Friday, December 24, 2010

I made it!

I just ate a very good Xmas dinner with my mom and dad, not at the airport, cool.

I finally managed to board a plane direction Europe this morning. Well, last morning in the US. First flight was very unevenful, 11hours, 4 movies.

Then fun began in Amsterdam when they started boarding but then they announced that there is a technical difficulty with the airplane so everyone out. Seriously???
Fortunatelly we departed an hour or so later and arrived to Vienna.

I am starting to feel sleepy so I should probably hit the sack.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

6 miles to knock me out

I do not think that 6 miles will really make me tired enough to doze out on a plane but better than nothing.

I did only 6 because everything is packed and shipped to Michigan and I had only my old, very old running shoes that are worn out already so I did not want to risk anything.

I have not received any scary email about canceled/delayed flights so everything seems to go well. I should be eating Xmas dinner in about 23 hours.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This week is strange

I mean really. Xmas is in not even two days and I do not feel like it at all. I am not a huge Xmas-spirit"ed" person but still, I am usually looking forward to it (it=food and some presents). But not this year (there will be hardly any presents since my sister won't be at home. She always buys me presents. But there will be good food. Which is not that great because I realized today that I am gaining weight. I have never cared about my weight that much but I maybe should start a little bit. Fat and running 30miles/week, what kind of a distance runner am I?:))))).
It is probably because I am still in the US and did not have chance to participate in any Xmas preparations (which however is a good thing. I do not like helping with baking and cooking. This year will be awesome, I arrive home to the finished meal and set table:))

Another thing is my training. This week has been a bad training week so far and it is very likely to continue. I only did 2 runs (7.5 yesterday, 2 miles today so see how ITB feels. It felt good. So I can run more) and one bike workout (that one was hard. Big gear intervals. I loved it). I am going to do another run tomorrow morning (I am hoping it will tire me and I will be able to sleep during my flights) and then few miles and strides on Saturday. (There is no way I am doing something on Friday after West Coast-Europe flight)
And I have 5k race in less than 4 days and I have not even start thinking about it! But I am doing it more for fun than for anything else.

I just want this week to be over and be in my usual routine, although I know that being home won't make it really possible.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

ITB troubles

I have not been writing about my ITB lately. It is because it has not been bothering me that much lately.
That's probably because I did not run over 30 miles/week in past two months(?) or so.
Or I just try to pretend it does not exist. But can't do it anymore.

I do not need a watch or mile markers for easy runs, ITB is enough. Once I hit 7.5 miles, bum, it starts to act up.
I wanted to run 8 miles last week but had to stop somewhere after 7.5miles.
I had 10 miler planned today (it rained, so I was wearing the waterproof jacket and baseball cap for like 10min, then I threw it into garbage, I do not think it helped because my hair is all wrinkled now), but again had to stop after 7.5 miles. When I get to roughly 7.5 miles I start to feel something on the outer part of my right knee. I stop for a second, twinkling stops, I start running but after couple dozens meters it is back.
Maybe I could continue running and nothing bad will happen. But what if something bad happens?!? Maybe I am a wimp and should risk it and continue running. But I am just not ready for that. I would rather cut my runs short than having to take a month off as it was the case for past year and a half.

I know that 30miles/week does not really fit into my quest of becoming a distance runner and 70.3 triathlete and I wonder how far (read FAST) 30miles/week can get me.

Maybe I should try to do doubles for my long runs, if the problem is the high mileage (aka 7.5+ miles)all at once, doubles might work. Like 7 miles in the morning and 3+ in the evening. That way I might be able to get mileage in at least although "single" would be better.

Btw, do you know how hard it is to drag 70pound suitcase for over 1 mile to post office? It is hard. Sometimes I wish I was less independent and actually ask people for help (my roommate to drive me there).

Monday, December 20, 2010

X-country skiing race!!!! = Dream might come true

I am bored. It is raining (still and again) and all my things are packed and I do not want to read books because if I read them now what am I going to read in the plane (if I ever get to board one:))

I did something little stupid today. Since my flight got canceled I had time to go to the hairdresser to use the gift card I won. And I also got this special treatment for my hair and only afterwards the lady told me that I cannot wash/let get wet my hair for 3 days. Shoot! That means that I cannot go swimming:( And since it rains the whole and every day I can not go running outside! I hope it does not rain tomorrow otherwise I will have to use treadmill (I have never run on treadmill, except for once for like 40seconds so it was not a real run). Or I can wear my waterproof jacket and run outside? But what it my hair get wet and then the whole point of the treatment (and $$$) would go down the drain.

I got confirmation that they issued me a new ticket for Dec 23th through Amsterdam (I love Amsterdam after spending there 2 days on my way here in June..) with the arrival in Vienna on 24th. Let's just say that my parents were thrilled about it because 24th is THE Xmas in Slovakia, not the 25th.

