Thursday, December 1, 2016

I Hit a Triple

Not literally. I am well past my softball days and hitting much of anything with a bat or otherwise. Every fall since I moved to New York City has presented an opportunity for endurance greatness (or maybe just suffering? Nah. Little of both) in the form of near-consecutive or consecutive weeks of marathon distance runs. I ran my first New York City Marathon in 2009. Only a couple weeks later, I made the foolish decision to tackle the Knickerbocker 60k, which is an ultramarathon (defined loosely as anything longer than 26.2 miles). I was not well trained for it, but I did finish. Thus began my annual marathon + 60k tradition. A double.

In 2012, after reading a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers chronicling his run around Manhattan, I decided to take the plunge. The distance around Manhattan is significant, somewhere a bit above 30 miles. I knew this endeavor would require a whole day, and I used my day off on Veterans' Day to accomplish it. This would have started my annual marathon + Veterans' Day Run Around Manhattan + 60k, only the marathon was cancelled that year. Another double.

In 2013, I was signed up for my second Ironman, Beach2Battleship in North Carolina (not then a WTC production, but since purchased by it). Late in the summer, I realized with a great degree of horror (maybe joy? Little of both) that this would result in four consecutive weeks of marathon+ events, the order of which was:


  • Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) on October 26, 2013
  • ING New York City Marathon (26.2 miles) on November 3, 2013
  • Veterans' Day Run Around Manhattan (31-34 miles) on November 11, 2013
  • Knickerbocker 60k (37.2 miles) on November 16, 2013
A home run! The 60k was (understandably) miserable that year, but overall I just did these things and didn't think much of it. In the years since then, I am increasingly impressed with myself for it, which is why I'm writing today with a 2016 update. This year, I ran the New York City Marathon, Veterans' Day Run Around Manhattan, and New York 60k. That's my first ever triple. 

And it's so, so meaningful. The time I have to run is ever more squeezed by my comedic ambitions. In 2013, I thought relatively little of the home run, though I think a great deal of it (and me, for doing it) now. In 2016, the magnitude of the triple is, on an objective scale, less than the home run. But I appreciate it so much more and immediately. Hopefully for anything I've lost in performance, I've gained as much or more back in perspective.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Race Report: HITS Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Part 3!

Before we started swimming, a light drizzle had begun, and it had not stopped by the time I exited the water. I always like when there are volunteers who militantly order me onto my butt so that they can rip off my wetsuit...that sentence reads differently now that I can read it back to myself. Anyway, these guys make wetsuit removal easy, but I didn't see them when I got out of the water. Jessica said they were there, so I must have missed them. Getting a wetsuit off by yourself is difficult.

I succeeded eventually and I pulled on my bike shorts and running shirt over my wetsuit. Typically, I would wear triathlon clothes during a race, since you can swim, bike, and run in the same outfit, but the ones I have that fit are getting pretty worn. I think the shorts might be see-through at this point, so I was hesitant to use them as swim bottoms and then for another 6 hours after that.

I was finally all geared up when I wheeled my bike out past the timing mat and just at the start point. After ditching a bottle of water that was woefully small for my water bottle holder (sorry, kind volunteer who picked it up!), I was on my way.

I was one of the last ones out of the water for my distance, which is not unusual but was more pronounced on this day. Typically, the people who exit the water around the same time are either overall race stragglers, and therefore easy to pick off on the bike, or cycling dynamos who haven't learned to swim well yet who zoom past me from the start. That's pretty much how it broke down. The other people on the course at that time were racing the Olympic. It's sometimes obvious to see the difference between Olympic racers and sometimes not. Regardless, I was happy for the additional company while I had it.

The hilliest part of the course was the beginning (and end)! It seemed a little cruel to me, since that was the part shared by all distances. I don't know. I don't get paid to design race courses.

At the very end of that first 6 or so miles (the shared part), we climbed a steep hill. At the top of the hill, a woman told me something like "good for you". From what I could tell, it was completely genuine, but I was trying to figure out what she meant because we were both successfully climbing the hill. I like to think I did it with some style, even though I do almost nothing with style.

The ride was pleasant and not especially hilly except for the beginning and end. The only little thing that posed a tiny problem was that it poured torrentially for two thirds of the race. There were places where I went slower than I would have otherwise because I didn't want to fall. I was also wearing my sunglasses. It was a little bit like driving without windshield wipers.

