Thursday, November 22, 2007


Alright, I'm bored after the turkey dinner =) So I did my 2nd race of the training season...Palatine Turkey Trot 5mile. Since the Jingle Bell 5K, I haven't done any speedwork. I was also planning on upp-ing my run mileage to just 30 miles a week, and even THAT didn't happen. slacker. well, race was cold, windy, but no excuse- ended up with a 38:35 (7:44 min/mi pace...) eh. Not great, especially since my first mile was 7:18...whoops. And I was trying hard too! I know my shamrock shuffle time in 06 was under 36:00, so....slacker.

Here's the info for y'all...(not so proud of it, but it is what it is...)

Mile 1: 7:18 min/mi pace HR 182
Mile 2: 7:43 min/mi pace HR 184
Mile 3: 8:05 min/mi pace HR 183 (slacker.)
Mile 4: 8:03 min/mi pace HR 184 (struggling a bit Laura?)
Mile 5: 7:24 min/mi pace HR 184 nice finish...

Believe it or not, it was good for 10th woman overall, 3rd in my age a medal and a gift certificate...I'll take that! At least I got out there this morning and did it right?

Ya know, it's so hard to get out the door for a run when it's cold and cloudy, but if you're dressed warmly enough, it feels good once you get going! Gotta remember that this winter! I have some early season races, so I can't slack!

Tough right now though, lots of school stuff to do before the end of the semester. Gotta stay on top of grading, gotta get the syllabi done for my classes before the end of next week, I have big assignment due this week, two next week, and I haven't even considered final exams yet...yikes. This is real life, I can handle it =)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It all starts here

It's about that get the training schedule up and running for next season. I've been playing it cool for last few is very busy, and quite frankly I needed a break from the hard-core training and racing. But I'm itching again. I've found some awesome new training partners (fellow Graduate Assistants Kim, Robyn, and Courtney!!!) that will help keep the motivation and excitement up through the winter. Also, after seeing my partner in crime Margaret run a flippin 3:10!!! at NYC, my adrenaline levels are up and I'm ready to go!

Big races for 08 include Boston Marathon (gotta redeem myself!!) and Ironman Coeur d'Alene (I'm going under 13 hrs!), and the training starts NOW.

Today I had the opportunity to see where I'm at and determine the baseline- I ran the Jingle Bell 5k with the Foxy 4 (Courtney, Robyn, Kim, and myself...). I've been content with some of the speedwork I've been running over the last couple weeks, but I have not RACED in a loooong time...I really didn't know what to expect today. I knew I wasn't in PR shape (21:25) but could I even pull off a sub-23? I wasn't too worried about, I just wanted to see where I was at so I can work on improving!

Great day for running, so no cold/heat/wind excuses, perfect! Saw lots of running and tri folk, so that's always a fun way to start the day. I also saw several of my students out there, which made me really happy! A few of them were running for extra credit I offered, but some were out there just for fun (and I'm the one that told them about it!) I love seeing people getting out there and active! And I was happy with my sweet outfit- my new shoes match my boston gear, and I wore my awesome arm warmers. Watch out!

So gun goes off, and I gotta make my way to the start, dodge strollers/wheelchairs/small children, but that's just normal stuff. My legs feel amazing, but my heart is racing- probably nervousness/starting out fast. I feel like I have to do that, otherwise if I start out too slow, I'll never pick it up! Kim felt the same way! I can tell it's gonna be a hard race, but if you run a 5K like you are supposed to, it SHOULD feel hard (I've read you should race 5Ks at 85-90% of your max HRR...yowza!)

First mile comes up and I'm at a 6:58...little fast Laura, you'll feel it later! So I slow down a bit, but it didn't feel any easier lol. During this second mile, I notice how many YOUNGENS are smokin' me...we are talking junior high/grade schoolers who are chatting away, while I'm running HARD! I start cramping on my right side, but come on, everyone gets cramps, it happens. I've ran through worse, so deal with it. Second mile split was a 7:19...geez didn't realize I slowed down THAT much. Last 1.1 mi was all trail, I've run this stretch a million times, but it's never felt this hard! I'm trying to concentrate on lengthening my stride and taking deep breaths to suck in as much oxygen as possible. Tamara was spectating and ran with me for a minute or two, I totally needed it! I could not muster out more than a word, so I just tried to keep up with my "pacer" It made me focus on something, so that was good. Now all I had to do was bring it in. I came around the corner, and the clock in the distance said 21:45...wooo hooo! I'm an oddball and I was 80% sure I could sprint it in and get under 22:00...haha majorly over estimated. I DID end up with a 22:08! 7:08 pace overall, I'll take that for a first race of the training season! I'm so going under 21:00 in the spring.

