Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday's Letters: The Random Friday Edition

I love these Friday's letters, mostly because they're fun to look back on later and see the little things that went on during certain weeks.
Dear Target, thank you for having just the things I needed for my trip to the Keys next week. I love the dresses that I bought! Dear Chobani, I know I included you last time I did a Friday's letters for the caramel pineapple yogurt, but oh my goodness how did I wait so long to try these flips. They're delicious!
Dear Under Armour, I wore my tank top yesterday for the first time and really liked it. I know it'll be really cool to run in. Your What's Beautiful campaign is really motivating me to keep focused on my goal of working towards completing a triathlon. I signed up for my first in July! Dear windy morning ride, you were a bit scary because of some of the strong gusts, but I'm proud of myself for getting up and getting it done. I was trying really hard to make excuses. Thanks also to my twitter friends for motivating me. Dear sunburn, thanks for coming to play. You're almost healed at this point, and I've learned my lesson the hard way. I will absolutely be wearing sunscreen from now on, no matter how long I'm going to be out in the sun. Dear Florida Keys, see you next week! I'm seventeen kinds of excited right now, and I've got my clothes washed and ready to pack! We'll be down there before you know it, and I cannot wait! Dear summer, you're wonderful already. I'm going to use you and be really productive. Dear Tim, Since you have off tomorrow and not Sunday, let's make an exception and do breakfast tomorrow! Please?! I can't wait to go to the Keys with you! I'm already looking forward to going kayaking and snorkeling!

Have a wonderful weekend! What do your plans include?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Out in the open water

Last night I headed down to St. Pete Beach to meet up with Tori and the Mad Dogs Triathlon club for their Wednesday night open water swim. It had been beautiful all day, but there was a forecast for storms in the area later on in the afternoon. My drive down there was just under an hour, and because it started at 6 I didn't want to get caught in traffic. I ended up leaving at about 4:40 to make sure that I got their in time. As I was driving over the bridges across the bay, I noticed how hard the wind was blowing, the white caps in the water, and the dark clouds heading towards the area.

I kept going, because the way Florida summer storms work, they can hang around for 15 minutes and then pass just as quickly as they came.

When I got there at 5:35, though, this is what I saw...
It was not a pretty site, and I thought the swim would be cancelled. I saw Tori and we walked over to the place where the group congregates. Everyone was pretty set on swimming, and I was pretty surprised. It sprinkled for a second, there was one boom of thunder, and then slowly for the next 15 minutes, the clouds moved far enough away that we decided to walk to the beach and go for it.

It had been a long time since I swam in the ocean. When I did the mock triathlon a month or two ago, we swam in the inner coastal, which felt a little more protected in some way. I was afraid for what the water was going to look like when we crossed over the sand dunes and onto the beach. But much to my surprise, but not to the surprise of those that knew the effect of winds blowing from the east, the water was calm. There were hardly things in the water that could even be called waves. It looked almost like a swimming pool!

We walked the mile down to the Don Cesar, got in the ocean, and it was time to go! It was surreal swimming a mile without touching a wall. I've never swam that far not in a pool, but I really liked it! The thing that sometimes gets in the way of having a relaxing swim is the desire I have to count laps. I always feel the need to know how far I go, so this helped to know that the course was already marked out one mile.

And I just swam and swam and swam. I tried not to focus on the bottom, because I was afraid I'd see a sting ray or something (we'd seen them when we were walking). Instead I just did my best to practice siting and going in a straight line. I know I did a little zig zagging, but for the most part I felt like I stayed pretty straight. By 3/4 of a mile in, I was ready to be done or to at least feel a wall. I wasn't overly tired as much as I just wanted to relief that we as swimmers sometimes get when doing a flipturn and a long streamline. My arms just needed a break!

Eventually I got to the clump of trees, steeple, and American flag that I had been told to look for, lifted my head, stood up, and saw an unbelievably gorgeous evening! It's almost hard to convince someone that it was the same day!
I wore my watch so knew my time and heart rate, but the number analyzer in me wanted to know my exact distance. If I didn't have a list of things to buy for my bike a mile long I'd be thinking of adding an upgraded Garmin to my list of things to purchase in the next month or two...maybe I can ask for one for a birthday or something...

