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Archive for the ‘Races’ Category

Hi guys … I’ve been away for a little while and thought I should come back and catch up … I’ve been meaning to but have been busy.

Firstly, just to put your minds at ease, I’ve still been doing well with my healthier eating and exercise. No, I haven’t fallen apart because I’m not reporting on this blog, although I do miss the encouragement you guys have been giving me.

Second, I ran a 5K on May 31 and set a new personal record! My previous personal record was 22:23, and I wasn’t in doubt of beating that, as I set the old record last year and I’m a much better (and lighter) runner these days. So I set out at a pace under 7:00 per mile, and held it the entire race. By holding my pace fairly steady, I passed a lot of people who naturally slowed at the end, so I was happy with my pacing.

I was hoping, in a best-case scenario, of coming in under 21 minutes, but just missed that mark at finished at 21:03 … a full minute and 20 seconds faster than my old record! I was super happy with that achievement. I’m not much of a 5K runner, but this showed me that I’m getting faster. I really only run a 5K when I want to test my fitness and speed, so I’ll probably do another in a few months as a test.

Third, I injured my back lifting weights, about 5 days ago. I had been doing great with my weight lifting, joined a gym and have been lifting heavier. I started on a new weight routine (after doing the old routine for about 7 weeks), to push myself to a new level. It has a split routine, upper body and lower body. I was doing the lower-body routine, with a superset of squats and deadlifts, and when I was on my second set of squats I forgot to focus on my form (specifically keeping my lower back straight) and as a result pulled a muscle deep in my lower back.

I immediately stopped my routine and rested for a few days. I had my back checked out just to make sure it wasn’t serious, and it was just a muscle strain. My doctor said I could start light exercise after a few days, so I started by walking, then a little jogging, and yesterday ran a few miles at easy pace. The last couple of days I’ve also been doing bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, pushups, pullups, chinups, and so on, just to stay in shape.

The first few days were difficult, as I couldn’t exercise at all. I couldn’t even sit down for very long, as my back would start to hurt. I used a heating pad, some stretching, some massage, and some walking around to keep my muscles loose and the blood circulating. I think it all helped me heal faster as I’m feeling pretty good right now. I can still feel the strained muscle if I start to move too fast or hard, so I’m taking it easy, but I’m feeling pretty good right now.

I hope to be reporting back more often from now on, but I’m pretty busy with wedding planning, finishing my book, and preparing for my honeymoon (less than 2 weeks away!). I’ve missed you all!

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I’m happy to report that I finished my first sprint triathlon this morning! I feel tired but really great. Here’s a report:

Background: I’m a runner but a complete novice in cycling and swimming (just started a month ago). So my goal for this first sprint tri was just to finish and have a good time. I wasn’t worried about my place or my time — I can work on improving later.

The Course: Set in the beautiful little village of Piti, Guam, the sprint triathlon was a 750-meter ocean swim in warm water (in the 80s) (two laps of a triangular course around three buoys) … followed by a 20K bike (3 out-and-back laps on a flat course near the ocean, strong tailwind going out, strong headwind coming back) … and finally a 5K run, along the same flat but windy course. It started at 7 a.m., which might not mean much in colder climates but on Guam, it gets pretty hot by 7 a.m. It was probably in the 90s by the time I was on the run.

The Swim: I’m not a strong swimmer at all, and in fact have never swam 750m without stopping. So I started on the outside, to the back, hoping to avoid the tangle of swimmers at the start. That worked out pretty well, although I was stuck behind a slower swimmer to start with. I think that was a good thing, as it helped me conserve energy and I really didn’t have to do the breaststroke for resting as I’d anticipated. My form was really horrible, but I didn’t care. I expected to be the last out of the water but surprised myself and finished somewhere in the middle (well, the back of the middle, but still not one of the last). I don’t have my split times for any of the legs. I felt pretty decent coming out of the swim, which I was happy with.

The Bike: I ride an old mountain bike, and I think it really hurt me in this race. And as I said, I’ve only been cycling for a month, so I’m pretty slow. I just wanted to be able to finish the 20K bike leg, which I was pretty sure I could do. I did it pretty slow, though, and a lot of people passed me (many of them were actually ahead of me but on their 2nd or 3rd laps, but a few started the bike after me and still passed me). I have to admit the bike was a bit of a struggle, especially in the hot sun, and I finished near last place (maybe 3-4 people behind me).

The Run: My legs felt dead coming off the bike, but I started out pretty fast. Too fast, actually, and soon I was breathing heavy and knew I had to cut back. I was pretty tired by now, but tried to keep a decent pace. I don’t know what my pace was but I’m guessing around 8:00 miles. It was very very hot. I passed a few people around halfway through the run. One of them stuck with me and pushed me for the rest of the run, but I pulled away from him in the end with a strong finish.