Kim, Robyn, and Courtney were pretty happy with their races too, they all have more in them, and will kill their times at the next race. My time was good for 2nd place in F20-24 division, and Kim got 3rd! The results sheet said that Courtney was 3rd, which would have been AWESOME to have all three of get awards, but I guess the "1" next to my name meant "1st runner up" and so on. Booooooo....Robyn got 2nd or 3rd in F25-29, SWEET. So we got medals and bunch of gift certificates. good deal.

Alright, now here's my favorite part...analyzing my data, exercise physiologist style (you all know that's what I'm getting my Master's degree in, right?) I want to see how hard (intensity) I was actually running this thing...

Mile 1: 6:58 min/mi HR 182
Mile 2: 7:19 min/mi HR 187
Mile 3.1: 7:06 min/mi HR 188
Total: 22:08, HR 186

So, my RESTING heart rate (RHR)-which I determined by wearing my heart rate monitor to bed a couple weeks ago and seeing the average from 6 hrs of sleep that night- is 51 BPM

My estimated MAX heart rate MHR (220-age) is 197.

So let's use the Heart Rate Reserve method...

MHR-RHR = HRR.............. 197-51 = 146
(HRR * %) + RHR = BPM.................. (146 * X) + 51 = 186
146 * X = 135
X= 92.5% of HRR !!!!!

I am INTENSE!!!! that also means that I've actually got to train and get in better, faster shape, cause that's aLL I GOT. =)

Workouts for the week: running, running, running...get in the pool ONE TIME. and find my bike helmet and shoes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lake Placid training recap

Wow, less than two weeks til IM this time next week my family and I will be driving up there...incredible. You sign up for these things a year in advance, and that day does actually roll around! You know what? I'm excited.

I got a late start on IM training this year...I was all psyched up for Boston, but I had a baaaaad day...that got me down. However, I think I've picked it up nicely the last two months, especially this past month, and now I have 11 days to rest up and let all the hard work I've done sink in and get me ready for yet another Ironman adventure.

I've cut back on run volume and intensity, and transferred my focus over to cycling...The run training I did for Florida definitely paid off, but I have more to gain with stronger cycling...If my run time goes from 4:25 to 4:55, I'll lose 30 mins, but if I can improve my bike from 8:00 to sub 7:00 hrs...I think the trade-off is worthwhile!

Saturday rides are awesome anyway! I've done some fun, loooong rides with the Tri-shark triathlon club members and some Tri-Birds- whatta way to get to know people, catch up with old friends, and spend a Saturday afternoon! Some people are just rolling outta bed at 1PM after an expensive night of empty calories and partying...while you are finishing up a 100mi bike ride!

I've only competed twice, but the Tuesday night Time Trials put on by the TriSharks are GREAT as well! I didn't know that I could push that hard on a bike! The course is challenging and is great threshold-buster.

Teaching a Walk/Jog class at ISU is great motivation for me- working with people who have never been runners and introducing them into the world of fitness and getting them involved has been so beneficial not only for them, but for me as well! Seeing each of them improve their 1 1/2 mile time after only 3 weeks and getting excited about and asking me questions about heart rate monitors, training for a 5K, where to find more resources...makes me feel accomplished. I may have helped jump-start a life-long fitness and healthy lifestyle for these individuals...I may have contributed to their potentially longer, happier, and healthier lives. =)

Swimming is still lacking for me. I'm swimming more than I have before, but I am terrible at it, and I don't think I can get better on my own. I don't understand the mechanics of it- the more I swim, the more I practice poor mechanics, the harder it will be to change them...I NEED a swim coach. That's a top priority once this season is over.

Tri-Sharks also have an open water swim wed. nights at a local park with a 560m's great training! I think my open water skills have already improved (sighting, swimming straight, getting used to the wetsuit) so that's been really useful!

aaaah....swimming....i just need to get it over with, then comes the good parts!!