Onto more cheerful note. There is this X-country ski race in Slovakia that I have wanted to do for past 8-9 years but never had a chance because I was either in the US or not trained enough or my parents did not share my enthusiasm. But it is on Jan 29.-30. next year and I will be home that time (I am planning on leaving on the 31st)!!! So I am definitely going to do it!!!
My parents will think that I am crazy but whatever. Now I only need to decide what I want to do. 45k freestyle, 25k freestyle or 25k classic style? Ok, 45k freestyle might be little too much for now. So let's just stick to 25k. Freestyle or classic? I do not know yet, free is on 29th and classic on 30th so I guess I will decide when I know for sure when (and IF) I am leaving for Michigan. And also when I see the conditions around our house in the middle-of-nowhere. There are no maintained trails, it is usually us (me and my father) creating the path for ourselves - so obviously it is classic style. But if I get to go to the ski resort not far from my grandparents' house, there are maintained trails and I can do freestyle. So I will see.
Or can I do both?


Well, isn't this nice?

Yeah, I am still here.
My flight got canceled (what a surprise!). At least it got canceled when I was still at home and not at the airport.

I spent almost 2 hours on a phone trying to get someone to change my flight, and while we were in process of confirming my flight on 12/23, I got disconnected. Now I am not sure whether I should try to call again or no. I might wait couple hours and see whether they send me updated itinerary.

When you watch the news and they show pictures of people stuck and sleeping at airports and fighting over open seats in the airplanes watch out for me, because I am sure I will be somewhere there. But let's see first how it goes, whether they got me a new flight or not.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What to do, what to do?- Thoughts progression

It is raining the third day in the row and I am sitting at my desk contemplating what to do.
Bike to school, do a swim workout at the outdoor pool, defrost in hot shower, then ride back, defrost, change to dry cloths, ride bike to the trail, do a 10 miler, ride back, defrost in hot shower.

Or I can skip that and go directly into doing the "important" stuff = cleaning the bike, laundry, shopping, packing.

I will give it few more minutes and then I shall see.

Shoot, I just remembered that I still have cloths in my locker at school so I need to bike there anyway. Now I really can't find any excuses not to swim since I will be there.

Nobody/nothing can make me to go out again (unless it stops raining, then I might reconsider). I am freezing.
I biked to school to get my things from locker room and it magically stopped raining on my way there. I was thrilled. But I should have known that it was only a calm before storm. I started my swim workout and it in the middle of it it started pouring cats and dogs (or dogs and cats, do not know which one is correct). I finished the swim because, well, I was wet anyway and it was warmer in the water then outside anyway.
I took a warm shower (we don't get really hot showers there) and mentally prepared myself for ride back. It did not help, I was still coursing everything and everybody. I got splashed from all directions- rain from the top, rain splashing from under my wheels from bottom, and rain splashed on me from sides by cars (this only confirms what I already know- 70% of American drivers should not drive at all. When there is a huge puddle on a road and someone walking/riding a bike on a side of a road, you slow down so you do not splash the water all over the person, right? The Americans do not know this however.)
I was totally soaked and cold by the time I got home. But since I was already wet, I decided that I am going to strip the bike.
Imagine taking wheels/tires and all gadgets (lamp, computer, clips...) down in pouring rain. Not fun. I still did not manage to take off the rear tire because I was getting too impatient, nervous, too cold and wet and it just would not come off. (I am throwing bike out/donating it, but want to ship tires to Michigan) I need to calm down and try it later because if I continue trying it would end in a disaster.
I took a hot shower and put on all cloths I could find.

That being said, 10 miler is not gonna happened. I promised Skittles to my cousin, that's not gonna happen either because I am not going to store. I promised a perfume for Xmas to my mom and grandma. Not gonna happen. I wanted to buy Yaktraks not gonna happened. I am just going to stay in my room and enjoy being dry and warm.

(I know that eventually I need to go get that tire but I do not want to think about it)

This will be the first time I will consciously skip the run since I started working with my coach in May :(((

Apparently I would do anything just to postpone packing. I hate packing.
One would say that I am used to it by now, but no. I had to pack everything I had in Paris in May and move it to Slovakia, then the same day I arrived to Slovakia I packed the most essential things and moved to Michigan, in September again packed everything and moved it to Cali and now I need to pack everything again and move it somewhere. This packing-everything-thing is actually pretty easy because I do not have to think what I need, I just need to pack everything I have and make sure it does not exceeds checked baggage limit. And it is even easier now because I decided to ship my suitcase to Michigan instead of taking it with me to Slovakia so I do not care about weight. Sweet. However, if I get stuck in Slovakia or France, then I will have to pay for shipping the suitcase from Michigan...I am going to risk it anyway.

Btw, I got that tire off and I can try to fit in into the suitcase now. However I did not have energy to put the old tires on, I hope it does not rain tomorrow and I can do it in the morning. If it does rain, I might just leave that stupid bike and wheel frames and tires on a sidewalk with a note TAKE ME. Can I do it?

I also sucked it up and went to CVS to get some presents. I know, CVS is not an ideal place for buying Xmas presents, but whatever, I am not a huge holiday spirit person so deal with it. They did not have Skittles my cousin wanted but I got Eggnog for my parents. If that bottle breaks in my bag tomorrow, I will be super pissed.

Anyway, wish me luck and safe trip. Hopefully it will be better than my flight here when I got stuck in Amsterdam for two days. I have a very strong suspicion that the history might repeat itself considering the weather in Europe. Except that this time I will get stuck in Paris. I know that Orly airport canceled several flights today, so let's hope that CDG is better prepared for snow if there is any on Tuesday.
And since my dad does not work next week, he agreed to come pick me up in Vienna. Sweet. I do not have to take a bus. And then another bus. And then one more.

