Sunday Sweats [8/24-8/30]: B2B Training Week 11

Monday: 2950yd swim @ 2:03min/100yd + 60 minutes spin + 10 minutes yoga | I had the hardest time convincing myself to get in the pool today. I've now only swam 3 times in the last 4 weeks but getting back to it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.

No more Y membership = no more spin class for me. I had my own little solo spin class on my bike trainer with Youtube as my teacher. I actually surprisingly didn't want to kill anyone at any point during this hour-long class and...kind of enjoyed it. Afterward I decided enough was enough and that I had to do something about these tight hips so I eased back into yoga with just a short hip opening video.

Tuesday: 4.74 mile run @ 8:27 + 11 minutes yogaI started back to school this week and since Tuesdays & Thursdays are my busy days, I figured that from here on out I would just take 2 rest days a week on those days. Then I remembered that I get cranky if I have to wait until Wednesday for my first run of the week, and that that schedule would have me running Fri/Sat/Sun, which I've been doing a lot of weeks this summer but it isn't my preference. So, Tuesdays after class it is. I was inspired by Alyssa's mention of speed work in her T4T post so I decided I would actually do the speed work that's on my training plan but I always ignore. I ran at 6:00pm and it was still sunny, but only 75* and 53% humidity and 56* dew point and breezy which is basically the best running weather I've seen in months. All my miles were 8:40 or faster and my 3 3:00-minute pickup paces were 7:34, 8:12 (I got stuck behind some pedestrians and was on an incline), and 7:34. I did legitimately think I might throw up and/or collapse at some points but overall it felt so good to move my legs that fast and I don't even care that I had to make a bathroom pit stop 2/3 of the way through. Oh and I also decided that I could cheat on my no headphones rule, since it always helps with speed work days, plus I felt like celebrating the fact that I can now run in a place and at a time where I don't have to worry about staying super vigilant just in case someone might try to kidnap me (is that still the right term for an almost-28-year-old?).

Wednesday: 18.04 mile bike ride @ 15.3mph +  6.34 mile run @ 9:32 | Oh my god this was the hardest workout ever. My bike ride ended up being pretty decent considering it was my first ride back on hilly terrain in 3+ months. I'm never as speedy here as I am back home, but I can definitely tell how much my spin classes and bridge rides this summer made a difference. I really didn't want to do this run and I came thisclose to turning around and going home less than 5 minutes in. I tried to run slow and easy but there was no easy because even my slow pace felt like I was running in slow motion. I went with the hilly run route, only because it's the only one I have that's an hour long, and with my long run + spin + speed run + hilly bike combo over the last few days finally did me in and my legs were feeling it. I didn't have it 100%, mentally or physically, but I pushed through. I may have taken the babiest of baby steps up those hills but I always got through them and ran every step of the way. Compared to this time last year, it's sad that I have to pat myself on the back for making it through a 6+ mile run at a 9:30 pace without stopping but that's what I'm working with these days.

Thursday: Rest day

Friday: 60 minutes yoga | I rode to the gym to swim, but all the lanes were taken. Since I don't play well with others, I didn't bother asking anyone to share, and I just went back home instead. At least I got a quick ride out of it. When I got home I decided that instead I'd spend some time with Sage and my yoga mat, neither of whom I've seen much of in the last month.

Saturday: 30.38 mile bike ride @ 15.17mph + 3.36 mile run @ 8:56 | I was supposed to ride for 3 hours today and 2 hours next weekend, but since I'll be home next weekend and will have a better place to ride that far, I decided to swap them out. I really don't have a great place to ride now that I moved (need to ask my chiro to tell me the name of the trail he told me a few months ago), so I rode to my hilly trail, went up and down twice, and then rode home. I like the change of scenery, I just don't like how much slower I am without flat, open roads! From here on out all my rides will be distance PRs, eek! I'm nervous about but looking forward to getting into 50+ mile territory.

My run after felt pretty good! I had a little trouble breathing since I'm coming down with a cold but nowhere near the chest pain I had last week. My pace was comfortable, but not easy. It didn't go by terribly quickly at the time, but by the time I got back home it felt like I had blinked and it was over.

Sunday: 11.68 mile run @ 9:50 | This was weird. I was in the zone while simultaneously trying to convince myself myself to stop the whole time. I've been fighting a cold all week and just didn't feel well on this one. I ate a new breakfast that didn't agree with my stomach and didn't even fill me up, so that sucked too. You know how sometimes, like yesterday, it feels like you blink and the run is over? Yeah that's not how today went. I wanted to quit but I wasn't like dying to quit so I made myself stick it because that's what (almost) half Iron(wo)men do. On the bright side, even though the humidity was like 90%, the temperature was in the 60's so my sweat worked and I was actually a little cold. PRAISE.