The rain wasn't awful, though it certainly impacted my performance. I think worse than the rain itself was the fact that there were NO mile markers in the whole race. None. I was wearing my watch, so I had a good sense of how far I'd gone, but if it hadn't been for that I would have been extremely frustrated by this situation.

Additionally, there came a part of the race that felt like it was 5-10 miles long in which there were no signs and no volunteers, so I continually thought I was lost. There was no one visibly ahead of me and only one person occasionally behind. There would be stretches when I wouldn't see her for a long time and worry that I'd taken a wrong turn, so I would slow until she came into sight and then continue. At one point, I started to worry that both of us had taken a wrong turn and nearly came to a full stop to wait for her, when I finally saw a race vehicle waiting at an intersection ahead. None of this helped, either.

But finally I did return to the turnaround point, which was my signal that I was only 6-7 miles from the end. Unfortunately for me, this was also the hilly part and I appreciated it even less at the end of the 56 mile ride than I had at the beginning.

All that aside though, I was just happy to have made it to the run. The run is and will probably always be the most reliable part of any triathlon for me. I can always grind out a run.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Race Report: HITS Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Part 2!

When we left off, Moses and I had taken very different approaches to the pre-race routine. But we were finally ready, and Jessica and he got into their car and I got into mine and our tiny caravan started toward the race.

Jessica and I both wanted coffee and we stopped at 2 convenience stores before finding one that was open at 5am. We got our coffee and breakfast bars, and I got pretzel nuggets for my new during-race snack because, as you recall, my croissants were needed elsewhere and I'd tried pretzel nuggets during the Naked Bavarian in March.

When we reached the race, it was light outside, but the weather did not look promising and I was pessimistic based on the rain from the previous evening. Nevertheless, Moses and I were both very excited. He to be doing his first triathlon, and I to be just doing triathlon, which is something of a rarity because of its high cost in both money and time.

We unloaded the cars and walked over to the registration tent to pick up our packets. It's rare for a half or iron distance event to have morning-of packet pickup and it's something I appreciated here. After stuffing my envelope into my tri backpack, I did a tiny loop around the parking lot on my bike to make sure it was in working order, and then we went to the transition area to begin setting up.

This was definitely a low-cost event. I'm certainly not complaining because I am cheap, but it's worth mentioning that it showed. Typically, bikes are lined up on rails, but it looked like the race organizers had finagled some sort of system with particle board shelving units and folding footstools? It looked as strange as it sounds, plus it made knowing exactly where to park our bikes challenging. It took me a good five minutes just to find my number!

Once I did, I busied myself putting number stickers on everything (swim cap, helmet, bike) and putting all my gear in appropriate piles. Bike shorts, shoes, socks, sunglasses, and race bib belt made up the bike pile. Running shoes, running shorts (it was unusual for me to have two shorts-changes), and a running shirt (also unusual) made up the run pile and I always place my helmet on top of my aero bars. I stuffed some pretzel nuggets into the covered pocket of my saddle bag so they wouldn't get as wet.

When we first got there, almost no one was wearing or putting on a wetsuit, so I spent a good amount of time sussing out whether or not most people would wear theirs because the water was warm. 25-30 minutes until race time, the suits started to come out for half and iron triathletes (probably Olympic, too, but I didn't see them as much), so I put mine on. My wetsuit makes me look and feel like a sausage.

I chatted some with Jessica and Moses before realizing the pre-race talk was happening near the water's edge and I said goodbye and good luck as I walked off to listen and subsequently start the race. My swim would be two loops around the course. I knew this would be troublesome from the get-go. The more direction changes there are, the worse I swim because I can't swim in a straight line to save my life.

The gun went off and the swim started, ever a frenzy. I try to hang back as much as possible at the start, because I'm going to end up in the back anyway and want to minimize the number of times I get kicked and hit getting there. The water was warm. I knew it was supposed to be, but it was even warmer than I expected. This was the first time I'd felt too warm during the swim. The good news is that I'd actually remembered to bring lube for my neck, so didn't chafe the hell out of myself.

The actual swimming went even more poorly than I expected and I can't tell you how many times I had to change direction and overcorrect myself in some way. It was a mess and I think I did it in 1:02, which is abysmal.

Well, this has already turned into a novel, so I guess it's going to be a 4-parter. To be continued!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Race Report: HITS Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Part 1!

