Tuesday, February 24, 2015

26 Things

The other day I sent a text to my sister that went something like, "Remember when I used to write a blog? That was fun." I spend a lot of time nowadays watching my head movies (as RER calls them) and when you have tons of time to think you can come up with all sorts of things to write about. What I'm saying is, my absence isn't due to a lack of material.

Since today is my last day as a 26 year old I thought I'd at least throw something together very quickly for the sake of...I don't know, 26-ing. Also yes, tomorrow is my birthday!

Here are 26 things I've learned or thought about since beginning Ironman training:

  1.  My laundry is finally being done regularly. I only have 4 sports bras and 1 bathing suit so laundry needs to be done all the time.
  2. I truly don't have time for things. You know how you say you'll call someone or write that blog or watch that show but you never have time because you're too busy doing some equally unnecessary task? That's not really my life anymore. I wake up, work, train, cook, eat and sleep. Fun stuff
  3. I'm learning to make time for things I really enjoy. Like watching Scandal on Netflix the news.
  4. In making time management decisions I'm also learning which people and activities are truly important to me. This is a good thing.
  5. Sleep is even more important than even I, a certified Good Sleeping Specialist (or GSS for short) realized. I'm sleepy a lot.
  6. It scares me to think I haven't even dipped into the actual training pool yet.
  7. There are only 2 reasons I don't like winter as much as I used to and 1 of them is because of training. I don't hate the treadmill or the trainer like everyone else but I do miss fresh air and sunshine as I sweat it out.
  8. I read somewhere (or maybe someone told me) that if you can't control your mind for a couple hours on a treadmill or bike trainer, you'll have a hell of a time controlling it for a 12+ hour race day. I love that. And believe it. When I'm outside I can distract myself with just about anything but inside I have to face my own mind. Even when it's mean to me. Learning to deal with it now will pay off big time on race day.
  9. Eating 2 rice krispy treats a day won't kill you. In fact, it's fun.
  10. Drinking 4 glasses of wine in a couple of hours won't kill you either, but it will kill your run the next day.
  11. Fun is a choice. That was my wisdom filled gem I released before the Lovin the Hills trail race and I remind myself of it regularly during my workouts. I always say if it's not fun, why do it? So I choose to have as much fun as possible.
  12. I Lived by One Republic is my favorite song. 
  13. By the time race day comes, I'm pretty sure I'll be thrown off when things don't unfold as I imagined them. And not race performance things or anything normal. Things like my friends not standing where I've imagined them standing. I'm very detail oriented.
  14. I'm still a terrible cyclist but I'm making greater gains there than anywhere else. Maybe it's because it's the worst of the 3 disciplines for me so I'm learning a lot or maybe it's because I really am built for power and not speed.
  15. My running is not speeding up. In fact, I think it's slowing down. 
  16. Heart rate training destroys my enormous ego everyday. 
  17. I'm not sure if I want training partners or not. I roll the idea around in my head all the time and I'm sure once I'm doing long runs or rides without specific workouts I'll appreciate it but for now it just feels like a hassle to have people join me for my very specific sessions.
  18. I'm still reluctant to call myself an Ironman in training or even a triathlete at all. I've hit some really big milestones but I'm still too afraid of criticism if I share those gains so I just sort of sit silently in limbo.
  19. I remember being really bummed when one of my blog "friends" blogged less once their training started because I was DYING to know what was going on. Now I realize that they were probably choosing between writing or sleeping and we all know the clear winner.
  20. Aside from my sister, I don't think I know a lot of people who care enough about my training to indulge in every detail of it. If there are, tell me because I will divulge every ridiculous second of my sessions!
  21. I'm in need of more shows to watch on Netflix that The Colonel won't like. Right now it's Scandal but I can't watch without him. Help!
  22. I had no idea I had this many thoughts....
  23. I just read an article regarding weight for Ironman and really enjoyed it. I love science! Read it here.
  24. I decided to splurge on the hotel room for IMLOU and think it'll be money well spent. Even though I live here, not worrying about driving will be one less thing on the long list of to-do's that weekend.
  25. We got a new person at work and she doesn't yet know things about me. So far she's only learned that I'm a vegetarian and that I drink a lot of water.
  26. I would love to get back to blogging regularly but I just can't guarantee that will happen. But in the meantime, just subscribe and you'll be the first to know if I ever post again ;)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Commit to Fit Round 3!