Other good workouts:

-3 x 1 mi. on Jersey.... w/ my friend Paul, whew whatta workout, it's killer! I ran faster than expected too! Jersey is a nice, rolling street with a couple longer inclines...just fantastic for mile repeats! I was aiming for 7mins...ended up with 6:35,6:40,6:55 (legs were shot after that last one lol)

- 1 1/2 run with Margo at Paw Paw lake (see picture!)....what a great loop! hot and HILLY! just what I needed! my legs were tiiired that first hour since I did a century ride the day before, but I felt loosened up that last 30 mins =)

-Spin Lake: have biked out there a couple times, some good hills around those parts, going up and down! great practice for LP

-and WIBA last weekend...that will be a whole 'nother post =)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Prelude to IM x 2...IM WI and FL recaps

TWO Ironman races this summer...Dan and I are crazies!!I know I can actually GO the distance- training for my previous two ironmans were nothing to be in awe of -here's the training and race recaps...

Wisconsin 05- swim training was minimal. bike training was minimal. my times reflected appropriately. The bike was rough due to the crazy heat and wind of the day- for every 10 miles i finished a whole bottle of water AND a whole bottle of gatorade! training was alright, but race time was bad due to lack of sleep/caffeine... once i started drinking RC the last 10 miles i felt great!! I didn't really drink any kind of pop before that, but ever since I've been an avid cola drinker!! lol. but sleep-walking definitely hurt the time...this was my first Ironman, I'm just proud of finishing it!
PS i'm in the Finisher video twice- once by myself getting out of the water (cold as usual lol) but the cutest the beginning, before the swim start, they captured a really special moment- dan told me that he signed up for Ironman, just for me, and we got caught kissing on camera =)
Fav memory...during the run, I'm starting to get back in the game after a caffeine fix, and I see a table with the BEST food i've seen all day- Honey Nut Chex mix and girl scout cookies!! oh MAN i was excited! it was a little off the running path, but i went over there anyways and grabbed a handful of chex mix and handful of girl scout cookies and start chowing...then the FAT lady who was sitting at the table said, "Excuse me, those are for the volunteers..." oh yeah, like she needed any girl scout cookies. look fat lady, i'm doing an ironman triathlon!! haha. i ate them all =)

Florida 06- I had heard it was the "easiest and flattest" ironman race...but didn't take into account one MAJOR factor- STUDENT TEACHING. good lord- many of you know what i mean. what an awful time in my life. i really didn't like history, so that made it that much worse. i had NO TIME to train for an ironman. i managed to squeeze in some awesome run training- hard summer running and coaching the BHS xc team helped a lot, and i was able to qualify for Boston at Chicago. I was building up bike and swim training nicely in the summer, no rush since IM wasn't until November; but once S-T got into full swing, I was screwed. bike training requires TIME, which i didn't have, and after a full day of teaching, planning/studying, coaching/running, and sometimes working at 4Seasons, all on 4-6 hrs of sleep, i did not FEEL like swimming. I wish I could have anticipated this before signing up for the race.
Race Recap-I was NERVOUS about this one. I was on a high from Chicago marathon, but could I do THIS?? The pre-race festivities put me in a better mood- the carb dinner with all the motivation, expo-shopping, meeting Frank Ferrar and Henry something, one of the founding fathers of Ironman...awesome.
Night before the race: Grading 140 exams, entering it in the online gradebook...exciting pre-race stuff. Morning: it was COLD- like 45 degrees. i HATE cold- i'm nervous about the swim as is, now with this twist?? o jeez. next, i'm freaking out because they are telling everyone to get out of the transition area and go to the swim start...but I couldn't find Dan! I was so sad- this is OUR thing, and I wasn't even going to see him before the start?? I might not see him all day! I start losing it, but then heeeere he comes (grand entrance as usual lol). now I'm a little more sane.With the wetsuit on, I wasn't that cold, but the sand freezing my toes at the start was a reality check...Once we got in the water, it was great! the temp was like 72 degrees, much warmer than the air, it felt like a hot tub! despite major waves, i suck at swimming anyways and i knew it was gonna take me awhile, so they didn't really bother me. I was just happy i wasn't going to become hypothermic lol. o man...taking the wetsuit OFF was bad though! now i'm WET in 45 degree weather?? there's a classic pic i'll post sometime lol. Yeah, I had like a 20 minute transition because I needed to warm up before heading out onto the bike course lol.
Bike training is CRUCIAL for ironman success. I did not do enough bike training. I had a baaaad day on the bike. I was uncomfortable in the position because I did not ride enough. It was windy and I didn't like it. there weren't very many spectators, so motivation was lacking. Let's just say I think I was the last woman to make the bike cut-off...I think there were one or two men behind me. what a close call. could you imagine being kicked out of a race because you didn't make the bike segment cutoff?? what a waste of money, travel, training, ego, etc...
Coming into the transition, I honestly and sincerely thought to myself, "YES! ONLY A MARATHON TO GO!!!" in retrospect, i realize that's messed up. but it worked for me at the time- I rocked that run. All the training I put in for Chicago paid off again. I ran a chill pace the whole time, walked through the aid stations, and finally was enjoying the day!! Best way to finish =) I ate a lot...especially cookies, pop, and chicken broth...along with other random stuff they were handing out, i ended feeling pretty darn sick about 30 minutes after I finished...silly Laura.
I don't need to talk about how amazing an Ironman finish is...what I do think is funny though, after finishing, feeling sick, now parents took me to waffle house...i remember forcing myself to eat a meal...literally slathering those delicious waffles with apple butter, then cutting them up and devouring them...automatically. it was a vague memory, but a delicious one. lol.
then, we had to leave the next day so i can get back to school =( boooooo. haha My cooperating teacher told all the students that I got bit by a shark- he warned them that I would definitely be wearing pants to cover the bite (duuh, it's winter...) and would probably be limping/walking funny (after 140.6 miles? yes i'll be walking a little funny!)...and didn't tell me about it...It was pretty funny when someone asked me if they could see the shark bite and I had no clue what they were talking about!! LOL!!