I really meant to get around to posting about this, but I forgot. A few weeks ago, I switched from the full distance to the half distance tri. I haven't been able to put in the time I needed for it and was getting nervous that I'd be stuck doing it and then not finish. I imagine there are few endurance-related things that are worse than spending over 12 hours trying to finish a race and being picked up from the course, which is what I was anticipating.

Now, all that implies that I wasn't ready in any way, shape, or form for this triathlon. In fact, if you'd asked me about it point blank before the race, I would have readily agreed.

But it was fantastic. I certainly didn't PR (I PWed, but by less than 2 minutes) but it felt good. Like, really, bizarrely good. I'm not sure what happened, but I think I was better prepared than I felt I was. Also, just as you can have a really awful day, you can have really good ones and I think Saturday I had an incredible day.

I drove up to Kingston on Friday night a little bit later than I'd planned because of some work follow up that took longer than I expected. The drive was mostly fine except for scattered torrential downpours, but it was all still fine. My only real complaint is that I got there too late to forage for any sort of dinner. I could have, but it was late and raining a lot and I didn't think it was worth the risk. Fortunately, I'd gotten croissants from Dunkin Donuts (I know, guys, I know. I wanted bagels too but that was the best breakfast pastry the Penn Station Dunkin had to offer). They became my dinner instead of my breakfast and during-race snack, as I'd originally planned.

When I arrived, my friends Jessica and Moses were already there and they were kind enough to bring a spacious air mattress along for me. We stayed up making and laughing at fart jokes for longer than we should have and finally went to sleep a little after midnight, planning to wake up at 4.

The alarm went off at 4, as we'd planned. Moses jumped up and started getting ready with a lot more fanfare than I did. I slept for another 15 minutes. After we were both ready to go, Moses did light calisthenics while I took a catnap. And thus, the adventure began!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Training Scorecard - Strategy Pivot

Looks like I maxed out on my desire to do a scorecard every day. Not that I didn't enjoy it, but other things started bubbling up that took priority. Plus, I know how lovely this could be if I invested enough time into it, and knowing that makes me less eager to do it in a way that doesn't accomplish what it could.

I'm going to try updating weekly instead, and still plan to do a Toronto race report.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/24-5/3

Oof. It's been over a week and I've lapsed again in my posting. Let's restart this thing.

Eating: C

Meh? Last week I did well, but the weekend was crap.

Alcohol: C

Same idea good during the week, but I took Toronto as a good opportunity to try all the Canadian beer. ALL of it.

Sleep: B

I usually get 6-7 hours and last week this was mostly true with a couple exceptions.

Training Overall: B

Last week I did some swimming, some biking, no running during the week, but a whole lot over the weekend.

Run: Yes

Toronto! I'll write a race report soon.

Swim: Yes

Went for a swim at the Chelsea Rec Center in the morning before work on Tuesday.

Bike: Yes

I rode on both Sunday (30 miles) and Monday (20 miles) and both rides were excellent. On Sunday, I just rode around Central Park for awhile because I'm uncomfortable riding across the GWB by myself. On Monday, I stuck to the west side and rode all the way up to the Little Red Lighthouse.



Other: A

Improv practice(s), baseball game, book release party, Toronto.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/23

I also took Saturday off because...well, I don't have a good reason. The last two Saturdays have been full of sleeping. Maybe I should balance everything better.

Eating: C

Did okay, but also resorted to frozen dumplings for one meal.

Alcohol: C

A couple different things during/after the show.

Sleep: A

7:07

Training Overall: C

One letter grade lower for every day a rest day becomes too much resting.

Run: No

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

I had a show. It was like a...hmmm...trainwreck? That seems accurate.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/22

I took Friday off after my disastrous Thursday run, though the rest of the weekend was much less active than it should have been. I'm trying to figure out why that's been the case the last weekend or two, but that's neither here nor there for this.

Eating: B

Salads, but also pizza.

Alcohol: C

Blue Point Summer, for contrast.

Sleep: C

5:56

Training Overall: B

It was a rest day.

Run: No

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

I did a bunch of blogging and finally implemented my goal of blogging about both sides of life. I also realized that will probably tough to keep current from a time and effort standpoint.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Race Report - NYC Half 2016

This one has been a long time coming. The nice thing about the scorecard posts is that I've established a set format and it's easy to just fill that in. I can inject funnies or thoughts where I want, but mostly it's functioned to help me reinforce a habit and have some accountability for my choices and training.

As a result, any post that requires more concentration or thought has fallen by the wayside. I started this report not long after I'd finished the Naked Bavarian one but haven't set aside the time to finish. But now, here I am! LET'S GO.