Round 2 of Commit to Fit was triple the size of round 1 and just as much fun as the first go!

For the short month of February we took a short break but don't fret, Commit to Fit is BACK for March! If you haven't joined in yet, what are you waiting for? 

The goal of this challenge is to remember that being active is a lifestyle and not necessarily a specific workout plan. Think ahead and plan to do what you want to do when you can do it.

CLICK HERE for more information and to sign up! There have been some changes for the better this round so please read carefully:

  • All official participants will be required to pay the $15 fee and use the Trainerize software to track their progress. With the size of the program, it has become difficult to manage points effectively through manual tracking. I think it's best to rely on a software system than my tired eyes to make sure everyone gets the points they deserve!
  • People can still play along for free by joining the Facebook group but they will not be eligible for prizes or any other benefits afforded to official participants.
  • Every paid member of the challenge will have access to me through messaging within Trainerize software for questions or concerns.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

When I'm Not Blogging

Sarah posted her version of this post just the other day and I thought I would follow suit. It seemed particularly appropriate as I've had an absence of blogging as of late so I might as well do a little explainin'.

I'm a busy bee and I like it that way so here are just a few of the many things I'm doing when I'm not chatting with you fine people. *Cue Titanic reference

Training Myself

With that little Ironman race coming up I've been spending a lot of time trying to get my life in order before training actually starts. In the meantime, I'm getting in 2 solid swim, bike, run and strength sessions in 6 days each week. I started up with my awesome Coach on January 1st and so far so good. The workouts aren't long but between commuting (I live a good drive from the pool, gym and most safe outdoor running routes), changing clothes, showering and eating it takes up much more time than I realized. Luckily I'll be moving before ish really gets real...hopefully.

Training Others

I'm up in the air about what to do with the whole personal training thing but I have still been doing some legitimate work in the field. Most notably has been running the Commit to Fit activity challenge and I just got a new online client from an auction I participated in. I'm really excited to work with her and possibly generate some new business. I'm also in talks with a local facility here about doing some in person sessions so we'll see how that turns out.


I love to sleep. I take my sleep very very seriously and when my new coach said he wanted me to focus on getting 8-10 hours a night, I knew there was one part of training I wasn't going to have any trouble with.

Seriously. I am totally honest joking when I say I'd go to bed at sunset and partially hate summer because it's too bright to sleep. I know and respect the importance of sleep when it comes to training and I don't care what it means I have to sacrifice, I will sleep.


I do have a day job. You knew that right? Unfortunately my life isn't just training and sleeping and training some more. I also work at a local nonprofit doing super important, life changing database work. Oxymoron? The organization I work for does indeed do super important life changing work, just can't say I'm one of the people in the field. But even though it is just part time, 30 hours of my week are spent there.

Unlike Emily, I really do like my job. I'm lucky to have it because it is incredibly flexible, my coworkers are fun and it accommodates my training schedules. So I win.

I went a little heavy on the gifs today! I just think they're fun sometimes and I'm always proud of my pop culture knowledge when an idea for one to use pops into my head.

What about you? What kinds of things do you do on the reg?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lovin the Hills Race Report

Guess what I did this weekend???

I was a very good girl and asked my coach very nicely if I could please please please do the Lovin' the Hills 6 mile trail race and because he's the best he gave me the green light to participate. So, I did my very first trail race on Saturday!

I'm not necessarily a stranger to trails but I definitely wouldn't say we're friends. Trail running goes on the same list as all of those really great athletes I "know" and am Facebook friends with and want to be able to be real friends with but I'm too intimidated to try. You know what I mean right? Anyway, I've run trails before and volunteered at many a trail race but I've never actually "raced" myself so this was going to be a fun new experience.

The site wasn't far from my house and since I'd waited to sign up for various reasons, I didn't have to get up too too early to get there in time for race day registration. I drove to Jefferson Memorial Forest and drove up and up and up and up to the start/finish line. As my car groaned up the neverending hill it occurred to me that I may have been in over my head. Then my oil change light came on and I decided my car just needed a tune up and that the hill wasn't really that bad. I parked my car and quickly realized I was surrounded by those people I totally want to be. It was a crunchy crew. Subarus and camelbacks and happy, fit people. I say this every time I'm around trail runners but they really are some of the nicest people around. I'm sure the front runners are a bit more intense but in general I find them to be a super supportive, super fun, very laid back group of people. It's awesome. I want to be one.

