Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday Bike Ride

LOVE my new bike.  Love it.
I joined about 75 other cyclists for Go Cycling Maui's holiday pancake ride on Sunday.  In a word...AMAZING.

The weather called for gusty trades and scattered showers.  The wind howled all night and was blowing a good 25 mph when I got up, so I thought I was in for headwind hell, but it was blissfully calm by the time I got to Keokea park for the start.  It was also 54-freakin-degrees.

If you are reading this and you live somewhere where outdoor winter riding is not an option, and it gets freezing cold, you have every right to call me a wimp.  But geez, I am a tropical island girl and anything below 70F has me running for my sweatshirt.  I am always worried I am going to be cold, then 15-20 minutes into a ride or run I am calling myself ridiculous and thankful (usually) that I didn't bundle up.  With the ride starting at 3,500ft and a call for wind and rain, I added a couple of layers - my YMX long sleeve shirt, a sleeveless cycling jersey AND my new Athleta Quarter Mile Half Zip.  I was still cold for the first 20 minutes or so, as we raced downhill into Ulupalakua in the shadow of Haleakala, but I warmed up just enough by the turnaround to strip off the outermost layer.  It only got up to about 65 degrees, so was still a bit cool, but comfortable.
How most of the road looked.

I got a new bike in October - a Trek Madone 4.7 - and love every minute on it.  I was especially looking forward to this ride because I haven't had the opportunity to ride this route before.  It was SPECTACULAR!

At the turn-around, looking toward Kaupo.
Nearly the entire route was newly paved (a cyclist's dream!).  The twisting, winding roads meander around the southern edge of Haleakala, through Keokea, Ulupalakua and out past Kahikinui for what ends up to be about 40 miles.  It's  definitely not a beginner's ride, though - all that fast, steep downhill riding at the beginning means lots of climbing on the way back.  But if you've got the legs for it, you won't be disappointed.

Kahikinui Wind Farm
We started the ride at 7:00 a.m. and headed toward Kaupo.  There was virtually zero traffic in either direction the entire ride since most of the tourist traffic comes around from Hana in the early afternoon.  It was windless until we climbed out of Ulupalakua and rounded the curve far above Wailea, then BAM, smacked in the face with a good 20-25mph headwind.  The saving grace was that a good part of the start of the ride would be downhill, and we would have a tailwind for the uphill on the way back.

On the return we got a glimpse of the new wind farm going up on the backside of the island along with breathtaking views of Maui's leeward coast.  I was completely caught up in the scenery and enjoyed every minute of the ride.

Not long after I took the last picture, I was cruising up over a hill and just as a crested it I looked up at the brilliant blue sky.  I took my eyes off the road at just the wrong moment and hit a small pile of lava rocks that had spilled onto the road from the nearby hillside.  As my bike pitched over the pile I was immediately thankful I wasn't going any faster because I think I would have crashed.  It was bad enough, however, as I realized I had my first ever mid-ride flat tire.  Leave it to me to find the one pile of debris on an otherwise immaculate stretch of road!

I limped over to the shoulder, thankful I had a spare and knew how to change the tire, but also knowing that it would probably take me awhile since I can count on one hand how many times I've changed a tire in practice.  And since this ride was mostly unsupported AND I was near the back of the pack of riders, I knew help wouldn't appear any time soon.

Just as I was pulling over, another cyclist heading out (and not with our ride), stopped and asked if he could help.  Not 10 minutes later I was back on the road again - special MAHALO to Dave of Makawao for lending me his expertise!

I caught up to my friend Sarah on the way back and we rode together to the finish.  It was a bit of a trudge climbing back out of Ulupalakua, but an overall great ride.  

I can't wait to get out there again!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Remember When Running Was Simple?

I discovered running in my 30's.  It was simple then.  I went to a shoe store, bought a pair of Nike "running" shoes, and away I went.  The uniform was baggy sweats and a t-shirt.  I ran and ran and ran in those shoes, and then I ran some more.  I didn't know how many miles were on them and I didn't care.  I bought a new pair when they wore out (like when I used to think that I didn't need to change my sewing machine needle until it broke, but that's a story for my other blog). Fast forward to today and you could quite possibly call me the Imelda of Running Shoes aka The Shoe Hoarder.  At least my husband does.

The fact is, I have a couple of problems.

The first is that since I keep pretty close track of my mileage I have a fairly good idea of when shoes should be retired.  I also get other hints, like sore feet or shins, or something "not quite right" and I know it's time to get a new pair of shoes.  So the old ones get demoted to yard work and walking around town.  And even though I live in Hawaii you will rarely see me in the ubiquitous "rubbah slippahs" unless I am going to/from the beach.  I am super cautious about my feet and like to keep them protected.  Therein lies the problem: even though they aren't good for running, they are still good for other purposes so they are piling up.