Aaah good times. I love Ironman...more to come on this...

Sunday, June 3, 2007

New Orleans ACSM conference

Whew! On Tuesday, Dan and I drove down to New Orleans for the American College of Sports Medicine national conference (and drove back on Friday). ACSM is an organization for Health and Fitness professionals- This organization publishes peer-reviewed journals on every imaginable H&F topic- weight control, sport performance, sport psychology, public health, training protocols, gender differences, etc...They provide statements on hydration, body comp, exercise recommendations, etc...what they say is typically the "gold standard"- check them out at

Why go to the conference? Because I'm a dork. Tons of new research on amazing stuff! Researchers, Professors, and Students with approved abstracts created posters and presented them during morning or afternoon poster sessions each day- I got to see what other grad students from universities all over the country were doing, and more useful to me, HOW they conducted and presented their research.

Besides posters, there were also "Talks" (in the form of lecture/debate/ comparing&contrasting research) about countless topics, like "Mineral Loss through Endurance sport- is there a need to change dietary requirements?" (where Dr. Craig Horswill, the head guy at the Gatorade Sport Science Institute spoke) or "Special Considerations in Ultramarathoning" or "High Intensity Interval Training Revisited" etc....

There were even sub-interest group meetings within the conference, I went to two- Endurance Sport Science & Medicine and Environmental Physiology (meaning exercise in the heat, at altitude, etc.)...for you athletes, there was even an "Expo" where vendors had booths and advertised and gave away free stuff! (Gatorade, Accelerade, Jelly Belly, etc.)

I'm a loser, and this was AWESOME for me. I got some really good ideas for my master's thesis or project I'm going to be starting soon (more details to come) was also like a "live" Runner's World or Triathlete Mag !!

Besides all this, Dan and I also managed to hit up two Hard Rock Cafe's (knockin them off the list) and partied on Bourbon Street...with two of our Instructors!!! oooooh my...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

thoughts about weddings

On Saturday, Dan's sister Leslie and her new husband Jeremiah got married- it was beautiful! the ceremony was very nice in the church, the music was very pretty, and the reception was held at the New Lafayette Club- it was so pretty inside. Dim lighting with lots of white christmas lights and candles. Congratulations to them =)

Here are some thoughts that I've accumulated about weddings...

Engagement ring: I like them big and sparkly =) The man should be able to afford a nice one on his own..if he can't, then what does that say about the life you are going to start together? Saving up for the ring, choosing one that she will like, any customization to it, and of course the actual proposal, takes planning, thought, effort, and patience...just like the marriage.

Engagement: Personally, I wouldn't want to get engaged if I couldn't start planning the wedding immediately. As a typical female, I look forward to planning a big, beautiful wedding ... but also want to be prepared for life afterward. No more dependence on parents- at ALL. Rent, food, cell phone bills, health/car/life insurance...after they pay for (hopefully) a huge chunk of the wedding, that should be IT for them. If the couple isn't ready to be solely dependent on each other, it's not the right time.