I am going to pack now. I am really sad that I am leaving. I liked it here a lot.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Are you kidding me??? This is not Cali weather!

It has been raining two days in a row now! It is not fun! One more day of this and I might be ready to leave this place!

Today was another bike workout in the rain. I woke up and it was raining pretty hard so I decided to wait till it calms a bit. But by 1pm I was already crawling out of my skin so I decided to go out anyway.
I was soaked 10min into a ride. Not only that my bike weights like 30pounds, now also my pants and shoes weighted a ton.

Hill repeats were on plan today. Only 3 of them but I worked hard and it hurt. Especially the last one, I was panting and legs were burning. Good workout. Although I managed only 177 HR on the first one, 178 on the second and 181 on the last one. I would have thought that my HR would be higher but since biking is different from running it might be ok. Isn't biking awesome, you sit on your but and you exercise:)

Although the rain and fog made it pretty unenjoyable and I was worried that I might et hit by a car. There were more cars than I imagined there would be and because of the fog I don't think they could not see me that well eventhough I was wearing reflective vest and had a rear blinking light. But it might have been my last outdoor bike ride for this year so I am trying to persuade myself that 1h45min in a rain is better than it will be for the rest of the winter- home trainer.

I have learnt that I should get good bike shorts because now that I am trying to consciously increase my RPM, good shorts (or better good saddle) really makes a difference.

I hope it does not rain tomorrow because I have so many things to do outside- swim, run, strip down and donate my bike (I was sad when I had to sell my bike in France, but this time I am happy to get rid of this torture machine. I should really get something better next time), buy all the things I promise I would bring home and who knows what else.

Nike+ iPod Kit anyone?

I have won that thing you put into your Nike shoe and you get feedback through your iPod.

Since I do not use iPod when I run (sometimes I use mp3 player, but not iPod and I do not remember the last time I ran with music) I do not need it.

If anyone is interested let me know and I can send it to you.

Acid water can't stop me, almost

It has been raining the WHOLE day. I was hoping for nicer weather for my last 3 days here.
I hate rain. I don't like running in rain, biking in rain, swimming in rain, dancing in rain, I don't like anything that involves rain.

But little bit (ok, a lot) of water won't stop me, right? Eventhough it is acid water.

I did all I was supposed to do but it was not enjoyable as much as it would have been had it not rained.
2 hours on a bike in rain is not a lot of fun, but it is still fun, just not a lot of fun. And it is dangerous I suppose. I was supposed to keep my HR between 155 and 166 and there is no place to do aerobic ride like that other than PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). It is ok during weekends but there are quite a lot of cars on week days. And solo rider in a rain is a nice invisible moving target. I waited till 11ish hoping that the morning madness will be over. At the end, it was not that bad traffic-wise and I am alive.
Keeping the HR was hard at first, I had to ride over 20miles/hour to keep it over 155! I realized why when I turned around - wind. Tailwind made my ride out pretty easy, which unfortunately meant terrible headwind on my way back. Some parts I was hardly moving and I spent almost the whole ride back down in the drops.
By then I got a pretty good feeling of what effort translates to 155-166 range, so it was much better/enjoyable than at the beginning when I had to experiment and concentrate too much on my HRM.

I was soaked and frozen by the end though. So I took 20 min to change to dry cloths and defrost and off I went for my 7.5 miler. Which was pretty uneventful apart from the fact that I got soaked and cold again. I wanted to do 8 miles but the ITB started to act up a bit at the end so I called it a day at 7.5. (I have 10miler planned for Sunday, the longest I have run since the end of June, but if ITB does not feel good the whole time I might cut it short)

I took 30min hot shower to defrost and it felt good!

And now comes the whimpy part. I had to go to school to return some books to the library. And I took a bus. Horrible I know, I have never taken a bus to school. But I had already been soaked and frozen two times today and I was running out of dry cloths and shoes. I am a whimp, I know.
But I walked back. Now I have 3 pairs of wet sneakers and couple pants and shirts and jackets hanging around my room to dry.
I also have a new book. Borders in the neighborhood is closing down (I have heard that it was the 2nd one in the area in last year:() and they have 40-60% sale. I usually do not buy books because they are expensive and heavy and I can't take them with me when I move. But I figured that for my flight home I will probably buy a magazine and that will cost me almost the same as a book on sale so I went inside.

At first I was thinking about getting Run less, Run faster because everyone seems to be talking about it. But then I figured that I do not need it. To me it seems like a book for someone who is her own coach and need some info. For now I am 100% putting my running career into my coach's hands (no pressure there, of course:)) so I could not make myself justify spending money on it.

I did not find any books about mental strength for I got a book called The woman triathlete. Not that I am not putting myself 100% into my coach's hands (no pressure there, neither:)), but since I know nothing about triathlons, little bit of info for $10 won't hurt.