The second is a nasty little problem called Plantar Fasciitis.

It's MADDENING.  No one really knows that causes it.  No one really knows what cures it.  You can have it for a week or for years.  One day it will be there, one day it won't.  It gets worse when you run...or not.  I've tried rest, ice, foam rolling, self massage, massage therapy, physical therapy, running, not running, and acupuncture.  My podiatrist wants to give me a shot.  I want to fix the problem, although the longer this goes on the more enticing the shot sounds.  He promises instant relief.  I am skeptical.

So now I have stability shoes, moderate "minimalist" shoes, racing shoes, training shoes, trail shoes.  "Too many shoes for just us two."   (If you listen to Keb Mo, you may get the reference.)  I feel like if I keep switching them up, my PF will go away.  Or not.

What do you do with your retired shoes when they start to pile up?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Starts, Stalls and Stops

Maybe I should rename my blog the title of this post?

I can't tell you how many posts I have in "draft" form right now (well, I can, because they are listed in my dashboard, but I'm just going to keep that dirty little secret to myself).

The last few months have been absolutely...freaking...insane.  And rather than resurrect a bunch of old race reports, rants and general craziness, I'm just starting fresh.

From here.

And what's going on right now?
  • Things are settling down, evening out.  The planets are apparently realigning in a manner that is calming to me (and quite a few others out there in Blog-Land who appear to have been as frantic as me these last few months).
  • The plantar fasciitis that I've had since March is showing no signs of abating, but is generally not getting worse so I *think* I'm OK with that.  I want it to go AWAY completely, soon.  I'm working on it.  Right now I'm reading THIS BOOK - I read about it in the comments on another blog.  Will let you know if it helps.
  • I'm in Week 2 of January Marathon Training.  WHOO HOO!!  Making a run for it, again (tried last year then training got derailed over the holidays).  Also on the running front: a 10K this weekend and another at the end of the month - the Xterra 10K on Maui the day before Xterra World Championships.  Killer race (new strategy this year - will write more about that later - probably post race since I don't want to give my secrets away).
  • I'm trying a new supplement line this month from BASE PERFORMANCE.  It was developed by Ironman pro Chris Lieto.  I hope it's the answer to training well in hot, humid weather.  I like it because it is clean and will be a good supplement to the Hammer products I know and love.  Will report periodically throughout the month and write a review at the end.
  • Finally decided on a NEW BIKE!  Ordering it this week.  More on that later.
 Hope your fall season is off to a great start!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Practical Paleo Review and Giveaway!!

Please head on over to my new Paleo blog Island Paleo for a review of the outstanding new book "Practical Paleo" and a chance to win a copy!  Click HERE and check it out.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Na Holo Wahine 5K Race Report

                The Na Holo Wahine is one of the only 5Ks I regularly run, since I generally prefer 10K and ½ marathon distances for a stand-alone race.  I never ran track in school, outside of mandatory PE, and my recollections of running the 100-yard dash are vague.  Let’s just say I’m an endurance junkie, in it for the long haul, and sprinting (aka speed) has never really been my thing.  Until recently.
                When I began running in my 30’s, I never incorporated speedwork into any of my training.  I didn’t know anyone else who ran, did all of my training by myself, and learned what I could from reading Runner’s World and Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Guide.  They all recommended speedwork and track sessions, but the track intimidated me and I felt like the workout descriptions were written in Greek.  Besides, like many new runners, I figured I didn’t need to work on speed since I was in it to enjoy running and finish each distance on my feet…not win.  I had simple time goals – mostly wanting to finish with what I thought was a “respectable time.”  I didn’t want to be a 10-hour marathoner.
                Fast forward 10 years and that mindset was OK until I start racing, and reading the results, and comparing my rank to those in my age group.  The more I trained, the faster I got (albeit slowly) and I was inching closer to the FOP (front-of-pack) runners.  Suddenly, it wasn’t enough to just “finish respectably.”  I wanted to WIN!
         I still hadn’t actually incorporated any track workouts or serious speedwork into my training outside of the occasional interval session.  I just followed the mantra of one regular BT forum poster who advocates “run lots...mostly slow…sometimes fast."  Well, it's paying off!

        Race start wasn't until 8:00 a.m., so I didn't have to get up early.  I had half a smoothie and a cup of coffee for breakfast.  Didn't see any reason to pop a gel prior to the race, but did take along my new Nathan Quickshot to carry HEED with me on the course.  I also made a new playlist since I was going to run with music this race.

        I thought about riding my bike for about an hour prior to the race as a warm-up.  I've been doing a lot of bike/run bricks and my legs have been responding well, but I thought it might rain and that was an extra factor I just didn't want to deal with.  My plan was to do a little light running drills instead, but I ran into a friend of mine and we started chatting to catch up, then all of a sudden it was time to race!