If you've been following recently, you probably gathered that I haven't done much training at all in the last six months or so. This came to a head only recently after the Naked Bavarian and as I began to look into the future toward the triathlon for which I registered in the fall.

It is in that context that I'll be discussing the New York City Half Marathon. This race was really never my focus, as I was trying to make sure I didn't die at the Naked Bavarian. I never questioned my ability to run the distance, but I did know I would be pretty disappointed with my time for the following reasons:

1. The speedwork I have come to know and love is half-mile repeats. I haven't done a good set of those probably since last spring or winter.

2. The half marathon is my absolute favorite distance and at the peak of my fitness, I was able to crush it. Contrasting these widely varying performance levels has proven to be trying for my fragile ego.

3. I ran 14.5 miles the day before? I don't have a good defense for this other than that I still make decisions like I'm in good shape even though I'm not.

So let's start from the beginning. I went to sleep late per usual. Bucking tradition, however, I actually did wake up in plenty of time to get situated at the start. Maybe because it's been so long since I've done a NYRR race, I forgot what the acceptable margin of half-assery is. If I had known, I would have arrived at Central Park later. It was cold and being cold sucks.

Due to my previously fantastic half times, I was in a corral that was much, much faster than I would be running. I took note of this and did find a corral that I thought would be more suitable to my pace. I learned it was still way too fast for ol' out-of-shape Katie. But that's neither here nor there for the moment.

The gun went off and it took forever to get to the start line. Once I did, I started my watch (not my Garmin, because I'd forgotten to charge it like a noob) and started feeling out the race and my body and monitoring everything. I was delighted to realize that, for all my neglect, my body hasn't forgotten how to pace itself for a half marathon. Sure, the pace was slow, but I can still feel when I'm running a pace that is acceptably fast which I can also maintain.

I didn't look at my watch until I'd reached the first mile, which is a trick I learned a few years ago. This gave me enough information to know if I was doing okay but not enough to scare me. My first mile was around 9 minutes and I continued in my old pacing style for the rest of the way out of the park. The miles after the first one were even a little under 9 minutes (though not much).

The park, unfortunately, is not even half of the race. Even though I was doing a good job of keeping everything steady, it became clear that I wouldn't be able to maintain that pace for the whole race. It wasn't even that I was hurting a lot or struggling with breathing, I just started to feel tired. I kept pushing for the next couple of miles, but as we entered the West Side Highway, I had very little left in the tank (with like five miles still to go). It was more than just being out of shape, it was also the poor choices I'd made in the days and hours prior. I'd run almost 15 miles the day before, hadn't eaten anything, hadn't had much water, and hadn't bothered trying to get much sleep.

If there was one factor that sunk this performance, I can't pinpoint it because there are so many things it could have been, and that's okay. It's not something I'm eager to repeat, but certainly a learning experience and part of what lit a fire under my butt to try harder.

My medal feels a bit ill-gotten. I'm not even sure I've taken it out of the backpack pocket where I put it for the rest of the day (and boy, was there more to that day). It's okay. I'm learning to roll with the punches and maybe growing into someone who learns from her mistakes.

Training Scorecard - 4/21

Same thing! I made what would normally be a hard decision to run at night. BUT it was an awful run. Terrible. It was later than usual when I started and I told myself I would just do a 5k. Did I stick to that? No. Probably should have.

Eating: C

More Hummus and Pita Company. Also potato salad.

Alcohol: B

Blue Point Winter Ale (I think)

Sleep: C

5:33

Training Overall: B+

Same deal. Only it was a terrible run so I'm not sure it was worth giving up the sleep for it.

Run: Yes

6 miles.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

I went to see a great show! Then we had a beer at Bohemian and I ran.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/20

Another day where I got to my run late, but I still did it even though it would have been easy not to.

Eating: B

My new pizza is Hummus and Pita Company? It's a whole pile of vegetables, but also it comes with bread and it's just a lot of food. This is the kind of thing that's great every once in awhile but maybe not as an everyday meal.

Alcohol: C

Prohibition Speakeasy Ale.

Sleep: C

5:51

Training Overall: B+

One sport, good showing.

Run: Yes

6.01 miles

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

I did creative stuff like I do most days. I don't explore that much here, but I'm finally talking about it elsewhere.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/19

Another day where I got to my run late, but I still did it even though it would have been easy not to.