And I also got Running with the Buffaloes. I actually started reading it in the store and I loved it! So I bought it, although I know how it will finish:) (Adam Goucher wins XC titles, I guess everyone knows it because people keep talking about how he used to be a great collegiate athlete, but has never run to his potential afterwards and has been overshadowed by his wife and blahblahblah.) But there is a lot of good info in it.
When I was sophomore (or junior, I don't remember) our coach made us read Fast track by Suzy Favor Hamilton and I liked it a lot although it is more like info book, no story or anything. The freshmen were supposed to read Running with the Buffaloes. I wonder why the upperclassmen were not...Anyway, they seemed to like it so I wanted to get it and this was a perfect time.

You remember that race I won couple weeks ago and I was supposed to receive some great prizes? So I finally received sneakers in mail today. They are not the ones I was supposed to receive (these are cheaper) but fit perfectly and look very nice, but I am not sure whether they are real running sneakers. Nowadays running sneakers are way too fashionable and I cannot distinguish between what is good for running and what is just to make you look cool.
But truth to be told I was more excited about the hair cut. I can get sneakers for myself but I cannot get hair cut. I can get haircut of course, but not in "atelier" in Beverly Hills where George Clooney gets his haircuts:) So I sent email to race organizers and asked them whether there is a way to get other prizes to me by Sunday since I am leaving the US on Monday. And race director wrote me back that he can stop by tomorrow and bring me my prizes. I am really curious to see whether he indeed comes tomorrow. And even if he brought my prizes I might not be able to get that haircut since you need an appointment:( But I will try.
If I won't be able to do it, I just hope that my roommate will be able to use it instead of me because it would be such a waste.

And btw, I managed to get all paperwork for visa permission and sent it to the agency. Now I only need to wait whether they approve it and then whether I get visa. So another thing off my mind. I also need to get approval from my school and I have 2 days to get it (Mon and Tue) - unfortunately I will be traveling on those two days so I am little stressed about it. But I am hoping it will work out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tahoe trip: skiing and stuff

Let me say that it was awesome! Full of exercise and good food!

I totally forgot how much I like skiing. Ok, I like it only when I am not cold and my hands are almost always cold so I rarely like it. But I was not cold at all so I had a blast.

The sleeping situation was not ideal, but I still managed to get to bed around 11pm each night.

It started on Sunday at 4:50am. I needed to get in a bike ride before I left. It was actually kinda cool, it was pitch dark out and no cars. NO cars, in LA! Sweet!
Then I spent the rest of the day on the bus. Yeah, we took a bus to Lake Tahoe. 9 hours. But it was ok, I used to take a bus from Paris to Bratislava, 19+ hours.

Monday was skiing day. But before hitting the slopes, I and one other girl (who is a triathlete by the way) went for a run. We met at 6am and ran to the recreation center. She dropped me off there because I wanted to swim. We had little problem finding the pool because it was dark and we did not see anything (interesting, it is already light at 6am in LA, but not in South Tahoe) so I did not manage to do the whole swim workout but I did as much as I could. Water was pretty warm, much warmer than outdoor pools as UCLA. I would never known that the water temperature can make such a difference. I felt so sluggish. And the pool was 25yards, and it felt so short:) Then I ran back to our lodge to quickly eat something and off to slopes. Total of 7 miles running and around 1000 yards swimming. And then the whole day skiing.
Everybody was required to take skiing class because school did not want to be liable if something happens to us. Since I am pretty good skier I was in an advanced class and the instructor let me do whatever I wanted, so I just skied. However, she gave me some feedback on my form, which was helpful. It will not help me to go faster, but I will definitely look better on a slope.
I was pretty tired by the evening, because run, swim, run, skiing. That's a lot:)

On Tuesday I got up again before 6 and met with that girl. But this time I ran only 2 miles to the gym for bike workout. I got a trial membership, so I did not have to pay:)
Bike workout was kinda hard, some hard and big gear intervals and my legs were pretty tired and I felt that they were starting to get sore by the end. But they loosened up when I was running back to the lodge. I was surprised how easy running felt. I thought that it will be pure torture, but no. Those long bricks I did over summer because of boredom are paying off:)
Tuesday was snowboarding day for me. I am a very good skier but very poor snowboarder. I usually ski when I am at home and take snowboard with me very rarely. I ski with my father and he is freaking fast so I cannot snowboard because then I would be too slow for him. The last time I used it was maybe 3 years ago. However, my sister sometimes snowboards because she thinks that it is cooler than skiing, which is not! But we both are self-learners so we are not very good at it. So I figured that I will take a snowboarding class and maybe learn something useful.
And I did. It is all about keeping your weight on your front leg! So easy. I thought that Tuesday would be a day of hundreds of falls but nope. I did not fall that much and at the end even managed to ride not the beginners slope but the slope for more advanced. Cool. Now I only need to keep practicing.
However, my legs are so freaking sore now. They were sore yesterday and they still are today. Not so much my right leg, but my left leg (which is my front snowboarding leg) is sore. I do not remember the last time I was really sore. I think that it was after the marathon last year in November.
But I think that after running for 2 miles, then pretty hard biking workout, 2 miles running back and then couple hours of snowboarding and all that back to back, I have a right to be little sore, don't I?

We did not ski/snowboard on Wednesday because he needed to get back to LA:(
Too bad because weather was gorgeous on Wednesday. We did not a great weather on Mon and Tue so that was a little bummer.

