Friday, July 29, 2011

Chi Running

I think I've mentioned that since we've moved to Hattiesburg that my knees are killing me!  I think it's the hillier terrain than I've been used to in Sunset Beach.  After having two knee surgeries I probably shouldn't be running at all, but I just can't give it up - not yet anyway. 

After the surgery on my left knee back in 2009 I was instructed to take 6 months off running.  When I started back I experimented with Chi Running in an attempt to make the move back into running less painful.  It did help, but after I was back for several weeks I forgot about it and was back to my old style of running.  I have a couple of triathlete friends in the Raleigh/Durham area who own K2 Fitness.  This is where I got the idea to give the Chi Running a try.  Thank you, Kari!!

About two weeks ago I was out on a run and my poor knees were hurting badly.  About halfway through a run I remembered the Chi Running and unbelievably the pain lessened immediately in both knees!  Now I don't know much at all about Chi Running.  I know just what I've read online and seen some videos online.  The basic premise that I keep in my mind is to run like a ball not a square.  This u-tube video explained it well to me (click the pic): 

From the Chi Running Website:
"Chi Running blends the powerful movement principles from T'ai Chi, with running, to create a revolutionary approach to effortless and injury-free running." 

"The cornerstones of Chi Running are postural alignment and relaxation because the combination of the two is the best way to run faster, farther and injury-free. Chi Running includes: landing with a midfoot strike, using a "gravity-assisted" forward lean and engaging core strength for propulsion rather than leg strength. This approach makes your running easier and healthier for your whole body."

Well - so far so good.  I even used it at two track workouts and was pretty much painless except for the cool down where we were running super easy.  I'm going to keep it up and hopefully some of my knee pain will go away! 

If any of you use Chi Running let me know how it's working for you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

At The Track

In my desire to train with people rather than solo I found myself at the track this morning with Deanna, Lesley and Chris (coaching) for a "nice" interval workout.  What the heck am I thinking!!!  I  haven't done a track workout since 1992 in Dallas when Chris Phelan organized his Tuesday Night Track workouts.  Somewhere in my file cabinet I still have a torn up little piece of paper with my splits on it from one of those workouts.

This morning we met at 8:00ish.... for a set of 2x200 / 2x400 / 2x600/ 2x400 / 2x200 with a mile warm up and half mile cool down.  The goal - even pacing.  Sub 5K pace. It is warm out 80 degrees with 82% humidity - feels like 98 according to AccuWeather.  I was thinking 7:00 minute pace would be good.  But.... it's the track... so what do we do???  Run fast.  Deanna, Lesley and I are like little Energizer Bunnies - wind us up and off we go! 

Here is what I downloaded from my Garmin after I got home.  (Missed a couple of the splits due to operator error - doh!)

Lap     Pace    HR Avg/Max
200     -
200     -          
400     5:54     159/179
400     5:54     160/179
600     6:20     165/175
600     6:12     168/179
400     5:59     165/178
400     6:02     166/179
200     -
200     4:40     159/175 

The best part?  Coffee at Starbucks afterwards with friends!  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hope It's The Heat

It's really, really humid and hot here in Mississippi.  My training run pace and cycling speed is getting slower and slower and slower.  It is depressing.  I hope it's the heat! 

I'm ready for fall.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunfish Triathlon Race Report

Last Saturday was the Sunfish Triathlon in Meridian, Mississippi!  I'm not sure exactly when this race started but it's been around for a long time.  I raced it back in the 80's at a different venue - I think the new site at the Bonita Lakes Park has an easier run, but a tougher bike course.  I set my race goal to finish in the top 5 women. 

The Girls! My new friends!
My husband Bill was able to go with me again to the race!  Makes for a much better day for me to have him there.  I rarely see him during the race though - I think at the next race he can make it to we'll plan a place for him to be so I can look for him while I'm racing!  There were quite a few of us from Hattiesburg racing, I think 11 or 12 total that I knew and some others that I haven't met yet! 

Sunfish has a time trial start - pretty much my least favorite type of start.  They lined us up by age which meant I was WAY in the back.  This is my second race here in Mississippi and both had time trial starts.  I wonder if it's just a more utilized format here.  You never know how you've done until the results are posted. 