....back to the race. I don't know as many people in the trail circuit as I do at road races but there also aren't nearly as many participants so it's not overwhelming for me. I saw a couple of people I knew as soon as I walked into the lodge to register and pretty much always had at least one or two people in my sights who I recognized. It's been a long time since I've gone to a race totally solo so it was a little strange to be on my own. I wore my HR monitor and my Garmin which is rare but I've finally figured out how to upload data and I'm sure my coach appreciates stuff like that. I do have to admit that as cool as it is to be able to see an entire race mapped out in graphs and charts I'd still rather go without. I don't know why numbers stress me out so much.

I was staying calm and really embracing the opportunity to have a lot of fun without worrying about the numbers but I think everyone is always a little anxious at the start. I also had to make sure not to break anything.

The run started and we all stayed together for about a quarter mile until we reached the first trail head when we got onto some single track (look at me using trail terms!) and it bottlenecked pretty bad. I saw a group of women I knew and they said it was normal as we made our single file march through the trees. Then we were off again and as the trail widened I stayed right to let people go past me. Right around 1.5 miles I tripped and almost took a massive dive but saved myself and actually laughed quite a bit. One of the guys coming up behind me said "Nice save!" and another guy said "You're one of us." I giggled like a schoolgirl and decided to take much smaller steps for the rest of the way so I didn't kill my Ironman before it even started.

There were a few really wide spots and a lot of people came past me at that point. On the road it always stings me a bit when I feel like everyone is passing me because I'm a bit more competitive (in my head, not in my talent) there but out in the woods I was hoping they'd go by so I didn't slow anyone down. Before mile 2 we came up on the first steep descent and it was a whole different world. Trails are scary! Luckily it was still early so the trail was cold and hard packed but there were still some slick spots and I slowed to a crawl. Another man came past and said I was really smart for going slow. I got to the bottom and picked it up again until a creek crossing when I tiptoed so I didn't get my feet wet. *Note to self, probably time to buy trail shoes. What goes down must go up and it wasn't long before I hit the first climb. It was huge. I walked. It sucked. My HR spiked to the 180s and I was working! But in a sick way I was enjoying it. I've always liked going up more than coming down since I'm a weenie and afraid of speed and a lot of the people who were gaining on me in the flat fell off once we started going up. I hit the top and broke into a slow jog to bring my HR back down and recover and the runners behind me caught up at that point.

The trail was tough but beautiful. I always think of trails as being pretty in the summer or fall but even in winter with everything brown and bare it was so nice to just look around and take it all in. A little bit later we hit another steep downhill and I let a few people go but one woman said she was fine to stay behind me. She stayed there for a bit and we got to talking. Her name was Sarah and we did the rest of the race together which made it really fun. Turns out she'd lost over 100 pounds and was really into triathlons so naturally, we had lots to talk about. She was taller than me and was a great hiker so she hiked while I "ran" and it turned out to be about the same pace. Since we were both out for fun we stayed at a conversational pace and talked about everything except the hills when things got tough.

When we came towards the finish there were volunteers telling us which way to go. We were doing the 6 mile short course but there was also a 15 mile and 50K option. For once I finally picked the right race! We came around the bend to the finish all smiles and got a medal which I totally wasn't expecting! We went inside to get some food and I introduced her to a few more of my friends who had already finished. We hung out for a bit longer and then said our goodbyes before I headed out to the aid station my sister and our church were in charge of.

Overall the course had over 700 feet of climbing over just under 6 miles and I could really feel it in my glutes as the day went on. I spent some time at the aid station and was DYING to already be out doing the 50K (have I mentioned I'm hoping to get into ultras next year?). I had a great day and can't wait to start getting on the trails regularly. Sunday I wasn't too too sore which was a good thing because my coach had 2 minute hill repeats written for me on the bike trainer.

How do I feel today? Well...let's just say I'm glad it's a rest day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Best Tweets of January

Mirinda Carfrae herself favorited this tweet. Oh my heart... Here's the referenced photo

Yep. @mirindacarfrae #wine #hydrationstation #bestfriends #bffls

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

And the great Swim Bike Mom favorited this one thanks to a royal reference.

Yep. #protectthequeen @swimbikemom #futureironman

A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on