For well over a year now, Wednesday nights have been my “me” nights. It started because I played beach volleyball with work friends on Wednesdays last summer and then over the winter it turned into my night to get drinks or dinner or work late, whatever I wanted to do. In January my best friend forwarded me an email of a new spin studio opening in Baltimore. So when we decided to check out the new Rev Cycle Studio, Wednesday was the natural night to go. Continue reading
It was a couple hours after my second piece of red velvet cake at a friend’s birthday dinner that I started to feel guilty. I had started the day with an invigorating rooftop yoga class and slowly throughout the day cancelled out the benefits of my morning fitness session simply by making stupid food choices. Pregnant or not, one piece of cake is totally fulfilling and sufficient. Post-birthday dinner I vowed to start over on Sunday and start the day with a ride. Continue reading
I hit 30 weeks yesterday, on July 4. A day when I can distinctly recall running in early morning shaded routes to get the run in before the big party. Last year I remember running in 100% humidity and high heat doing track work as part of marathon training. I remember Fourth of July runs just for fun, because its a holiday, and why not? This year, there was no run for me. Continue reading
On May 3 I joined colleagues and a few hundred other cyclists in Howard County for a challenging but totally gorgeous ride. After four months of as much training as I could, I decided at essentially the last minute to ride 32 instead of 22 miles. I felt ready. No doubt it was the right decision. This event was the first athletic event I’ve done that wasn’t a race and I can genuinely say it was just as rewarding. Part of the reward was in being part of something bigger. And part of the reward was the feeling of accomplishment at the end.
Riding in packs is always a hair intimidating at first; a lot of people in a small space going at a relatively decent speed means you have to really have situational awareness of your surroundings and confidence in your ability to control your bike. We headed out around 8:30am on a brisk but beautiful morning with a group of about 100. Our team from r2i was divided between a 32 mile group and a 10 mile group. Within the first three miles things started to space out which was helpful as we were on roads without much shoulder, but at that hour also without much traffic.
By mile 10 or so my co-hort had taken off ahead of me and I kept up as best I could. The course was pretty darn hilly–much hillier than I expected–so while I could cruise at 25mph downhill there were plenty of uphill moments where my GPS read a depressing 6mph. We reunited at the well placed rest stop at mile 21 and finished the rest of the course together. At 21+ weeks pregnant during the ride, I was much more comfortable than I anticipated I would be. Most of my training rides had been midday while our son naps and I think midday pregnant work-outs are just not for me. I’m full and bloated and generally uncomfortable. So doing this ride at the start of the day was perfectly enjoyable.
As we made our way up the final hill within site of the finish line we could hear the music and festivities of the finish line. The volunteers of the day made for an awesome “welcome back” committee and the music made all the difference for having a powerful finish. We reunited with the rest of our r2i team for a group photo and to celebrate the accomplishment.
Riding for a Cause
This event was also one of the first where I’ve ever had to seriously fundraise prior to the event. I set a goal for myself of $500 which would go toward our team’s goal of $5000. I ended up raising $706 and am incredibly grateful to each person–family and friends–who donated toward my ride and the cure for diabetes. Our team made it 88% of the way to our goal which is darn impressive in my opinion. I’m proud of what we did as a team and I am humbled to have been able to ride for a cause.
At the end of 15 weeks I went out for a three mile run and didn’t pay too much attention to my pace though I could feel that it was slow. I thought for sure I’d average out at 9:30 for that short run. It was an early run, before sunrise, and there is no doubt the morning run is still the way to go (vs running midday). I was pleasantly surprised to find that my average pace for that run was 8:58/mile, just squeaking in below 9 minutes.
My new weekend routine is now that I go for a bike ride on Saturday afternoon while our son naps and then an early long run on Sunday. I like this routine quite a bit. The cycling is helping me train for Tour de Cure in May where I’m really hoping I can hang for 32 miles. The Sunday run is a 6.8 route with a flat stretch until the halfway point where there also happens to be a ranger station along the B&A trail with restrooms. Enough said. The second half of the loop is a perfect hilly mix and for probably any number of reasons is typically faster than my first half. Pregnant or not, I usually need a couple miles to warm up so I inevitably end up with negative splits more often than not. This makes for a very satisfying run.