Btw, I like this time of a year. It is just the end of semester and I am done with school, so I feel free and careless. Awesome feeling. It is only 7pm and I have nothing to do!
(Ok, I should start packing since I need to ship my things to Michigan and I still need to figure out visa thing but at least school is off my shoulders.)

I did an easy 7.5 miles today and felt great to be running in t-shirt and shorts again. Tahoe was cold. But I better not get used to Cali weather because mountains in Slovakia will be little chillier:(

Saturday, December 11, 2010

10k RR: I totally lost it (before the race even started)

I am that kind of a runner who does well when I am confident that I can do well. I don't run well when I don't feel ready. I have not learnt to push past that mental barrier telling me that I cannot do it.

And I felt ready. I really did! I was confident I can run sub-40 and was ready to work hard to get there.
But then my confidence plummeted big time on Thursday* and I was not able to get it back.

So the result is 40:02. But I honestly think that the course was short, so add couple more seconds, maybe 15-20sec.
I have not even tried today. I just ran what felt like a jog the whole time and did not even push the last couple meters, because what's the point since I was persuaded that I could not do it (and I did not see the clock because of fog so I did not know I was that close to 40min, otherwise I might have sprinted last ten steps to get those 2 seconds).

(Good news is that I submitted my last final assignment yesterday so semester is over and it is officially winter break and tomorrow I am going to enjoy couple days of skiing.)

LITTLE UPDATE: Apparently it was not as easy as it felt because my legs are sore. Weird.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One of those days

At first I am going to complain a little and then show you what a dumba$$ I was today.

You remember how I was saying how annoying not knowing which continent I will be at in one month is? That's nothing compared to what it is like NOW. Apparently nobody realizes how difficult and long it is to get permission to apply for internship visa. At least nobody in the company I am supposed to work for realizes it. It has been almost two weeks now that they keep telling me that somebody needs to approve my contract. I already told them couple times that if they want me to start working in February (they wanted me to start in January...keep dreaming) I need to submit the paperwork like a WEEK AGO!
Other thing is that during summer company was very nice, they paid for my apartment (although my salary was very low then) and they paid also for my visa permission application. This time, I was told that they can't do any of that:( And that visa thing costs 1118Euros! And I will be in Slovakia, so how am I going to find a place to live that is close enough that I can actually use a bike (in winter in Michigan) to get to work? Although I do not know yet what salary they can offer to me (because it still has not been approved!!!) I don't think that it will be high enough so I can afford to pay for visa permission and buy a car. I hope they plough snow there.
And also my school is giving me hard time because they are all like, yeah, we want you to get experience and work in the U.S. but before you can do that you need to give us this and this and this and we need to approve this and this and that and it all needs to be done by the end of this year otherwise you can't do an internship and you need to come back to school! And of course I cannot submit any of those documents since I do not even have a permission to apply for visa and nobody replies to my emails because they are, well, French. Unless you send them like 5 emails a day and call 10x a day, they won't bother.

So this is not annoying, it is stressful.
Maybe I should just do nothing for couple months and then go back to school to take some stupid class about Energy something management or Luxury goods because that's all they have offered to me.

And on the top of that some of my other dreams got crashed this morning:(((

So I figured it was time to cheer myself up and go use that $10 gift card I have to Sports Authority. I don't have any gloves and I need gloves for skiing because it seems I don't have any veins in my fingers and my hands are always like popsicles. But you know what? I forgot that gift card at home! What an idiot! But it was not that tragic because they did not have any gloved for under $20 anyway because $10 is max I can afford.

So I decided to go to a different store and they had gloves for $10:) Ok, I know I might regret that when I will be crying on a skiing slope because my hands will be frozen but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. It sucks being a student.
But they also had pull buoys on sale and I desperately need one. So I got one. Whatever.

Then I went running. I biked to trail. I got there and went to lock my bike when I realized that I forgot my keys! Oh, no. How am I going to get to the apartment because my roommate was at work? And since I did not have a key I could not lock my bike. So I turned around and went home. I was half way home when it hit me. I biked to the trail, not walked as usual and I had tied my keys to my shoelaces. So I turned back to go to the trail.
It is confirmed, I am a mess today.

But my 4miler and strides was fun.

And I am making progress with my parents. You know how "supportive" my mom is about my running but I decided to teach her to get used to the idea that I am a runner/triathlete and that I need to train. So today I skyped to her and ask what the plan was before we leave for the mountains and when we are leaving. And she said that it also depended on me and my plans. So I told her that I should do a swim workout at least once before we head to the middle of nowhere. And you know what? She told me that she would find out when the pool is open! Unbelievable! Ok, I am not sure that she will actually do that but still, unbelievable.
But I am still sure that if I had told her that I need to do a running workout she would not have offered to check track open hours...She likes swimming but she is persuaded that running is very very BAD.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What a workout!

I had an ONE-interval workout today. Sweet!

Of course it was a 4k interval but it was sweet anyway.
This workout should give us an idea where I stand and what I can reasonably expect on Saturday, but still it was supposed to be in 15:46 - 16:15 range. So basically somewhere between 6:17ish and 6:29ish pace. Easy no?

