30 March 2008

Swimming Visualization

Last Friday, I had a fantastic swim workout. I felt like I was flying through the water. I think it was just one of those anomalies, but I did watching this fantastic video and used it as a visualization tool during the swim. Maybe it worked...and maybe someday I can swim as smoothly and fast as this guy...

Looking for and Living Life

Last night, I was watching "The Sound of Music" and I was surprised to hear a few very profound statements. It was during the part when Maria is speaking with her Mother Superior, just before the song, "Climb Every Mountain." The nun said two things that I have been thinking about today. She said, "You have to live the life you were born to live" and "You have to look for your life." I definitely haven't figured these two statements out, but I have given them some thought.

I do believe that each of us has certain experiences and accomplishments that we were born for. I'm not sure if we know what these experiences are when they're happening or even after they've happened, but perhaps someday, we'll be able to say, "I was born for that" or something like that. I do not know what I was born for. I'm not sure which of my experiences and/or accomplishments are truly meaningful in the grand scheme of things. I'm don't know if I'm leaving the life I was born to live, which I think ties into the other statement.

So, how do I look for my life? I don't know... I'm not sure if it involves living life while looking for opportunities to learn and grow. I don't know if it involves an actual search, like maybe there's some sort of list that you go through of new and different experiences before you figure out which direction to head. For me, it seems like I usually know which direction I want to go in, and knowing comes from that gut feeling of "this is right" and I should head this way. In my world, I just try to roll with what feels right and good and true, and I allow those things to drive my life.

I'm not sure if I'm living the life I was born to live and I'm certainly still looking for my life. In the mean time though, I'll keep doing what I'm doing, working hard, enjoying my job, racing, training, laughing, and living, because I think perhaps maybe the process is part of the answers to those two questions or statements...

29 March 2008

Week 2 Utah 1/2 IM Training

March 31, 2008

SWIM - I could not fall asleep last night, so waking up for swimming this morning was tough. I woke up feeling rotten, so I'm sure my workout was effected by that. I did the workout in 35:14 and was struggling with the cooldown. I am trying to work on my form and breathing on both sides this week.

Warm up 300 yds. Drill set 8x25 yds. Base intervals 6x100 yds. Kick set 8x25 yds. Cool down 300 yds. Total 1600 yds.

BIKE - I just finished my bike workout and it went okay. I struggled to get my HR up and ended up with an average HR of 128. I felt like I was working hard, but my HR only went up when I switched up to the bigger gear.

Power intervals 7x20s. (1 h. 10 m.)

April 1, 2008

SWIM - I had an okay swim workout this morning. I got my 1800 yds done in 38 m. My speed intervals went well, although I did them backwards (recovery, build). The pool was a little warmer than usual, and I was totally grossed out when the guy in the lane next to me blew his nose into his hands and then rinsed them off in the water. The gross part was that I actually kept swimming...

Warm up 300 yds. Drill set 8x25 yds. Fartlek intervals 8x100 yds. (25 build, 25 descend) Kick set 8x25 yds. Cool down 300 yds. Total 1800 yds.

RUN - I had to skip this run last night because I ran out of hours in the day. I left my house at 5:30am for my swim and didn't get home again until 9:30pm, so running would have involved driving to the gym and I was ready for bed. Plus, I knew there was a brick workout in the morning, so no run for me last night.

Fartlek run 8x30 s. (40 m.)

April 2, 2008

BRICK - I had a fantastic brick workout this morning. I got out of bed pretty easily (only laid there for 20 m.) hopped on the trainer, with my ipod again and started pedaling. My average HR for 60 m. on the bike was 138. I hopped off, threw on a long sleeved shirt and headed out the door, so my T2 time was 1:35. I started running and felt fabulous. There was none of the wobbly legs or tired legs or what was I thinking sort of feeling. It was so nice to be running in shorts, although when I saw the temperature (24 degrees with the wind chill, I probably should have thrown on a hat and gloves and pants). In fact, I felt ready to run a longer-type run. However, I followed the training schedule and ran my 20 m. with an average HR of 163, which felt really easy. So, my first brick of the season went incredibly well and I feel empowered. I'm not sure if this means I need to go harder on the bike or if I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing, but it was definitely an awesome workout and a great way to start off the day.

1 h. bike/20 m. run, both at moderate aerobic intensity

YOGA - Yoga was cancelled due to illness, so tonight ended up just being a relax and stretch evening.

April 3, 2008

I had the best intentions to go to sleep early last night (8pm) and wake up at 4:15am to get both of these workouts done. However, I woke up at 12pm and was awake until after 3:30am, so I slept until 5:30am before heading to the pool. I'll have to fit in the bike tonight at around 9:30pm...long day...

SWIM - I wasn't sure how my swim was going to go since I was/am sleep deprived, but I think it went well. I finished the swim in 38:43 which I'll take. I felt good and was able to push myself, and I did get the long workout done which is always a nice feeling.

Warm up 250 yds. Base intervals 1500 yds. Cool down 250yds. Total 2000 yds.

BIKE - I skipped this bike workout out of pure exhaustion. I left my house at 5:30am and didn't get home until 9:30pm and I was tired. I probably could have hopped on the trainer, but my hips were achy and I was seriously tired, so no ride for me. I thought about throwing it into Friday morning, but I want to have fresh legs for the race, so I guess I'll chalk it up to poor time management on my part. Now, if I can just stop feeling guilty...

Foundation bike 1 h. 15 m. at moderate aerobic intensity

April 4, 2008

REST - Today is my scheduled rest day and I've been looking forward to it all week, except that now that I missed my bike workout yesterday, I'm feeling guilty for taking a day off. I guess I just need to get over that and move on. I'm trying to remind myself that I'm running a 1/2 marathon this weekend and need to be fresh because there are hills, so I'll do my stretching workout tonight and rest and relax and prepare to head to St. Louis for the weekend.


April 5, 2008

RUN - I ended up running for 35 m. and then I listened to my body and stopped to walk since my legs were feeling kinda heavy. I came home and stretched for about 15 m. which felt absolutely glorious. I need to remember to stretch more often...

Recovery run 20-30 m. at easy aerobic intensity


April 6, 2008

RACE - ST. LOUIS 1/2 MARATHON - Goal - Run negative splits

See race report.