Overall: My overall time was 1:39:48, which many experienced triathletes would probably laugh at, but again, I just wanted to finish and have fun. I accomplished my goals, so I’m happy! I had a great time, and look forward to my next sprint tri in June.

Improvement areas: I can obviously get better in the swim, with a little more endurance and better form. I bought the book “Total Immersion” to help me with my form, and I think it could make a bit of difference in the next tri. My bike needs a lot of improvement. I think I need to buy a road bike, first of all, because my bike was squeaking and I was struggling with it. I think the front tire was a little flat too. I also need to build up speed and endurance, but that will come with time. I really enjoy cycling, even if I’m slow, and I think I’ll only get better. The run was fine, about as good as I could do considering my legs were dead — I think it’ll get faster if I can get better endurance in the bike and swim. Transitions were fairly smooth, although I think I could have skipped the socks. I think I’ll get better overall as I continue to train — I’ve only been doing this for a month, so I have nowhere to go but up. :)

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Triathlon Tomorrow!

It’s now Saturday morning for me, and my first sprint triathlon is tomorrow morning! I’m super excited.

To give you some background, I’ve done a “super-sprint” triathlon before … 400m swim, 6-mile bike, 3K run … but that was much easier and was a year and a half ago … I completely stopped biking and swimming after that, and even before that I had only just started.

So this past month of triathlon training has been incredibly fun, and I’m just learning to swim and bike, really, and to build up endurance in each sport.

My goal in tomorrow’s triathlon is just to finish and have fun. And I’m pretty sure I can do both. I won’t be fast or competitive, but that’s OK.

I have another sprint triathlon in three weeks … it’s the exact same course, so I should be able to see if I’m getting better. My goals for that one will also be to finish and have fun, but also to do it a bit faster than this first one.

I know I can do the swim, although it will be the hardest leg of the triathlon for me by far. It’s 750 meters, which I’ve never actually done all in a row without breaks. I plan to do it by breaking up the freestyle swimming with a little breaststroke for resting purposes.

The bike is 12 miles, and that shouldn’t be super hard, although it might be if 1) I’m too tired from the swim and/or 2) I start out at a pace that’s too fast. I hope to go at a medium pace, for me, which would be slow for most people. I’m just riding a mountain bike, so I won’t be fast anyway. I hope to get a road bike later this year!

The run is a 5K, and that’s not a problem, although I know from my brick workouts that running after cycling is tough. :)

Wish me luck! I’m really looking forward to this.

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Yesterday (Saturday) I ran a race that was both successful and extremely frustrating. I did a 5K, not as my goal race but just to see where my fitness is … and as I haven’t done a 5K since last year, I decided to try to set my PR (which as of last year was 22:25).

I was certain I’d set my PR as I’m a lot stronger these days. So I went out to run about a 7:00 pace — and that’s exactly what I did, until the last 800m when I ran almost an all out sprint at 5:00 pace.

I ended up beating my PR by 4 mins at 18:23, which is impossible, until I found out from other runners that the course was short!!!

How FRUSTRATING!!!

I ran the course again and found out that someone put the turnaround cones (it was an out-and-back course) in the wrong place. Whoever measured the course had marked where the turnaround should be, and it was .22 of a mile further than the cones were. Which means, as it was an out-and-back course, that the course was short .44 of a mile.

Assuming I would have run a 7:00 pace for that .44 of a mile, I would have easily set a PR. My calculations put my run at about 21:28 for a 5K, nearly a minute faster than my PR. As it is, because someone messed up, I don’t have a new PR!!!

Oh well. I ran a great race, came in 16th for the men and top 5 in my division, and I should just be happy with that. I’ll run another 5K in 2-3 weeks to see if I can actually set the PR.

Other than the 5K, I did about 40 mins of easy running after the race to finish at around 7 miles for the day. I’m taking a rest day today (Mother’s Day).

As for eating, I”m not going to log my food this weekend if you guys don’t mind. I did pretty well for most of yesterday, eating my usual stuff in the morning and afternoon, but in the evening I cheated as we had a Mother’s Day get-together. I ate little bits of different things and don’t really know how to log it all. I ate a lot, but with my running in the morning I’d guess I was still in a slight calorie deficit.

Today, as a rest day, I won’t be in deficit. It’s another cheat day. I had a Mother’s Day brunch with my family this morning, and ate a decent amount, and have another get-together this evening and will probably overeat a bit. :)

Oh well. :) I’ll get back on track tomorrow (although it’s Eva’s birthday and we’ll probably go out and overeat for dinner). I’m doing a long bike ride tomorrow morning and am looking forward to that.

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! Happy Mother’s Day!

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