And then it was time to head home again. It was such a great night, and it was really nice to be able to swim without thinking about much more than staying straight and thinking about my stroke. Between this group and the swim team practice that I went to two Wednesdays ago, it seems I'll always have somewhere to go on Wednesdays for a great swim! And I'll be doing that from now on! Even when I'm back to running I plan to continue my swimming and biking to prepare for my upcoming triathlons as well as any others that might pop up on my calendar.

Do you get in the ocean when you go on vacation or does it make you nervous?
Do you open water swim? Where?
If you've done or plan to do a triathlon, how frequently do your incorporate open water swimming versus pool swimming into your routine?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A fun and variety filled Memorial Day Weekend!

This weekend was one of the best I've had in a very long time. It was relaxing at the same time that it was filled with fun activities, and I got to hang out with a bunch of different friends as well as Tim. I wish every weekend could be like the one that just wrapped up. I think, too, that knowing I didn't have to go to work on Tuesday added to some of the enjoyment of it as well.

Saturday morning I met up with Tori, her fiance Patrick, and Jess to ride on the Suncoast Parkway. It's an amazing trail that runs 50+ miles with only a few intersections along the way. It spoils me and makes me not want to ride along the road ever. There are water stops along the way that parks and rec service and fill throughout the day, and since we were early enough, the water hadn't run out yet.
We got an awesome 39 miles in and enjoyed it so much!

Afterwards, I had brought a change of clothes and used a showerpill wipe to clean off and head to my friend Raequel's kickball birthday party. She had organized a kickball game between her friends and her son's friends, and it was a lot of fun. A bunch of teachers from school were there, and though many of us were injured, we put on a pretty good show and didn't get embarrassed too badly by the kids. I forgot to take pictures of the game, sadly, but I did take one of the ridiculous squirrels who weren't afraid of people and jumped up on the table and ate the cupcake box while we were playing. My goodness it was an interesting day between that and the overly intrusive security guard who just wanted to be part of our group.
I headed home, showered for real, and took a nap before heading to pottery Saturday night with Tori and Meg. I love throwing pottery and have done it on and off since high school. I was so excited to get to do it again after a bit of time away. It was even more fun to do it with friends and with wine and snacks.
We went to Charlie Parker Pottery and he was very helpful in answering questions and helping us if we had issues in something we were making. I made a bowl and a jar of some sort, though I find that most of the time I make stuff I end up finding random uses for it. I don't know what I'll do with this jar, but I'm sure I'll find a use for it. Maybe it can be a scissor jar at school...
I love doing new things, and it makes me want to find other unique classes and events to go try out in Tampa or St. Pete. I know there is so much here that I don't take advantage of.

On Sunday Tim and I went over to our friends Leah and Derek's house for a Memorial Day barbecue. I again forgot to take pictures, but I did snap ones of the foods that I brought, which I really liked a lot.
There was no recipe for the fruit salad. I just cut a watermelon in half, balled a bunch of it out, scooped and cleaned the rest, and then filled it with raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, and sliced strawberries. I love fresh fruit, and summer is the best time to get it!

The black bean, avocado, cucumber, tomato salad is also delicious and perfect for summer. It's from my all time favorite recipe website, Skinnytaste. The cucumbers made it really fresh, and lime juice provided added taste and flavor.

We had so much fun with friends, and Tim spent quite a bit of the afternoon alternating between playing cornhole and playing with their baby. It was cute to watch.

We came home Sunday night stuffed and ready to go to bed early.

