Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 7 in Review - Wimpier

Yup. Even wimpier than last week. I don't know why. I feel completely exhausted. I managed to swim 3 x 2,500m (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning). I skipped my run on Tuesday (legs were still mega sore from Sunday's 10K), I half-heartdly went running on Thursday (6 miles in 1:03:41 and average heart rate 168). I skipped ALL other workouts. Saturday, I tried the same 6 mile run again. Same time, but my average heart rate was 175 and by the time I got home I was completely dizzy. Sunday, I managed a very slow 60 minutes on the trainer at the gym. And now I am on the couch, wondering how soon I can go to sleep... Next stop: going to the doc to check my iron levels... Dinner tonight was an ironman ironloading session, that included eggs, toast, spinach, chicken soup and milk (and cookies and chocolate of course). I'm done nagging now.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Groet Uit Schoorl 10K - Race Report

The day before this race, I finally got around to checking out where it was taking place and how to get there. I found that getting there would involved walking to the station (15 min), taking two trains (2:35), and taking a shuttle to the start (30 mins). Hmmmmmmmm.

So on Sunday morning, we took our sweet time waking up, having breakfast, and snuggling in bed. Around nine-ish I half-heart-idly decided it was about time I packed up, which I then did very reluctantly. I left home around 09:50. After buying my train ticket, whilst waiting for my train, I decided I probably was going to need some lunch, since the 10K did not start until 1:30pm. I very wisely chose to buy a chocolate croissant (because everyone knows that French pastries are the best pre-race fuel) and two bottles of water. Obviously I got bored in the train and the croissant was gone pretty much before the train had pulled out of the station. I also had a Luna Protein bar soon after because I thought one croissant would probably not be enough.

When I finally made it to the race site, I was pleasantly surprised by how quaint the village was. Also, the 30K and half were finishing up, so it was fun to see all those people nearing the end of their race. However, except for the finish line, nothing was marked, so it took me forever to find the bag drop-off.

Once I finally did, I was worried I would be too late to the start, so made my way there. Thirty minutes later, when I found the start, I realized that if I warmed up, I probably would get sweaty, and then really be cold waiting for the start. Instead, I spent the 30 minutes I had left eating my Luna Bar, drinking my water, and freezing my butt off.

I was a bit too close to the front of the "amateurs" (the pros/elites/fast people had their own coral), but I never realized how many people were behind me. So when the gun went off, I merrily tried to keep up. Whoops.

Mile 1: I was planning on running mile 1 in 9:00 and the rest at 8:30 (I wanted to go sub-40). Instead, mile 1 flew by in 8:00 which I knew was way too fast... I just kept getting passed, which made me think I was going slow... I quickly started breathing very heavily and thought to myself that perhaps I should have used my asthma inhaler, but after a while I relaxed and was breathing fine again.

Mile 2: mile 2 went way too fast as well. 08:02. I knew I would not be able to keep this pace, but I really did not want to give up. However, this section had quite a few downhills, and I should be trying to save some time on the downhills.

Mile 3: I had officially blown up by then. Also, I was surprised at the number of downhills, and was getting worried that the second half of the race would be all uphill. Mile 3 clocked in at 8:31. I lost some time walking through the waterstation, and I also took my one gel around this time.

I passed the 5K mark in 25:56.

Mile 4: I was completely done at this point. I kept getting passed by all the people I had seen at the start that started conservatively and were negative-splitting their race! I tried to get out of their way, though :-) Mile 4 clocked in at 09:04.

Mile 5: I was sooooo tempted to walk some of this. The nature around us was breathtakingly beautiful, so I felt I should walk to savor it. My Garmin stubbornly was sticking to 4.XX miles for the longest of times. So mile 5 felt endless! It only took 09:06 though. I was also still waiting for the monster uphill....

Mile 6: ...which never came. Mile 6 had a few rolling hills, but finished off with a massive descent back into town. So by what miracle was this a "descent only" race? None. Turns out there were some pretty substantial elevation gains (according to Garmin) throughout the race, but I never realized I was going up, I only realized I was going down... So no wonder some of the miles felt so hard... I was going up in the world. I finished mile 6 in 08:32 and the last itsy bitsy (0.26 miles) in 2:11 minutes.