This Week
Swim - 1.68 miles 
Bike - 48.42 miles + 60 minutes spin (+ ~30 miles commuting to/from school)
Run - 26.07 miles
Yoga - 81 minutes
Total miles - 76.17

B2B To-Date Training
Swim - 21.73 miles 
Bike - 557.68 miles + 372 minutes spin 
Run - 226.53 miles
Total miles - 805.94

Week 11 Reflections:
- I LOVE my new schedule. The flexibility of not having to spend 7am-5pm out of the house every day is the best. I don't know how normal people do it. Well, I kind of do since I made it work all summer, but it's nice to have some flexibility back in my schedule.
- My collage is looking pretty different this week! I miss the ocean, but I think this will do for now.
- I only have 7 weeks left and I still don't feel ready for race day but after a little pep talk from Alyssa I realized that that's because I'm not supposed to be ready yet. I don't know why but I went into this totally thinking I just needed to practice things I could already do even though - duh - I'm training for something I have actually never done before.

Biking San Francisco

When Ben and I got to San Francisco, our first order of touristy business when we left the airport was the Golden Gate Bridge, obviously. There are a variety of ways to see the bridge: drive over it, take a bus tour over it, park the car on one side and walk or bike over it, or rent a bike and ride through the city to the bridge. The first two must be lame because how can you even see anything at 40mph? The parking lots before the bridge are crazy packed so good luck with that. We did the last option and it was awesome. We rented our bikes through CityRide Bike Rentals in Hayes Valley, solely because I had already booked a tour with their sister company Streets of San Francisco, and therefore had a 50% discount on rentals (FYI - they offer 20% just for booking on their website). I found SOSF (and therefore CityRide) via Google and chose them because we had a limited time frame and they happened to have a tour that fit our window.
I chose a road bike since that's what I'm used to riding, but they have comfort and commuter style bikes as well. We walked up, were greeted by a couple of friendly dudes with beards, hopped on the bikes that had already been prepped for us, grabbed helmets and bike locks, spent a few minutes going over how to get to the bridge with one of the bearded dudes, and then we were ready to roll.

This ride is fun but it's not exactly for the faint of heart. San Francisco is bike-friendly and there are lots of bike lanes, markings, and even bike-specific traffic signals, but it was still what you'd imagine a ride through the city would be like. And don't forget that SF is a friggin' HILLY city. The route that the bike shop suggests does guide you around the hills as much as possible (The Wiggle is popular among SF's cyclists), but you do have to go up some eventually. Once you get through the city you get into the Presidio, which is more of a gradual incline leading up to the bridge.

So why would you torture yourself riding 45 minutes through the city and uphill when you could have just driven?

Because this.

And this.

And this.

We happened to be there on a miraculously clear day and the views going up were stunning. Sure, you could drive a car up the same roads and stop at the same pullouts, but I really don't think it would have the same effect . There's just something about riding alongside those vistas in the open air, not inside a metal and glass box.

Biking the GGB was the very first thing we did in California and, oddly enough, riding bikes was also the last thing we did in California before we left. Our last itinerary item was that aforementioned bike tour, which was different from the bike rental gig since we were in a group this time (we were with 5 other people) and a tour guide to lead us around the city. We met at the same bike shop where we already had bikes waiting for us (we didn't get to choose this time and were all given comfort bikes) and were introduced to our tour guide, Josh. This was the 3rd run/bike tour I've done in a major U.S. city, so I'm not exactly an expert, but my experience so far has been that the guides are super awesome, friendly, willing to answer all kinds of questions, and are chock full of interesting tidbits about the city since they're either natives or have lived there for a significant period of time. Josh was no exception. He grew up just a couple miles from where the bike shop is located and had all kinds of interesting information - both factual and personal - about every neighborhood we went to.

We chose the Heart of the City tour, which is ~3.5 hours long and covers ~9 miles. We ventured from Hayes Valley over to Market Street/South of Market, into the Mission District, through the Castro and  Lower Haight, rode through the Panhandle to Golden Gate Park, to Haight-Ashbury and back to the bike shop.

Notably, this tour did not go over the Golden Gate Bridge (which is why I wanted to make sure we did that on our own), and I really think I preferred it that way. I felt like we saw so much of the city, some of the touristy parts but a lot of the real parts. Being on this tour didn't feel like the massive cluster-you-know-what that the various groups we side riding over the bridge looked like, but instead felt like hanging out casually riding around with friends for a few hours. There were also delicious fresh berries that we picked up at the farmers market for some mid-ride fuel, so...there's that.

Training for Tuesday: The Summer That Was

Summer is my least favorite season for training, hands down. That feeling of being hot, sweaty, sticky, dripping wet whether it's 2 minutes or 2 hours into a's torture, I'm telling you. Summer training feels like an endless onslaught of sunshine that drains my body of every bit of endurance it's ever worked for.
I'd love to look back and tell you that yes, summer sucked, and no, none of it was worth it, but I can't do that. Truthfully this summer of training felt different to me than any before it; one on hand, the weather wasn't as oppressive (at least it didn feel that way) but on the other hand, I had some scheduling and training volume battles to fight. There were some ups, there were some downs, but for the most part, this summer my training just...was. This was the first summer I basically had a half marathon's level of effort to put into each swimming, biking, and running. What I lacked in personal bests on the run, I made up for on my swim and bike.