To make it even easier, I mentally split in into 2x1mile + half a mile. I wanted to do 6:24, 6:20 and then 800 under 3:10. The strategy went out of a windown when I went through first 800 in 3:05. But I managed to slow down and settle in a nice right pace. I did 6:18, 6:21, 3:09 for a total of 15:48. If felt pretty easy. The last 600m started to feel little bit harder but still a nice controlled effort.
What a nice confidence booster! But me being me...I am not sure whether I can keep such a pace for 10k. But excitement and adrenaline should get me there. Plus I should feel like a wet noodle at the finish line, right?

Now I have two days to chill and get ready!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What works for you, might not work for me

Finding a magical pre-race routine is hard. It seems that you must do A LOT of races to figure out what works for you. A day off before a race? 5-min long shake-out run at 4am? Eat salted tortilla with peanut butter and banana the morning before a race?
It sucks. Why can't one thing work for everyone?

This way I will have to race at least twice a week to try every possible scenario and find which one works for me. At my current race rate, I might be done with this and have a perfect routine when I am toeing a start line with other master runners.

My two previous races I did the last workout 4 days before a race. This week I am trying do have only 2 days between the workout and a race. I wanted to do the workout today but then was told that Wednesday might be better so I decided to give it a shot. Who knows, maybe my legs have a short memory and therefore they will remember how to go fast on Saturday.
But I am going to devise my racing strategy based on the workout. And then I will have only 2 days to think about it and let in sink into my little big mind. Or maybe it is a good thing and I will not have enough time to negativise about it:)
Well, we will see how it goes.

I only did a small bike workout today. Spin ups. It was awesome (although during these I feel more than ever that that torture machine does not fit me at all, ouch, and I am expecting the bottom bracket to fall apart or get stuck and make me fly to the ground any moment) because I found a perfect place to do these. There is a huge parking lot right by the ocean and it is completely empty during a business week, not so much on weekends. And it is long enough to do my intervals. So I did not have to deal with cars and I was right by the ocean. So nice. In two weeks my Cali adventure is all over for me:( I will miss it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I am dead serious about this

I am leaving for skiing trip at Lake Tahoe on Sunday morning and coming back on Wednesday. But that does not mean that I will not do my training! I emailed the trip coordinator and asked for the exact address of a place we are staying at. She responded back asking why I need that information. Because I am 26 years old and want to know where we are going, duh! No. I told here I was in the middle of the training and need to check out running routes, pool and a gym with a stationary bike. She eventually sent me the address saying that it was pretty cool (my training).

So I was able to check out running routes and some fitness centers. I found a pool where I can go in the early morning. I also found a fitness center where they have stationary bike and signed up for a free 7-day trial:)
And running routes: no dirt trails nearby:( I do not want to run on roads!!! I can't run on roads! Especially not after 10k when I will have to be extra careful. There is a bike path nearby, maybe I can run on grass by the path? I hope so.

I had swim workout and an easy run today.
Swim workout was not easy. I mean it was easy but I was not able to hit my paces:( I do not know how to pace myself. I think I am doing fast enough, but no. And once I try not to kick like crazy and use mostly my arms, I slow down. I also got to use paddles for warm up. That was interesting. My poor arms.
But I did couple 100s and if someone had told me only two weeks ago that I would be able to swim couple 100s, I would not have believed. But yeah. So I am proud of myself:)

I did an easy 6 miler afterwards. I was instructed to check my pace and wear a HRM so we can somehow figure out my max HR. My average was 170 and I was going 7:45 pace (4:49/km pace). I did my best to not get influenced by being hooked up to all sorts of gadgets:) I suppose that wearing a Garmin is a good thing, because I got to practice pushing a right button. And I did it:) Hopefully I can repeat this on Saturday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Workout? On Sunday? Really?

I am not going to lie. I knew I was going to do a workout today but when I saw 5 x mile w/ 1 min rest @ 6:20-30 this morning at first I thought that it was just a bad joke. I thought I was going to do easy fartlek or strides or something, well shorter:) Mile repeats? On Sunday? After almost 10 days of no decent quality runs?

But it all makes sense. I have race on Saturday and how am I supposed to devise a race strategy if I do not know where I stand and what reasonable goals are? And a confidence booster would not hurt neither:)

Last time I did this workout was on Nov 4, one month ago. I averaged 6:24 and it felt like a jog.

Today, I also averaged 6:24, although it did not feel that easy, but still pretty laid back.
6:28- I need to start easy. Felt like a jog.
6:26- Still feeling very good, not pushing.
6:26- I wanted to run negative splits but it did not work out. I still felt very good, although my poor arms started to protest. I wonder why...
6:21- It is so easy to run 5sec faster or slower in a mile since it is so long. Still feeling good but I decided to try to push the pace little bit. It was not like hard pushing, just a comfortable effort. And arms stopped protesting:)
6:20- I need to negative split! Yeap, got it! Again comfortable effort but I started to feel legs in last 100m but nothing major.

So on one hand, I am pretty satisfied with this. It was not hard at all, but harder than when I did it a month ago. Which, me being a hard-core realist (some people call it pessimism, but no no, it is realism), immediately triggered thoughts that I am not as fit as I was at the beginning of November:( Me and my negative thoughts...