Slow and Steady
Even though that recent 3 miler was a hair under 9 minutes, I have a feeling that may be the last time that happens for the next 5 months. My long run averaged out at a 9:38/mile pace. I proclaimed a few weeks ago that I wanted to maintain sub-9s for as long as possible, at least on the shorter runs. I now know what “as long as possible” equates to. At 16 weeks pregnant, my new pace is slow and steady. I am hoping, however, that I can still finish the next 10k race in under an hour. At the 6.2 mark on the long run my time was 58:38, so we’ll see. Two more weeks could make a big difference in how I perform, even in the spirit of race day.
I got curious though to compare my distances and paces from this current pregnancy with round one. The biggest difference is that I went into that pregnancy marathon ready and into this one barely half marathon ready but with speed like I’d not had before. In 2011 I finished the Marine Corps Marathon at the end of my first trimester. From there I kept up with 3-6 mile runs until about week 18 but I was averaging 10+ minutes per mile. In comparison, I’m currently only running 2-3 days a week, with those runs also 3-6ish miles (plus 2 days per week spin/cycle and cross-train), but I’m a solid minute faster at the same point in pregnancy than the first time. Just interesting.
And regardless, the point is to stay fit, keep exercising, keep running and keep moving. One week at a time.
“Anticipate the hill.” Coach Ashley Halsey was behind me in a group ride with the Annapolis Triathlon Club and even though the road was still flat he was reminding me and the other rides to anticipate the hill. And as we approached the incline I heard “Shift…shift…shift.” “Keep up your cadence!” I was pedaling for all my might to maintain a fast cadence up a steep incline and only after we were plateauing and starting to coast the downhill did I really start to understand the purpose of maintaining cadence. And it all starts with anticipating the hill. Continue reading
I’m on the second week of training for a triathlon which includes two cycling sessions per week. Until now I’ve been going to spin class and needed to start biking outside. I broke out my Gary Fisher mountain bike, checked that the tires had enough air, and headed out for the 40 minute foundation ride the training schedule called for.
Most of the areas where I live that I can bike are relatively flat. I try to incorporate hills into my runs whenever I can and I chose to do the same thing with my bike ride. Even with the hills and keeping the mountain bike on has hard of a gear as I could handle, I felt pretty disappointed at the end of the 40 minutes with the quality of the work-out. Thank goodness I can push myself hard with ab exercises or I would have felt as though I’d done hardly anything.
Spin class to me is possibly one of the best work-outs I do. I think this because I sweat a tremendous amount in the class, I breathe hard, and I know that I am challenged in each class. When I enter spin classes in my training log, I always rate it with a high quality level, usually a 6-8 on a scale of 10. As I was putting my bike away and noticing how little I had sweat, I started thinking about the process and components I use to measure the quality of a work-out and wonder how you think about work-out quality. Continue reading
The room was dark, a fan was blowing on me from the corner, I was slightly uncomfortable on my seat, I was focusing on the upbeat music the instructor had chosen, and in my mind I was pedaling along an uphill road that I had once biked along in Cape Town, South Africa. Except that I was on a stationary bike in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon I was sweating profusely and by the end of my first spinning class I was drenched, sore in places I didn’t think possible, and my legs were shaking from being pushed like they had never been pushed before.
That was seven years ago. I’m grateful to have taken spinning classes before because I know from personal experience what an incredible work-out a well taught spinning class is and that the harder you’re willing to try, the better the class can be. In college I might have taken a couple dozen spinning classes which was great for when I needed to get in a good sweat, but not enough to get me totally hooked. Though I enjoyed the spinning classes I took in Charleston, since graduating from college I have focused my energy mostly on running. Continue reading
It’s been just a little over a month since I decided to start reviewing training logs. I am definitely one who learns by doing and once I discovered the endless options for tracking my training online, I decided that the best way to decide which system worked best for me would be to try them all out.
RaceNation is the site I’ve been using for the past month. Like many other sites developed for and by athletes it is part community, part networking, part training log, and it is still in a Beta stage with open-minded developers welcoming feedback. Registering for the site was a piece of cake and like many other social networking sites, I was able to create a profile on the site that made me part of the community. I need to qualify this review by making it clear that I registered on RaceNation with the sole purpose of testing out the site’s training log feature and therefore did not take advantage of the site’s multiple networking and content (blogs, photo upload,groups, race calendar) features. Continue reading