My first swim of my training plan was a PR at 45 minutes/2150yds (I had previously never swam more than 2000yds and regularly got out of the pool after 1800yds). That first swim led to a distance PR of 3000yds and regularly swimming for an hour each time!

I swam in open water 3 times: twice during races and once during training. I got to practice with my wetsuit once, which I desperately needed since it's mandatory for B2B and I hadn't put it on in 2 years.

I caught the sunrise over the ocean before work 11 times. 

I biked over 5 unique bridges (some of them multiple times).

I rode my bike in 2 states: in Virginia many times and in North Carolina once from the Outer Banks to the mainland and back. I also rode my bike from Virginia to North Carolina once!

I survived 372 minutes of spin class (8 classes). Since my training plan has me biking 3x/week, one of which is supposed to be drills, I thought going back to spin class after 2 years away would fit the bill perfectly. The classes I attended were no joke, and I truly didn't enjoy most of them. What I did enjoy was how much those intense workouts improved my cycling, especially when it came to all those bridges I mentioned.

I got back into yoga, thanks to the jumpstart that was Wanderlust. If I could go back and relive any weekend of this summer, it would absolutely be Wanderlust. While I'm thrilled with so many of my training weekends this summer, Wanderlust was the one I didn't know I needed until it happened. If you want to know more about this amazing, transformative festival of physical and mental wellbeing, I'll send you on over here instead of spewing more word vomit about how much I LOVED this experience.

I ran 4 races: I clocked a new 5k PR (23:48) at the Beacon of Hope 5k, ran a relaxed 8:30 pace at the Elizabeth River Run (Not Quite) 10k with my dad and friends, finished 2nd in my age group at my first 2015 triathlon at the Breezy Point Sprint, and ran a major course PR (thanks to a super speedy bike and a new 5k multisport PR - 25:06) at the Tidewater Triathlon.

Swim 21.32 miles / Bike 521.67 miles / Run 333.68 miles

Fall is shaping up to be pretty busy, and I can only hope that the work I've put in this summer was enough to prepare me. Just this weekend I finalized my fall lineup, at least through October, and it looks like this:

September 12 - Patriots International Triathlon
September 20 - Hokie Half Marathon
October 4 - Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon
October 17 - Beach2Battleship Half Ironman
October 31 - Wicked 10k

I'm hopeful that I've improved enough in my overall triathleticism (definitely a real word) to see a PR at Patriots but that will likely be my only shot at a PR this fall. I plan to treat the half marathons as dress rehearsal for B2B, with long rides the day before and pacing practice during the race. My main focus is to keep trucking through training until B2B in mid-October!

How was your summer training? What are you looking forward to this fall?


Sunday Sweats [8/10-8/23]: B2B Training Week 10

Week 10 got split up into 2 weeks because I went on vacation on a Thursday and didn't return until the following Thursday. This was always the plan, and I didn't do any hard training on vacation (I didn't even miss training, to be honest), but I did do some cool, active things.

Monday 8/10: 2900yd swim @ 2:05/100yd [+ 1 mile walk] | In the morning I took Bane for a walk up and down hills, past a creek and farm animals. Fewer than 12 hours later, I was swimming in a pool a mile from the ocean. It was a weird day. After being up for 20 hours the day before (during which I ran 10 miles, packed, loaded, drove 5 hours, unloaded, and unpacked) I thought I had earned my first sleep-in day since July 3 (yes, I counted). My swim was pretty slow, but that was to be expected after nearly 2 weeks out of the pool.

Tuesday 8/11: 6.20 mile run @ 8:53 + 30-minute open water swim | I don't know what happened today. I wasn't feeling the run from the get go, and I knew that, but I tried to push through anyway. I got back to my car for a water break after 4.37 miles (@ 9:04 pace) and I decided to just be done and go home. I sat there for a few minutes and then I felt better so I decided I'd finish it out with 1.83 miles (@ 8:30 pace). One of these days I'll consistently get through runs without almost quitting in the middle.

In the evening I did my first open water swim since the Tidewater Tri last month, and only my 3rd one all season. I wore my wetsuit for the first time in...a year at least, maybe 2...because B2B is wetsuit mandatory and I needed the practice. I felt pretty good in it and definitely very buoyant! I have no idea how far we swam since my watch doesn't do GPS in the water but I think it was close to a mile, maybe more maybe less. We got in 30 minutes before a storm rolled in and lightning shooed us out of the water. I felt good and definitely felt like I could have kept going!