Race Face?
 My swim went off just fine.  I tried to keep my stroke long and stay relaxed.  My friend Chris gave me a little pep talk just before the swim and said that I should be able to swim the same as him.  I guess it worked too well because when all was said and done he beat me by 4 seconds!   The Masters Swim practice is working!  I had the 6th fastest swim split women.  HR:  Max 171 / Avg 135.

The bike course was really tough with a lot of challenging hills.  I was able to push the pace on the downhills but climbing was slow.  I had to shift down to my small front chain ring a lot!  I've had my new bike for about 5 weeks now and I need to get it in to have it adjusted.  Cables always stretch when they're new and I had a lot of issues shifting during the race.  I know better than this but just didn't make the time to get my bike to the shop.  We were lucky that during the bike there was a cloud cover for most of the time but unfortunately that disappeared for the run.  6th fastest bike split women.  HR:  Max 177 / Avg 167.

The run went up and over a dam then around a little "lake".  There was some shade on one part on the out and back but on the back half of the lake the trees blocked any breeze and it was hot as blue blazes.  When I climbed back up onto the dam for the return I thought I could have moved faster walking.  We did get a down hill finish - I saw a lot of people just hauling you know what down that hill to the finish line!!  12 fastest run split women.  I do think I could have pushed the run a little bit more but was a mental wimp with the heat and humidity and ran within myself.  HR:  Max 185 / Avg 176.

When the results were posted on the timing van I saw that I'd finished..... 5th Overall Female!!  Sweet!  Okay... let's do some math here though...    6th in the Swim - 6th on the Bike - 12th on the Run - do you know what that means?  Remember my post on transitions and Free Speed??  Fast Transitions can have a huge impact on race times.  Take 10 or 15 seconds off a transition? - not so tough with a little planning and practice.  Take 10 or 15 seconds off your 5K?  You'd better be prepared to get to the track and do some interval work!  I'll take Free Speed any day (actually I should go to the track too)!   Included in my first transition (:41) is also taking off my Speed Suit that I wear over my tri suit.  And included in T2 (:37) is putting on socks!  

After the race I changed and spent some time handing out Aquaphor Samples!  A couple people recognized Team Aquaphor knew other teammates from other parts of the country! 

Some of my new training partners - Lesley, Judy, Chris and Deanna! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Re "Learning" to Swim

So we've been in Hattiesburg for right at a month now.  I've had 4 weeks of 3x week of swimming at USM with the Masters Swim and Coach Steve Panzram.  My freestyle stroke has been changed quite a lot, I almost would go as far as saying changed completely by the coach.  And.... the results are showing in a BIG WAY!!  In all the years that I've been swimming (age group  and 3 different Masters groups before this one) I haven't had such constructive and postitve coaching!

When I left North Carolina I was in the pool usually twice a week.  I always swam a workout with intervals but also always swam by myself.   Typically if I was swimming 100's - I would repeat them on 1:45 and bring them in on the 1:30, sometimes just under and sometimes 5+ seconds over.  The last time I remember feeling really good swimming was back in 2007 getting ready for IM Lousiville.  I did a set of 22 x 100 on 1:45 and brought them all in under 1:30. 

A week or so ago I got challenged and swam some 100's on a 1:30 interval and was able to just bring them all in under the wire.  About 5 seconds rest - maybe.

Friday we did a set which included a bunch of 100's on 1:45 and I brought them all in anywhere from 1:20-1:23 and the Last One Fast One.... a 1:18!!!  (I haven't seen that time since long, long ago - I think High School).

So... you ask... just what did he change on my stroke???  One - my left arm recovery was good but at the last second I'd let my forearm enter pretty flat into the water - kind of slapping it down.   Two - slowing my stroke turnover.  When I first started swimming with the group I wasn't in very good swim shape (I'd been a little lazy about swimming in NC) and when I was pushing hard I think Coach counted 28 strokes per length (that is A LOT).  Now... pretty consistently I hit 19.  Sometimes up to 21 when I'm tired and quite a few 18's!   10 seconds per hundred improvement is huge!! 

There is also nothing like swimming with a group. (and I really like the people that I swim with - they've welcomed me to their group like I'm an old friend!).  The pressure to make the interval, not let the person behind you catch you, not look like a slug in the water... all these things help me swim faster and try harder.

I'm pretty excited about seeing my times drop.  And I'm not finished yet!! 

Race Of Grace - 2nd fastest Female Swim!!
6th fastest Overall Swim split!  Woot!