        I fumbled with my iPhone trying to get it set up to play, but I have a very awkward carrier for it and can't access any of the settings once it started playing (note to self: get a new armband!).  No wonder I don't usually run with music!

        I moved up to the front of the pack to avoid the bobbing and weaving - I wanted a quick start - and we were off!  The first stretch of the race is a gradual downhill for about a 1/2 mile, so it was easy to stretch out and get ahead.  I just kept my eye on the leaders and tried not to get too far behind.  I planned to open up and run this race as fast as I could sustain.  At about the 1/2 way point on an up-hill stretch I realized how freakin' hard it is to run a 5K!  My exact thought was, "I am NO SPRINTER. No wonder I am an endurance runner!"  But I kept at it.  I never really lost sight of the leaders and only one woman passed me the entire race.  Toward the end I heard footsteps closing in behind me, but that just spurred me on to the finish.  I was determined not to be caught.

        My first surprise was at the finish line - the top 15-20 (I'm not sure the exact number) got ti leaf leis - at #13 I was thrilled.  Something so simple yet so meaningful - I've never been in the front before.  I already felt like a winner.  Then they started announcing the age group winners and I came in 3rd in the 40-44 AG!!  WHOO HOO!!  It was my first ever podium finish!!

        I was in good company, too.  Several of the women who are part of a triathlon training group I just joined also placed in their respective divisions.  We are all racing in the upcoming South Maui Triathlon in June and I hope we can create the same picture in the winners circle there as well.  It was a great day - beautiful weather, new friends, and great finishes.  I can't wait until next year!

        I looked at my results for the past four races:
  • 2008:  35:28  53/83 overall
  • 2010:  31:21  35/76 overall
  • 2011:  29:23  35/104 overall
  • 2012:  26:07  13/72 overal, 3rd place 40-44 (AG results not available)
I'm going to shoot for sub-25 my next 5K or next year, whichever comes first!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Valley-to-the-Sea Race Report AND Lessons Learned

John, Sherri, Yolanda and me, pre-race.
Recent training has been sporadic at best.  Each week I start off with good intentions, then work, drama, life, etc. all conspire to prevent me from making a workout.  

I didn't run any appreciable mileage for the 3 1/2 weeks prior to the Valley-to-the-Sea race.  I knew going in that it would be difficult and, despite my irrational hopes, that I would probably not make my PR goal of a sub-2 hour 1/2.  I tried to tell myself that I had enough run fitness to make it work.  

Lesson #1 - You will lose fitness if you do not run the appropriate mileage before a race.

Still, I was optimistic.  I felt good on race day, had my pre-race smoothie, drank my coffee and water.  It was cool (chilly even, for Maui!) at the race start and there was cloud cover the entire race, which helped keep temperatures in check.

Lesson #2 - Don't mess around with the hydration/nutrition systems you KNOW work for you.

I didn't wear my Nathan water carrier this race.  The course was mostly downhill/flat.  I wanted to run it fast (see previous PR goal) and didn't want the extra weight.  I decided that water at the aid stations and 3 gels would be enough.  But I'm used to carrying my own HEED and having it whenever I want.  I was thirsty and the aid stations were too far apart (not really, but that's how I felt).  

I started off fast (for me) but you can see why - steep descent at the beginning.  I figured if I kept up a good pace at the start it would see me through at the finish.

Lesson #3 - Negative split, negative split, negative split!  Don't go out too fast.

Would I have been better off to slow it down at the start?  Probably.  I should have kept it more at 9:00 mm.  Mile 5 was a long, gradual uphill, which really dropped my speed and where my attitude started to go bad.  Miles 6-9 were downhill again and when I really started talking to myself and giving myself a pep talk, and you can see it in my average pace, which was back on track.

Avg Pace
18:22.0 1.08 7:43
28:02.4 0.98 8:11
39:09.0 1.02 8:59
410:03.5 1.01 9:55
510:23.8 1.00 10:25
69:40.1 0.99 9:45
710:29.5 1.11 9:29
88:27.2 0.90 9:24
99:14.5 0.98 9:25
1012:43.5 1.07 11:57
119:50.4 0.94 10:31
1212:02.3 1.00 12:04
1313:27.1 1.01 13:20

For the record, my actual finish time was 2:10:34 - I forgot to press STOP on the Garmin.  AGAIN.  #74 out of 107. 

At Mile 10, where the ground leveled off once again, the wheels started to come off.  I was done.  I'd had my last gel at about Mile 8 and thought it would carry me through, but I really started to lose it.  At one point I just wanted to sit on the curb and cry like a baby.  I don't know what got into me?!  Yolanda and Sherri passed me at this point and I told them I was fading.  They were encouraging and that kept me going for awhile.  I really tried to HTFU.  My legs were starting to cramp, but I kept up a slow jog until the end.