Wednesday 8/12: 14.72 mile bike @ 14.86 mph + 3.34 mile run @ 9:03 | I am going to miss these bridge rides so much! Hopefully it will make my hilly rides easier, but we'll see. I'm really happy with how much I've improved on these rides. We go over two bridges but one of them is an absolute killer. I used to wonder how is ever make it to the top but now I'm able to get up pretty steadily. Plus the view up there can't be beat! After the ride we threw on running shoes and headed out for a 45-minute run, which turned into 30 because we all decided we wanted to go eat instead. Whatever! I'm actually pretty proud of this one. Last week I pushed my friend through 4 miles @ 9:45 which is faster than her normal pace...this week she was the pack leader and I honestly struggled to keep up with her! We ran in the low 9's most of the run and even managed an 8:51 last mile!

Thursday 8/13: 16.67 mile bike ride through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge! | The first thing we did after we landed in SF was basically make a beeline to the GGB. This was definitely not an easy ride! There were times when it was a little confusing maneuvering through the city streets, and  even though we avoided most of the major hills (but not all!), it was still a steady incline for several miles getting to the bridge. Not really a hard training ride but a ride nonetheless!

Friday 8/14 & Saturday 8/15: Travel days to Big Sur and LA!

Sunday 8/16: 2.5 mile uphill walk to Dodger Stadium | Whoever decided it would be a good idea to walk to Dodger Stadium during LA's biggest heat wave in 15 years (high of 102*!) deserves a good whack in the head. It turns out the stadium is on top of a giant hill, a hill so giant that the stadium isn't even visible until you reach the very top. 

Monday 8/17: 6.89 mile hike on the Canyon Blvd. Trail to the Hollywood Sign | I started to regret this decision when there was 900 ft of elevation gain in the first mile, but it turned out to be totally worth it and one of my favorite things we did in California!

Tuesday 8/18:

Wednesday 8/19: ~9 mile bike tour through San Francisco | This was definitely a leisurely ride (I could have run twice as far as rode during that 3.5 hour time period) because we were on a tour so we stopped a lot. This definitely doesn't count as training, but technically my feet were on pedals and I had to move them with my own leg power so it counts for something?

Thursday 8/20: Travel day back to VA

Friday 8/21: 45.66 mile bike ride @ 16.83mph + 2.08 mile run @ 9:51 | Nothing says, "Vacation's over!" quite like a 3-hour workout, am I right? I'd had this on the agenda for a while, knowing fully well it was the day after we got back from CA, but I failed to remember the part about how it would be my longest ride ever. As such, I really didn't prepare very well and I only brought one measly banana with me for fuel out on the road. The wind out on the trail was pretty nasty, so together with my lack of food and general suckiness after taking a week off, I guess it went okay.

The run afterward felt horrible. My legs felt decent but my chest was killing me. Sometimes my chest hurts pretty bad when I run after a ride (I can't figure out the correlation there), but it was especially bad today and I think it's because I had gotten used to the low humidity in California. I had to walk it out a couple times because I really couldn't breathe.

Saturday 8/22: Moving day | After a summer at the beach and a week-long vacation, we finally made our return to Blacksburg. We had already moved the majority of our stuff into the apartment, but it still needed unpacking so that's how most of today was spent.

Sunday 8/23: 10.56 miles @ 9:49 | I was so nervous about this run that I had knots in my stomach. It was a) my longest run all summer, b) my first run on hills in 3+ months, and c) my first time really running (aside from those crappy 2 miles on Friday) in 11 days. The hills weren't as hard as I remembered them being (I'm sure the conservative pace helped greatly on that point) and the change of scenery was more than welcomed. I didn't have to stop at all, which is more than I can say for most of my other long runs this summer.

This Week
Swim - 2.33 miles 
Bike - 60.38 miles (+ ~27 miles in San Francisco)
Run - 22.16 miles
Yoga - 0 minutes
Total miles - 84.87

B2B To-Date Training
Swim - 20.06 miles 
Bike - 509.26 miles + 312 minutes spin 
Run - 200.46 miles
Total miles - 729.78

Week 10 Reflections:
- As of this week, I've reached some arbitrary number milestones that don't really mean anything significant, but are cool: 20 total miles of swimming, 500 total miles of cycling, and 200 total miles of running, making a grand total of over 700 miles, which is more than 10 times the distance I'll cover on race day. 
- I now have a new record for running without headphones (1:43:44)
- I have to get back to yoga. I have to. Vacation was great but not really conducive to sticking to my schedule, and I had so much moving to do before and after vacation that I just didn't make the time. I can definitely tell the difference and am looking forward to getting back into a routine this week.

And, FYI: This Tuesday, August 25, is the last Training for Tuesday of the summer!

Where I've Been

Way back in April, which feels like forever ago and yesterday all at the same time, we decided on and booked our summer vacation/anniversary trip to California! We left early last Thursday and got back yesterday evening 

When we booked our trip 4 months ago, I shared some of the things I/we were most looking forward to. Recaps and photos will be coming soon, but for now, I thought I'd make my triumphant return to this blog for the first time in 2 weeks with some sneak peeks and highlights from our trip and and update on all the things we hoped the trip would be. 