28 March 2008

The Power of Music

If you've been following this blog, you know that I've started training for my first 1/2 Ironman. On Wednesday evening, I had a 60 m. trainer ride which wasn't supposed to be a big deal. However, it turned into quite a big deal because for some reason, I REALLY struggled to complete that workout. In fact, I think I got off the bike 3-4 times and had to talk myself back into completing the ride. After I finally finished the ride, I was thinking about why it was so hard. It wasn't hard physically...I knew that I could do that, but it was very hard mentally. Looking ahead on the schedule, I knew that I had a 1 h. 45 m. ride today and I was dreading it.

This morning, I woke up and struggled to get out of bed, knowing that the dreaded trainer ride was looming. I considered lying in bed and waiting until tonight to do the ride, but I have a run tomorrow morning and wanted to have fresher legs. I considered skipping the ride, but knew that wasn't truly an option and that I was being lazy. I laid in bed for 45 m. considering the options and decided that I needed to get up and get it done...especially since I was dreading it so much. Who wants to dread something all day long?!?

So, I finally got up, got dressed, got the water bottles ready (*note to self - fill water bottles at night), set up the bike on the trainer, checked my e-mail, realized that my ipod was all charged, decided maybe I should listen to music instead of turning the tv up loud, and eventually got on the bike at 5:48am (my alarm went off at 4:47am). I turned on the music and started pedaling. I geared up for a bit to get my HR going and kept on pedaling. One of the things I'm working on is getting my HR up on the bike and working hard, so I decided to keep my cadence tuned in to the beat of whatever song I was listening to. Once I got going, I realized this was going to be a good ride and I settled in and started working harder.

At some point, maybe around 45 m. the song "Beautiful Day" by U2 came on. If you've ever watched any of the Ironman videos on, you'll see that several of them have "Beautiful Day" playing in the background, so apparently I've associated this song with races. As the song came on, I felt this incredible surge of energy, like the surge of energy that comes at the beginning of a race. All of the sudden, I was visualizing myself racing in the Utah 1/2 IM. I could see myself swimming well out in the Provo harbor. I could see myself pushing hard on the fast bike course and I could see myself passing other cyclists. I could see myself crusing into T2, hopping off the bike, and heading out on the run. The best part of this entire visualization was seeing myself cross the finish line with my arms raised in the air. I had a smile on my face the entire time I was riding during this song. It was awesome! I think I may have finally found my power song!

As my ride went on, I started to get tired and ready to get off of the trainer. I think around 1:15 m. I really started struggling mentally, but then the song "Crawling in the Dark" by Hoobastank came on, followed by "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis, followed by a Coldplay song that I love, and then I was done! (I think there may be some other songs in there, but I don't remember them right now.)

While I enjoy music and I like to listen to music during runs, I haven't been listening to music very often, mostly because I like talking to my training partners while running. This morning though, I was able to truly draw on the power of music during my workout. I felt so energized and empowered during my ride, and while I will never ride outside with my ipod on (who would do that?!?), I hope that when I'm struggling during an event, I can draw on the power to overcome my mental struggles.

The coolest part of this workout was the unexpected visualization that occurred during "Beautiful Day." I know that, from now on, whenever I hear this song, I will think of this ride and I will think of my races and know that I will be successful in them. I will see myself smiling as I cross the finish line. I will see myself accomplishing my dreams and goals. I'm pretty sure this is the song that will be playing in my head when I race at Kona!

So, because I have no idea who looks at this blog, except for a few people, what songs do you hear in your head? What are the power songs in your life?

25 March 2008

The Constraints of Life

While I was eating my lunch today, I came across the following article ( on In this article, Gordo Byrn, a triathlon coach discusses the constraints of life and how they impact triathlon training. He mentioned four points that highly motivated triathletes struggle with including

  1. Time to train - maximizing personal training load
  2. Concern over lack of support from their inner circle
  3. Quantifying relative talent - personal genetic potential
  4. Optimizing training info and protocols.

As I was reading through this list, I realized that I think about each of these points regularly, regardless of what event I'm training for. I always try to make the most of my workout time because I kind of follow the philosophy that you get out of something what you're willing to put into it. I want to leave my workouts feeling like I accomplished the goal of that workout. I've been pretty lucky to have a pretty supportive inner circle regarding my endurance training, but I still hear those comments like, "Why would you do a triathlon?" or "Who would want to run 26.2 miles?" I often wonder about my potential as a triathlete and do I have the necessary components to race at Kona. Will I qualify? Am I good enough to be good at triathlon? I also don't know my potential for triathlon yet, so while I'm seeing improvements, I'm not sure how long those improvements will last. Finally, as most of you know, I'm a great information gatherer. This is mostly helpful, but I struggle with putting all of my information into practice and have to remind myself that I'm still learning and that frankly, learning through experience is probably the best way to develop myself as a triathlete. Of course, I'm hoping that some of the information that I'm gathering is playing a role in me developing experiences that will truly help me learn and reach my potential.

So, the recommendations for dealing with these four points were as follows:

  1. Sleep - Lack of sleep impacts all areas of life and most people are operating in a sleep deprived state. So, how do we find more time to sleep? That involves removing something from our schedule.
  2. Nutrition - All endurance athletes know that in order to perform at an optimal level, they must fuel their bodies with the appropriate fuel. However, putting that into practice becomes tricky, mainly because of the convenience/busyness factor of life.
  3. Stress - Training is a stress on the body. Add that to the rest of the stress that comes with life and you have a pretty stressful life.

How can I do better at these recommendations...Well, I need to give up some of evening reading/tv watching and go to bed earlier. I know that my workouts are in the morning and I know that I am a morning person, so in order to get enough sleep, I need to go to bed earlier. Good thing I don't have a huge social life... I am working on my nutrition and am actually working on a menu and grocery list of "clean" foods that I can use to fuel my 1/2 IM training. When I started working out more regularly a few weeks ago I realized that I was hungry. I also realized that I don't really want to eat McDonalds and whatever takeout is on the way home, but in order for me to eat healthy, I have to be responsible and cook and shop and do the things that I really don't enjoy eating. Oh, and I do want to drop 10 lbs to be race ready, which involves eating more healthy foods.

The last recommendation of removing stress is tricky, but the author mentioned two statements that I really liked. He said that "the most successful athletes tend to operate under their personal limits for most of the year," and that "the greatest benefit to leaving myself underscheduled is having room for new opportunity." Perhaps, I need to take a look at my schedule and make sure that I'm leaving enough room for new opportunities which could help me achieve my goals and reach my potential.