But pessimist or realist, I should be able to run a very decent race on Saturday!!!! They say that it is very fast and flat course. Going for sub-40. Too ambitious? No idea. Not enough experience with 10k races. Well, I need to discus it with my coach and blog word:)

This race on Saturday is the biggest Xmas 5k/10k race in LA. Maybe it was not such a great idea to try to PR at the crowded race but my opportunities to race are very limited. And already 2 people told me that it is a very fun race!

And as a good future triathlete, I also did bike workout today after I rested for 4 hours. I was not sure whether I should do it or not because it was planned based on my original (pre-24h bug) running schedule. But I figured it is pretty easy so no biggie. Just some spin ups. It was interesting because I am "power cyclist" and use higher gears (although I am working on it during my commute to school). I once tried cadence of 90 RPM and almost flew off the stationary bike. So these spin ups would do me good.

How do you call those things you put on your running shoes so you don't slip on ice? You know, like tire chains for a car. I need to get those before heading home but I do not know how it is called so no idea what to ask for.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I am a runner, I do not use my arms

Yes, it is true. My arms sometimes hurt when I run hard. They are not trained to work hard.

So today was a wake up call for them. I was asked to time myself in pool so the coach has something to work with.
I warmed up and everything and then the "fun" started. 100m and 400m hard.
I knew I can do 100m, although was not 100% sure about 400m. I mean, I can swim 400m but very slowly. I am a slow endurance swimmer.
I went to 50m pool again and had the whole line only for myself, cool.
50m pool has one advantage and disadvantage. I don't do flip turns (I keep trying but am not good enough yet). For every 100 I "hit" the wall only once then. Which is good because I don;t loose time turning. But at the same time it sucks, because I get to rest for that second or so only that one time. So them probably evens themselves out.

And the workout?
100: My legs hurt. Ups. Were my legs supposed to hurt? That's probably a very good indication that I am not a very efficient swimmer and all my power comes from kicking like it was my job. Yeah, runner in heart and in legs. 1:32. Looong way to go to swim 60s :)

400: Ok, I did not drown. So that's good. And my legs did not hurt, but my triceps did. So it means that maybe I am not such a lost case, I know how to use mostly my arms and still move. But not very fast:( 7:34. Ok, at least I got it under 8min.

My coach told me after I reported my times that I was a "blank slate in water". To me it seems like a nice way of saying that I suck:) Well, therefore I have a coach. I can only keep improving, right?
Overall, this swimming thing is fun. I love it!

I also run today, 6 easy miles. Felt very good and am pumped for next Saturday!

Btw, I still have not received my awards I won at the last race:( I wonder whether I will ever receive them.

And it seems that Michiganians are wimps. There are almost no races until May:(

My future is starting to be little bit clearer

You know how annoying it is not knowing which country (or let's make it even more annoying and say which continent) you are going to live in in a month?
(I know, most people will love to have my problems because it means that they get to travel. But no, it really is annoying.)

So I had this interview this morning and we basically agreed that I am going to come back to Michigan in February and do an internship until May. I HOPE THEY WILL NOT CHANGE THEIR MIND!!!
But I need to talk to HR now and get them to put a real offer on table.
I talked to them at the beginning of this week and they did not know exactly what they can do for me. The only thing they knew was that they cannot help me with housing like they did in summer. It sucks! Big time. My apartment last summer was amazing and they were paying for it. Now I will have to find something myself and I am sure I will not be able to afford anything even close to what I had in summer. So not only will I be the crazy European girl that does not have a car and ride a bike to work, but I will probably be the crazy European girl who lives under the bridge.
The other thing is whether I will get a permission from immigration office to do the internship and then will I get visa? Although theoretically there should not be a problem, you never know. Because this will be the third!!! time within one year that I will ask for visa, and all of them in a different country. Maybe the consulate will find it a little bit suspicious...

But overall I am pretty excited about it! Although I have already got used to the idea that I am going to spend over 3 months at home doing nothing but running, biking, swimming and writing my thesis. Which sounds pretty sweet, does not it? And now I have to work? Boooo.
But I prefer doing the internship because with the first scenario I would have to go back to school for 3 months after 3 months of doing nothing. And I do not like school. I was also very excited about the idea that I can run for my old club. I am still going to spend the whole January at home, therefore do the regional championship (3000m indoors) but will not be able to do nationals (If I would qualify). And I was really looking forward to a lot of running and biking and swimming training. Now I would have to combine it with work...Oh well, better get use to it, because once I graduate in June it will be only work work work.

I did not run today. I did not want to. I am still persuaded that the ITB will get screwed during that 10k on a road and I am not taking any chances to make it even weaker by running 5 days in a row. So I only biked for 80min (that's like nothing I know but I was instructed to do such a short ride bsince it was my first ride in over a month. I do not consider my commute to school a bike ride.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


1, I signed up for 10k race next Saturday. So game is on. I am sure I can PR. Come on, I can do 2 20min efforts. CAN I???
And how hard will it be to PR since it will be my first 10k road race? :) Because I was told by someone that 10k and 10 000m are very different. And even if they were the same, I am sure I can PR.
I was not sure whether to wait to sign up or not, but then I saw on the website that you cannot pick up the packet the day before unless you sign up before Dec 2 (I just hope then meant on or before Dec 2, since today is the 2nd). And I do not want to deal with picking up the packet at 6am in the morning...Waiting in a line in very early morning and all that before a race. Just does not seem right to me, especially since this one is little bit further than other two races and I have to bike 6 miles this time. It sucks. I wish I had car for similar situations.