#1: All the baseball. We have a lifelong goal of seeing a game in every MLB park, and we added 4 new ones on this trip! We started in San Francisco with a Giants game, road tripped down to LA to see the Dodgers and the Angels, and then headed back north to catch the A's in Oakland. 

#2: All the bridges. The very first thing we did in San Francisco was hop on bikes and head to the Golden Gate Bridge. The next day, we started our trek to Big Sur down Highway 1 and spent an inordinate amount of time staring at the Bixby Creek Bridge. Naturally, I took some selfies to commemorate these momentous occasions. 

Oh and I got a bonus bridge! We went on a bike tour of SF on our last day there and as we were chatting with our tour guide, I mentioned that I'm a civil he took me to a bridge in Golden Gate Park that happens to be the first reinforced concrete bridge ever built. Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal, but reinforced concrete is now one of the most common bridge materials (the Brooklyn Bridge, for example, couldn't have been built without).

#3: Hiking up to the Hollywood sign. We came, we saw, we conquered.

#4: Road tripping the PCH. This was unreal. UN.REAL. I took approximately 40,000 photos on this drive.

#5: Renewing our wedding vows in Big Sur. And it was just as dreamy as it sounds. Extra special thanks to Hannah Kate Photography for being there and capturing some of the most gorgeous images ever. Seriously, I didn't think it could be any more amazing...and then I saw these photos. I probably won't share much more, if any, about our renewal or the photos we took, but these are a few we got from Hannah in our sneak peek the next morning.
Photo courtesy of Hannah Kate Photography
Photo courtesy of Hannah Kate Photography
Photo courtesy of Hannah Kate Photography
Photo courtesy of Hannah Kate Photography
Photo courtesy of Hannah Kate Photography

Sunday Sweats 8/3-8/9: B2B Training Week 9

Monday: Rest day | After getting in my own head and completely sabotaging myself last week, I was determined to have a better week this week. After work I met Ben at one of our favorite local breweries because they were releasing a new beer, a double IPA *insert heart-eye emoji*. Then we came home and he made Mexican for dinner while I sat on the couch and watched Orange is the New Black. I will probably pay for those food and drink choices on my run at the crack of dawn tomorrow, but man did it feel good to act like a normal person after work. I even got some time to read To Kill a Mockingbird (I'm woefully behind on the Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge)!

Tuesday: 5.59 mile run @ 8:58 | Ahh my last 4am wakeup call! But sadly, that also means my last ocean sunrise. Every Tuesday my training plan calls for pickups during my run, but I have been actively avoiding anything even remotely resembling speedwork. Today I decided to stop being afraid and just do them.
After work I was going to swim but when I got to the pool all the lanes were full and I didn't want to go back later. Instead I went home, Ben made me falafel for dinner, and I scheduled an open water swim on Friday with my people instead!

Wednesday: 17.22 mile bike ride @ 13.30mph + 4.11 mile run @ 9:45 | OH MY GOD this brick was everything that is good in the world and made every second of suckiness worth getting to experience these nearly two hours of joy. The Jordan Bridge felt easier than it ever has and getting back to Portsmouth as the sun was setting was perfect. My home turf, someone else's pace, a heavenly breeze off the river, not a care in the world nor a negative thought creeping in...this was the stuff dreams are made of.

Thursday: (Unplanned) Rest day | We're moving this weekend and at work today I realized that, if I have any hope of getting in some long workouts this weekend and getting my stuff on a Uhaul by Sunday, I had better start packing. I was going to spin and swim tonight but I went home and spent those 2.5 hours packing instead and I didn't let myself feel bad about it (plus it ended up storming so there would have been no swimming for me anyway). After the way things have been going lately, I think my mind needs some exercise like this more than my body needs spin class. Plus did I mention I had the most beautiful, perfect workout yesterday?! That was enough to carry me through an unplanned rest day.

Friday: (Unplanned) Rest day | That open water swim I planned for today? When we got the beach and noticed the 20mph winds (not sure how I managed to not catch on until I drove all the way there) and that the bay, which is usually flat, looked like this

we decided the swim was definitely out. I briefly debated driving back home and swimming at the Y, but our group opted to go out to a beachside bar instead. Twist my arm and make me have nachos and beer, why don't ya. 

Saturday: 32.50 mile bike ride @ 15.8mph + 2.30 mile run @ 8:43 | The weather today was miserable - rainy and windy - and so was most of this workout. We got a late start and I was pressed for time, so we cut it 15 minutes short. With the rain and the wind, we weren't even close to being on target for the full distance I had planned to cover anyway. I had just enough time to get in a brick run after and that actually felt pretty decent. First mile was 9:03 (uphill), second was 8.47 (downhill), and my friend pushed me through the last .3, which we did at a 7:19 pace (uphill!).