I've been thinking about this idea of "underscheduled" and I really like it. I think that more people ought to think about this. Sometimes, it seems like we need to operate in "busy" mode in order to be successful, but maybe (and probably) that's not the case. There is so much in our lives that takes up time that we would rather be spending on something else, so why do we let that stuff take up our time. The good news is that we truly get to choose (most of the time) how we're spending our time and sometimes spending our time exactly the way we want to is exactly what we need.

So, for me, the takeaway from this article was to leave some time for new opportunities, to spend the time on what I need to and want to in order to achieve my goals, and to recognize that almost all triathletes experience the same things mentally and there are ways to combat those feelings. It's kinda nice to know that I'm not alone in this endeavor.

23 March 2008

Why I Tri!

Well, day one of 1/2 IM training starts tomorrow and I have to admit, I'm totally stoked to get going on the training and to complete this event. In 20 weeks, I'll be a 1/2 Ironman and that is pretty darn cool. So, here's my list of why I tri in no particular order...

I tri:

-because it's fun.
-because there is absolutely no bettter way to start off the day then watching the sun rise over a glistening lake, jumping into that lake and swimming, heading off on a gorgeous bike ride through the countryside with the sun warming your back, and finishing all of that off with a run.
-because it's helping me achieve my dreams.
-because it's a great way to crosstrain and take care of my body.
-because I want to set an example and influence others to go after their hopes and dreams.
-because it's helping me to overcome my fear of swimming in open water. Perhaps, one day (hopefully this summer), I'll be able to open my eyes when my face is in the water in a lake.
-because I want to race at Kona and swim behind the gods of surfing, and ride out to Hawi and run through the energy lab.
-because triathlon is a lifelong activity.
-for all of the people who want to but can't.
-to travel around the world and see the world from a very unique perspective. Who wouldn't want to cross the finish line with a baby elephant?
-to challenge myself physically and mentally.
-to become a better endurance athlete.
-for the feeling of peace of mind that comes from training and racing. I wouldn't trade those moments of clarity for anything.
-because I have many things to learn and much to improve upon and the only way to do that is through training and practice.
-because I want the body of a triathlete.
-because triathletes are incredible people and I want to surround myself with people who challenge themselves and who are truly awesome and super.
-because I want to and think I can become good at this sport.
-because I'm a competitor.
-because I love to race and I get to race three times in one event.
-because I can.

22 March 2008

Week 1 Utah 1/2 IM Training

March 24, 2008

BIKE - I completed this ride while watching "Planet Earth." I burned 847 calories and my average HR was 131. I really need to work on this whole HR thing while cycling.

Power intervals 7x20s. (1 h. 10 m.) - 20 s. intervals done in a high gear @ speed intensity with 2 m. active recoveries; warm up and cool down long enough to reach total time

March 25, 2008

SWIM - I had a great swim this morning and finished the workout in 39 min. I really need to work on my speed, but that will come. During my drills and intervals I worked on breathing on both sides and I also worked on kicking from the hips which is definitely a workout.

Warm-up 300 yds. Drill set 8x25 yds. Base intervals 5x100 yds. Kick set 8x25 yds. Cooldown 300 yds. Total 1600 yds.

RUN - I just got back from my run and it was tough. It was a gorgeous day, but really windy. I ended up running north on the Constitution Trail with a strong crosswind out of the west. I was a little overdressed, but it was okay. My average HR was 166 and I burned 769 calories.

Fartlek 6x30 s. (41:50 m.) Foundation run with 30 s. bursts at VO2 max/speed intensity

March 26, 2008

BIKE - I just got off the bike and I think that was one of the hardest rides I've done in awhile. I'm not sure why I struggled so much, but I was ready to get off the bike after 20 min. The good news is that I stuck it out and talked myself into finishing this workout. I rode for 60 min, with an average HR of 126, and burned 670 calories. It was definitely mentally challenging, but hopefully that will pay off in August.

60 m. foundation ride at moderate aerobic intensity

YOGA - I did yoga with Sherry and Diana today. It was not as tough as last week and I was able to do my chatarungas without putting my knees down. I struggled with the balance poses, but I think I'm getting better.

March 27, 2008

SWIM - I had a good swim this morning, although I should have looked at my workout before I went to the pool. I ended up doing 5 fartlek intervals, an 8x25 kick set, so I ended up doing 1500 in 34 min.

Warm-up - 300 yds. Drill set - 8x25 yds. Fartlek intervals - 8x100 yds. (25 easy, 25 hard, 10 s. rest) Cool down - 300 yds. 1600

RUN - Well, I'm being a slacker and skipping my run today. It's raining and cold and I despise running in the rain and it will take me until Sunday to be warm after being outside in this weather. I'm tired...physically tired. I'm not sure I have the mental energy to get this run in after fighting so hard to get the trainer ride in last night. It is thundering, so at least I can acknowledge that there may be lightning. So, here's my first cancelled workout...

Foundation run (60 m.) at moderate aerobic intensity

March 28, 2008

SWIM - Apparently today is a great training day. I just did my swim in 35:12. I guess the music this morning must have carried over into my day.

Warm-up - 300 yds. Base intervals - 1200 yds. Cooldown - 300 yds. 1800

BIKE - I did my trainer ride before work this morning and while it did take me 45 m. to get out of bed, I did get up and do it. I worked hard on keeping my HR up and ended up having an average HR of 140. I listened to my ipod instead of watching a movie and it was amazing how powerful music is. I definitely need to remember that for the next ride.

Foundation ride (1 h. 45 m.) at moderate aerobic intensity

March 29, 2008

RUN - Well, I finished my 1/2 IM training with a not so great run. I ended up doing 6 miles or so in 1:02. My average HR was 164, but got up to 174 so I slowed down a bit. I burned 1144 calories. I'm just glad I made it through this first week of training.

Foundation run (55 m.) at moderate aerobic intensity

March 30, 2008


STRETCH - I completed 55 m. of "The Athlete's Guide to Yoga."