Total time:  53:39
Place overall 895/2327
Place women 136/900
Total elevation gain (according to Garmin) 215 ft
Average HR 189
Max HR 216 (!!!)

So... not too shabby!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 6 in Review - Wimpy

I started this week on last week's high note, but that did not last... My legs were completely shot from working out 3+ hours on two consecutive days.

Monday was supposed to be a 2,500 m swim, which I cut short to 2,000. The excuse, my brand new goggles were bugging me. Tuesday's run was *very* slow, on account of those legs still being shot. I also skipped the bike and strength, and did those on Wednesday morning instead, skipping the AM swim. I also skipped Wednesday and Thursday's runs. I was just completely tired, and spent those hours reading on the couch.

Friday I got 1,500 of the planned 2,500m of swimming in (cut short due to really painful goggles), my 90 minutes of cycling, and the strength training. Saturday, I did another 90 minutes of cycling, which felt really good, and ran to, and back from the gym (2 x 1.25miles). I skipped the 4 mile run I had planned, as it was getting dark, we had company, and I decided I was just too tired and needed to keep my strength up for today's 10K. Which turned out to be a great idea, since I PR-ed by more than 7(!!!) minutes. But more on that tomorrow.
In honor of our guest, I made lasagna last night! (I rarely cook...)

Week 6 (07 Feb - 13 Feb)
Swim: 3,500m (last year: 2,400yds)
Bike: 53 miles (last year: 75 miles)

Run: 14 miles (last year: 19 miles)
Total: 7.5 hours (last year 8.9 hours)
I won't formalize this week's workouts, since my hubby and I have some exciting errands (nothing related to V-day, I promise), but I will try my best to stay on track.

Have a fantastic week!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What was I thinking?

About a month ago, in the middle of my once-a-week working-at-home-day, an e-mail popped up, inviting me to sign up for the Groet Uit Schoorl run. There were10, 21, and 30k options and the races were taking place in the same area as Egmond-aan-Zee. I was still looking for a February race, so it seemed like a no-brainer. Five minutes later, I had signed up for the 10K.

I did the math today. I need to leave home at around 10, and probably won't be home before 7 or 8pm, to run a race that will hopefully take less than an hour... On the bright side, it is apparently a very beautiful area, and the weather will be cool and cloudy, with no rain.

I'm hoping for a PR. I will be better prepared than for my last 10K,  but not by much ;-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


At work I am known as "the quantitative one" as I mostly use quantitative methods in my research. While I'm not too fond of the title, it's true that I like statistics. I especially like the stories behind them. So.... I have been very excited by the prospect of collecting and analyzing statistics on my blog (thank you
So, what kind of fun stuff have I seen so far? Well, that my blog is not very popular or well read. But, some funny stuff as well! (well, at least to me).

The last person (and only) to look at my blog today, got here through a google search. The keywords? Europe Norovirus. Since one of my posts is Norovirus 1 - Alinda 0, and the last word in my blog is Europe, bingo, I was #3 in Google's list. On the bright side, this person got distracted from the woes of diarrhea by reading some 20 posts. Thank you! Hope you feel better!

I have a reader from Russia! Someone googled the URL to my blog in a search engine called Ok, so they may not actually be in Russia, but I like thinking I'm being read in such exotic places!

Someone got to my blog by googling european workout. I was really curious to see what a European workout entails (except for working out in Europe) so I googled it myself. Self has a story about it.

In other interesting keywords, someone googled "never look back during a race" and another search was for athlete boink.I think that about sums my blog's contribution to athletic knowledge.

The most read posts are my little windsurfing vacation (hope it's not because of the bikini picture) and my early morning musings. True, that post was pretty cool. That's all folks! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Updating the Blog

I started working on the various pages on the website, adding information about races, gadgets and travels. Nothing too exciting yet, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week 5 in Review - Score!

