Cherry Blossom Ten Miler


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April 1, 2012: Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington DC 2:00:46 (yes, I know this out of sequence but it deserved its own post)

How fitting to run a race in DC on April Fools Day! I hadn’t run since March 3 and that was 8 miles. I was nervous because this race had a cutoff of 2:20 and I was afraid for the first time I would be picked up by the sad van. I felt a bit like a fool for trying this but the 5k would not have satisfied me and the stubborn jack ass in me had to go for it.

I decided to run in zone 3 and take the day as it came. As long as I wasn’t afraid of missing the cutoff, I would be a good girl. I found it so difficult to stay there. Race adrenaline, not being able to pick out that one person to run with and then beat at the finish. I wanted to run run so bad. BUT…I knew it better to run smart and not risk a relapse.

Even though most of the Cherry Blossoms were gone, the course was great! How often do you get to start the day with the Star Spangled Banner at the Washington Monument, run past some of our Nations historic Memorials. And past a soccer field where mens leagues were playing…bonus for the quad candy fix!

It was perfect running weather, amazing day. The course was mostly flat (except for a hill at the end. Why do race directors do that!) and attractive. Heard complaints about crowding…apparently they did not run Rock N Roll Vegas. That was like 10 million sardines stuffed in a Pez container.

I had real issue with a woman at the 2 mile mark. We had crossed Memorial Bridge and were on the other side as we saw the later corrals running. “Can you imagine running this in 2:20? How sad!” Oh, how I wanted to trip that bitch! How ugly! She obviously does not understand nor encompass the spirit of running. And either she was a natural born runner with no compassion for those of us who work really hard at it or had forgotten where she began. It was a reminder to me that we are all at our pace and that helped me settle in.

“Don’t let an old man pass you” he said as he ran by. “I’m running in zone 3 or I’d be kicking your ass” I yelled back. He turned and laughed. He ended up just ahead of me at the finish. “Good girl! You finished!” “Like there was ever a doubt!” I love the camaraderie of endurance athletes!

Another man said “we are almost there” at mile 9. I said “I’m just running in zone 3. Feeling good.” “This is your zone 3? I’m in zone 4 and am ready to be done!” Ok. I know this sounds sassy (well, duh, it’s me) but this guy looked a lot fitter than I did. Tall and lean. Built like a runner. I took a little pleasure in that. I didn’t feel tired or stressed and he was struggling to keep up with me. And I beat him! Y’all know I am all about being happy that people are out there and running but yes, that felt good!

Yes, I sped up at the end because I sure as hell was not going to let a woman wearing bunny ears beat me. Increasing pace that half mile wasn’t going to kill me but letting her ahead of me might have.

Little Miss was waiting for me at the finish. Such a treat having her there! I need to do more races in DC. Or win the lottery so she can just be there!

What a great race! I would totally run this again! In addition to it being the 100th anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Festival, it was the 40th anniversary of the Cherry Blossom race. The medal is uber pretty!

Lap 1 11:39 Lap 2 11:36 Lap 3 11:30

Lap 4 11:59 Lap 5 12:14 Lap 6 12:22

Lap 7 12:25 Lap 8 12:18 Lap 9 12:02

Lap 10 11:04


Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated…The Bitch Is Back!


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Saturday, April 7, 2012:

No, I’m not dead. I have been battling bronchitis and been off the training wagon. As an athlete, hobby or not, training becomes part of the need to, just have to. It’s for the mental as much as the physical. Trust me, I have not been easy to be around.

One of the other things about training is you become used to pushing through. Sometimes that can be to one’s detriment. I tried to push through v resting and ended up with a setback. Learned my lesson.

Where I am now? Letting go of “what might have been” had I not had to be off for this time and looking at what I can accomplish in the next 14 weeks. It’s going to be a bit of a challenge at times but it is what is it is. So here we go…

2:15 Trainer Ride: Today I rode for the first time in 5 weeks. Workout was good. Didn’t leave me wasted but wasn’t too easy. Gears weren’t shifting properly but with a little fanagling I got them to work enough to get the session completed. (took it in. just needed gears adjusted. mechanic said trainer can jack them up)

15 minute brick run: 1.32 miles, 11:44 pace: Ran in the light rain. Felt so good. Soul refreshing.