Eating: A-

Did pretty well here. I did have some gratuitous bread, but overall a lot of vegetables.

Alcohol: A

None.

Sleep: B

6:26

Training Overall: B+

Only one sport, but good distance and persistence.

Run: Yes

6.1 miles

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

I voted and had dinner with the Chupacabra Conspiracy!

Training Scorecard - 4/18

Monday was a good start to the week. I performed in a show and got to catch up with Falawful group members, though I did miss their shows because I was having beers with a friend. Then I went for a run!

Eating: A

Good breakfast and lunch and actually not enough dinner, but I'm okay with that for now.

Alcohol: C

Two beers mentioned above. They were good beers, too. One was the Canard Noir by Greenport and the other was a Camp Wannamango by Harpoon.

Sleep: A

7:24.

Training Overall: B+

Only a run, but a good distance run and one that took some persistence to do a little later.

Run: Yes

6 miles.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

We had a fun show and I got to spend time with a lot of good people.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/14-4/17

Not good! Went too far in the comedy direction and I'm still working my way back.

Eating: B

I've been doing my best to at least be decent about this. If I can't necessarily get out for the workouts I should be doing I can at least be conscious of this part.

Alcohol: D

Had some.

Sleep: A++

I got a whole bunch of it this weekend.

Training Overall: F

Barely any.

Run: No

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

Shows, events, Kimmy Schmidt.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/13

I had a really good day with storytelling and improv but not with training.

Eating: C

I had a good early part of the day and then dinner was a chickpea burger with cauliflower soup. Again, not the best but definitely not the worst.

Alcohol: D

Alcohol at shows.

Sleep: A

7:25.

Training Overall: D

No training.

Run: No

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A+

I had a great storytelling show and then an improv jam with coworkers and improv people.

Training Scorecard - 4/12

Tuesday was the beginning of a bad few days, though itself was not terrible. At the very least, I've been accomplishing a lot creatively.

Eating: A-

Did a pretty good job on all the meals on Tuesday. I did have falafel with dinner, which is not the best but also definitely not the worst.

Alcohol: B

A beer.

Sleep: D

4:30. I went to bed late because of the late run and then got up early to go swimming.

Training Overall: B

Need moar.

Run: No

Swim: Yes

1,100 yards in 28:18.

Bike: No

Other: A

Brainstorming a show idea and Falawful practice.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/11

I kicked ass yesterday because I had a full slate of things to do in the evening and then I got home and I STILL ran almost 4 miles. Two months ago I would not have shown the same resolve.

Honestly, most of what motivated me was the thought of writing a lackluster one of these. I thought:

NO THANKS.

Eating: A

I did a bang-up job with my food choices. All salad and even some kale, which I'm starting to eat, if begrudgingly.

Alcohol: C

Beer.

Sleep: A+

8:07.

Training Overall: B

Alright, I got out there and did a run but still need to be doing more.

Run: Yes

3.8 miles.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

Comedy and friends.

Training Scorecard - 4/10

Sunday was much better, if not quite what I expected.

Eating: D

I had all kinds of tasty food at friend brunch.

Alcohol: C

Sangria.

Sleep: A+

9:52. I don't think too much sleep is a thing I'll account for unless I start doing this regularly.

Training Overall: A

Should've done 20, but what I did was not so bad.

Run: Yes

12.4 miles which started out weak but ended decently strong.

Swim: No

Bike: Yes

Trainer for an hour and a half.

Other: A

Friend time! Baby time! Star Wars!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/9

I did less training on Saturday than I'd planned, though I was at least able to take care of some stuff around the apartment.

Eating: B

All things considered, pretty good. Eggs are my go-to right now.

Alcohol: D

Beer.

Sleep: A+

7:58!

Training Overall: D

I thought I'd be running more than I actually did at the hash, but all in all probably ran 2-3 miles. I did not take advantage of weekend time.

Run: Yes

2-3 frenetic, stop and go miles.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: B

I fed my brain. I'll talk about this more later and edit this section when it's time.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/8

Yesterday (Friday) I hoped to work out but due to various circumstances, also knew it might be challenging for a couple reasons. Namely, that my friend Allison is leaving for awhile and I wanted to say goodbye. Certain occasions trump most other things, and this was one of those.

I started thinking about the "Other" category and how it's just a letter here, and not even one that figures into the overall average. Since my life has become a duality of this stuff and creative pursuits, it feels incomplete to only explore the endurance aspect of it. My next project is going to be writing more in depth about Other on my creative website.