I was really hoping this week would be the week where things fell into place triathlon training-wise. I am very happy to report that they did :-) 

run 8 to 10 miles - DONE 10 miles, really great run
swim 1,500m - DONE 2,500m in 50 minutes/ last 100 in 1:36
run 6 miles - DONE and it was a great run!
swim 1,500m - DONE 2,500m with some serious heartburn from the previous night's fries and kroket
bike 60 minutes and strength train - FAIL, decided to slack on couch instead...
run 6 miles - DONE, but HR with high for the slow pace.
bike 90 minute- FAIL, decided to slack on couch instead...
swim 1,500m - DONE
strength train - skipped it and instead biked 60 min  (unplanned)
run 6 miles - DONE
bike 90 minutes - DONE with extra 2 x 1.25 miles of running to and from gym
long run 10 miles  - DONE
bike10 miles to lunch - unplanned

Week 5 (31 Jan - 06 Feb)
Swim: 6,500m
Bike: 43 miles

Run: 31.5 miles
Total: 10.92 hours

Overall I am *very happy* with what I managed to do this week. I need to work on getting my bike mileage up, as this is the longest part of the triathlon, and getting at least 2 strength sessions per week. As a comparison, the same week last year I did the following:

Week 5 (1 Feb - 07 Feb)
Swim: 4,800 yds
Bike: 64 miles

Run: 12 miles
Total: 7.75 hours

"Back then" the furthest I had run was 6 miles, and I was getting ready to run my first 8-miler

The plan for next week is very similar, with a bit of a breather towards the end, as I am running a 10K on Sunday.
Swim 2,500m - day off from the legs
Run 6 miles
Bike 60 min and strength train
Swim 3,000m 
Run 3 miles at the gym at 4% incline (we don't have many hills around here) 
Run 6 miles
Strength train
Swim 2,500m 
Bike 90 min
Run 4 miles

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


138.... was my average hear rate during the 1,500m I swam on Friday night. As a data/gadget junkie, I always felt frustrated about the lack of info on my swimming. My Garmin 405CX takes care of my data needs when running, my Sigma bike computer takes care of my data needs when biking outside, and my good old Polar F6 took care of any other cardio, including spinning classes and the elliptical. Yet, I always missed having some good info on my swimming.
And then... came the Polar FT80. I got it as a replacement for my F6. I collect points through my savings account, and could get it for EUR125 instead of EUR250 (plus EUR10 of administration costs), so it was time for an upgrade. On Thursday, while going through the forums, I discovered I may be able to use it in the pool. So, after a 60 minute ride on the gym bike, I switched to the pool and tool the HRM and the watch along. It took a few minutes for the watch to pick the signal from the HRM, but it worked great after that. It helped that I was able to tuck the HRM strap under my swim top, which helped keep it in place.
So, if like me you are itching to get some HR information during your swim, get yourself a Polar FT80. It looks good, works very well, and you can even pick up a GPS add-on to use it instead of a Garmin.

In other news, training this week is going really well so far, I don't want to jinx anything so I'll wait until tomorrow to post something. We have been in the throes of a huge windstorm since Friday, and while I managed 2.5 miles this morning (running to the gym and back) and 6 miles this evening, I am not sure I'll be able to do my 11 miles tomorrow if the wind does not die down a bit...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Month in Review - January

 After a pretty stellar December in terms of running, January was the month I would resume triathlon training. That was a mixed success. January included a 10-day taper and a week-long recovery for the Egmond Half Marathon, and a 5-day hiatus from running because of a tiny injury. All in all that took away a lot of time from running. I did however manage some decent numbers for January, including:
Swimming: 4 swims for 6,300m and 130 minutes
Biking: 6 workouts for 79 miles and 375 minutes
Running: 14 workouts for a total of 82 miles and 810 minutes
Total: 1275minutes or 21.25 hours of exercise.
I give myself the onion ring award for January

So all in all not too shabby. These numbers do not include leisurely bike rides for Sunday lunches (about an hour), commuting by bike, or strength training (which happened about three times...)

Goals for February:
Really pick up the swimming and bike and get started on a routine schedule
Build up to my second half of the year
Lose the 2k that attached themselves to my thighs when I working out in the fall.

Have a great February!