2400 yard swim 48 minutes: So good to be in the pool. Such a contrast to how I felt last Spring when I started the monkey Tri business! Excitement translated to me going out too fast when I started so my pickups were faster at the beginning than the end. Felt good through the entire swim. Never had that “oh my God, when will this be over…” thought. I am sure I will think that when I see the 3200 yards.

Thursday, April 5, 2012: 6 mile tempo run 1:03

This was a fast run for me. Second fastest 10k I’ve run. First one was in Sept, 2011 at 1:00 flat. Couldn’t have held this any longer. Pukezone was right there!

Lap 1: 11:41 Lap 2: 11:19 Lap 3: 10:29 Lap 4 10:14 Lap 5 10:13 Lap 6 10:18



Biggest Training Day EVER…also known as I’m completely wiped out


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Sunday, February 26, 2012: 3000 yd swim

This was my second week at this distance and today seemed much easier than last week. Maybe that means I am getting stronger! My continual 2000 yds felt good and strong. Finished it in 42 minutes and I feel good about that. Race distance should be about 2200 yds so this gives some indicator of what my race time might be.

WU 200 with drills, swim 1 x 2000, 3 x 200 – #1 kick only – #2 pull only – #3 closed fist drills, 200 with drills cool down – 3000 total

2:45 hour bike ride zone 3 45.61 miles

So beautiful outside Ria, Julie and I decided to ride outside instead of riding indoors. We had a route that was a ten mile loop with inclines and one ugly hill. I used my trainer mentality and had no coasting, added some drills. This was my longest ride outdoors in distance and time. Stayed in zone except for the hill; I found myself in zone 4 and only able to go 9 miles per hour up that hill!

Other times on the ride I saw 95 cadence and 23 miles per hour. That rocked. Worked on being in aero but felt pretty shaky when the wind blew. I was hoping to get 50 miles in but maybe next time…

This ride gave me the confidence to know I can do the 56 miles at Vineman. It’s adding the run that makes me nervous…

4.12 mile brick run 9:54 pace

After the ride I hit the track for my brick run. This transition run was a little different than what has been on the plan. Not a zone 3 run. One easy mile, 3 1/2 mile pushes with 2 minute rest intervals, 4 1/4 mile pushes with 90 second rest intervals, 1/2 miles easy relaxed run.

The first mile was tough. Pace was 10:46. Ok. Yes, it was relaxed but mentally it was tough. This older guy said “keep working at it, honey, you will get there if you practice every day.” I wanted to say “I just finished a 45 mile bike and that’s why it looks and sounds like I am going to die” but I left it. He got to hear my “come on, Skibba. You got this. Keep pushing. You can do this” as I made my laps around the track.

The 3 1/2 miles hurt. I pushed pushed pushed myself. Saw sub 9 minute pace and that is new for me. I am not a fast runner. I found the puke zone and it was all I could do to get that last one complete. I made a goal not to exceed 9:30. I had to be 9:30 or less. That was tough. Took some major HTFU. The 1/4 miles were easier but probably because I was finally in my running zone. The first 1.5-2 miles is always hard for me.

I was on rest interval and had 2 1/4 mile laps and the last 1/2 miles left when a guy said “how many laps are you doing?” He had been witnessed my huffing and puffing each lap as I passed him. “only 4 more go to. I’m just tired after my bike ride.” “How far did you go” “45 miles” “Is that recommended” “Oh, I’m training for a half ironman and my coach has me doing this interval work” “I think that’s crazy” Well, I don’t think it’s crazy but it is a lot of work.

I finished the run and saw my time. It is the first time I have ever had an under 10 minute average for any run. I know I couldn’t hold that for a long time but I am very proud of this run. I am not a speed work fan.  I am built for comfort not speed. I am a meatier than thou kinda girl. That I could put this type of run out makes me feel fit. And that means a lot after a training day like today…

I stretched and rolled for almost an hour when I got home. Pretty sure that run is going to hurt tomorrow and the 4:10 alarm so I can be at weights at 5:30 is going to come very early.

Guess this will be a typical Sunday until race day!

Manners apply in the pool and Some Iron for Breakfast


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012: one hour strength total body

This was a lot less than Monday’s strength. Or maybe it was because I prepared myself mentally for a tough one. Or maybe it was there was NO TRX, Bosu or Vertimax!