Eating: C

Good breakfast and good lunch and Indian food for dinner. Tasty, tasty Indian food.

Alcohol: C

Some wine and a beer with good friends.

Sleep: A-

6:50.

Training Overall: D

I didn't work out, but the rest of the week is shaping up okay in that regard so not a complete disaster from what I can tell. I may revisit if it starts to color the success of my weekend training.

Run: No

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

Said bye to Allison.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/7: A Day Without Pizza

Yesterday was a good correction for the day before. Instead of two shows and two workouts, I had one of each, which seems like a more sustainable arrangement.

Also I got to nerd out with my vlookups. I might do a separate post on the spreadsheet itself so I can talk about that but we'll see.

Clean Eating: A

Breakfast, lunch, and at-work snacking went predictably well and then eggs for dinner, which was a good pizza substitute.

Alcohol: A

Nope!

Sleep: A

7 on the nose.

Training Overall: B+

One good run at a reasonable distance and with some intensity.

Run: Yes

6.12 miles. I started at 6mph, worked up to 6.4mph, and then finished the last 1.62 miles increasing by .1mph per tenth of a mile except on the last one or two, where I increased by .5mph to finish the last tenth or so at 6:31 min/mile.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

I performed in a comedy show and also built out my Training Scorecard tracking spreadsheet and blog page.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I RESOLVE TO NOT EAT PIZZA TODAY

That is all.

Training Scorecard - 4/6

I think yesterday I reached my limit of things to do in one day. I'm giving myself an Other grade of less than an A because it was too much of a good thing.

I swam in the morning, went to work, ran  a 4-mile loop from work to watch a comedy show, dinner, went back to work to change into regular people clothes and finally finished the day performing in a show. I didn't mind it while it was happening, but I went to bed late and was extra tired and so woke up quite late this morning. Not ideal.

Clean Eating: C

Banana and nuts for breakfast and salad for lunch and pizza for dinner. I can't tell at this point if I've made it more of a thing than it actually is because I'm aware of it. Regardless, I haven't gone out of my way to get pizza, but it seems to be around frequently when I find myself out at a mealtime with few alternatives. Also I love it.

Alcohol: A-

Half a beer after the last show.

Sleep: A-

6:49

Training Overall: A

Finally, two workouts in a day!

Run: Yes

4.5 miles.

Swim: Yes!

1,850 yards in 46:44. For you swimmers out there, I know this is slow, but I don't have the bandwidth right now to do much work on the quality of my swimming.

Bike: No

Other: B

Too much comedy? Probably too much of everything at the same time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/5

Yesterday was a day that, previously, might have ended in no workout based on an already busy schedule. The good news is that I got myself out for a good ol' night run on the treadmill at my gym.

I've also been thinking about what to do with these grades, because I feel like they're only so helpful if I can't use them to identify trends. I'm working on that for the next few days.

Clean Eating: C

I did well for breakfast (banana and pistachios) and okay for lunch (salad but also naan and a samosa) and disastrously for dinner (pizza, obviously), so a C may be generous.

Alcohol: A+

None, but I'm giving myself a + because my evening was spent in a setting in which having a beer was tempting and easy to do.

Sleep: D

4:23. Fallout from Monday's post-improv festivities.

Training Overall: B+

The rules I've adopted for this overall score are that if I hit two of the three below during a day, that's an A. If I only do one of them but it's a long distance or especially intense workout, that's also an A. An average workout in one is a B and no activity at all is something on the C to F scale depending on circumstances (yesterday, for example).

Run: Yes

You'll notice a + here because this was a 6.11 mile run which I finished with a tempo mile that ended at a 6:31 min/mile pace.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

Comedy with friends!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/4

Mondays should be a little bit easier logistically now, as I just had a class that ended. Hopefully now I can run first and then go do my usual improv-watching.

Clean Eating: A

Lunch and dinner salads and after dinner Brussels sprouts.

Alcohol: C

Wine after improv (I know, I know, I'm going to have to stop altogether again probably).

Sleep: A-

Right around 7 hours.

Training Overall: C

After three days straight of 33-34 miles in total, it wasn't the worst thing not to run, but I should have done SOME sort of cross training if not running or swimming.

Run: No

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

I watched some quality improv and spent time with good friends.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/3

I hadn't mentioned this in yesterday's scorecard, but I ended up doing my long run today because I missed all my alarms for yesterday's run with Morty and Asha. Today I ran with my friends Allison, Emily, and Sharon and we kept a good pace before ending for brunch around the Seaport.