Sunday: 10.10 mile run @ 8:56 | Today is moving day but I couldn't leave without getting in one last long run. I ended the summer the same way I started: by driving to Portsmouth and running 10 miles of a route that makes my heart go pitter patter. Today was the first time I ran that far in almost 3 months. It wasn't perfect; there was some good (most miles sub-9, with the last mile the fastest @ 8:40) and some bad (2 bathroom breaks - with those added in I averaged 10:03) but I set out to run 10 full miles and that I did.

This Week
Swim - 0 miles 
Bike - 49.72 miles
Run - 22.10 miles
Yoga - 0 minutes
Total miles - 71.82

B2B To-Date Training
Swim - 17.73 miles 
Bike - 448.88 miles + 312 minutes spin 
Run - 178.30 miles
Total miles - 644.91

Week 9 Reflections:
- I have to shift my running days back to earlier in the week. My plan doesn't have my first run of the week until Wesnesday and that just doesn't work my my sanity, as evidenced by every week of this training cycle so far
- I don't like Monday rest days. I've always been a Friday rest day-er but, in an attempt to follow my fancy expensive plan, I made the switch to Monday. It's nice getting that break after hard weekend training but at the same time, I don't feel like I get my week started off on the right foot that way. Maybe that's been my problem this whole time. I haven't figured out yet what I'm going to switch to - win my schedule it'll most likely have to be Tuesday or Thursday of -gasp a maybe both.
- I need to combine my shorter weekday ride and a weekday run into a brick. Ever since I started doing triathlon 2 years ago, my standard brick has been an hour ride followed by a 3-5 mile run. This plan only has me doing a couple miles of running after my long rides, no bricks other than that, and I just don't like that. I'll continue to do those baud it is important for my legs to find out what it feels like to run after 2-3 hours on the bike, but I want those weekday bricks back too. DID I MENTION MY BRICK THIS WEEK WAS THE BEST?!??
- I missed a few workouts this week, which is a few more than I've missed in...I don't even know how long. I started off this week feeling good but things quickly fell apart. Thursday began what are going to be a busy 2.5 weeks of moving and vacation and starting school, and I just have to accept that things are probably going to be crazy for a while. I'll do what I can when I can.

Not Particularly.

The other day I did a bike-run workout with friends and after I was done, Ben came to pick me up. As he drove up and I went over to the car, my friend also headed in that direction to say hello to Ben. As the window rolled down he noticed the hard hat sitting in the front passenger seat that I was about to climb into, and made a remark to Ben about it. Something about that it was cool that he had a hard hat because he must get to do neat stuff at work.
Then I piped up. 

"That's mine."

I've been a girl in a boy's world all my life. My mom used to parade me around in frilly dresses and matching headbands when I was little, but once I hit 5 or so I quickly ditched the bows and went straight for plain tshirts and cutoff jean shorts. I never had any interest in Barbies but I instead spent hours climbing trees and playing street hockey with the boys in my neighborhood. I never took dance classes, but instead I signed up for karate and tee-ball, when I was still too young for there to be an all-girls team so I joined my brother's.

Over the years, I've made it back to my mom's original wardrobe choices. Maybe I haven't quite embraced all things girly, but I'm a lot closer than I was back when I was climbing trees. I like clothes - I wouldn't spend so much time obsessing over my capsule wardrobe if I didn't - and makeup - I used to have quite the Sephora habit - and going out in public without looking like I just rolled out of bed.

I dress nicer for work than I probably have to. I put on a full face of makeup every day. My hair is always curled. I never look *perfect* because, honestly, I like sleep more than I like looking nice, but I leave the house every day feeling like I look good. I don't do it to impress anyone other than myself, because if I think I look good, I also feel good. If I feel good, I have a good day at work. If I have a good day at work, my bosses are happy. Everyone wins.

Since I've been one of the only girls, if not the only girl, in the room in various arenas throughout my life, it wasn't at all a shock to me to join the male-dominated engineering field. I knew the stereotypes about gender roles in STEM fields but I'm happy to report that so far, they're completely unfounded. I've never been treated differently than my male counterparts. I've never been the subject of any unwarranted or rude behavior. I've never been the recipient of any unwanted attention. If anyone has ever devalued me or my work based on my looks or my reproductive system, they've at least had the decency to keep that to themselves. 

Last year I posted a list of things you might not guess about me, and even I based most of that list on what I look like. I know what people probably think (or don't think) when they see me. My blonde hair. My white skin. My conservative clothes. My short height. My makeup. My athletic build. They probably don't see an engineer. They probably don't see a marathoner either. Or a yogi. Or someone who someone with a bar through her ear or ink in her skin.  Or a person who should know as many rap lyrics as I do. Hell, a lot of people don't even see an adult when they look at me!

I might not look like the stereotypical version of those things, but I look like all of them. I am all of them.

In other, related news, I might be Scout Finch. As fate would have it, the night after this happened I picked up my Kindle to read my Literary Ladies pick for "A book with a kickass female character" (nailed it, btw) and on that very day I hit this exchange between Scout and her Uncle Jack:
"You want to grow up to be a lady, don't you?"
I said not particularly.