Warmup: 3 sets of 2 minutes each alternate between crunches to alternate knees and bicycles every 15 seconds; rowing; ropes beating floor, side to side, up and down

4 sets: 12 leg sled, 25 calves, 12 Bulgarian lunges each leg






3 sets 12 each leg extension, chest press

3 sets 12 each incline bench dumbbell fly, overhead press

3 sets 12 each side raises, shoulder raises

3 sets 12 each tri kick backs, tri cable pull downs

I think that was all of it! It was early and I was just all HTFU!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012:  1950 yd swim

This should have been a no brainer swim. Ladders of 12 to 1 with 5 second rest in between. I got into my groove, feeling my mermaid mojo when I feel a grab on my wrist at the wall. Scared the shit out of me!

“WTF!” “Do you mind sharing the lane?” “Ma’am, I am in the middle of a set. You scared the shit out of me.” And I continued to swim. And I was pissed. And yes, she stayed in my lane.

Here is why I was frustrated. The lane to the right of me had a woman floating on her back kicking her way up and down the lane. Lane to the left had a woman aqua jogging and breast stroking. She could have asked either one of the these ladies without interrupting them. I was in the zone. It is quite unmannerly to interrupt someone. She should have waited if she wanted to get in the lane. Even a 600 doesn’t take that long. Yes, I might still be upset.

I asked the lifeguard if she knew her. “Kind of. That’s her lane” Of course it is. Just like that treadmill in front of the window is *my machine.

Cycling leg powers activate! In the form of Melissa Rollison


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012:  one hour trainer ride

Woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to ride. Guess everyone else slept in. Just me and Dooz today so that meant extra special coaching. “Get your cadence up, Skibba” “Stay in the zone” A lot of standing drills today which burn the quads.

Stayed in zone on the high cadence so that’s improvement. Little swim later today and we can call Tuesday complete.

Monday morning came really early…


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Monday, February 20, 2012: one hour strength session

I was totally wired last night and could not get to sleep even though I was so exhausted from the day’s training. Realised this morning it was adding that extra Honey Stinger.

I don’t drink coffee or ingest any caffeine. Coach said using gels with caffeine for longer trainings would help energy wise. I use the Honey Stinger for two reasons: natural ingredients and doesn’t make me have rot gut. Honey Stinger makes a gel called Ginsting “contains Siberian ginseng for mental clarity, energy and increased stamina plus 32mg of caffeine from kola nut extract.” I have been taking two on the long bike rides and brick runs. Adding a third was like a cup of coffee. I like the energising feeling and need the nutrition but am going to have to switch that last one out for a non-kola nut one. I need my sleep!

I slept in today…until 4:25. Then hit the snooze until 4:35. Then 4:45. Had to get up to pick up Ria and get to training on time.

Now Coach said this week’s strength sessions wouldn’t be bad so my head sat that way. The warmup begged to differ but it certainly got my blood flowing!

Warmup three rounds each:

1 minute flyovers on Bosu, 1 minute Vertimax squats with 12 lb medicine ball, 2 minutes on swim machine, 12 lb medicine ball throws each side while standing on floor, 12 lb medicine ball throws while balancing on Bosu

Today was the day of 3 sets of 12.

Power runner, leg sled, skullcrushers with 20 lb dumbbell. Still pretty jazzed I have worked up to 20 lbs!

TRX Rip Cord one legged Vsits each side, sit ups with twist each side. Let’s say my core was definitely feeling this!

Hamstring extensions, wide grip pulldowns, cable bicep curls, dumbbell hammer curls, seated row

Cable pushes and pulls on each leg

***if anyone is reading this, you may not know what TRX, Bosu and Vertimax are. Here are pictures so you can see the “fun” I am having!

When I talk about doing pikes on the TRX, this is what I am talking about. Tough move. Hurts so good. So many ways to feel the burn on this training tool!

This is Vertimax. I truly believe this is a descendant from the Spanish Inquisition torture devices. Resistant cords. Can be used a variety of ways. And none of them feel good! It does, however, improve speed and range of motion.

This is the Bosu. It doesn’t look so mean but it is so versatile. We even flip it over, do a pushup on it, squat and then raise it over our heads.