Since the last two days haven't been the best for food/alcohol, it'll be good to do a reset tomorrow.

Clean Eating: D

Good brunch and decent dinner which included eggs with all kinds of vegetables and even a side salad in there, but also delicious pizza from my friend Ryan's bar, which he brought to improv practice. I was extra hungry after the run.

Alcohol: D

Kirin at karaoke.

Sleep: A-

A couple minutes shy of 7 hours, which is my gold standard for an A grade.

Training Overall: A+

Run: Yes

18 miles on top of 9ish yesterday and 6.5 on Friday. Not too shabby for the weekend.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

Improv and lots of karaoke afterward.

Training Scorecard - 4/2

It seems like weekends are worse for food/alcohol consumption, which perhaps is common sense. I'm still feeling everything out and determining which are the best/most efficient changes to make to all my habits. It's hard.

Clean Eating: C

Eggs for breakfast and an extremely tasty salad for dinner but also a slice of pizza after the party. I'm starting to see pizza as my #1 food problem. I love it so much.

Alcohol: F

Mmm...went to a birthday party and had some drinks but did make them vodka sodas, which I think is the least calorically damaging alcoholic option.

Sleep: A+

8:39!

Training Overall: A-

Run: Yes

9-10 miles. 9.3 but then three quarters of a mile to my friends' improv show because I was late.

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

Improv! I went to see some friends' improv show and performed in one for my group, Falawful.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Training Scorecard - 4/1

Even though I've tried updating daily in the past to moderate effect, I'm trying it again. See, I've got a pretty big triathlon coming up in July and I need to figure out some way to at least attempt to keep myself accountable for my training and choices. So here goes this.

I would like to keep consistent with the categories below and I'm going to give myself grades for them as close to daily as possible. Getting to a level of fitness that will allow me to finish the tri is going to be challenging in this amount of time, but I think it's possible if I start making good decisions in both physical training and also my other habits (food, booze, sleep, etc.).

Clean Eating: B-

I stuck mostly to fruit, vegetables and protein, but also I had some cookie cake and a Diet Coke, which is my eternal enemy and the vice I just can't quit.

No Alcohol: A

Didn't have any!

Sleep: A

I got 7.5 hours.

Training Overall: B

Run: Yes

6.5 miles

Swim: No

Bike: No

Other: A

Blogging!

Race Report: Naked Bavarian 40 (20) Miler

Aha! Bet you didn't think you'd see a race report from me soon. At least, I didn't expect to want to write one. I'm frankly not sure I actually did want to write one, but I just have to keep trying things to see if I can't get myself out of this rut.

In January, one of the things I thought would motivate me to prioritize training in my schedule was to sign up for an ultramarathon. Really seems like a gamble, doesn't it?

Surprise! It didn't motivate me to prioritize training. I think I signed up for it on January 15 and the race itself was on March 6, so I gave myself a full six weeks of training. At my best, I could have done that, I think. But I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'm not at my best and I can't count on being able to pull off dumb things like that.

It's not all bad. The weekend itself was a lot of fun and the run was gorgeous, from an aesthetic perspective. Let's explore that some more.

A few years ago, I did the Bob Potts Marathon in Pennsylvania. I rented a car and drove about five hours out, did the race, and then drove back. Even though it was a lot of driving in a short amount of time, I liked the trip because it was like an adventure. Plus, I was able to stop at a brewery on my way home. When I signed up for this race, I liked the idea of doing the same kind of thing.

I rented a car, which ended up being a minor disaster due to the fact that Advantage has a crappy "local renters" policy, which basically means you can't rent a car from the airport unless you 1. have an itinerary in or out of the airport or 2. can prove you have auto insurance in the state. I had neither, and so had to make an impromptu cancellation and reservation with a different car company. A similar thing happened to me last year when I drove out to do the NJ marathon, but this was more annoying.

I finally got myself into a Canadian Toyota Yaris and was puzzled before I realized the speedometer was in kilometers. It was fine eventually, and I drove it to my friend Helen's apartment where we had pre-race Bechdel Test Movie Night and sandwiches from Luca Brasi's deli. At some point during the evening, I thought it might be helpful to look up the course and understand the terrain. Although I was hopeful that it would be mostly a road race, I was dismayed to find out that it was probably more like 90% trail. Even though I'd already spent some time worrying about my insufficient preparation, it was at this point that I started to give some serious thought to whether or not what I was attempting was even doable. I started to strategize about worst-case scenarios.