21 March 2008

The Principle of Rest

Today, I decided to take a complete rest day from training. My body is tired and I really need to get recovered because 1/2 IM training starts on Monday. It took me awhile this morning lying in bed, trying to drag myself out, to decide that I was going to rest today. A million thoughts went through my head, thoughts like, "I've skipped a couple of workouts already this week" or "I really need to this but I'm so tired" or "I can't get into this habit because I have to get my training done" etc. After listening to this inner monologue for awhile (like 30 minutes) I decided that I would take the day off and rest. I would skip my swim and long bike and rest. The reasons I gave myself for doing this were things like, "I need to be physically ready to start training on Monday and I don't want to be tired starting off" and "I will feel better if I rest" and "Working out when you're exhausted doesn't make you tough, it just makes you hurt more and it takes longer to recover." So, once I made my decision, I got up and got ready for work and have not let myself feel bad about this decision all day. However, this whole experience got me thinking about the principle of rest.

When I think about rest, I usually think about it in regards to physical rest from training or resting when I'm sick. However, I think that there are other types of rest that we probably should take or don't consider very often. I understand there are definitely roles in our lives that we can't take a rest from (ie. parents, spouse, etc); however, I think there are times that our life will be much more rewarding if we do take advantage of some rest.

Some of the definitions of rest include:

-the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep
-relief or freedom from anything that wearies, troubles or worries
-mental or spiritual calm; tranquility
-to refresh oneself (my personal favorite)

Today, I chose to rest from training. I have a purpose for doing that. Sometimes, I need to remind myself to rest from my troubles or doubts. Other times, I need to rest from my social obligations. Other times, I may need to rest from whatever roles I'm playing. I think sometimes its tricky to say no or to take a break, but that's probably when we need the rest the most.

In endurance sports, there is a concept called overtraining. Overtraining is usually defined as the state where an athlete has been repeatedly stressed by training to the point where rest is no longer adequate to allow for recovery. I am not overtrained and I recognize that. However, there's another principle of overtraining that I think fits in well here. In order to treat overtraining, the athlete must rest. The longer the athlete has been dealing with overtraining, the more rest required. The best way to prevent overtraining is to get adequate rest throughout the training process. So, my question is can we be overtrained in life? I would argue that we can. We all have our roles and obligations and needs and desires and I'm sure that everyone wishes there were more hours in the day. In order to combat this, we need to rest.

So, how does rest benefit us? We feel refreshed. We find joy in the activities that we love. We feel better about life. We have a more positive outlook. Our body heals and probably our mind as well. Rest is a good thing, a needed thing. I think that maybe it's hard to rest from anything because of all of the expectations that we place on ourselves, whether we have physical goals (like completing a 1/2 IM) or mental/spiritual/emotional goals. I need to remind myself of the benefits of rest more often and to take advantage of rest when it's necessary.

How do I rest? Sometimes it's as easy as taking a nap. Other times its going for a run, because running for me is the best way to clear my mind. Swimming comes in closely behind the running. Sometimes, it's taking a vacation. Other times it's doing nothing but sitting on the couch watching "Planet Earth" and marveling at the wonderful amazing creatures on this planet. The bottom line is that we all need to rest when we need it and we need to discover what provides us with the rest that we need to keep having wonderful enriching amazing lives.

19 March 2008

30 Days to Live

This weekend, while I was flying back to Illinois to finish up the semester, I spent alot of time in the airport (like 17 hours). Since I love bookstores, I was able to camp out in a bookstore in Salt Lake City, Dallas, and St. Louis. I came across a book entitled "30 Days to Live," written by Kerry Shook and Chris Shook. I didn't purchase the book, but I did flip through it several times and there were a few topics that got me thinking...which is probably the point of the book.

Live in the Moment

The book asks "What is the one thing you would do, if you had 30 days to live?" This is definitely something that I need to think long and hard about because I have SO many things that I want to do before I die. However, the point of this exercise is to really narrow down what is most important, and then here comes the important point...take ACTION. This step also requires that you begin living in the moment, which is something that I struggle with. I forget to enjoy the moment because I'm looking forward to the next one, so perhaps I need to just worry about how to live in the moment and to just "Be" instead of thinking ahead so much.

Live for Eternity

The next step involves the idea of spending your time on the things that are truly most important. I think that alot of times our time is taken up by mundane minutiae that don't matter at all. Sometimes we worry so much about accomplishing the things on our "to do" list that we forget to focus on the most important things. The book had a few suggestions on this topic including:

  • Simplify your life so that you spend your time on things that truly matter, like the key relationships you are involved in and the things that you really enjoy and give purpose to your life.
  • Ask yourself whether or not you’re spending your time accordingly. Are you really spending your time the way you want to or are you spending your time doing alot of the "should" stuff.
  • Ask yourself whether your actions line up with your words. Are you living the life that you are meant to live? Do others see what's important to you and that those important things are a part of your daily life?

Leave a Legacy

The final task in this activity is to decide what type of legacy you want to leave. What do you want people to know and find a way to impart that knowledge? This idea reminds me of "The Last Lecture" idea that I posted earlier in the blog. What do I want my family and friends to remember about me and how can I let them know those things? Being a professor, I personally lean towards that last lecture sort of idea, but there are other ways to convey this information. The book also suggested reminding yourself of the legacy you want to leave and then begin living transparently so that the people around you know what you want them to know about you. Perhaps that means looking at how you personally can impact/change the world. This is something that truly captures me and gives me alot to think about. I think this also means that you should strive to discover your passion and find ways to share your passion with others and to help them discover their own passions.

I haven't had alot of time to really sit down and think about all of my own answers to the questions this book posed. I think this is definitely a topic to think about during my longer runs and rides. I do think the book definitely raised some important questions that all of us might benefit from thinking about, which is why I thought I'd post this... Happy thinking!

17 March 2008

Week 3 Pre-Training Utah 1/2 IM

March 17, 2008

BIKE - Power intervals 7x20s. (1 h. 10 m.) 20 s. intervals done in a high gear @ speed intensity with 2 m. active recoveries; warm up and cool down long enough to reach total time

Well, I skipped this workout last night out of pure exhaustion and went to bed instead. I figured it would be better to sleep than to ride the bike and get even more sleep deprived.

March 18, 2008

SWIM - I had a great swim this morning. The only thing is that I forgot to look at my workout before I got to the pool, so I had to sort of wing it. I ended up going longer (100 yd) than planned, but it all works out. I was in and out of the pool in 42 min.

Warm-up 300 yd.
Drill set 8x25 yd.
Base intervals 8x100yd.
Kick set 8x25 yd.
Cool down 300 yd.
1800 yd.