I woke up Monday morning and swam for a while before getting ready to go over to Tim's parents house for another gathering. Tim wanted to swim at their house, so we volunteered to bring food. I made the same two salads and marinated chicken in barbecue sauce for a while, and we headed out to swim!
Tim's parents' dog Dolce always swims with us, and she has now learned to lay on the mats as well. It's a dog's life I tell ya!
They had also gotten a new kitten, which I can't deny was really cute. I'm not a cat person at all, but this thing was so little and cute. Tim had fun playing with it for a while, and I again enjoyed watching him.
And then last night I watched Desiree as the new bachelorette. I have to say that the selection of guys is slim pickings. There are only about three that I wouldn't be immediately freaked out by. It should be an interesting season to watch, but I have to say I spent the majority of last night embarrassed for each of them for a period of time. I'm just hoping ABC put them up to many of their antics...

And that was my wonderful weekend! Did you do anything special?
stillbeingmollySami's Shenanigans

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Weekly Workouts 5/20-5/26

This week was my last week at school! My exams are done and graded and turned in, and aside from a few meetings over the next week or so, school is out for summer for me! I cannot complain at all on that one!

What I can complain about is the horrible sunburn that I'm still dealing with. I mentioned last week for the workout wrapup that I had gotten pretty badly sunburnt and it was hurting. Well, it turns out that I definitely got second degree burns, and I think one part is even worse than that. It still isn't pretty at all, and I won't share pictures. But, suffice it to say that my back looks like I set a medium sized iron down on it. That one particular spot is in quite a bit of pain, and it has kind of kept me from lifting weights this week because of the exposed raw skin. TMI? Sorry about that...

My workouts that I did do this week were pretty good, though nothing like last week's. In this upcoming week I'm going to start doing some walking, so that'll fill a rest day or two. I also need to commit to swimming again more regularly. I only got in the pool once this week, and I don't have an excuse. Sometimes I just don't feel like it...

Here's what I did:
Monday: OFF resting the sunburn
Tuesday: The sunburn was feeling better and hadn't reached the bubbling state yet so I did 1:10 of weights and cardio.
Wednesday: I swam 2350 yards and ran in the pool for 18 minutes. Here's the set I did...I made it up as I went based on how I felt.
Thursday: I rode my bike on the UTBT for 12 miles.
Friday: I took another off day and forced a lot of water so that I would feel better for my long ride.
Saturday: I met up with Tori and we did 39 miles at an awesome pace. We're getting stronger and it feels great!
Sunday: I'm taking today off because of the issue with the burn. I can hardly wear a clinging shirt or move, much less try to swim or do weights. I'll make up for it this week when my burn is better. And don't worry, I've learned my lesson. My husband keeps reminding me as well. 

Continuing in my What's Beautiful goal to complete a triathlon, I want to set a goal this week of biking three times, swimming three times, and lifting weights twice. It's a lofty goal, but hopefully next Sunday I'll be able to report that I did it!

What's your goal for the week?

How were your workouts? Linkup with me and Kat anytime this week!

Sunday May 26

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I can...walk?!

I went to the doctor this morning for my one month follow up post MRI results! Going into it I wasn't 100% sure what the best news was that I was going to hear. I didn't know if, "you can run!" was even a remote possibility or if things move more slowly in the world of stress fractures. I kind of just figured in the spiraling downhill of news I've received about my right foot lately he'd just say, "sorry, you're out of luck for another month; go spend more time getting familiar with your bike."
When I walked in and he asked how the pain is and I said it doesn't hurt, he told me it was good news. How exciting for me! He did some squeezing and pushing, and when I said it didn't hurt, he told me we'd take some X-rays and talk about how to get back at it! I still was nervous for the X-Rays. We took them and he showed me the results. I could see the stress fracture, and he said since it's more white than the rest of the heel bone it shows bone growth, which he said is the best thing he could see! Awesome! What does that mean?!

He had asked what my base mileage was before the injury and I had responded with 25-30 miles/week running. He said I could...walk! I was confused...

He explained for the next month I could walk for fitness and then if that didn't hurt I could start running again after that! And then he said I could walk 7-10 miles/week. I was hoping he was going to say 7-10 miles/day, but he didn't. Hm...not what I was expecting...

But! Looking at things on the bright side, he said after a month of pain free walking I could start running again without coming back in to him. So the countdown is on...

He also said I could do a sprint tri in June if I walked the run. We'll see.

But what does this mean as far as goal races in the fall...