Time of year: It would be a dream to have a spring/summertime outdoor wedding and reception... but it was be such a bummer to build up all that anticipation and put so much into planning...and then have it be too hot/cold/windy/RAINING. So, I just say, plan a winter wedding so it will be inside NO MATTER what. Also, a tropical honeymoon would be that much more fantastic!
...a personal preference as well would be have the wedding the week after a huge event like an Ironman...the bachelorette party would take place the weekend before (no super hard training required during a taper, so staying out late/drinkin too much won't be bad lol) then during the honeymoon, there's only one workout where F.I.T.T. matters =)

Ceremony and Reception: I HATE cheesy/traditional wedding music. No here comes the bride, canon in d, electric slide, twist, ymca, macarena, dancing queen, brick house, etc. "sweet caroline" will be required however, I think Vince Vaughn every time I hear that song lol. I'm not really too concerned with the ceremony. Except that it should be short, and the flower girl and ring bearer have to be cute. And guests should be ordered to take screaming children outside immediately. the reception should take place at a hotel with cheap rates for wedding guests- they'll need to book a room so they can take full advantage of the *required* open bar! Also, so all guests can in fact take advantage of this, there ideally wouldn't be any children allowed at the reception...Maybe pay some responsible teenagers for a baby-sitting service.
... I am going to want all my guests and bridal party to celebrate and having an amazing time in honor of a marriage...not get FAT because of it =) You better believe that the food will be amazingly delicious and gourmet and healthy!! and a cake...haha. that's $400 i'd be pissed if someone paid for that !! now, gourmet coffee/tea on the other hand is worth the investment =) angel food cake with fresh fruit wouldn't be so bad though

I also like the idea of the bride and groom spending the night in the nicest suite of the hotel that night, then leaving for the honeymoon the next morning after a send-off brunch...that would be awesome with a bunch of hungover wedding guests =)

Yeah I don't know anything, these are just some opinions I've formed after the first few rounds of friends/family my age getting hitched! But everyone's wedding is unique and most importantly, suits THEM =)

Friday, May 25, 2007

the long run

workout: 17 mile run
weather: 65/overcast/10-15 mph winds/slight drizzle
result: 2:30
hr: avg. 161

time of day:1-3:30 pm
notes: achilles hurtin.
grade: eeeeh.

The long run...what an emotional rollercoaster. The week leading up to it you anticipate or look forward to "running easy"...just chillin to your ipod and thinking about stuff ...remembering an awesome race or long run (like qualifying for boston at chicago 06...still gives me chills!!, or the marathon during IM florida...easiest run EVER!) you have previously experienced, thinking that this run will be just like that. Since it's a week away it's easy to be optimistic.

The days leading up to it, you start...checking the temp./weather/wind speed. mapping your course. planning your day since it's gonna take up a chunk of time. Then the dread kicks in. Yes, you are gonna have to run for a looong time. Then the doubts kick in...even if you have done it a million times before (4 marathons, 2 ironman, and all the training leading up to it), you question yourself.

Even worse, you start thinking about BAD runs you've had in the past. Like the time during my first chicago marathon when my quads were cramping and quivering soooo bad at 21 mi....or my 14miler in the HEAT two weeks ago where I, not acclimated to the heat yet, was slowing down to 10:30-11 mpm, and yes, even took a walk break. The worst, my failure at the Boston marathon, the marathon I worked my ass off to qualify for, and I screwed it up. Yes, I finished, but what a disgrace! Combination of bad preparation and not enough training...

These thoughts, along with the fact that at this time last year I was much faster, and disappointment in myself that my training is not where it should be, made it tough to get out the door and enjoy this run.

But here's the beauty of it: the first hour is easy (as long as you keep the heart rate down) and after that, you feel kind of badass just for being out there. It makes you WANT to keep going even when you are having a rough're a badass because you can DEAL with it. Then, I find it enjoyable to plan your favorite place to run as the'll finish up a good note. For me, it's the trail. From Kerrick Rd., I know I'm close and can fly home. Plus you might see people you know and you have to look like you are fast =) I planned running out in the country right before that...Northtown, Ziebarth, uuuuugggghhh nothing but cornfields and wind! Then...aaaaah the trail!! (and a water fountain)

Compared to last year, this run was too slow for my liking. But I gotta forget that, and see where I'm at NOW, progress from HERE, and be happy with the improvements I make.

That's a wrap for now, time for me to start daydreaming about my 18mi. run next week =)