RUN - I ended up missing this run and watched a second grade music concert filled with kazoos! Very entertaining!

Fartlek run 8x30s. (45 m.) Foundation run with 30 s. bursts @ VO2 max/speed intensity

March 19, 2008

BIKE - Well, I had the best intentions of getting this workout in last night. I got home from yoga, sat down on the couch to eat dinner, and the tiredness totally hit me. I kept trying to talk myself into getting on the bike/trainer, but I wasn't successful at all. So, I crawled into bed thinking since I'm so tired, I should sleep. However, I ended up lying awake for almost 2 hours and kicking myself for not getting on the bike. Definitely a lesson learned...

Foundation bike 1 h. 15 m. Steady ride at moderate aerobic intensity

YOGA - Yoga today was tough. My shoulders were tired and I struggled to keep my arms up during the warrior sequences. My balance was way off and I struggled to not tumble. There was one small victory though...I was able to do most of the sun salutations up on my toes.

March 20, 2008

SWIM - My swim this morning went well. I finished the workout in 42 minutes. I struggled on my kick set because my legs/hips kept wanting to cramp up, but that might have been because I was working on kicking from my hip/core.

Warm up 300 yd.
Drill set 8x25 yd.
Fartlek intervals 8x100 yd. (25 easy/25 hard, 10 s. rest)
Kick set 8x25 yd.
Cool down 300 yd.
1800 yd.

RUN - I didn't get this run done last night due to late meetings at work and fatigue. I've decided to take Friday off as a complete rest day.

Foundation run (45 m.) steady run at moderate aerobic intensity

March 21, 2008

REST - I've been struggling with recovering from my sleep deprived weekend and decided that I want to be fresh for my first day of 1/2 IM training on Monday, so today is a total rest day. When I woke up this morning, I seriously struggled to drag myself out of bed and figured that a rest day is in order.

March 22, 2008

RUN - This morning I ran with the team and ended up doing 10 miles while looking for Easter eggs out on the trail. I think the time was 1:44 and that included the water breaks, so I'll take it. It was my last run before the St. Louis 1/2 Marathon and I'm feeling pretty good. I think my average HR was 167 and I burned 2003 calories.

March 23, 2008



15 March 2008

Smithfield Shamrock Shuffle 5K Race Report

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This morning, my sister in law, Karen, and I drove up to Smithfield, UT to do the local Shamrock Shuffle race. This was your typical fun run, with lots of families and matching green t-shirts. The race started a little late because there were more people running than expected. We started on 600 South and ran up to 500 East. This was all uphill and by the time I got to the top, my legs were burning. Karen started walking, but I knew that if I stopped running, it would be tricky to get started again, so I ran up the turn and started feeling better since it was a slight downhill. I started to pass a few people and was feeling good. I got to Mile 1 and realized that I somehow hadn't started my stopwatch, so I don't know my splits. I also didn't realize I had passed Mile 1 until someone behind me shouted out "Woo hoo, we've passed mile 1." I started cruising along at mile 2 and started picking off people, which is always a good feeling. I passed mile 2 and looked at my watch and it looked like I had been running for around 18 minutes or so. Then, I turned right to head back to the rec center and realized I was running straight into the wind. The road was flat, so I was feeling good. A woman I had passed started running up on me, but I decided not to let her pass. I picked off a couple of more people and then turned left back towards the rec center and picked up speed. I passed a little boy right before the finishing chute and finished at 28:28. Apparently, I had picked up enough speed that I was running at my "puke" pace. I walked for a minute or so and then headed back out on the course to find Karen. She was about 1/2 mile back, so I ran back to her and then ran her into the finish.

At the finish line, they gave us these super fun "Kiss Me I'm Irish" necklaces. That will definitely be going with my other medals. We went inside and enjoyed a banana and a green roll. We hung out for the drawings and I ended up winning a super cool helicopter kite. I will be leaving it here in UT for John and Grandpa to play with. It was definitely a great 5K and I'm totally looking forward to my next race in 3 weeks!

So, what did I learn about myself this race... Well, I decided that I didn't want to get passed during the last mile and I pushed myself through the wind and pain in order to make that happen. I also thought alot about the 1/2 IM that I'm doing in August and realized that I need to get used to feeling pain and running when it's tough. This was a good intro/reminder of that. I also remembered how much I dig the hills and how much I love racing! I haven't raced since January and I realize that I'll be racing every few weeks for the next several months. That is definitely something I'm looking forward to. While today wasn't a PR, it was a fun race and a refreshing way to start off the day!

13 March 2008

Lessons from the Nursery

Although this week has been my Spring Break, I have spent the last four days working at my summer job. During the summers, I work at a nursery called "Garden Gateway" here in Utah. The nursery isn't open for the season yet, but there is still alot of work to do, so I've been mixing soil and transplanting tiny plants. Apparently, there are several things to learn from working with plants and the transplanting has got me thinking about a few things.

There are several steps to the transplanting process. First, you have to mix the soil, which takes some practice. The soil needs to be the right soil for whatever you're planting. The soil has to have the right amount of moisture mixed into it in order for the new plants to thrive. Next, you have to fill up hundreds of containers for the seed plugs (plants) to go into. Then, you remove the plugs from the tray and transplant them into their new pots. Finally, the pots are tagged with the correct plant tag and then placed in rows for watering. This process continues throughout the season, because if you don't remove the plants from the pots as they grow, they'll become rootbound and die because there is not enough room for them to grow and flourish.

While the process is fairly straightforward and not at all difficult, it doesn't always go completely smoothly. Sometimes, the seed plugs are tough to pull out from the tray and sometimes, when you're removing the seed plugs the top of the plant comes off, but the roots are still intact. Sometimes all that comes out of the tray is a tiny plant with a few roots.

I've been thinking that maybe life requires transplanting sometimes. This winter has been really tough for me, as most of you know. I feel like I've been completely torn out of my the life that I wanted and was thrown into a completely new and different life that I'm not sure how to live. I feel like one of the little plants that got its top ripped off and barely has any roots. I feel like I'm sort of in a new pot, but I'm not sure if it's the pot that I thought I would be in or if it's even the right size pot for me. However, I do know that everything will work out.

