  So, when my alarm went off this morning, I opted to turn it off and sleep an extra hour and half vs. go to my swim class.  The fact that I fell back into a deep sleep pretty easily convinced me it was the right decision.  Sleep, I think is very under-rated.  I don't think in general we realize how important it is and even seem to brag when we don't get enough.  But, sleep is very important, it is the time when our bodies "rest and restore."  HGH is released to help the body heal, grow, repair itself.   It allows both our minds and bodies to take a break so we can continue on with our daily lives.   I was just talking to someone last week about the fact that I think lack of sleep can contribute to injuries and I fully believe this.  So, I think when your body is exhausted and you know this, it is important to listen.  Sometimes, I do think it is okay to skip a workout or readjust the schedules a bit to allow for some additional sleep.   At least, this is what I am telling myself today, so I don't feel so guilty about missing my swim! 

Stats for last weeks work outs:
Monday: hour bike on the trainer, 30 minute strength/stretch
Tuesday: 3000 swim, hour run
Wed:  30 mile bike, 20 minute run,
Thursday:  3000 swim, hour run, 30 minute strength/stretch
Friday:  rest - enjoyed a birthday date with my boyfriend at Figlio - yum! 
Saturday:  12 mile run, 3200 swim
Sunday:  75 mile bike (windy, also included Corkscrew Hill), 30 minute run

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Birthday, a Year in Review

So this is my birthday week.  I am actually 36 now and I am having a hard time with it. For some reason 35 wasn't a big deal for me, but 36 is. Maybe because I am over 1/2 way to 40? Maybe it is because I am still unmarried and my biological clock is starting to tick? Maybe because it makes my parents one year older and I don't want to see them age anymore? I really don't know the reason for this, but I know that I don't like being 36, 35 was much better. So in honor of my 35th year, I am going to do a year in review of  things that have happened over the past year. Give yourself some time, because this is going to be a long entry!

A look back at year 35 of Ann Kurtenbach:

October 2008:
1. My friend Eileen is diagnosed with Lymphoma.
2. I complete the Columbus 1/2 marathon.  Meanwhile, CT get's his first BQ time with his Columbus Full finish!
3. I move in with CT, time to co-habitate with a boyfriend for the first time!

November 2008:
4.  I vote for Obama, who later is elected as the first African American President of the USA.

5.  My mom and I fly to LA to be there when my sister completes her first 1/2 marathon.  Unfortunately the race is canceled due to the wild fires surrounding LA, the air quality is terrible.  We have a great weekend of site-seeing instead!  Fortunately my sister (Lora) is able to participate and complete in a 1/2 marathon 2 weeks later.

6. CT and I fly to Phoenix to spend time with his family. We watch our friend Julie complete her first Ironman at IM Arizona 2008.
7.  I sign up for Ironman Arizona 2009, the next day.
8.  With Liz's help, I stuff and roast my first Thanksgiving Turkey. 

December 2008:
9.  Two baby showers to attend (my friends Liz and Jenny - both on different weekends, but both due in January).
10.  First Christmas without CT's mother.   Very hard for everyone, it is my first experience in trying to celebrate a holiday without a loved one, who is normally a vital part of that holiday.  It was a very sad Christmas last year, hopefully we will be able to better honor Sylvia this year and have a Christmas that would truely embody her spirit of the holiday - Sylvia absolutely loved Christmas! 

January 2009:
11.  I PR my first race of the year "First on the 1st 5k."
12.  Heath Ledger dies, age 28.
13.  Liz and Jenny both have their babies! 

February 2009:
14. My good friend, Sally, turns 30 - welcome to the club! 
15. CT turns 36, 6 months until my turn. . .

March 2009:
16. My sister, Lora's birthday - she is now 33.  Seriously??  When did my "little" sister suddenly grow up and turn into a mature woman? 

April 2009:
17.  Another baby shower - this time for my friend Abby!
18.  I compete  in the first BAA 5k race in Boston, not a PR but only 20 seconds slower than the last 5k.  Not bad, especially since I ran about 4 miles extra prior to the race and then an additional 2 or 3 after!
19.  CT and Aimee participate in their first Boston Marathon.  CT PR's, ensuring his spot for a return next year.

20.  Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall both finish 3rd - the US has a glimmer of hope for the future of long distance running! 

May 2009:
21.  I complete the Flying Pig 1/2 Marathon.  I thought this was a PR for me, but later found out that it actually is not.  Apparently the very first 1/2 Marathon I completed was a PR for me, through the years I had forgotten this fact!  CT's friend "Nemo" finally gets his 1st BQ at the Flying Pig full - great for the guys as CT will now get to run the Boston Marathon 2010 with all of his training buddies!  CT's brother, Scott, also finishes his first marathon! 
22.  Another 5k - this one is a fundraiser that a friend organized - The Spring 5k Run.  My friend Kelly found out she is pregnant shortly after this run.
23.  CT and I travel to Italy to follow the Giro d'Italia for a few weeks.

24.  We get to witness Lance Armstrong, live, as he is making his comeback to the bicycle racing scene.

June 2009:
25.  First ever family reunion with my fater's side of the family, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
26.  Race for Ellie - my 5th, 5k of the year.
27.  I completed the Olympic Distance Tri at Alum Creek, shaved 10 minutes off my time from last year!
28.  Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett die in the same week. 

July 2009:
29.  For work, my collegue, Colleen, and I present an inservice at Riverside's Grand Rounds to 30+ ob/gyn residents and physicians on how physical therapy can help their patient population, this is huge as many times these inservices aren't well attended by the physicians.  Bonus, I think only 2 people nodded off during the presentation!
30.  My friend, Jen, finally gets married to Mike!  Yeah!! 

31. CT completes his 4th IM at Lake Placid, in the same weekend I venture up to Lima to do a Sprint Tri with his sister-n-law, Liz, his brother, Scott, and a few other friends. We all take home AG awards!

August 2009:
32.  I complete the Steelhead 1/2 IM, my first,  in Benton Harbor, MI.
33.  Usain Bolt sets a new world record for the 100m - 9.58 seconds!

34.  My 5th baby shower of the year - this time it is for CT's sister-n-law, Michelle.  It will be Scott and Michelle's first!
35.  Eileen has a clear scan for cancer, I then take her with me to the Pelotonia celebration to recognize this huge accomplishment.   The next day I complete the 100 mile distance ride for Pelotonia and Eileen is the first person I see when I get there! 

37.  Spirit of Columbus 1/2 marathon is completed the day after Pelotonia.
38.  Double IM weekend, IM Canada - Jana completes this, and IM Louisville - MIT and biking friend, John completes this one! 

September 2009:
38.  Another work success; Colleen and I present 2 free CEU's for the therapy staff at Ohiohealth.  This is a 2 hour long presentation and I talk for about 45 minutes.  This is huge for me as I hate public speaking!  No one falls asleep during this presentation (that I see anyway)! 
39.  IM Wisconsin - 5 friends complete this; Natalie, Jeremy, Laura, Mario, and Tim - way to go!   I am now wishing mine was sooner.
40.  Patrick Swayze passes away.
41.  Nicole's baby shower - my 6th of the year!
42.  My Birthday - I am now officially 36 years old.