Remember this?
Well, it's probably not going to happen...

I will be able to start running again slowly at the end of June/beginning of July, but I don't think I'll have the base running fitness nor will I be able to up the mileage as high as necessary for a 12-14 week training plan that running Chicago would require. I don't want to re-injure myself putting stress on my foot that is still in the healing process.

So that does stink, but at the same time, I've kind of gotten used to the taste of that idea after not having run in so long. I don't want to end up having this happen again by trying to push something my body isn't ready for.

I almost feel like I'm playing a game of Yahtzee...
I'm putting the dice in the cup again, and I'm rethinking my fall schedule. With Chicago 90% out of the picture, it's looking like a later marathon is a better option. That will probably mean a December marathon, which there are a couple of in Florida with low registration costs and open availability. I'll probably make a decision on Space Coast or Jacksonville Bank when I'm able to run again at the end of June.

In the meantime I do have a few races that I'm now planning on racing this summer, and they're more of the three sport variety. My goal for the Under Armour What's Beautiful campaign is to complete a triathlon, and with all of the biking and swimming I've been doing, I'm read to start signing up for some! For now, here are my thoughts on a summer schedule: 

Top Gun is a sprint triathlon that is a 1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run on July 27th. Unless I jump into something in June by chance, this will be my first official triathlon!
Fort De Soto Triathlon has a sprint and an International Distance, and I think I'm going to step it up for this one and do the International Distance. That consists of a 1/2 mile swim, 20 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. 
I'm already registered for the IronGirl Clermont, and I'm participating in this one free through IronGirl because of my blog (use code IGBIGWORLD for $10 off the sprint distance). This one for the sprint distance (it also has a super sprint, which is a little shorter) is 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.

I've also got another crazy idea up my sleeve, but for now I'll leave you in the dark on that one. I want to see how the next month goes before I start doing anything too nuts. After that I'm checking reason on the door. After all, I am being smart about Chicago, right?!

Do you have any secret race plans that you're not sharing yet?
Have you done a triathlon? Any tips on the mass swim?
What's your goal race for this summer or fall?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A movie, an app, and a question about gyms

I'm a bit delayed in posting this week, but the last few days of school are always the kind where you just want to close your eyes and feel your way through them. I'm almost on summer now! Just exams to grade and I'll be done...

In the meantime, and to delay the inevitable, I thought I'd share some things that my weekend had in common. It's not a recap in the normal sense, but all of the thoughts and things happened this weekend, so that's the tying theme.

1. I don't belong to a gym. I cancelled my gym membership in January after not using it since I started marathon training in September. I decided after the marathon not to go back, mostly because the gym had been bought out and the new company had cancelled Les Mills classes. BodyPump and BodyCombat used to be my go to classes. I also wasn't doing a lot of (any) cross-training, which I obviously can't say is true now. 

Cross-training without a gym/pool is almost impossible. Luckily I've got a great pool and gym facility in my neighborhood that comes with our HOA fees. 
The pool and gym
The pool is amazing, but as summer picks up and kids are out of school, it gets hard to swim laps. There are not lane lines, so I find myself swerving around rafts and vying for lane space with women wearing sunglasses and swimming perpendicular to the lines at the bottom of the pool (!!!). And the gym is small and kind of on the warm side. So I'm thinking of joining the YMCA with designated lap swimming space and a much larger gym area. Plus, and this is a huge plus, they have Les Mills classes. I'm just debating if it's worth paying for it when I have this great space available to me for a free we're already paying...

Do you belong to a gym? What do you look for in a gym?

2. We saw The Great Gatsby this weekend. I am embarrassed to say it, but I was never required to read this book and never picked it up on my own. I had been meaning to read it for a while now, but when Tim asked if I wanted to go see the movie Saturday morning I couldn't hold of using my lack of having read it as an excuse. So I went in without prior knowledge of what to expect. We saw it in 3D, which only added to the Baz Luhrmann-ness quality of it. If you've seen Moulin Rouge, you know what I mean...everything happens in a very intentional way, but it's hard to explain...