Hmmm. What am I missing…


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Sunday, February 19, 2012:  3000 yd swim

Not going to lie. When I received this week’s training plan and saw this swim distance, I freaked out about. “You just swam 2700. What’s another 300 yards?” I know, right? The number just seems BIG! That’s almost two miles of swimming. That’s a lot of time in the water. Of staring at the black line down the middle of the pool. Of up and back, up and back…

Even though I woke up at 5:15 and ate a bit to fuel up for 6:30 swim, I was stomach sick so had to wait. Middle child asked three times “don’t you need to go swim?” Finally hit the water at 8:30. Some of my Tri girls were there getting their big swim completed; I did my best to not get competitive with them in the adjacent lanes.

This swim wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. The number is just a number. Just like with riding on the trainer, running for time or distance. The goal is quality and endurance. And that’s what I am focusing on…

SKIPS x 100, 1 x 1000 in good form, 1 x 800 mixed drills, 1 x 400 in good form, 1 x 200 strong (read sprint…ok, this was totally HTFU!) 1 x 100 cool down

2:45 hour trainer ride

Went home from swim, refueled, did domestic goddess things around the house, fueled up for bike and then hit the gym. I will say these rides are so much better as a group. Spending that much time on the trainer is brutal but at the BYOT, at least I am not sweating and suffering alone and we really do have a good time…good is relative.

I am trying to stay ahead of the nutrition and electrolytes and see what I need to take when with these long rides. Had to add another Honey Stinger gel today. Don’t want to bonk and smart nutrition and hydration are the keys to avoiding that.

This ride was tough at times. Which it should be. The high cadence is so tough on me. I’m a meatier girl and I really have to push myself to get there and hold it. Coach says to quiet the mind and body, focus on legs just working and it will be there. Today it was. I saw 125 during the cadence drills. I was only able to hit 115 last week. I think some of it is self doubt that I can. Or maybe my Jedi mind tricks worked today.

The 20 minutes of fully loaded standing to big ring front everything off on back high cadence were ass kickers as was the same gearage above standing to one legged drills up to 1 minute each. BUT my pedaling was clunk free and standing was solid. Pretty intense. The last 14 minutes was the longest 14 minutes ever!

My very first trainer ride was 2 hours on January 1st. My pedaling was so clunky. My balance was horrible. I had no confidence on the trainer. It is the perseverance to keep pushing forward, keep pushing myself, keep pushing out of the comfort zone that will get me to that next level. It’s supposed to be tough or everyone would be doing it.

Tonight one of my favourite people in the world, a man I greatly admire said to me “Honey, while I admire you for your focus on this training, you are completely fucking nuts. I don’t understand it but I am proud of you for your dedication. Especially when your race isn’t until July.” That meant a lot to me. It is a lot of work.  I had 11.5 hours of training last week. And that’s not including the time I take to stretch. Add another 30 minutes daily to that…that’s a lot of freakin time! At times, that seems totally nuts to me. It’s also pretty awesome to think I can do it. Still shocks me when I sit back and think about it. Most of the time I am just putting my head down and going…

Oh…and what is missing today? NO RUN post bike! Not in the schedule this week. I would be lying if I said I was greatly disappointed!


saturday, in the gym, i think it was the 18th of february


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Saturday, February 18th, 2012: 90 minute trainer ride

not much to say here. it was a lot of standing drills, fully loaded to nothing. she didn’t kill us with the impending big ride tomorrow. did have to add more tension on the back so i guess that means i am gaining strength?

spinning queen, sweat’s so sweet, i’m a quad machine. spinning queen, high cadence will be the death of me. i can ride, i can ride, having the time of my life. ooh ooh, see that girl with 70.3 dream i am the spinning queen…

yeah, cheesy, i know, but that’s me…

40 minute puke zone run 3.83 miles 10:26 pace

optimally, i shouldn’t run back to back and shouldn’t try this after a bike ride but had to get it in. this why the schedule truly matters and sleeping in and being sick don’t work with the plan. the 9.5 hour sleep? yes, my body was telling me something. the sick? my own fault for going off the plan.

did this on treadmill since it was a pick up run. pick up pace every ten minutes. controlling pace for that length of time works better for me on tm even though i so wanted to be outside.

40 minutes doesn’t seem long but it can be when you are pushing and tired. i hit the pukezone with 7 minutes left and held it there. 7 minutes can be a really long time when you are miserable but i just brought in some of my bad “dates” experience and thought “i can do anything for 7 minutes.” you never know when “training” will come in handy.

pretty happy with the outcome. 6 minutes off from last time but i didn’t ride before so i’m guessing that was it.

sometimes i think i am built for comfort and endurance, not speed, but i am going to keep pushing myself, see what strides i make.