I truly believe that the challenges we face in life offer us opportunities for true and real growth. I think that we have to be pulled (sometimes literally) from our comfort zones to find out what we're truly made of and to help us become who we're meant to become. I think it's so easy to stay in our comfort zones and ruts, but maybe we become rootbound and lose the opportunity and ability to truly grow. Perhaps sometimes we need more room to grow and thrive and perhaps the life that we're living, doesn't allow for that growth. Sometimes, all we really have is our little tiny roots that remind us of who we are. Sometimes, we don't know what our life will look like, but we know if we keep surviving and digging down deep to find the answers within ourselves, we will develop the life that we can be living.

So, perhaps, while this winter has been hard and long, the spring is finally coming. Perhaps, this new life that I've been forced into is the one that I'm supposed to be in. Perhaps, I can find the answers that I'm seeking within myself and build the life that I want to be living. Perhaps being transplanted, while not exactly a choice, is a positive thing that will allow me to grow and develop into a better person. Perhaps, there are lessons we can learn from a nursery.

11 March 2008

Dreaming Big

Well, one of my good friends challenged me to announce one of my big dreams. I've often wondered what the difference is between goals and dreams and can you ever dream too big? I think a few of you know that I want to race at Kona in the Ironman World Championships. I struggle with putting this out there because while I really really really want to do this, I'm not sure that it's possible, even with all of the hard work I can possibly do, I just don't know if I will be good enough or fast enough or strong enough to actually qualify for Kona. That said, it's still on my list of things I dream about.

So, while I'm not sure if this is a possible dream, I do know that I want to do everything in my power to race at Kona. What am I doing to accomplish this dream? Well, here's my list...and while it might not seem like much, at least I have some sort of plan that will definitely be evolving.

On my wall at home, I've started building my Kona Dream bulletin board. I have course maps and how to qualify. I have a list of races that you can qualify for Kona attached to this bulletin board. I actually dream about the race and watch myself actually being in the race and running down Ali'i Drive and swimming in Kailua Bay and riding out to Hawi.

I've committed to completing my first 1/2 Ironman on August 9 in Provo, UT. I've started my training and its going well. It's actually been empowering to know that I can do this.

I'm signing up for Ironman Wisconsin in September and will be racing in Madison in September 2009. This will be my first ironman distance race and will definitely be a defining moment.

While these may seem like small tasks to get me to Kona, I think that's what I can do for right now to at least start on the path towards my dream. I have a feeling that I may not actually accomplish this dream until I'm on my way to being elderly, but I still want to shoot for this.

So, there's my big dream. It truly is a dream, but maybe, just maybe, I'll actually be able to live it out!

09 March 2008

Spring Break

March 9, 2008

Well, it's Spring Break for me and I am spending the next week in Logan, UT with my family. All of you who know me, know that traveling doesn't ever go smoothly for me, so if you're needing a laugh, here you go. I woke up at 3:30am on Saturday morning to get ready to head for the airport. Getting ready included putting hair in ponytail, putting on jeans and a sweatshirt, packing toothbrush (everything else was already packed) and walking out the door. I flew out of the Springfield airport which was 1 hr. 15 min. away from Normal, so I was out the door at 4:15am and arrived there at about 5:30am. My flight was supposed to leave at 6:55am, so I knew I would have plenty of time. Those of you who know me, know that I'm an arrive right on time sort of person, so being early was a bit unusual. It turned out to be a good thing because my flight had been delayed and they had booked me on the flight leaving at 6am to Chicago. So, once I got through the checking in and security lines, I got on the plane and flew to Chicago. I then got on a plane and flew to Minneapolis. Then, I arrived in Salt Lake at 2:30pm. I was supposed to fly to St. Louis, then Dallas, and then Salt Lake and arrive at 12pm. But, I did arrive safely and amazingly, my luggage arrived with me. My brother Travis and his 2 kids, John and Kate, picked me up and I arrived in Logan at 5pm. Needless to say, I was completely wiped out and didn't get my training run in, so I guess that I'll have to do that today. I'll keep updating this post throughout the week to share my Spring Break experiences, so be on the lookout!

March 10, 2008

This morning I was up bright and early to head to the gym and get my workout in. Then, it was off to my summer job. I'm working at Garden Gateway again this summer and spent the morning transplanting. There's not too much going on today, but I will say that I'm definitely enjoying the UT sun!

March 11, 2008

I spent the morning at the nursery again transplanting perennials and sweeping out a greenhouse. It was so nice to be outside in the sun and in the warm air. I didn't get to the pool this morning, but I did get my workout in tonight while watching the Biggest Loser. Oh, and I spent some time with John and Kate. I also got some new goggles for swimming. Once again, not too exciting, but definitely relaxing.

March 12, 2008

I woke up this morning and hit the gym for my training ride. I also managed a good yoga workout as well. Then, it was off to the nursery. I've decided that I'm going to spend my Spring Break money on a new saddle for my bike and its spring tune-up. Tonight, my mom, my sisters-in law and I are headed somewhere to soak in the wonderful warm mineral springs. It should be a nice way to spend the evening. I had a great workout last night at the pool (although it was cut short) and a fantastic run on the treadmill.

March 13, 2008

I'm feeling completely and totally wiped out and I could definitely use a nap. I ended up using today as a rest day to see if I can get back some of my energy for my long hard workout tomorrow and for the Shamrock Shuffle on Saturday morning. The "girls night out" last night was alot of fun and I think we all enjoyed it. I also gave Kate her birthday present and I think that she liked it. She got the Dr. Seuss books, "Fox in Sox," "Horton Hatches an Egg," and "Yertl the Turtle," as well as the stuffed animals to go along with the books. She'll actually sit there and listen to you read the stories. This morning I worked at the nursery and tonight, Eric and Karen are coming over for dinner and to hang out.

March 14, 2008

I'm totally wiped out. I just spent the day with my nephew John. He came over at 11am and then we headed to Borders to shop for books. He got the book "Old MacNoah Had an Ark." Then, we headed to PetSmart. For Christmas, I bought John an aquarium with 3 fish, 1 snail, and 1 crab. Well, the crab ate the snail and then died. So, he was down to 3 fish (Snowman, CandyCane, and Chilly). Well, Chilly died and disappeared, perhaps Snowman and CandyCane ate him. Anyways, I told John that we could go shopping for a new fish. We ended up with Hammie the frog. After we picked up Hammie, we went to McDonalds for lunch (his choice). Then, it was home to drop off Hammie. Then, it was off to Charlie's for a big scoop of bubble gum ice cream. Grandma cut John's hair and then trimmed mine. Then, we went for a walk to deliver some cookies to the neighbors. Then, we drew pictures on the sidewalk. Then, we went to the cooking store to buy sprinkles for St. Patrick's day and Easter sugar cookies. Then, we went to his house to introduce Hammie to Snowman and CandyCane. Who knew that hanging out with a 4 year old would be so exhausting. It's snowing like crazy here today and I'm definitely ready to take a nap. Oh, and today ended up turning into another rest day. My body is just tired. Tomorrow is the local Shamrock Shuffle, so I'll be back on track with training.