The State of the Blog

I've had to bite my tongue a lot lately, lest an "I don't have time" or an "I'm too busy" slip out. I've shared with a lot of you that my personal philosophy is that we all have time to do things - we each get 24 hours in a day, no more when we need them, no less when we don't want them - and we choose to spend that time however we see fit. Of course there are general life duties that take up a lot of most people's time, and then there are the things we choose to spend time on. But as much as I hate those phrases, the fact remains that I am busy. My free time, at least this summer, has been pretty limited. After I factor in work (and all the getting ready, commuting, etc. that goes along with that), training for a half-Ironman, and making sure that all the little furry creatures in my house plus one and a half humans (I don't do a great job of taking care of myself so I can't even count as one whole person) are alive and well, I just don't have a whole lot left over. 

The current state of my free time is absolutely a direct reflection of the choices I've made about how to divvy it up, but the day is still finite. I'm never going to have the 9 hours of work + 2 hours of training + 2 hours of leisure time + an hour of yoga + an hour to sit down for dinner + an hour of reading before bed + hour of cleaning my house + a couple hours to keep up with blogging + 8 hours of sleep that I want, because I'm pretty sure that puts me up near 30 hours per day and that's just...not how time or math work. I started writing this post on my phone yesterday during the last 12 minutes of my lunch break (I used the first 18 to read and respond to other posts, in case you were wondering) and I'm finishing it today at 4:45am. Okay now it's actually 6:30am (I went back to sleep after I got up to run and realized it was storming outside) and I'm supposed to be 
getting ready for work.  Okay, now I'm actually finishing over 3 days after I first started writing it.

I've noticed some new faces over the last month - and hi, I'm SO glad you're here, but I'm surprised you actually decided to stick around for what has been a poor excuse for a blog as of late. BUT! I'm still really happy you're here and wanted to give you, and longtime readers, and sometimes readers, and first-time readers, an idea of why things have been the way they've been lately. I also wanted to let you know that it wont' always be this way. I'm not formally abandoning this space or announcing a hiatus, but things will continue to be sporadic for a while. I'm wrapping up my job this week, moving back to the other side of the state next weekend, heading to the other side of the country for a week after that, and then I'll be working on re-establishing a routine. So while I can't guarantee any normalcy over the next few weeks, I can tell you that things are going to get better soon (at least that's what I keep telling myself).

As for the blog...normal things like weekly Sunday Sweats will remain a staple. I don't blame you if you skip them - a lot of times I don't even want to write them, but I do because I know I'll be happy to have them to look back on - but know that they do usually contain some snippets of normal life as well, in case you're interested in that. I don't want this to be a fitness-focused blog, though,  (apologies for the shift in that direction lately) and I promise I have other posts in drafts that I just haven't made the time to hammer out yet. They're in the works and I'll have them out as soon as I can, but maybe not with any great consistency. Some things you can expect to see in the coming days/weeks:

A big capsule wardrobe update:
I'm about to jump off the deep end, for real this time, and I'm SO EXCITED.

Why owning a home isn't part of my American Dream:
I bought a house when I was 23 and after almost 5 years of home ownership, I want to tell you why I wish I hadn't and that there's nothing wrong with the fact that you don't own a home

An update about where I stand on the kid issue
Last year I wrote this post about how I'm unsure if I ever want to be a mom. It was the first time I had really put myself out there on the blog and I got such an overwhelmingly positive and constructive response. I've been thinking lately about how my feelings have changed since then and thought I would share an update.

Anti-social crap that I've done recently/usually do on a daily basis:
Maybe it's being around a new group of people all day every day at work, but I've really started to take note of my anti-social behaviors lately. Just because I've noticed them doesn't mean I plan on changing them, though. Don't be ridiculous. 

I'm a ball of fun, can't you tell? I'm great at parties.

I usually hate seeing blog posts like this, so I'm not sure why I'm writing this. I know I don't owe anyone an explanation and that I am free to come and go here as I please without worrying about anyone's expectations. But even if it's not owed, I don't think anyone ever takes issue with a heads up, right? If my blog feed tells me anything, it's that I'm not the only one struggling to get posts up lately!

Sunday Sweats [7/27-8/2]: B2B Training Week 8

Monday: Rest day | Met a friend for coffee after work, hit the grocery store, picked Ben up, went home, went to bed.

Tuesday: 4.80 miles @ 8:56 + 3000yd swim @ 2:01/100yd | I had some anxiety when I went to sleep last night (nothing specific, just general) and still this morning, which made my stomach a little unsettled. Nothing much to report on this one. It was 5:45am business as usual 

Wednesday: 18.51 mile bike ride @ 18.46mph + 54 minutes yoga | Not much to say about this one. Biking for only an hour on a flat, straight road feels like such a treat these days. I tried out a recovery yoga for athletes video when I got home, but it was my least favorite of the ones I've done so far. It was a restorative class, which I wasn't expecting. It was a nice break to have an easier class but I didn't feel like I got a lot of benefit from it.