A run worth writing about!


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Friday, February 17th, 2012:  ran 6.36 miles zone 3 1:20 minutes 12:34 pace

Fully intended to run *this morning but my body decided to reject the chorizo sliders from last night’s dinner. I’ll spare the details but running nor swimming were an option with what was happening.  Just a reminder why I have a nutrition plan.

Arrived home late from work but had to get this run completed. I need to build my distance back up with Cherry Blossom approaching and the goal of running 8 miles effortlessly by March 15th will be here in less a month. Oh, and to check the box! Decided to take Pita with me since it was approaching dark and she had been alone all day. The other two don’t seem to mind but Pita is so freakin needy at times. She’s a decent running partner and she needs it as I do.

So jazzed to run outside. It was about 50 degrees, light breeze. Started out like a college boy, excited and went too fast too soon. Heart rate was super high and had to walk to slow it down. Finally got in the groove and settled into pace.

This was one of those runs that made me fall in love with running all over again. I hadn’t run so far on my running course since November when I was preparing for Vegas. Even though I was running slower to stay in zone, it didn’t matter. I had so missed this!

I thought about the first time I attempted to run to a certain point on this course, looked at the incline, said “nah, y’all go ahead, I’m turning around” and did. How the next time I ran it I went past that point and had a major milestone. To a time I had trouble breathing and a stranger ran with me, talked me through it, told me her story about how she started running. To the time I ran 20 miles, found my wall, worked through it. That’s why I love that course. I have “moments” all along the way from my very first training in 2009 to now.

The sprinkling sky was refreshing and I found a dime and a penny. Pita was a little confused why we ran past our street then back again then past the house twice but I had to get the time in, not the distance. She is tuckered out…hopefully this means she will sleep well as I now have a big day tomorrow. 1:30 bike and still have to get that swim and run in. This is what it is somedays…

Cannot be more pleased with this run. I’m on my runner’s high. If I could bottle and sell it…mmmm.

Thursday, February 16th, 2012:  rest day

I fully intended to run this morning but I slept 9.5 hours instead. I have long fought through fatigue but when my body sends my this type of signal, I have to listen. Just means Friday will be a run and swim!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012: one hour strength legs and core

Just when I think she can’t find a way to make TRX, Vertimax and Bosu work more painful, she raises the bar! God Bless this was tough but you know I love a challenge.

Football runners while balancing on two Bosus, jump squats, planks and then burpees was pretty fun. TRX pikes, glute squeezes, roll ins and that freakin knees to left and right sure make me know my core is working. Loved my sets on the leg sled and power runner…they are my “candy” in the weight room. Did some God awful stuff on the Vertimax…I swear someone who studied torture from the Spanish Inquisition invented that thing!

Stretched really well after. That under the ass hammy spot is still chatting me up and I just can’t afford time off.

Soccer tonight so today will be a one day…

just one today

Tuesday, February 14, 2012: one hour trainer ride

Must have turned the alarm off and I didn’t wake up until 4:40. Laid there trying to figure out how I could just sleep in, work this ride in another time. Just couldn’t make it work so pulled my ass out of bed at 4:50. My hair looked like the guy from Bowling for Soup. Eh. Just going to to get my ride on so what does it matter. Brushed teeth is the only gym requirement at this hour. Well, and clothing.

My tired showed. Hard time keeping my heart rate in zone even though I pushed through the drills. Today’s ride was more getting it in than a quality ride and that sucks. I may have to move my rest day from Thursday to Tuesday. That’s the hardest part of this training: scheduling the right workout when.

I did enjoy catching up with Kimmie. Grey Goose is her vice and we decided she has a new beau: Greg Gutz. Code name so Coach doesn’t catch on to all her liquid pleasure. “Hot date with Greg Gutz.” “Greg makes me feel all warm and tingly” “Greg loves to be inside me” With the right company, you can have a lot of laughs from 5:30 to 6:30 in the morning.

Kid had soccer tonight so running tonight didn’t happen. Not sure how it would quality it would have been and with Cherry Blossom 10 Miler getting closer, I really need the runs to be Army…best they can be.