March 15, 2008

Well, today is my last day in Utah and it has been a busy one. Karen and I ran in the Shamrock Shuffle this morning. My race report is posted. My nephew and I made sugar cookies and used all of the new shamrock and Easter egg sprinkles. Now, we're all here eating homemade pizza and watching "Old Yeller." It will be a short night since I get to leave for the airport at 3am. It's been a good spring break.

Week 2 Pre-Training Utah 1/2 IM

March 9, 2008

Well, I was feeling ambitious this morning, so I hopped on the treadmill thinking I would get my run in. I HATE the treadmill and only made it for 31 min. However, I did get a run in and then did my 40 min. stretching dvd which felt glorious.

REST - 40 min. stretching

RUN - 31:10 min. foundation run at moderate aerobic intensity (burned 544 calories)

March 10, 2008

I went to the gym this morning to get this workout done on the stationery bike. The seat was definitely more comfortable than my skinny seat. I ended up burning 853 calories in 70 min, but I need to figure out how to get work harder/better on the bike, according to my HR.

BIKE - power intervals 7x20 s. (1 hr. 10 min.) 20 sec. intervals done in a high gear at speed intensity with 2 min. active recoveries. warm up and cool down long enough to reach total time

March 11, 2008

SWIM - I could not drag myself out of bed this morning to get to the pool, partly because I woke up 3 different times in the night and I was just tired. So, I went to the pool tonight during "open swim" which turned out to be Scout night at the pool. I did manage to get in 800 yds, which was better than nothing, but not exactly what I had in mind. Note to self...go to the pool in the morning!

SWU - 300 yd.
SDS - 8x25 yd.
SBI5 - 3x100 yd.

RUN - When I got back from the pool, I jumped on the treadmill and did 4.25 miles in 39:53 and burned 769 calories. My average HR was 171. My 30 s. intervals were completed at 8mph and 9mph. I also managed about 15 s. doing 10mph. Oh, and I found a race to run on Saturday.

Fartlek run - 8x30s. (40 min) foundation run with 30 s. bursts at VO2 max/speed intensity

March 12, 2008

I woke up this morning and hit the gym for a great ride. I did 60 min at 110rpm and ended up doing 19.25 miles. I was also able to keep my HR at 143, with some concerted effort. I focused on my HR throughout the workout, which paid off. I also worked on using my core, to mimic what it's like to ride the bike when I'm out on the road. I cut my ride short so that I could do my yoga workout this morning. I'm really enjoying my Wednesday evening yoga, so I wanted to keep that up.

BIKE - foundation ride 1 hr steady ride at moderate intensity

YOGA - 50 min. Inhale

March 13, 2008

REST - Today ended up being an unplanned rest day. My body is tired and I'm tired, so I figured it might be a good day to get some rest and then do the long hard workout tomorrow. I'm also planning on running in a 5K on Saturday so it might be good to feel refreshed or at least not as tired. My legs are also shot, so like I said, it is probably a good idea to rest.

March 14, 2008

REST - Today turned into another rest day. I was up in the night a couple of times with Simon and Sassy and my body is just achy. I'm not sure if it was the nursery work or just getting used to DST, but I'm completely wiped out. Tomorrow is the Shamrock Shuffle 5K, so I should be back on track with my training then.

March 15, 2008


RUN - I ran in the Shamrock Shuffle at a higher intensity. My race report is posted above. I think my average HR was in the high 170s.

06 March 2008


This morning I arrived to work with an e-mail from my running coach. What he said inspired me, so I thought I would post it to remind myself of some important things.

You are what you eat - how many times have we heard that one?? More importantly, you are what you believe.

If you believe you're too old, you'll act old

If you believe you're too slow, you'll run slow

If you believe you're not an athlete - think again.....

Who else have you seen out on the trail training for upcoming races? Not many - The true athlete isn't the one on the cover of the sports magazine. The true athlete is the one in the gym, on the track, out on the trail doing the training required to succeed. And that's exactly where each of you has been and will continue to be.

Soo, the next time you look in the mirror,

See that athlete with the finisher's medal

See that athlete that set a personal record.

See that athlete that is the role model for their friends and family.

05 March 2008

Passion - Is it innate or do we develop it?

I have a feeling this post may turn out to be long, so there's your warning...

I've spent the last week or so pondering this idea of passion and having a purpose in life. I've been wondering if passion is a unique hard-wired personality trait that some of us have or if it's a trait we can develop. This internal monologue started when I was watching the movie "Peaceful Warrior." One of the quotes that really struck me was "You can live a lifetime and never be awake." This idea of being awake somehow tied into passion, probably after reading about walking in the light of your fire. Another experience brought this idea to the forefront when I was at the Time Out for Women conference over the weekend. There was a panel discussion and one of the questions was, "How do you find your passion?" I've been trying to reconcile these ideas in my mind. Of course, that hasn't happened yet, and I certainly don't have any sort of an answer, but I have been thinking about this. So, here are some of my thoughts...

It's interesting to me that someone would even ask the question of "how do you find your passion?" I don't think I've ever spent any time thinking about what my passion is. However, I've been able to find and discover things and ideas and experiences that I am very passionate about. It seems to me that if we're living our lives and taking advantage of the experiences and opportunities that come along, we'll discover the things that speak to us.

Those of you who know me, know that I have alot of goals and am pretty determined or stubborn or both. My parents started me along this course when I was 5 or 6 and for whatever reason, goal setting works for me. For as long as I can remember, I've had a mental list of things that I want to accomplish in my life. I've worked really hard to accomplish those things and am still working to achieve some of those dreams. I think most of us have those lists, but I wonder how many of us do anything about them. I wonder if that is part of this idea of having passion and living a purposeful, intentional life.