Thursday: 1950yd swim @ 2:00/100yd + 55 minutes spin | I was completely dreading these workouts this afternoon. I tried and tried to convince myself not to do them, but I knew I had no reason not to other than being afraid. I could handle the swim but spin class is so, SO hard. It's a million times harder than regular cycling. But I went anyway, and I guess this kind of counts as a brick because I went straight from the pool to the locker room to the spin studio. The instructor who makes us do arm exercises with dumbbells while on the bike was back. I don't really love the music she plays or the way she structures the class, so I hated nearly ever minute of it, but it improves my cycling so much that I suffer through anyway.

Friday: 5.30 miles @ 8:30 | I got up super early to run in the morning, but it was storming (with the radar showing the worst of it right over us during the time I'd be running) so I went back to sleep for an hour. When I ran in the afternoon it was sunny and 90* out but only 50% humidity, and the boardwalk was mostly shaded by the hotels so that helped. My stats don't lie though - I'm definitely speedier later in the day and when the humidity is down. There was a tailwind for the first 1.5 miles and then a headwind for the rest. I can't decide which is better in weather like this - tailwind makes running easier but has no breeze to cool me off; headwind feels cooler and breezier but it's obviously harder to run into. I got to end this one with a dip in the ocean and my first attempt at stand up paddle boarding though, so that was a nice post-run treat!

Saturday: 35.09 mile bike ride @ 17.46mph + 2.23 mile run @ 8:59 I didn't get to the trail until after 9:30, which feels ridiculously late to be just starting a workout these days. I really didn't even want to go, and if I hadn't already made plans to meet someone there I probably would have bailed on the whole thing. Our ride was...I don't know, I mean, I got through it. Which is basically how every workout is starting to feel...not good, not bad, just enough to get through. By the time we finished it was noon and running was the last thing I wanted to do. I'm so glad I had someone there to talk to and distract me because I think I would have taken at least 10 walk breaks (during a 20-minute run...) if I had been alone. I'm so surprised we snuck in a sub-9 pace (which Garmin tells me only happens because we went from two just-over 9:00 miles to an 8:08 pace last quarter mile) because my legs just didn't want to turn over. And it was so hot out by that time but the trail is mostly shaded where we were running, otherwise I probably would have passed out. 

Sunday: 7.17 miles @ 9:54 | I don't know what's up with me. I didn't want to go on this run from the beginning (stomach hurt, sun sucks, humidity sucks, the usual). I had to go to the bathroom 15 minutes into it and I didn't want to finish after that. I didn't know what to do: scrap the whole thing and have Ben come get me? Run the mile and a half back home and be done for the day? Finish what I started no matter how much it sucks? Try again later in the evening? I never know what to do when I get myself into this situation and it really sucks. I went and sat on the beach for, I don't know, 15 or 20 minutes, until the tide came in enough to force me out of my spot, and then I got back out there. I ended up with just over 7 of the worst miles I've ever run, but I was weirdly proud of getting through this one (even with a 30-minute break, even with a 10:00+ pace on the second try). In the end it wasn't about the mileage, it was about working through some mental junk. I had to work through some stuff like not attaching negative feelings (or any feelings) to my workouts, which I practiced throughout the last 5 miles. Feeling like I'm a quitter or a failure, or feeling frustrated because 6 months ago I could run 7 fast miles in my sleep and now I can't do that to save my life...those feelings do not help me or serve me in any way. I can't turn them off at will, but I can recognize that they are there and then dismiss them.

This Week
Swim - 2.84 miles 
Bike - 53.60 miles + 55 minutes spin 
Run -19.50 miles
Yoga - 54 minutes
Total miles - 75.94

B2B To-Date Training
Swim - 17.73 miles 
Bike - 399.16 miles + 312 minutes spin 
Run - 156.20 miles
Total miles - 573.09

Week 8 Reflections:
+ It's going to be a damn miracle if I actually make it to the finish line.
+ I miss being able to run longer distance. I'm not saying that in a negative way, but in a factual way. I just do. I identify more as a distance runner than a triathlete and am already looking forward to getting back to that this fall/winter.
+ I could fill a whole post with how I feel about this week. For starters, I made the mistake of letting myself think that step-back week is synonymous with easy week, when in fact that isn't the case at all. I got to somewhat of a breaking point on Friday night, when it finally caught up to me that all I've really been doing the last couple weeks is work-train-eat-sleep-repeat and I just don't want to live like that. I've happily adopted a more minimalist approach to life over the last year and while I've done an outstanding job of tossing physical clutter, I've done an equally bad job of getting rid of mental and emotional clutter. This week I plan to make some changes to take some pressure off of myself and try to enjoy life both during my workouts and outside of them. I haven't figured out what changes yet, though, because my first step is to enjoy my rest day tomorrow and not waste a single thought on training until my alarm goes off on Tuesday morning.

I hope you all had a better week than I did and have an even better one this week!