2, Races in the US are soooo expensive! But to be honest, I have no idea how much races anywhere else cost. I just know that the race I want to do in December at home is 5Euros. But considering the fact that I have earned almost 10x more doing the same job for the same company in the US than I have earned in Slovakia, there is no wonder it is so cheap.
But let's just say that I cannot race more than once a month and even that is a huge stretch on my wallet.

3, My classes will be over this time next week! YAY!!!! Can't wait. Now I only need to survive finals period.
Semester will be over and I will go home for Xmas but I am not that excited. I am kinda indifferent, I would not mind staying here and doing my thing. I talked to my mom today and she told me that she can't wait to see me, which means that she will probably want to hug me, a lot. And my sister who is more hugs-friendly will not be there (she is going to Brazil with her roommate, traitor) so I will be the only child in the house:(
We are going to spend the holidays in a vacation house my parents have. It is by the lake and in mountains so if it freezes and we get snow I can go skiing and skating with my dad, but if not, it is just boring. And it means no bike and swim for over a week, grrrrr! But the place is tons of fun in summer.
And my grandmom might come with us. Spending 24/7 with my mom AND my grandmom... Don't get me wrong, I love my family but enough is enough:)

4, I have a phone interview tomorrow (or something similar, I am not sure what it is supposed to be) for internship with the Michigan company I already worked for last summer. Keep your fingers crossed. Although going to Michigan for winter is not one of my dearest dreams, it is better than nothing. Plus I LOVE the company.

5, One other person had a similar bug I did last week and she told me she had the same problem with workouts. LSD was ok, but once she tried something that required more and prolonged effort, she was done. And I have the same problem. So it is only the bug.
I am not going to (or at least try to) freak out about missed workouts because there is really nothing I can do about it:(

6, Since easier aerobic activity is fine, I swam and ran today.
My first planned and thought-through triathlon swim workout! It was not anything spectacular, only some kick and stroke drills and easy 100s (or were they supposed to be harder?). And let me tell you, it will take me couple more lengths to get good enough so that the lifeguard does not want to jump after me any moment because he can't distinguish whether I am doing drills or simply drowning. But it was fun. My poor legs and arms. But that's what they need.
And I did it in a 50m pool. UCLA is awesome in this respect. I have never swum in 50m pool before. I usually go to only 25m/yards pool because those are right in the middle of the campus. This one is little bit further. I had time today so I went there. Well, I did not really have time since I have 1 paper due tomorrow, 2 home take finals due Monday, 1 presentation on Wednesday and a 30-page long paper due Dec 20th. But who cares? Good thing is that all my in-class exams are over and now is it only this "easy" paper/presentation/home-take stuff.

I also run 6 easy miles.
And I took the heart rate monitor with me just for the heck of it. I was doing my usual easy pace run and once in a while look at the watch and it was always in 80-85% range, which is kinda high, right? I am no expert though. But I have read that above 80% is considered moderately hard.
I do not know at what pace I was running but it seems that if I wanted to keep the HR below 70% I would have to walk, or rather sit on a coach and watch the most boring movie ever - silent black and white French movie with English subtitles. Does not make much sense, but believe me, such movie exists. I have once watched it and probably won't do it again.
In addition, my max HR is probably little bit higher than 194 since I have been exercising in past few (20+) years.
And I am not that great about hard/recovery/in-between paces in general. My marathon pace was the same as my easy recovery runs pace:) You see, I told you, I am not an expert.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Second attempt

Today was supposed to be a BIG day.

Because it is the first day I am officially doing also some tri training!!! Yeah, yeah, that's right.
Of course I do not know anything about tris and swimming and biking and nutrition so I have some outside help:)

But instead of officially becoming a quasi-triathlete today, I kinda became not being even a runner.

I re-tried yesterday's workout today and went through first 1k interval no problem, feeling good, in 3:45.
However, during the first 2k I started to feel tired and weaker but it was not too bad, I went through it in 8:01.
Then I started the second 2k and I had to stop after 800m because I was crawling. I went through that 800m in 3:15 instead of 3:12, that's not a big difference but I just could not move faster although I tried and I was progressively slowing down and loosing the concentration and "feel" for the run (not sure how to explain it).

I tried to regroup myself (although I am sure it is not psychological, it is physiological, but I still tried), I took couple minutes off and started again, but it just was not working. I did 200m and stopped.

It makes me sad and mad and clueless and I don't even know whether I want to do 10k race next week since I am not properly training for it!

Is that still that stupid 24h bud I had on Sunday? I actually weighted myself and am almost 4kg lighter than I was 5 days ago. Or maybe I am anaemic.

I do not think that I will do the third attempt tomorrow, that will be just a waste of energy. However, I do not know what I should do since I have a race that I wanted to nail in 10 days. Thoughts, suggestions?