I think that also goes along with the idea of being awake throughout our lives. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut and do what's easy, but I think that we miss out on so many opportunities when we're not actively looking for them. Once again, I'm not sure if this is a personality trait or if this is something that we learn or perhaps don't learn. Perhaps it goes back to the idea of basic psychological needs. If our most basic, primary needs are not being met, then maybe we can't begin to worry about or experience life. Perhaps fear plays a role and maybe it's too scary to be awake as we go through life. I also wonder if it isn't easier sometimes to just sleep your way through life, but that's probably a whole other post, so I'll leave that alone for now.

Like I said earlier, I certainly have no answers to this, but am still wondering what it is that drives some people to truly live a bigger life and to strive to change the world and why some people don't care at all. Maybe it is a trait that we're born with and we either develop or leave it alone. Maybe it's something that we gain from experience. I'm not sure, but I do hope and believe that I am living a purposeful, passionate life. It's totally hard sometimes, but I think its worth it.

03 March 2008

Week 1 Pre-Training Utah 1/2 IM

March 3, 2008

SWIM - Today, for the first time since November, I went to the pool and swam. I thought about skipping it while I was lying in bed, but I got up and went. I'm so glad that I did. I had forgotten about the calmness of moving through the water. I also was pleasantly surprised to see that I haven't lost all of my ability and I was even able to keep up with the man in the lane next to me. So, here's my workout:

300 yd. warm up
8x25 yd. swim drills
5x100 yd. base intervals
8x25 yd. kicking drills
300 yd. cool down

BIKE - I spent about an hour this evening on the trainer, watching the end of Pride and Prejudice. It was a great workout, and while the intervals were tough, I actually did a couple extras and felt pretty good. I think I was partially motivated because my dad picked up his new road bike yesterday and is very excited to start doing some long rides. I guess he told the guy at the store that he's really looking forward to training with his daughter.

Power intervals. 1 hr. 10 min.
25 min. warm up (HR in 130s)
7x20 sec intervals done in a high gear at speed intensity, with 2 min active recovery. (HR in 160s)
25 min. cool down (HR in 140s)

STRETCH - I completed a 15 min. stretch which felt glorious.

March 4, 2008

STRENGTH - I completed a Firm workout, Hi-Def Sculpt, this morning using 8 lb. dumbells. I will definitely be using the 10lb weights next time.

RUN - I did not get my run in today. I'm really going to have to work on fitting in these workouts.

March 5, 2008

SWIM - 1600 yd.

Warm-up - 300 yd.
Drill set - 8 x 25 yd.
Fartlek intervals - 8 x 100 yd. - 25 easy, 25 hard, 10 s. rest
Cool down - 300 yd.

BIKE - 60 min. steady ride at moderate intensity.

YOGA - On Wednesdays, I get together with some friends and do yoga. This is my good stretching/flexibility/strength workout for the week.

March 6, 2008

SWIM - 1800 yd. Instead of base intervals, I ended up doing a long 1200 yd with no breaks. I am glad that I will not be swimming again until next week, because my upper body is tired. I did watch a dvd last night on swimming techniques (The Science of Triathlon) and tried to incorporate some of the drills/techniques into my swim this morning. I could tell towards the end that my form was starting to suffer, just from fatigue. The swim down felt good and I actually kept up with a younger type man during my workout.

Warm-up - 300 yd.
Base intervals - 1200 yd.
Cool down - 300 yd.

RUN - I really struggled to get this run done yesterday. I'm not sure if it was fatigue or just plain laziness, but I really didn't want to go running after work. In fact, I thought of all sorts of reasons not to go. However, while I was driving home, I reminded myself that I am completing a 1/2 IM in August and I really do want to do well and in order to do well, I need to follow my training plan. So, I got home and procrastinated for about 5-10 min, but did manage to throw on my running clothes, grab my ipod and head out the door. I ended up doing 4.5 miles and got to listen to some great TriTalk podcasts.

Foundation run - 40 m. steady run at moderate aerobic intensity

March 7, 2008

I hopped on the trainer to fit in this ride and I was totally impressed with my ability to sit there for that long. I was watching "The Sound of Music" so that may have played a roll. I kept my HR right around 130, but struggled to get it to go higher, so I think that's something I'll need to work on. I did manage to burn 1232 calories, so I'll take it.

BIKE - Foundation Ride - 1 hr. 45 m. steady ride at moderate aerobic intensity

March 8, 2008

I had big ambitions to get a 55 min. foundation run in today, but after my traveling I was totally wiped out. I went to sleep at 12am on Friday night and was up at 3:30am to head to the airport. Needless to say I was tired, so no run for me on Saturday.

Time Out for Women

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a Time Out for Women conference in Chicago, IL. This conference is put on by Deseret Book and the theme was Living a Joyful Life. Here's the website for information, if you're interested.

The first speaker was Chieko Okazaki and she spoke about the following principle that Joseph Smith taught: "I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves." She spent some time on how we can apply this principle in our own lives and how we can eliminate stress by allowing the people around us to govern themselves.

Michael McLean was also there and spent alot of time talking about hope and sharing his music. He was very very funny and his music was fantastic. At one point, he started talking about hope hiding just around the corner and that we need to keep moving forward, towards our goals, knowing that we'll find the hope that we need just up ahead. I ended up buying several of his c.d.s because the messages of his songs are so incredibly profound and meaningful.

Elia Gourgouris spent some time discussing relationships and actually said something that really hit home for me. He said, "Instead of surviving, we should be thriving." Then, he went on elaborating on this. He was specifically speaking about marriage, but I took that idea in a totally different direction. I've been wondering how many days I'm just surviving, instead of striving.

Marilee Boyack spoke about the joy that comes from serving others. This was one of the talks that I related to because she talked about the little things that we can do to change the world. I actually had the opportunity to meet her and tell her about the projects I'm working on developing in my courses to help my students learn how to change the world.

Jane Clayson Johnson was the last speaker I heard and she spoke about her life experiences. I won't get into all of the details, but she mentioned her experiences about the disappointments of life and how her life hasn't gone exactly as planned. I know exactly what she was talking about.

Anyways, the weekend was great and I came away feeling very uplifted and renewed and encouraged. I'm looking forward to finding ways thrive instead of survive and also to remember that everything will always work out the way that its supposed to, even when we're truly struggling. Oh, and the conference is happening again in St. Louis on Sept 11-12 and I'm planning on going! Definitely check it out if you're interested.