I went to bed probably too late, but that's my pre-race MO. I had a good sleep, even if it was only a few hours long. My plan was to drive the two and a half hours before the race, which started at 8am. I woke up at 4:45 and left around 5:15, which was 15 or so minutes later than I'd hoped. It proved to be a valid concern, as I didn't make the time I really needed to to get there with enough time to pick up my bib and mentally prepare. Instead, I got there approximately 7 minutes before 8 o'clock desperately needing a toilet. I grabbed my bib, pinned it on, had to run back to the car to throw the things I didn't plan to run with, and then go to the bathroom. Even with all the rushing, I did not make it by the beginning of the race and started about 5 minutes late. The races I usually do are chip timed, so it doesn't matter when you start because your chip time, or when you crossed the mat, is used. Unfortunately for me, this was a "budget" race and therefore had a more traditional timing method, which is just pulling off tabs on people's bibs in the order they cross the finish line and recording their time.

So I started dead last and wearing my (faux) fur lined vest because it was cold and I hadn't planned my attire accordingly. I started so late that no one was even in sight anymore and I had to ask a volunteer where the course was after approximately 50 steps of running. He directed me, and although I started at a nice, slow pace, I eventually did begin to catch up with other runners. I first passed 3-4, which was good news for me because I was dubious that I'd make the 1pm cutoff time.

Trails are a b
After a little over half an hour of running, I reached the first aid station. I think I had a quarter of a potato? I don't remember. What I do remember is that I caught up with a group of three runners together and another guy that was more by himself, and we formed a little caravan. We weren't really trying to stay together, but we did anyway for the next ten miles or so. It was entertaining to listen to them talk as we ran, because I was woefully unprepared for the trails and it was hard.

Let me explain a little bit about the course. There were three distance options available: a 40-miler, a marathon, and a 20-miler. The 20 and 40 mile options were created by completing either one or two 20-mile loops depending on the chosen distance. The marathon was a 20 mile loop with a smaller 6.2 mile loop in the middle of it. The 20 mile loop itself was what the site describes as a "lollipoop." Here's a mathematical interpretation:


By the third aid station, the three runners had started to pull away and I was left with my thoughts. My thoughts at that point mostly consisted of trying to decide whether or not to do the full 40 mile distance. My past self would place a lot of value on going through with it no matter what, but there were a number of good reasons why this was inadvisable. First, my pace was slowing down significantly and although I expected to make the cutoff, it wouldn't be by much. I expected that my pace would continue to slow, and at that rate, that I wouldn't finish by dark, if I finished at all. I also didn't have a headlamp, and I was getting tired to the point that I was no longer picking my feet up high enough to avoid protruding tree roots. I ate it three different times within probably 10 minutes of each other, and I was starting to be very annoyed with that.

When I look back on it, the choice seems simple, but I agonized over it for probably six of the last seven miles. What finally allowed me to be okay with it was thinking about it in these terms: what was I proving by staying out there and finishing?

Not friggin' much, let me tell you. I eventually concluded that all I might prove by finishing was that I could still finish a race without doing any of the preparation that I should have done, and what kind of point is that to prove?

So I cut out after the first 20 miles. Was it the right decision? Yes. Was it a decision I was happy to make? No.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Now It's 2016!

It's hard to believe this is where we are. I was just updating a few things here and noticing that last year was abysmal for blog posts. Only six all year. I didn't even bother updating my goals page, which is something I've already fixed for this year.

I mentioned in my last post that my struggle currently is balancing everything in my life. My choices are these: make sacrifices or be better. They're both punishing options, just in different ways. Before the holidays, I opted for the former. Now I'm going to give the latter a try and see what happens.

I've always dreaded January to March as a time of frigid, soul-crushing weather. The last few years, I only got through it by making frequent trips to the gym to run on the treadmill. A warmer, if less challenging and more appealing alternative to running outside.

But in the last couple days, I've begun to consider that maybe I've just been going about this all wrong. I decided to try thinking about it differently. Maybe these few months are when I get to set the stage for the rest of the year.

In terms of my athletic endeavors, I want to make these months about putting in the miles. And you know what? I'm off the treadmill right now. Bring on the gross cold, because there is joy that can't be found in the confines of a gym and that's what I need right now.