And what did I think? It was pretty good. It was a little long, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Tim is my film critic, and he said that it got a lot of negative reviews because it missed the point that Fitzgerald was going for when he wrote the book, so I think now I'll really have to read it to compare. Did you see it and read the book? What did you think?

3. I have a new "most useful" app. Tim told me about the "Run Pee" app before the movie started, so I downloaded it since I brought a venti coffee and a large water into the theatre with me. Good thing since I went to the bathroom three times between before the movie started and when the movie was going on.
You start the timer at a certain place (for this one it told me to start it when the old Warner Brothers logo appeared), and then it tells you when during the movie are the best times to run to the restroom without missing much. The timer runs and it vibrates when it's time for one of the breaks. During the break, the timer runs, and a little summary of what you're missing comes up on the screen. Then, the timer resumes and repeats itself. I used it twice.
It was so convenient, and I missed nothing. Tim's love of movies doesn't appreciate when I lean over and ask him what I missed when something important is going on. This saved me from having to do that. I'll definitely be using this at every movie from now on. This is probably only helpful if you can't make it through a movie without a bathroom break. But if you drink as much fluid as I do, I'm certain this will help!

A few questions:
1. What are your thoughts on a gym membership? Do you use yours?
2. Are there any other movies out right now that you'd recommend?
3. What useful app do you turn to frequently that may not be the most well-known?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Weekly Workouts 5/13-5/19

This was a great week of workouts. It's hard to tell from DailyMile, but I actually did two separate workouts on Saturday, so I did fit in 6 workouts this week. I'm proud of this week and want to set it as a bar for future weeks.

Monday: OFF
Tuesday: 12 miles on the bike at the Upper Tampa Bay Trail
Wednesday: 3300 yards in the pool with a swimming group
Thursday: Stationary Bike and Arm Circuit
Friday: OFF
Saturday: AM: 30 minutes of aqua jogging
PM: Arm Circuit and Stationary Bike
Sunday: 37.5 mile ride on the Suncoast Trail
My favorite two workouts this week were Wednesday's swim and today's bike. Wednesday was the furthest I've done since I swam in high school or played water polo in college, and today was another awesome bike ride that I know is keeping my fitness up during this dry spell of running.

Today I did end up getting dehydrated and super sunburnt, but that was my own fault. I need to be more vigilant about drinking water throughout the day. I always think I'm doing a good job, but days like today prove to me that I'm not. 

I'm going to post more this week about the swimming, and I'm also going to share what I've learned about biking in the time since I've started. That'll include some fun pictures from the trail today...
Linkup with me and Kat!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's Letters

It's been a while since I've posted letters, so today seems like a great Friday to do it!
Dear Friday, This day is particularly special because it's the second to last day of classes. I don't know where this school year went, but it's almost gone and another summer is upon me. Dear summer, I'm looking forward to making lists and getting lots of stuff accomplished. Last summer was the summer of the wedding and honeymoon, and this summer is going to be more about being productive and getting our life in order. Dear SkinnyTaste, your recipes never let me down. I tried your triple berry chia pudding, and I really liked it! I need to add some stevia next time, but for now I can already tell I'll be making it frequently. 
Dear Target, you're dangerous. I've visited twice this week and have found goodies both times! Your Sam & Libby collection is pretty great. I'm pleased with myself that I only bought one pair of shoes... Dear Chobani, how did I wait so long to try the caramel and pineapple bite? It tastes amazing, and it's the perfect size. Dear Throwback Thursday on Instagram, I have participated the last two weeks and it has been fun! I love looking back and old pictures and realizing that I haven't changed at all. I mean, why wouldn't I have thrown a fishing pole up into the air?
Dear Tim, I'm looking forward to a weekend off with you. That means breakfast at First Watch, couch time, and pottery night on Saturday! I know you're not a potter, but I think you'll enjoy it. I know I for one can't wait! Dear Readers, thanks for stopping by! I've finally transitioned myself into using feedly and have been trying to keep more regular on blogging interaction. I look forward to catching up with you all when summer comes!

Have a wonderful weekend! What are you most looking forward to in the next few days?
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