Here we are at the finish. I am so proud of Yolanda - it was her first 1/2 and she did great!  I was just glad it was over, which makes me sad because I love to race and this one was on a beautiful course, on a great day, and had great volunteers and was run exceptionally well (thanks Rudy!).  Which leads me to:

Lesson #4:  You can't fake a 1/2 marathon.

My quads hated me for three solid days.  I. Seriously. Could. Not. Walk. 

My new Brooks PureFlow shoes, however, were AWESOME!  I still had a couple of blisters, but they were minor.  I will have to tape my feet in a couple of places, I think, to eliminate them, but my feet were not sore and neither were my calves. 

Lesson #5:  Some things DO work, even on a bad day.

Loved my Brooks shoes, Injinji socks ROCK, and even though I missed wearing my water carrier, I liked wearing my Zoot tri top for the race (the back pockets are awesome!).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Tri-ing to get better about posting!  I have so many ideas and things I want to write down, but there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.

Here are a few things I've come across recently that I am crazy about:

Brooks PureFlow Shoes  

I needed some new running shoes and didn't know what to do.  I wanted a more minimalist shoe, but still wanted a little extra cushion, and needed to solve the blistering issues I had on longer (10+ mile) runs.

I settled on the new Newton Distance U, but was frustrated because I could only order the 11.5 size I needed directly from Newton and they would only ship to me UPS 2-day air at a cost of over $40.  At $155 for the shoe, I wasn't about to spend that kind of money for shipping - just couldn't justify it for an untested shoe.  Sorry Newton - epic fail on the shipping.

I went to my #2 choice, the PureFlow, hoping that the wider toe box would prevent the blister I was getting on the inside tip of my big toe.  I ended up ordering them from Zappos.com, and got free FED-EX shipping from them.  My shoes were delivered two days after I ordered them.  WIN!

I've run 9 miles total in them so far - 3 miles, then 6 miles, all on the treadmill because we have been continually soaked by rain.  So far I like them and will be breaking them in the next two weeks.  The real test will be the upcoming 1/2 marathon I have on the March 24th.  I'll report back with a more specific fit/comfort review.

Sahale Snacks

These nuts are THE DEVIL!  They are delicious and addictive and I will eat the whole package in one sitting if I'm not careful.  Ideally, I should take the package home then dole out a little at a time in my lunch for the week - NOT take them to work.

The only other downside is that they are not 100% Paleo - there is some sugar and balsamic vinegar - but if those are the only two offending ingredients I'm OK with having them for a special treat from time to time.

 Steve's Original Paleo Krunch

I'll give Steve a gold star even if he does spell crunch with a "k" (major pet peeve). 

I originally ordered this so I could try the recipe for Luscious Lemon Bars in the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook. Of course, I had to try it before I cooked it up into a recipe and it's wonderful!  However, there is honey in it and I've been having some sugar issues recently, so I had a hard time staying out of it.  This is another item where I can't have an open container around because I will eat too much at once.

It's delicious all by itself, but I like to dip a banana into it for a little crunch. It made a great base for the lemon bars, which I altered and used fresh passion fruit (lilikoi) pulp instead of lemon - and awesome tropical dessert to take to my next potluck.

On the Training Front

I've stumbled a bit on my training in the last two weeks - weather, work, minor illness, family drama, have all conspired to sap the motivation right out of me, but it's a new week and I've got a race coming up.  Time to get with it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 - So It Begins

I spent a considerable amount of December mired in a full-blown pity party.  Oh, I ran (I was training for a January marathon afterall); I ate reasonably well (although deviating periodically from my pure Paleo format); and I went to work.  Trouble was, I was vaguely unhappy and unable to put a finger on it, thereby making it unfixable.

I'm a fixer.  A do-er.  An achiever.  There's nothing I like better than to put a solid check in that little black box.  I make lists. I keep calendars.  I have a training plan.  Many years ago a mentor made the statement, "You just aren't happy unless you can tie a big red bow around it."  Trouble was, I had too many loose ends and not enough bows tied.  And when that happens I.....just......do........nothing.

Within all of that chaos was a message.  The message was, perhaps, that I was doing too much.  There were things I needed to cut, reduce, say "no" to.  The problem was, how did I pick the things to cut?

There are four things I am committed to for 2012:

  • My marriage and family
  • My job
  • Racing Hawaii 70.3 in June
  • Exhibiting in a featured show in Utah in July
I'm going to focus on those for now and the rest are going to have to wait.

And I'm going to have to be OK with that.